RHP Hiroki Kurodo
Being released by the Mets made Chris Young an easy target for ridicule when the Yankees signed him a minor league deal in late August. Since coming up as a September call-up, though, he’s hit .400/.400/.920 and been the team’s best player since stepping into the starting lineup just a few days ago.
“I’m having a blast,” Young said. “These guys over here are amazing, and I’m getting an opportunity to play. I’m enjoying every minute of it.”
There weren’t many big names among this year’s September call-up — higher-profile prospects would have only clogged the 40-man roster, and September guys rarely jump into key roles anyway — but most of the guys brought up when rosters expanded have been legitimately helpful as complementary pieces.
Here’s the list:
Rich Hill – He lost the left-handed specialist job in August, but he’s been good at it since returning in September. Since rosters expanded, Hill’s faced nine batters. He’s struck out six of them, walked one and allowed one hit.
Bryan Mitchell – He took the loss, but Mitchell made his first big league start on Friday and pitched well through five innings with just two runs. The Yankees needed someone to handle the second game of a doubleheader, and Mitchell gave them a chance to win.
John Ryan Murphy – With Francisco Cervelli dealing with migraines, Murphy’s made two starts since rejoining the team and he’s gone 3-for-9 with a double in those games. Strong pitching performances from Brandon McCarthy with Murphy behind the plate as well.
Antoan Richardson – He’s been picked off and doubled off, but Richardson has also stolen three bases — one of which setup a steal of home — and hit .571 with a .625 on-base percentage in limited action.
Chaz Roe – Kind of the exception to the rule. The Yankees acquired Roe just before rosters expanded, so he never even played in a minor league game for them. He’s pitched three times. Twice he gave up at least one run, and the other time he walked the only batter he faced.
Austin Romine – A late addition after Francisco Cervelli got hurt, Romine’s had just two at-bats since coming up. His biggest contribution was probably providing a familiar target for Mitchell’s first big league start.
Chase Whitley – Up with the Yankees for much of the year, Whitley has allowed one hit in four innings since returning from a brief demotion. He was particularly helpful in Wednesday’s win, giving the Yankees 2.2 scoreless after Chris Capuano couldn’t make it out of the first inning.
* I supposed David Phelps counts as a September addition, but his activation from the disabled list was inevitable. He’s certainly not a true September call-up.
Associated Press photos
When that final groundball rolled through the infield, settled into Martin Prado’s glove and was tossed to first base, Dave Robertson turned back toward the plate and pumped his fist. At least in the mind of the Yankees’ closer, this win mattered.
“Every win’s big for us now,” Robertson said. “We’ve dug ourselves a little bit of a hole, but this is September baseball, and I’ve seen amazing things happen. I’ve seen Tampa get in on the last day, and Boston fall out of the playoffs. You can’t give up hope, and you’ve got to try to grind out every single game. One win today. Wish we could have taken one yesterday, but one win’s big. Have to continue.”
We’ll find out later tonight whether this win actually made any sort of difference in the standings, but the key for the Yankees is that they keep this from being an isolated incident. They needed to bounce back from yesterday’s disappointment, and a three-run second inning did that. Now the only thing to do is try to win again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day.
“I told you, we’re going to have to win a lot of games,” Joe Girardi said. “Win one tomorrow. That’s all we can do. We have to go out and win tomorrow.”
It was another game when the offense didn’t do a ton, and it was another win that rested largely on the pitching staff, but a win is a win. For one day, all the Yankees could do was win one, and I guess that’s big enough for the time being.
“Three runs by no means is a lot, especially when we got them all early,” Chris Young said. “But for our guys to lock that lineup down like they did, it was huge for us today. It was a really big win today.”
• Bit of a grind for Shane Greene today, but even with an elevated pitch count he got the Yankees into the sixth inning with just two runs. “He did a really good job,” Girardi said. “He was getting outs when he had to, that’s the bottom line. He was making pitches when he had to. They fouled a lot of pitches off on him today, but he made some big pitches.”
• Here’s Greene: “I felt like early my slider was good, but I couldn’t throw it for a strike. As the game went on, I started throwing it for a strike a little bit more and it helped a lot. … I trust it. I just have to keep going to it until I find it.”
• Greene is 4-0 with a 2.72 ERA in six road starts this season. The Yankees have not lost a game that he started on the road. Overall, the Yankees have won six of Greene’s past eight starts and Greene has left the game with the Yankees leading in nine of his 12 starts.
• Camden Yards might be an early favorite for Greene. He’s struck out nine or more batters three times this season, and two of those have come here in Baltimore.
• Robertson threw 35 pitches yesterday, and he could feel it today. “A little sore warming up,” he said. “Once I got going, I felt a lot better. I didn’t have the greatest command coming into the game, but I knew that I was going to be able to find the zone. Obviously I wasn’t going to allow any walks. Kind of hung a curveball. I was throwing it for strikes, but it kind of hung up a little higher than I would have liked. Started out with a runner on first because of that single.”
• Before the game, Robertson assured Girardi and Larry Rothschild that he’d be able to lock down one inning. Given the current situation, how sore would he have been to tell the coaching staff he couldn’t pitch? “Unable to get the ball to the catcher to not come in there today,” he said.
• Another hit for Chris Young who’s hitting .417/417/.958 since stepping into the Yankees lineup. “He’s been really, really good,” Girardi said. “You look at his last at-bat, he just missed hitting a homer. A couple today. He’s swinging the bat well; that’s why he’s in there.”
• Young technically stole home today. It was on the back end of a double steal. He was basically able to walk home after Antoan Richardson stole second with two outs in the second. “We talk about it at third base before it even happens,” Young said. “You know if he gets a good jump, most likely he’s going to be safe. The situation being that they still may gamble and taking a chance on getting him, you just go for it and say if you see the catcher look like he’s going to throw it, you just take a gamble, take a chance and try to steal a run. It was pretty easy for me just to walk in. The credit really goes to Twon just to get the bag in that situation.”
• Speaking of Richardson, he got his first career RBI today. He’s played alright these past two days in his first career starts.
• Brian McCann hit his 19th home run of the season, and his third home run on the road. All eight of his previous hits against the Orioles this season were singles.
• Robertson has 36 saves this season and 44 saves in his career. That puts him in a tie with Rafael Soriano for the eight-most saves in Yankees history.
• Final word to Girardi: “We’ve been in a lot of these games, yeah. We’ve been in a ton of these games and I’ve said going back to May or June that we were going to have to win these type of games. These are the type of games we need to win.”
Associated Press photos
For whatever it’s worth, the Yankees won this afternoon. They scored some runs early, their bullpen got big outs late, and a 3-2 win against the Orioles was an effective way of moving past the disappointment of yesterday. It was a win, and the Yankees certainly need to win. Now the trick is winning a whole bunch more in a row. Rookie starter Shane Greene needed 71 pitches to get through three innings, but he kept the damage to a minimum. When he struck out Nelson Cruz to start the sixth inning, Greene had retired eight in a row, including five of the past six on strikeouts. He got ahead in the count 0-2 against Steve Pearce, but pitch No. 112 was his last. Pearce hit it over the wall in left field to cut the Yankees lead to 3-2. Another scoreless game from the bullpen kept the Orioles from getting in closer. As for the Yankees offense, all of their runs came in the second inning. Brian McCann got it started with his 19th home run of the season (only his third homer away from Yankee Stadium). After a Mark Teixeira walk, Chris Young stayed hot with a sharp double to left field. It Young’s seventh extra-base hit in six games since stepping into the Yankees starting lineup on Tuesday. Another September call-up, longtime minor league outfielder Antoan Richardson, singled in a run and stole second base, letting Young score easily on the throw from the catcher.
Associated Press photo
RHP Shane Greene (4-3, 3.57)
Greene vs. Orioles
Nick Markakis RF
Alejandro De Aza LF
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz RF
Steve Pearce 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Jimmy Paredes 3B
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Caleb Joseph C
RHP Miguel Gonzalez (9-7, 3.22)
Gonzalez vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m., FOX (pushed to around 1:40)
WEATHER: Rainy. Indications are that they’ll play, but there might be some delays along the way.
UMPIRES: HP Tim Welke, 1B Ed Hickox, 2B Todd Tichenor, 3B Clint Fagan
FAST TRACK: Brett Gardner stole his 20th base of the season last night making this his fifth season of at least 20 stolen bases. He is tied with Rickey Henderson for the fourth-most 20-steal seasons in franchise history, trailing Derek Jeter (8), Hal Chase (8) and Wid Conroy (6).
YOUNGSTOWN, OH-MY-OH: Whoever on the Yankees media relations staff came up with Youngstown, Oh-My-Oh as the title of this note deserves at least a high five. Chris Young has hit safely in each of his last five games batting .450 (9-for-20) with five runs, three doubles, three homers and eight RBI.
ON THIS DATE: On September 13, 1927 the Yankees swept a doubleheader against Cleveland to clinch the American League pennant for the fifth time in club history. The did not do the same thing yesterday.
UPDATE, 2:03 p.m.: Brian McCann just hit a home run on the road. The world’s gone nutty.
UPDATE, 2:10 p.m.: Another double by Young. Another base hit by Richardson. The new corner outfielders are getting the job done and the lead is up to 2-0.
UPDATE, 2:15 p.m.: Richardson steals second and Young’s able to score on the throw down. It’s 3-0 Yankees. Richardson making some things happen in his second big league start.
UPDATE, 2:35 p.m.: Little bit of two-out trouble for Greene in the second, but he’s out of it with the 3-0 lead intact.
UPDATE, 2:40 p.m.: Line drive up the middle for Jeter, but it’s snagged by the pitcher for yet another out. Batting average down to .252.
UPDATE, 3:00 p.m.: Just one run across for Baltimore, but Greene’s already at 71 pitches through three innings.
UPDATE, 3:36 p.m.: Shane Greene is through five innings with just one run, but he’s also at 102 pitches.
UPDATE, 3:56 p.m.: Greene had retired eight in a row and struck out five of the past six batters before allowing a one-out solo home run to Steve Pearce here in the sixth inning. Here’s Esmil Rogers.
Joe Torre’s brother has passed away.
Frank Torre was 82, and his health problems were well documented during Joe’s stint as Yankees manager. Frank was not healthy enough to travel to Yankee Stadium for Joe’s number retirement earlier this season. For whatever it’s worth, I have a sister who I’m incredibly close to, and I always enjoyed hearing Joe talk about his brother. In the best of situations, a sibling relationship can be extremely powerful. Our thoughts are obviously with Joe and the Torre family.
Here’s a statement from baseball commissioner Bud Selig:
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Frank Torre, a close friend for nearly 60 years and a man who marked the start of a great baseball family. Before my career in baseball began, Frank and I formed a friendship that endured for decades, and I was touched to speak with him yesterday. Some of the fondest memories of my life involve Frank’s Milwaukee Braves teams from 1956-1960, and his great play in the 1957 Fall Classic was one of the keys to bringing the World Series Championship to my hometown. Frank’s longtime support of the Baseball Assistance Team, which helps the members of the baseball family who are in need, was an illustration of how much he cared about our game and the people who are a part of it.
“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Frank’s children and grandchildren, to Joe and Ali Torre, to Frank’s sisters and to his many friends and admirers throughout our game.”
• Chase Headley is going to work out today. If that goes well, he’ll take batting practice tomorrow. Joe Girardi said the earliest he would consider putting Headley back in the lineup would be Monday. “We’ll see where we’re at (after he hits on Sunday),” Girardi said.
• Second straight game for Jacoby Ellsbury at DH. “(He’s) just played a lot,” Girardi said. “We haven’t had any problems with his ankle, but he is coming off an ankle sprain and didn’t sit out very long, so I figured I would just DH him again today.”
• All’s well with Masahiro Tanaka. Still on track to pitch in that instructs game on Monday.
• For a while there, Shane Greene was routinely pitching to Francisco Cervelli. But Cervelli is still not back in the lineup after suffering those headaches earlier in the month. “He is getting closer, yes,” Girardi said. “He has been doing a lot of things, catching in the bullpen, and has reported no issues. He is closer.” Girardi said that, because of the nature of the problem — Girardi is sympathetic to migraine sufferers; worth noting there’s also a concussion history in play — he’s trying to be extra cautious with Cervelli.
• This late in the season, is Girardi planning to simply play Derek Jeter every day through the end of his career? “No, I know I can’t do that,” Girardi said. “It’s 20 games in a row or 20 days in a row physically, it would be silly to do that, so I’m going to have to give him a day here and there.”
• There is still hope that Carlos Beltran will be able to play again this season. “Each day he’ll try to do more and I’ll have a better idea what he can do,” Girardi said. “He took swings yesterday. I have not talked to him today, but I would think he would try to take more today if he felt OK when he came in. We want him back as soon as we can get him, but he’s got to feel OK.”
• Quiet clubhouse this morning, but to be honest, I’d expect it to be that way regardless of what happened yesterday. A day game after a doubleheader — which came after a late night of travel — isn’t exactly a recipe for a lively bunch of ballplayers. Of course, being swept in that doubleheader and falling in farther from contention isn’t likely boost the team’s spirits either. “I don’t think you have any choice but to keep fighting,” Girardi said. “Other teams are having their issues, as I said yesterday. Why not? You run off a streak and all of a sudden you’re back in it. Yesterday was physically a hard day, and it was mentally a hard day, but the team has bounced back before and I expect them to do it.”
Associated Press photo
Jacoby Ellsbury DH
Derek Jeter SS
Brett Gardner CF
Martin Prado 2B
Brian McCann C
Mark Teixeira 1B
Chris Young LF
Antoan Richardson RF
Zelous Wheeler 3B
RHP Shane Greene
Chances are, Chase Headley won’t play this afternoon. But he’ll show up at Camden Yards with his jaw intact, his teeth in place, and his head showing no signs of a concussion in the first 24 hours after he was hit in the face by a fastball on Thursday night.
“My first thought when I was on the ground, I was reaching up with my hand, making sure everything was in place and my teeth were still there,” Headley said. “You never really know the moment something like that happens. You knew that it hurt, but you don’t really know how bad it hurt. You’re kind of taking inventory, I guess. You just hope for the best at that point. It’s scary; not fun to go through and not fun to see anybody else go through. I’m really fortunate the way it came out.”
Two stitches beneath his lower lip provide the only obvious evidence of what happened. Headley said he’s still sore, but he speaks just fine and could be playing again in a few days. It’s worth noting that his hit by pitch came just minutes after Giancarlo Stanton was hit in the face and suffered far more serious injuries.
“Talking to the doctors, to be hit direct with that hard of a fastball, there’s really no reason that I should be as good as I am,” Headley said. “I’m fortunate, blessed. I’m sore, but it could have been much worse.”
Headley has watched the video. So has his wife. His son, he said, has not.
“Sometimes it puts things in perspective, to really appreciate what you have,” Headley said. “Make sure that you really enjoy everything that you’re doing with your family when you’re playing because it can go in an instant. That’s just a reminder of it. Your heart goes out to anybody that gets hit in the face. Obviously with Stanton, he got it much worse than I did. It’s unfortunate, but it’s part of the game. Those things happen. I don’t think there was any intent by any means, but it’s scary when it does (happen).”
Associated Press photo
Twenty innings. One run. Let’s add today to the long list of potential low points for the Yankees offense this season. Riding a wave of momentum after back-to-back emotional wins at home, the Yankees lineup flat-lined again today. They nearly squeezed a win out of this mess, which is fairly remarkable, but they ultimately earned their doubleheader sweep. They earned it the same way they’ve earned so many losses this season: by simply not hitting.
“It’s hard to win when you only score one run in (20) innings,” Joe Girardi said. “I thought we had a pretty decent shot to win the first game when we scored the one run, but tonight we didn’t do anything off Norris. He’s got good stuff, and he’s been tough on us before, but you’ve got to score runs.”
The end of that quote is the new state of the Yankees. On nights they can’t score, teams never want to dismiss the performance of the opposing pitcher, but it seems the Yankees are sick of tipping their caps. There are plenty of good pitchers out there, but night after night, the one constant is this group of Yankees hitters. And they just keep having nights like this one.
“We have to go on a run,” Jacoby Ellsbury said. “That’s the only way to put it. We want to make it interesting. We still have a chance. All we can do is go out there and give everything we have, play good baseball. Obviously we have to get hot and we have to play very good baseball, but there’s still a chance. That’s what we have to hold out for.”
Hold out all you want, but the Yankees are now five games out with 16 to play. There are four teams ahead of them in that race for the second wild card. It might not be a death sentence, but it’s awfully close. Mathematically, they’re still in it. Realistically? After what they showed these past 20 innings? That seems to be a different story.
“I don’t care when you lose two games in a row, it’s frustrating,” Girardi said. “Especially after the last two wins that we had. Yeah, we’re beat up, but that’s no excuse. You’ve got to find a way.”
• Chase Headley was in the Yankees clubhouse postgame. He has two stitches and actually looks alright considering what happened last night. Tests have come back clean so far, but he’s going to do some more tests tomorrow just to be certain. He said he doesn’t expect to play tomorrow, but it seems like the Yankees could get him back sooner than later.
• Carlos Beltran said he took about 20 light swings in the cage, just some soft toss. His elbow feels a little bit better, he said, but this wasn’t much of a workout. His situation is still uncertain to say the least.
• Francisco Cervelli is with the team in Baltimore. He said his headaches have gone away. He feels good and feels like he could play at this point.
• Martin Prado didn’t start the second game, but it seems likely he’ll play tomorrow. “You can see he’s not 100 percent, and you hate to try to have a guy wind it back up again (after playing in the afternoon game),” Girardi said. “There’s concern about him hurting it worse and it being a long-term problem and having some real issues with it. He’s a gamer, and I put him out there to pinch hit, and he hit the ball well. He did it as well last night. So my plan is to play him again tomorrow.”
• Although his command was obviously bad, David Phelps said he felt physically fine in his first appearance in more than a month. “It doesn’t have anything to do with being rusty,” he said. “Regardless of how long you take off, throwing strikes shouldn’t be a problem. … Was pulling sliders off the plate all night, finally throw one and the guy hits it hard. It’s just frustrating.”
• Better night on the mound for rookie Bryan Mitchell who gave up two runs through five innings in his first big league start. “My main goal tonight was to put us in a chance to win,” Mitchell said. “Obviously the two runs hurt, but it’s just one of those days I would have liked to have been better. … Yeah, it obviously is (good enough to have a chance to win), but without those two runs obviously we have a better chance.”
• Girardi on Mitchell: “He did OK. He hasn’t started a game in a while. He threw a bunch of pitches the other day on Sunday, and he got in some tough counts, but held the damage to a minimum. Obviously he gave us a chance to win. … It was good to see him pitch in a start. I’ve only seen him pitch really out of relief. He has the ability to have people swing and miss, and he has the ability to get out of innings. He did some little things. He held runners. He’s a work in progress, but it was good for him to get a start.”
• The Yankees intentionally paired Mitchell with Austin Romine, who’d caught him in Triple-A. “That definitely helped,” Mitchell said. “Made me a lot more comfortable because we have a similar plan to what we’ve been doing during the season (in Triple-A), so I liked that going into it.”
• After missing the past six games with a lower abdominal strain, Brett Gardner returned to the lineup, reached base twice and stole a bag. He’s hitting .348 with five extra-base hits in his past six games.
• Chris Young had another hit in the nightcap. He’s hitting .429 with five runs, three doubles, three home runs and eight RBI since joining the Yankees on September 2.
• The Orioles swept a doubleheader against the Yankes for the first time since September 24, 1984 in Baltimore.
• Final word to Girardi: “It’s no fun, but other teams are having problems in front of us that we’re trying to catch. We’re probably three or four hits from winning eight out of our last 10. If you get those hits and three or four pitches as well, it’s different. It makes a big difference. We need to win a lot, and I’ve said that a lot. We’re capable of doing it.”
Associated Press photos
The Yankees described a quiet clubhouse after this afternoon’s letdown. “Anything we’ve got going positive, it cuts it out from under us,” Brandon McCarthy said. Perhaps it’s little surprise, then, that the Yankees played such an uninspiring game in the nightcap. A 5-0 loss tonight left the Yankees swept in today’s doubleheader at Camden Yards, and any momentum gained from those previous two emotional wins at Yankee Stadium has surely been wiped away. Rookie Bryan Mitchell gave the Yankees a solid five innings of two-run ball in his first ever big league start, but the Yankees managed just four hits and put just two runners into scoring position. David Phelps was wild in his first big league game in more than a month, and Chaz Roe allowed a late RBI triple, but those rough innings of relief only pushed the game to a more lopsided score. The real problem, as it’s often been, was the offense. Just another night when the lineup couldn’t do nearly enough to win.
Associated Press photo