Starting pitching ends April strong, Yanks beat Orioles 2-1

Trenton & Tampa both win late
Planning for Andy Pettitte's return

Heading into Sunday’s game against the Tigers the Yankees’ starters held a collective 6.37 ERA, second worst in the majors only to the Twins. CC Sabathia lowered that to 6.08 with his eight-inning, two-run performance on Sunday. On Monday Hiroki Kuroda knocked that ERA below the dreaded 6.00 mark, pitching seven innings of one-run ball in a game where one run was all the Yankees could afford. The Yankees’ starters now enter May with a 5.80 ERA.

Better to be lucky than good

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

Kuroda hunkered down when necessary and even made a few defensive plays himself, but it seemed as though the Orioles hitters were onto him. Nineteen of the 24 hitters he faced put the ball in play, and of those six were classified as line drives. Indeed, the Orioles did make a lot of noise with their bats. Fortunately for the Yankees, most of their hardest hit balls were right at fielders. Eduardo Nunez, Derek Jeter, and Mark Teixeira all made excellent plays on what, on another night, might have been base hits.

Through seven innings Kuroda struck out only three, but he also walked only one and allowed just four hits. Again, he might have been lucky to give up only those four hits. He’s also lucky that Nick Markakis broke from third on a ball that didn’t get quite far away enough from Russell Martin. But all that luck came in handy on a night when the offense didn’t get much at all going.

Chavez to the rescue

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

On Sunday the Yankees scored six runs, but had an opportunity for more. They went just 3 for 13 with runners in scoring position and left 15 men on base. Last night they had no such failure, but that’s because they put so few men in scoring position. To wit, they did just one time, following Mark Teixeira’s bloop single in the sixth. Raul Ibanez erased him with a ground ball double play.

Eric Chavez took care of business, though, crushing a Jason Hammel offering into the Yankees bullpen in the second, which gave the Yankees the early 2-1 lead they’d hold the whole game. They might as well have set it up on a tee for him, because it was right there. That has to be the greatest feeling as a hitter, to know without a shadow of a doubt that you got all of it.


(Al Bello/Getty Images)

While Kuroda was lucky, he was also efficient, throwing just 89 pitches in seven innings. Hammel was a bit less efficient, using 101 pitches through just six innings, though there’s an argument that he pitched the better game.

David Robertson struck out the side for the first time since Opening Day. He has made 11 appearances so far and has multiple strikeouts in six of them. He has struck out 43 percent of all batters he’s faced this season.

Eduardo Nunez looked pretty solid in left, especially for a guy who had 18.1 innings in the outfield as a professional coming into the game. All 18.1 of those innings came in the majors last year.

Since his 3 for 9 performance in the Boston series Russ Martin has gone 2 for 15 with just one walk. Though that kind of breakdown really isn’t necessary; Martin’s season at the plate has been horrible. Even the whole “at least he’s taking his walks” thing is starting to taper off — he’s walked just twice in the last two weeks.

If Andruw Jones is going to enter as a defensive replacement for Raul Ibanez, shouldn’t he just get some starts? It’s not as though he can’t hit righties. While Ibanez’s hits have been well-timed, he hasn’t been an irreplaceable contributor.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings box scores are good, because they have video and photo right there. FanGraphs box scores are good, because they have just about every bit of data you could ever want. Mike always links to ESPN’s standings, but it’s just as easy to get them from the MLB site while you’re checking the box score.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

It’s a battle of hyped-up, underperforming pitchers as Phil Hughes goes for the Yankees and Brian Matusz goes for the Orioles.

Trenton & Tampa both win late
Planning for Andy Pettitte's return
  • Rainbow connection

    Hughes better get his act together. That’s what I say! That’s what I say!

  • joek

    Love the tag “David Robertson is the Matt Kemp of relief pitchers”

    • Dummies Playing With Balls (formerly Rainbow Connection)

      More like Jack Kemp, if you ask me.

    • Spiff

      David Robertson since June of 2010 – 21 earned runs in 123 innings
      Mariano Rivera since June of 2010 – 24 earned runs in 113.1 innings

      He’s become a very valuable asset for our bullpen, essentially giving us 2 of the best relievers in the game to end games after the 7th inning.

  • mustang

    With the schedule they had and what they got from their starters I will take 13-9 for April with a big smile on my face. Bring on May and the KC, Seattle, Oakland, and O’s of the world.
    Hopefully Andy can bring at least a bit of stability to the rotation in May.

    • rek4gehrig

      Plus Tex wakes up in May :-)

  • Plank

    That tag is long overdue.

  • Austin’s Bat

    Robertson season: 0.5 WAR, 0.00 ERA, 0.49 FIP, 1.47xFIP, 14.7 k/9. Yikes

    • Dummies Playing With Balls (formerly Rainbow Connection)

      NO WAR FOR OIL!!!
      LOL! LOL! LOL!!! LOL!

    • Dummies Playing With Balls (formerly Rainbow Connection)

      WAR! What is it good for?

      8th Inning! HA!

      • Bo Knows

        Take your medication man, you obviously need it

    • Bavarian Yankee

      that’s awesome. Chapman is the only reliever in the majors that was a higher WAR so far (0.7) and only Ogando and Guerra (yeah, Guerra and his 6.10 ERA) tie Robertson.

  • Matt DiBari

    Speaking of being lucky, Teixiera’s single before the homer was pretty clearly foul. And not all that close of a call.

    • RetroRob

      An overview shot would have been helpful. The umpire was closer and had a better view than the one we saw on YES, but he was also making the call in real time.

      • Matt DiBari

        The umpire was also Bob Davidson

  • mustang

    As good as Robertson is 1996 Mo was the best sit-up man I have ever seen.

    • Plank

      I’m the best sit-up man ever.


      John Basedow

      • mustang

        LMAO your right!!!


    • mustang

      This was before the perfecting the cutter.

  • The Plouffenator

    I don’t care if this is never seen, but I have to put it somewhere: to all Yankee fans with IQs lower than your respective shoe sizes, his name is Pettitte, not Petite, not Pettite, not Petitte, PETTITTE. I’ve seen it at least a dozen times on here and countless times on Lohud…for the love of god he’s one of the best lefties in the history of the Yankees AND one of the best pitchers the Yankees have had the last two decades, period.


    • Yusmeiro Petit

      I disagree.

      • Robinson Tilapia


      • Robinson Tilapia

        and…..if the Jason Hammel/Cole Hamels connection is actually happening, this would NOT be a good development.


        • jjyank

          Just to be safe, we should change Matusz’s name as well. You never know.

          Anyone else ready for Halladay vs. Ponson tonight?

          • I Live In My Mom’s Basement

            Holiday vs. Pontoon?

          • Robinson Tilapia

            I was thinking about this while at the gym this morning…..isn’t it Halladay’s name we should be misspelling in order for this to work? As in Roy Hughelday or something? I’d hate for this to backfire and BOTH Hughes and Halladay suddenly can’t get out of the third inning.

            • jjyank

              True, you can never be too safe. So we got Roy Hughes of the Phillies, and Phil Phucking Halladay of the Yankees.

              And of course, Brian Ponson of the O’s. And Sidney Matusz at a Chinese buffet somewhere.

  • http://peettitte Peettitte

    Im on the way back. Look out look out

    • The Plouffenator

      die. slowly.

  • DannyC

    what are we gonna do with russel martin, this guy is an automatic out. p.s. montero hit another homerun tonighy, why is cashmans job so secure. do you sons of bitches mean to tell me it is unfathomable that someone else can do a better job than cashman.

    • Kvothe

      Dude already said he regrets the trade. If Pineda was healthy and in the rotation, you might feel differently given Montero’s sub 300 OBP and sub 700 OPS.

      • mustang

        And the fact that he has catch like 3 games on a team going nowhere.

    • jjyank

      Give it a rest man. Hindsight GMing is easy, we get it. Stop posting Montero’s stats. It’s one of the most obnoxious things I see on this site.

      • mustang

        Don’t even waste your time. He post Montero’s stats but doesn’t even bring up the fact that he barely catching. The topper is that Montero isn’t exactly lighting it up.

      • Dummies Playing With Balls (formerly Rainbow Connection)

        LOL. Better stay off the internet.

    • mustang

      If you notice the offense is not the problem so unless Montero becomes a effective starting pitcher its non issue.

      • mustang

        2012 REGULAR SEASON RANKINGS Batting





        • mustang

          2012 REGULAR SEASON RANKINGS Pitching




          • mustang

            Yes Martin is problem and they need Montero’s bat.

            SMH and sigh.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Citing Montero’s stats means nothing to me, though. He’s not on the team. You can’t go back. I hope he makes the HOF his first year of eligibility.

              • mustang

                He already has to some here.

              • mustang

                The funniest part is that after the first month of the season we should all see why the Yankees made the trade. Because THEY NEED STARTING PITCTHING and they don’t need the offense from DH/ very limited catcher.

  • DannyC

    I dont care if he regrets the trade, thst is irrelevant. This is one of many pitching disasters on his resume. Kevin brown, randy johnson, carl pavano, kei igawa, aj burnett, fredy garcia 2012, cashman needs to go, hes been here too long

    • Bavarian Yankee

      you really can’t blame Cash for this one. This was a good trade for both teams when it was made, nobody can foresee the future and tell you that a guy gets hurt before he ever throws a pitch that counts.

      EVERY organization makes bad looking decisions about pitching every now and then because even the safest pitching acquisitions can backfire. Not much you can do about it as long as pitchers are part of the game. This wasn’t the first time it happened and for sure it wasn’t the last time. Something like this happens almost every week somewhere in the majors.

      Sure, you can still blame Cashman (and I really appreciate that he takes the blame even though I know it’s not his fault) but if you think that any other GM can make it better: you’re fooling yourself. The Yankees and their fans should be happy that Cash is their GM, I don’t think one can do much better than him.

      • MannyGeee

        the book is FAR from closed on this trade. look back at some of Cash’s other trades of late (Granderson, Berkman, Swisher, Nady). He’s done a pretty good job of getting value

        *purposely ignoring Javy trade…*

    • A.D.

      Yanks didn’t exactly give up the farm for Brown and Johnson, they didn’t perform great, but didn’t cost a ton either

  • DannyC

    AI dont care if he regrets the trade, that is irrelevant. This is one of many pitching disasters on his resume. Kevin brown, randy johnson, carl pavano, kei igawa, aj burnett, fredy garcia 2012, cashman needs to go, hes been here too long

    • the other “D.J” of the Yankees (formerly STONE COLD Austin Romine)

      That’s great.

      Do you have a suggestion on who should replace Cashman then ? Preferably a Gm with experience would be preferable imo.

      … Then I read the above comment…

      ” do you sons of bitches mean to tell me it is unfathomable that someone else can do a better job than cashman. ”

      Yeah bro , your trolling with an agenda. Take that shit to lohud.

    • jjyank

      First of all, some of those earlier moves were likely front office initiated. And I don’t think you can blame Cashman for Burnett either. Who the hell saw that coming? The problem with AJ before we signed him was his injury history, not his talent. And the Pineda trade was fair. Pitchers get injured, it sucks, but it’s a fact of life. Every time a player gets injured, you can’t blame the GM. Take your trolling elsewhere.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    I do not have a high confidence level for Kuroda second and third times around. I hope my gut is wrong about this thought. There were many hard hit balls last night. AL East is a very tough division and only select guys can pitch in this division.

    • jjyank

      I think he’ll be alright. There were a lot of hard hit balls, but he also pitched very well against Texas, which is probably the best offense he will face. If he can handle Texas, I think he’ll be alright.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Relax. He’s a pro with a solid track record not showing signs of regression. I doubt he’s the Japanese Javy Vazquez…..actually, he’s already shown he isn’t.

  • Bartolo’s Colon

    I have full confidence that phil hughes can bring the starting staff’s ERA above 6 tonight, hell maybe even 6.25.

    why does ibanez have to play the outfield? put in jones for him, for the love of god.

  • Bonnie Parker

    CC and Hiroki eat up all of these innings but the problem is Hughes and Garcia just throw them back up again. There ain’t no David Phelps in the bullpen anymore to soak up innings. There’s Freddy who can’t even get through 2 innings anymore. Hughes needs to do something tonight. The contest is now between Hughes and Phelps for who stays in the rotation.

    • jjyank

      “There ain’t no David Phelps in the bullpen anymore to soak up innings.”

      Did you miss the part where the Yankees called up Mitchell?

  • mike

    Ibanez is a total horror-show in the OF….its almost comical, and he screwed the pooch last night again on a really catchable ball in the OF.

    but he can stand there with a glove on, and that makes him more valuable than Damon or Abreu?

    • jjyank

      Are we pretending Damon and (especially) Abreu are actually good? Nobody signed Damon until a couple of weeks ago and Abreu just got released he was so bad.

      Ibanez really does suck in the field, but I think he’s been better than I expected after his spring training with the bat. It sucks, but this is what happens when Gardner and Swisher go down.

      • Bonnie Parker

        Better than expected? He’s been awful in the field! And Chavez is outhitting him so why isn’t Chavez DHing vs righties? Ibanez should be cut and we should pick up a real fielder. If Chavez doesn’t work as DH vs righties then we’ll pick up a bat at the deadline.

        • jjyank

          I said better than expected with the bat.

          • MannyGeee

            and you also said better than YOU’RE expectations. so he obviously has a valid arguement, telling you how you should feel and all.

        • jjyank

          Besides, if the Swisher and Gardner injuries were more long-term, I’m sure they would bring in/call up a real outfielder. But they’re not, and will be back soon hopefully. It seems to make more sense to just deal with it for a few days.

          And it seems like Nunez can handle LF too.

  • Bonnie Parker

    Nunez rarely plays the outfield but I feel better with him out there than Ibanez. At least Nunez can get to balls. It doesn’t look pretty but he at least catches the ball. If they insist on going with this 2 man bench then go with Nunez, Jones and Grandy in the outfield. Hopefully Gardner is back soon.

  • jjyank

    You know for awhile there I was cool with letting Soriano take the fall of the first non-Mo Yankee closer, assuming he retires, before giving way to D-Rob. But he has looked great this season. Obviously he won’t have a 0.00 ERA all year, but if he keeps up this pace relatively speaking, I don’t know how he’s not the next closer.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      D-Rob is definitely setting himself up to take Mo’s place should he decide to retire. Haven’t been to a game yet where he’s come in (only been to 1 at YSIII as I live to far away). What’s his entrance song? Thoughts on if it should be changed if he does take over for Mo?

      • jjyank

        No idea what his entrance song is, but I hope it’s badass.

        • Guest

          Pretty sure it’s Sweet Home Alabama. Makes sense, since Alabama is both his homes state and where he went to college.

          On a related note, I love the song. Lots of fun at bars, parties, weddings filled with southern people. That said, Southern Man was a FAR better song and, really deserves the victory in the competition between the two songs.

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

            Sorry but this is a case where the organization has to overrule the player. No closer for the NYY should enter to any cotton pickin fiddlin diddly. It should strike fear and awe into the opposition. Not aw shucks.

            • Cris Pengiucci


              Note: I’m not a fan of Southern Rock in general. I agree that the entrance song should strike fear into opponents. Is there a song freaturing the great state of Alabama that does that?

  • JohnC

    Gardner should be back in a couple of more days so we won’t have to see Ibanez play the field much longer

  • Slu

    With these two guys starting today, get ready for a 3.5 hour game tonight.

  • Knoblauch’s batting gloves

    The binder says that Jones will start in RF tonight and tomorrow, which is why Girardi chose not to play him last night. He obviously feels that a 35 year old guy who’s been a part-time player for the last three seasons can’t handle three consecutive days, or risks injuring his 35 year old legs the more consecutive innings he plays. It’s a chess move by Joe G, treating the O’s series as a series rather than game by game. Would you rather have fresh Andruw Jones playing right against lefty Matusz, or do you want to waste his bat against a hard-throwing right hander (Hammel) and then trot him out again the next day with tired legs and diminished bat speed? Being the 2012 Yankee manager means taking care of all the old guys on your roster and putting them in the best position to succeed.

    • MannyGeee

      I rather enjoyed the Nunez experiment last night. a couple of whoopsies, a nice catch at the wall, his hat appeared to stay on (must be a helmet thing)….

      better than Thames and Ibanez.

  • ThatstheMelkyMesaWaysa

    For Montero’s sake I hope either the Mariners become good or they let him walk so he can perform and win. Yanks to Mariners cannot be easy.

  • Manimal

    Who wouldve known that the yanks could still win with just pitching and defense…

  • Andrew Bergsma

    Thanks, this really is the worst factor I’ve read