Game Four: Ivan the Terrible/Great?

Patrick Semansky / AP

Three games, three losses. With CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Phil Hughes winless, the baton is passed to Ivan Nova. Nova had the worst spring training of any starter in the Yankee system, and now the Yankees are relying on him to stop this 3 game lossing streak. Against the surging Orioles, he might have a difficult night. In Nova’s career 25.1 innings against Baltimore, he has posted a 3.55 ERA, and at Camden a 4.38 ERA.

Facing the lefty handed pitcher Brian Matusz, the Yankee will roll out the new lefty lineup with Alex Rodriguez DHing and Eduardo Nunez at 3B. After finishing 5th for Rookie of the Year award in 2010, Matusz struggled heavily last year. In his career versus the Yankees he has a 4.70 ERA, and nearly a 1.500 WHIP. The Yankees should have no problem hitting the lefty, so a strong start from Nova should give the Yankees a very good chance to win.… Click here to read the rest

“No Defense” for Girardi’s Plan to Rest Yankees’ Veterans

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

If the first weekend is any indication, Joe Girardi is going to be extremely pro-active when it comes to doling out rest to his aging veterans. Over the years, the Yankees’ manager has become fond of using the DH slot to give his players a “half day off”, but usually that practice has been reserved for later in the season. This year, however, Girardi has already put his plan into action.

Raul Ibanez looks a fly ball into his glove during yesterday's game. In the first inning, his misplay allowed the Rays to score an early run. (Photo: Getty Images)

In only the second game of the season, Derek Jeter was allowed to cool his heels in the DH slot before handing the baton to Nick Swisher in the series’ finale. Considering the Captain’s age and Swisher’s sore groin, that seems like a sensible precaution, but, there’s just one problem.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees Vs. Orioles: A Preview In Three Parts

Part 1: Tranquility.

“Calm down. Haven’t you ever heard of sample size? Sheeeesh.” That’s the phrase that came instantly to mind after Phil Hughes struggled to get through 4 and 2/3 innings. There are 159 games left in the season. The last time the Yankees started 0-3, they went on to win 114 games with a team that has been widely acclaimed as one of the greatest of all time (1998). If not for a blown save (MARIANO IS OLD OH GOD…amiright, Ian O’Connor?) this team would (only) be 1-2, and this wouldn’t be an issue. CC Sabbathia always starts slow, so there’s nothing to worry about. The offense has been great (well, except yesterday).

All of that is true. And let’s add this: the Yankees have managed a 13-5 record against the O’s in every season since 2009. Plus, tonight’s starter, Brian Matusz, was absolutely thrashed in his two starts against the Yankees last season, allowing 11 runs in 6 and 2/3 innings–but that was pretty much par for the course last year, as Matusz finished the season at 1-9 with a 10.69 ERA.… Click here to read the rest

Sometime Soon, It May Be Time To Get Excited About Bryan Mitchell

On a Charleston Riverdogs team with Dante Bichette, Cito Culver, Mason Williams, Jose Campos, Angelo Gumbs, Tyler Austin, and Gary Sanchez, its easy for a solid prospect to get lost below the headlines. But the title of best opening weekend goes to none of them. Instead, Bryan Mitchell gave Yankee fans something to get very excited about.

Mitchell pitched 6 innings in his debut start. He allowed no runs on just one hit and one walk, with six strikeouts. He is 21 years old, and has been kicking around the low levels of the Yankee farm system since being drafted in 2009. It feels like he has been around for a very long time, because he has. Mitchell has constantly pitched well enough to stay interesting, but not well enough to break out and become a top prospect.

He certainly has the tools. Mitchell throws a 92-95 mph live fastball and has a killer spike curve. He may or may not have made progress on his changeup – I haven’t seen any news about it either way.… Click here to read the rest