"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Category: Game Recap

This One Ends at Eleven

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Jacob deGrom had his first lousy start of the year while Michael Pineda had his best one as the Yankees cruised past the Mets, 6-1 on Friday night in the Bronx.

Cold night, windy, with a healthy representation of noisy Met fans in the park. Mark Teixeira hit a pair of two-run homers off deGrom, and Jacoby Ellsbury added a solo home run. Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Brian McCann each had a couple of hits, more than enough for Pineda who was in control from the beginning. He lasted seven and two-thirds, allowed five hits, struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter.

Pineda was a strike-throwing machine, and strutted around the mound with the leisurely, casual arrogance of a well-hung bull in a pasture. It was a shutdown performance, just what the Yankees needed, especially with the Mets’ ace, Matt Harvey going tomorrow.

A satisfying evening for the home team.

Thank you, fellas.

New York State of Mind

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The Yanks returned the Game 1 favor, this time beating the Tigers 2-1, which puts the Bombers at 9-7 for the season as they return home to face the Mets. You may have heard the Mets have won 11 in a row. This either spells bad news for the Yanks or possibly good news as all good things must come to an end. Either way, the Mets are hot and they’ve got their 3 best pitchers going this weekend so if the Yanks can manage to win the series it would be a nice accomplishment. One thing’s for sure, Met fans will be out in force this weekend and, like Nuke LaLoosh. I expect them to announce their presence with authority. Have to imagine there will be some volume to the proceedings, don’t you?

Picture by Bags

You Can’t Predict Baseball, Suzyn

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David Price gave up 6 runs in the first and so what does Adam Warren do in the bottom of the inning but walk the bases loaded, walk in a run, and give up a couple of hits–6-4, Yanks. You could see where this one was headed: Price would recover and shut the Yankees out for the next 6 innings and Warren wouldn’t make it out of the second. Instead, Price gave up more runs and was chased early; meanwhile, Warren pitched into the sixth, and the Yanks ran away with it, 13-4.

It was a cold night in Detroit, snow flurries swirled for a while. When Warren was removed from the game with two men out in the sixth, Michael Kay moaned that the Yankee bullpen would have to get 10 outs. This with a day game today and the weekend series vs. the Mets. I understood his point but considering how things began for Warren getting into the sixth inning was an accomplishment.

Picture by Bags

Nice

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Nathan Eovaldi pitched his best game as a Yankee and Andrew Miller worked into and out of trouble in the 9th as the Yanks beat the Tigers, 5-2. Miller would have been OK had the home plate ump not missed a strike three call. But a couple of walks later, the score was 5-2 and the bases were loaded and Yankee fans were nervous. Fortunately, he got the last out–a strikeout. Chris Young had a nice game, too.

[Photo Credit: Rob Kalmbach]

Yanks Lose a Close One

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I’m sorry that I don’t have the time to do justice to last night’s game because C.C. Sabathia pitched well. It was the kind of game where you can see what kind of pitcher he’s trying to become. And there was some wonderful fielding from both teams. Sabathia had a 1-0 lead in the 7th when the Tigers scored a couple of runs. (It as cold and nasty out–couldn’t be much fun for the hitters.) In the 8th, the Yankees had runners on the corners with one out when our old chump Joba Chamberlain came in to face Jacoby Ellsbury. The Yankee outifielder hit the ball hard but it was snagged by Ian Kinsler who turned an easy 4-6-3 double play.

“I hit it at the wrong person,” Ellsbury said after the game. “I’ll take 600 more of those swings the rest of the season.”

And that, really, was the game.

A bummer for sure–frustrating–but the loss was balanced by Sabathia’s encouraging performance.

Final Score: Tigers 2, Yanks 1. 

Picture by Bags

Keep it Movin’

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First series win, check; first series sweep, check.

A 5-3 win yesterday afternoon in Tampa puts the Yanks at .500 as they head to Detroit for four games.

Return of the Score Truck

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A low-scoring game turning into a blow out thanks to a 7-run 7th inning, highlighted by Chris Young’s grand slam (and off a 3-2 pitch no less). Brian McCann had a big night, a good sign if there ever was one.

Masahiro Tanaka had his best start of the year and the Yanks won, 9-0.

[Photo Via: Street Art NYC]

Here and Now

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Alex Rodriguez had a good spring which seemed like a minor miracle to me. He’s 39, missed a full year, he’s had surgeries on both hips. I just didn’t think he’d be able to hack it, didn’t think he’d make the team out of spring training. But he carried good at bats into the season. Even when he wasn’t driving the ball he wasn’t chasing those tempting breaking balls out of the strike zone. Last night was his best game in a long time as he hit the ball on the nose three times for run-scoring plays.

Rodriguez hit a long home run in his first at bat, off a fastball, giving him three for the season (two of them real shots). Imagine being a has-been and hitting a ball that far? Dag.

Later, he hit another homer, this one a two-run job that tied the game. This one was more like a Mike Piazza home run, a line drive that was hit so hard it didn’t have a chance to curve foul. The pitch was a fastball, inside on the hands, but Rodriguez beat the ball to the spot. Now, I understand if he still has the power to crush a mistake but I did not anticipate him ever turning around a good fastball.

The game stayed tied until the 8th when Rodriguez came through again, this time laying off some good pitches and then smacking a line drive to center for a base hit that drove home Brett Gardner with the go-ahead (and winning) run.

The bullpen was back to its stellar self and the Yanks won, 5-4.

I got an email from a friend after the game. He said, “I don’t want to sound naive, but do really think he’d be stupid enough to take anything after last year. (I know he’d be arrogant enough, just not sure of the stupidity part).” Well, arrogance always trumps intelligence in my book, and of course it’s natural to be suspicious of Rodriguez. But that hasn’t spoiled my enjoyment and watching him locked-in has been one of the few pleasures of this young season for the Yanks. I don’t expect it’ll last. Hot streaks never do. And I seriously doubt that Rodriguez’s body will hold up. All the more reason to enjoy the moment–here and then…gone. 

[Photo Credit: Kim Klement/Rueters]

Our Love is Like Our Music, It’s Here, And Then It’s Gone

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Can you be angry at a team when you’ve got no expectations? The Yanks lost again last night. Had a 3-1 lead, and Eovaldi pitched pretty well but not long enough, and the bullpen blew it. The offense rallied but came up short.

Final Score: Orioles 7, Yanks 5.

I wish I could feel outrage, despair, something other than resignation. But there it is.

It was nice to see Alex Rodriguez’s home run. Man, that was a bomb. I don’t imagine he’ll stay healthy this year but pretty wild to watch a guy well past his prime do something like that.

Picture by Bags. 

No Flipping

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Ah, man, but I just couldn’t resist.

Here’s the truth of it: I spent more time watching the festive and screwy Mets-Phillies last night because the atmosphere at Citi Field was bumpin’ like it was October. I saw enough of the Yankee game to know how uninspired it was in comparison. They got close, Sabathia wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t enough as they lost, 4-3.

Picture by Bags.

Questions and Answers

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The correct answer is D) Zero.

Oh, right, the question. Yeah, the question was: What are the chances that Stephen Drew does anything productive here?

This would be in the top of the 7th inning last night when Drew pinch-hit for Brett Gardner. I mean, when could that ever be a good thing? This was after Jacoby Ellsbury reached on an infield single to load the bases (had Chris Davis made a better play at first the inning would have been over). The Yanks were down a couple of runs and with Drew up I told The Wife there was no way Drew would do anything good. Not a chance. When the count went to 3-1 I told her he was under orders from the Universe to take a strike and try to work a walk. But what does the Universe care about me and what do I know about the Bigger Questions?

Because Drew swung at the 3-1 pitch and hit a grand slam.

That was enough to survive a shaky appearance by Dellin Betances as the Yanks won, 6-5. Andrew Miller got the last five outs.

[Photo Credit: Jill Freedman via Time]

Family Style

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And here we thought the Yankees would never score any runs.

Feast your eyes on this.

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They plump when you cook ‘em (oh, yeah).

 

Reality Bites

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It’s early but the thud you hear is your 2015 New York Yankees. Yesterday’s version was scored an 8-4 loss.

Picture by Bags.

Don’t Be Cruel

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The Yankees rallied 3 times against the Red Sox last night, starting in the 9th inning, but they couldn’t do it a fourth time and so in just under 7 hours, they lost 6-5 in 19 innings. It was the kind of a game that is every beat writer’s nightmare. You wondered if it’d ever end. There was good pitching, sloppy fielding, nice fielding, poor hitting, and clutch hitting. There was boredom and excitement and by the end, a lot of sleepy fans.

There was a 15 minute delay in the bottom of the 12th inning when a few of the lights went out. The organist was pressed into emergency service. I suppose the JumboTron was out of scheduled routines. The announcers didn’t know at first how long the delay would last and so as they talked it over the organist vamped–was that “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” he was playing? What an unexpected pleasure, the sounds of the organ pumping out a medley of pop tunes.

Anyhow, for the Yanks it was a drag of a game to lose.

The pace of play is supposed to be faster this season, and perhaps it will be, but the Yankees vs. Red Sox, well, they’ve got their own rules to abide, don’t they? And the two teams are back at it in a few hours this afternoon.

Take two and pass.

[Photo Credit: Mikko Lagerstedt]

Comedy is Not Pretty

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Neither was that game last night. One lousy inning was enough to sink C.C.’s first start of the year. Rodriguez and Teixeira homered but otherwise the Yankees couldn’t make good on their scoring chances and they lost, 6-3.

April Showers

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The baseball season begins in warm, sunny places like Florida and Arizona. Then the teams move north to the cold. Last night, I flipped around and saw rain in Washington and Philly and the Bronx. Ah, April baseball.

It was not a pretty game at the Stadium last night–the fielding was rusty and you have to figure the wet and cold played a part in that–but the Yankees rallied late and beat the Jays, 4-3. Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury had two hits; Michael Pineda pitched well, and so did the bullpen (though Dellin Betances was rusty).

Funny thing: Although Alex Rodriguez is now an old man,  he still gets more of a rise out of the crowd than any player on the Yanks. There were boos and cheers every time he came to bat. It’s almost as if the fans still boo him because it’s something familiar not because they’re especially vicious. After all, we’ve just begun the post-Jeter era and who knows what to make of this team? Who knows who the next heroes and villains are? Rodriguez is a sure thing. Muscle-memory says boo the sombitch. Or cheer. Rodriguez didn’t get a hit last night–he put a good swing on the ball in his third at bat, it had a good sound, but he hit it too high and in that wind no fly ball stood a chance of leaving the park–but he was booed plenty when he struck out looking in the 8th inning with the bases loaded.

Old reliable.

Chad Jennings has the recap. 

[Picture by Bags]

Opening Dud

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I didn’t see any of it and from the sounds of it, I didn’t miss a thing.

Sure, there was some impressive relief pitching, and Alex Rodriguez heard some cheers, but Masahiro Tanaka wasn’t great and the Yanks only got 3 hits.

Final Score: Jays 6, Yanks 1.

Picture by Bags.

Things That Go Boom in the Night

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Wow.

[Photo Credit: David J. Phillip/Associated Press]

Would You Believe?

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Go figure, right?

My sense is that the Royals will cool down with the week off before the Whirled Serious and lose to either the Giants or the Cardinals. I hope I’m wrong. It’d be fun to see the Royals win it all. I don’t think it’ll happen though.

[Photo Credit: Matt Slocum/AP]

Our Great Yankee

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The most memorable part of the final weekend of Derek Jeter’s career wasn’t the 2 hits he collected, the tasteful tribute on Sunday by the Red Sox, or the many ovations he received. It was the sense of relief that enveloped him. For most of his career, Jeter has rarely displayed emotion when talking with the press. Occasionally, he’s been sharp, other times, kidding. But usually, he’s deadpan and emotionless by design. But ever since his final game at Yankee Stadium last Thursday, Jeter showed a vulnerability and tenderness, that made him more accessible than ever before. His famous monotone gave way to something softer, both less sure and more intimate.

And for the first time, he looked unsure of himself at times on the field.

“I’m happy, man,” he told reporters after the last game of his career on Sunday in Boston, in which he went 1-2 with an RBI. “Because it’s hard. It’s a lot of stress, too. Like I said the other day, you try to play it cool, but out in the field with the bases loaded, one out, you’ve got Manny Ramirez at the plate, it’s not a comfortable feeling at times. When you’re facing Pedro (Martinez), trying to get a hit, it’s not a comfortable feeling.

“I remember running into Shawon Dunston a few years ago in San Francisco, and I had never met Shawon Dunston. I saw him on the street; me and Jorge were going to lunch and ran into him. I said, ‘How are you doing?’ He said, ‘I’m stress-free. I don’t have to worry about hitting any sliders anymore.’ So I’m looking forward to it. I gave it everything I had physically, and I gave it everything I had mentally during my time. Now it’s time to step back and, like I said, let someone else play.”

Jeter sat out Friday night’s game but played on Saturday, striking out and reaching on an infield single. He took himself out of the game and sat on the bench for the rest of the afternoon, smiling, laughing his teammates. Since the Yankees and Red Sox were both out of playoff contention, the gamed had a surreal, spring training feel. Then, yesterday, he lined out to short in his first at bat then reached on a Baltimore chop the next time up. The final at bat of his career. He watched the rest of the game from the dugout, and again, seemed relieved.

“I said I was going to play, so that’s why I played,” Jeter said later. “There are a lot of fans that told me that they came a long way to see these last games, so I felt it was right to play here. But don’t think I didn’t think about that, I thought about it. People say, maybe New York was your last game because you want to remember that as the way your career ended. But you can’t take that memory away. I don’t care if I played for another three weeks, that memory is going to be there and it’s never going to go anywhere. I played out of respect for this rivalry and the fans here.”

Jeter’s finale seemed interminable at times but in the end–the classic finish at Yankee Stadium, the relaxed, earnest sendoff in Boston–he delivered one last time and was afforded the chance to take it all in. He showed more of himself than ever before and went out on a high note.

Also, we’ve likely seen the end of Ichio! and our man Hiroki Kuroda. They’ve been fun to watch, and Kuroda, especially, has been a favorite. Man, could be all she wrote for David Robertson too and boy, he’s been a good Yankee. Don’t forget our boy Cervelli, either. Lousy as the season was in some ways, it could have been worse and there were pleasures to be had: Port Jervis, Zelous and Zoilo. How about the bullpen, especially Dellin Betances!

This has been the 12th season we’ve covered the Yankees here on the Banter. The coverage is less intense than it was 5, 10 years ago because I’ve got other interests and besides, now there are so many other wonderful Yankee blogs out there. But I still love watching the team and rooting them on and am humbled to have you guys stop by and hang with us.

The season might be over for the Yanks but this ain’t football–we do this everyday. We’ll be here–served fresh daily!–for the playoffs and beyond.

Thanks for coming through. I really appreciate it.

[Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images]

 

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