Results tagged ‘ Adrian Beltre ’

Hot Dog! Nathan Not Kosher As Yanks Rally In 9th

GAME 100

YANKEES 5, RANGERS 4

All season the Yankees have gotten very little production from their shortstops and third basemen. On Tuesday, they got some very timely production from both in the ninth inning to steal a victory from the Rangers.

Shortstop Eduardo Nunez laced a one-out RBI triple that tied the game and third baseman Brent Lillibridge followed with an RBI single off Ranger closer Joe Nathan as New York rallied for two runs in the ninth to down Texas in front of 42,739 at Ranger Ballpark.

Nathan entered the ninth with a 4-3 lead and a resume boasting 31 saves in 32 opportunities this season. But things unraveled quickly for the American League All-Star right-hander when he issued a one-out walk to Vernon Wells.

Nathan then uncorked a wild pitch as he stumbled off the pitching rubber to allow Wells to take second.

Nunez later laced a 3-2 pitch to the deepest part of the ballpark in center-field for a triple that scored Wells with the tying run. Lillibridge, who had committed a costly one-out error in the sixth inning that helped the Rangers score four runs, then slapped a 1-0 pitch into left-field that scored Nunez with what proved to be the winning run.

Joba Chamberlain (2-0) pitched a perfect eighth inning to earn the victory in relief. Nathan (1-1) was tagged with his first loss of the season.

Mariano Rivera pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out two batters, to earn his 32nd save in 34 chances this season.

The Yankees actually held a 3-0 lead and Phil Hughes had limited the Rangers to only two hits through the first 5 1/3 innings until Lillibridge’s error on a ball off the bat of Nelson Cruz opened the floodgates.

Adrian Beltre followed with an RBI double to left-center and, one out later, Elvis Andrus chased Hughes from the game with a lined opposite-field single to right.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi summoned left-hander Boone Logan form the bullpen and Mitch Moreland greeted him with a two-run home run to center that gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead.

Hughes gave up three runs (none of them earned) on four hits and three walks while he struck out one in 5 2/3 innings.

The Yankees built their 3-0 lead off right-hander Alexi Ogando, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list earlier in the day to make the start.

A pair of rookies got the Yankees on the board in the third. Melky Mesa, making his first start of the season, doubled off the wall in center in his first at-bat of the season. Austin Romine, who entered the game hitting an anemic .158, then slapped an opposite-field double down the right-field line to score Mesa.

Brett Gardner followed with a single to left that advanced Romine to third and Ichiro Suzuki scored Romine with a infield single that Andrus was able to glove deep in the hole at short but he had no play. It was Suzuki’s 25th infield hit of the season, which leads the American League.

The single was also Suzuki’s 2,700th major-league hit.

The Yankees added a run off Ogando in the fourth when Wells led off with a double to the corner in left and Nunez advanced him to third on a deep fly to center. Lillibridge scored Wells on a ground ball to second in which Ian Kinsler’s throw to home plate bounced, allowing Wells to slide in safely without a tag.

Ogando was touched for three runs on six hits and no walks and he fanned two batters in five innings.

By snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat the Yankees improved to 53-47. More importantly, they remain in fourth place in the American League East, seven games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox. The Rangers fell to 55-45.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Nunez was 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored and hit the ball hard both times he was retired. Nunez finally is getting untracked at the plate after his average had dipped to .207 on July 19. Since then Nunez is 8-for-17 (.471) and that has raised his season average to .242.
  • Lillibridge was playing third base in place of an injured Luis Cruz and he ended up 1-for-4 with two RBIs, including the game-winner, despite his costly error. Third base has been a sore spot for the team all season but Lillibridge delivered some important runs for the Yankees on a night they desperately needed them.
  • Hughes deserved a much better fate in this game. If not for Lillibridge’s error and Logan picking a bad night to stink, Hughes should have won the game. He is 4-9 but he is one of the worst run-supported starters in the majors this season.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • This was one night that two of the Yankees’ better hitters, Robinson Cano and Lyle Overbay, did not deliver anything. The pair, batting third and fourth, were a combined 0-for-8 with two strikeouts and they stranded three runners.
  • Girardi looks to have pulled the trigger on Hughes a bit too early and it cost him. Hughes left the game having thrown only 80 pitches. Girardi told reporters after the game that Hughes was getting his pitches up in that inning. But Logan served up the two-run homer to Moreland. I blame Girardi more than I blame Logan because Hughes needed just one out to get out of the inning. Let him pitch, Joe!

BOMBER BANTER

Cruz was sporting a heavy leg brace on his left knee in what appears to be a sprained medial collateral ligament that will likely land him on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday. Cruz injured the knee making a diving grab of  a Moreland popup to shallow left in the third inning of Monday’s game. Cruz’s spike caught in the turf and he landed awkwardly on the knee. He remained in the game but was unavailable to play on Tuesday. If Cruz ends up on the disabled list he will become the 17th player on the team to be disabled covering 21 separate stints.  . . .  Derek Jeter took batting practice, fielded ground balls and ran sprints on Wednesday as part of his recovery from a Grade 1 strain of his right quad that he sustained on his first game of the season on July 11. Jeter said he felt no pain and he hopes to be able to be activated on Saturday, the first day he is eligible to come of the DL.

ON DECK

The Yankees will continue their four-game series with the Rangers on Wednesday.

Left-hander Andy Pettitte (7-7, 4.47 ERA) will start for the Yankees. Pettitte yielded four runs on six hits and a walk with for strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings of a loss to the Red Sox last Friday. In the past 10 seasons, Pettitte is 6-7 with a 4.53 ERA against Texas.

The Rangers will counter with right-hander Matt Garza, who will be making his debut with the Rangers after being acquired in a trade with the Chicago Cubs on Monday. In his career, Garza is 1-4 with a 4.48 ERA against the Yankees.

Game-time will be 8:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.

 

Suzuki Shoots Down Rangers With Walk-Off Blast

GAME 76

YANKEES 4, RANGERS 6

Two things pretty much describe what has happened with the 2013 New York Yankees: They rarely hit home runs and they have not won a game in the bottom of the ninth inning all season. Well, the Yankees hit four solo home runs and the last one gave them a walk-off victory on Tuesday.

Ichiro Suzuki connected on a 1-2 fastball from right-hander Tanner Scheppers for a lined shot that easily cleared the auxiliary scoreboard in right-center with two out in the ninth as New York brought a paid Yankee Stadium crowd of 41,674 to its feet by defeating Texas.

Suzuki’s fourth home run of the season was only his second walk-off homer of his career. His first came on April 4, 2012 as a member of the Seattle Mariners against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

Rivera (1-1) pitched a scoreless ninth inning to get credit for his first victory of the season.

Scheppers (5-1) was saddled with his first defeat of the season.

The game started as a battle between a pair of former Japanese baseball stars both born in Osaka. It was only the 11th time in major-league history two Japanese pitchers have faced each other and the second time for the Yankees’ Hiroki Kuroda and the Rangers’ Yu Darvish.

The Rangers struck first in the third inning off Kuroda when Leonys Martin lined a 2-2 pitch into the right-field bleachers with one out in the inning.

They added an unearned run in the fourth when an throwing error by David Adams on a ball off the bat of Adrian Beltre and singles by A.J. Pierzynski and Lance Berkman loaded the bases with one out and Mitch Moreland’s slow-rolling fielder’s choice grounder allowed Beltre to score.

The Yankees halved the lead when Travis Hafner blasted his 12th homer of the season, a high-arcing shot that landed in the Yankees’ bullpen in right-center to lead off the fourth inning.

But the Rangers added a run in the fifth when Martin connected for his second home run of the game and his fifth of season to start the frame.

But the Yankees got that run back when Brett Gardner slammed his season-high tying seventh homer of the season deep into the right-field bleachers to start the bottom of the fifth.

Jayson Nix set up the eventual victory with only second homer of the season into the bleachers in left to lead off the sixth.

Darvish, who was less than sharp, was tagged for three runs on seven hits and two walks while he struck six batters in 5 1/3 innings. It was only his second start of less than six innings this season.

Meanwhile, Kuroda yielded three runs (two earned) on five hits and a walk while fanning six in 6 2/3 innings.

With the dramatic victory, the Yankees improved their season record to 42-34 and they remain percentage points ahead of the Baltimore Orioles in second place in the American League East. They also are just 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox and one game back in the loss column.

The Rangers fell to 44-33.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Hafner was 2-for-4 including his solo home run. He entered the game hitting .217 but he is beginning to come around a bit at the plate. In his past six games he is 6-for-24 (.250) with two home runs and five RBIs. He has at least one hit in five of those six games.
  • Suzuki was 2-for-5 with his walk-off shot and it was his second home run in the past week. He hit a home run and drove in three runs on June 19 against the Los Angeles Angels in 6-4 victory. Suzuki is batting .299 in June and has raised his season average to .270.
  • After Kuroda gave up a second home run to Martin in the fifth, Kuroda and relievers Boone Logan, David Robertson and Rivera retired 14 of the final 17 batters they faced and struck out five. Good starting pitching and a very good bullpen is keeping the Yankees afloat in the division this season.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • With the Yankees without the services of third basemen Alex Rodriguez and Kevin Youkilis, Adams is struggling to recapture the stroke that had him hitting .295 with two home runs and five RBIs in his first 11 games. Since then he is 4-for-46 (.087) with no homers and four RBIs. He was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk on Tuesday. He is hitting .185.
  • Lyle Overbay had a night to forget. He was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and left a total of five runners on base. He has not delivered a hit in his last nine at-bats and his season average has slipped to .239.
  • Rookie Zoilo Almonte proved he is human. He was 0-for-4, which ended his four-game hitting streak. He is still 7-for-16 (.438) with a home run and four RBIs in his first six games. Manager Joe Girardi has temporarily benched left-fielder Vernon Wells in order to let the rookie play.

BOMBER BANTER

Rodriguez drew the ire of Yankees general manager Brian Cashman after he sent out a Tweet on Tuesday indicating that his hip surgeon had cleared him to begin playing minor-league rehab games. Cashman responded angrily by telling ESPNNewYork.com:  “You know what, when the Yankees want to announce something, [we will]. Alex should just shut the [expletive] up. That’s it. I’m going to call Alex now.”  . . . Meanwhile, the Yankees are fearing the worst in sending first baseman Mark Teixeira to specialist on Tuesday to look at his ailing right wrist. Teixeira’s wrist did not respond as the team had hoped to a cortisone injection last week. Season-ending surgery is a very real possibility. Teixeira has hit .151 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 15 games this season.  . . .  The Yankees elected to keep right-hander Ivan Nova on the roster after his impressive start against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. They are not sure what his role will be but Nova will stay nonetheless. The Yankees currently have 14 pitchers on the roster, leaving them only three bench players.

ON DECK

The Yankees will continue their three-game home series with the Rangers on Wednesday.

Andy Pettitte (5-5, 4.20 ERA) will start for the Yankees. The 41-year-old left-hander was raked for nine hits and five runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Rays on Thursday. He is 6-6 with a 4.53 ERA in the past 10 seasons against the Rangers.

The Rangers will counter with right-hander Justin Grimm (6-5, 5.57 ERA). Grimm allowed three runs on three hits in five innings to win his sixth game of the season against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday. The rookie has never faced the Yankees.

Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by ESPN2 and locally by the YES Network.

 

Garcia Bests Rangers Despite Hamilton’s Blasts

GAME 117

YANKEES 3, RANGERS 2

The final score on Wednesday should read Yankees 3, Rangers 0, Josh Hamilton 2.

On a night where a pair of mammoth solo home runs by Hamilton was all Texas could muster for an offense, Freddy Garcia and New York held on to take the first three games of a four-game series between the two top teams in the American League.

The Yankees scored three runs in the third inning off Rangers starter Scott Feldman (6-8) on an RBI double by Nick Swisher, a sacrifice fly off the bat of Curtis Granderson and a big two-out RBI single by the red-hot Eric Chavez.

That was all Garcia eventually would need. But Hamilton made it interesting by launching a 400-foot blast off Garcia into the second deck in right with one out in the fourth inning. It was the first regular-season home run Hamilton has hit in the new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009.

The home run also ended a drought of 20 innings in which the Rangers were held scoreless in this series by the Yankees.

The Rangers were able to load the bases on Garcia right after the Hamilton homer. However, Garcia was able to wriggle out of further trouble by inducing Geovany Soto to hit into an inning-ending double play.

But with one out in the sixth, Hamilton was able to connect off Garcia again with a moon shot measured at about 455 feet into second deck in right. It was his major-league leading 34th home run of the season.

But Garcia was able to complete 6 2/3 innings. Other than the two home runs, Garcia shut down the Rangers on just two other hits and a walk and he struck out six to win his third straight start. Garcia now has won five games since he was inserted into the rotation on July 2, which leads the team.

Garcia also is 5-0 with a 1.90 ERA in his last seven starts against the Rangers, dating back to 2004.

Jayson Nix, playing in place of an ailing Robinson Cano, opened the third against Feldman with an infield single, stole second and advanced to third on a lined single by Derek Jeter. Swisher, who was 3-for-8 with two home runs and seven RBIs in the first two games of the series, added to the Rangers’ misery with a bloop opposite-field double that landed just inside the line in left-field to score Nix while Jeter made it to third.

Granderson followed with a high fly to deep center that easily scored Jeter. Then, one out later, Chavez, who entered the day hitting .550 in his last five games, stroked an opposite-field single that scored Swisher.

But after that inning, Feldman got stingy and pitched around a lot of danger to keep the game close.

Feldman left after six innings having given up thee runs on seven hits and four walks and he struck out seven. After going 3-for-3 with runners in scoring position in the third, the Yankees were held to 0-for-8 the rest of the game and they stranded 10 runners.

Boone Logan replaced Garcia with two out and nobody on to retire pinch-hitter Michael Young to end the seventh. David Robertson then pitched a 1-2-3 eight, striking out two batters.

Rafael Soriano came on in the ninth and struck out Hamilton swinging and retired Adrian Beltre on a deep line drive to the warning track in left.

On a play in which Swisher dug out a one-hop throw from Chavez and stayed on the bag on a grounder off the bat of Nelson Cruz, first-base umpire Marty Foster incorrectly ruled that Swisher came off the bag for what was scored an error on Chavez. That added a bit of drama for the crowd of 45,921 who braved an hour and 45 minute rain delay in the Bronx to see this clash of A.L. titans.

But Soriano pitched around the error and retired David Murphy on a ground-ball force out to pick up his 29th save in his 31 opportunities this season.

With the victory, the Yankees have won seven out of their last eight games. They also have a streak of eight straight home victories over the Rangers that dates back to last season.

Their season record is now 70-47, the best record in the American League. The victory also gives the Yankees a six-game edge over the second-place Baltimore Orioles in the American League East. The Rangers fell to 67-49.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • What has been the biggest knock on the 2012 Yankees? Their supposedly suspect starting pitching, of course, with CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte on the disabled list. But David Phelps, Hiroki Kuroda and Garcia have combined to give up just four runs on 12 hits and four walks and fanned 13 batters in 18 2/3 innings against a very good hitting Rangers team. That is a starters’ ERA of 1.93 and a WHIP of 0.86. This staff is better than they might seem just looking at their ERAs. In his nine starts since July 2, Garcia has not given up more than three earned runs in eight of them and he has an ERA of 3.69 in those starts.
  • Chavez continues to turn back the clock to his 2001 season with Oakland in which he hit .288 with 32 home runs and 114 RBIs. Chavez was 3-for-3 with a walk and an RBI in the game. In his last six starts, Chavez is 14-for-23 (.609) with three home runs and seven RBIs. The 34-year-old veteran is doing more than his share filling in for an injured Alex Rodriguez.
  • Swisher is just about as hot as Chavez. In the series he is 4-for-13 (.308) with two home runs and eight RBIs. In his last nine games, he is 13-for-39 (.333) with two home runs and 11 RBIs. His hot streak has raised his season batting average to .263.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Some poor strategy and some poor execution of a bunt cost the Yankees a few potential chances to tack on to their lead. Ichiro Suzuki led off the sixth with an infield single. Instead of having Suzuki steal or having Nix bunt Suzuki over, manager Joe Girardi had Nix swing away and he hit into a double play. In the eighth, Nix did bunt after another leadoff infield single by Suzuki and Nix reached first because the bunt was so well placed. However, Jeter popped up his bunt attempt and reliever Mike Adams let it drop and turned it into a double play that killed the rally.
  • Mark Teixeira had a night to forget. He was 0-for-4, struck out three times and he did not get a ball out of the infield. Teixeira entered the game with an eight-game hitting streak in which he was 11-for-32 (.344) with three homers and five RBIs.
  • Russell Martin’s season from hell continues. The Rangers’ pitchers pretty much used the catcher, who entered the game hitting .199, as an escape hatch to big innings. Martin was 0-for-3 with a walk and he stranded seven runners. Martin lined out to right on the first pitch off reliever Alexi Ogando with the bases loaded in the seventh inning.

BOMBER BANTER

Cano was held out of Wednesday’s game due to a stiff neck, but Girardi said he did not think it was anything serious. Nix replaced Cano at second base and was 2-for-4 with a stolen base and a run scored.  . . .  In Rodriguez’s absence, Chavez, Nix and Casey McGehee have gone a combined 26-for-68 (.382) with seven homers, 15 RBIs and 17 runs scored in 19 starts at third base.

ON DECK

The Yankees can take out their brooms and complete a four-game sweep of the mighty Rangers on Thursday.

Right-hander Ivan Nova (11-6, 4.70 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees. Nova gave up two runs on five hits and a walk and struck out 10 in 7 1/3 innings to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday. He is 2-1 with a 4.67 ERA in his career against the Rangers.

The Rangers will counter with left-hander Derek Holland (7-6, 4.92 ERA). Holland was locked in a pitching duel with Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers on Saturday. Holland struck out nine and retired 22 of the 24 batters he faced, but he settled for a no-decision. He may want to wear a batting helmet on the mound Thursday because he is 0-5 with a 9.26 ERA lifetime against the Yankees.

Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.

 

Beltre, Rangers Do Texas Two-Step On Yankees

GAME 18

RANGERS 7, YANKEES 3

Adrian Beltre homered and drove in three runs on Wednesday to lead Texas to series victory over New York at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, TX.

Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland added solo home runs for the Rangers and Robbie Ross (4-0) threw 2 2/3 innings of perfect relief to get credit for the victory.

For the fourth consecutive start, Phil Hughes (1-3) failed to pitch six innings, giving up four runs on five hits and striking out two in 2 2/3 innings. David Phelps, thought to be in line to get a shot at starting, was not much better, surrendering three runs on five hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings.

With the loss the Yankees’ season record falls to 10-8. The Rangers are 15-4.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Raul Ibanez was one of the few bright spots for the Yankees. He was 2-for-4 including a solo home run off Neftali Feliz in the seventh and an RBI double in the fourth to plate the Yankees’ first run. In limited play, Ibanez, 39, is hitting .271 with three home runs and 11 RBIs.
  • Derek Jeter is hotter than a July evening in Texas. He was 2-for-4 in the game to raise his season average to an astounding .420, which is third in the major leagues behind the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp and Red Sox DH David Ortiz.
  • Other than Phelps, the bullpen did a good job of keeping the Yankees close for most of the game. Clay Rapada, Cody Eppley, Boone Logan and Rafael Soriano kept the Rangers scoreless over the three innings they pitched, giving up only one hit and a walk. Despite some of the starters struggling the bullpen is still holding up well.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • The time has come for the Yankees to place Phil Hughes in the bullpen. Trailing 1-0 with one out in the third inning, Hughes unraveled. Mitch Moreland singled and Ian Kinsler followed with a bloop opposite-field double to right. After an RBI groundout by Elvis Andrus, Hughes hit Josh Hamilton with a pitch. Beltre, who homered off him in his previous at-bat, stroked an RBI single and Michael Young followed with an RBI double. After Hughes brushed Nelson Cruz’s jersey with an inside pitch, Girardi removed him from the game. Hughes is 1-3 with a 7.88 ERA.
  • Curtis Granderson looks absolutely clueless at the plate. He was 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts in the game. In the series, Granderson was 1-for-9 with three walks and five strikeouts. None of the swinging strikeouts came on pitches that were in the strike zone.
  • After going 5-for-9 with runners in scoring position in their victory over the Rangers on Monday, the Yankees were 2-for-14 over the last two games. Alex Rodriguez was the poster boy for the futility, going 0-for-8 with two strikeouts and he did not get a ball out of the infield.

BOMBER BANTER

If losing the game were not enough, the Yankees learned earlier Wednesday that right-hander Michael Pineda has a slight anterior labral tear and he will have to undergo season-ending arthroscopic surgery next Tuesday. Dr. David Altchek, the Mets’ team physician, will perform the surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, assisted by Yankees team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad. Pineda, 23, will miss a minimum of 12 months. Pineda and 19-year-old right-hander Jose Campos were acquired in February in a trade with the Seattle Mariners for 22-year-old slugger Jesus Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi.  . . .  Meanwhile, left-hander Andy Pettitte gave up four runs (three earned) in five innings and took the loss as Double-A Trenton lost to Erie 10-4 on Wednesday. Pettitte struck out three and walked one and threw 59 of his 81 pitches for strikes. Pettitte is scheduled to make two more starts before being placed on the major-league roster.

ON DECK

The Yankees finished the road trip with a 3-2 mark and now they come home to face the Detroit Tigers on Friday.

The good news is their best starting pitcher will open the series. Ivan Nova (3-0, 3.79 ERA) is riding a streak of consecutive victories and he can tie Rogers Clemens’ team record of 16 with a victory. Nova gave up two runs on seven hits and fanned five batters last Friday as the Yankees defeated the Red Sox 6-2 on Fenway Park’s 100th birthday. Nova is 0-0 with a 0,00 ERA against the Tigers but did defeat them in Game 1 of the ALDS last October.

Unfortunately, the Yankees will be facing Justin Verlander (2-1, 1.72 ERA). Verlander blanked the Rangers for six innings while striking out eight in his last start. The reigning American league MVP and Cy Young Award winner is 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA against the Yankees in his career.

Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.

 

Gardner’s RBI Hit In 12th Gives Yankees Sweep

GAME 67

YANKEES 3, RANGERS 2 (12 Innings)

Brett Gardner was inserted into Thursday’s game as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning because manager Joe Girardi elected not to start him against a left-handed pitcher.

But in the 12th inning, Gardner delivered a one-out single to right to score Curtis Granderson with the winning run off left-handed reliever Michael Kirkman as New York completed a three-game sweep against a Texas team that denied the Yankees a trip to the World Series last season.

The game had remained tied 2-2 since the bottom of the sixth inning when Kirkman (1-1) began his third inning of work by allowing a bloop single near the line in shallow right-field to Granderson. After Mark Teixiera flew out to left, Kirkman hit Robinson Cano on an 0-2 pitch that Rangers manager Ron Washington claimed hit Cano’s bat. However, home-plate umpire Mike Winters awarded Cano first base, moving Granderson to second.

Then Gardner stroked a 1-0 pitch on the ground sharply past second baseman Ian Kinsler into right-field. Granderson rounded third and slid home well ahead of the throw from David Murphy to win the game for the Bombers.

Cory Wade (1-0), part of the Yankees’ new-look bullpen minus Joba Chamberlain and Rafael Soriano, pitched two perfect innings of relief to earn his first victory as a Yankee and his first major-league victory in two years.

But the first part of the day belonged to the new-look starter who had replaced Bartolo Colon in the starting rotation.

Brian Gordon, 32, made his first major-league start against a Rangers team with which he made his only three major-league appearances in 2008. And Gordon did not disappoint. Gordon held the Rangers to two runs on seven hits and three walks and he fanned three batters in 5 1/3 innings of work.

However, Gordon did pay a price for walking Taylor Teagarden to begin the fifth inning when the Rangers catcher later scored on an Ian Kinsler double to tie the game at 1-1.

But with Endy Chavez at third and Kinsler at first, Gordon struck out Elvis Andrus swinging and walked Josh Hamilton intentionally to load the bases. Gordon then induced Michael Young to pop up to Cano for the second out. Gordon then battled Adrian Beltre to an 0-2 count. But Gordon lost control of a curve and hit Beltre with the pitch to force in the lead run.

The Yankees had opened the scoring in the game in the second inning off Rangers starter C.J. Wilson when Russell Martin drove in Cano from third base with a two-out single into center. The Yankees later tied the score in the sixth when Jorge Posada, hitting .088 batting right-handed on the season, stroked a one-out double into the gap in left-center that scored Cano from first.

Wilson gave up two runs on seven hits and three walks and fanned 10 batters in eight innings. But the Yankee bullpen of Hector Noesi, David Roberston, Mariano Rivera and Wade kept the Rangers scoreless over the next seven innings to allow Gardner to notch his first walk-off hit for the Yankees and his first face full of post-game pie from A.J. Burnett.

With the victory the Yankees not only swept the Rangers, but they won the nine-game season series 7-2. They also moved their season mark to 39-28 and they remain 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The Rangers leave the Bronx with a 36-34 record.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Gordon was signed on Thursday and placed on the active roster just before the game after he opted out of his contract a day earlier with the Phillies’ Triple-A Lehigh Valley club, where he was 5-0 with a league-best 1.14 ERA. He spent 15 years in the minors and 10 of those seasons as an outfielder. But after a solid 84-pitch major-league debut, Gordon received a standing ovation from the 47,487 fans on hand. Girardi said Gordon will start again next Tuesday in Cincinnati and he will get a chance to get his first major-league at-bat.
  • Gardner was relegated as a defensive replacement in the last two games with the Rangers but he is one of the Yankees’ hottest hitters. On Thursday he was 2-for-2 after entering the game in the ninth inning for Andruw Jones in left-field. Both hits came off the lefty Kirkman. Since June 4, Gardner is 17-for-36 (.472) with five doubles and a triple and four RBIs. Gardner has had seven multiple hits games over that 12-game span.
  • Wade’s two innings of perfect relief now give him three perfect innings in his first two appearances as a Yankee. Wade was released by the Rays from their Triple-A Durham club on Monday and he was signed to minor-league contract with the Yankees and activated on Wednesday. Wade, 27, pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008 and 2009 but missed the 2010 season because he had to undergo shoulder surgery.
  • Granderson had three of the Yankees’ 11 hits and scored the winning run in the 12th inning. Granderson raised his batting average to .285 after hitting .249 in his last season with Detroit and hitting .247 with the Yankees last season. Granderson best season was in 2007 with the Tigers, where he hit .302.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Wednesday’s hero Mark Teixeira did not carry his success into Thursday’s game. He was 0-for-6 with four infield groundouts. Teixeira’s average is now .251. He also left eight men on base. His biggest out was when he grounded out to Andrus at short in the ninth inning with two out and the bases loaded.
  • Granderson also deserves some criticism for his at-bat against veteran lefty Darren Oliver in the ninth inning. Granderson was at the plate with one out and the bases loaded after Oliver had walked Nick Swisher. Granderson had worked Oliver into a 3-2 count and Oliver threw a breaking pitch that swept well out of the strike zone. But Granderson swung wildly at it and fanned at what would have been ball four and the end of the game.
  • The Yankees again displayed some bad base-running in the game early. Swisher led off the game with a single to left. Granderson followed with a single to right and Swisher easily beat Murphy’s throw to Beltre at third base. However, Swisher overslid the bag and Beltre tagged him out. A bit later, Granderson was throw out stealing second by Teagarden. The Yankees also ground into a pair of costly double plays that took Wilson off the hook.

BOMBERS BANTER

In order to make room on the roster for Gordon, the Yankees optioned Lance Pendleton to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and they released right-handed reliever Amauri Sanit. Pendleton had a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings with the Yankees. Sanit gave up 10 runs in seven innings with the Yankees before landing on the 15-day disabled list with an elbow injury.  . . .  Martin returned to the starting lineup after missing seven of the last eight games with back stiffness. Martin was 2-for-4 and drove in a run. However, Martin’s biggest contribution was throwing out two runners. He gunned down Andrus stealing in the first inning and Murphy in the sixth. Backup catcher Francisco Cervelli has struggled all season throwing out base-runners and Martin has been missed.  . . .  The Yankees announced that former managers Joe Torre and Lou Piniella and outfielder Bernie Williams will be among the participants in Old-Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium on June 26. Piniella will be donning a Yankee uniform for the first time since 1988.

ON DECK

The Yankees are now in Chicago and will begin a series of interleague games with a weekend series against the Cubs in Wrigley Field starting on Friday.

Freddy Garcia (5-5, 3.60 ERA) will open the series for the Yankees. Garcia is coming off a strong 6-2/3 inning performance in a victory over Cleveland on Sunday. He has also had some success against the Cubs. He is 4-0 with a 1.47 ERA against them in his career.

The Cubs will start left-hander Doug Davis (0-5, 5.90 ERA). Davis is coming off a 108-pitch, five inning outing against the Phillies in which he walked five batters. In the last 10 years, Davis is 3-2 with a 6.28 ERA against the Yankees.

Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.

Yankees’ Super Sub Chavez Torpedos Texas With RBI Hit

GAME 14
YANKEES 6, RANGERS 5
With Alex Rodriguez out of the lineup on Sunday the Yankees knew they would have their hands full in trying to beat the Rangers. But with Eric Chavez playing for Rodriguez there was no real reason to worry.
Chavez slapped a line-drive single up the middle off Arthur Rhodes (0-1) with two out in the bottom of eighth inning to score Mark Teixeira with the game-winning run as New York edged Texas at Yankee Stadium.
Rafael Soriano (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth inning to get credit for the victory and Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save in seven chances. Rivera now has seven saves and a victory and has had a hand in eight of the Yankees’ nine victories.
The Yankees also established a all-time team record by hitting 27 home runs in the first 14 games of the season, breaking a record established by the 1932 team. Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson each homered off Rangers starter Alexi Ogando.
The Yankees ran their record to 9-5 and they have now established a 2 1/2-game lead over second-place Toronto in the American League East. The Boston Red Sox are in last place, five games out. The Rangers lost the road three-game series to the Yankees and fell to 10-5.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES
  • Chavez is proving in the early season he will be a very valuable player off the bench. He was 2-for-4 with a run-scored as well as stroking the game-winning hit. He is 7-for-15 (.467) in limited playing time this season.
  • Cano opened the Yankee scoring with a solo home run off Ogando to lead off the second inning. Up to that point, Ogando had been unscored upon in 13 innings this season. It was Cano’s fourth home run of the season.
  • Martin continues to impress behind the plate and with the bat. He blasted his fourth home run of the season to left with two out and Chavez on first in the fifth inning to tie the score at 3-3.
  • Granderson’s round-tripper came with none out and Derek Jeter on first in the sixth inning and it gave the Yankees their first lead of the night. It was Granderson’s fourth home run of the season and his first off a right-handed pitcher.
NAGGING NEGATIVES
  • CC Sabathia started for New York and pitched his worst game of the season. He was tagged for four runs on eight hits and two walks and he struck out six in 6 1/3 innings of work. However, he left with a lead.
  • Joba Chamberlain coughed up the lead with one out in the seventh inning by walking Ian Kinsler and  one batter later Michael Young drove in Kinsler with a long double to right-center.
  • Yankee pitching had a rough night against Young and Adrian Beltre. Young was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Beltre was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBI, including a two-run home run in the first inning. The rest of the Rangers’ hitters were 4-for-28 (.143).
  • After two days of not starting, Brett Gardner was inserted back into the lineup. However, his struggles with the bat continue. He was 0-for-2, hitting into a double play and a striking out. Andruw Jones pinch-hit for him in the seventh inning. Gardner’s average is now down to .140.
BOMBER BANTER
Rodriguez said that he hopes to be able to play in Toronto on Tuesday or Wednesday. He received treatments of ice, heat, whirlpool and sauna for his stiff back on Sunday. A precautionary MRI came back clean and Rodriguez said he does not believe he will have to go on the disabled list.  . . .  The Yankees said that 37-year-old right-hander will make his first start of the season on Wednesday against the Blue Jays. Colon has been inserted into the rotation in place of Phil Hughes, who is on the disabled list trying to build up arm strength. Colon has pitched 11 1/3 innings out of the bullpen and has an 3.97 ERA.  . . .  Manager Joe Girardi said the team was very close to sending Hughes to the minors to work out his drop in velocity. However, Girardi said the team believes it would be better for Hughes to work on his problems outside of game situations.
ON DECK
The Yankees have Monday off and will open a two-game series in Toronto on Tuesday.
The Yankees will send to the mound A.J. Burnett (3-0, 4.67 ERA), who pitched six shutout innings against the Orioles on Wednesday only to be tagged for a pair of two-run homers in the seventh. But Burnett has won each of his three starts and he is 2-4 with 5.84 ERA against his former team.
The Blue Jays will counter with rookie right-hander Kyle Drabek (1-0, 1.93 ERA), who has walked 11 batters over his first 18 2/3 innings. But, he has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his six starts. He is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in one start against the Yankees last season.
Game-time will be 7:07 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast locally by My9.

Moseley, Subbing For Ailing Burnett, Shuts Down Bosox

GAME 110
YANKEES 7, RED SOX 2

“Stepping up” is a popular word in today’s baseball lexicon. It simply means coming through with a great effort when a teammate is unable to play.
On Saturday, Ramiro Pena drove in two runs subbing for an injured Alex Rodriguez. On Sunday night it was Dustin Moseley pitching six-plus innings in place of injured starter A.J. Burnett as the New York Yankees “stepped up” to defeat the Boston Red Sox.
Moseley (2-1), who was scheduled to pitch Monday, was called upon to pitch a day early because Burnett was bothered by back spasms. After throwing 6 1/3 innings of two-run and six-hit baseball on short notice, Moseley earned a standing ovation from the crowd of 49,096 at Yankee Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Yankees’ offense was running up the pitch count and wearing down Moseley’s more decorated opponent, Josh Beckett (3-2).
Derek Jeter led the assault with a two-out RBI single in the second inning and a two-out, two-run double in the fifth inning that finally chased Beckett from the contest. Beckett was shelled for seven runs on 11 hits and two walks in just 4 2/3 innings.
A pair of errors by second baseman Bill Hall and catcher Kevin Cash did not help Beckett’s cause either.
With the victory, the Yankees struck another serious blow to the hopes of the Red Sox to get back into the race for the top spot in the American League East. With their 69-41 record the Yankees are now seven games in front of the third-place Red Sox.
The Tampa Bay Rays, who were completely shut down and dismantled by Brandon Morrow’s 8 2/3 innings of no-hit baseball and 17 strikeouts, dropped their fifth straight game and now are 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees in second place.
The best the Red Sox can now hope for is win on Monday to tie the four-game series and leave the Bronx the same six games behind the Yankees when they arrived.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • The 28-year-old Texarkana, AR, native Moseley pitched a gem of a game in front of a national television audience. Using his sinking fastball and working both sides of the plate, Moseley gave up only six hits and two walks and contributed three excellent plays in the field to hold the Red Sox at bay. Moseley only gave up a solo home run to Hall to open the fifth inning and a leadoff double by Adrian Beltre in the seventh was cashed in for a run on an infield single by pinch-hitter Mike Lowell off reliever Joba Chamberlain.
  • Jeter’s RBI single in the second inning was the 2,784th hit of his career, which moved him into sole possession of 39th place on baseball’s all-time hit list, passing the legendary Babe Ruth. The crowd gave Jeter a huge ovation and he tipped his helmet to acknowledge the crowd. Jeter ended the day going 2-for-5 with three RBIs.
  • Lance Berkman finally got the Yankee Stadium boo birds off him with a 3-for-4 night, including two doubles. He scored two runs and drove in another. He began the day hitting .091 with the Yankees since he was acquired from the Astros at the trade deadline.
  • Mark Teixeira, who entered the game homerless in 31 at-bats against Beckett, hit his team-leading 25th home run of the season off the right-hander to lead off the fifth inning. It was a titanic blast that landed into the second deck of the right-field bleachers over the Modell’s sign.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Moseley looked to be faltering in the fourth inning after he gave up a two-out single to Victor Martinez with the score only 2-0. Moseley then walked J.D. Drew and Beltre in succession to load the bases. But he recovered by inducing an inning-ending groundout to Teixeira by rookie Ryan Kalish to end what could have been a big inning.
  • Jorge Posada’s troubles at the plate continue. He was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and he failed to get a ball out of the infield. In his last 12 games, Posada is 7-for-41 (.171) with no home runs and one RBI. His season average fell to .257.
  • Curtis Granderson did walk and score a run in the fifth but finished the game 0-for-3 and his average fell back to .243.
  • Chamberlain, who has lost his setup role in the bullpen, was a bit shaky again. He faced three batters in the seventh inning and allowed an infield single to Cash that scored Beltre and — after retiring Jacoby Ellsbury on a foul fly ball — he walked Marco Scutaro to load the bases with David Ortiz coming to the plate and a 7-2 lead. Manager Joe Girardi pulled Chamberlain in favor of left-hander Boone Logan, who retired Ortiz on a grounder to Robinson Cano to end the threat.
DIAMOND NOTES

Alex Rodriguez was able to return to the lineup despite being struck on the shin by a ball off the bat of Berkman during batting practice on Saturday and being scratched from the game. Rodriguez was 1-for-3 with a walk, scored a run and the sixth inning he stole the 300th base of his career. He was removed from the game in the ninth inning due to stiffness in his shin. With the stolen base, Rodriguez joins Barry Bonds and Willie Mays as the only three players in baseball history to hit 600 or more home runs and steal 300 or more bases.  . . .  Burnett felt back spasms on Saturday while he was completing flat-ground tossing at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees decided to move Moseley up to pitch on Sunday and Phil Hughes to pitch on Monday against the Red Sox. Girardi said Burnett felt better on Sunday and he is scheduled to pitch Tuesday on the road against the Texas Rangers.
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees have now put the rival Red Sox into almost a must-win situation on Monday after clinching at least a tie in their four-game series on Sunday.
The Yankees will call on right-hander Phil Hughes (13-4, 3.96 ERA) to win the series. Hughes limited the Blue Jays to one run on four hits over 5 1/3 innings in a Yankees’ victory. However, in three of his past four starts Hughes has failed to make it to the sixth inning. In his career, Hughes is 1-2 with a 6.48 ERA against the Red Sox.
The Red Sox will counter with left-hander Jon Lester (11-7, 3.07 ERA), who has lost a career-high four straight games. His ERA is 5.06 since the All-Star break. He is 5-3 with a 3.00 ERA on the road. He is 4-1 with 4.01 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 2:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.

CC, Last-Minute Sub Pena Team Up To Unravel Red Sox

GAME 109
YANKEES 5, RED SOX 2

Ramiro Pena was just shagging fly balls in right field during batting practice at Yankee Stadium when Alex Rodriguez was struck below the left knee by a ball off the bat of Lance Berkman.
A short time after Rodriguez limped off the field for X-rays, Pena chipped in two RBIs in place of the All-Star third baseman. Meanwhile, CC Sabathia shackled the Boston Red Sox on two runs over eight innings for his 14th victory as the Yankees defeated their big rivals 5-2 on Saturday.
The victory dealt a serious blow to the hopes of the Red Sox reclaiming a spot back in the running for the American League East championship. With the four-game series tied at a game apiece, the third-place Red Sox fell back to the same six games back they were when the series started.
The Tampa Bay Rays, who started the day a half-game back of the Yankees in second place, fell to a eight-homer barrage by the Toronto Blue Jays for a 17-11 beating that left them 1 1/2 games in arrears.
Sabathia (14-5) gave up only six hits and a walk while striking out four batters in recording the 150th victory of his career. Sabathia struggled in the second inning, giving up a solo home run to Victor Martinez and back-to-back doubles by Adrian Beltre and Mike Lowell.
After that Sabathia retired 17 of the next 21 batters he faced before handing off the game to Mariano Rivera to pitch the ninth inning. Rivera needed only eight pitches to complete a perfect frame and notch his 23rd save in 25 chances.
Pena, meanwhile, keyed the Yankees five-run attack on right-hander John Lackey (10-7) with a RBI groundout that tied the game at two in the second inning and he completed the scoring for the Yankees with an RBI single in the sixth inning.
Curtis Granderson contributed two hits, including an RBI triple in the second inning. Robinson Cano broke the tie in the fifth inning with a two-out RBI single and Jorge Posada followed with an RBI single of his own.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Pena, who entered the game batting only .204, played a major role in the offense batting ninth. Pena’s two RBIs give him 13 RBIs in 96 at-bats this season. In a 500 at-bat season that would project to 71 RBIs.
  • Sabathia clamped down on the Red Sox after the home run and two doubles he gave up to start the second inning. The Red Sox managed only a clean single to left by Marco Scutaro to open the third inning, an infield single by Beltre with two out in the sixth and a walk to J.D. Drew to open the seventh.
  • Granderson, who has been underachieving all season long, stepped up with two hits, two runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base. His steal in the sixth inning set up final run for the Yankees. On his steal of second, the throw from Martinez sailed past Scutaro and rolled into center-field, allowing Granderson to take third. He then scored on Pena’s single to right.
  • Cano, batting fourth in place of Rodriguez, broke the tie in the fifth on a lined single to right to score Nick Swisher. Cano was 2-for-3 with a walk and is now hitting .332, fifth in the league. He is also third on the team with 73 RBIs.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Brett Gardner is looking lost and overmatched at the plate. He was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, two of them looking. In his last eight games, Gardner is 1-for-22 (.045) and his average has dropped from .300 to .283.
  • Derek Jeter, who was just beginning to show some signs of life at the plate, was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. 
  • Lance Berkman, who was the DH in the game, is already hearing the boo birds at Yankee Stadium. Though he walked and scored a run, he was 0-for-3 with a strikeout and did not get a ball out of the infield. He is 2-for-22 (.091) in pinstripes and the natives are getting restless for him to produce like he did in Houston.
  • Pena allowed a ball off the bat of Darnell McDonald play him in the fifth inning for his third error of the season. Sabathia retired the next three hitters in order and it did not result in a run.
DIAMOND N
OTES

The X-rays on Rodriguez came back negative and Rodriguez is listed as day-to-day. FOX broadcaster Joe Buck was in the visitors’ dugout and waved to Rodriguez as the third baseman was taking infield grounders. Rodriguez waved back and then was struck on the left knee with a ball off the bat of Berkman. Rodriguez screamed in pain, tried to walk it off and then collapsed to the turf in pain. Manager Joe Girardi said he did not expect Rodriguez to play on Sunday and was unsure when he would be able to return to the lineup.  . . .  Andy Pettitte is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Monday. The left-hander, who is on the 15-day DL with a strained left groin, is expected to throw a simulated game last next week and then could be sent out on a rehab start before being activated in two weeks.
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees’ victory on Saturday dealt a serious blow to the plans of the limping Red Sox, who were out for a four-game sweep. The Yankees have a chance to deal another serious blow on Sunday night.
The Yankees will send right-hander A.J. Burnett (9-9, 4.93 ERA) to the hill. Burnett was blasted for eight runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays last week. Before that the mercurial Burnett had tossed 11 straight scoreless innings. In his career he is 5-3 with a 4.92 ERA against the Red Sox.
Burnett’s opponent will be Josh Beckett (3-1, 5.70 ERA), who is 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA in three starts since being activated from the disabled list. Beckett gave up one run and three hits over eight innings against the Indians last week. He is 9-6 with a 5.95 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 8 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by ESPN.

RSN Views On Lackey vs. Vazquez Really Defy Reality

Red Sox fans are a hoot.
You notice that every player they acquire is not only better than the player they are replacing. They become All-Stars and Hall of Fame-bound.
Red Sox Nation can also be a bit hypocritical. When the Yankees signed Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett as free agents last season the Yankees were accused of buying a pennant. This accusation, of course, only came full throat after the Red Sox were eliminated in the playoffs by the Angels.
Fact: Even with the free agent signings the Yankees lowered their payroll in 2009.
This winter the Red Sox spent an awful lot of money on free agents to improve their ballclub, spending millions to sign John Lackey, Marco Scutaro, Adrian Beltre and Mike Cameron. But, of course, this does not qualify as buying a pennant because it is alright for Red Sox to raise their payroll to try to win — just not the Yankees. 
As long as the Red Sox payroll is lower than the Yankees, Red Sox Nation can still claim the Yankees “bought” the pennant whenever they win or they can say the Yankees wasted money in payroll when they lose.
RSN is nothing if not predictable.
Several years ago I laughed when RSN tried to justify letting Johnny Damon leave and replacing him with Coco Crisp. Fans actually went to the stats to try to show that Coco Crisp had a better career on-base percentage than Damon. I will always give them credit for trying to sell Coco Crisp as a better player than Johnny Damon. Nice try!
This off-season Red Sox fans are ready with all the arguments in the world their team is better than the Yankees. That is fine. That is what fans do.
Most of their enthusiasm has come from the signing of Lackey, who they believe is now the second coming of Roy Halladay, Bob Gibson and Cy Young all rolled into one big Texas-sized body.
The Yankees trade for Javier Vazquez is being touted on the Red Sox message boards with derision because Vazquez faltered so badly in 2004 in the American League Championship Series. Their last memory of Vazquez is the grand slam home run Damon hit off him. OK, Yankee fans have the same memory. I will grant you that.
But I tried to sidestep the obvious Red Sox-Yankee banter about who was better: Lackey or Vazquez. Obviously, RSN was going to assert that “Halgibyoung” (that combination of Halladay, Gibson and Young) was better than poor Javy.
I simply said on this blog that although the signing of Lackey was important to the Red Sox that the Yankees trade for Vazquez was very important to the Yankees. All I said was that Vazquez had pitched more than 195 innings in 10 straight seasons.
My point was that Vazquez gave the Yankees four pitchers who were capable of pitching 200 or more innings: Sabathia, Burnett, Vazquez and Andy Pettitte. I also said that the trade also meant that the Yankees were assured of having either Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes in the bullpen to set up Mariano Rivera.
Without saying Vazquez was better than Lackey I just pointed out that the Vazquez trade will make the Yankees’ bullpen stronger for two reasons: (1) The four 200-inning pitchers would mean the bullpen would have to be used less often than it was in 2009 and (2) With Hughes or Chamberlain setting up Rivera, late-inning rallies would be real tough on Yankee opponents who were behind after seven innings.
Of course, Red Sox fans read that blog item and immediately misconstrued what I was saying. They claim I was saying that Vazquez was better than Lackey and that I thought the Vazquez trade was a better move than the Lackey signing. 
You have to love Red Sox fans who never excelled at reading comprehension. They hear only what they want to hear and they read things into news items only they want to read. No negative comments about the Red Sox are allowed — unless they come from loyal RSN fans. They are allowed to rip the team six ways from Sunday but never Yankee fans.
Well, I was struck by the RSN replies I got from my blog item. I was stunned that in trying to sidestep the Lackey vs. Vazquez controversy that I ended up doing exactly what I was trying to avoid.
This one fan tried to assert to me that Lackey was a more dominant pitcher. (He even spelled dominant as “dominate” in true RSN fashion). He said Lackey’s 2009 record was 13-8 and Vazquez was “10-15 with a 2.87 ERA and only 219 innings pitched.”
Well, I had fun pointing out to him that Lackey actually was 11-8 in 2009 and Vazquez was 15-10. In addition, Vazquez was fourth in the National League Cy Young voting and was second to Tim Lincecum in strikeouts with 238. I did not know how to respond his claim that Vazquez “only” pitched 219 innings. I was dumbfounded by that one.
Maybe he expects Halgibyoung can pitch 300 innings this season. I have no idea.
Then I looked at the career strikeout totals for Lackey and Vazquez. In the 11 seasons that Vazquez has made 32 or more starts, he has struck out 200 or more batters in five seasons, including the last three in a row. In two other seasons he came up just short with 194 and 192.
Then I looked at Lackey’s strikeout numbers and found out that he has never struck out 200 or more batters in a season. Not once. OK, in 2005 and 2006 he came close with 199 and 190. But he still has not come close to Vazquez in strikeouts or in strikeout rate.
Here is another fact: John Lackey has failed to pitch more than 27 games the past two seasons because of problems with his elbow. His records in both seasons were fine but his ERA has risen since his 19-9 and 3.01 ERA season in 2007.
Because the Red Sox are on the hook for $80 million they better make sure they keep Lackey healthy throughout the length of that contract, given his injury history. That rings especially true considering their $100 million investment in Dice-K, who has been more like Dice-DL in 2009 and this spring.
But I forget that Lackey is now in Boston. He is not Lackey. He is Halgibyoung and he is gong to go 33-0 with 0.00 ERA while wearing the Boston B. Vazquez is gong to go 0-33 with an ERA of 121,45 while wearing pinstripes.
This is the way RSN thinks.
That is because Vazquez is coming over from the National League, where any pitcher with good numbers can’t possibly be any good in the superior American League. While I will agree that the pitchers coming over from the NL have to deal with higher ERAs in the AL because of the DH and better hitting lineups, I also do not think they all will all end up pitching like Jeremy Guthrie either.
In 2007, Vazquez was 15-8 with a 3.74 ERA with the Chicago White Sox. I think the Yankees would take that from their No. 4 starter this season. I think that makes their rotation better and gives them a good chance of repeating as champions.
But, of course, if the Yankees should win the championship, they would have ‘bought it” with their payroll, which they also lowered this season, because logic and RSN are pretty much mutually exclusive these days.
In a week or so I am going to preview the AL East race. I am sure RSN can’t wait to read between the lines and make up stuff I did not write when I publish it. Until then all I can say to RSN is best of luck to their team filled with All-Stars and Hall of Famers — especially that ace pitcher Halgibyoung.
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