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

Flat

paris, texas

Brett “The Constant” Gardner hit a long home run to lead off the game last night and a few innings later Jacoby Ellsbury hit a solo home run. That brought the  Yanks to within a run of the Rangers, who scored 3 times in the first inning against our man Hiroki. But the Yankees didn’t get a man on base after the 3rd inning and even with Kuroda pitching 7 durable innings, that’s just no way to win a ball game, now is it?

Final Score: Rangers 3, Yanks 2.

Former President George W. Bush was on hand before the game as part of the Rangers’ farewell ceremony for Derek Jeter. Watching the former President standing next to Jeter was amusing. Jeter looked completely at ease. Not presidential, exactly, but a Duke in his domain for sure.

Seems Like Old Times

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Damn those Yankees for spoiling what I thought to be a perfectly good headline: The Constant Gardner. Ol’ Brett is fire right now so I wanted to pay tribute to that. But then the game got in the way, an old-fashioned, tedious, and seemingly endless American League slugfest, that came down to the final pitch. Well, Gardner figured into that, too, when he caught Adrian Beltre’s fly ball to end the game.

I don’t know about you, but from where I was sitting, I thought the ball was going over the fence for a game-winning home run.

The Yanks had a big fat lead but the Rangers scored 7 runs in the last 3 innings and made us more than somewhat uncomfortable. J.P. Arencibia, a reincarnation of Pete Incaviglia, turned around a 97 mph fastball–above the waist!–from Dellin Betances for a grand slam in the 7th. Thank goodness for Mark Teixeira’s 2-run home run in the 8th because the Rangers made things sweaty in their final turn at bat. They scored twice and had the bases loaded again, David Robertson on the ropes. Course the count went full against Beltre before he flew out to Gardner to end the game.

For those of us who watched the whole thing, we earned that one, eh?

Hey, the win is the thing.

Final Score: Yanks 12, Rangers 11. 

[Photo Via: Toilet Wolf]

The One with the Sideburns

The Yankees swept through Texas on the way to World Championships in 1998 and 1999. When they faced off in the Division Series, each squad featured a team OPS of over .819. They were two of the better hitting teams in a juiced-up era.

In last night’s game, each lineup featured exactly one player who can top the team OPS of 15 years ago – Beltre for the Rangers and, here we have to cheat a little bit, Cervelli in a limited roll for the Yanks. If we don’t get to cheat, then the Yanks top starter was Brett Gardner, though his .789 OPS is well short of what the 1999 Yanks could do.

No player is better-suited to thrive in today’s game than Brett Gardner. A glove-first speedster who could get on base a little but couldn’t hit it out of the infield, he’d never have made it on the field in the late 90s. The Yanks weren’t sure how to account for stellar defense and weren’t too sure how much it was worth to them anyway. In recent years, even powerless, Gardner became one of the Yankees’ better players. In 2014, reaching a dozen homers while the calendar still says July, he’s added enough power to his game to be a star and the Yankees MVP. And a rarity – a very good contract.

The Yankees were very fortunate to have him last night, as he got them on the scoreboard and gave them a real chance to win with two solo homers. He now has four career homers off Yu Darvish which strikes me as near-impossible. But David Phelps couldn’t retire J.P. Arencibia when it mattered most and lost the game 4-2. J.P. Arencibia is hitting .153 and getting on base at a .198 clip. He’s indistinguishable from a statue except the statue would probably take more walks. Phelps allowed all four runs on two-out hits in the fifth.

The Yankees threatened a couple of times and really handled Darvish as well as you can possibly expect them to, but they could never get the meaningful hit with men on base. When Darvish attacked McCann with a 91 MPH heat-seeker aimed at his back leg in the seventh, it was like watching Mariano’s cutter gone feral. McCann struck out of course, but the pitch just kept boring in past the point of recognition and carved out a unique-looking trajectory.

***

 

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The last batter of the game was Derek Jeter and he stung a one-hopper to short but Andrus handled it easily. That put an end to one of Jeter’s best games of the year. Three hits and a walk. One of them a double!

The third hit, a perfectly executed hit-and-run before the McCann whiff in the seventh, was his 3420th and sent Jeter past Carl Yastrzemski into seventh place by his lonesome on the all-time hit list (according to Elias and MLB.com). Honus Wagner is up next, 10 hits away, and that’s as far as Jeter can get this year. He’d need another 94 hits in the Yankees remaining 57 games to catch Tris Speaker for the fifth spot.

I watched each of Jeter’s at bats with an enthusiasm I have not been able to muster since Masahiro Tanaka got hurt. I wish there were a few more doubles sprinkled into Jeter’s season, but otherwise, he’s had a very enjoyable year and I look forward to the last two months. I would not be surprised at all if his batting average keeps creeping up towards .300, like in 2008 when the Yanks season was crap and the stadium was closing and he rallied the fans around his pursuit of the previously obscure Stadium hit record.

 

Image from simpsonswiki.com

 

Steady, Steady…

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The Yanks lost a close one yesterday, 5-4, which makes two close ones in a row to the Jays. Still, they were 8-3 on the home stand and something else happened to–the Yanks showed some character. I like this team. They aren’t the greatest, they’ve got flaws (boy, they could use a second baseman), they can be sloppy at times, but they have some toughness, too.

 

Onward

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So the Jays finally beat the Yanks at the Stadium. Fine, now that we’ve got that out of the way:

Gardner LF

Jeter SS

Ellsbury CF

Beltran DH

McCann 1B

Headley 3B

Cervelli C

Wheeler RF

Ryan 2B

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

[Picture by Bags]

Ichi!

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I went to the game last night with The Wife and some friends. Boy, it was a good time. Yanks are on a little roll here and why not enjoy it while it lasts, right?

One thing came to mind…In the first inning Jose Bautista hit a 3-run home run on a 3-0 pitch. Now, it was the first inning so I know, contextually, there are other home runs that would be more important–late in the game, a game-winner, in a playoff game. Still, I wonder if anything feels so good as not only getting a hit on a 3-0 pitch but hitting the Bejesus out of the ball.

‘Nother weird thing was Francisco Cervelli hit a ball, just foul down the third base line and on the next pitch hit one just fair down the third base line. When does that happen?

Our pal Ichi hit his first homer of the year, Hiroki kept them in the game and the bullpen does what it do.

Final Score: Yanks 6, Jays 4.

[Photo Credit: Bill Kostroun, AP]

 

Vroom Vroom

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Yanks are on a nice little roll. 

They’ve got the Jays this weekend as both teams trail the O’s by 3 games.

[Photo Credit: Aleix Plademunt via MPD]

The Long and Short of It

Francisco Cervelli

A long, strange rain delay turned the Yankees’ way last night. The game was eventually called but the Yanks had a lead and got the win, 2-1. 

They’ll take it.

[Photo Credit: AP via Chad Jennings]

Oh, You Broke Your Cherry

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The script was written. It was just up to Chase Headley to play along.

The newest Yankee had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the 12th, bases loaded, 2 out. No score, as the Year of the Infield Pop-Up Revival continues all across the land. Francisco Cervelli had just lined out to Adrian Beltre. Couldn’t hit a ball much harder and for a brief moment, Cervelli and the Yanks must have felt that the game was won. But he hit it to the wrong place. Headley had his Yankee moment all lined-up but he grounded out to second instead.

He got another chance in the bottom of the 14th though. First and third, 1 out, score tied at 1. Headley got a sinker moving away and he took it to left. Good enough for a single and the game-winning hit.

Had it all along, right?

Yanks 2, Rangers 1.

Beautiful win.

That Did Not Go Well

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The Yanks let one slip away.

[Picture by Bags]

Grits n Gravy

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Remember that tough at bat Paulie O’Neill had against John Rocker in the 1999 Whirled Serious? I couldn’t help but think of itt today in the 9th inning when Jacoby Ellsbury led off against Aroldis Chapman. Tie score, Yanks 2, Reds 2. Paulie O in the booth calling the game along with Michael Kay.

Ellsbury took pitches and fouled off more–all fastballs, all 100 mph or faster. Nine pitches in all, the last one grounded through the left side for a base hit, his fourth of the day.

Ellsbury stole second without a throw, moved to third on a wild pitch and then trotted home with the game winning run when Brian McCann’s pop fly to short right field fell in between 3 fielders. The Red had the shift on against the lefty McCann and there was some confusion as to who was going to get the ball. It was a Mack Sennett moment, minus the casualties–though I could already hear the Old School commentators on the MLB Network talking about this being a drawback to the shift. The Reds’ feelings were plenty hurt, though. What a lousy way to lose a game.

The Yankees? After hanging tough against Johnny Cueto, surviving Dellin Betances serving up a game-tying home run in the 8th–taking a win out of Hiroki Kuroda’s pocket–they sweep the Reds and should enjoy themselves plenty tonight.

The Yanks played well–although they left a ton of men on base–and they got some luck.

Final Score:

Yanks 3, Reds 2.

Oh, yeah. Ellsbury really has been a pleasure, hasn’t he?

[Picture by Bags]

Well, Okay, Then

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The Wife and I ran errands yesterday afternoon and so we followed the game in fits and spurts with John and Suzyn. Wouldn’t you know it but the Yanks won, 7-1.

Not bad, so far. 

Today gives a stiffer challenge with the Reds throwing Johnny Cueto.

Bombers counter with our man Hiroki.

Never mind this dreamy cool weather:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

[Picture by Bags]

Welcome Back

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Dag, I missed it. But when I checked the score–Yanks 4, Reds 3–I was happy. Especially with the Reds’ good starting pitching the rest of the weekend.

Chad Jennings has the particulars. 

[Picture by Bags]

Cut Short

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It was the second time around against the meat of the order that Chase Whitley got tagged. Not destroyed, but had for 3 runs.

David Huff relieved him and then Mother Nature relieved herself. The rain came and didn’t leave and in the end, the Yanks lost 3-1 in 5 innings.

Somehow, it was a fitting way to go into the All Star Break. They are 47-47.

 

 

[Photo Credit: Tara on the wander]

Hard to Earn: Small Wonder

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Man, the kid was good. Stands up tall on the mound, works quickly, has poise. Even when he got into trouble, he didn’t rattle. Shane Greene gave the Yanks exactly what they needed on Saturday afternoon as they beat the Orioles, 3-0.

Now, if only Chase Whitley can do likewise today.

Never mind the break:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

[Picture by Bags]

 

Quelle Domage

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Nice to see that the Banter faithful were out enjoying their Friday night instead of suffering through another characteristic 2014 Yankee loss.

Good starting pitching, good relieving, no hitting.

It all amounted to a 3-2 loss as the Yanks sink 5 games back of the AL East-leading Orioles.

Our man Hiroki–the last man standing–pitched well so it was dispiriting that he didn’t get more run support. But this is the way things go for a .500 ball club.

[Photo Credit: Bill Peppas]

I Know, But Honey…

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Well, Hell. Eerything was going so well. David Phelps held the Indians scoreless through the first 6 innings and had a modest 3-0 lead. But he was relieved of his duties after giving up a couple of hits to start the 7th and by the time the inning was over, the Indians led, 4-3.

As Chad Jennings reports:

Biggest play of the game might have been the single that came immediately after Phelps left the game. Ground ball up the middle might have been a double play, but Matt Thornton reacted and knocked the ball down. Instead of getting through to Jeter, it was an infield single to load the bases. The triple that followed tied the game. “It’s reaction,” Girardi said. “But if you could think real quick, you’d say, ‘Matt Thornton, get out of the way.’ Then you’ve got a double play ball. It changes the complexion of the game. It changes who we use. It just changes everything. But it happens. It’s a reaction, it happens, and you want your pitchers to try to field balls, but that happened to be one that is the double play ball we’re looking for.”

Thornton on that play: “I know where Derek’s at in that situation. I know that we’re pinching up the middle there, but the ball gets hit hard back at you, that’s instinct. Love to look back and be able to jump out of the way of it, but that’s not how it works. … Anyone who’s been on the mound and had the ball hit back to them, you’re going to react to it. I reacted just slow enough to slap it, and not quick enough to get it. It changes the momentum of the game there big time.”

The Indians scored 5 more times in the 8th just to rub it in and what appeared to be a series win was lost.

Just like the Yanks lost their ace, and more than likely, the 2014 season.

We’ll keep watching, of course. There’s entertainment to be had, and this is our team, and we love baseball, so we ain’t going anywhere. Still, the Tanaka news was a Holly Hunter punch right between the eyes, wasn’t it?

Final Score: Indians 9, Yanks 3. 

Sweet Dreams

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Did ya think the Yanks were going to lose last night? I did. But then, I’m not an Indians fan and I’m sure they felt like they were going to lose, too. But after yesterday’s injury news–some dire (Tanaka), some minor (Gardner), some freakish (Beltran)–my Yankee spirits were dampened.

The Yankee bullpen was terrific after Brandon McCarthy gave them a good start. Brendan Ryan turned in some beautiful plays at short. A pair of homers by Mark Teixeira kept them afloat and in the 14th inning Jacoby Ellsbury hit a solo home run that proved to be the game-winner. Ellsbury’s shot came on an 0-2 curve ball with 2 out.

Final Score: Yanks 5, Indians 4. 

[Photo Credit: Stephanie Klavens]

Sleep, Baby, Sleep

skyu

So, Tanaka might be in a slump but hell, he’s still damn fun to watch. Even after he gave up the second home run. I think watching him struggle some makes me like him even more. As well as he pitched early on he’s never felt dominant, not giving up so many dingers. Last night, Swisher’s homer wasn’t a solo shot and it cost Tanaka. Didn’t help that after scoring 3 early runs the Yankee hitters went sueno.

Final Score: Indians 5, Yanks 3. 

[Photo Credit: Jurgen Heckel]

Yanks Score Early, Hang On For Win

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The Yanks scored 5 runs off Justin Masterson in the first couple of innings last night then held things together for a 5-3 win. Dellin Betances pitched the final 2 innings in a steady rain to get the save but the story of the night was the nice start by Shane Greene. Making his big league debut, Greene featured a 95-mph fastball, sharp slider, as well as a change-up. He handled the Indians for the first few innings and worked out of a jam in the 6th. David Huff was pressed into duty to pitch the 7th as manager Joe Girardi wanted to rest the likes of Adam Warren, Shawn Kelley, and Matt Thornton.

Brett Gardner, Brian McCann and Ichiro! each had 3 hits. And Derek Jeter’s bit of misdirection helped turn a double play.

[Photo Credit: Nate Bittinger]

 

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