Do the Yankees really need youth for the sake of it?

To put some specifics on the matter, the Yankees added two new veteran pitchers between 2011 and 2012. One, Hiroki Kuroda, was given an eight figure salary for one year, and has arguably been the team’s most valuable pitcher over the course of the season. The other, Andy Pettitte, signed a relatively meager non-guaranteed minor league contract, and was quite possibly the team’s best pitcher before a line drive put him on the disabled list. There’s just no way I can get behind any argument that either of those two signings was a mistake in any way, considering how valuable Kuroda and Pettitte have been to the Yankees this season.

The idea that the Yankees have ostracized young pitchers in 2012 doesn’t really withstand scrutiny very well either. After all, had everything gone according to plan the team’s Opening Day rotation would have included two second year starters in Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova (the latter having also started two ALDS games for the Yankees in 2011), as well as Phil Hughes.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees Bench Coming Up Empty in the Pinch

(The following was originally published at The Captain’s Blog; follow me on Twitter at@williamnyy23).

There’s probably nothing more satisfying to a manager than saving his best bat off the bench for just the right moment, and then having him come through according to plan. On Friday night, Athletics’ manager Bob Melvin got to experience that thrill when Brandon Moss’ game-tying home run off Rafael Soriano became only the sixth long ball by a pinch hitter to erase a deficit in the ninth inning or later.

Clutch Pinch Hit Home Runs in 2012
Note: Defined as pinch hit home runs that erased a deficit in the ninth inning or later.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

Unfortunately for the Athletics, Moss’ home run did not lead to a victory, but it continued an impressive run of success by the team’s pinch hitters. In 96 plate appearances off the bench, Oakland batters have produced at combined rates of .288/.385/.488. The resultant OPS of .873 is not only the highest rate produced by any team’s pinch hitters, but it also dwarfs the MLB average of .654 and stands well above the cumulative .725 OPS turned in by all major league batters over the course of the season.… Click here to read the rest

Andy is still dandy after DL trip

For his part, Pettitte was typically hard on himself after last nights performance.  “I know how sharp I was when I got hurt, and obviously I’m a work in progress right now,” he told reporters. “I would love to see my stuff get back to where it was, so, there’s some stuff I still need to work on and get some reps in my bullpens and stuff like that but like I said it was good to be able to stay out of the middle of zone and make some big pitches and get some big outs when I needed it.” That’s a praise worthy trait to have as a professional pitcher, but it doesn’t really comport to either the eye test or what we can measure with Pitch F/X.

Using the data available at Texas Leaguers, it’s pretty hard to see where Pettitte’s stuff is lacking. His velocity is actually a touch better than before he went on the DL, and he’s throwing strikes at about the same rate.… Click here to read the rest

Late Reinforcements

Anthony J. Causi

As a Yankee fan, September is the month where you watch your team rest players after clinching a playoff spot, or exhaust starters to wear down their magic number. Not often do we receive beneficial reinforcements with just a little over a week left in the regular season. The Yankees have been no stranger to injuries this year, and it would appear that many of their own starters are playing through discomfort, so any sort of playable relief is appreciated. It looks like the team will be reunited with Brett Gardner, and introduced to David Aardsma by the time this series is over.

When he underwent elbow surgery in late July, it looked like Gardner wouldn’t return for the remainder of the season. The front office made the move to replace him with Ichiro Suzuki immediately, who’s helped the team out tremendously with his defense, speed, and hitting. Just last week the word was that Gardner might return to act as a defensive replacement and for late-inning pinch-running situations.… Click here to read the rest

No runs in six, Pettitte wins, 6-3

All things considered, Liam Hendriks did not pitch that bad of a game for the Twins until the seventh inning. His manager, Ron Gardenhire, probably exposed Hendriks for one inning too many. After six innings, he had allowed four runs on six hits with four strikeouts and only one walk.  Three of the runs were allowed in the top of the first. In that inning, Hendriks allowed a walk to Derek Jeter to start the game. Ichiro Suzuki hit a ball off the wall in right for a double and Jeter went to third. Jeter then scored on a Robinson Cano ground out. The big blow, however, was when Nick Swisher hit a booming homer to right-center that banged off the facing up the upper deck out there.

Hendriks later served up Curtis Granderson‘s fortieth homer of the season–a solo job–in the fourth that was hit even deeper than Swisher’s bomb. Granderson’s back-to-back forty-homer seasons are the first time that has happened for the Yankees since Jason Giambi did it in 2002 and 2003.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks Beat Twins 6-3, Finally Extend AL East Lead To More Than One Game

How’s this for interesting? Earlier this year, J.P. Arencibia of the Toronto Blue Jays said that the Yankees hit cheap homers. I know, it’s so shocking that an opposing player would complain about Yankee Stadium’s dimensions. That never happens. Anyway, tonight both the Yankees and Arencibia hit important home runs that may have had playoff implications.

The Blue Jays had a doubleheader against the Orioles today and dropped the first game which put Baltimore only a half game behind the Yankees in the standings.

If the Yankees were to lose tonight’s game they would fall out of the first place for the first time in 98 days.

So with Toronto clinging to a one-run lead in the seventh inning, they loaded the bases. Arencibia came up with two outs and belted a 2-1 pitch into the left field seats in Camden Yards. That blast gave Toronto a 9-4 lead. A lead they didn’t relinquish even though it seemed like they were really trying to – the Orioles loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth.… Click here to read the rest

Game 153: Helping the Twins Earn a Top-5 Draft Pick

David Aardsma is likely to be activated quite soon, per Chad Jennings. While he will likely be fairly limited, any pitches he can save from the arms of Robertson, Chamberlain, Soriano, and Logan would be a godsend – and, of course, set him on the path towards contributing from Opening Day next year.

Onto the lineups:

New York Yankees Minnesota Twins
Derek Jeter, SS Denard Span, CF
Ichiro Suzuki, RF Ben Revere, RF
Alex Rodriguez, DH Joe Mauer, 1B
Robinson Cano, 2B Josh Willingham, LF
Nick Swisher, 1B Justin Morneau, DH
Curtis Granderson, CF Ryan Doumit, C
Raul Ibanez, LF Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Russell Martin, C Jamey Carroll, 2B
Eric Chavez, 3B Pedro Florimon, SS
Andy Pettitte, SP Liam Hendriks, SP

The first pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m., on YES. Let’s go Yankees!… Click here to read the rest