Yanks offense turns table on ChiSox for finale victory

Arodys dominant as SI rolls over Aberdeen
Fan Confidence Poll: August 3rd, 2009

For the first three games of this series, we’ve harped on the Yankees inability to hit with runners in scoring position. On Friday and Saturday they put plenty of runners on, but couldn’t bring them around. That changed on Sunday, as they had six hits in 17 at bats with ducks on the pond. The White Sox, who had done a great job in those situations, went 2 for 14. It was the difference as the Yankees avoided the sweep, beating Mark Buehrle and the Sox 8-5.

While the whole offense, including newcomer Jerry Hairston, hit well, Melky Cabrera was the game’s first star. The big story was his cycle, capped off by a triple in the ninth inning. It was the timing and nature of his hits that put the Yankees over the top. He started their scoring with a three-run homer in the second. Next was a double to lead off the fourth, leading to the Yanks first run of that inning. He then picked up a single with A-Rod standing on second base, extending the Yankees lead to 6-4. Finally was his triple with none on and one out in the ninth, leading to an insurance run to make up for the one the Sox scored in the eighth.

Overall Melky was 4 for 5, scoring three and driving in four. In two at bats with the bases empty he hit a double and triple, thereby putting himself into scoring position, both times with fewer than two outs. In three at bats with runners in scoring position he went 2 for 3, driving in his four runs. His one failure was a groundout to second with bases loaded and two outs. To harp on that one at bat, though, would be to diminish an excellent game by Melky. He truly was the difference between salvation and a sweep.

While we had some concerns about Melky playing full-time with Brett Gardner injured, the Melk man has really stepped up of late. Since Gardner’s thumb injury on July 25, Melky has gone 10 for 28 with three doubles, a triple, and two homers. His on base percentage has been .438. We’ve seen flashes from Melky this season, and it’s so easy to forget how young he is. We’ve been especially hard on Melky at RAB, and would like nothing more than to be proven wrong. Melky has had some hot stretches this season that make me think that he might be on the brink. His emergence could mean a lot to the Yankees not only this season but next, when the Yankees have fewer in-house options.

As for CC Sabathia, it wasn’t quite the start the Yankees had hoped for. He struggled through the first three innings, throwing 58 pitches and allowing four runs on seven hits, including back to back home runs by Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome — both to the opposite field. He settled down after that, throwing just 42 pitches in the next four innings plus one batter, allowing just two more baserunners through the seventh.

Joe Girardi sent out CC for the eighth with 99 pitches already under his belt, and No. 100 tuned into a Gordon Beckham double. Phil Hughes came in to strike out two and walk one, and Mariano Rivera came in from the bullpen to allow a run-scoring hit, saddling Sabathia with five runs on the afternoon, plus the final out of the inning. He closed the door in the ninth, finishing off a much-needed Yankees victory.

Here’s a little crazy stat. CC threw 100 pitches, 71 for strikes. Through three CC threw 57 pitches, 37 for strikes. Over the next four-plus innings, he threw 43 pitches, 34 for strikes. As PeteAbe chronicles, the big man had had enough. “That’s all they get,” he said to his catcher. CC certainly stepped up his game after the third. That’s what the Yanks need from him going forward, just in all of his innings. It’s going to be a long pennant race, and the Yanks would do well to have their ace at his strongest.

What impressed me most was how the Yankees exploited the hole between short and third. They put plenty of balls in play to the left side, and oftentimes it paid off. It looked like Kevin Long devised a game plan, and the Yanks stuck with it. Whatever it was it worked, as the Yankees knocked Buehrle out after 4.1 innings. He left having allowed seven runs on 12 hits and without striking out a single Yankee. Also impressive: the Yankees singled Buehrle to death. Of the 12 Yankee hits off him, 10 were singles. The only extra base hits were a double and a homer by, who else, Melky.

The win keeps the Yanks a half game out in front of the Red Sox, but later this week that difference won’t matter much. After a day off tomorrow they have two up in Toronto, followed by a big four-game set at the Stadium over the weekend. Let’s hope this weekend was just a three-game hiccup, just like out in LA.

Arodys dominant as SI rolls over Aberdeen
Fan Confidence Poll: August 3rd, 2009
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    We need a Melky appreciation thread, yes?

    • whozat

      Wait, the thread about Melky hitting for the cycle wasn’t enough?

      • Dela G

        nah she wants melky to have his own section mane

        www (dot)riveraveblues (dot) com/MELKMANDELIVERS

        • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

          *giggles*

          • Bo

            Melky appreciation thread? Do you realize the site you are posting at??

            • RichYF

              It is true that RAB has very little faith in Melky. Potentially deservedly so. But to think that Joe, Ben and Mike are stubborn enough to refuse to admit defeat when it comes to the Melkman is unfair. If Melky can put together a solid August/September, not only will Joe, Ben and Mike be happy, but they will gladly eat crow.

              Don’t you think all of the “baseball minds” that were predicting the demise of Chien-Ming Wang are smiling? Who cares that his failure has a medical cause attached. He stinks. They knew it all along. Doubt you’ll see that kind of reaction here if Melky starts to slump.

  • Dela G

    ITS TIME FOR THIS TEAM TO GO INTO BEAST MODE AGAINST TOR AND BOS

    I will be at the toronto games on tuesday and wednesday, so i wont be able to post much. My dad wants to take us to toronto for 3 weeks, so it should be a fun vacation. I am very excited to visit a new stadium and stay in the hotel at the stadium.

    I will def be one of the 20000 Yankees fans in attendance

    One bad thing is that i have to see Doc do his monthly prostate exam on the yanks

    • whozat

      They got to him last time.

      Andy needs to bring his A-game again, and the team needs to not soil in the late innings like they did his last two starts, punting grounders and giving up little bleeders and bloopers. His last two starts have been just fine, and he Jays offense is even weaker now…I’d love to make Doc a hard-luck loser.

      • Dela G

        i’d prefer to make him a blowout loser :D

  • Cody Ransom

    I may have to take a bat to Jerry Hairston’s knee….i like being employed

  • Tonya Harding

    Hey man, don’t even think of taking my idea or you’ll get what nancy got

    • Tonya Harding

      that was meant for silly cody

  • Joseph M

    CC has got to do better than what we saw today. Giving away leads is something big time staff aces don’t do, CC does it far to frequently. This is a big week for the Yanks AJ and CC are on the hook here and must deliver big time performances. We’ll know what we have on our hands a week from now.

    • whozat

      Yes. One game will obviate everything else they have done all season.

      Beckett pitched 9.2 innings over 2 games against the Yanks and the Rays at the end of april this season and gave up 15 runs. Did that make him “not an ace”?

      • Dela G

        i hope he gets pounded by us again

      • Joseph M

        Go back and look at CC’s performaance game by game and you’ll see what I am talking about. He’s the ace of the staff. Not only that, he is suppose to be one of the elite pitchers in the game. Take a look at his record against the elite teams. The teams that will be in October. At the end of the first half CC had beaten one club with a better than .500 record. The club, the Twins, the record 45-44.

        Let’s leave all that aside, it’s turbo time this week and the big guy is going against our arch rival Boston, let’s see him earn that elite label. We’ll know better where we stand with him after this weekend.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Yes because in the history of baseball aces never give up leads.
      Give us a break.

      • Bo

        Apparently, Sabathia can do no wrong in some eyes. Sigh.

        • V

          The sun isn’t yellow. It’s chicken!

      • Joseph M

        ESPN has a great scoreboard site, I suggest you visit it. Take a look at the box scores of CC’s games. Here are a few highlight from the last few months. Staked to a 3 to one lead against Boston he gives up a 3 spot and loses 4-3. Staked to a 1-0 lead against Phillie gives that away, the Yankess regained the lead and CC gives it away. Staked to an early 1-0 lead against a depleted Angel team you guessed gave up a 4 spot giving that lead away. Gives up 3 early runs to Seattle, the Yanks fight their way back to 3-2 he promptly gives up a three spot to put that game out of sight. Even Washington, the worst club in baseball, Yankees stake CC to an early 2 run lead and once top of the 5th CC gives up a three spot. In the Washington game we went on to win but the point is this is not the work of a top level ace.

        It’s up to CC to get it done against Boston. Let’s see what we get.

  • Salty Buggah

    Hairston got a #3 Webgem for his diving play at third on Podsednik’s bunt!

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Melky’s triple today, which got him the cycle, came on the 8th pitch of the at bat

    • Tom Zig

      Melky can take pitches?

      Its the apocalypse!

      • whozat

        Hey, he had a .360 OBP in his first full season, with an avg around .280.

        • Salty Buggah

          I would love it if Melky can OPS around .800 for his career (.819 this year, .717 for his career, .642 last year)

  • Salty Buggah

    Hopefully, we started a streak like after the Angels series today. Would help a lot, especially against the Gammonites.

  • Salty Buggah

    Some Melky stats from ESPN:

    Perhaps the White Sox should have mixed it up with Melky, as Cabrera saw 19 pitches in five at-bats, and 15 of them were fastballs. Three of the four off-speed pitches went for hits (the other was a changeup for a ball in his last at-bat). He got the cycle on the 15th fastball he saw and the sixth of that at bat (fifth straight).

    What Melky Cabrera faced in five at-bats
    Pitch MPH Result
    Changeup 79.7 HR
    Curveball 70.6 Double
    Changeup 79.4 Single
    Fastball 92.7 Groundout
    Fastball 93.5 Triple

    Melky Cabrera’s failures against off-speed pitches in the first three games of the Yankees-White Sox series were more aberration than trend.

    Entering Sunday, Cabrera was batting .303 against off-speed pitches — nearly 80 points higher than the league average. Part of the reason he failed to get a hit against an off-speed pitch in the first three games was that he didn’t swing the bat, swinging at only three of the 12 off-speed pitches he saw.
    On Sunday, Cabrera made the most of his limited opportunities, taking cuts at three of the four off-speed pitches he saw. The result? Cabrera ended up hitting for the 14th cycle in Yankees history.

    Melky Cabrera
    Weekend series against White Sox:

    First three games Sunday
    H-AB 1-10 4-5
    Off-speed pitches seen 12 4
    Swings at off-speed pitch 3 3
    Hits vs. off-speed pitch 0 3

    Good stuff

    • Salty Buggah

      More stats: CC and Buehrle have faced each other 11 times after today’s game. CC is 6-0 and Buehrle is 0-6.

    • Mac

      Good stuff indeed – I mentioned earlier, some of Melk’s HR’s – vs. Halladay and Carmona – were on breaking pitches\fat curves – I don’t know if he’s just good at adjusting or what.

      The big improvement this year is Melk as a RHH – I think Mike a few months back rightly (and harshly) called him a fraud against lefties – this year he’s anything but.

      Lets face it, Melky still threw to the wrong base a few nights ago and no one should ever forget such an unforgiveable sin, but he’s been money in alot of games this year.

      Hope Girardi can keep Melk fresh and motivated down the stretch – I’d love to see the Melkman finish this year with a 800 or + ops.

      If Hairston can play CF like he did 3rd yesterday, I think Gardy and Ransom better get a bus schedule for the Scranton line.

      • V

        Nah, Gardy definitely has a place on this team, even if just as the fourth OF.

      • Klemy

        It’s sooo hot. Milk was a bad decision.

  • Tom Zig

    Strange things that happened today:

    Jose Molina scored from second base on a single to center field.

    Johnny Damon had an outfield assist

    Melky hit for the cycle

    What was billed as a pitcher’s duel resulted in a combined 22 hits and 12 earned runs by the starters

    • Salty Buggah

      You just cannot predict baseball.

      /Sterling’d

    • JGS

      well, that’s baseball Suzyn

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      “Well, Susan, you can’t predict baseball”

    • http://www.retire21.org Mike R. – Retire 21

      That’s the beauty of baseball! Everytime you watch you have a chance to see something that has never happened before.

      /Kurkjian’d

      • Tom Zig

        winner

  • Salty Buggah

    Nice to see our fortunes turn with RISP. (We had been getting unlucky with all the line drives being caught and they were getting some bloopers a lot.)

    Oh and as for CC, these past two starts in which he has struggled were predictable as he had a significantly lower BABIP than his career totals with less K’s (he had been getting by because the decrease of HRs he’s allowed), which means he was kinda getting lucky. Now, however, his BABIP is closer (only 10 points less) to his career norm and his FIP is 3.65 (though Im not sure it was updated yet because it should go up because of the 2 HRs he gave up today) and ERA is 3.95. So he’s kinda getting unlucky so I expect him to pitch well and get a but lucky against the Sox. Hopefully he does as we’ll need it badly.

  • Salty Buggah

    Our Defense was pretty solid today after 3 days of sloppy play.

    Speaking of defense, Jeter now has a +9.0 UZR/150! HOLY FUCK!

    • Salty Buggah

      which is 2nd in the AL to Elvis Andrus.

    • Mac

      Not specifically on UZR, but how much has Tex meant to both Jeter and A-Rod this year? My guess, tons – he’s been great.

      I think it might be cool to have a stat for 1st basemen that looks at the throwing errors given to the other infielders.

      One of my pet peeves is how Nick Johnson is universally regarded as a + defensive player – I never saw it – lousy footwork, limited range and makes alot of errors. ALSO, I’ve seen so many times where he doesn’t pick a ball in the dirt that other guys would and the 3rd baseman or ss gets an error.

    • Klemy

      Perhaps we can stop talking about moving him off SS for a little while and he keeps this up next season.

  • Dela G

    Since the first game in atlanta (31 games), Alex Rodriguez is hitting:

    .310/.421/.595 with OPS of 1.016

    10HR 2 2B 30RBI 22BB but the only thing off is 27Ks

    Steep Decline

    he is also 5/6 stealing bases

    He looks like a 3rd baseman

    Oh and the team is 22-9 since that game (as of august 1st)

    He was batting .171 in the 24 games prior, with the team going 11-13

    • Dela G

      i meant to say looks like a 1st baseman, but you get where i was going

  • steve s

    Feeling a little negative this morning so here goes.

    1) Is it my imagination or has Tex been more than a little subpar in clutch situations recently.

    2) Arod doesn’t come close to making the plays Hairston made yesterday.

  • Bo

    Sabathia has to start pitching better if we are going to do anything this year. These average performances where he “guts out” 7+ isn’t going to get it done against real good team and real good pitchers.

    • V

      The sun isn’t yellow. It’s chicken.

  • JoeSit.(ragman)

    Reality check—define Ace—CC?—-Something lacking? can we beat the good teams? holes on the roster—-Cody for sure, but where else?

    Somehow when I look at the Yanks individually they are solid and in first place, yet queasy feeling creeps in and think we need some changes. Still I love the make-up and hope that Cash has the answers.

    GO YANKEES

  • Pingback: Game 128: Yanks should employ same strategy against Buehrle | River Avenue Blues