Results tagged ‘ Brian Duensing ’
How about the pitching moves in the Yankees-Twins series?
Tuesday night, Yankees manager Joe Girardi lifted starter Phil Hughes in the seventh inning for Boone Logan, who failed to protect a 3-1 lead in a game the Yanks eventually lost, 5-4.
Wednesday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire lifted starter Samuel Deduno in the second inning because the righthander had left eye irritation. Lefthander Brian Duensing retired his first two batters and then allowed the next seven Yankees reach base on five hits and two walks with a wild pitch thrown in for good measure as the Bombers turned a 1-0 deficit into a 6-1 advantage.
The Yanks’ lineup had a different look as Ichiro Suzuki batted leadoff and Derek Jeter second, a reverse of recent games. Absent from the batting order was third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who sustained a bruised left foot Tuesday night on a foul ball in his eighth inning at-bat.
Robinson Cano, who had three hits Tuesday night, continued to swing the bat with authority as he doubled in two runs in the six-run third inning. Nick Swisher extended his hitting streak to nine games with an RBI single, and Curtis Granderson tripled in two runs. Duensing, who gave up hits to five left-handed batters, gave the Yankees a free run as well with that wild pitch.
Part of the rally was a single by Suzuki, whose hitting streak has reached 10 games.
The Twins’ run off CC Sabathia in the second inning was driven in on a single by Matt Carson. Yankees fans who pay attention to players in the minor leagues may recall the name. Carson was a fifth-round pick of the Yankees in the First Year Player Draft of 2002 and spent six seasons in the organization before he was released after the 2008 season. Carson, an outfielder, played in the Oakland and Tampa Bay organizations over three seasons before coming to the Twins and their Triple A Rochester affiliate this year at age 30 still pursuing the major-league dream. Good for him.
The first time he came to bat at Yankee Stadium as a 19-year-old rookie for the Braves in Game 1 of the 1996 World Series, Andruw Jones hit a home run. Jones got his first at-bat at the new Stadium Tuesday night now as a reserve outfielder for the Yankees and also hit a home run, a splendid way to get started with his new team.
I freely admit that I was not all that keen on the Jones signing. He seems limited as a bench player to me. Jones doesn’t move all that well in the field anymore, and he certainly isn’t going to contribute much as a pinch runner. Still, he is an upgrade defensively over Marcus Thames, who did some good things with the bat a year ago, but you couldn’t play him anywhere but DH.
Hitting home runs at the Stadium is something the Yankees are doing a lot of already in 2011 – 13 now in five games. Jones’ solo drive (career No. 408, pushing him past the late Duke Snider for 46th place on the all-time list) in the second came an inning after Mark Teixeira bashed a three-run homer off Brian Duensing with none out. Those blows seemed all the ammunition the Yankees would need, and they were so long as CC Sabathia was in the game.
But the dreaded pitch count had Sabathia departing after seven brilliant innings in which he gave up two measly singles and then proceeded to retire 17 batters in a row. That was stuck with a no-decision is nothing short of criminal. The way CC pitched (7 innings, 2 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts) meant there was no way Mariano Rivera needed to pitch in this game. But come the ninth, there was Mo.
That was because Rafael Soriano had come on in the eighth, the former Rays closer’s new inning of responsibility, and spit up the four-run lead. The Twins, whose futility at the Stadium during Ron Gardenhire’s 10-year tenure as manager is a matter of record, surely were pleased to see Sabathia go away, not that Soriano is any day at the beach, normally, but the righthander did not look like the reliever who saved 45 games a year ago.
That can happen sometimes with pitchers who have the closer mentality, but Soriano knew what was in store for him when the Yankees gave him all those millions of dollars.
“It’s too early to judge that,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said about whether Soriano will find working the eighth less challenging than the ninth.
Soriano opened up the game for the Twins instead of helping to close it out for the Yankees. He loaded the bases with one out on two walks and a well-struck single by Denard Span. It appeared as if Soriano might get out of it by freezing Tsuyoshi Nishioka with a muscular fastball for the second out before walking Joe Mauer on a diet of cutters to force in Minnesota’s first run.
Girardi had seen enough and summoned David Robertson, who got Delmon Young to hit a slicing pop to right. It was high enough to allow the runners extra time to scoot around the bases, and they all scored when the ball fell free in front of a sliding Nick Swisher. Young was credited with a three-run double, and what seemed a sure victory for Sabathia was gone.
There was some talk after the game that perhaps Girardi would have been better off bringing in Robertson to pitch the eighth and Soriano in the ninth on a night when not having to turn to a 41-year-old closer was possible. That makes no sense. Soriano’s job is to pitch in the eighth, and a 4-0 score at the Stadium these days the way balls are flying is by no means insurmountable.
Swisher faulted himself for a mistake of aggression by diving for the Young ball. Once his feet left the ground, Swisher had no chance to keep Mauer from scoring the tying run. Swisher would have been better off playing the ball on a hop and making a strong throw home. Mauer caught a break being able to run for what is full speed for him because there were two out.
Rivera worked the ninth but left after the Yankees failed to score in the bottom half. The Twins went ahead on Mauer’s single off Boone Logan in the 10th, and Joe Nathan, who didn’t seem destined for this game, closed it out.
So where did all the home runs go? The Yankees had two hits, both singles, after Jones’ bomb, so the offense shares some blame here. But this was primarily a bullpen blunder. Give CC credit for professionalism.
“It’s part of the game,” he said of the no-decision. “You just move on from there.”
The subject of the dip in velocity on Phil Hughes remained a topic the day after the righthander’s disappointing debut in 2011, a four-inning stint in which he allowed five earned runs and four hits, including two long home runs by Miguel Cabrera, in the Yankees’ 10-7 loss to the Tigers.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi doesn’t seem all that concerned, pointing out that Hughes is a week ahead of where he was a year ago when he was the fifth starter and didn’t pitch until well into the second week of the season. The skipper is still convinced Hughes’ problem Sunday was due to lack of location. Still, Hughes, who topped out at 94 mph last year, didn’t ring the gun higher than 91 mph Sunday and regularly was 87 to 89.
Girardi also pointed out that Hughes’ fastball in 2010 wasn’t as smoking as it had been in 2009 when he pitched primarily in relief and had success in the setup role.
“He hit 96 as a reliever but not higher than 94 as a starter,” Girardi said. “A pitcher can win with a little bit less velocity if he locates. He has four pitches. He needs to mix them, and he has to locate. Let’s not make more than we should after one start. I don’t want him to try to pitch to the gun.”
The Yankees will face a left-handed starter for the first time this year Tuesday night when the Twins send Brian Duensing against the Yankees’ CC Sabathia, so Derek Jeter will back in the leadoff spot. The plan now is for DJ to lead off against lefties and Brett Gardner against righties.
Girardi also plans to give fourth outfielder Andruw Jones his first start Tuesday night but has yet to decide if Gardner or Curtis Granderson will grab some pine. Jones will play left field in either case with Gardner moving to center if Granderson is on the bench. Jones, the game’s top center fielder as a 10-time Gold Glove winner during his heyday with the Braves, can no longer cover as much ground as he once did.
The Yankees took a different approach Saturday night in their post-season matchup with Minnesota – they scored first.
The Yankees’ modus operandi in playoff games against the Twins is to fall behind early and come back late. The Twinkies haven’t been able to hold leads throughout this post-season drought against the Yankees that had reached eight games after the Yanks won the first two games of the American League Division Series earlier in the week at Target Field.
The Yankees treated Yankee Stadium fans by drawing first blood in the second inning of Game 3 against Twins lefthander Brian Duensing. Robinson Cano, who hit .285 with 13 home runs off lefties this year and had an RBI single off lefthander Francisco Liriano in Game 1, led off the second inning with a triple. The slicing drive eluded center fielder Denard Span, who had to run the ball down when it caromed off the wall back toward the infield.
After Marcus Thames popped out, Jorge Posada lined a first-pitch changeup into left field for a single to score Cano. An announcement was made in the press box stating that it was Posada’s 41st RBI in post-season play as he passed Mickey Mantle on the career list.
This is a pet peeve of mind, so I may as well get it off my chest now. No criticism of Posada is intended here, but to compare his post-season RBI with those of Mantle is ridiculous. All of Mickey’s RBI were in the World Series. His last season in the majors was 1968, the year before divisional play began and an additional level of post-season play was added. Since 1995 when the wild card was added, post-season play has had three levels.
The format change has played havoc with post-season records, particularly those established when there was only the World Series, such as Mantle’s 18 home runs and Yogi Berra’s 71 hits. To equate World Series statistics with those in the first round of the playoffs is irrational. They should be kept separately.
For the record, Posada’s breakdown in post-season RBI is 14 in the Division Series, 16 in the Championship Series and 11 in the World Series.
The Yankees kept up the scoring over the next two innings threatening to make this a rout. They got a two-out run in the third when Nick Swisher doubled and Mark Teixeira singled. Thames hit an opposite-field home run in the fourth for two more runs.
Also scoring on the blow was Cano, who beat out an infield single. On the play, first baseman Michael Cuddyer’s hurried throw went past Duensing and struck Yankees first base coach Mick Kelleher in the, well, let’s just hope coaches wear cups.
Duensing was replaced after walking Curtis Granderson, who subsequently stole second, continued to third on an errant throw by catcher Joe Mauer and scored on a fly ball to left by Brett Gardner for a 5-0 Yankees lead. It was Minnesota that had to do the catching up now.