The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Archive for May, 2010

Pitching matchups vs. Cleveland05.28.10

Mets Yankees BaseballTonight
RHP Phil Hughes (5-1, 2.72)
vs.
RHP Fausto Carmona (4-2, 3.45)
7:05 p.m., YES Network

Saturday
LHP CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.86)
vs.
LHP David Huff (2-6, 5.25)
1:05 p.m., YES Network

Sunday
RHP A.J. Burnett (5-2, 3.55)
vs.
RHP Justin Masterson (0-5, 6.13)
1:05 p.m., YES Network

Monday
LHP Andy Pettitte (6-1, 2.62)
vs.
RHP Mitch Talbot (6-3, 3.73)
1:05 p.m., YES Network

It will, of course, be great to see Shelley Duncan, who was called up to Cleveland last week. He has only five at-bats, but he’s made the most of them with three hits, three RBI, two walks and no strikeouts.

Associated Press photo of Sabathia

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 259 Comments →

Right on Target05.28.10

photoObviously most of the guys on the beat have been doing this job a lot longer than I have, but even the veterans seem to agree that Minneapolis is one of the underrated cities in the American League. And the city’s new ballpark might be the nicest I’ve seen this season.

Yankee Stadium is its own sort of place. It’s overwhelming, and that seems to be intentional.

Target Field is perfectly small market. The Twins logo in center field is old school. A row of flowers, not a line of paint, marks the top of the outfield wall. There are nods to franchise history throughout, everything from giant statues to small paintings to one of Kirby Puckett’s Gold Gloves.

The concourses are wide and I never made it to an area with a bad view of the field. Even the concessions seem to be above average, with some high quality food mixed with the standard beer and hot dogs.

Obviously I grew up with old Busch Stadium, but I also really liked the new Busch the one and only time I saw a game there. I’m sure a lot of you felt the same way about Yankee Stadium. It’s sad to see part of your childhood torn down, but the new place is pretty impressive. That’s how it is in Minneapolis. The Metrodome might have been iconic, but it’s hard to top the new place.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 479 Comments →

Today in The Journal News05.28.10

Yankees Twins BaseballDown to my last 50 minutes in Minneapolis. Gate G3 is my flight to LaGuardia. Gate G1 is a flight to Newark. In between is Gate G2, a flight to Los Angeles. It seems out of place.

The Yankees are already home, hoping the upcoming schedule will provide some relief from what has been a rocky past two weeks. In theory, the schedule is getting easier, beginning with four-game series against last-place Cleveland.

“Every team can beat you,” Joe Girardi said. “That’s just baseball. It all starts with your pitchers and how your pitchers are throwing.”

The Yankees pitchers didn’t throw especially well last night. Javier Vazquez was knocked around, especially early, and the Yankees lost their series finale against the Twins. It didn’t help that the offense failed to score more than four runs for a sixth straight game.

Help is on the way in the form of Curtis Granderson who played his final rehab game last night in Scranton. The notebook also has items on Jorge Posada, Alfredo Aceves and Girardi playing by the rules.

Associated Press photo of Robinson Cano.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Today in the Journal Newswith 107 Comments →

Postgame notes: A little bit different05.28.10

CORRECTION Yankees Twins BaseballTake the good with the bad from Javier Vazquez tonight. His first two innings were awful, and Vazquez was lucky to get out of them with only three runs scoring. If not for two nice plays by Mark Teixeira, there’s no telling how bad it could have gotten.

But he also got through his final 13 batters with only two hits. There were plenty of hard-hit balls — including, Jason Kubel’s home run and Orlando Hudson’s triple — but he was better later in the game.

“My first few games, early in the season, I wasn’t battling as well as I did today,” Vazquez said. “Really, the first couple of innings were the two innings that hurt me the most because I didn’t make good pitches.”

Those bad pitches were offspeed, not so much the fastball problems Vazquez was having earlier in the season. He said his smashed right index finger had no impact — “Didn’t even feel it,” he said — but he hung some curveballs and missed with some changeups.

“He left some breaking pitches up tonight and they didn’t miss them,” Girardi said. “A couple of curveballs. A couple of changeups. He got on the side of pitches and that’s going to happen. His command wasn’t as good as his last two starts but we’ll have to get it back… He made some mistakes with his breaking stuff tonight, so that was a little bit different than what we had been talking about.”

Yankees Twins Baseball• It’s been a week since the last time the Yankees scored more than four runs, but there have been some good signs the past few games. Mark Teixeira has six hits in the past four games, Derek Jeter has turned things around and Curtis Granderson should be back tomorrow. “Baseball has ups and downs,” Robinson Cano said. “We went through this last year too. We are going to be ready for this. We have to keep fighting and just keep our head up.”

• Girardi said he still doesn’t know what the move will be to add Granderson to the roster.

• Chan Ho Park faced four batters and allowed three base runners: Two hits and one walk. He said he’s having trouble keeping his pitches down in the zone, and he hasn’t felt quite the same since his hamstring injury. He’s still getting his strength back. “A little bit different than before,” he said. “But still I think it’s fine.”

• Girardi said he hasn’t noticed his players pressing with runners in scoring position, but the team was 2-for-7 in those situations tonight, with both hits coming from Cano. “I don’t see a real pattern,” Girardi said. “We’re just not impacting the baseball at times.” It didn’t help that both Kevin Russo and Brett Gardner hit the ball hard but lined out in key spots with runners on base.

• This was the Yankees first loss in Minneapolis since August 13, 2008.

• Jeter has an 11-game hitting streak and Cano has a 10-game streak.

• According to Elias, Vazquez had not allowed a home run in 63 straight at-bats before Jason Kubel’s home run in the sixth. It was the Twins first home run since May 17, a streak of 349 plate appearances.

• In case you missed it in the game post, Granderson told Donnie Collins that he feels about 90 to 95 percent overall. “The groin is actually good,” he said. “I haven’t felt anything with it. If you dig in and touch it, it’s still tender to the touch. But I don’t feel anything with it.”

Associated Press photos of Vazquez and Teixeira.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 53 Comments →

Yankees drop series finale in Minnesota05.27.10

Just when it seemed Javier Vazquez had turned a corner, the Yankees starter struggled again in the series finale against the Twins. Vazquez gave up five runs through 5.2 innings — and he nearly gave up a lot more — as the Yankees lost 8-2. It was still a series win for the Yankees, but the offense has now gone six straight games without scoring more than four runs. Jason Kubel homered twice for the Twins, including a nail-in-the-coffin three-run shot off Chad Gaudin in the seventh.

Yankees Twins Baseball

Associated Press photo of Alex Rodriguez and Orlando Hudson

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 85 Comments →

Game 47: Yankees at Twins05.27.10

YANKEES (28-18)
Derek Jeter SS
Brett Gardner CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Juan Miranda DH
Francisco Cervelli C
Kevin Russo LF

RHP Javier Vazquez (3-4, 6.69 ERA)
Career vs. Twins

TWINS (26-20)
Denard Span CF
Orlando Hudson 2B
Joe Mauer C
Justin Morneau 1B
Jim Thome DH
Michael Cuddyer RF
Jason Kubel LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Alexi Casilla 3B

RHP Nick Blackburn (5-1, 4.50)
Career vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 8:10 p.m. / YES Network

UMPIRES: HP Scott Barry, 1B Phil Cuzzi, 2B Chris Guccione, 3B Brian O’Nora

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the high 70s. After that rain on Tuesday, it’s been nothing but perfect weather here in Minneapolis.

TEST FOR JAVY: Javier Vazquez is finally pitching well, but this Twins lineup has been a challenge for him. Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer have each hit .300 or better against him, and Jim Thome and Jason Kubel have each homered twice against him.

WELCOME SIGHT: Mark Teixeira needs to break out of a slump, and Nick Blackburn might be the perfect guy to help him. It’s only 10 at-bats, but Teixeira is a career .800 hitter against Blackburn. He has one walk, one home run, six RBI and no strikeouts.

CUTTING IT CLOSE: Nearly half of the Yankees games — 22 of 46 — have been decided by two runs or less, including eight of the last nine.

UPDATE, 8:22 p.m.: Jeter and Teixeira got hits — yes, Mark Teixeira — but Rodriguez grounded into a tough double play to end the threat. Scoreless top of the first, here comes Vazquez.

UPDATE, 8:23 p.m.: Curtis Granderson is not in the lineup for the second game of tonight’s Scranton/Wilkes-Barre doubleheader. He’ll instead make his way to New York.

“Overall body, 90 to 95 percent,” Granderson told Donnie Collins. “There are a couple of things I still need. Long Yankees games are going to be the big test, long innings… The groin is actually good. I haven’t felt anything with it. If you dig in and touch it, it’s still tender to the touch. But I don’t feel anything with it.”

Donnie assured me that he did not actually confirm this “dig in and touch it” piece of information. We’ll have to take Granderson at his word. Investigative journalism has its limits.

UPDATE, 8:31 p.m.: Quite a snag by Teixeira to end the inning, but the Twins got a run and a 1-0 lead.

UPDATE, 9:08 p.m.: I’ve been wrapping up some early stories for the newspaper. In that time, Vazquez has been struggling through this Twins lineup. They scored twice in the second inning and have runners at first and second with two outs here in the third.

UPDATE, 9:33 p.m.: Vazquez has settled in a bit. He stranded two runners in the third and pitched through a 1-2-3 fourth. He’s retired five straight and the Yankees have cut the lead to 3-1.

UPDATE, 9:34 p.m.: Well that’s just terrible luck. Cervelli led off with a single, then Russo lined a rocket toward right field, but Morneau snagged it to turn a double into a double play.

UPDATE, 9:53 p.m.: Kind of a strange start for Vazquez. He’s allowed four runs through five innings, but he’s generally done a good job of limiting the damage. In reality, this could be a blowout at this point, but it’s a 4-1 Twins lead. Vazquez hasn’t looked sharp — four doubles and a triple — but he’s occasionally been able to make big pitches. Just a strange start. Not a good one, but not as bad as it might have been.

UPDATE, 9:57 p.m.: Teixeira’s second hit of the game is a lead-off double in the sixth.

UPDATE, 10:12 p.m.: Here comes park after a Jason Kubel home run has made it a 5-2 Twins lead. It’s amazing the Yankees are still in this game. Vazquez occasionally made some good pitches to get out of trouble, and he also got lucky quite often.

UPDATE, 10:33 p.m.: Welcome back Chad Gaudin. He’s in to face Michael Cuddyer with two on and one out in the seventh.

UPDATE, 10:42 p.m.: I got to see Jason Kubel a few times in Triple-A, and he’s a really nice hitter. He has two home runs and a double tonight, and his second homer has given the Twins an 8-2 lead. It really seemed inevitable that they were going to break this game open eventually. They’ve seemed to hit everything hard.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 811 Comments →

Pregame notes: Waiting for Curtis05.27.10

Granderson_1As I type this, Curtis Granderson is in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees lineup for the first game of a double header. If all goes to plan, chances are good he’ll be in center field at Yankee Stadium tomorrow.

“If everything goes OK, it’s pretty good,” Joe Girardi said.

Girardi said Granderson is an option to bat second, but he didn’t commit to any specific lineup. He only said that he wants to stick with Nick Swisher as the team’s primary No. 6 hitter to break up the left-handed bats.

With Juan Miranda getting regular starts at designated hitter, the Yankees have a lot of lefties to break up. Assuming a lineup of “everyday” players, the Yankees could break up the lefties by batting Granderson second, Miranda seventh and Brett Gardner ninth. They could also move Granderson back into the No. 7 spot, which would mean Gardner batting second and potentially having Granderson and Miranda back-to-back. Whatever the order, the Yankees will be happy to finally have their outfield back together.

“We’ve had to shuffle around our outfield,” Girardi said. “Guys have played more than we expected at the beginning of the season. We’ve missed an impact bat.”

• Alfredo Aceves update: “He saw the doctor yesterday and went to therapy today,” Girardi said. “It was reported that he might have another epidural and that’s not the case.”

• Jorge Posada update: “He saw the doctor and we’re going to meet with Jorge tomorrow,” Girardi said. “He his feeling better. We’re going to try to come up with a course of action. I can’t tell you exactly when he’ll begin baseball activities. I want to see him, and see how he’s moving around, and see what we’re going to do.”

• Just an aside, Granderson went through several days of taking fly balls and batting practice before he began a rehab stint. Girardi didn’t say when Posada would start one, but I’ll be surprised if it’s before the end of the weekend.

• Twins manager Ron Gardenhire expressed some frustration that Girardi was allowed to send Andy Pettitte to throw some warm up pitches last night before ultimately bringing in Mariano Rivera to pitch the ninth. Pettitte went to the mound strictly as a stall tactic. “It’s within the rules,” Girardi said. “I have that option to send a starter out there to get my closer ready. It’s the second game and I wasn’t going to warm him up if I wasn’t going to use him.”

• Girardi said he doesn’t plan to use Dave Robertson tonight, but Robertson himself feels fine after being drilled by a line drive last night. “My belt took most of it,” Robertson said.

• Don’t rule out the idea of seeing Rivera again tonight. “I’ll talk to Mo and see how he feels,” Girardi said. “By the time he gets in it would be a full 24 hours.”

• Both Phil Hughes and CC Sabathia have already flown to New York. Hughes is starting tomorrow, and Sabathia has a day game on Saturday. The Yankees didn’t want either pitcher getting into town at 4 a.m.

• Girardi on what’s causing Mark Teixeira’s struggles: “At times he’s not letting the ball get deep enough. He’s out in front. He’s over the top.”

• With Granderson coming back, Girardi said he’ll likely give Gardner a day off soon. He also might give Francisco Cervelli a day off soon, possibly as early as tomorrow. “We’ll see what tonight brings,” Girardi said.

Thanks to Mike Cummings and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees — and to their photographer Jessica Kovalcin — for the Granderson photo.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 95 Comments →

Lineup for Twins finale05.27.10

Derek Jeter SS
Brett Gardner CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Juan Miranda DH
Francisco Cervelli C
Kevin Russo LF

RHP Javier Vazquez

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 535 Comments →

Still crazy good after all these years05.27.10

Yankees Twins Baseball

Last night, the matchup of the game was the eighth inning battle between supposed-to-be-aging Andy Pettitte and just-entering-his-prime Joe Mauer. Runners at the corners with one out and the game tied, Pettitte got Mauer to ground to short.

“If there is somebody who can get out of a jam like that, it’s Andy,” Mariano Rivera said. “He made the pitches. All of his composure. Getting it done. I’ve seen it over and over.”

Pettitte was pretty good early last season too. Through nine starts he was 4-1 with a 4.30 ERA, but that can’t compare to his 6-1 record and 2.62 ERA this season.

Here’s Pettitte talking about his latest win.

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Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 364 Comments →

Today in The Journal News05.27.10

Playing in a hard-to-homer ballpark, the Yankees hit two big home runs on Wednesday and won a pair of games against the Twins. The home runs were huge, but the Yankees couldn’t have won without masterful performances from their pitchers who ultimately allowing two runs in 18 innings, with Mariana Rivera getting the save in each game.

That very same pitching staff got some help on Wednesday when Chad Gaudin signed a major league deal and rejoined the bullpen as a long reliever, bumping Sergio Mitre into more of a middle relief role. The notebook also has items on Alfredo Aceves, Boone Logan, Curtis Granderson and Kevin Russo.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Today in the Journal Newswith 414 Comments →

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