New York Yankees: Baltimore Orioles

NEW YORK -- Old-Timers' Weekend started a little early -- and in style.

If 37-year-old Carlos Beltran is ever going to be invited back as a Yankees great, it will mean there were more moments like Friday night's ninth inning. After the Yankees had failed all evening in the clutch, Beltran came through with perhaps the season's biggest hit, a no-doubt-about-it, game-ending three-run shot.

It turned a two-run ninth inning deficit into a a 5-3 New York Yankees' win over the Baltimore Orioles. It was the Yankees' fourth in a row against their two main competitors in the AL East. They are a season-high six games over .500. Helped by big hits from Brett Gardner and Brian McCann, the Yankees had their first walk-off comeback of the season.

[+] EnlargeCarlos Beltran
Adam Hunger/USA TODAY SportsCarlos Beltran hit a ninth-inning home run to clinch the Yankees' first walk-off win of the year.
"They found a way to get it done and that is what you have to do if you want to play in October," manager Joe Girardi said.

Despite his Adam Wainwright (from his Mets days) legacy, Beltran is the type of guy you want up in October or any clutch spot, beginning in April.

His playoff history is nearly immaculate with an utterly ridiculous 1.128 OPS in 51 games. If he had spent his entire career doing that and winning championships with the Yankees, he would rival Derek Jeter in popularity.

"He's been in it so many times," Girardi said. "He's been in it in big stages, postseason. We all know what he has done in the postseason. He is not going to try and do too much. He is used to the situation."

At times in 2014, Beltran has looked more like he should be playing in Sunday's Old-Timers' Day game than the real ones. Slowed by a bone spur in his elbow, he entered Friday as a .221 hitter. But there have been signs he is feeling better. He nailed a double to lead off the second and has been squaring up balls a little better.

"When you feel good, you want to be in that spot," Beltran said. "When you don't feel good, you don't want to be in that spot."

Zach Britton has been very tough this season. He has forced grounders at an alarming rate. Before Beltran's shot, he had give up only one homer in 37 2/3 innings. Beltran knew this and said he was just trying to hit a ball up the middle to tie the score.

Gardner began the inning by singling. After a Jeter strikeout looking and a Jacoby Ellsbury flyout, Mark Teixeira walked.

McCann, another free-agent signing showing some life this week, acted as Beltran's wingman, singling home a run to set up Beltran's dramatic moment.

"I just felt confident I was going to do something positive," Beltran said. "I know he is a tough pitcher. He has a lot of movement. I just told myself to get something up in the strike zone. Once I was 2-1, that is a hitter's count. I know I had to be aggressive."

He worked it to 3-1 and then Britton fired a 96 mph high fastball, but Beltran was too quick. He connected and launched it over the left-field wall. Acting like a man who has been there before, he simply slapped his hands together before he reached first.

It was the eighth career game-ending homer for Beltran. In doing so, he joined Darryl Strawberry as the only players to nail walkoffs for the Yankees and the Mets.

The Yankees' dugout spilled onto the field, led by a smiling and clapping Jeter. Before Beltran reached home, Beltran removed his helmet as his teammates circled him and jumped up and down.

He would go on to do a TV interview with Meredith Marakovits on MY9. Gardner sneaked behind them and did his best Harry Carson impersonation, dumping Gatorade over Beltran's head.

It felt good for the Yankees. They had failed all night in the clutch, leaving the bases loaded to end three different innings. But now, they had a guy they wanted to count on, again and again, standing in the middle of it all, basking in the joy of his late-game ability.

"It gives you confidence late in games that you have the ability to do it," Girardi said. "We've done it as the visitor a number of times and won some extra innings games that way. This stuff can become contagious. I saw it happen a lot in 2009 where it started and it seemed like we had 10 or 12 of those. That's how you win a lot of games."

Rapid Reaction: Yankees 5, Orioles 3

June, 20, 2014
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NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees won in dramatic fashion as Carlos Beltran hit a three-run game-winning homer in the bottom of the ninth. The Yankees, after failing all night in the clutch, scored four runs in the ninth to beat the Baltimore Orioles.

Ninth Try: Down two runs entering the ninth, Brett Gardner knocked a leadoff single off lefty Zach Britton to begin the ninth. Next, Derek Jeter struck out looking on a 2-2 pitch and Jacoby Ellsbury flew out to center and it appeared the Yankees might go out meekly.

However, Mark Teixeira walked, passing the baton to Brian McCann.

McCann came through with an RBI single to center. It was up to Beltran with men on first and second, down just a run. Beltran smashed the three-run home run off Britton. It was a no-doubt-about-it job.

Gatorade Bath: During Beltran's postgame interview on My9, Gardner doused him with Gatorade.

Before Beltran: The Yankees left the bases loaded in three innings as they failed to take advantage of a wild Ubaldo Jimenez and wasted Hiroki Kuroda's fine performance.

No-No? No: Kuroda started the sixth inning with a no-hitter; he ended it with no lead. Leading off, No. 9 batter Nick Hundley knocked a no-doubt-about-it double to break up the chance at history.

After a Steve Pearce one-out RBI double and an Adam Jones one-out RBI single, it was 2-1 Orioles.

Kuroda would be finished after six, allowing the two runs on four hits.

Bases Loaded I: With one out and the bases loaded in the second, Brett Gardner hit a fly ball to center. It wasn't that deep, but third-base coach Rob Thomson and Beltran decided to go for it. Adam Jones easily threw out Beltran.

Bases Loaded, II: In the fifth, the Yankees loaded the bases, but Teixeira grounded out to first to end the inning.

Bases Loaded, III: In the sixth, the Yankees again loaded the bases. Buck Showalter took out the erratic Jimenez -- he walked six -- and brought in lefty T.J. McFarland to face Gardner. Gardner hit a ball toward the middle. Second baseman Ryan Flaherty ranged to his right and made a nice play, flipping to second for the forceout.

Eighth Try: Down a run, Yangervis Solarte left two runners on by flying out to left against Darren O'Day.

Els of a start: Ellsbury's legs continue to be a weapon. His two-out infield single and stolen base set up Teixeira's RBI single to right.

Ellsbury has now stolen 13 straight bags without being caught.

BR1.5K: It is not as lyrical as DJ3K was, but Brian Roberts' second-inning single gave him 1,500 career hits.

Bet on him: After Matt Thornton couldn't do his job, giving up a couple of two-out hits in the eighth, Dellin Betances bailed him out by forcing Manny Machado to pop out.

On Deck: The Yankees will honor Tino Martinez with a plaque in Monument Park on Saturday. The team advises fans to arrive by 11:15 a.m. Game time is 1 p.m. with Vidal Nuno (1-3, 5.90 ERA) pitching for his spot in the rotation against Bud Norris (6-5, 3.73).

One Mo Time: Rivera vs. Orioles

September, 9, 2013
9/09/13
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AP ImagesMariano Rivera delivers the last pitch versus the Orioles in the final game at the old Yankee Stadium.
All season, we've been tracking Mariano Rivera as he prepares to pitch in his final series against each team. Next up on the goodbye list: the Baltimore Orioles.

By the Numbers
Rivera's career stats vs. Orioles

Regular season

3.05 ERA
77 saves
9 blown saves
138 2/3 innings pitched
117 hits
47 earned runs
104 strikeouts
27 walks

Postseason (1996 ALCS)
0.00 ERA
0 saves
0 blown saves
4 innings pitched
6 hits
0 earned runs
5 strikeouts
1 walk

Did you know?
• Rivera's 77 saves versus the Orioles are not only the most by any player versus the O's, they are also the most saves against a single franchise by any pitcher, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Next on the list is Trevor Hoffman with 68 saves versus the Dodgers.

• Rivera has pitched more innings (138 2/3), more games (133) and faced more batters (554) versus the Orioles than any other team in the majors.

• Rivera has been far better on the road against the Orioles than at home. He has a 4.25 ERA and opponent OPS of .735 at Yankee Stadium versus the Orioles, and a 1.97 ERA and opponent OPS of .480 at Camden Yards versus the Orioles.

• Rivera has 41 saves at Camden Yards, which is by far the most of any visiting player at the stadium and is the most saves by any visitor at a single ballpark, according to Elias. In fact, only two Orioles have more saves at Camden Yards -- Jorge Julio (43) and Jim Johnson (54).

• His batting average allowed of .173 at Camden Yards is Rivera's second lowest at any ballpark where he has pitched at least 15 innings.

• His most dominant stretch against Baltimore came during a near three-year period from Sept. 5, 2004, to June 27, 2007. In that span, he appeared in 16 games versus the Orioles and threw 17 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out 14 of the 63 batters he faced while allowing only 11 baserunners.

• Rivera had 10 saves against the Orioles in 2004, his most against any team in a single season. That's tied for the most by any pitcher against an AL team (Neftali Feliz had 10 against the Angels in 2010 and Jose Valverde had 10 against the Royals in 2011), and one shy of the most by a pitcher against any team (Armando Benitez had 11 against the Mets in 2004).

• Rivera has nine losses against the Orioles, the most he has against any franchise.

• His ERA of 3.05 against the Orioles is his second-highest versus any AL team (3.75 vs. the Angels).

They Said It
"Mariano certainly has a good track record for throwing the ball over the plate. He's been trying to get a little more depth to his breaking ball, but he's been able to get people out by locating his fastball, changeup and slider. And he's a good athlete. A real good athlete."
-- Buck Showalter to the New York media before Rivera's MLB debut on May 23, 1995

Magic Mo'ments
• Oct. 9, 1996: Rivera pitched two scoreless innings in Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS and earned the win in one of the most memorable Yankees victories that postseason, when Bernie Williams hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning.

• Sept. 21, 2008: Rivera got Brian Roberts to ground out for the final out of the last game ever played at the old Yankee Stadium, closing out a 7-3 win against the Orioles.

Win still brings frustration for Pettitte

July, 6, 2013
7/06/13
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Andy Pettitte is one of the best left-handers of his generation, maybe a future Hall of Famer.

But he's also human.

So he felt just like anyone else who worked outside in the sweltering heat on Saturday.

"It was a grind out there, man," Pettitte said.

But it was worth it.

Pettitte earned the win in the New York Yankees' 5-4 triumph over the Baltimore Orioles by giving up four runs (three earned) on nine hits over 6⅔ innings.

Andy Pettitte
AP Photo/Frank Franklin IIAndy Pettitte snapped a three-game losing streak Saturday, but he wasn't too happy afterward.
In doing so, he snapped a personal four-start winless streak. It's no surprise that the win came against the Orioles. Pettitte is undefeated in his past 11 starts against Baltimore since Sept. 19, 2007, going 8-0 with a 2.99 ERA.

Overall, he is 28-6 against the O's. Only Yankees great Whitey Ford (30) has more wins against them in team history.

But Pettitte wasn't exactly popping champagne in the clubhouse after his latest win over Baltimore.

Instead, the 41-year-old chided himself for a lack of execution.

"Usually, when you throw the ball where you want to, you feel like that's going to be an out," Pettitte said. "I haven't been getting that the past three or four starts."

Pettitte's ERA has risen by more than a half-run over his past five starts. That's not an astronomical increase, but it's worth watching because the 17-year vet has noticed a troubling trend in recent starts.

He's hitting his spots, but he's not getting the intended results.

"It just seems like my pitch selection isn't right," Pettitte said. "Maybe I've been a little aggressive in certain counts."

One example Pettitte cited was his second-inning battle with Chris Davis.

Pettitte made the pitch he wanted -- a cutter on the inner half of the plate -- but Davis drove it over the center-field wall for his 33rd home run.

"It was exactly where I wanted, but he's just a big, strong man," Pettitte said.

He gave up seven more hits over the next six innings but managed to scatter them and allow the Yankee offense to come back from an early 3-0 deficit.

He left to an ovation from the 42,678 on hand after he struck out Nick Markakis looking in the seventh.

"I think they all know what I'm trying to do out there," Pettitte said.

But he couldn't mask his frustration.

"I can't remember going through a stretch like I have right now where you feel like every decision you're making out there is not the right one," he said. "I feel really good [physically], and I'm hoping that I can get off on a long streak soon."

Nunez: Best. Comeback. Ever

July, 6, 2013
7/06/13
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Eduardo Nunez Debby Wong/USA TODAY Sports Eduardo Nunez was heavily involved in the Yankees' 5-4 win over the Orioles.
NEW YORK -- As the months passed by, Eduardo Nunez's frustration grew.

Given a golden chance to start every day for the New York Yankees at shortstop, Nunez was instead saddled on the disabled list for two months due to a strained left oblique that took longer than expected to heal. He missed 56 games before finally being activated for Saturday's game against the Baltimore Orioles.

"I was disappointed in myself for being hurt so long," Nunez said. "I'm happy to be back again. Had to turn the page."

In his return to the Bronx on Saturday, Nunez helped make up for the lost time by driving in the game-winning run in the Yankees' 5-4 win. Nunez went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored to help the Yankees win their season-best sixth straight game.

Nunez played in his first game since May 5.

"That's the best comeback you can do -- help the team to win," Nunez said.

Nunez That's the best comeback you can do -- help the team to win

-- Eduardo Nunez
The call-up to the Bronx surprised Nunez because the utility player expected he would not be brought back until Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Needing to make a move to replace David Phelps, the Yankees chose to gamble on Nunez despite him having few at-bats in the minors during his rehab.

"We just said, 'Let's just try,'" Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "'Let's go for it.'"

Nunez hit just .200 with the Yankees in his first 27 games, but he was comfortable at the plate on Saturday in helping a suddenly resurgent Yankees offense. His sacrifice fly in the second inning sliced Baltimore's lead to 3-2, and then he scored in the fifth to make it 4-3.

In the sixth, Nunez rocketed a crisp single up the middle to score Lyle Overbay and put the Yankees ahead by the final score. Nunez said he feels better at the plate now than he did earlier this season.

"I feel more comfortable," Nunez said. "I was working before I got hurt with [team hitting coach] Kevin Long on my lower body, and things work."

As Nunez healed from his injury, the Yankees ran through a gauntlet of different players on the left side of their infield but couldn't find the right fix. Nunez gives a combination of skills the others simply don't possess.

"He's the guy that you've kind of touted as an everyday player for a while," Girardi said. "Has the ability to really contribute offensively, play good defensively, steal bases and do a lot of different things. He has a lot of tools. For him, it's getting him healthy and getting him out there."

Nunez only arrived in New York late Friday night, heading to the Big Apple after playing in a game with Double-A Trenton. Less than 24 hours later, Nunez made the Yankees look smart for calling him up.

"I feel excited. I feel very good," Nunez said. "Happy to do what I love to do."

Nuno 'can't be perfect' in 10th

May, 21, 2013
5/21/13
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Nate McLouth AP Photo/Nick WassNate McLouth pounced on Vidal Nuno's third pitch of the 10th in the Yanks' first loss when scoring first.
Vidal Nuno represents what Phil Hughes once did. The thing about a rookie is that the slate is completely clean and fans can let their imaginations loose to dream.

Hughes was supposed to be a No. 1 and is now more a No. 4 or 5. Nuno is an out-of-nowhere story, the first Vidal to make the majors, and he had not given up a run in his initial eight big league innings.

On Tuesday night, the New York Yankees lost 3-2 in 10 innings to the Baltimore Orioles. It happens. Before Tuesday, the Yankees had never lost a game this season after scoring first. They had been 19 for 19, which was the longest such steak since -- strangely enough, according to the Elias Sports Bureau -- the 1992 New York Mets, better known as "The Worst Team Money Could Buy," went 18 games to begin a season.

In the process of Tuesday's loss, the imagination of what could be for Nuno and Hughes was chipped away a little -- and they really didn't do that much wrong.

Nuno, 25, threw just three pitches in the 10th inning. One of them, a cutter that stayed flat and rode over the plate, was driven over the wall by Nate McLouth for the game-winning, walk-off homer.

"You can't be perfect," Nuno said. "If everyone could be perfect, everyone would be a Hall of Famer."

Three lockers away and just a year older than Nuno, Hughes sounded disappointed with his six innings of two-run ball. Yes, it was better than his two-thirds against the Seattle Mariners on May 15, but his pitch count got too high, too early and ex-Yankee Chris Dickerson drilled him for two solo shots.

Hughes kicked himself because if he wasn't at 102 pitches so quickly, maybe he lasts into the seventh.

"Every time out there, you want to be as perfect as you can," Hughes said. "Obviously, you look at the last start and this was obviously better, but I feel like I can still take some strides forward and do a better job of just commanding the baseball a little bit better and not forcing myself into high pitch counts so early. It seems like it happens a lot if I don't have my plus-command. My goal the next time out is to give us a little bit of a deeper start."

This is what Hughes is as he enters free agency. Is he young enough to make a leap in his career? Sure, he is. But there has yet to be any evidence that he is about to take the next step in his career.

Too many nights end like Tuesday, with Hughes saying he needs to do better because something was not quite right. He explained he felt like he was out of rhythm in the windup. Still, there doesn't seem to be a lot of reasons to believe he will be what the Yankees projected him to be six years ago. He doesn't dominate.

"He gave us a chance to win the game," Joe Girardi said.

That is all you can ask of a No. 4 or No. 5 pitcher. The Yankees' bullpen picked it up from there. Boone Logan, Shawn Kelley, David Robertson and the impressive rookie Preston Claiborne held the Orioles scoreless over the next three innings. To start the 10th, Girardi wanted to go lefty on lefty with Nuno versus McLouth.

Three pitches later, one of which that was not so good, Nuno had to face the media after the first earned run of his career. He did it like an old pro.

"It was one pitch and it cost us the game," Nuno said. "You have to forget about it."

Rapid Reaction: Orioles 5, Yankees 3

April, 13, 2013
4/13/13
7:02
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WHAT IT MEANS: The New York Yankees' starting rotation suddenly doesn't look so strong.

On Friday, Andy Pettitte had his next start pushed back due to back spasms. On Saturday, Phil Hughes got pounded for the second time in a row, resulting in a 5-3 Yankees loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

The Yanks, who had won four in a row, fall to 5-5 on the season. The Orioles improve to 6-5.

BAD TO WORSE: In his first outing of the season, on April 6 in Detroit, Hughes got through just four innings, giving up four runs on eight hits. This time around, he only made it through three, giving up five runs on nine hits -- and it could have been even worse.

The Orioles scored in each of the first four innings. Nate McLouth led off the game with a double, and eventually scored on a groundout. In the second inning, Ryan Flaherty hit a solo homer into the right-field seats. Also in that inning, J.J. Hardy took Hughes to the warning track in dead center, and Manny Machado drove one off the top of the wall in right. The Yankees threw a runner out at the plate, preventing a far bigger inning.

Baltimore added two more runs in the third, including another home run, this one by Nick Markakis. Nolan Reimold led off the top of the fourth with another long ball, McLouth followed with a double and Joe Girardi came to get Hughes.

BRIGHT SIDE: David Phelps was outstanding in relief of Hughes. Phelps threw four innings, allowing just one hit to go along with six strikeouts, no walks and one hit batsman. Adam Jones had the only hit off Phelps, a single in the seventh inning, but he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.

Joba Chamberlain pitched a scoreless eighth inning, giving up just a single, and David Robertson set the Orioles down in order in the ninth.

AT THE PLATE: New Yanks Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells hit their third home runs of the young season -- both solo shots off Orioles starter Jason Hammel, who allowed three runs in six innings. Hafner golfed one into the Yankees' bullpen in the second inning for the team's first run of the game. Wells lined a ball into the left-field seats in the sixth, pulling the Yanks within 5-3. Wells had two hits on the day and is now hitting .333. Hafner is hitting .303.

Robinson Cano, Francisco Cervelli and Lyle Overbay also had two hits apiece; Cano has 11 in his past 19 at-bats. Kevin Youkilis went 0-for-5 -- his first game without a hit since joining the club.

WHAT'S NEXT: The series finale, Sunday at 8:05 p.m. Hiroki Kuroda (1-1, 6.75) will be on the mound for the Yankees, opposed by Wei-Yin Chen (0-1, 3.75).

Melo rooting for the Orioles

October, 10, 2012
10/10/12
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Carmelo Anthony is such a die-hard Baltimore Orioles fan that he actually has a tattoo of the team logo.

So you can guess who he's rooting for in the American League Division Series.

"I've been an Orioles fan since I was like eight years old," said Anthony, who grew up in Baltimore. "I actually have a tattoo, too. I've never been a Yankees fan. I'm close with some of the guys on the team. I support them. I have some mixed feelings right now. Here in New York you have to support the Yankees, but I'm an Orioles fan."

Melo -- who, like Derek Jeter, is a Jordan Brand athlete -- said the Yankees are making things real interesting in the series, which is now tied at one game a piece.

"I watched the games, man. It's a tough series," Anthony said. "The Yankees are a tough team. They're deep, the way they're hitting the ball. But the Orioles, man, you've got to tip your hat off to them."

If there's a decisive Game 5 on Friday, when the Knicks don't have a preseason game, expect you-know-who to be there.

"Hopefully there's a game Friday and I'll go," Melo said. "I'll wear an Orioles hat."

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.

First Pitch: Can Phelps best Chen?

September, 1, 2012
9/01/12
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Wei-Yin Chen Stats To Watch
Chen has a 3.50 ERA in his last nine starts, but for the most part, he’s been very good (he’s had two starts in which he allowed five runs or more in that span).

Chen’s lefty-righty splits are almost identical. Lefty hitters have a .243/.302/.412 slashline (Batting Average/On Base Percentage/Slugging Percentage) against him while righties are .245/.302/.412.

Righties have been hitting Chen better of late, with a .339 batting average, and four home runs in his last four starts. Lefties were hitless in nine at-bats in Chen’s most recent appearance against the White Sox.

Chen’s secondary stuff consists of a slider against lefties and a changeup against righties. The slider netted Chen seven outs without a baserunner in his last start.

The changeup was the tough pitch for Yankees hitters, who were 1-for-9 against it, and missed on half of their 20 swings in his two outings against them.

David Phelps Stats To Watch
Phelps will be making his first start against the Orioles. He’s pitched in relief against them three times, allowing no runs and four hits with six strikeouts and one walk in five innings.

The most encouraging thing for Phelps at the moment: He’s finishing hitters off. In his last two starts, opponents are 2-for-21 with 14 strikeouts in two-strike counts. Phelps has alternated between the fastball and curveball as his strikeout pitch in those two games, with seven strikeouts on each type.

Phelps biggest issue: home runs—he’s allowed four in his last three start (all at Yankee Stadium), including one to a lefty in each game. Lefties have nine extra-base hits in 71 at-bats against Phelps at Yankee Stadium, so he’ll have to be extra careful against the likes of Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters.

Daytime dominance
Despite hitting only .234 in day games, the Orioles are 24-12 in afternoon affairs, and their .667 winning percentage trails only the Reds (.702) for best in the majors. They do have two bats they can count on- Adam Jones, who is hitting .311 with eight homers and 22 RBI in day games, and Chris Davis, who is at .284, with six homers and 17 RBI.

The Yankees are 25-16 in day games, a good mark but a drop from last season, when they went an astounding 44-12. Their best hitter in day games is Robinson Cano, who is hitting .327 with 10 home runs and 28 RBI in 41 games.

Stat of the Day
The Yankees are 85-57 in September/October in the last five regular seasons, the second-best record in the majors behind the Phillies (91-56). The Orioles record is the reverse of the Yankees, 57-85, second-worst in the majors in that span to the Pirates (51-90).

ON DECK: First pitch is at 1 p.m. with the previously-mentioned Phelps (3-4, 2.96 ERA) facing Chen (12-7, 3.78).

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Do you have more faith in Phelps than you do in Freddy Garcia, Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes?

W2W4: Yankees at Orioles (May 14)

May, 14, 2012
5/14/12
12:57
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Jason Hammel Stat To Watch
Hammel has made a major transformation this season and it has led to great success so far.

In a demo on "Baseball Tonight" last week, ESPN analyst Rick Sutcliffe showed how Hammel has fixed issues he had with his follow-through

In turn, Hammel is getting ground balls on 60 percent of the balls hit against him so far this season, up from a 47 percent rate in the three previous seasons.

Hammel has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his six starts this season. In his last three starts -- against the Blue Jays, Yankees and Red Sox -- he’s allowed four runs in 19-2/3 innings pitched, with 20 strikeouts and four walks.

Neither lefties nor righties have been able to hit Hammel. Lefties are hitting .200 against him, righties .191. In fact, lefties are missing on swings against his fastball at a rate (21 percent) double what they did against him last season.

Alex Rodriguez hit four home runs in 15 at-bats against the old version of Hammel from 2006 to 2008. He was 0-for-2 with a walk in his previous meeting with Hammel this season.

Ivan Nova Stat To Watch
You may have read our game preview last week and Ben Jedlovec’s follow-up for ESPN Insider that noted that a lot of ground balls against Nova were sneaking through the area between second base and shortstop.

The other issue specific to Nova is his home run rate. He’s now allowed eight home runs this season, allowing at least one in all but one of his starts in 2012.

Nova is giving up hard-hit balls to left-handed hitters at a high rate. Last season, his rate of balls in the air to balls on the ground against lefties was about 50-50. This season, he’s given up 34 balls in the air and 22 ground balls.

What’s Ibanez Doing Well?
Raul Ibanez’s timing against fastballs has been particularly good lately. Of the last 57 he’s seen, he’s only swung and missed at one. He’s netted six hits against them, while making only six outs in that stretch.

Overall, he’s hitting .346 with four home runs in 26 at-bats over his last eight games.

The Grandy Man Can’t
Curtis Granderson is 2-for-19 with eight strikeouts in his last five games. Pitchers have worked him away with effectiveness. In that stretch, he’s made nine outs against pitches on the outer-third or further away. Five were strikeouts. The other four were on ground balls.

Granderson had 20 homers on outside pitches last season, and four more this year.

Jeter Watch
Derek Jeter (3,142 career hits) needs one hit to pass Robin Yount into 16th place on the all-time hit list.

Like Granderson, Jeter has gone into a statistical funk against pitches on the outer-third or further away. He’s hitless in his last 10 at-bats that ended with such a pitch (five times on fastballs, three on sliders, two on curves).

It looked like Jeter would get a hit on such a pitch in the fifth inning on Sunday, but his ground ball was snagged by Brendan Ryan and turned into a rally-killing double play.

W2W4: Orioles at Yankees (May 1)

May, 1, 2012
5/01/12
1:07
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Brian Matusz Matchups to Watch
Matusz has lost 12 straight decisions dating back to last season, but had his best start of 2012 in his last start against the Blue Jays, yielding only two runs in six innings.

Matusz has allowed 15 runs in 10 2/3 innings against the Yankees during his bad stretch, including four runs in four innings in his season debut on April 9.

Derek Jeter (.500, 11 hits), Mark Teixeira (.412) and Robinson Cano (.409)all have great numbers against Matusz, who is hurt by the absence of Nick Swisher, who was just 1-for-18 against him.

The issue that Matusz has is that their hitters are able to square up and make hard contact. He’s yielded 10 line drives in his last three starts the Yankees and allowed three home runs and two doubles on 18 fly balls.

Phil Hughes Matchups to Watch
Hughes has allowed six runs in each of his two home starts this season, though four of the ones against the Twins were unearned.

Maybe he’ll be the one who shuts down Adam Jones, who hit .333 with six home runs for the Orioles in April.

Jones is 4-for-22 against Hughes and hitless in his last 14 at-bats against him.

Nick Markakis has a history of giving Hughes trouble. He is 10-for-29 aganst Hughes in his career, including a homer, double, single in consecutive at-bats over two games last season.

Cano Still Stuck on One Home Run
Robinson Cano finished April with one home run, his fewest in April since hitting only one in 2007. This is unusual for Cano. He hit eight home runs in April in each of the last two seasons.

Lefties have given Cano some trouble this season, tying him up with fastballs in and making him reach for breaking balls away. He’s made a dozen of his 26 outs against lefties on those types of pitches.

Jeter Watch
Look out folks, Jeter is slumping against left-handed pitching. We say that with humor intended: He’s 17-for-30 against lefties this season, but hitless in his last three at-bats.

The thing about being 17-for-30 against lefties is that you could go hitless in your next 26 at-bats against them, and still be hitting over .300.

Jeter has hit .300 or better against left-handed pitching in each of the last 12 seasons.

One other Jeter note as we enter the new month: His .296 career batting average in May is his lowest for any full calendar month

Game 142: Yankees @ Orioles

September, 8, 2011
9/08/11
10:55
AM ET
Here are the lineups for today's game in Baltimore, first pitch at 1:05 p.m. -- weather permitting:

YANKEES

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Eric Chavez 3B
Francisco Cervelli C
Brett Gardner LF

Ivan Nova RHP

ORIOLES

JJ Hardy SS,
Nick Markakis RF,
Adam Jones CF,
Vladimir Guerrero DH,
Matt Wieters C,
Mark Reynolds 1B,
Nolan Reimold LF,
Chris Davis 3B,
Robert Andino 2B

Alfredo Simon RHP

W2W4: Orioles at Yankees (Tuesday)

September, 6, 2011
9/06/11
11:58
AM ET


Phil Hughes Stats2Watch4
Hughes looked like he had turned a corner, with a streak of four starts in a row (July 27 to August 19) in which he allowed two runs or fewer, but he’s gotten bopped for six runs in each of his last two starts, against the Athletics and Red Sox.

Left-handed hitters crushed Hughes in those two games, with 12 hits, including six for extra bases, in 28 at-bats. They were 1-for-26 combined in his starts against the Rays and Twins.

The issues differed by start. Against Oakland, Hughes gave up four two-strike hits to lefties, after not allowing any in his three previous starts.

Against Boston, Hughes yielded a season-high 10 fly balls, including doubles to Jason Varitek and Carl Crawford, and a home run by David Ortiz, all on high fastballs, a pitch that Hughes threw at a much higher rate in this game (30 of 51 fastballs were upper-third or above) than he typically would to a left-handed hitter.

Nick Markakis has the best numbers among the Orioles against Hughes- 9-for-26, including 2-for-3 with a home run and a double when the two met on April 14.

Tommy Hunter Stats2Watch4
Hunter allowed three home runs to the Yankees on August 26, but beat them that day. This will be his Yankee Stadium regular-season debut. He allowed three runs in 3 1/3 innings pitched there in a start in Game 4 of the ALCS, getting a no-decision in a Rangers win.

There are a bunch of numbers that would indicate Hunter could have a rough time in this ballpark. He sports a 5.43 career road ERA and he’s one of six pitchers averaging less than four strikeouts-per-nine-innings this season.

It’s like Night and Day
The Yankees are a mere 48-44 in night games this season, 38-9 in day time. One more night time defeat would match their total from 2010, when they went 59-45.

One of the biggest disparities belongs to leftfielder Brett Gardner, who has been a completely different player in daylight hours this season.

Gardner is hitting .239 with a .310 on-base percentage at night. He’s .320 with a .432 on-base percentage in day games. His strikeout/walk numbers are also significantly different- 24 strikeouts and 26 walks during day games; 59 strikeouts, 28 walks at night.

Granderson due?
Curtis Granderson is 0-for-his-last 14 and 3-for-his-last-32 with 14 strikeouts against right-handed pitching since August 20, though he has drawn 11 walks in that stretch.

Granderson’s hit a few more foul balls than usual recently against fastballs and cutters from righties, with 34 in his last 60 swings, about half-a-dozen above the number he’d be projected to hit had he maintained his seasonal foul ball rate.

Granderson is due to hit a line drive. He hasn’t hit one against a right-handed pitcher since August 19. Prior to that, he was averaging one for every four balls he put into play vs righties.

Ouch
The Yankees hit two batters in Monday’s game, a rarity. In their previous 34 games, they’d only hit two batters. Dating back to July 30, the Yankees have been hit by 22 pitches. Their opponents have been plunked four times.

O's rip Yanks over rescheduling squable

August, 28, 2011
8/28/11
5:10
PM ET
Yankees player rep Curtis Granderson remains optimistic that the makeup day for the Yankees-Orioles' game rained out as a result of Hurricane Irene will be changed.

The Orioles have scheduled the game for Sept. 8 but the Yankees have not agreed to play on that date.

"We don't want to do it. You know, you need both teams to play it and considering there are options, that means that we do have an opportunity to possibly change it," Granderson said after the Yankees' 2-0 loss to Baltimore on Sunday.

The Orioles, however, say they aren't interested in discussing the matter and blasted the Yankees for complaining about it in light of the hurricane.

"Are we really still talking about this? We've just seen a hurricane come through this region which has caused millions to be without power, tens of millions of dollars in property damage and even several deaths," Orioles Director of Communications Greg Bader wrote in an email to ESPNNewYork.com. "We've got people out there literally trying to put their lives back together and yet there are some still worrying about a rescheduled game time?

"We will be playing the game on September 8. We will be selecting a game time and will announce it shortly. It is time to move on to more pressing matters."

Granderson said that the Yanks are "looking into" the possibility of filing a formal protest. He said he believed the decision would be made by the MLB Players' Union and the Commissioner's Office, but was unsure of the specifics.

According to Granderson, the Yankees would prefer to reschedule the game at the end of the season, only if it has any bearing on a playoff race. He did not think that idea had been formally presented to the Orioles.

Granderson also seemed amenable to play the game on Sept. 8 if it was played during the day, but the centerfielder said the Orioles' front office intimated that they only wanted to play the game at night.

Granderson said other options included playing the game on Sept. 15, a common off day for both teams. Though the Yankees don't want to play on that day because they will be traveling from Seattle to Toronto.

There is also the possibility that the game will be made up as a doubleheader in the Bronx during the Yankees' three-game series against Baltimore on Sept. 5 - Sept. 7. Though Granderson said that was highly unlikely. He also said the Orioles may be opposed to playing at the end of the season if necessary, because there is a possibility the game would never be played.

"Both sides have says on it," Granderson said. "You need both sides to finally come to an agreement on it."

Joe Girardi said before Sunday's game that he was still upset over the decision to reschedule on Sept 8 because it is essentially the Yankees' last off day.

The Yankees have one official off-day left -- scheduled for Sept. 15 -- but it is not a traditional off day as the team will travel cross country from Seattle to Toronto before a three-game series against Toronto on Sept. 16.

In anticipation of Saturday's rainout due to Hurricane Irene, the Yankees had suggested earlier this week playing a doubleheader on Friday but were rebuffed. The Yankees also offered to play the first game early in the morning Saturday, since the forecast called for heavy rain later in the afternoon. That, too, was rejected.

Girardi was asked why the Yankees were against playing back-to-back double-headers on Sunday and Monday in Baltimore, which was one offer made by the Orioles.

"Physically how do you do that? How do you physically do that when you're playing day after day after day," said Girardi, whose Yankees are scheduled to play the final 33 games of the season in 32 days. ".... I don't think it's possible and it's not fair to the product of the game. It's one thing if you have to make them up at the end of the year and it's the last two days of the season ... and you have extra bodies."

Yankees: Orioles won't budge

August, 26, 2011
8/26/11
7:07
PM ET
In spite of the impending landfall of Hurricane Irene, which already has caused several teams to cancel games this weekend, the Yankees and Orioles are sticking to the rather ambitious schedule of getting in five games over the next four days, including a day-night doubleheader Saturday to make up for a rainout here earlier in the season.

According to the Yankees, it is the fault of the Orioles, who refused an offer to play a doubleheader Friday night in anticipation of a rainout of at least one of Saturday's games and the distinct possibility that Sunday would be a washout as well.

As late as 6:30 p.m. ET Friday, the two teams had yet to come up with a contingency plan.

"We're hoping to hear as soon as possible," said Curtis Granderson, the Yankees' player rep. "We reached out as early as Wednesday and still haven't gotten any word one way or the other. We've been making the effort to do something, to make some kind of change. It seems like everybody else in sports is making adjustments; why can't we do it here?''

Joe Girardi seemed a bit miffed by the Orioles' apparent refusal to budge from the regular schedule, which virtually assures them of five large crowds this weekend, a rarity for a team that is averaging about 21,000 fans per game this season, less than half the capacity of Camden Yards.

"We were hoping we'd play a split doubleheader today and we tried,'' Girardi said. "You would've thought you would've known by now. I don't really understand why we didn't play two today. Other teams moved games; the Orioles didn't want to do it.''

The Yankees are particularly disturbed by potentially losing one of their last two off days this season, which occur Sept. 8 and Sept. 15, the day before and the day after a weeklong West Coast road trip. Just before first pitch Friday night, with no resolution having been reached, the Yankees released the following statement, attributed to Granderson:

"Given the advance notice and the fact that other teams have adjusted their schedules ahead of time, we are perplexed at the current options we are being presented with in regards to making up any games postponed due to Hurricane Irene. The proposition to take away our only full off day in the final month of the season is not an option, even though the Orioles' front office and the Commissioner’s office think this is an adequate solution. It's a shame that the decision has now come down to possibly having to play four games in two days or having to come back to Baltimore for another makeup game.''

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Brett Gardner
BA HR RBI R
.287 8 36 54
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 47
RB. Gardner 54
OPSM. Teixeira .808
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135