Sep
20

Ichiro & Swisher slam Jays as Yanks finish sweep

By

It’s never easy with the Yankees these days, but hey, they’ve now won five straight and ten of their last 14 overall. Can’t complain about the results of late, the wins are starting to pile up as the season draws to a close.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Broken Open (Or So We Thought)

The Yankees have been playing an awful lot of tight games lately, so it goes without saying that it felt like a huge relief when Nick Swisher hit his grand slam to cap off the seven-run fourth inning. The game went from feeling like another nail-biter to a laugher in an instant, something I think we all needed. Too bad it didn’t last until the end of the game, but we’ll get into that in a sec.

Swisher’s slam was the big blow, but again the offensive storyline is the molten hot bat of Ichiro Suzuki. He hit a solo homer in the third inning and then doubled in a pair of runs in the fourth, extending his streak to seven straight at-bats with a hit. All told, he went 9-for-12 with three doubles, a homer, and four stolen bases in the three-game series. Six of those nine hits came against lefties, which is impressive for any left-handed hitter regardless of his platoon split. Ichiro came into the series with a .288/.311/.404 batting line as a Yankee and left at .321/.344/.464. Pretty good two days, eh?

Five-Inning Phil

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Phil Hughes has pitched well over the last four or five weeks, so he picked a pretty good time to have a clunker (when his team actually scored runs). He did strike out nine — including four in the fourth inning — in five innings, but he also allowed four runs on four hits, three walks, and two hit batsmen. Two of the four runs came on the #obligatoryhomer from Moises Sierra, another on a pair of back-to-back doubles by Adam Lind and Kelly Johnson, and the other when he hit Sierra with the bases loaded.

All told, Hughes threw 102 pitches in his five innings, so it was one of those real laborious outings. Toronto had men on-base in every inning but the first, including that frustrating bases loaded situation in the third. I say frustrating only because four of the five batters who reached base did so on walks or hit-by-pitches; there was only one hit mixed in. Not a great outing from Phil, who got let off the hook by his offense on the same day I praised his recent work. Go figure.

Not Safe

The Yankees have needed bullpen help pretty much since Mariano Rivera got hurt in May, but instead they opted to wait for Joba Chamberlain to get healthy rather than acquire real non-Chad Qualls/Derek Lowe relievers. Now the team’s core relievers are overworked and no lead is safe, not even a six-run lead with six outs to play.

Cory Wade gets the majority of the blame for this one, as he was unable to record even two outs in the eighth before Joe Girardi had to go to one of his primary late-game guys. He surrendered a solo homer to Johnson and put three of the four men he faced on-base, giving way to Joba with five outs left in the game. Chamberlain got three weak ground balls but the first was an infield single (run scored), the second a fielder’s choice (run scored), the third a ground ball single. Such is life. He eventually escaped the inning and David Robertson handled the ninth without a problem. Six-run lead with six outs to go. Can’t even do that right.

Leftovers

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Derek Jeter tried to bunt for a hit in the third inning and there were two problems with that. One, he should just never bunt against a left-handed pitcher. The Cap’n destroys southpaws, you know that. Swing the bat and do some real damage. Secondly, he’s got a bad ankle. Hard to run on that. Nitpicking, I know. Jeter did extend his hitting streak to 14 games though, so hooray for that.

The Yankees drew eight walks in addition to their eight hits, and an bunch of those free passes came around to score. Jeter (two singles), Swisher (homer, walk), Russell Martin (two walks), Curtis Granderson (double, walk), Ichiro (homer, double), and Jayson Nix (double, two walks) all reached base multiple times. They went 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position overall.

Mentioned this earlier, but Hughes did strike out four batters in the fourth inning with an assist from one of Martin’s two passed balls. He’s the 58th pitcher in history and only the second Yankee to accomplish to feat, joining A.J Burnett. He did it against the Rockies just last season.

The Yankees scored double-digit runs for the tenth time this season after doing it 17 times a year ago. Swisher’s grand slam was his third of the season and the team’s tenth overall, tying a franchise record.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights while ESPN has the updated standings. The Orioles were idle on Thursday, so they remain one game back in the loss column. The Rays mounted a huge ninth inning comeback against the Red Sox, but they’re still seven games back and a distant third in the AL East. The magic number is down to 13.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

Revenge! The Athletics are coming to the Bronx for three games this weekend, and the Yankees will surely look for some payback after getting swept in that four-game series in Oakland back in July. CC Sabathia starts things off against Jarrod Parker on Friday night. Check out RAB Tickets for any last-minute deals.

Categories : Game Stories

112 Comments»

  1. Scully says:

    All in all a good win even with the concerns. I’ve been enjoying Ichiro and Jeter turning back the clock.

  2. captain kiwi says:

    number 13 in the sidebar… what a beautiful win. i’ve got family in seattle that’re sour about the win but love seeing ichiro hit. i’d love to see ichiro get a ring this year.

  3. Get Phelps Up says:

    I really like the ARod picture in the sidebar.

  4. RetroRob says:

    Was that Gary Denbo working on Ichiro’s swing before yesterday’s games? I guess not.

    D-Rob bouncing back was good. If CC can begin to look like CC again, then October baseball looks more promising.

  5. your mom says:

    A win is a win. That being said, Cory Wade sucks balls.

  6. Fin says:

    Hopefully, the bullpen gets some much needed help from Phelps. Anyone else have a mini heart attack when Hughes shook his leg in the second inning and Joe had to go out? I thought oh fuck there goes the division.

  7. Need Pitching & Hitting says:

    Jesus Montero for Ike Davis?

    http://www.ussmariner.com/2012.....s-montero/

    • Fin says:

      I have had a few beers so maybe I’m missing something with that article. The writer makes it sound like the M’s are the Yankees and just dont have the time to wait around for Montero to develop. If the M’s dont have a couple of years to wait for a player to develop who does? Its not like any of the players he brought up in a trade would effect that anemic offense enough to make a difference. It seems to me that acquiring players who can actually hit over the next couple years while Montero develops is the more reasonable take on his view. Now if he said Montero just is never going to hit well enough to be an impact at first base so lets trade him, to a stupid team that thinks he can catch, I could understand.

      • jay says:

        I think Dave is trying to operate in the Felix window. That’s two more years. I see your point though.

        • Laz says:

          Who knows what happens with felix, but I think they need to improve before his contract is up or he could walk. It’s pretty certain that he will make $25M aav. Him and Kershaw could be a very exciting free agency class.

          • Fin says:

            It seems to me there is a very good chance Felix will stay with the M’s. He has shown no desire to leave, made a shit ton of money by the time hes 26 and the M’s love him. I dont doubt for a minute the M’s will pay him 200m and he will take it. I think Felix is going to spend most, if not all of his career in Seattle.

        • MannyGeee says:

          if they are trying to fit a 22 year old C/1B into the “Felix Window”, maybe they should admit finally that the “Felix Window” is the issue and trade him for some young impact starters.

    • RetroRob says:

      At first I thought it was some crazy reaction from a sports writer, but then I clicked on the link once I realized it was Dave Cameron. He’s certainly one of the best in the business when it comes to analysis. I don’t always agree with him, but I never ignore what he has to say.

      I thought what he wrote was quite reasoned. Montero is not going to be a catcher for the M’s as they have better options coming, and Montero defense behind the plate remains poor, so his most likely destination (really his only possible destination outside of full-time DH) is 1B, yet it’s entirely unclear if Montero has the bat to hold down 1B. So why not trade him for a package of players, especially to a team that doesn’t have more options at catcher coming so they can continue his development. What he’s talking about is the same decision the Yankees came to with Montero. He’s not going to catch for us, he’s not going to first base, and we don’t want him as a full-time DH, so let’s move him for something we do need.

      I doubt Montero is going anywhere. It was a high-profile move on the part of the Mariners to trade for Montero, so generally teams don’t turn right back around and trade the same player the following year. Yet it does happen.

      Cameron I should add was never a big fan of Montero’s bat, going back the last few years. He was one of the few I remember reading that suggested Montero’s hype was greater than his skill, especially based on those he viewed as comparables. This is just a continuation of that analysis after seeing him in the majors for a full season.

      • Laz says:

        I like what he had to say, but I don’t see him going anywhere. Pineda and Campos were a huge price to pay. Even looking at them both injured if they come back healthy then you could have 2 elite pitchers. That is a huge price, and at the same time he hasn’t distinguished himself enough offensively to be worth anywhere near what they gave up to acquire him. Sure he will probably want to improve, but last year in 100 at bats he was as good as miggy, and now over 500 at bats he is same as russell martin on a terrible season, with mediocre defense. Hey I’d love to even reacquire him, but the price the mariners want is probably pretty high.

      • Fin says:

        I dont think it was reasoned well at all. He continually said that the M’s dont have the time for MOntero to develop. They certainly do. They are not going to fix that lineup during Felix’s contract. Now, its possible Dave has a lot of respect from baseball people and he didnt say what he really wanted to, becasue he might scare some teams off. I imagine he wanted to say that Montero was a potential great bat as a catcher, and average one at first base, if he reaches his potential. Not to mention the odds are Montero would be Giambi with a glove.

        In the end, I’ve said it before…I love fangraphs but anything Dave or anyone else on that website has to say about the M’s I take with a grain of salt. They are as objective about the M’s as RAB is about the Yankees.

        • Deep Thoughts says:

          Part of Montero’s value is all the years of cost control. Keeping him around another year reduces that value in terms of a trade, and also exposes the Mariners to the risk of another year of Montero not being able to hit righties, which will further erode his trade value. His point is that Montero’s trade value, which resides almost entirely on his potential rather than his accomplishments–both in terms of hitting and catching ability–might never be higher in the future than it is now.

    • MannyGeee says:

      “The Alex Rodriguez/Miguel Cabrera comparisons were always a little ridiculous…”

      Wait, what? Who was comparing Jesus to A-Rod? Yikes… Seattle is a funny funny place

      • thenamestsam says:

        I think he meant offensively. Obviously he’s not really similar to ARod as a player, but plenty of people around these parts were touting him as a Miguel Cabrera-like bat who was going to immediately be an impact hitter in the big leagues at 22 years old. ARod was another guy who was an elite bat at a young age. I think that’s all he was referencing.

  8. Deep Thoughts says:

    When is it Chavbañez’s turn to go on a tear again?

  9. Rocky Road Redemption says:

    How in Hell have we tied the franchise record for grand slams when our numbers are so abysmal with RISP?

    Just a bizarre stat.

    • Laz says:

      Not really. This team is very built on the HR. Grandy, Teix, Swish, even Martin has 17 in less than 400 AB, and Jones has 13. If they are not hitting a HR they are often taking walks or striking out. Walks are great, but they load the bases up rather than drive in the runs. Teams with lots of walks, slow runners (a single won’t get a man in from 2nd) will have a lot of bases loaded situations, and since they hit alot of hr = more slams.

  10. dalelama says:

    Again our $25M per year slap hitter contributed nothing when the pressure was on.

  11. CUYanks says:

    Is anyone else semi-rooting for the Rays to at least be competitive to the final series so they are starting all their regular guys against the Mariners?

  12. Anthony says:

    Loved that 7 run 4th inning, even if I had to watch it on the At Bat App. Nothing like seeing the score just jump from 4 to 8. Nice to see the offense alive and kicking, lets hope it stays that way.

    I glanced over a few posts from the game thread. IMHO, I think some of us are too hard on people that “complain” even with a win. Just because we win a game doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be frustrated with a lingering problem the team has.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy we won, but I’d be ever-so-slightly more confident if we had taken the game 10-4, or whatever it was. The fact that we won 10-7 is another sign of an either overworked or ineffective bullpen; this isn’t the first time middle relief has given up several runs. If the offense/patience hadn’t shown up today, things could be different.

    Happy for the sweep, no doubt. There are still a few lingering questions, although I’m sure its the same with every team.

  13. dkidd says:

    and the angels continue their slide

    deeply deeply satisfying

  14. vicki says:

    wpa graph makes it look a lot less intense than it felt down the stretch there.

  15. Joe Girardis Braces says:

    Just read an interview jeter did with Rick Reilly from espn, and Jeter tells him he’s Voting for Obama. Im more upset about this than I should be but surprised because jeter never says anything controversial. Now i need to look for a new favorite yankee, very dissappinted. What the fuck derek

  16. CUYanks says:

    Where does that Angels loss put the Yankees Magic number to make the playoffs?

  17. Monterowasnotdinero says:

    Jeter should have come out to rest in the late innings in favor of Nunez.

    I like the Montero trade talk but it is to the wrong team. We need to get him back. His #’s will be much better in our stadium with our lineup. 500K a year and that right field porch.

    Anybody see those 2 passed balls off Martin’s glove? He sucks on defense too!

  18. milt mankoff says:

    Happy Jeter’s for Obama, but the overwhelming majority of baseball players vote Republican because of their don’t tax the rich policies.
    Non-white and foreign players might be more inclined towards Obama. It is ironic becuase the player’s union is the most successful union in history, is totally democratic. It would be nice if player’s understood the basis for their success and voted against a party that has sought to crush unionism. The result is greater income and wealth inequality than in any other advanced capitalist country.

    • OMG! Bagels! says:

      True. I’ve seen Teixera and Damon talk about being Republicans but I’m not giving either of them a lot of credit for brain power.

      I think that Jeter has more money that g-d and gets, as people like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates get, that tax increases aren’t really going to hurt the rich at all.

      The MLB players union is one of the most successful unions and they are democratic.

      I think, and this is just a thought, that the Jeters as a family probably always voted Dem and that Jeets does it too. It works that way in a lot of families. I couldn’t imagine anyone in my family voting Republican and have some very successful doctors and lawyers in the family. It’s just not done. On the other hand, my inlaws are mostly blue collar and they vote Republican since Reagan and won’t change no matter what (I think it was mixed before that).

      Sometimes it’s just a family thing.

  19. Jose M. Vazquez says:

    The article by Cameron is a contradiction in itself. On the one hand he says that Montero isn’t any good. On the other he wants a bounty of players for him. Which is which?

  20. Better off Eddard says:

    But now the real test begins. We can’t afford to drop 2/3 because the Os are in Boston. Our two aces are lined up for this series so we must take 2/3 and then the schedule eases up from here. The Os play Boston 6 games, Jays 4 games, Tampa 3. The schedule is similar to ours except for this one vs the As so we can’t lose any ground.

  21. Better off Eddard says:

    And I think I’ve finally got some people moving to my side of the argument that Ichiro is the greatest midseason trade Cashman has ever made. Imagine if Cashman hadn’t picked him up. We’d still be trotting Andruw Jones out there who has as many hits in 3 months as Ichiro did in the past 3 games.

  22. Better off Eddard says:

    Was it any surprise that Jeter is voting for Obama? He’s a New Yorker, mixed race, it’s only logical. He’s got more money he could spend in a lifetime so I’m sure paying 4-5% more in income tax ain’t gonna break the bank. Maybe Jeter wants to go into politics after baseball. He already has experience running a clubhouse as Captain of the Yankees. I’d vote for him.

  23. Better off Eddard says:

    If Ichiro continues on this tear should he hit leadoff? Imagine this lineup-

    Ichiro
    Jeter
    Cano
    Alex
    Teixera
    Swisher
    Granderson
    Chavez/Nunez
    Martin

    If Ichiro is on that’s our best lineup. Swisher has really struggled until last night so the #2 spot can’t be that big of a deal.

  24. Better off Eddard says:

    I still think Phil is in line for the #4 starter in the postseason. But if he labors like he did last night against a decent lineup he’s going to get crushed. He even had an extra day off due to the rainout. Nova will have to be lights out down the stretch to surpass him.

  25. Better off Eddard says:

    Where is everybody? I’ve got a longer streak than Ichiro going here. What are my thoughts on the bullpen? Phelps is going to be the key down there. I have no trust in Joba. Phelps, Logan, Robertson, Soriano and either Nova or Hughes is going to be the postseason pen that we can trust. DRob just needs to throw his curveball more with 2 strikes.

  26. JohnC says:

    What a greate night. Yanks finish the sweep, and the Giants destroy Cam Newton and the Panthers!

  27. Tom Morea says:

    Very informative article, Mike. I think you reported the Wade relief fiasco well. However, you did not question Girardi’s decision to replace Lowe with Wade. Lowe is reportedly the long man. Why not give him another inning or two? Whenever, Girardi starts playing musical chairs with his relief pitches, he’s out of control.

  28. Kosmo says:

    since Ichiro joined NY on July 23rd he has as many RBI as Cano: 22

  29. OMG! Bagels! says:

    Saw a tweet go by this morning that said Grandy jogged and Swisher preened…couldn’t find it again. Anyone know what that meant?

    • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero says:

      Grandy was up with a runner on 2nd and no outs iirc and grounded to 2B-an easy out to advance the runner. Kelly Johnson bobbled the ball and had no play at first. The announcers said he was rushed as Grandy runs well down the line. They then showed a replay of Grandy “jogging” down the line.

      Swish preening? obvious

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