Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mr. Roberts Helps Yanks Take 2 of 3 With Orange County Angels of Anaheim

The Yankees' series in Anaheim did not get off to a good start on Monday night. David Phelps, pressed into emergency service due to injuries to both Michael Pineda (who was suspended anyway) and Ivan Nova, got into the 6th inning, allowing only 1 run.

But Jered Weaver -- brother of Jeff Bleeping Weaver -- was equal to the task for the Whatever They're Calling Themselves Now Angels of Anaheim, and it was 1-1 going into the bottom of the 8th.

Joe Girardi ordered Shawn Kelley to replace Adam Warren for the bottom of the 8th, but he didn't get to implement that order, as he was thrown out of the game in the bottom of the 8th, for arguing with home plate umpire Laz Diaz, a man with pre-established anti-Yankee bias. Tony Pena, Yankee coach, former Kansas City Royals manager, and former All-Star catcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox, took over, and he probably should have kept Warren in there.

Instead, Kelley walked 4 batters (though 1 was intentional), allowing the go-ahead run, before arguing with Diaz and also getting tossed. Pena sent Matt Thornton in to relieve, and he was no better, walking home a run. Pena brought in Preston Claiborne, and he walked one home, too, before finally ending the inning.

The Yankees went down meekly in the 9th. Angels 4, Yankees 1. WP: Weaver (3-2). SV: Ernesto Frieri (3). LP: Kelley (0-2).


So for the Tuesday night game, the Yankees really needed Hiroki Kuroda to snap out of it. He did, for the most part, getting into the 8th inning, allowing just 1 run.

Again, though, the opposing pitcher matched the Yankee starter. In this case, it was C.J. Wilson, who did so well against us in the 2010 American League Championship Series for the Texas Rangers. He pitched 8 full, allowing only 3 runs.

Yeah, about that 8th inning: Both teams scored in it, and to say Kuroda allowed 3 runs is true according to the rules of baseball statistics. But it was hardly all his fault, because Kelley blew it again.

In the top of the 8th, Derek Jeter led off, and was hit with a pitch. Carlos Beltran singled him over to 3rd. 1st & 3rd, nobody out. But, again, it looked like "Yankee RISPfail": Mark Teixeira grounded to 3rd, and Jeter was thrown out at home. 1st & 2nd, 1 out. But Alfonso Soriano singled Beltran home, and it was 3-2 Yankees.

But in the bottom of the 8th, Kuroda got the first 2 outs, and then allowed a triple to the pride of Cumberland County, South Jersey, Mike Trout. Pena panicked, and brought in Kelley -- not David Robertson, the official closer. Kelley allowed a single to Albert Pujols, before getting the last out.

Now, allowing a run to score because of Trout and Pujols is no crime. But this was the 2nd night in a row Kelley had pitched poorly. Surely, he did not deserve to be the winning pitcher.

But, again, according to the rules of baseball statistics, he was. Because, in the top of the 9th, Angels manager Mike Scioscia brought Frieri in, and after getting the 1st 2 outs, he allowed a home run to Brian Roberts -- his 1st of the season, and only the 93rd of his 14-season big-league career. John Sterling said, "It's bye-bye, Brian!" as if he couldn't think of anything better, and didn't think he had to. Robertson got the Angels out 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th.

Yankees 4, Angels 3. WP: Kelley (1-2). SV: Robertson (5). LP: Frieri (0-3).


Fortunately, last night's game had no drama. The Yankees got off to a big lead early and cruised the rest of the way.

Which is good, because -- again, due to the dual injuries of Pineda and Nova -- the starting pitcher was Vidal Nuno, who hasn't impressed this season. He did last night: He got into the 7th, allowing just 1 run on 4 hits and 1 walk. Very nice.

The Yankees led off the game with a bang, putting 5 runs on the board before the Angels even came to bat. (It's been a long time since I saw a team do that.) Jacoby Ellsbury walked, Jeter reached on an error, Beltran drew a walk to load the bases, Teixeira doubled home Ellsbury and Jeter, Soriano struck out (no surprise there), Yangervis Solarte got Beltran home with a sacrifice fly, Brett Gardner singled Teix home, got to 2nd on an error, got to 3rd on a wild pitch, and then scored on a Roberts single. Jeter added a home run in the 2nd, his 1st of the season. The Yankees added 3 more in the 8th.

Yankees 9, Angels 2. WP: Nuno (1-0). No save. LP: Hector Santiago (0-6).


So the Yankees took 2 out of 3 in Anaheim, and are tied (in games behind, .003 behind in winning percentage) with the Baltimore Orioles. The Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays are a game and a half back, and the Tampa Bay Rays are 3 1/2 back. It's still early, it's still anybody's Division.

The Yankees have today off, and move on to Milwaukee, once a very familiar destination (1970-97), but not since the Brewers got bumped over to the National League.

The Brewers have the best record in the NL right now, 22-13, .629, and trail only the Detroit Tigers (20-10, .667) for the best record in the majors.

Here are the presumed starting pitchers. All times are Eastern, even though the games will be played in the Central:

Tomorrow, 8:10 PM: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Yovani Gallardo.

Saturday, 7:10 PM: CC Sabathia vs. Kyle Lohse.

Sunday, 2:10 PM: A Yankee pitcher yet to be determined vs. Matt Garza. It could be Kuroda on 4 days' rest, or it could be Phelps on 5.

Come on you Bombers!

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