Pettitte strong in return as Yankees beat Blue Jays 4-2

David Robertson found himself in trouble in the eighth, as Lawrie hit a leadoff double to left. A single by Adam Lind put runners on the corners. Mike McCoy replaced Lind on the bases and Kelly Johnson pinch hit for Mathis. Johnson slapped an opposite field single, plating Lawrie for the Blue Jays first run of the day. Robertson struck out Sierra for the first out, but a double lined by Omar Vizquel down the right field line scored McCoy, cutting the Yankee lead to one. After striking out Hechavarria, the Yankees called on Rafael Soriano for the four out save. Soriano walked Gose, loading the bases, but struck out Davis to end the inning.

New York got a little insurance in the bottom of the inning. Ichiro drove a two-out ground-rule double down the left field line, scoring on a single by Swisher. Meanwhile, Soriano was all business in the ninth, striking out Rasmus, getting Lawrie to ground out and striking out J.P.… Click here to read the rest

Looking back at the 2012 Tampa Yankees

Curtain Calls:
Slade Heathcott (OF): Coming back from his second shoulder surgery, Heathcott added a nice bat to the Yankee lineup when he returned to action in June. He ended the season .307/.380/.461 with seventeen stolen bases, five homers and sixteen doubles in 60 games.

Ramon Flores (OF): Flores was central to the Yankee offense this season, hitting .302/.370/.420 over 131 games in Tampa. He smacked six homers, seven triples and 29 doubles, while swiping 24 stolen bases.

Mark Montgomery (RHP): Montgomery continued his fast track to the majors in 2012, starting the year off dominating in the FSL. He made 31 relief appearances, going 4-1 with a 1.34 ERA and holding opposing batters to a .165 average. Montgomery struck out 61 batters, allowing just sixteen walks over 40.1 innings of work. He was just as strong in fifteen games with Trenton and will get some extra work in the Arizona Fall League, so seeing him in the Bronx at some point next season could be realistic.… Click here to read the rest

Game 147: Take Two, Welcome Back Andy

Yup, we’ll get to see Andy Pettitte take the mound in the first game of a doubleheader today. The Yankees have sorely missed their left handed veteran since June 27th, and Freddy Garcia was hardly a replacement. He’ll be on some sort of pitch count today, so hopefully we get at least 5.0 solid innings pitched. The Blue Jays will send out Henderson Alvarez, who’s having a pretty awful 2012 season. In case you forgot, he’s an extreme contact pitcher with a tendency to generate groundballs.

The game starts at 1:05 PM EST on YES. Go Yankees!… Click here to read the rest

Those dang Orioles

Yesterday’s game for the Orioles was a microcosm of their entire season. It took them eighteen innings, but they were not going to lose that game against the Mariners. And as is their wont, they won because Buck Showalter out-managed the other guy. Erasmo Ramirez pitched the game of his life for the Mariners. Eight innings, six strikeouts, no walks, two hits. Brilliant.  But he had never pitched a complete game in the majors. Heck, this is still his first season in the big leagues. Seattle sent Ramirez out there to pitch the ninth instead of bringing in their closer. The results were as predictable as Old Faithful. Single, single, pitching change, bunt, single…tie game.  The Orioles are now 14-2 in extra inning games.

The sour-grapes, knee-jerk reaction would be to say that those dang Orioles are the luckiest team in baseball. But can you stretch out luck over 150 games? Come on now. Baseball success is always a bit serendipitous.… Click here to read the rest

The Jones/Ibanez Situation

No less than a week ago, I wrote about Andruw Jones’ declining bat speed. It appears that all that extra play in the outfield had an adverse effect on his bat. His counterpart, Raul Ibanez has been equally terrible. The Yankees essentially forced their aging designated hitters onto the field to cover for Brett Gardner, and hoped these players wouldn’t tire out. The plan didn’t work.

"How do we keep getting at bats?"

Since the All Star break, Jones is hitting just .139/.252/.228 in 119 plate appearances, with just 2 homeruns. Then there is Raul Ibanez, who’s hit .194/.291/.347 in his second half. Over the last month, with 260 plate appearances, they’ve combined for just 10 hits, a 22% K rate, had just 2 extra base hits, and haven’t hit a single homerun.

Before we overreact and demand a releases, I think we have to appreciate what both players did before the allstar break. They combined for 22 homeruns, and did a great job of covering the offensive production that the team lost with Brett Gardner’s injury.… Click here to read the rest

Must read: Chip Buck on Yunel Escobar

As you all know by now, Yunel Escobar of the Toronto Blue Jays is a homophobic idot; he’s been suspended for three games for writing “Tu ere maricon” (“You are a faggot) on his eyeblack. Friend of the blog Chip Buck of Firebrand of the AL wrote a deeply personal response to Escobar’s actions. Chip’s a good writer and an even better guy, so this piece is most definitely worth your time. … Click here to read the rest