Results tagged ‘ J.D. Drew ’

Mixed results for Yanks in All-Star Game

PHOENIX – It was anything but a 1-2-3 inning for David Robertson, who got a 1-2-3 result in the second inning of the All-Star Game Monday night at Chase Field. Called on early because the Red Sox’ Josh Beckett was hurting, Robertson had plenty of support from his teammates in getting through the inning in his debut All-Star performance.

For all the heat Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez are taking for not coming here, it was good to see three Yankees on the field when Robertson came into the game to join starters Robinson Cano at second base and Curtis Granderson in center field.

Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista made a stunning, sliding catch in the right field corner on a foul drive by Braves catcher Brian McCann, the Most Valuable Player of last year’s All-Star Game at Anaheim, Calif.

Cardinals right fielder Lance Berkman, who was Robertson’s teammate with the Yankees for a couple of months last year, lined a single through the middle. Robertson needed assistance from Cano to get out of trouble. As Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday looked at a 3-2 cutter down the middle for a called strike three, Berkman tried to steal second, but he slid off the bag with Cano alertly tagging him after taking the throw from Tigers catcher Alex Avila. That completed a strike-‘em-out, thrown-‘em-out double play.

Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, still swinging for the fences the night after his close loss to Cano in the Home Run Derby, connected off Phillies lefthander Cliff Lee for a leadoff home run in the fourth inning. The American League’s first 11 batters were retired in order before Gonzo’s homer, the first in an All-Star Game since 2008 at Yankee Stadium, by another Red Sox player, J.D. Drew, in the seventh inning. Two innings earlier, Holliday, then with the Rockies, homered for the National League.

The AL jumped on Lee for two more hits, singles by Bautista and the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton, before Lee was lifted by NL manager Bruce Bochy of the Giants for Nationals righthander Tyler Clippard. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre lashed a single to left, but a strong throw by the Astros’ Hunter Pence cut down Bautista at the plate.

Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, who has been booed regularly here for two days, heard his first cheers when he followed singles by the Mets’ Carlos Beltran and the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp for a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth off Rangers lefthander C.J. Wilson. It was the first All-Star home run by a Brewers player for Fielder, who was the captain of the NL in the Home Run Derby and had incurred Arizona fans’ wrath for not putting the Diamondbacks’ Justin Upton in the competition.

Three stolen bases helped the NL scratch out a run in the fifth, by which time Granderson and Cano had come out of the game. Each had grounded out twice. Yankees catcher Russell Martin was the only AL position player who did not get into the game, a 5-1 NL victory.

A painful loss to the Red Sox

With only two position players on the bench plus a back-hurting Russell Martin Wednesday night, Yankees manager Joe Girardi could not afford to lose anyone to injury, which almost happened in both halves of the sixth inning when catcher Francisco Cervelli and third baseman Eduardo Nunez were nearly knocked out of the game.

Cervelli took a foul ball between the legs and doubled over in pain. A former catcher, Girardi knows that feeling. Cervelli regained his composure and stayed in the game. Good thing, too, because he was having a good night at the plate with three hits and two RBI. His third hit and second RBI came right after Nunez stunned himself at the plate.

In one of the weirdest situations you’ll ever see, Nunez fouled a ball off the side of his helmet. The ball caromed off the helmet and fell behind the plate toward the third base dugout. Nunez was dazed and visited by Girardi and assistant trainer Steve Donohue to make sure he did not suffer a concussion. Eduardo must have answered all the questions accurately because he also stayed in the game and, to top it off, lined a hard single to left field on the next pitch.

It was the second consecutive inning in which the Yankees had a sustained rally trying to work themselves back from the 7-0 deficit they faced in the fourth inning. The Yankees finally got on the board that inning on Alex Rodriguez’s 624th career home run that also boosted his career RBI total to 1,865 and past Hall of Famer Mel Ott into ninth place on the all-time list. Next up is Hall of Famer Willie Mays, in eighth place at 1,903.

Derek Jeter doubled in a run with his 2,989th hit and scored his 1,720th run to tie Wee Willie Keeler for 22nd place all-time in a three-run fifth as the Yanks got to 7-4. The Red Sox tagged on a run in the sixth on a bases-loaded walk, which the Yankees negated with a run of their own in the bottom half. But a bases-loaded threat was thwarted as Jeter grounded into a double play.

Three runs were as close as the Yankees would get. Home runs in the ninth by Carl Crawford and J.D. Drew off Lance Pendleton bloated the Boston lead and created an 11-6 final score as the Red Sox took over first place in the American League East.

In the end, the Yankees could not overcome another faulty start against the Red Sox by A.J. Burnett. Part of his attraction to the Yankees as a free agent four years ago was Burnett’s career success against the Red Sox. A.J. also had success against the Yankees, but that’s another story. Burnett was 5-0 with a 3.83 ERA against Boston, but since coming to the Yankees his efforts against the Red Sox have produced no victories.

Burnett’s record against Boston while pitching for the Yankees is 0-4 with an 8.93 ERA. The Red Sox have batted .315 off him with a .594 slugging percentage, bolstered by 16 doubles and 10 home runs in 165 at-bats. The Yankees need A.J. to be the pitcher he was against the Red Sox before he came to New York.

No ‘W’ for Nova

We all know by now how much Ivan Nova likes to win. He was upset last year when manager Joe Girardi lifted from a start in the fifth inning when the Yankees were ahead and thereby cost the righthander the opportunity for a winning decision.

That was brought up to Nova last week at Yankee Stadium when Girardi allowed him to pitch through a fifth-inning jam and last for six in a victory over the Twins. Girardi spoke about how he felt that Nova had matured. After the game, Nova was ear-to-ear smiles and repeated that his expectations are “win, win, and win; win every time.”

But Saturday at Fenway Park, Nova once again was removed from a game in which the Yankees were ahead in the fifth inning and lost the shot at a winning decision. Girardi simply grew tired of watching Nova allow the Red Sox to narrow the Yankees’ lead repeatedly.

The rookie was handed a 2-0 lead in the second inning by his teammates. In the bottom half, the Red Sox got the first two batters on with singles but failed to score. In the third, however, Dustin Pedroia doubled leading off and came around on two infield outs.

Russell Martin’s three-run home run in the fourth bloated the Yanks’ lead to 5-1, but Nova began the bottom of the inning by hitting J.D. Drew and eventually gave up three runs as the Red Sox made it a one-run game again. Second baseman Robinson Cano’s failure to get a good grip on the ball that might have completed an inning-ending double contributed to the Boston rally, but Nova didn’t bear down after that play and gave up a hit to slumping Carl Crawford and a two-run double to Pedroia.

So after Curtis Granderson’s two-run homer made the score 7-4 Yankees in the fifth and Nova put the leadoff hitter on for the fourth time, Girardi was prepared by having David Robertson warm up in the bullpen. A one-out walk to Drew with Nova’s 87th pitch was the last straw for Girardi. In came Robertson, who on his 26th birthday retired all five batters he faced for the victory that Nova could not earn.

The Yankees remain concerned about the shape of their rotation, as the signing to a minor league contract of Carlos Silva Saturday ought to convey. He was so bad for the Cubs that they released him even though they owe him $12 million in salary. That should make every Yankees starter stand up and take notice.

Hughes helps Red Sox wake up

Concern continues to grow around Phil Hughes as well it should. The pitcher who won 10 of his first 11 decisions in 2010 is winless after two starts in 2011 and continues to perplex the Yankees for the curious falloff in the speed of his fastball.

Hughes lasted merely two innings Friday at Fenway Park in the Red Sox’ home opener and blew leads of 2-0 and 3-1. The Yankees were able to take him off the hook by coming back to tie the score off equally erratic John Lackey, but Hughes’ ineffectiveness remained the most negative aspect of the 9-6 loss.

Hughes faced 14 batters, nine of whom reached base, six of whom scored and none of whom struck out. His ERA is an unsightly 16.50. Perhaps the dip in velocity is the result of Hughes falling in love with the cut fastball. Two-thirds of his offerings Friday were cutters. A couple of Yankees pitchers in the past I can remember who lost muscle in their fastball through overuse of the cutter were Jim Abbott and Andy Pettitte.

As Pettitte proved when velocity falls off, a pitcher can remain a winner by mixing pitches and locating. Yankee manager Joe Girardi is convinced that location is Hughes’ main problem.

Right from the beginning, Hughes was in trouble. He hung a slider to the second hitter, Dustin Pedroia, who hit his first home run of the season. A Boston lineup that entered the game batting .181 was able to bat around in the order against Hughes in the second inning and put up a five-spot on six hits with two of the outs made on the bases.

Girardi had seen enough at that point and brought in Bartolo Colon, who provided 4 1/3 decent innings but was stuck with the loss because of an unearned run. A rare error by first baseman Mark Teixeira gave the Red Sox runners on first and third with one out in the fifth, and catcher Jarrod Saltalamaccchia doubled off the Green Monster to drive in the go-ahead run.

Boone Logan was right up there with Hughes as a disappointment. He came into the game in the seventh with one out and a runner on first base to face left-handed hitters David Ortiz and J.D. Drew. Ortiz doubled, and Drew followed with a two-run single. With Jose Feliciano, the free agent pickup, on the disabled list, Logan is the only lefty in the Yanks’ bullpen. His job is to get out left-handed hitters, which he has not done yet. Logan has faced five of them and given up three hits and two walks.

On the plus side for the Yankees, there was a lot of activity at the top of the lineup with Brett Gardner reaching base four times (triple, double, two walks, stolen base) and Derek Jeter driving in a run with his 2,932nd career hit. Alex Rodriguez tied Junior Griffey for 13th place on the all-time RBI list with his 1,836th on his 616th home run. Robinson Cano doubled twice and drove in two runs.

On the negative side for the Yankees, they managed only one hit combined in four innings off Red Sox relievers Alfredo Aceves, Bobby Jenks, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon.

Look ahead, not back

The end of the 2010 season in the American League turned out to be anti-climatic. We have the wild card to thank for that. Then again, the Yankees are thankful there is a wild card because that is how they got into the post-season tournament this year.

Their fate was probably sealed Friday night when rainstorms in Boston forced a postponement and set up a day-night twin bill Saturday at Fenway Park. Players and managers hate doubleheaders, be they consecutive games or the separate-admission variety. It is tough enough to win a ballgame on any given day let alone trying to win two.

Say this for the Red Sox. They waited more than three hours Friday night before banging the game, which was an acknowledgement that they knew the Yankees surely did not want to play two games in one day with home-field advantage in the playoffs hanging in the balance.

The Yankees’ 8-4 loss Sunday gave the AL East title to the Rays, who had the edge over the Bombers by having won the season series between the teams. Tampa Bay didn’t have to win at Kansas City and trailed by two runs entering the ninth inning. The Rays rallied for two runs that inning on a double by Carlos Pena and pulled it out in the 12th with the deciding run scoring on an error by former Yankees infielder Wilson Betemit.

A point of irony for the Yankees was that the losing pitcher Sunday was Dustin Moseley, the same guy whom manager Joe Girardi replaced with Phil Hughes a week earlier against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium in a must-win situation. After Saturday’s 8 hours of baseball, Moseley was the only reliable arm Girardi had at his disposal for yet another must-win game.

The Yankees showed some resiliency by coming back from a two-run deficit on J.D. Drew’s first-inning home run to tie the score on Nick Swisher’s 29th homer in the second and an advantage-taking run in the third. Drew dropped a fly ball in right by Mark Teixeira, who wound up on second base and then scored on a single by Alex Rodriguez.

The first of two home runs by Jed Lowrie, a two-run shot in the fifth off Moseley, changed the course of the game. The Yankees came unglued in the sixth, which began with a bunt single off Royce Ring by David Ortiz against the shift. A walk and a wild pitch by David Robertson preceded Ryan Kalish’s RBI single. The Red Sox went into the same running act they pulled on Mariano Rivera last week and swiped four bases, included a double steal in which Kalish scored from third.

A couple of late Yankees rallies fizzled as they looked as if they had accepted their fate. The major league season never seems as long as it does in Game 162. The field is filled with a lot of weary arms and legs, especially when playing the day after having endured two 10-inning games in as hostile environment as there is for the Yankees.

The Yankees didn’t lose the division title Sunday anyway. When a club finishes a season one game out of first place, any single loss over the course of the schedule can be attributed. Take your pick. Considering all the missed opportunities, Saturday night’s setback ranks pretty high on any list.

There is no point in looking backward now. The Yankees will get a much needed day off Monday and can get down to the business of looking ahead to the Twins and Target Field for the AL Division Series that begins Wednesday. There was speculation that the Yankees secretly hoped to play the Twins so that they would not have to face the Rangers’ Cliff Lee twice in a best-of-5 series.

I do not buy that. Despite some of Girardi’s maneuvering in the final month that often made it seem that a game here or there was being sacrificed, I believe the Yankees were sincere in saying they wanted to take the division. You do not want to put negative thoughts in players’ heads about holding back anything.

The reality is that Girardi has a club with age issues at several key positions. Once the Yankees had clinched a post-season berth, he had to be sure his players would be at their soundest with regards to health in October.

The Yankees and Twins both limped their way down the stretch. The Yanks lost eight of their last 11 games and the Twinkies eight of their last 10. Based on recent history, the Yankees certainly have had an edge over the Twins, who are 16-45 (.262), including 4-25 (.138) at Yankee Stadium, since Ron Gardenhire, an annual AL Manager of the Year candidate and perhaps the favorite this season, took over Minnesota’s reins in 2002. During that period, the Yankees also eliminated the Twins in the ALDS of 2003, ’04 and ’09 by winning nine of 11 games.

The Yankees also had a history of playing well at the Metrodome, the Twins’ former home. This season, the Twins moved into the new Target Field, an open-air facility that could present a weather challenge this time of year. The forecast for the coming week calls for sunshine and temperatures in the 70s in the daytime and 50s at night.

The Yankees won the 2010 season series, 4-2, and were 2-1 at Target Field where they batted .271 with 10 doubles, one triple and two home runs and pitched to a 3.46 ERA. The two home runs were both game winners – on the same day, May 26. Derek Jeter homered in the sixth inning for the only run in the continuation of a suspended game due to rain the day before. Swisher unlocked a 2-2 score with a ninth-inning blast in the regularly-scheduled game.

The Yankees could use similar heroics in the ALDS.