Results tagged ‘ Stephen Vogt ’

Tanaka Notches 9th Win As Yankees End Skid



The last time the Yankees won a game, Masahiro Tanaka pitched eight innings to defeat the Minnesota Twins 3-1 on May 31 on his way to being named May’s American League Pitcher of the Month. So on Thursday all Tanaka did was pitch six gutty innings to defeat Oakland to begin June.

Tanaka weathered a home run from the second batter he faced, John Jaso, in yielding five hits and one walk while striking out four as New York ended its four-game skid to edge Oakland in front of a paid crowd of  44,346 at Yankee Stadium.

The A’s deliberately tried to press Tanaka (9-1) in the fourth and fifth innings after they could manage just Jaso’s homer off the right-hander. They decided to take pitches until they got to two strikes and shortened their swings on two strikes to foul off tough pitches.

Tanaka was forced to throw 26 pitches in both the fourth and fifth innings. The A’s did manage to post a pair of two-out singles in the fourth by Brandon Moss and Yoenis Cespedes before Jed Lowrie struck out on nine pitches. In the fifth Tanaka yielded a leadoff single to Stephen Vogt and a two-out walk to Coco Crisp but Jaso popped out weakly to end the threat.

The strategy was clear: Get Tanaka’s pitch count up to attack him in a weakened condition or force him out of the game so the Athletics could attack the Yankees’ bullpen, which has been leaking like a sieve during the Yankees’ seven-game homestand.

But the strategy did not work.

Tanaka left after 104 pitches and six innings with the lead.

Dellin Betances, Adam Warren and David Robertson did not yield a run in the final three innings to give the Yankees a 2-5 record during the homestand. Both of the victories were Tanaka’s.

However, both Warren and Robertson had to complete their innings with the potential tying run standing on third base as they recorded the final out.

Warren began the eighth by giving up singles to Crisp and Jaso and even uncorked a wild pitch to allow both runners to advance. But he escaped any damage by striking out Josh Donaldson, retiring Moss on a liner to right and fanning Cespedes.

Robertson had to earn his 13th save in 15 tries this season after Vogt muscled a bloop one-out single to center and pinch-runner Craig Gentry stole second base.

Alberto Callaspo hit a hard grounder that ticked off Robertson’s foot and bounded toward first baseman Mark Teixeira. Teixeira alertly fielded the ball and was able to retire Callaspo with a toss to Robertson covering first base.

“I was probably the happiest guy in the stadium that the ball hit me,” Robertson told reporters after the game. “I felt even more fortunate that we get an out of it.”

Robertson then finished the game by striking out pinch-hitter Derek Norris.

Tanaka and the relievers were working within a slim margin of error because the Yankees’ offense again sputtered against left-hander Drew Pomeranz (5-3).

The Yankees tied the game in the bottom of the second when Brian McCann singled and reached second when the left-fielder, Moss, allowed the ball to scoot past him to the wall for an error. Alfonso Soriano, who had been mired in an 0-for-16 slide with eight strikeouts dating back to May 25, then delivered an RBI single to right-center that scored McCann without a throw.

Brett Gardner later gave the Yankees a lead they ultimately would not relinquish with a leadoff home run in the third inning on Pomeranz’s first offering. The home run, a no-doubter that landed in the second deck in the right-field stands, was his fourth of the season and his first since May 17.

From that point on, the Yankees did absolutely nothing with Pomeranz for the rest of the afternoon.

The 25-year-old left-hander did not allow another base-runner until the sixth when Jacoby Ellsbury drew a one-out walk. The Yankees only “hit” off Pomeranz after the Gardner’s blast came with two out in the seventh when Crisp lost Soriano’s fly ball to center in the sun and it was scored a double.

Pomeranz was charged with two runs on six hits and one walk and he struck out seven in seven innings of work.

However, he could not outduel Tanaka, who lowered his American League-leading ERA from 2.06 to 2.02.

“I don’t think it was my best performance for the season,” Tanaka told reporters through a translator. “But given the fact that our team was in a little bit of a funk, and that we were facing one of the best teams in the league right now, I’m really happy to contribute to the team’s win.”

With the victory the Yankees climbed back over the .500 mark to 30-29. They are third place in the American League East and they trail the first-place Toronto Blue Jays by six games. The A’s are 37-23.


  • Tanaka has bristled at being called the team’s ace but he is proving in his first season in the major leagues that he is every bit the ace the staff has needed. “A true ace stops losing streaks. There’s not another guy we want out there after losing a few in a row than Tanaka,” Teixeira told reporters after the game. The Yankees are 11-1 in his starts and it is hard to imagine where they would be without him.
  • Soriano’s two hits, even though one was dubious, hopefully will get him out of one of his worst slumps in his 14 full major-league seasons. The Yankees always knew that the 38-year-old outfielder was a streaky hitter but Soriano has not really had a sustained hot streak this season. He is batting .233 with six homers and 2o RBIs a third of the way into the season. That is not what the Yankees were expecting from him.
  • There also may be hope that Gardner will get going again after slumping from May 22 through June 3 on a 9-for-48 (.188) slide. Gardner finished the final two games of the Oakland series 3-for-9. This team-wide hitting slump has been very frustrating to manager Joe Girardi and the pitching staff because it left them feeling they have to be perfect in every inning to every batter on every pitch. It is hard to pitch that way.


Why dwell on the obvious offensive woes. Let’s chalk this one up as a victory thanks to Tanaka and the bullpen. The Yankees just have to hope the bats wake up before the Blue Jays run away with the division.


The Yankees did get one potentially big bat back in the lineup when Carlos Beltran was activated from the disabled list prior to the game and he was inserted into the lineup into the fifth spot at designated hitter. Beltran, who missed 21 games while dealing with a bone spur in his right elbow, was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the game. To make room for Beltran on the roster the Yankees designated for assignment infielder Scott Sizemore.  . . .  Ellsbury had a two-run home run in the first inning taken away when a video review indicated that the ball struck about three inches below the top of the wall in right-field. Instead the umpires awarded him a double and placed Derek Jeter, who had singled with one out, at third base. Teixeira lined out and Beltran struck out swinging and the Yankees did not score in the inning.


The Yankees are off to Kansas City to open a wraparound four-game weekend series with the Royals beginning on Friday.

Rookie right-hander Chase Whitley (0-0, 2.37 ERA) will try to earn his first major-league victory in his fifth start of the season. Whitley held the Twins to one run on five hits while he struck out six in five innings on Sunday before Robertson blew his second save of the season and the Yankees lost the game.

The Royals will start veteran right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (2.5, 4.00 ERA) who is 0-5 in his past 10 starts. Guthrie gave up two runs on eight hits and two walks while fanning five in seven innings in a loss to the Blue Jays on Sunday.

Game-time will be 8:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.


Rivera Proves He’s Human In Opener Against Rays



Ben Zobrist hit a game-tying double and Carlos Pena stroked a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth as Tampa Bay rallied to defeat New York in both team’s season opener on Friday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL.

Newly acquired right-hander Fernando Rodney (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth inning to get credit for the victory. Closer Mariano Rivera (0-1) was tagged with both a blown save and a loss.

The Yankees rallied from a 4-0 first-inning deficit to take a 6-4 lead in the third inning on the strength of new designated hitter Raul Ibanez, who had four RBIs including three on a three-run home run in the third off Rays starter James Shields.

Pena, however, also added a grand slam home run in the first inning off Yankees ace CC Sabathia for five RBIs.

Neither Sabathia or Shields were particularly sharp in their first outings, although after the first inning Sabathia gave up only one run (on an Evan Longoria solo home run in the third) on six hits, one walk and seven strikeouts. Shields gave up six runs on nine hits, three walks, one hit batter, a costly wild pitch and he struck out three in only five innings of work.


  • Ibanez struggled through most of spring training until the final 10 days and it carried over into the opener. He drove in the Yankees’ first run on an infield grounder in the second and then added his three-run shot into the right-field bleachers that turned a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 lead the Yankees held until the bottom of the ninth.
  • The Yankees turned in a pair of sensational defensive plays and in both instances the victim was Desmond Jennings. In the fourth inning, Jennings lofted a sinking popup into shallow right but Nick Swisher charged it, slid feet first and caught the ball just before it hit the artificial surface. In the sixth inning, Jennings laced a bouncing liner into left that Brett Gardner cut off and as Jennings tried to stretch the hit into a double, Gardner unleashed a bullet on the fly to Robinson Cano to nab a sliding Jennings.
  • “Houdini” did it again. David Robertson always seems to be able to get into and out of jams like they are nothing. Robertson started the eighth by walking Sean Rodriguez and Pena followed a single to advance Rodriguez to third. But Robertson then fanned pinch-hitter Stephen Vogt, Jose Molina and Matt Joyce in succession to preserve the one-run lead.


  • It is a shame that Sabathia was so out of sync in the first inning. He walked the right-handed hitting Rodriguez to load the bases to pitch to a lefty in Pena with two out. But instead of getting out of the jam, Sabathai left a 3-2 fastball up and paid the price for it.
  • The old runners in scoring position bug bit the Yankees in the rear end again. They were 2-for-11 (.182) with RISP position and they left a dozen runners on base in the game. The Yankees left the bases loaded in second, fourth and seventh innings. So instead of blaming Rivera for blowing the save perhaps it would be more insightful to blame the Yankees for not extending their lead when they had plenty of chances.
  • So Rivera is human. He gave up a leadoff single to Jennings and Zobrist followed with his game-tying triple. Manager Joe Girardi chose to walk Longoria and Luke Scott intentionally. Rivera struck out Rodriguez but Pena was able to get a ball into a drawn-in outfield to score the winning run.


Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda will remain behind at the Yankees’ complex in Tampa, FL., when the team heads north and it is unlikely he will be activated in April. Pineda is recovering from right rotator cuff tendinitis and he was placed in the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 31. Pineda threw about 25 soft tosses on flat ground on Thursday and reported no issues with his shoulder.  . . .  Yankees left-hander Boone Logan was available to pitch on Friday despite the fact he was suffering from back spasms on Wednesday.  . . .  The Yankees plan to start Eduardo Nunez on Saturday against the Rays left-hander David Price. That means either Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez will serve as the team’s DH.


The Yankees will continue their three-game holiday weekend opening series with the Rays on Saturday.

Free-agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda will make his Yankee debut. Kuroda was 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA with the Dodgers last season and he is coming off a very good spring with the Yankees. He has never faced the Rays.

Price will start for the Rays. He is 4-2 with a 4.02 ERA in his career against the Yankees.

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


Yanks’ Offense Fires Nothing But Blanks At Rays



TAMPA – No matter how good a team is it just seems like there is one of those days where everything goes right for the opponent and nothing goes right for you. Wednesday was one of those days for the Yankees.

Stephen Vogt slapped an opposite field triple to right-field to drive in two runs and Jose Molina drove him home on a infield groundout in the second inning and the Rays’ pitching staff held New York to only four hits as the Yankees to a long nine-inning sleepwalk through this Grapefruit League contest at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Right-hander James Shields (1-0) combined with five other Rays pitchers to stymie a Yankee team minus two starters, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. Shields threw two hitless innings and struck out a pair. Meanwhile, Hiroki Kuroda (0-1) was saddled with a loss in his Yankee debut.

After winning their first two spring games, the Yankees now have dropped their third straight. The Rays won their first game of the spring and are 1-4.


  • The weather was pretty much perfect: Sunny skies, 77 degrees and a light breeze made it very comfortable for the sellout crowd of 10,846.
  • None of the Yankee players were injured during the production of this shutout.
  • One lone bright spot would have to be the pitching of Clay Rapada. The 30-year-old non-roster invitee vying with three other pitchers to be the second left-hander in the bullpen pitched two innings and gave up only an infield hit and struck out three batters.


  • Kuroda was lights out in the first inning, retiring the side on only nine pitches. However, he was rocked by three consecutive hits to open the third inning and he ended up giving up three runs. Though Kuroda took the loss he said he was happy with the way he threw the ball in his first outing of the spring.
  • In five of nine innings, the Yankees were retired in order. It is a little hard to sustain an offense when you do not reach base. The fifth inning was typical of the Yankees’ frustrating day on offense. Eric Chavez opened the inning against right-hander Josh Lueke by slapping a grounder up the middle. Second baseman Ben Zobrist moved to his right past the second-base bag, threw across his body and nipped Chavez at first. Andruw Jones followed with a hard-hit liner to left that was over the head of left-fielder Jesus Feliciano. But Feliciano laid out and caught the ball just before he slammed hard into the turf. Russell Martin then laced a line drive but it was hit right to third baseman Elliot Johnson to retire the side.
  • The Yankees managed to get eight balls out of the infield through nine innings. By just about any measure this is not real good.


Hall of Fame legend Yogi Berra arrived at camp on Wednesday to start his usual stint as guest instructor for the team. Berra, 86, did not suit up for the game but his No. 8 is ready for him when he decides to take the field.  . . .   Rafael Soriano has requested in the past that he not be used against division opponents. He has since reconsidered that stance and pitched an inning of relief against his former team on Wednesday. Soriano pitched a scoreless frame around a walk and a single.  . . .  The Yankees have announced that their top-tier farm team will carry a new name starting this season. The Triple-A franchise known as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees now will be known as the Empire State Yankees. The team will be playing its slate of games this season on the road while their home PNC Field in Moosic, PA, is being renovated. The team will play its home games in six cities, including Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo and Batavia in New York and Pawtucket, RI, and Allentown, PA.  . . .   Eduardo Nunez (bruised right hand) is still sporting a bandage and feels some pain but he still hopes to be able able to play Friday when the Yankees host the Atlanta Braves.  . . .  Closer Mariano Rivera is scheduled to throw his second bullpen session on Thursday and could pitch as early as Sunday at home against the Philadelphia Phillies.


The Yankees head back out on the road on Thursday to play the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, FL.

Right-hander Ivan Nova is scheduled to make his second start of the spring. David Robertson and Dellin Betances are also expected to pitch. The Yankees will bring Rodriguez, Teixeira, Brett Gardner and Raul Ibanez on the trip.

The Blue Jays will start left-hander Brett Cecil.

Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EST and the game will not be broadcast on radio or television. The Yankees’ game against the Rays will be shown via tape delay at 9 a.m. EST by the MLB Network. I suggest you purchase a prescription of Xanax and stay away away from sharp objects and tall buildings or bridges if you plan to watch this game.



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