Results tagged ‘ Dustin Pedroia ’
The Yankees reached into their storied, recent past Thursday night to produce their first victory of the 2013 season. After being shoved around for two games by the Red Sox, the Yankees used some old-fashioned muscle and one of the most illustrious pitching tandems in the history of the game to get into the ‘W’ column.
Mariano Rivera began his farewell tour of the major leagues with a save of an Andy Pettitte start in the Yankees’ 4-2 victory. Mo got cuffed for a run, but he finished off the Red Sox to preserve Pettitte’s 246th career victory. Andy was in turn-back-the-clock mode with eight strong innings in which he allowed eight hits but only one run and one walk with three strikeouts. He was aided by three double plays, one of which he turned himself stylishly.
It was the 69th time that Rivera saved a victory for Pettitte, the most by a starter and reliever since the saves rule went into effect in 1969. Yet it was the first time for the duo since July 2010.
“You feel pretty secure when that guy comes in from the bullpen,” Pettitte said. “I’ll savor this season as much as I can.”
Pettitte has not said whether this will definitely be his last roundup. He was talking about savoring Rivera’s career finale which got off to splendid start Thursday night. Mo toed the rubber in a big-league game for the first time in 11 months and looked as if he had never gone away.
“It didn’t feel much different from other first games of the season for me, except that I had a long wait between them,” said Rivera, whose 2012 season ended last May in Kansas City. “There was a lot of emotion, but you have to control that. There were some times when going through therapy and the pain I wondered if I could come back, but my desire and passion for the game motivated me.”
Believe it or not, Mo got squeezed a bit by plate umpire Mike DiMuro, who I thought erred by calling a 2-2 cutter to Dustin Pedroia across the plate a ball that should have been strike three. Rivera eventually walked Pedroia, who scored on a one-out double by Jonny Gomes. Rivera then retired Will Middlebrooks on an infield grounder and struck out rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. looking to notch career save No. 609.
Francisco Cervelli supported Pettitte with good work behind the plate including a recovering stab for a runner trying to score on a wild pitch and a home run off the bullpen wall in left-center. Brett Gardner also homered as the Yankees used last year’s scoring method to good use. Lyle Overbay’s two-out, two-run single in the second gave the Yankees their first lead of the season, and they did not squander it.
“It was an important game,” Pettitte said. “You never want to get swept in your opening homestand.”
Pettitte was so efficient (96 pitches) that Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not have to use any other reliever but Rivera.
“It really helped with the trip coming up to only have to use one guy out of the pen,” Girardi said or Rivera, who will now take his tour on to Detroit and Cleveland.
“He will understand how he is appreciated around the game,” Girardi added. “What we have seen here has been pretty special for a long time.”
From the when-will-they-ever-learn department: Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda reached with his pitching hand to try to snare a line drive up the middle by Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino in the second inning. The ball skimmed off Kuroda’s fingertips and into center field for a single.
Kuroda was examined by trainer Steve Donohue but remained in the game – temporarily. The righthander walked one batter and hit two others with pitches over the next four batters. After the second hit-by-pitch, to designated hitter Daniel Nava, that forced in Boston’s second run, Yanks manager Joe Girardi decided to remove Kuroda. Cody Eppley did an efficient job of keeping the damage to a minimum by getting Dustin Pedroia to ground into an inning-double play.
Pitchers are warned constantly about the dangers of trying to catch a ball with their bare hand, but most cannot help themselves because it is an instinctual maneuver. The risk of a serious injury to their pitching hand is not worth attempting such a play. Roger Clemens was frequently guilty of this, but using one of the game’s freaks of nature as an example is unwise thinking.
There was very little good for the Yankees in their 2013 season opener, a dismal 8-2 loss to the Red Sox on a day that began with unseasonably warm weather and deteriorated into a cold, rainy affair. Yankee Stadium, which swelled with 49,514 people, the most for a season opener at the current facility, was practically empty by the ninth inning.
Take solace, Yankees fans, there are still 161 games remaining, so leave us not get carried away by one dreary game. The Yankees are starting the season behind the 8-ball with regulars Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson plus starting pitcher Phil Hughes on the disabled list.
Monday’s game featured six players who made their debuts in pinstripes – Kevin Youkilis, Vernon Wells, Ben Francisco, Travis Hafner, Lyle Overbay and Sean Kelley – and two players in the starting lineup who are normally on the bench – Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix.
Francisco Cervelli, back with the Yanks after spending most of 2012 in the minors, knocked in both Yankees runs with a double down the left-field line in the fourth inning. When the key to the offense in a game is the 9-hole hitter, chances of winning are pretty slim. A Yankees rally in the seventh petered out after Boston lefthander Andrew Miller followed two walks with strikeouts of Nunez and Robinson Cano. Righthander Andrew Bailey then came in and struck out Youkilis.
Cano looks pretty naked in this lineup and saw an abundance of pitches out of the strike zone, which is likely to be a regular occurrence until Granderson and Teixeira return to provide some protection or if Youkilis and Wells return to their former RBI form.
“The new faces are going to have to step up,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi noted. “This is a different type of lineup than we have had in recent years, there is no doubt about it. “We are going to have to score runs in different ways.”
With so much firepower on the DL or lost to the free-agency defections of Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez and Russell Martin, the Yankees will not be relying on the long ball as they did a year ago when they smacked 245 home runs.
The Yankees still consider pitching a strength, but their rotation ace, CC Sabathia, was down in velocity and struggled to get through five innings. The Red Sox batted around in the second inning against Sabathia, who allowed four runs on four hits and two walks. With his fastball topping out at 91 miles per hour, CC did not have blow-away stuff or crispness on his slider.
Girardi mentioned that Sabathia’s velocity is usually down early in the year. “That is common among power pitchers,” the skipper said. “We’re used to seeing a big difference in velocity from CC from April to June.”
“It takes time to build up arm strength,” Sabathia said. “I had trouble finishing off hitters. With two outs [in the second inning], you’re always one pitch away from ending the inning, but I let it get away from me.”
Youkilis, who started the game at first base and moved to third in the seventh, and Cervelli combined on a fine play to get the second out of the inning at the plate, but Sabathia then yielded RBI singles to Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia. Even though it was so early in the game, the 4-0 deficit seemed ominous considering the shell of the Yankees’ current batting order.
Opening Day problems are part of Sabathia’s DNA. Monday was his 10th Opening Day start, the past five with the Yankees. He is 0-2 with a 7.43 ERA in Yanks openers and 1-2 with seven no-decisions and a 5.80 ERA in all openers.
This was the fourth loss in the past five Opening Days for the Yankees, whose overall record in season lid-lifters is 63-47-1, including 35-15-1 at home. They had a chance to set a record for consecutive home-opening victories but had their streak end at 11 games to remain tied for the mark with the Mets, who won the same total of home openers from 1971 through ’89.
Here is an interesting item researched by the Elias Sports Bureau. The Yankees’ lineup Monday marked the first time since 1992 that it did not contain a switch hitter. That was the last Yankees team to finish with a record under .500 (76-86).
“It’s just one game,” Girardi said. “Don’t make too much of it.”
Yankees fans must try not to.
It looks like the Orioles were right in griping about Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia not playing Monday night. They were back in there Tuesday night and combined to put two quick runs on the board against Yankees starter David Phelps in the first inning. Ellsbury led off the game with a single and scored all the way from first base on a double to right-center by Pedroia, who then crossed to third on an infield out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cody Ross.
Two hours before the scheduled first pitch Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium and rain is falling steadily. The last thing the Yankees want is to have to play a split-admission doubleheader Wednesday. Tuesday night’s game is bound to have a late start. The Yanks will do whatever is in their power to get this game in.
A pal of mine suggested that the Yankees could wait until the Orioles-Rays game was over before deciding whether to play. If the Orioles lose, the Yanks would win the division and could care less about Wednesday. Playing two games wouldn’t matter in that case. But if the Orioles should win, the Yankees would want to get Tuesday’s game in at all costs.
A major goal of the Yankees is to win home-field advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs, which is definitely possible. They are tied with the Rangers for the best record in the American League and own the tiebreaker over Texas because they won the season series. If the Yankees win home-field advantage, they would open the postseason against the Wild Card team Sunday at the Wild Card club’s field. If the Yankees win the AL East but are second to Texas in record, they would open the AL Division Series Saturday at Detroit. If they finish tied with the Orioles atop the AL East, the Yankees would travel to Baltimore for a one-game playoff for the division title. The winner would advance to the ALDS. The loser would play the Athletics in the Wild Card Playoff Friday.
Got all that?
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine’s lineup for Tuesday night had both Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia in it. The Sox took a lot of heat from people around the Orioles for the Triple-A type lineup it fielded Monday night in a 10-2 Yankees victory. Valentine sat Ellsbury because he has struggled recently against lefthanders, and the Yankees were starting CC Sabathia, against whom Ellsbury is a career .214 hitter. Pedroia was out with a fractured left ring finger. He was not supposed to play Tuesday night but talked himself into the lineup if for no other reason than to shut up the Orioles.
The Red Sox have been the longest-running soap opera in the major leagues this season.
Sabathia earned his 15th victory and reached the plateau for the eighth time and sixth season in a row. CC is the only big-league pitcher with at least 15 victories in each of the past six seasons (2007-12). He is the first Yankees pitcher to reach 15 victories in four straight seasons since Ron Guidry (1977-80). Sabathia is also one of six Yankees pitchers to do so in each of first four years with club and the first since Allie Reynolds did it in six consecutive seasons (1947-52). CC went eight innings to get to 200 innings for the sixth straight season (2007-12) and seventh time in his career, joining the Marlins’ Mark Buehrle as only lefthanders to reach the plateau each year since 2007.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi had a surprise announcement before the Yankees’ final series of the regular season Monday night against the Red Sox. The statistics sheet listed Ivan Nova as the Yankees’ starter for Tuesday night’s game, but Girardi informed the press that David Phelps will make the start instead.
The move was not based on an injury. There is nothing wrong with Nova physically. There has been a great deal wrong with Nova’s pitching, especially in the second half. In truth, Nova has not been the pitcher he was in 2011 when he was a certifiable American League/Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award candidate.
Nova’s earned run average has been below 4.00 only once since April 20. It climbed to 5.02 after his latest outing, a 6-0 loss last Thursday night at Toronto when Nova gave up four earned runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings. It continued a downward slide by the righthander, who has allowed 194 hits in 170 1/3 innings.
Since returning from a right rotator cuff injury, Nova is 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA and 15 hits allowed in 13 innings. He is 2-5 with a 7.05 ERA and 75 hits allowed in 60 innings in the second half.
Phelps, on the other hand, has been the more reliable performer. The rookie righthander is 4-4 with a 3.34 ERA for the season, including 3-1 with a 3.57 ERA and 41 hits allowed in 53 innings in the second half. As a starter, Phelps is 2-2 with a 3.81 ERA with 46 hits allowed, 21 walks and 50 strikeouts in 52 innings. Opponents are batting .240 in the second half against Phelps and .309 against Nova.
What this move essentially means is that Nova is out of the Yankees’ rotation for the rest of the year. The regular season ends after Wednesday’s schedule of games, unless there is a playoff for the AL East title, which the Yankees hope to avoid by running the table against the Red Sox while the Orioles lose at least one of the three games to the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Yankees caught a few breaks toward that end Monday night. Mark Teixeira returned to their lineup after missing the past 20 games and 30 of the past 31 because of a left calf strain. Boston was without its table setters, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and second baseman Dustin Pedroia, a couple of flat-out Yankee killers. Pedroia apparently has a hand injury. No one seems to know what is wrong with Ellsbury, who missed six games last week with no explanation.
Before everybody climbs all over David Robertson for getting beat with his third best pitch in the ninth inning, look back to several other innings when the Yankees had a bevy of opportunities to break the game open and failed. In one-run losses, which the Yankees have had too many of this year, there are usually other areas to point to other than the game-losing play.
You could go all the way back to Boston’s starting pitcher, Jon Lester, who walked a career-high seven batters in his 5 1/3-inning outing, including the leadoff hitter in four innings, but only two of them scored. The Yankees were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base in the first six innings. In the final three innings against three Red Sox relievers, the Yankees did not get a runner into scoring position.
The Red Sox treated the 4-3 victory as a playoff triumph, and why not? Playing spoiler is what is left of their season. They surely spoiled Tuesday night for the Yankees, who dropped into a first-place tie in the American League East with the Orioles, 9-2 winners over the Rays.
Holding on to leads continues to be a problem for the Yankees on this trip in which they are 3-5 and amid this 22-game stretch of games against AL East competition in which they are 5-9 to this point with eight remaining. Hiroki Kuroda could not protect 1-0 and 3-2 advantages.
Derek Jeter’s two-run double in the sixth was the Yankees’ lone clutch hit and uplifting at that, but he was left stranded as reliever Junichi Tazawa came in and struck out Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez. In the bottom half, Kuroda gave up a home run to Dustin Pedroia that tied the score. Pedroia had a big night with three hits and two RBI.
Even bigger for Boston was Jacoby Ellsbury, whose fourth hit of the game won it. He singled off a changeup from Robertson to compete the winning rally that was created by two ground singles through the left side by Pedro Ciriaco and Mike Aviles, who may have had the at-bat of the game as he fought off several tough pitches before getting the hit.
Robertson used his fastball to great advantage in the eighth in striking out the side. In the ninth, he broke out the breaking ball a bit more, which resulted in some awkward swings by Red Sox hitters but well-placed knocks. The changeup was a dangerous call to Ellsbury, that’s for sure.
Rodriguez’s 13-game hitting streak came to an end, but Swisher showed some life for the first time on the trip with a double and a single. Jayson Nix laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners up that Jeter knocked in with his double.
The Yankees’ record in one-run games fell to 17-22. After stops at Tampa Bay and Baltimore against their closest pursuers in the division, the Yankees may have thought Boston would be a soft stop. What happened Tuesday night should have changed their minds. The Red Sox made it clear they are not rolling over.
So maybe a little dose of Fenway Park was all Nick Swisher needed to get his bat going again. Buried in slumps covering 28 at-bats (no hits) and 43 at-bats (two hits), Swish came to Boston where he had hit .429 with three doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI in 21 at-bats this year. On top of that, he was the Yankees’ leading hitter against the Red Sox overall this season with a .444 average, three doubles, five home runs and 14 RBI in 36 at-bats.
Following a leadoff walk to Derek Jeter, Swisher lined a first-pitch fastball from Jon Lester off the Green Monster for a double. It was Swisher’s first hit since Sept. 2. He had been hitless for the road trip before that at-bat.
It appeared at that point that the Yankees would be off and running against a downtrodden Red Sox team that is playing out the string of a disappointing season. But the Yankees got only one run out of the situation on an infield out by Robinson Cano. Lester loaded the bases with a pair of walks after two were out but got Curtis Granderson on a foul pop to first base.
The Yankees continued their pattern of scant run support for Hiroki Kuroda in the early going. They wasted a one-out double by Jayson Nix in the second inning. Lester walked the first two batters in the third, then after a visit and tongue lashing from manager Bobby Valentine came back to get two strikeouts and an infield out.
Swisher’s bid for a second double, in the fourth, was snuffed out by third baseman Pedro Ciriaco, who has tormented the Yankees all season, mostly with his bat. The rookie made a diving, back-handed grab of Swisher’s hard grounder down the line, and first baseman James Loney made a nice scoop to complete a beauty of a play that Nick could have done without. The Yankees were hitless in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position and left seven on base over the first four innings.
Ciriaco’s 16th hit in 33 at-bats (.485) against the Yankees was a leadoff double in the third inning to start a two-run rally that thrust the Red Sox into the lead. He crossed to third on an infield out to the right side and scored on a single against a drawn-in infield by Jacoby Ellsbury. A steal of second base by Ellsbury with two out put him in position to score on a single to right by Dustin Pedroia.
Much of what makes the 2012 Yankees tick is the home run. They lead the majors in that category and added a lot to the total Friday night in a 6-4 victory over the Red Sox. Five of the Yankees’ runs came on balls that left the yard, and yet it was a two-out single by Jayson Nix in the sixth inning that scored the run that proved to be the winner.
The five home runs, all solo shots, raised the Yankees’ season total to 186. That puts them on a pace to smack 253 home runs, which would shatter the franchise record of 244 in 2009 and come close to challenging the major-league mark of 264 by the Mariners in 1997. The Yankees have homered in 33 of their past 37 games and 99 of their 119 games this season. In the 20 games in which the Yanks have not homered, their record is 3-17, so going deep has been essential to their winning games.
Nick Swisher led the way with two home runs, one from each side of the plate. That marks a dozen times Swish has done that in his career. Only Mark Teixeira with 13 has accomplished the feat more often. This is pretty heady stuff. Even Mickey Mantle, the Yankees’ greatest switch hitter, had only 10 such games. It’s strange for me to write “only” there because the Mick held the record for many years until Eddie Murray and Chili Davis came along. And now Tex and Swish have left them all in the dust.
Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin had back-to-back homers in the second inning. Granderson’s 31st home run of the season was his 10th off a left-handed pitcher, in this case Franklin Morales. Martin’s homer brought his batting average to .200 for the first time in six weeks, but he went 0-for-3 after that to fall to .198.
The other home run was from Derek Jeter, career No. 250, which tied the score in the fifth. It was a crucial blow because there was rain in the forecast all night, and both sides feared falling behind if the game was stopped and perhaps halted for good. It rained pretty hard for two innings with thunder and lightning all around. Then it went away. Try to figure out weather.
Swisher’s two-homer night is part of a hot stretch dating to Aug. 8 when he was moved into the 2-hole of the batting order as Granderson was slumping. Swish has responded by batting .310 with two doubles, four home runs and 14 RBI in 42 at-bats. He has bashed Red Sox pitching all year at a .448 clip.
Four of Swisher’s past six home runs and five of his past nine have given the Yankees the lead (his first-inning homer Friday night did). He has hit four home runs in the past five games and has had at least one run and one run batted in six straight games, matching a streak by Alex Rodriguez in 2008 from Aug. 30 to Sept. 4. The only Yankees player with a longer streak since 1957 was by Don Mattingly, now the Dodgers manager, who had such a streak of nine games in 1987 from July 7-18.
All the long balls backed a fine start from Phil Hughes, who gave up four runs in seven innings but none was earned. That was due to an errant throw by Hughes that extended the third inning and allowed Dustin Pedroia to give the Red Sox the momentary lead with a three-run home run.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was pleased to see Hughes make use of his changeup, a pitch he had all but abandoned in recent starts. “I wanted to give hitters a different look,” he said.
The Yankees may be without Mark Teixeira the next several days because of inflammation in his left wrist. The first baseman was not in Friday night’s lineup against the Red Sox. Manager Joe Girardi said he did not expect the condition to be long term but added, “I wouldn’t be surprised if it were more than a day.”
Teixeira hurt the wrist swinging a bat in a game three weeks ago and aggravated it when he dived for a ball at first base. He received a cortisone injection and continued to play, although the wrist has bothered him off and on all this time. Nick Swisher played first base Friday night and is likely to get first call at that position while Teixeira is sidelined.
The first couple of innings were pretty soggy at Yankee Stadium as rain fell intermittently with thunder and lightning for accompaniment. The grounds crew was called on twice to care for the areas around the plate and on the mound.
The Yankees supplied their own thunder in building a 3-0 lead on solo home runs off lefthander Franklin Morales by Swisher in the first inning and Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin back-to-back in the second. Yet it took the Red Sox only one home run to capture the lead.
Boston’s four runs in the third were unearned because of a costly error by Phil Hughes, who was coming off two consecutive starts in which he failed to last the fifth inning. After giving up a leadoff single to Mike Aviles, Hughes got Scott Podsednik to hit a ball back to the mound. A possible double play fell apart as Hughes threw wildly to second, putting runners on first and third for Boston with none out.
Pedro Ciriaco, the rookie who has raked the Yankees this year (.500, two doubles, one triple, six RBI in 22 at-bats entering play), beat out a play at first base to avoid being doubled up as Aviles scored. Hughes retired Carl Crawford on a foul behind third base, but Dustin Pedroia got all of a 1-0 fastball for a three-run home run to left, achieving with one swing what it took the Yankees three to do.
Robinson Cano, back in the lineup after missing two starts due to stiff neck, made a bid to thrust the Yankees back into the lead in the bottom of the third, but a leaping grab at the right field wall by Podsednik took away a potential two-run homer.
Derek Jeter got the Yankees even in the fifth with yet another solo home run that extended his hitting streak to 13 games and was a milestone blast. The homer was career No. 250 for Jeter, which ties him with Graig Nettles for ninth place on the Yanks’ career list. He also became the 10th player on the 2012 Yankees to hit 10 or more home runs, tying a franchise record for players homering in double figures established in 1998.
The 10 this year: Granderson 31, Cano 25, Teixeira 23, Swisher 17, Raul Ibanez 15, Alex Rodriguez 15, Eric Chavez 13, Andruw Jones 13, Martin 13, Jeter 10.
The 10 in 1998: Tino Martinez 28, Bernie Williams 26, Paul O’Neill 24, Darryl Strawberry 24, Jeter 19, Scott Brosius 19, Chuck Knoblauch 17, Jorge Posada 17, Chad Curtis 10, Shane Spencer 10.