Game 105: Phelps v. Darvish

A year ago today, the Rangers were 56-49, a scant 1.5 games out of the playoff race, and the Yankees were a game behind them at 55-50. Flash forward to today, and the Yankees are in a similar position – a game out of the Wild Card race, standing at 54-50. The Rangers, on the other hand, have the worst record in baseball at 41-64 (as well as the worst run differential in the game, at a staggering -119).

Forgive the cliche … but sometimes you really can’t predict baseball.

While you’re waiting for the game to begin, head on over here and leave us a question for our next podcast.

New York Yankees Texas Rangers
Brett Gardner, CF Shin-Soo Choo, RF
Derek Jeter, SS Elvis Andrus, SS
Brian McCann, 1B Alex Rios, DH
Carlos Beltran, DH Adrian Beltre, 3B
Chase Headley, 3B Jim Adduci, LF
Francisco Cervelli, C J.P.

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Quick Hit: Tonight’s Lineup, Roster Moves

The first pitch for tonight’s game is scheduled for 8:05 PM. Here’s your lineup:

Brett Gardner, CF
Derek Jeter, SS
Brian McCann, 1B
Carlos Beltran, DH
Chase Headley, 3B
Francisco Cervelli, C
Brian Roberts, 2B
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Zoilo Almonte, LF

David Phelps, SP

To make room for Almonte, Jeff Francis was designated for assignment. This can be filed under ‘duh,’ insofar as predictability is concerned, as the team was carrying thirteen pitchers on the active roster, including three left-handed relievers (the other two being David Huff and Matt Thornton).

So long (for now), Jeff. We hardly new ye.

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Trade Talk: Cervelli, Willingham, Kemp, Arrieta

The deadline is less than 4 days away.  Here are the latest rumors fresh from the mill:

- This one actually goes back to late last week, but it appears as though Francisco Cervelli is still a hot commodity for the Rockies and White Sox.  Joel Sherman mentioned both teams’ interest in Cervelli in a post centered on Troy Tulowitzki last Thursday, although to be fair, he did not specifically state that there was any new interest since ST.  As I said last week, Cervelli could be a useful trade chip for Cash if he’s looking to make another smaller deal for a helpful piece.

- Josh Willingham is the preferred choice for more right-handed thump, according to Jon Heyman.  Marlon Byrd and Alex Rios were also thrown out as targets, but Willingham’s $7 mil salary and no additional years of commitment beyond 2014 make him more attractive to the Yankees.  Willingham is hitting .219/.361/.421 with 10 HR in 230 PA this season.…

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Coming Soon: The All Questions Answered Podcast

Hosting this blog’s podcast is far and away my favorite part of writing for It’s About the Money, as it gives me an opportunity not only to riff freely on anything and everything in the world of baseball with some of the most knowledgeable Yankees fans around, but a chance to interact with our equally intelligent listeners and readers. As the podcast has become more and more engrained with the blog, we have garnered more and more questions and thoughts from our audience, and those comments have become essential to our agenda. And for that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And now, it’s time for an episode of the podcast that is all about you.

We will be podcasting on Thursday, July 31, after the smoke has cleared from the trade deadline – and we want to hear from you. The goal is to have an episode almost entirely dedicated to answering listener questions, sprinkled with whatever noteworthy news develops in the interim.…

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Chase Headley More Than a Rental?

Third base has been an absolute hole for the New York Yankees over the last two seasons. Ever since Alex Rodriguez had injury issues last year — and suspension issues this year — they have been unable to replace him.

New York third basemen this season have hit .247/.321/.389 with a 97 wRC+ and a .317 wOBA. Those numbers are even inflated due to Yangervis Solarte‘s hot streak at the beginning of the season. Last year was even worse, as Yankees third basemen hit .221/.290/.330 with a 69 wRC+ and a .279 wOBA.

Finally, it seems like they might have found a real third baseman and not the garbage that has been their the last two seasons. The Yankees bought low on Chase Headley, and so far it has paid huge dividends.

The Padres really did a horrible job in this negotiation. They should have gotten more than a journeyman and a prospect who may only end up being a reliever, even though Headley had been struggling this season.…

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Carlos Coming Around Post-ASB

Beltran HR vs CIN

Courtesy of Getty Images

Before the All-Star break, Carlos Beltran looked every bit a 37-year-old outfielder on the downside of his career.  He hit .195/.256/.378 in June, went 4-22 in his first 6 July games, then fouled a ball off his own face in BP and missed a week of games leading up to the break.

In hindsight, that freak accident might have actually been the best thing for Beltran.  Between the 7-day concussion DL trip and the 4 days off for the ASB, Beltran got 11 days off.  That was 11 days to let his facial cuts heal, 11 days to rest his troublesome right elbow, and 11 days without the general wear and tear that comes with playing professional baseball every day, even as a full-time DH.  That’s a pretty solid chunk of time off for a late-30s veteran with the mileage on his body that Beltran has, and the early small sample size results at the plate since the break indicate that it might have been just what the doctor ordered.…

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Yankeemetrics: July 25-27 (Blue Jays)

Chase Headley is hitting .348 in six games with the Yankees. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

Chase Headley is hitting .348 in six games with the Yankees. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

The Buehrle Curse Lives
Mark Buehrle is the gift that keeps on giving for the Yankees.

Following Friday’s 6-4 win over the Blue Jays, Buehrle dropped to 1-12 in 19 career starts against the Bronx Bombers. The only pitcher with a worse record against the Yankees (min. 15 starts) is Red Ruffing, who was 1-16 vs them from 1924-47.

Buehrle’s only win vs the Yankees came on April 10, 2004, and since then he is 0-10 with a 7.34 ERA in 15 starts.

The 15-start winless streak is the longest by a left-hander vs the Yankees over the last 100 years, and the longest by any pitcher since Sidney Ponson went winless in 15 starts vs New York from 1999-2003.

He is 0-6 in eight starts at the new Yankee Stadium, by far the most starts without a win there by any pitcher and the most losses without a win.…

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Game 104 Recap: Blue Jays 5 Yankees 4

Cervelli Tag vs TOR

Courtesy of Getty Images

The Yankees had their 4-game winning streak snapped yesterday afternoon.  They were looking to prevent their post-ASB series winning streak from ending today, but ended up giving up runs at inopportune times one time too many for their offense to come back and fell 5-4 to Toronto, who now has a winning streak at The Stadium going.

It was all about escaping early on for New York starter Shane Greene.  He worked around runners on second and third with no outs in the top of the 1st with only 1 run against him, erased a 1-out infield single in the 2nd with a well-timed double play ball, and needed Zelous Wheeler to nail Dan Johnson at the plate to make it out of the 4th scoreless.

J.A. Happ came into this game with a 6.27 ERA on the road this season, but you wouldn’t know it with the way he tamed the Yankee lineup.  They were taking a lot of bad swings against him, letting good pitches to hit go by, and straight up botching pitches down the pipe and popping them up through 4.  …

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