Series preview: Four-game set with the Indians starts tonight

Yanks vs CLE

Here’s hoping this series goes better than the last. Courtesy of Getty Images

The Yankees current winning ways started in Cleveland last week. New York has won six of its last seven, and hope to keep adding numbers to that ‘W’ column when the Indians start a four-game series at Yankee Stadium today.

Here’s a glance at each game in the series:

Thursday, August 20: RHP Ivan Nova vs. RHP Josh Tomlin

Nova has shown signs of improvement recently, having one real tough outing in his last five. For many of the Indians batters, this is their first look at Nova. The only Cleveland player with any amount of significant at-bats against him is Mike Aviles, and he has only had eight appearances against Nova.

Tomlin is making just his second start of the season. He’s gone through a series of injuries and rehab assignments in the last couple of years.

Matchup to watch:
Ryan Raburn vs. Nova: 3-for-5, 1.200 OPS.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees shockingly roll over and die for Pitcher They've Never Seen Before

(AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

The most surprising thing ever happened on Monday night, and by most surprising I mean least surprising thing in American history, as the Yankees got completely shut down by a Pitcher They’ve Never Seen Before™ for the approximately 800 millionth time over the last two seasons.

I’m sorry, but there’s just no excuse for a game like this. Bases loaded, no out in the first inning, and the team fails to score. Five total hits off Carlos Carrasco, who came into this game with an ERA above 4.50, and who struck seven Yankees out during his seven scoreless innings. Seriously, what is it about the Indians and pitchers the Yankees have never seen before? This was even worse than the Josh Tomlin game last July, as they at least managed a run off Tomlin! I know the team just won three of four and in doing so obviously won this series, but the double ignominy of the utter predictability of the Yankee bats getting shutdown by a new hurler in addition to losing by a score of 1-0 is altogether incredibly frustrating.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks get revenge on Tomlin; pound out season-high 18 hits in 9-1 drubbing of Indians

(AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

After being embarrassed by Josh Tomlin in his Major League debut last July, the Yankees turned the tables Sunday afternoon, pounding out a season-high 18 hits on their way to beating Tomlin and the Indians 9-1 and taking their third straight of this four-game set.

Freddy Garcia recovered after his worst start of the season this past Tuesday against Boston, throwing 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball with an impressive six strikeouts. It’s amazing how effective Garcia has been for the most part this season against pretty much every team not named the Red Sox. Luis Ayala and Kevin Whelan contributed scoreless frames of their own, while Boone Logan managed to throw 1/3 of an inning unscathed save for a walk.

Every Yankee that hit safely had a multi-hit game, with Mark Teixeira and Russell Martin the only Bombers not to join the hit parade, though Tex did draw a walk. Curtis Granderson went 4-4, while Alex Rodriguez and Brett Gardner (two doubles and a triple) each had three-hit days.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees beat Indians 4-0 in second shutout of season

(AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill)

The Bartolo Colon Renaissance Tour continued Saturday afternoon for 6 2/3 more brilliant shutout innings before encountering an unfortunate roadblock in a pulled left hamstring. In the postgame Joe Girardi said he didn’t know how long they’d be without Colon until tomorrow, while Brian Cashman said he expected a DL stint. Knowing what we know about hamstrings, this could take a while — while Curtis Granderson got back in a month last May, Phil Hughes took nearly three months to get back in 2007 and Andy Pettitte two months last year. Best-case scenario would obviously be the former, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Colon were on the shelf for closer to two months, which is obviously a pretty significant blow considering that Colon has been the Yankees’ second-best pitcher.

While many expect Cash to go out and get a starter at some point, the pressure is now that much greater. I’d have to imagine Hector Noesi will be given a couple of opportunities to show what he can do as a starter, and we may see a few of other Scranton kids — perhaps D.J.… Click here to read the rest

Game Thread and Series Preview | Yankees vs. Indians I: Rick Vaughn would be so proud

Cano hitting one of five Yankee solo home runs in an April 16, 2009, game against the Indians (photo c/o The New York Times)

The Cleveland Indians have been in first place in the AL Central since their sixth game of the season, despite the fact that neither their offense (.324 team wOBA, which is pretty good in the current depressed 2011 hitting environment, but nothing extraordinary) or pitching staff (a middling 3.89 team ERA, 7th-best in the AL) appears to be particularly imposing on paper — save for Asdrubal Cabrera, who has come out of nowhere (.301 wOBA in 2010) to post an 9th-best-in-the-American-League .391 wOBA.

Given that most prognosticators pegged the Indians for a 4th- or 5th-place finish in 2011, the Tribe’s early season run has caught many by surprise, though it appears that the team might finally be coming back down to earth. After finishing April with a mighty 18-8 record, the Indians played near-.500 ball in May (14-12) before hitting the skids in June (2-6).… Click here to read the rest

A look at the 2011 Cleveland Indians

The fantastic World of Sports hasn’t been entirely at all kind to Cleveland fans. He-who-must-not-be-named left the now-crippled Cavaliers in decidedly mind-boggling fashion in preference of the weepy Miami Heat. The Browns have enjoyed only three winning seasons over the past two decades resulting in a measly two postseason appearances.  And of course, this ultimately brings us to baseball where aside from 2001 and 2007, in which the Indians lost in the ALDS and ALCS respectively, the Tribe has been generally underwhelming at best.

After finishing in fourth place in the AL Central with a 69-93 record in 2010, the Indians look to compete in what is widely considered a three-team race. The good news for the Tribe is they really didn’t have any notable free agent departures as they have in years past. The bad news is in terms of signings, they didn’t really make any significant splashes either. They did, however, acquire journeyman Orlando Cabrera to fill in at shortstop.… Click here to read the rest

The Yankeeist Interview with former Yankee catcher John Ellis

I’m extremely honored to present the first player interview in Yankeeist history, as former Bomber backstop John Ellis was generous enough to share some of his time with me to talk baseball.John debuted in the Bigs with the Yankees in 1969 and enjoyed a successful career highlighted by longevity. John’s contributions spanned across three different franchises (Yankees, Indians and Rangers) and he posted a career .262/.312/.392 triple slash (69 HR) in the process. He was part of the trade that sent Graig Nettles to the Yankees before the 1973 season, and was also the first designated hitter in Cleveland Indians history, according to Wikipedia.

Matt Warden: Once upon a time, you played side-by-side with Yankee legend, Thurman Munson (who also happened to be a Yankee captain). What was it like? At the time, did you realize just how big Munson’s legacy would ultimately be? Do you see any similarities between him and current captain Derek Jeter?

John Ellis: I did play side by side with Thurman.

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Seven-run seventh propels Yanks to 11-4 thrashing of Indians

The Yankees pounded the Tribe 11-4 last night, taking three of four from a rather hapless Cleveland team.

Despite the final score, this was a tense game until the top of the sixth. Dustin Moseley — spot starting for the injured Andy Pettitte after Sergio Mitre showed he wasn’t up to the task five days ago — was fantastic, throwing six innings of four-hit, one-run ball. Moseley got into some trouble in the first, but once he settled down it was fairly smooth sailing. Between Moseley’s effectiveness as well as the fact that starter Mitch Talbot had to come out of the game after the second inning with an injury, forcing Manny Acta to coax seven innings out of his comical bullpen, it would’ve been insane if the Yankees had not been able to pull out the victory.

Of course, the first five innings were a ridiculous exercise in frustration, as the Yankees managed to put runners on first and second with no outs from the 2nd through the 5th inning and somehow only managed to score one run.… Click here to read the rest

Yankee offense doubles output of first two games combined in beating Indians 8-0

After averaging two runs per in the first two games of this four-game set, the Yankee bats finally came alive in Cleveland, tagging Fausto Carmona for seven earned runs en route to an 8-0 victory. It was the team’s first shutout since CC Sabathia‘s Father’s Day victory over a month ago.

A.J. Burnett had the curveball working, which was a good thing considering Burnett told reporters after the game “When A.J. doesn’t have his curveball, it’s going to be a tough night.” What A.J. failed to mention is why, for $16.5 million a year, he doesn’t have his curveball every time out on the mound.

Ribbing aside, A.J. was very good this game, throwing 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball with 7 strikeouts. Believe it or not, A.J. actually has the lowest ERA of the starting rotation in July (2.00, to go with a 3.45 FIP and 4.78 xFIP), so I guess he’s finally back on track after that execrable June.… Click here to read the rest