Results tagged ‘ Chris Tillman ’
July was a schizophrenic month for the Yankees. Halfway through it, they were riding high with a 10-4 record and bound to extend their major-league record for winning Julys to 20, five more than any major-league team.
They then went into a tailspin that resulted in nine losses over the last 13 games of the month to finish at 13-13, their first non-winning record in July since 1992. Tuesday night’s game was the month in microcosm. The Yankees blew a 5-0, first-inning lead and lost to the Orioles, 11-5.
At the end of play July 18, the Yankees had opened a 10-game lead in the American League East, the widest of any first-place club in the majors this season. Over the past two weeks, 4 ½ games of that lead have been shaved off as Baltimore trails now by only 5 ½ games. The Yanks did not have a four-game losing streak for three months and have had two in the past two weeks. The four-game losing streak at home is their longest since a six-gamer May 11-20 last year.
“We’re not playing well; there’s no doubt about it,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We’ve come back from these stretches before and need to do it again.”
Normally, a 5-0 lead is pretty safe in the hands of Ivan Nova, but not the way he has pitched lately. The righthander gave it all back and then some as the Orioles responded with a seven-run second inning on the way to taking a 9-5 lead by the fifth, Nova’s last inning. It was an ugly line for Nova (nine earned runs and 10 hits in five innings), whose ERA bloated from 4.08 to 4.53.
“Most of the year he has been good with runners on base but not this time,” Girardi said. “He just didn’t have good stuff.”
Nova, who won five straight starts from late May into mid-June, has won one game in eight starts since June 17. Over that stretch, he is 1-3 with four no-decisions and a 5.29 ERA in 47 2/3 innings. He is winless in his past four starts with two no-decisions and a 7.54 ERA in 22 2/3 innings.
The Yankees have done a solid job all year overcoming injuries to Brett Gardner, Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Andy Pettitte and Alex Rodriguez. Chamberlain returned to duty Tuesday night, and the Yankees received good news on Mark Teixeira, who is nursing a painful left wrist but could be back in the lineup sometime this weekend.
Without Tex and A-Rod, the lineup looked pretty short yet the Yankees batted around against career pin cushion Chris Tillman for a five-spot in the first inning. Tillman got off the canvas, however, and held the Yankees to two hits over the next four innings to come away with the victory and leaving the Yanks to sigh, “Bring on August.”
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.
Where would CC Sabathia be without the Orioles? It’s a reasonable question.
The hefty lefty grinded his way through seven innings on a rainy Wednesday night at Camden Yards and did what he usually does against Baltimore – win. The 4-2 Yankees victory improved Sabathia’s season record to 6-3. He is 4-0 with a 2.73 ERA against the Orioles this year, but that also means he is 2-3 with a 4.69 ERA against everybody else in the American League.
Sabathia’s dominance of the Orioles is career-long. He is 13-1 with a 2.59 ERA against them, including 7-1 with a 2.87 ERA at Camden Yards, which is by no means a pitcher’s haven.
CC seemed sluggish in the early innings when there was a steady downpour but not enough to halt play. He got stronger as the game went on, ringing up 95 mph a few times on the jugs gun. His most effective pitch in tight situations was his slider, particularly against lefty-swinging Luke Scott, who struck out three times, stranding two runners in the fifth inning and the bases loaded in the seventh on CC’s 114th and final pitch.
Good teams find ways to win. Bad teams find ways to lose. It’s a simple as that. The Yankees had only two hits in 13 at-bats (.154) with runners in scoring position but took advantage of three Baltimore errors to beat the Orioles for the 10th time in 11 games.
Errors had a hand in the Yankees’ first three runs as the Orioles squandered a 2-0 lead. An errant pickoff attempt by Orioles starter Chris Tillman in the fourth put Robinson Cano on second base. Cano crossed to third on an infield out to the right side and was able to score on a fly ball by Curtis Granderson.
In the sixth, second baseman Julio Logo booted a grounder by Mark Teixeira. Singles by Cano and Alex Rodriguez delivered the tying run. The Yankees took the lead when shortstop Cesar Izturis threw a potential double-play relay into the O’s dugout.
Conversely, the Yankees’ infield saved a run. A diving stop by Cano on a single by Nick Markakis kept Izturis from scoring from second base in the seventh when it was still a one-run game. Sabathia then walked Ty Wigginton to load the bases but came back to get Scott. Cano’s play was every bit as valuable as his three hits that raised his majors-leading batting average to .376.
Credit Brett Gardner for helping to manufacture an insurance run for the Yankees in the eighth. Gardner was on the bench because of a sore thumb with Kevin Russo in left field. Gardner was available as a pinch runner and came in for Jorge Posada, who walked with one out.
After Granderson struck out, Gardner stole second. That put him in position to score on Francisco Cervelli’s single to center. When it came to Gardner’s spot in the order in the ninth, Marcus Thames batted for him, so Gardner still can’t swing a bat. X-rays were negative, a favorable sign, but hand injuries are the most troublesome in baseball. Thank heaven Gardner can keep running.