Results tagged ‘ Derek Lowe ’
The Yankees could not have picked a better time to win their first game of the season when they trailed after eight innings. They had been 0-58 in those situations this year before Tuesday night when they fashioned a tremendous comeback for a 4-3, 12-inning victory over the Red Sox.
On a night when the Orioles pulled off a 1-0 victory over the Rays and James Shields (two-hitter, 15 strikeouts), the Yankees needed a come-from-behind victory to maintain their one-game lead over Baltimore in the American League East. And they did, with the guy who tied the score with a dramatic home run in the ninth inning knocking in the deciding run in the 12th.
Raul Ibanez was doused with a bucket of Gatorade after his clutch hit that brought the Yankees all the way back to clinch at least a tie for the division crown. Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller walked Francisco Cervelli and Curtis Granderson on eight straight pitches after two were out before yielding a single through the left side to Ibanez, who was allowed to hit despite facing a lefthander. It was an at-bat that might have been given to Andruw Jones, but he has struggled in the second half.
It all comes to Game 162 Wednesday night, for the Yankees against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium and for the Orioles against the Rays at Tropicana Field. The Yankees can win the AL East with a victory over Boston. Baltimore needs to beat the Rays Wednesday night and for the Yankees to lose to the Red Sox to force a one-game playoff Thursday at Camden Yards. That is what was so huge about the Yanks’ overtime victory Tuesday night.
Say this for David Phelps: he did his job. The rookie righthander took Ivan Nova’s place in the rotation and pitched into the sixth inning. He was touched for two first-inning runs but left with the score 2-1, keeping his teammates in a game they desperately wanted to win.
The Yankees kept pounding out hits but could not push another runner across the plate until the bottom of the ninth. The Red Sox made it 3-1 in the top half on a solo home run by James Loney off Rafael Soriano.
It looked grim for the Yanks, but they got a huge hit from their best pinch hitter to get even. Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey, who was sidelined for three months of the season due to right thumb surgery, gave up a leadoff single to Granderson and then served up a tasty, 1-2 fastball to Ibanez, who crushed it for a game-tying, two-run home run.
Pinch hitting may be a National League specialty, but Ibanez has some NL service time in his career. He is batting .320 with two home runs and seven RBI in 25 at-bats as a pinch hitter for the Yanks this season.
The Yankees looked like they would complete the comeback that inning when Derek Jeter lined a double into the right field corner with one out. An intentional walk to Nick Swisher and an unintentional walk to Alex Rodriguez loaded the bases. Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine made the move to Mark Melancon, who failed so miserably in the closer role earlier this season while Bailey was on the disabled list.
Not this time, though. Mark Teixeira, who had a miserable night, flied out and Robinson Cano grounded out to push the game into extras. Teixeira was 0-for-6 and grounded into two double plays. The Yankees had 16 hits but left 14 runners on base. Derek Lowe, who got important outs in a big victory Sunday at Toronto, supplied shutout innings of relief to earn his first victory with the Yankees.
And for all those critics of Yankees manager Joe Girardi for letting CC Sabathia pitch eight innings Monday night to spare his bullpen, how does that decision look now? He got 6 2/3 innings of relief combined from six pitchers. Ironically, the pitcher warming up in the pen at the end of the game was the same one who was supposed to start, Nova.
Technically, it was not a save situation for Rafael Soriano in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. The closer was summoned to pitch with the Yankees up by four runs, one more than the qualifying total in one inning for a save. Yet in ways other than technicalities, it was a save situation because the Yankees needed to save their season.
After a debilitating 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays Saturday, the Yankees’ season was on a precipice. With the Orioles having already defeated the Red Sox, the Yankees needed to maintain that lead to remain tied with Baltimore for first place in the American League East. It was a shaky outing for Soriano as the Jays loaded the bases with none out, but a couple of ground balls, one a big double play, later, the Yanks had what they needed, a hard-fought, 9-6 victory to salvage a split of the four-game set against one of the division’s also-rans.
The Yankees showed an abundance of resiliency in coming back from the 5-1 deficit Phil Hughes put them in over a struggling 4 2/3-inning performance. Derek Lowe brought order to the pitching side for the Yankees, who one day after being shut out for six innings by the Toronto bullpen came back to score seven runs with eight hits and three walks in three innings against seven relievers.
And the Yankees did all that damage without a home run. Their lone homer was a solo shot by Eric Chavez (No. 16) in the third inning off starter Henderson Alvarez, who limited the Yankees to two runs over the first six innings. The Yanks got some help with two runs coming on wild pitches, but for the most part they kept the line moving with timely hitting.
Robinson Cano, who got hot on this trip, had three hits – two of them doubles, including a gapper to right-center in the seventh to drive in one of the three runs the Yankees scored that inning to tie the game. Eduardo Nunez, who began that rally with a pinch-hit single, drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth with a sacrifice fly. Derek Jeter added an insurance run with a single, one of his three hits that raised his major-league-leading season hit total to 213.
Cano contributed a well-placed bunt single to a two-run ninth inning. The Blue Jays were employing an over-shift on Cano, who was batting with none out and Alex Rodriguez on first base after a leadoff single. It was a good idea by Cano. I have often wondered why more hitters don’t do this. Take what the defense will give you. The rally-fueling bunt hit preceded a walk to Nick Swisher that loaded the bases and a two-run single by Curtis Granderson, who pushed his season RBI total to 100, which is pretty impressive for a guy hitting .226 (of course, 40 home runs helped him get there).
With six straight multi-hit games, Cano is batting .625 with five doubles and five RBI in 24 at-bats. He hit .343 with 18 doubles and 11 home runs in day games this season. The Yanks’ remaining three games of the season will be at night, at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox. Meanwhile, the Orioles will finish up at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., against the Rays, who have won 10 of their past 11 games and are still in the wild-card hunt.
So after 159 games, the Yankees’ season comes down to the final series. A Yankees-Red Sox series usually has dramatic implications, but it will be decidedly one-sided this time.
The pitcher’s mound at Yankee Stadium was a rough place to be Monday night. Baseballs seemed to be aimed at the area all night. Two Toronto pitchers were removed from the game after being hit by line drives. Rafael Soriano, who was struck in the right hand by a liner Sunday at Cleveland, had the roughest time on the mound, however.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi kidded reporters before the game when asked about Soriano’s condition. “I just shook hands with him, and he’s fine,” Girardi said.
The skipper didn’t get to shake Soriano’s hand after the last out, which is customary after a relief pitcher notches a save. Soriano blew a save for only the third time in 36 opportunities this year as he gave up a three-run home run to Colby Rasmus with two out in the ninth inning that turned a 6-4 Yankees lead into a 7-6 deficit.
Fortunately for Soriano and the Yankees, Derek Jeter led off the bottom of the ninth with a home run off Casey Janssen that sent the game into extra innings. It was not a good night for closers.
And it was from the mound that Derek Lowe made a costly error as pinch runner Mike McCoy went all the way to third base after a wild pickoff attempt at first base. Excellent base running by McCoy on a slow roller by Adeiny Hechavarrria resulted in the deciding run. Third baseman Jayson Nix made a fine, charging play, and McCoy broke for the plate the moment Nix released his throw to first base. Eric Chavez playing first base threw home but had no shot at McCoy.
The Blue Jays stopped a seven-game losing streak with the 8-7, 11-inning victory. The Yanks had their lead in the American League East shrink to 3 ½ games over the Orioles, who jumped over the Rays and into second place.
Even worse news for the Yankees was the possible loss of Mark Teixeira for the remainder of the homestand and perhaps even longer. Tex came out of the game after scoring a run in the fourth inning because of a left calf strain.
“I’m concerned,” Girardi said after the game. “It is hard to replace middle-of-the-lineup guys, especially a switch hitter who helps to break up our lefties.”
On the positive side, Alex Rodriguez, another middle-of-the-order guy who has been disabled since July 25 with a broken bone in his left hand, got the okay to take batting practice Tuesday.
Soriano’s failure took a deserving victory away from David Phelps, who had another solid if not spectacular outing for the Yankees as a spot starter. Phelps was victimized by the long ball as home runs by Adam Lind and Yorvit Torrealba accounted for three of the four runs he allowed in 6 1/3 innings.
The ball was carrying well in the humid air. Robinson Cano smacked two home runs and Nick Swisher one. Yet in the eighth the Yanks played some small-ball as Russell Martin sacrificed Chavez into scoring position. Chavez had singled on another ball off a pitcher. An insurance run there would have been nice, but Andruw Jones and Ichiro Suzuki both grounded out.
If Jon Lester had pitched all season the way he did Saturday at Yankee Stadium the Red Sox might not be 12 ½ games behind the Yankees in the American League East standings. Yankees fans are grateful that Lester had not been nearly as sharp this year as in Boston’s 4-1 victory.
The lefthander improved his career record against the Yankee to 9-4 with a 3.81 ERA, including 7-2 with a 3.80 ERA at the Stadium. Overall, it has been a dreadful year for Lester, who is 7-10 with a 5.03 ERA overall.
The Yankees found out that sometimes the home run is not enough, especially if there is only one of them and no one was on base. Curtis Granderson accounted for the Yankees’ lone run Saturday with his 32nd home run. It was the sixth home run by the Yankees in the two games against Boston. All have been with the bases empty.
Granderson was the only Yankees hitter to be perfect against Lester with a double and a walk to go with his dinger. Granderson’ homer was his 11th this season off left-handed pitching and 27th since the start of 2011, the most in the major leagues over that span.
Nick Swisher, who has had a monstrous homestand, had three hits, two off Lester, who also struck him out once. Swish is batting .417 with one double, four home runs and 11 RBI on the homestand. He is hitting .324 with five doubles, four home runs and 15 RBI in August and .333 with two doubles, four home runs and 14 RBI in 11 games since moving into the 2-hole in the batting order 10 days ago. Swisher has crushed Boston pitching this season to the tune of .485 in 33 at-bats.
But a season-long problem bugged the Yankees Saturday. They were hitless in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position. They had the leadoff batter on base in three innings against Lester but failed to capitalize. Deter Jeter, serving as the designated hitter for the second straight game, was 0-for-3 with a walk as his 13-game hitting streak was snuffed.
Also for the second straight game, first baseman Mark Teixeira was out of the lineup because of left wrist inflammation. He is not likely to start Sunday night in the final game of the homestand.
A positive note despite the losing decision was the start by David Phelps, who has pitched quite well since the Yankees recalled him from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre July 18. He is 2-1 with a 2.01 ERA in nine appearances totaling 22 1/3 innings since that date. Taking the place of disabled CC Sabathia in the rotation for the second turn, Phelps gave up three runs and seven hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. In five spot start for the Yankees this season, the righthander is 1-2 with a 2.92 ERA in 24 2/3 innings.
“He mixed his pitches very well,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Even the home run was a ball off the plate. We like what he has done. He’s a valuable guy because he can do many things well.”
The home run to which Girardi referred was a two-run shot to left field by Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning. The opposite-field blow proved all the offense Boston would need. The Red Sox got a run off Phelps in the fifth after two were out on a single by new Yankee killer Pedro Ciriaco and a double by Nick Punto. Ciriaco was 4-for-4 with a stolen base and is 15-for-29 (.517) with three doubles, one triple and seven RBI against the Yankees this year.
Sabathia has been telling writers that he intends to make his next start when he is eligible to come off the DL Friday at Cleveland, but the ever-cautious Girardi is not ready to make that assignment in pen just yet and has told Phelps to be ready to start if need be.
Phelps’ versatility has been a positive key for the Yankees. It remains to be seen where he will fit in when Sabathia and eventually Andy Pettitte return to active duty. Phelps has been effective as a long man, but that bullpen is crowded now that Derek Lowe is here. Girardi’s use of Lowe to get one out in the ninth inning may be an indication he would like to use him the way he once did Cory Wade as a right-handed compliment to Boone Logan.
With Joba Chamberlain struggling in his comeback from Tommy John surgery and an injured ankle, Phelps may find a permanent spot on the staff the rest of the way.
Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira and new pitcher Derek Lowe were named to the Arizona Fall league Hall of Fame Tuesday, along with Rangers manager Ron Washington. All three men were at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night for the second portion of the four-game series between the clubs with the top two records in the American League.
Arizona Fall League director Steve Cobb said of the election, “Mark and Derek have been remarkably consistent professionals throughout their standout careers, and Ron has become one of the most respected managers in baseball.”
The Arizona Fall League, which was founded in 1992, formed its Hall of Fame in 2001 to honor the top major-league players and managers who honed their skills in the AFL. The selection committee, chaired by lone-time baseball executive Roland Hemond, based its appointments on individual achievement at the major-league level since participating in the Arizona Fall League.
Teixeira, who played for the Peoria Javelinas in 2002, is the fastest switch hitter to 300 career home runs and is also the first switch hitter to reach 30 home runs and 100 RBI in each of the past eight seasons (2004-11). Teixeira holds the major-league record of homering from each side of the plate in a game 13 times. Defensively, Tex is the AL career fielding percentage leader among first basemen with a minimum of 1,000 games. He is a two-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner and three-time Silver Slugger recipient.
Lowe, who pitched for the Sun Cities Solar Sox in 1993 and Peoria Javelinas in 1995, is one of three pitchers with more than 160 victories and 80 saves, along with Dennis Eckersley and John Smoltz. Lowe is one of five Arizona Fall League pitchers to hurl a no-hitter, along with Jered Weaver, Clay Buchholz, Roy Halladay and Phil Humber. Lowe’s no-hitter in 2002 was the first at Fenway Park since 1965. He was the winning pitcher in all three clinching postseason games in 2004 when Boston went on to its first World Series championship since 1918.
Washington, who was a hitting coach for the Sun Cities Solar Sox in 1992 and the Tucson Javelinas in 1993, is the first manager in Rangers history to increase the team’s victory total in four consecutive seasons. He guided Texas to back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010 and ’11 and is the only manager in the history of the Rangers/Senators franchise (1961-2011) to win a postseason series.
The Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame increased its membership to 31 with the elections of Teixeira, Lowe and Washington. Other AFL Hall of Famers connected now or formerly with the Yankees are Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, Alfonso Soriano and bench coach Tony Pena.
Ryan Dempster was one of those pitchers available around the July 31 trade deadline that the Yankees were reluctant to chase because of budget restraints and the sacrificing of prospects. Dempster is a fine pitcher, no doubt, but not an ace. His price was not worth it to the Yankees. It was to the Rangers, who lost the bidding war with the Angels for Zack Greinke.
The Yankees’ decision to go with pitchers within their own system or those not overly expensive looked pretty good Monday night. They got outstanding work from spot starter David Phelps and new import Derek Lowe while their hitters beat up on Dempster, who lasted two batters into the seventh inning and gave up eight earned runs and nine hits, four for extra-bases.
The Yankees have struggled much of the year when batting with the bases loaded, but they lead the major leagues in grand slams nonetheless. No. 9 came in the third inning when Nick Swisher unloaded off Dempster. The situation was set up on singles by Russell Martin and Raul Ibanez, a sacrifice by Ichiro Suzuki and a walk to Derek Jeter.
The home run was the 200th of Swisher’s career. It was his sixth career grand slam and his second of this season. He also went deep with the bags full April 21 at Boston off Vicente Padilla. That was the game at Fenway Park where the Yankee fell behind, 9-0, but came back to win, 15-9.
The Yankees reloaded the bases later in the inning and got another run on a sacrifice fly by Curtis Granderson. They are batting .236 in bases-full at-bats this season but with nine home runs and 93 RBI in 106 at-bats. The Yanks’ other home run Monday night was with the bases empty, by Eric Chavez leading off the sixth.
Swisher got his fifth RBI of the game in the seventh when the Yanks drove Dempster from the game on a triple by Suzuki and a double by Jeter. Swisher greeted reliever Michael Kirkman with a single to score Jeter.
All that offense took some pressure off Phelps, who made his fourth start for the Yanks but went the five innings required for a winning decision for the first time. The righthander gave up two runs and five hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings and helped himself with two pickoffs of base runners.
Lowe, who worked on his own in Florida after being designated for assignment by the Indians, was anxious to get into a game with his new team right away and gave the Yankees everything they could have hoped for with four shutout innings of two-hit, four-strikeout innings to earn a save in his first game in pinstripes.
“You always want to get into a game,” Lowe said. “You can work all you want on the sideline or in the bullpen, but it is not until you’re in a game that you know if the work mattered. I look forward to getting back into a regular routine.”
“His sinker and slider was very good,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “That’s the Derek Lowe I remember.”
It was a big night for the Yankees, who now have the best record in the league, by a half-game over the Rangers. These two clubs are fighting for home-field advantage in the playoffs, which makes this four-game series interesting. For the Yankees to be able to get through CC Sabathia’s first missed start with just two pitchers and not have to use a David Robertson or a Boone Logan or a Rafael Soriano was a major positive.
And to think the price tag for that was so much lower than it would have been to trade for Ryan Dempster.
Pitchers with the best pickoff moves tend to be left-handed. Think Andy Pettitte or Hall of Famer Steve Carlton. Since the lefthander faces first base when in the stretch, he has a better view of what type of lead a runner is taking.
David Phelps, who started Monday night’s game for the Yankees against the Rangers, is a right-handed pitcher, but his determination to keep base runners close was the equal of Pettitte in the early going. Phelps got himself out of trouble spots in the second and third innings by picking runners off base.
Fans sometimes get on a pitcher if he throws over to first base too often. Such behavior can get on the nerves of managers and pitching coaches as well. They prefer the pitcher concentrate on the batter. But what manager or pitching coach is not happy when that determination results in an out?
Phelps concentrated so much on Elvis Andrus at first base in the first inning that he lost Josh Hamilton to a base on balls. A two-out single by Nelson Cruz created the first run of the game. In the second inning, Phelps hit Ian Kinsler with a pitch. Again, peering off at first base Phelps nailed Kinsler trying to slide back into the bag.
In the third with Andrus and Adrian Beltre on first and second, respectively, with one out after singles, Phelps seemed to have eyes in the back of his head as he detected Andrus wandering too far off second base. Robinson Cano, playing near the bag with the right-handed Cruz at bat, was in perfect position to field Phelps’ pickoff throw that trapped Andrus and gutted the rally.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he hoped to get five innings or 80 pitches from Phelps, whichever came first. Actually, Phelps gave his skipper the numbers simultaneously, pretty much. Phelps threw 78 pitches over five innings before Derek Lowe was called on to make his Yankees debut.
With David Phelps filling in momentarily for disabled CC Sabathia in the rotation, the Yankees needed to find length for the bullpen and did so Monday with the signing of Derek Lowe, who joined the team at Yankee Stadium Monday and was available for the night game against Texas.
The righthander, 39, was 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA in 21 starts and 119 innings for the Indians before he was designated for assignment Aug. 2 and released Aug. 10. Lowe’s career mark is 174-156 with 85 saves and a 4.01 ERA in 655 games, including 377 starts, over 16 major-league seasons with the Mariners, Red Sox, Dodgers, Braves and Indians. He is one of three pitchers to have won at least 160 games and saved at least 80, along with Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley and John Smoltz.
“He’s a guy in our bullpen who can give us distance,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He has done well in a lot of different roles.”
Lowe has made 278 career relief appearances, going 18-22 with a 2.95 ERA in 381 innings and holding opponents to a .248 batting average. In his career, Lowe has compiled a 3.54 combined ERA from Aug. 1 through the end of the regular season, nearly three-quarters of a run lower than his combined ERA to start the season through July 31 (4.22).
The most successful period of Lowe’s career came during his eight seasons in Boston. He and catcher Jason Varitek were acquired July 31, 1997 from the Mariners in a lopsided traded that only cost the Red Sox relief pitcher Heathcliff Slocumb. Lowe was 70-55 with 85 saves and a 3.72 ERA for the Red Sox. He pitched a no-hitter April 27, 2002 against Tampa Bay during a season when he was converted to a starter and was 21-8 with a 2.58 ERA. Two years earlier, Lowe led the American League in saves with 42 as Boston’s closer. He was named to AL All-Star squads in 2000 at Atlanta and 2002 at Milwaukee.
Lowe has made 23 postseason appearances, including 12 starts, and has a 5-7 record with one save and a 3.21 ERA in 95 1/3 innings. When the Red Sox ended their 86-year drought and won the World Series in 2004, Lowe was the winning pitcher in the clinching game of all three of their postseason series – Game 3 of the AL Division Series sweep of the Angels, Game 7 of the AL Championship Series against the Yankees and Game 4 of the World Series sweep of the Cardinals.
Truthfully, that was many years ago. In recent seasons, Lowe has struggled. He led the National League in losses last year when he was 9-17 for the Braves. Over the past two seasons, Lowe has a 17-27 record with a 5.24 ERA. As with Ichiro Suzuki, the Yankees are hoping that a return to a contending club might rejuvenate Lowe, who has never been on the disabled list.