Monday Night Open Thread

Ugh, I hate the first few days of the offseason. I’m still get used to no Yankees baseball. I miss that stupid lovable team already. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s next, but I’ll miss watching the 2017 Yankees on a daily basis. They were pretty cool. Anyway, check out Mike Sonne’s article on how ace performance impacts reliever workloads. That seems especially relevant to the Yankees given the last few weeks.

Here is an open thread for the evening. The World Series doesn’t begin until tomorrow, so all you have tonight is Monday Night Football (Redskins vs. Eagles) and the (hockey) Rangers. Talk about those games or anything else here, as long as it’s not politics or religion.

Yankeemetrics: Sweet season, bitter ending (ALCS)

I want to thank everyone for being such great followers, fans and readers during this incredible season. It’s been a wild and crazy ride, and your loyal support has meant so much to me and the rest of the RAB crew. The Chase for 28 begins today. #Lovethisteam

(USA Today Sports)
(USA Today Sports)

Trouble in Texas
Riding a huge wave of momentum following their epic comeback against the Indians, the Yankees flat-lined in the ALCS opener, losing 2-1 and digging themselves into an early series hole yet again. They were flummoxed by Dallas Keuchel, who also made a little history along the way:

  • He is the fourth pitcher to hold the Yankees without a run and strike out at least 10 guys in a postseason game, joining Cliff Lee (2010 ALCS), Randy Johnson (2001 World Series) and Pedro Martinez (1999 ALCS)
  • Combined with his 2015 Wild Card Game masterpiece (6 innings, 0 runs, 7 strikeouts), Keuchel is the first pitcher ever to strike out at least seven guys and allow no runs in back-to-back playoff starts against the Yankees

The Yankees wasted their one big scoring opportunity in the fifth inning when Aaron Judge laced a single into left field and Greg Bird was thrown out at home plate trying to score from second. We’ll let Bird explain the play in his own words: “I’m too slow,” Bird told reporters after the game. “Wish I was a little faster. That’s baseball.”

Hard to argue with that analysis. Bird is the second-slowest Yankee according to Statcast’s Sprint Speed metric, ahead of only Chase Headley. Bird tried to make up for his rally-killing blunder with a two-out solo homer in ninth that trimmed the deficit to 2-1. The 399-foot drive was notable because, with the Yankees down to their last out, he saved them from being blanked and produced our first Obscure Yankeemetric of the Series:

The last Yankee to hit a postseason homer with two outs in the ninth to prevent a shutout was … yeah, you guessed it … Scott Brosius in Game 5 of the 2001 World Series. Of course, Brosius also had Jorge Posada on second base at the time, and the outcome was much much different.

(Getty)
(Getty)

Deja vu in Texas
More heartbreak, more losses for the Yankees on Saturday as they dropped a second straight excruciating game by the score of 2-1, this time via Carlos Correa’s game-ending double, and put themselves in yet another 0-2 series hole.

It was their second walk-off loss in October, making this only the second postseason in franchise history they’ve dropped two games in walk-off fashion. The other year was 2004.

What makes the two-games-to-nil deficit so crushing – and historic – is the double-whammy effect of losing two close contests while getting outstanding pitching in both matchups. Only one other team in postseason history lost each of its first two games of any series by one run while giving up no more than two runs in each game. In the 1950 World Series, the Phillies lost by scores of 1-0 and 2-1 Games 1 and 2 to the Yankees, who eventually finished them off in a sweep.

They were dominated again by an Astros starter, as Justin Verlander tossed a masterful 13-strikeout complete game while giving up one run. Only four other pitchers have gone the distance while striking out at least 13 Yankees in the postseason: Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax (1963 World Series) and Bob Gibson (1964 World Series), plus Dodgers righthander Carl Erskine in the 1953 World Series.

Combined with Keuchel’s 10-strikeout gem in Game 1, they are the first set of teammates with back-to-back double-digit strikeout games against the Yankees in a playoff series.

One of the few Yankee highlights was Tommy Kahnle‘s brilliant and near-perfect two-inning performance. Coming off his ALDS Game 4 outing when he retired all six batters faced, Kahnle joined Mariano Rivera (1996, 2003) and Goose Gossage (1978) as the only Yankees with back-to-back postseason games of at least two hitless innings pitched.

(New York Post)
(New York Post)

Home sweet home
A return to the Bronx was the perfect elixir for the ice-cold Yankee bats, which broke out of their mini-slump in a 8-1 blowout Game 3 win. More importantly, the victory snapped a miserable seven-game losing streak in ALCS contests, which was the second-longest in MLB postseason history, and trailed only a 10-game slide by the Red Sox from 1988-1999.

Todd Frazier ignited the offensive outburst in the second inning when he golfed a 95-mph fastball at his shins into the right-field seats for his first career postseason homer. While it is remarkable that the homer left his bat at 100 mph and went an estimated 365 feet, the fact that it found the seats was nearly as shocking:

Per Statcast data, a batted ball with an exit velocity of 100 mph a and launch angle of 21 degrees produces a homer just six percent of the time. And per Hittrackeronline.net, given weather conditions of 70 degrees and no wind, the hit would have cleared the fences in only one ballpark.

So let’s give Frazier a nice #FunFact shout-out for that improbable blast: he is the first Yankee third baseman to homer with at least two men on base in a postseason game since … Scott Brosius’ three-run, go-ahead homer off Trevor Hoffman in the eighth inning of Game 3 of the 1998 World Series.

Aaron Judge capped off the offensive fireworks with a screaming liner over the left-field fence in the fourth inning that plated three runs to make it 8-0. The only other time the Yankees hit multiple three-run homers in a postseason game was when Lou Piniella and Graig Nettles each did it in Game 2 of the 1981 ALCS against the A’s.

Perhaps no player on the Yankees has personified their Fighting Spirit more than CC Sabathia, who delivered yet another vintage clutch performance. He tossed six shutout innings – amazingly, his first career scoreless postseason outing – and bolstered his season-long reputation as The Stopper: Sabathia improved to 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts following a Yankee loss in 2017.

At the age of 37, Sabathia has thrived by working the edges of the zone and generating tons of weak contact. Among starters (min. 300 batted balls), no pitcher had a lower opponent average exit velocity than Sabathia (83.9 mph) during the regular season and his soft-contact rate was the fifth-highest (min. 140 IP). He used that formula on Monday, too, with an average exit velocity allowed of 73.7 mph, the lowest by any starter in a postseason game since Statcast began tracking the data in 2015.

With this latest dominant outing, Sabathia also extended his playoff run of stingy pitching in front of the hometown crowd. He has a 1.61 ERA in seven postseason starts at Yankee Stadium, with two earned runs or fewer in each of those games. The only other Yankee pitcher that can match his streak of seven straight postseason starts at home and no more than two earned runs allowed is Whitey Ford.

(AP)
(AP)

Bedlam in the Bronx
The Comeback Kings struck again on Tuesday night as this never-say-die, no-quit team staged yet another stunning late-game rally to beat the Astros 6-4 in a Game 4 thriller. Down 4-0 with nine outs to go? No problem!

This was the Yankees first postseason win in the Bronx when trailing by at least four runs since Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. They’ve also made a habit of overcoming big deficits in the postseason, regardless of venue. Since the start of 2009, their five playoff wins when trailing by at least three runs at any point in the game are the most of any team in that span.

The unbelievable comeback wouldn’t have been possible without a dazzling performance on the mound by Sonny Gray. He was charged with two runs (one earned) and held the Astros to one hit before hitting the showers in the sixth, yet he got stuck with a no-decision because the Yankee bats were lifeless through the first six frames. Gray has now thrown 21 1/3 innings in the playoffs over four starts and received exactly zero runs of support while in the game.

Let’s get back to the incredible rally, which was sparked by a solo homer from Aaron Judge in the seventh. He drilled a first-pitch curveball 427 feet into Monument Park, an impressive feat given his struggles against curves this postseason. Since the start of the Division Series and prior to the home run, Judge had seen 57 curveballs, and hit none of them in fair territory. This is how it broke down:

29 called balls
14 called strikes
14 swings
12 whiffs
2 fouls

Judge later added to his growing October Legend with a game-tying double – off a slider! – in the eighth inning. Let’s reward Judge with another #FunFact: He’s the second Yankee age 25 or younger to have consecutive playoff games with at least one homer and two RBI. The other is a fella named Lou Gehrig, who did it in the 1928 World Series.

Finally, Gary Sanchez went from Goat to Hero with one swing of the bat when he smoked a go-ahead double into the right-centerfield gap for a 6-4 lead. Before that clutch hit, Sanchez was 0-for-13 in the series and hitless in his last 18 at-bats, the longest drought without a hit of his major-league career.

El Gary earns our Obscure Yankeemetric of the Series for his game-winning heroics. Only three other Yankees have hit a tie-breaking double in the eighth inning or later of a postseason game: Thurman Munson (1977 World Series Game 1), Tino Martinez (1996 ALCS Game 3) and Alex Rodriguez (2009 World Series Game 4).

(NJ.com)
(NJ.com)

Masterful Masahiro
The Yankees continued their magical October run in the Bronx with a drama-free 5-0 win over the Astros in Game 5.

They pummeled ex-Yankee-killer and former postseason ace Dallas Keuchel, who entered the game with the lowest career ERA (1.09) against the Yankees of any pitcher in baseball history (min. 50 IP) and the lowest postseason career ERA (1.69) of any active starter (min. 25 IP). He no longer holds those titles after getting battered on Wednesday by the unstoppable Bronx Bomber bats.

Gary Sanchez led the way with two run-scoring hits, an RBI single in the fifth and a solo blast in the seventh. That homer was his third of the postseason, as he matched two of his fellow Baby Bombers (Greg Bird and Aaron Judge) and Didi Gregorius for the team lead.

The Yankees are the first team in major-league history to have three players age 25 or younger hit at least three home runs in the same postseason. And this is the first postseason in Yankees history they’ve had four players – of any age – with three-plus homers.

Aaron Judge drilled a double down the left-field line in the third inning to score Brett Gardner for his team-leading 10th RBI of the playoffs. He joined a 25-year-old Manny Ramirez in 1997 as the youngest corner outfielders to drive in at least 10 runs within a postseason.

(New York Post)
(New York Post)

The true superstar of the game was the Yankees latest ace on the mound, Masahiro Tanaka. He dialed up another gem, blanking the Astros over seven brilliant innings while scattering three hits and striking out eight. Combined with his nearly identical effort in Game 1 of the Division Series, Tanaka joined Roger Clemens (2000) as the only Yankees with multiple starts of at least seven scoreless innings and three hits or fewer allowed in the same postseason.

Tanaka has put together a stellar postseason resume with a 1.44 ERA and 0.80 WHIP in four career starts. Most impressively, he’s given up no more than two runs and no more than four hits in each of those games. The only other pitcher in baseball history that can match Tanaka’s dominance – two or fewer runs and four or fewer hits allowed – in each of his first four postseason starts was Blue Moon Odom for the Oakland A’s in 1972.

(Getty)
(Getty)

Bump in the road
The series headed south for the final two games and the Yankees found themselves in trouble again deep in the heart of Texas.

They lost 7-1 in Game 6, tied for their second-largest loss in a potential clinching game on the road …. and you probably want to forget the largest (a 15-2 blowout in Game 6 of 2001 World Series in Arizona). Making the loss even more miserable was the fact that the Astros were winless in their five previous playoff games at home when facing elimination.

The Astros bats exploded for seven runs on eight hits against the normally tough Yankees pitching staff, which had actually been on an incredible run dating back to the middle of the Division Series. They’d held the Indians and Astros to no more than six hits in eight straight games from ALDS Game 3 through ALCS Game 5, the longest such streak by any team in MLB postseason history.

Still, they could have nearly pitched a perfect game and it wouldn’t have mattered given how dominant Justin Verlander was once again with his team on the brink of a long winter. He tossed seven scoreless innings with eight strikeouts, racking up a bunch of notable feats:

  • First player in major-league history to pitch three consecutive scoreless starts of seven-plus innings with his team facing postseason elimination.
  • Third straight playoff start against the Yankees giving up no more than one run (dating back to 2012 ALCS Game 3), the only pitcher ever to have a streak like that against the Yankees in October.
  • Combined with his 13-strikeout performance in Game 2, he is the fourth pitcher to strike out at least 20 Yankees in a single postseason series. Bob Gibson (31, 1964 World Series), Curt Schilling (26, 2001 World Series) and Sandy Koufax (23, 1963 World Series) are the others.

Aaron Judge helped the Yankees avoid the embarrassment of getting blanked with a mammoth solo blast in the eight inning, his third homer in the ALCS and fourth of the postseason. His four total dingers set the rookie franchise record for a postseason, while he joined Alex Rodriguez (2009 ALCS) and Hank Bauer (1958 World Series) as the only Yankee right-handed batters to go deep at least three times in a single playoff series.

The game turned into a rout thanks to a rare implosion by David Robertson in the eighth inning. He faced four batters, who went homer-double-single-double before he was pulled. His final line – four runs, four hits, no outs – was ugly and historic: Robertson is the only Yankee ever to cough up at least four runs and four hits while recording zero outs in a postseason game.

(New York Post)
(New York Post)

You can’t win them all …
The Yankees magical, rollercoaster season finally came to an end thanks to a 4-0 Game 7 loss on Saturday night in Houston. Their comeback mojo expired, the Fighting Spirit went dry and this never-say-die team was unable to survive another do-or-die game. Still, what the Yankees were trying to accomplish, defying all expectations to make the World Series under the toughest circumstances, would have been such an incredible and rare feat. Consider these odds:

  • Only two teams have ever defeated 100-win teams in both the Division Series and League Championship Series (2001 Yankees and 1998 Padres)
  • The Yankees were the fifth team to play the maximum number games in the LDS and LCS in the Wild Card era — only one of those five were able to win both series (2012 Giants)
  • Only two teams have ever comeback from multiple 0-2 series deficits in the same postseason (1981 Dodgers, 1985 Royals), and neither of those teams faced two 100-win teams, which was the unprecedented task facing the Yankees

Ultimately, the Yankees inexplicable road/home splits sealed their fate this postseason. Saturday’s blanking was the second time they were shut out in the playoffs — the other was Game 1 of the ALDS in Cleveland — making this the first postseason in franchise history they suffered two shutouts on the road. They were held to one run or fewer for the fourth straight road game, tied for the second-longest such streak in MLB postseason history, trailing only the Brooklyn Dodgers’ six-gamer from 1916-20.

The Yankees somehow finished 1-6 on the road while going a perfect 6-0 at home in the playoffs. They are the fourth team ever to complete a postseason with a 6-0 or better record at home. That’s good! The other three clubs (2008 Phillies, 1999 Yankees, 1987 Twins) each won the World Series. That’s … less than good.

Regardless of the bittersweet ending, this season was so so much better than good.

Fan Confidence Poll: October 23rd, 2017

Regular Season Record: 91-71 (858 RS, 660 RA, 100-62 pythag. record), second in ALE
Postseason Record: 7-6 (51 RS, 42 RA), won AL WC Game, won ALDS, lost ALCS

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the Features tab in nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
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Sunday Open Thread

The first open thread of the offseason. Yuck. At least this one came much later than the last few seasons. It’s been a while since the Yankees went into the offseason feeling like a team on the rise, not a team trying to hang on to past glory and figure out a way to stay relevant. The 2017 season was a blast. It ended on a sour note, sure, but the past seven months were the most fun I’ve had as a Yankees fan in a very long time. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

Now that the Yankees season is over, I’m going to lay low for a week like I always do right around this time. Just a little break after a long season of game recaps and DotFs and analysis and whatever else. We’ll still have posts throughout the week, no doubt, but things will be a little slower than usual. We’ll get back up on the horse next week with season reviews and offseason outlooks and everything else that happens in the winter months. Thanks for sticking with us for another season, folks.

* * *

Here is an open thread for the day. The World Series doesn’t start until Tuesday, so there’s no baseball today. There is plenty of football though, plus the Nets are playing this afternoon. Talk about anything right here, just not religion or politics. Thanks in advance.

Glow and Grow

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

Before we begin, a sincere thanks to you, dear readers, for following along during the season and the playoffs. We all appreciate your day in, day out support and couldn’t do any of this without you. Please continue to read, share, and support the–frankly–great work that goes on here. Yankees Only. 

Reflection and feedback are key to our growth in anything we do. Whether we’re students or professionals in whatever field, we don’t move forward unless we take stock of what’s happened, how it happened, why it happened, and what to do next. When the Yankee organization goes through this process, they’ll have plenty to be happy about.

I said it all year. You said it all year. Everyone said it all year. This was not supposed to be ‘the year’ for the Yankees. This was supposed to be a year in which they won 85 games if everything clicked right. Everything clicked way right and they won 91 games and took one of the two best teams in the AL to seven games in the ALCS. Despite the repetition, I don’t think this can be said enough. What the Yankees did this year is nothing short of shocking in the best possible way.

They led the league in homers. They were second in runs. Top three in AVG/OBP/SLG. Their pitchers were third in ERA and fourth in strikeouts.

Aaron Judge? An MVP type season. Gary Sanchez? A 24 year old catcher with 30 homer power and the ability to throw out nearly 40% of base stealers. Luis Severino? A Cy Young caliber season. Chad Green? The next Dellin Betances. Greg Bird? A great playoff run to inspire hope for 2018. Clint Frazier? Forced his arrival early and showed flashes of brilliance in his cup of coffee.

What was the worst thing that happened to this team? Michael Pineda‘s injury? As sad as it was to see Big Mike go down, they didn’t miss him. Matt Holliday‘s second half of doom? It didn’t sink the team. Chris Carter? Total disaster, but they recovered.

2017, in so many ways, was glowing for the Yankees. They do have things to improve, mainly Dellin Betances remembering he’s Dellin damn Betances and fixing whatever ailed him for the last month or so of the season. They have to figure out their third base situation and the outfield logjam.

For this team, there is room to grow. For this team, the future is bright. We got an unexpectedly great taste this year, and hopefully, this is just the appetizer. While baseball will break your heart more often than not, this team looks to be set up for long-term success.

The World Series or bust mentality has certainly gone away in the last few years, and that’s a good thing. Despite that, expectations were the lowest for this team than they had been in years. Not only did the Yankees beat those expectations, they shattered them. If anyone–friend, family, foe–tells you that this year was a disappointment, a failure, laugh at that person. This was probably the most fun season the Yankees have had since 2009 and there should be many more just like around the corner.

Astros 4, Yankees 0: Game Seven loss sends Yankees home for the winter

All great things must come to an end. The incredibly fun and better than pretty much everyone expected 2017 Yankees season came to a close Saturday night, with a 4-0 loss to the Astros in Game Seven of the ALCS. Houston will take on the Dodgers in the World Series. The Yankees are heading home. You can either call this season a failure or be happy you got to enjoy the ride. I know which one I’m doing. Still love this team, you guys.

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

Strugglin’ Sabathia
It was clear in the second inning CC Sabathia was not especially sharp in Game Seven. The only reason it wasn’t clear in the first inning was three quick outs by the Astros. George Springer led the inning off with a single, then three first pitch weak ground ball outs followed.

The second inning was ominous. Sabathia fell behind in the count 2-0 on Yulieski Gurriel, but survived with a line drive out. Sabathia got ahead in the count 0-2 on Evan Gattis, but couldn’t finish him off and needed a hard-hit grounder for an out. Brian McCann then drew a four-pitch walk, Marwin Gonzalez dunked a single to center on the sixth pitch of his at-bat, and Josh Reddick popped up to end the threat. Bad signs abound.

Sabathia faced five batters in the third inning and only one saw a first pitch strike. There was one 2-0 count and one 3-1 count mixed in there, as well as another walk and an infield single. Sabathia looked so shaky — he had nothing to put hitters away with, it was all guts and guile — that I thought it was probably best to pull him after three innings. It felt like only a matter of time until the Astros broke through.

Instead, Sabathia went out for the fourth, got ahead on Gattis 0-2, then couldn’t put him away. On the eighth pitch of the at-bat Gattis cranked a hanging slider out to left field for a solo home run and a 1-0 Astros lead. Sabathia then walked McCann on five pitches, and gave up Reddick’s first hit of the ALCS. That was finally the end of his night. Tommy Kahnle escaped the inning with a first pitch double play.

Sabathia’s final line: 3.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 0 K on 65 pitches. Yikes. He generated only three swings and misses, and only nine of 18 batters faced saw a first pitch strike. Sabathia doesn’t need to be perfect to succeed, he still has enough movement to get away with mistakes, but only when he’s ahead in the count. Falling behind is a recipe for disaster. All things considered, the Yankees were lucky he allowed just the one run in Game Seven.

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

Kahnle Finally Melts Down
Kahnle’s emergence as a dominant bullpen force this postseason is a big reason the Yankees got to within one game of the World Series. He finally had a hiccup in Game Seven, and at exactly the wrong time. Jose Altuve took Kahnle deep in the fifth inning — opposite field! — for a 2-0 lead, then a first pitch single and a seven-pitch single put the Astros back in business. Kahnle hung a changeup to McCann, who pounded it to right field for a two-run double and a 4-0 lead. Barf.

The numbers on Kahnle: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 K. That’s after scattering two hits and two walks in his first ten postseason innings. The more important numbers: 16 changeups among 24 pitches, and an average fastball velocity of 96.2 mph. His regular season average was 98.1 mph. That much missing velocity and a boatload of changeups suggests Kahnle was running on fumes and trying to get outs any way he could. It happens.

Adam Warren and David Robertson resorted order and held the Astros to one hit in 3.1 innings combined. Robertson struck out three in two scoreless innings, and looked like David Robertson. After the game Joe Girardi inadvertently admitted Robertson has been sick, which might explain his last few rough outings. I’m a bit surprised Aroldis Chapman did not pitch, though I guess Girardi wanted to make sure he maxed out Robertson in a Game Seven situation before going to Chapman.

(Ronald Martinez/Getty)
(Ronald Martinez/Getty)

Not Enough Offense
The No. 1 reason the Yankees lose the ALCS: they scored three runs total in four games in hitter friendly Minute Maid Park. Yes, Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander started three of those four games, but still. That little offense on the road is not going to cut it, even as well as the Yankees pitched in the series overall. The Yankees were shut out in Game Seven, which I guess is a fitting end to the series.

Charlie Morton mowed the Yankees down for five innings with stunning efficiency. His pitch count by inning: 10, 6, 12, 8, 18. Morton was pounding the strike zone. When the Yankees jumped on a first pitch fastball, they did nothing with it. When they took the first pitch and tried to work a long at-bat, Morton got head in the count quickly. They had no answer either way. Damned if you swing, damned if you don’t.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch pulled Morton after five innings and 54 pitches because his control was starting to deteriorate, and because his numbers going through the lineup a third time are pretty terrible. The Yankees had their best chance to score in the fifth inning, which Greg Bird led off with a double. He moved to third on a wild pitch with one out, and Todd Frazier could’ve tied the game 1-1 with a fly ball. Instead, this happened:

Three things. One, that was a heck of a play by Alex Bregman. Real good throw home too. Two, wow did McCann take a spiking to make that play. Bird spiked him (accidentally, I assume) right in the forearm. That couldn’t have felt good. And three, man is Bird slow. He’s sooo slow. He also slid right into the tag instead of around it, which is exactly what happened when he was thrown out at the plate in Game One. Bird is a great hitter. But he is slow as hell and not the best slider in the world.

That was the only real chance the Yankees had to score in Game Seven. Bird was the only Yankee to make it as far as third base. The Yankees scattered one single and one walk in the final four innings, during which Lance McCullers Jr. completely mowed them down with his curveball. Frazier worked a leadoff walk in the eighth, and McCullers settled down to retire the final six batters by thrown 24 (!) straight curveballs. Oy vey. The final out of the season: Bird flying out to Springer in center.

Leftovers
For the third time this postseason, Aaron Judge made a ridiculous leaping catch at the wall. And it’ll probably be completely forgotten. He took a home run away from Francisco Lindor in the ALDS, robbed Gurriel of extra bases earlier in the ALCS, then robbed Gurriel of extra bases again in Game Seven. To the action footage:

I’m not sure whether that ball would’ve gone out, but I do know that was a fantastic catch. Judge’s best of the season. I really hope he gets more credit for his defense going forward. We all see the 50-something home runs and light tower power. But Judge is a well-rounded ballplayer who saves runs defense and runs the bases well. I feel like not enough people know that.

The Yankees had three hits total in Game Seven. The double by Bird and singled by Brett Gardner and Gary Sanchez. Hicks and Frazier drew walks. That’s all the baserunners. Didi Gregorius had maybe his worst game as a Yankee, going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts on 14 total pitches, two over the minimum. The Yankees went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and I’m surprised they had that many at-bats in those situations.

This was only the fifth time in history the home team won every game in a best-of-seven series. It happened in the 1987 World Series (Twins vs. Cardinals), 1991 World Series (Twins vs. Braves), 2001 World Series (Diamondbacks vs. Yankees), and 2004 NLCS (Cardinals vs. Astros). Losing Games One and Two by identical 2-1 scores stings. Those games were there for the taking.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head over to ESPN for the box score and MLB.com for the video highlights. We have a Bullpen Workload page, not that it matters anymore. Here is the loss probability graph …


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The offseason. At least this one will be a few weeks shorter than the last few. The first orders of offseason business will be re-signing Brian Cashman and Girardi, or finding a Girardi replacement should he step away to spent time with his family. Once that happens, the Yankees can move forward with improving the 2018 Yankees.

2017 ALCS Game Seven: Yankees at Astros

2017-alcs-logoSo here we are again. Another win or go home game. The Yankees have been through a few of these already this postseason. Except unlike the Wild Card Game or Games Three, Four, and Five of the ALDS, a spot in the World Series is on the line tonight. The Yankees and Astros are playing Game Seven of the ALCS. Winner goes to Los Angeles for the World Series. Loser cries in the shower.

The good news: CC Sabathia is on the mound tonight, and he’s been pretty excellent so far this postseason. Hasn’t allowed an extra-base hit through three starts! If nothing else, you know Sabathia won’t be overwhelmed by the moment. The Yankees lined up their ALCS rotation specifically so Sabathia could start this winner-take-all game, the same way they called on him to start Game Five of the ALDS. In the big man we trust.

Now, the bad news: the bullpen is a little taxed and Houston’s bats seemed to wake up late in Game Six. Chad Green won’t be available today and David Robertson seems pretty rundown. Fortunately Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman are still out there, and I can’t help but wonder if we’ll see Masahiro Tanaka at some point, even though Joe Girardi said it won’t happen. Sabathia to Kahnle to Chapman with like a 17-run lead would be ideal. Fingers crossed. Here are the lineups:

New York Yankees
1. LF Brett Gardner
2. RF Aaron Judge
3. SS Didi Gregorius
4. C Gary Sanchez
5. 1B Greg Bird
6. 3B Starlin Castro
7. CF Aaron Hicks
8. 3B Todd Frazier
9. DH Chase Headley
LHP CC Sabathia

Houston Astros
1. CF George Springer
2. 3B Alex Bregman
3. 2B Jose Altuve
4. SS Carlos Correa
5. 1B Yulieski Gurriel
6. DH Evan Gattis
7. C Brian McCann
8. LF Marwin Gonzalez
9. RF Josh Reddick
RHP Charlie Morton

It is cloudy and breezy but warm in Houston today. No matter, the Minute Maid Park will be closed. Seems like they always close the roof in the postseason, regardless of the weather. Tonight’s game will begin at 8pm ET and FOX Sports 1 has the broadcast. Enjoy the game.