Joe Girardi talks Nova, loss to Orioles


What will the Yankees pitching staff look like in August?

Ivan Nova

Coming into the season, every article written about the Yankees and every talking head on TV mentioned the Yankees rotation as a strength.  The Yankees were deep:  C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda were the top two, with Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Phil Hughes, and Freddy Garcia all battling for the final three rotation spots.  And then of course Andy Pettitte un-retires and suddenly there will be two odd men out.

And then the season started.

C.C has had his usual early season struggles, but seems to be on the right track now.  Ivan Nova has been great and gutsy, showing future ace potential.  Kuroda has done his best A.J. Burnett impression (minus the pie throwing) by looking great one game and pitching batting practice the next.  Despite a strong spring, Phil Hughes looks like the same Phil we had last season, and Freddy Garcia cant seem to pitch more than two innings before he is completely sweat soaked and panicked.  And Michael Pineda?  Well, he is still young but don’t be surprised to see his name on a MLB network worst trades of all time show at some point.

Of course Andy Pettitte is still on his way, and unless he proves otherwise I expect to see the same Andy Pettitte we saw before his retirement.  And the Yankees certainly need it.

So what will the Rotation look like in August?  C.C., Kuroda, and Nova, barring injury, will certainly still be there.  Andy Pettitte should be there too.  Freddy Garcia has already been relegated to the bullpen.

Phil Hughes is the wild card here.  Scouts have said he has the stuff to start, but he has to use his curve-ball more and his fast ball less.  But what if David Phelps dominates tonight?  And his next start?  Does he stay in the rotation when Pettitte makes it back?

Here is what I think:  As long as Andy Pettitte is strong, Freddy Garcia will be traded/released, Phil Hughes will head to the ‘pen, and this will be your five man rotation come August:

C.C. Sabathia

Hiroki Kuroda

Ivan Nova

Andy Pettitte

David Phelps.

And lets just hope the Yanks bullpen can keep carrying the pitching staff while this all gets figured out.

Kuroda to duel Darvish in Texas showdown

As the sun sets on the dusty plains of Arlington, Texas, the shadows of two legends will project onto the ground as the famous sharpshooters prepare to face off.  Only these legends are not Texas Cowboys, and they will not be firing their shots from 75 feet.  Instead these Japanese pitching legends will be 60 feet six inches from their targets, their ammunition fastballs, sliders, and change-ups fired from their arms and not silver bullets fired from six-shooters.

Hiroki Kuroda and Yu Darvish will face each other for the first time tonight as the Yankees play the Rangers in Arlington.  First pitch will be at 8:05 P.M. ET, or 8:05 A.M. in the Far East.  Japanese television will show the game live, perhaps causing many Japanese workers to call  in sick, or at least show up late.

With the influx of Japanese stars to Major League Baseball over the past 10 years, you would think that Japanese pitchers faced each other often.  However, this is only the seventh time in history that it has happened, and probably the most high-profile of all the match-ups thus far.  Kuorda has a career earned run average of 3.49 which is the lowest of any Japanese born starting pitcher in MLB history.  Darvish comes to the Major Leagues as one of the most highly touted players to ever pitch in the Japanese leagues.  He left Japan with a record of 93-38, posting a 1.99 ERA  with 1.278 strikeouts.  So far this season Kuroda is 1-2 with a 5.00 ERA, while Darvish is 2-0 with a 3.57 ERA.  It appears Darvish will have the advantage based on youth and performance so far.

The Rangers and Yankees are number one and two in runs scored in the Majors this season, and are known for their hitting, however tonight it will be the Japanese pitching legends who will be the stars in a classic old-west gun fight.

Who will be the last man standing?



Yankees move on to Texas to face Rangers

After a two-game stomping from the Yankees that has Red Sox fans questioning everything that is wrong with their franchise, the two teams were rained out last night.  It is unfortunate as I was looking forward to a sweep, as well as listening to Terry Francona call a game while chanting his name and booing his successor.  I guess the fun will have to resume in July when the two teams meet again.

So it is on to the Lone Star State where the Yanks will be facing the hottest team in baseball, the Texas Rangers.  From listening to the “experts” the Rangers are the best thing to happen to baseball since catchers got smart enough to wear protective gear.  They can pitch, hit run, field, cook, clean, fold your shirts, tune up your car, and if needed their owner can put you in a headlock and punch you in the face.

However, the Yanks aren’t playing too shabby themselves.  As long as Ivan Nova starts every game of the series and Freddy Garcia just waits for the team at an airport bar in DFW, New York should be able to make a series of it.  With the exception of Robinson Cano, the whole team seems to have found their groove at the plate, and who isn’t expecting Cano to break out of his slump at any time?

First pitch tonight is at 7:05 ET.  C.C. Sabathia will toe the rubber for the Bombers while Derek Holland and his mustache will take the mound for the Rangers.

Should be a fun series.


Highlanders spoil Fenway-fest

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

As a fan of baseball and its history, the ceremonies yesterday celebrating the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park were a sight to behold.  There was the Boston Pops being conducted my John Williams, the first pitch being thrown from the front row, 200 former Red Sox players, both legends and nobodies, parading onto the field in their era’s jerseys, a flyover, and throwback uniforms being worn by both teams.  The only strange part was the  pre-game toast by Kevin Millar and Pedro Martinez (what does Karim Garcia have to do with this?).  It was a grand celebration befitting of a grand ballpark.

But once the game began, the celebration was over.  My respects had been paid, and it was time for the Yankees to ruin the party.

And they did just that.

The Yankees, wearing their 1912 Highlander uniforms, proceeded to tee off on Boston pitcher Clay Buchholtz.  Swisher started the home run derby with a solo shot in the 2nd inning.  Two batters later Eric Chavez planted a pitch over the wall in right center, and followed that up with a long blast to dead center.  In the 5th inning Alex Rodriguez hit his second HR of the year, and in the 6th inning, Russell Martin ended a 0-16 slump by depositing Buchholz’s pitch over the famous green monster.  All in all the Highlanders tagged Buchholz for six runs off nine hits, walking twice while only striking out twice.  Of Buchholz’s 103 pitches only three were swings and misses.  It was as if the Yankees knew exactly what was coming every at bat.

As a fan of baseball, I enjoyed the pre-game  ceremonies.  As a Yankees Highlanders fan, I enjoyed the in-game batting practice and the 6-2 win.

What a great way to begin Fenway’s second 100 years.

Historic day for the Grandy Man

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Three at bats.  Three home runs.  One in the first inning, another in the second, and the third in the fifth.  Yes the Grandy Man can.  It was a historic day for Curtis Granderson as he became the first player to hit three home runs in one game at the new Yankee Stadium in the Yankees 7-6 win over the Twins Thursday.  He also became the first player in the history of the Yankees to have three home runs and five hits.  He is the 20th player in Yankees history to hit three home runs, and his name will now be mentioned among legends such as Gehrig, Ruth, and of course Reggie Jackson who hit three HR’s in one game in the 1977 World Series.  Gehrig is the only Yankee to ever hit four home runs in one game.

Granderson’s home run in the first inning was a solo shot off of starter Anthony Swarzak.  The next inning he came to bat with Derek Jeter on base and launched Swarzak’s 3-1 fastball into the second deck in right field.  And in the fourth he took reliever Jeff Gray deep for his third blast of the game.  Grandy added two more singles in the sixth and eighth to complete his historic night.

Granderson felt his timing was off a bit so he showed up early to the ballpark before the game to work with hitting coach Kevin Long.

I think it worked.

Yankees to wear throwback Highlanders uniforms on Friday

To help the Red Sox celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park (not sure why we are helping them with anything), the Yankees will be wearing their road Uniforms from 1912.  The team was still officially the Highlanders in 1912, although the nickname Yankees had begun to be used by the press and fans, and would become official the following year.  The new/old threads will be gray jerseys with the inter-locking NY on the left chest, gray pants and blue stirrups with red stripes.  The cap will also be gray with a blue bill and the NY on the front. If the NY looks a little different it is because it is the original look, which was designed by Tiffany & Co to be on the NYPD Medal of Honor issued to the first NYC police officer shot in the line of duty.  The Yankees adopted the insignia as their logo in 1909, and it evolved into its current look around 1936, when the Yankees started wearing the uniforms they wear today.

Here is a drawing of the 1912 Highlanders Uniforms from Dressed To The Nines:

And here is a picture posted by Andrew Marchand from ESPN New York:

Finally, here is a video from last nights YES Network broadcast in which Michael Kay shows off the new duds.

This is the first time in their history the Yankees have worn an alternate or throwback uniform.  No word yet if the uniforms will be available for purchase, however there has been a similar cap available at the MLB shop for some time.

I like the look and although I enjoy and appreciate the Yankees tradition, I am excited to see the throwbacks.  Prior to their current uniforms being adopted in 1936, they had some pretty cool uniform combinations that would look good as throwbacks.  Hopefully we will see some more in the future.

UPDATE: The game hat and jersey for the Friday game against the Red Sox is now available at the MLB Shop.