Thursday, July 11, 2013

Game 92 Wrap-Up: NYY 8 KC 4

(Courtesy of the AP)

The story of the day was obviously Derek Jeter.  All Derek Jeter all the time.  He made his return from the broken ankle that ended his 2012 season earlier this afternoon, batting 2nd as the DH.  After looking like he might fall behind Alex Rodriguez in the race to return, Jeter surprised almost everyone by returning today and he helped spark another good offensive game.  In typical Jeter fashion, he got a hit in his first at-bat (infield single) and it was on from there.  It wasn't powerful and it wasn't pretty, from Jeter or the team, but it was effective and it got them their 50th win of the season.

Game Notes:

- It was really a struggle for Andy Pettitte early.  He gave up 3 runs in the top of the 1st after getting beat on another bunt single and giving up a 2-run double to Salvador Perez.

- The bad bunt defense cost Andy again in the 2nd when he threw the ball away trying to make another play.    He could never really settle into anything in the first 2 innings because of the bunt issues and the Yanks found themselves down.

- Surprisingly, it was only 1 run down as they hung 3 on Ervin Santana in the first 2 innings on Vernon Wells sac fly and an Austin Romine RBI double.  Even a weak Yankee lineup can hit this guy.

- Pettitte did settle down after escaping the 2nd and was actually not bad from there.  He gave up 2 more hits and hit a batter, but his stuff looked much better and he kept runs off the board.

- The Yanks made their move in the bottom of the 5th.  Ichiro singled to lead off and stole second base with Jeter up.  Jeter moved him over and 2 walks loaded the bases for Lyle Overbay.  Santana threw him a 1-0 fastball that Overbay was right on the Yanks had a 5-4 lead.  A few tack-on singles by Zoilo and Eduardo gave them the cushion.

- Monster close out by the bullpen.  Shawn Kelley, David Robertson, and Boone Logan combined for 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing just 2 hits and striking out 5, including the top of the 8th by D-Rob.

That's So Eduardo!

(Courtesy of MLB Memes)

"Next time on 'That's So Eduardo!', Eduardo Nunez gets lost in the infield and accidentally wanders across to the second base side of the bag.  And when he does, he finds out he might have bitten off more than he can chew stepping into mean old Mr. Cano's neighborhood.  Tune in next Wednesday night at 8 for an all new episode of 'That's So Eduardo!"  Only on YES."

Seriously, all this clip needs is the old school 90s laugh track over it and it would be perfect.  Cano's reaction, from the moment he stops and crosses his arms to the little gesture at the infield dirt, is gold.  Gold, Jerry, gold!  No wonder he was so quick to hop on the Jay-Z Sports Management Express.  He's definitely got a career in show biz in his future.

Return Of Super Nova?

(From Ivan The Terrible back to Ivan The Great)

Don't look now, but Ivan Nova has been killing it since returning to the active roster.  While his spot start on June 23rd came with little fanfare and no expectations - understandable given how poorly he'd pitched since the start of last season - Nova has been the best starter in the rotation since then.

29.1 IP, 21 H, 8 ER, 5 BB, 28 K

That's Nova's line in the 4 appearances he's made since coming back and it's damn good.  He's allowing less than 1 baserunner per inning, striking out almost a batter per inning, and if it wasn't for a few HR given up in June he'd have a sparklingly low FIP to go with his neat little 2.45 ERA.  Most importantly, he's made a few more tweaks to his repertoire and approach that are paying huge early dividends.  Mike Eder has been tracking this for a few weeks now, and has pointed out both Nova's transition from slider to curveball for his out pitch and much improved use of his sinker as reasons for his recent success.

Quick Hits: Catching Up On Yankee News

A lot more happened yesterday evening than just the ending of a losing streak.  Being out at a charity fundraiser at a bar last night (drinking for the kids!!), I missed all of it.  If you're like me and need to catch up, here's a hot lap:

- Derek Jeter will be activated from the DL and in the lineup today according to Ken Rosenthal and Joel Sherman (more on that here).  No confirmation from the team or word of the potential roster move to clear a spot.

- David Phelps will be heading to the team's Tampa complex on Monday to start a rehab throwing program. He's on the DL with a forearm strain and had been scuffling before the injury.

- Alex Rodriguez went 1-3 with an RBI single in his latest High-A rehab game yesterday.  He was the starting DH and played 8 innings.

- The Yanks finally signed their last 1st round pick, agreeing to a $1.8 million bonus with OF Aaron Judge.  That's a little less than I expected given how long he held out, but he still comes in slightly over slot.

Game 91 Wrap-Up: NYY 8 KC 1

(Courtesy of the AP)

As JeterWatch 2013 heated up yesterday, the healthy Yankee players took the field attempting to break another embarrassing losing streak.  3 runs in 3 games is pathetic at every level of baseball, so to shake things up and try to get the offense going again Joe went with ... the exact same lineup as Tuesday night.  Hey, whatever.  He's the guy getting paid to make those calls.  Ivan Nova was back on the hill after his stellar complete game against Baltimore and he turned in another beauty.  Even better, Joe's lack of moves worked and he actually got some run support.

Game Notes:

- The lineup got its usual weak 1 run in the bottom of the first on a walk, a single, a groundout, and a wild pitch.  It was clear Wade Davis didn't have his A-game; what wasn't clear was if the Yankees could finally take advantage of that.

- Robinson Cano didn't wait long to answer that question in the bottom of the 3rd, crushing a 3-run HR to dead center field to put the Yanks up 4-0.  Davis left a 1-1 curveball up and it looked like Cano was looking offspeed all the way.

- Nova allowed a pair of 2-out singles in the 1st, then promptly retired 12 in a row into the 5th.  He was working his fastball again as his primary out pitch and located his 2-seamer well to get GB outs.

- It was surprising to see Davis left in after loading the bases to start the 6th, but he was allowed to pitch to Lyle Overbay and that was the nail in his coffin.  Overbay muscled a fastball over the fence in left field for a grand slam and a comfortable 8-0 lead.

- Nova escaped a bases loaded situation in the 5th and made the lead stand up strong through his innings.  He gave up a meaningless run in the 8th on a 2-out walk and double by Eric Hosmer.

- Joba came in to finish it up in the 9th and handle the only situation he appears capable of these days- blowouts.  That should build some trade value.  After scoring 3 in 3 games, the Yanks got at least that in 2 innings last night for a much-needed victory.