Results tagged ‘ Rick Porcello ’

Girardi managing whole team, not just A-Rod

Did anyone really expect Alex Rodriguez to be in the starting lineup Tuesday night at Fenway Park? Sure, manager Joe Girardi said Sunday after A-Rod’s announcement that Friday night would be his last game with the Yankees that he would talk to him and “play him as often as he wants,” but he had to back off that for the overall good of the team.

As it is, promising Rodriguez at least one start in the three-game series, Thursday night against knuckleballer Steven Wright, is more than A-Rod could have expected. If the Yankees want to make a serious run at the second wild card berth, they will have to hop over several clubs, and one of them is Boston. A player is supposed to earn his way into a lineup, and Rodriguez’s 3-for-30 showing in the second half is all the evidence anyone needs as to why he played himself onto the bench.

The computer got Rodriguez Tuesday night. He is 3-for-20 (.150) in his career against Boston starter Rick Porcello. The righthander had pitched complete games in each of his previous two starts, a rarity these days. Red Sox manager John Farrell might have been wise to let Porcello go for another compete game rather than turn to Craig Kimbrel, who was so wild that he nearly blew the game.

Kimbrel walked four batters in the inning that led to a run and kept the bases loaded with two out. Matt Barnes had to be summoned to face Mark Teixeira, who ended the rally when he looked at a third strike.

In A-Rod’s former designated hitter role was Brian McCann as the Yankees got another look at Gary Sanchez behind the plate. He had a rough night at the plate (0-for-4) but was nimble behind it and threw out another base runner.

McCann got a key, two-out single in the third inning that scored Brett Gardner, who reached base four times (double, two singles, walk) as the Yanks built a 2-0 lead against Porcello (15-3). They had scored in the second inning as well on doubles by Starlin Castro and Chase Headley.

Making his first major league start since May 13 following three impressive relief outings in which he allowed one run in 8 1/3 innings (1.08 ERA), Luis Severino gave up the lead in losing a nine-pitch at-bat to Dustin Pedroia. After fouling off five straight pitches, Pedroia lined a double down the right field line to knock in the trying runs.

More extra-base hits were to come in the fifth as the Red Sox scored three runs in a triple by catcher Sandy Leon, a double by rookie Andrew Benintendi and another double by Pedroia. Newly signed lefthander Tommy Layne relieved Severino and allowed an RBI single to David Ortiz.

Until the meltdown by Kimbrel, there were no openings to use Rodriguez perhaps as a pinch hitter. Reports questioned why Girardi did not have A-Rod bat form Aaron Hicks, who was 0-for-3 when he batted in the ninth and drew the second walk off Kimbrel.

Will this ever end? Yes. Finally, Friday.

Yankees’ comeback re-heats rivalry

The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry seemed pretty dreary last weekend when the Yanks were swept in a three-game series at Fenway Park. It heated up Friday night in a tense, 3-2 Yankees victory at Yankee Stadium, although the Sox’s fury was aimed more at plate umpire Ron Kulpa than the other dugout.

Boston batters were particularly annoyed about Kulpa’s strike zone, which it must be stated was generous. Xander Bogaerts in the seventh and Hanley Ramirez in the eighth were upset about called third strikes, but it really got hairy in the ninth inning when David Ortiz batted with the bases loaded and one out against Andrew Miller, who really had to work to notch his sixth save. Miller had thwarted a rally in the eighth inning with a called strikeout of Jackie Bradley Jr., but the lefthander clearly did not have his A stuff.

The Red Sox reached him for three singles in the ninth to load them up for Ortiz. Miller fell behind 3-1 in the count to Ortiz, who was given the benefit of the doubt by the umpires on a checked swing. The next two pitches were very much borderline, but Kulpa threw his hand up each time. Ortiz beefed after the strike-two call, but Boston manager John Farrell interceded and was ejected for his effort.

After the called strike three, Ortiz walked slowly back to the dugout, then made a turnaround and charged back toward the plate and went ballistic, which resulted in his getting tossed as well. After order was restored, Miller finished off the four-out save by striking out Ramirez.

It was a most satisfying victory for the Yankees, who fell behind 2-0 in the first inning on Ortiz’s seventh homer of the season but came back to tie the score with a run in each of the first two innings against previously unbeaten Rick Porcello, whose record is now 5-1.

That was because Aaron Hicks, who has been struggling in his first season with the Yankees, finally came up with a big hit. He led off the seventh by driving Porcello’s first pitch to right-center for his first home run with the Yankees. Hicks also moved from right field to center field after Jacoby Ellsbury, who had scored the Yankees’ first run on a two-out double by Brian McCann in the first inning, had to leave the game with a tight right hip that will likely sideline him for at least several days.

Dustin Ackley, who played right field after Ellsbury’s departure, drove in the tying run with a two-out single in the second inning. Ben Gamel, who was called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, made his major-league debut taking over for Ackley in right field in the eighth and got a putout right away in gloving a liner by Ortiz leading off that inning.

Another key to the Yankees’ victory was starting pitcher Michael Pineda’s recovery from the first-inning when he allowed two runs and four hits. The righthander lasted through the sixth and worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam that inning by getting Bradley on a double play. The Red Sox had 13 hits but stranded 12 base runners. Perhaps they have calmed down by now, but do not bet on it.

Tight hip knocks Ellsbury out in 1st inning

Jacoby Ellsbury’s trip around the bases in the first inning Friday night proved costly as the center fielder hurt his right hip while scoring the Yankees’ first run. Ellsbury came out of the game at inning’s end and was to undergo an MRI exam. This is the same hip that Ellsbury injured last year that placed him on the disabled list.

Ellsbury entered the game with a career slash line of .429/.448/.929 in 28 career at-bats against Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, who brought a 5-0 record and a 13 1/3-inning scoreless streak into the game. Ellsbury helped put an end to that by drawing a four-pitch, leadoff walk, stealing second and third base and scoring on a two-out double by Brian McCann. On the trot home Ellsbury pulled up lame. Dustin Ackley came out to play right field at the start of the second inning with Aaron Hicks moving to Ellsbury’s spot in center.

Ackley tied the score for the Yankee in the bottom of the second with a two-out, RBI single. The Red Sox had scored in the first inning against Michael Pineda on a two-run home run by David Ortiz, his third homer in four games against the Yankees this year and the 50th of his career against them.

Ellsbury’s injury comes at a time when the Yankees are pretty beat up. Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia are on the DL. Brett Gardner returned to the lineup after not starting Thursday night in Baltimore because of a a bruised right triceps.

Yanks offer no resistance in blanking to Red Sox

Ronald Torreyes pinch-hit for Alex Rodriguez in the ninth inning Saturday night. It was the first time a player with no home runs in his career batted for a player with 691 homers. That is all you need to know about how the Yankees fared in the game.

This spring-training sort of finish explained the Yankees’ situation. Nothing A-Rod could have done in that at-bat in the final inning was going to do anything other than to avoid a shutout. The Red Sox pushed the Yankees all over Fenway Park for an 8-0 victory behind unbeaten Rick Porcello (5-0), who fashioned a start that the Bombers have seldom gotten from their rotation.

Porcello shut down the Yankees on five hits and a walk with six strikeouts in seven innings as he pitched six or more innings for his 13th straight start since last August. On the other hand, Michael Pineda (1-3) lasted only five innings for the second straight start. Coming off a game in which he yielded five home runs, Pineda kept the ball in the yard this time but exhibited trouble pitching with two outs.

Boston scored two runs after two were gone in the second inning on a single by Christian Vazquez and doubles by Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts. Pineda actually pitched well after that, but his pitch count was so high that he had to come out after the fifth.

The Yankees’ bullpen could not keep the game close. Chasen Shreve gave up two runs in the sixth with Bradley a culprit again belting an RBI triple and then scoring on a single by Betts. David Ortiz, who won Friday night’s game with a two-run home run in the eighth, greeted Johnny Barbeto with a solo shot in the seventh. The Red Sox added three more runs on a walk, a single, an error by second baseman Starlin Castro and a two-run triple by Bradley, who has been a one-man wrecking crew in this series. Bradley is 4-for-6 (.667) with two doubles, two triples and five RBI in the series. And he is the 9-hole hitter!

Nevertheless, this was a game the Yankees were still in until the seventh, but their sleepwalking offense had another silent night. The Yankees had five singles and were 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position. They have scored three of fewer runs in 17 of their 22 games, including each of the past seven games.

Manager Joe Girardi is not ready to push the panic button, but the first month of the season is complete and his team has an 8-14 record amid a four-game losing streak with David Price (3-0) looming Sunday night.

Breaks go Yankees’ way at Fenway

The Yankees have not had many breaks go their way lately, such as Mark Teixeira’s MRI. One night after squandering a bevy of scoring opportunities in stranding 14 base runners, the Yankees capitalized on a big break offensively and another defensively in Tuesday night’s 3-1 victory over the Red Sox.

The way Boston starter Rick Porcello pitched it was a wonder the Yankees got on the board at all. There was no doubt about the one earned run charged to Porcello. Brett Gardner got all of a 0-1 pitch to hook it around Fenway Park’s Pesky Pole in right field for his 13th home run, in the eighth inning.

The inning that made the difference for the Yankees was the fifth. After a leadoff single by Alex Rodriguez, Porcello struck out Chase Headley and Greg Bird and seemed to have gotten the third out as well when Didi Gregorius hit a bouncing ball toward first base. What should have been an easy out went under the glove of first baseman Travis Shaw for an error that put runners on second and third.

Stephen Drew, whose bat has come alive the past week, lined a double to left-center that turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 Yankees lead. Gardner’s homer apart, Drew’s hit was the hardest allowed by Porcello, who had the Yankees walking back to the dugout for eight innings with 13 strikeouts, 10 of which were on called third strikes.

The two-run double was poetic justice for Drew, who was robbed of a hit in the third by second baseman Brock Holt with a nifty back-handed grab to start an inning-ending double play.

Michael Pineda may not have been as overpowering as Porcello but was just as effective in ending a personal three-game losing streak for his first winning decision since July 10, also at Boston. Only one of the Red Sox’ 18 outs against Pineda was recorded in the outfield as Pineda struck out seven batters and kept the ball in the infield for 10 outs.

Jackie Bradley doubled twice off Pineda. Bradley scored the Red Sox’ only run on a two-out single by Pablo Sandoval in the third. Two innings later, Bradley doubled with two outs, but Pineda kept him from scoring by getting a called third strike by Mookie Betts.

The other major break for the Yankees came in the eighth as the Red Sox threatened against Dellin Betances, who entered the game the previous inning. Singles by Betts and Zander Bogaerts gave the Sox runners on first and second with one out and David Ortiz at the plate.

On a double steal attempt, Yankees catcher Brian McCann threw to third baseman Chase Headley, who put the tag on Betts. Or did he? Third base umpire Vic Carapazza delayed his call to see if Betts’ foot was on the bag while Headley leaned over and kept his glove on Betts’ right ankle.

Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo challenged the call based on Betts’ claim that Headley pushed him off the bag, which is an illegal maneuver but one not covered on replays. The replay crew in Chelsea agreed with the call by the umpire, whose decision it was on the field to determine whether Betts was pushed off the bag or not. Carapazza obviously did not think so.

It was a big break for the Yankees because it meant instead of runners on second and third with one out it was runner on second and two out. Betances finished matters by striking out Ortiz. It was not a good night for Big Papi, who was punched out four times. In the ninth, Andrew Miller added three more Ks for his 29th save.

For a while there, it appeared as if the Yankees would get one more break as the Indians rallied in the ninth inning at Toronto to tie the score, but the Blue Jays prevailed in the 10th to maintain their 1 1/2-game lead in the American League East.

Yanks pitchers outshine Tigers’ vaunted rotation

When the Yankees-Tigers series began, all the talk was about Detroit’s rotation. The Tigers had lined up against the Yankees three former American League Cy Young Award winners in Max Scherzer, David Price and Justin Verlander and a 13-game winner in Rick Porcello.

Guess what? None of them notched a victory.

Talk centered on the Yankees’ staff after it limited one of the AL’s top offensive clubs to merely six runs over 39 innings in winning three of the four games. The only game Detroit won, a 4-3, 12-inning matchup, did not provide a victory for their starting pitcher, Price, who was out of the game in the ninth.

Yankees starters, meanwhile, were 2-0 with an ERA of 0.99 as the rotation gave up only three earned runs in 27 1/3 innings. Not that the Tigers’ crew was bad. The Detroit starters combined for a 2.42 ERA, which any manager will take over a four-game set, but it was just not a match for the Yankees.

Thursday’s 1-0 victory behind rookie Shane Greene and in front of a sellout Yankee Stadium crowd of 47,013 was a nice finishing touch. Greene pitched one batter into the ninth and scattered five hits and three walks with five strikeouts to improve his record to 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA. He as yanked in the fifth inning of his prior start at Boston but this time came close to his first complete game in the majors. Maybe next time.

“We won” is the best thing Greene took from the game. He is a man of few words and at times seems overwhelmed by his surroundings in the majors — except when he is on the mound. The righthander utilized an effective sinker-slider mix with an occasional four-seam fastball that was never more valuable than in the sixth when it produced a pivotal double play against Victor Martinez, the second half of the Tigers’ 1-2 punch behind two-time AL Most Valuable Player Miguel Cabrera, who was rested until the ninth inning Thursday when he batted as a pinch hitter in the ninth against David Robertson (31st save) with a chance to do damage and ruin Greene’s effort.

Cabrera batted with runners on first and second with none out. He hit a hard grounder past Robertson, but it was gobbled up in front of second base by Brendan Ryan, who stepped on the bag and threw the ball to first base for another crucial double play. Fans gasped when Don Kelly lofted a fly ball in shallow center before Stephen Drew, starting at shortstop for a resting Derek Jeter, put it away for a satisfying final out. Also bailing out Robertson in the Kelly at-bat was catcher Francisco Cervelli, who made two terrific stops of balls in the dirt to keep the potential tying run at third.

Drew was also responsible for the game’s only run with an opposite-field double to left in the fourth off Porcello. The new mix of players up from the minors and the result of trades has given the Yankees a burst of freshness.

“It has changed the complexion of the team,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We have gotten better defensively, and pitchers are giving us more innings.”

Greene’s work allowed over-loaded Shawn Kelley, Adam Warren and Dellin Betances a needed day off. The Yankees had been sputtering at home this year but have turned that around since the All-Star break with 10 victories in 14 games.

“We have talked about needing to play better at home,” Girardi said. “We are doing all the little things. These are the best four starts in a row that we have had all season. Their pitchers were the guys being talked about, but our pitchers did a great job.”