Yankees win second straight, Severino shuts down Braves in 3-1 win


Source: FanGraphs

The Yankees really need to beat up on bad teams given their current place in the standings, and that’s exactly what they’ve done in the first two games of this series with the Braves. Following Friday night’s blowout win, New York picked up a more traditional 3-1 win Saturday. The Yankees have now won two straight to keep pace with the molten hot Blue Jays.

I only saw small bits and pieces of this game — I saw the Yankees score their first run on a wild pitch and Luis Severino labor through an inefficient first inning, and then I saw Andrew Miller close the door with a perfect ninth inning, but nothing in between — so I can’t talk too intelligently about it. The Yankees scored their second and third runs on doubles by Didi Gregorius and Brian McCann, respectively.

Severino settled down after that shaky first inning — he threw more balls (seven) than strikes (six) in the first — and finished the night with six scoreless innings. He allowed four hits and three walks, and struck out five. Ten of his other 13 outs came on the ground. Severino has yet to throw a pitch in the seventh inning in his big league career but that isn’t a priority right now. The Yankees will take six quality innings every time out from the rookie, and that’s what he gave them Saturday.

The Yankees actually had more walks (seven) than hits (six) offensively. Five of the six hits were doubles too — Greg Bird‘s single was the only non-extra-base hit. Carlos Beltran (two walks), McCann (double, walk), and Bird (single, walk) all reached base twice. Justin Wilson allowed a run in two-thirds of an inning, then Dellin Betances and Miller recorded the final seven outs to close things out. Nice crisp win.

Sadly, this game was marred by tragedy. A fan at Turner Field fell from the upper deck during seventh inning and landed on the concrete below. The fan was rushed to the hospital and Atlanta police later confirmed he died from his injuries. Here’s the full story. Man, that’s just awful. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of the fan.

Here are the box score and video highlights for the game, and here are the updated standings and postseason odds for the season. Also make sure you check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees will try to complete the sweep Sunday afternoon. It’ll be Nathan Eovaldi against Julio Teheran in the matinee.

DotF: Dustin Ackley goes deep in third rehab game

Triple-A Scranton (3-1 loss to Buffalo)

  • CF Ben Gamel & 2B Rob Refsnyder: both 0-4 — Gamel struck out once, Refsnyder twice
  • RF Dustin Ackley: 1-2, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI — played six innings in the field in his third rehab game
  • 3B Jose Pirela, CF Aaron Judge & C Austin Romine: all 0-3 — Judge struck out twice
  • LHP Eric Wooten: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 5/3 GB/FB — 39 of 56 pitches were strikes (70%)
  • RHP Caleb Cotham: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 3/0 GB/FB — 23 of 30 pitches were strikes (77%)
  • RHP Andrew Bailey: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 0/2 GB/FB — ten of 15 pitches were strikes (67%) … with rosters expanding Tuesday, I’m guessing he’ll be wearing pinstripes the next time he pitches

[Read more…]

Game 128: Prospect vs. Prospect

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Last night’s win was an A+ game. Aside from Masahiro Tanaka‘s first inning shakiness, everything went according to plan. The series continues today with a pitching matchup featuring two top prospects: Luis Severino and Matt Wisler. Baseball America ranked them consecutively on their preseason top 100 list — Wisler was No. 34, Severino No. 35 — though Severino jumped Wisler during the season.

The pitching matchup is pretty cool. Some more offense would be even cooler. Those 15 runs last night sure were welcome after the Yankees scored 16 runs total in their previous six games. The Braves are not very good and it shows with their pitching staff. It seems like everyone in their bullpen is a random computer generated player from MLB: The Show. More runs tonight, plays. Lots of ’em. I want another laugher.

I won’t have time to update this post with the starting lineup, so I’ll instead redirect to you to Chad Jennings’ site. He’ll surely have the lineup at some point. It’s cloudy and cool in Atlanta, but there is no rain in the forecast, so that’s good. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:10pm ET and you can watch on FOX Sports 1. No YES, no WPIX, no regular old FOX. FOX Sports 1 only. Enjoy the game.

Guest Post: The Hiring of No. 37: Casey Stengel: October 1948

The following is a guest post from Adam Moss, who you know as Roadgeek Adam in the comments. He’s previously written guest posts on Tim McClelland, Frankie Crosetti, and the No. 26.

(SliceTheLife.com)
(SliceTheLife.com)

For many years, Yankee fans looked at the hiring of Joe Torre in the modern day mass media as an “Is George Steinbrenner crazy?” situation because Torre had never coached a winning team in his entire time as manager between the Mets, Braves and Cardinals. The New York Daily News famously had “CLUELESS JOE: Torre Has No Idea What He’s Getting Into” headline by Ian O’Connor on the Sports Final version of the paper. As we know quite well, the Torre years ended up being some of the best in New York Yankees history.

However, this time, I want to talk about the hiring of another famous manager, No. 37, Casey Stengel. Similar to Torre, the young Stengel had not been very successful before being hired by the New York Yankees. Managing since 1925, originally for Worcester Panthers of the Eastern League, he had very few winning seasons, including none with the Brooklyn Dodgers, in which he recorded only a 208-251 win-loss record. In 1937, he wasn’t even managing at all but was still being paid by the Dodgers. In 1938, he was the manager of the Boston Bees, but once again, showed mediocre results. His best season by far was the 1938 season, in which the team was one of two no-hit consecutively by Midland Park, New Jersey’s Johnny Vander Meer, drawing a 77-75 (.507) record. That 1938 Boston Bees team was not made of many names, but a couple stick out: Vince DiMaggio (Joe & Dom DiMaggio’s older brother) and Jim Turner, who ended up becoming Casey Stengel’s pitching coach from 1949-1959.

Stengel’s record in Boston was not even close to .500 for the rest of the seasons he was there, including a complete low in 1942 in which they recorded a 59-89 season. After 1943, he was out of the National League again and coaching in the minors. By 1946, he had gotten to manage the Oakland Oaks, where he won 321 games and lost only 236, including winning a championship in 1948 over the Seattle Rainiers. The Oaks, actually, were independent most of their time in Emeryville, California, except for a period of 1935-1937, when they were a farm team of the New York Yankees. (The Oakland Oaks soon moved to Vancouver, BC and became the Vancouver Mounties and continued to move to several cities afterwards).

The New York Yankees leading up to October 1948

The years of 1946 to 1948 were a bit strange for the Yankees, because they went through numerous managers in a short period of time. Longtime manager Joe McCarthy resigned on May 24, 1946 after 15 seasons of leading the team. McCarthy had been ill for quite a while, and had issues with pitcher Joe Page and team president Larry MacPhail. The legendary Bill Dickey took over after McCarthy’s resignation and to make things worse, Dickey resigned on September 12. One of McCarthy’s coaches, Johnny Neun completed the season in 1946. For a team with such managerial issues, you’d think they’d have performed poorly like McCarthy complained about in his resignation. The 1946 Yankees ended the season with an 87-67 record (.565), finishing 17 games back of the Boston Red Sox (who went 104-50).

Like a light bulb, the 1947 Yankees flipped a switch under new manager Bucky Harris. The Yankees acquired superstar pitcher Allie “Superchief” Reynolds from the Cleveland Indians on October 11, 1946 for Joe Gordon, a trade that almost never occurred because MacPhail was going for Red Embree (who was out of the league by 1949) until Joltin’ Joe told him to make a trade for Reynolds. Aside of that, the Yankees had a budding catcher to replace the great Bill Dickey, Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra, who was wearing No. 36 at the time. There was also star shortstop Phil Rizzuto, future All-Star third baseman Dr. Bobby Brown and even Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio, who had become a leader on the team. That 1947 team won the American League pennant by 12 games with a 97-57 record. They went to the World Series and defeated the cross-town Brooklyn Dodgers in 7 games, giving Harris his first ring since the 1924 Washington Senators. (The Twins-version for those curious.)

In 1948, the Yankees were a contender all the way to the end of the season, part of a huge race with the Red Sox and Indians. The 1948 season was famous for the the death of Babe Ruth at age 53 on August 16. Most of the 1947 championship team was still with the Yankees in 1948, including Red Embree, who MacPhail finally got for the 1948 season (after turning him down in 1946). Finishing a mere 2.5 games short of the World Series, the Yankees decided on October 4, 1948 to not extend Harris as the manager of the Yankees after a conference between Dan Topping, George Weiss and Bucky Harris determined they would not continue together.

Post-Bucky

So, now that Bucky Harris was out as New York Yankees manager, it was time to figure out who would replace him. A statement made by the Yankees indicated the new manager would come from outside of the team, eliminating Joltin’ Joe, Tommy Henrich and coach/infielder Frankie Crosetti despite all being good candidates and Crosetti having a big fan in George Weiss. The statement dropped names such as Bill Skiff of the Newark Bears of the International League, Jim Turner (the former Boston Brave, now coaching for the Portland Beavers) and Dick Bartell, the manager of the Kansas City Blues of the American Association, which was the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate.

By October 11, the Associated Press had reported that it appeared Oakland’s Casey Stengel, who had taken the team of “nine old men” to the Pacific Coast League championship, was a candidate. By the time these rumors had come to light, the names had changed a bit: Jimmy Dykes, Al Simmons, Stengel, Neun and Skiff were in consideration. It had announced the Yankees would make a choice in “a couple of weeks.” It didn’t take two weeks. The next day, October 12, the Yankees announced Casey Stengel had been given a 2-year contract to be manager. Stengel stated he was “delighted to be with the Yankees and not have much time to think.”

Media Response

The 57-year old Stengel quickly received mixed support. Stengel had support of Tommy Holmes in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, “Let’s Hope Casey is Not Restrained” citing that Stengel had been a lifelong baseball player and manager and as a result should’ve been completely accepted by baseball. Holmes stated that when Stengel was the manager of the Dodgers, they had no farm and, somewhat ironically, no money. One of the major articles that came up was “Stengel Specialized in Laughing Off Bad Ball Clubs: Ol’ Case May Have To Do Same Thing For Yankees” by Harry Grayson of the Newspaper Enterprise Association. The argument by Grayson was that players get older regularly and that the Yankees would become very much the same as what happened with Stengel’s Brooklyn Dodgers: they’d get old. However, Grayson denied that as Stengel came with money and that only the St. Louis Browns would be selling.

A major criticism that was brought up by both Holmes and Grayson was Stengel’s style of being not very serious when it came to the game. Stengel liked to spin stories quite a bit, including ones about a bird that flew out of Stengel’s cap when he was standing at the plate, but Holmes’ argued they were just spinning stories to make Stengel not look serious. There was also a story about Frenchy Bordagaray, an outfielder, threw a ball into one of Stengel’s ears. Frenchy joked when he came in the dugout after saving the game that he should be allowed to hit Stengel in the ears every game for good luck, and as a result, Casey told him, “Tell you what George [Earnshaw, the pitcher], I will hold him and you bite him in the leg.” Other articles called it a second chance for Stengel, who also had an issue with umpires in the days of games being called due to darkness, using a flashlight at the umpires to make a point.

Stengel’s return to the Major Leagues had caused quite a bit of media buzz, and by October 21, Stengel told the Associated Press that he is taking a job with challenges, but he also laughed off the idea that “I got the job simply because of my close friendship with Del Webb and George Weiss.” This new contract covered 2 years/$70,000 (1948 USD) and stated his wife could now work on the East Coast shopping. About a month on November 12, Grantland Rice of the Chino Champion, explained that the decision to fire Harris was a dumb one purely because Harris was a friend of MacPhail. He called the hiring of Stengel as a smart one, but only because it was preceded by a dumb one. He also stated that “Stengel is a high-grade manager who knows his trade. But there won’t be as many laughing stories about Casey in 1949-not with the job he has ahead.” Rice stated that the Yankees farm has been pretty bad the couple years prior and that he needed an outfielder, three new infielders, a catcher and three pitchers. This means working a team with Joltin’ Joe, Henrich, Berra, Charlie Keller and Johnny Lindell.

Conclusion

Yeah, there wasn’t as much negativity surrounding the Stengel hiring as there was in the Torre hiring in 1996 due to the lack of media coverage in that era, but the fact Stengel’s hiring caused more than your normal stir for a manager, it was worth pointing out the similarity. Similar to Torre, Stengel became a dynastic manager for the Yankees along with pitching coach Jim Turner and third base coach Frankie Crosetti, leading the Yankees to seven championships in eleven seasons including 1949-1953 straight before being fired for “not needing his services,” or, as Ken Burns argued, he was fired for turning 70. He became the manager of the newly-minted New York Mets in 1962, after being convinced out of retirement.

Stengel is a great manager in the history of the New York Yankees, but if not for the Yankees, you could argue he would’ve never made it into the Hall of Fame in 1966 because of the Veterans Committee. His record outside of the Yankees and the Oakland Oaks were absolutely terrible, but like Torre (who could’ve been in the HoF on player merits alone), he made his managerial career famous with the Yankees and no one would ever deny it.

Didi’s huge night leads Yankees to 15-4 win over Braves

Alright alright alright. That is much more like it. The Yankees started their six-game road trip with a laugher, blowing the Braves out by the score of 15-4 on Friday night. They needed this. We needed this.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)

Two Outs, Nine Runs
It took the Yankees seven batters Friday night to exceed their runs total from the three-game series with the Astros. They scored just four runs against Houston earlier this week, but the bats broke out and hung a five spot on Williams Perez in the first inning of this game. The entire rally happened with two outs too. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner both started the inning with outs. Let’s recap with an annotated play-by-play.

Yankees Braves annotates play-by-play

(1) Carlos Beltran had a miserable start to the season. It was very ugly. But, since the calendar flipped to May, he has hit .302/.365/.529 (145 wRC+) in just over 300 plate appearances. That’s best case scenario stuff. I never would have expected Beltran to hit that well over that long a stretch of time coming into the season. He’s been the club’s only consistent hitter the last few weeks, so it’s fitting he started the first inning rally with a not trying to do too much single back up the box.

(2) As expected, Brian McCann received a big standing ovation from the handful of fans at Turner Field in his first game back. He stepped out, tipped his helmet, the whole nine. Pretty cool moment. Perez then walked him on six pitches and it never once seemed like McCann was not going to reach base. Even when Perez had two strikes on him. The first pitch was a fastball right down the middle, and the foul ball for the second strike came on the pitch just off the plate, but the four balls were well wide. Easy takes for the walk. That’s when it became obvious Perez was in over his head.

(3) The Greg Bird at-bat was the opposite of the McCann at-bat — Perez threw five pitches just off the plate and Bird took all five of ’em. One was called a strike, the rest balls. I thought maybe Bird would look to punch something the other way after the 2-0 pitch was called a strike, but Perez kept pitching to the same spot, and Bird kept taking ’em. Impressive that a rookie took so many borderline pitches. The walk loaded the bases and now Perez was really in over his head.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)

(4) Considering the offensive woes, it was easy to prepare for disappointment after Bird walked to load the bases. Nothing personal against Chase Headley — he came into the game hitting .318/.363/.536 (143 wRC+) with runners in scoring position, you know — but the Yankees have been struggling at the plate for a while, and we’ve seen them waste more than a few opportunities. You were expecting them to blow it. Admit it. I was. Instead, Headley smoked a pitch over Cameron Maybin’s head in center field for a ground-rule double. That was huge. They needed some runs there just to feel good about things early in the road trip. An out there and it would have been “here we go again.” It’s only human nature. Instead, a 2-0 lead.

(5) Needless to say, Didi Gregorius‘ three-run home run was the big blow. The inning went from good to great with that one swing. Two first inning runs is good, we all would have signed up for that coming into the game, but five is so much better. Changes the entire complexion of the game. I wouldn’t call it a no-doubter off the bat, but it was well struck and appeared to have enough to get over the head of Nick Markakis in right. It did. Way over and into the people. That gave the Yankees a quick 5-0 lead. They’ve scored 107 runs in the first inning this year, easily the most in baseball.

Not satisfied with five two-out runs in the first, the Yankees scored four more in the second. Same deal too — the first two batters made outs, then the Bombers rallied. Gardner singled, Beltran singled again, McCann walked again, then Perez was yanked from the game. Braves skipper Fredi Gonzalez had seen enough. In came Ross Detwiler, who walked Bird and Headley with the bases loaded to score two runs. Man, walking in runs is the single most infuriating thing in baseball. Thankfully the Yankees were on the receiving end of those bases loaded walks.

Gregorius followed the back-to-back walks with a two-run ground ball single through the left side of the infield to really turn this one into a laugher. It was more well-placed than well-stuck, but they all count the same. The Yankees have been really struggling to score runs of late, so getting some key hits from Headley and Gregorius was very welcome. They needed someone, anyone to come through with a big hit. Those two got three big hits in the first two innings.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)

A Bad Start, A Great Finish
Boy, for a while it looked like the Yankees were going need to all five of those first inning runs to support Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka looked awful in the first inning, he had less than nothing, and the result was two runs for the Braves. It would have been more — probably four runs total — if not for Ellsbury’s great catch to end the inning. I guess his hip is okay. He went a long way to grab that ball.

Tanaka threw a first pitch ball to each of the first three hitters in the first, and all three reached base. Markakis singled, Maybin walked, and Freddie Freeman singled in Markakis. Not a good start! Nick Swisher followed with a sacrifice fly, then Adonis Garcia singled. So four of the first five Braves reached base, and the one guy who didn’t hit a hard-hit sacrifice fly. It was not a good start for Tanaka. Neither the slider nor the splitter was behaving.

The start to the second inning wasn’t too much better. Tanaka fell behind the leadoff hitter, Andrelton Simmons, three balls and no strikes, so things were starting to get scary. Rather than continue to fall apart, something clicked for Tanaka. He rebounded to strike out Simmons as well as the next two hitters for a clean second inning. He retired 19 of the final 21 batters he faced — Freeman hit a solo homer and Simmons doubled after the score was out of hand — and was dominant. Tanaka found it that quick.

When it was all said and done, Tanaka allowed the three runs on five hits and a walk in seven innings. He struck out seven and threw 100 pitches on the nose. Seventy of them were strikes. The first inning was ugly. Everything after that was pretty awesome. This was an ace performance — aces find ways to pitch well and win even when things aren’t working. No slider? No splitter? No problem. Tanaka figured it out. Well done.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)

Leftovers
The Yankees scored four more runs in the eighth — McCann’s three-run homer was the big blow — and then two more in the ninth against position player Jonny Gomes. He is, without a doubt, the worst position player pitcher I’ve seen. Gomes was lobbing it in there. Chris Young took him deep. The Yankees scored 15 runs Friday after scoring 16 runs in their previous six games combined.

Gregorius had the biggest day at the plate, going 4-for-5 and driving in six (!) runs. How about that? Beltran had three hits, McCann had one hit and three walks, Bird had a hit and two walks, and Headley had two hits and a walk. Everyone in the starting lineup had a hit except Stephen Drew, naturally. Young and John Ryan Murphy had hits off the bench too. Even Tanaka had some nice at-bats. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and saw 24 total pitches.

Justin Wilson threw 19 pitches in two-thirds of an inning because he needed the work. He hadn’t pitched in a week. Bryan Mitchell recorded the final four outs — he allowed one run — in his first outing since being hit in the face by a line drive eleven days ago. Mitchell struck out against Gomes as well. A position player struck out a pitcher. NL baseball is the worst. Glad to see Mitchell back out there.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score and video highlights for the game, and here are the updated standings and postseason odds for the season. Also make sure you click over to our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. Here’s the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Same two teams Saturday night (argh) in the middle game of this three-game series. Top pitching prospects Luis Severino and Matt Wisler will be on the mound. Should be fun.

DotF: Ackley plays second rehab game; Mateo injured in Tampa’s win

No Yankees farmhands were named to the Double-A Eastern League end of season All-Star Team. All their good players were promoted to Triple-A Scranton at midseason.

Triple-A Scranton (7-2 win over Lehigh Valley)

  • DH Ben Gamel: 2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 SB — had been in a 3-for-29 (.103) slump
  • LF Dustin Ackley: 2-4, 1 R, 1 SB — played five innings in the field in his second rehab game (first in the field) … the back must be feeling pretty good if he’s stealing bases
  • RF-3B Jose Pirela: 3-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 BB
  • CF-LF Slade Heathcott: 1-5, 1 K
  • C Austin Romine: 3-5, 2 RBI, 2 K
  • RHP Kyle Haynes: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 10/4 GB/FB — 56 of 92 pitches were strikes (61%) … four runs allowed in his last 24 innings (1.50 ERA)
  • RHP Chris Martin: 2 IP 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GB/FB — 23 of 32 pitches were strikes (72%)
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 14 of 21 pitches were strikes (67%)

[Read more…]

Game 127: McCann Returns Home

McCann, once upon a time. (Christian Petersen/Getty)
McCann circa 2009. (Christian Petersen/Getty)

The Yankees are in Atlanta this weekend, which means Brian McCann is back home. Not just to play the team that originally drafted him and developed him into a seven-time All-Star, but back home literally. McCann grew up in the Atlanta suburbs and still lives in the area in the offseason.

“I was a big Braves fan,” said McCann to Dan Martin. “Chipper [Jones], [John Smoltz], [Tom] Glavine. I got to play with some people I looked up to and grew up watching. They all took me under their wing. Chipper taught me how to hit at this level. Smoltz taught me how to call a game. That was a big part of my career.”

McCann ranks third all-time in home runs at Turner Field and, barring a Yankees-Braves World Series matchup this year or next, this will be his last series at the ballpark. The Braves are opening a new stadium in 2017. “I was hoping to get back there. I wanted to go back and play before they knocked down Turner,” added McCann.

I’m sure this will be a special series for McCann, and I have to think the Braves fans will give him a huge ovation, but at the end of the day the Yankees really need to start winning some games. The 5-5 homestand was disappointing because it started with a sweep of the Twins. The Yankees are 11-13 in August and that’s no way to stay in the postseason race.

More than anything, the Yankees need their offense to come to life against the lowly Braves pitching staff this weekend, and that includes McCann, who has popped some homers but has otherwise done little else in the second half. The Braves are very bad. This series is an opportunity to right the ship. Here is Atlanta’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 1B Greg Bird
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. RHP Masahiro Tanaka

The internet tells me it is cloudy in Atlanta, but there is no rain in the forecast, so that’s good. It’s not crazy hot either. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:35pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Injury Updates: Mark Teixeira (leg) is still unable to run with maximum effort and will go for more tests to make sure they didn’t miss a small fracture or anything … Ellsbury (hip) still has some swelling but is in the lineup tonight, obviously.

Roster Update: Chris Capuano once again accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Scranton after being designated for assignment the other day. He’ll presumably join the team’s rotation.