May 2009

Orioles-Yankees starting lineups 5/20/09

yankees.jpg

YANKEES (22-17)
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui DH
Nick Swisher RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Melky Cabrera CF
Kevin Cash C

Pitching: Phil Hughes (1-2, 7.56)

orioles.jpgORIOLES (16-23)
Brian Roberts 2B
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Aubrey Huff 1B
Melvin Mora 3B
Ty Wigginton DH
Nolan Reimold LF
Chad Moeller C
Robert Andino SS

Pitching: Jeremy Guthrie (3-3, 5.21)

CC a headliner

sabathia_320_052009.jpgBy Jon Lane
CC Sabathia is on track to become New York’s top attraction this summer.

Last night he struck out seven over seven innings and allowed one run on three hits to win his third straight start. The big guy has allowed just two earned runs over in his last 24 innings while lowering his ERA from 4.85 to 3.43. To put it in perspective, the last time Sabathia lost was May 2, when he allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Sabathia has pitched into the seventh inning five straight starts. The Yankees haven’t had that trusted horse to either stop a losing streak or extend a winning streak while preserving the bullpen since 2003. As my colleague Jerome Preisler put it, Sabathia is an Ace with a capital ‘A.’ He covered last night’s game for us and best summed up what lies ahead this summer in these words:

Over his last several outings, CC has risen to the level of his advance billing and become the ace of the Yankee pitching staff. I am thinking now that the nights he takes the mound in the Bronx are going to become events in New York City, nights you want to be at the ballpark if at all possible.

If not the ballpark, you’ll want to line the tri-state area’s plethora of sports bars, jam the Hard Rock Cafe at Yankee Stadium, or settle into your easy chair when Sabathia’s on tap, or for that matter anytime the Yankees play, period. The Yankees are going to lose eventually, and inevitably hit the skids, but someone like Sabathia stops losing streaks from spinning out of control. When the ball is in his hand, you get excited. You want to see him work and dominate the opposition. He got Milwaukee jacked over something other than Green Bay Packers football last October. This is why the Yankees had to have him and they got him.

_______________________

Jerome shared a funny moment that didn’t make his piece due to space constraints. It went down during his trip to Fenway Park a few weeks back.

I saw this guy behind a soda bar in the press area and thought he worked there.

“How you doin’?” I asked.

“Fine,” he said.

“Can I have Coke?” I said.

He looked at me and started chuckling. “Sure  . . . diet or regular.”

“Regular,” I said.

He scooped some ice in my cup and filled it under the spout and was still laughing at some private joke as he handed it to me.

That was when I got a recognized him as Tom Werner, Chairman and co-owner of the Boston Red Sox.

“Enjoy!” he said.

I stood gaping and didn’t even tell the story till now, that’s how embarrassed I was.
You can be sure I won’t clap tonight.

Deconstruction continues

By Jon Lane
WCBS-AM traffic reporter Tom Kaminski, aboard Chopper 880, provides the latest overhead shots of the old Yankee Stadium being taken apart. This time the seats are being removed. I’m still finding it very difficult letting go of the House That Ruth Built.

Orioles vs. Yankees: 5/19/2009 Lineups

yankees.jpgYANKEES (21-17)
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui DH
Nick Swisher RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Melky Cabrera CF
Francisco Cervelli C

Pitching: CC Sabathia (3-3, 3.70 ERA)

orioles.jpgORIOLES (16-22)
TBA

Pitching: Brad Bergesen (1-1, 5.27)

The Pulse of New York

Every Tuesday, YES Blog takes the pulse of New York on the hottest
topics being talked about right now in the world of sports. What’s your
take on the below issues?

What is the best time to start a World Series weekend game?(poll)

Who would you rather see at the Pepsi Center next Monday night?(polls)

How many home runs will David Ortiz hit this year?(poll)

Should Michael Vick be allowed to play in the NFL again?(polls)

Carlos Delgado will play again this season. True or False?(polls)

Who will win the NBA Championship?(web poll)

Wang, Bruney, Gardner and more

By Jon Lane
Upon my arrival to the Bronx, Xavier Nady (elbow) and Cody Ransom (strained right quad) were running on the infield. Nady felt good after hitting off a tee on Saturday and remains on tap to start rehab later this month. It’ll be a bit longer for Ransom.

Then right before heading downstairs I conducted my first Q&A session with David Cone. We’ll be doing these periodically throughout the season. You can check out Cone’s take on the differences with the Yankees today, compared to earlier this month off that 2-5 homestand, among other topics on YESNetwork.com tomorrow.

On to the news of the day:

Chien-Ming Wang will report here tomorrow to throw a bullpen session before Joe Girardi and his coaches, which will determine whether or not he’ll need one more rehab start. Girardi detected some inconsistency in his sinker, citing location, and wants to see for himself and speak with the right-hander before making a decision. Wang looked tremendous Saturday pitching for Triple-A Scranton, throwing seven shutout innings and giving up three hits. While he has tossed 13 shutout innings in his two starts, Girardi noted his sinker has been up in the strike zone.

Even if Wang is deemed ready to return, there are no plans as to where to slot him into the rotation at this time. Phil Hughes is scheduled to start on Wednesday against the Orioles, so don’t expect to see Wang activated – if that’s the decided course of action – until at least Wednesday night.

Brian Bruney allowed a run on two hits with one strikeout in his one inning of work yesterday for Scranton and is hoping to be activated tomorrow, which is likely. The only thing Girardi confirmed is he will not carry 13 pitchers, which means a reliever will lose his spot on the active roster. Girardi and the bullpen sorely missed the hard-throwing right-hander who was 2-0, 3.38 with 12 strikeouts and two walks over eight innings (nine appearances). He’ll return immediately to the eighth-inning role, which will allow Girardi to mix and match earlier in the game.

“It affected it us a little bit,” Girardi said. “I think it’s important to get him back. He’s only thrown the one game, so the thing about him is, is he going to be as sharp as when he left us? I sure hope so, but you’re not going to know for sure until you get him out there.”

Brett Gardner is day-to-day and unavailable for tonight’s game. Gardner complained of a sore right shoulder this afternoon, one day after his head-first slide into home plate completed a mad dash home that caught everyone off guard except Joe Mauer, and went for an MRI that revealed a contusion of the rotator cuff, in layman’s terms a bruise.

CC Sabathia (3-3, 3.70) opens the Yankees’ three-game series against Brad Bergesen (1-1, 5.27) and the Orioles tomorrow night. Sabathia was his old self his last two starts, limiting the Blue Jays to two runs on five hits in eight innings after tossing a complete-game shutout against the O’s May 8 in Baltimore.

“He’s had a little sharper slider and a little more depth to his slider at times,” Girardi said. “CC is the type of guy who’s going to locate a lot and that’s what he did his last two starts. You hope that it just continues. You know he’s not going to be perfect but he’s also going to give you everything he’s got every time he goes out. He’ll give you some distance when he’s on and that’s always great for your bullpen.”

Hughes (1-3, 7.56) opposes Jeremy Guthrie (3-3, 5.21) Wednesday. Joba Chamberlain (2-1, 3.76) and Adam Eaton (2-4, 7.93) conclude the set on Thursday before the Yankees welcome the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies to town Memorial Day weekend.

Twins vs. Yankees: 5/18/2009

yankees.jpgYANKEES (20-17)
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Nick Swisher RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Melky Cabrera CF
Ramiro Pena 3B
Francisco Cervelli C

Pitching: Andy Pettitte (3-1, 4.00 ERA)

twins.jpgTWINS (18-20)
Denard Span LF
Brendan Harris 2B
Joe Mauer C
Justin Morneau 1B
Joe Crede 3B
Jason Kubel DH
Michael Cuddyer RF
Carlos Gomez CF
Nick Punto SS

Pitching: Glen Perkins (1-2, 4.27 ERA)

Rebuilding the bridge

By Jon Lane
Expect Brian Bruney to return on Tuesday, a welcome and much-needed addition to the Yankees bullpen. Since Bruney was disabled, the bridge to Mariano Rivera was a wooden plank weathered by rain and fierce winds. If it’s up to me, and it’s not, here’s how I’d reconstruct the bullpen:

Closer: Rivera (obviously)

Eighth-inning man: Bruney (obviously)

Underbelly: Alfredo Aceves. In case you didn’t notice, he won both games this weekend and deserves to pitch in key spots.

Jonathan Albaladejo. Five 2/3 scoreless innings in last five appearances, fanned Jason Kubel for the third out with the bases loaded to end the seventh on Sunday. Albaladejo earned equity with that effort.

Phil Coke. Forget about the home runs allowed Friday and Saturday, Coke bailed Jose Veras out of a second and third, one out situation in the seventh on Saturday; this in the second of consecutive games coming off a bad back.  

David Robertson. When he was here he was relegated to mop-up duty. He deserves a longer look.

Long man: Brett Tomko. A veteran arm that can calm the waters during early blowouts and contribute in big spots.

Out: Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras

On the Radar: Damaso Marte. The Yankees have no choice with the three years invested in him. To be fair, Marte hasn’t been healthy since the World Baseball Classic, but when he’s back should be relegated to a LOOGY role.

Mark Melancon. A potential successor to Rivera, Melancon’s successes and failures will help him grow. 

Twins vs. Yankees 5/17/09

Twins

Denard Span LF
Matt Tolbert 2B
Joe Mauer C
Justin Morneau 1B
Jason Kubel DH
Michael Cuddyer RF
Brian Buscher 3B
Carlos Gomez CF
Nick Punto SS

Kevin Slowey P

Yankees

Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui DH
Nick Swisher RF
Melky Cabrera CF
Ramiro Pena 2B
Kevin Cash C

A.J. Burnett P

Twins-Yankees starting lineups

Twins

Denard Span CF
Brendan Harris 2B
Joe Mauer DH
Justin Morneau 1B
Jason Kubel LF
Michael Cuddyer RF
Brian Buscher 3B
Mike Redmond C
Nick Punto SS

Nick Blackburn P

Yankees

Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Nick Swisher 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Melky Cabrera RF
Brett Gardner CF
Francisco Cervelli C

Joba Chamberlain P