Results tagged ‘ Brett Gardner ’

Game 96: Yankees at Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — Interesting read on the front page of the St. Petersburg Times this morning, on the criticism of Tropicana Field and how it affects attendance.

With CC Sabathia starting on his 31st birthday today, I filed a column on his recent stretch, his chances of winning 300 and the possibility that he’s only reaching his prime right now.

CC (pictured right by The Associated Press) said he hasn’t made a decision yet on whether or not to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract (though the popular belief is that there’s no way he wouldn’t, considering how well he’s pitching, how important he is to the Yankees and how slim the free-agent crop of starters will be this offseason).

Asked if he can see himself finishing his career in New York, he said: “Of course. This is definitely one of the storied franchises in baseball, and to be able to be a part of it and win a championship two years ago was great. Hopefully I can continue to be here.”

Asked if he feels the Yankees need to make a rotation addition before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, CC said: “We’re good. Of course, you can always try to do something, but with the way we pitched this year, I think we can be good enough to make the playoffs.”

Interesting lineup prior to the rematch of CC and James Shields. Curtis Granderson is out, as expected, after getting banged up on Wednesday. And Brett Gardner is leading off, with Derek Jeter batting second, as Joe Girardi hinted at prior to Wednesday’s game. The fact Granderson and Alex Rodriguez are both out made that a pretty easy decision.

Only time will tell if Gardner continues to lead off on a consistent basis moving forward, but Girardi did say he has no problem leading him off against a lefty starter now …

YANKEES (57-38)
Gardner, LF
Jeter, SS
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Jorge Posada, DH
Russell Martin, C
Eduardo Nunez, 3B
Chris Dickerson, LF

Pitching: LH Sabathia (14-4, 2.64 ERA)

RAYS (51-45)
Ben Zobrist, DH
Sean Rodriguez, 2B
Evan Longoria, 3B
B.J. Upton, CF
Justin Ruggiano, RF
Kelly Shoppach, C
Casey Kotchman, 1B
Elliot Johnson, SS
Sam Fuld, LF

Pitching: RH Shields (8-8, 2.60 ERA)

Some other links from last night …

* Yanks-Rays game story on redemption

* Yankees Notebook, on Granderson, Nova, lineups and roofs

* Preview for Shields and CC

Alden

Game 95: Yankees at Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — So, on Sunday, Sean Rodriguez shattered a light bulb. On Monday, there was a power outage. And on Tuesday, Curtis Granderson lost a ball in the roof. What’s the next strange occurrence at this quirky Tropicana Field?

We’ll find out soon.

Joe Girardi called an audible with his lineup just before batting practice, opting to put Nick Swisher in as the designated hitter and start Andruw Jones in right field. Girardi said it wasn’t physical — “Just changed my mind.” — so he probably just wanted to give Swisher a break from the turf, since he hasn’t had one yet in this second half.

Derek Jeter is back leading off, which is no surprise but is interesting considering how much he has struggled (5-for-26 since that magical 3,000th-hit day) and how well Wednesday’s No. 9 hitter, Brett Gardner (.591 batting average in the second half), is hitting. Girardi talked pregame about the possibility of a top three of Gardner, Jeter and Granderson while Alex Rodriguez is out. As for Jeter dropping to the bottom third of the lineup? I’d think something really drastic would have to take place for that to happen.

The lineup’s below, but I’m curious as to how y’all would order things while A-Rod is out …

YANKEES (56-38)
Jeter, SS
Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Swisher, DH
Russell Martin, C
Jones, RF
Eduardo Nunez, 3B
Gardner, LF

Pitching: RH Freddy Garcia (7-7, 3.43 ERA)

RAYS (51-44)
Johnny Damon, DH
Robinson Chirinos, C
Casey Kotchman, 1B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Matt Joyce, RF
B.J. Upton, CF
Sam Fuld, LF
Rodriguez, 2B
Reid Brignac, SS

Pitching: LH David Price (9-7, 3.73 ERA)

Some goodies from the game notes …

* The Yankees have had 17 players on the disabled list, the most of any Major League team in 2011 . Their current total of 11 players on the DL matches their total from all of last season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

* The Yanks are 19-9 with a Major League-high 39 homers vs. lefty starters this season.

* New York has gone seven straight games without allowing a homer, which marks its longest stretch since ’08.

* With one more stolen base, Gardner will become the first Yankees player with back-to-back 30-stolen-base seasons since Alfonso Soriano did it in three straight years from 2001-03.

* Opposing batters have hit just .182 with runners in scoring position off Garcia this year.

Some links from last night …

* Yanks lose, but Colon looks good

* Yankees Notebook, on Soriano, Nova, Mo and Garrison

* Yanks expect bounceback effort from Garcia

* HBO special on Jeter to air July 28

(picture above courtesy of The Associated Press)

Alden 

Does Colon deserve another start?

TORONTO — Today, Joe Girardi will call Bartolo Colon into his office to ask him if his strained left hamstring is healthy enough for him to pitch and, most importantly, be effective. And Colon, in typical Colon fashion, will likely tell him he’s perfectly healthy and it’s just a mental block he has to overcome.

But is that entirely true?

He did hurl six shutout innings against the Mets in his first start back from the disabled list. But he was hit around against the Rays after that, then couldn’t get through a nightmarish first inning against the Blue Jays last night. Girardi says the Yankees simply didn’t play good defense behind Colon (which is true, considering Brett Gardner‘s bad read on an eventual double and Eduardo Nunez‘s error on an inning-ending chopper). Russell Martin says the Blue Jays were stealing signs from the get-go (which, if true, would definitely give opposing hitters a big advantage). And Colon (pictured left by The Associated Press) says he’s pitching scared with his left leg; meaning he’s not landing firm enough in order to get enough life on his pitches.

That’s a whole lot of explanations (some would call them excuses), but the reality is quite simple: Colon hasn’t been as good lately as he was throughout the year. And when you consider he’s 38, only made 19 big league starts from 2008-10 and (let’s face it) isn’t in top-tier physical condition, it’s concerning, even if the sample size is quite small.

The Yankees at least know they have options if they decide Colon can’t start for them, with Ivan Nova in Triple-A and having the experience of pitching in the big leagues this year. (Nova gave up three runs in seven innings for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last night, by the way.)

The question is: Should the Yankees give Colon another shot and allow him to make his next turn in the rotation? Or do you recall up Nova and put Colon in the ‘pen?

We may know more about Colon’s situation pregame, and we’ll definitely have some lineups then.

For now, here are some links from last night you might’ve missed …

* Colon, Yankees endure tough night in Toronto

* Martin accuses Blue Jays of sign stealing

* Yanks ink lefty Romero to Minors deal

* Yankees Notebook, on Jeter’s reaction to All-Star Game criticism, Colon’s surgery documents, Golson’s call-up, Soriano’s future and the record Jeter and Posada now share

Alden 

Brett Gardner to lead off vs. right-handers

The Yankees have decided how they want to stack the top part of their lineup, planning on having Brett Gardner lead off against right-handed pitchers with Derek Jeter batting second, beginning with tomorrow’s opener against the Tigers’ Justin Verlander.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi has said that “you can bank on” having Jeter in the leadoff spot against left-handed pitching.

Gardner hit .287 (97-for-338) off righties last year, posting a .387 on-base percentage and .391 slugging percentage. Jeter hit .246 (111-for-451) off righties, with a .316 on-base percentage and .317 slugging percentage.

“It possibly gives him 50-60 more at-bats during the course of the year. Maybe 70,” Girardi said of Gardner. “If he’s on close to 40 percent of the time, he’s going to score more runs. It doesn’t take a lot. Maybe he can steal second and steal third, [and score on a] sac fly. We think he’s going to score more runs, and that’s why we’re doing it. And just how he’s able to disrupt pitchers.”

Off lefties in 2010, Gardner was .252/.373/.353, while Jeter was .321/.391/.481. Jeter’s career numbers against lefties are .335/.408/.498, compared to .307/.377/.437 against righties.

Assuming Curtis Granderson comes through his Minor League game fine in Tampa this afternoon and joins the team in New York tonight, this could be the Yankees’ Opening Day lineup:

Brett Gardner LF, Derek Jeter SS, Mark Teixeira 1B, Alex Rodriguez 3B, Robinson Cano 2B, Nick Swisher RF, Jorge Posada DH, Curtis Granderson CF, Russell Martin C, CC Sabathia LHP

If Granderson needs to be scratched, the Yankees would probably start Andruw Jones in left field, moving Gardner to center field.

  • Also, righty Luis Ayala will be the 12th man on the pitching staff, replacing lefty Pedro Feliciano, who is headed for the disabled list. The Yankees announced the Ayala move this afternoon, but Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News got the heads-up hours earlier. How? This one’s a case of right place, right time: Ayala was sitting next to Feinsand on the flight to Newark this morning.

Yankees won’t have set lineup

Good stuff from Pete Caldera today in the Bergen Record, who caught up with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long via telephone:

Long said the Yankees will not have a set lineup going into Spring Training, instead using the exhibition season to determine what their best fits might be. 
That means the Yankees should be open to thinking about Brett Gardner as the everyday leadoff hitter, moving Robinson Cano into the three slot, dropping Derek Jeter in the order and most of the other topics that have been thrown around during the Hot Stove season. 
“I think we need to [experiment]. It’s important we throw all the options out there,” Long said. “I wouldn’t say we have a set lineup going into camp. We’ll toy with it.”
Long is meeting with Nick Swisher this week and has also been setting up sessions to work with Jeter in Tampa. He has already worked with Alex Rodriguez and says that he seems to be “on a mission” like he was before his 2007 MVP season. Curtis Granderson could also brush up with Long this month. 
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