Nick Swisher could start tonight against the Red Sox

Yankee right fielder Nick Swisher could return from his strained left hip flexor injury Sunday night against the Red Sox. The normally-exuberant Swisher seemed confident in his post-game press conference, after entering in the bottom of the ninth against Boston closer Alfredo Aceves on Saturday: “I feel good,” he said. “It was nice to get back out there. It was kind of a long day. Just to be able to get one at-bat, I feel good.”

Of course, the at-bat itself did not prove confidence-inducing, as Swisher flailed at a few pitches out of the zone to strike out, but that seemed to be far from the point. Manager Joe Girardi remained adamant that the Yankees were not allowing themselves more time than was necessary for Swisher because of their big lead in the AL East, but rather that they were simply taking care to make sure Swisher was 100% before they brought him back.

If Swisher is in the lineup this evening, it will probably be as the designated hitter, putting off, for one day at least, the inevitable switching of Ichiro Suzuki to left field.

The Yankees take on the Red Sox at 8:00 PM EST in the Bronx. Continue reading Nick Swisher could start tonight against the Red Sox

“It’s not over…”: Red Sox jump on Sabathia early, rally late to beat Yanks 8-6

“…’till it’s over.” That was pretty much the refrain Saturday afternoon, as the Red Sox beat the Yankees 8-6 on a muggy, rainy night in the Bronx. The Sawx jumped out to an early 3-0 lead thanks to a pair of doubles from Adrian Gonzalez and Will Middlebrooks in the first inning. They kept pounding Sabathia throughout the game, as the big lefty looked rattled by the late start: the game was delayed for two hours and four minutes due to heavy rain (more on this later).

After the Yankees got one back on a Chris Stewart homer (yes, really), the Sox hammered Sabathia again, when Gonzalez stroked a home run just over the fence in right scoring Pedro Ciriaco (remember him?) and Dustin Pedroia. The “bomb” (if you can call it that–Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe), the Sox beat writer for the Boston Globe tweeted “Do home runs to RF count as a full run? That’s crazy”–left the Sox with a 6-1 lead in the top of the fifth. It wasn’t an insurmountable lead, but it certainly didn’t bode well for the Yanks.

click “view full post” to read more Continue reading “It’s not over…”: Red Sox jump on Sabathia early, rally late to beat Yanks 8-6

Game 100: Out of their misery

The Yankees take on the Red Sox this afternoon (4:05 PM EST) in the 100th game of the season with a chance to cement themselves atop the American League East (not that they haven’t already…but still). The Sawx are currently floundering in the fetid pool of mediocrity, unable to turn themselves around, and stuck with the impossible decision of whether to give up on the season and rebuild–probably the better option–or to go for broke with some sort of all-out attempt to remain in contention (this option seems a lot less likely with Zack Greinke in Anaheim…er, sorry LA…of Anaheim).

Of course, there’s a third option: wallow pitifully in their mediocrity, not blow things up and start anew, but not make any moves that will improve the team in the short term. And somehow, I’d bet that the Sawx front office feels that this third road is the easiest to take.

Anyways, we have Lester and Sabathia, in a battle of…well, “ace” is too strong a word for Lester, I guess.

(And for those of you asking whether I could possibly fit more jinx into one short article…well, no, I don’t think I can. Reverse jinx: hey, the Red Sox are probably due to win and go on a long streak. They’re still good, right? Right?)

Red Sox (49-51)
1. J. Ellsbury, CF
2. P. Ciriaco, DH
3. D. Pedroia, 2B
4. A. Gonzalez, 1B
5. C. Ross, RF
6. W. Middlebrooks, 3B
7. K. Shoppach, C
8. M. Aviles, SS
9. D. Nava, LF

P: Jon Lester
Yankees (60-39)

D. Jeter, SS
C. Granderson, CF
M. Teixeira, 1B
R. Cano, 2B
A. Jones, LF
J. Nix, 3B
R. Martin, DH
I. Suzuki, RF
C. Stewart, C

P: CC Sabathia Continue reading Game 100: Out of their misery

A’s sweep Yanks, win 4-5 in 12

Sometimes, I really miss Mariano Rivera. OK, well, all the time. And I say that knowing full well that the closer role is a bit of a myth, that the difference between a Mariano and, say, Texas’ Joe Nathan (or Rafael Soriano) is at most a 5% difference in their save conversion rate. Over the course of a few years that adds up to a lot of games…but there’s no reason to sweat individual blown saves–Mo messes up too.

It’s important to remember that on days like today. No matter how annoying it is to watch Rafael Soriano blow a save to the A’s by giving up a home run in the ninth, and no matter how much we all want to say, “hey, if Mo was in, this wouldn’t have happened,” we need to remember that even the greatest closer of all time wasn’t (isn’t) infallible. This game could very well have gone the same way even if Mariano was the one throwing to Seth Smith in the bottom of the ninth.

The annoying part about tonight was that everything seemed like it was going according to plan: CC Sabathia was hitting his locations, the A’s were swinging at everything (and, consequently, allowing him to keep his pitch count low), and the Yankees scored four runs off of Bartolo Colon (three in the third, on a Mark Teixeira single and an Alex Rodriguez double; and one in the fourth when Curtis Granderson rocketed his 26th home run of the season into the right field stands). Sure, CC gave up a few home runs, but things were cruising right along, just the way they’ve gone so many times: through seven, the Yankees were up one, and had turned to their one-two punch of David Robertson followed by Rafael Soriano to close out the win.

(click “view full post” for more whining and some bullet points) Continue reading A’s sweep Yanks, win 4-5 in 12

Game 95: [Insert Colon pun here]

The Yankees have lost three straight games. Yes, it’s true–the winning machine has stalled (however briefly), as they tried to run over the streaking Oakland A’s. The A’s have been incredibly hot over the past week or so–just look at Yoenis Cespedes’ numbers over his nine-game hitting streak: .576 batting average (!!!), four home runs and 10 RBI’s. Crazy. So it’s not a shock that the Yankees have had a rough time against this team that seems to be clicking on all cylinders (need more proof? Just look back over the past few games and take a gander at their pitching numbers).

But today, the Yankees have to feel good: they’re throwing their ace, stopper CC Sabathia out in a place he likes to pitch, and their going up against Bartolo Colon, who, for all his waddling heroics, has not been spectacular against the bombers in the past. A-Rod in particular, has mashed Colon: his eight homers are tied for the most against any pitcher, and he’s 22-for-49 (.449) against him.

First pitch is at 4:00 PM EST.

Yankees (57-37)
C. Granderson, CF
M. Teixeira, 1B
R. Cano, 2B
A. Rodriguez, DH
R. Ibanez, LF
E. Chavez, 3B
J. Nix, SS
D. Wise, RF
C. Stewart, C

Athletics (50-44)
J. Weeks, 2B
J. Gomes, DH
J. Reddick, RF
Y. Cespedes, CF
C. Carter, 1B
B. Inge, 3B
S. Smith, LF
B. Hicks, SS
K. Suzuki, C Continue reading Game 95: [Insert Colon pun here]

Nick Swisher ruled out until at least Monday

An MRI taken Saturday morning near the Oakland Colosseum of Nick Swisher’s left leg–the one that he injured running to first base during the Yankees’ loss to Oakland Friday night–has revealed a mild left hip flexor strain, a result that both Swisher and manager Joe Girardi were expecting. The result indicates that Swisher will not be able to rejoin the starting lineup until Monday in Seattle at the earliest, though the team may choose to keep him on the bench for a few extra days.

“I know you guys want a timetable,” Swisher told reporters gathered around his locker Saturday afternoon. “I wish I could tell you, but I just don’t know. We’ll go in here and hang out with [head trainer Steve Donohue]. Me and Stevie haven’t been hanging out very much lately.”

Girardi seemed even more ambivalent than Swisher during his press conference later, saying: “He has a mild strain. He’s still day to day. He’s not going to play tomorrow and I don’t know if we’ll see him in Seattle. We’ll just see how he responds to treatment.”

If things do not go well–Swisher described the feeling as “more internal” during his afternoon briefing–then it’s possible he could miss some more significant time. At the same time, however, he insisted that, “disabled list” wasn’t in his vocabulary.

For now, the Yankees hope he’s right. Continue reading Nick Swisher ruled out until at least Monday

Yankees drop third straight 1-2, as Cespedes, Parker power A’s

The Yankees dropped their third straight game to the Oakland Athletics Saturday night, as Jarrod Parker (7-4) out-dueled Phil Hughes (9-8). Both pitchers threw fantastic games, but Parker had the better support, as the A’s homered twice off the Yankee’s young righty Hughes: both Yoenis Cespedes (I suppose he’s pretty much legit now, right?), and Brandon Inge belted solo bombs. Parker tossed eight innings of five-hit, five-strikeout ball, while Hughes threw seven and two-thirds innings with four hits and six strikeouts.

Here are some notes:

  • I’m trying to figure out who Yoenis Cespedes looks like, and I’m drawing a blank. I figure “dude who hits tons of home runs” doesn’t cut it. But I could definitely see him hitting 30 or even 40 bombs a year when he totally catches up to major league pitching. And yes, I’m assuming that he isn’t totally there yet.
  • I thought Phil Hughes threw a great game tonight, and I do want to emphasize that. It seemed–through the first five innings–that he was locating everything; basically, that the A’s were having a lot more trouble hitting his pitches than the Yankees were having hitting Parker.
  • In that vein, I felt much more comfortable tonight than I have the past few games. Hughes was locating, the Yanks were getting good wood on the ball (in general), and things seemed to be moving along at a pretty good pace. On most nights, the offense won’t completely stall when their pitcher throws a gem–they’ll try to get things done to pick him up and get him the win. Not tonight.
  • Weren’t the Yankees supposed to be the ones that only scored off home runs?
  • I mean, seriously, I bet we have five or six articles in the next couple days complaining about the Yankees scoring punch while lauding the A’s for building such a well rounded squad.
  • Going back to Hughes: his curve was sharp tonight. As an example, there was a moment in the later innings when he was facing up against Cespedes: the first pitch was a fastball strike. The second was a curve that Cespedes looked at for a ball. He was tracking the ball particularly well–you could tell that everything was just bigger for him, that it seemed that he could just will the ball over the fence. So, on the next pitch, Hughes threw him another curve: he saw it, knew it was coming, and took a huge cut. It dove under his bat; he straightened himself off, looked at his bat, and turned away to swing again. It was just a couple seconds, but it was goods to see that Phil could throw that pitch when it mattered, and still deceive enough with it to get a guy like Cespedes on a night like tonight.
  • That may have been the most futile we’ve seen Robinson Cano in years. He looked like a child up there tonight. And I can’t decide if I want to credit Parker, or if I think it’s his fault. Probably it’s some combination. But I’d like to hope that it’s mostly Parker.
  • I liked the YES Network commentators tonight, and I’ve liked them for the whole series: Ken Singleton and David Cone are probably my favorite YES team, though I occasionally enjoy Paul O’Neill added in the mix. Lou Piniella, on the other hand, well, I’d be happy if I never have to hear his voice again.
  • That being said: why….why cut to that kid in the stands with the cardboard sign every. single. inning. It was just too much. At first, I thought it was kind of cute. Then it was annoyingly acceptable. By the end it was just sad. Come on.

Enjoy your night, everyone, and we’ll see you tomorrow at 4:00 PM EST, as CC Sabathia takes on ex-Yankee Bartolo Colon as the A’s go for the series sweep. Ugh. Hard to even say that. Continue reading Yankees drop third straight 1-2, as Cespedes, Parker power A’s

Game 94: Youngins

The A’s have thoroughly outplayed the Yankees over the past two games, that much is clear: they’ve out-hit, out-pitched, and out-fielded (har) their (generally) higher-paid colleagues–and it has all been thanks to a few of their younger players who have finally begun to realize their potential. First, AJ Griffin, in his third career start, tossed six innings of two-run ball; then Tommy Milone topped him, hurling seven innings with one run, and ten strikeouts. On the other side of the plate, Josh Reddick (of “it’s OK, the Sox will be fine, they have Reddick coming up” fame) and Yoenis Cespedes (hardly “young” in baseball terms, but still a rookie) have smacked around the Yankee arms.

Tonight, the A’s look for the series win over the Yankees, and they’ll be riding the arm of another young pitcher: Jarrod Parker, who started off the year on fire, has cooled down in his last few starts–but he still boasts a 3.14 ERA and a 6-4 record. The bombers will turn to Phil Hughes to stop the bleeding–and to prevent their first three-game losing streak since June 19-22, and hey, maybe they’ll be able to keep their streak of series wins (or ties) against the A’s alive.

First pitch is a 9:05 PM EST.

New York Yankees (57-36)
D. Jeter, SS
C. Granderson, CF
A. Rodriguez, 3B
R. Cano, 2B
M. Teixeira, 1B
R. Ibanez, LF
E. Chavez, DH
R. Martin, C
D. Wise, RF

Oakland Athletics (49-44)
C. Crisp, CF
J. Weeks, 2B
J. Reddick, DH
Y. Cespedes, LF
B. Moss, RF
C. Carter, 1B
B. Inge, 3B
E. Sogard, SS
D. Norris, C Continue reading Game 94: Youngins

Yanks rally, but come up short, as home runs lift Angels to 10-8 victory

As the Yankees prepared to begin the bottom of the ninth, the story of this game had already been written: not stellar pitching on either side lead to a barrage of homers–but the Angels managed to stop the bleeding while the Yankees didn’t. Down by five and with All-Star reliever Ernesto Frieri (he of 0.00 ERA with the Angels fame) due up to subdue the middle of the Yankee order, things didn’t look great for the bombers–certainly not enough to change the plot of this seemingly dead story. But Frieri faltered: first he gave up a walk to Robinson Cano, then allowed a two-run shot to Mark Teixeira. Things were suddenly a bit more interesting; Angels manager Mike Scioscia certainly thought so, as he turned to every (exceedingly boring) trick in the book to buy time to hurriedly warm up Scott Downs.

The minutes ticked by as Frieri fake-fired to first a few times, had a long conversation with his catcher and coaches, all while Downs was preparing. But Yankee Stadium was roaring, and finally Scioscia relented, calling on Downs to face Raul Ibanez. Ibanez promptly singled, bringing up homer-happy Andruw Jones as the tying run; Downs had some trouble with Jones, but ultimately struck him out. Up next was Russell Martin who quickly provided the Angels relief, slapping a (seemingly inning-ending double play) grounder at shortstop Eric Aybar–but Aybar was tentative on the relay, and second baseman Macier Izturis didn’t even have time to fire off a throw to first. First and third, two out. With Derek Jeter coming up. Continue reading Yanks rally, but come up short, as home runs lift Angels to 10-8 victory