May
20

Yankees steal victory from jaws of defeat, beat Orioles 6-4 in series opener

By

The Yankees were very close to losing their first game after scoring first on Monday night, but some late-inning heroics from a pair of scrap heap pickups gave the Bombers an unexpected come-from-behind win over the Orioles. New York won 6-4 in ten innings.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Pronk smash. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Pronkilicous
Jim Johnson’s shook. The Orioles All-Star closer has now blown three saves in his last three appearances, this time coughing up a one-run lead when Travis Hafner slugged an opposite-field solo homer on a sinker that didn’t sink enough. In his 16 years as closer, Mariano Rivera has never blown three consecutive save opportunities. Johnson did it in his second full season on the job.

Pronk only tied the game, however. The Yankees and Orioles went to the tenth inning after David Robertson wiggled out of a mini-jam in the bottom of the ninth, and that’s when Ichiro Suzuki started the game-winning rally with a leadoff double into the right field corner. He was cheating fastball like a mofo and the extra-base hit was unexpected given his sub-.600 OPS coming in the at-bat. Vernon Wells doubled him in one batter later, then Hafner plated an insurance run with a two-out single off lefty Brian Matusz. After scoring three runs in the first eight innings, the Yankees score three runs in the span of ten batters in the ninth and tenth innings.

Shaky Sabathia
Two things stand out about CC Sabathia‘s outing. One, Baltimore’s left-handed hitters went 4-for-7 with four two-strike (!) hits against him. That never happens. Sabathia usually eats up same-side hitters, but Nick Markakis and Chris Davis looked mighty comfy in the box. Three of the four hits came off sliders — including a total hanger Davis crushed for a solo homer — a pitch lefties have whiffed on with 48.3% (!!!) of their swings during the PitchFX era.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(AP/Patrick Semansky)

I don’t know this for sure obviously, but I do think Sabathia’s reduced fastball velocity has something to do with that. The fastball and slider are not mutually exclusive, one works off the other, and if hitters only have to gear up for 89-91 instead of 93-95, it becomes a little easier to hang in on the breaking ball. For what it’s worth, PitchFX says Sabathia averaged 91.3 mph and topped out at 93.1 mph against the O’s. Lefties came into the game hitting .191/.261/.293 (.248 wOBA) with a 39.1% strikeout rate against CC this season, so this isn’t a long-running problem. It was just a problem on Monday night.

Secondly, Sabathia should have been out of the game after Markakis doubled to tie the game in the seventh. He was approaching 100 pitches and righties have tagged him for a .276/.320/.442 (.329 wOBA) line this year, plus three right-handed hitters in Manny Machado, J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones were due up. That’s on Joe Girardi; Shawn Kelley was warming up and his super-high-strikeout ways were better suited for that spot.

Anyway, Sabathia allowed eleven hits in 6.1 innings of work, the third time in his career he’s allowed double-digit hits in back-to-back outings. It’s the first time he’s done it without going at least seven innings in one of the two starts. CC struck out only two batters and got nine swings and misses out of 102 total pitches. Is this the new reduced velocity Sabathia? Possibly, but I think this was a bad start more than the new normal.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Leftovers
The Yankees scored their first two runs on solo homers — Robinson Cano in the first, David Adams‘ first career dinger in the second — but it wasn’t until the sixth that they scored again. Lyle Overbay drove in that run with a solo homer off left-hander Troy Patton, which was very unexpected. He came into the game with five hits (.119 AVG) and one walk (.136 OBP) in 44 plate appearances against southpaws.

Once again, big ups to the bullpen. Kelley struck out three of the four men he faced — he owns an MLB-best 43.4% strikeout rate (min. 10 IP) — while Robertson and Mariano Rivera chipped in scoreless innings. Boone Logan recorded a pair of outs as well. Three and two-thirds scoreless from the bullpen is the backbone of any come-from-behind win. Outside of Brett Marshall biting the bullet last week, the relief corps has been crazy good in recent weeks.

In addition to the two big hits, Hafner also pulled a foul ball down the right field line and clear out of the ballpark in the sixth inning. Literally out of Camden Yards and onto Eutaw Street. Overbay and Adams had two hits apiece while Cano homered and walked twice. Freddy Garcia limited his former team to three hits and two runs in six innings on 66 (!) pitches. That was annoying.

Cano slid for a ball in the second inning and the YES cameras showed him flexing his right wrist afterwards, but he stayed in the game and was apparently fine. Reid Brignac clipped Garcia’s foot at first base while running out a ground ball and was fine, though he was walking gingerly at first.

Awful night for first base ump Eric Cooper, who incorrectly called a) Brett Gardner safe on a snap throw from the catcher, and b) Matt Wieters out at first on a bang-bang play. Both plays occurred in the sixth inning and the Yankees benefited both times, so hey I’m not complaining. Still, two awful calls.

For whatever reason, Buck Showalter was checking every ball in the dugout after it was removed from play. Either it was one of his control freak things or he suspected Sabathia of doctoring the ball. Maybe CC has lost velocity because the Vaseline-lubed ball is slipping out of his fingers?

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Solid graph right there. MLB.com has the box score and video highlights while FanGraphs has the other stats no one cares about. ESPN is the place for the updated standings. The White Sox took care of business against the Red Sox, so the Yankees now leads Boston by two in the loss column. Baltimore is five back.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Same two teams on Tuesday night, when Phil Hughes gets the ball for the Yankees. Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez is expected to be activated off the DL and make the start for the Orioles. If he isn’t … I have no idea what they’ll do instead.

Categories : Game Stories

72 Comments»

  1. shittyshittybangbang says:

    B-E-A-UTIFUL ! I thought showalter was gonna bleed-out from the pores on his face. That mofo was mad and beet red. Yeah baby, f u and your fighting showalters. I didnt want to lose this game, especially after the fans got cocky and arrogant, and started that sacraligious chant. How dare you !

    • Evan3457 says:

      Go for the flame gas testing of the balls CC threw, Buck, now that your visual inspections are complete.

      Fracking head games.

  2. Laz says:

    So the O’s had it in the bag, and it slipped away.

  3. forensic says:

    plus two excellent right-handed hitters in Manny Machado and Adam Jones were due up.

    It was actually Machado and Hardy, who hit the go-ahead double, and then Jones.

    But your ultimate point is right, no way he should’ve been left in there at that point.

    I disagree when people call Hafner a scrap heap pickup. They signed him on Feb. 1st, a good couple of weeks before anyone reported for ST, and there was at least one other team who would’ve signed him. He was signed as a sure player for DH prior to the other injuries.

    That’s very different from Overbay and Wells who were late pickups as injury replacements and basically weren’t wanted by anyone else at that point.

  4. Deathstroke Heathcott says:

    So how did Kelley transform from a career 8.6 K/9 pitcher to a 15.6 K/9 pitcher this year? I mean I dont expect him to hang around 15+ all year, but he’s gotta be doing something different, right?

  5. I'mVernonI'mVernon4U says:

    Couldn’t watch because of finals but what a game for Pronk. Looking a the box score you’d think we would have scored some more against Sweaty Freddy, but whatever, a win is a win. I love winning against the pigeons.

  6. mustang(The Has Been & Wannabes Bunch 2013) says:

    Well another fluky come from behind win they just can’t keep doing this in the meanwhile add another one to the win column love how those fluky wins count.

    My Wannabe Game Award goes to Dave “I’m not a top prospect, but I’m still good” Adams.

    My Has Been Game Award goes to Travis “My Shoulder is doing real well” Hafner.

    JUST KEEP WINNING!!!!

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Thank you for performing this public service every night, sir.

      • mustang(The Has Been & Wannabes Bunch 2013) says:

        LOL !!!!

        Just taking the lead from Mike and spotlighting the “heroics from a pair of scrap heap pickups”.

        Cashman on the cutting edge of the new way to build a winning team.

  7. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Spent half that game thread reading about how awful Sabathia and Ichiro apparently are. Wish half the energy that went into vitriol for individual players would go towards applauding the overall team effort instead.

    Very nice win. Good for Adams. Good for Shawn Kelley. They don’t all have to be tippetty-top prospects.

    • mustang(The Has Been & Wannabes Bunch 2013) says:

      “They don’t all have to be tippetty-top prospects.”

      Really!! I thought with the failure of so many of their first round picks that they damned to prospect hell.

    • Bob Buttons says:

      People love scapegoating, finger-pointing and focusing on the negative, or else we’d have a lot less wars and mass persecutions.

  8. Tucker says:

    It wasn’t mentioned above, but David Adams had one hell of a game. Not only did he hit his first big league bomb, but he made a couple of great plays at third and looked really good at the hot corner all game. Very impressive day for the rookie.

  9. Improbable Island's Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR) says:

    Let’s get greedy. Sweep, mothafuckas’. Let’s take down these sons of bitches.

    As an aside, I was checking out Camden Chat, and they practically worship the 2012 0′s. A team that lost to the Yankees in both the regular season and playoffs and was a one game playoff away from missing the division series entirely. Man, it sucks to be an O’s fan.

    • forensic says:

      I just went and looked at it. Yuck, I can’t stand those SB Nation site designs, similar to the formerly Pinstriped Alley, now Pinstriped Bible, site.

      • sangreal says:

        Yeah, I used to read pinstripe alley and the other pages a lot but I can’t stand the new(ish) design

  10. Eddard says:

    Whenever Buck puts Strop in the game against us he always gets himself into trouble. Usually he’s walking guys. Tonight, Ichiro and Wells teed off. The lineup is much better with Hafner and Granderson back.

    Adams, Kelly, Nuno, Preston, Warren. Is this enough proof for the FO that the kids should be up here? One thing the injuries have done is force them to play these kids. When Youk is back healthy and Adams backing him up we should be set at 3rd base. And Girardi needs to have more faith in his pen and less in every starter not named Kuroda. The pen is good and fresh and should have been in much sooner tonight.

    • Bob Buttons says:

      I agree! If some members of a group are doing okay, it MUST mean that all those of the same group will perform on the same level!

  11. Deathstroke Heathcott says:

    Some random thoughts:

    1. It may be too early to say definitively but I personally would definitely feel more comfortable with Kuroda going out there in a must-win over Sabathia right now, although I think Sabathia will figure things out at some point. So Kuroda is the “ace” of the staff to me right now, no matter how meaningless that designation is.

    2. I love the resiliency of the offense. In any close game, I feel like the big hit, big rally, big homer is always around the corner. Everyone, both expected and unexpected, has chipped in at different points in the season (except Ben Francisco…) and it feels good to root for it, knowing it could come from anywhere.

    3. I get giddy thinking about all the firepower that’ll come back eventually, from Teixeira to Jeter to Pineda. Sure there might be some tough decisions regarding the rotation or what to do with Lyle Overbay but very good problems to have. Enjoying this season immensely so far.

    • Bob Buttons says:

      1) Yes.

      2) As a guy who didn’t doubted Cashman that much during this off-season, I have to say the offense is certainly enjoyable than most of us (if not all) would have imagined.

      3) Don’t forget Cervelli.

  12. dkidd says:

    i can’t believe how much fun this season has been so far

    mo’s last go round is starting to feel special

  13. jjyank says:

    Just got back from the game, and perused the game thread.

    Apparently “jjjerkoff” didn’t jinx shit. Fuck off, trolls.

    What an awesome game to attend. I will take credit for Hafner’s 9th inning homer, since I am responsible for combating a “Yankees Suck” chant prior to Hafner’s at bat by starting a “Let’s go Yank-ees!” chant in section 214 while Hafner hit it out.

    The baseball gods smiled upon me tonight. My one and only game of the year, and I got to see my favorite active hitter homer, a clutch 9th inning come back, and my favorite pitcher of all time close out the game in what will be the last time I ever see him live. This was a great day.

  14. Improbable Island's Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR) says:

    Also, randomly, I actually want to see “Into Darkness” again.

  15. Kramerica Industries says:

    Maybe CC has lost velocity because the Vaseline-lubed ball is slipping out of his fingers?

    Plausible theory. Lets get Fangraphs on it!

  16. Mouse says:

    Does anyone know if Adams has options left? I know since he was DFA, he technically became a free agent so I’m not sure how options work once they are re- signed.

    I hope they don’t send him down when Youk/Tex/Nunez come back.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

      He still has options.

    • forensic says:

      Options stay with the player almost no matter what happens to them, as far as I know.

      As far as I can tell, he has one left after this season.

      • Mouse says:

        And I’m sure the Yankees will use it, too. That’s too bad because I was hoping they’d keep him up here so he can get a shot at Rookie of the Year. They haven’t had one of those since forever.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

          Even if they kept him up all year, once Youk comes back, his role would likely be substantially reduced, making ROY virtually impossible (if he ever had a chance).

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Jeter won ROY. Not exactly forever there.

        • Pat D says:

          ROY is a pretty meaningless award anyway. Go take a look at a list of the winners and tell me I’m wrong.

  17. trr says:

    nuffin’ better than a come from behind win

    • forensic says:

      They’re good, but this might be better:

      “During the 1920s New York Yankee owner Jacob Ruppert once described his perfect afternoon at Yankee Stadium. ‘It’s when the Yankees score eight runs in the first inning,’ Ruppert said, ‘and then slowly pull away.’” – Peter Golenbock in Dynasty: The New York Yankees (1975)

      • Bob Buttons says:

        “They [the 1927 Yankees] don’t just beat you, they break your heart.” — Senators first baseman Joe Judge

  18. Get Phelps Up says:

    Another great win in a season that has been full of them.

  19. Bob Buttons says:

    Freddy Garcia, of all people, limit the Yankees to 3 hits in 6 innings and 66 pitches?

    It must be a deal with the devil! 6 innings and 66 pitches is solid proof of it!

  20. your mom says:

    I would very much like us to stick it to Miguel Gonzalez tomorrow. The guy isn’t anything special yet he has pitched us fairly well.

  21. jorge brosada says:

    Awesome game and an awesome win. This season definitely has some of that 2009 magic to it so far.

    On another note though, I can’t help but be underwhelmed by CC so far. I’m a little concerned with the reduced stuff, and how hittable he’s been.

    • dkidd says:

      just looked up 2009

      ops of the nine regulars:

      .885
      .948
      .871
      .871
      .933
      .854
      .752
      .869
      .876

      i forgot how much that team could hit!

      • Pour some cougar on me says:

        It’s even more impressive if you list their slugging percentages

        Melky Cabrera was like the only sub-.500 slugger. There might’ve been another sub-.500 player, it was either Damen or Jeter.

        Nowadays they’d be lucky to have two people slugging .500

  22. Tom says:

    Speaking of spitters check this out (12 or 13 sec mark)

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday.....mode=video

    (not sure if this direct links to the specific video – if not it’s the Dom Brown solo HR video)

    Even Clay Buchholz thinks that’s way too obvious

  23. Wheels says:

    That Hafner foul ball in the 6th was absolutely murdered. Probably hit a car

  24. Mick taylor says:

    It is a shame overbay will be gone when Tex returns. You can take your war and metric stats and shove them because overbay has been clutch like Scott broscious was. There are at least 10 wins this year overbay contributed mightily. Tex has not been clutch since 2010

    • mt says:

      I keep holding out hope that Yanks get creative with having only 11 pitchers through September 1 (maybe have last position shuttle back and forth to Scranton if the 11th person ever gets over-used between Claiborne/Warren, Nuno) – I know Overbays WRC+ is not spectacular but given injury challenged Youkilis is the eevntual back-up 1B (wher his back spasms can return at any time) and starting 1B Teix’ wrist I would do whatever possible and not lose Overbay – also theer is the permanent Hafner injury risk at DH (Boesch could come up and replace, I guess).

      The fact of the matter is that when the 12th pitcher gets used they normally go a couple of innings and then can’t get used for awhile – which is bad. Then during other stretches the 1

      I think keeping Overbay is a lot more important for this “decrepit” squad than having a 12th pitcher

      • mt says:

        Left something out.

        During other stretches the 12th pitcher does not get used and the position is a waste.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        The flipside is that he may actually have some trade value at this point, which is something you’d have never expected. I wouldn’t expect anything more than the middiest of mid-range prospects but, hey, those guys are winning ballgames for us right now.

    • Pat D says:

      Yep, I knew these comments would start soon.

    • DC says:

      Of course you would make an asinine comment such as this. While Overbay has performed better than expected this year, calling him clutch is overblown. As a matter of fact, Teixeira had better numbers last year with RISP than Overbay has this year (Teixeira RISP 2012: .230/.339/.452 vs Overbay RISP 2013: .229/.317/.371) So, in the infinite wisdom of Mick Taylor, how can Tex have better RISP numbers than Overbay, yet Overbay be clutch and Tex not?

      Also, your favorite whipping boy last year, Nick Swisher, had RISP numbers of .301/.406/.589 last season, but you didn’t think he was clutch either.

      So how does Mick Taylor define “clutch”, because you obviously miss on both the numbers and the eye test.

  25. mt says:

    Great win (I was getting so pissed that Freddy was out-pitching CC) – YCPB, Suzyn, Johnson saves 35 in a row and then blows three straight. Does anyone know why Buck took Garcia out – just so Patton could pitch to lefties? O’s have been using their bullpen heavily recently so I would have thought Buck would push him a little bit more.

    Seems like the cortisone shot has worked with Hafner.

    Also I know a lot of people in pre-game threads were going crazy that Ichiro was in line-up and not Wells but both ended up contributing to victory – I can see a lot of this actually over the immediate future – one of 4 OFs sits but in any game where we need offense the 4th OF who starts the game on the bench gets in the game as a pinchhitter pinch-hitting for the offensively challenged SS and catcher positions (when Stewart is back, of course) and Gardner/Ichiro being ripe for being replaced defensively in last part of game.

    CC performance was troubling, though – yes, the statement is true in general that he can still win with lower velocity but when his off-speed stuff isn’t sharp (like those pitches to Markakis and Hardy at the end) his margin for error is now so much lower. And I am sure hitters will be increasingly sitting on the off-speed stuff because they know there will be no chance of 93-96 mph fastball coming. I do keep holding out hope that the coming hotter weather and more distance from his off-season surgery will still add a few MPH this year.

    Also is there any more elaboration about Buck checking the balls that CC threw for scuffing or foreign substances?

  26. cheddar says:

    I know this is pretty much an infamia to say, but I’m enjoying watching this team so much, I really don’t care if Jeter, Tex, or Alex come back at all this year.

    • CountryClub says:

      Not sure why you would lump Jeter in there. That’s the one position this team badly needs an upgrade at. Although, and I know others disagree, I’ll also be happy to have Teix back (if he’s fully healthy).

      • cheddar says:

        I’ve always been a big Jeter fan, but I am afraid of how it’s going to end for him. I’d actually be relieved if he retired after not playing at all this year. I don’t want to see him lingering on sub-Mendoza and as a statue in the field.

  27. Eddard says:

    It’s like I told someone in the confidence post, if believing in this team is lunacy then I don’t want to be sane. They need to find a way to keep guys like Overbay and Adams on the club when the injured stars return.

  28. mike says:

    Great point about CC’s velocity…it was apparent from the TV how he was slowing his arm action to get on top of the slider, and you saw how the batters were able to drag their bat thru the zone ( like markakis did ) and put wood on the ball. If they were afraid of getting beat on a fastball from the same arm angle/slot, they never would have been able to adjust…but those 4-5mph make a ton of difference

    as the slider was his KO pitch, if CC will have decreased velocity going forward, he might have to use his curve more to change his arm angle and give the batters something to look at….he never is the most accurate pitcher, so IMO he needs to use the 3rd pitch more to make his other pitches work better

  29. I'm not the droids you're looking for... says:

    I did not like what I saw from CC last night.

    • eephus_pitch says:

      Just FYI, I checked the Gameday video highlights last night. You know how they break down the highlights into sections? One of them was titled “C.C.’s solid start”
      In what fucking world was that start “solid?”

  30. JohnC says:

    Was a little surprised Buck went with Johnson last night instead of Matusz in the 9th considering Johnson’s struggles lately, and with 3 lefties coming up. Lets not forget this is the same Buck Showalter who refused to go to John Wettland in game 5 in Seattle to try and close that series out after the Yanks too the lead in extra innings and went with McDowell.

    • Kris says:

      Yup,which was his undoing which got him canned.

    • WhittakerWalt says:

      Buck’s problem in that series is not that he wouldn’t bring in Wetteland. The Mariners had been annihilating Wetteland the whole series long (14.54 ERA).
      No, Buck’s failing was not using Rivera more. It’s a little understandable because none of us knew how great Rivera was going to become.
      Still, going to Jack McDowell in that spot was brutal.

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