Hughes authors best start of season as Yanks win fifth straight

More, please. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

With his rotation spot possibly in jeopardy, Phil Hughes reminded everyone why it’s foolish to give up on talented young pitchers when they hit the inevitable rocky patch, hurling six dominant innings of shutout ball (and only needing 65 pitches to do it) on his way to what looked to be an 8-inning outing (or even the first nine-inning complete game of his career) had the skies not opened after the top of the 7th inning, and leading the Yankees to a 6-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Anecdotally — and results-wise — this was easily the best Hughes has looked on the mound since Game 3 of the 2010 ALDS, as the velocity on his four-seamer was finally back to where it needs to be, consistently registering 93mph (92.52 avg. speed, per Brooks, and maxing out at 95mph) on the YES gun. This was a fastball-heavy start for Hughes, who threw 44 fastballs (and got three swinging strikes) out of his 65 pitches, but perhaps even more importantly was the sprinkling in of what friend-of-the-blog Josh Weinstock of IIATMS called a power curve that was apparently being misclassified as a cutter by Gameday.… Click here to read the rest

CC outduels Peavy in 3-2 Yankee victory

The best around. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

With CC Sabathia operating within a universe all his own this season, there’s not much left to say about how insanely good the big man has been for the Yankees in 2011 (though I’ll do my best to find the words later this morning during TYA’s July 2011 Monthly Wrap-Up). Sabathia, despite not having his elite stuff, once again gave the Yankees eight innings — the 10th time this season he’s gone at least eight — and once again limited the damage to two runs or less — the 14th(!) time he’s done that — in leading the Yankees to a crisp 3-2 victory over the White Sox.

For his part Jake Peavy pitched a very good game, throwing seven innings of three-run ball and really only being victimized by Curtis Granderson, who hit two doubles, drove in a run and scored twice.

Oh, and the Red Sox lost to the Indians, bringing the Yankees to within a game of first place for the first time since July 10.… Click here to read the rest

Series Preview | Yankees vs. White Sox II: The Ballad of John Danks

The Cell. (photo c/o

Ah, the White Sox. The team that perpetually seems to be just on the precipice, but doesn’t quite get there. Outside of a wretched 2007, the Sox have actually been one of the more competitive teams in the league since winning it all in 2005, but they seem to continually fall just short. This year the team is two games below.500 — and coming off two losses to the BoSox — with a record that would seem to indicate that they are out of the playoff hunt, only the ChiSox have the good fortune of playing in the AL Central, where even below-.500 teams still have a realistic shot of stealing first place come August.

The White Sox and Yankees last saw each other at the end of April at the Stadium, and the Sox came in and really stopped an ultra-hot Yankee team dead in its tracks as Phil Humber nearly pitched a no-hitter in a Monday, April 25 victory for Chicago.… Click here to read the rest

How much for that ChiSock in the window? Part Two

Buehrle, Humber, Jackson

Yesterday we began our look at whether certain members of the White Sox’s formidable starting rotation might be available if Chicago continues to flail about and determined that unfortunately for the Yankees, there’s really no trade scenario that would make sense for the White Sox in the case of dealing either lefty ace John Danks or Gavin Floyd. So what about the other three?

Mark Buehrle
Career-long White Sock and pending free agent Buehrle seems like a reasonable bet to re-up with the only professional team he’s ever known, which is a shame, as he’s probably one of the more appealing starting pitching names on the market next winter. Of course, he’s also going to be entering his age 33 season, so he wouldn’t exactly represent a long-term solution. Still, as a pending free agent, he may represent Kenny Williams’ best opportunity at picking up a serviceable player if Chicago doesn’t intend to bring Buehrle back.… Click here to read the rest

How much for that ChiSock in the window? Part One

Danks, Floyd

Chicago’s slow start and clutch of quality starting pitching combined with the Yankees’ perpetual need for starting pitching led me to wonder whether the two teams might meet up in a trade as the calendar flips to June and general managers have a clearer idea of whether they have a legitimate shot at the postseason.

Granted, though the White Sox haven’t played all that well, the AL Central appears to be about as wide open as it’s ever been, and unless you believe the Indians and Royals are for real, it’s certainly possible the ChiSox will find themselves back in contention. And then of course the fact that the Sox do actually have one of the strongest rotations in the league (the group’s 4.7 fWAR is third-best in the AL) could very well lead Kenny Williams to think he’s a buyer instead of a seller.

So while it remains to be seen whether the Sox ultimately do decide to sell this summer, given Williams’ wheeling-and-dealing nature along with the fact that he and Brian Cashman anecdotally have a good relationship, it’ll be interesting to see whether any of Chicago’s starters trade their Sox pinstripes for those of the Yankee variety.… Click here to read the rest

CC Sabathia and the Yankee bats pound the White Sox 12-3

After torturing fans with three consecutive low-scoring, dull games, the Yankee bats came alive against Chicago Thursday night, tagging the White Sox for twelve runs and thirteen hits. But the box score doesn’t tell the full story of this game. There were at least four separate storylines.

It all went away tremendously, but Edwin Jackson actually had an ugly Edwin Jackson style no-hitter going against the Yankees through the first four innings of the ball game. For those who don’t remember, Jackson actually recorded a 149-pitch, eight-walk no-hitter last season with the Diamondbacks. He started out this game in similar fashion, only worse. In the third inning he walked four consecutive Yankees, giving Nick Swisher an RBI and then gave up a sac fly to Robinson Cano. At the end of the inning Jackson had yet to allow a hit, but was losing 2-0. Through the first four innings Thursday’s game looked like a bad version of the previous three, an ugly, low-scoring affair.… Click here to read the rest

Game Thread and Series Preview: Yankees vs. White Sox I

Cano turning a double play (photo c/o of UPI)

Programming note: Please use this as your game thread for tonight.

The reeling Chicago White Sox (8-14, last in the AL Central), losers of nine of their last 10 games, come to the Stadium this week for a four-gamer against the first-place Yankees (12-6). The AL Central has certainly been one of the stranger stories of the early 2011 season, with Cleveland spending way more time than it has any right to in first place, while Kansas City is currently tied for second. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Twins and the ChiSox, two teams that many expected to be contend for the division crown, have limped to rather painful starts. In the former’s case, the Twinkies really have yet to get going, while the Sox were actually looking pretty good before this recent stretch of futility.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, Chicago isn’t as bad as it’s played recently, so forget everything you think you know about the 2011 White Sox.… Click here to read the rest

Players to Watch: A.L. Central

Fifth and penultimate post in the series.

AL West
NL West
NL Central
NL East

In 2008 and 2009, the A.L. Central produced a one game playoff. 2010 saw a more uneventful finish to the season, as the Twins won the division easily, besting the White Sox by six full games. What’s going to happen this season? I’d imagine we won’t see a finish like 2010’s. I think this one will go down to the wire, with the Twins and Tigers battling for the crown, with Chicago’s sluggers knocking on the door as well.

Minnesota Twins: Francisco Liriano. This one is pretty selfish, no? We’ll be looking to see if he can finally start to string together some healthy and effective seasons and take that “next step.” Of course, we’ll also be looking to see if the Twins make him available in mid-season. If they do, the Yankees will surely be interested.

Chicago White Sox: Adam Dunn. Dunn is definitely one of my favorite players in the league.… Click here to read the rest

A look at the 2011 Chicago White Sox

Adam Dunn (Photo: AP)

Over the past two weeks, Larry, Mike, and I have explored the 2011 projections for teams around the AL East (links to prior articles: Blue Jays, Orioles, Rays, Red Sox). Now it’s time to get acclimated with the rest of the American League. There’s no time like the present, so let’s get started with the White Sox.

The ChiSox ended their 2010 campaign with an 88-74 record which was good for second place in the AL Central. After having trailed by as many as 9.5 games, the White Sox eventually captured first place in the divisional standings by mid-summer — thanks to an excellent performance during the months of June (18-9) and July (18-8). Unfortunately, in early August, they yielded their top spot once again to their rivals from the Twin Cities. Despite Chicago concluding the season 14 games above .500, postseason admittance would not be in their future as the Wild Card remained in the AL East (with the Yankees).… Click here to read the rest