Tagged: Andy Sonnanstine

Yankees Wait For Rays To Lower Their Shields


The Yankees played their version of “rope-a-dope” to get the pitch count up on Rays’ ace James Shields and it worked to perfection.
Jorge Posada blasted a two-run home run with one out in the sixth inning off reliever Randy Choate, who had just entered the game after Shields had thrown 103 pitches, as the New York Yankees took a 3-2 lead and went on to thump the Rays 7-3 on Sunday.
A.J. Burnett (1-0) pitched more economically than Shields and he lasted seven innings to pick up his first victory of the season. Choate (0-1) took the loss.
With the victory, the Yankees won the series and ran their record to 4-2. The Rays fell to 3-3.

  • Burnett showed Shields the value of keeping the pitch count down. He threw 92 pitches and gave up only two runs on six hits and three walks in seven innings. Shields had a 2-1 lead but had to be removed with one on and one out in the sixth inning after throwing 103 pitches.
  • Once again, the Yankees feasted on a largely deficient Rays’ bullpen. Choate, Lance Cormier and Andy Sonnanstine pitched 3 2/3 innings and served up five runs on five hits and one walk. 
  • Alex Rodriguez contributed to the attack with two doubles and two RBIs.
  • Curtis Granderson had a very good all-around game, He was 2-for-4 with an RBI single in the second to score Rodriguez with the Yankees first run. He also singled off the left-hander Choate, stole second, move to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch from Cormier to make it 4-2. Granderson also made a fine sliding catch on a sinking liner in the fifth by Dioner Navarro and doubled off Pat Burrell at first base.
  • Nick Swisher connected on his second home run of the season in the eighth inning off Sonnanstine.
  • Mark Teixeira may have struck out all three times he faced Shields but he made the veteran right-hander pay for it. Teixeira forced Shields to throw 18 pitches in his three at-bats.

  • After Teixeira broke out of his 0-for-17 slide on Saturday he was 0-for-4, with a walk and a run scored. Of his three strikeouts, two times he was caught looking.
  • Brett Gardner was 0-for-4 and he failed to get a ball out of the infield.
  • Burnett got off to a rocky start by allowing a Jason Bartlett single, a stolen base, an RBI single by Carl Crawford, a stolen base, a walk and an RBI groundout to Carlos Pena. But after that Burnett gave up only four hits and two walks over the next six innings.
  • Joba Chamberlain relieved Burnett in the seventh and immediately made things a bit too interesting for the Rays by giving up a single, an RB
    I triple and a walk. But he got out of the inning by getting B.J Upton to fly out to left with two runners on and the Yankees held their 7-3 lead.
  • Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth in a non-save situation and gave up a leadoff single and later walked the No. 9 hitter Sean Rodriguez. But he benefitted from a doube play and struck out Jason Bartlett to end the game.
  • In defense of Chamberlain and Rivera, not many pitchers in the bullpen have been getting much work because the Yankees had two off-days last week and CC Sabathia pitched into the eighth inning and Burnett threw seven on Sunday. It is hard to stay sharp when you are not getting regular work.

If there was any doubt that Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg is the worst baseball facility in existence, the bottom of the sixth inning proved it. With one on and two out, Evan Longoria hit a harmless pop-up straight up behind home plate, it struck the “B Level” catwalk and landed in fair territory. By ground rule, Longoria was awarded a single. Burnett, a bit unnerved by the call, walked Pena to load the bases. But he escaped without giving up a run when B.J. Upton popped up to Teixeira without hitting any catwalks to end the threat.  . . .  Second base umpire James Hoye blew a call in the seventh inning when Curtis Granderson appeared to have caught Dioner Navarro’s fly ball on a diving catch. Hoye ruled Granderson trapped it but replays showed the ball hit in Granderson’s glove pocket and never touched the ground. No harm though. Burnett ended the inning by getting Rodriguez to bounce into a double play.  . . .   The Yankees completed their spring training schedule and first road trip of the season. They will fly back tonight to New York, the first time they have been in the city as a team since they won the World Series and their parade.  . . .  The Yankees will host a charity Welcome Home Luncheon tomorrow at noon.  . . .  The team will also have a huge Opening Day celebration planned for Tuesday. The Yankees will receive their World Series rings before the game.

The Yankees will celebrate their 2010 world championship by receiving their World Series on Tuesday before the game. They will receive them in front of the team they beat to advance to the World Series: the Los Angeles Angels. Hideki Matsui, who was the World Series MVP for the Yankees, will receive his ring in an Angels’ uniform. 
Andy Pettitte (0-0), who pitched the clinching Game 6 of the World Series, appropriately will get the start for the Yankees. He will be opposed by Angels right-hander Ervin Santana (0-1).
Game-time is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast locally by the YES Network and nationally by the MLB Network.


Yanks Pound Rays 11-1; Jeter Hitless Again



What are the odds of this: The New York Yankees score 11 runs and pound out 17 hits on the Tampa Bay Rays and Derek Jeter is the only starter without a hit?
Such was the case Monday night as the Yankees blew away the Rays 11-1 to sweep both ends of a day-night doubleheader. Jeter, who was 0 for 4 in both games remains at 2,718 hits and needs just four more to pass Lou Gehrig and become the team’s all-time hits leader.

“What can you do?” Jeter said to MLB.com. “It’s one of those days. Just come back tomorrow. We won two games today, that’s the most important thing.”

A.J. Burnett (11-8) pitched six strong innings to pick up the victory and snap a four-game losing streak. He allowed one run on four hits and three walks and struck eight batters in his first win since July 27 — a span of seven starts.

Mark Teixeira keyed the offensive explosion with two home runs — a three-run shot in an eight-run third inning and a solo blast in the sixth — as the Yankees blasted Rays right-hander Andy Sonnanstine (6-9) out of the game in the third inning.

Sonnanstine pitched two hitless innings before he was pounded for eight hits and two walks as 13 batters came to the plate in the inning. That gave Burnett all the runs he really needed as he coasted the rest of the way.

With the two victories on Monday and the Boston Red Sox 5-1 loss to Mark Buehrle and the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees now lead the second-place Bosox by a season-high nine games in the American League East.

The team’s record improved to 89-50 and the 89 wins equaled the numberof wins the Yankees had all of last season when they failed to win the American League East or make the playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons.

Manager Joe Girardi was pleased with Burnett’s effort.

“It was big,” Girardi said, “He threw some good games in this time that he doesn’t have a win, and we didn’t score any runs. It was nice to get him some runs tonight and watch him do his thing and do some work.”

Girardi also said he did not think Jeter was pressing in his quest for the record. 

“No, I don’t,” Girardi told MLB.com. “There are days that you’re not going to get hits. You don’t see it very often with him, but I don’t think he’s pressing.

“It’s kind of interesting that he didn’t get a hit tonight. He hit a ball up a middle, they dive and they catch it. You want to see him get through this and put it behind him. He hit a ball to left field and the guys all jumped up and thought he had a hit earlier in the game. It’ll save us all some energy when we finally get through this.”

“It’s kind of hard to be frustrated when we’re winning by a lot of runs,” Jeter said. “It’s not the first
time I’ve gone a game and not gotten a hit or gone a day and not gotten a hit. At this point in the season, the most important thing is to for us to continue playing well.”

Burnett struggled in the first inning when he allowed consecutive doubles to Gabe Gross and Evan Longoria that made it 1-0. He then walked Pat Burrell before striking out Willie Aybar and getting Gregg Zaun on a flyout.

He allowed only two hits and two walks the rest of the way and he was pleased by the run support he got in the third.

“You don’t get upset,” Burnett told MLB.com. “Any time they score like that, it makes you relax a little more. Every pitch had conviction behind it, 100 percent,” Burnett said. “I think that showed. Jose [Molina] did a good job back there. I went pitch-by-pitch and didn’t let a lot of things bother me.”

Bomb’s Away in the Bronx

Yankees 5, Rays 3

Tonight was a good night for souvenir’s in the rightfield bleachers in Yankee Stadium. 
Four New Yankees missiles landed there Monday night as the Yankees blasted the Tampa Bay Rays and won the rubber game of the three-game set. They also extended their lead over the idle Boston Red Sox in the American League East to a full game.
The Yankees fly into Boston to defend that lead with a three-game set in Fenway Park that is scheduled to end on Thursday.
But Monday, it was all about the longball. No bunts, no steals and none of that old-fashioned “Little Ball.” The Yankees used the home run to frustrate Rays starter Andy Sonnanstine. And if you were late getting to your seat you missed the first shot of the night in the first inning.
Sonnanstine retired Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon on fly balls. But Mark Teixeira decided to check and see if those outfielders could catch a ball in the second deck down the rightfield line. Mark, the answer is no.
Teixeira picked on a 1-1 Sonnanstine cutter that did not cut and he deposited it into the comfortable Bronx night air. The long home run gave Teixeira 18 on the season and it gave him the lead in the AL in that category. Little did Sonnanstine know at the time but the rightfield blasts would become “the pattern” for the evening.
In the second inning, Robinson Cano singled to left. After two outs, Nick Swisher, on the same 1-1 count, blasted another off-target cutter his 12th home run of the season on a line drive to right-center. Yankees 3, Rays 0 and Sonnanstine was left scratching his head.
His counterpart Andy Pettitte, was a bit more careful. Pettitte walked a high-wire all night, throwing a lot of pitches on the corners and the dirt and walking those who did not bite. The strategy seemed to pay off until the fourth inning.
In the fourth second baseman Ben Zobrist reached on an Alex Rodriguez fielding error and took second on a wild pitch. He made it to third on DH Joe Dillon’s flyout to right. Backup catcher Michel Hernandez then plated the Rays first run on a single up the middle. Hernandez then scored when Pettitte made his only huge mistake of the evening.
After getting the Rays on six strikeouts in the first three innings using off-speed sliders in the dirt, Pettitte tried to sneak a 3-2 fastball past rightfielder Gabe Kapler. But Kapler was not fooled and lined the pitch in the leftfield stands for his first home run of the season. The journeyman outfielder was hitting just .169 entering the game.
The two-run shot tied the game at 3.
It stayed that way until the bottom of the sixth inning. After one out, Johnny Damon took yet another 1-1 pitch and sent it five rows deep in right for his 12th home run — most of those have landed in the newly coined “Damon’s Deck” in right.
Pettitte, meanwhile, was maxed out after six innings at 104 pitches. He gave up five hits and walked three batters and finished with seven K’s. It was not his sharpest effort but the veteran southpaw wriggled off more hooks than Charlie the Tuna to hand the slim one-run lead over the bullpen.
Monday also was the 2009 bullpen debut of Phil Hughes, who lost his starting spot to Chien-Ming Wang last week. Hughes showed he might actually be a weapon out there in his one inning of work. He retired B.J. Upton on a groundout to third, Carl Crawford on a bouncer back to the mound and struck out star third baseman Evan Longoria on a 3-2 fastball. Three outs all in a tidy 11-pitch outing.
The Yankees just might have found their elusive “bridge to Mariano Rivera.” A future one anyway.
Phil Coke pitched a scoreless eighth and left the game to Mariano Rivera.
However, Sonnanstine was still dealing for the bullpen weary Rays in the bottom of the eighth because he had only thrown 91 pitches. Other than the home runs, Sonnastine had only given up Cano’s single in second and an infield single to Nick Swisher in the seventh.
As I said, though, the theme of the night was blasts to rightfield and Jeter greeted the righthander with one last blast on a line to rightfield to extend the lead to two runs. It also was the last pitch for Sonnastine. Manager Joe Maddon pulled him and two Rays relievers finished the inning without any further damage.
That left the ninth for Rivera. He blazed a quick path by getting Kapler on a infield bouncer,  retired Matt Joyce on fly to center and struck out Upton on a high inside cutter for his 14th save and gave the Yankees the series victory 2-1 over the Rays.
The Rays, who were riding into town on a hot streak, ended up leaving under .500 at 29-30 and their second straight loss pushed them 6 games back in fourth place in the division. Sonnanstine did receive one slight bit of good news. Despite giving up five earned runs he lowered his ERA to 7.00 from 7.07.
But his mistakes got magnified when the Yankees took him yard four times. Bombs away in the Bronx led to another Yankees victory. On to Boston!

Because I live in Florida I tuned into the Fox Sports cable broadcast of this game with Rays play-by-play man DeWayne Staats and color commentator Kevin Kennedy. In fact. because the games were broadcast in HD I watched their telecast for all three games. (YES Network’s broadcast here was blacked out Saturday anyway).

I am used to Fox Sports allowing their announcers to be “homers.” for their team. I mean I have suffered through the Los Angels Angels saddle shoes and pom-pom pair of Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler for years until they were finally canned after the 2007 season.

But even their shameless shilling for the Angels could not rival the bias of Staats and Kennedy this weekend. Any pitch that a Rays pitcher that was within the same zip code of the strike zone was “questionable” if it was dared called a ball. Every close call on the bases that went against them was “missed” by the umpires.

But they really hit rock bottom on Monday night after Andy Sonnanstine surrendered his fourth home run of the night to right field to Derek Jeter. Kennedy called the home run “a joke.” Staats later added that the Yankees will have “to do something” because of how cheap the home run was in the new Yankee Stadium.

What the broadcasters failed to mention is that the Yankees held a 4-3 lead before Jeter homered. So it really mattered little in terms of the result of the 5-3 Rays defeat. But there is one more point that needs to be made.

Sonnanstine’s first two gopher balls to Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher were not cheapies that barely cleared the first row on a high fly that got blown into the seats. Both were tagged and would have been home runs in any park.

Jeter’s shot was a line drive that landed at the back of the lower section in right, hardly a cheap home run. It was hit hard and was easily traveling out.

The only home run to question might have been Damon’s. It landed about five rows in and may not have been a home run in some parks. But they did not question Damon’s blast at the time. They only mentioned it after Jeter’s home run made it look like the team that signs their paychecks was going to lose. Mariano Rivera was coming into the ninth inning with a two-run lead and it did not look good for the Rays at that point.

So Kennedy just vented and later even had the gall to say it had nothing to do with the result of the game. I beg to differ. I assure you if Carlos Pena of the Rays or Carl Crawford had pop flied a few into the stands this weekend and it won the Rays a few games it would not have been mentioned.

How do I know? 

I have caught Staats’ act before. Many times. Earlier this season Staats questioned an umpires call of a strike on a Rays batter that was clearly on the plate. It was close. But it was a good pitch. He railed and railed about it. The very next inning a Rays pitcher got a strike call in the very same spot on a Yankees batter. Staats said nothing. 

Some years ago Staats even showed more lack of class. On a close play at first base, a Yankees batter was ruled safe. He then went on to rail against the umpires by saying that it wasn’t enough that the Yankees buy all the best players they want but that George Steinbrenner and his team did not need any help from the umpires too. Perhaps the last-place and perennial loser Rays should have been the benefit of every call in Staats’ mind.

No matter how unprofessional a comment like that is, Staats and Kennedy will remain where they are. They never hear from the network and they never hear from Major League Baseball. They just keep spouting off venom and hate when their team loses because it never can be that the opposition could be the better team that night. 

It ALWAYS has to be another reason. Kennedy said about a Rays pitcher who did not get a strike call: “I feel sorry for this kid because here he is pitching a great game and the umpire makes a bad call like that.”

And tonight. Why not give credit to Andy Pettitte for pitching well enough not to allow a home run to rightfield. Or perhaps blame the Rays for not taking advantage of the so-called cheap nature of balls hit to right. Why is the park a joke?

I just wonder why the YES Network, NESN, Vin Scully and radio legends like Bob Uecker and Jack Buck could play their broadcast right down the middle and hacks like Staats and Kennedy can’t. Would it harm the game any? Why shill so shamelessly?

It makes me want to vomit. One of these days this kind of broadcasting is going to spark an ugly on-field incident and I would hate to see how they could justify that.

You two should be ashamed of yourselves. By the way, as announcers you stink worse than any umpire I have even seen. I do not have to check with the first base umpire to make that call.