Browsing Posts in Game Recaps

Considering his age (40) and pre-season role as a pinch hitter, it was extremely easy to write off Raul Ibanez as a non-factor for the 2012 New York Yankees. However, after Brett Gardner suffered a wrist injury, Ibanez was thrust into the everyday lineup and has delivered time after time. While he doesn’t present much value defensively, Ibanez has carried a big stick, clubbing 12 home runs in 228 at-bats. Last night’s eighth inning grand slam off of Jason Frasor broke a 2-2 tie as the Yankees notched their AL-best 55th victory. 

While Ibanez has had his share of adventures in left field, the Yankees couldn’t ask for more out of their 40-year-old journeyman. It’s hard to believe that Ibanez has started 46 games in left field and only served as the DH 14 times. While Ibanez has clearly surpassed his pre-season expectations, Yankee fans will continue to expect more clutch hitting (and serviceable defensive play) from their left-handed masher. A few balls deposited in the right field stands won’t be too shabby, either.

Andy Pettitte makes pitching look so easy. As a spectator tonight, I watched Andy methodically work through 7+ innings. Andy scattered seven hits and one walk while striking out eight Royal hitters. Andy tiptoed his way in and out of danger, pacing the Yanks to a comfortable 8-3 win. Andy spent his evening nibbling corners and producing big outs in big spots. This was the type of start Yankee fans are accustomed to seeing from #46.

The Yankee offense, namely A-Rod, gave Andy some breathing room early on. A-Rod launched two long home runs in his first at-bats, silencing critics who claim his power is gone. The Grandy Man also cranked his 14th home run of the season and Derek Jeter collected three hits in five at-bats. 

The Yankees will utilize Thursday as a travel day as they head out West to take on the Oakland Athletics. 

Andy Pettitte absolutely delivered tonight during the Yanks’ 4-0 win over the Cincy Reds. Andy turned back the clock as he threw eight shutout innings and recorded his 241st career win. Andy’s cutter was sharp as he recorded eight strikeouts in his first five frames. Andy’s final line (8 IPs, 4 Hs, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 Ks) was easily the best performance by a Yankee SP this season. 

Side Note: I hate Interleague play, but Yankee fans need to see the Game’s best talent on display. Reds’ first baseman, Joey Votto, is one of the game’s best young talents. This is likely the only time we’ll see Votto in his prime at Yankee Stadium. Enjoy watching him play this weekend. 

The Yankees failed to sweep the Mariners, dropping the final game of this three-game set, 6-2. However, the story of this game was the return of Andrew Eugene Pettitte. After briefly retiring for a season, Pettitte took the ball and gave the Yanks 6 1/3 innings of four-run ball. Pettitte didn’t give up a hit through three innings, but gave up five hits in the sixth inning, including a two-run HR. Pettitte left in the seventh with the Yanks trailing, 4-1.

Overall, I really can’t be too upset with Andy’s return. Justin Smoak’s two-run homer in the fourth inning barely cleared the right field fence. Andy failed to cover first base on a grounder to Teix in the fifth, but was bailed out by Russell Martin, who nabbed the runner on a stolen base attempt. Casper Wells hit a home run off the right field foul pole in the sixth to increase the Mariner lead to three. Andy retired the first runner in the seventh before being lifted and receiving a standing ovation.

Andy’s fastball velocity was around 88-89 MPH while his slider and curve ball were consistently 81, 75 MPH, respectively. Pettitte gave up seven hits and walked three, but no one is expecting dominant outings from Pettitte. Andy gave the Yankees a chance to win this game and that’s all we can ask for. His next start will come on Friday against the Reds, so stayed tuned. 

When the Yankee bullpen is taxed, Joe Girardi knows that CC Sabathia has the ability to deliver lengthy, quality outings. In the rubber game of a three-game set against Tampa Bay, Big C just did that. Sabathia gave the Yanks eight innings of two run ball, striking out ten Rays, resulting in a 5-2 Yankee win. Sabathia threw 120 pitches and looked really dominant for the first time this season. Rafael Soriano closed it out, picking up his first save of the season. David Robertson wasn’t available as he threw the previous two nights. 

I didn’t write about David Roberston’s first blown save last night because in reality, it’s not a big deal. Robertson gave up his first earned run since last August (!!) and some growing pains are expected as he transitions to the ninth. I’m not here to make excuses for him, but Robertson threw 30 pitches the night before and will need time to get adjusted to the ninth inning. In addition, I tweeted a fun fact about one Yankee closer last night—

In 1997, Mariano Rivera blew two of his first four save opportunities as ‘The Man’

Despite initial struggles, Mariano hasn’t had that bad of a career (LOL). Lay off Roberston–he’ll be fine as the new Yankee closer. He has the best stuff in the bullpen and his strikeout rate is Craig Kimbrel, Kenley Jansen-esqe. 

Overall, I’ll take two out of three against Tampa Bay every time. This weekend, the Mariners will come in for three games. The Yankees will get to see their old pal, Felix Hernandez tomorrow night as well. Jesus Montero will make his 2012 Bronx debut in a Seattle Mariner uniform. 

The Yankees played home run derby today as they topped the Royals in the final game of this four-game set, 10-4. Robbie Cano delivered a much needed grand slam while A-Rod and Swisher also homered for the Bombers. While the offensive fireworks were nice, Phil Hughes was the story of this game.

Yankee fans have been very, very critical of Mr. Hughes this season. Coming into this game, Hughes dropped four of his first five decisions and carried an ERA over seven. But today, Hughes gave the Bombers 6 2/3 innings of hard work. He threw 116 pitches, issuing one walk while striking out seven. More importantly, Hughes’ velocity was sitting around 95 MPH for the entire game. Hughes’ absent velocity has been a cause for concern, but today’s outing is hopefully a sign of things to come.

I don’t get too caught up over wins and losses for pitchers, but strong, quality starts are encouraging. With his next three starts coming against the Mariners, Blue Jays, and Royals, look for Hughes to build off of this one and forget about his ugly April.

As John Sterling normally says, ‘Well, you just can’t predict baseball, Suzyn’–and today proved why. In addition to Phil Humber tossing the 21st perfect game in the Major League history, the Yankees overcame a 9-0 deficit by tallying 15 unanswered runs as they embarassed the Red Sox, 15-9. The Yanks did their damage in the seventh and eighth innings, scoring seven runs in each frame. Teix hit two homers, including one nice opposite field shot from the left side. Nick Swisher crushed a grand slam in the eighth to give the Yanks a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Ex-Yank, Alfredo Aceves served up the Swisheroo bomb and failed to record an out in his brief appearance. 

After the game, the Red Sox brain trust had a ‘closed door’ meeting to discuss what the hell happened. However, it’s pretty easy to see that the Red Sox relievers just can’t get anyone out. The Sox back end of the pen is filled with mediocre options while the rotation hasn’t been much better. Overall, Sox GM Ben Cherington failed to add quality depth in the off-season–and his team is paying big time. With Papelbon now pitching for the Phillies, the Sox don’t have an answer for the ninth inning. 

As a Yankee fan, I can’t stop laughing about this weekend’s events. First, the Red Sox have their little ceremony with all of their ex-players (and Tito Franconer who that fans obviously want back). Kevin Millar brings up Karim Garcia’s brawl–and the Yanks respond in typical Yankee fashion–hanging up two Ws. The Red Sox ship is quickly filling up with water and it hasn’t even left the Boston Harbor yet. With no captain on board, this ship isn’t going anywhere–and that’s totally fine with me. 

Big C will get to toss the pill tomorrow night on the national stage against Dan Bard (the man who should be closing). First pitch, 8:05 PM.

Love it or hate it, Joe Girardi’s Binder of Fun is here to stay. Luckily for the Bombers, the BoF was good on this night.

With the game tied at four in bottom of the ninth. two runners on-base and two out, Binder Joe elected to intentionally walk Nick Markakis (effectively loading the bases) to get to Adam Jones. Rafael Soriano, who is dealing with a chipped finger nail (boo hoo), was a bit erratic, but that didn’t slow down the BoF. Girardi liked the righty-on-righty match-up of Soriano vs. Jones–and Soriano recorded a game saving strikeout. 

On the surface, this move was very, very unorthodox and a combination of things could have ended the game. Namely, a passed ball, any hit, a walk, balk, error, etc. could have ended in. I didn’t like the move at the time, but hey, it worked out and Girardi is going to live and die by the BoF. 

Nick Swisher delivered with a mammoth two run, home run in the Top of 10, propelling the Yanks to a sweep of the Birds. Swisher’s hit made Girardi’s decision look brilliant and gave the Yankees a lot of momentum as they head home to take on the Angels. 

The BoF wasn’t good to Joe in his first game against the Rays (Carlos Pena says hello), but heading home with a 3-3 record isn’t the worst thing in the world. 

Going forward, Yankee fans are going to have a love-hate relationship with the BoF. Baseball is a game that is completely predicated by statistics and Girardi has made it clear that he will live (and die) by those numbers. 

Let’s start with a quote from one of my favorite callers on WFAN. …

Youah a losah! Youah no good! I’ve been sayin’ it fa years!- Joe D in Brooklyn

More times than not, Joe D is referencing shock jock, Craig Carton of the Boomer & Carton show. But I don’t think Joe D would mind if the city of New York stole the phrase and directed it squarely at Mr. Rodriguez. Plain and simple, A-Rod once again came up small in the playoffs. Bases loaded. One out. A-Rod at the dish. $31 million man.

K-city baby. Sit down A-Rod. Goodnight, da lights….

Worth A Thousand Words--AP Photo

 

Youah a losah! Youah no good! I’ve been sayin’ it fa years!

Outside of his heroics in 2009, A-Rod always comes up small in the playoffs. If you take out A-Rod’s 2009 run, he is a career .251 hitter with 7 HRs and 23 RBIs in 52 games. Putrid numbers. A-Rod made the final out last season in Texas. On a strikeout. And he made the final last season at home. On a strikeout. Fitting, isn’t it?

I’ll admit that I’m one of the biggest A-Rod apologists you’ll ever meet. I always defend A-Rod, support him, love him, tell him it’s going to be ok. But after tonight, I’m finished with him, his antics, his injuries. When you get paid more than anyone, expectations are different and he just hasn’t met those expectations.

And the worst part about it is–we are stuck with him for another six years. That’s right, six!

Youah a losah! Youah no good! I’ve been sayin’ it fa years!

There are a million other things to get to with this game, but I think we all need time to digest. The Yankees were clearly put in an odd spot when Nova left with forearm tightness. I thought Girardi managed the pen alright. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible. I didn’t agree lifting Phil Hughes in favor of Boone Logan to face Alex Avila, who hasn’t recorded a hit this series.

Watching CC pitch in relief was definitely odd. He didn’t look comfortable. He gave up the decisive run to lose the game.

I absolutely have no faith in Swisher during the playoffs. He’s a fun, charming dude and great for the clubhouse, but he doesn’t have one clutch bone is his body. He has an $12 million option for 2012. I’m 50/50 on whether I want him back.

Two Yankee icons will not be back next season. Longtime trainer, Gene Monohan (who won the Price is Right showcase earlier), and Jorge Posada will not be back. In his prime, Sada was the best all-around catcher in the game. He’ll be missed.

Finally, it’s horrible that the Yankees went down to the Tigers AND only saw Justin Verlander once. Granted, he dominated them, but in a five-gamer, you should see the opponent’s ace twice. The rain helped the Yanks, but they didn’t produce.

Overall, it was a wild ride this season. Some players greatly exceeded expectations while others floundered. Some kids showed great promise while other vets stunk up the joint. The playoffs are always a crapshoot and the hot team will always advance. That team just wasn’t the Yankees this year.

TBS’ Brian Anderson put it best: “You have got to tip your cap to AJ Burnett”. Allan James Burnett – scapegoat, head case, and an afterthought – came through with an undeniably clutch start to lead the New York Yankees in a 7-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers. With the victory, the Yankees and Tigers are now tied at 2-2 a piece in the best of five series, with the winner advancing to the ALCS to square off the Texas Rangers.

AJ is now AJ - AP

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