Category: Eduardo Nunez

Yangervis Solarte gives the Yankees defensive versatility for their last roster spot

Yangervis Solarte hitting during spring training with the Yankees.

Yangervis Solarte hitting during spring training with the Yankees.

It was announced a few days ago that Dellin Betances and Vidal Nuno, who could play key roles in the bullpen, will start the season with Yankees for the first time, and it was announced yesterday that the Yankees have decided to award Yangervis Solarte with the second back-up infield position (Dean Anna is the other) instead of Eduardo Nunez. It is somewhat surprising that Nunez was not chosen, but after being thought of as the successor to Derek Jeter a few years ago, he is obviously not thought of highly in the organization.

Brendan Ryan would have had one of those spots as Derek Jeter’s backup, but he is on the disabled list with a pinched nerve in his back/neck. He will not be ready until the middle of April at the earliest since he will likely have to go down to extended spring training once he is ready for games.

Solarte previously played six years in the Minnesota Twins’ organization and then spent the last two seasons with Texas Rangers where he hit .282 in the Pacific Coast League (Triple-A).The 26-year-old from Venezuela has never played a major league game, but offers versatility, having the ability to play second, shortstop, third and outfield. This is important because he is someone who can easily step in for Brian Roberts or Kelly Johnson in case they get injured.

Nunez, who has been sent to Triple-A Scranton since he still had an option, is obviously more established offensively at the major league level, but he has not shown enough consistency while at times being very unreliable defensively. Nunez hit .292 in 38 games in 2012, but in 2013, when the Yankees were counting on him to be the everyday shortstop after Jeter’s injury, he was injured and only hit .260 in 90 games. Since Nunez has some power and speed but not enough overall talent to help the team more often than not, especially as he often made inexcusable miscues at second, short and third, it makes sense to move on from him, at least at the start of the season.

Based on the injury histories of the current players on the team, the Yankees can’t have a backup infielder who can’t be trusted on defense or who doesn’t have much versatility. Solarte would be able to play outfield if Jacoby Ellsbury needs a day off or if the calf injury he had in Florida reoccurs. Hopefully Ellsbury does not have the bad luck injures that he has had in the past. Another benefit of having Solarte on the roster is that he can be counted on since he has played in at least 130 games in each of the last two seasons.

During spring training Solarte hit better than he has hit in previous years in the minors. In the Grapefruit League his stats were an unbelievable .429 average, two homers and nine RBI. It is not likely that this will continue in the regular season, since those stats can be a mirage, but it does prove that he has potential. Last season he made eight errors in 88 games at third base, two in 20 games at third and two in 20 games at shortstop.

Hopefully the Yankees will not need Solarte to play significantly but it is worth seeing if he can help the team given an opportunity. It is risky that the two backup infielders to start the season have no major league experience, but Ryan should be healthy in a few weeks and Nunez can always be called up if one of the two don’t work out. Betances, who went to high school in Brooklyn, will also be making the team out of spring training for the first time, but he appears much more ready to make an immediate impact.

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Brendan Ryan is not expected to be ready for Opening Day

The only spots that are not locked up to come north to the Bronx right now are the bullpen behind David Robertson and Shawn Kelley, the fifth starter position (it appears to be Michael Pineda) and the back-up infielders. Brendan Ryan, who came into spring training as the slick-fielding back-up shortstop, is not expected to be ready for Opening Day.

Ryan, signed a two-year, $5 million contract over the winter after coming to the team in September, has not played in game action since March 4. It was initially called an oblique injury, but after further evaluation it turned into a lower back ailment. Even worse, he still has the pinch in his upper back that he sustained after throwing a baseball a half hour before Thursday’s game.

He will not play this upcoming week and when asked if there was a chance that he would Ryan said, “I don’t even think they’ll let me if I wanted to.” Since it seems like the might have to start the season on the disabled list as a result of his back injury, their options as backup infielders include Dean Anna, Eduardo Nunez and Yangervis Solarte.

The decision should be between Solarte and Nunez. Anna should be sent to AAA based on his subpar .265 average in spring training. The 27-year-old career minor leaguer did hit .331 last season in AAA in the Pacific Coast League, but offensive numbers are usually higher in that league than in the rest of AAA. Even though he has versatility, he should start at Scranton and be called up eventually if he plays well.

Yangervis Solarte, who was a non-roster invitee before spring training, has come out of nowhere to hit .471 in 34 at-bats so far. He has two homers, nine runs scored and eight runs batted in. The 26-year old can play every second base, third base, shortstop and left field.  Solarte played on the Triple-A team of the Rangers last season, and has been in the minors since 2006. It is unknown what he can do on the major league level, but his numbers in so far in Florida are promising.

Nunez definitely has the most impressive career out of the three so far. The major question mark with him is his defense, which has often been suspect while with the Yankees. However, he has shown the ability to make the routine and remarkable play, and he has the ability to hit for contact and for some power as well as steal bases. In 2012, in 38 games played, he had a .292 average, 11 RBI and 11 steals. Last season, his average dipped to .260, but he hit .295 with two homers and eight RBI in 78 at-bats during September.

Something Solarte has against him is that he is not currently on the 40-man roster, but his versatility and offensive skills could be hard to ignore. They could remove Nik Turley or Bryan Mitchell, who are currently on the 40-man and replace one of them with Solarte. It would make sense to have Solarte and Nunez come north, and then send Solarte down to Triple-A once Ryan is healthy.

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It is important for the backup infielders to play well, to go along with Mark Teixiera, Brian Roberts, Derek Jeter and Kelly Johnson in the infield, but it is just as important that the starting pitching performs well and stays healthy. If the starters can do this, and the offense stays healthy, they will have a chance of winning the division.

You have the defending champs (Boston Red Sox), but if we pitch well, I think we have the guys to over take them,” CC Sabathia said on Pride Power and Pinstripes.

The Yankees beat the Rangers behind another outstanding start by Hiroki Kuroda

Mariano Rivera with his cowboy hat and customized boots.

Mariano Rivera with his cowboy hat and customized boots.

The Yankees (54-48) defeated the Rangers (56-46) on Wednesday afternoon in Arlington, Texas behind seven shutout innings from Hiroki Kuroda. This was Kuroda’s seventh start this season where has has limited the opposition to zero runs, and it was his third in his last four starts.

The 2-0 win allowed the Yankees to salvage a split of the four-game series in Texas. They also finished the road trip against the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers with a 3-4 record. Three wins and four losses is a lot better than two wins and four losses, as Joe Girardi said in his postgame interview. The catalyst in this win was obviously Kuroda, who is now second in the American League with a 2.51 ERA. Felix Hernandez is first in the America League with a 2.43 ERA.

In fact, the Rangers only had runners in scoring position twice against Kuroda. He was able to work out of trouble in the third and sixth innings as David Murphy was stranded at second in the third and Elvis Andrus was stranded at third in the sixth. Austin Romine, who was three for four and had his first multiple extra base hit game of his career, was critical in preventing a run from scoring in the sixth since he threw out Ian Kinsler trying to steal second.

Based on his ERA and very low WHIP (Walks and Hits divided by Innings Pitched), Kuroda should be in the top three in the CY Young. However, he likely will be closer to fifth or sixth because of his low amount of strikeouts and wins. He is currently fifth in the AL with his 1.04 WHIP. However, his 10 wins puts him in a three-way tie for seventh and his 92 strikeouts are 30th highest in the AL. If Kuroda can keep up his current pace he should finish in the top five of the CY Young along with Felix Hernandez, Yu Darvish, Max Scherzer and Chris Sale. Above all, Kuroda gives the Yankees a chance to win basically every time he takes the hill.

On offense, the Yankees were led by Romine whose three hits raised his average from .165 to .193. Romine also scored half of the team’s runs. This was a rare offensive outburst by the back-up, an once heralded prospect, because this was only his second multi-hit game of the season out of 27 starts. The California native is definitely more known for his defense.

The other run was scored by All-Star Robinson Cano, who was one for four, which included his 20th double of the season. Eduardo Nunez and Brent Lillibridge both went 1-4 with an RBI to account for all of the runs in the game. Nunez, who has been a much needed addition to the offense since coming of of the disabled list, is 9-29 or .310, with two Runs Batted In and four runs scored since the All-Star break.

The stellar one two punch of David Robertson and Mariano Rivera did not disappoint once again. Robertson, who is on track to replace Rivera as the closer next season, pitched a perfect eighth inning to lower his ERA to 1.96. Rivera, who received a cowboy hat and customized Yankees boots before the game from the Rangers (this was another one of his pre-game gifts as he plays in visiting stadiums for the last time), allowed one hit in the ninth for his 33rd save of the season.

Tampa Bay will now come to the Bronx for a three-game series. The Yankees are currently three games behind the Rays for the Wild Card.

Yankees offense fell flat against Toronto, need a win today before attempting to sting the Rays

The Yankees had a chance to push their lead in the American League East to 5 games, with 10 games remaining, but Brandon Morrow pitched eight dominating innings for the Blue Jays in their 3-0 victory.

This loss, in a game where Freddy Garcia was only able to pitch 4.2 innings, closed out their three city road trip where they only went 4-5.  Luckily, the Red Sox are 2-8 in their last 10 games so the Yankees did not lose ground in the standings.  The Red Sox now only have a two game lead in the Wild Card over the Rays after losing three out of four in the series that ended on Sunday.

Morrow only gave up four hits in his eight innings and has owned the Yankees offense this season pitching to a 1.74 ERA in three starts.  However, the Bronx Bombers did not exactly send out the A lineup as Eric Chavez replaced Mark Teixiera at first, Ramiro Pena was the shortstop giving Derek Jeter the day off and Chris Dickerson got a rare start as Curtis Granderson didn’t play as a result of having a very low career average against Morrow.

All-Star second-baseman Robinson Cano got half the game off, as he was the Designated Hitter and Eduardo Nunez got the start at second base.  Nunez was the only player who really showed up on offense as he improved his average from .254 to .261 with his three hits.

Another troubling sign about this game, in addition to the offensive ineptitude, was that Garcia had his third consecutive subpar start.  He only gave up three runs, but Girardi took him out at the right time since he gave up five hits and three walks including two solo home runs to Adam Lind.  In his two previous starts Garcia had allowed five and seven runs, respectively.  Hopefully this is not a sign of what is to come as he will be needed to be relied upon as the fourth starter in the playoffs.

The Yankees bullpen continued to be a bright spot as they were lead by Luis Ayala who pitched 1.1 perfect innings, and Raul Valdes who pitched 1.1 innings, only allowing one hit in his first appearance for the team.

The imminent Comeback Player of the Year, Bartolo Colon, who was the other pre Spring Training signing to a cheap contract, also struggled mightily in his last start, on Saturday, against the Blue Jays.  However, this was not totally unexpected as he has a 7.99 ERA and a .327 BAA in five starts against Toronto this season.  He should be the Yankees number three starter in the playoffs.

If Manager Joe Girardi would have trotted out all of his regulars they could have had a 5.5 game lead over the Red Sox heading into their makeup game against the Twins, in the Bronx, on Monday afternoon.  It is impossible to win when you don’t put any runs on the board and having all the normal starters playing would have surely helped the offensive attack.

However, this was the last chance for Girardi to give some of his injured players a day off as the rest of their games down the stretch are all critical.  It is almost guaranteed that the Yankees will win the division, since they are up by 4.5 games with 10 games left but it is important to go into the playoffs with momentum.

In today’s matinee tilt against the Twins A.J. Burnett will be pitching who comes into the contest with a 5.20 ERA and 10 wins.  He is lucky to have that many wins as Colon has eight wins but a very respectable 3.81 ERA.  This should be Burnett’s last start of the season as he has mysteriously received a few extra starts since Girardi decided to stick with the six man rotation.

The Twins rookie, Scott Diamond, who is from Ontario, Canada, will be pitching for the Twins.  Diamond went to SUNY Binghamton, in upstate New York, which is not known for producing professional baseball players.   He has made only five starts after coming up from AAA Rochester and has one win with a 3.94 ERA.

Minnesota is the worst team in the American League so the Yankees need to win this game before the Tampa Bay Rays invade the Bronx for three games.  The Yankees are in as strange position during the series with Tampa since sweeping the series will drastically help the Red Sox win the Wild Card.

Also, on Saturday, Granderson became the only Yankee besides Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth to have had seasons of at least 20 doubles, 10 triples and 40 homers.  He has joined exclusive company as those are three of the best players of all time.

Baltimore edges the Yankees in 11 after another shaky outing by Burnett

This was their fourth rain delay this season against the Orioles who came out on top 5-4 in extra innings over the Yankees in a game that featured six errors and 13 relievers.

Baltimore and New York’s starters each struggled giving up a combined eight runs.  Zach Britton who had been one of the Orioles better starters of late gave up all of the Yankees runs on five hits and four walks.

A.J. Burnett did not really do enough to deserve another start in this six-man rotation that should turn into the standard five-man one.  He allowed four runs on seven hits, with four walks and a homer.  This start proved again how unreliable he is since he allowed two runs in his start last week against the Red Sox but in his two starts before that one he allowed a combined 16 runs.

Burnett gave up a two run homer to Nolan Reimold, his ninth of the season, who is only hitting .231.  It is truly hard to fathom how Burnett gave up two runs by the Boston offense but could not limit the paltry Baltimore offense.

It seems like Hughes can be counted on to pitch more consistently than Burnett especially since he only has one win in his last 10 starts while Hughes has shown some dominance since coming off the disabled list.

The offensive stars for the Yankees were Jesus Montero and Alex Rodriguez as they drove in all of their four runs.  Rodriguez had a two-run double to deep center which drove in Russell Martin and Nick Swisher in the opening stanza, and Montero (5 RBI in 5 games) singled to deep right center which plated Rodriguez and Andruw Jones.

In the bottom of the sixth shortstop Robert Andino fielded a shot hop cleanly and it appeared that he would throw out Jesus Montero but Andino would receive an error because his throw to first sailed into the Yankee dugout.

In an effort to get the lead before the game was potentially called because of rain Manager Joe Girardi sent in Robinson Cano and Mark Teixiera.  Curtis Granderson was inserted into the lineup after Teixiera which would make a very imposing seven, eight and nine to round out the order.  Granderson hit a double to the wall in the seventh which had the potential of being a triple but he tripped after rounding first base.

However, his double to lead off the inning would go to waste as he would be stranded at third keeping the score at four. The Yankees squandered an opportunity to put the game away in that inning.

In the top of the eighth David Robertson dominated like normal but this time he struck out the side.  He used his cutter to perfection.

In the ninth inning Clay Rapada would pitch for the Orioles and he is very deceptive on left handed pitchers because he is a side arm pitcher.  The umpire went to the mound to try and force Rapada to put his foot on the rubber but it appeared as if his foot stayed off the rubber for the rest of the at-bat against Cano.  Rapada would get Granderson to fly out to the catcher and with that Buck Showalter would make yet another pitching change.

Pedro Strop would come into the game becoming the Orioles seventh pitcher on the afternoon.  Strop, a converted shortstop, has a 3.09 ERA in 10 appearances, two for the Orioles and eight for the Rangers.  He would get Eduardo Nunez to ground out to Andino at short to force extra innings in a game filled with errors.

To start the “free baseball” Hector Noesi struck out Chris Davis to give him five on the afternoon, as well as a grand total of 20 in his last 40 at bats.  Noesi would go on to strike out the side as he has filled his role adequately in relief this season.

Russell Martin picked up his second hit of the contest to lead-off the bottom of the 10th, but the next three batters would get out in order.  Martin was the only Yankee who played the whole game to come away with two hits and he also had his second consecutive game with multiple hits.  After pinch hitting for Ramiro Pena, Granderson got a hit in two out of his three at bats.

Nunez came away with an error after failing to pick up the fast short hop by Matt Angle.  That was the fourth error of the game and committing so many miscues makes it difficult to win games, but the wet conditions certainly don’t help.  Joe Girardi left Noesi in one inning too long as he threw a wild pitch to Reimold and the feast or famine Mark Reynolds hit an RBI single.

Eduardo Nunez had the chance to be the hero in the bottom of the eleventh and make up for committing his 18th error, but Girardi decided to replace him with Eric Chavez with runners on first and third.  This strategic move proved to be an instance of over-analyzing because Chavez would ground into a fielder’s chance to end the game.

The Yankees offense should not have been held scoreless for six innings off of an Orioles bullpen that features the previously mentioned converted shortstop, a reliever making his fourth career appearance in Zach Phillips and four who all have more than a 4.15 ERA.

A reason for only scoring four runs in 11 innings is that they did horribly in clutch situations once again.  Four players including Swisher, Cano, Montero and Chavez left runners on base with two outs and overall the team left nine runners on base.  It is very important to drive runners in with ducks on the pond and in this game the Yankees could not convert off of mediocre pitchers.

It also would have helped if Martin would have thrown out some of the base stealers as three of the five stolen bases off of him came around to score.  If he would have thrown out two or even three of them that might have caused a different outcome.

Burnett is now the first pitcher in history to have eight games in his career with three wild pitches.  The Yankees

The Yankees will try and win the series (3-1) tonight behind Ivan Nova who strong candidate for Rookie of the Year.  He has now gone eight consecutive starts with a win and has not picked up a loss since June 3rd helping him to a remarkable 15-4 record.  Nova does not crumble under pressure and he has even improved his pitch location and execution after allowing one or two early runs.

They are 8-2 in their last 10 games helping them stay 2.5 games ahead of Boston.

Yankees winning streak is halted at three, they need a victory over Lester to win the series

The Yankees were able to score five runs off of Josh Beckett, four of them earned, which should have been enough to win but Phil Hughes would allow a total of six runs during the Yankees 9-5 loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday night.

Hughes pitched well through the first four innings only allowing two runs, but that was not good enough as he turned in his third underwhelming start since coming off the disabled list.  He has had five starts where he allowed two runs or less but he still needs to find that consistency that he had the first-half of last season.  Having three starts where he has allowed more than five runs is not going to cut it.

Even though Hughes has been somewhat feast or famine since coming off the disabled list, he should still be the one to stay in the rotation over A.J. Burnett.  I hope for the best, but I don’t think it is very likely that Burnett allows four runs or less against the Red Sox tonight.  The one major factor in Burnett’s favor is his mammoth contract but Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi need to realize that it is more important that the Yankees are able to count on their starting pitcher.

Burnett has allowed 16 runs in his last two starts and part of the reason that he was signed before the 2009 season was because he had dominated the Red Sox while pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays.  In eight starts with the Blue Jays he had five wins and 2.56 ERA, but in eight starts for the Yankees against Boston he has zero wins and an 8.71 ERA.  Even if he somehow allows three runs his should be his last start of the season.

Hughes gives the Yankees a realistic chance of hurling in a dominating start but the same can’t really said for Burnett at this point.  It might make sense to call up Dellin Beances, Manny Banuelos or Adam Warren to see how they do during a spot start, if Hughes does not pitch a quality start when he toes the rubber next.

Putting one of these three top pitchers from AAA Scranton in the middle of a playoff race might be a little risky but it is worth a shot since they have so much potential.  If Hughes does indeed falter again, the Yankees would have no better option besides taking rookie Hector Noesi out of his long-relief role and giving him a start.

Based on how he has performed this season in the Bronx and for Scranton it is likely that Noesi would pitch well if given a chance to start, but he has been a valuable asset in his current bullpen role.  However, if Hughes is kept in the rotation like he should be, and he does not allow three runs or less in his next start something has to be done.

Derek Jeter was the offensive “star” for the Yankees as he was the only player with more than one hit, driving in Eduardo Nunez for the first run of the game in the top of the third, and also adding another single later in the game.

During the fifth inning in Tuesday’s game Francisco Cervelli hit a solo home run, but when he led off the fifth inning during Wednesday’s game he was only able to hit a fly ball to Crawford.

Hughes gave up Ortiz’s 28th homer with two outs in the fifth inning to deep center field to give the Red Sox a 4-1 lead.  Ortiz has been on fire recently bringing a 10 game hitting streak into Thursday’s game, with six multiple hit games and 11 RBI during that time period.

After striking out in his first two at bats against Beckett, Robinson Cano would hit a double to the Green Monster between the centerfielder and leftfielder, to score Mark Teixiera.  Chavez continued his scorching hitting as he wound up on third after a double (and an error), where Cano and Nick Swisher scored, after hitting a ball into the left corner, which would carom around preventing rookie Josh Reddick from fielding it cleanly.

At the end of the top of the sixth the Yankees edged the Red Sox 5-4 but it was all downhill from there.  Hughes would allow two more runs in the bottom of the sixth, off a double by long time Boston catcher Jason Varitek and Varitek’s run would be charged to him as reliever Boone Logan gave up a homer to left by MVP candidate Jacoby Ellsbury.

Luis Ayala, who had previously proved to have been a solid under the radar pickup by Cashman, gave up a two-run homer to Varitek in the eighth, but those runs would prove to be meaningless towards the outcome of the game.

The offense could not manage even a hit or a walk off of Beckett in the seventh, Daniel Bard in the eighth or closer Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth.  Mark Teixiera did not show up in this game as he was 0-3 while leaving runners in scoring position with two outs twice.

In the top of the eighth, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher hit balls hard that appeared to be singles, but Marco Scutarto and Dustin Pedroia, respectively, fielded the short hops cleanly to get them out.

Gardner is now 6-54 as he could not reach base to keep the game alive with two outs in the ninth inning.  Jonathan Papelbon simply overpowered and outmatched him on three pitches.

Derek Jeter, who has been on a tear since the beginning of August, passed Craig Biggio with his 3,061st career hit.

According to Kim Jones, Jesus Montero will likely start at Designated Hitter in Thursday’s series finale since they are facing Jon Lester and Montero excels against southpaws.  It will help if he could be the everyday DH against lefties because they have not been getting consistent production out of that spot, but it is more important that they get reliable production from their starters for the rest of the season, especially the four and five spots.

Jon Lester will be pitching for the Red Sox tonight.  He has a 14-6 record with a 3.09 ERA, having allowed one run in each of his past three starts.  However, in three starts against the Yankees this season, the Bronx Bombers has solved him as they scored 10 runs in 18 innings (5.00 ERA).

His story is impressive because he was diagnosed with Lymphoma on August 31st, 2006, but he was able to recover fully as evidenced by winning the final game of the 2007 World Series.

Yankees offense has an Irene induced hangover against Zach Britton

In the first game of a doubleheader, the Yankees bats came back rusty, after the team had to spend Saturday in their Baltimore hotel during Hurricane Irene, being shut out 2-0 by Zach Britton, for the Orioles (53-77) sixth straight win.

Britton allowed one run in his last start after allowing an alarming 17 in his previous three.  This was an unexpected pitching performance from Britton because in his last start against the Yankees, on July 30th, he didn’t make it out of the first-inning while allowing six runs on seven hits.

Bartolo Colon will get over-shadowed by Britton because the Orioles got the victory, but Colon had a very respectable start in his own right.  He dominated the O’s for the most part, shutting out the opposition for six innings while allowing a run in the seventh and eighth.   In each of his last two starts he allowed five runs and two home runs, so the Colon from earlier in the season has returned.

There is some question as to who should be the number two starter behind CC Sebathia in the playoffs, but if can Colon can display another start like he did today, it should likely be him.  He was able to locate all of his pitches today and the over-weight Colon has been the Yankees most consistent starter this year besides Sebathia.

The only hitter who produced for the Yankees was Mark Teixeira, who chipped in with three hits, but they were wasted because everybody near him in the lineup failed to reach base.  The Bronx Bombers could only muster two other hits during the contest.

Curtis Granderson is having his first major cold stretch, during his MVP caliber season, as he is now three for his last 26.  However, he held his head high after the game, giving praise to the Orioles starter by giving all the credit to him.

The Yankees should have been able to score some runs but sometimes the pitcher just has the upper-hand, commanding all his pitches while knowing the scouting report, and that is what happened this after-noon.

The game winner ended up being Vladimir Guerrero’s single through the infield to Nick Swisher in right-field, which scored Nick Markakis.  This would give Baltimore a lead that their suspect bullpen would not surrender.

After Colon struck out Robert Andino looking on the outside corner to give the Orioles two outs in the eighth, J.J. Hardy would go on to hit a single between Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez to make the score 2-0.  That would spell the end of Colon’s afternoon.  Sometimes pitchers get hard luck losses like this one, but on the other hand sometimes they get the victory after allowing five runs.

In the ninth inning Teixiera added his third hit by hitting a line drive off of the first base bag, which bounced into right field.  Rodriguez had the opportunity to tie the game with one swing, be he did not cooperate.  He hit into a tailor made double play right to Hardy at short to give the Orioles the first two wins of this four game set.

This also gave struggling closer Kevin Gregg (4.32 ERA) his 19th save of the year.  Also, the Orioles hit seven hits, two more than the Yankees, but they were able to take advantage of scoring opportunities.

At one point the Yankees had three hits and Teixeira had a two of them, which is not a promising sign for victory, even though Colon only allowed two runs.  Also, the Yankees’ seven strikeouts were way too many against the caliber of pitching that they were facing.

Hopefully the second game of the double-header brings enough runs so that the end game combination of Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera can shut down the Orioles for a Yankees victory.  After not getting a hit this afternoon, Alex Rodriguez will have the evening off being replaced by Eduardo Nunez, at third.

Ivan Nova will pitch tonight, and they need another solid start out of him in order to have a chance of splitting the series on Monday.  He is likely one of three names in consideration for Rookie of the Year and he deserves it because of his 13 wins, while having gone more than nine starts without a loss.

On the other hand, Orioles starter Brian Matusz is having one of the worst seasons in all of baseball.  The Yankees offense should be looking forward to the first pitch as Matusz has allowed five earned runs or more in his last four starts, and has a sky-high ERA of 8.92.  The former fourth overall pick in 2008 has not nearly lived up to expectations so the Yankees should be able to have their way with him.