Game twelve – Game three with the Twins

Kuroda has never faced the Twins and will have some benefit from that team not knowing his stuff. Of the Twins, only Josh Willingham has any experience against him. Marquis is in the same boat as the Yankees haven’t faced him in over five years. Raul Ibanez has a good history against Marquis in 22 at bats including a .364 average and two homers (SSS). All members of the Yankee bullpen should be available with the exception of Cory Wade who has pitched two days in a row.

Mark Teixeira tweeted that he is feeling fine and should be back in the Yankees’ lineup tonight. Alex Rodriguez is feeling fine too, but has the day off. Swisher is at DH and Ibanez is playing right field. Ugh.

Tonight’s lineups:

Twins:

Denard Span CF

Jamey Carroll SS

Joe Mauer C

Josh Willingham LF

Justin Morneau DH

Chris Parmelee 1B

Sean Burroughs 3B

Clete Thomas RF

Alexi Casilla 2B

 Yankees: 

Derek Jeter SS

Curtis Granderson CF

Mark Teixeira 1B

Robinson Cano 2B

Nick Swisher DH

Raul Ibanez RF

Eric Chavez 3B

Russell Martin C

Brett Gardner LF

Quite a different lineup for both teams tonight.… Click here to read the rest

Melancon Has Nightmarish Outing, but Yanks’ Kammeyer Still Owns Inning of Greatest Infamy

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog; follow me on Twitter at@williamnyy23).

Mark Melancon is headed back to the minors. (Photo: Getty Images)

Before the Red Sox acquired A’s reliever Andrew Bailey, and after his subsequent injury, Mark Melancon was considered to be a potential closer. Now, he may finally get that opportunity, but not in Boston. Less than 24 hours after surrendering six runs to the Texas Rangers, Melancon was optioned to the minors.

Melancon’s fall from grace culminated in yesterday’s nightmarish outing during which the right hander surrendered six runs, including three homeruns, without recording an out. Melancon’s implosion wasn’t entirely without precedent, as 131 pitchers (including 45 relievers) previously allowed at least as many runs without recording an out. However, the Red Sox’ right hander added his own unique touch by becoming the first pitcher to allow three long balls in the process. Unfortunately for Melancon, the debacle was only the latest in what has turned out to be an inauspicious Red Sox debut.… Click here to read the rest

Winning the Battle, Losing the War

Ivan Nova; his strong start nevertheless emblematic of the Yankees' biggest struggle this April.

In watching, religiously, the past couple of weeks of baseball one flaw in play has stood out: The Yankees are winning the battle at the plate this season. Definitively. And it’s not always paying off.

Through 11 games, the 6-5 Yankees are third in the AL East. Joe Girardi’s squad, expectations sky-hight heading into the season, has been scrutinized for playing near-.500 ball. The Yankees are 6-2 since leaving Tampa behind and there is certainly no intention on my part to fabricate a level of panic that isn’t there. But Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia have lost the confidence of the New York sports media and CC Sabathia was well on his way before a fantastic performance to finish off Tuesday’s game against the Twins. The Yankees lineup has been describe at times as anemic and even the great Mariano Rivera has fallen short of perfection.

But if we’re strictly speaking of the battle between pitcher and hitter, at the plate and on the mound, strikes and balls and strikeouts and walks and line drives and groundballs and everything up to the point when the ball falls for a hit, an out, or a home run… the Yankees have been, probably, the best team in baseball.… Click here to read the rest

State of the Yankees

The offense

The Yankees’ offense is certainly not clicking on all cylinders yet. And that is excellent news. Why is that excellent news? Because even with several key pieces missing thus far, the team still leads the American League in on-base percentage and is third in runs scored. Robinson Cano has yet to hit with regularity. Mark Teixeira has been mostly invisible. Alex Rodriguez has not hit well. Russell Martin is batting a buck-sixty. And yet, this offense is third in the AL in runs scored. Just how good will it be when some of these stragglers get going?

As of now, the Yankees have been led offensively by Derek Jeter, who has been a whole lot of fun to watch so far this season, and by Brett Gardner, who is batting .321 and getting on base 42 percent of the time. Curtis Granderson is batting only .227 but has three homers and is hitting line drives at a prodigious pace (40.6 percent!).… Click here to read the rest

PITCHF/x Scouting Report: Jason Marquis

Getty Images

The Twins will send out Jason Marquis for his first start of 2012 tonight against the Yankees. Marquis grew up a Yankee fan in Staten Island, and has always indicated his desire to pitch in New York. In 2011, Marquis pitched 120.2 innings for the Nationals, before being traded to the Diamondbacks. In his time in Washington, he pitched to a 3.95 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 5.30 K/9, and 2.91 BB/9. He only pitched 11.1 innings with the Diamondbacks, or 3 starts, before a bizarre broken leg injury pitching against the Mets.

Pitch Repertoire
The right hander’s arsenal of pitches include fastball, slider, and changeup. His primary fastball is the sinker, which he throws 47.5% of the time, but he also throws a four-seam fastball 6.4% of the time. Both fastballs come in around 89 mph. His 85 mph slider is his second most used pitch, and he throws it around 31.9% of the time. He also has the changeup to mimic the sinker, which he throws 14.1% of the time and at around 82 mph.… Click here to read the rest

Sabathia’s Non-Sinking Sinker Fixed

We were all waiting for CC Sabathia to put together a great performance at some point. He may have given up three runs last night, but his pitching was a lot better than his ERA would indicate. In fact, the southpaw only allowed 4 hits and a walk in 7.1 innings, along with 7 strike outs. Looking at how tough the first two outings were for Sabathia, its worth looking into how this performance was any different from before.

In his win against the Twins, Sabathia threw 112 pitches, 48% four-seamers, 27% sliders, 15% two-seamers, 8% changeups, and 2% curveballs. Compare this to his last start against Baltimore, with 23% four-seamers, 31%  two-seamers, 22% changeups, and 23% sliders. These numbers are far different, and the later numbers from last night’s start are much closer to his 2011 numbers, 43% four-seamer, 27% slider, 17% two-seamer, and 14% changeups. So for some reason, Sabathia was throwing less four-seamers and more two-seamers/changeups against the Orioles.… Click here to read the rest

Twins need to move Liriano

From an outside observer, it seems evident that the Twins’ coaches and manager do not trust the guy. After his brilliant season in 2010, it seemed odd that some disparaging remarks were made about his strikeout rate. And it seemed doubly odd that he was not named as the Opening Day starter in 2011. In these eyes, that showed a lack of respect for what he had accomplished in 2010 and a lack of confidence that Liriano could be that good a pitcher again.

And obviously, he wasn’t. So maybe the coaches and the manager were right. Since the start of the 2011 season, Liriano has seen his strikeout rate dwindle and his walk rate elevate. In the years he was successful (2006, 2010), his walks per nine were 2.38 and 2.72 respectively. Since the start of the 2011 season and carrying it over into 2012, Liriano is struggling with a walk per nine rate over five. A quick look at the Pitch/FX data also shows that his velocity is down from 94.2 MPH in 2010 to 91.8 in 2011 and so far, 90.8 MPH this season.… Click here to read the rest