Results tagged ‘ National League ’
The Yankees’ starting lineup Wednesday night at Denver’s Coors Field had an unusual look. Not only was a pitcher in the batting order in accordance with National League rules but also said pitcher, David Phelps, was in the eighth spot rather than the traditional 9-hole for pitchers.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi’s reasoning was pretty sound. With Robinson Cano batting second, someone other than the pitcher, in this case rookie catcher Austin Romine, gives the Yankees an additional hitter in front of Cano after the first time through the order. Girardi also wanted to avoid stacking left-handed batters near the bottom of the order because the Rockies have quality relievers from the left side.
It is not entirely uncommon for pitchers to bat somewhere in the lineup other than ninth. Good hitting pitchers such as Wes Ferrell, Warren Spahn, Bob Lemon, Don Newcombe, Don Drysdale, Don Larsen and Earl Wilson occasionally batted higher in the order than ninth. In more recent years, Tony La Russa often batted a pitcher eighth and a position player ninth in his time with the Cardinals.
Do not be surprised if Derek Jeter earns a spot on the American League All-Star squad even though he probably won’t play an inning of baseball before the game, which is scheduled for July 16 at Citi Field in Flushing.
The Captain is extremely popular with fans all over the country. Just last year, he received more than 4.4 million votes, the third highest total of any AL player. Only Josh Hamilton and Jose Bautista were ahead of him, and no other shortstop was within three million votes of Jeter.
Jose Reyes, in his first year in the AL with the Blue Jays after being traded from the Marlins, might have threatened Jeter’s hold on the All-Star vote at shortstop. But Reyes is also out for three months with an ankle injury, so his chances of overtaking the Captain seem out of the question now.
How weird would it be for Jeter to win an All-Star spot without having played a game? Well, go back to 1989. Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt retired in late May while batting .203 in 148 at-bats. The All-Star balloting was only a week old, and yet when it was over Schmidt was voted onto the National League squad as the starting third baseman, even though he had not played for six weeks. You could say that at least Schmidt played as many as 42 games, but then again, he was not very good in many of them. The future Hall of Famer was invited to the game that year at Anaheim Stadium and took a bow, but his place in the NL starting lineup was taken instead by the Mets’ Howard Johnson.
So don’t bet against Jeter.
Former Yankees outfielder and designated hitter Don Baylor, now the hitting coach for the Diamondbacks, was not at the series finale Thursday night at Yankee Stadium because he was in Denver to be inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in a banquet at the Denver Marriott City Center.
Stan Williams, who pitched for the Yankees and served them as a pitching coach, was also part of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013 along with Steve Atwater (football), Adam Foote (hockey), Don Cockroft (football) and Steve Jones (golf).
Baylor, 63, was named the first manager in Rockies history Oct. 27, 1992 and posted a 440-469 (.484) record over six seasons. In 1995, he earned National League Manager of the Year honors from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America after leading Colorado to its first postseason berth in franchise history as the NL wild card.
Baylor spent three seasons (1983-85) with the Yankees during a 19-year career in the majors that included an American League Most Valuable Player performance in 1979 with the Angels.
The Yankees announced their 2013 spring training schedule that features 33 games, 17 of them at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla.
The Yankees will play their first spring game at 1:05 p.m. Feb. 23 against the Braves at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Yanks’ first spring home game will be at 1:05 p.m. Feb. 24 against the Blue Jays.
Due to the World Baseball Classic tournament, the 2013 spring schedule will begin nine days earlier than last year. It marks the earliest start to the Yankees’ spring training game schedule in at least 65 years. In addition to 16 Grapefruit League games, the Yankees will also be home against the Dominican Republic’s WBC team Wednesday, March 6.
Home opponents include each of the Yankees’ four American League East rivals – the Blue Jays Feb. 24, the Red Sox at 1:05 p.m. March 20, the Rays at 1:05 p.m. March 24 and the Orioles at 1:05 p.m. March 27. The schedule also contains four home night games with 7:05 starting times against the Braves March 5, the Phillies March 13, the Twins March 21 and the Astros March 26. Houston is moving to the AL next year after 51 seasons in the National League.
The Yankees will also be home against the Cardinals March 11, which will mark St. Louis’ first visit to Tampa since 2006. The Miami Marlins will make their first trip to Tampa since 2005 with a 1:05 p.m. game March 15.
Season tickets for 2013 Yankees spring home games are on sale at http://www.steinbrennerfield.com or http://www.yankees.com. Individual-game spring tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at the Steinbrenner Field box office, online at http://www.yankees.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.
For ticket information, fans may call (813) 879-2244 or visit http://www.yankees.com.
Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report Feb. 12, with their first workout scheduled for Feb. 13. Position players are scheduled to report Feb. 17, with the club’s first full-squad workout scheduled for Feb.18.
This will be the Yankees’ 18th spring training at Steinbrenner Field. The complex was renamed for the Yankees’ longtime principal owner March 27, 2008, following two unanimous resolutions supporting the change issued by the Hillsborough County Commission and the Tampa City Council. The resolutions cited Steinbrenner’s many charitable donations to youth activities, hospitals and the arts, and recognized his numerous extraordinary contributions to the area.
Major League Baseball released its preliminary schedule for the 2013 season Wednesday. It reveals the change in inter-league play based on the Astros’ move from the National League Central to the American League West that will create two 15-team leagues and require inter-league play on a daily basis.
What that means to the Subway Series is that instead of two three-game series, the Yankees and the Mets will play consecutive two-game sets May 27-28 at Citi Field and May 29-30 at Yankee Stadium. This is a good idea. Six games each year was at least two too many. Remember, in the first two years of inter-league play the New York clubs played one three-game series, in 1997 at Yankee Stadium and 1998 at Shea Stadium. The downside is that there can be a series split, which would take away the reward of bragging rights.
The Yankees will open the season with at home against the Red Sox for the first time since 2005. The Yanks are 18-11-1 in 30 previous Opening Day games against Boston, including a 4-4 game due to darkness in 1910 at old Hilltop Park. The Yankees will play 19 of their first 32 games at home.
The other inter-league matchups for the Yankees will be against the NL West with home games against the Diamondbacks April 16-18, Dodgers June 18-19 and the Giants Sept. 20-22 and road games at Denver May 7-9, Los Angeles July 30-31 and San Francisco Aug. 2-4. The Dodgers’ visit will mark their first regular-season games at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees will have inter-league games in every month of the season.
The Astros will come to the Stadium as an AL team for the first time April 29-May 1. The Yanks will end their season with a three-game series Sept. 27-29 at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.
With David Phelps filling in momentarily for disabled CC Sabathia in the rotation, the Yankees needed to find length for the bullpen and did so Monday with the signing of Derek Lowe, who joined the team at Yankee Stadium Monday and was available for the night game against Texas.
The righthander, 39, was 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA in 21 starts and 119 innings for the Indians before he was designated for assignment Aug. 2 and released Aug. 10. Lowe’s career mark is 174-156 with 85 saves and a 4.01 ERA in 655 games, including 377 starts, over 16 major-league seasons with the Mariners, Red Sox, Dodgers, Braves and Indians. He is one of three pitchers to have won at least 160 games and saved at least 80, along with Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley and John Smoltz.
“He’s a guy in our bullpen who can give us distance,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He has done well in a lot of different roles.”
Lowe has made 278 career relief appearances, going 18-22 with a 2.95 ERA in 381 innings and holding opponents to a .248 batting average. In his career, Lowe has compiled a 3.54 combined ERA from Aug. 1 through the end of the regular season, nearly three-quarters of a run lower than his combined ERA to start the season through July 31 (4.22).
The most successful period of Lowe’s career came during his eight seasons in Boston. He and catcher Jason Varitek were acquired July 31, 1997 from the Mariners in a lopsided traded that only cost the Red Sox relief pitcher Heathcliff Slocumb. Lowe was 70-55 with 85 saves and a 3.72 ERA for the Red Sox. He pitched a no-hitter April 27, 2002 against Tampa Bay during a season when he was converted to a starter and was 21-8 with a 2.58 ERA. Two years earlier, Lowe led the American League in saves with 42 as Boston’s closer. He was named to AL All-Star squads in 2000 at Atlanta and 2002 at Milwaukee.
Lowe has made 23 postseason appearances, including 12 starts, and has a 5-7 record with one save and a 3.21 ERA in 95 1/3 innings. When the Red Sox ended their 86-year drought and won the World Series in 2004, Lowe was the winning pitcher in the clinching game of all three of their postseason series – Game 3 of the AL Division Series sweep of the Angels, Game 7 of the AL Championship Series against the Yankees and Game 4 of the World Series sweep of the Cardinals.
Truthfully, that was many years ago. In recent seasons, Lowe has struggled. He led the National League in losses last year when he was 9-17 for the Braves. Over the past two seasons, Lowe has a 17-27 record with a 5.24 ERA. As with Ichiro Suzuki, the Yankees are hoping that a return to a contending club might rejuvenate Lowe, who has never been on the disabled list.
There is always concern whether a pitcher who has had success in the National League can transfer that to the American League where lineups tend to be deeper because of the designated hitter rule. This is particularly true in the AL East where pitchers get very little margin for error. Go ask Javier Vazquez or A.J. Burnett.
The issue came up when the Yankees signed Hiroko Kuroda in the off-season. The Japanese-born righthander was a sturdy if unspectacular starter with the Dodgers who had a 41-46 record and 3.45 ERA over four seasons in Los Angeles. I can remember Lou Piniella saying years ago that teams needed to be careful when acquiring pitchers from the Dodgers because their statistics are aided greatly by the conditions at Dodger Stadium where the dimensions are deep and where the ball does not travel well in the damp southern California air, especially at night.
So along comes Kuroda, who seems to have turned that theory upside-down. Yankee Stadium, with its cozy right-field porch and other hitter-friendly amenities, is hardly a pitchers’ dream, but Kuroda has pitched better in the Bronx than he ever did in Chavez Ravine.
His latest success story at the Stadium was Wednesday’s rain-shortened, 6-0 seven-inning victory. Kuroda gave up a double and three singles, did not walk a batter and struck out five in improving his record to 9-7 with a 3.46 ERA.
In 11 starts at Yankee Stadium this year, Kuroda is 7-3 with a 2.68 ERA and has held opponents to a .219 batting average with seven home runs and 21 RBI in 270 at-bats. Just think; in his years at Dodger Stadium, Kuroda was barely a .500 pitcher with a 20-21 record and 3.43 ERA.
The Yankees wasted no time in providing Kuroda a comfort level as they struck for four runs in the first inning off Toronto lefthander Ricky Romero. On a day when figurines of his likeness were distributed to fans, Mark Teixeira followed a double by Derek Jeter and a run-scoring single by Nick Swisher with a home run. One out later, Robinson Cano doubled and came home on a single by Andruw Jones.
Cano ran his hitting streak to 21 games, the longest for the Yankees since Jeter had a 25-gamer in 2006 from Aug. 20 to Sept. 16. Cano is batting .402 with 14 runs, six doubles, six home runs and 20 RBI during the streak.
The rally guaranteed that the Yankees would extend their team steak of games in which they have scored three or more runs to 42, a franchise record and six shy of the major league mark by the 1994 Indians.
Jayson Nix, who played for the Blue Jays last year, got his second straight start against Toronto and kept up his assault on his former team. Nix, who played shortstop as Jeter was the DH, has 5-for-9 (.556) with two doubles and three runs this year against his old mates.
It was part of a good day for the Yanks’ bench. DeWayne Wise, who spelled Curtis Granderson in center field, had a double, a single and two RBI.
The Yankees finished the 5-1 homestand with their eighth series sweep, one shy of last year’s total. It was their third series sweep at home this year. The others were June 8-10 against the Mets and June 25-27 against the Indians.
The Blue Jays, once considered contenders in the American League East, fell two games under .500 and into last place, 12 ½ games behind the division-leading Yankees. Toronto had 1-for-25 (.040) with runners in scoring position in the series and lost two position players. Outielder Jose Bautista was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a left wrist strain. Third baseman Brett Lawrie bruised his right calf tumbling into the photographer’s well next to the visitors’ dugout. It has been that kind of year for the Blue Jays, who lost three starting pitchers to injury in the same week last month.
The Yankees are off to the West Coast for a four-game series at Oakland and a three-game set at Seattle, and I am off to Cooperstown, N.Y., for the National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend.
It comes as no surprise that Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano was named the American League Player of the Week for his outstanding hitting last week when he batted .414 with two doubles, four home runs and 10 RBI in 29 at-bats over seven games.
Cano’s competition for the award, which he won for the sixth time in his career and the first time since the week of Aug. 22, 2010, were his own teammates, pitcher Hiroki Kuroda and outfielder DeWayne Wise. Kuroda was 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 14 innings and Wise hit .500 with one double, one triple, two home runs and five RBI in 14 at-bats and also pitched two-thirds of an inning and allowed no runs and no hits.
Cano has a busy day Monday. In his role as AL captain of the All-Star Home Run Derby July 9, the night before the All-Star Game at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium, Cano named Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder and Angels outfielder Mark Trumbo to the squad along with himself. Cano won the event last year. Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton and Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz had been considered by Cano but both declined to be part of the competition.
Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, the captain of the National League squad, named fellow outfielders Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals, Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies and Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins. Kemp is on the disabled list and will not play in the All-Star Game but will participate in the Home Run Derby.
The Yankees had a new pitcher in the bullpen Monday night at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., for the start of a three-game series against the Rays. Chad Qualls, acquired from the Phillies for cash considerations and a player to be named, was 1-1 with a 4.60 ERA in 35 appearances for Philadelphia. He will replace Cory Wade, who struggled in June and was optioned to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Also back in the dugout was outfielder-designated hitter Raul Ibanez, who stayed in New York as the Yankees traveled to Tampa to have a lacerated lip and cracked tooth repaired. Ibanez was hurt while sitting in the dugout Sunday trying to avoid being by a foul ball by White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
During a conference call this week to talk about the All-Star Game voting for the July 10 event at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium, Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. and former National League Cy Young Award winner John Smoltz commented on Derek Jeter’s runaway lead for the American League shortstop starting berth.
Ripken will be featured with former Yankees pitcher David Wells and Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley on TBS’ All-Star Game Selection show at 1 p.m. Sunday when the All-Star squads will be announced. Smoltz will team with Brian Anderson on TBS’ coverage of that day’s game between the Yankees and White Sox at Yankee Stadium.
Jeter, who turned 38 this week, has received more than four million votes going into the All-Star balloting, which ends at midnight, topped only by the leading total of Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton. Ripken was 40 when he made his last All-Star Game appearance in his final season of 2001 at Safeco Field in Seattle where he homered and was named Most Valuable Player.
“When you get up in age, you’re scrutinized at a higher level,” Ripken said. “You can’t be [an All-Star] just on reputation. You have to go out there and still play the game. When we look at players now, you compare Derek Jeter with a younger Derek Jeter. When we start comparing players to themselves, it’s unfair. All the talk last year about [Jeter] losing a step, not being there defensively and losing some power offensively, I’m sure he internalized that and worked harder in the offseason. He’s a fantastic player and has been for a long time.”
“I’m a big believer that age is just a number and sometimes we get carried away with guys not having success later in their careers,” Smoltz said. “He plays in a great place and he knows how to play the game. The Yankees are being rewarded with a player who has a lot of pride and does not rest on his laurels with the career that he has had.”
So finally we are done with inter-league play for 2012, until the World Series, that is. No more pitchers not hitting, double switches and all that National League stuff as the Yankees got back to American League baseball Monday night at Yankee Stadium. In the long run, however, the Yankees can be grateful to inter-league competition because they increased their all-time lead in inter-league winning percentage by going 13-5 against the NL this year.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi could once again lean on the AL’s designated hitter rule to form his lineup. Monday night, the skipper decided it was time to give Curtis Granderson a night off from center field and used him as the DH. That opened a spot for reserve outfielder DeWayne Wise, who celebrated his rare start by hitting his first home run for the Yankees, a two-run shot to right field in the second inning. It was his first home run since Sept. 25 last year for the Blue Jays against the Rays.
Wise drove in another run in the sixth inning of the 7-1 victory over the Indians when he drilled a triple to right-center that scored Eric Chavez, who had walked with two out. In truth, Wise was fortunate to be credited with a triple because video replays showed that he was tagged out by third baseman Jack Hannahan before he reached the bag. Even though the play occurred in front of the Cleveland dugout, Tribe manager Manny Acta did not argue the call.
The Yankees scored two runs in each of the first three innings against Indians starter Josh Tomlin, who did not come out for the fourth. Robinson Cano was a particular problem for Tomlin. Cano got the two-run thing going in the first inning with a double to right that scored a pair. In the third, Cano and Nick Swisher hit back-to-back home runs as the Yanks continued to add to their major-league leading total of round trippers.
Cano, who took over the top spot at second base over the Rangers’ Ian Kinsler in the latest vote tally of All-Star Game balloting, has homered in six of his past eight games, including two long bombs, both off Miguel Batista, at Citi Field in last weekend’s Subway Series. Cano has 14 home runs over his past 34 games since May 18 after hitting only three homers in his first 38 games of the season.
Hiroki Kuroda pithed pitched brilliantly for seven innings and then sort of hit the wall at 100 pitches. He took a three-hit shutout into the eighth before giving up a single and double to the first two batters and was relieved by Clay Rapada.
Kuroda was nearly as dominant as he had been in a seven-inning one-hitter June 8 against the Mets at the Stadium. Of the 21 outs he recorded, only three were in the outfield. He got 10 outs in the infield and seven on strikeouts. One of the runners he put on scored, but his ERA dropped to 3.40.
It was a crowd-pleasing eighth inning for Swisher, who made all three putouts on running catches in right field and was treated to hearty cheers when he led off the bottom half. He even got cheered after he struck out.