Archive for July, 2012
Despite a late comeback to tie the game and force extra innings, the Yankees failed to finish off the Boston Red Sox in the series finale on Sunday night. For the second consecutive night, it was Pedro Ciriaco who came through with the winning hit, an RBI single in the top of the tenth to give Boston a 3-2 win.
After a controversial call got Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine tossed earlier in the inning, Ciriaco drove in Jarrod Saltalamacchia with a single to right to break a 2-2 tie.
The Yankees couldn’t muster any runs off of Red Sox starter Felix Doubront through six innings, but Russell Martin took matters into his own hands from that point on. After leading off the bottom of the seventh with a solo home run to right field, the Yankee catcher came through with a clutch RBI single in the eighth to tie the game.
Yankee starter Hiroki Kuroda pitched out of jams throughout the game to limit the Red Sox to just two runs. In total, Kuroda induced four double plays, displaying the ability to get groundballs in critical spots. He went eight innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out four.
Associated Press photo
Game 101: Red Sox at Yankees • 07.29.12
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher DH
Andruw Jones LF
Russell Martin C
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jayson Nix 3B
RHP Hiroki Kuroda (10-7, 3.34)
Kuroda vs. Red Sox
RED SOX (50-51)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Carl Crawford LF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Cody Ross DH
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Ryan Sweeney RF
Pedro Ciriaco SS
LHP Felix Doubront (10-5, 4.54)
Doubront vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 8:05 p.m., ESPN
WEATHER: While it was raining when I first got here and they put the tarp on the field for about an hour, it’s actually been pretty nice out for the past two hours. The game is definitely going to start on time, but the forecast gets worse as the night goes on. We shall see.
UMPIRES: HP Brian O’Nora, 1B Chad Fairchild, 2B Alfonso Marquez, 3B Tom Hallion
GOOD & BAD NEWS ON INJURED PITCHERS: Two bits of information have surfaced in the past two hours that effect two rehabbing Yankee pitchers. The good news is that Joba Chamberlain made a successful appearance with Double-A Trenton today. He pitched 1 1/3 innings, allowing one hit while striking out the side in the eighth. He threw 30 pitches, 23 for strikes, with his fastball sitting between 94-98 mph. The bad news is that Andy Pettitte suffered a slight setback. His injured left leg swelled up a bit after he threw on flat ground while the team was in Seattle, but Larry Rothschild said a September 1 return is still feasible.
HIGH FIVE: In their eight games with the Red Sox so far this season, the Yankees have scored at least five runs in each, matching their second longest streak against Boston. They scored at least five against their archrival in 15 straight back in 1932.
IN CLOSING: The Yankees are 21-11 in series finales so far this season. They have won seven of their last nine.
(Note: I’ll be updating the action here every so often, but I’ll be much more active on Twitter. To join the conversation, follow me @vzmercogliano.)
UPDATE, 8:35 p.m.: After a quick, five-pitch first inning, Kuroda just gave up a two-out, two-run double to Sweeney in the top of the second. The Red Sox take an early 2-0 lead.
UPDATE, 9:27 p.m.: The Yankees have really struggled against Doubront tonight. Through four innings, he’s allowed only one hit, but the Yanks have failed to make him pay for five walks. Ichiro has failed to come through twice with two runners on. It’s still 2-0 Sox.
UPDATE, 10:40 p.m.: Martin finally got the Yankees on the board in the bottom of the seventh with a solo homer to lead off the inning, but the Yankees blew a chance to tie the game. Ichiro singled and stole second, advancing to third on a single from Jeter. But Granderson flew out to shallow left, and Tex grounded out to second to end the threat. Doubront came out of the game with one out in the seventh, striking out seven while allowing just four hits. He did walk five, but the Yankees failed to capitalize. It’s 2-1 Boston.
UPDATE, 11:01 p.m.: Martin comes through again. His RBI single with two outs in the eighth has tied the game at 2-2. Walk off, anyone?
After not playing for eight days due to a strained left hip flexor, Nick Swisher is set to return to the lineup tonight as the Yankees’ DH.
Needless to say, the 31-year-old switch-hitter is pretty excited about it.
“I love playing this game,” he said. “So anytime I can be in there, I’m going to enjoy it.”
Swish will bat fifth, which is an extremely important spot because he will be charged with the task of providing protection for the Yankees’ best hitter — Robinson Cano. We also know that Joe Girardi loves having switch-hitters in the lineup to make it difficult on opposing team’s bullpens.
“It hurts us,” he said of missing Swisher. “I think we have to make more moves and it’s easier for clubs to match up their left-handers against us… We’ve been able to score some runs in the last three days without him, but we do miss him. We miss that presence.”
Girardi expressed some concern because Swisher has had three leg injuries in the same area this season, and Swisher talked about having to make adjustments due to the fact that he changed his body in the offseason. He added a few pounds of muscle, and still says that he has no regrets about it.
“I kind of changed my body up a lot from last year to this year, and it’s kind of led to a lot of bumps and bruises, I guess you can say. I feel like I need to do more stretching and a lot more massages so that I don’t have to deal with this at all,” he said. “I came in here ready to go. Injuries are part of the season, and for myself I’ve been a pretty healthy guy. I take a lot of pride in that, so when I get knocked down for a week or something, it feels like a month…
I’ve got to take care of the temple.”
• Girardi is DHing Swisher today as a precaution, but Swish said that he expects to play the field tomorrow and could do it today, if necessary. He said he ran the bases at 85-90 percent yesterday with no issues. He is one home run away from 200 for his career. “Today is one of those good days,” Swisher said. “I felt everyday that he’s given me after what we said, I’ve felt that much better.”
• Swisher also talked about the fact that he thinks the extra days that Girardi made him sit will be beneficial in the long run. “I think that’s my biggest enemy – my biggest fight is with myself,” he said. “I want to be out there, and sometimes it takes another side or another party to really kind of tell you the things that can happen. This is a special year, and I want to be apart of this.”
• Girardi talked about his responsibility as a manager to protect injured players from themselves. “I think as a manager it’s really important that you listen to the signs and clues,” he said. “99 percent of players want to go out there and play whether they’re battered or beaten up and shouldn’t be out there, because it’s what they love to do. I was the same way. Sometimes you try to hide things and mask things, but as a manager, you have to listen carefully… It’s a tough part of the job.”
• Girardi also talked about what it’s like having Swisher on the bench. As you can imagine, he’s not the type to sit still. “He stills brings it, he’s just more of a cheerleader in a sense,” Girardi said. “The energy is still there. I know sometimes people think of us as kind of older, which is fair, but it’s a pretty energetic group.”
• David Phelps turned in another strong effort out of the bullpen last night, pitching two scoreless innings while allowing just one hit and striking out three. Since returning to the big leagues in late June, he’s been outstanding. In his last four appearances, he’s allowed no runs, no walks and just one hit in 7 1/3 innings while striking out 12. He’s turned into a major asset, much like the way that Alfredo Aceves did a few years back in the long relief role. “I think the consistent work has helped him as much as anything,” Girardi said. “The innings that he was able to go down and get built back up and get his arm strength going again. When we used him early in the year, we used him a little more consistently because we werent getting a lot of depth out of our starters, and he was pretty good for us. And then we got in a period where our guys were going late, and we were turning it over to the eighth and ninth inning guys, and he wasn’t getting a lot of work. We sent him down to get work and get built back up, and he’s had consistent work almost every third day, and he’s been really good.”
• Jayson Nix is getting the start at third again after hitting a two-run homer yesterday. He’s been solid in the utility role for the Yanks since replacing Eduardo Nunez, and has come up with several timely hits. “I knew that he was a guy that could do a lot of different things for you,” Girardi said. “He was going to give you a good at-bat, and he was always going to be prepared. He had done somewhat of a utility, not-play-everyday role before. I had a pretty good idea of what he was. I hadn’t seen him on an everyday basis to know exactly how well he could play each position, but I think he’s done a really good job for us.”
• If you ask me, I think the Yankees will be fine with an Eric Chavez-Nix platoon at third in A-Rod’s absence — especially since the Ichiro trade made the team that much deeper. Chavez has swung the bat well all season, and I don’t know of many cheap replacements who could outperform him. Still, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported today that the Yankees have made a list of potential third basemen they could trade for. Click here to check it out.
• Girardi was asked about how much say he has in any potential deals that the team may make. “I’m cognizant of it, but my focus is on the guys in the room,” Girardi said of Tuesday’s trade deadline. “That’s my job. I let upstairs worry about July 31. As I’ve said all along, I’ve been around long enough to know that there are rumors that are always flying. Our names are going to brought up all of the time – a lot of time just to increase value – so until Brian (Cashman) says that we’re making this move, I don’t get too caught up in it.”
• Joba Chamberlain is scheduled to make another rehab appearance tonight, this one with Double-A Trenton. He will enter into the game with two outs in an inning then stay in to pitch the following inning. He has been placed on a limit of 30 pitches in an inning. Girardi noted today that Joba has to come off of the DL on August 6, assuming he doesn’t suffer any setbacks. “I think as a player it’s important to take it day-by-day,” Girardi said. “There is a finish – there is a 30-day period. He knew of that, and we’re aware of that. You don’t want to rush a player. You can’t in a sense rush a player because something happens to someone else. You have to look at each guy independently, and what we fill that they need. And Joba, you have to remember, hasn’t pitched in awhile. He hasn’t pitched in really over a year at this level, so we have to make sure that he’s prepared.”
• Here is Boston’s lineup for tonight: 1. Ellsbury (CF); 2. Crawford (LF); 3. Pedroia (2B); 4. Gonzalez (1B); 5. Ross (DH); 6. Saltalamacchia (C); 7. Middlebrooks (3B); 8. Sweeney (RF); 9. Ciriaco (SS). LHP Doubront. Doubront gave up three earned runs on four hits (two homers) in 6 1/3 innings on July 7.
Associated Press photos
UPDATE, 7:33 p.m.: Two things: one good, one bad. We’ll start with the bad news, which is that it is being reported that Andy Pettitte has suffered a slight setback. According to Pettitte, he pushed himself too far while the team was in Seattle, and it has slowed the healing process. The Yankees are saying that a September 1 return is still feasible.
The good news is that Joba had another encouraging outing. He pitched 1 1/3 innings, allowing one hit while striking out the side in the eighth. He threw 30 pitches, 23 for strikes, with his fastball sitting between 94-98 mph.
Yankees lineup: Swish back as DH • 07.29.12
Good afternoon LoHudders! Vincent Mercogliano back in the Bronx for tonight’s series finale with the Red Sox. The tarp is on the field and the forecast doesn’t look like it gets much better, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed. Here is tonight’s lineup:
1. Jeter SS
2. Granderson CF
3. Tex 1B
4. Cano 2B
5. Swisher DH
6. Jones LF
7. Martin C
8. Ichiro RF
9. Nix 3B
Teixeira and Padilla • 07.29.12
Mark Teixeira and Vicente Padilla have a history and it isn’t a good one.
The latest chapter was written in the eighth inning Saturday night when Teixeira sent up a tying two-run homer to right off the Red Sox reliever, then walked very slowly out of the box, watching the ball fly out. Let’s start this off by saying that there was no way that ball was going to go foul since it was headed closer to the bleachers than the pole.
“I just want to make sure it was fair,” Teixeira said after the Yankees’ 8-6 loss, clearly not wanting to admit how much he enjoyed sticking it to Padilla. “The balls had been hooking a lot tonight. Curtis (Granderson) hit a few that hooked. So I didn’t want to waste a lot of energy running out of the box if that ball goes foul. It’s been a long day. But it felt good.”
Teixeira has accused Padilla of throwing at batters. He has been hit by Padilla three times. After Padilla gave up a big triple to Teixeira earlier this month, Teixeira had some unflattering words about him. Padilla then accused Teixeira of threatening him with a bat when they were Texas teammates and of having problems with Hispanic players, and said Teixeira should try “a women’s sport.”
Teixeira said he has no reason to try to clear the air with Padilla.
“There’s no problem,” Teixeira said. “If he hits me again, there might be a problem. But until then, we’ll just play baseball.”
Here are Teixeira’s career numbers now against Padilla: 4 for 12 with three homers.
It has been a big July for Teixeira. He has 27 RBI, his second-best total in a calendar month as a Yankee. He also owns 18 RBI in eight games vs. the Red Sox. Only Roger Maris has driven in more runs for the Yankees against Boston since 1960, knocking in 19 in 1961.
Curtis Granderson has played a wonderful center field for the Yankees, but he had a bad moment in the ninth and it cost the Yankees this game against the Red Sox.
It was 6-6 with Jacoby Ellsbury on first and one out in the ninth when Pedro Ciriaco hit the drive to center.
“I thought (Ciriaco) was good and we were lucky,” Bobby Valentine said.
Because Granderson broke in, then drifted back, got twisted around and missed in his reach for the ball.
“We haven’t seen much of that, him getting turned around like that,” Joe Girardi said.
Ellsbury scored and Ciriaco ended up on third. Then he scored on Dustin Pedroia’s sacrifice fly.
“You’re going to make some mistakes out there,” Granderson said. “I didn’t get the best read on it. … I just didn’t think it was hit that hard.”
CC Sabathia really didn’t help the cause, either, allowing six runs and eight hits over six innings.
“It’s tough … not being able to get out there and pitch the way you want, especially against a team in your division,” Sabathia said.
Nick Swisher struck out as a pinch hitter in the ninth after failing to start for the seventh straight game because of that strained hip flexor. Swisher wants back in Sunday night in the series finale.
“I think to be able to pinch hit after sitting on the bench for three hours, you’d be able to DH at least,” Swisher said. “We’ll come back here tomorrow and see what they say.
“I’ve been penned up for a while. I’m ready to go.”
Ichiro Suzuki has hit in all five games as a Yankee. Robinson Cano had his 13-game hitting streak against Boston snapped.
I’ll have more on Mark Teixeira’s homer off Vicente Padilla in our 9 a.m. posting.
Sunday night’s pitching matchup pits Hiroki Kuroda and Felix Doubront.
Game 100: Yankees vs. Red Sox • 07.28.12
1. Derek Jeter SS
2. Curtis Granderson CF
3. Mark Teixeira 1B
4. Robinson Cano 2B
5. Andruw Jones LF
6. Jayson Nix 3B
7. Russell Martin DH
8. Ichiro Suzuki RF
9. Chris Stewart C
CC Sabathia LHP
Red Sox lineup
1. Jacob Ellsbury CF
2. Pedro Ciriaco DH
3. Dustin Pedroia 2B
4. Adrian Gonzalez 1B
5. Cody Ross RF
6. Will Middlebrooks 3B
7. Kelly Shoppach C
8. Mike Aviles SS
9. Daniel Nava LF
Jon Lester LHP
TV/Radio: FOX/WCBS 880
Umpires: Tom Hallion HP, Brian O’Nora 1B, Chad Fairchild 2B, Alfonso Marquez 3B
Weather: 69 degrees, cloudy
10 count: The Yankees have scored at least 10 runs five times this season — three times against the Red Sox.
More Yankees vs. Red Sox: The Yankees are 6-1 vs. Boston, their best start against the Red Sox since 1994 when the start was also 6-1. The Yankees have won nine of the last 11 games against them overall.
Streaking: Robinson Cano has a 13-game hitting streak against Boston.
Milestone watch: Ichiro needs one homer for career No. 100.
Update, 6:15: Sabathia gives up three straight hits with one out, 1-0 Sox.
Update, 6:18: Sabathia throws a fastball right down the middle to Middlebrooks, two-run double to the left-center gap, 3-0.
Update, 6:29: 1-2-3 first for Lester.
Update, 6:41: Good bounce-back inning for Sabathia, 1-2-3.
Update, 6:49: Lester gets Nix looking at a 95 mph fastball at the knees, another 1-2-3 inning for the lefty.
Update, 6:56: Sabathia has settled down, now retired seven straight after a three-up, three-down third.
Update, 7:05: Chris Stewart’s solo homer was the first hit off Lester and snapped Stewart’s 105 at-bat homerless stretch dating to last year with the Giants. 3-1 after three.
Update, 7:11: Sabathia throws a hitless, one-walk fourth.
Update, 7:23: Teixeira gets the Yankees’ second hit with a single, but Cano lines into an inning-ending double play. Lester is looking good after delivering the worst performance by a Boston pitcher since 1983 last time out, allowing 11 earned runs in four innings against Toronto.
Update, 7:36: The Red Sox have been overdue for a good game. They’re up 6-1 now that Adrian Gonzalez has reached the seats for a three-run homer in the fifth.
Update, 7:45: Nix gets the Yankees to down three with a two-run homer to the short porch in right.
Update, 7:51: Lester is suddenly struggling. Walk, single by Ichiro, sacrifice, Jeter RBI ground out, it’s 6-4.
Update, 8:14: Lester settles down again, 1-2-3 sixth. David Phelps will replace Sabathia for the seventh.
Update, 8:23: Ichiro showed off his speed, running down a drive to right-center by Gonzalez to end the Boston seventh.
Update, 8:25: Matt Albers comes on to pitch for Boston. Eric Chavez will bat for Nix.
Update, 8:33: Albers does his job, 1-2-3.
Update, 8:44: Phelps gives up a single in the eighth and strikes out the side. Teixeira’s good friend, Vicente Padilla, is on for the eighth. Ibanez will bat for Stewart.
Update, 8:47: Single for Ibanez.
Update, 8:52: Granderson just misses foul with the tying two-run homer, then goes down swinging. Teixeira would love to tie it against his arch enemy.
Update, 8:55: Teixeira ties it against his arch enemy, lingered slowly near the plate to watch it fly out.
Update, 9:00: The Yankees lose the DH now. Soriano on to pitch and he’s in the fifth spot in the order. Ibanez goes to left. Martin catches.
Update, 9:10: Granderson messed up a drive from Ciriaco, RBI triple, 7-6.
Update, 9:13: Sac fly Pedroia.
Update, 9:24: Yankees lose 8-6.
Yankees-Red Sox delayed • 07.28.12
The Yankees just announced the game won’t start on time. It isn’t raining now. It was earlier and the tarp is still on the field.
Update, 4:23: The rain just arrived.
Update, 5:28: They’re taking the tarp off. Approximate start time is 6:05
Update, 5:37: It’s raining hard again. Tarp going back on.
Update, 5:42: Tarp coming off again. Grounds crew getting a workout.
Brian Heyman back here at the Stadium for this middle game of the series against the Red Sox. Nick Swisher still isn’t in the lineup. This will be the seventh straight time the game has started without him because of his mild hip flexor strain. The thing is, Swisher says he feels available for anything today. I saw him down taking batting practice.
But Joe Girardi is waiting.
“I don’t blame him,” Swisher said. “I don’t want to go backwards. … I just want to play.”
Girardi didn’t rule out using him as a pinch hitter today.
“In talking to him, he felt pretty good yesterday,” Girardi said. “But we’ve got to make sure that it’s real good, because if you go out and play one day and you have a little setback, now you’re looking at 15, 16 days. So one or two days might buy you a lot of time in the future.
“I think it’s difficult for him because he loves to play. But I think he understands, too, that we need him and we don’t want him to go back to where he has to go on the DL because he reinjures it.”
So the Ichiro-to-left move will have to wait until Girardi deems that Swisher is ready to head back out to right.
“Our real hope was today, in my mind, I would feel that he was 100 percent,” Girardi said. “I just don’t think he’s quite there. We’ve waited this long. What’s maybe one or two more days?”
Chris Stewart is catching CC Sabathia again even though Girardi would like to pair up Russell Martin again with the lefty. They will need to be in sync for Game 1 in October. Martin is the DH today.
“He caught last night,” Girardi said. “It is a day game after a night game. At some point, I want to do it. I can’t tell you when I’m going to do it.
“But it has seemed to work out. It seems to keep them both fresh. I think Russell has swung the bat better since he’s come back in the second half. Maybe some of that has to do with not playing him day games after night games.”
Stewart has caught 15 of Sabathia’s starts this season and they have a 2.92 ERA together, according to baseball-reference.com. Martin has caught two and they have a 6.75 ERA together.
“If you throw him back there (in the postseason) and he hasn’t caught him all year, I guess it’s an issue,” Girardi said. “You want to make sure both of them are comfortable. Not just the pitcher, but you want the catcher to be comfortable, too, that he has a sense that he knows what CC wants to throw and they’re on the same page. I think that’s really important.”
Sabathia is 10-3. Overall, the Yankees have gone 19-11 when Stewart has been the starter.