Yankees remain vigilant, take series opener from Orioles

Jagielo homers again in Staten Island win
Sherman: Yankees "very likely" to call up J.R. Murphy in September

Source: FanGraphs

You gotta win the first one before you can win ’em all. The offense and the bullpen picked up a (once again) shaky CC Sabathia in the series opener of this all important series against the Orioles, carrying the team to an 8-5 win. Let’s recap:

  • Yankee Killer I: In the span of five fifth inning pitches, the Yankees had more doubles (three) and homers (one) against Miguel Gonzalez than they had against him in any of his previous seven starts against New York. The righty completely unraveled and the result was a five-run inning that turned a two-run deficit into a three-run lead. Ichiro Suzuki‘s two-run homer and Robinson Cano‘s two-run single were the big blows. Gonzalez was charged with seven runs in four innings, the same number of runs New York scored against him in their previous four meetings combined. Seriously.
  • Yankee Killer II: Sabathia is really, really bad right now. The O’s tagged him for five runs in 5.1 innings, raising his ERA to 7.38 since the All-Star break. He allowed two-out run-scoring singles to Chris Davis (fine), Manny Machado (argh), and Nick Markakis (wtf?) as well as a two-run homer to Danny Valencia (WTF!). Joe Girardi finally shortened the leash and pulled Sabathia after just 86 pitches because, simply, the bullpen was the far better option at that point of the game. I really hate what CC has become.
  • Bullpen On Parade: Give Girardi credit, he knows these games are all proverbial must-wins and he didn’t screw around. He brought Shawn Kelley into the sixth inning and used David Robertson for four outs to secure the win. Four relievers (Boone Logan and Mariano Rivera got in on the action as well) retired ten of 13 batters faced and kept the Orioles at bay in the later innings. These guys will have to be nails down the stretch. Thankfully Preston Claiborne is only a few days away and will lend a hand.
  • Leftovers: Cano (two singles), Mark Reynolds (double, two singles), Curtis Granderson (two singles), and Ichiro (homer, single) all had multiple hits while Alfonso Soriano launched a two-run homer. Alex Rodriguez singled in an insurance run in the eighth and Austin Romine doubled. Every Yankee had a hit except for Derek Jeter, who drew a walk … the Yankees made one out at third base and two at home plate, which is just brutal … Soriano stole third base for the third time in the last five games … Reynolds, who should play everyday over Lyle Overbay at this point, has back-to-back three hit games for the first time since August 2009 … the Yankees sent 37 batters to the plate and only one struck out: Jeter in the seventh.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees are six games back of the Rays and five games back of the Athletics for the two wildcard spots, and they’re guaranteed to gain a game on at least one of them because they’re playing each other out on the West Coast. The Bombers did pickup a game on the Orioles (duh) and will do the same on the Indians as soon as the Tigers get finished blowing them out. Cool Standings has New York’s playoff odds at 9.4% at the moment. Andy Pettitte Ivan Nova and Scott Feldman is your pitching matchup on Saturday afternoon. RAB Tickets can get you in the door.

Jagielo homers again in Staten Island win
Sherman: Yankees "very likely" to call up J.R. Murphy in September
  • Eddard

    They won the game in which they had the worst pitching match up. Now the match ups are in their favor and they need to take care of business at home. Picked up a game on the Os, Indians and either the Rays or As.

    Girardi needs to keep playing the red hot Reynolds. I give Girardi credit for playing him over Lyle and finally having a shorter leash with CC. I can’t believe Joba was even a consideration in the 7th. They really need Preston up here if Joe is going to mix and match batter for batter.

  • mt

    Mike, I think Nova starts tomorrow.

    Great win – where would we be without Soriano and Reynolds?

    CC is troubling but Yanks seem to still score when he has a bad game -Kuroda must be wondering why that never happens for him.

  • Eddard

    And I know that shift makes it tempting for Curtis to bunt for a base hit, but that short left field porch is just as tempting. A LH power hitter should be swinging away, not bunting twice. It worked once on the astro turf but the ball died in the grass and wasn’t as effective.

    • Eddard

      And I meant short right field porch. Granderson should be swinging for that.

      • OldYanksFan

        I think you are wrong.
        Even a modest Bunter should be able to go 1 for 2 against the shift. Grandy MIGHT be good for a HR once every 20-25 AB (4 for 114 so far this year). The key to baseball is NOT making Outs, hence why OBP is more important than SLG.

        The problem last night was that Sori was not on the same page.

        • Laz

          For Granderson though he hits a hr once every 12-14 ab’s in a normal stretch. Walks are important, but those are not doubles, those are 40 guaranteed runs over the course of the season,

        • Mac

          I’m getting tired of hearing this narrative about OBP being more important than SLG. It’s not that simple. It’s a matter of degree. (Not weighing in on whether he should bunt or swing away, just talking generally here. To me the bunting just comes down to execution. If he can actually go 1 for 2, sure bunt. I have a feeling you pulled that out of the sky, though, and I don’t know how effective he can actually be bunting.)

          • Mac

            (Continuing on the bunting… I doubt it’s 1 of 2. You have the foul line, the P, and the C. Boxed in on three sides. It’s not so easy to place a bunt off a live P exactly where you want it.)

  • The Real Greg

    CC is the ace of this team. He has more wins than Kuroda.


  • The Real Greg

    Seriously, I still believe the problem with CC is that his weight loss threw his mechanics out of whack.

    Mike Mussina proved you can win with less stuff.

    • Eddard

      Andy’s 8 years older and proving it now. If Andy can reinvent himself midseason at 41 then CC should be able to as well. At the very least, don’t be sitting with the same ERA as Phil Hughes as we head into September.

      • The Real Greg

        You’re improving Eddard! You’re mind is beginning to work!

        It’s totslly due to my influence, of course. Don’t take any credit.

        /Classic Doctor Who

      • Tom K

        I don’t think it is fair to compare Andy to CC. CC has to adjust from being a power pitcher to a bit more of a finesse guy (not 100% finesse; just MORE finesse). Andy’s adjustments are much more subtle than that.

        I don’t think it is as easy as saying “Hurry up and adjust!” Mike Mussina had a 5.15 ERA the year before his 20-win swan song (and if you recall, he even began that year horribly). For many pitchers, it takes time. It is easy to say “Well, we don’t have time right now!”, and that is true. But you can’t suddenly change just because of how the season is going for the team.

    • Bob Buttons

      Said it many times before, will reiterate.

      Your belief is totally justified. Weight loss problems supposedly effed up Mike MacDougal and other few people.

      • Mike HC

        I agree that the weight loss is playing a part in his struggles, but in my opinion, he was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. If he didn’t lose the weight, back and knee problems were inevitable, as was a shortened career. CC is struggling like hell right now, but it at least gives him a shot at the next 5-10 years.

        • Mac

          Good point. Definitely seems like a trade-off. Hopefully it works out going forward.

  • Kramerica Industries

    A Yankees victory tomorrow would conceivably vault them to 3rd in the wild card standings. The important thing being that, if they can get into that spot, then, in theory, it’s not as big a deal if the Orioles or Indians are winning games, provided the Yankees take care of their own business.

    This is a must-sweep series. To that end, two games remain on the task. Mission accomplished for today, but there is still work to be done.

    • Mac

      It still matters whether those teams behind them win or not (including KC as well). There are 28 games left for the Yankees. There is almost no chance they win all 28 even if they “take care of business.” It only matters how well they “take care of business” relative to those teams around them in the standings. Say, for example, they win 80% of their remaining games. I think that would be “taking care of business” by any definition. If the teams around them win 60% of their games, Yankees are golden. If they win 90% they’re sitting at home. Yankees “took care of business” either way.

      A must sweep series? Yankees still have a four game set against the Orioles in September, sandwiched between 7 games against the Red Sox with three left against the Rays. They’ve got to win a lot of these games to make the playoffs, but no one game is must win until they’re on the brink of elimination.

  • Get Phelps Up

    So the best case scenario this weekend I think involves the Yankees sweeping (duh), the Tigers sweeping, the white Sox winning the next 2, and the rays sweeping. I figure that the Yankees still have some games to take care of the Rays, but for the A’s aside from a series against the Rangers this is the only time they even play a team that’s above the .500 mark.

    • Kramerica Industries

      They play the Twins seven times next month. How the hell did that happen?

      The Rays still have three with Boston, four with Baltimore and Texas, and three left against the Yankees (the most important one from our POV, obviously). Even if Oakland were swept, it would be a devil to pass them in the standings. If the Rays got swept, there’s at least a chance, again, provided the Yankees do what they need to do as well.

      • Kramerica Industries

        Right on cue, the former and now current A Kurt Suzuki hits a three-run HR against David Price.

      • Mac

        “They play the Twins seven times next month. How the hell did that happen?”

        In all likelihood it just means that they’re played the Twins less frequently to date in the season than teams like the Yankees and Rays. While these games seem more important because of the urgency to win with so few games left, in reality every game all regular season carries the exact same weight.

    • OldYanksFan

      The A’s have a MUCH easier schedule remaining. Not only against shitty teams, but teams out of the hunt. Meanwhile TB is fighting teams with a chance… albeit a slim one. Oakland with get the WC spot, with TB fighting everyone else for WC2.

      After this series, Oakland has 6 (hard ones) left against Texas, but then 17 games left against the worst teams in the AL… including 4 at Home against Houston and 6 against the Pujols-less Angels.

  • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

    We win these next two games, and we’re back in the race motherfuckers.

    Let’s git er’ done, boys.

  • Kramerica Industries

    Fucking A’s. Bob Melvin may have torpedoed this game with his foolish decision to keep Parker in the 8th.

  • Kosmo

    excellent job by the BP. Sabathia has a 7.38 ERA post ASG ! Just wow, I knew it was dreadful but that´s just jawdropping.

  • Bob Buttons

    If someone said CC would only be a hair better than Hughes come September they’d not be able to show their face around without being ridiculed for a while. Their HR/9, SO/9 and BB/9 are really close.

    It’s sad really. Sometimes I feel Hughes gives us a better chance to win.

  • JLC 776

    I’m thrilled about the win, but Christ on a pony, do you remember when pitching was supposed to carry this team?
    Right now Kuroda is gassed and CC and Hughes require major run support every time they touch the mound. Ugh…

  • RetroRob

    Nice win, although it hard to get too excited. CC doesn’t have to be at his best (although that would be nice), he just has to be good. His ERA an ERA of 7.00+ since the the All-Star break. A loss with a great-pitched game from CC might have been more a cause for hope. He may figure it out, and probably will, but I doubt it will be this year.