It’s good to be back: Minnesota 6, Yankees 1

theres_no_place_like_home_matWelcome home, Yankees.

Not really. The Yankees are now 11-12 at home this season (they are 17-13 on the road).

This time, the loss came at the hands of the Minnesota Twins and New York dropped the game 6-1.

New York starting pitcher Vidal Nuno lasted nearly seven innings without walking anyone. He scattered seven hits, but three of those went for home runs.

On the other side of the ball, New York actually went 3-for-9 with runners in scoring position, but ugly base running managed to keep the Yankees off the board.

New York’s lone run came in the third when Jacoby Ellsbury doubled in Brett Gardner.

The good

– News came out before the game that Carlos Beltran’s elbow is feeling much better. He hopes he can return to the Yankees lineup without surgery.

– Brett Gardner swiped two bases raising his season total to 13.

The bad

– Nuno got touched up for three home runs.… Click here to read the rest

Mariano Rivera becomes MLB's all-time leader in saves after preserving Yankees' 6-4 victory over Twins

Simply incomparable. (screengrab c/o YES)

As if Mariano Rivera‘s resume needed additional burnishing, on Monday afternoon Mo surpassed Trevor Hoffman to become Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader with 602, securing the Yankees’ 6-4 win over a Minnesota Twin Z-lineup. Mo picked the record save up in style, throwing a perfect inning that saw him get Trevor Plouffe to ground out, Michael Cuddyer to line out and rookie Chris Parmelee looking on a three-pitch strikeout.

Of course, as wonderful as it was to see one of the greatest pitchers of all time reach an unprecedented plateau, the earlier portion of this game was a bit less pleasant to watch, as the long, sad saga of A.J. Burnett continued. Burnett couldn’t even dominate a lineup consisting primarily of the Rochester Red Wings and New Britain Rock Cats, lasting a mere four-plus innings and coming frighteningly close to blowing the 5-0 lead the Yankees had handed to him.

Burnett’s final line included nine hits and four runs in those four-plus innings, though the strangest part of his start is that he racked up seven strikeouts in the first three innings, and appeared well on his way to a dominant outing.… Click here to read the rest

Game Preview | Yankees vs. Twins III: Not really fair

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The Yankees play the Twins for the final time this season in a makeup of the Wednesday, April 6 washout, which was supposed to feature Freddy Garcia against Carl Pavano. While Freddy won’t be pitching this afternoon (1:05pm start time), Glass Carl will. Carl, like pretty much everyone else on the Twins’ roster, has had a disappointing 2011.

The sad saga of the Twins’ moribund season will come to a close soon, although there appear to be a number of reasons for Twins fans to be optimistic about 2012. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s truly been a wretched season for Minnesota on both sides of the ball, and they can’t exactly be thrilled about having to come back to New York for one lousy day, considering they’ve gone 8-27 in the Bronx since the beginning of the 2001 season. If you include the playoffs, that record falls to 10-32 at Yankee Stadium since 2001.… Click here to read the rest

Nova leads Yanks to 3-0 win and series victory over Twins

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Ivan Nova bounced back from his shelling against the Royals last Tuesday as well as any0ne could’ve hoped for, hurling seven shutout innings of five-hit, five-strikeout, one-walk ball against the Twins, leading the Yankees to a 3-0 victory and series win. It was yet another impressive start in a season full of them for the Yankees’ young righthander.

Nova’s finest moment came in the fifth, with the score still 0-0. The Twins put their first two runners on — the second one reached on a fielding miscue between Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher — and Nova was facing a second-and-third, no-out jam. Nova came up huge, striking both Rene Tosoni and Matt Tolbert out on sliders before coaxing an inning-ending groundout out of Drew Butera.

Nova’s slider was his best pitch by far on Sunday, as he generated five swinging strikes out of the 14 he threw, for a whopping 36% whiff rate. Nova worked off his four-seamer, which didn’t get any swinging strikes, and his curve, which he there 19 times and got one swinging strike.… Click here to read the rest

Quickcap: Burnett ineffective once again as Minnesota picks up rare win against Yanks

In discussing last night’s non-controversy this morning, Steve already has last night’s game covered, but even though I’m quite busy this morning I at least wanted to get something quick up for posterity.

As you know, the Yankees lost to the Twins 9-4 last night behind yet another terrible A.J. Burnett outing, the shortest of Burnett’s Yankee career, which is actually kind of amazing considering how bad he was last season. Per Yankees.com, Burnett has a 6.93 ERA over his last nine starts.

For as long as A.J. Burnett is in pinstripes I will always root for his success, but his performance for much of this season goes beyond not getting the job done. I don’t care about giving up three or four runs if you can at least give six innings, but A.J. just hasn’t been giving the team too many opportunities to win.

The obvious move would be demoting Burnett from the rotation, but the Yankees still don’t seem inclined to do so; we just have to hope that Larry Rothschild can help Burnett make some adjustments this week so he can at least be competitive next time out.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks continue to overpower Twins as Hughes authors longest outing of season

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

We’ll start with Phil Hughes, who held the Twins to a mere two hits over 7 2/3 innings — his longest outing of the season — as the Yankees beat Minnesota 8-1 Friday night. While Hughes was both efficient (needing only 106 pitches to complete nearly eight innings) and effective (70 of those pitches were strikes), he also only recorded two strikeouts (and only two swinging strikes) against three walks. By my rough calculations, his GB% for this game was only 38%, and his BABIP was a nonexistent .048, so yeah, you could probably say Phil got a little lucky in this one, but 7.2 innings of one-run ball — even against an opponent scuffling as badly as Minnesota is — is still 7.2 innings of one-run ball. And who knows, perhaps playing in Minnesota made him feel like giving the whole pitching-to-contact thing a whirl.

Hughes was backed by a two-home-run game from Russell Martin, along with a three-RBI game by Mark Teixeira, as the Yankees pounded out 13 hits.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees top Twins 8-4

(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

So I missed part of this one, in which the Yankees beat the Twins in the opener of this weekend’s four-game set 8-4, but it appears the Yankees don’t quite have CC Sabathia back yet. Don’t get me wrong, four runs over seven is fine, but it doesn’t quite meet the level of excellence Sabathia has set. Of course, it looked like Sabathia was well on his way to a vintage seven-inning, two-run performance, until the seventh inning happened.

That’s when I tuned in, and was treated to the dregs of the Twins’ batting order picking up three straight hits along with an Eduardo Nunez error to make it four straight men reaching with no one out. Sabathia then worked his way out of trouble, but not before giving up two runs. It’s not so much that Sabathia have up a few hits and a few runs; that’s baseball. However, it was a little troubling that the men who reached base during the inning carried the following OBPs with them into the game:

Tsuyoshi Nishioka: .256 (31 wRC+)
Drew Butera: .208 (24 wRC+)
Ben Revere: .301 (70 wRC+)
Trevor Plouffe: .289 (84 wRC+)

In fact, Revere, Plouffe and Nishioka had two hits apiece against the big man on the night.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees vs. Twins II: The Return of Alex Rodriguez

(photo c/o Noah K. Murray/The Star-Ledger)

Ah, poor Minnesota. Perennial favorites in the always wide-open AL Central — though I’ll take some credit for being a bit skeptical during the pre-season of their being able to continue to win despite losing several key components and not really replacing them with anything of value — the pride and joy of the Twin Cities has had about as nightmarish a season as possible, once again losing a not-all-the-way-back Justin Morneau to the DL for a stretch and finding Morneau joined by Joe Mauer for a good portion of the season as well. To add insult to injury, Mauer hasn’t even gotten going when he has been healthy this season (89 wRC+), leading to undoubtedly endless frustration on the part of Twins’ fans who were hoping for big things from their homegrown star in the first year of his mega-extension.

Injuries and ineffectiveness have led to a lineup with just three men producing: Michael Cuddyer (136 wRC+), Jason Kubel (122) and newest-member-of-the-600-home-run-club Jim Thome (141).… Click here to read the rest

Burnett strong as Yanks hang on to 4-3 victory; series win

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

A.J. Burnett gave the Yankees exactly what they needed on Thursday afternoon — 6 innings of two-run ball — and Joba Chamberlain, Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera once again came in to shut the door after Burnett departed, preserving a 4-3 Yankee victory over the Twins, and earning the Bombers their second straight series win to start the season.

While Burnett wasn’t lights-out, he deserves a lot of credit for not completely unraveling in his shaky 4th inning, in which he gave up three doubles (to Justin Morneau, Jim Thome and Jason Kubel) that plated two Twins runs and erased a 1-0 Yankee lead. After Burnett bore down, the Yankees battled right back in the bottom of the 4th, as an Andruw Jones doubled plated Alex Rodriguez, a Russell Martin groundout plated Robinson Cano and a Brett Gardner bloop single plated Jones. As wonderful as the home runs have been, it was nice to see the Yankees scratch out some runs the old-fashioned way, especially since this was the first game of the season with zero Yankee home runs.… Click here to read the rest