Yankees Daily Briefing 08/18/11

After dropping the last game of three to Kansas City, the Yankees will head to Minnesota to take on the Twins in a four game set. In the first game, the Yankees will send CC Sabathia to the hill. Sabathia will be looking to right himself after a poor showing in each of his last two starts; the Twins will have Brian Duensing (8-11, 4.53) on the mound.

Discussion of the Day: In honor of Jim Thome's reaching 600 home runs, who is your favorite baseball player -- current or past -- to reach the 600 home run mark? Share your choice in the comments.

Behind Enemy Lines: Nick Nelson at Nick's Twins Blog examines the regression of Francisco Liriano and whether anyone deserves to be blamed. Liriano's 2011 is clearly worse than his 2010, but similar to his 2009 season.

1) Wallace Matthews writes that, unlike A.J. Burnett, Ivan Nova gets a pass after his poor start.

The biggest difference between Burnett and Nova in this context might also be the most ironic: Burnett, who has been in the majors since 1999), should have the veteran status that grants him the benefit of the doubt. Instead, the perception of Burnett as a pitcher who just can't "put it all together" resonates, perhaps an instance of confirmation bias every time he has a rough outing. On the other hand, there's Nova, a rookie with unremarkable numbers for the season, a circumstance that should have fans and media more doubtful, but the Yankees haven't lost a game Nova has started since June 3rd. That success has earned Nova a pass for now, but if he lacks run support that perception may soon again change.

2) Mark Feinsand argues that when Alex Rodriguez returns to the Yankees lineup, the best move would be to drop Mark Teixeira in the lineup.

Teixeira, as it stands, has one of the lower batting averages and on-base percentages among the regular starters, but his impressive power numbers -- 32 home runs and an .848 OPS -- often overshadow them. Against lefties, the lineup issue isn't really one -- Derek Jeter continues to hit lefty pitching well, and there's no reason that Brett Gardner should be leading off instead of him. On the other hand, Gardner leading off against righties has proven productive, a move that in turn bumps everyone else down a spot. Whether or not having Teixeira hit lower in the order will work out is unknown, but having too many good hitters is a good problem to have.

3) Mike Axisa takes a look at the strong second half Andruw Jones is having.

Jones struggled in the first half, but has been on fire since the All-Star break; certainly a boon to the Yankees in the absence of Jorge Posada as the regular DH. Signed this offseason, Jones was brought in to be a replacement for Marcus Thames as a fourth outfielder who could hit lefties -- certainly not quite the Hall of Fame-caliber producer from earlier in his career, but useful enough. Jones has stayed healthy all season, and if he can continue to perform (even if the current level is, as Axisa notes, unsustainable), will be a boon to the Yankees in October.

4) Rodriguez finished his minor league rehab.

Triple-A Scranton lost to Durham, 3-2.

Rodriguez had a hit in two at bats, walked twice and struck out once. He had a couple of defensive miscues and will not play in Minnesota tomorrow.

Jesus Montero had a hit in three at bats and walked once.

Manny Banuelos allowed two runs on five hits in four innings of work (he threw 41 pitches in the first). He walked two and struck out five.

Double-A Trenton beat Erie, 9-6.

Austin Romine had two hits in four at bats, walked once and struck out twice.

High-A Tampa was rained out, while Low-A Charleston lost 3-2 to Hickory.

Short Season Staten Island split a doubleheader with Connecticut, winning the first game 7-1, and losing the second 7-6 in nine innings.

The Rookie GCL Yankees had their game suspended in the fifth inning.