May
01

Big inning Yanks take series opener 7-4

By

For the third straight start, A.J. Burnett did not bring his A game. In the first he gutted through 6.1 innings against the Indians, allowing just three runs while throwing a paltry 54 percent of his pitches for strikes. The next was the infamous Saturday game against Boston about which we will not presently speak. At the beginning this looked more like Boston than Cleveland, but Burnett settled down after the 2nd and finished seven innings, putting the Yanks in a position to win 7-4. They couldn’t have done it without yet another big inning from the offense.

The game started in an inauspicious manner, with Chone Figgins tripling past the outstretched glove of Johnny Damon. It took just a groundout to plate him. Three batters later Burnett was out of the inning, but his troubles wouldn’t end there. Mike Napoli started it right back up in the second, homering to right on a low, outside pitch. It seemed like a typical New Stadium home run, a hard hit ball that just carried. A few batters later it looked to get worse, with Erik Aybar hitting a sac fly to deep right — while shattering his bat. It’s not like Aybar is a power hitter by any stretch. A broken bat that deep? Uh oh.

Thankfully, A.J. was for the most part able to keep things under control the rest of the way. The only damage was again caused by Chone Figgins, as he singled home Erik Aybar after the latter doubled to lead off the fifth. This was particularly disheartening, as Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu had just given the Yankees the lead. Oh, Bobby. Your defense we do not miss.

Burnett finished the game having allowed four earned runs over seven innings. His strike percentage, 61 percent, was right in line with Saturday’s start, though obviously better than his previous one against Cleveland. In other words, he’s going to have to start throwing more strikes one way or another. However, of the 27 batters he faced 19 saw first-pitch strikes — though that includes Napoli and his damn home run. The Yanks will take this kind of start from A.J. from time to time, but we’d all clearly like to see more games like Tampa than like Cleveland.

The offense had another big inning last night, this time the eighth (or, should I say, teh eighth!!!11!1!!1!). The whole sequence unfolded pretty quickly, as the Yanks loaded the bases on essentially two pitches. Cano pulled the first pitch to right for a single, and Posada smacked the second pitch of his at bat into the gap for a ground rule double. Scioscia and company decided to intentionally walk Nick Swisher, and Melky Cabrera made them pay for it on the first pitch, singling to right and scoring Cano to take the lead for good. Not comfortable with a one-run lead, Ramiro Pena pulled the second pitch of his at bat to right for a two-run double. They could have gotten more, too, as Derek Jeter walked to re-load the bases with one out. But Johnny Damon looked like he wanted a grand slam bad and ended up popping out to short. Mark Teixeira then had a good at bat that ended with him getting fooled on a curve.

The game got frustrating at times, but the Yanks took advantage of their opportunities and came up with a big W. It’s still April (well, May by the time you read this), so checking the standings is kind of silly, but it’s nice to know that both Boston and Toronto lost. They’ll do it again tomorrow night, Andy Pettitte vs. Jered Weaver.

Categories : Game Stories

91 Comments»

  1. Matt ACTY says:

    Remember when everyone complained about the Yankees not being able to hit w/RISP.

  2. cuponoodles says:

    Great game. Has anyone noticed Coke’s quiet dominance? Only 2 hits and 0 ER in 7 IP (since has last hiccup).

    Ramiro Pena is showing some surprising pop too, and what about the Melky Cabrera renaissance?

    • That was Ramiro Peña’s first extra-base hit in the big leagues and his first two RBIs. He had a .250 slugging to go with his .250 BA heading into that AB. I wouldn’t exactly call it pop, but he’s not totally inept with the bat.

      • dkidd says:

        after three weeks of watching ransom sulk about, it’s also refreshing that pena looks happy to be in the major leagues

        • Bo says:

          Pena should have been playing 3b all season.

          • steve (different one) says:

            this comment is unreal.

            career .258/.316/.319 hitter in the minor leagues, who never saw a pitch above AA, should have been handed the starting job from day one?

            give me a break.

            why can’t you just be happy that the yankees *may* have developed a nice utility infielder from their system, instead of pissing and moaning about something that can’t be changed?

            dude has 1 big hit and now the yankees are holding back the next David Wright or something.

            • why can’t you just be happy that the yankees *may* have developed a nice utility infielder from their system, instead of pissing and moaning about something that can’t be changed?

              Because Grantbo is not a human. He’s a bot, programmed to dislike and pooh-pooh and shit on everything in his path.

              He’s the prototype Sourpuss-1000TX. He runs Linux now, more stable.

          • BklynJT says:

            I’m lovin Pena’s defense at 3rd. That kid’s got a gun for an arm and it’s always right on target.

  3. You know what? I’m willing to give ineffective A.J. a pass on this one tonight. As I can personally attest, it was effin’ cold out there tonight. It was damp; it was really windy (in the Grandstand at least); and it was cold. That was not a night for baseball, and A.J. had some pretty decent stuff even if he wasn’t as efficient in finding the strike zone. For one night at least, I’ll worry less about that inconsistency than I otherwise would.

  4. dkidd says:

    time to establish a home field advantage

    let’s dominate this homestand

  5. Expired Milk says:

    Its great that the bottom of the lineup is not a black hole anymore. Its can only improve once boli gets back.

    Oh man I haven’t fapped in a few days and the Yanks won 3 in a row. Such a tough decision tonite.

  6. People seem to forget, when not facing the yankees or Red Sox, AJ was fairly pedestrian last year. Good enough to win games, but certainly not dominant.

    That said, I can’t speak for his career before last year.

    Still, a win is a win.

    Peña is growing on me. A lot. A lot of raw potential, but he’s young enough to make it work.

    Coke I think is more dependable than most realize. He had a couple flukey outings but seems to have calmed down. Certainly he’s advanced in the pecking order.

  7. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    Joe, I asked Mike this the other day, and he said you were the one to ask. When does Melky get his name tagged? Shouldn’t two game winning hits get him the same respect as Carmen Angelini?

  8. Brooklyn Ed says:

    Joe, no podcast today?

  9. Stephen says:

    So let me get this straight- Pitchers other than Joba can pitch in the 8th inning? This is mind blowing.

  10. John says:

    Me Gusta Ramiro Pena. Y tu?

  11. V says:

    1) Ramiro Pena. Definitely liking him. He should be able to maintain at the very least, a solid replacement level bat with plus defense – EXACTLY what you want out of a utility infielder.

    2) Melky Cabrera. Could we be seeing the breakout that I (and Joe Sheehan) saw coming in 2008? http://baseballprospectus.com/.....cleid=7053

    • handtius says:

      1. I agree. Not sure if he should go down or not and get regular at bats or if this is him.

      2. too early to tell. I’d hope so. he’s make a good corner OF, with A-Jax in center. But it is way too early for that to be decided.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

      “Cabrera may not get there in 2008, but he’s going to pop 80 extra-base hits and slug .500 in a season very, very soon.” Wow! I’m a big fan of Melky, but come on? 80 extra base hits?

  12. Rich says:

    Right now, Tex and Pena are the only starters with an OPS less than .800.

  13. A.D. says:

    Ramiro Pena is going to put up a few big hits before A-Rods return so that A-Rod haters can talk about how Pena is a better team player and that the Yankees are better with Pena in the lineup.

  14. dkidd says:

    ram-grit >>>>>>>>> man-tit

  15. Stuckey says:

    I have to imagine many of the same things being said about Pena were being said about Garnder after his two big hits in Tampa.

    That’s not to say he won’t be a good player, but he had one line drive hit… let’s not go crazy here.

    And if the Yankees think he’s a player, he’ll go to SWB. Giving him a taste of the majors and then telling him he still has work to do to make it make permanently and perhaps someday in a starting role is not a bad way to develop such a young player.

  16. yankees=warriors says:

    It’s hard not to cheer for Pena, he’s got such a baby face!
    On a more serious note, even when he’s not hitting. his defense really more than makes up for it.

  17. Tom Zig says:

    It was good to see that even without his best stuff Burnett was able to make it through 7 innings. I’m guessing Burnett will be squaring off against Beckett in his next start. Hopefully Beckett continues to pitch the way he is.

    • I think the boston matchups should be Phil and Joba pitching, not AJ.

      • Chris says:

        Joba gets the first game, AJ the second.

        Friday – Pettitte
        Saturday – CC
        Sunday – Hughes

        Monday – Joba
        Tuesday – AJ

      • Johnny says:

        there’s really no choice there, they pitch every fifth day. I for one am excited about aj v beckett, as I will be in the very last row of the upper deck for the match up.
        Also, Burnett is going to be fine, as is the rest of the team.( i guess that means you can count me as a 10 in the confidence poll)

  18. Joey says:

    Just watched the replays of the TB vs Boston game on ESPN, wtf? Is Tito really trying to copy Girardi? Does Van Every really think he is in the same “nation”, much less the same freakin’ universe as Swisher? I’m actually kinda pissed off about this, someone trying to be Swisher. Not cool, especially from a nobody loser like Van Every. Who the fuck is that anyway?

    And of course he got hit because he has nothing on Swisher. Why is this making me mad? Dammit

    • Chris says:

      How embarrassed must Javier Lopez feel? When Van Every came in to pitch, Lopez was sent to right field.

      • It wasn’t embarrassment as much as necessity. The only position player the Sox had left was a catcher.

        • steve (different one) says:

          well, except for Van Every….just sayin’.

          they did have 3 more relievers left in their pen.

          i understand wanting to save those relievers, but when Girardi sent Swisher to pitch, how would everyone have felt if he put Coke in RF? i’m toing to assume he would have been DESTROYED for that.

  19. GAH. I am 2 and a half !@#!@# pages away from page 20 and doneness. Why must this be so hard?!

    On topic: the weather looked kinda ugly at the end there and I think it’s supposed to be like that all week. Boo. I hate when it’s not sunny and we’re home.

  20. Mike Pop says:

    What great pitchers do. Keep their team in the game, pitch to the score even when not having their best stuff.

    ;)

    • Bo says:

      Exactly. He should be commended. Any pitcher could dominate with their A Stuff. To fight and battle and give 7 with C stuff is impressive.

      • steve (different one) says:

        you do realize the words “commended” and “impressive” implies something POSITIVE, right?

        • That’s what makes Bo so infuriating. Out of every 100 comments, one of them is sane, rational, and shows perspective and reasonable consideration for the depth and complexity of the issue at hand.

          Which means he’s not a lunatic… there is a glimmer of hope for goodness and rightness inside him. He can be turned back into a good commenter, I know it.

          Grantbo = Darth Vader

  21. jonathan says:

    Anyone notice that the Red Sox put LF-Jonathan Van Every in to pitch yesterday nite. He had a decent line too, I think the Yankees and Sox should have a battle on Outfielder/pitchers next game to the new Yankee Stadium. Swisher Baby!!

    • jon says:

      How funny would that be

      tied at 1 in like the 18th inning, swish vs van every

    • Bo says:

      I guess you don’t take the time to actually read the thread and the posts maybe 6 inches above you.

    • Axl says:

      I think it’s funny that the best pitcher they got on their team is the lead singer of The Monkeys… Davey “Hunter” Jones…

  22. Axl says:

    The Yankees are playing great offensively. The pitching they got from the young guys against the Tigers was incredible. AJ seems to be taking steps backwards so he’s not in the spotlight over Sabathia and the rest or something.

    The only thing I worry about which hasn’t been happening with this club yet…so hopefully we’ve gotten around the hump…but in previous years…a lot of games we’d have that one big inning…and then lay dormant for the rest of the game. Which is still fine if the pitching is there…but if it’s not it could be disastrous.

    Melky definitely earned his job back that’s for sure. He’s hitting like .364 with 4 home runs and a bunch of RBI in his past 16 games or something. Do I think it will stay that was for the rest of the year? Of course not…but if he can even hit .280 with a bunch of RBI and some home runs here and there with everybody else contributing like they should. We literally won’t have an automatic out in the line up (if everyone stays healthy which is unlikely). The odds that Matsui stays healthy all year even as a DH isn’t likely at all. But I like what I see right now from him. He’s definitely at least some form of catalyst at the moment…in the absence of Arod.

    AJ is going to have some bad starts here and there. All our starters will. Obviously we can’t expect them to be lights out every single game of the year. I’ll take an AJ start like last night as one of his “bad” outings. We still one. It’s when they start piling up start after start after start…where we notice he’s not doing that well…that’s when we don’t necessarily worry…but perhaps wonder what’s going on.

    Beckett got bopped around again last night while Matt Garza pitched a no hitter into the 7th for me in two of my fantasy leagues! 10k’s! That WHIP was nice for me in those leagues too of course. When do you think Francona will realize it’s time to get Ortiz out of the 3 hole? I know he likes alternating his lefty/righty hitters and JD Drew isn’t exactly a sure thing…but Ortiz’s OBP is like .280. They might be hoping for a Delgado bounce back but I don’t think it’ll be that easy for him. The best was that they had their position player hero from the previous night come in and pitch, Van Every. He only gave up a run so I guess he did what he had to do…but he’s still no Swish the Dish.

  23. [...] 30, 2009: Yankees 7, Angels 4 (Box Score) (RAB Recap) WP: Phil Coke LP: Justin Speier SV: Mariano Rivera HR: Mike Napoli, Johnny Damon In the first [...]

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