Results tagged ‘ Delmon Young ’

Walks as good as hits? Not always

About the only good thing to say about Ivan Nova’s performance Tuesday in a 14-5 loss to the Orioles was that he kept the line moving in a string of walkless innings by Yankees starting pitchers. Nova may not have walked anybody, but the Orioles did not lack for base runners against the righthander.

Baltimore touched up Nova for 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings and scored seven runs. The first inning was an ill omen as the Orioles jumped out to a 3-0 lead on singles by Nick Markakis and Delmon Young, a sacrifice fly by Chris Davis and bomb of a two-run home run to center field by Adam Jones.

A successful pickoff play at second base seemed to get Nova out of a jam in the second until he gave up an RBI double to 9-hole hitter Jonathan Schoop, who is filling in for disabled third baseman Manny Machado. The Orioles stung Nova for three more runs and four more hits in the third before he was removed.

Yankees starters have gone an entire turn in the rotation — five starts — without allowing a walk, a stretch of 29 innings in which they have totaled 26 strikeouts. It is the longest such streak since a six-game period from Sept. 5-10, 2002, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Orioles did not have much use for bases on balls Tuesday as they sprayed 20 hits, including home runs by Jones, Young and Matt Wieters. The Yankees had their share of hits as well — 13 in all, including home runs by Alfonso Soriano and Kelly Johnson — but they got only one hit in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Nova’s start was far from ideal on a day when the Yankees’ bullpen was lean. Vidal Nuno had to take one for the team (7 earned runs and 8 hits in 3 1/3 innings) after Nova’s departure. He has not displayed his best stuff in both his starts. There was no sinking action on his fastball nor hard break on his curve.

On the plus side for the Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury had a double and two singles and is hitting .414 in 29 at-bats. Rookie Yangervis Solarte continues to impress. Two more doubles raised his batting average to a team-high .438. Elias reports that he is the first player since 1900 with at least six doubles through his first seven career games. Soriano also showed signs that he is coming out of his slump with a homer and a double.

Tigers deal early KO to CC

CC Sabathia had been every inch of his 6-foot-7 frame the Yankees’ ace down the stretch of the regular season and in the American League Division Series. What better guy to have on the hill to avert an early exit in the AL Championship Series than the big lefthander whose career record in postseason play for the Yanks entering Game 4 Thursday at Detroit was 7-1 with a 3.09 ERA?

Yet after coming within one out of pitching two complete-game victories over the Orioles in the ALDS, Sabathia’s lone outing in the ALCS was nowhere near up to par. He was hit often and hit hard, and his fourth-inning exit trailing 6-0 was a disappointing sight to Yankees fans.

They had been able to rely on him most of the year, especially in that complete-game gem CC tossed six days ago at Yankee Stadium to finally shake the Orioles off the Yanks’ tail. He even had an extra day’s rest because of Wednesday night’s rainout, although that may not have been to his advantage, since it meant Sabathia could not come back and start Game 7 if the Yankees were fortunate enough to push the series that far.

One of the six runs Sabathia allowed in his 3 2/3 innings was unearned due to an error by first baseman Mark Teixeira, but CC was not at the top of his game. The Yankees had not had the lead in this series and trailed right at the beginning of this game as well when Sabathia gave up a run on two-out singles by Prince Fielder and Delmon Young.

The unearned run came in the third, but Sabathia recovered by getting out of a bases-loaded jam. The next inning, however, CC was lit up on two-run home runs by Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta before yielding a double to Andy Dirks that ended his day. As bad as 6-0 looked, it could have been a lot worse, considering the Tigers stranded eight runners over the first four innings.

Yanks face 0-3 deficit for 4th time in postseason play

The Yankees trail in the American League Championship Series, 0-3, for the first time in 10 ALCS appearances since the advent of the best-of-7 format in 1985. It is the fourth time in 71 postseason series that the Yankees have trailed 0-3. The other times were all in the World Series, in 1922 against the Giants (which included a Game 2 tie), 1963 against the Dodgers and 1976 against the Reds. In each case, the Yankees lost in four games.

This is the fifth time in 27 ALCS under the best-of-7 drill that a team has taken a 3-0 lead in the series. The only team to rally from 0-3 to win the ALCS was the 2004 Red Sox against the Yankees. Each of the other three teams to go down 0-3 were swept in four games – 1988 Red Sox, by the Athletics; 1990 Red Sox, by the A’s; 2006 A’s, by the Tigers. . .In each of their six ALCS, the Tigers have won Game 3, with all six games coming at home: 3-0 against the A’s in 1972; 1-0 against the Royals in 1984; 7-6 against the Twins in 1987; 3-0 against the Athletics in 2006; 5-2 against the Rangers in 2011 and 2-1 against the Yankees in 2012. The Tigers have won five of their past six ALCS games in Detroit.

Tigers Game 3 starter Justin Verlander ran his consecutive postseason shutout innings streak to 23 before he allowed a run in the ninth inning of Game 3 on the home run by Eduardo Nunez. It was the first home run Verlander yielded in the ninth inning of his career, postseason included. Nunez was the 85th batter the Verlander has faced in the ninth inning in his career. The Yankees did not score in 20 straight innings before Nunez’s homer. They were also shut out in 20 straight innings in the 2000 postseason against the Athletics (ALDS) and Mariners (ALCS).

Robinson Cano ended his streak of hitless at-bats at 29 with a two-out single in the ninth inning. It was the longest postseason hitless stretch in franchise history. The MLB record is 42 straight hitless at-bats by Mariners catcher Dan Wilson. . . Eric Chavez has started the 2012 postseason without a hit in 14 at-bats, which ties the longest streak by a Yankees player at the start of a postseason. Graig Nettles began the 1981 postseason with 14 hitless at-bats. The major-league record for hitless at-bats at the start of a postseason is 22 by the Cardinals’ Dal Maxvill in the 1968 World Series against the Tigers.

Alex Rodriguez, who was on the bench in Game 3, was not the only player with 600 or more career home runs to sit out a postseason game for which he was eligible. There were three others – Ken Griffey Jr. (Game 2 of the 2008 ALDS for the White Sox against the Rays), Willie Mays (Games 1 through 4 of the 1973 NLCS for the Mets against the Reds and Games 4 through 7 of the 1973 World Series for the Mets against the A’s) and Jim Thome (Games 1 and 5 of the 2012 ALDS for the Orioles against the Yankees). Babe Ruth played in all four games of the 1932 World Series for the Yankees against the Cubs, the only postseason series of his career that came after he hit his 600th home run. Barry Bonds played in all 17 of the Giants’ postseason games in 2002 and all four Giants’ postseason games in 2003, the only two postseasons to come after his 600th homer. Henry Aaron and Sammy Sosa did not play on teams that advanced to postseason play following their 600th home runs.

Through eight postseason games this year, the Yankees are batting .200 in 290 at-bats. The previous low-water mark for the Yankees’ first eight postseason games was .207 in the 1921 World Series against the Giants, which was then a best-of-9. Only two Yankees teams have finished a postseason with lower batting averages, the World Series clubs of 1962 (.199 in a 7-game victory over the Giants) and 1963 (.171 in a 4-game loss to the Dodgers). . .Through eight postseason games, the Yankees’ team ERA is 2.25, which would be the 10th-best for a single postseason in franchise history. It is the lowest mark since the team’s 1.60 ERA in the Yanks’ 5-game World Series victory over the Reds in 1961.

Miguel Cabrera’s fifth-inning double extended his LCS hitting streak to 16 games, dating to the 2003 National League Championship Series for the Marlins, breaking the previous mark of 15 straight LCS games with hits by Pete Rose and Manny Ramirez. . . Cabrera has reached base safely in all 19 career postseason games with the Tigers. His streak set a franchise record, passing the 18-game mark of Hank Greenberg from Oct. 3, 1934 to Oct. 4, 1945. During the 19-game streak, Cabrera is batting .303 with seven doubles, four home runs, 13 RBI, 10 runs scored, 16 walks and one hit batter in 66 at-bats. Only one player in history began his postseason career with a single team with a longer streak of reaching base – Boog Powell, who reached base in his first 25 postseason games with the Orioles from 1966-71. Cabrera has failed to reach base in two of his 36 career postseason games with the Marlins and Tigers.

Delmon Young has five home runs over consecutive postseason series against the Yankees – the 2011 ALDS and 2012 ALCS. Young is one of only five players with a combined five home runs in consecutive postseason series against the Yankees. Duke Snider did it three times (4 HR in 1952 World Series, 1 HR in 1953 World Series, 4 HR in 1955 World Series, 1 HR in 1956 World Series). The others are George Brett (3 HR in 1978 ALCS, 2 HR in 1980 ALCS), Juan Gonzalez (5 HR in 1996 ALDS, 0 HR in 1998 ALDS) and David Ortiz (2 HR in 2003 ALCS, 3 HR in 2004 ALCS). Chase Utley (2008 World Series) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1995 ALDS) each hit five home runs in one postseason against the Yankees, but they have not faced the Yankees again in the postseason.

Backache forces Hughes to make early exit

The Yankees’ string of quality starts in postseason play came to an abrupt and painful end in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series when Phil Hughes was forced to come out of the game while pitching to his third batter in the fourth inning. It marked the first time in this postseason that a Yankees starter did not pitch into the seventh inning.

Hughes allowed only one run – on a home run by Tigers designated hitter Delmon Young – in three-plus innings, so the ERA of the Yankees’ rotation did not grow much, from 2.33 to 2.68. But the early exit pushed manager Joe Girardi into his bullpen far sooner than he anticipated. The Yankees used four pitches before the fifth inning was completed.

Yankees starters had averaged 7 2/3 innings pitched in the first seven postseason games. Except for the home run, Hughes had pitched fairly well. He walked Andy Dirks, the batter after Young homered, but got ahead 0-2 in the count on Jhonny Peralta before his back acted up. Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild made a visit to the mound and decided they could not entrust so crucial a game to a hurt pitcher.

Eric Chavez, who started at third base over Alex Rodriguez, committed an error in the fifth that proved costly. Chavez, a six-time Gold Glove winner, could not handle a spinning grounder by fleet Quintin Berry on the short hop. Miguel Cabrera made the Yankees pay for the miscue with a double to right-center off David Phelps that made the score 2-0.

Chavez atoned for his boot the next inning with a splendid, back-handed stop of a hot shot by Cabrera with the bases loaded to start an around-the-horn double play that ended the threat. The twin killing illuminated third base coach Gene Lamont’s conservative call to stop Omar Infante at third base on a single by pinch hitter Avisail Garcia preceding the Cabrera at-bat.

Strange to see Yanks in playoff game without Jeter

Derek Jeter has become so synonymous with postseason play that it was difficult to accept the fact that the Yankees were in a playoff game Sunday without him on the roster. The Captain is gone for what remains of baseball in 2012 with a broken left ankle that he sustained in the 12th inning of Saturday night’s 6-4 loss to Detroit in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.

Eduardo Nunez took Jeter’s spot on the ALCS roster, but it was utility man Jayson Nix who got the starting nod at shortstop, batting ninth in the order. Taking Jeter’s place in the leadoff role was Ichiro Suzuki. Manager Joe Girardi basically pushed his lineup one batter up with Robinson Cano in the 2-hole, followed by Mark Teixeira third and Raul Ibanez cleanup. Alex Rodriguez was also in the lineup in the 6-hole.

In Game 1, Jeter collected his 200th career postseason hit, a single to right field in the second inning. The closest player to him on the all-time postseason list is former teammate Bernie Williams at 128. Jeter also holds career postseason records for runs (111), total bases (302), doubles (32) and triples (tied for first with five).

Saturday night’s game was only the second ALCS Game 1 to reach the 12th inning. The first was Oct. 4, 1969, the first year of the LCS, when the Orioles defeated the Twins, 4-3, on a walk-off single by Paul Blair. The 12-inning game Saturday tied the Tigers’ record for longest postseason games. Detroit’s three other 12-inning postseason games were all in the World Series: Oct. 8, 1907 against the Cubs; Oct. 4, 1934 against the Cardinals and Oct. 8, 1945 against the Cubs.

Ibanez’s two-run, ninth-inning home run was the 114th home run in postseason history in the ninth inning or later that tied or gave a team the lead. Ibanez is only the second player to do this three times in one career, joining Hall of Famer Johnny Bench. Raul is the only player to accomplish the feat three times in the same postseason and the only player in history with three homers in the ninth inning or later in a single postseason.

With his single in the first inning, third baseman Miguel Cabrera has reached base safely in all 17 career postseason games with the Tigers. His streak is the second-longest in franchise history, trailing only Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg’s 18-game streak from Oct. 3, 1934 to Oct. 4, 1945. . .Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte was the sixth player to appear in a postseason game under the age of 24 and at the age of 40 or older, joining Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Eddie Murray and Rickey Henderson as well as Greg Maddux and Chipper Jones. . .Tigers Game 1 starter Doug Fister allowed 11 base runners in 6 1/3 innings (six hits, four walks, one batter who reached on an error) but did not allow a run. No pitcher in postseason history had allowed 11 or more base runners in fewer than seven innings in one game while allowing no runs. The only pitcher to allow 11 or more base runners in seven innings while allowing no runs in a postseason game is Johan Santana, who did it against the Yankees at the original Yankee Stadium in Game 1 of the 2004 AL Division Series for the Twins. . .Tigers designated hitter Delmon Young hit his sixth postseason home run, taking over the franchise lead in that category. Young’s eighth-inning homer broke a tie with Greenberg and Craig Monroe atop the Tigers’ postseason homer list. Four of Young’s six postseason homers have come against the Yankees. He has homered in four of his past six postseason games against the Yanks. Y0ung has homered in three different postseason games as a visiting player against the Yankees, joining six other players on that list: Hall of Famer George Brett as well as Juan Gonzalez, Trot Nixon, David Ortiz, Reggie Smith and Jason Varitek.

Mates couldn’t back up Andy’s sound effort

Not much fault can be found in Andy Pettitte’s performance Saturday night in ALCS Game 1 even though he stood to get a losing decision when he left the game. The lefthander gave up two runs in the sixth inning on a nook-and-cranny triple by Austin Jackson and a pair of soft singles by Prince Fielder and Delmon Young.

Jackson hit a ball that struck the right field line just past first base and hit a barrier along the stands and rolled along the wall. I have never seen a ball hit in that area or behave that way. Considering Jackson’s considerable speed, a three bagger was the result.

The inning might have been worse for Pettitte, but he worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam by retiring Andy Dirks and Avisail Garcia on infield pops. Andy lasted two out into the seventh when he walked Omar Infante with Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera coming up.

Pettitte just couldn’t get any run support from his teammates, who stranded the bases loaded three times. The Yankees tied a franchise record with 10 grand slams this year but hit only .247 overall with the bags juiced.

Big-league life on road has hazzards

One of the time-honored axioms of life on the road, particularly in New York City, in the major leagues is that nothing good happens at 2 o’clock in the morning. That held true in the wee hours Friday when Tigers outfielder Delmon Young was arrested for aggravated harassment.

Young was released on bail and was placed on the restricted list by the Tigers, who played short-handed Friday night in their 7-6 loss to the Yankees. Saturday, Detroit recalled infielder Danny Worth from Triple A Toledo to take Young’s place on the 25-man roster.

Young’s arrest stemmed from an incident in front of the Tigers’ team hotel in Manhattan in which he allegedly had an altercation with a panhandler and a group of tourists who apparently were also staying at the hotel. Young was taken to a local hospital before his arraignment on the charges. That the incident was alcohol-related allowed the Tigers to place him on the restricted list, according to the Basic Agreement.

It was another early-season blow for the Tigers, who got off to a sizzling start at 9-3 and seemed poised to run away with the American League Central title but have lost seven of their past eight games, including five in a row prior to Saturday’s 4:05 p.m. start at Yankee Stadium.

Everybody on short leash in Game 5

Just as in Detroit in Game 4 of the American League Division Series when A.J Burnett loaded the bases with three walks, Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not hesitate in making a call to the bullpen when Ivan Nova was wavering early on in Game 5.

The Tigers struck for back-to-back home runs (by Don Kelly and Delmon Young) in the first inning for the first time in their postseason history. When Magglio Ordonez led off the second with a double, Phil Hughes began warming up for the Yankees. While Hughes answered the call to the pen, Nova answered the wakeup call by getting out of the inning without any damage with two groundouts and a strikeout.

That’s the beauty of winner-take-all games in the postseason be they Game 5 in the ALDS or Game 7 in the Championship Series and World Series. Both teams have their backs to the wall and must pull out all stops. There can be no worrying about saving anyone for the next game. You’ve got to get to the next game first.

Sure enough, Girardi brought in Hughes at the start of the third inning. Considering how Nova had worked out of difficulty in the second, the move seemed premature. Obviously, the manager saw something lacking in Nova’s stuff and made the switch to Hughes, who when used in relief can just air it out.

Hughes’ fastball was clocked at 94 mph as he chalked up two quick strikeouts. Delmon Young, who has been a tough out in this series (3 home runs), got a long single on a drive off the right field wall, but Hughes got the Tigers’ most dangerous hitter, Miguel Cabrera, to ground into an inning-ending fielder’s choice.

Doug Fister, who was battered by the Yankees in Game 1, was proving a tougher customer this time out. The righthander mixed speeds well on his fastball and added a cutter with late life. His breaking stuff was less effective, but he was keeping the Yankees off balance.

You remember all that stuff about Burnett being on a short leash in Game 4? Well, every pitcher on the Yankees had the short rope in Game 5. After Hughes gave up a single with one out in the fourth, Girardi summoned Boone Logan, who gave up a hit before retiring Jhonny Peralta on a fly to right and striking out Ramon Santiago.

At that point, CC Sabathia began throwing in the bullpen – very interesting.

Facing Verlander once proves bad enough for Yanks

I wrote after the Yankees’ Game 1 victory in the American League Division Series that the rain suspension may have worked in their favor. I based that on the fact that they would not have to face Justin Verlander more than once in the series. That is still a plus, but after losing Games 2 and 3, whatever edge I envisioned is long gone.

The Tigers have taken control of the series, and the Yankees are in a position of having to rely on the patently unreliable A.J. Burnett Tuesday night to get the ALDS back to Yankee Stadium for a possible Game 5 Thursday night. That Burnett, who was not going to be in the rotation in this series initially, gets this start is also due to Game 1 going into a second night. It is an opportunity for A.J. to turn around an erratic season.

Delmon Young’s second home run of the series, an opposite-field drive to right off a first-pitch cutter from Rafael Soriano in the seventh inning, was the difference in the 5-4 victory. It would have been terrific if the Yankees could have come back in the ninth against closer Jose Valverde, who had boasted after Detroit won Game 2 that the series was over and would not return to New York. Walks to Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner gave the Yanks hope, but Valverde closed it out by striking out Derek Jeter.

The hyped pairing of Verlander and CC Sabathia turned out pretty one-sided. Verlander spotted the Yankees two first-inning runs, but he pitched through the eighth, ringing 100 or more mph with his fastball occasionally and striking out 11 batters. Sabathia lasted one out into the sixth and was lucky to be only two runs behind considering he walked six (one intentionally).

Yankees manager Joe Girardi implied after the game that plate umpire Gerry Davis squeezed his pitcher somewhat, but Verlander didn’t seem to have trouble, so it sounded like sour grapes. In regular season play, Sabathia is 6-0 with a 2.19 ERA in games with Davis behind the plate, so there is certainly no bad history between them. CC was hurt not so much by the walks but by the unlikely hitting of 9-hole hitter Brandon Inge and platoon second baseman Ramon Santiago, who combined for four hits, two runs and two RBI.

The Yankees’ offense came from the top and bottom of the lineup. Verlander was touched for a single by Jeter and a triple by Curtis Granderson in the two-run first. The Yankees rallied with two outs in the seventh. After Posada, who is having a fine series, walked and Russell Martin was hit by a pitch, Gardner doubled to left-center off a 3-2 fastball that was clocked at 100 mph to tie the score.

As for the middle of the Yankees’ order, Verlander handled it adroitly. Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher combined to go 0-for-14 with six strikeouts. A-Rod did drive in a run with an infield out and walked twice. These guys need to do some damage in Game 4 against Detroit’s Rick Porcello if the Yankees want to create a reason to play Thursday.

Pen sticks CC with undeserving ND

The first time he came to bat at Yankee Stadium as a 19-year-old rookie for the Braves in Game 1 of the 1996 World Series, Andruw Jones hit a home run. Jones got his first at-bat at the new Stadium Tuesday night now as a reserve outfielder for the Yankees and also hit a home run, a splendid way to get started with his new team.

I freely admit that I was not all that keen on the Jones signing. He seems limited as a bench player to me. Jones doesn’t move all that well in the field anymore, and he certainly isn’t going to contribute much as a pinch runner. Still, he is an upgrade defensively over Marcus Thames, who did some good things with the bat a year ago, but you couldn’t play him anywhere but DH.

Hitting home runs at the Stadium is something the Yankees are doing a lot of already in 2011 – 13 now in five games. Jones’ solo drive (career No. 408, pushing him past the late Duke Snider for 46th place on the all-time list) in the second came an inning after Mark Teixeira bashed a three-run homer off Brian Duensing with none out. Those blows seemed all the ammunition the Yankees would need, and they were so long as CC Sabathia was in the game.

But the dreaded pitch count had Sabathia departing after seven brilliant innings in which he gave up two measly singles and then proceeded to retire 17 batters in a row. That was stuck with a no-decision is nothing short of criminal. The way CC pitched (7 innings, 2 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts) meant there was no way Mariano Rivera needed to pitch in this game. But come the ninth, there was Mo.

That was because Rafael Soriano had come on in the eighth, the former Rays closer’s new inning of responsibility, and spit up the four-run lead. The Twins, whose futility at the Stadium during Ron Gardenhire’s 10-year tenure as manager is a matter of record, surely were pleased to see Sabathia go away, not that Soriano is any day at the beach, normally, but the righthander did not look like the reliever who saved 45 games a year ago.

That can happen sometimes with pitchers who have the closer mentality, but Soriano knew what was in store for him when the Yankees gave him all those millions of dollars.

“It’s too early to judge that,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said about whether Soriano will find working the eighth less challenging than the ninth.

Soriano opened up the game for the Twins instead of helping to close it out for the Yankees. He loaded the bases with one out on two walks and a well-struck single by Denard Span. It appeared as if Soriano might get out of it by freezing Tsuyoshi Nishioka with a muscular fastball for the second out before walking Joe Mauer on a diet of cutters to force in Minnesota’s first run.

Girardi had seen enough and summoned David Robertson, who got Delmon Young to hit a slicing pop to right. It was high enough to allow the runners extra time to scoot around the bases, and they all scored when the ball fell free in front of a sliding Nick Swisher. Young was credited with a three-run double, and what seemed a sure victory for Sabathia was gone.

There was some talk after the game that perhaps Girardi would have been better off bringing in Robertson to pitch the eighth and Soriano in the ninth on a night when not having to turn to a 41-year-old closer was possible. That makes no sense. Soriano’s job is to pitch in the eighth, and a 4-0 score at the Stadium these days the way balls are flying is by no means insurmountable.

Swisher faulted himself for a mistake of aggression by diving for the Young ball. Once his feet left the ground, Swisher had no chance to keep Mauer from scoring the tying run. Swisher would have been better off playing the ball on a hop and making a strong throw home. Mauer caught a break being able to run for what is full speed for him because there were two out.

Rivera worked the ninth but left after the Yankees failed to score in the bottom half. The Twins went ahead on Mauer’s single off Boone Logan in the 10th, and Joe Nathan, who didn’t seem destined for this game, closed it out.

So where did all the home runs go? The Yankees had two hits, both singles, after Jones’ bomb, so the offense shares some blame here. But this was primarily a bullpen blunder. Give CC credit for professionalism.

“It’s part of the game,” he said of the no-decision. “You just move on from there.”

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