Results tagged ‘ Brandon McCarthy ’
Considering the weakened state of the Yankees’ batting order, it makes absolutely no sense to pitch to Robinson Cano. Kevin Youkilis, Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay and Eduardo Nunez have done nice work offensively early on while Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter are healing, but the opposition would be wise not to put Cano in any position to create havoc.
The Yankees are grateful that Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy ignored this advice that resulted in Cano cranking a three-run home run in the fourth inning to wipe out a 2-0 deficit.
Cano, back in the 2-hole where he has flourished this season (.395, four doubles, four home runs, 11 RBI), had a single and was stranded in the first inning. McCarthy wisely walked Cano intentionally after falling behind 2-0 in the count in the second inning with runners on first and third and two out. Kevin Youkilis ended the inning with a grounder to third base.
In the fourth, McCarthy came back from yielding leadoff singles to Overbay and Chris Stewart by striking out Brett Gardner. It appeared McCarthy would take the same approach to Cano and fell behind 3-0 in the count. McCarthy got a strike with a changeup on the black, and then threw a curve out of the strike zone that Cano fouled off. Getting to 3-2 must have given McCarthy some confidence that he should go after Cano.
Bad move for the pitcher; good move for the Yankees. Cano cranked a full-count change into the bleachers in right-center field for his fourth home run and a 3-2 Yankees lead. The Yanks had nine nits over the first four innings off McCarthy, who was gone after 102 pitches, but had left five runners on base over the first three innings and were hitless in four at-bats with runners in scoring position before Cano connected for his fourth home run of the season.
Yankees starter Ivan Nova also made a relatively early exit after a 94-pitch, five-inning stint. The D-backs left seven runners on base against Nova, who gave up two runs in the third but avoided further damage with a big strikeout of former teammate Eric Chavez and getting another former Yankee, Eric Hinske, on an infield out.
Nova’s best work was in the fourth inning after yielding a leadoff double to A.J. Pollock. Cliff Pennington sacrificed Pollock to third base, which prompted the Yankees to bring the infield in against Geraldo Parra, who rolled a grounder to Overbay at first base that kept Pollock at third. Nova ended the threat with a strikeout of Martin Prado.
It was a serviceable outing for Nova, who has been under intense scrutiny but how about cutting him some slack. With all the weather problems, Nova has made only two starts 17 days into the season. It is hard to get into a rhythm. He had a very good curve Tuesday night and made pitches when he needed them for the most part.
The Yankees added a run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Nunez, and the bullpen did a great job after Nova with Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera combining for four shutout innings of one-hit, no-walk, three-strikeout relief.
How appropriate that on a night when players on both clubs wore No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson’s legacy that Rivera, the last active player to wear that number, got the save, his third of the season and 611th of his career, with a 1-2-3 ninth and that the deciding runs were driven in by a player named after the trail blazing Hall of Famer.
Equally appropriate was the final score:
What happened in the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night as the Yankees came up one run short of what would have been a sensational comeback is something other teams see a lot but not the Yankees because their closer is Mariano Rivera.
Mo has his off games, but they are so few and far between that it may make fans think that this is the way it is everyplace else, too. Hardly. Andrew Bailey emerged as Oakland’s closer two years and won the American League Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award, but he could not find the plate for most of the ninth inning and nearly blew the game.
The Yankees came back from a 6-0, eighth-inning deficit and preciously close to pulling off a stunning victory. Nick Swisher, who started the comeback with a three-run homer in the eighth off starter Brandon McCarthy, had the crowd on its feet to the end with a warning-track drive to center field that died in the glove of Coco Crisp to end the threat.
Swish’s homer was the Yankees’ only hit in 13 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Yes, they had oodles of chances, but they sure seemed done going into the eighth inning. McCarthy seemed like a magician getting the Yankees to swing at ice cubes.
Bailey came on in the ninth for what is known in closer’s parlance as a “cookie,” a save opportunity with a three-run lead. He got in trouble immediately. Jorge Posada led off with a home run, and Russell Martin lined a gapper to left-center for a double. When third baseman Scott Sizemore botched a shot-hop grounder by Brett Gardner, the Yankees had the potential tying runs on base and Derek Jeter at the plate.
Despite getting three hits to raise his batting average to .295, the Captain was called on to bunt the runners over, which he did professionally. Some might question bunting Jeter there, but I don’t. As hot as Jeter has been, you cannot afford to have him hit into a double play there. Get the runners into scoring position, and bring on your 3-4-5 hitters.
In the Oakland dugout, manager Bob Melvin was in the usual rut skippers fall into when their closer is ineffective. It is the book call: I went with my closer, that’s what we pay him for. Well, fine, but what happens on a night when the closer doesn’t have it?
Bailey walked Curtis Granderson, which loaded the bases. Bailey’s only real break of the inning was when Mark Teixeira fouled out to Sizemore. Whatever breathing room the A’s though they had after that expired when Bailey walked Robinson Cano to force in a run that made the score 6-5.
When Bailey fell behind 2-0 to Swisher, it looked like another bases-loaded walk was coming or maybe a grand slam. The latter appeared possible when Swish lofted the ball to center field. You don’t get many finishes like that when your closer is Mariano Rivera.