Yankees Touring Baseball Second-Best Division? Kind of.

On Monday, buried in another post, I provided a stat that I think sums up the inequities of interleague play. The Brewers AL opponents for 2011, through Sunday, have a combined run differential of +140. The Cardinals, who are tied with the Brewers for first place in the Central, will play teams with a combined run differential of -53. When you look at the schedule from the side of the AL Central, the imbalance is similarly striking. Here are the combined records and run differentials for the upcoming opponents:

Orioles Opponents: 223-211 (.514), +87 Run Diff.
Blue Jays Opponents: 225-211 (.516), +66 Run Diff.
Yankees Opponents: 212-225 (.485), -30 Run Diff.
Rays Opponents: 209-227 (.479), -82 Run Diff.
Red Sox Opponents: 206-228 (.475), -108 Run Diff.

Okay, excise your anti-BoSox “the-game-is-rigged” outrage…

Feel better?

How does this happen? Well, the obvious explanation is that baseball has chosen to emphasize “geographical rivalries,” so the Yankees play six games against the Mets, the Rays play six against the Marlins, and the Orioles play six against the Nationals, while Boston and Toronto have no “geographical rivalries” and must find somebody else to play during those weekends.… Click here to read the rest

Nova spins finest game of career in 5-3 Yankee win over Reds

Ivan Nova, auditioning for Dan Awesome's www.ragemaker.net (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

It would seem Pitcher-They’ve-Never-Faced Syndrome isn’t a Yankee-specific malady after all.

Ivan Nova threw the finest game of his short career Monday night in Cincinnati, going a career-high eight innings, yielding one run on a season-high (and career-high tying) seven strikeouts en route to a 5-3 Yankee victory. It was also the first start of his career in which he didn’t walk a single batter.

The only slight mar on this game was that the bullpen couldn’t get out of its own way in the ninth. With a four-run lead, Luis Ayala gave up a leadoff single to Brandon Phillips. Boone Logan was summoned, and did his Boone Logan thing by not retiring lefty Joey Votto and instead hitting him, putting men on first and second with no out. With the Reds suddenly threatening, Mariano Rivera was called in to put out the fire, which he did with two groundouts and a strikeout, though both inherited runners came around to score.… Click here to read the rest

Game 71: Yankees 5, Reds 3

Nova and Wood both took over after the first inning, giving both offenses few chances to add runs.  The Reds pulled Wood for Jose Arredondo in the eighth.  He walked Curtis Granderson to start the inning and the Yankees’ centerfielder stole second and moved to third when the Reds’ shortstop, Paul Janish, was unable to catch a nice throw by Ryan Hanigan.  Granderson scored on a wild pitch and the Yankees took a 5-1 lead.

In the bottom of the ninth, Luis Ayala came in for Nova, giving up a single to Phillips.  Boone Logan came in and hit Votto with a pitch, promptly getting the hook as the Yankees called on Mariano Rivera for the save.  Bruce grounded out, moving the runners and a single by Scott Rolen pushed a run across the plate.  Nunez made a great diving stop to keep the ball from getting to the outfield.  Chris Heisey hit a grounder up the middle, which resulted in an out at second and another run scored. … Click here to read the rest

Nova responding well to pressure

In his last three starts prior to Monday’s game against the Reds, Nova had tallied a total of 18.2 inning pitched and allowed a total of 8 earned runs, with one of those games being a 5.2 inning, 4 earned runs allowed effort against the Texas Rangers. That’s not Cy Young caliber work by any means, but for a guy who’s presently being counted on to be a 5th starter, that’s the sort of pace anyone would be happy to have. Monday night in Cincinnati, however, Nova truly dominated in the best performance he’s put up in pinstripes, pitching 8 innings, and allowing just 1 run and 4 hits while walking not a single batter and striking out 7, an impressive feet in its own right for Nova.

In addition, Nova also recorded 14 groundouts in the game, without a single flyout in 8 innings. With a GIDP thrown in, Nova got 22 of the 24 outs he was responsible for via strikeout or groundout.… Click here to read the rest

TYA Game Thread, Monday June 20th, 2011

Larry’s series preview covers everything you’ll need to know about the Reds as the Yankees head into tonight’s game. The only new piece of information is that the Reds will start Travis Wood, instead of Johnny Cueto, who has a stiff neck. Here’s the lineup:

Nick Swisher – RF
Curtis Granderson – CF
Mark Teixeira – 1B
Alex Rodriguez – 3B
Robinson Cano – 2B
Russell Martin – C
Andruw Jones – LF
Eduardo Nunez – SS
Ivan Nova – P

Enjoy.… Click here to read the rest

Series Preview | Yankees vs. Reds: The curse of Austin Kearns

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

The Yankees last faced the Reds in a 2008 set at Yankee Stadium, and the last time they were at Cincinnati was in 2003. Quite a bit has changed for the Reds, who spent every season over the last 10 years as a below-.500 team (though for the most part, one that could often rake) until winning the NL Central last year for the first time since 1995, largely on the strength of the best offense in the National League (.339 wOBA). For their troubles they were swept out of the NLDS by the Phillies.

The Reds are once again boasting a mighty offensive attack this year — a .325 team wOBA (4th in the NL) and 14.1 fWAR (tops in the NL) — though once again their pitching staff leaves a bit to be desired, with a staff ERA of 4.15 (4th-worst in the NL) and FIP of 4.22 (worst). They are currently 2nd in the NL Central and right in the thick of both the division and Wild Card hunt, and figure to be so for the remainder of the season.… Click here to read the rest

The Farm Report 06/20

Kicking off a four game set against the streaking Columbus Clippers, the Yankees had to face off against an old friend.  Zach McAllister held the Yankees scoreless through four innings, but was knocked out early after a lengthy rain-delay.  Columbus seemed to find their bats during the down time, as they came back swinging hard.  David Phelps was handed the loss, though he gave up just one run before the rain.  Unfortunately, Lance Pendleton and Ryan Pope got shelled for seven runs over just 2.1 innings, putting the Yankees in a hole they couldn’t get out of as they took an 8-1 loss.

The Clippers beat up on Scranton Friday, as they jumped out to a 6-0 lead.  Another former Yankee helped Columbus, as Shelley Duncan plated the first run for the International League leading Clippers.  The Yankees put up a fight, with Russo and Golson doing their part to lead the Scranton comeback, but they came up short, taking a 6-5 loss.… Click here to read the rest

Gardner sits again against lefties

I do understand Girardi’s comments that he’s trying to get Andruw Jones at-bats. But until Gardner starts playing regularly against lefties, it makes me raise an eyebrow. Jones has been much better against lefties than righties, and has a 120 wRC+ against them compared to Gardner’s 111 wRC+ against southpaws. It’s better, but it’s not so much better than Gardner, especially considering defense and baserunning, that Jones has made the choice obvious. The Yankees didn’t platoon Granderson against lefties last year, when he legitimately struggled terribly against lefties for most of the season. Derek Jeter’s numbers against righties are pretty hideous, but I don’t think the Yankees would imagine platooning him.

In the end, we have to hope that what Girardi says is true – that he does trust Gardner against lefty pitchers, and he’s just trying to get Jones going. I thought the Jones signing was a good one – he gave the Yankees insurance in case both Granderson and Gardner struggled badly against lefties and unlike Marcus Thames in 2010 he could actually play the field – but I hope it isn’t costing one of the more valuable players on the team playing time because of an unnecessary platoon situation.… Click here to read the rest