Sep
02

The Montero Era begins with comeback win

By

I hadn’t been this excited about a regular season game in a long, long time. There’s very little that could have happened to completely ruin Jesus Montero‘s debut for me, and frankly this might have been the most intense win of the season. Might have been? Who am I kidding. It absolutely was.

(Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

The Comeback

For the first six innings of the game, the Yankees were putting on a RISPFAIL clinic. I mean inning after inning, it was stranded runner after stranded runner. They left the bases juiced in the first, runners on corners in the second, a man on first in the third, a man on first in the fourth, men on corners in the fifth, and the bases loaded in the sixth. That’s what, a dozen stranded baserunners in six innings? Ridiculous. In the seventh inning though, all was forgiven.

Former Yankee Al Aceves was on the bump for the Red Sox, and he started the inning by striking out Nick Swisher, who we’ll talk about more later. Andruw Jones (more on him later too) started the comeback rally by fouling off nine pitches as part of a 14-pitch walk, an absolutely gorgeous at-bat from a veteran guy who’s played through everything. It really defined the inning for New York, an inning in which none of the first four batters saw fewer than five pitches. Chris Dickerson pinch-ran for Jones, and moved to second with Aceves grazed Montero’s jersey with a fastball for his first career time-on-base.

With the tying and go-ahead runners on base, Terry Francona went for the kill and brought in setup ace Josh Daniel Bard. Russell Martin swung through two straight sliders for a quick 0-2 count, and frankly I thought the at-bat was lost after that. Bard throws so hard that you have to cheat fastball, but you also have to watch for the slider and try not to get caught out front. He made it easy for Russ by missing with three straight heaters to run the count full, the second of which was close to the outside corner and an impressive take from Martin. The sixth pitch of the encounter was another fastball, this time over the plate, and Martin let it eat*, driving the pitch into the right-center field gap. The runners were on the move, so Dickerson scored with ease and Montero chugged in right behind him somewhat surprisingly.

At +.350 WPA, Martin’s double was far and away the biggest play of the game. It was also the fifth biggest hit of the season by the Yankees (based on WPA), and the biggest before the ninth inning. Zombie Eric Chavez rose from the dead to pinch-hit for Eduardo Nunez, and he singled through the right side to plate Russ from third (he moved up on the throw home) with a big, huge, monster go-ahead run. The rally was classic Yankees, starting with Andruw’s prolonged at-bat. They worked the count (38 pitches in the inning), took close pitches, fouled off tough pitches, ran the bases well, and came through in big spots. It was gorgeous, you couldn’t dream up a better rally. After starting the inning down 2-1, the Yankees ended it up 4-2.

* Am I the only one that heard Martin talking about this a few weeks ago? How he and Kevin Long were working on just swinging as hard as possible, and how they’ll yell “let it eat” from the dugout instead of “let it rip?” I remember hearing it and thinking it was pretty cool, but maybe that’s just me.

(Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Closing The Door

Because nothing is ever easy in Boston, the Yankees’ three-headed bullpen monster had to work for the final nine outs. Rafael Soriano benefited from a(nother) great catch by Brett Gardner in a scoreless seventh, though he walked Jacoby Ellsbury with two outs. David Robertson started the eighth out with a four-pitch walk to Adrian Gonzalez, which is exactly what they didn’t need. Dustin Pedroia hit a tailor made double play to short that the Yankees turned into two outs … except first base ump Mark Wegner called him safe. Fine, whatever. Robertson got out of the inning by striking out David Ortiz and getting Carl Crawford to fly out to left.

The ninth inning certainly got a little dicey, starting with Jed Lowrie’s leadoff walk against Mariano Rivera. Josh Reddick followed with a fly ball to deep-ish right, then Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out for the second out. Ellsbury worked another walk to put the tying run on base, then Marco Scutaro took a 0-1 cutter to the opposite field for a single. Lowrie did not score but the bases were juiced for Gonzalez, arguably the best hitter on the planet.

As far as I’m concerned, this at-bat was a pitching clinic. The first pitch cutter was down and out of the zone but Gonzalez hacked at it for strike one, and the second cutter was right in around his waist. Adrian fouled it off for strike two. The third and fourth pitches were again inside, and both of them nearly hit Gonzalez. He took the first for a ball, but fouled off the second. Mo and Martin pounded the Red Sox first baseman inside so he couldn’t extend his arms, but the fifth pitch of the at-bat was … well look at it:

Look at that thing. It’s perfect. Down and away after four straight cutters in, the pitch must have looked like it was in China. Gonzalez checked his swing but it didn’t matter, Alfonso Marquez called it a strike and the game was over. Just a brilliant sequence from the Yankees’ battery. The gif comes courtesy of the great Mike Fast, by the way.

The New Burnett?

(AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

Let’s start with the obvious: A.J. Burnett pitched better than anyone expected. Two runs in 5.1 IP? No one was thinking that given how awful he’s been for the last two months. Burnett’s two biggest mistakes came to back-to-back batters, when he allowed a ground rule double in a 2-0 count to Gonzalez to lead off the fourth before allowing a two-run homer to Pedroia in a 3-1 count. Nothing unusual here, he fell behind in the count and gave fastballs to fastball hitters. Overall, Burnett struck out four and walked two, giving up just the two runs on five hits. He got nine outs on the ground and just two in the air.

Obviously it was an encouraging outing, and you know what else was encouraging? A.J. showed off some new mechanics, so at least know they’re doing some serious tinkering behind the scenes. That’s not to say I thought they were sitting on their hands, but it’s always reassuring to see something like that. The changes were pretty simple and Al Leiter said they were designed to keep his hands together and make his delivery more compact. Essentially all he was doing was starting with hands at his chest (they’re usually at his waist) and with his legs a little bit spread apart on the mound (they’re usually close together). The curveball was clearly a key pitch for Burnett; he threw 33 of them and 24 went for strikes (seven swings and misses). That just wasn’t happening before, the pitch was always finishing out of the zone.

Anyway, did Burnett do enough to earn himself another start? Joe Girardi wants to get his rotation down to five guys but he did say they wouldn’t base the decision on just one start, so … I dunno. Let’s enjoy this one start for the time being and worry about the rotation tomorrow or the next day. Give A.J. some mad props, he showed up and took care of business today. Very nice to see.

The Debut

Sorry to make you wait this long, but you really didn’t think I’d go the entire recap without talking about Montero’s debut, did you? He went 0-for-4 with the hit-by-pitch, so it was hardly a spectacular debut, but I didn’t think he looked overmatched or anything. His first inning at-bat was his best, a six-pitch strikeout against Jon Lester after falling behind in the count 0-2. I thought the outside changeup he took for ball two was impressive, because it was juuust off the plate and couldn’t have been easy to lay off. I’m actually kinda glad he didn’t hit a grand slam there, since the last three players to hit grannies in their first career at-bat (Kevin Kouzmanoff, Jeremy Hermida, and Daniel Nava) haven’t exactly distinguished themselves. I may or may not be kidding.

Two of Montero’s three balls in play were fly outs to right-ish center, so he showed off that opposite field stroke we’ve heard so much about. For a 21-year-old kid making his big league debut in Fenway Park in the middle of Yankees-Red Sox, I thought he did well. Plus, you know, he scored the game-winning run. He just knows how to win games! The good news is that it’ll get easier from here, because nothing tops that kind of atmosphere. I’m very excited to see more.

Leftovers

(Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Underrated moment of the game: Curtis Granderson‘s diving catch to end the sixth. The Sox had runners on first and second, and if that ball lands, it’s at least one run and possibly two because there were two outs. Huge play at the time that looks even bigger in hindsight.

Stupid moment of the game: Nick Swisher’s sacrifice bunt in the fifth inning. The look on his face in the dugout told you the whole story, he simply forgot how many outs there were. So instead of swinging away with Robinson Cano on second with one out, he bunted him to third so Andruw Jones could take his hacks. Unsurprisingly, they did not score. Physical mistakes I can live with, mental mistakes like that (especially forgetting how many outs there are, give me a break) drive me nuts.

Speaking of Jones, that dude was a straight up beast tonight. He drew three walks and struck out once in his four plate appearances, and he saw a total of 36 pitches. Thirty-six pitches! He and Swisher combined to see 19 pitches in the first inning alone. That’s nuts. The Yankees fouled off 30 strike-two pitches as a team, the most in a nine-inning game in the majors this season. Other than Swisher’s stupid bunt, they just did not give away at-bats, not even the rookie.

Derek Jeter and Granderson each had two hits and a walk while Cano and Martin each had a pair of knocks. Jones had the three walks (undoubtedly, some of that was due to the rookie batting behind him), and both Swisher and Mark Teixeira had a hit. Tex, by the way, left the game after getting hit by a pitch and is day-to-day with a bruised right knee. I would not be shocked if he was out of the lineup tomorrow, no reason to push it now.

You know who was really on their game tonight? Ken Singleton and Leiter. They were all over Martin’s at-bat in the seventh, breaking down what he was looking for and what not. Absolute announcing clinic. Those two killed it all game.

The Yankees are now tied with the Red Sox in the loss column for first place in the AL East, and because the Rays lost to the Rangers, they’re 8.5 games up for the wildcard. The magic number to clinch a postseason berth is Aaron bleepin’ Boone, number 19 in the sidebar. The win, by the way, was the Yankees’ 82nd of the season, clinching their 19th straight winning season. That’s the second longest streak in baseball history, behind the 1926-1964 Yankees. Yes, they had 38 consecutive winning seasons, so this squad is halfway there. Yeah.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

Now that is the kind of WPA graph we were supposed to have on Wednesday. MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some nerdy stuff nobody cares about, and ESPN the updated standings.

Up Next

Time for the Yankees to come back home to the Bronx. They’ll open their six-game homestand on Friday night when Ivan Nova gets the ball against Brandon Morrow and the rest of the Blue Jays. RAB Tickets can get you into the Stadium dirt cheap if you want to catch the game.

Categories : Game Stories

180 Comments»

  1. dkidd says:

    can you imagine the drama of these games if this were an actual pennant race?

    stupid wild card…

    • Jimmy says:

      Great point. This would have been a whole lot more intense than it was. You lose some of the juice when both teams are guaranteed the playoffs.

      • Owen Two says:

        That’s exactly why I hate the wild card.

        • Cuso says:

          The problem isn’t with having the wild card itself.

          The problem is that there is too little advantage of the division winner OVER the wild card. There needs to be a larger detriment with winning the actual wild card because the disadvantage of 3 home games vs. 2 in the Divisional Series (or 4 vs. 3 in the LCS) isn’t a big enough gap.

          It makes sense to have 2 wild card teams have a one-game (or 3-game, i suppose) playoff to see who gets to face the team with the best league record in the Divisional Series. All division winners would get byes in the wild card round.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      You’d also have the second best team in the league (and some seasons in baseball) not in the playoffs and less playoff baseball to watch.

      • Smallz says:

        I totally agree with Ted. Give me more baseball and I am a happy man. But there is a flaw in it, that the Yankees have run away with it and now september is all about watching Jesus Montero. I have an idea, there is one flaw but it could work. Having a wild card team for every division, the teams with the 2 best records out of those 3 wild card teams play in a one game playoff and then the winner is the 4th spot in the playoff. The flaw being if teams have identical records. Thoughts?

        • Sayid J. says:

          So… basically you’re advocating having 2 wild card teams, not 3. If I remember correctly, this is on the table already and being discussed by MLB officials.

  2. A-Rod's Wingman says:

    Hey, look at that, they call up Jesus Montero and they finally win a series against these fucks.

  3. Kevin says:

    Gonzalez is crying about the called strike 3 against Rivera. Maybe he should check PitchFX first – that pitch was a strike.

    http://bit.ly/nu9xEy

    • tom says:

      Yeah that pitch caught a lot of the plate… it wasn’t even a marginal pitch or one of the Mo type calls that he gets 2-4 inches off the plate if he hits the glove. Was watching the MLB Network weed which looked worse/slightly marginal if you don’t account for the offcenter angle.

      I have to think after getting busted in side so hard (especially the pitch he fouled off his thigh!), that he had no clue where the outside of the plate was.

    • tom says:

      Yeah that pitch caught a lot of the plate… it wasn’t even a marginal pitch or one of the Mo type calls that he gets 2-4 inches off the plate if he hits the glove. Was watching the MLB Network feed which looked worse/slightly marginal if you don’t account for the offcenter angle.

      I have to think after getting busted in side so hard (especially the pitch he fouled off his thigh!), that he had no clue where the outside of the plate was.

    • tom says:

      The worst part about Swisher’s bunt?

      It was a boneheaded play even if there were 0 out! The Yankees need to stop with this perceived “unselfish” play (which they are confusing with a smart baseball play)….. having your 5th place hitter bunting in the 5th inning with a platoon advantage and the starting pitcher at around 100pitches is just dumb with 0 out or 1 out (not to mention pushing the bunt to the right side if you are indeed trying to get the guy to 3rd).

      Even though this was Swisher’s decision, the blame is on Girardi who has fostered this perception that giving up an out to advance a guy 90feet is somehow good unselfish play (which it usually isn’t unless it’s a late inning scenario or with a guy at the plate who can’t hit). Suppose Swisher’s successful (and there were 0 out)? Lester’s pitching around Jones anyway (or at least not giving in) and sets up the double play with a rookie on deck playing in his first game. You have to wonder the environment Girardi has created when the 5th place hitter is considering bunting in the 5th inning under ANY circumstance. The mental error is thinking that the bunt is a good play whether it’s 0 or 1 out… in either scenario it’s a mental error.

      It’s like Jeter bunting in front of Granderson…. Jeter was bunting with no out in the first against Beckett the other day! I’m sure this was on his own and it was one of those “bunt for a hit but at worst it’s a sacrifice” plays, but with a basestealer on 1st to start a game you don’t just give away the first out and give the starter the ability to pitch around your best hitter if he wants… it’s just not a smart play.

      • tom says:

        Sorry not meant as a reply…. browser’s acting up

      • NDR says:

        I agree that even with no outs it’s stupid. The thing that irks me the most is the fact that Swisher (or Jeter) is even allowed to sacrifice bunt on their own. This is a strategic decision that should be made by the manager and not the players.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          The thing that irks me is when people make comments that assume they know more about baseball than Girardi, Cashman, Pena, Long, Jeter, Thomson, Swisher…

          • Dave says:

            I agree. Cashman & co didn’t promote Montero until Sept 1 –i.e., when the roster expands to 40, and the AAA season is nearly over anyway. They knew he shouldn’t be up any earlier.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              Why do you irrationally hate Jesus Montero?

              I never once said he should be up earlier… saying that vs. saying he is not a good prospect and the Yankees aren’t high on him (aren’t high on him… so they pushed him quickly through the minors and let him make his MLB debut at 21 against Lester… all to watch him fail and laugh…) are two totally different things.

              • Dave says:

                Did you see where I wrote “I agree”. You were pointing out that baseball people know things — I agreed with you. My jab was at those who have been crying for months that Montero “needs to be called up” — and who ripped the Yankees as if they were too stupid to call up Montero to help the team. Get it? Even when I concur you question me! And you say I’m irrational??

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  You are irrational. You continue to irrationally attack myself and Mike for points we have not made but you have imagined that we have made while ignoring the points we have actually made. That is irrational.

                  Did you see the part where you typed “and the AAA season is nearly over anyway. They knew he shouldn’t be up any earlier.” What was that meant to imply?

                  • Dave says:

                    That the Yankee baseball people felt that he didn’t need to be here sooner — like i said. And he can get more work in the bigs going forward since the AAA season is over anyway. Get it? You’re irrationally defensive — but I won’t stoop to call you stupid or nuts — like you did to me. That level of degeneration in this debate is on you. Congrats — you’ve exposed your true colors.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      I stand by those comments.

                      Taken in combination with all the other comments you’ve made… the implication to the reader was a lot different.

              • Yanks27rings says:

                “Why do you irrationally hate Jesus Montero?”

                “I agree. Cashman & co didn’t promote Montero until Sept 1 –i.e., when the roster expands to 40, and the AAA season is nearly over anyway. They knew he shouldn’t be up any earlier.”

                I see nothing in that comment to suggest he hates Montero, let alone hating him “irrationally.”

                “You are irrational. You continue to irrationally attack myself and Mike for points we have not made but you have imagined that we have made while ignoring the points we have actually made. That is irrational.”

                First of all, to me, it didn’t even remotely look like he was attacking you. Secondly, he wasn’t pretending you said that just to attack you. It was an analogy, from what I saw. Not irrational in the least.

          • V says:

            The thing that irks me is the knee-jerk appeal to authority that assumes the manager knows what he’s doing simply because he’s the manager.

          • NDR says:

            Wasn’t trying to imply that I know more baseball than the people you listed, was only expressing the opinion that the decision to sacrifice bunt should be the hands of the manager and not the players. Because I don’t follow other teams as closely, I don’t know whether it is common throughout baseball to let veteran players sacrifice bunt on their own.

          • rfwarrior says:

            I’ve been reading RAB for about a year now and just recently started commenting. That’s when I got an eye for your moniker. I thought maybe you were just passionate about the topping that I was talking about. A few days later now – I can see that you’re just quite the condescending antagonist, huh?

            Can’t people make legit complaints like this without a tongue lashing?

    • JohnC says:

      Sox got their share of close calls the whole series, specifically the pitch to Ortiz in the 6th inning that was definitely strike 3

  4. Freddy Garcia's 86 mph Heat says:

    AJ will defiantly get another start IMO. Why would they change his delivery if they were just going to yank him from the rotation? I think even if he shit the bed he’d get another start to try the new delivery.

    • Matt DiBari says:

      I really, really don’t think Burnett was ever in any serious danger of losing a rotation spot.

      • MikeD says:

        I don’t know about that. If Hughes pitched a strong game last night and AJ imploded tonight, I’m not sure what would have happened.

        As it is, my guess is Hughes is heading off to the pen and to me it’s not anything major. It might increase Hughes’ chances of making the postseason roster, pitching out of the pen. AJ may not make it unless he has a strong September.

        As I heard Rob Neyer say on ESPN NY a few weeks back, the Yankees are going to make the postseason, so their goal right now is to figure out who their four starters are going to be between now and the rest of the season. To me it’s pretty obvious who they are: CC, Garcia, Colon and Nova. If Hughes is in the pen, it seems AJ is the man with no spot, that is unless he is lights out in September, in which case all bets are off.

        You know Suzyn, you can’t predict baseball.

      • radnom says:

        Couldn’t disagree more. If has blown up tonight I can’t imagine any possible situation that would have resulted in him keeping his spot.

      • Rainbow Pinstripes says:

        If Phil had pitched a 2 hit complete game shut out, I would say AJ would have been headed to the bullpen at least until the end of the year.

  5. That was worth staying up for, Axisa

  6. hogsmog says:

    At this point, is anyone competing with Gardner for GG (I know, I know it’s dumb, but it’s fun)? I feel like he’s done enough offensively on a contending team at this point to be recognized for his defense.

    • MikeD says:

      He totally deserves a Gold Glove (he did last year, too), but they rarely vote for LFers. It took Carl Crawford until last year before he won one.

      That said, playing for the Yankees doesn’t hurt in these matters. I think it’s better than 50-50 he gets it.

    • MUIDATS EEKNAY says:

      Is there a replay anywhere of his sweet defensive play in 8th? I’m disappointed neither that nor the non-double-play are in the MLB.com highlight videos.

  7. Mojo says:

    Greatest, most gut-wrenching game of the season. I had half a dozen attacks. I’ll be going in for surgery tomorrow. Hopefully this Teixera “injury” is of the phantom variety and he’ll be working on his swing with the almighty Kevin Long. Glad to see he’ll be out of the lineup as his bat has been far from productive. Can’t wait to see Montero’s first hit and will be entirely satisfied if I get to see Jones play in Anaheim next weekend. Totally crushing on the dude and I seriously hope he contributes in a grand way down the stretch and into the playoffs. He’s a monster.

  8. duzzi23 says:

    Jesus rose to bless the Yankees into finally beating the Red Sox. He even pulled the miracle of making Burnett pitch good. Joking aside he did bring good karma and he wasn’t overmatched more importantly.

  9. forensic says:

    Montero also had a routine groundout to short, not just the two flyballs. He certainly looked a little anxious to me, swinging at some bad pitches both high and low. Hopefully the next couple times out he’ll be a little more in control. The surprising thing to me was that, despite the possible anxiousness, he was constantly late on fastballs, even ones just at 90-91. I don’t know if he was that concerned about breaking balls or what, just odd.

    I think he’ll certainly be off tomorrow, but then on Saturday I guess we’ll get to see how he does with the reverse split of Ricky Romero (who I just noticed on BR might have the worst nickname of all-time ‘RR Cool Jay’) and his changeup. Hopefully he’ll get that first hit out of the way and we can move on before the inevitable media articles get going. Anyone know if there are splits available for Montero’s hitting as C vs. DH in AAA?

    Swisher was atrocious tonight. 3 strikeouts, the terrible bunt, and then to top it all off, after the Martin double, he was trying to get him to do the ‘claw’ for the hit. That’s just inexcusable.

    It was certainly nice to see them continue to work on Lester all night, not do what they seem to do so often in getting a high 1st inning PC, then give up a couple 6-8 pitch innings to completely undo all that hard work.

    • Foghorn Leghorn says:

      geesh..you’re a bit harsh on Jesus. This was his first game, and as Mike says, he did well in the atmosphere of Sox/Yanks. He didn’t look foolish like most rookies.

      I actually think RR Cool Jay is pretty funny name.

      • forensic says:

        I don’t think it’s harsh, just how I saw it. It relates to one of my concerns with him which is his plate discipline. Obviously I only have the numbers, but only about a .060 isod while K’ing nearly 100 times in 400-450 AB’s in two different seasons at AAA doesn’t seem that impressive to me. I’m not saying he’s at Cano’s hacking level, but I am wondering if he’s got enough patience/discipline against consistently good breaking balls and high heat to really succeed over a long period of time.

        I have a hard time saying he did well in the game too. Yeah, first game and all and he didn’t go down swinging on three pitches 3 times, but his flyballs were only moderately well hit and he was 0-4 (with a HBP that barely grazed his jersey). I’m sure I’ll get lambasted for even going that far considering the Montero love on here despite him having done nothing for the club yet, but that’s just how I saw it last night.

        • Foghorn Leghorn says:

          its one game…he’s no Danial Nava, but i’m sure Montero will be ok.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          I agree with a lot of what you said, and I still find your comment to be harsh in general.

          It was one game. You are using it to question a lot of long-term things. As you said Swisher was awful last night… and he’s a .370+ wOBA 4+ fWAR RF in the majors.

          • forensic says:

            I’m using his minor league career, specifically the last two years at the same level of AAA, to question some long-term things. I was simply saying how last night related to those concerns.

            • Dave says:

              “I’m using his minor league career, specifically the last two years at the same level of AAA, to question some long-term things. ”

              That’s all I did — but that’s when “Ted Attacks!”

              • Ted Nelson says:

                No that’s not all you did. You took it way further than that. You lumped everyone who said anything positive about Montero together as all blindly loving him and not realizing he was having a bad season. You disagreed with anyone who said he was a good prospect and with examples of other prospects who had bad 21 year old seasons like Hanley Ramirez or Justin Upton. You said that you know as a fact the Yankees are not high on Montero and will probably trade him.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              Again… I think it was a harsh comment. I think you can have concerns (though his 2010 season is not one of them to me), but harping only on the concerns without putting them into any context comes across to the reader of your comment as harsh. I think that using one game to draw conclusions that a lot of people have pointed out aren’t entirely correct and exaggerate the truth is harsh.

              Again, I don’t disagree with some of your points. Jesus is not selective. That could be a problem. Or he could develop past his 21 year old season. Or he could succeed despite his lack of selectivity/patience/discipline as countless MLB players have.

              I disagree that fouling off 95 MPH high-heat practically straight-back means you were behind. I disagree that hitting the ball the other way is a problem.
              I disagree with saying in the same comment someone was late on a few FBs, and implying he’ll have a hard time hitting Romero’s change… being late on those FBs would theoretically help him hit the change.

        • GMan says:

          I agree with your points. I didn’t think he looked good in his ABs at all and he was consistently late on swings. Hitting pop ups to shallow/medium right centerfield doesn’t constitute opposite field power. There’s no reason for people to sugarcoat his performance. That said it WAS just his first game so no reason to make any judgment one way or the other at this point.

    • ChrisS says:

      “he was constantly late on fastballs”

      Disagree. Montero was dead on several of Lester’s best heaters, even the the 95 mph at the letters variety. He just missed a three-run bomb on a high fastball just before the routine groundout and he knew it. He had a great look and swing at it and fouled it straight back. A little overmatched at times, maybe, but Lester’s stuff is no joke and Montero was able to work decent at bats.

      • forensic says:

        The fastballs were all fouled off to the right side, because he was late. The pitches he was actually able to put in play fair were two 88 cutters and an 85 slider. I don’t remember where exactly where the ‘just missed bomb’ went, but if it was the pitch right before the groundout, then it was about 6-7 inches high out of the zone, which goes to my other concern too.

        • SDM says:

          Are you really trying to talk down a rookie batters performance in his first game in the bigs against a pitcher he’s never seen before who also happens to be one of the best pitchers in the American League? Really?

          Montero went 0-4, but the underlying performance was not bad. He did not look or act overwhelmed when he came up to bat, he worked the count, he took some difficult pitches for balls, also you bring up the ground out…you do realize that the ump called a pitch in that same zone a strike when the at bat started. That right there should tell you, the guy is also aware of the (inconsistent) strike zone.

          Beyond that if your worried about a first time rookie callup not succeeding right away, you should probably just watch basketball exclusively because there are going to some growing pains for Jesus.

          • forensic says:

            I’m not talking it down, I’m analyzing it. And I mentioned the pitch before the groundout, not the groundout pitch, which were in two completely different locations. I never said I’m worried before he didn’t succeed last night, I said my concerns come from his minor league trends, and how that related to what I saw last night.

            Geez, it’s amazing how defensive people here are of him. I only wonder what it would be like if his name was Ben Smith instead of JESUS!!! Or what the opinions would be like if he put up the same numbers in another organization.

            • Dave says:

              Careful. A well-reasoned, critical analysis of Jesus Montero is not welcome here. They’ll come at you with their torches, clubs and pitchforks.

            • Addison says:

              Mentioning Jesus Montero’s name on this site is like mentioning Justin Bieber to a handful of ten year old girls.

              Everyone’s opinion is different, especially when it comes to prospects, but if you can look at Montero’s numbers the past couple of seasons and see “major league superstar”, then I’m questioning your knowledge.

              Especially knowing he can’t play defense.

              “Or what the opinions would be like if he put up the same numbers in another organization.”

              No one would care, because his numbers aren’t impressive.

      • Addison says:

        Montero has an inside out swing, so while he actually WAS late, his natural swing gives the impression he was later than he was.

        The thing I noticed was he appears to have lost some weight, which isn’t really unusual during the season. I’ve seen quite a few Scranton games this year on TV, and, quite frankly, their TV coverage blows.

        I saw Montero the first week of the season in person, and he appeared heavier.

        If he did lose weight it didn’t help his foot speed, he’s still slow as hell.

    • pat says:

      Ask Ryan Madsen about Montero’s fastball hitting abilities.

  10. Rainbow Pinstripes says:

    That game felt like it took a couple years off my life, holy crap. While it didn’t sniff the 9 inning record of 4 hours and 45 minutes, it felt like it took twice that.

  11. Phife Dawg says:

    A Red Sox vs. Yankees ALCS might completely destroy RAB and Twitter’s servers. Seriously, this game was probably the most stressful and panic inducing game this season that I can immediately think of.

    These games are enough to give the entire Yankee fan base within the tri-state area cardiac arrest… and these are just regular season games.

  12. stuart a says:

    amen. swishers bunt would have been stupid with zero outs. he is hitting 5th not 9th. that was inexcusable.

    i know the yansk are 29 games over 500, but really having tex and his 247 avg hit 3rd. I do not think that makes sense. 218 against righties is even more alarming.. why not move cano up to 3rd, arod 4th and tex 5th?

    guys with better avg like cano with similiar power should have more rbi opptys..

    also tex with the popups on the infield no wonder his babip is horrible. he pops up a ton…

    • Rainbow Pinstripes says:

      Who are the yansk?

    • Brian S. says:

      Actually the person who bats fifth comes up with more RISP than the person who bats fifth. According to various sabermetric articles, the third spot is not as important as the second, first, fourth, or fifth. Since Teixeira is our fifth best hitter (behind Grandy, Cano, Swisher, and A-Rod) I have no problem batting him third. And Teixeira is a completely different player batting right handed, he is still a superstar from that side of the plate. His real problems come from his left side, where he has a .324 OBP.

    • Dave M says:

      I’ve wondered for a while why Tex isn’t hitting 5th or even 6th (with arod in the lineup). He’s just all or nothing right now. he is driving in runs though

  13. Mojo says:

    Mo Survives Scare

    A.J. was OK. And while he didn’t win, the Yankees did (barely) — to leave Fenway with two victories.

    Thanks ESPN for your encouraging headlines. Sorry we didn’t earn the “Boston Bombers” moniker from last night. You’d think that they’d keel over and die if they ever wrote anything positive about this team’s performance…

  14. Jimmy McNulty says:

    Yeah Montero had an O-fer but he put together several impressive ABs against one of the best in the business. He held his own, he hit a couple of balls pretty hard and far and I don’t think he ever looked overmatched at the dish. Lets see him torch some Canucks.

  15. PaulF says:

    I know what UZR says about them, but Granderson outplayed his Centerfield counterpart and MVP rival in the field this series, specifically coming in on balls. Ellsbury had two hits drop in front of his dives that I think he should have caught, and then Granderson makes that amazing catch tonight.

    • Rainbow Pinstripes says:

      There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Granderson has a terrible UZR because Brett Gardner changes the way he plays center. Granderson is able to play much farther towards RF because Brett steals so many balls because of his speed. UZR can’t take that into account.

      And that is why, as much as stats are amazing, SOMETIMES they have to be taken with a grain of salt.

    • JT says:

      Can you imagine if Ellsbury had made that catch instead of Grandy? The folks at MLB and ESPN would ahve demanded that the game be stopped right there, and the first-ever instant induction to Cooperstown would have ensued. Instead it was … “yeah, I GUESS it was a pretty good catch. I guess that’s why SOME PEOPLE think he MIGHT be a POSSIBLE MVP candidate.”

    • tom says:

      The other thing lost in the UZR ridiculousness… the Boston staff I believe is the #1 flyball staff in the AL (the yankees are also pretty high). This helps with the sheer #of plays… even if these are easy high probaliity zones and batted ball speeds, it still keeps the UZR counter incrementing.

      Also look at Crawford’s UZR… I wonder if he is losing some flyballs to Ellsbury. Crawford’s never been as good as his UZR #’s suggest but his #’s are even lower than his career #’s away for the Trop. His career splits at the Trop are absurdly out of whack with his away #’s which I think shows there is something not being accounted for at the Trop in terms of UZR.

  16. Kiko Jones says:

    Great summary. And yeah, “Give A.J. some mad props, he showed up and took care of business today.”

    Abso-fucking-lutely.

  17. stuart a says:

    tex is also hitting 218 or so against righties. i move him down in the lineup…

    • Rainbow Pinstripes says:

      Where would you move him to, though? The only possible change I could see is flip-flopping Cano and Tex, but that’s about it and to me seems like a marginal change.

      • PaulF says:

        How about Jeter-Granderson-Cano-Arod-Swisher-Teixeira…?

        • Rainbow Pinstripes says:

          The Swisher-Tex switch doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. Tex has more home runs, doubles, less K’s, while their OPS is virtually identical. I think you would be getting A-Rod better pitches with Tex batting behind him versus Swisher… but that’s basically splitting hairs.

        • Dave M says:

          I like that. But I also like Gardner-Jeter-Granderson-Cano-Swisher-Tex-Montero-Martin-Nunez until A-Rod comes back.

  18. PaulF says:

    I didn’t realize just how good a season David Ortiz is having. He is the Red Sox best hitter and is second in the AL in wOBA. It’s interesting how the Red Sox offense is built around an insane 1-5 while the Yankees match them by having more lineup depth and a better bench. Depth, in the lineup, rotation, and bullpen is the major advantage the Yankees have over the Sox and the reason they have a better run differential.

  19. MUIDATS EEKNAY says:

    It wasn’t quite the blatant homer-ism of the National Red Sox Network (ESPN), but MLB network could not WAIT to show an instant replay of any borderline pitch to a Sox batter called a strike — which, invariably, was actually a strike — after the color guy’s un-believing “WHOAAA!” after he saw the pitch.

    And Montero looked pretty freaking relaxed at the plate there.

    • Charles says:

      Yeah I noticed that too, I also got a bit erked at the end of the game montage thing, did you see how much stuff they showed of the Sox? Pedroia’s homer, Ortiz fist bump, Sox fans cheering, Ellsbury’s catch in the outfield, and all the Yankees got was the Martin double and Swisher cheering.

      MLB network is starting to get a bit unwatchable whenever they have to talk about the Yankees it seems that they just don’t even give a shit, but the holy grail is personified in the Boston Red Sox.

  20. LarryM.,Fl. says:

    I was watching a marathon race last night. Every pitch was a battle and every at bat a war. It was truly a good game. Just enough offense from us and very good defense for the victory.

    AJ looked so much better. The mechanics aided his delivery which enhanced the focus. Really, the only bonehead play was Swish and his bunt. But he gets a pass because of the victory. You know his head gets clouded on occasion.

    Montero did look relaxed and not over matched. He could be a force.

    Great win and confidence level getting stronger.

  21. Will says:

    As one of the very few major AJ Burnett fans that posts here, I have to say that was definitely my favorite win of the year thus far.

    Also wanted to point out that as far as the feel of the game, Burnett’s start seemed to be the most in-control start by any Yankee pitcher against Boston this year. Sure, CC had a decent game the other night, and other marginally decent one in April, and Colon had a couple okay starts (not to mention Garcia’s start at Fenway at the beginning of August), but in each of those games it seemed like the Red Sox were always one hit away from blowing it open. Last night didn’t feel that way, even though the Yankees were behind during most of Burnett’s time in the game. He really seemed to be in control out there, and that’s something we haven’t seen since June. Hopefully it continues!

  22. Grit for Brains says:

    I remember Martin talking about that a few weeks ago, maybe after the game at Target where he had those two bombs…He is a really good catcher, glad he’s arb eligible next season. I like what I heard him say on the Michael Kay show, something to the effect of “I can work to save more runs by working well with my pitchers, blocking balls in the dirt and throwing out runners than I could ever possibly produce with my bat”

  23. Jorge says:

    Favorite moment: John Sterling completely flubbing Montero’s first at-bat and getting into an argument with Suzyn as to whether this was, in fact, his first major league at bat. How can you not know this? You’re the damn play-by-play guy. My mother-in-law knew it.

    • steve s says:

      I’m tired of all the knee-jerk anti Sterling comments I read on this site. Did you and your mother-in-law hear Sterling’s call on Grandy’s play? It was tremendous and unlike Mike’s characterization of the play in his narrative above Sterling said at the time that if the Yanks win it would be because of Grandy’s play. Sterling didn’t need hindsight on that one.

      • Smallz says:

        Hahaha na man it was pretty bad. Sterling really had no idea wheather it was Monteros 1st at bad or and was still trying to say that it wasnt. Do your god damn homework. Montero was added to the 40 man roster today, how would he of had a major league at bat yet?? He was like oh I saw him in spring training. YEA then you saw Melky Mesa and Daniel Brewer too!

      • Adam Parker says:

        I hear you. I’m a big Sterling fan myself.
        Sure he messes up sometimes, but to me, it isn’t Yankee baseball without him.

  24. Monteroisdinero says:

    Montero was relaxed-he is a low-key guy and the opposite of Cervelli. Hopefully he will square up a few in the next few games and get going. He didn’t cut 2B very well running but his speed is better now and he has lost weight since ST-unlike CC! Looking forward to him catching too.

    The bunting is insane. Granderson bunts too-with 38 HR’s! At least Tex and Alex don’t bunt although if Tex could learn how to push one down the 3B line he might get on base a bit more left handed. Even his knee popped one up last night.

    Dickerson pinch running instead of Gardner with Aceves on the mound. Why was that?

  25. Roland Deschain says:

    Burnett will stay in the rotation with the new mechanics and the good performance. Hughes struggled far more against that offense and he just didn’t look as good. Phil was constantly missing up over the plate. Burnett was missing down for the most part except on the Pedroia 3-1 pitch. Hughes threw 95 in the 1st inning on Wednesday but couldn’t sustain it. They’ll look at that and put him in the pen.

    • Roland Deschain says:

      AJ still won’t start a playoff game though, unless he has a monster September and one of Nova, Colon, Garcia really struggles. And even then he’d only be the #4 starter. In the playoffs you always have a quicker hook with the starter so I think they’ll determine that Hughes would be a better fit in the pen where he can throw gas for 1-2 innings.

      • David, Jr. says:

        Speaking of a hook, Girardi deserves credit for pulling AJ at the perfect time. It could have been trouble if Joe had tried to squeeze a little more out of him.

        • Tim says:

          Was actually surprised he let Burnett face Ortiz as the tying run in the 6th. Certainly expected Girardi to call on Logan there. But he showed Burnett some confidence and Burnett really struck out Ortiz – the 3-2 curve ball looked like a strike to me.

  26. Beantown Bombers Fan says:

    I will never tire of seeing that Aaron Boone photo. It always brings a smile to my face.

  27. Jerome S. says:

    Do you think that the Yankees break that winning-season streak? Obviously it’s not ending soon, and it’d be hard to fuck up with the massive payroll, but inevitably there would be a confluence of events to make a losing Yankees team – some injuries, some bad luck, a weak farm system.

  28. Nogomo says:

    Thanks for talking specifically about A.J.’s mechanical adjustments, this is the kind if info I really like to get, especially as I don’t get to watch many games and John Sterling is too busy impressing Susan with his antics to tell us anything useful (I like John though!).

    I could see on the highlight reel that his curve was in full gear and his location was good. The HR by that monkey-faced man-boy was bad luck, a little bit of a meatball I guess he meant to get further up or in or both.

    I was beginning to despair of Rothschild being worth his salt, but now hope is renewed.

    Really, though, what is all this absurd Montero worship? It’s like the site is secretly run and attended by teenage girls! He’s a good hitter and a sort of bad catcher?! And you think he’s gonna save the team?! We’ve got scads of good hitters! We need pitching!

    • Dave says:

      How dare you question the Jesus Freaks?!! Didn’t you see that opposite field power stroke? It almost reached the warning track! That WARNING means that your near the wall — and if the ball is near the wall, it might go over it for Christ’s sake! C’mon, you gotta give him a .33 HR for that one — or at least a .66 double.

      • Owen Two says:

        …for Christ’s sake!

        …for Montero’s sake!

        FTFY

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Or you could be an intelligent person and not base your judgement of a player’s long-term potential on one game… either way.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          What’s with your obsession with irrationally bashing Jesus Montero?

          • Dave says:

            I thought you weren’t reading my nothingness-filled ramblings? Back again, huh?

            Am I bashing Montero? Or poking fun at those who can’t handle any critical analysis of him without knee-jerking and condemning me as saying he’s “awful”? Maybe you should wipe your eyes and read what I wrote again. Why is objectivity so hard for you? How does the idea that Montero might be less than his hype translate to “irrationally bashing” and saying he’s “awful”? I know you can’t answer — just like yesterday when you dodged Mike’s silly “everyone hates” top prospects, yet if you say one critical thing about Montero here, you get attacked. You want a peek at irrationality? Look at your own non-arguments that drop context, embrace false dichotomies, all while avoiding the evidence and the tough questions they elicit — i.e., the mirror.

            And careful — “forensic” seems to be bringing up similar points as I did yesterday. You might have two people who dare to look at Montero with an objective eye rather than with blinders on. I’m sure you’ll be skipping his points and calling him “NUTS” as your Montero man-crush heart starts thumping with anger rather than going pitter patter.

            We’ll see if you chime in when the rest here go crazy if Montero has a good game. I can’t wait to see the genuinely irrational reaction a homer and double will inspire around here.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              You have gone way beyond making any rational point and just drag on and on bashing anyone who says anything positive about Montero and lumping them all into one group. I have never said I blindly love Montero and can’t fail. I have said I think he’s a very good prospect who may or may not succeed/fail. You have consistently attacked me for that view. Do you not see how this makes you come across as you think Montero will definitely fail?

              “Am I bashing Montero? Or poking fun at those who can’t handle any critical analysis of him without knee-jerking and condemning me as saying he’s “awful”?”

              You are most definitely bashing him. You have said that you somehow know the Yankees organization is not high on him among other critical comments. If you want to point out that he’s struggled in 2011… I am 100% fine with that. I literally do the same thing on this very same site all the time.

              You are not poking fun at anyone but yourself. You continually contradict your own points and do the same things you criticize others for doing. I am by no means someone who has blinders with regard to Jesus… yet you lump everyone who says anything remotely positive about Jesus into one group… then turn around and accuse others of doing the opposite.

              You are incorrect in labeling myself and countless others as blindly loving Jesus, and equally incorrect in responding with blind hate. I have never once said he can’t fail, and in fact spend a lot of time on this blog saying he might. That doesn’t mean the kid is not a very good prospect… yet when people suggest he is a very good prospect you fly off the handle attacking them. Do you honestly not see how this implies you think he is not a very good prospect????

              “Why is objectivity so hard for you?”

              You are not being objective. You have stated that you know the Yankees are not high on Jesus. You have attacked everyone who has even called him a good prospect… just called him a good prospect. That goes way beyond objective… it’s the opposite of objective. It’s baseless speculation that spits in the face of the evidence to prove your theory… they aren’t high on the kid, so they rushed him through the minors and brought him up to face Lester at 21. They did all that because they thought he’d fail? Really?

              You literally yesterday said scouts questioned his offense and listed a bunch of complements about his offense from some scouting report you read as evidence… that comes across as batshit insane.

              My whole point is that he’s a prospect. No need to decide today how his MLB career will go. Just project the likelihood of certain outcomes.

              “just like yesterday when you dodged Mike’s silly “everyone hates” top prospects,”

              I did not dodge that at all. I hit it head on and you ignored it.

              It was a very similar concept to what you are talking about with Jesus, yet you are apparently too stupid to realize it. You think the hype with Jesus is so great that he can’t live up to it. If Jesus ends up 5 years from now as a perennial .700 OPS DH below replacement level as you seem to think he will based on your consistent attacks on anyone who says something positive about the guy… you think fans won’t “hate” him. Same way that THE AVERAGE Yankee fan hates Hughes and hates the way Joba’s career has turned out (though the hatred goes more towards the org than Joba)? You honestly don’t think Melky was a fan favorite with THE AVERAGE Yankee fan? You have to realize that the average person who spends hours and hours on this site discussing Yankee information is not the average Yankee fan. Far from it.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                You continually sited his 2011 stats yesterday, using them to conclude he couldn’t hit at AAA. Then when it was pointed out to you that this was not his first season in AAA and his 2010 stats were much better, you flew off the handle about that. You used the 2011 stats to say he was no longer a top prospect, then ignored examples like Hanley Ramirez, Justin Upton, Albert Pujols… are great MLB hitters who had some struggles at similar ages. I acknowledged that he is having a bad season but said that doesn’t mean he can’t bounce back, and you attacked me further. What does that imply? To me it implies you don’t think Montero can bounce back from his bad season.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Who thinks he’s going to save the team? He’s a good hitting prospect. That’s all.

      “I was beginning to despair of Rothschild being worth his salt, but now hope is renewed.”
      “We need pitching!”

      Are you aware that the Yankees have the third best team ERA and second best team FIP in the AL?

      • Dave says:

        Whooooaaaa… Wait a second, Ted. Now he’s a “good hitting prospect. That’s all.”??? Even I agree with that, and I said as much — but yesterday he was ELITE in your eyes — not just good. Juan Rivera was a good hitting prospect — hell, so was Melky. But now Montero’s merely “good”??. Careful, Ted. You seem to be backing off somewhat — and coming to your senses. Montero’s hype wasn’t about being “good”. He’s JESUS MONTERO — one of a handful of top prospects in all of baseball — one the BEST hitting prospects in baseball — but now “He’s a good hitting prospect. That’s all.”

        Priceless.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          No… you incorrectly lumped me in with a group of fans you have largely imagined in your own heads.

          “Good” is a relative term. If you are not “bad” you are good. I did not say how good.

          He is one of the best hitting prospects in baseball according to every single source I have seen.

          You are not very bright, are you?

          • Ted Nelson says:

            You spent most of yesterday arguing against points I did not actually make, and ignoring the ones that I did.

            • Dave says:

              Actually that’s what you did to me. You created straw men left and right — all b/c I thought a sub-Montero performance at AAA might be an indicator of a possible tear in his hype-armor as “best prospect”. I never said he was awful — and I never bashed him — and I backed it up with evidence. I just tried to temper the ostrich like approach his disciples have since he’s been in AAA.
              .320 vs .288. or 75ks vs 95k — as if those differences are meaningless. .288 is as good as .320 somehow.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                ” I never said he was awful — and I never bashed him ”

                Yes. You literally said, among other things, that the Yankees are not high on him. Literally said that.

          • Mike Axisa says:

            You two had the exact same exchange yesterday, there’s no need to rehash it again. If you want to debate Montero’s long-term outlook or whatever the hell it is, do it in the original thread.

            We don’t ask for much from our commenters, but having the same discussion in multiple threads takes away from the site.

            I’m not singling you out Ted, this is for both you and Dave.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              Honestly Mike, I enjoy your site and commenting here… but you are not doing me some favor by letting me comment. Ban me if you’d like. I will write what I like where I have access. I will not be censored. If you have a comments section, it is my belief that it should be open to free speech.

              If this thread is not the place to discuss Montero, you might think about not titling it “The Montero Era begins…” If that’s your title, it’s pretty rational to discuss how the Montero era will go.

              And us two did not have this conversation. Us THREE did… as in you, me, and Dave. Dave continues to attack me for points I have not actually made, and I am pointing that out. I was honestly getting tired of doing so and thinking about doing some work, but I do not take kindly to your big brother attitude.

            • Dave says:

              Oh the irony. I see Ted hit me with another arrow below — but you breaking up our little spat is worse since most of it was provoked by your commentary. And he was your defense attorney on that whole “everyone hates Hughes/Joba” nonsense — but you betrayed him. This is like a Greek tragedy. Oh well.

              See Ted? I told you he was tweaking us. Blogs are nothing without their traffic and comments section filling up. Advertisers won’t have their banner ads on RAB without it!

          • Dave says:

            “If you are not “bad” you are good.”

            That’s some logic. And you say I’m not very bright??

            How does mediocre fit in?

            And good, very good and elite are equivalents when speaking of baseball prospects? How ’bout “decent”? What’s that?

            I first thought you were more knowledgeable — but I have to retract that now. You spiraled down into a twisted, criss-crossed mess of your own errant thinking.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              You missed my point by getting caught up in the semantics… my whole point was that you were commenting on the semantics of wording and not my actual point.

              Whether you say he is a “good” prospect, a “very good” prospect, an “elite prospect”… it’s semantics. All are relative terms. In various contexts you could use all three and be right. The point is that any time someone suggests Montero is not a bad prospect, you flip out at them. What should that lead me to believe your opinion of Jesus is? Arguing over whether he is the 1st, 5th, 20th best prospect in all of baseball is semantics… all are elite prospects relative to the average prospect. All have good chances of being strong MLB contributors.

    • Foghorn Leghorn says:

      The success of the yankees rotation, from top to bottom, is from having a better defensive catcher in Martin AND a better pitching coach, in Rothschild.

  29. ChrisS says:

    I heart Singleton and Leiter. I think Al is better than Cone at talking about pitching, and he seems genuinely excited to break down the whys and hows of pitching. Don’t get me wrong, I love Cone too.

    Heck, even Michael Kay has grown on me over the last few years. I’m happy anytime Kay is joined with Singleton, Leiter, Cone, or Oneill. I hope the braodcast crew will stick together for awhile because they are enjoyable to listen to.

    • forensic says:

      I’m also one of the few (seemingly) on here who also likes Kay.

      Leiter is easily my favorite, I just wish he would do more than one series every couple of months. Haven’t even seen him on MLBN lately.

      I sometimes like O’Neill, but sometimes he drifts a bit too much from the game, and takes Kay with him.

      I can deal with Singleton and Cone, but they are both sometimes a bit dry/boring (though certainly not to the level of Flaherty), and someone needs to tell Singleton he doesn’t work for MASN during those series.

      • Zach says:

        In SIngleton’s defense, he won a World Series with the O’s so it’s natural he has a soft spot for them. Back then, they were actually good too.

  30. JohnC says:

    Gonzalez has no right complaining about that strike 3 call when so many close calls went his team’s way. That 3-2 pitch to Ortiz in the 6th was definitely a strike, and Pedroia was out on that potential DP there in the 8th.

  31. pat says:

    Mo K’s Gonzalez with the bases loaded in a packed house in Fenway and simply walks off the mound to shake the pitchers hand. Imagine of that had been Papelbon or Valverde or some other douche in Yankee Stadium? They’d still be there celebrating.

    • pat says:

      *catcher’s

    • Foghorn Leghorn says:

      but Cervelli clapped loudly 2 games ago….don’t you get it…it doens’t matter!

      One of the reasons I like Mo so much is that he ends games that way…just walks towards the plate, shakes hands with the catcher and moves on.

  32. Ted Nelson says:

    Great to see the sacrifice bunt which may have hurt the Yankees mentioned and not the non-bunt by Nunez which may have hurt the Yankees… Bunting is a far more marginal thing that this site leads people to believe.

  33. gc says:

    Did anyone else notice how not only Montero, but Martin as well both clapped their hands after scoring their runs almost exactly the way Cervelli did the other night? Watched it again on the highlights at mlb.com this morning. Not sure it means anything, but I laughed.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      The most ridiculous part of Lackey’s reaction to me is how much celebrating the Red Sox players’ do when they score or end an inning (as a pitcher). Perhaps it was that he clapped before he scored and not after… but Lackey is a tool as far as I’m concerned. And then claiming he wasn’t trying to hit him when he hit the middle of his back with a FB really put the icing on the cake.

      • Foghorn Leghorn says:

        Lackey is a tool and what’s worse, he’s not that good. I think Beckett is bigger tool, but if you perform better on the field you can get away with it.

        Cervelli didn’t do anything wrong…he’s just emotional and that clap was so much less than what a lot of other players, namely Ortiz, do.

        Lackey hit him on purpose and it was just great that Cervelli ends up scoring. His teammates can’t be that fond of him b/c he complains about the errors and missed plays all the time. His WHIP is one of the worst in the leauge and its been that way for two years now – he’s not an effective pitcher anymore.

        • forensic says:

          Just to play devil’s advocate, you could substitute Cervelli’s name for Lackey and Ortiz/A-Rod/Cano/Swisher’s name for Beckett in your first paragraph and it would work for Boston’s POV too.

          They could also say Ortiz doesn’t do anything wrong either, he’s just emotional.

          Joba fist-pumps and it’s just emotion. Papelbon does it and he’s being a tool or douche. It’s all just perspective and the same things apply both ways.

          • Foghorn Leghorn says:

            perception drives most of it…is driven by the media’s overreaction.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            I see it a little bit, but not entirely. The reason I called Lackey a tool in the first place is not his demeanor… It’s that he chose to hit someone in the back after they hit a HR off him and had a minor celebration no greater than what most of his teammates do, and then claimed it was unintentional. Don’t do it in the first place, IMO, but if you do man-up about it. It’s not the difference you describe in a fan’s eyes between Paps and Joba… it’s running up and tackling Paps for his celebration when your own guy does the same exact thing, and then claiming you assaulted and battered him accidentally.

            Beckett is called a tool because by all accounts he is not a nice guy. He is self-centered, arrogant, and unpleasant. I have never met him, but that gets said enough that I have a hard time believing it’s not true. A-Rod is a bit self-centered in an oblivious to everyone else way but has been a leader for young players in several cases… otherwise those guys all seem fairly pleasant. Ortiz is gregarious as they come and seems like a leader about Dominican players. Cano may be self-centered (I don’t know), but seems pleasant enough. Swisher is also known as extremely gregarious and easy-going.

  34. Bronx Byte says:

    Granderson’s catch was the game changer. It fired up the team and Martin’s hit was BIG.
    Yankee class and Boston crybabies showed up as usual.

  35. tom says:

    Can we get numbers on how many times robinson Cano has lead off an inning? Especially since he started batting behind tex, I feel like he leads off innings all the time

  36. theyankeewarrior says:

    Thought Montero battled well.
    Thought Tex sucked (again).
    Thought AJ was solid.

    Think Monero should get more at bats.
    Think Tex should take a week off to “rest that knee” aka learn to hit.
    Think AJ should stay and Phil should use that 95mph in one-inning stints.

    • Smallz says:

      Riiight 30-100 guy the last 6 years needs to learn to hit. Maybe you should teach him!

      • Ted Nelson says:

        .366 wOBA and 129 wRC+ this season… yeah I’d say he knows a thing or two about hitting.

        • theyankeewarrior says:

          In order to produce like we signed him to, he pretty much needs to re-learn how to hit from the left side.

          .220/.326/.469

          /eww

      • theyankeewarrior says:

        LOL, !!BUT HE’S GOT A LOT OF RBI’S!!

        Tex is hitting .200 vs. right handed pitching. You know who else could hit 30 home runs in Yankee Stadium and drive in !!100 RUNS!!? Carlos Pena. For a lot less than $180M.

        Maybe he doesn’t need to “learn how to hit”, but he does need to make a serious change to his LH swing. It’s all or nothing right now. In our 3-hole.

        70% of pitchers are right handed.

        And the guy refuses to get a hit vs. the Sox. It’s like he’s allergic to them or something.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          It’s not about RBIs… he’s got a .366 wOBA on the season. 9th among 1B. Combine his defense, and he’s basically tied for being the 5th most valuable 1B in MLB.

          Saying he could improve from the left-side is reasonable. That’s not what you did, though. You said he needs to learn how to hit. That’s unreasonable and does not come across well to me as a reader of your comment.

          • theyankeewarrior says:

            I was over-the-top, you’re right. It was sarcasm fail.

            We’re discussing hitting only here, so being the 9th best first-baseman when you’re being paid like the first or second it not a positive sign at all.

            And most of that wOBA comes from his power numbers, which are inflated by Yankee Stadium.

            What’s his wOBA on the road?

        • tom says:

          He does have 4 hits to left field as a lefty (and a sub .300 OPS to LF as a lefty)… so at least he’s not trying to pull everything as a lefthanded hitter!

          Against righty starters he should be moved down…. not only does it hurt the lineup with his AB’s, but is there any reason for a righty starter to throw strikes to Granderson with Tex on deck?

          He stopped using the whole field a couple of years ago (as a lefty)…. he used to hit lefty like he still does righty, while his major power is the pull size, he still hits the ball the other way with authority right handed (I think his OPS to RF as a righty hitter is over .750). The dramatic upper cut swing combined with a pull only mentality is why he pops up to the leftside so much as a lefty (~30% of hit flyballs to LF are popups) or rolls over and hits a weak grounder.

          Long basically needs to do an anit-Granderson change…. Long worked on Granderson getting quicker with a shorter stroke left handed….. while it might help to take some of the loop out of Tex’s swing and shorten it, he is usually too quick as he tries to pull everything (look at how many line drives he pulls foul).

          While I know it’s not this easy his lefty splits over the last 4-5 years have steadily changed from a guy who uses the whole field to a guy only interested in pulling every ball and I think warrants him re-tooling that swing a bit (either do a Granderson type 2-3 game break and work with Long, or do it in the offseason)

  37. Tim says:

    Fatso Pete Abe and the collection of losers who post to boston.com are all complaining that the pitch to Gonzalez was not a strike. This is particularly delightful in light of the fact that a) it was the only strike Rivera threw in the at bat, as Gonzalez swung at three clear balls and took a fourth all in off the plate, and b) the wonderful “Amica Pitch Zone” that is featured on NESN showed the pitch to be a clear strike at the knees on the outside corner.

    Not for nothing, but the 2-2 pitch to Ellsbury also was a strike that was called a ball, allowing the whole scenario to play out as it did.

    • Foghorn Leghorn says:

      I just saw that. I admit that I venture to that site just to get the perspective from the Sox media. Its usually so one-sided and the fan comments make me laugh hystercally.

      The article is a joke but I was surprised at the fan comments – many of them were not focused on that pitch.

      One writer wrote an article about Cervelli’s hand clap saying it wsn’t a big deal at all and the fan comments were all in disagreement.

      Every word I read from the Boston media/fan base just makes me so happy that I’m a Yankee fan.

      • Roland Deschain says:

        Abraham also said that Cervelli was taught a lesson that he’d never forget. The guy is a hack and he deserves to be in Boston wasting away, career wise anyway.

        • Foghorn Leghorn says:

          i just don’t understand why the Boston media still has to be that way. The Sox have been a great team for over 10 years now and they have won two championships. Plus, the Celtics, Bruins and Pats all are very good teams with championships.

          But they continue to act like cry babies to incite the fan base.

          Cervelli will do the same thing if given the opportunity…after all, he’s a young latin player and that’s what they do….

          and Suckonmycockia’s racist comments just get swept under the rug, just like anything meaningful, like steroid use, bellichek’s cheating and the Sox clubhouse guy getting fired for roid distribution…its a joke.

  38. JP says:

    Anyone worried about Mo? He looks like he’s being really fine out there. They can hit his cutter so much easier now, so he’s flirting with corners and nibbling alot more. Maybe that isn’t the most accurate way to describe it, as he always painted corners. It’s just that it seems like he’s more cautious and throwing alot more marginal pitches, etc. Just don’t like what I see.

    • Foghorn Leghorn says:

      no, not at all. who else do you want there?…really..answer that please.

      Mo is still the best closer in the game. enjoy it while it lasts. he’s one of a kind.

      • JP says:

        Be serious. He’s not even the best reliever on the Yankees.

        • Foghorn Leghorn says:

          I am serious…a releiver is not the same as a closer.

          Mo’s is less effective, but he sit a very high bar for himself AND, he’s 41 yrs old.

          Answer the question…who would you rather have closing games for them?

          • JP says:

            Well, I disagree with the premise of a “closer”, in that I think the best relief pitcher should be used in the highest leverage situations, and often that occurs with men on base in the 7th or 8th innings. In that regard, yes, I would prefer Rivera pitching the 9th inning, starting with a lead and bases empty. But he’s not the best relief pitcher on the team. Further, I think that if you had Robertson closing games now, he would probably do better.

            All that said, I fully understand Mo’s career. I realize that Mo’s defining characteristic is that he has maintained a level of effectiveness for a far greater period than any relief pitcher in history. This bureau does not hold back in awe or admiration whatsoever for the great Mariano.

            But facts are facts. He’s the second best relief pitcher on the Yankees. And I worry a heck of alot more when he comes into pitch in close, important games than I ever did before.

            • Foghorn Leghorn says:

              the closer role is probably overrated, but to succeed, especially in the post season, you have to have a guy out there who can get it done and finish the game. Relievers are so fickle…can be great one year and bad the next…or from game to game.

              So, as long as Mo is pitching he is the closer and he is the most effective one on the leauge.

              And I agree with you on the high leverage situations and that DRob is the ideal man for that role. But closing games is high leverage also and it does take a different mindset. Bard is probably better than Papelbon but I’m not sure he’d make a good closer either.

              • JP says:

                Your question actually forced me to think about my own opinions about relief pitchers’ roles, etc. And when you think about it, you’re probably right that Rivera should probably be considered the best *closer* in baseball still. Because of the track record of reliability. His effectiveness is decreasing some, but you still get the reliability of knowing he almost never will implode, walk 3 guys, etc. The hitters have a better chance against him now than a few years ago, but he still gives the Yankees a tremendous advantage when they have the lead and give him the ball. As for the Red Sox, I can’t really comment because my fan-related feelings for the Yankees cloud my judgement of their pitchers. I think Bard is a little better than Papelbon.

  39. Art Vandelay says:

    Regarding Singleton and Leiter: I have a low bar for baseball announcers, and I certainly don’t expect them to understand sabermetrics or game strategy things like when not to bunt. But I just can’t get over how they can screw up even the basic stuff about horse-race coverage of the various awards, which should be their bread and butter. I mean, maybe I’m out of the baseball writer loop, but how can you talk about the AL MVP race without even mentioning Bautista? Or gush about Nova in connection with the AL ROY without even mentioning Pineda, Hellickson, or Dustin Ackley?

    And the other day Leiter described Hughes as a “two-pitch pitcher” who sometimes mixes in a slider? Isn’t he paid to talk about pitching?

    • Smallz says:

      Jose Bautista really shouldnt be mentioned. His team is in not competitive, thus making not that Valuable of a player. With or without him the Jays suck. Other then his HR numbers, hes no superstar either.

  40. theyankeewarrior says:

    Is that closer for the Yankees Latin?

    Because he didn’t show much enthusiasm after he closed the game.

  41. Foghorn Leghorn says:

    lots of whining and nitpicking on this thread…for the love of God, people..The Yanks just took 2 of 3 and had a good chance at a sweep…IN FENWAY!!

    AND THEY WERE GRTTY WINS VS. THE GRITTIEST TEAM IN CREATION!!!

    WE’RE DOOOOOOOOMED!!!!!!!!!!

    Its a freakin’ win…take it and move on.

  42. JB says:

    So if Montero is going to get ABs, at whose expense will it come by? I’m not sure I want to take Andruw Jones out of the lineup. Maybe have Jones platoon with Gardner? Not sure.
    I don’t think he’s going to catch much.

    How does Jesus work his way in?

    • Smallz says:

      Montero DHs vs. Leftys. Jones plays left against LHP. He might get a start or 2 to keep Martin fresh for the post season. He’ll get his at bats. The Yankees face Romero and Cecil in this series and Jo Jo Reyes and Zach Britton (?) in the next one.

  43. Dave M says:

    “The runners were on the move, so Dickerson scored with ease and Montero chugged in right behind him somewhat surprisingly.”

    In reference to the Montero comment. I’ve been hearing for years how slow the guy is. I’ve seen him play in the minors, and he didn’t seem that slow to me. I’m not saying his Brett Gardner, but he seemed to have close to average speed the times I’ve seen him running out grounders. And him scoring on that hit last night kind of backs up my opinion.

    • Monteroisdinero says:

      he looked faster and alot lighter to me. Also at Scranton and ST I never saw him with the pants down to his spikes.

      Jeterian!

    • tom says:

      Lost in this was Dickerson actually stopped at 3rd just to make sure the ball wasn’t close to being caught while Montero was running hard the whole way (which was the correct thing for both runners… Dickerson scores no matter what so stopping gives him a chance to get back to 2nd if some sort of spectacular play was made)

      Montero was certainly moving fine (he didn’t look like Tex or Agon or Posada or Ortiz on the bases)…. but his proximity to Dickerson was a bit misleading and I think made it seem like he was moving pretty fast.

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