Results tagged ‘ Chris Davis ’
Look at it this way; it was Hiroki Kuroda’s turn. The way the Yankees have been besieged with injuries, it seems as if everyone on the roster is bound to be affected at some point. Wednesday night the arrow pointed at Kuroda, who was drilled in the right leg by a line drive from Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado in the second inning and came out of the game an inning later.
Kuroda had his first brush with injury in his first start of the season April 3 against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium when he hurt his right hand trying to catch a line drive. This time, the ball struck Kuroda in the right calf.
Manager Joe Girardi and head trainer Steve Donohue checked out Kuroda, who threw several warm-ups and stayed in the game. He got the final out of the second inning, but Girardi was back to the mound for another visit after Kuroda gave up hits to the first two batters of the third. Fearful that Kuroda was favoring the leg and altering his stride, Girardi decided to remove the righthander from the game.
This was not the Kuroda the Yankees have seen much of the year. He gave up two home runs in the first inning, a solo shot by Nick Markakis and a two-run jack by Chris Davis, who took over the American League lead with 14. Kuroda had never pitched at Camden Yards before, and the way Wednesday night went he probably wished he still hadn’t. With five earned runs charged to his record in two innings, Kuroda’s ERA shot from 1.99 to 2.67.
The injury was identified as a bruised calf and did not appear to be serious. Girardi told reporters after the game that he would be “shocked” if Kuroda did not make his next start, which could be a marque pairing with Mets rookie standout Matt Harvey at Citi Field.
Matt Wieters greeted reliever Preston Claiborne with a three-run home run to right-center that increased the Orioles’ lead to 6-1 on the way to a 6-3 final. It was the first run Claiborne allowed in the major leagues after nine scoreless innings over his previous seven outings. He got the next six batters out, and Adam Warren followed with four shutout frames to lower his ERA to 1.14 in 23 2/3 innings.
While Yankees relievers were holding down the Orioles over the last five innings, the offense could not muster a comeback attack except for the solo home runs by Curtis Granderson in the fifth inning and David Adams in the ninth. Robinson Cano had driven in the Yankees’ first run by following a double by Granderson in the third. Granderson, who was back in center field, batted leadoff and had a perfect night with his first home run, the double, a single and a walk.
Orioles starter Jason Hammel had been terrible at home (0-2, 7.79 ERA) as opposed to the road (5-0, 4.64 ERA) but finally got a victory this year at Camden Yards. The Yankees hit quite a few balls hard off Hammel, but he gave up two runs and six hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
With the score 6-2 entering the ninth, there was no save situation for Jim Johnson, who has been very undependable lately. He stayed in the bullpen, and the Orioles ended up winning the series.
Orange was the predominant color at Camden Yards for an Orioles-Yankees game Thursday night for what might have been the first time in 15 years. Ever since 1998, the first of 14 straight losing seasons for the Orioles, games against the Yankees in Baltimore provided local fans the opportunity to scalp tickets to willing New Yorkers who traveled to the Chesapeake Bay to see their heroes.
The main attraction was Cal Ripken Jr., who had a statue unveiled in his honor 16 years to the night he broke Lou Gehrig’s streak of consecutive games with No. 2,131 that would eventually grow to 2,632 and earn the “Iron Man” a place alongside the “Iron Horse” in the Hall of Fame. The rest of the night, however, belonged to the upstart 2012 Orioles, who received a standing ovation from Cal and the others in the sellout crowd of 46,298 after a rousing victory over the Yankees that left the teams tied for first place in the American League East.
The Yankees nearly spoiled it all for all those orange shirts when they erased a 6-1 deficit in the eighth inning with a five-spot on the sort of rally they have lacked much of the year. The offense came alive in a game in which the Yankees fell behind, 4-0, in the first inning. Erratic relief work by Pedro Strop, who faced four batters and gave up two walks and two hits to spit up Baltimore’s lead, was welcomed by the Yankees, who got clutch hits from Alex Rodriguez (RBI double), Curtis Granderson (RBI single) and Ichiro Suzuki (a two-run single) and a four-pitch walk to pinch hitter Chris Dickerson to force in a run.
Then it was the Yankees pen’s turn to falter. The Orioles treated David Robertson like a tomato can of a boxer with a 1-2 punch, a solo home run by Adam Jones and a two-run shot by Mark Reynolds. Robertson’s bell was still ringing in the dugout when his replacement, Boone Logan, was slugged for another homer, by Chris Davis.
The 10-6 Baltimore victory was definitely a knockout as the Orioles went yard six times. Reynolds had his third two-homer game against the Yankees in a week’s time. Over his past seven games, Reynolds has batted .423 with eight home runs, 16 RBI and eight runs in 26 at-bats. Six of those jacks have come against Yankees pitchers. This is a guy who was benched at mid-season when he was batting less than .200 and striking out twice a game.
The first of Reynolds’ home runs Thursday night was a solo in the sixth off Joba Chamberlain. The other Orioles’ homers were a big, three-run job by Matt Wieters in the first inning and a solo by Robert Andino in the third, both off David Phelps, who put the Yanks in 4-0 and 6-1 divots. Yet he was taken off the hook by the Yankees’ eighth-inning comeback.
Robertson, whose record fell to 1-6, is 0-2 with a 15.43 ERA in his past three appearances. Both home runs he yielded Thursday night were on two-strike pitches as he failed to put away Jones or Reynolds.
All the runs the Yankees scored in the eighth came after two were out, an encouraging sign, but more and more the fact that they have lived and died by the home run this year is starting to haunt them. The team that leads the majors in home runs is suddenly getting outslugged. Ten games into a 22-game stretch against AL East competition, the Yankees are 3-7 and have been out homered, 22-9. Thursday night was the 25th game in which the Yankees failed to hit a home run, and they are 4-21 in those games.
Camden Yards has always been a place where the Yankees have enjoyed playing with an overall record of 104-57 (.646), but they have to realize that the way the Orioles are playing now it will no longer seem like a home away from home.
Ready to panic yet? Yankees manager Joe Girardi says no. Yankees player say no. Yankees fans? Now that is a different story.
You could tell by the moaning sounds coming from the Yankee Stadium crowd of 42,352 Friday night that Yankees Universe may be falling into a panic mode. The Orioles’ 6-1 victory reduced the Yankees’ lead in the American League East to two games over Baltimore. If the Yanks don’t get their game together, they might lose all of that 10-game lead they had back on July 18.
Girardi has made a rotation change to try and stem the tide. Freddy Garcia was supposed to start Saturday but has been pushed back to Monday night at St. Petersburg, Fla. David Phelps will go instead Saturday and Phil Hughes Sunday against an Orioles squad that has been the surprise of baseball this year.
Baltimore’s record is 15 games above .500 for the first time in 15 years. Not since the last week of the 1997 season have the Orioles been this high above par. It has been an amazing season for the Orioles, considering they have been outscored by 39 runs. My old pal, Gary Thorne, the O’s television play-by-play announcer, explained that the reason for that is because the Orioles are winning a ton of one-run (24-6) and two-run (22-12) games.
Friday night was no one- or two-run game for the Orioles. They struck for three runs in the second inning off Hiroki Kuroda on a sacrifice fly by Chris Davis and a two-run home run by Mark Reynolds and made all that stand up. Kuroda, who lasted one out into the ninth, gave up a solo home run to J.J. Hardy in the sixth. Baltimore added two tag-on runs in the ninth off Derek Lowe, one on Reynolds’ second homer of the game. Curtis Granderson’s 34th home run with one out in the ninth off reliever Brian Matusz prevented the Yankees from being shut out.
It was the next worse thing to that, though. The Yankees once again failed to give Kuroda ample run support. In this case, no run support at all. Kuroda has the fourth lowest run support total of any starting pitcher in the AL. The Yanks managed four hits, all singles, off O’s starter Miguel Gonzalez (6-3), who had a sneaky fastball that resulted in one walk and nine strikeouts in seven innings.
“His fastball was quicker than we expected,” Girardi said, “and he got his breaking balls over behind in the count.”
A dangerous combination, to be sure. The Yankees struck out 11 times in the game, including Nick Swisher taking the golden sombrero with four Ks.
The Yankees threatened to get back into the game in the sixth. Trailing, 4-0, they got the first two batters on base, but Derek Jeter, Swisher and Robinson Cano could not get the ball out of the infield. The next inning, they had two on and two out but Ichiro Suzuki grounded out. So their offense turned out to be nothing more than Granderson’s dinger.
Girardi called what the Yankees are going through “a little rut.” Perhaps, so, but it has also led to a little gap between them and the Orioles.
What a bizarre beginning to Tuesday night’s game. The Yankees have been in need of an offensive outburst, and they got it by putting up a five-spot in the first inning only to be trumped by the Orioles, who came back to score seven runs in the second against Ivan Nova.
The Yankees had three runs home before they made an out in the first against righthander Chris Tillman, whom they have regularly roughed up in the past but who has pitched very well since coming back from Triple A. He entered the game with a 1.66 ERA. In three previous starts at Yankee Stadium, however, Tillman pitched to a 12.27 ERA. It is hard to believe that could go up, but it did after the first inning to 14.25.
Just like rapid fire, the Yankees jumped on Tillman with a double by Derek Jeter, a RBI single by Curtis Granderson and a two-run home run by Robinson Cano, who shook off a 0-for-14 slump. Nick Swisher, back on the field at first base after recovering from a strained left hip flexor, kept up the rally with a single. One out later, Eric Chavez singled Raul Ibanez to third base. Tillman cost himself another run when he couldn’t handle a slow roller to the box by Ichiro Suzuki. Ibanez scored on the play. Russell Martin, who is finally starting to hit with authority, knocked in the fifth run with a single.
The spread proved very short-lived. After giving up two singles at the start of the second, Nova struck out the next two batters and seemed headed to a scoreless inning. Then everything came apart. Mark Reynolds doubled in a run, and Omar Quintanilla singled in two. Nick Markakis singled before Nova walked .225-hitting J.J. Hardy on four pitches, surely the biggest glitch of the inning, to load the bases.
Chris Davis made Nova pay for that mistake by driving a 0-1 curve off the top of the fence and over the wall in left-center for the first grand slam of his career. Just like that, it was 7-5 Orioles, and the Yankees were again in need of more offense. Doubles by Lew Ford and Wilson Betemit produced Baltimore’s eighth run in the third inning, by which point all but one of the Orioles had gotten a hit and all but one had scored a run.
“That white rabbit will find you” is a time-honored baseball phrased used by managers when trying to hide a defensively-challenged player. For years before the designated hitter rule, the position most often played by those with faulty gloves was left field, which was where Eduardo Nunez found himself Monday night.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi wasn’t necessarily trying to hide Nunez, an infielder by trade. With Nick Swisher sidelined for several days because of a strained left hamstring and Brett Gardner still on the 15-day disabled list due to a right elbow strain, the Yankees are short on outfielders.
In Nunez’s role as a utility man, playing some games in the outfield is part of the job description, and he got his first taste of it against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium. And, yes, the white rabbit sure did find him.
It started right away as Nunez had two of the three putouts in the first inning. In the second, he made a fine play at the wall to take down a drive by Chris Davis that became a sacrifice fly. The next inning, Nunez made an impressive diving grab of a liner by Robert Andino.
Nunez played some outfield during spring training, but as Girardi pointed out, “When we put him in left field during spring training, nobody hit the ball to him.”
That definitely was not the case this time.
Davis’ sac fly gave Baltimore a brief lead. The Yanks made it 2-1 in the bottom of the second as Eric Chavez drove a first-pitch fastball to right field for a two-run home run. It was the third homer of the season for the injury-plagued Chavez, who had not hit more than two in a season since 2007 with the Athletics.
I had an interesting exchange earlier in the day with Yankees Universe member Marc Cantelmi about a pattern that has developed to this point in the season that is a bit disturbing, and it was in evidence again Saturday night in the Yankees’ 7-5 loss to the Rangers.
Give the Yankees a lot of credit for coming back from a 5-0 deficit in the second inning to tie the score by the sixth. After that, however, nothing. Derek Jeter, who swung the bat with authority, led off the seventh with a single, but the Yankees went down in order the rest of the way against relievers Darren Oliver and Neftali Feliz. The duo followed Arthur Rhodes, whom the Yankees have historically dominated but who struck out both batters he faced in the sixth, Jorge Posada and Russell Martin, after Nick Swisher’s solo home run off Brent Tomko had tied the score.
The Yankees’ offensive letdown after the sixth inning has been a problem all year. As Cantelmi pointed out, the Yankees have scored 45.3 percent of their runs in the first three innings. After that the percentages drop to 31.5 percent from the fourth to sixth innings and 20.1 percent from the seventh to ninth innings (they have scored 2.5 percent of their runs in extra innings).
The Yankees are batting .247 as a team and only .194 after the sixth inning. As I mentioned to Marc, this suggests that the Yankees have problems once they get into an opponent’s bullpen. This was once considered a team strength, working starters into deep counts, running up pitch counts so that opposing managers have to turn the game over earlier than they would like to the pen where save the closer and perhaps the setup reliever you are looking at the dregs of the staff.
The Yankees followed their 2011 pattern again Saturday night. They knocked out starter Derek Holland one batter into the fourth inning and had four runs, four hits and five walks against him. Against the Texas bullpen, though, the Yanks had one run, two hits and one walk in six innings and failed even to put a runner in scoring position.
As for whether this can eventually become a major problem, I would say yes. Beating up on relievers in the middle innings of games is how teams mount victories, and the Yankees are showing a pattern of not doing that. It may just be part of an overall hitting slump. Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson aside, the Yankees are getting underwhelming offense from what should be a devastating lineup.
Bartolo Colon’s first poor outing put the Yankees in a five-run hole, but they climbed out of it. The Rangers won the game against the Yankees’ bullpen, specifically lefthander Boone Logan, who gave up successive hits to left-handed swinging Mitch Moreland and Chris Davis and a suicide-squeeze bunt to another lefty swinger, Julio Borbon. Michael Young’s fourth hit, a single off righthander David Robertson, knocked in a two-out insurance run.
The Yankees need to turn this around. Don’t look now – and normally glancing at the standings daily doesn’t start until June – but the Yankees are now in a virtual tie with the Rays for first place in the American League East. Tampa Bay started the season 1-8 but is now 19-14 with a .576 winning percentage that is only slightly behind the .581 of the 18-13 Yankees.