Results tagged ‘ Neftali Feliz ’
I had an interesting exchange earlier in the day with Yankees Universe member Marc Cantelmi about a pattern that has developed to this point in the season that is a bit disturbing, and it was in evidence again Saturday night in the Yankees’ 7-5 loss to the Rangers.
Give the Yankees a lot of credit for coming back from a 5-0 deficit in the second inning to tie the score by the sixth. After that, however, nothing. Derek Jeter, who swung the bat with authority, led off the seventh with a single, but the Yankees went down in order the rest of the way against relievers Darren Oliver and Neftali Feliz. The duo followed Arthur Rhodes, whom the Yankees have historically dominated but who struck out both batters he faced in the sixth, Jorge Posada and Russell Martin, after Nick Swisher’s solo home run off Brent Tomko had tied the score.
The Yankees’ offensive letdown after the sixth inning has been a problem all year. As Cantelmi pointed out, the Yankees have scored 45.3 percent of their runs in the first three innings. After that the percentages drop to 31.5 percent from the fourth to sixth innings and 20.1 percent from the seventh to ninth innings (they have scored 2.5 percent of their runs in extra innings).
The Yankees are batting .247 as a team and only .194 after the sixth inning. As I mentioned to Marc, this suggests that the Yankees have problems once they get into an opponent’s bullpen. This was once considered a team strength, working starters into deep counts, running up pitch counts so that opposing managers have to turn the game over earlier than they would like to the pen where save the closer and perhaps the setup reliever you are looking at the dregs of the staff.
The Yankees followed their 2011 pattern again Saturday night. They knocked out starter Derek Holland one batter into the fourth inning and had four runs, four hits and five walks against him. Against the Texas bullpen, though, the Yanks had one run, two hits and one walk in six innings and failed even to put a runner in scoring position.
As for whether this can eventually become a major problem, I would say yes. Beating up on relievers in the middle innings of games is how teams mount victories, and the Yankees are showing a pattern of not doing that. It may just be part of an overall hitting slump. Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson aside, the Yankees are getting underwhelming offense from what should be a devastating lineup.
Bartolo Colon’s first poor outing put the Yankees in a five-run hole, but they climbed out of it. The Rangers won the game against the Yankees’ bullpen, specifically lefthander Boone Logan, who gave up successive hits to left-handed swinging Mitch Moreland and Chris Davis and a suicide-squeeze bunt to another lefty swinger, Julio Borbon. Michael Young’s fourth hit, a single off righthander David Robertson, knocked in a two-out insurance run.
The Yankees need to turn this around. Don’t look now – and normally glancing at the standings daily doesn’t start until June – but the Yankees are now in a virtual tie with the Rays for first place in the American League East. Tampa Bay started the season 1-8 but is now 19-14 with a .576 winning percentage that is only slightly behind the .581 of the 18-13 Yankees.
Freddy Garcia will get his first starting assignment for the Yankees Saturday as they search for a quality effort from someone in the rotation. Ivan Nova had another disappointing outing Friday night in what is seemingly becoming a daily occurrence. The news wasn’t bad enough that Phil Hughes was placed on the disabled list with a dead arm, and then Nova began throwing baseballs nowhere near the plate.
Who would have thought that the winningest starting pitcher for the Yankees at this point would be 2010 bust A.J. Burnett? He is 3-0 despite an unsightly 4.67 ERA. Nova, who fell to 1-1 in the 5-3 loss to the Rangers, is the only other Yankees starter with a victory. Cut CC Sabathia (0-1) some slack, however. His 1.45 ERA is by far the best of the starting unit.
Yankees starters have a combined record of 4-3 with a 5.90 ERA. Opposing hitters are batting .287 against them. Hits were not as much a problem Friday night as bases on balls for Nova, who walked five batters and watched his ERA climb to 7.36. Nova also threw a wild pitch, one fewer than David Robertson, and hit a batter in a very sloppy performance.
Conversely, the Texas rotation is a combined 9-1 with a 2.41 ERA.
It was a pretty horrible game overall for the Yankees, who grounded into six doubles plays for the first time in franchise history and tied an American League record. Impressive starter Matt Harrison allowed one earned run in eight innings on a home run in the eighth by Curtis Granderson. All three of Grandy’s homers this year have come off left-handed pitchers.
The highlight on this lowlight of a night for the Yankees was the big-league debut of righthander Lance Pendleton, who pitched three perfect innings in relief.
There would be no dramatic comeback such as Thursday night against the Orioles, although the Yankees rallied against Neftali Feliz in the ninth and had the potential tying runs on base when the game ended. Unless the starters start providing some quality innings, the Yankees might be playing catch-up on a regular basis.
Scheduled to work behind the plate for Garcia will be Gustavo Molina (no relation to Bengie, Jose and Yadier), the last player on any club’s opening day roster who has yet to play in a game. Russell Martin is the only catcher in the majors who has caught every inning of his team’s games.
It turned out that the Yankees did not trade a future American League Rookie of the Year Award winner to get Curtis Granderson from the Tigers 11 months ago.
Austin Jackson, a highly-touted prospect in the Yankees’ system, went to Detroit along with relief pitcher Phil Coke in the three-team trade also involving the Diamondbacks Dec. 8, 2009 that brought Granderson to the Bronx and included sending pitcher Ian Kennedy to Arizona.
When Jackson got off to a smoking start for the Tigers as their center fielder and leadoff hitter, Rookie of the Year talk surrounded him for much of the first half. Jackson tailed off somewhat in the second half, although he still had a fine year. It just was not as good as that of Rangers closer Neftali Feliz, who set a rookie record with 40 saves and was the choice of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for the Jackie Robinson Award that was announced Monday.
Felix, 22, was listed first on 20 of the 28 ballots submitted by two writers in each league city, second on seven and third on one to amass 122 points, based on the 5-3-1 tabulation system. Feliz’s saves total broke the previous rookie mark of 37 by 2000 winner Kazuhiro Sasaki of the Mariners.
Feliz, who had a 4-3 record with a 2.73 ERA in 70 relief appearances, is the first Dominican pitcher to win the award and the third winner from the Dominican Republic overall, joining Alfredo Griffin and Angel Berroa. Dominican-born winners in the National League were Raul Mondesi, Rafael Furcal, Albert Pujols and Hanley Ramirez.
A closer has won the AL award three times in the past six years. Oakland’s Andrew Bailey won in 2009 and Huston Street in 2005. Feliz is the fifth closer honored. The first was the Orioles’ Gregg Olson in 1989. Yankees pitcher Dave Righetti, now the Giants’ pitching coach, was a starter when he won the award in 1981. Feliz is the second Rangers player to win the award. The other was first baseman Mike Hargrove in 1974.
Jackson, who received the other eight first-place votes and was the runner-up in the balloting with 98 points, led all AL rookies in runs (103), hits (151), doubles (34), triples (10), extra-base hits (48), stolen bases (27) and total bases (247). Jackson batted .293, stole 27 bases and scored 103 runs, but he struck out 170 times, a very high total for a player who hit only four home runs.
In the National League, Giants catcher Buster Posey beat out Braves right fielder Jason Heyward for the award. Posey, 23, was named first on 20 of the 32 ballots cast by two writers in each league city, second on nine and third on two to finish with 129 points. Posey hit .305 with 18 home runs and 67 RBI and handled a pitching staff that helped the Giants win the NL West title. His 21-game hitting streak from July 4-28 was the longest of the season by a rookie in either league.
Heyward (.273, 18 HR, 72 RBI) received nine first-place votes and was the runner-up with 107 points. Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia (13-8, 2.70 ERA) got one first-place vote and placed third with 24 points. The other two first-place votes went to Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez (.273, 19 HR, 85 RBI), who finished fourth with 18 points.
Posey was the sixth NL catcher honored, joining Johnny Bench, Earl Williams, Benito Santiago, Mike Piazza and Geovanny Soto. Catchers who won the award in the AL were Thurman Munson, Carlton Fisk and Sandy Alomar Jr. Other former Giants winners were Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Gary Matthews and John Montefusco.
The victories by Feliz and Posey marked the third time since the award’s inception in 1947 that the winners were opponents in the World Series. The other years were 1981 when Righetti and the Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela started Game 3 at Dodger Stadium and 1951 when Mays and Yankees infielder Gil McDougald played in all six games of the Series.
It should have happened in 2003 with the Yankees’ Hideki Matsui and the Marlins’ Dontrelle Willis, but Matsui lost out to Berroa in a disputed election.
The television ratings for the World Series between the Giants and the Rangers have been dreadful. Oh, how Fox would have loved Yankees vs. Phillies.
I hope that the ratings for Saturday night’s Game 3, which started an hour before the others, are impressive enough that the powers that be in baseball realize that World Series starting times have been too late for a sizeable part of the population and will hold fast in the future on a first pitch at 7 p.m. Eastern time.
I can dream, can’t I?
I always go back to this situation. When Bill Mazeroski homered to win the World Series for the Pirates against the Yankees in 1960, I as a schoolboy saw it happen. When Joe Carter homered to win the World Series for the Blue Jays against the Phillies in 1993, my school-aged children were in bed. Game 7 in 1960 was a day game. Game 6 in 1993 was a night game with a first pitch of about 8:45 Eastern.
It helped that there was a decent game with enough drama going on Saturday night to keep channel surfers stuck to the Series.
The drama was clearly from the Texas point of view. Down 2-0 in games, a loss by the Rangers would have been disastrous. Colby Lewis, whom I had suggested was as deserving of Most Valuable Player designation in the American League Championship Series as Josh Hamilton, had another gutting start and gave up two runs on solo shots by Cody Ross and Andres Torres in 7 1/3 innings.
For all those experts that chided Rangers manager Ron Washington for not getting rookie closer Neftali Feliz’s feet wet in the Series at some point in the first two games in San Francisco, the smoke the righthander threw in the ninth inning was all the evidence needed that his knees have stopped banging together in the post-season.
And it was all over in 2 hours, 51 minutes. Go ratings!
Helicopters were hovering over Rangers Ballpark In Arlington as part of the security coverage with former President (and Rangers owner) George Bush in attendance. Sunday night, he and his father, another President named George Bush, will be in Arlington to throw out the ceremonial first pitch(es). My money is on No. 43 throwing a strike the way he did during the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium after the terrorist attacks, still among the most spine-tingling moments I have ever witnessed.
Tuesday night’s game in Arlington, Texas, lived up to its billing as a showdown between division leaders and possible playoff foes. The Rangers showed why they are running away with the American League West with an extra-inning victory over the Yankees, whose lead in the AL East shrunk to half a game.
The Yankees’ scoreless string of 16 innings by their bullpen over the past week was ended surprisingly by Mariano Rivera, who thrives in the post-season atmosphere but gave up the winning run in the 10th. Texas loaded the bases on two singles and a one-out intentional walk. Rivera fell behind 3-0 in the count to David Murphy, who singled off a 3-2 cutter for the walk-off hit.
Rangers manager Ron Washington emptied his bullpen, using five relievers, all but one getting the job done. Alex Rodriguez nailed Frank Francisco for his 601st home run in the eighth to tie the score. The difference in the game may have been the way the teams ran the bases. The Yankees were somewhat tentative on one play. The Rangers’ aggressiveness on another play had dire consequences for the Yankees.
Rodriguez, who had a really nice game, pulled off the Yankees’ best move on the bases in the fourth when on the front end of a double-steal attempt threw his body into the left arm of Texas third baseman Michael Young and dislodged the ball from his glove. Young was charged with an error, and the Yankees had runners on second and third with one out, but they failed to capitalize as Lance Berkman struck out and Francisco Cervelli flied out. The Berkman at-bat was a killer because the Rangers were conceding a run by playing the infield back, but Berkman failed to make contact.
A.J. Burnett showed no ill effects of back spasms that pushed back his start and pitched seven serviceable innings. He gave up a run in the fourth on a two-out double by Nelson Cruz, but the Yankees came back with a two-out double of their own off C.J. Wilson in the fifth by Nick Swisher. Marcus Thames followed with a single to left, but Swisher was thrown out at the plate on a strong throw by Murphy, who was all over this game. Benjie Molina made a fine scoop of the short-hop throw and tagged out Swisher, who chose not to slam into the catcher but tried to vault over him, which didn’t work.
The Yankees regained the lead in the sixth but failed to pad it by stranding two runners. In the bottom half, Burnett made his only real mistake in the game, a first-pitch fastball to Murphy, who crushed it for a two-run home run. The Yankees’ failure to turn a double play on a ground ball by Vlad Guerrero gave Murphy the opportunity to bat with two outs. Credit Josh Hamilton with a hard, professional slide into second base that caused Derek Jeter to throw wildly past first base losing the DP.
Robinson Cano, who did not start because of a cold but stayed in the game after pinch hitting in the sixth, led off the ninth with a single. Jeter showed bunt on the first pitch from Neftali Feliz that caught the outside corner for a strike. He took another fastball for a ball. Then the Yankees took off the bunt. Swinging away, Jeter grounded into a double play.
After Rivera gave up singles to Young and Hamilton at the start of the 10th, Rodriguez made a dazzling play in snuffing a hard grounder by Guerrero and firing to first for the out. It appeared to be a game saver, but Mo could match the histrionics of his teammate.