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Yankees Daily Briefing 08/11/11

Bartolo Colon won a Cy Young as an Angel; on Thursday he'll hope for similar success against his former team, as the Yankees go for the series win against Los Angeles. He'll face Tyler Chatwood (6-8, 4.10). Chatwood has never faced the Yankees.

Discussion of the Day: Do you think Curtis Granderson will finish the season with more steals or home runs? Give your best guess for each in the comments.

1) Mark Simon wonders what's wrong with Mariano Rivera's cutter while Jason McCallum argues that concern may not be warranted.

Throughout his career, Rivera usually has his worst month in August , but one should consider that when judging Rivera's performance, one can really only judge it against his own past performance, as the list of pitchers comprable to Rivera is slim -- if there's a list at all. The pattern doesn't appear to be much different in 2011, and if his season is to echo his career norms, it doesn't seem to be a serious problem. Still, with his highest ERA and WHIP since 2007, it could very well be that Rivera is finally feeling the effects of his age, though given that his overall numbers are still excellent, it is not an overriding concern.

2) Matt Imbrogno at The Yankee Analysts argues that the Yankees should consider using A.J. Burnett in the bullpen.

It seems possible that the Yankees will eventually send one of either Phil Hughes or A.J. Burnett to the bullpen. Imbrogno argues that since Burnett's numbers get noticeably worse in the middle and later innings of the game (while this is true of most pitchers, the difference between a 3.00 ERA in the first three innings and an ERA of 5.81 in the next three is especially stark), his "stuff" might simply play better in the bullpen. The problem -- if one gets past the size of his contract -- is that the bullpen has been pitching so well, one might not want to mess with its structure. Still, sitting Burnett is arguably the move to make, if it makes the Yankees the best team they can be. Certainly, Saturday's start for Hughes will go a long way in determining which pitcher stays in the Yankees' rotation.

3) Jeff Bradley writes that Ivan Nova is making his case to pitch in important games for the Yankees.

Originally the debate over who should be the fifth starter for the Yankees was between Hughes and Nova, but Nova has been pitching too well of late to be taken out of the rotation. Wednesday's game was arguably Nova's worst since coming back from the minor leagues. Even then three runs in six innings is hardly a poor start. At the very least, Nova could become a factor in the Rookie of the Year race.

4) It was another big night for a top prospect.

Triple-A Scranton lost to Gwinnett, 4-2.

Jesus Montero was hitless in four at bats and struck out twice while walking once.

Double-A Trenton lost to Binghamton, 9-3, while High-A Tampa was swept in a doubleheader with Clearwater, losing the first game, 4-0, and the second, 6-5.

Low-A Charleston beat West Virginia, 7-4.

Gary Sanchez had two hits, both home runs, in three at bats, and walked once. As Mike Axisa notes, he now has seven home runs in his last seven games and has almost as many home runs (16) as Montero (17) did at this level, in far fewer plate appearances (342 to 569).

Short Season Staten Island lost to Williamsport, 5-4, while the Rookie GCL Yankees were again rained out.

Mike Ashmore has video of Staten Island from Tuesday's game.