Severino and Gregorius lead Yankees to 8-2 win over Orioles

Make it ten wins in the last 13 games for these fun as hell Yankees. Friday’s 8-2 win over the Orioles was win No. 81 on the season for the Yankees, meaning they will not have a losing record for the 25th (!) consecutive season. Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino were not born when this streak started. The magic number to clinch a postseason spot is down to ten.

You wouldn't like Sevy when he's angry. (Presswire)
You wouldn’t like Sevy when he’s angry. (Presswire)

Standard Sevy
Gosh, if Severino is fatigued at all from the longest season of his life, he sure as heck isn’t showing it. Sevy hit 100.6 mph with his final fastball of the night and threw a 91.9 mph slider with his 95th and final pitch, a pitch Tim Beckham took right down the middle for strike three to end the eighth inning. Severino’s line: 8 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. He generated 22 swings and misses, which I thought would be his season high, but lol no. It’s only his sixth highest total. He’s had as many as 26 swings and misses in a game this year.

For all intents and purposes, Severino made two mistakes Friday night. The first mistake was walking Chris Davis with two outs in the second. None of the four balls were particularly close. Probably should’ve challenged him given his swing-and-miss tendencies, but whatever. Severino’s second mistake was a middle-middle fastball to Welington Castillo, the following batter. Sanchez wanted it down and away in the two-strike count, but Severino grooved it …

luis-severino-welington-castillo

… and Castillo poked it into the first row of the short porch. Yeah, that’ll happen sometimes when you leave a hittable fastball out over the plate in this ballpark. After the home run though, Severino locked it down and allowed two (2) baserunners the rest of the game. Pedro Alvarez, who apparently is still a thing, doubled with two outs in the fifth. Jonathan Schoop reached with two outs in the seventh on Chase Headley‘s error. Twenty-one up, 19 down to end the night for Sevy.

All told, Severino now has a 2.93 ERA (3.10 FIP) with 29.2% strikeouts and 6.6% walks in 184.1 innings this season. His 218 strikeouts are the fifth most in a single season in franchise history. The top five:

  1. 1978 Ron Guidry: 248
  2. 1904 Jack Chesbro: 239 (in 454.2 innings!)
  3. 2011 CC Sabathia: 230
  4. 1997 David Cone: 222
  5. 2017 Luis Severino: 218 and counting

Severino has two regular season starts remaining, which means he has a legit chance to climb into second place on the franchise’s single-season strikeout list. It’ll take two big strikeout games — he needs 22 strikeouts to pass Chesbro — but it’s not completely out of reach. Not like he needs 35 or something. At the very least, Severino has a really good shot to pass Cone and Sabathia and move into third place. What a season for this kid. Games like this one have become the norm.

Plenty Of Runs, But No Big Inning
For the first time in four home games against the Orioles, the Yankees failed to score at least five runs in the first inning. Slackers. They did score one though! Brett Gardner started the inning with a double, Sanchez singled him over to third, and Didi Gregorius brought him home with a sac fly. Real quick lead. Love those. The Yankees added another run in the second when Davis let Greg Bird‘s grounder go through his legs. Headley and Matt Holliday singled to put runners on the corners earlier in the inning. Headley bunted against the shift. Neat.

The score remained 2-2 until the fifth inning, after O’s righty Gabriel Ynoa was out of the game. He only threw 64 pitches in 4.1 innings. Buck Showalter must not have wanted him to go through the middle of the lineup a third time. Anyway, Aaron Judge worked a one-out walk and stole second in that fifth inning, setting up the amazing and awesome and handsome Gregorius for the go-ahead two-run home run. Love Didi. What a ballplayer. In addition to the dinger and the sac fly, he also made a heck of a defensive play deep in the shortstop hole.

(Getty)
(Getty)

The Didi dinger gave the Yankees a 4-2 lead. They added three more in the seventh thanks to some sloppy Orioles defense. They were sloppy all night. All series. All season, really. It’s part of their downfall. Bird started that seventh inning with a walk against Miguel Castro, then Gardner hit into what should’ve been a force out at second base. At worst, a fielder’s choice with the out at first. Instead, both Gardner and Bird were safe because Schoop muffed the grounder at second. Should’ve been at least one out for sure.

Yet another Judge walk later, the bases were loaded with no outs. The Orioles, Mark Trumbo specifically, did the Yankees a solid and helped bring home the inning’s first run. Sanchez poked a little fly ball to right that I thought even Trumbo would catch, but no, he held up for some reason and let the ball drop in. I’m pretty sure Carlos Beltran would’ve had that one. The ball dropped in, a run scored, and the runners all advanced. Still no outs too.

Gregorius drove home the inning’s second run with another sac fly, his second of the game. Center fielder Austin Hays made a real nice throw and it was a bang-bang play at the plate, but Gardner outran the throw. Headley singled in another run to stretch the lead to 7-2. Bird clobbered a solo home run in the eighth against former Yankee Richard Bleier to give the Yankees an 8-2 lead. There was no huge five or six-run inning Friday night like we’ve seen the last few games against the Orioles, but eight runs is eight runs.

Leftovers
David Robertson pitched the ninth inning with a six-run lead because he was already warmed up. He started to get loose in the seventh inning, before the Yankees tacked on three insurance runs, and he got hot during the eighth inning in case Severino ran into trouble. Once he’s up, might as well use him. Robertson was a tad wild in the ninth — only ten of his 23 pitches were strikes, and his two wild pitches were very wild — but he closed it out no problem.

Starlin Castro, who is in quite the funk right now, went 0-for-4 on Friday, as did Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury had a tough 0-for-4. He hit two balls hard that just died in the air. One was caught in center field and another was caught at the wall in right field. Three hits for Headley and two each for Sanchez and Holliday. Gardner, Gregorius, and Bird had one hit apiece. No contact day for Judge. Two walks and two strikeouts.

And finally, congrats to Joe Girardi for his 900th win as Yankees manager. He’s only the sixth man to do it, joining Joe McCarthy (1,460), Joe Torre (1,173), Casey Stengel (1,149), Miller Huggins (1,067), and Ralph Houk (944).

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and updated standings, head on over to ESPN. MLB.com has the video highlights and FanGraphs has the postseason odds. Here’s our Bullpen Workload page and here’s the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Orioles are halfway through this four-game series I hope never ends. Jordan Montgomery and Jeremy Hellickson are the scheduled starting pitchers for Saturday game. That’s a 4pm ET start.

Judge goes deep twice in 13-5 blowout win over Orioles

Nothing like facing Orioles pitching to raise morale. The Yankees hammered the Orioles on Thursday night, in the first game of their four-game series. The final score was 13-5, and it was only that close because some September call-up relievers made a mess of things late.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Six Runs In The First
Going into Thursday’s game, the Yankees had scored 120 runs in 15 games against the Orioles this season. No team in baseball had scored more runs against any other team. Nineteen pitches into the game, O’s lefty Made Wiley had to be pulled and the Yankees were sitting on a 6-0 lead. It was the shortest start of Miley’s seven-year career. Six hits, six runs, one out. Yeesh.

The Yankees scored their first run real quick. Third pitch single by Jacoby Ellsbury, first pitch single by Aaron Judge, second pitch double into the left field corner by Gary Sanchez. Three hits and a run within six pitches. Matt Holliday plated another run with a fielder’s choice and Chase Headley lined a single the other way to drive in yet another run. Four hits and three runs within 12 pitches. Pretty great.

The big blow of that first inning was Todd Frazier‘s three-run home run to dead center field, which ended Miley’s start and gave the Yankees a 6-0 lead. I love those home runs to cap off a big inning. Stringing together four hits (and a fielder’s choice) to score three runs surely frustrated the hell out of Miley and the O’s. But man, those home runs that turn a good inning into a great inning are just the best. The entire bench gave Frazier a thumbs down …

thumbs-down

… because that’s a thing the Yankees do now. You can thank that guy who gave Frazier a thumbs down following his three-run home run at Citi Field the other day. The entire team is doing it now. The point into the dugout has been replaced by a thumbs down. I approve. Anyway, Frazier’s homer broke the inning open. Remember, home runs don’t kill rallies. They create an opportunity to start new rallies.

Seven Strong From Tanaka
Kind of a weird ho hum start from Masahiro Tanaka. He needed only seven pitches to retire the side in the first inning, and never again did he take the mound with anything less than a five-run lead. Tanaka mostly did what a veteran pitcher does with a big lead, which is throw strikes, and that led to some hits. It also led to two solo homers, though I’m not going to sweat two solo homers in a blowout win.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Tanaka’s final line: 7 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K on 102 pitches. His biggest jam — if you can even call it a jam considering the Yankees led 13-2 at the time — came in the seventh inning, when the Orioles put runners on second and third with one out. Tanaka escaped by striking out September call-ups Anthony Santander and Austin Hays. He generated a ridiculous 27 swinging strikes in this game. Here is this year’s single-game swing-and-miss leaderboard:

  1. Yu Darvish: 29 vs. Rays on July 21st
  2. Max Scherzer: 28 vs. Marlins on June 21st
  3. Masahiro Tanaka: 27 vs. Orioles on September 14th
  4. Jacob deGrom: 27 vs. Nats on April 27th
  5. Ervin Santana: 26 vs. Padres on August 2nd

Tanaka got roughed up by the Rangers last time out, and based on Thursday’s performance, that game against Texas was an outlier. Just a dud. Happens to everyone at some point. Tanaka now owns a 3.34 ERA (3.58 FIP) in his last 14 starts and 89 innings. Go Masahiro.

Insurance Runs From The Baby Bombers
Scoring six runs in the first inning is a wonderful thing. But with nine innings to go and the home run happy Orioles in the other dugout, tacking on insurance runs is never a bad idea. Judge provided three insurance runs with one swing in the fourth inning. He hit a missile out to right-center field that cleared the bullpen and landed in the first row of the bleachers. That’s five homers in the last ten games for Judge.

Two innings later, Judge provided three more insurance runs with another three-run home run. This one landed in the second deck in left field. You don’t see too many balls hit there. Statcast had that one at 448 feet. Judge went 3-for-4 in the game and is now 25-for-53 (.472) with eleven home runs in 16 games against the O’s this season. His second homer felt like a formality. Richard Rodriguez knew Judge had to hit a homer and Judge knew he had to hit a homer, so Rodriguez grooved him a first pitch fastball and Judge took an easy batting practice swing.

That home run was seething with obligation. Everyone was expecting it. Rodriguez had to allow a homer and Judge had to hit a homer. It’s just the way it had to be, so it was done. That’s now six homers in the last ten games for our large adult baseball son. The two three-run home runs gave the Yankees a 12-2 lead. Sanchez made it 13-2 with a solo home run to center fielder because hey, he’s pretty awesome too. Get used to seeing Judge and Gary going back-to-back. Won’t be the last time.

Leftovers
Thirteen runs on 14 hits and six walks for the Yankees, who struck out only six times. The 1-2-3 hitters went a combined 6-for-10 with a double, three home runs, and three walks. They scored eight runs and drove in eight as well. Every starter had a hit except Ronald Torreyes, who managed to go 0-for-4 in the blowout. Clint Frazier went 2-for-3 with a walk and looked real good. Ripped a double off the right-center field wall.

Tanaka allowed two runs in seven innings. Bryan Mitchell and Gio Gallegos allowed three runs in two innings. They kinda stink. Or at least they did Thursday. The good news is all the top relievers got a night off. They’ve all worked quite a bit of late. Erik Kratz came off the bench with a single, so he is hitting 1.000/1.000/1.500 in two at-bats as a Yankee. Greg Bird flew out in his pinch-hit at-bat. It was his first game action since Sunday.

And finally, it sure looked like Buck Showalter had home plate umpire Brian O’Nora check whether Tanaka was doctoring the ball in the first inning, after he struck out Tim Beckham. The O’s dugout got O’Nora’s attention, O’Nora called for the ball, he looked at it, then threw it back to Tanaka and gave the O’s dugout a nod. Hmmm. Buck has been needling the Yankees with nonsense like that for years. I assume that was more of the same.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Go to ESPN for the box score and updated standings, and MLB.com for the video highlights. FanGraphs has postseason odds and we have a Bullpen Workload page. Here’s the blowout probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
This four-game series is just getting started. The Yankees and Orioles will play the second game of this four-game set at Yankee Stadium on Friday night. Luis Severino and Gabriel Ynoa are the scheduled starting pitchers.

Yankees get just enough offense, just enough outs from the bullpen in 3-2 win over Rays

Four straight series wins and eight wins in the last eleven games for the New York Baseball Yankees. Wednesday’s series finale with the Rays was quite the nail-biter, but, in the end, the Yankees managed a 3-2 victory in the rubber game. The magic number to clinch a postseason spot is now 13.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Three Early Runs Against Archer
Two starts ago Chris Archer threw eight pitches and exited the game with forearm tightness, which is never ever good news. An MRI came back clean and Archer hasn’t missed a start, but boy, he sure doesn’t look healthy. He allowed eight runs in three innings against the Red Sox last time out, and on Wednesday the Yankees tagged him for three runs on six hits and three walks. He threw 92 pitches in four innings plus one batter.

The Yankees scored all of their runs against Archer in the third inning, and the rally came together quick. Starlin Castro first pitch single to center, Jacoby Ellsbury fourth pitch single to right, Todd Frazier second pitch single to left. Three batters, three hits, seven pitches. The Frazier single was a grounder through the left side of the infield and Castro was able to score from second, giving New York a 1-0 lead.

The prolonged at-bats came after the Frazier single. Clint Frazier struck out for the first out of the inning, though it took Archer eight pitches. Austin Romine worked a six-pitch walk to load the bases. After the two long at-bats, Brett Gardner jumped on a second pitch changeup Archer left up in the zone, and he slapped it the other way for a two-run single. A well-placed ground ball, it was. That gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead.

Gardner’s single put runners on first and second with one out, and Archer had already thrown 23 pitches in the inning. Unfortunately Chase Headley hit into a bad luck inning-ending double play. Well, no, it wasn’t really bad luck. It was more about the Rays being well-prepared than the Yankees hitting into bad luck. Headley ripped a hard-hit ball back up the middle, right where shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was stationed. So it goes.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Jaime’s Short Leash
For the fifth time in the last nine games, the starter did not complete five innings. And only once in those five games was the starter removed because he was getting hit around. That was Masahiro Tanaka against the Rangers over the weekend. In the other four starts Joe Girardi went to the bullpen early to protect a lead rather than let the starter go through the lineup a third time. That’s exactly what happened Wednesday afternoon.

Jaime Garcia danced in and out of danger in the first and second innings — he allowed three hits in those two innings, two of which did not leave the infield — but got the ground balls to escape trouble. Kevin Kiermaier jumped on a 2-0 fastball leading off the third for a solo home run, getting the Rays to within 3-1, for the only run Garcia allowed. He retired eight of the next nine batters he faced, with only a Hechavarria walk mixed in.

Garcia’s afternoon came to an end with two outs in the fifth, when Lucas Duda dunked a little half-swing single along the third base line. He wasn’t trying to beat the shift. It just happened. Garcia didn’t throw a bad pitch. Duda just reached out with a defensive half-swing in a two-strike count, and the ball landed maybe a foot fair. Pretty stupid, but baseball is known to be stupid from time to time. With the Yankees up 3-1 and Evan Longoria coming to the plate for the third time, Girardi went to the bullpen.

Clearly, Garcia was not happy about getting pulled. He didn’t look at Girardi when he handed him the ball and the two had a conversation in the dugout afterwards. Joe didn’t chew him out or anything. It was one of those “here’s my thinking here, this is why I took you out” talks. Similar to the talk Girardi had with CC Sabathia the other night, when he was yanked early. Garcia’s final line: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 78 pitches. Not too shabby for a sixth (fifth?) starter.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

To The Bullpen
By his standards, Chad Green had a rough outing Sunday in Texas. He allowed a run on four hits and a walk in 2.1 innings, throwing 47 pitches. The Green Monster returned Wednesday with a dominant, yet relatively short, outing. Four up, four down, three strikeouts. Only 21 pitches. Green got Longoria to fly out after taking over for Garcia, then struck out the side in the sixth. He’s up to 99 strikeouts in 64.1 innings (1.96 ERA and 1.67 FIP).

Tommy Kahnle took over in the seventh — Green has worked a lot over the last week and I’m guessing Girardi didn’t want to push him any further — and tossed up a zero thanks to a snazzy double play by Headley. He scooped a hard-hit grounder, stepped on first base, and fired to second to get the speedy Mallex Smith. Things got interesting in the eighth inning. Dellin Betances struck out Duda, allowed a single to Longoria, and struck out Logan Morrison. And that was it. Girardi came to get him and went to Aroldis Chapman for the four-out save.

Why go the Chapman? I assume because Girardi saw Steven Souza is 3-for-9 with a homer against Betances and 0-for-3 against Chapman, though that kinda ignores Souza’s ability to murder fastballs and Chapman being a fastball pitcher. (And all three of Souza’s hits against Betances came in 2015.) I suppose the good news is Chapman walked him on five pitches rather than give up a game-tying home run. Hechavarria, who tormented the Yankees all series despite being terrible, then came through with a two-strike single to score Longoria to get the Rays to within 3-2.

Chapman was able to strike out pinch-hitter Wilson Ramos to end the eighth inning, stranding runners at the corners, but he needed 16 pitches to do it, and there was still another inning to go. I dunno. Taking out Betances seemed completely unnecessary, but whatever. Chapman, naturally, walked the leadoff man in the ninth. It was Casali’s third at-bat of the year after hitting .263/.351/.347 (99 wRC+) in fourth year at Triple-A. Good stuff.

Following that leadoff walk, it sure looked like Chapman got mad. Either at himself or life in general. He came roaring back to punch out Brad Miller, Kiermaier, and Duda on 12 total pitches. The lineup played right into his hands there. He got to face back-to-back-to-back left-handed hitters. It all worked out. The bullpen — and inning after inning of RISPFAIL — made it interesting, but a win is a win is a win.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
The Yankees had three opportunities to blow this game open. They loaded the bases with two outs in the third, but Young Frazier struck out. They loaded the bases again with one out in the eighth, but Young Frazier and Romine both struck out. No idea why Romine was allowed to hit there. The Yankees also had runners on the corners with no outs in the ninth, then went strikeout (Gary Sanchez), pop-up (Didi Gregorius), pop-up (Castro). Cool cool.

Small but impactful thing that doesn’t show up in the box score: Gardner made three — three! — excellent plays getting the ball back to the infield quickly after a base hit to left, holding the runner to a single instead of a double. That Headley double play in the seventh? Set up by Gardner holding Smith to a single. Three times Gardner prevented a runner from getting into scoring position in a close game. Huge.

The Yankees had ten hits total, including two each by Gardner, Sanchez, Castro, and Ellsbury. Headley and Old Frazier had the others. Old Frazier drew two walks while Ellsbury and Romine drew one each. The Yankees went 2-for-14 (.143) with runners in scoring position and all nine batters in the lineup had at least one at-bat in those spots. Only Gardner and Old Frazier got hits. Whatever. Do better tomorrow.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
ESPN has the box score and updated standings, MLB.com has the video highlights, and FanGraphs has the postseason odds. Here’s our Bullpen Workload page and here’s the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The neutral site road series in Queens is over and the Yankees now return to the Bronx for a seven-game homestand. Masahiro Tanaka and Wade Miley are the scheduled starters for Thursday night’s series opener with the Orioles. That’s a four-game series and, for all intents and purposes, it’s the last chance for the O’s to get back in the wildcard race. Another series loss and they’re basically done.

Rays 2, Yankees 1: Sonny gets no run support (again)

This had all the feel of a game that would be decided by some scrub hitting a solo home run in the late innings, and you just had to hope your scrub hit it. Instead, one of their scrubs hit it, and the Yankees lost Tuesday’s game 2-1 to the Rays. Frustrating loss is frustrating.

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

Sonny With No Chance Of Runs
For the fifth time in Sonny Gray‘s eight starts as a Yankee, the offense scored no more than one run. They did score one run Tuesday night, but that’s all. It came in the very first inning. Aaron Judge drew a walk and Matt Holliday doubled him home with line drive that I’d guess most non-Corey Dickerson left fielders catch. It looked like it hung up long enough, but Dickerson made an awkward slide and the ball got under him. His defense is not good.

That Holliday double was the last time the Yankees had runner reach second base. For real. Todd Frazier drew a one-out walk in the fifth and didn’t advance. Brett Gardner ripped a leadoff single in the sixth and didn’t advance. Chase Headley lined a one-out single in the seventh and didn’t advance. And that was it. The Yankees had three baserunners after Holliday’s double and none made it beyond first base. Tampa’s pitchers retired the last eight batters they faced and 12 of the last 13 batters they faced. Gross. The Yankees scored 60 runs in their previous eight games going into Tuesday night. Then they fell completely flat.

Splendid Sonny
Poor Sonny. What did this dude do to deserve no run support? He now has a 2.66 ERA in eight starts and 50.2 innings with the Yankees … and they’ve won three of his starts. Good grief. Gray allowed a solo home run on his first pitch of the night (Kevin Kiermaier) and a solo home run on his 90th pitch of the night (Adeiny Hechavarria), and that was enough for the loss. Baseball can be so stupid sometimes. Sonny gets charged with the L but screw that. He’s the last Yankee who deserves an L for this game.

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

The final pitching line: 8 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K. The biggest jam came in the fifth inning, when the Rays had the runners at the corners with one out. Gray bounced back to fan Hechavarria and Kiermaier to escape the jam. He let out a little fist pump after Kiermaier went down swinging. I’m not really sure what else there is to say here. Gray was fantastic and has been fantastic pretty much every time out since the trade. The Yankees have been trying to acquire someone like this for years. Now they have him, and it is glorious.

Leftovers
The bullpen was a little short Tuesday night because the late inning guys have worked a lot recently, so Gray’s complete game (loss) was welcome. Tommy Kahnle warmed up in the eighth, though he tossed the ball more than really get hot. Had the Yankees taken the lead in the top of the ninth, I wonder if Sonny would’ve gone out for the bottom half. His pitch count was at 94 and he was great all night. Alas.

A Dickerson-aided double for Holliday, singles for Gardner and Headley, and walks for Judge and Frazier. That’s all the offense right there. Clint Frazier returned the lineup for the first time since his oblique injury and went 0-for-2 before being lifted for a pinch-hitter, though he hit the ball hard both times. His line out to right field in the fifth might’ve landed in the short porch. Again, alas.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and updated standings, head over to ESPN. MLB.com has the video highlights and FanGraphs has the postseason odds, if you’re into such things. We have a Bullpen Workload page. Here’s the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Rays will wrap up this neutral site series at Citi Field on Wednesday afternoon. That’s a 1:10pm ET start. Jaime Garcia will make his hopefully triumphant return to the rotation in that one. He hasn’t pitched since August 31st, in the first game of the doubleheader against the Indians. Chris Archer will be on the mound for Tampa Bay.

Yankees 5, Rays 1: A five-run inning good enough to take the series opener

That was a relatively stress-free win. I like. CC Sabathia allowed a run in the second inning but the Yankee bats jumped on Jake Odorizzi in the fourth and never looked back. This win pulled the Yankees within 3 games of the Red Sox in the AL East and gave them a 4-game lead in the AL Wild Card standings. A productive night! Let’s recap this thing.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Decent, but no cigar

The Rays struck first. Lucas Duda, playing in the Citi Field for the first time since being traded to the Rays, walked on four pitches against Sabathia to begin the bottom of the second. After CC retired Cesar Puello and Cesar Ramos, he allowed an RBI triple to Adeiny Hechavarria to give the Rays a 1-0 lead. The Rays shortstop grinded out a nine-pitch at-bat and CC threw a cutter that stayed a bit middle.

Sabathia got into another pickle in the bottom of the third. Peter Bourjos led it off by bunting (!!!) for  base hit and Kevin Kiermaier followed it up with a soft grounder single to the pitcher. Two nubbers in a row that Sabathia couldn’t field. However, Sabathia struck Trevor Plouffe out looking to get the first out. On the next batter, Evan Longoria, the Rays attempted a double steal and Kiermaier was called out for over-sliding second base as Starlin Castro kept the tag on him. Longoria grounded out to third to end the inning. That could have gone much worse.

.. was given a 5-1 lead after the fourth inning, but could not finish the fifth. He walked Bourjos, struck out Kiermaier and allowed a single to Plouffe. The problem was that all three encounters resulted in lengthy at-bats. Even though he had allowed only a run at that point, he seemed to be laboring in that inning – not to mention that Longoria, who owned Sabathia all his career, was coming up. Joe Girardi pulled the plug on him right away and put in David Robertson to relieve. D-Rob, being the Houdini himself, struck out Longoria and Duda to get out of the jam. Girardi went the safe route and CC might not have been happy about it, but Yankees got out of it unscathed.

Five is all you need

After being no-hit by Odorizzi for the first three innings, the Yankees got a rally going in the top of the fourth. They started it out by getting runners on the corners with an Aaron Judge walk and a Gary Sanchez single. Didi Gregorius tied the game up with a sacrifice fly. Castro followed it up by striking out swinging to make it two outs. On a full count, Matt Holliday hit a grounder that went under 3B Trevor Plouffe’s glove and trickled down all the way down the left field line. It should have been an inning-ending ground out but instead, the Yankees took a 2-1 lead. Not sure what exactly happened there. Third base is a hard position (hence why they call it the hot corner) but that’s a play that gets made at least 9.5 out of 10 times.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees took full advantage of Plouffe’s blunder. After Jacoby Ellsbury reached on an all-time leading 30th catcher’s interference, Todd Frazier went deep for a three-run homer. That was no cheapie – it hit the facing of the second deck of the left field seats. 5-1 Yankees. Tyler Austin, not to be outdone by his teammates, squared a hard double to the left to keep the rally going. Brett Gardner followed it up with a walk and Kevin Cash decided that he’s seen enough. It took Odorizzi 51 pitches to get two outs in the fifth and he was pulled out of the inning for Chaz Roe. Three no-hit innings and get piled on in the fourth. Life comes at you quick.

Leftovers

Ellsbury set the all-time MLB record today… in drawing catcher’s interference. In the fourth inning, he swung at a full-count pitch that went foul but his bat nicked the catcher’s mitt. That, by definition, was catcher’s interference and the 30th of Ellsbury’s career. He surpassed Pete Rose’s record as the king of the category in the ML history.

As mentioned, D-Rob came into relief for Sabathia in the fifth inning and took care of the business through the seventh – a seven-out outing for him! That is the first of his career. He also threw 36 pitches while at it. I guess Girardi really wanted to prioritize holding the lead rather than saving him for tomorrow – he will probably go to someone like Tommy Kahnle in a similar situation.

Dellin Betances followed to pitch in the eighth. He made things a liiiittle bit interesting by allowing two baserunners early on (Longoria single, Duda K, Puello walk). However, in a typical Dellin fashion, he struck out pinch-hitting Logan Morrison for the second out and escaped out of it after retiring Hechavarria with a flyout. Aroldis Chapman, who has regained his role as the ninth-inning guy, pitched a swift 1-2-3 in the ninth to close it out. The Yankees win!

Box score, video highlights, updated standings and WPA graph

Here are box score and updated standings from ESPN, video highlights from MLB.com and WPA graph from Fangraphs.


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees continue on the series vs. the Rays at Citi Field tomorrow at 7:05 pm. Sonny Gray will be on the mound against Blake Snell.

Two homers for Judge, two homers for Sanchez in 16-7 win over the Rangers

Good win. Good road trip, all things considered. The Yankees pounded the Rangers in the series finale Sunday afternoon, closing out the impromptu six-game trip away from New York with a 16-7 win. They won four of the six games on the trip, and in the two losses, they held a four-run lead and a five-run lead. Hate you sometimes, baseball.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Blown Open
For all intents and purposes, Rangers righty A.J. Griffin is a knuckleballer who uses a mid-60s curveball instead of an actual knuckleball. He threw that curve 23 times in 59 pitches Sunday afternoon. I guess you have to use it so much when your fastball tops out at 87 mph. Griffin left one of those 87 mph heaters up in the zone in the first inning, and Gary Sanchez promptly deposited it deep into the left field seats for a quick 1-0 lead. Hooray.

The Yankees added two more runs in the third because Griffin plunked Sanchez in the shoulder with a pitch, and I’m pretty sure it was intentional after the homer. If it was, it was stupid, because it put two men on base with one out, and Didi Gregorius followed it up with a double into the right field corner. Add in an Aaron Judge sac fly and that apparently retaliatory hit-by-pitch contributed to a two-run third inning and a 3-1 Yankees lead. They really broke it open in the fourth. Let’s annotate the play-by-play.

yankees-vs-rangers-play-by-play(1) Griffin got through the lineup one time by keeping the Yankees off balance with that lollipop curveball. The second time through the lineup didn’t go nearly as well. Jacoby Ellsbury looked very comfortable in the box during his leadoff hit-by-pitch in the fourth — that one wasn’t intentional, Griffin hit him with a curveball — and Austin Romine‘s single to center was well-struck. Left his bat at 104.3 mph. That ended Griffin’s day. Nick Martinez came in, grooved a first pitch fastball to Brett Gardner, and he lined it into the left-center field gap to score Ellsbury and Romine. The rout was on.

(2) How good has Chase Headley been? He came into this game hitting .326/.392/.535 (144 wRC+) in the second half and his hot streak dates back even further than that, to mid-June or so. His single to center scored Gardner for a 6-1 lead. Headley went 1-for-6 in the game, which lowered his season batting line to .278/.358/.427 (109 wRC+). Pretty cool.

(3) Somehow the Yankees looked even more comfortable in the box against Martinez than they did against Griffin. Sanchez ripped a double down the left field line, though not into the corner, so Headley couldn’t score from first. As good as Headley has been, he’s still slow as hell. That’s okay. Runners at second and third with no outs and three runs already in works for me.

(4) Ground ball double plays that short circuit a big inning are no fun. Starlin Castro banged into a rally killer with runners on the corners and no outs, so a run did score on the play, but still. The first six batters of the inning reached base, then bam, double play. I guess the Yankees have screwed up so many times this year when hitting into a double play to score a run would’ve been a positive outcome that we should appreciate this one? Yeah, let’s go with that.

(5) All friggin’ rise. Judge crushed his 40th (41st*) home run of the season following Castro’s double play, and he smacked it the opposite way out to right-center field. When he’s at his best, Judge hammers the ball the other way. He’s not out of the woods yet, but that’s three homers in seven games now, plus a ton of walks. Not as many strikeouts either. Those hittable pitches he was missing the last few weeks? He’s starting to hit them again. Evidence: his 41st (42nd*) homer of the season, which he hit in the sixth inning.

So make it four homers in his last seven games. Judge is only the second rookie in history to hit 40 homers in a season, and he has a real chance to approach Mark McGwire’s rookie record of 49 home runs. Judge is the fifth Yankee age 25 or younger to hit 40 homers in the season, joining … wait for it … Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle. Oh, and he also drew his 107th walk in this game, setting a new single-season rookie record. Good gravy.

Another Short Start For Montgomery
Does Jordan Montgomery belong in the rotation right now? It’s a question the Yankees have to at least ask, right? Montgomery needed 79 pitches to allow three runs on three hits and four walks in 3.1 innings Sunday, giving him a 5.27 ERA (4.99 FIP) in 12 starts and 56.1 innings dating back to July 1st. That works out to 4.69 innings per start. Some of that is by design to control his innings, but isn’t that also part of the problem? He can’t give you any length.

Anyway, in the second inning Montgomery gave up a game-tying solo home run to Robinson Chirinos, who is somehow hitting .268/.380/.558 (114 wRC+) with 17 home runs in 264 plate appearances this season. Gotta love the juiced ball. After the Yankees put up the six spot in the top of the fourth inning to take a 9-1 lead, Montgomery walked the first two batters on eleven pitches to start the bottom of the fourth. Not good. Walk, walk, strikeout, one-run double off the wall, afternoon over. Montgomery was yanked. Got one more out after the Yankees gave him a 9-1 lead in the fourth. Brutal.

Also brutal: Chad Green throwing 48 pitches in 2.1 innings in a blowout. He entered the game with a seven-run lead and left with an eight-run lead. So, to recap:

  • Thursday: Green pitches in an eight-run game.
  • Friday: Caleb Smith pitched in a two-run game.
  • Sunday: Green pitches in a seven-run game.

I know the Yankees have blown a four-run lead and a five-run lead within the last week, but using Green in games like this seems overkill? The Yankees blew those four and five-run leads partly because Green wasn’t available after pitching with even bigger leads. There has to be a middle ground somewhere, a middle ground where Green isn’t reserved to piggyback with Montgomery every fifth day. Green did allow a run in his 2.1 innings Sunday, so I guess it’s good he got it out of his system with a huge lead.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
Not to be outdone by Judge, Sanchez added a second home run in the eighth inning, that one a very long solo blast onto the grassy knoll beyond center field. Sanchez missed a month and still reached 30 homers. As a catcher. At age 24. The 30 homers tie Jorge Posada and Yogi Berra for the most ever by a Yankees catcher in a single season, regardless of age. Judge and Gary are going to be socking dingers in the same game for a long, long time. I can’t wait.

You know you had a good day at the plate when your cleanup hitter went 4-for-4 with a double and is only the third biggest story on offense. Gregorius had those four hits and also drove in four runs. He somehow didn’t score a run though. Weird. Three hits for Romine and two for Gardner, so the wrap around 9-1-2-3-4 portion of the lineup went a combined 13-for-24 (.542) with two doubles, one triple, and two homers. The Yankees scored 16 runs, had 18 hits and three walks, and struck out twice (Ellsbury and Ronald Torreyes).

Twice the Yankees had a runner at third base essentially deke the infielder into holding onto the ball and not making the play at first. In the third inning, with Sanchez at third, Castro hit a grounder to Joey Gallo, who tried to tag Sanchez after he wandered down the line. Gary retreated to the bag and everyone was safe. Then, in the fifth, Ellsbury deked Gallo into holding onto the ball on Headley’s would-be ground out. Everyone was safe again. Both Sanchez and Ellsbury came around to score after that.

As expected, both Tommy Kahnle and Dellin Betances pitched in the blowout win. For real. Kahnle struck out two in 1.1 scoreless innings and Betances struck out two in his inning. He also walked two and allowed a booming two-run double. Good thing he didn’t do that in a close game, huh? Dellin hadn’t pitched since Tuesday, so he needed the work. When Betances goes too long between appearances, it ain’t pretty, as we saw in this one.

Welcome to the Yankees, Erik Kratz. He never did catch while Sanchez and Romine served their suspensions, but he did come off the bench late in this game to pinch-hit for Sanchez with the score out of hand. He roped a run-scoring double. Sure, why not. Tyler Wade drove in a run with a single off the bench and Tyler Austin drew a pinch-hit walk. Everyone got in on the act except Castro (0-for-6) and Greg Bird (0-for-5).

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and updated standings, go to ESPN. For the video highlights, go to MLB.com. We have a Bullpen Workload page. Here’s the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
For all intents and purposes, the road trip is over. The Yankees are heading back to New York for their neutral site series with the Rays at Citi Field. CC Sabathia and Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound in Monday night’s opener. Hope everyone in Florida is staying safe.

Yankees 3, Rangers 1: Severino sensational, the offense rallies late to get the win


Source: FanGraphs

This game went from frustrating to gratifying in a matter of few innings. The Yankee bats couldn’t score a run against Andrew Cashner while Luis Severino was up there just straight-up dealin’. However, they rallied in the eighth and the ninth to tie it up and take the lead. It’s the weekend so let’s do it bullet-point style.

  • Sevvy great: It’s hard to choose Severino’s signature game from this season. He’s had a lot of great starts this season and this has to be up there as one of the best. He went 7.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 BB with 10 strikeouts. Really hard to ask any more from your starter. From 100 pitches thrown, Sevvy threw 18 changeups, which is not too many fewer than the amount of sliders (27) he threw – a big indicator of how far he has come with his pitch development. Although he did not get the win today, his ERA has decreased to 2.96. Also, he has 211 strikeouts in 176.1 IP. That’s really darn good, folks.
  • The lone mistake: It’s hard not to make at least a mistake or two during a start. Severino allowed his only run on the only hit that he (and the Yankees) allowed today. In the fifth inning, Sevy walked Joey Gallo to start the frame. Will Middlebrooks hit into a fielder’s choice groundout. Severino struck out Rougned Odor to get the second out but allowed an RBI double to Brett Nicholas, a September call-up catcher. 1-0 Rangers. Crappy way to lose a no-no and let the other team go ahead. On the other side, Cashner was simply dealing, holding the Yankee bats scoreless for the first seven innings while striking out four. However…
  • Tying it up: The Rangers pulled Cashner out in the eighth inning after he plunked Todd Frazier on the first pitch of the frame. He was in command all day and the Yankee hitters were probably glad to see him gone. Matt Holliday, pinch-hitting for Greg Bird to face the lefty Alex Claudio, lined a single to right to make it runners on corners with no out. Brett Gardner popped out for the first out but Chase Headley tied it up with a sac fly. A run! Gary Sanchez swung at 3-0 pitch for a single past Elvis Andrus and Yankees, once again, had a runner in the scoring position. However, Didi Gregorius grounded into the shift to end the inning.
  • The ninth-inning rally: Joe Girardi brought in David Robertson for the bottom of the eighth. D-Rob responded with an easy eight-pitch inning. In the top of the ninth, Starlin Castro led off with a single to right and Aaron Judge grounded into a fielder’s choice out. With one out and runner on first, Jacoby Ellsbury fought for an eight-pitch at-bat and lined a base hit to right to put runners on corners – huge at-bat, huge outcome. With Frazier coming up, Jeff Bannister put in the righty Ricky Rodriguez. On a 1-2 count, Rodriguez hit Frazier on the left triceps to load the bases. Tyler Austin, who took over for Bird at the first base, followed it up with an RBI single to left to finally give the Yankees a lead. Gardner popped out (again) for the second out, but Headley worked a walk to extend the lead to 3-1. That’ll do.
  • Leftovers: Aroldis Chapman was the closer for today. He had a solid past two outings and I assume that was enough to restore some faith in him. The lefty threw a perfect inning with two strikeouts to close it out and earn his first save since August 15.

Here are today’s box score and updated standings from ESPN, video highlights from MLB.com and WPA graph from Fangraphs. The Yankees will play the series finale at Arlington tomorrow. It’ll be a Jordan Montgomery vs. A.J. Griffin matchup for a 3:05 pm EST start.