Yankees Daily Briefing, 08/12/11

After taking a series from the Angels, the Yankees will close out their short homestand with a three game set against the Rays. CC Sabathia will look to rebound from his poor start against the Red Sox; he'll face the Rays' David Price (9-10, 3.89), who has faced the Yankees three times this season, ending up with two no decisions and one loss.

Discussion of the Day: Where would you rank Robinson Cano among American League second basemen? What about overall? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Behind Enemy Lines: Steve Slowinski takes a look at the issues facing the Rays' bullpen. The Rays lost much of their 2010 bullpen to free agency last offseason -- including their 2010 closer, Rafael Soriano, who signed with the Yankees.

1) Johnette Howard writes that Ivan Nova is earning his pinstripes.

There are a number of different statistics one could use to measure Nova, but if one takes ERA+, which measures a pitcher's performance relative to the league, Nova's ERA+ of 109 indicates that he is performing above league average. Nova's statistics are perfectly adequate as they are, but they become even more impressive when one considers his numbers since his return from the minor leagues. Short of a complete collapse in his next few starts, it would look like Nova is in the rotation to stay.

2) Brien Jackson at It's About the Money argues that there should be no question as to which pitcher gets bumped from the rotation.

Jackson argues that Phil Hughes' young age and that he was successful as recently as last season are reasons that one should have more patience with him than with A.J. Burnett. Hughes' numbers since returning from the disabled list are marred by the horrendous start against Oakland, but his last two starts against the Mariners and White Sox showed considerable improvement. On the other hand, Burnett doesn't have a quality start against an American League opponent since mid-June. Burnett's contract and veteran status might make it seem improbable that he would get bumped from the rotation, but another poor start from him and decent start from Hughes might leave the Yankees with little logical choice.

3) Mike Vorkunov writes that Bartolo Colon is continuing to exceed expectations.

Colon's current 3.31 ERA is the lowest ERA he's had since his 2002 season -- and this after not pitching in the majors at all in 2010 (his WHIP, K/9 and K/BB rates are all the best they've been since the middle of last decade). The statistics are remarkable, and for the Yankees, invaluable. Signed to a minor league deal in the offseason, Colon is now arguably the Yankees' most valuable pitcher after CC Sabathia, and has to be considered Cashman's most important offseason acquisition for the Yankees.

4) Minor league results were mixed.

Triple-A Scranton lost to Gwinnett, 1-0.

Wilkins Arias was promoted to Scranton from Trenton.

Jesus Montero had a hit in four at bats and struck out once.

Andrew Brackman pitched three innings of scoreless baseball, allowing just one hit and walking none. He struck out 2 and sat 91-92 mph on the gun.

Double-A Trenton beat Binghamton, 8-5, while High-A Tampa beat Clearwater, 4-0.

Low-A Charleston lost to West Virginia, 4-0.

Gary Sanchez was hitless and left the game in the fifth inning for an unknown reason.

Short Season Staten Island beat Williamsport, 7-5, while the Rookie GCL Yankees swept a doubleheader with the GCL Phillies, winning the first game 6-4, and the second 7-3.