Archive for August, 2010

vs. Vin Mazzaro PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Brett Gardner LF 2 0.000 0.500 0.000 0 0
Derek Jeter SS 6 0.400 0.500 0.400 0 0
Mark Teixeira 1B 6 0.333 0.333 1.000 1 3
Robinson Cano 2B 4 0.250 0.250 0.250 0 0
Nick Swisher RF 2 0.500 0.500 0.500 0 0
Jorge Posada C 6 0.500 0.500 0.833 0 3
Marcus Thames DH 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Curtis Granderson CF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Ramiro Pena 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 26 0.391 0.417 0.652 1 6
vs. Phil Hughes PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Coco Crisp CF 1 1.000 1.000 1.000 0 0
Daric Barton 1B 4 0.333 0.500 0.667 0 0
Kurt Suzuki C 5 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Jack Cust DH 3 0.333 0.333 0.333 0 0
Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B 3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Mark Ellis 2B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Jeff Larish LF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Rajai Davis RF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Cliff Pennington SS 4 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 20 0.111 0.158 0.167 0 0


Yankees vs. Athletics    
Season: 2010 Season: 2009 Season: 2008 All-Time
NYY: 6-1 NYY: 7-2 NYY: 5-1 NYY: 1118-759


  Last 10 Last 20 Last 30
Yankees 6-4 12-8 16-14
Athletics 5-5 9-11 14-16


  Home vs. RHP
Yankees 43-22 53-32
  Road vs. RHP
Athletics 27-38 49-47

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Falling behind 3-0 to the pitcher with the second lowest ERA in the league probably wasn’t the best way to go about starting the season’s longest homestand on the right note, but that’s exactly what the Yankees did against the Oakland Athletics and Trevor Cahill.

Marcus Thames flips bat away after hitting fifth-inning homerun, his sixth in the last six games (Photo: AP).

Entering last night’s game, Cahill’s ERA of 2.43 trailed only Boston’s Clay Buchholz (2.21), and his August ERA of 0.92 led all starters in the month. So, when Dustin Moseley spotted the Athletics three first inning runs, it seemed like the Yankees were headed for another disappointing loss. The gloom and doom didn’t last for long, however, as the Yankees immediately tied the game in the bottom of the first before taking the lead in the third on back-to-back wall scrappers by Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano that just made into the first row of the right field short porch. By the time Cahill’s night was over, he had surrendered a career-high eight runs in only four innings, boosting his season ERA by almost one-half run to 2.82.

Despite being taken off the hook and then staked to a lead, Dustin Moseley could not muster enough command to make it through five innings. Throughout the game, Javier Vazquez had been warming as Moseley teetered on the edge, but after allowing a one-out single and a walk in the fifth, Joe Girardi could wait no longer. Vazquez pitched out of Moseley’s jam in the fifth, thanks in large part to a patented Derek Jeter jump throw from the hole to retire Kevin Kouzmanoff, and then polished off the final four innings of the game, yielding only two hits and one run while striking out six. Not only did the rejuvenated right hander, whose fastball averaged 89 mph and topped out at 92 mph, help preserve a much needed victory, but he also saved the bullpen in the process.

For the second time since being demoted to the bullpen, Vazquez was called upon to pick up the slack for a failed starter and once again pitched well enough to merit reconsideration for the rotation. Girardi did not announce any forthcoming changes after the game, but you can bet careful consideration is being given to replacing Moseley with Vazquez. Playing the hot hand may be the best way for Girardi to get the most out of his wobbly rotation, but even more pertinent, re-establishing Vazquez as a potential post season starter could prove significant if Andy Pettitte has any more setbacks (or AJ Burnett is unable to turn things around).

After Vazquez restored order on the mound, the Yankees put the game away with a five-run fifth that was capped off by a titanic three-run blast by Marcus Thames, who sent a 97 mph fastball from Henry Rodriguez into the second deck in left field. The home run was Thames sixth in his last six games, including at least one in each of his last five starts. By filling the power void left by Alex Rodriguez’ injury, Thames, who has six homers off righties and four off lefties, has made a convincing case for more playing time down the stretch. Complicating matters, however, is the impending return of Lance Berkman. With both players best suited for the role of DH, Girardi could find it difficult to get both playing time without compromising the defense. A strict lefty/righty platoon is likely in order, but with the way Thames has been hitting of late, it is going to be very difficult to take his bat out of the lineup.

The win last night was an important one because it helped the Yankees maintain their eight-day embrace with the Rays atop the American League East, a major league record for the longest consecutive first place tie after the month of July. Although both teams now enjoy a comfortable seven game cushion over the Red Sox, the battle for the division looks as if it could go down to the wire. The dog days of August are almost done, but now it’s down the stretch they come.

Most Consecutive Games Started With a HR by a Yankee, Since 1920

Don Mattingly 7/8/87 7/18/87 8 37 10 21 0.459 0.487 1.324
Roger Maris 8/11/61 8/16/61 6 25 7 10 0.480 0.519 1.400
Lou Gehrig 8/28/31 9/1/31 6 27 6 21 0.407 0.429 1.148
Marcus Thames 8/24/10 8/30/10 5 20 6 11 0.450 0.500 1.400
Alex Rodriguez 9/4/07 9/9/07 5 19 7 10 0.579 0.652 1.684
Tino Martinez 5/7/05 5/11/05 5 20 5 11 0.300 0.300 1.100
Jim Leyritz 9/11/92 4/18/93 5 18 5 8 0.556 0.600 1.444
Tom Tresh 8/14/66 8/19/66 5 21 5 7 0.333 0.364 1.048
Gil McDougald 8/6/54 9/5/54 5 16 5 9 0.438 0.550 1.375
Bill Dickey 6/20/37 6/25/37 5 21 6 17 0.619 0.619 1.476
Babe Ruth 6/10/21 6/14/21 5 16 7 13 0.625 0.750 2.063

Source: Baseball-reference.com

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vs. Trevor Cahill PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Brett Gardner LF 3 0.333 0.333 0.333 0 0
Derek Jeter SS 3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 1
Mark Teixeira 1B 3 0.000 0.333 0.000 0 0
Robinson Cano 2B 3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Nick Swisher RF 3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Jorge Posada C 2 0.500 0.500 0.500 0 0
Marcus Thames DH 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Curtis Granderson CF 8 0.167 0.375 0.333 0 0
Ramiro Pena 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 25 0.105 0.182 0.158 0 1
vs. Dustin Moseley PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Coc Crisp CF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Daric Barton 1B 4 0.250 0.250 0.250 0 1
Kurt Suzuki C 12 0.333 0.333 0.333 0 0
Jack Cust DH 12 0.600 0.667 0.900 1 3
Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Mark Ellis 2B 14 0.385 0.429 0.692 1 2
Jeff Larish LF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Rajai Davis CF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Cliff Pennington SS 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 42 0.410 0.429 0.590 2 6


Yankees vs. Athletics    
Season: 2010 Season: 2009 Season: 2008 All-Time
NYY: 5-1 NYY: 7-2 NYY: 5-1 NYY: 1117-759


  Last 10 Last 20 Last 30
Yankees 6-4 11-9 16-14
Athletics 5-5 10-10 15-15


  Home vs. RHP
Yankees 42-22 52-32
  Road vs. RHP
Athletics 27-37 49-46

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Bob Feller takes the mound at 90 in the 2009 Hall of Fame Classic (Photo: AP).

Over the weekend, it was revealed that Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller has been undergoing treatment for leukemia. At 91, Feller is the third oldest living member of the Hall of Fame (behind Bobby Doerr and Lee McPhail, who are both 92), but the former Cleveland Indians fire baller has always been ahead of his age. Well into his senior years, Feller could be seen on the mound at an Old Timer’s game or charitable event; at age-90, he even toed the rubber in last year’s inaugural Hall of Fame classic. So, the thought of Feller being mortal is a little startling.

Bob Feller has had such an illustrious baseball and military career, that it would be impossible to sum him up in one blog post (for that, check out Frank Deford’s profile of Feller in the August 2005 issue of Sports Illustrated). Besides, that would read like a eulogy, and one thing you can be sure of is Feller is not about to surrender to any disease. However, two events that occurred this week evoked thoughts of Feller, even before the unfortunate news about his battle with leukemia, and both provide a perfect illustration about just how extraordinary Feller was as a player.

The Phenom

As a young man, Feller used a power windup to deliver a blistering fastball that some accounts claim traveled faster than 107 mph.

The news about Stephen Strasburg’s impending Tommy John surgery was seen as major blow to the baseball world because it seems likely that it will rob the game of a once-in-a-generation talent. That claim is certainly debatable, but whenever the latest phenom emerges, it is impossible to not hearken back to the debut of Bob Feller. In the case of Strasburg, however, the comparison is particularly compelling when you consider the hype surround both pitchers’ talent, the princely sums paid to each as a rookie as well as the arm maladies faced by both in the early portion of their careers.

When Bob Feller broke into the major leagues on July 19, 1936, he was only 17. Before that, he had grown up on a farm in Van Meter, Iowa, where his father, Bill, famously built a baseball field and organized a local team so his son could hone his baseball skills. However, it was only after mostly playing third base that Bob Feller was introduced to the mound. Reportedly, Feller struck out 23 batters in his first game as a pitcher and the rest is history. Before long, at the age of 15, Feller was signed to a pro contract by the Fargo-Moorhead club of the Northern League, setting into a motion a whirlwind assent to the major leagues that had the potential to revolutionize the economics of the game.

After signing his contract with Fargo-Moorhead, a team in which the Cleveland Indians had a financial interest, Feller injured his arm in a plow accident on his farm and never reported to the club. Fearful of losing the rights to the young phenom, Indians GM Cyril Slapnika induced Feller to sign a contract with another minor league team in New Orleans. Once again, however, Feller never made so much as one appearance for the Pelicans. Instead, he was summoned to the pitch for the Cleveland Indians.

At first, Feller got his feet wet in the bullpen, but after displaying his prodigious fastball, Indians manager Steve O’Neill decided he would be best suited for the rotation. Once again, the decision was quickly rewarded as Feller gave up only one run and struck out 15 in a complete game victory over the St. Louis Browns in his first major league start on August 23. Then, as if to prove the performance wasn’t a fluke, Feller rebounded from a couple of shaky starts to tie the American League record for most strikeouts in a game when he set down 17 Philadelphia Athletics on September 13.

By the end of the season, the word was out. Bob Feller was being described as possibly the most talented pitcher to every pick up a ball. Opposition players raved about the velocity of his fastball, which St. Louis Cardinals’ All Star Pepper Martin, who faced Feller in an exhibition, claimed was so fast he couldn’t see it. Rapid Robert was about more than just the fastball, however. Despite coming to Cleveland as essentially a one trick pony, he quickly learned a dynamite curve that Boston Red Sox manager Joe Cronin told Pittsburgh Press sportswriter Chester L. Smith was the “best [he’d] ever seen in the American League”.

On April 19, 1937, Bob Feller was featured on the cover of Life magazine at the tender age of 18.

So, by all accounts, the Indians had unearthed a true baseball gem. The only problem, however, was there was some doubt as to the legality of their claim to his services. You see, at the time, the major leagues and minor leagues had an agreement that prohibited big league clubs from promoting players from the sandlot directly to the major leagues. What’s more, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis also had set a precedent of not recognizing contracts signed by players under 17, so on this point too, the Indians seemed to be on the thin ice.

If Landis declares Feller a free agent, the bidding for him will be one of the wildest things the game has ever witnessed. But the Red Sox doubtless will land him, for Tom Yawkey, the millionaire fan who owns them, is said to have told his field agents, Eddie Collins and Billy Evans, to outbid the field, no matter what the ultimate price may be.” – Chester L. Smith in his “Village Smithy” column from the December 8, 1936 edition of the Pittsburgh Press

Luckily for Cleveland, Landis realized that he could not grant Feller free agency. Not only would the decision have triggered a wild bidding frenzy for Feller’s services, which would have altered the economic stability that the leagues had fought so hard to establish, but it would have also opened the door for several other players to use loopholes to void their contracts. So, after months of speculation, Landis ordered the Indians to pay the Fargo-Moorhead club a fee of $7,500, but allowed the club to retain their young ace.

If he [Landis] had ruled Feller a free agent, possibly as many as 25 other major league players might have applied to the judge for cancellation of their contracts” – UP wire story from December 11, 1936

With his contractual status resolved, it was now up to the Indians to pay Feller, who emboldened by a new appreciation for his value sought an astounding figure of $20,000. Although he eventually agreed to half, the figure was still the highest ever paid to a rookie.  Secretly, the Indians had to be thrilled with the bargain price they paid, but when Feller was diagnosed with a “snapped” muscle in his right elbow after his first start of the 1937 season, their outlook was probably less sanguine. From that point until July 4, Feller only pitched in two more games encompassing two innings, with Indians’ management vowing to take the unusual step of shutting him down for the entire year if necessary. Fortunately, that wasn’t necessary, as Feller’s arm rebounded over the summer and held up to produce a Hall of Fame career.

Ironically, Strasburg might have been better off if the Nationals had been as cautious with him as the Indians were with Feller over 70 years ago.

Indians’ trainer Lefty Weisman and manager Steve O’Neill examine Bob Feller’s right arm after the young hurler suffered a “snapped muscle in his elbow” after his first start in 1937. Despite the ominously worded diagnosis, the injury was not believed to be serious, although Feller only pitched two more games up until July 4 of that season (Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 29, 1937).

The Fireballer

In a minor league game last Friday, Cuban import Aroldis Chapman threw a fastball that was clocked at 105 mph.  Word of the eye popping reading immediately brought to mind similar claims made about Feller.

In a 1941 film produced by the American League, Director Lew Fonseca used rapid motion cameras to produce slow motion and still frames of Joe DiMaggio’s swing and Bob Feller’s fastball. To illustrate the later, Fonseca had Feller throw a fastball against a motorcycle traveling at 87mph. Based on various calculations from the free frame footage, it was estimated that Feller’s fastball was well over 100mph. Using a more scientific approach in 1946, an measuring device used by the Army to determine the velocity of speeding bullets was brought in to gauge Feller’s fastballs. According to the test, which was conducted at Washington’s Griffith Stadium, Feller’s gas checked in at 98.6 mph. However, when adjusted for the speed at release (which is how fastballs are measured now), the reading translates to 101-102 mph.

Throughout his career, Feller’s fastball so impressed observers that there were repeated attempts to measure it. Although the accuracy of those measurements is somewhat in doubt (Feller has claimed that he was clocked as fast as 107.9 mph), it’s pretty safe to say that Feller’s fastball has not been surpassed by many others.

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After giving up nine runs in back-to-back games, the Yankees needed Ivan Nova to cool down the hot White Sox bats, and the young right hander complied. Nova did more than give the Yankees another well pitched ball game, however…he also gave them options.

Although Nova was eye opening in his first major league start on Monday versus Toronto, he was even more impressive today. Whereas Nova featured a mediocre curve ball in his first start, this time around, it more resembled the plus pitch that scouting reports had advertised. In addition to his breaking pitch having more bite, Nova was also able to throw it for strikes (54% of curves were thrown for strikes, compared to 33% last time out), making it the perfect complement for his fastball, which once again averaged 94 mph. Of his seven strike outs, three came on the curve (two looking) and four on the fastball. Because both pitches were working so well, Nova was able to shelve his hard change for most of the game, indicating that the young hurler has the poise to make adjustments based on what he brings to the mound.

Ivan Nova’s Pitch Breakdown

  Avg. Speed Max Speed Count Strikes Percentage
Changeup 87.3 87.3 1 1 100.0%
Curve 83 87.1 24 13 54.2%
Fastball 94.2 97.1 63 44 69.8%


Inning Pitches Strikes Percentage
1 12 9 75.0%
2 20 13 65.0%
3 15 10 66.7%
4 14 10 71.4%
5 16 11 68.8%
6 11 5 45.5%
Total 88 58 65.9%

Source: http://www.brooksbaseball.net

By giving up only one run in 5 2/3 innings, Nova was able to preserve a narrow lead that was built by another Marcus Thames home run in the second and a Brett Gardner single in the third. Because of Joe Girardi’s premature hook, however, the Yankees still needed 3 1/3 scoreless innings from a bullpen that was hit around in the previous game. Proving that last night was the exception, a trio of Yankees relievers carried the ball to Mariano Rivera, who slammed the door in the ninth for his 27th save. Along the way, Kerry Wood extended his scoreless streak to 11 innings and lowered his ERA as a Yankee to 0.77. Most impressive, however, was Joba Chamberlain, who topped out at 100 mph while throwing 1 1/3 innings of one-hit relief. It remains to be seen whether Joba will be able to permanently reclaim his eighth inning role, but the embattled reliever has done everything possible to warrant reconsideration.

What shouldn’t get lost during a day dominated by quality pitching was the performance of the much maligned (admittedly, nowhere more than here) Francisco Cervelli. In addition to going 4-4 and scoring the winning run, Cervelli also gunned down pinch runner Brent Lillibridge trying to steal second with no outs in the eighth. Fittingly, when Omar Vizquel popped up to end the game, the ball landed in the waiting glove of Cervelli. Although it really shouldn’t change the Yankees thinking about his role on the team, for one game, Cervelli proved to be a key contributor.

Still, Nova was the real star of the game. In addition to pitching in with two quality starts, Nova has also given Joe Girardi much needed options as he tries to sort out a starting rotation in disarray. After the game, Girardi announced that Ivan Nova would be given another start, which once again will come at the expense of Javier Vazquez because the Yankees manager also revealed that AJ Burnett will be making his next turn. Even though the status quo remains, the emergence of Nova has given the Yankees the flexibility to stabilize the pitching the staff as the team eagerly awaits the return of Andy Pettitte.

More than flexibility, however, Nova has the potential to make a major impact. With today’s win, Nova became the first Yankees starter since Mel Stottlemyre to earn his first major league victory against the White Sox. Why is that interesting? Because after Stottlemyre beat the White Sox on August 12, 1964, he rattled off eight more victories enroot to a 9-3 season. At the time of Stottlemyre’s promotion, the Yankees were 3 ½ games behind the division leading Orioles, but thereafter posted the best record in the league and won another AL Pennant. Although it is unlikely that Nova will play a similar role down the stretch this season, he certainly has the potential to make a positive impact. Of course, the Yankees have to hope nothing further comes of MLB’s reported investigation of Nova’s alleged B12 shot.

Mel Stottlemyre’s 1964 Game Log

Date Opp Dec IP H R ER BB SO ERA GSc
Aug 12 CHW W(1-0) 9 7 3 2 1 1 2 63
Aug 16 BAL W(2-0) 8.2 5 1 1 5 2 1.53 67
Aug 22(2) BOS W(3-0) 9 6 0 0 4 1 1.01 72
Aug 26 WSA L(3-1) 8 4 2 1 4 6 1.04 70
Aug 30 BOS W(4-1) 6.1 9 3 3 1 2 1.54 44
Sep 3 LAA L(4-2) 4.1 8 4 4 4 2 2.18 29
Sep 8 MIN W(5-2) 9 9 1 1 1 8 1.99 72
Sep 12 MIN W(6-2) 9 5 3 3 4 1 2.13 62
Sep 17 LAA W(7-2) 6.1 5 2 2 2 5 2.2 58
Sep 22(1) CLE W(8-2) 8.1 8 3 2 3 9 2.19 63
Sep 26 WSA W(9-2) 9 2 0 0 5 5 1.97 83
Oct 1(1) DET L(9-3) 8 8 4 3 1 6 2.08 57
Oct 4 CLE   1 1 0 0 0 1 2.06  

Source: Baseball-Reference.com

  • Before the game, the White Sox retired Frank Thomas’ number 35 in an on field ceremony.
  • Francisco Cervelli’s 4-4 performance was the first four hit game of his career.
  • By earning his first major league, Ivan Nova became the first Yankees rookie starter to win a ball game since Alfredo Aceves beat the Angels on September 9, 2008.
  • Before Nova’s victory, the Yankees were the only team in the majors to not have a rookie record a victory.

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vs. Gavin Floyd PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Brett Gardner LF 3 0.667 0.667 1.000 0 0
Derek Jeter SS 13 0.273 0.250 0.273 0 1
Nick Swisher 1B 3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Robinson Cano 2B 10 0.100 0.100 0.200 0 0
Marcus Thames DH 7 0.143 0.143 0.143 0 0
Curtis Granderson CF 31 0.269 0.387 0.462 1 2
Austin Kearns RF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Eduardo Nunez 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Francisco Cervelli C 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 67 0.211 0.266 0.316 1 3
vs. Ivan Nova PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Juan Pierre LF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Alexei Ramirez SS 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Alexis Rios CF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Paul Konerko 1B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Carlos Quentin DH 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Ramon Castro C 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Andruw Jones RF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Brent Lillibridge 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Gordon Beckham 2B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0


Yankees vs. White Sox    
Season: 2010 Season: 2009 Season: 2008 All-Time
NYY: 3-2 NYY: 4-3 NYY: 5-2 NYY: 1046-825


  Last 10 Last 20 Last 30
Yankees 6-4 11-9 16-14
White Sox 5-5 8-12 15-15


  Road vs. RHP
Yankees 37-28 51-32
  Home vs. RHP
White Sox 38-26 54-42

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The Yankees looked to C.C. Sabathia to halt a losing streak and help remove the stench of another awful performance by AJ Burnett, but instead it was the bats that saved the day.

Things are looking up for Eduardo Nunez, who hit his first HR and knocked in 4 RBIs in Saturday's game against Chicago (Photo: AP).

In each of the first three innings, the Yankees belted a two-run homerun off talented lefty John Danks, building a 6-1 cushion for their ace. Included in the barrage were the first major league homerun of Eduardo Nunez, who ended the night with three hits and four RBI (see list below), another round tripper by Nick Swisher against his former team as well as the first of two long balls by Marcus Thames.

The Yankees power explosion was not the focus of the first three innings, however, because Mark Teixeira left the game before his second at bat. After the game, it was revealed that Teixeira had bruised his thumb on Friday, and it was that injury that forced him from the game. Teixeira stated  he had hoped to be able to play through the pain, but quickly determined he would not be able to help the team after experiencing discomfort in his first at bat. Teixeira is considered day-to-day, but for one night at least, the Yankees’ offense did not suffer without their slugging first baseman.

With a 6-1 lead, it looked easy sailing for the Yankees, but last night was open season on talented lefties. Not to be outdone by Danks, Sabathia also got in on the act of surrendering two-run bombs, yielding one in the third and fourth to narrow the score to 6-5. After being touched for the two blasts, however, Sabathia slammed the door on the White Sox, retiring 12 of the final 15 batters, including seven on strikeouts.

While Sabathia was restoring order, the Yankees were rebuilding the  lead against reliever Tony Pena. In the top of the fifth, the Yankees immediately restored their five run advantage by plating four two-out runs, the first two scoring on a Posada double and the last two on Nunez’ second hit of the game. With Sabathia dealing and the Yankees bullpen impenetrable of late, the middle of the game seemed to be played as if it was formality. The late innings, however, would prove otherwise.

Sabathia departed after seven innings, turning the game over to the bullpen, but not before the Yankees extended their lead to 11-5 in the top of the inning. Entering the game, the Yankees bullpen had posted a sterling 1.80 ERA in August, but on this night they would struggle. Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan were both shaky in the eighth, but wiggled out of trouble after surrendering only two runs. Thames got one run back in the ninth when he went deep for the second time, but in the bottom of the inning, David Robertson could not retire a batter before leaving with two runs in and a man on first.

With the game no longer firmly in hand, Joe Girardi was forced to awaken his sleeping bear. In typical Sandman fashion, Mariano Rivera seemed to immediately put the White Sox rally to bed with a quick double play ball, but Chicago wasn’t quite ready to call it a night. After the twin killing, Rivera allowed a single and walk, which brought Mark Teahan to the plate as the tying run, but Chicago’s hope was only short lived. Rivera’s cutter handcuffed Teahan, who lined out softly to second base, giving Mo is 26th save and the Yankees a much needed win.

With the Rays winning, the victory enabled the Yankees to hold onto their share of first place. From a personal standpoint for Sabathia, the big lefty assumed the major league lead in wins with 18. Despite not pitching particularly well last night, Sabathia has shown a knack for “pitching to the score” in 2010, and yesterday might have been another example. Although such an ability is probably more on the mythical side, Sabathia does seem to lock things down when a lead is put in jeopardy. Admittedly, this perceived quality has very little place in a Cy Young debate, but from the standpoint of a team with a rotation in shambles, Sabathia’s ability to stay ahead of the opposition is just what the team has needed.

  • Marcus Thames homered twice in a game for the ninth time in his career. His last two homer game was as a Tiger against the Brewers on June 19, 2009.
  • Despite surrendering four runs in only two innings, the Yankees’ bullpen leads the major leagues with a 2.22 ERA in August.
  • Eduardo Nunez’ four RBIs was the first time a Yankees rookie recorded at least as many in one game before his tenth starts since Shelley Duncan also knocked in four runs on July 22, 2007, the fourth game of his career.

Yankees Rookies with At Least RBIs in One Game Before Starting 10 Games, Since 1920

Career Games Player Date Opp PA R HR RBI
3 Brian Dayett 9/18/1983 CLE 5 1 0 4
4 Shelley Duncan 7/22/2007 TBD 6 2 2 4
4 Charlie Keller 5/2/1939 DET 6 4 1 6
4 Tommy Henrich 5/16/1937 PHA 5 1 1 4
5 Jesse Hill 4/25/1935 BOS 6 2 1 4
5 Allie Clark 8/13/1947 PHA 4 0 0 4
6 Steve Whitaker 8/28/1966 DET 4 1 1 4
7 Hideki Matsui 4/8/2003 MIN 4 2 1 4
7 Gil McDougald 5/3/1951 SLB 6 4 1 6
9 Eduardo Nunez 8/28/2010 CHW 5 2 1 4
9 Phil Linz 5/23/1962 KCA 3 2 1 4

Source: Baseball-reference.com

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vs. John Danks PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter SS 13 0.333 0.385 0.417 0 0
Nick Swisher RF 10 0.375 0.500 0.375 0 0
Mark Teixeira 1B 9 0.625 0.667 0.750 0 3
Robinson Cano 2B 8 0.286 0.375 0.857 1 1
Marcus Thames DH 16 0.067 0.125 0.133 0 0
Jorge Posada C 10 0.375 0.500 0.875 1 2
Austin Kearns LF 6 0.250 0.500 0.250 0 0
Brett Gardner CF 2 0.500 0.500 0.500 0 0
Eduardo Nunez 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 74 0.313 0.405 0.484 2 6
vs. CC. Sabathia PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Juan Pierre LF 6 0.167 0.167 0.167 0 1
Alexei Ramirez SS 12 0.364 0.417 0.364 0 0
Alexis Rios CF 30 0.308 0.400 0.769 3 5
Paul Konerko 1B 80 0.217 0.325 0.362 2 5
Carlos Quentin DH 13 0.167 0.231 0.417 1 1
Ramon Castro C 6 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Andruw Jones RF 4 0.250 0.250 0.250 0 0
Brent Lillibridge 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Gordon Beckham 2B 8 0.500 0.500 0.750 0 2
Total 159 0.246 0.327 0.437 6 14


Yankees vs. White Sox    
Season: 2010 Season: 2009 Season: 2008 All-Time
NYY: 2-1 NYY: 4-3 NYY: 5-2 NYY: 1045-824


  Last 10 Last 20 Last 30
Yankees 6-4 11-9 15-15
White Sox 5-5 8-12 16-14


  Road vs. LHP
Yankees 36-28 27-18
  Home vs. LHP
White Sox 38-25 16-16

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AJ Burnett has always been a Jekyll and Hyde pitcher, but this season he has taken his schizophrenia on the mound to extreme proportions. The old joke about the good and bad AJ is simply no longer funny because the good version rarely makes an appearance. In nine starts this season, Burnett has surrendered at least six runs, a level of futility matched or exceeded by only seven Yankees starters since 1920 (ironically, included on that list are three Hall of Famers). From a personal perspective, Burnett’s ERA+ of 77 is by far the worst of his career. In other words, it is no longer a case of Burnett being inconsistent, but rather his quite frankly not being any good.

After another disastrous start in which he surrendered nine runs in 3 1/3 innings, Burnett declared “enough is enough”, but perhaps that sentiment would be best expressed by Joe Girardi. Although his hands are tied by a rotation that has fallen to pieces, Girardi’s frustration with Burnett seems to have reached a boiling point. The normally “look on the bright side” manager wouldn’t commit to Burnett making his next start, which considering the other options is a pretty extreme reaction.

The reason the Yankees likely won’t remove AJ Burnett from the rotation is because they can’t. With Andy Pettitte still weeks away from returning, the Yankees rotation consists of C.C. Sabathia and a collection of question marks. If the Yankees are going to make the playoffs and have any chance of success in the playoffs, they need Burnett to turn it around. Having said that, it might be time to give Burnett a kick in the pants. Even if it means skipping his turn one time through the rotation, it might be a worthwhile move if it gets a strong message across. Even though Burnett is known to be a tireless worker, it could be that he needs a little extra motivation. The Yankees have been waiting for Burnett to figure things out on his own, but now may be the time to force the issue.

If the playoffs started today, the Yankees wouldn’t have a reliable starter to follow C.C. Sabathia. Fortunately, the Yankees have another month to see if Pettitte can get healthy, Burnett can turn it around Hughes can more consistently recapture his early season form. Of course, if one of those doesn’t happen soon, the Yankees may not have to worry about their playoff rotation because they’ll all be watching the post season at home.

Most Starts Surrendering Six or More Runs in a Season, Since 1920

Player Year Games IP W L ERA
David Cone 2000 12 51.1 0 11 13.32
Red Ruffing 1934 11 56.1 0 8 11.02
Red Ruffing 1936 10 64.2 3 7 7.93
Carl Mays 1921 10 73 3 5 5.92
Waite Hoyt 1928 10 69.2 4 3 7.62
George Pipgras 1930 9 47.2 2 4 9.44
Bump Hadley 1937 9 57.1 2 4 7.38
Lefty Gomez 1932 9 66 5 3 7.91
A.J. Burnett 2010 9 42.1 0 9 12.97

Source: Baseball-Reference.com

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vs. Freddie Garcia PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Brett Gardner LF 2 0.500 0.500 0.500 0 0
Derek Jeter SS 35 0.265 0.286 0.471 2 3
Mark Teixeira 1B 18 0.000 0.167 0.000 0 2
Robinson Cano 2B 12 0.167 0.167 0.167 0 1
Nick Swisher RF 9 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Jorge Posada DH 19 0.176 0.263 0.353 1 2
Curtis Granderson CF 37 0.182 0.270 0.212 0 1
Francisco Cervelli C 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Ramiro Pena 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 134 0.172 0.224 0.262 3 9
Juan Pierre LF 12 0.200 0.333 0.300 0 0
Omar Vizquel 2B 8 0.000 0.286 0.000 0 0
Alexis Rios CF 7 0.333 0.429 0.500 0 1
Paul Konerko 1B 15 0.273 0.467 0.818 2 5
Carlos Quentin RF 3 0.333 0.333 0.333 0 0
AJ Pierzynski C 18 0.176 0.222 0.176 0 0
Alexei Ramirez SS 3 0.000 0.333 0.000 0 0
Mark Tehan DH 16 0.154 0.313 0.154 0 1
Gordon Beckham 2B 3 0.333 0.333 0.667 0 2
Total 85 0.200 0.294 0.329 2 9


Yankees vs. White Sox    
Season: 2010 Season: 2009 Season: 2008 All-Time
NYY: 2-1 NYY: 4-3 NYY: 5-2 NYY: 1045-824


  Last 10 Last 20 Last 30
Yankees 6-4 11-9 16-14
White Sox 4-6 8-12 16-14


  Road vs. RHP
Yankees 36-27 51-31
  Home vs. RHP
White Sox 37-25 53-42

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