Yankees beat Rangers again, win 3-2

Update: Cano day-to-day with stiff neck
Thoughts after another win over the Rangers

Coming into this four-game series against the other best team in the AL, I would have been perfectly cool with a split. The Yankees have done one better with a game to spare, taking the first three games from the Rangers is rather convincing fashion. Wednesday night’s win came after what was nearly a two-hour rain delay.

(REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

A Good Sweat

Since returning to the rotation early last month, Freddy Garcia has pitched to a 3.70 ERA (4.29 FIP) that looks a lot like the 3.62 ERA (4.12 FIP) he posted last season. On Wednesday’s night he held the high-powered Rangers’ offense to just two runs on four hits and a walk in 6.2 innings, striking out six and recording 18 of his 20 outs on the infield. The two runs scored on solo homers from Josh Hamilton, the second of which was one of the deepest homers ever hit at the New Stadium. It landed more than halfway up the right field bleachers. The other one paled in comparison despite landing in the second deck.

Hamilton is going to hit his homers, that’s unavoidable it seems, but Freddy did a great job keeping the rest of the Texas offense off balance. He escaped a bases loaded situation in the fourth — after Eric Chavez made a rare bad play by trying to go for two when he only had the play at first, so both runners were safe — by getting Geovany Soto to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. Jayson Nix and Nick Swisher deserve credit for the turn at the base and the stretch at first, respectively. Garcia has been rock solid following his disaster April, and this time he did it against a great offense. He’s very quietly stabilized the rotation.

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

One Big Inning

On Monday it was a five-run third inning, on Tuesday it was a three-run seventh inning, and on Wednesday night it was a three-run third inning, with all three runs coming on base hits rather than those evil homers. Nix and Derek Jeter led the inning off with singles — Nix had stolen second so Jeter’s knock put men on the corners — and then the middle of the order went to work. Nick Swisher has killed the Rangers with dingers all series, but this time it was just a bloop double to no man’s land along the left field line. Curtis Granderson followed with a relatively deep sacrifice fly, and Chavez bailed out Mark Teixeira (strikeout) with a two-out, two-strike single to the opposite field to plate that third run.

The Yankees actually managed to put 16 (!) runners on-base in eight offensive innings, but they had a little RISPFAIL problem (3-for-11), bounced into some double plays, and had a handful runners thrown out on the bases. The first inning was the only inning they went down in order, and in four of the other seven offensive innings they put the leadoff man on-base. This one had the feel of a game where those stranded runners might come back to bite them, but they didn’t because the pitching has been so excellent.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Leftovers

The bullpen trio of Boone Logan, David Robertson, and Rafael Soriano threw 2.1 innings and actually retired all eight men they faced. First base ump Marty Foster gave the Rangers an extra life in the ninth by ruling that Chavez’s throw pulled Swisher off the bag at first on Nelson Cruz’s ground ball. Replays showed that Swisher had kept his foot on first, but I guess it’s no big deal since the next batter grounded out harmlessly to end the game. After all his trouble with 1-2-3 innings earlier this year, Soriano nailed down his first 1-2-3-4 inning of the season for the save

Forgive me while I gripe, but I would have liked to see a pinch-hitter for Raul Ibanez against left-hander Robbie Ross with men on first and second and two outs in the seventh. He walked so it doesn’t really matter, but we’ve been seeing Ibanez left in to face lefties in the late-innings of close games all season and it bugs me. The easy move to make would have been Andruw Jones (outfielder-for-outfielder), but the best move would have been pinch-hitting Casey McGehee. Once the inning is over, you stick McGehee at first and move Swisher to the outfield. Eh, whatever. Moot point.

You know what else? I actually thought having Jeter bunt with men on first and second with no outs in the eighth was a good idea. The goal there is to just get an insurance run since they already had the lead. Instead, Jeter pops the bunt up, Mike Adams lets it drop, and they manage to turn it into a double play. See what happens when I advocate for a bunt? The baseball gods are cruel.

Chavez just continues to be a one-man army, going 3-for-3 with a walk to raise his season line to a stout .303/.362/.547. Ichiro Suzuki and Nix combined for four infield singles (two each) at the bottom of the order while Ibanez singled and had two walks. That’s a combined eight times on-base from the 6-7-8-9 hitters. The only batter in the lineup not to reach base was Teixeira, who struck out three times in four trips to the plate.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the advanced statistics, and ESPN the updated standings. As you’ve surely heard by now, Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game against the Rays on Wednesday afternoon, so Tampa is seven games back. I’m not joking, Felix might have had the best stuff I’ve ever seen in a single game. Here’s the video if you don’t believe me. He was out of this world. The Orioles beat the Red Sox (again), so they’re six back. The Yankees became the first AL team to win 70 games on Wednesday, and the magic number to clinch the division is down to just 40.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

The Yankees will look to complete the four-game sweep on Thursday afternoon, when Ivan Nova gets the ball against Derek Holland. Hopefully Nova can build off his strong start in Toronto.  If you want to catch the matinee live, then check out RAB Tickets for some last minute deals.

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Update: Cano day-to-day with stiff neck
Thoughts after another win over the Rangers
  • Jersey Joe

    I feel like we’re back to before the AS break, just cruising through every series. They are close games, but I feel like the team has been very efficient lately with both pitching and hitting.

  • Dude

    So can Chavez get that error erased or does that stay?

  • Tom Q

    With this win, the team has finally neutralized that four-game sweep at the hands of the A’s — which is to say, they’ve been playing under .500 from the day that A’s series started, until tonight, when they reached 13-13, matching their season-high “games over .500″ record. Onward.

  • http://www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Drew

    Sat through a brutal rain delay, but it was nice to be rewarded with Freddy pitching well. Looks like the Yankees are officially out of their funk. Glad to see it.

    • http://yankeesblogtbnl.blogspot.com Derek

      Also waited out the delay. Checked out the Yankees Museum on the 200 level to kill time…some of the autographed balls in there are from the most obscure players…the Ed Yarnall and Bret Prinz types

  • The Troll

    This was written on ESPN MLB’s front page earlier: Freddy Garcia survived two Josh Hamilton homers to complete the Yankees’ sweep of the Rangers, settling who’s tops in the AL.

    I totally thought they had another game tomorrow . . . My bad.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      You had me fooled for a second there.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      No, actually they don’t have another game “tomorrow”. That game is today (your post is from 1:13AM on Thursday). :-)

  • BigDavey88

    Word.

  • Brian S.

    Big Member has me paranoid. I mean, Robbie didn’t high five Melky.

    • Havok9120

      This.

      • jjyank

        That.

        • Rooting for U.S. Steel

          The other.

        • Alkaline

          These

          • Get Phelps Up

            those.

  • Rich in NJ

    Soriano has been money. Without him, they would be scrambling to make the plsyoffs. I hope that doesn’t cause Randt Levine to overrate his baseball acumen. It should teach him that spending big should not be affected by the current CBA.

    • FIPster Doofus

      After hating the signing and seeing no reason to change my mind last season, I’ve come to love Soriano this year. The untuck is my favorite celebration in sports.

    • Upstate Yanks Fan

      Soriano has been great…however I’m a firm believer that closers (except Rivera of course :) are widely overrated. Look at what Tampa has done for the past 3 years…Soriano, Farnsworth, Rodney.

      • not that mike

        unfortunately, without Joba and Mo, the Yanks would have been stuck with Robertson for closer- and i have no confidence in that move.

  • Edmond

    I wish girardi could drop Russell down in the order. He is killing us. Had a 7 LOB? Ichiro gets the singles

    • asdf

      Maybe Girardi could drop him down to AAA

  • Anthony

    After a week in the middle of the Panamanian rainforest… 3 games against the Rangers makes me one happy guy. Since I left they took 2 from Detroit to split the series and 2 from the Jays as well as this. Nice way to turn things around. Apparently Nova pitched a gem but I do wonder whether it was a fluke. Kuroda’s 2 hitter against Texas is extremely admirable, starting to wonder whether he’s our best pitcher.

  • jayd808

    It must have killed you to write that about “Sweaty Freddie,” the guy you wanted to get rid of a few months back.

    • Josh

      I may be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure that Mike kept saying he’s more valuable on the team than what we would theoretically get for him.

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

        Amazingly, Freddy is the first player I’ve wanted off the Yankees to turn it around and become and important member of the team in all my years following baseball. I don’t know how to deal with this.

  • Jimmy

    If you think Hamilton or even King Felix had a big day, Nap Lajoie picked up 10 hits yesterday to surge past Derek Jeter into 12th place all-time in hits.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      That’s one hell of an accomplishment for a guy who died before I was born over 50 years ago.

  • OMG! Bagels!

    “You know what’s a great collapse? One that happens in September. You know what’s a spectacular collapse? One that continue into the next August.” ~ said no Red Sox fan ever

    “Who?” ~ every 2012 Yankee fan

  • Celerino Sanchez

    No way King Felix’s stuff was the best ever for a single game. I watched all 27 outs and there were several balls hit well including the first batter of the game. For me the Kerry Wood 20 strike out, 1-hitter was the best I’ve ever seen anyone throw in a single game but that’s just my humble opionion.

    • JB

      I think the best I’ve seen was Pedro against the Yanks. Can’t remember the year, but I believe it was against Clemens. Pedro was unhittable. The ball just moved every which way he wanted, at different speeds and from different angles. It may have been a 2-hitter; not sure, but it was simply dominant.

  • Bean Tooth

    Felix looks like he’d be a good fourth or fifth starter for the Yanks. Package Freddy, Nunez, and Montgomery and we should be able to get Hernandez and maybe Montero, if Cashman asks nicely enough. No way Felix throws another perfect game, so his value is on the decline.

  • Slu

    I’ll admit I was wrong about Chavez. I thought he was done and couldn’t stay healthy therefore was a waste of money. Boy was I wrong.

  • RI$P FTW

    Question: Did the Yankees pitchers do an amazing job against a top offense? Or did they simply run into an ice cold team (except for Hamilton)?

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      Debbie Downer.

      • RI$P FTW

        Just asking a question. It seems like everyone is already celebrating the 2012 WS Championship.

    • pat

      It’s usually a combo of both. Kuroda was on fire the other day, but the Rangers hitters were swinging at completely horrible pitches and jumping on first pitch fastballs but beating them into the ground. They’re not this bad and we’re not this good.

      • RI$P FTW

        Yeah.

  • Eddard

    These past 3 ballgames show why the Yankees are still the team to beat in the AL. The Rangers offense has been non-existent in this series. If Nova can put together a decent outing today I am confident we can beat up on Derek Holland like we always do. This team crushed LHP, especially Holland. Picked up a game on the Rays thanks to King Felix. Would have picked up a game on the Os if the Red Sox weren’t dead fish.

  • Steve (different one)

    Apologize in advance if this shows up as a double post…

    Cashman and Girardi have had a pretty good week:

    1. Garcia: 2-0, 12.2 IP, 2.86 ERA
    2. Phelps was able to start and go 5 good innings despite not being “stretched out”
    3. Kuroda: 1-0, 15.1 IP, 1.76 ERA
    4. Dempster: 8.31 ERA in AL
    5. Ichiro: .350/.381/.500
    6. McGehee: .316/.350/.632
    7. Ibanez: .429/.529/.643
    8. Chavez: .600/.647/1.000
    9. Lowe
    10. Melky….
    11. A chance to sweep the Rangers in a 4 game series without the benefit of seeing their 2 worst pitchers, Darvish and Oswalt (I kid..)

  • The DonSlaught

    Why do I feel like Nova is going to pitch a complete dud today? Classic letdown game.