Top-30 Prospects Preview: How Far Has Manuel Banuelos Fallen?

Manuel Banuelos was the no-doubt top Yankee prospect entering this season, and held down the #2 spot, behind Jesus Montero, for a year before that. A lot of people, myself included, expect him to spend time on the Yankee roster down the stretch in 2012, and move on to a bright major league career. Instead, Banuelos had pretty much the worst possible 2012 season: after months of trying to rehab an elbow injury, Banuelos was shut down on August 6th after pitching just 24 innings.

Banuelos was 21 years old entering this season, and impressive age for someone starting at Triple-A. After having his 2010 season cut short by an appendectomy and his 2011 season slowed by innings and pitch counts, it was supposed to be his time to stretch out and put some serious workload on his body. Instead, he’ll have to deal with another season of careful handling and strict limits. He’ll be only 22 years old, but the development time lost makes him start to feel older.… Click here to read the rest

Passing thoughts from a week off

The Yankees are good at baseball:

Most of the second half of this season has felt like a long, hard, slog for Yankee fans, watching the team muddle through injuries and inconsistent play to come down to the pack in the A.L. East, but that was not the case this past week. The Yankees took five of the six games they played, including both ends of the double-header on Tuesday and two out of three from the very talented A’s, including obviously that thrilling comeback on Saturday. Yes, they missed a chance to make it a clean sweep for the entire week yesterday, but I’d wager that everyone is still feeling pretty high as the final legs of the season moves on to Minnesota tonight.

So are the Orioles:

On the other side of things, the Yankees didn’t make any hay with respect to the standings over that time, because Baltimore continues to match them step for step. I’ll be honest, I have continued to expect the Orioles to hit a skid at some point this month, and I thought it was going to happen in Seattle, but the Orioles swept that series and took two out of three in Boston to match, so I’m now willing to concede that it’s time to stop waiting for them to choke.… Click here to read the rest

This week in Yankees baseball

The reality is that the Yankees simply need to win to get in. Unlike season’s past, the wild card is not a good option. The Yankees have to win the division. And that means seriously beating up on these weak teams to finish off the season. It starts tonight in Minnesota. The ballpark up there is good for the Yankees’ pitchers but bad for the Yankees’ batters. It’s tough to hit a homer there. And tonight will bring the second start for Andy Pettitte. Pettitte can neutralize Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau to a degree and also the lefty swinging Denard Span and Ryan Doumit. Pettitte will need to be extra careful with Josh Willingham, who has had a terrific offensive season.

The Twins will pitch Liam Hendriks tonight. Hendriks won his first game of his career in his last outing. It took him eighteen career starts to get there. His career ERA is just below six and he only strikes out five and a half batters per nine.… Click here to read the rest

Long Rest For Sabathia Cures His Troubles

Up until Friday night, CC Sabathia was in a rare slump. He hadn’t picked up a win in nearly a month, since August 24th, which is unacceptable at this point in the year. Considering the two DL stints, some members of the media questioned his health, and I think the legitimacy of that claim has only grown.

The most recent time spent on the disabled list was due to elbow inflammation, and in just his second start back from that injury, he gave up 9 hits and 5 runs to the Blue Jays. In the next three games, he produced with pretty much the same results. The numbers weren’t exceedingly miserable, there really was no loss in velocity, but Sabathia just looked too hittable and incapable of whiffs.

His last start before Friday, September 21st, was a week earlier, September 14th. Presumably, in a heated playoff race with the Orioles, you’d think the Yankee ace would be pitching every fifth day, lining him up for September 19th.… Click here to read the rest

Sloppy game brings the Yankees’ win streak to an end

With one out in the top of the sixth, Donaldson hit what should have been a routine ground out to short. Nunez fielded the ball, spun around awkwardly and flung the ball well past Swisher, allowing the runner to advance to second. Pennington connected with a RBI single, and the A’s had the lead once again. The Yankees had a few chances to get the run back, having two runners on in the bottom of the sixth, and with Martin taking a leadoff walk in the eighth. A-Rod just missed a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth, as the ball was just short of the wall in right. Cano struck out to end the game, with the A’s taking the 5-4 win and the Yankees streak ending at seven games. Luckily, the Orioles fell to the Red Sox, keeping New York in first in the AL East.

I generally try to shy away from complaining about umpires. After a couple decades of playing competitive sports I have always felt that, while bad officiating can be incredibly frustrating and can no doubt have an impact on the game, it is usually on the players to make the plays, coaches to make strategic decisions, etc.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees can’t hold lead, fall to the A’s

That wasn't what we wanted to see.

All good things must come to an end. That holds especially true for winning streaks. The Athletics snapped the Yankees seven game win streak Sunday, beating the Bombers 5-4. The Yankees let an opportunity slip away. The Orioles also lost in Boston. On the one hand this means that the Yankees hold on to their one game lead in the division. On the other hand, the Yankees need to put some distance between themselves and Baltimore. Any opportunity to do so needs to be seized.

After Saturday’s marathon game the Yankees needed Hiroki Kuroda to give them length. He didn’t. Hiroki allowed five runs (four earned) in 5.2 innings of work. The rest of the bullpen was almost perfect, allowing just two base runners over 3.1 innings, but it was too little too late.

The A’s put runs on the board in the first and second innings, scoring first on a Kuroda wild pitch and in the second fame they plated two on a Cliff Pennington homer.… Click here to read the rest