Tanaka Faces Live Batters Again

The Masahiro Tanaka rehab plan reached another important milestone yesterday when he faced live batters for the first time since hitting the DL with his elbow injury.  Tanaka threw 35 pitches across 2 simulated innings to Brendan Ryan and Zelous Wheeler before yesterday’s game with Larry Rothschild and presumably Joe and other members of the coaching staff watching on.

The initial reports from the sim game were positive.  Tanaka said he his elbow felt good while acknowledging that he felt a little rusty.  As has been the norm in these milestones, the team will wait to see how his elbow feels today and in the next few days before deciding what the next step is.  He’ll need to make a few rehab starts to get his pitch count back up, but that might have to come in sim game fashion as well with the MiL season winding down.

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Game 127 Quick Recap: Yankees 5 White Sox 3

Joe Torre Day 2014

Courtesy of Getty Images

It’s been a rough go for the Yankees this year on their special Saturday games honoring their former players.  They lost back-to-back games by a combined score of 14-1 on June 21st and 22nd when they added Tino and Goose to Monument Park, and got shut out by Corey Kluber 2 weeks ago when Paul O’Neill got the nod.  There was another ceremony before this afternoon’s game, this one to honor former manager Joe Torre and retire his number 6.  This time the Yankees changed their fortunes and picked up their second straight win against the White Sox to set up the sweep opportunity tomorrow.

Hiroki Kuroda was on the mound today and he turned in a quintessential Hirok performance.  6 innings, 5 hits, 2 runs, 6 strikeouts.  The White Sox got 1 in the 2nd on a pair of doubles and another in the 5th when Jose Abreu singled home a run.  In between, they put at least 1 runner on base in every inning and came away with nothing every time.  …

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Game 127 – Here we go a-Carrolling

The Yankees need to win on Joe Torre Day, right? Well, they didn’t win on Paul O’Neill Day. But the team does have a two-game winning streak thanks in part to some of the parts Brian Cashman brought in at the trade deadline. Once the Torre festivities are over, it will be Hiroki Kuroda versus Scott Carroll.

Once upon a time, a day game with Kuroda on the mound at home meant nothing but good things. But Hirok has not been quite the same pitcher. He sports the 16th lowest strikeout percentage of 96 qualified starters this season. Not being able to finish off batters compared to past years has been a problem.

Scott Carroll continues to be a nice story of a guy who pitched for years and years in the minors and finally got his shot. His actual performance has been up and down and he has been lit up pretty well in his last three starts.

Derek Jeter gets the day off and Stephen Drew will handle short.…

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Game 126 Recap: Yanks 4 White Sox 3

Prado HR vs CHW

Ladies and gentlemen, your Opening Day 2015 starting third baseman… Courtesy of Getty Images

You know it’s been a depressing year as a Yankee fan when one of your personal highlights was the team wisely electing to not trade for John Danks.  The Yankees were linked to him forever and it felt like the kind of desperate, dumb deal they would do to prove they were really “in it to win it”.  They passed, didn’t take on that contract, and obviously that meant that Danks was going to stroll into Yankee Stadium tonight and shut them the hell down.  Just kidding.  He was terrible because he is terrible and gave the Yankees a million chance to score a million runs.

The start of the game was just about the worst one you could have imagined for Shane Greene.  The first 2 batters of the game singled to set up Jose Abreu, and when Greene left a slider up a little too much, Abreu got enough of the ball to sneak it over the left field wall and bring everybody home.  …

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Game 126: The John Danks Experience

The Yankees look to keep things rolling after Brandon McCarthy’s CGSO yesterday, and draw a favorable matchup against the struggling John Danks (9-8, 4.94 ERA) and his 59-68 White Sox. Shane Greene gets the call for New York, who’s been stellar in seven starts as a rookie, going 3-1 wth a 2.91 ERA.

Carlos Beltran will miss his third straight game with a sore right elbow, and Joe Girardi wasn’t ready to call playing him tomorrow a possibility. That said, Beltran did take some swings before this evening’s game. Brian McCann gets a half-day off at DH

Interesting figure, which speaks mainly to the bullpen’s performance – Yankees pitchers own the third-highest K/BB ratio (3.34) in modern MLB history (since 1990), per Elias. Only the 2014 Nationals (3.44 entering today) and 2012 Phillies (3.39) have been better.

Now, to the lineups…

Chicago White Sox New York Yankees
Alejandro De Aza, LF Brett Gardner, LF
Carlos Sanchez, 2B Derek Jeter, SS
Jose Abreu, 1B Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Adam Dunn, DH Mark Teixeira, 1B
Avisail Garcia, RF Martin Prado, 2B
Conor Gillaspie, 3B Brian McCann, DH
Alexei Ramirez, SS Chase Headley, 3B
Jordan Danks, CF Francisco Cervelli, C
Tyler Flowers, C Zelous Wheeler, RF
John Danks, SP (9-8, 4.94 ERA) Shane Greene, SP (3-1, 2.91 ERA)
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Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 8/22/14

The girlfriend and I officially start our “moving in together” process this weekend.  I’ve become a pretty lazy person in my mid-to-late 20s and it’s going to be hot, muggy, and possibly raining at times, so needless to say I’m not expecting it to be a fun weekend.  At least I can chalk it up as 2 days of me approximating a workout and doing something productive with my time.  Because next Saturday I am turning off my entire life and posting up hard on the couch for college football opening weekend.  That’s a must.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, Mike Petriello dug into some finer details of Brian McCann’s depressing offensive season and offered some harrowing suggestions for what his future holds.

- Chad Jennings of LoHud broke down the areas of roster need and the candidates to get call ups to fill them as September roster expansions approach.

- On Tuesday, Larry Fleisher of Metro Sports told the tale of Shane Greene’s atypical path to the Major Leagues.

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Quick Hit: Some Words Of Encouragement For The Weekend (UPDATED)

Don’t worry about the slumping offense, gang.  Joe’s finally got the momentum-changing strategy all figured out.

“You keep running guys out there and believe it’s going to change.  Eventually it’s going to be right and it’s going to be consistent over a long period.”

Boom.  There it is.  Keep doing the same thing you’ve been doing and eventually it’s going to be consistent over a long period.  Even though it hasn’t been and there’s almost not enough time left in the season to establish a long period of consistently good production.  All we have to do is believe!

** UPDATE 6:15 PM**- We’ve got more words of motivation, people.  Real powerful stuff:

“I’ve said all along, these guys have worked hard and they’re trying to figure it out.  Whatever it takes, it takes. They’re going to do whatever it takes to try to get better and try to be more productive. I am all for that. It’s not something where they come to work and they say, ‘OK, this is what it is.’ They don’t do that.

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Phelps Coming Back As A Reliever Makes Sense

I almost missed this, but Joe announced after Wednesday night’s game that the Yanks are planning to bring David Phelps back as a reliever now that he’s started throwing again.  While that may go against the unwritten rule of not losing your job due to injury, there are a lot of reasons why this is the right move.

For starters, the rotation isn’t exactly suffering without him.  McCarthy-Kuroda-Greene-Pineda has been a strong foursome and Chris Capuano‘s final lines are usually made to look worse by bad relief work behind him.  He’s been perfectly fine as a 5th starter.

The bullpen is where things are dire.  Joe’s binder is basically down to the Betances, D-Rob, and “If You’d Reached This Chapter Then You’re Probably Screwed” sections.  Adding a fresh arm in Phelps would give Joe another option for some of the higher-leverage middle relief innings and one he’s familiar and comfortable with.  It would also allow Phelps to get through his rehab and get back to pitching in meaningful games quicker, and it could help limit the risk for another follow-up injury.…

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Quick Hit: Starters Keep On Keepin’ On

While I stand by my comment in Wednesday morning’s rant about how it sucks that the rotation can’t ever get through 6-7 innings, I wasn’t trying to suggest that the rotation has, in any way, been part of the problem.  They haven’t.  Boland tweeted this out last night and it’s the continuation of something I pointed out a month ago.  The Yankee rotation, whoever’s been in it, has been killing it since early July.  Who honestly thought that would be happening without Tanaka, Nova, and Pineda for most of the season?

The Good News Here- The Yankees have given themselves some nice options to consider for next year’s rotation.  Nova’s out, Kuroda’s going to retire, and CC’s knee may be past the point of usability.  They’re going to need multiple arms, and cheap young guys like Greene and Phelps could be very valuable in the 4th and 5th spots, as could someone like Brandon McCarthy.…

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