Teixeira, bullpen back Burnett as Yanks win fifth straight

Montero goes deep while SWB splits doubleheader
Burnett and Vazquez looking to quell rotation worries

Winning a four game series is a difficult thing to do against any team, especially when you don’t know what you’re going to get out of your starting pitcher. A.J. Burnett wasn’t great but was good enough to win with the run supported given to him on Wednesday, and the bullpen did the rest behind him. The Yankees have now won five straight games, their longest winning streak since a seven gamer in early July.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Biggest Hit: Tex Marks The Spot

Mark Teixeira is on some kind of hot streak. The Yanks’ first baseman came into this game hitting .316/.410/.663 with 17 (!!!) homers since July 1st, and he has been making life especially miserable for the A’s this week. He put the Yanks on the board three batters into the game with a run scoring double off the left-centerfield wall on a ball that I thought was gone off the bat, but his biggest offensive contribution didn’t come until the next inning.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The Yanks had already extended the lead to a pair of runs, and up came Tex with the bases loaded and two outs and a chance to blow this baby open. It’s easy to get greedy in this, the Year of the Grand Slam, but a solid line drive base hit somewhere on the outfield grass would have plated at least one and made us all happy. Well, it wasn’t a solid line drive, but it didn’t drive in one either, it drove in two. Teixeira sent a 1-2 slider, the fourth straight slider Brett Anderson threw him, third base bound on the ground, but it was perfectly placed and split Cliff Pennington and Kevin Kouzmanoff. The ball rolled into shallow left while Eduardo Nunez and then Derek Jeter came around to score, pushing the Yanks’ lead up to 4-0. Sure enough, they needed every one of those four.

Biggest Out: Mo Closes The Door

This game had a weird feel to it, in that it was a whole lot closer than it felt towards the end. The A’s chipped away and put the tying run on base in the ninth inning against Mariano Rivera, and even had that runner get into scoring position. We never lose faith in Mo, but one dinky little bloop single and this game is probably still being played (okay, maybe not). Instead, Mo did what he always does, and closed out the win by striking out Kurt Suzuki. Piece of cake.

Believe it or not, the WPA swing of Suzuki’s strikeout (.117) was the single biggest play of the game.

Honorable Mention: Wood Escapes

One inning before Mo escaped his mini-jam, Kerry Wood had a mess of his own to clean up. Boone Logan recorded the first out of the eighth inning by striking out Jack Cust, then in came Wood with David Robertson having pitched in yesterday’s game. He got a quick groundout for the second out of the inning, but a single by Mark Ellis and a walk to Jeff Larish put two men on and suddenly one swing of the bat would have given Oakland a two run lead. Rajai Davis battled valiantly by taking curves in the dirt for balls and fouling off tough high fastballs, but he ultimately caved when Wood got him to ground out weakly to short on a slider. Easy as pie.

Quality Start A.J.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Under the microscope as always, A.J. Burnett delivered his best start since his complete game loss to the Royals a little more than two weeks ago. Obviously the A’s aren’t a worldburner offense (.312 team wOBA coming into this game), so we have to take this start with a grain of salt, but it was good to see Burnett go out and give the Yanks a chance to win. He hasn’t been doing that nearly enough this summer.

I honestly thought A.J.’s curveball was the best he’s had in weeks, and he even mixed in a few effective changeups for good measure. He threw 36 Uncle Charlies total (out of 91 pitches), 24 for strikes and got eight swings and misses, which is exactly where he needs to be with the pitch. Burnett retired eight in a row from the first through fourth innings, then pitched around trouble over his final two innings to reach the magical six inning plateau. His biggest mistake was a high fastball to Kouzmanoff, who sent the ball out to right for a two run homer that cut the Yanks’ lead in half.

In the end, Burnett’s final line was six innings, six hits, three runs (all earned), two walks, and a season high tying eight strikeouts. Obviously we can’t deem him cured based on this one outing, but it was an encouraging sign nonetheless. Maybe he found his release point or some other mechanical idiosyncrasy that allowed him to throw the curveball with some more consistency. That would really be the best thing to come out of this game, nevermind the win.

Leftovers

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Tex is now 8-for-10 with two doubles and two homers in the series. In fairness, two of his hits today were bleeders that found holes through the infield, but when you’re hot, you’re hot. And damn is he hot right now.

Hooray for Curtis Granderson singling to the opposite field off a lefty. That would have been a minor miracle back in June. He also picked up another hit later in the game, again off a southpaw.

Frankie Cervelli was pinch hit for in the eighth inning, though I’m not sure if it was just Joe Girardi attempting to generate an insurance run, or if he was banged up. Cervelli really took a pounding back there an inning or two earlier, with one shot off the inside of his right knee looking particularly painful. Lance Berkman went to the plate for Frankie, and doubled to the right-centerfield wall on the first big league pitch he’s seen in over two weeks.

Jorge Posada had a legitimate beef when he got tossed for arguing balls and strikes one batter after Berkman’s double, the ball was literally in the other batter’s box. It was pretty funny to watch him go back and draw a line in the dirt with his bat showing where the pitch crossed the plate, we don’t normally see Jorge do things like that. Good thing they had Chad Moeller around.

Austin Kearns broke an 0-for-19 skid with a single and Derek Jeter picked up just his third hit in 36 trips to the plate.

Not only did the Yankees win, but so did the Rays and Red Sox. That means the lead in the division remained at one, and the lead on the Wild Card remained at eight games. The magic number to clinch a playoff spot did drop down to 22, however, which is always a good thing.

WPA Graph & Box Score

MLB.com has the box score and video, FanGraphs all that other stuff.

Up Next

These same two teams will wrap up the four game series tomorrow afternoon when CC Sabathia takes to his mound against Dallas Braden. I can’t imagine the locals will be kind to him, but then again I don’t blame them.

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Montero goes deep while SWB splits doubleheader
Burnett and Vazquez looking to quell rotation worries
  • http://twitter.com/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

    The post-ASB winning streak is coming late this year.

  • PaulF

    Was at this game. Stupid wave came through my section in the 5th inning. Last three innings were awesome though. Everyone knew they would hold the lead, just waiting for that final strike three.

    • Plank

      Why do you hate the wave so much? It seems like people write that they loath it so they can seem like a “real” fan. I live in Korea and I go to 30-40 games a year. If the wave comes around I stand up. Does that mean I’m not a real fan?

      • Brian in NH

        I think some people (including myself) feel like the wave is something that gets done because you are bored/disinterested in the game. Its not like a chant or cheer that you do to get your team excited, its just something you do.

      • Big Juan

        I don’t come to a game to stand up and wave my hands. I come to watch baseball.

        • Plank

          I go to baseball games to have a fun time. If watching the game was my only intention, I would watch at home alone with the lights off. Do you like to go to a game with friends? If you do, isn’t it just a matter of degrees after that between going for the game and for the experience?

  • http://www.twitter.com/jordan_smed JGS

    suddenly one swing of the bat would have given Oakland a two run lead

    This is of course true, but such a swing was never really likely to come from Rajai Davis.

  • BenK

    Berkman actually pinch hit for Nunez, with Posada doing so for Cervelli….

    I believe the only reason Posada argued because he knew they got a third catcher, or so I hope.

    • chriskeo

      I was really hoping that was the only reason he took it as far as he did, you gotta wonder though, this is Jorge Posada were talking about.

      • Jobu

        Ya, I was really expecting him to pee a line in the opposite batters box.

        • Klemy

          I would’ve created my own Jorge fan club had he done that, because that would’ve been the single funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life!

    • Esteban

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. He probably didn’t want to catch anyway, and was just there for the AB.

    • Chris

      It’s also possible that he was pissed that a pitch a foot outside was called a strike. Let’s not forget that the ump completely blew that call.

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

    I hope the yankees destroy the clown tomorrow

    • Carlosologist

      Agreed. If A-Rod wasn’t on the DL, Braden would probably pull some asshattery.

    • BenK

      you mean the Granpy with crooked teeth?

    • Cecala

      They should all step on his mound, he might even pull a Niger Morgan

      • Carlosologist

        It’s spelled Nyjer. Just saying before shit (may) happens…

        • http://twitter.com/SteeeeveO Steve O.

          Carlosologist, you’ve got a lot of nerve. How dare you clear up an accidental racial slur like that?

          • Pat D

            Racial slur? It’s a country!

      • Pat D

        When does Nyjer Morgan enter the same conversation as Jose Guillen and Milton Bradley as being a troublemaker?

        I’ll believe the Phillies fan who didn’t think Morgan threw the ball intentionally at him, but he sure threw it intentionally at someone that day.

        As far as tonight is concerned, I think he really overreacted. Gaby Sanchez laid the smacketh down on his candy ass!

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

          actually i dont think he overreacted at all. he had already been hit during the game and when they threw behind him later, he had every right to charge the mound in my opinion. However, i thought sanchez was a wuss for not facing morgan straight up.

          • Pat D

            Guess I read the recap too quickly and missed that detail.

            Also, how was Sanchez supposed to face him “straight up?” Morgan went right after Volstad, and Sanchez was protecting his pitcher.

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

              ha i guess i’m used to seeing people fighting where they at least show their face before they actually punch a guy. Old fashioned, but i wouldve loved to see a morgan sanchez fight during that game. I’m never a fan of surprise haymakers

              • Big Juan

                Screw that. You throw a punch like Morgan did at the pitcher, you’re getting taken down. Sanchez did exactly what he should have.

                • Zack

                  And Morgan did exactly what he should have done after getting thrown at twice in the game.

          • Esteban

            I mean Morgan did steal two bases down 11, which, according to the book of unwritten baseball rules, is not allowed.

            • Pat D

              A very stupid unwritten rule. He’s supposed to give up when his team is down 11?

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

              the “unwritten rulebook” says you can steal bases down by x amount of huge runs but not up by x amount of huge runs, I thought?

              It probably had more to do with the slide at the plate from last night’s game that dislocated the Marlins’ catcher’s shoulder than the stolen bases.

              • Esteban

                Probably both things, and anyway, each player and team has their own version of the unwritten rules, so one rule might contradict another.

              • larryf

                it is unwritten but write it down as stupid! You need tons of baserunners down 11, not caught stealings….

                2nd and 3rd? DUMB

                don’t think anyone on our team would do that. Get thrown out and don’t bother coming back to the dugout….

                • http://www.twitter.com/brandonholley B-Rando

                  Hey he scored right? I believe on a sac fly. If he hadn’t stolen both of those bases, the Nats probably score 0 runs in that inning instead of 1. I’m just saying, its not as black and white as some people (mainly Aaron Boone) are making it out to be.

                  • Zack

                    I wish Morgan didnt steal the bases and the Nationals lost by 1 run, then they could say how Morgan gave up on the gave and you NEVER give up on a game during the 4th inning.

    • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

      SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!

  • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

    I knew Teixiera would of course pick it up as the season went on, but hot DAMN I didn’t think he would get back to his career averages. He’s been so unbelievably and I am so happy that he’s a Yankee.

    • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

      *unbelievably awesome

      /too much wine’d

    • Carlosologist

      +1

      My mom shares the same sentiments. She went nuts when she saw Tex homer into the second deck.

    • Brian in NH

      How Tex has picked it up considering how poorly he started is Montero-esque

  • rbizzler

    Love the magic number pic. Shades of Bautista last week against Nova.

    Just for fun:

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/photos?.....oto_805960

  • ShuutoHeat (Passion>all)

    Everyone at the game tomorrow should scream “Get off our stadium!” or something similar at Braden just to rile him up.

    • http://twitter.com/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

      Second biggest girl in baseball.

      • Esteban

        first is?

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

          Varitek?

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

            Also hey, I’m a girl and I’m kind of awesome >:(

            • http://twitter.com/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

              Nothing wrong with being a girl just saying Dallas Braden is a girl. A little one. And the biggest girl ever is Youk.

              However Braden does fall in the category in being very whiny and also being a dick. May you have a naturally caused short career.

          • Jobu

            No, Jason is the super captain and a certified American bad ass!

    • jim p

      “get off our mound” would be perfect. Especially if he gets knocked out early.

      • Kit

        I wish there was a way to inform all the fans in attendance that they should chant this.

  • Carlosologist

    For the shits and giggles they should have A-Rod and Braden hand out the lineup cards.

  • Esteban

    It was weird, the game felt like it wasn’t particularly close at points even though the Yankees were only up a run or two. I also enjoy have absolutely no worries that Mariano is gonna get the job down. How many other teams can say that. I feel a lot of times that the inning that Mo pitches is just a formality.

  • Esteban

    Another thing, the performance of the offense without A-Rod makes me very confident about this team going forward.

  • Mitch

    I still do not trust AJ. Let’s see how he fares the rest of the season. Having said that, I think that Dave Eiland has to be one of the more cerebral pitching coaches in baseball. I’m not ready to say he’s “Dave Duncan like” but he must be garnering respect around the league. On the telecast last night, it was revealed that Kerry Wood was happy the way Eiland changed his release point because his elbow had been dropping lower & lower. He said NOBODY ever told him to do that. I’m sure there are plenty of other things that we are not aware of. Too many times teams blame their pitching coach. Well, I think this time we should applaud him.

    • http://www.twitter.com/brandonholley B-Rando

      I don’t think anyone should “trust” AJ after 1 decent start, but any signs of life at this point are a good thing.

  • Ellis

    Who would’ve caught if Moeller wasn’t around? Who’s the emergency backup?

    • Betty Lizard

      Ramiro Pena!

    • http://www.twitter.com/brandonholley B-Rando

      Jerry Hairston Jr.

      wait, what?

    • Jobu

      Nick Swisher!

      I really have no idea, but this seems like the right place for a Chuck Norris/Nick Swisher joke like:

      Nick Swisher doesn’t catch, the balls stop just behind the plate and flee back to the pitcher of their own accord.

      • Betty Lizard

        Ramiro Pena!

        /seriously’d

  • http://janeheller.mlblogs.com/yank_c.jpg T-Dubs

    Glad you liked the magic number pic, Mike.

    While looking for a pic of Cano as #22 I came across this. How awesome is this?
    http://www.deseretnews.com/pho.....674269.jpg (safe)

  • the other Steve S.

    Actually, I think the non-catcher emergency catcher is Tex. Hope we never see that happen.

    • pat

      Nah it’s Pena. You would never put a guy like Tex behind the plate.

  • http://deleted Richard Deegan

    Nice new tag for Mo from the ESPN-LA crew towards the end of the 8th: (My English translation)
    “Uh, Oh, now warming up in the bullpen, “Pagalo y Vamanos” (Shut the lights and let’s go home).