Looking At Hughes’ 12-6 and 11-5 Curveballs

With the elimination of the cutter from Phil Hughes’ repertoire, he’s become a three pitch starter who, at times, looks completely reliant on the fastball. If you’re unfamiliar, the 26 year old throws a four-seam fastball, a curveball, and a changeup to lefties. Since removing the cutter from his repertoire, Hughes has pitched to a 3.48 ERA over the last 64.2 innings, but he’s also dealt with a couple games where he’s been lit up. A lack of an out pitch has always been a problem for him, but he’s made some big steps in the last two months in his comfort with the curveball and changeup. Two decent pitches to backup a strong fastball can be enough for a starter, but a problem occurs when you’re missing the command or movement of one of those pitches, and I think that’s where his rough outings are coming from.

In his latest start, Paul O’Neil made an interesting point about the righthander’s curveball, there seemed to be some exaggerated movement similar to an 11-5 curveball thrown in the sixth inning against the Indians.… Click here to read the rest

Meet Adam Warren

Drafted out of North Carolina in the fourth round of the 2009 draft by the Yankees, Warren made his debut with the Staten Island Yankees and finished the season ranked as the 12th best prospect in the New York-Penn league by Baseball America. Warren started 2010 with High-A Tampa, and ended the season pitching for Double-A Trenton, working his way all the way up to Triple-A in less than two full seasons of professional ball. It’s not hard to see why, either, as Warren dominated the lower rungs of the minors, ending his stint in Trenton with a 3.15 ERA, 2.56 FIP, and a strikeout to walk ratio of 59/27 in 54.1 innings over 10 starts.

However, things slowed down quite a bit for Warren once he reached the Triple-A level, particularly his strikeouts. After posting a strikeout rate of 25.4% in Double-A, that mark dropped all the way to 17.1% in a full season of pitching at Triple-A last season, and has fallen slightly again so far this season to 15.7% (6.17 K/9).Click here to read the rest

Waxing poetic on Adam Warren’s first start

I can imagine nothing more nerve-racking in the game of baseball than a player or pitcher’s first plate appearance or first start. Like many, I try to imagine what he’s going through and what he’s thinking, yet I still can’t fathom it. The swirl of opposing emotions must be the most conflicting thing that this guy’s ever been through in his life. Tonight, Adam Warren will take his turn at a Major League debut and more than many things, a Major League debut reminds us of the nature and beauty of baseball.

As I’ve said countless times, baseball is a game of anticipation. It’s not necessarily about the moment and what’s happening in it. Rather, it’s about what’s going to happen; it’s about what’s next; it’s about how anything could happen in the next moment. And that’s what a guy’s debut is all about. We could see the beginning of something incredibly special, or we could never see him again. For his sake, I obviously hope tomorrow is the start of something special for Adam Warren.… Click here to read the rest

AL East competition helping Yankees

The Baltimore Orioles are starting to fall under the weight of reality as some of their weaknesses are being exposed. They are currently at 12-12 for the month of June and have been outscored by 24 runs this month. The Rays still have some of the fear factor, but losing Evan Longoria leaves too many holes in the lineup. They are now 11-14 in the month of June and have also been outscored this month.

The Red Sox are perhaps another story. Their bullpen has been far better than expected and continue to get surprising work from Franklin Morales as a starting pitcher. They now have a decent rotation and have given up more than twenty runs less in June than they have in the previous two months (granted, with a few more games to play this month). But they are 14-11 this month despite outscoring their opponents by 34 runs in June.

But the Red Sox are not without their own flaws.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks lose to White Sox in odd 9th inning

Everything tonight went just about according to plan. The Yankees got a strong performance from Ivan Nova and quickly gained the lead after falling behind. They got a strong performance out of the bullpen in the eighth, then it all fell apart.

Let’s start with the fifth inning. Ivan Nova gave up a homer to Alejandro De Aza, the first run of the game for either team. Paul O’Neill made this observation a few times and I definitely agreed: It was odd that De Aza’s homer was the first run, considering that both Nova and Chicago starter Dylan Axelrod were giving up their fair share of hard contact. Regardless of said hard contact, that was the first run of the game, but Chicago’s lead would be short lived as the Yankees struck for two runs in the bottom of the fifth thanks to RBI doubles by Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano. Things stayed quiet until the 8th.

Ivan Nova exited after striking out Kevin Youkilis and Boone Logan entered the game to face (my favorite non-Yankee) Adam Dunn.… Click here to read the rest

The Farm Report: 6/28/12

The only Yankee batter to come away hitless was Ramiro Pena.  Branyan went 1-3 with three RBIs and Cervelli went 1-3 with a run scored, a RBI and a triple.  The rest of the lineup each collected two hits, as Cust and Joseph picked up a pair of RBIs.  Dickerson had the lone stolen base.  John Maine threw five scoreless innings, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out six.  Preston Claiborne struggled in his first outing since being called up.  He went one innings nad allowed four runs on four hits, two walks and a K.

Trenton lost to New Britain 5-4:
The game was scoreless through four innings, but the Thunder jumped out to a lead in the fifth.  After two quick outs, Addison Maruszak and Jeffrey Farnham singled to right and Damon Sublett doubled, plating the first run of the game.  A single from Abraham Almonte scored Farnham and Sublett and Trenton took a 3-0 lead.  Farnham and Almonte both doubled in the seventh, adding another run for the Thunder.  … Click here to read the rest

Three-run homer in ninth sinks Yanks, 4-3

Both starting pitchers did an excellent job of keeping their teams in the game. Ivan Nova started for the Yankees and his sole blemish was a homer to Alejandro De Aza in the top of the fifth. De Aza had four hits in the game. Nova pitched seven and a third innings and allowed six hits and three walks. Nova struck out five in the game and was in line for his tenth victory if the Yankees could have hung on for the win.

The White Sox starter, Dylan Axelrod, did a fine job of keeping the Yankees just off balance enough to give his team a chance to win. The Yankees would score their only two runs off of him in the bottom of the fifth. In that frame, Curtis Granderson hit a single with two outs and then Alex Rodriguez hit a long drive to the left-center gap and after a long run, De Aza had the ball hit off the heel of his glove for what was ruled a double.… Click here to read the rest