The Farm Report: 5/20/13

My apologies for the lack of posts this past week and a half, but I came down with some horrendous cold/fever/upper respiratory thing that has been going around up here. It was beyond miserable, but I appear to be on the mend finally – a day I was starting to think might never come. Anyway, it was an exciting day on the farm, as the Yankees’ affiliates split the day. Much like the big club, Scranton saw some extra baseball, though they came up short. Trenton put together a nice comeback win over Richmond, while Tampa won the rare low-scoring game.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lost to Columbus 6-5 (10 innings):
The RailRiders scored first, putting together a big third inning. Brennan Boesch drew a walk with two outs. Zoilo Almonte singled and Dan Johnson drew a walk, loading the bases. A single by Josh Bell plated Boesch and Thomas Neal lined a double to left, clearing the bases and giving Scranton a 4-0 lead. A solo homer by Chun-Hsiu Chen put Columbus on the board int he fourth, but Scranton got the run back in the top of the fifth. Almonte and Johnson hit back-to-back singles and a double by Melky Mesa plated Almonte for a 5-1 lead. Unfortunately, the lead would not hold. Matt Carson started the bottom of the seventh with a double and Juan Diaz drew a walk. Omir Santos lined a single to center, plating Carson. A double by Ezequiel Carrera scored Diaz and two runs scored on a Lonnie Chisenhall single, tying the game 5-5. The game stayed tied through nine, sending it into extras. Scranton couldn’t get much going in the top of the tenth, but Columbus wasted little time in the bottom of the inning. Matt LaPorta lined a single to center off Josh Spence. Chisenhall bunted for a single and Chen lined a single to left, plating Lawson and giving the Clippers the 6-5 walk-off win over the RailRiders.

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Too Many Home Runs, Yankees Beat The Orioles 6-4

Robinson Cano, Rob Thomson

The Pitching

CC Sabathia clearly didn’t have it, but he made whatever he had last 6.1 IP. They call him an ace for a reason, and he always finds a way to keep the team in the game, even during his stinkers. He allowed 11 hits and 4 runs, and only earned 2 strike outs. It’s something to keep an eye on, especially while he’s still showing lower velocity, but despite some early shaky starts, CC still owns a 3.43 ERA this season.

On the other side of the mound, Freddy Garcia gave up just 3 hits and 2 walks. Good to see the ex-Yankee still throwing that nasty splitter, but he didn’t have to do it against his old team.

The (Lack of) Hitting

The Yankees offense would have been a real big complaint if it weren’t for all the home runs. Knowing they scored 6 runs, it really doesn’t seem like a problem, but the Yankees had just 4 hits through the first 8.0 innings of this game. Unfortunately for the Orioles, three of those four hits were solo home runs off the bats of Robinson Cano, David Adams, and Lyle Overbay.

The Blown Save

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Yanks at Orioles: 5/20/13 Game Thread

So sorry, with what’s happening in Oklahoma, I got distracted and almost forgot about the game thread.

Here are the lineups:

Gardner CF
Cano 2B
Hafner DH
Overbay 1B
Granderson LF
Adams 3B
Ichiro RF
Brignac SS
Romine C

Sabathia P

Markakis RF
Machado 3B
Hardy SS
Jones CF
Davis 1B
Wieters C
Valencia DH
Pearce LF
Casilla 2B

Garcia P Continue reading Yanks at Orioles: 5/20/13 Game Thread

Brignac’s Big Chance

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays

The Yankees made what looked like a very minor move on Saturday, acquiring Reid Brignac from the Rockies for $75,000. Brignac is likely just a stop gap until Eduardo Nunez returns, but he does offer some tools that could keep him on the roster for a while.

For those that read daily, you probably know that I’m not a fan of Jayson Nix. No matter what he’s done in recent days, Nix currently has a 61 wRC+, which isn’t far off from his career 72 wRC+. Even if you fall in the camp that believes his bat is secondary to his glove, we still run into problems. The only infield position where Nix saves runs is second base, and Robinson Cano isn’t going anywhere. Though I hate using defensive metrics without a huge sample size, UZR/150 gives him a career -18.5 at short stop, and RZR a .767 (average is .824 for short stops), and his third base is rated just below average at -0.8, with a .698 RZR. (average is .685 for third base)

Much like Nix, Brignac isn’t a great defensive player either. His metrics at shortstop and second base are right around league average, and his third base has been below average. He also owns a career 60 wRC+, so again we’re thinking that we have a player with little bat and no value with the glove. However, Brignac is just 27 years old with just 769 major league plate appearances under his belt. In his 3,000+ minor league plate appearances, the infielder owns a .771 OPS and appeared on Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list 4 times, the last being in 2010.

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Mark Teixeira hits a double in first extended Spring Training game

Look who is on his way back:

Felt good to get my first AB’s since March. 1-2 with a double and a walk, I’ll take it. #Yankees in first place, I’ll take that too!

This is good news.

Mark Teixeira was originally hoping to be back by May 1, then June 1 but now it looks like his return date will be closer to that June 1 deadline. Continue reading Mark Teixeira hits a double in first extended Spring Training game

Quick hit: Pitching match-ups at Camden Yards

CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.19)  vs Freddy Garcia (0-2, 5.51)

Phil Hughes (2-3, 5.88) vs Miguel Gonzalez (2-2, 4.58)

Wednesday night
Hiroki Kuroda (6-2, 1.99) vs Jason Hammel (5-2, 5.72)

The Yankees and the Orioles have only played three times this season so far with the Yanks taking two out of three in the Bronx last month. Included in that series was the complete game shutout by Kuroda on April 14. Continue reading Quick hit: Pitching match-ups at Camden Yards

A quick glance at Mariano Rivera’s awesome start to the season

Mariano Rivera is so consistently good that he at times gets over looked on blogs such as this one. A writer is probably more inclined to write a Mo post if he’s seeing a bad stretch of play than if he’s being his usual dominant self. I try to do at least one Mariano appreciation post a year, but this year is a little different. Mariano missed most of last year with an injury. This is his swan song season (and unlike other athletes you know he means it). For a time his unreal stretch of play was getting somewhat overlooked, but now that he gotten off to a perfect start in save opportunities to start the season the media hype surrounding his play has picked up. The saves are shiny and nice to have, but to admire them is to overlook all that Rivera is doing. Let’s take a closer look. Continue reading A quick glance at Mariano Rivera’s awesome start to the season

The Evolution of A Game: Michael Weiner, Part I

Every now and then here at, I am able to get down from my soapbox and put on my journalist hat. The other day MLBPA Executive Director, Michael Weiner was so kind as to give myself and IIATMS about an hour of his time to sit down and chat about as the title would indicate, the evolution of the game during his tenure at the Players’ Association with of course, a couple of Yankees questions peppered in there. This is part one of that interview:

If you ask him whether he ever dreamed of working in sports let alone as the head of the most powerful players’ union in all of professional sports, Michael Weiner would tell you that all he wanted to do coming out of Harvard Law was work in Labor Law for a union not necessarily in sports. However, as fate would have it the New Jersey-native and life-long Yankee fan found his way to the Major League Baseball Players Association in 1988 where he has obviously remained for the better part of 25 years.

Coincidentally, Weiner’s tenure with the union has also spanned one of the most trans-formative and at times tumultuous eras for the game of baseball.  25 years ago if you were to tell anyone worth their salt in terms of knowledge of labor relations in sports that in 2013 baseball, with their Supreme Court-granted anti-trust exemption would have the most stable, peaceful, and amicable collective bargaining relationship in all of sports, they would call you crazy. However, that is exactly what has happened, the other three major professional sports leagues have endured protracted lockouts over the last 2/3 years and baseball on the other hand agreed to a new CBA even before the previous had expired.

When asked to explain the seemingly dramatic change in terms of the labor relations dynamics among the players and the owners, Weiner had this to offer:

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