Whitley and McCann lead Yanks to 4-2 win over Royals in series opener

DotF: Pirela, Garcia have big days in Scranton's blowout win
2014 Draft: Reviewing Days One & Two

Source: FanGraphs

A winning streak! The Yankees haven’t had one of these in a while. A big hit with the bases loaded and a stellar start from one of the replacement arms carried the Bombers to a 4-2 win over the Royals in Friday’s night series opener, their second straight victory. Let’s recap:

  • Don’t Call Me A Reliever: What a start by Chase Whitley. The Yankees haven’t gotten much from length from their … seventh? eighth? I’ve lost count … starter this year, and on Friday he threw a career-high seven innings and held the Royals to two runs on five hits. The Royals managed to string together some hits for a run in the second and a run in the fifth, but otherwise he was never really in a big jam. Kansas City definitely helped him out by hacking early on often, which is in their DNA. Great, great start by Whitley. Sandwich guy approves.
  • One Swing, Three Runs: The Yankees nearly blew a prime run-scoring opportunity in the second before Brian Roberts singled in Mark Teixeira with two outs. The third inning is when they did almost all of their damage thanks to Brian McCann‘s opposite field, bases-clearing double. They had loaded the bases on two singles (Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner) and a hit-by-pitch (Teixeira) with one out. The two table-setters got it started, the big money middle of the order guy cleaned it up. Perfect.
  • More Bullpen: McCann’s double ended the run-scoring portion of the evening — 18 of the final 23 Yankees made out, and two of the base-runners were an infield single and a walk — meaning Joe Girardi had to go to his ace relievers after Whitley. Dellin Betances drew the eighth inning and struck out two to pitch around a single. David Robertson got the ninth, allowed a double (Billy Butler was out at second) and a walk, but otherwise struck out two for his 14th save. Twenty-nine of his last 39 outs have been strikeouts. That is absurd.
  • Leftovers: Ichiro Suzuki got picked off first base in the ninth and I would have liked to see Girardi challenge it. Top of the ninth, close game, no outs in the inning, roll the dice there. Oh well … Roberts made a mental error and forgot to cover second base on Lorenzo Cain’s single, so he essentially “stole” second on the throw back to the infield … McCann’s double was the only extra-base hit (of course) and Gardner was the only player with more than one hit. He had two.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees are back in second place in the AL East. Worst second place team in baseball? Sure feels like it. These two clubs will play the second game of their four-game series on Saturday night (argh), when Danny Duffy and David Phelps square off. Do I hear three wins in a row?

DotF: Pirela, Garcia have big days in Scranton's blowout win
2014 Draft: Reviewing Days One & Two
  • IamtheWalrus

    Every single second place team in baseball is hovering around .500. Every one. Only the Angels (31-28) and Miami (32-29) have a better Win Percentage than the Yankees. So….it’s a good time to be a mediocre second place team.

    • Tanuki Tanaka

      Era of mediocrity approaching in baseball?

      • Frankie Beans

        Baseball needs steroids.

    • vicki

      we’re not even the only second-place team with a negative run differential.

      thanks, white sox!

  • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

    Middle reliever at best. Everyone already has seen enough of him to know he won’t ever amount to anything more than that. There’s no reason to be hopeful, he sucks and everyone knows it. Cashman failed.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Did you hear about this one MiLB reliever who got converted to starting and has done nothing but look good so far? How come we never do that? Cashman failed.

      Great job, Mr. Whitley. Let’s hope you never see Scranton again.

      • lightSABR

        Nobody took Solarte seriously, and now his first 200 PA have been a massive success. We need to give every MiLBer whom no one takes seriously 200 PA in the bigs to see if they can do the same thing. Cashman’s a total idiot for not trying it. They can’t be worse than Brian Roberts, right?

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Every MiLB signing fodder guy is at least as good as Solarte, except for immediately after Mike announcing their signing in November on here. Then the Yankees are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

          Every fringe prospect on a hot streak is just a beautiful, blossoming flower.


          • lightSABR

            Every minor league scrap heap pickup: diamond in the rough! Nobody’s given them a chance, but we need to call them up so they can be the next Solarte.

            Every major league scrap heap pickup: worthless.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              I guess that, at least MiLB fodder can help full slots in the minors. If you’re Wade LeBlanc, and you’re not contributing, you become more worthless to the org pretty quick unless you accept your being out righted to Scranton to eat innings.

              • Jorge Steinbrenner

                Unnecessary comma alert.

                • lightSABR

                  Or do you mean redundancy alert?

                  “If you’re Wade LeBlanc, and you’re not contributing, you become more worthless to the org pretty quick…”

                  But yeah, you have a point.

  • fred robbins

    Great to see Whitley throw another solid game. I hope he stays in the rotation. It would be really great to see young arms take over the rotation and younger players on the field. Maybe a game like this will influence upper management. Way to go kid.

    • Deep Thoughts

      Yes, “upper management” has been so hesitant to pitch anyone besides old fogeys like Nova, Pineda, Tanaka, Phelps, Betances, and Warren.

  • Billy

    Hey Mike I think you’re a little premature in the winning streak declaration. In the words of Major League’s Lou Brown: “OK, we won a game yesterday. If we win today, it’s called “two in a row”. And if we win again tomorrow, it’s called a “winning streak”… It has happened before!”

    • King George

      He was sarcastic.

  • http://www.staggeringbeauty.com/ ALZ

    That was a much needed game from Whitley. Really helped the bullpen out of their stretch of being overworked.

  • Jonathan

    Great win that I got to see in person. It was weird to watch the game as it’s such a different team than I’m used to. My dad and I have an over/under 5 combined home runs from BOTH teams in the series…sorta pathetic. Also, in the 9th after Billy Butler got his double, when they were down two, he was pinch ran for. What could you gain from that? His run meant nothing and if they tied the game up at 2 you lose your DH in extra innings. Really weird. Can’t wait until tomorrow for another game.

    • lightSABR

      I’m jealous. I’m living in the Yankee diaspora now, and I have no idea when I’ll get to see another game in person.

      Of course, on the bright side, the Yankees are almost never blacked out on my MLB.tv account.

      • Jonathan

        Yeah, rain or shine I never miss a Yankees game in KC. Autograph heaven and they win a lot since the Royals are pathetic. I was dumbfounded when I realized Brian Roberts has as many HRs as Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler combined.

  • http://www.penuel-law.com/ Cuso

    Again, according to Lou Brown, 3 is a winning streak – not 2.

  • 461deep

    Good chance for a sweep as 3-4 runs can beat the awful hitting Royals.
    Congrats to Whitley[ on his 1st win. Good clutch hit by McCann too.

  • Get Phelps Up

    Only 11 comments so far?

    I guess we won!

    • BrianMcCannon

      Haha… its so true though.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      All the outrage goes to DOTF during wins.

      Free Zelous Wheeler. Free Carmen Angelini.

    • mustang


      I was thinking the same thing.

  • forensic

    I haven’t gotten to watch the game yet, but beyond the Ichiro play you mention, why didn’t he also ask them to review the Butler double if he’s out so clearly on replay? Did Girardi decide to sleep off the 9th inning or something?

  • Now Batting

    Not sure why but lately it seems Mike Axisa has been really into the games based on the personal touches in the game recaps. Not that it would prevent me from visiting daily, but I hope it keeps up.

    • Stratocaster

      … and the PEDs rumor-mill begins to turn.

  • Mick taylor

    What about trading sabathia soriano and Johnson for Matt kemp

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Throw in Roberts and Cervelli.

      • nyyankfan7

        They probably should eat some Kemp’s salary too………….

        • lightSABR

          Huh. Turns out Kemp sucks this year. They’re in the NL, so I had no idea.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Phil Rizzuto lives!!!!!

  • Joe C

    This team has to cut down on its mistakes. I mean it just needs to cut down on it’s mental misques. During thier recent struggles This team has committed one head scratching play after another. The frustating thing is that it is guys you would least expect it from. Derek Jeter failed to throw the ball back on Monday and he committed a baserunning blunder last friday. Solarte got thrown out extending a single into a double. LAST NIGHT Ichiro was picked off for no good reason. Then you have Brian Roberts failure to cover second. What the @#>$ is going on here?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Mental misques, eh?

  • fred robbins

    I know you mean that sarcastically, but would the Yankees trade CC and would anyone take him if they wanted to? That would be a gutsy move, but I guess everyone will just hope he can come back with at least 6-7 inning stuff and keep the game at 4 runs or less.
    Nice to see Soriano sit and maybe Girardi get used to some different players out there. I like that lineup last night.

    • trr

      I’m sure the team would trade him in a heartbeat. He has no trade value, so we’re stuck with him

      • lightSABR

        Right. They call it a trade because, presumably, the other team actually wants him and is willing to give something up for him.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Yes, you would give mick taylor the benefit of the doubt.

  • lightSABR

    I’m not sure which feels weirder – being in second place after having been awful for so long, or being 6 games back from the freaking Blue Jays.

    Or actually, being 6 games back from the Blue Jays and still 8 – 8! – games ahead of the Rays. Yeah, that’s the weirdest part.

  • mt

    Robertson made it interesting but Yanks prevail in end – take a deep breath.

    I am still very concerned with this fragile Yankee offense – it just seems so difficult for them to score – it must put tremedous pressure on their pitchers.

    Over last ten games (ever since Lance Lynn shutout game):
    Yanks have scored 27 runs, or average of 2.7 per game.
    In each of those ten games, Yanks have only scored in a maximum of two innings (either got shut out, scored in one inning, or scored in two innings max).
    Only three of those 27 runs have come after the fifth inning!!

    It’s like the offense says to the pitcher; here’s your two or three runs. We’re not tacking on anything so you better not give up any runs.

    But on bright side (and I know KC has a bad offense) we have gotten more good pitching from Chase Whitley than we had any right to expect. If Vidal Nuno was pitcher number seven on depth chart beginning the season – (Pineda 5, Phelps 6, Nuno 7, Warren 8); then what was converted reliever Whitley – 10 or 11? Fingers crossed he can keep it up since Pineda and CC are out at least another month.

  • http://riveravenueblues mississippi doc

    I know we all like to trash Cashman and the minor league lack of productivity, but take a look where much of the team actually came from. Robertson, Warren, Betances, Phelps, Nuno, Whitley, Murphy, Cervelli, Solarte, Gardner, Almonte, and, of course long ago, Jeter, all came from the minors. The biggest mistakes Cashman has made are second contracts to aging stars, cf Rodriguez and Sabathia, and free agent acquisitions of former stars who are no longer, e.g., Beltran, Haffner, Youkilis. Cashman is not at fault for Texiera and McCann. Tex’s skills deteriorated sooner than expected, and, anyway, he seems to be enjoying a resurgence. McCann was a star. He is just not performing, which is not so unusual the first year that a player changes leagues,i.e., Pujols. Jacoby was an excellent addition with limited exposure since the commitment is seven not ten years. Soriano was a partial freebie who gave the team a fighting chance last year. Losing Cano was a big loss, but we may not think so during the second half of his contract, especially after the experiences with Rodriguez and Sabathia. It is a very short time from star to albatross.

    • FIPster Doofus

      I’m pretty sure Hank Steinbrenner was/is responsible for the second A-Rod contract. At least they got a World Series out of it.

    • http://www.penuel-law.com/ Cuso

      Solarte didn’t come from the system. You can’t really claim Nuno as a product of the system, either.