May
01

Jeter captains Yanks to come-from-behind win

By

For just the seventh time this season, the Yankees played a game in front of their fans at home, where they’re virtually unbeatable. They’re 63-19 in the Bronx dating back to last May, and have already taken five of six at home this season. They tacked on another win Friday night, but it took a little of that comeback magic we saw so much of in 2009.

Photo Credit: Henny Ray Abrams, AP

Biggest Hit: Derek Jeter‘s triple

The first six-plus innings of Friday’s game brought the Yankees and White Sox right back to where they started, tied. Freddy Garcia had mostly stifled the Yanks over the first six frames, and he gave way to hard throwing southpaw Matt Thorton in the 7th. After Curtis Granderson went down swinging, backup catcher turned temporary starter Frankie Cervelli took an 0-2 fastball off the elbow to give the Yankees a much needed baserunner. Brett Gardner followed him up with a single (more on that later), bringing the Jeter to the plate with a chance to give the Yankees their first lead of the night.

It was clear from the start that if Thorton was going to get beat, he was going to get beat with his best pitch, the old numero uno. Fourteen of his first 16 pitches were fastballs, but he couldn’t spot the first two to Jeter and set him up with a 2-0 count. The Yankee captain fouled off the next two pitches, one of which landed just to the right of the foul line deep in the rightfield corner. Another fastball came on the 2-2 count, and Jeter again drove it to right field, except it was clear this one was going to stay fair. The only question was whether or not infielder turned outfielder Jayson Nix was going to get a glove on it. He dove, he missed, and the ball rolled to the wall. Cervelli scored, Gardner was right behind him, and Jeter slid into third safely, giving the Yankees the lead with two innings to go.

Photo Credit: Henny Ray Abrams, AP

Honorable Mention: Jeter’s homer

Of course, Jeter’s triple wouldn’t have meant much if he hadn’t taken matters into his own hands two innings earlier by homering off the the ChiSox starter. Garcia had set down 13 Yankees in a row before Gardner slapped a worm-burning single through the 3.5 hole with two outs in the 5th. The speedster was apparently in Garcia’s head, because he made four throws to first before throwing two pitches to Jeter. With a 1-1 count, Garcia hung a curveball right out over the middle of the plate, and Jeter just waited on it before driving the pitch out to left-center. It’s not often we see the Captain pull the ball for power, but if you’re going to hang a curveball that badly, almost anyone call pull it with authority.

Garcia had been on a roll after allowing a pair of runs in the first, and it looked like we were headed for one of those frustrating nights when the vaunted Yankee offense gets shut down by a guy well past his expiration date. Thankfully Jeter’s heroics got his team back in the game, as he finished just a double shy of the cycle. He accounted for 50.5% of the win by himself, mostly thanks to the two hits we’ve already discussed.

Biggest Out: Nick Swisher‘s double play

After falling into a three run hole before they even came to the plate, the Yankees showed some fight in the bottom of the 1st by pushing two runs across with just one out. The molten hot Robinson Cano stood at first while the previously slumping Alex Rodriguez occupied third, meaning that all Nick Swisher had to do to tie the game was hit a moderately deep fly ball. Garcia missed with his first two pitches to set Swish up 2-0, but he fouled off a fastball that may or may not have been ball three. The fourth pitch of the at-bat was a changeup down, and the Yanks’ rightfielder beat it into the ground toward first. Paul Konerko scooped it up, stepped on first, and fired to second to get Cano for an inning-ending 3-6 double play.

It was only the 1st inning, but the double play decreased the Yankees’ chances of winning by nearly 12%.

The Pen Is Alright

Photo Credit: Henny Ray Abrams, AP

Outside of Mariano Rivera, the Yankees’ bullpen has been hit or miss this season, mostly missing of late. They needed to get at least six outs from the relief crew before Rivera even became a factor.

Al Aceves relieved starter Andy Pettitte, who battled valiantly while allowing four runs in six innings, and he made quick work of Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham before Alex Rios looped a soft single to left. After the former Jay stole second, Aceves intentionally walked Konerko before escaping the inning when A-Rod snared Carlos Quentin’s screamer to the hot corner. Damaso Marte nearly walked Mark Teahen to lead off the 8th after the Yanks took the lead, but he eventually got him to ground out to second. Joba Chamberlain recorded two weak ground outs on five total pitches to hand the ball off to The Sandman.

Outside of the blooper by Rios, the Yankee bullpen was rock solid on Friday, which is what we became accustomed to seeing in the second half last year. Aceves bridged the gap from starter to setup man, and Rivera was his usual self in the 9th. PitchFX had five of Mo’s pitches at 91, eight at 92, and seven at 93, which is more velocity than we’ve seen out of him since before his shoulder surgery prior to last season.

Happy Moments

Gardner’s 7th inning at-bat against Thorton was a thing of beauty. Thorton can bring the heat, averaging 95+ over the last few years, but Gardner fouled off two fastballs as part of an eight pitch at-bat before singling back up the middle. If the ChiSox lefty had overpowered the Yanks’ leftfielder on three or four pitches, no one would have been too surprised. Instead, he battled and helped set up the eventually winning runs.

Other than than, it was pleasing to see A-Rod get out of his 0-for-19 skid with a double in the 1st, and Cano continues to smoke the ball, even if a few of the balls he put in play ended up in fielder’s gloves.

Annoying Moments

The guy in the Yankee jersey and his buddy to his left make this picture worth it. (Photo Credit: Henny Ray Abrams, AP)

There was actually quite a bit that bothered me in this game, more so than a usual win. That whole top of the 1st inning for example. Two bloop singles and then that dude in front row tries to catch Konerko’s homer with his jacket and ends up getting in Swisher’s way. Swish may not have caught it, but he was close enough to at least try to make a play on it. And who the hell tries to catch a ball with their jacket? Be a man and use your hands. A jacket? Even using your hat is weak, but a jacket? Dude, take that nonsense to CitiField.

Oh, and Konerko too. Not just the homer, but he also turned that nice inning ending 3-6 double play in the 1st, then robbed Granderson of his first hit in what seems like an eternity with the leaping grab in the 2nd. Don’t even get me started with Garcia retiring 13 in a row with his 85 mph nothingball.

Pettitte walking Juan Pierre when he was trying to sacrifice bunt, on five pitches no less. That’s inexcusable, and Andy knows it. And the non-call on Donny Lucy running out of the base line later in that inning also ground my gears. If you’re a believer in predetermined outcomes, it cost the Yanks a run.

WPA Graph

A little more jumpy than I normally like, but at least they won. Individual player breakdowns are available at FanGraphs’ box score.

Up Next

Same two teams tomorrow at 1:05pm ET. Javy Vazquez‘s pursuit of redemption in front of the home fans continues against John Danks.

Categories : Game Stories

64 Comments»

  1. Johan Iz My Brohan says:

    Let’s go Javy get back on track!

    (shameless side note: I went to a little music function at my school earlier today, saw the cutest girl there, she went up to me and we chatted while I was sitting down on a riser bench thing, then as I get off the bench it completely collapsing from under me, and I embarrassed myself in front of her =()

  2. bexarama says:

    Andy got bad-lucked to death in the first. Agreed that the five-pitch walk to Juan Pierre was bad, but that was really the only moment of his that annoyed me tonight.

    Thank you, Jeter.

    And it’s May now, so Teixeira time. ;)

    • bexarama says:

      There was actually quit a bit that bothered me in this game, more so than a usual win.

      I think that’s because around the fifth or so, when Garcia had set down so many in a row, and it didn’t seem like the Yankees were even working the count or anything like that… it was irritating. That was the most annoying part of the game to me and I think many others.

    • Tom Zig says:

      Tex is going to murdddddderrr May like A-rod murdered baseball history.

  3. ShuutoHeat says:

    List of things that irked me tonight, now in numerical order!
    1. Pussy trying to catch the cheapy hit by Konerko with his jacket. Seriously its not a friggin laser beam line drive that is going to do some serious damage, its a friggin cheapy! Man up and catch it with your hand.
    2. Lucy not getting called out for running off the base paths. But I guess human friggin error is just part of the game!
    3. Garcia, the dude was flinging monkey shit.
    4. Guillen’s ugly mug…

    • Kevin G. says:

      When I went to the Yankees-Orioles game Thursday,a kid caught a batting practice home-run with his sweater. Although the hit was a rocket.

    • My issue isn’t that he tried to use his jacket; it’s that he was in the way in the first place. That was a decently catchable ball, and instead of getting out of the way and letting your team try to convert a home run into an out, he stuck his jacket in between Swisher’s glove in the ball. Just get out of the way, man!

      Maybe that guy with his jacket should have a little chat with Steve Bartman.

    • Warren says:

      The idiot used his jacket with his right hand due to holding a tray of food with his left hand. Thought he could get a ball with his fries.

      You do wonder if there are actual Yankee fans in the stands anymore due to the high cost of going to a game there. Guys/girls wearing Yankee paraphernalia does not equal a fan, just a consumer.

      • Zack says:

        I dont get how we can question how big of a fan someone is depending on which seats he’s sitting in? Just seems like bitterness IMO.

  4. poster says:

    Calling it right now: Javy Vasquez, no-hitter, tomorrow.

    • Beef Hammerdong says:

      A no-hitter? YOU LET SOMEBODY REACH BASE?!

      BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

      /yankeestadiumfans’d

      • mike c says:

        yeah those damn ungrateful yankee fans, they never appreciate bad pitching

        • Slugger27 says:

          like most of the RAB commenters, i believe in javy as a pitcher and think he’ll rebound to have a good year

          that being said, i’m with you on this one, mike. i don’t agree with this idea that yankee stadium fans are somehow in the wrong for booing him. i won’t boo him (or any yankee for that matter) but i dont look down on fans that do. they have every right to boo.

          it may be impatient, but we’re fans. we are SUPPOSED to wear our heart on our sleeve.

          • Dirty Pena says:

            Which may or may not be detrimental to Javy’s performance. Call him a pussy or headcase or whatever, but being booed by the home fans in your fifth start sure isn’t going to help. God forbid someone has a bad 4 starts in a row. One thing to boo a who signs a huge contract and bombs, a guy who seems to take himself out with small injuries, a guy who says something negative about the fans or team, etc etc- but it’s so dumb to boo a guy who got traded here for an easily replaceable player, while the team is doing well, when we’ve won a World Series since 2004, and when its been FOUR STARTS.

          • Sweet Dick Willie says:

            they have every right to boo.

            Well, if you mean like they have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, yeah, I guess you’re right.

            But as I’ve said before, I believe the only thing worthy of booing is a lack of effort, NEVER the result.

            Most of those morons booing couldn’t play kick the can, yet they boo world class athletes who get beat by other world class athletes whose job it is to beat them.

            I guess I just can’t get my feeble mind around the idea that it is okay to rudely express your displeasure at someone trying, but not succeeding, in doing their job (the key word there being trying. As previously stated, IMO booing a lack of effort is acceptable).

        • Beef Hammerdong says:

          yeah those damn ungrateful yankee fans, they never appreciate bad pitching

          Actually, they do. Yesterday, they cheered Andy after he gave up 3 runs in the 1st.

          A stadium in thrall to the schnoz.

          Javy needs to wear shades and pack a motherfucking neuralizer.

  5. Drew says:

    Hunter Gatherer Gardner is surprising me. It’s only been a month, that said, he’s impressed me for said month. I’m still assuming he’ll falter, but if he can put up a respectable obp, I’d happily admit I was way off on this dude.

    Girardi PHing for our DH told me Joe G is getting a bit tired of NJ’s struggles.

    • Dalelama says:

      All but the NJ apologensia are.

    • Tommy Fusco says:

      how bout a straight up DH platooon?
      thames/NJ?

      • Drew says:

        NJ will hit eventually. It’s just painful to watch at the moment. He has a reverse split so doing this will be counter productive.

    • Kiersten says:

      Why does everyone assume he’s going to falter? He’s so far done nothing but produce at the major league level, give the guy some credit and have faith in him.

      • Kiersten says:

        *perhaps “nothing but produce” is the wrong phrasing, but the guy has held his own and proved that he can be a good hitter. He’s never going to be a home run hitter, but he knows how to use his speed and play his game.

      • Drew says:

        Many reasons that I’d rather not get into at 1:40. I will say this though, if you have faith in every guy that boasts a 770 OPS in the minors, you’ll be disappointed more often than not.

      • mike c says:

        honestly i don’t think he even looks that healthy right now. he’s out for mysterious back issues for games at a time, and looks like he’s really not even trying to swing the bat right now. i’m beginning to think matsui might actually be healthier right now than NJ

      • Because looking at him hit inspires little confidence. His swing is long and he doesn’t use his lower half, which is not a good combination for someone as little as Gardner is. There’s also the strikeouts thing, but he’s seemed to nip that problem in the bud this year. I think the expectations for Gardner (at least around here) are like the expectations for Melky: we’re pleased as anything when Brett hits well, but we don’t expect it to keep up.

        • Sweet Dick Willie says:

          I think that all depends on your expectations of him.

          If you’re thinking he’s going to produce like Bernie Williams, well then you’re obviously going to be disappointed.

          But in 1,754 minor league PAs, he OBP’d .389. I’m not saying that is a reasonable expectation for him in MLB, but even last year, in 284 PAs, he OPB’d .345. That seems very reasonable to expect going forward.

          An unexpected benefit (at least for me) is the number of pitches that Gardner is seeing this year. If he can sustain his 4.39 pitches seen/PA, that in and of itself is a valuable contribution to the team’s success.

          So, if your #9 hitter OBPs .345-.350, sees 4.4 pitches/PA, and runs like the wind, what’s not to like?

          • So, if your #9 hitter OBPs .345-.350, sees 4.4 pitches/PA, and runs like the wind, what’s not to like?

            I don’t think anyone dislikes that; I think people doubt if it can keep up.

            • Sweet Dick Willie says:

              Based on what?

              That’s what he’s done, based on a not insignificant sample size. As Dizzy Dean once said, “If ya dun it, it ain’t braggin.” And Gardner’s dun it.

              We all expect Alex, Tex, NJ and Javy to improve. Why? Because they’ve done better in the past.

              Well, this is what Gardner’s done in the past. I see no reason to think that isn’t what he’ll do in the future.

  6. Hummingbird S. says:

    Javy against Danks is a big mismatch on paper but I just have this feeling Vazquez will be great tomorrow. I say we win with a gem from Javy while roughing up Danks.

  7. Rey22 says:

    I hope Javy sticks it to Ozzie and his stupid comments tomorrow by dominating the Sox.

  8. dkidd says:

    the constant: gardner

  9. BigBlueAL says:

    Love these Ozzie quotes about Jeter after the game:

    “He is God. He’s God all the time. It’s fun to watch him play the game. He’s the #1 ambassador in this game. The guy always has good looking women around him too, I mean, God bless him.”

  10. Salty Buggah says:

    Yanks won despite fairly bad BABIP luck on both offense and defense. I REALLY hope that corrects itself tomorrow. Not only will the Yanks win, it’ll help Vazquez have a good outing in front of the home fans.

    • Gotta give credit to the ChiSox defense too. Alexis* Rios robbed Robbie Cano of a double late in the game, and the Yanks will generally generate more offense if they strike out just four times a game. Garcia, as much as it pains me to say, had his very off-speed pitches working.

      • Salty Buggah says:

        I agree they made some solid plays and even they had 2 hard hit balls that were caught (that’s nothing compared the Yanks bad luck though). However, the Yanks did have a lot of bad luck with their well-hit balls. Maybe it wasn’t as bad last night but looking at the past week or so, Yanks BABIP luck has been pretty bad.

        Also, Garcia did surprise me with that little stretch of perfection he had. But I think more blame goes to the Yanks hitters. IT seemed they were just anxious to hit bombs off of him after the 1st inning. They came out patient, especially against that low splitter, but then they starting swinging at everything, especially that same pitch. I may be wrong but it did seem like Garcia started mixing in his curve more effectively after the 1st so that might have helped throw the Yanks a bit. But still, overall, IMO, it was the Yanks hurting themselves more than Garcia pitching well.

    • dalelama says:

      Can the effectiveness of using BABIP as a measurement tool for the degree of luck be blurred by fielder positioning? If individual batters develop trends as to where they hit certain types of pitches and the defensive team adjusts their positioning accordingly is the defensive team more good than lucky? Conversely wouldn’t the hitter be more predictable than unlucky? It seems to me that the ease of use of BAPIP as luck measurement tool reflects the old adage of “Luck is how I explain the success of those I do not like.”

  11. pete says:

    Don’t even get me started with Garcia retiring 13 in a row with his 85 mph nothingball.

    He was like the girl pitcher in little league who strikes everybody out for no reason whatsoever

  12. I wasn’t around last night so I’m just wondering, was there the usual gnashing of teeth here and/or on twitter about Girardi using Marte for only one out in the 8th before going to Joba?

  13. Tampa Yankee says:

    Those 3 guys should not only lose their seats for their reactions as the ball was coming at them but they should also those their man cards. 1 guy using your jacket and the other 2 shying away like little girls with the facial expressions to match, that’s pathetic!

  14. MattG says:

    Big play in this game: Jeter snaring a wicked on-hopper on the backhand, and catching the runner off second.

    Boo on Rodriguez. The runner had stopped. There was no reason to throw the ball at all.

    One boo on Aceves. The results were good, but that was one miserable hanging breaking ball of his own that Quentin lined to Rodriguez. That easily could’ve been Jeter’s home run replay.

    And boo on Girardi. Konerko had an 0-1 count when he held up the four fingers. I hate the IBB to begin with, but you don’t walk a guy when you are ahead in the count. That’s all kinds of stupid.

    • If you want to see all kinds of stupid, watch the 10th and 11th innings of the last night’s Rangers-Mariners game. That’s botched managing beyond belief. Girardi’s is just odd sometimes.

    • Zack says:

      You do realize that over his last 10 games Konerko is batting .406/.512/1.125(1.637 OPS). While the guy behind him is hitting .161/.289/.419 (.709 OPS) over the same 10 games.

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