The recent “problem” that manager Joe Girardi had of having to make four outfielders fit into three spots went away Friday night but not the way the Yankees manager would have wanted. The return of Curtis Granderson created the musical chairs situation in the Yankees’ outfield, but he is headed back to the disabled list.
Granderson, who played right field at Tropicana Field in a unit that also had Vernon Wells in left and Brett Gardner in center, was struck by a pitch from Tampa Bay lefthander Cesar Ramos in the fifth inning and sustained a fracture of the small finger on his left hand. Ichiro Suzuki, the odd man out of the starting lineup Friday night, took Granderson’s place and will likely do so for the next several weeks.
It was the second disabling injury suffered by Granderson this year for being hit by a pitch. On the first offering he saw in a spring training game by Blue Jays lefthander J.A. Happ, Granderson was hit in the right forearm that caused a fracture and kept him out of action for two months and the first 38 games of the regular season.
Granderson batted .250 with 1 double, 1 home run and 1 RBI in eight games and 28 at-bats since he was activated May 13. He played all three outfield positions as Girardi figured out daily who would play where. Now the manager is back to where he was when Granderson was unavailable.
He was not the only Yankees player to be forced from Friday night’s 9-4 victory over the Rays. Winning pitcher David Phelps, who appeared to have strengthened his position in the rotation, took a hard line drive by Ben Zobrist with two out in the eighth inning off his right forearm and had to call it a night. X-rays were negative. Girardi told reporters after the game that Phelps was not hit on a bone and may only have a nasty bruise.
Up to then, it had been a good night for Phelps, who retired the first 13 batters he faced before James Loney doubled with one down in the fifth for the Rays’ first hit. The righthander had a good fastball and was aggressive with it early in the count to put Tampa Bay hitters in a very defensive mode.
Phelps gave up three runs in the sixth, but the Yankees had eight runs by then, so the damage was not threatening. He was touched for another run in the seventh and went on to his fourth consecutive quality start. Over that stretch, Phelps is 2-1 with a no-decision and a 2.63 ERA in 27 1/3 innings in which he has allowed 19 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts.
All this came on a day when the Yankees got some good news on other injured players. Pitcher Ivan Nova came off the DL. First baseman Mark Teixeira (torn right wrist tendon sheath) took part in a simulated game Friday, will play games in the extended spring training at Tampa and will play at Double A Trenton Wednesday and Thursday with the possibility of a return to the Yankees by next Friday at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox.
Nova may have returned to the Yankees’ staff but not the rotation. Lefthander Vidal Nuno will start Saturday against the Rays’ Matt Moore, who has been lights out (8-0, 2.29 ERA) and at 24 is the youngest American League lefthander to start a season 8-0 exclusively as a starter since Babe Ruth with the Red Sox in 1917 at age 22. Nova will be a long man in the bullpen for the time being. The Yankees returned Dellin Betances to Triple A Scranton without his getting into a game since his May 16 recall.
Teixeira’s potential return could affect Lyle Overbay, who has done a splendid job at first base in Tex’s absence. Overbay got the Yankees on the board early with a two-run double in the third. He singled and scored in the fifth as part of the Yankees’ offensive attack from the 6-through-9 hitters who combined to go 8-for-18 (.444) with 6 runs, 1 double, 1 triple and 5 RBI.
Rookie David Adams had two more hits and scored two runs. Jayson Nix singled, tripled and had two RBI, including one on a bases-loaded walk. Chris Stewart, who played for the first time in a week because of a groin injury, had two hits and an RBI and scored a run.
On top of the order, Gardner hit a two-run homer and Robinson Cano got a painful RBI by getting hit with a pitch. Fortunately for Cano, he avoided the dismal diagnosis that befell Granderson.
Look at it this way; it was Hiroki Kuroda’s turn. The way the Yankees have been besieged with injuries, it seems as if everyone on the roster is bound to be affected at some point. Wednesday night the arrow pointed at Kuroda, who was drilled in the right leg by a line drive from Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado in the second inning and came out of the game an inning later.
Kuroda had his first brush with injury in his first start of the season April 3 against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium when he hurt his right hand trying to catch a line drive. This time, the ball struck Kuroda in the right calf.
Manager Joe Girardi and head trainer Steve Donohue checked out Kuroda, who threw several warm-ups and stayed in the game. He got the final out of the second inning, but Girardi was back to the mound for another visit after Kuroda gave up hits to the first two batters of the third. Fearful that Kuroda was favoring the leg and altering his stride, Girardi decided to remove the righthander from the game.
This was not the Kuroda the Yankees have seen much of the year. He gave up two home runs in the first inning, a solo shot by Nick Markakis and a two-run jack by Chris Davis, who took over the American League lead with 14. Kuroda had never pitched at Camden Yards before, and the way Wednesday night went he probably wished he still hadn’t. With five earned runs charged to his record in two innings, Kuroda’s ERA shot from 1.99 to 2.67.
The injury was identified as a bruised calf and did not appear to be serious. Girardi told reporters after the game that he would be “shocked” if Kuroda did not make his next start, which could be a marque pairing with Mets rookie standout Matt Harvey at Citi Field.
Matt Wieters greeted reliever Preston Claiborne with a three-run home run to right-center that increased the Orioles’ lead to 6-1 on the way to a 6-3 final. It was the first run Claiborne allowed in the major leagues after nine scoreless innings over his previous seven outings. He got the next six batters out, and Adam Warren followed with four shutout frames to lower his ERA to 1.14 in 23 2/3 innings.
While Yankees relievers were holding down the Orioles over the last five innings, the offense could not muster a comeback attack except for the solo home runs by Curtis Granderson in the fifth inning and David Adams in the ninth. Robinson Cano had driven in the Yankees’ first run by following a double by Granderson in the third. Granderson, who was back in center field, batted leadoff and had a perfect night with his first home run, the double, a single and a walk.
Orioles starter Jason Hammel had been terrible at home (0-2, 7.79 ERA) as opposed to the road (5-0, 4.64 ERA) but finally got a victory this year at Camden Yards. The Yankees hit quite a few balls hard off Hammel, but he gave up two runs and six hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
With the score 6-2 entering the ninth, there was no save situation for Jim Johnson, who has been very undependable lately. He stayed in the bullpen, and the Orioles ended up winning the series.
Yankees senior vice president of marketing Deborah A. Tymon received the Outstanding Civilian Service Award from the United States Army Wednesday in recognition of her decades of service in support of the military. The award is the third-highest public service honor the U.S. Army can bestow upon a civilian.
General Ray Odierno, the 38th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, presented the honor to Tymon. A special “Twilight Tattoo – Salute from the Chief” military pageant, featuring the U.S. Army Band and soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, commemorated the occasion, which took place at Whipple Field in Fort Myer, Va., adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery. Joining Tymon in receiving the award were actor Gary Sinise of the Gary Sinise Foundation, Ryan Blanck of the Center for the Intrepid, Kathleen Gagg of the Got Your Back Network and Ken Fisher of the Fisher House Foundation.
Since joining the Yankees front office in 1985, Tymon has spearheaded many of the franchise’s initiatives involving the military and veterans. Among her many accomplishments, Tymon has been instrumental in developing the Yankees’ close relationship with the Wounded Warrior Project, making injured veterans the focus of hundreds of public and private ceremonies and events. She has also been a regular contributor to the Wounded Warriors’ annual Soldier Ride.
Tymon has organized the donation of thousands of tickets to active military members and veterans and was deeply involved in the creation of Military Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium.
On behalf of the Yankees, Tymon has led the effort to deliver thousands of care packages, including clothing, snacks, books and memorabilia, to active servicemen and servicewomen in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most recently, she worked with the USO to send thousands of gift packages to soldiers in the Middle East last holiday season.
“I’m incredibly honored and overwhelmed,” Tymon said. “Over the years, I have had the great privilege of meeting countless members of the armed services. Their stories of sacrifice always leave me breathless. It has been an honor for me to give back to them with the support of the Yankees and show them the appreciation they deserve.”
James Tymon, Debbie’s father, served in the 6th Marine Division and 29th Regiment during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II.
The citation from the U.S. Army to Tymon stated:
For outstanding service to the United States Army, Veterans, Wounded Warriors and their Families
“As Senior Vice President of Marketing for the New York Yankees, you have raised awareness and morale of our Army and our Soldiers by recognizing our troops publicly at games, sending care packages to those deployed around the world and honoring the contributions our Service Members and their families have made to the Nation. You and the New York Yankees have proven your commitment to our Wounded Warriors by donating time and resources greatly impacting the community and the lives of numerous service members and their families rebuilding their lives. Your tireless efforts have had significant, positive impacts on the readiness and resiliency of the United States Army.”
Claudio Reyna became the first employee of New York City Football Club by being named director of football Wednesday. Reyna will be responsible for building the soccer elements of the New York City FC organization, including the recruitment of players, coaches and trainers, and other support staff, in preparation for the team’s inaugural Major League Soccer season in 2015.
The announcement took place at PS 72 (Lexington Academy) in East Harlem, which boasts the city’s only rooftop soccer field and was donated by Manchester City Football Club in 2010. This facility provides quality soccer instruction and programming to thousands of children in 20 city public schools each year.
New York City FC, the MLS expansion team, was unveiled Tuesday as part of a partnership of two global sports powers, the Yankees and Manchester City FC. The Club will become MLS’s 20th team. Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and president Randy Levine represented the Yankees.
In announcing the appointment of Reyna, Manchester City chief executive officer Ferran Soriano noted Reyna’s significant contributions to soccer in the United States, both as a player and in his position as youth technical director of the U.S. Soccer Federation, a post he has held since 2010.
“Finding the right person for this role and getting him in place from the start was a priority,” Soriano said. “The football culture of New York City FC will be built from this decision, and we believe Claudio is the man who uniquely understands what New York soccer should mean, and how it can benefit from the relationship with Manchester City FC.”
“Having had the privilege of playing both for my country here in the U.S. and for Manchester City FC in England, I could not have hoped for a more tailored-made opportunity in soccer,” Reyna said. “I am incredibly excited to again wear City’s ‘Sky Blue’ as part of the expansion of the MLS and the growth of soccer in the United States, and am honored to have been offered this opportunity. With a large fan base through the New York area, prime television rights and distribution, sponsorship commitments, and the Yankees as a U.S. partner, the New York City Football Club has everything in place to succeed.”
New York City FC will be an independent club that mirrors and benefits from its relationship with Manchester City Football Club, allowing both organizations to collaborate on community programs and other team aspects, such as global youth development and scouting, coaching, sports science and first team football operations. Reyna will work closely with Manchester City’s Brian Marwood, managing director of City Football Academy; Txiki Begiristain, director of football, and World Cup winner Patrick Vieira, head of elite development squad.
Reyna had an illustrious professional career as a player in Europe and the U.S. for more than 12 years, including at Manchester City FC from 2003-2007. The two-time Olympian represented the U.S. National team in four World Cups from 1994 through 2006 and was team captain in 2002 and 2006.
The streak of the Yankees winning games in which they score first came to an end Tuesday night because the Orioles scored last. Nate McLouth’s home run off a 1-1 pitch from Vidal Nuno, the Yankees’ sixth pitcher of the game, was the difference in a 3-2, 10-inning decision. The Yanks had been 19-0 in games when they got on the scoreboard first, which they did again Tuesday night but this time they couldn’t pull it off.
For the second straight night, a Yankees starting pitcher gave up two leads. Monday night it was CC Sabathia in a game the Yanks won also in 10 innings. Tuesday night it was Phil Hughes, once again haunted by the long ball. The culprit was former teammate Chris Dickerson, who touched Hughes for solo blasts in the third inning (climaxing a 10-pitch at-bat) that made the score 1-1 and in the fifth that made it 2-2.
Dickerson hit only three home runs in 64 at-bats for the Yankees in short stretches with the club in 2011 and 2012. He played center field Tuesday night to give Adam Jones a half-night off as the designated hitter and had a 3-for-4 game to raise his 2013 batting average to .371 with three homers and eight RBI.
If not for Dickerson, it would have been a splendid start for Hughes, who was coming off an embarrassing, two-thirds of an inning outing last week against Seattle at Yankee Stadium in which he was clocked for seven earned runs and six hits. The righthander rebounded with a solid, six-inning effort in which he yielded five hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Hughes could not get Dickerson out, which cost him. Phil has given up 10 home runs in 47 1/3 innings.
Travis Hafner drove in both runs for the Yankees with singles that scored teammates who had led off innings with doubles, Brett Gardner in the first and Vernon Wells in the fourth. Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez proved nearly untouchable after Hafner’s second run-scoring hit as the righthander retired 11 straight batters until David Adams singled with two down in the seventh. Nick Markakis’ diving catch of a liner to right-center by Jayson Nix ended the inning.
Adams was the Yankees’ only base runner after the fourth inning as the Orioles set down 21 of the Yankees’ last 22 batters. Tommy Hunter pitched two scoreless innings for Baltimore, and Jim Johnson added a shutout 10th. Johnson, who had blown his three previous save opportunities, including Monday night, ended up the winning pitcher.
The Yanks’ bullpen was strong, too. Boone Logan, Shawn Kelley, David Robertson and Preston Claiborne followed Hughes with three scoreless innings combined to stretch the pen’s shutout streak on the road to 29 2/3 innings over the past 11 away games, which ended in the 10th. Robertson was particularly impressive by striking out the side in the eighth.
Nuno, the lefthander who won his first major-league start eight days earlier, was recalled from Triple A Scranton to sub for the disabled Andy Pettitte in the rotation, lost his scheduled start to Sunday’s rainout and was plenty fresh to come out of the bullpen. He probably still is. After all, he threw merely three pitches.
Camden Yards is known as a hitter-friendly park, which is certainly the case with Robinson Cano and Ichiro Suzuki, who made major contributions in Monday night’s come-from-behind, 6-4 victory over the Orioles.
Cano, who slugged his American League-leading 13th home run in the first inning, is a .363 career hitter in 67 games and 278 at-bats at Camden Yards with 59 runs, 27 doubles, 12 home runs and 35 RBI. Since Aug. 22, 2008, Cano has hit .431 with 45 runs, 17 doubles, 11 homers and 25 RBI in 40 games and 167 at-bats in the Baltimore facility. The second baseman has hit safely in 29 of his past 32 games in Baltimore and in 36 of his past 40.
Suzuki, who started the winning, 10th inning rally with a double, has hit safely in each of his past 20 games at Camden Yards dating to April 5, 2008 and is batting .391 in 87 at-bats. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Ichiro is tied with Jason Bartlett (April 29, 2008 to July 20, 2010) for the fourth longest hitting streak in the history of the park, trailing Jacoby Ellsbury (22 games, Aug. 8, 2008 to Aug. 15, 2012), Derek Jeter (21 games, April 4, 2002 to June 22, 2004) and Rafael Palmeiro (21 games, April 23 to June 22, 2004). The longest current hit streak at any ballpark is 21 games by Reds first baseman Joey Votto at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.
Monday night’s victory was the first of the season for the Yankees when trailing entering the ninth inning. They had only victory under those circumstances all of last year (1-58). It came in the second-to-last game of the season Oct. 2 against the Red Sox. The Yankees have outscored opponents, 62-37, from the seventh inning on.
The Yankees’ bullpen continues to be dominant in the month of May. The relief corps has pitched to a 1.66 ERA with 13 walks and 55 strikeouts over 54 1/3 innings and have held opponents to a .197 batting average in 193 at-bats. Yankees relievers did not allow a run on their last trip (eight games totaling 21 innings) and have a 26 2/3-innings scoreless stretch over their past 10 road games. It is their longest road scoreless stretch since a 29 1/3-innings span from April 15 to May 24, 2002.
Rookie David Adams, who attended the University of Virginia, hit his first career home run in the victory at nearby Baltimore in his fifth career game and became the third Yankee in the last 98 years (since 1916) to homer as a third basemen within his first five career games: The others were Andy Phillips in 2004 and Mike Pagliarulo in 1984.
The Yankees are enhancing their commitment to big-time soccer. Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber announced Tuesday that a partnership of global sports powers, the Yankees and Manchester City Football Club, has acquired the League’s 20th expansion club. The team will be named New York City Football Club and expects to begin play in 2015.
“We proudly welcome two of the most prestigious professional global sports organizations to Major League Soccer,” Garber said. “This is a transformational development that will elevate the league to new heights in this country. The New York area is home to more than 19 million people, and we look forward to an intense crosstown rivalry between New York City Football Club and the New York Red Bulls that will captivate this great city.”
“New York is a legendary sports town, as well as a thriving global city with a rapidly expanding soccer fan-base,” said Manchester FC chief executive officer Ferran Soriano, who will oversee the process of filling top New York City FC leadership positions in the weeks to come. “We are thrilled to contribute to the energy and growth of New York City Soccer. In the Yankees, we have found the absolute best partner for developing a world-class sports organization and a winning team that will carry the New York City Football Club name with pride.”
Manchester City will be the majority owner of the new Club. As an investor, the Yankees will be an active member of the ownership group. The Yankees and Manchester City Football Club have an existing commercial relationship through Legends Hospitality, LLC, an international entertainment, hospitality and marketing organization. Yankee Stadium will be the site of a “friendly” match Saturday between Manchester City and Chelsea FC.
“We are pleased to be associated with this major move by MLS to increase its presence in the New York market and to enhance the opportunity for New York soccer fans to enjoy high-level play in their own city,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said. “We look forward to the opportunity to work with Manchester City to create something very special for the soccer fans of New York and to bringing another terrific team to this city for all sports fans to enjoy. Randy Levine, president of the New York Yankees, will be the point person in leading the effort to launch and establish the team on behalf of the organization.”
The New York/New Jersey area is one of North America’s most vibrant and proud soccer communities. The region has filled stadiums for countless marquee soccer events including the 1994 FIFA Men’s World Cup, the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, three MLS All-Star Games and numerous international exhibition matches. NYCFC will become the first MLS club whose home will be located within the five boroughs, joining the Red Bulls as the second MLS club in the metropolitan area.
“Soccer is one of the world’s most exciting and popular sports, and it should be played on the world’s biggest stage – in New York City,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said. “New Yorkers are the greatest sports fans in the world, and they will welcome a Major League Soccer franchise with the full-throated and loyal support they are famous for.
“Manchester City has a great reputation for both winning teams and serious community investment, and that will help them fit in well with the excellent leadership of New York City’s other professional sports teams. Increasingly, sports events and activities from the NHL playoffs to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game to the Super Bowl are spurring economic growth as our investments in new arenas and infrastructures are paying off.”
New York City FC is committed to seeking a new permanent stadium in New York. Until that time, the new team is arranging to play in an interim home beginning in its inaugural MLS season in 2015. Over the past year, MLS began discussions with the City of New York and other stakeholders about the possibility of constructing a new stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. The Club’s new management will continue these discussions with local government officials, community residents and businesses, soccer leagues, and MLS. The Club will continue to review other potential sites as well.
“New York City FC will have a permanent home in the City in the great traditions of New York sports and world soccer, a home that must be a sports, commercial and civic success,” Soriano said. “But in considering any stadium site, we will listen first. This is what we have always done in Manchester and what we will do in New York. Only in this way, can the Club truly represent the City whose name it will carry.
Manchester City is a leader among sports organizations in its charitable efforts, with one-sixth of its staff fully dedicated full-time to community outreach. Building on this tradition of community outreach, New York City FC will expand and enhance the grassroots youth soccer program “City Soccer in the Community,” which it has been running in New York since 2010.
The program, now headquartered at PS 72 (Lexington Academy) in East Harlem, which boasts New York City’s only rooftop soccer field, provides quality soccer instruction and programming to thousands of children in 20 city public schools each year. New York City FC plans to expand its community outreach to bring soccer to thousands of more kids throughout the five boroughs.
Manchester City has funded the construction of soccer facilities for youth in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, D.C. Since new ownership took over five years ago, Manchester City has gained its place as one of England’s most successful football clubs and one of the fastest growing clubs in the world. Last spring, Manchester City won the 2012 Barclay’s Premier League Championship. This year it finished second in the League and was the FA Cup runner-up. Manchester City FC is wholly owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group.
The Yankees, of course, are baseball’s most storied franchise with 27 World Series titles and 40 American League pennants.
Headquartered in New York, Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in North America. MLS’s 18th season features 19 clubs each playing 34 regular-season matches. The clubs are Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo; 2012 MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy, Montreal Impact, New York Red Bulls, New England Revolution, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
What Yankees fans never see from Mariano Rivera was what Orioles fans witnessed Monday night from Jim Johnson. The Orioles closer, who led the American League is saves last season with 51, sustained his third consecutive blown save, something that Rivera has never done, and the Yankees took advantage of it to come away with a 6-4, 10-inning victory.
Johnson was gone by the time the Yankees scored the deciding runs in the extra inning off Pedro Strop and Brian Matusz with clutch hitting by Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner. Rivera kept the lead intact with his 17th save in 17 opportunities. Johnson began the season with a similar streak with 14 saves before coming unglued in his past three appearances.
Hafner dealt the crushing blow to Johnson this time with a one-out home run in the ninth, the Yankees’ fourth solo shot of the evening in Baltimore’s humid Inner Harbor air. Johnson’s latest failure opened the gates for the Yankees to improve their record in games where they get on the scoreboard first to 19-0 and extend the Orioles’ losing streak to six games.
The Yankees were in danger of losing their first game when they scored first because their offense was reduced to the long ball with no one on base and CC Sabathia blew leads of 2-0 and 3-2. Robinson Cano and Orioles first baseman Chris Davis entered the game tied for the AL lead in home runs with 12 and maintained that tie as each got his 13th in his first at-bat.
David Adams, the rookie who has done so well at third base and turned a few more good plays Monday night, hit his first career home run to put the Yankees up, 2-0, in the second, but Davis made it 2-1 in the bottom of the second and Nick Markakis singled in the tying run in the fifth.
It was a strange start for Sabathia, who allowed a double-digit hit total (11) for the second game in a row (23 total in his past 12 2/3 innings) and had only two strikeouts, although he did not walk a batter. The lefthander is winless in four starts since April 27. Former teammate Freddy Garcia actually pitched better. He allowed the two solo homers and just one other hit with two walks and two strikeouts in six innings.
Lyle Overbay’s leadoff homer in the seventh off lefthander Troy Patton put the Yankees ahead again, but Sabathia couldn’t hold the advantage as the Orioles grabbed the lead on RBI doubles by Markakis and J.J. Hardy. Shawn Kelley stopped the O’s there with two more strikeouts. He added a third in the eighth, which gives the righthander 15 of the past 21 batters he has faced and 33 in 18 1/3 innings for the season.
Baltimore manager Buck Showalter entrusted the lead to Johnson, who began the ninth by retiring Cano on a groundout. Johnson fell behind 3-1 in the count to Hafner, who drove a 94-miles-per-hour fastball over the left field fence for his eighth home run. The Yankees were back in business.
Johnson’s woes have come after a run of 35 consecutive saves dating to last July. He has given up eight earned runs and nine hits in 2 1/3 innings (30.86 ERA) in the three blown saves, which has driven his season ERA from 0.95 to 4.22.
In the 10th, Ichiro Suzuki ran his Camden Yards hitting streak to 20 games with a leadoff double off Strop, a reliever who has struggled against the Yankees. Vernon Wells, riding the bench despite having good career numbers against Garcia (.438, one home run), came up as a pinch hitter for shortstop Reid Brignac and doubled to left to send home Ichiro.
Austin Romine bunted Wells to third, but Wells could not advance as Jayson Nix grounded out. After Cano was intentionally walked, Hafner delivered an insurance run with a line single to right off the left-handed Matusz. Rivera then showed Johnson how it’s done with a 1-2-3 bottom of the 10th.
Hafner. Wells. Overbay. There are those names again. Yankees fans are getting used to seeing these guys do important stuff.
Sunday’s rainout of the scheduled Yankees-Blue Jays game at Yankee Stadium allowed Yanks manager Joe Girardi to skip Vidal Nuno, who was to start in place of disabled Andy Pettitte, this turn in the rotation and give his regular starters an extra day’s rest.
CC Sabathia, who was to have started Sunday, was to get the call Monday night at Baltimore in the opener of a three-game series and was paired against former teammate Freddy Garcia. The righthander, who has the most career victories (152) of any pitcher born in Venezuela, went to spring training this year with the Padres after signing as a minor league free agent Jan. 29 but was released March 24 and signed with the Orioles five days later.
Garcia entered Monday night’s game with a record of 0-2 and a 5.51 ERA in three starts totaling 16 1/3 innings for the Orioles. In 12 career starts against the Yankees, Garcia is 5-4 with a 4.09 ERA. He pitched for the Yankees in 2011 and 2012 and combined for a 19-14 record with a 4.29 ERA in 42 starts covering 254 innings.
The Yankees were 3-0 in three games last year in which they faced a starting pitcher for the first time since he had pitched for the Yankees. They defeated the Mariners’ Hector Noesi May 12 at Yankee Stadium, 6-2; the Athletics’ Bartolo Colon May 26 at Oakland, 9-2, and the Blue Jays’ Aaron Laffey Aug. 11 at Toronto, 5-2.
The Yankees are catching the Orioles in the throes of a five-game losing streak that has dropped Baltimore into a tie with the Rays for third place in the American League East, four games back of the divison-leading Yanks, so the O’s cannot overtake the Bombers in this series.
Sabathia takes a 17-4 career record with a 3.03 ERA against the Orioles into the game, including 10-3 with a 3.38 ERA at Camden Yards. CC has the second-highest winning percentage (.769) in the ballpark’s history (minimum 15 starts), behind Pettitte’s .800 mark (16-4). Among active pitchers who have never played for the Orioles, Sabathia has the most strikeouts, the second most victories (Pettitte 16), the second most innings (Pettitte 144 2/3) and the second-lowest ERA (Bartolo Colon 3.33) at Camden Yards.
Catcher Austin Romine was in Monday night’s lineup, marking the first Yankees rookie to start three straight games behind the plate since Francisco Cervelli May 8-10, 2009 in a three-game set at Baltimore.
Also in the starting lineup batting eighth and playing shortstop was recent arrival Reid Brignac, who was acquired from the Rockies in a trade Saturday for cash considerations. He will become the 10th different infielder used by the Yankees this season and the 19th different position player. They used 10 different infielders all of the 2012 season. Brignac will become the 14th different player to make his Yankees debut this season, the eighth different Yankee who was not with the club when pitchers and catchers reported for spring training Feb. 12 and the 15th player to play for the Yankees this season who was not with the club last year. Brignac will be the 36th player they have used this year, a figure they did reach in 2012 until July 29 with infielder Ramiro Pena.
A makeup date for Sunday’s rainout has not been scheduled. Fans holding paid tickets for that day’s game may use them for the rescheduled game or exchange their paid tickets for any regular season game at the Stadium during the 2013 season, subject to availability. Fans holding complimentary tickets (COMP) for Sunday’s game must use them for the rescheduled game when that is announced. Complimentary tickets (COMP) or equivalent tickets bear no cash value and do not have any additional benefits that may be offered to ticket(s) with a dollar value.
For complete information about the Yankees’ rainout policy, please visit http://www.yankees.com/rainout. With respect to tickets purchased through Yankees Ticket Exchange, please visit http://www.yankees.com/ticketexchange or call 1-800-355-2396 for complete information about its rainout policy.
It is clear by now that the Yankees did not enjoy reading all spring about how they were on the downside and that the Blue Jays were gearing up after a busy off-season to take control of the American League East.
All the Yankees have done is to take out their ire on the Blue Jays. The Yankees have Toronto to thank mostly for their being perched atop the division, which has been a customary spot for them since 1996. But this year with all the injuries and the scouring of what some might call the scrap heap, the Yankees were expected to topple down the standings.
Except that they have just refused to do that.
The Yankees’ 7-2 victory Saturday raised their record against the Blue Jays this year to 8-1. The Yanks are 19-15 against all other teams combined, so their record against Toronto is essential to their place in the division. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, are the only team in the AL East with a sub-.500 record (17-26) and have fallen 10 games out of first place, a far distance from where so many prognosticators forecast them.
Sure, the loss to injury of shortstop Jose Reyes and pitcher Josh Johnson has derailed Toronto some, but what club has had more devastating injuries than the Yankees? They have had 13 players on the disabled list, including seven regulars among position players and three of their starting pitchers.
That is how David Phelps, Saturday’s winning pitcher, got into the rotation and, who knows, he just might stay there. The righthander struggled with fastball command but found reinforcements in breaking pitches and posted his third straight quality start. Phelps allowed one run, six hits and three walks with eight strikeouts in seven innings to even his record at 2-2. His ERA has dropped from 5.56 to 3.83 over those three starts.
With Phelps’ fastball unpredictable, catcher Austin Romine said, “We had to mix things up.”
“I didn’t have a good curve and was not ahead in the count enough to use my changeup” Phelps said. “I had a good slider, which helped.”
Another huge help was a pickoff play in the first inning after Phelps walked two batters with one out. After striking out J.P. Arencibia, Phelps and shortstop Jayson Nix combined on a pickoff of Jose Bautista at second base for the third out of the inning.
“I knew we had a chance because I could see he was taking a big lead,” Phelps said. “That was a big play. It might have been a different inning without that the way I was stuggling, you never know.”
It looked as if it might be one of those days where the Yankees had to nickel-and-dime it for some runs when Brandon Morrow got them out in order in the first two innings. Robinson Cano had other ideas. He followed an RBI single by Brett Gardner in the third with a home run and supplied another two-run homer two innings later.
“You get the runs behind you and guys make plays behind you, and it gives you confidence that you can get the job done,” Phelps said.
One day after the middle of the lineup was nonexistent, the big bats came alive. In addition to Cano’s two bombs, Travis Hafner crushed a solo shot off Darren Oliver in the eighth.
The Yankees’ dominance of Toronto, particularly at the Stadium, goes back more than just this season. They have won nine straight home games over the Blue Jays dating to Sept. 19, 2012, 20 of the past 24 games and 23 of the past 28. The nine-game home winning streak ties their longest against the Jays of June 21, 1979 to Sept. 17, 1980. The Yanks have won the home season series against Toronto for the 10th consecutive year.
The Yankees are 18-0 when scoring first this season and remain the only team yet to lose when scoring the game’s first run. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the streak is an AL record and the longest stretch of its kind by any club since the 1992 Mets started the year 18-0 when scoring the first run of the game. This is the Yanks’ longest such streak at any point in a season since 19 straight May 7 to June 6, 2011.