Yankees lose 7-1 as the offense gets quieted by Blue Jays

Yeah, just a bad game all-around. The bats got shut down by fastball-changeup mix master Marco Estrada while Luis Severino and Luis Cessa did not have their best showings. The Yankees drop the first of the home three-game series to the Blue Jays 7-1 in a typical oh-well-it’s-just-a-game fashion.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Laboring through 5.2 innings

Severino started the game with spottier command than what he’s shown in April. He got into a jam in the first but got out of it unscathed. However, he allowed a two-run homer to Ryan Goins (!) in the 2nd inning to put the Jays up top 2-0. On a 3-1 count, Severino wanted to throw a strike and the ball missed Austin Romine‘s outside corner spot.

The Yankees scored a run in the bottom of 4th to inch it close to 2-1. In the bottom of sixth, with Severino heading towards 100 in pitch count, the Jays got couple of baserunners on with a Justin Smoak infield single and Devon Travis ground-rule double. Goins hit a deep fly that looked like a double at worst, but Jacoby Ellsbury made a great leaping catch to rob him. However, Ellsbury flipped the ball right over Aaron Judge‘s head and both runners — from 2nd and 3rd base — were able to score for a rare 2-run sacrifice fly. Two hitters later, Chris Coghlan saw a hanging slider in the middle of the plate and took it into the right field seats for a 5-1 Jays lead. Joe Girardi then took out Severino for Cessa. He departed with a very mediocre 5.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K and 2 HR line.

After showing what he can do when everything clicks, Severino couldn’t deliver today. Happens to young pitchers. Actually, happens to all pitchers. Pitching is a hard occupation. While he didn’t totally melt down, it surely would have been nice for things to go his way more often. His command was just off tonight. Look at all those pitches he missed trying to nick the strike zone corners. There are tons towards the lower right part and left side:

bandicam-2017-05-02-12-25-31-067

Oh well. He’ll bounce back.

Death by changeup

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

My personal opinion is that, in the world of Noah Syndergaard sliders and Dellin Betances curveballs, the fastball-changeup combination remains the superior approach for pitchers. Hitting is all about getting the timing right and pitching is disrupting it. And boy, Estrada really disrupted Yankee hitters’ timing up tonight. That’s what he’s been living off of since 2015.

Not only is Estrada good at changing speeds, he also specializes in changing hitters’ eye levels. Check out the zone profile of his game tonight from Baseball Savant:

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That’s a healthy mix of pitches both low and high. Yankees hitters did have seven base hits against Estrada but none of them were extra-base hits and they only scored a run – on an RBI single by Aaron Judge (who else?). Per Brooks Baseball, Estrada threw 37 fastballs and 45 changeups. That will get into hitters’ heads.

Miscellaneous

It took him until May but Ellsbury finally got his trademark catcher’s interference tonight. In the bottom of 6th, Ellsbury hit a grounder up to a middle that seemed like a fielder’s choice, but he just nicked the catcher’s mitt on the backswing, so umpire Jordan Baker rewarded him a base. That was Ellsbury’s 27th career catcher’s interference and he needs three more to surpass Pete Rose’s record. Incredible. We’re all rooting for ya, Jacoby.

On a quiet night for the bats, Starlin Castro still got some base hits. The second baseman got two hits in four at-bats, upping his season average to .358. Rest of the lineup collected only four hits, and, as mentioned, none of them being extra-base hits. Remember when too many homers was a thing? That was just this past weekend. They’ll get it going soon, hopefully.

Luis Cessa pitched the rest of the way after Severino departed and well, he was unspectacular. 3.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K and one long home run allowed to Jose Bautista. He’ll likely be sent back to Triple-A for tomorrow and they’ll promote another fresh arm in case of a long-relief situation.

Box score, standings and WPA graph:

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


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees face the Blue Jays again tomorrow. Masahiro Tanaka will be on the hill against Mat Latos (!).

Yankees lose a wacky 11-inning battle to the Orioles 7-4


Source: FanGraphs

Without any sort of exaggeration, I can say this was one of the weirdest baseball games I’ve ever watched. Anyways, this seemed like a sluggish Yankees loss until the bottom of ninth. Then … well, everything happened. It did end up being a 7-4 Yankee loss but with a lot of wacky and frustrating twists in between. Here are things that happened in bullet point form:

  • Montgomery’s imperfect outing: After retiring the first seven hitters, Jordan Montgomery got into a jam in the third after allowing an infield single to Craig Gentry and walk to J.J. Hardy. He struck out Joey Rickard, but Adam Jones hit a bloop single right in front of Aaron Judge‘s reach to tie the game 1-1. It seemed like Montgomery was nibbling a bit that inning until the at-bat against Mark Trumbo — the battle he won throwing a 93 mph fastball past him. Monty cruised along until the sixth when he issued free passes to Manny Machado and Trumbo to begin the frame. The Yankees had a 2-1 lead at the time, but Jonathan Holder allowed both runners plus one of his own to score, giving Baltimore a 4-2 advantage. While Montgomery ended up with 3 ER in 5 IP, he did strike out 7 hitters. I was wondering how he would fare against the powerful O’s lineup and to be honest, it was just along the lines of my expectations. Sure, he could have pitched better but …
  • LOB’d to death: … the Yankee hitters weren’t doing themselves any favors. In the entirety of the game, they left a whopping 16 (!) runners on base. For the first eight innings, before the ninth-inning comeback, they stranded 11. Really hard to win a ballgame that way. Wade Miley seems to approach hitters very differently this season. After being hit hard last year (5.37 ERA in 30 GS), he seems to throw much more out of the zone this season. He’s been walking tons of hitters (5.52 BB/9 after today) but also striking out a lot more (11.03 K/9) and limiting damage in general (2.32 ERA/3.74 FIP after today). For what it’s worth,the  Yankees faced Miley earlier this month and left 12 guys on base. Today the Yankees got 13 runners on base against the lefty and only scored two. Two! One of them was on a Matt Holliday solo homer in the 1st inning and another was on a Chase Headley RBI single in the 3rd after Miley walked Starlin Castro and Judge. That was all the Yankees scored until the ninth. New York had runners in scoring position three other times before the ninth and failed to cash in. It was just cringeworthy in the 2nd inning when they had Didi Gregorius and Chris Carter on second and third bases with no outs, and the next three hitters struck out swinging to let Miley off the hook. Anyways, we have more LOB fail to go later in the game. But before that …
  • Tying it up: Without their super closer Zach Britton on the roster, the Orioles had Darren O’Day to try to close out the game in the ninth. He got Aaron Hicks to pop out, then allowed a single to Holliday. The game looked to be in the reach when Castro grounded out on a fielder’s choice (just barely beating out a double play along the way). However, Judge worked a walk to reach first base and both runners got to advance on a very, very confusing balk call when O’Day tried to pick off Castro. Buck Showalter got ejected arguing with the umpire and the Yankees had two runners in scoring position, shifting the momentum the New York way. After O’Day allowed Headley to walk, Baltimore brought in the LOOGY Donnie Hart to face Gregorius with bases loaded. Didi send a dramatic, two-RBI single up the middle to tie the game up and put Bronx into an absolute bedlam. I mean, geez, after being so silent with RISP all game, the team comes through on a very, very crucial spot – how could you not love it? However, Hart struck out Carter (of course) to send the game into #freebaseball territory. This is where things got really, really weird.
  • El Viaje Misterioso De Nuestro Bryan: As top of the 10th began, Bryan Mitchell, who pitched in the 9th, moved over to the first base (???) as Aroldis Chapman came into pitch. The strategy here was that Mitchell can later go back to pitch if the game goes long. But don’t kid me here – it was an idea that not a lot of us would’ve seen it coming. Well, it almost worked. Chapman threw a scoreless inning and the offense got the bases loaded with one out against Logan Verrett. The two of the team’s hottest hitters, Castro and Judge were coming up so New York was going to walk it off, right? Not so quick. Verrett got Castro to force out at home and Judge to strike out swinging to escape. That would’ve been like a hell of a move if the Yankees won right there. Instead, they had to play without the DH (because of this rule), Chapman got sub’d out of the game when Greg Bird pinch-hit for him in the tenth, and Mitchell was back on the mound in the top of 11th as a position swap with Birdie. And, of course, Mitchell (and the sloppy Yankee defense) allowed three in that frame to give the Orioles a 7-4 lead. Verrett held on to it to win it for Baltimore. That was some teaser right there. The Yankees did win the series, but I feel like they lost more than just one game. Oh well.

Here are the box score, updated standings and WPA graph. The Blue Jays are coming to town next for a three-game series. Marco Estrada and Luis Severino are Monday’s starters.

Youngsters make their presence felt in 3-1 Yankees win over the Red Sox

(Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
(Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Maybe it was the young guys were thriving, maybe it was because the Yankees were playing the Red Sox, but man, that was the most satisfying victory of the season so far. Aaron Judge hit a homer to put the Yankees on the board, Luis Severino threw seven impressive innings, and heck, Greg Bird pitched in an RBI! Aroldis Chapman made it a bit scary in the ninth inning but eventually got out of it for a 3-1 Yankees victory in the Fenway Park.

The Judge and the Bird

In the second inning, Aaron Judge hit a birthday celebration home run off Rick Porcello. Starlin Castro reached on a Xander Bogaerts throwing error to begin the frame. Looked like a routine play, then the throw fell short and Mitchell Moreland couldn’t save the shortstop from an error. With a runner on first, Judge squared up an 88 mph fastball from Rick Porcello and sent it into the right field bullpen to give New York a 2-0 lead. I thought, if Judge were to hit a home run in Fenway, it would be a majestic shot going over the Green Monster, but this is good too. Drove it the opposite field (385 feet) and gave Yankees a two-run advantage. Judge also drew a walk later on in the sixth on a very, very close pitch off the outside corner. Last year’s Aaron Judge probably flailed at it haplessly but he showed some exceptional plate discipline to let it go and take a walk.

After tonight, Judge is hitting .281/.352/.672 with 7 home runs in 71 PAs. That is pretty good. He also gave Yankee fans a little scare by jumping into the stands to make a catch. It was initially ruled a foul ball but upon further review, they reversed the call. I’m just glad that his legs are okay after this:

1aj1

The other Yankee run was driven in by none other than Greg Bird. Judge advanced to second on a wild pitch after said walk in the sixth inning. Bird got a fastball on the outside and drilled it towards the Green Monster to score Judge. Prior to that at-bat, Bird was hopelessly whiffing at fastball offerings from Porcello. Pretty encouraging to see him do anything positive right now. I believe he will be alright though. Players do go through tough patches at times. Meanwhile, there was another young Yankee thriving on the other side of the ball.

Severino good

(Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
(Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

This is what we all waited for from Luis Severino. The young righty, who has been teasing the Yankee fans with potential and enigmatic performances the last few years, made a very strong case to be a not only a long-term starting pitcher but also maybe the best in the rotation. Well, he has a lot of things to take care of — especially lowering the home run rate — in order to be excellent for years, but he showed tonight what he can do when everything clicks.

Per Brooks Baseball, Severino was throwing some serious heat tonight, as usual. He clocked at 99.8 mph with his fastball, which is pretty impressive given that Brooks Baseball doesn’t really go with the new velocity measuring system by MLBAM (measuring at 50 ft from home plate as opposed to 55 ft). He also generated 13 total whiffs — seven from fastball, five from slider and hey, one from changeup! I’d like to see more from his third pitch from here on.

When it comes to an eye test, Severino looked a thousand times better than he did last year. He seemed to hit the spots better, deliver them with much less doubt, went after hitters with tons of confidence in his pitches, etc. He’s had great stuff for a long time. Whatever Pedro Martinez taught him and/or he adjusted in the Spring Training has paid dividends so far. After tonight, he has a 33 strikeouts-to-4 walks ratio in 27.0 IP, which is excellent. His ERA is down to 3.00 and FIP is at 2.87.

Lastly, here’s that nasty slider…

1sev

Hold unto your butts

After Dellin Betances took care of the Red Sox hitters in order in the eighth, it was up to Chapman to get a save and finish the win for the Yankees. Something seemed a bit off with him tonight. Maybe it’s the cold weather or the four-day rest he got (or both), but he had trouble commanding his pitches from the get-go, walking Andrew Benintendi and allowing a deep double to Mookie Betts to start the frame. Uh-oh. With that, the tying run was already on the plate. Chris Young, pinch-hitting for Moreland, hit an RBI grounder to get a run in for Boston but also an out count for New York.

With a runner on third, it was Hanley Ramirez up for the Sox. Ramirez isn’t off to a good start but you always worry about him because he has good pop in the bat, especially with the Green Monster favoring his HR chances. Chapman, again, ended up walking him to make it runners on corners. Thankfully, Jackie Bradley Jr. struck out swinging on a bad slider way over the strike zone and Josh Rutledge struck out on a fastball located well (possibly the best one Chapman threw all night) to end the ballgame. 3-1 Yankees. I needed a cigarette after that frame.

Box score, WPA graph and updated standings

Here’s tonight’s box score and standings thanks to ESPN and WPA graph from Fangraphs.


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees are back at it again at Fenway tomorrow. Masahiro Tanaka is up on the hill against the noted Yankee killer Chris Sale.

Yanks can’t cash in with runners on base, lose 2-1 to Pirates


Source: FanGraphs

Well, that game could have gone a lot better. Jordan Montgomery didn’t have the best showing but limited the damage to 2 runs in 6 IP, which is pretty solid. Bryan Mitchell got out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam and tossed another scoreless to keep the Yankees close, but the offense went silent with runners on — and in general besides that Jacoby Ellsbury HR. The Yankees took a series loss against the Pirates and fall to 11-7 on the season. It’s the weekend so let’s do it bullet-point style.

  • Down two runs: Montgomery got into a trouble in a jiffy in the first inning. He walked Jordy Mercer and allowed back-to-back singles by Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen to get into a no-out, bases-loaded jam with Gregory Polanco, David Freese and Jose Osuna coming up. However, he got out of the inning relatively unscathed, allowing only a run on Freese’s deep sacrifice fly. Montgomery’s location was kind of all over the place that inning so it seemed like it could have gone a lot worse. Down 1-0 with eight more innings to go didn’t seem like a too bad of a scenario. The score stayed that way until the bottom of third when the Bucs scored another. Montgomery walked McCutchen and allowed an RBI double to Polanco for a 2-0 Pittsburgh lead.
  • Dominated by an old friend: Ivan Nova had a start that the Pirates needed to win a ballgame, pitching seven solid innings, striking out seven and allowing only a run — on the Ellsbury solo HR — en route to earning his second win of the season. Oddly enough, he also allowed a walk. That’s a rarity nowadays because it’s only his fourth allowed in the Pirates uniform, which is pretty incredible. What makes it even more incredulous is that Jordan Montgomery drew said walk, in his first ML plate appearance ever, nonetheless. Baseball can be pretty weird like that. Speaking of an old friend, former Yankees backup catcher Chris Stewart went 2-for-3 today with a triple (!!!) because of course.
  • That ninth inning: The Yankees were gifted a pretty good chance against a very good reliever in Tony Watson. After Ellsbury lined out to first, Aaron Judge singled, Matt Holliday walked, and Ronald Torreyes reached on a Harrison error that should have been a game-ending double play. A flyball would have tied the game, which Aaron Hicks seems pretty capable of. However, he struck out in three pitches and Pete Kozma followed it up with a ground out on a 2-0 pitch to end the game. That was a huge and frustrating tease. The Yankees went 0-f0r-6 with RISP today and that’s not what you want if you want to win. Blergh.
  • Miscellaneous: Mitchell relieved Montgomery to start the seventh and got into a no-out, bases-loaded jam (two walks and a single). With top of the lineup coming up, it seemed like the game was going to get out of control pretty quickly. However, Mitchell induced a short fly out, a line out and a strikeout to get out of the jam, keeping New York in the game … Brett Gardner had another dud game at bat today, going 0-for-3 and dropping his season average to .182 … April AL MVP candidate Chase Headley also had an 0-for-4 day … Greg Bird? 0-for-3 day. Not the best day for the bats. You’re gonna get a few of these in a 162-game season.

Here are today’s box score, updated standings and video highlights. The Yankees get a day-off tomorrow before going to Boston. They’ll play a three-game series at Fenway Park and will be back to the Yankee Stadium on Friday to play the Orioles.

Tanaka solid, offense blasts four home runs to beat the White Sox 9-1

(Rich Schultz/Getty)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

I’m still in the high from that ridiculous Aaron Judge home run. But anyways, the formula was simple for this win — good pitching and good hitting got it done. Masahiro Tanaka didn’t have his best stuff but he grinded out a nice 7 IP, 1 ER outing while the offense hit four out of the park en route to a 9-1 victory.

Welcome to the gun show

Unlike last night, the Yankee bats raked from the beginning. Brett Gardner began the bottom of first with a double and Chase Headley followed it up with a casual, 426-feet two-run home run. How hot is Headley right now? Sure, that was the only hit he had tonight (bust!) but he’s hitting an unreal .396/.500/.646 in 58 PA in 2017. I don’t know when WAR gets updated on Fangraphs, but I’d imagine he’s close to the top.

While that was all for the first inning, the beat went on in the second. Aaron Judge led off with a single and Bird hit a double into left-center to make it runners on second and third. Austin Romine, who came into the game hitting .333/.414/.542, squibbed a single up to the middle to drive Judge in. Ronald Torreyes followed it up with an RBI ground out to make it 4-0 Yankees.

For the next two innings, the Yankee bats went quiet against 2010 1st round draft pick Dylan Covey. The bottom of fifth started unceremoniously as Gardner struck out and Headley grounded out to make it two quick outs. However, Matt Holliday and Jacoby Ellsbury hit back-to-back singles to give Starlin Castro something to work with. And boy, Castro worked it alright. He hit a three-run home run into the visitor’s bullpen to give New York at 7-1 lead.

Two pitches after Castro’s home run, Judge put a charge on a hanging breaking ball and, well, destroyed it. Just watch:

Per Baseball Savant, that home run traveled for 448 ft with an exit velocity of 115.5 mph. I wouldn’t be surprised if that actually traveled further. That distance is A-Rod territory right there. At some point in his career, Judge will probably outdo that home run, which is exciting to think about. Oh yeah, that home run put the Yankees to a 8-1 lead and Covey exited after the frame ended.

Joining the dinger party later on was Aaron Hicks. As a pinch-hitter, against the tall righty Michael Ynoa (who I vividly remember as the top 2008 IFA signee), Hicks lined one just over the short porch for a solo home run. That was as cheap as a Yankee Stadium cheapie could get but hey, I’ve said it before: you play at the Yankee Stadium, you play by Yankee Stadium rules. Hicks’ hot bat probably caught your attention as well. The man is hitting .296/.444/.778 after tonight, which is quite Giambi-in-prime-esque.

#TANAK

(Rich Schultz/Getty)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

Tanaka’s final line is as follows: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Looks like a pretty swell start, right? It was not as easy as the numbers suggest. He had runners in scoring position three out of those seven innings and, to the White Sox hitters’ credit, they squared up the balls well at times, especially Jose Abreu, who had three hits off Tanaka tonight (including two doubles). However, Tanaka remained cool and calm and got out of the jams mostly unscathed. The only major blemish was the RBI double allowed to Abreu in the fourth inning to score Tim Anderson, which was the only run Chicago scored tonight.

Brooks Baseball had Tanaka’s fastball velocity as usual (topping out at 93.5 instead of going up to 96-97 like we saw in past two starts) and indicated that his splitter was working tonight. He got eight whiffs out of that pitch (29.6% rate). I mean look, how can you throw it any better than he did it right here?

After tonight’s start, Tanaka’s ERA sunk from 8.36 to 6.00. Regression to normalcy! The first few starts were not ideal but he will be just fine.

Leftovers

Bryan Mitchell came in to relieve Tanaka to start the eighth inning and pitched 1.1 scoreless innings. It is also his 26th birthday so, happy birthday to that guy. Tommy Layne came in the ninth with one out to get some work in and got the last two to close it out.

Tonight was one of those games where it just clicked well for the offense — each hitter in the starting lineup got a hit. I’ll take games like this any day.

Box score, WPA graph and standings

Here’s tonight’s box score and updated standings from ESPN and WPA graph from Fangraphs.


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees have a day-off tomorrow and will travel to Pittsburgh for a weekend series vs. the Pirates. New York is now 10-5 after a 9-1 homestand. Time to get the beat going on the road.

The Yankee offense gets quieted by Miguel Gonzalez in a 4-1 loss to the White Sox

After winning eight in a row, the Yankees almost got shut out by Miguel Gonzalez. They made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth, but one run definitely wasn’t enough. The Yankees lost 4-1 on Tuesday to snap the eight-game winning streak. Oh well. Time to start another winning streak.

Gonzalez is not impressed with the Yankees lineup (Elsa/Getty)
Gonzalez is not impressed with the Yankees lineup (Elsa/Getty)

A series of unfortunate events

Luis Severino got off to a really good start for the first eight hitters, taking care of them on 30 pitches total with four strikeouts. The first bit of damage was done by their No. 9 hitter Leury Garcia, who squared up a 96 mph fastball and deposited it over the right-center wall. 1-0 White Sox. Look amazing against the first eight guys and get hurt by the ninth hitter, go figure.

Meanwhile, the Yankees offense was getting perfect gamed by… Miguel Gonzalez. For the first four innings, other than a loud fly out by Brett Gardner, there weren’t many ball hit with an authority. You might remember Gonzalez as an underwhelming SP for the Orioles who was actually released by them in the beginning of the 2016 season. Ever since joining the White Sox though, he added the Don Cooper specialty — cut fastball — and has served as a useful back-end rotation guy for them. Last year, he had 3.73 ERA in 24 games (23 GS) and earned 2.7 fWAR.

The Yankees broke the perfecto in the fifth with a Starlin Castro infield single. And, of course, Aaron Judge followed it up with a GIDP. Gonzalez is a guy who lives off of late movement in his pitches and that seemed to absolutely befuddle the Yankee hitters tonight. In the sixth, Austin Romine led off with yet another softly-hit infield single. However, Ronald Torreyes and Pete Kozma both popped out on the first pitch and Gardner struck out to quickly end that.

Severino got into a bit of jam in the seventh. He allowed a single to Tim Anderson and Melky Cabrera reached on a Kozma error — the grounder that normally would’ve been a GIDP went through the wickets. While Jose Abreu made the matters easier by popping out on the bunt, Avisail Garcia hit a hanging breaking ball up the zone into the left field bullpen for a 4-0 Sox lead. We can play the “what if” game here — if Kozma makes that play and turns it into a double play, Severino could’ve been out of the inning unscathed. However, it’s also not a great thing to hang a breaking ball up to a hitter as hot as Avisail Garcia. Players make mistakes. It’s just unfortunate.

In the bottom seventh, Jacoby Ellsbury reached on a bunt single to get something going. However, Matt Holliday hit a grounder right on the screws to SS Tim Anderson for a quick double play. That might’ve been the hardest ball hit by the Yankees tonight and it impacted the offense quite negatively. It’s just one of those games.

Sevy

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

While the offense seemed powerless tonight, Severino brought tons of it. Tonight, he went 8 innings while walking none and striking out 10. From a guy who just turned 23, you can’t ask too much more than that. On the negative side, he did allow two homers. One of them was from Leury Garcia, who hit a decent pitch close to the outside corner. Another was from red-hot Avisail Garcia, who drilled a hanging breaking ball. That’s the kind of mistake you hope to see less from Severino.

But to be fair, Severino had his slider working well tonight. He got 8 whiffs out of it for a 22.2% rate, which is great (an average whiff rate is around 11%). He also got 8 whiffs from his fastball, which topped out at 98.8 mph per Brooks Baseball. The YES Network gun had his fastball up to 98 mph on the last pitch of the outing, which is something.

Tonight’s outing brought his season ERA up to 4.05 ERA. What I like though, is that he has 27 strikeouts and 2 walks in 20 IP. I’m curious to see how he would do against a Red Sox-caliber lineup. There are a lot of positives to take from what Sevy has shown so far in 2017. Keep him in the rotation.

The ninth inning

It seemed like Yankees were well on their to getting Maddux’d by Gonzalez in the ninth. After allowing a single to pinch-hitting Chase Headley, the righty got Chris Carter to fly out. However, after walking Brett Gardner on four pitches, the White Sox pulled Gonzalez out and put David Robertson in to close it out.

Robertson walked Jacoby Ellsbury to load the bases, making this game a bit more interesting with the tying run coming up to the plate. However, he channeled his 2011 Houdini act to strike out Matt Holliday to get the second out. Next up was Starlin Castro, who actually managed to draw a walk to push one across to avoid a shutout for New York. Unfortunately, that was all for the Yankees, as Judge grounded out to short to end the game. 4-1 White Sox.

Box score, WP graph and standings

Here’s tonight’s box score and updated standings from ESPN and WPA graph from Fangraphs.


Source: FanGraphs


Wouldn’t you love to see another winning streak start? Well, the Yankees are back at it again against tomorrow at 7:05 pm EST. Masahiro Tanaka will be on the mound versus Dylan Covey.

Yankees beat the Cardinals 9-3 for second straight sweep

Beautiful (Elsa/Getty)
Beautiful (Elsa/Getty)

Seven in a row and a sweep! It was a good night to don Yankees gear as the Bronx Bombers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-3 behind Michael Pineda‘s arm and excellent hitting performances all around, especially from Greg Bird (!). It’s Sunday night so let’s do it bullet point style for this gamer:

  • The big bombs: If you ask me, or most of the other Yankee fans, that Aaron Judge fly ball should’ve been a homer. From what I saw, the ball sure seemed to eek over the fence before an idiot fan Jeffrey Maier’d his own team. Interestingly enough, the umpires, upon reviewing the fly, ruled that the ball would not have cleared the fences and ordered Judge to stay at third (since he had already reached there by hustling). So many questions about that one, but Bird distracted the fans very quickly by hitting a two-seamer inside from Adam Wainwright deep into the bleachers for a two-run homer, giving Yankees a 3-1 lead. Also look who joined into the party: Aaron Hicks! Sluggin’ Hicks hit a tall fly that landed into the short porch in the bottom of fifth to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead. After tonight’s game, he has a .318/.484/.773 line in 31 PAs, which is Bonds-esque. Have no idea how long this hot Hicks streak will last so I’m just going to enjoy it now.
  • The Greg Bird: Have you not heard? Bird is the word (okay, I won’t reference it ever again in the gamers). After starting the season with a 1-for-26 slump (.038 avg), Bird seemed like a totally different hitter tonight. He hit three balls on the screws for a 3-for-3 night with a walk, raising his season line to .138/.265/.310. Like many hitters have experienced, Bird was a triple away from the cycle. More importantly, after seeming helpless at the plate for the past few weeks, he hit the ball with absolute authority tonight. Here is a guy who needed a turning point this season and he may have gotten one tonight.
  • Big Mike: After that mind-blowing start vs. the Rays last week, a lot of fans seem to wonder if the good Pineda would be back tonight. Well, he had two failing moments but that was it. In the second inning, he allowed a two-out RBI single to Greg Garcia that gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead. In the seventh, against Yadier Molina, he hung a slider in the zone and the Cardinals catcher sent it into the left field seats for a solo HR. So besides the familiar dinger and two-out RBI problems, Pineda looked great. Per Brooks Baseball, he got 12 whiffs, which is good. What is noteworthy, however, is that four of those came from his changeup. Pineda has two sure pitches and the changeup has been a work in progress for a long time. If he can establish consistency as a three-pitch pitcher all the way, he could have a very nice year heading into the free agency. Tonight’s outing brought Pineda’s ERA down to 3.44 and his FIP/xFIP are at 2.72 and 1.99 respectively. Pretty good.
  • A barrage of runs: With a 4-2 lead into the bottom of eighth, and Dellin Betances having pitched a scoreless frame, it seemed like the Yankees were going to go with the Aroldis Chapman = closer equation for the ninth. However, that was interrupted by the five-run outburst by the offense. The Yankees got the bases loaded against Michael Socolovich (two walks and a single) and Austin Romine brought two of them in with a double, extending the lead to 6-2. Ronald Torreyes followed it up with a 2-RBI ground rule double to make it 8-2. Bottom of the lineup getting it done! Two batters later, Hicks hit a sac fly to drive in Torreyes. Bryan Mitchell allowed a run in one inning of work before closing out the game to make it 9-3, the final score.
  • Box score, WP graph and standings: Head over to ESPN for box score and standings and Fangraphs for WPA graph.


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees will next host the Chicago White Sox for a three-game series before they head to a six-game road trip. Jordan Montgomery and Derek Holland will be on the mound Monday. Enjoy the feeling of this seven-game winning streak until then.