Results tagged ‘ Josh Thole ’
No sooner had a I filed the previous blog about how the Yankees are the top fielding team in the majors this season that Derek Jeter booted a hard liner by Scott Hairston for an error that gave the Mets runners on first and third base with one out in the second inning of Saturday night’s Subway Series game at Citi Field.
Such misplays have a way of opening the door for teams, but Ivan Nova slammed it shut. The righthander got a big out when he struck out Omar Quintanilla on a nasty slider that the Mets shortstop foul-tipped into Russell Martin’s mitt.
Pitching carefully to Josh Thole with the pitcher on deck, Nova walked the Mets catcher on four pitches. Chris Young, who was batting for only the third time this year, went after the first pitch and hit a chopper up the middle that was gloved by Jeter, who stepped on second for the inning-ending force play that made his error insignificant.
The same could not be said of a muffed ground ball by Alex Rodriguez two innings later. A-Rod failed to grab a grounder by Hairston, and Quintanilla lined a double to left. With none out, Nova had to go after Thole and got him on a grounder to first as Hairston scored on the contact play. It increased the Mets’ lead to 2-0. They had gotten on the board in the third on Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ seventh home run of the season.
What was even weirder about the two errors is that the Yankees had not made an error with Nova on the mound this season, spanning a stretch of 86 1/3 innings.
Mets closer Frank Francisco’s pre-series reference to the Yankees as “chickens” continued to stir the pot of the latest match-up. Mets reliever Tim Byrdak went so far as to bring a live chicken into their clubhouse.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he could not remember hearing of a chicken being in a major-league clubhouse. But he did recall a time when Yankees teammates Wade Boggs and Jimmy Key went turkey hunting on an open date late one season but failed to catch anything. Girardi said the next day Key brought a frozen turkey from the supermarket to the clubhouse and gave it to Boggs, saying, “Here’s your turkey.”
The thing I remember most about that first inter-league game between the Yankees and the Mets in 1997 other than the buzz at Yankee Stadium that was usually reserved for post-season games was how upset Yankees players were afterward about how Mets fans had drowned out Yankees fans.
The Yankees acted like a bunch of sore high school kids, which was kind of refreshing because too often major-league players can seem so blasé about their surroundings. After being shut out by journeyman righthander Dave Mlicki, the Yankees set matters right by winning the next two games and turning the Stadium back over to Yankees fans.
They need to do that again the rest of this weekend. Perhaps because many Yankees fans had left the Stadium in the late innings and their team behind, it sounded as if we were at Citi Field in the ninth inning when closer Francisco Rodriguez finished off the Mets’ 2-1 victory by striking out Jorge Posada and Nick Swisher.
The Yankees have now lost six straight home games for only the second time since 1990. They dropped eight home games in a row May 16-26, 2003. Another game of poor clutch hitting (1-for-10 with runners in scoring position) subdued the Yankees. Mets pitchers retired the last 11 Yankees hitters in succession, seven on strikeouts.
The Yankees caught a few breaks in this game or it might not have been as tight as it was. The second of two doubles by Mets third baseman Justin Turner was a slicing drive down the right field line that Swisher made a long run to get to and then belly flopped for without success.
The ball bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double, which was good news for the Yanks. With two out, Carlos Beltran would have scored easily from first base had Turner’s hit remained in play. As it was, Beltran had to stay at third base, and Freddy Garcia worked out of danger by getting Josh Thole on a grounder to first.
The Yankees failed to capitalize on a break the previous inning. Brett Gardner reached base on a throwing error by shortstop Jose Reyes, whose peg to first had pulled Daniel Murphy off the bag. But did it? TV replays indicated that Murphy’s foot was on the base when the ball hit his glove and that he came off after making the catch, but first base umpire Jeff Kellogg did not see it that way.
The day before at Citi Field, the Mets got a big out in the ninth inning on a play at first in which Murphy clearly was off the base, but the umpire didn’t see it and the Washington runner was called out. Mets manager Terry Collins argued briefly with Kellogg but didn’t press it, perhaps out of guilt over Thursday’s call.
Despite three close pickoff attempts by Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey, a knuckleball pitcher but with a good move to first, Gardner was able to steal second base. Brett then made a base-running error on Derek Jeter’s single to deep short.
Reyes went deep in the hole for Jeet’s grounder, which kept Gardner close to second. But when Reyes threw to first base in a vain attempt to get Jeter, Gardner should have crossed to third once the shortstop released the ball. His hesitance changed the inning.
Not to fall victim to the fallacy of the pre-determined play, the Yankees had a better chance to score with Gardner on third rather than second, particularly if Curtis Granderson’s had flied out to right the way he did that would have been a sacrifice fly and not just an out.
Dickey stiffed the Yankees by striking out Mark Teixeira looking and retiring Alex Rodriguez on a ground ball behind second base with Reyes making a tracer’s bullet of a throw to first. Jeter’s infield single was the Yankees’ only hit in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Teixeira accounted for the Yankees’ only run off Dickey with his 11th home run with two out in the third. The Mets tied the score off Garcia in the fourth on two-out doubles by Fernando Martinez and Turner and took the lead in the sixth on a solo homer by Murphy.