Jul
02

Nunez, Yankees take Subway Series opener

By

Another day, another win for the Yankees, who are playing their best baseball of the season. They jumped out on top of the Mets early and held on for dear life, winning their sixth straight and 12th interleague game in 16 tries.

Just a little too much of the plate in the first.

An Early Lead

You can’t do much better than three consecutive hits to open the game. Nick Swisher singled up the middle after taking what he thought was ball four on the previous pitch, then Curtis Granderson followed up with a solid single to right. Mark Teixeira ripped an opposite field double down the right field line to score both of those guys, and two batters later Tex came around to score on Robinson Cano‘s opposite field double. Just more of the same for the Yankees, who have been pretty relentless on offense lately.

Ivan’s Tightrope

He tried, Ivan Nova tried desperately to give back those three runs. Jose Reyes led off the first with an infield single that featured a bad throw by Eduardo Nunez, though he made up for the throw later (more on that in a bit) and I’m pretty sure Reyes would have been safe anyway. Justin Turner singled to center, but Nova escaped the jam by getting Carlos Beltran to pop out on the infield before Cano turned a gorgeous double play at second. Three straight singles scored the Mets a run in the second, but Nova settled down a bit and retired ten of the next eleven men he faced. Then things got a little sticky.

With two outs in the fifth inning and the Yankees up by two, Turner fouled off two straight 0-2 pitches before singling to left to keep the inning alive. Then Carlos Beltran singled to right, and then Daniel Murphy drew a five pitch to suddenly load the bases. Just like that, bases empty and two outs to bases loaded. Nova got just eight swings and misses all game, but two of them came against Angel Pagan, who struck out on a 2-2 curveball and was thrown out at first on the wild pitch. That was the only non-pitcher Ivan struck out all night, and he sure picked a good time to use it.

Overall, Nova allowed nine baserunners (seven hits and two walks) in five innings, throwing just 89 pitches. Just one of his 15 outs came on a ball that left the infield, everything else was either a ground out, strikeout, or infield pop up. If you’re not going to get swings and misses, that’s a really good way to limit the damage. Nova sandwiched some nice pitching between jams, but a little defense and timely pitching got him his eighth win of the season.

All night with that damn curve.

The Sixth Inning

Following Ivan’s escape job in the fifth, the Yankees came back and immediately put Jon Niese in a pickle. Cano singled on the first pitch of the inning to put the Mets’ lefty into the stretch, then Russell Martin worked a five pitch walk to put men on first and second while the bullpen sprung into action. Andruw Jones grounded into a fielder’s choice that would have been a double play if not for Martin’s takeout slide at second, which is 100% legal because Ruben Tejeda was standing right on top of the bag. That’s when things got weird.

Nunez jumped all over Niese’s first pitch and blooped it into the triangle in shallow right-center. Reyes went back on the ball and tried to make an over-the-shoulder basket catch, but it landed just beyond his reach. Cano did not score from third even though third base coach Robbie Thompson was yelling at him to run after the ball dropped it. It was definitely a tough play to see, I thought Reyes caught it from where I was sitting, but yeah, that’s a ball Robbie has to score on. Regardless, the Yankees now had the bases load and one out, and Joe Girardi went for the kill.

Jorge Posada pinch-hit for Nova, who likely had another inning him, but the plan backfired when Jorge stared at an outside curveball for strike three in the second out. Niese was getting that call all night, that outside curve to righties that looked like it hooked right around the plate. Tough pitch, there’s really nothing you can do with it except foul it off, but of course it looks like a ball until the last second. Swisher grounded out to the end the inning and the threat, so the Yankees came away with nothing even though they should have on that bloop play. At least it didn’t come back to haunt them.

Eduardo’s Big Day

How about a career high four hits for Mr. Nunez? The Yankee’ temporary shortstop picked up four completely different hits in this game; the first was a bunt single, the second a double to shallow right, the third that bloop single, and the fourth a shot back up the box to drive in an insurance run. Nunez also made a nice relay throw from shallow center to get Reyes at third in the seventh, when it looked like the Mets were mounding a rally. He dropped the throw from Granderson, but hustled to pick it up and throw to Alex Rodriguez at third. Replays showed that Reyes was probably safe, but all that matters is the umpire’s call. Despite the throwing error in the first, it was a great day for the one Girardi calls Nunie.

Oh, and can someone get the kid a smaller helmet or a chin strap or something? The thing falls off every time he runs the bases. Maybe it’s strategy, maybe it comes off intentionally to distract the fielders. That’s it, it’s the new market inefficiency. Over-sized helmets.

A(bsurd play)-Rod.

Leftovers

Once Nova exited the game, it was all hands on deck. Luis Ayala got two outs (one baserunner), Cory Wade got three outs (two baserunners), Boone Logan got one out (no baserunners), David Robertson got three outs (no baserunners), the soon-to-be demoted Hector Noesi got one out (one baserunner), and Mariano Rivera finished it off with the two outs (one baserunner). I’m not sure Girardi needed to go to Mo there, it was just one baserunner and the Yankees were up by five. Eh, whatever.

Teixeira was flashing some serious leather at first base, making no fewer than three great scoops on throws in the dirt. A-Rod also made a great play at third, basically making the Derek Jeter jump throw to get the speedy Tejeda at first. Cano also had that great double play in the first, and Brett Gardner made a few running grabs in left after coming into the game in the later innings. Fine defensive showing for the good guys.

Quick recap of the offense: Swisher had the single and three strikeouts, Grandy a walk and single, Tex the double and two walks, A-Rod a single and a booming double off the top of the wall in left-center (probably out in Yankee Stadium), and Cano the two hits. After getting two hits with runners in scoring position in the first inning, the Yankees went 2-for-17 in those spots the rest of the way. Ouch. HowEVA, in their last four games, the Yanks have outscored their opponents 27-5. Yep.

This has nothing to do with the game, but Andruw was launching some serious bombs in batting practice. He hit one onto the Shea Bridge beyond the bullpens in right-center, an opposite field job for him. He also put one in the second deck in left. Dude is crazy strong.

The 42,020 fans are a new CitiField record, though the Yankees are bad for baseball. Blah blah blah. Like I said earlier, it was their season high sixth win in a row and 16thwin in their last 20 games. That’ll do.

WPA Graph & Box Score

It certainly didn’t feel that safe, I know that much. MLB.com has the box score and video, FanGraphs the other stuff.

Up Next

Same two teams tomorrow afternoon, when Bartolo Colon makes his triumphant return to the rotation against Dillon Gee. That one is a FOX game, so a 4pm ET start. Boo.

Categories : Game Stories
  • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

    Great win. Can’t wait to get Bartolo back tomorrow.

    • http://johnsterling.blogspot.com/ Xstar7

      I can’t wait to see Bartolo bat.

      • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

        +4 (bases)

        • http://johnsterling.blogspot.com/ Xstar7

          I wonder what John Sterling’s HR call for Bartolo would be?

          Maybe “Bartolo hits a High Colonic!”

          • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

            “He hits a Bartomic bomb!”

          • Will (the other one)

            “Colon Ranger rides again! That’s a trip over the Wal, Bart!”

          • jim p

            “Bartolo drives it solo. He put the colon, the period, and the explanation point on that one.”

          • SDM

            I hope its a two run shot so we can hear “Colon drops a deuce”

  • dkidd

    i still can’t believe that a-rod jump & throw

    he is an otherworldly athlete

  • Kevin D.

    Not enough exclamation points and praise on A-Rods throw. My jaw hit the floor.

  • http://johnsterling.blogspot.com/ Xstar7

    Still pissed that A-Rod got robbed of a home run because of Shiti Field’s high wall in left center field.

    • mbonzo

      Imagine being a Mets fan and dealing with those crappy dimensions half the season. A lot of people on Amazing Avenue were complaining about the dimensions of Yankee Stadium, but I guarantee anyone of them would take Yankee Stadium dimensions to Citi Field’s.

      In my opinion Yankee Stadium dimensions is closer to the norm than Citi Field’s

      • Chris W.

        The whining over calls and the vitriol directed at the Yankees and their fans on Amazinavenue is hilarious.

  • duzzi23

    I’m pissed he was robbed of the homer too! Great win love beating the mets n making their fans even more miserable. Hopefully colon comes back strong. Rumors were flying all day on talk radio hes gay.

    • http://johnsterling.blogspot.com/ Xstar7

      I never heard any rumors about that. It’s probably not true though. He has a wife and three sons.

      • Urban

        Talk radio? What talk radio is he listening to!

    • hogsmog

      Well he certainly won’t be able to make a comeback if he’s gay.

      /sarcasm

  • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

    Remember last year when Russo or Pena or someone hit a GW hit against the Mets? Now Nunez had 4 hits. The Mets seem bring out the best in the utility infielders.

    • http://johnsterling.blogspot.com/ Xstar7

      It was Russo.

    • Crime Dog

      Russo last year. Pena hit a bloop double a couple years back, its really his only memorable hit in my mind.

  • boogie down

    Prediction: Crazy, power-laden 2nd half for A-Rod, starting now; that 9th-inning double is out in almost every other park.

    • Skip

      He’s been hot for a while, just missed HRs on a couple of balls the last 2 weeks. Like the one into the Ivy at Wrigley Field.

      I second your sentiment. He will continue his 30 HR/100 RBI streak, even if he has to hit 2 HRs with a grandslam on the last day of the season to do it.

      • jim p

        In the same inning, iirc. “2 HRs with a grandslam”

        • Pat D

          Joe Maddon paid for his sins. He intentionally walked Teix so that he wouldn’t hit another HR and pass Pena for the league lead.

          ARod made him look stupid.

          • Pasqua

            I think they actually drilled Tex in the back to avoid pitching to him. He was pissed, and I remember how jacked up he was after A-Rod hit the slam.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cecala Joseph Cecala

    I am sick of seeing Jones playing instead of Gardner. Girardi also pissed me off when he had Logan bat then change the pitcher and put in a replacement for Swish. Why not just let Dickerson bat?

    • Len S.

      There’s something about this game that you pissed you off? Oh, to be young and be a Yankee fan in 1989.

  • mbonzo

    Dillon Gee seems like the type of pitcher the Yankees are gonna destroy.

    • Pat D

      I thought the same about Niese when I saw the scouting report that mentioned “no changeup.”

      But we’ll wait and see.

  • forensic

    My personal choice for the 6th inning: PH Gardner for Nova and don’t run for Jones. Gardner would have a better chance against the lefty anyway, both to make contact and avoid a DP. Then, whatever happens, at the end of the inning double switch the 7th/9th spots so you still have Gardner in and Posada available for the next inevitable PH opportunity instead of the choice between a relief pitcher and Pena. You save an ‘actual’ hitter for the next spot and don’t have to give away an out as they ended up having to do because he used his two best available hitters in one instance for one AB.

    • Monteroisdinero

      Taking 3 strikes with the bases loaded and one out is the mark of a guess hitter. Agree with Gardner. Posada from the right side is worse than Cervelli but we all couldn’t take another tantrum from #20. Awful game at the plate for Swish-his one non-K a 2 out groundout with the bases loaded. Thank you Nunie for picking up these scrubs.

      How about the Nova 2 strike bunt? Give the guy some love-he’s one of the whipping boys here. 8-4 out of him is pretty good too. 16-8 for the season is not unreasonable with continued improvement now that Joe doesn’t pull him after one or two guys get on in the 5th. So glad we don’t have to listen to Kay whining on and on about the “3rd time through the lineup for Nova” as soon as someone gets a single.

      • first time lawng time

        16-8 from a number 5 or a rookie like Nova is very good. I think we’d all take it.

        Also, as questionable as the staff was predicted to be, they’ve been good. Their ERAs aren’t bad and all of them have a shot at 15+ wins. (I know wins can’t accurately measure a pitcher’s ability, but if all of the pitchers have a lot of wins, that’s important because it means the Yankees are winning)

      • bottom line

        How about the Nova 2 strike bunt? Give the guy some love-he’s one of the whipping boys here.

        Exactly. The guy has been very good. And who cares if he walk a couple or has tto pitch out of trouble or starts to weaken in the seventh? If he just keeps give up one run or two runs in five or six innings, he is a very valuable asset.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        Awful game at the plate for Swish-his one non-K a 2 out groundout with the bases loaded.

        His single (and subsequent run scored) to lead off the game doesn’t count?

  • http://drawingwalks.wordpress.com/ Raphe

    I’m sorry but Nunez wasn’t hustling on the Reyes play in the 7th. The ump bailed him out big time. Reyes broke to third because he saw Nunez not hustling to get the drop ball.

    • gargoyle

      Thank you. I can’t belive no one on YES pointed this out. Guy was dogging it and that’s the only reason Reyes even tried for 3rd.

    • piiax

      Yeh, Nunez certainly wasn’t “hustling”. That was really disturbing. He really needs to get his head into his fielding like it is with his hitting.

  • Joe R

    No love for the Robbie Cano sick short hop grab and throw across the body double play in the first?

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      From Mike’s recap:

      but Nova escaped the jam by getting Carlos Beltran to pop out on the infield before Cano turned a gorgeous double play at second.

  • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

    Seriously CANNOT WAIT for Bartolomania to run wild this afternoon.

  • nunez fan

    go nunez! going to miss you when that delusional wash up jeter gets back.

    • Jim Is Bored(Jim S)

      Your Jeter hatred is remarkable.

      • piiax

        I love Jeter, but now his return is making me nervous they’ve been playing so well. fingers crossed.

        • Pasqua

          The SS will not cause the team to suddenly play poorly, just like Nunez has not caused the Yankees to play well.

  • Kramerica Industries

    For whatever reason, MLB.tv left me stuck with the Mets’ telecast last night, a telecast crew that I’ve usually thought pretty highly of.

    However, Cohen and Darling making purse cracks about ARod on Cano’s DP, along with Cohen candidly calling Yankee Stadium a bandbox was pretty irritating. I’m as much of a jokester as anyone (internet or real life), but know where to draw the line, and, more importantly, have some damn professionalism. There was no place for the ARod crap.

  • themgmt

    I’m pretty sure the last time Bartolo swung a bat he hurt his back and was out for a few months. It happened in Philly when he was with Boston.

    He should always bunt, even with no one on base.

    • nunez fan

      just stand far away from the plate and never swing – like irabu used to.

      • bottom line

        Great to see him back. But mystery to me why they’re bringing him back in a game where he may actually have to run the bases.

        • Pasqua

          He’ll be jogging in any, and all, running situations. Do you really think they’re going to wave him around third on a sharp groundball to left or something?

  • wang

    Hi – sitting here thinking what could’ve been if I didn’t have to run the bases that day.
    Love,
    Chen