Sep
15

Yanks win 5-3 to sweep Angels

By

This is one odd week for the Yankees. They played a game against the Angels last night, host the Blue Jays for two tonight and tomorrow, enjoy a day off and then, with just 15 games left in the season, head west for a tough Seattle/Los Angeles road trip. Whoever scheduled this West Coast swing for mid-September did a poor job of planning. No matter; the Yanks will play, and as they showed tonight, they will win.

Facing the Angels in a make-up from the May 3 rain-out, the Yanks sent Joba Chamberlain to the mound as part of his build-up to the postseason. For the first time since July, Joba looked, well, not bad. He threw 67 pitches in four innings and 41 of them were for strikes. He allowed one run — a Vlad Guerrero home run on a hanging breaking ball — but otherwise employed his full arsenal of pitches to keep the Angels off balance.

The real key to Joba’s success tonight was the goose egg he tossed up in the base-on-balls category. Tonight’s start marked just the fourth time all season that Joba walked no one, and by keeping the Angels off base, he maintained his rhythm and dictated the pace of the game. Outside of the Vlad moon shot, he allowed three other hits and struck out two.

On the velocity front, Joba’s fastball sat where it has all season. He peaked at 95 and averaged 92. He threw just one fastball for a swinging strike. In the grand scheme of Joba’s development, this fastball data is alarming, and it has been all season. While velocity isn’t everything with pitchers, for power throwers such as Joba, it is. Last year, he was averaging in the upper 90s; this year he isn’t. Where that velocity has gone, no one has explained.

With Joba on a short leash, the Yanks had to furnish 15 outs from the bullpen, and the regulars weren’t as sharp as they usually were. Al Aceves gave up a double to Erick Aybar, the first batter he faced, and then the Angels small-balled their way to a run. Jeff Mathis sacrificed Aybar to third, and Figgins hit a groundball to the right side to drive in the run. Aceves setlled down until the seventh when he walked two batters and had to be lifted for Phil Coke. Aceves hadn’t issued two walks in one appearance since July 31.

Coke shut the door. He struck out Chone Figgins, and then, with an assist from Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira, retired Maicer Izturis to end the Angels’ threat.

The Yanks, meanwhile, had little to show off of Jered Weaver. Nick Swisher blasted a home run into right field in the third for the Yanks’ first run. But that would be the lone run for the Yanks until the 5th, and the Bombers were down 2-1 when an odd inning unfolded before our eyes. Nick started the rally with a double, and Melky Cabrera walked. The man with more hits than anyone else in Yankee history sacrificed the two runners to second and third, and Damon hit a weak ground ball to short that would have plated the tying run. Melky, however, forgot an early lesson of baseball and ran into Chone Figgins before he fielded the ball. Melky was out; Swisher had to come back to third; and Damon was safe at first on runner’s interference.

The next hitter was Mark Teixeira, and the Yanks’ first baseman did not disappoint. Teixeira hit a ball to deep center field, and as he left the batter’s box, he yelled at the ump because his bat had hit Mathis’ glove. He wanted a catcher’s interference call until Torii Hunter didn’t catch the booming fly ball. Tex had himself an RBI triple, and the Yanks had a one-run lead.

In the 8th, Phil Hughes gave it back. After loading the bases with a pair of singles and a walk, the Angels scored a run on a double play, but Hughes retired Howie Kendrick for the final out. In the bottom of the inning, Teixeira doubled and A-Rod walked. Girardi pulled Teixeira for Brett Gardner in a tie game, and Gardner broke for third. A good throw would have nailed the speedy runner, but the ball bounced low. Chone Figgins couldn’t grab it and deal with the incoming Gardner. As the ball bounded into left field, the Yanks scored the winning run on an error. They had out-Angeled the Angels. Cano would add an insurance run with a single, but the Yanks didn’t need it.

The great Mariano Rivera nailed down the final three out as the Yanks swept the one-game set from the Angels. The team’s Magic Number to win the East dropped to 12, and with Brett Tomko tossing a complete-game shut out against the Rangers — just the second of his career — the Yanks’ Magic Number for a playoff spot stands at 7. October, here we come.

Categories : Game Stories

95 Comments»

  1. Bob Stone says:

    Great win last night. The Yankees out-played the Angels in every area. Pitching, offense, defense and speed. One of the best wins of the year.

  2. andrew says:

    maybe we shoulda kept tomko around.

    i get to go to the stadium tomorrow to see halladay v gaudin. if we somehow win that ill shall be very happy.

    • Based on what they said during the YES broadcast, you might be seeing Halladay vs. Mitre.

      • Mike Axisa says:

        When’s the last time Mitre pitched? That game in Toronto when the Yanks didn’t play defense? I know he warmed up and came into the game the other night, but it started raining and he never faced a batter.

        Considering how Gaudin threw last time out, he deserves the start.

        • rbizzler says:

          Agreed. Gaudin deserves at least a little bit of rope. Hopefully he continues to get outs as I ilke the K’s much better than Mitre’s GB’s.

        • Agreed. Considering that Gaudin didn’t pitch tonight, there’s no way Mitre should start. I’d keep my eye on that if I were going to the game. Tuesday’s starter is probably TBD right now.

        • dc1874 says:

          Mitre…Gaudin…all I know is that BRETT TOMKO.pitched a 5 hit complete game shut out last night againest the RANGERS!!!

        • Sgt Krunch says:

          This is most likely to be Mitre’s swan song. Look at the schedule and days off and it’s hard to find him another spot. He served his purpose, and didn’t hurt us in the W/L column. He isn’t going to be on the post season roster, so who cares.

    • Salty Buggah says:

      I crazily predicted this earlier and I have to stick with it.

      Mitre WILL beat Halladay tomorrow.

      It’s just something from the wild side, so dont hold it against me if it doesnt come through.

  3. jim p says:

    I can think of three causes of Joba’s dwindling velocity:

    a) he’s injured
    b) he’s lost arm strength
    c) he’s taking into account that young players who throw too hard, too often, too early get injured more readily

    a) is ridiculous, because the Yanks would have shut him down
    b) is unlikely, because he’s older and I’m sure he works out

    so c) is the explanation for the lost velocity. He’s trying to become a pitcher rather than a thrower on top of just cutting down on stress.

    There might be a d) I didn’t consider.

    But wasn’t there a posting yesterday on stress and Joba? Well, maybe there’s the explanation, too, for why the innings limit seems to be 160 rather than 130 or so. They figure he won’t be throwing as hard, so that’s less stress, so that raises his limit.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Maybe he’s just not going to throw 98 as a starter because he can’t come in an air it out for one innings. There’s nothing wrong with 92-95.

      • Omar says:

        Yes, but there is a problem with the results he’s been getting as of late…if he can’t command it then he, and more importantly the Yankees, are fucked. Furthermore, his breaking stuff has looked like absolute dogshit lately too, it’s not just the velocity that isn’t there. Jim p had some good ideas, but he’s forgetting that Chamberlain may be hiding an injury or there maybe just be token tiredness…or he could have been juicing and now is off the juice. Everyone here knows Me:Chamberlain RAB:Melky, however he showed demonstrable improvement tonight. If he can induce more ground balls and walk fewer batters the lowered strikeout rates are fine, but that’s a big if.

      • Jamal G. says:

        Although I agree with the latter sentence, I think Ben’s point is that he was doing just that (throwing in the upper-90′s as a starter throughout his outings) last season in the Major Leagues until he suffered that shoulder injury in Arlington’s August heat.

        I still can’t come up with a logical theory as to why his velocity reverted back to levels in which was previously scouted, and why he can’t push it back to what he was doing as a starting pitcher in 2008. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with his current velocity, it’s just a befuddling mystery as to why it currently is what it is, and not what it was in 2008.

        • leokitty says:

          He needs to spend some time with Nardi Contreras again before next season.

        • Chris says:

          Sure he was throwing upper 90′s and holding it deep into games, but he also got injured after just 12 starts. He can still be effective at a slightly lower velocity, and it he can stay healthy then that’s huge plus.

      • Tom Zig says:

        Vlad Guerrero’s HR was the 216th at Yankee Stadium this year. The previous record was 215, set back in 2004.

        So New Yankee Stadium is only a little bit more homer-prone than the Old Yankee Stadium.

        The Major League record is 303 at Coors Field set in 1999.

        Do we still play in a bandbox?

        • Tom Zig says:

          ughh i hate when I do that. This should not be a reply.

        • Former RAB Lurker says:

          A few things about this. This is the first year of it’s existence, and there’s a new homer record already. Homers are a little lower this year compared to ’04 (1.1/9 vs. 1.2/9, nothing to write home about, but still), and most importantly the season’s not over yet. There’s the Toronto series now and a set against Boston at the end of September, so I’d expect to see around 7 more homers at NYS this year, based on the average.

          I wouldn’t say it’s a bandbox, but it’s looking like the homer record is going to fairly well broken.

        • Chris says:

          The Yankees have played 73 home games, with 8 remaining. At the current pace, that would lead to roughly 241 home runs being hit at the new stadium. So the real comparison should be 241 vs 215, which seems like a significant increase.

          One thing that seems to get loss in this discussion of home runs is that the new stadium isn’t particularly hitter friendly. It certainly gives up more home runs than the old stadium, but it’s not clear that it gives up more runs.

      • Todd says:

        I don’t have stats, but it seems to me that he is actually sitting 90-92 early inning.

        The problem with Joba’s velocity is that where it currently stands, he is not going to be that front end pitcher the Yanks believe he is. In fact, he will probably be “ordinary.” Thank goodness for the big lead, because if the Yanks were in a tight race, the “Joba Rules” would be a major issue. I have always supported the way they handled Joba and protected him (and by making him a starter). But with his current velocity, I am starting to question if the disruption to the team that the “Joba Rules” has caused is really worth the trouble if he is not special and is just “ordinary.”

        • Chris says:

          Two things:

          1. It’s quite possible that he will add velocity next year (or in future years).

          2. Here are the top-10 pitchers in the AL in ERA, and their average fastball velocities:
          Greinke: 93.7
          Felix: 93.8
          Halladay: 92.5
          Lee: 90.9
          Jackson: 94.5
          Lester: 93.5
          Verlander: 95.5
          Sabathia: 94.1
          Lackey: 91.6
          Niemann: 91.8

          Joba’s velocity this year would have him 7th. Not great, but still enough to be effective.

          • Omar says:

            All of those pitchers have somethings that Chamberlain does not: command of their fastball, great breaking stuff and the ability to command it, great offspeed stuff, a great secondary fastball (cutter, two seamer etc.), better velocity (Verlander especially), or all three. Yes I’m fine with Chamberlain at 92-95 but only if he can command it and his Slider and Curve come back too. If he wants to throw fastballs that catch a lot of plate he’ll have to throw them harder than he is now.

    • Ant says:

      Call Justin Verlander and ask him what happened to him last year.

  4. I missed the game, great recap.

    As I drove home tonight I hadn’t known what happened in the game, checked my cell only to see Joba went 4 and gave up a run. The stat that jumped out at me was the 0 BB.

    Good to see he’s right on track for a 5 inning game next time out.

  5. Salty Buggah says:

    In the bottom of the inning, Teixeira doubled and A-Rod walked failed

    /alex gonzalez’d

  6. Salty Buggah says:

    Which one of you said this on your Twitter:

    “You are a dumbass, Melky. I hate you. HATE YOU.”

    I say Ben

  7. Tom Zig says:

    Mo got save # 522 tonight. Any chance he sticks around to make it to 600?

  8. JGS says:

    Why does everyone keep calling this a sweep? It’s the end of a four game series that the Yankees have now won 3-1

  9. EvoLuTioN says:

    lol@the blog post on the angels blog. talk about sore losers

    some quotes:
    “In the top of the 7th inning there were 2 on and nobody our when Chone Figgins went up to the plate. It was a 3-2 Ballgame and the momentum had clearly swung to the Angels. With the count 2-0, Home plate Umpire Derryl Cousins called two painfully obvious balls as strokes and called a third strike looking soon afterward on what should have been a textbook bases on balls.

    If you think the steroid scandal was bad, wait until on of MLB’s umpires gets caught having thrown games, and in NYC, the capital of homoerotic mobster chic, who else do the wise guys buy off but the umpires? Unless it is MLB greenlighting a ratings fest in October.”

    “There was a playoff atmosphere at the house that Roids built as a possible ALCS playoff matchup was everything it had been advertised as. Jered Weaver was great and his only mistakes were to ex-Angel Mark Teixeira, who watched his replacement Kendry Morales choked in the clutch while he “earned his pinstripes” yet again. It was a dramatic and close matchup made all the more frustrating by Derryl Cousins probably paying off some huge debt to some goon somewhere. Too bad MLB has flushed its integrity down the television ratings toilet.”

  10. JMK says:

    I realize things went pretty well tonight, and maybe it’s just my perception, but I feel as though we criticize the umps for egregious calls every game. Am I incorrect? We hear that umpires are given a video of the calls they made incorrectly, and supposedly spoken to about their performance. Is there any improvement for all of these “efforts”? I’m not being snarky, I really want to know if I’m losing my shit here.

    Baseball, more than any other sport, seems to relish a mindset that things cannot change. I can’t think of many good reasons we still have umps calling games, considering the technology we have.

    Your thoughts?

    • Former RAB Lurker says:

      I get the same impression, although I’m not sure if that’s a bit biased because we’re on a Yankees blog. On the Red Sox blog I read (I know, I know–whatever) they complain about calls going against them with about the same frequency that we complain about it here. Yeah, Foster’s just been screwing up, but overall I think one of the constants in baseball is fans complaining about officiating. If they let a computer call balls and strikes, I don’t think it would change anything except how rational the complaints are. (“This goddamn computer is calling a huge zone to lefties…this is the first iteration of Skynet, you know.”)

  11. BigBlueAL says:

    I know Mike mentioned this during the game but I too want to say I have a feeling Girardi and his small-ball will cost the Yankees a game in the playoffs. Im not saying a series or anything, although 1 game could lead to that, but this excitement after the game tonight about how the Yankees beat the Angels at their own game and such pride in winning by stealing a base and doing the “little things” to win is worrisome to say the least.

    People think the Angels are so good because of their small ball tactics and how that wins games come playoff time but the fact is the Angels have only won 1 series since they won it all in 2002 and that was the 5 game series vs the Yankees in 2005. There is a reason they always get killed by the Red Sox come playoff time and thats because their small ball doesnt beat the Red Sox who give Francona credit he knows what Theo and Bill James preach and he hardly ever bunts or give away outs and doesnt always manage his bullpen by the book especially come playoff time.

    With that said it was a fun game tonight and a real nice win….

    • LivefromNewYork says:

      I disagree. When the offense is clicking, Girardi just lets them swing away but if the pitcher is great or the offense doesn’t have their best stuff, they HAVE to know how to play small ball. I think he wants the team to know how to win in a variety of ways. We certainly don’t play small ball every game. Sometimes we just mash. When we have it and the circumstances are right.

    • The Artist says:

      1) Jeter bunts on his own

      2) OK, Prove it. Are you saying a batter was guaranteed to get a hit, and squandered a rally by making the 1st out?

      Blaming an entire loss on one play is absurd. People want to throw out common sense and situational Baseball over 7/100ths less of a run scoring opportunity in the abstract. This knee jerk anti-bunting stuff is just silly.

    • Riddering says:

      It’s one game. Do you really think Girardi is going to change the way this team has played all year due to this win against the Angels?

      “No more home runs, boys! From now on we are walking and stealing our way to home plate. That means you too, Molina!”

      • Bo says:

        You can’t defend the bunts.

        Its a stupid play especially in the 5th inning of a game at a stadium that is a homer haven.

        Its even more stupid when the person bunting is one of the best hitters in the game.

        Why are they playing for one run in that spot anyway? Giving away outs is not smart.

  12. The Artist says:

    Love the magic number, guys.

  13. Makavelli says:

    and with Brett Tomko tossing a complete-game shut out against the Rangers

    Think he would have pitched this way if we had given him a chance? Or do you think the anger has fueled him to be half-way decent over there…

    • Chris says:

      Let’s see… he’s 36 year old journeyman starter with a 2.95 ERA with the A’s. The last time he had an ERA that low in as many innings was 1997 – in AAA. I think it’s just a nice stretch by a half way decent pitcher.

      • Bo says:

        You really want to turn back the clock and have Tomko back? Out of all the things this season you can redo you want Tomko back??

        Please

  14. Doug says:

    “He threw just one fastball for a swinging strike.”

    this is the most alarming sentence in the entire post

  15. steve s says:

    Oddly enough no real discussion above regarding pinch-running Gardner for Tex. As a first guess I thought it was not a good move in a tie game and especially after Scioscia took out both Rivera and Vlad in the previous innings seriously weakening the Angel line-up for the rest of the game (so even if Yanks don’t score they have the line-up advantage the rest of the game). Gardner would have been out by a mile if the throw and third base play were simply normal and all momentum would have been with Angels. Girardi should never pinch-run for Tex and lose his glove in a tie game.

  16. Homer Bush says:

    Hey who was that kid that pinch ran last night Guzman? Obviously fast, what position does he play? Is he any good?

  17. Homer Bush says:

    Lol so he is not very good?

    • Doug says:

      all i can really say is he’s fast

    • Rick in Boston says:

      He’s a 28-year old who has appeared in 38 career games, hitting a robust .213/.263/.281 (OPS+ 47). He’s spent eight years in the minors, accumulating 3,046 AB’s across 784 games with a triple slash of .270/.344/.360 with 443 steals.

      In short – he’s up to provide a little more depth during these last couple of weeks so the Yankees have pinch runners for A-Rod/Tex/Posada. He will not be on the post-season roster unless Gardner and Pena both get hurt. He’s superfluous at this point.

  18. Makavelli says:

    On the velocity front, Joba’s fastball sat where it has all season. He peaked at 95 and averaged 92.

    Are these YES Network speeds which may mean the velocity might actually be even lower?

    The disappearance of his velocity doesn’t make much sense. Perhaps the low pitch counts and innings limits has played a roll in his diminishing velocity? Nobody just wakes up one day and throws 98mph. You usually have a great arm but train it to throw that hard over time. Just perhaps, all of the spoon feeding and diaper changing has taken a toll on his once arm velocity…just an idea.

    • Are these YES Network speeds which may mean the velocity might actually be even lower?

      I’d say it’s the Brooks Baseball Pitch f/x numbers: http://tinyurl.com/qecxgb

    • 1) The speeds are from pitch f/x

      2) His velocity has been in this range for most of the season, so there’s no connection to the “spoon feeding” you speak of.

    • Chris says:

      The disappearance of his velocity doesn’t make much sense.

      To you, maybe. There are tons of reasonable explanations:

      1. Change in mechanics to reduce the risk of injury
      2. Not going max effort on every pitch to reduce the risk of injury
      3. He’s throwing a 2-seamer more than in the past
      4. He’s still suffering some lingering effects from his injury – he’s not still injured but has reduced arm strength which will recover next season
      5. As he get’s older, his body is still maturing and he’s seeing a temporary reduction in velocity because of it
      6. He likes the attention that is generated because he’s throwing slightly slower
      7. Justin Verlander is his idol:
      http://www.fangraphs.com/pitch.....8;pitch=FA

      • Chris says:

        One more thing… we’ve only had accurate velocity numbers like this for almost every pitch thrown for the last 2-3 years. Before that, it was just the sometimes effective and sometimes not TV radar guns or reports from scouts in the stands. We have no idea how typical this type of drop in velocity is.

        One example of reduced velocity leading to reduced effectiveness is Justin Verlander (linked above). One example of it not leading to reduced effectiveness is Felix Hernandez:
        http://www.fangraphs.com/pitch.....8;pitch=FA

        • Bo says:

          The lack of velocity is a concern but I would think if he were hurt in the slightest they would have shut him down asap.

          • Doug says:

            you would have thought the same thing about arod last year too

          • Chris says:

            It’s not really a lack of velocity, just a drop in velocity. Out of all the starters with as many innings pitched as he has, he’s ranked 22nd in fastball velocity – tied with Tim Lincecum. That’s pretty darn good.

  19. Omar says:

    Thing is though all of those guys have much better movement on their fastballs, better breaking stuff, better offspeed stuff, better command, better velocity, or all of the above. If Chamberlaij wants to threow these fastballs with no movement that catch a lot of plate he’ll have to throw harder than he is right now.

  20. [...] covered this in last night’s game recap, but I think the series of events which gave the Yankees their first lead of the game is worthy of [...]

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