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Tag: Chicago White Sox

Chicago, Seven

Ivan Nova

Ivan Nova is the Yankees' third 10-game winner this year.

Twenty-six years ago, on August 4, the Yankees and White Sox played the third game of a four-game set at Yankee Stadium. It was Phil Rizzuto Day at the Stadium, and his number 10 was retired during a pregame ceremony that featured an appearance by a Holy Cow. A few hours later, Rizzuto’s future broadcast partner on WPIX, Tom Seaver, jumped into the arms of Carlton Fisk in celebration of his 300th career victory. Seaver handed the Yankees their fifth loss in six games. They proceeded to win 14 of their next 15 to gain on the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East standings.

No such historical significance defined the lead-up to Thursday’s Yankees-White Sox tilt at US Cellular Field. Derek Jeter passed Lou Brock on the all-time hits list last night. No member of past White Sox teams was enjoying a number retirement ceremony, although manager Ozzie Guillen was the White Sox’ starting shortstop in the Rizzuto-Seaver game.

The only questions were:

  • Would the Yankees extend their win streak to seven?
  • Where would the Yankees stand heading into the Boston series?
  • Regardless of the outcome, how would Ivan Nova pitch?
  • The answers were “Yes,” “Tied,” and, “Anything would have been better than Burnett, but in a word, awesome.”

    The offense didn’t need to give Nova a 12-run lead and hope he held onto it. He did just fine with a one-run advantage, save for the bizarre hiccup on the pitch-out in the third inning that led to the only run he allowed. He was even better when the game was tied in the middle innings. Nova faced the minimum number of batters in each of those innings, and benefited from great defense.

    The White Sox mounted a minor threat with one out in the sixth, shortly after the Yankees regained the lead. Juan Pierre reached base on arguably the cheapest hit ever, which brought Alexei Ramirez at the plate. Nova maintained his aggressiveness throughout the Ramirez at-bat, and also did a good job holding Pierre at first. With the count 2-and-2, Pierre took off for second base. Nova got Ramirez to swing at a high, inside fastball for strike three, and Russell Martin quickly threw to second. Robinson Cano fielded the ball on a short hop at the bag and tagged Pierre first on his left arm and then sweeping up to the brim of his helmet to complete the double play.

    That play was the turning point of the game. The Yankees tacked on two more runs in the seventh and three in the ninth. Nova made good on the insurance runs, as did the Yankees’ bullpen. Final score, 7-2.

    Martin called Nova’s stuff “electric” in his postgame interview with YES Network’s Kim Jones.

    “His fastball, he’s reaching up to 95, 96 when he needs it,” Martin said. “He’s working his slider off his fastball and he’s got a good curveball to go with that.

    “He’s got four pitches and they’re all working well for him right now. So when you throw 96 and you’ve got four good pitches, you’re going to be a stud, and he’s exactly that.”

    “Electric” has been the adjective of choice to describe AJ Burnett’s stuff through the years, almost as a defense mechanism to explain away his inconsistency. It is Nova, though, who a night after Burnett had an outage, lit up Chicago. His performance was not a statement but an exclamation that he should be in the majors to stay and perhaps be an integral part of the Yankees’ October plans. Nova’s victory means in one night, he has earned more wins in the month of August than Burnett has in two previous Augusts as a Yankee. In his last two starts, Nova has beaten more American League teams than Burnett has since June 1.

    There’s no decision to make anymore. Nova should be in the rotation. Joe Girardi’s decision may just be which veteran gets bumped come October.

    J Martin. The Canadian catcher is proving to be one of Brian Cashman’s shrewdest acquisitions last winter. The catch and throw on the double play in the sixth inning preserved the lead in what was then a tight game. He also drove in the last four runs of the game, the capper being a mammoth three-run home run in the top of the ninth. His quiet competitive grit is the perfect balance to Francisco Cervelli’s ebullience. And he’s healthy again.

    The Yankees outscored the White Sox 34-11 in the four-game series. They have outscored the opposition 63-19 (average score of 9-3) during the seven-game win streak. … Adam Dunn’s home run in the bottom of the ninth off Hector Noesi was the only run allowed by Yankees’ relievers in the series.

    The Yankees meet their White Whale in New England starting tomorrow. They’ll send Bartolo Colon, CC Sabathia and Freddy Garcia to the mound against Jon Lester, John Lackey and Josh Beckett. We know the Yankees’ history against Boston this season: 1-8 and perhaps singularly responsible for the Red Sox’ rise. Since getting their first win of the season against the Yankees, the Red Sox have won nearly two thirds of their games.

    Two items of note:

    1) CC Sabathia continues to stake his claim for a second Cy Young Award, but if he does not pitch well Saturday, or if he loses, he has almost no chance. Sabathia is 0-3 with a 6.16 ERA against the Red Sox this season. He’s averaged slightly more than 6 IP per start, 8 H, 4 ER, has a 1.67 K/BB ratio, and the BoSox are batting .308 against him. In his 21 other starts, Sabathia is 16-2 with a 2.11 ERA, averaging more than 7 IP per start, has a 4.08 K/BB ratio, and holding opposing hitters to a .223 average.

    2) Josh Beckett. The Yankees have done next to nothing against him this season. Beckett dominated the Yankees like he did in the 2003 World Series, to the tune of 25 strikeouts in 21 IP, and just 10 hits allowed.

    It should be a fun weekend, and a worthy playoff preview.


    Thank Heaven for Little Guillens

    Thank the Baseball Gods for the Guillen family; in a cold quiet winter they bring us sparks and adventure. Yesterday White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen’s son Oney absolutely lit into former White Sox and current Red Sox reliever Bobby Jenks on Twitter. Highlights are many, but include:

    hahah memo to bobby jenks get a clue u drink to much and u have had marital problems hugeee ones and the sox stood behind u

    they did not air out ur dirty laundry, u came to srping not drinking and then u sucked and started srinking again be a man

    be a man and tell the manager or the coaching staff how u feel or the organization when u were with the sox not when u leave

    u cried in the managers office bc u have problems now u go and talk bad about the sox after they protected u for 7 years ungrateful

    if it wasnt for u and mainly u freddy garcia would have like 17 wins and the sox would have beat the twins …

    …oh and yes i remember clearly u blowing a hugee game in 09 and u laughing ur bearded ass off while everyone busting there tail…

    …one little story remember when u couldnt handle ur drinking and u hit a poor arizona clubby in the face i do. and later u covered it wit

    Im sorry thats ur answer to everything. How can u disrespect ur ex team like that

    Uh, yikes. The comments from Jenks that brought this on were obnoxious, but fairly tame in comparison. He told reporters that he wanted “to play for a manager who trusts his relievers, regardless of what’s going on,” and said “Why would I come back to that negativity? I’m looking forward to playing for a manager who knows how to run a bullpen.” He also felt that the White Sox didn’t handle their decision not to re-sign him particularly well, which is debatable, but a common enough sentiment when teams and players part ways.

    Jim Margalus of South Side Sox writes,

    I wouldn’t be surprised if most, if not all, of what Oney Guillen tweeted about Jenks was true. There were a couple of weird tongue-holding episodes at the end of the season; Jenks creating an uneasy scene by spitting on the clubhouse floor, Kenny Williams saying “there are certain things I’m not going to talk about right now.” To this point, Williams has resisted kicking Jenks out the door, but Oney seems to have filled in at least some of the blanks. None of it was necessary.

    OK, nothing Guillen’s middle son does is necessary when it comes to White Sox Business, but this was bringing a grenade to a pillow fight. Jenks only criticized Ozzie the Manager, and that brings only Bobby the Pitcher into play. There’s lots of room for insult there. His attitude, his inconsistent performance, which may have been attributable to his inconsistent conditioning … pick one and hammer away if you please. That’s an eye for an eye, and all in a day’s work for these highly compensated professionals.

    That would accomplish far more than taking private information and making it public.

    This isn’t the first time Jenks’ personal issues went public; in Jerry Crasnick’s “License to Deal: A Season on the Run With a Maverick Baseball Agent”, Crasnick and Jenks’ former representative Matt Sosnick describe the pitcher as “an agent’s nightmare – the type of player who constantly tests management’s patience and rarely takes responsibility for his actions,” whose “drinking and capacity for self-destruction… soiled just about everything he touched,” a “reclamation project” who “couldn’t be reclaimed.” Ouch again.

    I’m sure the Red Sox knew what they were getting into and if Jenks pitches well, as he has in the past, no one on the team or in the stands will care much about the guy’s flaws, whatever they might be. If he doesn’t, though, Boston is not a place where it takes very long for things to get ugly.

    Anyway, Oney Guillen’s rant was clearly unprofessional and inappropriate, but in these days of corporate-speak, careful PR men, and dull canned quotes, I’ve gotta say I’m glad somebody is still able to go off the reservation like that.

    Photo via Chicago Now

    Baseball Player Names of the Week

    We have a tie, folks! Today’s first honoree is…

    Yam Yaryan.

    Yam, who was christened Clarence Everett Yaryan, was born in Iowa in 1892, and played only parts of two seasons for the Chicago White Sox. In that time he hit .260/.326/.376 for a less-than-mighty OPS+ of 81, and acquired an excellent and, based on the photo, fitting nickname. Next up:

    Flame Delhi.

    Flame was born the same day as Yam, November 5, 1892, in Town-Name-of-the-Week Harqua Hala, Arizona. Despite the imposing nickname (his real name was Lee) he only ever got into one major league game: April 16, 1912. He pitched three innings and allowed six runs, three earned, on seven hits and three walks. And that, apparently, was that.

    Feel free to offer suggestions for future Player Names of the Week, either in the comments or via email.

    Chance to Shine

    How ’bout a little Nova with your Sunday bagels? Fresh direct from the Lo Hud Yankee Oven, dig these biscuits—Andy feels good; Teix scratched:

    Brett Gardner LF
    Derek Jeter SS
    Nick Swisher 1B
    Robinson Cano 2B
    Marcus Thames DH
    Curtis Granderson CF
    Austin Kearns RF
    Eduardo Nunez 3B
    Francisco Cervelli C

    Really looking forward to watching Mr. Nova.

    Wonder if the ball will jump out of the park again today? Ah, never mind the homers…

    Let’s Go Yan-Kees!

    [Photo Credit: New York Times]

    Meet the Pres, Beat His Team

    The Yankees began the week in Washington D.C., where on Monday they stood on risers like members of a high school chorus as President Obama addressed team personnel and then exchanged pleasantries with each individual member of the organization. They closed the week with President Obama’s Chicago White Sox visiting them in the Bronx.

    Following the long 10-game road trip, despite the Yankees winning the last two games, they started off shaky and couldn’t get into a flow. Carlos Quentin’s line-drive double off Andy Pettitte in the top of the first was the last straw. That initial part of the opening frame Friday night was atypical for Pettitte, as far as this season is concerned anyway. Pettitte had allowed just four runs over his first four starts. Three of those four runs came in the third inning, usually the beginning of the second cycle through the lineup. Yet here he was having yielded three runs and four hits to an anemic White Sox offense that stood 11th in the American League in runs scored (88 total through 22 games).

    Cue the coaching visit. Whatever was said resonated with Pettitte, because subsequently struck out Mark Teahen and Jayson Nix, and the Yankee offense got two runs back in the bottom half to provide a pseudo-bailout. Pettitte had trouble with that top third of the ChiSox order again and didn’t really settle down until he got Paul Konerko, whose three-run home run in the first did the initial damage, to fly out to end the second.

    Pettitte threw 42 pitches over the first two innings and dug the Yankees a bit of a hole. In this way, it was a typical Andy Pettitte start — more than a hit per inning, four runs allowed, the offense having to score at least four or five runs to muster a victory. He didn’t run into any more snags until the fifth, when that same bunch of batters — Gordon Beckham, Alex Rios, Konerko and Quentin — staged a threat, which Pettitte deftly dodged.

    Those are moments where as an observer you can say, “This could be a turning point.” It didn’t look that way when Freddy Garcia made quick work of Curtis Granderson and Francisco Cervelli, but when Brett Gardner singled and stole second to pass the baton to Derek Jeter, there was stirring. The stirring came to a boil when Jeter launched a curveball into the left-field seats to tie the game at 4-4.

    “I was just looking for a good pitch to hit,” Jeter told Kim Jones on YES. “I haven’t been swinging at a lot of strikes lately, so I tried to bear down, and I got a good pitch that was up.”

    Jeter got a pitch that was up again in the 7th against Matt Thornton, with runners on first and second. This time it was a 95-mile-per-hour fastball that Jeter inside-outed past a diving Jayson Nix into the right-field corner. Cervelli, who reached on an HBP, and Gardner, who gutted out a single before scored on the triple.

    The two runs gave way to the formula: Damaso Marte for LOOGY duty and Joba to close out the 8th, then Mariano Rivera throwing straight cheese to retire the side in order in the ninth.

    The 6-4 win gave the Yankees their first April with at least 15 wins since 2003, when they went 20-6. It also kept Andy Pettitte unbeaten in April for the first time in his career.

    It was the kind of game we’ve gotten spoiled with over the last five or few years: fall behind early, come back in the middle innings, hold it down late. It’s the kind of win a President can appreciate. Then again, maybe not. He roots for the White Sox.


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