Results tagged ‘ American League ’
The Astros, appearing at Yankee Stadium as an American League team for the first time, had a rude welcome Monday night for former teammate Andy Pettitte. Houston stunned the crowd with a three-run rally in the first inning after two were out.
Pettitte spent three seasons (2004-06) with the Astros before returning to the Yankees in 2007. In his only previous start against Houston June 11, 2010, Pettitte earned his 200th career victory. Recent call-up Austin Romine got his first start of the season behind the plate for Pettitte.
The noise began off Pettitte with a two-out single to center by Brandon Laird, who got into 25 games for the Yankees in 2011, the year that Pettitte retired from the game only to come back to the Yankees the following season. Chris Carter singled sharply to left, which brought up Pettitte nemesis Carlos Pena.
You would think that a free-swinging, left-handed batter like Pena would be a pigeon against the left-handed Pettitte. Not so. Pena took a .326 batting average with six home runs in 43 career at-bats against Pettitte into the first-inning plate appearance and improved on it with a line single to right for Houston’s first run.
Andy continued to struggle as he walked Ronny Cedeno on four pitches, which loaded the bases. Carlos Corporan, the Houston catcher, drove in two more runs with a double to right. Even the third out of the inning, a liner to shortstop by Matt Dominguez, was well-struck. Pettitte got off to a shaky start in the second when he hit Robbie Grossman with a pitch, but that was rectified when Jose Altuve grounded into a double play.
Pena struck again in the third with two out as he tripled off the center-field wall. It was his third career triple in 45 at-bats off Pettitte and raised his career average against him to .356. Pena was stranded, however, as Cedeno flied out to left to end the inning.
If most of these Astros names sound unfamiliar, you are not alone. Houston has the lowest payroll in the league and entered the game with a 7-18 record, the worst in the AL. The Astros did not look that bad against Pettitte. They scored two more two-out runs in the fourth inning on successive, RBI doubles by Altuve and Brandon Barnes. Pettitte had not allowed more than three runs in any of his previous four starts.
He departed in the fifth after giving up a one-out double to Cedeno on a ball that hit the third base bag, hopped over Jayson Nix and down the left field line. Both runners Pettitte left on base upon his departure ended up scoring on a wild pitch by Adam Warren and a two-run homer by Corporan, who had four of the Astros’ 17 hits in their 9-1 victory.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him without his slider,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “That’s a swing-and-miss pitch for him, but it wasn’t there for him.”
“Not to give us a chance to win this game makes me sick to my stomach,” Pettitte said.
Pettitte’s ERA grew from 2.22 to 3.86. It was that kind of night for Andy.
Tuesday is April 30, which is one of the most significant calendar days in Yankees history. The franchise was introduced to New York City on that date 110 years ago, and one of its iconic figures began and ended his career on the same date 16 years apart.
The old Baltimore Orioles club that moved to New York City in 1903 at the start of the third season of the American League became known as the Highlanders because their playing field at the time was located in the highlands area on the Upper West Side of Manhattan that is now the central location of New York-Presbyterian Hospital at West 168th Street.
The Highlanders played their first home game at Hilltop Park April 30, 1903 and defeated the Washington Senators, 6-2. It was the Highlanders’ eighth game of the season and evened their record at 4-4 after opening the season by splitting a four-game series at Washington, D.C., and losing two of three games to the Athletics in Philadelphia.
Managed by future Hall of Famer Clark Griffith and featuring another future Hall of Famer, outfielder Willie Keeler, the team that would become known as the Yankees 10 years later finished with a 72-62 record and fourth of eight teams in the AL.
Moving forward 20 years, the Yankees signed a 19-year-old Columbia University pitcher and outfielder from Manhattan named Henry Louis Gehrig to a professional contract. Lou Gehrig’s reputation as a power hitter was established in the Ivy League, and before the 1923 season was over he made his first appearance in the major leagues. Gehrig got into 13 games that year for the Yanks and batted .423 with four doubles, one triple, one home run and nine RBI in 26 at-bats.
Gehrig spent most of the 1924 season in the minor leagues as well before coming up for good in 1925 and replaced Wally Pipp at first base every day for the next decade and a half. Sixteen years to the day he signed his first pro contract, Gehrig played in his last major-league game, a 3-2 loss to the Senators at Yankee Stadium in which he had 0-for-4. It was Gehrig’s 2,130th consecutive game, a record that stood until Cal Ripken Jr. broke it in September, 1995.
Gehrig was already suffering from the symptoms of arterial lateral sclerosis (ALS), the disease that forced him to out of the next game. May 1 was an open date for the Yankees. Gehrig was in manager Joe McCarthy’s starting batting order for May 2 at Detroit, but the “Iron Horse” took himself out of the lineup and never played again. Gehrig was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939 and died in 1941.
Do not be surprised if Derek Jeter earns a spot on the American League All-Star squad even though he probably won’t play an inning of baseball before the game, which is scheduled for July 16 at Citi Field in Flushing.
The Captain is extremely popular with fans all over the country. Just last year, he received more than 4.4 million votes, the third highest total of any AL player. Only Josh Hamilton and Jose Bautista were ahead of him, and no other shortstop was within three million votes of Jeter.
Jose Reyes, in his first year in the AL with the Blue Jays after being traded from the Marlins, might have threatened Jeter’s hold on the All-Star vote at shortstop. But Reyes is also out for three months with an ankle injury, so his chances of overtaking the Captain seem out of the question now.
How weird would it be for Jeter to win an All-Star spot without having played a game? Well, go back to 1989. Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt retired in late May while batting .203 in 148 at-bats. The All-Star balloting was only a week old, and yet when it was over Schmidt was voted onto the National League squad as the starting third baseman, even though he had not played for six weeks. You could say that at least Schmidt played as many as 42 games, but then again, he was not very good in many of them. The future Hall of Famer was invited to the game that year at Anaheim Stadium and took a bow, but his place in the NL starting lineup was taken instead by the Mets’ Howard Johnson.
So don’t bet against Jeter.
Former Yankees outfielder and designated hitter Don Baylor, now the hitting coach for the Diamondbacks, was not at the series finale Thursday night at Yankee Stadium because he was in Denver to be inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in a banquet at the Denver Marriott City Center.
Stan Williams, who pitched for the Yankees and served them as a pitching coach, was also part of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013 along with Steve Atwater (football), Adam Foote (hockey), Don Cockroft (football) and Steve Jones (golf).
Baylor, 63, was named the first manager in Rockies history Oct. 27, 1992 and posted a 440-469 (.484) record over six seasons. In 1995, he earned National League Manager of the Year honors from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America after leading Colorado to its first postseason berth in franchise history as the NL wild card.
Baylor spent three seasons (1983-85) with the Yankees during a 19-year career in the majors that included an American League Most Valuable Player performance in 1979 with the Angels.
There appeared to be no lingering effects to pitcher Hiroki Kuroda’s right middle finger that was struck by a line drive and ultimately was responsible for his early departure from Wednesday night’s game. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Kuroda remained on schedule to make his next start Monday night at Cleveland.
Prior to facing the Indians in a four-game series at Progressive Field, the Yankees have a hurdle with a three-game set this weekend at Detroit’s Comerica Field. Probable starters for the Yanks in the matchup against the Tigers are Ivan Nova at 1:05 p.m. Friday against Doug Fister in the defending American League pennant winners’ home opener, David Phelps at 4:05 p.m. Saturday against Max Scherzer and CC Sabathia at 1:05 p.m. Sunday against Justin Verlander in a pairing of former AL Cy Young Award winners.
Thursday night’s lineup for the Yankees had Robinson Cano in the 2-hole with Ichiro Suzuki dropping to sixth. Girardi said he wanted to separate his left-handed hitters now that he no longer has switch hitters in the order, but I suspect giving Cano an extra at-bat perhaps was also part of the decision.
Major League Baseball released its preliminary schedule for the 2013 season Wednesday. It reveals the change in inter-league play based on the Astros’ move from the National League Central to the American League West that will create two 15-team leagues and require inter-league play on a daily basis.
What that means to the Subway Series is that instead of two three-game series, the Yankees and the Mets will play consecutive two-game sets May 27-28 at Citi Field and May 29-30 at Yankee Stadium. This is a good idea. Six games each year was at least two too many. Remember, in the first two years of inter-league play the New York clubs played one three-game series, in 1997 at Yankee Stadium and 1998 at Shea Stadium. The downside is that there can be a series split, which would take away the reward of bragging rights.
The Yankees will open the season with at home against the Red Sox for the first time since 2005. The Yanks are 18-11-1 in 30 previous Opening Day games against Boston, including a 4-4 game due to darkness in 1910 at old Hilltop Park. The Yankees will play 19 of their first 32 games at home.
The other inter-league matchups for the Yankees will be against the NL West with home games against the Diamondbacks April 16-18, Dodgers June 18-19 and the Giants Sept. 20-22 and road games at Denver May 7-9, Los Angeles July 30-31 and San Francisco Aug. 2-4. The Dodgers’ visit will mark their first regular-season games at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees will have inter-league games in every month of the season.
The Astros will come to the Stadium as an AL team for the first time April 29-May 1. The Yanks will end their season with a three-game series Sept. 27-29 at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.
The Yankees encountered a severe bump in the road in Chicago. The previous time the Yankees faced a division leader, American League West-leading Texas, they took three of four from the Rangers at Yankee Stadium. The AL Central-leading White Sox proved stiffer competition in sweeping the three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field.
It marked the first time the Yankees were swept in a series of at least three games by the White Sox since Chicago won a four-game set June 15-18, 2000 at the Stadium. The Yanks were swept in a series of at least three games at the Cell for the first time since Aug. 6-8, 1991. The sweep shrunk the Yankees’ lead in the AL East to three games over the Rays.
They were beaten at their own game by the White Sox, who outhomered the Yankees, 7-4, in the series. The Chisox got homers from seven different players, including Alex Rios’ blow off Phil Hughes that unlocked a 1-1 game in the sixth inning in Wednesday night’s finale. Three of the Yankees’ homers were by Derek Jeter, who homered in three straight games for the first time in his career.
The Captain’s dinger with one out in the sixth that tied the score was the only blemish on an overpowering outing by Sox starter Chris Sale, 23, a legitimate AL Cy Young Award candidate who improved his record to 15-4 with a 2.65 ERA. The 6-foot-6 lefthander gave up three hits and one walk with 13 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings, including Ichiro Suzuki three times and Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Casey McGehee twice apiece. Jeter was the only Yankees hitter that Sale did not fan. Overall, the Yankees struck out 15 times.
It was a tough loss for Hughes (12-11), who allowed five hits and two walks with five strikeouts in seven innings. He gave up a run in the second on a sacrifice fly by Kevin Youkilis that scored Gordon Beckham, who had led off the inning with a double.
DeWayne Wise, who tormented his former teammates throughout the series (7-for-14, one home run, two RBI, two runs, one stolen base), bunted for a single that sent Beckham to third. The hit proved a gift because video replays indicated that first base umpire Bill Welke blew the call and Wise should have been called out. It didn’t affect the game, however, because even if Wise had been out Beckham would have crossed to third base anyway and have been in position to score on the Youkilis fly ball.
The White Sox entered the set coming off a disastrous series at Kansas City where they were swept and played shabbily. Clearly, they returned to form against the Yankees and raised their lead in the AL Central to two games over the Tigers.
The Yankees meanwhile get their first day off in 20 days Thursday. They sure can use one.
The Yankees continue to pick up the slack for ailing teammates and at the same time are making a bold statement against the Rangers, winners of the past two American League pennants. Texas, which leads the major leagues in scoring, has totaled only four runs in the three games thus far in this series.
Josh Hamilton was all the offense the Rangers could muster Wednesday night with two long home runs off Freddy Garcia. Fortunately for the Yanks, Garcia allowed only two other hits and no more runs to come away with his third consecutive victory. Freddy had perhaps the best slider of his season in holding down the Rangers for 6 2/3 innings. The righthander walked one batter and struck out six in improving his season record to 7-5 with a 4.68 ERA, a record you will take every day of the week from a fifth starter.
Garcia, who returned to the rotation last month when Andy Pettitte went on the disabled list, continued his career success against the Rangers. Freddy remained unbeaten against them over his past eight starts dating to Sept. 8, 2004. He is 5-0 with a 1.89 ERA in those games and 9-5 with a 4.03 ERA overall against Texas.
It was the third straight impressive start for the rotation since CC Sabathia was placed on the DL Sunday for the second time this season. Against the Rangers in this series, Yankees starters are 3-0 with a 1.74 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings. Texas has had one hit in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Eric Chavez, who has done a remarkable job filling in at third base for disabled Alex Rodriguez, had another big night with three singles, a walk and a run batted in. Chavez’s one glitch was an errant throw in the ninth inning, although video replays indicated that Nick Swisher playing first base may have saved Chavez from a boot with a good scoop, but umpire Marty Foster apparently did not see that Swish kept his foot on the bag. The play did not prove costly as Rafael Soriano chalked up his 28th save.
For Chavez, August has been a torrid month. He is batting .516 with two doubles, four home runs and nine RBI in 31 at-bats this month, which has raised his season average from .265 to .303. Chavez has a six-game hitting streak (all multi-hit games) during which he is batting .609 with three home runs and seven RBI in 23 at-bats.
It is all part of a tremendous job done by starting third basemen for the Yankees during A-Rod’s absence, to the tune of .408 with seven home runs in 71 at-bats.
Swisher has hurt the Rangers all week and did so again with an RBI double in the Yanks’ three-run third inning. In eight games since being moved into the 2-hole, Swisher is batting .286 with eight runs, two doubles, two home runs and 11 RBI in 35 at-bats.
The Yankees extended their home winning streak against Texas in regular-season play to eight and have won 11 of the past 12 meetings between them at Yankee Stadium.
With David Phelps filling in momentarily for disabled CC Sabathia in the rotation, the Yankees needed to find length for the bullpen and did so Monday with the signing of Derek Lowe, who joined the team at Yankee Stadium Monday and was available for the night game against Texas.
The righthander, 39, was 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA in 21 starts and 119 innings for the Indians before he was designated for assignment Aug. 2 and released Aug. 10. Lowe’s career mark is 174-156 with 85 saves and a 4.01 ERA in 655 games, including 377 starts, over 16 major-league seasons with the Mariners, Red Sox, Dodgers, Braves and Indians. He is one of three pitchers to have won at least 160 games and saved at least 80, along with Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley and John Smoltz.
“He’s a guy in our bullpen who can give us distance,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He has done well in a lot of different roles.”
Lowe has made 278 career relief appearances, going 18-22 with a 2.95 ERA in 381 innings and holding opponents to a .248 batting average. In his career, Lowe has compiled a 3.54 combined ERA from Aug. 1 through the end of the regular season, nearly three-quarters of a run lower than his combined ERA to start the season through July 31 (4.22).
The most successful period of Lowe’s career came during his eight seasons in Boston. He and catcher Jason Varitek were acquired July 31, 1997 from the Mariners in a lopsided traded that only cost the Red Sox relief pitcher Heathcliff Slocumb. Lowe was 70-55 with 85 saves and a 3.72 ERA for the Red Sox. He pitched a no-hitter April 27, 2002 against Tampa Bay during a season when he was converted to a starter and was 21-8 with a 2.58 ERA. Two years earlier, Lowe led the American League in saves with 42 as Boston’s closer. He was named to AL All-Star squads in 2000 at Atlanta and 2002 at Milwaukee.
Lowe has made 23 postseason appearances, including 12 starts, and has a 5-7 record with one save and a 3.21 ERA in 95 1/3 innings. When the Red Sox ended their 86-year drought and won the World Series in 2004, Lowe was the winning pitcher in the clinching game of all three of their postseason series – Game 3 of the AL Division Series sweep of the Angels, Game 7 of the AL Championship Series against the Yankees and Game 4 of the World Series sweep of the Cardinals.
Truthfully, that was many years ago. In recent seasons, Lowe has struggled. He led the National League in losses last year when he was 9-17 for the Braves. Over the past two seasons, Lowe has a 17-27 record with a 5.24 ERA. As with Ichiro Suzuki, the Yankees are hoping that a return to a contending club might rejuvenate Lowe, who has never been on the disabled list.
The Yankees have gone double-play crazy the past two nights. Through the first four innings of Monday night’s game against the Orioles, the Yankees turned three double plays behind Freddy Garcia.
Entering the game, the Yankees were tied with Detroit with the fewest double plays (82) in the American League, and that was after a 5-DP game Sunday night against the Red Sox. Eight double plays in 14 innings are quite a few and much appreciated by the pitching staff. After all, the double play is a pitcher’s best friend.