This week in Yankees baseball


Last week, I predicted this little-engine-that-could New York Yankees’ team would go 3-3 and figured that was a reasonable expectation. I was way off base as the team finished the week 5-1 with five straight wins after opening the week with a loss. I also noted that Vernon Wells‘ Cinderella story was turning back into a pumpkin. But somebody kept the clock from reaching midnight as Wells again became the carriage that carried the Yankees this week. He hit two homers in the five games with five ribbies and only struck out once all week. Of course, he did not walk all week either, but why quibble. Wells also made a couple of great plays in the outfield.

Lyle Overbay had a very good week with two doubles and a homer for an OPS in the last five games of .929. And my perennial punching bag, Jayson Nix, had a great week and finished the week with an OPS over one. But the real story this week was the pitching, which featured good outings from the entire rotation except for Phil Hughes and the Yankees still won his game. The Yankees allowed only seven runs in the four non-Hughes games. The bullpen was solid and Mariano Rivera picked up four saves this week. He did not look dominant in doing so, but again, the job got done.

So what happens this week? The Yankees play a troublesome double-header in Cleveland to make up two postponements there. But then they travel home to play Seattle and Toronto for six games at home. At some point this week, Curtis Granderson will be back and that will be a welcomed sight, though it will be interesting to see what Joe Girardi does with his outfield. So, here is a preview of the week to come in Yankees baseball.

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The Yankees’ Wild 2013 Ride Keeps Rolling Along

Nix Overbay vs KC

Today should be fun, huh?  After starting off their “8 in 7” road trip with a 2-1 series win in Colorado and a 3-game sweep in KC, the surging Yankees will stop off in Cleveland today on their way back home for a doubleheader to make up for last month’s rainouts.  They were 2-4 when they first came to Cleveland 5 weeks ago and used the first 2 games of that series to kickstart their season, winning both by a combined score of 25-7.  Since then the Yanks have gone 19-9, ascended to the top of the division, and silenced nearly all the critics who said they’d be done after suffering their rash of ST injuries, this extended stretch of success being driven by some of the players most expected to flop as full-time injury replacements.  Now they’ll come back to where the season really started, even more injured and worn down than they were last time, and they’ll do it with a 5-game winning streak in their pocket.

The Yanks will send David Phelps and Vidal Nuno to the mound for today’s starts, not exactly household names when you think of the New York Yankee starting rotation.  They have a combined 13 career starts between them, all of them Phelps’, and would not be in the rotation right now were it not for Ivan Nova.  Phelps took over Nova’s spot in the rotation after Nova hit the disabled list with triceps inflammation a few weeks ago; Nuno gets the start tonight in place of Nova, who felt some tightness in his left side playing catch yesterday and will likely spend a little more time on the DL.  Nuno has made just 1 appearance since being called up and tonight will be his first career Major League start.  Not exactly standard practice for a first career start, but then again, what’s been standard about this season so far?

Backing one or both of them up will be Adam Warren, another Triple-A starter who was forced into bullpen duty because of all the injury problems.  Backing him up will be Brett Marshall, who has zero Major League experience but is scheduled to pitch today and he could be called upon for the second game in a pinch.  If he’s not needed as the doubleheader 26th man, that job will probably go to Corban Joseph, a lefty swinging second base prospect who’s only around because the team’s infield depth is a dead zone.  Jayson Nix and Chris Nelson haven’t been making anybody forget about Jeter and A-Rod, no matter how much Bob Klapisch tries to convince us otherwise, and Eduardo Nunez was placed on the DL this weekend, opening up another roster spot for a Triple-A filler piece in Alberto Gonzalez.  Seriously, Alberto Gonzalez, Chris Nelson, Chris Stewart, Ben Francisco, Adam Warren, Vidal Nuno, and Preston Claiborne are all on the Yankees’ active roster today.  And the team is 10 games over .500.  Think about that.

To add to the entertaining chaos that is this team right now, consider that its 2 best relief pitchers, D-Rob and Mo, come into today’s doubleheader each having pitched in 4 of the last 5 days and may not be available for one or both of the games today.  Or that Vernon Wells, arguably the most criticized of all the offseason additions, is currently second among all AL outfielders in fWAR (1.4) behind only Mike Trout.  Or that they might get Curtis Granderson back sometime this week, as he’s already completed 4 of what was reported to be a 3-4 game rehab assignment in Triple-A.  There’s been no shortage of talking points, concerns, or intrigue surrounding this club in the first 6 weeks of the season.  They aren’t sexy, they haven’t always looked sharp, but they’ve gotten the job done and there’s been something fun and entertaining about the way they’ve done it.  Today’s doubleheader will just be the latest example. Continue reading The Yankees’ Wild 2013 Ride Keeps Rolling Along

Kuroda, Cano and Wells combine to beat Royals 4-2

The Yankees swept the Royals today, winning 4-2 on Mother’s Day. The real star of the game was Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda didn’t strike a lot of batters out, fanning just one, but he only walked one as well, limiting the Royals to six hits over 7.2 innings. With that kind of control, you don’t need a lot of strike outs. Kuroda was efficient as well, throwing just 98 pitches. He got into some trouble in the eighth inning, and even got into a verbal spat with the home plate umpire, but none of that was enough to undo a solid performance. Continue reading Kuroda, Cano and Wells combine to beat Royals 4-2

Game Thread: Yankees at Royals, Sunday May 12th

Guess who’s in first place? Not the Toronto Blue Jays. Not Tampa Bay either. None other than your New York Yankees. While it is early in the season yet, this is a good sign. It is also evidence of how fickle the baseball media is. Remember just before the season began when the new look Blue Jays were going to be the jewel of the AL East? Me neither. But it was obvious that the Jays weren’t built to last. What was less obvious was how the Rays would start a bit slowly in the division. That said, it’s tight atop the AL East and at least three, and probably four, of the team’s are going to have winning records. That’s a crowded field. Continue reading Game Thread: Yankees at Royals, Sunday May 12th

Joba vs. Mo: The shush heard ’round the world

I guess the Yankees winning games and being in first place is too boring for some people.

It has been reported that before yesterday’s game, while Mariano Rivera was being interviewed by the beat writers, he got into a little bit of a tiff with Joba Chamberlain.

While Mo was answering questions in the dugout, Joba was signing autographs for fans outside of the dugout and apparently was being so loud that Rivera couldn’t hear the reporters’ questions. He told Joba to keep it down and Joba didn’t appreciate that. It was reported that Joba said, “Don’t shush me.” Then said, “Don’t ever shush me.”

Oh boy.

Now, I get that the beat writers have certain things that they do before games and that they probably wouldn’t have time to do a quick write up of the events that happened before the game. I also get that you don’t get page views with tweets but that you get them with sexy headlines and blog posts which is why everything came out after the game. But the timing still seems suspicious to me.

Joba should know better than to disrespect Mo in front of a bunch of people so I don’t know what was going through his head at that moment. And I’m sure it will be taken care of in house. I also predict we will get a bunch of no comments, there’s nothing more to says, we took care of its, later today from various members of the team, the parties involved and the manager.

UPDATE 11:35 A.M.: Joba likened last night incident to brothers having an argument. He added that everything is fine, he and Mo talked it out but also said he didn’t apologize. Interesting.

Onto the next non-story! Continue reading Joba vs. Mo: The shush heard ’round the world

Game 35: The first place Yankees

In case you didn’t know, the New York Yankees are in first place right now. And while it is true that they are tied for first place with both the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox, the accomplishment shouldn’t be diminished, especially when sports “experts” were predicting the Yankees to be playing like the Houston Astros this year.

Anyway, here are the lineups:

Gardner CF
Cano 2B
Wells LF
Hafner DH
Ichiro RF
Nix SS
Overbay 1B
Nelson 3B
Stewart C

Pettitte P

Escobar SS
Cain CF
Gordon LF
Butler DH
Hosmer 1B
Perez C
Moustakas 3B
Francoeur RF
Johnson 2B

Shields P

Go Yankees! Continue reading Game 35: The first place Yankees

The Farm Report: 5/10/13 Yankees’ affiliates sweep the day

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre beat Gwinnett 5-3:
The Braves took an early lead as Tyler Pastornicky started the game with a single to right and stole second. Alden Carrithers bunted for a single, putting runners on the corners for Joey Terdoslavich, who connected with a three run homer. The RailRiders had a chance to chip away at Gwinnett’s lead in the bottom of the inning. Corban Joseph singled, but Curtis Granderson hit into a double play. Zoilo Almonte, Ronnier Mustelier adn Dan Johnson all singled, but Almonte was thrown out at home, leaving Scranton trailing 3-0 . The RailRiders got a couple runners in the second and third innings, but didn’t get on the board until the fourth. Melky Mesa grounded a single to left and scored on a double by Addison Maruszak. Jeff Farnham drew a walk. Joseph laid down a bunt, that the Gwinnett catcher fielded and threw to third for the out. Granderson struck out, but a wild pitch moved the runners over. A single by Almonte plated two more runs and the game was tied 3-3. The tie held until the bottom of the eighth, at which point Scranton pulled ahead. Joseph singled and Granderson followed with a two-run homer to left center, a score that held on for the 5-3 RailRider victory.

Joseph went 2-5 with two runs scored. Granderson went 1-5 with a run scored, a homer and two RBIs. Almonte went 3-5 with a double and two RBIs. Mesa went 3-4 with a run scored. Dan Johnson went 2-3 with a double and a walk. Mustelelier went 2-5. Chris Bootcheck made the start, giving up three runs on five hits and a walk. He threw six innings and struck out four. Dellin Betances made his first appearance from the bullpen this season, throwing 2.1 innings and holding Gwinnett hitless. He walked one and struck out three. Same Demel finished out the game, going 0.2 innings and allowing one hit and striking out one.

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