Tagged: Hideki Matsui

Phil Hughes starts, Cano clutches, and Mo saves on Jackie Robinson Day

hughes.jpg

Thursday. It was Jackie Robinson Day. It was also Phil Hughes’ debut as the Yankees’ fifth starter of the season.
I’ve been anticipating to watch this game on ESPN for it was my first live Yankees game, although I’m 12 hours ahead from the Bronx. Too bad I missed the first inning. Thanks to my Tita who wanted to watch something else. But thank God I made it in time to see the second inning’s actions.
The first player in the box was Hideki Matsui. The first pitch was a ball, but the second pitch was driven deep to the right centre field. There were cheers from both sides of the crowd, and it was nice of the Yankees fan to still cheer for Godzilla.
I saw Hughes’ disappointment, and I am impressed with how he carried himself. I am always impressed with Hughes. He’s just 23 years old but he carries an aura of a veteran, sort of Andy Pettitte aura.
It was Jackie Robinson Day and the man in the box for the first at-bat of the bottom of the second was the second baseman of the Yankees, who was named after the man who broke the colour barrier. On the second pitch, Robinson Cano drove a solo homer in the right field  off Scott Kazmir tying the game against the Angels.
As if the solo home run was not enough, Robinson Cano did something impressive, besides his defensive skills. With Alex Rodriguez on second base, Cano hit another homer in the right field.
Every fan of the Yankees, and some other fans of other Major League teams, are aware of Robinson Cano’s roots including the significance of his jersey number- 24. Of course, he couldn’t wear #42 for it was retired in the entire Major League in 1997 to honour Jackie Robinson. No one is allowed to wear 42 again, except for Mariano Rivera.
Robinson Cano was the first and last Yankee player who hit home run during the Game 3 of the Yankees vs. Angels series in the Bronx. Derek Jeter was the second and only other Yankee who drove a home run.
It was in the third inning when Phil Hughes fought a battle against the Angels. His pitch count was increasing that certainly had Dave Eiland and Joe Girardi concerned. I was concerned too. It was his debut as a starter of the season. I am glad he won the battle with just one man left on base, whom he had walked.
When I saw Phil Hughes’ pitch count in the fifth inning, I already knew that it might be his last inning. But I also thought that it’d be possible for him to still pitch in the sixth inning but not in the entire inning. I was right.
Phil Hughes still pitched in the sixth inning but Joe Girardi had to take the ball from him after two at-bats, when Torii Hunter and Hideki Matsui, for a walk, got on base. It was obvious that the third, including the fourth inning, had a toll in his arm.
More than Torii Hunter’s wheels, I was worried about Phil Hughes’ arm. I think he had a total of 108 pitches during the game. That was a gamble. When Phil Hughes returned to the dugout, I was impressed by the fans who gave him a standing ovation. It was sweet.
Hughes was replaced by David Robertson, followed by Damaso Marte then Joba Chamberlain. The latter was doing good especially with his slider but something went wrong. I wouldn’t say it’s his mechanics. Joba can throw impressive pitches, but he’s not at par with veteran pitchers nor with Hughes when it comes to mental preparation and attitude, which greatly affect a pitcher’s performance in a game.
With two men on base, Enter Sandman was played in the entire Stadium. Mariano Rivera came to save and close the game. Mo only faced Bobby Abreu, who grounded out to Robinson Cano to Mark Teixeira for the final out of the game.
The Yankees won the third game against the Angels, 6-2 on board. They won the series with 2-1.

The Fightin’ Phillies Off to the Bronx for Game 6. Utley Chase-ing again.

Chase.jpgChase Utley’s bat seems to be on fire during the third inning.

On
Game 5 of the World Series against the New York Yankees, the Fightin’
second baseman hit a home run in the right field. He did the same in
Game 1. But the difference with the home run in the third inning of
Game 5 were the two men on bases- Jimmy Rollins who got a base hit and
Shane Victorino who was hit by pitch as he tried to bunt the first
pitch.

Of course, the pitcher was no longer the big leftie CC
Sabathia but the right-handed AJ Burnett who was starting for the
Yankees on short 3-day rest.

AJ Burnett gave up a back to back
walk to Utley and Howard in the third inning. The home run hitter Utley
stole second base while Howard was batting and reached home plate on
Jayson Werth’s base hit. No Phillies was retired to the dugout yet.

With
Raul Ibañez’ base hit, Ryan Howard scored widening the gap with the
Yankees; 5-1 on board for the Phillies. Burnett, who was dominant in
and won Game 2, was chased in the third inning and  replaced by David
Robertson.

The Phillies were not done fightin’. Ibañez was out
at second base but Carlos Ruiz stayed in first base while Jayson Werth
gave the Phillies another run. 6-1 on board.

The Bronx Bombers
were first to have a run in the first inning before Utley hit his 3-run
homer. Johnny Damon scored on A-Rod’s double. The Yanks had their
second run in the fifth inning. Johnny Damon grounded out to Ryan
Howard but the first baseman missed the throw  to home plate allowing
Eric Hinske, who was pinch hitting for David Robertson and was walked
by Lee with just one strike, to score safely.

Brett Gardner,
replacing Melky Cabrera in Game 5 as centre fielder, kept Jayson Werth
from having extra bases with his speedy and golden catch on a flyball
in the centre field wall in the fifth inning. Werth, not sure if the
ball was caught, kept moving until Gardner who was taking some time to
recover from hitting the wall showed the ball safe in his glove.

It
was the first out for Alfredo Aceves, the second reliever for AJ
Burnett, in the fifth inning. Aceves retired the next two batters on
ground outs.

History seems to repeat itself, in a very quick
fashion. Chase Utley in the seventh inning in Game 4 with two strikes
hit a solo homer off CC Sabathia. Chase Utley, again, with two strikes
in the seventh inning in Game 5 hit a solo home run but off Phil Coke,
Burnett’s third reliever. It was the second homer of the night and the
fifth home run in the series for the Phillies’ second baseman.

Chase
Utley just tied Reggie Jackson for a World Series record with
multi-home runs. The Phillies were still on lead with 7 runs against
the Yankees’ 2 runs.

With two outs, the Phillies had another
home run in the seventh inning. It was off the bat of Raul Ibañez. Phil
Hughes then had to replace Phil Coke.

Hughes may have allowed a
back to back walk in the eight inning of Game 1 and gave up a solo
homer in Game 3, but the young pitcher had his command back in Game 5.
He struck out Pedro Feliz on three consecutive strikes for the final
out of the seventh inning.

Carlos Ruiz had a base hit in the
eight inning but he grounded into a double play along with Matt Stairs
who was pinch hitting for Chan-Ho Park. Phil Hughes retired the last
batter, Jimmy Rollins, on a ground out.

The Yankees line up in
the eight inning was back on top but with Johnny Damon leading. Again,
the left fielder kept the line moving. Damon singled and reached third
base on Mark Teixeira’s double. A-Rod hit the first pitch and earned a
2-run double, as well as a cheer from Kate Hudson, sending Johnny Damon
and Mark Teixeira at home plate. The Yankees were 4-7 on board against
the Phillies.

Cliff Lee may not be as impressive as he was in
Game 1 but he still earned cheers from the Phillies fans as he was
retired to the dugout and replaced by Chan-Ho Park.

A-Rod
reached home plate on Robinson Cano’s sacrifice fly. The slugger who
calls himself an “underdog” in the World Series gave the Yankees their
fifth run.

Not giving up, the Yankees rallied some hits in the
ninth inning. With Posada leading the line up, he hit a double and
reached third base on Hideki Matsui’s base hit. The veteran catcher
reached home plate for another run but Derek Jeter grounded into a
double play. Hideki Matsui was out at second base.

The ninth
inning of Game 4 has become historical. It all began with Johnny Damon,
who on two out and two strikes hit a single on a battle against Brad
Lidge. With Mark Teixeira batting, Damon stole second then third base
that was left uncovered. Teixeira earned a base on hit by pitch. Damon
scored in that inning on A-Rod’s double.

Yet again, Damon on two
out and two strikes singled on a line drive to keep the line moving in
the last inning of Game 5. But the Phillies were on guard to keep the
wheels of Johnny Damon from going any further. With Teixeira in the
batter’s box, Ryan Madson made sure that the game would be closed. And
he did as Mark Teixeira struck out swinging.

The Philadelphia Phillies won Game 5 with 8-6 on board for the last game in Citizens Bank Park.

AJ Burnett and Cliff Lee both wear #34 on their uniform, but the Phillies’ ace was the prevailing pitcher of Game 5.

The
Fightin’ Phillies are pushing the World Series to Game 6 in Yankee
Stadium for a battle against the Bronx Bombers who are one win away for
their 27th World Series Championship title.

Also posted in Bleacher Report.

34 must be a lucky number in the World Series.

AJ Burnett.jpgGame 1 winning pitcher Cliff Lee wears #34 in his Phillies uniform. AJ Burnett is also wearing #34 in his Yankees uniform.

And who will forget Nolan Ryan and Rollie Fingers?

AJ Burnett pitched for the Yankees in World Series Game 2  with a blast. The Yankees beat the Phillies on 3-1, tying the series on Thursday night in Yankee Stadium.

The Pie-Man of the Bronx was able to keep his goal for the game. “I won’t change anything as far as my plan or my attack, just maybe not be so careless from the get go — just throwing balls over the middle to get strike one,” Burnett said.

The right-handed pitcher allowed 4 hits, 2 walks and just one run in seven innings. The run was from Raul Ibañez, who hit a double, driven by Matt Stairs’ single, a ground ball to left field that was deflected by Alex Rodriguez in the second inning.

If the Phillies had a lot of runs in Game 1 on Wednesday, Thursday night gave them a lot of strikes and strikeouts. Burnett struck out  Raul Ibañez twice and Ryan Howard thrice. He struck out four other Phillies.

Burnett’s favoured catcher was outstanding, not just in helping him with his pitches. Jose Molina, also a Puerto Rican, kept a runner from staying in the fourth inning. Jayson Werth hit a single on a full count but while Ibañez was batting, he was picked off by Molina at first base on a throw to Mark Teixeira. AJ Burnett only faced three batters in the fourth inning.

The Bronx Bombers hit two solo home runs. The Yankees’ first homer in the World Series came off the previously shy bat of Mark Teixeira over the fence in the right centre field in the fourth inning. It was his first career World Series home run.

The other solo homer was provided my Hideki Matsui on a fly ball in the right field in the sixth inning. It was Godzilla’s second career World Series home run.

When Jorge Posada was announced to pinch hit for Jose Molina in the seventh inning, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel left the dugout to get the ball from Pedro Martinez, the Phillies starter, and summoned Park Chan-Ho to face Posada who went 0-for-7 against him.

Pedro Martinez pitched for 6 innings and left the mound with 4.50 ERA. He struckout eight Yankees but allowed 6 hits and 3 runs.

A.J. Burnett may opt for Jose Molina to catch for him, but he was the number one cheerleader of Jorge Posada when the veteran catcher hit a single on a line drive to centre field driving in Brett Gardner, who was pinch running for Jerry Hairston, Jr., for another run. The run was charged to Pedro Martinez.

The Philadelphia Phillies were able to keep the remaining Yanks off the plate when Johnny Damon lined into a double play. Posada was out off first. They also caused a gathering of the umpires to discuss the play and call, which was questioned by Joe Girardi.

The Phillies were trying to rally more runs, but the goal seemed impossible as they had to face Mariano Rivera in the eight inning. Posada stayed in the game to replace Jose Molina.

The eight inning was quite a battle against The Sandman who drew the third walk for the Phillies with just one out. Shane Victorino, batting next, was able to hit a single on a ground ball to right field. The Old Guard closer was able to stay out of trouble when Chase Utley grounded into double play, Robinson Cano to shortstop Derek Jeter to Mark Teixeira. Shane Victorino was out at second base.

Ryan Howard was batting first in the ninth inning, but he never had the chance to have a base hit as he was struck out on 0-3 count by Mariano Rivera. The first baseman of the Phillies was totally shut out by Burnett and Rivera in his four at-bats.

After 38 pitches, Mariano Rivera struck out the eighth batter he faced on 2-2 count for the final out of the game.

The Yankees are off to follow the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park for Game 3 on Saturday night. Andy Pettitte will start for the Yankees who will face Cole Hamels.

Also posted in Bleacher Report.