Sep
01

Yanks rout A’s en route to fourth straight win

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Despite their generally mediocre starting pitching and lack of Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees managed to reel off three straight wins coming into Tuesday’s game against the Athletics, and they wasted no time making sure it would be four in a row. The struck early and often with a loud offensive attack that featured homers, double steals, triples from unexpected sources, you name it. They had it all working tonight, which led to a rather easy 9-3 win.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Biggest Hit: Swish Goes Boom

The Yanks showed no mercy to Jersey boy Vin Mazzaro, jumping all over him for three runs in the very first inning. The A’s battled back for a run in the third, but that’s when our beloved Bombers put their foot down. Mazzaro had been flirting with disaster all night, but they weren’t going to let him off the hook anymore.

Derek Jeter started the frame off with a groundout before Mark Teixeira singled over the shift with one out. That’s where he remained when Nick Swisher came to the plate two batters later with two outs in the inning. Mazzaro was mixing his curveball, changeup, and fastball all night, but nothing seemed to work for him. His first pitch curve dropped out of the zone for a ball, then a fastball and changeup sailed up and away for strikes two and three, respectively.

With his quieter and more, dare I say, professional setup at the plate, Swish has turned it loose five times with a 3-0 count this year, getting four hits including a double. Prior to this season, he’d gone after a 3-0 pitch just two times (!!!) in his career. That’s quite a difference. I remember Jorge Posada going deep on a 3-0 count a few weeks ago, so maybe this is a new team-wide philosophy. Anyway, you know what happened next. Swisher swung at Mazzaro’s 3-0 heater, and tomahawked it deep into the second deck in rightfield for a 5-1 lead. The homer improved the Yanks’ chances of winning by 13.4%, easily the most damaging hit of the game.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Honorable Mention: Jorge Goes For Three

We don’t see it often, so when it happens, we’ve gotta mention it. Jorge Posada, whose speed is typically measured in fractions of the Molina scale, hit a triple in this game, the tenth of his career. It was hit first three bagger since April 26th of 2008, and overall the Yanks are 8-2 when he hits manages to hit one.

As you’d expect, it wasn’t a standard rip the ball into the gap and run it out triple, it was a deep fly ball to left that bounced off the top of the wall and away from leftfielder Jeff Larish. Posada slid into third as the ball scooted by Kevin Kouzmanoff for a run scoring triple that put the Yanks ahead by three in the first inning. That’s pretty much when you knew things were going to go New York’s way.

Inefficient Phil

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Much like his last start, Phil Hughes wasn’t at his best in this one, running up a high pitch count and hurting himself with walks. It wasn’t quite as bad as his outing against the Blue Jays, but then again the A’s aren’t as good as our neighbors to the north. Four of the nine batters to reach base against Hughes do so with two strikes, and overall they fouled off 19 pitches, eight with two strikes. He walked five guys on the night (just one strikeout), giving him ten total walks in his last two starts after walking just nine in his previous eight starts combined.

It was just five innings of work, but Phil needed 98 pitches to do it, and just 52 of those 98 pitches (53.1%) went for strikes. Maybe it’s just me, but Hughes definitely looks like he’s in a need of a little breather, he’s been laboring an awful lot of late. Perhaps the Yanks will skip his next start or two to give him a rest, maybe they’ll just wait until later in the month once they have a playoff spot clinched. Yeah, his previous career high is 146 innings, but that was four years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if all the work this season was catching up to him.

Leftovers

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

As you can imagine, there were several big performances offensively. Brett Gardner singled, walked, stole two bases, and scored a pair of runs. Teixeira had two hits including his 30th homer of the season. Curtis Granderson ran into one for his 15th homer of the season, his fifth since revamping his swing earlier this month. Ramiro Pena picked up yet another hit, and is now eight for his last 28, a more than respectable .286 batting average.

Speaking of Tex’s homer, the guy that caught it was Rob Iracane’s father. Rob’s been a friend of RAB for quite some time and one of the fellas behind the always entertaining Walkoff Walk. Cool little moment for them, glad they got some face time on YES.

Marcus Thames went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He’s allowed to have one of these every once in a while. I guess.

Very quietly, Chad Gaudin had himself a nice little August. He threw three innings of one run ball tonight, pushing his ledger for the month to 13 innings, five runs, and ten strikeouts. Three of those five runs came in his last time out, so he was effective much more often than not over the last 31 days. The lone run in this game came on a seventh inning solo homer with the Yanks up by seven, excusable even by the strictest of standards.

Both the Rays and Red Sox lost, so the Yanks now have a one game lead in the division and an eight game lead on the Wild Card. Can’t complain about that. Nope, can’t complain at all.

WPA Graph & Box Score

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love it when these things hug the Yanks’ side for four-plus innings. MLB.com has the box score and the video, FanGraphs the other stuff.

Up Next

Same two teams tomorrow night when A.J. Burnett tries to straighten himself out against personal fave Brett Anderson. With any luck, the Yanks will make it five in a row.

Categories : Game Stories

45 Comments»

  1. Dela G says:

    The magic number is back and so is our sole possession of first place!

    woohoo!

  2. Kiersten says:

    I expect nothing less than a sweep.

  3. Pat D says:

    So I didn’t stay with MLB Tonight long enough to hear what Mitch had to say about the AL East race.

    Anyone wanna fill me in?

  4. Carlosologist says:

    Time to kickass this month. I’m hoping for a Jays victory tomorrow afternoon to push our lead to two over Tampa.

  5. sleepykarl says:

    I read that the Yankees are 17-3 without Arod, scoring 7.6 runs a game. Just a crazy stat as no one would argue the team is better off with Nunez or Pena in there.

  6. Chris says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but Hughes definitely looks like he’s in a need of a little breather, he’s been laboring an awful lot of late.

    In hist first four starts in August, Hughes had a 3.09 ERA and averaged just under 17 pitches per inning. This is very reminiscent of a couple starts back in May where he got hit around by the Red Sox and then struggled with control and putting batters away against the Mets. After that start he settled down and had 4 or 5 good starts in a row.

    Overall, I was pretty impressed with the way he battled even though it appeared that he had no idea where the ball was going tonight. Certainly it wasn’t one of his best starts, but it was effective and kept the Yankees in the game.

    • Pat D says:

      I’m a tad concerned about his performance lately.

      • Chris says:

        But it’s really only 2 starts. As I mentioned, in the 4 starts before that he had a 3.09 ERA.

        He’s not a dominant ace, but he’s also only 24 and has a lot of room to grow.

        • Pat D says:

          I guess it’s the high pitch counts and not going deep into the games that has me concerned, although that may not be a bad thing.

          • Brad Toughy says:

            If Hughes gives the Yankees 5 innings of two-run baseball in the playoffs, they take it in a heartbeat. I think they’ll take their chances with the bullpen combo of Joba, Wood, Robertson and Rivera. Add Aceves in there if he can come back strong and Logan if there are lefties.

  7. bonestock94 says:

    Oh wow, magic number season

  8. Meat Loaf says:

    Can someone do the math of Granderson’s home run tally if his post-revamp pace was applied to an entire 162 game season?

    Thanks in advance.

  9. BadaBling says:

    If someone woulda sat me down before the season and said, “Bada, your boy Jete is gonna be batting in the .260′s with an OBP of around .330, Nick Swisher would be firting with a .300 BA, A-Rod would have less than 25 hrs and Hughes would have 16 wins and Joba with a higher ERA outta the bullpen than in the rotation last year going into Sept. Plus the Scruvy Fuck, Jose Bautisa would be leading the league by a long shot with 43 homers all going into Sept.” I woulda told em to put the bottle down and seek professional help. You can’t script this shit, I’m excited to see the rest of the season play out, I love Sept baseball.

  10. tomaconda says:

    I caught a Jeter home run in Tampa 2 years ago. Greatest story ever. Yanks were down 1 in the 5th inning and the guy behind me was a loudmouth the whole game saying this guys gonna strike out, this guys gonna do this. It was a two one count in the 5th and this guy starts going 6,4,3. 6,4,3 all Jeters good for is the 6,4,3. I turned to him and said LISTEN BUDDY, I told my friend Derek to hit me the ball when hes got a two one count in the 5th. Sure enough Boom right ceneter field, Upton looks up and I catch the ball reaching up in the first row. The guy behgind me said nothing for about 20 minutes and then left the seat and never returned.

    • Ross in Jersey says:

      (yawns)

      They are totally the first team to ever complain about the money the Yankees spend. I wonder if these “fans” realize that the Yankees could spend 300 million if they wanted to and still turn a profit. Go cry about the Pirates and Marlins, they’re doing baseball and their fans a disservice. The Yankees are playing by the rules and putting the best product on the field.

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