Jun
17

Gardner gets pie as Yankees finish sweep

By

Is there a better way to end a ten game homestand than with a walk-off win? I don’t think so. The Yankees got their brains beat in by the Red Sox in the first three games a week ago, but they finished with six wins in the final seven games against a pair of first place teams. Successful homestand? Successful homestand.

Hooray for pie.

Brett Gardner, Not A Platoon Guy

Despite a .364 OBP against lefties this year and a .333/.414/.504 batting line since April 23rd, Joe Girardi decided to sit Brett Gardner in favor of Andruw Jones against Texas’ left-handed starters on Wednesday and Thursday. Jones went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk before Gardner took over for defense late in a tie game on Thursday, but the regular left fielder did a lot more than play defense. With the score tied at two in the 12th inning, Gardner came to the plate with Curtis Granderson (bloop single) on second and Robinson Cano (phantom hit-by-pitch, I think it just hit the knob of the bat) on first with one out. Lefty Michael Kirkman went to his fastball, and Gardner yanked a ground ball through the 3.5 hole to score Grandy for the walk-off win.

Gardner also singled in his first at-bat, that one also off Kirkman. So he came off the bench for defense and ended up with two hits, including the game winner. It’s pretty obvious that if Girardi wants to platoon Andruw, he has to do it with Jorge Posada as the DH. Gardner has to play every game, period. He’s simply too good (on both offense and defense) to platoon right now.

Brian Gordon’s Big Day

Not bad, Brian.

Three days ago, I had no idea that Brian Gordon even existed. Yet there he was Thursday afternoon, starting for the Yankees against the defending AL Champion Rangers. Five innings into the game, Yankee Stadium was chanting his name as he tried to wiggle out of a bases loaded, one out jam. I can’t imagine how that must have felt for the 32-year-old.

The actual results are mixed. I would have signed up for two runs in 5.1 IP in a heartbeat, but Gordon did put a dozen men on base in that time. He gave up seven hits, walked three (one was intentional), and hit two batters, though he got some help from a pair of double plays and Russell Martin throwing out two would-be basestealers. The Rangers put three men on base against him the first time through the order, then four men the second time through the order, and then five men the third time through the order. Gordon’s fastball sat 88-90 and his go to pitch was a slow, slooooow curveball that he got a little predictable with. If he was ahead in the count, you were getting the curve down and away.

I thought Gordon did a fine job of limiting the damage in the fifth, when he allowed his only two runs but escaped a second and third with no outs situation by allowing just one run. Taylor Teagarden walked to leadoff the inning, and a hit-and-run by Endy Chavez moved him up to second. It would have been a routine ground ball double play if Eduardo Nunez wasn’t going to cover second, but he did a good job to recover and keep the ball on the infield and Teagarden at second. Ian Kinsler blooped in a double to score a run and setup the second and third situation, but Gordon recovered to strike out Elvis Andrus. An intentional walk to Josh Hamilton (more on that later) loaded the bases, then Michael Young popped out for the second out. Gordon was almost out of it, but he lost the handle on a curveball and hit Beltre (in a two strike count) to force in a run. Mitch Moreland ended the inning with a routine fly ball. All things considered, it was a fine job.

The Rangers are a strong offensive team despite their recent struggles, and Gordon handled the start about as well as we could have expected. I think he did enough to earn another look (Girardi confirmed that we will start again in five days), but if nothing else he looks like he could be a serviceable reliever with that fastball-curveball combo. That would solve the problem of having to go through a lineup multiple times, and he certainly has experience in that role (he didn’t start until mid-April). We’ll see.

Blown Chances

The last time the Yankees played a day game after clinching a series win, they blew some early opportunities against Carlos Carrasco before going quietly and taking the loss. This game had a similar feel to it. Two outs on the bases (more on that later) killed a potential first inning rally before it even had a chance to start, then Ramiro Pena stranded two runners on base in the second inning, then Cano and Jones struck out to strand runners at second and third in the third. The ninth inning was the icing on the blown opportunity cake; a single, sac bunt, and two walks loaded the bases with two outs, but Granderson struck out (after being in a 3-1 count) and Mark Teixeira grounded out to send the game to extras. The two best hitters on the team couldn’t get it done. The next inning ended when Adrian Beltre turned a Posada line drive into a double play because Gardner was running on the pitch. Of course. At least they came away with the win.

IBB 4 Life

I’m not a big fan of the intentional walk, except in extreme situations. Something about free baserunners doesn’t sit well with me. Intentionally walking Hamilton to a) loaded the bases with one out, and b) put men on first and second with no outs don’t qualify as extreme situations to me. I mean, Young has killed the Yankees all season, absolutely killed them (came into this game hitting .400/.455/.600 against them this year), why put more runners on base in front of him. Yeah, the (literally) free passes worked in the sense that Hamilton did not come around to score, but the hit-by-pitch to Beltre forced in a run because the reigning AL MVP was put on first. Sometimes bad process leads to good results, like today.

So nice to have a catcher than can throw.

Leftovers

It’s Cory Wade‘s world, we’re all just living in it. After just two days on the roster, he already has three times as many 1-2-3 innings as Rafael Soriano. Wade sat down all three men he faced on Wednesday and all six he faced in this game, ending his outing by striking out Hamilton, who swung and missed at three changeups. Gorgeous. All told, the Yankees’ bullpen allowed two hits and a walk in 6.2 IP. Hector Noesi did a great job bridging the gap between Gordon and the regular late-game duo of David Robertson and Mariano Rivera.

Martin looked a million times better today than he did when he started on Sunday. He was moving around and running much more freely it seemed, and he answered the call when the Rangers tested him with some stolen bases attempts. Russ also singled in the first run of the game, and had another single plus a walk, so it was an all-around good return to the lineup for him. Tex took a big fat 0-for-6, which is never fun. Nick Swisher had a hit and a walk from the leadoff spot, Granderson had three hits, Cano two hits and a walk, and Posada a double (his first extra base hit off a lefty this year, and it drove in the tying run in the sixth). Eduamiro Penunez combined to go 0-for-6 with a walk and a sac bunt, though Alex Rodriguez pinch-hit for Ramiro Pena in the ninth only to be intentionally walked. Nunez had both the walk and the bunt.

The Yankees made a pair of outs on the bases in the very first inning, including the first out at third base when Swish over-slid the bag going first-to-third on a Granderson single. Grandy got caught stealing to end the inning shortly thereafter. Sigh.

In nine games against the Yankees this year, the Rangers managed to give up 22 homers, including shots by Pena, Nunez, Frankie Cervelli (a grand slam), and Derek Jeter (two!). Now that’s impressive. Texas is now 2-8 in their last ten games while the Yankees are 18-9 since that ugly six game losing streak no one seems to remember.

WPA Graph & Box Score

So much leverage, so little time. MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the other stuff.

Up Next

Time to hit the road and visit the Chicago Cubs as the NL park leg of interleague play begins. Freddy Garcia gets the ball against Doug Davis in another afternoon game on Friday, this one at 2:20pm ET. The Cubbies play a lot of home games during the day, in case you’re not familiar with the other side of the baseball world.

Categories : Game Stories
  • http://www.twitter.com/ngoral Jake LaMotta’s Left Hook

    I wish Brian Gordon got the win, but oh well, what can ya do?

  • Pat D

    That game against the Indians was a night game on Monday, Mike.

    Hopefully going to see Green Lantern early tomorrow won’t make me miss too much of the game tomorrow.

    • Brooklyn Ed

      if only they had won Monday’s game, otherwise the Yanks would be on a 7 game winning streak.

      • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

        Only if you believe in the fallacy of the predetermined outcome.

        Kay’d

      • Rey22

        I’ll take 6 outta 7

  • BigBlueAL

    I have a feeling Cory Wade aint going back to Scranton this year.

  • James

    I like the mid-week day games. Makes me wish I was rich and didn’t need to work so I could hang out at the Stadium on a random Thursday afternoon.

  • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com Eric

    Good thing the Yankees didn’t DL Martin like everyone wanted to eh? Am I appealing to authority here? The world may never know.

    • bonestock94

      I didn’t understand that mini-trend. “Our only good catcher is banged up, lets make him unusable for 15 days.” Brilliant.

      • CP

        At least if he’s on the DL you can replace him with a better catcher than Cervelli. Plus, there’s no pressure to come back before you’re ready and aggravate the injury.

        • Sayid J

          IMO, the marginal upgrade from Cervelli to Gustavo Molina (if there is an upgrade at all), is not worth making Martin miss 12-14 games when 5-6 days off would be sufficient.

      • Sayid J

        Yea… whatever minimal upgrade the Yankees would get from having an extra usable roster spot for Gustavo Molina, you’d cancel out and then some by having to use Cervelli and Molina for twice as long as necessary.

  • vin

    “I think he did enough to earn another look (Girardi confirmed that we will start again in five days), but if nothing else he looks like he could be a serviceable reliever with that fastball-curveball combo. ”

    Couldn’t agree more. I can definitely see him and Noesi switching roles in 3-4 weeks if there’s still an opening in the rotation.

  • bxbombers25

    Why is Kim Jones not married? How can I meet her? Who knows her?

    • steven

      she has man hands=/…

      • MikeD

        Perhaps that excites him.

    • Kismetized

      Looks like Troy Aikman with a wig,

  • Will

    Nice win. I thought Gordon looked really good–his fastball command is impressive, he’s got some movement, and overall he seems to throw strikes (3 walks isn’t great, but one was intentional and the one to Murphy was four straight fastballs that missed the corner by about half an inch). The only red flag I saw was that he seemed to have some trouble commanding his curve. Curious to see if that improves in his next start.

    Cory Wade’s style of pitching reminds me a lot of Edwar Ramirez, but Wade seems to have much better control.

    Although I like Nunez, the last two games have shown why Ramiro Pena is better suited to be a backup/utility infielder. He is a fantastic defender, and if he can sprinkle in a hit or two every once in a while, he’s worth a roster spot.

    • Ted Nelson

      Why do you think defense is worth more than offense in a utility infielder?

  • mike c

    gordon + c.wade seem like they could be enough to make up for letting aceves go… both looked great, glad we got that bum sanit out of here

  • FIPster Doofus

    Gardner just keeps gaining on last season’s superb offensive output. One-year wonder, my ass.

    • BigBlueAL

      I hated Gardner after seeing his debut in 2008. Never thought he would be more than a 4th or 5th outfielder in the majors if even that.

      Glad to say I was dead wrong about him. Aside from some of his frustrating base-running and bad bunting Ive grown to love Gardner both offensively and especially defensively in LF.

    • Adam B

      he had a .380 obp last year… I’m not sure if he’ll be able to sustain that but you can’t argue that he has remained useful.

      • Ted Nelson

        He has a .364 OBP so far this season despite being at only .273 the first month of the season… He’s the 2nd most valuable LF in MLB this season according to fWAR and the 16th most valuable OF overall.

        I’d say he’s somewhat useful, yeah.

        • David, Jr.

          He sure is. He is also a spectacular fielder.

          He could be leading off every game, but I’m not sure that the Yankees want a clear demonstration that he would be one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball. In the mind of somebody in the organization it is more important to protect Jeter. Absolutely baffling.

  • duzzi

    Kim Jones is married already I’m pretty sure she got married during last season. Gutsy performance by Gordon. Afternoon game on Friday thts weird guess they made one day game after the shitty fox n espn telecasts

    • sangreal

      ESPN is coming back to ruin Sunday and Monday though. I hate Sunday night games. I’m sure to have all my HBO spoiled before I get a chance to watch on Monday.

  • Phil

    Actually, I really think Gardner is just learning how to hit. If the guy can keep his wrists/thumbs healthy, learn how to drag a bunt, and keeps working as hard as it appears he works, you could easily see him being a perennial .300+ hitter for the next decade or so. Should be interesting to see what transpires between the Gardner & Granderson duo when Heathcott & some of the other kids start arriving in a couple of years.

    • http://deleted Total Dominication

      Grandy will be long gone by then.

      • http://twitter.com/urbainshockcor Urban

        You don’t think the Yankees are capable of signing Granderson to a new contract?

        • Ted Nelson

          Being capable of signing a 33 year old CF (for the 2014 season, his first under any new contract) to a new contract doesn’t mean you have to sign him. If he keeps up the MVP act for the next 2.5 seasons, they’ll probably re-sign him basically whatever it takes. If he’s not as dominant the next 2.5 seasons as he’s been the last 0.5 seasons, other teams are offering 4 or 5 years maybe even 3, and the Yankees have options I could see them letting him walk.

  • Brooklyn ed

    how odd was it to see 2 former Dodgers playing for the Yanks? Wade had a nice rhythm going since Martin had caught Wade when they were in LA. awesome pickups, Cashman.

  • http://twitter.com/urbainshockcor Urban

    The Andruw Jones comments from today is an overreaction. It illustrates why managing a team like the Yankees is a no-win situation with fans passing judgement on the minutiae, blaming Girardi for decisions before the game is even played. If the Yankees win, it’s a “he got lucky,” or if they lose, it’s a “see, I told you so” reaction.

    Jones came into today’s game with an 851 OPS and a .520 SLG percentage against lefties, including all of his HRs. Sure, he “only” got on base one out of four times today, but never playing the bench players means the players are useless when they are needed. The manager needs to find opportunities, and he did the last couple of games for Jones. The Yankees won both games. It wasn’t luck. Calm down.

    I also would have played Gardner because he’s been hot, and he unfortunately seems to be more of a streaky player than one would think. I’d also play Posada full-time at DH, so it was great he was in today’s lineup against a lefty. Posada is a natural righthanded hitter who has hit for a higher average and power throughout his career from the rightside. He was in a massive slump early on and his sample size from the right was incredibly small and insignificant. It’s obvious watching him from both sides of the plate that he is scorching the ball. He hit the key double, and he would have won the game with another double with Gardner running if not for a great play by Beltre. Jorge gets blistering hot for weeks at a time. It’s unfortunate that he’s going to sit for the next week. Hopefully he doesn’t lose his timing.

    • mbonzo

      I agree with you, but I’m also somewhat angry that Girardi didn’t have the guts to start Gardner at least 1 of the last 2 days considering what kind of run he’s currently on. I also thought Gardner would have caught the bloop RBI double Kinsler hit in the top of the 5th. He’s worth so much more than the platoon player Girardi is making him out to be, much more than Jones at this point in his career. I appreciate Jones’ bat, and he deserves to get starts in the outfield to give Swisher, Posada, Gardner days off, but its Girardi thats pulling Gardner out during a hot streak for 2 days straight because he think Gardner can’t hit lefties.

      • BigBlueAL

        Girardi said today after the game that he knows Gardner can hit lefties. He just wanted to get Jones at-bats these past 2 games because he hasnt had many at-bats lately along with Posada since the next 6 games there isnt a DH so it will be a while before he starts a game again.

        Im usually one of the first people to get on Girardi but I see no problems with today’s lineup. Only odd thing to me was DH’ing Arod yesterday then not starting him today. He couldve had Arod play 3b yesterday which wouldve allowed Gardner to play LF and Jones DH which has been the regular lineup vs LHP lately.

        • mbonzo

          I don’t buy his excuse for playing Andrew Jones for 2 days. Gardner has been hitting .448 over the last 19 games (13 for 29) with 5 walks (.530 OBP). If this was Swisher or Granderson, there is no way their bat would be out of the lineup. I respect Jones bat, but why are you trying to fix whats not broken? I guess I’m tired of Gardner being treated as a platoon player. Andruw Jones should not start games because he’s not performing like Gardner is. Once Gardner gets cold, I’m fine give Jones some starts and see if he can get hot, but Girardi overmanaging right now. Jones can enjoy his $2m as a PH over the next few days, if he starts hitting .448 I invite him to play left field. We’ll see what happens tomorrow with the lefty on the mound.

          • mbonzo

            .448 over the last 10 games* sorry.

            BTW its also .590 Avg/.632 OBP over the last 6 games.

          • Ted Nelson

            I don’t think hot and cold are as definitive as you make them out… someone is hot until they turn cold and someone is cold until they turn hot. Being 9 for your last 10 doesn’t mean you’re going 9 for your next 10.

      • Urban

        I would have played Gardner in one of the games. Girardi knows Gardy can hold his own against lefties. Not sure what the opposing rotations are for the upcoming games, but maybe he viewed these as the only games Jones will get to play for the next week.

        I wasn’t exactly the biggest advocate of signing Jones. I wouldn’t care if he was cut tomorrow and Dickerson took over as the 4th OFer, but he’s here, and he has hit some HRs, so I can live with him starting from time to time.

        • mbonzo

          Like I said above, if Granderson or Swisher were hitting .448 over the last 10 games there is no way you’d see Andruw Jones starting in their position. Girardi obviously doesn’t see Gardner as the starting player the rest of the outfield is, which is a joke. I’m not against Jones, I’m against not starting Gardner when he’s hot because of this notion that he’s not a full player. The next series should be Lefty, Righty, Righty. If anything I would have played Jones tomorrow against Doug Davis to get him some bats against a lefty NL pitcher he’s probably seen before. Again, I still think Gardner needs to play tomorrow the way he’s hitting. Girardi is overmanaging this situation, put your outdated book away and watch Gardner rake.

  • Kosmo

    Brian Gordon more than likely hadn´t slept in 3 days prior to yesterdays day game. Was running on adrenaline .I´d say he did alright.
    9th inning was a little frustrating. Was Rivera throwing 92-93 mph ? Amazing ! Noesi ,Robertson and Wade all stellar.

  • first time lawng time

    Mike, they’re 19-9, not 18-9.

  • first time lawng time

    I’m surprised the Yankees didn’t score more runs since it was so warm yesterday.

    • MikeD

      Old people tire in the heat. That held them back.

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

        /CLee’d?

  • steve (different one)

    2nd/3rd one out, with the teams best hitter coming up and owning the platoon advantage strikes me as a perfectly acceptable time to issue the IBB.

  • nycsportzfan

    We gotta get a nickname for this team, outside of the bronx bombers, hows about SCRAP METAL? Corey Wade, Colon, Gordon, Colon, Garcia, Pendelton, Andruw Jones, Eric Chavez, i’m just waiting for Carlos Silva to give us a Quality Start, and were complete! I didn’t add the Young bucks like Noesi and Co., because there not scrap metal… I put pendelton on the list because he was returned to us rule 5 style.. SCRAP METAL IT IS!

    • Foghorn Leghorn

      i like your style…..if you can get the word “GRIT” in there you may be on to something!

    • Skip

      I like it!

      P.S. Even if Wade and LeBron, I mean Brian Gordon don’t work out for the rest of the season, I can see Cashman already as the front runner for Executive of the Year. The rest would be icing on the cake.

  • mko

    I don’t understand why Girardi didn’t leave Robertson in to pitch the 9th. He only threw 11 pitches in the 8th and it was a tie game. Mariano hasn’t exactly been the best in non-save-situations (coincidence?).

    If Robertson had been able to escape the 9th, Mariano could have pitched the 10th and 11th innings.

    But hey, what do I know ;-).

    • Foghorn Leghorn

      Mo has been brought in that situation for years…its in the binder..section 4, paragraph 2, subsection D.

      …in a tie game, you must bring in your closer to pitch regardless of how the current pitcher is pitching..

      I agree with you b/c it seems like he’s not as effective in those situations. Mo was as sharp as ever yesterday and he hadn’t pitched in a while.

      The Yanks won so I could give a crap how they did it. Put it on the left hand side!

  • MikeD

    The Yankees in Chicago today. Hopefully A-Rod makes a called shot.

  • Andy K

    Why didn’t Gardner run on the first pitch to Posada? I also vote for playing him every day and platooning Jones and Jorge at DH.

    • MikeD

      Posada is hitting from both sides of the plate. Ride the hot steak. I’d even play Posada at least one game at first base during inter-league play.

  • JohnC

    “Why is Kim Jones not married? How can I meet her? Who knows her?”

    Ask the guy who ate her pork chop last year

  • rek4gehrig

    Echo. Successful homestand

  • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

    Would somebody be so kind as to fill me in on Cory Wade? I know very little about him but the kid has looked damn good in his two appearances.

  • http://bww.com Adam

    I like Gardner, but let’s get real, he’s a .275 hitter. Saying he’s not a platoon guy is a bit much.
    Granderson isn’t a platoon guy. That I buy. We add a stronger right handed bat than Jones, and Gardner will be a platoon guy. And that’s fine with me.

    • MikeD

      Gardner is rated the most valuable LFer in the AL since 2010, based on fWAR. He’s the most valuable this season, and he’s been the most valuable since the start of last year. He is not a platoon guy.

  • http://www.teamnerdrage.com dr mrs the yankee

    The Hamilton IBBs are going to give me an aneurysm if they keep up. He’s good, yes, but it’s not like Ramiro Pena is hitting behind him.

    When they work–and that stuff will work most of the time that’s just the mechanics of baseball–I find myself getting cranky because I worry that it reinforces the notion that doing so is a good idea.