Results tagged ‘ Daniel Bard ’
The Yankees aren’t the only American League East team with concerns about their rotation. The Red Sox were thought to have the most top-heavy starting unit in the division, but it has gotten off to an atrocious start.
Boston’s slumping offense has been considered chiefly responsible for the team’s 1-7 start, but the pitchers are not doing their jobs, either. Clay Buchholz got battered again Saturday by the Yankees (3 2/3 innings, 8 hits, 5 runs, 4 earned runs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts, 1 home run) and watched his ERA bloat to 7.20.
That is not the highest ERA in the rotation. That dubious distinction belongs to John Lackey, who has the only victory among the starters (Friday night against the Yankees) and an ERA of 15.58.
Red Sox relievers are a combined 1-5 with a 7.46 ERA. They have allowed 35 runs (34 earned), 50 hits, 20 walks and 12 home runs in 41 innings with 25 strikeouts. The other two Boston losses were charged to setup reliever Daniel Bard, who has a 12.27 ERA and has not looked like the heir to Jonathan Papelbon’s closer role that everyone in Boston expects if Papelbon bolts to free agency after this season.
The Yankees’ rotation has actually done better, although it is nothing to write home about. Starters have combined for a 3-1 record despite a 5.58 ERA. Due mainly to two weak outings from Phil Hughes, Yankees starters have allowed more hits (43) than innings pitched (40 1/3), but only four home runs, and their walk to strikeout ratio of 14:31 is superior to Boston’s 20:25.
The best effort by a Yankees starter, the seven-inning, two-hit, shutout work by CC Sabathia Tuesday night, was not rewarded with a victory as the bullpen blew a four-run lead.
Both staffs have new catchers, Russell Martin for the Yankees and Jarrod Saltalamacchia for the Red Sox. Martin has drawn raves from Yankees manager Joe Girardi, himself a former catcher, for his work behind the plate.
In Saturday’s 9-4 victory over the Red Sox, Martin had his work cut dealing with an erratic Ivan Nova, but the catcher then coaxed 4 2/3 scoreless innings combined from David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain and Luis Ayala.
Martin also combined with fellow newcomer Eric Chavez and center fielder Curtis Granderson to power the Yankees’ offense from the bottom of the lineup. They combined for six hits, five runs and seven RBI in 12 at-bats.
Martin drove in four runs with two home runs and is batting .321 with 3 homers and 8 RBI. Chavez, whose first start was rained out at Yankee Stadium, finally made his Yanks debut (as the designated hitter) with two doubles and a single. Granderson hit his second home run (both have come off lefthanders, a good sign) and walked twice.
Since the game was at Fenway Park, Robinson Cano was a major contributor. He homered, doubled and singled in five at-bats. Cano is a .367 hitter in 229 career at-bats at Fenway with 21 doubles, 1 triple, 11 home runs and 48 RBI. Over this season and last, Cano has hit .455 with 3 homers and 10 RBI in 44 at-bats in Boston.
Concern continues to grow around Phil Hughes as well it should. The pitcher who won 10 of his first 11 decisions in 2010 is winless after two starts in 2011 and continues to perplex the Yankees for the curious falloff in the speed of his fastball.
Hughes lasted merely two innings Friday at Fenway Park in the Red Sox’ home opener and blew leads of 2-0 and 3-1. The Yankees were able to take him off the hook by coming back to tie the score off equally erratic John Lackey, but Hughes’ ineffectiveness remained the most negative aspect of the 9-6 loss.
Hughes faced 14 batters, nine of whom reached base, six of whom scored and none of whom struck out. His ERA is an unsightly 16.50. Perhaps the dip in velocity is the result of Hughes falling in love with the cut fastball. Two-thirds of his offerings Friday were cutters. A couple of Yankees pitchers in the past I can remember who lost muscle in their fastball through overuse of the cutter were Jim Abbott and Andy Pettitte.
As Pettitte proved when velocity falls off, a pitcher can remain a winner by mixing pitches and locating. Yankee manager Joe Girardi is convinced that location is Hughes’ main problem.
Right from the beginning, Hughes was in trouble. He hung a slider to the second hitter, Dustin Pedroia, who hit his first home run of the season. A Boston lineup that entered the game batting .181 was able to bat around in the order against Hughes in the second inning and put up a five-spot on six hits with two of the outs made on the bases.
Girardi had seen enough at that point and brought in Bartolo Colon, who provided 4 1/3 decent innings but was stuck with the loss because of an unearned run. A rare error by first baseman Mark Teixeira gave the Red Sox runners on first and third with one out in the fifth, and catcher Jarrod Saltalamaccchia doubled off the Green Monster to drive in the go-ahead run.
Boone Logan was right up there with Hughes as a disappointment. He came into the game in the seventh with one out and a runner on first base to face left-handed hitters David Ortiz and J.D. Drew. Ortiz doubled, and Drew followed with a two-run single. With Jose Feliciano, the free agent pickup, on the disabled list, Logan is the only lefty in the Yanks’ bullpen. His job is to get out left-handed hitters, which he has not done yet. Logan has faced five of them and given up three hits and two walks.
On the plus side for the Yankees, there was a lot of activity at the top of the lineup with Brett Gardner reaching base four times (triple, double, two walks, stolen base) and Derek Jeter driving in a run with his 2,932nd career hit. Alex Rodriguez tied Junior Griffey for 13th place on the all-time RBI list with his 1,836th on his 616th home run. Robinson Cano doubled twice and drove in two runs.
On the negative side for the Yankees, they managed only one hit combined in four innings off Red Sox relievers Alfredo Aceves, Bobby Jenks, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon.
It was a strange outing Saturday at Fenway Park for Andy Pettitte in his playoff tune-up. At this point, it is uncertain whether Andy will start the second or third game of the American League Division Series, but the lefthander appears to be healthy, which had been a concern.
In his third start since returning from a left groin strain, Pettitte was strong enough to throw 88 pitches and strike out eight hitters. That was the good stuff. What was not so good was his failing to get past one batter into the fifth inning and allowing nine hits. Pettitte has given up 19 hits in his past 7 1/3 innings, all against the Red Sox, who these days are not exactly sending out a powerhouse lineup.
Pettitte’s uneven performance set the tone for the game, which was another of those Boston marathons (4 hours, 18 minutes) between these clubs that drew harsh criticism earlier this season from umpire Joe West. There was not a 1-2-3 inning until the ninth when Boston’s Daniel Bard and the Yankees’ Phil Hughes each set down the side in order.
Maybe hitters were just worn out from all the swinging and base running. In regulation, each team had seven innings in which they had runners in scoring position but did not take full advantage. The Yankees left 11 runners on base by getting only two hits in 18 at-bats with runners in scoring position. The Red Sox were 3-for-16 in those situations and stranded 12 runners.
The Yankees helped the Red Sox tie the score by giving Boston two runs without a hit, on wild pitches by Joba Chamberlain in the seventh and Kerry Wood in the eighth. Wood redeemed himself by making a fine play at the plate in handling a short-hop throw from third baseman Ramiro Pena to cut down a second runner trying to score after catcher Jorge Posada had thrown the ball past Wood covering.
The run ended Wood’s scoreless string of 24 1/3 innings over 22 appearances since Aug. 3. The righthander has lowered his ERA from 6.30 to 3.13 in his 24 relief outings with the Yankees. The only negative about Wood’s work with the Yankees has been the tendency to walk batters. He loaded the bases on walks in the eighth and has given up 18 walks in 26 innings.
The base on balls came to the Yankees’ aid in the 10th as they pulled out a 6-5 victory. Jonathan Papelbon walked Brett Gardner to open the 10th. Pena bunted Gardner to second, and second baseman Bill Hall’s error trying to bare-hand a single by Derek Jeter allowed Gardner to score.
Last Sunday, Papelbon and Mariano Rivera blew saves in the same game at Yankee Stadium. Papelbon wasn’t in a save situation in the top of the 10th, but Rivera was in the bottom half. The extra side work Mo did in Toronto paid off as he worked a perfect inning for his 33rd save. Hughes, who pitched well in his last start that Sunday but got a no-decision, picked up his 18th victory for his stainless inning of relief.