Category: Ramiro Pena

Recap/analysis of my experience at the Yankees game the day after they wrapped up the division

I was luckily able to attend the Yankees game on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Rays, thanks to Kieran, enjoying it very much, even though they lost 15-8 in a game that the Bronx Bombers rested many regulars.

Jeter on Jumbotron before blowout began

When we settled into our seats it was obvious that the Yankees had clinched the division crown the night before.  The crowd was not quite as loud as normal during player introductions and it seemed like the Bleachers’ roll call was not as emphatic as usual.

However, I always get a kick out of hearing the Bleacher Creatures shout the fielder’s names and watching each individual Yankee respond in their own unique way.  It seems like when all the starters are playing both sides are more into it but this was probably only about 10 percent less than normal.

The major benefit of this game is that as a result of the 15-8 thrashing to the Rays, Tampa improves by half a game in the Wild Card race as a result of Boston not playing.  In other words, the Yankees impressive wins the previous three games against Tampa helped Boston not nosedive out of the Wild Card.

Nothing was working for Bartolo Colon as he allowed seven runs, but only five of them were earned as a result of two errors in the first two innings, on seven hits and a walk in only three innings pitched.

This lackluster performance by Colon, which raised his ERA from 3.81 to 4.02, might be a result of the long celebration after the win on Wednesday and knowing that the team had the division locked up.  The Yankees need to be able to put this game behind them as they play the Red Sox for three games in an effort to knock them out of the playoffs and wrap up home-field advantage.

Nick Swisher failing to field a routine ball hit to him on the ground in left-field and Derek Jeter telegraphing his throw to first as he almost threw it into the stands surely did not help.

Jeter almost always makes the routine play, which proves that this game was purely a letdown game for the team.  In addition to this error by Jeter he would make another one later on, but I would miss it since I was on line for some “gourmet” Carl’s cheese-steak, but this one was almost even more unexpected than the first.

In the fourth inning, the Rays former All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria hit a grounder that Jeter would field cleanly 99 out of 100 times but this time he let it go right through his glove allowing Longoria to score on Johnny Damon’s homer two batters later.  The Yankees fourth error was committed by back-up outfielder Chris Dickerson, in the seventh, with the home team losing 13-2.

The highlight from my perspective from the first six innings of play was without a doubt the two run homer by Andruw Jones to deep left center (12), in the bottom of the sixth.  This is because it was the first time the fans had a reason to get loud and cheer for something positive.  Dickerson would also somewhat cancel out his error by making a beautiful running catch and he even dove at the end for style points.

View from section 121 after moving down

With the game all but in the books, the Yankees were able to tack on some garbage time runs, to use a football phrase, and keep the remaining crowd interested.  We moved down at this point as I had the idea of exploring the 100 level section, which I had never really done before, and also looking for two people.

Rookie sensation Jesus Montero was able to have a perfect night at the plate, truly looking composed and ready to attack the baseball. He went 3-3 while hitting a double to deep center scoring Ramiro Pena and Jones, in the seventh.  Pena, who is a reliable fielder but usually a weak hitter, chipped in with a shallow RBI single followed by a single by Jones that scored rookie Austin Romine, which capped of Jones’s productive day at the plate.

This would add up to four runs making the score Tampa 13, New York 6, which was a little more respectable.  Each team would add two more runs but they were more because of sloppiness by the pitchers and fielders and not any noteworthy offensive execution.

Matt Moore, the starter for the Rays, was expected to feel some butterflies as he was making only his fourth appearance of his career, while making his first start in the Bronx.  However, he did not let the big city get to him as he looked poised on the mound hurling five shutout innings, while striking out 11.

The two players that got the loudest ovations from the fans were Jorge Posada and the previously mentioned Montero.

This is because Posada hit the two RBI double on Wednesday night that was the difference in the Yankees division clinching win and he has always been a fan favorite since 1998.  Montero received loud ovations when coming to the plate because Yankees fans have been looking forward to his promotion as a result of his vast offensive potential and once he was called up on September 1st he has given the team a spark.  He has an impressive .313 average so far with three homers and eight runs batted in and the only knock against him is that his catching skills could use a little improvement.

In addition to seeing a home run, something else that I was hoping to see came to fruition and that was the much publicized rookie hurlers,Andrew Brackman and Dellin Betances, making their debuts. These are two of the three “Killer B’s” as the three pitching prospects for the Yankees with the most potential are Manny Banuelos, Betances and Brackman.

The 26 year-old Brackman, who has had some serious injuries, is a mammoth 6’10 and played basketball and baseball in college at North Carolina State University.  His late start in the majors is due in part to attending college for three years as well as undergoing Tommy John surgery.  There were six Yankees pitchers and he was one of only two to keep the Rays off of the scoreboard.

It was a highlight seeing Betances make his first appearance of his career even though he allowed two runs on four walks, while only recording two outs.  He was probably feeling a lot of nerves because he was pitching in front of friends and family since he grew up in Washington Heights and has lived in the Lower East Side as well as Brooklyn.

I remember Betances, who went to the Grand Street Campus high school, in Bushwick, Brooklyn, likely being the best pitcher in the city when he was a senior.  To be able to make his debut in the Bronx must have been a very special feeling for him even though he was very wild.

I was even able to find some Rays fans who flew up just for the day to watch this game and then will be flying back to Florida on Friday morning.  They surely enjoyed their introduction to Yankees Stadium and being able to move half a game closer to Boston.

It is likely that the reason the Yankees did not show up to play was because of the long champagne celebration the previous night but it was great to see some of the rookies like Montero, Brackman and Betances in person.  It was also a thrill to see the homer by Jones because that prevented the Yankees from getting shutout.

>Yankees Head to Texas after a Disappointing Series in Detroit

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The Yankees lost to the Tigers, 6-3, on Thursday afternoon, and this was a disappointing game and series in many ways.
One obvious way that this series against Detroit was not a success was that they lost three out of four games to the previously struggling Tigers.  They should have won the game against Brad Penny simply because the Yankees should have been able to score runs off a pitcher of his caliber and Thursday’s game was basically given away because of errors. 
One issue which appears minor is Derek Jeter’s hip ailment.  He was taken out of the game on Wednesday in the eighth inning because Joe Girardi said he had a “right hip issue”.  Jeter got a day off on Thursday to get healthy and hopefully improve his swing, but his replacement ended up costing the team.   
Eduardo Nunez made two costly errors in this game and has committed five so far this season.  He is more known for his bat than his glove but that lack of reliability in the field is unacceptable.  It would make more sense to have a fielder that can make all the routine plays, and even some web gems, like Ramiro Pena last season.  He could not be counted on with his bat but at least he did not make silly throwing or fielding errors costing the Yankees runs in the process.  Since the Yankees have so many other players in their lineup who can be relied upon to get on base and score runs it is almost more important that the backup middle infielder be able to make all the plays in the field like Pena.
The other piece of troubling news is that the first year Yankee, back up third baseman and first baseman, Eric Chavez, left the game in the fourth inning with a broken bone in his left food.  He was having a solid season so far making all the plays in the field and hitting .303 with 5 RBI.  Chavez injured himself in the process of driving in Curtis Granderson on a triple.
Chavez fractured the fifth metatarsal in his left foot will visit team doctors in his left foot.  He currently has no timetable for his recovery.  This injury hampers the depth because now they will be missing an established veteran with some power off the bench, which they did not have in some years.  Signing Chavez was risky because while he has received six gold gloves with the Athletics has often found himself on the disabled list for an array of injuries.  It is been confirmed that the Yankees have called up Pena, leaving Spring Training sensation, Jorge Vazquez in the minors.  The Yankees have Pena on the team but they would be better off having Chavez healthy and Pena as the back-up middle infielder. 
With Chavez on the injured list for an unidentified amount of time, the only power bat that the Yankees can insert into the game is Andruw Jones.  They are currently in an offensive slump having scored three, zero and two runs the last three games.  The bats, as well as the two errors, wasted another solid start by A.J. Burnett.  Burnett actually pitched a no-hitter until the sixth inning but his throwing error led to the Tigers run in the first inning.  It is difficult to comprehend, but the Yankees actually allowed the Tigers to score six runs on only four hits.  It is somewhat shocking that the only game won by the “Bronx Bombers” was the game against the Tigers ace, Justin Verlander. 
It is tough to win games when the team does not play fundamental baseball.  The Yankees now have a three game set where they will play the Rangers in Texas.  They are currently in second place in the AL West with a 17-15 record.  Ivan Nova will pitch the opener against Matt Harrison, followed by Freddy Garcia and CC Sebathia.  Luckily, Harrison comes into tonight’s game having lasted only 4 2-3 innings over his last two starts.  He seems like the right pitcher for the bats to light up the scoreboard against. 
Even after the Yankees’ struggles the past two weeks where they have gone 5-5 they are still in first place by one game over the surging Tampa Bay Rays.  It seems realistic that the Yankees could win tonight’s game as well as Sebathia’s start against Derek Holland on Sunday.