Results tagged ‘ Joe Girardi ’
Brett Gardner, stuck on the bench for two games because of a bruised right wrist, returned to action Friday night at Tropicana Field as a pinch runner in the ninth inning and got a crucial stolen base with two out to set up the ending of a monster night at the plate for Alex Rodriguez.
A-Rod, who had homered twice earlier in the game, sent Gardner home from second base with a single to center field for his fourth RBI of the game that shot the Yankees to a 5-4 victory that also featured five shutout innings by their bullpen.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi is toying with the idea of adding a sixth starting pitcher to the rotation. With CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka all coming back from injuries, the skipper is looking at ways to take some of the workload off his starters.
“I wouldn’t really call it a six-man rotation,” Girardi told reporters before the game. “I’d call it more of inserting a sixth man one time through, and my guess is you might see it. Weather could play a role, so you just have to wait and see, but it’s something that’s in the back of our minds. We’ve kind of prepared ourselves for it.”
Esmil Rogers, currently pitching in long relief, was identified by Girardi as one of the candidates for the sixth-starter role. The others would be Bryan Mitchell and Chase Whitley, both currently pitching as starters at Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre. They were all candidates for the fifth-starter spot that Adam Warren won in spring training.
Warren had an up-and-down start Friday night. The up part were the first three innings when he shut out the Rays on three hits, all singles. The down part was the fourth inning when Tampa Bay bounced back from a 2-0 deficit to take a 4-2 lead on a three-run home run by rookie Allen Dykstra that was followed by a solo shot by Logan Forsythe. It was the first major-league home run for Dykstra, who is no relation to former Mets and Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra.
Warren was rolling along until Evan Longoria reached first base on an infield single. Warren then walked Desmond Jennings and watched Dykstra slam a 2-0 fastball off the right field foul poll to surrender the lead. Warren’s ERA shot up from 1.69 to 4.82. He did not get stuck with a losing decision, however.
Rodriguez, who had given Warren a 1-0 lead with a 471-foot home run to left-center leading off the second inning against Rays starter Nathan Karns, got the Yanks even with a two-run blast in the sixth off reliever Ernesto Frieri. It marked A-Rod’s first multi-homer game since May 23, 2012 and the 61st of his career. He took over the club lead in homers with four and RBI with 11.
Rogers took over for Warren in the fifth and pitched 2 1/3 hitless innings of relief, a good audition for that sixth-starter job.
The Yankees also got a home run from Stephen Drew (No. 3) with two out in the fourth. It was the 100th career homer for Drew as he and brother J.D. Drew became the eighth pair of brothers to hit 100 or more homers apiece in the majors, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The other pairs were the Alomars (Roberto and Sandy Jr.), the Boones (Aaron and Bret), the Boyers (Ken and Clete), the DiMaggios (Joe and Vince), the Meusels (Bob and Irish), the Uptons (Justin and Melvin, Jr.) and the Youngs (Dmitri and Delmon). Aaron Boone, Clete Boyer, Joe DiMaggio and Bob Meusel played all or parts of their careers with the Yankees.
Friday night’s Yankees pre-game show on YES included a feature on Richard Albero, 65, a retired Naval Officer who March 2 started a charity walk from the plate at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa to Yankee Stadium, which he hopes to reach sometime around Memorial Day. Albero is roughly at the halfway point of his 1,200-mile walk, just north of Myrtle Beach, S.C. He is walking in memory of his nephew, who died in the World Trade Center during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and also to raise money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. For more about Albero’s initiative, visit richardsyankeeswalk.org.
The most consistent positive for the Yankees in the early going has been the bullpen. Wednesday night, it leaked and cost the Yankees a chance to win their first series of the season.
The pen coughed up a one-run lead in the sixth inning as the Orioles put up a five-spot against three Yankees relievers to take control of the game and go on to a 7-5 victory, which dropped the Bombers’ record to 3-6.
Nathan Eovaldi had nine strikeouts in five innings, but he gave up eight hits and three walks, which along with the Ks shot his pitch count up to 101. The hard-throwing righthander needs to find a way to be more economical with his pitching.
The bullpen ranked third in the majors with a 1.73 ERA entering play and had limited opposing hitters to a .177 batting average. In addition, the pen was fairly well rested, but it did not take long for the tide to turn.
Jonathan Schoop led off the bottom of the sixth with a home run to center field off David Carpenter that tied the score. Alejandro De Aza followed with a single. Everth Cabrera sacrificed De Aza to second base. It seemed as if Orioles manager Buck Showalter was playing small-ball, but it would soon turn into a big-ball inning for Baltimore.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi ordered an intentional walk to Adam Jones, the Orioles’ hottest hitter (.406, 4 home runs, 11 RBI) from Carpenter and then brought in lefthander Justin Wilson to face left-hitting Travis Snider and Chris Davis. But Showalter countered with righty-swinging Delmon Young, who singled to left as a pinch hitter for Snider to score De Aza. The sac bunt proved crucial, as it turned out.
Davis, who struck out eight times in the series and could not catch up with Wilson’s fastball early in the at-bat, took a slider to the opposite field for a two-run double. Righthander Chris Martin tried to stem the tide but gave up a two-out, RBI single to Chad Joseph, who had three hits in the game and drove the Yanks crazy in the series going 7-for-11 (.636) with a triple and two RBI.
The Yankees came back Monday night against shaky Tommy Hunter and nearly did the same by scoring two runs off him in the eighth on doubles by Chris Young and Mark Teixeira and a wild pitch, but they would get no closer than that.
That Yankees bullpen ERA rose more than a run to 2.75 and the opponents’ batting average went up to .210. One good sign out of the bullpen came from Dellin Betances, who worked a scoreless, one-hit eighth inning with two strikeouts.
Yankees fans have been patient with Carlos Beltran in hopes of seeing the player that had put together a Hall of Fame-bound career with the Royals, Astros, Mets, Giants and Cardinals. He was eager to play for the Yankees when he joined the club last year but had his season reduced by a third because of an elbow injury that required surgery.
A healthy Beltran has gotten off to a sluggish rather than a slugger start for the Yankees in 2015, which is why it was so important to see him get a clutch hit Wednesday night in the finale of the Yankees-Orioles series at Camden Yards.
Beltran, who took a .152 batting average into his third-inning plate appearance against Baltimore righthander Bud Norris, thrust the Yankees into the lead with a two-out, two-run double. The ball was smoked by Beltran, who was batting left-handed, and came within inches of a home rub as the ball hit near the top of the wall in right-center field.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi has kept Beltran in the 3-hole in the lineup despite his slow start because of the confidence he has in a player with so strong a track record. Beltran got the opportunity when the Yankees rallied with two out behind a double by Jacoby Ellsbury and a walk to Chase Headley.
Alex Rodriguez expanded the Yankees’ lead to 3-1 with a long home run to left field with one out in the fourth. When A-Rod touched the plate, it was his 1,923rd run scored, which tied him with former teammate Derek Jeter for 10th place on the all-time list.
The Yankees took much of the heat off teammate Masahiro Tanaka Sunday night with their first-inning explosion against the Red Sox and Clay Buchholz. Tanaka pitched with leads of 7-0 and 10-4 in his five innings, which created a comfort zone that the righthander surely needed.
The atmosphere surrounding Tanaka following his Opening Day loss has been tense to say the least. Yankees manager Joe Girardi has grown weary of questions regarding the deep dip in Tanaka’s velocity as he pitches with a slight ligament tear in his elbow that doctors said would respond to off-season rest rather than having him undergo Tommy John surgery.
Before a national television audience on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, Tanaka showed the country his 2015 version as he once again relied on cut fastballs and sliders to get ahead in the count and his devastating split-finger fastball to finish off hitters. The mid-90s four-seam fastballs that were part of his repertoire are few and far between these days.
The results were, well, just okay. Tanaka gave up four runs (three earned), four hits and three walks with four strikeouts and two wild pitches in a 79-pitch outing that was frankly only marginally better than his first start. He did chalk up his first victory due largely to the welcomed overwhelming offensive support, but through two starts Tanaka’s earned run average is an unappetizing 7.00.
With their first imposing surge of offense this season to fashion a 14-4 victory, the Yankees pushed Tanaka to the side of the storyline for this game. Concern about their ability to score was growing daily for a team that went into Sunday night’s game batting a collective .193 and averaging 3.4 runs per game.
“Obviously, it takes a lot of pressure off the starting pitcher,” Girardi said. “I thought [Tanaka’s] fastball was better than the first game, but he had trouble throwing his breaking balls for strikes, which was the opposite of his first game. His location was better with his fastball down in the zone, but he wasn’t as sharp with his slider.”
The Yanks staked Tanaka to a 7-0 lead in a first inning highlighted by a three-run double by Alex Rodriguez and back-to-back home runs by Chase Headley and Stephen Drew. They kept it up against Buchholz, who departed in the fourth after allowing 10 runs (nine earned) and nine hits.
By the sixth inning, everyone in the Yankees’ starting lineup had gotten at least one hit and scored at least one run. A-Rod picked up a fourth RBI with a bases-loaded walk in the three-run sixth against lefthander Tommy Layne. Headley finished with three RBI and Drew and Brett Gardner two apiece.
Brian McCann scored three runs and had two hits, including the 200th home run of his career, a solo shot in the eighth inning off Edward Mujica. The victory was vital what with the Yankees embarking on a 10-game, 11-day trip that starts Monday night at Baltimore.
Saturday’s 8-4 loss to the Red Sox had all the trappings of a classic hangover game for the Yankees. Less than 12 hours after they were beaten, 6-5, in 19 innings, the Yankees were back at Yankee Stadium for another joust with Boston and looked very much like a team that was sleep-walking.
Granted, the Red Sox were on the field for the same six hours, xx minutes that the Yankees were Friday night into Saturday morning, but Boston had a major advantage – the uplifting feeling any victory gives a team. When you play a game for that long, you want to end out on top, which the Red Sox did despite allowing the Yankees to tie the score three times.
It was the longest home game (in terms of time) in franchise history and the second-longest overall, behind only their seven-hour, 9-7, 22-inning victory June 24, 1962 at Detroit’s Tiger Stadium. Friday PM/Saturday AM was the Yankees’ longest game (in terms of innings) since a 5-4, 19-inning victory Aug. 25, 1976 over the Twins at Yankee Stadium. It marked the sixth game of at least 19 innings in franchise history. It was the longest game in terms of time for the Red Sox, whose previous longest was six hours, 35 minutes in an 18-inning game Aug. 25, 2001 at Texas. Boston also used 21 players, everyone on the 25-man roster except outfielder Brock Holt and starting pitchers Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello and Justin Masterson.
The first extra-innings game in the American League this season also was the first extra-innings game between the Yankees and the Red Sox since Sept. 5, 2013, a 9-8, 10-inning Boston victory at the Stadium. It was the longest extra-innings game between the clubs since a 20-inning, 4-3 Yankees victory in the second game of an Aug. 29, 1967 doubleheader at the Stadium.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi used all but four of his players in the game – starting pitchers CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Adam Warren, the latter of whom was sent home after the ninth inning to be well rested for Saturday’s start. Indeed, Warren pitched fairly well Saturday (one earned run, five hits, two walks, one strikeout in 5 1/3 innings) but had to absorb the loss because of his teammates’ failures with their bats and gloves.
Chase Headley sent the game into extras with a two-out, solo home run in the bottom of the ninth. Mark Teixeira also hit a game-tying home run, in the 16th, by which time the clock had gone past midnight and it was Tex’s 35th birthday. It marked the latest a Yankees player homered in a game since Alfonso Soriano and Jorge Posada both went deep in the top of the 17th inning of a 10-9 victory June 1, 2003 at Detroit’s Comerica Park
Esmil Rogers, the last Yankees pitcher used, went 4 2/3 innings, just one day after working 2 1/3 innings of relief Thursday night against the Blue Jays. Girardi said if the game had done beyond the 19th, Garret Jones would have pitched for the first time since high school. Jones, a first baseman by trade, entered the game as a pinch runner for Alex Rodriguez in the 11th inning and remained in the game as the designated hitter.
Rodriguez was supposed to have Saturday off, but since he did not play the final eight innings of the previous game made his first major-league start at first base and somewhat set the tone of the game by committing an error in the second inning that led to an unearned run off Warren. A-Rod also failed to keep his foot on the bag reaching for an errant throw by Headley for what should have been the third out of the eighth inning when the Red Sox rallied to load the bases and scored three runs on a bases-clearing double by Holt, who had four hits.
The Yankees, who were expected to be stronger defensively this year than last, had three errors in the game and now have eight in the first five games, the most in the league. Catcher John Ryan Murphy had a throwing error and was also charged with a passed ball. Jones in right field with Rodriguez at first base and left fielder Brett Gardner failed to glove catchable balls that fell for run-scoring hits. Shortstop Didi Gregorius inexplicably held the ball instead of relaying home on Holt’s double that might have prevented the third run scored by catcher Ryan Hanigan.
The Yanks did no better at the plate. They had only one hit through the first seven innings off Red Sox starter Joe Kelly, who got himself in trouble only in the second when he threw a wild pitch, walked two batters and allowed a single to Rodriguez, who eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Gregorius.
Kelly retired the last 17 batters he faced. The streak went to 19 before Gregorio Petit and Gardner singled with two down in the eighth off Alexi Ogando. Both scored on Chris Young’s first home run of the season and the first of six Yankees homers this year that accounted for more than one run.
Thursday night was another one of those “one bad inning” games for CC Sabathia. All eyes were on the lefthander who had a rough time of it in spring training and was passed over for the Opening Day start for the first time since he joined the Yankees in 2009.
His pitching line over 5 2/3 innings in the Yankees’ 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays was both good (no walks, eight strikeouts) and not so good (five runs [four earned], eight hits), but nearly all of the bad stuff happened in one inning, the second, as Toronto scored four runs with five hits, four of those in succession at the start of the inning.
But while Sabathia hit a lot of bats that inning he also missed a good many over the course of his outing as the eight punchouts suggest. The fifth run off CC came in the sixth inning and was not earned due to an error by right fielder Carlos Beltran, whose throw to third base hit the runner, Josh Donaldson, and allowed him to score.
“I thought he pitched pretty well, better than his line indicated,” manager Joe Girard said of Sabathia. “He didn’t give up a lot of hard-hit balls, but they found a lot of holes. He kept the ball in the park and on the ground. If CC is going to be hit like that every time out I’ll take it.”
Sabathia blamed himself for the second-inning problems but was encouraged by his work in the other innings and that he felt fine with no knee issues.
“I felt great and think [the outing] was something to build on — no walks and not a lot of contact,” Sabathia said. “I got away from pounding the ball inside in the second inning. I have to control both sides of the plate.”
The Yankees fought back against lefthander Daniel Norris and cut the deficit to 5-3 in the sixth on solo home runs by Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. The Yankees’ first run came in the fourth inning when Didi Gregorius singled home John Ryan Murphy, who led off with one of his two doubles. Unfortunately, Gregorius rounded the bag at first base too widely and was tagged out trying to get back, marking the second time in three games he has been thrown out on the bases.
Edwin Encarnacion’s impressive home run off the wall behind the visitors’ bullpen in left field off Esmil Rogers in the eighth was the Blue Jays’ response to the Yankees’ attempted comeback. Toronto was able to win two of three games against the Yankees despite Jose Bautista going hitless in 13 plate appearances with eight strikeouts.
With the Blue Jays starting a lefthander, Daniel Norris, Yankees manager Joe Girardi made the first significant change in the batting order Thursday night. Left-handed batting Brett Gardner, Brian McCann and Stephen Drew were all on the bench.
Girardi noted that Gardner’s not starting had nothing to do with his getting hit by a pitch in Wednesday night’s victory over Toronto. The manager plans to rest Gardner or Jacoby Ellsbury but not both against left-handed starting pitching. Chris Young, whose double began the eighth-inning rally Tuesday night, started in left field.
McCann also was hit by a pitch the night before but was just given a blow that allowed backup John Ryan Murphy a start. Gregorio Petit got his first start for the Yankees at second base in place of Drew. Didi Gregorius, who struggles against lefthanders, was kept in the lineup at shortstop and drove in the Yankees’ first run with a single to center field in the fifth inning.
Another major change in the lineup was the move of designated hitter Alex Rodriguez from seventh to second, which might have gotten him an extra at-bat. Girardi has liked the way A-Rod has swung the bat over the first two games.
It was not exactly a rally to write home about, but considering the conditions and circumstances the Yankees will take it. The only hard hit ball of the inning was a single by Jacoby Ellsbury, who reached base four times in the game. Still, the three runs wiped out a 3-1 deficit and sent them to their first victory of the season, 4-3.
They used a wind-blown, bloop double by pinch hitter Chris Young, the Ellsbury single, a wild pitch, an intentional walk to Mark Teixeira, two hit batters (Brett Gardner and Brian McCann) and an infield single by Chase Headley to steal the game away from the Blue Jays bullpen.
By contrast, the Yankees’ pen had another good game. Dellin Betances, charged with an unearned run in the eighth inning due to an error by Brian McCann, turned out the winning pitcher as the result of the Yanks’ three-run bottom of the eighth.
Andrew Miller was used in the closer role for his Yankees debut and pitched a perfect ninth for his first save. Manager Joe Girardi has talked about closing out games based on match-ups, and this one called for Betances in the eighth and Miller in the ninth. Another night it could be the reverse.
By the eighth inning, temperatures had dropped into the 30s with a wicked wind picking up and blowing a mist around the Stadium. The conditions were brutal and were reflected in the game with a pair of hit batters and a couple of errors. It was not picture perfect baseball.
One of the keys to the victory was Girardi using Young to bat for Didi Gregorius to start the eighth. Grigorius has a history of being vulnerable against left-handed pitching. With lefty Aaron Loup on the mound for the Blue Jays, Girardi made the call to Young. In all honesty, Young’s fly ball near the right field line likely would have been caught on a milder night, but the wind played havoc by that point in the game.
Hey, a break is a break. Give Young credit for busting it out of the box and getting in position to turn the hit into a double. Ellsbury followed with a dart to center field, and those remaining in the Yankee Stadium crowd of 31,020 began to sense it was a good idea after all to stick around.
The Yanks cut the deficit to 3-2 when Young scored from third on a wild pitch by Loup, who then hit Gardner with a fastball, a big ouch on a night like this. One out and an intentional pass later, McCann took oner off the wrist from lefthander Brett Cecil, and the game was tied. Headley put the Yankees ahead with a shot off Cecil’s glove for a single.
The rally would not qualify for any highlight film but not all have to be patterned after Murderers’ Row or the Bronx Bombers. A team that has major offensive issues a year ago took a small first step in showing its ability to dig itself out of a hole.
Once you saw Carl Yastrzemski on the field at Fenway Park before Sunday’s season finale that marked Derek Jeter’s last major-league game you know this was a big deal. Yaz is one of the most reclusive former athletes in the world. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 and has gone back for a ceremony only twice, in 2000 and 2009 for the inductions of former teammates Carlton Fisk and Jim Rice, respectively.
So there was Yaz on the Fenway infield with other Boston stars of the past – Rice, Luis Tiant, Rico Petrocelli, Fred Lynn, Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek – all decked out in Red Sox jerseys to pay homage to a star of the Yankees. The Red Sox did it up big for the Yanks’ captain. Along with Varitek, DJ’s counterpart with the Red Sox, former captains of Boston’s other pro sports teams – Bobby Orr (Bruins), Troy Brown (Patriots) and Paul Pierce (Celtics) – were on hand for the pregame ceremony as well.
The Red Sox had taken a tongue-in-cheek approach to Mariano Rivera’s farewell last year, and it laid a huge egg. They made up for that this year with a grand sendoff for Jeter. David Ortiz and Red Sox shortstop Zander Bogaerts presented Jeter with a sign made up of Fenway scoreboard lettering reading, “Re2spect,” and second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who became friendly with Jeter when they were teammates on the USA team in the World Baseball Classic several years ago, handed the retiring icon second base with No. 2 in pinstripes across the front. The Red Sox organization also gave Jeter a $22,222.22 donation to the Captain’s Turn2 Foundation, equaling the largest check he received from an opposing team, that of the Mets. Major League Baseball had also given Jeter a check for that amount, but not surprisingly the Yankees came up with the largest donation of all — $222,222.22.
There had been some speculation that Jeter might pull a Ted Williams and not play in the three-game series following his triumphant final game at Yankee Stadium Thursday night when he had the game-winning hit. Teddy Ballgame homered in his final Fenway at-bat in 1960 and decided not even to go to New York for the last series considering the Yankees had already clinched the American League pennant. Well, the Yankees were out of contention this week, too, something Jeter was not accustomed to, but out of respect for the game and the supporters of the Yankees’ biggest rivals he made the trip to Boston.
There were no such things as farewell tours years ago. Players would receive a standing ovation and then just go home. In fact, Jeter’s last game came on the 46th anniversary of Mickey Mantle’s last big-league appearance, also at Fenway Park. The Mick started at first base but never took the field. He batted in the first inning, popped out to shortstop, and was replaced at his position by Andy Kosco. Unlike Jeter, however, Mantle did not announce his retirement in that season of 1968 but rather the following March before the start of spring training in 1969.
Jeter had made a pact with manager Joe Girardi that he would make two plate appearances as the designated hitter, the same as he did Saturday. Jeter did not play Friday night because he was exhausted from all the tension and excitement of his Stadium exit game as well as his last as a shortstop. DJ lined out to short in the first inning. Batting with Ichiro Suzuki on third base after hitting a two-run triple in the third, Jeter hit chopper off the plate and beat it out for a single that drove in a run, his 50th RBI of the season, and settled his career hit total at 3,465, sixth on the all-time list.
At that point, Jeter came out of the game for a pinch runner, of all people, Brian McCann, one of the slowest runners in the majors (he even lost a pregame footrace to Mark Teixeira). Unlike last Thursday night when his emotions nearly got the best of him, Jeter was calm and flashed often his signature smile. While he left the game, he did not leave the dugout and cheered on his mates through a 9-5 victory.
The Red Sox had one more cool surprise for Jeter. They arranged for Bernie Williams, former Yankees center fielder and current road musician, to play “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on his guitar for his old teammate during the seventh-inning stretch, a poignant moment that echoed the end of an era for the Yankees. Perhaps that is why the Red Sox celebrated the day.
Jeter, not always comfortable with the out-of-town attention this year and under some criticism lately for what seemed at times an over-merchandizing of his farewell tour, was grateful to the Red Sox for this parting glass.
What I will take mostly from this game was Jeter’s hit itself. He ran hard to first base as he did from Day One in a Yankees uniform, forcing an infielder to hurry and eventually be unable to make the play. Most Yankees fans would have surely loved to see Jeet rip one over the Green Monster to finish off his career, but the dash to first base exemplified what Jeter was all about the past 20 years. You run everything out. It is the only way he played every day.