Bats break out as Yankees top Tribe 7-4

Mesa & Mustelier homer in SWB blowout loss
Keeping Pettitte healthy a must for rest of 2013

For the first time in their last ten games and the second time in their last 13 games, the Yankees scored more than four runs on Monday night. In fact, they nearly doubled that number and scored seven runs. New York got a sorely needed 7-4 win in the series opener against the Indians.

(Jason Szenes/Getty)
(Jason Szenes/Getty)

No Review?
The Bombers really needed a strong start, and Mark Teixeira did the honors with a third inning grand slam off Justin Masterson. It was the first homer Masterson has allowed to the Yankees in 53.1 career innings, which is nuts. Needless to say, the homer felt like a huge relief at the time. The Yankees have been struggling to score runs in a big way, so getting four on one swing against a really good pitcher is a definite confidence builder.

Now, make no mistake, the grand slam was a total Yankee Stadium cheapie. Some little kid caught it (in his hat!) in the very first row, and it looked like he might have reached over the fence a bit to snag the souvenir. Indians manager Terry Francona never asked for a review though, so the grand slam stood. Of course, that rocket was (at worst) a bases-clearing double in a normal-sized park, so we’re talking about one run here. But considering how much they’ve been struggling, one run is big. Thanks, Tito.

(Jason Szenes/Getty)
(Jason Szenes/Getty)

Out Of Gas
In his first start in more than two weeks, Andy Pettitte looked like vintage Andy Pettitte … until he ran out of gas at 70 pitches or so. With a man on second and two outs in the fifth, Pettitte threw ten straight balls to walk Nick Swisher and Mark Reynolds and put Carlos Santana in a hitter-friendly 2-0 count with the bases loaded. A few pitches later Santana tied the game with a hard-hand ground ball that ate up David Adams at third and hopped into the stands for a two-run ground-rule double.

Andy looked perfectly fine up until that fourth inning. His cutter was cutting and his curveball was catching the outside corner to righties, plus the Indians weren’t hitting a ton of balls in the air — nine of his 12 outs and 11 of his 17 balls in play were on the ground. Pettitte threw only one 75-pitch simulated while on the DL (no minor league rehab games), so I guess his stamina just wasn’t there following the layoff. Hopefully this isn’t an issue in five days.


The Cutoff That Turned The Season Around?
The Yankees got not one, but two offensive breaks in this game. Francona didn’t ask for a review on the Teixeira grand slam, and in the sixth inning Masterson inexplicably cut off Michael Bourn’s throw from center field.

Brett Gardner slapped a single to center with men on second and third with two outs, but Austin Romine was the trail runner. As per baseball rules, the catcher must be slow as hell, and it was obvious from the various replays Bourn’s thrown would have had him at the plate (assuming catcher Yan Gomes held on) had it not been cut off. Best of all, Gardner managed to make it to second base anyway. Maybe Masterson learned from his former teammate Manny Ramirez?

It was a lucky break for sure — legitimately the difference between a one-run lead and two-run lead in the final third of the game — but the most important thing here is that Gardner picked up the runners with a solid two-out, two-strike base hit back up the middle off a really good pitcher. The dumb cutoff will get all of the attention, but Brett came through in a real big spot there. He came into this game hitting .290/.351/.464 (118 wRC+) with men on-base this year, so he’s getting things done.

It was only seven innings, but Lyle Overbay looked playable in right field. He was only tested three times, though. He had to retrieve a double into the gap (barehanded the ball cleanly off the wall and hit the cutoff man), scoop up a single hit in front of him, and come in to catch a routine can of corn in shallow right. That was just a little adventurous, but nothing crazy. As expected, he was lifted for defense in the late innings. For a guy who had never played the position at the big league level, Overbay was fine.

Heads up play by Adams to tag Mike Aviles as he went to third on Swisher’s run-scoring fielder’s choice in the third. The easy play was to take the out at first, but he made a heady play to get the lead runner. Oddly, Joe Girardi lifted Adams for defense in the eighth inning. He’s been up for more than two weeks now, but that was the first time that happened. I know the Santana ground-rule double was botched, but it was hardly a routine play. I guess Joe just wanted to make sure they nailed down the much-needed win.

(Jason Szenes/Getty)
(Jason Szenes/Getty)

The only Yankees with multiple hits were … Reid Brignac and Romine. Naturally. In fact, Adams was the only player to go hitless, and six of the nine starters reached base at least twice. Travis Hafner hit a solo homer in the seventh, his first dinger in exactly two weeks. Vernon Wells has stunk of late, but Pronk has been pretty terrible recently as well. Hopefully he starts to turn it around.

I can’t ever remember seeing a sacrifice fly on a ball hit to an infielder, but that’s how the Tribe scored their second run. Robinson Cano ranged out into medium center field to snag an Aviles pop-up in the fifth, and he was unable to throw out the speedy Drew Stubbs flat-footed. In retrospect, Gardner has to catch that ball coming in from center so he can use his momentum towards the plate on the throw.

Shawn Kelley bailed Pettitte out of the fifth inning and followed with a scoreless inning of his own. He struck out two of the five batters he faced and dropped his strikeout rate to 15.31 K/9 (41.3 K%). Joba Chamberlain struck out two and walked one in his scoreless inning, David Robertson struck out zero in his perfect inning, and Mariano Rivera pitched around a bloop single to record the save with a perfect inning. Textbook.

The Yankees have scored seven or more runs ten times this year, and four of those ten times have come against the Indians. They did it twice against the Blue Jays and no other team more than once.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. None of the other AL East teams played Monday, so the standings remain unchanged. The Red Sox are two up in the loss column while the Yankees, Rays, and Orioles are all tied for second.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Same two teams on Tuesday night, when the Yankees and Indians play game two of this three-game set. David Phelps and Scott Kazmir is your pitching matchup. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the game live.

Mesa & Mustelier homer in SWB blowout loss
Keeping Pettitte healthy a must for rest of 2013
  • forensic

    It’d be great to see them build on this and get after Kazmir and Kluber.

    • Havok9120

      …for Prussia?

      I’m back, baby.

      • SDB

        Welcome back. You’ve missed some abysmal baseball.

        • MannyGeee

          “I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob…”

          If you don’t get it, you’re probably late for Algebra class.

          • Adam Parker


            – In the voice of Bill Lumbergh

  • Bob Buttons

    Let’s go out and break out the home run trot against Scott and give Kluber a good clubbing!

    (What? Kluber isn’t pronounced that way? Like I care!)

    • Jersey Joe

      I’d like to see David Adams rebound to some capacity against these southpaws.

      • Havok9120

        That’d be pretty great.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Yanks win. Heat about to do this. It’s a beaaaautifuuul daaaaaay. Don’t let it get awaaaay….

    • rek4gehrig

      You and me both. Yanks and Heat. Life is good :-)

  • Don Wilding

    Overbay did just fine — so glad they didn’t DFA him.

    • Jersey Joe

      Indeed. Overbay > Boesch >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Ichiro. I hope Joe uses Overbay’s bat while he can.

  • Jersey Joe

    This was a fun game to watch. Loved Gardner’s single.

  • Eddard

    The Overbay in RF experiment was a resounding success. He’s going to be just fine out there. In RF he can play deep and anything over his head is a HR. Gardner will cover right-center. We need his bat in the lineup. Ichiro and Wells can platoon since both have been equally awful.

    • FIPster Doofus

      “We need Overbay’s bat in the lineup.” – Never thought a.) that I’d read this sentence, and b.) that I’d actually agree with it.

    • OldYanksFan

      I don’t want to DFA Loverboy yet, but he will NOT be ‘just fine’ in RF. He will be a butcher. It is NOT easy to tract high or deep fly balls when you have no experience. He had trouble on that one easy popup. Let’s just hope he doesn’t cost us any games out there.

      Cano has always gone after shallow flys that the OF’er could have had. I believe the OF’ers back off when they see Cano coming out. He cost us a run yesterday, when Gritner (the fastest CF’er in the game) could have had it easily.

      I wish Girardi would address this with Cano. He has don this MANY times.

      • G

        Resurrection of money ball lmao, just like scott hatteberg experiment at first base lmao

  • Evan3457

    Overbay will likely be a slow-footed semi-butcher in right field. You can’t just drop a new position on someone’s head and not expect to pay for it. And they will.

    If it had been me, I’d have demoted Adams, and used Boesch in right.

    But that’s just me.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I’m fine with keeping Overbay around until its clear that Tex is 100%. I’m not optimistic as to this experiment as well.

      I’d have demoted Boesch, still. Overbay’s not the only guy who can fake the OF, if needed, as Nix can as well.

      Overbay’s time is probably numbered and, if they can get a C prospect for him, that’s more that you expected to get at the start of the season.

      • MannyGeee

        Yeah, I agree R-Tils… This team is chock full of outfielders that are staying in the majors. You have 3 full timers and 2 guys that can fake the spot and at least one more full timer in Granderson and another faker in Nunie coming back eventually… Boesch has already burned the option, he should continue to be a “break glass in case of emergency” guy this season.

        I’d hold Loverbay for another month until at least until Tex can prove he’s 100%, and even until Nunez comes back as you will have some infield depth to play with… then, trade him for an arm or something.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          I actually kinda like Nunez where he is right now: Not on my TV screen.

    • Havok9120

      It’s pretty obviously just an attempt to keep as many people in the org as possible. In this instance I don’t mind that. Any problem from injury will likely only last one game.

      • Evan3457

        I guess so. Adams doesn’t have options left, I suppose. You’re probably right.

        • forensic

          Adams isn’t out of options. He’s fine going up and down this year and I believe still has another one for next year too.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Adams has options.

          Actually, doesn’t he have more than one as well?

          • trr


  • Tom

    Shawn Kelley… rocky start to the year but he has been tremendous in middle relief; I’m really surprised Seattle gave up on him.

    I think he was out of options, but he couldn’t stick in their pen? He’s even got two more years of club control.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting)

      I believe he does still have an option remaining.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Didn’t we already send him down once this year already, or am I making that up? I distinctly remember him being acquired with an option left.

      • forensic

        Kelley hasn’t been sent down this year.

        • Robinson Tilapia


          But am I right in remembering Mike being impressed that the Yanks were able to acquire him, partly because he has options?

  • Dalek Jeter

    Is it wrong that I enjoy MLB Network’s off season programing (Prime 9, top 100, Ken Burn’s Baseball, World Series Classics, baseball movies, Carribean Series, ect) to the time wasting “analysis” of Dan Pliesack and Mitch Williams on MLB Tonight?

    • forensic

      Their off-season stuff is far better than the vast majority of their regular stuff.

    • Dalek Jeter

      I swear I speak english good. And stuff I write be good also.

      • Havok9120


  • Dalek Jeter

    Woah, Puig doubles a dude of first to end the game!

    • vicki

      from the warning track. cannon.

  • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting)

    So the Angels suffered a 4-game sweep at home to the Astros.

    I think I’d find that much more amusing if the Yankees didn’t just suffer a 4-game sweep to the Mets.

    • forensic

      It’s still very amusing though, because…

      A. It’s the Angels
      B. They thought they had it all figured out after that 8-game winning streak (against Chicago, Seattle, and KC of all teams)
      C. The Astros are one of only 3 teams with worse records than the Mets
      D. It’s the Angels

      • Robinson Tilapia


        It’s especially amusing to watch the continued misery of others when you’ve suffered some of your own.

        *evil laugh*

    • rek4gehrig


  • mustang(The Has Been & Wannabes Bunch 2013)


    I don’t care if it was a “Yankee Stadium cheapie” or if they got a helping hand from Mr. Masterson.

    “Even though I walk through the darkest valley of few runs, I will fear no evil losing game thread, or care how they come”
    Book of RAB 7:4

    Boar’s Head Natural All Beef Hot Dogs Presents Mustang’s Has Been and Wannabee of the Game Awards:
    The Wannabees of the game are Austin “Just give a chance” Romine and Reid “Just happy to be playing the Majors” Brignac
    The Has Been of the game is Mark “You can kiss my decline” Teixeira

    • I’mVernonI’mVernon4U

      I don’t usually laugh out loud at things on the internet… but that second quote… LOL.

    • Evan3457

      If it doesn’t go out, it’s at least a 2 run double, and maybe more runs follow anyway.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I’m glad you secured good sponsorship.

      • I’m not the droids you’re looking for…

        Proud to have negotiated the deal.

    • I’m not the droids you’re looking for…


  • Jenny C

    If Steinbrenner were alive he’d sign the kid with the hat to a multi-year deal.

    • jsbrendog

      1. no
      2. nope
      3. he didn’t sign jeffrey maier so this is even more pointless

      • Robinson Tilapia

        If the Boss were alive, he’d have Howie Rubenstein issue a statement telling all of those making “If the Boss were alive” comments to go screw themselves.

  • Brian in MA

    That time when Manny cut off a throw from Johnny Damon in the outfield is probably my favorite Manny Moment/Red Sox blooper because not only is it inexplicable that Manny would even try to cut off that throw, but the one CF that would actually need a cutoff from a fellow OF would be Johnny Damon, who has absolutely no arm.

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    Didnt the Yankees have some kind of double cut off for Bernie at the end when he had absolutely no arm left?

    • I’m not the droids you’re looking for…

      It was actually a pneumatic tube system under the field. He’d drop the ball into one of several strategically placed suck holes (heh) and it would pop out just up the 3B line in front of home.

  • gc

    Enough with the nonsense about “Yankee Stadium cheapies.” This franchise has played in a stadium with a short right field porch for nearly 100 years. All the woulda coulda shoulda speculation goes out the window. Those are the field dimensions for the home and away teams to deal with in this park and it’s never been a surprise. Just be happy with the result. No need to speculate on what could have happened. All that matters is what DID happen. The ball wasn’t hit in another park. It was hit at Yankee Stadium, and at Yankee Stadium, it’s a home run. As it would have been in 1923. As it would have been in 1961. As it would have been in 1998. Period. Counts just as much as 450 foot bomb to deep center field.

  • http://riveravenueblues Mississippi Doc

    Which is why there was always speculation about how many HR’s Ted Williams would have hit if he were a Yankee and how many Joe D would have hit if he had been a Red Sox. It works both ways.

    • mick taylor

      dimaggio was at a much greater disadvantage than williams. in the old stadium, dimaggio had a left centerfield of 457 ft., as opposed to 399 ft today. williamd had 380 ft. to right center dimaggio had 462 ft to center, williams, 420 ft. williams also had the pesky pole in right field which was 302 ft, shorter than the left field pole for dimaggio. dimaggio had 415 ft to left field, williams , 380 to right field at fenway. dimaggio had a much greater disadvantage. if you look at williams and joe’s records in ball parks other than yankee stadium and fenway, joe had as good if not better stats. i am so sick of people like michael kay on yankee broadcasts constantly lionizing williams. the people who actually saw them play said joe was better. which is why in 1969 he not williams was voted greatest living player. and joe had 9 championships in 13 years, williams, 0 in 22. joe was a winner like michael jordan