Our weekly review of the good, the bad and the odd in Yankeeland
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?
The Yankees returned to the Bronx last Friday night and celebrated with a 17-7 victory over the A’s. The 17 runs were one shy of the most they’ve scored in a home game against the A's franchise, bested only by a 18-7 win on August 10, 1935, when the team was based in Philadelphia.
Trevor Cahill allowed 10 of the 17 runs in just two innings, becoming the fourth starter in the last 90 seasons to give up double-digit earned runs in two innings or fewer against the Yankees. A search via the terrific Play Index at Baseball-Reference.com, tells us that the last pitcher to do it was the Royals' Brian Bannister, who gave up 10 runs while lasting just one inning, on August 17, 2008.
The 17-7 score may sound like a common final for a football game, but as my Stats & Information colleague Doug Kern points out in our Guest Yankeemetric of the Week, the Oakland and New York football teams (both the Jets and Giants) have never once played a game against each other with a 17-7 score.
CAN’T ESCAPE THIS LOSS
The Yankees bats fell silent on Saturday, as they went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position in a 4-3 loss, their first against the A’s since April 22, 2010.
David Robertson pitched the ninth inning and, after retiring the first two batters, predictably loaded the bases via a single and two walks, before striking out Ryan Sweeney to end the inning. It was the ninth time he’s struck out a player with the bases loaded this season, and he's also now struck out the last nine batters he has faced with the bases full this season.
We asked the computer programming gurus at the Elias Sports Bureau to help us find another streak like that in major-league history, and after countless database queries, the output kept returning a null set, which means none could be found.
So while his incredible streak is not an official record, it’s good enough for the Yankeemetrician to declare Robertson the Ultimate Pitching Houdini!
Most Seasons with 15+ Doubles
Derek Jeter had three hits in the game, including his 15th double of the season, to raise his average to .274. Jeter now has 16 seasons with at least 15 doubles, passing Bernie Williams for the most 15-double seasons in franchise history.
WELCOME HOME MATSUI
The Yankees bounced back to win the rubber game, 7-5. It shouldn’t have been that close, though, as the A’s scored three runs in the final two innings before David DeJesus hit a liner to Mark Teixeira for a game-ending double play.
David Robertson had a rare meltdown, allowing two runs while getting just two outs in the eighth inning, prompting Mariano Rivera to enter the game for a four-out save, just his second such opportunity this season.
Rivera made Yankees fans sweat in the ninth as the A’s hit four consecutive singles off him, plating a run, before the game-ending double play by Teixeira. This was just the fourth time in his career that Rivera allowed at least four hits and got a save.
Rivera also allowed a run at Yankee Stadium for the first time this season, ending a streak of 21 straight scoreless appearances in the Bronx. That was the second-longest streak to begin a season by a Yankee in the last 90 years, behind a 24-game streak by Graeme Lloyd in 1998.
Hideki Matsui was the offensive star for the A’s, going 5-for-5 with two doubles. Matsui got his fifth hit against Rivera, the first player to get his fifth hit of a game against the great Mariano, according to stats maven and ESPNNY.com blogger Mark Simon.
5+ Hits, Age 37+ vs Yankees
Live Ball Era
Matsui also became the third designated hitter to record a five-hit game against the Yankees, a feat that Ruben Sierra in 2001 and Dave Magadan in 1997 also achieved. And he is just the fourth player aged 37 or older with a five-hit game against the Yanks.
THE NEW M&M BOYS
The Yankees welcomed another West Coast team to Yankee Stadium for a three-game set on Monday. The Mariners came to the Bronx with a franchise-record 15-game losing streak, and the Yankees made sure that it became 16 games with a 10-3 victory.
Derek Jeter homered and tripled, the fifth time in his career he’s done that. His home run traveled 363 feet, and according to Hittrackeronline.com, it would have been a home run at only one other park.
Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson combined for five RBIs, giving Teixeira 75 and Granderson 76 RBIs on the season. They are the seventh set of Yankee teammates to have at least 25 homers and 75 RBIs in the team’s first 100 games, and the first since the M&M Boys (Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris) in 1961.
SABATHIA’S SOMETHING SPECIAL
CC Sabathia extended the Mariners' miserable month another day, pitching one of his best games in pinstripes. Sabathia struck out a career-best 14 batters, allowing just one hit in seven innings, as the Yankees won 4-1. Here's a bullet-point list of notes for his gem:
• His 14 strikeouts are tied for the fourth-most by a Yankees lefty, and the most by a southpaw since David Wells’ 16-strikeout game in 1997.
• He struck out seven straight batters, the most by a Yankee since Ron Davis set down eight in a row on May 4, 1981.
• He is the first Yankees pitcher in the modern era to have at least 14 strikeouts and allow one hit or fewer in a regular-season game.
David Robertson and Mariano Rivera combined to hold the Mariners hitless and struck out four more batters after Sabathia left. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other major-league team to have at least 18 strikeouts and allow one hit or fewer was the Cubs, when Kerry Wood threw a 20-strikeout one-hitter against the Astros in 1998.
Robertson struck out Adam Kennedy for his 10th strikeout with the bases loaded this season. That’s the most bases loaded strikeouts by a Yankee pitcher in a single season in the Divisional Era, passing Goose Gossage, who had nine in 1982.
On Wednesday, with their ace on the mound, the Mariners finally ended their franchise-record losing streak at 17 games, beating the Yankees 9-2. The only other time the Yankees lost to a team on a losing streak of 17-or-more games was in 1926 against the Red Sox, according to Elias.
Felix Hernandez was brilliant, tossing seven inning of one-run ball for the win. King Felix is now 3-0 with a 0.38 ERA in his last three starts at Yankee Stadium.
He's first pitcher to win three consecutive starts on the road versus the Yankees, allowing one run or fewer with at least seven innings pitched, since the White Sox lefty Wilbur Wood in 1972-73.
Phil Hughes left the game after the sixth inning with the Yankees trailing only 2-1. The bullpen was then tagged for seven more runs, though four were unearned. Boone Logan allowed three of the four unearned runs in just one-third of an inning, earning our Obscure Yankeemetric of the Week:
The only other Yankee in the last 50 seasons to give up three unearned runs while recording one out or fewer in a game was Tim Burke, during a 7-5 Yankees win over the Red Sox on August 7, 1992.
Katie Sharp is a researcher with ESPN Stats & Information