Sunday, April 7th: Yankees at Tigers

The Yankees’ slow start was predictable. Once things began going wrong in spring training, a one and four or worse start became a self-fulfilling prophecy. And while the games thus far have been tough to watch, it’s important to remember that there are 157 more games to go. The Yankees have yet to play the equivalent of a single NFL game, and have played the equivalent of two NBA games. For all intents and purposes, nothing has happened yet. That said, despite the season being so young, one disconcerting observation is that the Bombers have been bad on both sides of the ball. They haven’t scored a lot of runs and their pitching has been bad. The surest way for the Yankees to start playing better is for them to start pitching better. There’s no time like the present. CC Sabathia faces off against Justin Verlander today. CC has consistently pitched better his second start of the year in pinstripes (although he’s pitched badly against Detroit) while Verlander hasn’t been unbeatable against the Yankees. Hopefully the big guy can help the team start to play better. Use this as your game thread. Enjoy! Continue reading Sunday, April 7th: Yankees at Tigers

The Farm Report: 4/6/13

Another tough day on the farm, but there was still plenty of interesting things to watch. Graham Stoneburner made his first start in Triple-A. He has long been a favorite dark horse of mine, though injuries have slowed him down quite a bit the last couple years. Rafael De Paula made his debut with Charleston, who split a doubleheader with Greenville. Culver had a strong day going 3-8 on the day and continues to look nice in these first couple games.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lost to Pawtucket 7-2:
Melky Mesa started the RailRiders off with a single in the first, but they were unable to score him. They broke through in the second when Luke Murton reached on an error. He moved to second on a ground out by Addison Maruszak and scored when Gil Velazquez grounded a single to center. Pawtucket responded in the top of the third, however, as J.C. Linares lead off with a single. A wild pitch moved him to second and a double by Dan Butler brought the Red Sox’s first run home. Jeremy Hazelbaker drew a walk and a single by Justin Henry loaded the bases. Drew Sutton reached on a throwing error by Murton, allowing two runs to score and giving Pawtucket a 3-1 lead. The RailRiders got one run back in the bottom of the inning. Dan Johnson reached on a force out at second and scored after back-to-back singles by Murton and Maruszak. Unfortunately, that was the only rally Scranton had in them as they threatened a couple times but were unable to score again. Pawtucket added some insurance in the ninth on a Hazelbaker grand slam off Jim Miller for the 7-2 win over the RailRiders.

Murton went 2-4 with a run scored and a double. Maruszak also went 2-4, picking up an RBI. Both of them had an error. Stoneburner threw four innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on four hits and one walk. He struck out three. Juan Cedeno threw two perfect innings in relief, getting four Ks in the process. Mark Montgomery also threw two scoreless innings, allowing a pair of hits and striking out three batters.

Trenton Thunder v. Portland (postponed):
The Thunder’s game was postponed due to COLD. Apparently, it is too cold in early April to play baseball in Portland, Maine. Shocking.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading The Farm Report: 4/6/13

Tigers 8, Yankees 4: Well, that wasn’t fun

YANKEES-blog480I was going to do a good news/bad news feature for this recap but there wasn’t a lot of good news today. I guess the fact that the Yankees scored one more run than they did yesterday was a good thing, right? Unfortunately for the Yanks, who scored four whole runs, Detroit scored eight runs on 17 hits against Yankee pitchers.

The only guys who seem to be hitting in the Yankees’ lineup are the new guys. Vernon Wells hit another home run today while Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay each had RBI singles. Robinson Cano walked and scored but was hitless with two strikeouts in his other at bats.

Actually, if there was a hitting star of the day for the Yankees, it would be Overbay who finished 2-4 for two RBI.

Phil Hughes had three good innings – good as in the Tigers didn’t score – sandwiched between two not so great innings. In the bottom of the first, he gave up a run on a Prince Fielder sacrifice fly. In the bottom of the fifth, with the score tied, Hughes gave up an RBI double to Torii Hunter and an RBI single to Miguel Cabrera.

The damage didn’t end there. Detroit scored four runs in the fifth off a combo of Hughes and yesterday’s star – yes, that’s sarcasm, Boone Logan. Hughes finished with a pretty bad line: 4.0 IP, eight hits, four runs, three earned runs and four strikeouts. Two positives from Hughes because yes, there were some. He didn’t give up a home run and he didn’t walk a batter.

David Phelps, who was scheduled to start today’s game, pitched 2.2 innings in relief and gave up two runs on six hits, while walking one and striking out one.

Another positive for the Yankees pitching staff, I guess, is that they didn’t give up any home runs today. (Look, I’m trying to find a silver lining.)

So the Yankees are now 1-4 and people are freaking out about how bad the Yankees are. I get being upset because a 1-4 start is never fun but it’s not like the Yankees will go 1-161.

Tomorrow is the finale of the series and will feature CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander on the hill. The Yankees will try to avoid the sweep and Sabathia will try to rebound for his not-so-great first start. Continue reading Tigers 8, Yankees 4: Well, that wasn’t fun

Game Five: Guess Hughes Back

MATT SLOCUM/AP

David Phelps was supposed to be your pitcher today, but after Hiroki Kuroda‘s short start, the Yankees have decided to bring Phelps into the bullpen. Without Adam Warren and a number of other relievers, the Yankees bullpen has looked very weak around the middle innings, hopefully Phelps can help for the time being.

Today’s minor league start was supposed to be Phil Hughes‘ final rehab game, so expect the right-hander to be available for around 100 pitches. We didn’t get to watch him in Spring Training, and it’ll be good to see how his velocity and movement looks. Last year, Hughes saw more than double the innings he did in the previous season, and the last time that happened, he could barely hit 90 mph with his fastball. Hopefully the pitcher can start the season off on a good note with his strong fastball combined with his new slider and change up.

Here’s today’s lineup.
Brett Gardner CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Travis Hafner DH
Vernon Wells LF
Brennan Boesch RF
Francisco Cervelli C
Lyle Overbay 1B
Jayson Nix SS

As I mentioned earlier today, Girardi has removed Ichiro Suzuki and Eduardo Nunez from this lineup. It’s just an off day for the right fielder, but Nunez won’t get the start after taking a pitch to his bicep yesterday. There was a possibility that he’d take batting practice, and could pinch hit at some point, but don’t expect to see him in the field. As crazy as it sounds, Cervelli will be today’s backup infielder.

Max Scherzer will take the mound for the Tigers. The game starts at 4:05 PM on FOX. Go Yankees! Continue reading Game Five: Guess Hughes Back

Quick Hits: Eppley And Today’s Lineup

In case you missed it, Phil Hughes will be making an early return to the mound this afternoon. David Phelps was scheduled to pitch, but the team believes that they’re in need of a long man in the bullpen after Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova‘s short outings.

To make room for Hughes, the Yankees have sent down Cody Eppley. In Wednesday’s game, Eppley came out to reliever Kuroda and gave up 4 hits and 4 earned runs in 1.2 innings pitched. 3 of those 4 hits were ground balls, but Eppley is still the weakest link at the moment.

Here is today’s Ichiro-less lineup courtesy of Chad Jennings.

Brett Gardner CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Travis Hafner DH
Vernon Wells LF
Brennan Boesch RF
Francisco Cervelli C
Lyle Overbay 1B
Jayson Nix SS

Without Eduardo Nunez and Ichiro Suzuki, the defense is slowly evaporating in an already punch-less lineup. Obviously Wells has looked good at the plate in his first few plate appearances, but I think Boesch could turn things around as well. Since the Yankees altered his swing, Boesch hit very well in Spring Training, finishing his last four games with 2 home runs and a double. In yesterday’s games, Boesch only notched a single throughout four plate appearances, but one of those outs was a rocket up the middle that Doug Fister was able to deflect to the second baseman.

Not the prettiest lineup, but a lot of interesting bats at least. The game starts at 4:05 PM and you can catch it on FOX. Continue reading Quick Hits: Eppley And Today’s Lineup

The Farm Report: 4/5/13

It was a tough day on the Farm for the Yankees affiliates. Tampa picked up its first win of the year, but everyone else came up short. Dellin Betances made his first appearance of 2013, as did the Charleston RiverDogs after being rained out yesterday.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lost to Pawtucket 9-4:
Looking to turn the page on 2012, Betances made his first start of the season on Friday night. Pawtucket got to the big righty quickly, as Jeremy Hazelbaker grounded a single back to the mound and Justin Henry lined on to center. A walk to Drew Sutton loaded the bases, but Betances came back to strike out the next two batters. Brandon Snyder then lined a single to the outfield giving the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. Betances settled down, however, pitching a 1-2-3 second and third inning and allowing just one walk in the fourth before being pulled at the start of the fifth. Hazelbaker knocked a triple off Ryan Pope and scored another run on a sac fly from Henry. The RailRiders offense caught fire in the seventh, started by walks to Melky Mesa and Cody Johnson. Austin Romine lined a single to left, juicing the bases with no outs. Thomas Neal connected with a double to center, clearing the bases and tying the game 3-3.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading The Farm Report: 4/5/13

Quick Hits: Hughes’ Early Return And Jeter Swinging Off A Tee

Phil Hughes was scratched from his minor league start tomorrow. At first, I thought this was bad news, but Donnie Collins is being told that Hughes is not injured, and that the Yankees need a starter for tomorrow’s game. David Phelps is scheduled to start tomorrow, but Cashman confirms that Hughes will be the starter in Detroit. Phelps last pitched in relief of CC Sabathia on Monday, and perhaps it’s him who had the set back. It could also have something to do with the state of the bullpen, which has been hit rather hard of late. On top of that, Ivan Nova didn’t have a great start today, so it’s possible the Yankees are reorganizing everything.

UPDATE (6:15 PM): Phelps will be headed to the bullpen since the Yankees desperately need a long man after Hiroki Kuroda‘s short start.

In Derek Jeter news, the shortstop hit off a tee today, but didn’t get to work in the field. It did rain in Tampa, so it’s possible that he just didn’t get the opportunity, but at least he’s making some progress. This DL stint was only supposed to be a week or so, but it’s obviously going to take a little longer now.
Continue reading Quick Hits: Hughes’ Early Return And Jeter Swinging Off A Tee

Tigers 8, Yankees 3: So much for the reprieve

Before you even think it, no it’s not just like last October. The team is different. The lineup is different. The year is different. Okay?

Today’s game was not fun to watch. There was once instance when it was fun, Kevin Youkilis hit a home run to pull the Yankees ahead in the top of the fifth but then it all fell apart quickly.

The Tigers scored three in the bottom of that fifth inning, one in the bottom of the sixth and two more in the bottom of the seventh. And how did they do it? Home runs. Two by Prince Fielder and one by Alex Avila. Fielder had five runs batted in this afternoon.

Ivan Nova didn’t look good. He’s has been on a bit of a slide since the 2012 All-Star break and at one point in today’s game, six straight batters were able to work a 3-2 count against him. Unfortunately for Nova, the bullpen didn’t help his cause. In fact, the only one in the bullpen who did well was David Robertson who pitched a four-pitch, 1-2-3 eighth inning.

Nova allowed two men on in the fifth which forced Joe Girardi to go to the bullpen and he called upon Boone Logan to try and get the Yankees out of trouble. That didn’t happen. What did happen was Fielder hitting the first of his two home runs. This one, a three-run shot to put the Tigers up 5-3.

Then in the sixth, Shawn Kelley replaced Logan and gave up a homer of his own, a solo shot to Alex Avila. But Kelley wasn’t done and neither was Prince Fielder. After walking Miguel Cabrera to lead off the seventh, Kelley gave up a two-run shot to Fielder that put the Tigers up 8-3.

And to add injury to insult, Eduardo Nunez was removed from the game after being hit by a pitch. They’re saying it’s a bruised right biceps. Let’s hope that’s all it is.
Continue reading Tigers 8, Yankees 3: So much for the reprieve

Eduardo Nunez Leaves Game After Being Hit By Pitch

In the fourth inning of today’s game in Detroit, Eduardo Nunez was hit by a pitch. It looked like it got him in the chest, but the shortstop immediately fell to the ground and clutched his upper arm. Jayson Nix came in to replace him, and with Derek Jeter on the DL, the Yankees have few replacements at shortstop. Nunez has looked really good over the last few days, and I wrote about his new throwing motion yesterday. It would be extremely unfortunate if he’s lost for any extended period of time. Considering he could barely walk off the field, it doesn’t look good.

UPDATE (3:24 PM): Nunez has brusing in his right bicep, the X-Rays were negative and he’s listed as day-to-day. Hopefully that’s just a couple of games rest. Continue reading Eduardo Nunez Leaves Game After Being Hit By Pitch