Apr
17

Yankees come back for win over Diamondbacks

By

This was one of those games the Yankees really had no business winning. Diamondbacks left-hander Wade Miley kept them completely off balance for the first six innings, and his pitch count was so manageable that it looked like a complete-game shutout was a very real possibility. Instead, the Bombers mounted a late-inning comeback and walked away with a very satisfying 4-3 win.

(Al Bello/Getty)

(Al Bello/Getty)

Bottom Of The Order Gets It Done
As I said, Miley was in complete control for most of the game. He held the Yankees to a single, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch in the first six innings, cruising into the seventh with his pitch count at 77. Kevin Youkilis made a first pitch out to start the seventh, but Ben Francisco started what proved to be the game-tying rally with a single down the line as the next batter. It was his first hit in pinstripes. Brennan Boesch followed a Frankie Cervelli strikeout with a bloop double to put men at second and third with two outs, setting things up for the bottom of the order. That’s usually a bad thing.

Instead, it turned out to be a very good thing on Wednesday. Eduardo Nunez took three straight pitches out of the zone in a two-strike count to load the bases with a walk, and five pitches later Jayson Nix put the Yankees on the board by forcing in a run with a bases loaded walk. Just like that, after cruising for most of the night, Miley was done. In came left-hander Tony Sipp to face Brett Gardner, who laced a two-strike single to the opposite field to plate two runs to tie the game. Nunez is pretty fast, but I thought the ball was hit too hard and fielded too cleanly by left-fielder A.J. Pollock to send him home. Thankfully the throw was pretty damn poor and he was safe easily.

Boesch, Nunez, Nix, and Gardner all reached base with two outs to extend the inning and tie the game. That’s the kind of stuff that won’t happy very often, but when it does it usually contributes to a win. The Yankees needed something unexpected like that to wake up because Miley had been lulling them to sleep for the first six innings. It really did look like a lost cause of most of the night.

(Al Bello/Getty)

(Al Bello/Getty)

Eight Innings Later…
The night started rather ominously for CC Sabathia, who allowed a bloop double and a two-run homer within his first eleven pitches of the game. His command was wavering and he was running a lot of deep counts … it sure looked like he was having an off night. It happens, but it’s never fun when it does.

Rather than wilt and put the team in a huge hole, Sabathia did what he always seems to do in this situations. He settled down and gave the offense a chance to get back into the game. After four of the first five men he faced reached base, just three hitters reached base against him in the next seven innings. Sabathia ended the night having thrown 108 pitches in eight innings, holding Arizona to just three runs. He did give up a lot of long fly ball outs, but he also struck out six, walked one, and threw a first pitch strike to 22 of 31 batters faced. Sabathia starts are like sex: even when they’re bad, they’re still pretty good.

(Al Bello/Getty)

(Al Bello/Getty)

Pinch-Homer
I thought Travis Hafner should have pinch-hit for Vernon Wells in the seventh, when there were two outs and men on second and third. The D’Backs brought in side-winding right-hander Brad Ziegler and his massive platoon split — career .242 wOBA against from righties and .369 from lefties — so everything seemed setup for the lefty pinch-hitter. Go-ahead run at third, insurance run at second, late innings, platoon advantage against the pitcher, short porch in right … instead Joe Girardi stuck with Wells, who grounded out on the first pitch to end the inning and rally.

Hafner was saved for Francisco’s spot, which came up with the bases empty and two outs in the following inning. Naturally, Pronk jumped all over a first pitch fastball from super-setup man David Hernandez and parked it in the right-center field seats for a go-ahead solo homer. It wasn’t quite Raul Ibanez-esque (these games are slightly less stressful than the ones Ibanez saved last year), but it was a damn clutch homerun. Even though I would have rather seen him hit against the low-slot righty with two men on-base, saving Hafner for Francisco’s spot worked out beautifully.

(Al Bello/Getty)

(Al Bello/Getty)

Leftovers
Mariano Rivera worked a perfect ninth for his fourth save of the season and second of the series. He’s worked back-to-back nights now, so I wonder if Girardi will stay away from him on Thursday given his age and the knee surgery and all that. They’ve been taking it easier on Mo in recent years. If they do play it safe again, David Robertson figures to be the closer du jour.

The Yankees only had six hits as a team — doubles by Wells and Boesch, singles by Francisco and Gardner (two), and the homer by Pronk. Youkilis took a pitch to the elbow armor while Nunez and Nix (two) drew walks. That’s all the offense right there. I guess timing is everything. Six of 12 batters reached base in the sixth and seventh innings while just four of 21 batters reached base in the other six offensive innings.

Gardner almost made an insane sliding catch in right-center field — close to right than center, really — but the ball was just out of his reach on the warning track. It fell for a Josh Wilson triple, and he later came around to score on a sac fly. Would have been some catch, Gardner ranged a long way. Very long way.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Now that is the kind of WPA graph I’ve been waiting to see since the season started. Good stuff. MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some additional stats, and ESPN the updated standings.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
It’s so nice not to have to rely on Phil Hughes to avoid the series loss, no? The Yankees will instead send the right-hander to the mound with a chance to complete the sweep on Thursday. He’ll be opposed by left-hander Patrick Corbin. Check out RAB Tickets for some last minute deals.

Categories : Game Stories

108 Comments»

  1. Kramerica Industries says:

    When it blasted hell did Brett Gardner hit a grand slam? I cannot remember this, and I know I should.

  2. trr says:

    love dem come from behind wins!

  3. Govin says:

    I left when the Yankees were two down and come back and they won it three four. I really like all of the two out run production that has been going on lately (last nights game excluded)

  4. Pseudoyanks says:

    Yeah, but you’re a cool guy with a blog.

  5. Eddard says:

    I didn’t even consider pinch hitting for Vernon Wells in the 7th. You would lose Wells and lose Hafner by having to replace him defensively. So Ichiro would be hitting 2nd if the game went to extras. You can argue, well I can effectively end the game in the 7th with a hit and Robertson/Mo backing up CC. Fair point, but I’d rather give Wells a shot there since he’s been hitting and then PH Pronk for Fransisco, who is a weaker hitter AND I get to keep Wells and Pronk in the lineup.

    • Eddard says:

      Also, then you’d have to leave Fransisco in to DH and couldn’t PH for him because there’s nobody left to PH. I thought Girardi made the correct decision but I can understand the point of effectively ending the game there in the 7th.

    • MB923 says:

      I gotta agree with Eddard here. First of all even if you pinch hit with Hafner, they probably IBB him to load the bases with 2 out and then face Cervelli (I’m aware he’s had a good year and is even good with RISP, but if a manager had to pick between facing Cervelli or Hafner, I think you know who they go with)

      Hafner was used in the perfect spot and I am not saying that because it worked out. Leaving Wells in to bat was the smart move.

      • MB923 says:

        Wow, forgive me there. I completely forgot Cano was on deck. Not sure where I got Cervelli. Maybe a 2012 team features Wells and Cervelli as 8 and 9 lol.

        Still, not looking for a HR in that spot and that is what Hafner does.

      • Get Phelps Up says:

        Cano was hitting next. Hafner wouldn’t have been IBB’d.

  6. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Put away your radar guns. What CC did tonight was what he’s done as a pitcher for this team since 2009. Someone gets some runs off him, he says “you’re done,” shuts them down the rest of the way, pitches eight strong, and gives the team and chance to come back and win the game.

    Please stay healthy, Pronk. You are awesome.

    GREAT WIN. That’s Yankee baseball.

    • Mandy Stankiewicz says:

      “Please stay healthy, Pronk. You are awesome.” Seconded!!!
      Awesome win. Was at the game tonight, place wasn’t really packed, but Hafner’s shot woke the place up. Hearing ‘Enter Sandman’ for the first time in’13 was exciting.

  7. Improbable Island's Dirty Midget Whores (Formerly RRR) says:

    I was forced to stop watching the 7th and most of the 8th inning-I was only able to come back AFTER Pronk’s HR. Fucking bullshit, man.

    Most of the time I’d say playing like this won’t last, but this team is different. We don’t need to last, we just need stay like this long enough for our good hitters to come back. I think we’re in pretty fucking good condition right now.

    Sox, though, do not impress me.

    • Havok9120 says:

      I need to watch them play some before I try and judge them.

      And at least you got to see some of the game. I got nothing tonight. Boo.

    • Mick taylor says:

      If he stays healthy, hafner is better hitter than arod and jeter and as good as Tex. Wells and yuk are as good as jeter and arod . So what are we waiting for

      • OldYanksFan says:

        tis a bit true, but I’m not sure Nunez is as good as Jeter.
        Teix is a huge upgrade over Overbay, and Granderson is a huge upgrade over Ichiro. And it can’t hurt to platoon ARod and Youk at 3rd base/DH/PH, with Youk giving Teix an occasional day off.

        Our team is still MUCH better when our guys come back.

      • Improbable Island's Dirty Midget Whores (Formerly RRR) says:

        You looked at their numbers over the past year or two? Not ruling it out but I highly doubt they’re keeping this up.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Let’s drink to the hard working people
        Let’s drink to the lowly of birth
        Raise your glass to the good and the evil
        Let’s drink to the salt of the earth

        • Pat D says:

          NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            Great song, though. When I mix it in surround, you get Mick panned jard left, Keith panned hard right, then they come beautifully together across all front three channels.

            • Pat D says:

              Well, of course it’s a great song. Mostly because it’s one of the few times the Stones dropped the pretense and showed their connection to everyone else.

      • Tom from England says:

        yes – this – hell, the future is now. no idea when ‘the big boyz’ will be back. this team doesn’t suck as it is.

        imagine that.

  8. Eddard says:

    Did anybody else think Nuney was going to get thrown out at home in the 7th? I thought the ball was hit too hard and Kenny said the outfielders were playing in but they never showed their locations. The throw was awful but I’m not sure if a good throw would have got him or not.

  9. Betty Lizard says:

    I figure every game Hafner is able to play is a gift.
    Love those veteran presents.

  10. your mom says:

    Hughes for the sweep tomorrow? Something tells me that’s not happening.

  11. Robinson Tilapia says:

    I think it’s time to bring it back tomorrow, but with a little twist.

    Ready….set….

    PHIL PHUCKING KERSHAW.

  12. Get Phelps Up says:

    And the Blue Jays are now tied for the worst run differential in the AL and the 2nd worst in baseball (Marlins). They have definitely been…underwhelming thus far to say the least. Losing Reyes until the ASB won’t help either.

  13. MB923 says:

    I’m well aware the season is very short thusfar, but I thought I’d post this anyway

    2012 Yankees – .228 Avg with RISP and 2 out
    2013 Yankees – .275 Avg (not including tonight’s game though)

  14. jjyank says:

    Missed the game (too busy being a one-man wrecking crew on the dodgeball court) but it sure is nice to come home to highlights of a win. Yay CC, yay Gardner, yay Pronk. Go team!

  15. MB923 says:

    Random stat/fact:

    Not a single run has been scored against the Yankees bullpen since April 8th

  16. mustang says:

    My first game of the year at Stadium and I did it after a 16 hour OT shift, no sleep, and a 45 minute train ride. It was totally worth it. I know it’s early, and I’m probably going to get laugh at for saying this, but this team has heart. They had no business in winning this game tonight, but somehow they did. I guess its ironic in a way because they have no business being this good with their current roster yet here they are.

    LOVE IT!!!!

  17. FIPster Doofus says:

    This team is thoroughly enjoyable and this season, so far, is going swimmingly. To be 8-5 with Teixeira, Grandy and Jeter each a day closer to returning is thrilling. The depth is going to be outstanding if/when this group gets to full strength. The pessimism I felt during the offseason has all but faded.

    • forensic says:

      I still have some questions about them, but they have been very fun to watch since game 5 this year, that’s for sure.

      Ironically enough, they were supposed to suddenly be this speed team with no power and yet they’re tied for the league lead in homers and tied for the second fewest steals (with a bad percentage).

      I’m really enjoying the fewer strikeouts and higher average, despite the fewer walks, which is still keeping their OBP and SLG higher than last year. Obviously much of this will change when they get their injured players back and many of these guys won’t hit like this all season, but so far it’s been very fun to watch.

  18. Aj Burnett says:

    Bet you guys wish I was following cc tomorrow …ahh I love tearing it up in Pittsburgh

  19. Pat D says:

    OK, I’m officially irresponsibly rumor-mongeringly suspicious of Bryce Harper.

    Misses a game with the flu, gets an IV tonight, vomits between innings and goes 4 for 5? What was in that IV? Captain American super soldier serum? Anti-Kryptonite?

    Oh, wait, the Nats were playing the Marlins.

    Point withdrawn.

  20. forensic says:

    He held the Yankees to a single, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch in the first six innings

    There was a double in there too.

    Sabathia starts are like sex: even when they’re bad, they’re still pretty good.

    Hey! This is a family blog? ;-)

  21. forensic says:

    Tigers and Mariners now heading to the 14th inning. Just one run for each team, and the Tigers run was even unearned.

    Combined there have been 40 (!) strikeouts. 21 by Mariners pitchers and 19 for Tigers pitchers.

    Franklin Gutierrez has 4 K’s for the Mariners while Austin Jackson has 4 K’s and Prince Fielder has 5 K’s (and an 0-6) for the Tigers. Every player with more than 1 AB so far has struck out except Victor Martinez.

    Yay offense!

  22. nsalem says:

    Since we are only 13 games in I don’t know if this is a good , bad or meaningless number . The Yankee offense has only managed 5 or more RBI’s in 3 of the first 13 games as opposed to last year when we did so 10 time in our first 13 attempts. By my eye the hitting seems much more timely than last year and hopefully this is just a quirk i the world of SSS,
    Another thought I had about last night is that though I agree that W’s are a pretty much a meaningless statistic. However (subjectively) I see CC and other ace type pitchers earn them on a more frequent basis then lesser pitchers when they start a game with very little and after adjusting, manage to go deep into a game and give their team a chance for a win.

    • OldYanksFan says:

      This is a topic that has been touched on, and made fun of, but really never fully explored.

      And that is the topic of having lots of Big Boppers (remember Murderers Row and then Cano?) vs a more ‘Contact’ oriented lineup.

      I believe many of our past, powerful lineups were made of guys who like ‘to drive’ the ball. There was no luck in their long HRs or 370′ shots to the gap. And when we rallied, and put up big innings, it was really fun to watch.

      But I think some of that was feasting on bad pitching and mistakes, and when the pitching is good, the ‘drive the ball’ (and often Pull the Ball) guys were more prone to Strike Outs, pop ups and weakly hit balls.

      While it doesn’t ‘look’ pretty, balls hit 150′ and often more likely to be a hit then balls hit 350′. Luck… in grounders finding holes, bloops and weak line drives, is a big part of baseball. How many times have ‘lesser’ teams beat us in this manner?

      When you put the bat on the ball, anything can happen.
      Ultimately, you don’t have to hit the ball hard to get a base hit.

      So I think our current lineup is made up of more ‘contact’ guys then ‘drive’ guys. Teix and Grandly are absolutely drive guys. The new, improved Wells looks like a contact guy, as does Youk.

      While the ‘Big Hitters’ are ultimately more important to a Winning team, I think you need balance. I think it’s obvious we didn’t have that last year (especially with Gritner out of the lineup).

      So I want to see Teix and Grandy and Jeter back on the field, but I kind of like the mix of the current roster. When we are healthy, we will have better balance then in years past..

      We make fun of the idea of ‘Gritty’ guys…. but contact guys who are willing to take a walk, can be a big help.

      I mean…. if you’re a pitcher and get beat by an ARod HR…., there ain’t a lot of shame in that. But when you get beat by walks to Ninez and Nix, and a 2 out hit to Gritner…. That’s gotta hurt.

  23. pat says:

    Travis is a “Pronx Bomber”? Ugh just effing retire already. Embarrassing.

  24. JLC 776 says:

    Great to see the team put together an improbable rally like that. Really felt like old-times!

    And I’m overjoyed to see Gardner getting some hits now.

  25. Steve (different one) says:

    Considering the situation in the 7th inning called for a single, isn’t there an argument that you could have pinch hit with Ichiro and saved Hafner? That is, of course, assuming you believe Ichiro’s true talent isn’t a .180 hitter and Hafner’s current true talent isn’t .315 or whatever.

    The problem, I acknowledge, is we kindof have no idea what Ichiro’s true talent is. But the point is, which guy has the greater chance for a base hit? The marginal return on that 6th run (ie the difference between a single and a HR in that spot) is pretty small with the Yankee bullpen.

    I have no prob with the way Girardi played it, just thinking out loud.

    • nsalem says:

      Hafner’s lifetime average and OBP with RISP is (I think) .219 and .379. Suzuki is at .329 and .457. In this particular case I don’t think the past applies and right now Hafner is swinging the hotter bat.
      Many of Suzuki’s hits were the type of singles that may not have driven in two runs and some of his infield hits may not have driven even one.

  26. nsalem says:

    These numbers were with two out and RISP.

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