Sunday, June 19, 2011

Yankees defeat the Cubs in a sloppy game

The big play of the game was Carlos Pena being nailed at the plate in the sixth inning.  Bowled over and knocked to the ground, Russell Martin picked himself off the dirt and turned toward two men. He was showing one of them his glove and more so that he had held onto the ball.  Who was he showing it to though??  The umpire or Carlos Pena?

“I was showing it to Pena,” Martin said. “That’s just the feistiness in me.”

 “When someone’s trying to run you over,” Joe Girardi said. “You don’t necessarily help them up.”

Ever since Buster Posey was lost for the season, home plate collisions have been a hot-button topic around baseball. Girardi has said time and again that he was against any sort of catcher-protection rule. Catchers are supposed to block the plate, he said, and that’s what Martin did tonight.

“That was a clean hit,” Martin said. “There wasn’t anything dirty. As a catcher, you have to know when to put your body in position and when not to… Yesterday, I told Swisher, ‘I’m getting bored back there. I haven’t had a play in a long time.’ I got what I asked for.”

 You can't forget about the error on the double play ball, but Eduardo Nunez still managed to show why the Yankees have some faith in him as an everyday shortstop while Derek Jeter is on the bench. He scored the go-ahead run, drove in the key insurance run and had his third two-hit day since taking over the position. “I don’t think Nuney (gets) enough credit for what he did in the ninth,” Gardner said. “The double he hit to left-center ended up being the game-winning hit. That was the difference.”  Nunez has a pretty good bat, he has some pop, can steal bases and has a good arm.  He has to get better defensively though, once that is cleaned up he may be the heir apparent at short stop.  Derek Jeter wasn't very good in the field in the minor leagues and really never good at all up the middle, they talk about his decreased range with age but he really never had great range at least up the middle. 

A.J. Burnett was pretty good today. Actually, he was very good today except for a bad fastball that Pena hit for a two-run home run. Burnett would have pitched through the sixth if not for Nunez’s error. He struck out eight and showed a terrific curveball.  If you didn't watch the game and see he didn't complete six innings you may say he wasn't that good but he would of been through the sixth without the error.  If Burnett can pitch that way consistently which he has for most of the year the Yankees are happy.

Another day with Burnett praising Martin for his ability to block breaking balls in the dirt. “If I’ve got a strike on a hitter, I’m going to throw it in the dirt as hard as I can,” Burnett said. “I always tell Russ, I just try to get it by him. That’s my goal. He won’t allow it to happen.”  Martin started off hot with the offense and has cooled down but he still is a very good defensive catcher and that is the most important thing.  This shouldn't be taken as an insult but Martin is the best defensive catcher the Yankees have had in a while.

Burnett on his weird sac bunt that started foul — by a lot — and rolled back into fair territory: “I work on putting English on it,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. It bounced a good foot foul and hit that ridge and rolled back fair.”  It was a very weird play but as John Sterling would say that's baseball Suzyn. 

  Until Mariano Rivera allowed a home run in the ninth, this pieced together bullpen had gone eight straight games without allowing a run. Corey Wade, Hector Noesi and Dave Robertson pitched 2.2 scoreless to form the Rivera bridge tonight. “These guys have taken an opportunity and ran with it, a lot of these guys,” Girardi said. “We call up Corey and he does a good job. Noesi does a good job. They’re just throwing the ball well.”  Of course they miss Joba Chamberlain and Rafael Soriano and the lefties that never started the season but the bullpen they have now is doing a great job.  The main reason they miss those guys is the experience they have, these guys are getting good experience now though and so far so good.

 Girardi said he wasn’t bothered by a series of base running mistakes tonight. He likes his guys being aggressive. The head-scratcher was Alex Rodriguez being thrown out by 10 feet trying to stretch a single into a double. “I didn’t ask him,” Girardi said. “I usually don’t talk to guys right away in that situation. If I had to guess, I think he thought Soriano kind of dropped his head and was just was going to kind of take it easy throwing it in.”

Thanks to the Lohud Yankees Blog for providing some of the information from this game.  This was a very sloppy game for the Yankees but they will take any win and tonight will go for the series with their ace on the hill.  C.C. Sabathia is matching up against Randy Wolf.  It looks like a mismatch on paper but you never know.  This is a fathers day, night game.  The game is on at 8:00PM on ESPN.  The Yankees will head to Cincinatti to start a three game series there tomorrow night. 

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