Aug
12

Cano’s slam buries Angels in series finale

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This one looked like trouble, at several different points as well. The Yankees had some issues with a rookie pitcher they’d never seen before and things got hairy in the ninth, but ultimately it was another win for New York in what was probably their most important series of the season (to date).

Boom.

Robbie Makes ‘Em Pay

The Angels have long been billed as a fundamentally sound club that plays good defense and runs the bases well and blah blah blah, but they sure didn’t do that in the seventh inning of this one. The Yankees had runners on first and second with two outs following some Fernando Rodney hilarity, but Mark Teixeira chopped the routinest of routine grounders to second. The inning should have been over, but Maicer Izturis got ahead of himself and took his eye off the ball, muffing the grounder and extending the inning. Extra outs are bad news, especially against good teams like the Yankees.

That brought Robinson Cano to the plate with the bases juiced and two outs, though he was just 5-for-25 with zero homers off Scott Downs in his career. The Halos southpaw started him out with a sinker down and in, which Cano ripped down the first base line but just foul. Downs came right back the same pitch, but Robinson made the adjustment and swatted it off the facing of the second deck in right for a tie-breaking grand slam. The inning was supposed to over, but Izturis gave the Yankees an extra out and boy did they pay for it. It’s the first homerun Downs has allowed to a lefty since June 2nd of last year, when Carl Crawford got him.

The funny thing is that Izturis’ error was almost like a thank you gift for Brett Gardner‘s bunt earlier in the inning. Rodney came into the game with a 5.40 BB/9 on the season and he immediately walked the leadoff guy, and that’s not exactly a situation that screams “give away an out!” The Yankees did anyway, but Izturis was nice enough to give them the out back a few batters later.

WWWMW™ Continues

Cano’s grand slam gave the Yankees a comfy 6-2 lead, so Cory Wade came on for the final three outs in the ninth. He got a quick ground ball out, but then Izturis singled kinda sorta back up the middle and Peter Bourjos doubled into the left field corner. That put men at second and third with one out, meaning the tying run was on deck. Technically, that’s a save situation, so in came Mariano Rivera.

New Yankee Stadium aficionado Russell Branyan stepped to the plate in place of Bobby Wilson, and clobbered the first pitch he saw into the right field stands for a three-run shot. It was almost an identical pitch to the one Bobby Abreu hit out on Monday, a cutter on the inner half that didn’t cut. Mo got the next two outs without any stress, though he and Russell Martin changed up the game plan and pitched away from the two lefties to get the last two outs.

It’s the seventh time since becoming the closer that Rivera has allowed runs in three straight games, and it’s the third time since becoming a full-time reliever that he’s allowed homers in back-to-back games. Joe Girardi said after the game that he’ll be worried about Mo “if it happened for a month,” which is my line of thought. We’ve seen him come out of bad weeks before and we’ll see him come out of bad weeks again.

Bomb.

Third Time’s A Charm For Granderson

Curtis Granderson‘s new favorite number must be two. Tuesday he made a boneheaded baserunning play to end the game, a play so stupid you had to facepalm twice after it happened. Then on Wednesday he atoned for his sin by clubbing (wait for it) two homers in a win over the Halos. In this game, he hit into not one, but (yes!) two double plays in his first two at-bats before hitting a (here it comes!) TWO-run homer to tie things up in the sixth. Maybe that means he’ll finish in second place in the MVP voting after the season. Either way, Curtis now leads all of baseball with 93 RBI, jumping past Adrian Gonzalez with the homer. RBI’s aren’t the best stat in the world, but it sure it sure is cool seeing his name atop the leaderboard.

Leftovers

Bartolo Colon made just one mistake in this game, catching too much of the plate with a two-seamer to Alberto Callaspo that he hit out for a two-run homer in the fifth. Erick Aybar ended his 0-for-30 streak (yes, 0-for-30) with an infield single one batter prior. Bart struck out three and walked two, giving up five hits and just the two runs. I liked the decision to lift him after six even though he had only thrown 91 pitches, we’re at the point in the season where Joe Girardi has to consider saving bullets and stuff.

Rafael Soriano replaced Colon in the seventh and allowed his first baserunner since May 13th on a ground ball single through the right side. He’d retired 16 straight since coming off the disabled list. David Robertson fired a perfect eighth before the Wade/Mo fiasco in the ninth. Meanwhile, Hector Noesi has thrown 2.2 IP in the last 15 days. There’s just so much wrong with this Noesi situation. Sigh.

Leadoff man Brett Gardner had a double and a walk, though his streak of 22 consecutive steals came to an end when he was thrown out to end the eighth. For shame. Derek Jeter had three hits and a walk, raising his season line to .276/.340/.362. Since coming off the DL, he’s hitting .312/.371/.408 in the perpetually growing sample size of 140 plate appearances. Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher both singled, and Swisher, Eric Chavez, and Frankie Cervelli each drew walks. Martin pinch-ran for Cervelli in that seventh inning for some reason unbeknownst to me (is he really that much faster?), and apparently no one bothered to ask Girardi about it after the game. Just seemed weird, like something (injury? trade?) up.

The Yankees have won two in a row and ten of 13. After taking two of three from the team chasing them for the wildcard, the Yankees lead the Angels by eight full games. That’s a mighty comfortable lead in the middle of August.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video, FanGraphs some other stuff, and ESPN the updated rankings.

Up Next

It’s a mid-August Yankees-Rays series that doesn’t mean a whole lot, kinda like the old Devil Rays days. CC Sabathia gets the start on Friday night against his ace lefty counterpart, David Price. Word on the street is RAB Tickets can get you into the stadium for cheap if you’re considering a game this weekend.

Categories : Game Stories

35 Comments»

  1. YankeesJunkie says:

    Disappointed not to see Gardner’s final out catch on ESPN’s top 10.

  2. Thomas Tu says:

    I know no one is going to care, but I feel compelled to say this anyway.

    I was at the game today and I called both Home Runs.

  3. Skip says:

    I will say that Noesi probably would choose riding the pine as the 2nd to last or last man out of the bullpen than be starting in Scranton. It’s the Show and he probably would do anyting to stay.

    Getting him more work, however, is a different story and probably should be happening.

  4. Rich in NJ says:

    I don’t like that Noesi hasn’t gotten more work, and I’m concerned that Hughes might be used irregularly if he goes to the pen. AJ isn’t worth that.

    • YankeesJunkie says:

      I doubt they would do that to Hughes, but it is still irritating how sparingly they have used Noesi.

      • Rich in NJ says:

        Assuming that AJ’s contract keeps him in the rotation, if the starters each put up 5-8 IP per start, where are the regular innings for Phil? Does he merely get to pitch the 6th now and then? If so, how does he develop his secondary pitches?

        It would really be a suboptimal way to develop what was/is their signature homegrown starter.

        • YankeesJunkie says:

          No, I just think that they will find a way to give Hughes innings more so than they did with Nova. I agree that putting Hughes in the bullpen would be sub optimal in his development and he would be better off in AAA starting the MLB bullpen until the MLB playoffs start obviously.

        • Cuso says:

          In Re developing his secondary pitches: Hughes has reached the point in his career that MLB games are not proper times to ‘develop’ or ‘work on developing’ pitches. His main focus when he takes the mound better be developing outs.

          While all succesful pitchers (of any age) tinker with things from time-to-time in bullpen sessions, they rarely find success when bringing pitches into MLB games that they themselves don’tbelieve can get batters out.

          Especially if:
          - you won 18 games last year
          - you were proclaimed the #3 out of ST
          - you play for the NY Yankees
          - it’s August and you’re in a pennant race.

          If Hughes needs time to develop pitches, he’ll get all he wants in Scranton. Yanks can’t wait forever.

          Point is, he’s reached a point where the Yanks can’t make accomodations for his development. They need to get out of him the best they can. The onus is on Hughes to go the extra mile whether it be in the offseason or approaching Rothchild or Billy Connors or whoever about extra chores/focus/ideas/regimen what have you.

          • Rich in NJ says:

            Except, by his own admission, he has recently gone back to throwing a curve with the grip he used in 2007, and while he is throwing more changeups, it’s still a work in progress.

  5. NJ_Andy says:

    Funny how those 8-4 leads can lead to 6-5 wins, innit?

    Cano is so much fun when he’s locked in like this. I know that BA doesn’t matter as much as OBP, but it’s still nice to have someone on the team batting .300.

  6. China Joe says:

    Maybe it has finally happened: Mariano River has become bored with the Major Leagues.

  7. CUYanks says:

    When people are thinking that Soriano, Robertson, Mo will pitch innings 7-9 so other relievers (i.e. potentially Hughes) will not have much time to pitch other than maybe the 6th inning, they are forgetting that Joe will only be using SoRoMo in games tied or with a small lead. It’s not like they’re going to pitch every single day.

  8. JU says:

    How does no one ask about Cerv being pinch ran for? Crack reporting, beat writers.

    I’m awaiting a trade at some point today, with a Jesus promotion to follow. And a semi to follow that.

  9. Boo Radley says:

    So Phil Hughes has one last shot to be a starter in a Yankee uniform. Like in Chicago he’ll pitch a good game and AJ Burnett will finally be put out to pasture just like Jorge Posada. Anyone notice the marked improvement in our DH without Jorge? We’re actually getting XBHs from Chavez.

  10. LarryM.,Fl. says:

    I thought it odd that Girardi pinch ran for Cervelli but maybe Joe (The Binder) love the name, looked into his magic binder and found a stat which enforced the move to Martin. What player is injured when doing the Pena splits behind the plate.

    Cervelli has value. He’s known for defense. This year better than last year in that department. His lifetime BA is .269 in 457 AB’s. Salary about 400K+. I can see the Pirates interest in him. He is blocking Montero with the Yankees on top of the WC. So, Montero could come up and do some spot catching and DH starts. The reason for Montero staying down and Cervelli moving down or to another is about neutral move. But, the potential for Montero to catch lighting in a bottle for the remainder of the year with Montero is not a neutral move. The kid may perform better on the big stage.

    • NJ_Andy says:

      Not so sure I’m buying this ‘know for his defense’ thing. It seems to me he’s known for energetic fist pumps and enthusiastic game play. Many times this year I’ve watched him enthusiastically throw through to Granderson instead of Cano, or utilize his extreme energy to chase down a passed ball.

      • LarryM.,Fl. says:

        That was his tag in the minors. His throwing is suspect but blocks the pitches well and apparently calls a decent game. Strong arm when he reaches Granderson. I just think now is the time to bring up Montero and see if he can help with the sizable lead in the WC. Also it makes him available for the playoffs. The only problem is Martin getting injured and Montero is our starting catcher without Cervelli around. As you can see he has value.

    • Boo Radley says:

      Cervelli ain’t known for shit except throwing the ball into centerfield. Martin is the vastly superior catcher and thrower. Montero would give us a big upgrade in offense and power.

      • LarryM.,Fl. says:

        I agree with bringing up Montero just indicating Cervelli does have value.

        • David, Jr. says:

          You are right, Larry. Cervelli does have value, as at least an average backup catcher. It really isn’t a bad position, allowing them the luxury of bringing up Montero when they deem him to be ready.

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