Results tagged ‘ Elias Sports Bureau ’
The Yankees’ 3-2, 18-inning loss at Oakland Thursday was their longest game since Sept. 11, 1988 at Yankee Stadium against the Tigers, a 5-4 victory on Claudell Washington’s two-run home run off Guillermo “Willie” Hernandez in the bottom of the 18th. An RBI single by Torey Lovullo, now the bench coach of the Red Sox, had given Detroit a 4-3 lead in the top of that inning.
The Athletics completed a sweep of the Yankees, their first this year in a series of three or more games (they were swept in consecutive two-game series May 27-30 by the Mets). Yanks pitchers held the A’s scoreless for 14 consecutive innings (from the fourth through the 17th). The Yankees had 10 hits but left 14 runners on base and had 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Most embarrassing for the Yankees’ offense was the performance of the 4-through-7 batters in the order who were a combined 0-for-28 – Mark Teixeira (0-for-5, 2 walks, 1 hit by pitch, 3 strikeouts), Travis Hafner (0-for-8, 3K), Kevin Youkilis (0-for-7, 1BB, 3K) and Vernon Wells 0-for-8, 3K). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this was the first time in modern major-league history (since 1900) in a game of any length that four starters batting in consecutive lineup slots went hitless in a combined total of 28 or more at-bats. Elias also noted that it was the first game in modern history in which a team had three different players each go hitless in at least seven at-bats, with each player striking out at least three times and marked the first game in the history of the Yankees that the team had four different players who struck out at least three times.
Hiroki Kuroda started and allowed two earned runs, two hits and two walks with three strikeouts in eight innings and remained winless in five starts since May 17 with a 0-3 record and 4.40 over 28 2/3 innings during that stretch. Robinson Cano, who had 3-for-6, reached base five times with one home run, two doubles and five walks. His homer, the club’s first in 53 innings since June 6, accounted for both Yankees runs in the first inning.
Teixeira recorded 21 putouts at first base, the second time since 1999 that a Yankees player had that many or more putouts in a single game (Andy Phillips had 22 June 28, 2006 in a 4-3 Yanks victory over the Braves at the Stadium). Kuroda surpassed 1,000 career innings in the majors and is the third Japanese-born pitcher in MLB history to do so, joining Hideo Nomo (1,976 1/3) and Tomo Ohka (1,070).
The Yankees have lost seven straight games at the O.co Coliseum dating to last year. It comes on the heels of a franchise-record nine consecutive victories at Oakland from July 5, 2010 to May 27, 2012. The Yanks have had only one longer losing streak in Oakland. They dropped 10 in a row there from Sept. 9, 1989 through May 1, 1991.
The Yanks’ public relations staff put together the following chart detailing the last time prior to Thursday that the Yankees reached the following statistics:
Statistic First time since
Game Time (5:35) Sept. 22, 2012 vs. Athletics (5:43, 14 innings)
Innings played (18) Sept. 11, 1988 vs. Tigers (18, 5-4 victory)
Innings played in loss (18) April 22, 1970 at Washington (18, 2-1)
Innings played on road (18) April 22, 1970 at Washington (18, 2-1 loss)
Most AB, Yankees Batters (60) June 1, 2003 at Detroit (61 in 17 innings, 10-9 victory)
Most AB, Yankees Player (8, Hafner/Wells) Sept. 22, 2012 vs. A’s (8, Cano, 14 innings)
Relief Innings (6, Warren) June 7, 2011 vs. Red Sox (6, Noesi, 9-inning game)
Strikeouts, Yankees Batters (15) Sept. 5, 2012 at Tampa Bay (15, 9-inning game)
Putouts, Yankees Fielder (21, Teixeira) June 28, 2006 vs. Braves (22, Phillips, 12 innings)
Consecutive scoreless innings, Yankees Pitchers (14) Aug. 25, 1976 vs. Twins (17 of 19)
Consecutive scoreless innings, Yankees Batters (17) June 24, 1962 at Detroit (19 of 22)
Yankees fans need to hit the ballot box on a regular basis if they want the team to have a heavy representation in the All-Star Game July 16 at Citi Field. One of the drawbacks of the current, 10-game trip to the West Coast is that voting at Yankee Stadium is suspended for another week. Fans need to make their choices on Yankees.com or MLB.com while the team is away.
In the latest tally of votes, only one Yankees player is leading at his position, Robinson Cano at second base, and only one other, disabled shortstop Derek Jeter, is in the top five at his position. The injuries to first baseman Mark Teixeira, third baseman Kevin Youkilis and outfielder Curtis Granderson has hurt their chances to garner support.
A testament to Jeter’s popularity is that even though he has yet to play a game as he recovers from off-season left ankle surgery the Captain has received the fifth highest vote total among shortstops with 529,234 as of Saturday’s announced count. The current leader at the position is the Orioles’ J.J. Hardy with 1,231,843 that gives him a 185,958-vote lead over runner-up Elvis Andrus of the Rangers.
Since it was known at the start of the season that Alex Rodriguez would be out until after the All-Star break while recovering from left hip surgery he was not placed on the ballot at third base. Jeter had been expected back earlier in the season but sustained a crack in another area of the ankle that has extended his recovery period.
At second base, with 1,851,371 votes Cano has a lead of 744,422 over the Red Sox’ Dustin Pedroia. The other position leaders at this point are the Twins’ Joe Mauer at catcher; the Orioles’ Chris Davis at first base; the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera at third base; the Red Sox’ David Ortiz at designated hitter and the Angels’ Mike Trout, the Orioles’ Adam Jones and the Tigers’ Torii Hunter in the outfield. Among the outfielders, the best the Yankees are doing so far is Ichiro Suzuki in 15th place with 477,870 votes.
Brett Gardner should have raised some attention with voters with his four-hit game Sunday in the Yankees’ 2-1 victory over the Mariners, always a plus in a game started by Felix Hernandez. The 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner was not the losing pitcher. He left after seven innings with the score 1-1 as David Phelps, who went six innings for the Yankees, dueled him to a draw.
The finale of the four-game set in which the Yanks won three times ended up in the bullpen with the Bombers’ relief corps being superior, which is often the case. Boone Logan pitched a perfect, two-strikeout seventh. David Robertson (4-1) withstood a leadoff double and a sacrifice to post two straight strikeouts and strand the potential go-ahead run at third base in the eighth. After the Yankees took a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth, Mariano Rivera handled the bottom half for his 23rd save of the season and career No. 631.
With the muscle part of their order coming up small, the Yankees got major contributions from top and bottom. Cano, Teixeira, Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells, the 2-through-5 hitters, combined to go 0-for-14. Tex wore the golden sombrero (four strikeouts) but made an excellent defensive play in the ninth to get a key double play for Mo.
Suzuki, who was also hitless, walked to start the winning rally off Yoervis Medina. A textbook sacrifice bunt by Jayson Nix got Ichiro to second base from where he scored on a two-out single to left by Chris Stewart.
The Yankees’ run off Hernandez in the second inning was driven in by one of Gardner’s four hits. His quartet of knocks followed a three-hit effort Saturday night and topped off a big series for the center fielder. He had 9-for-17 (.529) with four doubles to raise his season batting average to .284, which leads the team. Gardner drove in one run and scored three. He has hit safely in 15 of his past 17 games, a stretch during which he has batted .365 in 63 at-bats.
Gardner’s hit scored Nix, who had a leadoff single and stole second base. Nix is also on a strong run. He has hit safely in 12 of his past 13 games that he has had an at-bat and is hitting .340 in 47 at-bats over that stretch. Nix, who is 8-for-8 in stolen bases, is batting a team-high .310 on the road with 12 runs and eight RBI in 26 games and 84 at-bats.
Andy Pettitte became the 45th pitcher in major-league history to get to 250 career victories (and the 24th in 70 seasons dating to 1944) with Saturday’s winning decision. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only six of that latter group of the most recent pitchers to enter the 250-victory circle did so with fewer losses than Pettitte, whose record is 250-145: Randy Johnson (250-130), Roger Clemens (250-136), Greg Maddux (250-140), Jim Palmer (250-142), Tom Seaver (250-142) and Mike Mussina (250-144).
Michael O’Neill, a nephew of former Yankees outfielder and current YES analyst Paul O’Neill, was drafted Friday by the Bombers in the third round (103rd player overall) of Major League Baseball’s First Year Player Draft. O’Neill is a right-handed batting outfielder at the University of Michigan.
In other activity on the second day of the draft, the Yankees selected in the fourth round (No. 134) shortstop Tyler Wade of Murrieta Valley High School in California, in the fifth round (No. 164) right-handed pitcher David Palladino of Howard College in Texas, in the sixth round (No. 194) shortstop John Murphy of Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, in the seventh round (No. 224) right-handed pitcher Nick Rumbelow of Louisiana State University, in the eighth round (No. 254) outfielder Brandon Thomas of Georgia Tech, in the ninth round (No. 284) left-handed pitcher Conner Kendrick of Auburn University and in the 10th round (No. 314) left-handed pitcher Tyler Webb of the University of South Carolina.
In addition, L.J. Mazzilli, second baseman at the University of Connecticut, was taken by the Mets in the fourth round (No. 116). L.J. is the son of former Mets and Yankees outfielder Lee Mazzilli, who also coached for the Yankees and managed the Orioles is now a special advisor in the Yanks’ corporate sales department.
The Yankees will get a look at pitcher Jeremy Bonderman for the first time since 2010 in Friday night’s game at Safeco Field. Bonderman is 3-9 with a 5.62 ERA (52 ER, 83.1 IP) in 14 games, including 13 starts, in his career against the Yankees, who have a three-game winning streak against him dating to May 10, 2008.
Prior this this season, Bonderman last appeared in the Majors in 2010 with the Tigers when he was 8-10 with a 5.53 ERA in 30 appearances, all but one as a starter. He had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in April 2012 and was also limited to only 20 games (13 starts) combined between 2008-09 because of thoracic outlet compression syndrome in his right chest, including going 461 days between major league starts between June 1, 2008 to Sept. 5, 2009.
Bonderman, who has 975 days between major-league starts, is the first Mariners pitcher to have at least 975 days between big-league starts since Gil Meche from July 4, 2000 to April 5, 2003 went 1,005 days between starts (where previous start may have been with a different team). The longest gap between starts for a Mariners pitcher was Mike Stanton from Sept. 27, 1975 to Sept. 1, 1982 who went 2,531 days between starts (Stanton did appear in 126 games in relief in the majors from 1980-82).
The Mariners used only nine position players in the 16-inning marathon Wednesday against the White Sox, the first time a team used only nine position players in a game of 14 or more innings since Seattle in a 14-inning loss July 20, 2012 at St. Petersburg, Fla. The Yankees were the last American League team prior to the Mariners to do this in 15 or more innings Aug. 26, 1985 in a 3-2, 15-inning loss at Oakland. Seattle is the first AL team since the DH was put in place in 1973 to use only nine position players in a game of 16 or more innings.
Pitcher Chien-Ming Wang has decided to opt out of his contract with the Yankees and sign with the Blue Jays. The righthander, 33, was 4-4 with a 2.33 ERA at Triple A Scranton but had been pushed down the depth chart with the injury to Ivan Nova, the emergence of Vidal Nuno and the impending return of Michael Pineda, who will begin an injury-rehabilitation assignment for Class A Tampa Saturday with a start at Lakeland, Fla. Wang, twice a 19-game winner with the Yankees before sustaining a foot injury running the bases in 2008, was 2-6 with a 6.68 ERA last year for the Nationals.
The Yankees entered Friday night’s game on a four-game winning streak, one shy of their season high of May 8-12. This is their fourth winning streak of at least four games this year. The Yanks have scored at least six runs in three of the four games after having reached the six-run plateau three times over their previous 18 games.
The Yankees have hit a home run with at least two men on base in each of their past four games (Mark Teixeira grand slam Monday, Teixiera three-run homer Tuesday, Brett Gardner three-run homer Wednesday and Robinson Cano three-run homer last night). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marks the first time the Yankees have had such a four-game stretch since four straight games from April 9-13, 2006.
Kevin Youkilis has reached base safely (via hit, walk or hit by pitch) in all 19 games that he has started at Safeco Field. The Elias Sports Bureau reports that the only player with a longer current streak of reaching base in consecutive starts at Safeco Field is Youk’s former teammate, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, in his past 20 starts.
It was only natural for attention to be focused on Mark Teixeira when he came off the disabled list late last week. The Yankees were floundering after a double series sweep by the Mets and stuck in a five-game losing streak, their longest of the season. Teixeira had been on the DL due to a right wrist injury the type of which pretty much wiped out Jose Bautista’s season a year ago with the Blue Jays.
Some Yankees fans were a bit too harsh on Teixeira as he struggled in his first two games with merely one hit in nine at-bats (.111) and seven strikeouts. One of the game’s most prominent switch hitters has been a notoriously slow starter during his career and even though the calendar switched over to June this past weekend it was very much like April for Teixeira.
Well, he is back to swinging as if he already had two months of major-league at-bats under his belt. One night after he gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead with his eighth career grand slam, Teixeira opened up a 4-0 advantage in the third inning Tuesday night with a three-run home run off Scott Kazmir. That makes seven RBI in two days for Tex. Beat that for production.
“I hope so,” Tex said after the game about whether he is ready to go on a roll. “I am trying not to get too high about it just the way I try not to get too low when things aren’t going well. The win is what is important. A three-run homer early is great for a starting pitcher.”
It was just the sort of run support David Phelps needed as he negotiated his way back from a dismal prior start against the Mets last week when he couldn’t get out of the first inning. The righthander rebounded with a one-hit shutout through six innings but with four walks to go with his seven strikeouts Phelps’ pitch count reached 102.
An infield single by Drew Stubbs in the third inning was the lone hit off Phelps, who lowered his ERA to 4.15. He nearly lost a shot at a winning decision when he walked the first two batters of the fifth, which resulted in a visit from pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Whatever the message was, Phelps received it as he set down the next three batters and followed with a 1-2-3 sixth.
“Even before Larry came out, Chris [catcher Stewart] told me to go for the center of the plate and let the ball behave however it does,” Phelps said. “The point was to throw more strikes.”
“He kind of ran the game,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Phelps. “He mixed everything up, and we didn’t have anything to show for it. We made him work. We took our walks. We couldn’t push any runs across. It’s rare that you get one hit and look up and see a bunch of pitches like that. He did a very good job of not giving in, mixing things up, elevating and cutting.”
The Elias Sports Bureau was at it again. Phelps became the first Yankees pitcher to throw at least six scoreless innings in a start immediately following a start in which he recorded one out or fewer since Jim “Catfish” Hunter in 1978. Hunter allowed six runs without getting an out July 27, 1978 in the second game of a doubleheader against the Indians and then tossed eight shutout innings in his next start Aug. 8, 1978 against the Rangers.
Things got a bit tight for the Yankees in the seventh inning when Joba Chamberlain was stung for a three-run home run by Stubbs after two were out. Boone Logan got the final out of that inning before David Robertson danced out of a two-on, none-out situation in the eighth aided by Nick Swisher lining into a double play. Mariano Rivera finished it off with a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his 21st save.
Robinson Cano got a half-day off as the designated hitter with rookie David Adams getting his first start at second base. Both took a collar, however. Lyle Overbay had another quiet night in right field, at least defensively. He made some noise offensively with a double in the third and scored on a single by Ichiro Suzuki.
The Yankees went into Sunday night’s finale of the three-game series against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium with Hiroki Kuroda paired with Clay Buchholz. The Boston righthander took a 7-0 record into the game against Kuroda, who was 6-3.
This is the third time the Yankees have faced a pitcher with a record of 5-0 or better. They split the previous two such games by winning May 25 at Tropicana Field against the Rays’ Matt Moore, who was 8-0, and by losing May 28 at Citi Field against the Mets’ Matt Harvey, who was 5-0. Both starters had no-decisions.
Mark Teixeira was in Sunday night’s lineup for the 1,500th game of his major-league career. The first baseman ranks among switch hitters prior to their 1,500th game first in RBI (1,101) and second in home runs (338) only to Mickey Mantle (359).
When Teixeira returned to the lineup Friday night after missing the first 53 games of the season because of a right wrist injury, it marked the first time this year the Yankee had a switch hitter in the lineup. The 53 games were the longest without a switch hitter in the Yankees’ batting order at any time during a season since 1992 when they went 100 straight games without one.
The Yankees have yet to lose more than two consecutive home games, a distinction they share in the American League with the Tigers and the Rangers. The Yanks last lost more than two home games in a row July 28-31 last year when they dropped four straight games.
Yankees batters have combined for seven walks in their past two games, which ended a stretch of three straight games in which the team had no walks against the Mets. As for Yanks pitchers, they have allowed a major-league-low 133 bases on balls, including 17 over the past 10 games dating to May 22 and not issuing a walk in four of those games. Yankees hurlers are averaging 2.43 walks per nine innings, the lowest in the majors and their lowest mark since 2003 (2.31).
With a victory Friday night, CC Sabathia improved his record in career starts in which his team was on a losing streak of five or more games to 3-2 with a 2.84 ERA in 50 2/3 innings with his third consecutive victory in such situations.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Sabathia became the first Yankees pitcher to end a streak of at least five team losses with a 10-strikeout, no-walk performance since 1910 by Russ Ford, who pitched a complete-game shutout with 10 Ks and no walks against the St. Louis Browns to stop a seven-game losing streak by the old Highlanders.
Maybe it was a good thing that the Subway Series was reduced from six games to four this year. The Yankees could do without any more games against the Mets, thank you. The annual, cross-borough matchup was all blue and orange as anyone passing the Empire State Building this week knows.
The Yankees did not need to stare at the midtown landmark to know what the Mets did to them the past four nights. Thursday night’s 3-1 loss was another example of an offensive breakdown. After Robinson Cano accounted for the Yankees’ only run with one out in the third inning, the next 20 batters were retired.
Dillon Gee looked like Tom Seaver as the Mets righthander gave up only three singles other than Cano’s 14th home run with no walks and 12 strikeouts, including the last five batters he faced, in 7 1/3 innings. Relievers Scott Rice and Bobby Parnell (ninth save) handled matters from there.
The Yankees failed to draw a walk for the third consecutive game. They had only two walks in the four games and struck out 40 times. They scored seven runs overall and only one in three of the games as their losing streak expanded to five games, their longest in two years. They wasted a decent start from rookie lefthander Vidal Nuno (6 innings 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts) and could not keep the taunts of “Let’s Go Mets” from being heard throughout the game among the Yankee Stadium crowd of 44,207.
This is definitely a low point for the Yankees, who were swept by the Mets in the Subway Series for the first time since inter-league play began in 1997. There are 11 players on the current roster that played in the Subway Series for the first time. They were looking forward to the experience going in but have little positive to say about it now.
“We have got to find a way to get out of it,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Tomorrow is as good a day to get back to our winning ways as any.”
Tomorrow (Friday) the first-place Red Sox roll into town for a three-game series. Boston has a two-game lead over the Yankees in the American League East, which means they have to sweep to get back into first place. There is a good chance that Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis will be activated for the series. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees sent a limousine to Trenton to get them to the Bronx.
“I hope they feel good and can be productive,” Girardi said.
Nuno was victimized by Marlon Byrd’s second home run of the series, a two-run shot to left in the second inning. Cano’s homer in the bottom half made the score 2-1, and it stayed that way until the eighth when Joba Chamberlain, in his first game back from the disabled list, was guilty of a costly wild pitch that set up a run when John Buck’s slow roller along the third base line hit the bag for an RBI single.
The Yankees have lost back-to-back series for the first time since going 1-2 in each of their first two series of the season, against the Red Sox April 1-4 and the Tigers April 5-7 and were swept in back-to-back series for the first time since 2009, 0-2 vs. the Red Sox May 4-5 and 0-2 vs. the Rays May 6-7.
The Yanks finished the Subway Series 0-4, which matches their most losses in a single season against the Mets (2-4 in both 2004 and ’08). The four-game losing streak against the Mets is the Yankees’ longest against them. According to the Elias Sport Bureau, the Yankees were swept in a season series of at least four games against a single team for only the second time in franchise history. They were 0-12 against the Athletics in 1990.
The Yankees opposed Rays lefthander Matt Moore Saturday, which was the fifth time in the past 40 seasons that they have faced a pitcher with a season record of 8-0 or better. They won each of the past two such games: June 3, 2007 at Fenway Park, 6-5, over the Red Sox and Josh Beckett, who entered the game 8-0 and got a no-decision, and July 14, 2006 at Yankee Stadium, 6-5, over the White Sox and Jose Contreras, who came into the game at 9-0 and absorbed his first loss.
The other two times were June 1, 1994 at the Stadium, 5-4, to the White Sox and Wilson Alvarez, who entered 8-0 and got a no-decision, and June 16, 1986 at the Stadium, 10-1, to the Red Sox and Roger Clemens, the winning pitcher whose record went to 12-0.
The Yankees recalled outfielder Brennan Boesch from Triple A Scranton Saturday to replace Curtis Granderson, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a fractured left pinky as the result of being hit by a pitch in Friday night’s 9-4 victory over the Rays. Boesch hit .179 with a double and two RBI in seven games and 28 at-bats after being optioned there May 13.
In Friday night’s victory, each of the Yankees last four batters in the lineup (David Adams, Lyle Overbay, Jayson Nix and Chris Stewart) had two hits and scored at least one run. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time the starting 6-7-8-9 hitters for the Yankees each had multiple hits and at least one run in the same game since Aug. 6, 2009, a 13-6 victory over the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. The 6-through-9 hitters in that game were Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera.
Camden Yards is known as a hitter-friendly park, which is certainly the case with Robinson Cano and Ichiro Suzuki, who made major contributions in Monday night’s come-from-behind, 6-4 victory over the Orioles.
Cano, who slugged his American League-leading 13th home run in the first inning, is a .363 career hitter in 67 games and 278 at-bats at Camden Yards with 59 runs, 27 doubles, 12 home runs and 35 RBI. Since Aug. 22, 2008, Cano has hit .431 with 45 runs, 17 doubles, 11 homers and 25 RBI in 40 games and 167 at-bats in the Baltimore facility. The second baseman has hit safely in 29 of his past 32 games in Baltimore and in 36 of his past 40.
Suzuki, who started the winning, 10th inning rally with a double, has hit safely in each of his past 20 games at Camden Yards dating to April 5, 2008 and is batting .391 in 87 at-bats. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Ichiro is tied with Jason Bartlett (April 29, 2008 to July 20, 2010) for the fourth longest hitting streak in the history of the park, trailing Jacoby Ellsbury (22 games, Aug. 8, 2008 to Aug. 15, 2012), Derek Jeter (21 games, April 4, 2002 to June 22, 2004) and Rafael Palmeiro (21 games, April 23 to June 22, 2004). The longest current hit streak at any ballpark is 21 games by Reds first baseman Joey Votto at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.
Monday night’s victory was the first of the season for the Yankees when trailing entering the ninth inning. They had only victory under those circumstances all of last year (1-58). It came in the second-to-last game of the season Oct. 2 against the Red Sox. The Yankees have outscored opponents, 62-37, from the seventh inning on.
The Yankees’ bullpen continues to be dominant in the month of May. The relief corps has pitched to a 1.66 ERA with 13 walks and 55 strikeouts over 54 1/3 innings and have held opponents to a .197 batting average in 193 at-bats. Yankees relievers did not allow a run on their last trip (eight games totaling 21 innings) and have a 26 2/3-innings scoreless stretch over their past 10 road games. It is their longest road scoreless stretch since a 29 1/3-innings span from April 15 to May 24, 2002.
Rookie David Adams, who attended the University of Virginia, hit his first career home run in the victory at nearby Baltimore in his fifth career game and became the third Yankee in the last 98 years (since 1916) to homer as a third basemen within his first five career games: The others were Andy Phillips in 2004 and Mike Pagliarulo in 1984.
It is clear by now that the Yankees did not enjoy reading all spring about how they were on the downside and that the Blue Jays were gearing up after a busy off-season to take control of the American League East.
All the Yankees have done is to take out their ire on the Blue Jays. The Yankees have Toronto to thank mostly for their being perched atop the division, which has been a customary spot for them since 1996. But this year with all the injuries and the scouring of what some might call the scrap heap, the Yankees were expected to topple down the standings.
Except that they have just refused to do that.
The Yankees’ 7-2 victory Saturday raised their record against the Blue Jays this year to 8-1. The Yanks are 19-15 against all other teams combined, so their record against Toronto is essential to their place in the division. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, are the only team in the AL East with a sub-.500 record (17-26) and have fallen 10 games out of first place, a far distance from where so many prognosticators forecast them.
Sure, the loss to injury of shortstop Jose Reyes and pitcher Josh Johnson has derailed Toronto some, but what club has had more devastating injuries than the Yankees? They have had 13 players on the disabled list, including seven regulars among position players and three of their starting pitchers.
That is how David Phelps, Saturday’s winning pitcher, got into the rotation and, who knows, he just might stay there. The righthander struggled with fastball command but found reinforcements in breaking pitches and posted his third straight quality start. Phelps allowed one run, six hits and three walks with eight strikeouts in seven innings to even his record at 2-2. His ERA has dropped from 5.56 to 3.83 over those three starts.
With Phelps’ fastball unpredictable, catcher Austin Romine said, “We had to mix things up.”
“I didn’t have a good curve and was not ahead in the count enough to use my changeup” Phelps said. “I had a good slider, which helped.”
Another huge help was a pickoff play in the first inning after Phelps walked two batters with one out. After striking out J.P. Arencibia, Phelps and shortstop Jayson Nix combined on a pickoff of Jose Bautista at second base for the third out of the inning.
“I knew we had a chance because I could see he was taking a big lead,” Phelps said. “That was a big play. It might have been a different inning without that the way I was stuggling, you never know.”
It looked as if it might be one of those days where the Yankees had to nickel-and-dime it for some runs when Brandon Morrow got them out in order in the first two innings. Robinson Cano had other ideas. He followed an RBI single by Brett Gardner in the third with a home run and supplied another two-run homer two innings later.
“You get the runs behind you and guys make plays behind you, and it gives you confidence that you can get the job done,” Phelps said.
One day after the middle of the lineup was nonexistent, the big bats came alive. In addition to Cano’s two bombs, Travis Hafner crushed a solo shot off Darren Oliver in the eighth.
The Yankees’ dominance of Toronto, particularly at the Stadium, goes back more than just this season. They have won nine straight home games over the Blue Jays dating to Sept. 19, 2012, 20 of the past 24 games and 23 of the past 28. The nine-game home winning streak ties their longest against the Jays of June 21, 1979 to Sept. 17, 1980. The Yanks have won the home season series against Toronto for the 10th consecutive year.
The Yankees are 18-0 when scoring first this season and remain the only team yet to lose when scoring the game’s first run. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the streak is an AL record and the longest stretch of its kind by any club since the 1992 Mets started the year 18-0 when scoring the first run of the game. This is the Yanks’ longest such streak at any point in a season since 19 straight May 7 to June 6, 2011.
The Yankees’ disabled list continued to grow Friday night, adding Andy Pettitte, who came out of Thursday night’s game against the Mariners because of a tight left trapezius muscle. Pettitte said he felt better Friday but understood that he needed more time to get better, which frankly the Yankees do not have right now.
Pettitte’s next scheduled start would have been Tuesday night in Baltimore. He told general manager Brian Cashman that he could long-toss on his regular bullpen day and still be able to make the starting assignment. Pettitte reneged when it was explained to him that the Yankees could not afford to dig into the bullpen if he tightened up early in that game. Cashman pointed out that they lost CC Sabathia early in a rain-delayed game in Denver, had a doubleheader at Cleveland earlier in the week and an abbreviated start Wednesday night from Phil Hughes (2/3 innings).
“I’m frustrated, but it makes sense,” Pettitte said. “I hope we can get it cleared up and I can get back out there. I don’t see why it should be more than that [15 days]. I had high expectations of being able to pitch a full season, but I’ll have to deal with it.”
The Yankees will recall lefthander Vidal Nuno from Triple A Scranton to take Pettitte’s spot in the rotation. Nuno earned his first major-league victory in the second game of the doubleheader Monday with five scoreless, three-hit innings at Progressive Field.
Chris Stewart’s groin injury is not as serious as it might have been. An MRI on the catcher was negative. Stewart is still in some pain, but he is not a candidate for the Yankees’ large disabled list where another catcher, Francisco Cervelli, is among those on the mend. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Stewart probably won’t play in the three-game series against the Blue Jays but could catch in an emergency.
Because of that, the Yankees do not plan to add another catcher for this weekend’s series as a backup to Austin Romine. That role for the time being will be filled by utility infielder Alberto Gonzalez, whose primary position is shortstop but who has also already pitched for the Yankees for the first time in his seven-season career. Gonzalez retired the only batter he faced Wednesday night in the Yankees’ 12-2 loss to the Mariners, so his ERA is 0.00.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Tuesday marked only the fourth time since the Cy Young Award was instituted by the Baseball Writers’ Association in 1956 that seven former winners started on the same day. CC Sabathia was among them, along with Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, R.A. Dickey, Bartolo Colon, Jake Peavy and Barry Zito). It also occurred April 21, 1974 (Vida Blue, Steve Carlton, Mike Cuellar, Bob Gibson, Jim Palmer, Jim Perry and Tom Seaver) and on both April 5 and April 10, 1993 with the same pitchers (Roger Clemens, Doug Drabek, Dwight Gooden, Orel Hershiser, Greg Maddux, Rick Sutcliffe and Bob Welch).
Patrick Vieira, former World Cup-winning soccer star and current head of the Elite Development Squad for Manchester City Football Club, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Vieira played on five World Cup-winning teams and nine league champions during his career. He made 107 appearances for the French national team, including winning performances at the 1998 FIFA World Cup and 2000 UEFA European Championship. His time as a Manchester City player, which began in January 2010, concluded with an FA Cup Final victory in May 2011, marking the club’s first major trophy in 35 years.
Since retiring from the game in the summer of 2011, Vieira has worked as a Football Development Executive for Manchester City, traveling extensively in an ambassadorial role for the club and its academy. He has spent the last year developing his understanding of the business side of football and working on his UEFA coaching credentials.
Manchester City will make it first appearance at the Stadium in a 5:30 p.m. match Saturday, May 25, against Premier League rival Chelsea FC.