Tanaka’s struggles continue as the Yankees drop their fifth straight, 5-2 to A’s


Source: FanGraphs

The bullpen can’t blow a lead if the team can’t build one, am I right? Well, this loss was not as much of a tease as the past few days but still, as loss nonetheless. Masahiro Tanaka gave up 3 homers and the bats couldn’t rally against Jesse Hahn and the A’s bullpen. It’s Saturday so let’s just do it bullet-point style and get over with.

  • The enigma: Tanaka had literally a one of a kind outing – he’s become the only pitcher to strikeout 10+ hitters and allow 3+ HR in 4 IP or fewer in MLB history (thank you Katie Sharp). So good news: he’s missing bats! Bad news: the dingers. It was nearly a literal hit-or-miss start for him. He got 19 whiffs in 4 innings! That is a lot. 10 of them came from his slider and 7 from splitter. So, at times, his stuff was really working. At the same time, he gave up hittable pitches up in the zone. You’d think the solution is simple: “stop putting meatballs in the zone!” Pitching is hard. If Tanaka could command pitches low all the time, he would. Anyways, after today’s game, Tanaka has a wacky 8.92 K/9, 2.47 BB/9, 2.47 HR/9 rates with a 6.34 ERA. It’s the middle of the June so not so much a small sample size thing.
  • Two runs and nothing much: The Yankee bats didn’t show as much Fighting Spirit as they did the past few days. The only runs they scored came from the second inning. With one out, Ronald Torreyes and Mason Williams hit back-to-back singles to put two runners on. Austin Romine singled to center to score Torreyes and advance Williams to third, who later scored on a Brett Gardner sac fly. Yankees took a 2-1 lead and that would be the last time they’d lead for the game. They did make Jesse Hahn throw a lot of pitches, but he’s no scrub, striking out 6 and allowing only 3 hits overall in 5 IP (105 pitches, 69 strikes). The A’s bullpen, which is not usually the team’s strong suit, shut down the Yankee lineup to the tune of 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R and 6 strikeouts. And that was the story of the Yankee offense today.
  • Domingo on a Saturday: Coming into the bottom of the fifth, the Yankees called it a day for Tanaka and put Domingo German on the mound. In his second ML appearance, German put up another scoreless outing: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K with 79 pitches. It wasn’t without any jams though. The A’s had the bases loaded in both the sixth and seventh innings but German got out of both unscathed. He kept the A’s lead at 3 runs but today, the bats went silent against the A’s bullpen because of course.
  • Leftovers: Gary Sanchez pinch-hit in the ninth inning! He struck out swinging but the Yankees putting him up there is a pretty good sign given his injury. Hopefully it is a precursor to him making it to the starting lineups tomorrow. Torreyes was the only hitter today that had a multi-hit game (2-for-4). Gardner, Chase Headley and Aaron Judge each drew a walk but went hitless (0-for-8 collectively).

Here are today’s box score, updated standings and WPA graph. The dreaded West Coast trip is over tomorrow. The Yankees will have Luis Cessa on the mound against Jharel Cotton. There’s more baseball on the schedule today. Hope the Astros beat the Red Sox so the Yankees still have the AL East top spot outright by the end of the day.

Yankees losing streak hits four after falling 7-6 to Athletics

(Thearon Henderson/Getty Images)
(Thearon Henderson/Getty Images)

The West Coast road trip from hell continues. The Yankees losing streak hit 4 tonight with another close loss. It is their second consecutive loss decided by one run and their third in the last four game. The formula here, again, was simple: the offense fought back to make it a game that seemed winnable, but the bullpen failed to hold on. Pretty annoying! Without two of their best bullpen arms unavailable as of late (Adam Warren and Aroldis Chapman) and Dellin Betances not an option tonight, the Yankees had to rely on the other guys to hold out and, of course, they failed. The AL East lead has decreased to one (1) game after the Red Sox beat the Astros tonight. Not good again! It’s Friday night so let’s do it bullet-style.

  • Falling behind: As you know the Yankees have not had the finest past three games and it seemed like the things were going to get worse when Luis Severino allowed four runs in the second inning. Remember, the Yankees had a Spring Training squad lineup for this and their bullpen is very, very limited (Jonathan Holder was the 8th inning guy, for chrissakes) so Severino doing well today was pretty vital. Here is the sequence of events that happened:yankees-vs-athletics-pbp
    None of the hits were cheapies in this one. Severino’s command was off and the A’s hitters punished him accordingly. The 2016 Severino showed up only for this inning. Fortunately, this was the only inning in which he really stunk. He had an overall 6 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 6 K night – it’s not the best but really not bad considering the second inning. He bounced back nicely and managed to give the bullpen less inning to work with than we had feared.
  • All Rise: The Yankees made it a game again immediately. In the top of the third, two Yankees reached on infield singles (Ronald Torreyes and Rob Refsnyder) and Aaron Judge delivered the big blow with his 23rd HR of the year. 4-3 A’s. It wasn’t hit particularly hard but still traveled beyond the right field fence for an opposite-field HR. Ho-hum. This guy is good. Judge had a 2-for-3 night with two walks, bringing his season line up to .339/.447/.713. Judge’s insane rookie season continues.
  • Getting ahead: The Yankees tied it up in the fifth inning. With one out, Torreyes hit a deep double and Mason Williams followed it up with an RBI single to make it 4-4. The bats eventually loaded the bases with Judge and Matt Holliday walks, but they did not score more in that frame. No worries, Chris Carter to the rescue. The first baseman led off the sixth inning with a solo homer to break the tie, 5-4 Yankees. The bats added on another in the top of the seventh. With one out, Judge hit a triple to the deep center and Starlin Castro drove him in with a single up the middle. Optimism!
  • Bullpen fail: A 6-4 lead would be much more secure with a regular bullpen routine of Betances – Chapman but we are talking about putting middle-leverage guys into high-leverage situations. With Severino out of the game, Girardi put in Chasen Shreve as the 7th inning guy. After striking out Matt Chapman, Shreve walked pinch-hitting Rajai Davis and allowed a single to Matt Joyce to put the runners on the corners. Chad Pinder hit a sac fly to make the score 6-5 Yankees. Things would get worse when Jonathan Holder (!) was summoned out of the bullpen as the 8th inning guy. With one out, Yonder Alonso walked and Ryon Healy hit a deep double to center to make it two runners on scoring position. The Yankee bench intentionally walk Stephen Vogt to load the bases and have Holder face the rookie Matt Chapman. After getting ahead on a 0-2 count, Holder threw a curveball that should’ve been buried on the ground but hung up just enough for Chapman to hit his first ML hit for a 2-RBI single. 7-6 A’s. Welp. That’s how the score stayed for good and Yankees lost 4 in a row.

Here’s tonight’s box score, updated standings and WPA graph. The Yankees still have two games left to go on this road trip. They have a 4 pm EST game tomorrow in Oakland. Masahiro Tanaka is on the mound against Jesse Hahn. Hold on tight, folks. We are not out of it yet.


Source: FanGraphs

Missed opportunities prove costly in 7-5 loss to the Angels

After scoring 4 runs in the first inning, the Yankees gave the lead back, tied it up again, but let go of the game after experiencing some RISPFails and allowing a go-ahead HR to Andrelton Simmons. That was an annoying series – lost a starter and two games that were quite winnable. The Yankees still have the division lead but it has shortened to two gmes after the Red Sox beat the Phillies again. Let’s recap this game and move on to the next one.

(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Exchanging runs early

The Yankee bats got out of the gate early today. In the first inning, Brett Gardner led off the game with a base hit and Aaron Judge‘s single made it runners on corners with one out. Judge followed it up with a stolen base and Matt Holliday hit a sac fly to make it 1-0 Yankees. Starlin Castro got hit in the hands to make it runners in the corners. Gary Sanchez, as he does often, annihilated a second pitch slider into the left field seats for a 3-run homer. 4-0 Yankees. The game seemed like a cake walk for the Bombers at that point.

Big Mike, however, wasn’t that big tonight. The Angels hitter threatened rallies from the first inning. Cameron Maybin, Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar hit singles against Pineda to make it one-out, bases-loaded situation for the Angels. Luis Valbuena hit a deep flyball to center that was on its way over the fence and Aaron Hicks did this:

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Yep, in case you are wondering, he robbed it. Hicks robbed a grand slam and held the Angels to a sac fly. Pineda got out of it with allowing only one run. However, more trouble was coming for Big Mike in the upcoming innings.

Eric Young Jr., as he did all series, bugged the Yanks again with a leadoff single in the 2nd. Danny Espinosa, who came into the game with a .164 batting average, hit a 94 mph fastball into the right field seats for a 2-run homer, making it a one-run game. The Angels tacked on two more in the third. Pujols led off with a single and advanced to second and third on two consecutive groundouts. With two outs, Pineda walked Andrelton Simmons to make it runners on corners. Facing Eric Young Jr., Pineda spiked a slider in front of the home plate that Sanchez couldn’t come up with and the ball rolled to the backstop. Pujols scored easily on the wild pitch to tie the game. Young Jr. followed it up with a single to right to give Angels a go ahead run and just like that, Yankees blew an early 4-run lead. 5-4 Angels.

RISPFail (Getty Images)
RISPFail (Getty Images)

The score stayed 5-4 until the top of the sixth. The Yankees had two great scoring chances in both fourth and fifth, but failed to cash in in either. Sanchez and Didi Gregorius led off the fourth with back-to-back singles. Chase Headley followed it up with a grounder to second… that hit jumping Didi’s back leg. Espinosa probably would’ve caught it for at least a force out but it forced Sanchez going to third back to second base. Rob Refsnyder hit a liner hard but it went right into Espinosa’s glove and Sanchez got doubled off at second. Yes, it’s that kind of game!

The Yanks’ RISP misfortunes continued in the fifth. With two outs, Judge reached on base with an Escobar throwing error. Holliday followed it up with a single to make it runners and first and second. Castro hit a sharp single to left and third base coach Joe Espada waved Judge to run home. The problem was that Judge was doomed from start:

bandicam-2017-06-15-12-58-01-472

That’s Eric Young Jr. getting ready to throw while Judge was not even at third base. Judge is not a slow runner but that was a terrible send. Young’s throw from outfield got Judge out at home pretty easily and Yankees came up empty-handed again. Had Judge held up, Yankees would have had Sanchez (who was 2-for-2 at the time) at the dish with bases loaded.

The bats finally got the tying run in the sixth inning. Sanchez reached second with an infield single + throwing error. After Gregorius struck out swinging, Headley singled to drive in Sanchez. Tie game!

The debut

A few days after Domingo German made his ML debut, another prospect got his first outing in the bigs tonight. Ronald Herrera (acquired from trading away Jose Pirela to Padres after the 2015 season), who has been lights out in Double-A this year (7-0, 1.03 ERA in 8 GS), faced Pujols in the bottom of the seventh in a 5-5 game. No pressure kid. However, he retired the first two hitters on first two pitches. Things went downhill from there. He walked Valbuena in five pitches and allowed a two-run, go-ahead HR to Andrelton Simmons on the first pitch. He hit Eric Young Jr. with a pitch on the foot but struck out Espinosa to get out of the inning.

I thought the timing of putting in Herrera was interesting. Tie game in the 7th, and a rookie making a ML debut is the first pitcher out of the bullpen? If it was in the 4th inning, it would make more sense but in the late inning situation, I would have gone with someone like Adam Warren to get an inning or two soaked. At the same time, the bullpen has been quite used lately, especially after last night’s 11-inning affair. Herrera was brought up to be the fresh arm guy out of the bullpen. Just not in an ideal situation to make a debut.

The Yankees had a bit of a two-out rally going on in the top of the ninth inning. Aaron Hicks hit a deep flyball into the right that Kole Calhoun caught with a leaping catch at the wall… or did he? Yankees asked the umps to look it over and they ruled that the ball hit the wall and Calhoun trapped it. It was pretty darn close and looked like it could have gone the other way. Anyways, that brought up Judge with two-outs, runner on second situation… which ended with a groundout. 7-5 Angels.

Leftovers

Pineda had a rough first three innings but settled down nicely after. From the fourth to sixth innings, he only allowed three baserunners and struck out two. As much as his poor outing engineered the Yankee loss, credit to Pineda for bouncing back nicely.

The Yankees had 14 hits total and every starter had a base hit each. Rob Refsnyder hit his first MLB triple and started in the right field today, giving Judge a day off with the glove. The offense definitely had it going but just ran into some rotten, rotten RISP lucks many a times tonight. Welp. You play 162 games and there will be a few annoying ones like this.

Box score, standings and WPA graph

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


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees now head to the Bay Area to face the Athletics for a 4-game series on Rickey Henderson Field (great name). Jordan Montgomery will be on the hill against Sonny Gray on Thursday.

Yankees lose Sabathia, and the game 3-2 to the Angels in the extras

All winning streaks have to end at some point. The Yankees lost one tonight in extra innings in the Big A after a weird and annoying 11-inning battle. They got close to making it a seven-game winning streak but they blew a lead in the eighth and couldn’t cash in in several scoring opportunities. The Yankees have won some games big lately but when they lose, it’s been mostly of the one-run variety. Annoying, right? Oh well. Games like this happen. Let’s recap and not think about it again.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Get well soon, big man

CC Sabathia, who had been on a roll in the previous six starts (0.99 ERA in that stretch, to be exact), started tonight’s game with a similar tone. CC pitched the first three innings scoreless and seemed to be cruising on his way for another good start.

Then came the bottom of the fourth. Sabathia struck out Albert Pujols and grounded out Yunel Escobar to get the first two outs. Andrelton Simmons hit a grounder to Didi Gregorius that should have resulted in a very, very routine out and Chris Carter just simply did not catch the ball. It was not like Didi made a difficult throw either. It was a regular “playing catch” throw from the shortstop to first base and Carter simply botched it. The ball went off Carter’s glove and Simmons was able to advance to second.

Sabathia attempted to bail his first baseman out but C.J. Cron hit an RBI single to cash in on the Yankee mistake, giving Angels a 1-0 lead. While facing Martin Maldonado, Sabathia felt something in his leg, which turned out to be strained left hamstring. Sanchez threw out C.J. Cron trying to steal second (???) but Sabathia’s night was done. He headed right into the clubhouse after the inning. Welp.

Joe Girardi said right after the game he expects Sabathia to head to the disabled list. Not ideal! The best the Yankee fans can hope now is that he’s back healthy without missing a beat. Big guy with a history of lower body problems? No need to be rushed back, so hopefully the Yankees find a replacement plan in the meantime who can do a solid job.

Getting the lead

Anyways, CC left after four strong innings. The Yankees turned to Giovanny Gallegos for the fifth inning. At the time, it didn’t seem like the most comforting decision for the fans, as Gallegos hasn’t really performed strongly so far this season (7.27 ERA in 7 games prior to tonight’s game). However, Gallegos turned in some good results today. It was his best outing in ML by far: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 K.

In the meantime, the Yankees tied it up in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Chase Headley hit a ground-rule double into the right field seats. Chris Carter struck out to ease it up for the Angels, but Brett Gardner hit a single up the middle to tie the game, 1-1.

The Yankees took a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning thanks to their usual power suspect, Chase Headley. Wait what? Leading off the seventh, Headley hit a 435-feet solo homer. Again, Chase Headley! Judge hit one 438 feet last night and Headley almost matched that. In terms of impact though, both are quite big.

Former Yankee great Eric Young Jr. (Getty Images)
Former Yankee great Eric Young Jr. (Getty Images)

The later innings

After the Yankees took a 2-1 lead, they went with Adam Warren for the bottom of the seventh. He got into a bit of trouble but wiggled out of it. Simmons reached on an infield single and stole second with one out to give the Angels a chance to tie it up. Maldonado’s groundout sent the runner to third and Scioscia pinch-hit Luis Valbuena for Danny Espinosa. Warren went on to throw a nasty backdoor slider to strike him out looking. Clutch.

However, Tyler Clippard didn’t come up as clutch. Coming into the eighth inning as the interim set-up man, Clippard allowed a lead-off homer to Eric Young Jr. for a blown save. He threw a 91 mph fastball that was meant to be located inside and Young turned on it quickly. If you weren’t aware, Eric Young Jr., who only had 1 AB with the Yankees last year, was hitting .878 OPS as Mike Trout’s replacement. How about that? Also, this was the first time a Yankee pitcher had back-to-back blown saves since Matt Thornton in 2014 (May 11-12). Clippard struck out Cameron Maybin and grounded out Kole Calhoun and Pujols to get out of the inning but the damage had been done. It was up to the hitters to score more than two runs for the entire game.

The bats tried to get a rally going in the bottom of the eighth. After Didi grounded out, Headley hit his third base hit – a single – of the night to validate his fan favorite status. Carter struck out easily as it was the theme of the night for him. Headley advanced to second on a wild pitch during the Gardner at-bat, setting up a RISP chance with two outs. After a nine-pitch at bat, Gardner hit a hard liner into the outfield… just right at Calhoun. 3 outs. Ugh. It’s been that kind of night for the Yankees.

Girardi put in Jonathan Holder in the ninth inning in a 2-2 game because that’s the status of the bullpen right now with Aroldis Chapman on DL. That also went edgy. Holder struck out Escobar, allowed a single to Simmons and got another strikeout from Cron. The next hitter, Martin Maldonado, hit a double into the left field that put two runners on scoring position with two outs. Girardi took out Holder for Chasen Shreve, who induced a flyout from Cliff Pennington to end the frame.

Losing it

The Yankee bats had two runners in scoring position with one out in the top of the eleventh inning and failed to score, because that’s how things have gone for them tonight. Sanchez walked with one out and Didi hit a double to right to put both of them in second and third. Mike Scioscia made some obvious moves here – change the pitcher to one of his best relievers in Keynan Middleton and intentionally walk Headley to fill in the first base and face Chris Carter. I hate to rag on Carter but with the defensive mistake and looking languish in at-bats… it was not his best night. Carter popped up on the very first pitch to make it two outs and Gardner followed it up with another pop out to end the threat. That had to be deflating, at least a bit.

Shreve started the bottom of the eleventh by walking Andrelton Simmons. He did retire Cron to a flyout and that ended the night for him. Girardi went with the recently called-up Ben Heller to try to finish the inning. As he faced Maldonado, Simmons stole second to give Angels a RISP chance. Maldonado grounded out to put Simmons on third and Heller followed it up by walking Pennington (sigh). The next hitter, Eric Young Jr. (who else?), hit a liner off Heller’s buttocks and it trickled towards Didi’s opposite side. Gregorius came up with the ball but it was too late to throw anyone out and the run scored. Angels won, 3-2. Sigh. Quite a fitting way to lose this one.

Leftovers

We can pin the loss to the obvious suspects but the big bats going quiet didn’t really help either. The no 3. to 7 hitters (Aaron JudgeMatt HollidayStarlin Castro– Sanchez-Gregorius) went 1-for-22. Usually, teams lose games like this more handily but the Yankees somehow managed to make it close. On a positive side, Chase Headley went 3-for-4 and was a triple shy from a cycle.

Box score, standings and WPA graph

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


Source: FanGraphs


Because the series is now tied, the game tomorrow (or later today) will be a rubber match. Big Mike Pineda will be on the mound against Matt Shoemaker. Win the series tomorrow. Get the Keurig rolling again, Yankee fans.

Yankees win their sixth straight behind Tanaka’s outing and Judge’s homer

Ho-hum. Another night of Aaron Judge heroics for the Yankees. Masahiro Tanaka having a good outing is also something to talk about. Sure, they didn’t score eight runs this time — the Yankees beat the Angels 5-3 on Monday — but they won their sixth straight to start off the West Coast trip. Good win nonetheless.

(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

A good sign

Tanaka allowed a homer to Kole Calhoun in the first inning. Uh-oh. It was only the second batter of the inning and the panic was nigh amongst Yankee fans. However, Tanaka settled down and had a great outing, including retiring 13 straight at one point.

Let’s get to some positives. 6.2, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 8 K. That’s a pretty dang good pitching line! Tanaka’s ERA dropped from 6.55 to 6.07 and he still got a good amount of whiffs (18 total). Brooks Baseball has his fastball topping out at 95.0 mph, which sounds about right. His velocity hasn’t really suffered in this brutal stretch. It was more about giving up meatballs up in the zone quite often to allow loud hits.

This is not a data-talk but from the eye test… Tanaka definitely seemed to have a good groove going on. His stuff looked flat in the first inning but from second inning and on, it looked like he got some of the bite back. Location-wise, he definitely avoided the high part of the strike zone. Take a look:

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It’s a solid game plan for Tanaka – keep it down and low. He probably should’ve been able to finish the seventh inning. We’ll talk about that… right now

Tied up

So that seventh inning was a bit nutty. Tanaka got Andrelton Simmons to fly out to begin the frame but Eric Young Jr. reached on an error by a Chase Headley error. Young hit a squibber towards third and Headley, who was rushing forward, couldn’t scoop it and let the ball roll past him. Tanaka struck out Martin Maldonado to make it two outs but Young stole second base to make it a RISP situation. Tanaka faced Danny Espinosa and allowed an RBI single that ended his night. Espinosa could’ve been kept at first but Judge made a humongous throw that went over Austin Romine‘s head and that allowed Espinosa to take second base. Joe Girardi decided to pull Tanaka out at 89 pitches and brought in the interim 8th inning guy Tyler Clippard.

Clippard went into an eight-pitch battle against Cameron Maybin that he lost. He put a fastball right down the middle that Maybin hit for an RBI double. Tie game. 3-3. There are some fingers to be pointed at for the Yankees letting them tie it up but sometimes, that’s baseball.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Taking back the lead

Right after they gave up the lead, the Yankees took it right back. In the top of the eighth with one out, Aaron Hicks hit a deep double off of Jose Alvarez that just missed being a HR by a several inches. That brought up a RISP situation for Aaron Judge and Mike Scioscia put in Bud Norris to face him. In case you weren’t aware, Norris has been enjoying a in his first full season as a reliever (1-2, 2.43 ERA with 38 K’s in 29.2 IP). However, I don’t think there are a lot of pitchers that want to face the red-hot Aaron Judge right now. I fully expected Norris to give Judge a non-intentional intentional walk.

It seemed like Norris was going to not give Judge anything worth hitting. The first two pitches were cut fastballs way below the strike zone. However, on his third offering, Norris put one up in the strike zone and Judge drove that out of the park for a 438 feet, 2-run, go-ahead bomb. 5-3 Yankees. Sure, the hindsight is 20/20 – but with the first base open, I really don’t know why they decided to pitch to Judge. Good thing Judge plays for the Yankees, not the other guys.

Judge cracked into the 4.0 fWAR mark after that HR, by the way. We are just getting to the middle of June and he’s already there as a rookie. Pretty insane, eh?

Leftovers

Dellin Betances, who hadn’t pitched since June 8, came in with two outs in the eighth for a four-out save and that’s exactly what he got. He struck out the side in the ninth – all of them swinging. Betances has allowed only 1 ER in 20 IP this season (0.45 ERA) while striking out hitters in an insane 17.10 K/9 IP clip. I’d buy tickets to see him pitch. That is also the Yankees’ first save since May 28, somehow.

How about Didi Gregorius? He drove in the first two Yankee runs and had a 4-for-4 game with an intentional walk. He’s hitting .344/.367/.513 this season, which is pretty awesome. I’ve said it before but his bat seemed to be on a roll this year since the Spring Training and World Baseball Classic. And, of course, we don’t need to worry about his defense at all. Good to have a starting shortstop like him.

Box score, standings and WPA graph

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


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees will look to make it seventh straight tomorrow. C.C. Sabathia will be on the mound against J.C. Ramirez. It’ll be another 10 pm EST start so get your Keurig ready again.

Home runs galore (again) as the Yankees sweep the O’s with a 14-3 win

(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Great game. Would watch again – especially that Aaron Judge home run. (Or both. Honestly, both.) I honestly do not think there could be a more glorious regular season win than this. It seemed that the pitching management was the main story prior to this game but nah, the bats decided to explode. It’s the Sunday so let’s do it bullet-point style.

  • First inning outburst: 12 pitches in, the Yankees already had five runs. The hitters anticipated fastballs from Kevin Gausman and took aggressive hacks early in the count. Brett Gardner led off the bottom of the first with a single, Aaron Hicks flied out, Judge hit a single and sent Gardner to third. Matt Holliday walked to load the bases and Starlin Castro followed it up with a 2-run single to give Yankees their first runs. Gary Sanchez, in an 0-1 count, got a 96 mph fastball right over the plate and punished it ruthlessly for a 450-feet, 3-run bomb. Again, all those things happened in 12 pitches! Talk about going from 0 to 100 real quick.
  • Allowing doubles after doubles: Chad Green had a nice first couple of innings, striking out three and allowing only one baserunner (a walk). However, he was working on a 60-pitch limit so wasn’t really expected to go deep into the game. Lo and behold, after giving up two doubles (and a run) in a row to start the third, Joe Girardi sub’d him out at 53 pitches. Chasen Shreve, relieving Green, basically the same thing with his first two hitters by giving up back-to-back doubles to Seth Smith and Jonathan Schoop, making it a 5-3 game. All of a sudden, that 5-0 early outburst seemed like a distant memory. However, Shreve induced a groundout from Adam Jones and struck out Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo to get out of the inning. Yankees would not allow any more runs for the rest of the game.
  • Power explosion: The Yankees scored two more on a Holliday 2-RBI single on the fourth, making it 7-3. You’d think that *might* be a good enough lead to hold for the rest of the game, but the bats are always hankerin’ for more runs. Heading into the bottom of the sixth, the score was still at 7-3… until Judge came up to bat. He got a 85 mph changeup in a 1-1 count up in the zone… and absolutely demolished it. The ball cleared the left field bleachers. Statcast measured it at 495 feet while ESPN got it at 496. Either way, it was an incredible, ridiculous display of Judge’s prodigious power. That was his 20th home run of the year and boy, he did it in a style. Don’t let the distance distract you from the fact that he hit it at 118.6 mph exit velo, which is also ridiculously high. Anyways, right after that insane HR, Holliday reached on an error by Schoop and Castro followed it up with his third home run in as many days to make it 10-3. Flash forward to bottom of the seventh, the O’s had their prospect Jimmy Yacabonis make an ML debut and boy, the Yankees gave him a rude welcome. After Ronald Torreyes and Gardner walked, Hicks hit a bullet to deep right center for a 2-RBI double. Judge, while most people in the venue were still in awe of his previous home run, followed it up by sending a laser into the right field seats for a 2-run HR, making it 14-3 Yankees. At this point, I am running out of darn words to express what Judge is doing to the Major League pitching. I’ll throw you some numbers: he’s hitting .344/.450/.718 with 21 HR’s this season (207 wRC+) with 3.9 fWAR… and it’s not even mid-June! I am enjoying this ride as much as possible. We are witnessing something special right now in 2017.
  • The debut: Not to be buried by all the home runs, one of the top arms of the system – RHP Domingo German – made his ML debut today. He came to the Yankees in the deal that sent Nathan Eovaldi to the New York. German had to undergo a Tommy John surgery not long after the trade and went through AA and AAA this season before earning the call to the Bronx. He is known for his live arm and he brought it. Brooks Baseball had his four-seamer averaging 96.5 mph while topping out at 99.0. He tossed 2.2 scoreless innings while allowing two hits, a walk and striking out a hitter. I’ll gladly take it.
  • Leftovers: Prior to German, Jonathan Holder and Adam Warren pitched 3.1 IP scoreless innings combined to keep the Yankee lead at 5-3 (to 7-3 and 10-3). Didi Gregorius and Chris Carter each had two hits. Didi, by the way, is hitting .327/.348/.500 after today. Sure, that OBP might be a little low for how much he’s hitting but look at that slugging percentage. How many of you thought he could touch a .500 SLG% when they first traded for him?

Here’s the box score, standings and video highlights. The Yankees head to Anaheim for the beginning of the West Coast trip. They’ll have Masahiro Tanaka on the mound against Alex Meyer tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of the weekend, folks.


Source: FanGraphs

Sanchez and Pineda power the Yankees to an 9-1 win over the Red Sox

It’s a good day when the Yankees get to extend their division lead. Even better when they do it after a win against the Red Sox. Great pitching by Michael Pineda and some power hitting go a long way. Yankees are now 34-23 and 3 games above the Red Sox and O’s for the first place in AL East.

(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Mike coming up big

This is the finest start that Pineda’s ever thrown against the Red Sox – 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB and 8 K’s. It’s the first time ever that he’s gone 7 innings against Boston AND also the first that he allowed 0 ER in a start against them. How about that? Came at a good time too, when the Yankees are trying to extend the division lead against a rival. His offspeed pitches were working tonight, generating 12 whiffs overall between his changeup and slider (25.5% rate). 7 out of his 8 strikeouts were swinging as well. I like.

The only run that he allowed came via a runner reaching on an error and scoring on a passed ball. In the top of the fourth, with the Yankees leading 4-0, Xander Bogaerts reached when Chase Headley made a bad one-hop throw to Chris Carter that he couldn’t handle. Mitch Moreland followed it up with a sneaky bunt single against the shift, but Hanley Ramirez grounded into a double play to erase a chunk of the Sox threat. However, facing Jackie Bradley Jr., Pineda threw a fastball with a big cutting action that got past Gary Sanchez‘s mitt. The ball rolled into the backstop and Bogaerts was able to score easily. It was ruled a passed ball – Sanchez should’ve been able to catch that. Oh well. A minor blemish to a great start.

Anyways, after tonight’s dominant start, Pineda’s season stats improved to 7-3, 3.39 ERA in 71.2 IP with 17 walks and 75 K’s. Sure, there are worries about his long-ball tendencies but if he keeps those numbers up, Pineda will end up becoming a rich man in the free agency (assuming the Yankees don’t extend him by then). Before that, for now, let’s enjoy the improved Big Mike shoving it to the hitters more often this season.

(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Homers!

There’s no denying that David Price is a top-tier MLB starting pitcher. However, ever since joining the Red Sox, the lefty has turned into a pumpkin when facing the Yankees. Tonight, the Yankees got 6 runs off of him in 5 innings. Since last year, they’ve pounded Price to a tune of 8.31 ERA in 34.1 IP. As someone sided with the Yankees, let me say this: this is fun.

The big blows by the Yankee bats tonight are mostly comprised of the three home runs – two by Gary Sanchez and one from Brett Gardner. With the Yankees leading 1-0, the bats got it going in the bottom of the third. Aaron Judge and Matt Holliday got on base with a single and a walk, respectively. Two hitters later, Sanchez hit a 87 mph pitch right down the middle into the right field seats for a no-doubt, 415 feet 3-run homer. 4-0 Yankees.

After the Red Sox added a run, the Yankees headed into the bottom of the fifth with a 4-1 lead. Sanchez changed that once again. This time, he hit a 96 mph fastball from Price into over the opposite field fence for a 2-run HR, making it 6-1 Yankees. After tonight, Sanchez is 4-for-7 with 4 HR’s against David Price.

Gardner joined in the big flies fun leading off the bottom of the eighth. The Yankees had a 7-1 lead going in with Starlin Castro adding an RBI single back in the sixth. Brett the Jet hit a breaking ball from Brandon Workman that traveled into the right field seats to make it 8-1 Yankees. Gardner’s power surge in 2017 has been… something. He has 13 home runs this season already, which is only 4 away from his career-high set in 2014. It is even more impressive that he did it in the past 160 PAs. The Yankees loaded the bases up in the frame with two singles (Aaron Hicks and Judge) and a HBP (Holliday), scratching a run out of it with a Castro’s fielder’s choice groundout. 9-1 Yankees, it is.

Leftovers

After Pineda departed, Adam Warren came in the eighth inning and pitched a clean frame. In the ninth, Girardi had Giovanny Gallegos pitch through the first two outs and put in Dellin Betances to get the last out. That was an interesting decision in his part. Bring in the closer in the top of the 9th with a 9-1 lead? The only explanation that I can think of is that Betances has only pitched in two games in the past two weeks and needs to get some game action somehow. Some will argue that if Girardi really wanted to get some work in for Betances, he would’ve let him start the inning. I don’t disagree. Just an interesting decision all-around but, in the grand scheme of things, Betances ended the game. 9-1 Yankees win.

Aaron Judge hasn’t homered much lately but man, he can still hit. Today, he had a 3-for-4 day with one of the base hits registering at 119.8 mph (!!!) off the bat. Judge has hit 7 balls over 116.0 mph this season and the rest of the big league has 12.

Box score, standings and WPA graph

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


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees will host a 3-game series vs. Orioles this weekend. Tomorrow, they’ll have Jordan Montgomery up on the hill against Dylan Bundy.