Results tagged ‘ Jered Weaver ’

A walk-off before the ninth inning

The Angels walked all over the Yankees Monday night — literally. Los Angeles unlocked a 1-1 game with three Yankees relievers providing the keys. The Halos scored three runs without a hit as the Yankees issued six walks — five of them in succession after two were out and only one was intentional.

It was a dismal way to open a road trip following a disappointing, 3-5 home stand during which the Yankees continually failed in the clutch by going 7-for-63 (.111) with runners in scoring position. Maybe what they needed was to walk more often. The Angels were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position but won the game thanks to three consecutive bases on balls with the bases loaded.

The Yanks were actually 2-for-5 with runners in scoring position but failed to take advantage of a golden opportunity in the eighth inning when they loaded the bases against Jered Weaver on three singles with none out. Just as quickly, however, the rally died as Brett Gardner struck out and Derek Jeter grounded into a double play.

The Yankees had issues with plate umpire Laz Diaz’s strike zone all night and paid for their disagreement with two ejections. Manager Joe Girardi was tossed for arguing balls and strikes during Gardner’s at-bat in the eighth. Losing pitcher Shawn Kelley was heaved after shouting at Diaz while walking off the mound following his four-walk, three-run disaster in the bottom of the eighth.

It was a tough break for David Phelps, who did a fine job in his start replacing the disabled Ivan Nova. Phelps gave up one run, three hits and a walk with three strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Howie Kendrick tripled to lead off the fifth and scored on an infield out with Jeter making a fine play covering a ton of ground on an over-shift setup against Ian Stewart.

Jeter also showed positive signs of getting his groove back offensively by ending a 0-for-14 swoon with a single and a double. Too bad neither hit came when those bases were full in the eighth. Mark Teixeira kept up his productive stroke with an RBI single in the seventh for the Yankees’ only run.

Picking spots to challenge calls important

The challenge of umpires’ calls through video replay has become integrated into the game slightly more than a month into the season. When Yankees catcher Brian McCann was ruled safe on a bang-bang play at first base, you fully expected that Angels manager Mike Scioscia would emerge from their dugout.

He did but wisely decided against challenging the call after getting a negative signal from one of his coaches who had checked with someone in the clubhouse monitoring the telecast. The play was close, but since it appeared that McCann’s cleat hit the base at precisely the same time as the relay from shortstop Erick Aybar hit first baseman Albert Pujols’ glove there was no conclusive evidence to reverse the call.

The play proved inconsequential. Had the call been reversed, McCann would have been out as the second half of a double play. He remained on base instead but did not advance as Alfonso Soriano and Kelly Johnson were both struck out by Angels starter Jered Weaver.

Scioscia was smart not to challenge because had it been rejected he would have lost a chance to challenge again before the seventh inning. This is part of the new system that makes managers think twice before asking for a video review unless they are certain the original call was faulty.

RBI coming in bunches for Soriano

Watching Alfonso Soriano drive in six runs Tuesday night reminded me of the story about the former Brooklyn Dodgers manager Chuck Dressen back in the days of their heated rivalry with the New York Giants.

After watching Willie Mays make a spectacular catch in center field to rob one of the Dodgers hitters of an extra-base hit, Dressen snarled in the dugout, “I’d like to see him do that again!”

So for all those detractors out there who might have said the same thing about him, Soriano had a ready answer. He went out and did it again – and thensome – the very next night.

By the second inning Wednesday night, Soriano had already matched his career-best RBI total set the night before. The crowd at Yankee Stadium went wild when he connected for his fifth career grand slam in the first inning, an impressive blow to center field off of one of the best pitchers in the American League, Angels righthander Jered Weaver.

It climaxed a two-out rally featuring a single by Robinson Cano (the first of his four hits), a double by Alex Rodriguez and a walk to Curtis Granderson. The Yankees batted around in the second inning to put up four more runs on RBI singles by Cano and Granderson and a two-run double by Soriano. That gave him six RBI for the second straight game.

Soriano broke his personal mark for RBI in a game that had stood for one day when he led off the fifth inning with his second home run of the game and fourth in two games. It marked the third time in his career that Soriano has had back-to-back multi-homer games. Soriano had a shot at an eighth RBI when he batted in the seventh after Granderson led off with a double, but the Angels finally got smart and just walked him.

Always a favorite with Stadium crowds, he was serenaded with rhythmic chants of “Sor-i-a-no!” all night long. And why not? He has been just what the Yankees needed when acquired from the Cubs prior to the non-waiver trade deadline last month. The Yanks had long been need for a power bat from the right side, and Soriano has provided that. He has 22 RBI in 17 games with the Yankees while batting .258 with seven home runs in 66 at-bats.

Soriano had been in a funk for about a week leading up to his 2,000th hit, a home run Sunday against the Tigers that set him off on the current streak in which he is 6-for-14 (.429) with four homers and 13 RBI. He has always been a streaky hitter. The Yankees are enjoying the ride on his current streak.
Soriano has helped revive an element that had been missing largely from the Yankees’ attack this year – the long ball. The Yankees have homered in five consecutive games and 18 times in their past 15 games after being held homerless in nine straight games from July 19-27.

Armed with an 8-0 lead after two innings, Ivan Nova pitched with confidence and efficiency to raise his record to 6-4. The righthander allowed 10 hits but no walks, although he hit a batter. It was the seventh straight start in which Nova pitched at least seven innings and allowed three runs or less, another good sign that he has found a permanent home in the rotation.

So the Yankees who had gone a month without winning two consecutive games have now won four in a row and have the opportunity to complete a sweep of the Angels Thursday before going to Boston over the weekend for a three-game set against the American League East-leading Red Sox.

Good news and a victory for a change

Yankees fans needed some good news Sunday and they got it two-fold. Father’s Day for the Bombers began with the report from New York than an MRI on the tendon sheath of Mark Teixeira’s right wrist revealed inflammation, not a tear. Talk about a sigh of relief. Had there been a re-tear, the first baseman would have required surgery and been out for the remainder of the season. Tex received a cortisone injection and could be back in the lineup by Wednesday.

The second round of favorable news was the final score of the West Coast swing finale: Yanks 6, Angels 5. The Yankees needed that victory like, well, your father needs soft shoes. Of course, it was a victory that did not come easily. They had to sweat through a ninth inning where even the peerless Mariano Rivera was taxed.

Before Mo won a duel with Albert Pujols by striking out the three-time former Most Valuable Player with the bases loaded, the Yankees were on the verge of blowing all of a six-run lead that would have made the cross-country flight back to New York as bumpy a ride as most of the trip had been in which the Yankees were 4-6 and came perilously close to dropping into fourth place in the American League East.

CC Sabathia exhibited his ace credentials with eight scoreless innings. He achieved not only dominance over the Angels but also spared a weary bullpen. The lefthander was working on a four-hit shutout entering the ninth when he gave up a leadoff double to Mike Trout and walked Pujols.

David Robertson couldn’t put out the fire. He gave up a single to Mark Trumbo that ended the shutout and a one-out walk before Rivera was summoned to clean things up. In what likely was his last appearance at Angel Stadium, Mo was unfortunately off his game. He got a quick out on a grounder by Eric Aybar that scored LA’s second run, but Albert Callaspo singled in two runs, and Brad Hawpe and Peter Bourjos followed with singles that led to another run that shrunk the Yanks’ lead to merely one run. A walk to Trout filled the bases for Pujols.

Rivera went with some high octane gas (94 miles per hour) to strike out the guy who presented him with a portrait the day before on behalf of the Angels on three pitches. Mo’s 24th save in 25 opportunities was truly earned and avoided what would have been a disastrous loss.

After suffering through a five-game losing streak in which the Yankees scored only 12 runs in 54 innings, to have the bullpen fail on a day when the offense came alive would have been a wound too deep to heal. For the first time in four games, the Yankees scored in more than one inning.

They put up a five spot in the third against Jered Weaver with all the runs scoring after two were out. Travis Hafner snapped a trip-long slump (0-for-23) with a three-run home run to left center. The Yankees kept it up against Weaver on a single by Vernon Wells, a double by Lyle Overbay and a single by Jayson Nix for two more runs.

As it turned out, the run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Wells proved valuable insurance.

Adventure on the basepaths

The Yankees are having a rough afternoon on the bases Sunday. Three runners were thrown out on the bases in the first three innings.

Derek Jeter circled too far around first base after he singled home Eric Chavez to give the Yanks a 3-2 lead in the second inning and was out on first baseman Albert Pujols’ toss to second baseman Maicer Izturis.

In the third, the old high school play completely backfired for the Yankees and ended up in an embarrassing double play. Robinson Cano was on first base and Alex Rodriguez on third with Mark Teixeira at the plate.

With the count 2-2 on Tex, Cano wavered off first. Pitcher Jered Weaver threw over, and Cano got trapped in a rundown. He tried to avoid being tagged so Rodriguez might have a chance to score, but Izturis tagged Cano and threw home to nab A-Rod.

Ouch!

Angels’ walk-off victory ends Yanks’ winning streak

The only thing Mark Trumbo had to worry about Monday night after hitting a game-winning home run leading off the ninth inning against Cory Wade was to avoid the injury teammate Kendrys Morales two years ago. The Angels have toned down their walk-off celebrations since then but still greeted Trumbo jubilantly as he crossed the plate.

Technically, that was the moment the Yankees lost, 9-8, ending their five-game winning streak while the Angels continued their stretch of success to seven games and got to the .500 level (25-25) for the first time since April 9 when they were 2-2. In reality, the Yankees began losing this game in the first inning when they took a 3-0 lead and Angels starter Jered Weaver, their ace, had to come out of the game due to a lower back injury.

The Angels could have sulked their way through this one, but they jumped all over Phil Hughes for four runs and five hits to begin the see-saw battle that went on all night. Give the Yankees credit for coming back from an 8-5 deficit to tie the score with a three-run seventh, but they lost a chance to go ahead again in the ninth by stranding the bases loaded.

Russell Martin, who had doubled in the tying runs in the seventh, nearly put the Yanks ahead in the ninth with a single up the middle, but shortstop Erick Aybar made a sterling stop to keep the ball from going into the outfield that would have allowed Mark Teixeira to score rather than have to stop at second. Aybar had made a costly error in the first inning but got a game saver there. Derek Jeter ended the threat by hitting into a fielder’s choice with Aybar making another good play by gloving first baseman Albert Pujols’ high throw and tagging the bag at second just ahead of Martin.

Trumbo, who absolutely clobbered a 1-1 changeup from Wade, had a big night. He also doubled and tripled, which meant that he was a single away from the cycle, usually the easiest of the four hits to get. Trumbo’s triple was the result of Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher colliding while chasing the ball in right field. Fortunately, neither was hurt.

Granderson slugged his 15th home run, his first this year someplace other than Yankee Stadium or Camden Yards. Mark Teixeira also continued his torrid hitting with a perfect night – his ninth home run, a single and three walks. Over his past four games, Tex has 10-for-16 (.625) with three doubles, four home runs and nine RBI to take over the team lead with 30. His slugging percentage over that stretch is an ungodly 1.563. His batting average has gone from .226 to .263. That slow start of his is definitely over.

Twilight start no help to pitchers

Normally when games have a twilight start on the west coast such as Monday night’s match-up between the Yankees and Angels at Anaheim (6 p.m., PDT) there is a tremendous advantage for the pitchers because the ball is difficult for hitters to pick up. Not this time. The Yankees batted around in the top of the first inning and Los Angeles came within one batter of doing the same in the bottom half.

The Yankees’ three-run first was aided a great deal by two Angels errors and the loss of starter Jered Weaver. The LA ace was forced from the game with a lower back ailment sustained after an awkward follow through on a pitch to Robinson Cano four batters in. The Yanks already had a run on the board thanks to a bobble by shortstop Erick Aybar on what might have been the start of a double play.

Righthander Bobby Cassevah came out of the bullpen for his first appearance of the season to replace Weaver, who pitched a no-hitter earlier this year and entered the game with a 6-1 mark. A sacrifice fly by Raul Ibanez got a second run home. Just when the Angels thought they would get out of the inning when Nick Swisher hit a dribbler to the left of the mound, Cassevah threw the ball wildly to first base for an error allowing another runner to cross the plate.

So despite going 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position (there is that dreaded statistic again), the Yankees had a 3-0 lead. They wished they had cashed in on some of those clutch chances when the Angels came back hard against Phil Hughes in the bottom of the inning to pull ahead, 4-3.

The Angels lashed five hits off Hughes, whose parents were in the stands. Hughes grew up in southern California and pitched at Angel Stadium in the 2010 All-Star Game. He did not look much like an All-Star Monday night. After Curtis Granderson tied the score in the second with his 15th home run, Hughes allowed the Angels to regain the lead in the third.

Granderson collided with Swisher as the pair pursued a drive to right-center by Mark Trumbo that fell between them for a triple. Howie Kendrick, who drove in two runs with a single in the first inning, scored Trumbo with a fly to right. Mike Trout’s leadoff home run in the fourth made it 10 consecutive starts from the beginning of the season that Hughes has been taken deep.

Unlike the way the Angels’ bullpen kept the team in the game after Weaver was knocked out, Hughes was not picked up by his pen. After he left the game with one out and a runner on second in the sixth, Hughes watched the Angels load the bases off Cody Eppley and get two runs on a double by Kendrys Morales off David Phelps.

It was the Yankees’ offense that came to Hughes’ rescue by taking him off the hook with three runs in the seventh to tie the score. The big hit was a bases-loaded double by Russell Martin, who has struggled at the plate all season.

Strong outing by Colon wasted

Maybe the bright side for the Yankees Friday night is that they did not have to play extra innings for the third day in a row, even though going extras was their only shot at pulling out a victory after they were retired in the ninth with the score 1-1.

There were actual bright sides for the Yankees in the 2-1 loss to the Angels, but not many. The Yankees got to play in ideal weather conditions for a change in the blissful climate of Anaheim, Calif., after two long games on wet tracks in the Bronx and Baltimore.

The Elias Sports Bureau pointed out that the Yankees’ back-to-back losses to the Orioles at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night and at Camden Yards Thursday marked the second time in major-league history that a team lost in extra innings on consecutive days to the same team in different ballparks. It also occurred April 19 and 20, 1900 when the Boston Beaneaters (now the Atlanta Braves) lost to the Philadelphia Phillies, 19-17, in 10 innings at the South End Grounds in Boston and at Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl the next day, 5-4, in 11 innings.

The recent toll on the bullpen left the Yankees vulnerable as manager Joe Girardi trusted the ninth inning to Aaron Laffey and Luis Ayala. The Angels loaded the bases against them on two singles and a hit batter with none out, which allowed pinch hitter Maicer Izturis to win the game with a sacrifice fly to medium center field. Curtis Granderson didn’t even attempt a throw to combat speedy pinch runner Jeremy Moore. Curtis should have thrown home anyway. You never know; Moore might have tripped or fallen down.

Granderson’s career-high 11 assists are the most by a Yankees center fielder since 2007 when Melky Cabrera had 14. Granderson had two assists Thursday, the first Yankees center fielder to do that since Omar Moreno in 1984

The Yankees’ failure to generate any kind of offense against American League Cy Young Award candidate Jered Weaver wasted a strong pitching performance by Bartolo Colon, who remained winless in seven starts since July 30. Colon is 0-3 with four no-decisions and a 4.19 ERA during this stretch, but he was flawless Friday night allowing six hits and a walk with five strikeouts in seven innings. The only run he allowed was not earned due to a throwing error by Derek Jeter.

The shortstop’s wild throw in the fifth that proved costly when Howie Kendrick got a two-out, RBI single marked the sixth straight game in which the Yankees have committed an error. The Yankees have 11 errors in nine games in September, one more than they had in all of August (28 games).

Jesus Montero continued his sizzling September (.350 in 20 at-bats) with a long home run to left field off Weaver leading off the third inning. It was the third home run for Montero, all of which have come off right-handed pitchers. Girardi started Montero as the designated hitter against a righthander for the first time. Expect that to happen on a regular basis.

Andruw Jones, who usually is the DH against righties, played right field because Nick Swisher is down with a painful left elbow. The switch-hitter is a left-handed thrower, so the situation bears very close watching.

Montero was the only Yankees batter to get past first base against Weaver, who gave up two other hits, both singles, and two walks while striking out 11 in eight innings. He was stuck with a tough no-decision as well. The victory went to rookie closer Jordan Walden, who pitched the ninth. He walked Alex Rodriguez with one out, but the Angels guessed right on a pitchout and catcher Jeff Mathis nailed pinch runner Eduardo Nunez trying to steal second base.

The Yankees’ three-game losing streak is simultaneous with that of Boston, so their lead in the AL East remains 2 ½ games over the Red Sox, which counts as a bright spot.

Welcome to the big leagues, kid

The Angels sure must have a lot of faith in Garrett Richards to have him make his major-league debut Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium. What a place for a young pitcher up from Double A to make his first big-league appearance.

Richards became the first pitcher to make his debut at the new Stadium. The righthander, 23, had a fastball clocked regularly in the mid-90s but had problems with command in a very shaky first inning against the Yankees. Before he could keep his heart from pounding, Richards was in a 3-0 hole after walking Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter and yielding Curtis Granderson’s 30th home run of the season on a 1-0 heater.

One out later, Robinson Cano lined a double to right-center, but the rookie settled down and got Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez out on ground balls. The Yankees don’t normally do this well in a pitcher’s first game. They had lost each of their past six games in which they faced a starting pitcher making his major-league debut. Their past victory in such a situation was May 1, 2004 against the Royals’ Eduardo Villacis, 12-4, at the Stadium.

Richards, whose contract was purchased from Double A Arkansas, was filling the place in this turn of the rotation of staff ace Jered Weaver, who is serving a six-day suspension for throwing at the head of a Tigers batter in a game last week. The Angels will get Weaver back early next week to pitch against their American League West rival Texas Rangers at Anaheim.

The Angels drafted Richards, who pitched for three seasons at the University of Oklahoma, in the first round of the 2009 first-year player draft as a compensation pick for their having lost relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez to free agency and the Mets. Richards had been lights out at Arkansas with a 12-2 record, three complete games and a 3.06 ERA in 21 starts. In one inning, however, he discovered how wide the gap is between Double A and the majors.

The Angels pulled the same maneuver 15 years ago when a pitcher named Jason Dickson made his major-league debut at the old Stadium Aug. 21, 1996. Dickson, a righthander from Canada, pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed 10 hits but only one run in a 7-1 Angels victory. The lone run Dickson gave up was on a home run by another rookie, a kid named Jeter.

That was Dickson’s only victory that year as he finished ’96 with a 1-4 record and 4.57 ERA. He pitched in parts of four seasons for the Angels and had a career mark of 26-25 with a 4.99 ERA.

CC mounting another case for ‘Cy’

Normalcy returned to Yankees Universe Saturday at Toronto. Not surprisingly, CC Sabathia was responsible for that after two games in which the Bombers were crying “O, Canada” after being outscored, 23-8, and playing some of their sloppiest baseball all year. With three errors Thursday night and two more Friday night, the Yankees had successive multi-boot games for the first time since June 27 at Anaheim and June 29 at Seattle last year when they made two errors in each.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi expressed concern before the game that the Blue Jays may have been stealing signs, which has been rumored at Rogers Centre ever since it opened in 1989 as the SkyDome, a much better name, by the way. The retractable-roofed facility is connected to a hotel which has windows facing the plate. There has been suspicion for two decades that the Jays have someone with high-power binoculars peering in at the catcher’s signals and relaying them to the Toronto bench. Yankees catcher Russell Martin, a native Canadian, was constantly changing the team’s signs during the first two games of the series.

“Sometimes we have inclinations that certain things might be happening in certain ballparks and we are aware of it and try to protect our signs,” Girardi told reporters. “If you feel it is coming from somewhere else besides a player on the field, then I do have issues. There are parks where you need to protect your signs. I don’t want to really get into it because I’m not 100 percent sure about anything.”

The only problem with that theory is that the Blue Jays have a losing record (21-23) at home this year. So what happened Saturday when the Jays scored only one run? Did the spyglasses break?

No.

What happened was CC Sabathia for eight innings and Mariano Rivera for one. That’s a lethal combination for any team even if they think they know what pitch is coming. And in Mo’s case, everybody knows what pitch is coming; a cut fastball, but they can’t do much about it.

Sabathia certainly doesn’t seem to have any problems pitching at Rogers Centre where he now has a 6-1 record with a 2.19 ERA in 49 1/3 career innings. Overall against Toronto, CC is 11-3 with a 3.03 ERA in 101 career innings.

The Yankees had another rough game with runners in scoring position (2-for-14), but the two runs they scored in the second inning on doubles by Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner, a single by Andruw Jones and an infield out were all Sabathia would need to win his seventh straight start, a stretch in which he has a 1.68 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings. In a dozen starts since May 19, the massive lefthander is 11-1 with a 2.11 ERA in 94 innings.

The run Sabathia allowed in the first inning ended a scoreless stretch of 24 innings, the most for a Yankees starter since May 1980 when Tom Underwood did two-thirds of an inning better.

With a season record of 14-4 and a 2.64 ERA, Sabathia has put himself in the American League Cy Young Award conversation again this season, just as he was last year when he placed third to winner Felix Hernandez of the Mariners and runner-up David Price of the Rays. CC, who won the award in 2007 with the Indians, once again faces a challenge from two other quality starters, Justin Verlander of the Tigers and Jered Weaver of the Angels.

It is shaping up as another close call among three starting pitchers. At this point, Sabathia leads the AL in victories and in winning percentage (.778) and is second in innings (153 2/3), fourth in strikeouts (134) and sixth in ERA.

Verlander has the lead in innings (157) and strikeouts (153), ranks third in ERA (2.29) and has a .706 winning percentage based on a 12-5 record. He has also thrown a no-hitter among his four complete games, which has him tied with Weaver for second place in that category. Sabathia has two complete games, but unlike Verlander and Weaver CC has Rivera to finish off games.

Weaver, who was scheduled to start the second game of a doubleheader Saturday night, has a commanding lead in ERA (1.86) and is tied for fourth with a .733 winning percentage (11-4). Verlander (.192) and Weaver (.194) rank second and third, respectively, in opponents’ batting average (behind the Red Sox’ Josh Beckett’s .187), which gives them an edge over Sabathia, who is holding foes to a .239 average. Verlander and Weaver also have two shutouts apiece to CC’s one.

It may be a case once more of the number of victories (he led the AL in 2010 with 21) not being convincing enough evidence for Cy Young Award voters to lean toward Sabathia, but the value he brings to the Yankees in games such as Saturday’s 4-1 victory is immeasurable. Sabathia’s Cy Young Award candidacy is as legitimate as it gets.

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