The Yankees lost for the second game in a row to the Baltimore Orioles by the score of 5-4 in extra innings, but the culprit this time was actually the bullpen. After playing the Orioles at home for three games they had to travel to Baltimore, during a rare off day, for one game, to make up a game that was postponed due to Hurricane Irene.
Ivan Nova pitched well enough to get the victory, allowing three runs in 5.1 innings and it would have made sense for Girardi to have left him in to finish the sixth inning since he was only at 98 pitches. This was Nova’s 13th start since June 3rd and he is remarkably not picked up a loss in any of them, while getting the victory 11 times.
However, he was on track to win the game since Alfredo Simon gave up four runs in the first three innings. All the runs actually came off of singles. In the top of the second, Eric Chavez singled to shortstop scoring Alex Rodriguez. Later in the inning with the bases loaded and two outs, Derek Jeter singled to shallow center scoring Robinson Cano and Chavez.
In the top of the third Chavez would collect his second single of the afternoon and thus his second RBI as Mark Teixiera scored from second after a rare steal. After the fourth inning the Yankees failed to have a runner reach scoring position off of five Orioles relievers.
They were shut off the bases by four of those relievers and three of them – Clay Rapada, Jeremy Accardo and Jo-Jo Reyes – have ERA’s over 5.18. They will need to improve their hitting against relief pitching as they will be facing relieves who are much more dominating in the coming series against the Angels in Anaheim, as well as in the playoffs.
Baltimore was led by likely Hall of Famer, Vladimir Guerrero, who was 3-5, with a homer off of Nova. The real hero for the Orioles during this game was the speedy Robert Andino out of the ninth spot in the Baltimore lineup. He won the game for the O’s as he had an RBI single in the 8th off of Rafael Soriano for his second blown save, and a walk-off single in the 10th off of the newly re-acquired Scott Proctor.
They Yankees were lucky that the Blue Jays helped them out once again by beating the Red Sox to keep their division lead at 2.5 games.
The Angels have been surging of late, having won six of their last 10, and they also won seven of eight towards the end of August. Anaheim is now only 2.5 games behind the Texas Rangers so it is possible that the Yankees will play them in the first round of the playoffs.
However, the Detroit Tigers (who lead the AL Central by 8.5 games), Rangers and Angels are all only separated by 2.5 games so we likely will not know the first round pairings until the last few days of the season. If the Red Sox win the Wild Card as they in position to right now they will play the division winner with the second best record and the Yankees will play the other division winner.
As of now the most favorable matchup for the Yankees would be if the Angels do indeed overtake the Rangers in the AL West since they have the weakest offense and the Yankees hit pretty well against their starters, which even includes CY Young candidate Jared Weaver.
They don’t want the take the mindset of scoreboard watching to set up their first round matchup but facing the Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander (22 wins, 2.44 ERA, 232 strikeouts) twice in the first round would be very imposing.
The Yankees should have been able to win three or even four of the games during their makeshift series against the last place Orioles, but they played down to the competition in the last two games with errors, not hitting in the clutch and A.J. Burnett pitching on Wednesday. They also had to deal with a lot of rain.
After playing in what seemed like monsoon conditions at times the Yankees are definitely happy to be playing cross country near Disney Land for three games against the Angels. They will get to avoid the rain for at least three days, play under the sun, but will unfortunately have to face Weaver on Friday after not much rest.
The hefty Bartolo Colon (8-9, 3.72 ERA, 123 strikeouts) who has been consistently reliable and at times dominating, surpassing any expectations that Cashman would have had for him, will pitch against the team that he won the CY Young for in 2005. That was also the last season that he was healthy for the whole campaign.
Colon should be a lock for the Comeback Player of the Year after the blast from the past season that he has put together, especially since he was out of baseball during 2010 due to right shoulder pain and damage to his rotator cuff.
Usually teams that are playing games on the other side of the country have a travel day but the Yankees off day was ruined because of the makeup game yesterday.
The Yankees lead the season series 4-2 after struggling against the Angels in years past. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, (who have gimmicks like the rally monkey that the Yankees would never use) have been the Yankees nemesis in the playoffs in previous seasons but it seems like they match up better this season.
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.
The last game of the two city, seven-game road trip ended on a positive note as Ivan Nova pitched the Yankees to a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins. He executed all his pitches well, especially his slider, and kept his name in a three way race with Mike Trumbo of the Angels and Michael Pineda of the Mariners for Rookie of the Year.
Nova also successfully became the first rookie to win eight in a row with the Yankees since Whitey Ford did so in 1950. He has proven that clutch moments don’t faze him, unlike A.J. Burnett, because he was able to pitch out of a second-and-third no out jam in the fifth inning without allowing a run. This was partly because of miscommunication by Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson on a ball hit by Danny Valencia, which went for a double.
The Yankees’ prized 24 year old, was super while having five strikeouts and only allowing one walk. He lowered his ERA to 3.97 on the campaign proving that the Yankees will be able to count on him down the stretch and in the playoffs. Earlier in the season it was revealed that Burnett had become a mentor figure for Nova, but maybe Nova should give Burnett some advice on pitching.
Proving the dominance of Nova is that only three Twins were able to get into scoring position against him, but the same type of pitching cannot be said for the Twins starter. Nick Blackburn, only lasted 1.1 innings, while walking the bases loaded before being taken out my his manager, Ron Gardenhire, due to an injury.
The Yankees wasted that scoring opportunity as Anthony Swarzak came in and pitched 2.2 perfect innings, but they were able to capitalize off of the Twins next two relievers.
In the sixth inning Russell Martin hit a sacrifice fly to score Robinson Cano who had doubled earlier in the inning. Martin could finish the year with more than 20 home runs, 60 runs batted in and 10 steals which is impressive for a catcher.
The seventh inning is when the Yankees home run kings, Mark Teixiera and Granderson, hit back-to-back homers in unlikely fashion off of Jose Mijares. Granderson drove a ball high off the wall in right field, but Jason Kubel and Ben Revere went for the wall instead of the carom, which resulted in Granderson just barely beating the throw at home. He really had to hustle for that inside the park home run. He added a steal off of Joe Nathan, proving his versatility and that he deserves the MVP.
Teixiera’s home run was of the traditional variety to cap off the back-to-back feat. He hit a stinging line drive that just made it over the left field fence. This was all the scoring the team would need as the combination of David Robertson and Mariano Rivera did not allow any runs once again, even though Robertson has to pull a Houdini act after allowing a walk and two hits.
Granderson and Teixiera will likely go head-to-head until the last days of the season to decide who will have the most home runs and RBI on the team, as well as in the American League. As of now Granderson has 35 home runs to Teixeira’s 34, as well as having 98 RBI’s to Teixeira’s 95. This will be exciting to follow.
Alex Rodriguez was 0 for 5 in his return but after a few games he will prove to be another power bat to add to the lineup. The Yankees played well without him, winning five out of seven and 13 out of 19, but it will definitely be helpful having him back.
It will also be interesting to see if Girardi makes the wise decision in the upcoming days and replaces Burnett in the rotation for at least two starts. It might even help him if he is able to pitch in the minors for a start or two.
Starting on Tuesday, the Yankees get to continue the cupcake portion of their schedule as they have six straight games against the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles, who are both well under .500. They should be able to win at least four of those games to help create a few games of separation over the Red Sox who are playing the Rangers for four games. Yankees are in first place by half a game.