Yankees bats not as explosive against Colby Lewis in a 5-2 loss to the Rangers

(Source: Getty)

The Yankees have been winning a lot lately but tonight, they fell quite short. It seemed like they had some offensive momentum going in the second inning by scoring two, but after that, New York got completely shut out by Colby Lewis and the Rangers pen. Masahiro Tanaka didn’t allow any dingers this start but he looked unimpressive overall. But hey – a lot of us had to like what we saw out of the new RHP Caleb Cotham.

  • Two in second: Yankees drew first blood when Carlos Beltran hit a solo homer to lead off the second inning. He battled Lewis in a nine-pitch at-bat and eventually drilled a fastball down the middle over the right field fence. Always good to see the old guy show some sign of life in bat. Yankees did not stop there – with two outs, the red hot Didi Gregorius singled to left. Stephen Drew followed it up with another single and Gregorius advanced to third as soon as he saw that CF Delino DeShields Jr. bobbled the ball. Jacoby Ellsbury then drove Didi in with a grounder up to center for an RBI single. 2-0 Yankees.
  • Get’em next time: Tanaka seemed quite off tonight and it showed in his pitching line: 6.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K. His stuff didn’t seem all that crisp and he missed more spots that he could afford to. But hey, at least he avoided dingers in Globe Life Park! I’m not too worried about Masahiro but it’d be nice to see more consistent brilliance from him. 6 IP 4 ER start is not awful, but New York is paying him like an ace.
  • Cotham for Gotham: In the seventh, RHP Caleb Cotham made his ML debut, relieving Chasen Shreve with one out and runner on first. Cotham was a 5th rounder from Vanderbilt back in 2009 and finally made it to the bigs at age 27. He’s gone through series of injuries that set him back and recently saw sustained success as a reliever so I assume that’s what his long-term niche will be. With the first ML batter he faced, he induced a grounder from Adrian Beltre … that Didi couldn’t come up with, go figure. He struck out Mitch Moreland on three pitches but allowed the runner on second to score when Josh Hamilton lined a slider down the middle to right. Cotham looked brilliant overall though – striking out four in 1.2 IP. His fastball was around 91~94 and the hard slider had that nice bite to it. I’d be in favor of keeping him around to see if he can be another late-inning guy because, frankly, I think he’s got promise based on his stuff, command, and performance down in minors.
  • Leftover: In the sixth, Carlos Beltran recorded one of the weirdest OF assists I’ve seen. Shin-Soo Choo lined a base hit to right and aggressively extended it to double when Beltran was late to get to the ball. However, it turned out that Drew had put a tag on him when Choo put his foot off the bag briefly and the umpires called him out after the instant replay – Beltran earned the assist from a play that he seemingly didn’t put too much effort on! How about that.

Tomorrow, Michael Pineda will try to get a series win for the Yanks against Yovani Gallardo and the Rangers. Here’s tonight’s box score, updated standings, video highlights and WPA.

Source: FanGraphs

Yankees, offense absolutely annihilate Rangers for a 21-5 victory

There are games where the offense does a pretty good job and there are ones where it absolutely explodes, and then some. Tonight falls into the latter category. After Chris Capuano gave up five runs in the first inning, the Yanks scored eleven in the second and, well, scored ten more later. The Yankees scored 21 runs in total and two relievers – Diego Moreno and Adam Warren – allowed zero hits after Capuano got knocked out.

That changeup probably didn’t get a batter out (Source: Getty)


Not all of us were optimistic when Joe Girardi announced Capuano would start tonight’s game. The result? Pretty, pretty bad. Capuano did not complete the first inning, walked five, allowed five earned runs, and got knocked out of the game with two outs and bases loaded after walking in a run. Yeesh. You would think that, because he had a decent 2014 showing, Capuano still has something left as a spot starter but … definitely not tonight.

After tonight’s start, the lefty has an ugly 6.97 ERA in 31.0 IP. That’s like, not ML roster-worthy at all. Not sure how long he’ll stick after tonight’s start, but fortunately for the Yanks, the offense dominated in Arlington.

Got the runs going up … on a Tuesday

It’d be excruciatingly long to summarize everything that happened in the top of the second so I’ll just leave this right here:

Martin Perez pitching for Texas NYY TEX
Young doubled to left. 0 5
Headley singled to center, Young scored. 1 5
Murphy singled to left, Headley to second. 1 5
Gregorius hit by pitch, Headley to third, Murphy to second. 1 5
Ryan doubled to right center, Headley and Murphy scored, Gregorius to third. 3 5
Ellsbury singled to center, Gregorius scored, Ryan to third. 4 5
Gardner singled to center, Ryan scored, Ellsbury to second. 5 5
Rodriguez doubled to deep left, Ellsbury scored, Gardner to third. 6 5
Rodríguez relieved Pérez. 6 5
Teixeira struck out swinging. 6 5
Young walked. 6 5
Headley singled to left, Gardner scored, Rodriguez to third, Young to second. 7 5
Murphy struck out swinging. 7 5
Gregorius tripled to deep left center, Rodriguez, Young and Headley scored. 10 5
Ryan doubled to deep left, Gregorius scored. 11 5
Ellsbury struck out swinging. 11 5
11 Runs, 10 Hits, 0 Error

Several things to note here. First, the Yankees started with eight consecutive baserunners. Eight! Second, all the outs were via swinging strikeouts, which is kind of odd considering how well the bats were squaring thing up, but baseball is weird. Third, who else would it be besides Brendan Ryan to have two extra-base hits in the same inning? Oh man, this was pretty fun to watch. The inning started with hopes to chip away piece by piece to eventually tie it up, but the Yankees totally destroyed Martin Perez and took a huge lead.

Also, geez, Perez looked decent in the first inning but had basically nothing working on in second. You thought Capuano’s game score of 21 is bad? (Well, it is actually pretty horrid) Perez has 8. So that’s that.

(Source: Getty)

At 11-5, the Yankees offense was far from done. In the top of third, New York quickly loaded the bases without an out against Wandy Rodriguez on two singles and a walk. Chris Young, who has killed lefties all season, hit one on the screws for a grand slam. 15-5 Yankees with no out in the third. Wowza.

(Source: Getty)

5.1 no-hit innings

How about Diego Moreno? The guy had toiled in minors since 2009, came over to New York as a part of the A.J. Burnett deal, and made his ML debut in June as a 27-year old. Now, as a 28-year old rookie (his birthday was a week ago), he fired 5.1 no-hit innings and saved a lot of bullpen arms from being used tonight.

Moreno is known for his big arm but he had a lot more than velocity going tonight. He went after hitters, generated swings-and-misses with his heat and secondary pitches, and, of course, located very well. The only baserunner he allowed was Shin-Soo Choo, who walked in the third. When it was all said and done, Moreno exited the game with a line of 5.1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB and 5 K’s. Pretty nice. Tonight’s performance should earn him at least few more looks up in the majors.

More runs!

In the top fourth, with runners on corners and two outs, Phil Klein induced a grounder from Chris Young and it seemed like the Rangers were actually getting out of the inning without any runs allowed … then Elvis Andrus couldn’t come up with the play. The ball hit the heel of his glove and everybody was safe. Oh, and Brett Gardner scored. 16-5 Yankees.

Top sixth, Spencer Patton replaced Klein on the mound. Gardner walked to lead off. Klein struck out A-Rod but hit Mark Teixeira on the right foot. With one out and runners on first and second, Chris Young drilled a mammoth double to left to score Gardner. 17-5 Yanks. At this point (or way before), it was pretty silly. But John Ryan Murphy joined the fun in the inning by driving in both runners with an RBI single. 19-5!

Well, you know what tends to happen when a team happens colossal amount of runs – the other team lets a position player pitch! The Rangers brought in the infielder Adam Rosales for their mound in the ninth. For a guy who just seemed to be lobbing the ball to plate, he had a decent velocity – reaching 91 mph in the FS1 gun. But that didn’t stop Gardner from hitting a big two-run homer to extend the lead 21-5.


Didi Gregorius had a pretty big game. He went 4-for-5, setting a career high in hits in a game. His batting average is now up to .257, which is pretty nice considering 1) he’s a shortstop 2) he was in the early-.200’s for a good chunk of the first months of the season. Great to see Didi showing some good bat as the season goes on.

Buried under Moreno’s brilliance tonight was Adam Warren’s performance. In fact, Warren threw three perfect innings. His line is as clean as it can get: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K. He came into the game in the seventh inning and closed it out as well. Also, he got a save! The first of the season for him!

Box score, standings, highlights, WPA

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

Source: FanGraphs

You could hypothetically expect less runs tomorrow based on the starters –  Masahiro Tanaka and Colby Lewis – but you never know, baseball is weird. Yankees play again at 8:05 PM EST tomorrow. We’ll see how fun this one gets.

Yankees ride Eovaldi’s eight strong innings and the six-run sixth to beat the Twins 7-2

(Source: Getty)

Today’s game was nowhere near as thrilling as last night’s but the Yanks won again nonetheless. New York beat the Twins 7-2 thanks to great starting pitching and a big offensive outburst in the sixth. They start the road trip with a series win at Minnesota, which is pretty neat.

Nasty Nate!

So how about Nathan Eovaldi? Today’s start has got to be a chapter in the young righty’s narrative of becoming a better starting pitcher. After today’s game, Eovaldi is 5-0 in last seven starts with a 2.83 ERA in 41.1 IP. His ERA has dropped from 5.12 to 4.27 as well.

(Source: Getty)

Eovaldi had a pretty good beginning of the game. He faced four hitters in the first and struck out three of them swinging — he blew past a 99 mph fastball by Dozier, then Torii Hunter and Miguel Sano struck out swinging on splitters. Again: three swinging strikeouts in an inning for Nate! For a guy who’s been too hittable for his stuff, that was a pretty fun frame to watch.

Eovaldi did give up the first run of the game on the third. With one out, Aaron Hicks reached on an infield single to Didi Gregorius. Dozier followed up with a single to center. Jacoby Ellsbury thought he had a chance to catch Hicks at third but not only was not particularly close, it allowed Dozier to move up to second, erasing the double play situation. With runners on second and third, Hunter hit a hard grounder right at Chase Headley that bounced off his glove. Had he caught the ball, he would have gotten Hicks out at home easily, but it deflected towards Gregorius and the only choice he had was to get the runner out on first. Oh well. But before the ninth inning, that was the only major trouble Eovaldi got into.

From the fourth to sixth, Eovaldi faced the minimum amount. In the seventh and eighth, he did face RISP situations but got out of both unscathed. The ninth inning, however, Eovaldi allowed a leadoff double — his first XBH allowed in five games! – to Sano. Joe Girardi then pulled him out of the game but boy, he’s gotta be very pleased with what he saw from Eovaldi today. He was just brilliant. He wasn’t exactly a strikeout machine but Eovaldi did mix pitches very well and induced a lot of grounders (11 GB – 5 FB today).

The calm before the storm

Yankees had RISP situations in each of the first three innings but came up empty-handed against Kyle Gibson each time. In the first inning, Brett Gardner had a one-out double but a Mark Teixeira strikeout and a Brian McCann ground out killed the opportunity. In the second, Carlos Beltran led off with a double but the bottom part of the lineup could not bring him in. In the third, Gardner reached second on a wild pitch with two outs but Teixeira flied out the end the frame. Gah.

Dat post-contact extension (Source: Getty)

However, down 1-0 in the top of the fifth, Headley took the fifth pitch of the at-bat way out of the ballpark for a game-tying solo homer. Love second half Chase. Before today’s game, Headley had been hitting .333/.371/.421 in July and, believe it or not, that was the first homer of the month.

Six-run sixth

You know how the Yanks let those early RISP chances pass away? Well, in the sixth, they made sure to get things done. Gardner hit the first pitch of the inning for a base hit and Gibson completely lost the strike zone — he walked Teixeira on four pitches and McCann on five … and then of course he strikes out Beltran on three pitches because sometimes that’s how things work.

Garrett Jones had a different plan though. He hit a 1-1 fastball to right for an RBI single. Headley followed it up with a 2-RBI single to right to extend the lead to 4-1. By then, Twins manager Paul Molitor had seen enough of Gibson and sub’d in LHP Ryan O’Rourke.

With one out and runners on corners, Didi dragged a bunt for a sacrifice — it seemed like he wanted to bunt for a hit, but he hit it too hard and didn’t have enough time to beat it out. But it became a pretty neat sac bunt anyways. 5-1 Yankees. The inning wasn’t over there — Stephen Drew hit a hanging curveball out of the park for a two-run homer. 7-1 Yankees. Hooo what a frame.


Justin Wilson had been solid for a long while — since May 26 till July 21, the lefty made 23 appearances and has a minuscule ERA of 0.43 (1 ER in 21.0 IP), which is just ridiculously good. Today was not his finest moment though. Coming in as a relief for Eovaldi in the ninth, Wilson faced two hitters (Trevor Plouffe and Eddie Rosario) and both of them reached on singles — one of them being an RBI single to add an earned run to Eovaldi’s line. Granted, both were grounders but it did make the situation bit dicier, 7-2 lead or not. Girardi wasted no time going to Dellin Betances to close out the game and Betances delivered a fly out and a line drive double play. 7-2 Yankee win.

Box score, standings, highlights and WPA

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

Source: FanGraphs

The Yankees head to Arlington, Texas for a four-game road matchup with the Texas Rangers. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Yankees take the series against the O’s with a 4-3 win behind dingers

The Yankees now have won three in a row and seven of their last nine. Also they took the series against the division rival Orioles so that’s always a plus. Ivan Nova pitched solidly and Mark Teixeira and A-Rod‘s homers powered the offense to deliver the 4-3 W for New York.

(Source: Getty)


Just like last night, the Yankee bats drew first blood in the game. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the bottom of the first with a double on an 0-2 count. Brett Gardner followed that up with an RBI single to center. Kevin Gausman got A-Rod to pop out but Teixeira hit a homer to right to give a 3-0 Yankees lead. Good start.

The offense didn’t get much going for next few innings. Gausman threw a pair of 1-2-3 innings. Carlos Beltran hit a lead-off double in the fourth but the following hitters failed to bring him in home. In the fifth inning, with one out, A-Rod hit a mistake pitch deep to left field – the ball hit the top of the Steiner Sports sign. It was his 20th homer of the year – a feat that he last accomplished way back in 2010, which is pretty wild to think about.

Gardner’s RBI and HRs by the big guys amounted to four total runs for the Yankees and that was good enough to win the game. New York did, however, struggled a bit with RISP situations, going 1-for-8 (after going 1-for-10 yesterday). Ah well. If this was last year’s lineup, the Yankees would have had much harder time winning. Having healthy Teixeira and A-Rod back in the lineup is huge.

(Source: Getty)


The Orioles got their first runs in the top of third on a two-run homer by Ryan Flaherty. Ryan Flaherty! Buck Showalter started him instead of Chris Parmelee at first base. Prior to this game, Flaherty had been 3-for-7 against Nova and that moved worked well.

Besides that one blunder, Nova pretty much cruised. He went six innings, allowed three hits, two runs, walked three and struck out three. After tonight’s start, his ERA is at 3.34 in 29.2 IP, which is very acceptable, especially for a team that needs rotation upgrades. If he gradually shakes off the rust start-by-start, he could be on track to throw better outings down the stretch.

Late innings

As far as the pitching was concerned, it was a smooth sailing for the Yankees… well, for the most of it.

Three Yankee relievers pitched an inning each and faced one batter above minimum. Chasen Shreve came in to pitch the seventh and retired the side 1-2-3. Girardi summoned the unofficial 8th inning guy Dellin Betances and he did what Dellin normally does – a three-up, three down inning with two strikeouts.

In the ninth, Andrew Miler came in and… he retired the first two hitters with a ground out and strikeout. The third hitter of the inning, Chris Davis, made contact with a low slider. It seemed like a routine fly ball off the bat but the ball somehow sailed over the short porch for a solo HR. Davis doesn’t make contact that often anymore but he still has that freak power. Thankfully, Miller struck out Jonathan Schoop to seal the win for New York.

Box score, standings, highlights, WPA

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

Source: FanGraphs

Tomorrow, the Yankees go for the series sweep. Masahiro Tanaka takes the rubber against Ubaldo Jimenez in an afternoon matchup. Again, a sweep would be really nice, especially for yours truly who lives in the state of Maryland.

Brendan Ryan’s RBI double lifts the Yanks past O’s 3-2

If you are in first place, it is always welcoming to beat the second place team. That’s exactly what the Yankees did tonight. Nathan Eovaldi was absolutely dealing for the first four innings but later gave up the 2-0 lead. However, the unlikely heroics of Brendan Ryan and another solid bullpen outing got the Yankees their 51st win of the season and, at this moment, a five game-lead for the AL East.


Early runs

The Yankee offense struck early. From the very first at-bat, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a ground-rule double and scored later on an A-Rod sac fly.

The bottom of second started after a 15-minute rain delay. Brian McCann and Chris Young didn’t waste any time heating things up by hitting back-to-back singles to start the frame. Chase Headley followed it up with an RBI double to score McCann and put two runners on the scoring position. 2-0 Yankees.


At that point, you’d imagine the Yankees would be able to squeeze a run or two more to get a bigger lead to carry through the game. Well, that didn’t happen. Wei-Yin Chen Chen got Didi Gregorius to strike out, Brendan Ryan to pop out and Ellsbury to ground out to get out of the frame without further damage. That’s no bueno against a division rival (or any other team, really) that could make a comeback later in the game.

In the bottom fifth, a bit of bad luck hit the Yanks. With two outs and Brett Gardner at first, Mark Teixeira hit a liner that just got past the diving Travis Snider’s reach. The ball bounced several feet away and … went over the fence! What should have been a two-out RBI double became a two-out ground-rule double that didn’t bring a runner home. The O’s caught a big break here. Chen took advantage with a strikeout of McCann to end the inning.

In the seventh, with one out and A-Rod on first, Teixeira hit another double to bring two runners in the scoring position. Chris Young came at bat after McCann was intentionally walked to load the bases. Now, by then, Chen had been removed from the game – RHP Tommy Hunter was pitching for Baltimore. I had wondered if Joe Girardi would pinch-hit Carlos Beltran in Young’s place but he went with the lefty killer to face a RHP. Well, Hunter struck out Young swinging on the nasty 98 mph fastball on the inside and got Headley to ground out to get out of the inning. So that’s that.

When it was all said and done, the Yankees won. That’s good! They were also 1-for-10 in RISP situations. That’s bad! Imagine how less of a stressful one this could have been if New York managed to squeeze out more runs.


Nasty (for the first four innings) Nate

For the first four innings, Eovaldi was absolutely dealing. His fastball hit triple digits multiple times, his splitters were either inducing weak contacts or swings-and-misses and his location looked pretty nice. He allowed only one hit and a walk in those four innings while striking out four.

Things got dicey for Eovaldi in the fifth. Matt Wieters opened the inning with a walk and J.J. Hardy followed it up with a force out at second. With Snider batting, McCann let a 83mph slider pass under his legs for a wild pitch, putting a runner in the scoring position for the first time in the game. Snider worked a walk on five pitches and on came Jonathan Schoop. The Oriole second baseman kills the Yankees and he did the same for the first two pitches … except they both hooked foul. The second one was literally a few inches away from being an RBI double. Mercifully for the Yankees, Schoop grounded into a force out to Headley. Eovaldi then got Chris Parmelee for another ground out to get out unscathed.

Nasty Nate wasn’t as lucky in the sixth. With one out, he allowed consecutive singles to Jimmy Paredes and Adam Jones. Chris Davis followed it up with a pop out (on a hanging 77 mph curveball, so go figure) to give Eovaldi a better chance to close out the inning… and then Wieters hit a hanging splitter for an RBI base hit. Girardi decided that he saw enough of Eovaldi, sub’d in Justin Wilson for him. And then of course, Wilson gave up another RBI single to J.J. Hardy to wipe away Eovaldi’s win instantly. Wilson avoided further damage.


Fear the ‘stache

As soon as the Yanks gave up the lead, the offense went back to regain it. Wei-Yin Chen got first two outs quickly in three pitches. Didi Gregorius, who showed some bad at-bats earlier today, singled on the first pitch to keep the inning alive.

With Brendan Ryan coming up, however, it seemed to majority of the Yankee fans (and O’s fans, I presume) thought the inning was going to be over soon. Well, guess what? He shattered those expectations (or lack thereof). On the second pitch of the at-bat, Ryan smashed a double down the line to score Gregorius. 3-2 Yankees. The score would not change again for the rest of the match.

Yeah yeah, his mustache looks goofy but if he can deliver hits like these as a Yankee, he could grow the world’s biggest fu-manchu and I could care less.


Holding the lead

Yankees have won three out of four since the All-Star break and all those were one-run games. A major reason for winning close games? A solid bullpen.

Justin Wilson got slapped with a blown save but he managed not to allow another run before Dellin Betances came in to pitch. In the seventh inning, with two outs, the Orioles had Nolan Reimold on second base with Manny Machado batting. The two AL All-Star teammates squared off and Betances won pretty easily – a swinging strikeout on a 2-2 count. Dellin followed that up by pitching a scoreless eighth and making way to the “closer” Andrew Miller.

Andrew Miller is Andrew Miller. He’ll overpower guys and strike some out – that’s exactly what he did against the O’s in the ninth: two ground outs and a three-pitch swinging strikeout. Game over.

Box score, standings, highlights, WPA

Here’s the box score, updated standings, video highlights and WPA:

Source: FanGraphs

Good win, guys. Tomorrow, the Yankees are back at it again versus the Orioles at YS3. Ivan Nova squares off against Kevin Gausman on another weeknight match.

Refsnyder hits first HR as the Yankees down Sox 8-6 to take the series

The Yankees took the series against Red Sox in Boston and they will head into the All-Star break on a positive note. Fantastic! Not only that, Rob Refsnyder recorded his first hit and home run of his career — the latter turned out to be the difference of the game. Personally, I felt that it was a better Nathan Eovaldi outing away from it being an A-grade game, but an 8-6 win is a win. I’ll take it.

(Source: Getty)

Five innings, 102 pitches

In the first two innings, Eovaldi didn’t really allow any damage — only two hits allowed but no runs. The bottom third though: Eovaldi could have gotten out of it scoreless. With runners on first and second and one out, Xander Bogaerts hit a bouncer right up to middle that just barely missed Eovaldi’s glove. Had he caught that, the Yankees would have (maybe) turned a double play to get out of it. Instead, the ball eluded Eovaldi’s glove and trickled into center field for an RBI single. He’s having that kind of year.

The next batter, Pablo Sandoval, hit a 1-2 count 86 mph slider, driving it to the right field for another RBI single. 2-2. Hanley Ramirez followed it up with another grounder to center that went past the infielders for the 3-2 lead. Eovaldi really wasn’t getting many breaks in this innings. After that series of events, he induced two non-threatening grounders to get out of the inning. Eovaldi induced six grounders in that inning and only two of them ended up being outs. BABIP!

Six grounders, four singles, two outs
Six grounders, four singles, two outs

After a three-up, three-down fourth, Eovaldi was up to 87 pitches, which is more than 20 per inning. No bueno. His velocity was there, he was throwing splitters and mixing pitches – he just had trouble putting hitters away. He did throw another clean shutdown inning in the fifth, needing 15 pitches to do so.

So yeah, overall a mixed start for Eovaldi. Well, to be fair, Red Sox offense had been on a rise, and there was some subpar luck in the third. To his credit, he threw strikes (72 strikes in 102 pitches) and struck out four in five innings. Not too shabby. Eovaldi’s first half ends at 9-2, 4.50 ERA/3.54 FIP in 93.0 IP. There’s no major statistical improvement shown in his peripherals besides the ground ball rate (44.8% last year, 50.0% so far in 2015). He throws hard, throws strikes, but gives up a lot of hits and can be frustrating – but remember, he’s still pretty young and he’s on pace for a fWAR around 3.0 for the year, which is not bad at all.

(Source: Getty)

The rallies

New York had three multi-run innings today. In the second, with no score yet, Brian McCann drove a two-run homer … over the Green Monster. How about that, an oppo-bomb for a dead pull guy! According to our Katie Sharp, this is the first time he’s gone oppo since June 2013 so yeah, that’s that. 2-0 Yankees.

Fast forward to top fifth – with Red Sox then leading 3-2 – McCann went oppo again. Instead of a homer, it was a double. Chase Headley followed it up with an infield single to get the runners in corners with no outs. With Didi Gregorius at-bat, Miley made a pick-off attempt to first and … got called a balk! A balk! As the YES broadcast noted, lefty pick-off moves are very, very subjective and Angel Hernandez didn’t like what he saw in Miley’s motion. Headley advanced to second and McCann touched home for a 3-3 game.

Things became fun to watch in the sixth. Brett Gardner reached on an infield single and A-Rod followed it with a sharp double to left for an RBI. 4-3 New York. Mark Teixeira lined out softly but Chris Young picked him up by hitting a huge double that hit the Green Monster to drive Rodriguez in. Farrell substituted in Tommy Layne for Miley and a batter later, Headley hit another RBI double to make it 6-3 Yankees. Three RBI doubles in an inning – why couldn’t it be like that more often?

The later innings

As the game entered the bottom sixth, Joe Girardi put Adam Warren in for Eovaldi and I definitely thought it was the right move. An inning each for Warren – Wilson – Betances – Miller sequence, right? However, Warren only faced three batters and allowed an earned run – a Hanley Ramirez double and a Shane Victorino RBI single. Warren’s command had not looked sharp in the past two outings but I’m not too worried – pitchers go through these kinds of funks during the season.

Justin Wilson came in to avoid further damage and that’s exactly what he did. Despite allowing a single to Mike Napoli, Wilson retired Ryan Hanigan and Mookie Betts to escape the sixth with a 6-4 New York lead. In the seventh, he got two outs and made way for Dellin Betances, who struck out Hanley Ramirez on three pitches to end the inning.

Bottom eighth was a bit dicier for Betances. Alejandro De Aza squared up a fastball for a single (which could have been a double if it weren’t for Jacoby Ellsbury‘s efficient route to ball) to lead off. Betances did get the next two batters out but he walked Ryan Hanigan put tying run on base. Mookie Betts came to at-bat. Betts has made himself an indispensable player for Red Sox. After a slow start, he’s now hitting a solid .277/.328/.464 line for a 115 wRC+ and 3.0 fWAR this season. Also, he’s only 22! He’s going to be a stud in the majors. Unfortunately for the Sox, Betts struck out on a nasty 2-2 count curveball down on dirt. Dellin doing what Dellin does.


Refsnyder has Seoul!

Let’s take it back to the top seventh. As Robert Refsnyder led off, the YES broadcasters noted that he has yet to have a big league hit … and then almost immediately, the second baseman lined a Tommy Layne fastball to right-center for a single.

Now, onto the top ninth. Alexi Ogando was the pitcher. Headley had reached the base on a walk and Gregorius followed it up with a fly out. In a 2-2 count on Refsnyder, Ogando hung a slider up in the zone and Refsnyder missed absolutely none of it – a towering two-run homer that almost cleared the Monster seats for an 8-4 Yankees lead. How about that for the first career ML homer? For the Yankees, against the Red Sox, at Fenway Park and over the Monster! That’s gotta be a near-perfect dream scenario for a lot of the kids out there.

A slight nail-biter

Because this is a Yankee – Red Sox matchup, of course it’s not going to end easily. Ex-Red Sox Andrew Miller came in the ninth to close it out. He walked Brock Holt but followed it up by striking out Xander Bogaerts. The next batter, Pablo Sandoval, hit a little nubber towards the third base line. McCann attempted to barehand it and throw but he bobbled the ball on the first try. He did make a solid throw to first but the ball hit the heel of Teixeira’s glove and Sandoval reached safely, making it one out with runners on first and second.

Hanley Ramirez, the next batter, hit a comeback bouncer to Andrew Miller, setting up a tailor-made double play situation. Miller then threw perhaps a bit across the body and the ball sailed far too right for Refsnyder to handle. Brock Holt scored on the mishap to make it 8-5. I thought Miller’s was more at fault but the official scoring called it an error on Refsnyder for missed catch.

De Aza hit a sacrifice fly to shave the lead down to two. With two outs and runner on second, Shane Victorino popped out to Didi to end the game. Phew. That 2-run homer by Refsnyder in the ninth turned out to be quite crucial, ain’t it?

Box score, updated standing, video highlights, WPA

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

Source: FanGraphs

Yankees don’t play another meaningful baseball till Friday – they will host the Seattle Mariners for a three-game series on the weekend. But for now, enjoy the 3.5 lead in the AL East through the All-Star break and have a good rest of Sunday!

Tanaka throws 7+ strong innings as the Yankees beat the A’s 6-2 and take the series

Back in late May, the Yankees lost three out of four at Oakland against the lowly Athletics. They were shut down by the likes of Sonny Gray and Jesse Chavez and, by the end of the series, their record was hanging just barely over .500 at 26-25. This time around, New York took two out of three at home. Today’s game was particularly satisfying — Masahiro Tanaka pitched like an ace, the lineup was able to solve Jesse Chavez and, of course, the game win meant the series win. Oh, and The Yankees lengthened the AL East lead to three games.

Sensei (Source: Getty)

He’s Back!

In the second inning, it seemed like nothing was going right for Tanaka. With 2-0 count, Josh Reddick got on first base on catcher’s interference. Billy Butler followed it up with a RBI double to left and Ike Davis walked. That just seemed like a familiar storyline with Tanaka’s recent struggles. He did, however, get Brett Lawrie to GIDP to ease the situation to two outs and runner at third. However, Mark Canha took a fastball up in the zone for another RBI double. Womp. 2-1 Athletics.

Well, that turned out to be the only major jam for Tanaka. From the third inning and on, he allowed ZERO hits and only one baserunner, when Billy Butler reached first after the strikeout pitch escaped McCann’s glove in the fourth. That was more dominant than Tanaka has been in his past few starts and hopefully he’s figured something out. Yankees have a need for an upgrade for the rotation and Tanaka stepping up to his ace form would be huge.

When it was all said and done, Tanaka threw 7.2 innings, allowed only two hits, one earned run and struck out six. Another important thing — no homers! Home runs had been killing him a bit this year (1.52 HR/9 prior to this game) and keeping balls in park — especially at the Yankee Stadium — is a pretty good sight.

The bats

Prior to today’s game, Yankees didn’t do well against the journeyman RHP Jesse Chavez — he had held the current Yankee position players to a cumulative .235/.279/.370 line. There was a good news though: Chavez himself had been in a funk. After tossing eight scoreless versus the Yanks in May 31, the righty had been 2-4 with 5.00 ERA in 6 starts.

Chavez didn’t have a horrible outing but it was still not great. The righty tossed 5.0 innings, allowed seven hits, four runs, three walks and struck out three. That’s really mediocre and given on how brilliant Tanaka was, and the bats did a more-than-an-adequate job.

How about Cole Figueroa? He went 2-for-4 in his Yankee debut. It could have been a 3-for-4 performance too — in the second inning, he hit a hard grounder that went right to first baseman Ike Davis to end the frame, but, off the bat, I thought he could have had himself a single. He, however, catalyzed the rally in the fourth with a double to right, setting up a one-out, runners on second and third situation for Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury ended up driving both in with an RBI-single for a 4-2 Yankee lead.

Figueroa contributed to another rally in the eighth, hitting a ground-rule double to set up another situation with runners on second and third. Ellsbury followed it up with what seemed to be an inning-ending ground out … but Marcus Semien threw offline and Ike Davis couldn’t handle it. Both runners scored and Semien was charged with his 28th (!!!) error of the season.

Back to Figueroa — he will probably be sent down as soon as Chase Headley is ready to play again but I would guess he’ll be up again later this season if he keeps up the 130 wRC+ he had down in the minors.

(Source: Getty)

Hey Now, You’re An All Star

It’s been quite a past few days for Brett Gardner. Hot streak? Check. Being talked about as a possible All-Star? Check. Teammates campaigning for him? Check. Making it as an All Star? Check.

In his the first at-bat of the day, Gardner took a Chavez fastball deep to right field to give a 1-0 Yankee lead. That was also his tenth homer of the year — the most in his career prior to the All Star Game. At the age 31 season, Gardner is simply having his best offensive season — .303/.381/.490 line with an isolated power at .188. If you go with isolated power stat alone, he’s having a better power season power season than Adam Jones (.187), Prince Fielder (.178), Justin Upton (.175) and Troy Tulowitzki (.163). How about that?

Well, besides the homer, Gardner added two more hits later in the game for a 3-for-5 performance. To put a cherry on top, he was also announced to be injured Alex Gordon’s replacement for the All Star Game. Well, no more bald caps for other Yankee players I guess. Congrats, Brett!

Box score, standing, highlights, WPA

Here’s today’s box score, updated standing, video highlights and, of course, WPA

Source: FanGraphs

Yankees head to Boston to play their final series before the All-Star break. Enjoy the rest of Thursday! Maybe watch more baseball coming up later if you feel like it because that’s what I’ll probably do.