Yankees wake up, score eight runs in last four innings in 9-6 win over Jays

The Yankees rallied from a four-run deficit to beat the Blue Jays in Toronto Sunday afternoon, regaining a share of the AL East lead. Baltimore beat Boston 6-3 earlier in the day to claim sole possession of first, but the Yankees’ late spark drove the bombers back into pole position. The Yankees overcame a rough start by Phil Hughes, who tossed four and two-thirds innings of eight-hit, five-run ball, effectively stymying the Blue Jays offense thanks to strong relief efforts by Derek Lowe, Boone Logan, and David Robertson.

The bombers began the game essentially the way they ended last night’s contest: offensively impotent, and looking for something to fall their way. The Jays, on the other hand, jumped all over Hughes almost immediately: Yunel Escobar doubled in a run in the first while advancing Edwin Encarnacion to third–he’d score on Adam Lind’s sacrifice fly. They would put men on first and third in the second, but quiet down in the third and fourth; the Yankees got hits in the first and second innings, but didn’t manage to score until Eric Chavez blasted a Henderson Alvarez ball into the right field stands.

That was the way the game was going, pretty much, at the beginning of the sixth inning–the Yankees ineptly putting runners on then failing to advance them, and the Jays moving runners almost at will against a flustered-looking Phil Hughes. The Jays were coming off a long bottom of the fifth that saw Brett Lawrie turn on a hanging, spinning breaking ball with a runner on first, and then saw Moises Sierra lace a run-scoring single to chase Hughes. Heading into the inning, it was 5-1, and the Yankees were staring a one-game deficit in the eyes.

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Game 159: Does this team even deserve to be in the playoffs?

Imagine a scenario: the Yankees lose their last four games, watching the O’s sweep the Rays, the Angels win all four, and the Oakland A’s take two out of four. No playoffs. And after yesterday’s stinker against the Jays, I have to say, I wouldn’t be that fussed. I mean, sure, the Yankees have a strong body of work over a long season…but they have spent long swaths of this season looking like a sub-.500 team.

Basically, I’m echoing the sentiment that popped up a lot after yesterday’s disaster: maybe they don’t deserve to be in the playoffs.

But baseball, like all sports, has little relationship to fairness; and if the Yanks can just take a few games in a row, then they’ll be where they always seem to be these days: playing for their lives in October.

So let’s try to scrub the image of yesterday’s bases loaded impotence out of our brains, and watch Phil Hughes (16-13, 4.10) try to stop the bleeding against Henderson Alvarez (9-14, 4.91). First pitch is at 1:05 PM EST.
Yankees (91-67)
D. Jeter, SS
I. Suzuki, RF
A. Rodriguez, 3B
R. Cano, 2B
N. Swisher, 1B
C. Granderson, CF
R. Ibanez, LF
R. Martin, C
E. Chavez, DH

Blue Jays (70-88)
B. Lawrie, 3B
R. Davis, LF
E. Encarnacion, DH
Y. Escobar, SS
A. Lind, 1B
M. Sierra, RF
J. Arencibia, C
A. Hechavarria, 2B
A. Gose, CF Continue reading Game 159: Does this team even deserve to be in the playoffs?

Impotent Yankees lose to Jays 3-2; AL East lead in jeopardy

The Yankees lost to the Blue Jays Saturday afternoon in Toronto in an offensively impotent showing that has fans scratching their heads and pulling at their fingernails. Andy Pettitte tossed five and two-thirds innings of solid, albeit unspectacular ball (3 ER, 5 H, 4 K’s, 3 BB), and the bullpen (more or less) managed to keep Toronto at bay, but the Yankee offense couldn’t find a hit when it mattered. Time and again they’d strand runners in scoring position, searching desperately for the one hit that just couldn’t seem to fall in.

It was a terribly frustrating spectacle.

The loss puts the Yankees in position to fall into a tie for the AL East with Baltimore, if the Orioles beat Boston this evening–almost a foregone conclusion this year. The Yankees play Toronto again tomorrow, then host Boston in a season-ending (-defining, -determining) three game set. The Orioles get, arguably, the harder season-ending series, as they travel to Tampa to take on the Rays–a schedule that probably favors the Yankees.

Breakdown after the jump.

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Game 158: Magic Numbers

October is right around the bend, but most Yankee fans feel like it’s here already–as Brien said yesterday. It feels like every night is must-win, that the Orioles are maybe two bad games away from slipping into first place, and that for every great game they play the O’s give one right back. It hasn’t been the most calming couple weeks.

But that’s why we love baseball, right?

Andy Pettitte’s on the bump today, taking on Ricky Romero. Game on.
Yankees (91-66)
D. Jeter, DH
I. Suzuki, LF
A. Rodriguez, 3B
R. Cano, 2B
N. Swisher, 1B
C. Granderson, CF
A. Jones, RF
E. Nunez, SS
C. Stewart, C

Blue Jays (69-88)
B. Lawrie, 3B
R. Davis, LF
E. Encarnacion, DH
Y. Escobar, SS
Y. Gomes, 1B
M. Sierra, RF
J. Mathis, C
A. Hechavarria, 2B
A. Gose, CF Continue reading Game 158: Magic Numbers

Game 152: Hangover Cure

The Yankees won in epic fashion last night, rallying from four runs down in the top of the 13th to win, finally, on an E-3 in the 14th. It was a spectacle of grit, determination; it was also a pretty badly played game. Lost in the euphoria, along with Nova’s genuinely bad outing–as William said–was the team’s inability to put away the A’s: Raul Ibanez’ crash into home plate, Melky Mesa’s trip around third, Derek Jeter’s failure with the bases loaded. It was not a well played game.

But all of that has been swept up in the good feelings that come with winning a remarkable game, and, honestly, all of that should be swept up for now.

So, let’s hope everyone isn’t too hungover, because Baltimore isn’t quitting–they won in extras last night also. Hiroki Kuroda is on the bump for the bombers, and it’s time to get back in the saddle. So pop some Alka-Seltzers and sit back. It’s baseball time in the Bronx.

Athletics (85-66)
S. Drew, SS
S. Smith, LF
Y. Cespedes, CF
B. Moss, 1B
J. Gomes, DH
J. Reddick, RF
J. Donaldson, 3B
G. Kottaras, C
C. Pennington, 2B

Yankees (88-63)
D. Jeter, DH
I. Suzuki, LF
A. Rodriguez, 3B
R. Cano, 2B
N. Swisher, 1B
C. Granderson, CF
R. Martin, C
R. Ibanez, RF
E. Nunez, SS Continue reading Game 152: Hangover Cure

Yankees come back four runs to win epic 14-inning marathon on walkoff E-3

The Yankees won an epic 14-inning marathon against the Oakland Athletics Saturday afternoon, as the bombers rallied from a 9-5 deficit in the top of the 13th inning to tie the score at 9 after a series of singles allowed Raul Ibanez to lace a two-run homer into the second deck in right field.  They wouldn’t win the game until the 14th, however, when–after a minor mishap involving Melky Mesa tripping around third base on what should have been a game-winning single by Alex Rodriguez–Eduardo Nunez smacked a grounder towards first, and Brandon Moss kicked it into right field, allowing Ichiro Suzuki to score.

It was a sloppy, badly pitched, badly fielded game filled with missed opportunities and disappointing failures. But it was also a Yankee epic, a come-from-behind victory that will give the team a huge lift as they fight with Baltimore for the AL East. This team has been accused for much of the year of lacking a fighting spirit, of missing that key component of great teams–the ability to battle back, to never believe that they’re out of a game. They hadn’t won very many come-from-behind games this season, and they hadn’t given off the impression that they believed that they could win that type of game.

That changed tonight, when, trailing by four runs after more than five hours of baseball, this team found it within themselves to push for more. There are a lot of things the Yankees (and the A’s) failed at tonight; but, through all of it, this Yankee team showed that they had the grit, the determination that they need to get the job done. Continue reading Yankees come back four runs to win epic 14-inning marathon on walkoff E-3

Game 151: Streakin’

The Yankees are on a bit of a roll right now (“SHHHHHHH!!” says everyone), with important pieces falling into place at the right times almost every night. Yesterday, ace CC Sabathia turned in a brilliant performance, and Russell Martin saved the game by homering in the 10th inning to walk off. Ichiro Suzuki and Derek Jeter are reminding us of 2001, and Andy Pettitte can still throw a cutter.

So, what’s the problem?

Those pesky Orioles won’t lose. They’ve won five in a row, keeping pace as the Yankees have tried to break away.

The bombers get the A’s again today, and will send out Ivan Nova, who looked strong in his last start to face Travis Blackley, making his 13th start–he’s 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA in 12 starts so far.

Athletics (85-65)
S. Drew, SS
S. Smith, LF
Y. Cespedes, CF
B. Moss, 1B
C. Carter, DH
J. Reddick, RF
J. Donaldson, 3B
G. Kottaras, C
C. Pennington, 2B

Yankees (87-63)

D. Jeter, SS
I. Suzuki, CF
A. Rodriguez, DH
R. Cano, 2B
N. Swisher, RF
C. McGehee, 1B
J. Nix, 3B
A. Jones, LF
C. Stewart, C Continue reading Game 151: Streakin’

Game 148: One-Two Punch

After taking the first game today 4-2 on the back of Andy Pettitte’s strong outing, the Yankees look to extend their winning streak to four games this evening. This sort of 1-2 punch day is great for teams in pennant races, because they can pick up a half game if they sweep–even if their competition wins. So all eyes turn to David Phelps, who will take the mound for the bombers–hopefully in front of a few more people than this afternoon (I wish I could go to a matinee game on a Wednesday in September).

On the other side of the rubber will be the incomprehensibly inconsistent Ricky Romero, having a more down than up type of season–his +5.00 ERA stands in bold testament.

First pitch is at 7:05 PM EST.

Blue Jays (66-80)
R. Davis, RF
C. Rasmus, CF
B. Lawrie, 3B
A. Lind, DH
J. Arencibia, C
K. Johnson, 2B
Y. Gomes, 1B
A. Hechavarria, SS
A. Gose, LF

Yankees (84-63)
D. Jeter, SS
N. Swisher, RF
R. Cano, DH
A. Rodriguez, 3B
C. Granderson, CF
J. Nix, 2B
C. McGehee, 1B
I. Suzuki, LF
C. Stewart, C Continue reading Game 148: One-Two Punch

Game 146: All tee’d up

The Yankees take on the Rays this afternoon in a matinee showdown (1:05 PM EST first pitch), with their most consistent starter (Hiroki Kuroda) on the mound. As William said, with the O’s forced to start Randy Wolf against the shockingly good Oakland A’s, the Yanks are in a good position to make a move on the field with a win today.

But for that to happen, they need to, you know, win.

On the other side of the hill, the Rays will turn to enigmatic youngster Matt Moore, who last started in the Bronx in September of 2011, when he shut out the Yankees in his first ever major league start, striking out 11 in only five innings. Moore has had an up and down season, disappointing many analysts who expected him to produce a Strasburg-level rookie campaign (you know, aside from the whole elbow thing). But there’s no question that when he’s on he can be one of the most devastating pitchers in the league.

Rays (78-67)
D. Jennings, LF
B. Zobrist, SS
E. Longoria, 3B
M. Joyce, DH
B. Upton, CF
L. Scott, 1B
J. Keppinger, 2B
S. Fuld, RF
J. Lobaton, C

Yankees (82-63)
D. Jeter, DH
N. Swisher, RF
A. Rodriguez, 3B
R. Cano, 2B
R. Martin, C
A. Jones, LF
C. Granderson, CF
S. Pearce, 1B
E. Nunez, SS Continue reading Game 146: All tee’d up