Mo blows the save as Yankees fail to sweep

It started with an hour-and-a-half rain delay (exacerbated by Freddy Garcia’s slow trot from the bullpen to the dugout), and it ended with a disappointing walk-off loss. It’s tough to complain after seven straight wins, so I’ll try not too.

Tie game.

Rally To Tie

R.A. Dickey handcuffed the Yankees already once this year, and he carried that performance into Sunday. The first ten Yanks were retired in order and just one of them (Robinson Cano) managed to hit the ball out of the infield. Curtis Granderson gave them their first baserunner with a one out walk in the fourth, but the next two batters made outs (with a Grandy stole base mixed in), so Dickey’s no-hit bid was still alive.

Then something changed, and Dickey’s control started to betray him. Not that it’s easy to control a knuckleball, but he suddenly got a little more wild than usual.  Cano drove a hanging knuckler to the opposite field to lead off the fifth, then Nick Swisher jumped on a 3-1 fastball (84 mph) for a game-tying, RBI single. Russell Martin flew out and Ramiro Pena tried to end the inning with a ground ball double play, but Justin Turner over-shot Ruben Tejeda with the flip and everyone was safe. A four-pitch walk to Brett Gardner loaded the bases and brought Granderson to the dish.

At the time, Granderson’s at-bat was the biggest of the game, a ridiculously high Leverage Index of 3.99. He fouled off three pitches as part of an eight pitch at-bat before grounding to second, ending the inning and the threat. The Yankees had a chance to blow it open and didn’t, and we later learned that Dickey was battling a sore left glute. Apparently he originally hurt himself in batting practice a few days ago, then re-aggravated it when he slipped while delivering a pitch in the fourth inning. That would explain the sudden control issues, and gutting it out for another inning cost him the lead.

The Chief

Garcia was basically the opposite of Dickey in this game. He allowed four consecutive hard hit balls to open the game (the first two were caught by Granderson on the run), resulting in a quick one-zip lead for the Mets. That was it though. He retired seven of the next eight and 16 of the next 20 men he faced, and not a single Met advanced past first base against him the rest of the way.

It’s games like this that ensured Garcia remained in the rotation instead of the now demoted Ivan Nova. He allowed just the one run in seven innings, and only one of the 24 batters he faced saw a three-ball count. Daniel Murphy went 3-for-3 off Freddy but the rest of the Mets’ lineup went 3-for-21, making as many outs on the bases (three) as times on base. To say Garcia has exceeded expectations would be selling him short. He’s basically hit on the best case scenario, agreed?

The slide was for style points.

A Temporary Lead

The two New York teams played to a one-all tie until the top of the eighth inning, which started with a Gardner triple into the right field corner off Jason Isringhausen. Granderson drove in the run with a sacrifice fly after falling behind0-2 in the count, though the odds of the run coming in were pretty good since Grandy and Mark Teixeira are two extreme fly ball hitters (just 29.5% and 36.4% grounders, respectively). A fly ball seemed inevitable. The one run lead seemed like enough with David Robertson and Mariano Rivera ready to pitch the next two innings, so it wasn’t the end of the world when Tex’s double was wasted. Little did we know.

Blown Save

It doesn’t happen often, so it’s always a surprise when it does. Mariano Rivera didn’t just blow the save, he retired the first two batters then allowed the rally to happen with two outs. That’s rare. First he walked Jason Bay, almost pitching around him, then Lucas Duda singled into shallow right on a pitch in on his hands to put men on the corners. Mo got ahead of pinch-hitter Ronny Paulino 0-2, but the Mets righty backstop reached out and punched an outside cutter through the right side to drive in Bay from third, tying the game. The lead was gone, but that’s not even the crazy part.

Runners were now at first and second with two outs, and the usually punchless Tejeda grounded a pitch towards short. Ramiro Pena rushed to the spot and let it get through his legs, and right there it looked like the game was over. Duda was rounding third with a full head of steam, but Gardner charged the ball well and uncorked a one hop throw to the plate, beating Dude by a few steps and allowing Martin to apply the tag for the inning-ending out. It was very similar to that play in Chicago against the Cubs a few weeks ago, though the stakes were much higher this time. Pena goofed, big time, but the Yankees got away with it anyway.

:-(

And The Loss

With Robertson and Rivera gone from the game, it was time to the second tier relievers, and that’s usually a problem. Luis Ayala started the tenth inning off by walking Scott Hairston, a cardinal sin. Angel Pagan gave up an out with a bunt to move the runner to second, but Ayala went ahead and hit Turner with a pitch. He faced three batters and two reached without swinging the bat, which is straight up awful. Boone Logan came in to face the switch-hitting Carlos Beltran and the left-handed hitter Daniel Murphy.

For all this talk about Alex Rodriguez‘s conversation with Logan about having a plan on the mound, I don’t think a hanging slider was part of the discussion. Boone got away with the pitch as Beltran hacked at it for strike three, which was a total gift. That shouldn’t happen. Logan then jumped out ahead of Murphy with two quick strikes, and he tapped a ball to Pena at short. This one apparently jumped up and hit off the heel of his glove, so everyone was safe and the bases were loaded. Out came Logan, in came Hector Noesi.

What happened next was fairly predictable. Noesi had zero margin for error and Bay made him pay with an 0-1 single into center, plating the winning run. The kid was not put into a position to succeed, and he’s pretty much the last guy I blame for the loss. Ayala is the primary culprit in my eyes, just because he gift-wrapped the Mets the rally with the walk and hit-by-pitch. Make them earn their way on base, if they hit a walk-off homer, fine. At least they earned it. That was a free rally. Sigh.

Leftovers

Granderson’s stolen base was hit 15th, and I’m kinda hoping he can get to 20-20 before the All-Star break. He’s got the 22 homers already, and now he needs five steals in the next seven games. That won’t be easy, but I’d love to see him go for it. Cano had a double and a triple, his third triple in five games. I love me some homers, but it would be fun to see guys like Gardner and Granderson play 81 games in CitiField. Think of all the three-baggers.

Martin led off the seventh with a double but got caught in a run down between second and third one play later. Not his fault, Pena hit a bullet back up the middle that Pedro Beato unexpectedly fielded. He broke for third, as he should have. Just a bad break, that’s all. Too bad it likely cost them a run, and who knows what happens after that. Certainly a noteworthy play late in a tie game.

No record breaking attendance on Sunday, but the three game series drew 125,575 fans. That’s a three-game series record for CitiField. You’re welcome, Fred and Jeff. The loss was the Yankees first since the opening game of the Rockies’ series, when Jason Giambi hit that monster homerun. It was only their fourth loss in the last 22 days. I’ll take it.

WPA Graph & Box Score

Eventful, but for all the wrong reasons. MLB.com has the box score and video score, FanGraphs the other stuff.

Up Next

Time to get back to the American League. The Yankees are off to Cleveland for a three game set starting Monday, when A.J. Burnett faces Josh Tomlin. If you’re in the area, RAB Tickets can get you into the game.

Jeter rehab ends with a Trenton loss

Shaeffer Hall has been promoted to Triple-A Scranton as Kei Igawa goes back down to Double-A Trenton.

Double-A Trenton (8-1 loss to Altoona)
Derek Jeter, SS: 1 for 2, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 E (throwing) – played six innings in the field, and the one hit was a bunt single … the Yankees announced that his rehab is over, and he will rejoin the team tomorrow
Yadil Mujica, SS: 0 for 1
Ray Kruml, LF & Rob Lyerly, 1B: both 1 for 4 – Krum drove in a run … Lyerly struck out twice
Corban Joseph, 2B, Bradley Suttle, 3B & Melky Mesa, CF: all 0 for 4 – Suttle struck out twice, Mesa thrice … Suttle also committed a throwing error
Jose Pirela, 2B: 2 for 4
Damon Sublett, LF: 0 for 2, 1 R, 2 BB
Jose Gil, C: 1 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K – remember when he was tearing the cover off the ball? not so much these days
Manny Banuelos, LHP: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 1 WP, 6-0 GB/FB – 68 of 98 pitches were strikes (69.4%) … that’s way too many pitches for 14 outs, he’s gotta sharpen that up, been a problem almost all season … he was up to 94 though, so that’s good
Brad Halsey, LHP: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 2-1 GB/FB
Alan Horne, RHP: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 2 HB, 2-1 GB/FB
Pat Venditte, SwP: 1.1 IP, zeroes, 3 K

[Read more…]

Open Thread: Postgame Notes Edition

Today’s loss was all about physical errors. Ramiro Pena misplayed two grounders (the second one jumped on him a bit and hit the heel of his glove), Mariano Rivera walked Jason Bay with two outs to start the ninth inning rally, and Luis Ayala put two of the three men he faced on base without forcing them to swing the bat. Boone Logan came in and essentially got out of the inning (though Carlos Beltran struck out on a total hanger, got away with one), but Pena didn’t take care of business behind him.

“[We] move forward,” said Joe Girardi after the game, “we still won the series.” The skipper isn’t going to go out of his way to talk to Pena about what happened, and his outlook was essentially that: move forward. The Yankees just lost their first game in a week and a half because Rivera blew a save, not exactly a regular occurrence. It sucks, but they’re not going to dwell on it and frankly I’m not either. They’re playing too well. It happens.

  • As for Phil Hughes, he will in fact start Wednesday and the Yankees only considered two options to accommodate him: a six-man rotation and demoting Ivan Nova to Triple-A. The bullpen wasn’t a consideration for Nova because it takes him a too long to warm up and also because (hypocrite alert!) it wasn’t the best thing for his development. He’ll start for Triple-A Scranton and focus on his slider and changeup. “He handled it like a man, a professional,” said Girardi when asked how Nova took the news.
  • No official plan for Derek Jeter because Double-A Trenton hasn’t played. They were in a rain delay earlier and should be starting the game right about now, I believe. Girardi hopes Eduardo Nunez‘s hamstring will be well enough to play tomorrow, should he be needed.
  • Girardi argued when Russell Martin was tagged out in that seventh inning run down because he didn’t think he was tagged. Third base ump Brian Knight told him the tag was applied, Girardi asked him to get help, then second base ump Jerry Layne told him Martin was out of the baseline. Okay then.
  • Apparently the Yankees were originally told the game was going to start at 4pm ET, then at 2pm ET they were told they were starting at 2:30pm ET. That’s why Freddy Garcia was still warming up when the Mets took the field. The umpires and Terry Collins were aware that he needed the extra time.
  • Mark Teixeira is not going to participate in the Homerun Derby and assumed he wasn’t going to make the actual All-Star Team because of the talent at first base. Can’t say I blame him for wanting to spending the time off with his family and not making the long flight for the one event.
  • If anyone cares, Jose Reyes is day-to-day with a Grade I hamstring injury. No timetable, it’s just a wait-and-see thing. He felt great this morning though. Basically the best case for the Mets. As for R.A. Dickey, he originally hurt his glute in batting practice a few days ago. Wooo NL baseball.

That’s pretty much it. The Yankees are off to Cleveland now and I assume Jeter will be there to meet them, barring something unexpected in Trenton. The loss sucked, especially since it was to the stupid Mets and I’ll have to listen to my stupid family about it for at least one day, but they weren’t going undefeated the rest of the season. I refuse to get worked up over the end of a seven game win streak.The Dodgers and Angels will play tonight on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball (Billingsley vs. Santana), so watch that and forget all about this game. Talk about that or anything else here.

Yankees looking for lefty relief, but not interested in Royce Ring

Via Joel Sherman, the Yankees are looking everywhere for left-handed bullpen help, but they’re “probably not” interested in Royce Ring. Ring just opted out of his minor league contract with the Mariners and pitched with the Yankees briefly last season. Boone Logan has improved over the last ten days or so and Pedro Feliciano is now throwing (lightly) off a mound in Tampa, but they can’t really count on him coming back. Certainly not anytime soon.

IFA: Yankees signed Miguel Andujar for $750,000

Via Pedro J. Briceño, the Yankees have signed Dominican third baseman Miguel Andujar for $750,000. The 16-year-old was considered one of their top targets during this international free agent signing period, and is said to have “good bat speed, an advanced righthanded swing and has shown the ability to hit both fastballs and offspeed pitches.” Here’s some video.

Game 82: Going for the sweep

Watch the finger, Freddy. (Photo Credit: Flickr user spablab via Creative Commons license)

The Yankees have won seven in a row including the last two against the Mets, so it’s time to get greedy and finish off the sweep before heading to Cleveland. R.A. Dickey flummoxed them with the knuckleball once already this season (one run in six innings back in May), but hopefully seeing for the second time will do the trick. Here’s the lineup…

Brett Gardner, LF
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Russell Martin, C
Ramiro Pena, SS
Freddy Garcia, SP

First pitch is scheduled for 1:04pm ET, but that’s not going to happen. The tarp is still on the field, so there will be some kind of delay. How long? Your guess is as good as mine. Whenever the game does start, you’ll be able to watch on YES locally or TBS nationally. Enjoy.

Yankees send Nova to Triple-A, recall Pendleton

The Yankees announced that they have sent Ivan Nova to Triple-A Scranton and recalled Lance Pendleton. That’s a definite precursor to Phil Hughes rejoining the rotation this week (likely Wednesday), Pants Lendleton just gives them an extra bullpen arm in the meantime. It’s not fair, but dems the breaks. Nova will continue to work as a starter and will inevitably be needed later this season, so we’ll see him again.