Tagged: Scott Rolen

Youkilis Homers As Yankees Deal Shutout To Cards

GAME 16

YANKEES 4, CARDINALS 0

TAMPA  –  The New York Yankees have seem to hit upon a great strategy to be successful in 2013 without most all of the power they had last season: Just shut out the opposition.

Kevin Youkilis hit his first home run as a Yankee and drove in two runs while Hiroki Kuroda dazzled the Cardinals with his split-finger fastball to rack up six strikeouts in four shutout innings as New York won its second consecutive game via the shutout by beating St. Louis on Monday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Youkilis, 33, put the Yankees on the board in the fourth inning with a high-arcing blast off the scoreboard in left-center off Cardinals starter Lance Lynn (1-2). He added an RBI sacrifice fly to score Brett Gardner in the sixth inning off Seth Maness, who the Yankees touched up for three runs on four hits and a walk in 1 1/3 innings.

Meanwhile, Kuruda (1-1) held the Cardinals off the board including stranding Shane Robinson at third base with one out by striking out James Romak and Pete Kozma to end the third inning. Kuroda, 38, threw 42 of his 63 pitches for strikes (66%) to lower his spring ERA to 1.59.

Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, Dellin Betances and Shawn Kelley combined to pitch five shutout innings to extend the Yankees’ spring scoreless streak to 18 innings and the Yankee pitchers have only given up two runs over their last 30 innings this spring.

With the victory, the Yankees have now won two consecutive spring training games for the first time and improved their spring ledger to 5-11. The Cardinals dropped to 8-7.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • While the offense has struggled through most of the spring, the Yankees’ starting pitching actually has been quite good. Kuroda, David Phelps and Ivan Nova have combined to give up six runs (three earned) on 20 hits and five walks in 24 2/3 innings over eight starts. That is an ERA of 1.09 and a Walks-to-Innings-Pitched Ratio (WHIP) of 1.01. That is without CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte having pitched an inning yet.
  • Youkilis got off to a slow start this spring, going 0-for-9 before delivering his first hit on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin. In his last two games, Youkilis is 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, a run scored and two RBIs. In addition, Youkilis played his first spring game at first base and flashed some Gold Glove-quality leather on a few plays there.
  • Betances, 24, pitched two scoreless innings and gave up one hit and no walks. After being rated the team’s No. 2 prospect last season, the 6-foot-8, 260-pound right-hander is now trying to reinvent himself as a relief pitcher. If his performance on Monday is any indication, the Yankees might have found him a niche in which he can succeed after a terrible season in the minors in 2012. Betances was a combined 6-9 with a 6.44 ERA between Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Double-A Trenton, where he was demoted late last season. Betances walked 99 batters in 131 1/3 innings.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • This is real picky point since the Yankees did win the game but the team was 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. That just means they could have put the game way but failed to do so. Other than Youkilis’ two RBIs the Yankees scored runs in the seventh on a hit baseman and a walk with the bases loaded. So the 1927 Yankees they are not.

BOMBER BANTER

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman confirmed on Monday that the team has reached out to first baseman Derrek Lee and third baseman Scott Rolen to see if they would have any interest in playing for the Yankees this season. Cashman also said he would be interested in talking with recently retired third baseman Chipper Jones. The Yankees are in the market for a corner infielder while first baseman Mark Teixeira recovers from a strained left wrist. Jones shot the down the speculation about himself saying that he is “happy with life as a bad golfer.”  . . .  The Yankees announced on Monday that they have signed veteran outfielder Ben Francisco to a minor-league contract and he will have a chance to earn a roster spot with the team this spring. Francisco, 31, requested and was granted his unconditional release by the Cleveland Indians on Monday so he could sign with the Yankees. Francisco is a career .257 hitter over six seasons with the Indians, Phillies, Blue Jays, Astros and Rays.  . . .  Austin Romine’s bid to win the starting catching job this spring has come to an end. Romine 24, option was among 11 roster moves the Yankees made after Monday’s game. Romine, left-hander Francisco Rondon and right-handers Betances and Brett Marshall were optioned to Triple-A. Left-handers Manny Banuelos and Nik Turley, right-hander Jose Ramirez, and outfielder Ramon Flores were optioned to Double-A Trenton, while right-hander Chase Whitley, catcher J.R. Murphy and infielder Luke Murton were re-assigned to minor-league camp.  The Yankees have 52 players left in camp.  . . .  Derek Jeter said on Monday that he believes he is ready to play shortstop for the first time this spring. Manager Joe Girardi said he possibly could play Jeter for four or five innings.  . . .  Right-hander Phil Hughes threw 26 pitches in a bullpen session on Monday and came out of it saying he was pain free. Hughes, 26, who has been sidelined since Feb. 18 with a bulging disk in his upper back, said he is still on target to be ready to pitch by Opening Day on April 1.

ON DECK

The Yankees will travel to Port Charlotte, FL, to face the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday.

Right-hander Ivan Nova, 26, will make his third start of the spring for the Yankees. He will be opposed by right-hander Alex Cobb.

Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and there will be no telecast of the game.

 

Advertisements

Yankees’ Dazzling Nova Leaves Cincy Red-Faced

GAME 71

YANKEES 5, REDS 3

Ivan Nova realizes that the Yankees will get starters Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon back soon and that could mean he could lose his spot in the rotation. On Monday, he seemed to be making a bold statement that he is not coming out of the rotation without a fight.

Nova (7-4) pitched a career-best eight innings, gave up only one run on four hits, walked none and struck out seven as New York swept into Great American Ballpark and downed Cincinnati to win its ninth out of their last 11 games.

Nova threw 70 strikes out of 105 pitches thrown (67% strikes) to tie Michael Pineda of the Seattle Mariners with the most victories by a rookie pitcher in the major leagues.

Nova got all the run support he really needed in the first inning as the Yankees tagged substitute starter Travis Wood (5-5) for four runs on five hits. Wood was moved up a day because right-hander Johnny Cueto had to be scratched from his start because of a stiff neck.

It looked as if Wood would end up with a stiff neck of his own as he kept turning to watch Yankee hits flying past him. Nick Swisher led off the game with a single and Mark Teixeira followed with a single one out later. Alex Rodriguez then opened the seal on the scoring with a single to left to plate Swisher. Robinson Cano followed with an opposite-field double to score Teixeira. Russell Martin’s groundout brought in Rodriguez and Andruw Jones followed with an RBI single to cap the four-run explosion before some of the sellout crowd of 41,173 had sampled their nachos.

The Reds looked as if they were going to answer back quickly when Drew Stubbs singled and stole second and Brandon Phillips singled Stubbs to third. However, Nova used his sinker to induce Joey Votto into a double-play in which Stubbs scored. But Nova stopped the Reds cold after that.

Stubbs reached on a swinging third strike wild pitch from Nova with two out in the third, Paul Janish stroked a two-out single in the fifth and pinch-hitter Fred Lewis singled with two out in the eighth. Nova retired the rest of the batters he faced on 17 groundouts, seven strikeouts and only three fly balls.

Wood, however, did settle down after the first inning and he retired 15 of the next 20 batters he faced. But Nova would not give in to the Reds.

The Yankees scored a run in the seventh inning due to the very giving nature of the Reds. Reliever Jose Arredondo walked Curtis Gramderson. Granderson stole second but was able to take third when Janish dropped a throw from catcher Ryan Hanigan and the ball rolled past him into shallow center-field. Granderson then scored on an Arredondo wild pitch.

The Reds did take advantage of Nova’s departure in the ninth when Phillips singled off Luis Ayala to begin the inning. Boone Logan was summoned to face the lefty Votto but Logan plunked Votto with his first and only delivery. Manager Joe Girardi then decided to go to Mariano Rivera with the tying run on deck.

Rivera retired Jay Bruce on a grounder that moved Phillips to third and Votto to second. Scott Rolen scored Phillips on an infield single and Chris Heisey then scored Votto by beating out what could have been a 1-6-3 double play. But Heisey was ruled safe. But Rivera ended the Reds faint comeback hopes by fanning pinch-hitter Edgar Renteria to notch his 18th save of the season in 21 chances.

With the victory, the Yankees improved their record to 42-29 and they remain 1 1/2 games in back of the first-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The Reds are 38-36 on the season.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Nova was never any better this season than he was on Monday night. He had only three three-ball counts and he did not walk any of them. Nova also lowered his ERA to 4.13. It is obvious that when Colon and Hughes do return they will be starters. The question is what will happen to Nova when they come back? On the basis of this effort, it would appear inconceivable they would put him in the bullpen.
  • Rodriguez continues to hit with a 2-for-4 night with a run scored and an RBI. Though Rodriguez admits he is nursing a sore shoulder it is not interfering with his play at all. He also made a nice diving stab to rob Heisey of a hit in the second inning. Rodriguez is hitting .292 with 13 home runs and 44 RBIs.
  • Cano is beginning to get his average back over .300. He also was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Cano now has a nine-game hitting streak in which he is 15-for-38 (.395) with two home runs and six RBIs. He is now hitting .295 on the season with 14 home runs and 47 RBIs.
  • Swisher is doing his job in the leadoff spot against left-handers. He was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored against Wood. He is 4-for-13 (.308) from the leadoff spot since Derek Jeter was injured.
NAGGING NEGATIVES
  • With David Robertson unavailable to pitch, Girardi decided to close the ninth with Luis Ayala and Boone Logan. However, Ayala gave up a leadoff single to Phillips and Logan hit Votto with a pitch to put the Reds in position for their major league-leading 23rd comeback victory. Fortunately, Rivera restored order. But it does show the Yankee bullpen does have a soft underbelly than can be exploited. The Yankees would love to have a healthy Pedro Feliciano and Rafael Soriano back soon to shore up the bullpen.
  • Andruw Jones had a severe brain cramp in the third inning and it short-circuited a potential big inning. With one out, Cano and Martin hit back-to-back singles. Jones then sent a slow bouncer to Rolen at third. Rolen forced Martin at second but Martin was able to upend Philips. However, Jones did not run the grounder out because he thought there were already two outs. Phillips got back up and threw Jones out by 50 feet. Jones is already on thin ice with the Yankees with his lack of production. Now it looks as if he is going to be a bit lighter in the wallet.
  • Eduardo Nunez got caught leaning after he singled to lead off the fourth inning and Wood picked him off first. These silly mistakes allowed Wood to survive that shaky first inning and pitch seven innings.

ON DECK

The Yankees will play the second of their three road contests against the Reds on Tuesday.

The Yankees will start veteran minor-league right-hander Brian Gordon (0-0, 3.38 ERA) in his second major-league start for the Yankees. In his first start, Gordon, 32, gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Rangers on Thursday. He did not get a decision but the Yankees did win the game. The former outfielder will get to test his hitting skills against the Reds.

The Reds are starting right-hander Johnny Cueto (4-2, 1.68 ERA), who could not pitch on Monday due to a stiff neck. He has been the Reds best pitcher since being activated from the disabled list in May. He is 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA against the Yankees in his career.

Game-time will be 7:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by MY9.

Yankees’ Dazzling Nova Leaves Cincy Red-Faced

GAME 71

YANKEES 5, REDS 3

Ivan Nova realizes that the Yankees will get starters Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon back soon and that could mean he could lose his spot in the rotation. On Monday, he seemed to be making a bold statement that he is not coming out of the rotation without a fight.

Nova (7-4) pitched a career-best eight innings, gave up only one run on four hits, walked none and struck out seven as New York swept into Great American Ballpark and downed Cincinnati to win its ninth out of their last 11 games.

Nova threw 70 strikes out of 105 pitches thrown (67% strikes) to tie Michael Pineda of the Seattle Mariners with the most victories by a rookie pitcher in the major leagues.

Nova got all the run support he really needed in the first inning as the Yankees tagged substitute starter Travis Wood (5-5) for four runs on five hits. Wood was moved up a day because right-hander Johnny Cueto had to be scratched from his start because of a stiff neck.

It looked as if Wood would end up with a stiff neck of his own as he kept turning to watch Yankee hits flying past him. Nick Swisher led off the game with a single and Mark Teixeira followed with a single of his own one out later. Alex Rodriguez then opened the scoring with a single to left to score Swisher. Robinson Cano followed with an opposite-field double to score Teixeira. Russell Martin’s groundout scored Rodriguez and Andruw Jones followed with an RBI single to cap the four-run explosion before some of the sellout crowd of 41,173 had sampled their nachos.

The Reds looked as if they were going to answer back quickly when Drew Stubbs singled and stole second and Brandon Phillips singled Stubbs to third. However, Nova used his sinker to induce Joey Votto into a double-play in which Stubbs scored. But Nova stopped the Reds cold after that.

Stubbs reached on a swinging third strike wild pitch from Nova with two out in the third, Paul Janish stroked a two-out single in the fifth and pinch-hitter Fred Lewis singled with two out in the eighth. Nova retired the rest of th ebatters he faced on 17 groundouts, seven strikeouts and only three flyouts.

Wood, however, did settle down and he retired 15 of the next 20 batters he faced after the first inning. But Nova would not give in to the Reds.

The Yankees scored a run in the seventh inning due to the giving nature of the Reds. Reliever Jose Arredondo walked Curtis Gramderson. Granderson stole second but was able to take third when Janish dropped a throw from catcher Ryan Hanigan and the ball rolled past him into shallow center-field. Granderson then scored on an Arredondo wild pitch.

The Reds then took advantage of Nova’s departure in the ninth when Phillips singled off Luis Ayala to begin the inning. Boone Logan was summoned to face Votto but the erratic lefty plunked Votto with his first and last delivery. Manager Joe Girardi then decided to go to Mariano Rivera with the tying run on deck.

Rivera retired Jay Bruce on a grounder that moved Phillips to third and Votto to second. Scott Rolen scored Phillips on an infield single and Chris Heisey then scored Votto by beating out what could have been a 1-6-3 double play. But Heisey was ruled safe. But Rivera ended the Reds comeback hopes by fanning pinch-hitter Edgar Renteria to notch his 19th save of the season.

With the victory, the Yankees improved their record to 42-29 and they remain 1 1/2 games in back of the second-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The Reds are 38-36 on the season.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Nova was never any better this season than he was on Monday night. He had only three three-ball counts and he did not walk any of them. Nova also lowered his ERA to 4.13. It os obvious that when Colon and Hughes do return they will be starters. The question is what will happen to Nova when they come back? On the basis of this effort, it would be inconceivable they would put him in the bullpen.
  • Rodriguez continues to hit with a 2-for-4 night with a run scored and an RBI. Though Rodriguez is nursing a sore shoulder it is not interfering with his play at all. He also made a nice diving stab to rob Heisey of a hit. Rodriguez is hitting .292 with 13 home runs and 44 RBIs.
  • Cano is beginning to get his average back over .300. He also was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Cano now has a nine-game hitting streak in which he is 15-for-38 (.395) with two home runs and six RBIs. He is now hitting .295 on the season with 14 home runs and 47 RBIs.
  • Swisher is doing his job in the leadoff spot against left-handers. He was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored against Wood. He is 4-for-13 (.308) from the leadoff spot since Derek Jeter was injured.
NAGGING NEGATIVES
  • With David Robertson unavailable to pitch, Girardi decided to close the ninth with Luis Ayala and Boone Logan. However, Ayala gave up a leadoff single to Phillips and Logan hit Votto with a pitch to put the Reds in position for their major league-leading 23rd comeback. Fortunately, Rivera restored order. But it does show the Yankee bullpen does have a soft underbelly than can be exploited. The Yankees would love to have a healthy Pedro Feliciano and Rafael Soriano back soon to shore up the bullpen.
  • Andruw Jones had a severe brain cramp in the third inning and it short-circuited a potential big inning. With one out, Cano and Martin hit back-to-back singles. Jones then sent a slow bouncer to Rolen at third. Rolen forced Martin at third but Martin was able to upend Philips at second. However, Jones did not run the grounder out because he thought there were already two outs. Phillips got back up and threw Jones out by 50 feet. Jones is already on thin ice with the Yankees with his lack of production. Now it looks as if he is going to be a bit lighter in the wallet.
  • Eduardo Nunez got caught leaning after he singled to lead off the fourth inning and Wood picked him off first. These mistakes allowed Wood to survive that shaky first inning and pitch seven innings.
ON DECK
The Yankees will play the second of their three road contests against the Reds on Tuesday.
The Yankees will start veteran minor-league right-hander Brian Gordon (0-0, 3.38 ERA) in his second major-league start for the Yankees. In his first start, Gordon, 32, gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Rangers on Thursday. He did not get a decision but the Yankees did win the game. The former outfielder will get to test his hitting skills against the Reds.
The Reds are starting right-hander Johnny Cueto (4-2, 1.68 ERA), who could not pitch on Monday due to a stiff neck. He has been the Reds best pitcher since being activated from the disabled list in May. He is 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA against the Yankees in his career.
Game-time will be 7:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by MY9.