Archive for September, 2011
Yankees draw Gerry Davis as crew chief • 09.29.11
Two standard announcements that have come in today…
Major League Baseball has assigned the four umpiring crews that will work the American League and National League Division Series. The four crew chiefs will be veterans Gerry Davis, Jerry Layne, Dale Scott and Joe West.
Davis, a 28-year Major League Umpire, will work the American League Division Series between the Tigers and Yankees. The crew led by Davis will include Tony Randazzo, Eric Cooper, Dan Iassogna, Ted Barrett and Bill Welke.
The Yankees were, of course, given the late game for each of the first three games of this division series. They will be scheduled for an 8:37 p.m. ET first pitch on Friday, Saturday and Monday.
The crew announcing the Yankees games will be Brian Anderson (play-by-play), Ron Darling (analyst), John Smoltz (analyst) and Tom Verducci (reporter).
Our friend Rick Carpiniello was in the interview room for Tigers manager Jim Leyland. When Leyland walked out of the Tigers locker room to make his way to the podium, he got a hug from former Yankees manager Joe Torre.
Carp passed along the exchange:
Torre: “I’ve got to come listen to you. Are you going to say anything interesting?”
Leyland: “No, I’m going to say the same stuff you said all those years.”
Torre: “I’ll come listen and learn what I sounded like.”
In his press conference, Leyland was asked about the differences in these two teams since the opened the season here at Yankee Stadium back in March.
“Well, we’re a different team, obviously,” Leyland said. “We’ve had some additions since that time. We did open the season here at Yankee Stadium, and we’re a little bit of a different ballclub. We think we’re a better ballclub. I’m sure the Yankees feel they’re a better ballclub than they were opening day.
“You size this thing up and I think it’s two real good teams going at each other in a great setting, Yankee Stadium. I’m certainly aware of all the history. I can count to 27. It’s great. This is what it’s all about. I’ve always been a big supporter of the New York Yankees. I appreciate the things they’ve done. Certainly I think we’re a very good opponent. ”
Associated Press photo
No second lefty for division series • 09.29.11
Our good friend David Waldstein is reporting that Raul Valdes will not be on the roster for the division series. He’ll instead go down to Tampa to stay loose in case the Yankees want him in a later round. My guess is the Yankees would have carried him if they were playing Texas.
No Valdes eliminates the possibility of a second lefty in the Yankees bullpen, because not only is Aaron Laffey not going to make the roster, he no longer has a locker in the Yankees clubhouse.
Notable players who do still have a full locker: Valdes, Chris Dickerson, Austin Romine, Francisco Cervelli, Luis Ayala and Hector Noesi.
Notable players who do not still have a full locker: Laffey, Greg Golson, Ramiro Pena, Brandon Laird, Dellin Betances, George Kontos, Andrew Brackman and Scott Proctor.
Dickerson on postseason roster • 09.29.11
Joe Girardi said he’s not ready to announce a full roster for the division series, but Chris Dickerson found out just a few minutes ago that he will be on the active roster.
Rodriguez healthy for tomorrow • 09.29.11
Joe Girardi just announced that Alex Rodriguez is healthy enough to play tomorrow. He has no doubt that Rodriguez will play third base throughout the postseason.
Girardi also said Jesus Montero is healthy after being hit in the hand last night, but the team plans to use Jorge Posada as it’s designated hitter throughout this series.
LoHud Yankees chat tomorrow • 09.29.11
Of course it’s raining on the day of the Yankee Stadium workout. This is supposed to a day for the Yankees and Tigers to get on the field before the division series, but it’s pouring right.
In this season of rain delays, it’s fitting.
Just wanted to give you all a heads up that I’m hosting another chat tomorrow at noon. Stop by and we’ll talk all about the Yankees heading into the postseason. See you then!
Five things to know about the Tigers • 09.29.11
In a five-game series, it’s impossible to overlook a pitcher like Justin Verlander. He’s the most daunting task facing the Yankees in the opening round of the playoffs, and the Yankees will see him right from the start in a rematch of opening day: Verlander against CC Sabathia.
The Yankees went 4-3 against the Tigers this season, but these two teams haven’t met since May 5 when Nick Swisher was the No. 2 hitter, Curtis Granderson was batting fifth and A.J. Burnett gave up three hits through seven innings. Things have changed, so here are five things to know about the Yankees first-round opponent.
The Tigers’ rotation is all right
Literally. The entire Detroit rotation is right-handed. That means the Yankees will have some decisions to make at designated hitter, and Jesus Montero might be a nothing more than a pinch hitter this series. Jorge Posada, despite his many offensive shortcomings this season, has hit pretty well against righties. He has a .269/.348/.466 slash line against them, and that’s not drastically different from his career numbers.
An all-right-handed rotation means Montero and Andrew Jones might make their only impact against left-handed relievers Phil Coke and Daniel Schlereth. Jones has one career at-bat against each of them, and Montero has never faced them, but both Coke and Schlereth have been significantly worse against righties than lefties. If an all-right-handed rotation does leave Montero on the bench, that might alleviate some of the desire to carry Austin Romine. Not having Montero in the lineup means he can fill that backup role off the bench.
They have their own version of Dave Robertson
Don’t get me wrong, I think Robertson had a better season, but Tigers rookie Al Alburquerque was tremendous. He actually had more strikeouts per nine innings than Robertson — more walks per nine innings as well — and opponents hit just .142 against him, which is lower than Robertson’s opponents’ batting average. Alburquerque is a dominant piece of a Tigers bullpen that actually compares favorably to the Yankees.
Jose Valverde, Joaquin Benoit and Alburquerque give the Tigers their very own version of Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano and Robertson. It’s a dominant group. In the late innings, there’s no much difference between these two teams. Both can roll out a series of one-inning relievers to keep a score right where it is. Scoring early will be important.
Don’t forget about Doug Fister
Stuck with Seattle’s horrible offense, Fister opened this season 3-12 with a 3.33 ERA. The Tigers saw an opportunity, made a trade, and Fister went 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA in 11 games for Detroit. He’s stepped into the second spot in the rotation, and based on the way he’s pitched since he deadline, he gives the Tigers a legitimate No. 2 behind Justin Verlander.
The back of the Tigers rotation has Yankee-like questions about Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello — talented but not always reliable third and fourth starters — but Fister has given them the no-doubt-about-it No. 2, and that could be a tough thing in a five-game series. Not only do the Yankees have to face the certain Cy Young winner twice, they have to face Fister at least once, and he’s been terrific for two months.
Magglio Ordonez is not who you think he is
Yes, it’s the same guy who finished second in the MVP face four years ago, but Ordonez has become a shell of his former self. He was the Tigers No. 3 hitter on Opening Day, but Ordonez finished the season hitting just .255 with a .303 on-base percentage and five home runs. He had just 32 RBI, which is only two more than Eduardo Nunez and one less than Andruw Jones. Ordonez was still a very productive hitter last year. He’s just disappeared this season.
With Ordonez struggling, the Tigers don’t always play him, but rookie Andy Dirks hasn’t been lighting the world on fire with his .251/.296/.406 slash line, and both Ryan Raburn and Don Kelly are nice utility players rather than feared corner outfielders. Trading for Delmon Young provided an outfield spark for a while, but his numbers have slipped.
The lineup doesn’t stop at Victor Martinez
Austin Jackson strikes out a lot for a leadoff hitter, and the Tigers have been mixing and matching in the No. 2 spot, and Young is spotty as a No. 3 hitter. But the Tigers do have Miguel Cabrera. Detroit’s cleanup hitter might be the best hitter in the American League other than Jose Bautista, and if the Yankees chose to pitch around him, they’ll face Victor Martinez, who’s obviously dangerous with his 40 doubles and 102 RBI. But don’t take your eyes off the next two guys.
Alex Avila has been outstanding this season. He’s easily the American League’s top offensive catcher, and his .295/.389/.506 slash line stands out when you’re looking for bottom-of-the-ballot MVP candidates. At 24 years old, he’s raked this season, and he’s been at his best since the all-star break. The Tigers seventh hitter has been shortstop Jhonny Peralta, and he’s been a nice addition since coming over from Cleveland last season. His .824 OPS is higher than every Yankees regular except Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira. And that’s coming out of the seventh spot.
Associated Press photos
B.J. Upton was at the plate in the 12th inning when the television showed the last step of the Boston collapse. The crowd here at Tropicana Field went berserk, and the volume only increased when the final score was posted on the scoreboard in left field.
Evan Longoria was literally the very next hitter.
It happened that quickly, from Jonathan Papelbon’s meltdown in Baltimore to Longoria’s game winner in St. Pete, eight minutes passed. A night that had already seen the Rangers lockup the No. 2 seed in the American League and the Cardinals clinch the wild card in the National League, ended with an unlikely celebration at the Trop.
“That was one of the best days in baseball’s history probably,” Mark Teixeira said. “Every game tonight all across baseball seemed like it mattered, and there were some great finishes… Give (the Rays) a lot of credit. Down seven runs going into the eighth inning with your season on the line, obviously we don’t want to be on the short end of that stick, but you give them a lot of credit for the way they fought back.”
Funny thing is, none of it really mattered to the Yankees. They didn’t need a win today. They just needed to get through this game with their players healthy, and they more or less did that (more on that in a bit). For the Yankees, the game that really mattered was the Rangers win against the Angels. That’s the game that setup a division series matchup between the Yankees and the Tigers.
“It’s a strange game,” Joe Girardi said. “You never know what’s going to happen from night to night. It’s weird, but Friday’s what we play for, and it’s here.”
• Girardi officially named a three-man rotation for the division series: CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia. “We just like the way that Freddy’s pitched,” Girardi said. “Freddy’s pitched well. We talked about it and debated about it a long time, and we just decided to go with Freddy. We like the way that Freddy has competed all year, and we’re going to send him out there.”
• Sabathia will pitch Games 1 and 4. Nova will pitch Games 2 and 5.
• A.J. Burnett will move to the bullpen for the division series. That’s why he faced a batter in relief tonight, just so he could do it one time before the postseason. “He’s a guy that can get a strikeout for us if we need it, and he’s a guy that can give us some distance if we need that,” Girardi said. “He can do multiple things.”
• Alex Rodriguez is fine. Girardi said his knee was “achy,” but Girardi said he has “no doubt whatsoever” that Rodriguez will be able to play Friday. “I don’t really have a concern about him,” Girardi said. “The turf can do that to you sometimes, and he’ll be ready to go Friday.”
• Jesus Montero was sent for X-rays after a tipped ball hit his throwing hand. The results were negative, and Girardi expects Montero to be sore but available. “My guess is that he’ll be OK,” Girardi said. “We’ll check tomorrow, but the x-ray came out negative”
• Girardi said he used his bullpen according to plan. At one point Hector Noesi seemed to be stretching, but I don’t think he ever threw a pitch. “I had talked about that I wasn’t going to use Robby, Soriano or Mo,” Girardi said. “That was the bottom line, and we tried to close it out. We had a seven-run lead with two (innings to play) and I went to guys with experience, and we didn’t get it done.”
• What does Girardi make of Luis Ayala and Boone Logan — two guys who have actually been in his bullpen all year — giving up six runs in an inning? “I don’t make too much of it,” Girardi said. “You just don’t.”
• Dellin Betances walked two in the first inning, but he got back-to-back strikeouts to strand the runners, and his first big league start spanned two scoreless innings. Not a bad way to bounce back after an rocky debut at home.
• The two teams combined to use 18 pitchers — 11 of them were Yankees — which set a new record at Tropicana Field. The previous high was 15 in a game between the Rays and Red Sox.
• Mark Teixeira hit two home runs and will finish with 39 for the season, one shy of the second 40-homer season of his career. His grand slam in the second inning was the fourth allowed by a Rays pitcher this season (the first was hit by Jorge Posada). It was the Yankees 10th grand slam of the season and the seventh of Teixeira’s career.
• It was Teixeira’s first grand slam on the road since hitting one off Edwar Ramirez in 2008. Did you think you’d read Edwar Ramirez’s name tonight?
• The game-tying home run that Cory Wade allowed in the ninth inning was the first run he had allowed against the Rays in six appearances this season. Wade opened the season on the Rays Triple-A team and came to the Yankees because the Rays wouldn’t give him a shot in the big leagues.
• On the Rays comeback: They were 9 games out of the wild card on September 4, the most games ever overcome in September to get into the postseason in Major League history. The Rays went 16-8 since September 4 while Boston went 6-18. Tonight, the Rays were down by seven runs in the eighth inning, making this the second-largest comeback in franchise history and the largest at Tropicana Field.
Associated Press photos
Yankees let the last one get away • 09.29.11
After carrying a seven-run lead into the eighth inning, the Yankees couldn’t finish the regular season with a win. The Rays walked off with an 8-7 win at Tropicana Field, eliminating the Red Sox from the postseason just minutes after the Red Sox blew a ninth-inning lead in Baltimore. The Yankees were up 7-0 — Mark Teixeira had homered twice, including a grand slam — but Luis Ayala and Boone Logan allowed six runs in the eighth, Cory Wade gave up a game-tying home run with two outs in the ninth and the Rays won it on XXX.
Associated Press photo
Game 162: Yankees at Rays • 09.28.11
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano DH
Nick Swisher RF
Andruw Jones LF
Jesus Montero C
Eduardo Nunez 2B
Brandon Laird 3B
RHP Dellin Betances (0-0, 27.00)
Betances is making his first appearance against the Rays
Desmond Jennings LF
B.J. Upton CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Matt Joyce RF
Johnny Damon DH
Ben Zobrist 2B
Casey Kotchman 1B
Kelly Shoppach C
Reid Brignac SS
LHP David Price (12-13, 3.35)
Price vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 7:10., YES Network
WEATHER: Legitimately nice night outside. Not that it matters.
UMPIRES: HP Joe West, 1B Sam Holbrook, 2B Paul Schrieber, 3B Chad Fairchild
NO MORE THAN ONE: The Yankees are trying to avoid being swept in a series of more than one game for just the third time this season (also May 13-15 and June 7-9 against Boston), and just the second time ever by Tampa Bay (also in September of 2000 at Tropicana Field). The Yankee have not been swept in a multi-game series on the road since September of 2010 at Texas.
NO MORE THAN THREE: The Yankees are the only Major League team that has not lost more than three straight road games this season.
NO MORE THAN FOUR: In the past 10 years, the Yankees went 6-4 in the season’s final game, losing four of the past six such contests. They have not ended a season on a losing streak of at least four games since 2000, when they lost their last season.
UPDATE, 7:23 p.m.: The Yankees take advantage of an error and take an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. Here’s Betances, given a lead in his first ever big league start.
UPDATE, 7:36 p.m.: Two walks by Betances, but he came back with two strikeouts to get out of the first inning without allowing a run. It’s still a 1-0 Yankees lead.
UPDATE, 7:51 p.m.: Mark Teixeira’s 38th home run of the season is the seventh grand slam of his career, and it’s a 5-0 Yankees lead in the second.
UPDATE, 8:01 p.m.: Dellin’s a big boy. He’ll stay in the game after being hit by a comebacker.
UPDATE, 8:35 p.m.: Could Teixeira reach 40 homers this season? He’s gone deep twice tonight to bring his total to 39. It’s a 6-0 Yankees lead in the middle of the fourth.
UPDATE, 8:54 p.m.: So far, so good for this patchwork group of Yankees pitchers. Here comes Hughes for the fifth inning. Betances, Kontos and Laffey have kept the Rays off the scoreboard so far. The only hit has been the comebacker that glanced off Betances.
UPDATE, 9:18 p.m.: Golson is in for Granderson, and Pena is in for Jeter. Looks like Girardi will give Teixeira one more at-bat.
UPDATE, 9:25 p.m.: We might have our rotation answer: A.J. Burnett is getting loose in the bullpen.
UPDATE, 9:46 p.m.: One batter, one out for Burnett. Now Brackman is in.
UPDATE, 10:09 p.m.: So Rodriguez was scratched pregame, now Montero is pulled after being hit by a tipped pitch. Girardi said pregame that his only concern was to get out of this game healthy. That’s not working out too well.
UPDATE, 10:22 p.m.: The kids flirt with a shutout, now Logan and Ayala have let the Rays back in the game with a six-run — and counting — eighth inning.
UPDATE, 10:55 p.m.: Might see a lot of Proctor tonight. Girardi has already used Brackman, Hughes, Burnett, Laffey and Kontos. Not sure there’s anyone else available in the bullpen who could give any sort of distance. In fact, I’m pretty sure there’s no one else in the bullpen who Girardi is willing to use at all.
UPDATE, 11:42 p.m.: Proctor through 2.1 scoreless on 46 pitches. We’re heading to the 12th, still 7-7. What a mess.