Game 4 of 162; Tanaka’s Rocky Start Turns Strong, Bats Provide Support

NY Yankees (2-2) @ Toronto Blue Jays (2-3) (series 1-0, 18 TP) 7-3

Game4atTorTanakaFirstStart

The Yankee starters have a nasty trend going on, and Masahiro Tanaka couldn’t end it.  After tonight’s game, the Yankee pitching staff has given up 14 runs.  This by itself isn’t too bad of a stat, but the fact that 7 have come in the first inning is a little alarming.  Again, the first time through the order was trouble for the Yankee starter, who gave up 2 more in the second.  The starters have a combined ERA of 4.38 through 4 games.  The rest of the staff have a combined ERA of 0.96.  These are both alarming, but soothing stats.  So the starters get in trouble, big deal.  The relievers seem to have no trouble holding and closing out games (only 2 hits, 5 walks with 13 Ks through 9.1 innings).

The Yankees scored 7 runs tonight (as many as the first 3 games combined).  14 runs without a home run, which is fine by me, I think the Yankee used to rely on the long ball way too much anyways.  The Yankees also had base runners in the first inning, finally.  Ellsbury hit a lead off double and scored two singles later.  Teixeira hit an RBI single in the first, but left in the bottom of the second after straining his right hamstring.  The Yankees had bases loaded in the first as well, before a rare Ichiro strike out and Solarte pop out ended the threat.

After losing the lead in the second, the Yankees scored 2 on a Solarte double, taking back the lead 4-3.  3 more runs were added on, one by one, in the fourth, eighth, and ninth to end up 7-3.

Every Yankee reached base at least once, with 8 either scoring a run or hitting in a runner.  This was a great Team game, production from everyone.

Game4atTorSolarteDouble

Solarte went 2-5 with a double and 3 RBIs

Ellsbury went 3-4 with 2 doubles and a walk, scoring 2 runs

Ichiro went 3-5, scoring 2 runs

Johnson went 2-5 with the first triple of the year

Game4atTorUmpireReview

Also, to note, the Yankees took advantage of the new instant replay rule this year, challenging a call in the third inning.  The original call was a ground out for Ichiro in the third inning.  This would have been the final out of the inning, but Joe Girardi challenged that Ichiro had beat the throw.  The replay showed that he had, the inning continued, and Solarte hit a double in the next at bat which gave the Yankees the lead and knocked out Dustin McGowan, the Jays starter.

With this new rule (1 challenge in the first 6 innings, if used and corrected call, team receives a second, if used and call stands, team loses challenge opportunity) has just now proven why the expansion was a great idea.  Girardi challenged the call, the umpires went right over to the headsets, talked for maybe a minute, overturned the call and the game continued.  The only delay was McGowan getting back into pitching mode, which is understandable because the call had been the third out of the inning.  The entire process took 2 minutes and corrected an error which ended up having an effect on the game.

In unrelated New York news, the Knicks dropped a tough one at home against the Washington Wizards 89-90.  What makes it worse is, with the Hawks winning against Cleveland 117-98, the Knicks were bumped out of 8th place in the Eastern Conference with only 5 games remaining.  They will need to go on an impressive streak, beating the Heat in Miami, the 3rd place Raptors twice, the Nets in Brooklyn, and the Bulls at home.   I believe they will have to win them all and hope the Hawks drop 3 of their 7 left.

Game 3 of 162; Rookie Yangervis Solarte Shines Bright in Yankees First Win

NY Yankees (1-2) @ Houston Astros (2-1) (series 1-2, 3 TP) 4-2

Game3atHouInfieldCelebrateFirstWin

Sweetest words to hear during baseball season, “The Yankees Win!”  To be honest, last night I had already came up with a witty title for tonight, had it been a lose.  But, fortunately, the brainstorming was all for nothing.  After a rough first inning, Nova wasn’t very sharp but, with four double plays behind him and production from the 8th and 9th lineup spot, he gained his, and the Yankees, first win of 2014.

Game3atHouSolarteFirstRun

Last night when I was writing my post after the lose, I’ll admit I hated Yangervis Solarte, and for no good reason.  Yes, the Yankees had a rally going in the 7th, runners at the corners, and this rookie who I knew nothing about pinch hit for Kelly Johnson.  “Whose idea was that?” I asked myself after he grounded into the 4-6-3 double play, scoring the run but clearing the bases.  Well tonight, I got to learn more about Solarte.  He did not miss his chance to impress in his MLB depute.  He went 3-3 with a double and a walk, scoring 2 runs with an RBI.  With the Yankees only scoring 4, the rookie being apart of 3 of them is impressive.  He may have that young heart some of these older guys who are struggling need to see.  Ichiro, who batted in before him in the 8th spot, was 4-2, scoring the other 2 runs.

Three games, three tough first innings for the Yankee starters.  Ivan Nova was in a tough spot, 2 singles and a HBP loaded the bases with no outs.  After an RBI ground out, a walk loaded the bases again.  Fortunately, Marc Krauss grounded into one of the four double plays the Yankees turned in the game.  Nova got out of the inning only giving up one earned run.  Scary trend here, of the total 11 runs given up so far, 6 have been in the first.  The Yankee starters have allowed 10 batters to reach in the first.  But after that, 5 runs over 24 innings.  Once the starters get through the lineup the first time, it seems they have no issue.

Like I said Nova wasn’t very sharp even after the first.  He gave up 4 more hits, 4 more walks, and another HBP.  But the Yankee’s defense really kept it from getting out of hand.  Nova had a GO/FO ratio of 8-2, with the 4 double plays coming in the first, third, fourth, and fifth.

Game3atHouRobertsonFirstSave

David Robertson really looked good in his first save situation.  He hit his spots, got a k and dribbler of a ground out to end the game.

Yankees struggling so far through three games:

Beltran-11 AB, 2 hits, 3 total bases, 1 RBI, 3 Ks, 4 LOB

Teixeira-11 AB, 2 hits, 2 total Bases, 1 RBI, 3 Ks, 6 LOB

Soriano-12 AB, 0 hits, 4 Ks, 8 LOB

04032014MartinStLouisMissesSOGoalinLose

In unrelated New York news, the Rangers lost a close game to the 4th in the Western Conference, Colorado Avalanche. The Rangers were up 2-1 with 52 seconds left in the third period before Tyson Barrie’s shot found the net behind Henrik Lundqvist.  This is a tough one to swallow, always are when the equalizer comes with less than a minute to go.  The 2-2 tie went into OT and eventually a shootout where, again, Tyson Barrie scored the only goal of the shootout.  The Rangers (91Pts 4 Games Left) still gain a point ahead of the Flyers (87Pts 6 Games Left) who lost against Columbus.  The Rangers barely control their own destiny.  They have to win all 4 to guarantee the second seed in the Metropolitan Division.  If the standings stay as they are, the Rangers will have the home advantage over the Flyers.  As of right now, the Rangers also hold the tiebreaker, being more Regulation and Overtime Wins.

 

Game 2 of 162; Bats Still Slow, No Support for Kuroda

NY Yankees (0-2) @ Houston Astros (2-0) (series 0-2, 4 TP) 1-3

Game2HouEllsburyLetsOneBy

At least the Yankees first hit came in the third inning, a whole inning earlier than last night.  Pretty soon the Yankees will start off the game with hopes and dreams of winning it, instead of developing late attempts to take the lead after innings of disappointment.

Sorry for the sour attitude.  It’s just with a payroll like the Yankees, I hate watching them get beat by a team with a payroll like the Astros (204 Million compared to 44 Million).  Jeeze, thats depressing.  Anyways, to the stats.

Again a tough first inning for our starter.  Kuroda gave up a second pitch home run, and after a Yankee 1, 2, 3 inning, the only thought that popped in my head was, “great, this again.”  But, fortunately, Kuroda settled in, only giving up 2 more hits and a walk over 6 innings with 5 Ks.  It was a Kuroda start we are used to and a silent offensive start from the lineup Kuroda is used to.  In 2013, Kuroda ranked 35th in run support for pitchers with more than 200 innings pitched with a 3.16 runs scored average per start.  That’s behind 2 Chicago White Sox starters (last in the AL Central) and 2 Toronto Blue Jay starters (last in the AL East).  Kuroda’s ERA for 2013 was 3.31, 16th on that same list.  Imagine if he got just one more run per game started.

Anyways, off to the offense.  The Yankees managed to score one run, and it wasn’t even an RBI.  Solarte pinch hit for Kelly Johnson in the 7th and scored the run while grounding into the only DP for the Astros.  The Yankees were 0-10 with runners in scoring position, leaving 8 men on base.  Pathetic.

Brian Roberts went 3-4 with 3 singles.  He had almost half of the Yankees 7 hits.

Brian McCann went 2-4 with  2 singles.

Jeters Farewell Tour

Game2atHouJeterGiftsforRetire2

Jeters first stop on his retirement tour is Houston.  He received a pair of custom Lucchese boots, a Stetson hat, and some golf clubs that were given to him during a pre-game ceremony.

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In unrelated New York news, the Knicks beat the Nets 110-81 in Madison Square Garden.  What a game.  The Knicks had an incredible first half, leading 38-63 at half (24-36 FGs).  It was a little scary in the third when the Knicks almost did what they seem to always do, blow the big lead.  The Nets cut the 25 point lead at half to 14 with 2 minutes to go in the 3rd.  But, the Knicks literally flipped a switch and ended the quarter on a 8-0 run.

Again, every game counts for the Knicks, now tied with the Hawks (for 8th in the East) who lost in Chicago 105-92 with Cleveland only 2 games behind.  The Knicks finish the season against teams with a 57 winning percentage (toughest in the conference).  Hawks end against teams with a 47% winning percentage (7th toughest in the conference) and Cavaliers with a 37% (14th)

Game 1 of 162; Yankees Opening Night, a Night to quickly Forget

NY Yankees (0-1) @ Houston Astros (1-0) (series 0-1, 5 TP) 2-6

 

Finally, Yankees baseball.  Or was it?

Game1atHouJeteralmostHBP

This picture sums up Game 1 for me; too much, too quick, Yankees caught slumping in off season mode.  With only one hit through 6 innings, this Yankees line-up looked a little scary to start the season off with.  Although, it had to be expected.  This team is essentially all brand new players.  The Opening Day roster in 2013 and the roster of 2014 only had one player in common; Brett Gardner.  Incredible.  But, another thing in common with the 2013 Opening day, Sabathia got hit hard and knocked out rather early compared to what were used so seeing out of the Ace.

2013 in Yankee Stadium, Sabathia went 5 giving up 4 ERs on 8 hits, 4 walks, with 5 ks.  2014, 6 innings, 6 ERs, on 8 hits, 1 walk, with 6 ks.  Although it really wasn’t as bad as it looks.  After the first two innings, Sabathia went 4 only giving up 1 single and 1 walk with 5 of his 6 ks.  That looks pretty promising going forward.

After the Yankees took a 6 inning nap (3 baserunners, 1 hit, 1 walk, and 1 HBP) they had an eventful 7th and 8th, loading the bases in the 7th (Tex single, Gardner HBP, Roberts walk) before Johnson grounded into a force out, killing the inning.  But, the eighth, the Yankees finally get on the board, with singles from McCann, scoring Ellsbury (walked) and Teixeira, scoring Jeter (single), before Soriano hit into the 5-4-3 double play, killing the inning.  Anyways, after a long, slow uneventful start to the game, the Yankees have 2 half rallies late, but fall short 6-2 in Houston.

Teixeira has a good opening night, 2-3 with a walk and an RBI.

Jeter starts his final season going 1-3 with a HBP and a run scored.

 

04012014StLouis1stRangerGoal

In unrelated New York news, the Ranger won in Vancouver 3-1, Martin St. Louis getting his first NY Ranger goal.  This win creates more space in the tight Metropolitan division (2nd Rangers 90P, 3rd Flyers 87P WC Columbus 83P).  These points are essential, the Rangers have 2 less games left than the both teams behind them.

The Knicks were off, remain 2 games back in the loss column behind 8 seed Atlanta.  Every game counts for them as well, having two less games than the team they are chasing.  The Knicks play tomorrow night at MSG against the cross town rival Brooklyn Nets.

2014 New Year, A Lot of Changes

Opening Day, 2014.  Well, Opening Day for most teams.  The Yankees Opening Day is in Houston tomorrow night.  And with a new year I hope to get this blog up and running again.  I am not in college anymore, but I am on third shift now so there’s plenty of time to do research, watch highlights, and post.  However, despite the fact that I originally opened this page through MLB.com, I will also attempt to cover Knicks, Rangers, and Giants information and events as well.  And with that I will end this post in hopes to officially start tomorrow with the Yankees @ Houston.

Who says the Yankees buy anyone they need?

This past week I have had the displeasure of hearing that Pettitte is inflamed, Posada is hurt, and Rivera is tight.  To have a starter, closer, and starting catcher out would be a horror story, might be the worst situations for some other teams.  But, not the Yankees.

Some nice, HOMEGROWN talent has helped the Yankees out of this situation.  Joba, throught 4 appearances, has pitched 3 innings, no earned runs, with 2 saves in Rivera absence.  Cervelli, in Posada’s absence, 10 for 29.  Hughes, with Pettitte not feeling well, has kept the stress off the Yankees other starters and pen by getting Wins and going deep into games.  Through Hughes 4 starts, he has gone 25 innings, given up just 4 runs, with 24 strike outs.  Awesome.

What I missed in the last two weeks

Well then, I have been extremely busy with the finishing of the semester these last two weeks, what I missed?  Nothing.  I still watched all the games either on TV, Comp TV, or gameday.  I just did not have any extra time to blog.  Well, I missed…

Joba giving up a win, Pettittes amazing 8, Vazquez losing again, Robertsons blown save, anouther Sabathia quality start, Burnetts awesome 8, anouther Pettitte good start, Vazquez’s rough start no decision, Hughes great 7, and a sweep of the Orioles…not to mention many home runs, good games by all the players and other things.  Missed 8-4.

But now I will be back!  Yay, I hope to catch up on each of the games that I have missed, to make everything even.

Game 14, Its right in front of you Hughes!! Get it, Quick!! Before it’s too…darn.

Hughes was in the zone last night, and when I say in the zone, I mean smack dab in the middle.  He was throwing were he wanted, getting Ks, getting outs, only 1 walk until the eighth!  1 baserunner!  Anyways, Hughes had a no hitter through 7, and then the 8th happened.  First batter, Crack!  Ball comes right back at Hughes (worst case scenario) Hughes reacts, ball bounces off his glove, off his chest, to the ground in front of him.  He’s looking up like it went in the air and he could catch it on the way back to earth, whilst the ball is laying on the ground, no more than 5 feet away, WHILST, Eric Chaves runs to first.  I was screaming at the TV, “Its right there!!  Grab it, Quick!  Ah, you found it, just in time to see the runner step on the base…”Ahhh, what a way to give up a no hitter, getting hit in the gut.  Oh well, he struck out the next guy, walked the 3rd batter and was taken out for Joba.

Joba comes in, gives up 1 hit that allows one of Hughes guys to score, but then gets out of it.  Rivera cam in for the save, looks to give the Athletics a chance by giving up a single and hitting a batter, but gets himself out of it all the same.  So, Hughes pitched 7.1 innings, allowing 1 ER on 1 hit with 2 walks and 10 strike outs.

The lineup offered little support for Hughes in this game, but that is ok, he went 7 without giving up a hit.  Rodriguez tripled in the forth, the Cano tripled in the forth, the Posada..grounded out.  2 runs scored in the inning, then the eighth happened and Oakland got 1.  Posada singled, Granderson got on with a fielders choice, Winn grounded out (Granderson to 2nd) and Gardner singled to score Granderson.  3-1, final.

So, Hughes got into the eighth without giving up a hit.  Look familiar?  CC did the same against the Rays just last week.  So, we got our first in the rotation so close to a no hitter, and we got our fifth in the rotation so close to a no hitter!  I don’t think anyone can argue now that the Yankees have the best starters in the league.   If anyone does want to argue, ok, have at it. 

Game 13, Vazquez gets his first Win

Vazquez had a strong start yesterday, going 5.1 innings, only 3 earned runs, giving up 6 hits, 3 walks, and 6 strike outs.  The reason for the win, the lineup gave him some strong help early.  In the first, with 2 out and no one on, the Yankees got 3 with a string of hits and walks that eventually had the bases loaded and went through the line up.  And the Real winner was Rodriguez’s 3 run home run in the fifth.  Vazquez gave up 1 in the fifth off a home run and 2 more in the sixth with a 2 run home run.  

Later in the game, Boone came in to relief Vazquez and started out strong.  After 4 outs, 2 in the seventh, Boone loaded the bases.  Great, first inning all over again.  But then Chamberlain came in.  Good, Strike out to get out of it, then 2 more Ks in the eighth.  Rivera came in for the close, not the save.  

Good win, finally for Vazquez.  Game 2 right now!!  Hughes is pitching strong.  Nothing else…

Rays won’t take their crap Anymore!

The Rays said no today.  The Rays, said no, to their big brothers of the division.  The Rays completed a 4 game sweep of the red sox at fenway today, effectively ending the years of let downs and failures.  The Rays have compiled a nifty 54-95 record against the red sox over the past 7 years, but they forgot all about it over the weekend.  The Rays outscored the red sox, 24 to 9, won a 12 game, 2 day thriller, and made mockeries out of 2 of the most feared pitchers in the league.

In game one, the long 1-1 tie went all the way to the ninth after being tied in the fifth.  Went very long indeed, into the next day after a rain suspention killed play Friday night.  The game picked back up before the game on the next day (Saturday) and went for 4 more innings before being broken up by a 2 run homer from the Rays side in the top of the 12th.  With little response from the other side, the 2 run lead stuck and that was that.  Series 1-0 Rays.

In game 2, the Rays struck fast and hard, scoring 4 in the first after a potential inning ending fly ball was dropped by Mike Cameron.  After that, the red sox were scrabbling to score runs, eventually almost catching up in the seventh after scoring 4.  Unfortunetly for them, the Rays had expanded the lead just enough and squeeked by with a 6-5 vicory in game 2.  Series 2-0 Rays.

Lackey8in3.jpgIn game 3, the Rays took an early 2 run lead in the second, then a 4 run lead in the third after Pena’s 2 run home run and Zombrist’s 2 run single, respectively.  The Rays would get 3 more in the sixth after a Upton 2 run homer and a RBI ground out.  All the runs were scored off of Jon Lester (ERA jumped from 7.20 to 8.44, given up 16 ERs in 15 innings).  The red sox would only see a 1 in that Runs column, after last chance, desperation, sac fly from Pedrio.  Series 3-0 Rays.

In game 4, my personal favorite, John Lackey gives up 8 earned runs in 3.1 innings.  Sweet.  The Rays made him look like a Triple A rook out there, giving up 5 in the third and 2 more in the fourth after a double, ground out, and a triple.  Lackey’s ERA went from a nice 1.42 to a not so intimidating 5.63.  The Rays would get eight, total, but wouldn’t need that much because the red sox would only score 2 in the seventh off of a 2 run homer.  Seires 4-0 Rays.

What a weekend.  The Yankees swept the Rangers at home and the Rays swept the red sox at fenway.  It’s nice to see another respectable franchise in the AL East..now we have two in there.

The red sox are 1-6 at home!  Just 4-9 on the season.  I know it’s early, but if this trend continues, I wouldn’t mind having the Yankees in WC as long as it isn’t the red sox above.

Go Yankees