Tagged: Nick Swisher

Yankees lost to the Indians as Tanaka lost his third game in his last four starts

Tanaka while pitching for the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan.

Tanaka while pitching for the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan.

The two-game winning streak that the Yankees were on ended as they lost 5-3 to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday at Progressive Field. Masahiro Tanaka had his worst start since coming to the Yankees from Japan. He gave up 10 hits, two homers and five earned runs in 6.2 innings.

All-Star Michael Brantley was the player that Tanaka couldn’t contain as he was three for four with three RBIs and a run scored. Tanaka seemed to rebound well after allowing Brantley’s RBI double in the first inning, but he allowed another run scoring double to Brantley in the fifth, a two-run homer to former Yankee fan favorite Nick Swisher in the sixth and a homer to Brantley in the seventh.

Manager Joe Girardi admitted that everyone has starts like this one, so he was not shocked that Tanaka had his first start where he did not pick up a win or a quality start. “He got on a roll in innings three, four and five and then made mistakes to Swisher and Brantley,” Girardi said. “I thought the first couple of runs he gave up were on pretty good pitches.” In Tanaka’s last four starts, he has a 4.25 ERA, has allowed five homers and is 1-3.

Tanaka has still had an outstanding first season pitching for the Yankees as his ERA is now 2.51 and was recently selected to the All-Star Game. A Yankee who did not make the All-Star Game but was a borderline selection was Brett Gardner. His 15 steals are tied for 11th in the American League, his 54 runs scored are tied for 10th in the league and he is tied for third place with six triples. He also has a solid .287 average and has given the team an unexpected eight homers. He scored a run and drove in Ichiro Suzuki on a ground out to the shortstop in the second.

The Yankees scored two runs in the first inning off of Trevor Bauer. Mark Teixeira hit a single to center to score Gardner, and then Brian McCann struck out, but Jacoby Ellsbury scored the third run after Yan Gomes made an error after his steal of third. However, the Yankees only recorded four hits as Derek Jeter, Kelly Johnson and Zelous Wheeler combined to go 0-8. The Yankees struggled to hit in the clutch since they were only 2-9 with runners in scoring position. They were also only able to score one run off of three errors by the Indians.

Even though Brian Roberts was 0-4 on Tuesday, he is 10-30 so far in July, with five doubles, four runs scored and a .900 OPS. He has raised his average from .236 to a more respectable .247. This has led Rob Refsnyder to go back to playing the outfield for Scranton, which is the position that he played in college.

The Yankees are now four games behind the Baltimore Orioles for first place since their game was postponed last night due to inclement weather. Brandon McCarthy, who was acquired on July 7 from the Arizona Diamondbacks for Vidal Nuno, will try to give the Yankees their second win of the series in his first start as a Yankee. He has a 5.01 season ERA, but he has only given up two and one run respectively in his last two starts (12.2 innings).

Positive signs for McCarthy are his 55 percent ground-ball rate (best of career) and his 7.63 per nine innings strikeouts rate (best of his career). He was also leading the NL in fewest earned runs and hits allowed when he left Arizona. These stats indicate bad luck as well as ineffective defense while with the Diamondbacks. It is also a positive sign that two of his best seasons were while he was pitching for the Oakland Athletics, who are in the American League.

Swisher will be able to be replaced

There is uncertainty right now about if Huroki Kuroda, Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano will be back with the Yankees next season. This is because they have all declined their qualifying offers. However, it seems one can bank on Swisher not returning to the Bronx.

They were all productive during the regular season, but Swisher has been basically invisible in the postseason with the Yankees. He hit a decent .250 in the three-game sweep to the Tigers and slugged .333 in the ALDS against the Twins in 2010. However, his six other playoff series while with the Bronx Bombers include pathetic offensive production never exceeding .211 (.111, .091, .133, .150, .083).

The Yankees will be trying to advance to the World Series next season and they do not need players that can’t be relied upon in the postseason. Swisher is a fan favorite and a favorite of mine because of how he deals with fans and the media. He seems to always give all out effort on the bases and in the outfield, but Swisher does invariably make questionable decisions and his arm is not the best.

He is not worth the $13.3 million qualifying offer, so even if he had accepted, he would have been overpaid. The Yankees are in cost cutting mode, trying to reduce payroll to get below $189 million by 2014, so not bringing him back makes sense. The front office was thinking about not bringing him back before the season anyway.

Swisher is replaceable because the Yankees could move Ichiro to his natural position of rightfield and the rest of the outfield could include a healthy Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson. The Yankees would be losing some power without Swisher but would be gaining more speed as well as a more reliable outfielder in Gardner.

Swisher did average 26 homers and 87 RBI with the Yankees in the regular season, but I don’t see this production lasting too much longer. Various teams will reportedly offer Swisher a three or four-year contract, and the Yankees are smartly only willing to offer a one-year deal.

However, it is more important that Kuroda and Soriano reconsider because the team will need the pitching that they will be able to provide. They are both coming off productive seasons while proving that they can excel in the pressure cooker that is New York City.

It does seem like Mariano Rivera will be back next season (a few weeks ago he said he was not sure), but Rivera will be 43 on November 29, so no one knows what he will have left after having ACL surgery. This makes having a reliable closer like Soriano a necessity. Soriano is somebody who is worth offering a few more million dollars to.

As reported by MLB, Rivera threw 25 pitches on Friday without any problems during a commercial shoot at the Hackley School in Westchester. This proves that he should be all in, which is great news for Yankee fans, but again, there is no way of knowing if he will be able to pitch up to his Hall of Fame standards for the whole season.

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 split four game set in Baltimore, before their clash with the Red Sox

The Yankees defeated the Orioles, 3-2, behind timely hitting and effective pitching all around by Freddy Garcia as well as the bullpen.  This win gave them a split of the interrupted four-game series against the last place Orioles, in Baltimore.

Freddy Garcia only allowed four base runners during his very solid first start after returning from his short stint on the disabled list.  The only run that he allowed was a homer to the free swinging Mark Reynolds, who can usually be counted on hitting a ball out of the park or striking out.

Garcia has a stellar 3.09 ERA, while continuing his pre disabled list ownership of the American League with his sixth straight start allowing three runs or less.  More impressively, in four of those starts he has allowed one run or less.

Down the stretch their will be a three-way battle between Garcia, Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes for the number three spot in the Yankees playoff rotation.  As of now, Garcia should get the edge because he has been battle tested, pitching in many more big games during his career than Nova or Hughes.  Nobody would have thought that Bartolo Colon and Garcia could have been the two and three starters for the Yankes, in the playoffs, at the beginning of the season.

Mark Teixiera got the scoring started in the first hitting a double to drive in Curtis Granderson, for his 100th RBI, which is his sixth season driving in 100 runs or more.  Teixiera continued his recent surge at the plate as he is 6-12 in his last three games

In the fourth inning, Nick Swisher would give the Yankees all the scoring they would need off of Alfred Simon as his homer to deep right drove in Robinson Cano. Six of Swisher’s last eight hits have been home runs which is unbelievable.  He now has a .267 average, with 21 homers and 77 RBI’s, which is a total reversal of fortune from how he was hitting earlier in the season.

The normally perfect David Robertson, who had not surrendered a run in his last 13 appearances, actually gave up a home run to J.J. Hardy, to deep left center, to make the game interesting.  However Robertson, also known as Houdini, would buckle down afterwards, striking out two in the inning while getting the hold.

Mariano Rivera has more saves against the Orioles than against any other team.  That is not all that surprising since they are in the AL East and have struggled for much of Rivera’s career.

He entered the game with a 3-2 lead facing Vladimir Guerrero.  Rivera would tip the ball with his glove, so that Cano could field it near second and make a strong throw to Teixiera at first.  He would go on to retire the side in order like he has so many times during his Hall of Fame career.

Rivera has now been perfect in his last five innings, not allowing a walk or hit during those games.  The last time he faltered was during three games against the Angels and Red Sox.  The Yankees will now be facing the Red Sox for three games in Boston, so hopefully Rivera can start as well as CC Sebathia can dominate the Red Sox.

They now trail the Red Sox by 1.5 games and are 2-10 in the season series.  Sebathia, (17-7, 2.99 ERA) the Yankees ace, has had a CY Young caliber season and would be a lock for the award over Justin Verlander if it was not for his struggles against Boston.

During four starts this season against the Red Sox, he has a sky-high 7.20 ERA, with a 1.72 WHIP and 10 walks in 25 innings.  He will pitch tonight, against John Lackey, (5.98 ERA) who lacks a decent ERA.  Hopefully Sebathia will be able to execute his pitches and pitch well tonight like he has against the rest of the AL East.  He has been a workhorse for the team, throwing at least seven innings in his last 14 starts, receiving the win in nine of those decisions.

The Red Sox and Yankees will clash three more times after this three game set in Boston, and these six games will go a long way towards deciding who gets to win the division and thus face the Detroit Tigers in the first round of the playoffs.

The Yankees were again without the duo of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez but were still able to win the last two games without them.  There is a chance that both will play during the  series in Boston.

Rivera is now only eight saves away (592) from Trevor Hoffman on the all-time saves list so he should be able to pass him before the end of the season.

3 straight homers by the Yankees highlight an effective end to the doubleheader

Ivan Nova was super once again, pitching seven effective innings, while not wasting the offensive explosion, during the 8-3 victory in the second game of the doubleheader.  He became the first Yankees rookie to win at least 10 straight decisions in one season since Atley Donald won 12 straight in 1939.

Nova allowed one run in each of the first three innings, as Adam Jones would drive in two of those runs. Nova leads all rookies with his 14 wins, and pitches very well with a lead.  Some pitchers will crumble and buckle under pressure with a lead, but Nova excels.

However, the story of this game was how the Yankees offense put on yet another remarkable display.

Curtis Granderson turned around his slump with a vengeance as he hit a three run home run in the third.  His 37th home run, in the top of the third, nearly made it onto Eutaw Street and it put the Yankees up 3-2.  He is now in sole possession for the major league lead in homers.

Granderson drove in Eric Chavez and Brett Gardner, who have both been in slumps recently.  Chevez’s slump has been more pronounced as he is only 4-25, but at least he is not an everyday player.

The home run barrage off of Orioles starter Brian Matusz would continue a Cano hit an opposite field home run in the top of the sixth, to break the tie and send the Yankees up 5-3.  That was the first of back-to-back-to-back homers which would make the score 7-3.  Nick Swisher sent one over the fences off of Matusz to end his night and send him to the showers.

The next two pitchers could not avoid the long ball as well.  Chris Jakubauskas, struck out two batters but he also gave up Andruw Jones’s 11th homer of the season. Granderson hit his second home run off of journey man giant Mark Hendrickson.

An interesting not about the three consecutive homers in the sixth is that the last time the Yankees did so it also came against the Orioles.  That date was May 20, 2009, and Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano joined the party on that day as well.

Another positive about Granderson is that he has totally turned around his offensive production against lefties.  He used to struggle against them but ever since his meeting with hitting coach Kevin Long, last August, he has been a new hitter from both sides of the plate.  He now leads the majors with 15 long balls off of lefties and has just passed Cano for most RBI against them.

This is the offensive outburst that was expected against the Orioles, and especially Brian Matusz because he had an 8.92 ERA coming into the game, now 9.07, and even though he has not been in the rotation the whole season he has likely been the worst starter in the American League.

David Robertson had not allowed a run in his last 12 appearances.  He entered the game with the score 8-3, and runners on first and second.  He would go on to allow a single to Adam Jones.  Since it was hit right to Nick Swisher in right, J.J. Hardy was stranded at third.  Robertson got the free swinging Vladimir Guerero to strike out on a pitch that was well out of the strike zone. Another hitter who does not take many pitches, Mark Reynolds, was Robertson’s next victim, as he struck out for the third time.  He then struck out Ryan Adams for the trifecta, pulling off the impressive feat of striking out three men with the bases loaded.

This was a truly remarkable outing by Robertson, also known as Houdini. He had the correct mindset as he threw mainly pitches out of the zone against Guerrero and Reynolds because he knew they were apt to be overly aggressive.  Now, out of the 44 batters he has faced with the bases loaded he has struck out 23 of them.

Baltimore’s bullpen has been suspect as well, so they were due for a down game after having won six straight.  Hopefully this will be the start of a long winning streak for the Yankees as they start a three- game series, in Boston, against the Red Sox, on Tuesday.  They are now two games behind Boston, who has won three out of their last four.

In an effort to give the Yankees a split of the four-game set, Freddy Garcia (3.16 ERA) will pitch during the series finale on Monday, which will be his first start since coming off of the disabled list.  He has the advantage against O’s starter Alfred Simon, who only has four wins and 4.30 ERA.  However, in his last start, he only allowed the Twins offense to score one run over a career high eight innings.

It is also possible that he will not see Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez in the lineup, who could continue to be out with minor injuries.


Yankees allow 6 runs once again, but this time come just short in extra innings

Trevor Cahill (4.13 ERA), who is coming off an All-Star season, in 2010, limited the Yankees to two runs through six innings, and the Bronx Bombers could not score enough runs off of the Athletics bullpen to prevent losing the game, 6-4 in extra innings, one day after the earthquake.

Robinson Cano upped his hitting streak to 15 in the fourth inning with a double between the centerfielder and right fielder that went to the wall.  Later in the inning, with runners on second and third, Eduardo Nunez came up and hit a ball that bounced on home plate and dribbled ahead.  He did not run thinking it was foul and was called out.  He was mystified but the umpire was correct.

Francisco Cervelli was the next batter and he is somebody in particular who usually seizes the moment with ducks on the pond, but this time he did not convert.

However, Cervelli would make up for his blunder in the bottom of the fourth by throwing a bullet to Cano at second to get out Scott Sizemore who was trying to steal.  Sizemore’s single was only the Athletics third hit of the game off of Sebathia, who rebounded well after a rocky first inning.

Over his last 12 games Jeter is hitting .521, but as a result of his wild swing at a pitch out of the zone in the fifth he failed at his attempt to finally reach .300.  That is OK because he has been a totally new hitter since coming off the DL, hitting like he did in 2009 when he finished third in the MVP voting.

Jemile Weeks, younger brother of Milwaukee Brewers star Rickie Weeks, who has speed similar to Brett Gardner, led off the sixth inning with what appeared to be a triple, but Cano made a picture perfect throw to nail him at third.  Curtis Granderson started the perfect relay with a strong throw to Cano.

Swisher hit what appeared to be a critical home run in the bottom of the sixth, into the Yankees bullpen, after falling feet away from being the hero last night.  He is one player who did everything in his power to help the Yankees win as Cahill kept the offense off guard to that point.

Sebathia continued his stellar pitching as he retired the Athletics in order in the top of the seventh, on only six pitches.

With Hideki Matsui surprisingly playing left field and not DH, Eduardo Nunez hit a ground ball down the third base line that hit the indentation, for a double.  Cervelli executed a perfect bunt for a single to set the Yankees up for a potential big inning. Cahill was then removed by A’s manager Bob Geren (and Bob Saget look-a-like), and Brian Fuentes would go on to retire the next three batters in order.

With two outs in the eighth inning, and Sizemore coming up to bat, Joe Girardi acted like he was going to bring in David Robertson but decided not to.  He will probably regret that decision as Sizemore got his third hit tying the game at two.

To end the top of the eighth Matsui hit a hard line drive to Derek Jeter, who was able to double Weeks off at second.  However, the damage had already been done off of the usually shutdown Robertson as he allowed a single to Crisp, which scored Sizemore.

The home run barrage over recent games would continue as Mark Teixeira smacked a very deep home run to right-center.  This was the first run Grant Balfour had allowed in his last six appearances and with that mammoth shot he tied Granderson with the team lead.  Posada continued his utter dominance against Balfour as he now five for six against the journeyman reliever.

Rivera would pitch a one-two-three top of the ninth and the Yankees would come to bat in the ninth with a chance at a walk-off victory and for a lucky player to receiver a pie in the face.

Soriano came in to pitch the tenth, but the inning did not start so well as Sizemore got his fourth hit to put runners on first and second.  Crisp delivered a dagger off of Soriano, with two outs, which was his fifth RBI of the evening.

Nick Swisher would hit his third home run in his last two games to reduce the Athletics lead to two runs.  Unfortunately, Andruw Jones would go onto strike out to end the game, meaning that the best the Yankees can do is win one out of three against the fourth place Athletics.

Sebathia has been a true work-horse for the Yankees, pitching seven innings or more in 13 out of his last 14 starts but, on this night, the relatively light hitting Crisp could not be contained.  He is hitting a robust .414 against the Yankees this season, and almost single handedly defeated them.  Crisp has been known for his uniquely amazing name, his 70’s style afro for a short period, as well as his speed but never really for his power.

It is not a good sign that the Yankees have already lost the series to the Athletics, who are 12 games below .500, even though they have a chance to salvage a game tomorrow.  Soriano had his first truly forgettable outing since returning from the disabled list, as he had allowed only two hits and one earned run, in eight appearances since his return.

Granderson had a rare off day at the plate but was one half of the tandem that helped prevent Weeks from getting a triple.  Once again, not hitting with men on base hurt the Yankees, as they had 11 hits but nine runners left on base.  They also did not come through in the clutch four times with runners in scoring position and two outs, with Cervelli being the culprit twice.

It is also disappointing that the Yankees lost after a solid start from their ace while the Red Sox defeated much superior competition in the form of the Texas Rangers, behind their ace, Josh Beckett.  The Yankees find themselves down by a game, needing a win during tomorrow’s matinee game against Oakland, behind Phil Hughes, who has two wins and a 3.87 ERA during his last three starts.

Yankees fall to the Athletics, as Swisher just missed a multiple homer game

The Oakland Athletics edged the Yankees, 6-5, on Tuesday night, as the Yankees staged a late rally which fell just a few feet short.

With his single to center in the third Jeter achieved yet another multi hit game.   However, with runners on first and second Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixiera could not convert.  To end the bottom of the third inning Teixiera made a play that required cat like reflexes to reach for a line drive and double off Josh Willingham at first.

In the top of the seventh, with the Yankees down 3-0, and a runner on first, Russell Martin made an outstanding stop to prevent Cliff Pennington from getting to second.  Unfortunately, Kurt Suzuki would go on to hit a double down the left field line to move Pennington to second, knocking Colon out of the game.

The Athletics’ offense continued to hurt the Yankees pitching as pinch-hitter Scott Sizemore smashed a double off of reliever Boone Logan that drove in Suzuki and Pennington.  In recent outings Logan had been pitching very impressively so hopefully this does not last.

Derek Jeter was just about the only bright spot through eight innings for the Yankees as he led off the inning with a single.  If he is able to have a three-for-three game tomorrow his average will be all the way up to .300.  This is very impressive after his underwhelming start to the season.

However, later in the inning Nick Swisher came up in the nick of time as he hit a three run homer into the Yankees bullpen to force the A’s to go to their bullpen.  Then off of Andrew Bailey, the A’s closer, Jorge Posada hit a deep blast into the bleachers.  He has hit pretty well since being demoted, and in his last five games where he has at least one at bat he has seven hits and seven RBI.

Russell Martin hit a double to the gap and then Brett Gardner got on first because of third baseman Scott Sizermore’s fielding error.  It would have been a close play because of Gardner’s blazing speed but since it was in Sizemore’s glove and bounced out the error call made sense.  Bailey walked Granderson on a full-count to load the bases for Teixiera.

Teixeira popped out and Granderson walked, but Swisher came so very close to hitting a grand slam but it ended up being a very long fly ball that landed in Coco Crisp’s glove, on the warning track, in centerfield.  The Yankees left runners in scoring position with two outs five times, with Swisher twice being the culprit, so if they would have converted on one or two of these opportunities the outcome might have been different.

Part of the reason Bailey allowed two hits, a walk and homer might have been because he had extra nerves since he was pitching near his hometown in Voorhees, New Jersey and also where he went to college at Wagner in Staten Island.

Logan came into this game having not allowed a run in his last three appearances, the Yankees likely would have won.  This is because he gave up the double to Logan, which scored two runs, and gave Colon give five earned runs on the evening.

Colon really did not pitch that poorly because through six innings he had only allowed three runs and that is a quality start.  Two of those runs were solo home-runs but he has not won a game during the month of August.

Brandon Allen hit two solo home runs during the game and he has really taken advantage of his trade to the Athletics, on July 31st.  His first home run, in the second inning off of Colon, was a mammoth shot into the upper deck.  He is only the second player to launch one into the upper deck at the new Yankee Stadium.

The Athletics are not known for their offense, as they are 12th in the AL in runs scored.  They only scored 3.3 runs per game in the first half but have scored considerably more since then.

CC Sebathia, who is very reliable and a CY Young candidate, will try to revert Oakland back to their pre All-Star break form.  Trevor Cahill is slated to pitch for the A’s, who was an All-Star and in the top five in lowest ERA last season, but has struggled this season with a 4.17 ERA.

Since the Yankees lost last night and the Red Sox won they are now in a virtual tie for first place.  Boston is playing the Rangers tonight, and the Rangers are winning the season series 4-1.  Hopefully the Yankees will be able to take advantage of facing inferior completion for six more games before battling Boston.

Three major reasons cause the Yankees to not be able to sweep the Royals

The Yankees lost 5-4 to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night in Kansas City, and repeatedly not coming through with runners in scoring position proved to be a major reason that they did not sweep the worst team in the AL Central.

The Yankees got off to a promising beginning as Curtis Granderson blasted a 401 foot home run into the waterfall in the first inning.  In Granderson’s second at-bat, in the top of the third, he hit a deep line drive off the bottom of the wall in left field for a double.  This was the 34th homer and 95th RBI for the MVP candidate.  However, Royals pitching repeatedly halted the Yankees’ bats with men on base.

Royals starter Bruce Chen actually outpitched Barolo Colon during this game.  Chen is a crafty veteran, who has pitched for nine teams throughout his career and has always been a middle to end of a rotation starter.  This was actually a surprising start by Chen because for his career he has a 6.52 ERA against the Yankees.  However, for Colon, besides the third inning he actually did not pitch so poorly.

Bartolo Colon pitched unlike his normal self in the third inning since he allowed a three-run homer by Alex Gordon followed by a solo shot by Billy Butler.  However, it did appear that Butler’s home-run should have been temporary because it looked like it hit the very top of the wall and bounced back onto the field.  The umpires took about 10 minutes to review the call after Joe Girardi insisted that they do so, but they should have been able to realize that they made the wrong call the first time since they were looking at video replay. Kim Jones even said that, Frank White, a Royals announcer, was sure that it should have been a double because of the mark the ball left.

Chen continued to confuse the Yankee batters in the fifth inning as he forced Nick Swisher to hit into a double play to end the inning.  This is becoming a trend for Swisher as he did not pick up an RBI in the series against the Royals and in his past 10 games he has only driven in two.

Cano continued to show his gold glove potential as he started a double play off of a ball hit in the hole by Jeff Francoeur.  This was critical as the Royals were threatening to extend the lead.  Mark Teixeira also made a very impressive play off an errant throw by Derek Jeter, to get the second out of the seventh inning.

In the top of the seventh, the Yankees looked like they were on the verge of another rally but Royals reliever Louis Coleman struck out three batters in a row after Derek Jeter had singled and Granderson walked.  Swisher struck out looking on a full count with two outs, and that really hurt because it continued a game for him where he had not come through with ducks on the pond.

With the bases loaded and one out in the ninth inning Robinson Cano came up, had a long at bat, and was able to drive in a run on a sac fly to make the score 5-4.  However, he is now 0-9 against the Royals closer Joakim Soria.  Soria, (The Mexicutioner) with Nick Swisher batting, threw a wild pitch, which allowed runners to advance to second and third, would go on to walk Swisher on four pitches.  Then, Posada who pinch hit for Andruw Jones earlier had the chance to be the hero again.

Unfortunately, Posada went down looking on an outside fastball, which appeared a little high, but was obviously too close of a pitch to not swing at.  A few years ago Posada would have likely been able to drive the ball to left field.

A major factor that caused the Yankees to lose this game was that they left 11 runners on base.  In addition, Granderson, Swisher, Russell Martin and Posada twice did not come through with runners in scoring position with two outs.  Martin and Granderson can’t completely be blamed because they both hit home runs in the game, driving in half of the teams runs.

Derek Jeter also continued his impressive play of late, getting four hits during the game and he now has 11 hits in his last four games.  Unfortunately none of those hits by Jeter during the loss to the Royals were able to come with men on base.  If they were able to come with runners in scoring position not as much blame would go against the umpire who blew the call, as well as against Colon.

(When the umpires met for 10 minutes to look at the video they should have realized that it was not a homer but the Yankees offense is more to blame since they had many opportunities to take the lead later on and did take advantage.)

It is not the most promising sign that Ivan Nova and Bartolo Colon had poor starts back-to-back but the way that they have pitched for most of the season leads one to believe that they will bounce back during their next start.  Nova is a possible Rookie of the Year candidate, while Colon will probably get Comeback Player of the Year.  Nova and Colon are two major reasons that the Yankees are in first place in the AL East by half a game, as a result of the Rays shutting out the Red Sox.

The Yankees now travel to Minnesota to face the struggling Twins, who are in fourth place in the AL Central.  They have a four-game series and for this match-up at the Target Center the Yankees need to be able to win at least three-games.