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Almonte and Ichiro Improving Outfield

The Yankees outfield has been a mess for most of the season. Outside of Brett Gardner and a hot start from Vernon Wells, they have gotten little production from their outfielders. However, recently, Zoilo Almonte and Ichiro Suzuki have been very productive, and if they can keep on playing well the outfield situation will look a lot better.

Ichiro’s walk-off home run last night was not his only contribution of late. Ichiro has hit .299/.341/.390/.731 with a 101 wRC+ and .323 wOBA in the month of June. Overall, he only has a .289 wOBA, 78 wRC+ and .6667 OPS, which are very poor numbers. However, the Yankees would be ecstatic if he could keep those numbers from June up for the rest of the season. Ichiro has also made a lot of sparkling plays in the field of late.

In only 18 at-bats, Almonte has hit .438, with a home run and 4 RBI. He has provided a spark to the team like few players have for the Yankees so far this season. Obviously, the sample size is extremely small, but Almonte has shown he has some skills to work with. It has not only been his skills, but his approach at the plate that has been impressive, as Almonte has not looked over matched by MLB pitching so far. Almonte hit .297/.369/.421/.789 in Triple-A before he got called up.

Almonte is not considered to be one of the Yankees’ best prospects, but then again neither were Gardner or Robinson Cano, so you just never know. The Yankees are in desperate need of a young breakout player, so they will give Almonte every opportunity to do that. They could really use young and cheap players not only for this season, but next year when they try to get under $189 million in payroll.

If Almonte and Ichiro can keep up their hot streaks, the Yankees might look more at infield help at the trade deadline. That is not to say that if a good deal for an outfielder comes along the Yankees shouldn’t jump on it because they need bats at any position they can get them. However, the infield seems to be in worse shape than the outfield at this point.

David Adams and Jayson Nix may just be the left side of the infield combo in all of MLB at this point. After a hot start to his Yankees career, Adams looks absolutely lost at the plate right now. He has hit .105/.171/.105/.276 in the month of June, which is pretty much as bad as a player can possible be at the plate. Despite the love Joe Girardi has given Nix at times he is not a MLB caliber starting shortstop. His .280 wOBA, 71 wRC+, and .066 ISO are just not good enough.

The Yankees are also getting horrible production out of first base and catcher. Despite the perception of how good he has been this year, Lyle Overbay really is not very good. Yes, he has had some key hits and has been better than expected, but that is still not saying much. Overbay’s .232 avg, .289 OBP, 90 wRC+ and .1 WAR are just not very impressive.

Like their left side of the infield combination, the Yankees’ catching combination is also in the running for the worst combo in MLB. Chris Stewart is nothing more than a backup catcher and Austin Romine is nothing more than a Triple-A catcher right now. This is the bed the Yankees made when they refused to pony up money for Russell Martin or A.J. Pierzynski. Hopefully, Francisco Cervelli is on his way back soon.

Despite all of this, the Yankees are still only one game behind the Red Sox in the loss column in the AL East. They still have great pitching and with some offensive reinforcements coming back and some potential trades the Yankees can still win the division.

With a little more than a month to go until the trade deadline a lot of the potential trade targets are still just speculation. However, with Ichiro and Almonte playing well and Curtis Granderson returning the Yankees may need infielders more than outfielders. Ideally, the Yankees could trade for a versatile players like Chase Headley, Mike Morse, or Corey Hart who could play both. The trade deadline season is just beginning and it will be a very interesting time for the Yankees.

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Game 41 Lineup: Mariners vs . Yankees

Brett Gardner CF
Jayson Nix SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Curtis Granderson DH
David Adams 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chris Stewart C

LHP Andy Pettitte

- Ex-Yankee Hector Noesi will be on the mound for Seattle.  Aaron Harang was scratched.

- Andy Pettitte trys to right himself after a couple of rough starts

- Yankees called up Dellin Betances from Scranton and sent down Brett Marshall who was spent after throwing 108 pitches yesterday

- Jayson Nix gets his shot batting 2nd today.  Nix has had a very quiet season offensively but suprisingly, his .319 OBP% is 4th among healthy regulars behind Wells, Cano & Gardner.  Nix has hit 2nd 6 times this year and has hit .261/.293/.261 (6 for 23 with 5 Walks).  Not many Yankees have faced Noesi but Nix is 1 for 3 with a HR.

Behind the music: The 2013 Yankees walk-up songs

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When the baseball season starts, fans usually go to the ball park in order to take in nine innings of glorious baseball. As much as I enjoy going to the ball park to hear the crack of the bat, the fans cheering loudly and the food, I usually love going to the ball park in order to listen to the walk-up music of the Yankees. Music is one of my biggest passions, and to me the Yankees have done more than play great baseball over the years; they’ve also introduced me to new music and have filled up my iTunes with songs that I listen to on a consistent basis. Since Opening Day for the Yankees is tomorrow, I went on the Yankees website, found the list to some of the Yankees walk-up songs and took a listen to them, introducing myself to the different types of music that our players listen to.

1. Brennan BoeschBrennan Boesch didn’t waste any time in choosing his songs for the 2013 season as he went and chose two songs for his walk-up music. The first song was “Sail” by Awolnation. When I first took  a listen to the song, I found it intimidating in a good way. It’s not as intimidating as Evan Longoria‘s walk-up song (which is arguably one of the best walk-up songs in the Major Leagues), but it makes you think that something big is coming. The second song that Boesch chose was “We’ll Be Fine” by Drake. This is one of those songs that has you nodding your head while Boesch comes to the plate. Boesch hasn’t played a real game for the Yankees yet, but if I must applaud him on one thing, it’s his good taste in music.

2. Brett GardnerI have to admit that before I started watching Gardner play baseball, I did not listen to country music; at all. But in 2011, Gardner had “Dirt Road Anthem” by Jason Aldean as one of his walk-up songs and ever since then, half my iTunes is consumed with country music. This year, Gardner went with “Hell On Wheels” by Brantely Gilbert which is another great country song. Now, let’s hope that Gardner’s 2013 season is as dynamite as his walk-up song choice.

3. Chris StewartChris Stewart is close to having one of the best walk-up songs on the Yankees if he only played the first twenty seconds of the song over the P.A. Stewart’s song choice is “Forsaken” by Skillet and if there’s one thing I must say, is that the guitar riffs were amazing. I wouldn’t normally listen to music like this, but after today now I would. Now, all he has to do is play on a consistent basis so I could heart this song over and over at the ball park. I wouldn’t mind paying money for that.

4. Curtis GrandersonWe all remember the famous video where Curtis Granderson was picking his at-bat music and then almost cried when he chose “Friday.” Well, maybe all those hours of going through his laptop did the Grandy Man some good. His walk-up song (when he comes back) is none other than “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See (Instrumental)” by Busta Rhymes. Not too fond of the lyrics, but I do love the beat, so a smart move by Granderson in just using the instrumental.

5. David RobertsonWe all know that David Robertson is an Alabama boy. He was born in Tuscaloosa and he is constantly helping his hometown with High Socks For Hope. So it doesn’t surprise me that his walk-up song is the awesome “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. It’s actually a good thing I know about this now because I made a deadly mistake in asking my Twitter followers last season what D-Rob’s walk-up song was. Let’s just say they weren’t too happy with me during the game when they found out I seriously didn’t know. Well, I know now and it’s an awesome song. I’m looking forward to the 8th inning where I could sit back and listen to the tune that introduces us to the Yankees favorite set-up man.

6. Derek JeterThe Captain won’t be there on Opening Day for us to hear his walk-up music but he made sure that he chose a song. I’m not too fond of rap music but, “Otis” by Jay-Z and Kanye West was a decent choice by Jeter. It would be nice to hear it at Yankee Stadium when The Captain returns, but in the meantime I guess the closest we can hear this song is on Youtube (and on iTunes if you have it already).

7. Hiroki KurodaHiroki Kuroda has some great taste in music! Kuroda’s walk-up music is “The Whip” by Locksley and when I heard it for the first time, I heard some influence of ‘The Beatles’ in the chorus of the song. It’s nice that Kuroda was able to take us back to the good music–without actually taking us all the way back to the 1960′s.

8. Ivan NovaAh, is there nothing better than listening to some awesome Spanish music at Yankee Stadium? That’s what Ivan Nova introduced to the fans when he made his walk-up choice “Marta La Reina” by Antony Santos. This is one of those songs where you can’t help but get up from your seat and start dancing. According to the Yankees website, I don’t think it’s available for purchase but they have the song on Youtube where you can hear it over and over and over. It’s actually a great song to hear on a Sunday morning (with your headphones on).

9. Mariano RiveraMariano Rivera’s song choice is as fitting as his role on the Yankees. When the Yankees have a lead and they go to the 9th inning, Mariano Rivera comes in the game and puts it to bed, dubbing him “The Sandman.” Rivera’s song choice is the best song choice by far on the Yankees with “Enter Sandman” by Metallica. The guitar riffs in the song are simply amazing and when Yankees fans hear it, they can’t help but get excited, knowing that the greatest closer of all time is coming in to make the opposing team’s offense go to sleep. Yankees fans better soak in all of “Enter Sandman” that they can this season, since Rivera plans on retiring at the end of the season. I know I’ll soak up every moment.

10. Mark TeixeiraIf there’s anyone that we can count on to take us back to when rap music was at it’s best, it’s Mark Teixeira. His song choice “It’s Tricky” by Run D.M.C  is a great way to pay a homage to rap at it’s finest. Of course, we expect nothing less of Teixeira since he has been famously known of using classics from the Twisted Sisters in the past. But Teixeira didn’t stop there. His second song choice was “This Town” by O.A.R. which is one of my favorite songs. Teixeira hit a home run with his song choices and I can’t wait until he gets back on the field so we can hear it blaring from the P.A speakers.

11. Phil HughesPhil Hughes’s walk-up song is pretty vague. There’s no artist next to his song choice “Tomorrowland” so I did a search on Youtube and it sounds more like Hughes is ready for summer in a club than ready to play baseball. If this is his song, I’m not too fond of the techno-beat, but I can see it getting fans excited.

12. Robinson CanoRobinson Cano simply outdid everyone when it came to choosing songs. He didn’t choose two songs, he went the extra mile and chose three! His first song was “El Que No Aguante La Presion” by Secreto El Biberon which is a great song choice. It reminds me of summer like Hughes’s song choice, but Cano’s song reminds me more of running through fire hydrants that have water coming out of them than the club. Cano’s second song choice was “Me Kitee” by Black Point. Again, it reminded me of  summer. Cano’s last song was “Te Prendo” by Chimbala. As far as Spanish songs go, all three of Cano’s song choices hit it out of the ball park. Simply great. If his goal was to get Yankees fans on their feet while he comes to bat, he succeeded.

13. Vernon WellsI’m not a fan of rap music, but if you choose a song with Dr. Dre and Eminem, then you are in my good graces for the entire season. And that’s exactly what Vernon Wells did by choosing “Forgot About Dre” by Dr. Dre & Eminem. The beat is fantastic and this was when rap was still at it is greatest. It’s great that someone chose a throwback song, and now I will await his arrival to the plate just to hear this awesome song.

The Yankees choosing their own walk-up music is a way for them to connect to their fans. It shows fans what kind of music their idols like and in their own way, they introduce you to music you may have never heard of before. The Yankees are always winners in the fans eyes, but they’ve become more than. They’re role models with impeccable taste in music. So the next time you go to the ball park, open your ears when your favorite Yankee goes to the plate. You just might have a new favorite song that you’ll want as soon as you get home.

Yanks drop both split squad games vs. Blue Jays, Astros

Ir seems to me that things aren’t turning out the way the Yankees planned during Spring Training. However, we have to remember a couple of things before we get crazy about the standings (which we shouldn’t be doing).

1. The Yankees Major League starting pitchers haven’t even been in a game so far.

2. The Yankees hitters have only went about 5-6 innings before getting taken out.

3. It’s Spring Training. Almost everyone’s rusty.

However, it would be nice to see the Yankees win a game or two. Let’s break down the good (and bad) that came out of each game. That seems like an easier way to recap the split-squad games.

Blue Jays vs. Yankees

Gardner & Ichiro are locked in: If the season started today, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki wouldn’t mind. At all. Both of them as of right now are easily the best hitters on the team, with both of their batting averages over .500. Gardner went 1-for-3 today, now successfully hitting in four-straight games. Ichiro also had a 1-for-3 day, extending his hitting streak. It’s nice to know that out of the gate the two speedsters are ready for the 2013 season. Now if everyone else behind them can catch up, that would be great.

Clay Rapada is unstoppable (and undefeated): Clay Rapada had the quickest 1-2-3 inning, that if you went to the kitchen to get a glass of water and come back, the inning would be over due to his sheer brilliance on the mound. There’s also an interesting fact that YES gave about Rapada: He’s been in 148 games and his overall record is 8-0 in the Majors. That means that Clay Rapada has never lost a game in his Major League career. Never. Ever. Just judging by today’s game, I would already have a nice roster spot for Mr. Rapada. He looked in mid-season form.

Chris Stewart ejected: Chris Stewart only had one at-bat. And that one-at bat would be the last at-bat that he would have on the day. He hit into a bang-bang play at first base. YES instant replay showed Stewart’s foot touched the bag before the ball went into the first baseman’s glove. However, Marty Foster called him out. Stewart said something and then was ejected from the game, making him the first ejection of the Spring. Just so you know, Spring Training ejections don’t happen very often, so that must mean Marty Foster in in mid-season form.

David Phelps pitches strong: David Phelps had another strong outing, going 3 innings, giving up 2 hits, 1 walk and 1 strikeout. Phelps’ future with the Yankees could be either one of two things at this point: he could either be in the rotation, taking the 5th spot from Ivan Nova, or he could be in the bullpen, helping out in later innings. I don’t see him going back to the minor leagues, at all.

Yankees vs. Astros:

Melky Mesa has great game: The young CF looks to be in the front running of who could take Curtis Granderson‘s job for the next 4-6 weeks after the big day he had at the plate. The young CF went 2-for-3 with 3 RBI’s on the day. I wonder what John Sterling’s HR call would be for the young OF if he ever had a chance to play on the big league club–and if he homered.

Nunez helmet won’t stay on: Another day, another chance to see Eduardo Nunez‘s helmet fall off his head. Just as I had hoped that Nunez would be able to keep the helmet on while running down the first baseline, it came off when he hit a lead-off single in the first inning. Maybe someone should add a chin strap or get him a helmet like Francisco Cervelli‘s. That way it can’t come off.

Cervelli’s strong day behind the plate: Speaking of the young catcher, Cervelli had a great day behind the plate, throwing out two runners who were attempting to steal. Offensively, he went 0-for-3. Maybe it didn’t help that Chris Stewart was ejected because judging by what happened today, it looks like Cervelli took the lead in the catching competition.

Marshall has a good start: Another Brett on the Yankees ball-club had a great day as well, and his name is Brett Marshall. Through three innings, he struck out three and only allowed one hit. Now that is some impressive numbers from the young starter, who is one of the few players actually impressing this Spring Training.

WHAT’S NEXT:

– The Phillies will take the drive from Clearwater to Tampa in order to play the Yankees at GMS Field tomorrow. Robinson Cano is expected to be in the lineup tomorrow and Saturday before leaving on Sunday for the World Baseball Classic. The game will be at 1:05 p.m. on the YES Network.

Yanks miss out on Pierzynski

Where was the Yankees offer?

Where was the Yankees offer?

It has been reported that the Texas Rangers have agreed to terms with Free Agent Catcher A.J. Pierzynski.  The Yankees were said to have looked into the 35-yr old as an option to replace Russell Martin but ultimately backed off because he supposedley wasn’t strong enough defensively.  To me, I thought AJ would be an excellent match for the Yankees but I thought he was out of the picture because he would receive a 2-yr deal from someone.  I wanted to see the Yanks offer a Kevin Youkilis type deal – high money for just 1 yr for AJ.  In fact I thought they should have offered the same $12M deal to AJ that Youk signed for.  Well, I was crushed to see that Pierzynski signed with Texas for a mere $7.5 Million for 1 year. Where was the Yankee offer?

Based on the wreckage that is the current state of Yankees catching and the club’s ridiculous insistence on 1-yr contracts – there really couldn’t have been a better match.   I don’t expect AJ to hit 27 HRs and win a Silver Slugger again like he did in 2012, but he seemed to be a good fit and would have improved the team immensely over the Catchers they have now.  AJ is a high average , contact hitter who is one of the toughest to strike out in the league.  He crushes RHP which would be ideal to match with any of the Yankees RH hitting backups in Stewart, Cervelli or Romine.  AJ feasted on RHP in 2012, hitting .287/.338/.536/.874 with 24 HRs in 399 PAs.  It would have been ideal to have him start the roughly 110 games this year vs RHP and one of the RH backups to start vs LHP.

Pierzynski is an all-out player with a fiery personality who gets under the skin of opponents.  He’s one of the more disliked players in MLB but he’s known to be a good teammate and leader.  His demeanor and effort would be a welcome addition to the team.  Apparently, the Yankees had concerns that he was only an “average” defensive catcher. This is rather laughable considering the Catchers currently on the team.   At this point in their careers AJ is better defensively then Cervelli and Romine.  And while Stewart is a solid defender he is like having a Pitcher in the batting order.  Pairing AJ with Romine may have been a good move so the young catcher could learn on the job from a seasoned veteran the way a young Posada learned from the veteran starter Girardi.

Looking at the state of catching in MLB, Pierzynski was an excellent option and a no-brainer at the contract he got.  Although its been just 114 PAs over the last decade, he’s shown that he won’t wilt in the post-season with a .300 BA, 5 HRs and a  .892 OPS.  AJ’s LH power also could have made it easier to trade Curtis Granderson for young talent without inhibiting their offense in 2013.  There seems to be a multitude of good reasons to have signed Pierzynski to be the Yankees catcher in 2013 yet they had very little interest.  I have been perplexed with a number of the team’s decisions this Winter (and the last 2-3 Winters actually) but I totally don’t understand this one.  Currently, it looks like the Yanks have perhaps the worst starting Catcher in the A.L. which doesn’t add up with their apparent strategy.  All of their moves this offseason make it seem that they are going with a lot of veterans to take one last shot while guys like Pettitte, Mariano and Jeter are still around.  They have made no effort to get younger or to make any significant additions for the team’s future beyond 2013. Pierzynski was the perfect fit to go after it in 2013 without adding any further commitment/burden to the 2014 payroll.  I want to believe the team has a plan but with each subsequent move and non-move it makes it harder to understand it.

Yankees Report Card: July

It’s that time of the month again where we decide which Yankees were at the top of their class and which Yankees just didn’t make the grade in July’s Yankees Report Card. After a stellar June, the Yankees had a so-so July but some Yankees players that were struggling really improved their game and earned a higher grade. If you don’t agree with the grade that any Yankee gets, put the grade that you believe they deserve in the comment section below. Now, onto grading those Yankees!

Derek Jeter (A): Derek Jeter was on fire in the month of July, hitting a .346 average with 37 hits and 7 doubles. Jeter doesn’t hit for power (he only has 1 HR in July) but he has been able to get on base so his fellow teammates can make some damage. Maybe Jeter can continue his hot-streak in August. I know one thing–Derek Jeter is not too old to play baseball.

Curtis Granderson (B+): Curtis Granderson only had a .245 average this month, but he has been the one that has helped pick up this team with 5 HR’s, 10 RBI’s, 2 doubles and 2 triples. Granderson is now required to pair up with Robinson Cano to supply power since A-Rod is currently on the disabled list but if there is anyone that can do it, it’s Curtis Granderson (also, he might be interested in hitting a HR whenever he can since he gets rewarded with ice pops.)

Mark Teixeira (A+): Mark Teixeira had his best month in the month of July with a .298 average. He also had 7 HR’s, 14 RBI’s, 12 walks, 5 doubles and a triple. Teixeira would have normally have gotten an A, but after hitting a HR off Vicente Padilla during the Yankees/Red Sox series, Teixeira deserved a higher mark for 2 reasons. One, he was the bigger man in their rivalry and two, what other way can you say don’t mess with me by hitting a 2 run homer that temporarily tied the game?

Alex Rodriguez (A): The month of July was A-Rod’s best month average wise with a .314 average. His HR and RBI numbers had slightly decreased from June since he only had 2 HR’s, 9 RBI’s, 5 doubles, 1 triple and 1 walk. It seemed as if A-Rod was getting everything together–until Felix Hernandez took that all away with one pitch that hit him in the wrist, thus forcing him to go on the DL for 6-8 weeks. Yankees may not see A-Rod until the end of September, but the Yankees were able to add depth by trading Chad Qualls for Casey McGhee. Let’s see how A-Rod returns: will he be the one that the Yankees can rely on, or will he get into his early season funk once again.

Robinson Cano (A): Robbie Cano has been the one that had carried the Yankees to first place, he had been the one that carried them when they were struggling (even when he was struggling himself) and Robbie Cano continues to carry this team with a .314 average. Cano had 4 HR’s, 14 RBI’s, 5 walks and 6 doubles which proves that even when Robbie gets base hits, a lot of them count for something. Let’s hope Robbie can continue his streak in August (we know he will, he’s Robbie Cano!)

Nick Swisher (B-): Nick Swisher didn’t hit for average in the month of July, only hitting .222 but he could have done more if he wasn’t injured with a strained muscle near his hip. Swisher hit 2 HR’s, 8 RBI’s, and hit 3 doubles all in 63 at-bats. When Nick Swisher is healthy, he is able to change his team. When he’s not healthy, then–the team somewhat misses him. But with Ichiro Suzuki possibly vying for a right field spot next season and this being Swisher’s walk year, he might want to consider getting on a gigantic hot streak. But–Swisher’s smile and personality might win his teammates, the fans and the front office over.

Raul Ibanez (B): One of the best acquisitions of the 2012 season has to have been Raul Ibanez and he continues to prove that he is an important piece to the Yankees bench. In the month of July, Ibanez hit .279 which is his second best month (May was .288). Ibanez has 3 HR’s, 10 RBI’s, 5 walks, and 4 doubles. The one flaw this month from Ibanez was that he struck out 17 times which was the most he struck out in a month this season. As long as Ibanez hit’s HR’s for power, then I don’t care.

Russell Martin (D): Russell Martin continues to struggle at the plate which is making the Yankees scratch their heads. Martin hit .183 in the month of July which means his average is still below the Mendoza line. Martins’ best month? May with a .203 average. I know the Yankees aren’t expecting much out of Russell Martin, but the least he could do is hit! Is it too much to ask? Hopefully August he’ll turn it around?

Andruw Jones (B-): Andruw Jones didn’t hit for average this month, but he played an important part for the Yankees in July. While Jones only hit .218 in the month of May, he did have 5 HR’s, 11 RBI’s, 2 walks and 2 doubles. Jones is an important part to the Yankees when he plays and although his average doesn’t say much, he is always doing something to help his team win.

Chris Stewart (B-): Chris Stewart has been a delightful surprise for the Yankees due to his catching skills and his ability to call a ballgame. Although his bat is nothing to ‘ahh’ over, he has done everything the Yankees wanted (and he has a higher batting average than the primary catcher Russell Martin). Yep, I think that Chris Stewart is going to fit in quite nicely around here.

Jayson Nix (B): Jayson Nix is another pleasant surprise for the Yankees, since he is doing exactly what the Yankees wanted. He plays great defense, he gets base hits when they matter and in July, Nix has shown power. Nix hit 2 HR’s and has 6 RBI’s in the month of July which means when it’s up to him, ‘Nix Knocks’.

Eric Chavez (B+): Chavez continues to prove just how important he is to the Yankees bench and once again, he has done what he has to do. In July he hit a .264 average with 4 HR’s, 9 RBI’s and 7 walks. Chavez is another Yankee that proves that age isn’t anything but a number. Let’s keep it up Chavez, shall we?

CC Sabathia (B-): For the ace of the Yankees, this wasn’t exactly the month that CC Sabathia was hoping for. After being on the disabled list in late June-early July, CC hasn’t exactly came back into form yet. For the month of July he holds a 4.26 ERA and a 1-0 record (he has 2 no decisions). In good news he only gave up 9 runs this month which was his low point during the year. The Yankees expect to see their ace back in August–and we are sure CC expects to see himself return to form as well.

Hiroki Kuroda (B-): Hiroki Kuroda has had worst months in the past, so looking at his numbers here it was pretty good. In the month of July, Kuroda has a 2-0 record and a 3.60 ERA. The good news is that he’s 2-0. The bad? In the month of July he gave up 15 runs (14 of them were earned, but they all count in the game). Kuroda isn’t supposed to be lights out, but he has to get better at stranding runners when there is an error.

Ivan Nova (D): Ivan Nova is usually one of the Yankees youngest and brightest stars on this team, which is why I don’t understand how he could have a 5.97 ERA in the month of July. Nova had seemed to have been getting it together last month, but this month makes everyone question what’s wrong with Nova. Is something wrong with his mechanics? Is he not hitting spots because he’s concerend that the might get hit hard? And why did he give up 27 runs (23 earned)? Nova has to do better in August because if he doesn’t then he could quickly find himself back at Scranton. Remember–he has options.

Freddy Garcia (B-): Now, we aren’t expecting Freddy Garcia to throw shut-outs in each and every game. It’s not going to happen. But the month of July has been a solid month for Garcia after having a 2-3 record and a 4.00 ERA. I know what you’re thinking, a 2-3 record is not solid. It should be if this team is the Yankees. In the 3 starts that he lost, he had given up no more than 4 runs. After going from the bullpen to the starting rotation, Garcia has done okay, but he’s doing well enough to stay in the rotation.

Phil Hughes (B): Phil Hughes has easily been the Yankees best starter in the month of July with a 2-2 record and a 3.09 ERA. Although Hughes’s issue is the home run ball (He gave up 6), he really has done a fantastic job for the Yankees and is definetely looking like the Phil Hughes of 2010. Also, his ERA as a whole is 3.96 which is much better than where he started the season at.

Cody Eppley (B+): In the beginning of the year, it would have been very easy to send Cody Eppley back to Triple A because the Yankees knew they could, but that isn’t the case now. In the month of July, Eppley has a 2.53 ERA while only giving up 4 runs (3 earned) in 10.2 innings pitched. Eppley has become such an important part of the bullpen and is trusted in preserving leads and getting out of situations with his right handed sidearm motion. As we all know, Eppley has been doing his job and he’s fantastic at it.

Clay Rapada (B): We can’t really grade Clay Rapada since he only pitched 4.2 innings in the month of July (the Yankees haven’t really needed him) but only giving up 2 runs isn’t all that bad. Rapada is still an excellent complementary pitcher to Cody Eppley (Rapada has a left handed sidearm motion), and without him the Yankees would only have 1 lefty in the bullpen (Mr. Boone Logan).

David Phelps (A+): The incredible David Phelps has done so much for the Yankees since he came back from Triple-A to get more work in. Phelps in July was known as the pitcher to give the Yankees some length when one of the starters only made it 5-6 innings, and he has stopped the Yankees opponents stone cold. In 13.1 IP, he has a 0.68 ERA while giving up 1 run on 4 hits with 21 strikeouts. Now, I don’t know who the other David Phelps with a 7.36 ERA in June is, but this is more like the David Phelps that we all know.

Boone Logan (D): Boone Logan is easily one of my favorite Yankees (we share the same birthday, so what’s not to like) but no matter how much I like him, I don’t like his numbers for the month of July. In July he has a 9.95 ERA which means in 6.1 IP he gave up 7 runs on 8 hits. That sounds like the starts that some of the starting pitchers have been having, and it’s not pretty. Hopefully Logan can get it together this month and if he can’t–then he’ll just be the lefty that no one can count on, and we don’t want that now do we?

David Robertson (A): David Robertson is once again back into form for the Yankees in the month of July after what seemed like he struggled after coming off the disabled list. Robertson in the month of July had a 1.54 ERA which easily means that Robertson is the pitcher the Yankees can count on before giving the ball to Rafael Soriano. We expect great things from you in August Mr. Robertson but please, can we ease up on the Houdini tricks? They are bound to give someone a heart attack.

Rafael Soriano (A): This hasn’t been Rafael Soriano’s best month but it certaintly wasn’t his worst. He was 9/10 for saves and even the great Mariano Rivera isn’t perfect when it comes to save situations. Soriano has been the most consistent in the bullpen which is why he is the best go-to person for the Yankees. Also, when he complete’s saves I really enjoy when he untucks his shirt to celebrate a Yankees win, and I’m sure a lot of Yankees fans enjoy it as well.

CC aces test in 6-1 victory over Blue Jays

During today’s pregame, Joe Girardi was clear that he had a strict pitch count for CC Sabathia in his first game back from the DL. CC didn’t disappoint as the Yankees were able to rout the Blue Jays and win the series 6-1.

CC pitched 6 innings of shutout baseball before being relieved by Cody Eppley, Clay Rapada and Chad Qualls. Qualls gave up the sole run in the 8th inning. Andruw Jones got the Yankees 3 runs in the 2nd inning after hitting a 3 run shot off Brett Cecil. The Yankees scored their 3 runs on a Toronto error when Jayson Nix was waved home and Chris Stewart was able to advance to third. Jeter singled in Stewart and Alex Rodriguez made a force out to get Jeter home.

Robinson Cano had another hit and has a 20 game hit streak. All he needs is 37 more games and he’ll have the same hit streak record as Joe DiMaggio.

There was no news on Brett Gardner during the game which usually means “good news” but not in this case.

Tomorrow is a day game in which Hiroki Kuroda will take the mound for the Yankees. Ricky Romero will pitch for the Blue Jays.

Yankees Catching is a mess

Is it time for the feisty Cervelli?

Joe Girardi has made it clear that he prefers a defensive-first catcher.  Offensive backstop Jorge Posada was switched to DH and shown the door and Jesus Montero was never given a chance and traded before the season.  Even the backup catcher of the last 3 years, Francisco Cervelli was replaced this ST because of his defensive shortcomings.  What we are left with is a tandem of Russell Martin & Chris Stewart that has been one of the worst units in the American League.

Yankee catchers are in the bottom 3 in the A.L. in every offensive category combining to hit .204/.296/.340/.635.  Both Stewart and Martin have been positively rotten at the plate.  Martin has a 72 OPS+ (100 is MLB average) and is hitting .178 for the season with a .297 OBP and .347 SLG%.  Stewart has a respectable .270 BA but his OBP is even worse than Martin’s (.295) and has only 3 extra base hits for a .311 SLG% and atrocious 63 OPS+.  Only Tampa Bay has worse hitting catchers in the A.L.

But the offense might be bearable if they were getting great defense but that has not been the case lately.  Martin has allowed more Stolen Bases (39 in 51 attempts) than every A.L. catcher except noodle-armed Jarod Saltamachia and Stewart has allowed 10 of 14 to steal.  Stewart was brought on for his defense yet has made 4 errors and had 5 Passed Balls in 197 innings caught.  Compare that to Martin’s 4 errors and 4 PBs in 525 innings and it’s clear Stewart has not been good defensively.

Martin’s season has been atrocious all year but he was hitting better in late May-early June when he hit .343 with 4 HRs over an 11-game period that raised his season OPS to .781.  It seemed Martin had found his stroke and was ready to build on that.  But shortly after that he injured his back in a collision at the plate and it’s clearly hindering him.  He sat out several games but it obviously wasn’t enough because he has not had a hit in his last 27 ABs and has just 3 hits in his last 44 ABs.  He’s also not playing good defense.  Tampa bay clearly identified him as a weaknes and set out to exploit him.  In Game 2 they stole 5 of 5 bases against him including a Little League steal of home.  he also dropped the ball on a play at the plate and threw a ball into CF for 2 errors.  In the final game they stole 3 more bases including one instance when Ben Zobrist got such a bad jump off the pitcher that Martin froze and didn’t know if he should throw the ball to 1st or 2nd but did nothing and Zobrist strolled into 2nd.

I don’t think there is a better Catcher on the market for Cashman to acquire right now.  However, it is clear that Martin is not himself right now and he is a detriment to the team.  Whether it’s his bad back causing this, general mid-season fatigue or if he’s starting to let his offensive troubles hinder his defense – it’s clear Martin needs a break.  I believe they need to either DL Martin or just sit him for a while.  Call up Cervelli from Triple A to give Martin a rest and see if Cervelli can spark something.  He’s only hitting .248 in AAA but his energy can provide a jolt and pitchers always like throwing to him.  In his 3 years with the Yanks, he’s hit a solid .272 with a .338 OBP% and 84 OPS+.  Not great offensive #s but better than what the team is getting now and Cisco has always had a knack for getting the big hit.  He’s hit .315 with a .376 OBP with RISP and a remarkable .450 with the bases loaded.

At this point can Cervelli be worse than what the team has now?  And if Martin isn’t 100%, let’s give him the time he needs to heal since he’s definitely capable of being a solid catcher offensively & defensively if he’s healthy.  Right now, I’m just glad he turned Cashman down this Spring when he offered a 3 year deal.   Is there any Catcher on the market that can even help? Carlos Ruiz is awesome but why would Philly trade him? What do you think? Should Cash make a trade for a Catcher, go with Cervelli for a while or ride it out?

Rare error by Teixeira pushes Rays past Yankees in 4-3 deficit

The Yankees had gotten everything that they wanted from Freddy Garcia who pitched 5.1 IP of 2 run baseball, but RISP failures and a rare error by Mark Teixeira handed the Yankees their 8th loss in Tropicana Field this season as the Rays defeated the Yankees 4-3.

Fans were worried that Freddy Garcia might have put the game in jeopardy before the game even started but he had pitched very well. He only had given up 2 runs; both on solo HR’s (one to B.J Upton and one to Carlos Pena). He was lifted in the 6th inning for Cody Eppley who had gotten the Yankees out of the inning tied. What looked promising after the Yankees scored another run in the 7th turned horrible when in the bottom half in the inning Boone Logan walked Sean Rodriguez and let him advance to 2nd on a wild pitch. David Robertson gave up the tying run after coming in the game (the run was charged to Logan). Robertson seemed to have gotten the Yankees out of the inning on a ground ball–until Mark Teixeira let the ball skip under his glove all the way down the right field line allowing the 4th and final run to score.

The Yankees scored their 3 runs by playing ABC Baseball. They got 2 runs in the 1st inning on a RBI by Teixeira and a RBI on Robinson Cano. The Yankees scored their 3rd and final run on excellent base running by Chris Stewart which ended with Curtis Granderson hitting a SAC Fly.

The Yankees can take some positives away from the outing. Freddy Garcia pitched well again, Chris Stewart knows how to play ABC Baseball which reminds us of Brett Gardner and Chad Qualls was able to retire both batters he faced after arriving in the visitors clubhouse at 5:30 in the afternoon.

Tomorrow the Yankees will face James Shields and they will put Ivan Nova on the mound. This game is bound to be good. First pitch is at 7:05pm.

Yankees Report Card: June

Here’s a new monthly article I like to call the Yankees Report Card. Every month based on the Yankees performances (pitchers included), I will give them a letter grade from A-F and explain why they got the grade they deserved. If there is a grade that you might not agree with, place the grade that you would have given a player down in the comment section below. All stats are as of June 26. 

Derek Jeter (B): Derek Jeter’s bat hasn’t been as hot as it was in April & May since his average is .240 in the month of June. However, Jeter hit 2 home runs in the month of June (He’s not a HR hitter so it’s remarkable) and he has 7 RBI’s.  It also helps that he kept his average over .300 for the past 3 months. A downside as to why Jeter didn’t get a higher grade? He struck out 17 times.

Curtis Granderson (B-): Curtis Granderson’s average for June is .211, but of course we all know Curtis Granderson isn’t hitting for average. In the month of June, Granderson hit 5 home runs, drove in 14 RBI’s and walked 13 times in the month of June. Granderson’s strikeouts are however a little outrageous. He struck out 29 times in June which brings his total for the season so far to 86.

Mark Teixeira (B): Again, it looks as if Mark Teixeira isn’t hitting for average since he’s batting .241 in the month of June. Instead Tex is hitting for power and RBI’s. Although he’s only hit 3 HR’s, he’s driven in 13 runs and walked 13 times. He also doesn’t struck out a lot since he’s only done it 14 times. Teixeira also has been hitting with RISP lately which was why I bumped his average from a B- (which was his original grade) to a B.

Alex Rodriguez (B): Alex Rodriguez hit only .225 in the month of June, but he hit 6 HR’s, drove in 15 runs and walked 11 times. Although A-Rod is looking a little hotter at the plate, June wasn’t his best month. May was. If he keeps hitting home runs that help win games then he’ll continue to pass on his report card.

Robinson Cano (A): Robinson Cano’s bat in the month of June is “muy caliente”. After a slow start to the season, Cano is batting .325 in the month of June while also hitting 9 HR’s, driving in 16 RBI’s and walking 12 times. It seems to me with the 9 HR’s that Cano is hitting, he’s practicing for the Home Run Derby. Well then by all means, you don’t need the practice, but keep hitting them anyway Robbie. Chicks dig the long ball.

Nick Swisher (A): June has been Nick Swisher’s best month by far with a .338 average. Swisher hit 4 HR’s, drove in 14 RBI’s and walked 10 times. Not only that, but Swisher has been making great plays in the outfield. Swisher makes watching him play in right field fun, and not only that but you can’t help but get a smile on your face just by watching Swisher play with a smile on his face.

Raul Ibanez (C-): In the month of June, Raul Ibanez has seemed to have faltered a bit after having a good April and May. In June, Ibanez is hitting .169 with 2 HR’s & 7 RBI’s. He also has only walked once. The good we can take away from this is that he only struck out 8 times. That’s something, right?

Russell Martin (D+): Well, June has been Martin’s best month so far–but the numbers are still pretty bad. Martin’s batting .217 in June with 4 HR’s & 9 RBI’s. The only reason he doesn’t get lower than a D+ is because he knows how to call games, but hitting the baseball is just as important as calling a game Russell. Maybe July will be your month?

Andruw Jones (D+): Andruw Jones hasn’t played a lot in June–but that’s no excuse for doing almost absolutely nothing at the plate. Jones only hit 2 HR’s & drove in 4 runs in 34 at-bats. His average is also at .206. He doesn’t get an F however because he does do well in the outfield when he’s in there but seriously Andruw, where’s the power?

Chris Stewart (B): Chris Stewart has 8 at-bats less than Andruw Jones and he has been able to do more with his at-bats. Stewart is batting .306 in June and has driven in 4 RBI’s but don’t expect the ball to go out of the park with him. He also is known for calling great games and his defense is good (I know he made a mistake in the Mets series finale game but come on, everyone makes mistakes). Stewart always does something when he plays which is probably why Cashman and Girardi thought it made most sense to go to him as a backup catcher. Well, wherever you got him from, don’t return him. He’s awesome.

Jayson Nix (B-): Nix hasn’t gotten a lot of at-bats in the month of June, but he has been able to get on base with a .263 average in June. Nix has no homers or RBI’s but he’s a bench player so it’s understandable. Whatever you’re doing to get on base Nix, don’t stop.

Eric Chavez (B): Eric Chavez is another one of those bench guys that is always doing something amazing (when he’s not injured). Chavez has a .294 average in June with 2 HR’s & 4 RBI’s but what really makes him deserve a B is that he’s a great defender at third base when Alex Rodriguez is out of the lineup. Of course did you expect anything less from Chavez? Chavez is a 6 time Gold Glover after all.

Dewayne Wise (B-): June has been Dewayne Wise’s best month so far with a .286 average. It also helps that he got his first home run of the season in the month of June–and how it was a 3 run homer.

CC Sabathia (B+): CC Sabathia is the Yankees ace but he has looked like he doesn’t have great command of his pitches. In 5 starts he’s 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA with 36 strikeouts. It however amazes me when CC doesn’t have his best stuff and then he ends up going into the 7th inning or so which gives the bullpen a break.

Hiroki Kuroda (A-): Hiroki Kuroda in the month of June has been flat out terrific. He’s 3-1 with a 2.38 ERA with 32 strikeouts. It’s also Kuroda’s first winning month of the season. Kuroda was 2-3 in both April and in May. Impressive, huh?

Ivan Nova (A+): Ivan Nova in the month of June has been flat-out dominant. He’s 3-0 with a 1.27 ERA  with 22 strikeouts. He’s also 9-2 on the season which is very impressive. Who said that Nova was going to have a Sophmore slump?

Andy Pettitte (B+): Andy has sure been good in the month of June, which is why his record is 1-1 with a 3.08 ERA. Both of Pettitte’s starts were good, even the loss (if you take out the 5 run 1st inning from the Mets). Andy, are you sure you’re 40, because you’re pitching like an All-Star.

Phil Hughes (B+): Phil Hughes has been great for the Yankees in June going 4-1 with a 2.67 ERA. The only thing that stopped him from getting an A-? He’s given up 7 HR’s in the month of June. Other than that, he looks like the Phil Hughes of 2010!

Cody Eppley (B+): Cody Eppley has been one of the biggest surprises in the Yankees bullpen only giving up 5 earned runs in 18 innings which results in a 2.50 ERA. He’s also held opponents to a .234 average against him. It helps to have a right handed side armer, doesn’t it?

Clay Rapada (A+): Clay Rapada has emerged from the Yankees bullpen and has became one of my favorite pitchers to watch. He is 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA and holds batters to a .071 average against him! I had been rooting for Rapada to make the team since Spring Training so it makes me glad that he has a chance to show Joe (Girardi) what he can do.

Freddy Garcia (A): Ever since being placed in the Yankees bullpen, Freddy Garcia has been dominant. He’s 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA and holds batters to a .190 average. I’m still a little iffy about Garcia though since I don’t fully trust him, but he’s been doing well so I tip my cap to him.

Boone Logan (A):  Boone Logan is in Clay Rapada territory meaning that he has one of the lowest numbers in the bullpen. He’s 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA while holding batters to a .107 ERA. This bullpen just gets better and better, doesn’t it?

David Robertson (A-): David Robertson was on the DL for a bit but when he came back he was a little rusty in his first outing which explains the 2.45 ERA in June, but since then he’s been Houdini. Stranding batters and striking them is all apart of Robertson’s description. Girardi has been cautious of Robertson since he is just coming back from an oblique injury, but he’s having another great year.

Rafael Soriano (A+): Can anyone say ‘lights out’? Soriano is having a ridiculous month with a 0.96 ERA in the closer role. It makes the Mariano Rivera season ending injury a little less painful when you have someone who is already a closer in the bullpen. Soriano, keep it up.

Cory Wade (F): Cory Wade in June is very baffling. The guy has an 11.05 ERA and seems to be having trouble straightening himself out. Well, Wade better get it together soon or he might be wearing a new uniform in the Yankees organization. Maybe a Scranton Wilkes-Barre uniform?

Yanks on Cloud 9 as they sweep the Nationals 4-1

Ivan Nova pitched 1 run ball in 7.2 innings as the Yankees won their 9th straight against the Nationals

Coming into this afternoon’s game the Yankees were 8 in a row and were going for the series sweep with Ivan Nova in tow. In the end, Ivan Nova got the job done and the Yankees swept another series by the score of 4-1. 

The Yankees were the first ones to strike when Mark Teixeira hit a SAC fly to plate Derek Jeter against the Nationals starter Edwin Jackson. Curtis Granderson added to the barrage by hitting a solo shot in the 5th inning, his 21st of the season. Robinson Cano added to that with his 12th HR of the season in the 7th inning and Mark Teixeira scored on a wild pitch which capped the offense for the first place Yankees.

Ivan Nova continues to be on a hot streak by pitching 7.2 IP giving up 1 run on 7 hits with 4 strikeouts while allowing one HR. Boone Logan pitched the final out of the 8th inning and Rafael Soriano got his 13th save of the season by pitching a scoreless inning. 

The Yankees come home and take on the Atlanta Braves at Yankee Stadium. CC Sabathia is slated to pitch tomorrow (and Russell Martin is slated to catch CC since Chris Stewart caught Ivan Nova today). 

Errors & RISP struggles sink Yankees with 7-3 deficit to Rays

You had to figure coming into tonight that the Yankees were going to have a tough match-up with David Price on the mound, and that was exactly what David Price gave the Yankees; a tough match-up. The Yankees were only able to muster 1 run off of Price but it could have been more if the Yankees hadn’t blown their chances.

In the 5th inning the Yankees had a great chance to get back into the game when it was 5-1 at the time with the bases loaded and one out, but Alex Rodriguez & Robinson Cano didn’t get the job done which sealed the Yankees fate. An Alex Rodriguez error also played a big part of the night which allowed a runner to score early. A Nick Swisher error in the top of the 9th gave the Rays a chance to seal the deal and finish the night scoring 7 runs. Curtis Granderson had an abysmal day at the plate going 0 for 5 with 4 K’s & a ground ball out to the pitcher. Yep, the Rays made the Yankees look like the way the Rays were playing when they entered Yankee Stadium.

Chris Stewart (who is not “CC’s personal catcher”) grounded out to bring home one run, Raul Ibanez (who pinch hit for Andruw Jones) lined a base hit to get another run home and Russell Martin (who pinch hit for Chris Stewart) hit a HR in the 9th and was able to keep the Yankees record of not hitting HR’s in a game to 0-12.

The crosstown rival New York Mets come to the Bronx tomorrow to kick off interleague play in the month of June (still don’t really consider it a  “road ” game for the Mets since they are in New York after all.)  Tomorrow’s match-up is Johan Santana vs. Hiroki Kuroda and first pitch (weather barring) is at 7:05pm.

What Happened To The Catchers?

The catching position was considered to be the strongest position in the Yankees organization at the start of the season.  That is really hard to believe at this point in the season. Russell Martin has completely fallen off the cliff this season after a solid season last year in which he provided clutch hits and good fielding. In the minors Jesus Montero was traded, Austin Romine has a serious back injury that has kept him out the whole season, Francisco Cervelli will never be anything more than a backup, and Gary Sanchez and J.R. Murphy are years away. The worst part is there is really not much the Yankees can do to fix this problem.

The Yankees are very fortunate that Martin turned down a 3 year extension worth $20 million. Martin missed his chance as he will not make that much in the open market this winter. Martin is hitting .187, with 4 HR, 12 RBI, and a .667 OPS. The only good thing you can say is his .333 OBP is good for only hitting .187. However, that also makes this all the more worrying. Martin has not been pressing or swinging out wildly out of the strike zone, so him not getting the job done may just mean he is not talented enough. Martin LD % is down to 15% and is BABIP is a brutal .209. Martin did come up with a few big hits in Anaheim so maybe that will help his confidence.  The Yankees would be able to handle Martin’s hitting ineptitude if the rest of the lineup was hitting to its capabilities.

Obviously Martin’s play should call for a benching of some sort, but the problem is they have nobody to replace him with.  Chris Stewart is a career backup for a reason and I have no problem with him as a backup. He has provided some clutch hits this year and has thrown out 38% of base stealers this season. He has a few to many passed balls but between his pitch framing and his arm he is a great defensive catcher. However, given regular AB’s his bat would be exposed just as much as Martin’s has. The Yankees could call up somebody from the minors, but as I previously mentioned there is nobody that would make a big difference. Cervelli has hit worse in Triple A (.254/.322/.333) than he did in the majors last year. While he has shown he can get big hits as a backup, I think if he got everyday AB’s his bat would also get exposed as nothing more than a .220 hitter. While that would even be an upgrade over Martin his defense does not compare to Martin’s or Stewart’s. Cervelli threw out an egregious 14% of base runners last year and with the current state of the Yankees rotation they don’t need players to be having a parade on the base paths against them.

With no internal help at catcher, the Yankees would be wise to look outside the organization for help. Unfortunately there is not much help to be found there either. There are very few good hitting catchers in MLB and teams would be reluctant to trade them at the deadline. Also, this winter’s free agent crop is weak.  Miguel Montero and Yadier Molina have already signed extensions with the D’Backs and the cardinals. Brian McCann and Carlos Ruiz are sure bets to have their options picked up by the Braves and the Phillies. Mike Napoli cannot field and will likely command a high salary. A.J. Pierzynski is having a nice year, but is very old, so it s is slim pickings out there. Unfortunately, with no internal options and probably no external options the Yankees probably do not have a choice but to ride Martin out this year . What do you guys think the Yankees should do about the catching position?

CC tames Tigers; Yankees win series with 6-2 win

NEW YORK- You would think that this day couldn’t have gotten anymore crazier. D.J Mitchell was called up from Scranton, Freddy Garcia was sent to the bullpen & Cody Eppley was sent back to Scranton. With the rubber match of the series, you would be afraid of Max Scherzer except for the fact that most of his pitches were outside of the plate. This gave the Yankees the chance to take the rubber game of the series with a dramatic 6-2 victory.

CC PITCHES LIKE AN ACE: CC Sabathia gave Joe Girardi exactly what he wanted; a long outing that rested the bullpen. Sabathia went 8 innings giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and 8 K’s. This was what Girardi said after CC’s start:

GIRARDI: “It was really important for what CC did today, for the bullpen to get rested for the new series ahead.”

ROBBIE CANO HAS 2 HITS, DON’T YA KNOW: Robinson Cano has struggled quietly in April (it was so quiet, I almost never noticed until today). Cano only had 1 HR & 3 RBI’s, but Robbie just wanted to get going and start hitting. Well today, Robinson Cano had 2 base hits which raised his average to .264. You need hits? Come to Robbie Cano, Don’t Ya Know.

STEWART ISN’T SABATHIA’S CATCHER–OR IS HE?: Before the game today, Joe Girardi made it clear that Chris Stewart was not CC Sabathia’s personal catcher but yet Stewart was in the lineup with Sabathia on the mound. Well, we can all agree that Chris Stewart does a great job catching behind CC. This was what Girardi had to say about Stewart:

 GIRARDI: “Stewart is tremendous behind the plate. I tell catchers this all the time, ‘your job is to save runs.”

NICK SWISHER HAS HAMSTRING STRAIN: Nick Swisher was taken out of the game after gripping his hamstring today and it turns out he has a “low grade A hamstring strain.” The plan is that Swisher is not going to go on the DL yet since the main reason is that Brett Gardner comes off the DL on Thursday. If Swisher still isn’t ready for the Kansas City series, then Girardi could give Gardner Swish’s spot on the roster and then put Swisher on the DL.

GIRARDI: “We’ll see how he feels during the Kansas City series.”

WHAT’S NEXT: Hiroki Kuroda will take the mound vs. the Baltimore Orioles (the first place Orioles. Pinch me…I think I’m having a nightmare.) as the Yankees will begin another series. The rotation vs. the Orioles would be Kuroda, Hughes & Nova.  First pitch tomorrow night is at 7:05pm on YES Network.

Sabathia has a strong outing as Yankees beat Rangers 7-4 for 4th straight win

Coming into the Ballpark of Arlington, the Yankees knew that they needed something from CC Sabathia; a good strong outing. CC was able to get through 8 innings as the Yankees took Game 1 of the 3 game set, 7-4 over the red-hot Texas Rangers.

SABATHIA GOES STRONG: The Yankees needed length from CC Sabathia to rest the tired bullpen and sure enough, Sabathia did what Girardi needed. Sabathia went 8 innings, giving up 4 runs. There were times where Sabathia ran into trouble, thus getting the bullpen up but he was able to get out of it without having to get taken out of the game. It seems CC like the hot weather, huh?

JETER SWINGS A HOT BAT: It seems that Derek Jeter’s hot streak continues to follow him, this time all the way down to Texas. Jeter was 4 for 5 in tonight’s game and continues to have a near .400 average. Jeter, whatever you are doing, please don’t stop. It’s working.

A-BOMB’S AWAY!: Alex Rodriguez put on quite a show with his HR in tonight’s game. Rodriguez hit a 3 run jack which at the time gave the Yankees a 6-1 lead. A-Rod also had 2 walks today, so it wasn’t a bad day for him at all…well, aside from the boos that we heard in the stadium.

CHRIS STEWART…SABATHIA’S PERSONAL CATCHER?: Chris Stewart had the start tonight and was put behind the plate to catch CC Sabathia. This was Chris Stewart’s second consecutive start with CC Sabathia on the mound. This seems to be working for CC so far. CC has 2 wins with Chris behind the plate, and as long as Stewart is here, Sabathia might want to use him more often.

ANDRUW JONES GOES HITLESS: Today was Andruw Jones’s 35th birthday, but unfortunately he couldn’t get anything going. He was 0 for 4 tonight and continues to swing a cold bat. He did do a decent job fielding LF with the sun shining on him, so I’ll give him credit for that.

MARIANO GETS 1, 2, 3: Mariano Rivera came in the game in the 9th inning to shut the door, and sure enough Mariano did. Rivera had some trouble with his cutters though, two of them being hit really hard (one of them to the warning track.) Of course, Mo didn’t let that bother him and he got the outs when needed. That is the sign of a true closer. Battling when he doesn’t have his pitches in tact.

WHAT’S NEXT: A pitching match-up that has been anticipated since Sunday will finally get it’s chance tomorrow night. Hiroki Kuroda will go for the Yankees vs. a pitcher that the Yankees have never seen before…Yu Darvish. First pitch for that game is at 8:05pm on YES & MLB Network.

Gardner has perfect game as Yanks rout Twins 8-3

Coming into tonight’s game only 2 Yankees had good numbers off of Twins starter Francisco Liriano; Brett Gardner & Derek Jeter. Well, Gardner along with CC Sabathia played a key role in the Yankees 8-3 win over the Twins.

GARDNER HAS PERFECT GAME: No, Gardner didn’t pitch (although I would like to see that one day), but Gardner was 2 for 2 with 2 walks, 2 doubles and a stole base. Gardner also set the tone defensively as he was able to nab a sinking liner off the bat of Josh Willingham. Kind of makes up for the first inning when Curtis Granderson robbed Gardner’s ball when Gardner was clearly under it. Gardner was originally slated to be in the lineup vs. the lefty since he had good numbers to begin with. Looks like the Twins will have to be careful with Gardner the next time he faces Liriano.

SABATHIA PITCHES A GEM: The way that CC Sabathia started the ball game, it looked as if he wasn’t going to make it to the 8th inning, but after the Yankees were able to get Sabathia the lead, Sabathia shut down the Twins offense and showed them who was the boss. Not only that, but Sabathia got his first win of the season. Everything is good in Yankee land so far.

STEWART HAS 3 RBI’S: Chris Stewart was originally in the game to give Russell Martin a day off and to catch defensively. In the end, Stewart had 3 RBI’s to show for it. For a catcher that doesn’t hit very well, he seemed to have gotten off on the right foot with Yankees fans.

FLU-MANIA HITS TEIXEIRA: Ivan Nova had a fever in his last outing, Brett Gardner had the flu over the weekend and today–it was Mark Teixeira‘s turn to catch the bug. Tex was originally in the lineup before he was scratched due to flu-like symptoms. Here’s a way for the Yankees to prevent anyone else from getting the bug: carry hand sanitizer and wash your hands. Yanks, washing your hands is not a foreign concept.

A COMICAL GAME: Besides making the game a laugher (ha, ha, ha), the game had it’s moments where fans started laughing–at the Twins antics. It started when Francisco Liriano was told that he balked by the home plate umpire. Ron Gardenhire didn’t look amused and neither did any of the Twins in the dugout.  Tensions boiled over in the 3rd inning when Denard Span thought it would be okay to argue balls and strikes with the home plate umpire. That earned Span an automatic ejection. Span continued to argue while Gardenhire got out of the dugout to speak to the umpire. Gardenhire obviously was still upset about the balk call, so he started to throw some colorful language into his conversation which earned him an ejection. Here’s a lesson folks: never argue with the home plate umpire. He has the power to decide your future. Also another comical (yet somewhat annoying) moment in the game was when a fan thought it would be fun to go on the field and take off his shirt. While police were chasing him down, the Yankees were scared for their lives and the Twins were amused in the dugout. Not sure the Twins were amused when they saw the final score, now were they?

WHAT’S NEXT: Game 3 of the 4 game set is tomorrow night at 7:05pm with Hiroki Kuroda getting the start. How about another gem Kuroda? The last one was a beauty!

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