Game 100: Yankees @ Rays, 7/28/09

Below, as per Pete Abraham, are tonight’s stating lineups.  Lots of righty bats in the lineup against Sabathia, who looks for win #11 and to keep a strong string of starts going.  Three lefties will face the lefty Kazmir who, although struggling this year, has historically been good against the Yankees (5-4, 2.65 ERA).  Apparently he has been plagued by some forearm tightness of late.  The Yanks look to clinch a series win and make it 11 of 12 after the break.  I’ve got spaghetti and Italian sausage cooking.

[Edit: Abraham added the following: Alfredo Aceves is down again today. It was decided to give him three days off because he was “tired” according to Girardi. The manager claimed nothing was physically wrong with Aceves. But it’s certainly something that bears watching.

Should a problems arise with Aceves, this would hurt not just the pen now,  but the possibility of moving him to the rotation should the Yanks not acquire another pitcher for the back end of the rotation.  Hopefully a few days off will return him to his efficient self.]

Enjoy the game, everyone.

YANKEES (61-38)
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Posada C
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Cabrera CF

Pitching: LHP CC Sabathia (10-6, 3.67).

RAYS (54-46)
Upton CF
Crawford LF
Longoria 3B
Zobrist 2B
Burrell DH
Pena 1B
Kapler RF
Navarro C
Bartlett SS

Pitching: LHP Scott Kazmir (4-6, 6.69).

Published in: on July 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Game 99: Yankees @ Rays, 7/27/09–11-4 Yankee Blowout

Briefly since the in-game summary with my take is below, the Yanks pounded the Rays 11-4.  Everyone in the order got at least one hit, and Burnett was great–7 IP, 2 H, 1 unearned run, 2 BB, 5 K on 114 pitches/69 strikes.  Great work, and the Yanks were due for a blowout win like this.  Swish homered twice, once from each side of the plate, 16 this year, 53 RBI, batting .237.  Cano was 2-3 with his 15th homer, a shot to dead center, 2 RBI (54), 2 BB, batting .311.  Jeter was 3-5 with 2 runs and a walk, batting arobust .325.  Melky was 2-4 with his 17th double, a walk, and a run, batting .290.  JD hit his 17th homer this year and 200th of his terrific career, scored twice and drove in 3 (57), batting .278.  Teixeira was 2-6, batting .282.  A-Rod was 1-4 with a walk and a two-RBI double, 57 RBI for him this year.  Matsui was 1-4 with a run and a walk, batting .252, and Posada was 1-5 with an RBI double (15 doubles this year, and 46 RBI), batting .285.  Total team effort in the beatdown, batting 3-12 with RISP, stranding 10, but getting 6 two-out RBI.  Albaladejo made things too interesting in the 8th, but Robertson’s K of Pena effectively ended the last real threat TB could mount.

23 games above .500, still 2 1/2 ahead of Boston, and now the Yanks sit 7 1/2 ahead of the Rays–8 in the loss column.  That’s 10 for the last 11 and 23 of the last 29 for the Yanks.  Mariano, Hughes, Coke, and Aceves all got a blow.  Soak it in, Yanks fans.

Below, as per Pete Abraham, are tonight’s starting lineups. Three top-flight pitching match-ups comprise this series, starting tonight with Burnett versus Shields, two hard-throwing righties.  The Yanks look to reach their high-water mark of 23 games over .500 with a victory tonight.  After throwing 39 pitches in 1 1/3 IP yesterday, Hughes is unavailable.  Hopefully Burnett can carry the ball deep into the game with another strong outing. Keep it rolling, guys. Enjoy the game, everyone.

YANKEES (60-38)
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Posada C
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Cabrera CF

Pitching: RHP A.J. Burnett (9-4, 3.74).

RAYS (54-45)
Upton CF
Crawford LF
Longoria 3B
Zobrist 2B
Pena 1B
Burrell DH
Gross RF
Hernandez C
Bartlett SS

Pitching: RHP James Shields (6-6, 3.70).

Teixeira had a two-out single that went unrequited.  Burnett should have fanned Crawford on a 3-2 fastball over the inside corner, then threw a pick-off attempt into right, giving Crawford third.  But he escaped by fanning Longoria and getting Zobrist out on a liner to right.

Matsui led off by cracking a first-pitch fastball for a single, Posada doubled to center scoring Matsui, 1-0.  Cano blasted a 3-1 hanging change to deep right, and it looked like it hit the top of the wall and might have glanced off Gross’s glove as he leaped, dropping straight down and giving Cano an RBI triple, 2-0 Yanks.  Importantly, Cano ran hard all the way.  Swish grounded out to second to score Cano, nice, unselfish situational hitting there, 3-0 Yankees.  Jeter singled with two outs but was stranded.  Great inning, and good to see the early runs, and Cano hit with RISP.

Burnett got Pena looking on a nasty 1-2 curve, just missed on a 3-2 fastball outside to walk Burrell, fanned Gross on a fastball inside, then got Hernandez on a comebacker.  He’s thrown 37 pitches through 2, but looks sharp.  Way to put up the goose egg after some runs, too.

A-Rod worked a one-out walk, Matsui made out on an F8, and Posada popped out to shallow center. Shields is at 43 pitches, not a high count.  Teixeira absolutely robbed Bartlett of at least a single for the first out in the third.  The guy is absolutely amazing at first.  Upton singled to left for the Rays’ first hit.  Crawford has worked the count 2-2 but with three foul balls, and Burnett’s pace has considerably slowed with Upton at first.  Crawford grounded into a 5-4 force, but they couldn’t get the speedy Crawford; nice turn by RC, though.  Burnett is at 55 pitches through 2 2/3.   Crawford stole second, his 48th steal, but an F9 ended the third.  Burnett is at 61 pitches and is working slowly, in this case probably not a bad thing for it must be allowing him a breather.  He’s fanned four, walked two, and had the Rays foul off a lot of pitches.  Still, he could use a couple quick innings.

Cano worked a four-pitch walk to start the fourth, Swish K’d, Melky worked the count to 3-1 then took a 3-1 strike and Cano ran right into an easy caught stealing.  No question, someone missed a sign, and my bet it was Melky who subsequently walked for Cano ran to his own demise with his palms up in noticeable surprise, slowing down like a dope. That hurt.  No wonder those two geniuses hang out together; peas in a pod of stupidity.  Jeter got ahead 3-0, then 3-1, then 4-3 ended the top of the fourth, in which Shields threw 19 pitches/62 for the game.

Zobrist down on a 4-3, Pena down on a 3U, and Burrell down on a 6-3.  Burnett is at 74 pitches, and surely welcomed the 1-2-3; good work. JD reached on an E6, Teixeira singled on a pop Longoria couldn’t get, first and second no outs–big opportunity for A-Rod.  He struck out looking on a fastball low and in, bad call and Girardi flew out of the dugout to keep a vehement A-Rod from getting tossed.  He was right to be mad, though–the call was atrocious.  Gross made a leaping catch on Matsui’s screaming liner right at him, two down.  Posada popped out to shallow center, with the #4-5-6 hitters squandering the threat.  Shields is at 86 pitches through. 5.  The Yanks are 1-5 with RISP, stranding 6 in all.  Burnett got Gross on a deep F8 in left center, one down.  Hernandez made a nice play on Hernandez’s short hop on 3-2, two down and Burnett is at 85 pitches. Bartlett down on a pop to Cano, three down, and Burnett had another 1-2-3 on 15 pitches, 89 in all.

Cano led off with a big blast to center, off the back wall; what a shot. 15 this year for RC, 4-0 Yankees. Swish hit that just as far, a dozen rows into the stands in right center, 5-0 Yanks.  Outstanding. Gross didn’t move a muscle; that was gone without a doubt. Melky popped out to short, one down.  The Captain singled, two hits for him tonight, ending the evening for Shields.  Against Nelson, JD walked, Teixeira popped out to short.  Crank one here, A-Rod.  Nope, F9, but two big insurance runs for Burnett, 5-0 Yanks.  Upton K’d but the ball eluded Posada giving Upton first.  Yeeesh, Jorge. Burnett probably wants to pie Jorge between innings. Now a hit-and-run single where a covering Cano was put runners at the corners, no outs.  Longoria grounded into a 4-6-3 DP, scoring Upton but two down.  Take the trade-off.  Burnett got Zobrist on a 4-3, and Burnett has thrown 43 pitches in the last three after throwing 61 in the first three; much better.  5-1 Yanks.

Matsui worked the count full before walking.  Jorge erased that with a DP, really on a roll the last inning, though Longoria made a nice play to start the around-the-horn DP.  Cano walked, but Swish out on an F8 in shallow left center.  AJ out for the seventh, and gets the first out from Pena on one pitch, with some help from Jeter on a nice play to his left.  A-Rod knocked down a hot grounder from Burrell, and Teixeira made a nice stretch, two down.  Gross down on an F8 deep, and Burnett had a 10-pitch seventh, ending his night at 114 pitches/69 strikes, 2 hits, an unearned run, 2 BB, and 5 K’s.  He was outstanding, nothing short, yet another terrific start.

Melky started the eighth with an infield single to third.  Balfour entered and got ahead of Jeter, but The Captain singled to right, sending Melky to third.  Jeter is a tremendous hitter, and that’s his third hit, batting .325.  JD’s FC to second nabbed Melky, one down.  Teixeira flew out to shallow right center, two down; bad execution thus far, and A-Rod needs to get off the schneid.  Frank the Sage says A-Rod has the magic disappearing bat, and needs to find it.  He does! scoring two with an RBI double off a letter-high meatball, 7-1 Yanks.  Way to pick ’em up, A-Rod.  Those are big runs, four-run lead or not.  Matsui made out on an F7, but the damage from A-Rod really hurts.

Albaladejo is in, fanning Hernandez, walking Bartlett, Upton hit the bag, getting a double, second and third. Fluke play, but the BB was poor and inexcusable.  Why not Melancon, who was actually up collecting rust?  Why not use the guy who was actually here?  Robertson is up in the bullpen.  JD made a deep out on Crawford’s sac fly, 7-2, two out.  Albaladejo then hit Longoria, as I’m shaking my head at this nonsense. Zobrist singled, 7-3 Yankees.  Albaladejo is disgraceful, and David Robertson is in to face Pena.  Why am I not comforted?  But Robertson offered me a platter of crow, fanning Pena on a nasty 0-2 curve.  Nice work, kid. 7-3 Yanks.

Swish! He homered to deep left, 8-3, The Road Warrior!  He now has 16 homers.  Big insurance run.  Melky doubled, rising to the occasion with some good play lately.  The Captain got an IBB for the lefty Shouse to face JD., the only Yankees without a hit, and he rips his 17th homer to right, his 200th career homer, 11-3 Yankees.  That’s a whuppin.’  Congratulations, JD!

Robertson coughed one up to Burrell, 11-4.  Gross singled, Aybar popped out to A-Rod, an a heck of a leaping catch spared at least a run there, 2 down.  5-3 ends it.

Published in: on July 27, 2009 at 5:35 pm  Comments (2)  

Wang: Rotator-Cuff Tear?

Pete Abraham reports that the Yankees have sent Chien-Ming Wang to see Dr. James Andrews because they are unsure whether or not his second MRI revealed a rotator-cuff tear, or scar tissue from his previous operation in 2000.  His examination will be Tuesday.  Clearly, this is difficult news and, if he has a rotator-cuff tear, he will miss considerable time–into the 2010 season.

Abraham adds: “If Wang does need surgery, the Yankees could non-tender him in December rather than have him rehab on their dime.”  That would be a real shame if that transpired, for Wang was not only a very reliable starter for the Yanks for a few years.  I am convinced, and I doubt that I am alone in this, that any shoulder injury may well have been the result of mechanical issues stemming from last year’s foot injury and the rehabilitation mess that followed–Wang’s not running this off-season resulting in weakened legs, and his subsequent pitching struggles.  That is, the Yanks treated Wang as if he were some journeyman, then had him pitching this Spring Training as if his velocity would naturally return and, when it didn’t, discussed Wang as though he were too soft instead of his legs not being in game shape.  Disgraceful, and non-tendering him would be even more egregious.

I know I am getting ahead of myself, but if the Yanks non-tender Wang, they will have treated him more shabbily than they did that malignant PaVoldemort.  I really hope that doesn’t happen.  More presciently, I hope he doesn’t have a serious rotator-cuff injury.  He’s had a rough stretch since last June.

Published in: on July 26, 2009 at 8:37 pm  Comments (4)  

Game 98: A’s @ Yankees, 7/26/09–Yanks Take Series, Win 7-5

Briefly, with street hockey looming, Mitre was pretty decent and the offense awoke, winning 7-5.  Coke came on and allowed a two-run homer in the 6th to surrender the lead 5-4 A’s.  But the Yanks scored 3 in the bottom of the 6th, responding right away.  Melky walked and Ransom hit his second double with one out, putting the Yanks in the same situation they had in the 4th when they didn’t cash in.  This time was different, for Jeter looped a single to center for a 6-5 Yankees lead.  Jeter immediately got picked off, which was big for JD laced a double to right, but Teixeira bailed him out with an RBI single, 7-5 Yankees.

Hughes was tremendous in the seventh, striking out two and throwing 95-97 gas.  After striking out Suzuki, Sweeney walked and Barton doubled and, with Hughes at 39 pitches through 1 1/3 from long at-bats, Bruney entered to much trepidation at The Heartland.  But he availed himself well, fanning Crosby on a fastball tailing in for the second out.  Mariano then entered and got Garciaparra pinch-hitting on a comebacker to end the eighth on three pitches.  He then fanned Kennedy and Cabrera in the ninth before getting Hairston on a grounder to Ransom to end it, 29 saves this year, 511 in his incomparable career.

Everyone in the Yanks’ lineup had at least a hit today.  Ransom was 2-4 with 2 doubles (9 this year), scoring a run and doing a fabulous job of turning over the lineup.  Jeter was 2-4 with a walk and the two-run single in the sixth, giving him 43 RBI and a .321 average.  Teixeira was 2-5 with his 26th double and an RBI single, his 72nd RBI, batting .281.  Cano was 1-4 with his 26th double, a bases-clearing shot in the bottom of the first, 52 RBI this year and a .309 average.  Posada was 1-4 with a walk, batting .287.  Matsui was 1-4 with a walk and his 44th RBI, batting .252.  Melky was 1-2 with 2 walks, batting .287.  JD was 1-4 with his 22nd double and 2 runs, batting .279.  The Yanks were 4-14 with RISP, stranding 10 many of those as the game went on.  But the bottom of the order was key today, going 4-10 with 2 runs and 3 RBI.  The Yanks cranked 6 doubles and worked 7 walks, while issuing only 1 themselves.

Mitre was fairly good, allowing nine hits but getting 3 DPs, including two beauties in which Jeter avoided a hard slide on a 1-6-3, and Cano made the fastest of turns on a 6-4-3 that Jeter started in the hole.  Jeter and Cano have honestly been the best SS-2B tandem in the AL both offensively and defensively, to me.  Coke allowed the run, but the Yanks’ bullpen allowed three hits and a walk in 4 IP, fanning 6.  Hughes threw 39 and is probably unavailable tomorrow, but Bruney’s K was a good sign and surely a confidence boost for him and the team.

On to Tampa for the biggest series of the year.  Winning 2 of 3 would be very good.  Great home stand for the Yanks; hard to ask for anything more than 9 of 10 and very good starting pitching.

Below, as per Pete Abraham, is the Yanks’ lineup.  A-Rod sit for some rest, and he’s been cold anyway.  Brett the Jet is on the DL with a broken thumb, and will likely miss a good few weeks.  Amazing, he broke his thumb during yesterday’s game, yet made an excellent catch and hit a triple with hit.  He will be missed.  The offense needs to get going a bit, and hopefully Mitre will pitch well.  If not, the indications from Cashman a few days ago are that either Aceves or Hughes will be moved into the rotation, which will only hurt the bullpen.  The Yanks need Mitre to pitch fairly well and keep them in games.

Enjoy the game, everyone.

YANKEES (59-38)
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Posada C
Matsui DH
Swisher RF
Cano 2B
Cabrera CF
Ransom 3B

Pitching: RHP Sergio Mitre (1-0, 4.76).

In perhaps the longest first inning in the history of baseball (kidding), Cabrera singled and stole second, then Hairston doubled him in, 1-0 A’s.  Cust singled him to third, and Suzuki singled Hairston home, 2-0 A’s.  Mitre got two ground balls to escape.  The Yanks atoned with four in the bottom half.  Jeter singled, JD walked, Teixeira struck out on a nasty change, Posada popped out, Matsui singled to left to score Jeter, 2-1.  Cano, with all his RISP problems, stepped up and I politely urged him, C’mon, Mr. Cano sir, how about a hit with runners in scoring position? To this my wife responded, “He will.  He will.”  Sure enough, Cano blasted it to deep right center past a diving Patterson, scoring all three runs.  Cano over-slid the bag at third, making the third out at third and therefore inadvertently committing one of the cardinal sins of baseball.  Yet under the circumstances, and especially because it was just the result of a lack of body control on a hustle play, I’l take it.  Cano broke the ice with that huge hit, giving the Yanks a 4-2 lead.  Crucially, they made Braden work every bit as hard as the A’s did Mitre.

Mitre had a nice 13-pitch second, working around a hit.  In the bottom half, Melky popped out meekly to the catcher.  Ransom popped out quickly for the second out.  [During Jeter’s at-bat, Waldman reported that Gene Monahan has an ice pack on Melky’s jaw; why I’m not sure.  It would be a bad blow to lose two good defensive outfielders.] Jeter walked, but JD grounded out.  Braden is at 39 pitches after 2.

Melky is playing CF.  Hairston had his uniform brushed with a pitch and takes first.  Yet Mitre’s sinker worked effectively on Cust for a 1-6-3 DP that Jeter turned very well, getting past a hard slide from Hairston; two pitches, two outs.  On an inning-ending 6-3 by Suzuki, Mitre had a four-pitch third, 41 pitches through three.  Teixeira grounded out, Posada singled to left, Matsui scalded one to right center for a loud out, two down, and Swish K’d to end the third.  Braden has a nasty change-up.  Yanks still up 4-2.

Sweeney singled to start the fourth.  Barton followed up with a nice single through the hole on the right side on a sinker away, runners at the corners with no outs.  Ellis drove home Sweeney with a sac fly to right center, 4-3 Yanks, one out.  Mitre got a comebacker for what should have been an easy 1-6-3 DP, but he threw it terribly off Jeter’s glove, runners at the corners again; poorly done, Mitre.  But Jeter and Cano saved him, with Jeter going into the hole to retrieve it and flip it to Cano, who pivoted rapidly and turned it as he does–beautifully–for the DP, preserving the lead. Huge, beautiful DP. How about turning that nice momentum into some insurance runs?

After the great DP turn, Cano led off but lined out to first.  Melky singled to left center, and Ransom ripped a thigh-high fastball for a double into the left field corner.  Big moment here for The Captain, but he failed to deliver with am F9 shallow.  Two down for JD, who weakly pops out to first. Big, blown opportunity there, 4-3 Yanks through 4.

Mitre got his third DP to erase a lead-off single by Cabrera, then fanned Cust to end a fast fifth.  He’s at 72 pitches and working well, quickly, and effectively with his sinker.  He’s not the sinker baller that Wang is when Wang is right, but his sinker has been pretty good in his two starts.  Hopefully he can get into the seventh.  Teixeira flew out to left, Posada grounded out to deep short, Matsui walked, but Swish grounded out to short.  Braden is at 82 pitches through 5.  Coke is warming in the bullpen and may enter in the sixth to face the stretch of lefties at the bottom of the A’s order.  I can see it but, at the same time, Mitre has been pretty good.  I trust Coke, but Mitre has settled in; good thing I’m not managing.

Mitre allowed a lead-off single and that’s it for Mitre–5+.  Coke must hold.  Coke got Sweeney on a weak fly, one down.  Coke got a DP ball, but Barton just beat it, two down.  Coke got ahead 0-1 but threw a wild pitch to give Barton second.  Ellis then homered to left, 5-4 A’s.  Yanks need to wake up and stop playing down to the competition, especially offensively.  That DP that Barton beat out was costly. It really wasn’t a bad pitch from Coke;  Ellis went down and got it.  Patterson singled and Coke is not doing the job today.  A groundout ends the top of the sixth but the Yanks lost the lead.  Still, it’s just one run.  The bottom of the order is up for the Yanks.

With one out, Melky walked and Ransom laced another double to left, second and third, one out, just as it was in the fourth.  The result was be different this time.  It is! Jeter singles to center, scoring two, 6-5 Yankees.  Great job, Captain. The Jeter got picked off, stumbling on the way back to the bag, poorly done Jeter, two down.  JD doubles to right; how costly was that pick-off now?  Teixeira must deliver to ameliorate it.  He does, delivering JD with an RBI single to center, 7-5 Yanks, big inning. Posada walked, ending Braden’s day.  Breslow got Matsui to pop out to second, but the Yanks regained the lead with a big, clutch sixth.

Hughes enters for the seventh (and perhaps the eighth).  Cabrera popped out to shallow center, one down.  Hughes fanned Mitre, throwing 96-97.  Wow.  He also fanned Cust on the same–97 mph fastball.  I’m totally amazed by the guy, just tremendous work.  Mike texted me his concerns about Hughes going two today, rightly tracing it to the early hook of Mitre, about which I had my own suspicions, and with the Yanks facing TB starting tomorrow.  But the alternatives aren’t there, and Aceves is available tomorrow.  I think they need to win today and, after Mariano has had three days off, maybe he could go 1 1/3.  Regardless, Hughes is just mowing ’em down.  Add on, boys.

Swish doubled to right to start the seventh, then moved to third on Cano’s deep F8; nicely done, Cano.  Melky got walked, and I presume a righty will face Ransom.  Hopefully he’ll make them pay.  He’s had a great day at the plate–2 doubles and a run–thus far.  But he hastily chased high heat to fan for the second out.  Jeter up to try to deliver Swish, but he grounds out to first.  Missed chance to add on.  Hold it here, Hughes.

He fanned Suzuki on a 96-mph fastball, three straight K’s.  He walked Sweeney on an eight-pitch at-bat, and Hughes is up to 33 pitches.  Ahead 0-2 to Barton, Hughes threw two outside the zone to even it at 2-2, and Barton belts a curve to right for a double, second and third, one out and Bruney enters.  Huge moment for him and the Yanks, with Bruney facing Ellis.  With TB having lost and Boston down 4 in the 8th, the Yanks cannot let this game get away.  Bruney K’s Ellis on a nasty fastball tailing in, two down, and Mariano enters to face Nomar as Bruney exits to nice applause–some for him, and some surely for Mariano.  Nasty cutter low and away waved at and missed 0-1, foul ball 0-2, easy comebacker for the third out.  Mariano.JD flew out, Teixeira doubled, Posada fanned, and Matsui worked the count to 3-2 before a flyout to right.  Mariano in the ninth to save it.

Mariano nailed the outside corner to get Kennedy looking, one down.  He also fanned Cabrera with a nasty cutter away, two down.  Ransom nailed Hairston with a nice throw, 5-3.  Mariano earned his 29th save of the year, and 511th of his incomparable career.  Tremendous win today as Boston and Tampa Bay lost.  With that, the Yanks return to 2 1/2 ahead of Boston and 6 1/2 ahead of Tampa (7 in the loss column).  I will post more later after what will surely be a vicious street hockey game with my son.  I hoped they would win 8 or 9 of 10, and they won 9.  I didn’t quite expect them to gain that much ground on Boston and TB, but am thrilled they did.  Now they need to take 2 of 3 in TB.

Published in: on July 26, 2009 at 12:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

A’s End Yanks’ Streak at Eight, 6-4

I see I missed a rally.  After the Yanks went down 6-1 through seven, I went out to do some yard work, since the rain from last night’s storm had dried out.  In the eighth, Jorge pinch-hit for Molina and singled, then Jeter homered to shallow right to cut it to 6-3.  Gardner fanned, then Teixeira hit a blast to deep right, 6-4 A’s.  A-Rod, who went 0-4 and is struggling, grounded out, Swish doubled, but Cano popped out to continue his bizarre RISP woes.

After Bruney had a nice ninth, fanning two and working around a hit, the Yanks had a golden opportunity off Andrew Bailey when Melky and JD walked to lead off.  But Jorge grounded into a DP, and Jeter flew out to deep right center to end it.

Lefty was great for six, but faltered in the seventh, ending with 5 hits, 4 runs earned, a walk, and 7 K’s in 6 1/3 on 99 pitches/66 strikes.  Aceves was bad, a rarity, allowing two runs of his own on three hits in just 1/3.  Robertson and Bruney were good, and despite the loss, it wasn’t a bad thing that they got some regular work.  Of course, it would have been better for them to get work with the Yanks up instead of down, but that wasn’t their doing today.

Jeter’s homer was his 11th, with 41 RBI, and he scored twice, batting .319.  Brett the Jet had the RBI triple in the sixth, his sixth triple, batting .275.  He also made a great diving catch.  Teixeira’s homer was his 25th with 71 RBI, batting .279.  Swish hit his 20th double batting .234, Melky had a double and two walks, batting .285, and Jorge’s single puts him at .288.  But 0-5 with RISP was costly, as was the team’s letting the heretofore struggling rookie Gonzales get going and shut down the Yanks.  A-Rod was 0-4 and is 1 for his last 12, down to .248.  Cano was 0-4.  Ransom was 0-2 and, while he has been fine in the field, he is on the team for the pop in his bat.  Granted, he hasn’t played much, but the bat has not been there.  Pena wouldn’t play much in The Bronx and is getting regular work in SWB,  but his glove is far superior, and it’s doubtful to me that he would hit worse that Ransom’s .183 the rest of the way.

It’s hard to complain about a single loss, the first since the break.  Plus, should the Yanks win tomorrow, they will have won 9 of 10 on this home stand, and I had hoped for 8 or 9 out of 10 before it began.  They’ve already done great, gaining first place and putting distance between themselves and both Boston and Tampa Bay.  The pitching has been terrific.  Yet it was a frustrating game, one that was probably bound to happen but one that renewed the typical Yankee offensive woes against rookies and lefties.  They just didn’t get going until too late, rather unfair to Pettite who was outstanding until the end of his stint.  Stranding Gardner at third in the sixth with one out was especially costly in what had been, and again became, a close game.  I say all this not just in reference to this loss, but also to the fact that Tampa came back from eight runs down to tie it and send it to extra innings in Toronto.  Should they win, that’s an important swing.

Still, bravo to the Yanks for a tremendous start to the second half.  They deserve a digital standing ovation, a lot of credit, and some patience today, for storming out of the gate after the break.  Mitre (1-0, 4.76 ERA) faces another lefty in Dallas Braden (7-8, 3.40 ERA) tomorrow afternoon to resume their winning ways, clinch the series, and culminate what has been a stellar home stand before heading to Tampa for what will be the biggest series of the season thus far.

Published in: on July 25, 2009 at 3:51 pm  Comments (8)  

Game 97: A’s @ Yankees, 7/25/09

Below, as per Pete Abraham, is the Yanks’ lineup with the A’s–hopefully–to follow.  Interesting lineup today as Molina catches for Jorge today, shuffling Swish and Cano higher in the lineup.  Brett the Jet is again batting second, while Jeter gets a half-day off by DHing as Ransom plays short.  Seven righty or switch-hitting bats are in the lineup against the lefty Gonzales.

Lefty must keep the string of strong starts going.  Enjoy the game, everyone.

YANKEES (59-37)
Jeter DH
Gardner CF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Swisher RF
Cano 2B
Cabrera LF
Ransom SS
Molina C

Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (8-5, 4.62).

Lineup TBA

Pitching: LHP Gio Gonzalez (1-2, 9.33).

Thus far, Pettite hasn’t allowed a base runner, lookinhg sharp and having a quick, ten-pitch second.  Unfortunately, te sub-par Gonzales is impersonating Koufax through two, issuing but a walk to Gardner.  Hopefully Mike’s astute point about the Yanks’ ability to make the right adjustments against a pitcher the second time through the lineup comes to pass today.

Lefty is certainly doing his job thus far, working through another quick, ten-pitch inning; nine up nine down for the A’s.  The Yanks need some bats, but don’t get them in the third as Ransom and Molina line out sharply, and Jeter (as Ransom) swings at the first pitch and flies out to right, giving the heretofore haggard Gonzales a four-pitch third.  For goodness sake, don’t let this guy settle in!

Despite allowing a one-out single to Cabrera, Pettite is rolling, fanning two in the fourth, and five through four innings.  He is at 50 pitches.  Time for the Yanks to work over Gonzales but, this far, it isn’t happening.  Gardner made out on a 4-3, Teixeira and A-Rod fanned.  Gonzales, who has struggled badly thus far, has a no-hitter through four and is at 50 pitches as well.  Is this guy, a combination of the unknown rookie and the lefty (though the Yanks have hit lefties this season), going to continue to baffle the Yanks?

Pettite got Cust on a weak comebacker, then made a great play on Davis’s nice bunt up the first base line for the second out; excellent play.  Crosby singled through the hole, and Ellis forced Crosby at second. Lefty is at 64 pitches through 5, looking great and providing yet another strong start.  The Yanks’ lineup, on the other hand, needs to get up off the mat.  Melky resorted to bunting nicely for a single, but Ransom’s shallow pop out ended the fifth meekly.  I know the Yanks needed to rest a couple guys, but today the offense is anemic.  That includes the regulars who are playing.  Today seems like a letdown day.  They need Pettite to keep things tied until some Yanks wake up and string together some hits.

He does in the sixth, sandwiching strikeouts of Powell and Cabrera around a long F8 by Kennedy.  Lefty is at 78 pitches, 13 per.  Tremendous start on a day when the offense has been dormant.  Bad strike 3 call in a long at-bat by Holbrook on Molina, one down.  Jeter was behind 0-2, then worked a walk, nicely done by The Captain and, after Molina’s nine-pitch at-bat, maybe some patience can pay off against Gonzales.  Brett the Jet broke the ice, ripping a chest-high fastball and tripling to deep right center, 1-0 Yankees! With the infield up, Teixeira failed to score The Jet, grounding out.  A-Rod is struggling again, grounding to short.  But the Yanks take the lead 1-0. Hold it here, Lefty.

Hairston led off with a double into the left field corner. Garciaparra walked, exacerbating the jam.  Cust worked the count to 3-2 before popping out to left center, nice job by Pettite there.  Righties follow now, with Davis at the start of it.  Will Girardi go to Aceves or stick with Lefty?  He sticks with Pettite after a conference at the mound.  Davis singled up the middle to tie the game, still first and second.  Pettite has been excellent but, with more righties (though lighter hitting), how long to stick with him?  Crosby singles on a bunt down third, and Pettite’s day is done; Aceves is in.  Ellis popped out to first right away, two down, but Powell singled to left scoring two, 3-1 A’s.  That stunted rally in the sixth, when Teixeira and A-Rod failed to plate Gardner, looms large now.  Kennedy and Cabrera singled to make it 6-1, opening the floodgates against a listless Yankees team.  This was a rare poor performance from Aceves, but a costly one as he left everything up and the A’s, weak offensively though they are, cuffed him around.  Robertson brought in his mop and fanned Hairston, but the damage was done.

Hopefully Gonzales will have cooled with that long inning.  Swish grounded out for the first out.  Cano fanned for the second out, and Melky walked, ending Gonzales’s coming-out performance that the Yanks, as is their wont, were glad to oblige.  Against Wuertz, Matsui pinch-hit for Ransom and flew out to right.  I’m not completely ruling out a Yanks comeback, but it will have to happen without me.  I’m going to cut the grass.

Published in: on July 25, 2009 at 10:49 am  Comments (2)  

Yanks Pour It On Late, Win Eight Straight 8-3

Joba was magnificent, going 7+ innings of two-hit ball, the offense was advantageous if not overwhelming for most of the game until scoring four in the eighth, and most of the front-line relievers got a blow as the Yanks blew out Oakland 8-3.  Joba was really the decisive factor, allowing a run in the first on Cabrera’s double and, after Cabrera stole third, Hairston’s sac fly gave the A’s a 1-0 lead.  After that, Joba shut things down.

After Anderson struck out the side in the first and set the Yanks down easily in order in the second, the Yanks scored two in the third and never looked back.  Cano led off with a single, Swish popped out, Melky (who had a great night at the plate) doubled to left, and The Captain’s single scored Cano to tie the game.  JD’s 3-6 force gave the Yanks the 2-1 lead.  Joba, meanwhile, was rolling through the fourth, with the last hit he allowed a one-out single to Sweeney.  He got into trouble in the fifth with back-to-back one-out walks to Sweeney and Barton, both of whom advanced on a wild pitch, but Joba fanned Ellis and Patterson on nasty sliders to escape the jam.

The Yanks rewarded him in the bottom of the fifth by cobbling together a run.  Swish walked, Melky singled, Jeter forced Melky, moving Swish to third, and JD’s second RBI force, a well-located slap into the hole at short, scored Swish, 3-1 Yanks.  In the sixth, after Joba set down the A’s 1-2-3, A-Rod doubled on a ball that Patterson seemed to lose in the lights, moved to third on Jorge’s 4-3, and scored on Matsui’s 4-3, 4-1 Yanks.  At this point, the Yanks had just one hit with RISP, but four runs thanks to productive outs, rendering their RISP and runners on struggles today (3-13, 8 LOB) somewhat decieving.  After Joba’s nine-pitch seventh, the Yanks blew a chance to add on when Melky and Jeter led off with singles.  JD’s DP to short moved Melky to third, two outs, Teixeira walked, and A-Rod fanned, part of a rough night for A-Rod (1-5 on the gift double, 2 K’s, a GIDP, and 7 personally stranded).

Joba was at 93 pitches through seven and came out for the eighth, but lost it a bit, walking Barton and hitting Ellis to start the inning.  Enter Coke, who was again masterful.  He fanned Nomar on a nasty curve, got Kennedy on an F9 on which Barton should have advanced to third.  Coke’s wild pitch moved him and Ellis ahead anyway, but Coke rendered it academic by fanning Cabrera on another nasty 2-2 curve to hold the A’s at one run; tremendous work by Coke in relief of the equally tremendous Joba, who finished his night having allowed a mere 2 hits, 3 walks, a hit batter, and a run earned with 6 K’s on 100 pitches/56 strikes to up his record to 6-2, and lower his ERA to 3.86.

The Yanks blew it wide open in the bottom of the eighth.  Jorge led off with a huge blast to deep left, his 13th of the year and 234th of his outstanding career, to make it 5-1 Yanks.  Humorously, as soon as Jorge homered Mariano, who got up to stretch in the bullpen, immediately sat down with a smile.  Good that he got another day off after saving five of the first six post-break wins.  Matsui made out on a 4-3, Cano and Swish worked back-to-back walks, and Melky’s comebacker resulted in a throwing error by Casilla, letting Cano score 6-1 Yanks.  Swish was clearly out at third but ruled safe, giving the Yanks a break and keeping it at one out.  The Captain’s RBI single to center made it 7-1, and was also his 2,655th career hit, moving him past The Splendid Splinter, Tedd Ballgame on the all-time hit list.  What a great accomplishment for The Captain, a great hitter.  JD’s single to center made it 8-1. Robertson allowed two hits and two runs, one earned, in the ninth in a mop-up role, 8-3 Yanks.

The work of Joba and Coke was outstanding, really clamping down on an A’s team that, for all their offensive travails, had battered the Twins immediately before coming to The Bronx.  Joba yielded nothing, and worked out of the fifth inning jam beautifully.  Coke’s work was crucial, for the 4-1 lead cut have been cut to one but wasn’t.  That Mariano, Hughes, and Aceves got a rest as the A’s again had to dig into their pen is also comforting, for they have shouldered a heavy workload after the break.

Jeter was 3-5 with 2 RBI (39), batting .320, and his historic accomplishment makes his great career all the more impressive.  He’s 10-32 (.313) with 6 RBI after the break, and 30-82 (.366) in July.  JD was 1-5 but had 3 RBI, 54 on the year, batting .279.  Melky was excellent at the plate for the first time in a while, going 3-4 with his 16th double and 2 runs, batting .284.  Cano was 2-3 with 2 runs and a walk, raising his average to .313.  He is also 9 for his last 17.  Jorge had the solo shot to pad the lead and start the rally in the eighth, and called a great game. A-Rod had the charitable double, and Swish was 0-2 but walked twice and scored twice.  Teixeira was 1-3 with 2 walks, and Matsui had his 43rd RBI.

Eight straight wins is amazing, a great way to come out of the break.  The Yanks remain 2 1/2 up on Boston, who held on to beat Baltimore 3-1, and 6 1/2 up on Tampa–7 in the loss column–after they beat Toronto 4-2 in 10.  They are also 22 games above .500 and have the best record in the AL.

Lefty (8-5, 4.62 ERA) looks to keep the great streak going tomorrow at 1:05 against lefty Gio Gonzales (1-2, 9.33 ERA).  Keep soaking it up, Yankees fans.  This has been nothing short of outstanding baseball, starting with the starters.  Joba deserves a lot of credit and, among the starting five at the beginning of the year, three–Joba (3.86), C.C.(3.67), and A.J. (3.74)–have earned-run averages under 4.  Keep it rolling, Pettite.

Published in: on July 24, 2009 at 10:02 pm  Comments (5)  

Game 96: A’s @ Yankees, 7/24/09

Below, as per Pete Abraham, are tonight’s starting lineups.  The A’s lack Holliday, who was traded to the Cards.  Joba looks to build on his last start, which was very good.  Melky starts tonight for Brett the Jet, and hopefully can hit the lefty Anderson–the first of three lefties slated to face the Yankees to finish the four-game series.

Enjoy the game, everyone.

YANKEES (58-37)
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Posada C
Matsui DH
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Cabrera CF

Pitching: RHP Joba Chamberlain (5-2, 4.05).

Kennedy 3B
Cabrera SS
Hairston LF
Cust DH
Suzuki C
Sweeney RF
Barton 1B
Ellis 2B
Patterson CF

Pitching: LHP Brett Anderson (5-7, 4.25).

Published in: on July 24, 2009 at 6:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Greatest

Courtesy, as always, of Pete Abraham:

Here’s what kind of guy Mariano Rivera is.

When the Yankees arrived today, they each had a ball in a glass and cherry wood display case waiting for them in their lockers. It was a game-used ball from the June 28 game against the Mets when Mo picked up his 500th save.

Each ball was signed and under Mo’s meticulous signature it said “500th save, 6/28/08.”

Not only did Mariano give a ball to every player, all of the coaches, trainers, security people and other staff members received one as well.

Making it know that he considered it a team and not an individual accomplishment. Mariano is The Man.

Published in: on July 24, 2009 at 1:14 am  Comments (2)  

Yanks Take Seventh Straight, 6-3

After a rain delay of about 2 1/2 hours, the Yanks took the field and fell behind 2-0 in the second, then 3-0 in the fourth, to Oakland.  Yet a big four-run rally in the fourth, and two more in the fifth, propelled an initially shaky but ultimately gutty Sabathia to his 10th win.  With Mariano getting the night off, Hughes entered and worked a two-inning save, allowing the most trustworthy to get some rest, and the less trustworthy to collect more rust.  However it must be done, although I worry about burning out the front-line relievers.  Still, a relatively minor complaint right now as the Yanks took their seventh straight, going up 2 1/2 games on Boston, and 6 1/2 on Tampa, seven in the loss column.

CC started with a 1-2-3 first but threw first-pitch balls to two of three and was behind in the count, making me a bit uneasy.  The second inning confirmed that this would not be a smooth start for him as he allowed two runs.  Garciaparra singled and Suzuki doubled on pitches up, Cust’s sac fly to center made it 1-0 A’s, and Crosby’s single added another, 2-0.  A 6-4-3 DP ended the third for CC on just 6 pitches, but local boy Vin Mazzaro baffled the Yanks through three.  The only Yankee hit in that stretch went unrequited, for Cano misread the ball’s path into the left field corner as Holliday easily threw him out trying for two, while Brett the Jet’s walk and stolen base found no purchase with Jeter’s K to end the third.

Halliday’s lead-off ground-rule double and Suzuki’s one-out single that Hinske just missed in right made it 3-0, and I started to get the feeling that it would just be one of those night.  Not so fast.  The Yanks solved Mazzaro the second pass through the order, as JD’s patient at-bat yielded a lead-off single and, after falling behind 3-0 to Teixeira, Mazzaro served up a belt-high meatball that Teixeira creamed into The Teixeira Tier (the second deck in right) to cut it to 3-2 and fast.  Excuse me, Mr. Teixeira sir, would you like a napkin with that meatball? The rally continued as A-Rod walked on 3-2 then stole second, his 6th stolen base and the third straight game with a successful steal–a good sign.  After Matsui’s pop out, Jorge doubled him home to tie the game.  Cano, miserable with RISP (0-2 tonight and now .205 with RISP), popped out for the second out, but Hinske the Clutch singled Jorge home for the lead the Yanks would not surrender.

CC worked around a lead-off single to post an important goose egg after the Yanks’ rally, with New York adding two more for good measure in the fifth.  Jeter came back from 0-2 to walk, JD singled him to second, and Teixeira doubled him home, 5-3.  A-Rod fanned, a big out for it prevented two outs from scoring two more runs, Matsui walked, and Jorge delivered an RBI single to center, 6-3.  Yet Cano the RISP challenged again popped out as did Hinske.  Good follow-up rally, but it should have been more.

CC allowed a hit in each of the next two innings but wasn’t threatened, finishing with what was on the whole a fairly good performance–7 IP, 9 hits, three runs earned, no walks (key, for he had 3 in each of his two previous starts), and 4 K’s on 109 pitches/71 strikes.  He definitely got better as the game went on, something that has characterized most starts for the Yanks after the break.  He threw hard–95-96 steadily, and kept his pitches down well after the second inning.  Seven straight good starts, seven wins.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Hughes worked a 9-pitch eighth, getting some help from Cano with his patented flip throw across his body–and a nice patented Teixeira scoop–to end the inning.  He needed 19 pitches in the ninth to close it out, and it felt like 17 of them went to Crosby, the final batter of the game.  But Hughes was again great, giving everyone else and especially Mariano a rest, which Hughes should get for the next two days.  He’s been outstanding; he’s also worked back-to-back days three times this month.  Sit the kid, he’s too precious a commodity to burn out.  I completely understand Girardi’s going to the hot and trusted hands.  A couple blowout wins for the Yanks would ease the work for the front-line relievers.  None have occurred since the break, alas.  And it’s hard to complain with how a seven-game winning streak has occurred.  I’m just thankful for it.

Teixeira crushed his 24th homer and a double (his 25th) and has 70 RBI, batting .279.  In July, he’s 23-78 (.295) with 4 homers–3 after the break–and 7 RBI in the 7 post-break wins.  JD was 2-4 with 2 runs, batting .281.  Jorge was 2-4 with a double (14th) and 2 RBI, batting .286.  Cano (.310), Hinske (.266), and Jeter (.316) each had a single, and Melky (.277) doubled in his only plate appearance.  Brett the Jet was hitless but had a walk and stole his 20th base.  The guy is a genuine asset and, at .274, is hitting acceptably.  If he’s getting on base at least once a game and stealing a base, who can complain?  Yes, I’d like to see his average bump up a bit but, if you had told me before the season that he would be at .274 with 20 steals nearing the end of July, I’d have said fine.  And I say fine.  4-13 with RISP, stranding 7 (5 in scoring position), was overall very good.

Enjoy it while we can, Yankees fans.  This has been excellent, and just what the Yankees needed to do after the break with the long home stand–win lots of games, get good pitching, and especially beat the sub-.500 teams.  They have done all that and, crucially, done so at the very same time that Boston has struggled (especially offensively).  They have put distance between themselves and the Rays.  After some real struggles with the rotation in April, the Yanks have moved toward the middle of the pack in the AL in rotation numbers for ERA and IP (10th), while having the 5th-best BAA among AL rotations (.266) entering tonight’s game.  While the bullpen has thrown the 4th-most innings entering tonight, they have the 8th-best ERA but, more importantly, the best BAA among AL bullpens (.227) entering tonight.  They’re mowing teams down, holding leads and cinching wins game in and game out.

Soak it in, Yankees fans.  While there are some issues to iron out, such as Wang’s shoulder as he will get a look from Dr. Andrews and its implications for the fifth spot in the rotation, and working others such as Bruney, probably Marte, Robertson, and Melancon (who might get farmed out for Marte) into some regular work to alleviate the others, this team can’t help but make us smile right now.  I know I am.

Published in: on July 24, 2009 at 12:41 am  Comments (4)