Results tagged ‘ Howie Kendrick ’

Yanks Barely Hang On To Edge Angels To End Skid

Enough is enough is enough
I can’t go on, I can’t go on, no more no
enough is enough is enough

                                                        –  “No More Tears” (Enough Is Enough) by Donna Summer

GAME 69

YANKEES 6, ANGELS 5

With the injuries and the losses seemingly about to bring this proud franchise to its knees the wounded, the wavering and the willing among the New York Yankees summoned just enough strength on Sunday to claim a victory to end their long and miserable West Coast road swing.

CC Sabathia held the Angels scoreless for eight innings, Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells proved they do can do more than make outs with runners in scoring position and Mariano Rivera inched to the very edge of the precipice of blowing a save before striking out Albert Pujols with the bases loaded and two outs as New York escaped with a victory over Los Angeles.

In the grand scheme of things in a 162-game schedule this game may not mean a whole lot. But in the moment, both for manager Joe Girardi and his battered and beleaguered ball club,  this one at Angel Stadium was a very special victory.

Sabathia (7-5) served notice early that he was not going to lose without a fight by dazzling the potent Angels with eight innings of pure brilliance, allowing them four miserable little singles and two walks while he struck out six. He even used two double plays to wriggle out of any potential danger the Angels wanted to throw his way.

Even when Mike Trout laced a lined single off the 6-foot-7 left-hander with two out in the sixth inning, Sabathia waved off Girardi and head trainer Steve Donohue as if to say “I am going to win this game no matter how much I hurt.”

Meanwhile, the Yankees started off against right-hander Jered Weaver (1-3) as if it was going to be another one of those days where they flood the bases with runners all day and only to have their efforts to score dashed by weak popups or strikeouts.

Brett Gardner opened the game with a double and Ichiro Suzuki drew a walk. Both then advanced a base when Weaver’s attempted pickoff of Gardner eluded Erick Aybar for an error.

But the Yankees struggling 3-4-5 hitters ended the threat when Robinson Cano struck out, Hafner walked and Wells hit into a double play.

But the Yankees somehow put it all together in the third inning.

Chris Stewart walked, Gardner singled to advance Stewart to third and then Gardner swiped second base to set up yet another threat with runners at second and third and no outs.

Forgive the cynical Yankees fans for not being surprised when Suzuki struck out and Cano popped up to shallow left, leaving both Stewart and Gardner where they were.

But on a 1-2 count, Hafner stroked what might have been the biggest home run the Yankees have delivered since Aaron Boone’s solo shot off Boston knuckleballer Tim Wakefield in the 11th inning of Game 7 of the American League Championship Series in 2003.

Hafner lit into a high breaking pitch and sent into the bleachers in left-center for what was only his third hit and his first home run since he hit his 10th on June 5 against his former Cleveland Indians. Further forgive the cynical Yankee fans for not believing what they they just witnessed.

But the inning continued when Wells singled and Lyle Overbay, pressed back into the lineup at first base in the absence of an injured Mark Teixeira, drove him home with a double off the wall in center. Jayson Nix then capped the rally with a lined single to left to score Overbay.

The Yankees had a 5-0 lead. Smelling salts and ammonia must have been used in great quantities all across the tri-state area for the team’s disbelieving fans.

The Yankees added a seemingly meaningless run at the time in the eighth inning off right-hander Jerome Williams when Cano led off with a double, moved to third on a Hafner groundout and scored on a deep fly ball off the bat of Wells.

But this is the 2013 Yankees, after all. So nothing is ever going to be that easy for them, right?

So fast-forward to the ninth with a determined Sabathia on the mound trying to close out his second complete-game victory of the season and a shutout of the Angels at that.

But Peter Bourjos singled and Trout doubled within just eight pitches and Sabathia left in favor of right-handed setup man David Robertson. Surely, this game would end soon or would it?

But Pujols lined a single so hard off Robertson’s back that it caromed all the way to Suzuki in right-field to score Bourjos and end Sabathia’s shutout.

After Robertson got the hot-hitting Yankee-killer Howie Kendrick to strike out swinging, he walked pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck to load the bases.

Exit Robertson and enter Rivera looking for his 24th save in 25 chances in what would be his last appearance at the “Big A.”

Rivera seemingly restored order by retiring Aybar on a bounce-out to Overbay at first that scored Trout but left two out.

However, neither the “baseball gods’ or the Halos were quite through toying with the fragile psyche of the Yankees  -  not to mention their fans who just cleared their heads from the salts and ammonia from the five-run outburst in the third inning.

In quick succession, Alberto Callaspo floated a single into right to score two runs, pinch-hitter Brad Hawpe plopped a bloop single to left to put two runners on with two out and Bourjos followed with a feather-soft looper to left to score Callaspo.

Yep, the Angels managed three hits off the great Rivera but none of them could have broken a pane of glass and they came off the bat as if the ball were struck with wet newspapers.

Trout then got Girardi and the Yankees reaching for the Rolaids when he drew a walk to load the bases. The paid crowd of 41,204 did not know if they were witnessing a cruel close to Rivera’s career in Anaheim and a proud team about to commit “collective baseball suicide” by blowing a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth.

That left Rivera to face the Angels legendary Pujols.

It was as if Rivera had said to himself, “Enough fooling around.” There was no mystery in what pitch Pujols would be getting and he got three of them.

First, a 94-mile-per-hour cutter for a called strike. Then a 94-mph cutter Pujols could only foul off. Then as the crowd stood, the runners took their leads and Girardi and his team swallowed their hearts, Rivera delivered his final 94-mph missive plate-ward and Pujols swung hard for horsehide and only came up with California air for strike three.

As Stewart raced out to congratulate Rivera, the 43-year-old future Hall of Fame closer did not smile. He knew it was a victory but he would have to admit it was more of an escape.

But this Yankee team will take it.

Despite the fact they had lost five games in a row. Despite the fact they had lost 13 of their previous 20 games. Despite the fact the lineup looks like the Yankees are playing a split-squad game in Dundin, FL, in March, the Yankees are still 38-31 on the season.

They are in third place in the American League East behind the first-place Boston Red Sox and the second-place Baltimore Orioles. But they are a mere two games behind the Red Sox in the loss column.

The Angels are in even worse shape. They are 30-39 and are 11 games out in fourth place in the A.L. West.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • It was nice to see Sabathia basically take the team on his back and carry them to victory despite what happened in the ninth. The team ace is supposed to stop the bleeding and that is exactly what Sabathia did on Sunday. If the Yankees could ask anything more of the 32-year-old left-hander it would be for him to string together about four or five more just like them.
  • Hafner’s home run was a big hit for him just as much as it was for the Yankees. Hafner, 36, began May hitting .318 with six home runs and 17 RBIs. But he hit just .179 in May and was hitting an anemic .111 in June. His demise may not be over but the Yankees still need him to provide power and production in the middle of the lineup. He is now hitting .221 and he is lot better hitter than that.
  • The unsung hero of this team has been Nix. All Nix did on Sunday was deliver three of the Yankees’ nine hits, he drove in a run with a two-out hit and he started a nifty 5-4 double play off the bat of Aybar in the fifth inning that erased a situation of two runners on with no outs. Nix is hitting .259 with a homer and 19 RBIs. But his numbers don’t tell the whole story of how he gets clutch hits, is solid in the field and he plays the game wisely.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

I do not care that the Yankees’ three best pitchers (Sabathia, Robertson and Rivera) nearly blew a lead in the ninth and that Reid Brignac was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and a double play to lower his season average to .182. This win was needed and it erases a lot of very bad play on this road trip.

BOMBER BANTER

There was some good news and some and potential bad news about Teixeira’s sore right wrist. An MRI taken in New York indicated only inflammation and no tear in the sheath that he sustained in March. Teixeira was given a cortisone injection and he will be re-evaluated by the team’s medical staff in New York on Tuesday. There is a good possibility that Teixeira will have to be placed on the 15-day disabled list but Girardi is happy to know he does not need season-ending surgery on the wrist at this time. Teixeira was removed in the fourth inning of Saturday’s game when he complained about soreness in the wrist. Overbay will play first base until Teixiera returns to the lineup.

ON DECK

The Yankees will lick their wounds, literally, with a day off on Monday before opening a two-game series at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Right-hander Phil Hughes (3-5, 4.89 ERA) will pitch for the Yankees. Hughes has been up and down all season and his start on Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics was a downer. He lasted only 4 1/3 innings and he gave up three runs on four hits and five walks. Hughes has never faced the Dodgers.

Hughes will be opposed by left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-2, 2.85 ERA). Ryu was roughed up against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday, yielding three runs on 11 hits in six innings. Ryu has never faced the Yankees.

Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by MY9.

 

 

No Bull: Yankees’ Pen Shows Halos How It’s Done

GAME 87

YANKEES 5, ANGELS 3

Within 18 hours, the New York Yankees showed the difference between their team and the Los Angeles Angels.

Handed a  5-2 lead in the eighth inning of Friday, the Angels’ bullpen, behind Scott Downs and Kevin Jepsen, imploded and gave up four runs in a 6-5 defeat.

On Saturday, Freddy Garcia left the Yankees with a 4-3 lead after five innings and the bullpen, behind setup man David Robertson and closer Rafael Soriano, held the lead as New York took its second straight game this weekend over Los Angeles in front of a paid crowd of 47,789 at Yankee Stadium.

Garcia (4-2) battled the Angels as best he could, giving up three runs on five hits and five walks and striking four batters before having to leave after five innings having thrown 98 pitches.

The Yankees, who lead the major leagues in home runs, hit two more on Saturday to give them 138 on the season and provide the Yankees with a lead they would not relinquish.

After the Angels loaded the bases on Garcia with two out in the first inning, Alberto Callaspo laced a 2-1 pitch into right-field for a two-run single to give the Angels an early 2-0 lead.

However, the Yankees answered in the bottom of the inning after two men were out and Derek Jeter was still on first with leadoff infield single off Angels starter Jerome Williams (6-6). Robinson Cano extended his season-high 17-game hitting streak by lining a long blast into the depths of Death Valley in left-center that struck the top of the wall and bounced into the bleachers for his 21st home run of the season.

Two innings later, Chris Stewart reached first on a single to center and one out later Curtis Granderson lashed a 2-2 pitch down the line into the right-field bleachers for his 24th home run of the season.

The Angels got one of those two runs back in the fourth inning when Howie Kendrick drew a leadoff walk, stole second, moved to third on a Peter Bourjos groundout and scored on a groundout off the bat of Bobby Wilson.

The Yankees added an insurance run in the sixth inning when Alex Rodriguez hit he first pitch of the inning into the gap in left-center for a double and Cano followed with a single up the middle that caromed off the second base bag and rolled into center, allowing Rodriguez to score easily.

Williams gave up five runs on seven hits and one walk and struck out four in six innings.

The Yankees’ vaunted bullpen took it from there.

Cody Eppley pitched two scoreless innings, Robertson pitched a scoreless eighth and Soriano pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two batters, to collect his 22nd save in 23 opportunities this season.

Though the Angels have been one of the Yankees’ toughest opponents over the last decade, the Yankees have now won 30 of their last 45 contests against them.

With the victory, the Yankees have increased their major-league-best record to 56-33 and their lead in the American League East remains at 8 games over the second-place Baltimore Orioles.. The Angels are now 48-43.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Cano was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs and is now hitting .315 with 21 home runs and 54 RBIs on the season. During his 17-game hitting streak, Cano is 27-for-69 (.391) with six home runs and 19 RBIs. The Yankees are 12-5 over that 17-game stretch and Cano is a big reason behind the surge.
  • Granderson’s home run was his 24th of the season, which puts him in fifth place in the American League in that category. It was Granderson’s first home run since June 30, though he is hitting .281 over that 10-game stretch. Granderson has also struck out 11 times in his 32 at-bats over the last 10 games.
  • Eppley was sensational in his two innings of work. He only gave up a one-out single to Wilson in the sixth. Robertson is also beginning to look more like the Robertson the Yankees were accustomed to seeing before he suffered his left oblique injury. He struck out the first two batters he faced before giving up a single to Bourjos. Soriano has been a revelation in replacing a living legend like Mariano Rivera. Soriano struck out Mike Trout to open the ninth and ended the game by fanning Albert Pujols. This bullpen is just amazing.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

I am not going to post any negatives when Garcia kept the lead through five innings, the Yankees got power from Cano and Granderson and the bullpen held the lead late. The Yankees also were 3-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left only two men on base. Hallelujah!

ON DECK

The Yankees will get out their brooms on Sunday and look for a three-game sweep of the Angels.

Right-hander Ivan Nova (10-3, 3.92 ERA) will take the mound for the Yankees. Nova gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks while striking out 10 in six innings in a victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday. Nova beat the Angels on May 30 and is 3-1 with a 5.11 ERA in four starts against them in his career.

All-Star right-hander Jered Weaver (10-1, 1.96 ERA) will pitch for the Angels. In his last start on July 7, Weaver shut out the Baltimore Orioles on three hits and one walk and fanned five in eight innings to notch his 10th victory. Weaver is 5-2 with a 4.79 ERA in his career against the Yankees.

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

 

Ibanez, Yankees Finally Hit Wall To Overtake Halos

GAME 50

YANKEES 6, ANGELS 5

Throughout their three-game series with the Angels the Yankees have banging their heads against a wall in trying to get hits at the wall off outfielders Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos. It took them three games but they found an answer.

Raul Ibanez laced a one-out triple over Boujos’ head and off the wall for a triple and Nick Swisher followed a sacrifice fly to Trout in left that scored Ibanez with the tie-breaking run in the sixth inning and New York held on to edge Los Angeles on Wednesday at Angel Stadium.

Earlier in the game, the Yankees torched Angels starter Ervin Santana with five runs in the third inning as Curtis Granderson smacked a three-run home run safely over the wall in right field for his 16th home run of the season. Robinson Cano followed two batters later with a two-run shot of his own – again nowhere near the gloves of the Angels’ outfielders.

Staked to the 5-1 lead, Yankees starter Ivan Nova was unable to hold it for long. The Angels struck for four runs of their own in the fourth inning on a two-run homer by Trumbo and a two-run double by Trout.

But Nova (6-2) was able to complete 6 2/3 innings and pick up the victory, giving up five runs on eight hits and and three walks and striking out two batters.

Santana left after five innings, also surrendering five runs on six hits and two walks and fanning four.

Reliever Hisanori Takahashi (0-2) took the loss as the Yankees snapped the Angels’ season-high eight-game winning streak.

Rafael Soriano made things interesting in the ninth by giving up a one-out walk to Alberto Callaspo and a single to Albert Pujols. But he was able to get Trumbo to fly out to left to end the game and earn his sixth save in as many opportunities.

With the victory the Yankees improved to 27-23. The Angels fell back to .500 at 26-26.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Ibanez was 2-for-4 on the night, including his clutch triple off Takahashi in the sixth. Ibanez was 4-for-11 (364), drove in a run and scored three in the series. Ibanez is hitting .288 in May with six home runs and 16 RBIs. He also has held his own in the outfield even though the Yankees do miss Brett Gardner’s defense.
  • Swisher’s sac fly must have been some form of retribution for him for the out-and-out thievery that Trout and Bourjos pulled on him on Tuesday. Despite going only 2-for-11 (.182) in the series, Swisher was able to drive in a run in each of the three games and he now has a team-leading 32 on the season.
  • Cory Wade redeemed himself after giving up that walk-off game-winning home run to Trumbo in the ninth on Monday. He retired all four batters he faced and struck out three of them. He came on the seventh after Boone Logan had surrendered two-out singles to Kendrys Morales and Trumbo. Wade struck out Howie Kendrick on a 3-2 pitch to strand his 21st and 22nd inherited runners of the season. Wade has not allowed a single inherited runner to score this season.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Though Nova was the winning pitcher he is still having trouble keeping the baseball in the yard. The home run Trumbo hit in the fourth was the 13th he has allowed this season in 10 starts. Nova succeeded in this game by wriggling out of trouble. He loaded the bases with no one out in the first but gave up just one run on a sac fly by Trumbo. He also benefitted from some good defense behind him by Cano and two double plays got him out the third and fifth innings.
  • Eric Chavez had a rough night. He went o-for-4 including hitting into a double play, a strikeout and he did not get a ball out of the infield. Chavez ended April with a .321 average but he is struggling mightily at the plate on the May. He is hitting .213 with no home runs and four RBIs this month.
  • The Yankee offense took a long siesta after Cano’s home run in the third inning built their 5-1 bulge. For the rest of the game the Yankees were 1-for-21 (.048) and the one hit was Ibanez’s well-timed triple. By contrast the Angels were 10-for-27 (.370) after the third inning. It is a miracle the Yankees pulled the game out.

ON DECK

The Yankees will take Thursday off as they head to Detroit to continue their nine-game road trip by starting a three-game weekend series with the Tigers on Friday.

The Yankees will call upon ace left-hander CC Sabathia (6-2, 3.66 ERA). Sabathia is coming off a two-run, seven-inning victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday. He is 16-12 with a 4.46 ERA in his career against the Tigers, including the eight innings of two-run ball he threw at them for a victory on April 29.

The Tigers, meanwhile, lost starter Doug Fister to injury and they called up left-hander Casey Crosby from Triple-A Toledo to make a start. Crosby, 23, was 4-2 with a 4.26 ERA at Toledo. This will be his major-league debut.

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.

 

Jeter, Ibanez Power Yankees Over Angels

GAME 9

YANKEES 11, ANGELS 5

The Yankees’ game plan sounds so simple but it is not easy to do. They try to knock the starting pitcher out of the game early, keep tacking on runs against the weak underbelly of the opponent’s bullpen and win easily going away.

They did that to perfection against the Angels on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium in front of national television audience.

Derek Jeter blasted a three-run home run in the fourth inning to give New York an 8-1 lead and Raul Ibanez added a two-run shot of his own in the seventh as Ivan Nova pitched a solid six innings to give the Yankees a series-deciding victory over Los Angeles.

Nova (2-0) gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks and fanned eight batters to collect his 14th straight victory, which ties the legendary Whitey Ford for the second-best winning streak in franchise history. Roger Clemens holds the team record with 16 in a row.

The Yankees did most of their damage early against Angels right-hander Jerome Williams (0-1).

After Ibanez drove in the Yankees’ first run on a one-out single to center in the second inning, the Yankees erupted for four runs in the third inning keyed by an RBI double by Mark Teixeira and a sacrifice fly by Nick Swisher that chased Williams, who left on the losing end of a 5-1 deficit.

Reliever Hisanori Takahashi did not fare much better in the fourth when he walked Russell Martin and Brett Gardner followed with a lined single to center. Jeter then hit his second home run of the season, a line-drive shot into the bleachers in right field to give the Yankees what looked to be a comfortable 8-1 lead.

But the Angels added to Mark Trumbo’s solo home run off Nova in the second when Chris Iannetta ripped his second two-run home run of the series in the fifth. The next inning, the Angels used a two-out walk to Trumbo to add another run on a Maicer Izturis double.

The Angels then added another run in the seventh off reliever Rafael Soriano on a Albert Pujols single after Soriano opened the frame by walking Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick followed with a bunt single.

After Bobby Abreu drew a two-walk from Soriano to load the bases, David Robertson was summoned with the Yankees holding a tenuous 8-5 lead with the potential lead run at the plate in Trumbo. But Robertson got Trumbo to fly out to right to end the threat.

The Yankees then added a run on Swisher’s two-out RBI single in the seventh off reliever Bobby Carpenter. Jason Isringhausen was brought into the game to face Ibanez, but Ibanez greeted him a long blast into the second deck down the right-field line that gave the Yankees what would their winning margin.

With the victory the Yankees improved their season record to 5-4. The hard-luck Angels, who are showing vulnerability in their bullpen this season, are 3-6.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Jeter’s amazing start to the 2012 season continues. He was 2-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored. The two hits raised his season average to .366. Even when Jeter makes outs he is hitting the ball hard. He hit a long fly ball to center in the seventh inning that was caught by Vernon Wells on the warning track. In the eighth his hard-hit grounder struck Isringhausen and Aybar had to scramble to reach the ball bounding up the middle and nip Jeter at first base with the throw.
  • Robertson’s showdown with Trumbo in the seventh was the key at-bat of the game. If Trumbo had extended the rally or homered it would have been a devastating blow to the Yankees after leading the game 8-1. But Robertson was able to force Trumbo to hit a weak opposite-field fly ball to Swisher to end the rally. Robertson did not allow a hit and his 1 1/3 scoreless innings and he remains unscored upon on the young season.
  • Ibanez, like Jeter, also drove in three runs. Ibanez now has nine RBIs on the season, which is second on the team to Swisher’s 11. This is despite the fact that Ibanez is only hitting .217. So Ibanez is making the few hits he has been getting count.
  • The Yankees as a team finally broke out of their funk with runners in scoring position.  They were 5-for-13 (.385) on Sunday. The Angels, on the other hand, were 1-for-11 (.091).

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Nova did much better than his 4.15 ERA might indicate. He did strike out eight and he looked in control of the game with an 8-1 lead. But two things hurt him: the home-run ball and walks. Trumbo and Iannetta homered and walks to Izturis and Trumbo later scored.
  • Soriano nearly blew the 8-4 lead he entered the game with in the seventh. The leadoff walk to Aybar and the four-pitch walk to Abreu put the Angels in a position to bring the potential lead run to the plate in Trumbo. Fortunately, for Soriano and the Yankees, Robertson was able to retire Trumbo and the Angels scored only the one run.
  • The Yankees scored 11 runs on 12 hits and the only starter who did not get a hit in the game was Martin. The veteran catcher did walk twice and score a run. But he is off to a bit of a slow start with the bat, hitting .182 with no home runs and one RBI.

BOMBER BANTER

Andy Pettitte threw four shutout innings for Class A Tampa on Sunday against Clearwater in a Florida State League game. The 39-year-old left-hander gave up two hits and no walks in his second minor-league start. He threw 31 of 47 pitches for strikes and induced seven groundball outs. Pettitte is targeting his return to the majors for early May.  . . .  The Yankees celebrated Jackie Robinson Day with a pregame ceremony honoring Robinson’s widow, Rachel, and his daughter, Sharon. Curtis Granderson wore a commemorative pair of Jackie Robinson Day spikes for the game and will auction them and his No. 42 jersey to benefit the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

ON DECK

The Yankees will stay home and open a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins.

Right-hander Freddy Garcia (0-0, 5.79 ERA) gets the starting nod for the Yankees. He is looking to atone for a rough first start against the Orioles in Baltimore last week. Garcia, unable to grip his split-finger pitch in the cool weather, threw five wild pitches, but he did limit the damage to three runs in 4 2/3 innings.

He will face the former toast of Yankee fans, Carl Pavano (0-1, 5.93). In his second start, Pavano gave up five runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Angels on Wednesday. He is 0-1 with a 4.58 ERA against the Yankees in his career.

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

 

Angels Use Longball To Down Hughes, Yankees

GAME 8

ANGELS 7, YANKEES 1

Chris Iannetta hit a two-run homer and Howie Kendrick added a three-run shot of his own as Los Angeles defeated New York in a nationally televised game on Saturday at Yankee Stadium.

Free-agent left-hander C.J. Wilson (2-0) won his first career start against the Yankees, giving up one run on six hits and two walks and fanning two in six innings of work.

Phil Hughes (0-2) took the loss, surrendering six runs on eight hits and two walks in just 3 1/3 innings.

The Yankees’ only run came on an RBI single by Robinson Cano in the bottom of the fifth inning.

With the loss the Yankees’ season record levels at 4-4. The Angles are 3-5.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Hughes may be already be looking over his shoulder because of Michael Pineda and Andy Pettitte. However, Hughes must also fear right-hander David Phelps, who entered the game in the fourth inning and turned in another dazzling performance. Phelps, 25, pitched one-hit ball over the next 5 1/3 innings – his only blemish a solo home run hit by Vernon Wells in the fifth inning. Phelps walked two batters and struck out four and he now has an ERA of 1.08 in 8 1/3 innings spread over three appearances. The rookie may just earn himself a spot in the rotation real soon.
  • Cano’s opposite field single to left to score Eduardo Nunez was the Yankees’ only hit with runners in scoring position in the game. It was Cano’s first RBI of the season.
  • Derek Jeter was 2-for-5 for the game and is hitting a sizzling .361 on the season. Since he returned from a calf injury last July, Jeter is hitting .340. It looks like the 37-year-old shortstop is headed for a very good season.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Hughes has now given up eight runs on 13 hits and four walks in eight innings in his first two starts of 2012. The odd thing is Hughes has his velocity from the 2010 season back, however, his pitches were up in the strike zone and he got hammered for two big home runs. Iannetta’s was pure luck because he swung late and hooked it just inside the right-field foul pole. The three-run shot to deep left by Kendrick ended his outing in the fourth inning. Hughes did strike out six but he has to get better locating his pitches or he will end up in the bullpen real soon.
  • The Yankees did have chances to get back into the game against Wilson but they were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position. They put their first batters on in the first only to have Cano strike out looking and Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira both bounced out to end the inning. They had two on and one out in the fourth only to have Andruw Jones bounce out to Wilson and Russell Martin flew out to right. Nunez and Jeter opened the fifth with singles, but after Cano’s one-out RBI single Rodriguez grounded out and Teixeira lined out.
  • Teixeira needs to tear the month of April off his calendar and pretend it is May. Once again the veteran first baseman is off to another miserable start out the gate this season. He was 1-for-4 in the game and is hitting .188. He is a career .190 hitter in April.

BRONX BANTER

Outfielder Brett Gardner is battling flu-like symptoms and he did not play in Saturday’s game. However, manager Joe Girardi said he could be available to come off the bench on Sunday.  . . .  Pettitte is scheduled to make his second start for Class-A Tampa on Sunday and he will throw between 45-50 pitches. Pettitte, 39, has targeted early May for his return to the majors and Girardi re-stated on Saturday that the veteran left-hander would have a rotation spot when he returns.  . . .    The home run hit by Wells against Phelps ended a string of 17 2/3 innings of scoreless relief by the bullpen. Even with the hiccup by Phelps, the bullpen ended play Saturday having given up just one run in their last 22 innings of work.

ON DECK

The Yankees will try to win two of three from the Angels in the home-opening series finale on Sunday.

Ivan Nova (1-0) is the scheduled starter for the Yankees. He is coming off a seven-inning stint that ended in a victory over the Orioles in which he gave up two runs on 10 hits and struck out seven. Nova is 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in his career against the Angels.

The Angels are expected to start Jerome Williams, who will be making his first start of 2012. Williams, 30, posted an ERA of 3.68 in 44 innings last season. He has never pitched against the Yankees before.

Game-time will be 8:05 p.m. and the game will be telecast to a national audience on ESPN.

 

Yankees Clip Halos’ Wings On Fly Lost In Sun

GAME 145

YANKEES 6, ANGELS 5

They say behind every dark cloud is a silver lining.

On Sunday, the New York Yankees benefitted from a silver-lined ray of sunshine in the seventh inning that prevented Peter Bourjos from catching a fly ball to centerfield off the bat of Mark Teixeira and cost the Los Angels Angels the game. The game-tying run would have scored on what would have been a sacrifice fly anyway, but Bourjos’ misplay allowed a second run to score as the Yankees halted a four-game, three-city losing streak in front of 42,581 fans at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA.

The Yankees were trailing Ervin Santana and the Angels 5-4 at the start of the seventh. But Brett Gardner greeted Santana with a single up the middle into centerfield. Derek Jeter followed with a sharp single to right-center that advanced the speedy Gardner to third base.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia removed Santana (11-11) in favor of left-hander Scott Downs. Downs was able to strike out Curtis Granderson but Teixeira lifted a deep fly ball into straightaway centerfield. Bourjos camped under it but he lost sight of the ball and it fell out of his glove and rolled away from him.

Gardner scored easily and Jeter was able to speed his way around third and into home without a play as the Yankees were able to take their first lead of the game.

The Yankees’ bullpen troika of Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera managed to make the one-run lead hold up over the final three innings.

Cory Wade (5-0), who pitched a scoreless sixth in relief of starter Freddy Garcia, got credit for the victory. Rivera recorded his 40th save of the season. In his 15 seasons as the Yankees’ closer he has notched 40 or more saves in eight of them. It also was the 599th of his career. He needs only three saves to pass Trevor Hoffman for first place on the all-time saves list.

The Yankees’ victory improved their season record to 88-57 and, coupled with the 9-1 loss by the Boston Red Sox to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankees have increased their lead in the American League East to 3 1/2 games. Despite the fact the Yankees had lost four in a row, the Red Sox now have dropped five in a row and are only 3 1/2 games ahead of Rays in the wild-card race. The Angels, who are 80-66 on the season, are only five games back.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • The Yankees should be called the Ache-ees for all the injuries they are playing through on this road trip. They played Sunday without Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher, Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli but they were able to keep scratching back from behind on Santana. They scored only nine runs on 22 hits in their last four games. Today’s six runs on eight hits showed signs of life for a team that has looked dead tired.
  • Robinson Cano finally stopped swinging at pitches out of the strike zone long enough to collect two hits, including a solo home run in the fourth off Santana that drew the Yankees to within a run. It was Cano’s 25th home run and his 106th RBI of the season. His career highs in homers and RBIs were set last season when he hit 29 home runs and drove in 109 runs.
  • Curtis Granderson has struck out so many times during the month he looks like he will have a shot to catch Cincinnati’s Drew Stubbs for the major-league lead (188). Granderson has 159 but he has struck 14 times in his 37 at-bats this month. But Granderson was able to connect for a two-run home run off Santana in the fifth inning that brought the Yankees back to within a 5-4 score with the Angels. It was Granderson’s 39th home run and he now has 111 RBIs, which leads the American League.
  • Eric Chavez continues to provide both offense and defense replacing Rodriguez at third base. Chavez was 2-for-4 with a double and a single and he drove in a run. One of the reasons the Yankees have been able to withstand this recent spate of injuries is because of solid play off the bench from Chavez and others.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Garcia struggled and had to battle in every inning against the Angels. Howie Kendrick followed a leadoff single by Erick Aybar in the first with a two-run home run to put Garcia and the Yankees in an early 2-0 hole. The Angels played their usual pop-gun infield rollers and bunts offense to steal a run on a wild pitch in the third. Bourjos then connected for a two-run home run in the fourth. But give Garcia credit for escaping a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth by inducing rookie slugger Mark Trumbo into an infield popup and getting Alberto Callaspo to roll out weakly to second to end the threat.
  • Jesus Montero came back to Earth a bit with three strikeouts against Santana. Pressed into service as the catcher with both Martin and Cervelli out, Montero also allowed two stolen bases in the fifth and he seemed to be at fault for not blocking Garcia’s wild pitch in the third. But he did nail Callaspo on an attempted steal in the second and he drew an intentional walk in the seventh from Downs.
  • Eduardo Nunez was 0-for-3 with a walk in the Sunday’s game and he is in the throes of a his worst slump of the season. Since Aug. 28, when he was hitting .280 on the season, Nunez is 3-for-34 (.088) and his average has dropped to .256.

BOMBER BANTER

The Yankees put out an emergency call to catcher Austin Romine, who had completed his season at Double-A Trenton, and he made his major-league debut in the seventh inning. Romine replaced Montero behind the plate and he likely will do the bulk of the catching until Martin and Cervelli return. Ironically, when Romine entered the game, his brother Andrew was watching from the Angels’ dugout. Andrew is a third baseman who was a September call-up for the Angels. The Yankees hope to have Swisher and Martin back in the lineup soon. Rodriguez and Cervelli are going to need more time before they are able to return.

THIS TRANSMISSION WAS DELAYED 

Five Reasons the Yankees Won and the Angels Lost

No 1: STARTING PITCHING


In the six games against the Los Angeles Angels, the New York Yankees’ trio of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte combined to pitch 41 innings and gave up 14 runs for an ERA of 3.07. They yielded 34 hits and 10 walks for a WHIP of 1.07.
In contrast, the Angel four starters of John Lackey, Joe Saunders, Jered Weaver and Scott Kazmir pitched 31 2/3 innings and gave up 17 runs for an ERA of 4.83. They yielded 39 hits and 19 walks for a WHIP of 1.83.
The Yankee trio also was 3-0. The Angel quartet was 0-3.
The truest axiom in baseball is that you are only as good as your starting pitching and the Yankees had the much better starting pitching this series.
NO 2: FIELDING

The Angels were charged with eight errors in the series and the Yankees were charged with three. But there is a larger story here. The physical and major mental mistakes the Angels made in the field directly led to their defeat in three games.
  • In Game 1, Juan Rivera’s throwing error and Erick Aybar’s inability to call for and catch a routine pop fly gave the Yankees two runs in the first inning. John Lackey’s errant pickoff attempt throw led to another run in sixth inning. The Angels lost 4-1 and actually gift-wrapped the Yankees three runs.
  • In Game 2, the Yankees made all three of their errors in the series but none of them resulted in an Angels score. The Angels committed two errors and the second one resulted in the loss. Second baseman Maicer Izturis ranged far to his left and fielded Melky Cabrera’s grounder and he should have thrown to first for the second out of the inning. Instead he whirled and threw off-balance to shortstop Erick Aybar at second base and the ball sailed past Aybar and allowed Jerry Hairston to score the winning run in the bottom of the 13th inning.
  • In Game 6, the Angels committed two errors in the game. Unfortunately, after scoring a run off Mariano Rivera in the top of the eighth inning to make the score 3-2 in favor of the Yankees, the two errors came in the bottom of the inning. They came on consecutive sacrifice bunt plays. On the first, Howie Kendrick closed his glove too soon as he covered first base and Nick Swisher was safe. Then Kazmir shot-putted the ball over Kendrick’s head and Robinson Cano scored the game’s fourth run and runners advanced to second and third. One additional run scored on a sacrifice fly and the Yankees clinched the series with a 5-2 victory.
The Yankees took advantage of the Angels’ mistakes in the field and the Angels were unable to get the Yankees to commit enough errors to take advantage of them.
No. 3: BASE-RUNNING

In the Angels’ case this was what they did not do. The Angels were second in the American League in stolen bases in 2009. In watching the ALCS, you never would have known that. The Angels stole a total of four bases in the six games. Manager Mike Scioscia will tell you that the Yankees’ starting pitchers limited some opportunities but it does not tell the whole story.
One big reason is that three of the Angels’ best base-stealers, Izturis, Bobby Abreu and Chone Figgins were a combined 8-for-58 (.138) at the plate. It is kind of hard to steal first base and the Angel speed demons had a hard time dealing with their limited opportunities.
There also was a the fact that CC Sabathia kept the Angels off base in his two games and Andy Pettitte’s patented pickoff move baffled the Angels in two other games.
But also take into account the uncharacteristic base-running blunders the Yankees took advantage of in the series. Remember Bobby Abreu getting throw out for rounding second base too far in the eighth inning of Game 3? And how about Pedro Guerrero getting doubled off first base in the second inning of Game 6?
The Yankees may have stolen only two bases in the series and pinch-runner Brett Gardner may have been thrown out in his two attempts to steal. But the bottom line is the Angels live or die with the stolen base and their aggressive base-running. In this series their inability to steal and run aggressively to put pressure on the Yankees killed them.
THE CLOSER EDGE

Mariano Rivera vs. Brian Fuentes.
Rivera blew only two save opportunities and saved 44 games this season. Fuentes registered 48 saves but he blew seven chances and had a 1-5 record. K-Rod he was not. This weakness reared its ugly head in this series.
Fuentes pitched in three games and he gave up a run one three innings and saved one game. But that one run was a game-tying home run by Alex Rodriguez in the bottom of the 11th inning of Game 2 that led to a 4-3 defeat.
Fuentes also was shaky in his save of Game 5. After he recorded two outs, he walked two and hit a batter to load the bases. He then worked into a full count with Nick Swisher before Swisher popped up to end the game. Had Swisher singled in two runs in that situation, the Yankees would have likely won Game 5 and Fuentes might have been hung in effigy in Anaheim.
As it is Rivera was nearly perfect in his five appearances. He saved two games, including the game-clincher in Game 6. But that does not tell the whole story. Rivera was summoned to hold the Angels in Game 2 and pitched in three innings (2 1/3 innings of work) and gave the Yankees a chance to win Game 2 in extra innings.
His work in Game 3 was spectacular, though the Yankees eventually lost the game in the 11th inning. Rivera pitched around a bases-loaded one-out jam in the 10th inning by getting Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero to bounce into easy infield outs.
Rivera finished the series with a 1.29 ERA and a WHIP of 0.71. He was special and dominant when he had to be. Fuentes was neither and it cost the Angels.
No. 5: A-ROD

Though Sabathia did earn the MVP award for the series, Alex Rodriguez had just as much impact on the series with his bat. He finished the series hitting .429 with three home runs and six RBIs. But the numbers do not tell how much of an impact he truly had.
In inning No. 1 of Game 1, Rodriguez drove in the first run of the series. In Game 2, his dramatic two-out home run in the bottom of the 11th prevented the Angels from stealing a game in New York and allowed the Yankees to win the game in the 13th inning.
He homered in a losing cause in Game 3 and was 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs in Game 4. But it was his slide under the tag of Mike Napoli in the fourth inning to score the first run of the game that set the tone for the 10-1 romp.
In Game 6 he took a base-loaded walk to drive in the third run of a comeback fourth inning.
But the Angels actually made sure to limit the damage of Rodriguez by walking him at any opportunity they could in the series. Rodriguez was walked eight times in the series, three of those were officially listed as intentional. 
He was walked intentionally to load the bases in the seventh inning of Game 5. Hideki Matsui followed with an RBI single and Robinson Cano drove in two more with a double as the Yankees rallied from 4-0 deficit for a short-lived 6-4 lead.
Once the Angels regained the lead at 7-6 they walked Rodriguez intentionally again in the ninth inning with TWO ou
t and NOBODY on. 
Rodriguez came into the championship series hot, having hit .455 with two home runs and six RBIs in the league divisional series against the Twins. In the two series combined he is hitting .438 with five home runs and 12 RBIs.
The Angels simply had no one in their lineup who was as hot and as effective with the bat during the series. It is another reason why they are going home and the Yankees have advanced to the World Series.


Failures of Figgins, Abreu and Rivera Killing Rally Monkey

ALCS GAME 4: KEY MOMENT


It is the bottom of the fifth inning and the New York Yankees lead the Angels 5-0, having broken through and chased starter Scott Kazmir with five runs over the previous two innings. CC Sabathia is rolling again after having given up just a walk and infield single over the first four innings. The Angels, trying desperately to avoid going down in the best-of-seven championship series 3-1 must break through against the 2007 American League Cy Young Award Winner.

After one out, there is a glimmer of hope as first baseman Kendry Morales drives a high fastball into left-center for a solo home run. The Angel fans among the 45,000 in attendance begin banging their thunder sticks, trying to ignite their team.

It’s Rally Monkey time in the Big A.

GLIMMER OF HOPE

As Morales gets the glad hand all around in the Angels dugout, Mike Napoli steps to the plate. Napoli is catching despite the fact that starter Jeff Mathis had doubled in his last three at-bats and drove in the winning run the day before.
Napoli works to a 1-1 count and slaps a single just past the dive of Alex Rodriguez down the leftfield line. Now the fans are on their feet, thunder sticks flapping at 100 miles per hour. The Rally Monkey is finally awake.
After Napoli, Erick Aybar digs in determined to work the count on Sabathia and he does it. He fouls off some tough pitches to get the count to 3-2. Sabathia knows that Aybar has choked up on the bat and shortened his swing. 
His efforts to throw pitches on the corner are thwarted when Aybar reaches across the plate and fouls it off. He tries high in the strike zone and Aybar fouls it off. Sabathia has worked the first four innings in an amazing 38 pitches.
But Aybar is determined to drive that pitch count up all by himself. The next pitch will be Sabathia’s ninth to Aybar. Sabathia tries outside again and Aybar just flicks the bat and flips the ball into shallow centerfield. It drops in front of Melky Cabrera and the Angels now have two runners on and one out.
The fans are really into it now. Thunder sticks resonate in every corner of Angel Stadium.
The Angels rally is now up to two of its best hitters of the regular season; Chone Figgins and Bobby Abreu. 
Figgins hit .298 and led the American League with 114 runs scored. He was the catalyst for the team’s offense all season long. Abreu hit .293 and drove in 103 runs. The two had also combined on 72 steals.
THE HOPE FADES

Sabathia fires two quick called strikes on Figgins and Figgins realizes he will not be able to work the count. He will have to be aggressive and protect the plate. He fouls off the next pitch and is still behind in the count 0-2.
Sabathia, from the stretch, throws his next pitch and Figgins’ bat rolls over the top of it and it bounces right to Robinson Cano at second base. Cano tries to get rid of the ball quickly to Derek Jeter to get Aybar at second. 
Second base umpire Dale Scott calls Aybar out but Figgins is too fast to double up at first base and the Angels still have a chance with Napoli at third and Figgins at first with two out.
It will take a two-out clutch hit from Abreu, who had many such hits for the Angels all season long. Cast adrift by the Yankees after the 2008 season, Abreu hoped to sign as lucrative a deal as the one he had with the Yankees at $16 million per season.
But because economic hard times hit baseball at the midpoint of the free-agent signing period, Abreu waited, waited and waited some more before having to settle for a low-ball $5 million plus incentives contract with the Angels.
Abreu worked a walk in the first inning but Sabathia struck him out looking in the third. In the series, the Yankees have been backing Abreu off the plate with pitches inside and throwing low and outside pitches to get Abreu out.
Abreu is usually a patient hitter, unafraid of hitting with two strikes. But Sabathia’s command has forced Abreu to be more aggressive. Angel fans have the thunder sticks and the Rally Monkey going strong, hopeful Abreu can come through.
Sabathia throws a strike. Ohhhhh! Angel fans have seen this all night.
On the second pitch Abreu sees a pitch he likes and swings but he misses it low, popping it up harmlessly into the Anaheim sky to centerfield. Cabrera camps under it and uses two hands to make sure it nestles into his glove.
Ohhhh! Angel fans fall silent, thunder sticks halt and the Rally Monkey has been foiled.
The Yankees would go on to score five runs in the final two innings and the final score ends up 10-1. The Yankees are 3-1 in the best-of-seven series and need only one victory for a trip to the World Series.

Meanwhile, the Angels squandered another chance to get to Sabathia in the sixth when Torii Hunter walked and Vladimir Guerrerro singled to lead of the inning. Juan Rivera followed by hitting into a double play and Howie Kendrick lined out to first baseman Mark Teixeira to end the Angels last serious threat. 

Figgins, Abreu and Rivera are probably the poster children for the Angels’ plight in this series. Their failures to hit in clutch situations is the main reason why the Angels are losing. Combined they are 6-for-49 in the series, a woeful .122 average. They have one RBI between them.

In a key moment in Game 4, they all failed to deliver a big hit. Now the Rally Monkey is hanging by a thread on life support with very little hope left of recovery.



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