Results tagged ‘ Alex Rodriguez ’

Yanks having a fielding renaissance as well

Carlos Beltran, who sat out the last two games against the Rays at St. Petersburg, Fla., found someone else in the 3-hole in the Yankees’ batting order when he returned to the lineup Monday night at Detroit.

Not surprisingly, it was Alex Rodriguez, who entered the game leading the Yankees in batting (.316), home runs (4), RBI (11), slugging (.711) and on base percentage (.447). Manager Joe Girardi said he would leave A-Rod in that spot for the time being.

Mark Teixeira drew even with Rodriguez in home runs when he jumped on a hanging splitter from Alfredo Simon leading off the fourth inning. Tex’s fourth bomb of the year was his first batting left-handed. He has been a much better hitter from the right side in the early going. Entering the game, Teixeira was a .286 hitter right-handed with three home runs and three RBI in 14 at-bats and a .125 hitter left-handed with three doubles and five RBI in 24 at-bats.

In addition to their bats waking up against Tampa Bay over the weekend, the Yankees also slapped some impressive leather. They did not commit an error in their three-game sweep of the Rays after having made 11 errors in their first nine games.

The defensive improvement continued Monday night. Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez was robbed twice of hits on catches after long runs by left fielder Brett Gardner in the second inning and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury in the fifth. Also in the fifth, Gardner made a fine grab coming in on the run to keep J.D. Martinez off base. Gardner found out how it feels to get robbed when Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias made a tremendous play deep in the hole and threw him out at first base.

The Yankees also turned a couple of double plays behind CC Sabathia in victimizing Miguel Cabrera both times.

Beltran joins 1,000 AL & NL hit club

Carlos Beltran was out of the lineup Saturday night and may not play Sunday, either, for the Yankees at Tropicana Field. The right fielder has a severe cold. 

Beltran started the winning rally Friday night with a leadoff single in the eighth inning. Brett Gardner pinch ran for Beltran and stole second base with two out. He scored on a single to center by Alex Rodriguez, who also homered twice and drove in four runs.

The knock by Beltran was his 1,000th career hit in the American League to go with 1,329 hits in his time in the National League. He is the only active player with 1,000 or more hits in both leagues and the eighth player overall to accomplish the feat. The list from the Elias Sport Bureau includes two former Yankees — Dave Winfield (1,976 AL; 1,134 NL) and Alfonso Soriano (1,018 AL; 1,077 NL). The others are Orlando Cabrera (1,020 AL; 1,035 NL), Vlad Guerrero (1,375 AL; 1,215 NL), Carlos Lee (1,033 AL; 1,240 NL), Fred McGriff (1,143 AL; 1,347 NL) and Frank Robinson (1,184 AL; 1,759 NL).

Rodriguez’s 61st career multi-home run game was his first since May 23, 2012 against the Royals at Yankee Stadium and the sixth of his career against the Rays, the first since May 17, 2011 at St. Petersburg, Fla. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Rodriguez (at age 39 years, 264 days), became the third-oldest Yankees hitter since 1914 with a multi-homer game. The only Yankees to do it at an older age were Raul Ibanez (twice: Sept. 22, 2012 against the Athletics at age 40 years, 112 days and May 8, 2012 against the Rays at age 39 years, 341days) and Enos Slaughter (July 19, 1959 against the White Sox at age 43 years, 83 days).

Earlier Saturday in a couple of transactions involving pitchers, lefthander Matt Tracy was claimed off waivers by the Marlins and righthander Joel De La Cruz was outrighted off the 40-man roster and onto the roster of Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

 

Big night for A-Rod and Yanks bullpen

Brett Gardner, stuck on the bench for two games because of a bruised right wrist, returned to action Friday night at Tropicana Field as a pinch runner in the ninth inning and got a crucial stolen base with two out to set up the ending of a monster night at the plate for Alex Rodriguez.

A-Rod, who had homered twice earlier in the game, sent Gardner home from second base with a single to center field for his fourth RBI of the game that shot the Yankees to a 5-4 victory that also featured five shutout innings by their bullpen.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi is toying with the idea of adding a sixth starting pitcher to the rotation. With CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka all coming back from injuries, the skipper is looking at ways to take some of the workload off his starters.

“I wouldn’t really call it a six-man rotation,” Girardi told reporters before the game. “I’d call it more of inserting a sixth man one time through, and my guess is you might see it. Weather could play a role, so you just have to wait and see, but it’s something that’s in the back of our minds. We’ve kind of prepared ourselves for it.”

Esmil Rogers, currently pitching in long relief, was identified by Girardi as one of the candidates for the sixth-starter role. The others would be Bryan Mitchell and Chase Whitley, both currently pitching as starters at Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre. They were all candidates for the fifth-starter spot that Adam Warren won in spring training.

Warren had an up-and-down start Friday night. The up part were the first three innings when he shut out the Rays on three hits, all singles. The down part was the fourth inning when Tampa Bay bounced back from a 2-0 deficit to take a 4-2 lead on a three-run home run by rookie Allen Dykstra that was followed by a solo shot by Logan Forsythe. It was the first major-league home run for Dykstra, who is no relation to former Mets and Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra.

Warren was rolling along until Evan Longoria reached first base on an infield single. Warren then walked Desmond Jennings and watched Dykstra slam a 2-0 fastball off the right field foul poll to surrender the lead. Warren’s ERA shot up from 1.69 to 4.82. He did not get stuck with a losing decision, however.

Rodriguez, who had given Warren a 1-0 lead with a 471-foot home run to left-center leading off the second inning against Rays starter Nathan Karns, got the Yanks even with a two-run blast in the sixth off reliever Ernesto Frieri. It marked A-Rod’s first multi-homer game since May 23, 2012 and the 61st of his career. He took over the club lead in homers with four and RBI with 11.

Rogers took over for Warren in the fifth and pitched 2 1/3 hitless innings of relief, a good audition for that sixth-starter job.

The Yankees also got a home run from Stephen Drew (No. 3) with two out in the fourth. It was the 100th career homer for Drew as he and brother J.D. Drew became the eighth pair of brothers to hit 100 or more homers apiece in the majors, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The other pairs were the Alomars (Roberto and Sandy Jr.), the  Boones (Aaron and Bret), the Boyers (Ken and Clete), the DiMaggios (Joe and Vince), the Meusels (Bob and Irish), the Uptons (Justin and Melvin, Jr.) and the Youngs (Dmitri and Delmon). Aaron Boone, Clete Boyer, Joe DiMaggio and Bob Meusel played all or parts of their careers with the Yankees. 

Friday night’s Yankees pre-game show on YES included a feature on Richard Albero, 65, a retired Naval Officer who March 2 started a charity walk from the plate at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa to Yankee Stadium, which he hopes to reach sometime around Memorial Day. Albero is roughly at the halfway point of his 1,200-mile walk, just north of Myrtle Beach, S.C. He is walking in memory of his nephew, who died in the World Trade Center during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and also to raise money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. For more about Albero’s initiative, visit richardsyankeeswalk.org.

Struggling Beltran comes through in clutch

Yankees fans have been patient with Carlos Beltran in hopes of seeing the player that had put together a Hall of Fame-bound career with the Royals, Astros, Mets, Giants and Cardinals. He was eager to play for the Yankees when he joined the club last year but had his season reduced by a third because of an elbow injury that required surgery.

A healthy Beltran has gotten off to a sluggish rather than a slugger start for the Yankees in 2015, which is why it was so important to see him get a clutch hit Wednesday night in the finale of the Yankees-Orioles series at Camden Yards.

Beltran, who took a .152 batting average into his third-inning plate appearance against Baltimore righthander Bud Norris, thrust the Yankees into the lead with a two-out, two-run double. The ball was smoked by Beltran, who was batting left-handed, and came within inches of a home rub as the ball hit near the top of the wall in right-center field.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi has kept Beltran in the 3-hole in the lineup despite his slow start because of the confidence he has in a player with so strong a track record. Beltran got the opportunity when the Yankees rallied with two out behind a double by Jacoby Ellsbury and a walk to Chase Headley.

Alex Rodriguez expanded the Yankees’ lead to 3-1 with a long home run to left field with one out in the fourth. When A-Rod touched the plate, it was his 1,923rd run scored, which tied him with former teammate Derek Jeter for 10th place on the all-time list.

Yanks grab early lead but lose it early, too

The Yankees are beginning to like this business of taking the lead. They were in front in only one of their first 55 innings this season but turned things around Sunday night against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium with a seven-run first inning.

It was not nearly as overwhelming Monday night at Baltimore in the opener of a three-game series at Camden Yards, but once again the Yankees took the early lead. This time, it was merely one run on a solo home run by Chris Young with two out in the second inning. It was the second homer of the season for Young, who clocked a three-run shot Saturday at the Stadium.

The early run was welcomed by Yankees starter Michael Pineda, who has not had much run support over the years. The Yankees were shut out 10 times last year, and three of those games were started by Pineda. Since Aug. 27, 2011, Pineda has a 2.79 run support average, which is the third lowest in the major leagues during that span (minimum 10 starts).

Another positive sign early was catcher John Ryan Murphy throwing out Alejandro De Aza attempting to steal second. Murphy, who started for resting regular catcher Brian McCann, has had a rough time of it back of the plate with a couple of passed balls and a throwing error.

Yet as quickly as the Yankees pulled in front, Pineda gave up the lead in the bottom of the second. Maybe it’s because he is not used to pitching with it. Adam Jones led off with an infield single and scored one out later on a double by Manny Machado.

Alex Rodriguez, making his first start of the season at his old position of third base, displayed weakened lateral movement in being unable to knock down Machado’s hot grounder inside the bag.

Jonathan Schoop followed with a hard liner off the left field wall for another double that put the Orioles up, 2-1. Schoop did not get credit for the double right away. He was originally called out at second base, but the call was reversed following a challenge by Baltimore manager Buck Showalter. Video replays revealed that second baseman Gregorio Petit’s tag was on Schoop’s chest after his left hand was on the bag.

Pineda recovered to strike out the next two hitters and had to hope the Yankees could come from behind as effectively as they had gone in front.

Tanaka benefits from huge run support

The Yankees took much of the heat off teammate Masahiro Tanaka Sunday night with their first-inning explosion against the Red Sox and Clay Buchholz. Tanaka pitched with leads of 7-0 and 10-4 in his five innings, which created a comfort zone that the righthander surely needed.

The atmosphere surrounding Tanaka following his Opening Day loss has been tense to say the least. Yankees manager Joe Girardi has grown weary of questions regarding the deep dip in Tanaka’s velocity as he pitches with a slight ligament tear in his elbow that doctors said would respond to off-season rest rather than having him undergo Tommy John surgery.

Before a national television audience on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, Tanaka showed the country his 2015 version as he once again relied on cut fastballs and sliders to get ahead in the count and his devastating split-finger fastball to finish off hitters. The mid-90s four-seam fastballs that were part of his repertoire are few and far between these days.

The results were, well, just okay. Tanaka gave up four runs (three earned), four hits and three walks with four strikeouts and two wild pitches in a 79-pitch outing that was frankly only marginally better than his first start. He did chalk up his first victory due largely to the welcomed overwhelming offensive support, but through two starts Tanaka’s earned run average is an unappetizing 7.00.

With their first imposing surge of offense this season to fashion a 14-4 victory, the Yankees pushed Tanaka to the side of the storyline for this game. Concern about their ability to score was growing daily for a team that went into Sunday night’s game batting a collective .193 and averaging 3.4 runs per game.

“Obviously, it takes a lot of pressure off the starting pitcher,” Girardi said. “I thought [Tanaka’s] fastball was better than the first game, but he had trouble throwing his breaking balls for strikes, which was the opposite of his first game. His location was better with his fastball down in the zone, but he wasn’t as sharp with his slider.”

The Yanks staked Tanaka to a 7-0 lead in a first inning highlighted by a three-run double by Alex Rodriguez and back-to-back home runs by Chase Headley and Stephen Drew. They kept it up against Buchholz, who departed in the fourth after allowing 10 runs (nine earned) and nine hits.

By the sixth inning, everyone in the Yankees’ starting lineup had gotten at least one hit and scored at least one run. A-Rod picked up a fourth RBI with a bases-loaded walk in the three-run sixth against lefthander Tommy Layne. Headley finished with three RBI and Drew and Brett Gardner two apiece.

Brian McCann scored three runs and had two hits, including the 200th home run of his career, a solo shot in the eighth inning off Edward Mujica. The victory was vital what with the Yankees embarking on a 10-game, 11-day trip that starts Monday night at Baltimore.

Yankees roll ‘7’ in first inning

The Yankees went into Sunday night’s game against the Red Sox having played 55 innings of baseball this season and had the lead in only one of them. They made it two with a huge first inning that handed Masahiro Tanaka a 7-0 advantage.

It was encouraging to see the Yankees’ somewhat sluggish offense put together a sustained attack, aided by a lackluster Clay Buchholz, Boston’s starting pitcher, and uncertain defense by first baseman Mike Napoli.

As if to spark the stodginess of the Yankees’ offense this past week, manager Joe Girardi rolled the dice a bit in the first after Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a walk. Forcing the action, Girardi called for a hit-and-run and struck paydirt when Brett Gardner lined a single to left-center against an overshift that sent Ellsbury on an easy course to third base.

Napoli could only get one out at second base — and barely that — on a chopper by Carlos Beltran as Ellsbury crossed the plate for that rare Yankees lead. Mark Teixeira walked on a 3-2 pitch, and Napoli fumbled another grounder by Brian McCann, which filled the bases.

Alex Rodriguez jumped on a first-pitch cut fastball from Buchholz and drove a liner to left center for a double that cleared the bags. Chase Headley followed with his second home run in three days, a two-run shot to right off a 2-2 pitch. Stephen Drew made it back-to-back long balls with another drive to right for his first home run.

In one inning, the Yankees had scored more runs than in their previous 22 innings combined.

Yanks stagger Saturday after Friday marathon loss

Saturday’s 8-4 loss to the Red Sox had all the trappings of a classic hangover game for the Yankees. Less than 12 hours after they were beaten, 6-5, in 19 innings, the Yankees were back at Yankee Stadium for another joust with Boston and looked very much like a team that was sleep-walking.

Granted, the Red Sox were on the field for the same six hours, xx minutes that the Yankees were Friday night into Saturday morning, but Boston had a major advantage – the uplifting feeling any victory gives a team. When you play a game for that long, you want to end out on top, which the Red Sox did despite allowing the Yankees to tie the score three times.

It was the longest home game (in terms of time) in franchise history and the second-longest overall, behind only their seven-hour, 9-7, 22-inning victory June 24, 1962 at Detroit’s Tiger Stadium. Friday PM/Saturday AM was the Yankees’ longest game (in terms of innings) since a 5-4, 19-inning victory Aug. 25, 1976 over the Twins at Yankee Stadium. It marked the sixth game of at least 19 innings in franchise history. It was the longest game in terms of time for the Red Sox, whose previous longest was six hours, 35 minutes in an 18-inning game Aug. 25, 2001 at Texas. Boston also used 21 players, everyone on the 25-man roster except outfielder Brock Holt and starting pitchers Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello and Justin Masterson.

The first extra-innings game in the American League this season also was the first extra-innings game between the Yankees and the Red Sox since Sept. 5, 2013, a 9-8, 10-inning Boston victory at the Stadium. It was the longest extra-innings game between the clubs since a 20-inning, 4-3 Yankees victory in the second game of an Aug. 29, 1967 doubleheader at the Stadium.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi used all but four of his players in the game – starting pitchers CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Adam Warren, the latter of whom was sent home after the ninth inning to be well rested for Saturday’s start. Indeed, Warren pitched fairly well Saturday (one earned run, five hits, two walks, one strikeout in 5 1/3 innings) but had to absorb the loss because of his teammates’ failures with their bats and gloves.

Chase Headley sent the game into extras with a two-out, solo home run in the bottom of the ninth. Mark Teixeira also hit a game-tying home run, in the 16th, by which time the clock had gone past midnight and it was Tex’s 35th birthday. It marked the latest a Yankees player homered in a game since Alfonso Soriano and Jorge Posada both went deep in the top of the 17th inning of a 10-9 victory June 1, 2003 at Detroit’s Comerica Park

Esmil Rogers, the last Yankees pitcher used, went 4 2/3 innings, just one day after working 2 1/3 innings of relief Thursday night against the Blue Jays. Girardi said if the game had done beyond the 19th, Garret Jones would have pitched for the first time since high school. Jones, a first baseman by trade, entered the game as a pinch runner for Alex Rodriguez in the 11th inning and remained in the game as the designated hitter.

Rodriguez was supposed to have Saturday off, but since he did not play the final eight innings of the previous game made his first major-league start at first base and somewhat set the tone of the game by committing an error in the second inning that led to an unearned run off Warren. A-Rod also failed to keep his foot on the bag reaching for an errant throw by Headley for what should have been the third out of the eighth inning when the Red Sox rallied to load the bases and scored three runs on a bases-clearing double by Holt, who had four hits.

The Yankees, who were expected to be stronger defensively this year than last, had three errors in the game and now have eight in the first five games, the most in the league. Catcher John Ryan Murphy had a throwing error and was also charged with a passed ball. Jones in right field with Rodriguez at first base and left fielder Brett Gardner failed to glove catchable balls that fell for run-scoring hits. Shortstop Didi Gregorius inexplicably held the ball instead of relaying home on Holt’s double that might have prevented the third run scored by catcher Ryan Hanigan.

The Yanks did no better at the plate. They had only one hit through the first seven innings off Red Sox starter Joe Kelly, who got himself in trouble only in the second when he threw a wild pitch, walked two batters and allowed a single to Rodriguez, who eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Gregorius.

Kelly retired the last 17 batters he faced. The streak went to 19 before Gregorio Petit and Gardner singled with two down in the eighth off Alexi Ogando. Both scored on Chris Young’s first home run of the season and the first of six Yankees homers this year that accounted for more than one run.

If only CC could avoid the one bad inning

Thursday night was another one of those “one bad inning” games for CC Sabathia. All eyes were on the lefthander who had a rough time of it in spring training and was passed over for the Opening Day start for the first time since he joined the Yankees in 2009.

His pitching line over 5 2/3 innings in the Yankees’ 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays was both good (no walks, eight strikeouts) and not so good (five runs [four earned], eight hits), but nearly all of the bad stuff happened in one inning, the second, as Toronto scored four runs with five hits, four of those in succession at the start of the inning.

But while Sabathia hit a lot of bats that inning he also missed a good many over the course of his outing as the eight punchouts suggest. The fifth run off CC came in the sixth inning and was not earned due to an error by right fielder Carlos Beltran, whose throw to third base hit the runner, Josh Donaldson, and allowed him to score.

“I thought he pitched pretty well, better than his line indicated,” manager Joe Girard said of Sabathia. “He didn’t give up a lot of hard-hit balls, but they found a lot of holes. He kept the ball in the park and on the ground. If CC is going to be hit like that every time out I’ll take it.”

Sabathia blamed himself for the second-inning problems but was encouraged by his work in the other innings and that he felt fine with no knee issues.

“I felt great and think [the outing] was something to build on — no walks and not a lot of contact,” Sabathia said. “I got away from pounding the ball inside in the second inning. I have to control both sides of the plate.”

The Yankees fought back against lefthander Daniel Norris and cut the deficit to 5-3 in the sixth on solo home runs by Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. The Yankees’ first run came in the fourth inning when Didi Gregorius singled home John Ryan Murphy, who led off with one of his two doubles. Unfortunately, Gregorius rounded the bag at first base too widely and was tagged out trying to get back, marking the second time in three games he has been thrown out on the bases.

Edwin Encarnacion’s impressive home run off the wall behind the visitors’ bullpen in left field off Esmil Rogers in the eighth was the Blue Jays’ response to the Yankees’ attempted comeback. Toronto was able to win two of three games against the Yankees despite Jose Bautista going hitless in 13 plate appearances with eight strikeouts.

Girardi toys with batting order vs. lefty

With the Blue Jays starting a lefthander, Daniel Norris, Yankees manager Joe Girardi made the first significant change in the batting order Thursday night. Left-handed batting Brett Gardner, Brian McCann and Stephen Drew were all on the bench.

Girardi noted that Gardner’s not starting had nothing to do with his getting hit by a pitch in Wednesday night’s victory over Toronto. The manager plans to rest Gardner or Jacoby Ellsbury but not both against left-handed starting pitching. Chris Young, whose double began the eighth-inning rally Tuesday night, started in left field.

McCann also was hit by a pitch the night before but was just given a blow that allowed backup John Ryan Murphy a start. Gregorio Petit got his first start for the Yankees at second base in place of Drew. Didi Gregorius, who struggles against lefthanders, was kept in the lineup at shortstop and drove in the Yankees’ first run with a single to center field in the fifth inning.

Another major change in the lineup was the move of designated hitter Alex Rodriguez from seventh to second, which might have gotten him an extra at-bat. Girardi has liked the way A-Rod has swung the bat over the first two games.

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