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Archive for May 2nd, 2010

A day after the Kentucky Derby, everything came up roses for the Yankees. Phil Hughes busted out of the gate with the same mid-90s fastball that has allowed him dominate in the early going. Once again, Hughes pounded the strike zone by throwing 69 of his 99 pitches for strikes. He mostly used a well located fastball and sharp cutter to breeze through 7 innings with only four hits allowed. Hughes also mixed in a handful of change-ups for the first time all season, but as in his past starts, the efficiency of his fastball didn’t require too much further development of that pitch. 

Phil Hughes improved to 3-0 with a dominant performance against the White Sox (Photo: Daily News).

In the early part of the game, it looked as if Mark Buehrle would match Hughes in a pitcher’s duel, but Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner combined to pull the Yankees into a comfortable lead. In the second inning, Cano doubled and then scored on an RBI single by Gardner that bounced off Paul Konerko’s glove and trickled into right field. In the fourth, Gardner turned on the power and deposited his first HR of the season into the first row of the right centerfield stands. Following Gardner’s unlikely blast, the Yankees broke open the game with HRs in the next two innings. In the fifth, Cano belted his ninth home run of the season, a three run shot off Buehrle, and then in the sixth, Nick Swisher added a two-run shot off reliever Tony Pena. 

In total, the Yankees plated 12 runs, their highest tally of the season. Mark Teixeira continued his month of May transformation by cranking out four hits, while Swisher doubled his hit output at Yankee Stadium by recording three safeties. Even Nick Johnson showed signs of breaking out of his season long slump. After hitting the ball hard for outs earlier in the game, Johnson finally broke through with a two-run double in the eighth inning. 

While everyone was all smiles on the Yankee side, frustration could be seen across the White Sox faces. Several misplays in the field combined with impatient at bats made the White Sox seem like a team going through the motions. The frustration for Ozzie Guillen eventually boiled over in the seventh inning when he was ejected from the game while intervening in a disagreement between A.J. Pierzynski and home plate umpire Dan Iassogna. One bright spot for the Sox continued to be the year long resurgence of Paul Konerko. In the ninth, Konerko belted his league leading 12th home run of the season off Mark Melancon, who was making his 2010 debut after being recalled from Scranton. 

After the game, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman challenged Joe Girardi about the injury status of Alex Rodriguez. Earlier in the afternoon, Sherman reported that Brian Cashman stated Arod had missed the game because of soreness behind his right knee. Girardi responded to Sherman’s confrontational question, which was asked with a tone of condescension, by firmly stating Arod was fine and would be in the lineup tomorrow. In an ESPNNewYork article, Cashman refuted that Arod was experiencing any knee-related discomfort, instead clarifying that the issue was more “muscle related”. 

  • The Yankees have now won seven of the eight series they have played this season.
  • Phil Hughes joined AJ Burnett and Andy Pettitte with 3-0 records. The Yankees are the only team in baseball with three undefeated starters who have at least three victories.
  • Robinson Cano and the Diamondback’s 2B Kelly Johnson lead all left-handed hitters with nine HRs. Six of Cano’s nine HRs this season have been hit off of lefties.
  • Cano and Jeter added yet another multi-hit game this season. Jeter’s 13 multi-hit games lead all of baseball, with Cano right behind at 12. Since 2009, Jeter and Cano have had at least two hits in 79 games, trailing only Ichiro, who has 85.
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In the early going, Phil Hughes has been thrust into the odd position of being a stopper on a 15-8 ball club. You see, Hughes spot in the rotation has followed Javier Vazquez, which for the third time in his four starts means he is being called upon to help the team rebound from a loss. Perhaps even more significantly, a greater premium has been placed on Hughes being able to give enough innings to help out a bullpen depleted by Vazquez’ early exits. That particularly holds true in today’s rubber game against the White Sox as both Alfredo Aceves and Sergio Mitre will likely be unavailable in today’s game. To help compensate for the short staff, Mark Melancon has been recalled from Scranton, where he was pitching to a 1.76 ERA in 15 1/3 innings (15 strikeouts and 1.17 WHIP). Still, the Yankees will hope that Hughes can efficiently navigate the White Sox lineup to avoid having to over extend the relief corps once again.

Melancon’s promotion was made possible by yesterday’s groin injury to Curtis Granderson. The temporary recall of a reliever leaves the outfield and the bench exposed for the time being, meaning the Yankees will be somewhat short handed until a reinforcement is found. Granderson’s absence, which is expected to last at least a month, also significantly weakens the defense, especially if Marcus Thames is asked to play a lot of LF. Despite early season struggles, Granderson’s injury also leaves a void in the lineup, evidenced today by a bottom of the order that now features Thames, Gardner and Pena, who is giving Alex Rodriquez a day off at 3B.

With the uncertainty surrounding Vazquez’ spot in the rotation and Granderson’s injury, the Yankees are facing their first period of real adversity. Guys like Mark Teixeira and Nick Johnson, in particular, will need to pick up some of the slack on offense. Today’s game will be an interesting first look at how they, and the team, respond.

vs. Mark Buehrle PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter SS 33 0.375 0.375 0.563 1 4
Nick Johnson 1B 10 0.375 0.500 0.875 1 2
Mark Teixeira DH 40 0.316 0.350 0.500 1 7
Nick Swisher RF 26 0.421 0.560 0.474 0 1
Robinson Cano 2B 9 0.333 0.333 0.444 0 0
Jorge Posada C 19 0.167 0.158 0.222 0 5
Marcus Thames DH 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Brett Gardner CF 2 0.500 0.500 0.500 0 0
Ramiro Pena 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 139 0.333 0.374 0.492 3 19
             
vs. Phil Hughes PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Mark Kotsay RF 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Gordon Beckham 2B 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Andruw Jones CF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Paul Konerko 1B 6 0.333 0.333 0.333 0 0
Mark Teahen 3B 5 0.600 0.600 1.000 0 2
Carlos Quentin DH 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
A.J. Pierzynski C 4 0.250 0.250 0.250 0 0
Alexei Ramirez SS 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Juan Pierre LF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 22 0.273 0.273 0.364 0 2

 

Yankees vs. White Sox    
Season: 2010 Season: 2009 Season: 2008 All-Time
TIED: 1-1 NYY: 4-3 NYY: 5-2 NYY: 1044-824
  • Yesterday, Derek Jeter become the Yankees all time leader in plate appearances. Jeter has stepped to the plate as a Yankee 9,913 times, surpassing Mickey Mantle’s total of 9,909. Jeter is also bearing down on Mantle’s franchise mark for most games. He is currently four games away from tying that mark.
  • Jeter also remains one double away from passing Don Matting for sole possession of third place on the all-time Yankee list.
  • Mark Buehrle is 1-6 against the Yankees in his career. His only victory occurred on April 10, 2004. Since then he has been winless in six starts against the Yankees.
  • Mark Teixeira bid farewell to April with two hits and RBI to start the month of May. Texeira’s career splits in April are 235/.342/.411, versus 295/.378/.547 in May.
  • Despite having considerable success against Hughes (.974 OPS in 17 PAs), Alexis Rios is not in the starting lineup.
  • The Yankees and White Sox have played 8 straight games decided by 1 or 2 runs.

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