Results tagged ‘ Prince Fielder ’
The best thing about Prince Fielder’s smoking double in the seventh inning Monday night was that it meant Nathan Eovaldi’s no-hit bid was not spoiled by the preceding hit by Nomar Mazara. Imagine if that had been the only hit of the game? Mazara should have grounded out to shortstop, but the Yankees had the shift on, so Mazara’s ball found a hole and slithered into left-center field for a single leading off the seventh.
You can debate the use of infield shifts that have been in vogue in recent years for hours, but the sight of a pitcher wondering where his infielders are is an indictment of what I think is overuse of the practice. Mazara is a rookie for crying out loud, and the Yankees were shifting against him? Mazara wound up getting doubled up on Adrian Beltre’s line drive to Starlin Castro before Fielder got the first legitimate hit off Eovaldi
As a kid growing up in Alvin, Texas, Eovaldi heard all about no-hitters because that is also the home town of Nolan Ryan, who pitched seven of them, three more than any other major-league pitcher. As a flamethrower whose fastball flirts with 100 miles per hour on occasion, Eovaldi resembles Ryan in that phase as well. However, Eovaldi unlike Ryan has not been stingy allowing hits to opponents, so his taking a no-no into the seventh inning was an eye-opener.
Eovaldi entered the game having allowed 701 hits in 649 2/3 innings over the course of his career, including 21 hits in 17 2/3 innings this year in his first three starts. Hitters usually get on base against him but not Monday night. Until the seventh when they both finally got to Eovaldi, Fielder and Mazara had been the only Texas players to reach base. An error by shortstop Didi Gregorius at the start of the second put Fielder on base, but he was quickly erased on a double play. Mazara walked in the fourth and never got beyond first base.
It was not the fastball alone that was working for Eovaldi in the 3-1 victory over the Rangers but how he mixed it with all his pitches. His slider and splitter were dead-on, and he had Texas batters off stride all night. It was a magnificent job by a pitcher in a hitter’s yard.
With a three-run lead going into the eighth, Yankees manager Joe Girardi instead of going to Dellin Betances right away allowed Eovaldi to start the inning, but a leadoff walk ended his brilliant night. Betances came in and got a quick double play before yielding his first earned run of the season on a home run by Brett Nicholas. Betances rebounded with his 23rd strikeout in 10 innings, and Andrew Miller (fifth save) finished the Rangers off in a 1-2-3 ninth.
The Yankees got the trip off to a positive start on a night when two of their players, Alex Rodriguez and Adam Hicks, were unavailable. The Yankees once again struggled with runners in scoring position (1-for-9), but solo home runs by Jacoby Ellsbury and Castro off Texas lefthander Cesar Ramos made up for the lack of clutch. The one hit with a runner in scoring position was a double by Mark Teixeira in the third. Austin Romine, who steered Eovaldi through the game from behind the plate, also had two hits.
The Yankees may want to petition commissioner Rob Manfred to see if they can play games against Texas without a third inning.
For the second straight game, the Rangers teed off against Yankees pitching in the third inning Saturday as Texas sent 14 batters to the plate and scored 10 runs. Friday night, the Rangers had 10 batters come up in the third inning and score seven runs. That made it 17 runs in the third inning over two days.
Despite being down 7-0 Friday night, the Yankees made it a game and lost by a 10-9 count with the potential tying run on first base in the ninth. No such comeback was in the making Saturday as Texas held fast for a 15-4 victory.
The runs against the Yanks were the most in a game since April 19 last year at St. Petersburg, Fla., in a 16-1 loss and their most in a home game since Sept. 22, 2011 against the Rays in a 15-8 loss.
What made Saturday’s game strange was that the Yankees had their specialist pitcher in charge of ending losing streaks of four games or more on the mound. The Elias Sport Bureau reported that CC Sabathia had made four previous starts with the Yankees on a losing streak of at least four games (one in 2009, two in 2013 and one this year). His record in those starts: 4-0 with a 1.15 ERA in 31 1/3 innings. Sabathia had pitched at least seven innings in each of those four starts (May 8, 2009 at Baltimore, May 31, 2013 against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, June 16, 2013 at Anaheim and May 16 this year at Kansas City) and combined for four walks and 29 strikeouts.
Saturday was a whole different story, however. CC got off to a strong start with three strikeouts in the first five batters, but he never made it through the third inning, which got off to a ominous start when he walked the 9-hole hitter, .140-batting Jake Smolinski. The next four batters reached on singles with an error in right field Carlos Beltran contributing to the rally. When a two-run single by Elvis Andrus made the score 5-0, Sabathia was taken out of the game.
Esmil Rogers could not put a tourniquet on the inning. He hit the first batter he faced with a pitch and allowed an inherited runner to score on an opposite-field double by Carlos Corporan. A sacrifice fly by Smolinski and a two-run home run by Shinn-Soo Choo put Texas up by 10-0.
It marked their most runs allowed in a single inning since April 18, 2009 at home against the Indians when Cleveland scored 14 runs in the second inning of a 22-4 Yankees loss. It was the first time the Yankees allowed seven runs in one inning in back-to-back games (or in the same game) since June 19 (seven runs in the fourth inning) and 20 (eight runs in the sixth), 2002 at Denver and the first time at home since June 11 (nine runs in the fifth) and 12 (nine runs in the second), 1907 against the Tigers when the team was still known as the Highlanders and played at old Hilltop Park in Manhattan.
Rogers was charged with three runs in the sixth before giving way to Brandon Pindar, who was victimized in the seventh on a two-run home run by Prince Fielder, who hit two home runs Friday night.
Meanwhile, the Yankees were getting nowhere offensively against Rangers starter Nick Martinez, who improved his record to 4-0. The Yankees did not have a hit until the fourth inning when Alex Rodriguez led off with an infield single and advanced to second base on a throwing error by Adam Rosales. A-Rod never got past that base.
Martinez gave up two runs on solo homers by Beltran and Didi Gregorius. Beltran’s third homer of the year extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Gregorius homered for the second straight game. He had a three-run shot Friday night. So after going 205 at-bats without a homer, Gregorius homered twice in four at-bats.
Slade Heathcott, the outfielder called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre while Jacoby Ellsbury (strained right knee) is on the disabled list, made his major-league debut Friday night and got his first two hits and first run as a major leaguer. Saturday he got his first big-league RBI with a run-scoring groundout followed an RBI triple by John Ryan Murphy.
The losing ways the Yankees experienced on the recent trip when they lost seven of nine games has followed them home. They have lost five straight games, their longest losing streak of the season, and nine of their past 10 games. Their overall record is barely over .500 at 22-21.
Among the more disturbing aspects of the game was another dismal showing by Sabathia at Yankee Stadium. He has not won in the Bronx since Sept. 20, 2013. Saturday was his sixth straight losing decision at the Stadium with a 9.42 ERA in those starts.
“When you don’t pitch well, you get booed,” he said.
It is never a good sign for a club when its mosst effective pitcher is its backup first baseman. Garrett Jones made his first major-league pitching appearance in the ninth inning and got the final two outs. He also walked one batter and hit one, yet his career ERA is 0.00.
How bad has the Yankees’ luck been this year? In terms of health, I mean. The disabled list has been almost as crowded as the dugout. Even in the All-Star Game, the Yankees could not stay healthy.
Robinson Cano, the American League second baseman and one of the few Yankees regulars to stay on the field all season, made an early exit Tuesday night from Citi Field. Cano, the second hitter in the AL order, came up after a leadoff double by the Angels’ Mike Trout and was struck on the side of his right knee by a 96-miles-per-hour fastball from Mets righthander Matt Harvey.
Cano winced in pain and tried to stay in the game. He went to first base but after Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera struck out Cano came off the field and was replaced by pinch runner Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox. As Cano walked off the field, he had a friendly exchange with Harvey.
“He said, ‘My bad,’ ” Cano said. “I said, ‘No problem.’ I know he don’t want to hit nobody. It’s part of the game, so what can you do?”
This is just what the Yankees did not need. Managers across baseball watch the All-Star Game with trepidation and hope one of their players does not get hurt. Harvey, the National League starting pitcher who pitched two scoreless innings, said, “I feel bad. I didn’t mean to hit Cano.”
X-rays on Cano’s knee were negative.
“It’s a little tight, but I’m walking good,” Cano said. “You want to play the game and enjoy the nice city in New York with the fans, but that’s part of life. Got to get it better and take it easy. Yeah, I’ll be good for Friday.”
“Obviously, the last thing I wanted to do was go out there and possibly injure somebody,” Harvey said. “As [Cano] was walking by, I was trying to get his attention as he was going to first. He then came off the field, and I apologized and made sure that he was okay. I think he understood that it wasn’t intentional.”
Cano had been enjoying himself at the All-Star Game as opposed to a year ago at Kansas City when he was the target of booing from local fans because as captain of the AL Home Run Derby squad he did not name the Royals’ Billy Butler to the team. Cano got revenge Monday night as a player he promoted for the Home Run Derby team even though he was not on the All-Star squad, Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, won the competition.
Not surprisingly considering the Yankees-Mets rivalry, Cano was booed by most people in the Citi Field crowd in pregame introductions. Conversely, Mariano Rivera was accorded a healthy ovation. In a lot of ways, Mo is his generation’s Yogi Berra, the one Yankee that even fans who hate the Yankees like.
The best was yet to come for Mo. To guarantee that Rivera would pitch in the game, AL manager Jim Leyland of the Tigers put him in the game in the eighth inning. After all, if the NL had gone ahead in the bottom of the eighth and held the lead then there would have been no bottom of the ninth.
Rivera was treated with another standing ovation as he trotted to the mound to his usual entrance song, “Enter Sandman,” by Metallica. When he reached the rubber, Rivera was the only player on the field as the players from both sides stood on the top steps of the dugouts and joined the crowd in showing their appreciation to the game’s all-time saves leader who is calling it a career at the end of this season at the age of 43.
It was quite a sight. Mo acknowledged the applause by removing his cap and waving to each portion of the crowd. Mariano retired the side in order and was given the game ball by first baseman Prince Fielder after the third out of the inning. It was a more pleasant final appearance at Citi Field than the May 28 Subway Series game when he sustained his first blown save of the season in a stunning loss to the Mets.
“I wanted to pitch in the game and in baseball anything can happen,” Rivera said of pitching in the eighth instead of the ninth. “The plan worked out perfectly. This was right up there with winning the World Series. To do this in New York with all the fans here and all the players and the coaches and the managers standing in the dugouts. . .that was priceless.”
There turned out to be a bottom of the ninth inning as the AL had a 3-0 lead. Rangers closer Joe Nathan worked the ninth and can always say he earned a save in a game after Mariano Rivera had pitched, which had not happened since 1996 when Mo was the setup man for Yanks closer John Wetteland.
Rivera was voted the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player and was able to thank the fans and told them it was a “privilege” to pitch in front of them all these years. Let’s face it, fans, the privilege was ours to watch him.
It would figure that the day the competitors in the All-Star Home Run Derby were announced that the Royals would be in town to remind everyone of the situation last year in which Kansas City’s Billy Butler was not picked for the American League squad by captain Robinson Cano, who was the target of boos from the crowds at Kauffman Stadium both nights.
As if to punctuate the situation, Butler clubbed a home run in his first at-bat off the Yankees’ Phil Hughes in the second inning when the Royals took a 2-0 lead in a game interrupted by thunderstorms.
Say this for Butler. He took the high road and in every interview during All-Star week last year asked Royals fans to lay off Cano. The Yankees second baseman was tabbed for the assignment again this year but did not have the same problem for next week’s game at Citi Field because the Mets will be represented in the Home Run Derby. In fact, third baseman David Wright is captain of the National League team.
Joining Cano will be first baseman Chris Davis of the Orioles and Prince Fielder of the Tigers. There is one more spot open as Cano is waiting to hear back from his final choice. Davis leads the AL in homers with 33. Fielder is a two-time winner of the event, last year and in 2009 at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium. Cano won the competition in 2011 at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Wright’s picks as teammates are outfielders Bryce Harper of the Nationals and Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer, both of the Rockies. There are no former winners in the group. Wright came the closest as the runner-up to Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard in 2006 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
The Yankees wasted no time in getting new first baseman Travis Ishikawa, plucked off waivers from the Orioles, into the mix. He was in the lineup batting sixth as he became the 43rd player used this season by the Yankees, who employed 45 all of last season. To make space on the 25-man roster for Ishikawa, the Yankees optioned infielder David Adams to Triple A Scranton.
Robinson Cano probably won’t run into the same problem next month that he had a year ago in Kansas City when he was the captain of the American League team in the Home Run Derby the night before the All-Star Game. You may remember all the booing Cano endured throughout the competition when he was shut out trying to reach the fences.
But that was not why Cano was the object of scorn for fans at Kauffman Stadium. The Yankees second baseman was targeted because he did not include the Royals’ Billy Butler on the squad. Cano’s selections in addition to himself were Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista, Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder and Angels outfielder Mark Trumbo. It was a pretty strong group, but the KC faithful were unforgiving to the point that Cano was still booed last month when the Yankees played at Kauffman Stadium.
“You play for the Yankees, everywhere you go you get booed,” he said.
A similar situation should be avoided this year. Once again, Cano has been named AL captain for the Home Run Derby that will take place July 15, the night before the All-Star Game at Citi Field. The venue this time, however, should keep Cano from getting hammered by fans except, of course, for the usual Bronx cheers reserved for Yankees players from Mets fans. Those who cheer for the Mets cannot get on Cano for his choices, however, because their favorites are in the other league.
The choice of Mets third baseman David Wright as the National League captain takes care of the possibility that the host team will be snubbed at the Home Run Derby. This was a good call by the powers that be in Major League Baseball. Wright is among the most popular players in Mets history and one of the truly good guys in the game. Whatever he decides will win approval from the Mets faithful.
Each captain has the task of selecting three other hitters from his league to compete in the Home Run Derby. Though the event is an individual competition, the leagues are pitted against each other in teams of four. Cano did not clear the fences himself last year, but his AL team clobbered the NL overall, 61-21. The individual winner was Fielder, once of Cano’s picks. Cano won the competition in 2011 at Chase Field in Phoenix. Cano entered play Tuesday night with 15 home runs, tied for fifth in the AL. Wright had eight with only one coming at Citi Field May 27 against the Yankees off Phil Hughes.
Fans may once again participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. You will have the opportunity to select three players in each league. All-Star voting is also still underway. Cano is currently the leader among AL second basemen. Wright ranks second at third base behind the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval. Fans may submit 25 online ballots during the voting period and can earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots.
To access additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, visit http://www.mlb.com and register in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.
It looked as if there might be some fireworks early on in Sunday’s game when Tigers starter Justin Verlander had words with the Yankees’ Kevin Youkilis as the third baseman stood on second base after whacking a double in the first inning.
Lip readers could detect Verlander saying to Youkilis, “Did you say something?” a couple of times. Youk just responded, “What?” Yankees first base coach Mick Kelleher and Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder trotted to the bag to make sure anything between Verlander and Youkilis didn’t get any more heated.
A replay of Youkilis running to first base after the hit showed that he may have said something. At least his mouth was open at one point. Why that bothered Verlander is anyone’s guess. The issue did not carry over into Youkilis’ next at-bat, however. No close pitches by Verlander, who ended up walking Youk in the third inning.
As great a pitcher as Verlander is, he has not been invincible against the Yankees. He entered Sunday’s game with a 5-4 career record against them with a 3.74 ERA and 83 hits allowed, 10 of them home runs, in 77 innings. The Yankees struck for three runs against the righthander in the second inning on an RBI double by Francisco Cervelli and a two-run home run by Jayson Nix. The bomb was good to see from Nix, who had been 0-for-7 with five strikeouts this season. He was starting again at shortstop because Eduardo Nunez still cannot throw with his bruised right bicep.
Much of the concern about the 2013 Yankees has centered on the offense, what with the loss of 194 home runs in players gone from the 2012 team and the season-opening injuries to four key position players – Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson. What the Yankees were counting on to offset the lineup changes was quality pitching. Yet it is the pitching that has been a main culprit in the club’s 1-4 start.
Saturday’s 8-4 loss to the Tigers was the latest example of shabby pitching. The Yankees were hoping for a boost from Phil Hughes, removed from the disabled list and thrust into the rotation over David Phelps, who returned to long relief. Well, Phelps got into the game anyway because Hughes lasted only three batters into the fifth inning and was hit hard – four runs (three earned) and eight hits.
Boone Logan, the Yankees’ lone lefthander in the bullpen, had another troublesome outing against Detroit’s left-handed hitters. Friday, he yielded a three-run home run to Prince Fielder, who was the first batter Logan faced again in the fifth inning Saturday. Logan kept Fielder in the park this time, but a single gave the Detroit first baseman his sixth RBI of the series. Logan gave up an RBI single later in the inning to another left-handed hitter, Andy Dirks.
The Yankees came back from a 5-1 deficit to make it a one-run game by scoring three runs in the sixth. A tiring Max Scherzer walked Robinson Cano and Kevin Youkilis to start the inning and yielded a single to Travis Hafner that resulted in the righthander’s departure. Al Alburquerque walked Vernon Wells to load the bases, but Brennan Boesch lined into a double play. After another walk, Alburquerque gave up a two-run single to Lyle Overbay.
Just when the Yankees got back into the game, Phelps failed to produce a shut-down inning and allowed two runs in the bottom of the sixth as the Tigers began to pull away again. Joba Chamberlain, whose ERA is a glaring 21.60, was wild (two walks, one wild pitch) in allowing a run in the eighth.
The Tigers finished with 17 hits, including four by Miguel Cabrera and three apiece by Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter. It could have been worse for the Yankees, but Detroit had 4-for-15 (.267) with runners in scoring position.
The amount of hits Yankees pitchers have allowed is alarming – 61 in five games, an average of 12.2 knocks per game. Opponents are batting .339 in 180 at-bats against the Yanks. Meanwhile, Yankees hitters are batting only .219 in 160 at-bats. They do have six home runs (Wells got his second of the season Saturday), so the power outage expected has not actually materialized, but the offense has been unable to compensate for the pitching problems. The Yankees have been outscored, 33-17. Detroit relievers have combined for seven scoreless innings against the Yanks the past two games.
Staff ace CC Sabathia gets the opportunity to be a stopper Sunday in the series finale at Comerica Park. One major hurdle, however, is that the Tigers’ scheduled starter is Justin Verlander. It is a dream matchup of former American League Cy Young Award winners, and the pressure is on CC to turn the staff in a positive direction.
The Yankees’ return to Detroit Friday turned out just as negatively as their last visit when the Tigers completed a sweep of the 2012 American League Championship Series. An erratic Ivan Nova failed to last five innings, and the Yankees could not solve Detroit lefthander Drew Smyly, who provided four perfect innings of relief for Doug Fister with five strikeouts.
Prince Fielder did the most damage with a pair of home runs for five RBI. His three-run shot off Boone Logan in the fifth wiped out a 3-2 Yankees lead. Fielder’s two-run blow off Sean Kelley in the seventh opened up a five-run Tigers spread. Kelley had also yielded a solo homer to Alex Avila the previous inning.
The Yankees are hoping to see more of the Ivan Nova of 2011 when he was 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA and less of the Ivan Nova of 2012 when his ERA bloated to 5.04 despite a 12-8 record. The Yankees got the Nova who struggled last year. The righthander fell into deep counts throughout his outing and was up to 96 pitches by the time manager Joe Girardi made the move to Logan with two down in the fifth inning.
Andy Pettitte apart, Yankees starting pitcher has been inconsistent. The rotation will make its first full turn with Phil Hughes being activated to start Saturday at Comerica Park. The Yankees originally planned to have David Phelps start at Detroit while Hughes was to make an injury-rehabilitation start at Triple A Scranton.
The Yankees’ offense was limited to a three-run fifth. Fister wild-pitched one run home. The other two runs were courtesy of Kevin Youkilis’ first home run with the Yankees. The former Boston villain has been the Yankees’ hottest hitter in the first week of the season, batting .375 and slugging .688.
The worst news of the day was that Eduardo Nunez had to leave the game after being struck in the right bicep with a pitch in the fourth inning from Fister, who had also hit Brett Gardner with a pitch in the third. Nova plucked Miguel Cabrera, the last batter he faced, in the bottom of the fifth.
Jayson Nix took over at shortstop and is likely to play there again Saturday. X-rays on Nunez were negative, but such a nasty bruise on his throwing arm won’t heal immediately. Shortstop has been the steadiest of positions for the Yankees since Derek Jeter took over as the regular in 1996, but that is not the case now. Jeter, by the way, just began soft tossing in his rehab in the extended spring training and is not expecting back for several weeks, which makes the absence of Nunez critical at this point.
So what happens if Nix should get hurt Saturday and Nunez is unable to throw? Girardi said he would use catcher Francisco Cervelli as an emergency infielder, not that the skipper wants to see that scenario.
It was good to see Brennan Boesch get a nice hand from the sellout crowd of 45,051 while the other Yankees players were booed during pre-game introductions at the Tigers’ home opener. Boesch played the past three seasons for Detroit and was a crowd favorite. He got his first hit with the Yankees, a single in four at-bats, and made a fence-crashing catch in right field to rob Fielder of a potential extra-base hit in the third inning.
CC Sabathia had been every inch of his 6-foot-7 frame the Yankees’ ace down the stretch of the regular season and in the American League Division Series. What better guy to have on the hill to avert an early exit in the AL Championship Series than the big lefthander whose career record in postseason play for the Yanks entering Game 4 Thursday at Detroit was 7-1 with a 3.09 ERA?
Yet after coming within one out of pitching two complete-game victories over the Orioles in the ALDS, Sabathia’s lone outing in the ALCS was nowhere near up to par. He was hit often and hit hard, and his fourth-inning exit trailing 6-0 was a disappointing sight to Yankees fans.
They had been able to rely on him most of the year, especially in that complete-game gem CC tossed six days ago at Yankee Stadium to finally shake the Orioles off the Yanks’ tail. He even had an extra day’s rest because of Wednesday night’s rainout, although that may not have been to his advantage, since it meant Sabathia could not come back and start Game 7 if the Yankees were fortunate enough to push the series that far.
One of the six runs Sabathia allowed in his 3 2/3 innings was unearned due to an error by first baseman Mark Teixeira, but CC was not at the top of his game. The Yankees had not had the lead in this series and trailed right at the beginning of this game as well when Sabathia gave up a run on two-out singles by Prince Fielder and Delmon Young.
The unearned run came in the third, but Sabathia recovered by getting out of a bases-loaded jam. The next inning, however, CC was lit up on two-run home runs by Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta before yielding a double to Andy Dirks that ended his day. As bad as 6-0 looked, it could have been a lot worse, considering the Tigers stranded eight runners over the first four innings.
Not much fault can be found in Andy Pettitte’s performance Saturday night in ALCS Game 1 even though he stood to get a losing decision when he left the game. The lefthander gave up two runs in the sixth inning on a nook-and-cranny triple by Austin Jackson and a pair of soft singles by Prince Fielder and Delmon Young.
Jackson hit a ball that struck the right field line just past first base and hit a barrier along the stands and rolled along the wall. I have never seen a ball hit in that area or behave that way. Considering Jackson’s considerable speed, a three bagger was the result.
The inning might have been worse for Pettitte, but he worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam by retiring Andy Dirks and Avisail Garcia on infield pops. Andy lasted two out into the seventh when he walked Omar Infante with Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera coming up.
Pettitte just couldn’t get any run support from his teammates, who stranded the bases loaded three times. The Yankees tied a franchise record with 10 grand slams this year but hit only .247 overall with the bags juiced.