Our weekly review of the good, the bad and the ugly in Yankeeland
BABY BOMBERS SHINE
The Citi Field version of the Subway Series kicked off last Friday with a 5-1 Yankees win. Eduardo Nunez was the star of the game, with a career-best four hits in four at-bats and an RBI single.
Thanks to the Play Index at Baseball-Reference.com, we know that Nunez is the fourth Yankee aged 24 or younger in the last 25 seasons to have a 4-for-4 game with an RBI, joining Robinson Cano (2007), Derek Jeter (1996) and Roberto Kelly (1989).
Ivan Nova did his part on the mound, pitching five innings of one-run ball for his eighth win of the season. Only two other Yankee rookie starters since the end of World War II have had at least eight wins before the All-Star break: Spec Shea was 11-2 in 1947 and Fritz Peterson was 8-5 in 1966.
BIG BART BLANKS METS
The Yankees took the second game of the series 5-2 as Nunez once again stole the spotlight with a 3-for-4 night. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other Yankee rookie shortstops in the Expansion Era (since 1961) to have back-to-back games with at least three hits were Frank Baker (1970), Andy Stankiewicz (1992) and Derek Jeter (1996).
Making his first start since coming off the DL, Bartolo Colon threw six scoreless innings and walked just one batter. Colon continued his amazing run this season, as it was his fourth game with at six scoreless innings pitched and one walk or fewer.
Just three other Yankee pitchers in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) have had that many games of six-or-more scoreless innings and no more than one walk at the age of 37 or older: David Wells (2002), Phil Niekro (1984) and Spud Chandler (1945).
MO' HUMAN, YANKS LOSE
Down to their last strike with Mariano Rivera on the mound and trailing 2-1, the Mets staged one of the most improbable comebacks in this rivalry and beat the Yankees 3-2 thanks to a walk-off single by Jason Bay in the 10th inning. It was the fifth time in the history of the Subway Series the Yankees had lost in walk-off fashion, but the first time it happened in extra innings.
Ronny Paulino's game-tying RBI single in the ninth inning came on 1-2 pitch with two outs. Just twice before had Rivera blown a save chance on a two-strike, two-out hit by a pinch hitter:
In 1999, Matt Franco hit a walk-off single that scored two runs to give the Mets a 8-7 victory; and in 1998, the A's Dave Magadan singled home the game-tying run in the bottom of the eighth in a game the Yankees eventually won 9-7 in the tenth inning.
JETES RARE DONUT IN CLEVELAND
The Yankees continued their road trip with a visit to Cleveland, where they dropped the first game of the series 6-3 on Monday. Josh Tomlin shut down the Bombers' bats, holding them hitless through six innings before a Mark Teixeira single to lead off the seventh broke up the no-no.
The Yanks weren’t the only New York team to struggle at the plate that night, as the Mets also failed to get a hit until the sixth inning in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. The Elias Sports Bureau tells us that it was the second time the Mets and Yankees were both held without a hit through five innings on the same day. The first time was May 29, 1964, when the Mets were hitless through six against the Giants and the Yankees were hitless through five against the Athletics.
Derek Jeter returned to the lineup after missing 18 games while on the DL and went 0-for-4. Jeter entered the game with a .370 career batting average at Progressive Field, the highest average at the ballpark of any player since it opened in 1994.
It was his 61st game at the stadium but just the sixth time he failed to get a hit in four-or-more at-bats. Three of those six games have come in the last two seasons, including Monday night.
SABATHIA SIZZLES AGAIN
The Yankees losing streak ended at two games as they won the middle game of this series, 9-2. CC Sabathia tossed another gem, blanking the Indians for seven innings while striking out 11 and walking just two batters, for his 12th win of the season.
It's the second time in as many seasons that he has reached 12 wins before the All-Star break, joining Tommy John in 1979-80 as the only Yankees to win at least 12 games before the break in back-to-back seasons.
Most Consecutive 10+ K Games
Yankees LHP, Divisional Era
Sabathia also had his second straight scoreless start with at least 10 strikeouts. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other Yankee with consecutive games of 10-or-more strikeouts and no runs allowed is Ron Guidry, who did it in 1978.
Curtis Granderson provided the offense with his 24th and 25th homers of the season. Elias reports that Granderson and Mark Teixeira are just the second set of Yankee teammates to each have at least 25 homers before the All-Star break. The other duo was Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle during the famed 1961 season.
Granderson wasn’t the only Yankee to have a good night at the plate, as eight of the nine starters had at least two hits. This performance earns our Obscure Yankeemetric of the Week:
It is just the second time in the last 50 seasons that the Yankees have had eight starters with multiple hits in a road game. This also happened on April 9, 2001, when the Yankees pounded the Royals 13-4 on 19 hits.
The Yankees dropped the rubber game of the series, 5-3, as Justin Masterson silenced the Yankee bats, tossing eight scoreless innings with six strikeouts and just three hits allowed.
The last Indians pitcher to beat the Yanks with that pitching line -- eight scoreless innings, three hits or fewer, more than five strikeouts -- is a familiar name: Bartolo Colon, who pitched a one-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts against the Yankees on September 18, 2000.
Four Yankees went hitless in four at-bats during the game -- Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner. It's the third time that has happened to the Yankees this season, after they had just one game last year when four player went 0-for-4 or worse.
CANO, JOLTIN’ JOE AND BISCUIT PANTS
Derek Jeter’s quest for 3,000 hits returned to the Bronx on Thursday, with the Rays in town for a four-game series. The Yankees lost the opener 5-1 but the Captain inched closer to milestone as Jeter doubled on the first pitch he saw in the first inning. It was the 13th time in his career he’s hit a double on his first pitch seen in a game, and the first time since May 4 last year vs the Orioles.
The lone run for the Yankees came off the bat of Robinson Cano, who hit his 15th homer of the season. In addition to the 15 longballs, Cano also has 21 doubles, and five triples. The only other Yankees to have those totals before the All-Star break were Lou Gehrig (1936) and Joe DiMaggio (1941).
Katie Sharp is a researcher with ESPN Stats & Information