Yankees rally late for 6-4 win over White Sox

Staten Island wins and loses on second to last day of the season
Thoughts following the back-to-back wins over the White Sox

Best win of the season? I know I’ve said that like ten times before, but this is definitely up there. Top five at least, probably top three. There’s no shame in getting shut down by Chris Sale, he might be the best pitcher in the league, but the Yankees can’t afford to get shut down by anyone at this point. They waited Sale out before jumping all over the White Sox bullpen for a huge and dramatic and hugely dramatic 6-4 win on Tuesday.

\o/ (Presswire)

Never Say Die
Like I said, there’s no shame in getting shut down by Sale. I do think he’s the best pitcher in the AL and one of the four or five best in all of baseball. For 7.1 innings, he completely befuddled the Yankees with mid-90s fastballs and silly backdoor breaking balls to right-handers that were just unhittable. The Bombers only had five hits against the ChiSox southpaw and two of them came from the last two batters he faced. The last was a booming opposite field double by Robinson Cano, just the third extra-base hit Sale has allowed to a left-handed batter this year (all doubles). Holy crap.

Those back-to-back hits to end Sale’s night paved the way for the eighth inning rally. The Yankees came into the frame down three runs and had runners at second and third with one out when Alfonso Soriano laced a single to center in an 0-2 count to score both runs. They were the 38th and 39th runs Soriano has driven in in 36 games since rejoining the Yankees. Alex Rodriguez followed that with a full count single to center to put runners at the corners for pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson, who tied the game with a single to center against lefty specialist Donnie Veal to plate Soriano. The Grandyman laid off some real tough breaking balls down in the zone earlier in the at-bat.

It looked like the rally would be cut short when Mark Reynolds struck out for the second out — it was a tough eight-pitch at-bat, to his credit — but Eduardo Nunez picked him up by hooking a 1-1 fastball into the right field corner for a two-run double. I don’t even think the pitch was a strike; it looked to be off the plate both down and in. The only thing Nunez does exceptionally well is make contact, and that skill was on full display with his game-winning hit. It was only the team’s 12th biggest hit of the season by WPA (+.345), but WPA lacks context and can’t account for how big an impact a loss would have had on the team’s playoff chances. I don’t think the hit was a season-saver, but it was damn close.


New Routine, Same Result
If he had been facing any team other than the worst offensive team in the AL, Hiroki Kuroda would have gotten absolutely clobbered on Tuesday. The White Sox tagged him for four runs on seven hits and two walks in 6.1 innings, and several of their outs were hard hit as well. Perhaps the most damning number is ten. Chicago is the most impatient team in the league in terms of walk rate (6.7%) and pitches seen per plate appearance (3.74), but ten of the 28 batters they sent to the plate against Kuroda saw at least four pitches. He had a lot of trouble putting guys away.

Kuroda changed up his routine and skipped his between-starts bullpen in an effort to stay fresh — he was also pitching with an extra day of rest thanks to last Thursday’s off-day — but the results were the same. A lot of pitches leaking back out over the plate and a lot of damage. I’m guessing you wouldn’t feel any better if I told you this start actually represents the best of his last four starts, but it does. After carrying the team for pretty much the entire first half, the Yankees are winning in spite of Kuroda right now. Not because of him. He really needs to turn things around and soon.

Oh yeah, the Yankees scored their first run of the game when Vernon Wells stole home. You can see the video above (link in case the embed doesn’t work), but here’s the quick version: ChiSox catcher Josh Phegley threw down to second when Nunez attempted to steal with men on the corners. Wells took off as soon as the throw went to second and simply beat the return throw home. It’s a set play — the Yankees tried it a few weeks ago (I think in Texas against the Rangers?) and it didn’t work — and was a fantastic call considering the punchless Chris Stewart was at the plate with two outs. They wouldn’t have scored otherwise.

Six of New York’s nine hits came in the span of seven batters in that eighth inning. Derek Jeter and Nunez had two hits apiece, as did the Wells/Granderson right field spot. Brett Gardner went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and looked just awful at the plate, but he faced Sale all four times and gets a free pass from me. That dude is tough to hit, especially if you’re a lefty. Sale retired 17 of 20 at one point and stranded a leadoff double in the fifth. That was annoying.

Three relievers — Preston Claiborne, Boone Logan, and Mariano Rivera — combined to retire all eight men they faced following Kuroda. Just one of the final 15 White Sox to bat managed to reach base, and that was Alejandro De Aza’s seventh inning solo homer to knock Kuroda out of the game. He hit a ball just foul that had more than enough distance to leave the park earlier in the at-bat. Rivera reached 40 saves for the ninth time in his career, tying Trevor Hoffman for the most such seasons in baseball history.

According to Katie Sharp, this was the team’s eighth win at home when trailing entering the seventh inning, the most in baseball. Late-inning comebacks are awesome, but I’m hoping the Yankees don’t keep cutting things so close down the stretch.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Now that is a graph I can get behind. The box score and video highlights are available at MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stats and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Yankees jumped over the Orioles and into third place in the AL East with the win. Depending on the outcome of the late game, they’ll either be two games (Rays lose) or three games (Rays win) back of the second wildcard spot in the loss column. Well within striking distance, which is pretty amazing when you consider where they were about a month ago. Cool Standings has their playoff chances at 18.7% at the moment.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees will go for the sweep on Wednesday night, when CC Sabathia gets the ball against rookie right-hander Erik Johnson. The September call-up will be making his big league debut. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the series finale live. Based on this game, there are plenty of seats still available.

Staten Island wins and loses on second to last day of the season
Thoughts following the back-to-back wins over the White Sox
  • Brendan

    Rotation rest of the way

    Nova, Pettite, rain, rain, whoever is scheduled to start goes 1 inning rain delay then Huff

    • Havok9120

      What a fun win. Granted, Tampa will probly win their game, but there’s value in jumping Baltimore. There’s also value in just winning a game this way.

      The steal of home was fantastic. The comeback. Mo being Mo. Kuroda not being totally and utterly terrible (not a high bar, but I’ll take it). Pretty good day for baseball.

      • Havok9120

        Well this doesn’t belong here.

        • vicki

          guy. vernon wells stole home.

          end times.

  • forensic

    The most amazing thing might be that Nunez’ helmet didn’t even come off on the double.

    • vicki

      fuck you, is that true?

      end times.

      • forensic

        lol, you seem fired up tonight, Vicki. :-)

        It’s absolutely true, and the proof is in the picture Mike added above.

        • vicki

          holy mother, you’re right. i’m a little disappointed.

          fired up every night.

  • Jonathan

    I live in Kansas so I got this on WGN and Hawk needs to retire. He goes 30 seconds without saying anything and there is basically zero play by play. He often has normal sentences that sound like a wind-up doll running out of steam. Only huge White Sox plays get him to register a pulse. He’s always been a HUGE homer and really bad but now he’s just barely alive. So after listening to his whining and orgasming in his pants on the De Aza home run it was BEAUTIFUL to listen to him have to call that comeback. I really wish we had this offense for the entire year. I almost forgot what it was like to watch a fun team.

  • mustang(The Has Beens & Wannabes Bunch 2013)

    So much to say so here I go:
    1- JETER. Mike has this great relationship with Jeter for 3 to 4 years now. Mike gives another Jeter pep talk after the lost to O’s Jeter responded 4 for 7 with 2 RBI. Mike is Mike and Jeter is Jeter I love you both.
    2-SORIANO. I been a Yankees fan for a long time and I can’t remember any move made at the trading deadline that has had this kind of positive impact. Off the top my head maybe Justice, but was a strong team without him.
    3-GIRARDI. After the non-Robertson move tonight made up for it. All is forgiven.

    • mustang(The Has Beens & Wannabes Bunch 2013)

      And for those of you who didn’t read tonight’s game thread it’s a MUST read too funny here a highlight:


      And Eddard… no words just following him alone in that thread had me LMAO!!!

      Eddard for President of RAB 2013!!!!

      • mustang(The Has Beens & Wannabes Bunch 2013)

        Eddard says:
        September 3, 2013 at 9:12 pm
        Today is the day the 2013 Yankees officially died. You just can’t give away these games against last place teams in your own park. Some ace.

        Eddard says:
        September 3, 2013 at 9:55 pm
        I think we’ll look back on today as the day the 2013 Yankees made the postseason. What a comeback. They’re finally hitting with RISP.

        The man is a born politician!!!!

      • mustang(The Has Beens & Wannabes Bunch 2013)

        Deathstroke Heathcott when are you going to AC and can I tag along.


      • Robinson Tilapia

        Oh fuck no. It was funny about a year ago, now I just pretty much skip on over whatever he writes.

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

      Justice definitely had at LEAST as big an impact. The 2000 Yankees were NOT a strong team. Actually, they kind of sucked. I mean, they won 87 games. That’s less than the 08′ Yankees who missed the playoffs. That would certainly miss the playoffs this year. They just had the benefit of playing in a really shitty division and getting hot at the right time.

      • mustang(The Has Beens & Wannabes Bunch 2013)

        “The team finished 1st in the AL East with a record of 87–74, 2.5 games ahead of the Boston Red Sox, after losing 15 of their final 18 games. Despite having the lowest winning percentage of any postseason qualifier in 2000, the Yankees won the World Series over the New York Mets in 5 games to win their 26th World Series title.”

        Your probably right I stand corrected I just remember that great playoff run.

      • Pasta Stumbling Sojo

        Yeah, they won 87 games, the Red Sox were 2nd with 85 games, and Justice had 3.2 WAR for the Yankees that year in 78 games. Not that you should take WAR literally, but winning 3 fewer games would’ve meant missing the playoffs and being an 84 win team.

        One thing that’s true of Soriano is that he’s doing much more for the Yankees than he did for the Cubs, so it’s a much more pleasant surprise. His OPS is over 100 points higher, for example, whereas Justice’s was only 30 points higher with the Yankees than with Cleveland that year. (Also, his OPS with the Yankees with .977 in 78 games. That’s pretty awesome.)

  • Truther
  • dkidd

    so much fun

    24 games to glory, boys. do it for mo

  • Get Phelps Up

    This is off topic but I have to say that I’m really happy that the Pirates finally have a winning season again. I mean I wasn’t even born yet the last time they finished above the .500 mark. I can’t even imagine what that’s like as a fan to go through, especially given how their 1992 season ended – going from one out and 2 strikes away from the World Series to 20 straight losing seasons. I’m very happy for them and their fans.

    • forensic

      Of all the teams currently in a playoff spot, they’re probably the one I’d be rooting for (there’s too much yuck on the Dodgers overtaking my love of Donnie for me to root for them). Maybe just a touch for the reason you mention, but mostly because I became a big fan of AJ Burnett while he was here and hated that it came to a point where he needed to be traded. I’d love to see him get another ring.

      Speaking of which, how boring is the DL playoff hunt? There really is no hunt. The closest team to a playoff spot who isn’t in one now is the Nationals, and they’re 7.5 out of the wild card. The only thing going on there is seeing if the Pirates can hold off the Cards and Reds to avoid the play-in game.

      • forensic

        DL playoff hunt???

        Obviously that was NL playoff hunt…

        • vicki

          yes, true. but home field matters a lot. plus the nl central is a disney movie.

          i know you have puig issues. i really rather like him. i do NOT like agonz; hate him, in fact. but come what may in october, do or don’t work on your short game, i’d like to see donnie hoisted.

          but i hope aj wins his starts against the dodgers in the nlcs.

        • Steve (different one)

          The Yankees won the DL playoffs months ago…

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Absolutely. Yes, I want the Yankees to win every year, but it’s not at the expense of fans of other proud franchises, who’ve been down on their luck for a long time. Hooray for the Pittsburgh Pirates!

  • Mr. Roth

    I sure hope the Yankees get a good opportunity to bean Ortiz during this series.

    Just to be clear, by good opportunity I mean something like a 9 run lead with 2 outs and the bases clear in the top of the 9th with Joba or Betances on the mound.

    • vicki

      yes, you, this.

  • Kosmo

    The Yankee season might be decided the last week of the season, specifically the 3 games vs. Tampa. 16-8 WL thru the remaining 24 games would give NY 90 wins for the season. 90!
    As reported in the recap NYs playoff chances have doubled in the last week or so.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    There’ve been fans on here wanting to plop a tombstone on top of this team since Spring Training. If the reinforcements aren’t back by May, they’ll be in last place, they said. Every inopportune loss was proof they were right. There’ve been fans on here who’ve said that the fight doesn’t matter, that anything less than the divisional playoffs would mean being disappointed in the team, and even that was qualified.

    Bullshit. This team is still fighting. The ragtag bag of generic guys we all ragged on early this season kept the team in the fight. The veterans came back, often too early, but came back again. Alfonso Soriano was seemingly traded away nine years ago for the sole purpose of returning this moment (and we still focus on who raised the pom-poms the most in the front office over acquiring him in the press). THIS team, win, lose, or misguided September signing of Luis Castillo, is a Yankee team to be proud of. THIS is a Yankee team to believe in.

    Believe. You have nothing to lose in doing so.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead


      • Robinson Tilapia

        Jim is Making Up For School Traffic, I See

    • JLC 776


      It’s funny what expectations do. Had this team been a habitual non-contender making it’s first run in a long time (like the Pirates), the entire fan base would have been crazy positive the whole year long. I know the general consensus is that this team is one in decline, but I’m a hell of a lot happier they chose to fight to the end and make things fun rather than sell at the deadline.

      Go Yanks!

    • Rolling Doughnut

      Nice sentiment, but if CC and Kuroda don’t figure it out, we’re screwed. The former has been struggling all year and the latter is probably gassed. But they are hanging on, as you point out, and at least now we’re seeing some kickass baseball. Works for me.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        You can replace your first sentence with any number of these from the rest of the season:

        “If Jeter doesn’t come back…”
        “If Tex doesn’t come back…”
        “If Grandy doesn’t come back…”
        “If we don’t pick up any more offense at the trade deadline…”
        “If Stewart starts more than 60% of the games…”
        “If ARod keeps being a distraction”
        “If ARod doesn’t come back”
        “If ARod comes back because he sucks”
        “If we think Nova’s going to actually help us…”
        “If we think Vernon Wells is going to be any good…”
        “If we don’t get pitching at the deadline…”
        “If we don’t DFA Joba…”
        “If we don’t DFA Hughes…”

        and on and on and on and on. Fuck that. CC and Kuroda could keep being mediocre, and I bet we’ll still be in this right to the last week. It’s been an incredibly resilient team despite everything, and I imagine they won’t go down without a fight.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Exactly. No one’s discounting anything, and the degree of difficulty is indeed higher if your two best starters are fighting ineffectiveness at the wrong time, but it’s been the “wrong time” all season long and here we are.

      • Havok9120

        Kuroda has looked gassed and CC has been awful for the last month (longer than that, for CC). And yet the team has not only “hung in there” but it has picked up two games on a WC spot, passing three teams in the process.

        Is a deep playoff run possible without those guys pitching much better? No, of course not. Is catching up to a WC spot in the next 24 games? Yes, it is. We’d need more help from other teams to do it, but it’s very possible.

  • JLC 776

    I’m trying really, really hard not to look at the 11 games starting tomorrow.

    We have to win today. I’m breaking out the Mariano Duncan shirt again.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      DO IT.

    • Havok9120

      I hadn’t done so until just now. Holy jeepers Batman.


      We got ‘dis.

  • OldYanksFan

    A truly great Win. And whatever the outcome, this Yankees team has overachieved and played tougher than any team in decades.

    That said, and while I’m rooting like hell, I just don’t think we make the PS. The bottom line is that CC and Kuroda are not a #1 and #2, but 2 #5’s. You can’t Win without Pitching.

    CC, #1: Shows little signs of coming back. Can he at least post a 4.00 ERA going down the stretch? It doesn’t look like it.

    Kuroda, #2: Shows little signs of coming back. Last night was not encouraging. No throw day and an extra rest day, and he is still shit? How cooked is he? I’m not sure who’s worse… him or CC.

    Andy, #3: Has at least show positive signs the last 4 games, but can we count on him?

    Phil, #4: My God, what a disappointment! But he could be better than CC and Kuroda now.

    Nova, #5: Our new Ace. Holy shit.

    Huff, #?: This guy has been great for us, but have you seen his career stats? He is our Savior?

    If I had to rate our current staff, based on the last 2 months, we have (in order), a #5, #5, #3, #5 and a #1.

    Let’s be honest. CC and Hiroki need to spend some time in ARod’s lab.

    Anything can happen. But Man! Our only decent Pitcher was pitching in AAA 2 months ago!

    Can we skip Kuroda once around? Give him 9-10 says off. Would it help?
    Is this possible?

    Do we make a push for Halladay?
    Anyone other Pitcher out there?
    At this point, 1 or 2 extra Wins may be the difference.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      My god, where do we begin here?

      I know…..we’ll ignore 3/4 of this and remind you that any pitcher the Yankees try and get now will not be eligible for the postseason roster.

  • OldYanksFan

    Oh… I should mention…..
    Hard to pick the biggest AB in that 8th inning.

    But I go with Grandy, our Strike out King. He was facing a tough Lefty, took 2 very tempting balls, and with 2 Strikes, stroked a clean hit.

    And ARod’s AB stood out to me as he didn’t try to do too much, didn’t over swing, and stroked the pitch w/2 strikes he was given.

    • JLC 776

      That really is a tough question (picking the best AB). I think I go with Sori just because it was with 2 strikes against Sale. After that, Nunez coming through seemed like a longer shot than Grandy…

      But, to your point, they were all HUGE hits!

    • LarryM Fl

      It all started with the Captain. Its amazing the influence he brings to the team. But as mentioned all hits were huge.

      • Yankee Fan 1

        Remeber a few days ago when half the people here were calling him to retire? lol. That was one amazing rally to watch. It’s so much fun having a real lineup.

  • trr

    Best Win Of The Season, bar none.

  • Steve (different one)

    Surprised no mention of Cano dropping that throw from Stewart in the 5th. The throw was perfect, if he gloves it, I think that whole inning changes and we feel a little better about Kuroda’s start.

    Not blaming Robbie, sh*t happens, but that was a pretty big play IMO.

    • Havok9120

      I don’t remember well enough this morning to know whether it looked like an out if he gloves it or not, but yeah, I agree. Taking the DP out of consideration and putting that runner in scoring position was a pretty big factor in how that inning went down.

      Oh, well.

  • pat

    Just fight til the end. That’s all we can ask.

    • Havok9120

      And yet, we will continue to ask for far more than that. Because fans.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      This this 1000x this.