Game 132: Yankees at Tigers • 08.28.14
RHP Hiroki Kuroda (9-8, 3.97) vs.
Kuroda vs. Tigers
Rajai Davis CF
Ian Kinsler 2B
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Victor Martinez DH
J.D. Martinez RF
Nick Castellanos 3B
Don Kelly LF
Alex Avila C
Andrew Romine SS
LHP Kyle Lobstein (0-0, 4.76)
Lobstein has never faced the Yankees
TIME/TV: 1:08 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network
WEATHER: Temperatures in the 70s without much chance of rain.
UMPIRES: HP John Tumpane, 1B Bill Welke, 2B James Hoye, 3B Bob Davidson
GOOD WHILE IT’S LASTED: Hiroki Kuroda is 36-32 with a 3.49 ERA in 91 starts with the Yankees, marking the lowest ERA as a starter among pitchers who have made at least 50 starts with the club since 1990. No pitcher has produced a lower career ERA as a starter with the Yankees since Ron Guidry compiled a 3.32 mark in 323 starts with the club from 1975-88 (minimum 50 starts).
COMPLETE SET: Kuroda has never gotten a win against the Tigers. He has at least one career win against every other team. He os attempting to become the 14th pitcher all time to defeat each of the current 30 MLB teams (Kevin Brown, A.J. Burnett, Dan Haren, Randy Johnson, Al Leiter, Derek Lowe, Jamie Moyer, Terry Mulholland, Vicente Padilla, Curt Schilling, Javier Vazquez, Woody Williams, Barry Zito).
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Derek Jeter recorded his 539th career double last night, tying Al Simmons for 34th place on baseball’s all-time list. He needs one double to tie boyhood idol Dave Winfield and Joe Medwick for 32nd place.
UPDATE, 1:32 p.m.: Two inning in, the Yankees are clearly waiting for that nine-hit third to finally get going offensively.
UPDATE, 1:41 p.m.: Sac fly. Tigers have the early lead.
UPDATE, 1:51 p.m.: Zelous Wheeler with an infield single, gets to second on a throwing error, then scores on a two-out RBI single by red-hot Jacoby Ellsbury. That’s enough to tie the game here in the third inning.
UPDATE, 2:15 p.m.: Get a couple of hits, one goes for extra bases, then an RBI ground out. It’s just that simple, folks. Yankees up 2-1 in the fourth.
UPDATE, 2:37 p.m.: Two-out single by Davis to tie the game at 2. Naturally, we’re back to a question of whether the Yankees will be able to score.
UPDATE, 2:44 p.m.: Pretty hard-hit ball for Teixeira. Looked like it might be a double off the bat, but Davis tracked it down in left center and it’s still a 2-2 game as we head into the bottom of the sixth.
UPDATE, 2:52 p.m.: Kuroda is through six with the game still tied at 2. He’s been fine. Just waiting for one team to actually do something to take control of this game.
UPDATE, 3:21 p.m.: The Yankees got seven innings of two-run ball out of Kuroda. Now here’s Betances to pitch the eighth. It’s still a 2-2 game and hasn’t been a very lively one.
UPDATE, 3:44 p.m.: Brian McCann missed a three-run homer by a couple of feet and ultimately struck out to leave the go-ahead run stranded at third base. Here’s Shawn Kelley to try to keep this from being a walk-off loss.
Pitching matchups in Detroit • 08.26.14
RHP Brandon McCarthy (5-2, 1.90)
RHP Rick Porcello (14-8, 3.10)
7:08 p.m., MY9
RHP Shane Greene (3-1, 3.17)
LHP David Price (12-9, 3.00)
7:08 p.m., YES Network and ESPN
RHP Hiroki Kuroda (9-8, 3.97)
RHP Justin Verlander (11-11, 4.82)
1:08 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network
Associated Press photo
Game 127: Yankees vs. White Sox • 08.23.14
RHP Hiroki Kuroda (8-8, 3.97)
Kuroda vs. White Sox
WHITE SOX (59-69)
Alejandro De Aza LF
Carlos Sanchez 2B
Jose Abreu 1B
Adam Dunn DH
Avisail Garcia RF
Conor Gillaspie 3B
Alexei Ramirez SS
Jordan Danks CF
Adrian Nieto C
RHP Scott Carroll (5-7, 4.99)
Carroll vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m, YES Network (gonna be a bit late because Joe Torre is quite the talker)
WEATHER: Cloudy and windy.
UMPIRES: HP Tom Woodring, 1B Mike Winters, 2B Andy Fletcher, 3B Mike Muchlinski
PREGAME CEREMONY: Today the Yankees honored Joe Torre with a pregame ceremony to retire his No. 6. Torre compiled a 1,173-767-2 (.605) regular season record and a 76-47 (.618) postseason mark as Yankees skipper, leading the club to the playoffs in each year as manager. He?went 21-11 in the World Series, 27-14 in the ALCS and 28-22 in the ALDS with the club. Torre’s regular season wins total is second in club history to only Joe McCarthy, who went 1,460-867 (.627) over 16 seasons from 1931-46.
THREE HIT DAY? Jacoby Ellsbury has 997 career hits, putting him three away from reaching 1,000 for his career.
COMEBACK KIDS: The Yankees have come from behind in 12 of their past 16 wins.
UPDATE, 1:49 p.m.: Just left Joe Torre’s pregame press conference to find the Yankees trailing 1-0 on back-to-back doubles in the second inning. Hiroki Kuroda’s already over 40 pitches and the second inning isn’t over yet.
UPDATE, 1:56 p.m.: So the White Sox get a lead, then promptly walk the leadoff hitter, botch a groundball and throw away a bunt? Yowza. Yankees being given a gift here in the bottom of the second. Bases loaded with no outs and no hard contact.
UPDATE, 2:03 p.m.: Couple of weak ground balls — one for a double play, one to end the inning — but because of the White Sox mistakes, the Yankees did enough to tie the game at 1.
UPDATE, 2:34 p.m.: Well that got a little screwy. Pretty late sign from Thomson. Bad base running by the Yankees. The only silver lining is that the White Sox let the trail runner get to second on the play.
UPDATE, 2:47 p.m.: Base running goofiness abounds in the fourth inning, but Martin Prado delivers a two-run double and the Yankees are in front 3-1.
UPDATE, 3:06 p.m.: White Sox got a run in the top of the fifth. The Yankees got a hard-hit line drive in the bottom of the inning, but Alexi Ramirez jumped 30 feet in the air — approximately — to rob Mark Teixeira.
UPDATE, 3:16 p.m.: Solo homer for Carlos Beltran. Elbow looks just fine on that swing. Yankees up 4-2.
UPDATE, 3:22 p.m.: Prado gets a hustle double, replay shows he made it, and then he forces the White Sox to make a play and scores on a relatively shallow sac fly. Prado’s third hit of the game, feels like his 20th hit of the week, and the Yankees have at last scored more than four runs in a game. They’re up 5-2.
Pitching matchups vs. White Sox • 08.22.14
RHP Shane Greene (3-1, 2.91)
LHP John Danks (9-8, 4.94)
7:05 p.m, My9
RHP Hiroki Kuroda (8-8, 3.97)
RHP Scott Carroll (5-7, 4.99)
1:05 p.m., YES Network
LHP Chris Capuano (1-3, 4.35)
LHP Chris Sale (10-3, 2.12)
1:05 p.m., YES Network
Associated Press photo
The schedule won’t let the Yankees give Hiroki Kuroda six days off before every start down the stretch, but they were able to give him that many this time, and it seemed to make a difference. Coming off a rough outing against Cleveland, Kuroda looked like a dependable piece of the rotation again this afternoon.
At times, he looked like more than that.
“When he’s got his stuff darting like that to both sides of the plate, he’s tough to beat,” Brian McCann said. “… He was splitting both sides of the plate, kept them off balance all day. They came out really aggressive, he slowed them down a little bit with some offspeed early in the count. He pitched awesome.”
Last time out, Kuroda couldn’t make it through the fifth inning, and the Yankees would like to believe that was simply a bump in the road, not a sign that he’s about to begin the down-the-stretch collapse that became familiar the past two seasons. Before that disappointment last Sunday night, Kuroda had pitched to 3.49 ERA in his previous nine starts.
“The two extra days, I was able to physically get refreshed, as well as mentally,” Kuroda said.
Kuroda is the only part of the Opening Day rotation that’s lasted the whole season. He had a pretty rough month of April, but he’s been pretty consistent ever since. There have been some short, ineffective starts mixed in there, but he hasn’t allowed more than four earned runs since the beginning of May.
“He had everything in his arsenal today,” Joe Girardi said. “I think it was important because people would start asking questions, ‘Is he tired?’ Maybe the extra days helped him. … We will do it when we can. Unfortunately, we lose one off-day going to Kansas City where he could have been afforded it, but I think he’ll only go one start this time through with five days. It should help, yeah.”
• Mark Teixeira’s home run was No. 361 in his career, passing Gary Gaetti and tying Joe DiMaggio for 80th place on baseball’s all-time list. He was the first Yankees hitter to reach 20 home runs this season, the latest they’ve gone into a season without a 20-homer guy since 1995 when Paul O’Neill reached that number on September 12.
• Brett Gardner’s two-run signle in the fifth inning gave him 52 RBI for the season, matching his single-season career high. For a little while, Gardner was tied with Teixeira and Jacoby Ellsbury for the team lead in RBI, but both Teixeira and Ellsbury drove in runs later in the game.
• That two-run single up the middle was a huge hit for the Yankees, who had been hitless in the game until the batter before, Martin Prado, came through with a double. For a team desperate for offense, that Gardner at-bat felt like a must-have opportunity. “I’m thinking about trying to get a run across, you know?” Gardner said. “I’m just thinking about trying to find a way to get a pitch to handle. I’m definitely not thinking negative thoughts.”
• Including Gardner and Prado, five straight Yankees reached base with two outs in that fifth inning. “You get an excellent at-bat from Stephen Drew, a long at-bat (for a walk),” Girardi said. “A long at-bat from Prado, then Gardy gets the big hit there. Then Ells; a big hit as well as Jeter. To be able to put those together when it looks like you have nothing going and he’s rolling along with a no-hitter, it’s big.”
• It was Ellsbury’s first hit of the road trip. He was 0-for-17 on the trip before that two-out RBI single.
• Derek Jeter has a hit in 12 of 14 games this month. He went 4-for-13 this weekend. Of his 11 hits against the Rays this season, seven have come with two strikes. How’s that for relatively obscure stats coming from the Rays media relations department?
• After allowing those back-to-back singles in the first inning, Kuroda retired his next 17 in a row. “I think my slider, especially against righties, was a pretty decent staple,” Kuroda said. “For me, the thing was I wanted to pound the zone today and be aggressive; a lesson from the last time.”
• Kuroda threw 72 pitches in the first six innings, but he threw 25 pitches in the seventh before being removed with two outs. Shawn Kelley got a huge strikeout to get Kuroda out of the jam. Really, that might have been the at-bat of the night. Runners were left stranded at the corners, and it was only a one-run game at the time. “That’s a huge out, obviously,” Girardi said. “If he doesn’t, they’re going to tie the score and have a chance to take the lead. It’s a really big out.”
• Dave Robertson has now converted 21 straight save opportunities. Oddly, though, he hasn’t had a strikeout in three straight appearances. He’s stuck at 499 career strikeouts. This is only the fifth time in his career that he’s gone three consecutive outings without a strikeout. He also did it back in April.
• McCann on returning to the lineup after more than a week off: “Good after the first couple innings. I felt it get in game speed. The first couple innings were a little fast on me, but then (things) settled down and it was just like another game.” McCann said the speed of the game struck him more behind the plate than at the plate.
• Yet again, excellent infield defense for the Yankees. Chase Headley made a diving play at third, and Martin Prado made at least three really nice plays at second. “It was really good,” Girardi said. “They made some excellent plays. Prado made some excellent plays today and some tough plays. You can look at the play in the eighth inning where he doesn’t try to do too much; he understands to just get an out. It was outstanding.”
• Final word goes to Gardner: “Well, we’ve won our last two games. Obviously we’ve got another off-day tomorrow and hopefully we’ll go home and have a good week at home. We didn’t do what we wanted to do in Baltimore and obviously losing Friday night here, but the last two days have gone pretty good. We continued to pitch great and hopefully this week our offense can pick up the slack and give our pitchers a little breathing room.”
Associated Press photos
Game 122: Yankees at Rays • 08.17.14
Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter DH
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Carlos Beltran RF
Brian McCann C
Chase Headley 3B
Stephen Drew SS
Martin Prado 2B
RHP Hiroki Kuroda (7-8, 4.03)
Kuroda vs. Rays
Desmond Jennings CF
Ben Zobrist 2B
Matt Joyce LF
Evan Longoria 3B
James Loney 1B
Yunel Escobar SS
Vince Belnome DH
Jose Molina C
Kevin Kiermaier RF
RHP Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 2.61)
Hellickson vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 1:40 p.m., YES Network
WEATHER: One more day of not having to worry about a rain out.
UMPIRES: HP Mark Ripperger, 1B Lance Barksdale, 2B Gary Cederstrom, 3B Kerwin Danley
MILESTONE K: Dave Robertson got last night’s save without a strikeout, which means he still has 499 career strikeouts in 374.2 career innings. Unless he goes a really, really long time before his next K, Robertson eventually will surpass David Cone (who had 500 Ks in his first 486.1 innings as a Yankee) as the fastest pitcher to reach the plateau in franchise history according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Should Robertson get his next out via strikeout, he would become the fifth pitcher in MLB history to reach 500 within his first 375.0 career innings, joining Billy Wagner (341 IP), Brad Lidge (354.2 IP), Armando Benitez (355.2 IP) and Rob Dibble (368.1 IP).
RELIABLE IN THE NINTH: Robertson has now converted 20 consecutive save opportunities since June 5, making the longest active streak in the Majors. He has become the fifth pitcher in franchise history to convert 20-or-more save opportunities in a row, joining Mariano Rivera (eight times, most recently 23 from April 9, 2012 to May 25, 2013), John Wetteland (once, 27 in 1996), Dave Righetti (once, 24 in 1986) and Goose Gossage (once, 25 in 1980). Rivera holds the franchise record, converting 36 consecutive save opportunities in 2009.
CLOSE CALLS: Not exactly a Robertson note, but this certainly has a lot to do with him. At 39-27, the Yankees have the Majors’ best record in games decided by two-or-fewer runs. They are 20-16 in one-run games, the third-best such record in the American League. They have won four of their last five games decided by one run.
UPDATE, 2:04 p.m.: Pretty solid play by Martin Prado to help Kuroda out in the first inning, but two singles and an RBI ground out were enough to give the Rays an early 1-0 lead.
UPDATE, 2:14 p.m.: Leadoff walk goes nowhere. That should be the title of a book written about this Yankees season.
UPDATE, 2:47 p.m.: Four innings. The Yankees have no hits.
UPDATE, 2:53 p.m.: There’s your daily nice play by Chase Headley over at third base. Diving catch on a line drive to end the fourth inning.
UPDATE, 3:06 p.m.: Well, the Yankees have a hit now. So that’s something. Two-out double by Prado in the fifth inning breaks up the no hitter. Here’s Gardner with a chance to drive in a couple of runs.
UPDATE, 3:10 p.m.: Two-out, two-strike, two-run single up the middle for Gardner. Yankees in front 2-1 as three hitters in a row have reached with two outs. Two batters ago they didn’t have a hit. Now they have a lead.
UPDATE, 3:15 p.m.: Make that five straight Yankees reaching base. Jeter and Ellsbury have singled, Ellsbury drove in a run, and it’s now 3-1 Yankees. The inning is still going with Teixeira at the plate.
UPDATE, 3:43 p.m.: Kuroda settled in nicely and is through three innings still with just one run on two hits. Martin Prado has helped him out, having a fine game at second base.
UPDATE, 4:01 p.m.: Couple of hits here in the seventh have pulled the Rays within 3-2. Some action in the Yankees bullpen now.
UPDATE, 4:11 p.m.: Two outs, runners at the corners, Shawn Kelley coming in to face Brandon Guyer. Trying to keep a one-run lead intact. Huge at-bat. Obviously.
UPDATE, 4:15 p.m.: High fastball and Guyer goes down swinging to strand the runners. Big out for Kelley. Betances now getting loose in the bullpen.
UPDATE, 4:21 p.m.: Teixeira’s 20th homer of the season and it’s a 4-2 lead. That little bit of breathing room feels pretty big right now.
Pitching matchups at Tampa Bay • 08.15.14
RHP Brandon McCarthy (4-1, 2.21)
RHP Alex Cobb (7-6, 3.41)
7:10 p.m., YES Network
RHP Shane Greene (3-1, 2.89)
LHP Drew Smyly (7-10, 3.73)
4:10 p.m., YES Network and FS1
RHP Hiroki Kuroda (7-8, 4.03)
RHP Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 2.61)
1:40 p.m., YES Network
Associated Press photo
This is a big day for the Yankees rotation.
At least, it might be a big day for the Yankees rotation.
Not only is Michael Pineda making his first big league start in more than three months, but even before tonight’s first pitch, Masahiro Tanaka went into the outfield and threw 10 flat-ground fastballs. That’s a pretty small step, but it’s the most significant step yet in his return from a partially torn elbow ligament.
“Pain’s gone,” is the phrase Wally Matthews heard.
At this stage, it’s basically impossible for Tanaka to do anything that proves he’s in the clear and will definitely return to the Yankees rotation without needing Tommy John surgery. For now, the best the Yankees can hope for is that he doesn’t suffer a setback. And so far he hasn’t. We’re squarely into no news is good news territory, and right now it seems that Tanaka has no real news to report.
He’s a Major League pitcher who’s playing catch and throwing a few pitches off flat ground. As long as it goes well, none of this is a particularly big deal. It’s all just a series of steps in the right direction. It becomes a big deal when he either progresses to game action or suffers some sort of setback that shuts down the whole process.
• Although the Yankees originally announced a rotation that had Chris Capuano starting on Sunday, Hiroki Kuroda told reporters in Baltimore that he’s actually taking the ball that day. The Yankees seem to be clearly — and understandably — trying to give Kuroda a little bit of a rest in hopes of avoiding a late-season crash like they’ve seen in recent years.
• Joe Girardi told reporters that he expects Brian McCann to come off the disabled list on Saturday. McCann has been on the seven-day concussion DL.
• Pineda returns to the rotation tonight. He hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since April 23, the day he was ejected for using pine tar. Most pitches he threw during his minor league rehab assignment was 72 on Friday, so there’s basically no chance he’ll be cleared for anything particularly close to 100 pitches tonight.
• To open a roster spot for Pineda, Chris Leroux has been designated for assignment. What is this, three big league call-ups for Leroux this season? He’s been one of several guys shuttling back and forth to give the Yankees a long man when they need it. And the Yankees have needed it quite a bit because they’ve struggled to get much distance out of their starting pitchers.
• The Orioles have put third baseman Manny Machado on the disabled list with a knee injury. He hurt himself during Monday’s game against the Yankees. Chris Davis is back at third base for Baltimore.
• Speaking of Baltimore, from our friend Marly Rivera, here’s Orioles manager Buck Showalter on whether Pineda will be using pine tar tonight: “I’m hoping he’s got a little (pine tar) in the right place, YOU try gripping the ball in some of this weather.” It’s been said over and over again, but the problem with Pineda in Boston wasn’t so much that he was using pine tar, it was the fact he was being so blatant about it after the Red Sox had already looked the other way once.
• Clubhouse good guy Shawn Kelley did the Ice Bucket Challenge today and challenged Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Felix Hernandez to do the same. Dan Barbarisi pointed out yesterday that Kelley lost his grandfather to ALS, so it’s pretty cool that he’s jumping into the recent trend.
• At the owner’s meeting to discuss the next commissioner, Hal Steinbrenner told Michael O’Keeffe that he expects to have Alex Rodriguez back in the Yankees lineup next season. That’s settled. I’m sure we won’t hear another word about it.
Associated Press photo
Yankees postgame: No O • 08.10.14
When Jacoby Ellsbury homered with two outs in the ninth, the Yankees snapped their season-high streak of 19 straight innings without a run.
Somehow that streak didn’t seem shocking even though they scored five in the sixth Friday night when they won 10-6. There have been too many dead stretches by this team. The new guys may have improved the defense, but the consistency offensively hasn’t been there, meaning they have fit right in.
The Indians took the series with the 4-1 win that followed Saturday’s 3-0 victory. (Here’s my Lohud.com story on what happened Sunday.)
Joe Girardi credited the pitching that the Yankees faced the last two days and for much of the last week, considering the Tigers’ staff. He also said these punchless stretches of games this season have puzzled him at times. But he said this is part of baseball now.
“I think we got caught up with teams scoring 900 runs in the past,” Girardi said. “That’s not happening anymore.”
Mark Teixeira, while also crediting the Cleveland pitching, gave a realistic assessment of this offense.
“We haven’t really been great all year,” Teixeira said. “We just need to try to do our best and scratch runs when we can and pick it up a little bit.”
Teixeira went 1 for 4 in his return after three games off. He said he was happy with how his pinkie felt.
Hiroki Kuroda felt his pitching was rather subpar. He allowed three runs, five hits and four walks, plus hit a batter and threw a wild pitch in 4 2/3. He also gave a realistic assessment, saying his command was off.
The 39-year-old righty indicated that he was less than 100 percent as well.
“Everybody look around,” Kuroda said through an interpreter. “It’s hard to find players 100 percent physically. So you’ve got to be able to respond with whatever you’ve got.”
Bryan Mitchell responded well in his major-league debut. The 23-year-old righty gave up just one walk and struck out two while working the final two innings. He said he was nervous.
“Knowing that I’ve done this before, I’ve been here, I’ve pitched here, I think it’ll be not easy obviously, but it will be a lot easier next time,” Mitchell said.
Ellsbury batted .417 (10 for 24) in the 4-3 homestand. The Yankees headed to Baltimore for a three-game series. They are 61-56 and trail the Orioles by six games. And the Yankees are 2 1/2 back of the Royals for the second wild card.
Photo by The Associated Press.
Yankees pregame: Teixeira watch • 08.10.14
Joe Girardi is really hopeful he can stick with the lineup he put together today for the series finale against the Indians, the one with Mark Teixeira batting cleanup and playing first after missing three games.
Teixeira is testing his left pinkie in batting practice.
“It’s important to us,” Girardi said. “It means we can move some other people around and do some things that would help us, and you get him in the middle of the order where he’s been productive. It would be nice.”
Girardi still had no decision to announce on Wednesday night’s starter in Baltimore, Michael Pineda or Esmil Rogers. It will be the finale of a three-game series. The Yankees are in second, trailing the Orioles by six games at the moment.
“They’re important games because we’re chasing them,” Girardi said. “They have a lead in our division and that’s where we want to be, on top of the division. I think we have 10 more games with them. But the important thing is that we continue to take series, like we have an opportunity to today. And you need to do that if you want to play in October.”
Hiroki Kuroda goes today. The 39-year-old hasn’t shown signs of wearing down like he did last year, at least not yet.
“I’ve been really pleased,” Girardi said. “We’ve been somewhat conscious of his workload. I know the one day in Texas we had to push him (to 115 pitches), but we knew he had an extra day. I think the last start he threw 90 pitches (actually 91). It was seven innings, though. We’ll continue to watch him.”
Girardi seems in no hurry to get Carlos Beltran back in right.
“He’s been throwing,” Girardi said. “He definitely feels better. But … with the flexibility we got with (Martin) Prado, we feel less of a rush, not a rush, but we’re OK. It’s subject to change, but we’ll see what happens.”
Photo by The Associated Press.