The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Archive for May, 2011

Pregame notes: Martin scratched with sore toe05.30.11

Russell Martin has been scratched with a sore toe. Girardi said pregame that he made the lineup before checking with Martin, and he would change the lineup if he had to. Turns out, he had to.

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada DH
Nick Swisher RF
Brett Gardner LF
Francisco Cervelli C

• Phil Hughes played catch today and could face hitters this weekend, but Joe Girardi said Hughes is still a long, long way from rejoining the rotation. He said it might not be a full six-week spring training program, but it will probably be similar.

“It’s got to be pretty close to that to get built up,” Girardi said. “Do you need six starts? I don’t know, but you’re going to need at least, I would say, four or five. At least. So when you’re coming into a game and you’re coming to helps us, you’re not going three innings and then we got to go to somebody else. You’ve got to be able to give some distance and then bounce back.”

• Girardi said he’d sign up for having Hughes back at the all-star break. It might be earlier than that, Girardi said, but if right now you could guarantee the all-star break, Girardi would be onboard.

• I never really knew him, but there was a lot of love for Hideki Matsui today. He’s incredibly popular with the players, the coaches and the media.

• Girardi was laughing at Lance Pendleton, who was complaining about how cold it is in San Francisco. Girardi guessed that the Yankees rookie had never been in the Bay Area. It gets cold here. That’s just the way it goes. Things will warm up this weekend in L.A.

• Girardi said this ballpark should work well for Bartolo Colon, who’s a strike thrower in a park that’s not especially hitter friendly. “This is similar to Seattle,” Girardi said. “You can’t afford to walk people here because the ball is not going to carry here. There’s a lot of foul territory, so you want to make them put it in play and you want to throw strikes.”

• Hats were a big topic of conversation in the clubhouse this morning. For Memorial Day, the Yankees — and all of Major League Baseball — are wearing one-day-only caps. The Yankees are mostly blue, with white in the front and a red, white and blue logo. Great reason to wear the hats, but they’re not necessarily a good look. One everyday player loved them. Another seemed to be leading the charge against them, disappointed in everything from the look to the fit.

• The Yankees got into the Bay Area late last night, and the team had a pretty late bus to the ballpark in Oakland. Some guys showed up two hours before first pitch, at best. Still having batting practice and all that, just giving guys a chance to rest through back-to-back day games in two different cities.

ATHLETICS
Coco Crisp CF
Daric Barton 1B
David DeJesus RF
Josh Willingham RF
Hideki Matsui DH
Kurt Suzuki C
Mark Ellis 2B
Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B
Cliff Pennington SS

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 266 Comments →

Regulars starting series opener05.30.11

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Russell Martin C
Jorge Posada DH
Nick Swisher RF
Brett Gardner LF

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 285 Comments →

Pitching matchups in Oakland05.30.11

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

Quick turnaround for the Yankees. Because of the holiday, the Yankees are opening this series with a day game, which means playing in Oakland less than 24 hours after finishing a game in Seattle. We’ve gone from the home of Colin Curtis to the home of Marc Carig. I’ll offer no further comment.

The Athletics activated Andrew Bailey yesterday, but it’s not certain that he’ll immediately resume the closer role.

Here are the pitching matchups this series.

Tonight
RHP Bartolo Colon (2-3, 3.77)
vs.
RHP Trevor Cahill (6-2, 2.02)
4:05 p.m., YES Network

Tuesday
RHP Freddy Garcia (3-4, 3.26)
vs.
LHP Brett Anderson (3-4, 2.84)
10:05 p.m., YES Network / MLB Network

Wednesday
RHP A.J. Burnett (5-3, 3.99)
vs.
LHP Gio Gonzalez (5-2, 2.17)
3.35 p.m., YES Network

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 78 Comments →

Postgame notes: “He takes it upon himself”05.29.11


The biggest out was the one pictured above. It came on a bases-loaded cutter to Ichiro Suzuki, a guy with outstanding career numbers against the Yankees ace. CC Sabathia attacked him, and got a comebacker. He threw home, started a 1-2-3 double play, and walked of the mound with a fist pump. The yankees were already leading by seven, but it was only the fifth inning, and Sabathia seemed to know he’s just halted the biggest threat of the day.

“He just knows how to pitch,” Joe Girardi said. “When he has to give us distance, he knows what he has to do. He takes it upon himself that, ‘I’m going to go out and do it for you.’ If CC gets in a little jam, there’s no panic to him.”

Maybe it’s no coincidence that the Yankees seem to play their best baseball behind their best pitcher. Sure, they’ve had some stinkers behind Sabathia, but in his past eight starts, the Yankees have averaged more than eight runs. Their four highest-scoring games of the season have been Sabathia starts.

“I’ve got no complaints,” Sabathia said. “I don’t think anybody’s realized it yet, but I know.”

This was a good win. It doesn’t make up for Friday and Saturday, but it eases some of the bitterness. The lineup had a game it could be proud of, and the bullpen got a rest after being overworked the past two nights. Sabathia was two outs away from matching the two-day innings total for A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova.

“We’ve got our big boy on the mound,” Nick Swisher said. “You get one or two runs, you feel like you’re going to win the ballgame.”

Here’s Sabathia.

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• There was certainly not a sense of satisfaction in the Yankees clubhouse tonight, but it was certainly more lively than it had been the previous 48 hours or so. “I think these past couple of games have been really hard on us,” Swisher said. “Definitely not the way we would have liked them, but I just think that just goes to show the tenacity of this team to be able to come back today, especially after a late game last night, come in here today, no batting practice, everyone’s in the cage early, getting their swings in. Just that mental focus we had today, and really just did a tremendous job out there.”

• The big hit of the night belonged to Andruw Jones, who had his second double of the season with a two-out, three-run base hit that broke the game open in the third inning. “I thought that was the real turning point in the game,” Girardi said. “For him to get that (double) with the bases loaded and two outs, 5-0 is sure a lot better than 2-0. We wanted to ride CC a long time today because of our bullpen, so I thought that was huge.”

• Sabathia leads the Major Leagues in wins since his debut in 2001. He’s now won 163 games since then, breaking a tie with Roy Halladay who’s won 164. In his past three starts, Sabathia has pitched 25 innings with a 1.80 ERA. He’s won all three of those starts.

• The Yankees hit a home run within the first two innings of every game this series (Teixeira on Friday, Cano on Saturday and Swisher tonight). Of course, this was the first time an early lead actually lasted to the end.

• Swisher hit his third home run of the season, all of which have come against left-handed pitchers. He hadn’t homered since May 7.

• Swisher talked a little bit about his home run, but he also talked about falling behind and eventually drawing a walk against right-handed reliever Jeff Gray. “It was just a nice step in the right direction,” he said.

• Mark Teixeira has a six-game hitting streak and a five-game RBI streak. In his past 10 games, Teixeira is hitting .262 with six home runs and 13 RBI.

• Another scoreless inning for Lance Pendleton, meaning every Yankees reliever got into this three-game series. Pendleton still hasn’t been charged with a run.

• Curtis Granderson went 3-for-5. He’s hitting .455 in his past five game.

• Eduardo Nunez had an RBI triple (which ended with a not-so-graceful slide into third). He also managed to play an entire game without making a bad throw. After not having an RBI in April, he has seven RBI in May.

• Every Yankees starter had a hit, but only Granderson had more than one.

• The Yankees have not been swept by the Mariners since May 3-5, 2002 in old Yankee Stadium. They haven’t been swept in Seattle since 1996.

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes, Podcastwith 138 Comments →

Hughes could be facing hitters by the weekend05.29.11

Real quickly, here’s the latest on Phil Hughes.

He threw a 30-pitch bullpen this morning. The first 20 pitches were fastballs. The last 10 were a mix of four fastballs, three changeups and three curveballs. He said everything went as planned, no problems and no pain.

“No news is good news,” he said.

Larry Rothschild said the only thing set in stone is that Hughes will take two days off and throw another bullpen on Wednesday. Hughes said he believes he could throw batting practice this coming weekend in Anaheim.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 296 Comments →

Yankees get away with a win05.29.11

After back-to-back frustrating losses, the Yankees left Seattle with a no-doubt win. CC Sabathia was his old self and every Yankees starter had at least one hit in a 7-1 series-finale win. Almost all of the damage was done in the third inning when the Yankees batted around and scored five runs on four hits, one of them a three-run double by Andruw Jones. Every run in the inning scored with two outs. Nick Swisher homered the inning before and Mark Teixeira had a RBI single the inning after. Sabathia allowed one run through eight innings, almost single-handedly matching the total innings thrown by A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova in the first two games of this series.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 15 Comments →

Game 51: Yankees at Mariners05.29.11

YANKEES (27-23)
Derek Jeter DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Andruw Jones LF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Francisco Cervelli C

LHP CC Sabathia (5-3, 3.17)
Sabathia vs. Mariners

MARINERS (26-25)
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chone Figgins 3B
Justin Smoak 1B
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Mike Wilson DH
Brendan Ryan SS
Jack Wilson 2B
Michael Saunders LF
Chris Gimenez C

LHP Jason Vargas (3-2, 3.86)
Vargas vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 4:10 p.m., YES Network

WEATHER: Cloudy, cool and rainy. Good to experience the stereotypical Seattle.

UMPIRES: HP Gerry Davis, 1B Greg Gibson, 2B Todd Tichenor, 3B Sam Holbrook

JUST IN TIME: With the Yankees coming to Oakland tomorrow, the Athletics have activated closer Andrew Bailey from the disabled list.

GOOD IN THE END: The Yankees are 11-6 in series finales this season. They’ve won their past three… The Yankees are also 11-3 in day games this season, tied with the Phillies for the best sunshine record in the Majors.

WAS THAT A GOOD YEAR? According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson are the first pair of Yankees teammates to have at least 15 home runs through the first 50 games of the season since Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in 1961.

ON THIS DATE: On May 29, 1995, Derek Jeter made his Major League debut here in Seattle. He didn’t get his first hit until the next night.

UPDATE, 4:30 p.m.: Swisher keeps hitting right-handed. He just went deep for a 1-0 Yankees lead in the second. Meanwhile, Andruw Jones followed and nearly swung out of his shoes on a  foul ball.

UPDATE, 4:59 p.m.: Good block at the plate. Jeter out at home, up to Cano with two out and two on in the third.

UPDATE, 5:00 p.m.: And Cano gets it done. RBI single pushes the lead to 2-0.

UPDATE, 5:07 p.m.: Yankees got away with one there, but a nice slide by Nick Swisher and a big double by Andruw Jones have broken the game open. Now Nunez has followed with an RBI triple (finishing with a less-than-graceful slide) and it’s now 6-0 in the third.

UPDATE, 5:28 p.m.: Girardi must be on a hit-and-run kick this weekend. By the way, RBI single by Teixeira has extended the lead to 7-0.

UPDATE, 5:50 p.m.: Hard to explain Sabathia walking the No. 9 hitter to load the bases, but he handled a comebacker by Ichiro to get out of the fifth inning with a 1-2-3 double play.

UPDATE, 5:59 p.m.: Derek Jeter single up the middle. Twenty away from 3,000.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 225 Comments →

Pregame notes: Posada becoming a dugout regular vs. lefties05.29.11

Jorge Posada still does not have a hit against a left-handed pitcher this season, and at this point, it’s becoming clear that he’s pretty much run out of chances. The Yankees regular lineup against lefties doesn’t include Posada, and last night, Joe Girardi used Andruw Jones to pinch hit for Posada against a left-handed reliever.

With Posada struggling, Girardi has used the DH spot to rest Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez against lefties. Today it’s Jeter’s turn to DH. In the next few days against Oakland, Rodriguez will get a DH day.

“It’s just a way for me to try to give some of my right-handers a blow,” Girardi said. “That’s what I’ve done. Jeet is a guy that needs DH days, and Alex is a guy that needs DH days, and those are the days that I’ve chose to do it on.”

Girardi said that Posada sitting against lefties is a trend that could continue for a while.

“Could be,” Girardi said. “Alex is probably going to need a DH day here coming up too. We’ve got day, night, day in Oakland. Two lefties. So one of those days is probably going to Alex’s, and then I’ll decide the other one.”

• Russell Martin almost certainly wouldn’t have played this afternoon anyway, but he also fouled a ball off his toe last night. He’s sore, but Girardi said he expects Martin to be ready to play tomorrow.

• Phil Hughes threw off a mound again today. He was throwing while Girardi was speaking — “He looks good from here,” Girardi said — and I didn’t see Hughes in the clubhouse afterward.

• Brett Gardner’s not hurt after last night’s tumbling play in the 12th inning. Today’s just a standard day off to get Jones in the lineup.

• Girardi committed to sticking with Ivan Nova for his next start. Nova will pitch Friday against the Angels. “He has the ability to do it, he’s just not doing it,” Girardi said. “He couldn’t find his curveball last night. He’s been kind of a two-pitch pitcher, and when you don’t have your breaking ball, you put yourself in bad spots. I think he needs to use all his pitches, and that’s just having confidence in what you’ve got.”

• Dave Robertson is not available tonight. Luis Ayala and Hector Noesi are probably not available either.

• Robinson Cano was not running on his own last night when he was caught stealing. That was a hit-and-run that didn’t work.

• Girardi said he never got to the point that he was thinking about which position player might have to pitch last night. “I think you could use Cervy,” Girardi said. “Just tell him keep it short, don’t try to throw it hard and hope that he throws strikes. I don’t know. I talked about using Robertson left-handed. He shags left-handed.”

MARINERS
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chone Figgins 3B
Justin Smoak 1B
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Mike Wilson DH
Brendan Ryan SS
Jack Wilson 2B
Michael Saunders LF
Chris Gimenez C

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 404 Comments →

Jeter at DH, Cervelli behind the plate05.29.11

Derek Jeter DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Andruw Jones LF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Francisco Cervelli C

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 459 Comments →

Nova: “You’ve got to see what you’re doing”05.29.11

Maybe this is part of the learning process, but Ivan Nova has not been a very good pitcher lately. Three starts in a row he seemed to have put it all together, but his past four outings have been erratic, and they’ve been more bad than good.

“I don’t have really good command (last night),” Nova said. “But I’ve got to find another way to stay in the game. I don’t think I did that.”

He’s right. He didn’t.

What I found odd about last night’s start was that Nova kept getting ground balls, which is usually a sure sign that he has his good stuff and his good command. Every out was either on the ground or on strikes, but he kept falling behind in the count, and he kept walking guys.

He was attacking hitters a few weeks ago. Last night he was missing spots in a ballpark that begs for aggressive pitching.

“You have to be able to throw strikes,” Joe Girardi said. “This is a ballpark (where) there aren’t a lot of home runs hit. I think you can be more aggressive in this ballpark and attack the strike zone, and that’s what he has to do. That’s what all pitchers have to do. When you get yourself in bad counts and you give free base runners, that’s when you get in trouble.”

Said Nova: “You’ve got to see what you’re doing. I was getting the ground balls with my fastball, and I should have attacked the hitter with my fastball instead of throwing too many curveballs. But that’s part of the game. That’s something you’ve got to learn from.”

It’s a learning process for every young pitcher, but lately that learning curve has not been friendly.

“This is a time where he’s going to learn,” Robinson Cano said. “Those are the kinds of mistakes that are going to make him a better pitcher, so we’ve got to be there for him.”

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 225 Comments →

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