A-Rod homers twice; Yanks take series from KC

Gardner still feels stiffness in elbow, will try to hit on Monday
Report: Steinbrenners may explore sale of Yankees

It’s been a while, but the Yankees final have themselves a winning streak. Wednesday night’s 8-3 win over the Royals gave them the series victory and their second straight win, ensuring that we’ll all feel good during Thursday’s scheduled day off.

A-Bombs the best type of bomb. (REUTERS/Adam Hunger)

Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It

There, there’s your requisite Will Smith pun. Anyway, the rookie left-hander did not find Yankee Stadium to be a welcoming place for his big league debut despite the Yankees’ reputation for struggling against southpaws they’ve never seen before. The second batter he faced (Curtis Granderson) hit a solo homer to right after trying to bunt for a hit not once, but twice. Smith followed that off by walking Mark Teixeira and giving up another homer to Alex Rodriguez. Being down three runs in the first is less than ideal debut.

The Yankees were relentless, scoring two more runs in the third when Derek Jeter trotted home on Teixeira’s double play ball and A-Rod hit his second homer of the night. Alex equaled his homer total from his previous 108 plate appearances in his first two at-bats on Wednesday. Smith’s debut ended with the three homers and five runs allowed after just 3.1 IP. That was all the Yankees would need because…

Dandy Again

(REUTERS/Adam Hunger)

So, what do you think about Andy Pettitte‘s chances in the Comeback Player of the Year race? The veteran southpaw tossed seven strong innings against the Royals, allowing two runs on a pair of solo homers. The other five hits he allowed were totally weak, I mean three infield singles and two bloops. Pettitte struck out eight and got ten outs on the ground compared to three in the air. He threw 98 total pitches and 71 strikes (72.4%), which is crazypants.

We’re only three starts into Andy’s comeback, but this is remarkable. He not only looks like he never took a year off, he actually looks better than he did in 2010. Perhaps all the time off allowed his body to recuperate? Whatever it is, Pettitte looks marvelous. He’s throwing everything for strikes and has been better than anyone could have realistically expected when he announced his return.

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

Tack-on Runs

The Yankees scored their five runs off Smith and then tacked on a few more off the bullpen. Their three-run rally in the fifth consisted of exactly one hit, and that was a bunt single by Jeter two batters into the inning. Jayson Nix led off by getting hit a pitch, Jeter singled and went to second on a throwing error on the same play, then Curtis Granderson walked, Teixeira walked (run scores), A-Rod grounded out (force at home), Robinson Cano grounded out (run scores), Nick Swisher got hit by a pitch to reload the bases, then Andruw Jones drew a walk to force in the third run.

Did they get the big hit with runners in scoring position? No, but it’s really hard to complain with that rally. They worked three different pitchers pretty hard, drew a bunch of walks, leaned into some inside pitches, and kept the pressure on for three outs. Rallies like this were ending after five or six pitches because guys were anxiously hacking away over the last few weeks, but sitting back and letting the pitcher work himself into trouble in what the Yankees do best when they’re right. This was the first time they looked like themselves in weeks.

(Al Bello/Getty Images)


Underrated moment: Mark Teixeira’s diving 3-6-3 double play to end the third. The Royals had men on the corners with one out and were threatening to make it a game, but the double play ended the inning and preserved the three-run lead. It was a beaut.

David Phelps took over for Pettitte and allowed one run in two innings to wrap things up, though I swear he seems to fall behind every hitter (first pitch strikes to four of eight batters faced). It felt like he was in a three-ball count all night. He’s going to have to clean that up if he wants more responsibility.

A-Rod’s two-homer game was the 60th of his career, the seventh most all time. Jeter (two singles and a double) and Granderson (single and homer) had multiple hits as well. Teixeira drew three walks, Andruw drew two, and Swisher and Granderson each drew one. Cano and Russell Martin were the only players in the lineup who failed to reach base, though Robbie hit the ball right on the screws three times and came with just a fielder’s choice to show for it.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the advanced stats, and ESPN the updated standings.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

The Yankees are off on Thursday and will open a nine-game road trip in Oakland on Friday night, their first of two trips to the West Coast this season. Ivan Nova and Tyson Ross kick off that three-game series.

Gardner still feels stiffness in elbow, will try to hit on Monday
Report: Steinbrenners may explore sale of Yankees
  • Knoxvillain

    You know you suck if a “winning streak” is two games. Let’s hope they can actually play some baseball from now on.

    • http://thecarsboneblog.tumblr.com Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle


      by winning two consecutive games, any team (good or bad) is on a two game winning streak.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Not good enough. In the old days, the Yankees would have won four games the past two days.

        • YanksFanInBeantown

          Or George would have made a trade or fired Billy Martin!

          …am I doing this right?

          • Havok9120

            Billy Martin would have been fired at least twice during this RISP fail streak.

            At LEAST.

    • Pat D

      According to Lou Brown, it’s not a “winning streak” until it’s 3 games or more.

      Two games is just “two in a row.”

      • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

        This. When it doubt, consult that classic.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Did this game feel good or what? Alex finding his stroke. Andy being unreal. The team bringing in runs through taking advantage of the other team’s mistakes. This was the Yankee baseball we’ve been missing this past week or so. Hope to see more of it on West Coast.

    • jjyank

      Agreed. It felt very good. I totally forgot about the “Comeback of the Year” award, but it’d be awesome if Andy won it.

      Hard to carry momentum over an off-day, but hopefully the Yanks feel good enough after back-to-back wins to do just that.

    • Jesse

      Yeah, and scoring the first 3 runs in the bottom of the first after Andy’s 1-2-3 first inning felt great as well.

      • Get Phelps Up (formerly Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat)

        I agree. It had really been a while since that sort of thing happened.

  • jjyank

    “Did they get the big hit with runners in scoring position? No, but it’s really hard to complain with that rally.”

    Trust me Mike, a few people did in fact complain.

    • Pat D

      Whilst others posted insane fake stories detailing the inner workings of the Yankees’ senior hierarchy.

      • jjyank

        He was at least entertaining.

        • http://thecarsboneblog.tumblr.com Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

          If he had called Brian cashman Bieny like young Dexter called Brian/Rudy/Ice Truck Killer I would’ve been in tears from laughing.

          • jjyank

            As would I!

  • DT

    This game is essentially what to expect if the Yankees can put it together and have some consistency.

  • pistol pete

    CC and Andy make a solid 1 2 punch. Now we need one or two of the Kuroda/Nova/Hughes starters to complete a solid rotation. If Robertson gets back I think he goes in the 8th and Soriano stays in the 9th and the pen is going to be ok. Now if the hitters can come around and Tex/Swisher/Arod group can just get back to about normal numbers the Yanks will be fine. Unbelievable how a 39 yr old pitcher can make the whole team look better.

    • Karl Krawfid

      Phil has been good lately. Nova and Kuroda need to step up.

      • Brian S.

        Nova has a 3.47 xFIP. That positive regression starts Friday.

        • eephus_pitch

          The SLG Pct. against is terrifying.

  • http://thecarsboneblog.tumblr.com Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

    Mike, I’m not sure about the proper protical for this, but I’m watching the encore right now and the double play you mentioned that Tex made came in third, not the second. I just thought you should know.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Thanks, fixed,

      • http://thecarsboneblog.tumblr.com Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

        Thanks, ’twas a hell of a play.

        • http://thecarsboneblog.tumblr.com Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

          your welcome*** I have no idea why I said thanks.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Holy fuck. You’re Mark Teixeira.

            • jjyank

              y u no go oppo field MARK?

  • CBean

    This game just felt like what we needed. And Andy Pettitte man, just freakin amazing.

  • FIPster Doofus

    Pettitte went from fifth starter to second rather quickly. What a godsend.

  • Kevin

    Even though two of the three runs in that 5th inning were via the walk,it was still good because the Yankees worked the count.
    No hacking at balls they couldn’t hit with a 60 foot bat but instead actually letting the pitcher work himself into trouble and give us a couple of extra runs.
    That is something that has been missing just as much as hitting with RISP was.

  • pistol pete

    I’ve got a feeling Nova will pitch well tomorrow.

  • http://thecarsboneblog.tumblr.com Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

    For whatever reason I found my way on to Carlos Beltran’s baseball reference page, when he was healthy (Between 2001-2008) he was incredible. like over a 30/30 guy per every 162 games during that span incredible.

  • RetroRob

    Strange to think that the Yankees #2 starter wasn’t even in their plans half way through spring training.

    Could be the best $2.5 million investment the Yankees have made in a while. Andy, stick around three or four more years after this. 300 is not as far away as you think

  • Havok9120

    From LoHud, because this is awesome:

    “Andy Pettitte made his minor-league debut in June 1991 when little Will Smith was one month away from turning 2. Pettitte’s big-league debut came on April 29, 1995 when little Will Smith was 5.”

    I love this and the production we’ve gotten from The Old Dudes so far this season.

    • RetroRob

      Yeah, really.

      The younger guys from Pineda, Joba, Gardner and Swisher, have missed more time outside of Mo.

      It’s really a reminder of how important and productive the Core Four +1 (Jeter, Mo, Pettitte, Posada and Bernie) were (and still are for some) for so many years. Two easy HOFers, and three borderliners.

      Smart drafting is important, but even if the Yankees were to relive the dark days of the early 90s when they had access to better draft picks, it’s unlikely they could ever produce such a long-lasting and productive core group of players.

      • YanksFanInBeantown

        And our only No. 1 pick from that time never even made the majors.

    • JD

      Whos little will smith? The fresh prince is older.

      • Delaware – Ralph

        The Will Smith being referenced is the KC starting pitcher the Yanks beat yesterday not the actor.

    • mustang

      NO! All these old guys are stopping the young all-star minor league players from developing by taking up roster spots.

      It doesn’t matter if they are productive they are over 35 and are bound for a statistical decline they must go.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I’m bored.

        Steve Pearce

        • jjyank

          Don’t worry, Teixeira will get traded soon enough. Hang in there Steve-o.

  • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

    Drop A-Bombs, not (regular, harmful, destructive) bombs.

  • jsbrendog

    brian cashman has a meeting, someone hits a hr, the yankees win. i feel like i’ve heard this story before…i hope it has a similar ending…

    • Erica

      *pops a bag of popcorn* Let the story be told! (No I know we know the whole story. But popcorn is awesome. And so is winning.)

      • jsbrendog

        i too like both things, immensely

      • jsbrendog


        safe for work, awesome for life

        • Erica

          I’ll have to come back to this later! No speakers on the work computer. :(

  • Erica

    Thiiiiiiiiiis win felt good. Really good. REALLY great. Deep breaths, guys. We can kill on this little West Coast jaunt.

    Andrew Eugene Pettitte was spectacular. Is it inappropriate if I put a little heart next to his name each time I write it? Andy <3

  • Lord Tywin

    This ballclub has shown a lot of resiliency the past 2 games. Phil and Andy are our two best pitchers right now and if the playoffs started today Andy would be my 1, Phil my 2. CC and Kuroda need to turn it around and dominate on the west coast trip. These are weak offenses and we need a good showing out west to build on for the rest of the season.

    • jsbrendog

      cc sabathia is the #1 no matter what, barring dismemberment

      • gc

        Plus, as much as we’re all enjoying Andy’s contributions, I’d wait to see how he’s holding up in August and September before penciling him into any possible playoff spot. Enjoy what he’s doing now, by all means. He deserves it. But don’t just assume his body will automatically hold up. Here’s hoping it does! :)

      • RI$P FTW

        Totally rational.

        Wait wut?

  • Bartolo’s Colon

    pettitte has just been flat out dominant. nice to see. very good also to see arod hit some bombs.it was pretty funny that the only hit they got with risp didn’t actually score a run. when that corrects itself, it will be glorious, i think the yanks are batting about .100 over their last 70 ab’s.

    also, maybe they should just tell pettitte to never attempt to cover first. watching him run to first was scarier than watching colon cover first. that would suck if he hurt himself like that.