Ibanez carries Yankees to extra innings win over Red Sox; Yanks maintain sole possession of first


I think this is the third time in the last two weeks that I’ve called a game the best win of the season, but I’m doing it again anyway: Tuesday’s walk-off win over the Red Sox was the best win of the season. These last few weeks sure have been fun.

(Al Bello/Getty)

Raul Ibanez, True Yankee™

Ibanez has had a number of big hits for the Yankees this season, most notably his recent two-homer game off the bench against the Athletics. That game featured his first pinch-hit homer of the season, and this game featured his second. Eduardo Nunez had gone 2-for-3 with a double earlier in the game, but Joe Girardi called him back to the bench with a man on first and no outs in the ninth, opting to use Ibanez against the right-handed Andrew Bailey. The skipper was going for the kill.

Bailey went all fastball against Ibanez, throwing a first pitch four-seamer for a called strike and a second pitch cutter for a called ball. Raul fouled off the third pitch cutter to set up the unfavorable 1-2 count, but Bailey made a mistake and … well … bailed him out. Ibanez turned on the thigh-high 93 mph four-seamer on the outer half, the same pitch he took for strike one, for a line drive, game-tying, two-run homer to right. It was probably a Yankee Stadium cheapie but it wasn’t a wall-scraper, landing two or three rows back. The true line drive blast was just another big hit in a season full of ‘em. Ho hum.

(Al Bello/Getty)

Straight To Monument Park

Oh but way, Ibanez was not done. The Yankees and Red Sox traded zeroes for a few extra innings, and it looked like the two clubs were headed to the 13th when Andrew Miller got an 0-2 count on Frankie Cervelli with two outs in the 12th. Instead of just bowing out, Cervelli — in his first plate appearance of the season — worked Miller hard and drew a big two-out walk. Seriously, going 0-2 to a walk is no easy task and Frankie deserves a ton of credit. The Yankees don’t win the game without him.

Curtis Granderson, the kind if hitter that Miller should eat alive with his slider, followed Cervelli’s walk with one of his own. His came on four pitches, however. That brought Ibanez to the plate, and again you’d expect Miller to put him away with his slider. Instead, he got cute with an 0-1 fastball that was down in the zone but caught a little too much of the plate. The result? Well, look…

Nothing fancy, just a ground ball through the hole the other way off a tough left-hander to win the game. It’s exactly the type of hit you would not expect Ibanez to get. The dude has been unbelievable this season. FanGraphs says Raul has been worth just 0.1 WAR this year, but by my count he’s been worth at least two wins these last two weeks. (h/t @MichaelMase)

Phelps Does His Part

(Al Bello/Getty)

David Phelps made this start because Ivan Nova pitched his way out of the rotation, and he gave the team what they needed by allowing just two runs in 5.1 innings. Both runs scored in the very first inning as Dustin Pedroia doubled in Jacoby Ellsbury and Cody Ross plated Pedroia with a sacrifice fly. All of that happened within the first four batters of the game, then Phelps went on to retire 15 of the next 17 and 16 of the next 19 men he faced. He settled in very nicely before exiting the game with a man on first and one out.

The 25-year-old Phelps finished the season at 99.2 innings, so he was one measly out shy of become the first true first-year pitcher — so not counting Nova last season — to throw at least 100 innings for the Yankees since Chien-Ming Wang in 2005. Prior to Wang you have to go back to Orlando Hernandez in 1998 and Andy Pettitte in 1995. Phelps was rock solid in whatever role he was used and certainly took advantage of the opportunity he was given out of Spring Training. Remember, if Michael Pineda hadn’t gotten hurt, Freddy Garcia would have been the long man and Phelps would have started the year back in Triple-A.


Bullpen On Parade

Once Phelps exited the game, Girardi predictably and rightfully went to his core relievers. Boone Logan escaped the sixth inning jam with a fly ball and a strikeout before giving way to Joba Chamberlain. Joba allowed a single to immortal Pedro Ciriaco with one out, and he immediately stole second. A line out to right and a big, big strikeout of Jacoby Ellsbury followed. David Robertson struck out two in a perfect eighth, and then came Rafael Soriano for the ninth.

The Yankees were down 2-1 when the closer entered the game, and the first batter he faced — the awful James Loney — launched a solo homer to right for an important insurance run. Soriano has now allowed five homers in his last 15 appearances (16 innings), which is a concern. He recovered to complete the inning and then tacked on a scoreless tenth for good measure. It was Rafi’s first outing of more than four outs of the season, and his 43 pitches were his most since back in 2005. Given all that’s on the line in Game 162, I’m sure he’ll be available. Maybe not for two innings, but available.

Once Ibanez knotted the game up at three and Soriano threw his second inning, Girardi gave the ball to Derek Lowe, who has very obviously climbed the bullpen pecking order. I think he may be in the Circle of Trust™ at this point. Lowe put men on-base in both the 11th and 12th innings, but rebounded both times to escape the inning. All told, the bullpen allowed just the one run (Loney’s homer) in 6.2 innings of work, giving the offense a chance to both tie and win the game. They’ve been leaky at times this year, but the relief corps has really stepped it up in crunch time.

The Goat, And I Don’t Mean “Greatest Of All-Time”

(Christopher Pasatieri/Getty)

Batting Mark Teixeira ahead of the molten hot Robinson Cano after he’d spent the last six weeks injured was not go down as one of Girardi’s brightest ideas, and it came back to bite him multiple times. Jon Lester was teetering on the brink of disaster all night — just like his last start against the Yankees — but yet again the Yankees couldn’t cash the check he was writing. They had the leadoff man on-base in three of his five innings and at least two men on-base in four of those five innings, yet only scored one run.

Teixeira gets the majority of the blame because he ended three of those five innings, including two with double plays with men on the corners. All three of those outs were identical as well, weak little ground balls tapped right to the shortstop. The icing on the cake was the ninth inning pop-up with the bases loaded, a 2-1 fastball right out over the plate that somehow broke Teixeira’s bat. I know Mark Melancon has pretty good stuff, but I’m not sure how that happens. At -.618 WPA (!), this was the second worst game of the season (among all player in MLB) and the worst of Teixeira’s ten-year career. Insanity.

(Al Bello/Getty)


Underrated moment of the game: Brett Gardner getting picked off first to end the eighth. It was a big play not necessarily because it ended the inning and a potential rally, but because it allowed Granderson to leadoff the ninth against a right-hander instead of batting against the lefty Craig Breslow. Granderson has greatly improved against southpaws these last few years, but you’d still rather have him facing a righty. Curtis singled to open the ninth and one batter later, Ibanez tied it up with his homer.

The Yankees almost won the game in the 11th inning when Alex Rodriguez hit a deep drive to left-center that Ellsbury hauled in on the warning track for the final out. It was the best ball Alex has hit in a while and frankly, it’s a ball he puts in the seats two or three years ago. Nick Swisher was on first and would have scored the winning run even if the ball clanked off the wall for a double. Other than that, A-Rod went 2-for-5 with a walk in the game, and both hits came with men in scoring position and didn’t score a run. I think the Yankees lead the league in those.

Derek Jeter went 2-for-6, extending his on-base streak to 33 games. That is the second longest single-season streak of his career following a 42-gamer back in 2000. Cano also went 2-for-6, extending his multi-hit game streak to eight. Both hits came during the first nine innings, so he didn’t need the benefit of extra innings to keep the streak alive. Bernie Williamsten games in 2002 — has the longest multi-hit game streak in franchise history. Teixeira was the only starter with out a hit while Russell Martin (1-for-4) and Ichiro (1-for-5) were the only other starters without multiple hits. Sixteen hits and five walks in 12 offensive innings is quite a bit of baserunners.

Logan made his 80th appearances of the season, setting a new franchise record for a left-handed pitcher. He got two outs to clean up the sixth inning in relief of Phelps. The only other relievers in team history to appear in 80+ games in one season are Tom Gordon (2004), Paul Quantrill (2004), and Scott Proctor (2006). That doesn’t exactly portend good things for Boone’s left arm going forward.

The Yankees came into the game sporting an 0-58 record when trailing after eight innings, so they picked a good time for their first win. I mean, it really should be two wins following the extra innings comeback against the Athletics two weeks ago. Coming back from four down in the 13th qualifies as a big comeback in my book.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

Now that is a fun graph. MLB.com has the box score and video highlights while ESPN has the updated standings. Jamie Shields threw the game of his career (9 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 15 K) against the Orioles but still lost 1-0 because his teammates are terrible. The Yankees still lead the AL East by one game though, and they’ll clinch the division crown on Wednesday with a win or an Orioles loss. A win also clinches the best record in the league regardless of what anyone else does. Pretty awesome to control your own destiny.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

It’s the final game of the regular season. Kinda hard to believe, no? Hiroki Kuroda and Daisuke Matsuzaka will square off in what I unofficially count as the ninth game featuring two Japanese-born starters in big league history. Don’t quote me on that. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the Wednesday night game.

Categories : Game Stories


  1. Scheister says:

    So did the batted ball hit Frankie?

  2. Nebkreb says:

    The Slide That Turned A Season Around

  3. Drew says:

    What a great game. Too bad Phelps clutch start will be forgotten from all the madness.

  4. UpstateYank says:


  5. Mattchu12 says:

    If you had said in April that Raul Ibanez and Francisco Cervelli would ultimately be the key to winning the division, you would have been slapped in the face.
    I, for one, will be slapping myself, because I still can’t believe it.

  6. Cano fan #1 says:


  7. Adam P says:

    So if we still had the old wild card system the Americal League would be just as exciting right now. Two teams that will have their division decided on the last day.

    Who needs two wild cards?

    • BigBlueAL says:

      The two wild cards is the reason these games mean so much for the Yankees because of the importance of winning the division. The exact opposite of 2010.

      • CUYanks says:

        Somewhat true, but with Oakland so close to overtaking Bal/NYY, these games would have been hugely important even in the previous format.

        • Hall and Nokes says:

          It would be madness under last year’s format, really. Four teams still fighting out 3 spots on the last day?

          It would also have been madness under the pre-1969 format.

          And under the 1969-1993 format.

          Come to think of it, this is the least exciting format to deal with 4 teams that are within 1 game of each other on the last day. It could end up being more tedious than anything.

          • Adam P says:

            Exactly Hall! All the teams are “in*” the post-season, it is just a matter of what seed. Last year, someone ain’t making it.

            * Of course “in” possibly means a one game play-in and not the “true” post-season, but whatevah.

    • Now Batting says:

      Not really…the Yankees wouldn’t care about winning tomorrow since they clinched the WC tomorrow

    • CUYanks says:

      There is really only 1 clear winner and 1 clear loser with this new format. Winner: Cardinals. Loser: Braves. After finishing in the first spot out last year, and now being the one team most penalized this year, Braves fans have a reason to be annoyed.

    • hogsmog says:

      I think it actually works in a pretty elegant way, both giving more teams a chance to play in the postseason while at the same time giving a much greater incentive to duke it out for the division title.

  8. OldYanksFan says:

    Our Bench: Raul, Chavez and Ichiro have put us in the PS. We don’t get there without them. And good things happy when Frankie Brains is around. A great AB by him.

  9. flamingo says:

    I didn’t want the Yankees to sign him. Thankfully Cashman doesn’t listen to me.

    • Neil says:

      Same here. I wanted Damon. Now I’m thinking I want Raul here next year again. DH, a little OF and much more rested at the end of the season.

      • RetroRob says:

        Raul’s value is he’s had some very timely and big hits. Kind of reminds me of Melky in 2009. His value was higher than what WAR or OPS+ will show. Yet that’s unlikely to continue. It’s been great he’s been here, but I wouldn’t let his timely hits prevent the Yankees from seeking another option for next season.

      • Bartolo's Colon says:

        no raul in the of please!

  10. CUYanks says:

    Now that we say the Yanks actually have the inside track for the number 1 seed (though they could still be knocked all the way into the WC), which team would suffer most from the 1-game WC playoff, Baltimore, Oakland, or Texas? It’s interesting because I feel like none of them have an obvious number 1 like Verlander (or Price, or Sabathia, or many of the NL teams).

  11. Bob Buttons the Cat says:

    Statistics alone will never be able to express how awesome Ibanez has been for us this season. There should be a Most Valuable Platoon Player award for him.

  12. DM says:

    I thought Ibanez was released a long time ago. Remember? It was right after Chavez went on the DL with his season ending injury. Horrible waste of 2mil plus incentives.

  13. Rocky Road Redemption says:

    And at one point we had a 92.9% chance of losing. Beautiful.

  14. Now Batting says:


  15. CUYanks says:

    One thing’s for certain, the Braves must be rooting for the Dodgers to make the cards use Wainwright tomorrow. Looking like the Cards will get a rest day.

  16. Rocky Road Redemption says:

    In conclusion: This new wildcard system sucks.

    • CUYanks says:

      I agree with this, regardless of how much it helps/hurts the Yankees this year. Why Dilute the playoffs and weaken the importance of a 162 game regular season.

      • Mike says:

        I enjoy it. I just don’t like the 1 game playoff.

        I mentioned this in a previous article once, instead of a 1 game playoff, and instead of a best of 3 cause of all the traveling, have a 2 game series

        WC #1 hosts WC #2 in back to back games. The top WC team has to win 1 game to advance. If they win the first game, don’t bother with the 2nd. The WC 2 team has to win Both games to advance.

        Kind of like being up 3-2 in a best of 7 series with the last 2 at home, needing 1 to win, and the other team needing 2 road victories to win.

    • JLC 776 says:

      When it punishes a top 3 team, yes.

  17. CUYanks says:

    Cervelli earned a potential WS ring tonight.

  18. Rocky Road Redemption says:

    Great gif, but I’d rather see the HR gif personally.

  19. Get Phelps Up says:

    The loser of the WC game should win the AL Central.

    • Rocky Road Redemption says:

      Heh. I like that idea.

      • CUYanks says:

        Nah, the Angels and Rays, with their superior records, should also have a shot at it to. And the Astros.

        • Eddard reboot v.1.0 says:

          They should write a rule where if a division winner has a worse record than both WC teams then the best WC team should be a defacto division winner and the actual division winner and the 2nd WC team would play in the one game playoff. Then you’re still giving some credit to winning the division but also putting the team that wins a division with a bad record, in this case the Tigers, at a disadvantage. And no WC team gets to start at home. That’s just ridiculous, and all to save one travel day. Bud is an idiot.

          • CUYanks says:

            They should write in a rule that if you clinch your division with the 7th best record in the league a week before all the better teams, you must play mandatory triple-headers each day with a 15-man roster of only your starting lineup and 5 starters, and 1 closer.

            Also, the games must go 15 innings instead of 9, with 5 outs per inning, 7 balls for a walk, 10 required for a strikeout, and every single play on the bases will be called by Jerry Meals/ Tim Welke, with Joe West/Bob Davidson handling the balls and strikes.

            Also, no fouls.

  20. The Real Greg says:

    What the Yankees should do if they get the number 1 seed is go to the location of the WC game on Friday. And then either fly at the same time as the road team to their place or stay in the home team’s town to play the next day.

  21. Christopher says:

    Maybe I picked the only bar in NYC to watch game that had O fans, but it worked out and nobody got punched! Go Raul! Go Yanks!!

  22. Pat D says:

    This was definitely a glass case of emotion kind of game.

  23. Rocky Road Redemption says:

    Imagine: After everything that has occurred the Yankees may finish with not only the division title but the number 1 seed in the AL.

    When you think about it it’s pretty amazing that we’ve been complaining about them so much.

    You know what this tells you? If they could lose ten games in the standings and STILL pull out the number 1 seed then they are REALLY good.

    • JMK says:

      Or that all the teams are heavily flawed but we notice the flaws of the Yankees much more because, well, most of us probably don’t see a heck of a lot of other teams on a regular basis.

      But yeah, it’s a good team overall. The problem, as I see it, is there isn’t a single element of the team that is very reliable.

      I don’t mean that in the meta sense, just that there are big questions on the offense (will anyone not named Cano or Jeter show up regularly?), the rotation (though CC has really solidified things of late) and the bullpen (I don’t need to explain that one).

      • Rocky Road Redemption says:

        All teams are heavily flawed, but then being the best team in the AL after blowing a ten game lead has to mean something about or talent.

    • BigBlueAL says:

      Funny thing is if the Yankees never got a 10 game lead, say their biggest lead maxed out at 5 or 6, we (or at least me lol) probably wouldnt have been bitching and complaining so much the past couple of months.

      If they win tomorrow though in the end it doesnt matter how they got there the fact is they win 95 games and are the best team in the AL during the regular season. Again.

  24. Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle says:

    ugh…I just realized the Presidential Debate starts at 9 tomorrow…or probably around the 6th inning of the most important game of the season. That really sucks.

  25. Eddard reboot v.1.0 says:

    The Presidential debate is meaningless. Tomorrow’s 3 ballgames- Texas/Oakland for the AL West crown and Baltimore/Tampa and NYY/Boston for the AL East crown is what America should be watching. I’ll tell you in advance who will win the debate- Obama. Sitting Presidents are too hard to beat especially when the challenger isn’t charismatic or inspiring.

  26. Neil says:

    Letterman said the first debate is on domestic issues, the second is on foreign policy and the third is on dog owners who look like their dogs! I’m waiting for that last one.

  27. Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle says:

    If Oakland holds on do we move into first for best record?

    • The Real Greg says:

      I believe so. Yankees 94-67
      O’s, A’s and Rangers are 93-68

      • AndrewYF says:

        All the Yankees have to do to get #1 seed is win. However, if the Yankees lose, they’ll need both Baltimore AND Oakland to lose to retain best record. So they really want to win.

  28. Rich in NJ says:

    There is no in-between with Ibanez. He is either clutch² or he sucks. Fortunately, it’s currently the former.

  29. Get Phelps Up says:

    The Rangers have officially blown a 13 game lead.

    • Rocky Road Redemption says:

      That has to be the second biggest collapse in number of games blown to the 78′ Sox (14.5). I don’t know how to check that though.

      • RetroRob says:

        I have a hard time viewing what the Rangers have done as a “collapse.” I generally save that term for what we saw last year with the Red Sox and the Braves, or the Mets a few years back. They just muddled along and were caught by a team playing .680 ball the last 82 games, or half season. It’s especially not fitting since the Rangers are in the postseason regardless.

        Last year’s Red Sox and Braves, the Mets, and the Red Sox from ’78 are historic. The Rangers in 2012? Won’t be remembered.

  30. Need Pitching & Hitting says:

    Chris Davis is second on that worst WPA list. But at least he pitched 2 innings and got the win that game.

    Tex didn’t even pitch at all.

  31. dkidd says:

    rangers lose!

  32. Cy Pettitte says:

    I can’t wait for tomorrow’s 24 hour coverage of the Rangers collapse on ESPN, or do they only do that for NY?

    • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle says:

      Nope, it’s not the collapse that’s important in this case, it’s the Athletic’s cinderella story that’s really important.

  33. mustang says:

    I think they should DFA Ibanez because of his bad Spring Training numbers.

  34. CUYanks says:

    For all the complaining and seeming underperformance, the Yankees are 1 win against Dice-K away from 95 wins and the best record in the AL.

  35. Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle says:

    Herman Cain sounds just like Morgan Freeman. I would want him as president just for that reason alone.

  36. Tabbert says:

    Any chance the cardinals are still in the clubhouse watching this dodgers game? their game ended hours ago. LOL.

    Also… Did the orioles ever get to celebrate their playoff birth? They clinched while their plane was catching fire, and now they could be eliminated from the division tomorrow without a proper poppin bottles celebration.

  37. BENICIO DEL TORO says:

    Love this freaking team

  38. FIPster Doofus says:

    I’d like to cryogenically freeze myself until 7 p.m. tomorrow.


  39. tipsie says:

    I look at the final Texas-Oakland game as win-win for NYY: if Texas wins, NYY is #1 seed if it wins East (even if it’s with a loss & a Baltimore loss); if Oakland wins, Texas is the wild-card, and could be gone before the weekend. I still view Texas as the most dangerous team.

  40. Len S. says:

    He hit it with a chopstick. I’m still laughing over that one. David Cone for President!

  41. Tom Morea says:

    Wasn’t that a clutch performance last night by Teixiera?

  42. VT Yankee Fan says:

    I know the Yanks have the tie breaker against Texas but do they against Oakland as well? They split the season series 5-5.

  43. coolerking101 says:

    Let’s just hope the other teams in the league don’t use this game as a blueprint on how to get Cano out. All you have to do is put a running in scoring position and the guy is an automatic out. ;)

  44. JohnC says:

    How bout all the posters who were killing Cashman for signing Ibanez instead of Matsui or Damon?

  45. DJ4K&Monterowasdinero says:

    Hey-are my ARod/Ibanez comparisons banned?

    Ibanez has more HR’s, rbi’s, significantly less K’s, and a higher slugging %age in less abs.

    The good thing is he is 40 so there is hope for Alex.

    How about that for optimism?

  46. Robert says:

    Lets put this win in perspective NY YANKS 4
    Pawtucket 3

    • JohnC says:

      Really? Ellsbury, Pedroia, Cody Ross, Salty are Triple A players? Ciriaco is pretty good too. And is Lester a candiate for Pawtucket?

  47. Bartolo's Colon says:

    I am really hoping i get to see them celebrate winning the division/best record tonight in person. I bought single game tickets for this game back in April because I assumed it would be mo’s last regular season game and figured they would do something special for him. Please score like 10 run against dice k in about 3 innings.

    • CS Yankee says:

      Dice-BB and the 100M$ Gyro-ball versus a poor, aged, former NL West pitcher and the aged RISPfail, no range, overpaid Vets that need a parade.

      I’ll take the NYY, and the wildcard winner of the O’s and Rangers before having payback against the Tigers please.

  48. JohnC says:

    Nice to see Girardi finally come to his senses and keep Nunez in the lineup against lefties instead of “Smirky” Jones. HOpe this continues into the postseason

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