Results tagged ‘ Phil Coke ’

Yanks homers give Chapman a chance to close

Yankees fans got their first look at Aroldis Chapman in pinstripes Monday night. The lefthander was everything as advertised with gun readings in triple figures, but there was some rust as well befitting a pitcher who sat out a 30-day suspension at the start of the season for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy.

Of the 17 pitches Chapman threw in the ninth inning, six were 100 miles per hour or faster — four topped out at 101 and the other two were at 100. After quick strikeouts of the first two batters of the inning, pinch hitter Paulo Orlando ripped a double to center field on what at 90 mph was probably a changeup.

That was impressive for Orlando, who was on the bench all night and then was told to go up and try to hit a guy throwing 100 mph regularly. Alcides Escobar followed with a sharply-struck single past Didi Gregorius at shortstop to drive in Orlando before Lorenzo Cain was out on a pepper shot to Chapman.

In the 6-3 victory, the Yankees figured out a way to solve their dilemma of hitting with runners in scoring position — just come up with no one on base let alone in scoring position and hit the ball over the fence.

That approach worked very well against Royals righthander Chris Young, not the former Yankees outfielder but the journeyman pitcher who was one of Kansas City’s World Series heroes last year. The Yanks bashed five solo home runs off Young in 2 2/3 innings.

Brian McCann began the assault with two out in the first inning. After the Royals tied the score in the second on a homer by Alex Gordon, Carlos Beltran led off the bottom of the inning by taking Young deep. Beltran was just getting started it seemed.

Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks started things off in the third with bombs to right field. Two outs later, Beltran connected again for his 38th multi-homer game (all but one are two-homer games). That marked the first three-homer inning for the Yankees since May 25 last year, also against KC and Jeremy Guthrie, by Gardner, McCann and Chase Headley.

That was it for Young, who tied a dubious franchise record for home runs allowed in a single appearance and departed the game with a swollen 6.68 ERA. Such an outing did not bode well for the defending World Series champs because they have had just as hard time as the Yankees scoring runs this year. KC entered play with only one more run scored than the Bombers.

The Royals might have been better off starting Dillon Gee, who gave up only one run on a sacrifice fly by Hicks in 5 1/3 innings.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was hoping Ivan Nova, starting in place of disabled pitcher CC Sabathia, could give the Yankees at least 75 pitches. Nova did even better than that (81 pitches), but his own error probably cost him a shot at a winning decision.

Nova missed the bag taking a throw from Mark Teixeira while covering first base on a grounder by Escobar and lost a precious out. When left-handed Eric Hosmer came to the plate with two down in the fifth, Girardi brought in lefthander Phil Coke to face the Royals first baseman who flied out to the left field warning track. Failing to pitch a full five innings to qualify for a victory, Nova was hung with a no-decision despite a first-rate effort.

The victory went to Kirby Yates (2-0), who pitched scoreless, one-hit ball for 1 2/3 innings. It was also a big night for rookie Ben Gamel, who singled in his first major-league plate appearance in the eighth.

The Yankees finished the game 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position, but they enjoyed their new formula for scoring.

CC joins A-Rod on the disabled list

Just when the Yankees’ rotation was beginning to click, a wrench has been thrown into the mix. It came in the form of a strained left groin to CC Sabathia, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list two days after he pitched seven shutout innings at Baltimore’s Camden Yards in one of only two victories the Yankees had in their nine-game trip.

Back at Yankee Stadium Friday night against the Red Sox to start a 10-game homestand, the Yankees had bad news regarding Sabathia, who joins Alex Rodriguez on the DL. The Yankees recalled lefthander Phil Coke from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Coke, who pitched for the Yankees in 2008 and ’09, will be in the bullpen. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Ivan Nova will fill in for Sabathia in the rotation.

Sabathia beat out Nova for the fifth starter’s spot in spring training and has a 2-2 record with a 3.81 ERA. Girardi called CC’s outing Wednesday night the best he has seen in the past two years. One of the amazing things about it is that Sabathia felt soreness in his groin in the fourth inning and was able to pitch quality ball through the seventh.

Masahiro Tanaka followed Sabathia’s effort with a gem of his own Thursday night, although the Yankees lost, 1-0, in 10 innings. Tanaka shut out the Orioles for eight innings in lowering his ERA to 2.29.

Matching Tanaka through eight was Orioles starter Kevin Gausman. It marked the major leagues’ first game in which both starters pitched at least eight scoreless innings since Aug. 24, 2015 when the Yankees’ Nathan Eovaldi and the Astros’ Scott Feldman did it in a 1-0 Yankees victory at the Stadium.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the third time in 1,028 games between the Yankees and Orioles (since the team moved to Baltimore from St. Louis in 1954) that neither team scored through nine innings. The others were June 3, 1981 at the Stadium (a 2-0 Yankees victory in 11 innings) and Sept. 12, 2014 at Camden Yards (a 2-1 Orioles victory in 11 innings).

Tanaka’s eight scoreless innings Thursday night was the longest start by a Yankees pitcher this season and the longest since Eovaldi’s game Aug. 24 last year. The last time a Yankees starter went at least eight scoreless innings on the road was exactly a year ago, by Michael Pineda May 5, 2015 at Toronto. Along with Sabathia’s start Wednesday night, Yankees starters have thrown at least seven scoreless innings in consecutive starts for the first time in exactly one year: Chase Whitley threw seven innings May 4, 2015 at Toronto and Pineda’s eight the next day.

After the three-game, weekend series against the Red Sox, the reigning World Series champion Royals come to town for four games followed by the American League Central-leading White Sox for a three-game set.

Alex Rodriguez Replica Bat Day will take place Saturday, May 14. The first 10,000 people in attendance, 14 years of age and younger, will receive a replica bat, courtesy of Bank of America.

Ticket specials will run Monday, May 9 (Military Personnel Game), Tuesday, May 10 (MasterCard $5, Military Personnel and Senior Citizen Game), Wednesday, May 11 (Military Personnel and Student Game), Thursday, May 12 (Military Personnel Game), Saturday, May 14 (Youth Game) and Sunday, May 15 (Youth Game).

For a complete list of ticket specials, including game dates, seating locations, and terms and conditions, fans should visit http://www.yankees.com/ticketspecials. Please note that all ticket specials are subject to availability.

The homestand will also feature the following promotional items and dates:

Saturday, May 7 – Yankees vs. Red Sox, 1:05 p.m.
Sunscreen Day, presented by Blue Lizard, to all in attendance.

Monday, May 9 – Yankees vs. Royals, 7:05 p.m.
Cap Night, presented by the Robin Hood Foundation, to all in attendance.

Tuesday, May 10 – Yankees vs. Royals, 7:05 p.m.
Dunkin’ Donuts Card Night, presented by Dunkin’ Donuts, to first 18,000 in attendance, 21 and older.

Thursday, May 12 – Yankees vs. Royals, 7:05 p.m.
Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center Commemorative Bookmark Night-Free Museum Admission Ticket, presented by the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, to all in attendance.

Friday, May 13 – Yankees vs. White Sox, 7:05 p.m.
Yankees Reusable Tote Bag Night, presented by MLB Network, to first 40,000 in attendance.

Sunday, May 15 – Yankees vs. White Sox, 1:05 p.m.
MLB Play Ball Weekend-Plastic Bat and Ball Set, to first 10,000 in attendance, 14 and younger.

Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.yankees.com, http://www.yankeesbeisbol.com, at the Yankee Stadium Ticket Office, via Ticketmaster phone at 877-469-9849, Ticketmaster TTY at 800-943-4327 and at all ticket offices located within Yankees Clubhouse Shops. Tickets may also be purchased on Yankees Ticket Exchange at http://www.yankees.com/yte, the only official online resale marketplace for fans to purchase and resell tickets to Yankees games. Fans with questions may call 212-YANKEES [926-5337] or email tickets@yankees.com.

For information on parking and public transportation options to the Stadium, please visit http://www.yankees.com and click on the Yankee Stadium tab at the top of the page.

Tigers push Yanks to 0-3 precipice in ALCS

Jose Valverde was not around to give the Yankees a helping hand Tuesday night in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series as he did in Game 1 when they came back from a 4-0 deficit to push it into extra innings.

The margin was half that this time, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland instead stayed with his starter, and who could blame him when the starter was Justin Verlander? After eight innings of getting nothing off the reigning AL Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner other than two singles by Ichiro Suzuki, the Yankees actually chased Verlander from the game but could not shove it into extras against lefthander Phil Coke, who gave up a couple of two-out singles before ending the game with a dazzling 3-2 slider to strike out Raul Ibanez.

Cut Ibanez some slack. He cannot do it all, even though it seems that he must. The Yanks are the last place they want to be – down, three games to none to the Tigers in the ALCS. Only once in the history of best-of-seven postseason baseball has a club overcome that deficit. The Yankees do not need to be reminded about that. They were on the other side of that equation in 2004 when the Red Sox ran off four straight victories to get to the World Series where they won four more in a row to end the Curse of the Bambino.

Although it must pain the Yankees to rely on something the Red Sox did for inspiration, that is the dilemma they find themselves in now. Having ace CC Sabathia on the mound for Game 4 Wednesday night is a plus, but, frankly, to this point pitching has not been the Yanks’ problem. They have a staff ERA of 3.10, which should not result in a record of 0-3.

Despite the ninth-inning rally Tuesday night, the Yankees’ offense remains anemic. Their only run in Game 3 came on a leadoff homer in the ninth off Verlander by Eduardo Nunez, who was not even on the Yankees’ original roster for the ALCS. He was added when Derek Jeter had to be removed because of a left ankle fracture sustained in the final inning of Game 1.

Nunez’s homer ended a scoreless streak of 20 innings for the Yankees, who have scored in only two of 30 innings in this series and have not had the lead in any one of them. They are hitting a collective .182 with a .291 slugging percentage in the ALCS.

A single by Mark Teixeira in a gritty at-bat and an opposite-field knock by Robinson Cano to halt a hitless string of 29 at-bats, the longest in franchise history in postseason play, kicked the Yankees in gear with two down in the ninth, but it was awfully late. Ibanez did not have another miracle in his bat.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi altered his lineup somewhat, but the results except for Nunez were not all that favorable. Brett Gardner, who played left field and batted leadoff, was 0-for-4 at the plate and failed to get a ball out of the infield. Eric Chavez, who started at third base over Alex Rodriguez, was 0-for-3 and made an error that led to an unearned run that was the difference in the game.

A-Rod was not only benched but also buried on it. He was not even called on to bat as a pinch hitter against the left-handed Coke. Girardi reasoned that had he summoned Rodriguez to hit for Ibanez the Tigers would have countered with righthander Joaquin Benoit. The manager preferred the Ibanez-vs.-Coke matchup than Rodriguez-vs.-Benoit.

That may not have been vintage Verlander out there, but the Yankees did no real damage against him. He had only three strikeouts but did not walk anyone. Verlander may have fallen out of his rhythm in the lengthy fourth and fifth innings when the Yankees made several pitching changes, but he did not cave in.

And still, due in large part to outstanding ensemble work by five relievers, the Yankees were in the game. Verlander would have been pitching with a more comfortable margin had the Tigers not stranded 10 base runners – six in scoring position – over the first six innings. It was another example of Yankees pitchers doing their jobs and Yankees hitters not doing theirs.

For all the success in the Yankees’ storied history of 27 World Series titles and 40 AL pennants, the ALCS loss in 2004 remains a deep wound that would finally be healed if they could pull the same trick. The task begins with Game 4. They should not think of anything else but that until a victory leads to Game 5…and Game 6…and Game 7. Lord knows the Yanks know it is possible.

Opener a blueprint special

On a raw Thursday afternoon, the Yankees got the 2011 season off to the best possible start with a 6-3 victory over the Tigers. The Yankee Stadium crowd of 48,226 had plenty of opportunities to try to stay warm in the chill and wind by standing and applauding.

Mark Teixeira, who has a history of poor starts to seasons, crushed a three-run home run off flame-throwing Justin Verlander in the third inning that erased a 1-0 deficit. A year ago, Tex didn’t hit his first home run until his 12th game during a miserable April when he batted .136.

“I have been petitioning the league to start the season in March for years because of how bad I have been in April,” he said after the game. “I’m glad they finally listened to me.”

Whether he can continue this into April, which begins Friday, remains to be seen, but Teixeira addressed the issue this spring by concentrating more on hitting during spring training. “A lot of time with all the stretching and weights work and conditioning you do in the spring, hitting is the last thing you think about,” Tex said. “I did a lot more swinging of the bat this spring.”

“It seemed before and after every game, I’d see Tex in the cage,” manager Joe Girardi said.

The skipper had reason to be pleased from first to last inning. The pitching fell into place ideally. CC Sabathia matched Verlander for six innings and turned over a 3-3 game to the bullpen, which was nothing short of perfect – three up and three down in the seventh for Joba Chamberlain, who got credit for the victory, in the eighth for new setup man for Rafael Soriano and in the ninth for closer Mariano Rivera.

“Sometimes it works out just how you draw it up,” Girardi said.

He got a scare in the first inning when center fielder Curtis Granderson, who was a questionable starter because of the oblique injury he sustained in spring training, made a diving catch.

“I was concerned the way he landed,” Girardi said, “but he was all smiles in the dugout after, so I figured he was all right.”

There’s an understatement. Granderson had a Willie Mays day in center field. The first-inning grab was one of three highlight-reel grabs for Granderson, who also smoked a home run leading off the seventh inning to break the tie. Equally encouraging was that the blow was off lefthander Phil Coke. Granderson is a .215 career hitter against lefties. It marked the third straight Opening Day that Granderson has homered.

Derek Jeter’s new stride-less approach at the plate didn’t produce any hits in the start of his climb to 3,000, but he drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and scored another when he walked in front of Teixeira’s bomb.

Another good sign was the effort of catcher Russ Martin, who handled the staff adroitly, got a hit his first time up, showed some savvy on the bases with a swipe of third and scored two runs. He was the lone unfamiliar face in the Yankees’ lineup, but one that fans will soon get to know.

The Elias Sports Bureau pointed out that the Yankees had the same starting infield (Teixeira at first base, Robinson Cano at second, Alex Rodriguez at third, Jeter at shortstop) and outfield (Brett Gardner in left, Granderson in center, Nick Swisher in right) for consecutive openers for the first time since 1926 and ’27 when they had first baseman Lou Gehrig, second baseman Tony Lazzeri, third baseman Joe Dugan and shortstop Mark Koenig in the infield and left fielder Bob Meusel, center fielder Earle Combs and right fielder Babe Ruth in the outfield. It was also the first time the Yankees had the same three outfielders in back-to-back openers since 1967 and ’68 with Tom Tresh in left, Joe Pepitone in center and Bill Robinson in right.

Former Yanks farmhand 2nd in Rookie voting

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.

Damage by Damon

Come on, Johnny, is that any way to treat a bunch of guys you still consider friends?

Johnny Damon, one of the key elements in the Yankees’ World Series run last year and one of the finest people to grace the Yankee Stadium clubhouse during his four seasons in pinstripes, hurt his old mates with a home run in the Tigers’ 5-4 victory Monday night at Comerica Park.

Now, this blow was not as stunning or decisive as his most famous home run against the Yankees. You remember that one. Javier Vazquez sure does. It was a grand slam that propelled the Red Sox to a Game 7 victory in the 2004 American League Championship Series to help Boston complete the only comeback from a 0-3 deficit in a post-season, best-of-seven series in baseball history.

Still, this one packed a bit of a blow. After all, it was a one-run game, and Damon’s shot was worth one run. It was only Damon’s second home run of the season, but the solo shot off Sergio Mitre with two down in the fifth inning looked very much like those one-handed clouts he sent sailing over the right field fence in the new Yankee Stadium a year ago.

If you can believe the Comerica Park scoreboard, Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya regularly reached 100 mph with his fastball. Despite that, the intimidating righthander was not untouchable. Yankees fans saw this type of act before when Kyle Farnsworth was in the Bombers’ bullpen.

For all the oo-ing and ah-ing coming from the Detroit crowd as Zumaya’s gun readings were flashed, the Yankees were getting back in the game against him in the eighth. Singles by Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano and a four-pitch walk to Jorge Posada in between all those 100-mph offerings loaded the bases for the Yankees with none out. An infield hit by Marcus Thames and a fielder’s choice by Brett Gardner made it a one-run game.

Phil Coke, who went to Detroit in the three-team trade that brought Curtis Granderson to the Yankees, has pitched well for the Tigers and did so again Monday night by keeping the ball in the infield for two outs in relief of Zumaya. The real “hold” went to right fielder Magglio Ordonez for his sliding catch of a sinking liner by Derek Jeter robbing him of a game-tying hit.

Jeter is suddenly in a slump with two hits in his past 20 at-bats and an average down to .286

Perhaps determined to match Zumaya’s readings, Joba Chamberlain was in the upper 90s in the bottom of the eighth and struck out the side. Unfortunately for the Yankees, Tigers closer Jose Valverde (9 saves, 0.61 ERA) had similar readings and also struck out the side in the ninth.

Mitre did a decent job in his emergency start, but lefthander Boone Logan walked one left-handed batter (Damon) and gave up an RBI triple to another (Brennan Boesch) in the seventh for an insurance run that the Tigers held up.