Tagged: Zoilo Almonte

The Yankees overcame a shaky bullpen to edge the Rangers 12-11

Brett Gardner

Brett Gardner

The Yankees beat the Texas Rangers in an offensive slugfest, 12-11, in the second game of the series in Arlington, Texas. They will look to win the series in Wednesday’s game as Hiroki Kuroda, the only remaining starter who began the season in the rotation, will be pitching against the struggling Colby Lewis (6-8, 6.23 ERA).

Brandon McCarthy did not pitch as well as he did in his first three starts with the Yankees, as he gave up four runs in six innings, but he was still able to get third win in four starts because the Yankees were winning 8-4 when he left the game. It appeared that the Bronx Bombers were on track to a relatively uneventful win, but they ended up getting a win that was not secure until the last out of the ninth inning because of an unusually shaky bullpen.

The Yankees scored seven runs in the sixth inning, which appeared to give them control of the game. Carlos Beltran, who is now on a six-game hitting streak and has driven in six runs in those games, hit a single to drive in Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter. Brian McCann’s sacrifice fly scored Mark Teixeira. After Chase Headley walked, Zoilo Almonte’s single sent Beltran home. Brendan Ryan hit a two-run double and would later score on an Alex Rios error with Gardner batting to give the Yankees a 8-4 lead.

Adam Warren loaded the bases in the seventh after two walks and a single. Then, Dellin Betances came into the game, and gave up a grand slam to J.P. Arencibia. Three of those runs were charged to Warren. That was Arencibia’s seventh RBI of the game, and before the game he only had 15 RBIs and a .152 average.

The bullpen combined to allow seven earned runs, and the Yankees would not have won without Mark Teixeira’s homer to left that drove in Gardner in the eighth inning. Joe Girardi said it was great to escape with a win considering all of the scoring that happened.

It is a strange game,” Girardi said. “But it is great to get out of here with a win, it would have been a really difficult one to lose. We struggled the last few innings getting outs, but in the end, we got the last out and we won the game. I’ve seen that this can be a good hitters ballpark, and that is exactly what it was tonight.”

David Robertson allowed a two-run single with two outs in the ninth, to make the score 12-11, but he was able to get Adrian Beltre to fly out to left with the bases loaded to end the game.

“That was about as bad as you can suck and still get lucky,” Robertson said. “I just fell apart out there.” He was able to record his 27th save of the season, which is tied for second in the American League, but he finished the ninth inning with two hits, three walks and 31 pitches thrown. That will mean that he will not be available for tomorrow’s series finale.

As a result of Mark Teixeira’s return from his injury, the Yankees were able to have a more normal lineup of him playing first and Brian McCann catching. Seven different Yankees recorded a one or more hits, but a player who needs to give more offensive production is McCann. Over the last seven days, McCann is only hitting .192 with five RBIs.

Gardner has given the Yankees much more in the power department than the team could have expected. With his first inning homer, he is currently second on the squad in homers behind only Teixeira. Gardner’s 13 homers are a career high and more than power hitters on the team such as McCann and Beltran. Jacoby Ellsbury, who hit 32 homers in 2011, only has eight so far.

Gardner has gone 7-10 in the two games in Arlington to raise his average from .272 to .283. He has been getting as many steals, but Gardner’s power has helped to make up for what is lacking from others in the lineup. If the Yankees can score somewhere between the 12 runs that they scored on Tuesday and the two they scored on Monday they will be in good shape.

Based on how successful the bullpen has been all year, it seems like Tuesday’s shaky performance by Warren, Betances, Chase Whitley and Robertson should be an aberration. The Yankees improved to 55-51 with the win, and they are two games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the second Wild Card.



Four more years of Girardi is good for the Yankees

Joe Girardi in the dugout in 2008.

Joe Girardi in the dugout in 2008.

Joe Girardi signed a four-year, $16 million dollar contract extension on October 9. This will make him the second highest paid manager after Mike Scioscia, who is the manager of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Schiocia’s contract pays him about $5 million a season.

It is a positive sign for the Yankees that he accepted their contract and did not hold out to see what the Cubs or Nationals would offer him at the end of October when his previous contract expired. He has proven that he has been able to manage talent since he led the team to win the World Series in 2009, and also is able to manage well during adversity since the team had a total of 21 players spend time on the disabled list, some more than once, while handling the situation with the media well during the Alex Rodriguez biogenesis controversy and in turn guiding the team to a respectable 85-77 record based on everything the team went through.

The Yankees were remarkably only one game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second wild-card spot on September 12. They would have 15 games left in the season and the lack of talent would catch up with them. However, Girardi was able to lead the team to be in great position to make the playoffs with two weeks to go even though Derek Jeter only played 17 games, Mark Teixeira only played 15 games and Curtis Granderson only played in 61 games.

Before Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez returned to the lineup in August, Lyle Overbay had to hit cleanup for much of the season. The Yankees were counting on players such as Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner to perform offensively for them. They hit better than expected in April and then faded after that. This proves how Girardi was able to mix and match with a lineup that lacked major league talent for much of the season.

Chris Stewart, who had always been a back-up before this season, was the starter for the Yankees, which proves the lack of talent they had at the catcher position. Stewart did play well compared to previous seasons, but he faded down the stretch of the season based on playing in 42 more games than he had in any other season. Rookie Austin Romine showed some promise at the catcher position.

Further proving that Girardi got the team to overachieve this season was that Jayzon Nix, Zoilo Almonte, Luis Cruz, Chris Nelson, Brent Lillibridge, Alberto Gonzalez and Melky Mesa all started games for the Yankees this season. Vernon Wells was even called on to play the ninth inning of a game at third base because of an injury to Eduardo Nunez. The Yankees were not expected to make the playoffs easily before the season started, but to be so close based on all of the injures and AAA players that had to play is a tribute to Giarardi’s managing.

Some criticize Girardi for going by his binder too much meaning that he decides on the pitcher that will come into the game or the hitter that will start too much on previous match-ups. He definitely should sometimes continue to play a streaky hitter or leave a starter in a few more batters. However, it is always possible that if the starter would have stayed in he would struggle based on too many pitches.

The Yankees obviously should not have been swept by the Mets or White Sox if their quest to reach the playoffs were to come to fruition. If they would have won two games against the Mets and White Sox that would have greatly increased their chance in September, but that is what happens when so many “second string” players were on the field.  Girardi has his drawbacks, but at the end of the day, the team would have been worse of if the did not return.

He handled the return of A-Rod well, in addition to handling the retirement of Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte with poise and professionalism. He could not have made a better decision in the moment when he let Mariano Rivera’s longtime teammates and members of the Core 4, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte, take Rivera out of the game at Yankee Stadium for the final time. Here is video footage of the ceremony of Pettitte and Jeter coming to the mound.

Here is an interview that Jack Curry did with Joe Girardi and his wife after he signed the contract extension: http://web.yesnetwork.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=31139627

Yankees beat the Rangers behind four homers

Cano and Jeter before the game against the Red Sox a few weeks ago

Cano and Jeter before the game against the Red Sox a few weeks ago

The Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 4-3, on Tuesday night in the Bronx, behind four solo home runs from the offense. It was their third win in their last four games.

With the win over the rival Rangers from the AL West, who the Yankees lost to in the playoffs in 2010, the Yankees are now 5-5 in their last 10 games, and 2.5 games (tied with the Orioles) behind the Red Sox in the AL East, and in a three-way tie atop the Wild-Card standings.

The offense was obviously led by Travis Hafner, Brett Gardner, Jayson Nix and Ichiro Suzuki since they hit the home runs to account for all of the runs that the team scored. The biggest one was essentially hit by Ichiro since he hit the walk-off homer to deep right center in the bottom of the ninth to give the Yankees the victory.

Hafner hit his twelfth homer of the campaign in the fourth inning, Gardner hit his seventh homer of the season in the fifth inning, Nix hit his second homer of the campaign in the sixth inning and Ichiro hit is fourth round-tripper of the season in the ninth. Nix’s homer was only his 10th since the end of the 2010 season.

It was the most clutch home run of the season for Ichiro. In fact, Ichiro is now on a five-game hitting streak and has hit in six of the past seven games. He is an important cog in the offense with the injuries to Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, and Francisco Cervelli (Kevin Youkilis will not likely come back and AROD is in the middle of controversy with Cashman and could face a 100-game suspension).

This performance by the offense was one that used to happen often the past few years where the homer was a critical aspect of many wins. If Nix and players such as Chris Stewart, David Adams and Zoilo Almonte can hit for some power that will greatly benefit the offense. Almonte has been a much needed boost to the offense since coming up from the minors. He is now hitting .438 after 16 at-bats.

Last night’s game was the 11th major league matchup between Japanese pitchers. The two pitchers are both elite as Hiroki Kuroda has an ERA 2.77 and Yu Darvish, who is in his second major league season after a stellar career pitching in Japan, has a 2.95 ERA.

In Tuesday’s game, Kuroda got the bragging rights because he only allowed two earned runs to Darvish’s three and only allowed five hits to the seven that Darvish gave up. Kuroda (7-5, 3.77 ERA) has now pitched a quality start in his last three starts while holding the opposition to two runs in each of those outings.

This blog post also comes on Derek Jeter’s 39th birthday. Jeter is currently rehabbing in Tampa. He was previously training in the Bronx and during this time I was lucky enough to see him up close before a game against the Red Sox.

When asked what he would give Jeter on his birthday Robinson Cano said, “I would say a card. He has a car, clothes, money and watches, what else can you give him?”

Yankees beat Tampa behind big games from Wells and Almonte

Vernon Wells

Vernon Wells

The Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 7-5, Saturday afternoon, for their second consecutive victory over their American League East division rivals. After scoring three runs in the loss to Tampa on Thursday, the Yankees have now scored more than four runs in consecutive games for the first time since May.

Zoilo Almonte gave the Yankees an offensive boost for the second game in a row as he had two walks, a run scored and three RBI. He is continuing to contribute in the on base percentage category like he did in the minors and is providing the offense that Vernon Wells was not. In four games and two starts, Almonte is now batting .625 with two runs, one homer and four RBI.

However, Wells did get the pinch hit three-run double that the team needed, which made the score 7-5 and gave the Yankees the lead for good. He hit for Chris Stewart in the seventh inning. Wells was in the middle of a 3-29 slump, (and he was 6-59 going further back) which made this hit even more important. Zoilo Almonte should continue to play the outfield until he cools down, but this could be a sign that Wells should get some at-bats at DH along with Travis Hafner, who has been struggling.

Joe Girardi can be praised for putting Wells into the game in a point that he might be successful. The relief pitcher that he was facing is known for his fastball and that is Wells’s strength.

CC Sabathia, who had not picked up a win against the Rays in his last six starts, was able to win his eighth game of the season. He pitched well overall except for the sixth inning where he allowed a walk to the number nine hitter, Sam Fuld, and then the talented rookie, Wil Myers, hit a grand slam a few batters later. (Brett Gardner almost made an outstanding catch on the homer.)

It is a good sign that the Yankees were finally able to bail out the starting pitcher and get him a win.

Mariano Rivera picked up his 26th save of the season after allowing a hit and striking out one batter in the ninth. He only has one blown save so far during his final major league season.