Game 127: RISP-ing Queens

Last night, the Yankees just couldn’t get it done against Justin Masterson and the Indians–but they did have some chances. They suffered from a combination of bad luck and good pitching, as my colleague William rightly pointed out, but there was a good deal of impotence at important moments, an incredibly frustrating display that will hopefully be scrubbed from our memory by this afternoon.

Today, they take on ex-best-player-EVER Ubaldo Jimenez, who has toppled quite a ways since his brilliant summer of command and power–he has a 9-12 record with a whopping 5.59 ERA. So we should see some chances for the on-again, off-again Yankee offense.

On the other side of the mound (metaphorically speaking) is Freddy Garcia, who rolls into this matinee with a 7-5 record, and a 4.96 ERA.

Yankees (73-53)
D. Jeter, SS
N. Swisher, RF
R. Cano, 2B
M. Teixeira, 1B
C. Granderson, CF
E. Chavez, 3B
R. Ibanez, DH
I. Suzuki, LF
C. Stewart, C
Indians (55-71)
J. Kipnis, 2B
A. Cabrera, SS
S. Choo, RF
C. Santana, C
M. Brantley, CF
C. Kotchman, 1B
M. LaPorta, DH
J. Hannahan, 3B
E. Carrera, LF Continue reading Game 127: RISP-ing Queens

RISP-tastrophy! Yankees lose 1-3 behind Masterson’s gem, missed opportunities

The Yankees just couldn’t score Saturday evening in Cleveland, but it wasn’t because they couldn’t hit: they put 10 men on against Justin Masterson and the Indians, but couldn’t come up with a hit when it mattered most. Masterson was good on the night–I don’t want to say phenomenal, because it seemed like if things had broken their way the Yankees could’ve scored quite a few off him–and he managed to keep the Bombers’ bats under control, featuring a power sinker, and a strong arsenal of breaking stuff. He controlled the ball well, worked the count, and got outs when it mattered–the prototypical night for a strong, pitch-to-contact type like Masterson. His final line was 6.2 innings, 7 hits, one run, two walks, six K’s–a great performance, especially against the Yankees normally potent lineup.

His counterpart ultimately turned in a strong, albeit not perfect, night of his own: Hiroki Kuroda threw eight innings of three run ball, while allowing four hits and two walks to go along with six strikeouts. On many other nights, a performance like that would have proved more than enough to get the win while saving the bullpen–in fact, most fans would happily sign up for eight innings and three runs from their de facto ace, especially with this lineup.
(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading RISP-tastrophy! Yankees lose 1-3 behind Masterson’s gem, missed opportunities

Game 126: Innocent bystanders

The Yankees take on the Cleveland Indians tonight (7:00 PM EST) in a game that will feel, to those who follow these things, almost like an afterthought: the Boston Red Sox officially threw in the towel on their 2012 season (and really the Theo Epstein era) today, dealing (arguably) their best player, Adrian Gonzalez, their onetime ace, Josh Beckett, and their 100-million-dollar-hospital-bill, Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers, for a couple of good prospects (pitcher Rubby Del La Rosa is legit, we think, and Jerry Sands has most of the tools to be fantastic). Oh, and Nick Punto was involved.

It’s fascinating to be a passive observer of this kind of project, especially when the main actors are your bitter rivals. In the long run, I think it’s probably a good move for the Sox. But will I enjoy seeing them at the bottom of the AL East for a couple seasons? Yes. Am I happy that Adrian Gonzalez–who remains one of the most terrifying hitters in baseball–won’t be playing against the Yankees very much? Yes. But more than any of this, I’m interested: interested in where the Red Sox go from here, in the choices they make on a personnel level, in the way they approach the task of pitching a few losing seasons to their fans. Whether I’m interested because I feel like I might just be peering into the future of the Yankees? Maybe, but I think the eventual, inevitable breakup of this Yankee side will be a little less drama-filled, if only because Bobby V won’t be involved (I hope).

But hey, Hiroki Kuroda is pitching for the Yanks against ex-Sox prospect Justin Masterson (his ERA is finally adjusting after a season of low-BABIP-ness). And Derek Jeter is playing great, amirite?! So screw you Skip Bayless, you’re the sports journalism equivalent of Nancy Grace–you act incredibly superior, and no one likes you.

Yankees (73-52)

D. Jeter, SS
N. Swisher, RF
R. Cano, 2B
M. Teixeira, 1B
C. Granderson, CF
E. Chavez, 3B
R. Martin, C
R. Ibanez, DH
I. Suzuki, LF

Indians (54-71)

J. Kipnis, 2B
A. Cabrera, SS
S. Choo, RF
C. Santana, DH
M. Brantley, CF
C. Kotchman, 1B
E. Carrera, LF
J. Hannahan, 3B
L. Marson, C Continue reading Game 126: Innocent bystanders

Japan night in the Bronx! Kuroda’s gem, Ichiro’s two homers power Yanks to 4-1 win over BoSox

Hiroki Kuroda threw eight innings of near-spotless baseball, and Ichiro Suzuki blasted two home runs, as the Yankees cruised to a 4-1 win and a 2-1 series victory over the struggling Red Sox. It had been a while since the Bronx vibrated in quite the same way for a Japanese Yankee–since November 4th, 2009 to be exact–and while tonight didn’t have quite the same implications as that fateful evening, Hiroki Kuroda and Ichiro Suzuki more than deserved the showers of standing-ovation applause that rained down upon them. The win allows the Yankees to avoid the ignominy of losing two series in a row in Yankee Stadium to the Red Sox, and hastens the end of the Bobby Valentine era in Boston.

(click “view full post” to continue) Continue reading Japan night in the Bronx! Kuroda’s gem, Ichiro’s two homers power Yanks to 4-1 win over BoSox

Game 121: Two straight series?

When Hiroki Kuroda takes the mound tonight for the Yankees in the Bronx, he won’t just be battling the Boston Red Sox lineup and Josh Beckett: he’ll be battling the impression that the Yankees, despite all their winning, have been a bit inept against Boston in these past two series. If the Sox win tonight, it will mark the second series in a row that the sub-.500 BoSox have captured from the AL East-leading Yankees. And both series have been in the Bronx.

Look, the Yankees are going to be fine this season, and will sit happily in the playoffs come October; the Sox are still in freefall, with a manager who can’t figure out how to stop them, and are battling a host of better-playing teams for a Wild Card spot. It’s unlikely that these roles will reverse this year.

But it’s distinctly possible that the Yankees will drop two series in the Bronx to the Sox. And that’s not acceptable, no matter what their record is–and it’s doubly unacceptable given that they’ve been so incredibly bad this year.

Red Sox (59-62)
J. Ellsbury, CF
C. Crawford, LF
D. Pedroia, 2B
A. Gonzalez, 1B
R. Lavarnway, C
J. Saltalamacchia, DH
S. Podsednik, RF
P. Ciriaco, SS
N. Punto, 3B

Yankees (71-49)
D. Jeter, SS
N. Swisher, 1B
R. Cano, 2B
C. Granderson, CF
E. Chavez, 3B
R. Ibanez, LF
R. Martin, C
I. Suzuki, RF
C. McGehee, DH

First pitch is at 8:00 PM EST on ESPN. Continue reading Game 121: Two straight series?

Lester forgets it’s 2012, tosses seven-inning gem as Red Sox topple Yanks 4-1

By, well, most measures, Jon Lester has pitched badly in 2012: his ERA (5.20) is nearly 2 points higher than it has been in any season since he broke into the bigs, his K/9 is the lowest its ever been, his record (I know, I know) is 7-10, and he just hasn’t had that ace aura that surrounded his starts for most of his career. But none of that mattered Saturday evening in the Bronx, as Lester pitched seven strong innings, allowing only one run–a Granderson homer in the fourth–on five hits to go along with four strikeouts. He wasn’t 10 K, one hit dominant like he once was, but he was certainly better than he has been this season–and that was good enough for the Sox, who scored three runs off rookie David Phelps (two on an Adrian Gonzalez homer in the first) to seal the win. Continue reading Lester forgets it’s 2012, tosses seven-inning gem as Red Sox topple Yanks 4-1

Game 120: Down goes Bobby?

Bobby Valentine has not enjoyed the easiest season in Boston this year. I’m not sure whether that’s a huge, absurd understatement, or a pretty accurate guess at to what he might actually say if asked. Because, you know, he’s a bit unhinged. His Red Sox are now 13.5 games behind the Yankees in the AL East, trailing a large contingent of better-prepared teams in the Wild Card, and seem to be coming undone at the seams. A Yankee victory this afternoon, with the bombers throwing newcomer David Phelps (who recently subdued Texas, but remains a rookie) and the Sox taking their best shot with Jon Lester (who’s sporting an ungainly 5.20 ERA), could signal the end of the Bobby V era in Boston.

David Ortiz said yesterday that Valentine shouldn’t shoulder all the blame for this season. He’s right, of course, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t. A series loss to the Yankees while the Sox are just trying to stay afloat…well, the bell might be tolling in beantown.

Red Sox (58-62)
J. Ellsbury, CF
C. Crawford, LF
D. Pedroia, 2B
A. Gonzalez, 1B
C. Ross, DH
R. Lavarnway, C
S. Podsednik, RF
P. Ciriaco, SS
N. Punto, 3B

Yankees (71-48)
D. Jeter, DH
N. Swisher, 1B
R. Cano, 2B
A. Jones, RF
C. McGehee, 3B
C. Granderson, CF
R. Martin, C
J. Nix, SS
I. Suzuki, LF

First pitch at 4:05 PM EST Continue reading Game 120: Down goes Bobby?

Bronx Bombs: five homers power Yankees to 6-4 win over BoSox

There was a huge storm brewing over New Jersey, and the rains came down for a while in the Bronx Friday night; but, unlike in much of the northeast this summer, there was no power outage at Yankee Stadium. The bombers lived up to their nickname tonight, belting five home runs off a mediocre Boston pitching staff to power starter Phil Hughes to a 6-4 win. Nick Swisher collected two bombs on the night, solo shots in the first and seventh, while Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin added solo blasts of their own; the Sox took the lead on a three-run shot from second baseman Dustin Pedroia in the third. All told, the two teams blasted six home runs on a wet night in the Bronx. Continue reading Bronx Bombs: five homers power Yankees to 6-4 win over BoSox

Phil not so philthy in Yankees’ 10-7 loss to Jays

The Blue Jays blasted six runs off of Phil Hughes in the fourth inning Sunday afternoon on their way to a 10-7 series-ending win over the Yankees. Rajai Davis–who also had a terrific homer-robbing catch in the seventh–doubled in two runs, before Edwin Encarnacion hammered a two-run shot, leaving the Jays with a 7-0 lead, and Phil Hughes staring blankly at Russell Martin. The Yankees made a late comeback bid in the sixth and seventh innings, scoring three times in each, but it was too little to catch the Jays, who had staked themselves to a 10-1 lead off Hughes and long man Ryota Igarashi (called up yesterday).

With the loss, the Yankees will head into an intense series with the Texas Rangers missing their ace, CC Sabathia (DL), and will have lingering questions about the strength of their rotation and extended bullpen. Joe Girardi had to use four separate relievers Sunday afternoon, just a day before a game where his starter (David Phelps) won’t be able to exceed around 75 pitches. Continue reading Phil not so philthy in Yankees’ 10-7 loss to Jays