Tag Archives: Damon

Game 63. Yanks edge Seattle, 3-2.

Derek Jeter got 2 hits (3372) and scored two runs, and Jacoby Ellsbury not only got the GW hit, but made a couple of fine defensive plays as the Yanks edged Seattle 3-2 Tuesday night.

The Yanks broke out early, scoring two in the first when Jeter singled, Teixeira singled, Beltran doubled in one and McCann singled in another.

Starter Vidal Nuno gave one back in the bottom of the first.

Nuno went 5 2/3, 1 R, 4 H, 1 walk and 2 K in lowering his ERA to 4.97. Nuno picked up a no-decision, because for the 11th consecutive game, the Yanks scored 4 or fewer runs. Sometimes when that happens, the offensive breakout occurs when you don’t need it. For example, Tanaka pitches tonight.

Nuno got help from his D. Ellsbury made two superb catches and Ichiro made a superb catch of his own.

Seattle tied the game in the seventh off of Betances.

Betances 1 1/3 IP, (W, 4-0, 1.69) 1 R, 2 H, 0 walks and 2 K. He hurt himself with a HBP and WP, but picked up the win.

In the eighth, Jeter got his first XBH in a while, a one-out double, and scored on Ellsbury’s single.

Warren and Robertson then shut down Seattle.

Warren 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks and 0 K. 2.31.

Robertson (15th save) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 walk and he struck out the side. 3 K. 3.68.

The win puts the Yanks back over .500 at 32-31 and into a tie for 2nd in the AL East with Baltimore, 5 1/2 back of Toronto.

In other Yankees news:

Shawn Kelley should be back tomorrow. I’d expect Jose Ramirez to be sent down.
Johnny Damon & Hideki Matsui will be attending Old-Timer Day ceremonies on June 22.
2b Robert Refsnyder was promoted from AA to AAA.

Desperate Damon calls on Yanks

Johnny Damon is sitting on 2769 hits, 231 away from 3000. He’s also out of a job right now.

Damon, 39, stated that if the Yanks are interested, he’d fill in while Granderson is out, and at the minimum salary, too.

The Yanks aren’t interested, nor should they be. His defensive skills have diminished, his throwing arm wasn’t that good to begin with, he doesn’t add any youth to a team that already is being thought of as too old, and he’s coming off a bad year.

Last year, Damon hit just .222-4-19, OPS+ 73 in 64 games with Cleveland before being released. He did go 4 for 4 in SB.

After leaving the Yanks after 2009, Damon had a couple decent years for the Tigers in 2010 (OPS+ 105) and Tampa Bay in 2011 (OPS+ 109) but last year was a warning sign.

Maybe someone will pick him up (and there’s other big names, like Jim Thome, out there too). I cannot conceivably see Damon getting the 231 hits he needs for 3000, and a possible HOF induction. I don’t blame the career .284 hitter (with 235 HR and 408 SB, OPS+ 104) for asking around.

But the Yanks should just say no.

Game 104. Yanks get on track, blow out O’s 12-3.

Before I get to today’s game action, some news. Apparently Ivan Nova and Joe Girardi weren’t on the same page after last night’s loss. It was eerily like Ian Kennedy’s comments back in 2008 after he got rocked. Girardi said that Nova had no fastball command, an inconsistent slider and an inconsistent curve. Nova said he thought he had good stuff. Huh? 9 R in 5 IP, suggests otherwise. So does coughing up a 5-0 lead by giving up 7 runs with two out. Nova should learn from Kennedy (who never recovered in the eyes of management and was traded away the next year). You stink, you blow a lead, own up to it. Look in the mirror, don’t make excuses. You blew a 5-0 lead and deflated your team. No excuses. Don’t B.S. Did you get the win? No. You blew a big lead. That is all she wrote.

With the acquisition of Shane Victorino from the Phils, the Dodgers DFA’d Bobby Abreu. His career, like that of Matsui, could be over. As one reporter wrote, Johnny Damon better be looking over his shoulder. Damon right now is at .227-4-19, 4/4 in SB, OPS+ 75 for the Indians, and those numbers are actually WORSE than Abreu’s.

DeWayne Wise was released by the Yanks. He was DFA’d and refused assignment to AAA.

Now for today’s game. The Yanks got a much needed win today (I hope they were read the riot act for the game last night) by beating the Orioles 12-3. It meant the difference between a 4 1/2 game lead over the O’s and a 6 1/2 game lead.

The Yanks jumped out early. Granderson hit #29 in the bottom of the first. Swish then doubled, Cano singled him to third and Jones hit a SF. 2-0 Yanks after 1.

Teix sat again. The just-acquired McGehee played 1B. The Yanks lineup today was Jeter 6, Granderson 8, Swish DH, Cano 4, Jones 9, Martin 2, McGehee 3, Suzuki 7, and Nix 5.

Yes, that’s right. Jones in RF, Ichiro in LF.

Hughes gave one back in the top of the second. He went 6 and only gave up 1 run, but he wasn’t awesome. The O’s left a lot of runners on base.

The Yanks came back with two in the bottom of the second to make it 4-1. McGehee walked and with one out went to second on a PB. Nix singled him to third. Jeter singled in a run to make it 3-1 and after Granderson whiffed, Swisher singled to make it 4-1.

In the third, the Yanks broke the game open by scoring seven runs. With one out, Martin and McGehee walked. After an out, Nix doubled in one run. Jeter then singled in two. Granderson singled. Swisher walked to load the bases and then Cano unloaded a grand slam. Robbie’s 24th HR made it 11-1.

Meanwhile, Hughes was putting two men on in every inning but getting out of it.

Hughes (W, 11-8, 3.96) went 6, 1 R, 9 H, 2 walks and 2 K. Not pretty, but he got out of jams.

BTW, guess which Yankees pitcher was the first to 11 wins this year? You just saw it, Phil Hughes. Kuroda, CC and Nova all have 10. This from a guy people wanted to dump on say, May 2nd, when he was 1-4, 7.48. Since then, he is 10-4, 3.24.

Joba came in and got his feet wet. Not a good outing, but it was a good time for him to get his first MLB game in 14 months. 1 2/3 IP, 2 r, 4 H, 1 walk and 0 K. ERA 10.80. Settle down, Joba. Good that you are back.

Rapada 2/3, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 2.83.

David Robertson 2/3, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 1 K. 2.16.

McGehee got a bases-loaded SF in the 8th.

Jeter 3 h (3225), 3 RBI. Cano 2 h, 4 RBI. 3 h, rbi for Nix.

Game 72. Different lineup tonight

It’ll be a different lineup tonight as Girardi rests some people. Martin still has the stiff back, Stewart catches. A-Rod gets a day, Chavez at 3B, and Granderson gets a 1/2 day off (finally) as Wise is in CF vs. Cleveland (and our old buddy J.D. See below).

Yanks 43-28, 1st in AL East by 2 1/2 over Baltimore. 1 game behind Texas for best in AL, even in the loss column with the Rangers.
The Yankees are two games better than their Pythagorean record.
OPS+ 109, ERA+ 114 (100 is average, higher the better).

BA/HR/RBI  SB/Total Att.   OPS +

Jeter SS .305-7-25  6/7  106    3180 h, 4 behind Ripken, 92 leads AL
Granderson DH .246-21-41  4/7  125
Teixeira 1B  .253-12-42  1/2  110
Cano 2B .299-16-36  1/2  144     .154 (10 for 65) w/RISP
Swisher RF .268-11-45  1/2  120
Ibanez LF .246-11-35  2/2  106
Chavez 3B .264-5-10  0/0  106   1 for 22 w/RISP
Wise CF .133-0-0  6/6  (-11)  4 for 30
Stewart C .246-0-7  0/0  49   15 for 61

Kuroda RHP  6-7, 3.57  ERA+ 117

Jeter’s average is slowly dropping, now down to .3o5. He turns 38 tomorrow and has hit only .231 this month. Since May 4th? .245 in 44 games. Still, he’s the only regular over .300.

Ex-stars struggling. Johnny Damon comes into the Stadium at .202-3-13, 2/2, OPS+ 72. Hideki Matsui for the Rays is at .169-2-6, OPS+ 47.

Game 6. Yanks back at .500 on Swisher’s 10th inn. HR

Nick Swisher had failed in the clutch a couple of times this season, but in the 10th inning tonight, the odds that he would eventually produce were in his favor.

Swisher’s 2-run, 10th-inning HR enabled the Yanks to sweep the Orioles in Baltimore and even their record at 3-3.

After going 12 for the win last night, the Yanks went 10 tonight. Tomorrow is an off-day (thankfully, the bullpen could use some rest) and the home opener is Friday afternoon.

The Yanks got off to a good start. Jeter doubled for hit #3098 and Granderson hit a homer.

CC wasn’t ace-like, and I am starting to wonder when he last was. He struggled at the end of 2011, didn’t have a great S.T. and wasn’t great tonight. He did, however, gut it out.

He gave up two in the second, and did not help himself when he reached out with his pitching hand and made contact with a ball that could have been an inning-ending DP had he left it alone. Instead, two runs.

In the fifth, a walk, HBP and a single by Gardner loaded the bases with no one out. Jeter’s groundout put the Yanks ahead, BUT THEY DID NOT TACK ON. After Jeter’s groundout, it was still 2d & 3d, one out, but they couldn’t get anything more. That could be fatal.

CC gave it right back in the bottom half. 2 runs, 4-3 O’s.

In the top of the seventh, Granderson’s 3d RBI of the game tied it up at 4.

CC went 6, 4 R, 8 H, 2 walks and 8 K. ERA 6.75.

The Yanks BP was depleted b/c of last night’s 12-inning game. Wade, Phelps and Robertson all were unavailable.

Logan went 1 2/3, 0 R, 0 h, 0 walks and a K.

The 8th inning drove you crazy. Remember, I complain on this blog a LOT how much you would kill for a simple SF. A-Rod led off with a single, and… to show you that A-Rod is aging… Nunez PR for a guy with over 300 career SB. Now, after Teix made out,  Nunez did get a SB … and went to third on an e-2.  Swish struck out and Ibanez was walked intentionally. Martin struck out to end the threat. Oh, for a SF there.

A funny stat, courtesy of my friend Josh (The Yankee Truth):
Ibanez now has 2 SB. Alex has 0 RBI.

Swish can be a free agent after the year, and at that point, I really was wondering if it might be better to let him go at the end of this year. Don’t get me wrong. I like Swish. Who wouldn’t? Great personality. Usually you can count on him for .265-27-80 or so. But his record in the clutch and postseason hasn’t been good, and there were times so far this early in the season where it seemed he was pressing—especially with this being his contract year, so to speak.

Soriano came in. It was unknown whether he could be available or not due to the nail issue of yesterday.

After the first two outs in the ninth, Sori got into trouble. A double and a walk. Then an intentional walk to load the bases. No margin for error. But Sori got a K to get out of it.

Sori (W, 1-0) went 1 1/3 and got the win. 0 R, 1 h, 2 walks, 2 K.

In the top of the 10th, with one out, Nunez singled. He was then picked off. Ouch. It looked worse when Teix then doubled. Potential go-ahead run picked off.  Curses.

But then Swish finally stepped up and hit his 2-run HR.

In the bottom of the 10th, a good move by Girardi. He replaced Nunez (who replaced Alex) with Chavez for defense.

… then, for the 3rd night in a row, in comes a certain 42 year old reliever to close it out. The first night, not a save situation. Last night, yes.

… and tonight, #605 was there for the taking.

Four batters later, Mo did his job and #605 for the greatest of all time was in the books. A 6-4, 10-inning Yankees win.

Mo 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks and 1 K.

Update: reports are that Damon will sign with Cleve.

S.T. Game #17. Nova struggles as Yanks lose, 6-3

The first six batters Ivan Nova faced tonight did some damage: single, double, K, 3-Run HR, Groundout HR. Down 4-0, two outs in the first.

The Yanks never recovered, and lost 6-3 to the Orioles tonight, dropping their spring training record to 8-9. Good point from someone on Twitter: Nova did a good job keeping the ball in the park last year, but has given up 4 HR in 9 IP this spring.

Nova went 4, 5 R, 7 H, 0 walks and 4 K. Despite going 16-4 last year, he has options and if he struggles and Pettitte is ready in early May, who knows? Sophomore Jinx?

In the second, Teix doubled (to LCF, a good sign, going the other way against the shift) and scored on a groundout. 4-1. Nova gave up his fifth run in the second, and after two it was 5-1 Birdies.

Dave Phelps went 2/3, 0 R, 1 H, 1 walk, 1 K, and made an error.

Clay Rapada faced one batter and got a groundout.

D.J. Mitchell went 2 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 1 walk and 3 K.

The Yanks got lucky. Robbie Cano took a pitch off the hand. Thankfully, x-rays were negative.

The Yanks scored two in the 7th on a double by DeWayne Wise and a SF by Jose Gil. Wise, a .219 career hitter mostly known for his speed and defense (he saved that Buehrle perfecto with a tremendous catch) is hitting .474 this spring.

George Kontos pitched a 1-2-3 eighth with a K.

Jorge Vazquez is now at .053 for spring training. So much for the remote possibility (after the Montero trade and before the Ibanez signing) that he’d be the DH. Speaking of Ibanez, he was 0 for 3, is down to .065 for the spring, and a friend who has MLB (I don’t) says he hasn’t hit a ball hard all spring and has rarely got around and pulled a ball. I hope that Cashman has Johnny Damon on speed-dial.

The youngster, Mason “Classical Gas” Williams, got a CS, but did get a hit.

The Yanks are off tomorrow, but expect more cuts. Time to get really serious.

JD not in DH mix anymore

Apparently Johnny Damon isn’t a consideration for the DH spot anymore, per conversations Damon had with some NY Post writers.

Along with reports that the Yanks are in extensive talks with Ibanez, it appears as if a deal with Ibanez will be announced soon.

In other news, there is a report that the Yanks don’t have enough for Ibanez AND to bring back Chavez, unless Hal agrees to more $$$. So, for now, it appears that the Yanks are concentrating on Ibanez, no Chavez, and that the door is open for Branyan (like Chavez, 1b/3b/dh, and a lefty hitter) or Hall (righty hitter, but 2b/3b/ss/all 3 of positions) to grab a bench spot.

Ibanez on radar?

There’s more talk and reports that the Yankees are in serious talks with Raul Ibanez, who is said to be amenable to accepting less money to come to the Yankees.

With only 18 days left until position players report, something should get done soon, if not Ibanez, then Damon or Matsui. Girardi prefers a lefty bat, which he can then platoon with Andruw Jones. Frankly, I’d also like the Yanks to wrap up Chavez at the same time (no word on that).

Vladimir Guerrero and Derrek Lee are still out there, as is Fukodome, but they are longshots. Vlad and Lee because of being righthanded hitters, Fukodome for the lack of power that Ibanez/Damon/Matsui could possibly provide.

The problem with Ibanez, Damon or Matsui goes beyond the price. Damon supposedly wants $5MM and the Yanks supposedly have only $2MM to offer. The problem beyond the price is that Ibanez will be 40 in June, Damon is 38 and Matsui will be 38. AGE. There already are reports that the Yanks may sign one of the three with an eye towards a midseason deal if that individual that they DO sign doesn’t work out. Ibanez hit .245-20-84 for the Phils in 2011. CBP is a bandbox as much as Yankee Stadium is. Ibanez hit .278 with 15 homers at home in 2011, .210 with 5 HR away. He hit .256 with 16 HR vs. RHP, .211 with 4 HR vs. lefties. Which means what, exactly? That he’d only be good at home in Yankee Stadium vs. a righty??

So let’s see, if the Yanks sign Chavez and one of the I/D/M trio (Ibanez, Damon or Matsui), the makeup of 13 positional players could be this:

C-Martin (1) and Cervelli (2).
1B-Teixeira (3),
2B-Cano (4)
SS-Jeter (5)
3B-A-Rod (6) remember Jeter will be 38, A-Rod 37
1B/3B Chavez (7)
UT: 2B/SS/3B/ even some OF   Nunez (8)
backup 1B-Swisher/Chavez/Ibanez or Damon could play here too.
DH-I/D/M (9) all can play some corner OF, but no CF. Ibanez’ range factor in 2011 was awful, Damon has no arm, Matsui bad knees.
Jones (10), who’d be 35 and who could play corner OF.
LF-Gardner (11) who’d play CF when Granderson needs a day off.
CF-Granderson (12)
RF-Swisher (13) who could play 1B.

So there would be 13, leaving 12 pitchers. You could go with
Starter: CC/Pineda/Kuroda (37 y.o.)/Nova/Garcia (35 y.o.)
Bullpen. AJ (most expensive middle reliever ever?) (35 y.o.), Hughes, Wade, Logan, Soriano, D-Rob and Mo (42 y.o.). There’s 12. Once Joba is ready, you make a move. We don’t know how things could/would shake out (you can’t predict injuries) but just a guess.

Now for some signings. But at what cost? The Yanks say they don’t have much.

These next two weeks could get interesting.

Do Yanks have interest in Ibanez?

There are a number of free agent DHs out there. Rumor has it that Johnny Damon desperately wants back with the Yankees. Matsui, Vlad, Derrek Lee, Fukodome, and Raul Ibanez are others. Heck, Juan Pierre is out there (not that anyone would want the all-speed, no-power Pierre as a DH).

For a time, it’s been reported that the Yanks only had $2MM left to spend…on a DH and also on another backup infielder (Eric Chavez return?). Brian Cashman was suggesting trading a pitcher (dumping A.J.’s contract, eating some $$$, thus freeing up $$$) to acquire a bat. If not A.J., then Hughes or a youngster not named Banuelos or Betances (Warren, Phelps, Mitchell).

The tide could be turning, however. Now, the best thing may just be to wait out the above, aging list and to see whose salary demands drops all the way down to the level that Cashman and the rest of the Yankees’ hierarchy feels comfortable with.

Today the N.Y. Post reports that the Yankees could have interest in Raul Ibanez. Even ESPN’s Buster Olney chimed in on Twitter:

Raul Ibanez would be a good fit for the Yankees: they’d get him cheaply, he’s got a nice swing for the park,can play RF-LF, and a great guy.

Ibanez could even play 1B. (Swisher can, too, also Chavez if the Yanks re-sign him). Ibanez has been working with hitting guru Rudy Jaramillo, and thinks that he has fixed holes in his swing that led him to hit just .245 last year (.289 OBP). In the bandbox that is CBP, Ibanez still had 20 HR and 84 RBI. But his OPS+ dropped to a 91. Of course, Yankee Stadium’s RF would be a nice target for Ibanez’ lefty swing. Also obvious is that Yankee Stadium would NOT be as generous as CBP was to Ibanez if he drove the ball the other way.

If the deal is a Kuroda-like deal, for one year only, then I can see getting Ibanez (or, for that matter, Damon or Matsui). The concern is that Ibanez turns 40 in June. Heck, he’s only 9 1/2 months younger than the just-retired Posada.

Ibanez had a lower B.A. than Damon or Matsui (I’ll leave out the righty hitting DHs, like Vlad & Lee for now), and is older than both of them. Of course, Damon as the most speed of the trio. Ibanez also had more HR and RBI than either Matsui or Damon did.

I don’t know if the Yanks are favoring one over the other or if Ca$hman is just waiting for one of the trio’s price to drop into his range so he could pounce on the first one who becomes affordable. It appears that Ibanez, a .280 hitter, could (and I’m taking his age into account) post a .265 average, 17-25 HR, and say, 75 RBI. Which would be just fine for what Ibanez probably would be in the Yankees’ lineup—the #7 hitter.

Those are numbers that Posada (.285-21-81 in 111 games in 2009, OPS+ 125) would put up in that spot in the batting order. From 1998-2007, Jorge averaged 136 g., .279-21-84…then throw in the 2009 numbers, and you can see that those are numbers very similar to what you would hope to get from Ibanez. Ibanez probably would walk a bit less than Jorge did.

For his career, Ibanez is a .280 hitter, 252 HR (same total as Bobby Murcer), with an OPS+ of 112. He was an All-Star once (2009) and drew MVP consideration twice, with Seattle in 2006 and 2008 (finishing 21st and 20th).

The question with all the available DH’s is this: how much is left in the tank?

Update: A few hours after I mentioned Juan Pierre above, he signed a minor league deal with the Phillies.

Lidge to Nats

35 yr. old Brad Lidge has signed a deal with the Nationals. Lidge missed 1/2 of 2011, and went 0-2, 1.40, 1 save for the Phils. He had the “perfect” season of 2008, when he had no blown saves while going 2-0, 41 saves, 1.95 that year as the Phils won the WS. From there, he had a miserable 2009, going 0-8, 7.21, 31 saves. An ERA+ drop of 226 to 59.

Lidge was on the mound when Johnny Damon pulled off his “double steal” of 2nd and 3rd on the same play, and he then went on to lose game 4 of that 2009 WS.

Lidge is 26-31, 3.44 for his career with 223 saves. (Hou 2002-2007, Phils 2008-2011).  ERA+ 126. In the postseason, he is 2-4, 2.18 with 18 saves, second only in postseason saves to the great Mariano Rivera (42).