Friday, August 12, 2011

CC and the Yankees have a rough night

The New York Yankees lost to the Tampa Bay Rays by the score of 5-1 on Friday night. CC Sabathia made the start and didn’t pitch well. The Yankees offense couldn’t get anything going against Rays pitcher David Price. There was one big play in the game where Andruw Jones hit an RBI double and Nick Swisher was thrown out at the plate. That may have been the turning point of the game. The Yankees offense could use a jolt and it looks like their cleanup hitter Alex Rodriguez will be back in the lineup next week. Rodriguez started his rehab assignment tonight and went 2-3 with a homerun.
Sabathia pitched eight innings giving up five runs and ten hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out seven batters. Sabathia took the loss and is now 16-7 and his ERA is 2.93. Luis Ayala pitched one inning and gave up two hits and one walk and he struck out one batter.

Derek Jeter had a hit, Mark Teixeira had a hit and Robinson Cano had a hit. Nick Swisher had a hit and a walk, Andruw Jones had a hit and an RBI and Brett Gardner had a hit and a walk. Jones had a double. The Yankees were 1-3 with runners in scoring position and they left four men on base. Russell Martin and Eduardo Nunez each made an error.

The third inning the Rays scored three runs. Casey Kotchman hit a solo homerun and Kelly Shoppach hit a solo homerun right after him for back-to-back homeruns. Johnny Damon hit a solo homerun to give the Rays a 3-0 lead. In the fourth inning Jones had an RBI double and Swisher got thrown out at the plate ending the inning with a 3-1 deficit. In the fifth inning Elliot Johnson hit a solo homerun to give the Rays a 4-1 lead and Evan Longoria hit a solo homerun in the eighth inning to make it a 5-1 game. The Yankees really didn’t come close to scoring anymore after that play at the plate.

The Yankees lost the first of three to the Rays. The two teams will play game two of the series on Saturday at 4:10PM. The Yankees will have a special ceremony for Jeter celebrating his 3000th hit before the game on Saturday. The Yankees record is now 71-46 and they are currently 1 ½ games behind the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox are playing a late game on Friday night. The Yankees have a seven game lead in the wild card race over the Anaheim Angels. Sabathia has allowed three homers in a game six other times but never as a Yankee. Price picked up his first win since July 15th.

Yankees Postgame after a series win over Anaheim

Here are some postgame notes after a series win over the Angels.  The Yankees will have the Rays in two for three before they hit the road traveling to Kansas City and Minnesota.

Mariano Rivera is throwing potential red flags these days. This marked his third straight bad outing. He gave up at least one extra-base hit in all three, tying the worst streak of his career. Rivera said he couldn’t care less that he still tied Trevor Hoffman’s all-time record of at least 30 saves in 14 straight seasons.  Rivera is 41 years old and everyone knows there will come a day when he just can't do it anymore, this shows how great he is.  He has a couple of bad outings and everyone is going nuts, that shows how dominant he has been for so long. 

“As long as I do my job, that’s what I want, and lately I haven’t done it,” Rivera said. “It won’t make me and it won’t break me. But games like this get me upset because I’m not doing what I should be doing.”

Is he just in a little lull or is he finally acting his age? He has five blown saves, two losses and a 2.40 ERA. Rivera said he feels fine physically and that it’s just one pitch hurting him each time. He said he isn’t concerned. But lefties are hitting .269 off him, maybe not the best sign when it comes to his signature cutter. Bobby Abreu, who hit the two-run homer off him Tuesday night and handed him the loss, and Russell Branyan, who hit the three-run shot in this 6-5 win, are both lefty hitters.  That would be the worry spot for me, the lefties and the cutter.  I don't see the cutter moving as much so I am not sure exactly what that means.

Joe Girardi did his best to calm any onset of mass hysteria.  I would tend to agree with him and this one didn't bother me as much because they won and he did get the last two outs.  The homeruns wasn't exactly crushed either, it is a Yankee stadium homerun, it counts the same but it was just a bad pitch that he hit in the air and it went out.

“I’ve seen Mo have three or four bad days and then run off a long streak,” Girardi said after this latest problem outing. “So I don’t think all of a sudden Mo has forgotten how to pitch. He’s in a little blip in the radar screen and he’ll get back on track.

“The thing I’ve noticed is he’s missed his location. That’s going to happen. As much as we want to think that he’s about as close to the perfect closer that we’ve ever seen, he’s not perfect. It’s going to happen from time to time. It’s happening now. Fortunately, it didn’t cost us today, and we move on.”

Rafael Soriano was tested in back-to-back games, and he passed. He has been looking great in the seventh. Overall, this was his sixth consecutive scoreless inning and outing since he returned from the DL July 29. This game marked the first time he had even given up a hit, and it was just a single.

“I have a lot of confidence right now and I feel pretty comfortable the way they’re using me right now,” Soriano said through an interpreter. “I think that makes a difference.”  Soriano has been incredible, he can be a huge weapon down the stretch and into the postseason if he is going to be like he was last year.  Right now he is unhittable. 

Bartolo Colon was back to being more efficient after two starts in which he combined to throw 199 pitches in 9 2/3 innings. He threw 90 this time and lasted six innings, allowing two runs and five hits. His sinker was working for him. He got a no-decision, so he’s still 8-6 and his ERA is 3.31.

“Bartolo’s kind of had a rebirth here,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He’s been throwing the ball harder than he has in quite a few years.”

Alex Rodriguez is set now to DH for Single-A Tampa at Dunedin Friday night, the start of his rehab assignment.  I would expect him back by the middle of next week.

Robinson Cano’s grand slam gave him 20 homers and made him just the second player in franchise history to hit at least 20 in three straight seasons as a second baseman. Joe Gordon was the other.  It is funny how everyone holds him to such a high standard and has been saying wow he is having a bad year.  If you look at his numbers, he is having a great year but to him it may be a little down.

Curtis Granderson has four homers in the last three games. This is the third time this season he has homered in three straight games.  This is the player the Yankees thought they were getting last year.  Almost everyone envisioned him hitting 40 homers in this park and this year he will do that and probably more.

Derek Jeter went 3 for 3 with a walk, including two infield hits. The Captain is batting .312 in 31 games since coming off the DL July 4.  He has been hitting the ball with more authority, driving it and picking up more extra base hits. 

The Rays come in for a three-game series starting Friday night. CC Sabathia and David Price are the starters in the opener.  This should be a great matchup, the Rays need to sweep the Yankees to have any chance of getting back in the race. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Yankees notes for Wednesday after a victory

Here were some pregame notes and I will sprinkle in some thoughts after the Yankees a postgame.  The Yankees evened up the three game series by beating the angels 9-3, Ivan Nova continued to pitch well and win games.  The offense went to work tonight on a kid called up from AA. Joe Girardi said that Alex Rodriguez will probably be starting his rehab assignment Friday as a DH and then hopefully play Saturday at third for either Class A Tampa or the Gulf Coast League Yankees.

Girardi wasn’t counting on him being back for the start of the next seven-game road trip Monday in Kansas City, but he does believe he will be back during the trip, barring any setbacks, of course.  The Yankees shouldn't rush him back, they are in a good position in the standings and they don't have to be desperate for anything.  It would be nice to win the division but it isn't a must, as long as you make the postseason. 

As for Mariano Rivera’s back-to-back bad outings, Girardi called them ”a blip.”  I would pretty much agree with that, if Nunez was more experienced or Arod was at third he probably wouldn't have blown that save in Fenway Park on Sunday night.  He is 41 years old and isn't the same guy but I would take him over most. 

“Usually when Mo has his little blips in the screen, sometimes they come back to back,” Girardi said. “Then he usually runs off a really good streak. If my sense is right, I think that’s what will happen. It’s just a little blip here.”

The topic that drew the most attention was the state of the rotation, with six good pieces and five holes. Ivan Nova starts tonight. Asked about whether Nova was pitching for a spot tonight, Girardi said, “No, I wouldn’t say that. Come out healthy.”  I think right now Burnett has to be the odd man out but I don't know if that is what Girardi will do.  It is easier to send a guy like Nova down, Nova though needs to stay at the major league level, it is great to see him develop and improve the way he has. 

“He’s pitched very well for us,” Girardi said. “That’s the bottom line. As we know, none of our pitchers are going to be perfect. Sometimes they’re going to have some blips. But we feel very good about him taking the ball every sixth day right now. That’s something we eventually have to get down to five here, just for our roster and just for the routine for the guys.

“I think the biggest difference in (Nova) – a month of it he wasn’t really here, three weeks – but the last two and a half months or whatever has been his slider and the ability to get swing and misses and strikeouts on it, and the improvement of that. It’s different weapon for him than his other pitches.”

The Yankees aren't going to go with a six man rotation much longer.  It seems that Burnett would be the odd man out but I am not so sure.  I don't think the Yankees would put him in the bullpen although he may be able to succeed as a reliever.  It will be interesting to see what they do but they can't take Nova out and Hughes will get a start on Saturday.  Hughes hasn't been great either but I think most would rather have him a kid then Burnett. 

The Mets are unable to come back this time as they fall to the Padres

The New York Mets lost to the San Diego Padres by a score of 9-5 on Wednesday night. R.A. Dickey started for the Mets and pitched ok but he wasn’t helped out by his defense. Josh Thole and Ruben Tejada had big games for the offense, the offense did spread around 15 hits. The Mets couldn’t provide the late inning magic in this game that they did in the first two games.
Dickey pitched six innings giving up six hits and five runs with three of them being earned. He walked one and struck out one. Dickey took the loss dropping his record to 5-11 on the season. Pedro Beato pitched two innings giving up two hits and one run with a walk and a strikeout and Bobby Parnell pitched an inning giving up four hits and three runs with a walk and two strikeout.

Angel Pagan had a hit, Jason Pridie had a hit and an RBI and Justin Turner had a walk. David Wright had a hit, Lucas Duda had a hit and Jason Bay had a walk. Mike Baxter had a hit and two walks, Thole had four hits and Tejada had three hits. Dickey had a hit and an RBI, Nick Evans had a hit and an RBI and Willie Harris had a hit and an RBI. Tejada had two doubles, Wright, Thole and Evans each had a double. The Mets were 6-19 with runners in scoring position and they left 13 men on base. Pagan had a stolen base and the errors were made by Dickey and Pagan.

The Padres took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a Jason Bartlett sacrifice fly. In the second inning the Padres expanded their lead on a Luis Martinez RBI single and a Will Venable RBI single. In the third inning Logan Forsythe hit an RBI double and Alberto Gonzalez had a sacrifice fly. It was 5-0 Padres at this point. The Mets got a run in the fourth inning on a Dickey RBI single. In the sixth inning Evans hit an RBI double and Pridie had an RBI single making it a 5-3 game. Cameron Maybin hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning making it a 6-3 game. Harris had an RBI single in the eighth inning making it a 6-4 game. The Padres scored three runs in the ninth inning to put the game away. Maybin hit an RBI groundout, Jesus Guzman had an RBI single and he also stole home. In the ninth inning Tejada reached on a force attempt which was an error allowing a run to score.

The Mets could not win their third straight over the Padres. The Mets have won the first two out of three with the last game to be played on Thursday afternoon. The Mets are back to 500 at 58-58. The Mets starting pitching has been shaky in this series. The Padres are not a good hitting team so this should be of some concern.

Curtis Granderson and Ivan Nova lead the Yankees to victory

The New York Yankees defeated the Anaheim Angels by the score of 9-3 on Wednesday night. Ivan Nova made the start and continued to make a case for staying in the rotation. The way he has been pitching, I don’t think there is anyway they can remove him from the rotation. The Yankees offense was led by Curtis Granderson who hit two homeruns setting a career high with 31 on the season.
Nova pitched six plus innings giving up three runs on five hits. He didn’t strike out a batter and walked three. Nova ran out of gas in the seventh and that is when two runs scored on him. Rafael Soriano who has done a great job since coming back from the disabled list pitched a scoreless inning. Soriano entered the game with the bases loaded and no outs and he got a ground ball double play and a fly out. Luis Ayala pitched two innings giving up three hits and no runs, he struck out three batters. Nova picked up his 11th win of the season.

Brett Gardner had a walk, Derek Jeter had a walk and Granderson had two hits and four RBI with a walk. Cano had three hits and two RBI, Nick Swisher had two hits and an RBI and Eric Chavez had a hit and an RBI. Russell Martin had a hit and an RBI. Cano, Chavez and Swisher each had a double. Cano had a triple and a homerun and Granderson had two homeruns. The Yankees were 3-9 with runners on scoring position and left three men on base.

The Yankees didn’t make Angels starter Garrett Richards feel welcome. Richards was called up from AA which is hard enough and then he had to pitch in Yankee Stadium against the Yankees. He only pitched five innings giving up six hits and six runs. The victory was the Yankees first since May 1, 2004 against a starter making his major league debut. They had lost their last six games in which a starter was making his major league debut. The Yankees will try and win the series on Thursday afternoon. Bartolo Colon will be making the start against another young Angels starter.

The Yankees have a seven game lead over the Angels for the wild card and they came into this game 1 ½ games behind the Red Sox for first place in the AL East. The Red Sox are still currently playing so right now it is a one game lead. Curt

Monday, August 8, 2011

Yankees postgame notes after a tough loss in Fenway

The Yankees had Mariano Rivera on the mound with a one-run lead, three outs away from capping a wildly successful road trip that would put the Yankees back in first place in the American League East. Had Rivera gotten those three outs, all we’d be talking about this morning would be a gritty series at Fenway and a Yankees team playing incredibly well for a week and a half. Without those three outs, we’re left with this.

“I don’t call it disappointment or frustration, it just happens,” Rivera said. “That’s baseball. We just have to continue playing the baseball we’ve been playing. We’ve been doing great. Yeah, we lost the series, but we’re going home and we’ll play our ball.”

There was something stunning in the finality of it all. Marco Scutaro doubled and scored. Then David Ortiz doubled, the Yankees setup the double play, and Josh Reddick lined a first-pitch curveball into the left-field corner. It was past midnight, and it was over. In the last few minutes of Sunday night, the Yankees were winning a great game. In the early minutes of Monday morning, they lost a heartbreaker.  It is amazing how quickly things can turn in a baseball game. 

Phil Hughes said he had no problem getting loose. In fact, he was ready for it. He started throwing his bullpen — in preparation for Tuesday’s start — as soon as Rivera came into the game. When the Red Sox tied it, he stopped throwing and treated it as a warmup because he figured he would be the next guy in the game. Sure enough, Girardi went to his starter, and Hughes threw all of 13 pitches, four of them intentional balls to Carl Crawford.

Joe Girardi said he wasn’t ready to announce a rotation for the upcoming series, but Hughes won’t be available to start Tuesday or Wednesday. Ivan Nova said he’s gone through his regular between-starts routine, so he might be the best bet for Tuesday.  The Yankees did finally announce the rotation today and A.J. Burnett will start on Tuesday followed by Ivan Nova on Wednesday.

 Hughes on his pitch to Reddick: “It was sort of an 0-0 get-me-over curveball, and I kind of saw him think take — everything kind of slows down — and then it seemed like at the last second he was like (swing). He stayed back real well on it and shot it into left. I wasn’t exactly sure where Gardy was playing, but when I saw it tailing away from him, I pretty much figured that was it.”

 Hughes on the Ortiz double: “I haven’t even looked at it on video yet. I made a decent pitch on a 2-1, it was a changeup. I figured we could go in again, that’s usually where we like to go on him. I’m not sure if it was in or not, or in enough, and he put a good swing on it.”

 Rivera was asked whether his inning was a matter of bad pitches or good hitting. I assume his response was about the Scutaro double, but he could also have been talking about the Pedroia sac fly. “It wasn’t the pitch that I wanted it to be,” he said. “It was a little bit down and it should have been a little bit up. I can’t blame nothing but myself. I didn’t get it done.”

On the sac bunt, Rivera said he didn’t think the Yankees had time to make the play because it wasn’t a force. “It’s a hard play,” he said. “If there’s two guys on base and it’s a force, it’s a little different. You have to tag the guy, so you have to be in position to be there. Even though he bunted it right back at me, I didn’t think we had a chance to get all the way back there and get him out.”  I think if Arod was over there the play would of been made, Nunez has struggled with his defense and just doesn't have the instincts on that to know it is Rivera and he will pounce on the ball.

 Carl Crawford is 2-for-15 in his career against Hughes, but Hughes said he was fine with the decision to walk him. “In that situation you want a double play,” Hughes said. “The manager made the call, and that’s what you’ve got to live with. I was fine with it.”

 The Yankees are now 63-3 when leading after eight innings this season.

Freddy Garcia walked his usual tightrope and regularly got out of trouble. He wasn’t great, but he gave the Yankees enough to get the win. He still hasn’t allowed a home run in 64.2 innings, the longest streak of his career.  Garcia has been great for the Yankees and they have no complaints with him at all.  This was a really good start for him because of who it was against. 

Nunez hadn’t homered in 22 games. He’d gone 75 at-bats since his home run against the Mets.

 This was Brett Gardner’s first career game that included a home run and multiple stolen bases. He was 3-for-5 and is now 30-for-34 on stolen base attempts since May 20. He’s swiped 21 in a row without being caught, the longest such streak by a Yankee sing Derek Jeter stole 22 in a row from July 20, 2001 to June 2, 2002.

Dave Robertson hasn’t allowed a run in 23.2 road innings this season. That’s a span of 23 outings.

 Rivera has blown 14 saves against the Red Sox, his most against any team (Baltimore and Anaheim are second with eight). This was his fifth blown save of the season, matching last year’s total.

 The Yankees were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Those numbers pretty much speak for themselves.

The Mets defeat the Padres in dramatic fashion

The New York Mets defeated the San Diego Padres by the score of 9-8 on Monday night. Mike Pelfrey made the start for the Mets and pitched ok. Pedro Beato and Ryota Igarashi didn’t pitch so well but Jason Isringhausen did to earn the win. Lucas Duda had a big game for the offense and Justin Turner and David Wright also had productive games.
Pelfrey pitched 6 1/3 innings giving up nine hits and four runs with two walks and four strikeouts. Beato pitched 2/3 of an inning giving up two runs and a walk, Igarashi pitched one inning giving up two hits and two runs with a walk and a strikeout. Isringhausen earned his third win and pitched an inning giving up a hit.

Angel Pagan had a hit and an RBI, Turner had two hits and Wright had two hits and three RBI. Duda had three hits and two RBI, Jason Bay had a hit, RBI and a walk and Mike Baxter had a hit and an RBI. Ronny Paulino had an RBI, Ruben Tejada had a hit, Pelfrey had a walk and Jason Pridie had a hit. Baxter had a double, Pagan, Bay and Wright each had a homerun. The Mets were 4-7 with runners in scoring position and they left six men on base. Pagan had an outfield assist.

The Mets won on a walk-off after getting down the inning before. The Mets had one of their most thrilling wins of the season in this game. The Mets lately have been hitting more homeruns and especially at Citi Field which is odd. I don’t know what they are eating for breakfast but it is working. Bay hit his 200th career homerun and became the third Canadian born player to accomplish the feat. Bay has hit seven homeruns in his last 39 games after hitting only eight over his first 142 games as a Met. Larry Walker and Matt Stairs are the other two Canadian born players to hit at least 200 homeruns. The Mets and Padres will play game two of four on Tuesday night. The Mets are still hanging around the playoff chase. They don’t really have a realistic shot but they will keep fighting and clawing until they can’t anymore. Chris Capuano is the scheduled starter for Tuesday night.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Yankees at Boston Red Sox-The Rubber Match

The New York Yankees will take on the Boston Red Sox tonight at Fenway Park.  It is the finale of the three game series.  The Yankees won the first game on Friday night 3-2  and the Red Sox won the second game yesterday evening 10-4.  The Yankees are 2-9 against the Red Sox this season including 0-6 at home.  CC Sabathia who started yesterday and tied for the most runs given up as a Yankee is 0-4 against the Sox this season.  The pitching matchup tonight is Josh Beckett who has been great against Freddy Garcia who has been good but not against the Red Sox.  Here is the Yankees lineup for tonight.

Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher, Eric Chavez(DH), Russell Martin, Eduardo Nunez. 

According to Joel Sherman it looks like the Yankees will be giving Chavez regular time at DH and if that doesn't work they will call up Jesus Montero but that isn't immenent.  They would of called him up if they were going with a five man rotation but for right now they aren't taking anyone out of the rotation.  Hughes is scheduled to go Tuesday but if needed out of the bullpen tonight then Nova will take his turn. 

Mets even up series with a win led by the offense

The New York Mets defeated the Atlanta Braves by the score of 11-7 on Saturday night. The Mets offense battered around Tommy Hanson and Jon Niese didn’t pitch well but he got the win. Niese now has 11 wins on the season. Josh Thole and Angel Pagan led the offense with three hits. Three other players had two hits, it was an all around good day for the offense.
Niese pitched five innings giving up 10 hits and five runs. He walked two and struck out six. Niese saw his record drop to 11-8. Tim Byrdak pitched a perfect inning with two strikeouts, Pedro Beato pitched an inning giving up two hits and one run and he struck out a batter and Bobby Parnell pitched an inning giving up a walk and a strikeout. Manny Acosta pitched an inning giving up a hit and a run with a strikeout.

Reyes had two hits an RBI and a walk. Justin Turner had two hits and four RBI, Daniel Murphy had a hit and David Wright had a hit, RBI and a walk. Pagan had three hits and a walk, Jason Bay had two hits and three RBI and Lucas Duda had a hit. Scott Hairston had a hit and an RBI, Thole had three hits an RBI and a walk and Nick Evans had a walk. Wright, Thole and Pagan each had a double, Turner had two homeruns, Bay and Thole each had one. The Mets were 5-19 with runners in scoring position and they left 10 men on base. Reyes and Pagan each had two stolen bases. Murphy made an error.

The Mets reached the 500 mark once again. The two teams have split the first two games of the three game series. The Mets are seven games back of the Braves in the loss column for the wild card. The Mets really need to win the series if they have any thought of making a playoff push. The Mets will play one more game against the Braves on Sunday afternoon and then four against the San Diego Padres to complete their homestand.

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