Apr
15

Late comeback not enough as Pineiro foils Yanks

By

This type of game will happen. Javy Vazquez wasn’t sharp, though he managed to limit the damage through five innings. It looked like he might escape doom in the sixth, but it was not to be. Not only did he allow a run on a Kendry Morales double, but Morales himself came around to score later in the inning, courtesy of Al Aceves. Mike will have more on the Morales at-bat in the morning. For now, onto the recap.

Photo credit: Kathy Willens/AP

Biggest Hit: Swisher triples

Joel Pineiro had his sinker working yesterday, and it had Yankees’ hitters baffled. Through four innings they managed just one hit, a Robinson Cano double off the glove of Torii Hunter. Cano managed another hit off him in the fifth, this time a single to left. To groundouts moved him to third base with Nick Swisher at the plate.

While the count didn’t run to 3-2, Swisher did make Pineiro work, fouling off three straight 2-2 pitches after not swinging at the first four. Pineiro tried to mix things up later in the at-bat, throwing a curveball and then a changeup, but on the eighth pitch went back to the sinker. It caught enough of the zone that Swisher was able to make solid contact, driving it to right-center. Cano scored easily, and the outfielders were so ill-positioned for that particular hit that Swisher made it all the way to third.

This was actually the biggest hit of the game from either side. The Angels spread their runs out, and since the Yankees never got too close the Angels gradually moved closer to that 100 percent WPA mark. Swisher’s hit was huge because not only did it cut the Angels lead to one, but it also made Swisher the potential tying run. Brett Gardner, however, could not deliver.

Biggest Pitch: Abreu continues owning Vazquez

When Abreu came to bat in the first inning, Michael Kay mentioned how well he had hit Vazquez in the past. He spoke mostly of counting stats, but here are the rate stats, just for fun: .282/.358/.746. In other words, Abreu posted a decent BA and OBP against Vazquez, but when he hit it he hit it a ton. A hit in the first improved those numbers, but his third-inning double did the most damage.

With Erick Aybar standing on first, Abreu took a called strike one on the low-outside corner. Vazquez came back with a changeup, again outside, but this one ran a bit high. Abreu laid into it, lining it to center. It got behind Curtis Granderson, and Aybar came around to score. Brandon Wood had previously scored on Aybar’s single, so this staked the Angels to a 2-0 lead. It also led to boos from the Stadium denizens. Where do we get these fans?

Vazquez actually recovered decently, pitching two more scoreless innings before running into trouble again in the sixth.

Biggest Blunder: The eighth inning

Photo credit: Kathy Willens/AP

With a 5-1 lead heading into the eighth inning, the Angels looked poised for victory. Mike Scioscia turned to his erstwhile setup man, Scot Shields, long-time Yankee-killer, to hold a four-run lead. It was immediately clear that, at least on this day, he was not up to the task.

After a failed bunt attempt Shields delivered four straight pitches out of the zone to Brett Gardner. That’s usually a terrible way to start an inning, but with the Yanks down four it was unlikely Gardner would take a base. Derek Jeter tapped one to the pitcher after taking two pitches, and he beat out the throw to first, setting up the Yanks with runners on first and second.

Nick Johnson might have had the best at-bat of the game in this spot. He took the first three pitches, a called strike followed by two balls, before fouling off the next five. On the at-bat’s ninth pitch Shields went back to his curveball and placed it on the outside edge. Johnson jumped on it, though, lining it to center and scoring Gardner. The Yanks, as they always seem to do, sent the tying run to the plate.

Scioscia had seen enough of Shields. With the game on the line he turned to Kevin Jepsen, who was all over the place. It did work to his advantage, though. A wild pitch put runners on second and third, but Mark Teixeira couldn’t deliver. He grounded one to short. It scored Jeter but didn’t advance Johnson and accounted for the inning’s first out. Alex Rodriguez drew a walk in the next at-bat, so he became the tying run.

Robinson Cano whaled one to third base in the next at-bat, and I have no idea how he beat out the double play. It looked tailor-made, especially for a player with Cano’s speed. He was just safe, though, preserving the inning. Here’s where Jepsen’s wildness helped. After throwing just six of his first 15 pitches for strikes, Jepsen came back with two straight in the zone to Posada. He took both, and eventually — and predictably — struck out on a low slider.

Teixeira’s ground out lowered the Yankees’ chances of winning by 8.3 percent. Cano’s fielder’s choice brought it down another 8.8 percent, and Jorge’s strikeout, with the tying run on first base, sunk it another 9.8 percent. The Yanks had a grand opportunity to tie the game, or at least bring it within a run, and failed to do so.

Aceves slowing it down

Either the gun was cold — which is possible, since Vazquez topped out at 90 — or Aceves was a bit slow with the fastball yesterday. It topped out at 89 on the Pitch f/x gun. He didn’t look very good in general, perhaps because he hasn’t gotten much work this season.

Things that annoyed me

The eighth, even though the Yanks scored runs. It seemed like a classic comeback in the making. Instead if was marred by middle of the lineup futility. Thankfully, we know these guys will come around.

Hideki Matsui. Come on. The Angels hit three doubles today. I’m not wishing Matsui added to that, but rather that he hit a double in place of, say, Torii Hunter.

The fans. There’s no need to boo Vazquez, especially in the third inning. He recovered nicely, and he nearly finished his appearance with six innings and two runs. Alas, that was not to be, and the sixth inning was quite annoying. Still, there’s just no need for the booing, especially in freaking April.

Mark Teixeira. Yeah, I know. We’ve seen his April struggles first-hand and know that he makes up for it later. It doesn’t make it any less annoying while it’s happening, though.

Also, it’s been two games at home this season and we haven’t seen a walk-off. This team is clearly a bust.

Things that made me smile

Joba. He allowed a hit, struck out a batter, and still needed only nine pitches to retire the side.

Robinson Cano’s continued excellence. Even in the eighth he whaled the ball. Too bad it was right at Wood.

Nick Swisher. For his gritty at-bats and his hustle around second and into third.

Nick Johnson. Coming through big.

Also, someone mentioned this in the chat last week. New York Nicks. That gonna take?

Derek Jeter. Because while it seems everything he hits is a grounder to short, he’s still hitting .324.

WPA Chart

To FanGraphs for the full boxey.

Up Next

It’s a battle of season debuts, as Phil Hughes takes on Scott Kazmir tomorrow at 7 p.m.

Categories : Game Stories

76 Comments»

  1. Dirty Pena says:

    One category you forgot:

    Most fun bridge to jump off of

    I nominate Williamsburg.

    • Dirty Pena says:

      Also the fans didn’t annoy me

      /ESPN NY’d

      You’re a hater for wanting Hunter’s hit to be Matsui’s

      /Barry’d

      Way to say Mark Teixeira sucks you POS

      /Brad Toughy’d

      Bexy sucks!!

      /Me’d (JK!)

      • bexarama says:

        The fans should boo because they paid money for a baseball game. This means the team should never lose.

        /ESPN NY’d

        Also, I was reading this comment, and I was like “huh, bexy, who the hell on the team is named bexy?” Durrrrr

      • Brad Toughy says:

        I have no problem with anyone saying Tex sucks right now, because he absolutely does.

        I just had issue with Mike ripping fans that reacted negatively to Javy’s struggles all day, then came right around and reacted negatively to Tex’s struggles.

        I wouldn’t boo Javy, but I can understand why some fans would. And I don’t think they’re less of a fan, a moron or juvenile for doing so.

        Sure the circumstances are a little different, but if Girardi dropped every player every time they had a slump, we’d have a fiasco on our hands. Plus, those kids that play the guess the lineup game over at LoHud would go mad.

        So you don’t think fans should boo poor performances, that’s fine. Just keep it to yourself and don’t harp on the fans that think it’s an acceptable way of communicating their disappointment.

        You can be critical of a team and still be a fan. If ballplayers are looking not to get booed, then they’re in the wrong profession.

        • bexarama says:

          IMO, the difference between people getting irritated about Tex and people getting irritated about Javy – I don’t mean here, because people are rational here, I mean in other places – is that people recognize Tex is a slow starter and while it may be terribly frustrating to watch, people realize he’s going to come around and snap pitchers’ necks starting May 6 or so. On the other hand, people act like the Javy trade was a horrible horrible trade, he’s the worst pitcher ever, he can’t handle NY, and he’s going to suck the entire year.

          • Rose says:

            I don’t think it’s quite that way…I think you have half of it right. The presumption of Tex being a slow starter and how he will tear it up later is true. He also just helped the team with an MVP caliber season to winning their 27th World Series is another.

            Javy Vasquez, on the other hand, left a very bad taste in everybody’s mouth (albeit 6 years ago) and has never helped the Yankees win a Championship. So when he comes back and pitches poorly, fans already don’t really like him…and when he pitches poorly immediately out the gate…it’s hard for fans to not tie the ending of his last tenure and the beginning of this one together.

            Is it right? No. Do I condone it? No. Do I understand it? Yes.

            David Wells on the other hand has helped the team win in the past…so you barely ever hear about him whimpering off the field in less than an inning in Game 5 of the 2003 World Series…at least as much as you hear about Javy Vasquez anyway.

        • Dirty Pena says:

          Nobody should boo any players on their team on April 14th. I really refuse to believe there is any rationalization for booing someone EIGHT GAMES into the year. It’s completely fucking retarded. I’m sorry but how many players don’t go through a bad eight game stretch or a bad two start stretch? Booing players in an eight game stretch shows a complete misunderstanding of the game of baseball. Simple as that.

          • Dirty Pena says:

            And Brad to be clear, I understand your point about Mike (not that I agree, because he never said “Tex sucks”- just that we might possibly drop him for a week or two ) As I said, I don’t think Tex should be dropped either, but I think you went a little overboard seeing as how Mike never suggested it was a long term move.

    • A friend told me the Tappan Zee has more suicides a year than the GWB. Weird.

    • Rose says:

      Anybody hear about two or three days ago when the Angels were in town…apparently some guy walked into the hotel they are staying at and said he wanted to look at the pool or something…and jumped off the balcony or something to his death.

      Jered Weaver and Matt Porter (or whoever) was at the coffee shop across the street and saw him hit the ground…other players just saw the aftermath on the ground thereafter.

      Just thought I’d bring that up with all this bridge suicide jumping being talked about…

      Pretty weird.

  2. The 8th was certainly the most frustrating aspect but when we remove ourselves from our Yankee-dom a bit, most teams wouldn’t have even gotten close to having the tying run in that position. We sometimes take for granted how good our offense is, even (and maybe especially) when they seem off for most of the game.

  3. bexarama says:

    It just annoyed me that people booed mercilessly when Javy let anyone get on base. I’m not saying people aren’t entitled to be frustrated, and some of his pitching sequences were weird. The one to Morales I remember, but the one to Hunter in I think the sixth as well, when he started out 0-2 then got to 3-2 and Hunter ended up doubling.

    Also, people in other places who stopped being A-Rod’s personal amateur psychologist for obvious reasons have now become Javy’s personal amateur psychologist. Terribly annoying.

    Like I said during the course of the game, if this was Pettitte, we’d accept that he just didn’t have very good stuff today and kept his team in the game for the most part. And people acting totally smug about the whole trade based on TWO STARTS are just… ugh.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      I honestly find any sort of booing to your own team unnecessary and annoying. It always seems the majority of Yankee fans suck.

      • bexarama says:

        I agree. I’m trying not to be too judgmental, though. Just because I feel like I’ve been really bitchy and super overly snarky lately and I’m trying to cut down on it.

        Booing A-Rod and Tex though? Just dumb. A-Rod just did what y’all wanted him to do from the beginning: pretty much single-handedly carried the team offensively through the playoffs. And you just got to see the team get its freakin’ WORLD SERIES rings. Can we wait til like……. I don’t know. Can we just not?

        • bexarama says:

          Also. Look. I know people are still upset about 2004 and all irrational about Melky leaving. That’s fine, I guess. I am still upset about 2001 and I was totally irrational about Pettitte leaving. I can understand (though 2004 was NOT JAVY’S FAULT, but whatever, we’re in the realm of the semi-irrational). But it seems like some people, not most here, aren’t even giving Javy a chance. And then they’re just soooo smug after a game like today, where sure, he wasn’t great, but he wasn’t God-awful.

          • Rose says:

            I am still upset about 2001 and I was totally irrational about Pettitte leaving.

            You meant 2003, right?

            /nitpick’d

            • bexarama says:

              I should clarify: No, I meant the 2001 World Series. Everyone has THAT One Series and that’s the one for me. 2004 was bad but it just didn’t have the same effect on me as what happened in 2001.

        • Dirty Pena says:

          Just because I feel like I’ve been really bitchy and super overly snarky lately and I’m trying to cut down on it. and I’m better for it.

          FTFY

      • Steve H says:

        All kinds of this.

        Unless my team brought in someone I completely despised because of his off the field crap, I can’t conceive booing my own team. Even then I can’t think of one guy in any sport I would boo if on my team.

  4. BobK says:

    NY Nicks stick? I hope not! It immediately makes me think of the Dolan family of HBO & Cablevision fame and turns my stomach. Ben’s April fools joke had it been true, would have ended my 60 year Yankee love affair!!!

  5. Jamal G. says:

    You know what’s been annoying me so far? Derek Jeter’s penchant for swinging at the first pitch so frequently. Seriously, cut that out.

  6. Salty Buggah says:

    Nick Swisher. For his gritty at-bats and his hustle around second and into third.

    What? Cmon now, wearing the pinstriped means this: http://i40.tinypic.com/f50myd.jpg

    Seriously though, this game, while annoying, just shows that the Yankees offense is never out of the game, even with some bats not producing. Also, while Javy struggles today, I thought it was improvement as he didn’t allow as many runs and any HRs. (Was it me or were a lot of Javy’s fastballs and changeups tailing away from lefties? I thought that hurt him the most)

    I’m still waiting for an A-Bomb and am hoping for one tomorrow. Also, I’m VERY pumped to see Hughes start tomorrow.

  7. Will says:

    I was at the game yesterday, and Vazquez was not “booed”. There were a few groans during the game, but for most part the response was indifference. I am not sure how it came across on TV, but it wouldn’t have even occurred to me that he was booed if there weren’t a few blog-related mentions of it. This just seems like a case of people filling in the blanks with their own preconceived notion that Javier Vazquez will have a tough time because of his failures in 2004.

    • V says:

      Or a case of a television broadcast amplifying sounds to make them seem more pronounced.

      • Will says:

        I think that is definitely the case. Last year, I think YES was muting the sound because everytime I would attend a game with a crowd that was lively, it seemed to never come across. Then on Opening Day, which I also attended, I was disappointed in the energy, but it sounded loud on YES. So, perhaps they have now overcompensated?

      • Rose says:

        It may be the acoustics of the new Yankee Stadium too. Several people have spoke negatively (when compared to old YSII) in regards to the acoustics and loud cheering and such at YSIII. This could have certainly played a role in not hearing the boo’s…but hearing them more clearly anyway on television.

        In contrast, when at a WWE live event, the chants and such are much louder live than they are on television. And WWE is an entertainment business where you would think they would be more apt to amplify the sound than the Yankees.

        Just a thought…

  8. Jammy Jammers says:

    Most of the people who attend Yankees games are complete dummies. It’s almost unbearable to be there.

  9. larryf says:

    At least Tex still plays great D. His bat will awaken in May-just in the NICK of time. When will Cervelli catch again???

    • Sweet Dick Willie says:

      When will Cervelli catch again???

      Probably the next day game after a night game. But don’t look forward to it, as it means that Jorge’s 400/516/800 bat is on the bench.

  10. Jake says:

    Don’t boo Javy, you’ll make him sad.
    What’s he at now? 11 earned in two starts?

    Maybe he’ll do better against Baltimore and KC.

    • Sweet Dick Willie says:

      Other pitchers who haven’t started 2010 well:

      Jon Lester – 10IP, 8 ER

      Justin Verlander – 10IP, 10 ER

      I guess it takes some people longer to understand SSS than others.

  11. Pat says:

    Glad to see this recap not littered with the WPA figures. It was getting to be overkill, and borderline useless to the reader. They’re interesting, but only to a point.

  12. mryankee says:

    You guys have to look at like this, If I am a fan who say takes a day off work and pays lets say 200.00-300.00 for tickets for the family plus concessions. Your damn right I am going to boo if I see that garbage. The guy great last year he comes here and sucks that is very annoying especially when the team is rolling.

    • bexarama says:

      Holy crap guys, I think I figured it out: mryankee is Ian O’Connor.

    • Tank the Frank says:

      In all seriousness, what you have to realize is that Vazquez is simply not as good of a pitcher as he showed last season; and his career numbers point that out. Last season is a major outlier.

      Despite the differences between leagues, the ballparks ect., we can all see that Vazquez simply hasn’t looked sharp thus far. It happens. The point is that you need to lower your expectations. He simply isn’t going to post a sub 3.00 ERA and finish 4th in the Cy Young voting pitching in the AL East. What we would like is to see him pitch some degree better than his career numbers. He can in over 15 games pitching for the Yankees, and it’s a VERY safe bet that he’ll pitch 200+ innings and be hovering around 200 strikeouts once the season is over.

      That is a great # 4 starter to have. He’ll come around because he’s a better pitcher than he’s shown his first two starts. But remember… he’s not 2009 good.

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