|Joe Girardi on Ryan Dempster: ‘I wish he had to hit is what I wish’||08.19.13 at 3:39 am ET|
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was equal parts comedian and labor analyst following Sunday night’s game that featured the drilling of Alex Rodriguez on the left arm and rib cage by Ryan Dempster.
Girardi made it clear several times that what bothered him the most was that home plate umpire Brian O’Nora didn’t immediately eject Dempster for what he thought was clearly intent to hit Rodriguez. Instead it was Girardi who was ejected.
One working theory is that Dempster was taking matters into his own hands by drilling Rodriguez for the shame he’s brought to baseball and the MLB Players Association. On Friday, Jon Lester was quoted as saying Rodriguez ‘spit in the face’ of baseball by allegedly cheating with performance enhancing drugs several times.
On Sunday night, after throwing a pitch behind his knees and then working the count to 3-0, Dempster hit Rodriguez with a fastball inside.
“You saw me on the top step. I never stand on the top step when he threw the first one behind him,” Girardi said. “You’d have to be really unaware and not paying attention to not know he threw at him on purpose.
“[O'Nora] should say that’s it. You had your shot. The first three were down the zone and the next one was up. It’s not right. You don’t take the law into your own hands. You don’t do that. We’re going to skip the judicial system? It’s ‘My Cousin Vinny.’”
The Yankees erased a 6-3 deficit thanks in part to Rodriguez, whose solo homer ignited a four-run sixth inning for New York in a 9-6 Yankee win.
“I’m sure it did,” Girardi said when asked if the Rodriguez incident fired up his team. “I don’t know I was gone. They rallied and responded.”
Girardi says Dempster can’t hide behind the Players Association brotherhood in defense of his actions Sunday night.
Alex Rodriguez didn’t charge the mound after getting hit on the left elbow and ribs with a Ryan Dempster 3-0 fastball in the second inning Sunday night.
The embattled Yankee superstar saved up his revenge for a solo homer that started a four-run sixth inning in New York’s 9-6 win.
“Honestly, I had like 15 of my teammates come up and say, ‘hit a [expletive] bomb and walk it off,” Rodriguez said. “They were pissed off and so was I.
“It was the ultimate revenge.”
Then afterward, he let Dempster have it with a tirade.
“Whether you like me or hate me, what’s wrong is wrong,” Rodriguez said. “It was unprofessional and silly, and kind of a silly way to get someone hurt on your team as well.”
Rodriguez said he’s not worried that Sunday’s incident could be repeated down the stretch of the season.
“I’m not at all,” he said. “That today kind of brought us together. Joe’s reaction was amazing. Every single one of my teammates came up to me and said, ‘hit a bomb and walk it off’ and they were as pissed as I was.”
There was a moment of comic relief when Rodriguez, appealing a 211-game MLB suspension for PED use, was asked if he thought Dempster should be suspended.
“I’m the wrong guy to be asking about suspensions. I have an attorney I can recommend. Don’t ask me that question.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi charged out of the dugout, appealing to home plate umpire Brian O’Nora that he be ejected for intentionally throwing at Rodriguez. Did Rodriguez expect this at some point?
“Look, my only focus is to play baseball and to play baseball the right way,” he said. “That was silly and unprofessional, and my teammates reacted. I thought Joe’s reaction was incredible. Hopefully, we can take this and build some momentum for the rest of the year.”
|Daniel Nava on his base-running blunder: ‘I just stopped thinking’||07.20.13 at 10:13 pm ET|
Daniel Nava knows better. He knows it. John Farrell knows it and everyone who has watched him play over the course of the last three seasons knows it.
But Saturday was one of those rare moments where a highly unusual play caught him off guard mentally at the very worst time. With one out and the Red Sox down just 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Nava stood at first base when Dustin Pedroia popped a foul behind home plate. Yankee catcher Chris Stewart made a lunging play into the stands and caught the ball.
Nava, who had seconds earlier been reminded by first base coach Arnie Beyeler to stay put with David Ortiz on deck, decided to take off for second on the most unusual of tag plays. Stewart caught the ball then caught himself before firing a one-hop strike to second to nail Nava and end the inning and Boston’s hopes on the day.
“Hindsight, I wouldn’t have done, just based off the situation and based off we had Papi on deck,” Nava said, falling on the proverbial sword. “You see a guy go into the stands, you think you can take the base. That’s a time when even if you can take a base, I shouldn’t have taken the base because it just changes the dynamic of his [Oritz] at-bat and he would’ve still come up. Looking back, I wouldn’t have done it, and he made a good play, and obviously, that exposes it all the more.
“Right before the play happened, I was actually told, ‘don’t go anywhere.’ And then I just stopped thinking when the ball was hit in the air and that’s unfortunate because late in the games, you need to be on top of stuff. That was one of those times that I wasn’t on top of what I need to be on top of, which is just those little things. It happens but it’s unfortunate that it happened then.”
Nava made a point to say that Beyeler was doing his job by reminding him.
The pitch before, he said, ‘you’re not going anywhere, you’re not going anywhere, understand the situation.’ I said, ‘Yeah, totally.’ Then that was a play that doesn’t happen,” Nava said. “I should’ve applied it to that and I just didn’t, and that was my fault.
“Of course, it’s easier [in hindsight] but the coaches were doing their job and letting me know. As soon as the ball was hit and popped up, I turned things off and reacted. He made a good play, no doubt. Good play on the catch, good play on the throw but you have to have a little more awareness than that. It was something to learn from. I would go back and I would change it if I could.”
That was the second base-running boo-boo to end an inning on the day for Nava. He tripped around third base in the bottom of the first trying to score on a two-out Ortiz single to left.
“I don’t know,” Nava said. “I just came around third and didn’t have firm footing that I wanted to and it would’ve still been a closer play but who knows what would’ve happened if that didn’t happen.
“I knew that I was going based on two outs. The play happened right in front of me. I was surprised to see where Vernon was playing, it was right there but you have to send someone in that situation with two outs. He made a good play, a good throw. But unfortunately, it was a rough one for me on the bases but I’ll learn from it. It happens.”
Nava, always a stand-up guy, tried to be as philosophical as possible afterward.
“I think it’s the game of baseball. You play so many games, you have to let them go or else you’re not going to be able to get to the next one. I talked to some of the coaches because I wanted to know what they had to say. I knew pretty much what they would have to say but still you want them to echo thoughts and ideas. You move on because you know were going to get another situation like that and be in another spot like that.”
The Red Sox are giving Jon Lester a little extra time after the All-Star break to re-discover his groove.
Manager John Farrell, at the end of his Saturday pre-game briefing with reporters, announced that Lester would be pushed back from his scheduled Sunday night start to Tuesday night against the Rays. Ryan Dempster will start in Lester’s place on Sunday in the series finale against the Yankees.
Monday’s starter, originally slated to be Dempster, will be determined later, though Farrell hinted that depending on how the bullpen shakes out the next two days, it could be Brandon Workman, who started the final game before the All-Star break on July 14.
“Just coming out of the break, just general wear and tear through the first half of the season, we have an opportunity right now to give him a couple of extra days out of the break that he could benefit from,” Farrell explained.
Farrell said Lester did not express any health concerns.
“Not a concern, but when we came back in for a workout Thursday, and just going through the normal throwing program we’ve done the last couple of days, we just felt like two extra days will help him,” Farrell said.
|Felix Doubront continues to stymie Yankees as Sox cruise to win||07.19.13 at 10:10 pm ET|
Felix Doubront may never have expected to hear his name mentioned in the same sentence with Babe Ruth’s, but he earned that treatment Friday when he recorded his sixth straight quality start against the Yankees. The last Sox pitcher to have as many to open his career against the Yankees was Ruth, who — according to Baseball-Reference.com — recorded seven in a row from 1916-17.
Doubront brought his ERA in six starts against the Yankees to 2.17 (the second lowest of anyone with at least 25 innings pitched against New York since 2012) and picked up right where he’d left off before the All-Star break, throwing 6 1/3 strong innings. Behind that performance, two early home runs were enough to lift the Sox over the Yankees in a 4-2 win.
Doubront pitching into the seventh for the fourth straight time, a welcome sight for a Sox bullpen that has seen more than its share of attrition in recent days (Andrew Bailey was the latest casualty, going on the DL with shoulder injuries Friday). In those 6 1/3 innings, Doubront gave up two runs (one earned) and struck out five, allowing three hits and three walks.
“I finished the first half pretty good. I said to myself, ‘I’m going to keep that pace,’ “said Doubront.
The left-hander did just that. He carried a no-hitter into the top of the fifth, with the caveat that he had walked three hitters to that point. But aside from a pair of doubles to Lyle Overbay and Chris Stewart in the fifth that produced the Yankees’ only earned run, Doubront didn’t surrender an extra-base hit, and needed only 93 pitches to get into the seventh.
With relievers falling by the wayside at an alarming rate, the Red Sox have made a move to build some depth in the organization by signing two veterans.
The team announced Friday before their series opener with the Yankees at Fenway Park that they have signed right-handers Jose Contreras and Brandon Lyon to minor league contracts.
Both pitchers were immediately assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket.
This, of course, is a second go-around with the Red Sox.
Lyon made his major league debut halfway through the 2001 season, going 5-4 for the Blue Jays, with a 4.29 ERA from 11 starts. He was the second youngest winning pitcher in Blue Jays’ history after winning on debut (2–1 over Baltimore).
However, 2002 was a much different story. Lyon started the season as a starter, but lost three of his first four decisions of the season for the Jays, including a career-high seven earned runs against the Yankees on April 10, and again, against the Angels on May 3.
During the postseason, the Red Sox claimed Lyon off waivers. The Red Sox made Lyon a permanent reliever, and Lyon appeared in 49 games in 2003, converting nine saves in 12 opportunities with 50 strikeouts in 59 innings pitched. Lyon missed the entire 2004 season due to injury, after having been traded along with Casey Fossum, Michael Goss and Jorge de la Rosa to Arizona in exchange for Curt Schilling.
The 41-year-old Contreras, who made his name with the Cuban national team in the 1990s, was the target of former Red Sox manager Theo Epstein. But the Yankees beat out the Red Sox for his services when he began his MLB career in 2003 with New York. He pitched two seasons there before moving on to the Chicago White Sox (2004–09), the Colorado Rockies (2009) and the Philadelphia Phillies (2010–12).
|Wednesday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Hiroki Kuroda||04.03.13 at 10:21 am ET|
Clay Buchholz will look to follow Jon Lester‘s solid Opening Day performance against the “under construction” Yankees lineup on Wednesday night.
Buchholz comes into the season as the No. 2 pitcher in the rotation, although at times last year he seemed like the only pitcher putting up respectable numbers. The right-hander finished 2012 with an 11-8 record and 4.56 ERA in 189 1/3 innings of work.
If not for a rough first couple of months last year, Buchholz’s numbers would have been much better. In April, although he posted a 3-1 record, he had a whopping 8.69 ERA and opponents hit .331 against him. In May, he went 1-1 with a 5.60 ERA and his WHIP stood at 1.76. During the summer, when it seemed like much of the rotation was getting worse, Buchholz got better, finishing a combined 7-2 in June, July and August. He also lowered his season ERA from 7.19 on May 27 to 4.50 on Aug. 28.
Like Lester, Buchholz is coming off of a terrific spring training. In six starts, he went 3-0 with a 0.79 ERA, allowed only 12 hits in 22 2/3 innings pitched, and struck out 22. Last year against the Yankees, Buchholz went 0-2 with a 15.26 ERA.
The Yankees will send 38-year-old right-hander Hiroki Kuroda to the hill. Kuroda was a rock for the Yanks last year, going 16-11, posting a 3.32 ERA and logging 219 2/3 innings. Kuroda was durable in 2012, pitching at least five innings in every start after May 5.
In his second spring training in pinstripes, Kuroda went 1-2 with a 1.53 ERA in 17 2/3 innings and held opponents to a minuscule .191 batting average. In five starts vs. the Red Sox in 2012, Kuroda went 2-0 and allowed 36 hits and just four walks in 35 innings.
With all of the key Yankees injuries, Robinson Cano will have to step up in the remaining two games this series. He has had considerable success against Buchholz in his career, hitting .480 with a home run and three RBIs. New Yankee Vernon Wells has the most experience against Buchholz but only hits .192 against him.
For the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia has hit Kuroda well, batting .429 with a home run and two RBIs. Shane Victorino has struggled, batting .214.
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