Archive for April 22nd, 2010

Today’s loss to the Athletics can almost be boiled down to one very poor decision. After walking two of the first three batters of the game,  C.C. Sabathia and Francisco Cervelli met for a mound conference and, for some reason, decided to throw a first pitch fastball to Kurt Suzuki. Even if Suzuki hadn’t had success against Sabathia in the past, it seems kind of obvious that he would be sitting on a first pitch heater. Well, he got it and didn’t miss.

Robinson Cano makes the pivot on a 5-4-3 triple play in the bottom of the sixth inning (Photo: Yahoo).

Staked to an early lead, Dallas Braden used his mid-80s fastball and change-up to keep the Yankees’ lineup off balance. The hitters would never adjust, allowing Braden to breeze through six innings with only 81 pitches. Brad Zeigler and Andrew Bailey had similar success in three innings of 1-hit relief, putting the lid on a game the featured a very lazy Yankees’ offensive effort. Instead of working the count, the Yankees exhibited a very impatient approach, so not surprisingly, the game checked in at a very un-Yankee like 2:07.

After falling behind in the first, Sabathia pitched relatively well despite not having his best location. He also got some help from his defense, which turned a 5-4-3 triple play in the bottom of the 6th.  Sabathia wound up going the full 8 innings, but the damage had been done in the first.

Game Notes

  • The Yankees last triple play was on June 3, 1968 against the Minnesota Twins. In the top of the 8th inning, the Twins loaded the bases when Johnny Roseboro hit a soft pop back to pitcher Dooley Womack, who then threw to Bobby Cox at 3B to double off Tony Oliva, before Cox relayed the ball to Mickey Mantle at 1B to triple up Bob Allison.
  • The last triple play (also of the 5-4-3 variety) in the majors was pulled off by the Brewers in a game against the Giants on September 6, 2009.
  • Robinson Cano’s throwing error in the bottom of the 4th inning snapped a team errorless streak that had extended to 12 games. Before the miscue, the last game in which the Yankees made an error (3 in fact) was the second game of the season in Boston.
  • Kurt Suzuki’s first inning HR was his third career blast off C.C. Sabathia. Only Alfonso Soriano, Jermaine Dye, Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome have hit more off Sabathia.
  • Sabathia tied a career high by giving up six walks. He had issues six free passes two times previously, the most recent of which was also against the Athletics on September 11, 2004.
  • The Yankees scored fewer than three runs for the first time all season.
  • After Braden retired the side in the 6th inning, he was caught on camera yelling something at Alex Rodriquez. In response, Arod simply waived him off.

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The Yankees look for the sweep in Oakland behind the golden arm of ace C.C. Sabathia, who is coming off a rain shortened start in which he threw only 73 pitches. Sabathia may need to work deep into today’s game because both Mariano Rivera and Joba Chamberlain, who have worked in the first two games of this series, are unavailable. David Robertson is probably first in line to close out the game, but Damaso Marte could also be called upon if the A’s lefty laden bench dictates. 

The Athletics counter with lefty Dallas Braden, who has pitched at least six innings in each of his first three starts. Braden is basically a fastball/change-up pitcher who also throws the occasional slider. His fastball tops out at 90mph, so he relies more on location and a change of speeds. That formula doesn’t usually work against the Yankees, but Braden has improved his efficiency as a pitcher.

For the final game of the series, Joe Girardi has juggled the lineup. Nick Johnson is making his first start in the field, pushing Mark Teixeira to DH, while Curtis Granderson gets his first day off, opening up CF to Brett Gardner. Marcus Thames gets the start in LF, which exposes his subpar defense to McAfee Coliseum’s large expanse.

vs. Dallas Braden PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter SS 6 0.600 0.667 0.600 0 3
Nick Johnson 1B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Mark Teixeira DH 10 0.300 0.300 0.300 0 1
Alex Rodriguez 3B 2 1.000 1.000 2.500 1 1
Robinson Cano 2B 5 0.200 0.200 0.400 0 3
Nick Swisher RF 6 0.000 0.333 0.000 0 0
Marcus Thames LF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Francisco Cervelli C 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Brett Gardner CF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 29 0.346 0.379 0.500 1 8
vs. C.C. Sabathia PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Rajai Davis CF 12 0.083 0.083 0.083 0 0
Daric Barton 1B 6 0.333 0.333 0.833 0 1
Ryan Sweeney RF 7 0.167 0.286 0.167 0 0
Kurt Suzuki C 16 0.250 0.250 0.688 2 5
Jake Fox DH 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B 11 0.182 0.182 0.182 0 0
Adam Rosales 2B 1 1.000 1.000 1.000 0 1
Matt Carson LF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Cliff Pennington SS 3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 56 0.200 0.214 0.382 2 7


Yankees vs. Athletics    
Season: 2010 Season: 2009 Season: 2008 All-Time
NYY: 2-0 NYY: 7-2 NYY: 5-1 NYY: 1114-758
  • The Yankees have scored at least three runs in all 14 games this season, their longest stretch to begin a season since the 2000 club reached 15 games.
  • With yesterday’s victory, the Yankees have now won the first five series of the 2010 season, matching a franchise record set by the 1926 team.
  • With another victory, the Yankees will match last April’s win total of 12.
  • Braden was hit hard by the Yankees in his only career start against them. On July 26, 2009, he surrendered seven runs in 5+ innings to the Bombers.
  • Sabathia, who was born in nearby Vallejo, is 2-4 with a 6.35 ERA in 9 games started in Oakland.
  • Francisco Cervelli has now caught Sabathia’s last three starts.
  • Kurt Suzuki has two career HRs against Sabathia in 16 career plate appearances. Suzuki has also crushed all Yankee pitchers. In 66 PAs against the pinstripes, he has a line of .385/.394/.585.
  • The Yankees have a 2.14 ERA during their current six-game winning streak.

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For the second time this season, a Yankee pitcher flirted with a no hitter, but came up short in the 8th. Unlike Sabathia’s earlier attempt, however, Phil Hughes’ pitch count was a much more manageable 88 when the A’s finally broke through, so there would have been no question about his ability to finish the game. It wasn’t meant to be, but Hughes did earn his second win of the season after Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera closed out the game.

Phil Hughes expresses disappointment over lost no-hitter bid, but the Yankees righty did strike out a career-high 10 batters (Photo: AP).

Hughes came out of the gate throwing gas and throwing strikes.  After a first inning walk to Daric Barton, he retired the next 20 batters until Eric Chavez singled off his glove for the A’s first hit. As much as it stings to lose a no hitter on an infield hit, it sure beats how Hughes lost his last no-hitter bid. While watching Hughes deal, I am sure many Yankee fans joined me in flashing back to May 1, 2007. Like tonight, Hughes, who was then making his second career start, breezed through the Texas Rangers’ lineup. By the time the 7th inning rolled around, the Rangers still had no hits on the scoreboard. Then, fate took a hand, and Hughes’ hand grabbed for his hamstring. The injury would set Hughes career back for several years. Needless to say, the no hitter was lost.

Efficient isn’t even close to being a suitable explanation for how precise Hughes was in the game. He mostly featured a mid-90s fastball (58% of fastballs were at least 93mph) in the early going, but relied more on his cutter as the game went on. Hughes also sprinkled in the occasional curve, but did not throw a single change-up (see breakdown chart below). Hughes was so confident in his fastball that he often shook off Posada’s call for an off speed pitch, including during two consecutive batters in the fifth inning. In that sequence, Hughes shook to a fastball to strike out Kevin Kouzmanoff and induce a pop up from Gabe Gross. In total, Hughes threw 101 pitches, of which 71 were strikes. Until the 8th inning, Hughes never threw more than four balls in any one inning.

Phil Hughes Pitch Breakdown By Inning

Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Number Percentage
Fastball < 90 1  0  0  0  0 1 1%
Fastball: 90-92 2 1 6 1 1 3 4 4 22 22%
Fastball: 93+ 9 9 2 4 5 1 2  0 32 32%
Curve  0 3 3 2  0 2 1 3 14 14%
Cutter 3  0 6 3 6 4 3 7 32 32%
Total 12 16 14 11 11 12 14 15 101  


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