Game 102: NYY vs. CHW — Second City’s slow suffering

Three hours and 56 minutes. That’s how long it took the Yankees to beat the White Sox tonight. And it was quite the event tonight in the Second City.

Nathan Eovaldi got the start for the Yankees, throwing 117 in just 5.2 innings, giving up 7 hits, 3 runs, and 3 walks, and striking out 5 Chicago batters. Eovaldi wasn’t as sharp tonight (as obvious by his higher pitch count and the lack of his recent nickname), but he was given enough leeway by the Yankees offense to earn his 11th win of the season. In the 3rd, with 2 outs and a runner on base with a double, a 2-run home run put the White Sox on the board. In the 5th, an RBI double gave Chicago an extra run.

 

Adam Warren came on in relief in the 6th inning to close out Eovaldi’s 6th. Warren then pitched through the 7th and 8th innings, giving up 4 more hits and 2 more runs. A single scored on an RBI triple in the 7th, and then that runner scored on a wild pitch. Nick Goody got in another inning for the Yankees, the 9th tonight. A lead-off double scored on a 2-out single to push the White Sox up to a total of 6 runs.

Now, this would be rather depressing and rather threatening if the Yankees hadn’t leaped ahead early and often in tonight’s game.

In the 1st, Alex Rodriguez hit a 2-out double and then later scored on Carlos Beltran’s double to get the runs started. In the 2nd, Murphy led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on Brendan Ryan’s single, and then moved to 3rd on Didi Gregorius’ sacrifice bunt. With 1 out, Young walked and the bases were loaded. Rodriguez’s single scored Murphy, keeping the bases loaded and setting up a monster play. Mark Teixeira hit a beautiful grand slam to push the Yankees’ lead wide open.

In the 4th, Young led-off with a double, moved to 3rd on a wild pitch, and then scored on another wild pitch. When Rodriguez walked, the White Sox opened their bullpen, calling on their first of 4 relievers tonight. Teixeira’s second home run of the evening, a 2-run home run (to center field again, his latest home run area of choice). The Yankees quickly loaded the bases again with Beltran’s single, Headley’s single, and Murphy’s walk. Ryan’s single scored Beltran, and Gregorius’ sacrifice fly scored Headley.

And then it was the 5th inning, with a new pitcher, Rodriguez led-off with a walk, moved to 3rd on Teixeira’s double, and then scored on Chase Headley’s 1-out single. In the 6th, Ryan led-off with a double, moved to 3rd on Gregorius’ ground out, and then scored on Jacoby Ellsbury’s single. Every single starter contributed in some way to tonight’s offense, multiple hits and RBIs and runs scored — 18 total hits, 12 total RBIs, and 9 total walks.

Two interesting things from tonight’s game: first, the only inning neither team scored in was the 8th inning; second, the best pitcher for the White Sox was their 9th inning reliever, a position player who threw just 12 pitches and topped out at 85 mph fastballs and bottomed out with his 50-63 mph curveballs.

 

 

Final score: 13-6 Yankees.

Doink-doink. (That’s supposed to be the Law & Order theme, as suggested by a reader.) It’s Roster Moves time! The Yankees outrighted Chris Capuano to AAA. All you “Cap fans” can relax as he’s still very much a part of the Yankees organization, but now he can work on some of the nagging issues before being called on again. For those of you wonder what happened with Esmil Rogers, he is on his way to play for the Korean Pro League after clearing waivers, in exchange for cash considerations. And to make room for Dustin Ackley, the Yankees chose to designated Garrett Jones for assignment; Ackley will play 1st, 2nd, and all three outfield positions (he played some left field late in tonight’s game). Jones’ fans, cross your fingers and hope for a similar fate to Capuano.

Outside of the Ackley-Flores-Ramirez deal this weak, the Yankees didn’t do anything else for the trade deadline today. The biggest deterrent to the Yankees making some kind of big deal as was assumed/rumored/talked about was that most teams were only willing to negotiate if prospects Judge or Severino were on the table. They weren’t so most teams moved on to other options, and Judge and Severino were safe in the Yankees system. For now, at least.

Go Yankees!

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Game 79: NYY vs. LAA — Nasty Nate & Co.

Not a bad way to end the final West Coast road trip for the Yankees this year, especially when “Nasty Nate” is back on the mound and in good form once again. While his strikeout count was rather lower than usual (just 3 total), Nathan Eovaldi relied on his excellent defense to step up make some really great plays against the Angels. He was actually cruising along very good up until the 6th inning, but still, he gave a great outing, getting some of the more powerful hitters in the Angels’ lineup out with several routine plays. His total 94 pitches took him 5.1 innings, giving up 5 hits, 3 walks, and no runs. Yes, he kept the Angels from ever daring to cross home plate tonight with the same kind of “Nasty Nate” stuff he’s becoming known for.

In his 6th inning, with 1 out, Eovaldi loaded the bases with a single and 2 walks. It was time to hand the ball over to Chasen Shreve, who is becoming quite good in these tough situations. With some apparent ease, Shreve got a quick 2 outs to end the inning, saving Eovaldi’s win opportunity. Shreve continued through the 7th, keeping the Angels scoreless and hitless under his watch.

Justin Wilson came on in the 8th inning, got 2 outs, and then gave up a solo home run. And it was onto Dellin Betances for a 4-out save. Betances, coming off the bench after not pitching since Saturday’s game in Houston, got a quick out in the 8th, but then found his own sticky situation in the 9th. He couldn’t make it easy, even hitting 99 mph on his fastball, giving up 2 walks. It was the final strikeout that sealed the deal, giving Eovaldi the win (his 8th of the season) and Betances his 7th save of the season.

On the flip side of things, the Yankees got a jump on the Angels and turned their pitching staff into a bit of batting practice. In the 3rd, Didi Gregorius led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on Drew’s sacrifice bunt, then 3rd on Gardner’s groundout, before scoring on Chase Headley’s RBI single. And it was Garrett Jones to hit a big 2-out solo home run in the 6th.

And things got creative in the 8th for the Yankees after a lead-off strikeout. McCann singled and forced a pitching change, Jones walked, and Young singled to load the bases. Gregorius’ short single scored McCann but kept the bases loaded. The Angels pulled it together and got 2 quick outs to end the Yankees’ offensive attack.

Like I said, whatever was stifling the Yankees’ offense found another home (some would say in the Rays’ offense lately). Tonight, the Yankees got 12 hits, to the Angels’ 6 total hits. Thanks in part to Chase Headley’s great outing, snapping his recent low batting streak going 3-for-5 with an RBI in tonight’s game.

Final score in Anaheim: 3-1 Yankees, Angels take the series 2-1.

Yankees are on their way back to New York, with an off-day tomorrow before facing the Rays in a weekend. In case you haven’t heard, the AL East is currently in a very tight race for dominance. The Orioles, Yankees, Rays, and Blue Jays all have 42 wins under their belt, but their difference in the standing is based on how many losses they have — Orioles 36, Yankees 37, Rays and Blue Jays 38. This means the top 4 teams in the AL East are within 1 game of 1st place. Basically, it’s very much anyone’s game.

Roster moves (I really need a catchy name for this almost daily paragraph): The Yankees called up outfielder Tyler Dugas from AA Trenton, signing him to the 25-man roster. With Beltran going in for medical exam and treatment tomorrow in New York, the Yankees felt they needed outfield support more than the pitching, which seems to have settled into a better momentum lately. In that vein, Esmil Rogers was optioned to AAA Scranton.

And you have a little over 24 hours left to vote for the All-Star Game starters. You can vote up to 35 times per email address until tomorrow night at 11:59 pm EST. Starters will be announced on Sunday, and the rest of the roster will be announced on Monday. Yankees aren’t really high on the most current list of fan votes, but the roster has to have at least one player from each team. Any ideas on who should get the nod for the Pinstripes? We’ll see if my (and your) opinions and ideas get met this weekend.

Also a Happy Canada Day to my Canadian readers, friends, and family!

Go Yankees!

Game 76: NYY vs. HOU — Split series in the Lone Star State

On most days, Michael Pineda’s outing would be considered a really good outing. In this final game of the long weekend series in Houston, Pineda threw 107 pitches in 8 innings (a full game, by the way), gave up 7 hits, no walks, and 3 runs (2 earned), and struck out 8 Astros batters. After a lead-off single, Pineda cruised along wonderfully just getting Astros batters out like there was no tomorrow. In the 4th, with 1 out, a batter hit the ball deep into left-center field between Jones (in left) and Gardner (in center) to what looked like an easy pop fly. The outfielders converged on the descending ball before a bit of miscommunication caused them to both back up simultaneously as the ball dropped between them. Gardner, the veteran outfielder, snapped into action, slipped a bit, and booted the ball back to the wall. Despite pausing at 1st and at 2nd, the runner kept moving, picking up speed and making it all the way home. Without the very obvious error, it would be an inside-the-park home run. It was ruled a double and a fielding error on Gardner.

In the 7th, a lead-off double moved to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt and then scored on a big RBI triple. Pineda was able to get out of the inning without that runner pushing the Astros further ahead. Then in the 8th, the lead-off batter hit a ground-rule double, due to fan interference (seriously people, don’t touch the ball while it’s in play!). That runner moved to 3rd on a ground out (almost a fielder’s choice really as Gregorius had time to throw to a waiting Headley at 3rd and the potential double play, but opted for the easy out at 1st instead); a sacrifice fly would easily score the runner for the Astros’ third and final run of the afternoon.

The biggest downfall to Pineda’s outing today was the Yankees’ offense, or rather their lack thereof. Their lone run came in the 3rd inning. With 1 out, Drew walked, moved to 2nd on a wild pitch, and then scored on Brett Gardner’s single. Other than that, the Yankees had just 2 hits and 2 walks to put runners on the bases, but that lone run would be the only score for the Yankees this afternoon. The Astros starter was very good, striking out his own 8 batters today. With 2 pretty good outings for both starters today, the game was a short, tight 2 hours and 24 minutes long.

I do want to make a point of singling out the amazing defense of Brian McCann today. After yesterday’s grand slam reminded everyone McCann can hit and hit big, today’s 2 big outs reminded people what a great defender he is. In the 4th inning, after a batter singled, McCann spied him taking off for 2nd and fired a perfectly aimed throw to the waiting Drew to tag him out. Then McCann repeated the action in the 6th, and with 2 outs already on the board, it closed out the inning and any Astros threats for that inning.

A rather amusing defensive moment was in the 2nd, when Mark Teixeira fielded a short grounder, used the 1st base umpire as leverage to push back and make the short jog back to 1st for the out. It looked like he almost tagged out the umpire, who found the whole situation rather amusing himself. (Did you know that umpires have Wikipedia pages?)

Final score from Houston: 3-1 Astros. Yankees and Astros split the series 2-2.

Injury update: Jacoby Ellsbury won’t be traveling to Los Angeles with the team when they travel to face the Angels this week. Instead, he’s flying south to the Yankees complex in Tampa to begin his rehab. He will be sent for a rehab assignment this week, which means he could rejoin the team when they’re back in New York on Friday at the earliest.

And it’s time for that special moment in Yankee Universe these days… the updates on the roster moves! Esmil Rogers is back, recalled from AAA Scranton, after the last couple of games depleted the bullpen a bit. Gregorio Petit was sent back to AAA in his place. And the still-injured Slade Heathcott was moved to 60-day DL to continue his recovery of his strained right quad (injured originally back at the end of May).

Go Yankees!

Game 61: NYY vs. BAL — A single leads to a 2-run home run, apparently three times

I said yesterday that it’s easier to blame the “blackbird voodoo” of Camden Yards in Baltimore than to accept the loss for what it is — a reflection that the Yankees just got out-played tonight by the Orioles. I will say that it wasn’t nearly as terrible of a game as yesterday where it felt more like the Yankees just gave it away. No, tonight it was more a few pitches that favored the Orioles and earned them the game.

CC Sabathia took the mound tonight on a rather warm night in Baltimore, and due to the offensive attempts, wasn’t credited with a loss, but rather a no-decision. He threw 93 pitches over his 5 innings, gave up 8 hits, 4 runs, no walks, and 3 strikeouts. (It’s kind of hard to get used to Sabathia not being a big strikeout pitcher anymore.) Basically, Sabathia’s 3rd and 5th innings were freakishly similar. In the 3rd, the lead-off single scored on a 2-run home run before 2 ground outs and a strikeout. In the 5th, a lead-off single scored on a 2-run home run before a triple (the only anomaly), then 2 ground outs and a strikeout. Giving up home runs are difficult because they’re usually perfectly placed strikes that the hitter just finds and sends over the wall.

The Yankees actually got the jump on the scoring, like previously mentioned. In the 1st, with 2 outs and Headley on 2nd with a double, Mark Teixeira’s single scored Headley before Teixeira scored on Brian McCann’s double. And with the Yankees down 4-2 in the 6th inning, the Yankees earned those back — Headley led-off with a single and then scored on Alex Rodriguez’s home run (this seemed to be the theme of how to score tonight) to tie up the game. That home run was also Alex Rodriguez’s 2000th career RBI. (He’s also now just 5 hits away from the 3000 Hit Club.) The Yankees loaded the bases, changing pitchers twice and couldn’t bring those guys home to push the Yankees up and over the Orioles.

In fact, the Yankees wouldn’t score again the whole game.

Instead, at the bottom of the 6th, the ball was handed over to Chris Martin. Martin struggled his way through the 6th inning, 30 pitches, 4 hits, and 3 runs — a lead-off double, a wild pitch, an RBI single, a fly out, a single, a wild pitch, a 2-RBI single, a groundout, a wild pitch (yes, the 3rd this inning), and a line out. Not exactly the kind of outing you want to have in your first game back.

Then it was the newly acquired Sergio Santos for the 7th and 8th innings. While his pitch count was definitely better (at 31 over 2 innings), he still got a bit roughed up in the 7th. The lead-off batter hit the ball far enough to bounce off the wall near the top. Originally, the call was a standing triple for the batter, but upon an umpire review, they determined that where the ball hit was considered home run territory and thus awarded him a solo home run. Tough break for the first batter faced in Away Greys for Santos. Then with 2 outs and a runner on 2nd with a double, another double scored that runner pushing the Orioles even further on top of the Yankees.

And that was it for the scoring game tonight. But the one thing everyone was talking about was the spectacular catch by Mason Williams in the 4th — he ran 114 feet to catch the long fly ball before slamming into the fence area. Ouch. He’s okay though. They make athletes fairly tough.

Final score: 9-4 Orioles.

 

Roster moves: The Yankees found they needed right-handed pitchers in bullpen. So they moved the rookie Jacob Lindgren (a very good lefty) back AAA to make room for righty Jose Ramirez; and after outrighting Esmil Rogers to AAA, they had a spot to fill. Fortunately, the Yankees signed recent FA Sergio Santos to a minor league contract this past Tuesday, so they called him up today to take Rogers’ spot on roster and fill in another right-handed bullpen job. Unfortunately, Santos’ debut with the Yankees wasn’t exactly ideal, but once the Orioles had a solid lead, it didn’t seem to matter.

One more game in Baltimore tomorrow, and here’s to hoping against a sweep. Then, the Yankees head South to Miami for an odd 4-game split with the Marlins — 2 games in Miami, then 2 games back in the Bronx.

Go Yankees!

Game 60: NYY vs. BAL — Mason Williams, debuting as a ray of hope in Baltimore

Sometimes, I really like my job. I get to watch over 200 baseball games every season and then blog my opinion about the game and the players and baseball in general almost every day. I try to keep a positive spin on it because I do believe that it’s a great sport and keeping a positive attitude is a way to enjoy it, even through the really tough losses (on and off the field).

But sometimes, what happens on the field makes my job (and my night) a whole lot harder. Sometimes, it’s really hard to find the glimmer of hope, the positive outlook, the good things to share with the world. And while there most definitely is some a couple of very cool things that happened on this Friday night, there’s a whole lot of not-so-great things to talk about — including very sloppy defense, an error to break a really great streak, pitchers who couldn’t pitch their way out of a brown paper bag, and (the most cringe-worthy) ball to the groin.

And now that I’ve made you uncomfortable and depressed, here’s how the evening unfolded…

The Yankees got off to a pretty good start. In the 1st inning, Gardner and Headley each singled and Rodriguez walked to quickly load the bases. But then the pitcher realized he was in trouble and got the next three batters out before a run could score. I now consider this a bad omen as it would be repeated a few time this evening for the Yankees.

In the top of the 3rd, Gardner was hit by a pitch, stole 2nd, and scored on Alex Rodriguez’s single to get the Yankees on the board. Then in the 4th, Gregorius on base with a walk, newly called-up Mason Williams got his first Major League hit — a big 2-run home run, while his proud mom watched from the stands.

Like I said, the Yankees could get guys on base tonight, but getting them home didn’t come easily (unless you were Mason Williams, apparently). For example, they loaded the bases again in the 6th and left them all stranded. It was just not a great night all around for the Yankees offense. Again, unless you were making your Major League debut, apparently.

 

Michael Pineda got the start for the Yankees tonight in Baltimore. It certainly wasn’t his best start, but it wasn’t really that terrible either. (To be fair, the Orioles’ starter lucked out because while he pitched horribly, the Orioles gave him enough run-support to cover him. More in a moment.) Overall, Pineda threw 80 pitches into the 5th inning, gave up 9 hits, 2 walks, and 6 runs (5 earned), and struck out 2 batters.

In the bottom of the 1st, a lead-off walk, a single, and a fly out put runners on the corners. A run then scored on a single. In the bottom 3rd, the lead-off batter hit a grounder towards 3rd base that bounced up and hit Chase Headley in the groin before rolling into left field. Considered an error, the batter ended up at 2nd while Headley crouched over by 3rd base. Taking some time to sort out how serious the injury is, and recognizing once again the importance of protective gear in athletics, the game resumed. A single put runners on the corners, and then another single scored the lead runner. A 3-run home run pushed the Orioles a big 5 runs scored before the Yankees finally got their 3 outs of that inning. Then in the 4th, the O’s tacked on another run — a double, a single, and an RBI single pushed them up to 6 runs scored.

Despite attempts to push through, Headley wasn’t all that okay. He stayed in the game for another inning, even taking another at-bat, before he started feeling nauseous and opted out of rest of the game. We certainly wish Headley a speedy recovery.

Ryan took over at 3rd beginning in the bottom of the 5th inning. Pineda also wouldn’t make it out of the 5th inning, handing over the ball to Jacob Lindgren who got out of that inning before giving up a lead-off solo home run in the 6th. And it was on to Esmil Rogers.

Now, with Rogers’ recent struggles and the Yankees down 7-3, there must not be that much damage those pesky black birds can do. Right? Nope, here’s where it gets ugly. A single put one runner on, and then a force attempt ended up with runners on the corners due to Teixeira’s throwing error (his first error in 109 games, impressive and depressing all at the same time). A wild pitch scored the lead runner, moving the other one up to 2nd. He then moved to 3rd on a fly out before scoring on 2-out double. The next runner would score on a single before Rogers finally got a batter to strike out and end the inning.

But you know, a 10-3 lead really isn’t enough. In the 7th, the O’s come back with consecutive singles to put runners on the corners. With one out, a batter grounds into what should be double play but the Yankees can’t turn it in time, only getting one out, and allowing a runner to score.

After Rogers threw 50 pitches in his 2 innings, giving up 5 hits and 4 runs (though only 1 was earned), it was Chris Capuano for the 8th inning. Capuano threw a very efficient 8 pitches, keeping the Orioles from touching a single base under his watch. I’m growing to like Capuano in the bullpen more and more.

And one more comment about the Orioles’ pitching staff. Look, their starter didn’t really do that good of a job — 105 pitches into the 6th inning, 6 hits, 3 runs, and 2 walks. He just had the luck of the swings tonight. The Yankees struck out 6 times under him (11 times in total), while the Orioles’ batters only struck out 4 times total. The O’s bullpen did a better job keeping the Yankees from doing much, using their very nice lead as a cushion to take their time and throw some great pitches.

Final score: 11-3 Orioles.

I’ve heard it said that there’s something about Baltimore’s Camden Yards — some call it the “blackbird voodoo”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the Yankees just fall prey to that over the last few years. Of course, I’m not really superstitious, and I’ve seen the Yankees kick the Orioles to the curb enough in Baltimore to know it’s really just a terrible night. But when things just aren’t working, and it’s really just a big old mess out there, sometimes, it’s just easier to blame some mysterious force rather than to accept the inevitable — tonight, the Yankees just sucked.

Roster moves: yesterday, the Yankees shook up their roster a bit (though there was a bit of talk about this following Wednesday’s game). Jose Pirela was optioned to AAA Scranton; David Carpenter was traded to the Nationals for minor league infielder Tony Renda; Chris Martin was recalled; Mason Williams was recalled (and saved tonight’s game from being a big wash-out); and Ivan Nova was sent to AAA Scranton for his rehab assignment (meaning his return in pinstripes is just around the corner).

Before the game, the Yankees moved Gregorio Petit (remember him?) from the DL and optioned him to AAA Scranton. And just after the game, in a move that surprised no one, the Yankees outrighted Esmil Rogers to AAA Scranton. The Yankees are hoping Rogers uses his time there to figure out what’s been missing from his pitching arsenal and work on sharpening the skills they know he has.

 

 

Go Yankees!

Game 55: LAA vs. NYY — Drew, Rodriguez, and Eovaldi shine despite messy 9th inning

Back in the Bronx, the Yankees were looking to come off well from their sweep of Seattle to face the visiting Angels for the weekend series. So it was “Nasty” Nathan Eovaldi to the mound to start tonight’s game and earn his 5th win of the season. Overall, he threw 93 pitches through his 5.1 innings, giving up 4 hits, 4 walks, and 1 run, striking out 4 Angels batters. He found himself in a bit of trouble a few times but stealthily found his way out of those jams. That is until the 6th inning. Two walks, a fly out, and another walk loaded the bases and showed that Eovaldi was clearly hitting his limits this evening. So they opted for the bullpen.

Chasen Shreve came to close out the 6th inning for Eovaldi and protect his lead. A groundout scored the only run Eovaldi would be responsible for this game, a walk re-loaded the bases, but a great strikeout ended whatever hopes the Angels had for this inning. Shreve threw a very pretty 7th inning as well, 14 pitches to get his 3 outs against the Angels’ bigger bats. Jacob Lindgren’s 19-pitch 8th inning was a thing of beauty to watch tonight, getting 2 strikeouts to halt the Angels’ hopes for much of anything.

And before I move on to how this game ended, let me brag a bit about the Yankees’ offense tonight. In the 2nd inning, Jones on 1st with 2 outs, Stephen Drew hit a big 2-out, 2-run homer run into the right field seats to put the Yankees on the board early. In the 3rd, Gardner led-off the inning with a single and a stolen base, and then 2 outs later, Mark Teixeira hit his 17th home run of the season, a 2-out, 2-run homer into those same right field seats.

Then in the 5th, Gardner tripled and then scored on Alex Rodriguez’s  2-out single (his 1,997th career RBI, making him 2nd place on the All-Time list, passing Bonds). In the 6th, (because the Yankees clearly couldn’t stop scoring runs tonight), Brian McCann led-off with a double and advanced to 3rd on a ground out before scoring when Drew hit his second 2-run home run of the evening. And then to cap off the Yankee offensive evening in the 7th, Rodriguez’s on 3rd with a double and wild pitch and 2 outs on the board, Chris Young’s single scored Rodriguez.

So going into the top of the 9th inning, the Yankees were looking at a beautiful 8-1 lead. They just needed 3 outs, and everyone (sans the Angels) could go home happy this evening. But there is a reason that Yogi’s mantra of “It ain’t over ’til it’s over” still rings so true. Because this inning was far from over that easy. Esmil Rogers threw what had to be his worst outing all season — just 14 pitches, 4 hits, 5 runs, 1 walk, and no outs. Yes, no outs. A single, a double, an RBI single, a wild pitch, and a walk loaded the bases, and a single scored another run leaving the bases loaded and Rogers responsible for every runner on the diamond at that point

So it was on to Dellin Betances, converting the status of the game into a save situation. A single scored 2 more Angels’ runs, leaving runners on the corners. A walk re-loaded the bases once again, and then another walk issued handed over a run to the Angels. And finally, Betances issued a strikeout, the first out of the inning (on the 9th batter, by the way). The next batter hit into a force out (and earned Betances his first earned run all season), a run scored and left runners on the corners. And if you’re doing the math, it was becoming really scary for the Yankees, having unraveled so fast. Then finally, a strikeout, a big swinging strike to end the game and allow the Yankees and their fans to finally breath again.

Final score: 8-7 Yankees. (Yes, that’s right, the Angels scored 6 runs in the 9th inning and came within 1 run of tying the game and possibly winning.)

Some game notes: Rodriguez had an outstanding offensive night, going 4-for-5 with an RBI and run scored. He is now within 9 hits of that highly coveted 3,000 mark, something he should easily do before the end of this month (or by next week at this rate). Drew’s batting average jumped up with his 2 big home runs tonight, but the struggling offense seemed sparked tonight. Actually, many of the struggling batters seem to be finding their swings and timing lately (Jones and Gregorius come to mind).

Michael Pineda will be skipped this time around the rotation due to the workload and nothing else. Pineda has 11 starts this season with a record of 7 wins and 2 losses and an ERA of 3.33 so far. He’s apparently on pace to throw something like 220 innings this season, so they want to give him a break so as not to wear him out.

And for those of you following injury news… McCann’s MRI came back negative. They explored all options and decided the easiest course to relieve the foot pain in his arch might be to change out his orthotics. Doing so seemed to relieve any pain almost instantly and allowed him to play in tonight’s game. McCann went 1-for-3 tonight with a walk and run scored and provided for that consistent defense behind the plate, even in that awful 9th inning (where he certainly had a front row seat to that show). By the way, if the pain returns or worsens, other options will be explored, but here’s to hoping it’s already solved.

Go Yankees!

Game 51: NYY vs. OAK — Shutout at the O.co

I’ve said it before — some games are those memorable ones that have titles worthy of a 1990’s popular sitcom like “The One with the Flip Play” or “The One with the Dive in the Seats”; but some games are resolved to be just another passing afternoon and statistic on the scoreboard. Today’s final game in Oakland was easily the latter. At just 2 hours and 21 minutes, it was mercifully shorter than some of the other games that seem to drag on for an eternity. (Yes, there are those games too.)

It was Adam Warren’s day to start. Overall, he did a pretty impressive job — 99 pitches in his 7 innings, giving up 6 hits, 1 walk, and 2 runs, striking out 4 batters. After a really tight scoreless game through most of the afternoon, it wasn’t until the 6th, that the Athletics broke through. The lead-off batter singled, stole 2nd, stole 3rd, and then scored on a 2-run home run. This gave the Athletics a 2-0 lead.

The 8th inning was split between 3 relievers to each get an out. Esmil Rogers started the inning, and in his 5 pitches, he got the A’s to ground out but then gave up 2 singles to put runners on the corners. Jacob Lindgren’s 3 pitches got a sacrifice fly that scored another run for Oakland. And finally, David Carpenter’s single pitch got the batter to hit into a ground out to end the inning.

Now all this pretty decent pitching would be well and good if the Yankees somehow collaborated to get some runs. But it wasn’t to be. The A’s starter did a pretty good job through the first 8 innings, and despite giving up 7 hits to the Yankees, the Yankees couldn’t get anyone to cross the plate, giving the starter his 2nd win of the season. The 9th inning reliever even allowed 2 base runners, but successfully halted any advancement on the Yankees’ part and delivered a shutout.

Final score: 3-0 Oakland, Oakland wins the series 3-1.

Apparently, it is the also first time that the Athletics have won a series at home all season. So, congrats to them, I guess.

Ramon Flores got his first Major League single today, and like every major milestone, was gifted that ball to commemorate the event. And while the Yankees didn’t do much as far as scoring today, their defense was pretty good. Mark Teixeira continues to show his ridiculous defensive skills at 1st — a diving stop in the 1st and an unassisted double play in the 4th were just 2 of the great plays made today on the field.

Now onto Seattle…

Go Yankees!