Is Jeremy Hellickson breaking the mold?

It’s no secret that Andrew Friedman, Gerry Hunsicker, and the rest of the Rays’ front office is developing one of the best young starting rotations in baseball down in Tampa. Led by top-pick David Price, 26, a Cy Young candidate two years back with a 5-1 record and a 2.35 ERA on the season, Tampa’s rotation has been the league’s second best this year. The Rays are 19-9 on the season and their starting rotation 16-6 in those games with a 3.51 ERA. Price has a 2.49 FIP, a career best. James Shields has a 2.94 xFIP, also a career Continue reading Is Jeremy Hellickson breaking the mold?

Why Banuelos Should Be In the Majors If Command Success Continues

The Yankees top prospect, Manny Banuelos, saw mixed results in the early months of this season. The left handed pitcher emerged out of the early spring throwing an improved curveball and a new cutter to compliment his already plus fastball and changeup. For the 21 year old pitcher entering the 2012 season in Triple-A, his success was never questioned by the quality of his pitches, but instead contingent upon his command. In three spring training outings, Banuelos inconsistently pushed across 4 walks in his 5.0 innings, and through his first two starts with Scranton, he went an atrocious 5.1 innings, Continue reading Why Banuelos Should Be In the Majors If Command Success Continues

Learning to live with Raul Ibanez

Calling a series in early May a “big series,” may be a bit of a stretch. But after getting swept by the Tampa Bay Rays to start the season and currently down to those Rays three and a half games in the standings, this series is kind of important. And facing the new James Shields who has somehow become one of the best pitchers in baseball after a disastrous 2010 season, was no picnic either. And Shields was cruising, easily mowing the Yankees down to the tune of three base runners in the three innings. But then Robinson Cano doubled to lead off the fourth. Mark Teixeira grounded weakly into that shift. Michael Kay called it a productive out since Cano went to third. I ground my teeth. Nick Swisher also grounded right into the shift with the infield in. There was nobody in the shortstop hole. Nobody. Cano was thrown out at the plate. I started throwing stuff. But then Raul Ibanez strode to the plate.

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And in really big news…

According to Marchand, Yankee fans can now bring their iPads into Yankee Stadium. While this isn’t big news for a guy like me living in Maine with a laptop still featuring an old version of Windows, it is probably a big deal for those of you who visit the Stadium regularly and like to have your gadgets handy. Just remember, you paid a lot of dough for those tickets. Watch the game. Continue reading And in really big news…

Nova’s homers

Yesterday in my article about Ivan Nova and his problem with hard contact, I intimated that Nova’s high HR/FB% was a bit unlucky. He didn’t do me any favors by giving up two more homers, one to Jose Molina and one to Luke Scott, during his start last night. The one to Scott, though, was definitely a Yankee Stadium Special, so I went to Nova’s page on Hit Tracker to see if Nova was actually getting unlucky with the long ball, or if I was just being a bit of a Pollyanna. He has now given up eight home runs Continue reading Nova’s homers

Of course the new closer was nervous!

Of course David Robertson was nervous with his first save opportunity in the post-Mo part of this season. Who wouldn’t be? Robertson putting on these Yankee closer shoes is like a little kid trying on Dad’s slippers. Not only was it a big game against the team to beat in the AL East (still not counting the Orioles), but it was his first attempt as the save guy. Paraphrasing Simon and Garfunkel: “Here’s to you, David Robertson, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.” That’s just a bit of pressure. And he came close to blowing it. In fact, in his last strikeout of Carlos Pena, not one of the called strikes were actually strikes. They were close, but he got the calls and the rest is history. How nervous was Robertson? His words speak for themselves. From Jeff Bradley’s report:

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Yankees play with fire, emerge unscathed in victory

They had to make it interesting, but in the end the home team came through with a big win over a division opponent with their ace on the mound. The pitching staff, in particular, flirted with disaster throughout the night, but got the big outs when they had to have them to pull out the 5-3 victory over Tampa Bay.

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Ibanez’s two homers power Yanks over Rays

The Yankees beat the Rays 5-3 tonight, behind the power of three home runs, two by DH Raul Ibanez and one by Curtis Granderson, and a (mostly) strong start by Ivan Nova. Tonight’s game also featured a save by David Robertson, the first Yankee save since Mariano Rivera‘s knee injury. Let’s start with that story, shall we? Robertson started the 9th inning easily enough, getting a grounder off of Jeff Keppinger‘s bat. Will Rhymes followed with a walk and Sean Rodriguez subsequently singled. The Rays sent up Brandon Allen to pinch hit aN. Robertson punched him out before issuing a Continue reading Ibanez’s two homers power Yanks over Rays

The Farm Report: 5/8/12

It was a very busy day on the farm for the Yankees affiliates. Empire State played a doubleheader (each game goes seven innings) and Charleston played yet another extra innings game. Is it me, or have there been an awful lot of extra inning games this season. Brett Gardner made his rehab start and looked good.

Empire State lost to Columbus 1-0 in Game 1:
Neither team threatened much in the early innings, never having more than one baserunner. The Clippers broke through in the fifth, as Beau Mills singled to right and scored on a double from Andy LaRoche for the only run of the game. The Yankees got runners on base in the bottom of the fifth and in the sixth, but were unable to score as they took the loss in the seven inning game. Brett Gardner, making a rehab appearance with Empire State, went 2-3. Manny Banuelos took the loss but gave up just one run on four hits over five innings. He did not issue a walk and struck out three. He threw just 75 pitches, 49 of which were strikes.

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