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

Boom

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Now, that was the way the start of the Fourth of July weekend.

Masahiro Tanaka got out-pitched by Chris Archer but the Yanks were able to chase Tampa’s ace from the game with two men out in the 7th. Trailing 3-0, Mark Teixeira had the big knock in the 8th, hitting a 3-run home home run.

Just felt like the Yanks were going to win the game, never mind the double plays they hit into to end the 8th and 9th innings. When Evan Longoria was called out at second after a replay review in the 11th, the good vibes continued. Longoria slid into second and for a fraction of a moment came off the bag. Nice catch by the Yankees to even review it. Strangely, for my glass-half-empty-ass-self, I still felt hopeful even after the Rays scored a couple of runs in the top of the 12th.

The bottom of the inning went like this: Brett Gardner walked–oh, those lead-off walks–and after Chase Headley whiffed, Alex Rodriguez hit an excuse-me single to right. It was a slow ground ball, squibbed off the end of his bat, but since the Rays were positioned for him to pull, a sure fire double play turned into a single, with Gardner taking third. Rodriguez smiled on his way to first, and could have been singing “With a little bit of luck” if he was a musical theater kind of guy.

Gardner scored when Mark Teixeira singled hard to right field. It was a relief too because Teix took the first pitch of the at bat, a fastball right down the middle, and I figured that’d be the best pitch he’d see. The one he singled on wasn’t as good, but fat enough.

So, Yanks down 5-4, first and second for Brian McCann. Oh, a double play loomed in our minds but McCann golfed a fastball over the fence in right field for a 3-run, game-ending home run instead.

Smiles, cheers, high-fives, first place. After the game, Brett Gardner called it “the biggest win of the year for us, by far.”

Yanks 7, Rays 5.

Illustration by Michael Sloan.

Bend it like Betances

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The Yanks didn’t score but 3 runs by Nathan Eovaldi pitched well, the bullpen was even better, and even though Dellin Betances walked a couple of batters in the 9th, struggling to locate his curve ball, eventually he got it to bend the way he wanted to, got a strike out to end the game and sent the Yankees home, 3-1 winners.

[Photo Credit: Jing Huang via MPD]

Walking in the Spiderwebs

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A little over four years ago I wrote a piece here imagining a world in which Ivan Nova had developed into the Yankees’ ace while CC Sabathia had become the team’s fifth starter and even been sent to the bullpen for the postseason. The year I was imagining was 2015, which seems kind of hard to believe, but that future is now.

Has Nova become the ace I once imagined? Prior to his elbow surgery he had had his moments of brilliance, but he never looked like a consistent frontline starter. Now, however, he’s been cast as the savior for a rotation that’s been consistent only in its unpredictability. (In fact, the most dependable starter, Adam Warren, was shipped out to the bullpen on Tuesday, but more on that later.)

Nova sent hopes soaring with his debut outing last week, posting seven scoreless innings with stuff just as electric as we remembered, but things were different on Tuesday night in Anaheim. He found trouble early, giving up two singles in the first inning before getting a strikeout from Albert Pujols and a ground out from Erick Aybar to escape that jam, then loading the bases in the second before wriggling free from that one.

The Yankee offense got started in the top of the second when Mark Teixeira launched a towering fly to left center field for his 19th homer of the season, which seemed like a promising start. After that, however, the bats on both sides started to collect spiderwebs.

The Yankees were facing Andrew Heaney, who was making just his second major league start. If you’ve been following the Yankees closely over the past fifteen years — and I know you have — you know that rookie pitchers are their Kryptonite. I don’t have the stats to support this, and it may very well be that the stats don’t support this, but my memory tells me that the Yankees always seem to go down meekly when facing pitchers they’ve never seen before. And so it was with Heaney.

He retired the Yankees in order in the first, gave up Teixeira’s homer in the second, yielded a single to Brett Gardner in the third, walked Chase Headley in the fifth, and walked Teixeira in the seventh. And that was it. Thanks to a couple of double plays, Heaney faced only 24 batters in seven innings. He was the one who looked like the future ace.

After Nova’s early struggles, however, he was matching Heaney pitch for pitch. He cruised through the third, fourth, and fifth innings, giving up just a single and a walk and never really breaking a sweat. In the sixth, however, the bubble burst. Pujols turned on Nova’s first pitch of the inning and produced a majestic home run deep into the trees that grow beyond the centerfield fence; two pitches later Erick Aybar followed suit with a shot of his own to center, and suddenly the Angels had a 2-1 lead. Nova would get one out in the inning before Matt Joyce hit a ringing double down the right field line and sent our future ace to the showers.

Adam Warren came in to make his first relief appearance of the season, and guess what? He was good. He skated through the final two innings and change, allowing just a hit and a walk and perhaps a regret or two from Joe Girardi. But we’ll never know about that last part.

For their parts, the Yankee hitters didn’t do much the rest of the way. Didi Gregorius reached on an error with one out in the eighth, but he was quickly erased by a Stephen Drew double play ball, and the top three hitters went down quietly in the ninth. Final score: Angels 2, Yankees 1.

There is good news, however. While the Yankees have forgotten how to win, the rest of the American League East has been sputtering as well, and the Pinstripes have lost no ground in the standings. So that’s something. Nova didn’t get the win, but he pitched well, something most of us probably weren’t counting on this year. He might not be the ace yet, but he’s pitching.

Oh, and here’s one more thing. My son and I will be in the stands instead of on the couch tomorrow afternoon, so things are already looking up!

[Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP Photo]

Tragic Kingdom

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If you’ve been paying attention, you know that I despise the California Angels, the Anaheim Angels, and the Los Angels Angels of Anaheim in equal measure, so instead of rehashing my usual litany of invectives against Gary DiScarcina and Garret Anderson and Mike Scoscia, I’ll instead focus on the game at hand, the opening frame of a three-game set in Anaheim.

CC Sabathia was on the mound for the Yankees, which means that expectations weren’t too high, but old CC pitched fairly well. Sure, he coughed up a run in the bottom of the first, but it wasn’t anything too awful. Johnny Giavotella, or Johnny G, as the Angels announcers love to call him, singled to lead off the game, then came all the way around to score on a two-out double from the resurgent Albert Pujols. Nothing to worry about yet, right?

The Yankee hitters got that run back in the top of the third, but it could’ve been more than that. DiDi Gregorius walked with one out and moved to second on a single from Brett Gardner, which brought up Chris Young. Young hit a rocket to left center, a ball that would easily have scored both runners for a 2-1 Yankee lead, but Mike Trout raced deep into the gap, reached across his body at the warning track and made the grab for the second out of the inning, sending the runners scampering back to their bases. Alex Rodríguez came up next and punched a ball to right field to tie the game and salvage something of the inning, but Trout’s play still stung.

In the bottom of the third, Trout would sting the Yankees again, this time with his bat, as he slugged a homer just ten feet or so beyond the spot where he had robbed Young in the top of the inning. I can never look at Mike Trout without imagining him in pinstripes, patrolling center field and thrilling a generation of fans who weren’t lucky enough to have followed Mattingly and Jeter before him. If only.

The game stayed at two to one until it looked like the Yankees might tie it up in the top of the fifth. Gardner, the reigning American League Player of the Week, stood at second base after a quirky double down the right field line, and Chris Young stood at the plate. Once again he launched a blast deep into the left center field gap. This ball was fifteen or twenty feet to the left of where the last one had died, but Trout was still coming and coming and coming. Once again he leapt at the last second, and once again he broke Young’s heart, this time with a catch that was even more impressive than the first. Young stared out at Trout for a second, then waved his hand in disgust before heading back to the dugout. After the game he suggested that baseball’s rules be changed to give a team half a run on plays like that, just to make the hitter feel a little better. In the space of three innings, Trout had stolen two runs with his glove and added one with his bat. That’s what greatness does.

If Sabathia had skipped over the odd innings on Monday night, he’d have thrown a shutout, but just as there are no half runs, there are no skipsies in baseball. And so came the bottom of the fifth (an RBI double from Kole Calhoun) and the bottom of the seventh (a towering homer from C.J. Cron) and suddenly the Yankees were down 4-1.

Their best opportunity to get back in the game had come back in the top of the seventh when Brian McCann led off with a walk and Gregorius pounded the Baltimorest chop you’ve ever seen off the front of the plate for an infield single to put two runners on with nobody out. I know that Brett Gardner is about ready to burst into flames, and I know that the Angels were creeping in at the corners, but I just couldn’t figure out why Joe Girardi didn’t send Gardy up there to bunt. It was only 3-1 at the time, and I sure would’ve liked to have seen Young and Rodríguez get shots to drive in the tying runs, but Girardi didn’t see it that way. Instead Gardner popped out to left, Young bounced into a fielder’s choice, and A-Rod grounded out to short. The Yankees felt dead in that moment; Cron’s home run in the bottom half just made sure. Nothing of interest happened after that, but tomorrow is another day.

[Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images]

Peace, I Gotta Go

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You know, it was a drag of a loss, but not dispiriting. 3-1 was the final, spoiling a good outing by Big Mike.

Sure, there was a dumb-looking miscommunication between Brett Gardner and Garrett Jones that led to a run–man, the Yanks have specialized in some of these Mack Sennett miscues this season–but really, they got out-pitched and lost a close game is all. No disgrace there. And it was an entertaining series if you can forgive the awkward chemistry between the YES announcers, Ryan Ruocco and John Flaherty. This was the D-List Yankee announcing team but kudos to YES for trying out some young blood. Ruocco is young but informed, attentive, and not without personality. Was he trying too hard at times? Maybe, but that’s not the worst sin. I got the feeling that his partner, John Flaherty wasn’t impressed. The former big leaguer busted Ruocco’s chops about a “Peace!” home run call on Saturday, but his teasing wasn’t funny, and I thought Ruocco’s call was fine. Let him play around a little, you know? Flaherty is the wrong man–aesthetically, at least–to pair with a young guy like Ruocco because Flaherty, while he is proficient, is not generous, often sour, and lacks a sense of humor. I don’t find him to be good company. Ruocco strained when he gave the needle back to Flaherty. They tried to swing a generation-gap Odd Couple thing but it didn’t click.

I was prepared not to like Ruocco and while he doesn’t have a great voice, he was much better than I expected. Be nice to see him with Cone, Singleton or Leiter next time out.

Anyhow, onward to Anaheim.

Picture by Bags

Movin’ n Groovin’

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Hey guys. I’m out and aboutski so I apologize for not recapping yesterday’s win. Tanaka wasn’t too good again but the bullpen picked him up and so did the offense. After six early runs, they looked flat during the middle innings, but a pair of late hits–one by Mark Teixeira, the other by Chase Headley–put the game away and gave the Yanks a 9-6 win.

Today, we’re hoping that Michael Pineda can finally right himself. Should be interesting to see how he does against this Monster Mash, Swing-from-the-heels lineup.

Brett Gardner CF

Chase Headley 3B

Alex Rodriguez DH

Mark Teixeira 1B

Brian McCann C

Garrett Jones LF

Chris Young RF

Didi Gregorius SS

Stephen Drew 2B

Never mind nuthin’:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Young at Heart

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Nathan Eovaldi was the shit last night, composed, aggressive, effective, the bullpen was sharp and Chris Young’s 3-run home run was all the offense our boys needed to win the game, 3-2.

Picture by Bags

Don’t Be Sker’d, it’s Just a Beard

George Carlin

I only caught the last couple of innings and boy Dallas Keuchel was as good as he is silly-looking.

Final Score: Astros 4, Yanks zip. 

Get Outta Town

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Ivan Nova, welcome back.

The Score Truck delivered, clobbering Cole Hamels and the Phillies to the tune of 10-2.

Picture by Bags

 

Good Grief

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Et tu, Dellin?

Another tough night for a Yankee starter, and an even rougher one for the Yankees’ closer as the Phillies beat the Yanks again, 11-6. Dellin Betances had given up one run all season. Last night he gave up four.

Alex Rodriguez had a couple of hits, including a solo home run, but with runners on second and third, one man out in the bottom of the sixth, he could not drive a run home. Brian McCann followed and grounded out to end the inning and that was the last real threat posed by the Bombers (Brett Gardner hit another dinger too because that’s, apparently, what Brett Gardner does).

So this is what it is–another losing streak. Today won’t get any easier despite the return of Ivan Nova as Cole Hamels is pitching for the Phils.

We can only hope, true to form, that this losing streak will be followed by a winning streak.

Picture by Bags

Who’s the Doo Doo Man?

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Big Mike, what’s doing on, Dude?

The Yanks pitching was horseshit for the most part last night and got their tits lit by the lowly Phillies.

The hitters put in work, scored 8 runs but it wasn’t enough.

Final Score: Phillies 11,  Yanks 8. 

Phooey.

[Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images]

Cool Off

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File Sunday’s game under the Every-beating-deserves-another file.

Masahiro Tanaka had an off-day, J.D. Martinez hit three home runs, and the Tigers pounded the Yanks, 12-4.

Boom Bap

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The Yankees enjoyed Old Timer’s Day yesterday–has Willie finished his speech yet?–and then went ahead and pounded the crap out of the Tigers to the tune of 14-3. Big night for a lot of guys–notably Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner, Nathan Eovaldi, Alex Rodriguez, Didi Gregorious, and Chris Young.

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Picture by Bags; Frank Franklin II/AP

That’s Better

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Alex Rodriguez got a couple of base hits last night and was sitting on career hit 2,999. He got two final at bats. Lined out to right in the first one, and then, in the bottom of the 8th–when the Yanks broke open what had been a tight game–he walked on four pitches. The reliever, Sam Dyson, had already walked Chase Headley and didn’t have much control. Neither did the crowd, who leveled the reliever with boos. And they didn’t let up. (They were irked because they knew their chance at seeing Rodriguez get hit number 3,000 was lost.) It was poor form, I’d say, but also amusing. Nice to hear that the old obnoxious Bronx Cheer loud and clear.

Anyhow, it was Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran with the big hits–each hitting a two-run homer. Gardner was fired up like a wrestler when he returned to the dugout after hitting his dinger. Don’t recall ever seeing him so animated. And Beltran took a 3-1 pitch for a called strike, didn’t like the call, stepped back in the box, and then hit his home run.

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C.C. pitched pretty well–Mike Stanton hit a low line drive home run that brought back memories of Dave Winfield–and the Yanks won, 9-4.

[Photo Credit: Kathy Willens/AP]

 

Two is Better than One

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Now, that’s more like it.

Yeah, Michael Pineda had a no-hitter going into the 7th inning and that was cool. Then he gave up his first hit, a solo home run. No big deal, right? ‘Cept the Yanks only had 2 runs of their own and with Pineda’s pitch-count nearing the magic number (100), he didn’t make it through the inning.

Then in the 8th, trouble: first and third, one out. Enter, Mr. Betances. A ground ball to first, Garrett Jones–who’d been robbed of a run-scoring hit to end the 7th–fields, hesitates, throws high to the plate, runner called safe, tie game. The Yanks have the umps review it, call’s overturned, the lead safe. Betances handles the rest and preserves the 2-1 lead for a much-needed win.

Alex Rodriguez got a couple of hits and is now just three away from Mr. 3,000; Carlos Beltran also had two hits.

Picture by Bags

Ouch

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The on-again, off-again Yankees are in off-again mode.

Last night, Nathan Eovaldi gave up 8 runs in the first inning and that was that. The final was 12-2. Man, oh, man, it was ugly.

Missed it by That Much

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The Yanks were down 2-1 with a man on and two men out in the 9th inning when Alex Rodriguez came to the plate as a pinch-hitter. And he got a standing ovation. I’m not sure he’s ever been received so warmly at Yankee Stadium. It was like being in some kind of alternate universe for a moment. The love didn’t translate into a hit–he popped out to right field to end the game, just missed, too–but the drama was there. Even as an old man, Rodriguez is boffo.

Tough loss for the Yanks and Masahiro Tanaka who pitched a good game–and a Sergio Santos did a sweet job in relief getting out of a bases-loaded, nobody out jam in the 8th.

Picture by Bags

We Gotta Win

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All-in effort from the Yanks today, especially the bullpen and Mr. John Ryan Murphy who came through with a couple of big hits as the Yanks beat the O’s, 5-3 to avoid being swept. Baltimore is hot but the Yanks did a nice job to get the “w” today.

Exhale.

[Photo Credit: Joel Zimmer]

Which Way Did He Go, George, Which Way Did He Go?

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Win a little, loss a little: That’s what our pal Hank Waddles said this season is going to be like and after winning seven in a row that Yanks have now dropped three straight. Stupid fielding, weak pitching did the trick last night as the O’s beat the Yanks 9-4. The less said about this one the better.

Oh, but I have to share this tweet from another old pal, Emma Span: “A-Rod hits home run #666. Somewhere in Wisconsin, blood spontaneously appears on Bud Selig’s ceiling in the shape of a pentagram.”

You can’t fake funny and boy, oh, boy, Emmma’s still got it.

Smack

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Maseo homered in his second big league at bat last night and you just have to love that. Harder to love was the beating Big Mike took and boy did he get whupped as the Orioles sailed to a 11-3 win. Alex and Tex had a couple of hits each–and Rodriguez is now 5 away from 3,000–otherwise there’s not much to talk about.

They are at it again tonight. Let’s hope the results are better.

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