Results tagged ‘ Rod Carew ’

Big Mac & A-Rod HRs put Archer on the skids

The condition is known as the wheels falling off. Fortunately for the Yankees, the condition struck Chris Archer in the sixth inning Sunday that helped them survive a major scare by the Rays.

Archer, who took a 5-0 career record and 1.78 ERA against the Yankees into the game, appeared destined to improve those statistics over the first five innings, four of which he retired the side in order.

As Yankees catcher Brian McCann noted of Archer, “He didn’t pitch out of the stretch a whole lot early in the game.”

The sixth inning was another story, and it was McCann who was pivotal in the Yankees’ turning the game around. Archer began the sixth working on a one-hit shutout with a three-run lead, thanks to a two-run home run by Kevin Kiermaier in the second inning and a two-out, RBI single by Logan Forsythe in the third against Ivan Nova, who ended up the winning pitcher because of the turn of events in the sixth.

It seemed like another mow-down inning in store for Archer when Stephen Drew flied out to left field leading off. Jacoby Ellsbury, who had the Yankees’ only hit to that point (a two-out single in the third that ended a 0-for-17 stretch), hit a ground single to right, but Archer came right back to strike out Brett Gardner.

Curiously, Archer pitched especially carefully to Carlos Beltran for no reason I could detect and walked him on five pitches. At 2-0, Beltran expected to see a fastball, but Archer threw three straight sliders and lost him. Beltran was 0-for-2 in the game and 2-for-14 (.143) against Archer in his career, so why be so careful when a hitter as dangerous as McCann on deck.

McCann’s career numbers against Archer (2-for-16 going into that at-bat) weren’t much better than Beltran’s, but they were about to become so. Archer fell behind 3-1 to McCann, who got the fastball Beltran expected and drove the ball over the right field fence for a three-run homer that knotted the score.

As if the wheels had not fallen off enough for Archer, Alex Rodriguez also took him deep on the next pitch. Once again, the long ball came to the Yankees’ rescue as they went on to a 6-4 victory to keep pace with the Blue Jays, 10-4 winners over the Orioles and clinging to a 1 1/2-game lead in the American League East.

McCann’s 25th home run marked a career high in one season for the catcher, who seems much more comfortable in his second year in pinstripes.

“I know the league a lot better,” said McCann, who spent nine years in the National League with the Braves before signing with the Yankees as a free agent prior to the 2014 season. “Getting to know the pitchers, the ones and twos on each staff and situational lefthanders. When you’re in the same league year after year you don’t have to make that much of an adjustment.

“That’s our formula,” manager Joe Girardi said of the home runs, and he was right on target.

The Yankees, whose overall record is 76-59 (.563), are 65-34 (.657) when they homer. When they hit two home runs, as they did Sunday, or more, they are 41-11 (.788). Of the 13 runs the Yanks scored in the three games at Yankee Stadium against the Rays, nine were the result of home runs.

The Yankees added two runs against a ragged Tampa Bay bullpen, one on a throwing error by Fosythe and one on a single by Didi Gregorius, who had two more hits and has had at least one RBI in eight of his past 10 games. A-Rod contributed to the eighth-inning rally with a single, his 3,053rd career hit that tied him with Hall of Famer Rod Carew for 24th place on the all-time list.

But what most of the 35,299 people in attendance at the Stadium will remember most about Sunday’s game were the home runs in the inning when the wheels fell off for a modern-day Yankee killer.

Who says Jeter can’t hit .300 anymore?

It is no longer a question of if Derek Jeter can get his batting average to .300 this year. It is only a matter of time. The Captain keeps passing Hall of Famers on the career hits list while marching into the land of .300.

You keep hearing these days that batting average isn’t as relevant a statistic as it used to be. So how come they still put batting averages on the scoreboard? I agree that on-base percentage and slugging percentage are better gauges of a player’s offensive profile, but hitting .300 is still a cool thing, particularly if you’re someone like Jeter who is not a traditional power hitter.

Jeter hits at or near the top of the lineup, a place where .300 hitters are always welcome. Jeter was being written off by the same people who say batting average doesn’t count for much anymore when he hit .270 last year and was stuck on .260 this year while on the disabled list due to a right calf injury.

Mickey Mantle told me in an interview years ago that the greatest disappointment as a player was that his career batting average fell below .300 at .298. Another Hall of Famer, Tigers great Al Kaline (.297), said the same thing. Sure, you can say those guys played in the 1950s and ‘60s when hitting .300 was still a big deal, but I maintain that the .300 level remains a badge of honor.

You won’t hear Jeter talk much about individual stats, which is one of his greatest attributes. The stat he plays for is the W. All he cares about is his team winning and what he can do to make that so. You can be sure that what he liked most about his third-inning single Wednesday night was that it scored Brett Gardner from second base to tie the score against the Athletics.

Maybe years from now DJ will remember that it was the hit that tied him with Rickey Henderson for 21st place on the all-time list. Jeter passed another Hall of Famer, Rod Carew, with his infield single in the first inning. Jeter can move into the top 20 with five more hits that would bring him even with Craig Biggio.

In the meantime, .300 is a knock away – literally. That 3,055th hit got Jeter to .299. This has been quite a ride for the Captain since his July 4 return. That spell on the DL could have been the best thing that happened to Jeter.

He got to step away from the game, take a look at himself with perspective and get in some work with old pal Gary Denbo, who preached the message of stay back and trust your hands. It was a simple message, really, but one that took hold after a long year of getting into bad habits such as jumping at the ball and top-handing everything.

By hitting .351 in 168 at-bats in the past 40 games, Jeter has raised his season batting average 39 points. In his previous 16 seasons in the majors, Jeter batted over .300 11 times. An even dozen is suddenly looking like a lock.

Jeter’s 3K jersey in Yankees Museum

The jersey Derek Jeter wore when he became the 28th player in history – and the first Yankee – to get 3,000 hits in a major-league career will go on display Tuesday through the remainder of the 2011 calendar year at the New York Yankees Museum Presented by Bank of America.

The Captain reached the plateau in the third inning July 9 at Yankee Stadium with a home run off Tampa Bay lefthander David Price as part of a 5-for-5 game that included a game-winning, RBI single in the eighth inning of the Yankees’ 5-4 victory over the Rays.

Jeter joined former teammate Wade Boggs as the only players whose 3,000th hit was a home run. The five-hit game also matched the achievement of the previous player to reach 3,000 hits: Craig Biggio, in 2007 for the Houston Astros.

In addition to the historic Jeter jersey, fans should also check out the newly added “Latino Living Legends” exhibit. Constructed in partnership with the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame, the exhibit pays homage to the six living Hall of Famers of Latino descent currently enshrined in Cooperstown – Roberto Alomar, Luis Aparicio, Rod Carew, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal and Tony Pérez. The exhibit features player jerseys, trophies, collectible merchandise and autographed memorabilia.

The New York Yankees Museum presented by Bank of America is located on the Main Level of the Stadium near Gate 6. Guests can access the museum on game days from the time gates open until the end of the eighth inning, and on non-game days as part of the Yankee Stadium tours.

A.J. trying to follow CC’s lead

Is anyone surprised that CC Sabathia was named the American League Pitcher of the Month for July? The big guy pitched himself into major contention for a second AL Cy Young Award with a strong month in which he had a 4-1 record and 0.92 ERA.

Sabathia led major-league hurlers in ERA, strikeouts (50 in 39 innings) and opponents’ batting average (.140) in July, a month during which he went unscored upon for 24 consecutive innings, the longest stretch by a Yankees starter since 1980 when Tom Underwood went 24 2/3 innings.

It marked the second time CC has won a Pitcher of the Month Award. The other time was with the Yankees in August 2009. Sabathia got off to a good start in August with eight solid innings in Monday night’s victory over the White Sox.

The other side of the pitching coin for the Yankees in July was A.J. Burnett, who was 0-3 with a 4.83 ERA in five starts last month. The Yankees need Burnett to turn it around and to do so in a month that has not been kind to him since he donned pinstripes. A.J. had winless Augusts in each of his first two seasons with the Yankees.

Burnett’s teammates offered an abundance of support Wednesday night as he tried to end a 13-start winless streak in August. The Yanks struck for four runs in the first inning against Gavin Floyd and kept it up by knocking out the White Sox starter one out into the third in roaring to a 13-1 lead.

The Yankees hit for the cycle in the seven-run third: singles by Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter; a double by Jorge Posada; a triple by Mark Teixeira and a home run by Eric Chavez. It was Chavez’s first home run for the Yankees, and Teixeira’s first triple since 2009. With his first two hits, Jeter shot past Lou Brock into 23rd place on the all-time hit list at 3,024 and took aim at another Hall of Famer in 22nd place, Rod Carew, at 3,053.

A.J. had not won a game in August since Aug. 19, 2008, a 2-1 victory for the Blue Jays against the Yankees at Toronto. In 13 August starts since then, Burnett was 0-9 with a 6.34 ERA. He allowed 90 hits, including 12 home runs, in 82 1/3 innings in those starts. In fact, Burnett gave up exactly 38 hits and five home runs in each of the past two Augusts.

‘Latino Living Legends’ at Yankees Museum

A special exhibit displaying artifacts from the six living Hispanic players in the National Baseball Hall of Fame was unveiled Thursday night at the New York Yankees Museum Presented by Bank of America inside Yankee Stadium.

Former National League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Orlando Cepeda, one of the “Latino Living Legends,” as the exhibit is titled, was a special guest at the opening ceremony, along with Gabriel “Tito” Avila, the founder and president of the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame.

“I say thank you to the Yankees,” Cepeda said. “I am proud to be a part of this exhibit with these great players.”

Also featured in the exhibit that was designed by curator Brian Richards and will be on display for the remainder of the season are Cepeda’s fellow Puerto Rican, Roberto Alomar, who was inducted into the Hall Sunday; his former Giants teammate, Juan Marichal (Dominican Republic); Luis Aparicio (Venezuela); Rod Carew (Panama) and Tony Perez (Cuba).

Cepeda, who was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1999, donated a signed San Francisco Giants jersey and helmet and a replica of his 1967 MVP Award. There are also signature jerseys and caps by the other five players.

“It is a true honor to have the ‘Latino Living Legends’ exhibit at Yankee Stadium and for it to be associated with such a prestigious organization”, said Avila, a Bronx native who now lives in San Francisco. “We would like to thank the New York Yankees and Eventus for their efforts in helping us pay tribute to these great players in bringing this exhibit to the fans. This is another step forward towards our goal of having a permanent home for the museum to commemorate Hispanic baseball history.”

Eventus is recognized throughout the industry for developing successful consumer-brand relationships and experiences.

“The New York Yankees are honored to host this exhibit in our iconic Yankee Stadium,” said Manuel Garcia, the Yankees Director of Latino Affairs. “Taking pride in the history of our national pastime is important to us, and being able to highlight the contributions of these Latino Hall of Famers in our Museum is very exciting. The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame and Eventus have done a fantastic job with this important exhibit, and we know our fans will truly enjoy it.”

One of the coolest aspects of the exhibit is a time line of Hispanics’ contribution to baseball over the years featuring Martin Dihigo, Minnie Minoso, Roberto Clemente and Ted Williams, among others. Ted Williams? How many fans know that his mother was of Mexican descent?

Cano can do

It has been 35 years since a second baseman won the American League batting title, which gives Robinson Cano something personal to shoot for. Rod Carew won the fifth of his seven batting titles in 1975, the last time a second sacker had the best batting average in the league. Carew was the AL batting champion again in 1977 and ’78, by which time the future he had moved to first base.

Cano has been on fire of late and is leading AL hitters with a .390 average. He banged out two more hits, including his sixth home run, Wednesday night in the Yankees’ 8-3 victory over the Orioles behind the workmanlike pitching of CC Sabathia (3-1), who improved his career numbers against Baltimore to 10-1 with a 2.62 ERA and at Camden Yards to 6-1 with a 2.91 ERA.

It was an impressive offensive game for the Yankees considering that they got next to no production from their 3-4 hitters, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, who combined to go 1-for-9, although A-Rod did have an RBI on a sacrifice fly. The slack was taken up by Nick Swisher with his second consecutive three-hit game and two hits apiece from Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli.

Plus, of course, Cano, who is showing every sign of a truly breakout season. He is hardly sneaking up on anyone. A year ago, Robbie hit .320 with 75 extra-base hits and 85 RBI. He drove in as many as 97 runs in 2007 and entered this season with a .309 career batting average and .826 OPS. In his current seven-game hitting streak, Cano is 14-for-28 (.500) with a triple, two home runs and five RBI.

Just the other day, George King in the New York Post quoted Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson and a half-dozen scouts  saying Cano is a better all-around second baseman than the Red Sox’ Dustin Pedroia, who won the Most Valuable Player Award in the AL in 2008.

To me, Cano and Pedroia are different types of players who are compared only because they play the same position. Like Carew, Pedroia is a leadoff hitter with limited power, although Boston’s mighty mite is much more of an extra-base threat. Yet no one would ever expect Pedroia to bat fifth in the order as is Cano

Yankees manager Joe Girardi felt Cano could handle the RBI responsibilities. So far he has. Cano has the power potential to remind fans less of Carew than such other Hall of Famers as Joe Morgan, Ryne Sandberg and his namesake, Jackie Robinson. Rogers Hornsby? Well, let’s not get carried away.