Results tagged ‘ Brett Gardner ’
The Yankees were in trouble Saturday before they even took the field at Fenway Park. Once again – and how often has this happened this year? – a player was scratched from the lineup due to injury. Not just any player, either. Down this time was none other than Alfonso Soriano, the offensive force who has been at the center of the team’s renaissance the past six weeks.
Soriano was unavailable because of a sprained right thumb, which he sustained while making a diving catch Thursday night at Baltimore. He played Friday night but aggravated the condition and could not grip a bat Saturday. X-rays were negative, which was a good sign. A not so good sign, however, was that the thumb was worse Saturday than it was Friday night.
Without Soriano, Yankees manager Joe Girardi had to add another left-handed hitter, Ichiro Suzuki, as an outfielder in the batting order against lefthander Jon Lester (14-8), who pitched eight solid innings for the Red Sox. Ironically, two of the Yankees’ three hits were by a left-handed hitter, Curtis Granderson, who tripled and doubled.
Granderson batted out of the leadoff spot the past two games in place of regular center fielder Brett Gardner, who could be lost for the remainder of the regular season because of a left oblique strain. Shortstop Derek Jeter is also gone for the rest of the regular season due to lingering issues with his surgical left ankle.
Yes, the Yankees are pretty beat up, which they have been much of the season. It has been a medical nightmare for them. I teased trainer Steve Donohue the other day that the club must have run out of tape before the All-Star break. Referring to former head trainer Gene Monahan, Stevie said, “Geno sure picked the right time to retire.”
CC Sabathia got beat up Saturday as well. Boston did not enjoy a slugfest but did tag Sabathia (13-13) for five earned runs, nine hits and four walks in six innings. Five different players drove in runs for the Red Sox. CC had another troubling season against the Red Sox. He was 2-2 but had a 7.22 ERA in 28 2/3 innings, including 1-1 with a 9.92 ERA in 16 1/3 innings at Fenway Park.
Conversely, Lester was 2-1 with a 3.29 ERA in 27 1/3 innings against the Yankees this year. Of the 24 outs Lester recorded Saturday, 16 were in the infield and five were on strikeouts. The Yankees’ only run scored on an infield out as they were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. The 2-through-6 hitters were a combined 0-for-18.
When will it end? Seemingly every day this season a Yankees player has gotten hurt. They have had 18 players do 25 stints on the disabled list and have used a franchise-record 55 players.
Brett Gardner, who missed nearly all of the 2012 season because of a wrist injury but who stayed healthy for most of this season, became the latest casualty Thursday night. He struck out leading off the finale of the four-game series against the Orioles but did not take the field for the bottom half of the first inning and was replaced in center by Curtis Granderson.
It turned out that Gardner has a strained left oblique. This is an injury that kept infielder Eduardo Nunez on the DL earlier this year for seven weeks. The Yankees can only hope Gardner’s injury is not that severe.
On a night when the Yankees were in a must-win situation and with the knowledge that neither setup reliever David Robertson nor closer Mariano Rivera was available, Andy Pettitte handled the pressure of coming up big time in a big situation. This should come as no surprise, of course, considering the pitcher in question has logged 276 2/3 innings in postseason play and is used to stressful workloads.
Pettitte would like to add to his postseason resume and did his part to help the Yankees remain in contention toward that goal Friday night with six sturdy innings that continued a successful run for the lefthander that belies his age, 41, and adds to his reputation as a go-to guy. The Yankees helped his cause by continuing to put up multiple-run innings – four two-run frames during his six innings of work.
It also did not hurt the Yanks’ cause that Red Sox starter Felix Doubront handed out free passes on a regular basis. Doubront walked six batters in his 3 2/3 innings and four of them scored. Alfonso Soriano got the Yankees off to a quick start with his 30th home run of the season, a two-run shot to left, in the first inning.
Doubront walked Vernon Wells to start the second inning, and Eduardo Nunez tripled him home. Chris Stewart’s sacrifice fly scored Nunez. Doubront walked two more batters with two out in the fourth and both scored on a triple by Brett Gardner. The Yanks didn’t need any walks to score twice in the fifth off righthander Rubby De La Rosa on a double by Robinson Cano and singles by Wells, Nunez and Mark Reynolds.
Pettitte was masterful. He allowed three runs, five hits and three walks with eight strikeouts and left with the Yankees ahead, 8-3, through six. Over his past six starts, Andy has pitched to a 1.75 ERA in 36 innings in lowering his season ERA from 4.71 to 4.03. He is 3-0 over that stretch with three no-decisions. Unfortunately, one of those no-decisions was Friday night.
Phil Hughes took the ball from Pettitte and, well, dropped it. In his first relief appearance of the season, Hughes gave up three hits and a walk and left the game in the seventh with the bases full, one run in and one out. Boone Logan did a nice job of striking out David Ortiz, but Mike Napoli proved stiffer competition.
Napoli worked the count full and fouled off two fastballs in the mid-90s before driving a third one to right field off the top of the wall just beyond the reach of Ichiro Suzuki. It was the sixth career grand slam and third this season for Napoli, who victimized Hughes earlier this season.
With that one swing, the score was tied. It only got worse. Preston Claiborne gave up a two-run home run to Shane Victorino in the eighth, and Joba Chamberlain had another rough outing in allowing the Red Sox two more runs.
All of Pettitte’s work went for naught, which was an absolute shame.
Do you recognize any of these names?
Roxy Walters, Wally Pipp, Lee Magee, Frank Gilhooley, Hugh High, Paddy Baumann.
Well, there is a good chance you may have heard of Pipp. He was the Yankees first baseman who came out of the lineup because of illness in 1925 and was replaced by Lou Gehrig, who only played every day after that for 14 years.
The other guys were all teammates of Pipp on the Yankees of 1916, which was the last time before Thursday night that six different players had a stolen base for them in a single game. Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rodriguez, Lyle Overbay, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells each stole a base in the Yankees’ 9-8, 10-inning loss to the Red Sox.
That tied a franchise record for most players stealing at least one base in a game. It was the ninth time it happened but the first since Wally and his mates did it May 31, 1916 (Memorial Day) in the second game of a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics at the Polo Grounds.
How many big rallies begin with a walk? It is a rhetorical question. I am not looking it up. Leave us just say a lot.
So when Ichiro Suzuki walked to lead off the seventh inning for the Yankees Thursday night it hardly seemed dramatic considering the score at the time was 7-2 Red Sox. But as Hall of Famer Frankie Frisch used to say famously during his managerial days, “Oh, them bases on balls.”
Perhaps Red Sox manager John Farrell had similar thoughts. If he didn’t, he should have. The leadoff walk has an ominous look to it regardless of the score. Suzuki’s stroll to first base was just the ominous sign the Yankees needed to get started toward a six-run rally that turned the tables in the game, yet another startling crooked-number inning that the Yanks have constructed regularly during their offensive renaissance of the past month.
In the blink of an eye, Ichiro was standing on third base after a pinch single by Vernon Wells chased Red Sox starter Jake Peavy, who departed with a five-run lead but by inning’s end was still winless in his career against the Yankees.
Brett Gardner greeted lefthander Matt Thornton with a single to score Ichiro. With Derek Jeter at bat, Wells shook up the Red Sox with a steal of third, one of the Yanks’ season-high six swipes in the game. Thornton walked Jeter, which loaded the bases for Robinson Cano, who hit a bases-loaded double earlier in the game. This time he hit into a fielder’s choice but another run scored.
Alfonso Soriano also did an about-face from previous at-bats. Boston used an exaggerated shift against him all night. Twice he hit into it and flied out. This time against righthander Junichi Tazawa Sori poked a single to the right side for an RBI single that made the score 7-5. The Red Sox’ collective collar was tightening.
Curtis Granderson doubled to make it a one-run game. After Alex Rodriguez struck out, Lyle Overbay pushed the Yankees into the lead with a ground single to right for two more runs. 8-7 Yanks, and what made it even cooler was that the situation was set up for them out of the bullpen with David Robertson in the eighth and Mariano Rivera in the ninth.
Robertson did his part with a hitless, two-strikeout eighth. In the ninth, Rivera came within one strike of registering a save that would have matched his uniform No. 42. But he walked – there’s that stat again – Mike Napoli on a full count. Pinch runner Quintin Berry stunned everybody by breaking for second base on Mo’s first pitch to Stephen Drew. The throw from Austin Romine, just into the game behind the plate, bounced in front of Jeter and went into left-center field as Berry wound up on third base.
Rivera’s save and the Yankees’ lead disappeared when Drew hit a flare single to right for a single that knotted the score. Career save No. 650 would have to wait for Rivera, whose blown save was his sixth of the season.
Ivan Nova was the American League Pitcher of the Month for August. He is off to a rocky start in contention for AL Pitcher of the Month for September.
The righthander, who was 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA last month, made it through only four innings Thursday night and left the game trailing due to Will Middlebrooks’ home run into the second deck in left field that unlocked a 2-2 score.
So much for all that excitement that was forecast about the Yankees-Red Sox showdown. It was snore, snore for a couple of innings. Things got lively in the third inning, however, as Yankee Stadium began to rock ‘n roll like the good, old Yankees-Red Sox days.
Boston broke the silence in the top of the inning with two runs off Nova, who had trouble keeping his fastball down in the strike zone or getting his curveball over. Ryan Lavarnway and Middlebrooks reached him for singles, and Jacoby Ellsbury put the Red Sox on the board with a double over the fence to right-center.
The Yankees kept the infield back and conceded another run when Shane Victorino grounded out. Dustin Pedroia did, too, but after walking David Ortiz intentionally Nova walked Daniel Nava quite unintentionally on four pitches to load the bases. Nova went to a full count on Mike Napoli before getting him on a called third strike.
After the top half of that inning awoke Red Sox fans, it was Yankees fans’ turn in the bottom half against Jake Peavy, who had lost all four of his previous starts against the Bombers. Ichiro Suzuki got the Yankees’ first hit on a single to center and then promptly stole second base. Chris Stewart made the second out on a popup, but Brett Gardner kept the inning alive with a bunt single.
Peavy got himself in trouble with a walk to Derek Jeter that filled the bases for hot-hitting Robinson Cano, who whacked the first pitch off the wall in right field for a two-run double that tied the score. The Red Sox put one of those exaggerated shifts on Alfonso Soriano, who hit into it and flied out to left field.
Nova’s brief outing was a decided disappointment. The Yankees had been counting on him to continue his hot hand and get them off to a good start in the four-game set against the Red Sox. Nova had pitched into the seventh inning and higher in 11 of his previous 12 starts but ran his pitch count up to nearly 100 (96) through the fourth.
Preston Claiborne, recently recalled from Triple A Scranton, did not help matter when he faced five batters in the fifth inning and got none of them out. Shane Victorino started Claiborne off with a home run to left. Pedroia and Ortiz followed with singles before Nava walked to fill the bases. An infield single by Napoli and an infield out brought in two more runs.
With the temperatures cooling down and the combatants representing the oldest rivalry in the American League, there was a postseason atmosphere Thursday night at Yankee Stadium as the Yankees and the Red Sox opened a four-game series. Boston held a 5 ½-game lead over the Rays in the AL East with the Yankees in third place eight games back.
A month ago, the Yankees were left for dead, and while a division title remains a tall order they have moved into serious contention for one of the wild-card berths as they trail Tampa Bay for the second entry by only 2 ½ games. The Rays were at Anaheim Thursday night.
The Yanks are 5-7 this season against Boston and have already surpassed their loss total to the Red Sox of last year. The Yankees have won 10 of the past 17 regular-season games between the club and 21 of the past 34. In 2012, the Yankees were 13-5 against Boston. It marked their first winning season against the Red Sox since 2007 (10-8).
At the Stadium, the Yankees have won six of their past 10 games and 10 of their past 18 between the teams and are 31-29 against the Red Sox at home since 2007. In 2012, the Yankees were 6-3 against Boston, their first winning home season series since 2009 (7-2).
Derek Jeter leads all active major leaguers with 264 games and 321hits against Boston and ranks second in runs (168) and RBI (124). The Elias Sports Bureau reports that Jeter’s 142 winning games in the regular season against the Red Sox are the most for any player who entered the majors since 1960.
Yankees batters were hit by four pitches in their Aug. 18 victory at Fenway Park. The victims were Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner, Jayson Nix and Robinson Cano. It was their most hit batters in a single game since April 15, 2000 at the Stadium against the Royals (Tino Martinez, Bernie Williams, Clay Bellinger twice). The Yankees were hit six times over the three-game Boston series, which matched the Yankees’ most hit by pitchers of any length against any team over the past 100 seasons. It also occurred June 7-9, 2011 at the Stadium against the Red Sox in three games; Sept. 4-8, 1945 at the Stadium against the Tigers in seven games and May 12-15, 1923 at Detroit in four games.
The Yankees have been hit with five or more pitches in 22 series all time, with seven of them coming at the hands of the Red Sox since 2000. According to Elias, the only time the Yankees have been hit with more pitches in a series was a five-game set June 20-24, 1913 at Washington in which a single-game team-record six Yankees got hit in the series opener by Senators pitchers.
The Yankees paid the White Sox back for that miserable three-game sweep a month ago at Chicago by returning the favor at Yankee Stadium. The Yanks’ futility at U.S. Cellular Field marked the low point of the season. They left there only one game over .500 (57-56) but have played .692 ball since (18-8) and are 11 games over at 75-64 as they continue to push for a high point of the season, a postseason berth.
What better way to go into a four-game showdown with the Red Sox at the Stadium beginning Thursday night than to dust off an inferior opponent even if things got a bit dicey in the later innings? The Yanks watched a 6-1 lead behind a good outing by CC Sabathia (13-11) shrink to 6-5 by the eighth inning before Mariano Rivera settled matters with his first four-out save in two years.
Mo’s 41st save this season and career No. 649 complimented a sturdy offensive attack by the Yankees, who had another crooked-number inning that have become more regular these days. It was a four-run fourth against rookie righthander Eric Johnson in his big-league debut that put the Yankees in control. Johnson contributed to the rally with a throwing error. The big blow was a two-run triple by Brett Gardner after Lyle Overbay’s RBI single had put the Yanks ahead. Robinson Cano, who homered (No. 26) in the first inning, drove in the fourth run of the fourth with an infield single in a three-hit, two-RBI game.
Alfonso Soriano’s 40th RBI in 37 games with the Yankees on a sacrifice fly in the seventh seemed a tack-on run at the time but proved the game decider when the White Sox put together a four-run inning of their own the next inning.
Sabathia pitched into the eighth inning for the first time in five starts. He left with one out and a couple of runners on base, both of whom scored as David Robertson had a rollercoaster inning that required Rivera’s parachute as the White Sox closed to one run. Mo stranded two runners by striking out Alejandro De Aza looking and then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.
No wonder manager Joe Girardi wants him back next year.
It was Phil Hughes’ misfortune to have to come out of Monday’s game at Yankee Stadium due to a 1-hour, 53-minute rain delay. That was the only misfortune suffered by the Yankees. They got a head start on making up for being swept by the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field last month by trouncing Chicago, 9-1, in the opener of a three-game series.
One day after losing to the Orioles because of Baltimore’s seven-run seventh inning, the Yanks constructed an eight-run fourth inning. The beneficiary instead of Hughes was David Huff, the lefthander who has pitched so well in relief since his Aug. 15 call-up from Triple A Scranton.
Hughes, who is winless in 10 starts since July 2, would have loved all that run support against his 4-13 record. What starter wouldn’t? For a career middle-innings reliever such as Huff, the eight-run bulge felt just as satisfying. Hughes was actually on the winning side of the ledger at the time the game was stopped with one out in the Chicago second and the Yankees leading, 1-0. Because of the duration of the delay, Hughes did not return to the mound with his teammates.
White Sox reliever Dylan Axelrod was not as lucky as Huff. The Yankees sent 13 batters to the plate in the fourth in scoring eight runs (six earned), all charged to his record, although he was removed after the 10th batter. Robinson Cano was the only Yankees batter that inning who did not reach base. Cano had his hand in the victory with a couple of dazzling, back-to-the-infield grabs, one of which resulted in a double play.
The Yanks’ rally was aided by two White Sox errors and two walks but was fueled primarily by seven hits – doubles by Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner and Alfonso Soriano and singles by Vernon Wells, Mark Reynolds, Austin Romine and Derek Jeter. In essence, it was a team effort. The Yanks scored as many runs that inning as they did in the three games combined in Chicago last month.
Huff, who is in his second tour with the Yankees this season, had a 14 1/3-inning scoreless streak ended when he gave up Paul Konerko’s 10th home run with one out in the seventh. Huff, 29, is 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA in 15 innings since his return Aug. 16 that has lowered his season ERA from 13.50 to 3.32.
The Yankees picked up Huff back in May off waivers from the Indians. After a four-game stint with the Yanks that month, Huff ended up being outrighted to Scranton where he was 1-6 despite a 3.84 ERA. He has pitched so well the past two weeks that Huff might even be considered for a start down the line.
It was also good to see Jeter run with authority when the Yankees scored their first run, off White Sox starter Jose Quintana. For the third consecutive game, Gardner led off with a double. He scored on a ground single between shortstop and third base by Jeter, who alertly took second when left fielder Alejandro De Aza bobbled the ball. DJ also crossed to third on Cano’s flyout to right field but was stranded there.
Jeter’s hit in the fourth inning was career No. 3,313, which tied him with Eddie Collins for ninth place on the all-time list and is six behind another Hall of Famer at No. 8, Paul Molitor.
The big lead allowed manager Joe Girardi to get some new people into the game. Pitcher Cesar Cabral and catcher J.R. Murphy made their major-league debuts. Cabral pitched a shutout inning of relief and Murphy, pinch hitting for Cano in the eighth, beat out an infield single for his first big-league hit.
Their appearances brought the total of players used by the Yankees this season to 52, a franchise record.
In assessing the explosive offense after Friday night’s 8-5 victory, Yankees manager Joe Girardi added, “And let’s get the pitchers right, too. We have to click on all cylinders, basically. One night, we might score eight runs. The next night, we may not. And that’s when the pitchers have got to pick up the hitters.”
Give the skipper a swami turban.
Ivan Nova’s three-hit, complete-game shutout Saturday was just the kind of performance the manager had talked about. For a while there, it looked as if the Yankees’ run in the first inning on doubles by Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano off Scott Feldman was all they would get before Cano made the score 2-0 with a home run into the right field bleachers off lefthander Troy Patton in the eighth.
Nova was certainly uplifted by Cano’s 25th homer of the year. He hoped Girard would let him go out for the ninth inning and not be tempted to bring in Mariano Rivera. The second run helped.
“I told the guys I don’t want a 1-0 game; get me another run,” Nova said. “I’m happy that Joe gave me the opportunity.”
Nova earned the chance to finish this one out. He walked one batter and hit two but allowed only three hits. The third was a leadoff single in the ninth inning by Nate McLouth on a chopper to the mound that Nova knocked down but could not recover in time to throw him out. And Girardi still stayed with Nova.
“If it had been a walk, it might have been different,” Girardi said. “But he got a ground ball. And what we needed after that was another ground ball.”
Nova did not get another grounder, however. McLouth getting on added drama to the situation because the third hitter due up that inning was the major-league home run leader, Chris Davis. One swing could have tied the score. After Manny Machado flied out to left, Davis had the Yankee Stadium crowd gasping when he hit a towering fly ball to right field.
That was when it was discovered that Ichiro Suzuki is pretty good at playing possum, which I though was strictly an American trait. Ichiro did not move at first, an indication that the ball was behind him and in the seats. Then after a tantalizingly long moment, he held his glove up over his head and made the catch on the warning track. Suzuki knew he was playing with the crowd.
“Humans want to come from a bad place to a good place,” he said. “Of course, you have to make the play.”
Unlike many of the 42,836 in attendance, Nova didn’t think the ball was going out. The look on Davis’ face told him that, a look that said, “I didn’t get it.” Catcher Chris Stewart said Davis hit the ball off the end of his bat, another good sign of the sinking movement on Nova’s fastball.
There was still another dangerous hitter to go, but Adam Jones’ line drive ended up in the glove of shortstop Derek Jeter.
“He picked up the hitters and the bullpen,” Girardi said of Nova, who won his fourth consecutive start in improving his record to 8-4 with a 2.88 ERA.
With CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda showing signs of fatigue and Phil Hughes winless in nearly two months, Nova has been the rotation’s savior in the second half. The Yankees will go for the series sweep Sunday afternoon behind Andy Pettitte, who is also on a winning streak with three straight victories.
“The key to me for Nova is that he is keeping his fastball down in the zone,” Girardi said. “He has a good curve, but it is even better because he can keep hitters off balance with that fastball down in the zone.”
Girardi also gave Nova credit for “finding himself” during his time in the minor leagues last year and this following his 16-victory season in 2011. Nova agreed.
“I went to Tampa where I worked to do the things I needed to do to prove what kind of pitcher I can be,” Nova said.
It comes down to maturity. Nova was a pretty green kid when he surprised people in 2011. The league catches up to young pitchers if they are not careful, and Nova took his lumps. Saturday, he showed what kind of pitcher he can be.
It was an uplifting day for the Yankees, who jumped over Baltimore into third place in the American League East after a 47-game period since July 7 in fourth place and also positioned themselves ahead of Cleveland in the wild-card chase where they still trail Tampa Bay and Oakland, but as Girardi pointed out, “It sure beats four or five” teams ahead of them.