The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Archive for August, 2011

Red Sox take one back08.31.11

Last night the Yankees won an emotional game here at Fenway Park. Tonight, the Red Sox struck back. Two-run homers by Jacoby Ellsbury and Jason Varitek carried Boston to a 9-5 lead in the second game of this three-game series. The Yankees had a one-run lead in the middle of the sixth, but that went away quickly. Phil Hughes, possibly pitching for his spot in the rotation, gave up six runs on eight hits through 5.2 innings. Derek Jeter was the only Yankee with more than one hit.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 568 Comments →

Game 134: Yankees at Red Sox08.31.11

YANKEES (81-52)
Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Eric Chavez DH
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Francisco Cervelli C

RHP Phil Hughes (4-4, 6.46)
Hughes vs. Red Sox

RED SOX (82-52)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
David Ortiz DH
Jed Lowrie 3B
Carl Crawford LF
Josh Reddick RF
Jason Varitek C
Marco Scutaro SS

RHP Josh Beckett (11-5, 2.43)
Beckett vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., YES Network and ESPN

WEATHER: Beautiful day and night here in Boston.

UMPIRES: HP Brian O’Nora, 1B Alfonso Marquez, 2B Mark Wegner, 3B Ed Rapuano

ARMED AND DANGEROUS: Nick Swisher recorded his ninth outfield assist last night. He’s one away from his career-high of 10 set last season. He’s tied for the fifth-most outfield assists among AL right fielders.

THREE OF A KIND: The Yankees have three different players with at least 95 RBI (Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano). In all of baseball, there are only four other players (Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard and Matt Kemp) who have at least that many runs batted in.

COMING IN SECOND: The Yankees are 29-14 in the second game of series this season.

UPDATE, 7:20 p.m.: Jeter will say he was bunting for a hit, and to some extent that makes sense — a sacrifice as worst-case scenario — but still, Jeter’s been hot and Gardner has a ton of speed. Not sure I’m on board with the first-inning bunt in that situation. Didn’t work out as Granderson and Teixeira struck out.

UPDATE, 7:35 p.m.: Hughes looked pretty sharp in the bottom of the first. A lot of 94 and a few 95 on the gun. He stranded a runner, and it’s still scoreless.

UPDATE, 7:58 p.m.: Eduardo Nunez has the leadoff double, and Derek Jeter has the two-out RBI single. That’s enough for a 1-0 Yankees lead in the third.

UPDATE, 8:22 p.m.: Boston got a couple of runs in the third, with Jed Lowrie’s RBI single sneaking just inside the line to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.

UPDATE, 8:50 p.m.: Beckett has really owned the Yankees this season, and now he’s through five innings with the Red Sox still leading 2-1. Derek Jeter’s two-out single was left stranded in the fifth.

UPDATE, 9:00 p.m.: Two-out, two-run homer by David Ortiz in the fifth has the Red Sox in front 4-1. Seems like Hughes has pitched pretty well thought most of this game, but he’s made some mistakes that really, really cost him.

UPDATE, 9:09 p.m.: RBI double by Cano has pulled the Yankees within 4-2. Still no outs in the sixth, and getting Cano around to score would cut the lead to one.

UPDATE, 9:13 p.m.: Chavez doubles, Reddick makes an error, and just like that it’s a 4-4 game with the go-ahead run at third base with no outs.

UPDATE, 9:15 p.m.: Sac fly, and the Yankees are in front 5-4. This game just turned around in a hurry.

UPDATE, 9:34 p.m.: Hughes is finished. He seemed to fool Varitek with a curveball, but the Red Sox catcher got just enough of it to send a double along the third-base line. The game’s tied at 5, and now Boone Logan is coming in to deal with Jacoby Ellsbury.

UPDATE, 10:00 p.m.: Logan did his job after Ellsbury — he retired Gonzalez and Ortiz — but Ellsbury’s two-run homer stands as the difference heading into the eighth. Two more chances for the Yankees against a tough back to the Red Sox bullpen.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Blogrollwith 923 Comments →

Pregame notes: The auditions begin08.31.11

It seems that the rotation auditions begin tonight, with Phil Hughes taking his turn to prove that he should remain a starter beyond this turn.

“Those are decisions that we have to make,” Hughes said. “We want to get down to a five-man rotation… We have one more (doubleheader), but that’s later on, so we won’t need a sixth starter necessarily for a while.”

What does Hughes need to show the Yankees to make his case? Girardi didn’t get into specifics, but the story with Hughes is usually the same: Mix pitches, hit spots, show good life on the fastball and be able to put away hitters. It’s not an unusual formula.

“His last start, he struggled,” Girardi said. “They put some long at-bats on him — we talked about that first-inning at-bat that Matsui put on him. He was just missing his spots a little bit. We just need him to get back to where he was.

“He ran about three or four good starts off in a row. It’s not abnormal to run three or four good ones in a row and not have a good one. That happens to pitchers. That’s almost a month’s work. If you were to have one bad start a month, you’d probably end up with a pretty good record. I think he’s closer, and he continues to get closer as the year has went on.”

• Alex Rodriguez is better, but he still didn’t swing a bat today. He’s expected to hit tomorrow, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll play in the game. Sounds like the Yankees still expect Rodriguez to miss this entire series.

• Girardi plans to play Russell Martin tomorrow, and Martin could play tonight if necessary. He reported that his sort thumb feels better, but Girardi wanted to give him one more day to be safe.

• Speaking of catchers, Girardi didn’t exactly confirm an earlier report that Jesus Montero will be called up tomorrow, but he said Montero is someone they’ve talked about a lot. He said Montero could be used as a DH or a catcher, but Girardi would be hesitant to start Montero at catcher because he prefers someone who’s familiar with the staff. Sounds like the bulk of Montero’s playing time will come as a designated hitter.

• Without saying who, Girardi said the Yankees are going to make “a few” September call-ups tomorrow. He said they will get the new guys here immediately, they aren’t going to wait and just have the call-ups join the team in New York on Friday.

• Eduardo Nunez is at third and Eric Chavez at DH just because Girardi wants Chavez to have a half day off his feet. Chavez has played three games in a row. This will be his fourth.

• Girardi said he has to check with Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera to determine whether they’re available tonight. Everyone else should be good to go.

• The Yankees are still deciding whether to start Freddy Garcia or CC Sabathia on Sunday. It would be Sabathia’s normal day, but they could give him an extra day and let Garcia make that start. Regardless, Girardi said Sabathia and Garcia will start Sunday and Monday in some order.

RED SOX
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
David Ortiz DH
Jed Lowrie 3B
Carl Crawford LF
Josh Reddick RF
Jason Varitek C
Marco Scutaro SS

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 470 Comments →

Martin out of the lineup again08.31.11

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Eric Chavez DH
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Francisco Cervelli C

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 448 Comments →

Sherman: Montero coming up, not Betances or Banuelos08.31.11

First, the actual news: Joel Sherman is reporting that Jesus Montero will be among tomorrow’s September call-ups, but neither Dellin Betances nor Manny Banuelos will be joining the big league club. That’s pretty much what I expected. The bullpen is in good shape as it is, and Betances and Banuelos have pretty much done what they needed to do this season.

And now, the news that couldn’t possibly matter less.

Just got back to the hotel after today’s media game between Yankees and Red Sox media at Fenway Park, and it didn’t go well. Not for me anyway.

Truth is, the New York team played pretty well as a whole. We lost 4-2, but Tyler Kepner was outstanding on the mound, Pete Caldera turned a terrific double play at second base, and our old friend Sam Borden — in town by a lucky coincidence to cover the Giants for the New York Times — started in center and made several nice catches, including a running, tumbling grab in the sixth.

However, I’m sad to tell you all that I didn’t do much to help the cause. In fact, I’m pretty sure both standard stats and advanced metrics would tell you that I did more harm than good. The fact I was thrown out stretching a single was the least of my worries. With Jack Curry gone for the day, I filled in at third base. By the end of the first inning, the guys were calling me Nuney. I made a bad throw, completely botched a slow roller and got eaten alive by a bad hop. When I moved back to my more familiar spot in the outfield I was fine — 2-for-2 on fly balls hit my way — but the damage was done. Thankfully Erik Boland took over at third and made two plays with no problem, showing my how it’s done. I quickly introduced myself to him.

“Nice to meet you,” I said. “My name’s Wally Pipp.”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 238 Comments →

Hughes: “I just go out there and pitch”08.31.11

Down the stretch last year, Phil Hughes helped beat the Red Sox with a six-inning start at home, then he got a win out of the bullpen in Boston. But Hughes doesn’t remember those outings.

“Really, the only start I remember here is the last one earlier in the year,” he said. “It wasn’t good, so I want to certainly improve on that one an get a little revenge at the same time.”

With first place on the line — and possibly his rotation spot on the line — Hughes will start tonight’s second game of this three-game set. He’ll start it as a much different pitcher than he was on April 8, when he allowed six runs in two innings in Boston. It was the worst of his ugly April outings.

“It’s a lot different for sure,” Hughes said. “I didn’t have good stuff at the beginning of the year, and now I’m certainly not pitching with what ultimately I know I have, but it’s certainly a lot better than the beginning of the year. I have the mindset of going out, being aggressive, attacking hitters and just leave it all out there and see where it winds up.”

How hard is it to block out the fact that the Yankees are trimming from six starters to five at the end of this week?

“It’s easy,” Hughes said. “I just go out there and pitch. I’m not thinking about anything else, so that makes it a lot easier on me. I don’t have to try and worry about the other circumstances that go along with it, just go out there and focus on every pitch I throw.”

Associated Press photo

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Postgame notes: “I’ve got a lot of energy”08.31.11

The top of the first inning wasn’t over, and already Joe Girardi was on the field arguing with home plate umpire Ed Rapuano. It was that kind of night here in Boston, a night fueled by plenty of emotion, and largely decided by those who were able to contain it.

Francisco Cervelli
The Yankees backup catcher is perhaps the most emotional player on the roster, and he was in the middle of everything tonight. He was behind the plate when CC Sabathia and Boone Logan got out of huge jams, he hit a towering home run off John Lackey, and he stood toe-to-toe with Jarrod Saltalamacchia after Lackey seemed to retaliate with a pitch to the back.

“I don’t remember (what was said),” Cervelli said. “A lot of Spanish. At that moment, I forgot my English. But it’s part of the game, I’ve got a lot of energy.”

Girardi seemed certain Lackey’s pitch was intentional, Cervelli thought the same thing, and so did Sabathia, who was among the agitated Yankees who seemed ready to fight after the plunking.

What would have happened if Sabathia had stayed in the game to pitch the next half inning?

“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know.”

CC Sabathia
Speaking of Sabathia, while Cervelli was a bundle of energy behind the plate, Sabathia was a picture of calm on the mound. He gave up 10 hits tonight, and he seemed to be in trouble constantly, but he made huge pitches. Adrian Gonzalez was 0-for-4 against him with three strikeouts and a ground ball that ended the sixth inning.

“I was just trying to make pitches,” Sabathia said. “They put some tough at-bats together and tonight I was able to make pitches. They had a lot of runners on base, lot of opportunities but we could make pitches when we needed to. I felt like I had good stuff, felt good, felt strong all the way through. I tried to make sure I controlled my emotions and make pitches.”

Sabathia seemed indifferent to the fact this was his first win against Boston this season. The Yankees needed to win this game, and whatever happened in the past didn’t seem to matter.

“It was a big win against a team we’re chasing,” Sabathia said. “And I look forward to pitching 5 days from now.”

Boone Logan
Can’t forget this guy. He wasn’t in the middle of a near fight like Cervelli, and he didn’t find his way through six innings like Sabathia, but his back-to-back bases-loaded strikeouts in the seventh were huge.

“I haven’t been more relaxed all year,” Logan said. “I know it’s easy to say that after what happened, but that’s the honest truth. I was composed, and the louder the fans got, the more locked in I got.”

Against this lineup, Logan knows this might not be the last time the Yankees need him this series.

“Coming in, I have good confidence right now,” he said. “I’ve been pitching well lately, which is what you need coming in facing the second-best lineup in the league. With all the lefties, there’s a pretty good chance I’m going to be getting in a couple of games.”

On an emotional night, the key might have been the one guy who kept his cool. Here’s Sabathia.

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• There were a handful of good lines in the clubhouse tonight, but the best might have come from soft-spoken Larry Rothschild. He was asked whether he said a bad word to get himself ejected after Cervelli was plunked. “More than one,” he said.

• Girardi was ejected with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. He argued that Saltalamacchia swung, but the umpires ruled it was a hit by pitch. “The explanation to me is, he said, ‘He got hit, which caused him to swing,’” Girardi said. “That was the explanation I got. He clearly swung to me, and that’s an important out. It’s not like me to blow my top very often, but this is an important game.”

• Girardi said, without question, Curtis Granderson was hit by a pitch in the first inning. The umpire ruled that it hit the bat.

• After Cervelli’s long home run, he clapped his hands when he got to home plate. That might have upset Lackey and led to the hit-by-pitch. “Every time I get a base hit or a double, I clap,” Cervelli said. “That’s me, that’s my game, and I don’t try to do anything bad to another player. That’s me, and if they feel a different thing, I say I’m sorry. But I’m not trying to.”

• Asked about his emotional response to Logan getting out of the seventh, Cervelli said, “That’s Cervelli.” Seriously. It was a Rickey moment. Hilarious.

• Girardi said there was no hesitation leaving Sabathia in to finish the sixth inning with his highest pitch count of the season. The Yankees had Cory Wade getting lose in the fifth, and Girardi told Rothschild to sit Wade down after Sabathia got through that inning. It was basically a given, to Girardi, that Sabathia was going back out there. “There’s situations that he’s ready for,” Rothschild said. “And he’s had some extra rest the last four or five starts.”

• Sabathia threw 128 pitches, matching the second-highest total of his career.

• Girardi said it’s possible the Yankees could line up the rotation so that Sabathia gets an extra day before his next start, but it’s not certain they’ll do that. No one seems especially concerned about the pitch count, especially not Sabathia.

• Turns out, Russell Martin is a little banged up after being hit in the toe and the thumb in Baltimore. “We’ll see how he feels (tomorrow),” Girardi said. Martin said it’s a none issue. “I’m alright,” he said.

• Huge play by Robinson Cano to get the second out in the fifth inning. “He’s done that for me a couple times this year,” Sabathia said.

• Girardi’s ejection was hit second of the season, 16th of his career and 11th as Yankees manager. He was also ejected once as a player. The two ejections tonight were only the Yankees second and third ejections of the season.

• Brett Gardner broke an 0-for-14 skid with his seventh-inning single.

• Mariano Rivera got his 35th save of the season, making this his 11th season in which he’s saved at least 35 games. That’s one shy of Trevor Hoffman’s record for 35-save seasons.

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes, Podcastwith 331 Comments →

Yankees pull within a half game08.30.11

CC Sabathia finally beat the Red Sox. Laboring through a high pitch count, and navigating through plenty of runners on base, the Yankees ace got huge outs when he needed them and helped the Yankees to a 5-2 win in their series opener at Fenway. He matched a season-high with 10 hits allowed, but also struck out 10, including Adrian Gonzalez three times. Eric Chavez had two RBI singles, Robinson Cano had an RBI double and Francisco Cervelli hit a solo home run over the Monster in left field. When Cervelli was hit by a pitch the next time up, the benches cleared, and when the dust settled, the Yankees were a half game out of first place.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 178 Comments →

Game 133: Yankees at Red Sox08.30.11

YANKEES (80-52)
Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Eric Chavez 3B
Jorge Posada DH
Francisco Cervelli C

LHP CC Sabathia (17-7, 2.99)
Sabathia vs. Orioles

RED SOX (82-51)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Marco Scutaro SS
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Jed Lowrie 3B
Carl Crawford LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Darnell McDonald RF

RHP John Lackey (12-9, 5.98)
Lackey vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., YES Network

WEATHER: It’s actually perfect here in Boston. Seems like the Yankees always run into some sort of weather here, but it’s supposed to be nice all week.

UMPIRES: HP Ed Rapuano, 1B Brian O’Nora, 2B Alfonso Marquez, 3B Mark Wegner

TEX MARKS THE SPOT: Mark Teixeira’s eight straight seasons of at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI is the longest such streak ever for a switch hitter. Only two other Yankees first baseman have recorded at least three seasons of 30 and 100, Don Mattingly (three times) and Lou Gehrig (10 times).

SECOND HOME: Robinson Cano is a career .352 (86-for-244) hitter at Fenway Park. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the highest career batting average among Yankees all-time at Fenway Park (minimium 200 at-bats).

IN THE BEGINNING: The Yankees are 21-22 in series openers this season. They have rebounded to go 29-14 in the second game of series.

UPDATE, 7:19 p.m.: The Yankees thought Granderson was hit by a pitch, and they didn’t get the call. Now Sabathia hits Ellsbury to open the bottom of the first.

UPDATE, 7:37 p.m.: The Yankees have the lead after an RBI single up the middle by Chavez in the second inning. The Yankees still have runners at the corners with one out.

UPDATE, 7:57 p.m.: Sabathia just stranded the bases loaded in the second inning, but he’s already thrown 50 pitches and the Yankees have a short bullpen. Something to keep an eye on.

UPDATE, 8:28 p.m.: Dontcha know? RBI double by Cano scores Granderson from first and pushes the Yankees lead to 2-0 in the fourth.

UPDATE, 8:42 p.m.: Chavez’s second RBI single of the night boosted the lead to 3-0, but the Red Sox have answered with Carl Crawford’s solo homer in the fourth. Sabathia’s still not looking his best, but I’m not ready to rule out six or seven innings from him.

UPDATE, 8:51 p.m.: Now six or seven innings is looking like a long shot. Sabathia’s allowed back-to-back singles to the bottom of the order, and a two-out, RBI double to Marco Scutaro.

UPDATE, 8:53 p.m.: Sabathia made Gonzalez look bad on an inning-ending strikeout. That’s the third time CC has struck out Gonzalez — Pedroia, Ellsbury and Ortiz also have at least one strikeout apiece — but the bottom three hitters in the Red Sox order are 3-for-4 with two walks and a home run.

UPDATE, 8:57 p.m.: Francisco Cervelli just cleared the monster. Seriously. It just happened. It’s a 4-2 Yankees lead.

UPDATE, 9:19 p.m.: Terrific diving catch by Cano might be the turning point of this game. Sabathia got out of the fifth inning with a strikeout, and it looks like the bullpen might take it from here. Cory Wade has been getting loose.

UPDATE, 9:29 p.m.: Sabathia is back out to start the sixth, but he’s already started the inning by running the count full against No. 9 hitter Darnell McDonald.

UPDATE, 9:44 p.m.: Of all people, Larry Rothschild was ejected at the end of the benches clearing incident. Larry’s one of the most soft-spoken people I’ve met, but he was irate.

UPDATE, 9:53 p.m.: Here’s Cory Wade to pitch the seventh. Dave Robertson has pitched the past two nights.

UPDATE, 10:11 p.m.: Big out and a big reaction from Boone Logan, striking out Darnell McDonald to strand the bases loaded, then walking off with a massive fist pump. Francisco Cervelli, meanwhile, was so pumped his head actually exploded.

UPDATE, 10:45 p.m.: Brett Gardner really knows how to go get it in left field. Big catch for the first out of the eighth.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 1,255 Comments →

Quick pregame notes08.30.11

Alex Rodriguez went through full conditioning drills and a few light defensive drills before speaking to the media just a few minutes ago as the Yankees were wrapping up batting practice.

It’s looking more and more likely that he won’t play in Boston.

“I don’t want to rule out this series,” he said. “But probably being a little more realistic, probably Friday.”

Rodriguez got a cortisone shot yesterday. He said he couldn’t remember ever having a cortisone shot in the past, his thumb was sore today (which is normal after one of those). Doctors have told him to take at least two days off of swinging a bat, meaning he won’t swing until Friday at the earliest.

Everything is a little late today, so here’s Rodriguez’s audio.

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• Joe Girardi told Derek Jeter to let him know if he couldn’t play today. Jeter didn’t say anything, so he’s in the lineup. Jeter said yesterday that he fully expected to play tonight.

• Girardi said he could, in theory, use Rodriguez for defense or to pinch run, but he won’t use him as a pinch hitter.

• Doctors have told Rodriguez that there’s no reason to worry about surgery. The thumb injury should heal on its own eventually.

• Ivan Nova will start for the Yankees on Friday, Bartolo Colon on Saturday. Sunday is still undecided, but that lines up to be Freddy Garcia’s day.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes, Podcastwith 377 Comments →

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