Nix helps Yanks escape West Coast with win

Butler drives in five in Staten Island win
Thinking about Chase Headley

The Yankees were staring a 1-6 road trip in the face as late as the eighth inning, but some late-inning magic got them the series win over the Mariners on Wednesday afternoon. Thankfully, they’re done with the West Coast for the remainder of the season.

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

New York Nix

Joe Girardi has shown a knack for leaving Raul Ibanez in to faced left-handed pitchers in the late innings of close games — getting burned on it Tuesday night — but he wised up and went to his bench in this game. The Yankees were down a run in the eighth and had loaded the bases with no outs on a hit-by-pitch and a pair of singles, but Curtis Granderson popped out into foul territory for the first out. Girardi’s choices were Ibanez vs. lefty Lucas Luetge — the matchup that failed on Tuesday — or Jayson Nix vs. righty Shawn Kelley. He went with the latter.

Nix worked the count to 2-2 with a pair of foul balls before golfing a slider — I didn’t think it was that bad of a pitch, certainly not a real hanger — over the outfielders’ heads and into the left-center field gap. The Yankees had been just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position up to that point and neither of those hits scored a run, but Nix cleared the bases and put himself in scoring position. Russell Martin singled him in three batters later to complete the four-run inning that turned a one-run deficit into a three-run lead. It was the biggest hit the Yankees have had in a while, probably since Ibanez’s grand slam against the Blue Jays.

No Control

Ivan Nova allowed singles to two of the first three batters he faced … and then no hits the rest of the way. He did walk a career-high six though, including one to force in a run in the first inning. The Mariners pushed another run across in the inning with a sacrifice fly but didn’t get anything else off the Yankees’ starter. Nova was pitching himself into and out of jams all night but at the end of the day, two runs in five innings is a fine start. Shorter than you’d like, but give Ivan some credit for battling when he clearly wasn’t feelin’ it.

(REUTERS/Robert Sorbo)

Shutdown Bullpen

Nova walked the first two batters in the sixth before being lifted, but unlike the eighth inning on Tuesday, everyone Girardi brought in out of the bullpen did the job. Clay Rapada coaxed a double play ground ball from the only batter he faced, then David Phelps struck out Casper wells to end the inning before chipping in a scoreless sixth. He faced 16 batters on the road trip and retired them all with nine strikeouts. Me thinks we’ll be seeing lots more of Mr. Phelps in important late-inning situations.

David Robertson and Rafael Soriano followed with scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to seal the win. The only baserunner allowed by the relief corps was a dinky little two-out single by Wells off Soriano, when the game was effectively over. Between Nova and the four relievers, the Yankees retired 17 of the final 23 men the Mariners sent to the plate. That’ll do.

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)


Derek Jeter hit a long solo homer to left-center in the first inning to open the scoring and he’s pretty much the only player in baseball able to walk over to stands to shake hands with Wayne Gretzky in the middle of a game. Maybe David Ortiz could get away with it as well, but I’m guessing A-Rod would have been crucified.

The Cap’n had three hits while Robinson Cano had two. Ichiro Suzuki, Mark Teixeira, Granderson, and Martin chipped in singles though Ichiro was thrown out trying to steal second by former Yankee Jesus Montero. Eric Chavez, the new primary third baseman with Alex Rodriguez on the shelf, drew a pair of walks. One was intentional though. Andruw Jones struck out in three of his four at-bats and in ten of 15 plate appearances on the road trip. Woof.

Crazy Thought: This may have been Ichiro’s final game in Safeco Field. That might not mean much to Yankees fans, but I’m sure the Mariners faithful are getting a little choked up at the thought.

Box Score, WPA Graphs & Standings

Now that graph is much more like it. has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Rays wrecked the Orioles, so the lead over both teams in the division is eight games.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

So long, West Coast. The Yankees are done with their Pacific Time Zone schedule for the season and head home for a three-game series with the Red Sox starting Friday. Phil Hughes and Aaron Cook will open that series after the Yankees take Thursday off.

Butler drives in five in Staten Island win
Thinking about Chase Headley
  • Robinson Tilapia

    Great to get out of the West Coast with a series win. It seems pretty clear to me that your new high-leverage multi-inning reliever’s name (for the rest of this season) is David Phelps.

    Nova struggled but limited the damage. That’s what you want to see from your pitchers when they don’t have their best stuff. CC has seemingly done this for a decent chunk of the year.

    We feast on Boston and, hopefully, with some extra veteran presents for the stretch run.

    • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

      I hope we get a younger guy who can gain from some of the veteran presents we already have ::cough::Chase Headley::cough:: We have so many veterans looking to give away presents, why not get another youngin to receive them.

      • Get Phelps Up

        If I were Headley, I would DEMAND a trade to the Yankees just for a nice bunch of veteran presents.

        And a WS ring, too.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Well……it’s a good thing Chase Headley is easier to spell than Cole Hamels since you’re going to be hearing that name every other post now. :)

        I get the sentiment. Figure out RF next year in the offseason. Upgrade your role players for the stretch run now.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          ….not that I’d turn down Headley, however. I’m just not aiming that high right now.

          • Brian S.

            Thanks for rallying for me. Jerk.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              My assumption is that you’re a grown-ass man who can fight his own battles.

              I don’t even know what you got banned. In this kind of forum, where Brian S. could be ten different people, going to bat, or even know what’s going on beyond a bunch of screen names, is very difficult. What is “rallying” supposed to look like?

              I also run a website with a forum with rules on it, Brian. I sympathized for both you AND this site.

              If I disappointed you because I didn’t send Axisa an email of support or something, I apologize. I’m glad to see you were able to take care of the situation, though.

    • Eric

      Great minds think alike…check in at 11:30 tomorrow.

  • Dolph Ziggler

    I understand this joke has been overplayed: but seriously look at today’s lineup and how can you not think:

    wow, this looks like a 2005-2006 all star game.

    I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but with Ichiro now in the line-up, it makes that comparison eerily correct.

    I dunno about this team. It’s a great team. But what is different about them than last year? Again, that’s not even a knock on this 2012 yankees. Just….look at the potential playoff opponents. You can theoretically see them losing to any one of them. Thank god for 2009. The playoffs are just a ridiculous crapshoot nowadays.

    • Slu

      One – yes the playoffs are a crap shoot, which is why getting there is so important.

      Two – who cares if it looks like a 2006 all-star team if they win the division?

    • John S.

      This team has better pitching imo. Last year it was CC and a rookie Ivan Nova as the only reliable starters (AJ was the other playoff starter). The Yankees playoff rotation this year could be CC, Hiroki, and Andy. To me that is a big upgrade.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        We very quickly forget that last year’s team may have been one Ivan Nova non-injury away from things going very differently.

        It’s always a crapshoot. Always has been, although I agree that this WC bullshit will make it more of one going forward. I’m glad the Yanks are in first place.

  • Elmgrovegnome

    I know it was a west coast trip and travel is taxing but WTF happened?

    Did the team not take the A’s and Mariners seriously?
    Is the team really that tired and beat down before August?
    Are they so old that a west coast swing really had that affect?

    I can’t believe that they were swept by the A’s and a group of rookie pitchers. This road trip may be more telling than the whole last month.

    • John S.

      These were all close games that could have gone either. This road trip easily could have been 5-2 instead of 2-5. BTW, the A’s are on a roll so the Yankees may have just caught them at the wrong time.

      • jim p

        Really. A ball going a little bit this way instead of that, and maybe we come away 4-3 or better.

        The real loss on the trip is losing A-Rod. More appreciated in his absence. It looked like he was finally putting it together, hitting about .300 for July and some extra base hits. Even at his subpar-for-ARod he was still getting on, stealing bases, playing the field well.

    • Kevin

      It is frustrating but the A’s are 16-2 in July and 27-9 since late June..not like we were beaten by scrubs.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      What the holymotherfuck was wrong with this team?
      Did they not take such a lowly team like this seriously?

      I’d say this series was very telling as to how team wound up performing at the end of the season.

    • Dropped Third


  • John S.

    Also you want to disregard a stretch of over 40 games,but base your opinion on the last 7? A 7 game stretch where they lost 4 1 run games and 2 by walkoffs. I think you’re getting caught in the moment.

  • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

    Happy we won today, sad that we’re still going to be with out Alex for most of if not all of the rest of the season. Also sad that unless we meet a west coast team in the playoffs yesterday was probably the last Yankee game I’ll see this season :(

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Wait. I’m slow. Why would it the last game you see this season?

      • ultimate913

        Meant in person. Probably lives on west coast.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Jersey, AFAIK.

      • Need Pitching (and maybe hitting too)

        I think he works nights.
        Doomed to John and Suzyn instead of Kay and crew.

        • Robinson Tilapia


        • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

          Nailed it right on the head Need Pitching. But not just John and Suzyn, I might listen to the road broadcast every so often just to get a break from them.

          • whozat

            I had to this week. I live in CA, so it’s usually the radio for me. Once they went to Seattle and Jon and Suzyn couldn’t stop talking about how the Yankees HAD to play Ichiro in right and HAD to lead him off — and STOPPED TELLING ME WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN THE GAME TO DO IT, I just had to switch to the Seattle radio team. They were a lot better. Nothing special, but like…they’d tell me what kind of pitches were being thrown! Even while talking about ichiro!

    • Jacob

      Chances are we could see LAA, I feel it in my ulnar collateral ligament

      • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

        You feel it in your elbow? Interesting.

  • ultimate913

    Slightly OT: Any chance Corban Joseph gets a chance at 3B? Has he been injured? Looking at his slash line, as a 2B, mostly, seems like he should have been the first one up:


    • Robinson Tilapia

      I’d say third base is always going to be on-topic.

      I believe someone said he hadn’t played third since 2009 and didn’t look good there. Also, I sincerely doubt the stretch run is going to be where a guy like CoJo gets his big break.

    • DM

      Not known for his defense, moved to 2b from 3rd for that reason, left-handed hitter. That doesn’t really fit the need. Nix/Laird/Nunez platooned with Chavez makes more sense.

    • JohnnyC

      Apparently Joseph is not a good fielder. And 3rd Base is not his best position at that.

  • Jacob

    Someone should wright(pun intended) a book about the mets bullpen I wonder what goes on behind the closed doors

    • JohnnyC

      They don’t like being asked to throw fastballs…er…meatballs.

      • Jacob

        They obviously don’t like being asked to pitch either, wonder if they have a 2011 boston clubhouse thing in the pen

        • Get Phelps Up

          Chicken and beer bullpen-only style?

        • JohnnyC

          No, they lack talent.

  • Matt DiBari

    The most amazing thing was that Nix, a right handed hitter, got that hit off a right handed pitcher. I had been led to believe that it was completely impossible for hitters to hit same handed pitchers, and that’s why we need a bullpen full of oogys.

    • Matt DiBari

      And by “led to believe” I of course mean watching Joe Girardi manage.

      • Kiko Jones


    • Steve (different one)

      I love how after bitching all winter that the Yankees might take 2 lefties in their pen, then watching their bullpen dominate for 80 games, you pop up to make this oh so snarky comment. You must have been waiting sooooo long to have a relevant complaint about the pen. I bet you typed sooooo hard!!

      Never mind that Logan,Rapada, and Eppley have been mostly great all season, I don’t like it!!!!!!!

      • Matt DiBari

        Its not like we haven’t had two games this week alone (one I had the great pleasure of attending) where we removed effective pitchers to play matchups or anything.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          All managers do that. They have different beliefs than you do, as well as different information.

        • Steve (different one)

          And? Girardi isn’t perfect. No one would argue that he is. But over the long haul, he’s done a very good job with this bullpen.

          They lost 2 of the 10 best relievers in baseball for a huge chunk of the season, and Girardi managed the bullpen to excellent results.

          The team had a bad road trip, but painting Eppley, Logan, and Rapada as anything other than a coup for both Cashman and Girardi is just nuts.

          My comment was more about your final sentence than about your issue with Girardi. No one WANTED a bullpen “full of OOGYs”. The Yankees started the season with the potential to have FIVE “relief aces” in their pen by August (Mo, Soriano, Robertson, Joba, Aardsma). They’ve had injuries and because of that, have had to turn to specialists to get high leverage outs, and 90% of the time, it’s worked out incredibly well. The organization positioned itself very well to have bullpen depth, but sometimes sh*t happens and luckily Girardi was capable enough to fashion one good reliever out of 2 scrubs by playing their platoon side matchups. This is a POSITIVE that you are trying to turn into a negative.

          Did he go overboard on Tuesday? Yup. Was it a frustrating trip? Yup. Has Girardi done a very good job with the bullpen for most of the year? Yup.

          My favorite part about people bitching about Girardi’s “mixing and matching” is that the old complaint was that he was a “push button” manager and needed to “assign innings” to Robertson, Soriano, and Mo. I would love to have that “problem” again….yeah, it totally sucked having 3 innings locked down whenever you had a lead.

  • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

    Watching Quick Pitch, Vicente Padilla hit Adrian Beltre in the head last night. How is this guy still allowed to pitch in the majors, he has the reputation of a head hunter and continues to live up to that rep…if I was one of his team mates I’d have Tex’s mindset about it.

    • Brian S.

      Gonzalez got plunked in retaliation. I bet he’s not too happy about it.

      • Jonathan

        Honestly, what’s the point in retaliating at this point? He clearly doesn’t care if 1/2 the team breaks their wrists because of his ridiculous head hunting. If I recall this has been mostly a problem while he’s been in the AL, right? I mean if he was pulling this shit in the NL he’d get one right between the eyes. If he was starting (I know he doesn’t start anymore) against my team in a double header in the NL I’d use my 26th roster spot on whoever threw the hardest in the minors and in the off chance he pitched well enough and deep enough into the game and was left in to hit I’d just bring in Johnny can’t control 98 and put a new expression on that frog face of his. He should be banned from the fucking game.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          If Padilla was on my time, the last thing I would have is his back. He’s a liability to any team he’s on.

          The other 24 guys on the Sox should grab a baseball each and bean him. Then, all 25 of them can proceed to go fuck themselves.

          • Deep Thoughts

            I would shop at RAB Tickets to witness this.

        • A.D.

          One can probably retaliate to the point where he wears out his welcome with that team and helps push him out

      • gc

        If he does take offense at being plunked in retaliation, Gonzalez must clearly be prejudiced against latinos.


  • Dale Mohorcic

    I think you mean phelps threw a scoreless seventh. Sorry to nitpick.

  • Pinstripes in Cali

    Axisa- your level of complaining about time zone differences with the West Coast is staggering. Get over it already! Or get a new job…

    • Rocky Road Redemption

      This isn’t his job.

  • Kosmo

    great game. Nix of all players.

    Yes it looks like Phelps has found a home in the bullpen at least for the time being. Nice to see him get the win. With Joba coming back in about a week, probably no real pressing need to go outside the org. for relief pitching.

    Good play by Tex on the DP ball in the 6th inning with Rapada on the mound. I remember when Giambi would attempt to make such plays.

    Jones looked terrible yesterday. Maybe a righthanded bat is still in order come the trade deadline?

    as Casey Stengel used to say “2 out of 3 boys 2, 2 out of 3“.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Yeah. I mean…..I agree with those who say he’s looked good enough to start, but I’m fine with this role the rest of the way. It stops the team from looking outside the org. Garcia’s done the job as fill-in thus far as well.

      We’ve been convinced, from watching Joba Chamberlain all these years, that having young starters spend time in the bullpen is a bad thing that’s going to ruin their careers. Phelps can get through this without going through some sort of career crisis.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Also, remember……if you win two out of three of every series……someone is bound to complain as to why you didn’t sweep.

  • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

    Looking for 6 tix for the game on Sunday Aug 5th against the Mariners. Is the RAB site the best for tix?

    Nix delivers and so will Nunez when he gets called up. I predict we will not miss ARod as much as some folks think.

    At some point, we might even have a catcher get hot with the bat for a few days!

    • Cris Pengiucci

      I use the RAB site whenever I need tickets to a game while in NY (plan on using it again for tix to a game during the Toronto series at the end of Aug). I find it to be very good. Just my experience.

  • Willly

    No mention of Nova’s increased velocity? He was really gassing it yesterday.

  • Bartolo’s Colon

    nix is our jordany valdespin with his pinch hitting heroics

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Nix has been around a lot longer, unless I missed Valdespin before this season, but similar. People write guys like this off as total zeroes, but they’ll all have their Sportscenter moment before the year is through.

  • Eddard

    I think we’ll be just fine with Nixy and Chavy. Jete and Nixy stepped up yesterday and each night it will probably be someone new. Perhaps Friday it will be Swishy returning from injury. The division is over. We’re not going to free fall nor will any of the bottom 4 teams go on a .700 streak through the end of the season. We need to focus on getting healthy for October.

    • Deep Thoughts

      This is the opposite of “DOOOOOMED!!!!!” but just as asinine. 64 games left, man.

      • gc

        Don’t worry. Today, Eddard says “we’ll be just fine with Nixy and Chavy.” Give it a week. If those guys don’t get a big hit when he thinks they should, and the team loses a game or two, he’ll come back with “they’ve got to do something about Nixy and Chavy!!! We can’t endure this anymore!”

  • JimAbbottFan

    Despite the crappy results of this west coast trip, the net is only losing 2 games in the division lead, but still 10.5 up on the Red Sox going into the weekend series. Not that losing ground on a lead is ever good, but for a 2-5 stretch, I’ll take it.

    And though it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, it’s always nice when the getaway day is a win; it makes it easier to cope with two days of no Yankees baseball.

  • Cris Pengiucci

    The Cap’n had three hits

    He’s about to go on a roll where he hits over .400 and carries the team while ARod is out!

    Good to see him continuing with another solid season. Perhaps it’s crappy Seattle pitching, but I hope he can keep it up and other’s join him. Replacing ARod, even with the season he’s having, is no easy task.

    • Yankee Fan 1

      I think he was pissed about being brushed back, even though he will never admit it. Damn he crushed that next pitch.