Teixeira & Youkilis working their way back
Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis began their injury-rehabilitation assignments Wednesday at Double A Trenton and should be back with the Yankees soon. This has resulted in speculation on the radio talk shows that their return might upset the chemistry the club has developed in the first six weeks of the season.
I have heard some people say that maybe the Yankees should keep things the way they are with Lyle Overbay at first base and David Adams at third. This type of thinking is nothing short of preposterous.
There is no question that Overbay has been a godsend in the season-long absence of Teixeira, who never gets off to good starts anyway. Adams has also shown that he can hit major-league pitching and has displayed better defensive skills than had been expected. That said; let us not forget that Teixeira and Youkilis are former All-Star players with an abundance of postseason experience that includes World Series championships.
Following a two-game series at Citi Field in which the Yankees scored only two runs in 18 innings, who can say the quality of bats swung by Teixeira and Youkilis aren’t needed? The Yankees have gotten from their replacements more than they could have dreamed when they left training camp.
The Yankees took a 30-21 record into Wednesday night’s shift of the Subway Series to Yankee Stadium, and there is not one person in the organization who is not at least somewhat surprised at the developments.
But as manager Joe Girardi acknowledged before Wednesday night’s game, the Yankees’ lineup remains overly left-handed (seven of the nine hitters in the order bat from the left side), so the prospect of Teixeira and Youkilis returning is welcomed. Girardi intends to be careful with both and will gradually work them into the framework as he did earlier this month when outfielder Curtis Granderson came off the disabled list (only to bounce back on with a broken little finger).
For that reason, Overbay is likely to be retained despite the fact that Tex and Youk both can play that position. There is still a fear among the Yankees that Teixeira might not be completely out of the woods as the Jose Bautista situation last year in Toronto attests. If Adams is sent back to Triple A Scranton, the Yankees would be wise to see that he plays primarily on the infield corners rather than his normal second base spot.
The point is, the Yankees need a healthy Teixeira and Youkilis to give the team a boost as it moves into the second third of the season.
The Yankees were still recovering from the two-game sweep at Citi Field and the unexpected bullpen breakdown. The series marked the first time David Robertson and Mariano Rivera each took the loss in the same series.
Rivera’s blown save Tuesday night was his first of the season and ended a streak of 23 converted save opportunities dating to last season. It was the first time Mo blew a save without recording an out and only the third appearance of any kind in his career when he did not get an out. It was his second straight blown save against the Mets, following that of July 3, 2011 at Citi Field and the third time in his career he squandered consecutive save chances at an opposing park. It also occurred July 12 and 14, 2002 at Cleveland and three in a row Sept. 9, 2010, April 24, 2011 and May 18, 2011 at Baltimore.
The Yankees have been held to one run in consecutive games for the first time since May 16-17, 2012 at Toronto (8-1 and 4-1 losses) and lost consecutive one-run games for the first time since July 29-30, 2012, 3-2, to the Red Sox and 5-4 to the Orioles. It marks the second time the Yanks lost consecutive one-run games to the Mets. It also happened July 3-4, 2004 by scores of 10-9 and 6-5. The Yankees started the season with a 5-0 record in one-run games but have lost four of the past five such games and are 9-6 overall.
Yankees starters Phil Hughes and Hiroki Kuroda in the two-game sweep each pitched seven innings and allowed four hits. It was the first time that Yankees starters put up those stats in consecutive starts and the Yankees losing both games since Aug. 9-10 against the White Sox at Yankee Stadium by Shawn Chacon (7 innings, 3 hits) and Aaron Small (7 innings, 4 hits).
Kuroda’s start Tuesday night was his fourth of the season in which he pitched at least seven innings without allowing a run, tying the Indians’ Justin Masterson and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw for the most in the majors. It was his 10th such start since joining the Yankees, the most in the majors over the past two years.
The Yankees were swept by the Mets in a series of any length for the first time since 2008 and went winless in a series in Queens for only the second time. They sustained a three-game sweep July 2-4, 20004. The Yankees have lost consecutive games to the Mets for the first time since losing three in a row May 22 to June 18, 2010.