Phil Hughes, who was one of the most highly rated and one of most anticipated prospects in the Yankees’ minor league system before being called up in 2007, is now a Minnesota Twin after signing a three-year, $24 million contract with the small market team.
He should see more success with Target Field as his home park and pitching in the American League Central as he had 3.88 ERA in away games last season. His overall ERA was 5.19, and his ERA at Yankee Stadium was 6.32, which is the main reason that the Yankees did not offer him a qualifying offer.
Phil Hughes had a 4.54 ERA in 780.2 innings with the Yankees. That is the third highest ERA in team history among the 88 pitchers to throw at least 500 innings for the Bronx Bombers.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune said that the deal is expected to be announced this week. A physical is now the only thing that is preventing the deal from being official. Another stat that will help Hughes’s transition to Minnesota will be his 1.89 ERA in 71 1/3 innings against the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians, who are in the AL Central.
He showed some potential to be a number two or three starter earlier in his career, which is what the Twins are expecting him to duplicate away from the pressure cooker that surrounds the Bronx. As recently as the 2012 season, Hughes picked up 16 wins and had a decent 4.23 ERA in 191.1 innings. However, his best season as a starter came in 2010, where he was 18-8 as a 24-year-old, and had a 4.19 ERA in 176.1 innings. He was an All-Star that season after pitching much better in the first few months than after the All-Star break.
It is unfortunate that Hughes did not pitch a little better last season, since he was 4-14 and the Yankees missed the playoffs by 6.5 games. If he would have pitched a little closer to how he did in 2012 they might have made the playoffs or finished a game or two out of the Wild Card. If that would have happened they could have offered the qualifying offer and received a high draft pick in return. He likely would have declined the qualifying offer in this scenario.
Given his 3.88 ERA in away games there is a definite possibility that Hughes could become an All-Star again for the Twins. A.J. Burnett, who was a starter for the Yankees from 2009-2011, had an ERA of 5.15 for the Yankees in 2011, but the next season for the Pittsburgh Pirates he ERA was a very respectable 3.51. Hughes, who is nine years younger than Burnett, could follow a similar path as that of the former post-game pie thrower.
In other Yankees news, Brendan Ryan has been officially brought back to the team as a back-up shortstop. He received a two-year, $5 million contract with a club and player option for a third year. With incentives, this contract could be worth $10 million.
It is surprising that he was not given a one-year deal based on his very limited hitting ability. He only has a .217 average over his last four years. However, he is one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball and can be counted on to prevent runs defensively and be a suitable fill-in for Derek Jeter.
This contract signifies that the Yankees organization does not have much confidence in Eduardo Nunez. He had the opportunity to be the starting shortstop last season, as a result of Derek Jeter’s injury, but he was placed on the disabled list on May 12 because of soreness in his left rib cage. He also was rated highly as a minor leaguer, but has had a history of making too many errors and making plays that prove that he has a sub-par baseball IQ.
As of Saturday night, the 23rd day of November, the Yankees have officially made their first significant offseason acquisition. Brian McCann, who was a priority going into the offseason, has signed a 5-year, $85 million contract to be the team’s catcher. McCann, who will be 30 on February 20, has a deal that could be worth $100M with a 6th-year option.
Brian McCann had spent his entire nine-year career with the Atlanta Braves. Excluding the season when he was a rookie in 2005, he has played in at least 120 games in every season except this past season. He has slugged at least 20 homers in six straight seasons and in seven of the last eight seasons. He drove in a career-high 94 runs in 2009 and hit a career-high 24 home runs in both 2006 and 2011. His career batting average is also a very respectable .277, especially for a catcher.
McCann, who is originally from Georgia, has played in the All-Star Game in seven out of his nine seasons. It is basically seven out of eight since he only played in 59 games in his rookie season. He is the only Braves player who has been selected to the National League All-Star team in each of his first three full seasons. All-Star Game worthy production is not anything close to what the Yankees received last season from the combination of Austin Romine, Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli.
They are all catchers that are more suitable for a back-up role, but as a result of not re-signing Russell Martin after the 2012 season, Cervelli was the starter in the beginning until his injury, and then Stewart was the primary catcher. Romine played in 60 games, starting 43.
The three catchers combined to hit only eight homers, but as previously mentioned, McCann has six straight years of 20 homers. Cervelli, even though he received a 50-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal, could be the back-up catcher next season since the Yankees plan to tender a contract to Cervelli. Stewart is not expected to return to the Bronx Bombers.
This signing was very much needed and gives the Yankees a catcher they can rely on behind the plate. McCann might not be the defensive catcher that Stewart is, but McCann is an above-average pitch framer, according to Keith Law. Last season he had a .995 fielding percentage and threw out 24 percent of base stealers. His career-high was 30 percent in 2010. Stewart threw out 31 percent of base stealers last season and .997 fielding percentage. McCann definitely will not hurt the Yankees on defense and will greatly help them on offense.
Joe Girardi will now have a catcher who can help the Yankees behind the plate and in the batting lineup. McCann has also recently said that he is open to learning to play first base and playing DH if it will help his new team. That is perfect for the Yankees because Mark Teixeira usually doesn’t need many days off. The only position McCann played with the Braves is catcher.
Since this signing is out of the way, they can now concentrate on signing Carlos Beltran or bringing back Curtis Granderson in the outfield, as well as re-signing second baseman Robinson Cano.
Since the GM meetings just wrapped up in Orlando, FL, it makes sense that a lot of news has come about concerning who the Yankees are close to signing, will likely sign, or are rumored to sign.
Brandan Ryan, who played in 17 games for the Yankees in September after being acquired from the Mariners on September 10 as a result of injuries, said that he liked his time with the Yankees and is interested in returning. He was not eligible to play in the postseason since he came to the team after August 31. Ryan, who will be entering his eighth season after playing for the St. Louis Cardinals and Marines, is an excellent defensive shortstop but a weak hitter. According to Joel Sherman, Ryan is “close” to re-signing for a low contract with the Yankees and would not prevent them from signing a better player like Stephen Drew or Johnny Peralta.
Bringing back Ryan would make sense if the are able to sign Peralta as well. Since the Yankees need to prepare for Alex Rodriguez being suspended for the whole season, even though the ruling might not come until the end of December, the Yankees can’t have the situation repeat itself where they virtually got zero production from third base before Rodriguez returned from his injury. Ryan would make sense to have as a defensive back-up to Derek Jeter at shortstop, and Peralta, who can play shortstop and third base, is a reliable fielder and is coming off an All-Star campaign.
Peralta received a 50-game Biogenesis suspension, which started on August 5, but he has served his time and is now a desired free agent. The Mets are interested in him as well, after having a secret meeting with him on November 13, which makes it necessary for the Yankees to act swiftly so they are not beaten to him by their cross city rivals. After only playing in 107 games in 2013, Peralta had a .303 average, 11 homers, 53 RBI and 50 runs scored. His career high in homers is 24 and his career high in RBI is 89. His price tag will likely be driven down since he is coming off of a suspension.
The Yankees are also interested in Kendrys Morales, who has had a number of solid seasons for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Mariners. As of November 13, he is the most recent free agent to join their list of targets which includes Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, among others. Morales hit 23 homers and 80 RBI in the pitcher friendly Safeco Field last season, but he might be most remembered for hitting a game winning grand slam on May 29, 2010 and following that by stomping on home plate during the celebration which caused him to fracture his lower left leg. This foolish injury would end his season and would cause him to miss the 2011 season as well because of complications from the injury.
Morales, if signed, would be a DH and back-up to Mark Teixeira at first base. However, a more important signing is that of Brian McCann. After not brining back Russell Martin after the 2012 season (Martin helped the Pirates reach the playoffs for the first time since 1992) the combination of Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine and Chris Stewart left a lot to be desired offensively from the catcher position. Stewart, who had been a back-up catcher in previous seasons, played in 109 games and had a .211 average with only four homers. The lackluster season was not really his fault because he was in a position that he was not suited for.
If the Yankees sign McCann they will be solid defensively behind the plate and would drastically improve offensively. He has hit 20 or more homers in every season since 2008 and has very respectable .277 average for his nine-year career. McCann, who is very intense, has not been the most durable recently since he only played 102 games last season and has not played in more than 128 games since 2010.However, besides the last two seasons, he has always played more than 120 games, which is solid for a catcher.
Romine, who played as the season progressed last season, would fill in well as a back-up to McCann. Jorge Posada, who was a great Yankee catcher who helped them win four World Series titles, said that: “Being here in the American League will help, having him DH and keeping him off his legs a little bit. I think that would be a great signing.”
The other player that the Yankees are going to heavily pursue in the coming days in Carlos Beltran. He would be able to be the third piece to an outfield that would also include Brett Gardner and Alfonso Soriano. That would make sense because if another outfielder was not signed they would be left with Vernon Wells or Ichiro Suzuki for the third spot, and they are both over the hill. According the Daily News, Beltran has at least six teams interested in him. Beltran is the top outfield free agent after finishing with 24 homers and 82 RBI and in 2012 at age 35 he slugged 32 homers.
Some negative news was revealed today as Masahiro Tanaka of Japan, who some scouts have said is better than Yu Darvish, will apparently not wind up in the MLB this season because talks between the MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball have hit a standstill regarding the new posting system. This hurts the Yankees since they need another solid pitcher since they currently have CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and unknowns after that. They need to hope that Hiroki Kuroda decides to come back to the team and not return to Japan and that Michael Pineda is healthy and pitches like he did for the Mariners as a rookie.
Now that the rival Red Sox have won the World Series, the Yankees can now fully concentrate on improving their team for next season by improving their talent level to make sure they are able to reach the postseason, and rebound from not making it this season after having 21 players land on the disabled list.
The first move of significance happened today as the Yankees brought back Derek Jeter on a 1-year, $12 million contract for 2014. Hal Steinbrenner agreed to give Jeter more money because of Jeter’s reputation. Jeter, who only played 17 games last season because of three different stints on the disabled list, made $17 million last season, and will be make $5 million less this season. However, he will be making $2.5 million more than if he would have accepted the $9.5 million player option that was on the table.
If anybody deserves a pay upgrade from the player option it is Derek Jeter. He is a future Hall of Famer, has 3,316 career hits, a 13-time All-Star, has always handled himself the right way and has repeatedly come through in clutch situations. It does also make sense that he is making $5 million less than he did last season based on being another year older, he will be 40 in the middle of next season, and that he is coming off of an injury filled season. He will now be able to do his normal offseason workout routine that he was not able to do last offseason based on fracturing his ankle in the 2012 ALCS. This could help him come close to performing like he did in the 2012 regular season.
The Yankees now need to concentrate on preventing Robinson Cano from going to a different team in free agency, as well as signing the 25-year-old Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and Brian McCann. It would also make sense for the Yankees to offer Curtis Granderson the 1-year, $14 million qualifying offer. He might receive more money from another team, but the Yankees should want him back for that amount of money because he is great in the clubhouse and he led all of baseball in homers between the 2011 and 2012 seasons (84 homers).
According to Andrew Marchand, their top free agent targets include, Cano, Tanaka, McCann and Carlos Beltran.
If they can sign Cano to a seven-year contract for about $180-190 million then they should obviously do that. They should not go any longer than seven years because Cano will be 38 at the end of the deal, and he would definitely lose production after that. Even though he doesn’t always hustle to first, his overall power numbers and ability to make all of the plays at second base outweighs his base-running. He is coming off a season where he batted .314, hit, hit 27 homers and drove in 107 RBIs. He has shown great durability throughout has career as he has not missed more than two games in any season since 2007.
The Rangers will apparently not bid on Cano and the Dodgers have just signed a Cuban second baseman so they will not be interested. Possible teams include the Tigers, Nationals, Cubs and Orioles. The Yankees need to make sure not to bid against themselves like they did for A-Rod.
In regards to Tanaka, the Yankees need to take the risk of signing him because they will be losing Andy Pettitte to retirement and likely Hiroki Kuroda as well. Phil Hughes will not be back based on his horrible 5.19 ERA from the 2013 season. A scout has said that Tanaka is better than Yu Darvish, who has a 3.34 ERA for the Rangers in two seasons since coming over from Japan.
The posting fee would likely be $60 million, but that would not count against the salary cap. He is coming off a season in Japan where he won 24-0 with a dominating 1.27 ERA. Tanaka, who is 25, would combine with Ivan Nova and CC Sabathia to form an imposing top three in the rotation. It is important for the Yankees to add an impact pitcher and also to add one that can make up for the Kai Igawa acquisition that did not pan out.
Even though McCann has some durability issues, as he has played 102, 121 and 128 games respectively the last three years, he would be a significant signing based on his power and passion for the game. McCann, who will be 30 on February 20, has hit at least 20 homers in every season since 2008. The Yankees could be in good shape if Austin Romine plays 30-40 games as the back-up catcher.
The Yankees also need to add another third baseman, outfielder and relief pitcher. This will be an important off-season for Brian Cashman and he needs to not strike out on signings like he did last off-season.
Joe Girardi signed a four-year, $16 million dollar contract extension on October 9. This will make him the second highest paid manager after Mike Scioscia, who is the manager of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Schiocia’s contract pays him about $5 million a season.
It is a positive sign for the Yankees that he accepted their contract and did not hold out to see what the Cubs or Nationals would offer him at the end of October when his previous contract expired. He has proven that he has been able to manage talent since he led the team to win the World Series in 2009, and also is able to manage well during adversity since the team had a total of 21 players spend time on the disabled list, some more than once, while handling the situation with the media well during the Alex Rodriguez biogenesis controversy and in turn guiding the team to a respectable 85-77 record based on everything the team went through.
The Yankees were remarkably only one game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second wild-card spot on September 12. They would have 15 games left in the season and the lack of talent would catch up with them. However, Girardi was able to lead the team to be in great position to make the playoffs with two weeks to go even though Derek Jeter only played 17 games, Mark Teixeira only played 15 games and Curtis Granderson only played in 61 games.
Before Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez returned to the lineup in August, Lyle Overbay had to hit cleanup for much of the season. The Yankees were counting on players such as Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner to perform offensively for them. They hit better than expected in April and then faded after that. This proves how Girardi was able to mix and match with a lineup that lacked major league talent for much of the season.
Chris Stewart, who had always been a back-up before this season, was the starter for the Yankees, which proves the lack of talent they had at the catcher position. Stewart did play well compared to previous seasons, but he faded down the stretch of the season based on playing in 42 more games than he had in any other season. Rookie Austin Romine showed some promise at the catcher position.
Further proving that Girardi got the team to overachieve this season was that Jayzon Nix, Zoilo Almonte, Luis Cruz, Chris Nelson, Brent Lillibridge, Alberto Gonzalez and Melky Mesa all started games for the Yankees this season. Vernon Wells was even called on to play the ninth inning of a game at third base because of an injury to Eduardo Nunez. The Yankees were not expected to make the playoffs easily before the season started, but to be so close based on all of the injures and AAA players that had to play is a tribute to Giarardi’s managing.
Some criticize Girardi for going by his binder too much meaning that he decides on the pitcher that will come into the game or the hitter that will start too much on previous match-ups. He definitely should sometimes continue to play a streaky hitter or leave a starter in a few more batters. However, it is always possible that if the starter would have stayed in he would struggle based on too many pitches.
The Yankees obviously should not have been swept by the Mets or White Sox if their quest to reach the playoffs were to come to fruition. If they would have won two games against the Mets and White Sox that would have greatly increased their chance in September, but that is what happens when so many “second string” players were on the field. Girardi has his drawbacks, but at the end of the day, the team would have been worse of if the did not return.
He handled the return of A-Rod well, in addition to handling the retirement of Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte with poise and professionalism. He could not have made a better decision in the moment when he let Mariano Rivera’s longtime teammates and members of the Core 4, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte, take Rivera out of the game at Yankee Stadium for the final time. Here is video footage of the ceremony of Pettitte and Jeter coming to the mound.
Here is an interview that Jack Curry did with Joe Girardi and his wife after he signed the contract extension: http://web.yesnetwork.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=31139627
The 2-1 win by the Yankees over the Astros at Minute Maid Park gave Andrew Eugene Pettitte a win in his final start for the Yankees. It was the 256th win of his career and 219th with the Yankees (he pitched three seasons for the Astros). His 219 wins are the third most in the illustrious history of the Yankees.
It is only fitting that Andy Pettitte’s final Major League start came in Houston because that is where he is from. He actually lives in Deer Park, and Pettitte said that it is a 20-minute drive from Minute Maid Park. Pettitte said that he left tickets for 50 family and friends to attend this game. Tonight showed how much the city of Houston is behind Pettitte because he got a standing ovation in the eighth inning and again in the ninth inning.
After the game, Joe Girardi said that it was going to be Pettitte’s call when or if he came out of the game. In the ninth inning, with Chris Carter on first base, Giradi came to the mound to see if he had enough in him to get the final out, and Pettitte said he wanted to do it. He ended up allowing only five hits and one run in his final Major League start. It was his first complete game since a start in 2006 for the Astros.
He was able to induce the final two double plays of his career to go along with adding five more strikeouts. His strikeout of Brandon Barnes in the eighth inning was his 2,448th of his career. There were only two innings where the Astros had runners in scoring position, and the only run the Astros scored was on a groundout by Chris Carter.
The Yankees scored both of their runs in the sixth inning. Robinson Cano’s single to shallow right, which was one of his two hits, drove in Chris Stewart. That RBI was Cano’s 107th of the season. Eduardo Nunez scored what ended up being the winning run, as the Astros catcher, Matt Pagnozzi, spiked the ball into the ground as he was trying to throw to second allowing Nunez to score from third.
He finished with 275 wins when you combine his wins from the regular season and the postseason. His 19 playoff wins are the most in MLB history. He has pitched 67.2 innings more in the postseason than the second place finisher, John Smoltz, but it is impressive that he has not let the increased pressure of the playoff games get to him.
One of his best games of his career came in Game 5 of the ’96 World Series where he out-dueled John Smoltz. This was his second season and in a match-up against Smoltz he allowed only five hits in a game the Yankees would win 1-0. 1996 would be the first of Pettitte’s five World Series championships.
Pettitte is retiring after 18 seasons pitched in the major leagues, 15 for the Yankees and three for the Astros. The win on Saturday night had added significance because it meant that he never had a record below .500 in any of his 18 seasons (11-11 this season). He is the only pitcher in baseball history to pitch at least 15 seasons and not have one season under .500. He finished with a career record of 256 and 153 and a 3.85 ERA. The high ERA and admitted PED usage might keep him out of the Hall of Fame but he would be worthy based on his other numbers.
In his final 10 starts this season, Pettitte had a remarkable 1.94 ERA. His cutter was on point during the whole game. It is fitting that during his final start he had a season-high of 116 pitches since he always wanted to do all he could to get the Yankees a win and that is exactly what he did in this start. He is one of the best competitors in baseball history and that is what he did up until the very end.
Mariano Rivera announced before Saturday’s game that he will not pitch or play the outfield in Sunday’s game. He thought that based on his performance and ceremony during Thursday’s game at Yankee Stadium that that was a perfect way to go out. There were rumors of him getting a few innings in centerfield as he has often put on a show in batting practice but he has developed an injury based on his increased usage to end the season.
However, even though it would have made sense for two of the great winners in MLB history to make the playoffs in their final season, it is great that Rivera and Pettitte were both able to end their careers pitching well.
The Yankees lost to the San Francisco Giants 2-1 Sunday afternoon effectively ending the slim hopes they had of getting a wild-card spot. They are now four games back with six games left to play.
They got vintage performances from Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, who both did all they could to get a win for the team during Pettitte’s last start at Yankee Stadium and the day where there was an hour-long ceremony for Rivera before the game, but the offense was not able to come through in clutch situations.
Andy Pettitte, who will likely fall just below qualifying for the Hall of Fame based on his 3.86 career ERA and admitted PED usage, is one of the best pitchers in Yankees history. Pettitte’s 19 wins are the most in playoff history and has been able to come with clutch performances repeatedly throughout his great career. He has pitched in three All-Star Games in his career but has never won a Cy Young award. Pettitte had eight seasons where he won 15 or more games on his way to 255 career wins (as of now). He has won 102 more games than he has lost. During yesterday’s game, he pitched seven excellent innings while only allowing two runs.
Mariano Rivera, who was honored before the game with a live singing of “Enter Sandman” by Metallica will obviously be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a result of being the best closer in baseball history. The Yankees retired his number 42 (he will be the last player to wear the number) before the game with his wife and three sons right next to him. Also in attendance were Jackie Robinson’s widow Rachel Robinson and his daughter, as well as some of his former teammates including Hideki Matsui, David Cone, Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neil, Jorge Posada and Jeff Nelson. Some of the gifts from the Yankees to Rivera included a custom-designed Watorford Crystal of his glove from 2013 that even included his signature and “Phil:13″ that he has written on it, a $100,000 check to the Mariano RIvera foundation, a baseball-bat rocking chair and a watercolor artwork by a San Francisco artist depicting Rivera’s appearance at AT&T Park on June 22, 2007. Rivera pitched 1.2 scoreless innings while only allowing one hit.
The game would have been even more special if Pettitte would have been able to have been awarded a win and Rivera a save but at least they did their part. Pettitte took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and the first hit that he allowed was Ehire Adrianza’s first career homer. In the top of the eighth, Pettitte allowed a lead off double to Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval, which prompted Joe Girardi to bring in David Robertson. Tony Abreu hit a double off of Abreu, which accounted for Pettitte’s second earned run. With one start left, in Houston, Pettitte is in danger of finishing under .500 for the season for the first time in his career.
Holding the Giants to only two runs should have been enough to win the game on Mariano Rivera Day, but the Yankees did not convert with runners in scoring position in four different innings. In the seventh inning, the Yankees had an opportunity to put multiple runs on the board after having runners on second and third with one out, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells both struck out swinging. In the eighth inning, after Robinson Cano’s double put runners on second and third with no outs, Alfonso Soriano grounded into a fielder’s choice and Curtis Granderson struck out.
In the eighth inning, adding to the team’s bad luck was that Zoilo Almonte and Cano were both thrown out at home. Almonte was not even close. The only run that the Yankees scored was Mark Reynolds’s 20th homer of the season. In the past week, the Yankees have two losses to the Blue Jays and their loss yesterday to the Giants. They would still have a chance if they would have won those games against sub .500 teams.
It is unfortunate that Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte will not be able to play in the playoffs in their final season. Pettitte and Rivera have both won five World Series championships with the Yankees and Rivera has pitched in the playoffs with the Yankees every season from 1996 until 2011, except for 2008 when they missed the playoffs.
On Thursday night at the Rogers Centre, the Yankees (80-73) lost a game to the Blue Jays that they absolutely needed to win. They lost 6-2 and Joe Girardi, Joba Chamberlain and the offense are to blame. It was their second loss in three games in Toronto.
The Yankees are now 3.5 games out of the wild-card with nine to play, but before this series and the one against the Red Sox from September 13-15, they were only one game out of the second wild-card. They have gone 1-5 in their last six games, including the sweep in Boston, and this past week has effectively ended their chance of making the playoffs. During the past six games, they have not pitched or hit well as they have allowed five or more runs four times and scored three or fewer runs four times.
The Yankees should have been able to rebound from the series in Fenway by sweeping the Blue Jays, but they obviously did not have it in them to win three straight against a last place team not playing for anything. On Tuesday, in the game that they lost 2-0, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey threw seven shutout innings against the Yankees offense. However, the truly inexcusable game was the one earlier tonight.
Hiroki Kuroda, who allowed three runs, including a bumpy third where he gave up three hits, two walks and two runs, can’t be blamed because he kept the team in the game by recording seven strikeouts. However, the offense should have been able to score more than two runs off of a decent rookie starter in Todd Redmond and the Blue Jays bullpen.
They only runs that they scored were a homer in the sixth inning that went above the bullpen by Curtis Granderson (his seventh of the season) and a ground out to second by Vernon Wells with the bases loaded in the ninth inning. It appeared that they would score a few runs in the ninth to make it interesting but Wells grounded out and Lyle Overbay weakly grounded out to first.
Robinson Cano gave the team a scoring opportunity in the top of the fourth after hitting a ground rule double with one out. However, he was stranded at second since Alfonso Soriano and Wells struck out and popped out, respectively. Soriano would have been safe at second with a double in the second inning if he would have been running hard the whole time. On Tuesday, Soriano was the one who said that the Yankees needed to have more energy.
The move that truly made no sense was bringing in Joba Chamberlain in the bottom of the seventh. The Yankees were only losing 3-1 at the time, and Chamberlain should not be brought into any games that are within four runs. He has been that unreliable this season. Giaradi could have left Kuroda in or brought in Shawn Kelly, David Phelps or Casar Cabral, but decided to bring in Chamberlain even though he had allowed runs in three of his previous five outings.
True to form, Chamberlain only faced three hitters and allowed a walk, a single and then a three-run homer to the dangerous Adam Lind for his 22nd of the season. It doesn’t make any sense that Girardi has continued to have confidence in Joba.
The Yankees have been essentially eliminated from the postseason while still having a mathematical chance of making it. They will have to win the rest of their nine games and then receive help from other teams.
They start their six-game home stand with three games against the San Francisco Giants, who are nine games below .500, but are 7-3 in their last 10 games. After the series against the Giants, they play three at home against Tampa and then conclude the season in Houston.
The Yankees, who are currently 2.5 games behind the Texas Rangers for the second wild-card spot, play the first of three games in Toronto against the last place Blue Jays tonight at 7:07 p.m. The Yankees are 13-3 against the Blue Jays this season.
The Tampa Bay Rays, who currently have the first wild-card spot, and the Rangers are seemingly doing all they can do allow Mariano Rivera to have a chance of pitching in the postseason during his final season as they are limping to the finish line. This can especially be said for the Rangers who have lost seven games in a row while not holding a lead in any of those games. Since August 29, the Rays have won seven games and lost a grand total of 11 games.
It obviously would have helped the Yankees if they would not have been swept by the Red Sox over the weekend, but Cleveland and Texas both lost last night while they were idle, which helped them gain ground without playing. To have a chance of making up the 2.5 games in the final 12 games they will have to sweep the Blue Jays and have help from the teams ahead. They will have to go 10-2 or better, which is possible because besides the Rays, they play two last place teams (Toronto and Houston) and a team that is half-a-game ahead of last place (San Francisco).
Some of the help they need is for the Rays to sweep the Rangers, which is possible because of the rapid downward spiral that the Rangers are on, because the Yankees play the Rays for three games in their second to last series of the season. The Red Sox will start a series against the Orioles tonight and the Yankees will be rooting for Boston once again because the Orioles half-a-game ahead of them in the standings.
Andy Pettitte, who has been the team’s most reliable starter of last, and has pitched in many must win games over the course of his great career, will get the start for the Yankees tonight at the Rogers Centre. He has a 3.55 ERA in away games this season and against the Blue Jays his ERA is 1.77 in 20.1 innings. The Blue Jays, who have underperformed based on many preseason predictions, have lost five of their last six games.
R.A. Dickey, who won the N.L. Cy Young last season, has pitched well against the Yankees this season. He has struggled in his last two starts, but Dickey does have a 3.38 ERA in 21.1 innings against the Bronx Bombers this season. This will be Dickey’s fourth start against the Yanks this season, so it is crucial that the offense is able to figure out his knuckleball this time.
The offense struggled during the weekend series in Boston, as they scored a combine seven runs, but Alfonso Soriano does come into the series hitting .363 in his past three games. Also, the Yankees have some good news as Alex Rodriguez is back in the lineup after having to leave Sunday’s game because of tightness in his right calf. He will DH for the foreseeable future.
The Yankees will have to overcome the injuries to Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner, which will likely keep both of them out for the rest of the season.
Phil Hughes (4-13, 5.07 ERA) will pitch on Wednesday and Hiroki Kuroda (11-11, 3.13 ERA) will get the start on Thursday.
Mariano Rivera will make his final career appearance at the Rogers Centre. They will honor him before Thursday’s game.
The Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-4 on Wednesday night at Camden Yards behind 6.1 solid innings from Andy Pettitte. He allowed three runs and nine hits and struck out three Orioles. However, like he has been able to do so many times in his career, Pettitte was able to induce a double play when he needed one. They were led offensively by Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson.
The win, as are all the ones they get for the rest of the season, was a needed one for the Yankees since the Indians and obviously the Orioles lost. As of now, the only team the Yankees have to jump is the Tampa Bay Rays, who have lost seven of their past 10 games.
Luckily for the Yankees, Andy Pettitte is getting better as the season has progressed since his ERA was 4.71 on August 5 and is now 4.04. He has allowed three runs or less in all of his last seven starts and is not pitching like 41-year-old. In the sixth inning, Pettitte got J.J. Hardy to hit into a double play to end the frame.
Shawn Kelley got the final two outs of the seventh, which continued his bounce back from allowing two runs in a loss to the Orioles on September 1. Even though he allowed a run in Tuesday’s game against the Orioles, the Yankees were still able to get the win and he got the hold. David Robertson, who has been one of the best relievers in baseball this season, allowed two hits and recorded a strikeout in a scoreless eighth inning. He is on track to being the closer next season after Mariano Rivera retires.
Rivera, recorded his 43rd save of his final season, but he did allow a run in his third of his last four appearances. He allowed a rare double to Nate McLouth because it is not often that somebody will hit a ball over the speedy Brett Gardner in center. After Brian Roberts singled to drive in McClouth, Manny Machado struck out to end the game. There is still nobody the Yankees would count on more to end the game than Rivera. It could be that his increased usage of late is getting to him.
One of the offensive stars for the Yankees was Robinson Cano, He hit his 27th homer to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead in the ninth while also driving in Brett Gardner on a ground out to the shortstop in the first. Cano had two hits and his homer was his 100th RBI of his season. His homer was one of three that the Yankees slugged in the win over Buck Showalter and the Orioles.
Curtis Granderson (.248) hit a deep homer to right in the fifth inning to pull the Yankees within a run of the Orioles. It was his fifth homer of the season in 45 games played. Granderson was the only player on the team besides Cano to record two hits. He is hitting .333 in his last nine at-bats, which is obviously a small sample size, but the Yankees need him to continue that level of production.
Alex Rodriguez hit the other home run for the Bronx Bombers. His solo homer to right in the sixth inning tied the game. That home run gave him 653 for his career. He is now eight homers away from passing Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time homer list. However, A-Rod’s homer total is obviously tainted.
The Yankees will try for the series win on Thursday against the Orioles. If they win their third game in a row against Baltimore, on Thursday night, it will make sweeping the upcoming series less crucial. The Yankees always want to beat the Red Sox, but after that series, nine of their last 12 games are against last place teams.