Make It Seven: Yanks beat Nats behind Hughes, Granderson

Sanchez homers, Gumbs has four hits in win
Being on the road means one thing for a Yankees fan

Source: FanGraphs

I’d say Nationals Park was 50-50 on Friday, basically half Yankees fans and half Nationals fans. There were a ton of boos to counteract the cheers for the Bombers, though I definitely heard a) a mini-roll call, b) a “De-Rek Je-Ter” chant, and c) at least two “Let’s Go Yan-Kees” chant. New York won it’s seventh straight game thanks to another strong start from Phil Hughes and some timely hitting in the mid-to-late innings. Since I assume most of you saw the game and know what happened, here are some random thoughts rather than a blow-by-blow recap…

  • Joe Girardi had to know Robinson Cano was going to be intentionally walked in the seventh inning, right? I mean … you could see it coming a million miles away. It obviously doesn’t matter now and it is just nitpicking, but the best move probably would have been to use him to pinch-hit for Jayson Nix rather than have Nix bunt one batter prior. They still would have had Raul Ibanez (or Eric Chavez) to pinch-hit for the pitcher.
  • Curtis Granderson is really starting to hit the ball the other way, and with authority. It seemed to all start during the series in Oakland, but it continued on Friday with his opposite field two-run double to blow things open in the seventh.
  • Phil Hughes struck out a season-high nine and he looked really good outside of a sloppy third inning. He actually got more ground balls (five) than fly balls (four), including a big double play ball to end that third inning. After that double play, Phil retired nine of the next ten men he faced to end his outing and has pitched to a 3.35 ERA in his last seven starts. Prettay prettay good.
  • Oh, and the streak is over! Hughes did not allow a homer in a start for the first time this season. He was two starts away from the all-time franchise record of 14 straight starts with a dinger. I had my money on Danny Espinosa for the #obligatoryhomer.
  • Gio Gonzalez also looks really good. The Yankees were able to get his pitch count up there early, but he’s not the nibbler he was with the Athletics these last few years. At 26 years old, it seems like the light bulb is starting to turn on. Glad he’s in the NL in that case.
  • I was happy to see David Robertson get an inning in just to get those first game back jitters out of the way. He did allow a run on a double and some ground outs, but no one really cares. I’m glad he’s back.
  • How awful did Clay Rapada make Bryce Harper look in the eighth? That was as bad a hack as he could reasonably take.
  • Speaking of awful, Alex Rodriguez‘s base-running blunder to end the third was as bad as it gets. Alex is by far the most instinctual player I’ve ever seen, but that was just bone-headed.
  • The Yankees were poised to win their first homerless game of the season … until Granderson ruined things by going deep in the ninth. This is why we can’t have nice things, Curtis.

As I said before, this is now seven wins in a row. It’s also ten wins in the last 11 games, 12 in the last 14, and 17 in the last 21. This is the best baseball the Yankees have played in a while, maybe even going back to 2009. What do you think? Anyway, has the box score, FanGraphs the advanced stats, and ESPN the updated standings. Andy Pettitte and Jordan Zimmermann give it a go in game two on Saturday afternoon, then after than come join us for our post-game meet-up if you’re in town.

Sanchez homers, Gumbs has four hits in win
Being on the road means one thing for a Yankees fan
  • goterpsgo

    And a win by ATL drops dem 0’s 1.5GB. Good times.

    Go get ’em, Andy!!!

  • forensic

    You really nailed everything on this one, Mike.

    – Girardi managed himself right into a Jeter DP in the 7th inning and just barely missed it. I would’ve done it exactly like you said.

    – Someone should show Tex some video of Granderson going the other way while still being able to pull homers when the pitch is there.

    – Good to see Robertson get an inning in.

    – The Rapada/Harper AB sent me to the splits to see if I had missed something on Harper having a big platoon split. He does, but it’s a reverse split as he’s OPS’ing 1.125 against lefties. Of course, not all lefties have the deception of Rapada, regardless of his lack of velocity.

    – It was terrible baserunning by A-Rod. Sometimes it’s understandable when you’re helping the runner score, but he was scoring easily without that.

    – Chad Jennings had some good stuff on the Granderson homer too: • Rodriguez drove in his run with a single in the third inning, and for a while it seemed the Yankees would finally win a game without hitting a homer. That went out the window when Curtis Granderson hit his 20th of the season in the ninth inning. “I didn’t know,” Granderson said. “I think Boone made a comment, Tex made a comment, said I was selfish. I was like, ‘I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to!’”

    All in all, great game and great win. Keep it going!!!

    • jjyank

      Hahaha that last note makes it sound like the Yankees have been reading a few RAB game threads. Funny stuff.

      Agreed about A-Rod. He’s usually a very smart baseball guy and a very smart baserunner, but that attempt to go to third was not at all smart. Hopefully that was just a one-time misjudgment.

    • dalelama

      Old Purple Lips is taking over Posada’s role as the teams worse base runner. He immediately followed his bone headed base running with a lackadaisical effort in the field on a routine ground ball that miraculously wasn’t ruled an error.

      • Steve (different one)

        Yeah, no he isn’t. He may have even been trying to get hung up to make sure the run scored. The ball was hit hard right to the LFer, he may have been thinking they needed the throw to get cut to score the run, but it was a weak throw so he looked dumb. Either way, the comparison to Posada is laughable.

        • dalelama

          The play was in front of him the entire time and the throw was right to the cut-off man where it should have gone. There was no excuse for such stupidity other than his head being up his ass. Stop apologizing for our $25M per year underachiever.

        • dalelama

          The ball was in front of Arod the whole way and hit the cut-off man like it should have. Little Leaguers who play because of the minimum inning rule know not to do what our $25M per underachiever did. Stop apologizing for him having his head up his arse.

  • jjyank

    Here are my thoughts, from someone who saw the game live:

    The Yankees had a great plan for Harper. He’s been dominating, and the best he got was a deep fly to left. Funny story about that…a Nationals fan sitting next to me grumbles “that would have been a home run in Yankee Satdium…” To which I turned and replied “Ummm….maybe if that ball was hit to RIGHT field….There is no short porch in left at Yankee Stadium.”

    Also, my voice is hoarse, and with pride. I was in section 409 (yes, cheap seats) and I am proud to say I started several “LET’S GO YANKEES!!” chants and also a ‘DER-ECK JE-TER!!” chant in the 7th.

    Great game to attend, amazing weather, great win. Hughes looked really sharp. Just a few weeks ago I would have been pissed to have gotten on of his starts for a live game, but he’s been so so much better of late that I was actually excited for it.

    From my seat, I had a clear view of the main entrance/exit in center field. And it was beyond glorious to witness the mass exodus of white/red shirts streaming out of the ballpark after the 7th and 8th innings. Great win for the Yanks to come in and face a similarly hot team and show them what’s up in the AL.

    • jjyank

      Also what made that exodus so glorious is that by the time the game was over, the Yankee fans were a clear majority and I got to walk down the ramps, out of the stadium, and through the metro stations while enjoying many a “LET’S GO YANKEES!” chant. Love it, love it, love it.

      • Havok9120

        That sounds fantastic. Its been so, so, so long since I’ve been to a game. :(

        I’m so glad you had a great time. And what a win.

      • goterpsgo

        I so wish I could go… It’s less than 30′ from my house. :'(

  • forensic

    Ok, some schedule quirks:

    Orioles get 3 with Pittsburgh and 3 with Philly.
    Rays with 6 with Miami and 3 with Philly.
    Jays get 3 with Philly, 3 with Miami and 3 with Milwaukee.
    Red Sox get 3 with Philly, 6 with Miami and 3 with Chicago.

    Yankees get none of those teams. Sure sucks that they all happen to suck in the one year the Yanks miss them all while their intradivisional opponents get to face them all.

    • Havok9120

      Yikes. I knew we got a bit screwed with the unpredictable seasonal scheduling (I mean….we got the Mets and Nats in a year where they DIDN’T suck. What the heck it that), but I didn’t know it was THAT bad.

      • Jim Is Bored

        And we’re 4-0 against those teams so far :)

    • Dropped Third

      Good teams win regardless of who their playing, that being said I kinda wanted to see the new stadium in miami. Its also interesting because it seems like the yankees have been raising thier level of play against good teams. Does anyone know their record vs teams above .500

  • gageagainstthemachine

    “At 26 years old, it seems like the light bulb is starting to turn on.”
    Substitute that with “at 25 years old” and you could be talking about Phil Hughes. He’s been ridiculous lately and it just looks like the light bulb is ON. He looks confident and he’s getting swings and misses too! What happened?!

    Last thing I’ll say is that as good as Harper is…I hope our current old man winter (get better Mo!) rings him up for 3 Ks and a weak grounder tomorrow…the whole time giving him the glare while he’s in the batter’s box that says, “Really, son, you don’t know who you’re facing! I’m Andy Pettitte and this is the New York Yankees! Now go sit down and wait your turn.” I love having Andy and the stare back!

    • Robinson Tilapia

      It could be that the further he gets from 2010, the better.

  • Nick

    Why is Granderson at -.024 WPA on fangraphs

    • forensic

      He struck out twice. He flied out with Jeter on 2nd in a 0-0 game. His double came with the Yankees already up 3 and his homer came with the Yankees already up 5.

      For their stuff, it’s not just what you do but also (and maybe moreso) when you do it.

    • Jim Is Bored

      WPA isn’t a measure of how well someone played, it’s a measure of how they affected the game. Grandy did poorly in the situations where the game was still close, but helped put the game out of reach.

  • Havok9120

    So A) I’m really sorry I was at work for this game and couldn’t watch/enjoy the game thread live. This win makes me feel better than many the team has had this season.

    B) Mannnn….that’s the best Game Thread I’ve read through in a long time. Maybe ever. Seriously. I mean….even the guys who are normally hair trigger complainers (no, that really isn’t a bad thing in my opinion) were just sitting back and loving the game for virtually the ENTIRE game. I loved reading it.

    Have a great night everyone. This was a fun win.

    • jjyank

      Agreed. Even though I was at the game, I went through the game thread for fun, and it was a surprisingly optimistic read. I guess that’s what winning seven straight does for you.

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

        Well, Greg tried his best by saying that the Yankees would struggle against the Nats based on 6 games against them in 06 and 09 which they went 2-4 in.

        • Havok9120

          I noticed that.

          But he’s Greg. He’s exempt.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I read it over afterwards. Almost, dare I say, a bit boring? No odd tangents. Just a bit go Greg and his black nail polish.

  • Dino Velvet

    Playoff Rotation:

    1. Hughes

    2. Kuroda

    3. Andy

    4. CC

    • Brian S.

      That’s a lot of non-aces right there.

      • Dino Velvet

        They’re no Casey Kelly, that’s for sure.

  • Havok9120

    Okay, by the way, some stuff for people who don’t read LoHud’s postgames (what are you thinking?)

    “• Andy Pettitte turns 40 today. When a group of reporters gathered around him, someone joked that we were there to sing him Happy Birthday. “I want to hear it,” Pettitte said. “Let’s go. In four different parts.” Needless to say, the Yankees beat doesn’t do four-part harmony.

    • Speaking of Pettitte, there’s a set of four lockers on small piece of wall in the middle of the visiting clubhouse here in Washington. This week, those four lockers belong to Alex Rodriguez, Pettitte, CC Sabathia and Derek Jeter. In this presidential city, that’s quite the Mt. Rushmore of Yankee locker assignments.

    • With Dave Robertson activated, Girardi once again confirmed that he’ll use Robertson in an eighth-inning setup role, but the success of Boone Logan and Cory Wade would make Girardi comfortable switching things up depending on the situation. “If you’ve got left-right-left in the eighth and you’ve got three right-handers in the seventh, maybe you flip Robertson and Boonie around a little bit,” Girardi said. “There’s things you can do just because those guys have pitched in the back end of games.”

    All of that is pretty awesome as far as I’m concerned. Also, Gene Freakin’ Monahan was there tonight as the team trainer since Steve Donahue couldn’t be at the game. I miss Geno.

    • jjyank

      I read the LoHud stuff earlier, and that was awesome. Especially liked the Pettitte stuff, that was funny.

      • Havok9120

        Yeah. RAB beats LoHud all to Hell on content. But beat writers’ being around the team immediately before and after the game, every game makes Jennings’ pieces a great read. Just the better grip it gives you on some peoples personalities makes it worth it.

        • Rainbow Pinstripes

          FWIW, I absolutely agree. I stopped reading their comments section years ago, but I think even with the myriad of reporters they sometimes use, they give the best beat reporting.

          That being said, RAB is forever the first stop.

          • jjyank

            No doubt. RAB is the shit, but yeah, Jennings at LoHud provide a lot of unique quotes and locker room stories. Those are pretty fun to read too, I like getting a sense of a guy’s personality.

            • RetroRob

              LoHud is fine for the reporting. I just don’t won’t go near the comments section.

              • jjyank

                No doubt. I will never touch the comment section. The only comments I read are here. LoHud is great otherwise though.

                • Robinson Tilapia

                  There was a time it was halfway decent and posting here was actually a tinge intimidating. Now, though? Yup. Love Chad. Comments unbearable.

              • Havok9120

                Who in their right mind thinks its a good idea to carry on a conversation from 6 hours ago in a post that has absolutely nothing to do with that topic? Their comments section isn’t even comprehensible. And even when it is, they’re commenters….

                …I’ll just stick with RAB.

  • Karl Krawfid

    Granderson went deep with 2 outs lol

  • Sean C

    I’m starting to trust Phil Hughes again.

    • FIPster Doofus

      Same here. It’s awesome.

      • goterpsgo

        I am hopeful too – I hope we don’t get burned.

  • Rainbow Pinstripes

    In three starts his ERA went from a 5.64 to a 4.50. That’s a hell of a job.

  • forensic
    • Havok9120

      Easy, and yet still verrrry funny.

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

      Inflammation from swinging a bat preparing for NL parks golf club

  • Mariano’s Pimp Hand

    Don’t look now but Jeter has a 6 game hit streak. He had 2 hits in 4 of those games. Not too much pop in the bat right now but it looks like that slump is over.

  • Chris

    I will start this off by saying I don’t at all expect full blow by blow write ups every night, or even this night for one of the games I could barely pay attention to (this is what happens when friends visit who hate sports!) However, even on nights where I watch the whole game, I still come here at midnight to read the write up because I always find something new I didn’t think about, or am glad to see you saw something the way I did, or just to enjoy a win.*

    So I really, REALLY appreciate when you do have time to do the full write ups. So even when I watch every pitch, thank you for going over every pitch with a microscope.

    *Statement not valid when the Yankees lose in soul crushing ways.

  • Midland TX
    • Kosmo

      Manny at 40 is probably still a better hitter than A. Jones but a worse fielder than Ibanez. Pass.

    • forensic

      Yikes, I was afraid that’s who the link would be about…

  • Alibaba

    Hughes might finally be beginning to put it together. Thank Heaven! I would have looked ridiculous if he was a complete bust. I have never wavered in my support of him.

  • Alibaba

    Also, I think the team wasted Joba’s talents. I know that “you cannot predict baseball,” but if Joba was with TB or SL, he might be at least a legit #2 or #3 by now.

    • DT

      Or he’ll continue to have arm injuries…

    • fin

      EESH. So he would never have gotten a shoulder or elbow injury? TB and STL are really magic. No matter what kind of starter we may think Joba could have been, I think its safe to say, it wouldnt have been a healthy one. The odds that he would have been healthy enough to meet your fantasy’s are pretty sllim.

      • Alibaba

        Please look at their track record of bringing up their starting pitching prospects versus ours. No, it is not magic. They must be doing something right that we obviously are not doing. If Hughes and/or Nova make it, they would be the first since Andy.

        • Jim Is Bored

          We’re talking about a sample size of 15-20 at MOST. It could very well be luck.

          It’s not definitely luck, but you can’t discount it.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          This ain’t the Clone Wars. Every one of those pitchers are their own person.

          We also act as if this is the first success Phil Hughes has had in the major leagues. Wait, isn’t the anothe young, homegrown guy in our rotation as well?

        • Kel

          You’re an idiot.

  • fin

    I dont understand what you wanted Girardi to do? He had a pitcher coming up with 2nd and 3rd, one out. If he lets hughes bat, there are second and third, 2 out. By pinch hitting Cano, he got bases loaded 1 out. He knew Cano would get an IB. He turned over the order with 1 out and bases loaded. Why pinch hit a lesser hitter who might not get the IB. Really, if you are wondering why he let Cano get walked, when Jeter and Granderson were coming up, you realy dont have faith in the lineup. I would much rather have Jeter and Granderson get their swings than Ibanez. I know Ibanez has been great so far, but I’ll still take my chances with Jeter and Granderson over the 162.

    • fin

      Really it comes down to, do you want Ibanez and Jeter getting swings or Jeter and Granderson? Saving Cano for later makes no sence to me. You dont know what the situation will be when you will get Cano in the game. Go for the runs when you can get them, and pretty much assure yourself that Cano will get another ab.

    • Steve (different one)

      My memory may be off, but I don’t agree with Mike’s nitpick because if I recall, Wise stole 2nd DURING Nix’s AB.

      Girardi sent Nix up to bunt Wise to 2B, then he had Cano ready to go for the pitcher.

      After the steal, the situation you complained about happened, but unless Girardi knew the Nata were going to basically hand Wise 2B beforehand, seems like nitpicking.

      • Steve (different one)

        Did I miss Martin’s AB somewhere in there? I think so, forget it….ugh

    • forensic

      You’re missing the point by assuming they have to sac bunt.

      If you want them to bunt, then you use Chavez to PH for Hughes and he still gets the IBB and you lose your weakest bench bat, not your strongest one.

      The point here, though, was that you use Cano to hit for Nix and don’t do the sac bunt. Then you use Ibanez to hit for Hughes and thus have more real hitters bat with less outs, rather than giving them an out and taking the bat out of Cano’s hands at the same time, while also managing yourself into a high-probability DP situation for Jeter.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    the Yankees make the NL East look like the NL West, let’s sweep the entire division :D

  • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

    I recall the Yankees playing an extended period of really good baseball sometime last season, but I don’t think the pitching was nearly as dominating during that team. The Skanks look like they’re just coasting right now. Me likes.

    • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

      *during that time.

  • Monterowasnotdinero

    I got there when the gates opened and left after the 8th for an hour drive home. A few bp observations:

    Grandy drove alot of balls to left.
    Boone and Wade seem like good friends-shagging flyballs and joking with each other. They also flipped a ton of bb’s into the stands as did Freddy.
    Andruw Jones and Eric Chavez have the most RAW power in bp.
    David Robertson shags fb’s in bp as a lefty and has a very good arm from the left side. Guess he was protecting his pitching arm and rib cage.
    Nix worked alot with Arod on turning the dp and he is very quick.

    Also-Phil throwing 94 after 100 pitches is very encouraging.

  • Monterowasnotdinero

    Also, Cano did not take bp or infield. I thought he was not at the park. If you are going to use him Joe and he is healthy, why doesn’t he practice with the team before the game? Strange.

    Beautiful night, stadium, result.

    Nats fans near me were STUNNED by all the organized Yankee cheering and chants. We don’t need no stinkin’ scoreboard to flash “make some noise”

    • forensic

      If you are going to use him Joe and he is healthy, why doesn’t he practice with the team before the game?

      According to Chad Jennings, he was out there:

      “Robinson Cano was taking BP pregame, but hes not in the lineup tonight.”

      • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

        I don’t think so. I watched all of bp and infield but hey-I can be wrong.

  • AC

    Amazing how Arod felt he was ready to go off weeks ago and we are back to thus from him. Arid can’t seem to get his swing and or timing down. Can’t get his plant foot down and ready to turn on ball in time. The funny thing is we got what 5 more years of this. he won’t even come close to 30 hrs let alone 25 watch.

    • Monterowasnotdinero

      His quickness at 3rd will also diminish and isn’t great currently. The grounder he let go by to his glove side was very weak.

      He is increasingly a guess and mistake hitter. 10-20 HR a year through the end of his contract.

      But he has been healthy this year. It seems to me that he puts on weight as the season goes by the last two years. Slows him down just a bit?

      • DM

        I agree for the most part — esp the mistake hitter stuff. But I do think that will translate to more than 10-20 hrs. He’ll need to make an adjustment b/c he seems caught in between right now. Once he embraces the idea that he isn’t the same player, I think he’ll be more productive. He’ll be smart enough to shift into that aging veteran guess/cheat hitter (like Ibanez) stage of his career — where you rely as much on setting up the pitcher as you do on your raw talent.

    • Steve (different one)

      It’s true that he hasn’t “gone off”, but he’s hit very well since he said that. He’s not going to live up to the contract, but I would sign up for what he’s been doing the last 3 weeks.

      • DM

        He wasn’t hitting poorly before the “go off” prediction — but he seems to be continuing in that same mode. When A-Rod said that, he meant a team-carrying HR/rbi barrage like we’ve seen in past years. That didn’t happen.

        Also, I think the Martin “old self” adjustment was overrated too. More psychological than some dramatic season-altering hitting approach. It’s not surprising that both chirped up after 2hr games — but they quickly reverted back to the form they were showing before.

  • Paul VuvuZuvella

    It’s weird to say, but maybe (following Mo’s injury), the best thing that could have happened to the Yankee bullpen was DRob’s injury. Joe got Soriano established as closer, and other guys stepped up and with DRob back now, the bullpen looks like it could be Beastly again.

  • Nico

    I love Hughes, but let’s not get carried away by his recent run. I mean, to be a great starter you must excel at something.
    Hughes’ stuff doesnt blow you away, his control and command are allright, and he gives up a ton of flyballs. However, he’s getting better in 2-strike counts but still struggles with his pitch count and homer tendencies.

    • YanksFanInBeantown

      Well, he is excelling at striking hitters out and limiting walks right now…

    • Kel

      Actually there are very few great starters. Hughes would be a huge success if he can be a good one. And according to you, RA Dickey would be an awful pitcher because “his stuff doesn’t blow you away.”
      Hughes actually has excellent “stuff” and is one of the few starters in baseball that can dominant with one pitch(fastball) for an entire game.

      And Hughes is going to be fly ball pitcher. Get over it.

  • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

    The mechanics of Harper’s swing are a thing a beauty. His torque, plane/bat path and explosiveness on contact are amazing for a 19 year old. His arm is phenomenal. Better than anything we have and has to be one of the top in baseball.

    • Kel

      Shows you how devastating quality LOOGYs can be. Rapada made him look like a little leaguer.

      No matter how perfect a left handed hitter’s swing mechanics are, a good LOOGY can destroy them.

  • DM

    The best Hughes looked locating a power FB all season. No sailing or flying open; he kept his arm slot all game. I know they’re not much of a lineup — and the pitcher breaks up potential rallies — but he looked as good as I’ve seen him (FB-wise). He really didn’t need a good hook. When your pounding good spots with plus heat, every poor breaking ball becomes a good changeup.

    • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

      Add to this his confidence in throwing curveballs in hitter’s counts. They looked silly on them a few times as they were sitting fb all night.

      • DM

        That’s just it. When he throws the FB that way, they have to sit on it. Then when you through anything with a wrinkle in the dirt, they wave at it.

  • Steve (different one)

    66 comments and no one mentioned that Hughes’ start wasn’t good because outside of Harper, LaRoche, Zimmerman, and Morse, the Nats don’t have a great lineup?

    You disappoint me, RAB….

    • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

      Nats have been playing well and play even better at home and they were coming off a successful road trip. Hughes deserves alot of credit.

    • forensic

      It was a fine/good start regardless of who he was facing.

      But, their lineup is pretty bad right now. Harper is the only one out there who has hit all month. Only one other guy has even snuck over an .800 OPS.

    • DM

      I mentioned the lineup. And I’m far from a Hughesian apologist — but his FB command was excellent.

  • Monterowasnotdinero

    Long toss right before game time is always Jeter down the foul line in the outfield and Cano behind home plate at the screen.

    Last night it was ARod by the screen and Nix down the foul line.

    /useless tidbit…