After a 4 hour and 3 minute rain delay, and about 1,000 brave souls in the stands, Phil Hughes was finally able to throw the first pitch in a game that the Yankees would not win until 2:15 a.m.
For the second run of the game, Francisco Cervelli hit a long fly ball just in front of the warning track and it appeared that the left-fielder what make the catch. However, as a result of all the wind and rain, the ball went in and out of Matt Angle’s glove, so he advanced to second and Jorge Posada scored. Posada had earlier hit a solo homer so he had scored both of the runs through five innings.
The error by Angle would be the first of three Orioles’ miscues during the game but only one error would lead to an unearned run.
Hughes cruised through the first five innings, keeping the Orioles off the scoreboard while only allowing three hits. This proves that he was able to locate his pitches well but it was not all that promising that he had thrown 91 pitches to that point.
In the top of the sixth, the second to last batter Hughes would face was Matt Wieters and he would hit a long home run to deep right that scored the possible Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero. Hughes rebounded well, especially considering the conditions he was pitching in, after allowing 12 runs combined in his last two starts.
The Yankees would score all of their runs off of Orioles starter Tommy Hunter. He was acquired by the Orioles in a July 30th, pre deadline deal which would send Hunter and Chris Davis to the Orioles and Koji Uehara to the Texas Rangers.
In the bottom of the sixth inning Mark Teixiera singled to right for his 102nd RBI, which scored Derek Jeter after he had singled earlier in the inning. Finally, in the bottom of the seventh inning the usually light hitting duo of Cervelli and Brett Gardner would hit back-to-back homers to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead, and close out the scoring.
Cervelli hit only his fifth home run and fourth this season, during his 180 game career with the Yankees as the back-up catcher. However, this was a disputed home run that can be compared the Jeffrey Maier incident back in the first-round of 1996 playoffs since that was against the Orioles as well.
This play can not exactly be compared with the famous play in 96 that helped the Yankees win the playoff game because Angle was not planted under the ball like Tony Tarasco was on Jeter’s homer. There were much less than 1,000 drenched fans at the stadium at this point, and the ball just so happened to touch the hands of two people as they were reaching over the left-field wall.
Corey Wade would get his second win in his last four appearances out of the bullpen, once again proving to be a gem of a signing by General Manager Brian Cashman since he only has a 2.05 ERA, and nobody really made a big deal when he was acquired. Mariano Rivera would lock-down his 39th save of the season in order, and is now only four saves away from overtaking Trevor Hoffman as the all-time leader.
The Yankees brain-trust executed yet another admirable gesture by saying that anyone who had bought a ticket to the game, but decided not to attend because of the adverse conditions, can exchange this ticket for any 2012 game.
Both teams have a very fast turnaround as last night/this morning’s game ended only about 10 hours and 45 minutes before today’s game is scheduled to start. It does not really make sense that they played the game last night, since there was such an increased chance for injury, but the Yankees got the win to keep them 2.5 games ahead of the Red Sox, which is the bottom line.
Joe Girardi is sending out what looks like a Spring Training lineup on first glance, but when one looks at it more closely it makes sense to give many starters a day of rest after the marathon like game last night. There is also only one more off day before the playoffs begin. Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixiera and Brett Gardner will all be getting the game off. Their replacements will be Eduardo Nunez, Ramiro Pena, Greg Golson, Brandon Laird and Andruw Jones.
Jesus Montero will also be getting another start after his two homer game where he was the savior on Monday. Hopefully he will be able to lead the offense along with Russell Martin, Nick Swisher, Alex Rodriguez and Jones
A.J. Burnett will get the start for the Yankees and it will be interesting to see if he will be able to defeat the elements after having a much needed respectable start against the Red Sox on Thursday where he allowed two runs in 5.1 innings. Girardi said two days ago that he will keep Hughes and Burnett in the rotation for at least on more turn so we will see how Burnett performs against a much less imposing lineup.
If Burnett allows three runs or less then that will make Girardi’s decision interesting but if the allows more than three then Hughes should remain in the rotation because Burnett is too much of a question mark.
Zach Britton will take the hill for the Orioles and he held the Yankees offense scoreless during seven innings 10 days ago. Britton has likely been O’s most reliable starter of late only allowing three runs in his last three starts. In his career against the Yankees, which only includes three stars he has a 3.77 ERA, but this season on the road his ERA sits at 6.32, which is nothing to write home about.
It seems like the elements will play a role in the game once again because it has been raining off and on all morning. Nobody knows how much the rain will affect Burnett but it is possible that he will be able to limit the Orioles like he did against the Red Sox since their offense is much less potent.
There were many positives during this game, however, the one that stands out is that A.J. Burnett actually pitched the Yankees to victory, only allowing two runs.
I still think he should be taken out of the rotation, as he allowed 16 runs in two starts before this one, and his ERA is still 5.25, but now Girardi at least as a legitimate decision to make after Phil Hughes struggled so much in his last start.
Not many had confidence in Burnett coming into this game, but something was able to click in his brain allowing him to pitch like he was still a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. What he was a starter for the Blue Jays he was consistently effective (2.56 ERA in eight starts) instead of consistently ineffective in eight starts before this one for the Yankees (8.71 ERA and zero wins).
Jon Lester had struggled in his three previous starts against the Yankees this season, but he will likely be somewhere in the top 10 in the CY Young with his 3.09 ERA, so it is not surprising that he only gave up one run in five innings.
Lester likely would have been able to pitch deeper into the contest if it was not for his very eventful top of the first.
David Ortiz hit a hard single to right, in the second inning, which gave him a 15 game hitting streak.
In the top of the third Andruw Jones missed a double by inches as his towering line drive just missed hitting the foul line on the Green Monster. However, unfortunately he would go on to strike out looking on a 2-2 count.
Jones would go 0-1 with three walks but more importantly he has hit more like the hitter he was with the Braves for much of the second half of the season because of an advice from a somewhat unlikely source. Jones would receive a call during the All-Star break from his mother who said that she didn’t like the way he was setting his legs in his batting stance.
Amazingly, during what was Burnett’s best start since June 29th, he only gave up Dustin Pedroia’s two run blast in the bottom of the fourth. This would score MVP candidate Adrian Gonzalez, and would prove that Burnett is actually capable of adjusting to adversity.
With one out in the fifth inning Robinson Cano hit a long double into the triangle in center-field on Lester’s 100th pitch. That double was Cano’s 39th of the season. Swisher bunted with one out which is very puzzling because he is one of the better RBI men on the team. They were down by a run and he could have driven in Cano with a single.
Jesus Montero would bat in top of the fifth with a chance to be the savior, but the nerves of playing in his first big league game and facing Lester got to him as he grounded out to shortstop.
Mark Teixiera got hit right on the knee to load the bases after Derek Jeter singled off of the Green Monster and Curtis Granderson walked. At least that was not a fastball or he would have been badly hurt. However, the Yankees failed again with men on base as Cano grounded out to third.
In the sixth inning, with david Ortiz batting, Burnett threw a pitch with a 3-2 count that appeared to be strike three on the outside corner but the umpire called it a ball. Joe Girardi made the correct decision taking him out of the game at that point. Burnett had allowed a single to Pedroia before that walk, and it was smart not to take any risks with AJ pitching.
To end the sixth inning Curtis Granderson made an outstanding diving catch to prevent two runs from scoring. This also kept Burnett’s line at two runs, which is impressive.
One of the Yankees best prospects, Jesus Montero, who is known for his hitting, left a total of six runners on base in his first three at bats. He would not do any damage in his fourth at bat but at least he was able to get himself to first via getting hit on his jersey.
With runners on first and second, Russell Martin decided to come through in the clutch, after so many had not earlier in the game. Chris Dickerson, who had pinch run and Montero, scored giving the Yankees a 3-2 lead. Eric Chavez would hit a single to send Martin home, while would set the Yankees up for victory as their dominating bullpen options were on deck.
In the bottom of the ninth, Mariano Rivera surprisingly walked two hitters and give up a single before Adrian Gonzalez came to the plate. He just wanted to make the game bottom of the ninth interesting as Gonzalez would be called out on a checked swing to give the Yankees the victory and with the win they are now tied in the loss column with Boston.
The Yankees stranded nine base runners in the first five innings which would be a theme that luckily did not cost them the win. They would go on to leave 13 men on base and would leave runners in scoring position with two outs six times, with Montero being the culprit three times in his debut. On the other hand, Boston would be equally hurt by leaving 10 runners on base.
Another major reason that the Yankees got the upper hand in this game was that their bullpen vastly outperformed the Red Sox’ relievers.
Former Yankee pitcher Alfred Aceves, who can do a little of everything (and who choose number 91 after Dennis Rodman) gave up Martin’s double and in the process surrendering his teams lead. Daniel Bard would allow the Yankees to have a two-run cushion as the Yankees best three relievers were set to enter the game. Eric Chavez would close out the scoring off of Daniel Bard, with an RBI single, and he has improved his average 21 points since August 28 (this drastic increase is partly because he is a part-time player).
However, for the Yankees, their relievers only gave up one hit in 3.2 innings. Corey Wade (2.17), who would get the team out of the fifth inning and pick up the win, was signed on June 13th and has proven to be one of the better mid-season, under the radar, acquisitions by GM Brian Cashman.
The impressive back of the bullpen trio of Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera imposed their will like normal, but they just had to work around four walks between them.
Rivera got Gonzalez out on his patented cutter which has to be one of the best single pitches of all-time. The best closer in baseball history will soon be official as he is now five saves away from 600 and seven away from Trevor Hoffman’s all-time saves record. He could accomplish this feat in late September.
They now begin six game home-stand against division foes Toronto and Baltimore (with one on the road because of Hurricane Irene) who are in fourth and fifth place, respectively. Boston will now face Texas and Toronto in their next six games as the neck-and-neck division race is bound to continue until the last few days of September.
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.
CC Sebathia finally had a quality start against the Boston Red Sox, helping the Yankees win 5-2, improving their season record to 3-10 against Boston. He had help from the bullpen as they got into some jams but never surrendered a run.
Another positive about this game was that Mariano Rivera, who has struggled against the Red Sox in the past, allowing a run in his last appearance against them, picked a save while allowing one hit.
Eric Chavez had his best game production wise since the beginning of August as he had two run scoring singles, in the first and fourth innings, respectively, almost single handedly giving the Yankees all the offense they would need.
In addition to Chavez’s RBI in the top of the fourth, Robinson Cano, hit his 36th double, which drove in Robinson Cano. That was Cano’s 96th RBI, which places him third on the Yankees and fourth in the American League.
The Red Sox would score their only runs of the game in the bottom of the fourth innings as the speedy Carl Crawford, hit his 10th homer of the season, and Marco Scutaro hit a double to left scoring a run.
In the bottom of the fourth CC Sebathia had a clutch strikeout to end the inning and the Yankees would go on to score another run, off a rare homer by Francisco Cervelli, in the bottom of the inning. Cervelli’s actions upon returning to home plate were regrettably as he should have waited until he got back to the dugout to celebrate.
However, this was only Cervelli’s third home run of his career, so possibly the reason he displayed his usual enthusiasm was because he got caught up in the moment.
Crawford made an impressive catch up against the Green Monster, on a ball hit by Robinson Cano, for the first out of the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth Sebathia gave up a double to Jed Lowrie and the Yankees were lucky a run didn’t score because David Ortiz is extremely slow. He would strike out Saltalamacchia, who likely has the longest last name in baseball, to avoid any damage.
In the bottom of the sixth, with Sebathia still pitching, with 110 plus pitches, Chevez was able to show his gold glove form from earlier in his career by fielding a short hop and making a strong throw to Mark Teixiera at first. Sebathia was in true workhorse form tonight as he threw 128 pitches through six innings only allowing two runs. This proves how much confidence Joe Girardi rightfully has in him.
Francisco Cervelli got intentionally thrown at to lead off the top of the seventh. In some ways he had this coming as he clapped emphatically when stepping on home plate after his home run. A pitcher should never intentionally throw at a hitter, but what Cervelli did is against the “code” of baseball.
The Red Sox almost regretted hitting Cervelli because he wound up on third with nobody out after Gardner bunted for a single. This almost ignited a brawl, however, the benches emptied but nothing materialized. Unfortunately, Jeter would go on to hit a double play right to Dustin Pedroia at shortstop to end any kind of momentum. That scored a run but they should have had much more.
The Yankees got lucky a second time with David Oritiz running as he stopped at third on Crawford’s single to left field. Logan would then strike out Saltalamacchia, which would be Jared’s second strikeout with men on base. Logan would go on to pick up back-to-back strikeouts as Darnell Macdonald would swing at a pitch high and outside, to end the seventh inning.
Nick Swisher continued his recent hot hitting, which mirrors how he raked during his All-star campaign last season, as he hit a single in the eighth just inside the foul line to send Cano to third. This culminated a 3-3 game for him. After Posada walked to force the bases loaded, Cervelli could not continue to give the Yankees any more magic as he grounded out to Pedroia to keep the score 5-2.
In order to catch the towering fly ball hit by Marco Scutaro, in the bottom of the eighth, Brett Gardner had to use all of his blazing speed to catch up with the ball. It was almost a SportsCenter top 10 worthy catch.
The Red Sox would threaten to score in the ninth, as Ortiz smacked a double to shallow right and Saltalamacchia got hit by a pitch, but as stated above, Rivera was able to limit their scoring opportunity.
John Lackey gave up four earned runs, but five overall, during the game. The Yankees should have scored more but that was the minimum amount that would have been acceptable against Lackey what has been struggling the whole season.
However, tonight the Yankees will not have the privilege of facing a pitcher who is not living up to his contract. Josh Beckett has an 11-5 record, a 2.43 ERA and is a CY Young candidate just like Sebathia (and the likely winner Justin Verlander). If Sebathia had not struggled so much in his first four starts against the Red Sox he would probably be even with Verlander right now.
Phil Hughes has pitched very well in five out of his seven starts since coming off of the disabled list, so, if he can deliver a quality start the Yankees will have a great chance since Beckett has a 5.37 career record against the Bronx Bombers.
Derek Jeter is 0-9 in his last two games, while missing the last game of the Orioles series because of a minor injury, but hopefully he can get back on track tonight against Beckett, who he is hitting .282 against for his career.
One of the Yankees top prospects, catcher Jesus Montero, will join the Yankees from AAA Scranton for the series finale. He is more known for his offense than his defense behind the plate.