Results tagged ‘ Fenway Park ’

Yankees Magazine celebrates Jeter’s career

Thursday night marked the beginning of Derek Jeter’s last homestand as his appearance at Yankee Stadium has been reduced to eight games — four against the Blue Jays through Sunday and four against the Orioles next week.

Fans attending any of these games should purchase a copy of the Derek Jeter Commemorative Edition of Yankees Magazine, a 128-page look at the various aspects of this remarkable 20-year career in the major leagues of a player who now holds some of the most important records in franchise history, including most games and most hits.

The Yankees Magazine staff outdid itself with this issue. Nathan Maciborski starts things off with a review of the Captain’s career, and the YES Network’s Jack Curry ends it with an appreciation of Jeter’s impact throughout the world. In between there are comments from Hall of Famers in all sports and Yankees teammates and executives about Jeter.

Jon Schwartz wrote a fine profile of Dick Groch, the scout who signed Jeter. There is a special centerfold highlighting the important hits of Jeter’s career, edited by Kristina Dodge. Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News contributed a story about Jeter’s memories of Fenway Park, hostile territory where DJ had some of his biggest moments.

Alfred Santasiere III had a sit-down with Jeet and “Mr. Cub,” Ernie Banks, and conducted question-and-answer sessions with two other Hall of Fame shortstops, Cal Ripken Jr. and Ozzie Smith. Also featured is Santasiere’s article from three years ago about Jeter’s return to his hometown of Kalamazoo, Mich.

Santasiere also did an exclusive interview with Derek’s parents, Charles and Dorothy Jeter, who comment separately about the special incidents in their son’s life and career.

And then there are the pictures — hundreds of them from staff photographers Ariele Goldman Hecht and Matt Ziegler, plus an array of photos from Derek Jeter Day Sept. 7 from contributing photographer Tom DiPace.

There are plenty of memories Yankees fans can take away from Derek Jeter’s career. Many of them are encased in this issue, which will be available at Stadium souvenir shops throughout the homestand.

Tanaka vs. Lester, Round 2

Masahiro Tanaka and Jon Lester, who were paired against each other Saturday night at Yankees Stadium, first hooked up April 22 at Fenway Park. At the time, Tanaka was still an unknown quantity although he had already opened plenty of eyes. But in the tense atmosphere of Boston’s old yard, the Japanese righthander was going to face some strong scrutiny.

He passed with flying colors. Tanaka pitched 7 1/3 innings and allowed two earned runs and seven hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in improving his record to 3-0. The Yankees pounded Lester for 11 hits and eight runs, although five were not earned due to errors by catcher A.J. Pierzynski and first baseman Mike Napoli.

Tanaka’s record was up to 11-2 entering play Saturday night. The Elias Sports Bureau put together some interesting information on the American League Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year candidate.

Tanaka has pitched at least six innings and allowed three runs or fewer in each of his 15 starts. In the past 103 seasons since earned runs became an official statistis in 1912, he is one of only two pitchers to produce such an outing in each of his first 15 major-league games. The other was the Expos’ Steve Rogers, who did so in each of his first 16 games for Montreal in 1973).

Tanaka is the only pitcher to produce such an outing in each of his first 15 starts with the Yankees and one of only three Yankees pitchers to produce such a start in 15 consecutive starts at any point in their careers. The others were CC Sabathia (16 games) in 2010 from June 3 to Aug. 22 and Ron Guidry (15 games) in 1978 from April 8 to June 22.

No pitcher has recorded a longer such streak since the Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong had 16 consecutive quality starts in 2012 from May 3 to July 29.

Elias also pointed out that Friday night’s 6-0 victory over the Red Sox marked the first time in franchise history that two non-pitchers each age 40 or older started a game together for the Yankees in shortstop Derek Jeter and right fielder Ichiro Suzuki. The last pair of 40-year-olds to start for the Yankees prior to Friday was pitcher Andy Pettitte and outfielder Raul Ibanez in 2012.

Yankees fans should take note that the rainout makeup game against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City will be at 7:10 p.m. Aug. 25.

Ellsbury paces Yankees over former club

What a wonderful homecoming for Jacoby Ellsbury. Responding to the persistent boos and taunts of ungrateful fans at Fenway Park, the new Yankees center fielder showed Red Sox Nation what it is going to miss now that he has taken his act to the Bronx.

Ellsbury had a strong series as the Yankees took two of three games from the Red Sox and are now 5-2 against Boston in the early going. Thursday night’s 14-5 victory in the rubber game was as much due to sloppy Red Sox fielding (five errors) as a relentless Yankees offense (14 hits).

Only two of the seven runs off Red Sox starter Felix Doubront was earned, although one of the damaging errors was by the pitcher himself. Brian Roberts reached base twice on errors, also had two hits and scored four runs. Brett Gardner also scored four times despite not having a hit. He walked three times, was safe on Doubront’s error and stole two bases.

From the top of the order Ellsbury led the hit parade with two doubles and a single and drove in three runs. That made Ellsbury 5-for-15 (.333) in the series with three doubles and five RBI.

At the bottom of the order was Yangervis Solarte, who broke out of a 0-for-14 slump by driving in four runs with a double and a single. In between there were two hits and two RBI from Derek Jeter, two doubles and an RBI from Alsonso Soriano, Mark Teixeira’s first home run of the season and a double by birthday boy Carlos Beltran, who turned 37.

All of this offense came on a night when CC Sabathia was on top of his game. The lefthander allowed only three hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in six innings. And what a pleasant sight was David Robertson back off the disabled list pitching a hitless ninth.

Tanaka, Ellsbury handle pressure at Fenway

The Yankees originally intended to keep Masahiro Tanaka away from the Red Sox in the first two series against their rivals this year until the Japanese righthander had more solid footing in the major leagues. They did not pitch him against Boston in spring training, either.

But last week’s rainout at Yankee Stadium against the Cubs that led to a split-admission doubleheader the next day altered manager Joe Girardi’s rotation and resulted in Tanaka having to start Tuesday night at Fenway Park. He was certainly up to the task in a 9-2 Yankees victory, their fourth in five games against the Red Sox this season.

The Yankees gave Tanaka something of a comfort zone by taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning off Jon Lester, who was not at his best.

In his first game at Fenway since departing the Red Sox and signing with the Yankees as a free agent, Jacoby Ellsbury was celebrated by Boston fans, who cheered a pre-game video tribute to his contributions to two World Series championship teams. Once the game got under way, it was a different story as boos far outnumbered cheers for Ellsbury.

The fleet center fielder responded the best way he could — with his bat and his glove. Ellsbury began the game with a drive off the center field wall that was interfered with by a fan and was awarded a triple. Derek Jeter promptly got Ellsbury home with a single to center. That ran the Captain’s hitting streak to 11 games. It is the 47th double-figure hitting streak of Jeter’s career. That ties him with Hall of Famer Tris Speaker for the third highest total in history. The others in front of them are also Hall of Famers — Ty Cobb with 66 and Hank Aaron with 48.

A passed ball and throwing error by Boston catcher A.J. Pierzynski helped the Yanks to an unearned run later on a single by Carlos Beltran. Surprisingly shoddy defense by the Red Sox did not help Lester. All four rune he allowed in the fifth inning were not earned due to an error by first baseman Mike Napoli. The Yankees earned their two runs in the third off Lester on successive doubles by Alfonso Soriano, Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann.

Yankees’ defense was just the opposite. Ellsbury set the tone in the bottom of the first with a sliding catch of a liner that robbed Grady Sizemore of a potential extra-base hit. Dustin Pedroia hit the ball hard as well for a double, but Tanaka came back to strike out David Ortiz and Napoli.

Those same two sluggers took Tanaka deep in back-to-back fashion in the fourth, but that was all the damage he sustained. The Yankees spent a small fortune on Tanaka, but at this point he looks like a bargain. He ran his record to 3-0 with a 2.15 ERA with another 7 1/3 sturdy innings. In 29 1/3 innings, Tanaka has allowed 22 hits and only two walks with 35 strikeouts.

His record in Japan last year was 24-0. Can he go 24-0 here this year?

Shift this

I have worn myself out over the years complaining about sluggers not taking advantage of these exaggerated defensive shifts by crossing them up with bunt hits. Jason Giambi and Mark Teixeira ignored me so often I almost quit the campaign. I am not talking about doing it in RBI situations but certainly when the bases are empty to get something started.

So naturally I was deliriously happy to see what Robinson Cano did in the first inning Friday night at Fenway Park. With two out, no one on base and the infield shifted all the way around to the right, Cano pushed a bunt that rolled past third base far enough from any fielder that he ended up with a double.

Beautiful. It did not result in a run as Alfonso Soriano struck out, but what Cano did by getting on base sure beat making an out by hitting into the shift. Too many hitters have a macho attitude about bunting, that it is some sissy-Mary sort of thing. What is wrong with taking what the defense give you? Particularly in situations like two outs-none on or leading off an inning. Makes sense to me.

Soriano named AL Player of the Week

It should surprise no one that Yankees left fielder Alfonso Soriano was named American League Player of the Week for the period ending Aug. 18. Soriano went on one of the most amazing tears in one week in the game’s history.

Sori, who was acquired by the Yankees in a July 26 trade from the Cubs for minor-league relief pitcher Corey Black, batted .484 with nine runs, one double, five home runs and 18 RBI in seven games and 31 at-bats. The Yankees were 5-2 during that stretch as they fight to get into position for a playoff berth.

It marked Soriano’s seventh career weekly award. His previous honor was in the National League for the week ending May 18, 2008 with the Cubs. He won three AL Player of the Week Awards in his first stint with the Yankees, the last of which was for the week ending Sept. 21, 2003. Among Major League Baseball leaders for the past week, Soriano paced all hitters in home runs, RBI, slugging percentage (1.000), hits (15) and total bases (31), and was tied for first in runs scored.

Soriano went into the game of Aug. 13 against the Angels at Yankee Stadium battling a 1-for-16 slump and broke out of it with three hits, including two home runs and a career-best six RBI in a 14-7 Yankees victory. He topped himself the next day with a 3-for-3 game against the Angels that included two more homers and a new career-best seven RBI in an 11-3 Yankees victory.

Sori established career highs in RBI in two straight games and in the process became just the third player in major-league history to collect at least six RBI in consecutive games, joining the Rangers’ Rusty Greer in 1997 and the Brewers’ Geoff Jenkins in 2001. It was the third time in his career that Soriano had multi-homer games on back-to-back days.

After getting four more hits in an 8-4 loss to the Angels Aug. 15, Soriano took his hot streak to Boston’s Fenway Park where the night of Aug. 16 he went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBI to lead the Yanks to a 10-3 victory over the Red Sox.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Soriano’s 18 RBI over the four-game stretch from Aug. 13-16 matched baseball’s all-time mark for the most RBI in a four-game period since it became an official statistic in 1920. The others to do so were the Cardinals’ Jim Bottomley in 1929, the Yankees’ Lou Gehrig in 1930, the Yankees’ Tony Lazzeri in 1936, the Yankees’ Joe DiMaggio in 1939 and the Cubs’ Sammy Sosa in 2002.

Other noteworthy performances last week included the Tigers’ Max Scherzer (18-1, 2.82 ERA), who became the fifth pitcher since 1912 to win 18 of his first 19 decisions in a season, and his teammate Miguel Cabrera (4 HR, 10 RBI); Twins pitcher Andrew Albers (two-hit shutout against the Indians Aug. 20); Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (.409, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 2 2B) and White Sox pitcher Chris Sale (2-0, 2.81 ERA, 1 BB, 14 K).

In recognition of his AL Player of the Week Award, Soriano will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.

Big start for Yanks in AL East push

Friday night’s 10-3 victory at Fenway Park began a stretch of 15 consecutive games and 29 of 32 games for the Yankees against divisional opponents. If they are to make a move up the American League East standings, this is it.

Just a week ago, the Yankees were 11 ½ games out of first place. That number is down to 7 ½, and they are two games out of third place. The Red Sox’ loss shrunk their division lead to one games over the Rays. The teams in front of the Yankees have been wobbly lately while they have put up steam after an impressive, 5-2 homestand against the Tigers and Angels.

Clearly, the offensive muscle the Yankees have gotten from Alfonso Soriano is at the center of the resurgence after the dismal 2-5 trip through Los Angeles, San Diego and Chicago. Soriano kept up his torrid hitting Friday night with a three-run home run in the third inning that gave him 18 RBI in four games, a feat accomplished by only five other players in history, including Yankees Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, Tony Lazzeri and Lou Gehrig. The others were Sammy Sosa and Hall of Famer Jim Bottomley.

When the Yankees acquired Soriano July 26 from the Cubs, I looked at his 51 RBI and figured there was no way he could get to 100 this year. Shows you what I know. Sori is up to 77 now, so a 100-RBI season is by no means out of the question with six weeks remaining.

The Yankees opened the scoring against Red Sox lefthander Felix Doubront with another RBI by Soriano on an infield single in the first inning. This was good news for Andy Pettitte, who has had a penchant for allowing runs in the first frame. At least this time Pettitte could take the mound with the lead. And the runs just kept coming.

Mark Reynolds marked his Yankees debut with a two-run homer in the second inning. Plucked off waivers from the Indians to platoon at first base with Lyle Overbay, Reynolds is one of those feast-and-famine players with 196 career home runs and 1,245 strikeouts. Reynolds has led the league in strikeouts four times and topped 200 Ks three times in his career. He has a power cut, however, and the Yankees have been looking for pop from the right side all year and didn’t have much of it until Soriano and Alex Rodriguez arrived. Reynolds added an RBI single in the ninth.

Preston Claiborne, a victim of baseball paperwork, was optioned to Triple A Scranton to create roster space for Reynolds. Claiborne proved a useful righthander in relief (0-1, 2.88 ERA, 33 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings), but he was the one to go because he had options left, unlike Joba Chamberlain (4.83 ERA), who had trouble protecting a seven-run lead in the ninth inning and needed relief himself.

The best pitching news was the work of Pettitte (8-9), who might have had a shutout if not for two errors by shortstop Eduardo Nunez that caused all three runs off Pettitte to be unearned. The victory was career No. 253, which tied Pettitte with Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell for 43rd place on the all-time list. Next up at No. 42 with 254 victories each are Hall of Famer Red Faber and Hall candidate Jack Morris.

A long night’s journey into day

Sunday turned out to be a grim day for the Yankees. They found out before the game that Alex Rodriguez will not be joining them in Texas after all because of a left quadriceps strain. Then after battling back from a 7-3 deficit to tie the score against the Red Sox, they ended up losing in extra innings in a 4-hour, 46-minute marathon that would likely result in their reaching Arlington not until sometime around dawn.

Losing two of three to the Red Sox this weekend shoved the Yankee seven games out of first place in the American League East and 3 ½ out of the second wild-card spot. All the positive vibrations that came out of Saturday’s well-played victory featuring the oddity of a Yankees player, Mariano Rivera, accorded a standing ovation from the Fenway Park crowd fell by the wayside.

The Yankees nearly overcame a poor outing by CC Sabathia (five innings plus one batter, nine hits, seven earned runs, two walks, five strikeouts, two hit batters, two home runs) by taking advantage of three Boston errors and banging out 12 hits, all singles, to fight themselves back into the game.

Before Adam Warren gave up the game-winning home run in the 11th inning to Mike Napoli, his second dinger of the night for his fourth RBI, the Yankees’ bullpen had been splendid. Preston Claiborne, Boone Logan, David Robertson and Shawn Kelley had combined for five scoreless, one-hit innings with one walk and 10 strikeouts.

On the plus side, Brett Gardner, Robinson Cano and Eduardo Nunez had three-hit games. Gardner reached base five times in all, adding a pair of walks, one of which was the culmination of a 15-pitch at-bat. Nunez had his second straight three-hit game, a very good sign considering that the Yankees will be without A-Rod and Derek Jeter for a while more. In two games, Nunez had raised his season batting average from .206 to .240.

Cano extended his hitting streak to a club season-best 12 games, during which he has batted .415 with three runs, two doubles, one home run and 12 RBI in 41 at-bats and raised his average from .292 to .306.

By losing the series, the Yankees failed to put a serious dent into the Red Sox, who maintained a 1 ½-game lead over the red-hot Rays, who come to Fenway for the next four nights. Meanwhile, the Yankees over the same period will contend with a Rangers club that has fallen three games behind the first-place Athletics in the AL West and two games back of the Orioles for the second wild-card berth.

Sabathia suffers birthday blues

In the future, CC Sabathia might be better served if he took his birthday off. Sabathia, who turned 33 Sunday, has made four starts in his career on his birthday and has yet to win. As a birthday boy, Sabathia is 0-2 with two no-decisions and a 7.48 ERA in 21 2/3 innings.

The lefthander got an early birthday present from his teammates, who took a 3-0 lead off Ryan Dempster in the first two innings. Sabathia gave it back and more, however, when the Red Sox scored four runs in the third on an RBI single by Dustin Pedroia and a long, three-run home run by Mike Napoli off a 1-2 fastball.

An inning later, Sabathia hit the leadoff batter and gave up three straight singles that resulted in two more runs for Boston. Jonny Gomes led off the fifth with a towering home run, the career-high 23rd off CC this year. Sabathia lasted one batter into the sixth but got one more birthday gift from his teammates when they rallied to tie the score in the seventh and get him off the hook.

But Sabathia could not be pleased with having squandered the early lead and failing to post a winning decision for the third straight start, a stretch during which he has allowed 13 earned runs in 18 innings (6.50 ERA) with 24 hits allowed, including five home runs. Sabathia’s record stayed at 9-8, but his ERA rose to 4.37. His career record at Fenway Park is 3-4 with a 4.93 ERA.

Injuries continue to plague Yankees

The Yankees post-All-Star break were just as short-handed as before the break. The sad news came Friday night as the Yanks opened a three-game series at Fenway Park with a 4-2 loss in their first 2013 visit to the Hub that Derek Jeter was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a Grade 1 strain of his right quadriceps, the same injury that shortened his comeback from a twice-fractured left ankle to one game.

An MRI on the Captain revealed next to no healing over the past week so he goes on the DL retroactive to July 12 that will keep him away from the team at least until July 27. The Yanks dipped into the farm system to purchase the contract of utility man Brent Lillibridge from Triple A Scranton and made room for him on the 40-man roster with the release of outfielder Brennan Boesch.

Lillibridge got into the mix right away at third base and batting seventh in the order. He became the seventh different player to start at third for the Yankees this season, joining David Adams (29 games), Jayson Nix (24), Kevin Youkilis (20), Chris Nelson (9), Luis Cruz (8) and Alberto Gonzalez (5). And don’t forget, even Vernon Wells put in an inning at third base in one game as a reserve.

All of these guys have been trying to hold the position for Alex Rodriguez, who according to general manager Brian Cashman is on schedule to finish his injury-rehabilitation assignment at Scranton over the weekend and barring complications will join the Yankees in Arlington, Texas, their next stop on this trip either Monday or Tuesday. A-Rod is recuperating from offseason hip surgery.

Jeter’s second trip to the DL brought the total to four players who came off the DL only to go back on shortly after returning, following Curtis Granderson, Youkilis and Mark Teixeira.

As if the Yankees did not have enough trouble getting players on the field, Brett Gardner further hampered them in the fifth inning by getting ejected from the game for throwing a temper tantrum after being called out on strikes standing the potential tying run at second base. The Yankees had closed to 3-2 on doubles by Lyle Overbay and Chris Stewart.

With Stew on second and two out, Gardner disagreed with plate umpire Mike Everitt’s third-strike call and slammed his helmet to the angrily. Everitt tossed Gardner, whose ejection taxed a thin Yankees bench, particularly since outfielder Zoilo Almonte also left the game because of a left ankle sprain that will send him to the DL.

That will make 20 stints by 16 players for the Yankees on the DL this year. Will this ever end? Reports had outfielders Melky Mesa and Thomas Neal heading to Fenway from Scranton to replace Almonte and another player not yet identified.

Manager Joe Girardi was not happy with Gardner’s departure but was even more upset with Everitt, whom he thought pulled the trigger too quickly. Girardi saw it as a heat-of-the-moment situation that warranted a fine perhaps but not a bouncing.

Lillibridge moved from third base to right field with Luis Cruz taking over third. Ichiro Suzuki went from right to center and Gonzalez came in for Almonte in left. That left Girardi with only two players on the bench – backup catcher Austin Romine and designated hitter Travis Hafner, who does not play a position in the field.

Just the inning before he was kicked out of the game, Gardner had single-handedly manufactured a run as the Yankees scored before they had a hit off Felix Doubront, who won his third straight start. Gardner, who probably needed the four-day All-Star break more than any other Yankees player, walked, stole second and third and continued home on a wild throw to third by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Andy Pettitte had another outing that might best be described as so-so. He gave up a leadoff home run to Jacoby Ellsbury and was taken deep again in the second inning with a runner on by Jonny Gomes. Pettitte came back with four scoreless innings before leaving one out into the seventh with a runner on second his responsibility. That runner, Gomes, scored on a two-out single by Jose Iglesias off Shawn Kelley.

Pettitte (7-7) had a 4-3 record with a 3.83 ERA before he went on the DL because of a strained left trapezius muscle. In nine starts covering 55 1/3 innings since his return, Pettitte is 3-4 with a 5.04 ERA.

The Yankees tried to get Andy off the hook in the eighth when Suzuki singled and Robinson Cano doubled with one out off Craig Breslow, who rebounded to retire Wells on a soft pop to shortstop and Cruz on a ground ball. The Yanks went meekly in the ninth to the latest Red Sox closer, Koji Uehara.

The Yankees started the post-break period with a hard mission ahead and on the first night it got harder. Not only did the Red Sox win but also the second-place Rays and the third-place Orioles did as well, which leaves the Yanks seven games behind Boston, 4 ½ behind Tampa Bay and 2 ½ behind Baltimore.

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