The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Postgame notes: “You want me to tell him how to cheat better?”

Gerry David, Michael Pineda

The Yankees clubhouse was calm and quiet tonight. The team acknowledged that Michael Pineda broke one of baseball’s written rules by using pine tar to get a better grip on the baseball in the second inning, and the team said that Red Sox manager John Farrell did not break an unwritten rule by pointing out the infraction and getting Pineda ejected from the game.

“(Retaliation) is not anything that’s on our mind,” Brian Cashman said. “Listen, I would want our manager to do what John Farrell did. I would want, on behalf of our fan base and our team, to do the same thing that they did. Obviously this is a terrible situation that we all witnessed and we’re all a part of and we all have ownership to because there was clearly a failure and a breakdown that he wound up walking out of that dugout with something like that. It’s just not a good situation.”

Gerry David, Michael PinedaAccording to the box score, tonight’s game-time temperature was 53 degrees with 24-mph wind. Probably not the easiest conditions for throwing a baseball. Pineda had a rocky first inning, allowing two runs on four hits, and before he went out for the second inning, he applied pine tar to the right side of his neck. Pineda admitted as much. He said he was having trouble getting a grip in the first inning, and he wanted to do something to fix the problem.

“It’s cold, and I (don’t) want to hit anybody on the team,” Pineda said. “I want to feel good the ball and make a good pitch. … I’m here and I know I make a mistake. I feel so sad today, and I’m here. It was a really cold night, and the in the first inning I (didn’t) have a really good grip on the ball.”

Of course, the problem is, Pineda’s pine tar placement was obvious. And it came less than two weeks after Pineda clearly had a similar substance on the palm of his pitching hand. The Red Sox let it go that time, but faced with the same blatant action tonight, Farrell asked home plate umpire Gerry Davis to investigate.

Girardi said that he felt Pineda left the Red Sox little choice but to take action.

“That’s probably fair to say,” Girardi said. “… If it’s that obvious, with all the attention, I don’t think (it’s surprising that Farrell checked on it).”

The Yankees recognize that Pineda is certainly facing a suspension. Girardi, Cashman and Larry Rothschild each said that the team talked to Pineda after his previous Red Sox start to explain to him that he couldn’t use pine tar in that manner. The team wouldn’t go into specifics about the conversations — did they tell him not to use it, or to not use it in a way that could be seen? — but it’s clear that conversations took place.

“It’s illegal no matter how you do it,” Rothschild said. “Obviously you can tell him whatever you want, but it’s illegal no matter how you do it. You want me to tell him how to cheat better? That’s basically what it is.”

Pineda did not have the pine tar on his neck for the first inning. He said he applied it himself between innings, and Girardi said he didn’t realize anything illegal was happening until Farrell went onto the field to talk to Davis. Cashman said he was sitting in the stands and began getting calls from people watching the game on television. They’d seen the substance and wanted to know what was going on.

“So I got out of the stands, walked in, but by the time I made it from the stands in here (to the clubhouse) it was too late,” Cashman said. “… This is not something that we’re proud to be sitting in, and we’re certainly embarrassed. When he took the field in the second inning, that should never have taken place.”

Jacoby Ellsbury, A.J. Pierzynski• For obvious reasons, there was quite a bit of attention on Girardi for twisting a mounted, unmanned ESPN camera so that it could no longer film Pineda as he talked to Rothschild and trainer Steve Donohue in the tunnel leading to the Yankees clubhouse after the ejection. As I understand it, teams have been specifically told that those mounted cameras are allowed only to film the field and the dugout, but the steps and the tunnel are considered private, team-only areas. “If I was really going to tear up the camera, I would have torn it up,” Girardi said. “But I was trying to get it from being in the tunnel.”

• Girardi said he does not expect to fined in any way for forcing the camera not to point that direction. “I think MLB’s going to have a problem with ESPN going into our tunnel,” Girardi said. “I didn’t break the camera, all I did was keep it from going into our tunnel. … If I’m going to get fined for that, I’ll have a real problem with that because I didn’t do anything to hurt the camera.”

• Cashman gave a blunt “yes” when asked if he expects Pineda to be suspended. Baseball’s rule book says it’s an automatic suspension for any pitcher caught with a foreign substance. Joel Peralta was suspended eight games for having pine tar on his glove in 2012. I wonder if Pineda might be suspended a little longer to make sure he misses two starts.

• Girardi indicated that he would be open to changing the rule so that pitchers could use something to get a better grip on cold days. “That’s something I’ll talk (about) with Major League Baseball,” Girardi said. “Obviously you want guys to compete at the highest level and you want safety. It’s something I’ll talk to MLB about.”

• Is Girardi more likely to check on Red Sox pitchers after today’s incident? “If there’s something really obvious, maybe you do it,” Girardi said. “I don’t know what I would do.”

Brett Gardner• Pineda was throwing a lot of fastballs in the first inning, which might have been because he couldn’t get a grip for his slider. Rothschild, though, said he wasn’t thrown off by Pineda’s lack of breaking balls because he knew part of Pineda’s game plan going into the game was to throw more changeups. Rothschild expected fewer sliders regardless of the conditions.

• Can’t help wondering if the Yankees might make a move for a fresh pitcher tomorrow. Maybe option Preston Claiborne back to Triple-A after he threw 32 pitches and went two-plus innings tonight? Hard to imagine Claiborne or David Phelps (57 pitches) will be available. Even Matt Thornton pitched more than an inning tonight. “I thought we pitched pretty well out of the bullpen,” Girardi said. “I thought we did a pretty good job. Some pretty good at-bats, obviously John Lackey was tough on us today but we had some opportunities to score. We just didn’t get the hit.

• Lackey had 11 strikeouts through eight innings. The last Red Sox starter to strike out at least 11 against the Yankees was Tim Wakefield, who had 12 strikeouts in a start at Yankee Stadium in 2005.

• The Yankees committed three errors tonight. It was their second three-error game of the year.

• Derek Jeter’s 11-game hitting streak came to an end. He also failed to reach base for the first time in 21 games dating back to September 2 of last year.

• Final word to Girardi: “I’m not going to get mad at (Pineda). The kid’s doing the best he can, he’s trying to compete, and that’s what he’s trying to do. I don’t think he’s trying to get an edge on anyone, he’s a young man that’s been through a lot, been through a lot of rehab and has worked his tail end to get off to this start and he made an error in judgment. It’s something we have to deal with. There are other things that are going to come up in the course of the year that we’ll find a way to get through it.’’

Associated Press photos


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Thursday, April 24th, 2014 at 1:32 am. InMisc with22 Comments → Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Pineda ejected in Yankees loss at Fenway

Gerry David, Michael Pineda

Two weeks ago, the Red Sox seemed willing to look the other way. But not this time. Yankees starter Michael Pineda was ejected from tonight’s game at Fenway Park for having a foreign substance on the right side of his neck. The brownish gunk looked like pine tar, which he was presumably using to get a better grip on a chilly and windy night in Boston. Pineda was ejected three batters into the second inning after Red Sox manager John Farrell asked the umpires to investigate the substance. Pineda had pitched just long enough to fall behind and take the loss in a 5-1 Yankees letdown against their longtime rivals. When Pineda last pitched against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on April 10, television cameras spotted a similar brown substance on the base of his pitching hand, but the Red Sox largely dismissed it as an unspoken common practice. This time, Farrell came out of the dugout in the middle of Grady Sizemore’s at-bat with two-outs in the second inning. Pineda was ejected as soon as home plate umpire Gerry Davis spotted and dabbed the gunk that was obvious on Pineda’s neck. According to Rule 8.02(b), a pitcher is to be immediately ejected and automatically suspended for having “on his person, or in his possession” any foreign substance. While no suspension was immediately announced, Rays reliever Joel Peralta was suspended eight games for having pine tar on his glove in 2012. Pineda left the game already trailing 2-0, and the Red Sox added two more unearned runs off David Phelps in the third inning (Derek Jeter opened the inning with a throwing error) before adding an insurance run off Preston Claiborne in the eighth. The Yankees bullpen kept the game from getting completely out of hand, but the Yankees were held to just one run — on a sacrifice fly — through eight innings against John Lackey.

Associated Press photo


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 10:23 pm. InMisc with225 Comments → Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Game 21: Yankees at Red Sox

Derek JeterYANKEES (12-8)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran DH
Brian McCann C
Alfonso Soriano LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brett Gardner RF
Brian Roberts 2B
Kelly Johnson 3B

RHP Michael Pineda (2-1, 1.00)
Pineda vs. Red Sox

RED Sox (9-12)
Grady Sizemore RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Mike Carp LF
A.J. Pierzynski C
Xander Bogaerts SS
Brock Holt 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

RHP John Lackey (2-2, 5.25)
Lackey vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, YES Network and ESPN

WEATHER: Little colder than last night, still with the possibility of rain throughout the night.

UMPIRES: HP Gerry Davis, 1B Phil Cuzzi, 2B Brian Knight, 3B Quinn Walcott

JETER ON A ROLL: Derek Jeter has an 11-game hitting streak, and he’s reached base in each of his last 21 games dating back to September 2, 2013. His on-base streak is the tied with Toronto’s Jose Bautista for the Majors’ longest active streak.

GOOD FIRST MONTH: Michael Pineda is 6-2 with a 1.64 ERA in eight career starts in the month of April. He has the lowest career ERA in April among active starters with at least eight starts in the month. He was named American League Rookie of the Month in April of 2011.

ON THIS DATE: On April 23, 2000, Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada became the first set of Yankees teammates to each homer from both sides of the plate in the same game. … Also on this date, in 1903, the Highlanders recorded the first win in franchise history, 7-2, at Washington. Harry Howell was the winning pitcher.

UPDATE, 7:21 p.m.: Leadoff triple by Grady Sizemore in the bottom of the first. Perhaps not the best route a right fielder has ever taken. Was probably a double anyway. Gardner might have played it into a triple.

UPDATE, 7:23 p.m.: RBI single by Pedroia and the Red Sox have a quick 1-0 lead.

UPDATE, 7:37 p.m.: Not entirely sure whether Jeter would have gotten the out had he fielded it cleanly. The official scorer ruled it a hit, and it’s now a 2-0 game.

UPDATE, 7:38 p.m.: That’s a 30-pitch first inning for Pineda.

UPDATE, 7:50 p.m.: The umpires checked Pineda for a foreign substance. And they ejected him for having something on his neck.

UPDATE, 7:55 p.m.: David Phelps is in to pitch now. Hard to ignore the massive bit of goop on the right side of Pineda’s neck. As soon as home plate umpire Gerry Davis touched it, he made the move to eject Pineda.

UPDATE, 8:21 p.m.: Well, this is an exceedingly weird game so far. Napoli’s double gets past Gardner’s glove, and Gardner loses track of it as it bounces in to the stands.

UPDATE, 8:22 p.m.: Just FYI, baseball’s official rules say it’s an automatic suspension for a pitcher caught using a foreign substance. It’s a 10-game suspension in the minors. Could be different in the Majors.

UPDATE, 8:52 p.m.: Phelps threw 57 pitches and got through just two innings. Yankees might very well need a new reliever tomorrow. Here’s Thornton in just the fourth inning.

UPDATE, 9:03 p.m.: Here’s something positive for the Yankees. Gardner single, now a Johnson double. Yankees have runners at second and third with no outs for the top of the order.



Posted by:Chad Jenningson Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 7:05 pm. InMisc with611 Comments → Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Pregame notes: “Hey kid, can you play right field?”

Jacoby Ellsbury ; Brett Gardner

I would have sworn that I saw Brett Gardner play a little bit of right field back in Triple-A, but he says I’m wrong and I’ll take his word for it. In fact, Gardner says the only time he can remember playing right field was one inning, maybe two, during a spring training game years ago.

“Joe Torre was managing, I know that,” Gardner said. “(It was in) 2007 maybe, 2006 or ’07. It was like the seventh inning, we were in Winter Haven against the Indians, and he yelled, ‘Hey kid, can you play right field?’ and I said ‘Yes sir!’ and I went out there.”

The decision to put Gardner in right field tonight has everything to do with the dimensions at Fenway Park. Left field is small here, cut short because of the massive Green Monster. Right field is short right along the line, but it expands quickly.

“We had talked about doing it a couple of years ago and he got hurt right before we came here,” Joe Girardi said. “We had him work out there yesterday and we talked about it in Tampa. The other thing is, Sori is used to playing left field (and) is more comfortable in left field than possibly playing right. That’s why I chose to do it.”

Girardi was asked about just putting Ichiro Suzuki in right, but he said he wanted to go with his usual group of four outfielders. Gardner’s off to the slowest start of the bunch, but he’s still clearly a regular ahead of Ichiro, who’s played well in a part-time role.

Both Girardi and Gardner said they’re not too worried about the adjustment to right. Gardner’s spent enough time in center field that he’s seen balls hooking toward right field. He’s at least somewhat familiar with seeing balls go to that side of the field.

“It’s big,” Gardner said. “The pole, obviously is short, and it pretty much goes straight back from there. The bullpen kind of comes straight across, and short wall everywhere. Hopefully learn from what Carlos did in Tampa (when he flipped over the wall). That’s what not to do, I guess. So just treat it like you’re playing center field or (left) field. Line it up, and wherever they hit it, go get it.”

Yangervis Solarte· Ivan Nova has told the Yankees he’d like to get a second opinion on his elbow from noted Tommy John surgery expert Dr. James Andrews. The Yankees are sending Nova’s MRI results to Dr. Andrews, but it’s unclear whether Nova will actually travel to Alabama for a fresh examination. It’s also not clear whether Dr. Andrews would perform a potential surgery, but I’d venture to say that’s a smart guess.

· The Yankees actually considered moving Carlos Beltran to left field for this series. “We had him take some balls in left field too,” Girardi said. “We were thinking about having him play left here, but with Sori doing it a number of times, we thought we’d do that.”

· Just a regular day off for Yangervis Solarte, who’s hit his first little slump lately. “You run into some pretty good pitchers, the guys that you see,” Girardi said. “And like I say, I want to keep everyone active.”

· Derek Jeter is hitting .298 and he’s been on base in every game he’s played this season. “I told you if he was healthy I thought he’d play well,” Girardi said. “It was just a matter of how healthy he was going to be, and for the most part he’s been healthy this year so I think it’s kind of what we expected.”

· Speaking of shortstops, Girardi said Brendan Ryan is still probably another week to 10 days away. He hasn’t moved as quickly as expected since getting into minor league games. “He’s playing,” Girardi said. “I don’t know what he did today, but he played yesterday. Doing everything. … He’s a had a little thing here, a little thing there. I don’t know (how much longer). We talked about him getting 50 or 60 at-bats, I’m not sure how many he has. It’s probably in the 20s.”

· Francisco Cervelli? “He’s in New York,” Girardi said. “He’s doing some light stuff. He’s walking. He’s not doing a lot yet.”

· Even with a big lead, the Yankees considered putting Dave Robertson in last night’s game just so he could get some action. “We talked about using him, but once it started pouring rain I thought it was probably best not to,” Girardi said. “Maybe giving him a hitter because he hasn’t thrown a lot in the last 15, 16 days.”

· Girardi said he’s not sure yet whether he’ll have Dellin Betances tonight.

· Girardi said he doesn’t expect to push Michael Pineda beyond the pitch limits we’ve seen so far this season. The Yankees are still taking it easy on him a little bit. “I’ll still be careful for a while,” Girardi said. “It’s chilly. He hasn’t pitched really in a couple of years. The goal for him is to make 30 to 32 starts. That’s what our focus is.”

· Finally, a quick congratulations to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre manager Dave Miley. After a 5-0 win against Buffalo today — five scoreless innings from Chase Whitley, four scoreless by Alfredo Aceves — Miley has set the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre franchise record for wins. He’s 575-445 since coming to the team in 2007. He passed former Red Barons manager Marc Bombard, who went 574-502 from 1997 to 2004. I covered both Bombard and Miley and learned a ton about baseball from each of them. I’ve been lucky to get to known Miley as well as I do. Very easy to respect that man. Congratulations to him. The guy keeps finding ways to win with all sorts of different rosters.

Associated Press photos


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 5:55 pm. InMisc with34 Comments → Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Gardner starts in right at Fenway

Left field is pretty small here at Fenway. I assume that’s why Gardner’s speed is in right field instead.

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran DH
Brian McCann C
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alfonso Soriano LF
Brett Gardner RF
Brian Roberts 2B
Kelly Johnson 3B

RHP Michael Pineda


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 3:41 pm. InMisc with96 Comments → Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Gardner joins Taylor Hooton Foundation; Teixeira expands Dream Team 25

While we’re waiting for tonight’s second game at Fenway, here are a couple of notes on Yankees doing good things in the community. These are basically just press releases, but it’s good stuff from both Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira.

Brett GardnerMcKinney, TX – The Taylor Hooton Foundation announced today that Brett Gardner of the New York Yankees has joined its new “Advisory Board” made up exclusively of active players from throughout Major League Baseball. The Hooton Foundation is widely acknowledged as the leader in the advocacy against appearance and performance enhancing drug use by the youth of America.

The Yankees outfielder joins 11 other charter members of the “Advisory Board,” which also includes Jay Bruce (Cincinnati Reds), John Danks (Chicago White Sox), David DeJesus (Tampa Bay Rays), Brian Dozier (Minnesota Twins), Dillon Gee (New York Mets), Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers), Jason Kipnis (Cleveland Indians), Mark Melancon (Pittsburgh Pirates), Max Scherzer (Detroit Tigers), C.J. Wilson (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) and Brad Ziegler (Arizona Diamondbacks). Additional members of the “Advisory Board” will be announced throughout the 2014 season.

“Words cannot describe my emotions as we partner with these incredible athletes and role models,” said Taylor Hooton Foundation president Don Hooton. “These young men have stepped up to make a difference with America’s youth by becoming visible role models, examples of outstanding athletes who work hard and compete fairly. Their participation in our initiatives will be invaluable.”

As members of the “Advisory Board,” the players will participate in the THF’s educational activities in their local communities, record radio public-service announcements and provide their input on the most-effective ways to educate North America’s young people about the dangers of anabolic steroids and other appearance and performance enhancing drugs.

In 2013, the Taylor Hooton Foundation spoke to and educated more than 150,000 people. It also began a Latin American outreach and traveled throughout the Caribbean, speaking to thousands of RBI athletes, coaches and parents in partnership with Major League Baseball. This year the THF will introduce a new eLearning program – narrated by Bob Costas – to Little League Baseball that will be offered to its one-million adult coaches and other volunteers.

Mark TeixeiraEast Harlem, New York – New York Yankees First Baseman Mark Teixeira launched Dream Team 25 for its third year, which calls for fans to support his cause for Harlem RBI and DREAM Charter School. In exchange for their support, chosen “All-Stars” have a chance to visit New York City to enjoy lunch with Mark and watch a game at Yankees Stadium.

This year, Dream Team 25 will support Harlem RBI’s first expansion program site in the South Bronx. After serving the East Harlem community for 22 years, Harlem RBI, a youth development organization that provides year-round academic, sports and enrichment programs to more than 1,500 boys and girls, decided to enter a new neighborhood for the first time.

“My favorite part of this campaign is getting to know my fans by reading all of their life stories as well as sharing about the amazing work of Harlem RBI and DREAM. It’s an honor to have this opportunity to combine my passion for baseball and education. I’m looking forward to this third season of Dream Team 25!” says Mark.

Mark Teixeira joined Harlem RBI’s Board of Directors in 2010 and has been deeply involved with the organization through participating in workshops and programs with youth, fundraising on behalf of the organization and acting as a Co-Chair to Harlem RBI and DREAM’s latest Capital Campaign.

There are three ways to become a Dream Team 25 All-Star:
1. DONATE $25 or more at and tell Mark why you should be an All-Star.
2. Get your friends and family to VOTE for you. Top three vote-getters will earn a spot on the team.
3. VOTE for one of your friends and you–as a voter– will automatically be placed into a lottery to also have a chance to come to New York City.

Visit to learn more about Dream Team 25 and how his campaign will support the youth of Harlem RBI. Follow Mark (@teixeiramark25) and Harlem RBI (@harlemrbi) on Twitter to get the latest updates.

Mark Teixeira and Harlem RBI entered into a partnership in May 2010 when the three-time MLB All-Star and 2009 World Series champion became a member of Harlem RBI’s Board of Directors. Teixeira also served as the honoree with Howard Lutnick from Cantor Fitzgerald/BGC Partners at Harlem RBI’s annual 2011 Bids for Kids Gala. Mark continues to assist Harlem RBI by participating in various events to support the organization, including activities with Harlem RBI youth.
In 2011, Mark personally committed $1 million in support of Harlem RBI and DREAM Charter School through Dream Team 25. This year, the campaign will specifically support Harlem RBI’s new expansion site in the South Bronx. Mark’s goal is to engage the public to join Dream Team 25 and build awareness and excitement around the work of Harlem RBI and DREAM. In exchange for their support, 10 lucky fans will have unique access to Mark, joining him for lunch and enjoying suite tickets to the Yankees game that evening. Visit for more information.

Associated Press photos



Posted by:Chad Jenningson Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 12:23 pm. InMisc with114 Comments → Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Tanaka overwhelming — not overwhelmed — in Fenway debut

Taboola Home/Section Front Player

The video above is the final answer from last night’s Masahiro Tanaka press conference, and in so many ways, it tells the story of what’s made Tanaka so impressive this season.

Asked about the emotion he felt pitching at Fenway Park for the first time, Tanaka said he was “a little bit pumped up,” but only because he knew the Red Sox had a good lineup and he knew that the stadium tends to generate home runs and a lot of scoring. He wasn’t nervous because of the rivalry or the atmosphere or the attention. It was just another game in which he expected to pitch well.

“I think we’ll continue to learn about him all year long,” manager Joe Girardi said. “There are going to be firsts. There have obviously been things we haven’t seen him go through yet that he’s probably going to go through. We seem to learn something about him every night.”

So what did the Yankees learn last night? Mostly that Tanaka really can be the same guy even in a new situation.

“These are big games,” Jacoby Ellsbury said. “And for him to come in, the expectation he has on him, he’s been lights out. I couldn’t really expect anything more of him. I think his starts have been tremendous. He’s done very well.”

Last night’s game could have gotten away from Tanaka. He gave up back-to-back home runs and then a double in the fourth inning, but he got himself right back on track the next inning. Again, it’s a matter of not being overwhelmed.

“I think that’s a really good quality for such a young pitcher,” Girardi said. “Sometimes we forget that he’s only 25 years old. To be able to do that, we’ve seen him do it in really every start that he’s had; three of the four.”

How does Tanaka get himself back on track like that?

“It’s basically how I think to myself,” he said. “I try to tell myself, I gave up those runs but no more. And then just go ahead.”

Simple. Or at least, Tanaka makes it seem simple. Through four starts, he’s 3-0 with a 2.15 ERA, 35 strikeouts and only two walks. He’s been overwhelming, and never overwhelmed.

“He’s not just up there throwing,” Derek Jeter said. “He has a plan and he has been executing. … He’ll throw any pitch at any time. As a hitter, that’s tough. Whether he’s ahead of you or behind you, he really has no particular pitch he’s going to go with. When you’re up there throwing anything at any time, and you can control it, it’s going to be a challenge for a hitter.”


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 8:57 am. InMisc with148 Comments → Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Postgame notes: “Always knew how well you were playing by the boos”

Jacoby Ellsbury

Jacoby Ellsbury was booed, and he was cheered. He was honored on the video board, occasionally jeered in the stands, and he was a difference maker in the box score.

“When I was with the Red Sox, you always knew how well you were playing by the boos (on the road),” Ellsbury said. “The louder the boos, the better you were playing. I was expecting it, but I thought they were great as a whole. I thought they were tremendous even at the end of the game.”

The Red Sox did not seriously pursue Ellsbury this winter, and tonight they were reminded of exactly what they’re missing. Jackie Bradley Jr. was a bit of an adventure in center field, and Grady Sizemore went 0-for-4 in the leadoff spot. Ellsbury, meanwhile, started the game with a triple, added a two-out, two-run double later in the game, and had a sliding catch in the first inning. He was almost certainly the most dynamic player on the field — speed, defense, an ability to drive the ball — and he was unquestionable difference maker.

No matter how much Ellsbury has tried to downplay the significant of switching sides in this rivalry, tonight’s game was absolute proof of just how significant his move could be.

“I mean, any time we win is a good game,” Ellsbury said. “I’m just happy to go out there and help the team win. But I thought the fans were great. I thought the reception was nice. The tribute the Red Sox gave on the video board was unexpected. I thought it was very classy of them to do that. … I spent nine years in that organization, gave that organization everything I had every day I stepped on that field. For them to take a moment to have some cheers, it was nice.”

Masahiro Tanaka· It’s impossible to ignore Ellsbury on a night like this, but if we’re writing about difference makers, Masahiro Tanaka’s name has to come up near the top of the list. He was tremendous again tonight pitching 7.1 innings and once again showing an ability to be completely in control of what might have been an overwhelming situation. “I think I was a little bit pumped up today,” Tanaka said. “Just because I know how good their lineup is, and also how small the stadium is, which is something I had in mind. But being on the mound, I didn’t feel anything special. Maybe down the road, once we get a little deeper into the season, I may be able to experience something a little deeper than what I experienced tonight.”

· The key for Tanaka, Joe Girardi said, was getting back on track after the back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning. He’d been cruising up to that point, but those were pretty bad pitches, and Tanaka allowed a double two batters later. If things were going to fall apart, that would have been the moment, but Tanaka rebounded with a 1-2-3 fifth inning. “Making an adjustment, getting right back on track and understanding what he needed to do to get people out,” Girardi said.

· Also key was the fact Tanaka walked no one. He gave up seven hits but gave no free passes while striking out seven. That’s been a defining characteristic through these first few starts. He’s hardly walked anyone, and he’s done that while striking out 35 batters. “Not particularly surprised, but the number of walks I’m giving up is satisfying,” he said.

· Tanaka’s 35 strikeouts are the most ever for a Yankees pitcher through his first four career starts, and tied for the third-most in Major League Baseball in the last 100 years. Stephen Strasburg had 41 strikeouts in his first four starts in 2010, Herb Score had 40 in 1955 and Jose DeLeon had 35 in 1983.

Brian McCann, Dellin Betances· Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 11 games. He’s hitting .326 in those games. This is the 47th double-digit hitting streak of Jeter’s career, tying Tris Speaker for the third most double-digit hitting streaks in baseball history. Only Ty Cobb and Hank Aaron had more. Aaron had 48, so Jeter could move into a tie or maybe pass him later this year. Cobb had 66, so that record’s pretty well out of reach.

· Carlos Beltran hit his fifth home run of the season. He leads the Yankees in home runs and RBI (13).

· Jon Lester had gone 13 consecutive regular-season starts without allowing a first-inning run, but he coughed up two before he got a single out tonight. “He’s been extremely tough on us,” Girardi said. “Even he got some important double plays early that kept us from getting a few more runs, but we were able to tack on a few. Guys had a lot of good at-bats tonight. He’s been really tough on us. He was tough on us the other day at home, but our guys did a nice job today.”

· Girardi said he thought the umpires made the right call giving Ellsbury a triple in the first inning. I honestly thought it was an automatic double when if there’s fan interference, but obviously not. “There’s no doubt in my mind that’s a triple,” Girardi said. “I’ve seen him run too many times.”

· Everyone who came out of the game in the late innings — Jeter, Soriano — came out just to get a break. No one was hurt.

· We’ll give the final word to Jeter on Tanaka: “I could be wrong — I’m making an assumption — but I would assume that he’s been followed pretty closely over in Japan. I don’t think this is really anything new to him. He has a great presence on the mound, it doesn’t seem like he’s fazed by too much. He has a lot of confidence in his ability on top of having a lot of ability. He’s fun to play behind, he’s been fun to watch.”

Associated Press photos


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 12:06 am. InMisc with124 Comments → Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Ellsbury shines in return to Fenway

Jacoby Ellsbury

It’s worth noting that the Red Sox have struggled to find a productive center fielder or get much out of their leadoff spot this season. In other words, they were well aware of what they’ve been missing long before Jacoby Ellsbury made his triumphant return to Fenway Park tonight. At various points booed and cheered, Ellsbury started the game with a triple and was perhaps the single biggest difference maker in an 9-3 Yankees win against their rivals. Ellsbury scored the go-ahead run in the first inning and drove in two runs with a two-out double in the fifth. He also made a sliding catch in center field, continuing what has been a strong start to his Yankees career. Also off to a strong start is Masahiro Tanaka, who pitched into the eighth inning in his Red Sox rivalry debut. Tanaka allowed back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning, but those were the only runs he allowed while he struck out seven and walked none through 7.1 innings. Derek Jeter had two hits, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. Brian McCann had three hits, and Ichiro Suzuki, Carlos Beltran and Brian Roberts had two-hit games, with Beltran hitting a home run.

Associated Press photo



Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 at 10:28 pm. InMisc with130 Comments → Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Game 20: Yankees at Red Sox

David Ortiz, Jacoby EllsburyYANKEES (11-8)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran DH
Alfonso Soriano LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Yangervis Solarte 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Brian Roberts 2B

RHP Masahiro Tanaka (2-0, 2.05)
Tanaka has never faced any of the Red Sox

RED Sox (9-11)
Grady Sizemore RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Jonny Gomes LF
A.J. Pierzynski C
Xander Bogaerts SS
Brock Holt 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

LHP Jon Lester (2-2, 2.17)
Lester vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MY9

WEATHER: Temperatures in the 60s, dipping into the 50s with a decent chance of rain. Isn’t it always like this in Boston?

UMPIRES: HP Quinn Walcott, 1B Gerry Davis, 2B Phil Cuzzi, 3B Brian Knight

THE CAPTAIN HITS: Derek Jeter has 10-game active hitting streak, marking the longest hitting streak by a Yankee at any point this season. Jeter now has 47 career double-digit hitting streaks, tying Hall of Famer Tris Speaker for the third-most in the Majors since 1903. (Ty Cobb has the most with 66, and Hank Aaron is second with 48.

BEATING THE LEFTIES: Over their last 12 games against left-handed pitchers, Yankees batters are hitting .287 (60-for-209) with 12 doubles, 2 triples, 6 home runs, 25 RBI, 12 walks and a .326 OBP. The Yankees began the season batting .233 (10-for-43) with 2 doubles, 1 triple, no home runs and 5 RBI vs. LHP over the first seven games of the season.

NYCFC AT YANKEE STADIUM: In a press conference held on Monday at Yankee Stadium, New York City Football Club (NYCFC) announced it will call Yankee Stadium home beginning in their 2015 inaugural season. Mariano Rivera was presented with the team’s first season tickets.

UPDATE, 7:10 p.m.: Mostly boos, a few cheers and a lot of general indifference as Ellsbury takes his first Yankees at-bat at Fenway.

UPDATE, 7:13 p.m.: So either a fan touched the ball and it’s a double, or a fan didn’t touch it and it’s an inside-the-park home run. How the umpires have settled on a triple is beyond me.

UPDATE, 7:14 p.m.: Is fan interference a judgment call on where the runner ends up? I thought it was an automatic double, but maybe not. Or, I guess obviously not. Ellsbury has a leadoff triple, Jeter has followed with an RBI single and the Yankees have a quick and weird 1-0 lead.

UPDATE, 7:28 p.m.: Yankees take advantage of a triple, a couple of singles, a passed ball and an error to take a 2-0 lead after the first half inning. Here’s Tanaka’s rivalry debut.

UPDATE, 7:41 p.m.: Just played a video tribute to Ellsbury. Pretty good ovation from the crowd. Camera’s on Ellsbury as he tips his cap to the crowd.

UPDATE, 8:05 p.m.: Three straight doubles by the Yankees to start the third inning. Granted, one of them was a weak blooper by Teixeira, but still, it counts just the same. Two more runs are in already and it’s a 4-0 lead.

UPDATE, 8:31 p.m.: Solo homer by Ortiz has cut the lead to 4-1. Looked a pretty straight fastball down in the zone.

UPDATE, 8:33 p.m.: Second turn through the order not going nearly as well as the first turn for Tanaka. Napoli has now homered. It’s the first time this year that the Red Sox have gone back to back. Another fastball from Tanaka, this one up in the zone. Pretty ugly pitch.

UPDATE, 8:56 p.m.: Two-out, two-run double for Ellsbury here in the fifth inning. He’s had quite the day in his return to Fenway. Yankees are up 7-2.

UPDATE, 10:03 p.m.: Beltran’s solo homer has pushed the Yankees lead to 9-2, and Tanaka is now finished after 7.1 strong innings. Betances is out of the bullpen, I assume to finish off this thing. Tanaka struck out seven and walked none. Another really, really good start from him.


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 at 7:00 pm. InMisc with786 Comments → Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

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