Archive for September 2nd, 2010

The Yankees polished off a four game sweep as well as their season long domination of the Athletics behind another masterful performance from their big man.

Jorge Posada connects on his second inning home run off Dallas Braden (Photo: AP).

For most of August, C.C. Sabathia carried the entire burden of the starting rotation, constantly being called upon to pick up the pieces after a disastrous outing the game before. On this afternoon, however, he was given the opportunity to post book-end victories on a six game winning streak. The matinee finale also gave C.C. Sabathia the chance to avenge his April 22 defeat to Dallas Braden, which also happened to be the only victory the Athletics were able to muster in the season series.

Braden’s second confrontation with Sabathia wasn’t the only rematch of interest. As most probably remember (those who may have forgotten were reminded constantly by Michael Kay), the early season loss to Braden featured the infamous mound incident with Alex Rodriguez. Unfortunately, Arod’s injured hip prevented the two parties from renewing acquaintances, but both men reportedly already patched up their differences, so perhaps Rodriguez absence from the lineup avoided an unnecessary distraction.

Aside from a second inning solo blast to Jorge Posada, Braden matched Sabathia over the first five innings as the game flew by at a brisk pace. In the sixth inning, however, Braden succumbed to the 90-plus degree heat and was forced to leave the stage all to Sabathia. Over his eight innings, the Yankees’ lefty was the star of the show, limiting the A’s to one hit, a clean single by Mark Ellis into right field. Aside from having to pitch around a Posada error in the third and two walks to start the eighth, Sabathia easily navigated the Athletics lineup and called it a day after only 95 pitches.

After Braden left the game in the sixth, the Yankees, or more specifically Curtis Granderson, immediately went to work on the A’s bullpen. Granderson, who only entered the game when Nick Swisher pulled up lame with soreness in his knee, belted a two run blast of lefty Jerry Blevins in the sixth and then, in the seventh, added a solo shot off Michael Wuertz for good measure.

Jonathan Albaladejo, who was promoted when the rosters were expanded, closed out the game with a hitless frame, something he was quite successful doing at triple-A. While at Scranton, Albaladejo racked up 43 saves, which led the International League.

By pushing himself to the brink of 20 wins and a sub-three ERA, C.C. Sabathia not only helped the Yankees build their lead over the Rays by a half game, but he also continued to bolster his case for the Cy Young award. The only hardware likely on the big lefty’s mind, however, is another ring. If Sabathia can carry his dominance into October, he may soon be wearing it on his finger.

  • The Yankees 11-1 record in the season series represents their best winning percentage against the Athletics in the two franchises’ 110 years of playing each other.
  • C.C. Sabathia improved his record at Yankee Stadium to 11-0. Sabathia has also pitched in 21 straight home games without a loss, tying Whitey Ford’s franchise record that was set from August 8, 1964 to August 18, 1965.
  • Curtis Granderson belted two home runs in a game for the sixth time in his career and second time this season.
  • Granderson also became the third Yankee to hit two home runs in a game he didn’t start. The two others who accomplished the feat were Cody Ransom (September 26, 2008 versus Boston) and Steve Balboni (May 23, 1990 versus Minnesota).

Most Consecutive Games Started at Home Without a Loss, Since 1920

  Start End Games W L ERA
Kenny Rogers 6/6/97 4/3/00 38 20 0 3.09
Lefty Grove 4/19/38 6/15/41 28 20 0 3.03
Tommy Greene 9/15/91 5/22/94 27 15 0 3.47
Ray Kremer 5/11/26 9/22/27 26 21 0 2.21
Johan Santana 8/6/05 4/2/07 24 17 0 2.08
Barry Zito 6/18/01 7/18/02 24 16 0 2.38
Denny Neagle 7/3/96 9/13/97 24 14 0 2.82
Randy Johnson 6/24/95 6/13/97 24 16 0 2.14
Frank Viola 5/27/87 7/22/88 24 19 0 1.82
Dave McNally 7/11/68 8/7/69 24 16 0 1.90

Source: Baseball-reference.com

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vs. Dallas Braden PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter SS 9 0.429 0.556 0.429 0 3
Nick Swisher RF 8 0.167 0.375 0.333 0 0
Mark Teixeira 1B 13 0.308 0.308 0.538 1 2
Robinson Cano 2B 8 0.125 0.125 0.250 0 3
Marcus Thames DH 13 0.385 0.385 1.000 2 6
Jorge Posada 6 0.250 0.500 0.250 0 0
Austin Kearns LF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Eduardo Nunez 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Curtis Granderson CF 9 0.125 0.125 0.250 0 0
Total 66 0.271 0.318 0.508 3 14
vs. C.C. Sabathia PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Coco Crisp CF 14 0.250 0.357 0.250 0 0
Rajai Davis LF 19 0.111 0.158 0.111 0 0
Kurt Suzuki DH 23 0.227 0.261 0.682 3 8
Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B 17 0.235 0.235 0.294 0 1
Mark Ellis 2B 39 0.257 0.282 0.400 1 5
Matt Carlson RF 6 0.167 0.167 0.167 0 0
Jeff Larish 1B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Landon Powell C 3 0.000 0.333 0.000 0 0
Cliff Pennington SS 7 0.143 0.143 0.143 0 0
Total 128 0.210 0.250 0.345 4 14


Yankees vs. Athletics    
Season: 2010 Season: 2009 Season: 2008 All-Time
NYY: 8-1 NYY: 7-2 NYY: 5-1 NYY: 1120-759


  Last 10 Last 20 Last 30
Yankees 7-3 13-7 17-13
Athletics 4-6 9-11 14-16


  Home vs. LHP
Yankees 45-22 29-18
  Road vs. LHP
Athletics 27-40 16-18

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When Aroldis Chapman was clocked at 105 mph during a minor league game, scouts around the game and in the media responded with skepticism, even though the eye popping number was reportedly recorded on two different radar guns. Well, in last night’s relief appearance against the Brewers, Chapman repeatedly threw fastballs that registered over 100 mph, including two that topped out at 104 mph, according to PitchFX. Where are all those doubters now?

Aroldis Chapman's first pitch to Jonathan Lucroy was recorded at 103.9mph. Chapman threw another pitch clocked at 103.8mph in the AB before striking Lucroy out on a slider.

Although still short of the elusive 105 mph that had so many shaking their heads, Chapman’s fastball is everything it was reported to be and more, making the Reds off season acquisition look even more incredible. If Chapman is able to harness his blazing fastball, not to mention his sharp breaking slider, he may turn out to be the once in a generation talent that everyone thought Stephen Strasburg was going to be. Unlike the 2009 number one draft pick, however, Chapman was available to the highest bidder, which means there are 29 other teams who may wind up regretting their relative lack of interest in the Cuban defector who has already drawn comparisons to Randy Johnson. If Chapman turns out to be anything like the Big Unit, it could be a Reds October for years to come.

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In the span of just over a week, Nyjer Morgan has transformed himself from one of the game’s more anonymous players into one of its greatest villains.

Nyjer Morgan isn't signaling touchdown, although his actions did help turn last night's contest against the Marlins into a football game (Photo: AP).

Morgan’s troubles started back on August 21, when he threw a ball into the stands and struck a fan in the head during the eighth inning of a game at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia. Earlier in the game, the Nationals’ center fielder had been carrying on a contentious conversation with fans in that section, prompting an investigation that concluded with the handing down of a seven game suspension.

Morgan quickly appealed the suspension, and a hearing was set for September 7. So, you’d probably imagine that he would be on his best behavior in the interim? Guess again.

Instead of treading lightly while under the threat of suspension, Morgan went on a home plate collision rampage that eventually culminated in a benches clearing brawl last night in Florida. For those who haven’t seen the highlights, Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad plunked Morgan in apparent retaliation for his home plate collision with rookie catcher Brett Hayes in the previous night’s game. Hayes, who was not blocking the plate, suffered a separated shoulder, which likely added fuel to the fire.

After getting hit, however, Morgan then took it upon himself to steal second and third despite his team trailing by 10 runs. Apparently, this action also didn’t sit well with the Marlins because in his next at bat, Volstad tried to hit Morgan again. This time, however, he missed with the pitch and Morgan came charging after him. Obviously not intimidated by the smallish Morgan, the 6’ 8” Volstad threw down his glove in anticipation of the impending confrontation. As Morgan approached the towering pitcher, he actually had to leap in the air to deliver his first punch, but before anything further could develop, Marlins first baseman Gabby Sanchez came charging in and close-lined him to the ground. From there, the usual pile-up ensued.

When the dust settled, Morgan was seen walking off the field gesticulating to the crowd in WWF style, actions now befitting his new reputation as baseball’s bad boy.

To say Morgan’s behavior has been bizarre would be an understatement. Although Morgan is not known to be the brightest player on the field, he never seemed to have any behavioral issues. In fact, when the Nationals acquired him from the Pirates for Lastings Milledge, it was the Nationals who were thought to be shedding the problem player. Oh, the irony.

Morgan’s litany of transgressions, all coming on the heels of a pending suspension, demand that MLB take immediate and decisive action. For starters, Morgan’s appeal hearing should be held immediately, but not before an extended suspension is levied. Morgan’s reckless behavior over the past 10 days should not be tolerated, so like Hayes, Morgan’s season should also now be over.

More important than disciplining Morgan, however, major league baseball needs to finally address the issue of barreling into the catcher at home plate. For some reason, baseball has long tolerated violent collisions with catchers, whether they are blocking the plate or not. However, the rules clearly state that such an action is illegal. What’s more, the practice of a catcher blocking the plate without the ball is also against the rules…it isn’t good defense, it’s obstruction. By simply enforcing the rules already on the books, baseball could avoid these senseless collisions that not only threaten injuries to catchers and runners alike, but also violate the spirit of the game. The NFL season starts in the fall. Major league baseball should not be providing previews during the summer.

Nyjer Morgan’s Summer of Discontent

August 21: During a game in Philadelphia, Morgan argues with fans before throwing a ball into the stands.

August 28: Morgan makes contact with Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson despite the latter having his back to the plate without the ball. Morgan was eventually called out because he only touched the plate later with the assistance of another player. After the game, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman criticized his player and opined that his aggression may have stemmed from anger over being moved down to 8th in the batting order.

August 31: In the 10th inning of a scoreless game, Morgan collides with Marlins catcher Brett Hayes, who was not blocking the plate. Had he slid instead, Morgan would have likely scored the go ahead run, but his decision to go for contact not only resulted in an out, but a serious injury to Hayes. Later in the game, Morgan is caught on tape cursing at fans in the stands (see below).

September 1: Nyjer Morgan charges the mound after a second attempt to hit him with a pitched ball. After the ensuing brawl, Morgan rips off his jersey and makes profane and aggressive gestures while walking off the field.

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