Results tagged ‘ Jose Valverde ’

Tanaka Stays Perfect With 4-Hit Shutout Of Mets

GAME 39

YANKEES 4, METS 0

Throughout Wednesday’s game at Citi Field in Flushing, NY, you could honestly hear crickets because the paid crowd of 35,577 and the bats of the New York Mets were silenced by a pitcher who is legend in the making.

Masahiro Tanaka, in only his eighth major-league start, shut out the Mets on just four hits in a masterpiece of a complete game as the Yankees snapped a six-game losing streak to the Mets in the Subway Series and also ended their current four-game skid.

Tanaka (6-0) did not walk a batter and struck out eight in an 114-pitch effort that extended his streak to 42 games without losing a regular-season start that dates back to Aug. 18, 2012 in the Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. Tanaka even capped his night by getting his first major-league hit in the top of the ninth inning against right-hander Jose Valverde.

Yangervis Solarte and Mark Teixeira backed Tanaka with a pair of solo home runs and Brian Roberts hit a pair of triples to spoil the major-league debut of Mets right-hander Rafael Montero (0-1).

The Yankees broke through on Montero with two outs in the second inning when Montero issued a walk to Solarte and Roberts followed with a sinking line drive to left that Eric Young Jr. allowed to skip by him for a triple that scored Solarte.

Solarte, a 26-year-old rookie who entered the game leading the American League in batting with a .336 average, added to his own miraculous rookie season by lining his fourth home run of the season into the right-field bleachers with two out in the fourth inning.

Teixeira blasted his eighth home run of the season and his third in his past five games to pad the Yankees’ lead to 3-0.

Montero yielded three runs on five hits and two walks while he struck out three in six innings of work.

The Yankees “stole” a run with two out in the seventh inning off right-hander Carlos Torres when Brett Gardner narrowly beat out a infield single. He then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch before scoring on a infield dribbler off the bat of Derek Jeter that he legged out for an RBI single.

But Tanaka appeared in such command that he really only needed one run.

The quote of the night came from Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy, who had on elf the four hits Tanaka gave up. He told reporters after the game:

“I knew what was coming and I could not hit it.”

Tanaka became the first Yankee rookie pitcher to throw a shutout since Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez did it on Sept. 14 1988 against the Boston Red Sox.

He also silenced a Mets offense that had pounded the Yankees for 21 runs on 24 hits the past two nights across town at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NY.

“I think you could argue that he’s been as valuable as anyone on our team, with what he’s done so far this year,” manager Joe Girardi told reporters.

With the victory the Yankees improved to 20-19 and they are tied with the Red Sox for second place in the American League East, one half-game behind the first-place Baltimore Orioles. The Mets dropped to 19-20.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Tanaka’s brilliance against the Mets was tied a lot to his pitch selection. He and catcher Brian McCann noticed that the Mets were not swinging much at Tanaka’s devastating split-finger fastball on two-strike counts so they used Tanaka’s slider and two-seam fastball instead. Tanaka’s shutout lowered his season ERA to 2.17 and he now has struck out 66 and walked seven in 58 innings. WOW!
  • Solarte is long past just being lucky. This youngster is the real deal. His 1-for-3 night kept his average at .336 with four home runs and a team-leading 23 RBIs. “It’s become a running joke, pretty much, in our dugout about [Solarte being] the best player I’ve ever seen at this point,” Roberts told reporters. “It’s a great story. It’s fun to watch.”
  • Roberts was actually shortchanged in his 2-for-4 night because he hit a blistering liner off Torres’ left wrist in the seventh and then hit a scalding liner to center in the ninth that was caught by Curtis Granderson. On May 1, Roberts was hitting .213. Since then he is 12-for-40 (.300), raising his season average to .243.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

Tanaka pitched just like an ace should. He stopped a losing streak, gave the shell-shocked bullpen a rest and picked up a team that was scuffling to win lately. There is nothing to complain about.

BOMBER BANTER

CC Sabathia visited Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, AL, on Wednesday and the orthopedist found some “degenerative changes” in the left-hander’s troublesome right knee, general manager Brian Cashman told reporters. Sabathia was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 11 and he later had fluid drained from the knee. Andrews has prescribed a cortisone and stem cell injection that will be administered on Thursday. Although there is no structural damage to the knee there still is no set timetable for Sabathia’s return.  . . .  Outfielder Carlos Beltran sat out Wednesday’s game after having a cortisone injection for a bone spur in his right elbow earlier this week. The Yankees will re-evaluate Beltran’s elbow in a few days. They are hoping the veteran can avoid having surgery.

ON DECK

The Yankees will complete their Subway Series with Mets on Thursday with a chance of earning a split.

The Yankees will call up right-hander Chase Whitley to make his major-league debut in place of Sabathia. Whitley, 24, is 3-2 with a 2.39 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He has a career minor-league ERA of 2.64.

The Mets will counter with a rookie right-hander named Jacob deGrom, who also will be making his first start in the majors. DeGrom, 25, is 4-0 with a 2.58 ERA in seven starts at Triple-A Las Vegas. He will be starting in place of right-hander Dillon Gee, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a lat strain.

Game-time will be 7:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.

 

‘Unsteady Freddy’ Leaves Yankees In Deep Hole

GAME 20

TIGERS 7, YANKEES 5

For the second straight start veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia got knocked out in the second inning and a last-ditch ninth-inning rally fell just short as Detroit defeated New York on Saturday at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y.

Garcia was shelled for six runs on five hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings, the big blows were a three-run home run by Andy Dirks in the first inning and a two-run double by Miguel Cabrera in the second that chased him from the game. Garcia is now 0-2 with a 12.51 ERA.

Meanwhile, 22-year-old rookie left-hander Drew Smyly (1-0) pitched six innings, giving up only one run on Nick Swisher’s home run the bottom of the first inning, to pick up his first major-league victory.

The Yankees, meanwhile, made it interesting in the late innings when Curtis Granderson homered off former Yankee left-hander Phil Coke in the seventh inning and they added three runs in the ninth inning off Tigers closer and resident hot dog Jose Valverde.

Swisher began the inning with his second home of the game and his sixth of the season. Alex Rodriguez then drew a one-out walk. Granderson later added a two-out single to score Rodriguez.

Pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez slapped an RBI double down the left-field line to score Granderson and draw the Yankees to within two runs and brought the tying run to the plate in pinch-hitter Eric Chavez.

Chavez slapped a high drive down the right-field line that was caught just at the warning track by right-fielder Don Kelly to end the rally and allow Valverde to get his heart out of his throat. Instead of his usual victory dance after the last out, the clown just walked off the mound sporting an embarrassing 5.59 ERA.

The loss dropped the Yankees’ season ledger to 11-9. The Tigers snapped a five-game losing streak and are 11-10.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Swisher’s two home runs came from each side of the plate and he extended his American League-leading total of RBis to 23. Because Swisher’s contract expires at the end of the season, he is hoping a good season will convince the Yankees to offer him a long-term deal to stay. Considering in his last 10 games, Swisher is hitting .350 with four home runs and 12 RBIs it might be a good idea to do it before the season ends.
  • Granderson’s solo home run in the seventh gave him seven on the season. In his last eight games, Granderson is hitting .367 with four home runs and eight RBIs. His only negative this season is his 24 strikeouts in 78 at-bats.
  • Cody Eppley gave up a solo home run to Cabrera in the eighth inning and that was the only run the bullpen allowed after Garcia left in the second inning. Clay Rapada, David Phelps and Eppley combined to give up just the one run on two hits and two walks in 7 1/3 innings. Phelps, who seems to be assured of a start soon, faced the minimum nine batters in his three innings of work, striking out two.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Garcia has started his last game for some time and it may be his last start for the Yankees, period. Manager Joe Girardi said Garcia may land on the disabled list so the Yankees can determine why his pitches have dropped so much in velocity from last season. Girardi may have some announcement about it on Sunday.
  • Robinson Cano has been a major disappointment all season. He was 0-for-4 on Saturday and he saw only 11 pitches in those at-bats. He lined out sharply in the first, struck out looking on three pitches in the fourth and flied out weakly in the sixth and ninth innings. Cano is hitting .253 with just one home run and three RBIs batting third or fourth for the Yankees behind a red-hot Derek Jeter. Something is not adding up here.
  • The Yankees managed only Swisher’s home run, a Rodriguez single and two walks off Smyly in his fourth major-league start. This has ben a pattern with the Yankees when they face a pitcher for the first time. They take way too much time trying to figure out how to approach them and end up on the losing end.

BOMBER BANTER

Andy Pettitte’s minor-league start scheduled for Monday has been shifted from the cold climate of Portland, ME., to the warmer weather of Tampa, FL. Pettitte, 39, will start for Class-A Tampa on Monday and he expected to throw about 90 to 95 pitches. The veteran left-hander came out of retirement in the spring and hopes to rejoin the Yankees in mid-May.

ON DECK

The Yankees will try to win the three-game weekend home series with the Tigers on Sunday.

CC Sabathia (2-0, 5.27 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees. Sabathia has won his last two starts and he is coming off an 8-inning outing in which he gave up four runs against the Rangers on Monday. Sabathia is 15-12 with a 4.54 ERA lifetime against the Tigers.

Max Scherzer (1-2, 8.24 ERA) will oppose Sabathia. Scherzer has struggled in all of his four starts this season. His 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA in his career against the Yankees.

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

 

Valverde Shows His Wiener By Buzzing Jeter

There is no player in Major League Baseball that I despise more than Jose Valverde.

If you have not caught his caught his act, it is a lot like watching a very hammy and awful lounge singer in pink sequins. With the every out he prances around the mound in as if somebody in the Tigers locker room slathered his jock strap with itching powder.

He is in, more than a few words, a overweight slob and a hot dog without an ounce of genuine professionalism. You want an example?

How about this quote: “(Justin) Verlander has it [Monday]. Next day, have the celebration in Detroit – 100 percent. The Yankees have a good team, but I think that’s it for them.”

Now some in the Detroit media are passing it off as if Valverde were joking in order to tamp down any potential harm may come if the prediction does not come true. But the fact is Valverde has been baiting opposing teams and hitters for years with his tired act on the mound.

Closers with class walk off the mound and take congratulations from their teammates. They don’t contort themselves and gyrate like they never have a retired a major-league hitter in their life.

But “Valveeta” (I will call him from now on because his act all cheese and them some) took it to a whole new level on Monday night. Not content with the fact that he was a few pitches close to being pulled from the game in favor of left-hander Phil Coke, Valveeta had to go way over the line in professionalism.

In the ninth, after retiring Nick Swisher, our rotund frankfurter walked Jorge Posada. Then he allowed pinch-runner Eduardo Nunez to steal second easily. The next batter, Russell Martin, came within a few choice feet of real estate in right-field of putting the Yankees ahead by a run against this supposedly unshakeable closer.

Then the man French’s could use in an ad campaign, continued to walk the tightrope (which is tough to do when your off-season training regimen consists of lifting Budweisers by the caseload to your gullet), walked No. 9 hitter Brett Gardner on four straight pitches.

Manager Jim Leyland had Coke throwing hard and fast in the bullpen because he had seen this same thing before when Valveeta pitched the ninth on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

Valveeta then got ahead of Derek Jeter with two quick strikes. As most closers would do in this situation, you would want to waste a pitch outside and maybe get Jeter to chase. That is what most closers would not do. Not Valveeta.

He decides that he needs to intimidate Jeter and he buzzes him with a pitch that was not only up and in, but was sailing directly for his noggin.

Now in baseball, there is an unwritten rule that there is nothing wrong with throwing inside. Heck, when Martin was hit with a pitch by Verlander in the seventh, I had absolutely no issue with it.

You also have a right, if you wish, to attempt to throw at someone. That is all part of the game.

But there is also an unwritten rule that you do not aim for someone’s head, particularly when it is someone like Jeter.

If it was A-Rod or Barry Bonds, I could maybe see the reasoning. It still would be a bush league tactic. But, at least I would understand the motivation of this degenerate a–hole.

However, Jeter is the symbol in baseball of a genuine professional. He plays the game right and he has never done anything in his entire career to show up another player or brought anything but class to the game.

But Senor Valveeta thinks it is the only way he can win and, after all, that is the bottom line. It is not how you play the game. It is just that you got to win, right?

Hmmm!

You better be careful where you tread, Valveeta. Karma can be a female dog. A “caliente” female dog.

I am not saying that the Yankees might retaliate on Tuesday night, I am saying they will retaliate on Tuesday. It is only a question of when and to whom.

Knowing the Tigers and how Leyland thinks, he would probably have his starter Rick Porcello plunk a Yankees hitter in the first inning to see if he can get the umpires to issue a warning early. But umpires are usually loathe to issue a warning, especually in a playoff game, before a second incident occurs.

The Yankees thus have one shot at this and they better make it a good one. I am not talking CC Sabathia’s polite fastball to David Ortiz’s hindquarters either. I am talking an A.J. Burnett riding fastball, inside and head high, to Miguel Cabrera. He probably will be so tanked up on Jose Cuervo he would not feel it anyway.

It is just too bad that Valveeta does not play in the National League where pitchers bat. Of course, he knows that closers don’t bat so he hides behind that fact like a little boy scrambling behind a mother’s skirt.

He is gutless, classless and revolting.

Other than that, I have no issue the hot dog.

Do not be surprised if this all wakes up the Yankees and brings them back into the series. Mr. Valvetta may regret the can of worms he opened. Maybe he thought he was opening another can of beer!

 

Yankees Should Tame Feisty Tigers In Four Games

AMERICAN LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES PREVIEW

DETROT TIGERS (95-67) vs. NEW YORK YANKEES (97-65)

YANKEES OFFENSE

The 2011 Yankees lived up to their Bronx Bombers nickname. They hit more bombs than any team in baseball. But, they also led the major leagues in stolen bases. That is a tough combination to beat because it has happened so rarely. That is why the Tigers have to be worried. You shut down the longball and the Yankees steal bases and score runs on base hits. You shut down the running game and sooner or later someone will hit a home run.The Yankees boast two American League MVP candidates in Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano. They also have the third-best home run hitter in the league in Mark Teixeira. You add Alex Rodriguez, wounded or not, Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada and you have a veteran lineup that is used to making starters work and not chasing pitches out of the strike zone. Then you have table-setters like Granderson, Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner, who can get on base and create havoc on the basepaths with their feet.

TIGERS OFFENSE

The Tigers, on the other hand, are a reflection of their two best hitters: Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. They are not a speed team at all. They play station-to-station baseball and look for the extra-base hit or home run. Cabrera hit .344 with 30 home runs and 105 RBIs. Martinez, the DH, hit .330 with 12 home runs and 103 RBIs. They set the tone for the Tigers’ offense. In addition, they have rookie catcher Alex Avila and shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who combined for 40 home runs and 168 RBIs. The Tigers even added former Ray and Twin outfielder Delmon Young to the mix. What speed there is lies with leadoff hitter Austin Jackson, who stole 22 bases. No one else is even in double figures. Manager Jim Leyland plays platoons at the other three spots to match up against opposing pitchers. This is very similar to the offenses of the Minnesota Twins the Yankees have destroyed in recent playoff series.

EDGE: You have to give this to the Yankees because of their combination of power and speed. They did not lead the league in runs scored for nothing. Detroit’s station-to-station philosophy plays right into the Yankees’ hands. Teams that run on them have had more success.

YANKEES STARTERS

The Yankees will open the playoffs with a three-man rotation of CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.00 ERA), Ivan Nova (16-4, 3.70 ERA) and Freddy Garcia (12-8, 3.62 ERA). Sabathia is expected to pitch Game 4 no matter what happens and Nova will get the ball in Game 5. The Yankees are 8-1 in Sabathia’s postseason starts and Sabathia is 5-1 in those starts.  Sabathia is 15-12 with a 4.54 ERA against the Tigers in his career. This season he was 0-1 with a no-decision victory on Opening Day and an ERA of 4.15. Nova will be making his first postseason appearances and starts in this series. He has not lost a decision since he lost to the Los Angels Angels on June 3. Since then he is 12-0 in his 16 starts. He has never started against the Tigers but he did make his major-league debut against them on May 13, 2010 with two innings of scoreless relief. Garcia earned his start because 16 of his 25 starts were quality starts. Garcia also has postseason experience. He won three games with the White Sox in 2005 to help lead them to a championship. Garcia is 18-8 with a 3.88 in his career against the Tigers. This season he was 0-1 in his only start against Detroit. He gave up four runs on 10 hits in seven innings on May 4 at Comerica Park.

TIGERS STARTERS 

The Tigers plan to start Justin Verlander, Doug Fister and Max Scherzer, in that order, to open the series. They have not announced a Game 4 starter, but Leyland has said Verlander will not pitch in that game. He will start Game 5, if necessary. Verlander (24-5, 2.70 ERA) is likely going to be a unanimous choice for the A.L. Cy Young Award and also a potential MVP. It was easily his best season. It was his first 20-game season and the first time he recorded a sub-3.00 ERA. He is 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA against the Yankees in his career. This season Verlander was 0-0 in his two starts against the Yankees and in both games the Yankees rallied late to win. Fister (11-13, 2.83 ERA) was a midseason acquisition from Seattle and he paid big dividends. He was 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA in his 10 starts for the Tigers. He was 3-12 with the punchless Mariners. He is 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA against the Yankees. He lost his only start against the Yankees this season on July 26 at Yankee Stadium as a member of the Mariners, giving up three runs in seven innings. Sabathia struck out 14 and won the game 4-1. Scherzer (15-9, 4.43 ERA) has very good stuff as his 207 strikeouts attest. But he has been hit hard, too. He has had success against the Yankees. He is 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA. He was 2-0 with a 4.15 ERA this season. He won on April 3 in New York despite giving up six runs. The Tigers took advantage of Phil Hughes pitching with a weak shoulder. Om May 4 at Comerica Park, Scherzer shut out the Yankees over eight innings, fanning nine batters.

EDGE: The Tigers have an edge but it is not as big as you would think. Verlander has not beaten the Yankees this season and he really has struggled at Yankee Stadium. Game 1 is not a lock for the Tigers. Nova has been doubted all season and the Yankees have had success against Fister. The Tigers’ biggest edge may be Game 3 with Scherzer pitching. I will take Sabathia over anyone the Tigers can find to pitch against the Yankees in Game 4.

YANKEES BULLPEN

This was the best bullpen in baseball. They recorded the best ERA in baseball by a margin of a half-run. Think about that. The Yankees are more than just Mariano Rivera and his 602 career saves and his 44 saves and his 1.91 ERA at age 41. The Yankees lost key relievers like Joba Chamberlain, Pedro Feliciano and Rafael Soriano to injuries early and found out just how great David Robertson was. Robertson led all major-league relievers in ERA with 1.08 and he struck out 100 batters in on;y 66 2/3 innings. He also made the A.L. All-Star team. Last season’s A.L. saves leader Soriano returned from right elbow inflammation and pitched very well down the stretch. He is content now to pitch the seventh inning. That means the Yankees have reduced the game to six innings. You get to their starters or you lose. The Yankees also have lefty Boone Logan (3.46 ERA) and right-handers Cory Wade (2.04 ERA) and Luis Ayala (2.08 ERA). The Yankees have also placed starters A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes in the bullpen for this series. Hughes was the key setup man to Rivera in the 2009 championship season so he knows how to pitch quality relief.

TIGERS BULLPEN

A.L. saves leader and resident 100% beef hot dog Jose Valverde heads up a pretty decent bullpen. Valverde did not blow a save this season, which is hanging up there like a tempting pinata for the Yankees in this series. The Tigers’ setup man is Joaquin Benoit , who was not as good as he was with the Rays in 2010 but he still had 47 holds.  They also have rookie right-hander Al Alburquerque (6-1, 1.97 ERA). They have a pair of lefties in Daniel Schlereth and Phil Coke. Both have ERAs over 4.00, however. The Tigers also will have underachieving righty Ryan Perry and reserve starters Rick Porcello and Brad Penny to use. This bullpen has some quality in it but it also has a soft underbelly that can be exploited by a team with a good offense like the Yankees.

EDGE: The Yankees clearly have the superior bullpen and it is a huge edge going into this series. The Yankees’ pen shortens the game to six innings and the Tigers merely get it to seven. That is a big difference when you are talking a short series like this. Look for the Yankees to attack pitchers like Perry and Schlereth in this series.

YANKEES BENCH

Due to injuries and manager Joe Girardi resting his payers down the stretch, the Yankee bench has played extensively this season. Infield reserve Eduardo Nunez started for Jeter and Rodriguez when they were hurt this season and hit very well. Nunez can play second, short or third. But he is an error waiting to happen as a fielder. Eric Chavez, 33, meanwhile is a former Gold Glove winner at third and he provides a veteran lefty power hitter off the bench. He also could start if Rodriguez is unable to play because of his thumb or knee injuries. Outfield reserve Andruw Jones is actually the platoon leftfielder against left-handed pitching and he can also DH and play rightfield. He provides power against lefties. Jorge Posada may be at the end of his career at age 40, but he still can hit from the left side, as he will in this series. Backup catcher Jesus Montero will likely not see any action as a catcher and will play a limited role since the Yankees do not want to pinch-hit him and lose Martin to injury. But when he gets his chance, Montero, 21, can be a valuable bat off the bench with his incredible power. He hit four home runs in 61 at-bats in September. The Yankees also chose to keep Chris Dickerson as outfield reserve. Dickerson will likely be a late-inning replacement for Nick Swisher in rightfield. He also provides another left-handed bat off the bench and he can be used as a pinch-runner late in a game.

TIGERS BENCH

The Tigers platoon a lot in the outfield and at the middle infield spots so their bench has been extensively as well. The reserves include backup catcher Omir Santos, veteran outfielder Magglio Ordonez, former Yankee infielder Wilson Betemit and young outfielder Andy Dirks. Manager Jim Leyland is not afraid to use his bench and he is good at putting them in spots in which they succeed. There is not a whole lot of power or speed here. These guys, much like the Tiger starters, just try to get on and wait to be driven in.

EDGE: The Yankees have a much deeper bench. How many teams have two former Gold Glove winners and a former All-Star catcher on the bench? These players have also played a lot this season and are ready to go for the postseason. Where the Tigers bench lacks speed and power, the Yankees are loaded with it on their bench.

INTANGIBLES

The Tigers won the season series 4-3 but these teams last played on May 5 in Detroit. That was an awful long time ago and both teams have improved some since then. The Tigers defeated the Yankees 3-0 in the ALDS in 2006 in which the Tigers went on to lose the World Series to St. Louis. Oddly, it was a soft-tossing left-hander named Kenny Rogers who gave the Yankees fits in Game 3. Garcia is a veteran soft-tossing right-hander scheduled to pitch in Game 3 for the Yankees. Could this be karma for the Tigers? The Yankee roster is full of veterans with lots of postseason experience. The Tigers have some older veterans but they also have a lot of young players, particularly pitchers, who have no postseason experience. That is something that could be in the Yankees’ favor. Jeter is also one of those players who makes plays that can turn a series.  Who can forget “The Flip?” How about in 2009 when he took two outfield relays and cut down two Twins runners who had rounded the base too far? Watch what The Captain does in the series. It only takes one play to turn a series sometimes.

EDGE: The Yankees have a lot going for them in addition to home field. The Tigers will not back down but, ultimately, I do not think the Central Division is an equal or even close to the teams from the East. The Tigers have been hot, but who have they been playing except weak division rivals in September? That tends to make their record and their stats look inflated. The Yankees have a real edge here.

PREDICTION

The Yankees will win this series in four games. The only game I see the Tigers having any edge is possibly Game 3 in Comerica Park with Scherzer facing Garcia. Sabathia has been money in the playoffs and I see him pitching well enough to give the Yankees victories in Game 1 and Game 4 – even if he is gone before the Yankees win it. There is just too much talent on this Yankee team even with a somewhat suspect Rodriguez due to his health.

 

Swisher Relishes Game-Winning Hit Off Hot Dog Valverde

GAME 26
YANKEES 5, TIGERS 3
Nick Swisher entered Monday’s game at Comerica Park seemingly incapable of hitting right-handed pitching all season. He ended the night with an RBI single of a tough right-hander in the ninth inning that won the ballgame.
Swisher’s one-out RBI single off Jose (Not Enough Mustard In The World To Cover This Egotistical Hot Dog) Valverde to score Mark Teixeira with the tie-breaking run to give New York their eighth victory in their last 11 games and send Detroit to its seventh straight loss.
There was no dancing around the mound for Jose. There was a lot of fist-pumping by Nick. Valverde topped off his rough 34-pitch outing by uncorking a wild pitch that allowed Alex Rodriguez to score an insurance run.
Joba Chamberlain (2-0) pitched a scoreless eighth inning to earn the victory in relief and Mariano Rivera came in close the door in the ninth to notch his 11th save of the season. Valverde (2-1) took a very humbling loss.
With the victory, the Yankees are 17-9 on the season and they have opened up a three-game lead on the second-place Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East. The Tigers are 12-17 and falling fast in the Central.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES
  • Bartolo Colon was sensational again in his third start the season. He could not get out Ramon Santiago, Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila (who combined to go 7-for-9) but the other Tiger hitters were 0-for-19. Cabrera singled in Santiago in third inning and Avila tagged Colon for a pair of solo opposite-field homers in the second and sixth innings. The second one tied the game and cost Colon a victory. Colon walked none and struck out seven over seven innings.
  • Swisher is showing signs of coming out of his hitting funk from the left side of the plate. In the seventh inning he doubled of right-hander Ryan Perry. His 2-for-4 night raised his average to .231.
  • Jorge Posada, who also has been struggling at the plate, added two hits of his own, including a two-run ground-rule double of Justin Verlander with the bases loaded in the first inning.
  • Eduardo Nunez, subbing for an injured Robinson Cano, had an RBI double off Verlander in the second inning, which gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead they held until the seventh inning.
NAGGING NEGATIVES
  • The Yankees let too many chances to put the game away on Verlander and the Detroit relievers. They pounded out 11 hits, drew eight walks and were handed three wild pitches in the game. Yet they were 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position until Swisher’s game-winning single in the ninth.
  • Derek Jeter was 2-for-5 and raised his average to .250. However, those hits came in the firs two innings. In his other three at-bats he struck out swinging with runners on second and third and one out in the fourth, he struck out swinging with runners at first and second and two out in the sixth inning and he tapped out to the pitcher with a runner on second and two out. He left five base-runners on base.
  • The Yankees were also very sloppy on the bases in this game. Jeter was thrown out stealing in the first inning. Nunez was thrown out at third trying to take an extra base on a throw home in the second inning. Finally, Curtis Granderson was called out after he had stolen a base in the ninth inning but he slipped off the bag on the slide and was tagged out.
BOMBER BANTER
Cano sat out the game with a bruised left hand he sustained catching a low pickoff throw from Ivan Nova in Sunday’s game. Manager Joe Girardi believes the injury is not serious and that Cano may return to the starting lineup on Tuesday.  . . .   The Yankees received news on Monday that right-handed starter Phil Hughes does not have thoracic outlet syndrome. Tests showed Hughes, who has been on the disabled list since April 15 with what is termed a “dead arm,” does not have any circulatory or vascular issues. Though the Yankees are pleased Hughes does not require season-ending surgery, they still have no idea why Hughes has lost velocity and has numbness in his right shoulder.  . . .  Colon’s seven innings of work was his third consecutive quality start. The Yankee starters in the past nine days have recorded a combined ERA of 2.26 (15 earned runs in 59 2/3 innings of work). Many thought the offense would carry the pitching this season but it is has been quite the opposite. However, the Yankees are 14-3 in games in which they score five runs or more.
ON DECK
The Yankees will continue their four-game road series in Detroit and they will start ace left-hander CC Sabathia (2-1, 2.25 ERA). Sabathia has won his last two starts, having allowed just three earned runs in 15 innings. He is 15-11 with a 4.52 ERA in his career against the Tigers.
The Tigers will counter with veteran right-hander Brad Penny (1-3, 6.11 ERA). Penny was roughed up by the Yankees for eight runs on seven hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings in the Bronx a month ago. He is 1-2 with a 8.84 ERA in his career against the Bombers.
Game-time will be at 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.

Yankees Score Seven Runs But Lose Battle To Tigers

GAME 3
TIGERS 10, YANKEES 7
Brennan Boesch and Miguel Cabrera combined for seven hits, three home runs and nine RBIs as Detroit managed to salvage a game against New York on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
Max Scherzer (1-0) got credit for the victory despite being hammered for nine hits (four them home runs) and six runs in five innings. Phil Hughes (0-1) took the loss. The world’s most overweight all-beef hot dog, Jose Valverde, picked up his first save of the season.
The Yankees are 2-1 and the Tigers are 1-2.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES
  • Jorge Posada is settling in to the DH spot nicely as he contributed a pair of two-run home runs, one in the second inning and another in the fifth. Both of the shots came off Scherzer.
  • Mark Teixeira is doing a wonderful job of pretending it is May. He hit his third home run in as many games, a solo shot off Scherzer in the third inning.
  • Nick Swisher had a perfect afternoon. He was 3-for-3 with a double, two singles, two walks and he scored two runs and drove in another.
  • Robinson Cano blasted his first home run of the young season, a solo shot two batters after Teixeira’s home run in the third. It also came off Scherzer.
NAGGING NEGATIVES
  • Hughes once again had problems similar to the second half of last season because he could not put away the Tigers after getting two strikes on them. Twelve Tiger batters had two strikes on them and Hughes fanned only one. He threw 90 pitches in just four innings and struggled to get up 90 miles per hour on his fastball. Meanwhile, Cabrera pounded him for a pair of two-run home runs in his first two at-bats.
  • Bartolo Colon gave up only four runs all spring. In four innings on relief of Hughes, he gave up four runs on six hits and a walk. He did strike out five batters.
  • Brett Gardner had a day he would like to forget In five plate appearances he failed to get a ball out of the infield and struck out three times form the leadoff spot. 
  • Curtis Granderson also was held in check. He was 0-for-4 and struck out twice.
BOMBER BANTER
After the game pitching coach Larry Rothschild addressed Hughes’ lack of velocity. He said it is a carryover from spring training and that he will work with Hughes to build up arm strength to get the velocity up. Hughes said he felt “fine” and there was no injury. Manager Joe Girardi said he was more concerned about location than velocity and that Hughes missed his location a lot on Sunday.  . . .  Girardi has also served notice that the Yankees will be a lot more aggressive on the bases this season. They stole three bases in the first two games and did not steal any on Sunday. However, Swisher and Posada each took an extra base on a dropped fly ball by left-fielder Ryan Raburn. Girardi said he would like to put more pressure on the opposing club and force them into mistakes.  . . .  Girardi also said when the Yankees have big leads late in games he will not hesitate to take out older veterans like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez to rest them. On Saturday, he inserted Eduardo Nunez at shortstop and Eric Chavez at third base in the eighth inning with the Yankees up by seven runs.
ON DECK
After outscoring the Motor City Kitties by a 23-19 and setting a Yankee record by hitting nine home runs a three-game series, the Yankees will play host to the Minnesota Twins on Monday.
The Yankees will send to the mound 24-year-old right-hander Ivan Nova for his 2011 debut as a starter. He posted a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings this spring and he has never faced the Twins.
The Twins will start veteran right-hander Scott Baker (12-9, 4.49 ERA). Baker is 2-2 with a 4.15 ERA against the Yankees in his career.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.
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