Jul
11

Jeter returns, gets hurt in win over Royals

By

The Yankees had played 94 straight games without their captain prior to Thursday. Derek Jeter returned to the lineup for the first time since breaking his ankle in Game One of the ALCS, and he help lead the Yankees to an 8-4 win in the series finale against the Royals.

( Elsa/Getty)

(Elsa/Getty)

The Captain Returns
After the game, Jeter said he made up his mind yesterday that he was going to swing at the first pitch he saw today. That’s exactly what he did in his first official at-bat of the season in the bottom of the first, chopping a weak ground ball towards third base for an infield single. He got down the line pretty well I thought, especially for a 39-year-old coming off a major ankle injury.

Jeter did not hit the ball out of the infield in any of his final three at-bats either, grounding out to third, second, and short, in that order. He saw a total of 12 pitches in the four at-bats. The Cap’n was removed from the game following his fourth at-bat with tightness in his right quad, something that first popped up during his third at-bat. Both Jeter and Joe Girardi downplayed the injury after the game, but he’s headed for tests anyway and no one really knows what to expect. He could be lineup on Friday, or we might not see him again after until the All-Star break.

Either way, Jeter’s return made this game feel … normal. Know what I mean? Seeing the Yankees without Jeter is just weird. He’s an institution. This game had that “good ol’ days” feel that this season has been lacking, at least in my opinion. It felt like Yankees baseball again, with the Cap’n leading the way. He won’t fix the offense by himself, but the Yankees are a better team when Jeter is healthy and in the lineup. Hopefully this quad issue is nothing and he returns in a day or two.

( Elsa/Getty)

(Elsa/Getty)

Another Rough Start
For the seventh time in eight starts since coming off the DL, Andy Pettitte allowed four runs on Thursday afternoon. Four of the first five batters he faced reached base, resulting in two runs before the sixth batter sacrifice flied in a third. The Royals chipped in the fourth run in the second thanks in part to Pettitte’s throwing error on a bunt. Teams have not been shy forcing the 41-year-old to field his position with bunts in recent weeks.

Andy settled down a bit after the second inning, retiring 12 of the final 17 men he faced. There were some loud outs mixed in there though, including the final two — a jumping catch by Zoilo Almonte near the wall in left and Willie Mays-esque over-the-shoulder catch by Ichiro Suzuki in center. The final tally was four runs (three earned) on eight hits, one walk, and one hit batsman in 5.2 innings of work. He struck out one and got just five swings and misses out of 95 total pitches.

Pettitte was clearly frustrated after the game and he should be, he’s pitching terribly right now. The good news is that the All-Star break is coming and he’ll get a nice long rest to clear his head and work on things in the bullpen. He may be done as even an average starter, it wouldn’t be a shock at his age, but I don’t think it would be a shock if Andy figured things out and pitched well down the stretch in the second half either. Like Jeter, he’s hard to doubt.

( Elsa/Getty)

(Elsa/Getty)

Eight Runs!
Oh by the way, the Yankees scored eight runs (!) for the second consecutive game. Believe it or not, these were the first two times the team scored eight runs in a home game all season. That surprised me. It was also the first time they scored at least eight runs in back-to-back games since way back in April, when they demolished the Indians in Cleveland in the third series of the year.

There were no homers in this game, all the damage came on regular old singles and doubles. And a sac fly, like the one Vernon Wells had in the first to plate a run. Austin Romine and Ichiro hit back-to-back doubles to score a pair of runs in the second, and in the fifth Lyle Overbay, Almonte, and Eduardo Nunez strung together consecutive two-out singles to score four runs. Jeter drove in the final run with a ground out in the sixth.

Six of the the team’s eight runs scored with two outs, and that four-run fifth inning rally started with a runner on second with two outs. Five consecutive Yankees reached base after that. Those two-out rallies are always beautiful to watch. They’re back-breakers for the opposing team. It’s been nice to see something that resembles a Major League offense these last two games.

( Elsa/Getty)

(Elsa/Getty)

Leftovers
The bullpen was very good in relief of Pettitte, as Shawn Kelley (1.1 innings), David Robertson (one inning), and Boone Logan (one inning) had scoreless outings to nail down the win. Kelley and Robertson allowed one single apiece and combined to strike out five of the nine men they faced. No late-inning stress with a four-run lead is always appreciated.

The bottom of the lineup really did a lot of damage, as the final four hitters in the order went a combined 7-for-16 (.438). Almonte, Nunez, and Romine each had two hits — it was Romine’s third multi-hit game in 42 career games. The top five hitters did their job as well, going 4-for-16 (.250) with four walks (.400 OBP). Ervin Santana has been awfully good this year, but the Yankees made him look like the guy the Angels thought they were dumping in the offseason.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights while FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN has the updated standings. Both the Orioles and Rays won, so the Yankees are still tied with Baltimore and two back of the Rays in the loss column for the second wildcard spot.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Twins are coming to town for a three-game set, the final series before the All-Star break. Hiroki Kuroda and Scott Diamond will be your pitching matchup in the opener on Friday night. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the game.

Categories : Game Stories

35 Comments»

  1. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Hoping for the best with the Captain. Really want to see him back out there as soon as can be, even if it means sitting out the Twins series. So nice to have him back out there.

    Sixteen runs in two games. Hits spread up and down the lineup today. Nice feeling when it all lines up just right.

  2. forensic says:

    I wish they had found a way to win the series, but at least it didn’t get any worse after losing the first two. Hopefully the Twins will do their thing and get swept this weekend leading to a five game winning streak heading into the break and looking forward to a very tough series in Fenway right afterwards.

    • Kramerica Industries says:

      And get that 5-2 week we all expected, at a bare minimum.

      I mean, hey, it won’t match the 7-0 Rays, but I don’t even think the most optimistic Rays fans thought the Rays would damn near run the table in their 14 game minor league schedule heading into the break.

  3. Kramerica Industries says:

    I DON’T LIKE #KABAKHAT WATCH!

    Seriously. I want Robbie to finish with 79, at most, because that is one fine hat.

      • Pat D says:

        I’d be rooting against you, possibly, if the bet was something else. I’m not sure what pleasure there is to be derived from watching someone else eating a hat.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Such an overused phrase. It’s long overdue that someone actually has to eat the damn hat.

          • Pseudoyanks says:

            I kind of think it would be cool to air it live over the web and have Mike do a Live Chat. Call it the Hat Chat.

        • Bob Buttons says:

          The satisfaction knowing that if you’re really hungry hats are edible? And possibly tasting better than organic leg wax.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnYTl6qre3k

          • Kramerica Industries says:

            It’s almost like the two of us had a draw one time, about which NYC-based sitcom we got to plug the most on RAB.

            And, with no offense intended towards you, I am mostly certainly happy with the one I drew. Bob Buttons is kind of an obscure reference anyway, isn’t it?

            • Bob Buttons says:

              Well frankly the beginning of my first prolonged commenting at RAB coincided with the time where I quit two browser-based social games in which both part of my pseudonym has “Bob” in it. Since Bob was quite natural to type around that time I just picked a random reference with the name Bob. It’s just easy to type both on mobile and on computer, and
              I really don’t have another name I’m dying to be known by anyways. I mean, why bother going through the trouble to think of a new one when you ain’t bored with the old one yet?

              Plus, Mr. Heckles is just an awesome guy. “You owe me a cat!” Probably among my top 5 non-main (the six and their spouses) along with Jack “I’m just saying” Geller, Gunther Centralperk (another reference) and currently unknown.

              And of course, none taken. Quite glad one more person gets it anyways :)

              • jason says:

                Mr Heckles was kind of a throw-away character (which was why they threw him away). His death was one of the weaker moments, with its faux only-on-TV sentimentality (“we’ll try to keep it down” – cringe). Jack Geller references should always include “Only now we call it the beach-house” and “NOW I’m really depressed.” And I am now self-revoking my commenting privileges for this sad post.

    • I'm One says:

      I DON’T LIKE #KABAKHAT WATCH!

      Players on the watch seem to get injured. What happens if Ben gets injured? Is he relieved from having to eat his hat?

  4. forensic says:

    No wonder Nunez’ throws are erratic. I can’t believe they’re teaching him to throw from the ground like that. Just another sign of how incompetent the Yankee player development team is.

  5. Bob Buttons says:

    A good day to sit Ervin instead of starting him in fantasy.

  6. HateMclouth (formerly I'mVernon) says:

    This was a game I was pissed I had to miss, but alas. Worried about Andy but nice to see pretty much everyone contributed.

  7. Mickey P says:

    The game today gave me a lot of strange feelings. Obviously, I was very excited and hopeful about the game and rest of the season. It also made me realize how empty I had felt about this club. Maybe it was not seeing number 2 in the line-up. Maybe it was the lack of Mr. Sheppard’s voice in The Bronx. I was, however, extremely disappointed to see Jeter not finish the game. But, all in all today felt good.

  8. mustang(The Has Beens & Wannabes Bunch 2013) says:

    Nice win, but they really need to win this next series especially having their 2 best starters pitching.
    On Jeter great to see him back, but we all know the deal with the injury returns unfortunately.

    Boar’s Head Natural All Beef Hot Dogs Presents Mustang’s Has Been and Wannabee of the Game Awards:

    The Wannabe of the game is
    Austin “So this is what it feel like to hit the ball” Romine

    The Has Been of the game is
    Lyle “Me like hitting with bases loaded” Overbay

    BTW If Pineda plays about two weeks in AAA his free agency gets pushed back a year. Just wanted to make sure we all know that. :)

  9. Darren says:

    Just heard that Jeter didn’t get to NYC til 2:30 am and fel asleep at 4am, woke up at 6am.
    Cashman shouldn’t have brought him up for a day game.
    The lack of sleep more than anything probably caused the strain

  10. Jim Is Bored says:

    Dooooooooooooooomed!

  11. LarryM Fl says:

    The intensity levels during rehab games are less than the regular games. So most observations should be taken with a grain of salt. 9 AB’s are a short sample size for a rehab after 10 month stint on the DL. Hopefully its an ace bandage fix and we are good to go but I don’t its the outcome. I’m not doom and gloom just being realistic. The team looked totally energized even Mr. Cano as the captain watched, IMHO.

  12. trr says:

    I’m just hoping he stays healthy

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