Monday, May 3, 2010

Game 25 Recap

1. Leading off the second inning, CC Sabathia got ahead of Matt Wieters 1-2. Wieters then took a slider down and in, fouled off a changeup and was rewarded with a belt high fastball on the outer half of the plate. It was a smoked, opposite field line drive that never got very high but cleared the right field fence and put the O's up 1-0.

2. Alex Rodriguez singled to lead off the fourth inning. Cano flied out, then Posada moved A-Rod to second with a grounder. The Yanks mounted a two out rally beginning with a smashed line drive off the wall by Nick Swisher that went for a double and scored A-Rod. Brett Gardner extended the inning with a soft single to center and Randy Winn put the Yankees on top 4-1 with a three run shot into the Yankees' bullpen. Those were the only three scoring plays of the night.

IFs, ANDs & BUTs
  • CC wasn't exactly dominant tonight, getting only two strike outs in his 8 innings of work. Maybe overpowering is a better word? He only gave up just one run, six hits and two walks and was helped about by double plays in the 6th and 7th innings. He also got a whopping 16 groundball outs, and when you are getting hitters to pound it into the turf like that, you don't really need to get too many K's.

  • Aside from the fourth inning, Jeremy Guthrie had a pretty solid outing. Even in that one frame, all of the damage came with two outs. Like Sabathia, he gave up six hits (on HR), two walks and only struck out two.

  • Early on in the YES broadcast they showed a clip of Cano hitting a ball over the top of the batter's eye in center field during this afternoon's batting practice. That, my friends, is a BOMB.

  • With the doubles in the fourth and sixth, Nick Swisher is now 13 for 24 off Jeremy Guthrie with nine extra base hits.

  • Randy Winn's three run homer was his first one in 491 ABs, dating back to last April.

  • Francisco Cervelli took over for Jorge Posada behind the plate in the sixth inning. Apparently Posada was experiencing some tightness in his right calf and has probably already undergone an MRI.

  • With two outs in the 7th inning, Sabathia's displeasure with homeplate umpire Bill Hohn came to a head. Sabathia put three fastballs that looked to be on the black but Hohn called them all balls. There was some jawing and Joe Girardi made a mound visit to calm down the situation. Sabathia recovered and got Caesar Izturis to ground out to end the inning and sat down the O's in order in the 8th.

  • Perhaps the lack of strikeouts was a product of the tight zone?

  • Mariano Rivera didn't pitch the 9th inning despite a 3 run lead for the Yanks - and during the Joe Girardi said that Mo felt some tightness in his left side starting on Saturday and should be ready to go tomorrow. No tests are scheduled.

  • Joba Chamberlain filled in for Mo and aside from a walk to Matt Wieters, took care of business and picked up the save. It was the second of his career.

  • The game wrapped up in a tidy 2:29. It feels like I always use that adjective for short games, but it's better than Michael Kay's "manageable", yes?

  • The Yankees set a record for the lowest attendance at the New Stadium, a mark previously set on April 21st, 2009 - a game that Schiff and I were at.
Same time, same place tomorrow as A.J. Burnett and Brian Matusz lock horns.

Game 25: Don't Go There

After just three games apart, the Yankees meet back up with Orioles, this time in the Bronx. Fresh off a sweep of the Red Sox, it appears that the Birds have begun to find their stride. By record they are still the worst team in baseball, but they should be more formidable than that on the field over the next three games.

The Yankees rotation turns over this evening as CC Sabathia takes the mound for his sixth start. On the year, he's 3-1 with a 3.12 ERA (3.35 FIP). He's been walking slightly more batters than usual but giving up just 6.5 hits per nine innings, down from his career mark of 8.2/9.

The Big Fella had a decent but not dominant outing against Baltimore five days ago, distributing 13 baserunners over 7 2/3 innings such that only three of them came across the plate. The outing before that - the complete game loss in Oakland - CC also gave the Yankees length despite not having his best stuff. One of the great things about having a pitcher like Sabathia is that even when he has a tough outing, there's a chance that he's efficient enough with his pitches that he can still stay in the game. And of course, on the nights when he has his good stuff, he's damn near unstoppable.

Sabathia is facing Jeremy Guthrie for the fifth time in the year and a month since he's become a Yankee, which is especially surprising since he's only matched up with the O's seven times. Like Sabathia, Guthrie came up with the Indians. They were both late first round picks (CC was 20th & Guthrie 22nd) selected four years apart ('98 & '02) but it's actually Guthrie who is over a year older since he went to college, transferring from BYU to Stanford.

Since we was an established college pitcher, the Indians never placed Guthrie below AA. In three years in their farm system, he amassed a 4.40 ERA and had little success in three cups of coffee in the majors. As a result, the Tribe placed Guthrie on waivers and he was picked up by the Orioles in January of '07.

Something apparently clicked for Guthrie shortly thereafter because the O's installed him directly into their starting rotation and he threw 175 innings at a 3.70 ERA that year. In '08, he was slightly better, tossing 15 more innings with an ERA of 3.63. However, his FIP's those two years were around 4.50 and last season his ERA ballooned up to 5.04.

When last seen, Guthrie was tagged for 7 runs (6 of them earned) by the Yankees down in Baltimore. That same night, he hit Jorge Posada on the back of the knee and took him out of the game. Similar to when he plunked Mark Teixeira in the elbow during Spring Training, it was just a contusion but it kept Jorge out of the starting line up for two days in a row. No one believes that Guthrie is trying to hit these guys, much less trying to injure them, but Joe Girardi is clearly frustrated by the trend and if another Yankee gets hit tonight, there might be some ugliness. Let's hope Guthrie keeps it peaceful and the Yanks do the same.

People gon' be people, ain't nobody gon' change,
But we can keep it peaceful if we leave it the same,
If you don't go there, no, don't go there,
Don't go there, no, don't go there.

[Matt:] Alex Rodriguez and his possibly sore knee return to the lineup after a one day absence. Randy Winn gets the nod in left field after Marcus Thames got the first post-Granderson start. I figure both will have an opportunity to play unless one establishes himself as the clear cut better option. With a righty on the mound for the O's tonight there's no sense in tempting fate with Thames' defense for a second consecutive game. No word yet on whether a reliever has been optioned out to bring up Greg Golson as has been rumored. And not that it has anything to do with the lineups, but Robinson Cano is the AL Player of the Month, Jeter and Teixeira will be awarded their Gold Gloves before the game, and Javier Vazquez officially will be skipped Friday night.
Jeter SS
Johnson DH
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Posada C
Swisher RF
Gardner CF
Winn LF
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 2B
Miguel Tejada 3B
Matt Wieters C
Garrett Atkins 1B
Nolan Reimold DH
Lou Montanez LF
Cesar Izturis SS

Monday Afternoon Linkdown

Why is it that no one ever bothers to think about the other side of the foam finger transaction?
Ross from NYYSI reconsiders some of the previous recommendations he made for standing room only and cafe seating tickets at Yankee Stadium.

I know the demolition of the Old Stadium is going on, but every time I see a new picture of it like this one over at Baseball Think Factory it's still hard to believe how little of it is left.

Quite relevant to these linkarounds, Dave Allen at Baseball Analysts put together a diagram displaying how the top 200 baseball blogs (according to Ball Hype) are related. We are mentioned in the post because of all the links we give out - one of just a few blogs that do a comprehensive round up of other sources. Here is the visual with all of the blogs named (we are "FY"). Allen plans to explore the interrelation of baseball blogs further and I'm looking forward to him continuing the series.

First Ozzie Guillen pulled the cheapshot move of making Javier Vazquez change his glove because it had three colors on it and then he complained about Nick Swisher pumping his first after he hit the go-ahead home run on Saturday (h/t BBTF). For good measure, Guillen also said that Swisher was a "horseshit player" for him in Chicago. In a related story, Ozzie Guillen is a petty bitch.

Did the '09 Yankees have an inflate fly ball rate because they were swinging for the fences at the New Stadium? Pat Andriola from THT revisits one of his old posts with some new data.

Tommy Rancel from Bloomberg Sports takes a look at what's wrong with Javy Vazquez. Frankie Pilere's opinon: probably something mechanical.

Tim Marchman thinks the same thing is causing Jake Peavy's struggles.

Why is Alfredo Aceves owned in 37% of Yahoo fantasy leagues but only 5% on CBS and 2% at ESPN?

What is it with old columnists starting an article with a one sentence sentence? In this case, it's a really, really bad one to begin with.

Who wants to tell Rob Parker that Austin Jackson is going to come crashing back to earth really soon so he probably shouldn't be gloating about the Curtis Granderson trade just yet.

Drunk Jays Fans uncovered video of people doing the wave at Wrigley Field. Is nothing sacred anymore?

Red Sox fans think their team has a better chance of winning the AL East than the Yankees (via Jonah). Alternate title: why text polls during baseball games are still terrible.

Ken Rosenthal wears little boy pants. Literally.

At Big League Stew, Dave Brown uses a dubious assumption to demonstrate the problems with a flawed statistic.

This seems like a pretty sweet option, but for $3000 you could buy you own pool table and have it for the rest of your life.

I'm not sure if he knows it, but Morgan Ensberg just FJM'd Tracy Ringolsby.

Andy from the Baseball-Reference blog reviewed the MLB At Bat iPhone app and comes out a little lukewarm on it. I don't have it, I just use the one from FanGraphs.

Tom Tango wonders how good scouts really are. Not baseball ones, the people who review and rate products for Consumer Reports.

Dan McQuade at Walkoff Walk lampoons the pointless "Keys to the Game" segment that seemingly every network does. I'm with you, Dan.

Spencer Hall did the Kentucky Derby and came back with some great pictures.

This probably came one leg of the Triple Crown too early considering the Preakness takes place in Baltimore, but Deadspin captured a fantastic phenomenon on Twitter: #WireDerbyHorseNames. My favorites from the ones that Deadspin mined out: Proposition Joe, Where's Wallace? Money Be Green, Much Obliged, 40 Degree Day, PAN-demic and Tweedy Impertinence.

I could probably spend on day on this, so here are a few of my suggestions:
Preach On Walon, Stringer's Bells, Brianna's Burden, Miss Anna, Yvette's Brisket, Wassup Latrice?, And I'm Not Even Greek, Cutty's Jim, The Western District Way, Come At The King, Butchie's Bar, Leakin' Park, No Lake No Trout, Girls In The Can, Mr. Lyon, Entrapping Bodie, McNulty's Lumina, The Boy Marlow, Trifilin' Bird, Ain't Gotta Dream No More, Goodnight Hoppers...
If I ever own a horse, I'm coming back to this post to name it.
Back in a while with the preview.

Wrapping Up The Weekend

Good morning, Fackers. As we said goodbye to April this weekend, it was almost as if we were saying hello to July up here in the northeast. It was hot and muggy and everywhere you looked there were people tripping over themselves to do summertime things like mow the lawn, go for a run, wash the car in the driveway, play golf or spend some time in the park.

It was an action-packed weekend in the world of sports as well. A sloppy Kentucky Derby, won for the 3rd time in 4 years by a horse ridden by Calvin Borel, gave people reason to throw parties and pretend to enjoy mint juleps Saturday afternoon. Later that evening, Shane Moseley hit Floyd Mayweather harder than he's even been hit in the second round but couldn't put him away and lost a lopsided decision to the still-undefeated champ. The NBA Playoffs moved into the second round on Sunday, as the Lakers took the first game of their series with the Jazz to kick off the round of 8.

The Yankees had an eventful weekend as well. Derek Jeter put on a show Friday night as Andy Pettitte got down early but did an admirable job of hanging in there long enough for the Yanks to put some runs on the board and win 6-4.

On Saturday, Javier Vazquez gave up three home runs in yet another poor start and had to be pulled from the game in the middle of the fourth inning. He was saved from taking the loss because the Yanks came back and took the lead on a homer by Nick Swisher, but David Robertson and Damaso Marte combined to give the game back to the White Sox in the 7th inning.

The most lasting impact from that contest however, was not on Vazquez's confidence or the Yankees' record. Curtis Granderson had to leave the game with a strained groin and could be out for as long as a month.

That wasn't the end of the bumps and bruises for the Bombers. Yesterday, Alex Rodriguez was held out of the lineup because he felt some aching in his knee. Joe Girardi said that Alex could have probably DH'd, but they held him back for precautionary reasons. Hopefully it's nothing serious, but any time the word "injury" gets too close to "A-Rod", there is cause for concern.

It turns out that the Yanks didn't need A-Rod or Granderson yesterday as they plated 12 runs in an unmitigated rout of the Pale Hose. If he's really gone for a month, though, the loss of Granderson will catch up to the Yankees eventually. However, if there was a regular who is somewhat replaceable, it's probably him. Curtis was hitting .108/.250/.108 over his last 12 games and .225/.311/.375 (.314 wOBA) on the year. Brett Gardner is probably a bit better defensively than Granderson and has a .411 wOBA at this point, so giving up regular time in center should probably be a good thing. Surely more exposure (particularly against right handed pitching) will bring Marcus Thames (.542 wOBA) back down to earth, but perhaps Randy Winn will finally find his stroke in the opportunities he is given.

Robinson Cano went 2-4 yesterday with a walk, a double and a three run homer, giving him a line of .387/.433/.763 with 9 taters and 21 driven in, leading everyone on the team with more than 25 at bats in all of those categories. The Robinson Cano Show has been extremely enjoyable to watch but the Yankees might be even more encouraged by another performance they got our of one of the products of their farm system yesterday.

While Javy Vazquez has continued to flounder, Phil Hughes has managed to flourish so far this year. He's allowed just four runs in four starts and been downright unhittable, giving up only 10 of them in 25 innings pitched. The flip side is that he's walked 12 batters, but if you are going to allow guys to get on base, you might as well do it via a free pass. Hughes is now 3-0 and would be a perfect 4-0 if the bullpen didn't let him down in Baltimore.

It was an up and down weekend for the Yanks, but hopefully yours was better. I managed to sneak in two rounds of golf, hit up a Derby Day party at FY Crew member Joe's and watch the most of the Mayweather vs. Moseley fight for free on the internet because Time Warner fucked up our PPV (thanks for saving us $55, shitheads!), so I have no complaints. Before we put the weekend behind us, feel free to share your thoughts on it in the comments, personal, Yankee-related or otherwise.