Archive for Game Stories
The Blue Jays scored 21 total runs against the Giants on Wednesday and Thursday, so they came into this weekend series swinging the bat well. Instead, they’ve been dominated by a Yankees’ pitching staff that has held them to two total runs in two games. New York won Saturday’s game by the score of 7-2, their eighth win over Toronto in nine meetings this year. Let’s recap…
- Cano Once, Cano Twice: Robinson Cano came into Saturday’s game riding a 10-for-49 slump, but he broke out against Brandon Morrow with a pair of two-run homers. The first was a total Yankee Stadium cheapie in the third inning while the second was a legit blast over the bullpen and into the right field bleachers in the fifth. Robbie had a chance for a third homer, but he struck out in the eighth. Both dingers were hit with two outs, so Joe Girardi‘s decision to bat Cano second instead of third paid some very real dividends. He might not have batting in those innings had he batted third, the spot traditional reserved for the team’s best hitter.
- Season-High: For the first time in his big league career, David Phelps completed seven innings of work. Things got a little hairy in the first thanks to two walks — only nine of his 24 pitches in the inning were strikes — but Jose Bautista wandered too far off second and Phelps picked him off to end the threat. The right-hander struck out eight and got seven ground ball outs, allowing the only run when Curtis Granderson got turned around on a line drive in his first career start in right field. It’s only been four starts, but I don’t see how Ivan Nova gets his rotation spot back when he’s ready to come off the DL. Barring injury, of course. Phelps has been so much better.
- Leftovers: Travis Hafner played for the first time in about a week, hitting a two-run homer in the eighth to break things open … Granderson and David Adams were the only Yankees without hits, but only Cano had multiple knocks … Austin Romine singled in three at-bats and looks way, way more comfortable at the plate now that he’s playing everyday due to Chris Stewart‘s injury … David Robertson allowed a solo homer in the eighth before Boone Logan struck out a pair in a perfect ninth … Jayson Nix singled and struck out twice in four at-bats while seeing eight total pitches … the Yankees are 18-0 when scoring first, the first team in AL history to win its first 18 games when scoring first.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights while FanGraphs has the nerd score. ESPN has the updated standings, which show the Yankees remaining atop the AL East by one game in the loss column over the Red Sox. The Orioles are now three back thanks to another Jim Johnson blown save. The Yankees will look to complete their second sweep of the Blue Jays this season on Sunday, when former Cy Young Award winners CC Sabathia and R.A. Dickey square off in a matinee. RAB Tickets has last minute ticket deals.
The Yankees dropped their last two games to the Mariners, but Hiroki Kuroda made sure his team avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season. The right-hander allowed just two hits and one walk across eight scoreless innings on Friday night, leading the Yankees to their seventh win in eight games against the new-look (but still-awful) Blue Jays. Let’s recap…
- #HIROK: After former Yankee Melky Cabrera doubled to leadoff the game, not a single Toronto hitter made it beyond first base against Kuroda. He sat down 19 of the next 20 men he faced and threw only 20 of his 108 pitches from the stretch. This was Kuroda at his best — lots of weak contact and easy outs. When the Yankees needed a strong outing to spare their short bullpen and pickup a weak lineup, he was up to the task and then some. Love this guy.
- Early Runs: Mark Buehrle has had a rough go of it in the AL East, and Yankees jumped on him early for a one-run lead. Brett Gardner saw Melky’s leadoff double and raised him a leadoff triple, then came in to score on Robinson Cano‘s ground out. Jayson Nix plated an insurance run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the fifth, then the Bombers blew it open with a three-run seventh. Austin Romine‘s two-strike double opened the floodgates, plating one run and setting up two more. That third time through the order did in Buehrle.
- Leftovers: Preston Claiborne finished things off with a scoreless ninth, though he did put men at second and third before recording the final out … David Adams continued to impress with a 2-for-4 night that included a ground-rule double and two runs scored … Romine and Gardner had two knocks apiece while Nix didn’t have an official at-bat, instead walking twice and hitting two sac flies … the 3-6 hitters went a combined 1-for-16 with a walk and five strikeouts … for the fifth time in the last six games, the Yankees did not hit a homer … in case you’re wondering, the Rangers are the only other team in baseball without a three-game losing streak.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees remain atop the AL East by one game over the Red Sox and two over the Orioles. They’ll send David Phelps to the mound on Saturday afternoon against Brandon Morrow. Check out RAB Tickets for last minute … well, tickets.
The injuries are really starting to the catch up to the Yankees offense, as the club failed to score more than three runs for the seventh time in the last eleven games. You can’t win like that, not playing in a small ballpark in the AL East. The Mariners won Thursday’s rubber game by the score of 3-2.
Pettitte’s Back Hurting, Again
Andy Pettitte leaving the game with a tight left trap is the major story of the game obviously, and we have no idea how long it’s been bothering him. He wasn’t particularly sharp before leaving the game, throwing 48 of 79 pitches were strikes (61%) and falling behind in the count quite a bit. That could easily be the result of the trap tightness, but Andy hasn’t really been on top of his game for a few starts now. He hasn’t been bad, just a little off.
Pettitte held the Mariners to two runs on four hits and three walks in 4.2 innings, and both runs scored with two outs. Not just with two outs, with two outs and two strikes. Not just with two outs and two strikes, with two outs and two strikes and the hits came from Dustin Ackley (66 wRC+) and Brendan Ryan (6 wRC+). I don’t think it’s asking too much of a pitcher to finish those guys off in two-strike counts with men on-base. It took a great catch from Ichiro Suzuki to save some runs in the first inning as well.
The Batting Order Strikes, Twice
In 22 of the team’s first 40 games, Robinson Cano batted second. It was glorious, he batted with a ton of men on-base and squeezed in an few extra two-out at-bats during a rally at the end of an inning. On Thursday, Jayson Nix batted second against a right-handed pitcher for whatever reason. The batting order doesn’t mean a ton over the 162-game season, but in this individual game, it cost the Yankees on two occasions.
First, with the Mariners up by one, Nix batted with two outs and runners at the corners in the fifth inning. He popped out in a 1-2 count to end the inning. Second, with the Mariners still up by one, Nix batted with the tying run at third and one out in the ninth inning. He struck out, swinging and missing at three Tom Wilhelmsen fastballs. Instead of having Cano bat in those situations, the Yankees had their … eighth? best hitter at the plate. There’s no guarantee Robbie would have come through, especially given his recent slump, but I think we all would have preferred to see him up in those spots. Nix finished the night with a -.403 WPA, the worst by a Yankees position player and the seventh worst by any position player in MLB this year.
Curtis Granderson, who was batting way down in the sixth spot for some reason, had three of the team’s eight hits. The top five hitters in the lineup went a combined 2-for-21 with two walks and eight strikeouts. That ain’t good. Brett Gardner singled and stole two bases in the ninth, but he also struck out looking with men on first and second with no outs in the seventh. He’s in a real bad funk. Ichiro, by the way, snapped out of an 0-for-22 slump with a single to center. He’s dangerously close to Tony Womackian levels of offensive production.
The bullpen did a pretty solid job in relief of Pettitte, allowing just one run 4.1 innings. That one run was the game-loser though, a solo homer by Mike Morse off Shawn Kelley. Kelley struck out five of the eight men he faced, giving him 30 strikeouts (and four walks) in 17.1 innings. Silly. Boone Logan retired all four men he faced and Adam Warren chipped in a scoreless ninth. At some point the Yankees have to start scoring more runs, the pitching staff is doing it’s job.
Remember yesterday when I said I wish I could look up the last time the Yankees had five players make their big league debut within the first 40 games of the season? Chad Jennings dug up the answer. It was 1995, when Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Brian Boehringer, and Jeff Patterson did it. Impressive group.
The Blue Jays are coming to town for a three-game weekend series, and they’re playing a whole lot better right now than they were the last time they were in the Bronx. Hiroki Kuroda and Mark Buehrle is your series opening pitching matchup on Friday night. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the game in person.
That was ugly. Every team goes has a few of this disaster starts each year, but that doesn’t make them any easier to swallow. The Mariners mopped the floor with the Yankees on Wednesday night, beating them 12-2.
This was definitely not one for the Phil Hughes career highlight reel. He became the sixth Yankees starter to allow at least seven runs in one inning or less this century, joining Bartolo Colon, Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Mussina, Jaret Wright, and Orlando Hernandez. I guess he’s in good company at least, outside of Wright. Tiny consolation price.
Anyway, Hughes was ridiculously awful. Rockets all over the field, including a grand slam into the bullpen by former Yankee Raul Ibanez. He faced ten hitters and eight reached base — six hits and two walks. Twenty-three of 36 pitches were strikes, but who really cares. Phil had nothing. Less than nothing, actually. You don’t give up seven runs and record two outs with good stuff.
David Adams and Brett Marshall became the fourth and fifth players to make their big league debut with the Yankees this season, joining Preston Claiborne, Vidal Nuno, and Corban Joseph. That seems like an awful lot of big league debuts for one season, especially for a veteran-loving club like the Yankees, doesn’t it? This was only the 40th game of the year as well. I wish I knew a way to look that up.
Adams went 1-for-4 with a solid two-strike single to center for his first big league hit, plus he played a pretty good third base. Made a few tough plays and all the routine ones. Marshall, meanwhile, really took one on the chin, surrendering five runs on nine hits in 5.2 innings. He walked five and struck out one, throwing only 56 strikes out of 108 total pitches (52%). Everyone gets a mulligan in their big league debut in my book, but I can’t imagine this is what he had in mind. With Joba Chamberlain ready to be activated off the DL, I have to think Marshall will be sent back to Triple-A Scranton on Thursday.
The Yankees scored their two runs on solo homers, one by Vernon Wells and one by Chris Stewart. Lyle Overbay was the only player with multiple hits, and he spent the last three innings resting on the bench. Robinson Cano did the same, but he went hitless and is mired in a little 9-for-41 (.220) slump. That dates back to the Athletics series. The only other player in the lineup who failed to get a was … wait for it … Ichiro Suzuki. He’s in an 0-for-20 slump and hitting .238/.281/.331 (57 wRC+) on the year.
Preston Claiborne chipped in 2.1 scoreless innings between Hughes and Marshall, allowing just a ground ball single while striking out two. He’s been very impressive so far. Infielder Alberto Gonzalez was on the mound for the final defensive out, but I’m not going to lie, I wanted to see Ichiro pitch. That would have been fun. Wells played second base for that one-third of an inning and didn’t have to make a play.
Marshall allowed a two-run homer to Ibanez in the fifth, ending a 28.1-inning scoreless streak by the bullpen. That’s pretty damn impressive. Ibanez has three homers in the two games; you think he misses Yankee Stadium at all?
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Sad graph is sad. MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some more stats, and ESPN the updated standings. Embedded Yankee Freddy Garcia helped the Orioles lose to the Padres, so the Yankees remain atop the AL East by two full games. It’s May 15th though, little too early to worry about that stuff.
Same two teams will wrap up this three-game series on Thursday night. Andy Pettitte vs. Aaron Harang is your pitching matchup for the rubber game. RAB Tickets is the place to go for any last minute deals.
A few years ago, the Yankees were pretty much the only team that figured out how to beat Pedro Martinez: you couldn’t. You just had to wait him out and take care of business against the bullpen. That’s exactly how the Yankees beat Felix Hernandez and the Mariners on Tuesday, keeping the game close and going to work late for a 4-3 win.
Shut Down By Felix
It wasn’t a question of whether Felix Hernandez would shut the Yankees down, just how embarrassing it would be. The right-hander came into this start with a 3.08 ERA (~3.92 FIP) in 14 career starts against the Bombers, including a 1.13 ERA (~2.46 FIP) in five starts at the new Yankee Stadium. He stayed true to that form and limited New York to just one run in six innings, striking out eight. Felix left the game due to some kind of injury — the trainer came out to visit him during his final inning and he was shown flexing his left leg. He threw 97 pitches and surely had enough left in the tank for another frame.
The Yankees did have some opportunities against Hernandez, however. They had runners at first and second with one out in the first, a runner at third with one out in the third, and runners at first and second in the fourth. Those opportunities resulted in zero runs. It wasn’t until Lyle Overbay doubled into the right field corner with two outs in the sixth that they scored their first run, and they got lucky the ball didn’t hop over the fence for a ground rule double. It hit off the very top of the wall and stayed in the field of play, allowing the runner to score from first. Felix wasn’t super duper sharp, but the Yankees really couldn’t touch him.
Three-Reliever, Two-Strike Rally
As soon as Hernandez was out of the game, the Bombers went to work. Chris Nelson opened the seventh inning with a solo single to center, then advanced to second on Yoervis Medina’s wild pitch. Brett Gardner put runners on first and second with a walk, then Robinson Cano knotted the game at three with a two-run double off the right-center field wall. I thought it was gone off the bat. Following a pair of walks to load the bases, Overbay gave the Yankees the lead with a sacrifice fly to center.
The go-ahead rally stood out for two reasons … well, really one big combined reason: the quality of the at-bats. Nelson, Gardner, and Cano all reached base in two-strike counts, and seven of the eight hitters saw at least four pitches in their at-bats. Five saw at least five pitches. The Yankees really worked the three relievers Seattle manager Eric Wedge used in an attempt to stifle the rally, those classic grind it out at-bats that have defined the team’s offense for the last 18 years or so. It’s not the first time they’ve put together a come from behind rally like this this year.
CC Sabathia wasn’t particularly sharp but he wasn’t bad. Just okay. The ten strikeouts were matched by the ten hits allowed, including a run-scoring double by Michael Saunders and a two-run homer by former Yankee Raul Ibanez. Those hits accounted for the three Mariners runs and were also the first two extra-base hits Sabathia allowed to left-handed hitters this year. Three runs (two earned) in 6.1 innings is fine for most pitchers, but CC ain’t most pitchers.
David Robertson and Austin Romine combined to create a mess in the eighth, as the former walked the leadoff man on four pitchers before the latter got cute and tried to cut down the lead runner on a sacrifice bunt. Everyone was safe. Robertson pulled off a Houdini act and escaped the jam with a strikeout and a line drive double play, which really should be created to the coaching staff and Jayson Nix for his perfect positioning. Mariano Rivera tossed a flawless ninth for his 16th save in 16 chances. He got a gift strike three call to end the game.
Curtis Granderson‘s first game of the season was mostly uneventful. He grounded into a double play, grounded back to the pitcher, struck out, and walked to load the bases in the seventh. He looked fine in left field as well, though he didn’t have any real tough plays. Ibanez hit a solid line drive out his way, but nothing that required a dazzling play. First day back went well enough.
Weird game for Overbay, who made two defensive miscues and ran into a defensive obstruction. The first bad defensive play was a simple ground ball to first that he flipped to Sabathia instead of taking himself, allowing Ibanez to beat out the infield single. The second was another simple ground ball that he just muffed, leading to the unearned run. Overbay was then ruled safe at first in the fourth inning when Hernandez stood in the baseline on a play at first. He was originally called out before the umpires conferenced and (correctly) awarded him first base. Standing in the baseline is a no-no. Weird day for Lyle.
The Yankees have not hit a homer in three games now, their first three-game homerless streak since July 2011. They already have four homerless wins in 2013 after having only seven last year.
I don’t remember what inning it was, but that scripted Zoo York/Chad Ortiz (?) bit by the YES booth was just brutal. Where’s the remote, I’m going to put on the Mets for the next few minutes bad. Let us never speak of that again.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the up to the minute standings. Both the Red Sox and Orioles blew leads and lost on Tuesday, so the Yankees now lead the division by a full two games. They also have the most wins (25) in baseball.
Same two teams on Wednesday night, when Phil Hughes squares off against Hisashi Iwakuma. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the game live. Oh, and apparently the Arrested Development Banana Stand will be at the Stadium from 3:30-8pm ET on Wednesday, so there’s another reason to buy a ticket and go.
I think a reasonable goal for any doubleheader is a split, and that’s exactly what the Yankees got during their one-day, two-game trip to Cleveland. They traded shutouts with the Indians, leaving town on the heels of a 1-0 loss and 7-0 win.
Game One: Offense Gets Mastered, Son
The key to beating right-hander Justin Masterson is loading the lineup with left-handed hitters. They came into the game with a .317 wOBA against him this year and .349 for his career, compared to .258 and .276 by right-handed batters, respectively. Joe Girardi put six lefties in his starting lineup, including five in the first five spots, but they responded by going a combined 2-for-21 with two walks against the Cleveland starter. Brett Gardner had a bunt single and Brennan Boesch a ground ball bleeder through the infield. That was it.
The Yankees’ best chance to score came in the second inning, when the bottom of the order loaded the bases with two outs on a walk and two infield singles. The recently-acquired Alberto Gonzalez struck out to end the threat though, and Masterson went on to retire 21 of the final 25 men he faced. He struck out nine, got eleven ground balls, and recorded 23 of his 27 outs on the infield. The Yankees didn’t even hit a ball hard until about the sixth inning. Tip your cap, Masterson was excellent. The Bombers were lucky Terry Francona didn’t send him back out there to start Game Two.
Game One: Phelps Pays For His Mistake
David Phelps had an effective and really uneven outing. Jason Kipnis took him deep for a solo homer two batters into the game — Michael Bourn was incorrectly called out at second on a stolen base attempt one batter prior, so it could have easily been a two-run shot — and he seemed to be behind pretty much every batter for the first four or so innings. In fact, he fell behind in the count to 13 of the first 18 men he faced. That’s really, really bad.
To his credit, Phelps settled down. He retired ten of the final dozen batters he faced, throwing a career-high 115 pitches thanks to seven strikeouts and five walks in 6.2 innings. New York’s starters have a knack for battling through tough starts, but I don’t know if that’s a character/competitiveness thing or a teachable skill. Either way, I’m sure watching veterans like CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Andy Pettitte do it time after time has rubbed off on Phelps. He was shaky at times against the Indians, but at the end of the day he surrendered just one run in 6.2 innings. Can’t ask for more.
Game Two: Numbero Nuno
It’s fitting Vidal Nuno‘s first career big league start came against the team that originally drafted — and soon thereafter, released — him. The 25-year-old left-hander was making his first start in three weeks and first appearance of any kind in two weeks, and he responded by firing five scoreless innings against an Indians team that came into the day with a 120 wRC+, the highest in baseball by a wide margin.
Nuno did exactly what you expect a finesse left-hander to do: he worked quickly and used all sorts of different pitches. PitchFX says he used five different pitches in fact, four at least ten times each, yet he failed to record even a single swing and miss. Didn’t cost him though. Nuno threw a first pitch strike to 17 of 21 batters and, at least until he visibly ran out of gas in the fifth, was going right after hitters quickly and aggressively all afternoon. Nuno allowed three singles and three walks against five strikeouts and in his first MLB start, squeezing through the minimum five innings needed for his first career win.
Game Two: RailRiders Lead The Big Inning
The second game mirrored the first game in terms of offense, at least for the first six innings. Not a whole lot happened. The Yankees took a quick one-run lead in the first inning thanks to some defensive funny business, and the score remained 1-0 until they broke things open in the seventh. That rally was started by a pair of recently recalled Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
Corban Joseph, who was up for the day as the 26th man, started the inning with his first career big league hit. It was a solid single to left-center that he hustled into a double, and two batters later Austin Romine doubled him in with a line drive to left. That was a big insurance run at the time, but not so big overall because the Yankees scored another five runs in the frame. Jayson Nix and Vernon Wells had RBI singles while Lyle Overbay doubled in two (off a lefty!). To think, the second batter of the inning tried to sacrifice bunt. That breathing room was much appreciated considering David Robertson and Mariano Rivera were likely unavailable due to their recent workloads.
Despite having two kids starting both ends of a doubleheader, the bullpen came through the day in pretty good shape. Boone Logan was only one of Joe Girardi’s trusted late-inning arms to pitch, and he struck out the only man he faced in Game One. Preston Claiborne threw a perfect inning in that game, then Adam Warren picked up his first career save with four scoreless frames in relief in Nuno. He’s the first Yankee with a four-inning save since … Derek Lowe last August. Not that long ago. The bullpen is now up to 22 consecutive scoreless innings, by the way.
Robinson Cano went 1-for-9 during the doubleheader and is very much in “swing at everything” mode right now. Here’s proof. Yikes, Robbie. Gardner went 1-for-8 with four strikeouts, the bunt single, and a walk in the two games. He was the only Yankee without a hit in Game Two and is also in a “swing at everything” rut as well. Nix, Wells, and Gonzalez were the only players with two hits on the day, though Gardner, Overbay, and Joseph reached base twice as well.
Joseph, who sat on the bench for two days earlier this year, started the first game at first base and the second at second. He looked fine at first, making a number of nice scoops and starting a 3-6-1 double play. Second base didn’t go as smoothly, including one ball thrown into the dugout. As per the 26th man rules, Joseph has to go back to Triple-A before the next game.
The Yankees are now 22-4 when holding their opponents to four runs or less than this year, and all four losses are shutout losses. They improved to 4-0 immediately following a shutout loss with the Game Two win. Six wins and 16 total runs allowed (!) on the eight-game road trip has to be considered a huge success.
The Indians gave Mariano Rivera a gold Enter Sandman record from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame between games, and it’s easily the best gift he’s received during his farewell tour. Easily.
One day in Cleveland is enough. The Yankees are heading home to the Bronx and will welcome Jesus Montero and the rest of the Seattle Mariners to town for a three-game series. CC Sabathia and Felix Hernandez kick things off in the Tuesday night opener. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the battle of aces.
Mariano Rivera suffered a season-ending knee injury when the Yankees visited Kansas City last May, but this May he helped the team finish off a three-game sweep of the Royals. Sunday afternoon’s 4-2 win was New York’s fifth straight victory and 22nd in the last 31 games.
Coming into Sunday’s start, six of the eleven runs Hiroki Kuroda had allowed this season came in the first inning. He following that script against the Royals, allowing a first inning run on a double, a bunt, and a sacrifice fly, but after that he was money. Kuroda retired the next 12 and 17 of the next 19 batters he faced before running into some problems in the eighth. Kansas City scored their second and only other run on a double and an RBI ground out in that inning.
Kuroda allowed the two runs in 7.2 innings, surrendering just six hits and one walk. He struck out only one batter and got just a dozen ground ball outs compared to ten in the air, so this one probably made you grimace if you live and die by DiPS Theory. It was pretty obvious Kuroda was sharp despite the general lack of strikeouts and ground balls, so don’t sweat the small stuff. The Yankees got another strong performance from their rotation, and that’s all that matters.
The Yankees scored all the runs they would need in the third inning, when Robinson Cano and Vernon Wells used the pink Mother’s Day bats to whack back-to-back homers off right-hander Ervin Santana. Cano’s was a bit of a golf shot — he had to go down and get a pitch that came in around his knees. Chris Stewart singled two batters prior, so that was a two-run shot. Wells jumped all over a fastball for a rocket solo homer down the line.
The fourth run was a much-appreciated insurance run, which was made possible by Brett Gardner‘s leadoff double. Wells brought him home with a two-out single to left. Verndog has had himself one hell of a road trip, going 3-for-4 with the homer in this game and 9-for-25 (.360) with three homers in the six games so far. To think, I said he was in a slump less than one week ago. Timing, I has it.
About the only negative of this game was the (completely necessary) use of David Robertson and Mariano Rivera. Both have pitched in four of the last five games, meaning they might not be available at all during Monday’s doubleheader. Robertson did only throw two pitches on Sunday though, so maybe Joe Girardi will be willing to squeeze an inning out of him on Monday if needed. Either way, the duo closed the door after Kuroda.
The wrap-around 9-1-2-3 part of the lineup went a combined 8-for-15 (.533) on the afternoon while the other five lineup spots went 1-for-20 all together. Cano and Stewart had two knocks apiece while Wells chipped in a stolen base for good measure. He advanced to third on the play when the throw got away from the infielder. He was pretty close to a one-man wrecking crew this weekend.
Final Note: Kuroda got into a bit of an argument with home plate ump Laz Diaz while exiting the game. There were some goofy ball/strike calls during his final at-bat of the afternoon, and he gestured towards the ump on his way off the field. Diaz barked back, but that was it. No ejections or anything. This is only notable because I can’t ever remember Kuroda getting into it with an ump. He’s very mild-mannered.
The Yankees are off to Cleveland for that quick doubleheader against the Indians to make up last month’s rain outs. The scheduling is pretty tight — game one is set for 12:05pm ET (David Phelps vs. Justin Masterson), then game two will follow at 3:35pm ET (Vidal Nuno vs. Trevor Bauer) — so they won’t have to hang around very long before returning home Tuesday.
Don’t look now, but the Yankees are on something of a roll. Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Royals was their fourth straight victory and 11th in their last 15 games. Since the 1-4 start, they’ve gone 21-9. Pretty remarkable. Let’s recap…
- Dandy Andy: After two dud outings, Andy Pettitte rebounded to hold Kansas City to two runs in seven rock solid innings. He missed his spots a few times pretty badly — none worse than the pitch Billy Butler hit for a solo homer — but nothing like those last two starts. Pettitte struck out seven and walked just one, recording eleven outs on the ground compared to just three in the air. Needless to say, it was very good to see vintage Andy out there after that little hiccup.
- Shields’ Two Mistakes: The Yankees were down 2-1 in the fifth inning when Royals’ starter Jamie Shields made two mistakes. First, he hit nine-hole hitter Chris Stewart with a two-strike pitch to leadoff the inning. Second, he grooved a 3-1 fastball to Vernon Wells with two outs, a pitch that landed over the left field wall for a go-ahead two-run homer. Shields pitched very well aside from those two mistakes, but they ultimately cost him and his team the game.
- Leftovers: David Robertson struck out the side in the eighth and was absolutely disgusting. Just nasty stuff. Unhittable. Mariano Rivera allowed a double in the ninth but otherwise nailed things down for his 14th save in as many chances … Jayson Nix has reached base seven times in the series after picking up two hits and a walk in this game … the Yankees managed to win even though the one through five hitters went a combined 2-for-19 with a walk. One of those hits was the Wells homer, the other a Travis Hafner infield single … Lorenzo Cain walked on three balls in the fifth inning because apparently no one in the ballpark was paying attention. It was a long at-bat with a lot of pickoff throws to first, but still. How does no one catch that?
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. In case you’re wondering, the Yankees now lead the AL East by a full game. It’s early though, I wouldn’t get too excited just yet. They’ll go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon, when Hiroki Kuroda gets the ball against right-hander Ervin Santana.
The bullpen was short on Friday, so the offense did its part to make sure the Yankees would have enough breathing room in the late innings. The result was big 11-6 over the Royals in the series opener. They’ve won three of four to start the eight-game road trip. Let’s recap…
- Two Two-Run Shots: The Yankees jumped out to a four-run lead in the second inning thanks to two-run homers from Ichiro Suzuki and Lyle Overbay. Overbay’s was an absolute bomb with that no-doubt sound off the bat. Travis Hafner (walk) and Jayson Nix (double) deserve props for reaching base ahead of the homers. It was a fine start to the game.
- Phlopped: After four strong starts, Phil Hughes took a beating at the hands on Friday. He allowed six runs in his 5.2 innings of work, including a pair of homers. One of those homers was a three-run shot by Jarrod Dyson (!), a slap-hitting speedster. They were the first long balls Phil allowed in three starts. The good news is that he threw a first pitch strike to 23 of 26 batters faced, which is ridiculous. Still, six runs in 5.2 innings is six runs in 5.2 innings. Shake it off and do better next time.
- Lead Re-Taken: The game was knotted at five before the Yankees exploded for five runs in the sixth inning. Chris Nelson plated two with a single while Overbay (double off a lefty), Brett Gardner (triple), and Robinson Cano (single) also had run-scoring hits in the inning. Seven of the first eight batters in the sixth reached base. Overbay drove in another run with a single in the ninth, giving him five ribbies on the night. Well done.
- Whiffpen: How about Shawn Kelley? He struck out six of the seven men he faced in 2.1 perfect innings, raising his season strikeout rate to 14.73 K/9 (38.7 K%). Boone Logan struck out two in a perfect ninth, and overall the pitching staff retired the final eleven men they faced, nine on strikeouts. That is shutting it down.
- Leftovers: Vernon Wells and Hafner went a combined 0-for-9 with a walk while the rest of the lineup went 16-for-34 (.471) with five doubles, a triple, and two homers … the Yankees scored double-digit runs against a non-Indians team for the first time this season … last but certainly not least, this was Joe Girardi‘s 500th win as Yankees manager. Congrats to him.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights while FanGraphs has some other stats no one cares about. ESPN has the up to the minute standings. These same two teams will meet again Saturday night — yes, a dreaded Saturday night game — when Andy Pettitte gives it a go against Shields.
The two hour and seven minute rain delay didn’t exactly mix well with my schedule, so I was only able to watch the first four innings of the Yankees 3-1 win over the Rockies on Thursday afternoon. CC Sabathia allowed just one hit in the four innings before the rain, striking out a pair and throwing a first pitch strike to 12 of 14 batters faced. He allowed a run in the first inning but retired the final 11 men he faced.
The Yankees scored a run in the first when Vernon Wells singled in Jayson Nix, and three innings later Chris Stewart plated Chris Nelson with a sacrifice fly. Robinson Cano hit a solo homer for the third run, which was also his 1,501st career hit — an infield single in the third inning was career knock number 1,500th hit of his career. He is one of five Yankees — Mickey Mantle, Derek Jeter, Lou Gehrig, and Don Mattingly are the others — who recorded his 1,500th career hit before their 31st birthday according to Katie Sharp. That’s some company.
Five relievers combined to pitch five shutout innings following the rain. The tying run seemed to be on-base at all times in those five innings, but Adam Warren (1.2 innings), Boone Logan (0.1 innings), Preston Claiborne (0.2 innings), David Robertson (1.1 innings), and Mariano Rivera (one inning) closed it out. Cano and Wells had two hits apiece, the rest of the team two hits total. This was the first time a visiting team scored six total runs in a series at Coors Field and took two of three. It was the fourth time the Rockies were held to two runs or fewer in all three games of a home series. There definitely was a lot less offense than I expected this week.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees are off to Kansas City for a three-game weekend set against the Royals. Phil Hughes and Wade Davis will open the series on Friday night, which is fitting since both right-handers are former top prospects who have failed to live up to their full potential despite being competent big leaguers.