June 2010

Yankees’ Miracle Victory Over Dodgers Has Many Heroes

GAME 75
YANKEES 8, DODGERS 6

                        “It ain’t over ’til it’s over”
                                                          – Yogi Berra

It wasn’t just Alex Rodriguez’s one-out single or
Curtis Granderson’s magnificent battle to draw a walk to load the bases or David Huffman’s bases-loaded two-run single or even Colin Curtis’ 10-pitch at-bat to tie the game on a infield grounder.
It was the team as a whole and the New York Yankees proved to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night that they have a team with dogged resolve.
Down 6-2 in the top of the ninth inning with Dodgers’ closer Jonathan Broxton on the mound the Yankees rallied for four runs to tie the game and make a hero out Robinson Cano in the 10th inning.
Cano, who was 0-for-11 in his career against Dodger left-hander George Sherrill, laced a 0-1 pitch into the left-centerfield pavilion with Alex Rodriguez on base to give the Yankees an 8-6 come-from-behind victory over the incredulous Dodgers and manager Joe Torre.
Mariano Rivera (2-1) pitched two scoreless innings in relief to earn the victory. Ramon Troncoso (1-2) was saddled with the hard-luck loss as the Yankees took the three-game series 2-1 and ended their road trip at 4-2.
With the victory the Yankees raised their season record to 47-28 and maintained their two-game lead over the Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The Tampa Bay Rays are three games out. Meanwhile, the Dodgers, who have lost eight their last 10 games, are now 40-35 and fading in the National League West.
Rodriguez probably said it best after the game: “It took 25 guys, and the bullpen did a really nice job, and great at-bats late in the game.”
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Games like this only grow the MVP credentials for Cano. Cano was 0-for-3 in the game until the ninth inning when he doubled in Rodriguez to make the score 6-3. His two-run home run in the ninth gave the Yankees their 8-6 margin of victory. Cano now has a team-leading 15 home runs and he is second to Rodriguez in RBIs with 53. By the way he also leads the majors with a .359 average. Despite being charged with an error in the game, Cano has committed only two errors all season.
  • Rodriguez also wrapped up a series of which he can be proud. If he wanted to show Torre up he did. Rodriguez was 5-for-13 (.385) with two home runs and four RBIs. In Sunday’s game he was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer in the sixth inning and he scored three runs. Rodriguez raised his batting average to .285 over the weekend.
  • You can’t say enpough about the ninth-inning at-bats off Broxton by rookies Chad Huffman and Colin Curtis. Huffman laced a 1-1 pitch into right-field to score Cano and Jorge Posada to make the score 6-5. Curtis fouled off four consecutive 3-2 offerings before grounding a ball to James Loney at first base. Loney stepped on the bag to retire Curtis for the second out but Granderson scored the tying run from third base.
  • Rivera, even at age 40, proves he is still the best closer in baseball. For the second time on the road trip, Rivera pitched two innings to nail down a victory. Rivera gave up just one hit and fanned three in lowering his season ERA to 0.92. 
THE NEGATIVES

  • Andy Pettitte lost his composure but it was not because of his pitching. Pettitte basically misplayed two sacrifice bunts. In the third inning on a bunt by Dodgers’ starter Clayton Kershaw, Pettitte threw wide of Rodriguez at third base trying to get Reed Johnson. Later in the same inning, Pettitte fielded a bunt by Ronnie Belliard and threw the ball into him at first base, though Cano was charged with the error for dropping the throw. That cost the Yankees three runs in the inning.
  • Pettitte also was not pressed much by the Dodgers’ power hitters. It was the singles hitters like Johnson, who doubled twice and Belliard who homered off Pettite in the fourth inning. The Yankees were down 5-0 largely due to the errors, Johnson’s two leadoff doubles and Belliard’s home run.
  • The Yankees could do nothing with Kershaw in the first seven innings. Other than Rodriguez’s two-run homer, the Yankees could not put a rally together on the 22-year-old left-hander. He walked none and struck out five. 
  • Joba Chamberlain got into trouble in the eighth inning when allowed pesky Jamey Carroll to get on with an infield hit with two outs. Carroll stole second and scored on a Rafaell Furcal double to make it 6-2 heading to the ninth inning.
DIAMOND NOTES

Brett Gardner was removed from the game in the fourth inning after he was hit on the right forearm by a pitch from Kershaw in the third inning.  No X-rays were taken but Gardner is scheduled to visit team doctor Chris Ahmad on Monday to determine the severity of the injury. Gardner was replaced in the field by Chad Huffman, who later keyed the Yankees come-from-behind victory with a two-run single in the ninth inning.  . . .  The Yankees expect to have pitching coach Dave Eiland back in the dugout for Tuesday’s game. Eiland left the Yankees for personal reasons on June 4 and Mike Harkey has been the acting pitching coach. Considering the pitching woes of A.J. Burnett the Yankees will be pleased to have Eiland back.  . . .  Rodriguez and Torre finally exchanged pleasantries before Sunday’s game. Torre put his arm around his former third baseman and Rodriguez smiled as they greeted each other. Rodriguez said to reporters that he chose to say hello to Tore in order to not let things fester between the two. Torre apparently rankled Rodriguez with comments he made about the All-Star in his book. Rodriguez also seems to be still angered by Torre’s decision to bat him eighth in a playoff game against the Tigers in 2006.
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees come home to open a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners that will begin on Tuesday night.
The Yankees will open the series with right-hander Phil Hughes (10-1, 3.17 ERA). Hughes, who had his last start skipped, will be shooting for his sixth straight victory.  IN his last five starts, Hughes is 5-0 with a 3.86 ERA. Hughes is 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA in four appearances against the Mariners.
The Mariners will counter with veteran left-hander Cliff Lee (6-3, 2.39 ERA). Lee has a streak of 37 consecutive innings without having given up a walk.  He has 76 strikeouts and four walks in his last 11 starts. Of course, the Yankees last saw him in the World Series, where he won Game 1 and Game 5 for the Phillies, the only two games the Phillies won in the series.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast locally by MY9.

A-Rod Settles Score With Torre As CC, Yanks Beat Dodgers

GAME 73
YANKEES 2, DODGERS 1

When it came to renewing acquaintances with former manager Joe Torre, Alex Rodriguez may have taken the fifth. But on Friday night at Dodger Stadium he let his bat do the talking.

Rodriguez doubled and scored the Yankees’ first run in the second inning and hit his 593rd career home run in the sixth inning to boost CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees over the Torre-led Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1.

Sabathia (9-3) silenced the Dodgers’ bats by giving up only four singles and three walks in eight innings of work. He struck out seven batters in notching his fifth straight victory. Mariano Rivera struck out the side in the ninth inning to post his 17th save in 18 chances and his eighth in a row.

Vicente Padilla (1-2), who drew the Yankees and his teammates’ ire last June by throwing at a number of Yankee hitters, did it again Friday by hitting Robinson Cano with a pitch in the fourth inning. Sabathia retaliated by hitting Padilla with a pitch in the fifth inning. Both benches were warned and there were no further incidents.

With the victory the Yankees raised their season record to a season-high 19 games over .500 at 46-27. They also, by virtue of the Tampa Bays Rays being no-hit by Edwin Jackson of Arizona and the Boston Red Sox’ 5-4 loss to the Giants,  have taken a three-game lead in the A.L. East. The Dodgers continue there June swoon and now are 39-34.

YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Sabathia was in command of the Dodgers all night, despite three walks in the first three innings. The first walk to Rafael Furcal was costly because he stole second and reached third on a groundout. Manny Ramirez then drove him in with a two-out single. After the third walk in the third inning, Sabathia retired 13 of the last 16 batters he faced with only one ball even making the outfield.
  • Rodriguez showed signs in Arizona that he was breaking out of his June funk and he continued that trend at Chavez Ravine.  Rodriguez stroked a lined double to right-field off Padilla in the second inning and then ripped a first-pitch fastball halfway up the left-field pavilion in the sixth inning. The 2-for-4 night raised his batting average to .283 and he now has the team lead in RBIs with 51.
  • Jorge Posada is also showing signs of shaking a mild slump with an RBI single in the second inning. He also lined out hard to center and then was robbed of a double off the wall by center-field
    er Matt Kemp in the sixth inning. 
  • Derek Jeter celebrated his reunion with his former manager he still calls “Mr. T” with a 2-for-5 night. Jeter is still struggling with his aveage, which is now at just .281.
  • Rivera, coming off a two-inning effort in which he loaded the bases with no outs in the 10th on Wednesday against the Diamondbacks only to retire the next three batters, showed no ill effects from that outing on Friday. He needed only 18 pitches to strike out Ramirez, Kemp and James Loney in succession.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Curtis Granderson had an off-night after his huge 10th inning home run to lead the Yankees over the Diamondbacks on Wednesday night. He was 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
  • Brett Gardner also took an 0-for-4 collar and he was struck out twice by Padilla. Gardner did not seem to realize that National League pitchers really bear down on No. 8 hitters with two outs because the pitcher is up next and they want start the inning off with the pitcher batting. Gardner obliged Padilla in his first two at-bats by striking out swinging.
  • Nick Swisher was also 0-for-4 and was called out on strikes once. Swisher and a number of Yankees hitters were unable to do much with Padilla’s 52 mph lollipop curve he kept dropping into the strike zone. He made the Yankees look bad.
DIAMOND NOTES

A.J. Burnett pronounced himself ready to go on Saturday after a productive bullpen session on Wednesday in Arizona. Bench coach Tony Pena joined manager Joe Girardi and acting pitching coach Mike Harkey to see if Burnett might be tipping his pitches. Burnett said he believes he is “flying open” too early on his delivery and showing the batter what might be coming.  . . .  With a strikeout he recorded on Wednesday night in Arizona, Rivera took over ninth place on the all-time Yankee strikeout list over Al Downing with 1,029.  . . .  Gardner began play Friday second in the majors with a June on-base percentage of .476. 
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will head into the second game of their series with their old rivals in Los Angeles with Burnett (6-6, 4.83 ERA) on the mound. Burnett is 0-4 with a 10.35 ERA in his last four starts. He is struggling mightily with his command. Burnett is 3-2 with a 2.45 ERA in seven career starts against the Dodgers but he has not faced them since 2005.
His will be opposed by right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (6-5, 3.06 ERA). Kuroda is coming off two consecutive quality starts. But he lost his last game against the Boston Red Sox because he got no run support. He has not faced the Yankees before.
Game-time will be 7:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by FOX Sports.

Mo’s Magic Act In 10th Preserves 6-5 Victory Over D-Backs

GAME 72
YANKEES 6, DIAMONDBACKS 5 (10 Innings)

It is not often that Mariano Rivera is called on to hit or save a victory for himself. But that was not the story on Wednesday night. It was how he did it.

Rivera escaped a bases-loaded, no out situation against the Arizona Diamondbacks to preserve a nail-biting 6-5 victory on the same Chase Field he lost Game 7 of the 2001 World Series.

Curtis Granderson set the stage for Rivera (1-1) with a leadoff home run in the top of the 10th inning to break a 5-5 tie. Granderson’s shot off losing pitcher Carlos Rosa (0-2) was the seventh home run of the season for Granderson, who was 3-for-5 and a triple short of the cycle in the game.

With two out and a potential insurance run in the form of Brett Gardner at third, manager Joe Girardi elected to have Rivera bat so that he could pitch the bottom of the 10th inning. Rivera, with his teammates laughing in the dugout, grounded out to end the inning.

In the 10th, it got more serious as Stephen Drew led off with a bloop single to right and Justin Upton followed with a lined double to left. The Yankees elected to walk Miguel Montero to load the bases.

Rivera then in succession induced Chris Young into a foul popup to catcher Francisco Cervelli. He then got Adam LaRoche (who had all of the Diamondbacks five RBIs on the night) to popup to Alex Rodriguez at third and completed the “Houdini escape” by striking out Mark Reynolds.

The Yankees rushed onto the field to celebrate the mettle of their 40-year-old legendary closer as they also won the three-game series from the Diamondbacks.

With the victory the Yankees, by virtue of losses by both the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox, increased their lead in the American League East to 2 1/2 games. They are 45-27 on the season. The last-place D-backs dropped to 28-45.

YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Alex Rodriguez drove in the Yankees first run off extremely wild left-hander Dontrelle Willis with a bases-loaded walk. He also drove in the tying run in the ninth inning with a sacrifice fly that scored Derek Jeter from third base.
  • Granderson had a really magnificent game at the plate. He had a double, a single and home run, a stolen base, scored two runs and drove in the game-winning run with his home run in the 10th. 
  • Rivera’s line may not look pretty in giving up two hits and a walk in two innings but he struck out two batters and stuffed three hitters (Young, LaRoche and Reynolds) who had combined for 39 home runs on the season. That is not bad pitching in the clutch.
  • Colin Curtis is having fun in Arizona and it shows. The former Arizona State University star came through with a wicked line shot that got past LaRoche at first and scored Granderson with the tying run in the sixth inning. Curtis has two consecutive RBI hits in his two pinch-hit appearances in Phoenix.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Javier Vazquez just did not have it against Arizona. He gave up four runs on six hits and two walks in five innings of work.  It was his first bad outing since he gave up five runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Minnesota Twins on May 27.
  • The Yankees as team did not take advantage of the wildness of Willis and the D-back relief pitchers. They were issued a major-league high 13 walks in the game — seven by Willis alone in just 2 1/3 innings. Yet the Yankees were just 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and they left 11 baserunners.
  • The Yankees also did not help their cause on the bases either. They had three runners cut down on the bases unnecessarily. Nick Swisher was caught stealing in the first inning. Later that inning Mark Teixeira was thrown out trying to steal third as Robinson Cano struck out. In the fifth inning, Rodriguez was thrown out trying to get back to first base after Gerardo Parra made a diving catch on a Cano line drive to left.
  • The Yankees hit into a total of five double plays. Cano hit into three of them although the ones in the first and fifth innings were not his fault. Jeter grounded into the other two DPs.

THE NEXT GAME

After Wednesday night’s late-inning heriocs of Granderson and Rivera the Yankees will get a day to rest before the much-anticipated series with former manager Joe Torre and his Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Yankees will open the series with a very hot ace left-hander in CC Sabathia (8-3, 3.68 ERA). Sabathia is coming off his fourth consecutive victory, eight innings of scoreless four-hit baseball against Johan Santana and the New York Mets on Sunday at Yankee Stadium. Sabathia has only faced the Dodgers once. In 2008 he pitched a victorious seven innings, giving up one run on five hits.
He will be opposed by a head-hunting old “friend,” Vicente Padilla (1-1, 6.67 ERA). Padilla allowed four runs and made it into the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox, fanning four and walking one. When Padilla last pitched against the Yankees last season as a member of the Texas Rangers, he hit Teixeira twice in the game on June 2 at Yankee Stadium. He not only angered the Yankees but his own teammates as well. Padilla was later released and signed with the Dodgers.
Game-time will be 10:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

A-Rod Powers Pettitte To No. 10 As Yanks Pound D-Backs

GAME 71
YANKEES 9, DIAMONDBACKS 3

Andy Pettitte’s last memory of Chase Field was the 15-2 pounding he took in Game 6 of the 2001 World Series. But in one tough seven-inning performance, Pettitte wiped that bad memory away.

Pettitte (10-2) gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks and fanned seven batters en route to his 10th victory of the season as the New York Yankees pounded the Diamondbacks with six eighth-inning runs to beat Arizona 9-3 on Tuesday night.

Alex Rodriguez provided most of the early offense with a two-run home run in the first inning and two-out RBI single in the third inning off losing pitcher Dan Haren (7-6) to put the Yankees ahead for good.

Rodriguez’s home run, the 10th of the season and 592nd of his career, was his first home run since June 3 at home against Baltimore, a stretch of 17 games and 51 at-bats.

With the victory, the Yankees improved their season record to 44-27 and, by virtue of losses by both the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays, they extended their lead in the American League East to 1 1/2 games. The Diamondbacks, in last place in the National League West, dropped to 28-44.

YANKEE POSITIVES

  • The soreness in Rodriguez’s left hip has certainly hampered the All-Star third baseman but he is starting to show signs of coming around at the plate. His 2-for-3 night raised his average back to .281 and he is second on the team with 48 RBIs.
  • Pettitte only had trouble pitching to Haren, who was 2-for-2 off Pettitte, including a two-out two-run single in the second inning that tied the score at 2-2. Haren came into the game batting .425. Throw out Haren’s singles and Pettitte would have ended up pitching five-hit shutout baseball over seven innings.
  • Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira helped spark the 12-hit attack with a pair of singles each. Jeter scored two runs and Teixeira scored a run and drove in a run. 
  • Nick Swisher again showed signs he is not the same guy who hit .249 last season. He was 2-for-5 with a double and scored two runs. He is now batting .298 on the season.
  • Colin Curtis, an Arizona State product, came through with his first major-league hit and RBI in his second plate appearance. He hit a two-out, two-run pinch-hit double in the eighth inning off former Diamondbacks closer Chad Qualls to make it 9-2.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Brett Gardner was 0-for-3 with a walk and struck out twice. He looked overmatched at the plate against Haren in particular. He struck out in his first two at-bats, once looking and once swinging on a pitch inside that landed in the dirt. Gardner was 4-for-4 on Monday night.
  • Pettitte was frustrated by two-out hits all evening. Of the Diamondbacks seven hits and two walks off him, four hits and both walks came with two out.
  • Gardner also was embarrassed in his one time he reached base. With Pettitte at the plate and one out in the seventh inning, Gardner attempted to steal second as Pettitte faked a bunt and swung and missed on strike three. Diamondbacks catcher Chris Snyder gunned down Gardner at second base. It was only the fifth time Gardner had been caught stealing this season in 28 attempts (82%).
  • I do not criticize Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada here to single them out. I only mention this to illustrate how good-hitting teams can lose games by not thinking. Haren entered the sixth inning with a pitch count of 83. The Yankees needed to get his pitch count to 100 quickly to get him out of a 3-2 game. After Rodriguez struck out on five pitches, Cano and Posada swung and flied out on first pitches leaving Haren with just a seven-pitch inning. That is not smart.
DIAMOND NOTES

Posada caught Tuesday night for the second consecutive game. It was the first time Posada had been behind the plate in back-to-back games since he fractured his right foot and returned from the disabled list on June 2.  Posada likely will yield the catching duties to Francisco Cervelli on Wedmesday.  The Yankees designated third catcher Chad Moeller for assignment on Monday in order to recall Curtis from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. So it would seem that the Yankees expect no further problems with Posada’s foot going forward.  . . .  The Yankees are concerned about the way Chan Ho Park has been pitching lately. In his last three outings he has given up seven hits and five runs in 2 2/3 innings. He gave up a three-run home run to Justin Upton on Monday that ended the Yankees’ slim hopes of a ninth-inning comeback. 
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will try to win the three-game series on Thursday with veteran right-hander Javier Vazquez (6-6, 5.01 ERA) on the mound.
Vazquez is coming off a very frustrating loss on Friday despite the fact he pitched as well he has in the past month. He gave up only one run on three hits to the New York Mets as the Yankees were shut out for the first time all season at Yankee Stadium.  Vazquez is 5-3 against his former team with 3.74 ERA. 
The Diamondbacks will counter with left-hander Dontrelle Willis (2-2, 4.78 ERA). Willis gave up five runs on five hits in five innings against his former teammates in Detroit on Friday. In his three starts with the Diamondbacks, Willis is 1-0 with a 4.20 ERA but has walked 14 batters in 15 innings. Willis is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his one career start against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 9:40 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

CC, Tex Slam Door On Mets As Yankees Claim First Place

GAME 69
YANKEES 4, METS 0

Just when the whispers of doubts about CC Sabathia become audible the veteran left-hander begins to crank it up for a second-half surge. After Sunday’s performance there can be few lingering doubts about the New York Yankees’ ace.

Sabathia pitched eight shutout innings, blanking the New York Mets on just four hits, and got a grand-slam home run from Mark Teixeira as the Yankees won the home portion of the Subway Series with the crosstown Mets in a 4-0 victory.

The win was also significant for the Yankees because their victory coupled with the Tampa Bay Rays’ 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Florida Marlins hoisted the Yankees back into sole possession of first place in the American League East for the first time since April 21.

Only a 22-minute rain delay at the start of the bottom of the eighth inning could stop Sabathia from a complete game shutout he was on track to record. As it is, Sabathia (8-3) won his fourth consecutive start and he is undefeated in his last 14 starts at Yankee Stadium. In the game he walked two and struck out six batters.

Mets ace Johan Santana (6-4) took the loss, giving up four runs on eight hits and one walk and he struck out three batters in what was a shaky outing for the veteran left-hander.

Mariano Rivera came in to pitch a perfect ninth inning in a non-save situation to polish off the Mets and give the Yankees a tie in their interleague series with the Mets in 2010.

The Yankees improved their season record to 43-26 and it is the best record in the major leagues. The Mets slipped to 39-30.

YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Teixeira’s grand slam home run in the third inning was his 12th home run of the season and the second in his last two games. The grand slam was also the Yankees’ seventh of the season, which leads the major leagues.
  • Nick Swisher set up Teixeira’s game-winning blow by successfully drag-bunting down the first-base line for a single after Brett Gardner had singled to left and Derek Jeter reached on an infield hit on which third baseman David Wright could not make a play. 
  • Jeter perhaps is showing signs of snapping out of a slump that began on June 2 in which he was 12 for 59 (.203) starting Sunday’s game. His batting average dropped from .307 to .280 during that time. He was 2-for-4 in the game and showed no major problems from the bruised right heel that benched him on Saturday.
  • Jorge Posada also collected two hits, including a 400-foot double off the centerfield wall in the eighth inning. Posada is hitting .291 on the season.
  • Sabathia was good on Sunday but he did have some trouble in the seventh inning when Ike Davis led off the frame with a single to right and Jason Bay, who had ripped two home runs off Sabathia on May 23rd at Citi Field, drew a walk. Sabathia then had to face Rod Barajas, who was 9-for-22 off Sabathia, including three home runs and three doubles. Barajas also had driven left-fielder Brett Gardner to the wall to catch a near home run in the fifth inning. But Sabathia struck out Barajas looking and retired DH Fernando Tatis on an inning-ending double play to end the Mets’ biggest threat of the day.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Despite the victory, the Yankees can’t claim that their hitting troubles are gone yet. Take away the third inning, when they scored all four of their runs on four hits, and the Yankees would have managed no runs on five hits against a Santana who was struggling with the command of his fastball and had abandoned his slider for most of the game.
  • Take away the Swisher bunt single and Teixeira grand slam and the Yankees were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position in the game.  With two on and one out in the second inning Curtis Granderson and Francisco Cervelli flew out harmlessly. In the same situation in the fifth inning Alex Rodriguez hit a foul pop to Barajas and Robinson Cano flew out.
  • The only hitter who failed to reach base all day via a hit or walk was Rodriguez. He was 0-for-4 and his average dipped to .277. Since June 3, Rodriguez has only seven hits in his last 42 at-bats (.167) with no home runs and o
    ne RBI. Yep, one single RBI!
  • Cano took a rare 0-for-3 and his average fell to.367. But don’t worry about Cano’s competition for the major-league lead in batting lead. Cano leads the Twins’ Justin Morneau by 27 points.
DIAMOND NOTES

Manager Joe Girardi told reporters that he removed Rodriguez from the game in the ninth inning merely as a precaution and not because of any recurrence of tendinitis in his left hip flexor.  . . .  Alfredo Aceves, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain, told reporters that he will be heading to Tampa, FL, to resume his throwing program. There is no timetable for his return to the Yankees.
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees are on the way on a six-game interleague western road trip. They begin the first series Monday with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
A.J. Burnett (6-5, 4.33 ERA) gets the call for the Yankees in the opener. Burnett is coming off three consecutive losses. He was ripped for six runs on six hits and four walks in just 3 1/3 innings last Wednesday by the Philadelphia Phillies. In his first six starts Burnett was 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA.. In his last eight starts, he is 2-5 with a 6.36 ERA.  He is 3-2 with a 3.15 ERA in five career starts against the Diamondbacks.
Arizona will counter with veteran right-hander Rodrigo Lopez (2-6, 4.70 ERA). Lopez gave up six runs on 10 hits in seven innings of a 6-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox last Wednesday.  He is 8-8 with a 5.90 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 10:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by ESPN and locally by the YES Network.
 

Yankees’ 2 Homers Boost Hughes To His 10th Victory

GAME 68
YANKEES 5, METS 3

Phil Hughes got more run support for his 10th victory of the season Saturday than Andy Pettitte and Javier Vazquez combined  in their previous starts this week. 

But that has been happening to Hughes all season long as his seven strong innings and two-run home runs from Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira led the New York Yankees to a 5-3 victory over their crosstown rival New York Mets at Yankee Stadium.

The victory snapped a three-game losing streak in which the Yankees scored four runs on 17 hits.

Hughes (10-1) was tagged for consecutive solo and two-run home runs by Jose Reyes but otherwise shut the Mets down on eight hits and three walks to avenge his only defeat of the season May 22 to Saturday’s losing pitcher Mike Pelfrey (9-2) and the Mets at Citi Field.

With the victory the Yankees’ season record improved to 42-26 and they remain tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for  first place in the A.L. East. The Mets dropped to 39-29.

YANKEE POSITIVES

  • With his two-run home run in the third inning, Teixiera has now hit in nine of his past 11 games. The home run was his 11th of the season and now has 40 RBIs. The home run off Pelfrey tied the game for the second time at 3-3.
  • Granderson’s blast landed over the auxiliary scoreboard in right field and was Granderson’s fourth home run in his past 17 games.  He has six home runs on the season. 
  • Robinson Cano did not drive in a run or score a run in the game, but he did manage to go 2-for-3 including a double. The current leader for the American League MVP Award is leading the major leagues in hitting with a .371 average.
  • Give Hughes credit for a quality start. If you take away the two Reyes home runs, the Mets were held scoreless on three hits. Hughes also has the distinction of never having surrendered a lead he has been given this season. 
  • Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera combined on two scoreless innings —  just the way the Yankees have drawn it up this season. Chamberlain recorded his 15th hold and Rivera earned his 16th save in 17 chances.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Despite the fact he tied the score in the first inning, Teixeira hit into a very costly double play with Brett Gardner at third and Nick Swisher on first on back-to-back singles. Gardner scored but the two outs effectively killed the inning dead in its tracks.
  • With Alex Rodriguez resting his sore hip at the DH spot and Derek Jeter out of the lineup with a bruised heel, the Yankees started Ramiro Pena at shortstop and Kevin Russo at third base.  Pena batted eighth and Russo batted ninth and they combined to go 1-for-7. (Pena singled to left in the second inning) You could tell that Pelfrey was trying to use the pair to escape potential big innings. Pelfrey walked Granderson with one out and one on in the sixth inning and got out of the inning by retiring Pena and Russo.
  • Don’t be fooled into thinking the Yankees hitting slump is over quite yet. They started the first four innings with five runs on seven hits. They did not have but one hit the rest of the game (Cano’s eighth inning double  which was actually catchable ball lost in the sun by Angel Pagan) So do not plan the ticker-tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes just yet.
  • For the second game in a row walking the No. 9 hitter cost a Yankee pitcher dearly. On Friday night, Chan Ho Park walked rookie Ruben Tejada, which led to two run eighth inning. Hughes walked catcher Henry Blanco in the third inning and then gave up his second home run to Reyes.
DIAMOND NOTES

Jeter was a late scratch from the lineup on Saturday with a bruised right heel he aggravated trying to leg out an infield hit in Friday’s game.  Jeter received treatment for the injury and he is listed as day-to-day. It was only the second game the Yankee captain has missed this season.  . . .  Hughes, the Yankees’ No. 5 starter, leads the A.L. in victories and his 3. 17 ERA is the top 10 in the league. So it is safe to assume he is heavy favorite to be invited to the All-Star Game in Anaheim, CA. Hughes grew up in nearby Santa Ana and would love to make the trip.  . . .  A.J. Burnett pitched a bullpen session on Saturday and pronounced himself ready to pitch on Monday in Arizona. Burnett was struck on the right foot by a ball off the bat of Wilson Alvarez in the second inning of Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to the Phillies. Burnett remained in the game but felt pain in the foot on Thursday.
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will try to win the home portion of the Subway Series on Sunday and tie the season series with the Mets.
CC Sabathia (7-3, 4.00 ERA) will pitch for the Yankees in a battle of former Cy Young Award winners. In his last start against the Phillies on Tuesday, Sabathia gave up three runs in seven innings to win his third straight start. Sabathia’s last loss came against the Mets on May 23. He gave up five earned runs (six overall) on 10 hits in five innings. Sabathia is 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA against the Mets in three career starts.
The Mets will call on their ace, Johan Santana (5-3, 3.13 ERA). In his last start in Cleveland on Tuesday night, Santana gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks in seven innings. Santana already bested Sabathia in that May 23 game at Citi Field. But last season Santana was tagged for nine runs in three innings at Yankee Stadium.
Game-time will be at 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by TBS and locally by the YES Network.

It’s Bomb’s Away Against Halladay As Yanks Carve Up Phils

GAME 64
YANKEES 8, PHILLIES 3

They made the appointment. They even checked it to confirm. But for Philadelphia Phillies fans, the Doc was not in on Tuesday night.
Home runs from Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira boosted CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees to a 8-3 thrashing of the defending National League champions in the opening salvo of a three-game rematch of the 2009 World Series at Yankee Stadium.
Uncharacteristically poor command of his pitches sunk Roy Halladay (8-5) as he was pounded for six runs on eight hits, two walks and a hit batter in his six innings of work. Halladay, who had surrendered three home runs all season and none to left-hand batters, gave up three in the game — all to left-hand hitters.
Sabathia (7-3) surrendered three runs in the fourth inning but gave up one hit and no runs in his other six innings of work to pick up his third straight victory. 
With the victory the Yankees won their ninth straight home game and improved their season record to 41-23, a season-high 18 games over .500. They also remained in a first-place tie with the Tampa Bay Rays in the A.L. East. Both teams are tied with the best record in baseball. For the Phillies, it was their 11th loss in their past 16 games and they are now 32-30.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Other than the fourth inning — which included a few lucky hits through the middle, a hit batter and a mix-up on whether to throw home or go for two on a grounder — Sabathia did pitch well. He struck out four of the first five batters he faced and turned in four 1-2-3 innings. He also managed to retire Raul Ibanez on a routine bouncer to Robinson Cano with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth inning and kept the Phillies from adding to the three runs they scored in the fourth.
  • Brett Gardner got the Yankees offense started against Halladay with a one-out, two-run triple in the right-center gap that scored Swisher and Jorge Posada. Gardner was 2-for-3 in the game and raised his batting average to .322.
  • Granderson and Swisher were beneficiaries of Halladay’s imprecise command in the third inning. Granderson hit a cutter that missed for a solo home run that landed in the second deck in right-field. Swisher blasted a hanging breaking ball into right-center after Robinson Cano had slashed a double to make the score 5-0.
  • Teixeira basically fisted an inside cutter high and straight down the right-field line that scraped the wall. It was his 10th home run of the season and it extended the Yankees’ lead to 6-3.
  • Francisco Cervelli did it again. In the seventh inning, Cervelli singled to left with the bases loaded and two out to give the Yankees an five-run cushion at 8-3, giving Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera the night off. Cervelli is 17-for-38 with runners in scoring position (.447) with 28 RBIs this season.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Sabathia’s brain cramps in the fourth inning were costly.  First he tried to stop a Chase Utley comebacker with his pitching hand. Then, trying to pitch inside to Ryan Howard on a 1-2 count, he hit him with the pitch. Finally he failed to cover first a potential double-play grounder by Ben Francisco, which allowed a third run to score in the inning.
  • The Yankees had Halladay on the ropes in the second inning with Gardner at third after his triple and one out. However, Cervelli struck out and — after Halladay hit Ramiro Pena with a pitch — Derek Jeter grounded out weakly to third base. Jeter was 0-for-3 against Halladay and he entered the game with a .224 average against Halladay in his career.
  • The Yankees also could have delivered a real knockout blow to the good doctor in the sixth inning with runners on second and third and one out after Cervelli’s sac bunt had advanced Posada and Gardner. But Pena’s line shot went right to Howard at first and, after Jeter drew a walk, Granderson lined to left with the bases loaded. The Yankees were 3-for-12 with RISP and left nine runners on base in the game.
DIAMOND NOTES

Alex Rodriguez was held out of the lineup for Tuesday’s game with tendinitis in his left hip flexor but the veteran third baseman will be back in the lineup for Wednesday’s game, manager Joe Girardi told reporters.  . . .   The Yankees placed right-handed reliever Sergio Mitre on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday and recalled left-hander Boone Logan from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Mitre suffered a strained left oblique muscle while taking batting practice on Sunday.  Mitre is 0-1 with a 2.88 ERA in 12 appearances this season. Logan had no record and a 1.32 ERA with Scranton. In 13 appearances with the Yankees earlier this season he had a 5.06 ERA.   . . .  His former Phillies teammates presented Chan Ho Park with his National League championship ring in the Yankee clubhouse before the game. Park was a key contributor out of the bullpen in 2009 for the Phillies.
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees may have carved up “Doc” but they have two more games with the Phillies and a big oone on Wednesday. A.J. Burnett (6-4, 3.86 ERA) will toe the slab for the Yankees and he will be opposed by 47-year-old left-hander Jamie Moyer (6-6, 5.03 ERA). 
Burnett lost his second consecutive start in Baltimore on Thursday. He gave up four runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. Burnett has given up four home runs and 10 runs in his last 12 2/3 innings.  In his career, Burnett is 5-8 with a 4.75 ERA in 17 appearances against the Phillies. 
Moyer is coming off his worst start of the season. He allowed nine runs in one-plus inning of a 12-2 shellacking by the Boston Red Sox on Friday. Moyer’s ERA rose from 3.98 to 5.03. It was the second-worst outing of his career. He gave up 11 runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 9, 2000.
Game-time will be at 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by ESPN and locally by the YES Network.

5 Reasons Why The Yankees Will Win The A.L. East


Here we are on June 14 and, in 21 very short days, three weeks, the New York Yankees have erased the six-game lead built by the Tampa Bay Rays on May 23. What will happen over the next month is anyone’s guess but I am fairly sure there are five big reasons why I think the Yankees will overcome the Rays and win the American League East. Here they are:

No. 1: A-Rod and Tex have not joined the party.

In the most competitive division in baseball, the most fearsome No. 3 and No. 4 hitters ply their trade in pinstripes. Yet neither Alex Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira have really hit like they usually do. 
Rodriguez has missed the last three games with a tendinitis in his left hip flexor but is expected to start at third base or DH beginning Tuesday night. He is doing OK if you are judging him as a second-tier star but his eight home runs, 43 RBIs and .290 batting average are pretty pedestrian statistics for a superstar like him.
The power numbers are way down and A-Rod has not had a hot streak anywhere approaching what he did in the postseason last year. You would have to think that the time is coming and when it happens I feel sorry for the pitchers who have to pitch to him with a red-hot Robinson Cano batting behind him.
Teixeira has always been a slow starter in April. But his April 2010 was his worst start ever. He hit .136 with two home runs and nine RBIs. He bounced back a bit in May but he has only one home and three RBIs in June. Mark Teixeira batting .229 with nine home runs and 37 RBIs and is nowhere near the Mark Teixeira who hit .292 with 39 home runs and 122 RBIs in 2009.
You would have to think Teixeira will put it all together soon. If Tex and A-Rod click at roughly the same time the balance of power will shift heavily towards the Bronx Bombers.
No. 2: The Yankees have the best rotation in baseball.

Their five starters have all won six or more games. Combined they are 35-14 with a 3.71 ERA. They have averaged 6 1/3 innings per start. They also have missed only two starts in the first 63 games.
They are pitching deep into games, they are pitching well enough to win and they are very stable, consistent and healthy. I predicted as much when I applauded the trade for Javier Vazquez over the winter.
Vazquez gives the Yankees a No. 4 starter who has never been on the disabled list and a pitcher who averages 200 innings a season. His start in 2010 did not make the trade look good initially. On May 11, Vazquez was 1-3 with a 9.78 ERA. He is 5-2 with a 3.90 ERA since that time.
The Boston Red Sox spent an awful lot of cash this winter to obtain right-hander John Lackey. I was very careful not to compare Vazquez to Lackey at the time because I knew Red Sox fans “think” Lackey is better. 
Lackey is 7-3 but his ERA is 4.54 and a product of most of his wins has been his run support. But the fact Vazquez has settled in proves my point that his addition made the Yankees rotation deeper than it was last season with Joba Chamberlain and Sergio Mitre as the No. 4 and No. 5 starters.
Phil Hughes (9-1) at age 23 is going to make the A.L. All-Star staff and he simply has been the best No. 5 starter in baseball. Andy Pettitte (8-1) likely will also make the 2010 All-Star team at age 37. He has always been considered one the best second-half pitchers in baseball. If that is true, look out based on his current 2.46 ERA.
CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett are considered the top two Yankee starters, yet they have not really hit their stride. Sabathia is 6-3 with a very pedestrian 4.01 ERA and Burnett is 6-4 with a 3.86 ERA. You would have to think there is upside to both of them in the second half.
No. 3: Mariano Rivera is still the best closer in baseball

Rivera at age 40 is like fine wine. He just gets better with age. He is 0-1 with a 1.21 ERA and he converted 15 of 16 save opportunities. The fact that he has being doing this job for the Yankees since 1996 should tell you something.
So many times the Yankees have been in pennant chases, so many times in playoffs, so many times in World Series. The one constant has been Rivera. He is human, for sure. But nobody has closed for so long and done it at a higher level than Mo.
You can ask any manager or general manager in baseball that if they could pick a closer they would could have for the 2010 season and Rivera would be the No. 1 choice.  I am not sure how Rafael Soriano of the Rays or Jonathan Papelbon of the Red Sox would fare, but I am sure they would not overtake Rivera.
Rivera also benefits from having a solid setup man in Joba Chamberlain. Though Chamberlain has stumbled a few times this season, he is quickly settling back into being the reliable eighth-inning man he was in 2007.  
The Yankees bullpen will finally be completely built when Alfredo Aceves returns from his back injury. Damaso Marte, Chan Ho Park and David Robertson — though they had their bad moments — give the Yankees perhaps an even better bullpen they had in 2009.  Mite has an ERA of 2.88 and has been effective as a swing man all season.
No. 4: The Yankees’ record has been built playing mostly on the road

Before their current six-game home-stand, the Yankees had played 34 of its first 57 games on the road. In those 57 games they were 35-22 — 17-6 at home and 18-16 on the road. This means the Yankees will spend a majority of the rest of the season at home, where they are playing at a .759 clip this season.
The new Yankee Stadium is clearly a huge advantage for the Yankees and they have been capitalizing on their home games this season at a better rate than they did last season.
The Rays, on the other hand, have been better on the road (22-6) than at home (18-15). That is very odd and it shows that that the Rays are not likely to continue to play at that high a level on the road. It just is not statistically conceivable they can.
The Red Sox meanwhile are downright human at home (20-15). That is unusual for them and they are going to have to improve at Fenway Park to catch the Yankees or the Rays.
No. 5: The Yankees always play better in the second half

Name a season other than the 2008 season where the Yankees have not played better from the All-Star break on? You can’t. The Yankees are a team usually that is dreadful out of the gate, hits it stride in the summer and steamrolls clubs in August and September.
This season was different. The Yankees never really let themselves fall out of contention. They kept pace with the Rays, waited for them to cool off and now they are poised to run right past them.
Injuries have certainly contributed to the Yankees’ early inconsistency. But they are slowly starting to get their players back: Curtis Granderson, Jorge Posada, Brett Gardner, Alex Rodriguez. 
They only major losses now are DH Nick Johnson and Aceves in the bullpen. And the loss of Johnson is not a killer because they can rotate A-Rod, Teixeira, Derek Jeter, Posada and Nick Swisher into that role to keep them healthier.
Don’t put it past the Yankees also to be looking to make one major deal for a hitter before the trade deadline. How would Lance Berkm
an look as a Yankee DH? It could very well happen within the next month.
                       ************************************
I think these are five very well-thought out reasons why the Yankees will win the division  they have dominated for 14 years. If you have a differing view, I would like to hear it. But I would like to hear it with cogent logic and not just the fact you hate the Yankees. I get enough those, thank you. 

It’s Deja’ Vu All Over Again For Posada As Yanks Tie Rays

GAME 63
YANKEES 9, ASTROS 5

The Houston Astros have a revised scouting report on Jorge Posada. It simply says don’t give him anything good to hit with the bases loaded.

Posada hit his second grand slam home run in two days as he led the New York Yankees to a three-game sweep of the Astros on Sunday and the Yankees took a share of first place in the A.L.  East.

Posada became the first major-league player to hit grand slams in consecutive games since Carlos Beltran in July 2006 and the first Yankee to do it since Bill Dickey in 1937.

Like Posada, Dickey was a catcher and Posada’s came on the same day he returned to catching since he broke a bone in his right foot on May 16.  Posada entered the series in a 2-for-28 slump and ended up 4-for-9 with two home runs and eight RBIs in the series.

Before Saturday’s game, Posada had not hit a grand slam home run since the 2004 season. His second in two days came in the bottom of the fourth inning off right-hand reliever Brain Daigle and came with two outs. The blast turned a 3-1 game into a seeming 7-1 rout.
Phil Hughes (9-1) got credit for the victory but he struggled mightily in the sixth inning to hold that big lead Posada provided. Hughes was touched for three consecutive hits — a double by Geoff Blum, a two-run single by Tommy Manzella and a two-run home run by former Yankee catcher Kevin Cash — and he was removed from the game.
Hughes gave up five runs on seven hits and two walks and fanned six batters in 5 2/3 innings. His season ERA rose from 2.71 to 3.11. 
Astros’ starter Brian Moehler (0-3) took the loss after giving up four runs on four hits and five walks in 4 2/3 innings.
With the victory the Yankees improved their record to season-high 17 games over .500 at 40-23. The Rays were thrashed by the Florida Marlins 6-1 and they now have lost all of the six-game lead they held on the Yankees on May 23. The Astros season record dropped to 25-39.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Posada’s surge at the plate showed how valuable a bat the Yankees missed when he was on the disabled list. Posada was batting .326 with six home and 14 RBIs when he was injured. His 2-for-28 slump dropped his average to .276.  His hot weekend against the Astros raised his average to .288 and he now has eight home runs and 23 RBIs. 
  • Robinson Cano had another one of those days that keep him in the middle of the MVP discussion. He was 1-for-3 with his team-leading 13th home run (a solo shot in the fourth inning off Moehler), walked twice and scored three runs.
  • Pressed back into service in left-field by the hamstring injury to Marcus Thames, Brett Gardner showed no ill-effects from the soreness in his left thumb. Gardner was 2-for-3 with two singles, he stole his 22nd base of the season, scored a run, drove in a run and made a sensational catch on a Carlos Lee line drive to the wall in the seventh inning.
  • Ramiro Pena, starting in place of the injured Alex Rodriguez at third, made Moehler pay for walking the bases loaded in the fourth inning. Pena looped a two-run single into shallow right-field to score Cano and Nick Swisher to make the score 3-1.
THE NEGATIVES

  • The Yankees can’t be happy with the way Hughes pitched after Posada staked him to a 7-1 lead.  With two outs and one on in the sixth Hughes seemed to have run out of gas. He gave up a double to Geoff Blum, a single to Manzella and the Cash home run and it was 7-5 just like that. The quartet of Damaso Marte, Chan Ho Park, Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera closed the door on the Astros from there. In the 3 1/3 innings they worked, they gave up just one hit and no walks and fanned four batters.
  • Curtis Granderson doubled in his first at bat against the Astros in the first inning on Friday night and then promptly went 0-for-11 in the rest of the series with five strikeouts. Granderson’s batting average has slid to .241.
  • The Yankees allowed Moehler, who entered the game with an ERA of 6.12, to keep the game close for much too long. Moehler was pitching to the corners with off-speed stuff and deliberately not giving in when he was behind (five walks). But the Yankees also did not get hits when they could have used them.  Moehler struck out four batters and three of them were called out looking. Swisher was victimized looking twice.
DIAMOND NOTES

The Yankees placed OF/DH Marcus Thames on the 15-day disabled list with a mild strain of the right hamstring. Outfielder Chad Huffman, 25, was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to replace Thames on the roster.  Manager Joe Girardi  opted to DH Swisher and placed Huffman out in right-field for his first major-league start. Huffman was 1-for-4 with an infield single in his first at-bat, a walk and a strikeout. Huffman’s parents and other family members flew in to watch his major-league debut.  . . .  It is a bit alarming that Posada left the game in the eighth inning with soreness in the same right foot that was broken on May 16. Girardi said Posada will be re-evaluated before he is cleared to catch in the upcoming three-game series with the Phillies that begins on Tuesday night.  . . .  Alfredo Aceves, who has been on the disabled list since May 12 with a bulging disc in his back, threw on flat ground Saturday and reported no pain. Aceves said he hopes to throw again on Monday. There is no timetable for his return.  . . .  Girardi said that he hopes to have Rodriguez back in the starting lineup on Tuesday — either as a DH or at third base. Rodriguez has missed the last three games with a strained left hip flexor.
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will have an advantageous day off on Monday to rest their wounded players and to get ready for the rematch of the 2009 Fall Classic with the Phillies.
On Tuesday night, CC Sabathia (6-3, 4.01 ERA) will open the series at Yankee Stadium. Sabathia beat the Orioles on Wednesday, allowing two runs on nine hits in seven innings for his fourth victory over the Orioles this season.  Sabathia has not beaten another team since April 16.  He is 1-1 with a 4.35 ERA in three regular-season starts against the Phillies and 0-2 in three postseason starts. 
The Yankees will face a familiar friend: Roy Halladay (8-4, 1.95 ERA).  Halladay dominated the Florida Marlins on Thursday, giving up one run in eight innings at home. However, the Phillies could not score off Josh Johnson and Halladay suffered his fourth loss of the season. 
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast locally by MY9.

Jeter, Posada Blast 3 Into Orbit To Ground Astros 9-3

GAME 62
YANKEES 9, ASTROS 3

With Mark Teixeira struggling and Alex Rodriguez out with an injury,  manager Joe Girardi had to be wondering where he was going to get any power in the New York Yankees’ lineup.

Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada provided the answer at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.

Jeter hit a three-run home run and a solo shot and Posada provided a grand slam homer as the pair combined for  three longballs and eight RBIs to defeat the Houston Astros 9-3 to give the Yankees their fifth series victory in their last six.

The home runs boosted Javier Vazquez (6-5) to his fourth victory in his last five starts. Vazquez gave up three runs on six hits walked none and struck out six batters in seven innings.  Wandy Rodriguez (3-9), the victim of the barrage, took the loss.

With the victory the Yankees pushed their record to a season-high 16 games over .500 at 39-23. They remain just a single game in back of the first-place Tampa Bay Rays in the A.L. East. The Astros fell to 25-38.

YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Jeter’s solo home run came on the third pitch of the game and was Jeter’s 24th career leadoff home run, which ties him with Rickey Henderson for the club lead.
  • Jeter, who was 0-for-4 and committed what could a have been a very costly error in Friday’s game, made up for it by sparking a rally with the team down 2-1 in the third inning. He drew a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Humberto Quintero. He then scored the tying run on a Nick Swisher single. 
  • Three batters later Posada drilled an 0-1 pitch into right-center for his 250th career home run and his eighth career grand slam.  Posada entered the game in a 2-for-29 slump (.069).
  • Jeter closed the scoring in sixth inning with a three-run home run to right-center off Jeff Fulcino with one out after Rodriguez had walked Francisco Cervelli and Curtis Granderson to begin the inning. It was the ninth multiple home run game of Jeter’s career. 
  • Though Vazquez gave up solo home runs to Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee, he coasted behind the run support and managed to record a quality start.  Entering his May 12 start against Detroit, Vazquez was 1-4 with a 9.78 ERA. Since then he is 5-2 with a 3.90 ERA.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Vazquez is still having trouble with giving up the longball. The two home runs he gave up Saturday give him 13 gopher balls in 53 innings pitched.  That is a home run every 4 2/3 innings. In a 200-inning season that would be 43 home runs.
  • Kevin Russo, starting at third base for the first time in place of Rodriguez,  came into the game mired in a terrible slump. Batting .294 on May 26, Russo had only two hits in his last 16 at-bats (.125). He also was 0-for-3 in Saturday’s game until he singled with one out in the eighth inning. Russo is now hitting an even .200.
  • Granderson looked overmatched in his first two at-bats against the left-hander Rodriguez. He struck out twice. Granderson has now struck out 32 times in 129 at-bats.  That is a strikeout once in every four at-bats.
  • Though Robinson Cano extended his hitting streak to six games he did not get a ball out the infield in any of his four at-bats. He also grounded into a double play in the fifth inning after Teixeira had singled.
DIAMOND NOTES

With his 250th home run, Posada became only the fifth catcher in major-league history to reach 250 home runs, 1,500 hits and 350 doubles in a career.  The other four are Carlton Fisk, Johnny Bench and Johnny Bench (who are in the Hall of Fame) and Ivan Rodriguez (who is active and is a shoo-in to make the Hall of Fame).  . . .   Girardi said he did not plan to start Rodriguez at third and he was unsure if he would use him as a pinch-hitter in Saturday’s game. Rodriguez, who has not played since leaving Tuesday’s game with a left hip flexor strain, is still listed as day-to-day.  . . .  Posada is close to returning to catching duties. He awaiting clearance from the team doctors. Posada has started 10 consecutive games at DH since being activated off the disabled list after suffreing a broken right foot.  . . .  Marcus Thames, who started the game in left field, left the game in the fifth inning with a strained right hamstring. An MRI taken after the game was negative. Brett Gardner, who has been nursing a sore left thumb for a week, was inserted into the lineup in place of Thames. Girardi said Gardner will start Sunday’s game. Thames is day-to-day.  
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will for a series sweep of the Houston Astros on Sunday and they will have Phil Hughes on the mound.
Hughes (8-1, 2.71 ERA) is coming off three consecutive wins in his last three starts.  Hughes gave up three runs on nine hits in six innings on Tuesday against the Orioles. Hughes walked none and struck out four. Hughes has never faced the Astros. He is 0-1 with a 2.77 ERA in six interleague appearances (one start) in interleague play.
Hughes will be opposed by right-hander Brian Moehler (0-2,6.12 ERA). Moehler allowed three runs on nine hits and three walks in six innings against the Colorado Rockies last week.  It was his first quality start of the season. He has no record against the Yankees.
Game-time will be at 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

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