Archive for July, 2011
Yankees pregame: Long day of baseball • 07.30.11
We’re set for a split doubleheader. Joe Girardi is not high on the concept, or on straight doubleheaders for that matter.
“I don’t like either one,” Girardi said. “I would vote for two seven-inning games, or you increase the roster for doubleheaders, just because it’s so hard on your team physically. It’s one thing if you have a day off after a doubleheader, but if you don’t, it’s really hard on you physically. I think it takes away from the quality of the game sometimes in a sense. So I’m not a big fan of doubleheaders, but Mother Nature is not something we can fight.”
Girardi added: “I’ve heard it brought up about increasing rosters lately for split doubleheaders, just because you could use an extra position player and you could use an extra pitcher as well, I believe. But I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Game 1 starter Bartolo Colon isn’t the pitcher he used to be six years ago when he was a Cy Young winner. But Girardi said, “He’s pretty close. I think there’s a difference in Bartolo, though. I don’t think he had as much movement if you go back five or six years ago. But he also had more (velocity). His secondary pitches have improved since that time. But the biggest difference between Bartolo now and then to me is the movement. He was a guy who would get up to 98, 99 back in the day.”
It’s hard to say what’s ahead for Game 2 starter Ivan Nova, whether this is a one-and-done opportunity for now.
“As far as having an exact plan with Nova, we do not,” Girardi said.
The Yankees will have to make a roster move after the first game to make room for Nova. Wonder if it will be Chris Dickerson going down? He’s starting the first game in left. We’ll see.
The nonwaiver trade deadline is less than 28 hours away. Asked if this team is good enough to win a championship as is, Girardi said. “We got to where we are with the guys in this room, and that’s the bottom line. No, we’re not first place. I believe we have the second-best record in the American League and one of the better records in baseball. So this team has played very, very well with the guys we have in this room.
“Have we got big contributions from some players we didn’t necessarily expect? Yes, we have. But as far as trades, my job is to manage the guys in that room. My job is to get the best out of them. And there’s a lot of talent in that room.
“The big thing for this club is staying healthy. We’ve had some injuries that we’ve had to deal with. We’ve lost a lot of guys in our bullpen, but guys have stepped up. If guys keep stepping up like they’ve been, we should be OK.”
Yankees lineup: Game 1 • 07.30.11
1. Gardner CF
2. Nunez SS
3. Teixeira DH
4. Cano 2B
5. Swisher RF
6. Chavez 3B
7. Posada 1B
8. Dickerson LF
9. Cervelli C
Yankees postgame: Burnett goes 0 for July • 07.30.11
A.J. Burnett went winless in his five July starts. He really hasn’t been terrible despite a 4.83 ERA this month, but he hasn’t been winning, either. He has gone 0-3 with two no-decisions since his last victory on June 29. This start was called “strange” by Joe Girardi. Burnett struck out 10 Orioles, walked only two and hit one in eight innings. He also gave up four runs on just five hits, all for extra bases, and lost 4-2.
Burnett lamented a few mistakes. Despite the lost month, he seemed serene.
“I’ve taken a lot of positives,” Burnett said. “I haven’t gotten beat up. I’m minimizing mistakes. … I’ve shut the door on everything that’s happened negative and turned everything into a positive as best I could.”
Girardi said: “I thought he threw the ball pretty well. Unfortunately we didn’t score many runs.”
Brett Gardner went down swinging in this game in more ways than one. With a run in, men at the corners and two outs in the ninth, he thought a 3-1 pitch was outside. Mike DiMuro called it a strike.
“It doesn’t matter what I think,” Gardner said.
The pitch looked pretty good on the replay. Then Gardner swung and missed to end the game. Then he smashed his bat against the dirt twice, breaking it the second time.
“It didn’t get any hits tonight,” Gardner said. “It was time to retire it. I was just frustrated with myself.”
Jeremy Guthrie allowed the Yankees just a run and four hits over seven. Girardi thinks he has pitched better than his record, which is up to 5-14. Guthrie had been 0-3 with a 6.41 ERA in his three previous starts at the new stadium.
“He’s doing a better job of trying to command his pitches,” Gardner said.
The Yankees went just 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and were 2 for 12 with men on base.
Jorge Posada went 2 for 2 with two walks.
The Yankees dropped their second straight and are just 4-3 so far in this 10-game homestand against three weak links, the A’s, Mariners and Orioles.
Next up is today’s day/night, 1 p.m./7 p.m. doubleheader, with Bartolo Colon and Ivan Nova going for the Yankees.
Game 103: Yankees vs. Orioles • 07.29.11
1. Brett Gardner LF
2. Derek Jeter SS
3. Curtis Granderson CF
4. Mark Teixeira 1B
5. Robinson Cano 2B
6. Nick Swisher RF
7. Eric Chavez 3B
8. Jorge Posada DH
9. Russell Martin C
A.J. Burnett RHP
1. J.J. Hardy SS
2. Nick Markakis RF
3. Adam Jones CF
4. Vladimir Guerrero DH
5. Derrek Lee 1B
6. Mark Reynolds 3B
7. Matt Wieters C
8. Nolan Reimold LF
9. Robert Andino 2B
Jeremy Guthrie RHP
Umpires: Mike DiMuro HP, Tim Welke 1B, Andy Fletcher 2B, Jim Reynolds 3B
Weather: 78 degrees, cloudy. There’s a 65 percent chance of thunderstorms around 11 p.m., according to weather.com.
40-man roster move: Rafael Soriano came off the 60-day DL and Steve Garrison was optioned to Double-A Trenton. In order to make room on the 40-man roster for Soriano, Sergio Mitre was transferred to the 60-day DL. Mitre went on the 15-day DL with right shoulder tendinitis on July 20.
Dominating the Birds: The Yankees are 6-0 vs. the Orioles, the best streak against them to start a season since they won the first seven in 2004.
Time crunch: The Yankees will play four games against Baltimore in less than 48 hours.
Jeter at the plate: Derek Jeter is three hits behind Rafael Palmeiro for a tie for 24th on the all-time list at 3,020. The Captain is batting .295 with six doubles, a triple and two homers since coming off the DL on July 4.
Update, 8:57: 1-2-3 first for Burnett, finishing it by blowing a 95 mph fastball past Adam Jones.
Update, 9:05: 1-2-3 first for Guthrie, who’s in danger of losing 20 games this season, now at 4-14.
Update, 9:11: Mark Reynolds sends a 93 mph fastball to the Yankees’ bullpen after a walk, 2-0 in the second.
Update, 9:21: 1-2-3 second for Guthrie, capped by Nick Swisher watching a 95 mph fastball sail by.
Update, 9:26: Strong third for Burnett, three up, three down. Markakis ends it by fanning on a curve.
Update, 9:31: First hit for the Yankees, Posada lines a single to center with one out in the third.
Update, 9:35: Two singles in the inning, but Gardner and Jeter strand both runners.
Update, 9:43: Burnett is down 3-0 in the fourth, gave up a ground-rule double to right-center to Vlad Guerrero, then hung a breaking ball to Derek Lee, who powered it past Granderson in center for another double.
Update, 10:02: Two walks with two outs in the Yankees’ fourth, but Chavez grounds to first.
Update, 10:11: The Orioles strand a runner at second with two outs in the fifth.
Update, 10:19: It’s 3-0 after five. The Yankees still have just two third-inning singles.
Update, 10:25: No longer a possible quality start for Burnett. Lee lines a 92 mph fastball to the right-field seats, 4-0.
Update, 10:35: Finally a run for the Yankees. Teixeira parks a full-count fastball in the right-center seats, and it’s 4-1 with two outs in the sixth. He now owns the team lead with 29.
Update, 10:55: The Yankees have four hits through seven against Guthrie.
Update, 11:09: 10 Ks for Burnett in eight innings. The Ks are a season high and the eighth innings tie his season high. But unless the Yankees rally, this will be his fifth straight winless start. Guthrie is out. Koji Uehara will come on for the eighth.
Update, 11:21: 4-1, going to the top of the ninth. Luis Ayala will replace Burnett.
Update, 11:36: Bottom of the ninth, 4-1. Kevin Gregg will try to close it out.
Update, 11:45: Back-to-back doubles for Cano and Swisher to open the inning. Now Posada walks. Chris Dickerson is pinch running. So first and second, one out. Russell Martin is up.
Update, 11:48: Martin bounces into a 6-4 force. Eduardo Nunez is pinch running for Martin, first and third, two outs, Gardner up.
Update, 11:52: Gardner goes down swinging and breaks his bat against the dirt with two violent smashes. Orioles win, 4-2.
Rain delay • 07.29.11
It’s 8:05. The grounds crew was out ready to take the tarp off. Now the men are walking off. So the delay continues.
Update, 8:15: The crew is back out and pulling the tarp off. First pitch will be about 8:50. Just announced.
Update: Soriano and rain • 07.29.11
Rafael Soriano says he will accept any role from Joe Girardi without complaint. It doesn’t have to be the eighth.
“I’m happy to come back here and try to help the team,” Soriano said. “Whatever the decision Joe makes, I’ll be happy with that.
“Mentally I’m ready. I’m ready to go any inning that Joe needs me. Seventh, eighth, whatever he wants me to do, I’ll be ready to go.”
Also, it’s 6;30. It has started to rain and the tarp is coming out.
Yankees pregame: Soriano back • 07.29.11
Brian Heyman here for this weekend series against the Orioles. Rafael Soriano is here, too. The Yankees are activating him as expected. Reliever Steve Garrison is being optioned back to Double-A Trenton.
But Joe Girardi wouldn’t say how he was going to use Soriano long term, if Soriano would be taking back the eighth inning from David Robertson, who has been rather valuable in that role. Short term, it sounds as if Robertson will keep the job and Girardi will pick his spots for Soriano now.
“We’re going to work him back in slow,” Girardi said. “We’re not going to throw him right in there. We’ll be careful. I’ll have to look at (using) him two days in a row. We’re just getting him back, and we want to make sure he’s where he’s supposed to be.”
Ivan Nova is scheduled to come up from Triple-A and pitch the second game of tomorrow’s day/night doubleheader, so the Yankees will have to make another roster move to make room. Girardi said wouldn’t say whether this would be a one-shot deal, just that he will reevaluate afterward. Girardi also said he had no regrets about having sent Nova back to the minors to make room for Phil Hughes.
“The guy that we brought back into the rotation won 18 games last year, and there aren’t a lot of people who do that every year,” Girardi said. “We thought there were things that Nova could also work on.”
Girardi and two other of Hideki Irabu’s former teammates here, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, also reacted to the news that came out yesterday that the ex-pitcher had apparently committed suicide at the age 42.
“Irabu was fun,” Jeter said. “He didn’t speak much English, but he knew more than probably he led you guys to believe. He was fun to be around. He had a good personality. … I feel bad for him and his family. I was caught off guard to say the least.”
“Devastating,” Posada said. “I got to know him real well. A guy who came out here with a lot riding on his shoulders. I thought he did a hell of a job for us. Tough times.
“When he was into it, he was the nastiest pitcher in the league. I remember in Seattle, he was on the trading block. They were talking about him getting traded for Randy Johnson at that time, and he really outpitched Randy. It was like a two- or three-hitter. Ken Griffey after the game talked really high about him. He threw 97, 98 mph. The splitty was 95, 96 mph.”
“He’s going to missed,” Girardi said. “He had children. … It’s sad.”
Yankees lineup • 07.29.11
1. Gardner LF
2. Jeter SS
3. Granderson CF
4. Teixeira 1B
5. Cano 2B
6. Swisher RF
7. Chavez 3B
8. Posada DH
9. Martin C
Pitching matchups vs. Baltimore • 07.29.11
The Yankees have made it fairly clear that Ivan Nova is expected to start one of those double header games on Saturday, but for now it’s still a TBA. It’s also unclear who is going to start which game on Saturday, but I went ahead and listed the only announced starters for the opener of the double header.
RHP A.J. Burnett (8-8, 4.21 ERA)
RHP Jeremy Guthrie (4-14, 4.33)
7:05 p.m., YES Network
Saturday (Game 1)
RHP Bartolo Colon (7-6, 3.29)
LHP Zach Britton (6-7, 4.05)
1:05 p.m., YES Network
Saturday (Game 2)
7:05 p.m., YES Network / MLB Network
RHP Freddy Garcia (9-7, 3.23 ERA)
RHP Jake Arrieta (9-7, 5.02)
1:05 p.m., YES Network
At some point during Wednesday’s game in the Bronx, I was standing at the back of the press box talking to two other writers. It was mostly small talk about the trade deadline, and at some point this question was asked:
With the Yankees rotation exactly as it is right now, who gets the ball in Game 2 of the division series?
Freddy Garcia’s name was mentioned but quickly dismissed. Same for Phil Hughes. Ultimately, the debate came down to Bartolo Colon and A.J. Burnett. The conversation went in circles, debating everything from whether pitchers care which game they start to whether it’s more important to have a reliable starter in Game 2 or 3. I’m not sure we ever came to a consensus.
Joe Girardi was asked how important it would be to have Burnett step up these last two months and solidify himself as a no-doubt, No. 2 starter behind CC Sabathia.
“I think it’s way too early to start thinking about that,” Girardi said. “We just need A.J. to continue to go out and pitch well. I’ll worry about numbers later, where they fall into line. We just need A.J. to go pitch well.”
Burnett’s numbers in July haven’t been great. He’s not allowed more than four runs in a start this month and opponents are hitting just .239 against him, but he’s pitched out of the sixth inning only once, he has a 4.94 ERA, and opponents are slugging .443.
Two numbers that surprised me about Burnett’s season: His WHIP is lower than Dave Robertson’s, and his opponents batting average is lower than everyone on the team except Sabathia, Robertson and Cory Wade.
Unless the Yankees can find a no-doubt No. 2 starter, I think there’s a chance they’ll stay quiet at the deadline and move forward with what they have. If that’s the case, a down-the-stretch emergence from Burnett — starting tonight — could add some comfort come October.
“We’ve gotten this far with them, and they’ve pitched pretty well,” Girardi said. “If you look at our starting rotation, the ERAs are pretty good for the most part. I’m not sure what’s going to happen in the next (three) days, but these guys are pitching well.”
Associated Press photo