RED SOX 5, YANKEES 1
What is about the Yankees and pine-tar incidents? But, to be even more to the point, does anyone see the hypocrisy within the two?
Michael Pineda (2-2) was ejected on Wednesday in the bottom of the second inning by home-plate umpire Gerry Davis for having a foreign substance, Davis said it was pine tar, on his neck. New York, trailing 2-0 at the time, went on to lose to John Lackey (3-2) and Boston in front of a national television audience and a paid crowd of 37,015 at Fenway Park.
The most famous pine-tar incident in Yankee history dates back to July 24, 1983 when George Brett of the Kansas City Royals connected for a two-run home run off Rich “Goose” Gossage with two outs in the ninth inning to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 lead.
Manager Billy Martin correctly pointed out to home-plate umpire Tim McClelland that Brett’s bat had pine tar within 17 inches from the top in violation of baseball’s rules. McClelland agreed and called Brett out, which set the stage of the famous scene where Brett stormed out of the dugout to confront the umpiring crew and he even bumped into a few.
I have been harboring this question since 1983 but why wasn’t Brett ejected and fined for that outburst? Odd.
Anyway, American League president Lee MacPhail sided with the Royals and their protest of the game and he made the teams play out the bottom of the ninth inning with the Royals ahead 5-4.
He basically was saying that the rule was correctly applied but that pine tar did not have any effect in helping Brett hit the home run.
Now some 31 years later, every baseball manager and pitcher will tell you that pine tar has no effect in a pitcher’s ability to throw a baseball. It simply provides an opportunity for a pitcher to gain a better grip on the ball. So if we are to invoke the “MacPhail Doctrine” to this case than Major League Baseball should reinstate Pineda from his ejection and order the Yankees and Red Sox to resume that game from that point he was ejected, right?
There is a definite double standard at play here.
I am not saying that Pineda was not naive to believe that the pine tar was not visible. But we have to accept his reasoning that after throwing a number of pitches out of the strike zone on a cold and windy night (gusts up into the mid-30s) that he was afraid he might hit somebody and injure them.
If pine tar made Pineda’s slider dive like a majestic eagle and made hitters look like Little League bench players, than I would be on the side of the ejection and the 10-game suspension he was handed. But, absent that, I think we should just replay that game as McPhail would have ordered if he were still in charge.
Red Sox manager John Farrell has now been put into a very dicey situation. The reason is that two of his pitchers, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, are widely known around the league for using pine tar when they are pitching. Buchholz was caught in a very widely publicized incident last season dipping his fingers to his left arm to get a better grip on the baseball.
The Yankees will be ready and waiting to have the umpires undress those pitchers down their jock straps should they suspect they are doing the same thing. So you may want to be careful and that phrase you reap what you sow comes to mind.
Of course, cheating and the Red Sox are pretty much synonymous. They just get better P.R.
David Ortiz was caught doing steroids but he is the Red Sox model held up to the kids in the community. He claimed that some doctor in the Dominican Republic gave him a shot and he did not know what it was. Huh?
Does anyone but me think it is extremely odd that in 2003 Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek and outfielder Trot Nixon hit their career highs in home runs? Varitek hit 25 and Nixon hit 28. In 2004, baseball instituted a new drug testing procedure and Nixon never hit more than 13 home runs in a season after that. Varitek’s power “faded’ suddenly also.
Sports Illustrated actually ran a story indicating that it was well known that both Varitek and Nixon were doing steroids but they were never named in any investigation or listed as failing any drug test.
But the only real reason they were not caught was they were fortunate that nobody in the clubhouse that witnessed it came forward to snitch on them.
So the Red Sox maintain this huge halo around them that seems to suggest that none of their players ever would consider cheating to gain an advantage on the field.
Now that they have fired the first salvo in 2014 at Pineda and the Yankees we will just see where that halo ends up by the end of this season. I am not really sure it will remain so high above their heads.
The Yankees will try to win their second series against the Red Sox on Thursday.
CC Sabathia (2-2, 5.19 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees coming off his best outing of the season. Sabathia held the Tampa Bay Rays to two runs (one earned) in seven innings to even his record on Thursday. He lost his start to the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on April 11 after blanking them over the first five innings.
Left-hander Felix Doubront (1-2, 5.48 ERA) will throw for the Red Sox. Doubront allowed two runs on five hits and two walks and seven strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings but did not get a decision against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.
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 2, ATHLETICS 0
The Yankees’ weekend trip to Oakland should be called the “Road to Redemption.”
First, Mark Teixeira’s long slumbering bat came to life and on Sunday the fabled right arm of Hiroki Kuroda started to pay dividends outside of the Bronx.
Kuroda pitched eight shutout innings to end a three-game losing streak and collect his first road victory of the season as New York blanked Oakland for a three-game sweep at o.co Coliseum.
Kuruda (4-6) entered the contest 0-4 with a 6.23 ERA away from Yankee Stadium this season, but he shut down the Athletics sputtering offense on just four hits and one walk while striking out three batters to win his first game since May 11 at home against the Seattle Mariners.
Meanwhile, the Yankees put up just enough runs against rookie left-hander Tommy Milone (6-4) to win their eighth consecutive game at o.co Coliseum, a streak that dates back to July 2011. Milone had entered the contest 4-0 with a 0.30 ERA at home this season.
Designated hitter Andruw Jones put the Yankees on the board early by blasting a first-pitch fastball from Milone over the wall in left-center to lead off the second inning.
That run stood up until the seventh inning, when the Yankees tacked on an insurance run with two outs. Curtis Granderson singled to right and Teixeira followed with a double off the wall in right-center that scored Granderson. Teixeira began the series in a terrible slump and was 8-for-14 (.571) with three home runs and eight RBIs in the series.
Milone gave up two runs on eight hits and two walks and he struck out three in 6 2/3 innings.
Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out Seth Smith swinging as the tying run at the plate, to earn his fifth save in as many opportunities on the season.
The A’s, meanwhile, suffered their fifth straight loss as the Yankees racked up their fifth straight victory.
The Yankees’ season record now stands at 26-21. The A’s fell to 22-26.
- For as bad as Kuroda has been in his last three starts, he was exceptional against the A’s. He faced the minimum through the first four innings and he did not allow a runner to reach second base until the seventh inning. He also pitched out of a jam in the seventh with Coco Crisp on third and Smith on first and one out by striking out Kila Ka’aihue and retiring Josh Donaldson on a routine fly ball. With his eight shutout innings, Kuroda lowered his ERA from 4.56 to 3.96.
- Teixeira was 2-for-4 in the game with two doubles, including the one that padded the Yankees’ lead in the seventh inning. Manager Joe Girardi even entrusted him by batting him third in the lineup after he has spent most of the season batting fifth. Teixeira entered the series hitting .226 and he leaves with his average up to .254.
- Jones’ home run was his fifth of the season and his first home run since May 11 against the Mariners. Oddly, that was the same game in which Kuroda won his last game. Perhaps it is something in the combination that is at work here.
- The Yankees loaded the bases in the first inning against Milone when Derek Jeter led off with a single, Granderson walked and, one out later, Alex Rodriguez singled sharply to right-field. However, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher popped up weakly to end the threat. The Yankees are one for the last 30 at-bats with the bases loaded.
- In addition, the Yankees were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position in the game. Swisher struck out swinging at a pitch in the dirt with two on and one out in the third inning and he left a total of five runners on base in the game.
- Advancing runners has also been a problem. In the second inning, Jayson Nix followed Jones’ home run with a double. However, Chris Stewart failed to advance him when he popped up a bunt. In the third, Teixeira led off with a double and Rodriguez grounded out to third and failed to move him up. This is why the Yankees struggle to get runs across.
Jeter’s single to lead off the game gave him 3,155 hits in his career and he passed Royals Hall-of-Famer George Brett to claim 14th place on the all-time hits list. Next up on the list is Cal Ripken, who is in the 13th place with 3,184 hits. . . . Starting catcher Russell Martin was held out of Sunday’s game with a stiff neck. Stewart caught Kuroda instead. The Yankees do not think the condition is serious and they hope Martin will be able to play on Monday.
Having swept Oakland, the Yankees head on to Anaheim for a three-game series that starts on Monday.
Phil Hughes (4-5, 4.94 ERA) will return to pitch in front of family and friends at Angel Stadium, which is near where he was born. Hughes has won three of his last four starts and beat the Royals on Tuesday, giving up just two runs on five hits in six innings. He is 3-2 with a 7.61 ERA in his career against the Angels.
He will face Angels right-hander Jered Weaver (6-1, 2.61 ERA). Weaver gave up just one run in eight innings against the Athletics on Wednesday, but he did not get a decision in what ended up as a Los Angeles victory. Weaver is 5-2 with a 4.79 ERA against the Yankees in his career.
Game-time will be 9:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.
YANKEES 9, ATHLETICS 2
He has been booed. He has been vilified on New York talk radio. He even has been demoted to seventh in the batting order. But on Saturday, Mark Teixeira extended what he hopes is a stretch where he can reclaim his place as one of the most feared hitters in the American League.
Teixeira went 4-for-5 including two home runs and drove in five runs to lead New York and ace left-hander CC Sabathia to a decisive defeat of Oakland at o.co Coliseum.
Teixeira began his assault on the Athletics in the third inning when he launched a 2-2 fastball from Bartolo Colon (4-5) deep into the bleachers in right-field to break a 2-2 tie.
He followed that with a two-out, two-run single in the fifth off Colon to increase the Yankees’ lead to 6-2.
After leading off the seventh inning with a single, Teixeira completed his best day of the season with a one-out, two-run home run into the left-field seats off A’s reliever Graham Godfrey to give the Yankees their winning 9-2 margin.
Meanwhile, Sabathia (6-2) was able to give the Yankees seven solid innings.
Jonny Gomes touched him for an RBI single to right to score Jemile Weeks in the first inning, which gave the A’s an early 1-0 lead.
After Robinson Cano tied it up for the Yankees with his seventh home run of the season and his second in two games, the Yankees pushed across another run in the third inning on a RBI single by Derek Jeter.
However, Josh Reddick greeted Sabathia with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the third inning to knot the game at 2-2.
Though Sabathia did struggle early with his command, he ended up giving up just the two runs on seven hits and two walks and he fanned four batters to snap a personal two-game losing streak.
Colon, who pitched for the Yankees last season, was rocked for six runs on 11 hits and no walks and three strikeouts in six innings of work.
After losing six of seven games in which they were outscored 34-15, the Yankees have now won four in a row and have outscored the opposition by a count of 26-10.
With the victory the Yankees improved their season ledger to 25-21. The A’s are 22-25.
- Teixeira told reporters on Wednesday that he was through trying to put balls in play to raise his average and he was going to return to his old approach of just hitting for power. The results seem encouraging. In his last two games, Teixeira is 6-for-10 with three home runs, a double, two singles, seven RBIs and three runs scored.
- Jeter drove in two runs and had two hits in the game. The two hits gave him 3,154 career hits, which ties him with Kansas City Royals Hall-of-Famer George Brett for 14th place on the all-time hit list. Jeter’s 2-for-4 day raised his season average to a team-leading .342.
- Cano was 3-for-5 with a homer, a double and a single, he scored three runs and he raised his batting average over the .300 mark to .302.
- Curtis Granderson did not have a red-letter day. He was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and a walk. When he did draw that walk in the seventh inning he was caught stealing by Oakland reliever Jordan Norberto. He also grounded out to end the eighth inning and left the bases loaded. He stranded a total of six runners in the game.
- Sabathia was far from his ace form on Saturday but you do have to give him credit for holding the A’s scoreless after Teixeira’s solo home run in the fourth. Over the next four innings, Sabathia gave up just two hits and no walks and he retired 13 of the last 15 batters he faced.
- Chris Stewart has been Sabathia’s personal catcher for all but one start this season and he was picked up off waivers because of his defensive prowess. However, he committed a passed ball in the fourth inning and he now has five this season in 94 innings behind the plate. In 460 1/3 innings catching with the Giants in 2011 he had two passed balls.
The Yankees will have a chance to sweep the A’s in their three-game series on Sunday.
Veteran right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (3-6, 4.56 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees. Kuroda, 37, is coming off two disastrous starts in which he has given up 10 runs in 10 1/3 innings. He is 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA in his one start against the A’s in his career.
The A’s will call upon ace right-hander Tommy Milone (6-3, 3.75 ERA). Milone gave up just one run on five hits in seven innings in a victory against the Angels on Monday. He has never faced the Yankees.
Game-time will be 4:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.