Montero homers twice as Yanks win fifth straight

Freddy Garcia sure picked a good day to have his worst outing of the year. The bats showed up for both teams on Monday while the pitchers apparently decided to take the day off in observance of our nation’s workforce. Let’s recap the win…

  • Obviously, the big story of the day is Jesus Montero‘s first two career homeruns. Both came off a pretty good reliever in Jim Johnson, who came into the game having allowed just three homers all year (0.35 HR/9), one off a righty. The first one was a fifth inning solo shot on a fastball up that gave the Yankees a 9-8 lead, the second a seventh inning two-run job on a fastball down that extended the lead to 11-8. Both were opposite field out to right (not cheap either), making Montero the first 21-year-old to hit two homers in a game since Manny Ramirez. It was quite fun to watch, I must say.
  • Garcia got bounced after just 2.2 IP, after allowed nine hits and seven runs. Both Nick Markakis and Mark Reynolds tagged him for homers. Not a particularly great day for the starter, who gave way to Scott Proctor. Proctor allowed a game-tying solo homer in Robert Andino in the fifth, his only real blemish in two innings. Then came Aaron Laffey (0.2 IP), Luis Ayala (1.2 IP), Boone Logan (0.2), and Cory Wade (0.1 IP), all generally effective. Joe Girardi said after the game that both David Robertson and Rafael Soriano were unavailable due to their recent workloads, so it was a good day to have some September call-ups lying around.
  • Lost in Montero’s day was Robinson Cano‘s third grand slam of the season, perhaps the most predictable grand slam of all time. I’m not quite sure what Matt Wieters and Chris Jakubauskas were thinking throwing him seven straight 91 mph fastballs, but hey, I’m not complaining. That bomb turned a 5-4 deficit into an 8-4 lead. Mark Teixeira chipped in a solo homer, Curtis Granderson a two-run double, and Andruw Jones a run-scoring single. Every starter had a hit except for Brett Gardner. No nonsense day for the offense, that’s for sure.
  • Things got a little sticky for Mariano Rivera in the ninth, when he gave up two hits and hit a batter (one run), but he stranded the tying and go-ahead runs at third and second, respectively, by striking out J.J. Hardy on a cutter away. Mo’s 38th save of the season is number 597 of his career, so he’s still got a decent shot to tie (or top) Trevor Hoffman’s record of 601 career saves before the season ends.
  • Brett Lawrie and the Blue Jays walked off against the Red Sox, so the lead in the AL East increased to 2.5 games and three in the loss column. The Rays beat the Rangers thanks to yet another Jamie Shields complete game, so the lead on the wildcard spot remained at 9.5. The magic number to clinch a postseason berth dropped to just 14. MLB.com has the box score and video highlights for those that missed Montero’s homers. FanGraphs has some other stuff, and ESPN offers the updated standings.

The Yankees have won five straight (undefeated in The Montero Era!) and will look to extend it to six against the Orioles on Tuesday evening. Phil Hughes will give it a go against Tommy Hunter, and RAB Tickets can help get you in the door if you want to attend.

Nothing but wins on the last day of the season

Triple-A Scranton (5-1 win over Buffalo) they finished the year at 73-69 and in third place in the International League North division
Kevin Russo, LF: 1 for 4, 1 R
Ramiro Pena, SS: 2 for 4, 1 R – gotta figure he’ll be in the Bronx tomorrow
Austin Romine, C: 1 for 3, 1 R – good to see him get his feet wet in AAA at the end of the season
Jorge Vazquez, 1B: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K – finishes the year with a franchise record 32 homers, also more homers than walks (30) … 83 big leaguers have done the more HR than BB thing over the last 50 years
Jordan Parraz, RF: 3 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Greg Golson, CF: 1 for 4, 1 K – he’s on his way to New York
P.J. Pilittere, DH: 0 for 3, 1 K – might be his last game ever as he begins the inevitable transition to coaching
Doug Bernier, SS: 0 for 3, 1 E (throwing)
D.J. Mitchell, RHP: 8 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 11-4 GB/FB – 66 of 109 pitches were strikes (60.6%) … probably his best start of the year, on the last day of the season of the course
Logan Kensing, RHP: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2-0 GB/FB – 14 of 24 pitches were strikes (58.3%)

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Open Thread: Labor Day

Mitre with the photobomb. (Jim McIsaac/Getty)

On the day in which we celebrate America’s workforce, the pitchers sure labored in this afternoon’s game. Twenty-one runs and 29 hits between the two teams combined, including Jesus Montero‘s first two career homers and Robinson Cano‘s third grand slam of the season. Scott Proctor even made his glorious return to pinstripes. Fun game to watch on the unofficial end of summer.

Anyway, here’s your open thread for the night. The Mets are playing the Marlins, and MLB Network will carry a game as well (teams depend on where you live). Feel free to talk about whatever your heart desires here.

Golson, Noesi, Pena and Kontos heading to New York

The Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees finished up their season with a win today, and Donnie Collins reports that the quartet of Greg Golson, Hector Noesi, Ramiro Pena and George Kontos are heading to New York to join the big league team. We’ve seen Golson, Pena and Noesi before, but Kontos will be the new face. The righty reliever struck out 91 and unintentionally walked just 25 in 89.1 IP this year, his first full season in the bullpen following Tommy John surgery. Kontos would have been Rule 5 Draft eligible after the season, and the Yankees will have to make room for him on the 40-man roster.

Betances may soon join Yankees

Via Jack Curry, there’s a chance that Dellin Betances may soon join the Yankees as a September call-up. Brian Cashman told Curry that he wanted to discuss it with Joe Girardi before making the move. Just last week we heard that Betances and Manny Banuelos would not be called up, mostly due to fastball command.

Because he’s already on the 40-man roster, adding Betances to the roster would be a simple call-up without any other maneuvering required. He just pitched last night (5 IP and 101 pitches), so he wouldn’t be a available for a few days anyway. The Yankees called up Andrew Brackman under similar circumstances last year, but he did not pitch. If anything, we’d probably see Betances for an inning or two of mop-up work, nothing too crazy. It would be fun to see him, though.

Game 139: Off their feet

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

You know what the Yankees could use today? A nice big blowout. Big enough so that Freddy Garcia could go five and fly while some September call-ups mop up the last four innings. Big enough that both Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira can get off their banged up knees for a few innings.  Big enough to get everyone off their feet. You know I mean, that kind of game. Here’s the starting nine…

Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Andruw Jones, RF
Russell Martin, C
Jesus Montero, DH
Brett Gardner, LF

Freddy Garcia, SP

It’s not raining in New York, but it looks like it might start at any minute. Apparently there’s enough of a window to get the game in, so hope for the best. They don’t need another doubleheader. Both YES and MLB Network will carry the game. Enjoy.

Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles

Man, the Orioles again? All these games against the Fightin’ Showalters would be annoying if they were any good. But they’re not, so I’ll live. I suspect there aren’t many of you out there reading this on the holiday, plus we’re all familiar with the Orioles by now, so I’ll keep it short.

What Have The Orioles Done Lately?

Since splitting that impromptu four-game series around Hurricane Irene with the Yankees last weekend, the Orioles have lost two of three to both the Blue Jays and Rays. They got spanked 8-1 yesterday and have allowed six or more runs in four of their last five games. Baltimore is 55-83 on the season with a -150 run differential, second worst in baseball behind the Astros. To make matters worse, they’ve already been eliminated from playoff contention. Not even a glimmer of hope anymore.

Orioles On Offense

Their two best hitters over the last two weeks or so have been Matt Wieters (.268/.331/.439 on the year) and Mark Reynolds (.221/.320/.476), who are both sporting .400+ wOBA’s over the last two weeks. J.J. Hardy (.269/.308/.499), Nick Markakis (.279/.339/.397), Nolan Reimold (.230/.297/.399), and Ryan Adams (.261/.320/.319.) have each chipped in as well, but they’ve hardly been stellar. Vlad Guerrero (276/.307.396) and Adam Jones (.286/.324/.476) have both been slumping big time, and Jones has been banged up as late. It’s the same below-average offense we’ve seen all year, but they do have a few guys that can really hurt you if you make a mistake.

Orioles On The Mound

Monday, LHP Jo-Jo Reyes Brian Matusz (vs. Freddy Garcia): The Yankees, especially Andruw Jones, have simply crushed Reyes this year. We’re talking a dozen runs in 8.1 IP across two starts, and Jones has taken him deep four times total (twice in each game). That’s what happens when you can’t miss bats (5.29 K/9) and come at the Yankees with a high-80’s fastball and two offspeed pitches (change and slider) that don’t fool anyone.

Apparently Matusz is starting, not Reyes. The Yankees bombed him for three homers and six runs in 5.1 IP last week, and he doesn’t throw as hard as he once did. Boom.

(Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Tuesday, RHP Tommy Hunter (vs. Phil Hughes): We all know Hunter from the various Yankees-Rangers battles last season, and last week he held New York to a four runs (on three homers) in seven innings. His underlying performance this season is … interesting: 3.91 K/9, 1.19 BB/9, and 44.3% grounders. Hunter works with a low-90’s fastball, a mid-80’s cutter, and a high-70’s curve.

Wednesday, LHP Zach Britton (vs. A.J. Burnett): Britton has either been really really good against the Yankees, or really really bad. He held them to one unearned run over seven innings in his first start, gave up nine runs in a third of an inning in his second start, and then held them scoreless over seven innings last time out. Britton’s a big-time ground ball guy (53.3%), getting them with his low-90’s sinker, a mid-80’s changeup, and a low-80’s slider.

Bullpen: The O’s have ten guys in their bullpen thanks to September call-ups, so Buck Showalter has plenty of options to work with. Two guys he doesn’t have anymore are dynamite setup man Koji Uehara and top lefty Mike Gonzalez, who’ve been traded in recent weeks. Jim Johnson (2.80) is still as good as it gets in the setup role, but other than him, they don’t have a single guy in their bullpen with a sub-4.00 FIP in more than 20 IP. That includes closer (and perpetually shaky) Kevin Gregg, who recently told reporters that “The bottom line is you obviously haven’t acquired my taste in pitching yet.” How awesome is that?

Recommended Orioles Reading: Camden Crazies.