Yanks take rubber game from Mariners 6-2

It wasn’t the greatest homestand for the Yankees, but they beat the Mariners on Sunday afternoon to finish with a 4-5 record during the recent stretch in the Bronx. Again, not the greatest, but it could have been a whole lot worse.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

All About Raul

The Yankees scored a run in the first (Mark Teixeira infield single), the second (Curtis Granderson reached on an error), and the fourth (Derek Jeter single), but it wasn’t until the fifth and sixth that they really blew things open. Raul Ibanez crushed a solo homer over the home bullpen and into the left field bleachers in the fifth, then tacked on a two-run single in the sixth. The second was a classic nice piece of hitting as they say, a 3-2 pitch away from left-hander Oliver Perez that Raul served over the shortstop’s head and into shallow right. Ibanez has just eight hits off lefties this year (41 PA), but he hung in well against the hard-throwing Perez and gave his club some breathing room.

Four of New York’s six runs scored with two outs, which is always nice to see. They still managed to go 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position but I don’t really care. The Yankees plated runs in five of their eight offensive innings and had at least least one baserunner in every inning. Heck, they had at least two baserunners in seven of eight offensive innings. Pretty solid job.

Steady Freddy

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

It looked like Freddy Garcia had a whole bunch of nothing in the first inning, surrendering a single on the very first pitch of the game and retiring just two of the six men he faced in the inning. One of those two exceptions was a sacrifice bunt, and the third out of the inning came when Jesus Montero was thrown out at the plate after running through the third base coach’s stop sign. It was not a confidence inspiring inning, let’s put it that way.

But, as he always seems to do, Freddy settled down and skirted through the next four innings relatively unscathed. He allowed a two-out run on a little poke single from Montero in the fifth, but otherwise held down the fort. Garcia walked four, struck out only two, and threw only 85 pitches in those five innings. The bullpen was pretty well rested; Joe Girardi did a good job of getting his fifth starter out of there before the Mariners started making noise. It wasn’t pretty, but it was the 150th win of Freddy Garcia’s career. Congrats to him.

Lock Down Bullpen

The bullpen really shined after Freddy exited, retiring 12 of the 13 men they faced with zero hits. The one baserunner was a walk by David Robertson. Boone Logan threw two perfect innings and Rafael Soriano threw a perfect ninth, his first game action in a week. Oddly enough, they only struck out one batter. Those three guys came into the game with a combined 11.5 K/9 and 30.3 K%. Won’t see that often.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Leftovers

Ichiro Suzuki extended his exactly-one-hit streak to an even dozen games, though this hit was a routine fly ball to center that Michael Saunders lost in the sun and played into a double. It really should have been an error, bright sun an all. Ichiro‘s streak is the longest hitting streak to start a Yankees career since Don Slaught also hit safely in 12 straight back in 1988. I’m still playing around with the Play Index to find the longest exactly-one-hit streak in baseball history — it’s a pretty intense query and the system keeps timing out, so I’ve had to break it up into smaller searches — but the longest I’ve found so far is a 16-gamer by Ted Sizemore for the 1975 Cardinals.

The top five hitters in the order went a combined 8-for-21 (.381) with three walks, all by Teixeira. Chris Stewart had a great day at the plate, with a single, a double, and a walk in four trips. He also scored the team’s first two runs of the afternoon and stole a base, though that was a bit of good timing — he just happened to go at the same time as a wild pitch, so it was an uncontested steal.

The Yankees drew five walks as a team for just the third time in their last 18 games, or 16.7%. In their first 89 games, it was five or more walks 28.1% of the time. That’s a bit of a chicken or the egg thing — did the Yankees struggle offensive those few days because they weren’t drawing walks, or were they not drawing walks because they were pressing and trying to force the issue? Either way, more free passes please.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some additional stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Orioles beat the Rays, so the lead in the division remains seven in the loss column over Baltimore. Tampa and the Red Sox are eight and eleven games back, respectively.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

The Yankees are off to Detroit for a four-game series against the scorching hot Tigers. Ivan Nova and Justin Verlander will open the series on Monday night, their second head-to-head meeting of the season. The first had an interesting ending.

Trenton wins behind Murphy, Marshall

Triple-A Empire State (7-2 loss to Indianapolis)
RF Chris Dickerson: 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — 16 hits in his last 42 at-bats (.381) with two doubles and four homers
3B Brandon Laird: 2-4, 1 R, 1 K
1B Kosuke Fukudome: 1-2, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Everyone Else: combined 0-21, 7 K — SS Eduardo Nunez stole a base … C Frankie Cervelli stole a base and committed an error on a pickoff play … 2B Corban Joseph made a pair of fielding errors
RHP Ramon Ortiz: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 14/1 GB/FB — 56 of 90 pitches were strikes (62%)
RHP Cory Wade: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 1 HB, 2/1 GB/FB — 18 of 32 pitches were strikes (56%) … first disaster outing since being demoted two months ago
RHP Preston Claiborne: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 17 of 28 pitches were strikes (61%)

[Read more…]

Sunday Night Open Thread

Why would you pay money to have that made? (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Pretty solid win for the Yankees today, who have won just six of their last 16 games but also three of their last four. Glass half full or glass half empty? Your choice. Either way, here is tonight’s open thread. The ESPN Sunday Night Game is in St. Louis for Brewers-Cardinals (Estrada vs. Lohse), plus the Olympics are on and there’s an NFL Preseason Game being played for you folks with the NFL Network. Talk about those games or anything else here.

Update: Pettitte’s x-ray shows good progress

4:35pm: Following today’s game, Joe Girardi said the x-ray showed that the leg/ankle were healing well. “He’s better, he’s definitely better,” said manager Joe Girardi. Pettitte is still a ways off from getting back up on a mound, but this is obviously good news.

11:00am: Via Meredith Marakovits, left-hander Andy Pettitte will have his fractured left ankle x-rayed today to see how things are healing. He did say he’s feeling much better of late, so that’s good news. Andy suffered a bit of a setback about a week ago after doing a little too much work while the team was out in Oakland. Hopefully things are going well and he can return to the club in early-September — he’s going to need a few tune-up type starts before diving into a potential postseason series.

Gardner may be able to rejoin Yankees in September

Brett Gardner had surgery to remove inflamed tissue and shave down bone spurs in his right elbow late last month, but there’s a chance he could rejoin the Yankees as a pinch-runner/defensive specialist when the rosters expand in September. “If there’s a way he can help us, we’ll definitely use him,” said Joe Girardi today. “If there’s certain things that he can’t do and it’s during the month of August, then you’re kind of limited and you limit your roster. But with an expanded roster, if he can help us, we’ll definitely use him, if it doesn’t jeopardize him getting back next year.”

The Yankees have used guys like Greg Golson and Freddy Guzman as their pinch-runner/defensive replacement late in the season in recent years, and if Gardner can’t return in September that responsibility could fall onto the shoulders of Melky Mesa. He was just promoted to Triple-A and homered in his third game yesterday. Mesa’s already on the 40-man roster, so it’ll be interesting to see if he gets the nod if needed.

Game 107: The End of the Homestand

(REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

The Yankees have won just five of their last 15 games and seven of those losses have been decided by just one run. Two others were decided by just two runs. It’s one thing to get dominated by Felix Hernandez, that’s going to happened throughout the course of the season, but some of the other losses were games the Yankees really should have won. A win this afternoon would give them a tolerable 4-5 homestand before heading out on a seven-game road trip. Here’s the lineup…

CF Curtis Granderson
SS Derek Jeter
2B Robinson Cano
1B Mark Teixeira
DH Raul Ibanez
RF Nick Swisher
LF Ichiro Suzuki
3B Jayson Nix
C  Chris Stewart

RHP Freddy Garcia

Today’s game starts a little after 1pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.

Domination: Felix blanks Yanks in 1-0 loss


Source: FanGraphs

There really isn’t much you can say about Saturday afternoon’s loss to the Mariners. Felix Hernandez is a great pitcher and sometimes he’s going to be so good that you’re only going to get two hits in nine innings. I was at the game and the only thing that bothered me was his strikeout total: six. If I’m going to watch the Yanks get manhandled like that in person, at least rack up 15, 16, 17 strikeouts or something like that. Rude of him to only whiff six.

Hiroki Kuroda was pretty awesome on the other side and was saddled with the tough luck loss. The bullpen was great, Ichiro Suzuki extended his exactly-one-hit streak to eleven games, and that’s that. MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the advanced stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Orioles beat the Rays, so the lead in the division remains seven in the loss column. Also, this happened. Every day that ticks off the calendar without anyone gaining ground is almost as good as a win. Freddy Garcia and Hisashi Iwakuma will meet in the rubber game on Sunday afternoon.

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Sorry folks, no minor league update tonight. I will, however, link you to the box scores: Triple-A, Double-A, High-A, Low-A, Short Season, Rookie GCL.