Results tagged ‘ Kevin Millwood ’

Sabathia’s Maturity Got Him Through Rough 8th



Baseball pundits have made a cottage industry out of criticizing the New York Yankees for the advanced age of their team as if the second a player turns 30 he starts hitting like Jose Molina or pitching like Kevin Millwood.

But one of the reasons they have a number of players who 30 years old or older is the same reason why CC Sabathia beat the Baltimore Orioles on Friday to advance the Yankees to the American League Championship Series.

In Sabathia’s first five postseason starts up to when he was age 28, he was 2-3 with a 7.92 ERA. In the past four postseasons with the Yankees up to age 32, Sabathia is 7-1 with a 3.09 ERA.

Entering the eighth inning of Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Orioles, Sabathia had given up just one hit and one walk while he had a seemingly comfortable 3-0 lead.

But things began to look as if they were unraveling when Matt Wieters led off the inning with a solid single to left and Sabathia walked rookie Manny Machado on just five pitches.

From this point on in the inning, the game was at a tipping point because if any of the Orioles hit a home run at this juncture then the game would be tied. If Sabathia might have been a younger and less experienced pitcher in postseason play he might have cracked.

After a strikeout of Mark Reynolds, Lew Ford followed with a single to left to score Wieters.

Now if any Orioles hitter were to hit a home run, the Orioles would take the lead. You could bet there were a few Tums moments in the Yankee dugout for manager Joe Girardi. He wanted his ace pitcher to get out of this but he also realized that the team’s success was more important.

Crazy plays happen in baseball all the time. They pop up at strange moments like this and they did when Robert Andino bounced a ball to the right of Sabathia.

Sabathia sprang off the mound to field it but he realized that he could not throw the ball to third because Eric Chavez was not on the base. Andino has some speed so first would have been out.

So Sabathia threw the ball to second but Ford slid into the bag before the ball arrived.

A lesser experienced postseason pitcher might have completely unraveled at this point. The bases were full and there was only one out.

On top of that, the Orioles best hitter in the series, Nate McLouth, was up with nowhere to put him.


“It’s what I’m here for,” Sabathia said, “It’s what I play the game for. I guess I should feel a little pressure or something like that, but I don’t.”


Girardi had right-hander David Robertson throwing in the bullpen but he stuck with his experienced ace left-hander against McLouth even though McLouth had narrowly missed hitting a home run in the sixth inning.

A crowd of 47.081 huddled in the October chill crossing their fingers and praying Sabathia could hold onto this most precious of leads. The Yankees’ hopes for a 28th world championship were riding on it.

Sabathia had learned by the time he came to the Yankees there was a big difference between throwing and pitching. Early in his career, Sabathia could throw hard and so that is all he did. Now Sabathia throws less hard but he is even better because he mixes in his curve, his slider and change-up more.

That is what Sabathia did with McLouth.

His first pitch was a called strike, a slider at 83 miles per hour. McLouth then weakly fouled off a 95-mph fastball. After Sabathia tried a 82-mph slider in the dirt for a ball, he came back with a higher 82-mph slider with which McLouth was unable to make contact.

Two out.

Sabathia then had face J.J. Hardy, a power-laden shortstop who bats right-handed.

The big left-hander started Hardy off with a change-up off the outside corner for a ball. He then muscled up on a 94-mph fastball that challenged Hardy but Hardy took it for a strike.

Sabathia then put Hardy into a huge hole by getting him to offer and miss at another change-up.

Then catcher Russell Martin and Sabathia agreed to try Sabathia’s trademark slider that runs down the middle of the plate like a fastball but takes an abrupt turn right and dives to the inside corner on a right-handed hitter.

Hardy did make contact, but all he could do was roll it weakly back to Sabathia. The veteran lefty moved about three steps toward first and flipped the ball gently to Mark Teixeira to get out of a harrowing bases-loaded jam with the game on the line.


“He was just dominant — he shows why he’s making all that money,” Martin said. “He’s the man. He’s the horse of this team. It’s fun to be back there and try to direct him. He’s been awesome.”


Girardi’s faith in his ace proved to be well-founded. Sabathia was able to pitch his way out of trouble instead of throwing as hard as he could like he did when he could hit 98-mph on the radar gun.

Sabathia would go on to retire the Orioles in the ninth for his first postseason career complete game and the Yankees rode his back into the American League Championship Series.

Along with Sabathia, the Yankees have Andy Pettitte as a starter at age 40 and Hiroki Kuroda at age 37. But do not mistake the advanced age of their pitchers to be synonymous with old, washed up has-beens.

The reason why the Yankees win in the playoffs is because their pitchers and their players like Raul Ibanez at age 40 do not panic. They simply play the game and let it come to them instead of trying too hard.

Sabathia proved that in the eighth inning when he bent but did not break. He was tested but he remained calm. That is what experience gives you that raw talent could never surpass.


“He is our ace,” Girardi said. “That’s the bottom line. He has been there and done that.”



CC Fans 10 To Put Mariners In Davy Jones’ Locker

GAME 105


There are some days when an ace pitcher carries to the mound what looks to be no-hit stuff and on Friday it looked for all the paid crowd of 45,872 in attendance at Yankee Stadium that they were going to see just that from CC Sabathia.

Instead, the Yankees and their fans had to settle for a complete-game three-hit victory with 10 strikeouts as Sabathia shut down the Mariners and New York ended Seattle’s seven-game winning streak.

Sabathia (12-3) retired the first 10 batters he faced until Casper Wells connected on a first-pitch fastball and deposited into the Mariners’ bullpen in left-center. He then retired the next 12 batters before giving up a one-out double down the left-field line to Miguel Olivo.

The Mariners then opened the ninth by drawing a leadoff walk from Brendan Ryan and Dustin Ackley smacked a 1-0 fastball into the the bleachers in right-field, which brought manager Joe Girardi out to the mound apparently to replace his left-hander as a chorus of boos rained down upon him. But Girardi allowed Sabathia to get the last threw outs and the Yankees coasted to victory.

Meanwhile, the Yankees offense built an early lead for Sabathia in the third inning off veteran right-hander Kevin Millwood (4-9).

Ichiro Suzuki opened the frame with an infield chopper to the left of the mound for a single to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Russell Martin followed with a double into left-center that advanced Suzuki to third. Curtis Granderson then scored both Suzuki and Martin with a lined single to center.

Three innings later, the Yankees padded their 2-1 lead with two out and Raul Ibanez on first when Eric Chavez hit a high fly ball that eluded the glove of right-fielder Eric Thames at the right-field wall and bounced into the seats for Chavez’s 10th home run of the season. Chavez beccame the ninth member of the team to reach double figures in home runs, which is the most in the major leagues.

Millwood left the game after six innings having given up four runs on nine hits and a walk while he struck out three.

The Yankees added a pair of runs in seventh off Mariners relievers Carter Capps and Oliver Perez on RBI singles by Robinson Cano and Ibanez. Though both hits came off Perez the runs were charged to Capps, who was making his major-league debut.

The victory gives the Yankees a season record of 62-43, which is tied for the best record in the American League with the Texas Rangers. The victory also maintained the Yankees’ 6 1/2 game lead in the American League East but the Tampa Bay Rays grabbed second place in the division by shutting out the Baltimore Orioles 2-0. The Mariners dropped to 50-58.


  • Sabathia came into the game as the pitcher with the best major-league winning percentage in August and he promptly won his first start of the month. He also entered the game with an 11-4 career record and a 2.42 ERA against the Mariners. Sabathia is also tied with three others pitchers for the third-most victories in the American League and he still has a shot to win 20 games for a second time in his career. He has not won less than 19 games in his three previous seasons with the Yankees.
  • Chavez’s home run definitely had the benefit of the short porch in right and a little help from a fan. Replays showed a fan with glove impeded Thames’ glove from reaching the ball, but the fan did not appear to lean out into the field. The ball hit the top of the concrete wall and bounced into the stands. Thames and Mariners manager Eric Wedge did not dispute the call of home run by first-base umpire Larry Vanover.
  • Suzuki’s hitting streak has been of the vitamin variety, “One-A-Day.” He has 10 hits in his 40 at-bats in his 10 games as a Yankee. If he collects a single hit in his next game, Suzuki would set a team record of a 11-game hitting streak with 11 hits.


Nothing to criticize in this game. Sabathia was dominant despite giving up the two home runs and the offense and defense was exceptional. Even with the game locked up at 2-1 into the bottom of the sixth inning, it appeared Sabathia was in command and the Yankees would win. They did and it was a good victory.


Mark Teixeira returned to the lineup after missing two games with an inflamed left wrist. Teixeira responded well to a shot of cortisone and he was 1-for-4 in the game.  . . .  Chavez was removed from the game in the ninth inning with a sore right ankle. Chavez twisted the ankle awkwardly on a swing in the bottom of the eighth inning and he was replaced at third base by Jayson Nix. Girardi said the injury does not appear to be serious.  . . .  Martin caught Sabathia for the first time since April 11 and it did not seem to bother Sabathia at all. Chris Stewart had caught Sabathia’s 16 previous starts.  . . .  With Alex Rodriguez out of the lineup, Girardi elected to bat Granderson in the leadoff spot and Jeter in the second spot in order to keep from stacking too many left-handed hitters in a row. It was only the second time this season Granderson has batted leadoff.


The Yankees will continue their three-game weekend home series with the Mariners on Saturday.

The Yankees will call upon veteran right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (10-7, 3.28 ERA) to start the game. Kuroda held the Mariners to one run on three hits over seven innings and fanned nine on July 23. He gave up two runs on seven hits and one walk in seven innings against the Red Sox on Sunday but did not get a decision. Kuroda is 2-1 with a 3.10 ERA in his career against the M’s.

The Mariners will counter with ace right-hander Felix Hernandez (9-5, 2.79 ERA). Hernandez is 5-0 with a 1.60 ERA in his last nine starts. He is 7-5 with a 3.38 ERA in his career against the Yankees.

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


Yankees Drown Sorrows With Deluge On Orioles

GAME 104


Suffering through a miserable four-game losing streak is like a farmer suffering though a horrendous drought. But the Yankees, like the down-on-his-luck farmer, got the benefit of some rain at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday and they then showered the Baltimore Orioles with a torrent of runs that finally drowned their closest American League East pursuer.

Robinson Cano blasted a grand-slam home run and Derek Jeter drove in three runs as New York used a seven-run third inning to deliver a thrashing to a Baltimore team that was benefitting in the standings from the Yankees recent 3-8 slide in their last 11 games.

Phil Hughes (11-8) scattered nine hits, walked two and struck out two in giving up just one run in six solid innings in a game played in front of a paid crowd of 44,593 despite the fact that they had to sit through a steady downpour throughout the contest. Hughes is 6-3 with a 2.88 ERA in his last 10 starts and he now leads the team’s starters in victories.

The Orioles only scored off Hughes on a pair of one-out singles by Wilson Betemit and Mark Reynolds and an RBI groundout by Endy Chavez in the second inning, which at the time halved the Yankees’ lead at 2-1.

Meanwhile, Hughes’ counterpart, Zach Britton (1-1), seemed afraid to throw a fastball anywhere near the strike zone. Britton lasted just 2 2/3 innings and was tagged for seven runs on seven hits and three walks while he struck out three batters.

In his three career starts in New York, Britton has totaled just eight innings, giving up 20 runs (17 earned). That is a 19.13 ERA.

He gave up two runs in each of the first two innings. Curtis Granderson smacked his 29th home run of the season in the opening frame and Andruw Jones later scored in the inning on a Nick Swisher sacrifice fly.

In the second, Jeter stroked an RBI single to score newly acquired corner infielder Casey McGehee, who was making his Yankee debut. Swisher later made it 4-1 with a RBI single to left to score Jayson Nix.

Britton’s bad day ended in the third when Nix stroked an RBI double to the wall in left-center to score Russell Martin and McGehee to give the Yankees a 5-1 lead.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter brought in Kevin Gregg to face Jeter, but Jeter greeted Gregg with a two-run single to right. After Granderson singled and Swisher drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases, Cano launched a rocket into the second deck in right for the Yankees’ major-league best ninth grand slam of the season and Cano’s second.

The game was pretty much over at that point and many in the crowd left soon after.

The Yankees added a run in the eighth on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by McGehee off reliever Tommy Hunter.

The Orioles scored single runs in the seventh and eighth off recently activated righty-hander Joba Chamberlain, who was pitching in his first game since June 5, 2011 due to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last season and a displaced broken right ankle in March.

J.J. Hardy greeted Chamberlain with a leadoff home run in the seventh and the Orioles tacked on a run in the eighth when Chavez doubled off the wall in left to score Reynolds from first base.

Chamberlain, showing signs of a lack of velocity on his fastball, surrendered two runs on four hits and a walk with no strikeouts in his 1 2/3 innings of work.

With the victory, the Yankees improved their season ledger to 61-43 and pushed their lead over the O’s in the division back to 6 1/2 games. The Orioles are 55-50.


  • Though Hughes gave up nine hits in 6 innings, those totals are a bit misleading because he Orioles did not hit the ball hard that often off Hughes. Most of their hits were bloop or broken-bat hits that fell in perfect spots in the wet outfield. The Orioles could not have thrown them into better spots. Hughes used a pair of double plays and some excellent defense from his teammates to keep the O’s from climbing back into the game.
  • Cano was in an o-for-14 funk entering play on Tuesday. In the final two games of the three-game series, Cano went 3-for-6 with two home runs and six RBIs. He now has 24 home runs, which is second on the team to Granderson, and 62 RBIs, which second on the club to Mark Teixeira.
  • Jeter’s three-hit game give him 137 hits on the season, which is most in the American League. In his last seven games, Jeter is 13-for-30 (.433), which has raised his season average to .316 and moved him ahead of Cano (.312) for the best batting average on the team.
  • Nix, making a spot start at third base against a left-handed starter, took advantage with a 3-for-4 game, including a double, two runs scored and an RBI. Nix has five hits in his last 11 at-bats and has driven in six runs in that span. He had only seven RBIs in limited play up to that point.


After losing eight of 11 games I am not going nitpick this victory. The team could have easily lost and brought the Orioles to within 4 1/2 games of the lead, Instead, they moved them back to 6 1/2 games back. Hughes pitched well again and the team was 7-for-13 with runners in scoring position.


McGehee, 29, was acquired in a last-minute trade deadline deal with the Pirates for right-hander Chad Qualls on Tuesday. He arrived on late Tuesday and started the game at first base in place of Teixeira, who is nursing a sore left wrist. McGehee was 0-2 but walked twice, scored two runs and drove in a run on a sac fly in the eighth. Manager Joe Girardi said the veteran corner infielder would backup at first base and also will get some starts at third base until Alex Rodriguez returns off the 15-day disabled list from a broken left hand.  . . .  Ichiro Suzuki made his first major-league regular-season game start in left-field and made a spectacular leaping catch at the wall in the sixth inning on a ball off the bat of Reynolds, which saved a run from scoring. Suzuki also extended his hitting streak to nine games with an infield single in the fourth inning.  . . .  Swisher was used as the designated hitter on Wednesday, which means he has not played right-field July 20, when he left a game at Stadium in Oakland with a sore left hip flexor. Girardi said Swisher could start in right-field on Friday. Jones played right-field on Wednesday and was 1-for-3 with a sac fly RBI.


The Yankees will get a well-earned day off after suffering through a spate of key injuries and losses lately. They will open a three-game weekend home series with Seattle Mariners on Friday.

Left-hander CC Sabathia (10-3, 3.57 ERA) will get the ball for the Yankees. Sabathia has not won a game since July 17 and he is coming off an outing in which the Boston Red Sox tagged him for six runs in six innings on Saturday. He is 11-4 with a 2.42 ERA in his career against the Mariners.

The Mariners will counter with right-hander Kevin Millwood (4-8, 3.90 ERA). Millwood ended a streak of 10 starts without a victory on Saturday with a good effort against the Kansas City Royals. In the past 10 seasons, he is 3-6 with a 4.40 ERA against the Yankees.

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


Kuroda Sinks Mariners In Suzuki’s Yankee Debut



On a day the New York Yankees welcomed their new acquisition Ichiro Suzuki to the team it was another Japanese star who catured the spotlight in defeating Suzuki’s former Seattle Mariners teammates.

Hiroki Kuroda held the the Mariners spellbound for seven innings on Monday and the Yankees scored three runs in the fourth inning as New York snapped its first four-game losing streak of the season and beat Seattle in front of crowd of 29,911 at Safeco Field.

Suzuki began a whirlwind day with a press conference, interviews and a switch to the visitors’ clubhouse before taking the field on which he starred for 10 1/2 seasons in Yankee pinstripes and sporting No. 31. He was given a loud standing ovation from the fans in his first plate appearance.

Suzuki responded by stepping of the batter’s box, removing his batting helmet and bowing to the crowd. He was, however, not a factor in the game. He singled and stole a base in his first at-bat but finished the day 1-for-4.

Kuroda (10-7), however, was brilliant in giving up only one run on three hits, walking one batter (which came back to bite him) and striking out nine.

Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez started the offense off with a one-out double in the fourth off veteran right-hander Kevin Millwood (3-8). Robinson Cano then drew a four-pitch walk and Mark Teixeira laced a 2-0 fastball off the wall in right-field to score Rodriguez.

Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones followed with back-to-back RBI singles to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead they needed to bolster Kuroda’s exceptional outing.

Rodriguez added a solo home run to lead off the eighth inning off reliever Steve Delabar. It was Rodriguez’s 15th home run of the season and the 644th of his career.

The Mariners’ only tally off Kuroda came in the third inning when Kuroda issued a one-out walk to Dustin Ackley. Ackley later stole second and scored with two out when John Jason laced a single to right-field.

David Robertson pitched a perfect eighth inning and Rafael Soriano shook off his second blown save of the season on Sunday to record his 25th save of the season with a perfect ninth.

With the victory, the Yankees improved their season record to 58-38 and they were able to re-establish a seven-game lead in the American League East over the second-place Baltimore Orioles. The last-place Mariners fell to 42-56.


  • Kuroda has established himself as the team’s No. 2 starter behind CC Sabathia with his last 11 starts since shutting out the Oakland A’s on May 27. In that span, Kuroda is 7-1 with a 2.49 ERA. Kuroda is using his devastating split-finger fastball and sharp slider to ring up strikeouts. He has struck out 66 batters in his last 68 innings.
  • Rodriguez is beginning to pick up the pace a bit at the plate. He was 2-for-4 and two runs scored and an RBI and he is 14-for-41 (.341) with two home runs and six RBIs in his last 10 games. He has raised his season average to .274 but his 15 home runs and 44 RBIs still remain well below his usual norms.
  • Teixeira was 3-for-4 in the game, including his RBI double. He is 8-for-20 (.400) on the road trip and he is hitting .387 with two home runs and seven RBIs in his last nine games.


  • The Yankees’ station-to-station offense has a huge downside:  The team ends up hitting into a lot of double plays. The Mariners turned three double plays in the game and it ended up keeping the game closer than it should have been.
  • Curtis Granderson is starting to look like Mark Reynolds at the plate. He was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the game and he has a club-high 114 strikeouts on the season. He has struck out at least once in his last seven games and he also has fanned 12 times in his last 26 at-bats.


To acquire Suzuki the Yankees shipped right-handed pitchers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar to the Mariners. The Yankees also will assume $2.5 million of Suzuki’s contract until he is free agent next year.  Outfielder Dewayne Wise was designated for assignment to make room for Suzuki on the roster. Suzuki, 38, is hitting just .261 with four home runs and 28 RBIs this season. But the Yankees see him replacing outfielder Brett Gardner in left-field, batting at the bottom of the lineup and providing speed and defense. Along with amassing 2,534 hits, Suzuki has won 10 Gold Gloves.  . . .  Suzuki started his first game with the Yankees in right-field and batted eighth because Yankees right-fielder Nick Swisher is still hampered by a sore left hip flexor. Manager Joe Girardi said Swisher will miss the Seattle series but could return to the lineup on Friday.


The Yankees will continue their three-game series with the Mariners on Tuesday.

Former Mariners right-hander Freddy Garcia (4-3, 5.37 ERA) will start for the Yankees. Garcia gave up four runs on nine hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings in his last start on Thursday against the Oakland Athletics. He is 5-3 with a 5.23 ERA against the Mariners in his career.

Garcia will be opposed by Felix Hernandez (8-5, 2.82 ERA). Hernandez gave one run on eight hits and struck out three in eight innings in a victory over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday. He is 6-5 with a 3.45 ERA lifetime against the Yankees.

Game-time will be 10:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.


Millwood Spoils Pettitte’s Grand Return To Yankees



On Sunday, a veteran pitcher who had pitched in World Series and had a lot of past glory in the major leagues came out of nowhere and won a game.

Unfortunately, it was not Andy Pettitte.

Kevin Millwood (1-4) pitched seven innings of one-run, three-hit baseball and two Mariners who entered the game hitting hitting under .208 hit two-run homers as Seattle spoiled the celebrated return of Pettitte with New York at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees did the 37-year-old journeyman Millwood a big favor by hitting into three double plays and going 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Their only two runs in the game came on bases-loaded walks fifth and eighth innings.

Meanwhile, the 39-year-old Pettitte (0-1) matched Millwood zero for zero and had a not allowed a hit until there were two outs in the fourth.

Pettitte walked former Yankee mega-prospect Jesus Montero on a 3-2 pitch and Justin Smoak followed with a line-drive blast into the left-field bleachers for a two-run home run. Smoak entered the series hitting .173 but was 6-for-12 against the Yankees in the three games.

In the sixth inning, Pettitte began showing signs he was tiring after 573 days between his last start in the 2010 playoffs.

Dustin Ackley led off with a single to center and the mighty Casper Wells strolled to the plate. Wells entered the game batting .207 with no home runs and one RBI. He had a career total of 15 major-league home runs.

On a 2-2 offering from Pettitte, Wells swung late to protect the plate and he ended up hitting a ball that quickly was spinning foul into the right-field corner until it struck the foul pole. Wells could not placed it any better if he was standing five feet from the pole and thrown a ball against it.

The partisan Yankee crowd of 41,631 in attendance led out an audible gasp as the ball made an unmistakeable doink sound when it struck the pole.

Pettitte later that inning gave up three consecutive singles that loaded the bases. However, Pettitte induced Mike Carp into hitting a sharp grounder to Mark Teixeira at first . Teixeira stepped on first and fired home to catcher Russell Martin to nail a sliding Montero at home plate for an inning-ending double play.

Pettitte left after recording one out in the seventh inning. He gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks and struck out two. It was encouraging enough to Pettitte and manager Joe Girardi.

“It felt like I never left,” Pettitte said. “It’s frustrating, and obviously I’m disappointed in getting the loss. The guys gave me a chance to get right back in the game and get me a run, then I go back out and give up a two-run homer. You can’t do that. I got a little careless with a few pitches, and it cost me.”

“I thought he was pretty good,” said Girardi. “You look at the first five innings, and he really only gave up the one hard-hit ball and got a ton of ground-ball outs. He used pretty much all his pitches. And they hit some balls hard in the sixth, but to get us into the seventh inning, that’s pretty good.”

With the loss the Yankees fell to 19-15. The Mariners are 16-20.



  • For those who believed Pettitte would embarrass himself on Sunday they owe the left-hander a big apology. Pettitte showed upper 80s velocity and good movement on his pitches throughout his outing. Strength and stamina were going to be issues for him and it showed in the sixth. But this was an encouraging first step and the Yankees just might have an exceptional starting rotation this season. That is bad news to their American League East rivals.
  • The Yankees got runners on base (six hits and six walks) and they should have scored a lot more runs. Give Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez for collecting two hits apiece. Swisher is hitting .275 and Chavez is hitting .316 in a limited bench role.
  • Martin and Robinson Cano deserve credit for having the patience to draw bases-loaded walks. Martin got his from Millwood in the fifth and Cano got his from Charlie Furbush in the eighth. Too bad that was all the damage the Yankees could muster for Pettitte.


  • With two on and one out in the third inning, Derek Jeter hit into a inning-ending double play.
  • With the bases loaded and one out after Martin had drawn his walk to bring the Yankees to within a run at 2-1, Jeter hit into another inning-ending double play.
  • With two on and one out in the eighth, Curtis Granderson struck out.
  • With the bases loaded and two out after Cano drew his walk to bring the Yankees to within 6-2, Teixeira struck out with the bases loaded.

Need I say more?


The Yankees open a short four-game road trip with a two-game series with the Baltimore Orioles on Monday.

Right-hander Ivan Nova (4-1, 5.02 ERA) will open the series for the Yankees. He is coming a two-run, seven inning victory over the Rays on Tuesday. He is 3-1 with a 3.96 ERA in his career against the Orioles.

The Orioles will start ailing right-hander Jason Hammel (4-1, 2.09 ERA), who is nursing a right knee injury. He was scratched from his start on Thursday and he hopes to be able to pitch on Monday. He is 1-3 with a 6.69 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.


Pettitte Returns To Stare Down M’s And History

In the long and celebrated history of the New York Yankees, there have been only three legendary left-handed pitchers who have come out their minor-league system to attain greatness: Whitey Ford in the 50’s, Ron Guidry in the 70’s and Andrew Eugene Pettitte in the 90’s.

And it is Pettitte, who will be making history again on Sunday when he puts on his pinstriped No. 46 after 573 days in retirement. Yankee Stadium is sold out, the Bronx and the Tri-State area is abuzz and his Yankee teammates can’t wait to see him peer over his glove in that iconic stare into Russell Martin’s glove at about 1:07 p.m. before his first major-league pitch since the 2010 playoffs.

This would all seem like an exercise in futility for a 39-year-old pitcher who had been out of the game this long. After all, it does not happen often and it does not always end up successfully when it does happen.

But something about this time. Something about this man. Something about Pettitte has always been special.

For one thing, Pettitte left baseball after recording an 11-3 mark with a 3.28 ERA in 21 starts in 2010, a season that was truncated by a groin injury that sidelined Pettitte for over a month. But Pettitte recovered from that injury and he pitched twice in the 2010 playoffs and was 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA in those games.

So it wasn’t like Andy left baseball with nothing left in the tank. In fact, Pettitte was running on some premium high-test when he decided being home with his family in Deer Park, TX, was more important to him than trying to get a 3-2 slider past Josh Hamilton.

When the competitive juices started flowing in Pettitte this winter and he got a chance to come to the Yankees’ spring training complex in Tampa, FL, the lure of the game was just to much for him to resist. Once the announcement was made that Pettitte was coming back to the Yankees no one really laughed. It was only cheers and smiles.

That is because everyone who knows Pettitte knows that the harshest critic in his life has always been himself. If Andy did not believe he could do it he would not have wasted his or the Yankees’ time by even trying to fool them he could still pitch when he couldn’t. But Andy can still pitch and we will find out just how well on Sunday.

In four minor-league starts, Pettitte was 0-2 with a 3.71 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 19 innings. But those are just numbers because Pettitte was not concerned with numbers. He was focused only on getting his arm and his legs in shape to pitch for the Yankees for the rest of the 2012 season.

So today Pettitte just takes one step of a long journey back. It will not end with a loss or a victory. It is just the beginning for him.

In the Mariners he is facing a roster almost completely made up of players who were in elementary school or in diapers when Pettitte broke into the majors in 1995. In the end, they will tell Pettitte just how much he has left in the game. It is, after all, the hitters who tell a pitcher when he it is time to hang up the cleats. Pettitte hopes that will not be for some time to come.

Yankee fans second that emotion.


Pettitte will face a familiar mound opponent on Sunday.

The Mariners are starting 37-year-old right-hander Kevin Millwood (0-4, 5.88 ERA). Millwood is coming off a game on Tuesday in which he gave up five runs on eight hits and five walks and struck out three in five innings in a loss to the Detroit Tigers. In the last 10 seasons, Millwood is 2-4 with a 4.74 ERA against the Yankees.

Of the Mariners on the roster, Pettitte has only faced Chone Figgins, Ichiro Suzuki and Michael Saunders because most of their players are so young. In the last 10 seasons, Pettitte is 7-8 with a 3.94 ERA against the M’s.

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


Starters Colon, Garcia Proving Cashman’s Plan B Working

When the Yankees failed to sign free-agent left-hander Cliff Lee, general manager Brian Cashman immediately launched a Plan B to fill holes in the starting rotation. The Yankees not only lost out on Lee, but veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte chose to retire. To fill in those two spots in the rotation behind CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes, Cashman signed 34-year-old Freddy Garcia and 37-year-old Bartolo Colon. In addition, the Yankees signed 36-year-old Kevin Millwood and 31-year-old Carlos Silva to minor-league contracts. Youth movement? Hardly. But let’s see how these moves are shaping up:


“Chief” as Garcia is called was part of a group of four pitchers vying for two spots in the Yankees’ rotation in spring training. In truth, he was the least impressive of the group of three after Sergio Mitre was traded in mid-March.
Yet, he was handed the No. 5 spot in the rotation on the basis of his 2010 season in which he was 12-6 with a 4.64 ERA in 28 starts with the White Sox. Garcia had won 12 or more games in seven of eight seasons between 1999 and 2006 before injuries limited him to 23 starts over the next three seasons. But his bounceback season in 2010 convinced Cashman to give him a chance to make the team this spring.
The early returns on the 2011 are promising. Garcia threw a two-hit shutout over six innings in his first start against a good-hitting Texas Rangers team on April 16. He walked two and struck out two and looked in command throughout.
This first effort does not prove that Garcia will continue to pitch this well throughout the season. But it does show that the right-hander still has some gas left in the tank and he could ride the Yankees’ offense to another season of 12 wins or more in 2011.

Colon, who won the American League Cy Young Award in 2005, was actually more impressive than Garcia in spring training. However, because he had not pitched in the major leagues in 2010 there were concerns about his durability.
After all, Colon is carrying at least 265 pounds on a 5-foot-11 frame and he had not made more than 18 starts in any season since 2005. He was 3-8 with a 4.19 ERA in 12 starts with the White Sox in 2009 and he was released.
The Yankees decided to sign him after his winter league manager, Yankee bench coach Tony Pena, recommended him on the basis of his ability to throw his fastball at 94 miles per hour and remarkable control.
As a result of his hot spring, the Yankees traded Mitre and placed Colon in the bullpen to begin the season. But when 24-year-old right-hander Phil Hughes faltered in his first three starts and showed reduced velocity, the Yankees opted to put Hughes on the disabled list and Colon was chosen to taken his spot in the rotation.
All Colon did in his first start was give up just two runs on five hits and two walks and he fanned seven in 6 2/3 innings against a very good hitting Toronto Blue Jays team. In 18 innings this season, Colon has walked five batters and struck out 20. That is a pretty impressive ratio for a Plan B pickup off the scrap heap.
Again, one start does not make a season. But Colon is showing that he is able to command the strike zone and get outs against tough teams. It is pretty obvious the Yankees need him, too.
KEVIN MILLWOOD (1-0, 0.00 ERA at Double-A Trenton)

Millwood was baseball’s biggest loser in 2010 and we are not talking about weight. For a very bad Baltimore Orioles team Millwood was 4-16 with a 5.10 ERA in 31 starts. That earned him a ticket to free agency this winter and there were no takers.
The Yankees were interested but Millwood insisted on a guaranteed deal to make the roster. The Yankees declined. With spring training coming to a close, Millwood relented and signed a minor-league deal with the Yankees contingent on him being released if he is not called up to the majors before May 1.
The clock is ticking and the Yankees have just nine days to make an assessment on Millwood. On the one hand, Millwood was very impressive in his first start for the Trenton Thunder. He went seven innings, gave up one hit, walked four and struck three.
There also is the fact that the Yankees have another 24-year-old starter who is struggling. In his first three starts, Ivan Nova was unimpressive and he lost a game in relief to the Blue Jays on Tuesday.
In four appearances, Nova is 1-2 with a 7.63 ERA and his latest start was skipped. Nova will likely get another start before a final decision is made. But the Yankees might call on yet another aging right-hander like Millwood to bail out a struggling 24-year-old kid in Nova.
Tick, tick, tick.

Silva has pitched for the Phillies, the Twins, the Mariners and the Cubs since 2002. He was 14-8 with a 4.21 ERA in his first season as a starter with the Twins in 2004. 
However, he has struggled since he was 9-8 with a 3.44 ERA in 27 starts in an injury-shortened 2005 campaign. After going 24-29 in two ill-fated seasons with the Twins, Silva signed with Seattle.
In 2008, he was 4-15 with a 6.46 ERA in 28 starts and after an injury-plagued 2009 season in which he was 1-3 with an 8.60 ERA, he moved on to the Cubs and picked up some helpful instruction from then-pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
Silva actually pitched well for the Cubs in 2010. He was 10-6 with a 4.22 ERA in 21 starts before a right elbow strain shelved him. Silva did not make the Cubs’ 2011 roster, he turned down a demotion to the minors and he was subsequently released.
But Rothschild thinks he still can pitch and the Yankees have offered him a mior-league contract. Currently, the Yankees have Silva pitching in extended spring training in Tampa with the hopes he can begin pitching in the minors soon in an effort to get back to the major leagues.
He is likely a month or even two away from promotion but the Yankees have nothing really to lose in giving him a shot.

It is obvious what the Yankees are doing with Garcia, Colon, Millwood and Silva. They no longer are Michelins but they are solid patched up tires who carry the Yankees further in the pennant chase in 2011.
Cashman knows that teams are not going to shed quality starters in April or May — not when every team believes it has a chance to compete. But teams do fall out of races. Those teams also will look to cut salary in the summer. That is what Cashman is counting on.
Cashman has played this game before. In 2005, the Yankees rotation was riddled with injury and Cashman was forced to fill spots in the summer. He called up a rookie by the name of Chien-Ming Wang. He traded for a veteran right-hander from Colorado in Shawn Chacon and he called up a journeyman right-hander named Aaron Small.
Those three pitchers combined to go 25-8 in 38 starts and the Yankees ended up winning the division title. Small was 10-0 with a 3.20 ERA. So sometimes bargain-basement hunting for pitching has a silver lining.
The Yankees are also bidding for time for their young pitchers. They would love for Hughes and Nova to claim spots in the rotation and hold them. But if they can’t the team can’t just fold up their tents and write off t
he 2011 season either.
They have very high hopes for a trio of pitchers in the minors: 25-year-old right-hander Andrew Brackman, 23-year-old right-hander Dellin Betances and 20-year-old phenom lefty Manny Banuelos. Rather than rush those guys to the majors, the Yankees are going to let them develop at their own pace.
Brackman possibly could be promoted this season but the Yankees would rather he build his arm — three years removed from Tommy John surgery — at the minor-league level.
There is a good chance that Banuelos might get promoted to the major-league club in September as a additional lefty in the bullpen. The Yankees believe using him much like they did with Joba Chamberlain in 2007 could be beneficial to him and not tax his arm unduly.
But, until Cashman makes a deal to acquire a quality starter, the Yankees will look to their geriatric quartet of Garcia, Colon, Millwood and Silva to carry them until the cavalry arrives.
These pitchers may be closer to drawing Social Security than votes for the Cy Young Award but they can help keep the Yankees afloat long enough for the team to stay in the race. Cashman, manager Joe Girardi and Rothschild do not have any other expectations of them than that. Anything above that is a bonus.

Yankees Trade Mitre To Brewers, Sign Veteran Millwood

TAMPA — The Yankees made two moves today regarding their 2011 rotation. One was a addition and one was a subtraction.
The Yankees reached a deal with Milwaukee to send right-hander Sergio Mitre to the Brewers in return for outfielder Chris Dickerson. 
Mitre, 30, was a candidate to be a No. 5 starter this spring but did not look good in his last outing against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. Mitre is 13-29 with a 5.27 ERA in his career and was 0-3 with the Yankees in 2010.
Dickerson , 28, was acquired by the Brwers from the Reds on Aug. 9 last season in trade for Jim Edmonds. He hit .208 with five RBIs in 25 games with the Brewers. Dickerson is similar to Greg Golson in that he is able to play good defense and run.
In the second move, the Yankees signed veteran right-hander Kevin Millwood to a minor-league contract. Millwood was 4-16 with a 5.10 ERA last season with the Orioles.
He gives the Yankees an insurance policy behind 34-year-old Freddy Garcia and 37-year-old Bartolo Colon, who are both competing with 24-year-old Ivan Nova for two open rotation spots. Millwood, 36, will likely have to get in shape at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before being considered for promotion to the Yankees.
The loss of Mitre raises the possibility that the Yankees could either use Nova or Garcia out of the bullpen as a long reliever to start the season. Nova has seemed to have earned the No. 4 spot but the Yankees might just hand a rotation spot to Garcia, though his ERA is 5.93 this spring.
The Yankees seem to favor veterans over rookies and they may see Nova as a potential starter if Colon or Garcia stumble.
The final decision has not been made, but the regular season begins in one week.

Down To Last Strike, A-Rod Victimizes O’s’ Uehara Again

GAME 147

Before the first pitch was delivered at Camden Yards on Friday night, Baltimore Orioles broadcaster Jim Palmer said on MASN that it was a good thing for Orioles closer Koji Uehara that Nick Swisher was not in the lineup.
The bad news for Uehara and the Orioles was that Alex Rodriguez was in the lineup and he hit a three-run home run into the left-field bleachers that rescued the Yankees from a 3-1 ninth-inning deficit with the New York Yankees a strike away from defeat.
The miraculous and dramatic home run, Rodriguez’s second of the night and the his 24th of the season, was the second consecutive game between the two teams that Uehara had blown a save by giving up a home run in the ninth inning.
On Sept. 8 at Yankee Stadium, Swisher blasted a two-run walk-off home run off Uehara (1-2) with one out in the ninth inning. Uehara has nine saves in 11 chances this season and both blown saves have come against the Yankees. Uehara’s two losses this season also come courtesy of the Yankees.
The victory was fortuitous for the Yankees because the Tampa Bay Rays dropped a 4-3 decision to the Los Angeles Angels and it allowed the Yankees to reclaim first place in the American League East.
With the Twins’ 3-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics, the Yankees also have reclaimed the best record in baseball at 89-58.
David Robertson (4-4), who pitched a perfect eighth inning in relief of starter A.J. Burnett, was credited with the victory. Mariano Rivera pitched a similarly perfect ninth inning to notch the 557th save his career and his 31st of the season in 34 chances.
Before the ninth inning, the Yankees’ only dent in the scoreboard came from Rodriguez, who led off the second inning with a towering blast to left-field off Orioles starter Kevin Millwood that gave the Yankees a short-lived 1-0 lead.
Millwood got stingy after that, holding the Yankees to the one run on five hits and four walks in seven innings.
But when Uehara took the mound, the Yankees finally got busy. Jorge Posada battled Uehara in an epic 11-pitch at-bat that resulted in a lined single to left-center. After Derek Jeter struck out, Curtis Granderson singled to right-field.
Mark Teixeira then popped up to third baseman Robert Andino to set the stage for Rodriguez’s two-out heroics.
The Yankees now lead the major leagues in come-from-behind victories this season with 46. This one, due to A-Rod, may have been one of their best.

  • Despite the fact that he was victimized by a hit batter that scored the Orioles’ first run and a pair of solo home runs by Adam Jones and Andino, Burnett actually pitched a very creditable game. Over seven innings, Burnett gave up three runs on six hits and a walk and he struck out five.
  • Rodriguez was 2-for-5 with two home runs and he drove in all of the Yankees’ four runs. That gives Rodriguez 25 home runs and 111 RBIs this season. If Rodriguez hits five more home runs, it will mark the 14th straight season in which he has produced at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs.
  • Robinson Cano and Lance Berkman combined for four hits and walk but they did not get much support from the bottom of the order behind them. The bottom of the order was 1-for-8 before Posada entered the game in the seventh inning and walked. Cano is hitting .481 against the Orioles at Camden Yards this season.

  • Burnett still needs work on his command and he really needs to try harder to keep base-runners a little more honest. Burnett hit weak-hitting Cesar Izturis on an 0-2 pitch to start the third inning. Izturis promptly stole second, advanced to third on a Brian Roberts’ groundout and scored on Nick Markakis sacrifice fly. Burnett also hit Jones on an 0-2 pitch in the seventh inning but he was erased on a double play.
  • Who is the Yankees’ worst batter to have up with the bases loaded this season? The answer is Jeter. He has only one hit all season with the bases loaded. In the second inning, Jeter lined out hard — but it still was an out — with the bases loaded in the second inning.
  • The Yankees also had a great opportunity to score in the seventh and eighth innings with two runners on. However, Teixeira struck out to end the seventh and Swisher, who was pinch-hitting, and Brett Gardner bounced out to end that threat.

Swisher is still have lingering issues associated with his bruised left knee and he missed his fifth straight start on Friday night. He did pinch-hit in the eighth inning and grounded out to first b
ase. Manager Joe Girardi said Swisher still is not running well but that the veteran outfielder is closer to returning.  . . . Burnett pitched on Friday night with a black right eye and both he and Girardi refused to discuss it with the media after the game. “The story is, he putched well tonight,” Girardi said.  . . .  Orioles manager Buck Showalter was not happy that Ted Barrett did not call an inside 1-2 pitch on Alex Rodriguez a strike, which would have ended the game. Barrett called it a ball as the Orioles’ players in the dugout were jumping up thinking the game was over. Showalter told reporters that the pitch was closer to being a strike than a strike Barrett called on Matt Wieters in the bottom of the inning. Well, let me clue Mr. Showalter in on the truth about strike one that Barrett called on Rodriguez. It was high and inside and the pitch tracker on MASN indicated it was more than six inches inside. So, if Mr, Showalter wants the 1-2 pitch as a strike, the Yankees would like the 0-1 pitch to be called a ball. In that case, it still would be 2-2 on Rodriguez and Rodriguez hits his game-winning home run. Nice try, Buck!

The Yankees go into the second game of their three-game set with the Orioles walking on air after snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat on their last strike on Friday.
They also have CC Sabathia (9-6, 3.03 ERA) on the mound going for the first 20-victory season in his career. Sabathia pitched eight shutout innings against the Rays on Monday night but he did not get his 20th win because David Price matched him zero for zero. But Sabathia has a good chance on Saturday because he is 13-2 with a 2.81 ERA against the Orioles in his career.
His opponent will be right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (10-13, 3.74 ERA). Guthrie is 7-3 with a 2.38 ERA in his last 10 starts. He tossed seven shutout innings against the Tigers last Friday. However, he is 3-8 with a 5.20 ERA against the Yankees in his career.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

Swisher , Granderson Lead 12-Run Assault On  Orioles


It was like shooting Orioles in a barrel.

Nick Swisher homered and drove in five runs and Curtis Granderson drove in four with a “grander” slam as Phil Hughes coasted to his eighth victory in nine decisions.

When the Camden Yards diamond clay settled the New York Yankees had collected their ninth straight victory over the Baltimore Orioles with a 12-7 beating on Tuesday night that was not really as close as the score indicated.

Hughes (8-1) gave up three runs on nine hits and struck out four in six innings to tie with Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox and David Price of the Rays for the American League lead in wins. Hard-luck right-hander Kevin Millwood (0-7) took the loss. He gave up six runs on 10 hits and five walks in 5 2/3 innings to remain winless in 13 starts this season.

With the victory the Yankees increased their season record to 36-22 and they remain two games behind the first-place Tampa Bay Rays in the A.L. East. The Orioles are now 16-42 and they are already 22 games out in the basement of the division.


  • Swisher homered before many in the crowd of 23,171 had found their seats. He followed a Derek Jeter walk in the first inning with a two-run home run to straightaway center-field on the first pitch he saw from Millwood. Swisher later added a bases-clearing three-run double off Matt Albers in the seventh inning that made the score 10-3. Against the Orioles this season, Swisher is hitting .405 with two home runs and 12 RBIs. He is hitting .450 at Camden Yards.
  • Granderson’s grand slam off Millwood in the third inning was the second of his career. His first since April 4, 2007 when he was playing for Detroit. Granderson has four home runs on the season — two against the Boston Red Sox and two against the Orioles.
  • Coming back to his home certainly seemed to help Mark Teixeira. The struggling first baseman was on base in all of his first five at-bats. He singled twice, w
    alked twice and blasted a majestic two-run home run to right-center off Albers that made the score 12-3. Teixeira came into the game with only three hits this month and ended up with three hits on the night.
  • Robinson Cano was 3-for-4 with three singles, a walk and two runs scored in the game. He reclaimed the lead in the batting race from Justin Morneau of the Twins. Cano is batting .370 and Morneau is at .362. 

  • If you are wondering why the Yankees had a 12-3 lead and won the game by the score of 12-7, don’t look any further than Chad Gaudin. Gaudin gave up four runs on five hits and a walk in the last two innings of work. His ERA in spring training was a plus 8, which led to his release. His ERA with the Oakland A’s was plus 8, which led to his release. After this performance, Gaudin looks to be headed for his third DFA (Designated For Assignment) of 2010. The Yankees had Mariano Rivera warming up in the ninth despite the fact Gaudin had a seven-run lead gong into the inning.
  • Alex Rodriguez was 0-for-5 in the game with one strikeout and he managed to get only one ball out of the infield. Rodriguez, who left Sunday’s game in Toronto with a slight strain in his right groin, was taken out of the game in the eighth inning as a precaution.
  • The Yankees likely could have scored a lot more runs if they did not shoot themselves in the foot with runners on base. With two on and one out in the first, Jorge Posada struck out and Granderson fouled out. In the sixth inning, Brett Gardner, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, slipped at second base on a Jeter single and was thrown out by O’s right-fielder Nick Markakis trying to make third. The Yankees loaded the bases later that inning but Rodriguez bounced out to third baseman Miguel Tejada.

Brett Gardner was removed from Tuesday’s game with soreness in his left thumb. Gardner said he felt a twinge on a check-swing against Millwood in the sixth inning and felt it again while batting in the seventh inning. Gardner said he felt the same twinges off and on since he broke the thumb last July. Gardner was replaced by pinch-hitter Marcus Thames in the eighth inning. Manager Joe Girardi said he does not think the injury is serious and he took Gardner out as a precaution.  . . . Jorge Posada began catching drills on Tuesday in hopes of being able to return behind the plate soon. The Yankees do not have a timetable for Posada to return to catching.  . . .  In the last post, the odd strike zone of Bruce Dreckman on Sunday was discussed. Well, Tuesday’s home-plate umpire D.J. Reyburn actually may have been worse. Throughout the game both Yankees and Orioles batters were dismayed by balls clearly out the strike zone being called strikes. Then Hughes and Millwood were mystified when pitches in the same place would later be called balls. Jim Palmer, who was working the game as an analyst for the Orioles TV network, MASN, said Reyburn’s strike zone appeared to be 24 inches wide. He even laughed when Teixeira was called out on strikes in the ninth inning on a pitch a foot over in the left-hand batters box. You know you are bad at calling balls and strikes when both teams have no idea what is a strike or ball in a given inning or at-bat. The only other claim to fame for Reyburn, who is a vacation replacement umpire, is that he was the umpire Jose Offerman punched in a game in January in the Dominican Republic. After seeing Reyburn’s work, I now understand what caused Offereman to explode.

The Yankees will continue their three-game series at what can be called “Yankee Stadium South” on Wednesday.
CC Sabathia (5-3, 4.14 ERA) will try to continue his dominance of the Orioles. Sabathia gave up three runs on just three hits in seven innings last week against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium. He still is having trouble with yielding the long ball, giving up a solo home run to Adam Jones and two-run shot by Luke Scott. But Sabathis has already had three starts against the Orioles and won all three In his career he is 12-1 against the O’s.
The Orioles will counter with young right-hander Chris Tillman (0-1, 7.71 ERA). Tillman has only made two starts since being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk. In his last start he gave up four runs on five hits and only 1 1/3 innings against the Boston Red Sox. He had one start against the Yankees in 2009 in which he gave up four runs on nine hits and fanned a career-high eight batters over five innings.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.