Results tagged ‘ David Price ’
Okay, it is time now to forget all this stuff about how the American League East is not just about everybody chasing the Yankees and the Red Sox. After a lot of talk in pre-season publications that the division will have a different look and that the traditional rivals aren’t the teams they used to be, well, take a lot at the standings. The reconstituted Red Sox are in first place, and the pieced-together Yankees are right behind them.
The Blue Jays? The team that brought to Toronto all that star power from the Marlins trade plus the acquisition of last year’s National League Cy Young Award winner (R.A. Dickey) and the signing of last year’s NL batting champion, Melky Cabrera (I don’t care what Bud Selig says; Cabrera had the highest batting average in the NL in 2012), is at the bottom of the AL East with the third worst record in the major leagues.
The Yankees kept Toronto in its place with their first four-game sweep of the Jays at Yankee Stadium since Sept. 18-21, 1995, which was the rookie season of Mariano Rivera, who made it 9-for-9 in saves this year by wrapping up Sunday’s 3-2 victory over Dickey. That makes it both of last year’s Cy Young Award winners that the Yankees beat in a week’s time. They defeated the Rays’ David Price, the 2012 American League winner, five days earlier at St. Petersburg, Fla.
All those warning signals that went up when the Yankees started 1-4 out of the gate seem silly now that they won 14 of their past 19 games with contributions coming from just about everyone on the roster, particularly from some guys other clubs couldn’t wait to rid themselves of.
Take Sunday, for example. The Yankees had only four hits, but two of them were home runs off Dickey by Brennan Boesch and Lyle Overbay. During spring training, the Yanks signed Boesch after he was released by the Tigers and Overbay after he was released by the Red Sox. The Angels were willing to eat more than half of what was left of the sizeable contract of Vernon Wells, who has batted .379 with three homers and six RBI in seven games against Toronto this year, six of them Yankees victories.
Overbay entered the game with a 1-for-14 (.071) career mark against Dickey but ended up going 2-for-3. His third homer of the season, a two-run shot in the seventh with two out, turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead that was held up by the relief work of Boone Logan, David Robertson and the great Rivera. The long ball has haunted Dickey (2-4, 4.54 ERA), who has yielded five home runs in 36 innings.
The Yankees came from behind in all four games of the series and won two games by one run apiece and the other two by two runs each. They are 9-1 in games decided by two runs or less, 4-0 in one-run games and 14-1 when holding opponents to four runs or less.
Phil Hughes remains winless this season despite a good, six-inning outing in which he gave up seven hits and a walk (intentional) with nine strikeouts. One of the two runs he allowed was the result of three soft, two-out singles in the fourth. Hughes was once again plagued by an elevated pitch count (111), but for the first time since Aug. 7 last year he did not give up a home run in a start at Yankee Stadium. He had allowed a total of 10 homers over his previous six starts at the Stadium.
Rivera now has the highest saves total in one month for his career and has converted 32 saves in a row at the Stadium since the start of the 2011 season. Overall, the bullpen has been sensational. Over the past six games, the relief corps has held opponents to three earned runs, three walks and 11 hits in 17 innings with 24 strikeouts and a 1.59 ERA.
And, remember, the Yankees are doing all of this with five regulars out of the lineup. Francisco Cervelli last week joined Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira on the disabled list, and Kevin Youkilis with an ailing back may not be far behind. This should have been the time that the Yankees were the most vulnerable, but they have stayed near the top of the division standings while the Blue Jays have stumbled to the bottom.
The tightness in the scores of this series indicated that Toronto was not exactly blown away by the Yankees, but the losses continue to mount with a 9-17 record looking fearfully like a team pretty much buried before the first month of the season is completed. The Jays can moan all they want about the loss of All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, but the Yankees have shown that injuries to key players do not have to be crippling.
One of the aspects of all the injuries that have beset the Yankees in the early going this year has been vulnerability against left-handed pitching. Losing Kevin Youkilis recently to back stiffness didn’t help a batting order already minus such lefty killers as Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.
That situation is why Tuesday night’s 4-3 victory over the Rays was so uplifting for the Yanks. They hung another loss on David Price, the defending American League Cy Young Award winner who four starts into the season is still winless (0-2). Price pitched well enough to win, actually, but the Yankees stayed close enough in the game to strike in the ninth inning against right-handed reliever Fernando Rodney.
The two-run single by Ichiro Suzuki that unlocked a 2-2 score was good to see as well. The right fielder entered the game with a .200 batting average and .250 on-base percentage, both substandard for the one-time hit king. After Rodney loaded the bases with an intentional walk to pinch hitter Travis Hafner and an unintentional walk to Lyle Overbay, who had a terrific at-bat, a sensational play by first baseman James Loney on a foul by Chris Stewart nearly bailed out the reliever.
Ichiro wasted no time and leaned into a first-pitch fastball from Rodney into center field. That second run proved vital when Mariano Rivera gave up a leadoff home run to Evan Longoria in the bottom of the ninth before getting the next three batters for his sixth save. The victory went to David Robertson, who tossed a perfect eighth, in taking over for Phil Hughes, who pitched soundly over the first seven innings.
A key element in the Yanks’ ninth-inning rally was a stolen base by Robinson Cano, who had another strong game (2-for-4, one run scored). The Yankees used their speed well. Eduardo Nunez scored their first run back in the fourth inning after reaching first base on a third-strike wild pitch by Price.
The Yankees improved their record in games started by lefthanders to 4-3 (compared to 7-5 against right-handed starters), but the breakdown indicates southpaws pose problems to them. Even with eight hits against Price Tuesday night one game after they managed only two hits off lefthander Matt Moore, the Yankees are batting .199 with a .294 slugging percentage against left-handed pitching. Against righthanders, the Yankees are hitting .301 with a .536 slugging percentage.
More games like the one Ichiro had Tuesday night (2-for-4, two RBI) would help the Yankees combat the lefty jinx. His other hit was a one-out single in the sixth, after which he scooted to third on a hit-and-run single to left by Jayson Nix and scored on a grounder to the right side by Brett Gardner.
Phil Hughes is still looking for his first victory of the season, but if he continues to pitch the way he did Tuesday night he will pile up a bunch of triumphs before the year is out. The righthander got into an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel with the Rays’ David Price, last year’s American League Cy Young Award winner, and departed after seven innings with the score 2-2.
Hughes got off to a rocky start by giving up a walk, a double and a sacrifice fly to the first three hitters, but he settled in nicely for his best start of the year. He showed off a muscular fastball and an effective changeup and held the Rays to five singles through the seventh. Hughes struck out six batters and walked only two, although both of the runners scored.
Another positive sign was that Hughes kept the ball in the yard. After giving up five home runs in his previous two starts, Hughes did not allow a long ball Tuesday night. There were a couple of loud fouls at Tropicana Field but nothing over the fence fair, which was important because Price wasn’t giving up much of anything to the Yankees, either, although they put a lot more runners on base than Monday night against Matt Moore, who allowed two hits, both to Robinson Cano, in eight innings.
It was a pretty somber clubhouse Friday night, as you would expect. A 6-4 loss to the Rays was not the way the Yankee wanted to open this homestand. With the Orioles playing on the West Coast, the Yanks faced the possibility of waking up Saturday in second place in the American League East for the first time in three months.
For the Yankees to survive this division race that grows tighter by the day, they will need CC Sabathia to pitch like the ace he has been since his arrival in 2009. That has not been the case, however, for four consecutive starts in which he has surrendered leads in each game.
Friday night’s advantage was only 1-0, but there was a time when that was sufficient for CC. He struggled through the fifth inning and allowed three runs on three hits, two walks and two wild pitches. One of those walks was to .193-hitting Carlos Pena.
“That’s when the inning got away from him,” manager Joe Girardi said.
“I’m not making pitches when I need to,” Sabathia said. “When I get a lead and give it up against someone like David Price, that’s tough. Every game I right now is crucial. My arm feels good; my body feels good. I’ve just got to get back to pitching the way I know I am capable.”
Price, an AL Cy Young Award candidate, added to his credentials with seven strong innings. The score was 5-2 Rays when the lefthander exited as Rays manager Joe Maddon did the Yankees a favor by making a pitching change that I found questionable. Tampa Bay was coming off a 14-inning loss that completed a three-game sweep at Baltimore and had fallen four games behind in the division race. This was as big a must-win situation as the Rays could have, yet Maddon let Price call it a night and brought in Joel Peralta!
Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez could not have said “Thank you, Joe” loud enough with a double and a home run, respectively, in the bottom of the eighth to get the Yankees to 5-4. Maddon came to his senses and relied on Fernando Rodney for a five-out save, which he got, aided by a tack-on run in the ninth created by a clutch, two-out steal of second base by Desmond Jennings and an error by shortstop Eduardo Nunez.
So Price ended up with his 18th victory of the season and the Rays their 10th in 16 games against the Yankees this year while Sabathia remained winless in four starts since Aug. 24. He is 0-3 with a 4.67 ERA and 30 hits allowed in 27 innings during the stretch.
“I still believe in CC,” Girardi said. “I’m with him every day in that clubhouse, and I know his heart.”
Even in a quiet clubhouse, it was hard to hear the Yankees’ collective heart beating.
Here is the deal with Derek Jeter. If he can stand, he can play.
That is the attitude the Captain is taking as he deals with a bone bruise in his left ankle. He was in the lineup again Friday night as the designated hitter for the Yankees against Rays lefthander David Price, the pitcher against whom Jeter got his 3,000th career hit 14 months ago.
That five-hit game July 9, 2011 was the starting point of this wonderful turnaround for Jeter, who has played more like a 28-year-old than the 38-year-old he is. He batted .338 from that point to the end of the season and has continued throughout this year, moving up the all-time hits ladder to the front gate of the top 10 where with his next hit will pass the legendary Willie Mays.
In 870 at-bats from the 3,000-hit game, Jeter has hit .328 with 44 doubles, four triples, 19 home runs and 96 RBI, which is nothing short of amazing. So even with an ankle that is nowhere near 100 percent, Jeter wants to keep playing, and the Yankees want to keep playing him.
Manager Joe Girardi monitors Jeter on a daily basis, which can be a task considering Jeter will concede nothing to his condition. He comes to the ballpark expecting to play and usually does. Girardi has the safety net of the designated hitter position in the American League at his disposal to keep Jeter atop the batting order.
When Jeter next plays shortstop is harder to say. He is not running at full speed by any means but contends the ankle does not bother him as much in the field as it does running the bases. “I was going back onto the field when they pulled me back, remember?” Jeet said about being taken out of Wednesday night’s game at Boston.
At a time when players are kept on the bench for the mildest of ailments, how refreshing to see Jeter’s attitude about playing every day, an attitude straight out of, well, Willie Mays.
Was anyone really surprised to see Derek Jeter in the Yankees’ lineup Thursday night? When last the Captain was seen Wednesday night he was hobbling off the Fenway Park diamond after aggravating a left ankle bone bruise trying to beat out a double play grounder. He practically had to be dragged into the dugout by manager Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue, so it was by no means at all stunning to see his name atop the batting order for the series finale.
Jeter had told reporters after Wednesday night’s game that he expected to play Thursday night. “Great,” he told Girardi when asked how the ankle felt before the game. Girardi may not have fully believed Jeter, but he sure wanted to. The manager played it safe and kept him off the field as Jeter got half a day off, sort of, as the designated hitter.
Good thing, too, because the Yankees needed the run-scoring hit he gave them in the seventh inning of a 2-0 victory that certainly fit into the must-win category of games. The Orioles had already won a 14-inning marathon against the Rays earlier in the day, so until the last out of the game at Fenway the Yankees were actually a half-game out of first place.
Jeter miss a must-win game? Not on your life. Fact is, Jeet thinks all games are must-win games.
The Yankees played .500 ball on the trip through Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Boston with a 5-5 record, which is only mediocre but since they lost three of the first four games on the trek they consider .500 acceptable. Another positive was that the Rays’ loss at Baltimore coupled with the Yankees’ victory dropped Tampa Bay four games out of first, which means the Yanks cannot fall behind the Rays in the standings in the three-game series at Yankee Stadium that begins Friday night with the marquee matchup of lefthanders CC Sabathia vs. David Price.
Phil Hughes pitched 7 1/3 terrific innings for his second victory on the trip and 15th of the season. With new daddy Dustin Pedroia unavailable, the Boston lineup was even weaker than normal, and Hughes made sure an upset was out of the question.
However, with the Yankees again struggling with runners in scoring position (1-for-9), Hughes did not have much margin for error. The Yankees got only one run out of a bases-loaded, none-out situation in the fourth against lefthander Felix Doubront on a sacrifice fly by Andruw Jones. Jeter’s RBI single three innings later was welcomed by Hughes, who walked one batter and struck out seven.
It was a brutal series for the Yankees in the clutch. They somehow won two of the three games despite getting only two hits in 34 at-bats (.059) with runners in scoring position in the series. Jeter had both hits. He also doubled in two runs Tuesday night. Thursday night’s hit was career No. 3,283, which tied DJ with Willie Mays for 10th place all-time. Think of it; with one more hit Jeter will knock the Say Hey Kid out of the top 10.
The Yankees’ rotation is slowly headed back to full strength. Ivan Nova, who has been out since Aug. 23 with right rotator cuff inflammation, will start Saturday at Yankee Stadium against the Rays. Andy Pettitte will follow suit by making his first start since June 27 Tuesday night against the Blue Jays.
The return of Nova and Pettitte during the homestand that begins Friday night against the Rays with CC Sabathia opposing David Price moves Freddy Garcia and David Phelps to the bullpen, which further strengthens the staff.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi’s announcement Thursday night at Boston about Pettitte came as something of a surprise. The lefthander, who has been disabled for 10 weeks while recovering from a fractured left fibula, pitched a simulated game before Wednesday night’s game and was expected to toss another such game over the coming weekend. Pettitte argued that if was going to throw another 75 pitches he might as well do it in competition.
Considering the tightness of the American League East, the Yankees can use all the help they can get. When Pettitte went on the DL, the Yankees had a five-game lead that would double by July 18, but entering play Thursday night they were a half-game behind the Orioles. Following a meeting among Girardi, Pettitte, pitching coach Larry Rothschild and trainer Steve Donohue, the Yankees made the decision on Pettitte, which will allow him to make four starts over the final three weeks of the regular season.
“Whether it’s later in the week or whatever, it’s a rush job anyway,” Pettitte told reporters. “I feel 100 percent and I’m being honest with them. I need to get out there and get in a big league game. I just want to go to battle with these guys.”
There weren’t many fireworks for the Yankees on this Fourth of July, but they will take any victory they can at Tropicana Field. Former teammate Kyle Farnsworth practically handed the game to the Yankees in the eighth inning by walking four batters, three of whom scored.
The 4-3 decision ended a nine-game losing streak for the Yankees at the Trop and was their first victory indoors this season. The Yankees avoided what would have been their third sweep of the year. They lost a three-game set at St. Petersburg, Fla., in the opening series of the season April 6-8 and dropped a two-game series to the Blue Jays May 16-17 at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. The Yankees were 0-7 at domed parks this year before winning Wednesday.
It was a big victory for the Yankees in a match-up that favored the Rays, who had staff ace David Price going against rookie David Phelps. Price and Phelps had dueling no-hitters for a while. Considering the rigid pitch count he was being held to, Phelps did a commendable job in the rotation spot vacated by injured Andy Pettitte.
Phelps was a bit wild (three walks and two hit batters), but he had eight strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings and held Tampa Bay to two hits, one of which, a two-out single by Sean Rodriguez in the fourth inning, gave the Rays a 1-0 lead.
The Yankees had only three base runners in the first six innings against Price, and one of them was removed on a double play. Mark Teixeira finally got to Price, who had two walks and eight strikeouts, with a leadoff home run (No. 14) in the seventh that tied the score. Alex Rodriguez followed with a double and pulled off a daring steal of third base that was nullified because of umpire’s interference.
Plate ump Mike Estabrook’s mask hit the arm of catcher Jose Lobaton’s arm as he attempted to throw. The play may have cost the Yankees a run because the next hitter, Andruw Jones, flied out to right field on a ball deep enough to have scored A-Rod had he been on third base. Tampa Bay came right back and regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh on Carlos Pena’s two-run homer off a first-pitch, hanging slider from Boone Logan.
Thanks in part to Farnsworth and to an even greater measure by Robinson Cano, the hottest Yankee at the moment, Logan ended up being the winning pitcher. The game-changing rally created few sparks until Cano stepped in against lefthander Jake McGee.
Farnsworth, who has missed nearly all of the season with a right elbow strain, made only his second appearance of the season and looked awfully rusty. The only out he got was a strikeout of Derek Jeter on a questionable called third strike. Farnsworth walked the other four batters he faced with A-Rod pushing in a run with his base on balls on a full count.
Cano provided the Yankees some sizzle with a two-run single that put them ahead for good. David Robertson, who has struggled lately, looked like his former self with a shutout, two-strikeout eighth inning before Rafael Soriano retired the side in order in the ninth for his 19th save. Tampa Bay struck out 16 times against six Yankees pitchers.
Cano continues to be as hot as the weather. He ran his hitting streak to 11 games, a stretch in which he has batted .444 with two doubles, seven home runs and 15 RBI in 45 at-bats to raise his season average from .295 to .316. He has driven in runs in eight consecutive games for a total of 11. Cano is probably the only guy on the team who wishes the Yankees weren’t off Thursday.
Say this for Robinson Cano. He has fought his way out of an early-season slump. The All-Star second baseman was out early again Thursday for extra hitting four hours before the first pitch. All this additional work has started to pay off.
Cano was a major part of the Yankees’ assault on Tampa Bay lefthander David Price in a 5-3 victory behind CC Sabathia, who remains unbeaten at 5-0. Price may be remembered for being the victim of Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit in the Captain’s five-hit game last July 9, but the Yankees have had their share of difficulty against him over the years. So has CC.
Entering the game, Price was 3-0 with a 1.56 ERA in five career starts against Sabathia, and the Rays had won all five games. The Tampa Bay lefthander sported a 5-1 record and 2.35 ERA this year that the Yankees blemished into 5-2 with a 2.98 ERA. That’s still pretty good, but Price’s career mark against the Yankees fell to 5-3 with a 4.15 ERA.
The Yankees overcame a 2-0 deficit that was no fault of Sabathia since both Tampa Bay runs were not earned due to a pair of errors by Eduardo Nunez at third base. Cano was a big part of the comeback with a two-run home run in the fifth inning that broke a 2-2 score. Doubles by Alex Rodriguez and Andruw Jones accounted for a third run that inning. Curtis Granderson had homered in the second off Price, who gave up as many extra-base hits in this game – 4 – as he had in his previous five starts combined totaling 30 1/3 innings.
One night after scoring merely one run off Tampa Bay pitching, the Yankees banged out 11 hits off the Rays’ ace. Sabathia took control and held the Rays scoreless for the last six innings of his eight-inning outing in which he had 10 strikeouts and lowered his ERA to 3.51. Rafael Soriano worked the ninth and despite giving up a run earned his first save of the season.
CC’s endurance is a pleasure to behold in this era of pitch-count shortened starts. Since 2009, Sabathia’s first year in New York, a Yankees starter has pitched eight or more innings 52 times. On 32 of those occasions, or 61 ½ percent, that pitcher was CC. Next closest is since-departed A.J. Burnett, now in Pittsburgh, with seven.
Cano’s hot hitting of late has been a long time coming. He is now on an eight-game hitting streak during which he has batted .375 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs and 7 RBI in 32 at-bats to raise his season average 31 points to .286.
It shows you what some extra batting practice can do.
It is coming at an opportune time because the Yankees received additional bad news on Brett Gardner, who has a muscle strain above his right elbow that will keep him disabled for perhaps another three weeks. Manager Joe Girardi said the left fielder will not swing a bat for at least 10 days and could be out for another 25 days overall.
It has been pretty sloppy going so far in the rubber game of the Yankees-Rays series at Yankee Stadium. You would never know that these teams are fighting for first place in the American League East.
Back at third base after some adventurous games in left field, Eduardo Nunez made two errors that resulted in two unearned runs for Tampa Bay off CC Sabathia. Nunez bobbled a grounder to keep a first-inning rally alive for the Rays. Carlos Pena’s two-out single drove in a run, but a bad base running maneuver by Jeff Keppiner cost Tampa Bay a second run.
Nick Swisher made a strong throw to the plate from right field, but had Keppinger slid home feet first he probably would have beaten the play. Instead, he came home head first with his left hand prepared to slap the plate, but it slapped the glove of catcher Chris Stewart for the final out of the inning.
In the second, Nunez threw wildly to second base on a potential double play for his second error. The crowd razzed him when he caught a foul bunt by Will Rhymes. Sabathia came back to strike out Ben Zobrist, but Sean Rodriguez singled home another unearned run.
Nunez helped get back one of the runs at least in the second when the Yankees tied the score against David Price. Curtis Granderson led off with his 11th home run. One out later, Nunez walked. He stole second and scored on a single to center by Stewart, who ended up all the way on third base after Price trying to nail Stewart at second base threw the ball into center field. It turned out not to be a factor. Derek Jeter walked, but Price gloved a searing liner by Swisher and tossed to first base to double-off the Captain.
Could more strange stuff be on the way? Stay tuned.