Results tagged ‘ Carl Crawford ’
The Red Sox can’t say they did not have their chances Tuesday night against CC Sabathia, who they have batted about all season. The big lefthander did not have a single 1-2-3 inning against Boston as he pitched with runners all over the place and gutted his way through six innings and 128 pitches.
Sabathia guaranteed for now at least that he would not become the first Yankees pitcher in history to lose to the Red Sox five times in the same season because he left the game with the Yankees ahead, 5-2, the eventual final score. The victory was Sabathia’s first in five decisions this year against Boston, matching the 1-4 record of Pat Dobson in 1975, the previous time a Yankees starter lost four times to the Red Sox in one year.
In an odd way, CC’s performance rated a 10. He gave up 10 hits, he struck out 10 batters, and he left 10 Boston runners on base. Six of those stranded Red Sox were in scoring position. Boston actually raised its season batting average against Sabathia from .324 to .333, but he lowered his ERA against the Red Sox from 7.20 to 6.39.
Sabathia improved his season record to 18-7 with a 2.99 ERA and his career record in the month of August to 41-12 with a 3.29 ERA, even though his August this season was merely so-so (3-2, 4.68 ERA).
The Yankees gave Sabathia some room to work with by building a 3-0 lead by the fourth. Eric Chavez, playing third base for injured Alex Rodriguez (sprained left thumb), contributed two RBI singles. Robinson Cano continued his Fenway Park success with an RBI double. He also made a splendid play snaring a line drive by Carl Crawford in the fifth that came to Sabathia’s rescue.
Also coming to CC’s rescue were relievers Boone Logan with two big strikeouts with the bases loaded in the seventh inning and Mariano Rivera, who overcame a leadoff double by David Ortiz in the ninth to notch his 35th save and career No. 594.
The Red Sox wasted scads of opportunities throughout the game. They left 16 runners on base and had 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position with only one of those hits driving in a run.
Francisco Cervelli homered for one run and scored another after reaching base when hit by a pitch as possible retaliation for his clapping his hands at the plate after the homer. Nick Swisher had a perfect night with three singles and a walk and is 7-for-16 (.438) on the trip. Cano raised his career batting average at Fenway Park to .356, the highest for an opponent with at least 200 at-bats.
It was not vintage CC, but it was a step toward the Yankees trying to gain ground on their rivals. The Yanks’ third victory in 13 victories closed the gap between them in the American League East standings to a half-game. They are even in the loss column.
An uplifting trip for the Yankees ended on a real downer Sunday night. They had Mariano Rivera poised to finish off a 2-1 victory, but the great Mo suffered his fifth blown save of the season and the 14th of his career against the Red Sox, by far the most against any one team.
That forced Yankees manager Joe Girardi to use Phil Hughes out of the bullpen in extra innings. Hughes was available out of the pen because the Yankees are currently going with a six-man rotation. This was Hughes regular day to pitch, and the idea was to have him available out of the pen in case of a breakdown by starter Freddy Garcia.
Instead, the breakdown came from Rivera. He gave up a leadoff double to Marco Scutaro, who had four hits. Mo at first thought Scutaro’s ball had cleared the Green Monster, but it banged off it. A crucial play came next on a sacrifice attempt by Jacoby Ellsbury (a Most Valuable Player Award candidate bunting? Yeah, the Red Sox really wanted this one).
Eduardo Nunez broke too quickly from third base, costing Rivera a chance for an out there when Ellsbury’s bunt went right to the pitcher. Mo got the out at first, but Scutaro reached third from where he scored on Dustin Pedroia’s fly ball to left to tie the score and extend an interminably long night even later.
Hughes got in trouble one out into the 10th by giving up a double to David Ortiz, the only one of Boston’s 11 hits that went for extra bases. Carl Crawford, who was 9-for-12 (.750) in the series, was walked intentionally, as Hughes faced Josh Reddick. The rookie, who is batting .338 playing right field for injured J.D. Drew, drove a curveball into the left field corner for the game-winning hit.
In truth, the Yankees were lucky to be leading heading into the bottom of the ninth. Both their runs were on home runs by Nunez and Brett Gardner, who had a terrific game with three hits and two stolen bases. They were hitless in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 base runners.
Garcia pitched one-run ball for five innings, and Boone Logan, Corey Wade, Rafael Soriano and David Robertson supplied first-rate relief before Rivera crashed. The Yankees were 5-2 on a trip that ended bumpily with two losses in three games at Fenway Park.
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.
With only two position players on the bench plus a back-hurting Russell Martin Wednesday night, Yankees manager Joe Girardi could not afford to lose anyone to injury, which almost happened in both halves of the sixth inning when catcher Francisco Cervelli and third baseman Eduardo Nunez were nearly knocked out of the game.
Cervelli took a foul ball between the legs and doubled over in pain. A former catcher, Girardi knows that feeling. Cervelli regained his composure and stayed in the game. Good thing, too, because he was having a good night at the plate with three hits and two RBI. His third hit and second RBI came right after Nunez stunned himself at the plate.
In one of the weirdest situations you’ll ever see, Nunez fouled a ball off the side of his helmet. The ball caromed off the helmet and fell behind the plate toward the third base dugout. Nunez was dazed and visited by Girardi and assistant trainer Steve Donohue to make sure he did not suffer a concussion. Eduardo must have answered all the questions accurately because he also stayed in the game and, to top it off, lined a hard single to left field on the next pitch.
It was the second consecutive inning in which the Yankees had a sustained rally trying to work themselves back from the 7-0 deficit they faced in the fourth inning. The Yankees finally got on the board that inning on Alex Rodriguez’s 624th career home run that also boosted his career RBI total to 1,865 and past Hall of Famer Mel Ott into ninth place on the all-time list. Next up is Hall of Famer Willie Mays, in eighth place at 1,903.
Derek Jeter doubled in a run with his 2,989th hit and scored his 1,720th run to tie Wee Willie Keeler for 22nd place all-time in a three-run fifth as the Yanks got to 7-4. The Red Sox tagged on a run in the sixth on a bases-loaded walk, which the Yankees negated with a run of their own in the bottom half. But a bases-loaded threat was thwarted as Jeter grounded into a double play.
Three runs were as close as the Yankees would get. Home runs in the ninth by Carl Crawford and J.D. Drew off Lance Pendleton bloated the Boston lead and created an 11-6 final score as the Red Sox took over first place in the American League East.
In the end, the Yankees could not overcome another faulty start against the Red Sox by A.J. Burnett. Part of his attraction to the Yankees as a free agent four years ago was Burnett’s career success against the Red Sox. A.J. also had success against the Yankees, but that’s another story. Burnett was 5-0 with a 3.83 ERA against Boston, but since coming to the Yankees his efforts against the Red Sox have produced no victories.
Burnett’s record against Boston while pitching for the Yankees is 0-4 with an 8.93 ERA. The Red Sox have batted .315 off him with a .594 slugging percentage, bolstered by 16 doubles and 10 home runs in 165 at-bats. The Yankees need A.J. to be the pitcher he was against the Red Sox before he came to New York.
Russell Martin’s day with the Yankees Friday started a little earlier than normal. At noon, the catcher made a very positive impression on about 60 students who are part of the “Saturday Program” at Public School 55 in the Bronx during an appearance at the school’s library.
Speaking to a group that does extra scholastic work each Saturday, Martin talked about the importance of perseverance in a person’s drive to achieve his or her dream.
“I was told by so many people that I wasn’t big enough or strong enough or fast enough to be a major-league player that I wanted to prove them wrong,” the 5-foot-10, 210-pound catcher said. “But that shouldn’t be the only motivation. The key really is to do it for yourself.”
Martin, a native Canadian who grew up in Montreal, relayed a story about when he was a young player and got tired of practicing and left the field early.
“My dad said, ‘You want to leave early?’ ’’ Martin said. “He told me, ‘You don’t know if there is someone out there working harder?’ That really stuck with me. My dad had a great influence on me.”
Albin Griffin, a fourth-grade student, made a presentation of a plaque to Martin. Another fourth-grader, Ashley Polanco, received a replica Yankees World Series ring for singing the song, “A Gentle Man,” about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The kids were all huge Yankees fans, and there is a good chance many watched Friday night’s game against the Red Sox on TV and saw Martin tie the score in the fifth inning with a two-run home run off Clay Buchholz. No, Martin did not promise the PS 55 students that he would hit a home run, but the thought might have crossed his mind as he circled the bases. After all, 55 is also his uniform number.
The home run was Martin’s seventh, two more than he hit all of last season with the Dodgers, and atoned for a passed ball he committed the previous inning that led to Boston’s second run.
After Adrian Gonzalez homered leading off against Barolo Colon, Kevin Youkilis struck out, but the third strike hit off Martin’s glove, allowing Youkilis to reach first base. Two walks by Colon loaded the bases for the Red Sox with one out. Youkilis scored on a grounder to the right side by Carl Crawford.
But in keeping with the theme of perseverance in his talk with the school children, Martin wiped out that misplay with one swing.
Three starts into the season and CC Sabathia still does not have a victory to show for his exemplary 1.45 ERA.
Oh, that’s right; victories aren’t supposed to matter to pitchers anymore, now that they can win Cy Young Awards with as few as 13 W’s. This may be CC’s plan to do better in the Cy Young race than he did last year when he finished third despite leading the league in victories with 21.
Sabathia hasn’t had much support from his teammates, who scored the go-ahead run in the Opening Day victory after he left the game, blew a 4-0 lead in his second outing and managed merely two hits against the Red Sox in Sunday night’s 4-0 loss.
CC pitched in and out of trouble all night at Fenway Park as he toiled for 118 pitches in 5 2/3 innings. He allowed only one run on a no-man’s-land, infield single by Mike Cameron in the third inning. Sabathia made pitches when he had to and kept the Red Sox from making it all the way around the bases they occupied. Boston had runners on base every inning and more than two in five of the six innings Sabathia pitched. But they had one hit in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position off CC and left 12 runners on base over the first six innings.
Meanwhile, the Yankees were completely stymied against Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, whom they pushed all over the lot a year ago. The righthander had a 10.04 ERA in five starts against the Yankees in 2010. They batted .339 off him with a .627 slugging percentage on the strength of nine home runs.
This was more like the Josh Beckett the Yankees faced in the 2003 World Series when he was with the Marlins and seemed like a miniature Roger Clemens. The Yankees hit only four balls to the outfield off Beckett, who shut them out on two hits for eight innings. Other than the singles by Eric Chavez in the third and Robinson Cano in the fourth, the only other balls to reach the outfield were flies by Cano in the second and Russell Martin in the eighth. Beckett walked one batter, hit one and struck out 10. He also got 12 outs in the infield.
Still, because of the Red Sox’ futility with runners in scoring position (3-for-14, 16 LOB), it was a one-run game until Marco Scutaro doubled off Joba Chamberlain with the bases loaded in the seventh inning and David Ortiz knocked in Boston’s fourth run on a 420-foot double off Freddy Garcia in the eighth.
The Yankees sort of let the Red Sox off the carpet a bit in losing two of three games in the series. With free agent acquisition Carl Crawford having a miserable time of it at Fenway Park (1-for-15), the Red Sox got a boost instead from Dustin Pedroia, who had three hits in each game and five RBI overall.
After slugging four home runs Saturday, Yankees hitters hit only one ball as far as the warning track Sunday as several slumps were extended. After reaching base in each of his first four times up with a double, a triple and two walks, leadoff man Brett Gardner went hitless in 10 at-bats. Mark Teixeira has gone 18 at-bats without a hit and Jorge Posada 17. Derek Jeter was 2-for-13 in the series and Nick Swisher 1-for-11. Chavez and Martin have given the Yanks some muscle at the bottom of the order, but the batting order without flu-bitten Alex Rodriguez in the finale was pretty feeble.
We all know by now how much Ivan Nova likes to win. He was upset last year when manager Joe Girardi lifted from a start in the fifth inning when the Yankees were ahead and thereby cost the righthander the opportunity for a winning decision.
That was brought up to Nova last week at Yankee Stadium when Girardi allowed him to pitch through a fifth-inning jam and last for six in a victory over the Twins. Girardi spoke about how he felt that Nova had matured. After the game, Nova was ear-to-ear smiles and repeated that his expectations are “win, win, and win; win every time.”
But Saturday at Fenway Park, Nova once again was removed from a game in which the Yankees were ahead in the fifth inning and lost the shot at a winning decision. Girardi simply grew tired of watching Nova allow the Red Sox to narrow the Yankees’ lead repeatedly.
The rookie was handed a 2-0 lead in the second inning by his teammates. In the bottom half, the Red Sox got the first two batters on with singles but failed to score. In the third, however, Dustin Pedroia doubled leading off and came around on two infield outs.
Russell Martin’s three-run home run in the fourth bloated the Yanks’ lead to 5-1, but Nova began the bottom of the inning by hitting J.D. Drew and eventually gave up three runs as the Red Sox made it a one-run game again. Second baseman Robinson Cano’s failure to get a good grip on the ball that might have completed an inning-ending double contributed to the Boston rally, but Nova didn’t bear down after that play and gave up a hit to slumping Carl Crawford and a two-run double to Pedroia.
So after Curtis Granderson’s two-run homer made the score 7-4 Yankees in the fifth and Nova put the leadoff hitter on for the fourth time, Girardi was prepared by having David Robertson warm up in the bullpen. A one-out walk to Drew with Nova’s 87th pitch was the last straw for Girardi. In came Robertson, who on his 26th birthday retired all five batters he faced for the victory that Nova could not earn.
The Yankees remain concerned about the shape of their rotation, as the signing to a minor league contract of Carlos Silva Saturday ought to convey. He was so bad for the Cubs that they released him even though they owe him $12 million in salary. That should make every Yankees starter stand up and take notice.
The rematch of American League Cy Young Award candidates CC Sabathia and David Price Thursday night at Yankee Stadium did not duplicate their pairing of Sept. 13 at Tropicana Field when both lefthanders pitched eight shutout innings in a game the Rays won, 1-0, in the 11th.
Neither was involved in the decision 10 days ago, but they were this time. Sabathia blew a 3-1 lead in the sixth as Tampa Bay scored seven times and went on to coast to a 10-3 victory that improved Price’s record to 18-6. CC fell to 20-7 for a performance in which he allowed the most runs, seven, in any of his starts this year.
The Yankees stung Price early and had a chance to do more damage, but they let him off the ropes by stranding the bases loaded in both the fifth and sixth innings. Price was particularly impressive in the fifth by getting Robinson Cano on an infield pop and striking out Marcus Thames, who had homered off him earlier. If Price stays on turn, he would make two more starts and have a shot to win 20
Sabathia appeared to lose confidence in his fastball in the sixth and inexplicably walked the 8- and 9-hole hitters to force in the go-ahead run. Joba Chamberlain then gave up a two-run double to B.J. Upton and a two-run single to Carl Crawford to make the score 8-3.
Earlier in the day at Toronto, Mariners righthander Felix Hernandez lost again to fall to 12-12, but he gave up only one run – on Jose Bautista’s 50th home run – in his sixth complete game and had his ERA drop to 2.31. Despite his .500 won-lost record, King Felix remains a Cy Young candidate because of his gaudy statistics other than victories. He is also victimized by one of the worst offensive teams since the designated hitter came to the AL in 1973. Seattle has scored two or fewer runs in 15 of Hernandez’s 33 starts. He is 2-10 despite a 2.84 ERA in those starts.
The Yankees have more things to worry about than whether Sabathia will win the Cy Young Award. A split of the four-game set with the Rays prevented the Yankees from putting some space between them and Tampa Bay in the AL East standings. It would have helped since the Rays have the lighter schedule the rest of the way with two three-game home series against the Marines and Orioles and a four-game trip to Kansas City while the Yankees finish up at home this weekend with the Red Sox and then travel to Toronto and Boston. Another break for the Rays is that they won’t have to face Hernandez in the Seattle series.
Also, by winning Thursday night, the Rays took the season series, 10-8, which means that if the teams remained tied (which they are in the loss column), then Tampa Bay would win the division based on head-to-head matchups.
For the Yankees, this was a disappointing game and a bit of a bizarre one. In the seventh inning, Javier Vazquez hit three batters in a row with pitches, tying a major-league record (eighth time), most recently done by the Dodgers’ Jeff Weaver in 2004. As any Yankees fan knows, doing something Jeff Weaver did is not a good thing.
Javy rallied to pitch a scoreless eighth and ninth. Let’s face it; he is pitching for a spot on the post-season roster that is anything but a lock for him.
As Yankees manager Joe Girardi continues to gauge how best to configure his pitching staff for post-season play, the assessment of A.J. Burnett was thwarted by a 2-hour, 11-minute rain delay Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.
Burnett had a nondescript three innings in which he allowed one run, two hits and two walks with two strikeouts in a 51-pitch outing. He gave up the run in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Evan Longoria and actually had his ERA drop to 5.05.
If not for the rainstorm that featured quite a light show in the sky for a time, Yankees fans might not have known that Royce Ring was on the team. Once a promising reliever, Ring pitched in his first major-league game since 2008 when he was with the Braves.
The Yankees signed the lefthander as a free agent in January. Ring pitched for Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre where he did not allow an earned run in 45 of his 52 relief appearances and held opposing hitters to a .222 average.
Ring was a former first-round draft pick of the White Sox, who traded him to the Mets in July 2003 in the Roberto Alomar deal. Ring was traded again in 2006 to the Padres and in 2007 to the Padres. He pitched in the Cardinals’ minor-league system in 2009. He took a major-league mark of 3-3 with a 4.93 ERA into his Yankees debut.
The hearties in the crowd who stayed through the delay gave Ring a nice round of applause when he departed after 1 2/3 hitless innings. He was stung for an earned run, however, as reliever Dustin Moseley came into the game and promptly gave up singles to Ben Zobrist and Carl Crawford, the second scoring John Jaso, whom Ring had walked. It isn’t often that a righthander relieves a lefthander with two left-handed hitters coming up, but lengthy rain delays can louse up a manager’s pitching plans.
Tampa Bay starter Wade Davis was denied shooting for a no-hitter by the rain. He retired the first seven Yankees batters in order before walking Francisco Cervelli in the third inning prior to the stoppage in play. Upon resumption, righthander Jeremy Hellickson took the mound for the Rays.
Watching Curtis Granderson at the plate much of this year made one wonder how it was that this guy hit 30 home runs last year, especially playing half his games at Detroit’s Comerica Park, hardly a power hitter’s haven.
When the Yankees acquired Granderson in an off-season trade from the Tigers, it was thought that he might be a regular 30-homer guy what with the friendlier dimensions at Yankee Stadium for left-handed batters.
At the midway point of the season, however, Granderson had seven home runs and was batting .240. The idea that he could approach 30 homers seemed out of the question. Now look at him. There are only two weeks left in the regular season, so Granderson won’t get to 30, but he just may get close.
The center fielder is up to 21 after his two-homer performance Monday night in the Yankees’ 8-6 victory over the Rays that kicked off the four-game series between the American League East contenders on the occasion of George Steinbrenner’s plaque being added to Monument Park.
Granderson thrust the Yankees into a 2-0 lead with a two-run shot in the second inning off Matt Garza. The second home run, a three-run blast off a 2-1 changeup from Grant Balfour in the sixth, was pivotal and majestic.
The Yankees had blown all of a 4-0 lead in a four-run Tampa Bay sixth when their pitchers struggled to satisfy plate umpire Tim McClelland’s strike zone. Of 42 pitches thrown that inning by three Yankees pitchers, 24 were balls. The Yankees walked three batters, including one with the bases loaded, and had another hitter, Carl Crawford, reach base on catcher’s interference. The hardest hit ball by the Rays was a grounder by Evan Longoria that was turned into a double play.
The Yankees came back in the bottom half and regained the lead on a singles by Brett Gardner, Francisco Cervelli and Derek Jeter. Granderson added on big time with his second dinger. The ball hit the foul pole next to the fourth deck. Mark Teixeira is the only player to hit a fair ball into the seats there, which is where Granderson’s would have landed if it had not struck the pole. This was a Ruthian clout for a guy generously listed at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds.
“People ask me a lot about home runs,” Granderson said later, “and I say, ‘Hey, I’m the fourth lightest guy on the team. ‘ “
For all his power in 2009, Granderson produced only a .249 batting average, which is also what it is right now. He hit over .300 in 2007 but hasn’t come close to that since. Yet this is the fourth straight year that he has hit at least 20 home runs.
Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long has worked with Granderson in the second half to calm down an overly busy approach and has gotten some results, mostly related to power.
As late as Aug. 11, Granderson was batting .239. He entered September with a .243 average and began the month with a 5-for-10 only to suffer a 0-for-14 stretch not long after that. Overall, however, the month has been a good one for Granderson. In 62 September at-bats, he is hitting .290 with four doubles, six home runs and 17 RBI. He has 14 home runs and 41 RBI in the second half.
“I feel with my swing more contact I can get to the ball quicker,” Granderson said. “I’m not pulling off the ball as much.”
“Every since Grandy made that minor adjustment, he has played really well,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “That second home run was huge for us.”
“He just got hot right now and has been hitting home runs the whole month,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “He was able to keep that sucker fair.”