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Yankees Postseason Notes: Who makes the roster, Rangers or Orioles and Bobby Valentine?

Good evening everyone. There’s no baseball at all tonight so we’re going to post some tidbits and notes that have been stirring around from Yankee Land. Here are some evening notes.

— The Yankees have yet to make the postseason roster but there are 3 definite players aside from the other starters for the roster: David Phelps, Eduardo Nunez and Brett Gardner (Brian Cashman confirmed Gardner today).

— The Yankees might either face the Orioles or Rangers on Sunday so the question is–who would you rather face?

Andruw Jones might get a roster spot for the postseason. I don’t think he should be on the roster considering he had a pretty bad 2012 regular season and there are hitters that could be of assistance on the bench. Players such as Chris Dickerson perhaps?

— A lot of writers believe that Andy Pettitte should start Game 2 of the play-offs instead of Hiroki Kuroda. Here I would have to agree. Kuroda has a better home record than an away record and since the Yankees are on the road to begin the play-offs, it would make the most sense to have  CC Sabathia and Pettitte for Games 1 & 2 and Kuroda and Hughes for Game 3 & 4. Sabathia would pitch Game 5 if it came down to that.

— In other news that has nothing to do with the Yankees but the Red Sox fired Bobby Valentine after 1 year with the Red Sox. Honestly, the Red Sox never should have fired Terry Francona to bring in Bobby Valentine. Francona won 2 championships and had one bad year. Bobby Valentine came in and made everything worse.

Nightly Notes: Postseason, Hughes, Teixeira

Good evening everyone and what a great game by the Yankees that was jump started by the Eric Chavez home run in the 3rd inning. Orioles and Yankees win but Texas lost the first game. If Texas Rangers win the second game then the Yankees, Orioles and Rangers would all punch their ticket into the postseason whether it would be the division or the wild card. Here are some nightly notes.

— Speaking of the postseason, in case you haven’t read it, I posted an article of what the 25 man roster should be for the 2012 postseason. It could work whether the Yankees get the wild card or get the division.

— ESPN New York is calling Phil Hughes ‘useless’ after giving up 5 runs in 4 2/3 inning today in the Yankees 9-6 victory over the Blue Jays.

— Mark Teixeira is slated to return to the Yankees lineup tomorrow. That could give the Yankees some great depth in their lineup.

Also some notes:

— Jayson Nix will miss 10-14 days with a Grade 1 strain to his left hip flexor. He received the injury on Thursday while diving for a groundball and said it had been sore ever since.

— IF the Yankees have to play a tie breaker with the Orioles then Andy Pettitte would get the start. Not CC Sabathia.

— Also Eduardo Nunez said that he’s going to play Winter Ball this winter as the shortstop. Great. So that means he’ll be in top notch shape come Spring Training, right?

How should the 2012 postseason roster look?

Right around the corner is the most exciting time of the year for any team—the postseason. While there are teams that have clinched their spot in the postseason, there are teams like the Yankees that are so close to clinching that they could taste it. However, they still have to battle to stay in 1st place in the American League East. While it is almost certain that the Yankees will be in another postseason, the Yankees have other things on their minds as in after they clinch a spot. What will they be doing? They will be preparing their 2012 ALDS roster (if they are in first place by the end of the season). After observing the Yankees for a while, I decided to compile a list of who would make the 25-man roster for the ALDS series against what looks to be the Detroit Tigers. (Statistics are as of the morning of September 28, 2012).

Infield

Derek Jeter (2012 Season: .318 AVG, 15 HR, 57 RBI): Of course, you cannot be in the postseason without the Captain Derek Jeter. Jeter has had a phenomenal year and will end the year with an average over .300. The last time Jeter finished with an average over .300 was in 2009. How did that end out for the Yankees? Jeter had silenced the critics and had done his thing, but can he continue into the postseason and lead the Yankees to another championship?

Robinson Cano (2012 Season: .300 AVG, 30 HR, 82 RBI): Robinson Cano is one of the best second baseman in the game and he knows how to hit. While Cano has been up and down this year, he has been consistent defensively and can help Yankees pitching by preserving runs and getting double plays with a flick of a wrist. He makes that pivot to first base better than any second baseman than I have seen. Cano was one of the very few Yankees who had a hot bat during last year’s ALDS (along with Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner respectively), so it would be nice to see Cano get on a tear.

Mark Teixeira (2012 Season: .255 AVG, 23 HR, 81 RBI): Comparing Teixeira’s numbers from 2011 and from this year, this year has not been Teixeira’s best. But can you blame the guy? He has been sidelined with a Grade 1 strained calf. While he will make the roster for the play-offs, I doubt he will be 100 percent healthy. Teixeira also is one of the few culprits that seem to mysteriously lose his hitting talents in the play-offs. He needs to have a hot and consistent bat in the play-offs or else it could be an early exit for the Yankees—again.

Alex Rodriguez (2012 Season: .276 AVG, 18 HR, 56 RBI): Now, if the stats were for another player say maybe Eduardo Nunez, Chris Dickerson or Brett Gardner that would be a hell of a year. Unfortunately, it is for the guy that the Yankees gave a lucrative contract that last for another 5 years and did not hit the way that the Yankees were expecting. A-Rod is going to make the roster…but all season he has looked terribly lost at the plate. He is also another culprit that has not hit in the postseason in recent years (no, I am not counting 2009). A-Rod needs to get his act together and very quickly or else…you know. A first round exit for the Yankees.

Russell Martin (2012 Season: .209 AVG, 19 HR, 49 RBI): So this hasn’t been Russell Martin’s best year offensively (the 19 HR’s make the .209 AVG look less hideous) but the reason he makes the postseason roster is because of his defense. He also has been heating up at the plate as of late which means he could be on a tear any day now. He also was the only one that did not look lost during the ugly 6-0 loss to the Blue Jays on Thursday night, cranking 2 hits off Morrow. Martin could add to the offense, which could be something that the Yankees need.

It’s All About Sabathia

Tonight CC Sabathia will get another chance to prove that he is healthy and that he can be the ace the Yankees expect him to be heading down the stretch. The Yankees ace has seen a September swoon that has seen people questioning his health. He is 0-3 with a 4.67 ERA over his last four starts and he has blown leads in the last five starts. You can talk about whatever you want with the Yankees, but if Sabathia doesn’t turn this around the Yankees can forget about championship number 28.

There are many parts of this Yankees team that you can analyze, but at this point it really starts and ends with Sabathia. If he is going to continue to pitch like has over his last five starts then nothing else about the team even matters. This is not to suggest that Sabathia has had a bad season, but his 3.63 ERA is his highest since 2005. For a normal pitcher he has been fine, but as the ace of the staff Sabathia has much higher expectations, which he hasn’t reached yet.

Looking at Sabathia peripheral numbers suggest he has been a bit unlucky this season. Sabathia’s 8.64 K/9 this season is his 3rd best mark for his career and his 2.05 BB/9 is the 2nd lowest of his career. Sabathia’s LD % this season is 20%, his GB % is 48.6% and his FB % is 30.6%. For his career, Sabathia’s LD % is 20.2%, his GB% is 45.4% and his FB% is 34.4%. So to sum up, Sabathia is striking out more batters this year, walking less batters, getting batters to line out at about the same rate, getting more ground balls and getting less fly outs, but he is having an off year by his standards. Doesn’t make sense does it?

The main difference between Sabathia this year and previous seasons are home runs. Sabathia’s HR/FB ratio is a gaudy 13.8%, which is the highest mark of his career by far. That would seem to be unlucky because he is allowing less fly balls this year than normal. Sabathia’s 3.30 xFIP would also suggest that he has been unlucky this season. This is not to make excuses for Sabathia in anyway shape or form, it is just pointing that he has probably pitched better this year then his numbers look on the surface. Sabathia’s xFIP of 3.30 is better than Hiroki Kuroda’s mark of 3.63, yet everybody has been raving about Kuroda this year and rightfully so. It all comes down to expectations. Coming from the NL West expectations for Kuroda were modest, even though I had a lot faith in him personally. The expectations for Sabathia were much greater so even though Kuroda has had better results than CC this season, there has not been as great of a difference in their pitching as the perception is.

The main reason that people question whether Sabathia is healthy is because of his fastball velocity. His fastball velocity is down to 92.3 MPH as compared to 93.4 MPH for his career. This has led to his fastball being a very ineffective pitch this season. Fangraph’s pitch value has Sabathia’s fastball at a brutal -15.6. Sabathia’s pitch value for his fastball for his Yankees career before this season had been 8.1. This is what has Yankee fans concerned about his future. If Sabathia is really hurt then hopefully he gets that velocity back next season. But, if the loss of velocity is due to the wear and tear of pitching a lot of innings of a long career, then who knows if it will come back. He will need to start using his fastball more effectively if he wants to improve.

The Yankees starting pitching is probably the best part of their team right now. Kuroda and Phil Hughes have done a good job consistently for a long period of time now. Andy Pettitte looked like the Pettite of old before he got hurt this season and Ivan Nova looked like a new pitcher on his first start of the DL. However, none of this matters unless Sabathia pitches to his capabilities.  He has had a disappointing season so far, but there are still many important games left to be pitched. Sabathia still has an opportunity to earn his ace card back this season. Will he?

Who should be on the Yankees 2013 roster?

Some of the Yankees that most likely will make the 2013 roster are Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson. But who are the others?

Looking ahead is not a bad thing. The Yankees looked ahead when it came to releasing the 2013 schedule, so why not look ahead to see who could be on the field when you go to a game in 2013. Here is how I picture the Yankees having their alignment of players in 2013.

Let us start in the outfield, shall we? In left field, we have none other than the Yankees speedster Brett Gardner (2012:  .321 AVG, 0 HR, 3 RBI). Now keep in mind that Gardner has only played in nine games and was shut down for the duration of the season due to elbow surgery. Gardner is a catalyst for the Yankees and plays the game Joe Girardi hates to play–small ball. He gets on base, he steals, he bunts and he is one of the best defensive players in baseball. Gardner is arbitration eligible so do not expect there to be much of a fight since Gardner has not played most of the year.

In center field, we have another speedster but he is known for his power bat, Curtis Granderson (2012: .233 AVG, 37 HR, 89 RBI). 2013 is Granderson’s free agent year and after the Kevin Long tutorial in 2010; Granderson has become a home run hitter. Now, Granderson does not hit for singles or doubles (note the .233 average) but he is a power bat, which is something the Yankees could use in the heart of the lineup. What happens after 2013, we do not know but—at least the Yanks could see Granderson’s bat in the lineup in 2013.

In right field, you may be a bit surprised by my choice but I believe Nick Swisher (2012: .258 AVG, 20 HR, 78 RBI) will be in Yankees pinstripes in 2013. Now, why do I think Swisher will be a Yankee? Because along with Swisher’s good bat in the lineup, he has a charming and bubbly personality that would be sorely missed if he ever left the team. The Yankees were a serious bunch before Swisher came along and now the team seems livelier. Swisher has left an imprint on the team—but if Swisher signs with the Yanks, he cannot expect a $100 Million contract. We are still recovering from 3 of those.

In the infield, we have of course the third baseman Alex Rodriguez (2012: .276 AVG, 17 HR, 50 RBI). A-Rod this season is not A-Rod but he has come back a hot hitter since getting off the DL. In addition, A-Rod is stuck with the Yankees until his contract expires in 2018 (Yikes).

At shortstop, we have the Captain Derek Jeter (2012: .323 AVG, 15 HR, 53 RBI) who becomes a free agent in 2014. There is not much to explain about Jeter except for the fact he is having his best year average wise since 2009.

At second base, there is the young Robinson Cano (2012: .299 AVG, 30 HR, 77 RBI) who is by far the Yankees best player. He plays second base so smoothly and has a great pop to his bat. For a person who does not think he has home run power—he is mistaken. He is a home run hitter. That is all.

Finally, to round out the infield, we have Mark Teixeira (2012: .255 AVG, 23 HR, 81 RBI). Teixeira is stuck with us until 2017 and even if the Yankees wanted to trade Teixeira (they do not), they cannot because of Teixeira’s no trade clause. We might as well make the best of it so Tex…we are going to need lots of game winning and World Series winning HR’s until then.

Morning Bits: Teixeira, Granderson, Sabathia

Good morning everyone. A HORRIBLE call last night by Jerry Meals cost the Yankees the game–and Mark Teixeira re-injured himself and ranted to reporters about the umpires. Yikes! Yankees can get revenge today at 1:35pm which could determine if the Yankees are in first place. Hopefully this fires this team up. Here are the morning links.

— Mark Teixeira ripped the umpires for their bad call last night and has appeared to re-injure his calf. He’s most definitely not in the lineup today.

—  We’re so used to hearing “The Grandy Man Can” but as of late…”The Grandy Man Can’t” even get on base or get clutch hits!

— CC Sabathia has not been what the Yankees had hoped for this season which has really hurt the Yankees. Hey, Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes can’t carry this team by themselves. They need CC!

What the rotation should look like in the 2012 playoffs

Of course CC would get a spot in the playoff rotation but the question is–who comes next?

The Yankees are expected to be one of the contenders during this year’s 2012 play-offs, and although so far it looks like the Yankees might lose first place to the Rays, I still predict that the Yankees will win the American League East by at least 3-4 games. With that being said, I do not feel like it is a bad idea to think about the starting rotation for the 2012 play-offs. For the Yankees, CC Sabathia goes first–but if the Yankees were to go all the way to the World Series (hypothetically), how would you shape up the rotation? After observing the Yankees starting rotation for quite some time, here is how I would compose the 2012 play-off rotation if the Yankees were to go all the way to the World Series.

American League Division Series

CC Sabathia
Hiroki Kuroda
Phil Hughes

Reason: It is obvious that our ace, CC Sabathia would go first since he is the one that holds us into games and always gives us a chance to score and after CC, to me it seemed that this rotation makes sense. When the Yankees first signed Hiroki Kuroda, I thought it was going to be another signing gone wrong (like the signing of Carl Pavano & A.J Burnett), but Kuroda proved me wrong as well as Yankees fans when he came out of the dugout throwing gem after gem. Unfortunately, the Yankees seem to not score when Kuroda is on the mound, thus why his win/loss record is not spectacular. Kuroda however, proves that he is a liable part to the rotation and has earned the #2 spot with his 2.96 ERA and 1.120 WHIP so far this season. Now, we move onto Phil Hughes. I know, you’re asking why did I chose a guy whose 12-11 with a 4.15 ERA & a 1.269 WHIP as the third starter. It’s because when Hughes is right, his stuff is ‘Philthy’ (pun intended). Hughes proved it in his last outing when he only gave up two runs. Sure, his Achilles heel is giving up the long ball but all pitchers give up home runs.  When Hughes is also right, he is able to keep the Yankees in the game. That is what makes Hughes so valuable (and he pitches better than what his outings says).

American League Championship Series / World Series

CC Sabathia
Hiroki Kuroda
Andy Pettitte
Phil Hughes

Reason: The ALCS and the World Series rotation are a little different due to one name–Andy Pettitte. The only reason I did not list Andy Pettitte in the rotation for the ALDS was because he is still recovering from that foot injury and of course, if I were the manager I would want to give Pettitte’s foot just a little more time to heal. Pettitte is competitive and has the most postseason wins on the Yankees. He is also a great addition to the rotation and gives it depth. Sure, he’s only gotten a couple of starts since returning in May, but if he could get 2-3 more starts before he’s plugged back into the rotation then he should be just fine.

What about David Phelps? 

David Phelps has played a big part in the rotation with the injuries to CC Sabathia and now Ivan Nova, but I would not put Phelps in the rotation in case one of the pitchers in the rotation has an off night and the Yanks are in dire need of a long man. You cannot ask Derek Lowe to go out there since he might be needed later in the game and you definitely cannot ask David Robertson or Rafael Soriano to come in earlier than expected. Phelps belongs on the play-off roster and he belongs in the bullpen to help the Yankees out. If you need more convincing that he belongs on the playoff roster, he has a 2.69 ERA and a 1.147 WHIP.

What about Ivan Nova?

At the rate he is pitching, Ivan Nova would not get a playoff spot in the rotation. Yes, he is 11-7 but he has an ERA of almost five and a WHIP of 1.456. He also is right there with Phil Hughes in giving up a lot of HR’s. It also seems for the last 2 months or so, Ivan Nova looks lost on the mound. Maybe I might change my mind when he comes off the DL and if he pitches like ‘Super Nova’ but until then, there is no way that he’s getting a spot on the playoff roster.

What about Freddy Garcia?

Freddy Garcia has been a surprise for the Yankees since coming back into the rotation. On the season, he’s 7-5 with a 4.96 ERA. Trust me, the ERA of five is nothing to be happy about but it is a big improvement from when his ERA was over 12 in the beginning of the year. Garcia would be another pitcher that would go into the bullpen for the playoffs in case the starters do not perform up to par. When you think about it, Garcia has not been bad at all and he’s actually earning some trust back from Yankees fans. Remember earlier in the season when we wanted him gone and we wished for A.J Burnett to return? Well slowly, we all forgot A.J Burnett’s name and continued chanting ‘Sweaty Freddy’. Garcia could play a huge role in the playoffs like Phelps and right now, he might get a spot in the bullpen but all that could change now that we are in the final month of the regular season.

There is still a lot of baseball to be played and anything could happen, but if the season ended today, is this the top starting rotation that you would attempt to take above and beyond?

 

 

 

Morning Bits: C.C. on the DL, Hughes looks to sweep and more

Lot going on today so straight to the links….

Wallace Matthews of ESPN NY writes: Is C.C.’s elbow woe the final straw?

Joey Nowak of MLB.com has the pregame story as Hughes looks to sweep the Jays.

Marc Carig of The Star Ledger has his take on the C.C. injury.

Paul Rados of Yahoo Sports has his take on the Derek Lowe joining the Yankees.

Morning Bits: King Felix, Rodriguez, Sabathia

Good morning everyone and a happy Sunday to you all! It’s get away day for the Yankees so first pitch is at 1:05pm! Here are your morning links.

— ESPN New York has some fun imagining if Felix Hernandez was a New York Yankee after he threw a complete game shutout vs. the Yankees.

— Alex Rodriguez continued his rehab yesterday at Yankee Stadium and one of the drills A-Rod did has him relieving his days as a quarterback.

— CC Sabathia loves watching the Olympic games, but did you know that CC was almost on the Olympic baseball team in the Sydney Games in 2000 just before he started his baseball career?

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.

Morning Bits: Sabathia, Martin, Chamberlain, Mariners

Good morning everyone and Happy Saturday to you all! Yankees and Mariners will play at 1:05 today, so make sure you watch! Now onto the morning links!

— For the first time since April 11, Russell Martin caught CC Sabathia last night and although it didn’t look like CC actually needed a catcher (other than to play catch), it was still nice to see them together again.

— While a lot of fans doubted that Joba Chamberlain could return to the Yankees this season after a trampoline accident on top of Tommy John Surgery, there was one person that believed he could return–Chamberlain’s father.

— Lohud Yankees wrote about how the Mariners have been linked to the Yankees yesterday and it’s no surprise that it’s due to the multiple trades the 2 teams have done. Now–if only we could see how the Montero/Pineda trade would have went.

Complete game by CC gives Yanks a 6-3 victory over Mariners

CC Sabathia gave the Yankees exactly what they needed–a complete game and the bullpen was able to get some rest after the Yankees defeated the Mariners with a 6-3 victory.

Sabathia went 9 innings and pitched extremely well. All of the runs that the Mariners scored ended up scoring on a home run ball but the Yankees were able to score some runs of their own. In the bottom of the third inning, Curtis Granderson plated both Ichiro Suzuki and Russell Martin to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. In the 6th, Eric Chavez hit a 2 run homer and in the 7th, Raul Ibanez and Robinson Cano both had RBI base hits which equaled up to the Yankees 6 runs.

Ichiro was the first Yankees live ball player that started his Yankee career with 1 hit in his first 9 games. As Suzyn Waldman says, “there’s a stat for everything.”

Today, the Yankees will play the Mariners at 1:05pm.

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.

Why Victorino Is A Good Fit

About a couple of weeks ago, as the Philadelphia Phillies continued to fall hopelessly out of the playoff race, I thought about which of their players might be intriguing for the Yankees. Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels are good, but they both come with issues: Hamels would cost too much for a rental. Lee has a bad contract and has never shown a desire to pitch for the Yankees. However, Shane Victorino was a player who I thought fit what the Yankees needed perfectly. Then yesterday Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees are interested in Victorino, and right after that, it was reported that Brett Gardner had another setback and will go for yet another MRI. With Gardner potentially being done for the season, a trade for Victorino would be something I would endorse.

The Yankees are in a fantastic position up nine games in the AL East. Because of their position, they do not have to overspend for anybody at the trade deadline. If the Yankees were battling for a playoff spot I would feel differently, but they have their spot pretty much wrapped up. Anybody the Yankees can go out and acquire wouldn’t guarantee them a championship, so there is no reason to overpay. The Yankees can win a championship with this current team. Sure a guy like Cole Hamels would give them a better chance at a ring, but he guarantees them nothing but a playoff berth, which they already have. If you mortgage the future and don’t win the championship it is really bad for your organization.

However, there is nothing wrong with improving the team at the right price. With Gardner’s status looking extremely murky, an outfielder is the biggest need for the Yankees. The only other argument you can make is for starting pitching. Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, and Ivan Nova have all pitched solidly for about two months now give or take. CC Sabathia is coming back tonight and Andy Pettitte should be back by September. That is enough pitching to win in October in my opinion. However, they can definitely use another outfielder. Despite the grand slam from Raul Ibanez yesterday he hit only .162 in June and only has 3 HR’s since the start of June. He seems to be wearing down and it could be worse by October. Andruw Jones has been spectacular of late, but he is still only a platoon player. Getting Victorino would allow Ibanez and Jones to platoon the DH spot for October like they were supposed to originally, and it would improve the defense in left field greatly. Read the rest of this entry

All-Star Break Recap

When the final out was made in the 1st half of the season, it was the time of year that fans were all waiting for; the All-Star Break. Yes, the glorious All-Star Break. A time where the players get 4 days to relax before they have to get into the grind for the second half of the season. It’s where the All-Stars get to head to Kauffman Stadium and play in the 83rd Annual All-Star game. It’s where the home run hitters get to show off their power during the HR Derby. With all of these glorious activities, it seemed like it would be a golden week, right? Wrong. At the beginning of the week, I was excited that the Yankees were going to play in Kansas City and get a chance to represent New York. Now I never want the Yankees to play an All-Star game in Kansas City ever again.

THE HR DERBY: The HR Derby was supposed to be a fun game where players with the power bats get to flex their muscles and tower HR’s into the stands for charity. Defending champion Robinson Cano was scheduled to go last in the competition and he watched everyone take their swings at it. When it was Robinson Cano’s turn, everyone glued their eyes to see if the Captain of the American League can defend his title. When Cano entered the batters box, he was surrounded by loud boos all around the ballpark. Cano seemed fazed. Fans watching on T.V seemed disturbed. Every out that Cano made, the jeers got louder and louder. The more the jeers occurred, the more Cano seemed more frustrated. Fans on Twitter called Kansas City’s behavior “disrespectful, horrendous, disgusting” and a lot more names that I can’t say. The outs kept piling, Cano became more frustrated. Then came the 9th out and Cano was yet to have a HR. Before getting the pitch thrown to him, Curtis Granderson and CC Sabathia raced to the mound to speak with Robinson Cano’s father. Granderson and Sabathia went back. Cano looked determined. Mr. Cano threw the baseball at Cano and, CRACK! That ball was deep to center field, and…the ball died in mid-center with Cano not hitting a single HR. Kansas City got loud as if they had won the World Series but all they were doing was making complete fools of themselves. Cano was consoled by his teammates and luckily his teammate Prince Fielder was able to avenge him and win the whole HR Derby.

83rd ALL-STAR GAME: Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson were in the starting lineup for the 83rd annual All-Star Game. This game was the biggest game to date (aside from the play-offs) since this game was what determined which league got home field advantage. Jeter, Cano and Granderson wanted home field advantage, in the chance that the Yankees made the World Series. Jeter was batting lead-off, Robinson Cano was batting 2nd and Curtis Granderson was batting 9th in the lineup. The lineup looked like the Yankees lineup when Brett Gardner is healthy since the AL had the double lead-off lineup (something the Yankees do). Although the American League was shut out 8-0 by the National League, Jeter, Granderson and Cano all did a little something. Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano both went 1 for 2 (both on singles). Granderson didn’t show his power since he went 0 for 2, but Granderson did attempt to play some ABC baseball by moving the runners over. In the end, it seemed like the Yankees were the only ones in the AL that came to play (and attempt to win).

All and all, the All-Star Game was more hype than anything else. I would never want to see the Yankees playing in Kansas City for the All-Star break for a very long time. After seeing the horrible way Cano was treated, it makes me more excited that the All-Star game is in Citi Field next year in New York. But now that the All-Star game is over and the Yankees are now attempting to win the American League East, the Yankees can forget the All-Star game and put it behind them. In the end, it’s the World Series rings that matter, not the All-Star game or the hateful Yankees fans that come along with it.

Spanning the Yankee Blogs: Sabathia, Midseason reviews, Trading Phelps

* An A-blog for A-Rod is taking it easy with C.C. Sabathia.

* Bleeding Yankee Blue takes a look into the Reggie Jackson situation.

* It’s about the Money Stupid writes we have only ourselves to blame for the All-Star situation.

* Lady Loves Pinstripes has a first half report.

* Pinstripe Alley looks into why the mainstream media celebrates journeymen players.

* River Ave Blues has a great midseason review.

* The Captain’s Blog takes a historical looks at past Yankees performances in the All-Star game.

* The Greedy Pinstripes has an interview with Alan Horne.

* The Yankee Analysts wonder if David Phelps is the most tradable piece this July.

* Yanks Go Yard has a mid-season round table review.