Postgame notes: “There’s some concern there” • 09.18.11
Ten starts in a row, Freddy Garcia didn’t allow a single home run. When he finally coughed one up on August 29, it was the only run he allowed all game. Since then, Garcia has allowed multiple home runs in three straight starts, including two tonight to Adam Lind.
“I try to make good pitches, and sometimes I’m not able to do it,” Garcia said. “That’s why I’ve been giving home runs… Last three starts, I don’t be doing my job. I’m really frustrated about it, but that’s part of the game. Sometimes you pitch good. Sometimes you pitch bad. You just have to go continue to try to do the best that you can do, and hopefully everything goes well for you.”
This weekend did little to clarify the Yankees rotation situation. Bartolo Colon couldn’t pitch beyond the fourth inning on Saturday, and Garcia couldn’t get out of the fifth today. At times, one of those two has been the Yankees second-best starter, but they’ve struggled recently.
“Bart had a good start on this road trip and had one that wasn’t so good,” Joe Girardi said. “Freddy’s kept us in the games. We talked at the beginning of the season how we worried about innings for both these guys. There’s some concern there, but they’ve just got to find a way to get it done.”
Garcia said tonight’s home run was a good pitch, a splitter that Lind put a good swing on. The second was a slider that “didn’t do much.”
As good as Garcia has been this season, there is some risk with him. He’s never been an overwhelming or overpowering pitcher. His value is in his experience and savvy, and sometimes that leaves little margin for error.
“He’s just missing some spots, that’s all,” Girardi said. “That’s going to happen. Freddy’s not going to be a huge strikeout guy and they’re going to put the ball in play. If you miss some spots, that’s the chance you’re going to take.”
• The Yankees won only four of 10 on this road trip, but they still managed to gain two games in the standings. After today’s game, the team just seemed relieved to be finally going home. “From now on every game is important,” Alex Rodriguez said. “Every game is meaningful. We’re looking forward to playing at home, playing well, start cleaning up some of the small mistakes that we’ve been making. We understand we’ve got to get better.”
• After Monday’s makeup game against the Twins, the Yankees play their final 10 games against the Red Sox and Rays. With seven games at home against those two teams, the Yankees home stand could either put the division away or make it a race to the finish. “It will be a great opportunity to do that there,” Mariano Rivera said. “We still have to perform good and take care of business at home, get this thing over.”
• The Yankees magic number to clinch a playoff spot is five, to clinch the division is seven.
• Obviously Brandon Morrow completely shutdown the Yankees offense today. “He had us baffled all day with his slide,” Rodriguez said. “He probably threw 70 to 75 percent sliders, which is a very high percentage for him. He’s usually the opposite, 70 to 77 percent fastball guy.”
• Of course, Nunez also made the second Yankees base-running mistake of the weekend. “He’s just making an aggressive turn,” Girardi said. “In that situation, you’ve got to know the score. You’re not going to get to second unless it really bounces off himn, so you’ve got to be cautious there. He was just overaggressive.”
• Why not pinch hit for Ramiro Pena in the eighth? “Pena’s had some success off him,” Girardi said. “Grandy is 1 for his last 15 with 10 strikeouts. If we had a couple guys on, I might have pinch-hit Grandy and taken a chance.”
• Impressive Yankees debut by Raul Valdes, who retired four of the five batters he faced, including all three left-handers. The Yankees have been giving Aaron Laffey a lot of chances to emerge as a legitimate second lefty candidate, but that Valdes appearance might earn a few more looks. I still don’t think the Yankees will actually carry a second left-hander in the postseason, but I’m sure they’d like to have a backup option in mind.
• Random fact about tonight’s game: The phone from the dugout to the bullpen stopped working for a while. “The phones haven’t worked real good here the last couple days,” Girardi said. “Danny (Iassogna) handled it and we used the policeman’s walkie-talkie for a few minutes, then they got the phones working again.”
• Girardi’s assessment of going 4-6 on the road and still gaining two games in the standings: “I think we are fortunate,” he said. “We’ve got to go home and play better, there’s no doubt about it. At times, we didn’t swing the bats on this trip. Is it good pitching? Is it fatigue? I don’t know, but I know our guys are pretty worn down. Now they’ll get to sleep in their own beds and hopefully catch up a little bit.”
Game 150: Yankees at Blue Jays • 09.17.11
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Nick Swisher RF
Jesus Montero DH
Brett Gardner LF
Austin Romine C
RHP Bartolo Colon (8-9, 3.55)
Colon vs. Blue Jays
BLUE JAYS (75-75)
Mike McCoy SS
Kelly Johnson 2B
Jose Bautista RF
Adam Lind 1B
David Cooper DH
Colby Rasmus CF
Brett Lawrie 3B
Adam Loewen LF
Jose Molina C
RHP Henderson Alvarez (1-2, 3.09)
Alvarez vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 1:07 p.m., YES Network
WEATHER: It’s starting to get chilly here in Canada, and probably back home in New York as well.
UMPIRES: HP CB Bucknor, 1B Dan Iassogna, 2B Dale Scott, 3B Jerry Meals
KEEPING IT CLOSE: The Yankees have had eight of their past 11 games — including six on this road trip — decided by one run. They are 20-23 overall in one-run contests. Five of their past six losses have come in their opponents’ last at-bat, including four walk-off losses on the current road trip.
COMFORTABLE IN THE DOME: Nick Swisher is batting .385 (10-for-26) at Rogers Centre this season and has hit safely in each of his past 12 games in Toronto dating back to last August.
IT GETS BETTER: The Yankees are 32-16 in the second game of a series in 2011.
MAGIC NUMBER: The Yankees magic number to clinch a playoff spot is six. The magic number to clinch the AL East is 10.
UPDATE, 1:19 p.m.: Base knock in Rodriguez’s first at-bat of the day.
UPDATE, 1:27 p.m.: Three straight Blue Jays hits open the bottom of the second. They’re now up 1-0, still with no outs and runners at second and third.
UPDATE, 1:35 p.m.: You’ve been wanting to see Betances. Maybe this is the day. Colon is getting knocked around here in the second inning. The Blue Jays are up 4-0 and still have a runner at third with two outs.
UPDATE, 1:55 p.m.: So Colon got knocked around in the second, then breezed through the middle of the order in the third.
UPDATE, 2:07 p.m.: Very nice catch by Rasmus, and Cano’s doubled off at second, costing the Yankees a run. They got one that inning, but it’s still a 4-1 Blue Jays lead.
UPDATE, 2:30 p.m.: Colon is finished after four innings. Here’s Proctor with a 6-1 Blue Jays lead in the fifth.
UPDATE, 2:42 p.m.: Rodriguez just smoked a line drive home run to left. It’s his second hit of a game, a three-run shot that pulls the Yankees within 6-5.
UPDATE, 2:57 p.m.: Laffey pitches a scoreless sixth and the Yankees are still within one heading into the final three innings. They’re into the Blue Jays bullpen.
UPDATE, 3:17 p.m.: Granderson breaks out of his slump right when the Yankees needed him. His two-run homer in the seventh as pushed the Yankees into the lead, 7-6.
Last night, Russell Martin saw something familiar in Bartolo Colon. He saw the same fastball that made Colon and reliable and occasionally dominant starter in the first half of the season.
“He had really good late movement on his fastball,” Martin said. “And when he was really good, he was locating that pitch really well. He looked as good as he has all year.”
For a while, the Yankees seemed to have caught lightning in a bottle with Colon. He spent the first couple months of the season pitching like a legitimate No. 2 starter. He didn’t look washed up. Didn’t seem past his prime. Didn’t need to worry about his spot in the rotation.
Then the lightning was gone.
From July 7 through August 23, Colon had a 5.21 ERA. Opponents were hitting .311 against him, and there was legitimate reason to worry whether the workload was finally catching up to him.
In his past three starts, though, Colon’s been much better. He’s pitched into the seventh inning in each of those three outings, and his fastball has regained some of that early season control and movement.
“He’s looked better as of late,” Joe Girardi said. “Sometimes guys are going to go through little hiccups during the season, but he’s started to pitch better. Physically he looks pretty good again, so that’s important.”
As the Yankees sort out their rotation, Colon is his own sort of wild card. He hasn’t dealt with Phil Hughes’ injury problems or A.J. Burnett’s steady disappointment, but he’s dealt with more innings than he’s thrown in six years. There’s always that looming threat of an expiration date. If nothing else, last night Colon proved he’s not finished just yet.
“I feel like in the beginning of the season,” he said. “The location of the pitch was the same thing. My command was really good today… What I did today is the location of my sinker was really, really good. Every time I command that way, I will pitch the same way I was pitching the first half.”
Associated Press photo
Postgame notes: “He’s not afraid to be here” • 09.10.11
Except Jesus Montero.
On a night when the Yankees failed to pickup a game in the standings, it was still hard to ignore the impact of the Yankees young designated hitter. Against one of the best pitchers in the game, Montero went deep for his third home run in as many days. It was his first time starting a big league game against a right-handed starter, and in his first at-bat he lifted a ball over both bullpens.
“He’s not afraid to be here,” Mark Teixeira said. “He’s not afraid to let it fly and if he’s going to be as good as everyone thinks he is, he’s going to have to face a lot of these guys. And he’s showing right away that he’s not afraid of them.”
The pitch was a 1-2 fastball inside, and Montero was looking for it.
“At the beginning of the at-bat, I was looking fastball,” Montero said. “He threw me two good curveballs and then I was thinking in, because I’m a catcher, too. I was thinking fastball in at that moment, and I got the right pitch.”
Joe Girardi said before the game that he wants to see more and more of the Yankees top hitting prospect, and tonight did little to change that opinion. “You continue to look at him,” is the way Girardi phrased it after the game. Bottom line, Montero’s going to keep getting at-bats. He’s going to have a real chance to earn a spot in the postseason.
“I just put that away and try to do my job whenever they give me the opportunity,” Montero said. “Keep doing my routine every single day. When I’m playing, when I’m DHing, I’m in the cage with Kevin Long. That’s been helping me, keeping my routine every single day… It’s been good, thank God. Tomorrow, I might play again and strike out four times, but it’s been good.”
• Montero and Bartolo Colon were the bright spots, but ultimately the game was decided by this fact: The Yankees bullpen was terribly thin. Rafael Soriano, Cory Wade and Boone Logan were unavailable, Dave Robertson had been used in the eighth and Mariano Rivera was being saved for a save. That meant Aaron Laffey and Luis Ayala got the call in a tied ninth inning. “Playing all these days in a row and all these tight ballgames, you get into this,” Girardi said.
• Girardi said he’s actually planning to give Logan another full day off tomorrow. Logan said he’s not hurt, just going through a “little case of dead arm” and a couple days of rest might help. “My body is great and everything is fine,” he said. “But a couple days off, flushing out the body and letting it rest, it will give me a chance to get my velocity back.”
• Nick Swisher went for an MRI. The results won’t be available until tomorrow.
• Turns out, Bartolo Colon gave the Yankees seven strong innings on an upset stomach. He said he wasn’t feeling well all day, but he still delivered a performance reminiscent of his first half. “What I did today is the location of my sinker was really, really good,” Colon said. “Every time I command that way, I will pitch the same way I was pitching the first half.”
• The only Angels run off Colon came after Derek Jeter’s throwing error in the fifth. “He wasn’t in trouble the entire day until I put him in trouble,” Jeter said. “… It’s a play that has to be made. It’s not a difficult play.”
• Girardi said the Angels simply guessed right on Eduardo Nunez’s stolen base attempt in the top of the ninth. Nunez was brought in to steal the bag, and the Angels pitched out at the right time. “That’s going to happen,” Girardi said. “He was pretty close to being safe, too.”
• Girardi on using Ramiro Pena instead of Nunez to play third base in the bottom of the ninth: “I was probably going to hit Chavy the next inning and put Chavy at third, so that’s what I decided to do. Nino’s played a little more third than Nuney over his career, so I just decided to do it that way.”
• To be clear, Alex Rodriguez is not hurt. He came out strictly to have Nunez run.
• Russell Martin seemed to have a runner picked off at first base in the ninth, but he didn’t throw. “I didn’t get a good grip on the ball,” he said. “If I get a better grip I’ll make an attempt, but a couple of times this year I’ve tried to throw with a mediocre grip and I’ve thrown the ball into right field. In that situation, you don’t want that to happen.”
Associated Press photos
Obviously winning is the most important thing, and the Yankees didn’t do that this afternoon, but they did come away encouraged by Bartolo Colon. No big-picture issue is more pressing heading into the final month of the season, and Colon eased some concerns with a vintage start.
“It’s real encouraging for us,” Joe Girardi said. “He had struggled a little bit and hadn’t been as sharp. I thought he was real sharp today. Maybe the extra rest helped him recharge a little bit and got him going.”
Larry Rothschild had talked to Colon about trusting his two-seamer, and that pitch was a weapon again tonight (of course, Colon it was a backdoor two-seamer that Vladimir Guerrero hit for an RBI single that put the Orioles on the board). Big picture, Colon eased some concerns about his workload and his ability to maintain velocity and effectiveness this late in the season.
“I really don’t feel tired,” Colon said. “Every time I pitch, I won’t pitch the same. Sometimes I’m going to get hit, and some days I’m going to pitch the way I pitched today.”
Here’s Colon, with Roman Rodriguez translating.
• Girardi made it clear that he plans to cut to a five-man rotation after the upcoming Boston series. Colon made it clear that he feels ready to remain a starter down the stretch. “I’m a little bit older now, but that’s the way I always pitched, every five days,” he said. “I feel better that way.”
• Derek Jeter fouled a ball off his right leg just above the knee. No surprise, he said it was a non-issue. Didn’t even have it wrapped… Nick Swisher seemed bothered after a play in the outfield, but he also said it was no big deal. “Just rolled around a little out there,” he said… Francisco Cervelli had his left leg wrapped after taking a foul ball while catching. He said he’s fine. “Just a bruise,” he said.
• Zach Britton was a mess the last time he faced the Yankees. This time he pitched seven scoreless with just four hits and one walk. “We expect a lot out of this lineup,” Swisher said. “And when something like that happens to us, we take that to heart. I’m really excited to see how we bounce back today.
• When Girardi went to the mound for the first time in the eighth inning, it was strictly to discuss strategy and what the Orioles might do. He had no thoughts of taking Colon out at that point.
• Girardi said no one did anything wrong on the hit by Jeter that turned into a fielder’s choice when Cervelli was thrown out at second. Cervelli had to wait to decide whether the right fielder would catch it, and was stuck in no-man’s land. “It’s just a tough play that you see once in a while,” Girardi said. “There’s nothing Cervy can do there.”
• Curtis Granderson said he simply didn’t get there in time on the bloop single that feel kind of between him and Robinson Cano. He didn’t think Cano ever had a real shot at the ball either.
• Cano struck out twice today, only the 13th time he’s done that this season. He hasn’t struck out three times in a game this year.
• Cano’s team-leading 17-game hitting streak came to an end.
• This was Colon’s first loss in a day game this season. He is now 6-1 with a 1.88 ERA in day games. “I have no idea (why),” he said. “I never pay attention to that.”
• Girardi said he still wasn’t sure who would start the second game. He needed to check with all of his guys. Not sure when we’ll get a lineup.
Associated Press photos
Postgame notes: Swish’s long ride to nowhere • 08.23.11
With the Yankees languishing offensively, Nick Swisher breathed life into the club with his home run in the eighth inning. With the Yankees on the verge of an unlikely victory, he wanted to finish what he started. But no such luck.
Swisher’s fly ball with the bases loaded in the ninth inning went 390 feet but stayed in the park for the last out of a 6-5 defeat to the Oakland A’s.
“You always want to be the guy in that spot, at least I do,” Swisher said. “You always want to be the hero. And for a while I thought I was.”
Off the bat he was thinking grand slam. It was only when CF Coco Crisp settled under it with his back nearly touching the wall that he knew it was not to be.
Swisher’s three-run homer with two outs in the eighth had started the rally. Before that the Yanks had been listless against A’s righthander Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy was locating well and never looked worried until the home run, which sent him to the showers.
Jorge Posada went yard to make it 6-4 in the ninth. The Yanks eventually loaded the bases for Mark Teixiera, who fouled out.
“I’d love to come through there,” he said.
Robinson Cano walked on a close 3-2 pitch to force in the fifth run.
• Jeter went 3 for 3 with a walk, raising his batting average to .295. It’s the second-best mark on the team behind Cano.
Despite the big night Girardi opted to bunt him with two on and no outs in the ninth. He said his decision was based on factors. For one, Granderson and Teixiera were coming up next. For another, he wanted to stay out of the double play.
• Alex Rodriguez received X-rays during the game, which came back negative. He has a sprain of the left thumb and is considered day-to-day.
“We’ll just go day by day,” Girardi said. “Hopefully he’ll be better tomorrow.”
• Bartolo Colon denied that he is getting tired from being a full-time starter. Colon hasn’t started a full season since 2007. He’s already thrown more innings this year than he did in the three previous years combined.
His performance has slipped since the all-star break. He’s surrendered nine runs over his last two starts.
“I feel really healthy, very strong,” he said through an interpreter. “All I have to do is keep working hard and see what happens.”
He was fine with today’s outing, saying, “I think I pitched good.”
He admitted to going away from his two-seam fastball because he’d been taken deep on that pitch twice in his last start. He used only four seamers today, except for two occasions.
• See if you can figure this one out: the Yanks are 21-21 in series openers and 56-28 in all other games. Is it a sample size thing or does it mean something? Why would they slack off in the first game of every series?
• Cano extended his hitting streak to 14 games, longest by a Yankee this season.
Pregame notes: A-Rod out again • 08.23.11
To paraphrase Michael Corleone: every time he thinks he’s in, they pull him back out.
A day after Alex Rodriguez returned to the Yankee lineup from his long DL stint, he was a late scratch today because of a totally separate injury. Rodriguez jammed his left (non-throwing) thumb in Sunday’s win over the Twins. A Joe Mauer ground ball caught him the wrong way on a backhand.
“I just jammed my thumb a little bit on that play where Mauer hit it,” he said. “It kind of swelled up a little bit. Hopefully it’s just a day.”
The plan was to get it X-Rayed by Dr. Chris Ahmad after speaking to reporters. But Rodriguez said repeatedly that it felt like a one-day injury.
It was sore during yesterday’s off day, when he and a few other players attended a charity event. Today he was in the original lineup and took two rounds of early batting practice with Kevin Long. I saw him flexing his hand repeatedly toward the end of that BP. Apparently the pain was too much and he opted to come out.
“The good news is the knee feels great,” he said. “The knee feels great, body feels good, and hopefully it’s just a bump in the road here.”
Eric Chavez will play third base.
• A magnitude 5.9 earthquake hit the East Coast today at about 2 p.m. Though it was centered in Virginia, it could be felt in New York. By some people at least. Girardi was working out at the Stadium and said he didn’t feel anything, though some members of his coaching staff did.
Curtis Granderson doesn’t even know where he was when it hit.
“Once I was in the cab,” he said, “I got a text saying did I feel that. I said feel what? I didn’t feel anything.”
• With Rodriguez out of the lineup, Curtis Granderson was dropped into the 3-hole to provide power. Mark Teixiera was moved to cleanup. Derek Jeter takes Granderson’s usual 2-spot. Brett Gardner moves from ninth to leadoff.
• Girardi on Bartolo Colon’s second-half fade: “It just seems like he hasn’t been able to put people away. And he’s gotten into some deeper counts. They fouled more pitches off on him. And then eventually its kind of led to some mistakes that he’s made. So to me it’s the location, getting back to the location, and the movement, and the late movement, that’s worked for him.”
• Colon has thrown more innings this year than the last three years combined. Girardi said he might skip one of his starts after this turn through the rotation.
• Aaron Laffey and Gustavo Molina cleared waivers.
Is Colon’s workload becoming a problem? • 08.18.11
Bartolo Colon has pitched 124.2 innings this season. That’s far more than he’s thrown in any season since 2005, and more than he’s pitched total since 2007.
Colon says he feels as healthy as ever, but he hasn’t been pitching as deep into games lately — in May he pitched a complete game shutout on 103 pitches, last night he needed 99 pitches to get through five — and Joe Girardi acknowledged that the team is at least mildly concerned about Colon’s durability.
“Obviously we’re trying to take precautions and give him extra rest,” Girardi said. “That is something that we’re trying to do. He had the one bad inning that really cost us (last night), but it’s something that we look at, yes.”
Colon dismissed the issue, but he’s thrown more than five innings just once in his past four starts. This from the guy who threw fewer than five innings only once in his first 12 starts.
“I feel very strong right now,” Colon said. “Physically and mentally I try to do my job. I do my best to win the game.”
Associated Press photo
Here’s the short version of Jorge Posada’s pregeame conversation with Joe Girardi.
“He said he was going to put the best lineup on the field, and he doesn’t know when I’m going to DH again,” Posada said. “So right now I’m sitting on the bench… I’m not happy about it, but right now I can’t do nothing about it. I put myself in this situation.”
That’s the current status of Posada’s steadily diminishing role with the Yankees. He lost the catching job this winter, became a bottom-of-the-order hitter by May, became a platoon player by mid-season, and now he’s on the bench with a .230/.309/.372 slash line. For four months, Girardi stuck with Posada in some regular capacity.
“Chavy came back,” Girardi said. “And Chavy started swinging the bat well. And Nuney’s been playing well. It’s just a chance to get them both in there was kind of the determining factor.”
Girardi kept saying that the Yankees are going to “try some different things,” but asked flat out if Posada is no longer in the mix to be a regular designed hitter, Girardi said, “correct.” At-bats could be even harder to find when Alex Rodriguez comes back, but Girardi said Posada’s roster spot is safe. He doesn’t anticipate losing Posada to open a spot for Rodriguez, and he believes the team can afford to carry a limited DH-type on an already thin bench.
“Jorge has a lot of pride and respect for what he’s done,” Girardi said. “You could see the disappointment and understand that, but at this time I felt we had to do what I did today.”
Here’s Girardi speaking a lot about the Posada situation.
• Girardi it’s “very feasible” that Rodriguez could begin a rehab assignment on Friday, and should line him up for a return to the team during the next road trip. “Today, he did his tee and toss, he took regular BP and he took ground balls where he moved a little bit,” Girardi said. “He’s starting to do things that would get you to the point where he’s getting closer to a game. The last thing to come would be the sprinting and running the bases, and he’s still going to have to do that before he gets into a game.”
• Girardi did not dismiss the idea of calling up Jesus Montero to get some DH at-bats, but it sounds like he would be hesitant to carry Montero as the team’s backup catcher. “Bringing up someone who’s 21 and trying to learn a new staff in the middle of a season is not easy to do,” Girardi said. “That’s more of a concern about bringing in a new catcher than necessarily, is he ready to catch at this level? And I don’t care if he’s a veteran. This is the time of year you want your pitchers familiar with your catchers, and vice versa.”
• The Yankees still don’t have a pitcher lined up for Thursday’s game. Girardi said they’re planning to give CC Sabathia an extra day, meaning he’ll likely start Friday against Tampa Bay. Thursday’s starter would be either Ivan Nova or Bartolo Colon.
• Phil Hughes is available as a reliever tonight, but Girardi said his bullpen is pretty well rested and Hughes would probably be used only in extra-innings or if Freddy Garcia had to be pulled after only an inning or two.
• It’s no longer raining in Boston, but the clouds are rolling in and the sky looks really threatening. The radar’s not great. Could be in for a long night.
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
David Ortiz DH
Carl Crawford LF
Josh Reddick RF
Jason Varitek C
Marco Scutaro SS
Associated Press photos
Game 111: Yankees at Red Sox • 08.05.11
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Andruw Jones LF
Russell Martin C
Jorge Posada DH
Eduardo Nunez 3B
RHP Bartolo Colon (8-6, 3.30)
Colon vs. Red Sox
RED SOX (68-42)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
David Ortiz DH
Carl Crawford LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Josh Reddick RF
Marco Scutaro SS
LHP Jon Lester (11-4, 3.17)
Lester vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 7:10 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network
WEATHER: It’s been sunny ever since I landed, highs in the 70s. Not bad at all. Doesn’t look like there’s much chance of rain until Sunday.
UMPIRES: HP Eric Cooper, 1B Mark Carlson, 2B Tim Timmons, 3B Jeff Kellogg
SINCE THE LAST TIME: This weekend’s series is the first between these teams since Boston swept three games at Yankee Stadium in early June. Since that sweep the Yankees have gone 35-15 (.700), with the best winning percentage by an AL team over the stretch. They’ve won seven straight games and seven straight series, and they’ve gone 12-1-2 in series play since that sweep by the Red Sox.
DON’T WALK THIS WAY: The Yankees pitching staff did not walk a batter in their four-game series at U.S. Cellular Field. According to Elias, the Yankees became the third team in the Modern Era (since 1900) to not issue a walk while sweeping a four-game series. Boston did it twice, once as the Americans in 1905 and once as the Red Sox in 1968.
ROBBIE AT HOME IN FENWAY: Robinson Cano is a career .366 hitter at Fenway Park. According to Elias, that’s the fourth-highest all-time batting average at Fenway Park among visiting players with at least 200 at-bats. Elias also says that he has the highest career average among Yankees all-time at Fenway, and he’s hit safely in his last eight games in this park. In 55 career games here, he has never gone hitless in consecutive games.
UPDATE, 7:44 p.m.: The Yankees squandered an opportunity in the top of the second. The Red Sox grounded into a double play in the bottom half. Still scoreless heading into the third.
UPDATE, 7:52 p.m.: Hard takeout slide by Nunez lets Jeter reach, but he’s immediately thrown out trying to steal.
UPDATE, 8:07 p.m.: Good at-bat by Ellsbury, who just doubled off the monster for a two-out RBI double in the third. It’s 1-0 Red Sox.
UPDATE, 8:26 p.m.: GameDay has it as an 88-mph fastball. I thought it looked like a slider. Whatever it was, Ortiz hit it out for a solo home run and a 2-0 Red Sox lead after four innings.
UPDATE, 8:36 p.m.: It seems the entire press box knew Andruw Jones was about to be doubled off about four seconds before he realized it. That’s pretty terrible base running from a guy who seems to have a good reputation on the bases. Still 2-0 Red Sox heading into the bottom of the fifth.
UPDATE, 8:49 p.m.: There’s the Yankees first walk in the month of August. It puts two on with two out for Pedroia here in the fifth.
UPDATE, 8:57 p.m.: Here’s Boone Logan to face Adrian Gonzalez with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. If Boone gives it up, the Internet might explode.
UPDATE, 8:58 p.m.: Three-pitch strikeout by Logan. That second slider had Gonzalez completely off balance, clearly expecting a fastball.
UPDATE, 9:16 p.m.: The Yankees have tied it in the sixth, but the tying run scored on a double play ball after a nice at-bat by Cano. They still have a chance to take the lead with Swisher at the plate and a runner at third.
UPDATE, 9:18 p.m.: Swisher sneaks a double past third base and the Yankees are in front, 3-2.
UPDATE, 9:48 p.m.: The Red Sox guessed right with the pitchout and nailed Nunez stealing to end the top of the seventh. It’s still 3-2, and it looks like the Yankees are going to try to roll out Soriano-Robertson-Rivera to close it out.
Also, Gardner is now playing left.