Friday, April 19, 2013

Va, Va, Va-voom Jorge!

While I would love nothing more than to have just one more season with Jorge Posada back in pinstripes, I must admit that I'm digging his new gig as the spokesperson for Johnnie Walker Black. Jorge is looking absolutely fantastic in both the commercials and print ads for the whiskey maker, but that's not surprising. Our former catcher was a looker even in a dirty uniform and a mask.

Congratulations Jorge!! I'm sure that Johnny Walker sales will triple now with your face as it's new marketing strategy.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Cervelli Made A Game of It, But...

In the 9th inning of last night's game against the Diamondbacks, Francisco Cervelli gave the Yankees and the home crowd a reason to believe that, once again, a late-inning rally would precede another comeback win. But in extra innings, the Yankees would fall to Arizona and lose the game, 6-2.

Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin pitched a brilliant game, tagging the Yankees lineup with fast ball after fastball. He would pitch only one mistake--a 78 mph slider--to Robinson Cano who launched it into right center field on a line drive. he would keep the Yankees at bay from there until the 7th inning.

Then with JJ. Putz in for Arizona to close in the 9th, Cervelli launched a monster home run to left field, tying the game at 2-2. Brennan Boesch had already committed an out, so groundouts by Ichiro and Lyle Overbay sent the game into overtime.

And it would be all Arizona from there. David Robertson and David Phelps were able to keep the D-backs of the board through the 10th and 11th innings. But Phelps got touched up in the 12th. His first batter, Gerardo Parra, smacked a double to left. Two walks came from Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Montero, on an interference call and hit by pitch, respectively. Then, Cody Ross singled to left scoring Parra. And finally, Eric Chavez, who I felt the whole series would get a big hit in somewhere, launched a double to center clearing the bases. Overbay, Brett Gardner and Vernon Wells would go down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.

But one bright spot to last night's game was the pitching performance of Phil Hughes. Although he
Getty Images / Elsa
gave up two home runs last in the 3rd and 6th innings, Hughes pitched a good game, getting his fastball up to 93 mph and having good location on both his fastball and changeup. His demeanor on the mound was also markedly different from his last start when he got hammered in Baltimore. Hughes pitched with an intensity suggesting that his first two starts were needed warm-ups following his injury, and that perhaps he's good to go now. He couldn't get the win, but he didn't lose either. And being able to stay in the game and pitch 7 innings was key in the Yankees having a chance to comeback and win the game.

Tonight, Andy Pettitte is back on the mound to open the series against Toronto. He faces RHP Brandon Morrow. I'll be paying close to attention to Andy's face looking for any signs of a grimace, possibly indicating tightness in his back. Game time is 7:07 pm.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: ra_cooper

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Jeter Out Until After All-Star Break

AP Photo / Paul Sancya
Well, it can't get much worse than this. Unless of course, Derek Jeter ends up missing the entire season.

Jeter visited Charlotte, NC today to visit the doctor that performed his ankle surgery last year. A CT scan revealed a small fracture in the area that was originally injured. According to this tweet by ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand, Brian Cashman confirmed that, like Alex Rodriguez, the Captain will be out until after the All-Star Break.

My initial reaction to this is that Jeter was obviously given the green light to play too soon. First, he was shut down in Spring Training after the ankle became sore again. Then this week, he was ordered to cut back on fielding ground balls and running. Sounds to me like this last time, the Yankees knew something was up, as this visit to Charlotte was reported as "unscheduled."

The good news is that this new injury won't require further surgery. But simply put, it's time for Jeter to just sit down and let his body heal. I know it kills him not to play, but the area of the ankle is one that you don't want to mess around with. The Yankees can go forward and continue to weather the injury storm without him for now. So far, so good.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Comeback Kids

Getty Images / Al Bello
What was looking like an apparent loss for the Yankees and CC Sabathia last night, turned into their first great comeback of the season. With a little help from Brett Gardner and a major blast from Travis Hafner, the Yankees were able to overcome a 3-0 deficit in the seventh inning to beat the Diamondbacks, 4-3.

This was one of those nights where CC did not have his best stuff, yet was still brilliant. After giving up a two-run homerun to Paul Goldschmidt in the first inning, he settled in, using a variety of different pitches and speeds to keep the game within reach. Following the Goldschmidt home run and a single to Cody Ross, CC would retire his next 10 batters and would not give up another run until the fifth inning, when AJ Pollock hit a sacfly to score Josh Wilson who tripled on a line drive. He continued through the next two innings getting groundball outs and strikeouts with a bevy of pitches ranging anywhere from 74-90 mph.

Then, in the seventh inning, the Yankees' offense came through. Ben Francisco, who got his first hit of the season, singled on a grounder to left. Brennan Boesch followed with a double on a fly ball which moved Francisco to third. Eduardo Nunez walked on a groundball in the dirt from Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley to load the bases. Miley then walked Jayson Nix, scoring Francisco, and gave up a line-drive single to Gardner which brought in Boesch and Nunez, and tied the game at 3.

CC would return for the 8th and pitch a 1-2-3 inning, giving the Yankees another opportunity to take the lead. And on his first swing, Hafner nailed a 96 mph fastball from David Hernandez to right center field. Mariano Rivera closed out the ninth inning, getting his fourth save in 4 opportunities.

AP Photo / Kathy Willens
The Yankees appear to be on a nice roll now. The pitching staff has really settled in and the offense is coming through in key spots.What has to happen now is figuring out what adjustments need to made with Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova. It's been the veterans carrying the load while the young arms are continuing to struggle. Tonight, as Hughes pitches for the sweep, the key for him will be to get good movement and location on his changeup for strikeouts, and to keep his pitch count within reason. So far this season, when the starters have pitched beyond 5 innings, the Yankees have won. Hughes has yet to get into the fifth; hopefully tonight he will give this team length and secure his first win.

Hughes goes up against Patrick Corbin whose 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA. Game time is 7:05 pm.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Noteworthy News

Robinson Cano and Mariano Rivera teamed up to secure the Yankees' win against the Diamondbacks last night, but other noteworthy news made its way around Yankeeland as usual. Here are some interesting reads on our boys in pinstripes:

  • George A. King III of The NY Post recounts the Yankees "Sweet Caroline" tribute supporting the people of Boston in lieu of the Boston Marathon bombings.

  • The Post's Dan Martin and George King III also report that Andy Pettitte is ready to return for his start this Friday.

  • Anthony McCarron also reports on Curtis Granderson's visit to Abraham Lincoln HS yesterday in Brooklyn, citing Grandy's admission that free agency is weighing heavy on his rehab.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Cano Homers Yankees Past Diamondbacks

The Associated Press
On a night of tributes at Yankee Stadium, Robinson Cano came up big, hitting a three-run blast to propel the team past the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 4-2 win.

Although Major League Baseball honored Jackie Robinson Monday with all players wearing the number 42 on their uniforms, the Yankees paid tribute last night because they were off on Jackie Robinson Day. The team also paid tribute to the city of Boston in the wake of the bombings during Monday's Boston Marathon by playing Neil Diamond's classic, "Sweet Caroline" at the end of the third inning. The song is normally played at Fenway Park during the Red Sox's Seventh Inning Stretch.

But last night was a big night for Cano and further proof that he is stepping up to carry this team on his power shoulders. With the Yankees down 2-0 going into the bottom of the fourth inning, Cano smacked a 3-run blast into the second section of the right field bleachers to put the Yanks ahead 3-2. Before the homer, Lyle Overbay and Chris Stewart got on with singles to left field. The home run would be all the offense the Yankees needed to win.

"Since I saw [Cano] in the minor leagues, he has a kind of easy way to getting it done," Mariano Rivera told the media after the game. "You make a mistake with a guy like that, and you're going to pay."

The Associated Press
Last night was also a special night for Mo. We all know that he is the only player in MLB that wears the number 42 on his uniform, as he was "grandfathered in" when Jackie Robinson Day became official. So to get the save on a night in tribute to the man that broke the color barrier in baseball felt good for him.

"Definitely," Mo said. "To come up with the victory and be the guy to close the game, that's pretty good."

And Ivan Nova pitched well enough to get the win, but it was not a very good performance for him overall. As former Yankee Al Leiter pointed out several times during last night's broadcast, Nova seems afraid to throw his fastball, relying mostly on breaking balls and sinkers. By the end of the fourth inning, his pitch count had almost reached 80. But a win is a win, and Nova probably spared himself from being removed from the lineup for now.

Tonight, our ace CC Sabathia will get the start against LHP Wade Miley. Miley has been superb for Arizona so far, with a 2-0 record and 2.13 ERA. Should be a good matchup. Game time is 7:05 pm.

Quote credit: Bryan Hoch /

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Yankees Starting Lineup for 4/16/13

Eduardo Nunez takes his place back at shortstop tonight. This kid is Teflon!! Here is tonight's starting lineup:

Brett Gardner CF - .244/.333/.422
Robinson Cano 2B - .311/.367/.600
Kevin Youkilis 3B - .333/.404/.571
Travis Hafner DH - .303/.410/.576
Vernon Wells LF - .324/.405/.649
Ichiro Suzuki RF - .176/.237/.265
Eduardo Nunez SS - .250/.333/.300
Lyle Overbay 1B - .282/.300/.410
Chris Stewart C - .200/.200/.200

Ivan Nova RHP - 0-1, 7.71 ERA

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

For Nova, It's Time to Hit the Reset Button

The Associated Press
Tonight, Ivan Nova will get his chance to make a second impression.

To say that it is do or die time for the young righty is about as close to accurate as one can get. If he does not pitch the game of his life against the Arizona Diamondbacks, in front of the home crowd, his time in the rotation is as good as over.

And what does pitching the game of his life specifically entail? Nova must get good speed, movement and placement on the fastball and curveball that devastated batters in 2011 when he pitched to a 16-4 record and 3.70 ERA. The opposite has resulted in an increased ERA and whip, and a decrease in the number of opposing batters left on base and production of groundball outs which decreased from 52.7% in 2011 to 45.2% in 2012. Nova's also steadily declining in his K/BB ratio. Check the charts:

The stats don't lie. Bottom line is, Nova has gone from being the Yankees No. 2 starter in 2011 to losing a spot in the rotation to David Phelps by the end of last season. And Phelps has looked very good so far, going all the way back to Spring Training. Until the cavalry return, I will continue to point out how important pitching is for the Yankees right now. Perhaps without so much offense being missing from the lineup, tonight's start would simply be a "second look," to see what adjustments Nova needs to make. But this is a much bigger game for him...and the Yankees.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

This Morning, My Heart Is In Boston

Yesterday's bombings during the Boston Marathon was a painful reminder that the anger and aggression that exists within people in this world is reaching a frightening boiling point. It sickens me and should sicken everyone that on a beautiful, sunny day, a community came together to support a charitable and beloved cause only to walk away with feelings of devastation, grief and hopelessness. I'll never understand what the reward is in destroying people's lives; but I do know that a resolution to all this madness needs to happen and fast.

My prayers and sincerest condolences go out to the people of Boston. There is no Boston-New York rivalry today as far as I'm concerned, and there won't be for a very long time.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Monday, April 15, 2013

Noteworthy News

With the Yankees blanking the Orioles 3-0 last night, much was "a-buzz" over Hiroki Kuroda's pitching performance. But there's always much more to talk about in Yankeeland and some stories made for interesting headlines. Here is some noteworthy news you might be interested in:

  • Dan Martin of The NY Post reports that Curtis Granderson has yet to take a swing and is unsure of his timetable to return to the lineup.

  • John Harper of the NY Daily News says that the aging Yankees are getting no help from the young arms in their rotation.

  • Bleacher Report's Zachary D. Rymer breaks down his assessment of the Yankees' future path.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Kuroda Sparkles; Yankees Take Series Against Baltimore

AP Photo / Kathy Willens
Hiroki Kuroda was at his best last night, limiting the Baltimore Orioles to 5 hits but no runs as he pitched a complete game shutout in the Yankees 3-0 series win.

You would think during a shutout game that a starting pitcher would have to mix in a bevy of different pitches going through a lineup several times. But Kuroda managed to shut down Baltimore throwing nothing but splitters and sinkers. There may have been a few times he threw a curveball and he only threw one fastball the entire night to Adam Jones. The result was the Orioles being mainly limited to hitting ground balls.

In the end, Kuroda would allow 5 hits, no walks, and would strikeout 5 over 113 pitches.

I don't think anyone believed that Joe Girardi would keep Kuroda in the game for the ninth inning. With the Yankees leading by three, it would have been a save opportunity for Mariano Rivera. Also, considering how important pitching is to the Yankees right now, it would have been the right move for Girardi to rest Kuroda for the last frame. But Kuroda showed no signs of fatigue, and would have pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th, if not for Jayson Nix's fielding error that allowed Nick Markakis to reach first base.

The Associated Press
And while the loud bats of Robinson Cano and Kevin Youkilis were silenced last night, the Yankees got all the offense they needed in the fifth inning from Brett Gardner. After Brennan Boesch scored on a sacfly from Nix, Gardner hit a two run home run to right field scoring Francisco Cervelli, who had previously singled to left field.

Alex Rodriguez was with the team in the dugout for the second game in a row last night. Looks like Alex is re-acclimating himself to the fans and the media following all the drama of the Biogenesis scandal. I like that he's supporting the team this way and besides, no need to stay "underground" if you're not guilty, right?

The Yankees get the night off tonight but will begin interleague play against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday. Ivan Nova will get the start--and a chance to keep his spot in the rotation--against RHP Brandon McCarthy. Andy Pettitte's start has been pushed back to Friday, as the Yankees want to proceed with caution and give him more time to rest his back. Game time is 7:05 pm.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Clock Is Ticking On Phil Hughes

The Associated Press
There's really no way to say this except to be brutally honest: if Phil Hughes does not find a way to win games, he's going to find himself working out of the bullpen.

I could be way off about that, but it's what I believe to be true. Hughes laid another goose egg yesterday afternoon to the Orioles, helping the Yankees to a 5-3 loss. He gave up 3 home runs, 2 walks and 9 hits pitching in only 3 innings. In his two combined starts this sesson, Hughes has allowed 17 hits and 8 earned runs in a measly 7 innings.

Granted, Hughes is coming off of a back injury that had him sidelined during Spring Training. And he did pitch earlier than expected following the Yankees' horrific 1-3 start, so perhaps he simply needs more time to get his pitching groove back. But the Yankees may not be willing to show much more patience for Phil when they are relying on pitching to win games, and when they have David Phelps waiting in the wings.

Phelps was originally slated for last Saturday's start against Detroit which was eventually given to Hughes. Today, Phelps came in in relief and pitched brilliantly, allowing only one hit and striking out 6 in 4 innings. This was the kind of pitching performance that helped him earn in a spot in the rotation out of Spring Training. This will be the kind of pitching performance that will earn him a spot back on to the rotation in replacement of Hughes.

There is another variable to this situation, however. Ivan Nova was horrible in his first outing against Detroit and the Yankees appear to have a short leash on him also. If he bombs out in his second start, whenever that is, Phelps could replace him giving Hughes a reprieve. But if Nova bounces back with a solid win, the pressure will be on Hughes to make a decent game of it in his next outing.

And the Yankees offense wasn't great today, as the bats were cooled by Orioles pitcher, Jason Hammel. Only Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells and Francisco Cervelli were able to get hits, with Hafner and Wells both hitting solo home runs.

Hiroki Kuroda will get the start in Sunday night's game against LHP Wei-Yin Chen. Game time is 8:05 pm.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Saturday, April 13, 2013

MLB Playing a Bad Hand In Pursuit of A-Rod

The Associated Press
We knew that the drama surrounding Alex Rodriguez's alleged link to the Biogenesis scandal would  only intensify as the investigation by Major League Baseball ensues. What we might not have realized is how willing MLB might have been to cross the line in order to secure evidence that would lead to Alex's suspension. And perhaps I'm being completely naive in making that last statement.

The New York Times broke the story yesterday that MLB believes a representative from Alex's camp purchased documents that would divulge his connection to Biogenesis, a connection Alex denies. The documents, if purchased, were to obviously be destroyed. In it's haste to out-duel Alex in it's apparent game of "information tag," MLB also tried to purchase documents, unsuccessfully.

The information on this alleged purchase was leaked by two sources to investigators that have been in Miami since last summer. They in turn provided this info to MLB, who in turn decided to pay thousands of dollars to former employees more than willing to spill the alleged beans on A-Rod. As stated in the NY Times:

"Those ex-employees were paid for the time they spent talking with baseball’s investigators, the two people said, with the payments not believed to have exceeded several thousand dollars."

So MLB, in their desperation to bring down Alex Rodriguez, who they clearly are focusing the majority of this investigation on, are now paying people to secure information? Without their ability to purchase documents, and without the help of The Miami News Times who broke the scandal and refuse to assist them in their investigation, MLB has chosen to use testimony to go after A-Rod.

And why not? Every avenue MLB has taken to get something to tie Alex to biogenesis has been unsuccessful thus far. Hell, they can't even get the feds to supply any information linking A-Rod to drug use. And maybe that's because after the one test he did test positive for back in 2003, there just isn't any? Let's remember, Alex has passed every drug test given by MLB since 2003, and he is tested regularly and without warning like every other player.

In essence, MLB has become hypocritical in their pursuit of A-rod. These charges against him are driven by the belief of everyone that PED use is a bigger ethical issue than health issue. Well, I would say that when Major League Baseball goes underground to pay for testimony, there's something seriously wrong with the ethical landscape there. Not to mention the idiocy of a move like this, which would certainly lead to lawsuits by any of the players connected to this scandal and most assuredly the Player's Union if they are indicted on charges based on paid testimony.

So the saga continues. While I admittedly have my doubts about how clean A-Rod really is, I still believe that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Many haters and fans alike will disagree with me on that when it comes to A-Rod, but what else is new? Bottom line is, for those out there that want to see Alex fry, MLB is not doing a very good job of accomplishing that in a way that's fair and ethical.

Quote credit: Michael S. Schmidt / New York Times

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Triple Play, You Say?

If you were looking for early signs that the Yankees could maintain their "awesomeness" in the absence of some of their superstars, last night's game against the Orioles was a clear indication that the Yankees, no matter who is in their lineup, just know how to ball.

In one of the rarest plays you will and may have ever seen, the Yankees made a 4-6-5-6-5-3-4 triple play in the 8th inning of last night's 5-2 win over The Birds. This was the first triple play of it's kind in Major League History.

With Nick Markakis and Alexi Casilla on first and second, respectively, batter Manny Machado who represented the tying run, hit a bouncer to Robinson Cano who flipped the ball to SS Jayson Nix to get Markakis for the first out. Nix then threw the ball to Kevin Youkilis at third, catching Casilla in a rundown. They would exchange tosses until Youkilis eventually tagged Casilla out.

Then, with Machado rounding first attempting to take second base, Youkilis threw the ball to Lyle Overbay, now catching Machado in a rundown. When Machado finally made the dash for second, Overbay threw the ball back to Cano who was able to get the tag on Machado and complete the triple play.

"That was awesome," CC Sabathia told the media after the game. "Any time you get a triple play, you're fired up."

CC would know. This was only the second triple play that the Yankees started in 45 years and CC.
The Associated Press
was the pitcher on the mound for both. The last was in 2010 against the Oakland A's, a 5-4-3 play started by Alex Rodriguez.

And speaking of fired up, CC was back in ace-like form, pitching 8 innings allowing only two runs (one earned) with no walks and 9 strikeouts. Mariano Rivera closed the game getting his second save.

There were also some not so good moments in the game last night. Eduardo Nunez was hit again, this time on his  right wrist, on a changeup by Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez. Nunez initially stayed in the game to run the bases, but realized on a practice throw to first that he would not be able to field at SS. Also, Michael Kay announced during the game that Andy Pettitte's start, slated for today, would be pushed back until tomorrow after suffering from back spasms.

Phil Hughes gets the start today against RHP Jason Hammel. Game time is 4:05 pm.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Noteworthy News

Good morning maniacs!! While the Yankees-Indians matchup was rained out last night, news pertaining to our men in pinstripes was ongoing. There is always something going on in Yankeeland that makes for interesting headlines. Here's today's batch of noteworthy news:

  • Dan Martin of The NY Post reports that Derek Jeter took batting practice for the first time since returning to the disabled list with ankle soreness.

  • The Post's Kevin Kernan discusses how the newcomers have energized the Yankees' clubhouse.

  • Christian Red of the NY Daily News covers Mariano Rivera's press conference yesterday, where he reveals the toughest batter he ever faced in his career.

  • Andrew Binninger of Rant Sports says there was no reason for Nick Swisher to be hurt after Yankees never reached out to him during the offseason.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Yankees Lineup for 4/10/13

Ichiro will get a day of rest while Brennan Boesch gets the start in right field. Here is tonight's lineup:

Brett Gardner CF - .257/.333/.400
Robinson Cano 2B - .303/.361/.667
Kevin Youkilis 3B - .367/.441/.700
Travis Hafner DH - .333/.419/.556
Vernon Wells LF - .360/.467/.720
Brennan Boesch RF - .250/.250/.667
Eduardo Nunez SS - .250/.304/.300
Lyle Overbay 1B - .250/.276/.429
Chris Stewart C - .200/.200/.200

Ivan Nova RHP - 0-1, 7.71 ERA

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Noteworthy News

Much has been written about the Yankees mash-up of Cleveland last night. But other stories made for some interesting headlines as well. Here's some noteworthy news from around Yankeeland:

  • The NY Daily News' Mark Feinsand reports that Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco's drilling of Kevin Youkilis comes after a 6-game suspension for a similar incident last August.

  • Stefan Bondy of the Daily News also reports that Jay-Z will sell his shares in the Brooklyn Nets franchise, a condition necessary to take on his new venture as a sports agent.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Yanks "Hot In Cleveland"

The Associated Press
There must be something in the air in Cleveland, because the Yankees have flat-out assaulted the Indians in the first two games of their 4-game series. Their 14-1 romp makes 25 runs that they've scored in the past two meetings. It also marks their first time with a .500 record since Opening Day. The Yankees are now in second place in the AL East at 4-4.

The big bats had a huge night again, led by Robinson Cano whose home run in the fourth inning and two doubles in the second and eighth innings put 5 runs on the board. Ichiro started the 5 home run barrage, however, slapping a line drive into the visitor bullpen in right. More home runs would come from Kevin Youkilis, Lyle Overbay and Brennan Boesch. Brett Gardner broke out of his slump last night, going 4-for-5 on 2 singles and 2 doubles with 2 RBIs. Overbay also had a good night offensively, going 3-for-5.

Last week Yankee fans were frustrated with Cano's production and rightfully so. We all expect a slow start from Robbie; that's his signature. But with so many of the Yankees power hitters missing from the lineup, it was important for Cano to show that he could step up and be a major offensive threat. In these last two outings, Robbie is reassuring fans that he can put this team on his shoulders until reinforcements arrive.

But Cano is not without help. The production of Youkilis and Vernon Wells has been outstanding. They've given this ball club everything they need to survive all the injuries. Wells, who went 1-for-4 last night, has had 9 hits in these first 8 games; Youkilis has 11, and has a hit in every game played.

The Associated Press
And, it would be Youkilis to be in the middle of the first controversial call of the Yankees' season. In the fourth inning, following Cano's homer, Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco took his frustration out on Youk, throwing a pitch up and in and hitting him near his left shoulder blade. You could see the anger in Youk's face after the pitch, and the home plate umpire tossed Carrasco from the game with no warning.

Andy Pettitte had another excellent pitching performance. He would throw 97 pitches over 7 solid
innings, allowing the one run--a homer by Asdrubal Cabrera--and striking out 4. Andy's record stands at 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA.

Tonight, Ivan Nova gets his second start and a chance to prove that he still belongs in the rotation. No pitcher for Cleveland has yet been announced. Game time is 7:05 pm.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Yankees Lineup for 4/9/13

Francisco Cervelli will catch Andy Pettitte tonight. Here is the lineup:

Brett Gardner CF - .167/.242/.267
Robinson Cano 2B - .222/.300/.481
Kevin Youkilis 3B - .370/.433/.630
Travis Hafner DH - .391/.481/.652
Vernon Wells LF - .381/.500/.762
Ichiro Suzuki RF - .182/.240/.182
Eduardo Nunez SS - .267/.333/.333
Lyle Overbay 1B - .174/.208/.217
Francisco Cervelli C - .308/.438/.615

Andy Pettitte LHP - 1-0, 1.13 ERA

Mr. International Latin Lover

The Associated Press
Hey fanatics, you know me. I'll look for an Alex Rodriguez story anywhere that I can find it. This one comes courtesy of  Big League Stew's David Brown. Apparently, Alex, who has always been fond of the older, celebrity set, has found love with a 24 year-old student from the Dominican Republic.

Although I'm sure it will be some time before we get to see the lovely lady, I'm hoping she's the polar opposite of everything A-Rod has pursued thus far--blonde, muscular and athletic. Not that I have any biases against any of these traits, I just think he should go in a different direction since none of his previous choices have bode him well. How about a brunette, curvy brainiac Alex?? I kid, I kid. Honestly, whoever she is, I hope it works out for him. Maybe she'll be the presence in his life that keeps him moving in the right direction. Here's the story below via Yahoo! Sports:

Report: A-Rod finds international love with Dominican student

Noteworthy News

Although the Yankees had a monster night against Cleveland, other stories made notable headlines in the last 24 hours. Here is some noteworthy news from around Yankeeland:

  • Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News discusses how Nick Swisher is learning to move on from his career with the Yankees.

  • The NY Post's Dan Martin says that Nick Swisher was "hurt" when the Yankees never contacted him once he became a free agent.

  • Kevin Kernan, also of the Post reports that Robinson Cano is not happy batting in the 2-spot, but is taking one for the team.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

The Big Bats Come Alive In Cleveland

The Associated Press 
Last night was a big night for Travis Hafner, who was visiting Cleveland for the first time since signing with the Yankees during the offseason. Hafner spent 10 years with the Indians, and the home crowd showed their appreciation with a standing ovation when he was introduced during their Opening Day ceremony.

Then, Hafner went to work in the first inning, hitting a 3-run home run off of Ubaldo Jimenez to give the Yankees an early 3-0 lead. The home crowd then serenaded him with boos.

It was the first hit of Hafner's 2-for-3 night in the Yankees 11-6 beating of the Indians. It also marked his 100th home run at Progressive Field. Hafner would go on to single in the third inning and take two walks; both leading to runs scored.

Robinson Cano finally broke through his slump. He put four runs on the board for the Yankees, two of which came off of solo homeruns. Cano would go 3-for-4 for the night complementing his homers with a double to left field.

And Vernon Wells had yet another stellar offensive outing, going 3-for-4 with 2 singles and a double.

Hiroki Kuroda came into the game with a 3-0 lead but gave it up in the first inning. He walked his
The Associated Press
first batter Michael Bourn, then gave up a single to Asdrubal Cabrera. Jason Kipnis would follow with a sacfly to right scoring Bourn. Singles to Nick Swisher and Michael Brantley, and another sacfly to Mark Reynolds would lead to 2 more runs scored.

But Kuroda managed to hold the Indians to 3 runs into the 6th inning. In the end, he gave up 5 hits, 3 runs, walked 4 and struck out 6. After the game Kuroda reaffirmed to the media that there was nothing wrong with the right finger that was injured in his first outing against Boston.

Tonight, Andy Pettitte gets his second start against RHP Carlos Carrasco. Game time is 7:05 pm.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Monday, April 8, 2013

Yankees Lineup for 4/8/13

Eduardo Nunez rejoins the lineup. Here are this afternoon's starters:

Brett Gardner CF - .160/.250/.280
Robinson Cano 2B - .130/.200/.130
Kevin Youkilis 3B - .409/.480/.727
Travis Hafner DH - .350/.409/.500
Vernon Wells LF - .294/.429/.706
Ichiro Suzuki RF - .111/.190/.111
Eduardo Nunez SS - .364/.462/.455
Lyle Overbay 1B - .211/.250/.263
Chris Stewart C - .167/.167/.167

Hiroki Kuroda RHP - 0-1, 13.50 ERA

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: ra_cooper

Noteworthy News

Good morning fanatics!!! While the Yankees managed to wrap-up their series in Detroit with a win, there was other noteworthy news from Yankeeland that made headlines over the weekend. Here are some stories you might want to check out:

  • Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York discusses how the Yankees may have made a mistake in letting go of Nick Swisher.

  • Zack Meisel of discusses the reunion of the Yankees with Nick Swisher and Travis Hafner with Cleveland. He also reports on Jason Giambi's return as the Indians' DH.

  • Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer provides pitching matchups, team updates and injury updates for the Yankees vs Indians series.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Formula Works Against Verlander In Yanks Win

AP Photo / Carlos Osorio
It would take solid pitching and early runs to keep Detroit's Justin Verlander from dominating today's game. Fortunately, the Yankees were able to do both and secure their second win of the season, shutting out the Tigers 7-0.

CC Sabathia was not entirely on top of his game this afternoon, but he he gave the Yankees a strong outing, giving up only 4 hits and walking three in 7 shutout innings. CC mixed up his pitches today throwing more changeups than usual and putting more velocity on his fastball. He was only able to induce 4 strikeouts which is a low mark for him, but he managed to keep the bats of Detroit's lineup to grounders and fly balls; it proved to be enough to prevent the Tigers from scoring any runs.

But most notably, CC completely shut down the "meat" of the Tigers' lineup. Two of his 4 strikeouts came against Prince Fielder who struck out swinging in the first and fourth innings. All three of Miguel Cabrera's at-bats against CC ended in groundball plays. For the afternoon, Cabrera would never get on base.

David Robertson came in to pitch the 8th inning and would pick up where CC left off. Although he gave up singles to Torii Hunter and Fielder for his first hit of the afternoon, he struck out Cabrera and Matt Tuiasosopo swinging and induced a pop-up from Victor Martinez.

And although it was not a save situation, Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth inning. He too gave up 2 singles to Omar Infante and Ramon Santiago, but induced a groundout and flyout from Brayan Pena and Austin Jackson, respectively. He closed the game with a strikeout that caught Hunter swinging.

The offense got to work right away against Verlander. Although there were no runs produced in the first inning, Kevin Youkilis doubled on a fly ball to center field. In the second, Francisco Cervelli doubled on a flyball to left scoring Ichiro Suzuki, who was on first base after a force out. After Lyle Overbay flied out to left, Jayson Nix hit a monster home run to left. The Yankees were up 3-0 and never looked back.

AP Photo
Two more runs came in the third as Eduardo Nunez scored on a sacfly from Ichiro, and Vernon Wells scored on single from Cervelli. Nunez came in to pinch run for Travis Hafner on third base. Before the game, Nunez told Girardi that he could not go, as the pain and inflammation in his bicep muscle continues to prevent him from swinging a bat. He is however, available to pinch run.

In the ninth, after singles to centerfield, both Nix and Brett Gardner scored on another single from Youkilis.

And the Yankees are getting all that they've needed from Youkilis, Hafner and Wells. In place of Alex Rodriguez at third, Youkilis is batting .409 with 9 hits, 4 runs and 4 RBIs in his first 22 at-bats. Hafner is hitting to a .350 clip, having gotten a hit in all 6 games thus far. Wells is hitting .294 with 5 hits and 4 RBIs on two solo home runs.

Tomorrow, Hiroki Kuroda will keep his place in the lineup following his fnger injury, to face the Cleveland Indians against former phenom Ubaldo Jimenez. What I'm looking forward to, as I'm sure many of you are, is to see what Nick Swisher will do against his former team. Needless to say I'm hoping this won't be a good series for him. Game time is 4 pm.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Yanks Pitching Woes Continue; Can CC Rebound?

AP Photo / Carlos Osorio
If the Yankees expect to make any noise in the AL East this year, the pitch staff  had better turn things around and quickly. Yes, I know we're only 5 games and one week into the season, and yes, their now 1-4 record was the same as last year when they went on to win 95 games. But it bears mentioning, again, that with as many power hitters as the Yankees have missing from this lineup until who-knows-when, pitching has to lead this team to wins. It's just that simple.

Yesterday's 8-4 loss to the Tigers came again on bad pitching. I won't put all of the blame on Phil Hughes though; he actually pitched well through the first 4 innings, limiting Detroit to just one run. But it all fell apart for Hughes in the top of the 5th. Detroit's Austin Jackson singled to left field; Torii Hunter followed with a double to center, scoring Jackson; Miguel Cabrera followed with a single to center scoring Hunter. The three were the only hitters Hughes would face in the iining, as Joe Girardi decided to pull him and bring in Boone Logan. The 2 runs would give Detroit a 3-1 lead.

Boone Logan, who has been awful in relief so far against Detroit, gave up a single to the very next batter Prince Fielder, moving Cabrera to 3rd. Victor Martinez followed with a sacfly scoring Cabrera, and a single to Andy Dirks prompted Girardi to make another pitch change for David Phelps. Phelps would then give up a single to Jhonny Peralta which scored Fielder.

The Yankees would go on to score 3 runs in the 6th inning on singles by Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay, as Detroit starter Max Scherzer had walked several batters. Detroit lead 5-4 at this point, but Phelps gave up 2 more runs in the inning. Joba Chamberlain replaced Phelps for the top of the 8th and gave up a single, 2 walks and threw a wild pitch. He would provide Detroit's final run of the game giving up a sacfly to Dirks which scored Cabrera.

This afternoon, CC Sabathia makes his second start against Justin Verlander. Sabathia did not pitch
AP Photo / Matt Slocum
well in his first start against the Red Sox, and has shown to be a slow April starter in recent years. What the Yankees will need from CC today is for his four-seamer and slider to be dead on. In his first outing, his fastball sat in the mid to high 80's; he'll need to improve that to at least the low 90's to stand any chance against the top of Detroit's lineup. Both Cabrera and Fielder have a combined 15 RBIs and 3 home runs against CC.

The start of today's game is at 1:08 pm.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Hughes Off DL, Gets Start This Afternoon

The Associated Press
Yesterday, the Yankees released Phil Hughes from his stint on the disabled list. He will start this afternoon's game against the Tigers, facing Detroit starter Max Scherzer; a start originally slated for David Phelps.

This move by the Yankees seems somewhat in desperation. Hughes was supposed to start today in a minor league game for Triple-A affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. But after losing to the Tigers yesterday, 8-3, and starting the season with a 1-3 record, the Yankees want to take a chance that Phil can do what Andy Pettitte did on Thursday: provide relief to a depleted pitch staff and restore order for a slumping lineup.

Hughes' record against Detroit may also be why the Yankees were willing to pull him from the disabled ranks earlier than anticipated. In 8 career starts, he sports a 5-4 record with a 4.22 ERA. Not bad. But even better, on the Tigers' home turf, Hughes has a 2.78 ERA and the only complete game of his career.

So Hughes will be expected to step in today and go big having not been able to pitch to major league hitters since last year's ALCS. He was scratched from Spring Training in mid-February with back pain, and was limited to simulated games and stints in the minors after rehab. The pressure will be on; thus far, the rotation has pitched to an ERA of over 5, and have allowed 25 hits in less than 20 innings.

Today's game will be broadcast on FOX at 4 pm.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Andy and Mo Shine In Win

The Associated Press
It's been said for several weeks now that the Yankees would need to rely on pitching to secure wins in the absence of their superstar offense. After losing the first two games to the Red Sox, their pitch staff came through tonight in a big way to secure their first win of the 2013 season.

And it's only fitting that tonight's great pitching came off of veterans Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera.

In their 69th win/save combination, Andy and Mo were able to control the Red Sox offense, leading the Yankees to a 4-2 win and preventing what could have been their first sweep of the season.

Andy pitched 8 straight innings of stellar baseball, out-duelling righty Ryan Dempster by mixing all four of his pitches--fastball, curveball, changeup and slider--with exceptional placement and control. In the first, it seemed as though he might have a rough night, giving up two singles to Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli and then throwing a wild pitch that got past catcher Francisco Cervelli. On the wild pitch, Victorino attempted to score, only to be stopped by a fast-acting Cervelli who was able to recover the ball and make it to the plate in enough time to block it and get Victorino for the final out. Andy rolled from there.  He would end the game giving up only one run, two walks and three strikeouts.

In the ninth, Mo also struggled a bit, giving up a walk to Dustin Pedroia who would eventually score
The Associated Press
on a groundout by Will Middlebrroks. But Mo settled in, getting his first save of the season by catching Jackie Bradley, Jr. looking on his signature fastball cutter.

And the offense came through for the veterans in a big way. Lyle Overbay hit a 2-run single in the second inning, scoring Travis Hafner and Eduardo Nunez. Brett Gardner came through in the third with a first pitch, line-drive home run to right field. And Cervelli gave the Yankees their final run in the seventh with a monster home run to left center.

Tomorrow, the Yankees travel to Detroit to face the Tigers. Ivan Nova will get the start against Doug Fister. Game time is 1 pm.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper