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Yankees Daily Briefing 07/21/11

CC Sabathia has been so good he now leads all pitchers in wins above replacement; his numbers since his last loss have been, perhaps, even better than one might expect from an ace. He'll be on the mound for the Yankees on Thursday -- his 31st birthday --as the Yankees will attempt to take three of four from the Rays. James Shields (8-8, 2.60) will take the ball for Tampa.

Discussion of the Day: Who do you think will continue their run of success with the Yankees for longer -- Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia? Share your thoughts in the comments.

1) Wallace Matthews writes that Curtis Granderson has become the Yankees' MVP in 2011.

Indeed, the center fielder is sixth among position players in wins above replacement, and his 26 home runs trail only Jose Bautista; a far cry from where he was at this point last season. With the injury to Alex Rodriguez and a slumping Mark Teixeira, Granderson's value is hard to overstate, especially when one considers how consistent he has been all season.

2) Mark Feinsand writes that the Yankees don't need Ubaldo Jimenez.

Jimenez's name has come up in discussions about starting pitchers on the market, but the rumored price would be steep, including a number of the top prospects in the Yankees' system, and a team willing to trade a 27 year-old, team-controlled pitcher for prospects could easily raise red flags. While no one knows how long Colon will be able to keep pitching like a number two starter for the Yankees or whether Phil Hughes' pitching troubles are behind him, the cost of Jimenez may be unreasonable, even for the Yankees.

3) Steven Goldman wonders just how flexible a lineup card should be.

It might make little sense that Derek Jeter, whose OPS is lower than any of the other regular starters continues to hit from the leadoff spot, but Goldman wonders just how reactionary a manager should be when setting the lineup. Changing the batting order based on a five game sample size is potentially just as harmful as leaving a declining player at the top of the order or the team's best hitter at the bottom of it all season long. Any manager might find the decision of when to make a move in a lineup a hard one; for Joe Girardi the challenge is compounded by the necessity to balance the egos of players who are in their 15th and 16th seasons with what is ultimately best for the team.

4) Every full season affiliate won their game on Wednesday.

Triple-A Scranton beat Columbus, 6-1.

Jesus Montero had one hit in four at bats and was robbed of another.

Double-A Trenton beat Erie, 13-12.

Austin Romine had three hits in four at bats, including a home run. Zoilo Almonte also had three hits in four at bats.

High-A Tampa beat Jupiter, 10-3.

Eric Chavez was the designated hitter and had four hits in five at bats.

J.R. Murphy did not play.

Low-A Charleston beat Lexington, 6-5.

Gary Sanchez was hitless in four at bats and struck out twice.

Short Season Staten Island lost to Hudson Valley, 5-4, while the GCL Yankees lost to the GCL Tigers, 12-3.