Results tagged ‘ Rafael Furcal ’
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.
There were mixed reviews for the Yankees in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Angel Stadium, a 3-1 National League victory.
Joe Girardi became the first American League manager to lose an All-Star Game since the Indians’ Mike Hargrove 14 years ago at Philadelphia. If you don’t think 1996 was a long time ago, consider that only six players on the rosters that year are still active – three from each league – Andy Pettitte, Alex Rodriguez and Ivan Rodriguez from the AL and Chipper Jones, Mark Grudzielanek and Jason Kendall from the NL.
Girardi did a good job getting players into the game. All the position players except for A-Rod did time. Girardi left himself short in the ninth, however, and did not have anyone to pinch run for David Ortiz after he opened the inning with a single. A-Rod was available, but Girardi said he needed him either to pinch run for hamstring-aching Adrian Beltre if he reached base or to be the designated hitter had the game gone into extras.
Beltre did not reach base and struck out. Blue Jays catcher John Buck dumped a flare to right in front of the Cubs’ Marlon Byrd, but he fired a blazer to Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal covering second to force the plodding Ortiz and essentially kill the rally. So Alex Rodriguez never got to swing the bat.
Phil Hughes was hung with the losing decision, the first Yankees pitcher to lose an All-Star Game since Tommy John in 1980 at Dodger Stadium. Hughes came on in the seventh and got the first out before yielding singles to Reds third baseman Scott Rolen and Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday. Rolen’s reputation for savvy base running was evident as he challenged Angels center fielder Torii Hunter and got to third.
Girardi pulled Hughes at that point for White Sox lefthander Matt Thornton, who got righty-swinging Chris Young of the Diamondbacks on a foul pop. Byrd worked out a walk in an eight-pitch at-bat to fill the bases before lefty-swinging catcher Brian McCann cleared them with a double, which earned him the game’s Most Valuable Player Award.
A wild throw in the fifth inning by Dodgers pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo had given Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano the opportunity to drive in what proved to be the only AL run with a sacrifice fly. A base-running blunder by Twins catcher Joe Mauer, thrown out at third base trying to advance on a grounder to Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, spoiled the AL’s chance for another run that inning.
Derek Jeter reached base twice in his three at-bats with a walk and a single. Pettitte pitched the third and looked sharp striking out the Dodgers’ Andre Ethier and the Brewers’ Corey Hart before Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina reached the lefthander for a single. Pettitte ended the inning by retiring Ramirez on a fielder’s choice. Nick Swisher batted as a pinch hitter in the seventh and struck out on a nasty curveball by the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright. CC Sabathia was not eligible for duty because he pitched Sunday.
Dodgers manager Joe Torre must have been stunned to see Andy Pettitte throw the ball all over the infield in the third inning Sunday night.
The ESPN Sunday Night Baseball crew of Joe Morgan, Orel Hershiser and Jon Miller rattled on about the Yankees showing inexperience dealing with the bunting game that is more prevalent in the National League, which was a lot of nonsense. The Yankees only happen to have beaten NL competition more than any team in World Series history.
Besides, Sunday night’s finale of the series at Dodger Stadium was the Yankees’ 18th and last inter-league game of the year and the 12th consecutive game against an NL club. It is not as if they haven’t seen a pitcher bunt before.
You can be sure Torre knows better. His relationship with Pettitte was cemented in Game 5 of the 1996 World Series at Atlanta when the lefthander pitched 8 1/3 innings of a 1-0 victory over the Braves that gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead in games heading back to Yankee Stadium where they would win Game 6 and clinch the Series. Prior to that performance, Torre had viewed Pettitte somewhat skeptically telling friends he thought the pitcher was “soft.”
Baseball people of Torre’s generation don’t know what to make of a player like Pettitte who has deep religious convictions. Such players are often labeled “God squanders” and have their competitive grit questioned. Torre might have viewed Pettitte in that light at one time, but not after Game 5 in ’96. Not ever again. In fact, when the Yankees toyed with the idea of trading Pettitte to Philadelphia during the 1999 season, Torre campaigned hard with the front office to keep Pettitte in pinstripes.
Go back to that Game 5 in Atlanta, and one of the critical innings was the bottom of the sixth in which Pettitte’s defensive ability helped him snuff out a rally. Clinging to a one-run lead, Pettitte gave up singles to opposing pitcher John Smoltz and Marquis Grissom with none out. Mark Lemke attempted to sacrifice the runners over, but Pettitte pounded on the bunt and quickly threw to Charlie Hayes at third base to cut down Smoltz, the lead runner. Pettitte then handled a shot to the box by Chipper Jones and turned to second to start an inning-ending double play.
So you can imagine what might have been going through Torre’s mind Sunday night watching Pettitte commit two throwing errors on bunt fielding plays in the third. Reed Johnson was on second base after a leadoff double when Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw bunted in front of the plate. Pettitte tried for the lead runner at third, but Alex Rodriguez, who had charged for the bunt, was back pedaling to the bag and could not lunge for the throw that was wide to his left and ended up down the left field line, allowing Reed to score.
Rafael Furcal then bunted for a hit and got one. A third consecutive bunt came from Ronnie Belliard. Pettitte fielded the ball, but his throw to first on the sacrifice was into the runner and eluded second baseman Robinson Cano, who originally was charged with an error which the official score correctly amended later by assigning it to Pettitte. A run scored on that play, and Furcal was able to get to third from where he scored on a sacrifice fly by Andre Ethier.
A surprisingly sloppy inning by one of Joe Torre’s favorite players turned his reunion weekend with the Yankees in the Dodgers’ favor temporarily. The Yankees’ four-run uprising in the ninth against Jonathan Broxton, in a non-save situation, featured major contributions by Curtis Granderson, Chad Huffman and Colin Curtis, three Yankees never managed by Torre.
Huffman drove in two runs and Curtis one. A big mistake was by James Loney, the Dodgers first baseman who lost precious time stepping on the bag on Curtis’ grounder and was late throwing home as Granderson scored the tying run. Can’t these NL players handle balls in the infield?
Alex Rodriguez didn’t go in for the Joe Torre love fest. While many of the Yankees spoke glowingly of their former manager whom they would encounter this weekend against the Dodgers, A-Rod tersely pointed out that it was just another series for him.
He took the same attitude into Friday night’s game and went about his business professionally. Rodriguez felt the best route to take was to say nothing and let his game do the talking. Why harp about how Torre treated him in his book last year bringing up the “A-fraud” nickname or review ancient history about being demoted to the eighth spot in the lineup during the American League Division Series against Detroit in 2006?
Rodriguez preferred to stay in the present, and in doing so made it a grim night for Torre and the Dodgers. A-Rod had a major hand in both Yankees runs of their 2-1 victory in a game that lived up to the hype. With Torre and his bench coach Don Mattingly beside him, this series has an additional marquee value, and the game ended with both former Yankees icons livid over the final out.
To be fair, they had a point. Mariano Rivera, who notched his 17th save by striking out the side in the ninth inning, doesn’t need any help out there, but he got it from plate umpire Phil Cuzzi, whose strike zone for the last batter, James Loney, clearly expanded. A pitch above the letters and another below the knees were called strikes. Loney tossed his bat and helmet in disgust and was ejected while Torre and Mattingly poured it on verbally to Cuzzi.
It was a nasty end to a wonderful game. CC Sabathia, completing his spotless June (5-0, 2.13 ERA in five starts), was reached for a first-inning run on a single by Manny Ramirez but did not allow a runner to get into scoring position from the third through the eighth. CC also backed up his hitters. Robinson Cano was hit in the rump by a pitch in the fourth inning by Dodgers starter Vicente Padilla, who has a history of throwing at batters and twice hit Mark Teixeira in a game last year when the pitcher was with the Rangers.
But this was a game in a National League yard – no designated hitter, the pitcher has to bat. Sabathia retaliated in the fifth by hitting Padilla below the left knee. The pitchers glared at each other, and a warning was issued. CC had the additional satisfaction of starting a double play on a grounder to the box by Rafael Furcal to end the inning. Both pitchers went back to pitching after that.
Rodriguez, who has been hitting the ball to right-center more often recently, doubled to that spot leading off the second inning and scored on a one-out single by Jorge Posada. A-Rod pulled the ball in the sixth, driving a first-pitch fastball into the left field bleachers for his 10th home run of the season and career No. 593. Sabathia made the run hold up.
The ball went to Mo in the ninth with Manny leading off. Dodger Stadium fans who might have taken their usual seventh-inning exit missed a beauty as Rivera struck out Ramirez for the 13th time in 39 career at-bats. Mo struck out Matt Kemp after that and then finished it off with Loney.
One of baseball’s oldest rivalries had a new episode to dissect. It should be an interesting weekend.