Jobu reviews the second installment of the subway series between the Yankees and Mets.
After winning ten straight, the Yankees lost the last two games of the Braves series. The series loss was their first since May, so you know they were itching to get back into the W column against the crosstown Mets. Add the whole, “chicken gate” controversy sparked off by that idiot Frank Francisco, and you had a good recipe for an entertaining series. In the end, The Chickens… er… They Yankees, won two out of three. Here’s how it went down.
Game 1: Mets 6, Yankees 4
This game started out as a bit of a shocker, when the Mets took a 5-0 lead in the first inning off of Andy Pettitte. With Jonathon Niese on the mound, they never let the lead go, but the Yankees used some of their patented solo homering skills to get back into the game and set up (of course) a showdown with Farmer Frank. Although he didn’t strike out the side (as he promised he would do to the chickens), he got the save and the Mets took game one. There would be no opening salvo for the Yankees.
I didn’t get a chance to really watch this game, mostly because, by the time I got home and near a television, it was 5-0 Mets in the first inning. That kinda puts a damper on the evening, plus the lady wanted me to watch Erin Brockovich (actually a solid movie, I thought), so i mostly followed this game online. Anyway, the first inning was a disaster. Pettitte put Mets on second and third before getting two outs, but couldn’t escape the jam, as Justin Turner singled in two runs. Two batters later, Ike Davis hit a three-run home run, and the Yankees were down 5-0. Some would say Nick Swisher could have caught the ball, as it caromed off his glove and into the seats, but it’s hard to knock a guy when he’s trying to rob a home run.
After that horrible inning, the Mets didn’t get anything else off Andy for the rest of his outing, only managing one more run on an RBI double by David Wright off of Cory Wade in the bottom of the seventh. Andy’s final line looked like this: 6 Ip, 7 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 102 pitches and his third loss of the season.
The Yankees needed three home runs to score their four runs in game one. In the last two games, they’ve hit seven home runs and only managed nine runs. I’m not going to say that you can’t win games by hitting too many home runs, but they need to either hit the home runs in more important situations, or more people need to get on base for these home runs. Alex Rodríguez put them on the board with a solo bomb to center (into the apple well) in the top of the sixth, and the second run came on a second deck home run to left field by Andruw Jones in the top of the seventh.
Robinson Canó hit a ridiculous two-run homer in the top of the eighth to pull the Yankees to a 6-4 deficit, and set up a showdown with Farmer Frank in the top of the ninth. Raúl Ibañez walked after Russell Martin was robbed of an extra base hit by Andrés Torres, and Jeter singled followed with a single to put men at first and second with one out for Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira. Naturally, Granderson took a fastball right down the middle for strike three and Teixeira popped up to end the game. Farmer Frank had his save, although he didn’t strike out the side as promised, and Torres probably saved him from yet another blown save.
Notable Offense: HR – Rodríguez (12), Jones (7), Canó (15), RBI – Rodríguez (33), Jones (14), Canó 2 (35), 2 hits for Teixeira and Rodríguez
Game 2: Yankees 4, Mets 3
Sadly, I didn’t get to watch this game either. This time, I was at the Freestyle Extravaganza at Mohegan Sun enjoying a concert with my lady that involved Vanilla Ice and many others of the era. Anyway, again, I followed the game online throughout the concert and did see that the Yankees, had a pretty thrilling comeback victory in this one with some key home runs in the seventh inning, and some great pitching by the bullpen. Here’s how it went down.
Not Quite Super, But Good Enough
The Yankees sent Iván Nova to the mound in this game because they needed a big win, and usually, all Iván does is win, right? He didn’t dominate the game, and he left before finishing the sixth inning, but he kept the game close while struggling with command and his stuff, so you can’t ask for much more. He allowed what was kind of a ridiculous solo home run to Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the bottom of the third. The pitch was pretty nasty, low and at the corner, but Nieuwenhuis somehow slapped it over the left field fence. That’s fine, Kirk. That’s fine.
The second run scored on a groundout that followed an error by Rodríguez, and the third on an RBI single by his opponent, pitcher Chris Young. The hit by Young was what chased Nova, and left him with the following line: 5.2 Ip, 5 H, 3 R (2 earned), 3 BBs, 7 Ks, 99 pitches and a no-decision. It was too bad he couldn’t get that last out of the sixth, because he would have ended up with a win. Clay Rapada relieved Nova to finish the sixth, Cody Eppley and Boone Logan pitched the seventh, David Robertson pitched the eighth and Rafael Soriano closed things out in the ninth.
The Yankees did absolutely nothing in the first six innings against Young’s 85 mph fastball. Derek Jeter singled to lead off the game and stole second, but the Yankees let that opportunity slip away with un-clutch hitting (as usual). They got a walk in the fourth and a single in the fifth, but neither runner went past first base. There was also a walk and a stolen base by Granderson in the sixth, but nothing happened again. Simply put, Young was brilliant. That is until the top of the seventh inning.
Teixeira opened the inning with a walk and went to third on a double by Swisher. The “double” was a sinking fly ball that was completely misplayed in right field by Lucas Duda (Duda broke back at first and then dove and missed the ball for good measure). It was the 1000th hit of Swisher’s career, and it set the Yankees up for a dramatic at bat by Ibañez. Raúl didn’t wait around either. He laced the first pitch on a line just over the right field fence for a three-run bullet home run to tie the game. It was the only hit the Yankees would have with RISP all night (although, to be fair, they only had four chances), but it was a huge one. After that, Mets’ manager Terry Collins decided that Young, at only 6’10”, was simply not tall enough to finish the inning, so he put in 6’11” Jon Rauch. Rauch struck out Martin, but then left a pitch up and out over the plate to pinch-hitter Eric Chavez, who somehow slapped it over the left field fence for a solo home run that gave the Yankees the four run lead (the look on of disbelief on Rauch’s face told the story of that homer). That was all the offense the Yankees would need, as the bullpen shut the Mets down the rest of the way.
Notable Offense: HR – Ibañez (11), Chavez (5), RBI – Ibañez 3 (35), Chavez (10), SB – Jeter (6), Granderson (4), 2 hits for Swisher
Game 3: Yankees 6, Mets 5
The oooooooold rubber game! After the Mets won game one, and the Yankees got their revenge in game two, it all came down to Sunday Night baseball on ESPN. The Yankees had their ace, CC Sabathia on the hill. The mets countered with the greatest pitcher in all the land, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who hadn’t allowed an earned run in 48.2 innings coming into the game. This one had the makings of a really good pitcher’s duel. And yes, I finally watched the game, and boy did I pick a good one! The promised pitching duel never materialized, but the Yankees won a thriller late in the game to seal the series win. Closing salvo? closing salvo!
As I said before, the pitching duel just didn’t happen. Both pitchers were out of the game before the end of the sixth, and both allowed five runs. Sabathia’s involved a little more bad luck than Dickey’s, and Girardi’s stubbornness didn’t help either, but it still wasn’t good. The Mets scored their first run in the bottom of the third, on a gift from Chris Stewart (stolen base, error, fly ball scored the run). David Wright singled in the Mets second run in the bottom of the fifth, but their main damage came in their three run sixth.
Canó’s one out error allowed Turner to reach first, which was followed by a single by Ronny Cedeño that put Mets on first and third. After another out, Sabathia fell apart. He walked pinch-hitter Vinny Rottino on four pitches to load the bases, which I felt was a great time to take him out of the game. He was over 110 pitches, clearly struggling in the inning, and he had just walked the Pizza Rolls guy on four pitches. Joe Girardi did not agree, and he left CC in to try to finish the inning. Naturally, Torres came up and singled (he was hitting .151 against righties coming into the at bat, so good thing CC was in), which made it a 5-4 game. I was pretty upset with Girardi, but Cory Wade came in and allowed the game tying run to score anyway, so I guess it didn’t matter.
Anyway, the bullpen was lights out the rest of the way. Logan pitched an 1.1 perfect innings, Robertson got out of the eighth and Soriano shut the Mets down for his fifteenth save in sixteen chances. That’s how you win ballgames. Sabathia’s final line looked like this: 5.2 Ip, 9 H, 5 R (1 earned), 2 BBs, 3 Ks, 112 pitches and a no-decision.
Too Many Homers
The Yankees have been criticized all season for relying too much on the home run to score runs. In this game, they used their homers to score five runs off of a pitcher who hadn’t given up a single earned run in 48.2 innings, and they beat him. So… Take that, haters. Dickey didn’t actually really pitch that badly in this game. He was just a little wild, but he was really hurt by one bad inning… the top of the third.
After leaving the bases loaded in the second (on a controversial holding of Tex at third on a single by Ibañez), the Yankees went right back to work in the third. Jeter struck out to open the frame, before Granderson walked, A-Rod singled and Canó also walked to load the bases. Tex then got a good pitch to hit and smacked a line drive to right that scored Granderson. Dickey left a pitch up to Swisher in the next at bat, and he crushed it over the right-center field fence for a three-run homer. just like that, they had four runs off of one of the best pitchers in baseball.
They eventually tacked on a fifth run in the top of fifth, when Tex grounded into a fielder’s choice with men on first and second. After Sabathia and Wade blew the game in the bottom of the sixth, the Yankees needed some more offense. Canó led off the eighth inning and gave them all they would need. He hit one of those useless home runs 440 feet over the center field fence off of veteran journeyman (aka really, really old guy) Miguel Batista, and the Yankees had the 6-5 lead. That’s how the game would end.
Notable Offense: HR – Swisher (11), Canó (16), RBI – Teixeira 2 (42), Swisher 3 (45), Canó (36), 3 hits for Ibañez, 2 hits for Canó
It’s a known fact that you can’t win games by hitting home runs. If you want to win, hitting the ball over the fence is the worst possible thing you could do, right? It would seem like it, according to most mainstream sports media. The Yankees lead the league in relying on the long ball, using it to score 52.3% of their runs. I feel like this would be a problem if they weren’t also leading the league in home runs with 112. If the Yankees couldn’t score without the home run, and they only had like 45 home runs, that would be a huge problem. When you rely on the home run for most of your runs, but you also hit the most home runs, who cares? I still think the Yankees obviously need to improve their RISP numbers, but that has nothing to do with home runs.
Another final thought… As much as I tend to downplay the whole interleague experience, it’s still pretty damn sweet to beat the Mets in five out of six games… Especially after Farmer Frank’s mouth runnings on Thursday night. Oh, by the way, after his bold predictions, Farmer Frank did get the save in game one, but was placed on the DL immediately after game one… Karma is a bitch, see you in 15 days, Frank. Cluck cluck.
Featured image courtesy of: Frank Franklin II/AP
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