"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Tigers, Minus the Bite


Justin Verlander is broken; that’s the word anyway. He had off-season surgery on his core muscles and he’s responded with possibly the worst season of his career. (It’s definitely due to my ignorance of the human anantomy, but when I hear “core muscles” I think of some heavily-fortified, organic power core, like the center of the Death Star.) We know something about this kind of stink – CC Sabathia fell off dramatically last year and instead of rebounding, looks like he’s crashed through floor and it’s an open question whether or not there’s a crane in existence equipped to lift him out.

Verlander is not Sabathia however. He’s younger, slimmer and still taking the ball every fifth day. His diminished velocity had him throwing in the 91-93 range last night with the power to kick it up to 95 mph when facing Carlos Beltran in a big spot in the fourth. Verlander owerpowered Beltran with the fastballs and then put him away with a baffling change-up.

With a curve ball bending mostly to his will, Verlander did not look broken last night. He didn’t look like the pitcher he was in 2011-2012, but he was good. The Yankees didn’t get to him at all until the fourth and they didn’t do any real damage until the fifth. 

Credit Paul O’Neill with the blueprint for how to beat him last night. After watching Verlander cruise through the early part of the game, O’Neill said he might only make a few mistakes tonight and that the Yankees better hope those mistakes end up in the seats. Chase Headley did the honors in the fifth, clubbing a less-than-baffling change into the second deck in right. And then Brian McCann did the same to one of those low 90s fastballs in the seventh. 

Another solid contribution from the booth accompanied McCann’s blast as Michael Kay noted that Verlander’s late-game velocity was nothing like it used to be. Hard to imagine McCann turning on that high fastball on the outer edge if it was 97 instead of 91. (We get on the announcers a lot so it’s only fair to point out when they make a good point, no?)

But how to make two solo homers stand up against the division-leading Tigers? Chris Capuano dealing is one way I guess. Derek Jeter booted the first play of the game and that set-up the Tigers’ only run off Capuano. Thanks to change-up that did not deviate from baffling all night, he never really faced any trouble until the Tigers paired two-singles in the seventh. Adam Warren shut down that inning and then stuck around to help himself out of what could have been a back-breaking eighth.

After Stephen Drew made corned beef hash out of a grounder, the tying and go-ahead runs were on third with one out. Adam Warren fell behind the suddenly dangerous J.D. Martinez 3-0 and pumped three fastballs in there for the crucial whiff. Strikes two and three were of the giddy-up variety, challenging Martinez high in the zone and blowing him away.

The Yankees scored insurance runs in their part of the eighth, which are truly some of the best kinds of runs for my money. Warren’s heroics after Capuano’s heavy-lifitng gave both Betances and Robertson a much deserved night off and the Yankees won 5-1. The Yankees look to take a shocking-but-necessary three of four from the Tigers this afternoon. This typically would be a day for a house money lineup, but not this is not the season for one. All hands on deck please.

Image via moggyblog (Copyright by the owner)

Categories:  1: Featured  Game Recap  Jon DeRosa  Yankees

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1 rbj   ~  Aug 7, 2014 8:34 am

Late 1990s Yankees facing the past 3 Cy Young winners? No problem. 2014 Yankees facing the same, and going 2 of 3 with only a late bullpen mistake thwarting a 3-0 record? Don't wake me, I want this dream to last.

2 Chyll Will   ~  Aug 7, 2014 9:30 am

Yes, I hope I continue to be dead wrong about this team from here to November, as long as I maintain a healthy sense of skepticism. The trick I hope is to keep the other team off-balance with the Yeoman Starters through September and of course keep hitting when they're supposed to...

If they continue to play a significant amount of the time like this, I won't be nearly as embarrassed by a playoff appearance as I would have been if they got in by default. I know that's not much of an endorsement, but they don't need it from me; keep it up!

3 Jon DeRosa   ~  Aug 7, 2014 9:37 am

De. Fault. The two sweetest words in the English language.

4 BobbyB   ~  Aug 7, 2014 10:48 am

I don't know why I still feel disengaged from the Yankees this season. I have not attended a game (and I was once a season ticket holder until they moved across the street), I rarely watch an entire game on TV. If I'm driving a long distance and they're on, I usually prefer NPR. What gives? I do check in at the Banter almost every day but that's entirely different. I know it's Jeter's last year but somehow it
doesn't feel the same as last year when Mariano was retiring. Maybe it has something to do with the repetitive win one, lose one season they're having. Anyone else suffering this malaise?

5 Jon DeRosa   ~  Aug 7, 2014 11:51 am

[4] I think it's happening to a lot fans, myself included. Players we aren't as attached to. Players who aren't as good. Teams that aren't top contenders. The idea is that the Yankees try to win the Series every year and from 1994-2012, there was a pretty clear path to that goal. But now it's transformed into a lower quality product without the infusion of youth and hope that keeps things interesting during those periods.

6 Chyll Will   ~  Aug 7, 2014 2:11 pm

[5] Agreed. Although it is nice to see most of the young players that do get a start or an at bat are not nearly as bad as they are made out to be. I'm really curious to see what the international free agent signings the team made can do; it's said they practically had the cream of the crop this year.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver