Results tagged ‘ Jayson Nix ’
The Yankees made another roster change Saturday with the acquisition of infielder Reid Brignac from the Rockies in exchange for cash considerations. To make room on the 25-man roster for Brignac, the Yankees designated infielder Alberto Gonzalez for assignment. Brignac, 27, had been designated for assignment by Colorado last week. He was not expected to report until Sunday at the earliest.
Although Brignac is known more for his defense than offense, the fact that he bats left-handed made him more attractive to the Yankees than Gonzalez at this point, general manager Brian Cashman asserted. “He’s a left-handed fly ball hitter that is beneficial at Yankee Stadium” Cash said.
The others on the left side of the infield, Jayson Nix and David Adams, bat right-handed.
Brignac, who is in his sixth season in the major leagues, batted .250 with one home run and six RBI for the Rockies this season. He was traded to Colorado in February from Tampa Bay where he had played for five years. Brignac, a .228 career hitter, has played 187 games at shortstop, 75 games at second base and 12 games at third base as well as four games in the outfield.
Gonzalez hit .333 in limited action (nine at-bats) in three games for the Yankees and also pitched one third of an inning earlier this week against the Mariners. He had been working recently with bench coach Tony Pena at the catcher position in an emergency capacity behind Austin Romine while Chris Stewart is nursing a left groin injury.
Umpires have often been the center of attention often this year, which is never a good thing. The best umpiring is that which you don’t notice. Umps are a lot like closing relief pitchers or housecleaners in that nobody pays attention to the job unless it is done poorly.
Reversed calls have become a norm in the game these days. The umps were at it again Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, although the play in question did not figure in the scoring. With a runner at first base and one out in the fourth inning, Lyle Overbay hit a ground ball in the hole between first and second bases. Mariners second baseman Robert Andino made a nice play stopping the ball, left his feet and turned for a possible play at second and then threw to first where both first baseman Kendrys Morales and pitcher Felix Hernandez were covering.
Morales gloved the ball and tagged the bag ahead of Overbay, who had to try to make his way around Hernandez. The umpires huddled to discuss the play because the rules do not permit them to view it on videotape replay. Each manager had a point to make.
Seattle’s Eric Wedge contended that Overbay was already out by the time he made contact with Hernandez, which was true. However, the Yankees’ Joe Girardi insisted that Overbay had slowed down as he approached the bag because Hernandez was standing on it. This is known in baseball as obstruction, and that was the call the umpires eventually agreed upon. Overbay came back onto the field, and the Yankees had a rally going – until Hernandez struck out Ichiro Suzuki and Jayson Nix, that is.
Curtis Granderson, activated from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, was thrown right into the fire as the starting left fielder and cleanup hitter against the Mariners and Felix Hernandez at Yankee Stadium to open the homestand following a 6-2 trip through Denver, Kansas City and Cleveland.
Granderson played all three outfield positions during his injury-rehabilitation stint at Triple A Scranton. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he will use Granderson in each spot, although it appears that left field will be the one where he will play most often. Brett Gardner has done an outstanding job in center field during Granderson’s absence, and Girardi noted that while he has played some left field Ichiro Suzuki is more comfortable in right field.
Center field with the Yankees is one of the sexiest positions in baseball, yet Granderson told reporters before Tuesday night’s game that he is fine with his new surroundings. Just being back in the major leagues is satisfying enough for Granderson, who enjoyed being back at the Stadium where he was also visited by Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Players Association. Granderson is the Yankees’ player representative to the union.
Granderson is among several Yankees individual players with good career numbers against King Felix, who entered the game with an 8-5 record and 3.08 ERA in his career against the Yankees. The righthander has been especially tough at the current Stadium with a 4-1 mark and 1.13 ERA.
Granderson is a .273 hitter with two doubles, one triple and two home runs in 55 at-bats against Hernandez. Others with good numbers are Robinson Cano (.366, 2 doubles, 2 homers in 41 at-bats) as well as Ichiro (.400) and Jayson Nix (.500) in a limited number of at-bats. Ichiro is 2-for-5 and Nix 5-for-10.
Missing from the lineup will be designated hitter Travis Hafner, who was scheduled to undergo an MRI on his right shoulder that has been sore for several days. The Yankees hope the situation is not serious, but Hafner has had shoulder problems in the past. Vernon Wells, who had manned left field while Granderson was out, was in the lineup as the DH.
CC Sabathia will start for the Yankees in the matchup of former Cy Young Award winners. This is the pairing of Sabathia, who won the American League Cy Young Award in 2007 with the Indians, and Hernandez, the 2010 AL winner. It marks the fourth time former Cy Young Award winners will meet at the current Stadium after the winning the award. The others were Sabathia against Lee June 16, 2009, Sabathia against Roy Halladay June 15, 2010 and Sabathia against Johan Santana June 20, 2010.
Sabathia took a 12-4 record and 2.46 ERA in his career against the Mariners into the game. He has won each of his past eight starts against Seattle dating to Aug. 13, 2009 with a 1.20 ERA in 60 innings over that stretch.
The unfortunate side of the Granderson transaction is that pitcher Vidal Nuno, who got his first major-league victory in the second game of Monday’s doubleheader at Cleveland, was optioned to Scranton to create roster space. It was the obvious move because having pitched five innings Monday Nuno could not be used for several days. The lefthander, who pitched eight scoreless innings in two appearances for the Yankees, made a strong impression and will be in Scranton’s rotation to get innings and be available if the Yankees need pitching help down the road, which they almost surely will.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Nuno and righthander Adam Warren became the second pair of Yankees pitchers to earn their first career victory and first career save, respectively, in the same game. The others were Alan Closter (victory) and Fritz Peterson (save) July 25, 1971 in the second game of a doubleheader at Milwaukee. Warren was also the winning pitcher of the Yanks’ victory Thursday at Denver. Elias points out that he and Nuno marked the first pair of Yankees pitchers to earn their first major-league victories on the same trip since Matt DeSalvo and Tyler Clippard in May 2007.
The Yankees shut out their opponent in Game 2 of a doubleheader after being shutout in Game 1 of the DH for only the second time in the past 37 years. They also turned the trick on May 12, 2010 at Detroit, dropping Game 1, 2-0, and winning Game 2, 8-0. The Yankees are 4-0 in games immediately following a shutout loss this season, and have gone 30-9 (.769) in such games since 2008 when Joe Girardi took over as manager.
You can turn the panic button off regarding Andy Pettitte. Perhaps a dose of Kansas City was all the lefthander needed.
Pettitte has had a lot of success against the Royals over the years, although it is only fair to point out that Kansas City had been a downtrodden franchise for much of that time. This is a different Royals team this season with Kansas City threatening to be a contender in the American League Central. Nevertheless, they looked like the same old Royals against Pettitte, who bounced back from two awful games to post a 3-2 victory, his first winning decision in four starts since April 19.
That improved Pettitte’s career mark against the Royals to 15-3 with a 3.40 ERA, including 9-2 with a 3.11 ERA at Kauffman Stadium.
The cut fastball that had abandoned Pettitte in his recent starts made a triumphant return as Andy pitched seven strong innings against a much meatier lineup than the Royals had in the past. He gave up five hits, including Billy Butler’s fourth home run, walked only one batter and struck out eight.
Pettitte pitched well in situations, a signature strength of his. With runners on first and second and one out in the second, Andy got two soft groundouts to avoid damage. He gave up an infield single to Eliot Johnson leading off the third. Johnson was able to steal second because of a ball in the dirt. It proved a big steal. He came around to score on two groundouts. But that and Butler’s bomb were all that marred the sort of effort we have come to expect from Pettitte but what had been missing of late.
Pettitte’s ERA over his past three starts was 7.04 and over his past two 9.64. Ouch! Even worse was his statement after a dismal game against the Athletics that his cut fastball was nonexistent. When a 40-year-old pitcher makes such an admission, there is cause for serious concern. But to his credit, Pettitte kept working between starts to find the lost pitch, which he rediscovered to help the Yankees win their fourth straight game and maintain first-place standing in the AL East.
The bullpen came through again with shining colors. David Robertson struck out the side in the eighth (the Royals have struck out 21 times in 17 innings in this series), and Mariano Rivera withstood a two-double to make it 14-for-14 in save situations this season. Vernon Wells, whose two-run home run in the fifth had given the Yankees the lead, ran down Mike Moustakas’ drive to left-center for the final out.
As much a patsy as the Royals have been for Pettitte so have the Yankees been a nemesis for James Shields, who had one of his better games against them but was a loser for the 15th time in 22 career decisions. The righthander was hurt not only by Wells but also by a throwing error by Moustakas, his third baseman, that allowed Chris Nelson, who doubled, to score with two out in the third inning.
Shields also hurt himself by hitting Chris Stewart with a 1-2 pitch to begin the fifth inning. Stew scored on Wells’ home run. Jayson Nix entered the game with two hits, both home runs, in four career at-bats against Shields and added two more hits, a double and a single. Nix has done very well spelling Eduardo Nunez at shortstop on this trip.
The best news, naturally, was the return to form of Pettitte, whose 249th career victory tied him with Hall of Famer Vic Willis for 45th place on the all-time list. Next up in 44th place is another Hall of Famer, Bob Gibson, at 251.
The Yankees scored more runs in the second inning Friday night at Kansas City than they scored in each of the three games of the recent series at Coors Field. The Denver yard is supposed to be hitter-friendly, yet the Yanks were shut out in one game and scored three runs in each of the next two games. In the second inning at Kauffman Stadium, supposedly a pitcher-friendly facility, the Yankees exploded for four runs off Wade Davis on a pair of two-run home runs by Ichiro Suzuki and Lyle Overbay. Go figure.
This was the sort of game expected in Denver. The Yankees broke out for 16 hits, half of them for extra bases, to produce an 11-6 victory, Joe Girardi’s 500th as Yankees manager.
The Royals closed to 4-3 in the bottom of the second as Phil Hughes fell victim to the long ball, which he had avoided in his previous three starts. It came from an unexpected source, too. Jayson Dyson ended Hughes’ 23-inning homerless stretch and a two-year homerless streak of his own with a two-out, three-run blow that was the outfielder’s first home run since 2010 and only his second in 473 career at-bats.
Hughes, who was 1-0 with three no-decisions and 1.93 ERA over his past four starts, was not as effective this time out. A two-run double by Alex Gordon in the fifth inning tied the score at 5, but the Yankees came to Phil’s rescue by putting up a five-spot in the sixth. They chased Davis with a double by Suzuki and a single by Jayson Nix and then did their usual damage against Bruce Chen.
The lefthander has found a home with the Royals, his 10th club, the past few years, but wherever he has been the Yankee have given him trouble. He has a 2-6 career record against them and had his ERA climb to 6.87 in 77 1/3 innings against the Yankees after they had their way with him in this game as well.
Overbay, who had quite a night (4-for-5, five RBI), knocked in his fourth run of the game with his second double. Chris Nelson got his first two RBI since joining the Yankees with a single. He scored on a triple by Brett Gardner, who came home on a single by Robinson Cano as the Yanks went 4-for-4 with runners in scoring position in the inning.
Hughes was toast one batter after yielding a long solo homer to right by Mike Moustakas in the bottom of the sixth. The bullpen was a bit thin after five relievers worked in Thursday’s rain-delayed victory. Shawn Kelley was nothing short of brilliant by striking out the first five batters he faced and six of seven. Boone Logan added two more strikeouts in a perfect ninth. Nine of the Royals’ last 11 hitters struck out.
Ichiro had 3-for-5 to raise his career batting average at Kauffman Stadium to .377, the highest of any opposing player in the park’s 40-year history. This place may not be so pitcher friendly after all.
Sometimes it comes down to one simple play. A blown hit-and-run play turned into an important stolen base for the Yankees that turned the ninth inning Wednesday night into a melodrama that sent them toward a very satisfying, dugout-emptying victory.
Normally when you hear the phrase “dugout-emptying,” it is in reference to a brawl. This time it was literal for the Yankees. With Eduardo Nunez still unavailable due to an irritated left ribcage, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was forced to use all the available players in an inter-league game at a National League park where the designated hitter is forbidden. Thank heaven this one didn’t go extra innings or you might have seen some pitchers playing elsewhere on the field.
The Yanks’ 3-2 victory over the Rockies was truly a team effort. The deciding run that was set up by a stolen base that should have been an out scored thanks to the hustle of Brennan Boesch, the Yankees’ third pinch hitter of the night, who beat out an infield hit with a dash down the first base line while Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado took ever-so-slightly too long to get off a throw.
Vernon Wells, who crossed the plate for the tiebreaking run, then trotted out to third base with his oversized outfield glove, marking the first time he had played the infield in a major-league game. Sure enough, a ball was hit to him, but he handled Carlos Gonzalez’s grounder with ease and got the second out of the inning. Mariano Rivera withstood a two-out single and a steal of second base by Michael Cuddyer to make it 12-for-12 in saves when he retired Wilin Rosario on a fly to center.
Wells, whose three-hit game included his seventh home run that accounted for the Yanks’ other two runs, was asked to play third base because starter Chris Nelson had been lifted earlier in the ninth for pinch hitter Travis Hafner, who struck out. Without Nunez, Girardi had no infielders he could call on, a situation that the manager had explained to Wells even before the game started.
It was also Wells who benefit from a dropped throw by shortstop Jonathan Herrera from catcher Rosario on a busted hit-and-run play. Wells, who had left off the inning with an infield single, ended up with a gift of a stolen base. Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt in a non-save situation was not sharp and walked Lyle Overbay. After Ichiro Suzuki bunted the runners over, Jayson Nix was intentionally walked to load the bases. Girardi had his ace in the hole in Hafner, but the DH without a spot in the starting lineup at Coors Field struck out.
Boesch was Girardi’s last available player to use as a pinch hitter for catcher Austin Romine (Chris Stewart would have to catch the bottom of the ninth). Arenado made a terrific stop of a hard grounder to his left by Boesch, but the third baseman glanced momentarily to second base before throwing to first where Boesch beat the play by a hair.
Pitchers played major parts for the Yankees as well. Starter David Phelps went six innings and was hurt only by a two-run homer by Todd Helton. Recent Triple A call-up Preston Claiborne pitched a 1-2-3 seventh (the righthander has retired all nine hitters he has faced in his first two appearances for the Yankees) and David Robertson added a scoreless eighth.
This is not the sort of stuff fans are used to seeing at Coors Field. Tuesday night, it was 2-0 Rockies. Seven runs in two games in a yard where every night it seems that seven runs are scored every two innings is pretty rare. The Yankees ended a five-game losing streak at Coors dating to June 20, 2002 and are 29-9 in games following shutout losses since Girardi became manager in 2008, including 3-0 this year.
With a lefthander, Eric Bedard, starting for the Astros Wednesday night, Yankees manager Joe Girardi had to decide which left-handed hitting outfielder to give the night off. He chose Brett Gardner for two reasons: (1) Gardner could use the blow and (2) Ichiro Suzuki is hot.
Ichiro has really stepped it up this homestand. He entered the game on an 8-for-19 (.421) stretch that shot his batting average up to .268, which was 68 points higher than it was a week ago. With hits in each of his first two at-bats, Suzuki’s average just kept climbing nearer to the .300 level with which he was so familiar in his years with the Mariners.
Suzuki led off the game with a triple off the auxiliary scoreboard in right-center field. He scored moments later on a single to left by Jayson Nix. Bedard, who did not walk a batter in his prior start at Boston despite throwing 91 pitches in three innings, walked the bases loaded with none out in the second.
The first walk was to Travis Hafner, whom Girardi left in the batting order as the designated hitter while using righty-swinging Ben Francisco in right field. The Astros used an exaggerated shift against Hafner, who I think would be smart to consider bunting in those situations. After all, he was leading off the inning, so getting on base is the priority. The Astros were giving him the entire left side of the infield.
The Yankees got only one run out of the rally, on a sacrifice fly by Chris Stewart, who is doing a terrific job in making up for the loss to injury (fractured right hand) of Francisco Cervelli. The Yanks reloaded the bases with two out on an infield single by Suzuki when Bedard and first baseman Carlos Pena miscommunicated on a play at the bag while Ichiro sped to another hit. It proved inconsequential as Nix popped out.
The game was beginning to look like one of those runaways when Robinson Cano and Francisco homered in the fourth inning for a 4-0 Yankees lead. Cano’s homer was career No. 185 for 16th place on the Yankees’ all-time list. He also moved ahead of Elston Howard for 20th place on the Yankees’ career RBI list with 733.
Francisco’s homer was his first with the Yankees, and it must have felt wonderful. He entered the game batting .103 and may just be the odd man out whenever Curtis Granderson comes off the disabled list, which is likely sometime this month.
Making his first start of the season, David Phelps was certainly appreciative of the early run support. The righthander cruised through three innings in pitching to the minimum number of batters and allowing one hit before the wheels started to fall off in the fourth. Phelps was stung for four hits and didn’t help himself by hitting two batters, one of which forced in a run, as the Astros tied the score.
The news keeps getting grimmer for the Blue Jays, who after all their off-season moves had been considered favorites to win the American League East. Toronto went into Friday night’s game at Yankee Stadium with a 9-14 record and last-place standing in the division and had to scratch the scheduled starting pitcher, Josh Johnson, because of tight right triceps.
Inserted into Johnson’s spot was lefthander Aaron Laffey, whom the Blue Jays signed earlier in the week off waivers from the Mets. Laffey made two starts and two relief appearances for the Mets and had a 7.20 ERA in 10 innings during which he allowed eight earned runs and 16 hits but was not involved in a decision.
Johnson is the second player in the major, off-season trade with the Marlins who has gone down with an injury. Shortstop Jose Reyes is expected to be lost for up to three months with a severe ankle injury. Johnson has not exactly been lighting it up for the Jays this year. The righthander, who led the National League in earned run average three years ago, is 0-1 with a 6.86 ERA in four starts. Johnson has allowed 28 hits in 19 2/3 innings.
With Kevin Youkilis still unable to play due to persistent back stiffness, Yankees manager Joe Girardi continues to toy with his batting order, particularly against left-handed pitching. Friday night, he moved Jayson Nix into the 2-hole, which is not a bad thought considering the way Nix has hit against left-handed pitching this season (.316) and against Toronto the past two seasons.
Nix, who has done a solid job as a backup shortstop and third basemen, spent the 2011 season with the Blue Jays and batted only .169 in 136 at-bats. The Yankees signed him for a utility role in 2012, and Nix has given his former club headaches ever since. With two hits Thursday night, Nix lifted his average against the Blue Jays this year to .417 in 12 at-bats and over the past two seasons to .370 with five doubles, three runs batted in and 12 runs scored.
Vernon Wells, who spent 12 seasons with the Blue Jays before he was traded to the Angels in 2011, has also wreaked havoc against his former club. Wells connected for his seventh home run of the season Thursday night, a majestic shot over the center field wall. In four games against the Jays this year, Wells had batted .421 with five runs, three home runs and four RBI in 19 at-bats.
Over an 11-game stretch against Toronto dating to Sept. 19, 2011, Wells has been a .340 hitter with nine runs, four doubles, five home runs and 10 RBI in 47 at-bats. It may not get any easier for the Blue Jays. Wells has batted .444 with three home runs and three RBI in seven day games this year. The Yankees have day games against Toronto Saturday and Sunday.
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.