Tagged: David Roberston

Hughes Blanks A’s Over 8 Innings As Yankees Win

GAME 29

YANKEES 4, ATHLETICS 2

Phil Hughes missed all of spring training with a bulging disk in his upper back and he had to use his first two starts as “spring training on the fly.” But, if his last four starts are any indication, he is healthy and he is mowing down hitters with ease.

Hughes, 26, gave up only four hits and struck nine batters in shutting out the Athletics over eight innings as New York downed Oakland in front of a paid crowd of 41,349 at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.

Hughes (1-2) won his first game of the season and now has given up only six runs on 23 hits and five walks while striking out 30 in 28 innings over his last four starts for a 1.93 ERA.

“I feel like I’m kind of clicking right now with what I’m trying to do,” Hughes told reporters.

Meanwhile, the Yankees managed to put together enough offense against former Yankee right-hander Bartolo Colon (3-1).

Chris Stewart greeted Colon leading off the third inning by swatting a 1-0 fastball down the left-field line and into the bleachers for his second home run of the season. He entered the season with only four career home runs.

Two innings later, one of “The Replacements,” Lyle Overbay, jumped on Colon’s first offering in the fifth inning to connect for his fifth home run of the season, which landed in the second deck in the right-field bleachers.

The Yankees then added a single run in the sixth on a leadoff double off the wall in right-center by Robinson Cano and a one-out bloop opposite-field single by Travis Hafner that scored Cano and ended Colon’s afternoon.

Colon gave up three runs on six hits and no walks while he fanned three in 5 1/3 innings.

The Yankees added another run in the seventh when Eduardo Nunez laced a triple off the wall in left-center off reliever Chris Resop and he scored one out later on an infield single off the bat of Brett Gardner.

The Yankees entered the game with right-handed setup man David Robertson unavailable due to a sore left hamstring and right-hander Joba Chamberlain placed on the disabled list on Friday with a right oblique strain.

So when Hughes departed after eight innings manager Joe Girardi entrusted the Yankees 4-0 lead in the ninth to right-hander Shawn Kelley. But Kelley gave up a bloop single to left off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes to start the frame and Girardi abruptly pulled him in favor of closer Mariano Rivera.

Rivera then issued a controversial walk on a 3-2 pitch to Brandon Moss. Replays showed the ball caught the outside corner of the plate above the knee but was called a ball by fading veteran umpire Tim McClelland.

After a fielder’s choice grounder by Josh Donaldson advanced Cespedes to third and erased Moss at second, Seth Smith singled to right to drive in Cespedes.

Josh Reddick then grounded a ball to short that erased Smith but Reddick was just able to beat the relay from second by Cano to score Donaldson.

But Rivera retired Adam Rosales on a routine flyball to right to end the A’s’ threat and preserve the victory for Hughes.

With the victory, the Yankees now have won seven of their past nine games. Their season record improved to 18-11. The A’s fell to 17-14.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • The Yankees entered the season with major questions about their starting rotation behind CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte. But Hughes is proving that his 34-21 record in his two full seasons as a starter was not a fluke. Hughes threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 29 batters he faced and, after giving up five home runs in his first three starts, Hughes has not given up any in his past three outings.
  • Stewart is picking up where starting catcher Francisco Cervelli left off when he was placed on the disabled list on April 27 with a fractured right hand. Since April 27, Stewart is only 4-for 17 (.235)  but he has a home run and three RBIs. Even more impressive is that he has nailed five of nine base-runners this season, which is an amazing 56 percent.
  • “The Replacements” continue to contribute to the Yankees’ offense as the team bides its time until their injured players return. Overbay is 8-for-23 (.348) with three home runs and three RBIs in his last six games. Hafner’s RBI single in the sixth inning ties him with Cano for the team in RBIs with 18.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

It is hard to complain when a starting pitcher goes eight shutout innings, the offense gets him plenty of runs to support him and the team plays errorless defense. So no negatives on this day.

BOMBER BANTER

Infielder Chris Nelson made his first start for the Yankees in place of Jayson Nix at third base and was 4-for-4 with two strikeouts. Nelson was obtained earlier this week from the Colorado Rockies for cash considerations or a player to be named later after the Yankees placed Kevin Youkilis on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back sprain.  . . .  Meanwhile, Yankees coach Mick Kelleher worked with Nix at first base before Saturday’s game so that Nix might provide the Yankees with an right-handed hitting option at the position.  . . .  When the Yankees placed Chamberlain on the 15-day disabled they purchased the contract of right-hander Preston Claiborne from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Claiborne was a perfect 3-for-3 in save chances and had a 3.48 in eight appearances with Scranton. In order to make room for Claiborne on the 40-man roster the team designated right-hander Cody Eppley for assignment.  . . .  Robertson had a MRI on his left knee on Thursday that was negative but Girardi said Robertson will not pitch until Tuesday in Colorado at the earliest.

ON DECK

The Yankees can win the three-game weekend series against Oakland with a victory on Sunday.

Pettitte (3-2, 3.86 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees. He would like to forget his last start. He was shelled for seven runs on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings on Monday against the Houston Astros. In the past 10 seasons, Pettitte is 5-3 with 3.13 ERA against the A’s.

Oakland will counter with right-hander Dan Straily (1-0, 6.35 ERA). Straily gave up six runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings on Monday against the Los Angels Angels in his first start replacing left-hander Brett Anderson. Straily has never faced the Yankees.

Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.

 

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Yankees Let Marlins Off Hook With Easy Victory

GAME 13

MARLINS 6, YANKEES 1

Manager Joe Girardi needs to make an emergency call to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission because on the Yankees’ road trip to Jupiter, FL, they were overrun by some extremely pesky fish and birds.

On Thursday they lost 7-6 to the St. Louis Cardinals and on Friday they fell meekly to the Miami Marlins.

Matt Downs and Adeiny Hechavarria each drove in a pair of runs and Nathan Eovaldi and four Marlins relievers held the Yankees to just one run as Miami easily defeated New York at Roger Dean Stadium.

Eovaldi (2-0) gave up four hits, walked three and hit a batter in his four innings of work but the Yankees were only able to push across a single run against the right-hander. Adam Warren (0-1) gave up four runs on six hits and a walk in four innings to take the loss.

The Yankees scored their lone run in the fourth on a two-out single by Melky Mesa and an RBI double off the wall in left-center by Thomas Neal.

The Yankees fell to 3-10 on the spring  The Marlins improved to 5-5.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • The Yankees who were on this road trip  –  minus the players who are injured or who are playing in the World Baseball Classic  –  got in their exercise for the day and nary a one got injured in the game.
  • Mesa had two of the Yankees’ five hits and scored the team’s only run. In going 2-for-4, Mesa raised his spring average to .261 and he leads the team in home runs this spring with two and he is tied with J.R. Murphy for the team lead in RBIs with four.
  • Branden Pinder pitched a scoreless fifth inning and he was the only Yankee pitcher to record a 1-2-3 inning. The 24-year-old right-hander pitched mostly at High-A Tampa last season and was 2-6 with a 2.79 ERA. He likely will be assigned to Double-A Trenton in 2013 but he bears watching this season.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Nobody with the Yankees will tell you this but I will: Warren is a complete waste of time as a starting pitching prospect. The 25-year-old right-hander is not a strikeout pitcher and he has to rely on trickery to get outs. The Marlins on Friday were able to exploit that and it is the main reason he gave up four runs in four innings.
  • Brett Gardner was the recipient of Thursday’s Rip Van Winkle Award for getting picked off first base by Cardinals starter Joe Kelly. Friday’s recipient is Eduard Nunez, who got nailed by Eovaldi leaning too far off first after a leadoff walk. With hits and runs hard to come by this spring it is aggravating when runners get picked off.
  • Kevin Youkilis was 0-for-3 on Friday and is still looking for his first hit with the Yankees. With Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira both out until mid-May the Yankees will be leaning on Youkilis and Travis Hafter to help produce runs. But they are a combined 2-for-19 (.105) with one RBI.

BOMBER BANTER

Most of the buzz around spring camp in Tampa, FL, is about the news conference scheduled for 10 a.m. in which future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera is expected to announce that the 2013 season will be his last. Rivera, for his part, has been ducking reporters questions about it.  . . .  Rivera, 43, is scheduled to make his 2013 spring debut on Saturday. Rivera is rehabbing from surgery on his right knee, which cut short his 2012 season in early May.  . . .  Left-hander Andy Pettitte pitched a simulated game on Friday in Tampa and he could make his first spring start as soon as Wednesday.  . . .  Reliever David Robertson, who has been shelved for a few days with right shoulder discomfort has been cleared to resume throwing.  . . . Shortstop Derek Jeter returned to camp after visiting the physician who performed surgery on his fractured left ankle in Charlotte, N.C., and he could be making his spring training debut soon. The most likely date could be a home game on Monday against the Cardinals.

COMMENTARY

During Friday’s game Miami Marlins radio broadcasters Dave Van Horne and Glenn Geffner were poking fun at the Yankees’ injury woes this spring. At one point, Geffner said it was like “Who’s on first, What’s on second and I Don’t Know was at third.” Very clever, Glenn. You get some star stickers to place on your Jose Reyes lunchbox. I would think after the Marlins front office decided to ship just about every able-bodied player they had on last season’s roster to other teams I would not be taking shots at the misfortunes of other teams. Considering that the Marlins will be starting such household names as Rob Brantly behind the plate, Donovan Solano at second, Hechavarria at short and Justin Ruggiano in center, I would stick to just reporting on the Marlins and not worrying about a team in another league. Especially a team that is out of your in league in talent. I would say there are more “Who’s and What’s” on the Marlins roster than the Yankees. So just shut up, OK?

ON DECK

The Yankees return George M. Steinbrenner Field to play host to the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.

Jose Ramirez, who is 1-0 with 0.00 ERA in his first two outings this spring, will start for the Yankees. The Braves will counter with left-hander Mike Minor.

Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EST and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.

 

Andy Just Dandy As Yankees Stay Atop A.L. East

GAME 147

YANKEES 4, BLUE JAYS 2

Since June 27, Yankees manager Joe Girardi has been dreaming about the return of all five of his starters, including 40-year-old left-hander Andy Pettitte. On Wednesday afternoon he got his wish and what he got had to exceed even his expectations.

Pettitte threw five scoreless frames, giving up four hits and two walks in a workmanlike 75-pitch outing, as New York put up three runs in the first inning and made them hold up to defeat Toronto in the opener of a day-night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium.

Pettitte (4-3) was making a comeback from a broken left fibula he suffered on a hard-hit comebacker by Casey Kotchman of the Cleveland Indians on June 27. Held to a pitch count of about 70 pitches, Pettitte stranded six Blue Jays by inducing ground ball outs to escape any damage. He also struck out three batters.

His most impressive inning was his last in which he retired Rajai Davis, Colby Rasmus and Brett Lawrie in order using only seven pitches.

The Yankees’ offense got busy early off Blue Jays right-hander Henderson Alvarez (9-13).

Ichiro Suzuki opened the frame with a solid single to right. Nick Swisher followed with a lined single up the middle and Robinson Cano scored Suzuki with line-drive double that Rasmus misjudged in center-field and allowed to bounce off the wall.

Alex Rodriguez scored Swisher and advanced Cano to third with an RBI grounder and Curtis Granderson drove in Cano with a sacrifice fly to center.

The 3-0 margin held up until the eighth inning when David Robertson again got smacked around by the Blue Jays.

Lawrie greeted him with a double off the wall in left-center and he advanced to third on a seeing-eye single by pinch-hitter J.P. Arencibia that got past Jayson Nix at shortstop and rolled into left-field.

Pinch-hitter Kelly Johson then slapped a single into left to score Lawrie.

Robertson fanned Moises Sierra looking but veteran Omar Vizquel doubled into the corner in right to score Arencibia and advance Johnson to third.

Robertson fanned Adeiny Hechavarria looking and Girardi chose to bring in closer Rafael Soriano for what would be his sixth four-out save of the season.

Soriano walked rookie Anthony Gose to load the bases but Davis was retired on a sharp sinking line drive to left that Suzuki made a sliding grab on and barely held onto as the ball rolled up his right arm.

The Yankees added a crucial insurance run with two out in the bottom of the eighth inning off Blue Jays reliever Darren Oliver.

Suzuki started it by slapping a bloop ground-rule double just inside the line in shallow left-field that was just out of the reach of a diving Gose.

Swisher followed with a hot smash that snuck under the glove of Lawrie at third base and rolled into left to plate Suzuki.

Soriano retired the Blue Jays in order in the ninth, striking out two batters, to record his 41st save in 44 opportunities this season. What was left probably one-third of the paid crowd of 39,859 from last night’s rainout stood and cheered the clutch victory.

The Yankees, for the moment, pulled back ahead of the second-place Baltimore Orioles in the American League East by a half game. Their season record is 83-63. The Blue Jays fell to 66-80.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • The Yankees got rolling in May when Pettitte joined CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova and that quartet was 30-5 over a stretch of a month and half before Pettitte was injured. Since then the Yankees have also lost Nova and Sabathia in certain stretches and their 10-game lead on June 18 shrunk to zero. But Pettitte showed he could still compete and he has two more starts to build up his stamina for the playoffs. I think the Yankees are breathing a lot easier than they were a few weeks ago.
  • Suzuki was 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored to raise his season batting average to .272. His catch on Davis’ sinking liner in the eighth inning preserved the victory for Pettitte and Yankees. With Derek Jeter out of the lineup, Suzuki fulfilled his role as a the consummate table-setter at the top of the lineup and he threw in a game-saving catch to boot. The trade the Yankees made to obtain from the Mariners is starting to pay major dividends.
  • Swisher was 2-for-4 with a huge RBI single in the eighth that made the ninth inning more comfortable for Soriano and the Yankees. Swisher entered the contest in an 0-for-10 slide but he got a big hit when it counted.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • The way Robertson is pitching lately has to concern the Yankees some. He was tagged for two runs on four hits two-thirds of inning and he is now 0-3 with a 7.88 ERA in his last 10 appearances. Although his overall ERA is still a respectable 2.98, Robertson has been far more hittable lately and the Yankees need him to shut down teams in the eighth to go anywhere in the postseason.
  • Swisher has played marvelous defense at first base for the most part but he actually made two errors on one play in the third inning. With Davis on first and one out, Lawrie hit a ball well off the bag at first. Swisher should have held the ball but attempted an awkward toss to Pettitte covering first and it rolled to the dugout screen to allow Davis to reach third. Pettitte bailed out Swisher by retiring Adam Lind on an inning-ending double-play ball.
  • The top three Yankee hitters in the lineup – Suzuki, Swisher and Cano – collected all seven of the Yankees’ hits in the game. The rest of the batting order was a combined 0-for-17. That is a big reason why Alvarez stayed in the game for seven innings despite giving up three runs in the first frame.

NOTE: The BOMBER BANTER and ON DECK features will appear in the post from the second game of the doubleheader.

 

Robertson’s Houdini Act in 11th Turned Tide

ALDS GAME 2: KEY MOMENT:


The New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins are tied at 3 in the top of the 11th inning. Yankees manager Joe Girardi, noting that lefthand hitters Joe Mauer and Jason Kubel will lead off the inning, brings in lefthander Damaso Marte to pitch to them. He has righthander David Robertson warming up to pitch to righthand-hitting Michael Cuddyer, the third scheduled hitter.

MARTE vs. MAUER

Marte pitches carefully to Mauer, knowing that one bad pitch could mean a home run for the American League batting champion. On a 1-1 pitch, Marte throws a slider that runs to the outside corner. Mauer swings and hits a high popup down the leftfield line. Because Mauer is being played to pull, leftfielder Melky Cabrera has a long run to get to the ball.
Cabrera gets to the leftfield line just as the ball descends. The ball ticks off his glove, lands about four inches in fair territory and bounces into the stands. Leftfield umpire Phil Cuzzi makes a definitive sweeping motion to his left to indicate the ball was foul.
No one on the Twins disputes the call and the game resumes. Replays show that Cuzzi made the wrong call and Mauer should be at second with a ground-rule double.
Marte decides to rely on his fastball. Mauer fouls another off and the count remains 1-2. His fourth fastball of the at-bat hangs high on the outside corner and Mauer hits it into centerfield for a single.
MARTE vs. KUBEL

Kubel is 0-for-5 with four strikeouts on the night. He is 0-for-9 in the series with six strikeouts and he has not hit a ball out of the infield. 
Marte tries inside with a fastball and misses. He tries the outside corner with a fastball and gets a called strike. Marte then loses Kubel by missing twice on sliders that sweep outside the strike zone. With the count at 3-1, he is forced to throw a fastball over the plate and Kubel hits it between Cano and Teixeira for a single to right.
Those that complain that Cuzzi’s missed call cost the Twins might be interested to know that if Mauer were at second, Cano would have been playing over in the hole and likely would have thrown Kubel out.

Girardi comes to the mound to take the ball from Marte and Robertson enters the game to pitch to Cuddyer with two on and nobody out. Marte is showered with boos form Yankee fans as he fails to do his job.

ROBERTSON vs. CUDDYER

Robertson is noted for his sneaky-fast fastball. He throws one for a strike and then one for a ball to Cuddyer. Catcher Francisco Cervelli decides to cross up Cuddyer and call for a curveball and Robertson drops it over for called strike two. Cervelli then decides to further cross up Cuddyer and he calls for a another curve. 
But the previous curve was up in the strike zone and Cuddyer could not do much with it if he had known it was coming. The second one dropped over the heart of the plate. Cuddyer times it and hits it right up the middle for a single. The ball is hit sharply and centerfielder Brett Gardner charges it quickly. Twins third-base coach Scott Ullger decides to hold Mauer at third rather than risk having him thrown out the plate.
Bases loaded and nobody out.
Robertson must now face Delmon Young, Carlos Gomez and Brendan Harris without a safety net and trying to keep the game tied at 3.

ROBERTSON vs. YOUNG

Young is 0-for-8 in the series. Robertson wants to get ahead in the count and tries a backdoor curveball to the outside corner. Young swings late and lines a knuckling line drive right to first baseman Mark Teixeira. Teixeira catches the drive at shoulder height and whirls around to check if any of the runners can be doubled up. They all get back.
One out

ROBERTSON vs. GOMEZ

Gomez was put in the lineup for this game after not playing in Game 1. He is a work in progress. Talented but prone to mistakes. His base-running gaffe in the fourth inning already has cost the Twins a run. Robertson tries a fastball riding into Gomez, right in on his hands. Gomez swings and hits a weak two hopper to Teixeira, who carefully throws home to make sure they force Mauer at the plate. Cervelli realizes that with the speed of Gomez a double play is not possible and he holds the ball.
Two out

ROBERTSON vs. HARRIS

Harris only entered the game in the sixth because of a left oblique strain suffered by third baseman Matt Tolbert. He has been a pest to the Yankees all night. His triple in the sixth gave the Twins a 1-0 lead and his single in the eighth extended the Twins two-run rally off Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera that made it 3-1. He also robbed Derek Jeter of a hit in the bottom of the eighth with a diving stop of his hot grounder. So he was a big thorn in the Yankees’ side all night.
Now he had a chance to do more damage. 
Robertson started him out with a fastball that basically was right down Broadway. If Harris had been first-pitch swinging he would have had a cookie. But Harris was watching as Young and Gomez both had swung on the first pitch and made outs. He was not about to swing and Robertson took advantage it for an easy strike.
Robertson then tried to hit the low inside corner on Harris but missed low to run the count to 1-1. Cervelli and Roberston then decided to try the same pitch on which they got Gomez, a four-seam fastball that runs in on the batter. The 92 mile-per-hour fastball rode low but moved in on Harris and Harris swung. The ball immediately jumped straight up high into the air.
Harris missed the pitch and the ball settled into medium right-center and Gardner let it fall harmlessly into his glove.
Three out

David Robertson completed the most difficult escape act a relief pitcher is called upon to do. He has retired three batters with the bases loaded and nobody out. The rookie righthander walked back to the Yankee dugout with his head down like he does it every day.
Roberston was not even a lock to make the team’s postseason roster because of some right elbow soreness that shut him down for almost all of September. But two relief outings against the Tampa Bay Rays convinced Girardi and pitching coach Dave Eiland that he was healthy. The Yankees even shelved a plan to carry only 10 pitchers to accommodate Robertson on the roster.
One of the big reasons Robertson is so valued in the bullpen is his strikeout rate. He struck out an amazing 63 batters in 43 2/3 innings this season. That is even a higher strikeout rate than that of Yankee setup man Phil Hughes and closer Mariano Rivera!
Truth be told, Girardi probably was hoping Robertson could strike out those three batters in the 11th. But the former University of Alabama closer ended up not needing his trademark strikeout.
His effort in retiring the Twins in the 11th set up Mark Teixeira’s walk-off home run in the bottom of the inning. It simply was the key moment of Game 2
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“We called him Houdini after that. That’s a tough jam to be in. We were fortunate they hit that one ball to [Teixeira], but I liked his demeanor, his expressions. He looked like he was unfazed the whole time out there.”

                                                                                                              — Yankee captain Derek Jeter

“Those sort of defensive stands — you almost feel like you are going to score a run the next inning, because it deflates [the Twins] so much. To have bases loaded, nobody out [and] not be able to score, that was just a really good job by [Robertson].”

                                                                                                              — Yankee reliever Phil Hughes