The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Archive for June, 2013

Romine behind the plate; Overbay back at first06.29.13

Brett Gardner CF
Jayson Nix SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells DH
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Zoilo Almonte LF
David Adams 3B
Lyle Overbay 1B
Austin Romine C

RHP David Phelps

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 437 Comments →

Young makes sense in the hunt for right-handed help06.29.13

A right-handed infielder is arguably the Yankees most glaring need, and there are two names to keep an eye on.

According to the New York Post, the Yankees have shown interest in Phillies third baseman Michael Young. Not so long ago Young was a bottom-of-the-ballot MVP candidate, but these days he’s more of a solid regular with a .289/.348/.412 slash line. He can play either infield corner — plus second or short in a pinch — and he’s a free agent at the end of the season. As always, his viability really depends on the asking price, which depends on the Phillies deciding whether they want to sell.

The most nearly available in-house option seems to be Eduardo Nunez, who had a single, a walk and a stolen base while rehabbing with High-A Tampa last night. He’s still in the early stages of game action and played just three innings. Nunez was hitting just .200/.290/.275 before landing on the disabled list, but he would seem to be a better option than Alberto Gonzalez. Nunez is eligible to come off the DL on July 5, which is next Friday.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 89 Comments →

Sabathia: “I just need to put a game together”06.29.13

CC SabathiaI expected CC Sabathia to be frustrated last night. I expected it because of the home run, and because of the way he came off the field, and because he let a lead slip away. But I’m not sure I expected him to be so angry in his frustration. He’s not the kind of guy to punch walls and throw chairs, but last night he seemed close. As close as he gets anyway.

“You’ve got to finish the game, put a complete game together,” he said. “I’m not saying go out and throw nine innings, but just put a good start, a complete start together. I feel like I haven’t done that all year.”

Sabathia’s season has felt incomplete, hasn’t it. Last night he could not have been much better halfway through the game. His fastball was sitting around 93 mph and regularly reaching 94. He was working on a no-hitter. It was vintage Sabathia for five innings. Then a little flare fell for a hit. Then an infield single that should have been an out. Then a legitimate double, and another infield single, and a home run. Suddenly, there he was, with another four earned runs and another start that could have been better.

“It wasn’t really him snowballing,” Chris Stewart said. “It was just kind of bad luck, just one bad pitch that they were able to take advantage of. Other than that, he threw pretty good. It’s just unfortunate what happened. … It’s an ERA-inflator, but there’s nothing much you can do. He’s had a couple of those games this year. He’s un-CC-like maybe numbers-wise, but as far as intensity and the way he goes about it, he’s the same guy. It’s just tough that his numbers aren’t with him this year.”

Thing is, the Yankees need the numbers. This is not a year when the Yankees can fight through games like yesterday, pick up Sabathia for his two costly mistakes, and turn a disappointment into a win. Pitching is what the Yankees have. It’s the only part of the roster that’s remained relatively healthy and able to go more-or-less according to plan. And the ace is a big part of that plan.

Sabathia’s velocity is starting to climb. He’s pitched at least seven innings in six of his past seven starts. He’s had one three-walk game since April 7. Does Sabathia feel that he’s far off from where he should be?

“No, but that’s what makes it more frustrating,” he said. “I feel like the stuff is there. I just need to put a game together.”

Associated Press photo

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Postgame notes: “You’re going to lose some tough games”06.28.13

CC Sabathia

Off the mound, through the infield and into the Yankees dugout, CC Sabathia was screaming. Then he flung his glove against the wall. And somewhere in that outburst of overwhelming emotion … nothing else happened. Just another moment of frustration in this Yankees season of disappointment.

“I feel like I’m wasting starts,” Sabathia said. “I’m feeling great and throwing the ball good. I’ve just not been able to put together a whole start. It’s just frustrating.”

The slider to Nate McLouth was a bad pitch. The changeup to Manny Machado might not have been quite as bad — “You could tell he was sitting on it the whole time,” Chris Stewart said — but it was certainly another mistake. Those were really the only hard-hit balls Sabathia allowed, but these days, two big hits mean trouble. Sabathia was given a 3-0 lead, and it’s hard to ask much more of this offense. He couldn’t hold it.

But it’s also hard to overlook the fact the Yankees scattered four hits, all singles, through the final six innings. The offense came roaring out of the gate, then went down with a whimper. And David Adams, playing first base to add another right-handed bat against a lefty, made a costly mistake when he misread a slow roller, opening the door to a three-run sixth.

A miscue of inexperience by an out-of-position rookie. An offense that couldn’t maintain momentum. Two mistake pitches by a guy who had a no-hitter through five. The margin for error is very thin these days, and so frustration can boil over at any moment. It did tonight.

“We talked about, this is going to be a year where pitching is going to be extremely important,” Joe Girardi said. “It is. You can’t expect your ace to go throw a shutout every time. At times we have to score some runs. … We’ve probably been a part of some (loses) that were worse, I’m sure. During the course of 162 games, you’re going to lose some tough games, but (Sabathia’s) stuff was really good tonight and he was rolling along.”

Alberto Gonzales• Sabathia blamed himself in every which way during a postgame interview, but so did Adams. “As soon as I’m running to the ball, I’m like, oh, I messed up,” he said. “… Honestly, any situation like that, there’s no one else to get to the bag. Cano’s up the middle, CC, his job is to go get the ball. There’s no one else to be on the bag. I’ve got to get to the bag.”

• Girardi did his best to back his rookie infielder. “It’s a tough read,” Girardi said. “You see the ball hit that way. He’s coming off the bag. In hindsight he probably would have liked to have stayed there, but it’s a ground ball and he kind of went after it. … Could have been (lack of experience), but I’m not so sure most first basemen aren’t going to go after it.”

• The Yankees actually hit T.J. McFarland pretty well. Vernon Wells had an RBI single; Adams drew a walk; Robinson Cano had a couple of hits; Brett Gardner started the game with his double. The rest of the game: Three singles, each in a different inning. Kevin Gausman went 4.1 scoreless. “We had some opportunities and weren’t able to do it,” Girardi said. “Gausman came in and threw the ball extremely well. You can tell the kid is extremely talented. But we had some early opportunities. I think we had seven or eight hits in the first three innings and were only able to get three runs.”

• What made Sabathia so good early? “I thought he mixed his pitches,” Girardi said. “I thought he was locating. He gave up two hard-hit balls and gave up two runs in that inning. That’s the tough part about it. It’s different if he gives up four or five hard-hit balls, but he gave up two, and some really well-placed balls and they did it at the right time and it worked out for them.”

• Stewart on the pitch to Machado: “I wanted it down a little more, but even if it was down, I don’t know if it would have made much of a difference. You could tell he was sitting on it the whole time. He let the fastballs inside go, not even offering at them. He made a good decision and was able to hit it.”

• Stewart on the home run pitch to McLouth: “The slider didn’t really slide all that much. He kind of left it over the plate. He’s a decent breaking ball hitter, he was able to get the barrel on the ball and hit one out.”

Ichiro Suzuki• McLouth’s homer was his first since his walkoff against the Yankees on May 21.

• Cano went 3-for-4 and is now a .362 hitter in 70 career games at Camden Yards. He also passed Frank Crosetti for 19th place on the Yankees all-time hits list. He now has 1,543.

• This was Sabathia’s 400th career start. He passed Jack Chesbro for 14th place on the Yankees all-time strikeouts list. He has 918 Ks as a Yankee.

• Random fact from the Orioles: This was Gausman’s first big league win, and it came in a game started by McFarland. On June 13, McFarland got his first big league win in a game started by Gausman. So, you know, there’s that. … Also, Manny Machado has 37 doubles, which is the second-most through the end of June since 1921 (Edgar Martinez had 39 in 1996). Obviously Machado has a couple of games to get there.

• Final word goes to Sabathia: “It’s super frustrating. We’ve been battling and scuffling all year, dealing with injuries and everything. For us to come out here and put up three against a tough team and not be able to hold it late in the game is extremely frustrating. I have to get better. … Like I said, not being able to hold the lead. Then you’re ultimately giving up the lead and giving up the game. It’s frustrating. I try not to show my emotions too much, but it happens.”

Associated Press photos

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Yankees let one get away in Baltimore06.28.13

CC Sabathia

Buck Showalter intended to use a left-handed starter to weaken the Yankees offense. What he seems to have done is weaken their defense just enough for a 4-3 Orioles win at Camden Yards. CC Sabathia was throwing a gem until David Adams — starting at first base in place of left-handed hitting Lyle Overbay — charged a slow roller instead of covering the bag. The miscue put two on with no outs, and Manny Machado doubled in both runs before scoring on another infield single to tie the game at 3. An inning later, Nate McLouth — who’d broken up Sabathia’s no hitter an inning earlier — homered to put the Orioles in front. Orioles spot starter T.J. McFarland allowed three runs through 2.2 innings, but an inexperienced first baseman cost the Yankees, and their offense couldn’t score against the Baltimore bullpen. Brett Gardner had two hits and Robinson Cano had three, but an early 3-0 lead vanished and the Yankees couldn’t get it back.

Associated Press photo

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Game 79: Yankees at Orioles06.28.13

YANKEES (42-36)
Brett Gardner CF
Jayson Nix SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells DH
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Zoilo Almonte LF
Chris Stewart C
David Adams 1B
Alberto Gonzalez 3B

RHP David Phelps (5-4, 4.01)
Phelps vs. Orioles

ORIOLES (44-36)
Nick Markakis RF
Manny Machado 3B
J.J. Hardy SS
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
Danny Valencia DH
Nate McLouth LF
Alexi Casilla 2B

RHP T.J. McFarland (1-0, 4.14)
McFarland vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., MY9

WEATHER: The tarp was on the field earlier today, but now it’s just really humid.

UMPIRES: HP Eric Cooper, 1B Jeff Kellogg, 2B Paul Schrieber, 3B Adam Hamari

CANO IN CAMDEN: Robinson Cano is a .357 (102-for-286) career hitter with 59 runs, 27 doubles, 12 homers and 36 RBI in 69 career games at Camden Yards. Since August 22, 2008 he has a .417 (73-for-175) average with 45 runs, 18 doubles, 11 home runs and 26 RBI in 42 games at Camden Yards. He?has hit safely in 30 of his last 34 games in Baltimore, and in 37 of his last 42.

SUZUKI YARDS: Ichiro Suzuki has hit safely in each of his last 21 games at Camden Yards since April 5, 2008 (.385, 35-for-91). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is tied with Derek Jeter (April 4, 2002 through June 22, 2004) and Rafael Palmiero (April 23, 1994 through June 15, 1994) for the second-longest hitting streak in the history of the ballpark, trailing only Jacoby Ellsbury, who had a 22-game hitting streak in Baltimore.

UPDATE, 7:34 p.m.: Maybe all the Yankees needed was for me to eat dinner while they’re facing a lefty. Gardner’s leadoff double and Cano’s RBI single led to a run in the first inning, and now the Yankees have two on for Gardner in the second.

UPDATE, 8:04 p.m.: Yankees have chased McFarland from the game with an RBI double by Stewart. It’s 3-0 in the third, and the Orioles have brought a right-handers from the bullpen.

UPDATE, 8:17 p.m.: CC is dealing through three innings. Dealing.

UPDATE, 8:45 p.m.: Seriously, CC has been very, very good through five.

UPDATE, 8:52 p.m.: I honestly felt about 75 percent sure CC was going to get a no-hitter. Just felt like one of those days for him. But McLouth just floated a single to center and Sabathia might have to settle for a very good start instead of a milestone performance.

UPDATE, 8:56 p.m.: There’s an inexperienced first baseman for you. Looked like Adams needed to stay on the bag and let Sabathia field the slow chop. Instead, Adams charged and there was no one to cover the bag. Infield single has two on with no outs in the sixth. Sabathia just went from no hitter to being in some actual trouble. O’s still haven’t hit the ball hard, but they’ve put themselves in a good spot.

UPDATE, 9:01 p.m.: The Adams mistake hurts. Machado just doubled in two runs to pull the Orioles within 3-2.

UPDATE, 9:06 p.m.: Orioles hit one ball hard this inning. They have three runs.

UPDATE, 9:11 p.m.: Infield coach Mick Kelleher wasted no time talking to David Adams in the dugout. First base in a new position for Adams, and his lack of familiarity seems to have cost the Yankees at least one run that inning.

UPDATE, 9:29 p.m.: Home run by McLouth. Orioles in front. Yankees strong start to this game completely forgotten. Offense has looked lost since that two-run third inning.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 270 Comments →

Pregame notes: “Not the same team that we used to be”06.28.13

Robinson Cano

There is not a single team in Major League Baseball with a lower slugging percentage against lefties than the Yankees. They’re hitting .233/.306/.337 against them, leaving little room to wonder why the Orioles switching things around so that Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland will make his first big league start tonight.

“We all know that we’re not the same team that we used to be in the past,” Robinson Cano said. “A lot of guys are hurt. We just have to go out there, stay positive and try to take advantage when we have men in scoring position. If you have to move them over, move them over. Just do the little things. We don’t have the big guys that you can count on — four or five guys that can hit a homer any time in the game. I’m not saying anybody in here can’t hit homers, but we’re not the same team we used to be in the past.”

That much is clear from the lineup, and from the fact there aren’t standout alternatives on the bench. Slumping Vernon Wells is once again batting cleanup, and the only reasonable alternatives are a couple of platoon left-handed hitters (Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay), a switch-hitting rookie who’s hot start has yet to include a hit against a left-hander, or a light-hitting lefty who’s more at home at the top of the order but is suddenly batting fifth because the alternatives are so few and far between.

The guy who’s supposed to be a ray of hope in this lineup is Cano, who’s hitting just .230/.302/.363 against lefties this season.

“I might see one pitch over the plate,” Cano said. “That’s what they’re doing; one pitch over the plate and then they’re pitching around me. It’s not like before where they would give me strikes. They’re going corner to corner, so I might see one pitch. I have to take advantage whenever I get that pitch.”

The Yankees are 15-10 against left-handed starters this season, and that’s the third-best such winning percentage in the Majors behind Texas (16-9) and Atlanta (14-9), however, the Yankees have lost their past three games against left-handed starters and four of their last five. They’re not sneaking away with the wins that they seemed to get away with in April.

“You just try to score runs,” Joe Girardi said. “We’ve won a lot of really low-scoring, close games against lefties. When you look at our average against lefties, it was less than against right handers, but we had won some close games. So we’ve got to keep it close.”

Derek Jeter• Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez each took simulated at-bats at the minor league complex today. According to The Associated Press in Tampa, Jeter had an opposite-field single in six at-bats said afterward that it was his second day facing live pitching. Rodriguez, according to the AP, had two doubles and a single in five plate appearances. He also ran the bases after putting the ball in play. “I’m not sure who (of those two) you’ll see in a game first,” Girardi said. “Alex has obviously had more simulated at-bats than Derek, but we’ll see how that goes.”

• The AP also reported that Francisco Cervelli did baserunning drills with Rodriguez after the simulated at-bats.

• Girardi said, as far as he knows, Eduardo Nunez is scheduled to play in another minor league rehab game today. It’s obviously looking like Nunez is the closest player to coming off the disabled list. I’m fairly certain he’s eligible to come off next weekend.

• Larry Rothschild told the Yankees media relations staff the wrong rotation. He mixed up CC Sabathia and David Phelps, which is why every list of scheduled starters had Phelps today and Sabathia tomorrow. It’s actually Sabathia today and Phelps tomorrow.

• Speaking of starters, the Yankees say that Ivan Nova will likely start one of the games in Minnesota, but they’re not sure which one. Nova is available out of the bullpen, but Adam Warren is considered the go-to long man. “We’re in an extremely long stretch of 20 games,” Girardi said. “And you start tacking on three or four starts in a row where it’s on normal rest, we think that’s pretty taxing. If during this time you can insert Nova one time – or if you need to, twice – we’ll do it.”

• Sabathia is going for his 200th career win. “I’m sure that thought has crossed his mind,” Girardi said. “Hopefully that won’t be his focus tonight. I think it will be the Baltimore Orioles. It’s a pretty big milestone, and I’m sure he’d like to get it out of the way.”

• It was interesting to watch players fill out their all-star ballots in the pregame clubhouse. For the past few years there’s been a players ballot to choose some of the reserves, and most of the Yankees seemed to be really studying the stats before making their choices. I’m sure there are a few guys who just check off some friends and call it a day, but everyone I saw with a ballot was putting some real effort into it.

Associated Press photo

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Wells at DH, Adams at 1B06.28.13

Apparently the pitching change is all about miscommunication. CC Sabathia was supposed to start all along but the information was passed along incorrectly.

Brett Gardner CF
Jayson Nix SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells DH
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Zoilo Almonte LF
Chris Stewart C
David Adams 1B
Alberto Gonzalez 3B

LHP CC Sabathia

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 97 Comments →

Sabathia pitching tonight06.28.13

Not sure why, but that’s what’s happening.

A Yankees media spokesman says there’s not official reason. He’s only heard that David Phelps is, in fact, scratched and CC Sabathia is starting.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 429 Comments →

Pitching matchups in Baltimore06.28.13

RHP David Phelps (5-4, 4.01)
LHP T.J. McFarland (1-0, 4.14)
7:05 p.m., MY9

LHP CC Sabathia (8-5, 4.09)
LHP Zach Britton (1-2, 5.51)
7:15 p.m., FOX

RHP Hiroki Kuroda (7-5, 2.77)
RHP Chris Tillman (9-2, 3.72)
8:05 p.m., ESPN

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 98 Comments →

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