Results tagged ‘ U.S. Cellular Field ’
Travis Hafner had a somewhat historic moment Monday with his first-inning home run in the Yankees’ 11-6 victory over the Indians. It marked only the second time in major league history that a player homered in his first at-bat of the first game played against a former club for which he had hit at least 200 career home runs.
Hafner hit exactly that number in his 10 seasons in Cleveland. His bomb at Progressive Field Monday gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead. The only other player to do what Hafner did was Frank Thomas May 22, 2006 for the Athletics against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. Thomas had hit 448 home runs during his 16 seasons in Chicago.
Hafner’s homer was the 100th of his career at Progressive Field, the third highest total in that yard behind only Jim Thome (190) and Manny Ramirez (132).
Hafner had the opportunity for another three-run home run in the first inning Tuesday night when he came to bat with one out and runners on first and third, but he grounded into a double play.
The Yankees encountered a severe bump in the road in Chicago. The previous time the Yankees faced a division leader, American League West-leading Texas, they took three of four from the Rangers at Yankee Stadium. The AL Central-leading White Sox proved stiffer competition in sweeping the three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field.
It marked the first time the Yankees were swept in a series of at least three games by the White Sox since Chicago won a four-game set June 15-18, 2000 at the Stadium. The Yanks were swept in a series of at least three games at the Cell for the first time since Aug. 6-8, 1991. The sweep shrunk the Yankees’ lead in the AL East to three games over the Rays.
They were beaten at their own game by the White Sox, who outhomered the Yankees, 7-4, in the series. The Chisox got homers from seven different players, including Alex Rios’ blow off Phil Hughes that unlocked a 1-1 game in the sixth inning in Wednesday night’s finale. Three of the Yankees’ homers were by Derek Jeter, who homered in three straight games for the first time in his career.
The Captain’s dinger with one out in the sixth that tied the score was the only blemish on an overpowering outing by Sox starter Chris Sale, 23, a legitimate AL Cy Young Award candidate who improved his record to 15-4 with a 2.65 ERA. The 6-foot-6 lefthander gave up three hits and one walk with 13 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings, including Ichiro Suzuki three times and Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Casey McGehee twice apiece. Jeter was the only Yankees hitter that Sale did not fan. Overall, the Yankees struck out 15 times.
It was a tough loss for Hughes (12-11), who allowed five hits and two walks with five strikeouts in seven innings. He gave up a run in the second on a sacrifice fly by Kevin Youkilis that scored Gordon Beckham, who had led off the inning with a double.
DeWayne Wise, who tormented his former teammates throughout the series (7-for-14, one home run, two RBI, two runs, one stolen base), bunted for a single that sent Beckham to third. The hit proved a gift because video replays indicated that first base umpire Bill Welke blew the call and Wise should have been called out. It didn’t affect the game, however, because even if Wise had been out Beckham would have crossed to third base anyway and have been in position to score on the Youkilis fly ball.
The White Sox entered the set coming off a disastrous series at Kansas City where they were swept and played shabbily. Clearly, they returned to form against the Yankees and raised their lead in the AL Central to two games over the Tigers.
The Yankees meanwhile get their first day off in 20 days Thursday. They sure can use one.
So much for A.J. Burnett ending his 13-start winless streak in August as he pitched himself out of Wednesday night’s game at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field. Burnett was furnished a 13-1 lead in the third inning, but he allowed the White Sox to get too close for comfort and failed to last the five innings required for a starting pitcher to get a winning decision.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was justified with the quick hook one out into the fifth inning and two outs shy of what Burnett needed to be in line for a W, which he had not had in August since 2008. Girardi summoned Corey Wade from the bullpen after Burnett was tagged for three quick hits and a run as the game was unraveling.
The White Sox had put up a five-spot against A.J. in the fourth and when they kept whacking him there was no real alternative for Girardi but to turn to a pitcher who could get some outs. Burnett was torched for seven runs and 13 hits in 4 1/3 innings and left the game with runners on second and third with one out. It could have easily been a four-run game had not Wade restored some order and kept the Yankees’ lead at 13-7.
Something a coach told me years ago has always stayed with me. “There’s nothing like a little competition,” he said.
That’s one thing about baseball. Even in an era of guaranteed contracts, each player is always playing for his job. There always seems to be somebody right behind your back waiting for a chance to take your place.
Perhaps that thought hit Phil Hughes this week when the Yankees recalled Ivan Nova from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to pitch the evening portion of Saturday’s dual-admission doubleheader against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Nova pitched well, too, which was no surprise considering he was the team’s second leading winner at the time he was optioned to make roster space for Hughes, who has been only okay since returning from the disabled list.
Perhaps it was just coincidence, but in his first mound appearance since Nova worked himself back into the rotation mix Hughes resembled the pitcher he was in 2010 when he won 18 games. Hughes had his most muscular fastball of the season and seemed to pitch with a renewed purpose Tuesday night at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field.
Granted, the White Sox don’t exactly throw Murderers’ Row out there, but even they got a couple of runs off Cy Young Award candidate CC Sabathia Monday night. Not against Hughes, though. Phil limited the Chisox to three singles through six innings before rain halted play. He did not walk a batter and struck out four while throwing an economic 65 pitches.
Hughes could have probably given the Yankees another inning or two except for the weather brains at the Cell who ordered the field covered before the game in preparation for thunderstorm activity that did not surface for hours. If not for the 45-minute delay despite not a drop of rain before the first pitch, the teams might have avoided another delay when the rain finally arrived with a vengeance in the middle of the seventh inning and finished off Hughes’ night. And everyone else’s as the Yankees posted a rain-shortened, 6-0 victory.
Derek Jeter, star of the current HBO documentary about his quest for 3,000 hits, got the ball rolling in the first inning for the Yankees with a leadoff single for career hit No. 3,021 that pushed him past Rafael Palmeiro and into 24th place on the all-time list. Jeter, who scored on a two-out double by Robinson Cano, got another hit in the third, a double, for No. 3,022, which left him one hit behind No. 23, Hall of Famer Lou Brock.
Mark Teixeira moved to the top of another career list when his two home runs that brought his season total to 31, one behind American League leader Juan Bautista of the Blue Jays. Tex won a 10-pitch duel with White Sox starter John Danks in the third inning and homered from the right side of the plate.
Batting left-handed against White Sox reliever Jason Frasor in the seventh, Teixeira turned around a 94-mph fastball for another home run. It marked the 12th time Tex has homered from each side of the plate in the same game, which established a major-league record. Teixeira had previously been tied for the mark with Hall of Famer Eddie Murray and Chili Davis.
Teixeira reached the 30-homer plateau for his seventh consecutive season and his third with the Yankees. He is only the fourth player to surpass 30 in each of his first three seasons with the Yankees, joining Babe Ruth, Roger Maris and Alex Rodriguez.
The long ball was a major part of the Yanks’ offense as Russell Martin cracked his 11th home run of the season and his first in 22 games and 82 at-bats since June 29.
While it is a bit early to talk about the year 2012, the Yankees have agreed to play exhibition games at 1:10 p.m. April 1 and at 7:10 p.m. April 2 next year at the Marlins’ new ballpark in Miami. The Yankees are old hands at this. As far back as 1965, they opened the old Houston Astrodome with an exhibition game.
About 25,000 tickets will be available for the April 1 game and 30,000 for the April 2 game. The Marlins’ 2012 season-ticket holders will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets to the two exhibition games. A limited number of tickets will go on sale to the general public next spring. The ballpark, located near downtown Miami, is around three-quarters complete, according to the Marlins.
The Yankees came roaring out of July with victories in their last three games and six in eight to finish the month 16-11, increasing their major-league record for consecutive winnings Julys to 19.
To do as well in August, however, the Yankees will have to be road warriors. The schedule bites them this month as the Yankees will have to play 70 percent of their August games on the road. Over the final 17 games of the month, the Yankees will play 14 away from Yankee Stadium.
The out-of-town odyssey began Monday night at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field in the first game of a four-game series to be followed by a three-game set at Boston, the first of two such meetings between the Yanks and the Red Sox at Fenway Park this month (the second pushes into Sept. 1).
The Yankees have been no slouches away from home. Their 27-20 record on the road is second only to the 33-21 mark of the Red Sox. The Yanks’ 47 road games are the fewest in the majors as they have 34 of their remaining 56 games (60.7%) on the road.
August has been an august month recently for the Yankees. They have had a winning record in August in 14 of the past 15 seasons. The one exception was 2008 when they were 13-15.
The Yankees had to start the trip without Derek Jeter in the lineup. He was struck in the right middle finger by a pitch Sunday against the Orioles. It was the same finger Jeter injured on a fielding play Saturday night.
The Yankees caught a break in that White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko was also missing in action. He, too, was a victim of being hit by a pitch, near the left knee, Sunday against the Red Sox. Konerko is a big loss to the White Sox. He leads them in almost every offensive category and is a .315 hitter with 20 home runs and 60 RBI in 321 career at-bats against the Yankees.
Konerko’s absence was felt right away. Adam Dunn, who has had a brutal year, was playing first base and had the ball hit past him by three of the Yankees’ first four hitters. Dunn, a free-agent bust who is batting .165 with 10 home runs and 38 RBI in 310 at-bats primarily as the designated hitter, got a rare start against a left-handed pitcher. He has only three hits in 73 at-bats (.041) this year against lefties.
And that was no ordinary lefty out there but CC Sabathia, who was starting a stretch in which the Yankees will go with a six-man rotation. After the starts by Phil Hughes Tuesday night and A.J. Burnett Wednesday night, Yankees manager Joe Girardi will insert Ivan Nova Thursday night and give Bartolo Colon an extra day’s rest before his start Friday night at Fenway. Freddy Garcia will also get an extra day’s rest for his start Sunday night after Sabathia’s start Saturday on his regular turn.
More good news for Yankees fans came with the announcement that Alex Rodriguez, who had surgery July 11 to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee, will begin working out Thursday at the minor-league facility in Tampa, Fla. The Yankees hope to have the three-time Most Valuable Player back before the month is out.
I need to take issue with a discussion on YES between Michael Kay and Ken Singleton on Sunday’s telecast of the Yankees-White Sox game. It is not a criticism but rather an explanation or, better put, an attempt at one.
Former White Sox first baseman Frank Thomas, a two-time American League Most Valuable Player, was honored Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field and had his uniform No. 35 retired. In reviewing Thomas’ career, Kay and Singleton fittingly talked about his credentials as a candidate for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. There was even a text-message question to viewers on the topic.
Thomas retired after the 2008 season and will be eligible for consideration by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on the 2014 ballot. I have no dispute here about Thomas’ legitimacy as a candidate for first-ballot election. Interestingly, the result of the text poll was 71 percent yes and 29 percent no, which means that according to texters the “Big Hurt” is not first-ballot worthy, since 75 percent of ballots cast is required for election.
But in the discussion about the writers’ vote, Kay and Singleton save some examples of first-ballot electees and questioned why Joe DiMaggio isn’t among them. At one point, Singleton said, “What were the writers thinking?”
Well, here goes. First off, the rules were different when DiMaggio, an obvious choice for the Hall of Fame if there ever was one, first went on the ballot, which was 1953. He had retired after the 1951 season when he was only 37 years old (the 1952 ballot had already been formed by the time of the announcement, which is why he was not on it).
Unlike today, there was no five-year waiting period before a player become eligible for the ballot. DiMaggio went on the ballot one year after he retired. Remember, no one had been elected on the first ballot up to that time since the original class of 1936 (Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson). Lou Gehrig was elected by acclamation by the BBWAA in 1939.
According to veteran writers I talked to over the years, it was not uncommon for voters at that time to dismiss first-year candidates out of the thinking that the player might un-retire. There was no five-percent rule at the time, either, which came about in the mid 1980s requiring candidates to get at least five percent of the vote to stay on the ballot.
There was apparently some feeling at the time that DiMaggio, still in his 30s, might get himself back in shape and return to the Yankees. This was a period not too far removed from World War II when former players, most notably Jimmie Foxx, did precisely that.
In fact, that is one of the reasons the five-year rule came into being in 1954, which was DiMaggio’s second year on the ballot. Joe D. was actually the first test case. The writers allowed anyone who had received more than 100 votes on a previous ballot to be grand-fathered onto the ballot without having to wait five years. The only player to which that applied was DiMaggio, who came close to being elected in 1954 (69.4 percent) before making it in 1955 (88.8).
Another rule of thought in voting in those years was that players had to “wait their turn.” One writer once told me that he could not vote for DiMaggio while Joe Cronin and Hank Greenberg, who preceded Joe D. to the majors by quite a few years (10 for Cronin, six for Greenberg) were not yet in. They were elected in 1956, the year after the “Yankee Clipper.”
I am by no means saying that I agree with the thinking of that time, only that it was different. I am fairly confident that if DiMaggio did not go on the ballot until 1957 in satisfying the five-year waiting period he would have been elected on the first ballot. As it was, he got into the Hall two years earlier than that.
U.S. Cellular Field played like Wrigley Field Saturday night. Illinois native Joe Girardi knows all about nights like this, which should give him pause if he is tempted to go home next year and manage the Cubs. Remember, Joe, you can’t bring Mariano Rivera with you.
Such games as Saturday night’s 12-9 slugfest are why Yankees fans celebrate having Rivera as their closer. He should have been cooling his heels in the bullpen, but relievers Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson had their first off nights in quite a while as the White Sox kept creeping back into the game. Mo was summoned in the ninth after Robertson gave up a home run, a triple and a single to the first three batters.
Rivera got two quick outs inducing a grounder from Carlos Quentin that was turned into a double play. Ramon Castro kept the inning alive with a single, and Andruw Jones, who turned back the clock with a perfect night (home run, double, single, two bases on balls, two RBI) worked out a walk, which brought the potential tying run to the plate. That was Mark Teahen, who finally ended it with a soft liner to second baseman Robinson Cano.
In the middle of the eighth inning, this looked like a piece of cake for the Yankees, who had an 11-5 lead with CC Sabathia becoming the first Yankees starter in eight games to pitch beyond the sixth inning. Sabathia almost let all of a 6-1, third-inning lead get away as a pair of two-run home runs by Paul Konerko and Jones got the White Sox to 6-5 in the fourth.
Two-run homers by Nick Swisher in the first, Eduardo Nunez (career No. 1) in the second and Marcus Thames (the first of two bombs for him in the game) in the third fashioned the early lead. For all that power, the biggest hit of the game for the Yankees was a two-out, two-run double by Jorge Posada in the fifth. It unnerved reliever Tony Pena, who walked the next two hitters and gave up a two-run single to Nunez, the rookie third baseman who had a game worthy of Alex Rodriguez.
Sabathia sort of sauntered his way over the first four innings, but after Jones’ home run CC struck out seven of the next 11 hitters and got through the seventh without yielding another run. His fifth straight victory raised his season mark to 18-5 with a 3.14 ERA, which are surely Cy Young Award numbers. Other impressive figures for Sabathia are a 38-10 career mark in August with a 3.14 ERA, a 16-4 lifetime record against the White Sox with a 3.72 ERA, including 9-1 with a 3.33 ERA at the Cell.
Still, he had to sweat through the later innings as the bullpen struggled until you know who did what he does best.
It is fairly well known that there is no love lost between the Yankees’ Nick Swisher and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. In his one season in Chicago, Swisher batted .219 and was banished to Guillen’s bench. When the Yankees traded for Swisher after the 2008 season, Guillen was not sorry to see him go.
Swisher has been able to garner a healthy measure of satisfaction the past two seasons by making life uncomfortable for Guillen in games between the Yankees and the White Sox. The latest dose of pain to the colorful manager came in the first inning Saturday night when Swisher slammed a two-run home run in the first inning. Swish also homered and doubled Friday night for the Yankees’ only two extra-base hits in a 9-4 loss.
Remember, Swisher wasn’t able to play Wednesday night at Toronto because of a swollen left knee, the result of his fouling a ball off it the night before that knocked him out of the game. An open date Thursday gave Swisher added time to rest the knee because there was no way he was not getting into the lineup at U.S. Cellular Field, not when he had another opportunity to torment Guillen.
The home runs Friday and Saturday nights raised Swisher’s total against the White Sox the past two seasons to five in 38 at-bats. Take that, Oz.
Are you ready for Manny Ramirez to give the Yankees headaches on a regular basis again?
The Dodgers reportedly did the expected Wednesday by placing Ramirez on waivers. The “Mannywood” days in Los Angeles are clearly over, and the former Red Sox slugger is likely to finish the season elsewhere, most likely back in the American League.
All the National League clubs would have to pass on Ramirez before he could become available to an AL team, but there is a good chance of that happening. Ramirez is a horror show in the outfield when healthy and even more of a liability now with a testy right calf that landed him on the disabled list in July and kept him sidelined until this week.
Ramirez remains a dangerous offensive player, so his greatest value would be to an AL team. Injuries have limited his play to 63 games, but Ramirez has batted .306 with eight home runs and 39 RBI. The White Sox and the Rays both expressed interest in Ramirez before the July 31 trade deadline but could not work out a deal.
From the Yankees’ standpoint, they would rather see him go to Chicago than Tampa Bay even though they will play over White Sox over the weekend. The Yankees can only hope that if Ramirez ends up at U.S. Cellular Field it will be after they leave town.
Ramirez, a native New Yorker who hails from the Washington Heights neighborhood of upper Manhattan not far from Yankee Stadium, has been a Yankee killer throughout his career. In 733 liftetime at-bats against the Yankees, Ramirez is a .322 hitter with a .413 on-base average, .619 slugging percentage, 55 home runs and 165 RBI. Seeing him with the Rays, who could use him as a fulltime designated hitter, would be upsetting to the Yankees.
Waiver claims are based on the reverse order of the standings, so the White Sox would get a crack at claiming Ramirez before the Rays. The Yankees will just have to watch and wait.