Yankees Daily Briefing 06/22/11

After a rainout on Tuesday, the Yankees will play a doubleheader Wednesday. Brian Gordon, who was supposed to start Tuesday's game, will start the night game while Freddy Garcia will pitch the day game. Garcia is 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA lifetime against the Reds. Cincinnati will have Mike Leake (6-3, 4.04) pitching in the day game, and Johnny Cueto (4-2, 1.68) in the night game.

Discussion of the Day: Which Yankee do you consider the best (not necessarily the fastest) baserunner on the team? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

1) Wallace Matthews writes that despite Brett Gardner's and Nick Swisher's strong performances from the leadoff spot, Derek Jeter will still be atop the batting order when he returns from his calf injury.

As Matthews notes, the Yankees have a batting average over .400 and on-base percentage over .500 over the last week, and it's hard to ignore -- especially when Jeter is hitting just .270/.336/.345 as the leadoff hitter. As Mike Axisa notes, Jeter's legacy is likely coming into play here, although when considering Gardner's and Swisher's performance a small sample size caveat should apply.

Speaking of Gardner...

2) Jack Moore at Fangraphs argues that Gardner is an elite player and notes that Gardner sits 12th among all players on Fangraphs' WAR leaderboard from the beginning of 2010 to the present. Gardner even outranks teammate Robinson Cano, who finished third in MVP voting last season. Gardner doesn't hit for much power, but he does hit -- he is second on the Yankees in both batting average and on-base percentage. That, combined with stellar defense has made Gardner one of the most valuable outfielders, if not players, in baseball this season.

3) Moshe Mandel at The Yankee Analysts takes a look at the Yankees' struggles on the bases. As Mandel notes, the Yankees rank ninth in the number of bases stolen, but they rank first in caught stealing. Gardner and Curtis Granderson are the worst offenders -- Gardner has been successful 14 times and caught 10, while Granderson has been successful 10 times and caught seven.

What magnifies the problem is, as Mandel writes, that the Yankees also get picked off too much and make too many outs on the bases otherwise. The Yankees have have scored more runs than anyone but the Red Sox, so the baserunning might seem a minor issue, but against the better pitchers, when runs are at a premium, an error on the bases could cost the Yankees the game.

4) It was not a successful day for pitchers in the Yankees system.

Triple-A Scranton lost to Norfolk, 8-1.

Kevin Whelan was placed on the disabled list while Buddy Carlyle was activated off of it.

Jesus Montero had a hit in four at bats and struck out once. Andrew Brackman allowed a hit, a walk and a run in one inning of work while striking out one.

Double-A Trenton lost 13-5 to Portland.

Damon Sublett was activated from the disabled list.

Dellin Betances struggled, lasting just 2.1 innings and allowing seven runs (six earned) on four hits. He walked four and struck out just one.

High-A Tampa beat Clearwater, 11-9.

Rob Segedin was promoted to Tampa from Low-A Charleston.

Charleston is off for their All-Star break; in the All-Star game J.R. Muprhy was hitless in two at bats.

Rich Martinez was demoted to Short Season Staten Island while Corey Maines was promoted to Charleston.

Staten Island beat Hudson Valley 1-0 in 12 innings while the Rookie GCL Yankees beat the GCL Braves, 3-2.