Tagged: Dustin Moseley

Mo Reportedly Will Sign 2-Year Deal To Remain In Bronx

Exit light
Enter night
Take my hand
We’re off to never-never land

                                                                                      – “Enter Sandman” by Metallica


Yankee fans may be able to sleep a lot better knowing that the best closer in baseball history is returning for two more seasons.
Mariano Rivera, 41, reportedly has agreed to a two-year deal for $15 million per season. That is certainly good news to Yankee management, players and fans. The Yankees really have no creditable replacement for “The Sandman” and, after a season in which Rivera recorded 33 saves with a 1.80 ERA, he proved he is not losing his effectiveness.
Rivera now stands poised to challenge Treveor Hoffman’s major-league saves record. Hoffman, 42, has 601 career saves but he lost his role as a closer with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010 and is currently a free agent.
Rivera is only 42 saves behind Hoffman with 559. The two-year deal assures him opportunity to pass Hoffman.
Rivera’s career numbers pretty much have given him first-ballot entrance into the Hall of Fame. He is 74-55 with a career ERA of 2.23. He also has blown only 49 saves in 608 chances. That is a career save percentage of 92 percent.
He also has led the Yankees to five world titles and is 8-1 with an incredible 0.71 ERA in postseason play and a major-league leading 42 career postseason saves.
To put it mildly, Rivera is the most valuable piece to any puzzle the Yankees need to assemble to a world championship club in 2011.
Though he has been nagged by minor ailments to his knee, ribs and shoulder, Rivera has also proven to be durable over his 16 major-league seasons. Rivera has also been helpful to teammates by teaching them his signature cutter.
In 2010, pitchers Phil Hughes and Kerry Wood employed their own version of the cutter under the tutelage of the master, Rivera. 
The Yankees only need now to shore up the pieces of the bullpen to get to Rivera since the team elected not pick up Wood’s expensive $11 million option. The Yankees will retain Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, Boone Logan and Sergio Mitre. They also hope to get lefty specialist Damaso Matre back sometime during the 2011 season.
However, they chose to release Alfredo Aceves and Dustin Moseley on Friday. Aceves was sidelined most of the 2010 season with a severe back injury and broke his collarbone this off-season.
Moseley was 4-4 with a 4.96 ERA as a part-time starter and long reliever.
So the Yankees will be looking for relief help in the free-agent market to fill in the missing pieces. Their chances of re-signing Wood are slim since he is looking for a chance to close with another club.
But one target could be Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Scott Downs, who was 5-5 with a 2.64 ERA in 67 games last season. Downs, 34, also has some experience as a closer, collecting 16 saves in 32 chances in his nine major-league seasons.
Downs has a dual utility to the Yankees He is an experienced left-hander who can get tough lefties out — lefties hit only .152 against him last season. In addition, with Rivera advancing in age Downs could close if the Yankees needed him to do so.
The only problem in signing Downs will come down to price. He figures to get a lot of offers from contending teams looking for quality left-handers in their bullpen. But it is clear the Yankees would have an interest in him.
Now they can tout to Downs he will have an opportunity to set up a living legend in Rivera.
ON THE JETER TRAIL  . . .  It also appears that this blog’s prediction the Yankees would increase their initial three-year, $45 million offer to Derek Jeter has come true. Sources indicate the Yankees have increased their offer $2 million to $3 million per season. 
At the same time, Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, lowered his initial demand for a contract paying $23 million per season,
It appears the two sides are heading to the midpoint of about $19 million per season over three seasons or in that vicinity. Jeter made $18.9 million over the past 10 years under his old contract, so it appears he could accept what would be essentially an extension of that contract for three seasons. 
The Yankees can say they did not have to pay Jeter above what he was making and Close can claim his client did not take a pay cut. Both sides win and the Yankees will have their captain back in the fold.
Things are definitely looking up for Yankee fans in advance of baseball’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, FL, on Monday.
STAY TUNED . . . 


Rangers’ Pen Implodes As Yankees Rally To Take Opener

AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES – GAME 1
YANKEES 6, RANGERS 5

The New York Yankees are a lot like a cockroach. When you step on them you better make sure they are dead.
As the Texas Rangers found out on Friday night, the cockroach may be limping but still may have enough strength to get away from you.
Down 5-1 in the top of the eighth inning with a dominant C.J. Wilson on the mound, the Yankees fashioned a five-run comeback as seven consecutive batters reached base on five different Texas pitchers to snatch Game 1 of the American League Championship Series away from the stunned Rangers.
Since the 1995 postseason, the Yankees have registered 14 victories after trailing after seven innings, which is tops in the majors. They also have outscored the Rangers in their postseason meetings 15-0 after seven innings.
With the victory, the Yankees also dealt a very deep psychological blow to a Ranger bullpen that was second to the Yankees with a 3.61 ERA during the regular season. More importantly, they also managed to take home-field advantage away from the Rangers.
Brett Gardner started the inning and the rally by legging out what looked to be a routine ground ball to Jorge Cantu at first. But Gardner slid in headfirst to beat Wilson to the bag on the relay throw from Cantu.
Derek Jeter followed by lacing a line-drive double down the left-field line to score Gardner. The hit also chased Wilson from the game, despite the fact he had cruised through the first seven innings.
Veteran left-handed reliever Darren Oliver dug the Rangers an even bigger hole by walking both Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira on 3-2 pitches. Manager Ron Washington then went to his bullpen for side-winding right-hander Darren O’Day to pitch to Alex Rodriguez.
Rodriguez ripped O’Day’s first offering so hard he nearly took Michael Young’s glove into left-field with it and Jeter and Swisher scored to draw the Yankees to within a run.
Washington dipped into his bullpen again for left-hander Clay Rapada to pitch to Robinson Cano, who had homered off Wilson to lead off the seventh inning to put the Yankees on the board. Cano laced Rapada’s first pitch up the middle in to center-field to score Teixeira with the tying run. 
Center-fielder Josh Hamilton bobbled the ball and allowed Rodriguez to take third.
As Washington started to wear out a visible path to the mound at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, a crowd of 50,930 — the fourth largest in Rangers history — mostly sat in stunned silence as left-hander Derek Holland was summoned to pitch to designated hitter Marcus Thames — still with nobody out.
Thames battled to a 2-2 count and muscled a broken-bat line-drive single into left-field to give the Yankees their first lead of the night. The Rangers looked to see if team president Nolan Ryan, who threw out the first pitch before the game, would begin to warm up for his shell-shocked Texans.
Wilson ended up his nightmare evening by being charged with three runs on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts in 7-plus innings of work. O’Day (0-1), who oddly was unscored upon in the American League Division Series against the Rays, was charged with the loss.
The real unsung heroes for the Yankees were relievers Joba Chamberlain and Dustin Moseley (1-0). 
Ace left-hander CC Sabathia was uncharacteristically wild in giving up five earned runs on six hits and four walks and three strikeouts in only four innings of work — the shortest outing of his postseason career. 
However, Chamberlain and Moseley came on and combined for three no-hit shutout innings of relief. Moseley struck out four of the seven batters he faced in two innings. The pair laid the groundwork for the Yankees’ comeback by silencing the Rangers’ bats, which had put up three runs in the first inning on a Hamilton home run.
They added two runs in the fourth on a two-out double by Young, which put the Yankee cockroaches down 5-0. They were limping but still breathing.
Kerry Wood made things interesting for the Rangers in the eighth by walking Ian Kinsler on four pitches to start the frame. But Wood forced a cardinal sin from Kinsler and picked him off first base with the potential lead run at home plate. Wood escaped the inning without further incident, which turned the game over to the best closer in postseason history.
Mariano Rivera gave up a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland to begin the ninth. The Rangers, who had rallied to force Rivera to blow two saves this season, felt pretty good about their chances to do it again when Elvis Andrus bunted Moreland to second on a two-strike sacrifice bunt.
However, postseasons to Rivera are different from the regular season. 
Rivera fanned Young and Hamilton bounced out to Rodriguez on one pitch to end the game and give the Yankees their 10th consecutive postseason win over the Rangers, which dates back to 1996.
For Rivera it was his major-league-leading 42nd career postseason save. In 137 2/3 career innings in the postseason, Rivera also has a major-league-best 0.72 ERA and an 8-1 record. 
Rodriguez put it best after the game, telling reporters “I wouldn’t say I’m surprised. You’ve still got to get 27 outs. We had a lot of good at-bats [in the eighth inning].”
Unfortunately for the Rangers, they recorded only 21 outs before the walls of Rangers Ballpark at Arlington came crumbling down.
Perhaps a play in the first inning was the harbinger of what was to come. 
With Sabathia wild and out of the strike zone, he walked Andrus and Young slapped a 3-1 cripple pitch into center for a single to move Andrus to third. Before Sabathia knew it, Hamilton blasted an 0-2 pitch on a line down the right-field for a three-run home run.
It was the first home run of the postseason for the Rangers’ MVP candidate, who hit .111 in the ALDS with the Rays.
After Sabathia retired Vladimir Guerrero on a long drive to center-field that Curtis Granderson caught at the base of the wall, Sabathia loaded the bases. Nelson Cruz singled, Ian Kinsler walked and, one out later, Matt Treanor drew another walk.
With Sabathia on the ropes again, the left-hander uncorked a pitch high in the strike zone that eluded Jorge Posada behind the plate. But the ball ricocheted off the wall and bounced right back to Posada as Cruz broke from third attempting to score.
But Posada flipped to Sabathia and Sabathia managed to tag a sliding Cruz on the left shoulder just before the left foot of Cruz reached the plate to end the inning.
Sabathia now has an ERA of 5.83 in his five postseason starts in which he has had more than six days of rest. 
For Wilson there is nothing left but to ponder what could have been. In his three starts against the Yankees in the regular season, he was 0-1 with a 5.86 ERA and he never got past the sixth inning in any of them.
Tonight he and his teammates in the bullpen let the cockroach and a very important game get away.
ON DECK

The ALCS resumes on Saturday afternoon and the Rangers have very little time to recover from a devastating loss.
They will start right-ha
nder Colby Lewis (12-13, 3.72 ERA). In the ALDS against the Rays, Lewis pitched five scoreless innings but he did not get a decision because — stop me if this sounds familiar — the bullpen gave up the lead late to the Rays. Lewis did not face the Yankees this season but he has a 6.89 ERA against them in three career starts.
The Yankees will counter with All-Star right-hander Phil Hughes (18-8, 4.19 ERA). Hughes is coming off a brilliant series-clinching victory over the Twins in the ALDS. Hughes gave up just four hits over seven scoreless innings. Hughes has not given up an earned run in 15 1/3 career innings at Rangers Ballpark at Arlington.
Game-time will be 4 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by TBS.

Burnett And Vazquez Torpedo Yankees’ Starting Rotation

With the end of the season it is time to hand out the final report cards for the New York Yankees for 2010. The Yankees reached the halfway point with the best record in baseball but with much promise to even improve in the second half. But some key injuries and some inconsistency with the starting pitchers dragged this team down a few notches. They qualified as a wild card but to defend their 2009 title they will have to dig deep. Here are the grades:


STARTING PITCHERS

CC Sabathia (21-7, 3.18 ERA)
Phil Hughes (18-8, 4.19 ERA)
Andy Pettitte (11-3, 3.28 ERA)
A.J. Burnett (10-15, 5.26 ERA)
Javier Vazquez (10-10, 5.32 ERA)

Other starters: Dustin Moseley, Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre

At the midway point I proclaimed the Yankees starting pitching the best in baseball. It shows you what I know.
To be fair to me, though, the Yankees’ starting five was the best at the halfway point. They were a combined 48-21 with a 3.86 ERA. They also were averaging just over 6 1/3 innings per start.
Sabathia, Pettitte and Hughes had 11 or more wins and they were the first trio to do that since the 1999 Houston Astros starters Shane Reynolds, Jose Lima and Mike Hampton. All three were named to the American League All-Star team although Sabathia was ineligible to pitch because he started on the Sunday before the Tuesday game.
So what happened to the best starting five in baseball?
Well, three key things brought this staff crashing to Earth:
  • On July 18 Andy Pettitte was pitching in the third inning at Yankee Stadium in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays when he felt pain in his left groin. Pettitte left the game and ended up on the disabled list through Sept. 10. Pettitte was arguably pitching the best baseball of his career and the Yankees lost their second-best pitcher.
  • A.J. Burnett always has been an enigma — good one start and awful the next. But even he could not have predicted the dreadful month of August he would have. In his five starts, Burnett was 0-4 with a 7.80 ERA. In addition, Burnett never really rebounded. He was 1-3 with a 5.60 ERA the rest of the way. With Pettitte out, Burnett was expected to step up and help the Yankees overcome it. Instead, he pitched worse than he ever has with the Yankees and he is not expected to start a game in the first round of the playoffs.
  • Javier Vazquez looked like he had put his early season problems behind him. He was 7-7 with a 4.45 ERA at the midpoint after starting the season 1-3 with a 9.78 ERA. But he slumped miserably in August, going 1-2 with a 8.10 ERA through Aug. 21, when he was pulled from the rotation in favor of rookie Ivan Nova. Vazquez made only three more starts the rest of the season and they all were dreadful. As a result, Vazquez, who finished fourth in the National League Cy Young Award voting last season, was left off the playoff roster.
With Pettitte on the shelf and Burnett and Vazquez giving up more runs than a cheap pair of stockings, Sabathia and Hughes were saddled with having to carry the rotation most of the second half.
Sabathia was up to the task. He was 9-4 with a 3.29 ERA and he managed to win 20 games for the first time in his career. His 21-7 record makes him a front-runner for the Cy Young Award. It would be his second.
Hughes, on the other hand, struggled a bit but still won because the Yankees honored him by giving the most run support of any starter in baseball. Hughes was 7-6 with a 4.90 ERA. Hughes seemed to wear down a bit under the weight of an upcoming innings limit, which forced the Yankees to skip his turn on occasion.
Nonetheless, Hughes can consider an 18-8 record as the team’s No. 5 starter in his first full season in the rotation at age 24 a pretty good season no matter what the struggles were down the stretch.
Moseley made seven starts in place of Pettitte at the end of July and throughout August. He was 4-2 with a 5.03 ERA. He was credited with three quality starts. But after being hammered for four runs on five hits and four walks against Oakland on Aug. 30, Moseley only made two more starts the rest of the season.
He was 0-2 with a 6.17 ERA in those starts. So, needless to say, he was not much of a replacement for Pettitte.
The Yankees recalled 23-year-old rookie right-hander Nova from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Aug. 23. He made seven starts in late August and September in place of Vazquez and was 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA 
Although Nova showed great promise for future success at the major-league level with his assortment of pitches and his poise, he struggled the second time through lineups and could not limit his pitch counts.
For the first half the starting five received the following grades:
Sabathia A-
Burnett C
Pettitte A+
Vazquez C
Hughes A+
Their second-half grades are as follows:
Sabathia A+
Burnett D
Pettitte I (Incomplete)
Vazquez F
Hughes C
Their 2010 overall grades are as follows:
Sabathia A+
Burnett D+
Pettitte A-
Vazquez D-
Hughes B+
OVERALL STARTING PITCHER GRADE: C+

The overall record of 50-18 by Sabathia, Pettitte and Hughes more than makes up for the horrible 20-25 record posted by Burnett and Vazquez. 
Still, the inability of Moseley or Nova to really step up and pitch well late in the season really doomed the Yankees to their September swoon that cost them the best record in baseball and first place in the American League East.
The Yankees are going to have to make some tough decisions on what to do with Burnett and Vazquez next season. Both are under contract and both are owed a lot of money. Trading either or both would be difficult unless the Yankees picked up a portion of the contracts.
It is n
o secret the Yankees covet Cliff Lee. They nearly had him at the trade deadline until the Mariners stabbed the Yankees in the back and made a deal with the Rangers instead. But Lee will be a free agent and his buddy Sabathia likely can convince him to sign if the money is right.
The Yankees also may have a potential young starter in Nova. If he continues to develop, he could be of great help as a starter in 2011.
In the meantime, the Yankees’ hopes for a 28th championship once again ride on just three starters: Sabathia, Pettitte and Hughes. The Yankees have Burnett on the roster for the first series but he is not scheduled to start a game.
The Yankees likely will have to use him if the Yankees make the AL Championship Series and the World Series. What they get from him is a big mystery. 
It is troubling to think of what could have been if Burnett and Vazquez had just pitched adequately this season. If the Yankees do not repeat as champions it is obvious who the fans are going to blame.

Yankees Blast Blue Jays’ Nest With 5 Homers In Laugher

GAME 126
YANKEES 11, BLUE JAYS 5
The loud noise you heard erupting from the Rogers Center in Toronto was not a military exercise or atmospheric anomaly. It was the Yankees re-emerging as the Bronx Bombers unleashing home runs on the Blue Jays.
After a barrage of 17 hits, five home runs and 11 runs, the Yankees had turned the tables on the American League home run leader Jose Bautista and the major league home run-leading Blue Jays.
The Yankee hitters began the evening as if they were kids celebrating a birthday and the pitches of Blue Jays starter Marc Rzepczynski (1-2) were their personal pinatas. Led by Mark Teixeira, who homered to the second deck in left with out in the third inning, the Yankees ended up hitting three home runs in that frame alone to chase Rzepczynski after bashing him for six runs on eight hits and and two walks.
They added two more home runs in the fifth inning off reliever Brian Tallet to make it a laugher at 10-1.
Teixeira led the way with a 4-for-5 night, including his 28th home run of the season and two RBIs, which now gives him 91 on the season. 
Not to be outdone was Jorge Posada, who blasted his third home run in his last four games. He followed Marcus Thames’ two-run home run in the third inning with his 16th homer of the season. He also ended up with a 4-for-5 night and two RBIs.
Curtis Granderson added to the assault with a three-run homer off Tallet in the fifth inning to make it 9-1. Jeter followed two batters later with his 10th of the season and he now has hit at least 10 home runs in each of his 16 seasons in the major leagues.
The beneficiary of all the run support was Dustin Moseley (4-2), who gave up two runs on five hits and four walks over six innings to tame Bautista and the Blue Jays. Though they lead the major leagues with 190 home runs this season, Moseley kept the Blue Jays in the yard after Bautista ripped two blasts on Monday and he showboated by watching them and taking his time running them out.
None of the Yankees needed to provide any theatrics to drive home the point that the Yankees are likely headed to the playoffs while the Blue Jays are doomed to go home empty handed — again.
With the victory the Yankees got back to 30 games over .500 at 78-48 and they maintained their tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for the top spot in the American League East. The M*A*S*H unit that is the Boston Red Sox fell a half-game back to six games out because their game with Seattle was postponed due to rain.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES
  • On June 30, Teixeira was hitting .231 and Yankee fans were not happy with the production from the their first baseman. But after going 4-for-5, Teixeira raised his average to .262. With 28 home runs and 91 RBIs, he also seems a lock to record his seventh consecutive season of at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. 
  • After struggling at the plate since he was activated from the disabled list on June 2, Posada appears to be heating up during the pennant push. He has a modest five-game hitting streak in which he is 8-for-20 (.400) with three home runs and six RBIs. 
  • With Alex Rodriguez on the disabled list, Marcus Thames is turning into a nice contributor as a right-handed batter. Thames was 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs and he also scored two runs. He is also ripping left-handers. He is 27-for-79 (.342) with two home runs and seven RBIs against them this season. He is hitting .313 with five home runs and 19 RBIs overall.
  • Granderson connected for only his second home run against a left-hander this season with his three-run shot off Tallet in the fifth inning. He has 14 home runs and 41 RBIs on the season. Granderson also sparkled in the field with a tremendous throw on a two-out, bases-loaded single by John Buck in the bottom of the sixth. His one-hop throw to Posada cut down Adam Lind trying to score and ended a big threat by the Jays to get back into the game.
NAGGING NEGATIVES
  • Despite the 17 hits, two Yankee starters took the collar. Robinson Cano was 0-for-4 with a walk and run scored and Austin Kearns did the same. Kearns’ 11-game hitting streak in which he was 14-for-35 (.400) came to an end.
  • Moseley was either too cautious or he got tired after pitching a one-hitter for the first three innings. He walked the leadoff batters in each of the next three innings and ended up with the bases loaded in the fourth and sixth innings. A grand slam in either inning would have allowed the Jays to get back into the game.
  • Chad Gaudin, fresh off his great back-to-back stints of long relief totaling five innings, struggled mightily in his two innings of mop-up work on Tuesday. He was tagged for three hits and he walked two in giving up three runs in two innings. 
BOMBER BANTER
Nick Swisher was forced to leave the game — literally — by manager Joe Girardi after he fouled a pitch off his left knee in the seventh inning. Swisher originally fouled off a 1-2 pitch by Craig Janssen off his knee but stayed in to continue his at-bat. But after fouling a second pitch off his left foot Girardi went out and ordered Swisher to leave the game. Brett Gardner took over the at-bat and struck out looking. Swisher said he hopes to play Wednesday. The Yankees will re-evaluate his knee before the game.  . . .  Javier Vazquez has been moved to the bullpen for now. Because of the encouraging debut of Ivan Nova on Monday, Girardi has decided to give the 23-year-old rookie another start, in place of Vazquez on Sunday. Vazquez is 0-2 with a 8.10 ERA in four starts in August. He will be available in the bullpen starting on Wednesday.
ON DECK
The Yankees will try to win the rubber game of the three-game series with Toronto on Wednesday. The Yankees will try to do it with their All-Star right-hander Phil Hughes.
Hughes (15-5, 3.90 ERA) came off an excellent outing against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday in which he gave up a run on four hits in six innings and fanned six batters. Hughes retired the last 11 Tigers he faced. He is 2-1 with a 3.75 ERA in his career against the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays will counter with right-hander Brett Cecil (10-6, 3.90 ERA). Cecil notched his first career victory against the Red Sox on Friday, limiting Boston to two runs in 6 2/3 innings at Fenway. He struck six and walked three. Cecil is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA against the Yankees lifetime.
Gametime will be 7:07 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

Hit Batters, Ejection Overshadow Yanks’ Romp Over Tigers

GAME 120
YANKEES 9, TIGERS 5

Brett Gardner was hit with the game’s first pitch, after hitting two home runs the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera was hit with the pitch eighth inning, Derek Jeter narrowly escaped getting plunked in the bottom of the eighth and Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland was ejected before the bottom of the eighth inning began.
In between the hit batters and ejection the New York Yankees pounded out three home runs as part of nine-hit attack as they defeated the Detroit Tigers 9-5 on Wednesday.
Mark Teixeira set the tone for the evening with a two-run home run to the second deck in right-field to score Gardner after he was hit by Tiger starter Jeremy Bonderman (6-9) in the first inning.
The pitch that hit Gardner seemed suspicious in that it was Gardner’s hard but clean slide into Carlos Guillen in the ninth inning of Monday’s game. Guillen was placed on the disabled list earlier in the day with a bruised left knee as a result of the slide. When asked about the slide by reporters Leyland claimed the play was a clean one.
However, home plate umpire and crew chief Eric Cooper immediately warned both teams that any further purpose pitches would result in the ejection of the offending pitcher and manager.
Play resumed and the Yankees built their lead to 3-0 when Robinson Cano followed Teixeira with a solo home run of his own.
The Yankees later extended their lead to 6-2 with three runs in the fourth inning, keyed by a RBI triple by Ramiro Pena and a RBI single by Gardner.
After the Tigers came back with a two-run home run from Don Kelly in the fifth inning, the Yankees answered with a Curtis Granderson solo home run to push the Yankee lead back to 7-4.
A two-out, two-run double by Austin Kearns in the seventh inning seemingly put the game away for the Yankees at 9-4.
However, Chad Gaudin began the eighth inning by hitting Cabrera with an 1-1 pitch. Cabrera had hit solo home runs in the second and fourth innings off Yankee starter and winning pitcher Dustin Moseley (3-2). 
Leyland immediately stormed out of the dugout to protest why Cooper was not going to eject Gaudin for what looked to be deliberately targeting the Tigers’ Most Valuable Player candidate. Though Leyland returned to the bench he did not stop yelling at Cooper from the visitors’ dugout at Yankee Stadium.
Gaudin promptly gave up a single to Johnny Damon and walked Jhonny Peralta on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases with no out.  David Robertson entered the game and, despite giving up a sacrifice fly to Brandon Inge, he retired the side to hold the Yankee lead at four runs.
Leyland was ejected at that point and then Tigers reliever Enrique Gonzalez tossed a pitch behind Jeter with one out in the eighth inning. Yankees manager Joe Girardi started out of the dugout but elected not to argue and the Gonzalez continued to walk Jeter, Teixeira and Cano before Swisher ended the inning by hitting into a double play.
Another wild night in the Bronx ended with the Yankees and Moseley victorious. Moseley only gave up five hits in five innings of work. But unfortunately for him, three of the hits were home runs that accounted for four runs.
The Yankees used six relievers, including Mariano Rivera in the ninth, to escape with the victory. Those relievers held the Tigers to just one run despite giving up five hits, one walk and that one hit batter.
With the victory the Yankees held on to their share of first place in the American League East with the Tampa Bay Rays. Both teams are 73-46. The Red Sox remain 5 1/2 games out in the third place.
The Tigers fell to 58-62 on the season.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Granderson is flat out mashing the baseball thanks to the help he received from hitting coach Kevin Long on his swing. In his last seven games, Granderson is 9-for-26 (.347) with three home runs and four RBIs. 
  • Entering the game 0 for his last 11 at-bats, Teixeira was 3-for-4, reached base in all five plate appearances, homered, singled and doubled, drove in two runs and scored two runs.
  • Kearns’ two-out, bases-loaded ground-rule double give him a six-game hitting streak in which he is 8-for-19 (.421). Kearns is hitting .333 for the Yankees since his trade deadline acquisition from the Cleveland Indians.
  • Ramiro Pena, starting his second game in place of Alex Rodriguez, is 2-for-6 with two RBIs in those two games.
NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Moseley is 3-2 in his five starts replacing Andy Pettitte but he also has an ERA of 4.97 in those starts and has given up seven home runs in his last four starts. His inability to keep the ball in the ballpark led to Girardi taking him out of the game in the fifth inning despite the fact he threw only 84 pitches.
  • Jeter was 0-for-4, including a walk and a strikeout, and he did not get a ball out the infield. His season average dipped to .276, 37 points below his career average.
  • Jorge Posada was the only other Yankee not to have a hit in the game. He was 0-for-3 with an intentional walk in the seventh inning. He is hitting only .182 this month with a home run and only two RBIs. 
  • Gaudin may have not meant to hit Cabrera in the ribs, but his inability to retire Damon and Peralta led to Girardi having to use Robertson and Rivera on a night when the manager should not have had to use them. With Damaso Marte and Alfredo Aceves about to come off the disabled list soon, Gaudin may be one of the casualties when they return.
BOMBER BANTER

Andy Pettitte is frustrated after an MRI on Tuesday revealed his strained left groin has not healed. It will be at least another week before Pettitte will be allowed to throw again and the timetable for his return from the 15-day disabled list is clouded.  . . .  Lance Berkman is still hobbling on a swollen right ankle but said he is available to pinch-hit. Berkman, who injured the ankle hitting the back of Bryan Bullington’s foot on a play at first base in Kansas City, hopes he may be able to DH this weekend.  . . .  Rodriguez’s strained calf muscle leaves him day-to-day. A similar injury to Jorge Posada cost the veteran catcher six days.
ON DECK

The Yankees can win the four-game series with the Tigers with a victory on Thursday.
Phil Hughes (14-5, 3.95 ERA) will make the start for the Yankees. Hughes won his 14th game in his last start, allowing three runs in six innings against the Royals despite giving up nine hits. He is 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA lifetime against the Tigers.
The Tigers will counter with right-hander Rick Porcello (5-10, 5.53 ERA), who pitched seven innings of solid baseball against the White Sox on Saturday. Porcello gave up only two runs but he did not get the decision in the Tigers’ victory. Porcello is 1-1 with a 5.66 ERA against the Yankees in his career.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

Moseley, Subbing For Ailing Burnett, Shuts Down  Bosox

GAME 110
YANKEES 7, RED SOX 2

“Stepping up” is a popular word in today’s baseball lexicon. It simply means coming through with a great effort when a teammate is unable to play.
On Saturday, Ramiro Pena drove in two runs subbing for an injured Alex Rodriguez. On Sunday night it was Dustin Moseley pitching six-plus innings in place of injured starter A.J. Burnett as the New York Yankees “stepped up” to defeat the Boston Red Sox.
Moseley (2-1), who was scheduled to pitch Monday, was called upon to pitch a day early because Burnett was bothered by back spasms. After throwing 6 1/3 innings of two-run and six-hit baseball on short notice, Moseley earned a standing ovation from the crowd of 49,096 at Yankee Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Yankees’ offense was running up the pitch count and wearing down Moseley’s more decorated opponent, Josh Beckett (3-2).
Derek Jeter led the assault with a two-out RBI single in the second inning and a two-out, two-run double in the fifth inning that finally chased Beckett from the contest. Beckett was shelled for seven runs on 11 hits and two walks in just 4 2/3 innings.
A pair of errors by second baseman Bill Hall and catcher Kevin Cash did not help Beckett’s cause either.
With the victory, the Yankees struck another serious blow to the hopes of the Red Sox to get back into the race for the top spot in the American League East. With their 69-41 record the Yankees are now seven games in front of the third-place Red Sox.
The Tampa Bay Rays, who were completely shut down and dismantled by Brandon Morrow’s 8 2/3 innings of no-hit baseball and 17 strikeouts, dropped their fifth straight game and now are 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees in second place.
The best the Red Sox can now hope for is win on Monday to tie the four-game series and leave the Bronx the same six games behind the Yankees when they arrived.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • The 28-year-old Texarkana, AR, native Moseley pitched a gem of a game in front of a national television audience. Using his sinking fastball and working both sides of the plate, Moseley gave up only six hits and two walks and contributed three excellent plays in the field to hold the Red Sox at bay. Moseley only gave up a solo home run to Hall to open the fifth inning and a leadoff double by Adrian Beltre in the seventh was cashed in for a run on an infield single by pinch-hitter Mike Lowell off reliever Joba Chamberlain.
  • Jeter’s RBI single in the second inning was the 2,784th hit of his career, which moved him into sole possession of 39th place on baseball’s all-time hit list, passing the legendary Babe Ruth. The crowd gave Jeter a huge ovation and he tipped his helmet to acknowledge the crowd. Jeter ended the day going 2-for-5 with three RBIs.
  • Lance Berkman finally got the Yankee Stadium boo birds off him with a 3-for-4 night, including two doubles. He scored two runs and drove in another. He began the day hitting .091 with the Yankees since he was acquired from the Astros at the trade deadline.
  • Mark Teixeira, who entered the game homerless in 31 at-bats against Beckett, hit his team-leading 25th home run of the season off the right-hander to lead off the fifth inning. It was a titanic blast that landed into the second deck of the right-field bleachers over the Modell’s sign.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Moseley looked to be faltering in the fourth inning after he gave up a two-out single to Victor Martinez with the score only 2-0. Moseley then walked J.D. Drew and Beltre in succession to load the bases. But he recovered by inducing an inning-ending groundout to Teixeira by rookie Ryan Kalish to end what could have been a big inning.
  • Jorge Posada’s troubles at the plate continue. He was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and he failed to get a ball out of the infield. In his last 12 games, Posada is 7-for-41 (.171) with no home runs and one RBI. His season average fell to .257.
  • Curtis Granderson did walk and score a run in the fifth but finished the game 0-for-3 and his average fell back to .243.
  • Chamberlain, who has lost his setup role in the bullpen, was a bit shaky again. He faced three batters in the seventh inning and allowed an infield single to Cash that scored Beltre and — after retiring Jacoby Ellsbury on a foul fly ball — he walked Marco Scutaro to load the bases with David Ortiz coming to the plate and a 7-2 lead. Manager Joe Girardi pulled Chamberlain in favor of left-hander Boone Logan, who retired Ortiz on a grounder to Robinson Cano to end the threat.
DIAMOND NOTES

Alex Rodriguez was able to return to the lineup despite being struck on the shin by a ball off the bat of Berkman during batting practice on Saturday and being scratched from the game. Rodriguez was 1-for-3 with a walk, scored a run and the sixth inning he stole the 300th base of his career. He was removed from the game in the ninth inning due to stiffness in his shin. With the stolen base, Rodriguez joins Barry Bonds and Willie Mays as the only three players in baseball history to hit 600 or more home runs and steal 300 or more bases.  . . .  Burnett felt back spasms on Saturday while he was completing flat-ground tossing at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees decided to move Moseley up to pitch on Sunday and Phil Hughes to pitch on Monday against the Red Sox. Girardi said Burnett felt better on Sunday and he is scheduled to pitch Tuesday on the road against the Texas Rangers.
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees have now put the rival Red Sox into almost a must-win situation on Monday after clinching at least a tie in their four-game series on Sunday.
The Yankees will call on right-hander Phil Hughes (13-4, 3.96 ERA) to win the series. Hughes limited the Blue Jays to one run on four hits over 5 1/3 innings in a Yankees’ victory. However, in three of his past four starts Hughes has failed to make it to the sixth inning. In his career, Hughes is 1-2 with a 6.48 ERA against the Red Sox.
The Red Sox will counter with left-hander Jon Lester (11-7, 3.07 ERA), who has lost a career-high four straight games. His ERA is 5.06 since the All-Star break. He is 5-3 with a 3.00 ERA on the road. He is 4-1 with 4.01 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 2:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.

Mo’s Health, Joba’s Improvement Keys To Yankees’ Bullpen

It is the halfway point of the season for the New York Yankees and you all know what that means. That’s right, it’s time to had out grades for the first term. Some of our Yankees were scholars and some need some remedial work. But with the best record in baseball the Yankees already have a great grade as a team. The funny thing is that they have not really pushed themselves and there is still potential to be even better in the second half. Let’s start evaluating the positions and players.



BULLPEN

Mariano Rivera
Joba Chamberlain
David Robertson
Damaso Marte
Chan Ho Park
Chad Gaudin
Dustin Moseley

Other contributors: Alfredo Aceves, Boone Logan, Sergio Mitre, Ivan Nova, Romulo Sanchez and Mark Melancon

Based on what they did in 2009 and the fact that Joba Chamberlain was back in the bullpen where he belonged, the New York Yankees’ relief corps looked strong heading into the 2010 season.
The fact the Yankees are currently in first place in the American League East and they have the best record in baseball at the All-Star break means that the bullpen can’t be really that bad.
Howver, it has been less than stellar in the first half, despite the fact that at age 40 Mariano Rivera is having another Hall of Fame season: a 2-1 record with a 1.05 ERA and 20 saves in 22 chances.
The fact that the starters have been pitching so deep into games and the bullpen has been used less frequently in 2010, the problem has not been Rivera. It has been getting the ball to Rivera that has been the problem.
One indication of the ineffectiveness of the bullpen is the won-loss record of the bullpen this season which is 8-10. Another indication is the ERAs of the current roster:
Chamberlain 5.79
Robertson 5.46
Park 6.18
Gaudin 6.75
Marte 4.08
Moseley 3.00
This is a far cry from what the bullpen contributed in 2009 and there are many reasons why this has occurred.
No. 1, the fact that the starters have gone so deep has meant much less work from this group than last season. In 2009, Chamberlain’s struggles to last past five innings as a starter and Chien-Ming Wang’s poor start and injuries meant the bullpen was used and used again and again,
This season, there have been fewer starts of five innings or less by the rotation: 16 in 2010. That sometimes means days of inactivity and it is hard to get into a rhythm. But that is not the only reason.
The Yankees are also without to key contributors to their bullpen, Alfred Aceves and Sergio Mitre. Aceves is the Swiss Army knife of the Yankees’ bullpen. He can fill any role and last season he was 10-1 with a 3.54 ERA with one save.
This season Aceves is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA and one save in 10 appearances but his season is in doubt because of a bulging disc in his lower back that has landed him on the disabled list since May 9.
His latest attempt to throw had to be shut down because of pain in the back and the Yankees, who are trying to avoid back surgery, are currently weighing their options. If manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Dave Eiland were counting on having Aceves back soon, they will be waiting a long time.
Mitre, the team’s long man, has also been missed. Mitre has been on the disabled list since June 5 due to an oblique strain suffered when he was taking batting practice to prepare for interleague play.
Mitre is 0-1 with a 2.88 ERA and has been excellent in 12 appearances, which includes two spot starts. The Yankees should be getting Mitre back soon after the second half starts.
Marte has been solid and consistent. He has a 4.08 in 30 appearances and 17 2/3 innings. But he has been doing the job he has been asked to do: lefties are htting .146 off him this season.
Marte usually has been getting into trouble when he is wild (11 walks) or when he is asked to pitch more than one or two batters.
The biggest disappointments have been Park, Robertson and Chamberlain. The ERAs are one indication of their ineffectiveness. But look also at their records:
Chamberlain 1-4
Robertson 1-3
Park 1-1
This group has lost eight of the 10 games the bullpen has lost this season. In defense of Park, though, he lost an early game to the Red Sox in the first series of the season and then spent a month on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain.
His issues seem to be centered around when he is asked to pitch multiple innings. He also been pitching much better of late. He has a 3.38 ERA for this month and he seems to be regaining some of 95 mph velocity.
Robertson had most his problems early in the season. In his first 10 outings, Robertson was 1-1 with a 13.50 ERA. He has only been scored upon in three of his next 21 outings, though he did hiccup and give up four runs in 1 1/3 innings on July 2 at home to Toronto.
But Robertson looks to be solid heading into the second half.
Not so for Joba Chamberlain.
Chamberlain has been the biggest disappointment in the Yankees’ bullpen. A failed starter, Chamberlain looked to resume the eighth-inning set-up role with which he was so successful as a rookie in 2007.
The inconsistency he has shown this season has been a major concern and it culminated in a a horrendous one-inning outing in Seattle on July 10 in which he gave up two hits, threw a wild pitch and was forced to intentionally walk a batter before giving up a grand slam home run that erased a 1-0 lead Javier Vazquez had handed him.
Though Girardi maintains Chamberlain is his eighth-inning guy, there is no sense in having a bridge to Rivera that is going to blow up. 
Perhaps the pursuit of Cliff Lee may be part of this issue. The rumor was if the Yankees had acquired Lee the Yankees would have traded Vazquez for a hitter they might need.
But maybe the Yankees could have shifted Hughes back to the bullpen because he has pitched 101 of his 180 allotted innings as a starter this season. The addition of Hughes, while disappointing to Hughes himself, might solve the inconsistency problem in the eighth inning and allow Chamberlain to develop as a seventh-inning reliever instead.
Who knows? But now there are rumors the Yankees are pursuing Ted Lilly of the Chicago Cubs so the
idea to switch Hughes back to the bullpen is not a moot point yet.
In the absence of Hughes, Chamberlain is going to have to improve if the Yankees hope to hold off the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox in the second half. Losing games in the eighth inning is painful and really hurts the team.
We will see how the bullpen plays out but the pressure is definitely on Chamberlain going forward.
Here are the grades for the first half:
Rivera A+
Chamberlain C-
Park I (Incomplete)
Robertson C+
Marte B
Gaudin C
Moseley I (Incomplete)
OVERALL BULLPEN GRADE: C

It is not out of the realm of possibility that Hughes could be placed in the bullpen long before the postseason starts. If that happens, he will most certainly resume his role as Rivera’s bridge as he was in 2009.
Chamberlain and Park need to improve their consistency. Robertson needs to continue the steady progress he has shown since April. It would be a great boost to the bullpen to get a healthy Aceves back but I do think the Yankees believe they will be getting him back anytime soon.
In the meantime, Mitre’s return will help and Marte must continue to get the tough lefties out. 
There is some concern about Rivera, too. His exit from the All-Star team was a surprise because he not only mentioned the discomfort in left side that shelved him for a week. Rivera also mentioned a sore right knee. Anytime a 40-year-old closer is talking injuries to keep him out of an All-Star game, it does sound alarm bells.
Could the trade for Lilly be all about shifting Hughes to the bullpen to replace Rivera if he goes down? We don’t know but it bears watching. The Yankees need Rivera as much as humans need oxygen. All hopes for a championship live or die with the best closer in the history of the game.