The Bronx is Vernon

(With apologies to John Sterling for stealing his schtick.)

I really like Vernon Wells.

This isn’t earth-shattering news by any means and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way but last night’s events solidified it. And I’m not talking about his performance in last night’s win over the Colorado Rockies, I am talking about his post game quotes and a postgame tweet.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t well versed in ‘Vernon Wells.’ I knew of his huge contract and the disappointing performances with both Toronto and Anaheim but I had no idea what kind of person he was.

If yesterday is any indication, Wells is a pretty cool guy and I think I want to hang out with him.

Last night, in the top of the ninth, Yankee fans realized that because of a combination substitutions in the lineup and injuries, the Yankees were going to be without a third baseman in the bottom of the frame. On Twitter, people were joking about suiting up for the Yankees and one of my Twitter friends even suggested her cat do it.

When the tweets started coming in from Denver saying that Vernon Wells was making his way to the field to play third base, most people were flabbergasted. Fans of other teams were making sure they tune in on MLB.tv to see it. Those people were mocking the Yankees for having this happen.

I mean look at this series of events:

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What Nova Needs To Work On

Nova vs TOR

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

With his 15-day DL stint winding down and the make-up doubleheader against Cleveland scheduled for Monday, the prevailing thought is that Ivan Nova will be activated to pitch one of those games.  Joe didn’t fully commit to it before last Tuesday night’s game, acknowledging that the team would first want to make sure Nova came through today’s yesterday’s ExST outing without issue before making the decision.  Assuming the reports from that outing all come back positive, however, the combination of timing and situation makes too much sense for it not to happen.

Nova wasn’t pitching particularly well prior to hitting the DL.  Joe’s short leash was a clear indication that he had lost confidence in Nova, and rumblings had already started about the security of Ivan’s rotation spot.  A return to pitch in a situation of need like a doubleheader is not a guarantee that Nova will get his rotation spot back, especially if he pitches poorly, but assuming he will be back and David Phelps is heading back to the bullpen here’s what Nova needs to do to nail down that spot.

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Did that really happen? Yankees 3, Rockies 2

Like I asked in the recap title, “Did that really happen?”

Did David Phelps really bat 8th?
Did Austin Romine really bat 9th?
Did David Robertson somehow pitch a scoreless eighth inning without a working curveball?
Did Vernon Wells really play third base in the ninth inning and actually make a nice play?
Is he really the one who gave the Yankees their first inning lead with a home run?
Did Mariano Rivera really pick up his first ever save in Coors Field?
Did the Yankees really win their 19th game of the season?

Yes, it all really happened.

Phelps didn’t get the win but he pitched a nice game, lasting six innings, giving up two runs on three hits, walking one batter and striking out four. The big blow came off the bat of Todd Helton in the second inning. He hit a two-run shot to tie the game at two.

Robertson actually picked up the win because the Yankees scored their third run in the top of the ninth while he was still the pitcher of record. It’s his second win of the season.

In the top of the ninth, Brennan Boesch hit a single to drive in a run. He beat out a close play at first, Wells scored but Jayson Nix was called out after rounding second when he probably shouldn’t have.

Then Rivera came in and converted his 12th save out of 12 tries. He gave up one hit, a ball that Robinson Cano missed as he dove for it. This came right after third baseman, Vernon Wells, made a nice play for the second out of the inning.

Of course he did. Wells was the star of the game. He finished 3-4 with those two RBI from his early home run and he won the hearts of Yankee fans everywhere when he bravely manned third base for the first time in his professional career. It was pretty fantastic. Continue reading Did that really happen? Yankees 3, Rockies 2

The Farm Report: 5/8/13

In case you missed it – there were a couple important minor league tidbits reported today. As EJ noted, Ty Hensley won’t throw a pitch for any minor league affiliate this year due to his hip surgery. In happier news, Curtis Granderson is ready to make some appearances in Scranton, and even homered in Extended Spring Training today, as he nears his return to the Bronx. This is good news for Scranton, who struggled offensively today. Trenton wasn’t much better, but Tampa’s offense blew away Fort Myers.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lost to Indianapolis 2-0:
Much like the big league club last night, Scranton fell prey to one bad pitch today. With the game scoreless in the top of the third, Graham Stoneburner walked Jared Goedert and then gave up a two-run homer to Felix Pie, which proved to be the difference in the game. Neither team put up much of a threat during the remaining innings. Scranton only managed a total of three hits, as David Adams and Dan Johnson both went 1-3 and Jeff Farnham went 1-2. The rest of the lineup was hitless and Melky Mesa went 0-3 with three strikeouts. Stoneburner went five innings and allowed two runs on five hits, a walk and a strikeout. Sam Demel threw two innings, giving up one hit and striking out three. Clay Rapada and Josh Spence both pitched a scoreless inning of relief – Rapada gave up one hit and Spence walked two.

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Game 32: Hold back the rain

It’s raining again in Denver though the beat writers just tweeted that the game will be starting on time (8:40 p.m. ET). Hopefully, the rain will stay away and there won’t be any delays.

In case you missed it, the Yankees’ lineup is kind of amazing tonight.

YANKEES
Gardner CF
Cano 2B
Wells LF
Overbay 1B
Ichiro RF
Nix SS
Nelson 3B
Phelps P
Romine C

Yes, the pitcher is batting eighth and the best hitter on the team is batting second.

ROCKIES
Fowler CF
Rutledge 2B
Gonzalez LF
Cuddyer RF
Rosario C
Helton 1B
Arenado 3B
Brignac SS
Nicasio P

Go Yankees! Continue reading Game 32: Hold back the rain

UPDATE Quick hit: Granderson homers in extended spring training game

From Jeff Lippman at CBSSports.com:

(4:58 pm ET) Yankees injured outfielder Curtis Granderson played in an extended spring training game Wednesday afternoon, MLB.com reports. Granderson homered to center field in the second inning.

He played two innings in center, moved to right for two more innings and ended the game in left field against the Blue Jays.

This is very good news.

UPDATE: 6:07 P.M. From Donnie Collins of the Times-Tribune in Scranton:

The Yankees’ All-Star center fielder (Granderson) will open a major league rehab assignment with the RailRiders Thursday against Indianapolis, a source within the organization confirmed to The Times-Tribune.

Granderson is expected to be with the RailRiders for the next three to four games. He’s that much closer to rejoining the big club. Continue reading UPDATE Quick hit: Granderson homers in extended spring training game

Another One Bites the Dust: Ty Hensley Out Until Spring Training 2014

Originally, Ty Hensley was going to miss 2-3 months following surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. Given that he was 19 years old, the missed time wasn’t a big deal. He was likely ticketed for EST anyway. But bad news broke today: Hensley won’t pitch until Spring Training 2014. Its way too early to label him a bust, but its not too early to place him into a larger pattern of terrible Yankee minor league pitching prospect management.

The Yankees need to stop sucking at keeping their minor league pitchers healthy. You can’t blame them for any individual case, but a strong pattern is emerging for the team: they just aren’t good at developing minor league pitching. Their success rate at taking promising young arms and turning them into big league 25-man roster players is almost zero. Over the past five years, you balance the successes of David Robertson, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova (kinda-sorta), and David Phelps against the brutal, injury/trade/terribleness graveyard of their top prospects.

When the team gave Zach McAllister away as a player to be named later a few years ago, I don’t think they expected him to become much. At that point, they were suffering through their second consecutive year of McAllister being ineffective at Triple-A, and were ready to give up. He had always shown a lot of talent, but got consistently clobbered against more advanced hitters. After the trade, a funny thing happened: the Indians fixed McAllister, and all of the sudden he became a good MLB pitcher.

Ditto for Christian Garcia. Garcia was always the most talented thrower in the Yankee system, but got stuck in a cycle of permanent unhealthiness from 2006-2009. The Nationals picked him up, fixed him, and he became an effective reliever for them. Granted, he’s injured right now, but he has been an electric presence in their bullpen since being called up. Continue reading Another One Bites the Dust: Ty Hensley Out Until Spring Training 2014

Pettitte’s “Floating” Release Point

After Andy Pettitte’s start on 4/29, the left-hander complained about release point issues. He explained that problems in his release point and the inefficiency of his cutter were causing him to struggle. After Sunday’s start on 5/5, Pettitte ran into the same issues. He had this to say after the game.

“It’s a struggle,” Pettitte said. “The issue is everything. Everything I’ve got to do as a starting pitcher, I’m not able to do right now. … My release point is floating around a little bit. … It’s been a long, long time since I haven’t had a feeling for my pitches.”

Yesterday, Brad covered his cutter, and today I want to take a look at his release points.

Instead, I’d like to just present Pettitte’s release points from his six 2013 starts.

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