Game 131: Yankees @ Orioles, 8/31/09

Below, as per Pete Abraham, are tonight’s lineups. A-Rod sits to get a breather, with Hairston taking his place.  Pettite looks to keep the winning rolling, with the Yanks coming off an impressive sweep of Chicago this weekend in The Bronx.  New York also looks to go a season-high 35 games over .500.  Enjoy the game, everyone.

YANKEES (82-48)
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Matsui DH
Posada C
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Hairston 3B
Cabrera CF

Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (11-6, 4.18).

ORIOLES (54-77)
Roberts 2B
Izturis SS
Jones CF
Markakis RF
Reimold LF
Mora 3B
Scott DH
Wieters C
Wigginton 1B

Pitching: RHP Jeremy Guthrie (9-12, 5.26).

Published in: on August 31, 2009 at 5:19 pm  Comments (9)  

Yanks Sweep White Sox 8-3

Even with Joba going just three decent innings, it’s hard to complain about this one, or much for that matter in The Bronx.  Powered by good timely hitting, including homers from JD and Teixeira, and Aceves and Hughes’s outstanding relief work, the Yanks won going away to sweep Chicago 8-3.  The team continues to fire on all cylinders, surging upward to their high water mark of 34 games above .500 with about 1/5 of the regular season left to play.

It would be unfair to say that Joba was bad, but more accurate to assess his truncated start as fairly decent.  He allowed a lead-off triple to Podsednik, who scored on Beckham’s RBI ground out to short, 1-0 White Sox.  But Joba was efficient, throwing just nine pitches in the first.  The Yanks responded right away, with Jeter skulling Garcia’s first pitch to center for a double.  JD’s 1-3 moved Jeter to third, and Teixeira narrowly missed a homer down the line in right, flying out to the wall to score Jeter and tie the game.  A-Rod singled up the middle but got picked off by Pierzynski.

Joba had a six-pitch 1-2-3 second, but the Yanks went 1-2-3 after Cano grounded into a 3-6-3 DP.  Joba got into trouble in the third by allowing three straight singles to start the inning, 2-1 Chicago, but Cano made a terrific play on Podsednik’s RBI single, losing the ball on the throw in from Melky but recovering and throwing Nix out at third for the first out.  It really wasn’t a bad 2-2 pitch from Joba to Podsednik at all, low though over the plate, but Podsednik went down and got it–good hitting rather than bad pitching.  Still, things got tight as Podsednik stole second.  But Beckham grounded out 3U sending Podsednik to third, then Joba got Pierzynski looking on a fastball painting the black outside to minimize the damage.  Joba could have been sharper, but was all in all OK–two runs earned on four hits, no walks, and a K on 35 pitches/23 strikes.

Again, the Yanks responded in the bottom half with runs, this time with two outs.  Jeter singled to left, and JD whacked the first pitch, a change belt-high and over the inner half, several rows into the second deck, 3-2 Yanks.  That was as close as Chicago got, for Aceves entered, set down Chicago 1-2-3 in the fourth and fifth, then got a 5-4-3 DP to erase Podsednik’s lead-off single off Aceves, and worked around Pierzynski’s infield single into the hole at short, with Jeter’s jump throw not in time.  Ace was great, allowing just 2 hits in 3 efficient innings–no walks, no runs, and a K on just 32 pitches/22 strikes for his ninth win against one loss, lowering his ERA to 3.88.  He and Joba got through the first six in just 67 pitches.

Marte entered to start the seventh and got Thome on an easy 4-3.  Robertson entered and allowed two hits with a K, leaving for Hughes to retire Nix on a lazy F9.  The Yanks blew it open in the bottom of the seventh.  Jorge singled, Cano forced him, Hinske walked, Melky bashed a double off the wall in the left field corner to score Cano, 4-2 Yanks.  Jeter got an intentional pass to load the bases.  Hairston entered for JD, whose sexy calves had cramped up, and Hairston hit a sac fly, 5-2 Yanks.  Teixeira then crushed a 1-2 hanging curve, belt-high and right over the plate, to deep right for his 32nd homer and 101 RBI, 8-2 Yanks.  Coke entered and allowed a solo shot to Dye, not a bad pitch really, over the plate but low, 8-3 Yanks.

Jeter had two hits, three runs, and a walk, including his 24th double, and he’s batting a red-hot .335.  Let’s take a look at Jeter’s remarkable hitting: Since June 24, when his average was .299, Jeter is 91-242, .376.  In August alone, he is 45-118, .381.  Since June 24, Jeter has 27 multi-hit games–16 with 2 hits, 9 with 3 hits, and 2 with 4 hits.  What he has done has been nothing short of outstanding, getting even better as the season winds on.

Teixeira was 1-3 with 4 RBI and his 32nd homer, batting .284 with 101 RBI.  He and Jeter deserve some MVP consideration, although Mauer’s remarkable year may well take that honor.  Yet the difference Teixeira has made both in the lineup and in the field is both unmistakable and impressive on an already good team.  JD’s 24th homer, a two-run shot in the third, gives him 73 RBI now with a .289 average.  JD should be re-signed for next year, at least.  He just eats up that right field porch.  Jorge’s return to the lineup was a successful on–2-3 with a walk and his 22nd double, batting .281. [Edit: I forgot to mention earlier that Posada's double tied him for 9th on the Yankees' all-time doubles list with "Long" Bob Meusel at 338.] Melky was 1-4 with his 22nd double and 49th RBI, batting .268.  A-Rod was 1-2 with 2 walks, batting .270.  Hairston’s RBI was his 10th in just 23 games with the Yanks.  Cano was 1-4 with a run, batting .315.  The Yanks were 3-6 with RISP, stranding a mere four with 5 two-out RBI–excellent clutch production in limited opportunities.

Not to be overlooked, the Yanks did not allow a walk today, and the bullpen allowed just five hits and a run in six innings of terrific relief work, with 2 K’s.  Mariano got another day off, a big plus at this time of the year and with the Yanks playing so well.  The Yankees have not only gone 20-7 in August, they also have 10 wins by at least four runs this month and Mariano got to rest in nine of them, only pitching in the 8-4 win capping the series win in Fenway last Sunday.  Such good offensive production and pitching has allowed Mariano to rest, as well as avoid the “August blues” he sometimes experiences.  This cannot be overestimated, since Mariano–as great as he still is–had off-season surgery on his shoulder, is 39, and is as important as anyone to their post-season chances.

It isn’t just that the Yankees are playing well, for they are indeed playing very well. It is also that their winning with a fine blend of good pitching and steady hitting has allowed key players to get some rest, Joba to have his work shortened to keep him pitching into October without overworking him, the bullpen not to be too taxed, all while the lead in the East and for home field remains firmly within the Yanks’ grasp  The magic number to clinch the East is down to 27.

With one-fifth of the season remaining, the Yanks sit in the proverbial catbird seat.  They just need to keep doing more of the same–pitching well, getting clutch hits, and staying focused.  Watching this team play so consistently well has really been a privilege thus far, enough to make a grown man beam with pride.  Enjoy it, Yankees fans.

Published in: on August 30, 2009 at 4:41 pm  Comments (4)  

Game 130: White Sox @ Yankees, 8/30/09

Below, as per Pete Abraham, are today’s lineups.  The Yanks go for the sweep with Joba taking the hill.  Joba is 4-2 since the break, but 1-2 in his last four starts with an 8.55 ERA (19 ER, 15 BB, and 27 hits in 20 IP).  Clearly he needs to be sharper, and perhaps more regular work, if not longer starts, might help.  Jorge is back in the lineup after a couple days off with a bruised joint on his left ring finger, an injury which he says will linger until the end of the season.  Hinske plays in right for Swish, and Melky returns to center after a much-needed day off.  Enjoy the game, everyone.

YANKEES (81-48)
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Posada C
Cano 2B
Hinske RF
Cabrera CF

Pitching: RHP Joba Chamberlain (8-4, 4.34).

WHITE SOX (64-66)
Podsednik LF
Beckham 3B
Pierzynski C
Quentin LF
Thome DH
Dye RF
Kotsay 1B
Ramirez SS
Nix 2B

Pitching: RHP Freddy Garcia (0-1, 6.75).

Published in: on August 30, 2009 at 10:31 am  Leave a Comment  

Sunday Tidbits

When I hit the books last night, the Angels were up on the A’s 3-0.  How pleased I was to check the scores this morning and see that Oakland scored four runs late to win 4-3, putting the Yanks 4 1/2 games up in the race for home field advantage.  It’s certainly no time to let up for the Yanks.  However, this cushion for the Yanks, in addition to being up 6 in the East, may well allow the Yanks to rest a starter or two in the coming weeks in preparation for October.

The Yanks have 33 games to play–17 at home, 16 on the road.  Most game are against the East, except for today’s finale against Chicago, the swing out West to face Seattle and the Angels, a make-up game against the Angels at home September 14,and 3 against KC to end September.  With a record of 81-48, the Yanks can go 19-14 and seal a 100-win season.  Doing so would force the Angels to go 24-10 over their remaining 34 games to match them, and Boston 25-8.  That’s a lot to ask, especially given the edge in pitching the Yanks have over both teams.  The ERA for Yankees starters, even with Wang’s struggles, is 4.48, while Boston’s rotation is 4.73, and the Angels’ an uncharacteristic even 5.  We’ll see what happens in the last month-plus of the regular season, but it’s almost impossible for Yankees fans not to like where the team sits right now.

I mentioned this in the wrap-up of yesterday’s game, but feel it’s worth reiterating: the steadiness of the Yanks’ offensive production is a tremendous asset.  The lineup as a whole is consistent as well as strong.  See for yourselves:

  1. Jeter: 17 HR, 60 RBI, .333/.396, 90 R, 23 2B, 23/28 SB.
  2. JD: 23 HR, 71 RBI, .289/.370, 91 R, 30 2B, 10/10 SB in 117 games.
  3. Teixeira: 31 HR, 97 RBI, .283/.381, 35 2B, 79 R.
  4. A-Rod: 23 HR, 72 RBI, .269/.400, 62 R, 12 2B, 9/10 SB in 96 games.
  5. Matsui: 23 HR, 72 RBI, .271/.364, 49 R, 21 2B in 114 games.
  6. Posada: 17 HR, 63 RBI, .277/.353, 44 R, 21 2B in 89 games.
  7. Cano: 21 HR, 70 RBI, .315/.346, 86 R, 37 2B.
  8. Swish: 21 HR, 68 RBI, .243/.366, 63 R, 26 2B.
  9. Melky: 11 HR, 48 RBI, .266/.329, 54 R, 21 2B, 7/9 SB.
  10. Brett the Jet: 3 HR, 20 RBI, .275/.354, 36 R, 4 2B, 6 3B, 20-25 SB.

While there have certainly been standout individual performances this year, including Jeter’s hot bat and Teixeira’s sterling two-way performances both worthy of some MVP consideration, I contend that it is the steadiness of the team’s play that has the Yanks leading the majors in runs, doubles, homers, OBP, OPS, and Slugging on their way to the best record in the majors thus far.  There are just few to no weak spots in the lineup, especially when Jorge and Matsui are playing.

Not to be overlooked, the Yanks are 4th in the AL in fielding percentage, and have committed the fourth-fewest errors in the AL.  The Yanks have their strongest all-around team in years.

Published in: on August 30, 2009 at 10:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Mitre, Gaudin One-Hit Sox as Offense Rolls, 10-0

You read that right, good readers.  It’s no joke–Mitre didn’t allow a hit until the 5th, then surrendered a lead-off walk in the seventh before getting a Pierzynski liner off his arm, causing him to leave the game.  Yet Gaudin continued what Mitre began, holding Chicago without a hit the rest of the way.  The offense was tremendous, scoring four in the second and again in the fourth, then adding a run in the sixth and another in the eighth to blow out the Pale Hose 10-0.

I just watched the highlights while listening to a good deal of the archived game, in good part just to confirm that this in fact occurred.  The family and I make an annual sojourn to a large corn maze, so I missed the game.  In the meantime, my wife and I won the annual corn maze challenge among the three teams–my wife and I, my son and his friend, and my daughter and her friend–to go through the maze and find all the different hole-punchers first.  This year it was eight we had to find, and we found them in about 50 minutes, no easy task, I must say.

I checked the game score about halfway through the maze, and was pleasantly surprised to see it was 4-0 in the fourth, and Mitre hadn’t allowed a hit. As I helped my son and his friend find their last hole-punchers, I checked back in and saw it was 8-0 in the sixth, with the Sox having just one hit.  My surprise did not abate much after seeing that.  We then went to a very good Chinese buffet in town, and I feasted–16 pieces of sushi with lots of soy sauce and wasabi, a plate loaded with spicy Mongolian beef and vegetables, another plate of a half dozen jumbo mussels with mushroom chicken, and a plate of General Tso’s Chicken, Sesame Pork, and several breaded chicken wings.  Good thing I ordered that Diet Pepsi. :-)

When I got home and saw the box score at http://www.yankees.com, I was shocked to see that New York allowed a mere hit for the game.  Every dog has its day, and today’s was Mitre.  Good for him.  Today he was a stud, working 6 1/3 on a mere 73 pitches/48 strikes, getting 11 ground outs, fanning two, and allowing just a double to Thome in the fifth, and the lead-off walk in the seventh before taking the shot off his arm.  Hopefully he’s OK and, next time out–something I would not have said or presumed would occur before–he can provide a start anywhere in the same vicinity of today’s gem, at least with the efficiency and ground ball rates.  Today was far more than the “decent” start I had hoped he would provide.  After last night’s dramatic win, it seems as though Mitre and the offense working over Contreras early–as I had hoped–may well have excoriated Chicago.

Speaking of the offense, the team battered Contreras for nine hits and eight runs six earned in just 3 1/3.  In the second, Swish led off with a single, Cano doubled, Hairston doubled them both home with a shot into the right-center gap 2-0 Yanks, Molina walked, and it was a good thing I wasn’t tuning in for I would have flipped at Jeter’s sac bunt.  Come on already with this!  I agree with Mike S. who said in a comment earlier this week that there is a time and place for a bunt.  I would add that there is a person right and wrong for that, as he said and we knew that Swish was all wrong for that on Tuesday night.  While Jeter is a fine bunter, he’s a far better hitter.  Just as importantly, I got no indication from my reviewing the audio archive of the game that Contreras was anywhere close to getting outs, that he was anything but being battered.  Why give away an out, especially by the guy who has been murdering the ball the last month?  Putrid decision.

Thankfully it didn’t cost much, for JD followed the sac bunt with a double, 4-0 Yanks.  In the fourth, Jeter singled and stole second, then went to third on two throwing errors by Nix and Contreras when JD’s comebacker had Jeter in a potential rundown.  Yet Contreras made a poor throw, followed by Nix’s poor throw.  No wonder Chicago leads the league in errors with 100.  Their defense is atrocious. [Edit: Contrast that with the Yanks, who got defensive gems from A-Rod diving to his right in the fifth to rob Konerko of at least a single down the line, and Cano making that patented play to his right up the middle in the sixth, whipping the ball across his body to rob Nix of a single up the middle.  As good as A-Rod's play was, Cano's was even better, for he was on the outfield grass on the shortstop side of second when he uncorked that throw. I've said it before and I'll say it again--no second baseman is better than Cano at going to his right, period.] Teixeira struck out, but A-Rod singled in Jeter 5-0 Yanks, Matsui doubled in JD 6-0 Yanks.  Swish singled off Carrasco 7-0 Yanks, and Cano’s 4-6 force scored Matsui 8-0.  Cano’s RBI single in the sixth scored Teixeira 9-0 NY, and A-Rod’s 23rd homer of the year and 576th of his career capped the scoring, 10-0 Yanks.

A-Rod’s average continues to climb, to .269 now after going 2-5 with a homer and 2 RBI, 70 driven in this year.  Cano was 3-5 with his 37th double and 2 RBI; he also has 70 RBI and is hitting .315.  Matsui was 2-4 with his 21st double and his 72nd RBI, batting .271.  Swish was 2-5 with his 68th RBI.  Jeter was 3-4 and is back to .333.  JD had his 30th double and 2 RBI, 70 this season, batting .289.  Hairston had the 2-RBI double to start the rout in the second.

Look at the steadiness of the offensive production: 8 players have at least 60 RBI, with 4 between 70-72.  9 players have double-digit homer totals, with 6 above 20 and 5 between 21-23.  8 players have over 20 doubles, 4 between 21-23.  8 players have an OBP above .350.  They’re getting excellent productivity from the lineup and, just as crucially, throughout the lineup.  Tremendous.

The team is now at 33 games above .500 for the first time this year with 33 to play.  The magic number for clinching the East is down to 28 and, depending upon the outcome of the games later, that could go even lower.  Regardless, great win today to win the series.  Now get the sweep, guys.

Published in: on August 29, 2009 at 5:03 pm  Comments (3)  

Game 129: White Sox @ Yankees, 8/29/09

Below, as per Josh Thomson at LoHud, are today’s lineups.  Molina again catches for the Yanks as Jorge heals.  Hairston takes center to give Melky a much-needed blow, although Melky had two hits last night.  Otherwise, the order is the same as it has been for the last few weeks.  Mitre/Meat Tray will hopefully be decent and, hopefully, the Yanks experience a good bounce after last night’s dramatic win.  Word is that the rain is passing out of the area, and the field looks playable.  New York again shoots to move a season-high 33 games above .500 against the fading White Sox.  Working over the former Yankee Contreras early and often would go a long way to accomplishing that.  I’ll be gone for much of the game, but will try to tune in via radio in the car.  Enjoy the game, everyone.

YANKEES (80-48)
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Swisher RF
Cano 2B
Hairston CF
Molina C

Pitching: RHP Sergio Mitre (2-1, 6.82).

WHITE SOX (64-65)
Podsednik LF
Beckham 3B
Pierzynski C
Konerko 1B
Thome DH
Dye RF
Rios CF
Ramirez SS
Nix 2B

Pitching: RHP Jose Contreras (5-12, 5.09).

Published in: on August 29, 2009 at 11:42 am  Comments (1)  

Cano RISPs Sox in 10th, 5-2 Yanks

C.C. pitched a gem but got touched up for two in the seventh to tie the game, while the Yanks wasted more early chances off Buehrle, letting him settle in.  Yet the bullpen threw three perfect innings, and Cano came through by crushing a 2-2 slider belt-high and over the plate in the bottom of the tenth to beat Chicago 5-2.  Huge win in a game played entirely during a steady rain, with the wind blowing in and surely depriving the Yanks of two homers–Teixeira in the first, and A-Rod in the tenth.

Jeter again led off the game with a homer to left center, made all the more impressive considering how the driving wind blowing in from left prevented the aforementioned players from homering.  But the Yanks began last night’s game as they ended it Thursday afternoon–stranding runners, starting with 2 in the first, one in the second, and two more in the third after JD”s lead-off homer made it 2-0 Yanks.  Damon’s shot, while not hit deep to right, was very impressive for he got a curve, strode out to swing, paused, then ripped into it for a line-drive homer, literally adjusting mid-swing; beautiful.

Cano left the bases loaded in the fifth after a comebacker to Buehrle.  Good thing C.C. was rolling, allowing just three hits through five while fanning nine, including striking out the side in order after Konerko’s lazy fly ball dropped in for a double when Melky lost it in the lights.  He stranded Nix after his lead-off single started the sixth, fanning Beckham and Thome before retiring Konerko on a 4-3.  He had Thome’s lunch all night, whiffing the great slugger thrice, with Thome earning his golden sombrero later against Hughes, who impressively struck out the side in the eighth.

C.C. got into trouble in the seventh when Dye doubled, Quentin walked, and Rios blooped a double to right, 2-1 Yanks but second and third, no outs.  Cano made a nice play on Ramirez’s humpback liner for the first out, holding the runners.  A-Rod made a nice play on Castro’s grounder, nailing Quentin at home for the second out.  But Nix hit a single down the third base line, with A-Rod making a run-saving play to hold the bases loaded.  Beckham then singled to right to score Rios, but Swish charged the ball and threw a seed–in the rain with a slick ball no less–to nail Castro at the plate with ease and keep the game tied.  Swish’s play was great, but not to be overlooked was A-Rod’s excellent dive, for on either play, the Sox could have had more runs.

Unfortunately for the Yanks, they struggled in the seventh and eighth off hard-throwing lefty Matt Thornton who, despite throwing 42 pitches in two frames, didn’t allow a base runner.  Yet the Yanks’ relievers were equally staunch, with Hughes, Mariano, then Bruney yielding nothing in the eighth, ninth, and tenth respectively.

A terrific two-out rally in the tenth won it for the Yanks.  After Teixeira struck out and A-Rod hit what would have been a homer without the hard wind, Matsui walked.  Swish did too, although it was apparent that the lefty Williams was avoiding Swish to get to the RISP-impaired Cano, no doubt also for the lefty-lefty match-up.  Cano tattooed a 2-2 hanging slider to deep right center, through the rain, for the big dramatic win.  I didn’t like his walking halfway to first, for it’s just poor sportsmanship to gawk especially given how awful he’s been in such situations.  Yet there is no denying the importance of the walk-off win.  The Yanks did not overuse their bullpen, while probably eliminating Thornton from being used today (should the game be played).  C.C.’s outstanding start–eight hits and two runs earned, one walk and ten K’s in seven strong innings, on 113 pitches/78 strikes–was exactly what the team needed and did not go wasted.  The Big Guy is every bit as reliable as the season winds on as he has proven the last few years in August.  C.C. is a flat-out ace.

All starters had a hit except Swish, who had two walks.  Jeter’s homer was his 17th with 60 RBI, batting .329.  JD’s homer was his 23rd with 69 RBI, batting .290.  Cano’s walk-off jack was his 21st with 68 RBI, batting .313.  I don’t like that the team had all their runs via the homer, for they simply coudln’t hit with RISP until Cano’s homer–their only situational hit in seven chances, stranding nine.  But a win is a win is a win.  Last night’s had to hurt Chicago, for they played through over three hours in the rain, Chicago came back against an impressive effort from C.C. to tie it and, until Williams’s two-out meltdown in the tenth, got strong relief work themselves.  Plus, the Sox’s division chances are fading as they continue to struggle.

The Yanks are back to 32 games above .500 at 80-48 and, with 34 left to play, remain six ahead of Boston in the East, and 3 1/2 ahead of the Angels for home field.  The magic number for the East is down to 29.  Tense win, but a good one.

Published in: on August 29, 2009 at 11:32 am  Comments (2)  

Game 128: White Sox @ Yankees, 8/28/09

Below, as per Pete Abraham, are tonight’s lineups.  Molina catches again for Jorge.  Otherwise, the lineup is as it has been.  Hughes and Mariano are certainly rested, not having pitched since Sunday.  The Yanks could use a better effort from the offense than yesterday afternoon, when they were handed opportunity after opportunity, yet hit a mere 2-12 with RISP.  Something more akin to their effort against Buehrle August 2 would be most welcome.  I take a certain comfort in C.C. starting.  The guy eats innings, gives a solid or better start always with maximum effort.  Taking the ball deep, then handing it to Hughes and Mariano, would be just fine.  The weather is iffy today, with rain in the New York area and more coming up from southeastern Pennsylvania.  I sense a rain delay before the game, maybe a long one.  Regardless, enjoy the game, everyone.

YANKEES (79-48)
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Texeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Swisher RF
Cano 2B
Cabrera CF
Molina C

Pitching: LHP CC Sabathia (15-7, 3.59).

WHITE SOX (64-64)
Nix 2B
Beckham 3B
Thome DH
Konerko 1B
Dye RF
Quentin LF
Rios CF
Ramirez SS
Castro C

Pitching: LHP Mark Buehrle (11-7, 3.92).

Published in: on August 28, 2009 at 5:32 pm  Comments (2)  

Yanks Lose Statistically Anomalous 7-2 Game

If one had rattled off some of the stats from today’s game that the Yanks amassed without the result, I dare say most if not all of us would presume the Yanks would have won the game.  To wit: the Yanks worked 7 walks (8 in the game) and stole 3 bases off Rangers starter Dustin Nippert in just 3 2/3 innings.  They fanned 15 Rangers batters, allowing just 3 walks.  Burnett had a perfect game going through his first 3 2/3.

The result?  The Yanks lost 7-2.  Burnett issued two walks with two outs in the fourth–the first two Rangers to reach base, starting with Hamilton who, it seems, should have been out on a 2-2 pitch over the outside corner.  He then grooved one belt-high to Kinsler, who tattooed it out to deep left, 3-1 Rangers.

This was made all the bigger because the Yanks left 6 on base through the first three innings.  After JD walked, stole second, and scored on Teixeira’s single, Cano later lined out hard to left with the bases loaded to end the first.  JD’s K to end the second left Melky at third.  With first and second and one out in the third, Swish popped up  weakly, and Cano grounded out in a 4-3 just as feebly, to end the third just before Burnett’s three consecutive tough at-bats in the fourth.  In the bottom half, after Molina’s DP ball erased Melky’s lead-off walk, Jeter and JD walked, and Teixeira drove in Jeter, 3-2 Rangers.  But A-Rod’s weak comebacker to Grilli ended that.  After four, the Yanks trailed 3-2 despite working seven walks, and allowing just one hit and two walks.

It got worse from there, with the Rangers’ bullpen shutting down the Yanks.  They wouldn’t seriously threaten until they trailed 6-2 in the seventh, when Davis hit a three-run homer with none out off Coke, who again struggled.  In the bottom of the seventh, JD singled and Teixeira reached on a botched force attempt, but Wilson fanned A-Rod, Matsui, and a statue impersonating Swish in succession.  Kinsler hit a solo homer in the top of the eighth off an otherwise good Robertson, 7-2.

Despite the three walks and homer, Burnett was tremendous, fanning 12 on 105 pitches/63 strikes.  In fact, despite piling up the strikeouts early and often, he was working efficiently until the consecutive walks in the top of the fourth.  Coke was atrocious, allowing the three-run homer to Davis in just 2/3 IP.  His ERA is now above 5 (5.05).  Aceves worked the ninth and was good, but by that point, the game was pretty much over.

Teixeira was 2-5 with 2 RBI, 97 on the season, batting .287.  JD was 2-3 with 2 walks, batting .288.  Melky and A-Rod each had a single.  Yet going 2-12 with RISP, stranding 12 including 7 in scoring position, was a killer. So were the three homers allowed, two of which came with two runners on and were half of Texas’s total opportunities with RISP (4).  This was only the third series (with the Angels and White Sox) the Yanks have lost in the last two-plus months.  They have been rolling, but lost a bizarre train wreck today.  They are still 5 1/2 up on Boston in the East and, should Chicago hold on to beat Boston–they lead 9-0 in the fourth–this game won’t change anything in the East.  We’ll see about home field later tonight, when the Angels host Oakland.

[Edit: Chicago beat Boston 9-5, with Nick Greem throwing two shutout innings in mop-up work for Boston.  The Yanks are still up six games.  All told, a frustrating game but no better or worse in the standings.  The magic number to clinch the division is now 30.]

Published in: on August 27, 2009 at 7:39 pm  Comments (3)  

Game 127: Rangers @ Yankees

Below, as per Pete Abraham, are today’s lineups.  Molina is in for Jorge, who caught last night, and has a bruised joint on his left ring finger.  The Yanks face the righty Nippert in today’s rubber match before the White Sox come to town, looking to achieve their high-water mark of 33 games above .500.  New York has won 5 of their last 7, 10 of their last 14, and 17 of their last 22.  Get the series win, guys.  Enjoy the game, everyone.

YANKEES (79-47)
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Swisher RF
Cano 2B
Cabrera CF
Molina C

Pitching: RHP A.J. Burnett (10-7, 4.08).

RANGERS (70-55)
Borbon DH
Young 3B
Hamilton CF
Cruz RF
Kinsler 2B
Murphy LF
Teagarden C
Davis 1B
Andrus SS

Pitching: RHP Dustin Nippert (4-2, 3.95).

Published in: on August 27, 2009 at 10:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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