Results tagged ‘ Chris Martin ’

Ain’t that a shame

The Yankees’ 3-1 loss to the Blue Jays Monday night falls into the “damn shame” category.

It was a damn shame that Chase Whitley, who pitched seven shutout innings, could not register a winning decision.

It was a damn shame that third baseman Chase Headley, who made a remarkable play just to stop Russell Martin’s grounder behind third base in the eighth inning, had to be charged with an error on his subsequent, hurried throw to first base that bounced in front of Garrett Jones, who failed to scoop it for what would have been the final out.

The bullpen, which has been a major strength for the Yankees, came up short this time in trying to protect a 1-0 lead that the Yankees were able to scratch off R.A. Dickey, the knuckleballer who gives them fits, especially at Rogers Centre.  Carlos Beltran, who is showing signs of breaking out of his season-long slump, led off the seventh inning against Dickey with a double to right, crossed to third on an infield out and scored on a hot-shot grounder off first baseman Edwin Encarnacion’s glove by Jones.

That single run loomed large for the Yankees, considering the way Whitley was pitching. He tacked on another zero in the seventh before turning matters over to the pen, which has been good as gold much of the season.

Whitley scattered six hits, did not walk a batter ands struck out six in lowering his ERA to 0.75. He worked out of trouble efficiently the few times he got into trouble. One time was of his own making, in the third when he got a poor grip on the ball fielding a grounder and threw wildly past first base, which put Ezequiel Carrera on third base with one out. Whitley came back to strike out Devon Travis and get Josh Donaldson on a ground ball.

Travis led off the sixth with a single, and Donaldson followed with a double. Whitley held firm again. He kept Jose Bautista in the infield with a grounder to third, struck out Encarnacion and got Kevin Pillar on an infield pop.

The Yankees managed only three hits plus three walks off Dickey, who ended up the winning pitcher for the first time this season, thanks to his teammates’ upsetting the Yankees’ bullpen plan. Manager Joe Girardi did not want to use closer Andrew Miller, who had a lengthy outing Sunday night at Boston, and intended to use Dellin Betances for a four- or five-out save, if ncessary.

It proved necessary when Chris Martin gave up one-out singles to Donaldson and Bautista in the eighth. Betances  came on and gave up a double down the left field line by Encarnacion that tied the score. Pillar made the second out on an infield fly before Russell Martin came up as a pinch hitter. Martin, the Yankees’ regular catcher in 2012 and ’13, hit a hard grounder ticketed for left field before Headley made one of his patented, back-handed stops. That he even had a chance to make a play at first base was miraculous.

It was a damn shame that Jones could not handle the throw as two runs scored on the play.

Dickey improved his career record against the Yankees to 7-3 with a 2.43 ERA. Even more impressive, the former National League Cy Young Award winner (2013 with the Mets) is 4-0 with a 0.64 ERA against the Yankees at Rogers Centre. To have to face him in Toronto is always a damn shame for the Yankees.

Tough loss for bullpen in lengthy outing

It was shaping up to be another outstanding bullpen game for the Yankees Wednesday and was something of a shame that the 3-2, 13-inning loss to the Rays was hung on a relief pitcher.

The relief corps accounted for 7 1/3 of the innings for the Yankees, and in that time Tampa Bay got one hit. Unfortunately for the Yanks, the hit was a single by James Loney that scored what proved the winning run as the Rays avoided being swept twice by the Yankees in the past two weeks.

Chasen Shreve, who earned his first major-league victory Sunday night against the Mets, had the one tough inning for the Yanks’ pem Wednesday. A one-out walk to Steven Souza Jr. did not seem that ominous at first, especially after Melky Cabrera grounded out while Souza took second base, the first time in seven innings that the Rays put a runner in scoring position.

The Yankees chose to walk intentionally the right-handed Evan Longoria to pitch to the lefty-swinging Loney, against whom they employed an exaggerated shift to the right side. Loney hit a ground ball into the shift, but second baseman Stephen Drew was so deep that his throw could not prevent Souza from crossing the plate. Drew might have had better luck throwing to first base to try for Loney, who is one of the slowest runners in the game.

The Yankees threatened in the bottom of the 13th when Chris Young singled with one out, but Alex Rodriguez finished off a miserable day at the plate by grounding into a game-ending double play. A-Rod was 0-for-6 with four strikeouts.

It was a strike me out to the ballgame afternoon for the Yankees, who were punched out 15 times in the game, all but one of those Ks coming in the first eight innings. Meanwhile, Yankees pitchers ran up 13 strikeouts. That is an enormous amount considering it was a picture-postcard day with perfect visibility.

Michael Pineda pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up two runs on a triple to Kevin Kiermaier in the fourth. The Yankees’ runs came on solo home runs by Chase Headley in the fifth and Young in the sixth, both off Tampa Bay starter Drew Smyly, who had 10 strikeouts in his six innings.

After Pineda departed, Yankees relievers retired 14 consecutive batters before Chris Martin walked Cabrera with one out in the 11th. Kiermaier also reached on a walk by Schreve in the 12th in an at–bat extended when Headley dropped a foul pop behind third base. But no damage resulted from either walk. The 13th inning was a different tale.

The bullpen remains a major strength for the Yankees. Relievers have a combined ERA of 0.80 ERA since April 22 with 38 strikeouts in 30 innings. Overall, the pen has a 1.75 ERA and has held opposing hitters to a .159 batting average.

The relievers have earned their day off Thursday.

Bullpen springs a major leak

The most consistent positive for the Yankees in the early going has been the bullpen. Wednesday night, it leaked and cost the Yankees a chance to win their first series of the season.

The pen coughed up a one-run lead in the sixth inning as the Orioles put up a five-spot against three Yankees relievers to take control of the game and go on to a 7-5 victory, which dropped the Bombers’ record to 3-6.

Nathan Eovaldi had nine strikeouts in five innings, but he gave up eight hits and three walks, which along with the Ks shot his pitch count up to 101. The hard-throwing righthander needs to find a way to be more economical with his pitching.

The bullpen ranked third in the majors with a 1.73 ERA entering play and had limited opposing hitters to a .177 batting average. In addition, the pen was fairly well rested, but it did not take long for the tide to turn.

Jonathan Schoop led off the bottom of the sixth with a home run to center field off David Carpenter that tied the score. Alejandro De Aza followed with a single. Everth Cabrera sacrificed De Aza to second base. It seemed as if Orioles manager Buck Showalter was playing small-ball, but it would soon turn into a big-ball inning for Baltimore.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi ordered an intentional walk to Adam Jones, the Orioles’ hottest hitter (.406, 4 home runs, 11 RBI) from Carpenter and then brought in lefthander Justin Wilson to face left-hitting Travis Snider and Chris Davis. But Showalter countered with righty-swinging Delmon Young, who singled to left as a pinch hitter for Snider to score De Aza. The sac bunt proved crucial, as it turned out.

Davis, who struck out eight times in the series and could not catch up with Wilson’s fastball early in the at-bat, took a slider to the opposite field for a two-run double. Righthander Chris Martin tried to stem the tide but gave up a two-out, RBI single to Chad Joseph, who had three hits in the game and drove the Yanks crazy in the series going 7-for-11 (.636) with a triple and two RBI.

The Yankees came back Monday night against shaky Tommy Hunter and nearly did the same by scoring two runs off him in the eighth on doubles by Chris Young and Mark Teixeira and a wild pitch, but they would get no closer than that.

That Yankees bullpen ERA rose more than a run to 2.75 and the opponents’ batting average went up to .210. One good sign out of the bullpen came from Dellin Betances, who worked a scoreless, one-hit eighth inning with two strikeouts.

Bullpen work lone highlight in Yanks’ opener

Trying to find positives for the Yankees in their season-opening, 6-1 loss to the Blue Jays Monday before a packed house at Yankee Stadium is not easy. It was an admittedly disappointing day. Teams like to send people home happy when the crowd is as many as 48,469 people.

Unfortunately, the Yankees are getting used to Opening Day failures. This was their fourth straight Opening Day loss. They are 1-6 in season lid-lifters at the current Stadium. Not even playing the Blue Jays, who have been patsies at the Stadium in recent years, could help the Yankees, who are 29-6 over their past 35 games against the Jays at the Stadium.

The Yankees’ offense, a major problem in 2014, got off to a shaky start with only one run — on a Brett Gardner home run — and merely two other hits, both singles. The 3-through-6 hitters in the order were a combined 1-for-14. New shortstop Didi Gregorius slapped some nice leather in the field and showed off abundant range, but he made a rock on the bases in the eighth by making the third out trying to steal third base with cleanup batter Mark Teixeira at the plate and trailing by five runs. Manager Joe Girardi wrote it off to Gregorius trying to do too much to impress in his first game with the Yankees.

All right, so we know the bad stuff. How about the good?

Well, start with the bullpen. Starter Masahiro Tanaka was so-so through four innings, but five relievers combined for one-run, one-hit relief with six strikeouts in five innings. Righthander Chris Martin was particularly impressive by striking out the side — Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson — in the fifth inning. Tall order that. Martin became only the second Yankees pitcher since 1914 to strike out every batter he faced in his debut appearance for the team. The other was righthander Edwar Ramirez with three punchouts July 3, 2007 against the Twins.

Yankees pitchers’ 12 strikeouts for the game matched the club record for an opener set April 6, 2012 at St. Petersburg, Fla.

Gardner, who displayed improved power last year with 17 home runs, took winning pitcher Drew Hutchison deep in the sixth for the Yankees’ first round-tripper of 2015. It was the 100th Opening Day home run in Yankees history and their first since Raul Ibanez two years to the day earlier at St. Petersburg, Fla.

Alex Rodriguez, who was treated somewhat favorably by the crowd most of the afternoon, reached base his first two times up with a walk and a single.

The only other good news for the Yankees is that a season is more than one day.