May
11

Big jerk A-Rod spoils Melky’s return to the Bronx

By

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Obvious sarcasm is obvious. In all seriousness, it was good to see Melky Cabrera back in the Bronx, wasn’t it? I know I (and many others) hated on him pretty hard during his tenure in pinstripes, but it was nothing personal. I’ve gotta admit, I smiled a bit when he hit the solo homer in this game, just for old time’s sake. I’m just glad it came in a rather generic and utterly forgettable win by the Yankees.

A-Rod Gets Them In

By now you know that Alex Rodriguez has been stuck in a little bit of a slump since coming back from that stiff oblique, but if Derek Jeter can break out of his slump by beating out infield singles and grounding balls though the holes (before he started hitting them over the fence), then why can’t A-Rod? The Yankees loaded the bases (on a walk, single, and a hit-by-pitch) with the score tied at one in the fifth inning, bringing Alex to the plate. Kyle Davies came after him with a steady diet of cutters and changeups before leaving a 2-2 curve just a little up, and A-Rod grounded the ball back up the middle and pastadiving Alcides Escobar for a two-run single. The rally and run-scoring hit wasn’t all that spectacular, but at this point we’ll take anything from Alex. Hopefully he’s starting to wake up (five for his last 17 now, .294).

This was the bad one. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Big Out Number One: Swish Takes A Leap Of Faith

Freddy Garcia was pretty strong all game, though he did run into a bit of trouble in the top of the fifth. Mike Aviles and Matt Treanor strung together consecutive singles with one out, then Escobar got caught staring at a slider for strike three and out two. Chris Getz, who reached base twice in the game and stole his seventh base in the first inning, connected on a 1-1 changeup and lined it into right. Nick Swisher got on his horse and chased it down, making a diving catch to the end the inning. It was a poor man’s version of Brett Lillibridge’s game-ending catch a few weeks ago.

The risk here is obvious. If Swisher misses the ball, both Aviles and Treanor score with ease and Getz is at least standing on third. Given his speed, an inside-the-parker wouldn’t have been out of the question. Swish missed a tough diving catch in the third, but the risk there was minimal since the bases were empty. He gambled and won in the fifth, resulting in a +0.058 WPA swing for New York. We’ll have to disagree with the spreadsheeters here, because it’s obvious the catch was much more important than that given the baserunner situation.

Big Out(s) Number Two (& Three): Robertson Escapes The Seventh

David Robertson seems to take his fireman thing very seriously. He entered the game with two on and none out in the seventh, coaxing a fly out from Aviles before walking Treanor to load the bases with the Yankees up a pair. He was merely getting Kansas City right where he wanted them. Escobar got two fastballs off the plate before fouling off four straight, then Robertson dropped the hammer and struck him out on a curveball in the dirt. Getz took three pitches for a 1-2 count then fouled off four straight of his own, but the third curveball of the encounter did the trick. Robertson whiffed the Royals’ leadoff hitter when home plate ump Ed Hickox ruled that Getz broke the plane on his check swing. The replay showed that the call was … questionable. I’ll leave it at that.

Robertson’s two strikeouts were the biggest defensive plays of the game (by far) according to WPA, checking in at +0.115 and +0.120, respectively. He’s faced just five batters with the bases loaded this season (doesn’t it seem like 500?), and four of them have struck out. That’s getting the job done, folks.

Leftovers

You see that little white glob on the right of the above screen cap (with the arrow)? That’s Brett Gardner already around first and on his way to second during his third inning triple. The ball hasn’t even landed yet, and he’s already past first and going to towards second. Insane. Jeter’s resurgence continued with a 2-for-4 night, including an RBI when he drove in Gardner after the triple. Both of those hits in the third came with two outs too, so that’s cool. The Cap’n is up to .283/.336/.354 on the season. I remain cautiously optimistic.

Curtis Granderson took an 0-for-4 with three whiffs while Russell Martin and Jorge Posada each went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Robinson Cano and Swisher both singled in four at-bats and saw exactly 19 pitches. I noticed that Robbie set himself up at the plate very slow and deliberately in his first at-bat, almost as if he was trying to slow himself down and intentional take the first pitch. We’ve seen him do similar stuff in the past, but this is the first time I remember seeing him do it in 2011. Mark Teixeira singled, walked, and got hit by a pitch. Tough day, but productive.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Freddy Garcia was pretty good, allowing the one run on Melky’s solo shot in six innings of work. He struck out three and walked two, though ten of his 13 outs on balls in play came via the fly ball. That’s a little risky, but hey, it worked. I though Joe Girardi pulled him at exactly right time, so no complaints about the bullpen usage here.

Speaking off bullpen usage, Rafael Soriano was unavailable in this game because of a tender elbow, so Joba Chamberlain handled eighth inning duties and was fantastic. He struck out former Yankees teammate Melky Cabrera on a 96 mph fastball down in the zone, struck out former Nebraska teammate Alex Gordon on a 98 mph fastball away, then got Billy Butler to ground out weakly. Nine pitches, three outs. That’s how you do it.

Mariano Rivera gave up an opposite field single to Jeff Francoeur to lead off the ninth, but then he struck out uber-rookie Eric Hosmer after falling behind in the count three balls to no strikes. The final two outs came on an acrobatic 1-4-3 double play. Not textbook, but it works. Get the ball, throw the ball, and let’s go home.

WPA Graph & Box Score

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

Up Next

Same two teams tomorrow night, when A.J. Burnett takes on Vin Mazzaro. Bruce Chen was supposed to go to the Royals, but he was placed on the disabled list with a lat strain. We get Vinny from Jersey instead.

Categories : Game Stories
  • Esteban

    A+ headline.

  • Xstar7

    Both the Rays and Red Sox lost today, which is icing on the cake.

    • Will F.

      Kyle Farnsworth LMFAO!

    • Esteban

      Both walkoffs too. Krazy Kyle gave up a walk off walk, and Rajai Davis took advantage of the pitiful Red Sox catchers.

  • cliff

    boone logan acknowledged me on his way to the dugout post game after i screamed out BOOOOONE. legends seats are quite the amazing.

  • Esteban

    On the double play to end the game, Ribbinson’s turn at second was almost as impressive of Mo’s stab to catch the ball.

  • http://RAB Nuke LaDoosh

    Hey, I know 6 Vinny’s from Jersey…wonder if this is one of them.

    • V

      I’m a ‘Vinny’ who lives in Jersey, but I’ve gone by ‘Vincent’ since I turned 16 ;-)

      • Klemy

        You’re already a success story from Jersey then!

        • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

          Bc he haz teh internets?

  • Pat D

    The portions of the game I heard were pretty boring. Other than Swisher’s catch. I missed everything else that mattered.

  • http://RAB Nuke LaDoosh

    Cap’n is like 2 knocks from leading the team in hitting…

  • http://twitter.com/stophamm3rtime dela g

    wow, the great vin mazzaro tomorrow night? that guy should be chop liver. At least he gets to pitch in front of his family again like he did when with the A’s

    • RollingWave

      and you know with that… He’ll pitch a perfecto tomorrow.

  • Rob Has No Innings Limit

    I was in the stands tonight and I gotta say, I was a little annoyed to hear Yankees fans cheering Melky’s 420-foot bomb tonight. He was fun, but he’s not a Yankee anymore. Quit it.

    • Thomas Cassidy

      I cheered for Tino when he hit one off the Yanks when he was on the Devil Rays when I was at Tropicana. He’s Tino, though.

      • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

        Tino and Melky don’t even belong in the same sentence.

        • Pat D

          Then why did you just put them in the same sentence?

          :)

          • SF Yanks

            I laughed.

          • dalelama

            Touche!!!!!!!

    • Kiko Jones

      Johnny Damon wasn’t a Yankee either when he got a standing ovation as a Tiger in August of last year. Obviously their contributions were not close to equal, but Melky was a part of the ’09 championship—quite a few walk-offs, I recall—and tonight was his first time back, so…

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    Melky got his roll call from the boys in the bleachers, he was well served.

    Players like Jeter, Granderson and Gardner bust it hard out of the batter’s box. They are in position for and easy double or triple when the ball goes to the wall. The others especially Cano admire their hits too-long and waltz in for doubles. Now, Posada leaves the batter’s box and the difference between admiring and busting is little or no difference.

    • David, Jr.

      Right. Jeter has “busted it hard out of the batter’s box” for a whopping three doubles. The way Mike put it is accurate – “cautiously optimistic”.

      • Anchen

        That’s probably more of an issue of Jeter pounding the ball into the ground (and not all that hard into the ground at that) than it is about him busting it hard out of the box or not. Doubles don’t come off grounders unless they are just down the line past the first/third basemen.

        • David, Jr.

          He has three doubles, two home runs, a decent batting average because of a bunch of infield dribblers. He plays hard. He does have something left, but having him in the same sentence as Cano is laughable. Cautiously optimistic is the perfect description.

          • RL

            The omparison between Jeter & Cano had nothing to do with production. It was how they reacted after hitting the ball. One busts his butt out of the box (as he has his entire career regardless of whether he hits a weak ground ball or a liner in the gap) and the other doesn’t seem to go as hard. No reason not to have the 2 of them in the same sentance.

  • Matt :: Sec110

    When I was talking to my friend at work yesterday, I said if we could get a Melky solo homer, a solid Garcia outing and a Yankee win, I’d be happy as a pig in shit.

    I was happy last night. I was happy for the Melkman.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Melky had a solo homer and a loud Konho (Konyo?) curse after another swing. I think the league needs to crack down on that stuff or get rid of the homeplate microphone.

    I too remain cautiously optimistic after Jeter’s 2 game performance. Prove us wrong Jeets/Soriano gets a good MRI report/Freddy G keeps pitching well…

    /hopeful

    • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

      Isnt there a 3-sec time delay on all live events after Janet Jackson? YES/ESPN/FOX have the technology to mute audio for two seconds

      • Woody Sweats

        ¡Coño! – meaning eff, or dang, in pg language… yeah i heard that too… this happens in sports, let’s back off the mics, networks…

    • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/ Matt Imbrogno

      What can MLB do?

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

      Melky had a solo homer and a loud Konho (Konyo?) curse after another swing.

      It’s “¡coño!”. See also “¡coñaso¡”.

  • CMP

    Javy Vasquez was placed on the bereavement list yesterday by the Marlins. They claim his wife had a death in her family but I suspect it’s so he can mourn the loss of his fastball.

    • Guest

      If the first part of your sentence is true, the second part of your sentence is in very poor taste.

      Actually, even if you fabricated this story, its still in poor taste.

      And either way, not funny.

      • Klemy

        Do you say things like that to your friends every time they tell a joke in bad taste?

        • Guest

          No, not everytime. Most of the funniest jokes are off-color.

          But jokes about people losing family members are not funny.

          I’m married and I…would not react well if someone were to tell a joke about my wife losing one of her family members. Not well at all.

          • CMP

            “I…would not react well if someone were to tell a joke about my wife losing one of her family members. Not well at all.”

            You sound like a hormonal woman who’s having her period.

  • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/ Matt Imbrogno

    That Gardner picture is fantastic. Holy hell is that dude fast. I heard that play on the radio and when Sterling was saying the ball ended up at the wall, Gardner was already rounding second.

  • Bpdelia

    Hey david, im not a big jeter defender and I dont buy into grittiness factor, but hes right about the running hard out of the box, jeter, gardner and usually arof run.hard out of the box and it occasionaly leads to an error or onr xtra base. Canos refusal to run hard is a legitimate career long critique. Obviosly he id a great player but.how hard is iy to run out your hits? Cano has left hits and doubles out there by not running hard. No one should defend cano on that. Legit gripe to have with him.

    • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/ Matt Imbrogno

      Maybe Gardner and Jeter are just faster than Cano. I’ve seen both DJ and Gardy not bust it down the line on plays; it happens to everyone. Cano’s never going to be a speed guy or a triples guy; he’s just not that fast.

      • bennyprofane

        Interestingly enough, triples since 2005 (Cano’s first year in the league):

        Jeter: 19

        Cano: 21

        Gardner is an entirely different animal, since speed is his game. 17 triples since his debut in 08′. Point is, Cano gets out of the box just fine.

        • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/ Matt Imbrogno

          Haha, wow; nice find. But, I’d guess that has more to do with Cano’s gap power than speed.

          • RL

            May also have to do with perseption. Robbie always looks to be loafing a bit and has been criticized for his lack of intensity. He may be working hard and busting his butt, but it may appear to people that he’s not due to his fluid style.

    • Guest

      In the end, it probably has little meaningful bearing on wins and losses, but as a fan, I agree that its nice to see players run hard out of the box.

      I think as fans we sometime underestimate how difficult it is to be a professional athlete. Everything they do is under a microscope. And they are often performing impossibly difficult tasks against impossibly talented opponents in front of literally millions of people. Every failure is magnified and discussed ad infinitum. Many of them don’t read newspapers. We call the guys who don’t (Jeter, etc.) smart. Can you imagine a job so scrutinized that the smart thing for you to do would be to AVOID newspapers? It’s a wonder more of them don’t have nervous breakdowns.

      So I am not one of those people who say they have it easy. They don’t. As much as we want their (extremely well compensated) jobs, their jobs are hard.

      But running hard to first is easy. It’s the easiest thing for a healthy or healthy enough to play pro-athlete to do. And sometimes, (beating out a double-play, forcing an error), it helps baseball teams score runs.

      No excuses. Just do it, Robinson.

      • Yank the Frank

        No hard evidence, which drives people on this site crazy, but I remember many a time, Paul O’Neill just lopping down to first when he didn’t hit the ball hard. It cost him a few times when it dropped in and he could have been at second.

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

          I don’t remember this happening a lot, but then again when he was on the team I was not that old and probably wouldn’t have noticed. Then again, they play Game 3 of the 1999 WS on YES all the time and there’s a time when O’Neill is out because he just doesn’t run out of the box at all.