After three games in New York, the Yankees will travel to Baltimore to play a make-up game with the Orioles before embarking on a long west coast road trip. Ivan Nova (15-4, 3.89) has won his last 11 decisions in a row (and the Yankees his last 12 starts in a row), and will attempt to continue his success on the mound. He and the Yankees will face Baltimore’s Alfredo Simon (4-8, 4.64) as they essentially attempt to win a four game series.
Discussion of the Day: How much rest do you believe Joe Girardi should give to his regular starters down the stretch? Do you think some players should be rested more than others?
Behind Enemy Lines: Peter Schmuck wonders what the effects of Jeffrey Maier’s home run catch still have on the Orioles. The Yankees and Orioles have gone in opposite directions since 1996, and while this can hardly be blamed on Maier himself, the moment remains a symbolic turning point when looking at the teams’ divergent fortunes.
1) John Harper reflects on how Jesus Montero was nearly traded last summer while Cliff Corcoran at Pinstriped Bible notes that Montero’s swing is similar to that of another Venezuelan major leaguer.
Montero, of course, was nearly traded for Cliff Lee in 2010; the trade was reportedly held up when David Adam’s leg injury kept Seattle from pulling the trigger. There’s no question that Lee would have helped the Yankees’ rotation last season, but given that the Yankees may not have been able to re-sign Lee in the offseason, giving up a prospect like Montero for just two months of a pitcher, however good, seems an astronomical price to pay. Corcoran’s short post about the similarities between the swings of Montero and Victor Martinez is an interesting look at baseball’s impact in countries other than United States – and Venezuela is certainly a hotbed of baseball.
2) Mike Vaccaro expounds on the issues with starting a game at 11 PM local time, as happened to the Yankees on Tuesday night.
Last night’s late start came about since the Yankees only have one off day left all month, and while no one can control the weather (besides building stadiums with roofs), one has to wonder if playing a game in mostly driving rain is worth the risk of injury. Fields can only absorb so much water, and while Baltimore may just be playing out the string, an injury to any of the Yankees’ starters (such as Curtis Granderson or Robinson Cano, could potentially be devastating. Still, unless the Yankees were to suddenly build a roof for their stadium, there’s little that can be done about the weather, and the number of rain delays and rainouts in 2011 will hopefully not repeat itself in 2012.
Darvish is potentially one of the most sought-after Japanese players who might come to the United States, but the Yankees have not had a lot of success with Japanese pitchers, with neither Hideki Irabu or Kei Igawa lasting very long in a Yankees uniform. The difference in level of play – at least as far as pitching goes – between the Japanese leagues and the major leagues may be more significant than people realize; while it may be tempting to find out if Darvish can bridge that gap, the price may not be worth the risk.
4) Short Season Staten Island’s playoff opener was again postponed. None of the full season affiliates made the postseason; the rookie GCL Yankees won their league’s championship in August.
Marc Carig writes about Andrew Brackman’s turnaround. The pitcher struggled seriously in Triple-A Scranton for most of the season, but was noticeably improving towards the season’s end.