Yankees Daily Briefing 08/05/11

Though the Yankees have won seven in a row, they remain just 1-8 against the Red Sox. It's a trend they'll try to reverse Friday, when Bartolo Colon (8-6, 3.30) takes the mound against Boston's Jon Lester (11-4, 3.17). Colon lost to Boston earlier this season, but pitched a quality start, with three runs in six innings.

Discussion of the Day: Given their performances the last time through the rotation, if you were Joe Girardi, would you keep Phil Hughes or Ivan Nova in the rotation?

1) Wallace Matthews writes that A.J. Burnett remains in the rotation because of his paycheck, not his performance.

When Burnett signed with the Yankees, the biggest concern was whether Burnett could stay healthy. In something short of irony, Burnett has been able to give the Yankees innings -- but for much of the last two seasons, they have not been good innings. Indeed, if one were to use statistics only, one would think that the battle for the fifth starter would be between Burnett and Hughes, and not Hughes and Nova. Given the size of his contract it's hard to imagine the Yankees taking Burnett out of the rotation, but taking underperforming pitchers out of the rotation regardless of salary has been done before. Burnett isn't Kei Igawa bad, but one has to wonder where the line is drawn.

2) Cliff Corcoran at Pinstriped Bible writes that this is the right time to go to a six man rotation for the Yankees, while Joe Sheehan disagrees.

The argument about a six-man pitching rotation boils down to whether those starts by the pitchers lowest in the rotation will be of enough quality to make it worth replacing the starts by the rotation's top pitcher. CC Sabathia has been the best starter for the Yankees, but Colon, who has not thrown more than 100 innings since 2005 could benefit from additional rest. The off days in the schedule mean that the rotation can be configured so that Sabathia wouldn't miss more than one start in August, which doesn't seem like a high price to pay.

3) Matt Imbrogno at The Yankee Analysts takes a look at how the low-profile additions to the Yankees this season have been contributing.

To say that the Yankees wouldn't be where they are right now without the contributions of Colon, Freddy Garcia, Eric Chavez and Luis Ayala, among others is more than an understatement. It may seem surprising that so many contributions have come from untraditional sources (ie, no high-priced free agents), and there is certainly a degree of luck involved. It's hard to argue that luck isn't a huge part of baseball, and the 2011 Yankees, as unconventionally assembled (for a Yankees team) as they may be, are still one of the best teams in baseball.

4) There were losses across the board for the Yankees' affiliates.

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

Eric Wordekemper was placed on the disabled list.

Jesus Montero had a hit in three at bats; he walked once and allowed a passed ball.

Double-A Trenton lost to Akron, 7-4.

Austin Romine was sent for an MRI on his back while Ray Kruml was placed on the DL with a foot injury. Austin Krum was sent back to Trenton from Scranton.

High-A Tampa lost to Clearwater, 8-4, while Low-A Charleston lost to Asheville, 5-4 in 10 innings.

In Charleston, Gary Sanchez struck out three times and walked twice.

Short Season Staten Island lost to Mahoning Valley, 4-0, while the GCL Yankees lost to the GCL Pirates, 8-3.