Results tagged ‘ Citi Field ’

Subway Series keeps Yankees in focus

Yankees manager Joe Girardi had hoped that despite losing four prominent players in trades over the past week his team would be energized playing against the Mets at Citi Field. The usual buzz that comes with playing in the Subway Series was just what the skipper felt the Yankees needed as they moved through what for them were the unchartered waters of being sellers at Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

There might have been too much energy displayed in the case of leadoff hitter Brett Gardner. He opened the game with a drive off the wall in right-center that rolled back towards the infield. Rather than settle for a triple, Gardy tried for an inside-the-park home run but was thrown out at the plate.

It may have been over-aggression on Gardner’s part, but he can be forgiven for trying to give an early jolt to a club that no longer has Carlos Beltran in the lineup, Aroldis Chapman or Andrew Miller in the bullpen or Ivan Nova in the rotation. And except for Adam Warren, the players the Yankees got in return from those trades are all in the minor leagues.

The energy turned to the Mets’ side in the middle of the game, but the Yankees got some late mojo to tie the score in the eighth and win it in the 10th. That took CC Sabathia off the hook. The lefthander squandered a 3-1 lead and put the Yanks in a 5-3 hole in the sixth when he gave up a three-run home run to recent Triple A call-up Matt Reynolds, now playing shortstop for injured Asdrubal Cabrera.

Mets relievers took control in the middle innings, but the Yankees showed plenty of life in the eighth. Gardner walked leading off the inning but was still standing on first base after Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira struck out. Brian McCann singled Gardner to third off Addison Reed, who got into a duel with Didi Gregorius. Along the way, Reed made a huge mistake with a wild pitch that allowed pinch runner Ronald Torreyes to take second base.

Gregorius fouled off three two-strike pitches before lofting a single to left field on the eighth pitch of the at-bat that sent Gardner and Torreyes scampering home. If Miller were still around, he would have come in to face the Mets in the eighth. Warren handled that instead and retired the side in order. He worked a scoreless ninth as well as the game went into extras.

Triple A call-up Ben Gamel contributed to the game-winning rally with a sacrifice bunt. Mets reliever Seth Lugo took a chance at trying for Ellsbury at third base, a risk that failed as the Yanks loaded the bases with none out. Another chance to be a hero did not work out this time for Gregorius, who struck out, but Starlin Castro got the run home with a sacrifice fly.

Dellin Betances’ new role as closer proved challenging when James Loney led off the bottom of the 10th with a double to right-center. He was bunted to third. Betances got into more trouble when he hit Alejandro DeAza with a pitch. DeAza took second on a slow roller by Rene Rivera that turned into an out at first base. Betances truly earned his first save of the year by striking out Curtis Granderson.

Tanaka to start Wednesday night, lined up for wild card

The TBA (to be announced) was removed from Wednesday night’s probable starting pitcher for the Yankees. Masahiro Tanaka will take the mound for that night’s game against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, which would allow him five days’ rest before an anticipated start by the Japanese righthander in the wild-card playoff scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi still won’t discuss the wild-card situation for two reasons: one, the Yankees have yet to clinch a postseason spot yet, although their magic number is down to two and, two, the Yankees have not been mathematically eliminated from the American League East race, although it would take a major collapse on the part of the first-place Blue Jays, who have a four-game lead over the Yanks with seven to play.

Tanaka’s start Wednesday night would be more than a tuneup. He has not pitched since Sept. 18 at Citi Field against the Mets in which he sustained a Grade 1 sprain of his left hamstring while running to first base on a sacrifice bunt. Tanaka pitched six innings that night even though he hurt his leg in the second inning.

Assuming he has no setbacks Wednesday night, Tanaka would be in line to start the game the Yankees won’t talk about yet.

“I think we all wanted to get to this day,” Girardi said. “We wanted to make sure that he felt good and he could go through all the things that he needed to go through.”

Said Tanaka, through a translator: “I knew that I was going to be out there before the season ended. So, not a big surprise there, but yes, I’m relieved and happy to be out there.”

Yanks closing in on Jays, but Tanaka is hurt

Sunday night’s Subway Series finale became an even bigger game for the Yankees after the Blue Jays lost again to the Red Sox in the afternoon. That trimmed Toronto’s lead over the Yanks in the American League East to three games.

So with a victory Sunday night over the Mets and Matt Harvey the Yankees would get to 2 1/2 games behind the Blue Jays heading into a true showdown at Toronto, a three-game series that begins Monday night that gives the Bombers a chance at returning to the top of the division.

Yet just as things were looking up for the Yankees, they sustained a severe blow before Sunday night’s game with the news that Masahiro Tanaka will have to be scratched from his scheduled start Wednesday night at Rogers Centre because of a Grade 1 sprain of his right hamstring.

Inter-league play was the culprit. Tanaka sustained the injury while running out a ground ball in the second inning of Friday night’s loss to the Mets, although he batted again in the fifth and remained in the game through six innings. The designated hitter rule is not in effect in National League parks, so Tanaka had to bat in the game.

A similar situation occurred to the Yankees in 2008 when pitcher Chien-Ming Wang suffered a serious foot injury while running the bases in an inter-league game at Houston, then an NL city.

The pitching match-ups for the Yankees-Blue Jays series have been set: Adam Warren (6-6, 3.33 ERA) vs. David Price (16-5, 2.42 ERA) Monday night, Luis Severino (4-3, 3.12 ERA) vs. Marco Estrada (13-8, 3.14 ERA) Tuesday night and Ivan Nova (6-8, 5.11 ERA) in place of Tanaka (12-7, 3.38 ERA) vs. Marcus Stroman (2-0, 3.00 ERA) Wednesday night.

But first things first. The Yankees need to get past the Mets. CC Sabathia, who has pitched well in two starts since coming off the disabled list and wearing a strong brace on his arthritic right knee, must dig down deep for a pennant-race performance. Sabathia allowed only one earned run over 11 1/3 innings (0.79 ERA) in his past two starts, both no-decisions. The lefthander is winless in nine starts since July 8 but is 0-1 with a 2.76 ERA over his past six starts.

Starting pitching has been a strength for the Yankees at Citi Field. With Saturday’s shutout over the Mets, the Yankees have pitched shutouts in three of their last four games at Citi Field (also May 14 and 15, 2014). They were the first visiting team to throw back-to-back shutouts at Citi Field and the first to blank the Mets at their home field in consecutive games since the Braves July 2 and 3, 1999 at Shea Stadium.

Yankees starters have a 0.81 ERA in their past seven starts at Citi Field covering 44 2/3 innings dating to June 24, 2012 and gave up two runs or fewer in each of those games. Since Citi Field opened in 2009, Yankees starters have allowed one run or fewer in 11 of 18 starts and two runs or fewer in 15 of 18 starts. The rotation’s career ERA at Citi Field is 2.04 in 110 1/3 innings.

The Elias Sports Bureau reports that Carlos Beltran’s three-run home run Saturday marked his first career game-winning RBI against the Mets, in his 25th career game against his former team. He is the only active player who has game-winning RBI against all 30 major league clubs.

Beltran, McCann provide power turnaround

Beaten up by Mets’ home runs Friday night, the Yankees returned the favor Saturday by going deep twice against fireballer Noah Syndergaard, which accounted for all their runs in a 5-0 victory that tied up Round 2 of the Subway Series that will end tonight with CC Sabathia opposing Matt Harvey on ESPN.

Saturday’s game was a national telecast as well, on FOX, and the Yankees came out looking a whole lot better to the nation than the Mets, although the standings tell a different story. The Mets still have a commanding lead in the National League East while the Yanks trail the Blue Jays by four games in the American League East but with a firm hold on a wild-card slot.

Home runs by Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy and Juan Uribe were the key blows for the Mets in their 5-1 victory Friday night, and the Yankees wasted no time responding with a three-run blast in the first inning by Carlos Beltran. Blast, indeed. Beltran turned around a 100-mph fastball on a 0-2 count from Syndergaard with the ball banging off the facing of the second deck at Citi Field where the switch hitter played in three of his six-plus seasons with the Mets.

The Queens ballpark is also the place where Syndergaard has been practically unbeatable in his rookie season. The flame-throwing righthander entered play Saturday with an 8-6 record and 3.20 ERA overall but 7-1 with a 2.15 ERA at Citi Field. The Yankees certainly adjusted those numbers.

In fact, the Yankees went against the numbers. Beltran went into the game with a .193 career average against the Mets. Yankees starter Michael Pineda had allowed eight earned runs in 11 1/3 innings (6.35 ERA) in his previous two starts and was 1-3 with a 6.27 ERA and eight home runs allowed in 33 innings over his six prior starts. Saturday, however, Pineda joined the recent run of success by Yankees starters.

Pineda did not allow a runner past second base in his 5 1/3 innings in taming the Mets on four singles and one walk with four strikeouts. Over the past six games, the Yankees’ rotation is 3-1 with a 1.30 ERA in 34 2/3 innings. The only loss was to Masahiro Tanaka Friday night, and he left the game trailing only 2-1.

Syndergaard recovered from the blow by Beltran that followed singles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner resembling their 1-2 combo earlier in the season by retiring 12 batters in order before Dustin Ackley, starting at second base, opened the fifth inning with a triple over Yoenis Cespedes in center field. Yankees pitchers have done a good job of neutralizing Cespedes at the plate. He is 0-for-8 in the series.

The Yankees did not capitalize on Ackley’s hit as Syndergaard struck out Didi Gregorius and Pineda and got Ellsbury on a weak infield grounder. The next inning, though, Beltran singled and scored on another long home run by Brian McCann that swelled the lead. Greg Bird followed with a double, but Syndergaard got two more Ks before departing after the sixth.

The Yankees are 18-8 in games started by opposing rookie pitchers this season. In those 26 starts, rookie hurlers are 7-12 with a 5.17 ERA in 139 1/3 innings. Yankees batters have hit .273 with 21 home runs against the freshmen.

As good as Pineda was, he did not get through the sixth as manager Joe Girardi went to his bullpen early and employed six relievers to nail this one down, including Dellin Betances for all three outs in the eighth (two strikeouts) and Andrew Miller for the final out of the game after the Mets had scratched out a couple of two-out, infield singles in the ninth. The relievers teamed for 3 2/3 shutout innings in which they allowed two hits, both singles, and no walks with eight strikeouts, at one point striking out seven Mets batters in a row.

In all, 20 players were used in the game by Girardi. That is how seriously he is taking each game down the stretch.

Yanks go down fighting but definitely down

At least the Yankees went down fighting. Trailing by four runs in the top of the ninth inning, they loaded the bases with one out against Mets closer Jeurys Familia and had the sellout crowd of 43,602 at Citi Field pretty nervous. Familia recovered, however, and down the Yankees indeed did go.

The 5-1 loss smarted, and least of all because it came against the Mets. These Subway Series certainly draw the interest of the two New York teams’ fan bases, but as former Yankees manager Joe Torre used to point out at this juncture of the season they are not playing for the same prize, which is the downside of inter-league competition.

What hurt mostly is that the setback corresponded with the Blue Jays winning at home against the Red Sox so that the Yankees fell 4 1/2 games behind the Blue Jays in the American League East. Also, the Yanks were defeated with their ace on the mound, which could mean having Masahiro Tanaka make his next start Wednesday night at Toronto might be a waste of time. A lot can happen over the next four days that could convince manager Joe Girardi to give Tanaka extra rest so that he can be at his sharpest for the wild card game.

With 16 games remaining, it is far too early for the Yankees to concede the division title to Toronto and concentrate on making sure they are the home team in the wild card playoff. But the idea has to have crossed Girardi’s mind.

Tanaka started Friday night on regular rest so that he would be available to pitch in the Toronto series that follows the Subway Series. He pitched well, too, although he could not keep two balls in the yard that ruined his outing. Solo home runs by Lucas Duda off a high splitter in the second inning and Daniel Murphy on a wimpy slider in the sixth were the only real mistakes made all night by Tanaka, who has allowed 24 home runs in 149 innings.

The Yankees got a run in the first inning off Mets rookie Steven Matz on a sacrifice fly by Chris Young before the lefthander settled down and held the Yankees at bay through the sixth. That was Matz’s last inning and one that presented Girardi with a big decision.

With the score 1-1, the Yankees had runners on first and third and two out with 8-hole hitter Brendan Ryan due up and Tanaka in the on-deck circle. On the bench lurked Alex Rodriguez, rendered a bench warmer because the designated hitter is outlawed in the National League. That might have been the perfect time to let A-Rod try to break open the game as a pinch hitter, but Girardi did not think so.

The skipper’s thinking was that there was still an open base, even though it was second base, so Rodriguez could have been pitched around, perhaps even purposely walked and then Girardi would have to lift Tanaka for a pinch hitter. He liked the way his pitcher was throwing and did not want to chance that Rodriguez would be wasted in an at-bat in that circumstance. So he let Ryan hit or at least swing, which he did on the first pitch and grounded out to end the threat.

Murphy’s homer off Tanaka came in the bottom of that inning, and the Mets never looked back. Juan Uribe would have the big pinch-hit at-bat in the game for the Mets and drove an opposite-field, two-run home run to right off Chasen Shreve, who has been struggling of late (six earned runs in his past four innings).

Rodriguez did come up in the pinch, but it was when the Yanks were four runs behind in the ninth with a runner on second and one out. He, yep, walked, just as Girardi feared would happen earlier. A single by Jacoby Ellsbury off Familia’s shin filled the bases, but the Mets’ closer in a non-save situation retired Brett Gardner on a fly to left and struck out Chase Headley.

The NL East-leading Mets reduced their major number for clinching their first division title in nine years to eight, but this was a case of one New York team being hurt more by a loss than the other was fortified by a victory.

Ellsbury benched for Subway Series opener

When an opponent starts a left-handed pitcher, as the Mets are doing Friday night, Yankees manage Joe Girardi occasionally gives one of his left-handed hitting outfielders a night off. Not in Friday night’s Yankees lineup at Citi Field was Jacoby Ellsbury.

This should not come as a surprise considering the slump the center fielder has been in this month. Ellsbury is batting .123 with no extra-base hits or RBI in 57 September at-bats and has stolen merely one base. He has three hits in his past 38 at-bats, a .079 stretch that included a hitless string of 25 at-bats that he ended with two hits Wednesday night at St. Petersburg, Fla.

Ellsbury, who was sidelined for seven weeks in the first half of the season due to a right knee sprain, says he is healthy but he has not been the same hitter since he came off the disabled list. He was batting .324 with 14 stolen bases at the time of the injury but in 247 at-bats since his return July 8 Ellsbury has hit .211 with four steals as his season batting average has plummeted to .253.

As it was, this was not an easy decision for Girardi because Brett Gardner, who was the leadoff hitter Friday night and shifted from left field to center, entered the game hitless in his past 15 at-bats since his three-homer, seven-RBI performance in a doubleheader last Saturday against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees are 9-8 in inter-league play this season and are on a four-game winning streak against the National League. They won two of three games in this year’s first Subway Series back in April at the Stadium, long before the Mets played their way into postseason contention.

Yankees batters have hit 23 home runs in 17 inter-league games and have scored at least 10 runs in three of their past four games. In inter-league play this season, the Yankees lead all clubs in on-base percentage (.364) and on-base plus slugging percentage (.843) and rank second in runs (108), batting (.290) and slugging (.480).

Yankees pitchers have a 4.89 ERA in 17 inter-league games and 152 2/3 innings after producing a 2.94 ERA in 183 2/3 innings last year, the third-lowest mark in the majors. Yankees starters have a 5.61 ERA in 94 2/3 innings this season and have allowed at least 5 earned runs in six of 17 starts.

Yankees pitchers are 1-for-18 (.056) in inter-league play this year. Branden Pinder ended a team 0-for-30 with an RBI double Aug. 30 at Atlanta, the first hit by a Yankees pitcher Chase Whitley May 14, 2014 at Citi Field, the first extra-base hit since Andy Pettitte’s double June 19, 2009 at Miami and the first RBI since CC Sabathia’s RBI groundout Aug. 2, 2013 at San Diego. Pinder was the second Yankees reliever in the designated hitter era (since 1973) to get a hit. The other was Mike Stanton June 6, 2000 at Montreal. Yankees pitchers have batted a combined .091 with nine doubles, 13 RBI and 45 sacrifice hits in 385 inter-league at-bats.

The Yankees are 3-4 in NL parks this season and are on a three-game winning streak. The Yankees lead the majors in all-time inter-league victories (201) and winning percentage (.593). They have posted a winning inter-league record in 15 of 18 seasons.

Yankees make NY pit stop on trip

A weird thing about this trip for the Yankees is that they get to sleep some nights in their own beds. They ended the Tampa Bay stop Wednesday night with a 3-1 victory and came home for their last off day of the regular season Thursday.

The flight was to New York was because their next stop on the three-series trip is in Queens to play the Mets at Citi Field in the second installment of the Subway Series. With both New York clubs in the hunt for postseason berths, an extra element of anticipation is in the air.

The Yankees remained three games behind the Blue Jays in the American League East with Toronto winning at Atlanta. The Jays come home this weekend and play the Red Sox before the Yanks enter Rogers Centre for a three-game set starting Monday night.

With an eye on the Toronto series, Yankees manager Joe Girardi set his rotation for the Mets series with Masahiro Tanaka getting the ball on regular rest for Friday night’s game. That will allow the righthander to make his following start next Wednesday night at Toronto, also on regular rest. Tanaka has allowed one earned run in 16 innings against the Blue Jays this year.

Tanaka will be opposed Friday night by Mets rookie Steven Matz. Saturday afternoon’s game pits Michael Pineda against the Mets’ Noah Syndegaard. CC Sabathia will start Sunday night’s finale against the Mets’ Matt Harvey, who will be held to a strict pitch limit.

Girardi did not announce the rest of the rotation for the Toronto series, but he did say that Ivan Nova would be in the bullpen for the Mets series, which means that it is likely Adam Warren will start Monday night and Luis Severino Tuesday night against the Blue Jays.

Severino was one of two rookies who were central figures in the Yanks’ victory Wednesday night, their second in a row against Chris Archer, who had won his previous five decisions against them. Severino pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up one run, six hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in improving his record to 4-3 and bouncing back from his first rough outing in his prior start at Yankee Stadium against Toronto.

The other rookie pivotal in the victory was first baseman Greg Bird, who drove in the Yankees’ first run with a double in the second inning off Archer and an important insurance run in the ninth with a monstrous home run to right field off reliever Andrew Bellatti.

The run that proved to be the deciding one was driven in by Chase Headley, who fought off a tough slider from Archer for a flare single to left field in the sixth that increased the Yankees’ lead to 2-0.

Severino came out of the game in the bottom of the sixth after he was touched for a run on a double by Steven Souza. Justin Wilson got the last out of the inning with a strikeout and the first two outs of the seventh as well.

Dellin Betances then came in and did another high-wire act similar to his Sept. 7 appearance against the Orioles when he walked three batters and struck out three in the same inning. He walked the first three Tampa Bay batters he faced Wednesday night but came back to strike out James Loney, who had three hits, on three pitches.

As he had done in Monday night’s victory, Andrew Miller struck out the side in order for his 34th save.

Yanks-Jays game Sept. 12 now a 1:05 p.m. start

Yankees fans should take note of some scheduling updates for next month.

The Sept. 12 game against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium has been changed from a 4:05 p.m. start as originally scheduled to 1:05 p.m. It is the third game of a four-game series against Toronto, following 7:05 p.m. starts Thursday and Friday, Sept. 10-11, and preceding the series finale at 1:05 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13.

In addition, the finale of the second round of the Subway Series Sunday, Sept. 20, at Citi Field has been selected by ESPN for Sunday Night Baseball and will start at 8:05 p.m. The other two games that weekend between the Yankees and the Mets will be at 7:05 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, and 1:05 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19.

Here is the latest promo from Yankees on Demand.
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1-2 Punch (Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller)
http://m.mlb.com/nyy/video/topic/11061776/v390461083/?c_id=nyy

Yanks keep Mets silent in their house

What a difference a venue makes. Well, that and pitching. The Yankees and the Mets combined to score 35 runs in the first two games of the Subway Series at Yankee Stadium but totaled only five runs in the next two games at Citi Field. After watching the Mets score 21 runs in the Bronx, the Yankees held them scoreless over the full 18 innings in Queens.

The Yanks won both games started by a pair of rookies, although Wednesday night’s winner, Masahiro Tanaka, is a first-year player only in terms of the major leagues. He pitched a gem for his first big-league complete game shutout to stop the Yankees’ four-game losing streak and six-game slide to the Mets over two seasons. That was followed by the major-league debut of Triple A call-up Chase Whitley, who also pitched scoreless ball for 4 2/3 innings and picked up his first major-league hit as well. He did not figure in the decision on his personal record but was a major part of the 1-0 victory.

The winning decision went to Dellin Betances, who put on one helluva show. After getting the final out of the fifth inning to bail out Whitley, Betances faced six more batters over the next two innings and struck out all of them. David Robertson was called on later to get a four-out save. He did not disappoint in retiring the four batters he faced, two on strikeouts.

The Mets also had a starting pitcher make his big-league debut in righthander Jacob deGrom, who earned a spot in the rotation with seven innings of one-run, four-hit, two-walk, six-strikeout pitching. He, too, also got his first hit and the first by any Mets pitcher this year in 65 at-bats. The only run might have been avoided except for a curse that comes with the in-vogue strategy of today’s game, the infield over-shift.

Brian McCann appeared to have grounded into a double play in the seventh inning when he hit a grounder to the right side with one out and one on. With the Mets over-shifting, third baseman David Wright had to make the pivot to first base from second. Not used to making that throw, Wright made a side-armed toss to first that had little muscle and went into the dirt as well. First baseman Lucas Duda could not make the scoop, and McCann was safe at first base. In defense of Duda and Wright, they teamed on a tremendous double play that ended Monday night’s game at the Stadium. They did not strike lightning twice.

That kept the inning alive for Alfonso Soriano, who got the hardest hit ball off deGrom, a double to left-center that sent the heavy-legged McCann huffing and puffing around the bases for a run that proved very precious.

Mets honor Jeter in his Citi Field farewell

Unless the Yankees and the Mets duplicate 2000 and end up in the World Series, Derek Jeter played his last game at Citi Field Thursday night. Mets fans treated the Captain respectively for the most part with primarily polite applause during his at-bats. The Mets organization made a gift to Jeter of a mosaic made up on subway tiles in the shape of No. 2.

Even more importantly, Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon on behalf of the team gave DJ a $22,222.22 donation to his Turn 2 Foundation. “That means a lot to me,” Jeter said. “I think a lot of people know how much the foundation means to me. So for you to do that, I really appreciate it. I can’t thank you enough.”

Jeter has been a thorn in the Mets’ side throughout the Subway Series, which began in 1997, his second season with the Yankees. Jeet took a .368 career batting average against the Mets into the game.

“There has been a lot of history, starting from 1997 when interleague play started and all the excitement about Yankees-Mets,” he said. “And it doesn’t get any bigger than the World Series. But I have a lot of great memories here. It has been fun playing in these series. Like I’ve always said, the fans are very energetic on both sides. That makes it very fun for us as players to go out there and compete. So I want to say thanks to the Wilpon family. It’s very much appreciated. It’s unnecessary.”

Jeter declined to give a specific greatest memory against the Mets, but it does without saying that his winning the World Series Most Valuable Player Award in 2000 was it. My personal favorite was his leadoff home run against Bobby Jones on the first pitch of Game 4 at Shea Stadium.

“Well, it doesn’t get any bigger than playing in the World Series against them,” Jeter said. “I think that was something I think the whole city was pulling for – going through the playoffs that year. And then for us to get the opportunity to play that exciting series; we won that series, but a lot of those games could have gone either way. They were close games. It definitely stands out the most.”