Results tagged ‘ Oakland Coliseum ’

Trip off to a bounceless start

A lot of ailing Yankees bats got healthy Friday night as the team opened its longest trip of the first half with a convincing, 6-3 victory over the offensively woeful Athletics. Oakland entered the game batting .210 as a team and averaging 3.4 runs per game and did little to improve either statistic.

Ivan Nova, who had given up at least five earned runs in five of his previous six starts, limited the A’s to three runs and six hits, including two home runs, through seven innings in winning his ninth consecutive road game dating to June 20 of last year. The Yankees have won the past 12 games Nova has started on the road during which he is 9-0 with a 3.35 ERA.

It was also the Yankees’ seventh straight victory at the Oakland Coliseum where they have won 11 of their past 12 games and are 22-9 since 2004. A cool thing about this year’s schedule is that the Yankees go to Oakland twice.

As for the sickly bats, well, how do 12 hits, seven for extra bases, sound? On top of that, the noises came from bats that had been somewhat quiet lately. Mark Teixeira, who told reporters during the past homestand that he was going to swing for the fences more, crushed one of the Yanks’ three home runs and also doubled. Robinson Cano, who was coming off a 5-for-20 homestand, and Nick Swisher, who was in ruts of 0-for-13 and 3-for-32, also homered as left-handed batters had a field day against A’s righthander Tyson Ross. Lefty swingers had 9-for-15 with three doubles, three home runs and five RBI in Ross’ 4 1/3 innings.

A glaring error by Oakland center fielder Coco Crisp on a Cano liner allowed a run to score and prolonged the inning for Tex’s sixth homer as the Yankees jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third. Considering Oakland’s weak lineup, falling behind by so much that early was asking for trouble, and the Yankees obliged.

After a perfect eighth inning by Boone Logan, Rafael Soriano pitched a shutout ninth for his fourth save in four opportunities. Except for Derek Jeter’s 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, this was an ideal way for the Yankees to start off this trip.

Pettitte targeted for Rays, Sox?

The Yankees will be rooting for Andy Pettitte to have a good bullpen session Wednesday because it would set into motion a scenario that could benefit them greatly against their American League East challengers.

Pettitte, who has been disabled since July 18 because of a strained left groin, was encouraged by his sideline work Sunday in Chicago when he threw at about 75 percent without feeling any discomfort. He’ll try to get closer to 100 percent Wednesday.

If all goes well, Pettitte may be in line to be back on the mound against major-league competition in about two weeks after some injury-rehabilitation assignments or simulated games. That would allow Pettitte to make four starts, all against either the Rays or the Red Sox for the remainder of the season in a theory proposed by WFAN Radio’s Sweeney Murti, to which I subscribe.

If Pettitte can start Sept. 14 or 15 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., then he would be in line to start against the Rays Sept. 20 at Yankee Stadium, against the Red Sox Sept. 25, also at the Stadium, and Oct. 1 at Fenway Park. Yes, I am getting way ahead of myself here, but if Pettitte continues to progress there is reason to believe that schedule could become reality.

Alex Rodriguez, out with a left calf strain, is not eligible to come off the disabled list until Sept. 5, which is Sunday. That means there will be no return engagement with Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden, who will start Thursday’s finale of the four-game series at the Stadium. Remember the firestorm that was created back in April when Braden berated A-Rod for trotting on the mound at the Oakland Coliseum while returning to first base after a foul ball?

Braden, who pitched a perfect game May 9 against Texas at Oakland, was on the DL when the Yankees returned to the Coliseum in July. By then, the bitterness was defused somewhat as both player signed “Get Off My Mound” t-shirts for charity. Braden still thinks Yankees fans will let him have it Thursday.

“It wouldn’t New York if they didn’t,” Braden said. “They have had awhile to think of some good stuff, so I’m sure they won’t disappoint me.”

Subplot submurged

With Dallas Braden on the disabled list, a potential subplot of the Yankees-Athletics series that began Monday night at the Oakland Coliseum has disappeared. Alex Rodriguez might have had to stay loose in the batter’s box if Braden were on the mound in one of the three games of this set.

Rewind to April 22 when A-Rod caught the young lefthander’s ire by crossing the mound while trotting back to first base after a foul ball. Braden took umbrage to the act, at inning’s end shouted obscenities to the third baseman and suggested in post-game comments that retaliation just might be in order the next time the teams met.

Well, here we are but no Braden. He had pointed to one of the game’s “unwritten rules,” although quite a few people in the game had never heard of this as a transgression. Rodriguez played the whole thing down, pointing to Braden’s scant total of victories and saying he did not want to add to his “15 minutes of fame.”

That remark rang a bit hollow May 9 when Braden pitched a perfect game on Mother’s Day, one of the highlights of the season. He has not won a game since, however, and was 0-5 with a 4.31 ERA in his past eight starts before going on the DL.

Braden seems to have mellowed in the past 10 weeks. He is even unenthusiastic about the A’s marketing a line of t-shirts for the series with the phrase, “Get Off My Mound” embossed across the chest.

“I’m way over it,” Braden told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. “My 15-minute timer went off a long time ago. It looks like the A’s are making light of the situation. In some ways, it might keep what happened alive.”

“That’s probably not smart,” A’s designated hitter Jack Cust told Slusser. “We don’t need to fuel anything with A-Rod, not with his ability.”

Now that’s being smart.

Trash talk is just that

Oakland pitcher Dallas Braden keeps stirring the pot regarding Alex Rodriguez, but all this trash talk will prove much ado about nothing when the Yankees and Athletics face each other again , which won’t be until July 5-7 at the Oakland Coliseum. Come to think of it, do you think Braden would be making all this noise if that three-game set were at Yankee Stadium?

Me either.

“There are things that are going to have to happen,” Braden told Comcast Sports Bay Area Wednesday, “out of respect to my teammates, out of respect to the game. I think [Rodriguez] has probably garnered a new respect for the unwritten rules and the people who hold them close to their game.”

Wrong. A-Rod keeps playing it close to the vest and not getting involved in a spitting contest with a pitcher for whom he has little regard and, as he told reporters in Boston Friday, “I really don’t want to extend his extra 15 minutes of fame.”

Braden obviously is still miffed at Rodriguez’s crossing over the mound while returning to first base after a foul ball April 22 at Oakland and blasted the three-time American League Most Valuable Player after the game. It is also just as obvious that Braden is being poked by an ethics-lacking reporter for that news organization who last November broke the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s embargo on the National League Cy Young Award.

It is important to remember that umpires and baseball officials will be monitoring this situation when the teams meet again. You can be sure if Braden decks A-Rod, the pitcher will not only compromise his teammates but also face a possible suspension. Not to mention that Braden just might get hurt himself.