Results tagged ‘ Andres Torres ’

CC vs. R.A. not so OK after all

Sunday night’s finale of the Subway Series at Citi Field was another case of a dream match-up not living up to its marquee value. The anticipated pairing of the Yankees’ CC Sabathia and the Mets’ R.A. Dickey was something of a letdown as neither pitcher was at his best. Neither was involved in the outcome, either.

The Yankees got to Dickey for five runs and five hits in his six innings during which his pitching line had some elements of a knuckleball pitcher (one hit batter, one wild pitch, one error) that he had been avoiding in his magical, 11-1 season. Perhaps the best thing Dickey did was to single in the fifth inning and eventually come around to score.

Sabathia had leads of 4-0 and 5-1 but failed to get through the sixth inning for the first time this season. His defense failed him as well as only one of the five runs he yielded was earned. CC’s catcher, Chris Stewart, made two throwing errors, one of which led directly to a run. An error by second baseman Robinson Cano helped fuel the Mets’ sixth when they tied the score with three more unearned runs.

The Mets lead the majors in two-out runs, and the four they got to square things by the sixth were all of that variety. Dickey scored in the fifth on a two-out single by Ruben Tejada. The last pitch Sabathia threw was hit for a two-out, two-run single by Andres Torres. Tejada followed that with another two-out, RBI single off reliever Cory Wade, who walked David Wright to load the bases but came back to strike out pinch hitter Kirk Neuwenhuis.

Cano atoned for his muff the next inning when he powered a 2-0 changeup from Miguel Batista over the center field wall for his 16th home run. That would prove the deciding run in the Yanks’ 6-5 victory that gave them a 5-1 record in this year’s Subway Series.

Mets manager Terry Collins had hoped Citi Field would play larger than Yankee Stadium and the long ball would not be as much a factor as it was two weekends ago when the Yankees swept the three-game set. They out-homered the Mets, 8-2, at the Stadium in that series and nearly did the same, 7-2, at Citi Field.

Winning pitcher Boone Logan (2-0), David Robertson and Rafael Soriano (15th save) combined for three shutout innings as the Yankees’ bullpen again dominated the Mets. In the six Subway Series games this year, Yankees relievers combined to go 3-0 with three saves and a 1.65 ERA in 16 1/3 innings. So it was not just home runs the Yankees used to handle the Mets.

You keep hearing about how the Subway Series has lost much of its appeal and lacks the intensity of past years. Don’t believe it. This year’s home-and-home series drew a total of 270,828 persons to Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. They averaged 45,138 per game and drew the two largest gates in Citi Field’s four-season history.

With the Major League Baseball schedule changing next season due to realignment with the Astros moving from the National League Central to the American League West, the Subway Series is likely to be reduced from six games to four or perhaps even three. Many of the players on both teams and both managers seem to believe that is a good idea, a view that might not be shared in the front office when they consider that two or three capacity crowds will probably be sacrificed.

Nothing chicken-hearted about Yanks’ tough loss

For a while there, it looked as if Frank Francisco would not get into Friday night’s game. He is the Mets closer with the big mouth, the guy who before the Subway Series called the Yankees “chickens,” as quoted in the New York Post. Some of the Mets had fun with this, playing “The Chicken Dance” and other poultry-related tunes in the clubhouse before the game.

To their credit, the Yankees did not overreact to the charge, which Francisco based on his belief that the Yankee complain about everything. That’s rich. He plays for a team that tried to stick their own hero, third baseman David Wright, with an error on an official scoring change in an effort to get R.A. Dickey a no-hitter. Even Dickey was embarrassed by such a bush maneuver. Thank goodness Joe Torre, Major League Baseball’s vice president for baseball operations, upheld the original ruling.

The chances that Francisco would get into the game looked pretty slim after the Mets broke out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning and were up, 6-2, through seven. But Robinson Cano’s two-run home run in the eighth off Miguel Batista made it a two-run game, creating a save opportunity for Francisco.

The righthander had also said that he looked forward to striking out the side against them, which he apparently he did once some years ago. Francisco did manage to chalk up his 18th save in the Mets’ 6-4 victory, but there was nothing chicken-livered about the Yankees’ at-bats that inning.

Francisco got a huge boost from his center fielder, Andres Torres, who made a sensational running catch to rob Russell Martin of a potential extra-base hit at the start of the inning. The play loomed large when Francisco walked pinch hitter Raul Ibanez and gave up a lightning bolt of a single to left by Derek Jeter.

The one strikeout Francisco got that inning was indeed impressive, locking up Curtis Granderson on a 95-mph fastball. Francisco hit 95 on the gun twice more against Mark Teixeira, who made the last out on a pop to shortstop.

The Yankees’ third straight inter-league loss this week was particularly bitter because of the opponent, but Yankees fans can come away with some satisfaction that their team did not go down quietly. Plenty of other clubs might have folded up after trailing by five runs in the first inning, especially when opposing pitcher Jonathan Niese was throwing so well.

They used their greatest ally – the long ball – to make a game of it. Solo shots by Alex Rodriguez in the sixth and Andruw Jones in the seventh plus Cano’s bomb in the eighth had the Mets reeling after they had failed to knock out Pettitte, who tagged on five shutout innings after the first.

Wright doubled in the Mets’ only run after that first inning, and he was doubled up after a diving catch by Jones off a Scott Hairston liner in the seventh. Yes, it was a tough loss for the Yankees, but they did not complain about it.

See what happens when games start early

The television ratings for the World Series between the Giants and the Rangers have been dreadful. Oh, how Fox would have loved Yankees vs. Phillies.

I hope that the ratings for Saturday night’s Game 3, which started an hour before the others, are impressive enough that the powers that be in baseball realize that World Series starting times have been too late for a sizeable part of the population and will hold fast in the future on a first pitch at 7 p.m. Eastern time.

I can dream, can’t I?

I always go back to this situation. When Bill Mazeroski homered to win the World Series for the Pirates against the Yankees in 1960, I as a schoolboy saw it happen. When Joe Carter homered to win the World Series for the Blue Jays against the Phillies in 1993, my school-aged children were in bed. Game 7 in 1960 was a day game. Game 6 in 1993 was a night game with a first pitch of about 8:45 Eastern.

It helped that there was a decent game with enough drama going on Saturday night to keep channel surfers stuck to the Series.

The drama was clearly from the Texas point of view. Down 2-0 in games, a loss by the Rangers would have been disastrous. Colby Lewis, whom I had suggested was as deserving of Most Valuable Player designation in the American League Championship Series as Josh Hamilton, had another gutting start and gave up two runs on solo shots by Cody Ross and Andres Torres in 7 1/3 innings.

For all those experts that chided Rangers manager Ron Washington for not getting rookie closer Neftali Feliz’s feet wet in the Series at some point in the first two games in San Francisco, the smoke the righthander threw in the ninth inning was all the evidence needed that his knees have stopped banging together in the post-season.

And it was all over in 2 hours, 51 minutes. Go ratings!

Helicopters were hovering over Rangers Ballpark In Arlington as part of the security coverage with former President (and Rangers owner) George Bush in attendance. Sunday night, he and his father, another President named George Bush, will be in Arlington to throw out the ceremonial first pitch(es). My money is on No. 43 throwing a strike the way he did during the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium after the terrorist attacks, still among the most spine-tingling moments I have ever witnessed.

Rangers exposed in World Series

I know what you’re thinking, Yankees fans. Couldn’t the Bombers have given the Giants a better game to this point in the World Series?

There is a tendency to think that way until you consider that the Yankees batted only .201 in the American League Championship Series against a Texas pitching staff that has allowed 20 runs and 22 hits to the Giants in two games. It didn’t appear that the Rangers could look worse than in losing, 11-7, in Game 1, but they were even more horrible in the 9-0 debacle in Game 2.

This was actually a pitcher’s duel for seven innings, although the Giants’ Matt Cain had a decided edge over the Rangers’ C.J. Wilson, who was forced out of the game because of a blistered finger one batter into the seventh. There was nothing in the San Francisco eighth that could be called a duel, however. The first two Giants batters struck out, then after a soft single to center by Buster Posey, Halloween came early for Texas.

Derek Holland, who had pitched so brilliantly against the Yankees in the ALCS, came out of the bullpen and threw 11 straight pitches out of the strike zone on the way to loading the bases and forcing in a run. Mark Lowe walked in another run before the Giants swung the bats and got a two-run single from Edgar Renteria and RBI hits from Aaron Rowand (triple) and Andres Torres (double). Seven two-out runs made it 13 of the 20 in the Series for the Giants.

It turned out to be another lopsided game in a World Series to decide a season that was characterized by outstanding pitching. Cain aside, we have seen little of that in the Series. The Giants righthander ran his string of post-season innings without allowing an earned run to 21 1/3 in which he has allowed 13 hits and five walks with 13 strikeouts.

Despite being routed in Game 1, the Rangers walked only one batter (by Cliff Lee yet), but they gave up four free passes in the eighth, which must have given team president Nolan Ryan a feeling of dj vu. The all-time strikeout leader is also the career leader in bases on balls by a pitcher.

A Texas offense that hit .306 against the Yankees in the ALCS and had 11 hits in Game 1 of the World Series had three singles and a double in getting shut out Thursday night. The closest the Rangers came to scoring was in the fifth when Ian Kinsler led off with a drive to deep center, but the ball struck the top of the fence like an old Spalding off a New York neighborhood stoop and fell back to the field. Kinsler had to settle for a double and never advanced beyond second base.

Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton, the AL Most Valuable Player favorite, looks like a different player against the Giants than he was against the Yankees. Hamilton was the MVP of the ALCS, batting .350 with four home runs, seven RBI and eight walks, half of them intentional. He worried the Yankees so much that manager Joe Girardi chose to walk Hamilton on purpose three times in one game. The Giants have challenged Hamilton, who is 1-for-8 with one walk (not intentional) in the World Series.

The offensive stars of the Series are the aging left side of the San Francisco infield – Renteria, 34, at shortstop and third baseman Jose Uribe, 30. When the score was only 2-0, they had driven in the runs, Renteria with a home run in the fifth and Uribe with a single in the seventh. Each has homered and combined to bat .357 with eight RBI and six runs scored.

Imagine what Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez make of that?

Giants push Lee off cliff

Cliff Lee’s invincible reputation as a post-season pitcher took its first hit Wednesday night in Game 1 of the World Series. The lefthander spit out a 2-0 lead and watched from the dugout after being knocked out in the fifth inning as the Giants rolled to an 8-2 spread on the way to an 11-7 victory.

Given his previous work in the post-season this year for the Rangers and last year for the Phillies, Lee seemed in total control at 2-0. He even helped build the second run with his bat on a double off a butcher-boy swing that got tortoise-slow Bengie Molina to third base from where he scored on a fly ball by Elvis Andrus.

Door closed, everybody might have thought considering that Lee had won three starts on the road in this post-season (two at Tropicana Field and one at Yankee Stadium) with a 0.75 ERA and had a career post-season mark of 7-0 with a 1.26 ERA.

The Giants’ comeback started with their starting pitcher, Tim Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young Award winner with the violent delivery who settled in effectively after a shaky first two innings. Mitch Moreland, who doubled and was stranded in the fourth, was the only base runner off Lincecum after the Andrus sac fly until two out in the sixth when Ian Kinsler walked and scored on a double by Molina.

The Giants began chipping away in the third when an error by third baseman Michael Young opened the gate for a rally which Lee fed into by hitting a batter and giving up the second of three doubles to Freddy Sanchez. It looked as if Lee righted himself with two called strikeouts to end that inning followed by a perfect fourth. But he failed to stop San Francisco’s merry-go-round in the fifth after one-out doubles by Andres Torres and Sanchez tied the score.

After striking out Buster Posey, Lee, who never walks anybody, put Pat Burrell on with a wayward 3-2 pitch and gave up two-out singles to Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff as the Giants moved ahead. Lee was at 104 pitches, which is usually where he is in the ninth.

Juan Uribe, whose home run against the Phillies in the National League Championship Series got the Giants into the World Series, greeted reliever Darren O’Day with a three-run shot.

For Yankees fans, there was a dual pleasure in watching what happened to Lee after the way he had tormented them in the World Series last year and the American League Championship Series this year. The Yankees nearly traded for Lee in July, and it is no secret that he is high on their off-season shopping list. Should the Rangers triumph in the Series with Lee playing a major role, Texas may be able to persuade him to stay with a club on the rise located only a 40-minute flight away from his Arkansas home.

If the Rangers don’t win the Series, however, Lee might find rejoining his former Indians teammate CC Sabathia a better option. Much was made this week of a story in USA Today in which Lee’s wife, Kristen, complained about rude behavior toward Rangers family members in the stands at Yankee Stadium in which she said beer was tossed at them and that some fans in the upper deck spat upon them.

Lee said he could not blame the Yankees organization for the oafish behavior of some fans. Still, a wife’s view can be important to where a player signs. One of George Steinbrenner’s many strengths in the pursuit of free agents was his penchant for charming players’ wives in convincing them there was no better place to play, or shop, than in New York. The current front office could find Mrs. Lee to be quite a challenge.

At the seventh inning stretch at AT&T Park, Tony Bennett sang “God Bless America.” The singer, 84, has long been identified with the Bay Area because of his 1962 hit, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” He is, however, a native New Yorker. The former Anthony Benedetto grew up in Astoria, Queens, in the same neighborhood as a guy named Edward Ford, who would find success with the Yankees by the nickname of “Whitey.”

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