Results tagged ‘ Randy Choate ’

Hughes, Yankees Catch Rays With Their Shields Down

GAME 151
YANKEES 8, RAYS 3

The Tampa Bay Rays’ nickname for starting pitcher James Shields is “Big Game.” It refers to their perception that he seems to step up in the crucial contests and pitch well.
Well, on Tuesday night the New York Yankees turned “Big Game” Shields into “The Hunted” and put up five runs on the right-hander in the first inning. From there Yankees starter Phil Hughes and the New Yorkers cruised to another victory over the Rays.
Hughes (17-8) entered the game as the top run-supported pitcher in baseball at 7.72 runs per game and the Yankees made sure he had plenty of runs to work with to vanquish Tampa Bay. They forced Shields (13-13) to pitch to nine batters and throw 42 pitches in scoring five runs before the some fans had even bought their first hotdog. 
Nick Swisher ignited the onslaught with a solo home run to right-center, his 27th home run of the season. 
A walk to Teixeira and an Alex Rodriguez single set up Jorge Posada’s two-out RBI single to center to score Teixeira. Lance Berkman followed with a line-drive double to center-field to score Rodriguez and Posada.
Last night’s hero with five RBIs, Curtis Granderson, kept his hot streak going with a single to center to plate Berkman and Shields was only left to ponder a more fitting nickname of “Big Deficit”
Hughes was nicked by a solo home run by Matt Joyce in the second inning, a two-out RBI single by Evan Longoria in the third and a two-out RBI single by Carl Crawford in the seventh, which came off Javier Vazquez after Hughes left the game with Jason Bartlett on second.
But, otherwise Hughes managed to keep the Rays from doing any big damage to get back into the game. Hughes gave up three runs on only four hits but he did walk five and fanned six over 6 1/3 innings.
But the Rays mostly did damage to themselves by stranding 10 base-runners in the game. They loaded the bases with two out in the fourth inning and Ben Zobrist grounded out to Teixeira at first to end the threat.
They also loaded the bases on Vazquez and Joba Chamberlain with one out in the eighth inning and the tying run at the plate. However, Chamberlain struck out pinch-hitter Brad Hawpe swinging on a 3-2 slider and John Jaso lined out to Granderson in center.
Chamberlain earned his third save of the season in a night where the offense allowed manager Joe Girardi to rest both Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera.
The big blow in the game for the Yankees actually came with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning with Teixeira on third and Rodriguez at first. Rays manager Joe Maddon, who double-checked this time to make sure he was warming up, brought in side-winding lefty Randy Choate to face Robinson Cano.
Choate made Cano look silly on a swing at a slider that ran a foot out of the strike zone and he was up in the count 1-2. However, Cano somehow connected with another slider and looped it into left-field.
Crawford only had one play to make and dove for the ball headlong but it dropped and rolled past him. Teixeira scored easily and Rodriguez scored all the way from first to put the game away.
Drek Jeter added a run in the eighth by following a two-out double by Brett Gardner with a double of his own to score Gardner.
The victory is important to the Yankees for many reasons. Most important, the Yankees assured that the Rays will leave Yankee Stadium on Thursday night without the lead in the American League East. 
With the loss by the Boston Red Sox to Baltimore on Tuesday, the Yankees also reduced their postseason Magic Number to just three.
The Yankees also have a shot to sweep the series, which would mean by virtue of winning the season series with the Rays, the Yankees would win the division title if both teams end up tied after 162 games.
That would give the Yankees home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
They also pushed their major-league-best record to 92-59 and they lead the Rays by a more comfortable 2 1/2 games. 
It any event, it left “Big Game” Shields to ponder his even bigger disappointment.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Hughes was not as sharp as he was last week at Tropicana Field because he had no command of his curve. But he dusted off his change-up and the Rays helped him out by making outs with runners on base. By battling into the seventh inning, Hughes earned his 17th victory.
  • It was nice to see Berkman get into the act in the first inning with his two-run double. Since coming off the disabled list on Sept. 1, Berkman is hitting .360.
  • Jeter extended his hitting streak to 10 games and he is 14-for-45 (.311) during that stretch. Though Jeter likely will end up with the worst batting average of his career, it is good to see he is rounding back into form before the playoffs begin.
  • The Rays have no clue when it comes to getting Cano out. For the season, Cano is hitting .393 against them with four home runs and 14 RBIs. Using lefties against him does not seem to help much. He is hitting .383 against Rays left-handers. His two RBIs give him 104 on the season, which is second on the team to Rodriguez, who has 112.
NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Vazquez was pressed into relief duty due to the unavailability of David Robertson, Wood and Rivera. He had not pitched since Sept. 10 and it showed. He faced only six batters and he gave up three hits. There is a remote possibility that Vazquez might not even make the playoff roster.
  • Teixeira was 0-for-3, which continues his slide since he broke his right little toe on Aug. 31. However, to be fair to Tex, he did draw a walk and reach on fielder’ choice and score two runs. He also narrowly missed a home run to right-field off Shields.
  • Rodriguez was 2-for-4 and scored two runs but his pitch selection on the night was not so good. Rodriguez swung at four pitches from Shields that were at his ankles. I know it is good to be aggressive but taking a Vladimir Guerrero approach is not going to work for A-Rod. Rodriguez is more effective when he is more selective and works the count in his favor.
MORE ON THE BUFFOON

Kevin “The Buffoon” Kennedy was back at it again on Tuesday night. First, of all, he will not let go of Jeter’s acting job to reach first base on a hit by pitch last week in St. Petersburg. He has brought it up Rays telecast the past two nights.
Tonight, he was back at it again because he claimed Jorge Posada faked getting hit by a Shields pitch in the third inning. I watched the replay several times and I could not tell either way. In that case, I defer to the umpire’s judgment.
Not Kennedy.
He cries like the same saddled-shoe wearing, pom-pom waving Rays’ fan he always is in the booth. Fortunately, the Yankees did not score that inning. That makes Posada’s so-called “acting” a moot point to me.
Not Kennedy.
He wants replay and challenges to be used in baseball. Of course, the first time it is used to cost the Rays a victory he likely will do an about-face on the subject or say the camera angle was not conclusive, etc.
He is always a through-and-through homer and the having to listen to his mindless drivel for two nights has literally made me want to vomit. 
I only have one thing to say to him: Kevin, the Rays won the game last week so the Jeter play did not hurt your team. Move on. Get a life. There is still so many umpire strike zones to bitch about and you can cry about so many other more important things for those poor little Rays from Cowtown, USA.
ON DECK

Yankee fans were very worried about the Yankees as they began their four-game series with the Rays. Now they feel better after two wins by a combined score of 16-9. They go for the series clincher on Wednesday.
On the mound will be right-hander A.J. Burnett (10-13, 5.08 ERA). Burnett held the Orioles to three runs on six hits in seven innings on Friday, but he ended up with a no-decision. Burnett has actually pitched better than his September ERA of 4.50 may indicate. He is 12-6 with a 3.16 ERA lifetime against the Rays.
The Rays will counter with right-hander Wade Davis (12-9, 4.19 ERA). Davis yielded two earned runs on six hits in seven innings against the Angels on Friday. But he was saddled with a no-decision. He is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA against the Yankees this season.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by ESPN and locally by the YES Network.

Yanks Honor Steinbrenner, Sheppard With Walk-Off Win

GAME 89
YANKEES 5, RAYS 4

The New York Yankees paid tribute to their longtme public address announcer Bob Sheppard and their iconic owner of 37 years George Steinbrenner on Friday night.
The somber Yankee Stadium ceremony with roses, videos and speeches then gave way to a game that echoed a game played 31 years ago after Thurman Munson had died.
The Yankees, who never led the game until the end, received a game-tying solo home run from Nick Swisher in the eighth inning. Then Swisher won the game in walk-off fashion in the ninth inning with a single to right to score Curtis Granderson from second as the Yankees honored two legendary greats with a 5-4 victory over the second-place Tampa Bay Rays.
Much like Friday, the game on Aug. 6, 1979 against the Baltimore Orioles the score ended up 5-4 on a two-run single by Bobby Murcer, who also homered earlier in that game.
Swisher, like his other Yankee teammates, stepped to the plate with two out and two on in the ninth inning sporting a simple GMS patch for Steinbrenner over the interlocking NY over his heart and a microphone patch on his left sleeve to honor Bob Sheppard. 
Granderson had led off the ninth with a single to right off Rays reliever Randy Choate and he advanced to second on pinch-hitter Ramiro Pena’s sacrifice bunt. Choate walked Brett Gardner and Rays manager replaced Choate with Dan Wheeler.
Wheeler struck out Derek Jeter and Maddon then replaced Wheeler with right-hander Lance Cormier. Swisher worked the count to 2-1 before lacing a single to right. Right-fielder Gabe Kapler’s throw home actually beat Granderson but the ball skipped past catcher Kelly Shoppach and Granderson slid into home with the winning run, much to the delight of the 47,524 fans in attendance.
Mariano Rivera (3-1) pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up the win.
The victory extended the Yankees’ lead on the Rays to three games in the American League East. The Red Sox, by virtue of their second straight loss to the Texas Rangers, fell 6 1/2 games back.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Swisher’s night was magical. He singled to drive in the Yankees’ first run in the third inning. His 16th home run of the season in the eighth inning off Joaquin Benoit tied the game 4-4 and then his game-winner capped off a 3-for-5 night with three RBIs. Swisher raised his average to .303 on the season.
  • Robinson Cano brought the Yankees to within one run in the sixth inning with a solo home run off Rays starter James Shields for his 17th home run of the season. 
  • Jorge Posada followed Cano with a solo shot of his own to tie the score at 3-3. It was the 10th home run of the season for Posada and his first since June 16 against the Philadelphia Phillies.
  • David Robertson started his second half off with a bang. He came on in the eighth inning and faced three batters and struck out all three. Robertson entered the second half with a 5.46 ERA but he has had 19 scoreless outings in his last 22 appearances dating back to May 7 when his ERA was 13.50.
THE NEGATIVES

  • This was not a good night for CC Sabathia. Struggling most of the night with command of his fastball, Sabathia gave up eights hits and four walks in seven innings. But he did limit the damage to four runs (three earned) and the Rays scored only two runs off Sabathia when they loaded the bases with no outs in both the fifth and seventh innings.
  • It was an emotional night for Jeter, who delivered a moving speech about Sheppard and Steinbrenner before the game. It showed at the plate, too. Jeter was 0-for-5 and his slump in July continues. He is hitting .178 for the month and his season average fell to .270. That is the lowest his average has been since May 22.
  • Swisher had a great night at the plate but in the field it was not so stellar. He overran and then dropped a fly ball off the bat of Kelly Shoppach for a two-base error to begin the sixth inning.  He also threw a ball badly off-line attempting to nail B.J. Upton taking third on a single by Carl Crawford in the seventh inning.
DIAMOND NOTES

The Yankees recalled first baseman/DH Juan Miranda from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday and optioned infielder Kevin Russo back to Scranton. Miranda was the DH in Friday’s game and was 0-for-3.  This is Miranda’s second promotion to the club. In18 games, Miranda hit .217 with two home runs and seven RBIs. Russo hit .188 with four RBIs in 29 games with the Yankees.  
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will have another emotional day on Saturday as they conduct their annual Old-Timers Day at the stadium.
They will go for the series win of the three-game weekend series with A.J. Burnett (7-7, 4.75 E
RA) on the mound. Burnett is coming off two starts in which he is 1-0 with a 1.32 ERA after suffering through a winless June. In his only start against the Rays this season he lost on May 19, giving up six runs in 6 2/3 innings. In his career against the Rays Burnett is 12-5 with a 2.98 ERA.
Burnett will be opposed by fellow right-hander Jeff Niemann (7-2, 2.77 ERA). Niemann is 1-0 with a 3.06 ERA in his last three starts. He is 1-0 with a 2.93 ERA against the Yankees. He has not faced the Yankees this season.
Game-time will be 4:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports.

Yankees Wait For Rays To Lower Their Shields


GAME 6
YANKEES 7, RAYS 3

The Yankees played their version of “rope-a-dope” to get the pitch count up on Rays’ ace James Shields and it worked to perfection.
Jorge Posada blasted a two-run home run with one out in the sixth inning off reliever Randy Choate, who had just entered the game after Shields had thrown 103 pitches, as the New York Yankees took a 3-2 lead and went on to thump the Rays 7-3 on Sunday.
A.J. Burnett (1-0) pitched more economically than Shields and he lasted seven innings to pick up his first victory of the season. Choate (0-1) took the loss.
With the victory, the Yankees won the series and ran their record to 4-2. The Rays fell to 3-3.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Burnett showed Shields the value of keeping the pitch count down. He threw 92 pitches and gave up only two runs on six hits and three walks in seven innings. Shields had a 2-1 lead but had to be removed with one on and one out in the sixth inning after throwing 103 pitches.
  • Once again, the Yankees feasted on a largely deficient Rays’ bullpen. Choate, Lance Cormier and Andy Sonnanstine pitched 3 2/3 innings and served up five runs on five hits and one walk. 
  • Alex Rodriguez contributed to the attack with two doubles and two RBIs.
  • Curtis Granderson had a very good all-around game, He was 2-for-4 with an RBI single in the second to score Rodriguez with the Yankees first run. He also singled off the left-hander Choate, stole second, move to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch from Cormier to make it 4-2. Granderson also made a fine sliding catch on a sinking liner in the fifth by Dioner Navarro and doubled off Pat Burrell at first base.
  • Nick Swisher connected on his second home run of the season in the eighth inning off Sonnanstine.
  • Mark Teixeira may have struck out all three times he faced Shields but he made the veteran right-hander pay for it. Teixeira forced Shields to throw 18 pitches in his three at-bats.
THE NEGATIVES

  • After Teixeira broke out of his 0-for-17 slide on Saturday he was 0-for-4, with a walk and a run scored. Of his three strikeouts, two times he was caught looking.
  • Brett Gardner was 0-for-4 and he failed to get a ball out of the infield.
  • Burnett got off to a rocky start by allowing a Jason Bartlett single, a stolen base, an RBI single by Carl Crawford, a stolen base, a walk and an RBI groundout to Carlos Pena. But after that Burnett gave up only four hits and two walks over the next six innings.
  • Joba Chamberlain relieved Burnett in the seventh and immediately made things a bit too interesting for the Rays by giving up a single, an RB
    I triple and a walk. But he got out of the inning by getting B.J Upton to fly out to left with two runners on and the Yankees held their 7-3 lead.
  • Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth in a non-save situation and gave up a leadoff single and later walked the No. 9 hitter Sean Rodriguez. But he benefitted from a doube play and struck out Jason Bartlett to end the game.
  • In defense of Chamberlain and Rivera, not many pitchers in the bullpen have been getting much work because the Yankees had two off-days last week and CC Sabathia pitched into the eighth inning and Burnett threw seven on Sunday. It is hard to stay sharp when you are not getting regular work.
DIAMOND NOTES

If there was any doubt that Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg is the worst baseball facility in existence, the bottom of the sixth inning proved it. With one on and two out, Evan Longoria hit a harmless pop-up straight up behind home plate, it struck the “B Level” catwalk and landed in fair territory. By ground rule, Longoria was awarded a single. Burnett, a bit unnerved by the call, walked Pena to load the bases. But he escaped without giving up a run when B.J. Upton popped up to Teixeira without hitting any catwalks to end the threat.  . . .  Second base umpire James Hoye blew a call in the seventh inning when Curtis Granderson appeared to have caught Dioner Navarro’s fly ball on a diving catch. Hoye ruled Granderson trapped it but replays showed the ball hit in Granderson’s glove pocket and never touched the ground. No harm though. Burnett ended the inning by getting Rodriguez to bounce into a double play.  . . .   The Yankees completed their spring training schedule and first road trip of the season. They will fly back tonight to New York, the first time they have been in the city as a team since they won the World Series and their parade.  . . .  The Yankees will host a charity Welcome Home Luncheon tomorrow at noon.  . . .  The team will also have a huge Opening Day celebration planned for Tuesday. The Yankees will receive their World Series rings before the game.
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will celebrate their 2010 world championship by receiving their World Series on Tuesday before the game. They will receive them in front of the team they beat to advance to the World Series: the Los Angeles Angels. Hideki Matsui, who was the World Series MVP for the Yankees, will receive his ring in an Angels’ uniform. 
Andy Pettitte (0-0), who pitched the clinching Game 6 of the World Series, appropriately will get the start for the Yankees. He will be opposed by Angels right-hander Ervin Santana (0-1).
Game-time is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast locally by the YES Network and nationally by the MLB Network.

CC Flirts With No-No As Yankees Sting Rays 10-0

GAME 5
YANKEES 10, RAYS 0

CC Sabathia’s date with no-hit destiny will have to wait for another day, but the big left-hander threw a masterpiece on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays just the same.
Sabathia pitched 7 2/3 innings of no-hit baseball and settled for a combined two-hit shutout with David Robertson while the New York Yankees’ hitters were carving up the Rays for a 10-0 victory at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL.
Robinson Cano led the air assault on the Rays with a two-run home run to ignite the scoring in the fourth and an RBI single in the ninth for three RBIs.
Sabathia (1-0) earned his first victory of the season. Rookie right-hander Wade Davis (0-1) took the loss in his first start of the season.
Both teams are now 3-2 on the young season.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Sabathia was lights out. He faced 26 batters, retired the first 12, walked only two, struck out five and allowed only four balls to reach the outfield. He was four outs away from his first career no-hitter when Kelly Shoppach lined a 0-1 fastball into left field for a single. Manager Joe Girardi removed him from the game at that point.
  • The defense behind Sabathia was scintillating. Sabathia himself stopped a hot grounder off the bat of Carl Crawford in the fourth inning. In addition there was: (1) Mark Teixeira’s full-out leaping dive to his right to catch Jason Bartlett’s soft liner to end the sixth, (2) Alex Rodriguez’s diving grab to his right and throw to first to nip a speedy B.J. Upton to end the seventh and (3) Robinson Cano’s all-out charge to grab a grounder Sabathia had tipped with his left hand and his rocket throw to retire Willie Aybar to begin the eighth.
  • Cano’s 2-for-5 afternoon raised his batting average to .381 on the season. If there are any doubters about moving him to the No.5 spot in the batting order, chew on this: He also leads the team in RBIs with six.
  • There has been a Mark Teixeira sighting. Teixeira woke up after extending his season hitless streak to 0-for-17, a career worst. He walked in the fourth, he hit a RBI double in the fifth, he singled in the eighth and added a bizarre single in the ninth. More about the bizarre single later in The Negatives.
  • Brett Gardner ran amok most of the day at the plate. He was 2-for-4, walked, singled twice, scored twice, drove in two runs and stole a base. After a terrible spring, Gardner is now hitting .385 on the season.
  • Francisco Cervelli played in his first game of the season and nearly called a no-hitter. So that, in and of itself, is excellent. But Cervelli also blasted a key two-run double in the eighth inning that made the score 8-0.
THE NEGATIVES

  • There weren’t many things to criticize but there were a few bad base-running problems in this game: (1) Rodriguez was cut down easily trying to steal in the second inning, (2) Curtis Granderson did not slide at home in the sixth inning and was tossed out at the plate by Crawford and (3) Nick Johnson inexplicably stopped at second on a ball off the wall hit by Teixeira in the ninth. Teixeira was left hung out to dry and was tagged out in a rundown between second and first.
  • Gardner started to dive to catch Shoppach’s sinking liner in the eighth and backed off. Come on, Brett! I am only teasing. On an indoor hard-surface turf field there was no reason for Gardner to injure himself to preserve the no-hitter.
  • Derek Jeter hit into a inning-ending double play with two on and one out in the third. At that point Davis had pitched to one batter over the minimum and struck out three. Davis was making the Yankee hitters look bad up to that point.
  • Robertson came close to spoiling the shutout by entering the game in the eighth with Shoppach at first when he balked him to second. He retired Gabe Kapler to end the inning. Robertson also gave up a double with two outs in the ninth to Ben Zobrist but he got pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro to bounce out to third to end the game.
DIAMOND NOTES

Kelly Shoppach’s hit on Sabathia’s 111th pitch actually saved manager Joe Girardi some criticism. Girardi revealed after the game that he was taking Sabathia out after eight innings whether he had the no-hitter or not. Girardi said he had reached his pitch limit.  . . .  The last no-hitter in Yankee history was David Cone’s perfect game on July 18, 1999. Girardi was the catcher in that game.  . . .  The last major-league no-hitter was Mark Buerhle’s perfect game on July 23, 2009. The opponent that dat was the Tampa Bay Rays.  . . .  Though the 29,892 in attendance harbored a huge contingent of Yankee fans, if you listen carefully to the soundtrack of the ovation Sabathia received as he left the mound in the eighth, you can actually hear a lot of boos from Rays fans. This shows that the cowbell-ringing brethren represent one of the least mature and enlightened baseball crowds you ever will experience at a game. These are the fans who come more to boo the Yankees than to cheer for the Rays. . . .  Rodriguez’s single in the second inning was his 1,000th hit as a Yankee. He is the 39th player in team history to reach that plateau.  . . .  If the Rays hope to compete in the AL East they better do something about their bullpen. Former Yankee left Randy Choate and Mike Ekstrom combined to pitch 1 2/3 innings of relief and gave up six runs on seven hits and four walks. That is a combined ERA of 32.39. Ouch!
THE NEXT GAME

Now that the Yankees have handed the upstart Rays a bitter dose of Yankee reality on Saturday, the 2010 World Champions will go for the series win on Sunday. Right-hander A.J. Burnett will pitch for the Yankees. He will be opposed by Rays’ ace James Shields. 
Last season, Burnett was 4-0 with 1.97 ERA against the Rays. Shields is 1-7 with a 6.00 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
Game-time is 1:40 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast locally on the YES Network and nationally by TBS.
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