Sabathia, offense roll over Mariners as Yanks head into All Star break

Three walk-offs at the lower levels
Fan Confidence Poll: July 12th, 2010

With the bitter taste of Joba Chamberlain‘s 8th meltdown still in their mouths, the Yankees showed up to Safeco Field on Sunday as a team on a mission. CC Sabathia shut down the Mariners deep into the game, the offense piled on runs early and often, and the final result was an 8-2 win that seemed far more lopsided than that. Both Tampa Bay and Boston won, so the Yanks’ lead in the AL East remains at two games.

Photo Credit: John Froschauer, AP

Biggest Hit: Take Your Pick

The Yanks offense was rather relentless today, pounding Mariners’ starter Ryan Rowland-Smith for six runs in just four innings of work, and it could have been a whole lot worse if not for some great outfield defense. A pair of errors by Seattle’s defense led to a pair of Yankee runs in the first, but singles by Mark Teixeira and Jorge Posada helped as well. They scored two runs in the 1st, one in the 3rd, three in the 4th, and two in the 5th.

Tex finished the day with four hits, Posada and Marcus Thames with two each, and Brett Gardner reached twice on walks. Yankee hitters attacked early and often, capitalizing on errors, balls lost in the sun, wild pitches, you name it. I also remember no fewer than five balls caught right at the wall by Mariners’ outfielders, two off the bat off Robbie Cano, so the score could have been even more one-sided.

CC on Cruise Control

Photo Credit: John Froschauer, AP

It doesn’t get much better than CC Sabathia when he’s on his game. The big lefty skated right through the first five innings of this one, retiring 11 in a row before Michael Saunders, Ichiro, and Chone Figgins touched him up for singles to lead off the 6th. A line out to short and a double play later, the threat was over and Sabathia would tack on another scoreless inning for food measure.

At the end of the day, CC’s line sat at 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, but he was much better than that line indicates. The Mariners didn’t really hit anything right on the nose, and most of the outs were routine fly balls or weak grounders on the infield. He needed just 96 pitches in those seven innings, though Joe Girardi opted to give CC a little breather and pull him early even though there was plenty of gas left in the tank.

Sabathia is now 8-0 in his last eight starts, and his ERA has dropped all the way down to 3.09. As good as Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes and Javy Vazquez have been, the Yankees need CC to be than dominating workhorse at the front of the rotation, and that’s exactly what he has been for the last two months.

Miscellany

Derek Jeter ripped two balls into the right-centerfield gap, legit extra base hit shots. Of course one was caught by Franklin Gutierrez, but that’s besides the point. The Cap’n had two extra base hits (both doubles) total in his previous 109 plate appearances before those two rockets. Hopefully this a sign of what’s to come in the second half.

Big ups to Tex for scoring a run with his  hustle. He made it to second when Michael Saunders lost a lazy fly in the sun, moved over to third on a foul pop behind first, then scored on a wild pitch. That’s the kinda stuff you expect Brett Gardner to do, not the big and slow Mark Teixeira.

Photo Credit: John Froschauer, AP

Meanwhile, I can’t let Alex Rodriguez go for squaring around to bunt when Tex was on second. Yes, the ball almost stayed fair, but there’s never a reason for that man to bunt. Ever. Swing the damn bat. He hits cleanup for a reason, because he’s good at hitting the ball far, far away. Stick to that, let the scrawny middle infielders worry about the small ball nonsense.

Marcus Thames hit his first homer since that walk-off shot at the expense of Jonathan Papelbon back in May. Yes, there was a disabled list stint mixed in, but that’s a long time.

Curtis Granderson singled and sent a ball to the wall (for an out), and heads into the break having gone 7-for-16 with just one strikeout in the four game set. It hasn’t been a great year for the Yanks’ centerfield, but at least he can head home for a few days feeling good about himself.

And finally, nice play by John Flaherty on that foul ball (above).

WPA Graph & Box Score

It’s always a good thing when the green line hugs the bottom of the graph for five-plus innings. MLB.com has the box score, FanGraphs all the other cool stuff.

Up Next

The Yankees get to enjoy an extra long four day All Star Break, and will begin the second half of the 2010 season in a big way: at home against the Rays. Sabathia will get the ball in that game too, technically starting back-to-back games, and will face Jamie Shields. It’ll be as big as mid-July series get.

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Three walk-offs at the lower levels
Fan Confidence Poll: July 12th, 2010
  • http://twitter.com/YankeesGalaxy YankeesGalaxy

    The big man keeps rolling

  • Carlosologist

    For the Rays series, I hope we don’t get smacked around like in that two game set in May.

    • http://twitter.com/YankeesGalaxy YankeesGalaxy

      we’re a much better team than that.

  • Paul Canales

    I think Flaherty said that was Thames’ first home run in 20 ABs? If that is true, that’s not half bad for Thames.

  • http://twitter.com/stophamm3rtime Dela G

    great fuckin win as usual

  • Cecala

    It kind of sucks seeing the long break when the offense has really been on a tear most of these games…

    • Tom Zig

      Well on the bright side, Mariano gets at least 7 days off.

  • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

    Won 8 of our last 9 going into the break. Can’t ask for more than that.

    Does anyone know who’s pitching on Saturday?

    • Tom Zig

      mlb.com says Burnett.

      • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

        Blah, the only game I get to go to in three months and I get Burnett. Lame.

        • Tom Zig

          it’s ok! Eiland is back!

        • jim p

          “The stuff to throw a no-hitter any time he takes the mound.” I’ve heard said many times.

          • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

            My list of pitchers I want to see when I go to games:

            Hughes (cause I haven’t seen him start a game in person yet)
            CC
            Andy
            Javy/AJ

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime-Jesus & Maquinito FTW

    So I *might* get to see the Yankee game on Friday but other then that I’ll have to wait till July 23rd to see a Yankee game in its entirety! Boo!

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime-Jesus & Maquinito FTW

      Oh. And I almost forgot. 6-1 West coast swing?

      Hell. Yes.

      • Tom Zig

        should have been 7-0

        still angry

  • http://www.teamnerdrage.com dr mrs the yankee

    Today was weird, CC had his primo stuff and only 1K. Was shocked at that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9370232 Mike HC

    The Yanks made it look too easy today.

  • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

    Things I really like: Mark Teixeira’s triple slash line heading into the break is .254/.360/.465. He’s almost having a better season than A-Rod, and considering where he was in late May, I’m ecstatic. He’s been killing the ball since June, and I see a monster second half in his future.

  • jim p

    Jeter vs RHP.

    2010 .250/.326/.335/.661
    career: .309/.379/.442/.821

    What’s going on with that, anyone care to guess?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9370232 Mike HC

      small sample size

      • jim p

        We’d be hard-pressed to find a sample of the same size which is this poor. Maybe that year he was playing with an injured hand.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9370232 Mike HC

          He is also hitting .241/ .306 /.317 and OPS .623 on the road this year. I don’t think he gets mysteriously old on the road, and rejuvenated at home.

          I think Jeter has just had a down first half and should improve in the second half. And while it is reasonable to assume he will never hit the same again due to his advanced age, I disagree. Even if this year ends up being down overall, I expect him to have better offensive years in the future. This is not the end of Derek Jeter as we know him. Not yet.

          I don’t think, ha

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      It’s either a small sample size or the fact that he’s 36 and doing what 36-year-old short stops do. Take your pick.

      • jim p

        So he stays lead-off for the 2nd half?

  • Salty Buggah

    Loved the game. CC was averaged over 95 (95.70 mph to be exact) for the first time this year & touched 98 several times, so it was awesome to see him bringing heat (though he only got 1 swinging strike on his 4-seamer & only 1 K). I love CC when he’s on, such a joy.

    Also, if this was in YSIII, Yanks probably score like 25 runs with all of those warning track outs.

    Finally, it feels so good Tex has come around & is absolutely crushing the ball now. If only A-Rod could start doing the same. His disappointing 0-fer dropped his AVG to .269 & OPS to .826, only .002 more than Tex. Even though in the 7 previous days, he had OPS’d .894, I really want A-Rod to start hitting & get to at least .930 or so before the season is over. I know it’s somewhat too much to ask & it even might be a bit unrealistic to expect A-Rod to go on a huge tear given his age (though I doubt it…or am in denial?), but it would be awesome to see A-Rod & Tex murder baseballs at the same time.

    For some reason, A-Rod hasn’t hit LHP as well this year. He has a .759 OPS in 117 PA (so SSS) but in his career, his OPS against RHP & LHP was different by only .005. I think a lot of his struggles might stem from a low BABIP, as his LD% and IsoD aren’t too far off career averages (though his IsoP kinda is). Whatever it is, I just want to see him hit.

    Other than A-Rod, it was a very pleasing game. We’ll need this type of dominant starting pitching to continue in the 2nd half, especially in the 1st series, which is against the Rays.

  • Wil Nieves #1

    Tex swung the bat like a champ yesterday. Not just 4 hits to show for it, but his whole approach looked really good. Looking forward to the second half.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    A line out to short and a double play later, the threat was over and Sabathia would tack on another scoreless inning for food measure.

    /freudianslip’d
    /CCisfatjoke’d

  • Brian in NH

    Meanwhile, I can’t let Alex Rodriguez go for squaring around to bunt when Tex was on second. Yes, the ball almost stayed fair, but there’s never a reason for that man to bunt. Ever. Swing the damn bat. He hits cleanup for a reason, because he’s good at hitting the ball far, far away. Stick to that, let the scrawny middle infielders worry about the small ball nonsense.

    On LoHud Chad Jennings had this on A-Rod bunting

    “Not saying I understand why he was bunting there, but I did have a baseball official tell me once that Alex Rodriguez is the best bunter he’s ever seen, you just never see it in a game because he’s such a good hitter.”

    still doesn’t excuse it..but you don’t expect a guy like A-rod who is a power hitter to even posess bunting skills. The guy does it all!

    • Pete

      yeah but that’s a bit like saying “man you never see it in games, but Franklin Gutierez is one of the best defensive first basemen I’ve ever seen”

      • SamVa

        Or “that C.C. Sabathia can REALLY hit”

        wait….

    • KeithK

      Gotta disagree on the “Rodriguez should never bunt” thing. Nothing wrong with getting a cheap hit every now and then. Especially in situations where the team needs baserunners or if he’s slumping. The situation in question yesterday, a bunt base hit would’ve done the job of moving the runner to third (setting up a cheap RBI) and put him on base.

      There’s also the effect on the defense. Get a few bunt hits and maybe you put it in the mind of the opposing third baseman. If he comes in a step or two you’re even more likely to get a hit when swinging away. Along those lines, I’d love to see Tex slap the ball to the left side once or twice when the other team puts on the extreme shift. If he could he’d get the cheap hit and maybe make the defense cover it, thus opening up things for his usual swing.

  • I Voted for Kodos

    One of my favorite things about Tex is that he’s always busting his ass on the field. It doesn’t necessarily always pay off, but the Yanks have benefitted from it a few times. It’s not something I’d expect from a lumbering first baseman, so it’s a nice bonus.

  • dan

    if anyone wants to know why we went for lee…..check the facts…………..25 games left with the boston/tampa……!