The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Postgame notes: “It builds confidence, you know”08.28.14

Jacoby Ellsbury

The Yankees made David Price throw 28 pitches in the first inning. In the second inning, their first two hitters singled. Price pitched out of each jam, but already the Yankees offense was showing some signs of life, and that was before the nine-hit third inning.

“It’s fun, but you don’t see that very often,” Derek Jeter said. “We had some good at-bats. We were lucky we found some holes. That’s why you play the games. Price is as good as anyone in baseball, so we were fortunate. But we needed it.”

David Price, Brad AusmusThey did need it, and that’s the real significant of what happened that inning. It’s not only that the Yankees batted around — nine straight hits, straight through the order — against one of the best pitchers in baseball, it’s that they did it one night after seeing their five-game winning streak come to an end.

This team has repeatedly crumbled just when it’s seemed things are finally going their way, so to regain momentum right away felt significant.

Their past three wins came in games started by Chris Sale, James Shields and Price.

“It’s important,” Joe Girardi said. “We’re talking about winning series, but the other thing is who we’re playing. This is one of the teams in front of us. It’s the last time we see them and the only chance to make up ground that we can rely on ourselves, so we need to win.”

Players said they didn’t realize what exactly had happened after Francisco Cervelli got that RBI single that chased Price from the game. The Yankees obviously realized they were having a good inning, but Jacoby Ellsbury said he didn’t realize everyone had gotten a hit until Kevin Long told him.

“I realized there was no outs when I was on second base,” Brett Gardner said. “But I didn’t realize we had already hit around the order a full time.”

It just kind of happened. There were a few hard-hit balls. A few grounders that found a hole. One infield single when the shortstop simply had no play.

“It’s tough to get that many hits, even if the guys hit the balls on the screws,” Ellsbury said. “… It builds confidence, you know? You want to be the next guy up, just keep the line moving. Even though we only scored that inning, I thought we still hit some balls hard and still had great ABs the rest of the game.”

Said Gardner: “It’s surprising to get three or four hits against him over the first couple of innings, to be honest, as good as he is. We just had some things go our way. Some balls fall. Some guys swinging the bats well. It was a big inning for us.”

Shane Greene• For obvious reasons, Shane Greene was pretty thoroughly overshadowed by the lineup’s one big inning, but the Yankees rookie starter delivered yet another gem of a pitching performance. Two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts through seven innings. The Yankes have won each of Greene’s past five starts, and they’re 5-0 when he starts on the road. “I got to give the credit to Cervy,” Greene said. “I’ve been following his lead for the most part. He knows these guys a lot better than me, so I just listen. Every once in a while I’ll shake him off, maybe two or three times in a game, but other than that, it’s all him.”

• This was Greene’s second strong start against this dangerous Detroit lineup. The big difference this time: Miguel Cabrera was in the lineup (he had the day off last time Greene faced the Tigers). Cabrera had one double against Greene, but Greene got him the other two times they squared off. “I live for that,” Greene said. “I live for those moments.”

• Greene’s key pitch is almost always his sinker, but tonight his slider was tremendous. “I hope it’s good for me every time,” Greene said. “But Cervy will let me know if it’s not or if it is. Just stay with him, you know. Probably by the second I could tell I had a good slider.”

• Why go to Dellin Betances in the ninth inning? “He’s had about three days off,” Girardi said. “And I was well aware of who was the tying run and the winning run, too. I didn’t want to get a couple guys on and then have to get Robby in, so I just felt I would go to Dellin. He was up and hot, so I thought I’d go to him.” — Had the Tigers put together a ninth inning like the Yankees third inning, the tying run was Miguel Cabrera and the go-ahead run was Victor Martinez.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Eugenio Suarez• Because Seattle lost, the Yankees pulled within 2.5 games of the second wild card. They also gained a game in the division. “I didn’t look at (the out-of-town scoreboard),” Ellsbury said. “I know if we play well and we do what we’re supposed to do, it’s going to take care of itself. Obviously I’ll check tonight.”

• What’s Greene thinking as the Yankees offense has that big third inning? “Sometimes you think, hurry up, I want to get back out there,” Greene said. “But it’s nice when a team can go out there and put up runs like that. … When you put up that amount of runs it’s more of just, I need a quick inning, don’t give them any chances, don’t back down. Something like that.”

• Gardner said his ankle felt pretty good. “I was happy with the way it felt,” he said. “Obviously there’s still a little discomfort, but I felt pretty close to full-speed so I was happy with it.”

• Ellsbury leads the Majors with 28 games with two-or-more hits and two-or-more stolen bases since 2008. He had two of both tonight.

Derek Jeter• The Yankees are 8-0 this season when Jeter has two or more RBI.

• A few third-inning facts: The Yankees were two shy of the Major League record for consecutive hits in an inning. … The last American League team to have nine straight hits in an inning was Detroit in 1996 (the Cardinals did it last year). … Nine hits was a single-season high for the Yankees. So was right runs. … This was the second-shortest outing of Price’s career and eight earned runs matched his career high.

• Rock solid pregame ceremony by the Tigers, who included Jeter’s family — his nephew stole the show by tipping his cap — his high school coach, former teammates Phil Coke and Joba Chamberlain, Tigers greats Al Kaline and Willie Horton, and various kids from Jeter’s foundation in Kalamazoo. “I thought it was very nice that they involved my family and our leadership program from Kalamazoo,” Jeter said. “We appreciate it a lot. It was a class act by a class organization to include them. Our foundation means a lot to us, and for them to include them, it meant a lot to us.”

• Final word to Jeter on how badly the Yankees needed to keep last night’s loss from becoming a losing streak: “We don’t think like that,” Jeter said. “We think we have to win a game. We had to win today, now regardless of what happened today, we need to win tomorrow. That’s the approach you have to have. You can’t think about winning streaks and losing streaks; we just have to play well.”

Associated Press photos

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Pineda: “I feel like I have good power in my arm”08.26.14

Jacoby Ellsbury

Just got into my Detroit hotel after missing Monday’s makeup game in Kansas City, so we’ll start this day with the AP story from last night. Here’s Dave Skretta:

Michael PinedaKANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Michael Pineda kept throwing strikes. The Royals kept taking them, trying in vain to drive his pitch count up. When Yankees catcher Brian McCann looked up in the third inning, his right-hander had still thrown just 35 pitches.

He knew then that Pineda was in a groove.

Pineda wound up pitching into the seventh inning Monday night to win for the first time since April 16, helping New York beat the Kansas City Royals 8-1 for its fifth straight win.

“He’s got so much cut on his fastball,” McCann said. “I feel like he could literally throw it every pitch and be successful. When he’s like that, he’s as good as anybody.”

In the makeup of a game rained out in early June, Pineda (3-2) gave up a solo shot to Mike Moustakas leading off the third inning. But that was about it in Pineda’s third game back from the disabled list. He struck out five without a walk.

Jacoby Ellsbury drove in a run in the seventh inning with the 1,000th hit of his career, then added a two-run homer in the ninth. Derek Jeter added a pair of RBIs in his final scheduled trip to Kauffman Stadium, and Stephen Drew and Martin Prado had solo home runs.

“It’s nice when you have a lot of people contribute,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

James Shields (12-7) allowed six runs over 6 2-3 innings for Kansas City.

“We’ve been playing really, really good baseball the last month or so. We’re definitely not going to let just one little game take care of us,” Shields said. “We’re going to move onto this next series and hopefully we’ll win it.”

If you’re willing to count the makeup against New York as a true series, it was the first time in their last 11 that the Royals have dropped one.

“It’s going to happen,” outfielder Alex Gordon said. “We’ll bounce back. We’ll be OK.”

Derek Jeter Dan Glass Dayton MooreJeter, who is retiring after the season, answered a standing ovation as he stepped to the plate in the third inning with a groundout to shortstop that gave New York a 1-0 lead.

Moustakas tied the game with his 15th homer in the bottom half.

Drew gave the Yankees the lead back in the fourth with his home run, and they piled on four more runs off Shields in the seventh to put things out of reach.

The last of the runs was scored by Ellsbury, who came home on a sacrifice fly by McCann. Ellsbury initially was ruled out at the plate, but the call was overturned after a 2-minute video review showed his left leg sliding just under catcher Salvador Perez’s tag.

That was plenty of support for Pineda, who had gone through the ringer since his previous win. He served a 10-game suspension for getting caught with pine tar on his neck in a game against Boston, then landed on the DL with shoulder trouble that kept him out until mid-August.

Pineda was stuck with a pair of no-decisions in his first two starts back.

“I feel pretty good,” he said. “I feel like I have good power in my arm.”

BRONX BOMBERS: The Yankees homered at least three times in a game for the seventh time this season, but it was the first time they had done it since July 9 at Cleveland.

CRACKED SHIELDS: Speaking of homers, Shields gave up at least two in a game for the seventh time this season, tied for second-most in the majors behind the Brewers’ Marco Estrada with nine.

TRAINER’S ROOM: 1B Mark Teixeira (left hamstring) and OF Brett Gardner (right ankle) were held out of the starting lineup. Girardi hopes both will be available Tuesday in Detroit.

UP NEXT: RHP Brandon McCarthy makes his ninth start with the Yankees to open a three-game series in Detroit, one of the clubs they’re chasing in the AL wild-card race.

Associated Press photos

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Postgame notes: “Operating on a pretty thin line”08.20.14

David Robertson

Dave Robertson had not allowed a home run his past 27 games. He hadn’t allowed a hit since August 2. He still has baseball’s longest active streak of consecutive saves converted.

But even the best relievers have bad nights, and right now the Yankees aren’t able to make up for those inevitable stumbles.

“Those bullpen guys have been operating on a pretty thin line,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Tonight, we weren’t able to get it done. But David’s been about as good as you could be.”

Tonight was not one of those nights. Robertson walked the first two batters he faced and at one point threw seven straight balls, four to walk Jose Altuve and three to fall behind 3-0 against Chris Carter. He found the strike zone with his next pitch. The distance on Carter’s home run was a pretty good indication of just how badly Robertson missed his spot.

“Trying to make a good pitch down and away,” Robertson said. “Instead I threw it right into his bat path and he put it 30 rows deep. It stinks when (the count is) 3-0 that happens, but if a make a good quality pitch, maybe I get a groundball double play. … When you’re not making quality pitches and you’re not throwing the ball where you want to, you’re not going to get outs. I struggled out there tonight, and I blew it for our team.”

He did, and in a vacuum this game might be all about a good reliever having a bad night. But the Yankees offense came down to two big hits tonight: Brian McCann’s two-run homer and Martin Prado’s two-run double. Ultimately, it was more of the same. Another night when the Yankees had a chance to take control of the game, but when their pitching staff slipped up, there was no offense to pick up the slack. The Yankees were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

“I thought we hit some balls pretty decent, but we didn’t get too many hits,” Girardi said. “Prado got the lone hit, I think, with runners in scoring position. I think to win you have to do a better job in those situations.”

Chris Capuano, Joe Girardi• A lot of really close pitches for Robertson in that ninth inning. The crowd here at Yankee Stadium seemed to groan with every ball believing so many of them could have been strikes. “That’s the game,” Robertson said. “Sometimes you get those (calls), sometimes you don’t. It changes from day to day with different umpires. I went and looked them. They’re close. I’m not going to say they’re dead giveaway strikes, though.”

• No surprise to anyone that Carter was swinging away on a 3-0 pitch. “You know that he’s swinging there,” Girardi said. “You can’t just groove one. I’m sure that if he had it back – he wasn’t trying to throw it there – (but) it’s just kind of the way the night went for him.”

• With one out and Jacoby Ellsbury at third base in the eighth, the Yankees had Ellsbury running on contact. When Carlos Beltran hit a ball sharply right to the shortstop, Ellsbury was out easily at the plate. “You’re looking at the speed you have at third, the lead he can get, and it’s got to be hit hard at one of the infielders (for him to be out),” Girardi said. “The chances are that (small). A step to his right, a step to his left, he scores. That’s the chance we’re going to take with one out.”

• Actually thought Chris Capuano was perfectly good again. Found up getting away from him in the sixth, but this was the first time since joining the Yankees that he failed to pitch through the sixth, and he gave the team a chance to win. He’s been a perfectly fine fifth starter. Tonight he matched a season-high with eight strikeouts. He has 28 strikeouts and only three walks over his last four starts.

• Capuano on his start: “My command wasn’t as sharp as I would have liked it to have been in those last two innings. I started leaving some balls over the middle. Still in the sixth inning there with one out and nobody out, 2-2 game. I had a good chance to get through that inning, and Dominguez pulled his hands in and did a good job on a 2-2 pitch. I wasn’t able to get the lefty behind him, so it really came down to those last two batters in the sixth for me.”

Chase Headley, Martin Prado• It’s getting to the point of having no new questions to ask these hitters. They all recognize what’s going on, and if they had answers, things would be different. “We’ve got to score more runs,” Mark Teixeira said. “We’ve had two-run leads, but to get a two-run lead in the (fourth) inning doesn’t mean much. You’ve got to keep adding on.”

• And here’s further recognition of an obvious problem: “We came together in spring training and expected to have a little more thunder,” Teixeira said. “We’re a little bit different team than we were to start the season, and we just haven’t really had that power.”

• I mentioned on Twitter before the game that there were a ton of guys on the field for early batting practice today — I’d say there’s usually two or three, today there were at least eight that I counted. “Our guys come to work every day,” Girardi said. “They work at their trade and they work really hard and they grind it out and they try to get better every day. That’s all you can really ask from them. Sometimes it works really well and sometimes it doesn’t and it’s been inconsistent this year. I think we had seven or eight guys hit early today.”

• Brian McCann has homered in three of his last four home games. He has hit 12 of his 14 home runs at Yankee Stadium this year.

Ichiro Suzuki• Although he was brutal on the road trip, Ellsbury returned home to have a three-hit game. He’s hitting .464 in his past eight home games. He’s hitting .328 at home this season.

• This was the second time this season that Robertson allowed more than two earned runs. Also only the third time this season that he allowed two or more walks. The only other time he did both was that June 1 letdown against Minnesota.

• If you’re scoring at home, the Yankees have now lost six of their past eight games. Could say they’ve won two out of three, but losing six of eight seems to paint a more accurate picture of what’s going on right now.

• Girardi said David Phelps saw Dr. Ahmad during the game, and Girardi wasn’t sure about the plan for Phelps going forward. Indications are, so far, that Phelps feels fine and expects to keep throwing. Might have a more definitive plan tomorrow.

• Final word to Teixeira: “Two days ago we were talking about a two game win streak and going on a run. We’re not going to let one game get us down too much. Pretty sure we’re still in the race, we just need to score more runs and win more games.”

Associated Press photos

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Yankees postgame: McCarthy outpitches Scherzer08.04.14

Brandon McCarthy

Brandon McCarthy has started five times since coming over from Arizona and he’s now 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA after this 2-1 win over the Central-leading Tigers.

This is the first time in his career that he has won four straight starts.

“He’s been huge for our rotation,” Joe Girardi said. “… He’s meant a lot. He’s come over here and pitched as well as he could.”

McCarthy allowed an unearned run and five hits and two walks while striking out eight over 5 2/3 innings. He threw 116 pitches, and 50 of them came in keeping Detroit scoreless over the first two innings.

“I know this is a big series and I know what they’re throwing at us this series,” McCarthy said. “I took that as a challenge.”

Detroit is throwing the last three AL Cy Young winners at the Yankees in the first three games of this four-game series, the first time three consecutive Cy Young winners will have faced a team in three straight games. Max Scherzer, the 2013 winner, gave up two runs in the third and nine hits overall in his seven-inning start.

“We know how talented their starting rotation is, but they’re not always going to have their perfect stuff,” Girardi said.

Jacoby Ellsbury went 2 for 22 on the trip, then went 2 for 3 with a sac fly in this one. The sac fly, with the bases loaded and nobody out, came on an outrageous grab in left-center by Ezequiel Carrera, who went sprinting back and then dove. The ball stuck in the heel of his glove as he landed on the warning track.

I asked Ellsbury about it and he said, “It was a spectacular catch. I don’t know if I’ve seen a better catch this year. It saved most likely three runs.”

Mark Teixeira was scratched with lightheadedness that resulted in IV treatment. Girardi hopes he will be able to play Tuesday night when David Price is the Detroit starter. Chase Headley ended up making his first career start and third appearance at first.

“I hope it’s just a weird one-day thing,” Teixeira said. “It could’ve been a bug. It could’ve been food poisoning. It could’ve been a lot of things. It knocked me on my tail at little bit.”

David Robertson pitched for the third straight day for the first time this season, throwing a perfect ninth with two Ks to nail down his 30th save in 32 chances. He has converted 18 straight.

It enabled the Yankees to move to 9-6 in their last 15 games, all decided by two runs or less. The 15-game streak extended the franchise record. It’s the longest two-runs-or-less streak in the majors since the the 1975 Orioles had 16 straight games decided that way.

“As long as we win them, it’s OK,” Girardi said.

The Yankees are now one game back of the Blue Jays for the second wild card.

Here’s my Lohud.com/Journal News story on the game and the latest with Masahiro Tanaka and David Phelps.

Photo by The Associated Press.

 

 

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Pregame notes: Yankees expect Teixiera decision tomorrow07.24.14

Mark Teixeira

Joe Girardi said the Yankees will to make a decision tomorrow regarding Mark Teixiera. He’s either healthy enough to rejoin the lineup in a few days, or he’s hurt enough to go on the disabled list.

“It’s just seeing how he feels after three or four days (of rest),” Girardi said. “And then we’ll decide if we think it’s going to be in the near future that he would play, or if we’re going to need the 15 days. If it’s going to be 12, 13, 14 days, it probably make sense to get a player.”

This is Teixeira’s fourth day off after getting that injection for his strained lat. Without him, the Yankees really don’t have a first baseman. Kelly Johnson was the backup, but now he’s on the disabled list, and Brian McCann has become the first base regular, but at some point Francisco Cervelli’s going to need a day off behind the plate.

“I’ve got like 11 other guys I can run out there,” Girardi said, either joking or making a fair statement about the fact one inexperienced guy is just as good as another. “I talked to Chase (Headley) about it. Chase said he would feel comfortable going over there. I would not be afraid to put Brendan Ryan there. I would not be afraid to put (Zelous) Wheeler there.”

But if Teixeira is going to be out much longer, the Yankees might as well add someone who gives more flexibility at first base. That could be bringing up a first baseman — I assume either Kyle Roller or Jose Pirela — or bringing up a catcher so that McCann can play first base full time for the time being.

“We’ll get through today,” Girardi said. “And we’ll probably have something tomorrow and we’ll make a decision.”

Derek Jeter• Michael Pineda’s scheduled simulated game was rained out, so he pitched inside and threw the equivalent of two innings. Not ideal, but the Yankees will move forward with his rehab schedule. In five days he’ll go three innings or 45-50 pitches. Girardi said he wasn’t sure whether that would be a sim game or an actual rehab assignment.

• Regular day off for Derek Jeter, and Girardi said it has nothing to do with ground ball pitcher Brandon McCarthy being on the mound. “It’s just kind of the way it goes,” Girardi said. “Day game (after a night game). If it was a night game, he probably would’ve played.”

• Would Girardi consider swapping roles by putting Cervelli at first base and using McCann behind the plate? “I could do that, (but) I’m not sure I would,” Girardi said. “Cervy’s next thing might be a day off. But right now he’s extremely energetic still and he has that in him.”

• Girardi wouldn’t go into detail about why he preferred Jacoby Ellsbury leading off and Brett Gardner batting second today, but he was also asked if he’s ever considered — given Ellsbury’s steals and Gardner’s surprising power — batting Ellsbury leadoff and Gardner third when the Yankees have a full lineup. “That I wouldn’t do,” Girardi said. “It’s just that Gardy’s really never hit in that spot. Jake is a guy that I feel I can move around because he has moved around, in a sense. I’ve toyed with different ideas. I won’t say the other day that I didn’t think about hitting Gardy (third). I thought that Jake might not be available to me that one day, maybe I do hit Gardy third, but I probably wouldn’t do it. But I said probably.”

• Just to be clear, the Yankees don’t expect Teixeira to play tomorrow, only that they’ll have a better idea about his health tomorrow. “I don’t think tomorrow’s the day,” Girardi said. “But obviously you want to feel that there’s progress and that he feels better and that he can start doing some stuff. We felt that we’d give him three days not doing much with treatment and we’d see where we’re at.”

• The Yankees are keeping their extra pitcher for today. Could lose a pitcher tomorrow to add a position player. Likely want to know what’s going on with Teixeira before making that decision.

• McCarthy has pitched well since coming to the Yankees, and he’s given some credit to the fact the Yankees are having him throw his cutter again. “I think guys want to feel like they have all their weapons,” Girardi said. “That was a big pitch for him. I know that when we faced him that was a huge pitch for him, and for him to get that back and feel comfortable with it would be really important.”

Associated Press photos

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Yankees postgame: Team finally does its home work well07.20.14

Zack Cozart, Skip Schumaker

The Yankees know they need to be more rude to their guests in the second half. They have an AL-high 37 home games left. In the first half, they were just an 18-23 home team.

“We’re going to have to win at home,” Brian McCann said. “Our team is built for this ballpark. When we start to swing the bats better, we’re going to win more games.”

Now they’re 21-23 after this three-game sweep over the Reds to start a 10-game homestand out of the break.

“To be able to start off this way against a team that’s been playing well, that’s fighting for their division as well, I think it was real important,” Joe Girardi said.

Cincinnati put a bow on the sweep by giving the Yankees a gift run in the last of the ninth — McCann’s popup to shallow right that fell between three Reds and went for a single, scoring Jacoby Ellsbury from third to make it a 3-2 win.

“But I’ll take it, for sure,” McCann said.

“I thought I was under it and I was not,” first baseman Todd Frazier said.

Manager Bryan Price was looking at second baseman Skip Schumaker and right fielder Jay Bruce.

“Certainly I think it was a miscommunication in the sense that I’m sure Jay and Schumaker both thought the other was going to catch it,” Price said.

For all their rotation injuries, the Yankees’ starters are doing OK. They have given up three earned runs or less in each of their last eight games. They are 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA in this stretch.

“Right now, these guys are getting it done for us,” Girardi said.

The only original starter left, Hiroki Kuroda, sure did in this start, allowing one unearned run and three hits in 6 2/3.

“He was awesome — again,” McCann said.

Dellin Betances wasn’t awesome for a change, surrendering the tying homer to Frazier in the eighth.

“I think we were all a little bit shocked when it happened,” Girardi said.

Betances said: “It was definitely frustrating, but I had faith that our team would come back.”

Ellsbury went 4 for 4, stole two bases and made a great catch in center.

“He showed all his tools today,” McCann said.

The Yankees finished interleague play at 13-7. Now injury-ravaged Texas comes in for four.

Photo by The Associated Press

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Yankees pregame: Teixeira, Ellsbury hurting07.02.14

Mark Teixeira and Jacoby Ellsbury aren’t in the lineup, and it isn’t just a typical day of rest.

Teixeira had his left knee drained after last night’s game. Joe Girardi said he expects him back for tomorrow night’s game in Minnesota.

“He’s been playing with a little fluid on it for a few days,” Girardi said.

Ellsbury isn’t feeling great in general, according to Girardi.

“Ells is just kind of beat up and needs a day off,” Girardi said. “He should be back in there tomorrow, too. He’s a little bit sore all over. So he needs a day. And a guy needs a day, he needs a day.”

The struggling offense loses the .288 bat and the speed of Ellsbury and its leading homer (15) and RBI (41) producer in Teixeira, but the Yankees still have to try to avoid a sweep by the Rays.

“It is what it is and someone else has got to come up with some big hits today,” Girardi said.

Girardi added this about the offense: “There’s no magic formula. Can I go, I don’t know, walk on my hands through the clubhouse? No, I can’t do that. It’s just continue to work and you keep throwing them out there. You try to give the guys that you believe are the most productive consistent at-bats and eventually it’s going to change.”

 

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Yankees pregame: “He’s a better player than even what I thought.”05.04.14

Jacoby EllsburyLet’s just say Jacoby Ellsbury has made a good first impression with the Yankees.

Besides the defense in center, the import from Boston is batting . 346 with 10 doubles, two triples, a homer, 14 RBI and 10 steals in 12 tries. He leads the AL with at least three hits in six games and has 11 multihit games. He’s 7 for 10 with two walks and two steals in this series.

Joe Girardi is enjoying the view every day as opposed to the occasional view from playing against the Red Sox.

“I think you see everything that he does on a daily basis as opposed to maybe seeing a great catch or a great jump on a ball in the outfield maybe once in a three-game series,” Girardi said. “But you get a chance to see him every day and what he’s capable of doing. He’s a better player than even what I thought.”

John Ryan Murphy is starting behind the plate to give Brian McCann a breather. Murphy is batting .313 with a homer and three RBI through his first seven games played after taking over the backup job for the injured Francesco Cervelli. Murphy has earned trust defensively as well.

“It really started last year when he came up in September, the job that he did for us behind home plate,” Girardi said. “Never seeing a young catcher get rattled is fairly unusual in a sense. … When I watch him back there, he’s calm. He knows exactly what he wants to do. He does the things that he needs to do. He frames pitches. He blocks pitches. He throws well. I think he calls a good game. He’s a real student of the game. And he puts up good at-bats. So it gave us a lot of confidence moving forward.

“When the season started, our plan was for him to go play every day and continue to get more at-bats and more reps under his belt. But with the injury to Cervi, that plan changed. It wasn’t that we didn’t think he was a big-league catcher when spring training broke. But we didn’t want him necessarily catching once every five or six days. We wanted to continue in his development. But that has to take place here now.”

Girardi said it’s “possible” Brendan Ryan could join the team Monday in Anaheim from his rehab assignment.

“I don’t think he needs much more,” Girardi said.

Photo by The Associated Press.

 

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Ellsbury steps into Yankees-Red Sox from the other side04.10.14

Jacoby EllsburyJacoby Ellsbury will get a whole new view of Yankees-Red Sox Thursday night at Yankee Stadium, the view that comes with playing in The Rivalry while wearing pinstriped clothing.

The Yankees center fielder will face his former team for the first time in the opener of a four-game series after being given 153 million reasons to switch sides in the offseason.

“You can think about it,” Ellsbury said before Wednesday night’s 5-4 loss to the Orioles, “but until it happens, you don’t know how it’s going to feel.”

Boston made Ellsbury a first-round pick in 2005 and brought him up two years later, and he won two rings with that team, including one last October. He went 0 for 4 in this last game, but he’s off to a nice start overall with his new team, batting .364 with four steals in five tries.

“I’m looking forward to it, but it’s just really another game,” Ellsbury said. “But I’m definitely looking forward to it. I try not to get into an emotional roller coaster. That’s just each and every game.”

Yet he added: “A good amount of time, a good portion of my life I spent with that organization. I gave them everything I had. I left it all on the field.”

Joe Girardi said: “I think it’ll be interesting for him. My thought process is, it’ll be a little bit more interesting when we go there.”

The Yankees gave Masahiro Tanaka 155 million reasons to sign here. He has been impressive with 18 Ks and one walk in 14 innings over his two starts so far. Here’s a link to my story about his start and the Yankees’ loss in the Baltimore series finale. And here’s my feature story on the rise of Yangervis Solarte and it’s complete with how he got his name.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 242 Comments →

Nova off to shaky start04.08.14

Ivan NovaSo what’s up with Ivan Nova?

He allowed seven earned runs and 10 hits over 3 2/3 innings in losing to the Orioles after walking five in 5 2/3 in his first start in Houston. Nova only gave up two runs in that game and was the winner, but in this game, he couldn’t minimize the damage and the Yankees ended up losing 14-5.

“I don’t feel good when you pitch that way with the good spring training that I had,” Nova said.  “It’s only the second time. I have plenty of time to fix it and get back to where I want to be.”

He had a problem with his curve, and his sinker was up. Nova said he needs to get his pitches down.

“I wouldn’t make too much out of two starts,” Joe Girardi said. “I know it’s glaring in the beginning. I know he’s more than capable of turning this around and being a big-time pitcher for us.”

There was a chance for Nova to get out of the first with no runs scored instead of three. But Derek Jeter couldn’t reach Delmon Young’s bouncing single for a double-play try.

“I know he tried the best to get the double play,” Nova said. “That’s the game.”

Despite struggling, Nova didn’t walk anyone. So Yankees starting pitchers haven’t walked a batter now in five straight games.

Francisco Cervelli got his first shot at first base. He admitted he missed one foul ball that he probably should have caught. But Girardi said he was OK with his work over there.

“He passed for me,” Girardi said.

So Cervelli could be another option vs. lefties with Mark Teixeira out.

Yangervis Solarte doubled twice, making the rookie third baseman the first player since 1900 with at least six doubles in the first seven games of his career.

Jacoby Ellsbury went 3 for 4 and is 12 for his last 22 after starting 0 for 7.

Alfonso Soriano hit homer No. 1 on the season and No. 407 for his career, tying Duke Snider for 50th on the all-time list.

I’ll have more on Masahiro Tanaka’s Wednesday night Bronx debut in the morning.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 238 Comments →

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