Results tagged ‘ Bartolo Colon ’
There seemed to have been a fade in the effectiveness of Bartolo Colon once the dog days of August arrived. There was a time when August was Colon’s month. Prior to this season, he was 27-11 in the month and still had the fourth highest winning percentage in August of any active pitcher heading into Tuesday night’s game.
Perhaps it was inevitable that things would change this year. After all, Colon is 38 years old and pitching with a surgically-repaired right shoulder that after a year of relative inactivity has logged more than 130 innings. He didn’t win again Tuesday night, but he pitched better than the numbers would indicate (6 1/3 innings, 8 hits, 5 earned runs, 5 strikeouts, 2 home runs).
What was so good about all that? Well, both home runs were solos because he did not walk a batter, which is always a plus, and two of the runs scored after he left the game in the seventh as Boone Logan gave up a double to pinch hitter Scott Sizemore. That does not absolve Colon, who still must prove he belongs in the rotation once the Yankees get to September.
He was rolling along there for a while and looking very much like the Yankees’ No. 2 starter behind American League Cy Young Award candidate CC Sabathia. But in his four starts since his last victory July 30, Colon is 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA in 22 innings in which he has allowed 26 hits, including six home runs.
I have felt for a while that the Yankees might have been better served with Colon pitching out of the bullpen to keep his innings from getting out of hand and to have him throw as hard as he can (which can get up to 97 mph) over short doses. Colon stepped up big time, however, when Phil Hughes stumbled out of the gate and had to go on the disabled list with arm fatigue.
When Hughes returned two months later, Colon was a stalwart in the rotation, and the Yankees chose to option Ivan Nova to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. After a month away, Nova has come back to pitch himself into the AL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year conversation, so the rotation has gotten mighty crowded.
The Yankees will stay in a six-man rotation through Saturday’s dual-admission doubleheader at Camden Yards. After that, Yankees manager Joe Girardi has a decision to make in slicing his rotation down to five. My vote would be to use Colon out of the pen. It would not be a demotion in any way.
Considering the recent troubles of A.J. Burnett, a good long man in the pen is a priority. Colon was willing to work as a reliever when he signed with the Yankees. He is happy enough to be back in the major leagues that I believe he would accept this assignment willingly and would greatly improve the makeup of the staff.
Was that Brandon Allen who hit a home run in the third deck of right field at Yankee Stadium in the second inning Tuesday night, or Dick Allen?
Not too many balls have reached that level of the new Stadium since its opening in 2009. Mark Teixeira drove one up there last year, and regular Stadium basher Russell Branyan also parked one in that section. Brandon Allen joined the group with his blast off Bartolo Colon.
Dick Allen, who was both a Rookie of the Year (National League, 1964, with the Phillies) and a Most Valuable Player (American League, 1972, with the White Sox) was a masher of the first order in the 1960s and ‘70s. He hit 351 home runs, several of them in orbit. Dick Allen was a right-handed batter, however, so the chances of his hitting one into the upper deck in right field at the Stadium was pretty remote.
I recall that back in his era Allen was a player mentioned about having a chance to hit a fair ball out of the old Stadium along with Mickey Mantle, Harmon Killebrew and Frank Howard. No one ever did it.
Brandon Allen, a left-handed batter, came to Oakland on the July 31 trading deadline from Arizona in a deal for pitcher Brad Ziegler. Allen began the year in the minors and hit .172 in 11 games for the Diamondbacks before the trade. He entered Tuesday night’s game batting .379 in nine games, but this was his first home run for the A’s and fourth of the year and long enough to count for two.
What good is giving the umpires access to a video replay to make calls on questionable home runs if they get it wrong anyway? That clearly was the case Wednesday night at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium that cost Bartolo Colon and the Yankees a run in the third inning.
At issue was a drive to left-center by Royals designated hitter Billy Butler that was called a home run. Yankees manager Joe Girardi immediately argued the call and persuaded second base umpire Dana DeMuth to review the play, which Major League Baseball put into effect two years ago.
Left fielder Brett Gardner retrieved the ball and seeing DeMuth signaling home run merely tossed it back to the infield. Butler kept running around the bases, but the Yankees were sure he would be told to go no farther than second base upon review of the play by the umps.
Various replays showed that the ball hit a barrier at the top of the wall and caromed back onto the field. It was as clear as could be that the ball did not go over the barrier, which the grounds rules call for to make it a home run. Yet four sets of eyes reviewing the play upheld the original call. What was funny was to watch Butler in the Kansas City dugout as he first reached for his helmet perhaps thinking he would have to return to the field and then making a sheepish grin to teammates as he put the helmet back into the rack.
How about the reaction of Mariano Rivera? Baseball’s model of cool and collected behavior for years, Rivera was livid in the dugout about the umpires’ decision. At one point, he got into a shouting match with plate umprire Chad Fairchild and had to be restrained by Girardi to avoid being thrown out of a game he might have been called on later to save.
For that to happen, however, the Yankees would have had to regain the lead that Colon lost. Butler’s home run was the second of the third inning off Colon. The other, a three-run shot by Alex Gordon, was more damaging because it wiped out a 2-0 deficit. Curtis Granderson got the Yankees started in the first inning with his 34th home run and also scored the second run in the third when he doubled and came home on a two-out single by Nick Swisher.
Colon seemed a bit out of sorts with too many pitches staying up in the zone and was outpitched by journeyman lefthander Bruce Chen, who is pitching for his 10th major-league club and entered the game with a career record against the Yankees of 1-5 with a 6.71 ERA. Colon was gone after five innings after allowing five earned runs and seven hits in 99 pitches. With a six-man rotation still in place while Freddy Garcia recovers from a finger injury, the Yankees may have to consider Colon as a possible candidate to go to the bullpen.
As for that Butler home run, it turned out to be the difference maker in a 5-4 Royals victory. The Yankees cut the margin to one with a run in the ninth off shaky closer Joakim Soria. The run was scored by Derek Jeter, who was 4-for-5 and is now batting .290, on a sacrifice fly by Robinson Cano.
The Yanks had the bases loaded with two out and birthday boy Jorge Posada, who turned 40, at the plate. A hit there would have been than a birthday cake for Jorgie, but he was called out on strikes, a tough way to end a birthday.
Some of the folks in the media get upset with Yankees manager Joe Girardi because he tends to wait until the last minute before making an announcement. He has his reasoning, however, and it usually falls under the category of Anything Can Happen. That often being the case, Girardi does not see the point in making a decision before the last possible minute.
A good example is the latest Yankees issue of which one of the six current starting pitchers will be dropped from the rotation to get back to the regular five-man unit. Speculation was strong that Phil Hughes, despite being the most effective starter the past two turns in the rotation, would be the one to go, either to the bullpen or perhaps even Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre where he could remain on a starter’s regimen.
So what happened? Freddy Garcia cut his middle finger with a knife in what Girardi called a “kitchen accident,” which made the manager’s decision easier. A.J. Burnett will start in place of Garcia in Sunday’s finale of the Yankees-Rays series at Yankee Stadium and the remainder of the rotation will go back to regular rest to handle the trip to Kansas City with Ivan Nova to start Monday night, Bartolo Colon Tuesday night and CC Sabathia Wednesday night and then Hughes Thursday night when the Yankees move on to Minneapolis.
So the big story about the rotation turned out to be a dud. Garcia will be skipped at least one turn because the cut on his finger (“Players should stay away from knives,” Girardi said) adversely affects the way he throws his split-finger fastball. If not for that, Hughes may have had to try to deal with being the odd man out after winning his second straight start with six quality innings Saturday (2 runs, 4 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts) in the Yanks’ 9-2 victory.
The rest of the day was as feel good as it gets at Yankee Stadium as Jorge Posada, banished to the bench a week ago, turned two bases-loaded at-bats into six RBI and earned a curtain call from a grateful crowd of 47,804.
“I had goose bumps in the dugout,” Hughes said of Posada’s grand slam in the fifth inning. It was the 10th career salami for Posada and ended an 84 at-bat stretch without a home run. Three innings earlier, he had knocked in two runs with a bases-loaded single.
“I said he will still have a place on our team.” Girardi said. “This guy is a beloved Yankee, and we all love him. At times he has struggled, but he never stopped working.”
On two other national weekend telecasts, Posada faced embarrassment when he took himself out of the lineup May 14 and was benched last Sunday night. Saturday’s game was a national telecast as well, on Fox, and Jorge had nothing to be embarrassed about this time, even if he was a bit sheepish about the curtain call.
“Russell [Martin] had just gotten a hit, and I didn’t want to take anything away from him,” Posada said.
Such an attitude is why Posada is so popular with his teammates.
Derek Jeter, Posada’s closest friend on the Yankees, said, “I’m extremely happy for him. He has a lot of pride. He is used to playing every day and continues to work hard. The fans appreciate everything he has done.”
“They have been so supportive,” Posada said of Yankees fans. “The fans are the reason I love playing this game, especially here. They were a big part of it today.”
Perhaps CC Sabathia will be the odd man out when Yankees manager Joe Girardi cuts the current six-man rotation back to five next week.
The adventures of the six-man rotation continued Friday night as Sabathia pitched as if he were facing the Red Sox. What a strange outing for CC, who gave up five runs on five solo homers. The Rays were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position but didn’t need any clutch hits to post a 5-1 victory over the Yankees because of those home runs.
The night got off to a tense start with talk about the rotation centering on general manager Brian Cashman’s fierce defense of A.J. Burnett before the game. Media reports have focused on whether Burnett or Phil Hughes will be the starter bounced from the rotation when the Yankees head for the road Monday. Cashman said that reporters were off base to suggest Burnett’s expensive contract was a factor in the decision. The G.M. did say that Ivan Nova is a lock to stay in the rotation, so it appears that the decision will come from among Burnett, Hughes, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia.
Friday night notwithstanding, Sabathia will remain the staff ace. The five home runs were half the amount of hits allowed by the big lefthander, but he had seven strikeouts and did not walk a batter. CC said he lacked fastball command with a lot of pitches up in the zone, and he didn’t have the opportunity to throw many changeups. One of those was a hanger to Kelly Shoppach, a .183 hitter, for one of the home runs. The other four were off fastballs.
Sabathia had not allowed more than one home run in any of his previous 25 starts this season before giving up back-to-back shots in the second inning to Casey Kotchman and Shoppach. Later in the inning, Johnny Damon also went deep. It marked only the second time in Sabathia’s career that he yielded three homers in an inning. The other game was May 1, 2007 for the Indians against the Blue Jays.
Elliott Johnson, who is batting .182, joined the parade in the fifth, and Evan Longoria, who has struggled all year and is down to .232, hit an opposite-field drive in the eighth. The five home runs equaled the total Sabathia gave up over his first 21 starts of the season. He had never allowed more than three homers in a game in his major-league career.
It marked the sixth time in franchise history that a Yankees pitcher allowed five dingers in a game. The others were Joe Ostrowski June 22, 1950 at Cleveland, John Cumberland in the second game of a doubleheader May 24, 1970 at Cleveland, Ron Guidry Sept. 17, 1985 at Detroit, Jeff Weaver July 21, 2002 at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox and David Wells July 4, 2003 at the Stadium against the Red Sox.
The Yankees lead the league in home runs but came up empty against David Price, who beat them for the first time in four starts this year. The only run the lefthander allowed was in the fourth on a double by Andruw Jones, but a perfect relay from right fielder Ben Zobrist to second baseman Sean Rodriguez to Shoppach cut down Nick Swisher trying to score a second run on the hit at the plate, and the Yanks didn’t come close to scoring again.
The game followed a strange pattern for the Yankees, whose record in first games of series fell to 19-20. They have rebounded to go 26-12 in the second game of series and look forward to doing the same Saturday with Hughes on the mound.
A piece of good news is that Alex Rodriguez played in his first injury rehabilitation game Friday night for Class A Tampa at Dunedin, Fla. A-Rod had 2-for-3 with one run, one home run and two RBI in three plate appearances. The homer came on his first swing. Rodriguez was the DH. He will play third base in a game Saturday and then will go to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to play early next week before rejoining the Yankees likely in Minneapolis near the end of the week.
The Yankees will hold a special ceremony prior to Saturday’s game to celebrate Derek Jeter reaching the 3,000-hit plateau, which was against Price. Fans are encouraged to arrive early and be in their seats by 3:45 p.m. The first pitch is 4:10 p.m.
Here is one of the advantages of a six-man rotation that the Yankees have adopted since recalling Ivan Nova from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last week. Phil Hughes will be available out of the bullpen Sunday night against the Red Sox should Freddy Garcia falter. Yankees manager Joe Girardi would prefer not to use Hughes if he can avoid it, but it remains a strong option.
The Yankees’ six-man rotation has gotten its share of scrutiny and criticism, but it has worked to their advantage this past week. I don’t know what the critics’ problem is. The Yankees’ starting unit won’t make anyone forget the Dodgers of the 1960s, the Orioles of the 1970s, the Mets of the 1980s or the Braves of the 1990s, yet the rotation has been one of the team’s strengths largely due to the careful way Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild have handled the starters.
I don’t see what the point would be to send Nova back to Triple A when he has pitched so well all season, including two terrific starts since his recall. Garcia and Bartolo Colon are well on the north side of 30. Hughes missed two months of the season with arm problems, and A.J. Burnett continues to be an enigma.
Girardi is well capable of organizing a rotation that allows ace CC Sabathia to make his turn on normal rest and use the sixth starter to give Garcia and Colon additional rest when needed, which could be quite a bit over the next two months. After Monday’s open date, the Yankees will have only three days off over the final eight weeks of the season.
One negative about the additional pitcher is that it shortens the Yankees’ bench, but the backups this season are more versatile than in recent years and come September rosters expand, which will allow the Yanks to add some spare parts for the stretch run.
There was no better indication of how much respect Joe Girardi has for Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester than the pitching move the Yankees’ manager made in the bottom of the fifth inning Friday night at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox loaded the bases with two out against Bartolo Colon and were poised to add on to their 2-0 lead with Most Valuable Player Award candidate Adrian Gonzalez at the plate. Colon was up to 94 pitches but was hardly gassed on a pleasant evening. Girardi knew he could not let the game get out of hand, not with Lester working on a shutout, so he made the move to Boone Logan.
The Yankees lefthander has been pitching well lately, but there is a quick in his season in that left-handed batters (.246) are hitting better against Logan than right-handed batters (.227). It took only three pitches for Logan to make his manager look like a genius. He started Gonzalez with a fastball for a called strike and then ripped off two dazzling sliders. Gonzalez flayed aimlessly at the first slider and tried in vain to hold up a check swing on the other and struck out.
So the Yankees kept the Red Sox within reach and ended up taking the lead away from Lester in the sixth. Lester, who entered the game with an 8-1 career record against the Yankees, had held them to two hits, both singles, over the first five innings, but opened the door for them with a walk of 9-hole hitter Eduardo Nunez leading off the sixth.
Singles by Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson got the Yankees on the board, and another walk, to Mark Teixeira, loaded the bases with still nobody out. Lester got two outs on the next batter: Robinson Cano grounded into a double play as the tying run scored. Nick Swisher put the Yanks ahead with a ground-rule double down the left field line.
Swisher also made the defensive play of the game in the bottom of the sixth by cutting off Carl Crawford’s drive to right-center before it could get into the triangle and held the speed demon to a double. Had the ball gotten past Swish, Crawford might have dashed all the way home.
Now the Yankees had the upper hand, and Girardi decided to do everything to keep it. Rafael Soriano, who began the season as the Yankees’ eighth-inning setup reliever, came out to pitch the seventh and retired the side in order. David Robertson, who excelled in the setup role while Soriano was on the disabled list, followed Soriano with a 1-2-3 eighth.
It was all set up for Mariano Rivera in the ninth, and he came through after a one-out, infield hit by Crawford with two called strikeouts for his 29th save.
So the Yankees struck the first blow in the critical series with their rivals. They extended their winning streak to a season-best eight games, stopped a seven-game losing streak against the Red Sox and took over sole possession of first place in the American League East for the first time in 26 games since July 6.
The Yankees continued HOPE Week Wednesday by treating a group of Haitian refugees aged 7 to 13 to the game against the Mariners at Yankee Stadium followed by a special tour of the city.
Pitchers CC Sabathia, Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon; catcher Jorge Posada; bench coach Tony Pena and bullpen coach Mike Harkey will join the Haitian children from a Queens school for a tour of Manhattan on a Gray Line double-decker bus leaving directly from the Stadium.
Stops will include the United Nations, where representatives of the body will greet the children, followed by the Empire State Building, where the children will participate in a ceremonial lighting of the building followed by a photo opportunity with the Yankees from the observation deck.
The children and Yankees will then re-board the bus to visit Times Square. The final stop will be at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where Archbishop Timothy Dolan will give a tour of the building and have dessert with the children in his private residence.
For 15 child refugees who endured the devastating earthquake in Haiti Jan. 12, 2010 were taken in by Sts. Joachim and Anne’s School in Queens Village. The children arrived in New York with nothing, having lost loved ones and been witness to unspeakable horrors.
All have taken to their new home and cherish their opportunity at an education. One child walks 45 minutes each way to school. Another, who lost both of his parents, dreams of becoming president of his homeland so he can rebuild his nation.
Even the school’s parochial vicar, Rev. Jean-Moise Delva, 34, was not spared tragedy as his Haitian elementary school collapsed, killing the parish priest who was his mentor.
The fortification of the Yankees’ rotation continued Wednesday night in a 4-0 victory over the Rays with Freddy Garcia rebounding from a shaky previous outing by pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings. Only an error by third baseman Eduardo Nunez prevented Garcia from going seven.
Nunez made up for his boot with a two-out, two-run single in the ninth inning that gave the Yankees some breathing room, even if it did take a save opportunity from Mariano Rivera, who pitched the bottom of the ninth to close out their fifth shutout of the season.
Also enjoying a moment of atonement was Boone Logan. The lefthander, who botched a potential double-play ball Tuesday night, came in with runners on first and third and two out in the seventh and ended the inning with a strikeout of Casey Kotchman, who had three hits and is batting .337.
Garcia scattered eight hits, did not walk a batter and struck out seven in following teammates Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon with another quality start that seemed to solidify the rotation. The most accomplished of the Yankees’ starters, CC Sabathia, will take the mound Thursday night in the finale of the trip.
Derek Jeter was reunited with Rays lefthander David Price, the pitcher who gave up his 3,000th hit 11 days earlier. Three of the five hits Jeter had July 9 at Yankee Stadium were off Price, including the home run for career hit No. 3,000.
The Captain kept it up against Price with a leadoff single in the first inning. Jeter stole second, but it proved a waste of energy because Curtis Granderson clouted a home run, his 26th to take the team lead. It was the 10th homer Granderson has hit this year off left-handed pitching.
Price got revenge against Jeter in the second. With Brett Gardner on second base with two out, Jeter was called out on strikes. Gardner has been living on the bases throughout this trip.
Granderson had his adventures in center field. Tuesday night, he lost a fly ball in the lightly-colored roof of Tropicana Field for a costly hit in the seventh inning when the Rays grabbed the lead for good. Wednesday night, he appeared to lose sight of another fly ball that was caught by Gardner. Another time, Granderson caught a ball after calling off a charging Gardner from left field.
In the fifth inning, however, Granderson made a sensational catch to rob Evan Longoria of a potential extra-base hit that would have tied the score. Tampa Bay had runners on second and third with two out when Longoria hit a long drive to center. Granderson raced back, made the catch and then slammed into the wall without losing control of the ball.
Granderson was nearly knocked out of the game several times but ended up playing the full nine innings. He fouled a ball hard off his left foot in an at-bat in the sixth. Two innings later, Grandy was struck in the right shoulder blade by a 96-mph fastball from Price. Talk about a gamer!
I can hear Billy Martin screaming from the grave. No Yankees manager detested domed ballparks more than Martin, who wailed against the facilities in Seattle and Minneapolis during his time as the skipper.
I recall in 1988 when the Yankees ended spring training with two exhibition games at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, and Billy was so critical of the place he nearly got thrown out of the country.
Think of how much he would have hated this Yankees trip, eight games under domes in Toronto and St. Petersburg, Fla. Billy never managed in either Rogers Centre or Tropicana Field, but you can be sure he would have had little good to say about either place.
Martin might have given Toronto a break because the roof there is retractable. In fact, all four games the Yankees played there on the recent stop were with the roof open.
What infuriated Martin about most domes was having to play on an artificial surface and trying to track pop ups and fly balls against a roof. The Metrodome roof particularly bothered Martin because it was clear, similar to the one at the Trop.
Too often, routine fly balls get lost by fielders and fall free, such as the ball Rays pinch hitter Justin Ruggiano to center field that Curtis Granderson could not find. It dropped for a single that cost the Yankee an important out and loaded the bases with one out.
Boone Logan compounded the problem by making an error on a high chopper to the mound by another pinch hitter, Elliot Johnson, that allowed the tying run to score. Johnny Damon put the Rays ahead for good with a sacrifice fly. The runs were charged to Bartolo Colon and while they were unearned they were sufficient to stick him with an undeserving losing decision.
Coming back from his worst outing of the season when he allowed eight runs (three earned) in two-thirds of an inning, Colon looked more like the Comeback Player of the Year candidate he has resembled most of the year. He gave up three hits and two walks and had a season-high nine strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
It was an important game for Colon, who was 0-2 with an 11.37 ERA over two prior starts and had the Yankees wondering if he would whither in the second half. If they can get the same kind of effort from Freddy Garcia Wednesday night, the Yankees can breathe a sigh of relief over the aging starters.
Robinson Cano ended a four-game power drought by the Yankees with his 16th home run, a two-run shot in the third, but Tampa Bay starter Jeremy Hellickson retired the next 12 batters and pitched out of trouble in the seventh by setting down Derek Jeter on an infield grounder that stranded runners on second and third.
Brett Gardner continued his torrid hitting since the All-Star break with two more hits. Since play resumed after the All-Star Game, Gardner is batting .591 with three doubles, one RBI, six stolen bases and six runs in 22 at-bats.