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.
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.