Severino outduels Archer, Yankees win 3-1 and take the series

(Source: Getty)

Behind Luis Severino‘s big arm, the Yankees took tonight’s game 3-1 and the series against the Rays. Good to head to Flushing on a positive note, right? It was also good to see Severino have a solid outing after a rough one versus the Blue Jays. The lineup managed to score two off of Chris Archer and Greg Bird added an insurance monster home run for three total runs, which were good enough for tonight.

First two runs

Yankees struck first in the second. Carlos Beltran walked to lead off the inning and Bird hit a hard slider deep into the gap to drive in the first run. Bird advanced to third on a Chase Headley groundout but failed to score thanks to Didi Gregorius‘ ground out to first and Dustin Ackley‘s line out.

(Source: Getty)

The Yankees added another run in the sixth. With two outs and Brian McCann on first, Greg Bird walked on four pitches to put a runner on scoring position. Chase Headley followed it up with a soft single to left to drive McCann in. 2-0 Yankees. Nice to see the offense take advantage of opportunities like this especially when your young ace is dealing.

Sevvy!

Luis Severino, a 21-year old thrown into the big leagues in the middle of a heated pennant race, had a nice bounceback outing tonight – 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB and 7 strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 3.12 in 43.1 IP, which is pretty awesome for a 21-year old in ML. Dare I say … he is like how I envisioned Phil Hughes would be back in 2007 when the righty was called up to the big leagues.

Unlike the previous start, when his command seemed to be a liability, Severino managed to avoid big hits (mostly) and strike hitters out. In the sixth inning, however, with one out and runner on first, Severino allowed a big fly ball to Steven Souza that hit the roof of the Tropicana Field, allowing the first and only run of the match. After striking out Nick Franklin for the second out of the inning, Joe Girardi took Severino out. That frame might not have gone as everyone had wanted, but the outing pleased a lot of people, that’s for sure.

Justin Wilson, who relieved Severino in the sixth, struck out Kevin Kiermaier to get out of the frame scoreless.

(Source: Getty)

Dellin Betances vs. Command

The Yankees ran into a bit of a scare in the bottom of seventh. After Justin Wilson got two quick outs, Girardi brought in Betances to get the last out of the frame. We’ve all seen this, right? Tonight, the process went quite more stressful than how it usually has.

After getting ahead 0-2, Betances totally lost the strike zone to walk the pinch-hitting Grady Sizemore. And then he went on to walk the next two batters – Evan Longoria and Logan Forsythe – to load the bases. Betances has run into some kind of rut with command lately.

Thankfully, he struck out James Loney in three pitches. Loney was Rays’ best hitter by far against Severino, going 3-for-3 against the 21-year old. But he didn’t stand a chance against Betances – a 82 mph curve for called strike, 98 mph fastball for called strike and whiffed on a 86 mph curve for a big, fat K.

Betances had a much more stress-free eighth. He allowed a leadoff single to Souza Jr. on the first pitch. Two pitches later, however, Franklin’s bunt lined softly to Headley’s glove and he doubled off Souza Jr. for a double play. Another two later, Kiermaier grounded out to end the inning – a five pitch eighth!

Post-Betances

In the top ninth, with Andrew Bellatti pitching, Bird hit a 84 mph changeup way out of the park to extend the lead to 3-1. I have no idea how far that home run went but it was just absolutely crushed – it hit the back wall above the Tropicana sign above the right field seats. He’s no Mark Teixeira but after tonight’s game, he’s hit for a nice 127 wRC+ in 115 plate appearances.

Oh, and in the bottom ninth, Andrew Miller threw a clean 1-2-3 frame to close out the game. He’s just absolutely filthy – 14.56 K/9 with a 2.62 BB/9, those two say it all .

Box score, standings, highlights and WPA

Here’s tonight’s box score, updated standings, video highlights and WPA.


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees have a day-off tomorrow and will face the Mets for a three-game series this weekend. That will be exciting, don’t you think?

Defensive miscues doom the Yankees in a 5-3 loss to Orioles

This series, not only the game, could have gone much better for the Yankees but it didn’t turn out that way. New York dropped the series finale against Baltimore tonight for a brutal series loss at home. CC Sabathia looked good for most of the game but errors doomed his night while the lineup – besides Carlos Beltran – couldn’t punch the runs in. New York dropped the battle of the late innings 5-3 with offense coming up empty-handed against Ubaldo Jimenez, Darren O’Day and Zach Britton. The bullpen allowed a couple runs that spelled doom.

(Source: Getty)

Death by defense, the CC Sabathia story

CC didn’t benefit from the defense in the first. With Nolan Reimold on at first, Sabathia induced a grounder to second from Gerardo Parra that should have been an easy double play. But Stephen Drew misplayed the bounce and only had time to throw the runner out at first. Later in inning, with two outs, Chris Davis drove Reimold in with a bloop single to right that Beltran also misread. 1-0 Orioles. Definitely not types of plays you want to see from a team trying for a division title.

From second to fourth innings though, Sabathia looked very good. Remember, he was doing decently before knee injury shelved him in late August. (3.80 ERA in 4 starts in August) In those three innings, Sabathia allowed only three baserunners and struck out three. He’s definitely not the guy he used to be but that will do.

In the fifth, Sabathia got himself into a jam. Dariel Alvarez reached with a walk and Reimold followed it up with a single. After Parra moved both runners up with a sac bunt, Sabathia got a huge strikeout against Manny Machado. I thought, at that point, things would go swimmingly for New York for rest of the game. Unfortunately for CC he drilled Chris Davis to load the bases, which prompted Joe Girardi to bring in Adam Warren to close out the fifth. Sabathia wasn’t happy about it but with pitch count at 85 and a righty hitter (Jonathan Schoop) coming up, Joe didn’t want to take too many chances.

Warren did his job against Schoop – he induced a grounder to Chase Headley that should have ended the inning but his throw tumbled mid-air like changeup and went through Drew’s legs. However, that doesn’t excuse Drew of his error either – it looked definitely catchable for any ML infielder. Baltimore scored two on that miscue and made it a 3-3 tie game.

September Beltran, the step before October Beltran

Beltran made up for misreading the fly ball by hitting an oppo-dinger off of Ubaldo Jimenez. He squared up a fastball on the outer edge of the strik ezone and quite frankly, I was surprised that it carried so much. Old man’s still got it.

One-man army. (Source: Getty)

Beltran drove in two more runs in the third. With two outs and two runners in scoring position, Beltran drilled a slider inside to make it 3-1 Yanks. Three RBI for the old man and they turned out to be the only runs for the Yanks tonight.

To remind you how good he’s been – since May 1, Beltran has hit for a .878 OPS (prior to the game). After tonight’s game, he has a 123 wRC+ with an isolated power just below .200 (.199 to be precise) for the whole season. That contract isn’t looking too grim anymore!

Faltering in late innings, again

Warren held on his own pretty well in the sixth and seventh innings. Meanwhile, the Yankee offense came up with almost zilch against Ubaldo Jimenez. Dustin Ackley did hit an oppo-double in the seventh for his first Yankee hit but New York came up empty-handed. In top of eighth, with one out and 2-2 count against Steven Pearce, Warren hung a curve right up the zone. Pearce did not miss any of it and sent the ball to the visitor’s bullpen to give Baltimore a 4-3 lead.

Yankee offense went three-up, three-down against Darren O’Day in the bottom eighth. New York allowed another run in the ninth with Chris Davis’s RBI ground-rule double with two runners on. 5-3 Orioles. In the bottom ninth, Beltran, Brian McCann and A-Rod got completely handcuffed by Zach Britton to finalize a loss – a swift end to a disappointing night.

Box score, standings, highlights and WPA

Here’s tonight’s box score, updated standings, video highlights and WPA.


Source: FanGraphs


Yankees will have the Blue Jays on a four-game series at home. Needless to say… very, very crucial, right? Youngster Luis Severino will take the hill against David Price. Now that’s a matchup.

Pineda’s pitching and Drew’s clutch hit lead the Yankees to a 3-1 win in Fenway

(Source: Getty)

It feels like that could gone much worse. Despite the lineup being dominated by Rick Porcello for eight innings, New York came up victorious at 3-1 on Tuesday. Michael Pineda pitched his best game in almost two months, Stephen Drew came up clutch to drive in the go-ahead run, and Brett Gardner extended the lead. And, of course, a little luck didn’t hurt either (talking about the instant replay situation in the bottom eighth). This was a type of the game that probably infuriated Red Sox fans more than it pleased Yankee fans.

Cy Porcello

For first awhile, the Yankee lineup made Rick Porcello look like a Cy Young candidate. Porcello struck out five out of the six first Yankee batters to begin the game and ended up punching out 13 overall in eight frames. That was … not good. Porcello came into tonight’s game with a whopping 5.47 ERA in 121.2 IP, which is terrible. He also came in with inflated home run rate (1.48 HR/9 this season), which can happen to a pitcher moving from Comerica Park to Fenway Park, but the bottom line is I would not have expected such dominance from Porcello tonight.

If there was any sign that he was going to pitch brilliantly tonight, it’s that he changed his approach after being shelved for almost a month, then had a solid outing in his first start back against the White Sox. But, well, okay, it’s really hard to say a pitcher improved totally based on one start. Porcello did, however, looked really good  and was able to locate some spillover fastballs and sinkers on both sides of the plate tonight. Maybe he figured things out or maybe it was his lucky game. We’ll see.

(Source: Getty)

Pineda brings the pain

Pineda had been in a bit of a funk. His last quality start prior to tonight was the July 10 game against the Red Sox (6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 6 K). He had only made three starts (and a DL stint) since, allowing 14 earned runs in 16 innings pitched. No bueno.

With the calendar turned to September and the Yankees finding themselves 1.5 games behind Toronto for the AL East title, it was been crucial for Big Mike to show that he could pitch like his ace self from earlier in the season. And, boy he did.

The Red Sox drew the first blood in the third though. With one out, Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a double off the Green Monster and Pablo Sandoval drove him in with a two-out RBI single. Timing-wise, it seemed like Gardner might have had a chance for a play at home but he misplayed the ball and JBJ scored easily. 1-0 Red Sox. That was just about all the damage Pineda allowed.

Besides that? Big Mike was just simply dominant. Pineda pitched six full innings, allowed four hits, one earned run and struck out seven while not walking anyone. His fastball seemed to ooze nasty cut for swing-and-misses while his command of the slider was present on both sides of plates. New York could use several more starts like that for the rest of the season and beyond.

Clutch (Source: Getty)

Just like how they Drew it up

Yankees had their first real threat going on in the fifth inning. A-Rod hit a (massive) single to lead off. Both McCann and Greg Bird struck out to leave him there but Didi Gregorius hit a tricky grounder that hopped past Travis Shaw’s glove to put two runners in the scoring position. With two outs, runners second and third, former Red Sox Stephen Drew came up and delivered a two-RBI double. 2-1 Yankees.

One-handed release (Source: Getty)

In the eighth, holding onto a 2-1 lead, Yankees got another run with a Brett Gardner solo home run off Porcello. Gardner had been in a .180/.275/.246 rut in 16 games since August 15 so any sign of life with bat is pretty encouraging. Having Jacoby Ellsbury and Gardner both clicking at the same time would be a massive plus for the offense, especially with Mark Teixeira being down for at least two weeks (sigh).

The Instant Replay

If you’ve been a Yankee fan for years, you are quite familiar with Yankee-Red Sox late inning dramas. As I stated earlier, things could have gone much worse for New York tonight.

With Dellin Betances pitching, Mookie Betts lined a single to start off the bottom of eighth. Sandoval flew out but Xander Bogaerts hit another single to put two runners on base with one out for Boston. Coming up? David Ortiz – that’s a pretty high-stress situation for any pitcher.

On the 1-2 count, both Betts and Bogaerts attempted to move up a base. McCann didn’t miss a beat and threw to third to get Betts out. It seemed like Betts slid in ahead of the throw but to the third base ump’s eyes, he slid off the bag and was ruled out. Betts started to protest, stating that Chase Headley pushed his feet off the bag during the tag. According to instant replay shown on TV, it was really hard to tell what really happened – it did certainly seem like Betts had his foot on the bag at least for most of it and, if it came off, Headley certainly may well have pushed it off. With many expecting the call to be overturned, the umpires stood by the call and Betts was declared out, again.

That changed the situation from potentially being one out with two runners in scoring position to two outs with a runner on second. That’s a steep gap, if you ask me. Betances ended up punching out Ortiz easily and Andrew Miller closed out the ninth to preserve a 3-1 Yankee victory.

Box score, standings, highlights and WPA

Here’s tonight’s box score, updated standings, video highlights and WPA.


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees will play in Fenway again tomorrow at 4:05 PM EST. Masahiro Tanaka will face the rookie lefty Henry Owens to go for the series win.

Yankees flip Twins the Bird as they win 4-3 and sweep the series

(Al Bello/Getty)

The future is here and it is… now. Nathan Eovaldi looked lights out for most of his outing to earn his 13th win, and, of course, Greg Bird‘s pair of two-run homers drove in all the runs that the Yankees needed. Oh, and the Yankees took a series sweep against the Twins, which is pretty neat. They won 4-2.

Bye, bye Birdie

In the bottom of fourth, with two outs and Carlos Beltran on first, Greg Bird went deep against Ervin Santana for his first ML home run and boy, it was not a cheapie. Bird clobbered a changeup up in the zone and deposited it into the second deck in right. Oh, and New York led 2-0.

Sterling’s call? “Bye bye, Birdie! Here he is, the Birdman of New York.”

In the sixth inning, in the same situation (two outs and Beltran on first), Bird went yard again. This time, he took a 92 mph fastball up the middle and didn’t miss any of it. The Yankees, trailing 3-2 before the home run, took a 4-3 lead for good.

Also, as for his swing, I thought it looked a lot like Shawn Green’s, which is not a bad company for a comparison. Take a look:

 

 

Mister Eovaldi, if you’re nasty

Nathan Eovaldi retired the first 16 batters he faced. He didn’t allow a single baserunner until one out in the sixth inning, when Chris Herrmann fought off an inside fastball for a bloop single.

Eovaldi had a lot of things going on in today’s game. First off – he had his swing-and-miss stuff working. He got a total of 15 whiffs today – seven each from four-seamer and splitter and one from slider – and struck out eight in seven innings. He definitely pitched like a guy who can throw 100 mph. Speaking of which, he was just pumpin’ it today – per Beyond the Box Score, Eovaldi threw 28 pitches over 100 mph. That is just nuts. He also topped out at 102.4 mph per BrooksBaseball, which is also incredible considering that he’s a non-Aroldis Chapman pitcher.

Oh, and also important – he was throwing strikes. He put 83 pitches out of 120 into the strikezone, good for a 69.2 strike percentage – a nice number.

(Source: Getty)

In the top of sixth, however, things became a bit tense. After Herrmann broke up the perfecto, Shane Robinson followed it up with another single. Aaron Hicks grounded out to third – on a play that required a very, very nice pick and throw from Chase Headley – to make it two outs and two runners in scoring position. Brian Dozier worked a full count walk to get the bases loaded and Joe Mauer singled on a 1-2 slider to tie the game, 2-2.

Eovaldi gave up another 3-2 count walk to Miguel Sano. Next up, Trevor Plouffe. On a 1-2 count, Plouffe hit a soft grounder that was just soft enough that no fielder could reach it before another run scored, 3-2. So, to summarize this inning – death by soft hits, a Joe Mauer single, and full count walks. Brutal. But that’s baseball – things can unravel very, very quickly.

Fortunately, Eovaldi had a very nice bounceback inning in the seventh after the Yanks took a lead on another Bird homer. He retired all three Twins – Eduardo Escobar, Herrmann and Robinson – in a row to mark a tidy end to a good start.

Leftovers

I gotta tell you – I was biting my nails a bit with two outs in the eighth when Chasen Shreve walked Joe Mauer and had to face Miguel Sano. Well, there’s definitely that preconceived notion that right-handed hitters are stronger versus lefty pitchers but in Sano’s case (though he hasn’t played in ML so much yet), he has struggled relatively against the southpaws (93 wRC+) while murdering the righties (196 wRC+). And, just like that, Shreve struck him out in five pitches to get out of the inning.

Dellin Betances picked up his eighth save of the year after striking out two in a three-up, three-down ninth inning. With 101 K’s in the season, he became the first Yankee reliever to have a back-to-back 100+ K seasons (135 last year).

Box score, standings, highlights and WPA

Here’s today’s box score, updated standings, video highlights and WPA.


Source: FanGraphs


Tomorrow, the Yankees will welcome the Indians in Bronx for a four-game home series. It’s nice to start a homestand with a sweep and, hopefully, the momentum will roll for the Bombers onto the next. Enjoy the rest of your hump day!

A-Rod’s clutch slam helps the Yankees to an 8-4 win over the Twins

Okay this is not from today but c’mon (Jim Rogash/Getty)

The Yankees had some ups and downs in this game but in the end, they prevailed. CC Sabathia, before unraveling in the seventh, showed more reasons why he should stay in the rotation, Greg Bird had his first RBI and multi-hit game and, of course, A-Rod‘s grand slam was a heck of a way for people to forget his ghastly slump before tonight’s game.

Oh, and the Yanks took yet another series from the Twins, so that’s that.

(Source: Getty)

Birdie’s first flight RBI

Neither team got much offense going until the bottom of fourth. With one out, Carlos Beltran hit a ground-rule double to left. Greg Bird, the next hitter, worked the count full against Mike Pelfrey and hit a single right by the 2B Brian Dozier to drive Beltran in – his first ML run batted in!

In the bottom sixth, Bird got another RISP opportunity – Brian McCann had reached base with one out with a walk and Beltran followed with a single. Twins manager Paul Molitor took out Pelfrey for LHP Ryan O’Rourke and, this time, Bird struck out. That strikeout had “ML experience pain” written all over it considering Bird was ahead 3-0 and allowed O’Rourke to come back and strike him out on a slider out of the zone.

In the bottom eighth, facing J.R. Graham, Bird hit a single to center to make it his first multi-hit ML game. Neat. There will be a lot more of these in the future I assume.

(Source: Getty)

CC is OK

Coming into the top of the fifth, Sabathia had a perfect game going on. I mean, for the first four innings, man, he was just immaculate. His fastball velocity has been up lately and it showed tonight – sitting around 91 to 93 mph and touching 94. His command of it, along with other pitches, was on as well. You don’t get through four perfect innings against a Major League lineup without good command and some stuff.

The first blemish of the start came in that frame, however. With one out, CC walked Trevor Plouffe, erasing the chance of another perfecto by a portly Yankee lefty against the Twins at Yankee Stadium (see: Wells, David). A batter later, Eduardo Escobar singled to break up the no-hitter and put the runner in scoring position. Kurt Suzuki followed it up with an RBI double to kill the shutout, but a good relay by the Yankee defense caught Escobar at the plate to keep the ballgame tied, 1-1.

The top of the seventh, however, was a different story. It just seemed like Sabathia ran out of gas – missing spots, sliders not biting as well, etc. Sabathia walked Joe Mauer to start the inning. The next hitter, Miguel Sano, cranked the first pitch, a 83 mph changeup, into the left field seats and it was a laser of a home run. 3-1 Twins. CC got Plouffe and Torii Hunter to fly out but allowed two consecutive singles to Escobar and Suzuki. Joe Girardi then took Sabathia out for Nick Rumbelow, who allowed another RBI single to get the fourth run charged to CC. Ah well – a strong start and meek finish.

If you had told me Sabathia was going to allow three runs before departing in the seventh with two outs, I would have taken it. In the end, he was tagged with four earned runs but he deserved a better fate. Tonight’s start actually raised Sabathia’s ERA (albeit from 5.23 to 5.24), which is a bit cruel but hey, it’s math (math is cruel, by the way).

Webster’s definition of “Pimping it” (Source: Getty)

Grand slam no. 25

Heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Twins had a 4-1 lead. Chase Headley led off the inning with a single and Brendan Ryan walked (on a very close ball call on a low fastball) to get something started against the Twins reliever Ryan O’Rourke. Jacoby Ellsbury flied out but Brett Gardner worked another Yankee walk to load the bases for… Alex Rodriguez.

Molitor took out O’Rourke for righty J.R. Graham to face A-Rod. As you may know, A-Rod was really struggling at the plate for awhile. Prior to that at-bat, he had been only 1-for-27, which is as cold as a gazpacho ready to be served in the middle of a hot day.

The rirst pitch from Graham was a slider out of the zone. The second, however, was very different – a 95 mph fastball right down the middle that would look like a beach ball to any good power hitter. A-Rod didn’t miss any of it and he drove the pitch out the center field fence for a grand slam. 5-4 Yankees.

That… was special. I don’t know how else I’d explain that. Per FanGraphs WPA, the odds of New York winning were 24.7% before the slam and 78.7% after – I think that’s a good way to get my point across.

Insurance

The Yankee offense didn’t rest in the eighth versus the woeful Twins bullpen. Bird and Didi Gregorius singled to lead off the inning and Headley followed them off with an RBI double to drive both in for a 7-4 lead. I didn’t have a stopwatch with me but that sequence of events took place in a hurry – it took only seven total pitches to happen!

Brendan Ryan put a sac bunt down to move Headley to third and Ellsbury drove him in with an RBI single to right, 8-4. How about Jacoby? After a long slump, his bat has found its mojo again, as it seems. He went 2-for-5 tonight, bringing his average up to a respectable .276.

Box score, standings, highlight and WPA

Here’s tonight’s box score, updated standings, video highlights and WPA.


Source: FanGraphs

Tomorrow, the Yanks will look for a home sweep on a 1pm game. Nathan Eovaldi will take the mound against Ervin Santana. Only two games in but this homestand’s been pretty fun so far.

Oh, and here’s another A-Rod photo for a good look.

(Jim Rogash/Getty)

Masahiro comes up masterful, Yankees take two straight from the Blue Jays with a 4-1 victory

That shadow (Source: Getty)

Can’t overstate how big of a win this is — the Yankees defeated the Blue Jays 4-1 to gain another game on their first place lead in the AL East. The bats delivered some pop while Masahiro Tanaka pitched one of the finest games of his ML career. New York also took the series in enemy’s territory, so that’s pretty cool too.

Early offense attempts

Carlos Beltran did it again – in the first inning, against Marco Estrada, Beltran drove a high fastball over the right field fence for a 1-0 lead. Estrada, by the way, has a 31.9% ground ball rate, which is really, really low. He’s just done a much better job at keeping the ball in the park (0.95 HR/9) than he used to (1.73 HR/9 last year, for instance).

(Source: Getty)

Top third, with one out, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a deep triple to right to set up a scoring situation for Brett Gardner. Gardner, however, struck out after being fooled badly by Estrada’s three straight changeups (that at-bat looked like a clinic for “how to make hitters look really bad with your changeup”). Beltran walked on four pitches but Teixeira bloop-lined out softly to end the inning. Up until the top of sixth, the Yankee offense didn’t have that much going against Estrada.

Maestro Masahiro

Meanwhile on the pitching side, this was probably the biggest Yankee start to date for Tanaka and boy, he showed up. The righty delivered a one-run CG, striking out eight and allowing only five hits. This was a truly ace-like performance, especially with the bullpen quite spent after the past few games.

His start wasn’t without a dent or two; Tanaka started the fifth by walking Ryan Goins on four pitches. He then allowed a slap single to Ben Revere and another four-pitch walk to Troy Tulowitzki to load the bases with no out. This is the definition of not what you want, especially with Josh Donaldson coming up.

After falling behind 2-0 to an MVP candidate in Josh Donaldson, Tanaka threw a 88 mph slider that he just got under – had Donaldson swung a bit more level and squared it up, it could have been out to the seats in a hurry. But instead of a grand slam, Donaldson hit a towering sac fly to tie the game 1-1. Tanaka managed to get out of the inning without further damage by striking out Jose Bautista and inducing a soft line out from Edwin Encarnacion. That outcome, especially considering the Jays lineup, is just tremendous.

Besides that fifth inning, boy, Tanaka was fantastic today. I will take many more starts like that. Especially with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller not being available, a complete game from a starter was just what the doctor ordered.

Gluten free forearms (Source: Getty)

Retaking and extending the lead

In the sixth, with two outs, Teixeira pulled a changeup into the second deck for a massive solo home run, 2-1. Chase Headley worked a walk against Estrada and Greg Bird stepped up to the plate, looking for his first ML hit.

On a 1-0 pitch, Bird hit a massive fly ball that hit the top of the second deck seats … that was initially called a foul, just outside the pole. Joe Girardi encouraged the umpires to review the foul, and after replay the call remained. It was foul. Oh well. Bird ended up striking out swinging to end the inning.

In the eighth, Beltran struck again – with one out, he hit a deep double that just missed a homer by inches. Teixeira followed it up with an RBI single to bring in Chris Young (pinch-running for Beltran), making it 3-1.

The Yankees got another insurance in the ninth. John Ryan Murphy led off the inning with a double and Stephden Drew sent him to third with a sacrifice bunt. Ellsbury, who seems to be hitting balls harder lately, lined an RBI single to center to make it 4-1. There’s never an enough insurance runs against the Blue Jays.

Leftovers

Man, how big has Beltran been? Not only did he hit a homer in the first, he also made two not-so-easy inning-ending catches that would’ve scored runs for Toronto. After today’s game, Beltran has a 122 wRC+ and .203 ISO in 2015, which are great – especially for a 38-year old who had a very, very abysmal start to the season.

Greg Bird had his first ML hit in the eighth inning! After starting his career 0-for-8, Bird grounded a pitch from LaTroy Hawkins for a single to opposite field. It also happened to be one of the weaker contacts he’s made in ML, so of course.

“And our long national slow-down is over,” quipped Michael Kay in the ninth as Brett Gardner finally stole a base with two outs. That is his first stolen base since June 12, more than two months ago.

Box score, standings, highlights and WPA

Here’s today’s box score, updated standings, video highlights and WPA.


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees will go for the series sweep tomorrow with 21-year old Luis Severino on the mound against Drew Hutchinson. This weekend has gone exorbitantly better than the previous weekend so bask in it, readers!

Yankees stop skid in Greg Bird’s debut with an 8-6 win over Indians

Textbook post-swing extension shot. (Source: Getty)

At last, the Bombers are back in the win column. It was not a squeaky clean game but a win is a win. The early offensive outburst was a really, really good sign and hopefully the start of an upwards trend while Nathan Eovaldi pitched just well enough to earn another win.

Runs!!!

The Yankees offense had been in something of a drought the past several games. But tonight, the fountain burst from the first inning — Brian McCann hit a towering three-run homer to drive in Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner for a quick 3-0 lead.

In the second inning, Stephen Drew once again showed off his power by taking a Trevor Bauer pitch out for a solo homer, making it 4-0. How about that: Stephen Drew, a second baseman with 15 homers!

Drew struck again in the fourth! With Didi Gregorius on first, Drew drove a double down the left field line for another RBI, 5-2 Yankees. Two batters later, Gardner drove a big double off the left field wall to drive in Drew, making it 6-2. Golly, that was probably the hardest hit ball Gardner’s hit in awhile.

The Yankees would score two more – both on Brett Gardner singles (sixth and eighth innings) and those proved to be quite vital considering the Indians managed to score some runs against the bullpen.

(Source: Getty)

An avian debut

Highly-touted 1B prospect Greg Bird got his first ML at-bat in the first inning against Trevor Bauer. On the sixth pitch, Bird drove a curveball to deep right but right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall caught it in almost a shoestring manner. Had the ball sliced just a bit more, it could have been an RBI double.

In his second at bat, Bird squared up a Bauer fastball pretty well towards left field – but it ended up being another hard-luck line out. In the fifth, Bird hit another liner to left but it was right towards the left fielder Michael Brantley. Three hard contacts in a row but nothing to show for it (at least on the scoreboard)!

When it was all said and done, Bird went 0-for-5 with three well-hit balls and two strikeouts. I didn’t think he looked overmatched or anything — Joe Girardi‘s gotta be pretty pleased with the hard contact the kid made.

Also, some may know this, but the last Yankee to go 0-for-5 in ML debut? Some guy named Derek Jeter.

(Source: Getty)

“Eh” Nate

Eovaldi didn’t really have his A-game tonight. Well, that is not to say that he didn’t pitch well – it was more like he was lacking a bit with his command and got into some trouble.

Eovaldi got into his first jam in the third inning – he walked Giovanny Urshela to lead off the inning and Jose Ramirez followed it up with a single up the middle. He did take care of Francisco Lindor via sac bunt but the renowned Yankee killer Michael Brantley came up with both runners in scoring position with one out. Brantley drove Urshela in with a sac fly, giving Eovaldi a chance to get out of the inning with only a run allowed, but then Carlos Santana drove in Ramirez with an RBI single. 4-2.

Eovaldi allowed two more runs in the bottom sixth before departing. He allowed back-to-back doubles to Yan Gomes and Abraham Almonte to make it 7-3, and Chisenhall knocked him out of the game with an RBI single, 7-4. Tonight’s start was quite underwhelming for post-Marlins disaster Eovaldi – sometimes pitchers can have a game like this and luckily, it happened on a night where offense certainly supported him.

Bullpen

In the sixth, Adam Warren inherited Eovaldi’s mess and got Urshela to ground into a double play to get out of the inning. Personally, I would have let him start the seventh but Girardi opted for Justin Wilson, who ended up only recording two outs and allowing two baserunners before being lifted for Dellin Betances.

Betances walked Yan Gomes to load the bases. While facing the next hitter, Almonte, he uncorked a 0-2 wild pitch to let Lindor score from third base, 7-5. Yeesh, thank goodness for extra runs tonight. However, Dellin K’d Almonte and pitched a scoreless eighth to bring a save situation for Andrew Miller.

Just like two nights ago, Miller didn’t seem too sharp. Lindor led off the inning with a single. Miller did manage to strike out Brantley and get Santana out with a pop-up. With Yan Gomes batting, Lindor advanced to second on a defense indifference and the Brazilian catcher drove him in with an RBI single, 8-6. Miller avoided further damage by striking out Almonte to end the game.

Leftovers

Ellsbury and Gardner provided some offensive spark tonight and it was vital. They went 5-for-8 combined with two walks and three RBI’s (all by Gardner by the way). See what the team can do (win) when the numbers one and two hitters can hit?

Stephen Drew went 2-for-3 with a homer, double, walk and reached on an error. He also scored four runs, meaning that he scored every time reaching on base one way or another.

Box score, standings, highlights and WPA

Here’s tonight’s box score, updated standings, video highlights and WPA.


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees head to Toronto for another three-game series versus the Blue Jays, fun! I’m not going to say it’s a make-or-break series because there’s still a good amount of games left in the season but it would be very positive to see New York beat a much-improved Blue Jays team. Well, we’ll see. Ivan Nova takes the mound against David Price.