Monday, September 5, 2011

Yankees news and notes after Monteros big day

Here are some notes from after the Yankees game and their thrilling 11-10 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.  It was like a playoff atmosphere and young Jesus Montero really got everyone excited with his first two major league homeruns. 

“I’ve seen everybody doing that, and I was dreaming of that before,” Montero said of the curtain calls. “I’ve seen Jeter and Posada and everybody doing that, and I’ve always told myself, ‘One day, I’m going to be one of those guys.’ It was an amazing moment. I’m so happy right now.”

Montero said that it was Jorge Posada, of all people, who was telling him to climb the steps of the dugout and acknowledge the fans. A pretty classy move if you ask me, considering Montero is basically seizing Posada’s job.  I think Posada realizes this is the end for him and there is nothing he can do about it, he has had a great career and at some point it happens to everyone, he took Girardi job when he was young and coming up. 

“He was telling me, ‘Get out there! Get out there! The fans want you. They want you to say hi!’ ”

What really stands out to me is the manner in which Montero hit both homers. They just about landed in the same spot, and neither of them just made it out, it was way out in the bleachers,  Montero crushed both balls the opposite way.

Girardi compared Montero’s opposite field power to a young Alex Rodriguez. Now that’s a lofty comparison. The fact that he could stay back on those balls and drive them with such ease is incredible less than a week into his major league career. Girardi had been DHing Montero against lefties, but he hit both home runs against righties.  I think right now it is the easy thing to do, let him play against lefties but eventually he will be hitting against anyone.

“You have to be able to do that to hit a ball like that out,” Girardi said of Montero’s ability to stay back on the ball. “It’s using you lower half to elevate low pitches, and that’s the other thing that he does well.”

It’s hard not to think that Montero should be the full-time DH, considering the fact that he pulled two hard singles against a left-handed pitcher yesterday. Offensively, he seems to be the complete package.  He has done nothing but hit in the minor leagues and there is no reason to think he won't do the same in the majors. 

“His numbers kind of speak for themselves,” Curtis Granderson said. “He’s always hit in the minor leagues, and sure enough, he’s swinging the bat really well so far.”

Girardi talked about how Montero has sparked the team.

“It can energize a team when young kids come up and perform at a high level, especially in the dog days,” he said. “We’re going at it pretty hard here. Our guys generally get excited when young guys have success.”

When asked if he believes Montero will be a key component in the postseason, Girardi offered some cautious optimism. “The one thing is you don’t get too giddy over one game, and you don’t get too down on another,” he said. “You wan tot watch him over a period of time. But we’ve always said that this young man can really swing the bat.”  I would agree with what he is saying but it is hard not to get excited about the kid and what his potential is. 

After all of the pregame talk about Freddy Garcia’s success this season, he simply didn’t have it today. For only the second time all season, Garcia failed to give the Yankees five innings. He was knocked out before the end of the third, allowing seven runs. The Orioles hit just about everything hard. I don’t want to make too much out of one bad start, but it would be difficult to argue that Ivan Nova isn’t the Yankees No. 2 starter right now. “They hit every pitch that I threw,” Garcia said. “It wasn’t one pitch. They hit sliders, split, slow curve, fastball. They hit everything that I have. I’ve got to forget about it, and just think about my next start.”

 Luckily for the Yankees, Baltimore starter Brian Matusz didn’t have it, either. He didn’t make it out of the second inning. In total between the two teams, 12 pitchers were used. “It was a hitters day,” Garcia said.

What felt like the big blast before the Jesus Show was Robinson Cano’s grand slam in the second inning. After going down 5-2, the Yankees fought back to make it 5-4. Cano came up with the bases loaded, fought off some tough pitches, and then absolutely smoked at ball out to the bleachers in right field. In year’s past, people have discussed his inability to come through with runners in scoring position. But this season, he seems to have drastically improved his focus in those situations. You just feel like he’s going to get that big hit. The grand slam was his third of the season, and seventh of his career. “That was a huge hit for us,” Girardi said. “Robbie has been dynamite all year. The one thing I’ve said about Robbie is that I wouldn’t count him out of that (MVP) race yet.”

 Mark Teixeira also homered for the Yanks. He went 2-for-4, including a hard hit single from the left-side, where he has been struggling.

 The Yankees brought in former Yankees Scott Proctor. It was his first appearance in a Yankee uniform since July 27, 2007 (against Baltimore, ironically). He pitched two innings, allowing three hits and one run. The most impressive relief performance came from Luis Ayala, who gave the Yankees 1.2 innings without allowing a hit. He’s been an unsung hero, with an impressive 1.90 ERA.

 Girardi said that both Dave Robertson and Rafael Soriano were unavailable today. He’s clearly getting cautious about their workloads here in the home stretch.  He should be also as you want them fresh for the postseason.  I think this is what Girardi does the best, managing the pitching staff and making sure the bullpen isn't overused and that everyone gets enough rest. 

Mariano Rivera had a bit of a rough inning, allowing one run, but still held onto to pick up his 597th career save. He’s now four behind Trevor Hoffman for first-place all-time. “I thought he threw some pretty good pitches,” Girardi said. “He gave up some hits, but that’s going to happen. What I didn’t like was that they put up on the board that he had only given up two hits in eight innings.” (He was joking about that last part.

 Girardi said at his press conference that Hector Noesi will rejoin the team tomorrow. There was a rumor flying around the Dellin Betances may be in line for a call up, but Girardi wouldn’t confirm it. He said they still have to discuss if anyone else will be brought up besides Noesi.  Donnie Collins who is a beat reporter with Scranton Wilkes Barre is reporting that Ramiro Pena, Greg Golson and

 The Yankees have now won five straight, and with Boston’s loss, have extended their lead in the division to two and a half games. Phil Hughes will get the start against Tommy Hunter tomorrow at 7:05 p.m.

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