Tagged: Mark Texeira

Ellsbury’s RBI Single Helps Yanks Sink Mariners

GAME 63

YANKEES 3, MARINERS 2

Getting a clutch hit with a runner in scoring position has been about as scarce as sightings of a dinosaur for the Yankees. In fact, those big hits in close games have gone pretty much extinct.

But Jacoby Ellsbury delivered a tie-breaking RBI single to score Derek Jeter from second with one out in the eighth inning as New York edged Seattle on Tuesday in front of a paid crowd of 28,405 at Safeco Field.

Ellsbury’s game-winner came off left-hander Charlie Furbush, who had just come into the game after Jeter blasted a ground-rule double to deep center off right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma.

Dellin Betances (4-0) was credited with the victory in relief despite yielding a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning by hitting Mike Zunino with a pitch, uncorking a wild pitch to advance Zunino to second and then giving up a two-out RBI single Dustin Ackley.

Mike Warren pitched a scoreless eighth and David Robertson struck out the side in the ninth to get credit for his 15th save in 17 opportunities this season.

The Yankees took an early 2-1 lead off Iwakuma in the first inning as Jeter stroked a one-out single and, one out later, Mark Teixeira lined a single of his own. Carlos Beltran followed with an RBI double to score Jeter and Brian McCann bounced an infield single up the middle to score Teixeira,

Iwakuma (4-3) was charged with three runs on seven hits and two walks while he struck out five in 7 1/3 innings.

The Mariners managed to halve the Yankees’ lead in the bottom of the first off left-hander Vidal Nuno on a two-out double by Robin$on Cano and an RBI single off the bat off Cole Gillespie.

But Nuno managed to hold the Mariners scoreless into the sixth inning. He yielded just the one run on four hits and one walk with two strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Nuno got a lot of help from his outfield defense in maintaining the lead.

In the second inning, former Mariner Ichiro Suzuki made a spectacular leaping catch on the warning track on a ball off the bat of Kyle Seager. Then in the fourth, Ellsbury grabbed a blast at the top of the center-field wall off Michael Saunders with a runner on second and third and two out.

The victory was the Yankees’ first of the season against the Mariners after being swept in three games at Yankee Stadium.

The victory also prevented the Yankees from dropping below .500 for the first time since April 11, when they were 5-6.

They are 32-31 and they are tied with the Baltimore Orioles for second place in the American League East. Both teams trail the first-place Toronto Blue Jays by 5 1/2 games.

The Mariners are now 34-30.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Ellsbury’s RBI single also extended his hitting streak to 14 games dating back to May 26. During that span, Ellsbury is 21-for-56 (.375) with a home run and nine RBIs. That has raised his season average from .258 to .286.
  • Jeter was 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored after entering the evening on a 3-for-26 (.115) skid. His troubles at the plate were part of the reason the Yankees were averaging just 2.5 runs over the past 10 games and the team was 3-7 in the stretch.
  • Give Nuno a lot of credit on a excellent start. Nuno has pitched exceptional on the road and terrible at Yankee Stadium this season. In his four road starts, he is 1-0 with a 1.87 ERA. In his six home starts, he is 0-2 with a 6.07 ERA.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Despite his excellent defensive play in right, Suzuki took a rare 0-for-4 collar in the game. It is the first time Suzuki has not gotten a hit in a game in which he has started since May 28. His season average slipped from .320 to .308. Though it was a bad night at the plate, Suzuki is one of the few Yankees who has hit consistently.
  • Betances had a rare bad outing. His problems started when he drilled Zunino with a breaking pitch. The wild pitch also came off a poorly thrown breaking ball. Ackley then singled just over the outstretched glove of Brian Roberts on a hanging breaking ball. Without his dominant slider Betances is hittable. But he still is 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA and batters are hitting only .147 off him.

BOMBER BANTER

The Mariners honored Jeter before the game with a pre-game ceremony in which he was given a chair from the old Kingdome, a base, a watch with a personal inscription from Cano and a $5,000 donation for Jeter’s charitable Turn 2 Foundation.  . . .  Right-hander Shawn Kelley is expected to be activated on Wednesday and rejoin the bullpen. Kelley, 31, has not pitched since May 6 after suffering a strained lumbar spine.  He is 1-2 with a 3.52 ERA in 16 games this season.

ON DECK

The Yankees will continue their three-game series with the Mariners on Wednesday.

Rookie sensation Masahiro Tanaka (9-1, 2.02 ERA) will start for the Yankees trying to extend his six-game winning streak. Tanaka beat the Oakland Athletics on Thursday by holding them to one run on five hits and a walk with four K’s in six innings.

Veteran right-hander Chris Young (5-3, 3.42 ERA) will pitch for the Mariners. Young lost to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, yielding three runs on seven hits and five walks in five innings. But Young is 6-0 with a 2.84 ERA in nine career starts at Safeco Field.

Game-time will be 10:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

 

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Down 6-1 To Lee’s Rangers, Yanks Rally On Thames River

GAME 113
YANKEES 7, RANGERS 6

The deck was stacked against the New York Yankees on Wednesday night in Arlington, TX.
  • Mark Teixeira was back in New York tending to his new baby.
  • The Yankees were coming off two one-run losses to the Red Sox and Rangers, the last one to Texas came with future Hall of Fame reliever Mariano Rivera on the mound.
  • The Yankees were facing one of the biggest Yankee killers of all time in left-hander Cliff Lee who was 10-5 with a 2.63 ERA plus the only two Phillies’ victories in the 2009 World Series against the Yankees were the two games he pitched.
  • Yankee starter Javier Vazquez gave up six runs on eights hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings.
  • Meanwhile, Lee had struck out 11 batters and walked none in 6 1/3 innings and he began the sixth inning with a 6-1 lead.
But, the Yankees rallied from that 6-1 deficit to chase Lee from the game in the seventh inning. Then Marcus Thames brought the Yankees back to within one run with a home run in the eighth inning and put the Yankees ahead to stay with an RBI single in the ninth inning as the Yankees shocked the Rangers with a six-run comeback. It was the Yankees’ major-league leading 36th come-from-behind victory of the season and perhaps the sweetest.
The Yankees bullpen stepped up big-time to limit the Rangers to no runs on three hits and one walk over the last 4 2/3 innings to key the comeback. Newly acquired right-hander Kerry Wood (2-4) pitched two scoreless frames for the victory.
Mariano Rivera, who showed he was human in losing the first game of the series, came back in the second game to show why he is so special. After giving up a leadoff triple to Elvis Andrus in the bottom of the ninth, Rivera managed to retire All-Stars Michael Young, Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero without allowing Andrus to score.
The save was Rivera’s 24th of the season in 26 tries.
Perhaps Ranger closer Neftali Feliz could have taken a cue from the master. He began the top of the ninth inning with a 6-5 lead but walked leadoff batter Lance Berkman in an eight-pitch battle. 
After Berkman was replaced by pinch-runner Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner blooped a single to left. Feliz then uncorked a wild pitch to allow both runners to advance. Derek Jeter then scored Granderson on a single to tie the game.
With one out, Alexi Ogando was brought into the game to pitch to Thames. Thames, who quickly was down in the count 0-2, slapped a single past Young into left to score Gardner and give the Yankees their first lead of the night. Feliz (3-3), who not only blew the save but lost the game, broke the hearts of most of the sellout crowd of 48,676 at Rangers Ballpark at Arlington.
The victory improved the Yankees’ season record to 70-43. Coupled with the Tampa Bay Rays’ loss to the Detroit Tigers and the Yankees’ victory, the Yankees lead in the American League East is now 1 1/2 games.
The Rangers record fell to 65-48.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Thames, inserted into the three hole to replace Teixeira, did his best imitation of him in the two-game series. He was 5-for-10 with a home run, four singles, two runs scored and two RBIs. His five outs were all strikeouts.
  • Jeter chipped in three hits, including his game-tying single in the ninth and a leadoff triple off Lee in the sixth. Jeter later scored on a wild pitch. The three-hit game raised Jeter’s season average to .280.
  • Gardner, who entered the game in a 2-for-30 slide, was 0-for-2 in his first two-at-bats against Lee. However, in the seventh inning his RBI single up the middle off — the third straight hit off Lee — chased the veteran left-hander from the mound. Gardner ended the game 2-for-4 with a run scored, a stolen base and an RBI.
  • Berkman preceded Gardner’s knockout blow by slamming an RBI ground-rule double to the deepest cavern in center-field. After his slow start in his first six games with the Yankees, he is four for his last 12 with three RBIs.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Vazquez pitched horribly again. After only giving up a first-inning solo home run to Young, Vazquez was hammered for five runs on six hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings until he was replaced by Sergio Mitre in the fifth inning. Vazquez, citing a dead arm that has zapped his velocity, has given up 16 runs (13 earned) on 22 hits and seven walks in 16 innings over his last three starts. That is a 7.31 ERA and the Yankees have to be very concerned.
  • The Yankees set a season record with a total of 17 strikeouts in the game. Leading the parade was Nick Swisher with four strikeouts on an 0-for-5 night. Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez added three apiece. 
  • Six of the 17 strikeouts were looking and a lot of it had to do with an erratic strike zone by home-plate umpire Paul Emmel. Emmel was giving Lee pitches high and inside and low and outside and the Yankees were forced into expanding their strike zones. Once they started swinging their bats they began to start making Lee work and causing Lee to wilt in the oppressive Texas heat.
  • Three at-bats nearly kept the Yankees from winning the game. Jeter struck out with Berkman at third and Gardner on second with one out in the seventh inning. Swisher followed by striking out and ending the threat with the Yankees behind 6-4. In the eighth inning Thames led off with a homer to make the score 6-5 and, after one out, Frank Francisco walked both Robinson Cano and Posada. However, Austin Kearns hit into an inning-ending double play. 
DIAMOND NOTES

Teixeira will rejoin the Yankees in Kansas City on Thursday. He has missed the past two games because of the birth of he and his wife Leigh’s third child, a boy named William Charles.  . . .  Jeter’s first-inning single to right-field for his 2,877th major-league hit, passing Mel Ott and becoming the all-time hit leader among all New York franchises. Jeter is now in sole possession of 38th place on the all-time hit list.  . . .  Curtis Granderson, who was not in the starting lineup for the second straight game because he is hitting just .206 against left-handers and is hitting .239 overall, worked with hitting coach Kevin Long in a detailed batting session to smooth out some flaws in his swing. Since he raised his average to .254 on July 28, Granderson is in a 3-for-29 (.103) funk and his average is now at .239.  
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees, thankful for a split in Texas, are heading to Kansas City to play a four-game weekend series against the Royals.
CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.14 ERA) will pitch the opening game on Thursday. He is coming off a big win against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday in which he gave up just two runs in eight innings to earn his 14th victory. He is 16-10 with a 3.31 ERA in his career against the Royals.
The Royals will send the fourth straight left-hander to face the Yankees in Bruce Chen (7-5, 4.44 ERA). Chen gave up a run on just three hits and no walks in seven strong innings against the Seattle Mariners in his last start. He is 1-4 with a 6.83 ERA lifetime against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 8:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

Tex’s Early Struggles Appear Over As Second Half Starts

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.


FIRST BASE

Mark Teixeira

Coming into the 2010 season the least of the Yankees’ worries was first baseman Mark Teixeira. After all, their free agent signee was coming off a season in which he tied for the American League lead in home runs (39), led the A.L. in RBIs (122), won a Gold Glove and the Silver Slugger award at first base.
Oh, the Yankees were well aware of his annual struggles in April. But in 2010 the Yankees were not prepared for his struggles after April.
After hitting a career worst .136 in April with two home runs and nine RBIs, Teixeira seemed to break out it in May, when he hit .280 with six home runs and 25 RBIs. 
But June was a month of regression and Teixeira was simply MIA through most of the month. It has only been in his last 16 games that Teixeira has been consistently getting hits, providing power and driving in runs.
In that span Texeira is hitting .323 with four home runs and 16 RBIs. The fact that the Yankees had the best record in baseball with their No. 3 hitter mired in the worst slump in his career actually speaks volumes of what may be possible if Teixeira finishes 2010 just like he did in 2009.
You have heard many so-called baseball experts say “Isn’t it amazing that with all the struggles (fill-in-the-blank) has had at the plate that he does not carry it into the field.”
It is nonsense. Just because Teixeira is not hitting does not mean he is going to start dropping foul pops, firing double-play relays into left-field and muff easy grounders. Teixeira is an extraordinary defender and his hitting never will affect those skills.
This season Teixeira is showing he deserves a second Gold Glove. He has only one error and he still saves the infielders countless throwing errors with his ability to scoop and stretch for errant tosses.
It is also a good thing that Teixeira is a durable player. The plan for 2010 was to give Tex some days off at first by putting him at DH and playing Nick Johnson, a pretty good fielder in his own right, at first.
That plan added up to two games that Johnson started. He is now on the DL and he is not due back until August at the earliest. So Teixeira likely will continue to start just about every game at first base until Johnson returns.
As long as Teixeira continues to hit and produce like his capable, that will be no problem for manager Joe Girardi.
Teixeira’s overall first half grade is a C. His fielding counts for most of it and there is hope that he can continue to pull that batting average up. On April 16, Teixeira was batting .083. At the midway point he was hitting .243. 
Considering he is career .287 hitter, it looks like he is on his way back to respectable numbers and can look forward to a productive second half.
Down on the farm, the Yankees have Juan Miranda, who started three games first base earlier in the season. Miranda, 27, is hitting .280 with nine home runs and 22 RBIs at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Miranda was sent back down but could be recalled if the Yankees fail to acquire a bench player who can play first and hit left-handed or if Johnson’s wrist problems keep him out the rest of the season.
OVERALL POSITION GRADE: C

The Yankees rely on Teixeira to hit for power and drive in runs. They did not get either from him consistently in the first half. But he has put together six consecutive seasons in which he hit 30 or more home runs and driven in 105 or more runs. 
Teixeira had 13 home runs and 53 RBIs at the midway point. So there is every indication that the 30-year-old veteran first baseman will meet or exceed those numbers again. Johnson’s return would help with depth at the position and could allow Teixeira to take day off or DH a bit down the stretch.