Jul
23

A-Rod hits homer No. 599 as Yanks trounce KC

By

Whenever a team as perennially awful as the Royals come to town for a four game set and aren’t scheduled to throw their Cy Young Award winning ace, it’s easy to start thinking about a sweep. Of course the first step toward that sweep is winning the first game, and the Yankees did exactly that on Thursday night. With Tampa Bay enjoying a scheduled day off, the Yankees picked up a half-game on their division rivals and now lead the AL East by three full games.

A new mural at the Stadium. It'll be up through the end of the season. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Biggest Hit: Posada Doubles In The Go-Ahead Run

The first few innings of this game went back and forth. The Royals stayed true to form as the game’s premier bloop single outfit (lead the majors in batting average, third worst in isolated power), pushing a pair of runs across in the top of the 1st before the Yanks answered back in the bottom half. They scored another run in the 2nd, and the Yanks answered in the 3rd. With the score tied at three in the 5th, Robbie Cano singled with one out to start the rally, and two changeups later the Yankees had the lead for good.

Jorge Posada, who had himself a rather interesting night (more on that later), took the first pitch in the dirt for a ball before unloading on a hanging changeup, sending it deep into the leftfield corner and scoring Cano from first. He later came around to score himself on a Marcus Thames sac fly, though looking back it’s hard to believe that these were the two runs that would effectively decide the game. This one had 10-8 or 9-6 written all over it early on.

Biggest Out: Guillen Kills The Rally

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Before the Yankees broke things open in the bottom of the 8th inning, Joba Chamberlain once again found himself in trouble in the top half. In fairness, it wasn’t entirely his fault. Scott Podsednik and Jason Kendall beat out a pair of infield singles with one out that traveled a combined 100-ft or so, and the inning should have been over when Posada threw Podsednik out stealing third. Instead third base ump Chad Fairchild called him safe, and the inning continued.

Joba poured a first pitch fastball into the zone that Billy Butler took for a strike. Butler then took a slider out of the zone for a ball before swinging over another slider for strike two. Butler is one of the game’s best young hitters (.306/.369/.483 in close to 1,100 plate appearances since the start of last year), and he fought off two more sliders and another fastball for a full count. Joba then challenged him with a fastball, but the pitch rose out of the zone and the bases were loaded with two outs.

It was a two-run game at the time, so the typical uneasiness of a Joba outing was compounded about a million times over. His first pitch to the hacktastic Jose Guillen was wide for a ball (gulp), but Joba got Guillen to roll over on the next heater for an inning-ending ground out. It was a stressful inning, no doubt, and the first two baserunners weren’t entirely Joba’s fault. Still, would it kill the guy to have a 1-2-3 inning once in a while? I’m not sure how much more I can put up with this, .401 BABIP or not.

599

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Alex Rodriguez took another step towards history tonight, clubbing career homerun No. 599 in the 7th inning. It was an opposite field job off reliever Robinson Tejeda, and the three pitch at-bat really allowed A-Rod‘s greatness to shine. Consider the sequence:

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

First Pitch: 92 mph fastball, swing and a miss
Second Pitch: 94 mph fastball, fouled off
Third Pitch: 94 mph fastball, gone

If you throw a hitter as smart and physically gifted as A-Rod the same pitch three times in a row, you’re asking for trouble. He saw it the first time, adjusted the second time, and locked in on it on the third try. Might as well have put it on a tee.

Although he merely doubled in his final at-bat of the game and first shot at No. 600 in the 9th, Alex is now one swing away from history. My money’s on a first inning three run homer off Kyle Davies this Saturday, just like No. 500. Baseball is weird like that sometimes.

A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That

Posada had what we’ll call an adventurous night behind the plate in this game. He lucked out in the 5th when home plate ump Eric Cooper called Butler out on a play at the plate even though Jorge didn’t even tag him. Replay showed he wasn’t close to tagging him, either. An inning later, he made what might have been the dumbest decision in baseball history. The unparalleled Yuniesky Betancourt struck out on a breaking ball in the dirt, and instead of throwing to first for the sure out, Posada threw to third to try and catch Willie Bloomquist napping. The throw was offline and went into leftfield, Bloomquist scored and the YuniBomber ended up at second. CC Sabathia bailed him out, but goodness. Bloomquist struck out on a ball in the dirt the next inning, and Posada lobbed the ball to first for the out, except he almost chucked it into rightfield. Mark Teixeira bailed him out that time. Definitely not a night they’ll relive on Jorge’s Yankeeography, go-ahead double or not.

CC Sabathia wasn’t especially sharp on Thusday, but he did take the ball into the 7th inning as usual. The 15 combined hits and walks he allowed are a new career high, but he limited the damage thanks to nine strikeouts. The big guy did what aces do, kept his team in the game even without his best stuff or command.

Big ups to David Robertson for another fireman act in the 7th. He entered the game with a one run lead and two men on base with just one out, but a pop-up and a strikeout later the Yankees were out of the inning. I can’t imagine either he or Joba will be available tomorrow after pitching in each of the last two games. I guess that makes Boone Logan and Jon Albaladejo the de facto setup men tomorrow. It’s better than Chad Ho Moseley.

Brett Gardner had two outfield assists in this one: one on Wilson Betemit at second to end the 1st (before Guillen crossed the plate, saving a run), and another on the Butler play at home. The replay showed that both guys were safe, Butler by a mile, but I’m not complaining. Kinda makes you forget that he’s had just one hit in his last 19 at-bats.

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Tex went 3-for-4 with a double off his personal whipping boy Bruce Chen, extending his streak of reaching base safely to 38 consecutive games. They should invite that guy to Spring Training every year just so Tex could face him and hopefully get off to a hot start.

David DeJesus sprained his thumb and will miss the rest of the series, but it could have been a lot worse. It looked like he messed up his wrist crashing into the fence on a Derek Jeter fly ball that turned into an inside-the-park homerun, but apparently the wrist is fine. Hopefully DeJesus gets well soon, he’s a good player that deserves to be traded to a contender before next week’s deadline.

WPA Graph & Box Score

Not as jumpy as the actual game felt. MLB.com has the box, FanGraphs the other stuff.

Up Next

Same two teams, same time tomorrow. A.J. Burnett gets his shot at redemption against Brian Bannister.

Categories : Game Stories

103 Comments»

  1. bexarama says:

    Biggest Hit: Posada Doubles In The Go-Ahead Run

    Posada taketh away and Posada giveth. (I felt the need to end on a positive note because I really do love me some Jorge, even on nights when I have absolutely no idea what he’s thinking. Which is like 75% of the time, to be fair.)

  2. Dela G says:

    great great win. I know it was the royals, but that inning with joba made the game feel like this game was waay more important than it really was.

    Regardless, it was a great last game for me to watch before my month long journey through ghana which starts tomorrow

    i hope when i come back (i wont have access to internet during the trip), the yanks are 10 games up, Joba’s ERA is in the mid 3′s and Javy has an ERA right under 4.00.

    And that mural for the boss is fuckin awesome. RIP to the greatest owner baseball, and pretty much modern american sports, has ever known

  3. Carlosologist says:

    This game was great. It was also a pretty cool bonding moment for me and my dad. We were just sitting and then we see Alex blast 599. I jump up and my dad and I high five. I can only imagine what 600 tomorrow will be like.

    • Dirty Pena says:

      I went to a couple of games in Baltimore when he was going after 500. What an asshole to not hit it while I was there, amirite?

      • Joe says:

        i was there when he hit. actually got in late so i missed the top of the first but i told my friends we need to get in before the yankees bat because i have a feeling he is going to do it. got the ticket stub signed by A-Rod. great momento and something i will never forget. i feel your pain though cause I was there the night Jeter tied Gehrig and he had a chance to break it but he waited till the next day.

      • Klemy says:

        He’s so damned selfish!

  4. j_Yankees says:

    Great Win. The big man battled…got the offense to score some runs for him. Just a solid ball game.

    But what can i possibly say about Posada throwing to 3rd….possibly the worst baseball play i have seen from a catcher in a long time. If i call it stupid i might be insulting other stupid plays.

  5. Joe says:

    I like every yankee. i hate youk but if he became a yankee i like him. what i don’t like is that people say Posada is “not that bad” defensively. We are quick to get all over others though…

    • Dirty Pena says:

      Who says that though? He’s obviously pretty bad defensively, what people say is that his bat makes up for his bad defense. Everyone knows he’s not good defensively.

      • Joe says:

        look at yesterday’s DOTF people were saying that Posada isn’t as bad as people make him out to be defensively. i agree his bat makes up for it.

        • Dirty Pena says:

          Well I think he’s pretty bad, but I also disagree that you can use pitchers not pitching to him as evidence, or that Jesus is a lock to be an improvement. Also, I think now he’s pretty bad- I don’t think he was terrible in the past.

          • Joe says:

            never did i say jesus is a lock to be an improvement. he doesn’t block the plate. agian he gave the runner a chance to touch home which he did.

            • Dirty Pena says:

              OK well you have valid points, I just don’t see the point of repeating it. Given the potential trade targets, potential free agents, his current backup, and Jesus not being ready defensively, the Yankees are still best with him catching at least through early next season.

              • Poopy Pants says:

                You really need to have thicker skin. Please stop being so offended when someone says something honest (or at least stop whining about it) that you don’t like hearing.

        • Gonzo says:

          He wasn’t always this bad defensively. At least according to my memory. I don’t think I am a victim of nostalgia, though I might be.

          • dalelama says:

            You are right his baseball senility is progressing. He could do a “I am the Dumbest Man in the World” commercial. “Stay stupid my friends.” But the man can hit.

    • bexarama says:

      Huh? Everyone is all over Posada, all the time, any time he does something stupid. Not saying it’s not undeserved but he’s hardly treated as someone you can’t criticize. Any time he does ANYTHING bad, there are the “replace him with Cervelli!!!” whines. A lot of people just don’t understand how very valuable Posada’s been with his bat through the years. It more than makes up for his shaky defense and utterly horrible baserunning.

  6. Ivan says:

    Im not really asking to the Yankees to sweep the Royals (even though they have a good shot to and probably should) however, sweeping 4 game series are quite hard and usually the opposition would luck out into a win even if it’s the Royals. Nevertheless, I anythang less than 3 out of 4 would be a big dissapointment but I think the Yankees will take 3 of 4 from the Quarter Pounders lol.

    • Dirty Pena says:

      Completely agree. Until there’s a way to predict baseball, (which I’ve heard as of yet there isn’t) sweeps (even in three game series) should never be expected. That being said, with Boston playing Seattle and Tampa playing Cleveland, we’d be wise to get 3 of 4.

  7. Dirty Pena says:

    Selfish A-Rod. Jeter gets an inside the park HR, and he has to go and upstage that.

  8. Matt says:

    Anyone know if the Steinbrenner Mural will be permanent? I miss walking past Negron’s Mural across the street from the old stadium. Also When will the Yankees get some statues to place around the stadium similar to what the Tigers have in the outfield. They would make for a great meeting place now that we no longer have “The Bat”.

    • Johan Iz My Brohan says:

      A new mural at the Stadium. It’ll be up through the end of the season.

      read the caption

    • Mike Axisa says:

      They said it’ll stay up through the end of the season. It’s where all the WS years used to be behind the bleachers. The Steinbrenner thing isn’t even pained on, it looks like a big canvas they just hung up, like a billboard.

    • Carlosologist says:

      It was epic lols when the Ms tied it.

    • forensicnucchem says:

      Talk about painful losses, if they lose (which they probably won’t, it is the Mariners afterall), but wow. Your starter brings a no-hitter into the 8th, you’re up 6-1 in the 9th. Though it doesn’t affect anything and they probably regret it now, the announcers were dumping on their top of the 8th rally because it was just wasting time and didn’t need the runs. Oops…

      • Dirty Pena says:

        I think if they lose, the Yanks can start planning on being around in October. I mean, if they lose and the Yankees went 34-34 the rest of the way (highly unlikely), Boston would have to go 41-25 (a 101 win pace) just to tie that.

  9. Carlosologist says:

    Slightly OT, but in a twist of perhaps cruel fate, they’ve been showing the Andy Pettitte Journey to Comfort commercials a lot lately. Like twice every hour.

    • bexarama says:

      Yes, yes they have.

      Not that I notice they’re playing them and IMMEDIATELY whip around to watch the TV no matter what I’m doing when I hear the William Tell Overture or anything like that.

  10. Ivan says:

    What a heck of a comeback from the Mariners.

    Oh by the way, WTF is up with the Mets? If it wasn’t for the Phil Cuzzy, the Mets would be currently in a 8 game slide.

    • Dirty Pena says:

      Oh by the way, WTF is up with the Mets?

      This would’ve been more appropriate the first 3 months of the year. What’s happening now seems much less surprising.

  11. Salty Buggah says:

    Kinda makes you forget that he’s had just one hit in his last 19 at-bats.

    Well, it’s not all that bad. He’s walked 8 times during that span also. That’s the good thing about Gardy. If he’s not hitting, he still gets on base.

    Overall, it was a great, but wild, win. Here’s hoping we see A-Rod’s 600th tomorrow & AJ pitches well (maybe he can get the Royals to chase his breaking ball all day).

  12. Pat D says:

    Wow, neither team wants to win this game in Seattle.

    • forensicnucchem says:

      The thing that amazed me the most is that the Mariners lineup had 6 (yes, 6!!!) starters with OBP’s under .300 (counting only Smoak’s time in Seattle), and 2 of the other 3 were around .330.

      It’s hard to have that many terrible hitters on one team.

      • Pat D says:

        Except that, with the exception of Bradley, they’re all right in line with their career OBP’s or actually outperforming their career OBP.

        So if you’re going to construct a team stocked with nothing but low OBP guys, don’t be surprised when you can’t score runs.

        And then of course, an infield single, a walk and a double by Eric “.208 BA” Patterson.

        No matter how many times we say it, you just can’t predict baseball.

  13. YankeesJunkie says:

    Yeah, but there defense is awesome and that is the new thing.

    Hopefully the M’s can make a come back.

  14. YankeesJunkie says:

    WAR

    Robinson Cano: 4.7

    M’s Offense (total): 4.0

    Astros (total): 0

  15. Carlosologist says:

    Hell of a WPA graph for Boston-Seattle:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/livew.....eason=2010

  16. Anthony says:

    I think u meant a hot start

  17. Anthony says:

    “They should invite that guy to Spring Training every year just so Tex could face him and hopefully get off to a hard start.”

  18. larryf says:

    Going Going Ghana! A-bomb tonight. Couldn’t resist the pun for this thread….

  19. Rose says:

    An inning before the Yankees broke things open in the bottom of the 8th, Joba Chamberlain once again found himself in trouble in the top half. In fairness, it wasn’t entirely his fault. Scott Podsednik and Jason Kendall beat out a pair of infield singles with one out that traveled a combined 100-ft or so.

    Unfortunately, he’s been so awful that it doesn’t matter. When pitchers are good and this stuff happens it’s easy to give the benefit of the doubt…but when the boy has cried wolf several times and then finds himself in a similar situation that may not be entirely his fault…you kind of just still shake your head and subconsciously feel it may just be him.

    When you’re not playing well…you don’t get lucky. When it rains, it pours so to speak.

    • Chris says:

      The thing is that he has been pretty good all season. He’s just getting very unlucky. He has a .405 BABIP on the season. That’s the second highest BABIP for any pitcher that’s thrown at least 40 innings. That’s not a sign of being a bad pitcher, that’s a sign of bad luck.

      • Chris says:

        Oops… that’s the highest BABIP for pitchers having thrown at lest 40 innings. The second highest for pitchers having thrown at least 30 innings (behind Chad Qualls).

      • B-Rando says:

        I agree there is a certain degree of just flat out bad luck in Jobas BABIP…but some pitchers just carry higher BABIPs.

      • aldot says:

        A little bit of history — Jeter’s first inside the park-er and Mo’s “bad luck”, also vs. the Royals:
        ”All these things happened,” Rivera said. ”I feel good and I feel in command. The last two days the teams have been getting broken bats and balls that are finding holes. I don’t know what you call it. Bad luck?”

        http://www.nytimes.com/1996/08.....efeat.html

    • Dirty Pena says:

      No matter how badly a guy is doing, how are two infield singles his fault?

  20. steve s says:

    Look, I love me some Posada too but my problem with what happened last night is that he wasn’t pulled from the game after the awful throw to first. The analogy is pulling your starting QB after throwing 4 bad interceptions in the first half under the assumption that no one can be making plays that bad in that short of time without something mentally or physically being way off. I know that Girardi handles Posada with kid gloves and that Jorge intimdates him to a certain extent but this was a time he needed to pull him with the risk of Jorge embarrassing himself further outweighing the potential flack he’d take from Jorge for pulling him. It would have been an empowering move for Girardi to have made and I think it would have sent the right message and been respected by the other players.

    • Chris says:

      I know that Girardi handles Posada with kid gloves and that Jorge intimdates him to a certain extent

      What? There’s no evidence of this. If Girardi were intimidated by Posada and handled him with kid gloves, then why would he sit Posada in favor or Molina during the playoffs last year?

      • steve s says:

        Not that I have this stuff at my fingertips but if you google “Posada and Girardi” it will pull up, among other things, a Mark Feinsand Daily News article from 7/11/2008 with “kid glove” like public comments being made by Girardi after Posada went public and made some “testy” comments regarding Molina catching (e.g. “We need Jorge. He’s one of the leaders on the team” etc.). Also, Girardi gave him a fist bump after that lousy throw to first last night which to me was evidence of being a bit intimidated by the guy.

        • Brian says:

          Or it was evidence of him supporting a player on his team after he was clearly struggling behind the plate. More than one player also came up to Posada after that play and did the same thing. It is called picking up your teammate. Posada has played fewer games behind the dish in the past 2 seasons than he has any other manager and Girardi prefers having a good defensive catcher in the games. Even early last year when Posada was coming back from his shoulder injury he would replace Posada in the late innings to ensure he had a better defensive catcher in Molina in the game. To say Girardi is intimidated isn’t based in anything that is factual at all but he certainly handles him with kid gloves because Posada is a baby.

    • pat says:

      Lol wut? You expected Girardi to pull Posada after throwing the ball away? You can’t be serious. What’s next, pulling Jeter after he rolls over a first pitch fastball to short? Benching Tex if he doesn’t make a scoop at first? If you pull someone eveytime they make a mistake or have a bad game you’re not gonna have any players on the field.

      • steve s says:

        Making a mistake is one thing. Making the 3 terrible plays he made in this game including what Mike described above as “what might have been the dumbest decision in baseball history” was extraordinary and indicated to me that something was physically or mentally way off with Jorge last night. Your “what next” arguments are just silly hyperbole.

  21. andrew says:

    quick question about ARods home runs – what is the best site to use for a batted balls chart to see where he has been hitting? can’t seem to find one via google, figured fangraphs would have one but didn’t see anything

  22. Riddering says:

    The Yankees were pummeled by the magical Royal’s BABIP last night. It wasn’t just Joba. Watching the game, it seemed like just about every ground ball in the early innings found a hole with CC on the mound.

    But the final score goes to show what little value a high BA can bring. The Royals might lead baseball in BA but they also have the second highest BABIP and the third lowest ISO. So their 14 hits = / = the Yankees 14 hits.

    • Brian says:

      The Royals also can’t get a big hit with runners in scoring position which they currently sit 3rd worst in the majors. If they could get those bloop hits with RISP they would win more games, so it isn’t so much that BA has little value it is BA w/RISP should carry a much higher value.

  23. Brian says:

    In the article both the Butler play at home and the Betemit play at 2nd were discussed as bad calls and they were but did anyone else notice in the top of 8th the ridiculous missed called by the 3rd base umpire? Chamberlain got Ankiel to strikeout and Posednik stole 3rd was called safe and AROD challenged it right away and replays showed he was clearly out. How many missed calls can these umpires continually have before MLB finally does something drastic to overhaul the current system?

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