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Archive for April, 2010

The Yankees make their first visit to Baltimore to face the struggling Orioles, who have started the season at a disappointing 3-16. The Orioles entered the season amid a swirl of unusual optimism thanks to promising young players such as Matt Weiters, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Brain Matusz, but have been felled by a struggling offense and abysmal bullpen that has blown 5 saves and lost 6 games.

Coming off one of the best starts of his career, Phil Hughes hopes to add to the Orioles misery. If Hughes can establish his fastball early in the game, he should have another strong start. With the way the Yankee lineup has hit Orioles starter Kevin Millwood, Hughes should also be able to rely on plenty of run support. Despite a 0-3 record, Millwood has actually pitched well, but he can’t like some of the matchups he will encounter tonight. In total, the Yankees’ lineup has an astonishing line of .345/.406/.602 in 192 PAs. There are lusty batting averages up and down the lineup, but Randy Winn’s .611 at the bottom of the order stands out the most. With Nick Swisher taking over the DH slot from the still ailing Nick Johnson, the outfield of Winn, Granderson and Gardner represents the Yankees’ best defensive alignment.

vs. Kevin Millwood PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter SS 28 0.320 0.370 0.480 0 2
Brett Gardner LF 6 0.400 0.400 0.400 0 0
Mark Teixeira 1B 14 0.308 0.357 0.615 1 1
Alex Rodriguez 3B 23 0.429 0.478 0.619 1 2
Robinson Cano 2B 18 0.333 0.333 0.500 1 3
Jorge Posada C 17 0.214 0.353 0.429 1 2
Curtis Granderson CF 33 0.214 0.333 0.464 1 3
Nick Swisher DH 35 0.345 0.457 0.724 3 7
Randy Winn RF 18 0.611 0.611 1.056 2 6
Total 192 0.345 0.406 0.602 10 26
             
vs. Phil Hughes PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Adam Jones CF 8 0.500 0.500 1.125 1 3
Nick Markakis RF 15 0.429 0.467 0.571 0 3
Matt Wieters C 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Miguel Tejada 3B 6 0.000 0.167 0.000 0 0
Luke Scott DH 7 0.571 0.571 0.714 0 1
Ty Wiggington 2B 4 0.250 0.250 1.000 1 2
Rhyne Hughes 1B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Nolan Reimold LF 3 0.000 0.333 0.000 0 0
Cesar Izturis SS 1 0.000 1.000 0.000 0 0
Total 46 0.357 0.391 0.619 2 9

 

Yankees vs. Orioles    
Season: 2010 Season: 2009 Season: 2008 All-Time
Tied:: 0-0 NYY: 13-5 NYY: 11-7 NYY: 1222-838
  • The Orioles are currently 0-6 at Camden Yards, their worst home losing streak to start a season since going 0-8 at Memorial Stadium in 1988.
  • Arod remains one HR behind Frank Robinson on the all-time HR list, while Derek Jeter needs one 2B to pass Don Mattingly on the Yankee list.

Home Away From Home

  • Derek Jeter has had 45 multi-hit games at Camden Yards, the most ever by a visiting player. He also has the most hits (140), doubles (25) and plate appearances (516).
  • Alex Rodriquez has the most HRs (23) and RBIs (80) by a visiting player at Camden Yards.
  • Nick Swisher has the highest OPS (1.220) by a visiting player at Camden Yards.

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Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira pose with two wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Before yesterday’s meeting with President Barrack Obama, the Yankees paid a visit to wounded soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The President not only lauded the Yankees for their visit, but also cited several players for their charitable work. In what has become an increasingly cynical time in sports, it is important to remember that many athletes are appreciative of their status and more than happy to give back. In addition to the many charities that the New York Yankees Foundation helps to support, listed below are just a few foundations and events affiliated with individual Yankees, both past and present. Check them out, and maybe dig into your pocket for a donation.

CC Sabathia’s “PitCCh In” Foundation – Seeks to enrich the lives of inner city youth by working to raise self-esteem through education and athletic activities.

Grand Kids Foundation – Curtis Granderson’s foundation is focused on:  purchasing school supplies for needy families/kids, books and supplies for schools that do not get the funding they always need; establishing baseball programs; and providing equipment and facilities in some of Michigan’s inner cities.

Javier Vazquez Foundation: K’s for Kids – Seeks to raise money for charities that fund juvenile diabetes research.

Joe Girardi’s Catch25 Foundation – Dedicated to providing support to families and individuals across the country who have been challenged with ALS, Alzheimers, cancer, and fertility issues. 

Johnny Damon Foundation – A not-for-profit organization that raises and donates funds to charitable organizations. The Foundation assists local and national programs that provide leadership and growth opportunities for disadvantaged children at risk.

Mariano Rivera Foundation – Provides support to underprivileged children in Panama.

Mark Teixeira Foundation – Funds high school scholarships across the United States.

Mr. October for Kids – Reggie Jackson’s charity for children seeks to improve educational opportunities for underprivileged youth.

Nick Swisher Foundation: Swish’s Wishes – Dedicated to enriching lives and lifting the spirits of children who are facing vital health issues while providing care, comfort and support through the most difficult of times.

Robinson Cano Foundation – Dedicated to assisting children in the Dominican Republic who suffer from heart disease.

Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation – Joe Torre’s foundation funds programs designed to educate children about the issues of violence and domestic abuse.

The Jorge Posada Foundation – Established to help families with children who suffer from craniosysnostosis.

The Mickey Mantle Foundation – The Mickey Mantle Foundation was established to promote organ and tissue donation.

Turn 2 Foundation – Derek Jeter’s foundation is focused on helping youths maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Yogi Berra Celebrity Golf Classic – Charity golf tournament for the benefit of special needs scouting.

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This afternoon, the remaining members of the Yankees 2009 World Series Championship team will have the honor of meeting President Barack Obama at the White House. For the core four Yankees (Jeter, Posada, Rivera and Pettitte), this will be the third sitting President with whom they have visited to celebrate a championship (Bill Clinton three times and George W. Bush once). However, the visit to Bush resulted from a victory during the Clinton administration. Over the last 50 years, the Yankees have thrived under Democrat administrations, but come up empty when a Republican was in the White House. The Yankees last championship under the GOP dates all the way back to 1958, when Dwight Eisenhower was the commander in chief. Since then, all nine of the Yankees World Series victories have come with a Democrat leading the nation. I never like to mix politics and sports, but perhaps that’s something to keep in mind the next time you enter a polling booth during a presidential election.

Yankees Record By Political Party

  W  L  T  Pct  R  RA  AL WS
Democrats 4426 3164 44 0.583 37531 30930 23 20
Republicans 5161 4136 49 0.555 45171 40354 17 7

 

Yankees Record By Administration          
  W L T Pct R RA AL WS
Barack Obama 115 65 0 0.639 1011 820 1 1
Warren Harding 257 146 0 0.638 2227 1706 2 0
John Kennedy 309 176 1 0.637 2358 1839 3 2
Franklin Roosevelt 1156 677 17 0.631 10355 7705 7 6
Dwight Eisenhower 761 468 4 0.619 6140 4695 6 3
Herbery Hoover 375 240 4 0.610 4030 3157 1 1
Harry Truman 747 483 3 0.607 6279 4860 5 5
Jimmy Carter 392 255 0 0.606 3120 2567 2 2
George W. Bush 775 518 2 0.599 7048 5994 2 0
Calvin Coolidge 493 331 5 0.598 4522 3680 4 3
Bill Clinton 724 504 1 0.590 6738 5659 4 4
Gerald Ford 215 156 0 0.580 1644 1344 1 0
Ronald Reagan 677 562 0 0.546 5854 5345 1 0
Richard Nixon 468 444 2 0.513 3526 3419 0 0
William McKinley 60 59 2 0.504 67 69 0 0
Lyndon Johnson 401 406 6 0.497 3010 2945 1 0
Woodrow Wilson 582 598 16 0.493 4660 4535 0 0
Theodore Roosevelt 504 535 21 0.485 4876 5172 0 0
William Taft 288 318 9 0.475 2529 2709 0 0
George H.W. Bush 288 359 0 0.445 2708 3064 0 0

  (more…)

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Javier Vazquez took another step back in his quest to right the wrongs of 2004. Vazquez saw his ERA balloon back up to 9.00 after squandering an early 3-0 lead by giving up 5 earned runs in only 3 2/3 innings. Even more than the poor results, Vazquez’ inability to find either velocity or command on his fastball is quickly becoming a major concern. In his Cy Young caliber seasons last year with the Braves, 50% of Vazquez’ pitches were fastballs, which averaged 91.3mph. In today’s game, however, Vazquez only threw 40% fastballs, by an unofficial account. Part of the reason Vazquez maybe reticent to throw the fastball in the zone, if at all, is because his velocity has been down. Coming into the game, his fastball was averaging only 88.8mph, and today 16 of his 31 fastballs were below 90mph. If Vazquez continues to struggle with his fastball, the Yankees may need to consider other options.

Javier Vazquez dejectedly walks off the mound after another poor outing (Photo: AP).

Despite earning the victory, Scott Kazmir didn’t pitch much better than Vazquez. In fact, the only difference between the two is Kazmir didn’t have Marcus Thames in left field. Thames misplay in the 4th inning tacked on an extra run to Vazquez’ ledger, and that run could have been the difference in the game had Girardi not mismanaged the bullpen for the second game this series. With two outs in the 7th inning, and Alfredo Aceves pitching well, Girardi inexplicably decided to go with the under worked and inconsistent Damaso Marte. Even worse, Girardi failed to walk the dangerous Kendry Morales, instead allow Marte to serve up a game wrecking 3-run blast.

  • By failing to win six straight series at the start of the season, the Yankees failed to tie a franchise record set by the 1926 ball club.
  • Javier Vazquez is responsible for half of the Yankees losses.
  • In his last match up against Scott Kazmir, Robinson Cano hit two HRs. In his first AB in today’s game, Kazmir hit Cano. The plunking, which occurred on the second pitch, followed a brush back on the first, giving the impression that there was intent. Later in the game, Cano responded by hitting another long ball of the Angels’ lefty. In his career, Cano now has 3 HRs against Kazmir, the most by a lefty.
  • In the third inning, Bobby Abreu hit his 10th career HR off of Javier Vazquez, which is tied for the most by an active batter against an active pitcher (Manny Ramirez has 10 HRs against Jamie Moyer).
  • In addition to his struggles in the field, Thames has also had trouble judging his home run swing. For the second time this season, Thames went into an early HR trot, but then had to hustle into second for a 2B when the ball failed to clear the wall.

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The Yankees can make franchise history today by becoming the first team to win six consecutive series to start a season. In order to do that, they will need Javier Vazquez to build on his last outing, a victory against the Athletics that started the West Coast swing. Angels starter Scott Kazmir will also have something to say about the issue. To counter the lefty, the Yankees have gone with a right-handed dominant lineup, including Marcus Thames in left field and Francisco Cervelli behind the plate. Both Cervelli and Jorge Posada will be in the lineup together for the first time.

vs. Scott Kazmir PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter SS 44 0.154 0.250 0.359 2 6
Nick Swisher RF 32 0.167 0.219 0.267 1 2
Mark Teixeira 1B 21 0.583 0.667 0.917 0 3
Alex Rodriguez 3B 33 0.154 0.333 0.192 0 0
Robinson Cano 2B 29 0.207 0.207 0.414 2 6
Jorge Posada DH 30 0.407 0.433 0.630 1 5
Marcus Thames LF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Curtis Granderson CF 8 0.286 0.375 0.571 0 1
Francisco Cervelli C 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 197 0.241 0.320 0.418 6 23
             
vs. Javier Vazquez PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Maicer Izturis SS 6 0.400 0.500 0.400 0 0
Bobby Abreu RF 84 0.297 0.369 0.757 9 16
Torii Hunter CF 43 0.220 0.256 0.390 2 7
Hideki Matsui DH 9 0.167 0.333 0.167 0 1
Kendry Morales 1B 3 0.333 0.333 0.667 0 1
Juan Rivera LF 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Howie Kendrick 2B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Mike Napoli C 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Brandon Wood 3B 2 0.500 0.500 0.500 0 0
Total 150 0.269 0.333 0.582 11 25
Yankees vs. Angels    
Season: 2010 Season: 2009 Season: 2008 All-Time
NYY: 3-2 Tied: 5-5 LAA: 7-3 NYY: 325-273
  • Nick Swisher is hitting in the 2-slot for the second time this season. So far, he has hit in four different spots in the lineup. Last year, he hit in every spot in the order except last.
  • Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter each had their 75th multi-hit game since the start of the 2009 season. The only player in the major leagues with more is Ichiro Suzuki.
  • Arod remains one HR behind Frank Robinson on the all-time HR list, while Derek Jeter needs one 2B to pass Don Mattingly on the Yankee list.
  • Bobby Abreu has 9 career HRs against Javier Vazquez, including three multi-HR games. The only other active hitter with more HRs against an active pitcher is Manny Ramirez, who has 10 long balls off the Phillies Jamie Moyer.

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April Andy

After yesterday’s game, several of the Angels commented about how good Andy Pettitte has looked in his two starts against them. Some of the plaudits may have been a little over the top, but the numbers to back up their glowing praise. Even though a relatively low BABIP of .276 does suggest a little bit of luck, Pettitte has done three things that usually bode well for a pitcher: throw strikes, keep the ball in the park and get more ground balls.

It remains to be seen whether he can maintain this high level of performance, but in the meantime he is enjoying one of the finest starts of his career. With one more April start left against the White Sox on Friday, here is how Andy’s April splits as a starter stack up over his career.

  IP ERA W L WHIP
1996 36 5.00 3 1 1.583
1997 42.2 2.32 5 0 1.195
1998 40.1 2.46 4 2 1.438
1999 16.1 5.51 0 1 1.531
2000 10 4.50 0 1 1.500
2001 44.1 3.05 3 3 1.241
2002 11.2 3.09 1 1 1.457
2003 36.1 3.96 4 1 1.349
2004 11.1 4.77 1 1 1.324
2005 31.1 3.45 1 2 1.436
2006 36 5.25 1 4 1.667
2007 30 3.00 1 1 1.467
2008 36.2 3.93 3 3 1.418
2009 27.1 2.96 2 1 1.098
2010 28 1.29 3 0 1.071

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The Yankees look to snap their first losing streak of the season by sending Andy Pettitte to the mound. Pettitte, who earlier in the season pitched six shutout innings against the Angels, has had quality starts in all three of his outings. The Angels counter with Joel Pineiro, who has also pitched well in all three of his starts, including a 7 inning, 1-run victory over the Yankees.

Mired in one of the worst slumps of his career, Nick Johnson takes a seat on the bench for the first time all season. In his place, Arod gets a half-day off by occupying the DH slot. With Jorge Posada also getting another day of rest, the lineup is one of the weakest fielded by the Yankees all season. However, with Gardner and Pena inserted, speed is aplenty. Look for the Yankees to be more aggressive with their base runners in an attempt to build runs off of Pineiro.

vs. Joel Pineiro PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter SS 34 0.233 0.324 0.433 2 2
Brett Gardner LF 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Mark Teixeira 1B 39 0.235 0.333 0.529 2 10
Alex Rodriguez DH 32 0.133 0.188 0.167 0 1
Robinson Cano 2B 10 0.500 0.500 0.800 0 1
Nick Swisher RF 28 0.304 0.393 0.435 0 3
Curtis Granderson CF 14 0.083 0.143 0.083 0 1
Ramiro Pena 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Francisco Cervelli C 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 159 0.227 0.277 0.390 4 18
             
vs. Andy Pettitte PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Erick Aybar SS 20 0.421 0.450 0.474 0 2
Bobby Abreu RF 27 0.250 0.333 0.250 0 3
Torii Hunter CF 40 0.229 0.275 0.371 1 10
Hideki Matsui DH 3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Kendry Morales 1B 8 0.250 0.250 0.250 0 0
Juan Rivera LF 14 0.214 0.214 0.429 1 4
Howie Kendrick 2B 19 0.222 0.263 0.222 0 0
Mike Napoli C 11 0.556 0.636 0.667 0 0
Brandon Wood 3B 6 0.500 0.667 1.250 1 2
Total 148 0.284 0.338 0.381 3 21

 

Yankees vs. Angels    
Season: 2010 Season: 2009 Season: 2008 All-Time
Tied:: 2-2 Tied: 5-5 LAA: 7-3 NYY: 324-273
  • Yesterday’s loss by the Yankees ended a string of 17 straight victories in games when the team was tied after 7 innings. The streak is a new major league record.
  • With a win, Andy Pettitte will go 3-0 for the third time in his career. He also accomplished the feat in 1996 and 2003.
  • With one more double, Derek Jeter will tie Don Mattingly for third place on the Yankees all-time list.
  • Alex Rodriguez’ next HR will be his 586th, tying him with Frank Robinson for 7th on the all-time list.
  • The Yankees need a win to avoid losing their first series of the season. Should the Yankees rebound to win the last two games against the Angels, it will extend their series winning streak to 6, the longest such stretch in franchise history.
  • On this date in 1917, George Mogridge became the first Yankee to pitch a no hitter. Mogridge’s milestone came against the Boston Red Sox.

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The Yankees and Angels played a game of full contact baseball that ended with a loud bang by Kendry Morales. In between, the play was so physical that several NFL GMs are rumored to have turned on the game to scout potential late round draft selections.

Mark Teixeira crashes into Angels' catcher Bobby Wilson. Teixeira scored the run, and Wilson left the game with a concussion (Photo: AP).

Almost from the get go, you could tell that both AJ Burnett and Ervin Santana would not have their best stuff. And yet, both pitched well enough to keep their teams in the game. The Angels jumped out to an early first inning lead on an infield single, but the real action took place in the third inning. Doubles by Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter tied the game, and then hits by Arod and Robinson Cano gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead. On Cano’s RBI single, Mark Teixeira, who had been hit by a pitch earlier in the inning, completely annihilated Angels’ catcher Bobby Wilson, who fumbled Bobby Abreu’s throw from right field and defenselessly turned to tag Teixeira without the ball. It didn’t appear as if Teixeira needed to go in hard, but the impact was certainly felt by Wilson. The Angels’ catcher was forced to leave the game with both a concussion and an ankle injury.

In the bottom of the third inning, which featured another small collision between Torii Hunter and Teixeira at first base, the Angels responded with three runs of their own to regain the lead. Just when it looked like Burnett was about to implode, however, he pulled it all together. Nick Swisher re-tied the game in the top of the fourth inning with a solo homerun, and from that point the game remained tied until the 8th inning.

The 8th inning is an operative phrase for this game because just the other day Joe Girardi installed Joba Chamberlain as his “8th inning guy”. So, despite seeing Dave Robertson throw the ball well in the 7th, and despite knowing that Morales was 4-6 off Joba, the Yankee manager dutifully went with his new formula. The predictable result was a two-run blast that sealed a well deserved defeat. (more…)

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AJ Burnett, who is coming off back-to-back 7 inning stints, returns to the Anaheim mound for the first time since his failed game 5 start in the ALCS. He’ll be opposed by Ervin Santana, who makes his second start against the Yankees this season. Santana was the losing pitcher on Opening Day.

For much of the past decade, the Angels have had more than their fair share of success against the Yankees. At times, it has even seemed as if the Angels were in the Yankees heads. Well, last year’s ALCS has likely changed that dynamic for good, so it will be interesting to see if the tone of this series is different from the recent past.

vs. Ervin Santana PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter SS 31 0.444 0.516 0.815 3 4
Nick Johnson DH 7 0.500 0.714 1.250 1 2
Mark Teixeira 1B 33 0.231 0.333 0.385 1 7
Alex Rodriguez 3B 27 0.240 0.296 0.480 2 7
Robinson Cano 2B 25 0.304 0.320 0.652 2 5
Jorge Posada C 16 0.273 0.438 0.545 1 3
Curtis Granderson CF 29 0.231 0.310 0.500 2 3
Nick Swisher RF 33 0.143 0.273 0.250 0 0
Brett Gardner LF 6 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 207 0.261 0.338 0.511 12 31
             
vs. AJ Burnett PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Erick Aybar SS 6 0.200 0.167 0.400 0 1
Bobby Abreu RF 77 0.313 0.416 0.453 1 11
Torii Hunter CF 24 0.087 0.125 0.348 2 2
Hideki Matsui DH 17 0.214 0.353 0.214 0 0
Kendry Morales 1B 6 0.167 0.167 0.167 0 0
Juan Rivera LF 10 0.250 0.400 0.250 0 0
Maicer Izturis 3B 18 0.250 0.333 0.313 0 3
Howie Kendrick 2B 12 0.364 0.417 0.455 0 3
Bobby Wilson C 3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 173 0.252 0.341 0.374 3 20

 

Yankees vs. Angels    
Season: 2010 Season: 2009 Season: 2008 All-Time
NYY: 2-1 Tied: 5-5 LAA: 7-3 NYY: 324-272
  • Earlier in the week, the Angels placed Jeff Mathis on the disabled list with a fractured wrist.
  • The Yankees look to change their luck in Anaheim. Since 2000, they have gone 20-27 in the Angels’ home ball park.
  • Before the game, Derek Jeter addressed the Arod/Dallas Braden style in his usual style. According to Marc Craig of The Star Ledger, Jeter said, “”It ain’t like he brought it from home.”
  • On this date in 1903, the Highlanders (as the Yankees were then known) won their first game as a New York franchise. Since then, the team has won 9,467 more games in the city that never sleeps.

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Was Joe McCarthy the best Yankees manager...

Who is the greatest Yankee manager of all time? The list of candidates is very impressive: Miller Huggins, Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel, Billy Martin, Joe Torre. According to Chris Jaffe, author of the soon to be released “Evaluating Baseball’s Managers”, McCarthy wins hands down. In an interview over at Bronx Banter, Jaffe addresses the relative merits of several great Yankee managers of the past as well as those of the current skipper.

...or was Casey Stengel?

Even though it is hard to argue with McCarthy, whose teams, as Jaffe notes, were dominant in the post season, I do think you need to give Casey Stengel some credit for dealing with the handicap of a relatively un-integrated team. That might not have been such a big issue in the American League, but it surely must have played a role when Stengel’s Yankees would face the likes of the Giants, Dodgers and Braves in the World Series.

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