Tagged: Felix Hernandez

Mark Teixiera’s homer to right in the 8th inning led the Yankees to a win over King Felix and the Mariners

CC Sabathia

CC Sabathia

In a matchup of former Cy Young winners, CC Sabathia and Felix Hernandez both allowed one run in six innings pitched in the Yankees 2-1 win over the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium. This gave the Yankees a 2-1 series win and they have now won six of their previous eight games.

Mark Teixeira, who hit a homer to right in the eighth inning off of Fernando Rodney with the score tied at one, was previously 0-9 against Rodney before his game-winning homer that went into the bleachers. Before Sunday’s game, Teixeira’s last go ahead homer in the eighth inning or later was in 2009. He has already hit more homers (23) and driven in more runs (63) than he did in all of last year.

Sabathia’s four seamer and slider worked very well, which helped him record seven strikeouts including all three batters he faced in the fourth. It was his first start of six innings, one earned run and seven strikeouts in two seasons.

“I feel great,” Sabathia said. “I had a week off. At this point in my career I think I am better when I have time off. I am friends with all these guys so it is not hard to try and help them the second half. I was able to work both sides of the plate and get swings and misses.”

Sabathia threw 33 four-seam fastballs and 19 sliders. He got three strikeouts on his slider. He allowed two earned runs in 5.1 innings in his previous start, which means he has gotten a little better than in his last start before the All-Star break.

“It looked like he was strong today and threw the ball well,” Joe Girardi said. “I thought he used his cutter extremely well today, something that he has been working on, and he mixed his other pitches in well. He threw a really good game and got some big outs when he needed to.”

The only run that Sabathia allowed was an RBI single to center by former Yankee Austin Jackson in the 5th inning. Sabathia retired the side in order in the first and fourth innings, and he got a double play to end the sixth.

The Mariners have a weak offense, but if he can continue using his cutter/changeup well and throwing to all parts of the plate effectively then he can be an asset to the rotation for the rest of the season. His ERA is currently a high 5.25 (an improvement from 5.65 on June 23), but it is more important what he is able to do the rest of the season as the Yankees look to win the division.

Sabathia does have an impressive 91 strikeouts and only 21 walks (4.33 K/BB), which is the 10th best strikeout to walk ratio in the AL.

“I’ve said all along that the ability is there, it is just the consistency of the pitcher,” Girardi said. “He was really good today. The one thing we know CC has is a lot of heart. We believe in him.”

Carlos Beltran, who was activated from the disabled list earlier in the day, drove in the Yankees’ only run off of Hernandez. In the sixth inning, Beltran hit a single to left center that scored Brett Gardner to tie the score at one. (In a somewhat controversial move, the Yankees opted to send second base prospect Rob Refsnyder down to Triple-A after playing only four games instead of cutting Brendan Ryan.)

Beltran, who was 1-2, is now hitting a solid .307 in his last 43 games, which has brought his average up to a respectable .262. That is impressive since he had a .162 average at the end of April. “I got a good pitch, a curveball in the middle of the plate. and got a hit to left center,” Beltran said.

Dellin Betances pitched the eighth inning and picked up his sixth win of the campaign. He walked two Mariners but was able to get out of trouble since he got Mark Trumbo to pop out to second to end the inning. He lowered his ERA to 1.47 and hasn’t allowed a run in his last five appearances.

Andrew Miller struck out Dustin Ackley for the second out of the ninth on an inside 85mph slider. Miller than got catcher Mike Zunino to fly out to Brett Gardner to end the game. The Yankees had the Mariners where they wanted them because Betances pitched with the scored tied and Miller picked up his 20th save in 20 chances.

After the game, Girardi said that Refsnyder was sent down to improve all around and because he wanted to stick with what got them to first place.

“We just thought there were some little things he could work on,” Girardi said. “Just continue to improve and make little adjustments. We believe he is going to be here for a long time and for right now we are going to stay with the guys we have.”

After winning their 23rd come from behind game of the season, the Yankees will have Monday off before beginning a three-game series against the second place Baltimore Orioles at home. The Yankees have a 4-game lead over the Orioles for first place.

Michael Pineda will get the start for the Yankees in a marquee matchup with King Felix

Michael Pineda

Michael Pineda

The Yankees will play the Mariners in Seattle tonight at 10:10 EST. Felix Hernandez, who is 8-1 and has an outstanding 1.91 ERA this season, will get the start for the Mariners. He has remarkably allowed two runs or less in eight of the 10 starts that he has made this season. In six starts against the Yankees from 2012 until 2014, Hernandez had a 2.09 ERA in 43 innings.

Michael Pineda will get the start for the Yankees and will make this matchup a marquee one. He will be facing the Mariners for the first time since they traded him for Jesus Montero after the 2011 season. Pineda has a very good 3.36 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, a 6-2 record and 67 strikeouts (6th in AL). His ERA would be much better if not for his starts on May 15 and May 22 where he allowed five and four runs respectively.

Part of what makes him the ace of the staff is that he has 67 strikeouts and only five walks. Pineda struggled in those two starts because he was not locating his slider, but when Pineda’s slider is on target he is one of the best starters in the American League.

He only allowed one run in 6.2 innings in his last start, and the Yankees need him to have a similar performance tonight because it is always a challenge to score runs off of King Felix. Pineda will have to contain Nelson Cruz, who leads the American League with his 18 homers. Cruz has been one of the best offseason signings in all of baseball.

It was announced earlier today that when Masahiro Tanaka comes off of the disabled list on Wednesday that Adam Warren will deservedly stay in the rotation and Chris Capuano will be moved to the bullpen.

Stephen Drew will return to the lineup tonight as Jose Pirela got the start at second the previous two games. Joe Girardi is making a point not to give up on Drew.

It’s tough, but we signed him to be our second baseman,” Girardi said. “He’s worked really hard the last couple days to see if he could work on a couple little things here or there. I want to get him back out there.”

This is the rest of the lineup for tonight’s game:

Brett Gardner CF

Chase Headley 3B

Alex Rodriguez DH

Mark Teixeira 1B

Brian McCann C

Carlos Beltran RF

Didi Gregorius SS

Stephen Drew 2B

Ramon Flores LF

The Yankees begin an important stretch of 10 of 16 games against teams below .500

Dellin Betances All-Star card

Dellin Betances All-Star card

The Yankees are 47-47 as the “second half” of the season begins, since their four-game All-Star break has ended, and they will play their first of three games against the Cincinnatti Reds on Friday. Derek Jeter, Dellin Betances and Masahiro Tanaka all made the All-Star team, but Jeter was the only one who played because Tanaka is injured and Betances was not put in the game by John Farrell.

Betances was not disappointed that he didn’t get a chance to pitch during the game. He enjoyed the whole experience of seeing Jeter go 2-2 in his final All-Star Game. “I guess I could use the rest and be ready to help the team win the division in the second half,” Betances said. The Yankees will need Betances, who has a 1.46 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 55.1 innings, to continue to command his slurve and fastball and dominate hitters like he has if they are going to win the weak AL East.

The Yankees are currently five games behind the first-place Orioles, but should be helped by their relatively weak schedule after the break combined with the challenging slate of games that Baltimore has.

The Orioles play their next 26 games against teams that are currently .500 or better. Their next 16 games are against the top three teams in the American League West, the Oakland Athletics, the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners, who have some of the best pitchers in baseball, including Garret Richards, Felix Hernandez, Jeff Samardzija and Sonny Gray. The Orioles, who are 7-3 in their last 10 games are known for their offense – since they have the third best average, second most homers and fourth most total bases in the AL – but could be due for a regression as a result of their weak pitching and the challenging west coast trip that they will be on.

On the other hand, the Yankees will play 10 of their next 16 games against teams that are currently below .500. In those games, they will play the Reds for three games, the injury ravaged under .500 Texas Rangers for seven games, their AL East rival Toronto Blue Jays for three games and the under .500 Boston Red Sox for three games to end this stretch of games.

Of the next 16 games that the Yankees play their first 10 will be at home. They will need to reverse the trend of playing much better on the road. The Yankees have a 29-24 record in away games and a less than mediocre 18-23 record in the Bronx. They will need to have a better than .500 record at home and continue to play at a similar record on the road if they are going to make the playoffs. It would be a successful home-stand if they can go 6-4 before playing six games on the road against teams that are below .500.

The Yankees will almost definitely be trading for a pitcher who can be better than Chase Whitley in the rotation to help the team in the next few weeks. As of now, Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka could return sometime in August, but it is not known for sure if that will happen. It is necessary for the offense to consistently hit with power at home and on the road, which means Carlos Beltran needs to be healthy and productive, and Mark Teixeira, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian Roberts need to be reliable.

David Phelps, who has an impressive 2.08 ERA in two July starts, will start Friday’s 7:05 p.m. game at Yankee Stadium against the Reds. Mike Leake (7-7, 3.54 ERA) will get the start for Cincinnati. Brandon McCarthy will be making his second start for the Yankees in Saturday’s 1:05 p.m. game. The ground ball pitcher allowed one earned run in 6.2 innings in his start against the Cleveland Indians. A good sign for McCarthy is that after having a 4.88 ERA in June, he now has a 2.19 ERA so far in July. All-Star Alfred Simon, who is 12-3 with a 2.70 ERA will start on Saturday for the Reds.

On Sunday at 1:05 p.m, in the series finale, All-Star Johnny Cueto, who had a 2.13 ERA before the All-Star break, will start for the Reds. Hiroki Kuroda, who has a 4.10 ERA, but is coming off of a start where he allowed two runs in 7.0 innings against the powerful Orioles, will try for his seventh win of the season on Sunday. The Yankees begin an important stretch of games, and it is equally important that Cashman acquires the right players to help the team down the stretch.

Bartolo Colon is intriguing option since he has a 3.99 ERA for the Mets, has already pitched well for the Yankees in 2011 and the Yankees should not have to give up a lot to trade for him. It would make sense for the Mets to get a prospect back for him because at 41 he is obviously not in their long term plans.


The Yankees lost the series against the Twins after only scoring six runs

David Robertson

David Robertson

In Sunday’s series finale, in which the Yankees had to win in order to win the series, the Yankees lost 7-2 as Phil Hughes limited them to only two runs and three hits while striking out six in his eight innings pitched. Hughes, who played for the Yankees for his first seven seasons of his career and had a horrible 5.19 ERA in 2013, allowed all of his runs in the fourth inning.

The Yankees were in position to win the game in the ninth inning, but the usually reliable David Robertson blew his second save of the season. Joe Girardi had him attempt to get the save after throwing 27 pitches in the ninth in Saturday’s win, when he could have left Adam Warren in the game. However, it’s not like he hasn’t been able to pitch on consecutive days this season since on the two previous times he threw for a second consecutive day he did not allow any runs.

If it was because of pitching on consecutive days or not, he had by far his worst appearance since taking over for Mariano Rivera. His ERA rose from 2.08 to 4.50 after allowing a lead off homer to Josh Willingham with the Yankees winning 2-1, a walk to Kurt Suzuki, a walk to Aaron Hicks to put runners on first and second and then Brian Dozier’s double scored Suzuki. Joe Mauer was then intentionally walked to load the bases. He was then taken out of the game for Matt Daley, but all of those runners would score and be charged to him.

Hughes found a lot of success in 2009 out of the bullpen in helping them win the World Series, and was an All-Star in 2010 when he picked up 18 wins after a dominating first half of the season, but he was much better on the road in his last few seasons and it was obvious that he would not be back after the 2013 campaign.

Hughes was emotional upon pitching at Yankee Stadium for the first time as a visitor, but he knew that making his pitches would help. “A little bit more nerves than usual, but thankfully I was throwing strikes early and was able to make some pitches,” Hughes explained.

The only Yankees who drove in runs were Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki. They would have scored more runs in the fourth inning but they were not able to record any extra base hits after Brett Gardner led off the inning with a triple. Jeter’s single drove Gardner home for their first run and then Jacoby Ellsbury’s single advanced him to second.

Then, Brian McCann walked to load the bases, Yangervis Solarte popped out to the shortstop, Ichiro Suzuki hit a sac fly to center that scored Jeter for the second run and Brian Roberts struck out with runners on first and second. The Yankees could have had a big inning if Ichiro and/or Roberts would have had extra base hits.

The Yankees, who are 3.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East with a 29-26 record, have a negative 15 run differential and are 5-5 in their last 10 games. In a stadium that is built for runs and power hitting, the Yankees are struggling to win at home. They are 12-13 at home, which is mostly due to a struggling offense. The Yankees have scored more than four runs in only two of their past seven home games.

The Yankees are also without Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira right now, which is hurting their chances of hitting home runs. The Yankees are currently in “wait and see” mode with Teixeira after he received a cortisone shot for inflammation on his right wrist. They have some promising news regarding Beltran as he went to Florida on Sunday for extended spring training games, and could return to the team by the end of the week if he doesn’t have a setback.

The Yankees face the Seattle Mariners and their ace, Felix Hernandez, at home Monday night in a make-up game, and then continue their home-stand with a three-game series against the first-place Oakland Athletics. The Yankees bats will not to rebound from not producing against the two worst starters in the AL on Friday and Saturday and find a way to drive in runs against the quality pitching that they will face this week.

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 head into Oakland with momentum

Gardner displaying his speed.

Gardner displaying his speed.

After winning three out of four games in Seattle against the third place Mariners, the Yankees are now about to start a three-game series in Oakland. Going back to the last day of May, the Yankees have now won seven of their last 10 games, which includes winning six of their last seven games.

The previous series against the Mariners can be considered a success since they won the series and got the victory in the game that Felix Hernandex pitched. The Yankees only scored one run off of King Felix, in the 2-1 victory, but David Phelps had his second quality start in a row.

The final game of the series in Seattle also saw Brett Gardner have four hits in five at bats. He also drove in a run and picked up a steal on his way to being named the American League Player of the Week. He stole his 10th base and already has 27 RBI and six homers, which is one shy of his career high.

In their last three games (two wins), the Yankees’ offense has scored only six runs, but Gardner has eight hits in that span and is on a seven-game hitting streak that has seen his average rise from .256 before the streak to .284. He has consistently been hitting leadoff and is perfect for that role because of his speed and ability to get on base.

In the past four games, the bullpen was another strength since in 8.1 innings they did not allow any runs. This has been a theme basically all season for the relievers. However, the one exception might be Joba Chamberlain.

The Yankees will now face the Oakland Athletics, who are in second place in the AL West, with an impressive 38-27 record. They are 7-3 in their last 10 games, but lost their last two games to the White Sox. Oakland also has an effective pitching staff as only one reliever has an ERA over 2.57, and they have four solid starters including Jarrod Parker, Bartolo Colon, Tommy Milone and A.J. Griffin.

Bartolo Colon (7-2, 3.14 ERA), who had a 4.00 ERA and 135 strikeouts for the Yankees in 2011, will pitch for the Athletics tonight. He is pitching like he is 30 and not 40. CC Sabathia (6-4, 3.74 ERA), the ace of the staff the past few years (Kuroda has been the best pitcher this season), will pitch for the Yankees. He usually pitches better as the temps get hotter, and in his last game he threw a complete game while striking out nine batters.

Here are the pitching matchups for the rest of the series:

Wednesday at 10:05 EST.

Phil Hughes (3-4, 4.80 ERA) vs RHP Dan Straily (3-2, 4.67 ERA) – (Phil Hughes has a 3.44 ERA in away games, which is much better than his record at home)

Thursday at 10:05 EST.

Hiroki Kuroda (6-5, 2.84 ERA) vs RHP Jarrod Parker (5-6, 4.68 ERA)

The Yankees are now two games behind the Boston Red Sox for first place in the AL East and are tied with Oakland for the wild card. It would be a successful series if the Yankees can win two or three games against Oakland. Phil Hughes and David Phelps will need to continue to pitch well since in Michael Pineda’s first rehab start, he threw 42 out of his 68 pitches for strikes, and his fastball reached 94 MPH. He could be a factor after four or five rehab starts given his success as a rookie with Seattle.

After defeating King Felix, Yankees announce they will be helping those in need

The Yankees can be praised for their play on the field, the last two games, as well as their actions off of it.

First of all, the Yankee have won their last two games, the first one against the Mariners, in the series opener against Felix Hernandez, who is one of the best pitchers in baseball.  This was a clutch win for the team as it put them four games ahead of the Red Sox and it proved that they could beat a top flight starting pitcher as they were three hit by Jared Weaver in the Angels series.  They had an offensive explosion off of last year’s CY Young winner as Mark Teixiera hit his 37th homer, Chris Dickerson hit a two run blast for his first of the season and Robinson Cano hit a three RBI double in the seventh in the 7-3 victory.

Phil Hughes had his second start in a row where he allowed two runs or less as he only gave up one run in six dominating innings of work.  It seems like he is rounding into form just in time for the playoffs.  He walked three batters which is a little high but all that matters is that only one runner crossed home plate.  Hughes should definitely have a role in the playoffs but that might be out of the bullpen as it seems like the starters might be CC Sebathia, Ivan Nova, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia.

They also won the game before down the west coast in Anaheim on 9/11 by the score of 6-5.  There was a very fitting tribute before the game as first responders and a survivor threw out the first pitch to Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada who were all prominent members of the 2001 Yankees team.  Rivera picked up his 599th career save and is now only three saves away from passing Trevor Hoffman as the all-time leader and cementing himself as officially the greatest closer in baseball history.

Eric Chavez, Jeter and Cano each picked up two hits for the Yankees while Curtis Granderson led the team with two RBI as a result of his deep home run.  They were the offensive players that helped end the losing streak.

The Yankees close victory was a key one because it ended the four game slide and before the 6-0 loss to the Angels on Saturday they had previously come on the short end of three straight one run losses.  Even though they were in first place the whole time it was critical to start this winning streak to put some distance between them and the Boston Red Sox.

David Ortiz even came out and said that they are in panic mode since they are 2-8 in their last 10 games and the surging Tampa Bay Rays are threatening to become the AL Wild Card instead of Boston.  The Red Sox could be on their way to collapsing in a similar way that the Mets did in 2008 as they went 5-12 to end that season.

A.J. Burnett will pitch for the Yankees tonight so the bullpen should be ready to do their job.  Luckily, the Mariners have  a pitcher named Charlie Furbush taking the mound who is struggling almost as much with a 4.84 ERA.

As previously stated, the Yankees made positive headlines off the field, once again, saying that they will donate $100,000 to support the  rescue/relief efforts in association with Hurricane Irene.  Of that $100,000, half will go to the Salvation Army and the other half will go to the Red Cross.  In addition, they will be making a $25,000 donation to support the rescue/relief of the Texas wildfires.