YANKEES 1, METS 0
In the 1990 Western “Young Guns II,” Sheriff Kimbrel (Jerry Gardner) is asked to go after Billy the Kid (Emilio Estevez). His reply was classic. He said, “I’d rather drink turpentine and piss on a brushfire. I ain’t touchin’ this one.”
That is pretty much how the New York Mets’ hitters must have felt on Thursday as they were gunned down one by one by the New York Yankees’ own version of Young Guns.
Chase Whitley, Dellin Betances, Adam Warren and David Robertson, all who are products of the Yankees’ minor-league system, combined to shut out the Mets on three hits while striking out 14 batters as the Yankees earned a split of the 2014 Subway Series in front of a paid crowd of 40,133 at Citi Field in Flushing, N.Y.
Whitley, 24, made his major-league debut and threw 4 2/3 innings, yielding just two hits and two walks while fanning four batters. He even managed to pick up his first major-league hit in his first at-bat in the third inning against Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom, who also was making his major-league debut.
The Yankees managed to push across the only run of the game against deGrom in the seventh inning on a misplayed double-play grounder.
Mark Teixeira drew a one-out walk and Brian McCann followed by hitting a routine ground ball to second baseman Daniel Murphy, who gunned down Teixeira with a throw to third baseman David Wright. Wright, the third baseman who was playing shortstop in an extreme shift on McCann, threw the relay to first baseman Lucas Duda into the dirt and McCann was able to reach first base safely.
Alfonso Soriano then stroked a double into the gap in left-center that rolled to the wall and allowed the slow-footed McCann to score from first base for the first time in a game since the 2009 season.
Though deGrom (0-1) was tagged with the loss he pitched as brilliantly as Whitley. He gave up just the one run on four hits and two walks while he struck out six batters over seven innings.
Betances (2-0) relieved Whitley and he earned the victory in relief by retiring all seven batters he faced and he struck out the final six batters, four of them looking. Betances entered the game in the fifth with two on and two out but he escaped when he induced Eric Young Jr. to ground out.
Warren struck out two in the eighth but he left with pinch-runner Juan Lagares on third after a walk to pinch-hitter Bobby Abreu and Murphy on first after a single.
But Robertson came in to retire Wright on a ground out to end the threat. He then pitched perfect ninth with two strikeouts to earn his seventh save in seven chances this season.
The game marked the first time since Sept. 7, 2010 that two pitchers squared off in their major-league debuts since the Mets’ Dillon Gee, who coincidentally was replaced as the starter for this game by deGrom because a strained lat muscle landed him on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday, faced off against Yunesky Maya of the Washington Nationals.
After giving up 21 runs on 24 hits in the two Subway Series games at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees held the Mets scoreless on seven hits and three walks with 22 strikeouts in their two victories at Citi Field. Masahiro Tanaka tossed his first major-league complete-game shutout on Wednesday, holding the Mets to just four hits while striking out eight.
With the victory the Yankees improved their season ledger to 21-19. They are in sole possession of second place in the American League East a half-game behind the first-place Baltimore Orioles. The Mets fell to 19-21.
- Whitley has found a niche as a starter this season after being mostly a relief pitcher in the minor leagues. Though his velocity hovers in the low 90-mile-per-hour range, Whitley was able to stymie the Mets by keeping his fastball, slider and change-up down. Wright struck out swinging in his three at-bats against Whitley, who was starting in place of the injured CC Sabathia.
- Betances is drawing raves from pundits who believe he could be a closer now. Betances threw 20 of 27 pitches for strikes in his dominant 2 1/3-inning outing. Betances has recorded 39 strikeouts out of the 67 batters he has retired this season. He lowered his ERA to 1.61 and batters are hitting a miserable .154 off of him.
- Soriano struck out in his first two at-bats but he doubled and singled to end the night 2-for-4. The Yankees are still waiting for Soriano to go off on one of his hot streaks as he did last season after the Yankees acquired him from the Chicago Cubs. Soriano is hitting . 248 with five homers and 16 RBIs.
The offense could have been better but the Yankees seem to always struggle against pitchers they have not seen before. But I will give them a mulligan because Whitley, Betances, Warren and Robertson were so brilliant. They dominated the Mets and made them look bad.
The Yankees placed outfielder Carlos Beltran, 37, on the 15-day disabled list with a bone spur on his right elbow. But Beltran told reporters that he still hopes to avoid having surgery, which could sideline him for six to eight weeks. Beltran first noticed the pain in his elbow when he was taking swings in the batting cage during Monday’s game against the Mets. Beltran had a cortisone injection and he hopes that will relieve the pain when he is eligible to be reinstated. To replace Beltran on the roster the Yankees purchased the contract of Whitley from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. To make room on the 40-man roster for Whitley the team activated right-hander Bruce Billings from the disabled list and designated him for assignment. . . . Thursday’s game was the final visit to Citi Field for Derek Jeter and the 39-year-old shortstop was awarded a subway tile mosaic with his No. 2 and featuring both Yankee and Met colors. The Mets also handed Jeter a check worth $222, 222. 22 for his Turn 2 Foundation.
The Yankees do not have far to go home to Yankee Stadium as they open a three-game weekend series with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday.
Right-hander David Phelps (0-0, 4.09 ERA) will make his third start for the Yankees in place of right-hander Michael Pineda. Phelps yielded four runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out one in five innings in a no-decision against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.
Phelps will be opposed by veteran right-hander Edinson Volquez (1-3, 4.36 ERA). Volquez was tagged for three runs on four hits and four walks while fanning four in 4 2/3 innings in a no-decsion against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.
YANKEES 4, METS 0
Throughout Wednesday’s game at Citi Field in Flushing, NY, you could honestly hear crickets because the paid crowd of 35,577 and the bats of the New York Mets were silenced by a pitcher who is legend in the making.
Masahiro Tanaka, in only his eighth major-league start, shut out the Mets on just four hits in a masterpiece of a complete game as the Yankees snapped a six-game losing streak to the Mets in the Subway Series and also ended their current four-game skid.
Tanaka (6-0) did not walk a batter and struck out eight in an 114-pitch effort that extended his streak to 42 games without losing a regular-season start that dates back to Aug. 18, 2012 in the Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. Tanaka even capped his night by getting his first major-league hit in the top of the ninth inning against right-hander Jose Valverde.
Yangervis Solarte and Mark Teixeira backed Tanaka with a pair of solo home runs and Brian Roberts hit a pair of triples to spoil the major-league debut of Mets right-hander Rafael Montero (0-1).
The Yankees broke through on Montero with two outs in the second inning when Montero issued a walk to Solarte and Roberts followed with a sinking line drive to left that Eric Young Jr. allowed to skip by him for a triple that scored Solarte.
Solarte, a 26-year-old rookie who entered the game leading the American League in batting with a .336 average, added to his own miraculous rookie season by lining his fourth home run of the season into the right-field bleachers with two out in the fourth inning.
Teixeira blasted his eighth home run of the season and his third in his past five games to pad the Yankees’ lead to 3-0.
Montero yielded three runs on five hits and two walks while he struck out three in six innings of work.
The Yankees “stole” a run with two out in the seventh inning off right-hander Carlos Torres when Brett Gardner narrowly beat out a infield single. He then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch before scoring on a infield dribbler off the bat of Derek Jeter that he legged out for an RBI single.
But Tanaka appeared in such command that he really only needed one run.
The quote of the night came from Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy, who had on elf the four hits Tanaka gave up. He told reporters after the game:
“I knew what was coming and I could not hit it.”
Tanaka became the first Yankee rookie pitcher to throw a shutout since Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez did it on Sept. 14 1988 against the Boston Red Sox.
He also silenced a Mets offense that had pounded the Yankees for 21 runs on 24 hits the past two nights across town at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NY.
“I think you could argue that he’s been as valuable as anyone on our team, with what he’s done so far this year,” manager Joe Girardi told reporters.
With the victory the Yankees improved to 20-19 and they are tied with the Red Sox for second place in the American League East, one half-game behind the first-place Baltimore Orioles. The Mets dropped to 19-20.
- Tanaka’s brilliance against the Mets was tied a lot to his pitch selection. He and catcher Brian McCann noticed that the Mets were not swinging much at Tanaka’s devastating split-finger fastball on two-strike counts so they used Tanaka’s slider and two-seam fastball instead. Tanaka’s shutout lowered his season ERA to 2.17 and he now has struck out 66 and walked seven in 58 innings. WOW!
- Solarte is long past just being lucky. This youngster is the real deal. His 1-for-3 night kept his average at .336 with four home runs and a team-leading 23 RBIs. “It’s become a running joke, pretty much, in our dugout about [Solarte being] the best player I’ve ever seen at this point,” Roberts told reporters. “It’s a great story. It’s fun to watch.”
- Roberts was actually shortchanged in his 2-for-4 night because he hit a blistering liner off Torres’ left wrist in the seventh and then hit a scalding liner to center in the ninth that was caught by Curtis Granderson. On May 1, Roberts was hitting .213. Since then he is 12-for-40 (.300), raising his season average to .243.
Tanaka pitched just like an ace should. He stopped a losing streak, gave the shell-shocked bullpen a rest and picked up a team that was scuffling to win lately. There is nothing to complain about.
CC Sabathia visited Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, AL, on Wednesday and the orthopedist found some “degenerative changes” in the left-hander’s troublesome right knee, general manager Brian Cashman told reporters. Sabathia was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 11 and he later had fluid drained from the knee. Andrews has prescribed a cortisone and stem cell injection that will be administered on Thursday. Although there is no structural damage to the knee there still is no set timetable for Sabathia’s return. . . . Outfielder Carlos Beltran sat out Wednesday’s game after having a cortisone injection for a bone spur in his right elbow earlier this week. The Yankees will re-evaluate Beltran’s elbow in a few days. They are hoping the veteran can avoid having surgery.
The Yankees will complete their Subway Series with Mets on Thursday with a chance of earning a split.
The Yankees will call up right-hander Chase Whitley to make his major-league debut in place of Sabathia. Whitley, 24, is 3-2 with a 2.39 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He has a career minor-league ERA of 2.64.
The Mets will counter with a rookie right-hander named Jacob deGrom, who also will be making his first start in the majors. DeGrom, 25, is 4-0 with a 2.58 ERA in seven starts at Triple-A Las Vegas. He will be starting in place of right-hander Dillon Gee, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a lat strain.
Game-time will be 7:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.
YANKEES 4, METS 2
A month ago, Yankee fans did not know what was worse, Mark Teixeira’s cough or his constant choking at the plate with runners on base.
On Saturday, Teixeira did not cough up his opportunity or choke in the clutch. He launched a huge two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning with the Yankees losing 2-1 to Dillon Gee and the Mets and the Yankees got another strong outing from Phil Hughes to clinch the home portion of the Subway Series.
Another sellout crowd of 48,575 at Yankee Stadium watched in awe as Teixeira swung at a hanging 2-2 curveball from Gee and pulled it into the right-field bleachers for his 11th home run of the season.
Up to that point Gee (4-4) had held the Yankees hitless since the first inning when they scored a run on an Alex Rodriguez one-out RBI single, loaded the bases and – even if you were not a psychic you could have predicted this – Raul Ibanez hit into a inning-ending double play.
From that point on the Yankees could not hit Gee’s change-up if he told them it was coming. Over the next four innings, Gee only gave up a leadoff walk to Derek Jeter in the third inning and a leadoff walk to Teixiera in the fourth. (Of course, Teixiera was immediately erased on another double play off the bat of Ibanez.)
But a third leadoff walk to Curtis Granderson in the sixth proved fatal to Gee. Two outs later, Teixeira put the Yankees ahead for good.
Granderson handed the Yankees an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning by delivering his 18th home run of the season off Mets reliever Bobby Parnell.
Hughes (6-5), meanwhile, was victimized by the long-ball as he has been most of the season.
He gave up a solo home run to a 30-year-old shortstop who came into the game with just two career home runs when he played briefly for the Colorado Rockies in 2008. Omar Quintanilla, who broke up Hiroki Kuroda’s no-hitter with two outs in the sixth inning on Friday, blasted a Hughes fastball into the right-field seats in the third inning to tie the contest at 1-1.
Hughes then gave up a second solo home run to David Wright in the sixth inning, which put the Mets into the lead for the first time in the weekend series. With the two home runs he surrendered on Saturday Hughes has been nicked for 15 home runs in 68 innings this season.
Hughes left with one out in the in the seventh inning having been touched for six hits and two walks and he struck out six.
A bullpen combination of Boone Logan, Cory Wade and Clay Rapada pitch scoreless ball through eight innings and Rafael Soriano pitched around a walk and single in the ninth to get pinch-hitter Jodany Valdespin to fly out to earn his ninth save of the season in as many opportunities.
With the victory the Yankees imroved their season record to 32-25 and they remain a half-game out of first place behind the Rays in the American League East. The Mets fell to 32-28.
- For all the talk about how horrible the Yankees’ starting rotation was in April, Hughes has shut those critics up with his recent spate of good outings. In his last seven starts, Hughes is 5-1 with a 3.47 ERA. After missing most of the 2011 season with weakness in his right shoulder, Hughes is beginning to show the form he showed in 2010, when he was 18-8 and made the All-Star team.
- Teixeira would also like to forget about April be he hit just .244 with three home runs and 12 RBIs that month. Since then, Teixeira has hit eight home runs and driven in 23 runs. This is despite the fact Teixeira has hit just .171 over his last 10 games.
- Granderson’s home run in the eighth put him in third place in the major leagues with 18, trailing Adam Dunn with 19 and Josh Hamilton with 22. Granderson has also been mired in a horrific batting slump this month. He is hitting only .161 in June and has struck out 10 times in 31 at-bats this month.
- Although he is having a fine season for the Yankees, Ibanez was a big disappointment with the bat on Saturday. He was 1-for-3 but he hit into a double play in his other two at-bats and the first one came with the bases loaded. Ibanez has been one of the few Yankees to hit pretty well with runners in scoring position but he is 0-for-10 this season with the bases loaded. Ouch!
- The bottom of the order was totally useless on Saturday. Nick Swisher (batting seventh), Eric Chavez (eighth) and Russell Martin (ninth) were a combined 0-for-9 in the game and they struck out three times. Chavez, who flew out twice, was the only one of the three to get a ball out the infield.
- Swisher’s 0-for-3 night snapped a modest six-game hitting streak in which he was 8-for-21 (.381) with a home run and five RBIs. Swisher has only 17 walks this season after drawing 95 last season. He also has struck out 46 times this season, which is a high total for him.
It seems Brett Gardner is good about teasing us with his imminent return from the disabled list only to disappoint us again. After playing in a rehab game at Class A Charleston, Gardner reported feeling pain in his right elbow on Saturday morning and he is now sidelined indefinitely. Gardner will be sent to Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, FL, for an evaluation early next week. He also will visit with Dr. Timothy Kremchek in Cincinnati. Gardner had three at-bats and played five innings on Friday. He was expected to play again on Saturday and rejoin the team on Monday in Atlanta. Manager Joe Girardi said Gardner likely will not rejoin the team until some time after the All-Star break. . . . Kuroda said that he will be able to make his next scheduled start on Wednesday in Atlanta. Kuroda was struck in the left foot by a line drive off the bat of Daniel Murphy on Friday and Kuroda left the game for precautionary X-rays, which showed just a deep bone bruise. . . . Rodriguez’s RBI single in the first inning marked the 1,917th RBI of his career, which ties him with Eddie Murray for seventh on the all-time list. Meanwhile, Rodriguez’s hit scored Jeter with his 1,800th run, moving him past Ted Williams for 17th place on the all-time list.
The Yankees will go for a sweep of the weekend series for bragging rights in the Big Apple against the Mets.
Left-hander Andy Pettitte (3-2, 2.78 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Yankees. He is coming off a stellar 7 1/3 inning performance against the Rays in which he gave up just two hits and struck out 10. He has won three of his four starts at Yankee Stadium this season and he is 8-5 with a 3.69 ERA in his career against the Mets.
Opposing Pettitte will be fellow left-hander Jonathon Niese (4-2, 4.11 ERA). Niese struck out 10 in a victory against the Cardinals on Sunday. He did not allow a run in his six innings of work. He is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by TBS and locally by the YES Network.
YANKEES 9, METS 1
With Johan Santana opening the first game of the 2012 Subway Series at Yankee Stadium on Friday, pitching for the first time after throwing his historic franchise first no-hitter, there was a big buzz among the sellout crowd of 48,566 before the game started.
Unfortunately for Santana and the Mets it was the opposing pitcher who ended up commanding centerstage.
Hiroki Kuroda tossed 3 1/3 innings of perfect baseball and 5 2/3 innings of no-hit baseball and ended up shutting out the Mets on just one hit for seven innings while Santana was racked for four Yankee home runs – two by Robinson Cano – as the Yankees downed the Mets in lopsided laugher.
Kuroda (5-6) lost his perfect game in the fourth on a fielding error by Derek Jeter, but he extended his no-hitter into the sixth inning until Omar Quintanilla stroked a 3-2 pitch for two-out double to the left-centerfield wall. If Kuroda had pitched a no-hitter it would have marked the first time in major-league history a pitcher who had thrown a no-hitter in his previous start had his team no-hit by the opposing team in his next start.
Kuroda issued a two-out walk to Lucas Duda in the seventh and then was struck in the left foot by a line-drive off the bat of Daniel Murphy. But, in a night when nothing seemed to go right for the Mets, Alex Rodriguez caught the carom out of the air to retire the side.
Kuroda left the game for precautionary X-rays on his foot, which showed only a contusion and no fracture. But Kuroda’s availability for his next start is in question because he left the stadium on crutches.
While Kuroda was mowing down the Mets, Santana was having trouble with the command of his pitches and he paid dearly for it in both the second and third innings.
With two out in the second inning, Rodriguez drew a walk and Cano followed by smacking a first-pitch fastball into the right-field bleachers for his 10th home run of the season.
A similar scenario played out for Santana in the third – only it got much, much worse.
With two out, Rodriguez singled sharply to left and Cano again blasted the first pitch he saw – this time a hanging slider – which landed in a nanosecond in the second deck in right-field.
To add to Santana’s agony, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones followed Cano with solo home runs and the Yankees had a commanding 6-0 lead with Kuroda keeping the Mets dancing like marionettes.
Kuroda ended up with a season-high seven strikeouts and he threw 52 of his 91 pitches for strikes to give the Yankees their 50th victory over the Mets in the history of the 85-game Subway Series, which dates back to 1997.
Santana, meanwhile, left after five innings having been pounded for six runs on seven hits and one walk and he struck out five batters. It was a far cry from his magical no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals last Saturday.
The Yankees added three runs in the seventh inning off rookie right-hander Elvin Ramirez.
The Mets, on the other hand, broke up the shutout on two walks and an RBI double by Duda off reliever Ryota Igarashi, who was just called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday.
With the victory, the Yankees improved their season ledger to 32-25 and they moved ahead of the slumping Baltimore Orioles in second place in the American League East, a half-game behind the Tampa Bay Rays. The Mets dropped to 32-27.
- I said this in my recent team analysis and it bears repeating: Kuroda appears to have turned the corner on his season since he gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings at home against the Twins on April 18. Since that time, Kuroda is 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA in his last nine starts. Kuroda has been a victim of low run support. Going into Friday’s game he was the worst supported pitcher in the American League this season at just over two runs a game. Mets outfielder Jason Bay summed up Kuroda best after the game when he told reporters: “I faced him a few times when he was with the Dodgers. He’s always been, from what I’ve seen, pretty good. But that was by far the best I’ve ever seen him.”
- Cano’s two home runs are an extension of a recent power surge. He hit only one in April and he had four as of May 18. In his last 15 games, he has hit seven. Cano now has 11 home runs, 29 RBIs and he is batting .293, which is second on the club to Jeter.
- Cano, Swisher and Jones hitting consecutive home runs in the third inning was the first time the Yankees have done that since Aug. 28, 2011 against the Orioles and the same trio hit them and in the same order. But here is an odd stat: When Swisher hit his home run it was only the second time this season the Yankees have hit back-to-back homers.
- Jeter had a night he would like very much to forget. He was on the hook until Quintanilla’s double with his error in the fourth as spoiling a potential perfect game for Kuroda. At the plate, Jeter was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and he hit into an inning-ending double play in the sixth with the bases loaded. Jeter has gone hitless in his last 17 at-bats and his average has dropped to .314.
- The Yankees were forced to bring up Igarashi because Freddy Garcia was placed on bereavement list on Thursday due to the passing of his grandfather in Venezuela. Igarashi, 33, was claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays on May 29. By the looks of him in the ninth inning, he perhaps should go back on waivers. He gave up a run on a hit and two walks and he struck out two. He threw 27 pitches in the inning and looked like he was afraid to throw strikes.
Reliever Joba Chamberlain threw 25 pitches on Friday at the Yankees’ minor-league complex in Tampa, FL. It was the first time Chamberlain has thrown from a mound since he sustained a dislocated right ankle trampolining with his son on March 22. Chamberlain told reporters he intends to pitch for the Yankees this season. . . . Reliever David Robertson will pitch for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday in what likely will be at least two rehab appearances. Robertson, who is on the 15-day disabled with a left oblique strain, could rejoin the Yankees in a-week in Washington. . . . Outfielder Brett Gardner appears on track to rejoin the Yankees on Monday in Atlanta. Gardner has been on the disabled list with a strained right elbow.
The Yankees’ home portion of the Subway Series with the Mets continues on Saturday.
The Yankees will start Phil Hughes (5-5, 4.96 ERA). Hughes is coming off his first nine-inning complete game of his career. He gave one run on just four hits and struck out eight against the Tigers on Sunday. He is 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA in four games against the Mets.
The Mets will start right-hander Dillon Gee (4-3, 4.48 ERA). Gee received a no-decision and gave up two runs on seven hits against the Cardinals on Monday. He is 0-1 with 5.14 ERA against the Yankees lifetime.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast regionally by FOX Sports.
YANKEES 8, METS 3
TAMPA – All good things must come to an end and so it was for the New York Yankees, who lowered the curtain on their 2012 spring training schedule on Wednesday with a victory.
Francisco Cervelli, who moments later would find out he was being sent to the minors, slammed a two-run home run in the seventh inning to tie the game at 3-3 and a bevy of Single-A Yankees later combined to score five runs in the eighth inning as New York downed the Mets in their Grapefruit League finale at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Cory Wade (1-0) ended his poor spring with a scoreless inning of relief to get credit for the victory. Left-hander Angel Cuan gave up four runs (three earned) on one hit, one walk and two Met errors in the eighth and took the loss.
The Mets jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on a three-run home run from Ike Davis off Yankee starter Freddy Garcia in the third inning. Davis’ walk-off home run in the ninth on Tuesday in Port St. Lucie, FL., gave the Mets a 7-6 victory in this rare home-and-away exhibition Subway Series.
The Yankees ended their spring slate with a record of 18-12 with three ties. The Mets ended up 9-20.
PETTITTE RETURNS TO MOUND
Along with the token victory that evened the series, the highlight of the day was the return to the mound of 39-year-old left-hander Andy Pettitte.
Pettitte entered the game in the sixth inning to a loud and thunderous standing ovation from most of the 10,813 in the crowd.
It took Pettitte just 13 pitches to retire the Mets but he had a little help from catcher Russell Martin.
Pettitte gave up a high-hop single over the head of first baseman Kyle Roller to Corey Vaughn. Scott Hairston popped out to short for the first out. Martin then gunned down Vaughn attempting to steal second. Pettitte then ended his brief stint by inducing Mike Nickeas to ground out to second.
Pettitte then left the mound to another thunderous standing ovation.
- Despite the fact a numbers game ended up with him being sent to the minors, Cervelli gave Yankee fans a nice going-away gift with his two-run home run in the sixth. Cervelli is a very popular player in the clubhouse and with fans because of his outgoing personality. Let’s hope manager Joe Girardi is correct and that Cervelli will be back in the major leagues. Of course, Girardi very carefully did not say Cervelli would be back in the majors with the Yankees.
- Clay Rapada celebrated his day learning he made the team as a second left-hander in the bullpen by pitching a scoreless one-third of an inning. Rapada ended the spring with a 0.90 ERA and he will give Girardi a second option in the bullpen to lefty Boone Logan.
- The starters in the game collected only two hits off Mets starter Dillon Gee. One of them was a lined single to up the middle by Alex Rodriguez in the first inning. Rodriguez had a solid spring, hitting an even .300 with two home runs. A healthy A-Rod throughout the 2012 season is the No. 1 key to the Yankees’ success this season.
- Austin Romine’s back injury caused a ripple effect that now makes the Michael Pineda trade look like a real mistake. The Yankees chose to trade megastar in the making Jesus Montero to the Mariners for Pineda. Now Romine’s immediate future as a catcher is in question and the Yankees were forced to trade pitcher George Kontos for 30-year-old Chris Stewart from the Giants. Because Stewart is out of options, the Yankees will have to keep him on the roster and Cervelli ends up at Triple-A. Factor in that Pineda begins the season on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis and you have what looks to be a lopsided trade of Montero. By the way, Montero hit .328 with two home runs and 13 RBIs for Seattle this spring. Will the trade come back to haunt general manager Brian Cashman?
- The biggest concern for the 2012 Yankees is age. Rodriguez will be 37 and Jeter will 38. Mariano Rivera is 42. Hiroki Kuroda was signed as a free agent and he is 37. Pettitte comes out of retirement at age 39 and the Yankees decide to add a 30-year-old backup catcher over Cervelli who is 26. Pineda is 23 and he is on the DL in favor of 35-year-old Garcia. Age can mean experience and it can be a good thing. But it also can weigh a team down with injuries that take much longer to heal on older bodies. At some point the Yankees will have to get younger. It won’t be 2012.
- My biggest concerns coming out spring training is the ability of Pineda to overcome his shoulder injury. A similar problem shelved Phil Hughes last season. It could also do the same to Pineda. I also was not happy with what I saw from Wade this spring and I think his days could be numbered if he pitches the same way in the regular season. I also am wary of nagging injuries like the ones that slowed Nick Swisher, Martin and Jeter this spring. They have to avoid serious injuries to be successful this season.
The Yankees are one of the more fortunate teams coming out of spring training. They do not have to leave Tampa at the start of the season.
They will open their 2012 season on Friday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL.
Ace left-hander CC Sabathia will be the Opening Day starter for the Yankees for the fourth consecutive season. He is 9-7 with a 3.10 ERA in his career against the Rays.
The Rays will counter with right-hander James Shields, who was 16-12 with a 2.82 ERA last season. He is 5-11 with a 4.14 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 3:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.
METS 7, YANKEES 6
They may be two teams that play in the same city and they may be headed in completely opposite directions in 2012 but on Tuesday they renewed a spring ritual they had ignored for 16 years.
Mets staring first baseman Ike Davis homered with one out in the ninth inning off a 21-year-old right-hander who pitched in the Sally League last season in Mark Montgomery as the Mets broke a 6-6 tie and won a Grapefruit League game in walk-off fashion against a lot of minor-league Yankees at Digital Domain Park in Port St. Lucie, FL.
Justin Hampson (1-0) pitched two-thirds of a scoreless inning in the top of the ninth to get credit for the victory.
The Yankees trailed 5-0 after three innings as the Mets folded, spindled and mutilated Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova.
But the Yankees rallied with a solo home run from Nick Swisher in the fouth inning and a five-run sixth inning in which they sent 10 batters to the plate and mustered seven hits against Mets left-hander Jonathan Niese to take a 6-5 lead.
Doug Bernier’s single to left to score J.R. Murphy tied the game and Chris Dickerson followed with a RBI single of his own to score Abraham Almonte with the lead run.
The Mets then tied it back up in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single by Justin Turner.
The Yankees’ spring ledger dropped to 17-12 while the Mets completed their spring with a 9-19 record.
- Swisher was 2-for-3 with a home run and a double. Despite being nagged for two weeks with a sore left groin, Swisher has recovered physically and is hitting a red-hot .345 this spring. Swisher hopes to avoid the horrendous two-month slump with which he began the 2011 season.
- David Phelps and D.J. Mitchell both came on in relief in the game auditioning for a potential long-relief role in the bullpen. Phelps pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 innings, giving up a hit, no walks and striking out two batters. Mitchell pitched innings, giving up one on two hits and one walk and he fanned one. Adam Warren also is in the running despite giving up six runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings to the Astros on Saturday.
- Bernier was 2-for-3 in the game with an RBI and is hitting .361 this spring. With Derek Jeter, Eduardo Nunez and Ramiro Pena ahead of him on the depth chart he will not make the Yankees. However, the 30-year-old veteran may stay in the Yankees organization and become a coach or minor-league instructor. Someday Bernier might make a very good manager.
- It is hard to sugarcoat it and I won’t. Ivan Nova flat-out stunk up the city of Port St. Lucie. He was tagged for five runs on eight hits, two walks and two hit batters in only 2 2/3 innings of what you really could not call work. Nova’s command of his fastball was nonexistent and he was leaving his breaking pitches up in the zone to get whacked all over the park. He gave up three runs on five hits in the first inning and it did not get much better after that. Nova ends spring training with a 8.06 ERA. If he pitches like this in the regular season then we can’t see Andy Pettitte come back soon enough.
- The Yankees only brought two starters, Swisher and Brett Gardner, to this game so it is hard to criticize much. But Gardner did not exactly set the world ablaze this spring. He was 0-for-3 on Tuesday and that lowered his spring average to .204. Gardner also showed an inability to get some bunts down this spring. How long will it take him to learn this skill to take advantage of his speed?
Manager Joe Girardi seeemingly can’t make up his mind about Pettitte pitching in a Grapefruit League game. Girardi first said no. Then he dangled a possibility that Pettitte would pitch an inning on Tuesday. Now Girardi thinks Pettitte might pitch an inning in the Yankees’ spring finale on Wednesday. Girardi said he wants to talk to Pettitte to see how he feels before he decides to use him. . . . Alright, Yankee fans make your plans to watch the Bombers win their 28th world title in 2012. Kentucky won the NCAA basketball championship on Monday. In the Wildcats’ previous six championship seasons (1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996 and 1998) the Yankees have won the World Series. So shall we start printing those World Series tickets now? . . . After Wednesday’s finale the Yankees have a 5 p.m. deadline to cut the roster to 25 players. It appears Mitchell, Phelps or Warren will earn a spot in the bullpen (However, Warren is longshot because he is not on the 40-man roster). Clay Rapada seems to have a spot in the bullpen won with his excellent spring. The only other business is to determine what the team will do with Bill Hall, Jayson Nix and Dewayne Wise. Plus, the Yankees have to determine what to do with Justin Maxwell, who is out of options and can only go back to the minors if he clears waivers. But after the hot spring Maxwell had that is very unlikely.
The Yankees will finish what has been an eventful and successful spring camp on Wednesday against the Mets at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Freddy Garcia, who is sporting a 2.92 ERA in his four spring starts, is expected to pitch for the Yankees. The Mets will counter with right-hander Dillon Gee.
Game-time will be 12:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.
YANKEES 5, METS 2
In a season in which the Yankees’ starting rotation has been questioned from Opening Day, Bartolo Colon has been overcoming obstacles and exceeding expectations with every start. On Saturday, the 38-year-old right-hander came off the disabled list and proved to any doubters that are left that he is, indeed, for real.
Colon completely shut down the Mets’ offense over six innings and Curtis Granderson and the Yankees finally solved Dillon Gee the third time through the order as the Yankees won their seventh straight game and their 17th in their last 21 in a nationally televised game at Citi Field.
Colon (6-3) was on a strict 80-pitch limit coming off the disabled list for a strained left hamstring and Colon threw exactly that number of pitches over six innings. He gave up five hits — three of them infield singles — walked none and struck out six in running his personal scoreless streak to 13 innings.
The Yankees, meanwhile, were held in check by the 25-year-old rookie right-hander Gee (8-2), whom the Mets were 12-1 in his starts this season coming into the game. Gee shut out the Yankees over the first 5 1/3 innings on just three hits and one walk and he fanned seven batters, mostly on change-ups.
However, Gee left a juicy change-up in the zone and Curtis Granderson blasted it into the right-field bleachers for his 22nd home run of the season, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Gee then unraveled like a cheap sock after the home run.
Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez followed with singles and Robinson Cano sliced a liner down the right-field line for a two-run triple. Nick Swisher then ended the scoring by plating Cano on a sacrifice fly to deep left.
The Yankees’ bullpen took over in the seventh and Cory Wade pitched two scoreless frames to maintain his perfect 0.00 ERA over 8 innings and seven appearances since he was promoted from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on June 15.
Meanwhile, the Yankees added a run in the ninth on a solo home run from Eduardo Nunez off reliever Tim Byrdak, Nunez’s third home run of the season. Nunez was 3-for-4 in the game, including two doubles. The only time the Mets got him out came when second baseman Justin Turner made a diving stab of Nunez’s line drive ticketed for center-field. In the two games of the series, Nunez is 7-for-8.
The Yankees, meanwhile, used newly reacquired right-hander Sergio Mitre in the ninth and Mitre was touched for RBI groundouts by Jason Bay and Lucas Duda that spoiled the shutout for the Yankees.
With the victory, the Yankees have run their American League-best record to 50-31, a season-high 19 games over .500. They also maintained their 2 1/2 game edge over the second-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The Mets fell below the .500 mark at 41-42.
- Colon’s season has him in line for American League Comeback Player of the Year. These good starts can no longer be called a fluke either. Colon threw 56 strikes out of 80 pitches, a 70 percent strike ratio. He was not severely threatened until the Mets strung together a swinging bunt single by Bay, a bloop single to right by Duda and another infield single by Josh Thole with one out in the fifth. However, the Mets elected to allow the pitcher Gee hit and he bounced into a double play to Rodriguez to end the inning. Before that, Colon had only allowed an infield single to Jose Reyes to leadoff the bottom of the first inning. (Reyes left the game after two innings with a tight left hamstring he incurred trying to beat out the hit.) Colon lowered his season ERA to a team-best 2.88 among the starters.
- Nunez is making it very hard for Girardi to bench him when Derek Jeter is expected to return on Monday. Nunez’s 7-for-8 hitting the past two days includes three singles, three doubles and a home run. In his 17 starts at shortstop in place of Jeter, Nunez is 20-for-59 (.339). The Yankees have now found out that Nunez is a budding star at age 24 and they need to find him more at-bats.
- Cano’s two-run triple in the sixth extended his hitting streak to six games and he is 7-for-23 (.304) in that stretch with six RBIs. Cano is hitting .292 on the season.
- Rodriguez had two singles in the game and he now has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games. During that stretch he is 19-for-46 (.413) with 10 RBIs. Rodriguez has raised his season average to .304. from .278 on June 18.
- Once again, the Yankees struggled early with a pitcher they have never faced before. Gee kept the Yankees off-balance with his change-up through five innings until the Yankees began waiting on the pitch in the sixth. Gee ended up with seven strikeouts (Granderson, Teiexeira, Rodriguez, Swisher, Russell Martin (twice) and Colon).
- Martin had a no-contact afternoon. He fanned three times and walked. His batting average has fallen to season-low .223. To say he is slumping would be putting it mildly.
- Brett Gardner was 0-for-5 in the game and he is hitless in his last 11 at-bats. His batting average has dipped to .267.
- Mitre’s return engagement debut with the Yankees on Saturday was forgettable. He gave up a leadoff double to Daniel Murphy and walked Angel Pagan. Then he uncorked a wild pitch. Bay and Duda followed with RBI groundouts that scored Murphy and Duda before Mitre retired Josh Thole on a groundout to end the game.
Jeter was 1-for-2 with a walk in the five innings he played in his first rehab game with the Double-A Trenton Thunder on Saturday night. His appearance drew a sellout crowd of 9,002 fans to Waterfront Park. It was the second-largest crowd in team history. Jeter, who has been on the disabled list since June 14 with a strained right calf, singled to leadoff the game, took third on a double to right-field and scored on a sac fly. Jeter said afterwards that he had no issues running the bases. Jeter could play all nine innings of Trenton’s game on Sunday and then he expects to be activated by the Yankees before Monday’s game against the Indians in Cleveland. Jeter is just six hits shy of the 3,000 mark for his career. . . . In order to make room for Colon on the 25-man roster the Yankees were forced on Saturday to send right-hander Brian Gordon to Triple-A Scranton. Gordon, 32, made two starts in place of Colon and was 0-1 with a 5.23 ERA after spending 15 seasons in the minor leagues.
The Yankees are on blazing fire and they look to continue their winning streak on Sunday with a sweep of the Subway Series in Queens.
The Yankees will send out 34-year-old right-hander Freddy Garcia (7-6, 3.28 ERA), who gave up just two runs on eight hits and no walks in six innings in a victory over the Brewers on Tuesday. Garcia is 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA in his career against the Mets.
The Mets will counter with right-hand knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (4-7, 3.77 ERA). Dickey was staked to a double-digit lead against Detroit and he was touched for a pair of homers. However, Dickey coasted to an easy victory. Dickey has the only victory the Mets have salvaged this season against the Yankees. He is 3-1 with a 2.39 ERA against the Yankees lifetime.
Game-time will be 1:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be televised nationally by TBS and locally by the YES Network.