Sunday, June 15, 2014

Game 68 Wrap-Up: OAK 10 NYY 5

(Kind surprised Nuno didn't give up a home run there.  Courtesy of the AP)

Well I hope everyone's Fathers Day was better than Vidal Nuno's.  What started as a winnable series to secure a very good road trip on Friday night quickly turned into more of what's become the new norm for this Yankee team over the last 2 days, and at no time was the gap between them and the true AL elite wider than today.  The A's bats woke up in a big way, not an uncommon happening against a junk baller like Nuno, and his streak of solid road starts came to an ugly and early ending.

Game Notes:

- A pair of leadoff singles put the A's in business in the bottom of the 1st.  A 3-run Derek Norris home run following a strikeout cashed in that business and put them on top 3-0.

- They cashed in on that single-single-home run formula again in the 2nd, this time after Nuno struck out Brandon Moss to start the inning.  Ahead in the count, he threw a bad slider and Coco Crisp crushed it to make it 6-0.

- 2 more baserunners to start the 4th and that was it for Nuno.  Jose Ramirez was called on to clean up the mess and instead he made things worse, giving up a walk, a hit batter, and 3 singles to the next 4 hitters.  When the dust settled, it was a 10-0 nothing game.

- The Yankee lineup decided to wake up after the game was already out of reach.  Mark Teixeira doubled a run home in the 6th, the only one they would get off Oakland starter Jesse Chavez, Carlos Beltran hit a solo HR to start the 7th, and Brett Gardner made things a little more respectable with a 2-run shot in the 9th.

- The bullpen regulars got a day of rest for the most part.  Shawn Kelley worked a scoreless 5th, Adam Warren tossed 2 scoreless, and Matt Thornton managed to complete a whole inning without turning it into batting practice.

Teix Tacks On Another Health Concern

Mark Teixeira was a late scratch for last night's game.  Apparently he was feeling some tightness in his left shoulder/upper back area and couldn't work it out in BP, so Joe played it safe and sat him to see if a day off helped.  Teix told reporters he wasn't that concerned about it and Joe said there was a good possibility he would be able to play this afternoon, but this latest dent in Teix's physical armor has to add concern about how he's going to hold up over the next 3 and a half months.  Since April 4th, here's the list of ailments he's racked up:
  • Hamstring strain (14 games missed)
  • Groin stiffness/leg fatigue (0 games missed; got 1 half-day off)
  • Wrist soreness/cortisone injection (5 games missed)
  • Shoulder/back stiffness (1 game missed and counting)
That's a lot of pain and stiffness in a lot of different parts of the body, a 34-year-old body that hasn't been completely healthy for a long time now.  Teix did a great job coming back strong from the hammy strain with 5 HR in his first 11 games back and has remained the only consistent power presence in the middle of the order even as he's battled the wrist problems.  But his inability to go more than a few weeks without something acting up is not a good omen when you look back at the last few years.  Sooner or later, all these little "nothing" injuries are going to add up to something and I don't expect that something to be good.

Game 67 Wrap-Up: OAK 5 NYY 1

(Courtesy of the AP)

The Yankees had halted their skid, kept their heads about .500 water, and put together a nice little 4-game winning streak heading into last night's middle game in Oakland.  It looked like things were starting to get back to normal with a rotation that was collectively pitching well, a strong, deep bullpen, and a lineup fully comprised of its regular expected starters.  Last night everything reverted back to the ways of May, including Mark Teixeira being scratched with an injury, and the winning streak was ended.

Games Notes:

- Hiroki Kuroda was on the mound and in the bottom of the 2nd all his season-long problems manifested.  With 1 out he walked a batter, with 2 outs he gave up a single, and after loading the bases with another walk he gave up a 2-run single to Eric Sogard on a poorly-placed sinker.

- The  Yanks turned a 2-out rally of their own into a run in the top of the 3rd, albeit with some defensive assistance.  Kelly Johnson walked, Brett Gardner singled, and Johnson came around to score on an Oakland throwing error to make it 2-1 A's.

- Hirok got through the next 2 innings without issue, but hit a wall in the 5th after a leadoff walk to Sogard.  A single, an RBI groundout, and 2 passed balls by John Ryan Murphy made it 4-1 Oakland, and Joe elected to lift Kuroda with 2 outs and not allow him to face Yoenis Cespedes.

- Shawn Kelley took care of that with a strikeout and Joe handed the ball over to David Huff for the remainder of the game.  Huff pitched 3 innings and gave up a run in the 6th for the final Oakland run.

- Joe must have known his offense wasn't going to wake up against Scott Kazmir.  They stranded runners at second against him in the 5th and 6th and went down 1-2-3 in each of the final 3 innings against the bullpen.