Yankees 3, Red Sox 0: Tanaka bests Sale in battle of the aces

Oh baby! Was that a fun game or what? Rain turned this three-game series into a two-game series, and the Yankees won both games while holding the Red Sox to one run total. Thursday night’s win saw Masahiro Tanaka outpitch Chris Sale, which is a very fun thing I hope to see many more times. The final score was 3-0 good guys.

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

Masterful Masahiro
All the talk coming into this game was about the great Chris Sale. And he is great! He was great again Thursday night too. But Masahiro Tanaka was better. He mowed through the Red Sox to finish the complete game shutout on a mere 97 pitches. He’s the first pitcher to shut out the Red Sox on fewer than 100 pitches since James Shields in 2008, and he’s the first Yankee to throw a complete game shutout at Fenway Park since Mike Mussina in 2002.

Weirdly enough, Tanaka started Thursday’s game by failing behind in the count to Dustin Pedroia, the leadoff hitter, 3-0. Tanaka hadn’t looked quite like himself in his first four starts, mostly because he was missing location and falling behind in the count a bunch, and three pitches into the game, it looked like we were in for more of the same. Instead, Tanaka got Pedroia to ground out, and only twice the rest of the game did he go to a three-ball count. He walked no one. Only three hits allowed two.

The key to Tanaka’s success? Pitching at the knees. Look at this pitch location chart, via Baseball Savant:

masahiro-tanaka-pitch-location

Tanaka lived in the bottom third of the strike zone pretty much all night. He was throwing fastballs, both straight four-seamers and running sinkers, for strikes at the bottom corner of the zone, then getting the Red Sox to swing over top of the splitter. The result: three strikeouts and 16 ground ball outs, including a pair of double play balls.

All told Tanaka faced 29 batters and only nine hit the ball out of the infield. He retired the final 14 batters he faced (on 39 pitches!), and the Red Sox had only one runner make it as far as second base. That’s all. Hanley Ramirez singled in the second inning and moved to second on Mitch Moreland’s ground ball. He was stranded there. The Red Sox never had a runner make it to third base. Incredible.

Tanaka is the first Yankee to throw a Maddux — that’s what the cool kids call a complete game shutout on fewer than 100 pitches — since David Wells back in 2003. Can’t say enough about the job Tanaka did Thursday. He completely stole the spotlight from Sale. Glad to see you back, Masahiro. We missed you during those first four starts.

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

Building A Run
The final score was 3-0, but that was only because the Yankees tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the ninth inning. The score was 1-0 for most of the game, making Tanaka’s night more impressive. He didn’t have much margin for error at all.

The Yankees scored their first run in the fourth inning and they built it the old fashioned way. Aaron Hicks started the inning with a single to right, then moved to second on Chase Headley‘s soft ground ball. A passed ball — catcher Sandy Leon was clearly crossed up behind the plate — allowed Hicks to move to third with one out. The BoSox brought the infield in, so Matt Holliday had to get the ball airborne. A ground ball wasn’t going to cut it.

Holliday came into the game in a 2-for-27 (.074) slump and Rick Porcello threw fastballs by him all night Wednesday, so I don’t blame you if you weren’t confident he’d get the run in. I’ll admit I wasn’t. Rather than strand Hicks at third, Holliday put together New York’s best at-bat of the young season, a ten-pitch battle that saw him foul off four two-strike pitches before lifting a sacrifice fly to left field. Here’s the strike zone plot for the at-bat, via Brooks Baseball:

matt-holliday-chris-sale

What a battle. Sale had nasty stuff early in the game — he struck out seven of the first ten Yankees he faced — so it’s not like Holliday was out there fouling off 89 mph waste pitches. Sale was pumping mid-90s heaters and nasty backdoor sliders. Holliday was able to stay alive long enough until Sale hung one of those sliders out over the plate. Great at-bat. Great at-bat. (Oh, and by the way, the Yankees capitalized on another mistake, the passed ball. Yup.)

The Holliday sac fly gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead and they nursed that lead until the ninth inning, when the first four men they sent to the plate had singles. Hicks got it started with a single back up the middle, his second hit of the game. His batting line is currently sitting at .324/.458/.703 (218 wRC+) through 48 plate appearances. Amazing. Holliday drove in the first insurance run with a single to left and Starlin Castro plated the second, also with a single to left. Tanaka was dealing, but those two insurance runs were much appreciated.

Love this team, you guys. (Adam Glanzman/Getty)
Love this team, you guys. (Adam Glanzman/Getty)

Leftovers
More on Holliday: he went 2-for-3 with two singles and the sac fly, making this his best game in a couple weeks now. Both singles and the sac fly were hard hit too. The first single, in the seventh inning, smashed off the Green Monster and Holliday was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Not his best decision, especially leading off the inning. He was out by a mile. Still, good to see him swing the bat well, especially against such a great pitcher.

The Yankees had nine hits total, all singles, including two each by Hicks, Holliday, Castro, and Ronald Torreyes. Torreyes is definitely the player who annoys the crap out of fans of the other team, right? Right. The 2-3-4-5 hitters went a combined 7-for-15 (.467) while the rest of the lineup went 2-for-16 (.125), and both hits were by Torreyes. Sometimes you mash dingers, sometimes you have to string together singles.

Know who had a nice game defensively? Tanaka. He made a nice play fielding Pedroia’s comebacker to start the game, and he also did a nice job hustling over to cover first base several times on ground balls to the right side of the infield. That is an underappreciated part of Tanaka’s game. The man can really field his position.

And finally, although the bullpen wasn’t used, it is worth noting Aroldis Chapman did warm up in the ninth. He was getting ready in case Tanaka ran into trouble. So, even after throwing 33 high-stress pitches Wednesday, Chapman was available Thursday. If he’s hurt, this is a funny way of showing it.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head on over to ESPN for the box score and updated standings, and MLB.com for the video highlights. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload page either. Now here’s the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees are heading back home for a six-game homestand. The first place Orioles will be in town for a three-game weekend series. Would be cool to go into Monday in first place, wouldn’t it? CC Sabathia and Kevin Gausman are the scheduled starters for Friday night’s opener. RAB Tickets can get you in the door for that game or any other game on the homestand.

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.

Carter’s clutch homer helps Yanks to an 11-5 win over Pirates


Source: FanGraphs

Well that was a wild one, huh? Look at that win probability graph up there. The Yankees went from being no-hit in the fifth inning to having two five-run innings by the eighth. The end result was an 11-5 win over the Pirates in the middle game of the series. It’s Saturday, so I’m going to recap this game will bullet points:

  • Five & Fly: Not a great outing for Michael Pineda but not a terrible outing either. Three runs in five innings is … serviceable. Andrew McCutchen solo homer in the first, David Freese solo homer in the fourth, McCutchen sac fly in the fifth. That was the damage. Pineda did walk two, which is very un-Pineda-like — he walked one batter total in his first three starts — and he only threw 73 pitches before being lifted for a pinch-hitter. We saw some shades of Bad Pineda in this one — the McCutchen homer came on a hanging slider — but he did fine.
  • The Comeback: For four innings plus two outs, the Yankees couldn’t touch Jameson Taillon. No hits and only four balls hit out of the infield. Then six of the next eight batters he faced reached base. One of the outs was Pineda, so Taillon retired only one of the final seven real batters he faced. The big blow: Starlin Castro‘s game-tying three-run homer in the sixth. Starlin hit it like he knew what was coming. A Jacoby Ellsbury infield single and an Aaron Hicks walk set that up.
  • And The Yankees Take The Lead: Castro’s home run didn’t end Taillon’s afternoon. Aaron Judge‘s booming double off the wall did. Juan Nicasio came in, hit Greg Bird with a pitch, then allowed a soft single to Austin Romine to load the bases with one out. Ronald Torreyes, who I thought should have been removed for a pinch-hitter in that spot (good one, idiot), dunked a ball in front of John Jaso in right field. It scooted by him and two runs scored, giving the Yankees a 5-3 lead. Hooray for that. Torreyes was given a double on the play.
  • And The Bullpen Immediately Blows The Lead: The lead lasted two outs. Jonathan Holder came in for the sixth, got two quick outs, then allowed a double and a single to give the Pirates a run. Blah. Tyler Clippard then came in, hit Jose Osuna in a two-strike count, then allowed a two-strike single to Adam Frazier to tie the game. I have so little faith in Clippard in big spots it’s not even funny. At least he was able to strike out Josh Bell to strand two runners and escape that sixth inning with the score tied 5-5. Clippard went back out to start the seventh because assigned innings are very important, and thankfully Dellin Betances was able to bail him out.
  • All He Does Is Catch Touchdowns: An error opened the door. After two quick outs to start the eighth, Romine hit a grounder to short that Frazier bobbled, extending the inning. Torreyes followed with a single to put men on first and second. That brought up Betances’ spot since he was not double-switched into the game. Joe Girardi pinch-hit Chris Carter against the lefty Felipe Rivero, and Carter jumped on a first-pitch changeup for a long three-run home run into the back bullpen. It was only a matter of time until he ran into one. The Yankees made the Pirates pay big time for Frazier’s error. Carter’s blast gave them an 8-5 lead.
  • The Last Six Outs: Thankfully, the Yankees tacked on three insurance runs after the Carter homer. Ellsbury made it to third when McCutchen dropped a fly ball — the Pirates gave the Yankees five outs in that eighth inning — and he scored on a wild pitch. Back-to-back doubles by Hicks and Chase Headley gave the Yankees a 10-5 lead. Hooray. All after that Frazier error. Judge then put a ball into orbit for an 11-5 lead in the ninth. Here’s the video. Do not miss it. Bryan Mitchell and Aroldis Chapman got the last six outs without incident. Chapman hadn’t pitched since Monday. Needed the work.
  • Leftovers: Every starting position player had a hit except Bird, who did hit a ball to the wall in right field. It would have been out at Yankee Stadium … Torreyes had four hits and raised his batting average from .245 to .296 in one afternoon … Judge and Romine each had two hits. Hicks had a hit and two walks … the Yankees scored at least seven runs for the seventh time this season. No team has done it more.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. The Yankees and Pirates will wrap up this three-game series Sunday afternoon. That’s a 1:35pm ET start. Jordan Montgomery and ex-Yankee Ivan Nova are the scheduled starting pitchers.

Bad pitching, bad defense send Yankees to 6-3 loss to Pirates


Source: FanGraphs

Blah, that was a clunker of a series opener. A little of this (bad pitching), a little of that (bad defense), and a little of everything in between (0-for-7 with runners in scoring position) sent the Yankees to a 6-3 loss to the Pirates in Friday night’s series opener. Have I mentioned I hate watching pitchers hit? Because I hate watching pitchers hit. It’s Friday night, so let’s recap with bullet points:

  • CC’s Dud: It was clear right away CC Sabathia was not sharp. He allowed a first inning leadoff homer to Jordy Mercer and then a two-run shot to Josh Bell in the second inning. Sabathia’s velocity was down a bit — he was more 87-88 mph than 90-91 mph like he’d been in his previous starts — and he was missing his spots consistently. He did grind it out and give the Yankees five innings, but at the end of the day, falling behind 4-0 after two innings was too much to overcome.
  • A Near Comeback: The Yankees have Fighting Spirit, so they didn’t go quietly after falling behind 4-0. Chase Headley drove in Brett Gardner from first with a double in the third inning, then Greg Bird drove in two runs with a ground ball that snuck under Josh Harrison’s glove in the fifth. Harrison, the second baseman, was in shallow right field for the shift. Aaron Judge chugged all the way around from first to score on the play. The big man can really run. Judge is sneaky fast. That brought the Yankees to within 4-3, but alas, three runs were not enough to win on this night.
  • Late-Inning Mistakes: The Pirates tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh thanks in part to a brutal Starlin Castro error. He Luis Castillo’d a pop-up. It was bad. Tommy Layne then walked the only man he faced — lefties have a .417 OBP against him this year, which doesn’t bode well for his job security — and Jonathan Holder allowed a run-scoring single. Two things. One, why not just leave Adam Warren in after the dropped pop-up? He’s perfectly capable of getting lefties out. And two, why is Tyler Clippard pitching down three in the eighth instead of Holder when the game was closer in the seventh? Bullpen roles, man.
  • Leftovers: The Yankees did bring the tying run to the plate with two outs in the eight and ninth innings, but Matt Holliday struck out out and Judge grounded out. Darn. Had the right guys at the plate at the right times. Just didn’t work out … the Yankees had ten hits total, including two by Castro and three by Jacoby Ellsbury … Bird went 0-for-4 and yanked two foul balls about 430 feet each. Just a little too quick, Greg — in case you missed it earlier, Didi Gregorius started his minor league rehab assignment tonight. He’s inching closer to a return.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also check out our Bullpen Workload page. The Yankees and Pirates will resume this series Saturday afternoon. That’s a 4pm ET start. Michael Pineda and Jameson Taillon are the scheduled starters.

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 7, White Sox 4: Holliday and Judge homer as winning streak hits eight

Eight. Eight wins in a row. Ah ah ah. The Yankees kept rolling Monday night with a 7-4 win over the White Sox at Yankee Stadium. The eight-game winning streak is their longest since a ten-gamer in June 2012. This team is fun, is it not? As of this writing, the Yankees lead MLB with a +23 run differential.

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

Five Runs In Five Minutes
No, I didn’t actually time that third inning, but the rally sure seemed to come together quick. The score went from 0-0 to 5-0 Yankees in a heartbeat. It all started with a Pete Kozma single too. How about that? It was an infield single literally off left-hander Derek Holland. I’m pretty sure it got him on the bottom of the cleat. The trainer didn’t even come out to look at him. The single gave the Yankees a runner on first with one out.

Jacoby Ellsbury followed that with an infield single of his own, though that one was generously scored. He hit a soft tapper to first base and Jose Abreu bobbled it, allowing Ellsbury to beat it out. Abreu had plenty of time to get the out at first had he fielded it cleanly, but alas. Somehow it was ruled a single and not an error. Hooray for hometown scoring. Aaron Hicks followed that by hitting what looked like an inning-ending double play to shortstop Tim Anderson, but the turn was a little slow and Ellsbury slid in hard (and cleanly) to break it up. You don’t see many takeout slides these days.

Ellsbury’s slide kept the inning alive for Matt Holliday, who missed the previous two games with back stiffness and had gone 2-for-15 (.133) in his previous four starts prior to that. He worked a 2-2 count and Holland did execute his put-away pitch — he climbed the ladder and tried to get Holliday to chase a 93.8 mph fastball up and out of the zone (strike zone plot). Holliday just went up and got it. He tomahawked the ball out to left field for a three-run home run:

Distance: 459 feet. Exit velocity: OMG. Launch angle: LOL. That was the second longest home run in baseball so far this season. (Carlos Gomez hit one 462 feet on Opening Day.) Holliday is not not strong. That dude is every bit of his listed 6-foot-4 and 240 lbs., and he’s solid as a rock. It’s easy to see where that 459 feet dinger came from.

But wait! The Yankees did not stop there. They pushed across two more runs in the inning on back-to-back doubles by Starlin Castro and Chase Headley, and an infield single by Aaron Judge. Castro’s double was into the left-center field gap. Headley’s was down the left field line, and Melky Cabrera misplayed the carom off the wall, allowing Headley to get to third base. Judge yanked a hard-hit grounder deep into the shortstop hole and was able to beat Anderson’s throw, allowing Headley to score. Look at the big man showing some wheels. There were ten pitches between the Holliday homer and the Judge infield single. Like I said, it happened fast. Love this team, you guys.

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

The Full Monty
Three runs in six innings does not do Jordan Montgomery nearly enough justice. He took the shutout into the seventh inning before two singles and a three-home run homer uglified his pitching line. That’s a shame. For the first six innings, Montgomery battled and pitched out of some jams, including runners at second and third with one out in the first and runners at first and second with one out in the sixth.

Montgomery escaped that first inning jam by getting a ground ball right at Headley — the runner at third had to hold — and a harmless fly ball to center field. After that, he settled down and retired 15 of the next 19 batters he faced. Two of the four baserunners he did allow during that stretch were immediately erased on ground ball double plays. After throwing 35 pitches in the first two innings, Montgomery needed only 44 to get through the next four innings. Once the Yankees took the lead in the third inning, he really starting pounding the strike zone.

The three-run home run obviously stinks, though with a seven-run lead and his pitch count at 79, I had no trouble with Joe Girardi sending Montgomery out for the seventh. Let the kid learn how to pitch deep into the game and go through the lineup three times. It was a learning experience. All told, three runs on seven hits and two walks in six innings is fine work by the rookie, especially since three of those hits came from the last thee batters he faced.

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

Leftovers
Judge knocked Holland out of the game with two-run home run into the visitor’s bullpen with two outs in the fifth. It was a rather pedestrian shot by Judge’s standards — it traveled 385 feet off the bat. That’s what happens when Judge doesn’t really get a hold of one. The two-run shot gave the Yankees a 7-0 lead. They did not have another baserunner the rest of the night. The final ten men they sent to the plate made outs.

Ten hits for the offense overall, including two each by Ellsbury and Judge, and three by Castro. Castro went 3-for-4 with two doubles to raise his season batting line to .365/.389/.538 (165 wRC+). He got off to an insanely hot start last year too, but by Game 13, his batting line was down to .280/.333/.480 (118 wRC+). What if Starlin is good now? Headley, meanwhile, went 1-for-4 with a double to drop his batting line down to .395/.509/.605 (219 wRC+). Is that good? That seems good.

Adam Warren‘s hidden perfect game/no-hitter bid is over. He replaced Montgomery in the seventh and recorded two quick outs before walking a batter. Warren had retired the first 22 batters he faced this season prior to that. He then allowed a bloop single to the leadoff hitter in the eighth. He’d thrown 7.2 no-hit innings to start the season prior to that. So close, Adam. So close. Time to start another streak.

A single and a double scored the White Sox’s fourth run of the night and knocked Warren out of the game with one out in the ninth inning. Aroldis Chapman, who has now warmed up or pitched five times in the last six days, threw two pitches and managed to give up a hit and get two outs. Dellin Betances warmed up in the eighth but didn’t pitch. He’s also warmed up or pitched five times in the last six days.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head on over to ESPN for the box score and MLB.com for the video highlights. ESPN also has the standings. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload page either. That comes in handy from time to time. Here’s the ol’ win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Game two of this three-game series against the White Sox. And hopefully a ninth straight win. Luis Severino and one-time Yankees killer Miguel Gonzalez are the scheduled starting pitchers. RAB Tickets can get you in the door for that game or Wednesday’s series finale. The Yankees head out on a six-game road trip through Pittsburgh and Boston after that.