Our weekly review of the good, the bad and the odd in Yankeeland
MR. ROBINSON'S NEIGHBORHOOD
The Yankees finished off their homestand last week with a four-game set against the Orioles. The opener on Friday night turned into a disappointing 4-2 loss, their first in seven games vs the O's this season.
Robinson Cano hit his 25th double of the season as the Yankees tried to rally in the ninth inning. It's Cano's fifth season with at least 25 doubles and 15 home runs, a feat matched by only one other Yankee second baseman, Joe Gordon.
Cano also reached 25 doubles for the seventh time in his seven major-league seasons. A search via the Play Index at Baseball-Reference.com tells us that only two other Yankees have had at least 25 doubles in each of their first seven MLB seasons: Joe DiMaggio and Tony Lazzeri.
BYE BYE, BIRDIE
The Yankees bounced back with an 8-3 victory in the day portion of Saturday's doubleheader. The bottom five hitters led the offense, going 10-for-19 with six RBIs, including a 3-for-4 performance by Nick Swisher.
Swisher hit his 13th home run of the season in the fourth inning, and it also was the 1,019th by the Yankees against the Orioles since 1950. That homer made the Orioles the most frequent team the Yankees have homered against over the last 60 seasons, surpassing the Red Sox.
CANO CLEANS UP
In the nightcap, the Yankees wasted no time in giving Ivan Nova a lead, scoring a franchise-record 12 runs in the first inning, en route to a 17-3 rout and the doubleheader sweep.
Zach Britton allowed nine runs while managing to get just one out. He's the first starter in the Live Ball Era to allow at least nine runs while pitching a third of an inning or fewer against the Yankees.
Nearly every Yankee got involved on offense, with eight of nine starters recording multi-hit games and scoring at least one run. Only twice in the last 50 years have the Yankees had eight starters with two-or-more hits and at least one run scored in a game: August 13, 1999, vs. the Twins and April 8, 2001, vs. the Blue Jays.
5-for-5, 5+ RBI at Home
Yankees, Live Ball Era
Robinson Cano put on a show, going 5-for-5 with five RBIs. He's just the third Yankee cleanup hitter to put up those numbers in the Live Ball Era. Alex Rodriguez or Babe Ruth couldn’t match Cano's performance, but Danny Tartabull in 1992 and Del Pratt in 1920 both did.
The Yankees took the final game 4-2, thanks to a bases-clearing triple by Brett Gardner in the fourth inning. He's the fifth Yankee leadoff batter over the last 50 seasons to hit a three-run triple, joining Bernie Williams, Willie Randolph, Horace Clarke and Tony Kubek.
Freddy Garcia tossed six innings of two-run ball for the win. It was his ninth straight start of at least five innings and no home runs allowed. He joins Kevin Brown (2005) as the only Yankee right-handers in the last 20 seasons with at least nine homerless starts of five-or-more innings in a row.
CHARLES IN CHARGE
The Yankees started their seven-game road trip with a 3-2 win in the Windy City. CC Sabathia picked up his major-league-leading 16th win as he went eight innings, allowing two runs on 10 hits.
Sabathia has been dominant since the end of June, during which he is 7-1 with a 1.01 ERA in his last eight starts. He's pitched at least seven innings and allowed no more than two earned runs in each of those eight outings, the longest streak by a Yankee since Steve Kline had nine starts in a row like that in 1972.
The only player who was able to do any damage against Sabathia was Alexei Ramirez, who tagged him for a two-run homer. Ramirez is now 10-for-23 (.435) career against Sabathia, the fourth-best batting average versus the big lefty by any player, and the second-highest among active players (min. 20 at-bats).
In a rain-shortened game on Tuesday night, Phil Hughes pitched like he wanted to stay in the rotation, tossing six scoreless innings with three hits allowed and no walks, as the Yankees shut out the White Sox 6-0.
Hughes, who celebrated his 25th birthday just over a month ago, is the youngest Yankee to throw a shutout while allowing three hits or fewer since a 24-year-old Dave Righetti tossed a no-hitter on July 4, 1983, against the Red Sox.
The rain-shortened shutout was an unusual one for the Yankees. Our perennial Guest Yankeemetrician of the Week and fellow ESPNNY.com blogger, Mark Simon, reports that the last time the Yankees got a shutout in a game that went fewer than nine innings was July 20, 1973, when they beat the White Sox, 7-0 in six innings.
Mark Teixeira hit his 30th and 31st homers of the season to lead the offense. He now has hit 30-or-more home runs in each of his first three seasons with the Yankees, joining Alex Rodriguez, Roger Maris and Babe Ruth as the only players to do that for the franchise.
The Yankees once again won a game with power and speed, hitting three homers and also stealing three bases for the third time this season. No other Yankee team in the Live Ball Era has had that many games with three-or-more home runs and at least three stolen bases.
The Yankees had another early offensive explosion on Wednesday night, scoring 13 runs in the first three innings before cruising to an 18-7 win. The 18 runs are tied for the most the Yankees have scored against the White Sox in Chicago, most recently done Aug. 31, 1974, in an 18-6 win.
Derek Jeter led the hit parade with his fourth career five-hit game, becoming the third right-handed hitting Yankee to have four five-hit games in the last 90 seasons, along with Bobby Richardson and Hank Bauer.
Despite being given a 12-run lead as he took the mound in the fourth inning, A.J. Burnett received a no-decision, as he allowed seven earned runs on a career-high 13 hits.
For that horrible, yet lucky, performance, he earns our Obscure Yankeemetric of the Week: the last Yankee starter to give up that many earned runs and that many hits and not be credited with a loss was Jim McDonald in 1952 game, also against the White Sox.
SUPERNOVA SHINES BRIGHT
The Yankees beat the White Sox 7-2 on Thursday night for their first four-game sweep in Chicago since 1976. Ivan Nova pitched brilliantly in his second start since being recalled, striking out a career-high 10 batters and walking none in 7⅔ innings.
He is the second Yankee starter under the age of 25 to have at least 10 strikeouts and no walks in a game in the Live Ball Era. Stan Bahnsen struck out 12 in a shutout against the Red Sox in 1968.
The Yankees didn’t walk a single White Sox batter in the series. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the first time in franchise history the team has swept a four-game series without issuing a walk.
REVERSE THE CURSE
Looking ahead to this weekend’s matchup with the Red Sox, the Yankees will be trying to snap a seven-game losing streak in the series. That’s tied for the third-longest losing streak for the Yankees in the rivalry, behind only a nine-game streak from 2008-09 and a 17-game streak from 1911-12.
The Yankees pitching has really struggled recently against the Red Sox. They’ve allowed four-or-more runs in 12 straight games, tied for the longest such streak by the Yankees against Boston in the Live Ball Era.
The Red Sox will send Jon Lester to the mound in the opener on Friday night. Lester has won his last five starts against the Yankees. Only two Red Sox pitchers in the last 90 seasons have longer win streaks: Willard Nixon (1954-55) and Tex Hughson (1942-43) both had six-game streaks.
CC Sabathia is the starter for Saturday, bringing a 0-3 record and 6.16 ERA versus the Red Sox this season into the game. The last Yankee to lose four games against the Red Sox in a single season was Pat Dobson, who went 1-4 in 1975.
Katie Sharp is a researcher with ESPN Stats & Information