Results tagged ‘ Steven Wright ’

Yankees knuckle under to Red Sox

Alex Rodriguez was back in the starting lineup Friday night for the first time in six games since July 5. A-Rod had made some noise recently by saying he would take another shot at playing first base in case Mark Teixeira should be sidelined again by a cartilage tear in his right knee.

Playing the position was a disaster last year for Rodriguez, but he is willing to give it another try, particularly if it means getting him additional playing time. Carlos Beltran, back in right field after nursing a tender right hamstring the past 10 day, had cost A-Rod at-bats as the Yankees’ designated hitter.

As the Yanks hope to turn things around after the All-Star break, the sight of knuckleballer Steven Wright on the mound for the Red Sox was hardly welcomed. Wright has been a late-blooming cog in Boston’s rotation this season and earned All-Star recognition, although he did not get into Tuesday night’s game at San Diego.

Wright confounded the Yankees enough to be working on a perfect game two outs into the fifth inning. Ironically, it was Rodriguez who ended the righthander’s bid for a perfecto with a slow-roller to the left of the mound that Wright tried to field with his bare right hand, which was the only chance he had for an out, that became a single and finally gave the Yankees a base runner.

You know it is not much of a night for your team when a squib hit is among the game’s highlights.

That was the case for the Yankees until the sixth inning when Wright, working with a 5-0 lead, suddenly lost the plate. Starlin Castro led off with a more conventional hit, a line single to center. Wright then hit Chase Headley with a pitch, putting a runner in scoring position for the Yanks for the first time in the game.

After Brett Gardner flied out to center, Jacoby Ellsbury walked on a full count to load the bases. Beltran, fresh from his All-Star appearance, whacked a single down the right field line to score two runs to raise his career RBI total to 1,501. He became the 46th player in major league history to drive in more than 1,500 runs.

The Yankees cut the deficit to 5-3 when Brian McCann grounded into a force play as Ellsbury crossed the plate. That would be as close as the Yanks would get as they fell under .500 once again at 44-45.

Michael Pineda had another of his head-scratching performances, a combination of swing-and-miss pitching (six strikeouts) and swing-and-hit pitching (three home runs) in five-plus innings.

Ryan Hanigan, Wright’s catcher, started the assault with two out in the third on a solo home run to left, his first of the season. After a leadoff walk to Jackie Bradley Jr. in the fifth, Travis Shaw drove a 3-1 fastball into the right-center field bleachers. Zander Bogaerts made the score 5-0 in the sixth by following a leadoff single by Dustin Pedroia with his 11th home run, which ended Pineda’s night.

Nathan Eovaldi, who will return to the rotation and start Tuesday night against the Orioles, had another strong outing in relief. He allowed two hit and no walks with a strikeout in 1 1/3 innings. The righthander has pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings as a reliever and earned a chance to get back into a starter’s role.

The sellout crowd of 47,439 at Yankee Stadium was treated to another overpowering inning of relief by Aroldis Chapman, who rang up two fastballs of 103 miles per hour in the a-bat against Dustin Pedroia, one of the lefthander’s two strikeout victims in a perfect ninth inning.

Yanks need to get leads for bullpen trio

The Yankees will get some help Monday, although it will not be in an area of need. Aroldis Chapman, the flame-throwing relief pitcher, will come off his 30-day suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, but the back end of the bullpen is the least of the Yankees’ woes.

The Yankees already have plenty of strength there with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances. Chapman, acquired by trade in the off-season from the Reds, will give the Yankees the most formidable bullpen trio since Cincinnati’s legendary “Nasty Boys” — Randy Myers, Rob Dibble and Norm Charlton — for Lou Piniella’s 1990 World Series champions.

What remains at question is how often the Yankees can give these three relievers leads to protect. The bats went silent again Sunday night as they were tamed by knuckleballer Steven Wright, who came within one out of a shutout ruined by Brett Gardner’s third home run of the season. It was one of only three hits by the Yanks, whose hopes of sweeping the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium were dashed in Boston’s 5-1 victory.

Luis Severino’s record fell to 0-5, although manager Joe Girardi expressed encouragement that the second-year righthander is turning the corner. Severino was clocked for three home runs — two by David Ortiz — but he had nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. The Red Sox added a fourth home run in the eighth as Xander Bogaerts took Chasen Shreve deep. The way Wright pitched, Severino’s fate was sealed In the first inning when he walked leadoff batter Mookie Betts and gave up a home run to Dustin Pedroia in the first row of the right field stands.

Big Papi, on the other hand, launched a pair of bombs that were milestones in a career he plans to conclude at the end of this season, a decision that looks awfully premature considering the way he is swinging the bat. Ortiz pushed his career home run total to 512, passing Mel Ott on the career list and tying Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews, three Hall of Fame sluggers. Of that total, 454 have come with the Red Sox, the second most in club history behind only Ted Williams, whose career total of 521 were all hit for Boston.

Ortiz has just been taking batting practice against the Yankees this season. In six games against them, Big Papi is batting .364 with five home runs and seven RBI in 22 at-bats. The Stadium crowd let him have it with the boos for his embarrassing tirade against umpire Ron Kulpa Friday night, but he pretty much quieted everybody with the pair of massive shots off Severino.

The Yankees had one hit over the first six innings against Wright, 30, a journeyman who has restarted his career with the knuckleball. They did not have a runner in scoring position until the seventh when Starlin Castro led off with a double to right. He crossed to third on a flyout but was thrown out trying to get back to the bag after deciding against trying to score on a pitch in the dirt. Castro, who was picked off second base four games ago, hurt a rib on the play and was pinch-hit for in the ninth, but Girardi said he did not consider the injury serious and expected Castro to play Monday night when the World Series champion Royals open a four-game set at the Stadium.

Chapman will be there, too. Can the Yankees give him reason to get into the game. Yankees fans can only hope so.

Despite loss, Severino makes strong first impression

There was an extra buzz at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night. Yes, the Red Sox were the opponents, which usually gets the fans excited. What was of additional interest was a glance into the future.

Luis Severino, the Yankees’ top pitching prospect, made his major-league debut and a major impression as well. The righthander, who was 7-0 with a 1.91 ERA for Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, was on a 100-pitch count and threw 94 over five innings, many of them quality.

As it turns out, Severino may be as much part of the present as the future. The Yankees have a hole in their rotation with Michael Pineda on the disabled list and not expected back before the end of August. Severino displayed equal measure of power and poise in his first appearance on a big-league mound and may prove as valuable as any of those pitchers on the recent trade market that the Yankees bypassed rather than sacrifice talent within the farm system.

“He’s got poise,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I didn’t think the surroundings would affect him a whole lot. It was definitely a positive for him and what he can mean to us.”

“I felt it was the same as Double A or Triple A, just baseball,” Severino said through a translator, but admitted, “When I went out of the bullpen to the dugout, I felt happy to be here.”

Severino gave up two runs but only one was earned. Was it ever? David Ortiz launched a home run halfway up the right-center field bleachers, which is hardly a capital crime considered the damage Big Papi has done to Yankees pitching over the years, leading off the fourth inning.

“When you miss a pitch, you pay for it here,” Severino said.

The run Severino gave up in the second was more the fault of third baseman Chase Headley, whose wild throw past Mark Teixeira at first base allowed Mike Napoli to reach second base with two out. Severino should have been out of the inning but was tagged for a double by Alejandro De Aza that scored Napoli.

Other than that, it was mostly Severino playing catch with John Ryan Murphy behind the plate subbing for Brian McCann, who will be sidelined several days due to inflammation in his left knee. Severino did not allow another hit, walked no one and struck out seven in a very positive outing.

Unfortunately, the Yankees could not avoid Severino being stuck with the losing decision because their hitters had trouble solving Steven Wright, except for Carlos Beltran, whose ninth home run accounted for their only score in the 2-1 loss. One night after scoring 13 runs, the Yankees scratched out five hits, one of which came in the ninth against closer Koji Uehara, who hung on for his 24th save.

The loss coupled with Toronto’s 9-7 victory over Minnesota reduced the Yankees’ lead over the Blue Jays in the American League East to 4 1/2 games. Despite the loss, there was much for the Yankees to be satisfied about in watching a fresh, young arm display so much promise.