The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Archive for August, 2012

Rough night in the Bronx08.27.12

The Yankees lost their first baseman, then they lost the game. Derek Lowe’s bad pickoff throw and Mike McCoy’s alert baserunning in the 11th inning let the Blue Jays get out of Yankee Stadium with a wild 8-7 win. Closer Rafael Soriano had blown a two-out, two-run lead in the ninth, and Derek Jeter’s game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth was rendered meaningless. Perhaps more significantly, Mark Teixeira left the game with a strained left calf and his status is uncertain. Teixeira seemed to hurt his calf in the middle of a fourth-inning at-bat. He was checked on the field, stayed in the game and drew a walk, but he had to sprint from second to score on an awkward single off the shin of the Blue Jays pitcher, and that was the last we saw of him. Teixeira went for an MRI, but we’re still waiting to hear the results. Without Teixeira, the Yankees took a 6-4 lead into the ninth because Robinson Cano homered twice and Nick Swisher hit a two-run homer. Rookie starter David Phelps actually pitched better than four runs, 6.1 innings might suggest. Three of those runs came on a pair of homers, and the fourth scored after he left the game. Phelps allowed five hits and struck out seven in another strong outing.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 290 Comments →

Game 128: Yankees vs. Blue Jays08.27.12

YANKEES (74-53)
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Eric Chavez 3B
Russell Martin C
Raul Ibanez LF
Ichiro Suzuki RF

RHP David Phelps (3-4, 2.69)
Phelps has never faced the Blue Jays

BLUE JAYS (56-70)
Rajai Davis LF
Colby Rasmus CF
Edwin Encarnacion 1B
Adam Lind DH
Yunel Escobar SS
Kelly Johnson 2B
Yorvit Torrealba C
Moises Sierra RF
Adeiny Hechavarria 3B

RHP Henderson Alvarez (7-11, 4.84)
Alvarez vs. Yankees

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

WEATHER: Still a little cloudy, the this afternoon’s rain seems to have gone away. Wind blowing from right to left.

UMPIRES: HP Angel Hernandez, 1B Ed Hickox, 2B Chris Conroy, 3B Mark Carlson

FOR OPENERS: The Yankees are 28-13 in series openers in 2012. That’s the best winning percentage in series openers in the Majors. They have won 10 of their last 14.

HOMEBOYS: The Yankees are 27-13 at Yankee Stadium since May 22, winning six of their last eight. Their overall .619 home winning percentage is second-best in the American League and third in the Majors, trailing Cincinnati (42-24, .636) and Texas (41-24, .631).

LADIES NIGHT: Tonight, the Yankees will welcome the Women’s Sports Foundation and Olympic Gold Medalists Christie Rampone (Captain of the 2012 U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team) and Sarah Hughes (2002 Figure Skating), as well as former WNBA New York Liberty star Kym Hampton.?Rampone and Hughes will throw out the game’s ceremonial first pitch, while Hampton will sing the national anthem.

UPDATE, 7:22 p.m.: Cano goes deep and it’s a quick 1-0 Yankees lead after one inning. He’s been really hitting the ball these past few days.

UPDATE, 7:29 p.m.: He’s not nearly the hitter the Blue Jays hoped he would be, but Lind still has a lot of pop in that bat. His homer has tied the game at 1.

UPDATE, 8:01 p.m.: Phelps is through four innings with that Lind homer as his only blemish. The kid looks good.

UPDATE, 8:04 p.m.: Cano goes deep again. Now Teixeira and Chavez have reached base. The Yankees are up 2-1 now, with a chance to increase the lead even more.

UPDATE, 8:22 p.m.: Well, the Yankees got three runs in the fourth, but it seems to have cost them their first baseman. Mark Teixeira is now out of the game, replaced by Jayson Nix. Eric Chavez has moved to first and Nix is playing third.

UPDATE, 8:47 p.m.: Left calf strain for Teixeira. He’s going for an MRI tonight.

UPDATE, 8:56 p.m.: Phelps is through six innings. The two homers have done all the damage, otherwise he’s looked pretty sharp with a 6-3 lead.

UPDATE, 9:09 p.m.: Nice ovation for Phelps, who leaves after a one-out single in the seventh. The Yankees are up 6-3 and he’s put them in a position to win.

UPDATE, 9:33 p.m.: Here’s brand new father Dave Robertson to pitch the eighth inning.

UPDATE, 10:22 p.m.: Well, that was an eventful ninth. Two outs and a two-run lead, Soriano gave up the go-ahead three-run homer. Then Jeter responded with a game-tying solo shot to open the bottom half. It’s now 6-6 in the 10th. Rapada has gotten the first out, and it looks like we’re going to see a whole lot of Derek Lowe from here on out.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 407 Comments →

Pregame notes: “A lot of success off of left-handers”08.27.12

Steve Pearce won’t be here tonight, but then again, the Yankees didn’t acquire him for a game like tonight.

Pearce is a career .277/.347/.484 hitter against left-handed pitchers. Even this season, when he’s gone through three different organizations only to land right back with the Yankees, he’s hit big league lefties to the tune of a .275/.345/.490 slash line.

“I don’t have the exact date (that Pearce will be here),” Joe Girardi said. “I don’t know if it will be tomorrow or the next day. It won’t be today. And he’s been a guy that’s had a lot of success off of left-handers.”

Success off left-handers is a need for the Yankees. Derek Jeter is destroying lefties, and Alex Rodriguez was having a lot of success against them before his injury, but the Yankees lineup takes a significant hit against left-handers these days.

Mark Teixeira and Russell Martin have been better against them than you might expect, and Curtis Granderson has 12 homers against lefties, but Robinson Cano is batting .237/.293/.342 against left-handers this season. Nick Swisher’s not hitting for much power against them, Andruw Jones has hit them for power and nothing else, and the trio of Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez and Ichiro Suzuki haven’t hit left-handers at all this season. Recently acquired platoon infielder Casey McGehee has been a .233/.303/.400 hitter against them.

And so, Pearce is back in the Yankees organization, able to play the first base, the outfielder corners, and third base in a pinch (though Girardi sounded like third base would be a last-resort option). The Yankees didn’t have a big league spot for him in June — when his Triple-A numbers were terrific and the Orioles gave him a big league job — but they’ll add him now, in hopes that he can bring a right-handed bat to a left-leaning lineup.

The Yankees face left-handed starters the next two games

• The Yankees designated Brandon Laird to open a spot on the 40-man roster, but they won’t make a 25-man roster move until Pearce actually shows up. Girardi seemed to dismiss the idea of optioning a pitcher. “You hate to short your bullpen this time of year,” Girardi said. “September 1 is Saturday so we’ll have to talk about the move we’re going to make.”

• Could the Yankees option David Phelps after today’s game, then skip their fifth starter next time through the rotation? I guess it’s possible, but the previous Girardi quote came in response to a question about optioning a pitcher — any pitcher — and he seemed to dismiss the idea.

• Andy Pettitte and Alex Rodriguez won’t meet with Dr. Ahmad for X-rays until closer to game time. Probably won’t have an update on them until postgame at the earliest.

• Dave Robertson’s wife, Erin, gave birth to the couple’s first child today. Robertson is expected to be here in time for the game and should be available tonight. “Really good timing on Erin’s part,” Girardi said.

• Speaking of available out of the bullpen: Rafael Soriano is fine after that line drive that hit his pitching hand yesterday. “He said he’s fine,” Girardi said. “Actually shook his hand and no issues.”

• Ivan Nova believes his DL stint will be only a 15-day thing. “The other day I was scared because I didn’t know what I had,” Nova said. “After they gave an MRI and everything, the doctor told me it’s not anything I had to be worried about too much. I feel more better.”

• Pedro Feliciano’s rehab moves to Double-A today. He remains very much in the mix for a September call-up. “I think Pedro probably depends on how he’s doing,” Girardi said. “If he can help us, I’m sure we’ll bring Pedro Feliciano.”

• Mark Teixeira has been a little beat up lately, but Girardi said the Pearce move has nothing to do with a Teixeira injury. “No, it was not,” Girardi said. “He’s fine. As good as you expect him to be August whatever day it is.”

• This is a fourth straight game for Eric Chavez. Last time he played in four straight, he needed three days off. “First guy I checked with today,” Girardi said. “We have two lefties coming and then a day off. There’s my three days.”

• As of yesterday, the Blue Jays upcoming rotation listed lefty Ricky Romero as today’s starter. Instead Henderson Alvarez is starting tonight, with Romero and J.A. Happ the next two games. I was very confused when I saw the lineup, and I’m sure many of you were as well.

• It’s been a week since Joba Chamberlain last pitched in a game. “We’re trying to put him in low-leverage situations to get him going and we’ve been in a lot of close games lately,” Girardi said. “He’s physically okay. “Until we feel like his stuff is where it needs to be and the consistency is where it needs to be, it’s probably not fair to put him in those (close-game) situations.”

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 29 Comments →

Swisher at DH08.27.12

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Eric Chavez 3B
Russell Martin C
Raul Ibanez LF
Ichiro Suzuki RF

RHP David Phelps

Obviously Romero is no longer starting for the Blue Jays. Right-hander Henderson Alvarez is now starting for Toronto.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 280 Comments →

Yankees acquire Steve Pearce08.27.12

Here is the announcement from the Yankees…

The New York Yankees today announced they have acquired outfielder/first baseman Steve Pearce from the Houston Astros in exchange for cash considerations.

Pearce, 29, was previously with the Yankees organization from March 29–June 2 with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre where he hit .318 (61-for-192) with 11 home runs and 30 RBI and led the International League in average and hits at the time he was traded to the Orioles on June 2.

He opened season with the Minnesota Twins as a non-roster invitee before being released on March 27 and signing a minor league deal with the Yankees organization. He appeared in 28 games with the Orioles, reaching safely in 18 of 26 games with a plate appearance, and batting .254 (18-for-71) with four doubles, three home runs and 14 RBI before he was designated for assignment on July 21 and claimed off waivers by Houston on July 28. With the Astros, he batted .254 (16-for-63) with 8 RBI and five of his 16 hits going for extra bases (four doubles, one triple).

Originally selected by Pittsburgh in the eighth round of 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Pearce has spent parts of each of the last six seasons in the Majors with the Pirates (2007-11), Baltimore Orioles (2012) and Houston Astros (2012). He owns a .237 (142-for-599) career average with 60 runs, 37 doubles, 12 home runs and 74 RBI in 234 career games, appearing in games at first base, third base, and both corner outfield positions.

In order to make room on the 40-man roster, the Yankees have designated INF Brandon Laird for assignment. A corresponding 25-man roster move will be made when Pearce reports to the Yankees.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 25 Comments →

Pitching matchups vs. Blue Jays08.27.12

RHP David Phelps (3-4, 2.69)
LHP Ricky Romero (8-11, 5.63)
7:05 p.m., YES Network

RHP Phil Hughes (12-11, 4.15)
LHP J.A. Happ (2-1, 4.15)
7:05 p.m., YES Network

LHP CC Sabathia (13-3, 3.44)
RHP Carlos VIllanueva (6-4, 3.30)
1:05 p.m., YES Network

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 433 Comments →

Random thoughts on the way out of Cleveland08.27.12

Heading home after a road trip that felt much longer than three games. Some random thoughts as I get out of Cleveland this morning…

• Bullpen inconsistencies are inevitable, and the Yankees relievers have seen their share of ups and downs, but Dave Robertson and Rafael Soriano are about as reliable as they come in the eighth and ninth innings. If those two stay healthy and keep getting four outs apiece in big situations, they’re going to make a huge difference down the stretch.

• That said, Boone Logan is a key part of this bullpen. Clay Rapada and Cody Eppley are situational guys, Derek Lowe’s value comes as a long man and Joba Chamberlain can’t be counted on in key spots right now. Logan has to be the third go-to reliever, and he’s going to have to get some big outs on nights Robertson or Soriano won’t be available.

• Alex Rodriguez isn’t having a particularly good season by his standards, but we seem to be seeing just how important he is to this lineup. He brings some right-handed balance, and he’s still a significant presence in the middle of the order.

• This weekend seemed to be the return of Robinson Cano. He’s doubled in four games in a row now, and that two-week slump seems to be a thing of the past. Right now, Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher and Cano are a dangerous trio at the top of the order.

• If the playoffs started tomorrow, Phil Hughes would have to be the No. 3 starter, right? I know some people will never be sold on him, but I can’t imagine either David Phelps or Freddy Garcia getting that job ahead of Hughes right now. Question is (or questions are, I guess): Can Ivan Nova come back good enough to replace him? Can Phelps show enough to actually win that spot? How many September starts would Andy Pettitte need for the Yankees to feel comfortable using him as their No. 3 starter? What if Pettitte gets only one September start and looks awful?

• Random, non-baseball-specific facts about this road trip: Dispatch put out its first new studio album in 12 years, and Mark Teixeira tweeted something about the band Jackopierce, which led to a 15 minute conversation between the two of us about groups like Guster and Pat McGee Band. Somehow, my favorite bands when I was in college became a big part of this trip. That was fun for me.

• Three months ago I thought there was no chance of Nick Swisher being back with the Yankees next season. Now, I’m starting to think there’s at least a small chance. I think I would still bet against it, but I’m not longer willing to rule it out.

• I did not think Ichiro Suzuki would play this well.

• Here’s something some of you will love … At dinner with three other beat writers last night, someone brought up the question of who might start at catcher for the Yankees next season. Not one of us was willing to rule out Russell Martin. It’s a hard position to fill, and despite the batting average, Martin still does enough things well that I don’t think he’s off the table.

• I’m not sure there’s an especially exciting September call-up on the horizon. Honestly, the biggest impact call-up might be Eduardo Nunez, if only because he can run. I’d love to see Chris Dickerson get a call-up — he’s certainly earned it — but I’m not sure the Yankees will open a 40-man spot for him.

• Finally, without naming names, one of the Yankees beat writers was hit in the head by a television camera during a group interview with CC Sabathia on Friday night. How did the writer handle it? Let’s put it this way: Derek Jeter showed less emotion when he was nearly hit in the face by a fastball that same night.

See you all at Yankee Stadium tonight…

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 62 Comments →

Postgame notes: “Put together a good series”08.26.12

One week ago, when the Yankees left New York on a plane bound for Chicago, they were leading the American League East by five games. Tonight, they return home with that lead cut to four games. All things considered, they’re fortunate.

“Really fortunate,” Joe Girardi said. “We need to turn around, play better when we get home and put together a good series. Just continue to win series. That’s the important thing, winning series.”

The Yankees salvaged a series win here in Cleveland, which was at least a small victory on a road trip that saw a series sweep in Chicago and four losses in the previous five games. To lose only one game in the standings — at a time when the Rays have been red hot — is close to the best the Yankees could have hoped for after such a rocky trip.

Now they come home to begin their final 35 games, during which they play American League East opponents 29 times.

“We play everyone,” Derek Jeter said. “It doesn’t make a difference what happened up to this point. We play everyone who’s in this race the entire month of September, so we need to play well. We need to win our games.”

The key to winning this game was the Yankees bullpen, which delivered 4.1 scoreless innings. Boone Logan got five outs. Dave Robertson and Rafael Soriano got four outs apiece. All three relievers came into the game with at least one runner on base and left all of them stranded, a good day for a bullpen that had been struggling lately.

Of all the relievers, it was Robertson who most wanted to get on the plane back to New York. His wife was due to give birth a week ago, and he said he’s gotten nervous every time the phone’s rang. Robertson was going to fly home if his wife went into labor, and Girardi was just happy Erin Robertson held off long enough for the Yankees setup man to stay through the end of the trip.

“I think I’ll probably send her a gift when she has the baby,” Girardi said. “I’m sure my wife did already, but now she might get two.”

• Nick Swisher went 3-for-4 today, including a seventh-inning double and an RBI single. Swisher is hitting .357 with 18 RBI in 18 games since moving up to No. 2 in the order.

• After the game, Curtis Granderson found a bottle of Champagne chilling at his locker. The nameplate above his locker had been replaced by a slip of paper that said, simply, “200.” It was a small congratulations from the clubhouse staff for Granderson reaching 200 career home runs. “I just wanted to get one, and then be happy with that one,” he said.

• Of those 200 homers, 74 have come since the beginning of 2011, the most in the Majors in that span. He’s homered 28 times against left-handers the past two years, including 13 this season (third-most in the Majors). Today’s homer came off left-handed reliever Tony Sipp.

• This was the third time this season that Soriano got a save of more than one inning (eighth time in his career).

• Girardi on his decision to pull Freddy Garcia after 4.2 innings: “Just what I had seen the last four hitters. He had gotten in some long counts, and I just felt it was time to make a change. You want to get him through (five innings) — I wanted him to go six for us today — I just felt it was time to make a change. He had a long third and the fifth got kind of long then, too. I just felt we better go to Boonie.”

• Boone Logan took the loss in Monday’s road trip opener. Today he got the win after pitching 1.2 scoreless innings. He faced five batters in a row — stranding two runners — before allowing a single that chased him from the game and brought Robertson in for two outs in the seventh.

• Garcia had pitched 4.2 scoreless before that fifth inning got out of hand. When he couldn’t get the final out of the inning — double, hit batter, walk, two-run single — Garcia was pulled after 90 pitches. “I made my pitch, ground ball to first hit the base,” Garcia said. “I made the pitches to get out of the inning. I don’t have too (much) luck last couple of games, but I’ve been making the pitch.”

• Garcia wasn’t too happy with home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom, especially after Garcia appeared to strikeout Carlos Santana with the bases loaded in the third. Santana wound up flying out to end the inning. “The umpire was struggling man, to tell you the truth,” Garcia said. “He was struck out with the bases loaded. He was struck out twice.”

• Robertson also had an unusual but mild run in with Cederstrom in the eighth. Robertson seemed to throw his hands up a little bit after a ball that he thought should have been a strike. Robertson said there was some confusion because he heard the umpire say something, and Robertson wasn’t sure whether the ump was talking to him or Chris Stewart. That’s when Girardi came out of the dugout for a conversation. “I just wanted to make sure everyone stayed in the game at that point,” Girardi said. “Just try to get everybody to turn the page and here we go.”

• In a way, I want to give today’s final word to Marc Carig, the Yankees beat writer at the Star-Ledger, who officially announced today that he’s leaving the Ledger to take the Mets beat at Newsday. It’s a terrific and well-earned opportunity for Marc, who will be incredibly missed in the Yankee Stadium press box. I’m fortunate to call him one of my closest friends, and Yankee fans were fortunate to have such talented and dedicated reporter following their team. Good luck, my friend. See ya in the Subway Series (and probably several times before then).

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Noteswith 563 Comments →

Soriano feels “good” after being hit by comebacker08.26.12

Rafael Soriano seems fine after being hit in the hand by a ninth-inning comebacker.

“It feels good right now,” Soriano said. “Going to wait until tomorrow and see.”

The Jason Kipnis line drive seemed headed for Soriano’s face, but he threw up both hands. The ball hit both the base of Soriano’s glove and the bottom of his pitching hand, below the pinky.

“I don’t see too much (of) the line drive,” Soriano said. “I put my hand and my glove in front of my face. I see it hit the glove, hit my hand, try to find the ball and get the guy out. … I know it be sore a little bit. I said, let me try to finish, and we’ll see the trainer after the game.”

Fow now, the Yankees seem to think Soriano is fine, but obviously they’ll check on him again tomorrow. Most everyone in the clubhouse seemed eager to talk about what a scary moment it was, but after Derek Jeter was hit by a pitch to the helmet on Friday, Soriano was getting no sympathy from his Captain.

“About as scary as it is with one being thrown at you,” Jeter said. “Only you don’t have a glove.”

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 34 Comments →

Yankees salvage a series win in Cleveland08.26.12

The Yankees managed to get something positive out of this road trip. With a 4-2 win this afternoon, the Yankees took two out of three in Cleveland before heading home. The trip was a bad one overall — the Yankees lost four out of six — but the Yankees will go home with a four-game lead in the division. A three-run second inning was the key, with the first three Yankees batters reaching base and eventually coming around to score that inning. Ichiro Suzuki and Nick Swisher each had RBI singles, and Curtis Granderson added a solo homer later in the game. Starter Freddy Garcia got through 4.2 scoreless, but when he couldn’t get the last out in the fifth, the Indians capitalized with at two-run single that kept Garcia from a decision. Boone Logan, Dave Robertson and Rafael Soriano handled the relief work without allowing a run.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 40 Comments →

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