Results tagged ‘ Bryce Harper ’
We tend to think of Derek Jeter as a perennial kid. His enthusiasm for the game is infectious. But there is no changing the clock. The Captain is 38 years old, which is twice the age of one of the two baseball phenoms who have entered the major leagues this year, outfielders Mike Trout of the Angels and Bryce Harper of the Nationals.
Both were on display Tuesday night in Kansas City at the All-Star Game where few teenagers have had the opportunity to compete. Trout was at Yankee Stadium Friday night with the Angels for the start of a three-game, weekend series and invoked Jeter several times in talking about his “homecoming.” The New Jersey native visited the old Yankee Stadium as a youngster, but this marked his first time playing on the Bronx patch.
“I was a shortstop and always batted leadoff,” said Trout, who still bats leadoff but now plays center field. “I patterned myself after Jeter, the way he goes about his business and always hustling. I’m the same way. I think that’s the only way to play the game.”
Jeter has now reached the point where he was the role model for players coming into the game. It started six years ago with the arrival of Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who proudly wears No. 2 in honor of Jeter.
Trout noted that he was befriended by Jeter at the All-Star Game. While taking batting practice, he turned to the side and saw Jeter and White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn looking at him and making a gesture with their hands over their hearts.
“It was their way of wondering if I was nervous,” Trout said. “I was, but they helped calm me down.”
Trout has something else in common with Jeter. He is a winner. The Angels got off to a 6-14 start that cost hitting coach Mickey Hatcher his job. Since Trout was called up from Triple A and installed in the Los Angeles lineup, the Angels have gone 42-24 entering play Friday night.
The Yankees finally won a game without hitting a home run. It just took 14 innings and nearly five hours to do it. On another day when the Yankees had a miserable time of it hitting with runners in scoring position, they finally broke through for a huge clutch double by Mark Teixeira in the top of the 14th. Rafael Soriano protected the 5-3 lead in the bottom half for his 12th save.
In truth, the Yankees were lucky to have been able to get into extra innings and have the chance to win their eighth straight game and knock off a Nationals team that had been just as hot as they were entering the series. The Yankees, who had been 0-12 when they did not hit a home run, can now try to complete a sweep of the three-game set and the six-game trip with a victory on Father’s Day.
The fortunate part comes from a play in the bottom of the eighth inning in which Tyler Moore was called out at the plate trying to score from second base on a single to right field by pinch hitter Adam LaRoche. Moore had moved into scoring position with two out by stealing second.
Wise, who had entered the game that inning in left field and moved to right field in a double-switch involving Boone Logan and Jayson Nix, made a strong throw home. Plate umpire Tim Timmons called Moore out, but video replays clearly showed that Moore’s left hand touched the plate before catcher Russell Martin applied the tag to Moore’s midsection with his mitt.
Had that run counted, the Nationals would have taken a 4-3 lead. The Yankees put two runners on base in the ninth without scoring, but who knows if the inning would have been different if there were another pitcher, etc.
Anyway, it was renewed life for the Yankees but a tough break for Andy Pettitte, who deserved better than a no-decision for his terrific work over the first seven innings. A two-out, broken-bat double by Jesus Flores in the second inning scored the only two runs off Pettitte, who had three walks and six strikeouts pitching the day after his 40th birthday and not looking a day over 30.
Doubles by Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez helped the Yankees go ahead in the sixth. Swisher had to come out of the game after bruising his left quad sliding into the plate failing to score on a pepper shot by Martin that was splendidly played by Nationals starter Jordan Zimmerman with a bare-handed grab of the ball and an accurate throw home.
After Pettitte left, Cory Wade pitched the eighth and got two quick outs before Ian Desmond, the Washington shortstop who had made a costly error in the fourth that gave the Yankees a run, hit a 2-2 fastball for a home run to left that knotted the game. Wade departed after walking Moore with Boone Logan coming in to face the lefty-batting LaRoche.
The Yankees went hitless for seven innings against four Washington relievers before they came up against an old punching bag of theirs, Brad Lidge. Nix started the 14th with a single and stole second. He had to stop at third base on Derek Jeter’s single to left. Both scored one out later on Tex’s double to right. Including his work against them in the 2009 World Series for the Phillies, Lidge has a career ERA of 17.18 against the Yankees in 7 1/3 innings.
Only one of Soriano’s saves has featured a 1-2-3 inning, and Saturday was no different. He gave up two one-out singles before getting the last two outs. It was somewhat fitting that the final out was made by rookie phenom Bryce Harper, 19, who had the worst day of his brief major-league career by going 0-for-7 with five strikeouts.
Freddy Garcia, who pitched for only the second time since May 21, provided two scoreless innings and got the victory. The Yankees ended up 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position, but those two hits were the last ones they got in the game and proved good enough to settle a 4-hour, 49-minute marathon without once homering.
A little more than 40 miles south of Baltimore, a sellout crowd at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., watched the overly hyped debut of pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 amateur draft choice of 2009 who was performing before a national cable-television audience that brought the MLB Network’s Bob Costas to the beltway.
Costas may have gotten a bit carried away by reading off some of Walter Johnson’s stats from his first game. Walter Johnson? Hey, can we put this in better perspective. Let’s take the world off this kid’s shoulders, shall we? Costas said he brought up the stuff about the “Big Train” because the audience might have been looking at the next great pitcher in the history of Washington baseball.
Well, Walter Johnson was more than that. He was probably the greatest pitcher in major league history. Can we let this young person get his career started before comparing him to the likes of Walter Johnson.
Meanwhile, Camden Yards was half empty with more fans cheering the Yankees than the Orioles. Phil Hughes, a former first-round draft pick by the Yankees, joked when he walked into the clubhouse and saw only a smattering of reporters, “Is everybody covering Strasburg?”
Not everybody, it just seemed that way. Beat writers at the time were on a telephone hookup with Cito Culver, the Rochester, N.Y., shortstop whom the Yankees chose first in Monday’s draft.
The atmosphere was an indication of how much things have changed for major league baseball in this market. What is coming up is not a second guess because I wrote this at the time. MLB should not have put a second team in the Baltimore-Washington area. The Nationals are the transplanted Montreal Expos, who had bottomed out in Quebec.
The Orioles have more problems that just their D.C. neighbors, but they could have done without the competition. All you heard in MLB circles at the time was that there was no place else to go. There had to be somewhere other than a market that was already in place with a franchise that had a pretty rich history, at least pre-Peter Angelos.
So while the Nationals show off one of their hood ornaments before a full house the day after drafting another one (Bryce Harper), the Orioles try not to get blown out of their own building by the Yankees and keep pace with the 1962 Mets for futility.