The last week of Yankees baseball was highlighted by a 6-1 win on Tuesday, which punched the Yankees ticket to the postseason for the 49th time in franchise history. But it was one that was rather unpredictable, and never was that more true than in the past seven days in Yankeeland.
Now showing at your local theater: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly In Yankeemetrics this week, with help from Stats LLC, Baseball-Reference.com, and the Elias Sports Bureau ...
SEPTEMBER 24 vs RED SOX
The Yankees lived up to their Bronx Bomber nickname, hitting six home runs, but somehow still managed to add to the loss column, 10-8.
This was just the third time in franchise history that the Yankees lost a game when hitting at least six longballs, but it was the first time EVER at home. The other games were a 9-8 loss on July 10, 1999 vs the Mets and a 10-9 loss on June 23, 1950 vs the Tigers.
It was also the second time this season the Yankees lost a nine-inning game at home scoring at least eight runs (remember that 13-11 loss to the Indians on May 29?). Only three other seasons in the last 60 years have the Yankees lost more than once when scoring at least eight runs in a nine-inning home game: in 2007 they did it twice, and in 2000 and 1997 they did it three times. In the last 90 years, the Yankees are 148-9 when scoring 8 or more runs at home.
The Yankees and Red Sox have played over 1,500 games against each other in the Live Ball era (since 1920). This is just the fourth time since 1920 that the Yankees have hit at least six home runs in a game against Boston and the first time since May 26, 2002. The other games were May 30, 1961 (7 HR) and June 2, 1935. But – this is the only one of those that they managed to lose.
Mark Teixeira was part of the homer parade, blasting his 31st and 32nd home runs of the season. He now has eight homers vs the Red Sox in 2010, the most home runs against Boston by a Yankee since Mickey Mantle had nine in 1958.
SEPTEMBER 25 vs RED SOX
The Yankees were held to four hits today, the 14th time this season they have been held under five hits. Only twice in the past 20 seasons have they had more games with less than five hits in a single season - in 2004 it happened 18 times and in 1991 it happened 15 times.
Nothing more to talk about here. Move on.
SEPTEMBER 26 vs RED SOX
Finally a win, and in walk-off fashion! Lots of good Yankeemetrics to get to, but first let’s get the bad news out of the way.
Mariano Rivera blew his fourth save of the season and third this month. That’s his most blown saves in any month since he had four in August 2003. The most shocking part of his outing was that he allowed four stolen bases.
• Rivera had never even allowed more than two stolen bases in an inning
• He had allowed four stolen bases the entire season entering the game
• And he had allowed just three stolen bases in his previous 109 2/3 career innings vs Boston entering the game
• Elias says yhe last Yankees reliever to allow four stolen bases in an inning was Lindy McDaniel in 1969 against the Twins.
And some more bad news for the Great Mariano: This was his third straight appearance allowing at least one run and two hits. Only one other time in his career as a reliever has he done that: August 12-15, 2007.
Now onto to the fun part -– PIE! Juan “Eagle Eyes” Miranda took a bases loaded walk for the win, the first game-ending walk by a Yankee since Jorge Posada on September 5, 2004 off of the Orioles’ Jorge Julio, and the first in extra innings since Paul O'Neill on May 9, 2000 off of the Rays Jim Morris (better known as "The Rookie").
Kerry Wood made his 21st straight scoreless appearance. Baseball-Reference tags that as tied for 5th-best streak by a Yankee since 1920. Boone Logan actually had a 25-gamer earlier this yr. Rivera had the best one, a 28-gamer in 1999.
And finally, another milestone achievement for Derek Jeter, who won his 1,377th game as a Yankee, passing Mickey Mantle for the most wins played in all-time by a Yankee.
Most Wins Played In, Yankees History
SEPTEMBER 27 vs BLUE JAYS
Another rough start for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, A.J. Burnett, who has been more Hyde (bad) than Jekyll (good) recently. He hit his 17th batter this season, which ties Tommy Byrne in 1950 for the fifth-most plunked batters in a season by a Yankee pitcher. The other four seasons all came in 1910 or earlier.
Burnett also allowed six earned runs for the 10th time this season. In the live ball era, only one other Yankee pitcher has had more such starts in a season – David Cone got tagged for six ER in 11 starts in 2000.
Burnett lost his 15th game, the most by a Yankee pitcher since Melido Perez lost 16 games in 1992. His ERA now stands at 5.33. Hold onto your Yankees caps for this one: He’ll become the first pitcher in Yankees history to finish a season with at least 15 losses and an ERA of 5.00 or higher.
SEPTEMBER 28 vs BLUE JAYS
The Yankees fans national nightmare ended with the win today against the Blue Jays, as the Yankees clinched their 49th postseason berth and 15th in the last 16 years.
CC Sabathia notched his 21st win in dominant fashion, allowing just three hits and one run in eight and a third innings. Amazingly, it was his third game giving up three hits or fewer while pitching at least eight innings THIS MONTH. He is the first Yankees pitcher with three games of at least eight innings pitched and three or fewer hits allowed in a month since Jimmy Key in April 1993.
The Yankees flashed some smallball in this game, scoring all six of their runs without the benefit of an RBI hit. The runs came via three sacrifice flies, two fielder's choice groundouts and a walk. We asked our friends at the Elias Sports Bureau to find the last time a Yankees team managed to that. They couldn’t find any instance in the last 40 years. But they could tell us that another team actually achieved this odd feat this season. The Mets scored all six of their runs without an RBI hit on April 7, but in typical Mets fashion, they lost 7-6.
SEPTEMBER 29 vs BLUE JAYS
Can we blame this one on the champagne and Labatt’s Blue hangover? Sending Javier Vazquez to the mound certainly didn’t help. And not surprisingly he delivered another “Javy Gem”, allowing seven runs on 10 hits in just four and two-thirds innings.
If that pitching line sounds familiar, then you are right...this was the third game THIS WEEK that a Yankee pitcher gave up 10 hits and seven runs (Sabathia on September 23 and Andy Pettitte on September 24). The last time the Yankees had at least three starters give up 10-or-more hits and seven runs in a seven-game span was in August 1958, when Johnny Kucks, Whitey Ford and Don Larsen did it.
Vazquez also allowed three homers. It’s his 10th start giving up at least two longballs, tying Dennis Rasmusssen in 1987 for the most such games by a Yankee starter in team history.
The lone bright spot in this loss was that Alex Rodriguez went deep for the 30th time this season. A quick rundown of where he now stands in baseball history:
•14th 30-HR season, tying Barry Bonds for the second-most all-time
•13th straight 30-HR season, tying Bonds for the longest such streak in major-league history
•14th 30-HR, 100-RBI season, extending the MLB record he set in 2009
•13th straight 30-HR, 100-RBI season, passing Jimmie Foxx for the longest such streak in baseball history
Katie Sharp is a researcher for ESPN's game telecasts.