Game 17: Pettitte to stop the bleeding

Photo credit: Kathy Willens/AP

With their loss last night the Yankees have dropped two in a row for the first time in this young season. They’ll get a chance to recover today with Andy Pettitte. It seems fitting that his turn in the rotation happens to fall today. The Yankees announcers usually mention this, noting how good Andy has been during his career in these situations.

The offense could use a bit of a jump start today. Through their first 12 games they scored 66 runs, or 5.5 runs per game. In their past four they’ve managed 16. They’ll have to do it against Joel Pineiro, who held them to three runs last time out. That time they sent out the A lineup and managed just seven hits and two walks. This time they’ll put out a variation of the B lineup. Maybe even C, since not only is Ramiro Pena getting the start at third, but Francisco Cervelli gets the start behind the plate. Maybe their collective scrappiness can rub off on the rest of the lineup.

Lineup:

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Brett Gardner, LF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, DH
5. Robinson Cano, 2B
6. Nick Swisher, RF
7. Curtis Granderson, CF
8. Ramiro Pena, 3B
9. Francisco Cervelli, C

And on the mound, number forty-six, Andy Pettitte.

Injury Note: Nick Johnson is out of the lineup today because he’s suffering from a stiff back. Joe Girardi told reporters Johnson may have aggravated the injury yesterday when he took too much batting practice. The Yanks’ skipper expects the slumping DH back tomorrow but didn’t commit to keeping him in the two hole going forward.

Yanks to host Pinstripe Bowl for four years

The Yankees announced earlier this week that the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, an NCAA match-up set for December that will feature the third-best Big East team and the sixth-best Big 12 team, has been granted an unprecedented four-year license. The NCAA’s Football Issues Committee’s decision to extend the grant means the Pinstripe Bowl will be an annual tradition through at least 2013.

?We could not be more excited about bringing this premier college football bowl game to Yankee Stadium and the Bronx,? said Yankees President Randy Levine. ?Yankee Stadium was built to be a premier destination not only for baseball but for other exceptional and memorable events. The pageantry and tradition of college football belongs in Yankee Stadium and New York City.?

This year’s Pinstripe Bowl will be played on December 30, but that could change in the future. Under the terms of the license, the game can take place “no earlier than Christmas Day and no later than New Year?s Day.” While fans of college football will be pleased by this development, those wishing to see the NHL’s outdoor Winter Classic come to Yankee Stadium will have to wait. By granting the NCAA this late-December window, the Yanks have seemingly precluded the NHL from being able to set up and host their traditional New Year’s Day game.

The Ho Train heads to Tampa

Via Bryan Hoch, reliever Chan Ho Park is heading to Tampa to continue his road back from a hamstring issue. The hammy is still a little tight, so CHoP requested the move hoping that the warmer weather will help loosen it up. Apparently the same trick worked for him last year.

Park’s been on the disabled list for a little over a week, and it looks like his stint will last longer than the minimum 15 days. It sure would be nice to have him back in the bullpen, though.

Burnett recovers from poor beginning, but Yanks can’t hold off Angels

Photo credit: Chris Carlson/AP (Click for full-size)

At the beginning of the game it was clear that Burnett didn’t have his best stuff. I can remember having written that very line on many occasions last year, so it’s something we’ve grown used to. Bad A.J. some call it, though truly Bad A.J. came out for only one inning. After a 21-pitch, one-run first inning and a 21-pitch, three-run third inning Burnett needed just 33 pitches to get through the next three innings, during which he held the Angels scoreless. With his pitch count at just 90 he was able to start the seventh, but couldn’t finish it.

Biggest Hit: Swisher ties it after Burnett surrenders the lead

Photo credit: Chris Carlson/AP

The Yankees took a 3-1 lead in the third when Robinson Cano singled home Mark Teixeira. That resulted in the nasty collision you see above. A.J. Burnett didn’t seem like he had a lot, but the Yankees offense had done some damage against Ervin Santana. The inning end there, which we’ll get to in a second, but in the bottom of that inning Burnett gave it all back and more. By the end of the inning the Angels had taken the lead.

Curtis Granderson struck out to open the fourth, but two pitches later Nick Swisher tied the game. It wasn’t a very good pitch, and Swish took advantage, hitting it just to the left of the tall wall in right-center. The homer tied the game and it would stay that way for the next four innings.

Biggest Pitch: Joba serves up a meatball

Photo credit: Chris Carlson/AP

With their 2-3-4 hitters due up in the ninth the Yankees needed to keep the score tied in the bottom of the eighth. Joe Girardi turned to his setup man, Joba Chamberlain, but the move backfired. On a 2-1 count he delivered a very hittable fastball to Hideki Matsu, who lined it to right for a single. Kendry Morales followed, and on a 1-1 pitch Joba hung a slider, middle-in, and Morales got all of it. That gave the Angels a two run lead with just three outs to go.

Joba missed on a lot of pitches away to the following hitters. After a Juan Rivera single he managed to retire the next three hitters, though they all hit the ball reasonably well. It’s going to happen sometimes. Some games he’ll throw gas and dominate. Other games he just won’t have it. It’s part and parcel to pitching out of the bullpen, Non-Rivera Division. At least he didn’t blow a lead. Letting the go-ahead runs to score in a tie game is one thing. To have A.J. battle through his final few frames only for Joba to blow it would have been quite another.

A lot of those outside pitches were close, too, and with another ump maybe he gets one or two of them.

Biggest Blunder: Johnson can’t bring home two

Two innings after tying the game it looked like the Yankees were going to take the lead. The sixth started with a walk to Curtis Granderson and a HBP of Nick Swisher. Brett Gardner couldn’t get down a bunt, though, and the Angels got a free out. Derek Jeter nearly drove home the go-ahead run with a liner up the middle, but Ervin Santana got a piece of the ball, slowing it enough for Howie Kendrick to field and make the force at second.

Instead of runners on first and second with one out and a lead, the Yankees had runners on first and third with two outs in a tie game. Nick Johnson, who singled in the fourth, had a chance but did not deliver. He did work a good at-bat, a full-count on eight pitches, but rolled over a low and outside changeup and grounded out to second. That certainly would have changed the tone of the game. The Yanks didn’t get much going after that.

Annoyance

Joba. Not that it was particularly frustrating. As I said before, relievers blow games. It was more frustration at the Yanks offense, really, for blowing that chance in the sixth. Also for blowing a second and third with two outs opportunity in the third.

The bottom of the third. Again, it was Burnett’s only bad inning, and I was pleased with his ability to settle down and maneuver the Angels’ lineup without his A game. Any inning where a pitcher gives back a newly minted lead is going to be frustrating, though.

Joys

Gardner’s first extra base hit of the year was particularly pretty. It’s exactly what a hitter like him is supposed to do. Making the moment further joyous was Jeter’s follow-up double.

Swisher’s homer, not just because it tied the game, but because he’s been hitting the ball so hard lately and has found little luck. This one was a long time coming.

WPA Graph

I like this type of graph. It deviates from the middle, but it often returns. If it were mirrored I would have liked it more.

FanGraphs has the player-by-player breakdown.

Up Next

It’s another FOX affair tomorrow afternoon, a 4:10 p.m. start. Andy Pettitte goes for the Yanks, while Joel Pineiro, who shut down the Yankees last week, goes for the Angels.

Game 16 Spillover Thread

For luck …

Trenton & Tampa win big

First off, make sure you scroll down for tonight’s game thread.

Secondly, Eduardo Nunez‘s .458-.625-.625 week landed him fifth on Baseball American’s Prospect Hot Sheet. In other news, Eric Duncan is hitting .439-.467-.634 this season, and he’s even playing some second base.

Triple-A Scranton (6-3 win over Lehigh Valley)
Kevin Russo, 3B: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 K, 1 E (fielding)
Colin Curtis, RF: 4 for 5, 1 R, 3 2B, 3 RBI – SLG went from .310 to .426 just like that
Eduardo Nunez, SS: 2 for 5, 1 K, 1 SB
Juan Miranda, 1B, Jon Weber, DH & Chad Huffman, LF: all 1 for 4 – Miranda drove in a run & K’ed … Weber tripled, drove in a run & scored another … Huffman K’ed
Jesus Montero, C: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B – he also got run over on a play at the plate … and won
Reegie Corona, 2B: 0 for 4, 1 R, 1 K
Ivan Nova: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 8-3 GB/FB – 58 of 95 pitches were strikes (61.4%)
Mark Melancon: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1-0 GB/FB  – 22 of 38 pitches were strikes (57.9%)
Jon Albaladejo: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 1-0 GB/FB – 11 of 13 pitches were strikes (84.6%)

[Read more…]

Game 16: Keeping the streak alive

Anaheim is 30 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, but don't tell the Angels. (Ric Francis, AP)

The Yankees lost for the first time in over a week yesterday, and it was just their second loss in the last 13 days. They’ve won their first five series of the year, the first time they’ve done that in nearly a century, but the process of keeping that streak alive starts tonight.

For years the Angels were absolute hell on the Yankees, particularly when they played in Anaheim, but it feels like the 2010 season busted those ghosts. For whatever reason, the Halos just aren’t scary anymore. Maybe it’s because they don’t have Chone Figgins and John Lackey and Vlad Guerrero and all those other guys that used to give the Yankees fits, or maybe it’s just because winning the World Series removed any silliness about curses and whatnot from people’s minds.

Starting for the Angels tonight is Ervin Santana, who took the loss when the Yanks handed out their rings last week. He bitched and moaned about the umpire’s strike zone after walking five in 5.2 innings, saying he didn’t get calls “because it’s the Yankees … That happens every time we play the Yankees or Boston.” If he whined any more, he’d be a resident of Bradenia.

Here’s tonight’s lineup…

Jeter, SS
Johnson, DH
Teixeira, 1B
A-Rod, 3B
Cano, 2B
Posada, C
Granderson, CF
Swisher, RF
Gardner, LF

And on the mound, Allen James Burnett.

The last late game of this road trip starts at 10:05pm ET and will be broadcast on YES, as (almost) always. Enjoy the game.