Wednesday, April 11, 2012
What the hell, I’ll try and live blog this one for a while. If you’re looking for analysis, you can skip this. If you’re looking for snark about Mark Teixeira and Rafael Soriano, I’ve got you covered.
It is really amazing to me how much Kim Jones’s replacement resembles Kim Jones.
Interesting stuff about David Robertson mentoring David Phelps. Keep him away from Soriano, for sure.
Speaking of Soriano, he’s not available tonight because of a hangnail or something.
Some things to ponder while we wait for the first pitch.
- Is it better to have a healthy Alex Rodriguez who can’t hit, or an unhealthy one who can?
- Raul Ibanez, great DH or greatest DH?
- Has anyone ever explained the concept of ‘contract year’ to Nick Swisher?
Top of the first
I’m going to pre-emptively apologize to Jake Arrieta for all the times I will type his name as Arietta. Maybe I should just call him JA. JA earned the Opening Day start for the O’s despite a 6.14 spring ERA and rewarded them with seven scoreless innings. He actually gave up 1.86 runs according to FIP though.
It’s only one game, but JA’s velocity was up by about 1.4 mph compared to his average in 2011. The key is going to be what he does against the Yankees’ LHB (career .231/.306 /.346 vs. RHB and .278/.374/.485 vs. LHB).
And it’s now pouring and although the Orioles are on the field the grounds crew is by the tarp. They think it will clear up shortly.
And here comes the tarp… And now the tarp is gone. JA will take a second set of warmups.
Derek Jeter takes a 92 mph fastball down in the zone for strike one, followed by a 93 mph fastball on the corner for strike two and we’re underway. The third pitch is hit sharply the other way and clears the infield and bounces down the RF line for a leadoff double. Will Jeter be stranded at second or third?
Curtis Granderson takes a 95 fastball just off the plate for a ball, fouls off a 94 mph, then pulls a 94 mph fastball over the fence for his first HR of the year, and the Yankees take a quick 2-0 lead. Yay Curtis.
JA going with the breaking stuff now against Robinson Cano after six straight fastballs and two runs allowed and Cano’s quickly in the hole 1-2. A couple of 95 mph heaters just miss the plate and the count goes full, then another 95 mph heater is hit just shy of the warning track in left center field for the first out of the inning.
So now we have the guy that used to be Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod goes down swinging, but at least it took four pitches.
It’s Mark Teixeira’s birthday. Good for him. Teix hits it pretty solidly, but right to 2B for the third out of the inning.
OK CC, you’ve got your runs.
Bottom of the first
Can we please stop talking about CC’s career stats against the Orioles? How many of those players are still there, and how fat was CC when he was putting up those numbers? CC working Nolan Reimold away and gets him to fly out to shallow RF for the first out.
If these are fastballs, they’re not too fast. 89-91. A big slider in the dirt gets Hardy swinging for out #2.
CC’s command still doesn’t look great, judging by where Martin’s setting up and where the pitches are going, but it definitely looks better than it did in the opener. And another slder gets Markakis swinging for the final out of the inning.
Top of the second
You know what’d be cool here? Lots o’ runs.
Swisher tries to get things started leading off the second. He works the count full then gets under one that settles into Nick Markakis’s glove in short RF. Or deep RF if you’re Michael Kay.
It would seem that the 95 and 96 mph fastballs that Ibanez is seeing from JA may pose a matchup issue. The count again goes full and then Ibanez lines a 95 mph fastball to Hardy for the second out.
Let’s just say one of the possible typos for count can be a touch embarrassing. I’m also going to concede that my call for lots o’ runs is likely not going to be heeded this inning.
The Orioles shift of playing Russell Martin conventionally works as he grounds out weakly to short to end a most uninspired inning.
Bottom of the second
CC’s pounding the righties away so far, and has been able to hit that spot pretty well. Another slider and Adam Jones becomes another swinging strikeout, the third in a row.
After getting ahead of Wieters 0-2, a waste pitch and a ball led to a 2-2 fastball that was pulled into LF for a single and the first Orioles base runner of the night.
Mark Reynolds up now, and the Yankees are shifting on him, even though I don’t think he ever hits a ball into play. CC walks Reynolds and now the Orioles have the tying runs on base with one out and the dangerous Ronny Paulino up. Dude’s hitting 1.000.
CC’s lost the plate since Wieters reached and he switched to the stretch, and he’s now behind Paulino 3-0. I’m surprised Girardi hasn’t thrown up the four fingers. After throwing 13 pitches in the first, CC’s already up to 21 and has one out. The count goes full then Paulino grounds one up the middle that Sabathia tries to bare hand. If he doesn’t do that, it’s probably a DP. Instead, it dribbles between everyone and the bases are now loaded with no outs.
So yeah, about those nine innings we need from you CC…
CC’s able to get Betemit chasing on a slider in the dirt for out #2. He gets ahead of Robert Andino 0-2 then tries to get him to chase two sliders in the dirt, which he doesn’t do. A fastball down and away runs the count full, then Sabathia comes in with a BP fastball that Andino dunks in front of Curtis Granderson to tie the game at 2-2. CC’s now thrown something like 50 pitches this inning.
The good news is now the Yankees probably only need eight innings out of their pitchers.
The inning finally ends with a called strike three, but the whole tenor of the game has now changed.
Top of the third
The third? Seriously? It feels like the sixth or seventh.
Brett Gardner tries to get things going leading off the frame. He falls behind 1-2 then fouls a few pitches off. He fouls a few more before eventually swinging at a pitch off the plate for strike three.
Jeter pops the first pitch he sees up to RF where Markakis makes the catch near the line and this inning is not looking like one for the memory banks.
Granderson goes down swinging to end the inning, and makes the ninth consecutive Yankee retired by Arrieta.
Bottom of the third
Hardy leads off the inning with a grounder up the middle that eludes a lunging Jeter for a leadoff single. And the banter in the booth has turned into how to fill the innings that Sabathia won’t be giving the team, with suggestions including getting length from Boone Logan or using Phil Hughes.
Markakis works another long PA before grounding into a force out. Adam Jones then flies deep to the warning track in LF on the first pitch he sees for out #2. Perhaps CC can get out of this inning with an impressive 30 pitch/inning average after all.
Wieters gets another hit. I’m starting to think that he’s actually Brian Roberts in a Matt Wieters mask.
While CC tries to deal with Mark Reynolds I wonder. If CC was facing A-Rod, Teixeira and Swisher this inning, how many pitches would he need to strike out the side?
And he loses Reynolds, and the Orioles have the bases loaded with two outs and a chance to take the lead. CC now at 73 pitches. Paulino ground pitch 74 sharply to Jeter who feeds Cano for the inning-ending force, and I am in awe.
Top of the fourth
This is like a Yankee/Red Sox game in Fenway, without the dumb chants and all those pesky runs.
Cano was pretty much the only chance the Yankees had of getting a runner on this inning, but he flies out. Rodriguez pops up almost to the pitcher’s mound for the second out, then my TV goes on the fritz because I swear it shows Mark Teixeira on first base but that is not possible.
Swisher flies out to center to end the inning.
Bottom of the fourth
If CC can get out of this inning in three pitches, he goes from 24.3 pitches/inning to 19. Unfortunately, he needs four pitches to whiff Betemit so that’s no longer viable. The good news is that he whiffed Betemit.
Andino rifles a shot to LF but that’s where Brett Gardner is, and he makes a nice running shoestring catch and gets props for being the best defensive LF in baseball by Singleton and Kay.
And in a minor miracle, CC gets out of the inning without needing 20 pitches.
Top of the fifth,
I’ll just be happy if a runner reaches this inning.
I have a sudden insatiable craving for watermelon.
Ibanez draws a leadoff walk, which should have made me happy, but now that I have this watermelon craving I won’t be happy until I’m eating some.
After getting ahead of Martin 0-2, Arrieta tries to push him off the plate and clips him and now the Yankees have runners on first and second with no outs and Gardner up.
I wonder if Girardi will bunt here? No, I don’t wonder. I know for a fact that he will. And I’m wrong, as Gardner tries a swing. But no, now I’m right as he shows bunt on three straight pitches which miss the strike zone and now it’s 3-1. Gardner takes a full swing at the next pitch and pops one up between LF, CF and SS and it falls in and the bases are now loaded for Jeter.
Jeter hits the first pitch he sees hard but foul the other way, then fouls off the next pitch and he’s now in the hole 0-2. He chops the next pitch towards 2B and it’s hit too slowly to even try and get Ibanez at home and the Yankees take a 3-2 lead.
Granderson ropes one but right at Andino for the second out. Cano comes up with first base open and they decide to pitch to him instead of walking him to get to TAFKAAR. And it works out, as Cano pops one up in foul ground near the 3B dugout and Reynolds pulls it in to end the inning.
Bottom of the fifth
CC gets ahead of Hardy 0-2 but Hardy pulls a single through the SS hole. Not really the start I was hoping for after the Yankees took the lead, but maybe a Markakis DP can restore order.
We get a fly to CF instead for the first out. Adam Jones follows that up by hitting one up the middle that ricochets off CC’s foot and caroms to TAFKAAR for an infield single
And here’s Wieters. Again. He flies out to Granderson for the second out and Hardy tags and goes to third.
Jones steals second on the first pitch to Reynolds. Reynolds then bloops one between Gardner and Granderson in left center that scores the runners and gives Baltimore their first lead of the game at 4-3.
CC retires Paulino to end the inning, but a batter too late.
Top of the sixth
It may as well be the ninth. I don’t see how the Yankees are going to get three or four more innings out of their staff.
The Yankees went out meekly and I missed it all.
Bottom of the sixth
I missed the first two outs, but I’m going to assume it was pure luck since CC has nothing tonight.
Despite having nothing he gets through six. Probably done though.
Top of the seventh
The Yankees have to score before they send their 4/5/6 hitters up again, which makes this inning really important.
Ibanez flies out to fairly deep CF for the first out. Martin follows that up by singling up the middle.
Gardner gets the count to 3-1 but pops up to 3B and Showalter’s going to the bullpen.
Former Yankee stalwart Luis Ayala will come in to face Jeter with two outs and the tying run on first base. Can you smell the excitement?
Say what you want about Ayala, but you won’t see a hangnail restricting his availability.
Jeter draws a walk, and now Granderson’s up with the tying run on second. Granderson singles to LF just past a diving Reynolds, scoring Martin to tie the game at 4. Showalter sticks with Ayala vs. Cano with Jeter representing the go-ahead run at second. Cano pops up to the infield and the inning ends.
Bottom of the seventh
Who will pitch the seventh? Probably Logan.
Logan it is. He’ll try to dispatch Hardy, Markakis and Jones. He gets Hardy to ground to Cano for the first out.
Markakis grounds to Jeter who had a bit of a tough time getting it out of his glove before getting the ball to first for the second out.
Boone falls behind Jones 3-1, but gets out of the inning with a deep fly to the warning track in RF that Swisher grabs.
Top of the eighth
Oh good, A-Rod, Tex and Swisher.
A-Rod singles and then gets pinch-run for by Eduardo Nunez. I’m guessing that means we see Nunez’s glove at 3B next inning, which is just what you want to see in a close/late game.
Teixeira flies out to Markakis and now I’m just hoping Swisher can stay away from the DP. On a 2-2 pitch, Nunez goes for second and the throw is off target allowing Nunez to get up and scamper to third. with a full count to Swisher the Oriole have to bring the infield in. Swisher takes a called strike three and now it’s up to Ibanez. Except it’s not, as they’re walking him to get to Martin.
I can’t believe I’m thinking this, but maybe the Yankees should flip Ibanez and Swisher vs. RHP.
Ibanez steals second but it’s all for naught as Martin fans to end the inning.
Bottom of the eighth
Logan still in and Wieters rockets one up the middle but Cano ranges to his right and snares it and makes the throw to first to take a hit away.
Logan falls behind Reynolds 3-1 and then comes back with two sliders. The first one was a called strike, and the second one drops out of the strike zone but enticed Reynolds to swing over the top of it and that’s out number two.
And in a moment surely as heroic as an injured Willis Reed emerging from the Knicks’ locker room in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals, Rafael Soriano has emerged from his injured nail in Game 6 of the 2012 Yankee regular season. He gets a routine grounder to 3B, but the joke’s on him because when Eduardo Nunez is at 3B there’s no such thing as a routine grounder to 3B. Nunez smothers it like a Kirby vacuum cleaner, then throws it about two feet too high to 1B. Luckily, Teixeira’s able to catch it and tag Paulino to end the inning.
Top of the ninth
The Yankees really need to score because I’m running out of snark quickly. If Gardner can reach, I think Jeter, Granderson or Cano could drive him in. Gardner decides to take a called strike three instead.
I’m pretty sure Gregg has a 0.00 ERA against the Yankees over the last three years and an ERA of infinity against Boston, but I don’t feel like confirming it.
Jeter hits a routine fly to RF for the second out, and it’s up to Granderson. Curtis grounds to first and we’re now in sudden death.
Bottom of the ninth
If the Yankees are going to lose anyway, they should just lose now.
Soriano gets two quick outs but Reimold bloops a double to RF and that brings up Hardy with a chance to end the game. Soriano elects to not pitch to Hardy so he can face Markakis. Well, he walks Hardy on four pitches whether it was elective or not.
Girardi decides that he should be the one dictating who gets intentionally walked so he has Soriano intentionally walk Markakis. So now Soriano has thrown 8 straight balls and has to throw strikes to Adam Jones.
Soriano fans Jones. Hell of a job, even if Jones helped him out by swinging at ball 2.
Top of the tenth
Cano could homer here, I guess. And with Nunez in the game we don’t have to deal with A-Rod. Maybe they can at least clear Teixeira/Swisher.
Cano grounds out and then Nunez singles. Nunez decides to try and steal and the Orioles pitch out and Wieters throws to first base since Nunez tried to return. The throw beat him, but Nunez may have gotten his hand in before the tag. Didn’t matter though, as he was called out. Then Texeira pops out to LF, except no one caught it so he can now get stranded on second by Swisher.
Or, Swisher could go deep on a BP fastball to give the Yankees a 6-4 lead.
Ibanez flies out to end the inning, and now the Yankees will try to get three outs.
Bottom of the tenth
They showed Mo and Rapada warming last inning. I’m guessing it’ll be Mo.
Chavez in at third for defense and Mo will pitch to Wieters.
And Mo disposes of Wieters for the first out.
Now it’s Reynolds, and Mo gets ahead 0-2 then supposedly misses on a pitch that would probably have been a strike if it wasn’t 0-2. Reynolds works the count full before grounding to Chavez who makes the play calmly for the second out.
Paulino stands in as the O’s last hope. He loops a 2-2 pitch into CF for a single and Betemit will come up a the tying run. He pops it up to short LF, Chavez and Jeter both chase after it, but Jeter makes the call and the catch, and the Yankees win the game.
Yay Mo. Yay win. Yay sweep.
The weakest sweep ever maybe, but a sweep nonetheless.
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