Results tagged ‘ Geovany Soto ’

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.

 

Yankees’ Bid For Garza Is Going, Going, Gone!

For those fans expecting Matt Garza to be modeling Yankee pinstripes in 2012, your dream is not likely to come true.

The Yankees did have an interest in the 28-year-old Chicago Cubs right-hander. But the team’s president of baseball operations Theo Epstein must have been smoking some of that fraternity stash of his lately. His asking price for Garza, who is 52-54 with a 3.83 ERA in his career, is two of the Yankees’ top three prospects.

Yes sir! Epstein and the Cubs want slugging catcher Jesus Montero and either left-hander Manny Banuelos or right-hander Dellin Betances, according to a report by Jack Curry of the YES Network.

Needless to say, Yankee general manager Brian Cashman nearly choked on his Nathan’s hotdog when he heard that request. Although the Yankees would love to obtain Garza to bolster their starting rotation, the asking price for a pitcher who was just 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA in 2011 would seem to be excessively steep.

The Cubs might as well go all the way and offer back-up outfielder Reed Johnson even up for Curtis Granderson. Or how about catcher Geovany Soto for Robinson Cano? You can criticize Epstein for a lot of things but you have to give him credit for having cojones.

This overpricing of pitching has been a trend this winter and it is one of the reasons why Cashman has had to decline big-money offers to overpriced free agents such as C.J. Wilson and Mark Buerhle. The Rangers paid $51 million just for the right to negotiate a deal with Japan’s best pitcher, Yu Darvish.

Teams like the Padres and Athletics have exacted a cartload of prospects for pitchers such as Mat Latos and Gio Gonzalez. The Cubs are trying to do the same with Garza.

But the Yankees have apparently bowed out of the sweepstakes, leaving the Blue Jays and Tigers as the players left interested in Garza unless the Cubs begin to start lowering their demands.

This is is exactly what I was predicting in my last post when I stated that Cashman should proceed with caution in talks for Garza and not succumb to desperation at the expense of the building blocks to the Yankees’ future. You have to know when to fold your hand and leave the table.

Cashman, it appears, has done just that.

Montero, 22, is simply the best power-hitting prospect the Yankees have developed since they promoted Mickey Mantle in 1951. The jury may be out on his skills to be a creditable defensive catcher but scouts have compared his ability to hit to players such as Mike Piazza and Manny Ramirez. You do not trade players with this much upside.

Banuelos, 20, is the best left-hander and the best pitching prospect in the Yankees’ organization and Betances, 23, is the second-best pitching prospect. Neither of the two have had an opportunity to show the Yankees what they can do at the major-league level. Both rose from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last season. Both project as potential top-of-the-rotation starters. The Yankees have no other starters in their farm system with that capability.

So why trade any of the three for Garza, who only is two seasons away from free agency and is likely to earn $20 million over the next two seasons in arbitration? Garza is essentially a .500 pitcher. He is not more than a No. 3 starter. If Garza was a flavor of ice cream he would be vanilla. Plain vanilla.

You don’t trade your best prospects for vanilla. You tell Epstein, “Fudge you!”

Which is exactly what Cashman has done.

ACTION JACKSON

With any potential deal for Gaza apparently gone, the Yankees are now looking at free-agent right-hander Edwin Jackson, according to CBSSports.com.

Jackson, 28, was 12-9 with a 3.73 ERA and 148 strikeouts for the world-champion St. Louis Cardinals last season. He reportedly is looking for a contract in the $15 million to $17 million range for 2012. The Yankees might be unwilling to go that high on the veteran right-hander, who is 60-60 a 4.86 ERA and 801 strikeouts in his career.

The Yankees are apparently trying to find a middle ground that Jackson and his agent could accept. The Yankees see Jackson as a potential reliable and durable No. 3 starter.

The Yankees already have five potential starters in CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, A.J. Burnett and Freddy Garcia. They also have six potential young starters in Hector Noesi, D.J. Mitchell, Adam Warren, David Phelps, Betances and Banuelos.

But they have made no secret of the fact the would love to unload troubled right-hander Burnett and his $33 million salary paid over the next two seasons. The Yankees have reportedly offered to pay up to $7 million of that contract but have received no takers so far for Burnett.

The signing of Jackson would allow the Yankees to continue to develop their prize minor-league prospects and renew their efforts to unload Burnett.

SAYONARA

It is looking as if the Yankees will not be signing Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima to a contract by the Friday deadline, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.

A source told the Ledger that the talks have been “slow” and the Yankees are unlikely to complete a deal for Nakajima, 29, by the 30-day deadline called for in the posting process. The Yankees wish to pay Nakajima as a backup infielder and Nakajima has been paid as a starter in Japan. So both sides are not close to a deal.

The Yankees posted a $2 million bid for Nakajima in early December and won the right to negotiate a contract. If the two sides can’t agree on a contract Nakajima’s team in Japan, the Seibu Lions, will return the $2 million to the Yankees and Nakajima will remain with the Lions.

The Yankees looked at Nakajima, who hit .297 with 16 home runs and 100 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in 144 games with Seibu in 2011, as a potential backup infielder at second, third and shortstop. The negotiations for Nakajima precluded the Yankees from making a deal to re-sign 34-year-old veteran Eric Chavez.

However, if the Nakajima talks fail the Yankees could, if they wish, can contact Chavez’s agent to get the 34-year-old corner infielder back for the 2012 season. Chavez hit .263 with two home runs and 26 RBIs in 58 games with the Yankees in 2011. He missed two months of the season with a fractured bone in his left foot.

STAY TUNED!

 

Nunez Atones With Key Hit As Yankees Edge Cubs

GAME 69

YANKEES 4, CUBS 3

Talented young players like Eduardo Nunez can have you scratching your head when he boots a routine grounder one minute and have you marveling at his great ability to hit in the clutch the next.

And so it was on a late Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field as Nunez committed what looked to be a costly error in the sixth inning. But he singled and scored the tie-breaking run in the sixth and stroked an RBI double in the ninth to score what proved to be the winning run as New York edged Chicago.

Nunez, who is subbing at shortstop for an injured Derek Jeter, is 7-for-18 (.389) with a home run and three RBIs in the five games he has started since Jeter was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 14. Of course, in limited play this season he also has committed eight errors in the field this season. So you take the bad with the spectacular.

With the Yankees and Cubs tied 2-2 in the sixth, Nunez slapped a line-drive single on an 0-2 pitch from Cubs starter Ryan Dempster (5-6). He moved to second on an sacrifice bunt that landed foul and spun into fair territory by Yankees starter A.J. Burnett. Brett Gardner chased Dempster with a infield single that moved Nunez to third. Lefty reliever James Russell then surrendered a long sacrfrice fly to right that brought Nunez in with the tie-breaking run.

The Yankees then had to survive a bizarre sixth in which they had to withstand a hit batter and two errors with one out in the inning. Burnett hit Carlos Pena with a pitch but then induced Reed Johnson to hit into what looked to be a routine double-play grounder to Nunez. However, Nunez booted it and both runners were safe.

Burnett was replaced by right-hander Cory Wade and Wade got Rafael Soriano to hit a grounder to Alex Rodriguez at third. But Robinson Cano dropped Rodriguez’s relay to second and the bases were loaded. Geovany Soto then lifted a shallow line drive to left to Gardner. Gardner caught the drive and threw a one-hopper to Russell Martin at the plate that beat Pena by plenty. Pena attempted to bowl over Martin, who spent about a week nursing a back injury. However, Martin held on and popped up to show Pena the ball as the Yankees escaped holding a 3-2 lead.

Nunez again picked up the Yankees in the ninth after Cano blasted his second double of the game with one out off Jeff Samardzjia. Samardzjia then walked Nick Swisher and Cubs manager Mike Quade called in left-hander John Grabow. Grabow retired Martin on a foul popup but Nunez laced a 2-0 fastball into the gap in left to score Cano. But Swisher was gunned down trying to follow Cano at the plate on a throw from Starlin Castro. As it turned out that run Nunez drove in would come in to play in the bottom of the inning.

Mariano Rivera was brought in to pitch the ninth and he was touched for a leadoff home run by Johnson. But after a Soriano single, Rivera got a double play off the bat of Soto and then struck out Jeff Baker on three pitches to notch his 14th save of the season.

Burnett (7-5) was the winning pitcher, though he lasted only 5 1/3 innings. Burnett gave up two runs on four hits, walked three and struck out eight. His only big mistake was giving up a two-run home run to Pena in the fourth after walking Blake DeWitt, allowing the Cubs to draw even.

The Yankees, meanwhile, could not get the big hit off Dempster, who gave up eight hits and six walks in 5 1/3 innings. The Yankees collected 11 hits and 10 walks on the day off five Cubs pitchers but they had four runners cut down on the bases and they did not get key hits with runners in scoring position. They Yankees stranded a total of 13 runners on the day.

But the victory gives the Yankees a 40-29 record and the Yankees gained a game on the first-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East. They are now just 1 1/2 games out. The Cubs dropped to 29-41.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Burnett pitched a good game despite lasting only 5 1/3 innings. From the second inning through the fourth, eight of the nine outs he recorded were on strikeouts. Five of his Ks came on swings at curveballs in the dirt. Pitch count became an issue in the sixth and Girardi removed him after Nunez and committed his error.
  • Cory Wade, Hector Noesi and David Robertson pitched exceptionally well in relief of Burnett. Wade escaped the sixth on the double play at the plate that retired Pena. Noesi and Robertson each pitched a perfect inning in the seventh and eighth, respectively. Despite injuries to Joba Chamberlain, Rafael Soriano and Pedro Feliciano, the Yankees bullpen has been holding late leads.
  • Cano was 2-for-3 in the game with two doubles, two walks, a run scored and he drove in the Yankees first run in the third inning. Cano now leads the team with a .293 average. He now has a seven-game hitting streak in which he is 12-for-29 (.414) with two runs and five RBIs. He also is hitting .328 for the month.
  • Granderson put his awful 0-for-4 game with three strikeouts on Friday behind him. On Saturday, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and a sac fly RBI that gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead. Granderson is hitting .286 for the month with four home runs and 12 RBIs.
NAGGING NEGATIVES
  • The first inning set the tone for the whole day with the Yankees’ offense. With one out they loaded the bases against Dempster on a hit and two walks. But Cano and Swisher struck out swinging and the Yankees left three of what would become 13 base-runners on the day. They also loaded the bases with one out in the eighth inning. However, Granderson flew out to shallow left and Mark Teixeira popped up in front of home plate to Pena.
  • The Yankees also had four runners thrown out on the bases. Granderson was caught stealing in the fourth, Rodriguez was thrown out by 15 feet by Soriano trying to stretch a single into a double in the fifth, Gardner was picked off by Russell in the sixth and Swisher was nailed trying to score in the ninth. It’s real easy to see that despite 21 base-runners the Yankees only scored four runs.
  • Though’s Gardner’s relay to nail Pena at the plate saved them, Nunez and Cano are going to have to play batter defense. Cano won a Gold Glove last season but this season he has made six errors. All of them of have been of the careless variety. Nunez leads the Yankees with eight errors despite the fact he has not played much until recently. His glove-work and his throwing need to get a lot better.

BOMBER BANTER

Yankee right-hander Phil Hughes will make a rehab start at short-season Class-A Staten Island on Sunday. Hughes will throw about 65 pitches. Hughes has been on the disabled list since April 14 with right shoulder inflammation.  . . .  In the five games the Yankees have played with Jeter on the DL, Gardner and Swisher have combined to go 7-for-18 (.389) with six walks, which brings their on-base percentage to .542. They also have scored five runs.  . . .  The Yankees have come to terms with their first selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Dante Bichette Jr. Bichette, 18, is a third baseman and is the son of former major-leaguer Dante Bichette. The younger Bichette has arrived in Tampa, FL, and he will join the Gulf Coast League team there. Bichette hit .640 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs at Orangewood Christian School in Maitland, FL.  . . .  FOX Sports play-by-play schmuck Joe Buck was really embarrassed after his miscall of Johnson’s home run in the ninth off Rivera. Buck told a national audience that Johnson had tied the game at 3-3. Seeing as Buck is a useless shill who desecrates the memory of his father every time he takes the mike and he also hates the Yankees, it is fitting that he be caught with his pants down Anthony Weiner style. But, alas, we have to say it ain’t so, Joe. The Yankees had a 4-2 lead when Johnson hit his home run and the final score was 4-3. Serves you right, Joe!

ON DECK

The Yankees will go for a victory in the rubber game of the series with the Cubs on Sunday.

The Yankees will have ace left-hander CC Sabathia (8-4, 3.28 ERA) on the mound. Sabathia gave up four runs in seven innings but was pitching with a huge lead over Texas on Tuesday. The victory was his fifth in his last six starts. Sabathia is 1-2 with a 5.76 ERA against the Cubs lifetime.

The Cubs will counter with right-hander Randy Wells (1-1, 5.63 ERA), who gave up three runs on eight hits in six innings in a no-decision against the Brewers this week. This is only his fifth start since coming off the disabled list. He has never faced the Yankees.

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

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