Results tagged ‘ Russell Martin ’
Russell Martin has homered four times in his last six games and is batting .342 (13-for-38) over his last 12 games, boosting his average from .173 to .216. He spoke after Sunday’s game about a slight adjustment he has made at the plate:
“I’m starting to feel dangerous at the plate; more confidence. It definitely feels good. I felt a little bit lost early in the season but now I feel like I’m better. …
“I just backed off the plate a little bit. I felt like I was getting tied up inside and I felt like I was starting to pull off the ball early with my stride. Now I kind of just evened out my stride and I feel like I’m ready to drive the ball the other way more with more ease. I was fighting to do it before.”
Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long has worked with Martin, but said the idea of backing away from the plate a few inches was all Martin’s doing:
“It really helped him. Once he backed off the plate, it took care of his stride direction and it’s really opened up the outer half of the plate. It’s kept him on the ball. Obviously right field has helped him quite a bit at our place, but that being the biggest adjustment, it’s really helped him.”
Long said that Martin didn’t seem to be as frustrated by his sub-Mendoza Line performance earlier in the season as you might have suspected.
“Not as bad as you’d think. He wasn’t tearing things up. He was frustrated a little bit, but he kept believing that all his hard work … everything he’d done through the winter and up to this point … was going to pay off. It’s starting to show real good signs, especially this month. He’s been on fire.”
Ivan Nova started against the Blue Jays’ Triple-A lineup on Thursday in Tampa and allowed three runs and seven hits in 7 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out five. He threw 63 of 94 pitches for strikes, and catcher Russell Martin said he came away pleased.
“He’s been progressing,” Martin said. “He’s been getting more and more consistent as we go along. I think he’s going to have a great year; that’s my personal opinion. He went above expectations last year with what he did, so he’s got maybe a little bit more pressure on him to try to do that again.
“If he keeps the same attitude, that’s what I recognized from him last year the most – his intensity on the mound. He’s a guy that wants the ball and never backs down. He wants to stay out there that extra inning. That’s what I want to see from Nova.”
All three of Nova’s runs allowed came in his final two innings of work (two in the seventh inning and one in the eighth).
Good stuff from Anthony McCarron in today’s New York Daily News on new Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda. McCarron reached Bombers catcher Russell Martin, who offered good reviews of their time together with the Dodgers and said that he’s excited to have Kuroda as a batterymate again.
“He can pitch, man,” Martin said in a recent telephone interview. “When he’s really on, his splitty is on. It gets him out of trouble. He can throw his fastball at 94 or 95 (miles per hour), though he’s mostly at 92 or 93, so it’s impressive. His slider is different, a really short break. It’s not a strikeout pitch, but it gets a lot of balls off the end of the bat, and his splitty is nasty against lefties or righties.”
Martin mentions to McCarron that in 2008, the Dodgers had Kuroda wear an Elvis Presley outfit to take part in an ‘American Idol’-themed rookie hazing.
“He performed in front of all the guys and embraced it,” Martin said, chuckling at the memory. “He was a veteran from Japan, but he put his ego behind him and had fun with it. I don’t know if he knew all the lyrics, but he got after it.
“That’s who he is — quiet at first, then you get to know him and he’s hilarious and then on the mound it’s total focus and concentration. He was a great teammate, I love that guy and I was extremely happy that we’ve got him now.”
“Anything to get the Red Sox out would be awesome for me,” Martin said. “They’re coming up next, so it’ll be fun.”
Asked why he felt so strongly, Martin responded, “Because I hate the Red Sox.”
A career National Leaguer before this season, Martin said that his first season in pinstripes played the biggest part in his disdain for the team’s AL East rivals.
“Of course it’s this year,” he said. “They are fun to play against just because they have a quality team and are gritty and play hard and stuff, but I’d love to see them lose. … I guess it just comes with the territory, you know? When you wear the pinstripes, you just kind of learn to be that way, I guess.”
Martin shrugged when asked if avoiding a possible meeting with the Red Sox in the ALCS was behind the motivation for his comments.
“They’ve given us a hard time all year,” Martin said. “I don’t think we’re scared of them or anything. We’ll see what happens. If we play them, we play them. We just have to beat them.”
Suffice it to say, Martin is looking forward to being on the field against Boston beginning on Friday.
“It’s good baseball. These teams are going to be fighting for it. It’s going to be fun to be the spoiler,” Martin said.
For the record, Martin said with a grin that he doesn’t hate the Rays or the Angels.
TORONTO — Joe Girardi didn’t expect his bullpen to log so many innings so quickly into the second half. But two games removed from the All-Star break, the Yankees’ skipper already finds himself needing a long, bullpen-saving start from ace CC Sabathia. The Yankees’ relief corps logged 7 1/3 innings on Thursday, then three more on Friday. In that span, five different relievers were used, with Sergio Mitre going twice. Because of that, Mitre won’t be available today, and there’s a good chance neither will Hector Noesi, who’s two days removed from pitching 3 1/3 frames.
“It happens during the course of the season and you just have to prepare for it,” Girardi said. “You need some distance out of your ace today, and that’s the bottom line. And I think we’re covered. But if something were to happen to CC in the first inning, then it’d be a little tough today.”
Lucky for Joe, Sabathia is one of the best second-half pitchers in baseball.
Or perhaps the best.
In terms of second-half performance from 2006-10, Sabathia leads all Major League starters who qualify in ERA (2.64), wins (41) and strikeouts (490). For his career, the burly left-hander has a 3.67 first-half ERA and a 3.31 second-half ERA. Now, he’ll be looking to get the Yankees back on track after they dropped back-to-back games, and look to snap the Blue Jays’ five-game winning streak.
A lot of the talk pregame, once again, centered on signs. Russell Martin claimed the Blue Jays were picking up his signs on Thursday. Then last night, Girardi opted to go with multiple signs even with nobody on base, which led to a lot of mound trips and some confusion that may have taken Freddy Garcia out of rhythm (though nobody really used that as an excuse). Pregame today, Girardi vaguely addressed the issue of teams taking other measures besides their own baserunners to pick up signs, saying: “Sometimes we have inclinations that things might be happening in certain ballparks. We’re aware of it, and we try to protect our signs.” Blue Jays skipper John Farrell then denied that any of that is going on at Rogers Centre.
More on that soon.
For now, here are the lineups, with Jose Bautista still out for the Blue Jays and day-to-day with a sore ankle. It’s looking like he won’t play on Sunday, either. Curtis Granderson has the day off from the turf, and Martin gets a blow behind the plate with the quick turnaround …
Pitching: LH Sabathia (13-4, 2.72 ERA)
Pitching: LH Ricky Romero (7-8, 3.09 ERA)
Some links from last night …
* Garcia bested on night to forget for Yanks
* Yankees Notebook, with stuff on Nunez’s learning curve, Jeter’s popularity and Colon’s health
* Martin blames himself if Blue Jays knew signs