Swish, Yanks honor the Boss with walk-off win

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The Yankees just don’t seem to lose games like this. Whenever they’re playing with a heavy heart, the Bombers always manage to come out on top. They’re not just wins either, they’re memorable wins that remind us just why we love baseball and how lucky we are to be Yankee fans. On a night when the team honored the late George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard, there was no better way to feel.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Biggest Hit: Send Swish

In a game like this, it’s hard to decide what exactly the biggest hit was. WPA obviously says it was Nick Swisher‘s walk-off single, but we can’t discount his game-tying homer in the 8th inning either. You really can’t say enough about what the first time All Star did on Friday night. Remember, he hit another ball to the wall that Gabe Kapler made a great catch on, but of course we can’t forget the two defensive blunders (missed fly ball, throw to the wrong base), though I’m going to cut him some slack on the fly ball since the wind likely played a factor. The Yankee rightfielder was tremendous, he carried the team on his back in the late innings and gave a performance that we’ll remember for years to come.

In the end, Swisher posted a 0.725 WPA in this game, which I’m willing to bet is the highest mark by a Yankee this season.  It’s fitting that an Ohio State guy shined on the day that Steinbrenner, born and raised in Ohio, was honored.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Biggest Out: Bossman Gets A Little Lazy

Considering how much trouble CC Sabathia was in on Friday (more on that later), the biggest out record by a Yankee pitcher didn’t even come on a pitch. After B.J. Upton led off the 9th with a broken bat aided single to third, the Rays’ sometimes enigmatic centerfielder got caught napping at first, and was picked off by the great Mariano Rivera. It was Mo’s first pickoff since 2003, just the fifth of his career, and it decreased Tampa’s chances of winning by close to 15%.

You can’t say enough about the job Mo did either, he was simply fantastic. The crowd was on their feet in the 9th, and it seemed like a win was inevitable once he recorded out number three.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Fans

I wasn’t in attendance tonight, but you were able to feel the somber mood just by watching on television. The pre-game tribute to the Boss and Sheppard was simple and elegant, but it was more than appropriate. The crowd seemed to be very unsure of what to do after that, it felt like everyone just wanted to explode in cheers while at the same time remaining quite and respectful.

As cliche as it sounds, you know George would have wanted the fans on their feet and rooting for these great Yankees. They certainly were doing that by the end of the game, with good reason. I’m proud of my fellow fans, they did a great job of honoring the legacy of two tremendous Yankee legends.


CC Sabathia certainly wasn’t great in this game, but he did what aces do when they aren’t right: he kept his team in the game and put them in a position to win. His only 1-2-3 inning came in the 1st, so he was pitching in and out of trouble all night. The Yanks are now 9-0 in his last nine starts. Can’t complain about that. Nope, not at all.

Robbie Cano and Jorge Posada going back-to-back in the 6th was when the Yankees really seemed to wake up. A lot of people are going to remember this game for George, Sheppard, and Swish, but those two homers off a cruising Jamie Shields were enormously important.

Curtis Granderson singled off a lefty to start the 9th inning rally. Yay. I don’t agree with pinch-bunting (pinch-bunting!!!) for Juan Miranda with Ramiro Pena after that, but I’m in too good of a mood to let it bother me. I’ll let you off the hook today, Joe Girardi.

David Robertson was in full-on beast mode in his inning of work. Three batters, 12 pitches, three strikeouts. Vintage D-Rob right there. Shades of last July.

Was it just me, or did it sound like the YES crew tinkered with the crowd microphones during the break? I know the game was broadcast on My9, but I assume they use the same equipment. The sound was very clear, and the ball seemed to crack extra loud when coming off the bat. Maybe Cano, Jorge, and Swish just hit those pitches on the sweet spot. Either way, I approve.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The Yankees are now three games up on the Rays in the AL East and 6.5 up on the Red Sox, and are guaranteed to finish this series in sole possession of first place regardless of what happens on Saturday and Sunday.

WPA Graph & Box Score

Here’s the box, here’s the rest.

Up Next

Old Timer’s Day! Tomorrow afternoon the Yanks’ will hold their annual celebration of the franchise’s great history, and I’m sure there will be even more Steinbrenner and Sheppard tributes. The fun starts at 2pm ET, the actual game two hours later.

Montero's hot hitting continues
Link Dump: Yankee envy, Ben Davis, Spaceman, Bagwell and Bobby Bo
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime-Jesus & Maquinito FTW

    I was at the game.

    It was awkward at first, but as the game progressed, people seemed to believe that there was no possible way that the Yankees could lose, and when Jeter came up to bat in the ninth…

    It was a total catharsis.

  • Sullylv

    Great win for the Yankees tonight.What can you say about Swisher that hasn’t been said before.The haters will have to wait for another game
    to say something stupid about the Yankees!Keep it up Yanks!

  • RalphieD

    ill be in attendance tomorrow…sooo excited!

    • Ultimate Baseball Online

      UBO Old Timer’s Day is waiting on your confirmation RalphieD.

    • Sullylv

      Have a great time RalphieD.

  • http://Www.theviewfromhome.me Nick DiCo

    “They’re not just wins either, they’re memorable wins that remind us just why we love baseball and how lucky we are to be Yankee fans.”

    Truer words could not have been spoken. Being so far away in MS and watching tonight made me feel like I was home. And like nothing changed.

    Go Yankees.

  • Sullylv

    Old timers game tomorrow,one of my favorite days to watch the old and
    present Yankees.I will be watching on the Yes channel on directv starting at 11am in Las Vegas.

    • http://yanksgoyard.com Andy_C_23

      You’re in Vegas? Put $50 on red for me.

      • Sullylv

        Left Islip in suffolk county on long island in 89.Live in Henderson and retired in Jan 07 and just loving life.IF you are serious let me know and we will work it out.

        • http://yanksgoyard.com Andy_C_23

          I was just kidding…everyone knows to bet on black. Thanks for the offer though.

          I can’t imagine how you wouldn’t be loving life in Vegas.

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK’s Mystique and Aura

            I can’t imagine how you wouldn’t be loving life in Vegas.

            Really? I’m not a man of great purity (those around here who know me will attest to that), but even I think Vegas is just too much.

            • Rivera Venue Blues (formerly Spaceman.Spiff)

              “I’m not a man of great purity.”

              Hmmm, that’s kinda like

              “Rickey’s not a man of great modesty.”
              -Rickey Henderson

            • forensicnucchem

              If you don’t spend all your time on the Strip, living in Vegas is pretty similar to living anywhere else. Most people who live here (unless they’re in the dating/clubbing stage of their lives) either don’t gamble or only go to casino’s when they have company.

              Sure, there are some things that won’t be replicated anywhere else, like slot machines in grocery stores, but for the most part life is just life…

    • forensicnucchem

      Sadly, if you’re in Vegas, you’ll miss the actual game (unless you maybe go to a sports bar), stupid FOX and MLB.

      • Sullylv

        This will be the 1st game that i won’t be able to watch this year.I have Yes on directv and the mlb extra innings package but i don’t think it will help me in this case.I have seen all the games that the Yankees have played on fox so far this year.

        • forensicnucchem

          Yeah, I live in Henderson too. We’re in the same boat for FOX and MLB. How about that?

  • Carlosologist

    As was said a lot in the game thread, Swish did his best Bobby Murcer impression in this game. This is the first game I’ve seen in which the team plays amazing after the death of a close associate to the team. I really enjoyed this game. And I’m letting it be known now, the Yanks will dominate in the second half to the tune of 55-16* in honor of the Boss.

    Note: Probably a bit of an overestimation.

  • Anthony Murillo

    I just came back from the game. It was really an unreal experiance and I’m thrilled I managed to attend the game. Across the street (where the old Yankee Stadium used to stand) they had two giant banners of Steinbrenner and fans were allowed to sign their names and right messages. The entire tribute to Steinbrenner and Sheppard was amazing.

  • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

    Fantastic write-up, incredibly cathartic and wonderful game. That’s all.

  • http://twitter.com/YanktheMike yankthemike

    you guys have been killing it with your articles this week. this was a game for the ages and you really did it justice tonight

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

    Great fucking win

    i was at the game today in the bleachers and enjoyed every minute. I will be in the bleachers again tomorrow and sunday, so if you see me, holla!

  • ShuutoHeat (GGBG > The Flash)

    Great stuff.

    Now read this:
    Upton said there was a reason he was picked off on a close play.
    “I just think it was a balk move,” he said.


    Really Upton?

    • Sullylv

      Fuck Upton,did you see his face when he got picked-off priceless!

      • ShuutoHeat (GGBG > The Flash)

        He was thinking how he was all untouchable…until MO took him out. Upton is just plain whiny about the whole pick off and finding excuses to cover up his fail.

    • http://twitter.com/YanktheMike yankthemike

      he continues to make his team look bad – day after day. i’m sure they will get rid of him as soon as they can. just like they got rid of delmon young and the others like him.

      • ShuutoHeat (GGBG > The Flash)

        Humility, that is what these players need to learn.

        • smurfy

          on the nose, you are

    • Sleepykarl

      It really was technically a balk, just one that is almost never called. This is the move that always got me when I played. If you watch closely, Rivera’s first move is bringing up his left heel, then his right foot steps off the rubber. It happens so quickly it’s hard to tell, but as a baserunner you focus on a right-hander’s heels almost solely. When Upton say the left heel rise, he turned his shoulders to run and then realized he was coming over to first. It’s a beautiful move for a righty if you can get it down like Mo did.

  • yankjenets

    Can someone explain to me how Gardner walking in the 9th raised the Yankees’ chances of winning by 1%?

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Gardner’s run didn’t mean anything since the winning run (Granderson) was already in scoring position. There was very little to be gained by that walk.

      • larryf

        but once again the Great Gritsky down 0-2 in the count does not give up the 2nd out and reaches on a walk. It WAS big because Jeter struck out to follow….

    • forensicnucchem

      Um, increased chances of eventually walking in a run??? Who knows…

      Think someone should tell Girardi that the sac bunt decreased the win percentage by 1.6%?

      • yankjenets

        Aha, true, that must be it.

    • Poopy Pants

      After Gardener was the King of GIDP’s.

  • forensicnucchem

    Swisher’s .725 WPA is by far the highest for a Yankee this season. The only other ones above .500:

    April 30th – Jeter (.505) – included a 2-out, 2-run homer in the 5th to tie the game and a 1-out, 2-run triple to take the lead in the 7th in a 6-4 win over the White Sox.

    May 17th (I’m sure everyone remembers this one) – Thames (.511) and A-Rod (.507) – Thames sac fly RBI, RBI double, 2-run homer, and an A-Rod 2-run single and 2-run homer.

    Just to pass the time…

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

      Swisher is an OSU man. So was the Boss.

      Hollywood can’t write this shit.

    • Pete

      I like that Thames had a .511 and A-Rod had a .507 WPA in the same game. In other words, two players won 1.18 games…in one game. Yeah. We’re that good.

  • Sean C.

    Tonight was my first game at the new stadium. Beautiful stadium, things were priced at about where I’d expect them, and a walk-off win was AMAZING. All in all, a fantastic memory for my first visit to the stadium.

    • ShuutoHeat (GGBG > The Flash)

      Man nothing like a walk off win on a very very special night for your first visit of the new stadium, I think you’ll be speaking about it in years to come.

  • Carlosologist

    The very thought of being five games up on the Rays and 8.5 on the Sox gives me boners.

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

      You’re too young for those.

      • Rivera Venue Blues (formerly Spaceman.Spiff)

        Hehe, the fact that it was a girl that told him that makes me snicker.

      • Pete

        you’re never too young for those.

    • ShuutoHeat (GGBG > The Flash)

      5 over Rays and 8.5 over Sux? Pardon me while direct you to this video…

      (safe? except for the word “Jizz” but that’s safe…right?)

  • Salty Buggah

    Is it me or did Swish kiss the GMS patch after crossing home plate after hitting the game-tying HR in the 8th?


    Seems like it, right? If so, that’s pretty cool.

    • Carlosologist

      No, I saw it too. It was pretty cool because Swish sent everyone home happy. I’m pretty sure the Boss would’ve been happy too.

    • Kit

      He did. I thought it was really amazing of him.

  • mike c

    loved the walk-off single to right, swisher was channeling vintage jeter when he pulled that one out

    • Kiko Jones

      As opposed to the actual Jeter, who…

  • ChrisS

    You can’t say enough about the job Mo did either, he was simply fantastic.

    Sweet jesus, a 1.02 era and a 0.64 Whip by a 40-yo closer. The guy is an unstoppable beast. And it’s scary that he’s getting better. Outside of a freak 3.15 era in 2007 (which came from three bad games out of 67) Mo could have put together a string of seven seasons with a sub-2 era.

    And hell, D-Rob was throwing well tonight. Love the 1.0 IP with 3 Ks.

  • steve s

    Mike, please explain why you thought sending Pena up as pinch-bunter was not the correct move. Bunting was the right move there, Pena is the superior bunter and Miranda looked pitiful at the plate last night so having him swing away would have not ended well.

    • forensicnucchem

      By bunting you give away an out. That lowers your run expectancy from .953 to .725 (http://www.tangotiger.net/RE9902.html). It lowers your win probability 1.6% based on fangraphs.

      For the non ‘nerd’ reasons, you are giving away a free out at the point in the game where the outs are most important. Not only that, but doing it with someone like Pena makes it so obvious that the bunt is coming that if it’s not really good then you have a serious risk of them getting Granderson at 2nd. Also, Thames is on the roster for the sole purpose of hitting lefties, which is what that situation begged for (though I have minimal faith in him anyway). In addition, you are bunting to bring up another lefty on lefty matchup, with the hitter being Gardner meaning that the defense can play in so shallow that they would either have to hold Granderson at 3rd or have him thrown out at home on a hit toward an OFer.

      Based on my hatred and lack of faith in Thames, I’m not immensely against the bunt in that situation, but there sure is a lot of data against doing it. Really, the one thing not brought up yet, why not give Granderson a chance to try for a good jump on a steal, or a hit and run, though I know that’s very risky too. Though, despite it working out, if Gardner hadn’t had such a terrific AB, following Jeter’s ‘predictable’ strikeout (or even if Gardner did reach and Jeter decided to do his ‘predictable’ double play) the bunt would have failed.

      • forensicnucchem

        Maybe hatred is too strong a word, but lack of faith in him getting something done still works.

        • larryf

          I would have liked a double steal attempt with Grandy and Gardner with Jeter up. Eliminate the double play risk with Jeter and Gardner can score easily from second on a single anywhere. Of course, if Grandy gets thrown out and Jeter strikes out, I am fired.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      I’m normally against the bunt because giving away an out decreases the chances at a big inning. But I was okay with it in this case, because a big inning wasn’t necessary; only one run was needed.

      I don’t think pinch hitting Thames was the correct move either, as Maddon would undoubtedly brought in a righty to face him.

      • forensicnucchem

        True, he probably brings in a righty, but then worst case scenario you pinch hit Pena at that point for the bunt and then Gardner gets to face a righty instead of lefty.

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          The problem with that move is if the Yanks don’t win it in the bottom of the 9th, you’ve wasted Thames’ bat.

          • forensicnucchem

            Right, but all they have left are righty pitchers anyway. Personally, the difference at that point of an AB or two against a righty for Colin Curtis or Thames isn’t that great.

  • Frank

    D-Rob was fantastic. Watch your back Joba.

  • smurfy

    Thanks for mentioning the bat-cracks, Mike. A couple weeks ago it was driving me nuts that every mitt pop, grounder or line drive sounded like a rubber band slapping an empty box. I am free to listen again, ah.