Jul
09

A-Rod, Andy keeping Yanks rolling

By

Andy Pettitte twirled eight masterful innings as the Yanks, powered by a two-run, two-out, top-of-the-ninth single off the bat of Alex Rodriguez, downed the Mariners 3-1 tonight. For the Yankees, the win is their sixth in a row and seventh in their last eight games. They move a season-high 23 games above .500 and have maintained a two-game lead over the Tampa Rays.

Andy Was Dandy

Credit: AP Photo, Elaine Thompson

Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera are two peas in an exclusive pod. Rivera has saved more wins for Andy Pettitte than any other duo in baseball history, and tonight, the two were masterful. Pettitte, in particular, was rolling, and he emerged from the game with an 11-2 record and a 2.70 ERA. The nine strike outs served as an exclamation point on a stellar first half.

While Pettitte’s final line is one of total domination, the game started out on a bad foot. Ichiro tapped out an infield single to start the game, and Chone Figgins lofted a base hit down the left field line. Playing alert baseball, though, Brett Gardner gunned down the Mariners’ speedy lead-off hitter trying to reach third, and Pettitte quickly settled in. Franklin Gutierrez grounded out, Russell Branyan fouled off, and off to the races went Andy.

Over the next four innings, Pettitte faced the minimum 12 hitters with a Chone Figgins walk disappearing into a fourth inning double play. In the sixth though, Andy ran into some trouble, and as the Yanks’ bats were silent, the Yanks were on the wrong end of a deficit. Josh Wilson and Michael Saunders, the Mariners’ eight and nine hitters, knocked out back-to-back singles, and Ichiro squared to sacrifice. He laid down a bad bunt, but Pettitte’s throw ended up well wide of first base. Wilson scored, and the Mariners had 2nd and 3rd with no one out. They were set up.

The Mariners being the Mariners and Andy being Andy, however, the team failed to score. Chone Figgins hit a ball down the third base line that Ramiro Pena speared. He held the runner at third and gunned out Figgins. The Yanks intentionally walked Gutierrez, and Russell Branyan struck out looking on a 3-2 beauty. Jose Lopez swung through strike three to end the threat. No other Mariners runner would reach third base.

Key Moment: Cano doesn’t advance

As Andy rolled, the Yankee offense did not. As they did in the early innings against Gio Gonzalez in Oakland, the Yanks put on runner after runner but could not score. In fact, they knocked out nine hits and worked two walks against Jason Vargas but scored only a run. Even that lone run required a head’s up effort by A-Rod.

To set the scene, A-Rod walked to lead off the 7th, and Robinson Cano singled. With Jorge Posada batting, a Vargas wild pitch escaped the clutches of Josh Bard and trickled down the first base line. Alert at second, A-Rod dashed for third. “I got a ball in the dirt, had a good jump and made it to third,” he said after the game.

At first base, though, Robinson Cano missed the play. Jorge Posada, not a particularly adept base runner, initially held up his hand to hold the runners, but then he changed his mind and tried to wave them on. Cano was frozen, and the Yanks had first and third. Posada tapped into a double play that scored A-Rod, and the Yanks were happy with the tie. With a nod to the fallacy of the predetermined outcome, had Cano better read the wild pitch, Jorge’s grounder would have tied the game, and Curtis Granderson‘s subsequent base hit could have given the Yanks a lead. The point, though, became moot two innings later.

A-Rod in the Clutch

Swisher scores on ARod's single. Credit: AP Photo, Elaine Thompson

On the 16th anniversary of his debut with the Mariners and on the night when another high-profile free agent spurned his original team, Alex Rodriguez was the game’s hero. Coming on to pitch the ninth, Mariners’ closer David Aardsma quickly dispatched Kevin Russo. But Derek Jeter walked, and Nick Swisher — 4 for 4 with a walk tonight — hit a booming double to right field. With 2nd and 3rd but one out, Mark Teixeira swung under a first pitch fast ball, and as his shoulder dipped, the ball arched foul. Bard settled under it for the second out.

Up to the plate came A-Rod, and he did not fail to deliver. A-Rod laced a single into right field, and both Jeter and Swisher scored. For A-Rod, the runs were RBIs numbers 68 and 69, and Mariano Rivera had an insurmountable two-run cushion. The team had been 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position before A-Rod’s base hit, and that one hit was all they needed.

A Hairbrush at a Baseball Game

Early on in the first inning, Ichiro ran into foul territory in right field in an effort to haul in ball. As he leaned over to try to make a play, he whacked a young woman on the head with his arm. She had a hairbrush out at a baseball game. Why? I don’t know, but the AP snapped a stellar photo of the whole thing. The woman could not look more awkward.

Credit: AP Photo, Elaine Thompson

Peaks and Valleys

The WPA graph is particularly pleasing tonight. (Fangraphs box, ESPN box)

Up Next

The Yanks and Mariners continue their four-game set at 10:10 p.m. on Friday as Cliff Lee auditions for a role with, well, someone. The Bombers will counter with All Star Phil Hughes who will look to get his season back on track after a rough stretch of starts.

Categories : Game Stories

66 Comments»

  1. You know what would be funny? If they scored ten runs off Lee in like three innings tomorrow.

    It won’t happen, but I can dream, right?

    • Mattchu12 says:

      Took a nap earlier, dreamt of that. Intend to dream of it now too. After the game, I’ll dream about the “usual” outing from Cliff Lee, but in pinstripes during October of 2011.

  2. Alan says:

    You left open a bold tag, spilling down the homepage.

  3. Dela G says:

    great great win

    oh adam dunn and nick swisher are singlehandedly saving my fantasy teams this week. wow

  4. bexarama says:

    I don’t even know what to say about Andy any more this season except that it’s EXTREMELY bexy-happy-making.

    • Sean C says:

      Andy is one of my favorite Yankee pitcher’s to watch this season. I never thought I would come to expect 6+ inning of ~2 run baseball every time he’s on the mound. I will continue to love Andy pitching this way through the second half, even if he does regress in any way. Right now, he’s 20+ other teams’ ace.

  5. Johan Iz My Brohan says:

    Granderson did well today, hopefully tomorrow he gets some clutch hits when the Yankees need them.

  6. Cecala says:

    How come these recaps come out in 30 minutes yet the recaps for day games take 6 hours?

  7. Apollo22237 says:

    The Yankees made that WPA graph look like an idiot. That is what he gets for assuming the Mariners would win after scoring that one run in the 6th.

  8. jim p says:

    Rivera has saved more wins for Andy Pettitte than any other duo in baseball history,

    How many would that be? And who is the second place duo?

  9. Esteban says:

    WPA graphs are based on average teams right for the current season right? Does it take into account if teams have bad bullpens/ good bullpens? Am I asking a stupid question?

    • JGS in sunburn-inducing Jerusalem says:

      I think they are based on way more than just the current season–as in, thousands upon thousands of actual games from years past. The don’t take pitcher or hitter or defense into account all–just home team/away team, baserunners, inning, and outs. Pedro 2000 vs. Alvaro Espinoza would be the same as Jason Neighborgall vs. Barry Bonds as far as WPA was concerned.

    • Brian in NH says:

      Yes…as far back as they have for historical data for certain game situations. It doesn’t take into account other stats like a batters average or any pitching stats

    • Jimmy says:

      Shocking wow

    • Sean C says:

      While I would LOVE having Cliff Lee in the Yankees rotation (what Yankee fan wouldn’t?!) there is a huge, nasty BUT at the end of that line. That includes trading away Montero and one of the MANY great arms that seem to occupy the farm system currently for renting a player for the second half of the season. Not to be so self-confident to say that the Yanks don’t NEED a Lee to win the division/make it to/win the postseason, but this story has been in play since the Mariners have become an afterthought in a “shit” division in the AL. This makes me think of NBA teams hoping they can land LeBron as a pipedream…

    • TheLastClown says:

      Saw it. Filed it under ‘irresponsible rumormongering.’

      There’s a place I want take Joel Sherman to. The weather’s beautiful, all the pretty girls smile at you, and the air’s filled with the sound of Lee’s fastball popping in Hey-Zeus’ glove.

      That place? YS3 2012. Hell, maybe even 2011.

    • BigBlueAL says:

      Just saw Sherman post links about this story on Twitter.

    • YankeesJunkie says:

      This is how I would see the trade if it was Montero-Adams-B prospect for Lee

      Great

      1. Cliff Lee is a beast and gives the Yankees 2 of the best pitchers in the game and the came and the Yankees can sign Lee without giving up a 1st round draft pick.

      Awful

      1. The Yankees give up Montero one of the best prospects in all of baseball

      Good

      1. Yankees C prospects are some of the deepest and best in baseball and Romine who is in AA is more of a future C than Montero. Also the Yankees have guys like Murphy and Sanchez who still four years away show great potential.

      2. Allows the Yankees to flip Javy for a solid bat/very good reliever

      Bad

      1. Farm System takes another hit and the Yankees double pay for Lee

      If the Yankees land Lee I will be very excited, but realize they gave up a real good prospect, but I’d rather have the Lee for the next four years than Montero for the next six at this point.

    • DJH says:

      I would not trade a blue chip prospect for a half a season of any player and even if I had to trade one it would be Romine not Montero.

    • Mattchu12 says:

      My favorite part is the “the Phillies took the Mariners offer over the Yankees offer” bit. Not going to happen.

      • Mattchu12 says:

        or the “Cashman might now be in position to either put Hughes in the bullpen to bolster that shaky area” bit. You guys have heard of Hughes right? That All-Star starting pitcher?

  10. YankeesJunkie says:

    More rumor than fact. Unless there are multiple credible sources it is just hear say.

  11. BigBlueAL says:

    Here is more stuff about Lee from Sherman:

    http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/.....BcuIwvVUXN

  12. Evan3457 says:

    Not sure if it’s “for real” or not, but Sherman doesn’t usually pull crap like that.

    He’ll create a controversy through opinion/speculation, but he usually doesn’t speculate trades nearing completion.

    • DJH says:

      I agree this is not Sherman posting an opinion this is him actually reporting something leading me to believe there is truth to this.

  13. BigBlueAL says:

    Someone wake up Mike, Ben and Joseph!!!! lol

  14. BigBlueAL says:

    Buster Olney already talking about Yankees trading Vazquez to maybe the Phillies or Padres.

  15. BigBlueAL says:

    God I can already tell all the panic about OMG the Yankees are trading Jesus Montero.

    • Yeah but that’s reasonable – People get attached to prospects, let alone prospects as promising as Montero, and don’t like seeing guys they root for traded away before they fulfill their potential. Let’s not be preemptive patronizing dicks about it, I think it’s pretty understandable that people would be surprised/upset for a little while as they digest news like that.

      • BigBlueAL says:

        I guess but I have never gotten attached to minor-league players who we basically never, ever see play. I trust Cashman and his staff with stuff like that, I could care less because NONE of us watch these guys like they do.

        Im all about the major league team and anybody who is going to complain about trading for arguably the best LHP in baseball I dunno what to say.

        • You could say something like “I disagree with those people but understand where they’re coming from so I won’t be a dick on the very first day they hear this rumor?” You can disagree with people while still understanding where they’re coming from.

          • PS: I shouldn’t have written that in such a way that I implied that you’re a dick… I wrote it that way because I think you’re reasonable and will understand what I’m saying, I just think you had an initial overreaction.

            • BigBlueAL says:

              Totally understand what you’re saying. Im a Knicks fan so last night didnt help (granted I actually really like the trade with Golden St) my mood much.

        • Im all about the major league team and anybody who is going to complain about trading for arguably the best LHP in baseball I dunno what to say.

          Because trading for Cliff Lee now is like tipping after you’ve calculated tax: you’re paying twice.

          • BigBlueAL says:

            You are assuming the Yankees were gonna win the WS this season w/o him. Obviously Cashman wasnt so sure of that and he felt like if they could get Lee now they had to do it.

        • Jimmy says:

          Its a natural reaction for anyone who lived through the 80′s with this team. The Yankees traded away an all-star team for a bunch of 30+ yo stars who never lasted long. It makes you reflexively against a trade like this.

  16. Kevin in Delectable Princeton says:

    So if we actually trade Montero, do we change it to the Romine tracker?

  17. Pete says:

    Getting Cliff Lee now would be extremely short-sighted, imo.

  18. Jimmy says:

    How awkward would a Lee-Hernandez matchup be on Saturday?

    • RL says:

      If that happened and I were a Seattle fan with tickets for the game, I’d skip the game and burn the tickets!!

  19. First of the Mo-hicans says:

    That’s me in the Ichiro picture (well my arm at least, and my son). Where Ichiro is bumping the girl, that’s my son with the Yankee hat with all the championship flags, and that’s my arm in the white Yankee jersey. We had front row on the right field line.

    Living in Portland, we try to get up to Seattle every year to see the Yanks, but hadn’t been in three years. What an awesome time, and so cool to see Mo pitch the ninth. Even in Seattle, there’s just an awe about the crowd when Mo comes in, and cameras are going off everywhere. We just missed Mo at the Seattle Nordstrom store too. That would have almost been too much to handle.

  20. mko says:

    Afterwards, Ichiro asked the girl if she was alright and she said that she was okay. At least that what my amateur lip reading skills say ;-).

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