The Yankees have 29 games left this season, and they gained a half game yesterday without playing a game (thanks Angels and Tigers). As the Baltimore Orioles come into town this weekend, the schedule for the Yankees in September will tell them just how much of a playoff contending team they are. Here’s a preview of the September calendar, and where the Yankees could stand at the end of the month.
August 30 – September 1
Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees
The Baltimore Orioles pitching is a bit sketchy, but they can survive sketchy pitching with their lineup. With the power bat of Chris Davis and the ability for the rest of team to scratch out runs, the Yankees are in for the fight of their life this weekend. This series won’t be easy but the Yankees have added Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Robinson Cano should he be well enough to play at some point this weekend. The Yankees need to at least take two out of three in this series, which means that CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova need to step up and pitch well (Nova has done that this season, the sentence was more for Hughes and Sabathia). Also a word of advice, if the Yankees want a chance to take the series, I’d suggest taking Hughes out of the rotation and put David Huff to start instead. Just because David Huff combined with his last two outings had pitched a full game giving up no runs and one hit. I’d sign up for that instead of home runs and runs from Hughes.
September 2 – September 4
Chicago White Sox vs. New York Yankees
The last time these two teams faced one another, the White Sox swept the Yankees in three games. This time it should be a bit different since we didn’t have any power bats in our lineup at the time (minus Robinson Cano). This White Sox team is a bit different since they gave up a lot of their key players during the season to contending teams, so it should be an easier battle this time around. If all goes according to plan, the best case scenario would be to take two out of three. I’d be greedy saying I want the sweep, but hey…don’t we all?
September 5 – September 8
Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees
The Red Sox and Yankees were the highlight of ESPN baseball two weeks ago when the Red Sox woke up the Yankees after an intentionally pitch to Alex Rodriguez hit him in his ribs. This time it’s a four game set at Yankee Stadium and the Red Sox will have to face off against the Yankees once again. The Yankees took two out of three last time due to great pitching and timely hitting. The Yankees need to have the same formula coming into the series. The keys to this series: keep Jacoby Ellsbury off base since he’s the Red Sox version of Brett Gardner and find a way to get David Ortiz out anyway they can. (As of the morning of August 30, Ortiz has been in a slump going 0 for his last 23). This series is crucial. The Yankees need to at least take two out of the four games.
September 9 – September 12
New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles
The Yankees go from one four game series to another four game series, this time traveling to Camden Yards for this four game set vs. the Orioles. Keys to the rest of the Orioles series is simple: Don’t give them anything to hit, especially Chris Davis. One mistake and it could go out to Eutaw street faster than you can say “Mariano Rivera“. Which means I strongly advise Joe Girardi to again not play Phil Hughes. Don’t know how many times I’m going to have to say this.
September 13 – September 15
New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
After the Orioles series, the Yankees go to Boston and play another series at Fenway. Yep, same old same old Yankees vs. Red Sox. But this has more on the line for the Yankees than it does for the Red Sox. Let’s just say find a way to stop the Red Sox bats, score some runs, take two out of three and get the heck out of there? Sound good? Good.
September 17 – September 19
New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays
The Yankees go to Canada to play the Toronto Blue Jays in their final showdown this season. The Yankees have owned the Blue Jays this season, minus the most recent series where the Blue Jays took two out of three from the Yankees. Well, the Yankees will be looking for a vengeance. Key to this series: Keep the power hitters at bay, don’t walk Jose Reyes and Rajai Davis–and try to get to the Blue Jays pitching. The Yankees have the discipline to do so and have proved it in the past.
September 20 – September 22
San Francisco Giants vs. New York Yankees
All right, who made this schedule? An interleague game at the end of the year? Anyway, back to the topic at hand: The Giants this year–aren’t very good (and that’s an understatement). The Yankees could have themselves a two out of three series (or maybe a sweep) if the Yankees run into bad pitching, which the Giants have had this season. Well, we don’t know when the Giants will come back to Yankee Stadium so we might as well enjoy this series (that and we could see how starstruck the players get when they run into Mariano Rivera).
September 24 – September 26
Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees
The final series at Yankee Stadium for the 2013 season is against the Tampa Bay Rays who have the pitching to get them where they need to be if they make the first wild card spot. The keys to this series is simple: Don’t give any of the power hitters (and there are some power hitters) anything good to hit. That includes Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, Matt Joyce…you get the picture. It’s also important to stay patient with the pitchers. You never know when you can get into their bullpen which has had an up and down year.
September 27 – September 29
New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros
The final series of the season takes the Yankees to Texas, but not to face the Rangers. Instead, they will face the Houston Astros. Honestly, if the Yankees can’t sweep the Astros, then we don’t deserve to be contending. The Houston Astros are a minor league team in the Major Leagues, and that’s me putting it as nicely as I can. Depending where the Yankees are in the wild card standings at this point in the season, this series is important. This series could make or break the chances of getting into the playoffs if the race is that close in the end.
Once again we have found the “winners” of the Hot Stove season, this time in 2012 being the Toronto Blue Jays of all teams. Barring a veto made by Commissioner Selig for a baseball-related reason he is having trouble finding, the Miami Marlins are dealing their entire franchise up north, aside from Giancarlo Stanton.
Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck will all be ditching the hideous rainbow costumes in Florida for some classy throwback Jays jerseys in Canada.
Everyone loves to give their opinions and debate over huge deals like this during the winter, but mostly everyone is on the same page in saying the Blue Jays are now “instant contenders” in the A.L. East.
Forget about that atrocious excuse of an owner Jeffrey Loria for a second. Should the trade happen, it’s a bright new beginning for baseball’s only Canadian team, after the Montreal Expos left to become the Nationals in 2005.
Not to discredit what the Jays have done though in the 21st century – they’ve actually won at least 80 games in 9 of the 13 seasons since 2000 and in 5 of the last 7 since 2006. So they rarely have a definitive bad team, and normally they are competitive throughout the year. That’s what draws people to the conclusion that this trade finally gets Toronto over the hump to become a playoff contender for next season and beyond.
It’s a very strong point, and the Blue Jays may very well make the playoffs in 2013. But if we have learned anything in the past three seasons, it’s that no one wins a World Series on paper.
And since 1993, not on Astroturf either.
I understand each team is unique and different, and you can’t compare acquisitions fairly. But there’s now been four teams in the past two seasons that were picked to win their division, a couple to win the pennant, and of course one to capture the World Series.
What happened? All of them missed the playoffs.
The 2011 Red Sox, the 2012 Angels, the 2012 Dodgers, and [as this all has happened because of them] the 2012 Marlins are those clubs. From Adrian Gonzalez (for Boston and L.A.) to Albert Pujols and to Jose Reyes, all of these teams have made significantly huge trades and signings that seemingly put them over the top prior to season’s start.
To me it’s incredibly shocking people are once again jumping on the bandwagon of the team that has spent or acquired the most talent. This Toronto team still lost 89 games last year and has a lot to prove before they can convince me to pick them for even a Wild Card spot. I’m not going to go in-depth with analyzing the team, as it would be a waste of time this early in the offseason.
Don’t get me wrong, the other teams in the division are by no means head and shoulders above Toronto, but they aren’t worse either. All of them still have holes and many questions about how to improve, yet it almost feels coy of baseball analysts to be ignoring the Yankees and Orioles’ intense race this past September, the Rays ability to always hang around, and the Red Sox being destined to improve.
There’s a remote possibility that Toronto could even move down into last place in 2013. Not necessarily due to bad performance, but all of the teams are tough opponents and the division could be separated by less than ten games, from first to last. Ranking this Blue Jays team as better than most or all of their A.L. East foes is childish, and it’s a simple question of “shouldn’t baseball know better?”
No matter what, this team will be sugar-coated and hyped up through the winter and into spring by the new guys coming in, much like all the recent clubs that spent loads of money and lost out big time. Though in reality, there’s a reason this team lost 89 games in 2012. And the majority of the players are coming back, and though they are young and certainly may become a strong team soon enough, no one should be picking them [unless you’re a bias Toronto fan] to suddenly explode and over-take the Yankees, O’s, and Rays to win the A.L. East.
We saw in 2012 that anything can happen in baseball, and that’s my thinking. Anything can happen next year and it’s still only November. There’s over two months left for the rest of the A.L. East to “catch up”, and it’s doubtful Toronto’s apparent inferior opponents will be the same as they stand now come Opening Day.
Overall, there is no doubt that this is a tremendous trade for the Blue Jays, and I’m happy for them from a non-bias standpoint. But not everything works out the way it’s supposed to, and it really hasn’t for most of the “winners” of the offseason for the past decade now. Toronto has the potential to change that pattern, but until they do I will have many doubts and continue thinking realistically while people guess away for the Jays to win 95 games and take the A.L. East crown.
Just ask the past couple of year’s World Series favorites. They’ll tell ya baseball isn’t played in the winter on paper. It’s played in the summer on the diamond, and there’s nothing to point to about next season when snow is covering the ground.
I guess that’s the “beauty” of baseball – it brings out the idiot in all of us during the season, debating what we thought back when it was 30 degrees outside and all we had closest to baseball was the MLB: The Show video game is simply guessing and nothing more.
There is one thing that is for certain however – the A.L. East just got a whole lot more exciting.
Monday, 7/16/12, 7:05pm ET
Pitching for the Yankees: Phil Hughes, RHP
Last Appearance: 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 10 H, 3 K, 1 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 9-7, 4.33 ERA / 4.48 FIP / 4.15 xFIP, 8.31 K/9, 2.08 BB/9 in 99.2 IP
Pitching for the Blue Jays: Henderson Alvarez, RHP
Last Start: 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 H, 4 K, 2 BB, 0 HR On the Season: 5-7, 4.36 ERA / 5.18 FIP / 4.38 xFIP, 3.02 K/9, 1.93 BB/9 in 107.1 IP
Tuesday, 7/17/12, 7:05pm ET
Pitching for the Yankees: C.C. Sabathia, LHP
Last Appearance: 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 9 H, 3 K, 2 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 9-3, 3.45 ERA / 3.21 FIP / 3.25 xFIP, 8.83 K/9, 2.44 BB/9 in 107.0 IP
Pitching for the Blue Jays: Brett Cecil, LHP
Last Start: 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 H, 5 K, 3 BB, 1 HR
On the Season: 2-1, 6.75 ERA / 5.65 FIP / 5.08 xFIP, 7.09 K/9, 3.38 BB/9 in 26.2 IP
Wednesday, 7/18/12, 1:05pm ET
Pitching for the Yankees: Hiroki Kuroda, RHP
Last Start: 7.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 H, 6 K, 1 BB, 2 HR
On the Season: 8-7, 3.67 ERA / 4.17 FIP / 3.94 xFIP, 6.95 K/9, 2.58 BB/9 in 115.1 IP
Pitching for the Blue Jays: Ricky Romero, LHP
Last Start: 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 6 K, 2 BB, 1 HR
On the Season: 8-5, 5.03 ERA / 5.17 FIP / 4.51 xFIP, 6.34 K/9, 4.64 BB/9 in 116.1 IP
— Robinson Cano – 5 for 11 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB in the last 7 days
— Eric Chavez – 3 for 7 with 1 HR, 1 RBI in the last 7 days
— Curtis Granderson – 4 for 11 with 1 triple, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB in the last 7 days
— Derek Jeter – 4 for 12 with 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 BB in the last 7 days
— Russell Martin – 1 for 7 with 1 RBI, 1 BB in the last 7 days
— Nick Swisher – 1 for 6 with 1 double, 5 BB, 2 K in the last 7 days
— Adam Lind – 6 for 10 with 1 double, 5 RBI, 1 BB in the last 7 days
— J.P. Arencibia – 4 for 10 with 2 doubles, 2 RBI in the last 7 days
— Rajai Davis – 0 for 7 with 2 K in the last 7 days
— Colby Rasmus – 1 for 12 with 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K in the last 7 days
— Brett Lawrie – 2 for 12 with 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K in the last 7 days
Enjoy the series everyone!
Wednesday, 5/16/12, 7:07pm ET
Pitching for the Yankees: Hiroki Kuroda, RHP
Last Start: 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 K, 3 BB, 2 HR
On the Season: 3-4, 3.56 ERA / 4.76 FIP / 4.25 xFIP, 5.02 K/9, 3.14 BB/9 in 43.0 IP
Pitching for the Blue Jays: Kyle Drabek, RHP
Last Start: 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 5 K, 4 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 2-4, 3.66 ERA / 5.09 FIP / 4.18 xFIP, 7.55 K/9, 5.49 BB/9 in 39.1 IP
Thursday, 5/17/12, 7:07pm ET
Pitching for the Yankees: Phil Hughes, RHP
Last Start: 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 4 K, 1 BB, 1 HR
On the Season: 3-4, 5.50 ERA / 5.31 FIP / 4.37 xFIP, 8.50 K/9, 2.25 BB/9 in 36.0 IP
Pitching for the Blue Jays: Drew Hutchison, RHP
Last Start: 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 4 K, 4 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 2-1, 5.53 ERA / 4.04 FIP / 3.76 xFIP, 6.83 K/9, 3.25 BB/9 in 27.2 IP
— Robinson Cano – 13 for 28 with 4 doubles, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1 BB in the last 7 days
— Russell Martin – 2 for 14 with 1 double, 2 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K in the last 7 days
— Brett Lawrie – 9 for 26 with 1 double, 2 RBI in the last 7 days
— Edwin Encarnacion – 7 for 26 with 1 double, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB in the last 7 days
— J.P Arencibia – 3 for 19 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K in the last 7 days
— Adam Lind – 3 for 17 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K in the last 7 days
— Eric Thames – 4 for 20 with 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K in the last 7 days
Enjoy the series everyone!
The American League East is one of the toughest and fastest paced divisions in Baseball. Almost all of these teams have the potential to be American League East Champions in order to advance to the newly complicated playoffs. But just like it is fast paced and complicated for the offense, it is also fast paced and complicated for the defense, mostly the outfield. As an outfielder, you can’t second guess yourself when taking a direct route to the ball. Chances are if you second guess yourself, the chances are that the ball will drop in the outfield. When it comes to the American League East, there are a lot of Gold Glove worthy contenders, but who has the best Outfield in the AL East?
Boston Red Sox
Carl Crawford, LF: Carl Crawford is a very talented left fielder for sure, but his fielding isn’t used to the fullest of his potential because of one little flaw in Fenway Park; The Green Monster. What would normally be a HR in Yankee Stadium for example would go off the high wall and end up a double, and because of the angle the Green Monster makes, it makes fielding more difficult for Crawford. In 2010 with the Rays he had 7 assists and 2 errors. In 2011 with the Red Sox, he had 1 assist and 3 errors. Different ballparks make a difference, don’t they?
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF: I don’t usually offer much praise to the Red Sox, but when Jacoby Ellsbury is in CF it is a complete delight to watch what he’s going to do next. Ellsbury is a Gold Glove contender for sure, after all in 2011 he had 6 assists, 3 Double Plays and no errors. Ellsbury is what makes the Red Sox have a good outfield. Without him, there wouldn’t even be consideration as to who would have the best outfield in the AL East.
Darnell McDonald, RF: Typically a center fielder, McDonald played everywhere in the 2011 season but he mostly played right field. While he was a right fielder, he only had 1 assist and 1 error which isn’t a bad number at all. McDonald for the Red Sox would have been more of a utility outfielder. He was good at fielding, but with Cody Ross now in the picture, McDonald’s playing time might soon be lessened.
Over the course of the next month or two, we will be previewing the Yankees’ competition in the American League. To do this, I will interview one blog for each team in the league.
Remaining in the AL East, let’s take a look at the Toronto Blue Jays. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jared Macdonald of Jays Journal.
1. Finishing 4th in the AL East, the Blue Jays actually had a pretty good year this past season, going 81-81. What are your thoughts on how the 2011 season went?
For the Jays, I really divided the season into two parts: before and after the All-Star break. I was content with the progress that the Blue Jays organization made as a whole in 2011, but the second half of the season was far more exciting that the first.
Before the break, they had Kyle Drabek and Jo-Jo Reyes at the back end of their rotation. I was of the mindset that Drabek should not have been rushed to the Majors since I felt that he could have improved in a variety of areas with more minor league seasoning. Instead, he broke camp out of spring training as the Jays’ No. 4 starter and limped to a 5.70 ERA/5.50 FIP in 14 starts, including 52 walks in 72.2 innings for a Major League-high 6.4 BB/9. Reyes didn’t fare much better as the Jays’ No. 5 starter, either, with an 11.5 H/9 and 5.40 ERA/4.63 FIP in 20 starts. Midway into the season, Drabek and Reyes were replaced with Henderson Alvarez and Dustin McGowan, two intriguing pitchers that will be exciting to watch in 2012.
From a position player standpoint, the Jays had lackluster players like Juan Rivera, Corey Patterson, Jayson Nix, and Aaron Hill all log a significant amount of at-bats in the first half of the season. Things got better in the second half, though, as Rivera and Nix were designated for assignment, Patterson was traded to St. Louis in the package that brought back Colby Rasmus, and Hill was traded for Kelly Johnson later in the year. Even though Rasmus didn’t hit with the Jays in 2011, he’ll be exciting to watch next season as a potential core piece going forward. Add the addition of Rasmus to full seasons of Brett Lawrie, Kelly Johnson, and either Travis Snider or Eric Thames, not to mention another season of Jose Bautista, and it’s quite possible that the Jays could be better offensively in 2012.
2. The Blue Jays have added several bullpen pitchers to the mix already, including Darren Oliver, Jason Frasor, and Aaron Laffey. What do you think of the moves the Jays have made so far this offseason to strengthen the ‘pen? Additionally, do you think there are other moves the team could make before Spring Training?
I think that the moves Alex Anthopoulos made to strengthen the bullpen, overall, were fantastic. Acquiring a legitimate closer in Sergio Santos has solidified the position for, hopefully, years to come. Adding Darren Oliver as a setup man adds a much-needed proven southpaw to the bullpen and also brings a veteran presence to a young club. In Jason Frasor, a familiar face returns to the organization and he’ll give you a quality inning anywhere from the fifth to the eighth. More importantly, though, Anthopoulos’ three offseason additions have clearly defined the bullpen roles for next season, which was something that the team sincerely lacked in 2011.
Anthopoulos has said he’d like to add at least one more reliever via trade, but it’s hard not to be impressed that he revamped the back end of the Jays’ bullpen at the expense of just three prospects, with only one of them being close to the Majors or notable at all.
3. The Blue Jays are a talented team with what seems to be a good GM in Alex Anthopolous. However, it seems as if the tough AL East competitors- the Red Sox, Yankees, and the Rays, make it difficult for the Jays to surpass 3rd and 4th place. Any thoughts on the overall unluckiness of being in a division with three other great teams?
Sure, being in the same division as the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays could be considered unlucky, but I view it as a plus, especially from a player development perspective. The Blue Jays are stockpiling so much talent in the minor leagues right now, including some pitchers that will make an impact in 2012, so what better than to test them against some of the best teams in baseball? Given the way that the Jays are headed as an organization under Alex Anthopoulos as well, the fact that they’re in the AL East likely shouldn’t be as much of a factor or emphasis in the future.
4. What is the general confidence level in the Blue Jays going into the 2012 season? Are there any definite strengths or glaring weaknesses that you foresee moving forward?
Overall, I would say that the confidence level in the Blue Jays for next season is high, seeing as the club did not lose anyone of value but successfully overhauled the bullpen and added talent or upgraded at at least three defensive positions. The one potential weakness, however, that prevents the confidence level in some fans from being higher is the starting rotation. Ricky Romero will lead the charge again and Brandon Morrow is primed for a breakout season with the introduction of a cutter to his repertoire, but there are question marks behind those two. The Jays do need to give innings to Brett Cecil, Alvarez, and McGowan right now in order to assess exactly what they have in them, but acquiring a top starting pitcher wouldn’t hurt, either.
5. How do you feel about the current state of the Jays’ prospects, and minor-league system? Are there any prospects that you think could have an impact on the 2012 team?
In a nutshell, it’s hard to imagine the Blue Jays’ minor league system being any better than it already is. Everyone has a tendency to hype their own prospects , but the group of players that the Jays have in their system is easily top 10 in the Majors, if not top five. I remember talking to one of the Jays’ Major League scouts in August who said that the talent level of the Jays’ system is “downright silly”, and that their system is full of talented, under-the-radar types that don’t get mainstream attention as well.
There will be a couple of prospects that could have an impact for the Jays in 2012, and the first one that comes to mind is 21-year-old right-handed pitcher Drew Hutchison, who pitched at three minor league levels in 2011 and had a 42-inning streak in high-A without surrendering an earned run. He has tremendous command of his fastball and is on the cusp of being MLB-ready after the significant progress that he made this past season. Other names that could make an appearance with the Jays are Travis d’Arnaud, Anthony Gose, and Adeiny Hechavarria.
6. Lastly, how do you project the team will do in 2012?
Tying in to what I mentioned in the fourth question, the fact the Jays upgraded their bullpen and at other positions around the diamond without losing anyone valuable implies that they’ll be a better team next year. Starting pitching remains somewhat of a question mark, but it’s unlikely that their rotation will have as bad of a first half in 2012 as they did in 2011. I think that the Jays will certainly be competitive next season, say, in the neighborhood of 85-87 wins and perhaps even challenge for a playoff spot if everything goes right. That being said, though, it’s not all about wins and losses in 2012. Things will become clearer as an organization in terms of what exactly the Jays have at the big league level, and the slew of prospects in the minors will inch closer to the big leagues. As a Jays fan, it makes me excited for the upcoming season, but also next year’s offseason and what’s to come in 2013.
|Rodriguez, Al, 3B||3||1||1||0||1||1||1||.289|
|Jones, An, RF||4||1||1||0||0||2||2||.252|
|Nunez, E, SS||3||1||1||1||1||0||1||.263|
a-Grounded out for Montero in the 8th.
Article by Thomas Boorstein MLB.com
NEW YORK — After seeing a total of four pitches in his first three plate appearances — and going 0-for-3 in the process — Robinson Cano tried for a more patient approach in at-bat No. 4 in the bottom of the seventh. His change in strategy paid off.
Cano fell behind 0-2 but ripped the sixth pitch he saw from Toronto reliever Casey Janssen into the right-center-field gap. The two-run double erased a one-run deficit and lifted the Yankees to a 6-4 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday at Yankee Stadium. With the win, the Yankees (84-53) maintained their position ahead of the Red Sox in the American League East.
“I talk to my dad all the time,” Cano said of his father, Jose, who pitched for the Astros in 1989. “He always says, ‘You’re chasing pitches. You’re swinging at bad pitches. You’ve got to be more patient because when you swing at strikes, you’ll be able to make some damage.’”
Saturday’s damage accounted for Cano’s 40th double of the season and prevented a loss for Bartolo Colon, who allowed four runs in 6 1/3 innings and is winless since July 30. It also earned Cano his 100th and 101st RBIs this season to put him over the century mark for the second time in his career.
“He just never chased,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He made Janssen throw strikes. Robbie’s dangerous at any point in the count, whether he’s down or not, he can get the head [of the bat] to it.”
Yankees are back home and welcome the Toronto Blue Jays. To here Ricky’s podcast of the series preview which is always a good listen full of tons of information please CLICK HERE.
Morrow (9-9) vs. Nova (14-4)
Romero (13-9) vs. Colon (8-9)
Cecil (4-7) vs. Garcia (11-7)
From MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:
NEW YORK — The Yankees ensured that walk-off magic would be incorporated into the DNA of their new ballpark a couple of years ago. It was only a matter of time before some more seeped out.
After Curtis Granderson tied the game with a ninth-inning RBI single, Mark Teixeira made a winner of CC Sabathia as the Yankees toppled the Blue Jays, 5-4, in their final turn at bat on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.
“It was great to do that in front of our home crowd,” said Teixeira, who slammed the game-winning hit off the glove of first baseman Juan Rivera. “We hadn’t done it too much this year, but to come back and get a big win for CC and the home fans was nice.”
The hit marked the Yankees’ second walk-off of 2011 and Teixeira’s first regular season walk-off as a Yankee; his other such moment in pinstripes has become regular programming for the highlight reel, coming in the ’09 American League Division Series against the Twins.
As the ninth inning progressed, it started to feel a little bit like that successful season again.
“We had a lot of come-from-behind wins in ’09, and we played extremely well here last year,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We need to get back to that. That’s a real good win for us.”
With Toronto’s Frank Francisco sweating out a save opportunity, Jorge Posada ripped a one-out pinch-hit double to right-center, waking up the big Bronx ballpark with one swing.
“The fans were into it,” Posada said. “They were loud the whole game. As soon as we scored three [runs], I said, ‘We’ve got a chance to win the game.’”
It has been a rough year for Posada, fighting the Mendoza line at .183 as he tries to put a public spat with management into the rear-view mirror. But his teammates still count on the big hits.
“Sado has had so many big moments in this organization,” Sabathia said. “I think everybody is making a big deal out of everything he does now, but we kind of expect it out of him.”
After a groundout, Granderson connected with his fourth hit, shooting it past a diving attempt from Rivera.
Granderson stole second and Teixeira then scorched the game-winner into right field — quite a welcome turn of events on a night when it looked as though Sabathia might wind up a complete-game loser.
“I think it’s a statement of what this team’s philosophy is,” Granderson said. “You just keep battling, knowing that things are going to turn.”
Blue Jays manager John Farrell lamented wasting seven good innings from starter Ricky Romero, who held the Yankees to just Russell Martin’s third-inning homer.
“To their credit, Posada jump-started their offense in the ninth with that double,” Farrell said. “We just couldn’t close it out.”
Sabathia could, firing his first complete game of the season and his third as a Yankee, although the bats needed to hit up the bullpen for support.
Robinson Cano greeted Marc Rzepczynski with a well-struck double that chased home Granderson, and Martin followed with an RBI hit that brought in New York’s third run.
The Blue Jays got to Sabathia for four runs — all earned — on eight hits, but he was at his best late, as the lefty retired the final 16 to face him.
“They were swinging early in the count and all I wanted to do was throw strikes,” said Sabathia, who walked one and struck out three.
Corey Patterson knocked in a run with a third-inning RBI single, and Sabathia was touched up for a three-run fourth that could have been much worse.
Rivera doubled and scored on J.P. Arencibia’s RBI single, and Edwin Encarnacion’s one-out single drew Girardi out for a rare mid-inning visit.
Whatever Girardi said, it didn’t work. Rajai Davis ripped a run-scoring hit, and with runners at the corners, John McDonald dropped a well-placed sacrifice.
Teixeira made the right play on the bunt as Encarnacion raced home, firing accurately to Cano, but the ball flicked Cano’s glove for his fifth error this year.
“They didn’t hit the ball hard, but they look like line drives in the box score,” Sabathia said. “You need to continue to make pitches and just try to get outs.”
He wasn’t out of the woods yet, and what followed seemed like the turning point. A sacrifice and a five-pitch walk brought up Jose Bautista with the bases loaded.
Sabathia escaped by getting the Major League home run leader to ground into a fielder’s choice.
“CC pitched tough all night,” Martin said. “We mixed [Bautista] really well, never really gave him the same pattern. We really just made pitches to him and didn’t give him anything good to hit.”
Sabathia would be front and center as A.J. Burnett made the familiar charge through the dugout, rushing to slam a whipped cream-filled towel in Teixeira’s face moments after the final out.
He flashed a toothy grin, saying that the gleeful celebration is still the best part of those wild home comebacks. But for the Yankees, picking up their ace topped the pie-man’s exploits for the night.
“He deserved a win tonight,” Teixeira said. “That fourth inning was just a weird inning. After that, he really shut them down. He deserved for us to come back and get that win for him.”
|Rodriguez, Al, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||2||3||.288|
|Nunez, E, SS||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.278|