YANKEES 13, RED FLOPS 3
Despite the fact it is August and the Yankees were facing the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday there seemed to be a subdued dynamic borne out of two teams headed in decidedly different directions, The Yankees have been shooting upward while the Red Flops are just playing out the string of what has been a disastrous season.
That scenario played out as the Yankees turned a 4-3 lead into a 13-3 rout in just one inning.
Brian McCann hit a three-run home run as part of a nine-run inning and drove in four runs and Masahiro Tanaka won his eighth game as New York showed its immense superiority over Boston in front of 48,522 happy fans and a national television audience.
For the Yankees it marked the seventh time this season they have scored 13 or more runs and there are three teams tied for the next most at three. They also have outscored their opposition 59-17 in their past four victories.
Until the seventh inning, the Yankees’ right-hander Tanaka and rookie left-hander Henry Owens were locked into a close battle in Owens’ Major-League debut.
The Yankees took an early lead against Owens (0-1) in the first inning on a one-out single by Chris Young, a walk to Alex Rodriguez and an RBI single by Mark Teixeira.
Tanaka threw four strong innings, yielding only a double by Mike Napoli with two out in the second inning when Young allowed the ball to drop thinking center-fielder Jacoby Ellsbury would catch it.
But in the fifth, Tanaka allowed a one-double to Napoli and a bunt single by Alejandro De Aza. Rookie Blake Swihart followed with an RBI single and Jackie Bradley Jr. plated De Aza on a sacrifice fly.
Owens, meanwhile, sailed into the sixth inning having retired 14 of the next 15 hitters and the past 12 in a row after Teixeira’s first-inning RBI single.
But Young opened the sixth with a single to left and Rodriguez doubled to the left-center. Red Flops manager John Farrell, who ended up not exactly celebrating much of his 53rd birthday, removed Owens in favor of left-hander Robbie Ross Jr.
But Teixeira greeted Ross with an RBI single up the middle to score Young and McCann followed with a RBI double off the wall in right-center. Carlos Beltan gave the Yankees an additional run on an RBI groundout.
Owens was charged with three runs on five hits and one walk with five strikeouts in five-plus innings.
The Red Flops did draw to within one run when Pablo Sandoval opened the seventh with a home run off Tanaka, which ended his evening.
Tanaka (8-4) was charged with three runs on five hits and one walk with three strikeouts in six-plus innings to notch his fourth victory in his past five starts.
Justin Wilson came on to retire one batter before rookie Rusney Castillo singled and stole second on a 1-1 pitch to Bradley that was called a strike.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi opted to replaced the lefty Wilson with the right-handed Dellin Betances against the lefty-swinging Bradley in the middle of the at-bat. But Betances uncorked a wild pitch to allow Castillo to reach third and he ended up walking Bradley.
However, Betances struck out Brock Holt to preserve the 4-3 lead and keep Girardi from being raked over the coals in the media.
The Yankees then went to work by sending 13 batters to the plate off right-hander Jean Machi, left-hander Craig Breslow and right-hander Alexi Ogando.
It all started with a careless throwing error on shortstop Xander Bogaerts that allowed Ellsbury to reach first. Young drew a walk and Rodriguez chased Machi with an RBI single that extended the Yankees’ lead to 5-3.
McCann then blew the game wide open with a long three-run blast into the right-field bleachers off Breslow for his 18th home run of the season. But the Yankees were not satisfied with beating their rivals; they wanted to humiliate them.
Beltran doubled into the gap in right-center and Chase Headley scored him with a double of his own. One out later, Brendan Ryan walked and Ellsbury singled to drive in Headley.
Farrell replaced Breslow with Ogando to face the righty-swininging Young but Young delivered a three-run homer, his 13th of the season, that landed well into the left-field bleachers to make it 13-3.
By drilling the Red Flops the Yankees improved their season mark to 60-45 and they lead the second-place Toronto Blue Jays by 5 1/2 games in the American League East. The Red Flops fell to a dismal 47-60 mark and they are 14 games back in last place.
- McCann was 2-for-5 with a single, a home run, one run scored and four RBIs. McCann is simply a different player at home. He is batting .298 with 11 home runs and 34 RBIs at Yankee Stadium and he is hitting a lousy .218 with six homers and 27 RBIs on the road. His low road average is one reason he is hitting just .252 on the season.
- Teixeira entered the day having homered four times in his past five games but against the Red Flops he settled for a pair RBI singles. His 2-for-5 night raised his season average to a season-high .268 with 29 home runs and 76 RBIs.
- Young has been the unsung hero of this team as the fourth outfielder. He is hammering left-handers to the tune of .371 but his 13th home run and his three RBIs came off a right-handed pitcher in Ogando. In limited play, Young is batting .268 with 13 homers and 36 RBIs. For that reason we might want to overlook the fielding mistake he made in the second inning.
Watching the Yankees scored nine runs (eight earned) off the Red Flops bullpen was just pleasing to see. Many pundits predicted disaster for the Yankees this season and chose the Red Sox to win the division. It would be nice to gather up all that excrement they spewed and have them eat it all.
The Yankees made only one trade-deadline deal and that was to acquire outfielder Dustin Ackley from the Seattle Mariners. Five days later, Ackley is on the 15-day disabled list. The Yankees placed the 27-year-old veteran on the DL on Tuesday with a right lumbar back strain that will sideline him until at least early September. Ackley said the injury did not occur when he was with the Mariners and that he first felt the pain in his back on Friday in Chicago. An MRI showed a herniated disk and he was given an epidural to relieve the discomfort. To replace Ackley on the roster the Yankees recalled right-hander Caleb Cotham from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. . . . The Yankees announced on Tuesday that outfielder Mason Williams will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery. William, 23, hurt his right shoulder diving back into first base in a game against the Tigers in Detroit on June 19. The surgery is scheduled for Friday. Williams batted .286 with a home run and three RBIs in eight games with the Yankees.
With one thrashing out of the way, the Yankees would like to demolish the Red Flops again on Wednesday.
They have their No. 1 pitching prospect, right-hander Luis Severino, scheduled to make his Major-League debut in starting this game. Severino, 21, was quickly promoted from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton and he has been dominating there in his 11 starts. He was 7-0 with a microscopic 1.91 ERA.
The Red Flops will counter with right-handed knuckleballer Steven Wright (4-4, 453 ERA). The 30-year-old right-hander is coming off a two-run, six-hit effort in seven innings on Friday in which he defeated Chris Sale and the Chicago White Sox.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally by ESPN and locally by the YES Network.
YANKEES (SS) 6, TWINS 4
TAMPA – The Yankees got a small glimpse of their future on Friday at George M. Steinbrenner Field and they have to be very happy with what they saw.
Mega-outfield prospect Mason Williams broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning with an infield single and Mark Teixeira followed with a fielder’s choice groundout that scored an insurance run as a New York split squad rallied from a 4-1 deficit to score five runs in the inning to down Minnesota in Grapefruit League action.
Wiiliams, 20, is the Yankees top-rated outfielder after a season in which he hit .349 with three home runs, 31 RBIs and 28 stolen bases in 68 games with Single-A Staten Island in the New York-Penn League. On Friday he was called upon to pinch-hit for Curtis Granderson in the seventh with the game tied, one out and runners at second and third after Ramiro Pena laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance them.
Williams slapped a hard grounder to second baseman Pedro Florimon and Florimon’s desperate throw home from his knees was too late to get Nunez sliding in with the tie-breaking run. With that hit, the 6-foot, 150-pound centerfielder, has a perfect 1.000 batting average with hits in his only two at-bats.
Ivan Nova (1-2) pitched seven innings to get credit for the victory. But it was one of those “Tale of Two Cities” outings for the 24-year-old right-hander. He opened the game in the “best of times” by pitching four perfect innings, striking out four and retiring four other batters on routine infield grounders.
But Nova’s “worst of times came in the fifth and sixth innings, when he was hammered for four runs on seven hits, which left the Yankees on the wrong end of a 4-0 score.
Unfortunately for Nova, Francisco Liriano was just as good or even better than he was. Liriano shut out the Yankees for five innings on four hits and one walk while striking out five.
The Yankees collected one run off Twins right-hander Jeff Manship on a leadoff home run by Pena in the sixth.
But they batted around on Manship (1-1) and right-hander Jared Burton in the seventh. Mariano Rivera and Rafael Soriano pitched a pair of scoreless innings to salt away the victory. Soriano got credit for a save.
With the victory, the Yankees improved their spring record to 11-9. The Twins fell to 12-10.
- Besides Williams, the Yankees’ hitting star of the day was Eduardo Nunez, who was 3-for-3 and he keyed the seventh-inning rally with a huge two-run double off Manship that drew the Yankees to within a run at 4-3. Nunez is hitting a red-hot .412 this spring despite missing the first two weeks with a bruised right hand.
- Pena is quietly having a good spring with the bat. He homered and put down a perfect sac bunt in the game and he is hitting .300. However, Nunez will likely win the backup middle infielder role he won from Pena last spring and Pena looks to be headed back to Triple-A for the second straight season.
- As advertised, the Yankees’ bullpen protected the lead in the eighth and ninth innings. Rivera needed only seven pitches to dispatch the Twins. Soriano pitched a perfect ninth with a strikeout to close it out. As good as last year’s bullpen was the 2012 version has the potential to be even better.
- Manager Joe Girardi probably regrets ever saying that Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia would compete for the No. 5 spot in the rotation because it must have given Nova a false sense of security. In 19 2/3 innings over five starts, Nova has given up 16 runs (15 earned) on 23 hits and five walks. After giving up 13 home runs last season, Nova has been tagged for five home runs this spring. With Hughes pitching well and Andy Pettitte returning in May, Nova might want to start pitching better real soon.
- Granderson and Alex Rodriguez have been having the best springs amongst the regular starters. But on Friday they combined to go 0-for-6 with three strikeouts. They probably can be forgiven for their troubles because they were facing a very tough left-hander in Liriano, who has 2.00 ERA on the spring.
- Andruw Jones was 0-for-3 and he is having another subpar spring with the bat. he is hitting just .176. But Jones had even a worse spring in 2011 and it worked out OK for him. So I doubt Girardi is too concerned with him.
The Bomber Banter and On Deck features will be posted with the Yankees’ report on the second split squad game against the Phillies.