Offense comes up big in 9-5 win

Wins at every level
Austin Kearns in 2011?

Javy Vazquez with diminished velocity can survive. Javy Vazquez with no command is like any pitcher with a high 80s fastball and no command. Seattle hit him hard at times, leading to his exit before recording an out in the fourth. The Yanks have Ivan Nova to help give the rotation a rest. It could mean more than just a day for Vazquez.

Biggest Hits: Breaking the tie

(AP Photo/Henry Ray Abrams)

Twice in this game the Yankees broke ties. The Mariners got out to a quick lead on homers by Ichiro and Russell Branyan, but the Yanks came back with a quick two of their own on a Robinson Cano double. Two batters later, Jorge Posada crushed an outside pitch over the wall in left to put the Yankees ahead. It granted Javier Vazquez a reprieve, but he’d give back those runs in due order.

Neither the Yankees nor the Mariners mustered a run from the bottom of the third through the top of the seventh. After a rough first inning Jason Vargas settled in, at one point retiring 14 straight. He came out for the seventh, and three batters in had runners on the corners with one out. That brought up the rookie, Eduardo Nunez. Vargas dealt him a 1-1 fastball up and away, and Nunez slapped it through the hole and into right, driving home Austin Kearns for the go-ahead run.

The middle innings might have been slow, but when the Yanks put on base they did a good job of driving them home. Nine of their 13 base runners scored, and the team was 4 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

It could have been worse for Vazquez

(AP Photo/Henry Ray Abrams)

Joe Girardi had the definitive take on the Yankees’ decision to recall Ivan Nova and declare him Monday’s starter: “The greatest problem would be that he pitches extremely well Monday.” Confidence in Nova could afford the Yankees the flexibility to give Javier Vazquez some time off in an attempt to straighten himself out. He had a rough outing right from the start, and it lasted just three innings and a batter. It might have been shorter still if not for a break in the third.

The Yanks went on a tear in the first to undo the two home runs Vazquez surrendered, and with two outs in the third it looked like he might be back on track. Ichiro had homered for for the second time to lead off the inning, but Vazquez then got two outs, including a strikeout. At the plate was Jose Lopez, who has the lowest OBP, by 10 points, of any qualified MLB player. So it came as no surprise when he came up with a two-out single.

Franklin Gutierrez followed with a single of his own, and then Casey Kotchman hit one to Cano’s right, tying the game. Matters got a bit worse when he walked Josh Bard to load the bases for Michael Saunders, who had homered off Vazquez when the Mariners played at the Stadium on June 30. Vazquez threw him a fastball low and then a curveball high for two called strikes before getting Saunders to chase a changeup high and away. He flied it right to Swisher, ending the threat.

Vazquez would last just one more batter. It doesn’t take a scout to see that something’s wrong with him on the mound. Perhaps a little rest will help.

Three cheers for Guadin

(AP Photo/Henry Ray Abrams)

Chad Gaudin hasn’t had the greatest time with the Yankees this season. He’s been decent at times, but most of our prevailing memories involve him giving up runs. He was in danger of being DFA’d earlier, but now with roster expansion on the horizon the Yankees will certainly hang onto him through the end of the year. Yesterday he came through in a big way.

Last night he pitched two perfect garbage time innings in relief of A.J. Burnett. Joe Girardi called on him again today with on outs in the third. Gaudin inherited a runner, but stranded him. He then pitched two more scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three. That let the Yanks get to the tougher part of their bullpen and hold onto a win.


(AP Photo/Henry Ray Abrams)

From August 1 through August 16 Robinson Cano hit .231/.333/.288 in 60 PA. On the 17th he hit his first homer of the month. Since then he’s 7 for 19 (.368) with four walks (.478 OBP) and four extra base hits (.895 SLG).

Russell Branyan has 11 hits at the new ballpark. Seven of them are home runs. Whenever he accepts his future role as bench bat, I hope it’s with the Yanks.

Via Chad Jennings: Boone Logan has retired 30 of his last 36 batters faced. That includes 23 of the last 25 lefties he’s faced.

After his 1 for 3 day Austin Kearns is now 13 for 37 (.351) with three walks (.415 OBP) and four extra base hits (.514 SLG) since joining the Yankees on August 1.

Graph and box

More at FanGraphs. Also the box score.

Up Next

CC Sabathia and Luke French end this homestand at 1 p.m. tomorrow.

Wins at every level
Austin Kearns in 2011?
  • Ross in Jersey

    I see we’re honoring the spirit of Axisa by not mentioning Nunez!

    • whozat

      Did Joe add

      After a rough first inning Jason Vargas settled in, at one point retiring 14 straight. He came out for the seventh, and three batters in had runners on the corners with one out. That brought up the rookie, Eduardo Nunez. Vargas dealt him a 1-1 fastball up and away, and Nunez slapped it through the hole and into right, driving home Austin Kearns for the go-ahead run.

      after the fact?

      • Ross in Jersey

        He deserved a blurb!

        • whozat

          Absolutely, he did. I’m just wondering if the above was a post-facto edit or not.

  • Carlosologist

    The Yanks have seen Luke French. This could be a problem (someone bring a couple of vats of troll repellent tomorrow afternoon), as he’s pitched relatively well against us in a SSS.

    • bexarama

      We’re doooooooomed

      • whozat



    • cano is the bro

      no worries because CC is on the mound, we got this

    • Joe Pawlikowski

      Except they did last year.

  • BigBlueAL

    Time to trade for Cody Ransom.

  • Joe

    Nunez won us the game today. Axisa needs to accept that he is better than he thinks he is.

    • whozat

      Yes. There was no way they could have scored 6 runs against Vargas et al with Pena playing 3B.

    • Angelo

      One game doesn’t change much to be honest.

      I think Axisa underrates him a bit, but until Nunez proves he can hit major league pitching over a long stretch of games, his opinion can still be true.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    Please DL or skip Javy. I like the dude but damn he’s going to need some rest.

    • YankeeDoodleFandy

      I hope they outright release Javy Vasquez. Javy just cannot pitch under the bright lights of NY for some reason. Last year he didn’t have the pressure of pitching in a pennant race so he had a good year. This year the pressure is getting to him and he’s using the excuse of a dead arm instead of owning up to his faults like Jeter would do. Javy was one of many offseason mistakes for Cashman. You just don’t give up winning ballplayers like Matsui and Damon and expect to get better.

      • Chris

        So it’s the pressure that’s caused him to lose a couple MPH off his fastball? That seems a little far fetched.

      • NDR

        Yup. The Angels and Tigers with their two ex-Yankee MVP candidates are going to be tough to beat in the playoffs this year.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        Please tell me this comment is a joke.

      • Pasqua

        You’re baiting us, right? The pressure is getting to him? “Winning ballplayers”? Outright release of Vazquez?! Stop listening to WFAN. It rots your brain.

      • Mike Axisa

        When has Jeter ever owned up to his faults?

        And the Yanks have a 76-47 record right now, while last year at this time it was 77-46. Big difference. And those winning players, Damon and Matsui, are on teams that are a combined three games under .500. Yeah, they make all the difference in the world.

        • Mike Axisa

          Nevermind, I’ve been baited.

  • Carlosologist

    Russell Branyan has 11 hits at the new ballpark. Seven of them are home runs. Whenever he accepts his future role as bench bat, I hope it’s with the Yanks.

    Yay, someone agrees with my idea. I’m thinking that Branyan and Jorge split duties at DH next season. If his back can hold up he’ll be a valuable piece as the Yanks will cruise to title 29. =D

    /too optimistic’d

    • Angelo

      Jesus Montero says hello

  • jim p

    Worth acknowledging that Branyan is the first player to hit the upper deck in the new YS.

  • larryf

    I don’t understand Girardi’s quote. If Nova pitches well-that is not the greatest problem. Surely Joe didn’t mean to phrase it that way.

    Also, I love Grandy and Gardy in the outfield but I don’t think either of them have great instincts out there. Grandy goes back on every ball that comes off the bat and takes circuitous routes to lots of balls in the gap and Gardy gives up on too many pop flys that bounce in front of him-shouldn’t happen with his speed and an occasional dive forward will fix this. Nitpicking but these things bother me….

    • Pasqua

      I think he was trying to say that Nova in the rotation is a win / win, because the “worst” thing that can happen is that he pitches well and makes it difficult to take him out of the rotation when the time comes. He’s keeping the expectations low, and emphasizing that he’s here to give the other guys a breather.

    • Big Juan

      It makes perfect sense to me. Nova pitching really well is a problem he wants to have. As in if he has to make a tough decision regarding whether to send him back down or keep throwing him out there, that’s a good thing.

  • YankeeDoodleFandy

    A-Rod getting hurt is the best thing that could have happened to this team down the stretch. I saw a stat on ESPN today that the Yankees are 11-0 without A-Rod. Just imagine if we’d played without him all season! I think the reason for this perfect record without A-Rod is because everyone else is able to play as a team. Without that one selfish individual who is only pursuing individual goals, the rest of the team can pick each other up and play as true Yankees again.

    • Ana

      I was going to respond to your last comment as if it were serious, but now I know you must be being facetious.

    • Sweet Dick Willie


      • Pete

        I definitely didn’t take it as serious. I’m pretty sure it’s a shot at ESPN.

    • Pasqua

      Definitely a bait. You’re pretty good at this. This one made me laugh.

  • Wil Nieves #1 Fan

    Anybody know how the upper deck at the new stadium compares to that of the old? I’d like to see how much farther and taller the new upper deck is.

  • Chris

    Cashman really doesnt get enough heat for his repeatedly miserable evaluation of starting pitching. He has now bombed out on Javy Vasquez twice, Carl Pavano, Randy Johnson, Kevin Browne, Kei Igawa and it’s looking like he grossly overpaid for AJ Burnett.

    • Pete

      I’m sorry but Vazquez at the time looked like an excellent sign. Also, from May-July he was (arguably) the team’s 2nd best pitcher. He was a big part of the horrendous Junes from AJ and Hughes not killing the team.

      Also, Vazquez was a great pickup in ’04, and performed well before getting injured. I really think you’re underrating Javy.

      Pavano was an excellent young pitcher with good stuff and great command, and was signed to a relatively reasonable four year deal. It’s not Cashman’s fault the guy got hurt a bunch of times.

      Randy Johnson was a George Steinbrenner move.

      Brown was (IIRC) a Cashman mistake, but even he was mostly solid while healthy, just overpaid.

      Igawa was an obvious reactionary move to the Matsuzaka signing. This, of course, in no way excuses it, but the nature of the signing certainly seems very Hank Steinbrenner-y to me, considering the fact that Cashman refused to include Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain in a trade for Johan Santana just a year later.

      I’ll agree that he overpaid AJ, but that was sort of the nature of the market at the time. Derek Lowe got a similar deal, and he was (and still is) a worse pitcher. We always say AJ “is who he is”, but he is also having a bad year by his standards this year. At his age it’s possible that that’s a sign of decline, but it’s also possible that it isn’t, and that he rebounds and has a 2009-esque 2011. Also: John Lackey got the exact same deal AJ got a year later in an even further depressed FA market. Would you really rather have Lackey or Lowe than AJ going forward? I don’t think I would.

  • Chris

    Pete, you’re way off base. Javy was a good trade the first time around from Montreal given his age and upside but giving up a premium arm like Aroydys Vizcaino, who would probably be the top pitching prospect in the organization, the 2nd time aroud was a terrible move. Vasquez bombed with the Yankees the once and then was mostly mediocre for Chicago for 3 years twice pitching to an ERA about 4.50. He even got criticized by his own manager as “not a big game pitcher.” He goes to the NL Least for a year and has incredible numbners for the Braves and all of a sudden we are to believe he’s still anything but mediocre? You’d think Cashman would be savy enough to know a leopard doesn’t change his spots.