Results tagged ‘ Blue Jays ’

Kuroda: It’s “pretty frustrating” right now

Hiroki Kuroda, of Japan,, Larry Rothschild, Chris StewartIN TWO PARAGRAPHS: Uh-oh. The Yankees shouldn’t be losing two of three games to the Blue Jays if they’re serious about making a real run at a playoff spot, but let’s focus tonight on Hiroki Kuroda, who suddenly is starting to look like he’s cooked as the innings pile up. This is three rough ones in a row, as Kuroda was pounded for seven runs (five earned) and nine hits in five innings. He has allowed 15 earned runs in his last 16 2/3 innings (8.10 ERA).

No, Chris Stewart’s two-run throwing error didn’t help, but obviously that wasn’t the only problem tonight. Edwin Encarnacion’s homer to left field was a bomb, and Kuroda left a pitch up that Brett Lawrie pounded for a two-run double. The final was 7-2, and it never really felt that close — I mean, Joba Chamberlain was warming up in the third inning with the Yanks down by seven. That’s about all you need to know.

MANAGER’S TAKE: “He’s struggling a little bit right now, but I mean, I looked up and [Felix] Hernandez in Seattle gave up I think nine runs today. These guys can’t be perfect. We need him to turn it around and I believe he will the next start.” – Joe Girardi

QUOTES…

“As a starter, I think you take all of your 30-something starts as important as any starts. Especially after July, where you feel like you want to be better at your pitches. At the same time, I feel like you take it one game at a time. Every start is important, but to not have my stuff at this stage of the season is pretty frustrating.” – Kuroda

“It’s a big blow, especially the way Hiro’s been throwing. He hasn’t been really catching the breaks, and for me to do something like that and add on to the misery, it sucks. Hopefully it’s the last one of the year. Hopefully I can keep my head on straight, we can keep things rolling, brush off some wins, and get back to where we need to be.” -Stewart

“We’ve got to win games, that’s the bottom line. We’re playing the teams that we’re chasing for the most part. There are a couple teams, but we need to play well. We don’t have much room for error. Every game we play is important.” – Derek Jeter

NOTES…

This was the Blue Jays’ first series win vs. the Yankees. … New York is now 19-19 since the All-Star break. … Kuroda has allowed at least nine hits and five runs in three straight starts. … Eduardo Nunez (right knee) said that he’ll have an MRI on Thursday in New York. He’s concerned about the chances of having to go back on the disabled list. … Jeter had his first double of the year. It was career hit No. 3,311, placing him two behind Eddie Collins (3,313) for ninth place on the all-time list.

ON DECK

The Yankees have an off-day Thursday, and then it’s back to Yankee Stadium for a big Wild Card race showdown with the Baltimore Orioles. CC Sabathia (11-11, 4.81) gets the ball for the opener of a three-game series as the Birds will throw right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (8-6, 3.77). First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET on YES and MLB Network.

Quick hits: All fun and games ’til Nuney’s still hurt

greetings-from-torontoHere are the early notes as the Yankees (70-62) and Blue Jays (59-74) prepare to meet here at Rogers Centre. Hiroki Kuroda and Todd Redmond are matching up for the 7:07 p.m. ET start:

There was a wheelchair waiting at Eduardo Nunez‘s locker this afternoon, as the Yankees were still giggling about his display in the eighth inning last night, crumpling to the artificial turf with a right knee injury. Nunez stayed in the game but left for a pinch-runner the next inning, and afterward, Joe Girardi was among those laughing about … shall we say … Nuney’s flair for the dramatic.

After the wheelchair was a big hit, three Yankees scampered out to the turf with athletic tape to create a body outline of where Nunez hit the field last night. This was all shaping up as a fun pregame note until Nunez was unable to get through batting practice. Scratched from the starting lineup, Nunez will be replaced at second base tonight by Mark Reynolds, who is making his first big league start at the position.

Reynolds did play the ninth inning there last night, marking his third big league inning there, and he’s standing at second base trying to get a cram session in as I write this blog post.

Robinson Cano, as expected, is not in the Yankees’ lineup. His hand is still swollen after being hit by that pitch last night. They’ll shoot for Friday against the Orioles.

Injury updates on some Yankees you might have forgotten about: Zoilo Almonte and Travis Hafner are progressing to tee-and-toss. They’re both expected to rejoin the team after rosters expand Sept. 1. Also, Michael Pineda has moved up to side sessions and David Phelps is about to start throwing again. There’s still a shot of them helping the Yanks out of the bullpen this year. Girardi didn’t have much info about Vidal Nuno and didn’t seem to feel like he was an option to help in September.

My Beat The Streak pick tonight: Alex Rodriguez, who has homered in back-to-back games. He has never faced  Redmond; none of the Yankees have. Streak is at one after Derek Jeter went 2-for-5 last night.

Four homers, seven strong innings and one clean X-ray

Robinson Cano; Alfonso SorianoIN TWO PARAGRAPHS: Oh, there’s plenty to talk about tonight here in Canada. The Yankees hit four home runs, two of them coming as Alfonso Soriano joined the 400-homer club, and Andy Pettitte rolled back the clock with seven innings of scoreless, five-hit ball. But the most welcome news of the night came when Robinson Cano’s X-rays showed no break near the meaty part of his left hand, confirming that the Bombers had dodged a blow that would have been devastating to their playoff hopes.

That knowledge made it easier for the Yankees to relax and enjoy a 7-1 victory over the Blue Jays. Alex Rodriguez hit career homer No. 651 and Mark Reynolds also went deep, and the Yankees scratched their heads over what exactly happened to Eduardo Nunez out there in the eighth inning. The tweaked right knee looked scary, but after Nunez stayed in the game, A-Rod asked the befuddled infielder who had shot him. Derek Jeter just shook his head and said, “Nuney, are you kidding?”

MANAGER’S TAKE: “You’re extremely relieved. Obviously [Cano is] day-to-day and I don’t know what we have tomorrow. But the fact that there’s no break is a good sign. We haven’t had a lot of luck on our side when it comes to X-rays so we got some tonight.” – Joe Girardi

QUOTES…

“I was [scared] right away. I was hurt. I was pretty concerned. Mick asked me at first base if I thought it was broken; it was close to the bone. Maybe it missed the bone by an inch. Thank God it was nothing worse.” – Cano

“When I retire, I can think about what I did in the game. I’m very proud. The talent that I’ve got, God gave it to me. I never think I’m going to hit 400 homers in the big leagues with my size, but I think I work hard, try to get better every day. That’s what I’ve got.” – Soriano

“I just feel like everything’s working for me. My cutter is working good and I have a little bit better command of the outside corner. I’m just feeling  better. My sinker is sinking now when I throw it. When you throw that out there and you’re able to get some ground ball double plays, that’s huge. The biggest thing like I’ve said for several months, the pitches are doing what they’re supposed to and they’re cooperating right now. Hopefully they’ll cooperate the rest of the season.” – Pettitte

“These games are so important for us. I’m still so far away from [Willie Mays' 660]. Like I said, we need these wins like oxygen. One thing this team is going to do is leave it all out there for the next 30, 31 days, maximum effort. I like our lineup, the way we have lefty righty all the way through and we’re helping each other out.” – A-Rod

NOTES…

The Yankees are 13-2 this season against Toronto. The 13 wins are their most vs. the Jays in any single season. … Soriano is the seventh player to hit his 400th homer as a Yankee, joining a select group comprised by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, Gary Sheffield and A-Rod. … Soriano also became the sixth player in Major League history to reach 400 homers, 2,000 hits and 250 stolen bases, joining Mays, Andre Dawson, Barry Bonds, Sheffield and A-Rod. … Derek Jeter had two hits. … Who’s playing second base tomorrow if not Nunez? Maybe Mark Reynolds. He played the ninth there, just his third big league inning at the position.

ON DECK

It’s the rubber game of the series as the Yankees give the ball to right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (11-9, 2.71) on Wednesday opposite right-hander Todd Redmond (1-2, 4.44). First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET on YES.

Quick hits: A-Rod embraces the silence

greetings-from-torontoHere are the early notes as the Yankees (69-62) and Blue Jays (59-73) prepare to meet here at Rogers Centre. Andy Pettitte and J.A. Happ are matching up for the 7:07 p.m. ET start:

I think we can all come up with a few reasons why there didn’t seem to be much celebration for Alex Rodriguez‘s 650th career home run last night. Yes, we’re in Toronto, and this place hasn’t exactly been a welcoming place for A-Rod in years past to begin with. Obviously Rodriguez’s appeal of a 211-game suspension and continued allegations of performance-enhancing drug use are also taking the luster away from his pursuit of Willie Mays.

But you know what? Considering the way A-Rod’s eventful month has gone, he really didn’t seem to mind slipping out the side door of the ballpark last night and shying away from the cameras. As he put it today, “Quiet is good.” Rodriguez said that he can’t spend time focusing on personal milestones at this moment because the Yankees “need wins like oxygen right now.” That’s a pretty good line; it’s true, and he’s also right in a lot of ways.

Alex Rodriguez, Andy PettitteCertainly, the relative silence coming from A-Rod’s camp seems preferable to the nuttiness of that weekend when Joe Tacopina went on a media tour while the Yankees tried to focus on a series at Fenway Park. Since Rodriguez’s appeal looks like it’s going to stretch into November or December, keeping the attention on the field for August and September is a solid plan. We’ll have plenty of time for the rest of it.

Girardi’s scouting report on Pettitte tonight: “He’s pitched better lately, which is important down the stretch here. I mean, it’s extremely important for us. I think his sinker has been better, his changeup has been better, and those are two pitches he relies on, and he’s going to need those, there’s no doubt about it. When you lose the feel for it, it becomes more difficult, but he’s been good.”

There has been speculation about Phil Hughes being skipped or losing his spot in the Yankees’ rotation, but Joe Girardi had no decisions to speak about on that front. Girardi only issued Hughes a lukewarm endorsement after last night’s loss, but there’s really no reason to believe they would announce a move so soon. I’m guessing they’ll use Thursday’s off-day to make sure Hughes doesn’t face the Orioles this weekend.

I should’ve mentioned this last night, but Girardi went to Vernon Wells as a pinch-hitter in place of Brett Gardner because he was looking for Wells to hit a home run. Wells struck out.

The Yankees will be represented by three position players in the Arizona Fall League: Tyler Austin, Peter O’Brien and Mason Williams.

My Beat The Streak pick tonight: Derek Jeter, in a last minute switch to the Captain. My original pick was Ichiro Suzuki, who is 4-for-7 lifetime vs. Happ, but he’s not in the lineup. Jeter is 4-for-8 lifetime vs. Happ. Streak is at zero after Robinson Cano went hitless last night.

Girardi: Right now, Hughes is in our rotation

"I have to find a way to turn this around." - Phil Hughed

“I have to find a way to turn this around.” – Phil Hughes

IN TWO PARAGRAPHS: How much length is left in Phil Hughes’ leash? That’s the big question tonight, and Joe Girardi only gave Hughes a lukewarm endorsement. No, Hughes wasn’t terrible, and an Ichiro Suzuki error surely dented his line a bit, but the Yankees seem to be running out of patience. Hughes allowed five runs (three earned) and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings to a Blue Jays team that is very clearly playing spoiler, and Toronto posted a 5-2 victory over New York on Monday at Rogers Centre.

Hughes’ record fell to a nightmarish 4-13 with the loss, but the Yankees have been reluctant to make a change in their rotation because they haven’t been sure there are better options in the system. David Phelps, Michael Pineda and Vidal Nuno all could’ve been in that mix, but injuries have taken them out of the running. Maybe David Huff (3 1/3 hitless innings with five strikeouts) has vaulted into play. Just because they haven’t talked about it doesn’t mean they won’t.

MANAGER’S TAKE: “Right now [Hughes is] in our rotation. We haven’t talked about taking him out of our rotation. I think he had a walk that scored; a couple walks hurt him today. We didn’t make the play behind him and it looks a lot different if it’s three runs in five innings.” – Joe Girardi

QUOTES…

Ichiro: “If I could’ve just gone straight home from right field, I would have. I was that embarrassed.”

Hughes: “It’s been very difficult. Every time I feel like I make some progress the last couple times out, it seems like you have these hiccups and it’s the way the whole season has gone. It’s been difficult, it’s been a struggle. I guess every time you have one of these outings I try and look at the positive. I still have the opportunity to pitch in big games where it really matters and that’s all I can do. I can’t get down on myself or negative all the time. I just have to stay confident and aggressive every time they give me the ball.”

Derek Jeter: “All the games are important, but Toronto’s got a good team. They’re not just going to lay down and let us walk all over them. They have a lot of pride over there, they have a great team. Remember, coming into this season, they were supposed to run away with the division, so they have a good team. Unfortunately for us, we couldn’t figure out the knuckleball today.”

NOTES…

Two milestones – Alex Rodriguez hit his 650th homer and Brett Gardner picked up his 500th career hit in the loss … Derek Jeter went 0-for-3 with a walk and double play. … A-Rod has 35 homers at Rogers Centre, the most by any Blue Jays opponent. … The Blue Jays snapped a streak of 10 straight losses to the Yankees.

ON DECK

The Yankees give the ball to Andy Pettitte (9-9, 4.26) on Tuesday opposite the Blue Jays’ J.A. Happ (3-3, 5.10) in a matchup of lefties. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET on YES. The Yankees have lost three of their last four games after carrying a five-game winning streak into this road trip.

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