Results tagged ‘ Evan Longoria ’
One of the aspects of all the injuries that have beset the Yankees in the early going this year has been vulnerability against left-handed pitching. Losing Kevin Youkilis recently to back stiffness didn’t help a batting order already minus such lefty killers as Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.
That situation is why Tuesday night’s 4-3 victory over the Rays was so uplifting for the Yanks. They hung another loss on David Price, the defending American League Cy Young Award winner who four starts into the season is still winless (0-2). Price pitched well enough to win, actually, but the Yankees stayed close enough in the game to strike in the ninth inning against right-handed reliever Fernando Rodney.
The two-run single by Ichiro Suzuki that unlocked a 2-2 score was good to see as well. The right fielder entered the game with a .200 batting average and .250 on-base percentage, both substandard for the one-time hit king. After Rodney loaded the bases with an intentional walk to pinch hitter Travis Hafner and an unintentional walk to Lyle Overbay, who had a terrific at-bat, a sensational play by first baseman James Loney on a foul by Chris Stewart nearly bailed out the reliever.
Ichiro wasted no time and leaned into a first-pitch fastball from Rodney into center field. That second run proved vital when Mariano Rivera gave up a leadoff home run to Evan Longoria in the bottom of the ninth before getting the next three batters for his sixth save. The victory went to David Robertson, who tossed a perfect eighth, in taking over for Phil Hughes, who pitched soundly over the first seven innings.
A key element in the Yanks’ ninth-inning rally was a stolen base by Robinson Cano, who had another strong game (2-for-4, one run scored). The Yankees used their speed well. Eduardo Nunez scored their first run back in the fourth inning after reaching first base on a third-strike wild pitch by Price.
The Yankees improved their record in games started by lefthanders to 4-3 (compared to 7-5 against right-handed starters), but the breakdown indicates southpaws pose problems to them. Even with eight hits against Price Tuesday night one game after they managed only two hits off lefthander Matt Moore, the Yankees are batting .199 with a .294 slugging percentage against left-handed pitching. Against righthanders, the Yankees are hitting .301 with a .536 slugging percentage.
More games like the one Ichiro had Tuesday night (2-for-4, two RBI) would help the Yankees combat the lefty jinx. His other hit was a one-out single in the sixth, after which he scooted to third on a hit-and-run single to left by Jayson Nix and scored on a grounder to the right side by Brett Gardner.
It was a tale of two teams in the first inning Wednesday night at Tropicana Field. The Yankees and the Rays each got their leadoff hitter on base. The Yankees did not score. The Rays did. The difference was something as simple as a sacrifice. The Yankees eschewed the notion. The Rays executed one and got a run out of it.
The funny thing about the situation is that Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long following Tuesday night’s loss suggested that the team may have to change its approach with runners on base and give more consideration to the bunt. Yet after Derek Jeter led off the game with a single to right off Matt Moore, Nick Swisher did not attempt a bunt and eventually was called out on strikes. Robinson Cano followed that by grounding into a double play to end the inning.
“We’re not the Bronx Bunters, and we really never have been,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters before the game. “That’s not really our approach. The one thing you can concentrate on is really good at-bats and making sure you grind out your at-bats. If you have to move a runner over, make sure you hit the ball to the other side or pull it or try to drive the ball. Take the extra base when you can. We’re not going to change our philosophy.”
Sam Fuld, getting a rare start as Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon gave B.J. Upton the night off, led off the bottom of the first with a single to left off Hiroki Kuroda. Desmond Jennings dropped a bunt to the right side that moved Fuld into scoring position. After Ben Zobrist struck out, Evan Longoria bounced a single through the right side that got Tampa Bay the run it bunted for.
Bunting did not work out as well for the Rays in the second inning. A single by Jeff Keppinger and a double by Jose Lobaton gave Tampa Bay runners on second and third with one out. Elliot Johnson, the Rays’ 9-hole hitter, tried a safety squeeze, but he bunted the ball right at Kuroda, who held Keppinger at third base and got the second out at first base. Fuld grounded out to end the threat.
The Yanks caught a break that inning. Lobaton’s double over the outstretched glove of Curtis Granderson in center field was on a hit-and-run play, but Keppinger had to hold up around second base to make sure the ball got past Granderson, who got the ball back to the infield too quickly for Keppinger to attempt to score.
Maddon is known to be unconventional. Not having Upton in the lineup fits into that category. Upton was 3-for-7 (.429) with one double, two home runs, three runs and three RBI in the first two games. It had nothing to do with how Upton has fared in his career against Kuroda. They have never faced each other. Maddon told writers he was just giving his center fielder a day off. Still, that’s strange.
And then there was none.
Games ahead, that is. The Yankees are still in first place in the American League East, but they are no longer alone atop the standings. A 5-2 loss to the Rays Tuesday night coupled with the Orioles’ 12-0 rout at Toronto created a first-place tie in the division between the Yankees and Baltimore. It marked the first time in an 84-day period since June 11 that the Yanks were not all by themselves in first place.
In addition, the third-place Rays are merely 1 ½ games out of first. The AL East, which looked like a runaway around the All-Star break, has turned into a dogfight. The Yanks led by as many as 10 games July 18. All of that lead has shredded. They have gone 19-25 since that date while the Orioles have gone 29-15 and the Rays 28-16. That is how leads disappear.
As for disappearing leads, that has happened to the Yankees in the three consecutive games they have lost. They couldn’t hang on to 2-0 and 3-1 leads in losing to the Orioles Sunday or to a 3-2 lead Monday and a 2-0 lead Tuesday night to the Rays.
Robinson Cano showed no signs of a lingering hip problem with a two-run home run in the first inning Tuesday night, but that would be all the offense the Yankees would generate. They had five hits the rest of the way. Their best chance to tag on runs was in the third against winning pitcher Alex Cobb when Derek Jeter singled and Curtis Granderson walked with none out, but Cano struck out and Nick Swisher grounded into a double play.
Freddy Garcia hit the fifth-inning wall for his third straight start. He gave up back-to-back home runs to Desmond Jennings and B.J. Upton that inning which created the final score. Garcia let Tampa Bay back in the game right away in the first inning on an RBI double by Upton. Evan Longoria shot the Rays into the lead with a two-run homer in the third.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi keeps saying that the team is not panicking, but his body language betrays him. The skipper went full-metal ballistic in the fourth inning against plate umpire Tony Randazzo and was ejected for arguing balls-and-strikes after Chris Dickerson was called out on strikes to end the inning.
Girardi did not want to discuss the matter after the game. There really wasn’t much to be said about anything in this game.
It is still not yet time to panic, but there is very little good the Yankees were able to take from what turned out to be a lost weekend in St. Petersburg, Fla. One consolation on which Yankees fans can dwell is that the previous time the club opened the year with three losses the Bombers went on to win 114 games and continue to a World Series championship, in 1998.
That season-opening start began with two losses in Anaheim and one in Oakland before the Yankees took two of three in a series at Seattle over then manager Lou Piniella’s troops. Sweet Lou, retired as a manager, was in the YES broadcast booth for this one and must have had a sense of deja vu. What makes this sweep particularly tough to take is that unlike 14 years ago this came against a team the Yankees are contending for the American League East title.
If a statement was made this weekend, it was by the Rays to the tune of, “Don’t let us get too far ahead.”
Tampa Bay simply out-pitched, out-hit and out-fielded the Yankees in the series. Starting pitching is considered the Rays’ strength, which was born out this weekend. Tampa Bay starters pitched to a 3.60 ERA with only one home run allowed in 20 innings while Yankees starters combined for a 6.06 ERA and allowed 21 hits, including four home runs, in 16 1/3 innings.
Jeremy Hellickson, last year’s American League winner of the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award, came within one out of a complete-game shutout in Sunday’s 3-0 TB victory in a match-up against Phil Hughes, who had an okay game but couldn’t get through the fifth inning as he pitch count climbed to 99. One good sign for Hughes is that his fastball was consistently in the low to mid 90-mph range, but he had problems finishing off hitters leading to the rising pitch count.
The Yankees’ 3-4-5 hitters — Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira — have yet to drive in a run. Meanwhile, they watched the Rays’ Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria crush the ball for three days. Pena had 6-for-12 (.500) with 1 double, 2 home runs and 7 RBI and Longoria 6-for-10 (.600) with 2 doubles, 1 homer and 1 RBI. Both sluggers lost additional home runs due to overeager fans along the right field wall who interfered with balls that turned taters into doubles.
Tampa Bay committed two errors in the series to the Yankees’ one, but neither of the Rays’ muffs proved damaging whereas the boot by shortstop Eduardo Nunez in the first inning of the season helped provide Tampa Bay two gift runs. Raul Ibanez was not charged with an error in right field in the first inning Sunday, but he did misplay a single into an RBI triple by Matt Joyce.
The normally invincible Mariano Rivera blew a save in the opener. His closer counterpart, Fernando Rodney, was the winning pitcher in one game and notched saves in the other two. The only real highlight for the Yankees Sunday came out of the bullpen with the major-league debut of David Phelps, who shut down a Tampa Bay rally by striking out pinch hitter Elliot Johnson and retiring Reid Brignac on a soft grounder to second base.
The Yankees finally get to leave the Tampa Bay area after training there all spring and being hurt by the Rays. Moving on to Baltimore where the Yankees have traditionally played very well may be just what they need.
One possible concession to the Yankees’ 0-2 start may have been the appearance of Alex Rodriguez in the starting lineup Sunday. Yankees manager Joe Girardi had been hinting for two days that he would give A-Rod a break from Tropicana Field’s artificial surface with a day off, but he was back at third base for the Easter game as the Yankees still sought their first victory of the new season.
Girardi might have considered using Rodriguez as the designated hitter but felt Nick Swisher, who battled groin problems during spring training, would be better served getting off the turf and used him in the role instead. That gave Raul Ibanez his first start in the outfield, but his lack of familiarity with right field came into play and resulted in the Rays scoring in the first inning for the third straight game.
Ibanez, 39, has played right field in 153 of his 1,406 career games, but Sunday’s appearance was his first in a regular-season game since 2005. He had been primarily a left fielder the past six seasons. Ibanez took a somewhat tentative approach to a line drive by Matt Joyce that fell in front of him and then skipped past him for a triple that scored Evan Longoria, who had doubled with two out. Tampa Bay outscored the Yankees, 7-0, in the first inning during the series.
Girardi also gave new backup catcher Chris Stewart his first start working with Phil Hughes, whose fastball averaged in the low 90s, a far cry from the weakness he showed at this time a year ago.
Yankees Universe will love this. The American League Division Series started Friday night with the Yankees in and the Red Sox out. According to Red Sox nation, this is all the Yankees’ fault.
That’s right. The Red Sox did not qualify for postseason play because the Yankees conspired to keep Boston out. It is all the fault of Yankees manager Joe Girardi for using 11 pitchers in the final game against Tampa Bay and setting it up for journeyman Scott Proctor to toss a lollipop to Evan Longoria for a game-winning home run in the 12th inning moments after Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon had blown a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth in Baltimore that jumped the Rays over the Red Sox as the AL’s wild-card entry.
This is how sick the fans of that crybaby team that calls Fenway Park home reacts to everything: the Yankees are to blame. What a joke!
Of the 20 losses the Red Sox had in 27 games in September when they spit up a nine-game lead in the wild card standings, only four were to the Yankees. The same Scott Proctor who gave up that playoff clinching homer to Longoria also gave up a 14th-inning home run to Jacoby Ellsbury in the last regular-season game at Yankee Stadium. How come Red Sox Nation doesn’t think the Yankees were trying to help Boston there?
That the Yankees are responsible for the Red Sox’ failure to make the playoffs is absurd. After all, the Yankees had a 7-0 lead in that last game at Tropicana Field. Girardi paraded a collection of relievers into the game, but the guys that Tampa Bay came back against were not September callups. The Rays tied the score off Boone Logan, Luis Ayala and Cory Wade, all of whom were slated for the postseason roster. Proctor is another story, but Joe had simply run out of arms.
The Red Sox won the season series over the Yankees, 12-6. Where were the conspiracy theorists when the Yankees were losing eight of their first nine games and 10 of 12 to the Red Sox earlier in the season? Please tell me how that is the Yankees’ way of making sure Boston didn’t reach postseason play. The best way to keep opponents from advancing to the playoffs is to beat them as often as you can, which the Yankees certainly did not do for the most part against Boston.
I covered the 2004 AL Championship Series when the Yankees gagged on that 3-0 lead to the Red Sox and became the first baseball team to lose a seven-game postseason series after having won the first three games. The Yankees had a one-run lead in the ninth with Mariano Rivera, the best closer of all time, on the hill in Game 4 three outs from a sweep. Dave Roberts stole second base, and it all went downhill from there.
It was an excruciating period for Yankees Universe. The most successful franchise in sports suffered the most embarrassing postseason collapse. However, I don’t remember Yankees fans blaming anyone else for the team’s failure other than the team itself. The players felt the same way. They were responsible for not putting the Red Sox away.
This is no different. The Red Sox had an entire month to put the Rays out to pasture. That they failed to do so was no one’s fault but their own. Red Sox Nation should not hang Boston’s humiliating ending on the Yankees. Look in your own dugout.
Rays fans cheered Rafael Soriano throughout the 2010 season as he registered a league-leading 45 saves for Tampa Bay that earned him a multi-year, mega-bucks contract as a free agent with the Yankees. He was the object of a joyful Tropicana Field audience Tuesday night when Soriano gave up a three-run home run to Matt Joyce in the seventh inning that sent the Rays toward a 5-3 victory that kept alive their hopes for a wild-card playoff berth.
Three was the key number for the Rays in this one. Joyce’s three-run bomb followed by one inning a triple play pulled off by the Tampa Bay infield that snuffed out a Yankees rally that threatened to break the game open. The Yanks had taken a 3-2 lead on a walk and doubles by Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher.
An intentional walk to Jorge Posada loaded the bases for Russell Martin, who had homered off Rays rookie Jeremy Hellickson earlier in the game. Martin hit a hard grounder to third base where Evan Longoria gloved it, stepped on the bag and instead of throwing home for the lead runner shot the ball to second base where Ben Zobrist relayed to first for the triple killing. That was a tremendously heady play by Longoria, who realized the guy who hit the ball was a catcher and gave the triple play attempt a try.
The play seemed to revive the Rays, who were able to score only two runs in 5 1/3 innings off a so-so Bartolo Colon, who remained winless in 10 starts since July 30 (0-4, 5.37 ERA). After the game, Yankees manager Joe Girardi spoke of Colon’s contributions this season in the past tense, which seemed to indicate that the veteran righthander might not be on the staff for the first round of the playoffs.
The Yankees are still trying to decide what to do to prepare for the Division Series because they do not yet know who they will play, either Detroit or Texas. As for the wild card, that will go down to the last game. The Red Sox hung on for an 8-7 victory in Baltimore. David Price will start for Tampa Bay Wednesday night against a collection of Yankees pitchers who will not be on the postseason roster.
Girardi warned the Red Sox this was going to happen. With the American League East and home-field advantage for the first two rounds in place, the Yankees don’t owe Boston anything.
Curtis Granderson, an American League Most Valuable Player Award candidate, earned another honor Tuesday as he was named the AL Player of the Month for August. The National League winner was Braves second baseman Dan Uggla.
Granderson matched Uggla and Rays third baseman Evan Longoria for the most home runs last month with 10 that raised his season total to 38, two behind the Blue Jays’ Juan Bautista for the AL lead. The Yankees center fielder led the majors with 29 runs and also batted .286 with 29 RBI for the month.
Among Granderson’s home runs was one of the record three grand slams the Yankees hit Aug. 25 against the Athletics at Yankee Stadium. The others were by Russell Martin and Robinson Cano.
There are additional bodies in the Yankees’ clubhouse these days in this period after Sept. 1 when rosters may expand beyond the 25-man limit to up to 40.
Joining the Yankees Tuesday from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre were pitchers Hector Noesi, Andrew Brackman and George Kontos; infielder Ramiro Pena and outfielder Greg Golson. The Yankees are expected to add pitcher Dellin Betances at the end of the week. To make room for Kontos on the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated pitcher Lance Pendleton for assignment.
Earlier in the month, the Yankees called up pitchers Scott Proctor, Aaron Laffey and Paul Valdes; catcher-designated hitter Jesus Montero, infielder Brandon Laird and outfielder Chris Dickerson. The Yankees’ roster now stands at 38 players.
“Guys are being rewarded,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We’re looking at what we have in the minor leagues. If there’s an opportunity for our guys to pitch in some games, they’ll pitch. You want to save your guys as much as you can. Our bullpen has been worked pretty hard of late to where we’ve had to give guys a couple of days off. Those extra arms never hurt.”
The fortification of the Yankees’ rotation continued Wednesday night in a 4-0 victory over the Rays with Freddy Garcia rebounding from a shaky previous outing by pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings. Only an error by third baseman Eduardo Nunez prevented Garcia from going seven.
Nunez made up for his boot with a two-out, two-run single in the ninth inning that gave the Yankees some breathing room, even if it did take a save opportunity from Mariano Rivera, who pitched the bottom of the ninth to close out their fifth shutout of the season.
Also enjoying a moment of atonement was Boone Logan. The lefthander, who botched a potential double-play ball Tuesday night, came in with runners on first and third and two out in the seventh and ended the inning with a strikeout of Casey Kotchman, who had three hits and is batting .337.
Garcia scattered eight hits, did not walk a batter and struck out seven in following teammates Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon with another quality start that seemed to solidify the rotation. The most accomplished of the Yankees’ starters, CC Sabathia, will take the mound Thursday night in the finale of the trip.
Derek Jeter was reunited with Rays lefthander David Price, the pitcher who gave up his 3,000th hit 11 days earlier. Three of the five hits Jeter had July 9 at Yankee Stadium were off Price, including the home run for career hit No. 3,000.
The Captain kept it up against Price with a leadoff single in the first inning. Jeter stole second, but it proved a waste of energy because Curtis Granderson clouted a home run, his 26th to take the team lead. It was the 10th homer Granderson has hit this year off left-handed pitching.
Price got revenge against Jeter in the second. With Brett Gardner on second base with two out, Jeter was called out on strikes. Gardner has been living on the bases throughout this trip.
Granderson had his adventures in center field. Tuesday night, he lost a fly ball in the lightly-colored roof of Tropicana Field for a costly hit in the seventh inning when the Rays grabbed the lead for good. Wednesday night, he appeared to lose sight of another fly ball that was caught by Gardner. Another time, Granderson caught a ball after calling off a charging Gardner from left field.
In the fifth inning, however, Granderson made a sensational catch to rob Evan Longoria of a potential extra-base hit that would have tied the score. Tampa Bay had runners on second and third with two out when Longoria hit a long drive to center. Granderson raced back, made the catch and then slammed into the wall without losing control of the ball.
Granderson was nearly knocked out of the game several times but ended up playing the full nine innings. He fouled a ball hard off his left foot in an at-bat in the sixth. Two innings later, Grandy was struck in the right shoulder blade by a 96-mph fastball from Price. Talk about a gamer!
There was a power outage at Tropicana Field Monday night, and it had nothing to do with the lack of home runs. Robinson Cano was batting with two out and runners on first and second in the fifth inning when a lightning strike caused a bank of lights to go out and forced an 18-minute delay. When play resumed, Cano completed the 11-pitch at-bat by grounding out to second base.
Sunday at Toronto, the Blue Jays showed off a new version of the infield shift against Mark Teixeira by having their third baseman hold the runner at first base and playing their first and second basemen back in shallow right field.
The Rays’ shift against him was more conventional, but in his first two at-bats Teixeira hit the ball right into the shift but got on base both times. In the first inning, Rays second baseman Sean Rodriguez dropped a ground ball he fielded in the exchange for an error. That permitted Curtis Granderson, who had walked and swiped second base, to get to third base. He was able to score when Cano avoided grounding into a double play by beating the play at first base.
Just before the lights went out in the fifth, Tex got a single and a run batted in when Rodriguez, again stationed in shallow right field, could not get his throw to first base in time after turning his body while fielding the ball. Brett Gardner, who led off the inning with a walk and stole second, scored on the hit.
The Rays, who failed to score in 16 innings Sunday night in being shut out by the Red Sox, jumped A.J. Burnett for three runs in the first. Evan Longoria doubled in two runs. The third run scored after two were out on a throwing error by Burnett. A.J. struggled with his control. He hurt himself with two two-out walks in the second inning that loaded the bases and led to a run on an infield hit by Casey Kotchman.