Yankees pound Drabek, hang on for win over Jays

Banuelos solid in Trenton win
Jorge's rough start
(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

After Friday night’s runner stranding competition, the Yankees came out of the gate on Saturday and piled up some runs against Kyle Drabek with some non-homerun tactics. Let’s recap…

  • The three-run second inning went single, walk, fielder’s choice (runner out at second), single (run scored), walk, sacrifice fly (run scored), single (run scored), strikeout. Three runs, six baserunners, not one extra base hit. What is this nonsense? Where are the rally killing homers? The Yankees tacked on two more runs in the third on three singles, two walks, and a wild pitch. They went 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
  • The five early runs were great, but the Yankees managed no hits and just one walk in 5.2 innings against the Blue Jays’ bullpen. So either good job by Toronto or bad job by New York. It’s probably a combination of both. Good thing the Yankees tagged Drabek for seven hits and four walks in just two-and-a-third innings pitched.
  • Another bend but don’t break performance for A.J. Burnett, who threw just 82 pitches through six innings even though it felt like he threw 182. The Jays got him for nine hits but no walks, and he struck out four. His ERA sits at a tidy 3.93 after six starts, though it hasn’t always been pretty.
  • The Formula™: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 3-6 GB/FB. Got the job done, but it wasn’t exactly flawless. Joba Chamberlain threw just six pitches in his inning, and for the life of me I can’t find a logical reason why he couldn’t pitch the eighth inning as well. Slaving to designated innings marginalized an effective reliever for not the first time this year.
  • Derek Jeter came to the plate with the bases loaded and less than two outs (twice!) and managed to hit the ball in the air (twice!!!). How about that. Everyone in the lineup aside from Jeter and Jorge Posada had a hit, and Derek was the only guy not to reach base. Russell Martin drove in a run, threw out a would-be basestealer, and blocked plenty of A.J.’s 55-footers. Great afternoon for him. Brett Gardner has quietly reached base nine times in his last 14 plate appearances (five hits, four walks).
  • Looked like the sun was tough early on, both Curtis Granderson and Rajai Davis botched fly balls in the first inning. Only Grandy’s miscue led to a run though.
  • Here’s the box score and video, here’s the WPA Graph.

The rubber game and final game of the homestand will be played Sunday afternoon at the usual 1:05pm ET start time. Ivan Nova takes on Jesse Litsch in the most uninteresting pitching matchup of the season (so far). RAB Tickets can get you there dirt cheap, and if you get to the Stadium early, you can have your skin examined for cancer and some other nasty stuff for free.

Banuelos solid in Trenton win
Jorge's rough start
  • Barry

    Surprised there was no mention of Wally Bell’s unbelievably, historically, jaw-droppingly bad strike zone. http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/zoneplot.php-pitchSel=all&game=gid_2011_04_30_tormlb_nyamlb_1&sp_type=1&s_type=7.gif

    • bklyn

      Didn’t see the game but wow that’s a lot of bad calls in Toronto’s favor

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

      It got a loooot better after Girardi yelled, IMO.

      • Pat D

        I was half falling asleep after the fifth inning, so I’ll take your word for it.

        Even though you hardly ever post any more.


        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

          Aw! Just haven’t been in the mood much lately :/ I’m around, though.

      • Monteroisdinero

        Girardi yelled? Amazing? It improved things? Perhaps he should show some more emotion from time to time. Doesn’t have to be an idiot like Ozzie to show some in-game support for his players.

    • Rookie

      I find that Normalized Strikezone Plot simultaneously fascinating and confusing. Let me see if I understand it or not:

      Basically, I gather it says that only two pitches thrown by Toronto pitchers that clearly should have been strikes were called balls, whereas 15 pitches thrown by those same Toronto pitchers that clearly should have been called balls were called strikes.

      Meanwhile, no pitches thrown by Yankee pitchers that clearly should have been called strikes were called balls, and only two pitches thrown by Yankee pitchers that clearly should have been called balls were called strikes.

      So if I have that right (and I’m not at all sure that I do) then Umpire Wally Bell was only egregious in one area against one team — basically against Yankee batters. In essence, he called pitches that should have been balls as strikes against Yankee batters 15 times — while only mistakenly calling strikes against Toronto batters 2 times.

      Again, do I have that right?

    • Opus

      I was at the game yesterday, sitting on the third base side. The thing that actually annoyed me most about Bell was the fact that he would call strikes on lefty batters by turning to his right, so you had to wait and see the scoreboard indicate what it was or watch the batter get frustrated (Bret Gardner seemed miffed several times).

  • Esteban

    It’s obvious that yesterday all the Yankees were trying to hit HRs while today they were trying to get the run in. There’s no other explanation for the difference in the outcomes of the two games. FACT

  • bklyn

    Think girardi was trying show confidence in Soriano and give him a chance to redeem himself, that or avoid all he questions if he didn’t put Soriano in… He’s dug himself a hole by declaring roles, but then again some pitchers work better given roles.

    • Gonzo

      It might be a vote of confidence. Just to say, “we wanted to get our 2nd best reliever in a one run game.”

    • Tom

      Also Girardi used Joba for an inning yesterday to get some work in, so I’m guessing that came into play.

      In addition to The Formula (TM), Girardi has more intricate rules on reliever usage including not going more than 1 inning when pitching on a back to back days (regardless of pitch count); unless of course you are a scrub or the dedicated long guy

  • NHyankeesfan

    Im just happy that yankees pitchers didnt walk a single batter today

  • Rookie

    You are so dense, Mike. How can you say that you can’t find a reason why Joba couldn’t pitch the eighth? [Screaming in the voice of the late, great Sam Kinison:] “It’s the Formula, man! It’s the Formula! Don’t you get it?!? It’s the Formula!” (to be followed by explanation of the formula, etc.)

    All kidding aside, I actually give Girardi a pass on this one. I understand why he brought Soriano in for the eighth inning. If he hadn’t, then he would have had no choice but to skip Soriano altogether in last night’s game and (1) exposed himself to questions about why he skipped Soriano and does he no longer trust him and whether his position as the eighth inning guy is secure, and (2) more importantly, exposed a psychologically fragile Soriano, who’s still adjusting to pitching under the big lights with its hordes or media swarming around him, (a) to questions about that, too, and (b) made Soriano wonder about that himself — whether he still had the confidence of his manager, whether his role as eighth inning reliever was secure, even whether he was up to pitching in New York.

    Also, there was no margin for error in a one-run game. If either Joba or Soriano had slipped up, Girardi would have been roasted alive.

    So it may or may not have been a stupid baseball decision, but I think it was a smart decision (a) for the psyche of Soriano and (b) a way to avoid criticism and career risk himself if it didn’t work.

    • Slugger27

      i agree with everything u said up until “career risk”. girardis job is pretty damn safe, and i think he knows that. i think this was all about the psyche of soriano, and none about fear of job scrutiny.

      also, kudos on an 8 line sentence.

      • Rookie

        Slugger, I think lots of people who are pretty damn safe in their positions don’t like to take career risk. In fact, I think that’s probably often how they’ve managed to become so safe. I do, however, agree with you that I think it was mostly about Soriano’s psyche.

        As regards the 8-line sentence, thanks. I’ve got a million of ’em.

    • Midland TX

      You are grossly overestimating a) the importance of possible media reaction in dictating the manager’s moves; and b) the fragility of Rafael Soriano’s “psyche.” He’s not a rookie about to get rattled by Drabek–he’s a 31-year old man in his tenth major league season. Girardi may be an engineer, a catcher, and a fitness freak, but he is no psychotherapist.

      • Rookie

        I hope you’re right about Soriano’s psyche, Midland. But it looks to me like lots of players haven’t been able to handle everything that comes with playing in New York — often without the apparent sensitivity and stress that I think I see in Soriano — and many more have chosen not to expose themselves to it by not playing here.

  • V

    In the ‘it could be worse’ file, from ‘cantpredictbaseball’ on Twitter (before yesterday’s game):

    “Over the past 11 games, the Padres are slugging .282. Over the past 11 games, Derek Jeter is slugging .304.”

    • http://twitter.com/unfixed unfixed

      In the ‘it could be worse’ file,

      Captain Intangibles 2011: $15M

      SD position players 2011: $21.9M

      • mbonzo

        Jeter will also have more production over the next month than Pablo Sandoval and Ryan Zimmerman put together.

        • http://twitter.com/unfixed unfixed

          Technically, that remains to be seen. #zing

    • Poopy Pants

      How much are the Padres getting paid?

      • http://twitter.com/unfixed unfixed

        2011: $45,869,140

  • OldYanksFan

    “Derek Jeter came to the plate with the bases loaded and less than two outs (twice!) and managed to hit the ball in the air (twice!!!).”

    Yes… things are pretty bad when we celebrate the fact that Jeter can indeed hit a 250′- 300′ flyout… and that he actually managed ONE RBI between those 2 situations.

    I’m afraid Jeter will not turn it around. There is simply nothing in his approach or the way he has hit the ball that indicated he will improve much. Au contraire. The guy does have amazing Karma on infield hits and 12 hoppers that squeak through the infield, so his batting average could be worse. When you consider his terrible range (did you see that up-the-middle-ish ball he came nowhere near?), I don’t know if this team can survive a .650 OPS from him.

    As far as Po goes, as a Catcher, you would think he would be smart enough to sit ONLY on off-speed stuff. He can obviously still hit when he’s looking FB and gets one, but the League ain’t stupid. However, unlike Jeter, this is Po’s last year, and Jesus is waiting in the wings, so ‘resting’ Posada more often won’t be as politically difficult.

    Po, as a LHB: 60 PA, .170 .267 .509 .776
    Po, as a RHB: 22 PA, .000 .136 .000 .136 (0 for 19, 3 BB)
    Certainly, having Jesus DH against LHP is a no-brainer.
    (Granted, SSS…. but still….)

    If both Jeter and Po are now slo-bat guess hitters, it’s gonna be a very long year. As of now, they have the 2 worst OPS on the team.

    I personally think that Nunez can outperform Jeter. 2 errors non-withstanding, he has a MiLB rep (like Cervelli) as being good with the leather, and that’s a much larger sample size then his performance in 2 games (and riding the bench in the rest).

    It will be interesting to see how Joe/the FO handle these 2 if they continue to flail.

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

      Not a lot of guys can’t SIT breaking ball, because you can’t look 75-85 then adjust to 92-95. Common wisdom is you sit 92-95 and then adjust off of that.

      • CS Yankee

        Agree with this, however…

        if the hands are slow & you have to “cheat” (get started earlier on the FB), the only contact on a breaking ball will be to the inside & that will only happen if he is late on the FB or to put the breaks on which will lose all energy & create an easy out (or a Johnny Damon bloop-single).

        Perhaps sitting early in a count (or two) and only thinking an outside 80-84 offering would pay dividends…I’m sure its being discussed or worked on in the tunnel (out of eyesight).

        • Zack

          Flip side: you have him cheat and try to hit a slider at his backfoot or change up off the plate while not being able to catch up to any fastball.

    • Monteroisdinero

      I also think Nunez can outperform Jeter and thought so at the end of last year and through the torture of Jeter’s contract negotiation. Nunez is playing a little outfield and he plays short once every 3-4 weeks. How can he get better and perform flawlessly under those circumstances? He does pretty well considering. He has more power than Jeter, whether it’s over the fence or in the gaps. He is a faster and can beat out gidp balls. He is making 1/30th of Jeter’s salary. I hope Jeet gets how ever many more singles he now needs to get 3,000 and then walks away after this year.

      Jeter cannot hit a decent fb anymore and, if he does, it’s usually a few feet from the first base line or in the RF stands foul.

      Now that Jeter is our only starter without a HR, who thinks he will be our last non-pitcher to hit a HR? Chavez, Cervelli are the only others I think.

      • The209

        How do you guys handle aging stars on your fantasy teams? (serious question; i’ve never played…)

      • CS Yankee

        No question Nunez has great range but it seems to me (before this year, BTW) that his issue is that he gets the “Chucks” (as in Knoblach).

        Nunez remind me of Andrus breaking in whereas all that range may get to 50 more balls but he’ll throw about 25 (routine & hard ones) away for the season vs. 3-4 for Jete. My wife even question Jeter’s range and she has watched about 5 innings this year & knew nothing of his challenges.

        Nunez has power which Elvis never has shown but good or bad, these are Jete’s years. If he bats above .240 he’ll likely get 600 AB’s in the 1 or 2 spot. Once 3,000 comes, I can see more time for Nunez if he gets over the “chucks”.

        We have at least 30 more days on ‘Sada getting the “vet” pass & SSS questions resolved & I expect the only pass to bear fruit on Jeter will be the batting order; which should take until at least July to correct. I hope he gets it going, but don’t like lack of confidence that I see for the first time this year…sad to see him go after the high-inside FB.

      • Rookie

        Monteroisdinero, I agree with every word you say about Jeter and Nunez — regarding the here and now, regarding the period when Jeter was being so “disrespected” by only being offered overpayment of $10 million per year for two years instead of $17 million per year for three years with a player option for a fourth year, and regarding the future.

        I hope Jeter values his reputation and does what you and I hope and retires after this year. Unfortunately, since I think Jeter has always been and always will be about Jeter and not the team, the only way he’ll do it is if he values his reputation more than his bank account. And he’s always gotten such fawning press coverage and been treated differently than other players by his coaches. So I’ll bet he thinks he can absolutely stink at the plate and on the field and still be the Golden Boy. So I’m highly skeptical that he’ll resign before he collects $17 million per year for three years.

        But I hope I’m wrong that he’s toast and that, if he is, that he’ll retire early.

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

      I was at the game last night, my first of the season. When Jeter swung at the first pitch from the guy who relieved Drabek, you could see it coming a mile away. The result – a fly ball that sac’d in a run – was certainly better than the DP that everyone around me was predicting, but it didn’t particularly feel that way.

      The success in the game up to that point was in driving Drabek’s pitch count up. The Yanks were extremely patient and selective. Obviously it’s a new pitcher in that at bat but….I don’t know it just felt like Jeter was trying to force something. Nothing really new for Jeter to be aggressive in an at bat but these days that seems to be the wrong way for him to go about hitting.

      I know I’m conflating a zillion different issues but added all up it just feels like Jeter is toast at the plate. OYF I had the exact same thoughts about his infield hits and dribbling seeing eye taps. They look the same as a sharp liner in the box score, and have the same impact on rate stats, but man he is just ugly at the plate right now. When you tack on the latter part of last season with this season, the sss is getting less s by the day, far beyond that which is called out in the Posada thread above.

      And when you also factor in his defense…yikes. I’ve been watching games on TV and though I thought Jeter looked slow to his left when viewed remotely, in person it’s far more striking and worrisome because you get a Birdseye view of the play that is much more enlightening. You see the ball of the bat, its speed and trajectory. Sooooooo many balls instill that “cool that’s an out” reflex in your brain…they then they dribble past Jeter who seems stuck in the mud trying to go to his left. Always a weakness yes, but at this point seems to have reached disastrous proportions. I was hoping he’d be a passable SS for at least this year defensively. He is awful out there right now so unfortunately I don’t see that happening.

      I am done rambling, sorry. I will be thrilled if he turns it around but I am not even a little optimistic.

      • Epy0n

        Besides his range Jeter’s defense is solid.

        • LI Kevin

          Range is a huge part of defense, though.

        • Monteroisdinero

          And if he does reach a ball up the middle, take a deep breath for the pirouette 360 turn-throw to 1B. That is an adventure now. He doesn’t have range or the quickness/ ability to stop his body to make an accurate throw to first. I know it seems like we are piling on Derek but we just want to put the best team out there and not be prisoners of the past for too much longer if Derek and Jorge continue their present ways.

          • Rookie

            Amen, Monteroisdinero. Amen.

        • Rookie

          Besides his range, Jeter’s defense is solid?!!

          First of all, that sounds like a joke. You know — besides the fact that the patient died, the operation was a success.

          But second, it’s not true. Jeter’s arm is often wildly inaccurate. And in my opinion, the only reasons why he doesn’t have more errors is the human vacuum cleaner the Yankees have at first base and the very friendly official scoring Jeter gets that score plays that should be errors as hits.

  • David, Jr.

    Besides his range, Jeter’s defense is solid. Serious or sarcasm?