Yankees rout Orioles in big series finale win

Murphy & Maruszak homer as Thunder advance to Championship Series
Fan Confidence Poll: September 10th, 2012

The all-important ten-game stretch against the Orioles, Rays, and Orioles again is finally over. The Yankees went into this thing three games up and came out one game up, so I suppose it wasn’t a complete disaster. Either way, they needed Sunday’s blowout win over Baltimore in the worst way, just to breath easy for a change.

(Rob Carr/Getty)

Walks & Weak Contact

Left-hander Zach Britton came into this start on the heels of four consecutive brilliant outings, walking just seven in 28.2 total innings. The Yankees were far more patient than the Tigers, White Sox, and Blue Jays (twice) though, drawing five free passes off the southpaw in just 3.1 innings. Two of those five walks came with the bases loaded in the four-run fourth inning, an inning that featured one hard hit ball — Alex Rodriguez‘s leadoff single off the top of the short wall in right. Britton threw nearly as many balls (40) as strikes (41) in the game.

It wouldn’t call it a small ball rally, it was more of a Murphy’s Law rally. The three batters after A-Rod all drew walks before Andruw Jones struck out, then Jayson Nix (bloop to shallow right-center) and Ichiro Suzuki (infield single on a so-called Baltimore chop) plated more runs with dinky hits. Derek Jeter worked a walk to force in the fourth and final run of the inning (and Britton’s day), the seventh baserunner among the first eight Yankees sent to the plate that inning. Four runs, four walks, three singles, three strikeouts, one well-struck ball. Works for me.

Four-Inning Freddy

(Rob Carr/Getty)

There’s a decent chance Freddy Garcia has made the final start of his Yankees’ career and at the very least, has thrown his last meaningful inning of the season now that Ivan Nova is healthy. For the third time in his last four starts, Garcia failed to complete five innings of work and this time he couldn’t even complete four. The Yankees spotted him five runs early, but four of the first five hitters in the fourth reached in two-strike counts — walk, hit-by-pitch, double, pop-up, single — and ended his afternoon.

The three runs in 3.1 innings means Freddy has now allowed 15 runs in just 17.2 innings during his last four starts, including four homers and 31 total baserunners. Garcia was rock solid for a few weeks following Andy Pettitte‘s injury, but he’s fallen apart of late and the Yankees can’t afford to keep running him out there now that they’re stuck in a division race. If he starts next turn through the rotation, I’ll be stunned.

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Shutdown Bullpen

The bullpen has been a weakness in recent weeks and when you ask them to record 17 outs, it’s easy to be a little nervous. Rather than implode, the relief corps stepped up in a huge way to completely shut the Orioles down once Freddy left the game. Joba Chamberlain cleaned up the fourth with two big strikeouts before chipping in a scoreless fifth, then Boone Logan cut through the middle of the order in a scoreless sixth. Cory Wade followed with a perfect seventh and eighth, looking an awful lot like his April and May self rather than the guy he was in June before being sent down. Derek Lowe wrapped things up with a perfect ninth. The final ten Orioles made outs, and all told the bullpen allowed one hit and two walks in 5.2 scoreless innings while striking out ninth. Fantastic job, fellas.

Tack-On Runs

It’s been a long time since the Yankees played a laugher, at least one in which they were doing the laughing. The Bombers blew the game open in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, starting with a Curtis Granderson solo homer to center. He plated two more runs with a bases-loaded, two-strike blooper in the seventh, an enormous hit that turned a three-run game into a five-run game. The five-run eighth featured a Jeter two-run homer to right-center, a Russell Martin single, and a Granderson double. The desperately-needed rout was on.

Leftovers

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Jeter (single, homer), A-Rod (single, walk, bit-by-pitch), Robinson Cano (two singles, two walks), Martin (two singles, walk), and Ichiro (two singles) all reached base multiple times after starting the game. Nick Swisher walked but otherwise took an 0-for-4 to run hit hitless streak up to 28 at-bats. That’s rough. Nix was the only starter to play the entire game as Joe Girardi emptied his September-reinforced bench to rest the regulars in the late innings. It’s been a long, long time since the Yankees were able to pull someone for rest in a game.

Granderson became the first Yankee to pick up three hits off the bench since Jorge Posada last June. Posada replaced Mark Teixeira at first base in the very first inning of that game against the Red Sox after a hit-by-pitch, so he had eight offensive innings to do it. Curtis did it in four. The last player before Posada to have three hits off the bench was Brett Gardner, who did it twice in the span of a week back in May 2009.

The ten-run margin of victory was New York’s largest of the season, eclipsing the nine runs they beat these very same Orioles by on August 1st. After scoring just 19 runs in the first six games of this ten-game stretch, the Yankees pushed across 31 runs in the last four games. The win evened the season series at nine apiece, so the Bombers avoided their first season series loss to Baltimore since 1997.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights while ESPN has the updated standings. The Rays pounded the Rangers thanks to three homers from B.J. Upton, who of course I sat in fantasy. The Yankees are back atop the AL East by one game while Tampa remains two back. The magic number is down to 22, so I think I’m going to throw the counter up in the sidebar tomorrow.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

The Yankees are off on Monday and will head up to the Boston for a three-game set with the last-place Red Sox. Hiroki Kuroda and Jon Lester will open that series on Tuesday night.

email
Murphy & Maruszak homer as Thunder advance to Championship Series
Fan Confidence Poll: September 10th, 2012
  • RetroRob

    Glad I missed Saturday night’s game, or at least the ending.

    Lots of sub-.500 teams the remainder of the way.

  • Kramerica Industries

    Rays and O’s play three games in Baltimore, simultaneous to the Yankees at Fenway.

    I think it goes without saying the Yankees need to at least win this series at Fenway – they should sweep, but I don’t want to go that far with expectations.

    O’s are one game back. Rays are two. What do we want to see happen? Rays/O’s sweep, or a 2/3 job, series winner irrelevant?

    Since I still think the Rays are better, I want the O’s to have a big series. Especially since the Yankees are on the back-end of this roadtrip for the Rays. Chance for the Rays to have a season-killing roadtrip.

    • DERP

      I just want the Orioles to go away. Everything about that franchise sucks. Rays sweep preferable.

    • Pat D

      A sweep by the Rays would be best, provided the Yankees also sweep. Would keep Tampa 2 back and push Baltimore 4 back.

      If the Yankees only win 2, Tampa winning 2 is probably best. Both teams would be 2 back.

      • JAG

        How about a Tampa sweep that also completely depletes their bullpen, maybe a minor nagging injury or two? That way they knock the Orioles down a bunch of games and then set themselves up to lose a bunch of games themselves because their pen is exhausted and their team is playing at reduced strength. Nothing serious or long-lasting, but just enough to take something out of them.

        • Kramerica Industries

          I’m just not sure why we, for lack of better term, “want” the Rays to be the successful ones, in this case.

          Yes, the O’s are the 2nd place team. The margin is also a paltry game – nothing when there are six meetings left.

          I would love for the Rays to be four-five games back before they play the Yankees. Not only because of the security it provides, but because it would also give the Yankees the chance to really end the Rays chances at catching them in the standings. Unlike the Trop, the Yankees have done a solid job against the Rays in the Bronx.

          There’s a better chance of this being a two-team race between the Yankees and Orioles than a two-team race between the Yankees and Rays. Factor in the O’s simply not being as good a team – it’s a no-brainer to me, personally.

          • Rocky Road Redemption

            For my part, I don’t really care who the race is between. I never like picking which team ‘d “rather” face. It never seems to work out. I guess a series split would be the nicest outcome-or maybe 3 of 4 from the O’s since we’re only one game up on them.

    • MannyGeee

      what is preferable is they beat eachother up and tire themselves out like little ridalin kids… That way we dont need to see or hear from them.

  • Anthony

    If you ignore the starting pitching, today was exactly what most of us have been dying to see: a revitalized offense and a dominant ‘pen… in the same game! Lets hope we can continue it against the triple A Sox.

  • blake

    Jeter only 4 points away from Trout in the batting race now….would be very cool if he could get that batting title he’s been close to but never gotten….he deserves one.

    • jim p

      Would be very cool, and would help with an MVP bid, however slight his chances.

      He’s also, I think it’s five or six hits from surpassing Willie Mays in all-time hits. Willie Mays, for heaven’s sake, one of the greatest players ever!

      • Laz

        Jeter won’t be mvp. He has had a good year, but you really can’t ignore the years that Trout, Miggy, and Hamilton have had.

    • EDDARD

      I’ve been saying all along that Jete deserves the MVP for how he’s kept the club afloat amidst all these injuries. And if Trout fails to lead his team to the playoffs and Jeter’s wins the division I don’t see how voters can give it to Trout.

      • Rocky Road Redemption

        Because one player doesn’t have the magical ability to make a bad team good, except in the way his play influences it. It’s not Trout’s fault if he plays on a non-playoff team. He’s doing the best he can.

      • hogsmog

        I don’t think you could say Trout failed to lead his team to the playoffs if they don’t make it. He’s been leading pretty damn well; he can’t control if they follow him or not.

      • Laz

        Hamilton has 40 hr so far as a centerfielder. Jeter has been good, but the stats the others have put up have been outrageous.

        • vicki

          i take nothing away from josh, but he’s played nigh as much in left as he has in center. captain gets the edge for premium position points.

    • MannyGeee

      fuck the MVP as its all subjective and you need to blow someones dick out of the water (see A-Rods 55 HRs in 2005 & 2007) to be a Yankee and win it.

      Get that batting title, and pile it on with another ring, thanks

  • Rocky Road Redemption

    Unfortunately, we still have the A’s and Rays twice before the season ends.

    Ugh. I do NOT want the wildcard (although I’ll take it over missing the playoffs overall).

    Imagine how much it would suck to waste away the whole season in one arbitrary playoff game. Just leave one fucking wildcard, or at least make it a three game series.

  • forensic

    Boo to not being able to see Donnie in the magic number countdown.

    But yay for being past it at least.

  • Brian S.

    Hiroki-Phelps-Hughes against Boston. Just like last series.

    • Brian S.

      Minus Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford of course.

      • CUYanks

        And Aceves pitching in the 2nd inning. He’ll be available for ~250 pitches this series.

  • mt

    I had hoped for 2/4 in Baltimore (although I thought we would win the Sabathia game and lose today’s Garcia game.) so I am relatively happy –

    People say we suck against lefties due to Nix, Pearce, McGehee, Jones, et al. getting at bats but the only games we actually have won over the last two weeeks in a thirteen game stretch were ones lost by lefty starters (Ricky Romero 2-1 victory, the 2 Chen games, today’s Britton game, and the Matt Moore game) – we haven’t beat a righthanded starter or won a game started by a righthander since the Ubaldo Jimenez game two weeks ago (should have won the Henderson Alavarez game if Soriano had not imploded but that was also almost two weeks ago.)

    Since we face 2 lefties in Boston, maybe 2/3 is reasonable even though Phelps or Nova starts on Wednesday against Cook.

    I also disagree when people look at our schedule and assume we will dominate when we play Twins, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. Yanks have needed to play better for weeks and yes, there are positive signs with the hitting but now the pitching is a concern – losing three straight Sabathia starts is incredible, Phelps/Garcia looking very shaky, Kuroda regressing a bit (from absolutely dominant to just pretty good and unfortunately more homer-prone) and Hughes’ diminished fastball velocity which may be evidence of fatigue from huge increase in innings over last year(he did well with slider/cutter and curve the last time on Friday but I suspect it will be a continuing struggle especially as he approaches middle innings of games with an 89-91 mph fastball). Nova, who was dreadful before he hit DL, is our replacement starter for Phelps or Garcia.

    Somebody needs to step up in starting staff (Kuroda?, Pettite?, a magicallly recharged Nova?-) we can’t do extended bullpen games for the rest of the year.

    (I am encouraged by Joba and Wade, though.)

  • dkidd

    sox are as lifeless as i’ve ever seen an mlb team.

    sox series = reverse lock

    • MannyGeee

      its awesome…. NO ONE is talking Red Sox right now in Boston. Only Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo because they do the broadcasts…

      Funny how quickly it becomes football season in other towns, isnt it?

  • Austin Aunelowitzky (formerly Paul VuvuZuvella)

    “I suppose it wasn’t a complete disaster”
    I’ll take that right now. Forward, onward, further….

  • EDDARD

    The offense is back. Alex and Jete are carrying the team just like old time. Swisher needs a day off tomorrow and he’ll get one. Curtis drove the ball. Cano contributed. Nix should be playing for Jones in LF from now on vs lefties.

    Joba is back. He showed great stuff today and bailed out our starter. We’ll finally have our bridge to the 8th inning and if Robertson insists on not throwing the curve then they can insert Joba in that 8th inning role.

    The Red Sox are fielding an AAA lineup and have shown no interest in playing for their lame duck manager. They want him fired and so does everyone else in Boston. We should be able to help them out by taking all 3 games.

    • Laz

      Arod really has helped. It means less of seeing Nix, Ibanez, and Jones; and more good at bats. Ibanez can still dh which means ibanez doesn’t play.

    • MannyGeee

      guarantee Bobby V gets let go Wednesday night to deflect from the ass kicking the Sox will be taking

  • Kramerica Industries

    Red Sox are 8-20 in home games against the AL East.

    Their loss today clinched a losing record at Fenway for the first time in God knows how many years.

    Really gotta batten down the hatches here.

    • Kramerica Industries

      1997, I suppose.

      39-42 that year. This will also be the first season since 1997 where Boston will finish below .500 overall. That team was 78-84 – this team is on pace to blow well past that.

      • forensic

        A week or two ago I was looking that up and said if they finish really poorly it’d be their worst season since somewhere in the mid-60’s or so, I don’t remember the exact season or record though. I didn’t think it would happen because they’d have to be really bad down the stretch. Well, now I’m changing my mind as they’re pretty well just going through the motions at this point.

        • Rick in Philly

          In 1966, the Sox went 70-92, a .444 winning percentage. I doubt they repeat history and reverse their record next year, like Boston did in 1967, when they went 92-70 and went to Game 7 of the World Series.

  • Matt

    I’m starting to think that Garcia is in fact well suited for the bullpen. In his starts, he always does well the first time through the order, and then they adjust. Out of the bullpen, he will be able to throw a few mph harder, and will only need to pitch 2-3 innings.

    He can fill the role of the guy that comes in if the starter gets knocked out in the 3rd or 4th inning, and throws up 2 or 3 zeroes to keep the team close until the offense can rally. Alternately, you can also use him around the 5th or 6th inning in middle relief.

    Then when Pettitte comes back, you put Phelps back in the bullpen where he can ramp up his FB velocity by a few mph and fool hitters with all of his pitches like he was doing earlier in the year. All of a sudden, you end up with a pretty solid bullpen.

    • Matt

      Potential playoff bullpen (if they make it):

      Garcia
      Hughes/Nova (I’d put Hughes here if Nova looks good enough starting again, since he has experience out of the pen)
      Phelps
      Wade
      Logan
      Joba
      Robertson
      Soriano

      • jesse

        Don’t think you need an 8-man bullpen in the playoffs. Lose Garcia and add the extra bench player.

  • Rocky Road Redemption

    Is it wrong that I want to see Jeter win an MVP even if somebody else is wrongfully deprived?

    I mean, come on, Trout is young. He has his whole career ahead of him. Who knows how many good years Jeter has left?

    I know this is an awful argument, but I really want Jeter to win…

    • Big Members Only (formerly RI$P FTW)

      I don’t want him to win it. It could cost them more in 2014.

      • Rocky Road Redemption

        Meh, let’s worry about that then. Right now I want our favorite son to win a really cool piece of hardware.

      • Get Phelps Up

        He’ll exercise his player option for 2014 regardless.

        • forensic

          The awards raise his salary though, I assume that’s what he’s talking about.

          • Brian S.

            Oh I didn’t realize.

        • Brian S.

          Exactly. We have him for 17 mil next year and 8.5 mil in 2014.

          • forensic

            That $8.5 million isn’t happening.

            Via Cot’s:

            ?2014 option may increase to $17M based on awards earned in 2011-13: $4M for AL MVP; $2M for 2nd-6th in MVP vote; $1.5M for Silver Slugger; $0.5M each for Gold Glove, ALCS MVP, WS MVP
            ?if 2014 option is exercised at less than $17M, Jeter may earn same bonuses in 2014, up to $17M

            The 2nd-6th is probably a sure thing this year, making the option $10.5. Maybe also a silver slugger, which makes it $12. Winning MVP would be $14 million.

            • Get Phelps Up

              I didn’t realize all of this existed. Still, I would love to see him win it and worry about this later.

              • forensic

                Oops, his option is actually $8, not $8.5, so subtract $.5 from one of those salaries.

                But still, I’m with you. I’m just frustrated that it seems like it’s so difficult for this team to get under $189, which it shouldn’t be (at least in a vacuum).

                • forensic

                  Geez, subtract from each of those salaries, not from one….

            • MannyGeee

              Gold Glove is a given, and I would say hes on pace to place in the MVP race… so he’ll be looking at $10.5M in 2014?

      • forensic

        Hopefully the $2 million difference won’t be such a big deal. Though it’d kind of suck if that pushed them over $189 million.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Brain cells just died reading that.

        • forensic

          Usually he’s a dumbass, but I don’t see what’s so wrong about saying that, given how tough it will be for them to get under $189 that year and how much his option salary could increase.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            It just smells of trying way too hard to think way too much. :)

    • Get Phelps Up

      I have this exact same feeling pretty much.

    • Brian S.

      Jeter was deprived in 1999 and 2006. If he steals one this year I will give zero fucks.

      • MannyGeee

        as unlikely and illogical as it seems, I completely agree. not *A* fuck will be given if Jeter steals one

      • Yankee Fan 1

        This. And I really don’t care if the yankees have to pay him some extra bonus money :shrug:

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Of course it’s not wrong. Are you an Angels fan? Who gives a shit, then? I always want my guy to win the award, even if some other guy deserved it more. There are places where “justice” matters a hell of a lot more. Go Captain.

      • Rocky Road Redemption

        Well, it’s more “wrong” because I much prefer players to be judged by how they deserve to be judged statistically-thus, if Jim Rice shouldn’t be in the HOF, then what the heck is Scooter doing there?

        But emotionally, go Captain!

        • Robinson Tilapia

          It’s never wrong to go with emotion. St. Peter will not refuse to let you through the pearly gates because you rooted against Trout in the MVP race in 2012.

          • Rocky Road Redemption

            I don’t think you’re understanding the cosmic importance of baseball… ;-)

        • jim p

          Fame. As in “Hall of…” I think in this computer-driven stats era we forget that being famous is actually a factor.

          It’s why I think Jorge belongs. While probably the best hitting catcher of his era not named Piazza (Mauer doesn’t have the longevity yet), he certainly is well known to fans of many teams who watched post-season and/or divisional baseball.

          • WhittakerWalt

            “…being famous is actually a factor.”

            Is this Colin Cowherd?

        • vicki

          yogi got scooter in the hall, which is awesome. eff jim rice.

        • MannyGeee

          counterpoint: the award is completely subjective. So I guess we are entitled to say Jeter deserves it because he got fucked in 1999 and 2006 just like the voters are entitled to say Justin Mourneau deserves one because he has less talent around him in Minnesota.

    • Laz

      Bad arguement. If he deserves it then ok, but if not he shouldn’t win. Most Valuable Player should win it, not oldest good player that hasn’t been won.

    • Deep Thoughts

      Because without an MVP, how will Jeter’s career and talents be validated? How will we know if he’s really a valuable player?

      Jeter has never given two shits about any of these awards except a World Series Championship and neither should you.

  • Get Phelps Up

    I like those WPA graphs where the opponent has a WE of 0.0% by the bottom of the 8th inning.

  • Matt

    And by the way, Cory Wade looks excellent now. His control is much better, and his fastball is back up to 89-90 mph. If he isn’t fatigued anymore, you have to think about using him in higher leverage situations again. He could be a key piece for them down the stretch.

  • Edmond

    Redsux never give the yanks an easy time! Don’t expect an ez series! I don’t think the team is either, especially if we play in Boston and that pesky pedroia

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Nice win. Let’s see how they do against the ghost of the Boston Red Sox. Every day that passes with the Yanks at first is another day closer to the end. Extending the lead would be kind of wonderful, wouldn’t it?

  • DT

    Gotta say it. We were potentially one blown call away from leaving Baltimore taking 3 out of 4 and up 3 games. Fucking umps. But what can you do? The Offense (except Swisher) has shown a lot of life in the past 5 games. Kudos.

  • forensic

    First full game I got to watch in a few days and it sure was nice to see them looking like a real team again.

    Now, because I’m an idiot, I’m going to go back and watch my DVR’d games where they didn’t look so good…

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Dont do it!!

      Seriously, no need to take one for the team there. :)

      • forensic

        Heh, I can’t help it.

        I watch every game all the way through (well, except games against the Angels and sometimes the A’s because I can’t stand the Angels announcers and sometimes the A’s announcer are annoying too) so I know exactly what’s been going on with my own eyes and even sometimes they actually include good analysis or stats out of nowhere.

        Been a busy week, so I missed a bunch. Nap times on my next couple days off always help me catch up though. :-)

  • captain kiwi

    tim brown wrote a nice piece on today’s win. might be the wine talking, but i like the overall motif! DIDN’T HURT

  • Rocky Road Redemption

    Reading this blog makes me realize how fun it is to be the only sober guys in a room of drunks. (I actually can’t get drunk because it would interact with the seizure meds I’m taking. I don’t really care, and I’m starting to see the advantages.)

    • forensic

      I’m sotally tober…

      /Simpsonsfromlongago

  • Brian S.

    Testicles.

  • vicki

    recap shouted out jorgie and ggbg. so cool.

  • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

    Joba, Wade, and Grandy all put on their big boy pants for this one. How refreshing.

    I think it’s time we thank Freddy for the handful of solid starts he’s pitched in because I don’t think we’ll see another one.