Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Yankees Daily Briefing 06/21/11 Brian Gordon, an unlikely starter, held his own last Thursday, allowing just two runs in just over five innings against the Rangers. He'll take the mound for the Yankees on Tuesday, while Johnny Cueto (4-2, 1.68), who was supposed to start Monday's game, is scheduled to pitch for the Reds.
High-A Tampa beat Clearwater 10-3, while Low-A Charleston is off for their All-Star Break -- Mikey O'Brien, J.R. Murphy, Slade Heathcott and Kyle Roller were selected for the All-Star team; Ramon Flores made the team as an injury replacement.
Short Season Staten Island beat Hudson Valley, 8-3, while the Rookie GCL Yankees started their season -- with Dante Bichette Jr. playing third base -- with a 6-5 win over the GCL Braves.
2) Wallace Matthews writes that Joe Girardi's tinkering nearly ruined Ivan Nova's start. Indeed, the eight innings of one run baseball is easily his best start this season, if not for his career -- a feat made all the more impressive as it occurred in a hitter's park and against one of the better offenses in baseball. That said, Nova had thrown 100 pitches through eight innings, so going to the bullpen in the ninth may have been disappointing, but was hardly controversial.
That said, neither Luis Ayala or Boone Logan could get the job done -- and Logan has been simply awful in his role as a LOOGY this season -- so Girardi had to go to Mariano Rivera in a game that was ultimately closer than it should have been.
3) John Harper writes that the Yankees only sort-of miss Derek Jeter. The Yankees are now 6-1 since their captain injured his calf; as Mike Axisa notes, the Yankees have averaged over a run more per game since Jeter's injury, and, though small sample size caveats apply, it's hard to argue against the improved production from the leadoff spot, where Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner have been taking turns.
That said, the place the Yankees miss Jeter is in the field -- Eduardo Nunez has already made seven errors in 18 games, while Jeter has just four in 58. While Nunez's bat matters more than his fielding, it's hard to argue that his hitting is good enough to overcome his sub-par defense.
4) Steve Goldman at Pinstriped Bible ponders some decisions the Yankees will have to make, such as whether Nunez's defense is acceptable and at what point do you hope you can get more out of Montero than from Russell Martin, whose hot start has considerably faded. The most interesting might be the last one Goldman ponders -- whether platooning Gardner with Andruw Jones is effective. Given Gardner's average and on-base percentage, the answer would seem to be no.