Results tagged ‘ Matt Wieters ’
First, it was Ichiro Suzuki making like Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly dancing around the catcher to score a run. Next, it was Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez making like Daniel Day-Lewis and Johnny Depp in convincing the Orioles’ J.J. Hardy that a ball was caught instead of being a hit that should have scored him.
Baltimore rallied against Andy Pettitte in the bottom of the third inning to take a 2-1 lead. It could have been worse, except that Hardy didn’t get a full view of a grounder by Adam Jones slithering under Jeter’s glove and into left field for a single. A-Rod got into the act by feigning taking a throw from Jeter at the bag, so Hardy stopped, even though third base coach DeMarlo Hale was down the line waving him home.
It proved a big play because Matt Wieters popped up for the third out.
It is a good thing for the Yankees that Orioles catcher Matt Wieters never had Stump Merrill for a catching instructor. Merrill, who served in the Yankees’ organization for decades as a minor-league manager as well as the big club’s skipper in 1991 and ’92, was a former catcher who worked with backstops in spring training and the minors for many years. It was Stump who helped the transition from second base to catcher for a young guy named Jorge Posada.
I spent a lot of time talking baseball with Stump. One of his pet peeves was when catchers let base runners outfox them on tag plays at the plate. Stump used to say that it made no sense to chase a runner if the catcher missed the tag at first swipe and the runner missed the plate.
“Just sit on the plate and let the runner come to you,” Merrill said of his strategy. “If he wants to score, he has to try and get to the plate at some time.”
One of Merrill’s pupils over the years in the Yankees’ system was Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who is as smart about the game as there is in baseball. Buck’s catcher could have used that lesson Monday night in the first inning of Game 2 of the American League Division Series.
Fortunately for the Yankees, Wieters played into Ichiro Suzuki’s hands by lunging to tag the wiry outfielder, who used an assortment of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly moves to elude his pursuer and score the first run.
Suzuki appeared to be a dead duck as he tried to come home from first base on a double into the right field corner by Robinson Cano. Ichiro weaved his way around Wieters, then waited for the catcher to make a move toward him and reacted by swerving away from the catcher to slap a tag on the plate before he was tagged.
Anyone who has ever seen Suzuki’s stretching exercises realizes that he is half elastic. Trying to tag him in that spot was a waste of time. Had Wieters merely squatted on the plate, the game would have still been scoreless.
Somewhat appropriately, Derek Jeter was the first batter Sunday night in the first postseason game at Baltimore in 15 years. Jeter was the only position player on the Yankees’ roster who played against the Orioles in the 1996 American League Championship Series. Of course, Jeter was the central figure in that series with his famous fan-aided home run in Game 1 at Yankee Stadium.
The Orioles played in the ALCS the next season as well, except this time against the Indians, who had upset the Yankees in the AL Division Series. Baltimore then went into a 14-season funk that ended this year with the Orioles qualifying for the postseason as one of the wild card teams and advancing to the ALDS by defeating the Rangers in the WC playoff.
This marked the first Division Series between division opponents. When the Division Series was added to the postseason format in 1995, division opponents could not play each other in the first round. The creation of the second wild card this year opened up the possibility of division foes opposing each other in the ALDS. So after 162 games with the Yankees beating out the Orioles by a two-game margin in the AL East standings, here the two teams were battling each other again following a 2 1/2-hour rain delay.
If anyone on the Yankees could attest to the Orioles’ turnaround, it was CC Sabathia, the Game 1 starter. Sabathia has a 16-4 record and 3.12 ERA in his career against Baltimore, including 10-3 with a 3.38 ERA at Camden Yards. This year, however, CC was 0-2 with a 6.38 ERA against the O’s in three starts, all in Baltimore. The Orioles hit .312 with four home runs in 77 at-bats off CC in his 18 1/3 innings.
The Yankees had some misadventures on the bases that shortened a couple of rallies. They jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning against Jason Hammel on a single by Jeter and a double by Ichiro Suzuki, who made his first postseason appearance since the 2001 ALCS for the Mariners against the Yankees.
Ichiro was a bit too aggressive as he tried to steal third base and was thrown out by catcher Matt Wieters. It was not a smart move considering the heart of the batting order was coming up with none out and a rare mistake on the bases by Suzuki.
Sabathia gave up the lead in the third on a two-run single by Nate McLouth, but the Yankees came back to tie the score the next inning. Again, questionable base running resulted in a key out. Mark Teixeira singled off the top of the right field wall to drive in Alex Rodriguez from second base with the tying run. Tex was gunned down by right fielder Chris Davis trying for a double.
Nick Swisher, who had walked as did A-Rod, got to third base on the play but was eventually stranded as Hammel walked Curtis Granderson intentionally and retired Russell Martin on a fly to center.
Orange was the predominant color at Camden Yards for an Orioles-Yankees game Thursday night for what might have been the first time in 15 years. Ever since 1998, the first of 14 straight losing seasons for the Orioles, games against the Yankees in Baltimore provided local fans the opportunity to scalp tickets to willing New Yorkers who traveled to the Chesapeake Bay to see their heroes.
The main attraction was Cal Ripken Jr., who had a statue unveiled in his honor 16 years to the night he broke Lou Gehrig’s streak of consecutive games with No. 2,131 that would eventually grow to 2,632 and earn the “Iron Man” a place alongside the “Iron Horse” in the Hall of Fame. The rest of the night, however, belonged to the upstart 2012 Orioles, who received a standing ovation from Cal and the others in the sellout crowd of 46,298 after a rousing victory over the Yankees that left the teams tied for first place in the American League East.
The Yankees nearly spoiled it all for all those orange shirts when they erased a 6-1 deficit in the eighth inning with a five-spot on the sort of rally they have lacked much of the year. The offense came alive in a game in which the Yankees fell behind, 4-0, in the first inning. Erratic relief work by Pedro Strop, who faced four batters and gave up two walks and two hits to spit up Baltimore’s lead, was welcomed by the Yankees, who got clutch hits from Alex Rodriguez (RBI double), Curtis Granderson (RBI single) and Ichiro Suzuki (a two-run single) and a four-pitch walk to pinch hitter Chris Dickerson to force in a run.
Then it was the Yankees pen’s turn to falter. The Orioles treated David Robertson like a tomato can of a boxer with a 1-2 punch, a solo home run by Adam Jones and a two-run shot by Mark Reynolds. Robertson’s bell was still ringing in the dugout when his replacement, Boone Logan, was slugged for another homer, by Chris Davis.
The 10-6 Baltimore victory was definitely a knockout as the Orioles went yard six times. Reynolds had his third two-homer game against the Yankees in a week’s time. Over his past seven games, Reynolds has batted .423 with eight home runs, 16 RBI and eight runs in 26 at-bats. Six of those jacks have come against Yankees pitchers. This is a guy who was benched at mid-season when he was batting less than .200 and striking out twice a game.
The first of Reynolds’ home runs Thursday night was a solo in the sixth off Joba Chamberlain. The other Orioles’ homers were a big, three-run job by Matt Wieters in the first inning and a solo by Robert Andino in the third, both off David Phelps, who put the Yanks in 4-0 and 6-1 divots. Yet he was taken off the hook by the Yankees’ eighth-inning comeback.
Robertson, whose record fell to 1-6, is 0-2 with a 15.43 ERA in his past three appearances. Both home runs he yielded Thursday night were on two-strike pitches as he failed to put away Jones or Reynolds.
All the runs the Yankees scored in the eighth came after two were out, an encouraging sign, but more and more the fact that they have lived and died by the home run this year is starting to haunt them. The team that leads the majors in home runs is suddenly getting outslugged. Ten games into a 22-game stretch against AL East competition, the Yankees are 3-7 and have been out homered, 22-9. Thursday night was the 25th game in which the Yankees failed to hit a home run, and they are 4-21 in those games.
Camden Yards has always been a place where the Yankees have enjoyed playing with an overall record of 104-57 (.646), but they have to realize that the way the Orioles are playing now it will no longer seem like a home away from home.
Any concern the Yankees had about the condition of Robinson Cano’s left hip abated when he made a dazzling play at second base to rob Nick Markakis of a base hit in the first inning Thursday night at Baltimore. Unfortunately, it was the only out the Yankees got for a while because the next four guys all got hits off David Phelps and scored.
Cano was sore after Tuesday night’s game at St. Petersburg, Fla., and was the designated hitter Wednesday night. He was back at second base Thursday night and appeared his old self. Fans were probably delighted to see him dive for Markakis’ ball after he failed to dive for a ball that became a game-winning hit Tuesday night against the Rays.
A packed house at Camden Yards on a night honoring Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. on the 16th anniversary of his breaking Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games was ecstatic over the first-inning outburst against Phelps. After three straight singles produced one run, Matt Wieters clouted his 19th home run into the second row down the left field line for three more. Wieters has had a hit in all 15 games the Orioles and Yankees have played against each other this year.
Phelps gave up another home run, a solo shot by Robert Andino, Baltimore’s 9-hole hitter, in the fourth, which turned out to be the righthander’s last inning. Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not hesitate to go to the bullpen early as he treated this game as if were a playoff game. Phelps just did not have it. He allowed five earned runs, six hits, two walks and a balk with three strikeouts in four innings.
Cano gave the Orioles a scare in the top of the fourth when he hit a line drive off the right elbow of Jason Hammel. The ball ricocheted into left field for a single. Hammel, making his first start in seven weeks after recovering from right knee surgery, remained in the game. He allowed a two-out, RBI single by Curtis Granderson that inning and pitched one batter into the sixth before Orioles manager Buck Showalter lifted him after a walk. Reliever Randy Wolf threw a double-play ball that helped the Orioles get out of the inning without damage.
This was career game No. 2,500 for Alex Rodriguez, who is the fourth active player to reach the mark, joining teammate Derek Jeter earlier this season, Omar Vizquel and Jim Thome. Only two players had more hits (2,876) and extra-base hits (1,185) through 2,500 games than A-Rod – Stan Musial (3,176 hits, 1,233 extra-base hits) and Hank Aaron (3,044 hits, 1,200 extra-base hits).
The disease of ineffectiveness that has infected the Yankees’ rotation all season finally hit on Ivan Nova. The righthander’s 15-game winning streak came to an abrupt halt Wednesday night as the Orioles won the rubber game of the series, 5-0.
Nova did his usual dance act for six innings by allowing a couple of runs but preventing really big innings by limiting Baltimore hitters to two hits in 11 at-bats (.182) with runners in scoring position. His luck ran out in the seventh inning, however, as the Orioles poured across three runs to pull away.
After Nick Markakis led off with a home run to right, Nova hit Adam Jones with a pitch and moments later watched him score on a double off the top of the fence in right-center by Matt Wieters, who had homered earlier. Nick Johnson’s single up the middle off reliever Clay Rapada brought in the third run of the inning.
Nova, whose record fell to 3-1 and ERA rose to 5.58, had a little bit of everything in this one. He allowed five earned runs and nine hits, struck a batter and threw a wild pitch in 6 1/3 innings. The loss was his first since June 3, 2011 and kept intact Roger Clemens’ franchise record of 16 consecutive victories in 2001.
The loss also dipped the rotation’s winning percentage below .500 for the first time this year at 9-10 with a 5.89 ERA. Yankees starters have allowed 161 hits, including 25 home runs, in 133 innings. A lot of those numbers belong to Freddy Garcia, who made his first relief appearance of the season in the eighth and ninth innings and perhaps for the first time all year was the Yankees’ most effective pitcher in a game.
The Yankees’ offense could not rescue Nova this time as they were shut down by Orioles righthander Jake Arietta, who had allowed nine runs in 10 innings over his previous two starts. The Yankees managed five singles off Arietta, who walked none and struck out nine in eight innings. They were limited to three runs in 26 innings against Baltimore pitchers in the series. The Yankees had only five runners in scoring position in the three games, none in the finale.
Already hurting with Brett Gardner disabled because of a bruised right wrist and Nick Swisher nursing a tender left hamstring, the Yankees lost infielder Eric Chavez to whiplash and a possible concussion. He was forced from the game amid an at-bat in the fifth inning because of dizziness. In the top of that inning, Chavez at third base dived for a ball that became a double by J.J. Hardy and may have injured his neck.
The Orioles gave the Yankees a collective pain in the neck, which will need some soothing in the upcoming series in Kansas City.
After being outscored, 7-0, in the first inning of the season-opening, three-game series loss to the Rays, the Yankees got on the board first for a change Monday night at Baltimore. Mark Teixeira’s first-inning RBI single, the first run-scoring hit for a Yankees 3, 4 or 5 hitter, marked the first time in 28 innings this season that the Orioles, who got off to a 3-0 start, fell behind in a game.
Another good sign for the Yankees was that Teixeira went the other way in getting a hit past the overshift he faces in nearly every at-bat. With the switch-hitting Tex batting right-handed against Orioles lefthander Brian Matusz, Baltimore manager Buck Showalter had three infielders stacked to the left side of second base. Instead of pulling the ball, Teixeira punched it to the vacated hole between first and second into right-center. Success with that approach is what Tex needs to convince him to think the other way in RBI situations against the shift.
Although manager Joe Girardi did not say left field is a platoon position for the Yankees, Brett Gardner was not in the lineup for the second time in two games against a left-handed starter. Gardner, who bats left-handed, was also on the bench Saturday night against the Rays when Tampa Bay started lefty David Price. Righty-batting Andruw Jones started in left field in both games. Girardi told reporters that Gardner will eventually see some time against lefties this year.
The Yanks’ lead proved short-lived as Ivan Nova gave up a home run to right by Matt Wieters off a 2-0 fastball. Nova made a nice recovery after Mark Reynolds dumped a double near the right field line by striking out the next two batters.
The Yankee Stadium grounds crew certainly earned its pay Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. The weather conditions were abysmal during a game that was delayed for four hours before the first pitch and continued through several heavy downpours.
Although technically it was not a delay, it took almost 15 minutes in the middle of the fifth inning for the crew to repair the drenched infield. They were at it again an inning later with more bags of sand and lime to spread on and rake into the soggy field. The grounds crew was so busy that the guys didn’t have time to do the YMCA routine at the start of the seventh. It’s hard to dance and rake at the same time.
On such nights, the outfield become beyond repair. The conditions helped the Yankees to a run in the fifth. Orioles first baseman Mark Reynolds made his 27th error of the season trying to scoop a muddy ground ball near the bag. Jorge Posada reached base after colliding with late-breaking pitcher Tommy Hunter on first base.
Francisco Cervelli followed with a fly ball to the warning track in left field where Matt Angle with his cleats covered by water dropped it to allow Posada to score. It was Jorgie’s second run of the game. He had homered in the third inning. Posada was the designated hitter despite the fact that rookie Jesus Montero had homered twice in Monday’s game. With a lefthander, Zach Britton, to start for Baltimore Wednesday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi will probably have Montero in the lineup as the DH, so this was a chance to get Posada some at-bats.
Phil Hughes pitched reasonably well considering the elements but was a bit wild (one hit batter, two wild pitches) and gave up a two-run home run to Matt Wieters on a 0-2 pitch in the sixth that tied the score.
“Phil had the best curveball he has had all year,” Girardi said. “I was pleased with his outing.”
More so that Hughes, it seemed. “I could have been better,” he said. “That was a dumb pitch to Wieters.”
It was a 3-3 game in the seventh when the Yankees caught a huge break on a play that surely had Orioles fans thinking of Game 1 of the 1996 American League Championship Series when a New Jersey schoolboy named Jeffrey Meier helped Derek Jeter get a home run that made the difference in the game.
Cervelli hit a drive to left field where two fans appeared to have extended their hands over the wall to try to catch the ball that was behind Angle. Third base umpire Paul Emmel signaled a home run, which had Orioles manager Buck Showalter springing out of the dugout to charge interference. The umpires retreated to the video room to review the play and, to the Yankees’ delight, upheld the call.
“If they hadn’t,” Girardi said, “then I would have come out of the dugout.”
The Yanks’ luck continued when the next batter, Brett Gardner, smoked a drive to right that struck the foul pole for another home run. That was the 200th home run for the Yankees this year and created the 5-3 final that Mariano Rivera preserved with his 39th save. It is the 11th time in the past 12 seasons that the Yankees have swatted 200 or more home runs (the exception was in 2008). It was the sixth straight victory for the Yankees. All they lost was sleep. Wednesday’s game is scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m.
A 45-minute rain delay before the start of the 11th inning Sunday allowed the Yankees to regroup and get some offense from the positions in the batting order below the cleanup spot and come away with a 6-3 victory over the Orioles.
During the regulation nine innings, the Yankees were top-heavy in the order as they built a 3-0 lead on the hitting of leadoff man Derek Jeter and 2-hole hitter Curtis Granderson. Mark Teixeira in the third spot had a single and a walk and cleanup man Alex Rodriguez walked three times as the Orioles simply pitched around a guy who knocked in six runs the night before.
The last five hitters in the order in regulation combined to go 0-for-19 with nine strikeouts and a double play. In the meantime, the Orioles worked themselves back into the game and pushed it into extra innings by hanging Mariano Rivera with his second straight blown save that denied a winning decision for Freddy Garcia as a reward for his six shutout innings.
About the only positive aspect of playing beyond the ninth for the Yankees was that it afforded Robinson Cano the possibility to keep his hitting streak alive. And that almost didn’t happen. The Yankees had a chance to take the lead in the 10th, but a tremendous throw from Baltimore center fielder Adam Jones cut down Jeter at the plate trying to score the go-ahead run.
Cano led off the 11th and made it 13 straight with a double to right to climax an 11-pitch at-bat against Orioles righthander Jason Berken. Cano nearly ruined it by getting picked off at second base, but catcher Matt Wieters’ throw was to the right of second base, and Cano wound up with a stolen base by continuing to third and beating the throw from shortstop Robert Andino, who had to spin around before letting the ball go.
After Nick Swisher struck out, the Orioles walked pinch hitter Eric Chavez to set up a possible, inning-ending double play. Russell Martin did hit the ball on the ground, but a DP was out of the question when Andino threw wildly to second.
The rally was continued due to more top-of-the-order input from Jeter and Granderson, who drove in a run apiece with infield singles. The pair combined for seven hits, three runs and four RBI in the game. Jeter had four hits and is up to 2,945 for his career. Granderson broke the four-way tie for the club lead in home runs with his seventh, a two-run shot in the first inning.
The Yankees’ resilience was exemplary after they blew the lead for Garcia. Rivera does not like to make excuses, but he would not have had to come into the game in the eighth inning except that Rafael Soriano was unavailable. Picking up the slack out of the pen with two scoreless innings combined were winning pitcher Boone Logan and Buddy Carlyle, who earned his first save.
The Yankees had a very good game in the field, particularly by outfielders Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher. At the plate, the two were a combined 0-for-10 with seven strikeouts. But to show that contributions can be made elsewhere than the batter’s box, Gardner made a run-saving catch in the eighth inning and Swisher combined with Cano and Martin to cut down the potential winning run at the plate in the ninth.