Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Daily Yankeeland - 5/12

Views from the Facade

The Yankees three home runs on Sunday gave them 48 on the season. Of that total, less than 50% came with a man on base. Take away Johnny Damon’s 6 home runs with a runner(s) aboard and the numbers are even worse. The worst offender is Mark Teixeira, who has hit 6 of his 7 home runs with no one on base.

Chien-Ming Wang will start for the Scranton Yankees tonight as he works his way back to the Yankees starting rotation. He’s expected to be on a 100-pitch count.

The Hal Steinbrenner era is much different than when his father was running the show. By now George would have had 2 or 3 fits, “leaked” info to the press, and fired someone. That being said, Dave Eiland could be in trouble if the Yankees’ pitching staff doesn’t turn things around. Eiland earned a lot of praise for the work he did with the Yankees young pitchers in the minor leagues, but it has not translated into major league success.

The Yankees will be holding a press conference at 11 a.m. this morning to give a sneak preview of the items on sale from the old Stadium. $11.5 million from memorabilia sales will be given to New York City.

Veteran Josh Towers, recently signed to a minor league deal, made his organizational debut Monday night for Scranton.

Yankees-Blue Jays Preview

The Yankees and Blue Jays meet for the first time this season, beginning a three game series in Toronto this evening. It’s also the first AL series for the Blue Jays other than playing the Orioles. Toronto has had a fantastic start, made even more remarkable considering the rash of injuries they have been hit with. With a 22-12 mark, the Blue Jays lead second place Boston by one game entering Tuesday night’s play.

Toronto lost A.J. Burnett to free agency, and Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan to surgery prior to this season. Once the season got underway, starters Ricky Romero (stained oblique) and Jesse Litsch (forearm strain) joined the DL group.

But the Blue Jays still have their ace, Roy Halladay (6-1, 3.29) and have patched together a solid makeshift rotation. 30-yr old rookie Scott Richmond has won four games and matched Halladay’s ERA. Top pitching prospect Brett Cecil (1-0, 0.64) has struck out 12 batters in 14 innings. 32-yr old veteran Brian Tallet, once a top prospect in the Indians‘ organization, has made four quality starts in five tries.

Closer B.J. Ryan went down with a bad back, but Scott Downs has stepped right in to take his place. And the Blue Jays lineup, which had been lacking in the past, has been firing on all cylinders. Toronto leads the major leagues in runs scored (204), batting average (.294), and doubles (tied with Tampa Bay with 44)., and they’re third in the AL in home runs with 44 and a .467 slugging percentage. The Blue Jays trail only Boston and St. Louis for hitting with runners in scoring position (.312), a stat that is severely lacking for the Yankees.

Aaron Hill missed all but 55 games last year with a concussion. But he’s come back with a vengeance (.943 OPS), leading the team with a .353 average and 8 home runs. Adam Lind (.966 OPS) has heard all the hype and now he’s living up to it. His 6 home runs and 31 RBI are already close to his career highs.

The rest of the lineup is balanced and productive. Mega star Vernon Wells is healthy again and hitting. Marco Scutaro leads the AL in walks and tops the team in runs scored. All this and Alex Rios isn’t even hitting yet.

And let’s not forget Toronto’s defense, which has been superb. 1st baseman Lyle Overbay, CF Wells, and SS Scutaro have yet to commit an error this season. Toronto’s best defender, John McDonald, doesn’t even start.

Series Pitching Probables

Tuesday - A.J. Burnett (2-o) vs. Roy Halladay (6-1)
Wednesday - Andy Pettitte (2-1) vs. Scott Richmond (4-1)
Thursday - CC Sabathia (2-3) vs. Brian Tallet (2-1)

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