Our weekly review of the good, the bad and the odd in Yankeeland
GRANDERSON IS ONE OF A KIND
The road trip continued north for a four-game set at Target Field with the Twins, and the Yankees won the opener 8-4 Thursday. CC Sabathia improved to 10-4 on the road with the victory, and now has won 10 or more road games in each of his three seasons in New York.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other pitcher in franchise history to win at least 10 road games in three straight seasons was Jack Chesbro (1903-05).
Curtis Granderson had three hits, including his 10th triple of the season. He's the first Yankee to reach double digits in doubles, triples, and homers since Mickey Mantle in 1955.
And, with his 34 home runs and 22 stolen bases, Granderson becomes the first Yankee ever with at least 20 steals, 30 homers and 10 triples in a single season. In fact, he's just the third American League player to ever reach those totals in a season: Ken Williams (1922) and Nomar Garciaparra (1997) are the others.
NIGHTMARE ON CC STREET
Sabathia just can't seem to beat the top dogs in the AL East. Less than a week after surrendering a season-high seven runs in a loss to the Red Sox, Sabathia had another disappointing outing against the Rays last Friday night.
5 HR Allowed in Game
He gave up a career-high five home runs, all of them solo shots, and 10 hits in the Yankees 5-1 loss. The five longballs matched the most ever allowed by a Yankee pitcher. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only one other Yankee had allowed five homers, all with no one on base, in a game: Joe Ostrowski in 1950.
On a positive note, Sabathia extended his streak of games with six-or-more strikeouts to 10. A search via the Play Index at Baseball-Reference.com shows that in the Live Ball Era, only one Yankee pitcher has had a longer streak: Roger Clemens, with a 13-game streak in 2001.
HIP, HIP, HIP, HIP, HIP, HIP JORGE
Playing for the first time since being benched by Joe Girardi last week, Jorge Posada had the fans chanting his name all game long, as he had a grand slam and two RBI singles in the Yankees 9-2 win on Saturday afternoon.
The grand slam was the 10th of his career, which moved him past Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle and into sixth place on the Yankees all-time list. But he didn’t stop there, driving in a total of six runs and re-writing the record books:
• Posada, who turned 40 this week, became the oldest Yankee to have six-or-more RBI in a game
• He was the sixth Yankee designated hitter with a six-RBI game, a feat last achieved by Hideki Matsui in 2009, and matched by Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Ruben Sierra and Chili Davis
• Posada also was the second-oldest Yankee to hit a grand slam, behind only Jose Cruz (40 years, 343 days old) in 1988.
Robinson Cano hit his 30th double of the season, becoming the seventh Yankee to have at least seven seasons with 30-or-more doubles. However, he's the first player in team history to hit 30-plus doubles in each of his first seven seasons as a major-leaguer.
A.J. THE HUMAN CRUMBS
Following a Sunday rainout, the Yankees headed to the Midwest for a seven-game road trip, beginning with a series against the Royals. They opened with a come-from-behind 7-4 win, as A.J. Burnett notched his first victory since June 29.
Burnett not only snapped a seven-start winless streak this season, but he also got his first win in the month of August in 14 starts as a Yankee. His 13-start streak without a victory in the month was tied with Joe Page (who was winless in 13 June starts from 1944-46) for the second-longest in any calendar month by a Yankee.
However, his performance on the mound was hardly impressive, as he failed to get out of the sixth inning and allowed three runs on 10 hits, all of them singles. This was the 66th time in the last 90 seasons that a Yankee starter allowed at least 10 hits and none for extra bases.
However, Burnett earns our "Obscure Yankeemetric of the Week" by becoming just the third to do it while pitching less than six innings, along with Art Ditmar in 1957 and Mel Stottlemyre in 1971. Ditmar got a no-decision and Stottlemyre was tagged with a loss, so Burnett actually was the first Yankee starter to manage the feat and still get credit for a win.
TWELVE TIMES A CHARM FOR CANO
The Yankees once again brought out the bats in Kansas City, with a 9-7 win over the Royals on Tuesday night. Ivan Nova allowed a career-high seven earned runs on nine hits but still got his 12th win of the season.
The last Yankee to win a game on the road, while allowing that many runs and that many hits, was Tim Leary on April 13, 1991, also against the Royals. Nova and Leary are the only two Yankees to do that in the last 50 seasons.
However, Nova did improve to 8-0 in his last nine starts. The last Yankee rookie starter to win eight straight decisions was Whitey Ford, who won nine straight in 1950, according to Elias.
Robinson Cano hit a tie-breaking three-run homer in the fourth inning, winning a 12-pitch battle with Danny Duffy. A search of Baseball-Reference.com tells us that since 1988, there have been only two other documented instances of Yankees to homer in an at-bat of 12-or-more pitches: Steve Balboni (12 pitches in 1989) and Hideki Matsui (14 pitches in 2006).
JORGE LEAVES ‘EM LOADED
The Yankees couldn’t complete the sweep in Kansas City, losing 5-4 as their ninth-inning rally fell just short when Jorge Posada struck out looking with the bases loaded to end the game.
Since his rookie season in 1997, it’s the 32nd time that Posada has struck out to end the game. During that span, the next-closest Yankee on this list is Derek Jeter, with 24 game-ending strikeouts.
Posada has been susceptible to the called strike-three this season, too. According to Baseball-Reference.com, 48 percent of his strikeouts have been of the looking variety, which is the highest rate on the team.
Derek Jeter continued to swing a hot bat with his fifth four-hit game of the season. My blogging colleague Mark Simon notes that the last American League players, aged 36 or older, to have at least five games of four-or-more hits in a season are a pair of Jeter’s ex-teammates, Tony Fernandez and Randy Velarde, who both did it in 1999.
Katie Sharp is a researcher with ESPN Stats & Information