Yankees hang on for 3-2 win over Red Sox

Update: MRI negative on Brian Roberts' back
Fan Confidence Poll: April 14th, 2014

I think I need a cigarette after that game. The whole series, really. The Yankees hung onto a one-run lead for dear life on Sunday night, beating the Red Sox 3-2 to win three of four games this weekend. Man, that game was way too intense for April 13th. I love it.

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)
(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)

Big Time Player Does Big Time Things
The Yankees signed Carlos Beltran specifically for games like this. They’ve seen firsthand how he can be an impact player in even the most pressure-filled environments, excelling in big games and big situations. If there is such a thing as clutch players, Beltran is the model.

On Sunday, Beltran helped the Yankees both offensively and defensively in their win over Boston. He got them on the board in the third inning with a two-run homer into the first row of the left field stands, getting out in front of Felix Doubront cutter but still getting enough of it to hit it out of the park. He didn’t even square it up — the replay showed it was damn near off the handle. Beltran also singled and doubled, leaving him a triple short of the cycle.

In the field, Beltran picked up his team by playing first base for the first time in his professional career. He’d never done it in either the big leagues or the minors, yet when Frankie Cervelli went down with a hamstring problem in the fourth inning, Beltran stepped in to play the position like he’d been there his entire life. Well, that’s not true. He wasn’t tested with any tough plays and only had to received three throws from other infielders. Still, with his teammates going down with injuries all night, Beltran stepped up and played a new position as a 36-year-old veteran. Dude is a baseball marvel.

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)
(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)

All Hail Replay
We saw the Yankees take advantage of the new replay system a few days ago, when Joe Girardi successfully challenged a call against the Blue Jays that led to a run. He made another successful challenge on Sunday, this one on the play that injured Cervelli. The backup catcher/part-time first baseman grounded into an inning-ending double play with men on corners, but the call was overturned after Girardi requested a replay. Instead of the inning and the rally being over, Cervelli was declared safe at first and the runner scored from third on the play. That was New York’s third run and, ultimately, the game-winning run. Hooray technology.

Ivan The Kinda Sorta Terrible
This had to be one of the ugliest 7.1-inning, two-run starts I’ve ever seen in my life. Ivan Nova again struggled with his command, leaving fastballs and curveballs up in the zone all night. It looked very similar to his first two starts, but this time he found a way to get outs and give his team an opportunity to win. Real gutty outing, I thought. There were times it seemed he was on the edge of disaster.

Nova allowed the Red Sox’s first on a Jonathan Herrera single in the second inning — the Sawx put together that rally with two outs, stringing together three straight singles — and their second on a monster Mike Napoli homer in the sixth. He hit it over the visitor’s bullpen and into the left field bleachers. It was a shot. Nova retired the last six men he faced and only had two 1-2-3 innings, scattering eight hits. He didn’t walk anyone and only struck out four. Here is his PitchFX breakdown from Brooks Baseball.

Through three starts this year, we have not seen the Nova we saw in the second half last year. That guy was dominant and in total control almost every time out. This version of Nova always seems to be dancing in and out of danger each time out. These are character building starts, I guess. At this point Ivan is the weak link in the Yankees’ rotation — he has yet to cruise for four or five innings at a time like CC Sabathia has done in his last two starts — but he’s only had one disaster start. At some point he has to start driving the ball down in the zone more consistently, but on Sunday he was good enough to help the team win.

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)
(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)

Late-Inning Nail-Biting
Man, the end of this game was ridiculously intense. The Yankees kept Boston in the game by going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranding at least one runner in all eight offensive innings, so the score was only 3-2 by time the eighth inning rolled around. With Nova out of gas, Girardi turned the game over to his David Robertson and Adam Warren-less bullpen.

After Xander Bogaerts started the eighth with a weak fly out to right, Matt Thornton was summoned to match up with David Ortiz for the second straight game. Ortiz got ahold of a hanger and drove it out to right field, but Ichiro Suzuki tracked it down and crashed into the wall making a great lunging catch. It was awesome. Ichiro was only in the game because of Cervelli’s injury and, given how the rest of the inning played out, he had a real impact on the win.

With two outs and the bases empty, David Phelps got the ball to record for the final out of the inning. Before he could do that, he put Napoli (double), Daniel Nava (walk), and A.J. Pierzynski (hit-by-pitch) on base. The Nava at-bat was a real battle in particular. Boston had the bases loaded and the go-ahead run in scoring position with two outs. The left-handed Mike Carp pinch-hit and fouled off three pitches in an eight-pitch at before swinging over top of a curveball for strike three. That was a grueling inning to watch. Phelps went full Joba with the fist pump after getting the final out:

David Phelps

That eighth inning was as close as the Red Sox would get to tying things up. Interim closer Shawn Kelley tossed a perfect ninth inning, striking out two and getting a line out to center field. Piece of cake. Phelps was both the bullpen hero and bullpen villain on Sunday. He loaded the bases with two outs before getting the huge strikeout to save the game. At +0.175 WPA, the Carp strikeout was the New York’s biggest defensive out of the season to date. Feels about right, no?

The Yankees blew a prime run-scoring opportunity in the first inning, when Jacoby Ellsbury was thrown out at third on Alfonso Soriano‘s sac fly. The tag was applied for the final out before Beltran crossed the plate, so the run didn’t score. Beltran wasn’t exactly busting it down the line, but that play by Ellsbury was way too high risk/high reward for that point of the game. Baseball 101: never make the third out at third base, especially in the first inning when the opposing starter is giving up rockets all over the field. Thankfully it didn’t come back to bite them.

Rough night for the Yankees physically. Before the game we learned that both Derek Jeter (quad) and Brian Roberts (back) have been dealing with nagging injuries, then Cervelli got hurt in the fourth inning, forcing Beltran to first. In the sixth, Yangervis Solarte somehow got hit in the manhood crossing first base on a ground out and limped around for a while. He ultimately remained in the game. Brian McCann took a foul tip off the bare hand in the eighth but also remained in the game. Dean Anna is the emergency catcher, in case you’re wondering.

Beltran was the obvious star offensively, going 3-for-4. Brett Gardner went 2-for-4 in front of him, but the other seven batters went a combined 3-for-23 (.130) with three walks. Ellsbury singled, Solarte singled and walked, Kelly Johnson walked, and McCann doubled and walked. His double was off the very top of the wall in center field. Legitimately about three inches from being a homer.

And finally, the forgotten great play was Gardner throwing Jackie Bradley Jr. out at the plate to end the second inning. Grady Sizemore slapped a single to left and Gardner made a perfect throw to cut the run down. If Bradley scores, the entire complexion of the game changes.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, go to MLB.com. For some nerdier stats, go to FanGraphs. For the updated standings, go to ESPN. The Yankees are in first place with the win. Well, tied for first with the Blue Jays and Rays, anyway.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
After starting the season with 13 games in 13 days, the Yankees will enjoy their first scheduled off-day of the 2014 season on Monday. They will reconvene at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night, when the Cubs come to town for a quick little two-game interleague series. Masahiro Tanaka and Jason Hammel is your series-opening pitching matchup. RAB Tickets can get you in the door for one or both games.

Update: MRI negative on Brian Roberts' back
Fan Confidence Poll: April 14th, 2014
  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    These schedulers know what they’re doing with days off, eh?

  • Steinbrenner’s Ghost

    Fuck the crybaby Red Sox.

    • RetroRob

      They do complain a lot.

      • Deep Thoughts

        Grady Cries More.

    • vicki

      they’re the forty-niners of baseball.

  • Get Phelps Up

    To recap:

    Countless Red Sox bitching about the strike zone
    Ichiro robs Fat Papi of an extra base hit
    Gardner throws out a runner at the plate
    Farrell ejected
    Red Sox strand bases loaded in the 8th
    Ellsbury ends the game with a great catch
    Nova with a great start
    Beltran homer
    ESPN game in just 3 hrs
    And the Yankees win 3/4 from the Sox.

    Best game of the year (sorry Frankie)

    • mustang

      I need a drink

      • forensic

        Mine are already out. Sure am glad I don’t have one of those sucker M-F, 9-5 jobs…

        • RetroRob

          I work from home 80% of the time, so as long as I can stagger to the home office in the morning, I’m good. Have a drink now, damn it.

          • RetroRob

            I’m having a drink now, damn it. You may have one, too!

    • lightSABR

      You missed two:

      Yankees now tied for 1st in the AL East.
      Red Sox now last in the AL East.

      I know, early in the season and all that. But better than the other way around, even if it is only a two-game difference.

    • Get Phelps Up

      Also I find it funny how Red Sox fans are complaining that Ellsbury’s dive was unnecessary when they have Dustin Pedroia on their team.

      • forensic

        lol, classic.

      • WhittakerWalt

        Or, you know, the actual Jacoby Ellsbury on their team for 7 years.

      • Kevin G.

        Dude did that shit with them all the time. But I guess it’s unnecessary now because he lost his grittiness

  • TheRealGreg

    Cervelli likely going to the DL. Call up Romine and another player.

    • Steinbrenner’s Ghost

      Stephen Drew – Catcher!

      • Winter

        He’ll probably end up playing 1B, then, because that’s what we do with catchers these days.

  • Jason

    Ichiro still can be a 300avg hitter, and 350 OBP. His top of the line defense is a good benefit too. Some way, some how, I hope Ichiro can get back his starting job back. Gardner too valuable and Beltran has 2 years left on his so Soriano could come down with an injury and thats all it takes. Goodbye to the longball. I’m not going to miss the strikeouts.

    • MartinRanger

      I wish I had your optimism. Some might say ‘delusional’, but I’ll be kind because we just won a 4 game set with Boston.

    • forensic

      I’m a big Ichiro fan but, barring some incredible good luck, there is no way he’d be able to go .300/.350 at this point in his career.

      As for playing him over Soriano, I’ll plead the 5th on that.

    • FIPster Doofus


    • Ken

      Lots of people want to write off Ichiro as a has been, but not me. I think he’s still a great player.

  • Dirk

    Bad news on Cervelli…any news on the Solarte leg/groin? injury, or Mcann’s hand?

    • forensic

      Girardi said no tests scheduled for McCann and he thinks he’ll be fine.

      Solarte got punched in the junk and should be fine (or as fine as you can be after that) too.

      • forensic

        And now Meredith updates saying he’ll get an x-ray tonight, but McCann said he’s fine and it’s just as a precaution.

        • mustang

          Lets hope so

        • RetroRob

          Solarte is having his nuts MRI’d?

          • mustang


          • mustang

            The Yankees are going to lose a fan at that MRI unit.

          • Tom

            Better an MRI than X-Rays.

            I’m no doctor but X-Rays down there can’t be good for you or at least the chance at future….


  • mustang

    BIG win and yes I know it’s early. It’s always a good sign to take 3 out 4 from a good team hopefully they can continue by beating up on shit team like the Cubs. Really would like for them to have a 6 and 3 home stand before that beastly 7 game road trip to Tampa and Boston.

  • Tom

    I’m curious as to how the Farrell argument on the field went:

    “He was out dammit!”

    “Yeah, that’s what we called on the field, John”

    “No I’m saying he was out, you idiot!”

    “Uhhh…. John we called him out. Perhaps I can get you the headset so you can yell into that if it will help make you feel better as they are the ones who called him safe?”

    It would be pretty awesome if a manager found the guy/gal in charge of the phone to the home offices for replay and got on the headset and started yelling. And then maybe stomp the headset at the end? (or kick dirt on it)

    • Kevin G.

      Could yo imagine if they had replay when Lou Pinella was managing?

      • Kevin G.

        *you, bring back editing damn it

    • forensic

      He’ll probably get fined for the ejection and I wonder if he added to it by saying this after the game:

      “It’s hard to have much faith in the system right now.”

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        Especially when they got the damn call right.

        Good Lord.

    • nyyankfan_7

      You could his lips long enough on ESPN to see one sentence of the argument:

      “You can take this replay bullshit and shove it up your fucking ass”

    • Mikhel

      “Fuck this shit” and “its the second time, the second time!” was what I could hear in the broadcast yesterday, but the damn narrators just wouldn’t shut up, surely is more interesting what managers are yelling than what narrators in ESPN have to say.

  • Brandon

    Convenient ESPN tries bringing up Boston Strong rather than talk about the Yankees destroying that arrogant franchise

  • ALZ

    That was a really enjoyable game.

  • Yangeddard Solarte

    Such a great series. 3 outstanding pitching performances from Nova, Kuroda and Pineda. If those 3 are your 1-2-3 punch and Tanaka is your 4 you’ve got yourself one hell of a playoff rotation. They’re light years ahead of last season. They won this ballgame with a C and then a RF playing 1B and no position players left. BGDP does it again.

  • D$1184

    Tuesday night, playing second base and singing soprano, Yangervis Solarte.

    • FIPster Doofus

      I’d rather listen to soprano Solarte than Kate Smith.

  • D$1184

    Yankees gonna have to make a move to get Scott Sizemore on the 40 man roster. I don’t think any of the injured players are serious enough to move them to the 60 day DL.

  • forensic

    So, I just learned two things tonight by watching the Joe Girardi Show.

    1. Some guy who wrote in a question must’ve seen this game coming because they asked if he had thought about playing Ichiro or Soriano in the infield.

    2. Girardi’s nickname for Solarte is Solo. I hadn’t heard him say it yet, and it’s not quite what I expected either.

    • W.B. Mason Williams

      “Quien es scruffy-looking?”

      • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

        You win.

      • Matt Nokes


  • forensic

    So, did anyone smarter than me bookmark the site that Mike posted a few days ago that listed all the replays that have happened so far? If so, would you mind posting it again?

    • n0exit

      Don’t know about the site but I follow MLB instant replay on twitter. Has every link to every review.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa
      • forensic

        Awesome, thanks so much! Already bookmarked, so I won’t have to ask again.

  • forensic

    All Hail Replay

    Well, all except John Farrell apparently.

  • MP

    Sawx, ‘Stros, and Marlins all with the same record right now. Life is sweet.

  • Brandon

    I feel like Nova was a lot better than you give him credit for. He got BABIP’d to death in the 2nd, four hits all with two outs. Ortiz tattooed that one ball off Nova but hey, not deep enough to go out at Yankee Stadium. Defense picked him up. Other than that, he did fine.

    • ALZ

      They were hitting him really good. It’s not BABIP, he lucked out that he only gave up 2 runs.

      • Brandon

        Not really. Roberts hit a seeing-eye single, Bradley hit one off his foot that went into no-man’s land, Herrera’s hit went through him, nobody covering the middle, and Sizemore’s hit was a bit of a bloop. Not much luck there at all

        • Mikhel

          From what I remember all except for one of the balls in that 4th inning that were hit, were lines, and not one single team has a good AVG against line drives. BAbip in esence hurts with grounders, even though hard hit lines contribute a lot to high AVGs.

    • forensic

      I’m in between on him. On one hand, he certainly gave up some rockets and got away with some pitches.

      On the other hand, all of his hits allowed (other than the Napoli homer) were singles, which at least is a far cry from when he led the universe in XBH’s allowed. He also didn’t walk anyone, which is an improvement from his first two starts.

  • vicki

    that one stung for sox fans.

    • forensic

      Sucks that you had to miss it live, but hopefully the crazy intensity of it got you some really good tips, especially from extremely happy Yankees fans!

  • Munson

    There was a little bit of carping on the broadcast about Beltran’s jog to the plate on that tag up. Implication being that if he busted it, he could have scored before Ellsbury is tagged out. Considering both players left their respective bases at the same time (tagging up) there’s no way Beltran reaches home before Ellsbury reaches third. To do so, Beltran would need to be a faster runner than Beltran. That’s not the case.

    • Kiko Jones


      But now that Canó’s not around SOMEBODY has to wear the “lazy Hispanic” tag…

  • TheRealGreg

    I know it’s only 13 games but the Yankees are 2nd in BA, and 3rd in OPS.

    I don’t remember them reaching that level last year.

    Yanks are 9th in ERA, mainly because of 4 pitchers. Phelps, Nuno, CC, and Nova. But those pitchers are 3-3 combined. Also interesting is that the Yankees don’t have a bullpen victory. All 7 of their wins have been attributed to the starters

    • Axis of Mike

      Those are some fun stats, thanks!

    • WhittakerWalt

      They were actually leading the league in homers for a while last year. That first month was pretty damn fluky.

  • Axis of Mike

    I really can’t imagine what Ichiro has to do to convince you people he’s not a replacement-quality player. Levitate into the 2nd deck and catch a would-be homer? Bat .1050? Hit 2 inside-the-park homers in one game? Also, he never gets hurt. Why? Maybe because he stretches constantly, throughout the game. Errbody else dropping like flies, clutching painfully seized muscles. Do as Suzuki does, boys, stretch. Stretch a lot.

    Beltran leads the team in RBIs, not Ellsbury. When is Girardi going to realize Ellsy, or whatever he calls him, needs to lead off?

    Phelps has won me over. He’s not a dominant pitcher but he fights and he has such good movement on his fastball. If he could improve the breaking ball and use it a bit more I think he could be dominant for 2 innings. If Betances could find consistency and when Robertson gets back, whoa mama, we have one helluva pen.

    Looks very likely tomorrow’s game’ll be rained out, alas.

    • TheRealGreg

      But he has been hot since he was put there. I like the Gardner, Jeter, Ellsbury combination.

      • Axis of Mike

        Yes, but the RBIs tells the story: he’s not a run-driver-inner. He gets on base and gets to 2nd better, far better, than Gardner. With Beltran heating up, Ellsy in the 1 hole means more Ellsies crossing home.

    • lightSABR

      Oh, come on. You know exactly what Ichiro has to do to convince us he’s something more than a fifth outfielder: hit well for 190 PA, instead of 19. Nobody in their right mind should take 9 games at 156 wRC+ more seriously than three whole seasons at 79, 90, and 71.

    • Mikhel

      Ellsbury is fine as 3rd in the order, it is what the team needs right now, with no clear 3rd bat in sight and three good 1st bats in Jeter, Ellsbury and Gardner, JoeG needs to use them as close as it can be.

      Gardner is a 0.270 AVG / 0.350 OBP guy who most of the year will flirt with 0.290 AVG / 0.370 OBP and to lose a plate appearance by using him as a 9th hitter is not good.

      Jeter shouldn’t be moved from 1st or 2nd, his track record and what he has done thus far this season show he is still productive.

      Ellsbury could very well be like O’Neill who had good AVG, OBP and occasional dead-pull-power (it usually is called “occasional” even though I wouldn’t label it that with 20+ HR and 30+ doubles). On top he runs fast and can steal bases, sure, if he gets to 2nd in a steal the other team could decide to pass Beltrán to pitch the 5th in the order who should be Soriano, with McCann as 6th.

  • Bo Knows

    IMO there were some defensive miscues and far more mini flares. I think Nova pitched a better than you are giving him credit for

  • Tim

    How about one thing that I haven’t seen mentioned yet in this thread – this version of the Boston Red Sox just flat out isn’t that good. Last year’s team had an offense consisting of guys playing way out of their minds (at least it felt like it), and runs would score by the boatload. Does anybody now look at this lineup (even with Pedroia playing) and fear it at all? I surely don’t. And like anything else, the pitching staff really loses a lot of its intimidation factor when you aren’t putting up 5-6 runs per game on average.

    Four game series in the Bronx, Red Sox lose 3 of 4 and score a total of 11 runs. Hard to believe after what they did last year.

    • Axis of Mike

      I think they will heat up and then watch out, but, yeah, so far they don’t look all that scary.

    • Mikhel

      Last season didn’t begin all that well for them until everybody began to put up monster years, it seems that a lot of players once they get to play 80 games at Fenway have one or two great years for them with the bosox, but away tend to decrease their performance.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees next series at Fenway ends up with the sox pummeling and sweeping the Yankees.

  • http://twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec109

    Gotta think Soriano would have played second if Solarte had to leave the game last night, right?

    Part of me was hoping for it (and not a serious injury to Solarte) just to see Sori at 2nd one last time, haha.

  • Improbable Island Guy on Another Computer

    At this point Ivan is the weak link in the Yankees’ rotation

    So Nova has been doing worse than Sabathia except for the innings where Sabathia has done way worse. Got it.

  • Mikhel

    And Ichiro made another catch that Beltrán I am sure wouldn’t be able to catch it, Suzuki might as well be credited with a Save…