Results tagged ‘ Jason Grilli ’
The Yankees cannot say they have not gotten help elsewhere in the American League wild card race. Now they have to start helping themselves.
Friday night, the Angels scored six runs in the ninth inning to stun the Astros, 10-6. Saturday, the Royals scored five runs in the ninth inning to upend the Tigers, 7-4. These results were music to the Yankees’ ears because the losers were clubs in front of them in the wild card hunt.
So what did the Yanks do for themselves? Absolutely nothing.
They failed to score either night and have now been shut out in three straight games for the first time in 41 seasons. The 1975 Yankees did not make it to postseason play, either, although there was no wild card entry in those days.
The Yanks did not lose ground because of Detroit’s loss, but they wasted an opportunity to gain ground rather than stay four games behind the Tigers with the 3-0 loss to the Blue Jays, who have a firm grip on the first wild card spot. Furthermore, the Yankees lost another day on the schedule and wasted a strong start from CC Sabathia, who remained winless in six starts since his most recent victory Aug. 23 but not for lack of effort. He has pitched to a 2.83 ERA over that period but all he has to show for it are two losses and four no-decisions.
Sabathia matched Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman in throwing zeroes for seven innings. The lefthander scattered four hits and three walks and had only two strikeouts, which was fine because it prevented his pitch count (91) from being an issue.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi reacted sharply to reporters who questioned his bullpen usage in the previous game when he let Blake Parker pitch with a 3-0 deficit and watched it soar to 7-0. Where was Adam Warren or Tyler Clippard, some writers wanted to know, in the late innings of a three-run game?
Well, there was Clippard (3-5) in the eighth inning of a tie game Saturday, and what was the result? He got two quick groundouts before Josh Donaldson singled in front of Brett Gardner playing no-doubles defense in left field.
A wild pitch put Donaldson in scoring position. After Edwin Encarnacion walked, Clippard fell behind 2-0 to Jose Bautista and came in with a fastball that was crushed to left field for the only runs of the game.
On the Yankees side, there was more anemic offense. They had three hits, one of which was a two-out triple by Ronald Torreyes that threatened to end the scoreless streak, but Jason Grilli (7-5) struck out pinch hitter Billy Butler.
The Yankees have gone 27 innings without scoring and are hitless in 16 at-bats with runners in scoring position over that stretch. Other contending clubs have opened lanes for them, but the Yankees continue to stand still
The way the Yankees are playing perhaps a wild card berth is not all they are playing for while they also break in some youngsters. The American League East title is not out of the question for the Yankees, who find themselves only four games behind the first-place Blue Jays in the loss column after Tuesday night’s come-from-behind and sweat-to-stay-ahead, 7-6 victory.
The Yankees have pushed themselves into the divisional race as well as the wild-card chase while at the same time giving vital playing time to a collection of rookies. Luis Cessa had his fourth straight impressive start (two earned runs in 5 2/3 innings), and Tyler Austin celebrated his 25th birthday with a two-run home run into the right-center field bleachers that gave the Yankees a momentary lead in the seventh inning.
Toronto regained the lead in the eighth on a two-run double by Kevin Pillar off yet another Yankees rookie, Ben Heller, one of eight pitchers employed by manager Joe Girardi in the game. He has stayed true to his belief that the Yankees can be contenders and rebuilders at the same time.
Several veterans came through big-time in the bottom of the eighth after Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez turned a 4-3 lead over to Jason Grilli, who opened the door with a leadoff walk to Jacoby Ellsbury. One out later, Didi Gregorius tripled to tie the score. He scored the go-ahead run on a fly ball by Starlin Castro. Another walk by Grilli, to Brian McCann, who had homered earlier, was pivotal because Chase Headley followed with his 13th home run of the season.
And those runs proved necessary because Dellin Betances in trying to nail down his 10th save simply did not have it. He began the ninth with two walks, uncorked a wild pitch and gave up two infield singles that reduced the Yankees’ lead to one run and prompted Girardi to reach out to another reliever.
Blake Parker picked up his first save for the Yankees but had to share it with Brett Gardner. After Parker struck out Pillar looking for the second out, Justin Smoak threatened to break the game open for the Jays with a drive to deep left where Gardner leaped at the wall, crashed into it but held onto the ball, then checked his glove to make sure it did not fall out.
It was an incredible end to an incredible game in a season that the Yankees hope has an incredible finish. They have not swept a three-game series all season. Wednesday would be the perfect time to pick up their first.
The 10-game, 11-day trip to the West Coast that began Thursday night at Seattle starts a soft spot on the Yankees’ schedule. Of the Yankees’ next 11 series leading into the All-Star break, six will be against teams currently under .500, including three of the next four with the Mariners, Angels and Dodgers – nine of 12 games. The other three are in Oakland.
This will be the Yanks’ only visit to Safeco Field this year. They have won eight of their last 13 games there since the start of the 2010. The Yankees’ .594 winning percentage based on a 38-26 record is the highest all time for any American League club at Safeco Field. The Bombers have had four consecutive non-losing road season series against the Mariners.
Mariano Rivera has converted 17 of 18 career save opportunities at Safeco Field, with his only blown save coming Sept. 18, 2009 when current teammate Ichiro Suzuki hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Mo leads the AL in saves (21), second-most in the majors behind the Pirates’ Jason Grilli (22).
Rivera converted each of his first 18 chances this season, prior to blowing his first and only save May 28 against the Mets at Citi Field. It marked his second-longest streak of converted save chances to start a season behind a 28-game stretch in 2008. He got his 21st save Tuesday against the Indians in the Yankees’ 58th game. That is the second-fewest number of team games needed for Rivera to reach 21 saves behind 2004 (52nd game). He reached the 20-saves plateau for the 16th time in his career, breaking a tie with Trevor Hoffman for the most such seasons in baseball history.
Mark Teixeira has 15 career home runs at Safeco Field, which is tied with Eric Chavez, now of the Diamondbacks, for second most there by someone who never played for the Mariners. The leader in that category is Rafael Palmeiro with 17.
With a two-run home run Wednesday, Travis Hafner has hit 38 home runs in games started by CC Sabathia, the most any player in games the lefthander has started. Teixeira is next with 29.
Earlier this week, All-Star selections were made in the Class A Florida State League and South Atlantic League. Catcher Gary Sanchez and right-handed pitcher Shane Green of Tampa were selected to play for the North Division. Chosen for the Southern Division from Charleston were right-handed pitchers Rafael De Paula and Gabe Encinas, left-handed pitcher Dietrich Enns and catcher Peter O’Brien. De Paula was named the Southern Division starting pitcher.