Jun
17

Tanaka & Gardner lead Yankees to 3-1 win over Blue Jays in series opener

By

For the 14th straight time, the Yankees beat the Blue Jays in Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night. Toronto has not won a game in the Bronx since August 2012 and they’ve won only two of their last 25 games in Yankee Stadium overall. Crazy. Tuesday’s series opening win came by the score of 3-1.

(Al Bello/Getty)

(Al Bello/Getty)

Second Look? No Problem
In his very first MLB start, Masahiro Tanaka allowed a solo homer to Melky Cabrera, the first batter he faced. In his second career start against the Blue Jays, Jose Reyes hit his first pitch out of the park for a leadoff homer. Two starts against Toronto, two leadoff dingers. Other than that, there was no indication seeing Tanaka once before helped the Blue Jays hitters. Maybe he should change it up and throw a first pitch splitter next time out to keep them honest.

Anyway, the Reyes homer was the only run Tanaka allowed on Tuesday night. He held the Jays scoreless over the next six innings, striking out ten while allowing two walks and five hits. It was his fifth double-digit strikeout game of the season, second most in baseball behind David Price’s six. Tanaka did not allow a runner to reach third base following the homer and only one made it as far as second. He is down to a 1.99 ERA on the season. On June 17th. In the AL East. Pitching his home games in Yankee Stadium. He could give up leadoff homers all year for all I care if he keeps this up.

Three Runs Is Enough
Brett Gardner‘s first-inning at-bat was very indicative of how rookie Blue Jays hurler Marcus Stroman’s night would go. The Yankees’ leadoff hitter grounded out to second — Munenori Kawasaki made a nice play on a ball to his right — but not before fouling off seven pitches as part of a 12-pitch at-bat. The Yankees forced Stroman to throw 98 pitches in 3.2 innings, fouling off 25 of those 98 pitches. Nineteen of those 25 fouls came in two-strike counts. Hughesian.

(Al Bello/Getty)

(Al Bello/Getty)

The Yankees made Stroman work all right, but it wasn’t until Kelly Johnson doubled into the right-center field gap with one out in the third that they recorded their first hit. Gardner followed that with a two-run homer, his second dinger in as many games. It was a total Yankee Stadium cheapie off the bottom of the right field foul pole. Gardner went deep in the final game against the Athletics and hit two balls against the Mariners that would have been out in the Bronx (one just foul, one to the wall at Safeco Field). He’s showing some pop lately. I dig it.

The two runs were all the Yankees would score off Stroman, but getting into the bullpen early in the first game of the series is a positive. They went 1-for-8 with a walk against the young righty the first time through the order and 3-for-7 with two walks thereafter. A Jeter infield single, a Jacoby Ellsbury ground ball, an Aaron Loup wild pitch, and a Mark Teixeira single back through the middle created New York’s third run of the night in the fifth inning. The Yankees did not have a hit after Teixeira drove in that run but three runs were all they needed. They even had one to spare.

Jeter continued his torrid stretch with two hits, and he’s now 12-for-27 (.444) with two walks and one strikeout since the start of the Mariners series. Johnson had two hits (why isn’t he playing more?) while Gardner and Teixeira had one apiece. The five through eight hitters went a combined 0-for-12 with three walks (Brian Roberts and two by Carlos Beltran). I don’t think three runs will be enough to beat the Blue Jays in the final two games of the series, but Tanaka is the kind of pitcher who can make that stand up.

(Al Bello/Getty)

(Al Bello/Getty)

Goliath & David
Tanaka was very good, but the Jays have a tough lineup and they did push his pitch count up to 104 after only six innings. Rather than try to squeeze another few outs out of him, Joe Girardi went to Dellin Betances for the seventh inning and it was the right move, both at the time and in hindsight. Betances retired the side on eight pitches in the seventh before doing the same on 13 pitches in the eighth. He cut right through Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, striking them both out on nine pitches combined. Those two were 1-for-7 (flare single to right by EE) with five strikeouts on the night. Mercy.

I love that Girardi stuck with Betances for the eighth inning for two reasons. One, he is the team’s best reliever and I want him facing Bautista and Encarnacion. Two, he only threw eight pitches in the seventh and has shown he can work multiple innings per outing. Use him for the two innings and leave Adam Warren and Shawn Kelley fresh for Wednesday’s game. Perfect. Loved the way Girardi used Betances. David Robertson got the ninth inning and pitching around a Gardner-aided triple for his 17th save. He struck out two and now 36 of his last 47 outs are strikeouts. Gardner slid for a Kawasaki line drive, missed it, and it rolled to the wall for the triple. A rare defensive misplay by Brett.

(Al Bello/Getty)

(Al Bello/Getty)

Leftovers
In addition to the awesome pitching, Tanaka also made two stellar defensive plays. They were nearly identical — hard-hit ground balls back up the middle that he slowed down with his glove, then hustled to grab from just behind the mound and fired to first for the out. The first ball literally knocked his glove off. Tanaka’s gonna end up winning Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, MVP, and Gold Glove this year. At all nine positions. He’s that good.

It appeared Brian McCann was hit by a pitch when he squared around to bunt in the fifth inning, but the Yankees elected not to review it for whatever reason. Replays made it look like it hit him on the way by. That would have made it first and second with one out, but instead McCann struck out and it there was a runner at first with two outs after the at-bat. Not sure why bench coach Tony Pena gave Girardi the “don’t challenge” signal. Maybe they didn’t see the same replay angle they showed on YES.

Jeter scored the team’s third run and it was the 1,900th run scored of his career. That is the 11th most in history. He’ll jump past Alex Rodriguez (1,919) and into the top ten relatively soon. Stan Musial (1,949) would be next and that seems like it’ll be doable before the end of the season. It’ll be close. The win was Girardi’s 600th as Yankees manager, by the way.

Last, but certainly not least, this week is HOPE Week. The Yankees honored Career Gear on Tuesday, an organization that “provides professional clothing, mentoring and life-skills to help men in poverty become stronger contributors to their families and communities.” Here’s the Career Gear website and here’s the HOPE Week video archive.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, go to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stuff and the updated standings can be found at ESPN. The Yankees have climbed to within 3.5 games of first place with five more games against the Blue Jays coming up over the next week. Plus, you know, there are still more than 90 games left in the season.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Same two teams on Wednesday night, in the middle game of this three-game set. Rookie Chase Whitley and grizzled veteran Mark Buehrle will be the pitching matchup. Head over to RAB Tickets if you impulsively want to catch the game live.

Categories : Game Stories
  • Dan

    How is it possible that Tanaka has some how blown the hype away?! This guy is ridiculous.

    • lightSABR

      He currently has the most wins in the majors (11) despite mediocre run support, and he’s the top pitcher in the AL for ERA (1.99), xFIP (2.36), strikeouts (113), WHIP (0.95)…

      Yeah, I like this guy.

  • WhittakerWalt

    I’m happy that Jeter is getting on base however he can, but I wouldn’t call his hitting tonight “torrid.”

    • Looser trader droids FotD™

      Uhh…444 is torrid. A fair bit of dribblers through holes to be sure. But they still count.

      I’m no Jeter blower. But he’s hit extremely well of late, at least for average.

  • pat

    That one loss irks me. He pitches like it irks him too.

    • Looser trader droids FotD™

      This.

  • Bo Knows

    Reading through some of the comments back wehen Ma-kun was first signed

    A whole lotta people were dead wrong about him, like this one RAB’er (who will remain unknown)I’m sure has never been happier to be wrong:

    I don’t think he’s going to be awful I just don’t see an ace when I look at his pure stuff. The split is nasty no doubt but according to Yahoo tracking pitches he averaged 90.8 MPH last year and 90.6 MPH career, which makes the split easier to layoff. He also throws his 2-seam up in the zone and not down, not uncommon in Japan but isn’t the best strategy in the states with the extra abundance of power. I also think his slider is decent but it’s a bit too loopy to be a dominant pitch here, I think he ends up as a solid number 3 but the hype has gone way past that.

    • RetroRob

      Brian Cashman is unhappy you reposted his message.

    • The Great Gonzo

      When I get REALLLY bored (and possibly drunk) one night imma go back to some Tanaka signing threads and name names. Its gonna be a futile exercise, but imma do it.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I’ll name myself. I wasn’t a believer at first.

        • Looser trader droids FotD™

          +1. Not exactly a non-believer, but I figured we had a 3 on our hands, not an unquestionable ace stud.

      • ChuckIt

        Calling All MET fans! Where are your powerful insights on why Tanaka won’t make it in the U.S.? You were bombarding me with your infinite wisdom on the game of baseball,and your prowess at talent evaluation, up until the beginning of this month.No texts,no Emails,no facebook,Where have you all gone?Crawl under a rock?I miss you!i’m always up for a good laugh.

        • Matt Nokes

          THIS.

  • http://www.twitter.com/mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    I imagine that horrifying stretch he had in the field is whats keeping Johnson from playing more

  • cr1

    I can’t be the only one thoroughly enjoying the squirming of those who so gleefully left Jeter for dead.

    • WhittakerWalt

      He’s still not hitting for ANY power at all, and is still basically lost against righthanders. But yes, it’s nice to see him have a nice stretch.

      • RetroRob

        My thoughts on Jeter haven’t changed. I’m not going to burn many calories deciding he should be dropped the line up, or not play against righties, or he should sit in late close games for Ryan.

        He’s been a great player. I’ll enjoy seeing him this final year. I’ll worry about the many other problems the Yankees have that are more likely to be fixed.

      • forensic

        Yeah, he’s still very limited at this point in his career, but at least he’s getting on a bit for now this last week or two.

        • nycsportzfan

          No kidding hes limited. Hes 39yrs old and coming off a broken ankle.

      • fred robbins

        It is nice to see him have a solid stretch of games. Just because I would write things does not mean I WANT him to fail. He’s at the top of the lineup and when he is productive there is a much greater chance the Yankees will win. I don’t think calling something as it appears to be is a bad thing and if the Yankees miss the playoffs by 3-5 games, there will be plenty of blame to go around.

        Hindsight is great but it is also an important tool. If we can’t look back at what was and make a valid assessment of what might come, then how else do you judge what a player might do in the future?

    • nycsportzfan

      His Avg sat at 258BA on June 7th. Now, only 11days later, its at 275BA. Hes also all ready driven in more runs in June then he did all of May(5so far in June, 4in May).

    • ChuckIt

      They’e squirming alright-under rocks!

  • TWTR

    Tanaka has made the season relevant.

    Going into the season, I never would have thought that Teix would be their most important middle of the order bat.

    On a minor note, Robertson’s inefficiency concerns me a little in terms of how often he can be used and pitch effectively.

    • vicki

      he’s on pace for the same number of innings pitched as last year; only 94 batters faced so far, 414 pitches, all pretty good. the 15-day dl stint built in a little leeway.

      plus, with his low-90s fastball and effortless delivery he’s not the guy i worry about, even throwing a few days in a row. i don’t want to talk about the guy i do worry about because it’s too much fun watching him right now. i just keep telling myself dellin can take it because of his starter history.

      • TWTR

        Fair points. But it isn’t the cumulative IP or pitch counts that concern me, only the distribution as a function of pitch counts. IOW, I don’t see him often have outings with pitch counts in the 10 or so range. Maybe he does and it is a perception issue for me.

        I still want the to sign him long-term. They can’t keep letting their best players like Cano leave via free agency and get nothing back.

        I hear you about the other guy.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          I don’t have numbers in front of me in the least, but others have certainly succeded as “inefficient” closers in the past.

          I can’t imagine Valverde or Rodney have ever been the picture of efficiency. We often also cite Wetteland as King of the Cardiac Kids.

  • forensic

    It’s just such a pleasure to be able to watch Tanaka go out there and carve up opposing teams every 5 days. It’s amazing what he’s doing, partially because of the competition and park, as Mike mentioned.

    Also, he’s still just 25! That’s incredible. I’m so glad they really went all in for him.

  • Kosmo

    June 17, 1978 Guidry fans 18 improves WL to 11-0.

    • RetroRob

      When Tanaka had about 10 Ks after five innings or so, I thought he might want to challenge the Yankee record on the anniversary of Gator’s game! Pitch count was way too high, though. His splitter, though, creates the same type of confusion as Guidry’s slider did in his prime. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if Tanaka has a 15+ K game in his future.

    • RetroRob

      BTW Michael Kay said something during the game that I think was wrong (I know, I know…) about Guidry’s game. He said he watched it on TV. I probably would have said the same as I do remember “watching” the game, but I think I actually listened to the game on the radio. I’m guessing so did Kay as I don’t believe the game was on TV in NY. The replay that we see today has the audio from the radio broadcast. I’m guessing the TV images were from the Angels broadcast, and YES merged the two.

      Over the years I’ve seen the replay a few times, which is why I believe I saw the game, but I’m pretty sure I never did, and neither did Kay. Anyone else of a certain age remember the same or differently?

      • Kosmo

        I´ve seen highlights over the years and the one thing that stands out besides Guidry´s dominate performance is the number of Scooter´s “Holy Cows“.

      • pinch hitter

        That game was definitely on TV. I remember watching it. In fact, I’m pretty sure that was the season I tried to watch at least part of every game. Pretty sure I didn’t make it, but I came close.

        • http://Riveraveblues Marty L

          Definitely on TV. We were out for my wife s 31 st birthday (wow)! And at the bar the game was on. I think Bobby Grich was the final K. Didn t know it at the time of course but that turned out to be one exciting year. And Guidry finished 25-3 with a sub 2 ERA. And yes, still married and today she is 67. No bar hopping tonight. A rare Saturday nite game too I think.

          • Looser trader droids FotD™

            Good for you. God bless.

            I was a touch younger in ’78 but remember that game and the season pretty well. My (now late) uncle had spent 76 and 77 indoctrinating me, and 78 was the first year I remember making a point of watching games without anyone having to tell me they were on.

            Anyway, Guidry that year was completely insane.

            Thank god for Tanaka.

          • RetroRob

            Thanks, for two things.

            First, being older than me!

            Second, answering my question. I wonder if I had to listen to the game on the radio. I was just a kid then, so it’s possible I was forced to listen to the game on the radio.

            All possible my memory is wrong. It is interesting that the game they show on YES uses the radio broadcast matched to the TV feed. It maybe they couldn’t get the broadcast rights from WPIX, so they created their own solution.

  • Kronk

    Can we get Tanaka some regular ABs just so he can somehow become a competent hitter and win a Silver Slugger while he’s at it ? I feel like thats the only award that Tanaka isn’t in the running for.

    • The Great Gonzo

      Also, not in the running for comeback player of the year. But hoping Tex can take that one instead.

  • 461deep

    Tanaka & Gardner pull game out. Not as sharp but Jays like others swing at dust ball splitter. Nice start to home stand.

  • nycsportzfan

    Tanaka is starting the AS game. There is no other choice. Don’t bring up Darvish or Buerhle, because they are clearly 2nd rate compared to Tanaka this yr.

    • Rick

      King Felix?

  • Mikhel

    Buehrle’s pitches are very slow and Jeter’s bat has been sooo slow… I wonder if Jeter could have a big game tomorrow against Buehrle (11:53 PM here, so, still is Tuesday :P).

    • nycsportzfan

      Jeters bat has been red hot lately, so yes, I do think he could be in store for a big game against soft tossing lefty in Mark.Buerhle. Also think its a good pitcher to put Soriano in the lineup.

      This would be the lineup i’d use against Buerhle

      1).Brett Gardner LF
      2).Derek Jeter SS
      3).Jacoby Ellsbury CF
      4).Mark Tiexera 1B
      5).Carlos Beltran DH
      6).Alfonso Soriano RF
      7).Yangervis Solarte 3B
      8).Brian Roberts 2B
      9).Francisco Cervelli C

      • forensic

        Soriano has terrible numbers against Buehrle and Ichiro has great numbers. Though I’m sure Girardi will play Soriano anyway since he’s a pretty strict platooner (Beltran also has bad numbers against him, but hasn’t faced him in a decade to that’s not enough for me to sit him).

        Meanwhile, KJ is hot and Solarte is cold and a far worse hitter vs. lefties than righties. So, sure, play Solarte instead. Though, again, I’m sure Girardi will anyway.

        • nycsportzfan

          I would still try and pack the lineup full of right handed hitters. Solarte’s still hitting 250BA off lefties, compared to 215BA for KJ. Also Solarte is hitting over 300BA at the stadium as compared to 260BA on the road. So if Joe goes with Solarte, it’ll be for good reason, not just a hunch.

          As for Sori, I still think hes got a better chance getting a couple hits, or a big hit against a soft tossing lefty then I do a filthy Righty who throws 94-plus.

          • forensic

            If only there were other numbers that could be used beyond batting average. I don’t know what voodoo produced those OBP, SLG, and OPS numbers, but those seem to indicate something other than what you’re saying.

            As for Sori, I still think hes got a better chance getting a couple hits, or a big hit against a soft tossing lefty then I do a filthy Righty who throws 94-plus.

            Um, duh, but I’m not sure what that has to do with anything since we can’t change their starter.

            • nycsportzfan

              Uhh, your the one who brought up Solarte not hitting lefties, did you not? And also, if Johnson had more AB’s, his OPS would probably be alot lower then Solartes is against Lefties, because he simply dosen’t hit them.

              I’ll stick with Solarte against the Lefty tonight and i’m sure Joe will as well. It just makes more sense.

      • ChuckIt

        Okay,I know Jeter is in his final season, & he’s not the same player he was years ago,but has it occurred to anyone that maybe A WHOLE SEASON on the DL might have something to do with his slow start? He’s starting to pick up now,so let’s just sit back &let him do what he does best-be Derek Jeter.(Met fans need not reply,you see what your Tanaka predictions makeyou look like)

  • qwerty

    I can’t get excited about Tanaka. Even if he is the real deal I don’t trust any pitcher who’s been as abused as he was as a teen. Not to mention everything he throws is hard, thus increasing the likelihood he’ll get hurt sooner.

    • WhittakerWalt

      It must suck being you.

    • nycsportzfan

      You must of missed his insane Changeup he used many times for strikeouts tonight. He dosen’t even pitch to his maxed out velocity often. You’ll see him pitch in the 90-92range for stretches and then outta nowhere, a 95mph fastball or something. He was born to pitch well.

      • qwerty

        Tanaka’s changeup is thrown less than 1% of the time. In other words, he barely has one. Approximately 43% of his pitches are thrown at velocities of at least 90 mph. His sinker/slider make up another 40+%. Tanaka throws hard, all the time with few exceptions. This by itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, it is a known fact that Tanaka has been abused in his younger years and into his professional career, and according to a recent paper released by Dr. James Andrews, pitchers who abuse their arms, whether it be throwing too hard all the time or too much when they are younger are at a much greater risk for some sort of arm injury, especially tommy john. The massive amount of tj surgeries today are a testament to this fact.

    • vicki

      lol.

    • forensic

      Damn, I knew they should’ve signed all those guys who are immune to getting hurt. Especially the ones who didn’t throw as teens.

      Maybe that’s the new market inefficiency? Go after guys who just started pitching around age 22-23. At least they’ll be less likely to get injured…

      • Deathstroke Heathcott

        I’m 24 and I haven’t even started pitching yet. Yankees better hurry to sign me.

        • The Great Gonzo

          I’m 34. Minimal innings on my arm. like, none.

          I’m in Pinstripes by Friday or Cashman Failed.

          • http://Riveraveblues Marty L

            Less then 80 pitches total in the Stadium Little League in 1958. Played our games at Macombs Dam Park , the site of YS 3. My claim to fame, grounded to third , the only fair ball out against a kid who struck out 17 of 18. Ruined his perfect game. His name was Jerry Weiss. As Casey would say, you could look it up.:)

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            I don’t think I’ve ever thrown anything 60 feet, 6 inches. If I start now, I could probably last deep into my 40′s.

            • Looser trader droids FotD™

              Remember when Mr. T tossing midgets was a thing? On TV??

    • pinch hitter

      Exactly the reason I never get excited even when they win the WS, because I know that sometime in the future the same players are going to suck or retire.

  • nycsportzfan

    Jeter has 5 multi hit games in his last 7. Hes hitting 435BA over the past 7days. Who knows, by the time the AS game is here, Jeets may have earned his spot, and not just for his career accomplishments.

  • nycsportzfan

    Anyone think DROB makes the AS team? Hes tied for 3rd in the AL in Saves right now, despite missing time on the DL, and he has the K’s per 9 to back up his sv’s.

    I’d say Jeter, Betances, Tanaka, and outside chance for DROB and way outside chance for Gardy.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Jeter and Tanaka. Perhaps Ellsbury if he’s closer in the vote. Betances with an outside shot, but he’s still middle relief at the moment.

      I’d group DRob with Ells and Betances, with perhaps a better shot than Betances.

  • mustang

    “Jeter continued his torrid stretch with two hits, and he’s now 12-for-27 (.444) with two walks and one strikeout since the start of the Mariners series.”

    The arrogance of Jeter to hit like this showing off the rest of his teammates who are not doing as well. Jeter efforts are still not good enough he needs to do better and Girardi should drop him in the order for not only his performance, but for showing off his teammates.

  • nycsportzfan

    I was looking at Phil Hughes numbers and it just makes me sick. People can talk about him being outta the Stadium being the reason why, all they want, but if you look closer, you see that is not the case.

    First off, he pitched a Gem against the Yanks in NYC. He also didn’t give up a run @Toronto and @Detroit.

    In fact, 3of his 4worst starts on the Yr came at Home in Minny. Its annoying.

    • Nuke Guy

      Maybe he just needed to get out of New York. It just isn’t for some players. Look at AJ Burnett. Good for him though. I’ve always liked Hughes. Hopefully he keeps it up.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      Do you actually ever look closer? You basically did the opposite of look closer.

      • The Great Gonzo

        Classic nycsportzfan. Say imma do one thing, do the complete opposite and call it the first thing. Stay classy, nycsf…

        • nycsportzfan

          What?lol Your talking about class, when you respond to a post like a total dick face? Makes sense(sarcasm)

      • nycsportzfan

        How? If you weren’t looking closer you’d just assume its because he was pitching in a bigger ball park, when he hasen’t even pitched well there, and 3of his best starts are at NY,Tor, and Det.

        How is that not looking closer now?

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          I guess it is looking closer, but I’d want to see a bit more in terms of actual numbers in order to back that up.

          I’d say it’s fine if you didn’t do that, but just say so. I don’t have BRef or Fangraphs footnotes for everything I say, but I say that in advance usually.

          I’m not involving myself in a pissing contest about what you actually said, or didn’t say, though. We’ve both been around here long enough that I know you tend to be a visual and old-school-stat sort of guy. Can’t begrudge that if I’m the same.

    • YankeeDJW

      Several pitchers have left New York and improved. Maybe it’s the stadium, maybe it’s the pressure, maybe it’s just bad luck. Hughes was terrible and there was no reason to hold on to him. Good for him to put it together though.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Maybe life is just an up-and-down struggle.

        We worry far too much about the current welfare of Sir Philip of Hughes. We gave him seven years of our lives. It was really time to move on and see other people.

    • Looser trader droids FotD™

      Isn’t the whole thing that he’s started throwing the curve again, instead of the cutter? IOW, the thing that made him super successful at many levels, but which he more or less abandoned as a Yank, and has now reclaimed?

    • lightSABR

      I’ve made the “he’s better away from YSIII” argument several times, so at your prompting, I took a closer look. This is what I see.

      Phil Hughes’ strikeout rate, batted ball profile, and batting average against are all right in line with his career norms. His improved performance appears to be due to primarily to his massively improved walk rate (leading to a better OBP-against) and HR/FB rate (leading to a better SLG-against). A smaller third factor appears to be improved infield defense. Hughes’ infield hit rate is at a 1.1%, down from 5.1%.

      So, are these improvements things he can take credit for, or are they a result of leaving the Yankees for the Twins?

      1) Lower walk rate. This seems to be the place where’s the best case to be made for Hughes’ improvement. Hughes has always been reasonably good at limiting walks (6.8% BB rate, vs. a league BB rate of more like 8%), but his 2.2% this year is ridiculously good. Like, almost twice as good as Tanaka.

      But I think we need to remember: Hughes isn’t pitching in the vicious (and patient) AL East he pitched in the last several years. The batters he’s facing this year are swinging at more pitches out of the zone–which, at this point in his career, I’m not sure you can give him credit for–and making contact on more pitches generally. Crappy hitters swinging at pitcher’s pitches is a great recipe for a lower BB%.

      2) Lower HR/FB rate. This is a big one. Hughes’ HR/FB rate has dropped from about 10.5% over the last four seasons to 5.8% this year. His AVG-against hasn’t changed, but his SLG-against has dropped from an average of about .465 over the last three years to .391 this year. Hughes always used to underperform his xFIP because he was so homer-prone; now he overperforms it.

      Can we give Hughes credit for that? I don’t think so. Turns out his career HR/FB% on the road is 6.8%, only one percentage point higher than his 5.8% this year. And should we assume that he’s earned that one percentage point, or should we chalk it up to fewer games in AL East bandboxes and fewer games against power-heavy AL East lineups?

      So, my report: I think Hughes has improved his control somewhat, though probably not enough to account for the full 4-point drop in his BB%. But I see no evidence that he’s done anything to cut back on his homers – except, that is, for getting out of the AL East.

  • pinch hitter

    Not to make trouble, but I mildly disagree on the Gardner mishap and the non-challenge. Thought Gardner should have gone for the catch — if it gets by him no real loss, if he makes it, game over. Though it did look as if he was second guessing himself even as he (kind of) went for it.

    As for the HBP, I agree that McCann almost certainly was hit, but I didn’t think any of the replays showed it for sure. Would have been a hard call for the replay judge to overturn.

  • pinedamaybegreata (formerly Monterowasdinero)

    I had mentioned about first pitch fb swinging to be wary of in yesterday afternoon’s comments. Come on McCann-don’t you read my posts?

    Seriously, it is great to have a pitcher like Tanaka. Gives the whole team confidence and prevents long losing streaks.

    Now we have to wait till Sunday against the O’s….

  • The Great Gonzo

    I know a few people round here (myself included) going to the first game coming out of the ASB. I was assured the game lines up to TanakaDay… God help those people if they were wrong.

  • LarryM Fl

    Last night was the usual thank God for Tanaka with a relentless offensive attack and 3 runs. But besides the prior sarcastic comment about our potent offense. The issue I have with the Betances and Robertson team is confusing. Robertson is not an efficient pitcher 25+ pitches last night for one inning makes me wonder about next day performances while Betances throws 25 pitches and gets out of 2 innings. Here is the confusion. I would not change from Robertson to Betances to close. I do not believe the the young Betances is ready for this prime time but he is getting more than noticed as an up and coming closer.

    • Kosmo

      I´d rather Betances be the 2 inning bridge. Must be deflating to the opposition.

      • Looser trader droids FotD™

        Shades of Mo to Wetteland. Every game really only a six inning affair.

  • fred robbins

    maybe the Yankees will score 6-7 runs tonight and won’t need Betances and Robertson.

    I would guess Betances would not be used but that Robertson would be used and then we will see how that pitch count works for him either for or against. I don’t know who else Girardi would use with 1-2 run lead in the 9th.

  • TheRealGreg

    I know Kelly Johnson has been hot, and I would like for him to start more, but I don’t think he’s starting tonight.

    3 for 14 career against Buerhle. My guess is Girardi will go with Solarter and Roberts.

  • FA

    A blast last night from 420B, despite the killer humidity.
    I was watching BP at 5:30 from 120. A distinguished man with a Scout lanyard and ID attempted to get ten rows further down to say hello to his coach friends. Security blocked him. “This is the only MLB stadium that does this,” he fumed. He had to bellow Alex! to get the guy’s attention.
    SMDH.

  • ChuckIt

    To: You know who you are-The Yanks two biggest mistakes were signing Tanaka & Gardner?Wait and see? Well I’m Waiting,but All I’m seeing is money well spent.The two best moves they made this year.I know you can,t read this because you know LESS about social media than you do about Baseball.And you know nothing about baseball,your a Met fan.