Archive for July 25th, 2010

Today’s game began with anticipation of a big hit by Alex Rodriguez, but ended with the Yankees third baseman being hit by a pitch in his last at bat in the eighth inning.

Arod winces in pain after being hit on the hand by a Blake Wood fastball in the bottom of the eighth inning (Photo: Getty Images).

Fortunately, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. According to Joe Girardi, Alex Rodriguez is “fine” and should be ready to play tomorrow, a proclamation endorsed by the Yankees’ third baseman. Before that prognosis, the bean ball threatened to cast a pall over the Yankees 12-6 victory and postpone Arod’s pursuit of his 600th career homerun.

Besides Arod’s impending milestone, much of the game’s focus was on starter Phil Hughes, who was seeking to reverse some of the negative trends established over last 11 starts. In particular, Hughes has struggled in his recent home starts, surrendering all 13 of his homeruns in the Bronx. Despite recording his 12th victory, that bugaboo persisted as Hughes was tagged for two more long balls, one a fly ball by Scott Posednick that just ticked off the left field foul pole and the other a titanic blast by Rick Ankiel that clanked off the facing of the third deck in right. After the Ankiel blast, Hughes did rebound to retire the final seven batters he faced, but his day was cut short by the series’ second lengthy rain delay. While he was in the game, Hughes once again seemed intent on trying to establish his curveball at the expense of his cutter. In his early season run of dominance, Hughes relied more on the cutter.

The Yankees had more success hitting off Sean O’Sullivan than they did last Tuesday when he was wearing an Angels uniform. Curtis Granderson did the most damage, stroking a pair of solo homeruns to account for five of the runs the Yankees scored off the new Royals righty. Like Hughes, O’Sullivan was lifted after the rain delay, which allowed the Yankees offense to feast on the weak Royals’ bullpen.

Speaking of weak bullpens, both Joba Chamberlain and Chan Ho Park struggled once again despite being entrusted with big leads. In the eighth, Chamberlain came on to protect a 7-3 margin, but immediately walked the lead off batter ahead of Posednick’s second home run of the game. Chamberlain’s struggles didn’t wind up costing the Yankees, but continues to shine a spotlight on the team’s most glaring weakness.

Phil Hughes’ Pitch Breakdown

Avg. Speed Max Speed Count Strikes Percentage
Changeup 85.2 85.9 4 2 50.0%
Curve 75.5 77 20 12 60.0%
Cutter 88.1 89.8 10 5 50.0%
Four Seam Fastball 92 93 56 39 69.6%
Two Seam Fastball 91.7 92.3 5 2 40.0%
Inning Pitches Strikes Percentage
1 14 8 57.1%
2 11 8 72.7%
3 29 18 62.1%
4 25 15 60.0%
5 9 7 77.8%
6 7 4 57.1%
Total 95 60 63.2%

Source: http://www.brooksbaseball.net

  • Robinson Cano’s 8th inning double was the 1,000th hit in his major league career.
  • Jorge Posada’s streak of eight consecutive games with an RBI came to an end when he failed to knock in a run.
  • Mark Teixeira’s third inning single tied a career high mark of reaching base in 41 consecutive games.
  • Scott Posednick hit two home runs in a game for the first time since April 17, 2004 versus the Astros.
  • Curtis Granderson hit two home runs in a game for the first time since July 29, 2009 versus the Rangers.

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The rain delay in the Yankees game couldn’t have come at a better time because just as the skies were opening up in the Bronx, the sun was breaking through in Cooperstown, illuminating a trio of poignant and entertaining speeches that perfectly defined why baseball is America’s pastime.

Whitey Herzog, Andre Dawson, and Doug Harvey seated together during their induction ceremony into the Hall of Fame (Photo: AP).

Like any good umpire, Doug Harvey kicked off the festivities with a speech that was the equivalent of a resounding “Play Ball”. Although in attendance, Harvey’s speech was actually delivered on tape because the impact of throat cancer treatment left him unable to speak for an extended period of time. At first, the recording had a bit of a melancholy feel, but Harvey’s love and passion for the game quickly returned the focus to the matter at hand. In his usual brash, but good natured manner, Harvey walked the Cooperstown crowd through his long path to the major leagues and provided a unique look at the sacrifices that umpires must make along the way. Known as “God” because of his dignified and authoritative presence, Harvey encouraged those in and around the game to “know the rules”, but the tone of his speech centered on more of a baseball golden rule: love the game as you love yourself. By the time the recorded speech had finished, Harvey took the microphone and proclaimed to the crowd that he had managed to stop the rain…a final fitting proclamation from baseball’s deity.

Whitey Herzog gave the shortest speech of the group (according to the white rat, he was trying to get the program back on schedule after the many “long winded” speeches that preceded him), but his brevity had soul. Herzog reflected back on his career in baseball, beginning with his days as a minor leaguer in the Yankees’ farm system. During that time, Herzog encountered the legendary Casey Stengel, who took the fledgling minor leaguer under his wing. Herzog’s humorous stories about Stengel kept those in the audience riveted, but the most entertaining was his tale about Stengel incorrectly thinking he was the grandson of a former teammate, Buck Herzog. Humor aside, Herzog’s account helped illustrate what makes baseball so special…the timeless history that has been passed down through generations in the game, and which the Hall of Fame portrays so well.

As a player, Andre Dawson seldom had much to say. Well, he must have been saving it all up for his induction speech because the “Hawk” gave one of the more eloquent, entertaining and evocative induction addresses in recent memory. Like Harvey and Herzog before him, Dawson’s speech centered on his passion for baseball, but covered a wide breadth of topics. He began with a series of well crafted zingers that poked fun at several fellow Hall of Famers (perhaps the funniest was crediting Tommy Lasorda with teaching him how to get a free meal), but quickly took a more serious turn. Without pontificating, Dawson was able to honor the black Hall of Famers who paved the way for his generation, admonish those players who placed a “stain” on the game by using performance enhancing drugs and encourage the youth of today to build their dreams with education and hard work. “If you love this game, the game will love you back,” Dawson repeated throughout his speech, and as he recounted his life story, it was easy to see why.

With an umpire, manager and player on the agenda, the Hall of Fame Day program was guaranteed to provide a variety of perspectives. However, the entire day was tied together by tales of love and sacrifice, faith and family, hard work and dedication. More than any other sport, baseball seems to embody these aspects of everyday life, and the Baseball Hall of Fame does a better job than any in preserving the traditions and legacies that tie them all together. Judging by their induction speeches, Harvey, Herzog and Dawson should all fit in perfectly.

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vs. Sean O’Sullivan PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter DH 3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Nick Swisher RF 3 0.333 0.333 1.333 1 1
Mark Teixeira 1B 3 0.000 0.333 0.000 0 0
Alex Rodriguez 3B 3 0.333 0.333 0.667 0 0
Robinson Cano 2B 2 0.000 0.500 0.000 0 0
Jorge Posada C 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 1
Curtis Granderson CF 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Brett Gardner LF 2 0.000 0.500 0.000 0 0
Ramiro Pena 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 20 0.118 0.250 0.353 1 2
vs. Phil Hughes PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Scott Podsednik LF 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Jason Kendall C 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Wilson Betemit 1B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Jose Guillen DH 5 0.250 0.400 0.250 0 0
Rick Ankiel CF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Mike Aviles 2B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Alex Gordon RF 4 0.250 0.250 0.250 0 0
Yuniesky Betancourt SS 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Chris Getz 3B 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 13 0.167 0.154 0.167 0 0
Yankees vs. Royals
Season: 2010 Season: 2009 Season: 2008 All-Time
NYY: 2-1 NYY: 4-2 TIED: 5-5 NYY: 258-175
  • Sean O’Sullivan will be making his second consecutive start against the Yankees, the first coming as a member of the Los Angeles Angels. O’Sullivan is the first pitcher to make consecutive starts against the same opponent while pitching for two different teams since Carl Pavano did it last season.
  • Jorge Posada has driven in at least one run in a career-high eight consecutive games. Dan Uggla of the Marlins has the season’s longest streak at 10 games.
  • Mark Teixeira has reached base in 40 consecutive games, one shy of his career longest streak.

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