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Pregame notes: “It’s business as usual”

Posted by: vmercogliano - Posted in Misc on Aug 31, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Is it safe to say that this is the biggest series of the season for the Yankees?

With the Baltimore Orioles coming into town just three games back of the lead in the AL East, they have an opportunity to put a serious dent into the Yankees’ shrinking lead — or even worse (gasp), get out of the Bronx tied for first with a sweep.

But ask Joe Girardi, and he’ll tell you this series is no different from any other.

“I think you can walk in the clubhouse and realize that there’s no sense of panic,” he said. “Everyone has a smile on their face, and everyone came to work today ready to go. Guys are taking early BP. It’s business as usual.”

Girardi is right about the feel in the clubhouse. Players were joking with each other and the media as they have all season, with Joba Chamberlain doing impressions for anyone who would listen. That’s what we’ve come to expect out of this veteran group, and Girardi spoke with supreme confidence about that attitude not wavering.

“There’s this thought that your philosophy changes depending on where you are in the standings or who you’re playing,” he said. “I would be disappointed if every day they didn’t come to work, or I didn’t come to work, with the anticipation that we were going to win that game.”

Girardi did acknowledge that the Yankees have been inconsistent at times this season, and these past three series have been a perfect example. The Yankees went 3-6 during that span, and while the group still seems as loose as ever, that might finally change if this series with the O’s does not go as planned.

“The thing about a season is, you’re going to go through ups and downs,” Girardi said. “It’s how you manage them. This isn’t the first down that we’ve had during the course of the season, and we’ve responded and we’ve bounced back. That’s what I expect.”

• One of the reasons that Girardi sounded so optimistic is because of tonight’s starter. Hiroki Kuroda has been the Yankees’ best pitcher this season, and he’s the guy who they’re hoping will set the tone for the series. “He’s pitched great for us, and you feel good everytime he takes the ball out there,” Girardi said. “You look at his last start, and he gave up three runs in the first inning, but he ended up giving us eight innings total and pitched another great game for us.”

• Girardi was asked if this is the type of game that can be a good indication of how Kuroda will perform in the postseason. “I think we’ve learned a lot about him already,” Girardi said. “I think what we’ve realized is that he’s a really good pitcher, and he can pitch at any point. Are you going to learn anything about him today that I didn’t know? I don’t think so.”

• Girardi also announced that they are changing the rotation plans for the weekend. Freddy Garcia was originally slated to take the ball for the second game tomorrow, but he’s being pushed back until Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays. David Phelps will now start tomorrow, with Phil Hughes being pushed up to Sunday and CC Sabathia taking the ball on Monday. Girardi wouldn’t give a specific reason for the change, other than saying, “It’s not just one little thing; it’s things that we look at, and we decided to go that way.” There’s two things that I take away from the decision: The Yankees clearly are growing more confident in Phelps, and Garcia is likely the first man out whenever either Ivan Nova or Andy Pettitte is ready to to return to the rotation.

• Speaking of Pettitte, he spoke with the media after throwing 20 successful pitches off of the mound today. He noted that he wasn’t pushing off at 100 percent, but said, “I feel like I’m getting real, real close.” This was the most encouraged that Pettitte has sounded throughout his recovery process, and it sounds like he’ll definitely throw off of a mound soon. “It was huge,” he said. “I was getting a little paranoid about how it was going to feel, but today was good.”

• Girardi also said that the next step for Pettitte is a “full-fledged bullpen,” similar to what he would do in between starts. He said he expects Pettitte to throw 35-40 pitches, but did not have a definitive date. “His leg is obviously feeling a lot better for him to do what he did today,” Girardi said. “That’s what we needed to see.”

• Girardi also said that Nova long tossed today. “We’re trying to map out a schedule for him,” he said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow, but he’s progressing as well.”

• It also sounds like Mark Teixeira is progressing, but Girardi said he doesn’t expect him to play until at least next weekend’s series in Baltimore. I doubt he’d want to put him on the turf for the Tampa series. “He feels better, I can tell you that,” Girardi said. “It’s been about four days, so we’ll just take it day by day. That’s all we can do. We don’t have him doing anything but treatment today.”

• The injury notes just keep on coming. Alex Rodriguez is set to make his first rehab appearance tonight with Single-A Tampa. Right-handed reliever David Aardsma will also be there to begin his rehab assignment. Lefty Pedro Feliciano has been transferred to short-season Single-A Staten Island for tonight’s game, and he’s a guy that could potentially be called up when rosters expand tomorrow.

• Girardi, who is usually a big advocate of mixing in righties and lefties to balance his lineup, has loaded the lineup for tonight’s game with five pure left-handed hitters (plus Nick Swisher, who will be batting from the left side against Orioles’ starter Miguel Gonzalez). He clearly decided to just go with his best hitters against the right-handed starter, with the Yankees 3-4-5-6 hitters all being lefties. That could make it very easy on Buck Showalter’s bullpen, so expect to see Andruw Jones and Steve Pearce off of the bench at some point to offset that. No Yankee has more than three career at-bats against Gonzalez, with both Eric Chavez and Raul Ibanez going 2 for 3 with a homer.

• Here is the Orioles’ lineup: 1. Markakis (RF); 2. Hardy (SS); 3. McLouth (LF): 4. Jones (CF); 5. Wieters (C); 6. Davis (DH); 7. Reynolds (1B); 8. Quintanilla (2B); 9. Machado (3B).

Associated Press photos

 
 

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52 Responses to “Pregame notes: “It’s business as usual””

  1. The Return of Stoneburner August 31st, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Roger V. (NJ): Hey Ben, thanks for the chat. I’m very happy with what Tyler Austin has done this year, but there were big things expected this year from another Yankees prospect that didnt pan out. Dante Bichette Jr. was a huge disappointment to say the least. Any particular reason for the lack in power and overall bad year from him? And do you think that this is what he is and will be in the future, or will he find the power again to become a top prospect again for my Yankees? Thanks

    Ben Badler: Equally surprised here. Scouts are saying that his hitting mechanics have been a mess this year, stepping in the bucket, getting pull-conscious and just not doing the things that made everyone so excited last year. There’s bounceback potential here next year, but it’s been a disappointment.

  2. The Return of Stoneburner August 31st, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Trev (NJ): What are your thoughts on Ramon Flores? He is younger than Mason Williams at the same level, shows great plate discipline, and has displayed very impressive extra base hit power with 40 on the year.

    Ben Badler: I’ve heard great things about Flores’ bat control since he was 16, the question is just the same, which is whether he’ll do enough else to be more than a tweener. If the power comes, boom, you’ve got a potential breakout guy.

  3. The Return of Stoneburner August 31st, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Trev (NJ): Was there a sleeper in the Yankees system that jumped onto the scene this year? (Besides Austin)

    Ben Badler: The upside value is limited because of his role, but Mark Montgomery could be an outstanding reliever.

  4. luis August 31st, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Stoneburner,

    What about Slade Heathcott? I hear that he has hitted very well in his short sting. No comments on him? What about the Depaula kid?

  5. luis August 31st, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    MTU,

    Sorry I didn’t answer…Likewise, it’s good to see you around, people like you are sorely needed in this place

  6. MTU August 31st, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Stoneburner-

    Thanks for posting that.

    :)

  7. blake August 31st, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I think they should transition Nova into a short reliever for the rest of the season when he comes back…..he was pitching worse than both Freddy and Phelps and hes got the stuff to potentially help out of the pen in the playoffs…..

  8. MTU August 31st, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Luis-

    Thanks but I’m nothing special.

    Everyone expresses themselves as they see fit.

    What I say is just me. Nothing more. Nothing less.

  9. MTU August 31st, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    blake-

    I want to see what Nova brings when he’s healthy again.

    If he continues to falter then make him a reliever for as long as necessary this season.

    Not before.

    Garcia is no great shakes.

  10. MTU August 31st, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    I still believe there is something special inside of Nova.

    If it appears again he’s deadly.

    I hope it does. He has world’s of talent.

    We’ve seen it before.

    ;)

  11. blake August 31st, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Heathcott has big time upside if he can stay healthy…..Id think they might start him at Trenton next year.

    Depaula has been in the DSL all year I think and has posted really solid numbers there….I would guess he starts at Charleston next year and could mkve fairly quick if he pitches well.

  12. The Return of Stoneburner August 31st, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    luis August 31st, 2012 at 5:49 pm
    Stoneburner,

    What about Slade Heathcott? I hear that he has hitted very well in his short sting. No comments on him? What about the Depaula kid?

    *********

    It was a chat on baseball america. Unfortunately – no questions were posted about Heathcott or Depaula. :(

    Though neat thing is I think we can see Heathcott in some AZFL games – b/c mlb network broadcasts them. I have never seen the kid in person and/or on tv.

    But there was this blurb about Austin in the prospect hot sheet:

    The Yankees gave their high Class A Tampa team a massive talent infusion at the midpoint of the season. One of the additions, RF Tyler Austin, is trying to help get the T-Yanks to the playoffs. His ninth-inning grand slam last night gave Tampa an improbable 5-4 win against Lakeland, bringing Tampa within one game of first-place Dunedin with three games to go. For the week, the 20-year-old hit .333/.407/.625

  13. blake August 31st, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    MTU,

    My thinking is that Nova likely wont be in the postseason rotation unless Andy cant go…..and maybe even not then…..so see what he can do as a short reliever.

  14. MTU August 31st, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Austin has been popping people’s eyes open !

  15. MTU August 31st, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Blake-

    I’m not convinced of that yet.

  16. luis August 31st, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Blake,

    That might be the way they end up using Nova…Ideally I would love to see him straighten up…Give him a couple of turns in the rotation and see what happens…In any case, i don’t think at this point he has a spot in the PS rotation…Of course, it all depends on what they can get from Andy going forward, but if he is back to 100 per cent, the likely rotation is CC, Kuroda, Pettitte and Hughes….Hughes and his new slider being key for our success.

    MTU,

    That’s what’s important here….You are who you are, and that improves the level of discourse ten fold. JMHO

  17. blake August 31st, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Austin has everywhere hes been since he signed.

  18. The Return of Stoneburner August 31st, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I am having flashbacks to the 90s – - – - Yanks and Orioles – in the Fall where games matter for two – - – -cats and dogs – living together – - –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3ZOKDmorj0

  19. The Return of Stoneburner August 31st, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Did Cashman invent a new word/phrase when he said Austin is now a megaprospect????

  20. 4 NYY August 31st, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Hi to all, let’s get at least 2 of 3 and move to next series.

    Think I’ll just watch the game and not be here for every complaint of every pitch, at bat, or play in the field.

    Go Yanks !!!

  21. blake August 31st, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    MTU,

    Fair enough bud

  22. blake August 31st, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    “Did Cashman invent a new word/phrase when he said Austin is now a megaprospect????”

    Id rather Cashman not throw praise on any of them…..its kinda like the kiss of death.

  23. luis August 31st, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Thanks Stoneburner,

    I hope they keep challenging this kid. That GS seems to tell us that he is a money player, exactly what the Yankees need to build around their new core.

  24. luis August 31st, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Blake,

    LOL! Hopefully he keeps flying under the radar.

  25. austinmac August 31st, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Nova +/or Phelps could potentially be very helpful playoff bullpen guys. I’d far prefer one of them to Eppley.

  26. 4 NYY August 31st, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Doesn’t Heathcott have about the best all around tools to play this game if he stays healthy ?

  27. 4 NYY August 31st, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    And I hope M. Montgomery comes up for a look with that killer slider !

  28. MTU August 31st, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Luis-

    It’s real simple.

    Just try your best to treat everyone with as much respect as you can (I know you do).

    The Internet is anonymous but that doesn’t mean it’s an excuse to be less poilte or respectful of people.

    At least not for me.

    I try to listen to all POV’s. If I find someone particularly irritating I just try and ignore them.

    That should be easy enough.

    People are generally very nice if treated kindly and respectfully.

    It works on the Internet and it generally works in real Life.

    A little humor can sometimes go a long way.

  29. blake August 31st, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    “Doesn’t Heathcott have about the best all around tools to play this game if he stays healthy ?”

    Very talented yea….can hit….can run….can stay in CF. Some people like him more than Mason with regards to upside…..hes still only 20 as well.

  30. MTU August 31st, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    I’m glad the Yankees are not panicking like some of the fans.

    Just go out an play each game and continue to try and take series.

    Give it all ya’ got and let the chips fall where they may.

    Nothing else to do.

    ;)

  31. blake August 31st, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    “August 31, 2012 at 6:08 pm Nova +/or Phelps could potentially be very helpful playoff bullpen guys. I’d far prefer one of them to Eppley.”

    In an ideal world….your playoff rotation is Sabathia, Kuroda, Pettite, Hughes.

    And you have Nova, Phelps, Garcia as that bridge to Robertson and no Eppleys or Lowes are to be found.

  32. BIG AL August 31st, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    MTU -

    At this point in time, this is not the best team on the field for the Yankees. That being said, many teams have had to endure a rash of injuries this season, so its just a matter of those in the line-up stepping up and getting it done. My greatest fear is not the hitting, but the lack of a quality defense that could make a huge difference in these critical games coming in the next 30 days.

  33. luis August 31st, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    MTU,

    Wise words from a very wise man. And thanks, i do try my best. But sometimes, I find it impossible to ignore.

  34. MTU August 31st, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Blake-

    GB once said that Heathcott plays baseball like a football player.

    He goes all out. That’s why he get injured so much.

    It’s a little like GGBG.

    Hope he realizes that staying healthy is important too.

    ;)

  35. blake August 31st, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Kevin Goldstein was just hired by the Astros as pro scouting director……Im not sure when he willf find time to do that betwern tweets

  36. 4 NYY August 31st, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    And Sanchez sure sounds like out future good hitting catcher, thereby putting us in position to be able to continue our great run of catchers within maybe 2 years.

  37. MTU August 31st, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Al-

    The D is easily bolstered with good callups.

    So is the speed issue.

    Luis-

    I understand. Just do the best you can.

    You’re a good guy as are most on this blog.

  38. blake August 31st, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    GB once said that Heathcott plays baseball like a football player.”

    You always heard that about a certain other youngster in LA ;)

  39. MTU August 31st, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    I’m at a bookstore.

    Gotta go so I can make it home in time for the game.

    Enjoy the game folks.

    catch U later.

  40. MTU August 31st, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Blake-

    Which L.A. ?

    You mean Kemp, or Trout ?

    I’m guessing Trout.

  41. MTU August 31st, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    gotta run.

    Sorry.

  42. luis August 31st, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Big Al,

    To be fair, This team has been very good defensively. Most teams that endured the kind of injuries this team has sustained would have been out of contention a long time ago ( Jays come to mind). They have proven that they had plenty of depth on the pitching side ( They lost Mo, Pineda, Pettitte, CC at some point and Drob for a while). Girardi has been able to adapt to the loses of Arod and Gardner. The bench has exceded expectations in my view. But in the PS we need the offense to perform or you give the pitching very little margin for error, that’s usually not a good recipe for success.

  43. blake August 31st, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    MTU,

    Yes…..

  44. trisha - true pinstriped blue August 31st, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    4 NYY – I’m thinking about doing the same thing. It’s nice to watch the ebb and flow of a game without reading pitch-by-pitch complaints. I’m with you. This is going to be similar to a Sux series because the O’s have shown to be a team to be reckoned with. Therefore it has the potential to bring out trolls and complainers. If you’re a troll or complainer, then of course you’re in your comfort zone. If you’re not, it can get at least a bit trying.

    I understand that people who worry excessively/needlessly and/or complain excessively/needlessly have the same rights to post as those who do not. However, for a noncomplainer, it can ruin the enjoyment of a game. I’m also pretty tired of hearing about 2014 ad nauseum. While I feel sad for people who can’t or won’t live in the present, I also want to be able to enjoy the moment without sifting through endless subtrefuge. Sometimes the only way to do that is to stay away from the gamethread, or at least get away from it the minute the Yankees don’t succeed because that seems to be the minute that all the worrying and complaining starts.

  45. The Return of Stoneburner August 31st, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    More on Montgomery:

    Yankeesource ?@YankeeSource
    @henzelbitzi He is working on a changeup but right now, not using it a lot but it’s not that bad.

    1h Yankeesource ?@YankeeSource
    What’s great about Montgomery’s slider is the variations of it. Controls it as well as a AA pitcher can control it.

    1h Yankeesource ?@YankeeSource
    @EricDKoch His fastball needs more work. That’s why it would be better to keep him in the minors right now.

    1h Yankeesource ?@YankeeSource
    @EricDKoch 75 slider, 55 fastball seems appropriate. I’ve seen his slider, it’s ridiculously good. Major league plus-plus right now.

  46. BIG AL August 31st, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    luis -

    I feel the bench is quickly being worn down from over use. Age is taking its toll, and after watching Jones misplay those balls in RF, which in my opinion cost us the game, as well as others that simple can’t compete at this level over such a long streatch. It’s not the players fault, nor is it Giradri’s, its just what happens over a long season with so many serious injuries taking place. Hopefully, with the callups tomorrow, there will be some relief in store, that is if Girardi gives them a chance to play, or opts to stay with the “experienced vets”.

  47. BIG AL August 31st, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    trisha -

    :)

  48. BIG AL August 31st, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Good night folks, y’all enjoy the game, and keep the faith.

    GO YANKEES!

  49. yankeefeminista August 31st, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Ken Davidoff @KenDavidoff
    Likely #Yankees September call-ups include Adam Warren, Eduardo Nunez, Francisco Cervelli & Chris Dickerson.

  50. igotid88 August 31st, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I hope Montgomery doesn’t turn out like Melancon for us. Melancon was touted as the next Joba.

  51. randy l. August 31st, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    “I understand that people who worry excessively/needlessly and/or complain excessively/needlessly have the same rights to post as those who do not”

    now that trisha has posted her obligatory complaint about people she perceives as complainers i guess it must be almost game time.

  52. mick August 31st, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    PLAY BALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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