Yankees Daily Briefing 08/06/11

CC Sabathia has an ERA just over 1.00 in his last eight starts, a trend the Yankees hope will continue as he takes the mound for the Yankees at Fenway on Saturday afternoon. The Yankees will face Boston's John Lackey (9-8, 6.23), who is 7-8 with a 4.68 for his career against the Yankees.

Discussion of the Day: Do you believe the yankees, as presently constructed, can beat the Red Sox in a seven game ALCS? Share why or why not in the comments.

1) Wallace Matthews writes that Ivan Nova's success makes for a hard decision while Moshe Mandel at The Yankee Analysts wonders just what Nova's ceiling could be.

Nova's start in Chicago on Thursday was easily his best in 2011, and though Nova faced a subpar offense in the White Sox, it follows an overall trend: Nova is 6-1 with a 2.92 ERA with a K/9 over 7 since June 1st, and has been even better since the middle of that month. Nova did spend a month at triple-A, but hasn't even come close to struggling since his return. Whether, as Moshe argues, the addition of a slider to his pitching arsenal is the major reason for Nova's improvement, Nova's success makes the rotation all that deeper, and at only 24 years old and healthy, there is plenty of reason for optimism.

2) Katie Sharp takes a look at statistical oddities for the Yankees over the past week. Of note: Robinson Cano being the third Yankee cleanup hitter in the live-ball era to go 5-5 with five RBIs -- the other two being Danny Tartabull and Del Pratt and Freddy Garcia joining Kevin Brown as the only Yankee right-hander in the last 20 seasons with at least nine starts of five or more innings pitched in a row without allowing a home run.

3) Mike Vaccaro argues that the Red Sox-Yankees series shows a need for change in the postseason format.

Vaccaro argues that the current postseason format renders the Red Sox-Yankees regular season series less potent, and the format of the playoffs has been the subject of much debate this season. Currently structured, the short series in the first round favors teams with top-heavy pitching rotations (a sprint compared to the marathon of the regular season), and with the exception of home-field advantage, does not penalize wild card teams. The other problem is that with only four teams from each league making the postseason, you can have a situation similar to 2006, when two teams with more wins than the Cardinals did not make the postseason, and the Cardinals, with only 83 regular season wins, won the World Series. While going from four to six playoff teams, as is done in the NFL, might get some considerable support, the best solution might simply be for more teams to be more competitive, so that one might be able to argue that a team other than the Yankees, Red Sox or Phillies are World Series favorites.

4) Results were mixed for Yankees' affiliates.

Triple-A Scranton beat Louisville, 8-4.

John Sickels posted a review of his top 20 Yankees' prospects and has harsh words for Andrew Brackman who has seriously struggled this season.

Jesus Montero had one hit in three at bats and walked twice.

Double-A Trenton lost to Altoona, 8-2.

Austin Romine has been placed on the disabled list while Wilkins Arias was activated off it.

High-A Tampa beat Clearwater, 7-0, while Low-A Charleston lost to Savannah, 10-5.

Gary Sanchez made Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet for this week while Steve Evarts has been suspended for failing a performance enhancing drug test.

Short Season Staten Island lost to Brooklyn, 9-4, while the Rookie GCL Yankees lost to the GCL Braves, 6-1.