Archive for July, 2012
Postgame notes: “Bad luck” • 07.31.12
I really like Ian Kennedy. I think I got to know him pretty well down in Scranton, and I think he’s a much better guy — and much more humble guy — than he’s sometimes portrayed here in New York. That said, I fully understand why he developed such a reputation, and I fully understand why every reporter in the Yankees clubhouse thought about Kennedy tonight.
Ivan Nova lost a five-run lead tonight. He gave up seven two-out runs in the second inning, allowed a season-high nine runs overall, and was knocked around for his worst start of the season. Joe Girardi explained that Nova had “no fastball command, inconsistent slider, inconsistent curveball.” But to hear Nova tell the story, it was as if he were a part of a different game.
“Bad luck,” he said. “I had a bad day. It was a tough day for me. I threw a lot of good sliders, I threw some good curveballs, I broke two bats and they got base hits. It’s not a good day. … I felt really good and I threw strikes but I gave up 10 hits, nine runs. That’s part of the game. I just have to turn the page.”
The moment was a little too familiar, uncomfortably similar to Kennedy’s postgame interview in 2008 after he allowed nine hits through two innings and seemed to think it was no big deal. That moment stained Kennedy’s reputation the rest of his time with the Yankees.
“I had a bad day,” Nova said. “But I don’t feel that way. I felt really good in that (second) inning, too. I just got hit.”
Nova seemed focused on the fact he threw strikes, walking only one batter after walking six in his previous start. But that’s ignoring the fact he was leading 5-0 with two outs in the second inning, and didn’t get that final out of that inning until the Orioles were leading 7-5.
“He worked his tail end off after he gave up two singles in a row in the second inning to get two outs and two strikes,” Girardi said. “Then threw a slider that didn’t break, and it just kind of snowballed after that. … That’s something that he’s really been good at this year — not letting things unravel. Tonight it did for whatever reason. He just didn’t really have good stuff tonight. As I said, he had no fastball command, his breaking balls were inconsistent. You’d see him throw one good one. You saw him throw a put-away slider to Betemit to strike him out in that inning, and then he throws one that backs up to Reynolds when he’s up 0-2. I can’t tell you why it happens. He’s been really good in those situations. He gets runners on, but the positive thing is when runners have been on he’s been really good for most of the year.
“But he wasn’t tonight.”
• The Yankees have now lost nine of their past 12, and they have their second four-game losing streak in the past two weeks. “We’re not playing well, there’s no doubt about it,” Girardi said. “We’ve been through streaks before where we haven’t played well, and we’ve bounced back. That’s all we need to do.”
• Thing is, if Nova had taken the blame for his outing, most of the stories in tomorrow’s paper might have gone out of their way to point out that the Yankees offense did absolutely nothing after that five-run first. They had six hits in that inning, then five hits the rest of the game.
• What did Orioles starter Chris Tillman do to turn his night around? “Really started mixing his pitches in,” Nick Swisher said. “Really changing speeds, working his ball in and out. I think, there in the first inning, he was in the middle of the plate a lot. And obviously, if you’ve got a guy in the middle of the plate, you’re going to have some success.”
• Remember that first inning, though? That was a lot of fun, wasn’t it? The Yankees batted around in the first and matched their most first-inning runs of the season (it was the third time they scored five in the first). The Yankees have scored 85 first-inning runs this season, more than any other team.
• Robinson Cano hit his 23rd homer in the first inning. The Yankees have now hit a home run in 19 straight games, their second-longest streak at the current Yankee Stadium.
• Ichiro Suzuki has a hit in each of his eight games with the Yankees.
• Derek Jeter went 3-for-5, his 11th game of the season with at least 11 hits, one shy for his total for last season. He is now 6-for-12 in his career against Tillman.
• Nova became the first Yankees starter to allowed nine runs in a start a the current Yankee Stadium. The last time a Yankees starter allowed nine runs at home was Andy Pettitte exactly four years ago (July 31, 2008 against the Angels).
• Joba Chamberlain got to the stadium before the game and played catch in right field while fans went crazy at the sight of him. “I was literally pulling into the parking lot (in Trenton) and Stevie called,” Chamberlain said. “He goes, ‘You might want to turn around.’ My heart started beating fast. I didn’t really look at anything. I had to go to the bathroom really bad, so I had to stop and use the restroom, then turn around and come back.”
• Swisher said his sore hip flexor felt nearly 100 percent today. “It was nice tonight to get out there and move around a little bit (in the field),” he said. “On that swinging bunt I had late in the game, I tried to jump it into that extra gear and it wasn’t quite there yet. But it’s good to know that I’m working towards that. I feel good over there at first base. I’m able to do that with Tex out for a few games, which helps out a lot. And hopefully when he comes back I’ll go back to the outfield.”
• Final word goes to Girardi: “When I look at the games, we’ve been in every game. Tonight was probably the most difficult one just because you get a 5-0 lead with a guy who’s been pretty good for you all year long, and then he gives up seven in the second. That’s tough, but we’ve been in every game, and we’ve pitched pretty well and we’ve played pretty well.”
Associated Press photos
Nova lets five-run lead slip away • 07.31.12
Well that certainly got out of hand quickly. Ivan Nova pitched a perfect first inning and got an immediate five-run lead, then he blew it in a big way. Nova’s worst start of the year was a 11-5 debacle at Yankee Stadium. Nova allowed nine runs on 10 hits through five innings. Seven of those runs came in the second inning, an inning that started with the Yankees leading 5-0. Nova allowed six hits in the inning, four of them with two outs, including a go-ahead grand slam by Chris Davis. The Orioles scored another run off Nova in the third inning and another in the fifth. Nova’s letdown came after the Yankees batted around in a five-run first that included a two-run homer by Robinson Cano.
Associated Press photo
Game 103: Yankees vs. Orioles • 07.31.12
Derek Jeter DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher 1B
Raul Ibanez LF
Eric Chavez 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Russell Martin C
Ramiro Pena SS
RHP Ivan Nova (10-4, 4.08)
Nova vs. Orioles
Nick Markakis RF
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Davis DH
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Lew Ford LF
Wilson Betemit 3B
Mark Reynolds 1B
Omar Quintanilla 2B
RHP Chris Tillman (3-1, 1.66)
Tillman vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network
WEATHER: A lot like last night. Feels pretty nice. Not too warm. A few clouds in the sky.
UMPIRES: HP Derryl Cousins, 1B Alan Porter, 2B Jim Wolf, 3B Ron Kulpa
HEART AND HUSTLE: Prior to tonight’s game, Curtis Granderson was recognized as the Yankees winner of the 2012 Heart and Hustle Award. The annual award is given by the the MLB Players Alumni Association and recognizes one player on each Major League team who demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game.
CLOSE CALL: Ten of the Yankees’ past 11 games have been decided by three runs or less, with six of the games being decided by one run. The Yankees are 0-6 in those one-run games, and the six straight losses is the team’s longest such skid since 1995 when they lost seven straight one-run decisions. That’s according to Elias. Each of the Yankees’ nine losses since the All-Star break have been by two runs or less.
NEED ONE: The Yankees need a win tonight to secure a winning record in July (they are 13-12 so far). The Yankees have recorded a winning record in the month of July in each of the past 19 seasons, a streak that started in 1993. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the longest winning stretch of Julys in Major League history. The previous record was 15, held by Pittsburgh (1899-1913). Aren’t you glad you know that?
UPDATE, 7:16 p.m.: Double by Jeter. RBI single by Granderson. Two-run homer by Cano. See, it’s not that hard. It’s a 3-0 Yankees lead and they have yet to make an out. The power of Joba!!!
UPDATE, 7:26 p.m.: Tillman boots a comebacker, another run scores and it’s 4-0 Yankees. Orioles baseball is back!
UPDATE, 7:46 p.m.: Well this wasn’t part of the plot. Nova is getting knocked aroundin the second, letting the Orioles pull within 5-3 with the bases loaded and Chris Davis at the plate.
UPDATE, 7:48 p.m.: Grand slam by Davis. That’s his 18th homer of the year and it puts the Orioles in front 7-5. This place is stunned.
UPDATE, 8:15 p.m.: After three innings, it’s 8-5 Orioles, but Chris Tillman has actually thrown more pitches than Ivan Nova. Pretty ugly night for both starters.
UPDATE, 8:24 p.m.: Base knock for Ramiro Pena.
UPDATE, 9:50 p.m.: Things got pretty quiet once Nova left the game, but the Orioles are back at it with a two-run homer off Clay Rapada in the eighth. Those are the O’s first runs since the fifth.
First the basics…
1. The Yankees have officially announced their trade for corner infielder Casey McGehee. The Yankees are sending reliever Chad Qualls to the Pirates, and the Pirates are including cash in the deal.
2. McGehee isn’t expected to be here until tomorrow. For now, he’s not active.
3. Joba Chamberlain was on his way to Trenton for a rehab appearance, but he’s been told to turn around and drive back to Yankee Stadium. He’ll be active for tonight’s game, replacing Qualls in the bullpen.
Some time in the last week, Brian Cashman talked to Pirates general manager Neal Huntington about McGehee. The Yankees liked the idea of a right-handed corner infielder to help fill the Alex Rodriguez hole, and the Pirates weren’t getting more than platoon production out of McGehee at first base.
“Neal was working through some things on his end,” Cashman said. “The player would become available under certain circumstances, if they did a few things. He just wanted to give me a heads up earlier in the week, ‘Hey, I might be calling you if a couple of things work out a certain way. So it’s possible on the 31st, I might have a conversation if you’re still interested in that certain situation.’ I said fine, so we were prepared for it, and a call did come. So we obviously just had to work through what would work and what wouldn’t.”
The Pirates traded for first baseman Gaby Sanchez earlier today, and that trade obviously made McGehee available. The Yankees gave Qualls, who seemed all but certain to be designated for assignment within a few days anyway when Chamberlain came off the disabled list.
“We feel that (McGehee) can play third and first for us,” Joe Girardi said. “With some of the trouble we’ve got going physically with some of the guys — with Tex not being available for a few days, with Alex not being available for weeks — this is a guy that has put up big numbers in his career, and we’re hoping he can helps us.”
McGehee’s overall numbers are far worse than they were two or three years ago, but he is hitting .250/.344/.463 against lefties this season. He brings some balance to a lineup that has been extremely left-handed without Rodriguez. He can help fill the temporary void at first base, and he can slide into somewhat regular duty at third. Having McGehee to play third makes it easier to use Jayson Nix at shortstop and second base so that Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano can get a few DH days against lefties.
“Until you get what you want, which is a World Series trophy, you’re never comfortable,” Cashman said. “You’re always looking at ways to try to improve your club. Obviously you’re not allowed to do so after August 31, other than what you have. The only time that mentality stops is if you’re the last team standing. Otherwise, you were never close enough.”
• Mark Teixeira was relieved by today’s diagnosis of inflammation in his left wrist. He had his wrist in a brace today and won’t play until Friday at the earliest. “Very relieved,” he said. “But it’s what I expected. When you’re injured, you can tell if something’s seriously wrong. I didn’t feel like there was something seriously wrong. I just felt like my wrist was sore and I needed to get it fixed.”
• The Yankees weren’t entirely sure how quickly Chamberlain could get to Yankee Stadium, but he’s expected to be here at some point tonight. “I talked to my trainer earlier today,” Cashman said. “Just said, ‘Hey listen, if I make a trade and I lose Chad Qualls, is there any medical reason that would be of concern to activate Joba tonight?’ He said no. I said, ‘OK, as of right now, keep him on line in Trenton, but if I move on Qualls for McGehee, then obviously I would reinstate Joba.’ … We put this together, we finalized it just before the deadline. I just grabbed my trainer (and) said, ‘Track Joba down. Tell him to get here rather than there.’ He may be in route to Trenton. He may be in Trenton. But he’ll be here tonight at some point.”
• Cashman wouldn’t comment on whether he was close to trading for Ryan Dempster. “Obviously, the deadline process, you listen to a lot of different things,” Cashman said. “You have a lot of different conversations. Some initiated by us, some initiated by them, them being any of the 29 clubs. I would say, or I wouldn’t confirm who we were talking to and about what. But there’s a lot of things that get presented, ideas thrown around, a lot of different concepts.”
• Did the Teixeira injury rush the Yankees plans for Nick Swisher to get back in the field? “Well, we were kind of day-by-day,” Girardi said. “If Tex didn’t get hurt, would I have waited until tomorrow? Maybe. But I might have thrown him out there today and DHed Raul. I would have just checked with him.”
• With a lefty starting tomorrow, Girardi said it’s possible McGehee will be the Yankees starting first baseman with Jayson Nix at third base for this Baltimore series finale.
• Girardi didn’t say as much, but I have to think Ramiro Pena will be option tomorrow to make room for McGehee.
Associated Press photos
Deadline comes and goes • 07.31.12
Right at the trade deadline, multiple reports say the Rangers have traded for Ryan Dempster.
Barring some completely unknown, unreported deal, it seems the Yankees have let the deadline pass without making a deal.
UPDATE: Well, never mind. Joel Sherman reports the Yankees are on verge of getting Casey McGehee for Chad Qualls.
Pena at short, Swisher at first • 07.31.12
Right before I walked into the stadium I was told the Yankees have checked in on Ryan Dempster, but they dont expect to trade for him. The Yankees believe he is more likely going to the Dodgers, and one source indicates that the Yankees suspect they are being used as nothing more than leverage for the Cubs to get more in the deal.
Trade deadline is still a few minutes away. Here is the Yankees lineup for the day. No one unexpected listed on the lineup card.
Derek Jeter DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher 1B
Raul Ibanez LF
Eric Chavez 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Russell Martin C
Ramiro Pena SS
RHP Ivan Nova
Teixeira hopes to play Friday • 07.31.12
No lineup posted yet, but Mark Teixeira is in the clubhouse with a brace on his left wrist. He hopes to play Friday at the earliest.
Yankees and Wigginton? • 07.31.12
Over in Philadelphia, Matt Gelb is reporting that it’s still a “distint possibility” that the Yankees could trade for Ty Wigginton before today’s deadline.
If the Yankees make a move for Wigginton, it would be a late and unexpected development. I heard just a few days ago — after the Alex Rodriguez injury — that the Yankees were not at all interested in Wigginton and their pursuit was being overblown. That said, I also know Gelb, and he’s awfully good at this. If he’s reporting that a deal is possible, I’m certain he’s got someone reliable telling him as much.
Wigginton is hitting .230/.300/.366 this season. Jayson Nix is hitting .242/.296/.451 while playing better defense (and more versatile defense). Given Mark Teixeira’s injury, Wigginton’s experience at first base could be a factor here, but even that seems like a reach.
As Joel Sherman points out: There’s also a good chance Wigginton will get through waivers and become a post-deadline possibility. Any conversations between the Yankees and Phillies could be nothing more than getting a feel for what it would take to get Wigginton later, if necessary.
Teixeira gets cortisone injection • 07.31.12
Mark Teixeira has been diagnosed with inflammation in his left wrist and given a cortisone injection. The Yankees say he will be reevaluated in three days.
This morning’s MRI revealed no structural damage in the wrist that began bothering Teixeira on Sunday night and forced him out of last night’s game. He was evaluated by Dr. Christopher Ahmad and Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
Yankeses reportedly connected to Dempster • 07.31.12
A report out of Chicago says the Yankees are among three teams talking to the Cubs about starting pitcher Ryan Dempster. David Kaplan of CSNChicago says the Yankees and Rangers have joined the Dodgers in looking into a deal for Dempster, who has a 2.25 ERA through 16 starts with the Cubs.
Of course, Dempster is also said to be willing to waive his no-trade rights strictly for a trade to L.A.
The Cubs have been busy during the past 24 hours, already sending catcher Geovany Soto to Texas and sending Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm to Atlanta. The Johnson/Maholm trade included former Yankees prospect Arodys Vizcaino, who originally went to Atlanta in the Javier Vazquez/Boone Logan deal.
UPDATE, 10:49 a.m.: Jon Heyman chimes in to say there’s “no evidence” of the Yankees being in on Dempster.