Carlos Beltran will return to the lineup for tonight’s 7:05 p.m. game against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium. Beltran, who missed the previous two games with flu like symptoms, is on a 13-game hitting streak and has increased his average from .187 to .234 during that streak, will bat second and play right field. Beltran has nine of his 18 RBIs during his hitting streak.
Slade Heathcott will get the game off after hitting his first career home run and going 2-5 in the team’s 14-1 win over the Royals on Monday. Heathcott has a .417 average (5-12) with a homer, three RBIs and three runs scored in three starts since being called up from Triple-A Scranton after Jacoby Ellsbury was put on the disabled list.
Jason Vargas (3-1, 5.26 ERA), who is just coming off of the disabled list, will get the start for the Royals, and Adam Warren (2-3, 4.26 ERA) will get the start tonight for the Yankees. The Yankees will look to win their second consecutive game after previously losing six games in a row and 10 of their previous 11 games.
In their win on Memorial Day, Heathcott, Chase Headley, Brian McCann, Brett Gardner, Stephen Drew and Heathcott all hit homers. They had an 11-0 lead by the end of the second inning and Nathan Eovaldi only allowed one run in seven innings in what what his best start since April 21. The Yankees will obviously not be able to score 14 runs a game, Monday’s offensive productions and solid starting pitching needs to be a sign of what is to come. Jacob Lindgren, who will be an asset to the bullpen, pitched two hitless innings while striking out two with his nasty slider in his major-league debut.
Here is the lineup for tonight’s game against the Royals in which they Yankees can move back into first with a win and a Tampa Bay Rays loss:
Brett Gardner LF
Chris Young CF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Carlos Beltran RF
Stephen Drew 2B
John Ryan Murphy C
Didi Gregorius SS
The Yankees (51-44) lost their last game before the All-Star break, 10-4, to the Minnesota Twins after two errors and surprisingly shaky pitching from CC Sabathia. In his career, prior to this afternoon’s game, Sabathia had 17 wins, four complete games, 184 strikeouts and a remarkable 2.96 ERA, which makes this start an anomaly.
Only three of Sabathia’s eight runs were earned, as a result of Eduardo Nunez’s throwing error in the third and Lyle Overbay’s error in the fourth, but Sabathia still allowed eight hits and two walks in four innings pitched.
This has been Sabathia’s worst “first-half” (the All-Star break is not technically the middle of the season) of the season as a result of the 4.07 ERA that he has so far. His second highest pre All-Star break ERA was 3.86 in 2009, but he ended that season with a 3.37 ERA and 19 wins. He should be able to pitch much better in the second half because he usually improves after the All-Star break.
Nunez, who has been error prone throughout his career, made his fifth error in 35 games in the field this season. Nunez has made four errors in 32 games started as shortstop this season. In 2012, Nunez committed a combined seven errors in 26 games played at shortstop, third base and second base. Overbay, who has been one of the best defensive first baseman throughout his career, committed his third error of the season in 77 games played at first base (He has also started games in the outfield and at DH this season).
The two offensive standouts for the Yankees were Ichiro Suzuki and All-Star Robinson Cano. Ichrio was 3-5 with two runs batted in and his sixth homer of the season. Cano, who was 2-4 with an RBI, is now on a nine-game hitting streak. However, the Yankees still stranded nine runners during the game.
It is disappointing that the Yankees did not win the final two games of the series against the Twins. They had won won the previous five, four at Target Field and one on Friday, and the Yankees had been 17-5 against American League Central opponents before the last two losses to the Twins (39-53).
The losses against the Twins as well as the two losses to the Royals in the middle of the homestand are ones the Yankees needed because the schedule gets more difficult after the Midsummer Classic. They play 10 games in 10 days against the Red Sox (56-39), Rangers (54-41) and Rays (55-41). The Rays have won 10 of their last 11 games and have been able to take advantage of inferior competition unlike the Yankees.
The Bronx Bombers basically did not show up for the last game of the series. They need to be rejuvenated by the four days off so that they will be ready for Boston. Even though Phil Hughes had 10 strikeouts against the Twins on Saturday, Brian Cashman should look into getting an upgrade at catcher for him because his is not reliable enough and would do better for a National League team.
The Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals 8-1 behind a much needed offensive outburst. The Yankees scored as many runs in this game as they did in their previous four games combined.
The offensive stars were Lyle Overbay and Robinson Cano. Overbay hit a grand slam in the sixth and Cano hit a three-run homer to deep center in the third.
Overbay has been such an important signing because he has given the Yankees more offense than they ever could have hoped for when he was acquired at the very end of March. He was supposed to be the starter until Mark Teixeira returned from injury, but since Teixeira will be out the rest of the season because of surgery, after an ineffective 10-game return, Overbay will continue to be the starter and it seems like he will be up to the task.
From the 2004 season through the 2012 season, Overbay’s 290 doubles ranked fourth among major league first baseman. So far this season he has a .244 average, 11 homers and 40 RBI. However, he is a first baseman that has always been known for his defense and he has come through in that category as well.
Cano’s homer was needed as it set the tone for the game as their first run was scored off of a passed ball thrown by Wade Davis. Cano had a solid game in many facets since he had three hits in four at-bats, drove in his 62nd RBI and even added his sixth steal of the season. He would have had a triple and a 4-4 game if he would have been hustling from contact, but he was not since he thought the ball that hit the top of the wall was a homer.
Ivan Nova’s second consecutive dominating start, where he had command of all of his pitches, was another major positive. He allowed two runs in a complete game in his last start, and today, he went eight innings while only giving up five hits and striking out six. The only blemish against Nova was an RBI double by Eric Hosmer.
In Ivan Nova’s last four games pitched (3 starts) he is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA. The period that Nova spent in the minors helped him since his is now throwing his fastball where he wants it and is throwing his curve ball for strikeouts or to induce grounders. He really had command of his curve ball tonight.
Nova said that: “I don’t remember the last time I feel the way I feel. I’m throwing strikes with all my pitches.” He has recently been pitching like he did in 2011 when he was fourth in Rookie of the Year voting and won 16 games.
Overbay said he was looking for a fastball on the outside part of the plate and that is exactly what he got in order to hit his grand slam.
Brett Gardner, who stole his 12th base of the season in the fifth inning, is now tied with Phil Rizzuto (149) for 12th most steals in Yankees history.
The only negatives about this game were that Travis Hafner and Brett Gardner are now day-to-day. Hafner, who was 0-2, suffered his injury by fouling a ball off of his foot while swinging in the batting cage between innings. Gardner, who scored two runs on two walks, left the game in the right leg contusion.
A stat to keep in mind is that the Yankees are 29-1 this season when they score five or more runs in a game. Even more important than Ivan Nova proving to Joe Girardi that he deserves to stay in the rotation for the rest of the season was that the offense busted out of the slump that they were in. The runs that were scored today will hopefully give the bats some momentum in order to win at least three of the remaining four games before the All-Star break.
The Yankees lost 3-1 to the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. Their offense has now only scored three runs in the past three games. The Miami Marlins, who have scored the least amount of runs in baseball, have scored seven runs in their last three games.
The loss can be blamed on their non-existent clutch hitting in the first inning. It is rare that a team will have four hits in one inning while only scoring one run but that is exactly what the Yankees pulled off in the first. Robinson Cano hit a single that drove in Brett Gardner, but then Travis Hafner would strike out and Lyle Overbay and Eduardo Nunez recorded outs with the bases loaded.
The Yankees should have been able to score at least three runs in the first stanza. They can’t afford to waste opportunities when ducks are on the pond right now. From the second inning until the end of the game the offense only had a single from Gardner and a single from Chris Stewart.
The Yankees are hitting only .221 with the bases loaded this season, which is basically in line with the ineptitude that they showed tonight.
Raul Ibanez, who hit 19 homers last season for the Yankees and has 22 so far this season for the Mariners, should still be on the Yankees. The Yankees signed Travis Hafner in the off-season to 1 year/$2 million contract, but Ibanez signed a 1 year/$2.75 million contract with the Mariners.
Brian Cashman obviously should have decided to bring Ibanez back because he could have been the DH and played some outfield, and Ibanez has eight more homers and has driven in 14 more runs than Hafner. Travis Hafner has been part of the problem lately as he only had one hit in his last 14 at-bats.
CC Sabathia proved to be the workhorse that he has been so many times for the Yankees as he pitched a complete game while allowing three earned runs, allowing seven hits and recording seven strikeouts. Billy Butler, who hit a solo homer to deep left off of Sabathia in the seventh, now has four homers in his last six games against the Yankees.
It does not get much worse than the slump that the Yankees are in right now. The offensive ineptitude during the past three losses has ruined solid starts from Hiroki Kuroda and CC Sabathia.
Ivan Nova, who will be pitching for the Yankees on Wednesday, should pitch around Butler so that he doesn’t have a chance to drive in any more runs. After the momentum that the Yankees had coming into the series, having won six of their previous seven games, they now need to win the next two games against the Royals so salvage a split.
The Yankees need Ivan Nova to have a similar performance to the one he had on Friday, when he allowed two runs in a complete game win, and they need the offense to finally hit in the clutch like they did during the winning streak.
You can vote for David Robertson to get into the All-Star Game here. Voting ends at 4PM on Thursday. As of Tuesday, he was in second place behind Steve Delebar of the Toronto Blue Jays in the Final Vote competition. He was still in second place on Wednesday morning.