Saturday, April 17, 2010

Game 11 Recap

[WPA data via FanGraphs]

1. The Yankees loaded the bases in the second inning on singles by Jorge Posada, Nick Swisher and Derek Jeter. With two outs, Nick Johnson worked the count to 3-1 and fouled off three straight pitches before taking a cutter high for ball four and forcing in a run. Mark Teixeira followed that with a broken bat single that just reached the outfield grass between first and second base, putting the Yanks up 2-0. With the bases still loaded, A-Rod swung at the first pitch he saw and flew out to center, ending the inning.

2. Scott Feldman ran into more trouble in the third. After getting Robinson Cano to ground out to second, he gave up a single to Posada and a double to Curtis Granderson before Ron Washington had seen enough. Wash called on Doug Mathis to face Nick Swisher.

Swish hit a fly ball to shallow left, not deep enough to score Jorge Posada and the Rangers once again were one out away from getting out of the inning. However, Brett Gardner hit an infield single, scoring Posada and brining Jeter to the plate. With the Captain at bat, Gardner took of for second base and Taylor Teagarden sailed the throw into the outfield and Curtis Granderson took off for home.

Jeter then followed with a rare home run to left, a two run shot that put the Yanks ahead 6-0.

3. A-Rod hit his first home run of the year in the bottom of the 4th, a solo shot that extended the lead to 7-0.

4. Despite getting 8 men on base against him, the Rangers didn't get to A.J. Burnett. The same could not be said for Alfredo Aceves. Nelson Cruz blasted a three run homer off of him in the 8th inning to bring the score to 7-3 Yankees. That was the final.

IFs, ANDs & BUTs
  • The Yankees had a host of infield hits today. Gardner picked up three of them, and one each for Granderson, Jeter and Teixeira.

  • In the at bat that Teix eventually came up with the RBI single, he took a 0-1 curveball that was clearly low and outside but called a strike. Obviously, 0-2 is worlds away from 1-1 and it looked for a moment like that call might doom the at bat, but alas it did not.

  • A.J. Burnett had three 1-2-3 innings but had a runner get to at least second base in the other four, although none of them came around to core. The Rangers loaded the bases in the 5th inning with one out but Burnett got Julio Borbon to pop out to first and Michael Young to fly out to right. His final line: 7 IP, 0ER, 6H, 2BB, 7K.

  • Cano's ten game hitting streak to begin the season came to and end, but after a 3-4 effort, Jeter's rolls on.

  • The Yanks worked only two walks in the game, both by Nick Johnson. They only struck out four times whereas the Rangers had 10 Ks.

  • Ramiro Pena entered as a defensive replacement in the 8th inning, his second appearance of the year.

  • After Aveces gave up the home run, Damaso Marte and Joba Chamberlain combined to get the final five outs without giving up a baserunner.
The series - which the Yanks have already won - concludes with a matchup between Andy Pettitte and Rich Harden at 1:05 tomorrow.

Game 11: End Of The Line

The Yankees have completed three series this season, taking them all by virtue of winning the rubber game. Today, A.J. Burnett had the opportunity to deliver the club's fourth series win of 2010 without having it go down to the final game.

After a fair but unimpressive start at Fenway Park in the season's second game, Burnett had a very good outing in last Sunday's series finale in St. Petersburg. He surrendered two runs in the first, then shut the Rays down over his final six innings of work, scattering six hits and three walks over the afternoon. Perhaps the only blemish on his line that day was an uncharacteristic strikeout total, with just one K on the afternoon.

In his career, Burnett has made on relief appearance and eight starts against the Rangers, with three of the starts coming during his first year in pinstripes. Burnett pitched quite well against Texas last year, posting a 2.84 ERA and fanning 27 while allowing just 23 baserunners in 19 innings of work. His first two outings against them came in back-to-back starts on May 27th and June 2nd. In the latter, Burnett buzzed the tower of Nelson Cruz, after the Rangers had taken some liberties with Mark Teixeira earlier in the game. Though Burnett was not ejected from the game, it did earn him a suspension, which was later reduced to the point that he didn't miss a single start. His final 2009 start against the Rangers came on August 27th. He got saddled with the loss in that one, but did manage to whiff a season high twelve batters over six innings of work.

Opposing Burnett will be Scott Feldman. Armed with a new contract extension that could pay him just over $20M through 2013, the 6'7" righty has been impressive in his two outings thus far this season, allowing just twelve hits, one walk, and four earned runs through fourteen innings of work.

Feldman has four career appearances against the Yankees, three of them starts. In them, he's 2-1 with a 3.72 ERA and 1.45 WHIP over 19.1 IP, and has allowed four home runs. He picked up the victory in his only 2009 start against the Yankees, June 3rd at the Stadium, allowing eight baserunners and two runs over six and a third.

The forecast isn't great for today, with temps in the mid-fifties, breezes at 10 to 15 MPH, and the sun may not shine, but it's all right, at the very least the chance of rain is much less than it was last night. After playing a rain shortened game last night, the first for the Yankees since September 2006, the two clubs will look today's game right to the end of the line.

Well it's all right, riding around in the breeze
Well it's all right, if you live the life you please
Well it's all right, even if the sun don't shine
Well it's all right, we're going to the end of the line


Not much to see here folks. The "A" line up returns after a couple games with a few subs scattered in the order. Posada is back behind the plate to catch Burnett for the third time in as many starts this year. Marcus Thames grabs some pine for the first time since Wednesday; Mark Teixeira continues to look to snap out of his April funk.
Jeter SS
Johnson DH
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Posada C
Granderson CF
Swisher RF
Gardner LF

Julio Borbon, CF
Michael Young, 3B
Josh Hamilton, LF
Vladimir Guerrero, DH
Nelson Cruz, RF
Chris Davis, 1B
Joaquin Arias, 2B
Taylor Teagarden, C
Elvis Andrus, SS

Game 10 Recap

[WPA data via FanGraphs, picture via Yahoo!]

1. The only trouble CC Sabathia had came in the first inning, and even then, the Rangers were lucky to get a run across. Michael Young bounced one up the middle that Derek Jeter, ranging to his left, knocked down but couldn't quite get a hold of. Up next, Josh Hamilton looped a wind-aided double into the left field corner that Marcus Thames pulled up short of, putting runners on the corners for Vlad Guerrero. Vlad lifted an 0-2 pitch off the end of the bat to center field and Curtis Granderson made a strong throw to the plate, but Michael Young was safe by a couple of seconds. 1-0 Rangers.

2. The Yankees got to C.J. Wilson in the first inning as well. True to their respective natures, Derek Jeter led off the game with an opposite field single and Nick Johnson worked a walk. Johnson was erased on a double play by Mark Teixeira but Jeter moved to third and scored on a pased ball off of Talyor Teagarden's glove with A-Rod at the plate, tying the game at 1.

3. As the rain began to pick up in the 4th inning, the Yanks loaded the bases on a HBP, single and a walk with no one out for Marcus Thames, but he struck out looking on a slider over the inside corner. Next up, Curtis Granderson slapped one sharply to first that was fielded by Chris Davis, who attempted to get Nick Swisher at second base, but his throw hit Swish in the back, ricocheted into the outfield and allowed an additional run to score. Francisco Cervelli then hit a bloop single to shallow left to put the Yanks ahead 4-1.

4. The mound started to get sloppy in the 6th inning. CC Sabathia lost his footing while delivering a pitch and then plunked Julio Borbon but then retired the side in order.

In the bottom half of the inning, Marcus Thames singled and was replaced by Brett Gardner, who stole second. With two outs, Cervelli beat out a ground ball to shortstop, passing the baton to Jeter. The Captain bounced an RBI infield single just out of the reach of Wilson to put the Yanks up 5-1.

The grounds crew attempted to tame the soaked field before the 7th inning but were forced to declare a rain delay before calling the game all together about an hour later.

IFs, ANDs & BUTs
  • The ball that Marcus Thames couldn't get to in the first fell within 5 or 10 feet of him and he looked lead-footed in pursuit of it. Mike from RAB thought it wouldn't have mattered if Brett Garnder was in there but watching the replay makes me think that Brett would have at least had a chance.

  • Thames continues to hit, though, going 2-3 last night and bringing him up to 5-10 on the season.
  • Brett Gardner's pinch running appearance was highly amusing. Curtis Granderson and C.J. Wilson engaged in an 11 pitch at bat and Gardner running on four of those pitches, only to have Granderson foul them back. The Rangers pitched out twice in a row to begin Cervelli's AB, and guessed right on the second one as Gardner was going, but still couldn't catch him.

  • Sabathia was on another level last night. He struck out nine, walked none and allowed only three hits. As detailed above, the Rangers were lucky to patch together a run in the first and CC responded by striking out the next 6 batters he faced. Only 15 of the 73 pitches (20%) he threw were balls, he tossed 20 first pitch strikes, got to 0-2 twelve times and never had a 3 ball count. If anything, he got sort of gypped out of a chance at a more dominant start considering his pitch count and the way he was throwing through the 6 inning, but I'm sure he'll take the guaranteed rain-shortened win.

  • We should probably reevaluate the notion that Sabathia can't pitch in cold weather after his performance last night. It was in the 40's and rainy and he looked a good as he ever has - probably even better than his last time out.

  • Nick Johnson got caught stealing to end the third (probably on a missed hit and run) but replays showed he was safe. The throw beat him but he did some sort of a twisting scissor slide and touched the bag with his left leg before the tag was applied to his right.

  • Mark Teixiera's futility was not diminished by the abbreviated game as he managed to make 4 outs in 3 at bats thanks to the double play in the first inning. Seriously, he should like, starting hitting pretty soon.
Game 2 of the series starts at 1:05 today, weather permitting and all that. We'll be back with the preview sometime before then.