Yankees traded Francisco Cervelli to the Pirates for a reliever who can have an impact


Francisco Cervelli

Francisco Cervelli

On Wednesday, 11/12, the Yankees traded back-up catcher Francisco Cervelli to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Justin Wilson, who is a left-handed reliever.

After acquiring Chris Stewart and Russell Martin, Cervelli is now the third catcher that the Pirates have received who previously played for the Yankees since November of 2012. This trade makes a lot of sense for the Yankees because they receive a lefty who can have the role out of the bullpen that Boone Logan had from 2010-2012, Wilson is a lefty who throws in the mid 90s and struck out 61 batters in 60 innings last season for the Pirates.

Wilson, who is 27 and in the prime of his career, had a 4.20 ERA in 70 appearances. He has actually held right-handed hitters to an average of only .206 in his career. Wilson is 9-5 with a 2.99 ERA in 136 appearances during his three seasons. He played college baseball at Fresno State University and was named to the College World Series All-Tournament Team in his junior season.

It makes sense that the Yankees traded Francisco Cervelli because they had an excess of back-up catchers with him on the roster. Austin Romine and John Ryan Murphy both have experience being the back-up catcher with the Yankees for periods of time, and Cervelli was able to get back more in a trade than Romine or Murphy would have been able to. The Yankees were able to deal from a deep position and get back a potentially reliable lefty reliever, which they lacked since Logan signed with the Colorado Rockies.

Briann McCann’s contract with the Yankees lasts for the next four seasons, so there was no point in having a more expensive back-up catcher in Cervelli. He is second-year arbitration eligible and has a career average of .278 after hitting .301 with two homers last season. Cervelli is already 28, so it makes much more sense to have a cheaper and younger back-up catcher.

Murphy has proven to be more talented than Romine, who is more known for his defense. It is not known which way the Yankees will go, and it is still possible one of them could be included in a trade for a shortstop, but Murphy would make sense to start the year behind McCann. Murphy, who is 23 years old, was drafted in 2009, and made his debut with the Yankees as a September call up in 2013. He hit .154 in 26 at-bats in 2013, but played performed a lot better this past season.

In 2014, many of the 32 games that he appeared in were a result of Cervelli’s hamstring injury, and he played well offensively and defensively. In 81 plate appearances, which does not include his four walks, he hit .284, with four doubles, had one homer and drove in nine runs. Defensively, he caught 201 innings behind the plate, had 10 assists and only one error. He needs to work on throwing out base runners since he only retired two out of 12 runners, but that could improve since he threw out half of them in 2013.

Murphy’s claim to fame in his career so far has been being the catcher during Mariano Rivera’s final appearance with the Yankees. He was on the mound when Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte came out to take Rivera out of the game for the last time. This past season on April 26, the catcher formerly known as J.R., hit his first career home run against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Yankee Stadium. He also had his first multi-RBI game as he combined to drive in three runs.

He has a caught stealing percentage of 26 percent in the minors, and the league average in the majors for this past season was 27 percent. This is a good sign for Murphy, and he should be able to improve on his caught stealing percentage from this past season. The Yankees still have to get the David Robertson situation resolved and acquire a shortstop, among other needs, but this trade got rid of a player who wasn’t needed and added one who could have an impact next season.

Chris Young was worth bringing back as the fourth outfielder


Chris Young playing for the Yankees last season.

Chris Young playing for the Yankees last season.

On Sunday, the Yankees signed the 31-year-old outfielder Chris Young to a one-year contract that is worth $2.5 million. He will be able to make $3,825,000 more in performance bonuses based on plate appearances. He will earn $200,000 for 275 at-bats, $300,000 for 300 at-bats, $350,000 for 350 at-bats, 375,000 each for 375 and 400 and $475,000 for 450 plate appearances.

Young hit a combined .222 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs last season with the Mets and Yankees. However, in 23 games after being signed by the Yankees to a minor league contract on August 27, Young hit .282, with three homers, eight doubles and 10 RBIs. The eight doubles were only four fewer than he hit in 88 games with the Mets. His month with the Yankees included hitting a homer in three straight games and stealing home.

He is a career .234 hitter with 155 homers, 486 RBIs and 130 steals. In 2010, when he was an NL All-Star while playing in his fourth of seven seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, he hit .257 with 27 homers, 91 RBIs, 28 steals and 33 doubles. The Houston native will be the team’s fourth outfielder and was worth bringing back because if he can play the way he did in September he will give the Yankees a player off of the bench that the didn’t have in 2014.

In 2014, Ichiro Suzuki was the number four outfielder (and sometimes starter) and wasn’t able to supply the power numbers that Young will be able to. Ichiro’s .340 slugging percentage last season was the lowest among any Yankee outfielder with at least 300 plate appearances since Bill Robinson had a .281 slugging percentage in 1967. Ichiro had a solid .284 average last season, but only had one homer, 13 doubles and 22 RBIs. Young had eight doubles in only 23 games.

General Manager Brian Cashman had help from his analytical department in signing Chris Young and the signing was able to finalize the outfield for the 2015 season. He will be the fourth outfielder behind Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury.

(Analysts) Steve Martone and Mike Fishman pushed for me to sign Chris,” Cashman said. “They felt, from an analytical standpoint, his year wasn’t as bad as it played out, that there was a potential bounce-back situation with it. We signed him up on what we think is a fair-market value, fourth-outfielder type contract. We wanted a right-handed bat with power, which doesn’t exist much in the game anymore, it seems like. He fit that category.”

Young can play all three outfield positions, has a career .990 fielding percentage and when he is on he has a solid combo of speed and power. He adjusted well to his move from Queens to the Bronx and should be able to fill in if an injury happens. The Yankees just need him to play like he did in September and not like he did the previous five months.

He also allows the Yankees to get younger because he is 31 and has played eight MLB seasons while Ichiro is 41 and has played 14 MLB seasons after coming over from Japan.

Rob Refsnyder should be the starting second baseman for the Yankees in 2015


Rob Refsnyder in the minors.

Rob Refsnyder in the minors wit the Thunder.

Rob Refsnyder, the 23-year-old (he will be 24 in March) second baseman and right fielder who played in Double-A and Triple-A last season, should be the starting second baseman for the Yankees during the 2015 season.

He offers versatility since he played right field at the University of Arizona, but the Yankees drafted him to be a second baseman, and that is where he has played the majority of his games in the minors. In three seasons playing at Charleston, Tampa, Trenton and Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Refsnyder played 230 games at second, so he has enough experience at the position. After making 25 errors in his first season, he greatly improved defensively in 2014.

In 137 games combined between two levels in 2014, Refsnyder had a .318 average, 14 homers, 63 RBIs, nine steals and 82 runs scored. At AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he played in 77 games and had an impressive .300 average, eight homers, 33 RBIs, 41 walks and 19 doubles. In 64 games playing second base with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre he only had three errors, which helped lead to a .988 fielding percentage.

He can obviously handle pitching at AAA and deserves a chance to prove what he can do in the Bronx. Last season, the Yankees went primarily with veterans Brian Roberts and Stephen Drew at second base. That strategy didn’t work since they had one of the worse offensive years from the second base position out of any team last season.

If Refsnyder plays second, the primary position that the Yankees would have to upgrade would be shortstop. As a result of Derek Jeter’s retirement, the Yankees need to sign a relatively young player who can make the routing and web gem worthy play in the field and hit for some power. Hanley Ramirez is the best available option since he will turn 31 on December 23, and hit .283, drove in 71 runs and stole 14 bases last season.

The Yankees can’t bring back Drew next season based on how he performed last season. Drew had a 10.1M salary in 2013, and hit only .162 with 7 HRs and 26 RBIs.

Refsnyder, who was born in South Korea and was adopted by a couple in Southern California when he was three months old, should be able to handle playing second next season because he is not young for a prospect as he will turn 24 on March 26. He has experience playing in big games since he was named the College World Series Most Valuable Player after his University of Arizona team won the College World Series in 2012.

Martin Prado, who was acquired last season before the trade deadline for catching prospect Peter O’Brien and a player to be named later, played well last season in two months with the Yankees. In 37 games, Prado hit .316 with seven homers and 16 RBIs. He played in 17 games at second base and 12 games combined in the outfield. He only made one error in those 29 games. Prado would make sense as the back-up second baseman and starting right fielder with Jacoby Ellsbury in center and Brett Gardner in right.

Another reason that it would make sense for Refsnyder to be the second baseman is that the Yankees need to have more youth in the lineup because they mainly have players 30 or older. Refsnyder will not likely be injury prone, which is a plus, because Mark Teixeira, Chase Headley and Alex Rodriguez are all injury related question marks in the infield. A-Rod is officially back on the active roster after his 162-game suspension, and Headley is a player that Brian Cashman should resign.

Marcus Thames should be the next hitting coach for the Yankees


Marcus Thames when he played for the Yankees

Marcus Thames when he played for the Yankees

The Red Sox have recently hired Chili Davis as their next hitting coach. He previously did well as the hitting coach with the Oakland Athletics, since they scored the fourth most runs in baseball, played with the Yankees during the last two years of his career from 1998-1999 and would have been an ideal next hitting coach for the Yankees.

As of now, the hitting coaches that the Yankees should target should be Marcus Thames or James Rowson. They both have good reputations and have a few years experience as hitting coaches.

Rowson is currently the Yankees’ minor-league hitting coordinator. He has already interviewed for the position that has been vacant since Kevin Long was fired after the season. Rowson served as a hitting coach in the Yankees organization before leaving for the Cubs in 2012 when he took over as their hitting coach midway through that season. He left after the 2013 season to return to the Yankees.

Rowson knows New York well since he grew up in Mount Vernon, which is just outside of the Bronx, and went to high school at Mount St. Michael in the Bronx. He was drafted in the 9th round of the 1994 draft by the Seattle Mariners.  He is 38 years old so he will be able to relate well to the veterans and younger players on the team. He played five seasons in the minors with the Mariners and Yankees before retiring in 1997 at the age of 20. He played in an independent league when he was 21.

The candidate that would likely be a better choice is the 34-year-old Thames. He has more success in Major League Baseball and was the Double-A hitting coach at Trenton this season. This means that he has experience with many of the up and coming hitters and already likely has some experience with the established players on the Yankees.

Thames is from Louisville and was drafted by the Yankees out of Texas State University in the 30th round in 1996. He also went to East Central Community College in Decatur, Mississippi. He would play seven games for the Yankees in 2002 and then played for the Texas Rangers in 2003, the Detroit Tigers from 2004 to 2009, the Yankees again in 2010 and then his last season was with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011. In 2010, he hit 12 homers and had a career-high .288 average with the Yankees.

He had 115 homers, 301 RBIs and 83 doubles in his career mostly as a fourth outfielder. Thames averaged a home run every 15.4 at-bats and reached 100 homers in 1,549 at-bats which is few than any other player who has 100 homers. He also holds the Tigers franchise record for average at-bats per homer, at 14.8. He was in the Yankees minor league system from 1996 to 2001, so he knows what it takes to develop young hitters.

Thames helped Rob Refsnyder, who could be the second baseman (or the back-up second baseman) next season, retool his swing at Double-A. In 2013, the was the Yankees Single-A hitting coach in Tampa. A benefit with Thames is that he knows the young prospects well and will be able to make sure the continue to improve once they are called up.

He is also a young coach who has made a difference in his first few years, which is a pleasant change from Long because he was older and didn’t make much of a difference last season. A hitting coach doesn’t always make a huge difference, a new voice with new ideas could be the difference between making the playoffs and advancing to the next round.

The Yankees were 13th out of the 15 teams in the American League in runs scored in 2014, and Marcus Thames could make a difference with the players who underperformed such as Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. It will also be important for those three to stay healthy the whole season.

Derek Jeter had a memorable appearance on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Thursday


Derek Jeter was on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night. Since retiring on Sunday, Jeter has also done a sit down interview with Matt Lauer on the Today Show.

During the interview with Jimmy Fallon, Jeter talked about his new website, the Players’ Tribune, retiring his #2 jersey, how much playing for the Yankees meant to him, how his last game was like a funeral as well as other interesting topics. Jeter has been opening up a lot more recently. Fallon was at Jeter’s final home game at Yankee Stadium, and Jeter showed his sense of humor by how he was joking with Fallon about Fallon’s reaction to Jeter’s last at-bat. Jeter claimed that it was like he was at his own funeral during his final few games.

Below is the memorable interview with Jimmy Fallon:

Here are two of his new ventures: One is Derek Jeter Unfiltered with never before seen pictures and stories that give readers insight into his life that had not been known before, and the second is his new book called The Contract, geared for middle school students, that is based on the contract he had to sign for his parents in order to play sports.

In Derek Jeter’s final game, he was able to hit a single in a Yankees win


Jeter at Fenway Park.

Jeter at Fenway Park.

The Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 9-5 in Boston in Derek Jeter‘s final game in a Yankees uniform. He hit an infield RBI single in the third inning before he took himself out of the game and was replaced at first base by Brian McCann. He said that he wanted to go out after getting a hit and that’s exactly what he did.

It was fitting that his last hit of his career was a single because he had hit 2,594 singles before that in his career. He hit a ball that bounced high off of the plate and had to hustle to get to first. He drove in Ichiro Suzuki for the team’s third run of the game. He hustled to get to first so many times in his career, which makes it make sense that the last time he got on base was as a result of him giving all out effort.

“I told Ichiro to hit a triple, so he hit a triple,” Jeter said. In Jeter’s first at-bat, he hit a hard line drive that Jemile Weeks had to leap to catch and then he was able to drive in his 1,311th run in the third inning. Jeter finished his career with the sixth most RBIs in the storied history of the New York Yankees. Jeter was also able to accumulate 11 seasons with 190 or more hits.

Jeter realizes that some think less of him because of new sabermetric stats, which has led to criticism, but Jeter is happy to be remembered for the team he played for, his hustle, championships and consistency.

You want to be known as someone who had respect for the game, respect for your teammates, respect for the fans, respect for the media,” Jeter said in his final press conference. “I played the game hard. But for me, I’m happy being known as a Yankee. That is the only think I ever wanted to be – was a shortstop of the New York Yankees. Being remembered as a Yankee is good enough for me.”

The Yankees were also fittingly able to win Jeter final game. It was his 1,629 win as a Yankee. They won since the offense was able to score four runs off of Clay Bucholz and five runs off of reliever Craig Breslow.

Ichiro, in what might have been his last RBIs as a Yankee, tripled to deep center in the third to drive in Jose Pirela and Francisco Cervelli. For the fourth run of the inning, Mark Teixeira hit a sacrifice fly to center to drive in McCann.

In the seventh inning, Breslow allowed five earned runs without recording an out. After Cervelli and Chris Young both singled, Pirela doubled to center to send them both home. Eury Perez singled to left and then John Ryan Murphy singled to center to score Pirela for the seventh run.

Drake Britton came into before Austin Romine hit, but of the runs that he allowed were charged to Breslow. Romine doubled to deep left center to drive in Perez and advance Murphy to third, and then Chase Headley singled to right to score Murphy for the ninth run. In the later innings Joe Girardi had Murphy, Perez, Romine, Antoan Richardson and Brendan Ryan all come into the game.

Michael Pineda gave the Yankees one final dominating start before likely being the number two starter behind Masahiro Tanaka next season. Pineda pitched 6.1 very effective innings, only allowed three hits and one run. He recorded 10 strikeouts, and he retired the side in order in the second, third, fourth and sixth innings. Pineda lowered his ERA to an outstanding 1.89, and he was able to allow two runs or less for his 12th time out of 13 starts.

Pineda’s single to Allen Craig in the seventh would be his only earned run because he would score with Esmil Rogers pitching. Rogers allowed four runs on one hit after the game had basically already been decided.

The Yankees will be losing their captain and that leadership will likely have to come from CC Sabathia, McCann, Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury.

The Yankees unfortunately did not make the playoffs in Jeter’s final season, but he did win five championships and made the playoffs in all but two of his full seasons, and he was able to finish the season with one or more hits in nine of his last 10 games. He finishes his career as the best shortstop of the live-ball era.

The Yankees followed Jeter’s heroic Yankee Stadium finale with a win at Fenway Park


Jeter jumping for joy after Thursday's walk-off.

Jeter jumping for joy after Thursday’s walk-off.

After Derek Jeter hit the game-winning walk-off hit to beat the Baltimore Orioles in his final home game on Thursday, the Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 3-2 on Friday. Jeter’s walk-off was an inside out single to right that he has hit countless times in his career. David Robertson had the best blown save of his career in the top of the ninth to set up yet another clutch hit from Jeter.

After Brett Gardner sacrificed the fast Antoan Richardson to second, Jeter’s “Jeterian” single to right scored Richardson to win the game. Jeter leaped towards the sky after the run scored, walked back out to his position at shortstop to get one more view and then Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada fittingly came onto the field to greet their longtime teammate. It was a storybook ending to end Jeter’s career playing in front of the home fans in the Bronx.

Jeter even surprised himself with how the game ended. “I wouldn’t have believed it myself,” Jeter said. “I can honestly say I don’t think anyone played harder.” Jeter said that he is aware that other players have more talent, but his effort each and every day helped take him to the top. For the first time in his career, he asked to have Friday’s game off because he was so exhausted from Thursday and everything that happened after it.

I don’t know if I could play tonight if I wanted to play tonight,” he said. “Last night was as special as it gets.” He said that if he wasn’t going to play his last game at Yankee Stadium, the next best place is Fenway Park because of the rivalry. He will be the DH on Saturday and Sunday out of respect for the Red Sox.

“He had such a special night last night,” Chris Capuano said. “I think everyone can understand him just wanting to take a day.”

Jeter also hit a double to left in the first for his first RBI of the game. Hiroki Kuroda allowed only two runs in eight innings in what might have been his last start as a Yankee. He had a 3.71 ERA in 32 starts and didn’t fall apart like he did the last two seasons.

On Friday, Jeter received a “Derek Jeter” chant from the crowd even though he was only in the dugout. The Red Sox fans also proved that they recognize greatness since they booed when Jeter didn’t pinch hit in the ninth. The Yankees were able to get the win even though five rookies started the game. No one in the lineup had played more than 47 games for the Yankees this season.

Chris Capuano, who pitched in the beginning of the season in the bullpen for the Red Sox, did not allow an earned run in 6.2 innings pitched. He is a pitcher who the Yankees will likely consider for a spot in their bullpen next season. Allen Craig’s run in the second was unearned because Chris Young made an error on Craig’s single earlier in the inning. Capuano, who is 36, threw 91 pitches, struck out five and didn’t allow a walk.

Shawn Kelley, who allowed Rusney Castillo’s homer in the seventh, really faltered in the second half of the season. He has a 4.53 ERA, and his ERA in August was 7.59 and in September it was 4.70. Capuano might be a better option than Kelley next season. David Robertson, who was able to convert his 39th save of the season in the ninth, is in the last year of his contract and the Yankees could choose to let the cheaper Dellin Betances be the closer next season.

The Yankees had seven hits off of three Red Sox pitchers. Steven Wright, a relief pitcher who was making only his second start, allowed two unearned runs in five innings. Eury Perez struck out in the second but advanced to first as a result of a passed ball by Dan Butler. Francisco Cervelli’s single scored Perez and then Cervelli scored later in the inning on a throwing error by second baseman Mookie Betts, who is normally a center fielder.

In the seventh inning, Zelous Wheeler hit a sacrifice fly to score John Ryan Murphy to give the Yankees their third run. The Yankees need to win their last two games to match their 85 wins from last season.

Jeter during the game on 9/21.

Jeter during the game on 9/21.

Michael Pineda’s dominating start led the Yankees to their second win in a row


Michael-Pineda-1

The Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-0 on Monday in the first game of their four-game series against the Orioles. Michael Pineda’s 7.1 dominating innings helped the Yankees win their fifth game in their last six games. They are now four games out of the second wild card spot with six games to play.

It is an extreme long shot that the Yankees will pass the Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals, but Derek Jeter has helped the Yankees improve their play and keep the team alive right until the end.

Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka both dominated in back-to-back games, which is a great sign for the Yankees for next season. They will be a very formidable one and two in the rotation in 2015. In Pineda’s 7.1 innings, he retired 22 of the 24 batters that he faced, recorded an impressive eight strikeouts and the only hit that he allowed came in the fifth inning to J.J. Hardy. He retired the side in order in both the sixth and seventh innings and had all of his pitches working for him.

Tonight, my slider was working pretty good, and my changeup too, everything is working good,” Pineda said. “When my release point is finished in the front, the slider has good movement, it is really good. The changeup is a really good pitch, and before I didn’t use it a lot in the games, and now I am using it more. It is really good.”

Pineda is becoming even more dangerous as a pitcher because he is developing a very good changeup to go along with his fastball and slider. He now has a 1.94 ERA in his 12 starts, which means that he has the lowest ERA in baseball out of all starters who have made 10 or more starts.

Offensively, Derek Jeter continued to hit well and drive in runs during his last home stand before he retires after Sunday’s game in Boston. Jeter was 1-3 with three RBIs and walk against Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen and Evan Meek. Since ending his 0-28 hitless streak the game before this home stand began on 9/17, Jeter has gone 10/24 (.416) with four runs scored, three doubles, one homer and six RBIs. He has raised his average from .249 to .256.

In the third inning, Jeter hit an RBI groundout to score rookie Jose Pirela to make the score 2-0. Then, in the fifth inning, he slugged a double to the wall in left to score Pirela and Brett Gardner. “This is a game of adjustments, and I am going to continue to make those adjustments until I am out of games,” Jeter said. “I don’t want to jinx anything. I feel pretty good. It is fun, I mean the fans have been energetic, that makes it fun for us to play.”

For the first run of the game, Pirela tripled to deep left center to score Ichiro Suzuki in his first career at-bat. Pirela, who had been in the minors for eight years, singled in his second at-bat and was very grateful to be playing in his first major league game. “To see my dream coming true is unbelievable for me,” Pirela said. Chase Headley hit his fifth homer with the Yankees and 12th of his season in the eighth inning.

The Yankees will look to win their third game in a row on Tuesday. Brandon McCarthy, who has a 2.54 ERA in 13 starts with the Yankees, will get the start for the home team. He has allowed four runs combined in his last three starts. Ubaldo Jimenez, who has a high 4.90 ERA, will start for the Orioles. Baltimore has already clinched the division, which means that these games don’t mean much to them.

Masahiro Tanaka’s strong 5.1 innings in his return from the disabled list led the Yankees to a win over Toronto


Derek Jeter before his third at-bat.

Derek Jeter before his third at-bat.

The Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-2, on Sunday afternoon. Derek Jeter, who only has four more games at Yankee Stadium, became the first Yankee to get four straight multi-hit games at age 40 or older. His two hits, RBI and a run scored helped the Yankees get their fourth win in their last five games and raised his average to .255.

Jeter, who received a standing ovation before and during every at-bat, is now 9-19 since snapping his 0-28 hitless skid. He has stepped up in front of the home fans the past few games like he has so many times during his remarkable career.

The Captain thought that the key to winning the game and the series was the clutch offensive hitting and pitching. “I thought we came up with some timely hits, but it all starts with pitching,” Jeter said. Out pitching staff was good, our starters were, out bullpen was good and we came up with some big his. We are playing pretty good right now.”

Masahiro Tanaka, who made his first start since July 8 as a result of his partial tear of his UCL in his elbow, pitched just like he did in most of his starts before his injury. He had an excellent 2.51 ERA before going on the disabled list, and was able to lower it to 2.47 after Sunday’s start. He was on a pitch limit of 70-75 pitches, and he threw 70 pitches in 5.1 innings while only giving up five hits and not allowing a walk. If he can pitch like this again on Friday against Boston then it is likely that he will not need surgery and will be able to have a normal offseason pitching program.

Overall, I’m pretty excited with how I pitched today,” Tanaka said. The injection of platelet-rich plasma into his elbow and not throwing for three weeks obviously helped the elbow recover. “It’s pain free,” Tanaka said. This is great news for the Yankees.

The only run that Tanaka allowed came off of an Edwin Encarnacion double play that scored Jose Reyes from third in the first inning. Tanaka did not allow a hit in the third, fourth or fifth innings. His splitter was working and his curve ball was effective, which is a good sign, but it will be key how he recovers the next few days.

The Yankees scored their first run of the game off of a Brain McCann solo homer to right against Drew Hutchison, which brought an ovation from the crowd. In the fifth inning, Brett Gardner hit a homer to right to make the score 2-1 and give the Yankees the lead for good. This homer was the 15,000 home run in Yankees’ history and that milestone was posted on the Jumbotron shortly after.

“I knew a few days ago that we were a couple away, maybe within four or five, but I wasn’t sure if it was the one I had hit or the one McCann had hit,” Gardner said. “It is definitely something I will never forget. I have it (the ball) right now, somebody might try to get it from me. It came in a good game and it was a good win for us.”

In the seventh inning, the Yankees scored two more runs to make the score 5-1. Derek Jeter hit a double down the line in right to score Gardner, who had doubled to lead off the inning. That was the last time that many fans at the stadium will see Jeter get a hit. He then saw an opening and easily stole third and scored on McCann’s second homer of the game. This was McCann’s 22nd homer of the season. “Brian has been swinging the bat extremely well the last month or so, it seems like he has found his stroke,” Jeter said. “It seems like he is pretty comfortable now.”

McCann’s contract goes for four more seasons and it is key that he has really taken advantage of the short porch in right. He now has 18 homers at Yankee Stadium this season and four during road games.

ESPN gives the Yankees a 0.1 chance of making the playoffs since they are currently 4.5 games behind the Kansas City Royals for the second wild card spot with seven games to play. The Yankees will begin a four-game series at home against the first place Baltimore Orioles on Monday and Michael Pineda (3-5, 2.15 ERA) will pitch against Wei-Yin Chen (16-4, 3.58 ERA).

Jeter on the Jumbotron during his third at-bat.

Jeter on the Jumbotron during his third at-bat.

Derek Jeter’s homer helped the Yankees win their second consecutive game 3-2


Derek Jeter.

Derek Jeter.

The Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday for their second consecutive 3-2 win. One game after Derek Jeter ended his 0-28 hitless streak, Jeter hit his first home run at Yankee Stadium of the season. The Yankees won because Chase Headley was the hero once again in the ninth.

The first Yankees run came in the fifth inning after Stephen Drew hit a deep double to right to drive in Headley and then Jeter slugged a homer to left off of an 82 MPH R.A. Dickey fastball. Jeter was able to take advantage of the fastball instead of having to figure out Dickey’s usual knuckleball.

I always look for a fastball,” Jeter said. “I have faced him (Dickey) quite a bit. He mixes them in every once in a while so I wasn’t surprised by it. It was a big hit for us at the time. I am happy we were able to hang on there. Obviously this year up until this point hasn’t turned out how I would like it to, but you got to keep fighting and battling. I am going to play hard until we are out of games.”

Shane Greene had yet another dominating performance for the Yankees. Greene didn’t allow a run and had six strikeouts in 6.2 innings. Greene retired the side in order in the second, fourth and fifth innings while only allowing three hits. He has an impressive 3.24 ERA in 13 starts this season, and Greene has proven that he deserves a spot in next year’s rotation.

Greene was not able to get the win because Shawn Kelley threw a high fastball that Jose Bautista easily hit out of the park for a two-run homer. Kelley has been much less reliable recently, but the Yankees were able to get magic in the ninth.

In the ninth inning, right fielder Chris Young hit a single to center, Antoan Richardson pinch ran and easily stole second and got to third on Brett Gardner’s bunt and then Headley hit a grounder that went through Adam Lind’s legs at first for an error to send Richardson home to win the game. It was Headley’s third walk-off with the Yankees.

Derek Jeter helped the Yankees win the first game of his final homestand at Yankee Stadium. Jeter and Greene both said that the Yankees are trying to win every one of their remaining 10 games since they are not mathematically eliminated from getting the second wild card (five games behind the Oakland Athletics). Hiroki Kuroda, who allowed one run in his last outing, will start Friday’s game for the Yankees.

Earlier this season, Jordan Brand released a tribute commercial for Jeter that had celebrities such as Spike Lee, Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan, Billy Crystal and Carmelo Anthony tip their cap to Jeter. Yesterday, Gatorade put out a commercial that had a much more local feel. Jeter asked to be let out of his car early and then greeted fans of all ages while walking to Yankee Stadium. He was serenaded by Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” while going into Stan’s Sports Bar for the first time and seeing the mural of himself outside that establishment.

Here is the outstanding Jeter Gatorade commercial that has over two million views in 24 hours:

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