Yankees Daily Briefing 08/31/11

In his career, Phil Hughes is 2-4 with a 6.25 ERA against the Red Sox. It’s a trend he’ll attempt to reverse Wednesday evening when he takes the mound for the Yankees. Josh Beckett (11-5, 2.43) will be on the mound for the Red Sox.

Discussion of the Day: Do you believe starting pitchers should retaliate if one of their teammates is (or appears to be) intentionally hit by a pitch?

Behind Enemy Lines: Gordon Edes writes that Terry Francona deserves more credit for Boston’s success this season. At the helm of the Red Sox since 2004, the manager survived the team’s 2-10 start and the team now has the best record in the American League.

1) Wallace Matthews writes that the Yankees are stepping up without their biggest stars.

Indeed, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter have spent a large portion of the season on the disabled list, while Curtis Granderson has emerged as an MVP candidate and Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher have turned in solid seasons as well. It’s a mark of how good the Yankees are as a team that they have been able to get such important contributions from players who, before this season, were not considered the team’s biggest stars. Certainly, the Yankees would be even better if Rodriguez could stay healthy, but it’s hard to argue against the (perhaps unexpected) success the Yankees have had this season.

2) Moshe Mandel considers Hector Noesi’s future with the Yankees.

Noesi has been mostly effective while pitching out of the bullpen for the Yankees, but has had limited opportunities given that the Yankees have not had much need for long relief or mop up work. Noesi has been a starting pitcher for most of his career, and it’s unlikely that the Yankees or another team sees him as a reliever or closer long-term. Still, the most important thing for a pitcher of Noesi’s age is to pitch, and the lack of innings he has had with the Yankees this season may stunt his long term growth, even if it helps his team in the short term.

3) Jay Jaffe considers Swisher’s hot streak.

As Jaffe notes, Swisher has been the Yankees’ best hitter since June 1st, hitting .300/.413/.557 with 18 home runs heading into Tuesday’s game. If Swisher maintains his current pace, he could finish this season with the highest on-base percentage of his career – which is an even more notable accomplishment when one considers that Swisher is a player known for his high OBPs. Given his success as a Yankee, it seems almost a certainty that the team will pick up his option for 2012.

4) It was mostly a down day for the farm system.

Triple-A Scranton beat Lehigh Valley, 4-1 in 14 innings.

Jesus Montero had one hit in six at bats.

Double-A Trenton lost to New Hampshire, 3-2.

Austin Romine was hitless in four at bats and struck out once.

High-A Tampa had their doubleheader with Daytona postponed, while Low-A Charleston

Short Season Staten Island beat Vermont, 6-4, while the Rookie GCL Yankees lost to the GCL Marlins, 9-2 in game two of GCL Championship Series, which is now even at a game each.