Friday, June 29, 2012

Crackin' Up

Yankees Bullpen Fails to Save
White Sox Win, 4-3
(Maybe it's the heat but Yankee fans weren't the only ones who exhibited strange behavior. The bullpen blew Ivan Nova's stellar performance. Photos by Ken Carozza)

By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, June 29- The Yankees relievers in the ninth inning of Thursday night’s contest failed to preserve a 3-1 lead. A three-run homer by Dayn Viciedo of Chicago ended the Yankees five-game winning streak and the six-game winning streak over the White Sox. New York remained five games in front in the American League East as every team in the division lost on Thursday.
Yankees starter Ivan Nova made a strong attempt to win his sixth straight decision. The 25-year old pitched 7.1 innings. He gave up only a single run during his impressive stint on a two-out home run to Alejandro de Aza in the fifth. He surrendered five other hits, walked three batters and fanned five.
The Sox threated Nova only in the fourth as base hits put runners on first and third with no one out. A short fly to Center and a double play ended the threat without a run being scored.
Chicago starter Dylan Axelrod also pitched an outstanding game. Axelrod only faced difficulty in the fourth and fifth frames. A-Rod doubled to lead-off the fourth. After two batters were retired, Nick Swisher and Raúl Ibañez walked to load the bases. Eric Chavez grounded to third to end the inning without a Yankee run.
The Yankees put their first runs on the scoreboard after two were retired in the following inning. Curtis Granderson singled. He scored on A-Rod’s second double in two innings. Rodriguez crossed the plate on a double by the next batter, Robinson Cano.
A two-out homer by Mark Teixeira, his 13th of 2012, in the bottom of the eighth put the Yanks ahead, 3-2.
The outcome was determined in the top of the ninth as the White Sox put three on the board against Yankees relievers. The Yankees pen men entered the contest second in the majors in ERA and second in allowing inherited runners to score.
Alex Rios began the ninth with a single off Cody Eppley, who retired the final batter in the eighth. Yankee skipper Joe Girardi then brought in Clay Rapada. The lefty did what was hoped for, got A.J. Pierzyinski to ground to the pitcher for what appeared to be an easy double play. Instead of two men being out, Rapada threw the ball into center field. David Robertson a righty, then came into the game and gave up the winning blow.
In the post-game press conference, Girardi faced a barrage of questions regarding his use of the relievers. Of not using closer Rafael Soriano, who has 17 saves in 18 opportunities this year, “I can’t run him out five out of six days after the very tough day yesterday and get him hurt.”
Explaining why he didn’t begin the ninth with Robertson, he said, “We’ve only used him once back-to-back. I’m going to be cautious.”  Robertson was on the disabled list from May 15-June 14.
Adam Warren of the Yanks will make his Major League debut in the second contest of the four game series on Friday night. He will face Jose Quintana (2-1) will a minuscule Era of 125.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Andy’s Down!

Yankees lose Pettitte and sweep Indians; 

Sabathia also on the DL

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, June 27- Yankees manager Joe Girardi arrived at the ballpark early Wednesday and felt good about his team. But a few hours later after New York swept a three-game series from the Cleveland Indians, he never envisioned losing starting pitchers CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte to injuries.

Pettitte, the starter Wednesday afternoon in the Bronx was lifted in the fifth inning when he was hit in the leg on a line drive off the bat of the Indians Casey Kotchman with the Yankees trailing 2-1.
Later in the sixth inning, in a game the Yankees would eventually won, 5-4, Girardi was informed that Pettitte had sustained a left ankle fracture. The left hander who returned in early May, after a brief one-year retirement, was placed in an ankle boot and will be out of action for the next six weeks.
Pettitte, who was once again in command, allowing two runs in four innings, and his injury was the last thing Girardi and the Yankees expected to hear. Earlier the team placed Sabathia on the disabled list with a strained left groin.
Sabathia, 9-3, developed discomfort on his left side in the fourth inning Sunday in his last start against the New York Mets.
“A bad day for lefthanders today,” commented Girardi to the media after his team won their fifth straight, and 15th in their last 18 games. “Guys will have to step it up,” he said.
And the Yankees, who have dealt with adversity with their pitching staff, are expected to overcome this setback to their rotation. Before the season they lost newly acquired starter, Michael Pineda the entire season due to right rotator cuff tendinitis.
All-time saves leader Mariano Rivera, had surgery last week for a torn ACL of the right knee. He is not expected to return this season from the freak injury he sustained shagging fly balls in the outfield last month before the Yankees took on the Kansas City Royals at Kaufman Stadium.
“If we have to score some runs, we’ll score some runs,” said Girardi about being without two-thirds of his starting rotation. New York got another home run Wednesday, the 18th of the season from Robinson Cano in the sixth inning.
The home run gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead, their 117th as a team which increased their major league high
Sabathia is expected to miss two starts and return after the all-star break in mid July. “I wanted to go out and pitch Friday, but it’s early in the season and I want to be healthy,” he said.
Right hander Freddy Garcia will once again fill the void and be one of the guys that Girardi hopes will step up. Garcia, (2-2) could get the start Friday which was scheduled for Sabathia.
He came on with two outs in the fifth inning after Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada got the first two outs. The Yankees also will bring up right hander Adam Warren (5-5) with a 3.86 ERA at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
He could get the start Friday, with Garcia filling the spot for Pettitte who was scheduled to pitch again Monday night when the Yankees open their next road trip at Tampa Bay.
Warren is slowly getting an opportunity to be in the spotlight and the Yankees say they will not rush the youngster into a major role. Though with the unexpected injuries to Sabathia and Pettitte, and with the Yankees not looking to go outside the organization for help, Warren is expected to also fill the void.
“I would prefer to not go outside,” said Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman when asked about acquiring pitching help. “Let’s play it out and see.”
Added Girardi, regarding how his other healthy starters may have to step up, “They can’t make starts for Andy. That’s the thing they have to understand,” referring to Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and Hiroki Kuroda.
And if the trend holds, the Yankees will survive this latest round of adversity as the Chicago White Sox come to the Bronx to start a four-game series Thursday night.
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Ump Blows it as Yanks Win

Replay Debate Heats Up after Screw Up
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, June 27- Phil Hughes pitched eight strong innings and the New York Yankees, with a three-run first inning and a late home run from Alex Rodriguez overcame a ninth inning rally and defeated the Cleveland Indians 6-4 in the Bronx Tuesday night.
But the game story was not about the Yankees hitting another home run, a solo shot by Rodriguez in the seventh that gave New York a 5-0 lead. It was a ball that was supposedly caught by Dewayne Wise when he went over the wall down the left field line with two outs in the Indians seventh inning, on a ball hit off the bat of Jack Hannahan.
Third base umpire Mike DiMuro, after the game, saw the play on replay and realized the ball hit off Wise’s glove and fell in the stands. At the time, the Indians had a runner on third base.
Had the play been ruled a foul ball, it may not have mattered in the final outcome. Though Cleveland would score four runs in the ninth off Cory Wade, including a home run before Rafael Soriano recorded the final out and his 16th save.
DiMuro, a veteran umpire of twelve years said, “Now that I see the tape it is obvious that the ball fell out of his (Wise) glove. In hindsight, I should have asked him to show me the ball since he fell into the stands and out of my line of vision.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said about the play, “It was a tough play. As much as we want them to be perfect (umpires) they are so much under a micro scope.” But, the Yankees, as with every team in baseball have been the victims of calls that have gone against them.
This time they could joke about the play and call. However, the missed call once again brings up the question about expanding the use of instant replay in the game.
Wise got a huge ovation from the crowd and tapped the glove of Yankee captain Derek Jeter as they ran to the dugout.
“What was I supposed to do run back to left field?” commented Wise about the play that also got a smile from Hughes. “I saw him looking at my glove so I just got up, put my head down and ran off the field,” he said about the call from DiMuro.
Hughes (8-6) gave up six hits, and struck out four in winning for the fifth time in his last seven starts. Rodriguez hit his 13th home run and 642nd of his career. The Yankees increased their major league lead home run total to 116 and won their fourth straight game.
“We only hit one home run,” said Girardi that got a laugh from media in his post game press conference. New York had a streak end of five straight games with two home runs or more. 
They look to sweep Cleveland Wednesday afternoon and are a season high 17 games over .500, with a four game lead in the American League east.
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Home Run Derby

Home runs continue as Yankees come home and beat Indians
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, June 26- Already with a Major League leading 112 home runs, the New York Yankees returned to the Bronx Monday night where they will play 13 of their next 20 games at Yankee Stadium. That’s good news for New York because a majority of those home runs have been hit in the Bronx.
That is not to say that the Yankees don’t hit the long ball on the road. That was seen over the past three days when they hit five at Citi Field against the cross town Mets as they took two of three.
With Hiroki Kuroda on the mound, and in command, the Yankees home run ball continued Monday night. Robinson Cano hit his 17th, Nick Swisher got his 12th, and Dewayne Wise hit his first, getting the start in center, as New York won the  opening of a three-game series over the Cleveland Indians 7-1.
“You can hold him down for a while, but he’s going to get hot,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi about Cano who has hit six of the 17 home runs in the last eight games.
Cano drove in three runs. Kuroda (7-7) took a shutout into the eighth inning and won for the fourth time in his last six starts.
The continued home run domination of the Yankees has the opposition looking. During the series with the Mets, manager Terry Collins said they hit home runs everywhere.
With three more home runs Monday night, the Yankees have now hit 14 home runs combined over their last five games. They have hit two home runs in five straight games for the first time since August 21-26 of last season.
“It feels good, everything is connecting,” commented Cano who has increased his batting average to .302 after a slow start. Earlier in the day, Cano also took the lead in voting to start at second base for the American League in the all-star game that will take place in Kansas City July 10th.
The win was the first of seven games on this home stand that will see the Yankees host the top two teams in the American League Central. The White Sox come to the Bronx, a four game series that begins Thursday evening.
Wise got the start and Curtis Granderson was inserted as the designated hitter. Alex Rodriguez was given a night off.
Phil Hughes (7-6) gets the start for New York as the series continues Tuesday night in the Bronx.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Yankees were no “chickens” as they dominate Mets in Subway Series

(Photo by Gary Quintal)
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, June 25– A chicken became a story line Friday night at Citi Field before the New York Mets took the field for the first of three against the cross-town Yankees. Sunday evening, after the Yankees took the finale of their six-game inter league series, they Yankees were not the chickens.
Instead, Robinson Cano hit the go ahead home run for the Yankees in the eighth inning at Citi Field. The Yankees won their fifth straight individual series against the Mets. 6-5, and a chicken joke about the team, initiated by Mets reliever Frank Francisco, became a novelty.
Because the Yankees once again proved they are the better baseball team in New York, a chicken joke to them meant nothing. They took five of six games from the Mets, the first time they have done that since 2009.
“They hit balls out of the ballpark like there’s nothing to it,” said Mets manager Terry Collins who admitted it may have been a mistake not bringing in lefty Tim Brydak to face Cano.
Miguel Batista (1-2) gave up the home run ball, the 16th by Cano leading off the eighth with two strikes. It was hit straight to center, the 15th home run hit by the Yankees against the Mets in the six games. Seven of those long balls were hit at Citi Field the past three games, which accounted for 24 of the Yankees 32 runs.
The Yankees were not chickens in this latest installment of the Subway Series that had some more interest the past few weeks. The Mets have been a better team this season and that also accounted for another sellout at Citi Field, 42,364 the largest crowd for the ballpark that opened in 2009.
And Francisco was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a strained muscle on his left side. So the chicken initiator, who saved the Mets win Friday night, had no bearing on the outcome of the finale. 
It was supposed to be an anticipated pitcher’s duel. R.A. Dickey of the Mets, without allowing an earned run in 44.2 innings and dominant with an 11-1 record and 2.00 ERA ,who will most likely get the start for the NL all-stars in a few weeks at the midsummer classic.
He surrendered a run in the third inning on a sacrifice fly. He threw a wild pitch in the fifth inning and allowed five runs earned. The streak is over for now.
“I didn’t have a great knuckleball,” commented Dickey. “It was just coming out wobbly a little bit. I kept searching for it,” he said.
The 37-year old helped the Mets overcome a four-run deficit. He got a single off CC Sabathia the Yankees starter in the fifth inning. Sabathia did his part, 9 hits in 5/2-3 innings. But he gave up five runs, one earned.
“My focus was on tonight,” said Dickey who made a point that it was like a playoff atmosphere pitching against the Yankees in a crowded ballpark. “It was nice,” he said about the scoreless streak. “I’m hoping to start another one.”
Ruben Tejada in his first game back from the disabled list went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs, and a single off Cory Wade tied the game in the sixth.  Andres Torres also had two hits and drove in two runs, including a two-out hit that went past Mark Teixeira at first in the same inning.
“Tomorrow is another game,” said Torres who experienced his first stint of games against the Yankees.
And with the chicken quickly disappearing from the scene, there is a realization that the six games, which have been a part of this home and home series, will be a thing of the past.
Next year, with the schedule going more towards more inter league games, the Mets and Yankees cross-town series will be reduced to three games which was the original format when inter league play started in 1997.
“We don’t get caught up taking two of three here,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
He also won’t complain about the series going back to three games next season. Girardi is an advocate for that more balanced schedule and winning games against teams in your division.
The Yankees have won 14 of their last 18 road games, with or without the balanced schedule. Collins won’t mind not seeing the Yankees again, unless of course they should meet in October.
“Not bad for a bunch of chickens,” added the Yankees Nick Swisher who got hold of a Dickey knuckleball and hit his 11th home run to right-center in the Yankees four-run third inning.
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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cluck You!

Yanks fry up some Amazin’ Chickens

(Photos by Gary Quintal)

By Howard Goldin
QUEENS, NEW YORK, June 24- For the second consecutive evening, home runs accounted for all the runs scored by the Yankees. Unlike the previous night, the four runs were sufficient to the give the Yankees the win. The Yankee win ended the team’s longest losing streak of the year, three games.
The home runs and excellent relief work by the bullpen contingent of the Yanks combined to earn the Yanks the win over the Mets.
Although Yankee starter Ivan Nova only pitched 5.2 innings and was not involved in the decision, he managed to raise his undefeated road streak to 16 starts. His record during the streak is 12-0.
The first hit Nova surrendered was a lead-off home run to Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the third.
An error by Alex Rodriguez on Scott Hairston, the first batter in the following inning allowed him to reach first. Hairston crossed the plate on a double to center by Omar Quintanilla.
The final Mets run off Nova came on an RBI single by his counterpart, Chris young, with two out in the sixth. Nova left the game after the hit. He gave up five hits and three walks while fanning seven in his stint.
The Yankee relievers continued their outstanding work for the final 3.1 innings of the contest. The five hurlers, Clay Rapada, Cody Eppley, Boone Logan, David Robertson and Rafael Soriano, combined to keep the Mets scoreless while giving up only two hits and two walks. Eight of the ten outs were recorded by strikeout. The save for Soriano was his 14th in 15 save opportunities.
The Yankees bullpen staff entered the game second in the American League in ERA and first in allowing the lowest percentage of inherited runners to score. They improved their numbers in each categpry during the game.
Both managers were impressed by the performances of the Yankees relievers. Mets skipper terry Collins said, “They threw the ball good; they made good pitches.”
Mets starter Chris Young kept the Yanks scoreless and yielded only two singles in the first six frames. The visitors scored all four runs in the seventh and all by the long ball.
Mark Teixeira led-off by drawing a base on balls. Nick Swisher’s 1,000th hit in the majors was a double to right that Lucas Duda dived for but could not grab. The next batter, Raul Ibañez, tied the game at three with his 11th home run of the year.
After the homer, Jon Rauch entered to relieve Young. Eric Chavez was sent by Yankees manager Joe Girardi to pinch hit. On an 0-2 count, the 34 year-old veteran hit his 237th big league homer, but first as a pinch hitter to left field. The blast decided the outcome in favor of the Yankees.
Girardi spoke highly of the two veterans whose homers gave the team the victory, “They’re experienced guys. They’re not going to get caught up in the moment. They know how to get the ball out.”
The Yankees lead the majors in homers with 11o. The four bagger has been their decisive weapon this year. The Yankees have a compiled a 41-15 mark in games during which they homer while finishing 1-13 in games in which they don’t drive the baseball in the seats.
The rubber game of the second Subway Series of 2012 will feature a potential pitching duel as CC Sabathia (9-3) hooks up with R.A. Dickey (11-1) on Sunday night.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bronx News Sports: What's It All About Andy?

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What's It All About Andy?

Mets Walk All Over Pettitte
(Photos by Gary Quintal)

BRONX, NEW YORK, June 23- Yanks fans are left shaking their heads after the improbable loss to the Mets as the Amazin’s win their first game in the Subway Series. What is most troubling is the fact that old reliable Andy Pettitte gave up five runs in the first inning. 
Although Pettitte settled down after the first inning massacre, the damage was done. 
Then a ninth inning rally was thwarted by Frank “They’re All a Bunch of Chickens” Francisco. The ace struck out Curtis Granderson leaving the tying runs on the base.
The Mets went on to win it 6-4.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Boiling Mad

It’s Ugly for Yanks as Team Sweats Out Another Loss

(Photos by Gary Quintal)

BRONX, NEW YORK, June 21- It was a hot and ugly outing for the Yankees yesterday as the 10-5 loss to the Braves left fans simmering. 
Atlanta hit four home runs off the Yanks.
In addition to the home run rally, Yankee players Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher were steamed at the home plate umpire’s calls. In two incidents the Yankee sluggers let their emotions boil over with the ump.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Streaking Ends for Yankees

(Photos by Gary Quintal)
Nothing seemed to go right for the Yanks as their 10-game win streak came to an end last night with a 4-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves. 
Two runners were thrown out at the plate. A ground ball hit off Mark Teixeira’s heel. 
The question now is whether the loss was just a bad night or the beginning of problems for the Yankees.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cedric Meets Grandi Man

Photo by New York Yankees
The Entertainer meets the Grandi Man: Yesterday Cedric the Entertainer watched Yankees batting practice at Yankee Stadium prior to the team’s 7:05 p.m. game vs. Atlanta. While in the Bronx, Cedric participated in a longtime Yankee Stadium tradition by heading out to the Bleachers to help lead “Roll Call” with the “Bleacher Creatures,” before watching the game in the stands. Here he poses with Yankee Slugger Curtis Granderson.

Cedric is in New York to promote his new TV Land sitcom “The Soul Man.”

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Puerto Rican Pride on Display

(Photos by Seitu Oronde)
Bronx politicians and residents once again showed their pride during the annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bronx News Sports: Series Turns into Pitching Duel

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Series Turns into Pitching Duel

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Yanks Prevail over Mets, 4-2; Long Ball is Decisive
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, June 10- As in Game 1 of the Subway Series, a combination of good pitching and home runs accounted for a Yankees victory over the Mets.
In seven innings, Mets starter Dillon Gee gave up only five hits. Three of the hits came off the bats of three of the first four batters Gee faced, Derek Jeter singled to center, breaking a 0 for 18 hitless streak. The Mets killer began the game with a .377 batting average against the Amazins. A balk moved Jeter to second. He scored on single by Alex Rodriguez with one out. The hit was Jeter’s 328th, the run his 186th in interleague play and the run batted in was the 189th for Rodriguez in interleague play. Both raised the numbers as major league leaders in gams between teams of the opposite league.
The next hit off Gee was a two-run homer by Mark Teixeira with two out in the sixth. It was sufficient to give the Yanks enough runs to achieve victory.
The final Yankees run came again via the home run route as Curtis Granderson led-off the eighth with a homer off reliever Bobby Parnell. The long ball ended a string of 18 at bats without a hit for the Yankees centerfielder.
Phil Hughes, the Yankees starter, hurled a very similar game to Gee. In 6.1 innings, Hughes threw 108 pitches, 71 for strikes. Gee threw 70 strikes in 108 pitches.
The only two runs Hughes surrendered came on solo home runs. Mets shortstop Omar Quintanilla hit a four bagger on a 1-1 pitch with one out in the third. David Wright led off the sixth with his eighth homer of the year. Hughes has yielded at least one home run in each of his 12 starts in 2012.
Mets skipper Terry Collins alluded to the relative ease of hitting home runs in Yankee Stadium and the superior power of the Yankees batters in his post-game remarks, “Singles don’t win games in this park. They [Yankees] showed exactly what it was, you can’t make mistakes here. You have to keep the ball in the ballpark.”
Yankees relievers, Boone Logan, Cory Wade, Clay Rapada and Rafael Soriano combined to keep the Mets scoreless in 2.2 innings. Soriano earned his ninth save in nine attempts.
After the contest, Yankees manager Joe Girardi praised his relief corps, “These guys have really stepped up for us. If your pitchers do their job, you really have a good chance to win. Seventh, eighth and ninth were mapped out for us, now it isn’t.”
Yankees starters have won seven of the last nine games and have an ERA of below 2.00 in June. Girardi explained, “When you get consistency out of all five starters, you can get a streak going.”
Mets superstar David Wright concurred, “They [Yankees] have that kind of pitching that gives them a good chance to win.”
The final game of the Subway Series to be played will feature Andy Pettitte (3-2) against Jonathon Niese (4-2).