Game 122: Take the Series

Yankees activate Brian McCann, send down Austin Romine
Yankees win second straight, take series finale from Rays 4-2
(Scott Iskowitz/Getty)
(Scott Iskowitz/Getty)

The Yankees have played 15 series against AL East opponents this year and so far they’ve won five. Five! They split one and lost the other nine. They’ve only won one of their last eight AL East series as well. That explains why they are closer to last place (6.5 games) than first place (seven games).

Yesterday’s win snapped a five-game losing streak and gives the Yankees a chance to clinch a rare series win over an AL East rival this afternoon. Hiroki Kuroda is starting on extra rest after showing clear signs of fatigue in his last two or three starts, particularly once his pitch count gets up to around 80. Hopefully the extra rest does him some good. Here is the Rays lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. DH Derek Jeter
  3. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. C Brian McCann
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. SS Stephen Drew
  9. 2B Martin Prado
    RHP Hiroki Kuroda

It’s another rainy day in St. Pete. The Tropicana Field dome was definitely a big help this weekend. First pitch is scheduled for 1:40pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

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Yankees activate Brian McCann, send down Austin Romine
Yankees win second straight, take series finale from Rays 4-2
  • Michael Pineddarda

    I get a kick out of these people who say well if they just go 38-3 the rest of the way they can win 100 games and win the division. There’s too many clubs in the 2nd WC race that are better. They have aces and impact bats and we have neither of those things right now. This team either barely scrapes by for a 2-1 or 3-2 win and that’s the only way it wins. Not sustainable for the next 40 games.

    • forensic

      I get a kick out of these people who say well if they just go 38-3 the
      rest of the way they can win 100 games and win the division.

      Your schtick is really scraping the bottom of the barrel now. I think it’s time to hang up your keyboard for awhile.

  • Go Win

    The Rays have feasted of Kuroda in the past. They are hitting .279 and OPSing .823 off him for their careers. Longoria, Zobrist and Joyce all have an OPS above 1.000 against Kuroda. The rest of the batters are much smaller threats.

    • ropeadope1

      In his Yankee career, how has Kuroda fared in day games vs. night games? I have the impression he’s been better during the day, but could be mistaken.

      • Go Win

        You are right, he’s been a bit better in day games vs night games: 3.14 vs 3.58 ERA, .538 vs .474 winning percentage.

        • ropeadope1

          Thank you.

          • MB923

            Don’t think that would mean much in today’s start since it’s in a domed stadium.

            • ropeadope1

              Dome has nothing to do with day vs. night performance.

              • MB923

                That’s my point, which made me wonder why you asked about the splits.

                • ropeadope1

                  Huh? I’m saying he pitches better in the afternoon than at night. Body rhythms and all. I don’t care if it’s indoors or outdoors or in a cave. Afternoon is the key.

  • forensic

    Nice of the game thread to finally appear for me…
    Let’s see if the extra rest does anything for Kuroda, though as usual it’ll likely just come down to whether the offense can do much against Hellickson.

    • Go Win

      Here is a concerning stat re Kuroda: the sinking fastball has shown consistently deteriorating results in the last few years. This is the pitch he uses the most by a wide margin (aprox 45% of the time this year) so it is concerning. Pls look at this OPS trend for this pitch:
      2010: .702
      2011: .731
      2012: .774
      2013. .804
      2014: .869
      Oouuuuch!

      • ropeadope1

        Oouuuuch!
        —–
        not to scale

  • UnKnown

    Go Yanks.

  • Go Win

    Tex has a BA of .375 and an OPS over 1.000 against Hellickson. Hope he continues the hit streak against him.

    • Pkyankfan69

      He sure crushed that one

  • forensic

    Kerwin Danley sure is doing a great job of being in the exact wrong place at the bases, nearly getting Gardner hurt in the 9th inning yesterday and now nearly causing an error there.

  • Michael Pineddarda

    That was a tailor made DP ball if Joe hadn’t been in that awful shift. One run might be enough in this game.

  • Donnie Baseball

    same old McCann

  • forensic

    I think McCann hits the most easy flyouts I’ve ever seen.

    • Go Win

      I guess we will see a lot of weak fly balls. That’s Hellickson’s style, and the way the yankees are hitting, it seems like they will fall right on his trap.

    • Willkamm

      You’ve heard the term “McCann of corn” correct?

    • NYCORNERSTONE

      they should rename him popup mccann

  • Pkyankfan69

    Steven Drew really sucks… I hope he’s not the starting SS next year.

    • BigLoving

      There was a reason after all these years of the Sox and the Yanks not entertaining the idea of doing business that Drew was the one to finally get traded. No way in hell do the Sox trade anything of value to the Yanks. Cashman was the only one willing to pay the rest of Drews salary and considering he is worthless this is a win for the Sox.

  • ropeadope1

    Many forget Doug Fister was a member of the Tigers staff that set the all time strikeout record last season. Fister had 159 K’s.

    • AskMeAboutMyCandyBars

      Fister? I barely know her.

    • forensic

      He’s still pitching really well, but it’s interesting that his K/9 has dropped so much over the last year or two even despite a move to the NL (and the NL East at that).

      • ropeadope1

        More small ball? NL hitters swinging to contact instead of swinging for the seats?

  • forensic

    Ho hum, more terrific AB’s…

  • NYCORNERSTONE

    man Headly and drew cant hit at all they obviously cant see the ball

    • AskMeAboutMyCandyBars

      A visit to the ophthalmologist certainly couldn’t hurt.

      • NYCORNERSTONE

        true wheres the like button ,,,they need to watch the ball

        • AskMeAboutMyCandyBars

          Where’s Waldo?

          • NYCORNERSTONE

            in the clubhouse drinking a beer

  • GregD

    We should trade for Molina…his bat would fit right in….. :)

    • NYCORNERSTONE

      Molina could bat cleanup for the yanks

  • Go Win

    I like to see kuroda using much more the slider and the splitter. The sinker / fastball has been very hittable. The splitter on the other side has been outstanding. Hitters are batting .187 and OPSing .451 against it. Really good!

  • forensic

    Somebody shoot me if the Yankees ever put on a terrible Mom & Pop show like this place does everyday. Cowbells, kids yelling into microphones, speakers and lights in the way, no grass, blaring music every four seconds, etc…

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      I don’t mind the kid announcers. The rest of it is terrible.

      • ropeadope1

        More Cowbell.

      • forensic

        If they just had them talk normally it might be dealable. But, instead, they have them scream and it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard.

      • UnKnown

        The games I have been to at the Trop the atmosphere is just ridiculously obnoxious.

        • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Dr. Martin van Nostrand

          Part of the reason why I stopped going. I just grew to hate everything about it.

      • Pat M.

        I know that you don’t ravel with the club per say, but do you make many of the road trips ??? I’m a newbie from Chad’s / Pete’s old blog….

    • Billy Bats Eppler

      Between every single pitch they blast it.

  • UnKnown

    Time to score.

  • UnKnown

    I really hope Robertson can get his next out via a strikeout. To become the fifth pitcher in MLB history to reach 500 within his first 375 career innings would be awesome.

  • pat

    Why did we ever let Molina go? That’s one decision that always kinda mystified me.

  • ropeadope1

    Quiz Answer: Houston Colt 45’s / Astros.

  • forensic

    It’s hard to imagine there are actually worse offenses in baseball than the Yankees. It’s sad how far offense has fallen, and personally, I think that has a lot to do with all the talk about how baseball’s fan base is in some trouble and they can’t draw in new/young fans.

    • UnKnown

      Yeah it’s truly hard to believe.

    • dkidd

      since they can’t juice the players, they should consider juicing the baseballs. agree this is Iike watching paint dry

    • BigLoving

      I think a lot has to do with the little to no approach most of these hitters have. Look at our players….Tex refuses to hit to the other side or drop down a bunt bc he is so concerned about his HR’s, from the little I have seen of Headley and Drew they swing out of their shoes on every pitch and they aren’t power hitters (Headley is 30 years old and has 1 season with more than 13 HR’s), McCann is battling the shift etc.. Not to mention the strikeouts in baseball and the fact that nobody seems to shorten their swing when they have 2 strikes on them.

  • Michael Pineddarda

    I said in the 1st inning that one run might be enough in this game and that looks to be the case. This is why this notion of a 31-10 run is nonsense. They don’t have a consistent enough offense. If Hiroki gives up another you might as well start heading back up to NY early.

    • ropeadope1

      Wrong again. Never get’s old. Oh wait, it does.

  • Pkyankfan69

    • ropeadope1

      I’ve been to that Applebee’s. It’s in Fresh Meadows, Queens.

    • Pkyankfan69

      Reverse jinx!

  • Terry Noack

    I can’t stand the way this team approaches hitting. Being no hit through 5 innings is just pathetic. They were lucky last night that Jeter got a game winning hit in the last 5 years.

  • Steve D

    It is getting really hard to watch the Yankees bat. How long can they look this weak?

    • Literally Figurative

      Got a few years to spare?

  • Pkyankfan69

    A hit!… Prado looks like he’s coming out of his funk

  • forensic

    A double?!? What is this wizardry?

  • Terry Noack

    Ellbury and Beltran are 1-33 on this road trip.. Can’t suck any worse than that!

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      0-33?

      • ropeadope1

        Beat me to it.

  • Michael Pineddarda

    I really hope that YES ratings and attendance is taking a nose dive. Then maybe the FO will finally wake up and realize what they’re trotting out there every day is a flat out embarrassment. This isn’t Yankee baseball. To scratch and claw for the occasional 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 victory isn’t Yankee baseball. You can’t take an impact bat like Robbie Cano out of this lineup and expect to be better.

    • Willkamm

      He scored three runs today.

  • ropeadope1

    Gardner was waving Drew in.

  • Yankee Fan 1

    GGBG!

  • http://yankees.lhblogs.com/ Need Pitching & Hitting

    That’ll work Gardy.
    More of that please.

  • forensic

    Runs!?!?!?!?!

  • Michael Pineddarda

    Brett Gardner MVP. Looks like another game they either win 2-1 or lose.

  • UnKnown

    Boom Boom Boom. Big Time Brett

  • Literally Figurative

    GGBG!

  • Terry Noack

    Thank you Brett!!!!

  • http://yankees.lhblogs.com/ Need Pitching & Hitting

    Run Forrest!

  • Gardner Plants One

    Brett “The Hitman” Gardner.

    Traditional logic says bat your best hitter second or third, we went with leadoff.

    • ropeadope1

      Maximizes the number of at-bats.

  • Yankee Fan 1

    Yeah Jeets! Keep it going ellsburt

  • YankeeDJW

    I like Ells, but he has to stop these awful hitless streaks.

    • Yankee Fan 1

      Streak over. Wooo.

  • Pkyankfan69

    Can Tex keep it going?

  • forensic

    3 runs in one inning!?! That’s allowed?

    • ropeadope1

      Papa John is getting nervous.

  • Michael Pineddarda

    Keep stringing those singles together. Might get up to 4-5 runs in one game.

  • YankeeDJW

    There we go! An offensive explosion!

  • UnKnown

    Now is were Texy could end it.

    • forensic

      He did end it. Just not the “it” we were hoping for.

  • UnKnown

    Hellboy is getting rocked this inning.

  • http://yankees.lhblogs.com/ Need Pitching & Hitting

    Some good defense being played today.

  • YankeeDJW

    Our defense is so much better than it was a month ago.

  • Alkaline

    So that play had no effect on the game.

    /Bigdan

  • forensic

    Nice last couple innings from Kuroda, especially that 5th where he shut them down after getting some runs and did it quickly enough to cut Meredith off too.

  • UnKnown

    I think the extra rest is more than a just a coincidence towards the success HiROK today.

  • forensic

    Ugh…

  • http://yankees.lhblogs.com/ Need Pitching & Hitting

    Time for the bullpen

  • Go Win

    Will the yankees go to Kelley again with men on and the game on the line if Kuroda gets into further trouble?

  • UnKnown

    Get him to chase 3-2 first is open.

  • UnKnown

    Hold on to your Butts. Shawny enters.

  • BigBlueAL

    I cant be the only one thinking why the hell is Betances not coming in right now.

  • yankees=warriors

    Joe’s crazy…

  • Pkyankfan69

    Way to be Kelley

    Whenever I hear Guyer’s name I think of this terrible movie

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi.....poster.jpg

    • Austinmac

      Are we seeing an insight into your personality by knowing that movie? :)

      • Pkyankfan69

        I’ve actually never seen it… Hear it’s so bad it’s funny though

  • Michael Pineddarda

    I think Joe has reverted back to his inning guys. Kelley is now the 7th inning guy, Betances the 8th inning guy, Robertson the 9th inning guy. He’s reluctant to use Delin for more than an inning after trying to squeeze 3 out of him in Baltimore.

  • UnKnown

    One thing I do like is Kelley has been pitching with a lot of attitude these last two times out. Like super pissed off. More focus and determination of some sort.

  • Go Win

    Pretty clear that Girardi has made up his mind:
    Kelley: 7th / men on base trouble shooting.
    Betances: 8th
    Robertson: closer
    Not what I would do, but Kelley has answered the bell the last couple of times around in critical situations,

  • UnKnown

    Some Geico would be nice here.

  • BigBlueAL

    Ellsbury needs to be given the Willie Mays Hayes punishment. All these popups and flyball outs are getting ridiculous lol.

  • ropeadope1

    Tex message!

  • Literally Figurative

    Teix message!

  • UnKnown

    There it is. Flo from Progressive

  • Godzilla’s Arm

    That play seems to happen a lot with McCann. Is that an unintended consequence of the shift?

    • ropeadope1

      Shift is probably a factor.

  • Go Win

    BTW, Scranton just beat the Paw Sox for a series whipe-out on the road. Not sure it means much, but with all the bells and whistles behind the Sox minor league system I do like a lot to see their upper affiliate being pounded.

    • UnKnown

      Has J.R. Murphy been hurt this last week?

      • forensic

        Yup, been on the DL for a week, likely with a concussion after a foul ball off the mask.

        • UnKnown

          Thanks.

  • ropeadope1

    Can Robertson deliver two stress free saves in one weekend?

    • ropeadope1

      Yes he (Mc)Can.

  • ropeadope1

    Ichiro!

  • UnKnown

    “Bang Bang you’re dead, two outs” – Coney

    • Austinmac

      That was a good line. I don’t think I’be ever heard it.

  • forensic

    Good win. Thank you defense in that 9th inning.

  • ropeadope1

    Nice win, and 21 saves in his last 21 opportunities for Robertson.

  • UnKnown

    That is 2. Three more to get to that 5 in a row I think is so important. Stros won today so they are due to lose the next 3. Let’s get it.

  • MB923

    Needed that one. Really hope we take 5 of 6 from the Astros & White Sox

    • UnKnown

      That would get them right back where they need to be for that second W.C. and 5 of 6 from the Astros and W.S. at home should be in all reality very doable.

      • ropeadope1

        6 of 6 or I won’t be happy.

  • Austinmac

    Good job by the pitchers. I am still getting used to the low scoring games but take a win in any way. Another great play by Headley. I don’t get Cashman saying the scouts had him as an average 3B.

    Houston and Chicago are playing better. Every game we win is a nail biter. We do need five of six.

  • nsalem

    White Sox 28-36 and the Astros 23-37 on the road. Here’s our chance

  • UnKnown

    Ells with only one knock on the 5 game roadie. He needs to heat up again.

  • Go Win

    Significant adjustment in Kuroda’s pitching mix today. He reduced a lot the use of his sinker, which was being hit to a tune of .864 – specifically he threw that pitch 26% of the time this game vs 40% for the year -. On the other side he increased the use of the slider, which is a slighly above average offering from 25% for the year to 35% in this game. Also he used a bit more his plus splitter. These adjustments could make Kuroda a much more effective pitcher in my POV.

    • Go Win

      Just to note the .864 is the OPS for the year of his sinker.

      • TB

        I think the extra rest for helped more than anything… He threw real well today

  • TB

    Big series win in the trop… A place we have not done well at the past few years. The funny part is we scored 4 runs and it felt like the offense broke out. Its hard to believe the worst offensive teams in the AL at this time are the Yankees and the Red Sox.
    I was thinking who is the Yankees MVP this season so far… I really only come up with 2 players in the running for this…. Robertson and Betances…

    • Pete22

      I think a case can be made for Gardner for MVP. RP’ers never are considered because they pitch so little, but clearly they have been valuable together. Tanaka could still be in the running if he comes back strong in September

  • Pete22

    I don’t know why the Yankees do so well in day games. Their 25-16 record is best in the AL and 2nd best in MLB. Maybe old eyes don’t do as well in the lights, or perhaps because I cant watch given the 12 hr time difference. LOL

    Nothing really has changed, the offense is still scuffling, but the Rays offense is too.

    Good opportunity to make up some ground against Houston and The White Sox before the schedule toughens up again.