Results tagged ‘ Luis Ayala ’
Mark Teixeira led off the second inning Monday night at Baltimore with the Yankees trailing, 2-0. The Orioles were employing the over-shift against Teixeira, the switch hitter who was batting left-handed against Baltimore righthander Jason Hammel.
Remember how Teixeira said in the spring that he worked on bunting over the winter in order to keep defenses honest on occasion? More than six weeks into the season, and still Teixeira has not dropped down a bunt for a sure single. What better chance to do it than leading off an inning in a game in which your team is trailing? The idea in that situation is to get a runner on base.
It used to drive me crazy watching Jason Giambi failing to take advantage of the shift that has three players on the right side of the infield and a lone player on the left side playing a deep shortstop. I wouldn’t expect a slugger to bunt if there were runners on base, but leading off an inning, why not dump a ball to the left side and stride to an easy single? You’d be helping your team as well as your batting average.
Teixeira came up in the fourth inning with none out and runners on first and second, so I did not expect him to bunt in that instance. He ended up grounding out to first base where Chris Davis bobbled the ball and lost the chance for a double play. The runners advanced and were able to score on a double by Nick Swisher that tied the score.
Despite what he said this spring, Teixeira seems in the same mindset as Giambi. Tex entered the game batting .223. Granted, he is known to be slow starter, but Teixeira has more than 130 at-bats already. We are way out of the starter’s block by now.
Teixeira is still battling a bronchial condition that has lingered for more than a month with painful coughing fits. Yanks manager Joe Girardi has been hit recently with questions from reporters about whether to drop Teixeira lower in the batting order. Girardi, who kept Teixeira in the 3-hole until the last week of the 2011 season even though the first baseman was hitting around .250 (he finished at .248), is nothing if not patient and says he plans no changes at this point.
Teixeira rewarded Girardi for his patience by driving a two-run home run to right field off former teammate Luis Ayala that gave the Yankees a 7-5 lead in the seventh inning.
Yankees Universe will love this. The American League Division Series started Friday night with the Yankees in and the Red Sox out. According to Red Sox nation, this is all the Yankees’ fault.
That’s right. The Red Sox did not qualify for postseason play because the Yankees conspired to keep Boston out. It is all the fault of Yankees manager Joe Girardi for using 11 pitchers in the final game against Tampa Bay and setting it up for journeyman Scott Proctor to toss a lollipop to Evan Longoria for a game-winning home run in the 12th inning moments after Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon had blown a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth in Baltimore that jumped the Rays over the Red Sox as the AL’s wild-card entry.
This is how sick the fans of that crybaby team that calls Fenway Park home reacts to everything: the Yankees are to blame. What a joke!
Of the 20 losses the Red Sox had in 27 games in September when they spit up a nine-game lead in the wild card standings, only four were to the Yankees. The same Scott Proctor who gave up that playoff clinching homer to Longoria also gave up a 14th-inning home run to Jacoby Ellsbury in the last regular-season game at Yankee Stadium. How come Red Sox Nation doesn’t think the Yankees were trying to help Boston there?
That the Yankees are responsible for the Red Sox’ failure to make the playoffs is absurd. After all, the Yankees had a 7-0 lead in that last game at Tropicana Field. Girardi paraded a collection of relievers into the game, but the guys that Tampa Bay came back against were not September callups. The Rays tied the score off Boone Logan, Luis Ayala and Cory Wade, all of whom were slated for the postseason roster. Proctor is another story, but Joe had simply run out of arms.
The Red Sox won the season series over the Yankees, 12-6. Where were the conspiracy theorists when the Yankees were losing eight of their first nine games and 10 of 12 to the Red Sox earlier in the season? Please tell me how that is the Yankees’ way of making sure Boston didn’t reach postseason play. The best way to keep opponents from advancing to the playoffs is to beat them as often as you can, which the Yankees certainly did not do for the most part against Boston.
I covered the 2004 AL Championship Series when the Yankees gagged on that 3-0 lead to the Red Sox and became the first baseball team to lose a seven-game postseason series after having won the first three games. The Yankees had a one-run lead in the ninth with Mariano Rivera, the best closer of all time, on the hill in Game 4 three outs from a sweep. Dave Roberts stole second base, and it all went downhill from there.
It was an excruciating period for Yankees Universe. The most successful franchise in sports suffered the most embarrassing postseason collapse. However, I don’t remember Yankees fans blaming anyone else for the team’s failure other than the team itself. The players felt the same way. They were responsible for not putting the Red Sox away.
This is no different. The Red Sox had an entire month to put the Rays out to pasture. That they failed to do so was no one’s fault but their own. Red Sox Nation should not hang Boston’s humiliating ending on the Yankees. Look in your own dugout.
Joe Girardi managed Wednesday night’s game as if were an All-Star Game, and just as what happened to Joe Torre and Bob Brenly in 2002 he ran out of pitchers as the Rays staged a stunning comeback to push the Yankees’ final regular season game into extra innings.
For seven innings as the Yankees were coasting along with a 7-0 lead and working on a combined two-hitter, Girardi was running out pitchers sometimes just one out at a time. A.J. Burnett in fact pitched to only one batter. The strategy seemed fine so long as the Yankees had a huge lead, but man, did everything start coming apart in the eighth.
Think of all those people in the paid crowd of 29,518 at Tropicana Field who left the park early when it appeared their team had no chance to come from behind. Tampa Bay has one of the weakest lineups in the majors, so when the Yankees jumped all over David Price on a grand slam and a solo homer by Mark Teixeira in the first four innings the Jays seemed cooked.
But after Andruw Jones homered in the fifth to make it 7-0, the Yankees stopped hitting. They made 15 consecutive outs before former teammate Kyle Farnsworth walked two batters in the 10th before striking out Austin Romine.
With six outs left in their season and knowing the Red Sox were up by a run in Baltimore, the Rays put together a rally in the eighth against Boone Logan and Luis Ayala. Old pal Johnny Damon got it started with a single. Ben Zobrist, who made a costly error in the first inning, followed with a double.
Two hit batters sandwiched around a walk pushed across two runs. A sacrifice fly by B.J. Upton sent home another. Evan Longoria got the Rays’ only hit in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position, a three-run home run off Ayala that made it a one-run game. The real devastating blow to the Yankees and an uplifting one for the Rays was yet to come.
Right out of a pulp fiction novel, pinch hitter Dan Johnson, down to what seemed Tampa Bay’s last strike of the season, drove a 2-2 changeup from Cory Wade into the right field seats to tie the score.
So the Yankees headed into extras having already used 11 pitchers. After the 11th, Scott Proctor, the only other available arm was Hector Noesi whom Girardi would have preferred to rest. The regular season just wouldn’t end for the Yankees.
They were still on the field when they found out who they will play in the American League Division Series that starts Friday night at Yankee Stadium – the Tigers. The Rangers’ extra-inning victory at Anaheim ensured they would face the wild card entry, the identity of which was not known until after midnight.
In a stunning turn of events, only minutes after the Red Sox lost to the Orioles, who scored two runs off Jonathan Papelbon in the bottom of the ninth, Longoria took Proctor deep with one out in the 12th for a playoff-clinching home run. The Rays’ 8-7 victory over the Yankees completed an amazing comeback against Boston, which lost a nine-game lead in the wild-card standings over 26 days in one of the worst collapses in major-league history.
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.
A.J. Burnett was none too happy about being yanked from Saturday night’s game in the second inning and seemed to express some displeasure in a remark to manager Joe Girardi while heading for the dugout. What gripe Burnett could have had about the skipper’s move would be lost on me. What A.J. should have said to Girardi was “Thanks.”
Burnett had just walked two batters to load the bases with two outs and was already behind 4-0. The righthander had managed to get only five outs (four actually because his catcher, Russell Martin, got one of them by throwing out a runner attempting to steal second base). Certainly Burnett wanted to get out of the jam he created, but with cleanup hitter Justin Morneau, a former American League Most Valuable Player, coming up, who could have blamed Girardi for making a pitching change?
Never mind that Luis Ayala didn’t help matters by walking Morneau to force in a run and allowing a single to Jason Kubel that chased home two more runs that put the Yankees in a 7-0 ditch. Nothing Burnett did in his 1 2/3 innings convinced Girardi that he could get the job done. Girardi even had to chase Burnett back to the dugout after he had gone down the runway to watch the rest of the inning. Burnett finally exited after the runners he left on base scored, which was a breach of baseball etiquette. Pitchers removed from the game are expected to stay in the dugout until the inning is completed.
It was just in Burnett’s previous start Monday night at Kansas City that Girardi coaxed the pitcher into his first August victory in three seasons by bringing in Boone Logan to get the final out of the sixth inning. Girardi was hoping that the 7-4 victory over the Royals had gotten Burnett over the hump. Getting scorched for seven earned runs, five hits, three walks and two wild pitches in his briefest outing since joining the Yankees just got Burnett back on a losing track.
In nine starts over the past two months, Burnett’s ERA is 7.21. He has given up 61 hits, including nine home runs, and thrown five wild pitches in 48 2/3 innings. His season ERA has gone from 4.05 to 4.96. Burnett has reason to be frustrated, but he shouldn’t be taking it out on his manager, who has been continually supportive of his continually struggling starter.
General manager Brian Cashman went even further before Burnett’s previous start by castigating the press for its criticism of Burnett and sticking his neck out with the claim that A.J.’s hefty contract is being held against him. He is in the third season of a five-year deal for $82.5 million. That’s a pretty tempting target on Burnett’s back, but the only way to shake off the critics is to pitch effectively, which the Yankees have waited patiently for him to do since 2009.
If Burnett was sore about the early gate Saturday night at Target Field where he received a sarcastic standing ovation, think of what the reaction from the crowd would have been had the game been at Yankee Stadium.
Look at a final score of 18-7, which the Yankees dropped on the White Sox Wednesday night, and you’d never know that there was a point when the game was in doubt. The Yanks’ bullpen came to the rescue of A.J. Burnett, who turned a 13-1 runaway into a 13-7 oops, and retired 14 of 15 batters to shut the door.
Corey Wade, the waiver-wire pickup by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, set down the five batters he faced to get credit for the winning decision that eluded Burnett, who was stung for seven runs and 13 hits in 4 1/3 innings. Luis Ayala added two more scoreless innings and Rafael Soriano one while the Yankees kept putting runs across the board.
Burnett aside, this was an across-the-board beauty for the Yankees, who lashed out 23 hits, led by Derek Jeter’s second five-hit game in less than a month. The Captain, whose previous five-hit game included his 3,000th hit July 9, scored four runs and drove in two in the Yankees’ assault.
Curtis Granderson, who is having a monster series in his hometown, knocked in five runs with four hits, including his league-best ninth triple. Robinson Cano and Eric Chavez counted home runs among their three hits apiece and drove in four runs each. Brett Gardner also had three hits, all in the infield, and scored four runs. Everyone in the lineup had at least one hit and scored at least one run.
Granderson, who grew up in Chicago and has a slew of people in the yard watching him, has 7-for-13 (.538) in the series with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 6 RBI, 4 runs and 1 stolen base.
The four-game series against the White Sox that ends Thursday night is the start of a 30-game stretch of 21 games on the road for the Yankees. A 3-0 start to boost their road record to 30-20 is a great burst out of the gate.
The Yankees got off to a pretty rocky start post-All-Star break Thursday night at Toronto. Talk about rocky starts, how about Bartolo Colon? The feel-good story for the Yankees in the first half, Colon failed to survive the first inning as the Blue Jays struck for eight runs. The only Toronto player who did not score that inning was Adam Lind, and he joined the pack when he scored in the second to make the score 9-0.
Colon’s lack of mobility on the mound was a factor in the inning. He did cover first base to get an out on Lind, but two dribblers to the left side later in the inning became RBI singles for Rajai Davis and Yunel Escobar. When Eric Thames doubled beyond the reach of Curtis Granderson in center field, Yankees manager Joe Girardi had seen enough and yanked Colon from the game.
Despite the onslaught of runs, Colon’s ERA didn’t take that much of a hit. It rose from 3.20 to 3.47. That was because only three of the eight runs off him were earned. A damaging error by Eduardo Nunez prolonged the inning.
The defensive problems that Nunez experienced at shortstop followed him to third base where he is spelling Alex Rodriguez, who is recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. With three runs in and runners on first and second with two out, Nunez failed to glove a bouncing ball near the bag by J.P. Arencibia. The error loaded the bases, and the next three batters combined to knock in four runs. The fifth unearned run scored on a balk by Luis Ayala in a very ugly inning.
All those unearned runs came back to haunt the Yankees when they made a game of it later on with huge contributions from Andruw Jones. He hit a home run to start a four-run third inning that also featured a two-run triple by Granderson, who then scored on an infield out. Jones got his second homer of the game with two on in the sixth that made the score 9-7. Jays starter Jo Jo Reyes barely pitched long enough (5 1/3 innings) to qualify for a winning decision and seemed to be doing everything in his power not to get one.
Jones started as the designated hitter against the left-handed Reyes, but with righthander Shawn Camp in the game in the eighth, Girardi sent Jorge Posada up as a pinch hitter (he grounded out). In doing so, history was made. It marked the 1,661st time that Posada and Derek Jeter were in the same game, breaking the franchise record for teammates previously held by Hall of Famers Lou Gehrig and Tony Lazzeri.
Despite losing slugger Jose Bautista in the fourth inning due to a twisted right ankle while sliding into third base, the Blue Jays kept putting runs on the board and finished with a 16-7 victory on 20 hits. The loss ended a string of victories by the Yankees in the first game back from the All-Star break dating to 2002. The nine-year streak tied a record the Yankees set from 1940-49 (there was no All-Star Game in 1945) and matched by the Montreal Expos from 1984-92.
Thursday night began a 22-game stretch in which the Yankees were scheduled to play 18 times against clubs with records at or below .500. Toronto moved to one game below .500.
Ivan Nova has gone from the Yankees’ No. 5 starter coming out of spring training to the point where now he is the rotation’s No. 2 starter. His 5-3 victory Monday night at Cincinnati improved Nova’s record to 7-4. Only ace CC Sabathia (9-4) has won more games than Nova.
Armed with a 4-0 lead before he took the mound, Nova overcame a shaky beginning when he gave up singles to the first two Reds batters to fashion his best outing of the season. Nova was quite willing to trade a run for two outs by getting 2010 National League Most Valuable Player Joey Votto to ground into a double play. Those were the first two of 15 consecutive outs Nova recorded before Paul Janish ended the string with a two-out single in the fifth. Nova retired nine of the last 10 batters before calling it a game after the eighth for the longest outing of his career.
Nova got 16 outs in the infield and struck out seven batters. Only two outs were to the outfield. Nova recorded 25 outs in eight innings, one more than necessary because Drew Stubbs reached on a third-strike wild pitch in the third. Nova had outstanding control. He did not walk a batter.
With Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon on the disabled list, Nova has been relied on to take up the slack in the rotation and for the most part has come through. He has won three straight starts and lowered his ERA to 4.13. The Elias Sports Bureau reports that Nova has a 7-1 career record in games when he has a lead of more than one run, and the Yankees are 11-1 in those games.
Nova’s blending in a changeup to go with his fastball, curve and slider has been a major factor in his current three-start winning streak. Yankees fans are getting to watch a young pitcher mature with each start.
With victories in nine of the past 11 games, the Yankees are 13 games above .500, their high mark of the season, and stayed within 1 ½ games of the first-place Red Sox in the American League East.
The Yankees got clicking in the first inning against Travis Wood, a last-minute replacement for scheduled Reds starter Johnny Cueto, who had a stiff neck and may start Tuesday night against Yankees rookie Brian Gordon.
Great American Ball Park is known as a bandbox, but the Yankees stayed in the yard and used four singles and a double to produce four runs in the top of the first. Their other run came in the eighth without a hit as Curtis Granderson walked, stole second, continued to third on an error by Janish at shortstop and scored on a wild pitch by reliever Jose Arredondo.
Things got a bit hairy in the ninth when Luis Ayala gave up a hit and Boone Logan hit a batter. Both runners scored, but Mariano Rivera restored order for his 18th save. After setting a three-game series attendance record over the weekend at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, the Yankees played to another full house Monday night at Cincinnati. The prime attractions of inter-league play are giving NL audiences their money’s worth.
The second shoe on Joba Chamberlain’s injured right flexor muscle dropped Thursday, and the sound was deafening. The reliever was placed on the disabled list Wednesday and was expected to be out for three to four weeks. It now appears as if he will be out for the remainder of the 2011 season.
A contrast MRI on Chamberlain’s right elbow Thursday revealed a torn ligament. The Yankees made no official announcement about what happens next beyond saying the MRI results will be sent to noted orthopedist James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. They will await his diagnosis. If Dr. Andrews’ opinion confirms the MRI results, Tommy John surgery would be the next step for Chamberlain. The best-case scenario for recovery is 10 to 14 months.
“There is no way to sugar-coat this; I shed some tears when I heard the results,” Chamberlain said before Thursday night’s finale of the Yankees-Red Sox series. “The strange thing about all this is I don’t have any pain. I’ve had some stiffness, and my forearm got tight after pitching, but I haven’t felt any actual pain. You’d have to cut my arm off to stop me from pitching.”
Fortunately, doctors won’t have to go that far. The perplexing factor is that Chamberlain has not experienced the normal symptoms for such a condition. Pitchers who have had the problem talk about feeling discomfort just trying to open a jar or turning a door knob or faucet handle. “I have not had any of that,” Chamberlain said.
“It was a surprise,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.
Much was made of the infamous “Joba rules,” regarding the close monitoring of his workload when Chamberlain joined the staff as a minor-league call-up in 2007. Cashman and manager Joe Girardi said that there would be no change in the organization’s handling of young pitchers
“Those ‘rules’ have always existed in the minor leagues,” Cashman said. “They got publicized up here four years ago because you don’t really have them at this level.”
What this means for the time being is that David Robertson will have to step into the eighth-inning relief role for Chamberlain, who had been stepping in for Rafael Soriano, who is also disabled due to right elbow inflammation. Girardi has said he will need to rely on lefthander Boone Logan and righthander Luis Ayala in Robertson’s former seventh-inning spot. In the meantime, Cashman will continue manning the phone lines for help from elsewhere since there are no plans to dip into the minor-league organization at this point.
The Red Sox also had health issues. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia returned to Boston to have his right knee examined by Dr. Tom Gill, the Red Sox medical director. Marco Scutaro was in the starting lineup at second base Thursday night. The Red Sox got good news. Pedroia has a bruised right kneecap and is expected back in the lineup Friday night at Toronto.
Who would have thought that Mark Teixeira would be one of the healthiest guys in the Yankees clubhouse Wednesday night?
It looked mighty grim for Tex Tuesday night when he had to be assisted off the field by manager Joe Girardi and bench coach Tony Pena after being struck in the right knee by a pitch from Jon Lester in the first inning of Monday night’s 6-4 loss to the Red Sox. X-rays turned out negative, and just about everything else with Teixeira was positive.
Girardi got a text from Teixeira at 10 a.m. Wednesday that read, “I’m ready to go.”
In the clubhouse just before the start of batting practice, Teixeira, who wasn’t even limping, said, “I’m surprised at how good I feel.”
Normally, the pain of such an injury is worse the day after it happens; obviously, not this time.
The other medical news with the Yankees was not good. Reliever Joba Chamberlain was placed on the disabled list because of a strained right flexor muscle. The righthander had pitched with some tenderness in the right forearm for the past 10 days and felt Tuesday it was time to see the doctor. An MRI Wednesday revealed the ailment.
“I didn’t feel it when I pitched but after my arm would get tight,” Chamberlain said. “I had some treatment, ice and massage, but I just felt it was time to get something done.”
Chamberlain, who has a 2-0 record with a 2.83 ERA in 27 appearances totaling 28 2/3 innings, will do no throwing for 10 to 14 days, so this will not be the usual 15-day DL assignment. The Yankees are looking at being without him for three or four weeks.
Girardi was already dealing with the loss of Rafael Soriano (right elbow inflammation) with Chamberlain part of the restructured bullpen for the late innings. More of the load will now fall on David Robertson. Girardi also said that he needs lefthander Boone Logan and righthander Luis Ayala to help the Yankees get through this period.
The Yankees also optioned Hector Noesi to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, recalled Amauri Sanit from the Triple A affiliate and claimed Jeff Marquez off waivers from the White Sox. Sanit was with the Yankees for three games in May. Marquez was 3-4 with a 3.97 ERA for Triple A Charlotte. The righthander was originally in the Yankees organization and was part of the Nick Swisher trade with the White Sox after the 2008 season.
This was not really a demotion for Noesi, who pitched well (1-0, 1.76 ERA in 15 1/3 innings) but after having thrown six innings Tuesday night would not have been eligible to pitch again for four days. There is a good chance Noesi will be back with the Yankees sometime this season.
The Yankees were also without catcher Russell Martin and designated hitter Jorge Posada, which left Girardi with a two-man bench of outfielders Andruw Jones and Curtis Dickerson.
Martin required treatment for a sore back, but Girardi said he could play in an emergency. Posada, who took over for Teixeira Tuesday night and had three hits and an RBI, was with his son, Jorge III, who underwent another surgery for craniosynotosis, a birth defect in which the bones in the skull do not fuse correctly.
Backup infielder Eduardo Nunez was in the starting lineup at third base as Alex Rodriguez was the designated hitter.