Tex’s late homer helps Yanks to win over Mets

Greene flirts with perfection in Tampa win
Game 59: Bragging Rights

Source: FanGraphs

Another day, another win for the Yankees. They again rode their starting pitcher and some timely homers to a 4-2 win over the Mets to clinch the Bronx-end of the 2012 Subway Series. It was their fifth win in the last six games, their seventh win in the last nine games, and their 12th win in the last 16 games. That’ll do just fine. Let’s recap.

  • Teixeicution: I don’t expect much from Mark Teixeira when he has two strikes against a changeup pitcher … mean the “changeup, strike three” meme practically created himself. Tex found himself in a 2-2 count against changeup specialist Dillon Gee with the Yankees down a run in the sixth, but Gee didn’t go to the changeup. He hung a breaking ball and Teixeira hung it on a line out to right field for a homer, turning a one-run deficit into a one-run lead. T’was unexpected.
  • WonderPhil: Phil Hughes has made 23 starts since coming off the DL last July, and he’s now allowed two runs (earned or unearned) or less in 14 of them. His 6.1 inning effort against the Mets wasn’t nearly as pretty as his complete game victory over the Tigers, but he limited the damage to two solo homers (more on that in a bit) while striking out six and recording 12 of his 19 outs on the infield. The homers continue to be a problem, but Hughes has now pitched to a 3.50 ERA with a 3.64 K/BB ratio in his last seven starts. That’s pretty damn good. Keep it up, Phil.
  • Other Runs: Alex Rodriguez singled in Derek Jeter for a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning, but — stop me if you’ve heard this before — they were unable to convert a bases loaded, one-out situation into any more runs because Raul Ibanez grounded into a double play. The Yankees didn’t pick up another hit until Teixeira’s homer in the sixth. Curtis Granderson‘s solo homer in the eighth plated an important insurance run.
  • Bullpen: Gotta hand it to the mix-and-match setup crew, they took care of business in the middle innings. Boone Logan retired the lone lefty he faced (thanks to a great grab by Granderson), Cory Wade finished off the seventh and retired David Wright in a one-run game to open the eight, then Clay Rapada retired his two lefties to hand the ball off the Rafael Soriano for the Wetteland-esque save. Wade allowed a bloop single, but otherwise the setup trio retired five of the six men they faced. Bravo, fellas.
  • Leftover: Hughes allowed the obligatory homer (Omar Quintanilla?!) and is now two starts shy of a) Dennis Rasmussen’s team record of 14 consecutive starts with a homer allowed (1986), and b) Bert Blyleven’s all-time record of 14 consecutive starts with a homer allowed to start a season (1987) … the top six hitters in the lineup each had exactly one hit while the bottom three each went 0-for-3 with a strikeout … the homers by Tex and Grandy were the club’s only extra-base hits of the night.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. The Rays annihilated the Marlins, so they remain tied atop the AL East in the loss column with New York. Andy Pettitte gets the ball in search of the sweep on Sunday afternoon. Fellow southpaw Jon Niese is on the bump for the Amazin’s. If you want to catch the series finale, check out RAB Tickets.

Greene flirts with perfection in Tampa win
Game 59: Bragging Rights
  • Robinson Tilapia

    Did it feel good to type the name “Dennis Rasmussen?”

    Watched none of the game, as I had tickets to see Anthony Bourdain at BAM tonight.

    1. WHOOOOOOOOOO HEAT! #knickssuck

    2. Is it safe to start treating Phil Hughes like a good starting pitcher again? I really want to.

    • forensic

      It’s the best I’ve ever felt with him as a starter, but given all the history and the extreme flyball/HR tendencies, it’s still a little difficult to feel really comfortable with him, especially against good offensive/power teams.

      • forensic

        Watching the postgame it is extremely nice to see he finally cut that mop of hair on his head. Means nothing in his pitching, but I just like when players look professional while playing vs. looking like a schmuck.

      • KL

        The basis against flyball pitchers is annoying.

        • forensic

          Annoying or not, he pitches in the AL East in a homerun/offensive ballpark. Not the most reassuring combination in the world.

        • Havok9120

          Well….they tend to do poorly in stadiums that help batters hit homeruns. Such as Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, and Camden Yards.

          Stop me if you see a common thread there.

          Oh, and Hughes has an absurd HR/FB rate which simply may not that far off from what’s going to be his norm. What has he done to give you confidence that the “bias” is misplaced?

  • forensic

    I was blacked out but the postgame kept talking about him sticking almost exclusively to his fastball again. Did it look like he didn’t have a good curve/change or was it just that they weren’t doing anything with the fastball so don’t mess with what was working?

    • Nick

      I actually thought his curve ball looked really good, beautiful break on a few of them.

    • Havok9120

      The latter. I didn’t notice many changeups, so I can’t speak to that, but his curve actually looked pretty good to me. Got at least one first pitch called strike with it, it had a nice controlled break, and it seemed to be going where he and Martin wanted it.

      • Bo Knows

        he threw quite a few changes (at least 15)and they looked really good, he threw them for strikes and when he missed it was down in the zone and generally just below that. It was the best I had ever seen the pitch

        • g

          David Wright hit one of Phil’s changeups out of the ball park

  • forensic

    Other random thoughts:

    Ibanez has had some huge hits for this team this year, and yet he’s 0-9 now with the bases loaded. It’s amazing what that situation has done to them this year.

    It’s hard to analyze and really question moves when you can’t watch the whole game and flow, but it seems weird that Logan pitched the 6th only to lefties and then Rapada pitched the 8th against lefties. I’m sure I’m missing stuff by not being able to watch, but it’s just an awkward use of personnel. If you’re going to take out Logan for Hairston, then why not use Rapada then and save Logan for later?

    • Havok9120

      That occured to me while I was watching it, but the things to know are:

      1. There was a man on first when Logan came in to relieve Hughes, while the bases were empty when Rapada came in.

      2. The Mets pinch hit for Nieuwenhuis after Logan got him. There was another lefty due up with the man on first.

      I probably would have let Logan pitch to Harrston, but its certainly understandable to do the other, especially with the man on base. I sure don’t Rapada in with his gas can at that point.

      • Havok9120

        *after Logan got his first batter

  • Dan in Atlanta

    Hughes is what he is, which is fine when facing a lineup is one or two guys and seven outs and bad when facing a talented offense. Would get hammered in playoffs. Better velocity, still lacks command and throws too many pitches.

    • Havok9120

      Who’s offense did you NOT just describe? Us, Texas and….Boston? Is that it?

  • Dan in Atlanta

    Also extreme fly ball pitcher and new Yankee Stadium are a bad mix.

    • KL

      Why it is Debbie Downer. Hi Debbie.

      • FIPster Doofus

        Well, he’s right. That doesn’t mean Hughes can’t be a decent starter for the Yanks, though.

  • LK

    It looks to me like Tex struggles with the curve more than the change. It seems to me that pitchers who don’t use their curveballs much consistently use them against him – which I think is the strategy Gee was using, he just threw an absolute hanger.

  • Brian S.

    Too many home runs! We’ll never be able to hit home runs in the playoffs! I want more sacrifice flies and RBI groundouts!

    • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

      I get the sarcasm, but it’s sort of true with the inability to hit jacks in the playoffs. Even if you blame facing better pitching instead of the historical un’clutch’ness.

      • Havok9120

        But again….are you more likely to string together a bunch of singles/walks/HBPs against the theoretical “better playoff pitchers,” or catch a single bad pitch and lift it over the wall?

        • AndrewYF

          Don’t you know? Unless you’re the Yankees, playoff pitchers simply don’t pitch bad pitches.

  • forensic

    Getting a chance to look closer, not sure where this came from:

    recording 12 of his 19 outs on the infield

    1 groundout, 6 K’s, 11 flyouts, 1 CS. Those were his outs tonight.

    • jim p

      Infield popups are counted as flyouts? Don’t recall ever seeing an outs-breakdown which calls out the popup specifically.

      • forensic

        I didn’t go through the play-by-play, only went by the listed outs on the box score. Though now that you’ve brought that up, I’ll probably end up going through that play-by-play at some point tonight to see what may affect things.

        • forensic

          Ok, you’re right, there were all those infield pop-ups which made it 12 on the infield. I didn’t get to watch it so they didn’t stick in my head. I just went by this Ground Balls-Fly Balls: P Hughes 1-11;. My bad.

  • Tom Q

    Okay: to play off what Brian S. wrote above, and to be a little serious about it…

    I know the whole “Too many home runs!” thing is a standing joke here. And, in fact, the past two games, the Yanks have plated notable runs with RISP hits.

    But the fact remains, this team is more hugely homer-dependent than I can ever remember. Even the last two nights, the game-determining hits landed in the stands. And all too often, over what seems weeks or months, when they fail to put a ball into the seats in a key situation, they get nothing at all out of it — even in spots where they seem set up to score one run at worst (as in Inning 1 tonight).

    A home run-dependent offense can obviously carry you a long way; it’s the most efficient way to score runs. And the caricatured small-ball method — “More bunting; more hitting to the right side” — is obviously silly and self-defeating.

    But, statistically, home runs, even for the best-slugging teams, are going to come far less often than singles and doubles. As well as the Yanks have been playing of late, I’ll still feel alot better about them if, just once or twice, I see them turn the score in the late going with a single or double with runners on. The fact that they’ve failed to do it for this long almost defies probablility. Till they start doing it with frequency, I’ll continue to harbor some doubts about the team’s ultimate prospects.

    • Kosmo

      Amen !

    • Havok9120

      I can agree with most of that….but the longball offense is still more sustainable over the course of the season, especially against the better pitchers. Its tougher to string together multiple baserunners against a “playoff pitcher” than it is to catch that hanging slider and send it out of the hemisphere.

      I’d feel better about it, but it doesn’t make me fear all that much for the future of the team.

      • Kosmo

        timely hitting is just as desirable as the jimmy jacks. It would be great if NY had another .285 – .300 hitter in the lineup who was capable of spraying the ball around who could pick up an RBI single now and then.
        Do you mean the “future of the team“ for 2012 or going forward ?
        I´d be somewhat concerned as the team ages the power wanes.

        • Havok9120

          I meant this season.

  • Kosmo

    Hughes has given up 15 HR! in 68 innings. Way to many HR per start.

    • Bavarian Yankee

      that’s indeed a scary pace. What’s the record for most HR given up in a season?

      • Kosmo

        I think the record is held by Blyleven, in 1986 he gave up 50 HRs in 271 innings.
        Hughes is on pace for around 45 in 200 innings.

        • Bavarian Yankee

          oops, saw your post a little too late ;)

      • Bavarian Yankee

        just found the answer to my question: the record is 50 by Blyleven in 1986 but he started 36 games in that season and pitched 271.2 innings. His HR/9 rate was 1.7, Hughes’ right now is an even more ridiculous 2.0.

  • Kevin

    We’ve barely noticed that Jeter and Grandy are slumping, because Cano and Tex are back to being themselves. For much of the beginning of the season, it felt like Jeter and Granderson WERE the offense, now the rest of the team is waking up and they are slumping. Imagine if they could all just play an average game?

    • Mykey

      Didn’t Grandy hit a homerun last night? A rather important one too?

  • piiax

    Just to change the topic a bit. It’s amazing how Wettland’s style of heart attack saves is remembered after 16 years. But Soriano’s last night with one batter not getting past first would hardly qualify. Great game, hopefully months of nice wins like this.

  • Tyrone Sharpton

    “I spent the last three or four years defending Phil Hughes the starting pitcher in this space, but I’m done with it. End the charade and put him in the bullpen already. If the Yankees had given Joba Chamberlain half the leash they’ve given Hughes, they might actually have a young, quality starting pitcher on their hands. But no, his stuff played up in the bullpen. Apparently that logic doesn’t apply to Phil.”

    Uhhhh….Mike,still down on St. Phil? I will always think that he will be an impact starter

    • Manny’s BanWagon

      Can’t fault Mike for losing it on Phil at one point. I think we’ve all been there at one time or another.

      We’re all thrilled he’s pitching well now but he’s certainly been frustrating to watch at times over the last several years, like most young pitchers for that matter. If he can keep this up, it’ll be a lesson in patience.

      • Tyrone Sharpton

        I was just kiddin…we’ve all been frustrated with phil.

  • Brian in NH

    Burt Blyleven is a certified Hall of Famer (deservedly or not) so maybe it will be ok for Phil.

  • mac

    Not a Hughes fan, never was. I do have to give all concerned alot of credit as to Hughes’s approach lately (& the results, even vs the flawed teams he faced recently). If he anchors the bottom of the rotation for this year and next and gives the Yanks a 4.50 ish era and an avg of 6 innings a start I think that’s valuable.

    I’d still like to see the Yanks convince an NL team he could be a front of the rotation guy and use him as part of a deal – maybe for an ofer. I realize he’s only got a year and 1/2 left and isn’t cheap. Will be interesting to see what happens.

    Lastly, I can’t remember the Yanks giving a guy with Hughes’s “success” this much of a shot – 6 seasons, 80+ starts and 500+ innings.

    • Phil Linz’ harmonica

      I am totally convinced Hughes would be a solid #2/3 in the NL. He would be better off in the bigger parks and out of the Yankee pressure cooker.

      AND… last night he threw 15 change-ups as opposed to 12 curves, if he perfects the CU, as I think he’s slowly doing, he can be a very solid #3 here.

  • Adam Parker

    This is the future of Yankee homegrown pitching talent. You must let them work it out in the majors.
    We don’t pick high enough to grab 100% sure things like Strasburg.

    • Havok9120

      The guy had less than 60 innings in AAA, and half of those weren’t particularly dominant. I think this season we had little choice but to let him work it out in the majors, but that was not the case last year or, indeed, in 2008 and 2009.

  • toad

    Who cares if Hughes gives up home runs? The issue is how many runs he gives up, not how they score. If his style is such that he gives up realtively few runs, but they come on homers instead of in other ways, it makes absolutley no difference.

    We easily accept that some good hitters hit lots of HR’s and others hit hardly any. It’s a matter of what works for the individual player. Why doesn’t that logic apply to pitchers as well.

    It’s overall results that matter.

  • Crime Dog

    Robbie really needs to stop making it blatantly obvious when he’s taking all the way, unless he’s baiting the pitcher (which he easily could be, but I have never seen him swing after obviously taking a ball all the way the pitch before)