Results tagged ‘ Curtis Granderson ’

Yanks relying on Tanaka to halt slide

With the designated hitter rule not in effect in a National League park, Mark Teixeira was back at first base for the Yankees Wednesday night for Round 3 of the Subway Series that moved from Yankee Stadium to Citi Field.

This was a move probably not welcomed by the Mets, who had a field day for two nights at the Stadium in scoring 21 runs and banging out 24 hits, six of them home runs, two by Curtis Granderson.

Masahiro Tanaka was to be tested in the role as stopper of the rotation to try and halt this four-game losing streak and a six-gamer over the past two years against the Mets whom they usually dominate in this series. The Mets will treat their fans to the major-league debuts of pitching prospects Rafael Montero Wednesday night and Jacob deGrom Thursday night. deGrom was recalled from Triple A Las Vegas Wednesday to take the rotation spot of Dillon Gee, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a lat muscle strain.

Teixeira has been bothered by a tender groin that reduced his workload to a pinch-hitting assignment Monday night and the DH role Tuesday night. The Yankees need Tex’s presence in the lineup. He is batting .310 over his past 42 at-bats and has hit six home runs in his past 14 games. Teixeira leads the Yankees in home runs with seven and is tied for second on the team in RBI with 17 despite having played in only 24 games thus far this season.

Tanaka, who has a 5-0 record with a 2.57 ERA, is not the only Yankees rookie having an impressive season. How about Yangervis Solarte? The infielder who spent eight seasons in the minor leagues before getting a big-league shot with the Yankees continues to put up numbers.

Solarte entered Wednesday night’s game leading the American League in batting with a .336 average and ranked tied for fourth in the majors behind the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki (.394) and Charlie Blackmon (.342) and the Phillies’ Chase Utley (.338) and even the Padres’ Seth Smith. Solarte also had a .412 on-base percentage, which was third in the AL, trailing the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo (.457) and the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista (.433).

Solarte was leading the Yankees in runs batted in (22), the second-highest total among all major league rookies behind only the White Sox’ Jose Abreu (38). Solarte is one of only six qualifying hitters in the majors (and one of two in the AL) with a batting average of at least .300, an OBP of at least .400 and a slugging percentage of at least .500. He is batting .375 with four doubles, two home runs and 20 RBI in 32 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Granderson hurts Yankees again

The Mets picked up from where they left off the previous game and put some more hurt on the battered Yankees in the first inning Tuesday night in Round 2 of the Subway Series.

Mark Teixeira, who is dealing with a tender groin, was back in the lineup as the designated hitter, but Ichiro Suzuki was still unable to take batting practice because of knee and back issues. Needing help in the outfield, the Yankees recalled Zoilo Almonte from Triple A Scranton and placed relief pitcher Shawn Kelley (back stiffness) on the 15-day disabled list. The Yankees are expected to bring up another pitcher to start Thursday night’s game at Citi Field.

Tuesday night’s starter, Vidal Nuno, had a rough time of it as he was touched for four runs in the first inning. The lefthander was wild from the start with a hit batter and walk preceding a single by David Wright for his 900th career run batted in.

Old friend Curtis Granderson wasn’t the least bit friendly to his former teammates as he drove a 1-1 pitch to right field for his fifth home run, a three-run shot, and second in two nights at Yankee Stadium. Man, he must really miss this place.

The Yankees did bounce back in the bottom of the first to put up three runs off Mets starter Zack Wheeler, who also began shakily by allowing a single to Brett Gardner and walking Derek Jeter. The rally seemed over when Jacoby Ellsbury grounded into a double play, but Teixeira singled to right for one run and Brian McCann homered off a 3-2 pitch for two more.

Nuno could not make it through the fourth inning. Wright, who had a big night and extending his hitting streak to 11 games, doubled in the third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Juan Lagares. A throwing error by third baseman Yangervis Solarte on a potential double-play pivot opened the gate for another Mets run in the fourth on a sac fly by Daniel Murphy.

Murphy was even more damaging against righthander Alfredo Aceves an inning later when he smashed a towering three-run home run off the right field foul pole and not far from the top of it. If not obstructed, the ball would have landed in the upper deck, a place where precious few home runs have landed in the six-year-old structure. Who says Daniel Murphy has no power?

Injuries beginning to mount for Yankees

When losing a game to the Mets is not the worst thing that happened to the Yankees you know they are in trouble. The Mets extended their winning streak over the Yankees to five games with a 9-7 victory Monday night in one of those see-saw games that often favors the club that has last licks.

It did not work that way for the Yankees, although they did put the potential tying runs on base against Kyle Farnsworth before Brian McCann hit a smoking grounder to first base that resulted in a game-ending, 3-5-3 double play. That’s right 5. Third baseman David Wright was covering second base with an over-shift alignment on McCann.

The Yankees blew leads of 4-1 and 7-4 to the Mets, who stroked four home runs, including a two-run shot by Curtis Granderson in his return to Yankee Stadium. Travis d’Arnaud, Eric Young Jr. and Chris Young also went deep for the Mets to trump an early grand slam by Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner. Chris Young followed a broken-bat RBI single by Lucas Duda with a two-run blast to left in the eighth inning that turned the game in the Mets’ direction.

Now the really bad stuff:

Carlos Beltran had to be pinch-hit for in the seventh inning of a one-run game because he hyper-extended his right elbow between innings in the batting cage where most designated hitters spend their time preparing for future at-bats.

Ichiro Suzuki did not take batting practice perhaps for the first time in his career and was unavailable for pinch hitting or running duties due to a jammed right knee and a sore back the result of his attempt fora diving catch Sunday at Milwaukee.

Relief pitcher Shawn Kelley also has back issues and was unavailable out of the bullpen on a night when the relief corps needed major aid.

Mark Teixeira did not start at first base because of weary legs and a tender groin. He was able to pinch hit in the ninth but when he drove a liner into the corner had to settle for a single. Manager Joe Girardi said Tex likely would have made second base had his legs been normal, and that would have taken the double play out of the equation that inning.

CC Sabathia, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of fluid buildup in his right knee, was headed south to visit Dr. James Andrews, the noted orthopedist, for a second opinion on his condition.

Had enough? Girardi has and is trying hard not to think 2014 will be a continuation of 2013 when a franchise-record 56 players were needed to navigate through a injury-riddled season. Already this year the Yankees have used 36 players, including 19 pitchers (20 if you count infielder Dean Anna, who tossed an inning).

Kelly Johnson and Yangervis Solarte, who began the season in a platoon at third base, triggered a three-run rally in the sixth inning that unlocked a 4-4 score. Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda coughed up a 4-1 lead on a solo home run in the fifth by d’Arnaud and a two-run shot in the sixth by Granderson, who just needed a shot of the Stadium to get back on track.

It was Granderson’s 65th career home run in 910 at-bats at the Stadium, an average of one every 14 at-bats. Grandy hit 63 homers at the Stadium in his four seasons with the Yankees, which accounted for 54.8 percent of his dinger output during his time here. I would have thought that percentage would be higher, but Curtis showed he could hit the long ball elsewhere than the Bronx, which should be encouraging to him.

After a messy second inning in which he gave up the salami to Gardner, Bartolo Colon settled down and pitched three scoreless innings as his team clawed back into the game. It all came apart for Colon in the sixth.

Solarte followed a one-out double by Alfonso Soriano with a single to break the tie. Johnson, playing first base for Teixeira, was credited with a triple on a drive to left-center hat was poorly played by Eric Young Jr. to score Solarte.

Johnson displayed questionable judgment in trying to score on Brian Roberts’ grounder to the left side against a drawn-in infield and was thrown out in a rundown. Gardner sent Colon packing with a dart of a single to right field that put Roberts on third. On a steal attempt by Gardner, d’Arnaud threw the ball into center field which allowed Roberts to score.

Kuroda came out of the game at the start of the seventh. Alfredo Aceves, a candidate to start Thursday night, came in on his throw day but was not sharp. He walked d’Arnaud to start the inning and one out later gave up Eric Young Jr.’s first home run of the season that got the Mets back to a run.

Daniel Murphy singled after Young’s homer. Aceves got a big out by catching Wright looking at a slider for a called third strike. With Granderson at bat and a 2-2 count, Murphy tried to steal second and was thrown out by McCann. Granderson is strikeout prone, but it did not make much sense to me to run Murphy there. It was a nice break for the Yankees on a night when not much else went their way.

Granderson treated politely at Stadium

Yankees fans apparently were not as bothered about Curtis Granderson signing with the Mets as they were about Robinson Cano signing with the Mariners.

In his first game back at Yankee Stadium Monday night, Granderson received polite applause along with some booing during his first at-bat in the first inning. Curtis made a waving gesture toward the Yanks’ dugout as he approached the plate and promptly lined a single to center field off Hiroki Kuroda.

The reception was a far cry from what Cano experienced last month in his return to the Stadium wearing an opponent’s uniform. He was the target of severe booing throughout the abbreviated, two-game series.

The difference in reaction is probably due to off-season negotiations. The Yankees made a qualifying offer to Granderson for one year and $14.1 million and understood that he might seek a multi-year contract elsewhere, which he got from the Mets for four years and $60 million.

Cano on the other hand rejected a seven-year offer for $175 million from the Yankees that was certainly generous and accepted a 10-year deal for $240 million from Seattle that was certainly exorbitant.

I guess it was that $180-million difference that figured into the fans’ response.

Girardi: Cano will be tough to replace

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not want to tip his hand about how the new-look Yankees will, well, look in 2014. In his manager’s session Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, Girardi said he would wait until spring training to decide how the team will shape out.

The main question was with regard to center field. Does the incumbent Brett Gardner stay or move to a corner in deference to Jacoby Ellsbury, the free-agent acquisition? And if Gardner moves, how does that affect Alfonso Soriano and Ichiro Suzuki? Not now, Joe said.

“I don’t think we’re finished yet,” Girardi said about possible future Yankees transactions. “The off-season is far from over.”

This off-season has already had a major impact on the Yankees, specifically the loss to free agency and the Mariners of Robinson Cano that creates a huge hole in the center of the infield.

“It’s a wonderful deal for Robbie,” Girardi said. “That is going to take care of him and his family for a long time. I thought the Yankees made a great offer, but in free agency with a player of his caliber something bigger can come along. We had added some guys offensively, but Cano is not an easy guy to replace. We’re going to have to find offense from other places. There are not too many second basemen that can put up Robbie’s numbers.”

My own feeling on the Cano signing with Seattle is that someday and not in the distant future he will wake up and realize he may have taken the better deal in terms of time and money but not in terms of competition or comfort. Robinson better get used to air travel. No club travels more miles than the Mariners, whose closest neighbor in Oakland, Calif., is two hours away by air. The Mariners will make six separate trips to Texas in 2014.

Cano will also find that Safeco Field is one of the most beautiful facilities in all of the major leagues and very much state of the art but that the fences are much farther from the plate than they are at Yankee Stadium. The Mariners have Cano and King Felix Hernandez and not much else. Back in the Bronx, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is working to revamp a club that missed the playoff this past season for only the second time in 19 years.

A surprising remark at the Meetings came from former Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson, who is moving across the Triboro Bridge to Citi Field in 2014. Introduced by his new team, Granderson talked about a desire to stay in the city and said, “True New Yorkers are Mets fans.”

What about it, Yankees fans? Are you going to take that lying down?

Patsies most of the year, Blue Jays jolt Yankees

When you come right down to it, the Yankees have the Blue Jays to thank for being in the wild-card chase at all. The Yanks bullied Toronto most of the year except this week. What a time for the Blue Jays to turn the tide.

The Yankees are crawling home from this trip. A 4-6 record through Baltimore, Boston and Toronto was not what they needed to make headway in the wild-card race. Losing two of three to the Blue Jays could turn out to be the killer series for the Yankees, who scored in only three of the 27 innings at Rogers Centre the past three nights.

Yankee manager Joe Girardi will take his lumps in the press and from fans for bringing in Joba Chamberlain in the seventh inning of a 3-1 game. Chamberlain, once a lights-out reliever, had fallen down the bullpen scale so much this year that he had not been used often in high-leverage spots, which made his appearance curious to say the least.

Walking weak-hitting Munenori Kawasaki to start the inning was a harbinger of what was to come. Brett Lawrie followed with a ground single through the right side. With lefthander Cesar Cabral throwing in the bullpen, Girardi stayed with Chamberlain against lefty-swinging Adam Lind, who crushed a 2-1 slider for a three-run home run that hit the Yankees like a dagger.

Actually, Yankees pitchers were on the tightrope all night. Hiroki Kuroda somehow got through six innings by allowing only three runs, thanks to some stupid base running by the Jays and even worse clutch hitting. Toronto was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base over the first four innings.

It was another disappointing outing for Kuroda, who over his past seven starts is 0-5 with a 6.37 ERA. The Yankees’ rotation has had an unproductive month. The starting pitchers combined are 1-7 with a 5.40 ERA in September.

As ineffective as the pitching has been, the offense has been worse. The Yankees scored only six runs in the three games at Toronto. Curtis Granderson apart, they did nothing against Jays starter Todd Redmond (4-2). Granderson tagged him for a solo homer in the sixth, but Redmond gave up only three other hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in seven innings.

The Yankees are four games back in the loss column in the wild-card standings in which five clubs are ahead of them for two available berths. The Yanks come home into the netherworld of inter-league play this weekend against the Giants and can only hope they can cut their deficit to Tampa Bay to three games or less when the Rays come to Yankee Stadium Tuesday night.

Behind the 8-ball, Yanks erupt in the 8th

For seven innings Wednesday night, it looked like “second verse same as the first” for the Yankees, who were shut out Tuesday night by the Blue Jays and were six outs from having that happen again at a time when losing is not an option if the Bombers want to take that wild-card ticket into the playoffs.

Toronto lefthander J.A. Happ took a three-hit shutout into the eighth inning but was removed after giving up a leadoff double to Brendan Ryan. Even with the emphasis on bullpens, there is nothing more welcome to opposing hitters than the departure of a starting pitcher whom they have not solved all night.

The Happ-less Blue Jays were hapless as the Yankees struck for four runs on three straight RBI hits off reliever Steve Delabar (5-5) and knocked off Toronto, 4-3, with Mariano Rivera coming through with a four-out save.

Delabar entered the game after lefthander Aaron Loup allowed a single to Curtis Granderson that gave the Yankees runners at the corners with none out. Delabar struck out Alex Rodriguez on a nifty changeup, but the righthander did not get another out. Robinson Cano singled to center to send home Ryan with the Yankees’ first run in 17 innings.

Alfonso Soriano doubled to make the score 3-2. Yankees manager Joe Girardi could have gone to a left-handed batter, Lyle Overbay or Ichiro Suzuki, to bat for Vernon Wells, but he stayed with him and Wells came through with a double to left to put the Yankees in front.

Whereas Toronto’s bullpen came apart, the Yankees’ pen was a key to the victory. David Huff took over for Phil Hughes one out in the fourth after Colby Rasmus belted a two-run home run into the second deck of right field at Rogers Centre. Huff (3-1) gave up another second-deck homer, to Ryan Goins (the first of his career), but the lefthander retired the next 10 batters in order.

The eighth-inning rally by the Yankees set up the last two innings perfectly for them with David Robertson and Rivera plenty rested to finish things off. Girardi was just as quick to lift D-Rob as he was for Hughes in calling for Mo with two outs and a runner on second base. The skipper was in no mood for one of Robertson’s Houdini acts. Girardi wanted the sure thing, which is what he is used to getting from Rivera.

The Blue Jays created some drama when Adam Lind and Rasmus started the ninth with singles. Pinch hitter Munenori Kawasaki got off a lousy sacrifice attempt and Overbay cut down the lead runner at third base. Mo took care of the rest of it by getting Goins on a grounder to second and striking out J.P. Arencibia on three pitches.

It remains very much an uphill climb for the Yankees, but they avoided a major slide to stay on the incline.

A sorry day for Sori-less Yankees

The Yankees were in trouble Saturday before they even took the field at Fenway Park. Once again – and how often has this happened this year? – a player was scratched from the lineup due to injury. Not just any player, either. Down this time was none other than Alfonso Soriano, the offensive force who has been at the center of the team’s renaissance the past six weeks.

Soriano was unavailable because of a sprained right thumb, which he sustained while making a diving catch Thursday night at Baltimore. He played Friday night but aggravated the condition and could not grip a bat Saturday. X-rays were negative, which was a good sign. A not so good sign, however, was that the thumb was worse Saturday than it was Friday night.

Without Soriano, Yankees manager Joe Girardi had to add another left-handed hitter, Ichiro Suzuki, as an outfielder in the batting order against lefthander Jon Lester (14-8), who pitched eight solid innings for the Red Sox. Ironically, two of the Yankees’ three hits were by a left-handed hitter, Curtis Granderson, who tripled and doubled.

Granderson batted out of the leadoff spot the past two games in place of regular center fielder Brett Gardner, who could be lost for the remainder of the regular season because of a left oblique strain. Shortstop Derek Jeter is also gone for the rest of the regular season due to lingering issues with his surgical left ankle.

Yes, the Yankees are pretty beat up, which they have been much of the season. It has been a medical nightmare for them. I teased trainer Steve Donohue the other day that the club must have run out of tape before the All-Star break. Referring to former head trainer Gene Monahan, Stevie said, “Geno sure picked the right time to retire.”

CC Sabathia got beat up Saturday as well. Boston did not enjoy a slugfest but did tag Sabathia (13-13) for five earned runs, nine hits and four walks in six innings. Five different players drove in runs for the Red Sox. CC had another troubling season against the Red Sox. He was 2-2 but had a 7.22 ERA in 28 2/3 innings, including 1-1 with a 9.92 ERA in 16 1/3 innings at Fenway Park.

Conversely, Lester was 2-1 with a 3.29 ERA in 27 1/3 innings against the Yankees this year. Of the 24 outs Lester recorded Saturday, 16 were in the infield and five were on strikeouts. The Yankees’ only run scored on an infield out as they were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. The 2-through-6 hitters were a combined 0-for-18.

Yanks accept gift-wrapped victory from Orioles

The Yankees did what they needed to do by winning three of four games at Baltimore, which was to leap-frog over the Orioles in the American League wild-card chase. The Yanks remain one game behind (two in the loss column) to the Rays but put the Orioles in their rearview mirror by 1 ½ games.

Thursday night’s 6-5 victory was an out-and-out gift, but they’ll take it. It was gift-wrapped by Baltimore’s closer, Jim Johnson, who was not in a save situation as the score was 5-5 when he took the mound in the top of the ninth. Johnson got off to a rocky start by giving up a single to .189-hitting Brendan Ryan, who had not been able to buy a hit in his first two games with the Yankees.

Johnson next threw away a sure out when Chris Stewart sacrificing bunted the ball directly back to the reliever, who had a clear shot at forcing Ryan at second base – until he threw the ball into center field. Curtis Granderson bunted successfully to advance the runners with Alex Rodriguez coming up. Johnson then uncorked a wild pitch that scored Ryan to break the tie.

Rodriguez was eventually walked intentionally and Alfonso Soriano grounded into an inning-ending double play. But the damage was done, and Mariano Rivera with a scoreless ninth made sure that the Orioles paid for it.

This game was on the verge of being a major downer for the Yankees when the O’s came back from being down 5-2 in the eighth to tie the score on Danny Valencia’s three-run home run off David Robertson, who pitched so poorly that inning that the official scorer in his discretion did not credit him with the winning decision after the Yankees went ahead in the ninth.

That decision, which I did not agree with by the way, cost Rivera his 44th save since he was awarded the victory instead. Call it a victory or call it a save, it was the third straight rescue effort by Mo in the series.

Soriano might get partial credit for saving the game as well. His fence-climbing, one-handed grab of a drive by Manny Machado at the start of the eighth robbed the third baseman of what appeared a sure home run. Things just got worse for D-Rob as he gave up singles to Adam Jones and Nick Markakis and the homer to Valencia on a first-pitch fastball. J.J. Hardy followed with a double that put the potential go-ahead run in scoring position, but Robertson ended the inning by striking out Matt Wieters.

Official scorer Mark Jacobson used the rule that a pitcher can be denied a victory if his performance is “brief and ineffective.” No one could argue that Robertson was effective, however, there was nothing about his relief outing that could be considered brief. He pitched to seven batters and got three outs, including a crucial third out with a runner in scoring position. As shabby as the inning was for Robertson, I am not sure the official scorer’s ruling was fair.

But all of that is mere paperwork as far as the Yankees are concerned. No matter what pitcher was credited with the victory, it belonged to the whole team and was a nice springboard for the trip to Boston.

Left olblique strain fells Gardner

When will it end? Seemingly every day this season a Yankees player has gotten hurt. They have had 18 players do 25 stints on the disabled list and have used a franchise-record 55 players.

Brett Gardner, who missed nearly all of the 2012 season because of a wrist injury but who stayed healthy for most of this season, became the latest casualty Thursday night. He struck out leading off the finale of the four-game series against the Orioles but did not take the field for the bottom half of the first inning and was replaced in center by Curtis Granderson.

It turned out that Gardner has a strained left oblique. This is an injury that kept infielder Eduardo Nunez on the DL earlier this year for seven weeks. The Yankees can only hope Gardner’s injury is not that severe.

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