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

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


Early runs

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

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


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

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

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

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


Nasty (for the first four innings) Nate

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

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

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


Fear the ‘stache

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

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

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


Holding the lead

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

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

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

Box score, standings, highlights, WPA

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

Source: FanGraphs

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

Yankees win 2-1, take series finale from Mariners thanks to Teixeira’s late homer

Source: FanGraphs

On Sunday afternoon, the Yankees faced a former Cy Young Award winner for the seventh time this season, and they improved to 6-1 in those games. (They lost to R.A. Dickey back in May.) A late home run gave New York a 2-1 win over Felix Hernandez and the Mariners to clinch the series victory. Is baseball fun? Baseball is fun. Let’s recap with bullet points because I’ve seen sitting in the sun all day:

  • Big Poppa: Boy, how about CC Sabathia? The big man turned in his best start at Yankee Stadium since June 2013 (!) according to Game Score (62), holding the Mariners to one run on six singles and one walk in six innings. Three right-handed batters singled to create the run in the fifth, but Sabathia was able to limit the damage by striking out Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano with runners at first and third. I like that Joe Girardi didn’t push his luck and took Sabathia out after six innings even though he’d only thrown 87 pitches. Good work, CC.
  • Back From The DL: Unsurprisingly, the Yankees were unable to score seven runs off Felix again. Doing it back in Seattle last month was a minor miracle. Twice? Forget it. Hernandez limited New York to one run in six innings, and the run scored on Carlos Beltran‘s two-out single in the sixth. Brett Gardner started the inning with a walk, moved to third on an impromptu hit-and-run, then scored on the single. Beltran picked up Brian McCann, who struck out on three pitches with Gardner on third and one out. Welcome back, Carlos.
  • Party Like It’s 2009: Man, this vintage 2009 model Mark Teixeira sure is fun, isn’t it? The score remained tied 1-1 into the eighth inning, when Vidal Nuno (!) and Fernando Rodney made quick work of Gardner and Alex Rodriguez. With the bases empty and two outs, Rodney let a 98 mph two-strike heater leak back over the plate, and Teixeira whacked it into the short porch for a go-ahead solo homer. The pitch was supposed to be elevated, Rodney left it down and middle of the plate, and Teixeira did what good hitters are supposed to do with it. Clutch.
  • Leftovers: Justin Wilson (one single), Dellin Betances (two walks), and Andrew Miller each threw scoreless innings. Dellin has 21 walks in 41 innings this year after having 24 walks in 90 innings last year … Teixeira had three of the team’s six hits. A-Rod, Beltran, and Chase Headley had the others. Gardner (two) and Beltran drew the walks … Stephen Drew went 0-for-2 in his return to the lineup and was lifted for pinch-hitter Chris Young against the lefty Nuno in the seventh.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also check out out Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees have an off-day Monday then open a three-game series with the Orioles at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday. Nathan Eovaldi vs. Wei-Yin Chen is the scheduled pitching matchup. Head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch any of those three games in person.

Comeback falls short, Cano crushes Yanks in 4-3 Mariners win

Annoying game is annoying. Losses happen, that doesn’t bother me, it’s just how they lost. Getting smacked around by Robinson Cano, almost coming back in the ninth inning but falling short … blah. The Mariners won Saturday’s game 4-3.


Too Much Rest, Too Much Cano
The “too much rest” monster came to get Michael Pineda again. Or at least that will be the excuse. Pineda allowed four runs on six hits and two walks in six laborious innings, serving up two two-run home runs to Cano. They were both bombs — one to center, one into the second deck in right field — and both pitches might as well have been on a tee. Cano also lined a single to left in his other at-bat against Pineda. Robbie’s enjoying his annual weekend of relevance with the Mariners.

Anyway, Pineda struck out two and walked two, and only 63 of 105 pitches were strikes (60%). His season average is 69%. Big Mike faced 25 hitters, threw only 13 first pitch strikes (52%, season average is 64.3%), and also went to five three-ball counts (20%, season average is 12.3%). All five were among the final eleven batters he faced. It was a grind for Pineda, and while I’m sure pitching on extra rest is tough for a pitcher who is such a creature of habit, it’s something he has to figure out. It’s part of being a pitcher. Pineda’s lucky only Cano made him pay for his mistakes on Saturday.


Just Short
Well it doesn’t really matter what Pineda or anyone else on the mound did. The Yankees only scored two runs against Hisashi Iwakuma and various relievers in the first eight innings, with both coming on Brian McCann‘s no-doubt two-run homer in the fourth. It was a quick little two-out rally — Mark Teixeira put together a quality at-bat before lacing a single, then McCann crushed a hanging split-finger pitch. Gone off the bat. That tied the game 2-2 after Cano’s first homer.

The Yankees had by far their best chance against Iwakuma in the sixth inning, immediately after Cano gave the Mariners a 4-2 lead. Jacoby Ellsbury led the sixth off with a ground ball single that snuck by not one, but two diving infielders, then Brett Gardner blooped a single to shallow left. The table-setters set the table. The Yankees had two on with no outs for the 3-4-5 hitters. Then Alex Rodriguez struck out, Teixeira grounded into a fielder’s choice, and McCann flew out. Rally dead after seven pitches.

Things got interesting in the ninth. Teixeira started the inning off with a booming double to center — it looked like a pop-up off the bat, but it just kept carrying until it hit the wall — and two batters later Chase Headley reached on a strikeout/wild pitch to put runners at the corners with one out. Fighting spirit! Garrett Jones got a run in by reaching out, swinging at ball four, and hitting a weak tapper to short. Didi Gregorius grounded out to end the game with the tying run on second. So it goes.


Chasen Shreve and Adam Warren threw the final three innings in relief of Pineda and combined to allow two base-runners. Shreve retired all five batters he faced while Warren walked Nelson Cruz and allowed a dinky little ground ball single to Mark Trumbo. The bullpen gave the offense a chance to get back into the game. Almost happened.

Somehow every starter except Jones and Rob Refsnyder had a hit. Didn’t seem like they had that many, huh? The Yankees didn’t draw any walks though, which was a bit of a problem. In fact, they saw four three-ball counts all game, including two against Carson Smith in the ninth. The Yankees scored three or fewer runs at home for just the 11th time this season. That’s the fewest in baseball.

And finally, one day after Ellsbury had his ugliest 0-for-4 of the season, A-Rod went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and looked pretty helpless at the plate. Iwakuma and Fernando Rodney got him to take some ugly swings. Baseball.

Box Score, WPA Graph, Standings & More
Here are the box score and video highlights for the game, and here are the updated standings. Also check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages, because if you don’t, it means I’ve wasted a whole bunch of time this year. Here’s the win probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Mariners will wrap up this three-game series on Sunday afternoon. The pitching matchup: CC Sabathia vs. Felix Hernandez. Not ideal!

A-Rod’s late home run gives Yanks 4-3 win over Mariners, Seager

The second half begins the same way the first half ended: with a win! A late homer gave the Yankees a 4-3 win over the Mariners on Friday night, extending their lead in the AL East to 4.5 games. That’s their largest division lead of the season. Good times.


Crushed By Kyle
Aside from the three times he faced Kyle Seager on Friday, Masahiro Tanaka pitched well. Well enough, anyway. Not great, not terrible. Seager was the problem though. Seattle’s third baseman lined out to left field in the first inning, then smashed a hanging slider for a solo home run in the third inning, then ambushed a first pitch fastball for a two-run home run in the fifth. The fastball was up and it was a moonshot. Over the bullpen and into the right field bleachers. Clobbered.

Seager drove in all three Mariners runs against Tanaka. The rest of their lineup had three singles and two walks against him in seven innings. One hit was an infield single and another was a ground ball back up the middle. Tanaka wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning thanks to Mike Zunino, who has yet to see a pitch he won’t swing at. Seriously. Watching Zunino hit day after day after day would drive me nuts. At least you know Stephen Drew is a veteran guy who stinks. Zunino is young and has potential. That would be so frustrating.

Anyway, Tanaka struck out seven in his seven innings and got eight of his other 14 outs on the ground. He generated 13 swings and misses total — including five on seven swings against his slider, which is bonkers — so four of his five highest swing-and-miss totals this season have come in his last five starts. The Seager homers obviously count, but Tanaka was pretty good aside from that.

Love this guy. (Presswire)
Love this guy. (Presswire)

One Run At A Time
The Yankees scored one run in four separate innings. Certified lefty killer Chris Young hit a solo home run in the second, Chase Headley seeing-eye singled in Young in the fourth (Young smashed a double off the wall), Brian McCann singled in Alex Rodriguez in the fifth (A-Rod singled then moved up on Mark Teixeira‘s walk), then Alex hit a solo homer in the seventh. That’s the Cliff’s Notes version.

The longer version is that the Yankees did a little of everything offensively against Mike Montgomery. They worked three walks, hit one homer, one double, and five singles. Nine of 18 batters reached base against Montgomery at one point from the second through fifth inning. Headley hit into a killer inning-ending 6-4-3 double play with runners on the corners in the fifth, which let Montgomery off the hook when it looked like New York was ready to break it open. Headley has not had a good year at all and he’s been especially bad against lefties. Yuck.

Montgomery threw 104 pitches in six innings and, by my unofficial count, 53 of them were from the stretch. More than half (barely). It felt like much more. The Yankees had runners on base against the lefty in every inning but the sixth. Lefty reliever Joe Beimel served up the go-ahead solo homer to A-Rod in the seventh, an opposite field job into the bullpen. The best part? The paused bat drop (GIF via @MLB):

Alex Rodriguez bat drop

The man is a pioneer. Everyone is trying to come up with more elaborate bat flips, but Alex keeps it simple with a pause and a drop of the mic. That’s now three homers in the last four games for A-Rod. It was also his 19th of the season. He hasn’t hit that many since 2010. Rodriguez is up to .277/.381/.514 (147 wRC+) on the season. The Summer of Al, indeed.

Know who is happy this game is over? Jacoby Ellsbury. He had maybe his ugliest 0-for-4 as a Yankee. Yeah, he drew a walk, but also struck out three times and looked pretty feeble all each time. Not Ellsbury’s best night at the plate. It happens. Brett Gardner (single), A-Rod (single, homer), McCann (single), Young (double, homer), Headley (single), and Didi Gregorius (single) had the hits. Ellsbury, Gardner, Teixeira (two), and Headley drew the walks.

Jul 17, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Andrew Miller (48) reacts during the ninth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees defeated the Mariners 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

One-run lead after seven? That meant Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller time. Dellin struck out two in a perfect eighth and Miller struck out one in the ninth. He allowed a two-out single to Mark Trumbo that would have been a double if not for Gardner’s nice sliding stop to cut it off in left. Miller is 19-for-19 in save chances and isn’t even the best reliever in the bullpen. What a world.

Rob Refsnyder had an uneven day. He went 0-for-2 with a strikeout at the plate, made one nice defensive play charging a chopper, and made a Hail Mary lob to second base on a slow grounder to get the force. The throw just barely beat the runner to the bag. It was … interesting. Garrett Jones pinch-hit for Refsnyder against a righty in the eighth. I thought it was the right move both offensively and defensively. (Drew took over at second.)

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. Here’s the win probability graph, which has apparently stopped updating:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Same two teams Saturday afternoon, in the second game of this three-game series. Michael Pineda and Hisashi Iwakuma will be the pitching matchup. Head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch that game or any of the other four games remaining on the homestand live and in person.

Betances throws scoreless inning, AL wins 2015 All-Star Game 6-3


The American League continues to dominate the All-Star Game. The AL beat the NL 6-3 on Tuesday night at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park for their third straight All-Star Game win and 15th in the last 19 years (!). Mike Trout was named MVP after going 1-for-3 with a leadoff homer and a walk. He’s the first player to be named All-Star Game MVP in back-to-back years. Here are the box score, video highlights, and WPA graph.

All three Yankees elected to the Midsummer Classic did play in the game. Brett Gardner pinch-hit for Adam Jones in the fifth inning and struck out looking against Clayton Kershaw. He struck out looking against former teammate Mark Melancon later in the game. Gardner played two innings in left field before sliding over to center, and I don’t even remember him having to make a catch. It was his first trip to the All-Star Game.

Mark Teixeira replaced Albert Pujols at first base in the sixth inning, grounding out (against Francisco Rodriguez) and striking out (swinging against Aroldis Chapman) in his two at-bats. Teixeira also made several nice plays in the field — he stretched and kept his foot on the bag to catch an errant throw from Manny Machado, then came off the bag to catch a throw from Zach Britton that was heading for right field. Teixeira was playing in his third All-Star Game.

And finally, Dellin Betances came out of the bullpen and threw a scoreless seventh inning with the AL leading 5-2. Dellin got Brandon Crawford to ground out to second, walked Kris Bryant, struck out Joe Panik, then got A.J. Pollock to ground out to third. He threw eleven of his 20 pitches for strikes and was effectively wild in his first All-Star Game appearance (second selection).

The AL will now have home field advantage in the World Series, which is not insignificant for the Yankees. They currently have the best World Series odds in the AL and third best World Series odds overall according to FanGraphs, and they’re a substantially better team at home this season: 25-16 with a +38 run differential at Yankee Stadium compared 23-24 and -12 run differential on the road. So hooray home field advantage.

Minor League Update: There won’t be a minor league update tonight because there were no games. Every affiliate either had an off-day, was rained out, or had their game suspended due to rain. Here are the box scores. Third rounder Jeff Degano allowed a run in one inning of work in his pro debut with the Rookie GCL Yanks before the game was suspended.

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

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

(Source: Getty)

Five innings, 102 pitches

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Getty)

The rallies

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

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

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

The later innings

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

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

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


Refsnyder has Seoul!

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

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

A slight nail-biter

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

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

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

Box score, updated standing, video highlights, WPA

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

Source: FanGraphs

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

A-Rod and Ellsbury homers aren’t enough, Yankees fall 5-3 to Red Sox

Well, the second game of this three-game series was not as fun as the first. The Yankees lost 5-3 to the Red Sox on Saturday night — it was a FOX game in Fenway Park, so no surprise they lost! — but did come mighty close to tying things up in the ninth. This was one of those “sometimes you just get beat during the course of a 162-game season” games. It happens.


Deja Boo
For the second straight night, Alex Rodriguez cut through the Fenway Park boos with a first inning home run to give the Yankees a quick 1-0 lead. Friday night’s dinger was a moonshot that nearly literally left the building. The homer on Saturday night was more of a line drive right into the Green Monster seats. I thought it was going to clank off the top of the wall at first, but nope, over it went. First inning runs on the road are just dandy.

The Yankees had opportunities to score again in the second and third, but they ran themselves out of the inning each time. Chase Headley (batter) and Chris Young (runner) teamed up for a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play in the second, then Jacoby Ellsbury got picked off first to end the third. Suboptimal! They didn’t score again until Ellsbury took Eduardo Rodriguez deep for a solo homer in the sixth inning. A lot happened between the two solo homers.


Comfy Swings
For the second straight start, there were an awful lot of comfy swings against Ivan Nova. And why not? He can’t miss any bats right now. He got five swings and misses out of 86 pitches in this game after getting just four swings and misses out of 81 pitches last time out. That’s nine whiffs in his last 167 pitches (5.4%). Not good! The league average is 9.7%. Nova doesn’t have an out-pitch right now, four starts back from Tommy John surgery.

The Red Sox scored their first run thanks to a John Ryan Murphy error — he threw a ball into center field, allowing Alejandro De Aza to take third on the steal attempt and then score on Ryan Hanigan’s ground out — but the next two runs were all Nova. David Ortiz hit a hanger to left field for a double then Hanley Ramirez hammered a high fastball into the home bullpen for a two-run homer. Nova doesn’t have much margin for error right now and neither was a good pitch.

The fourth run scored after Nova had been removed from the game. He struck out Mike Napoli to start the seventh, gave up another single to De Aza, then got Hanigan to hit into a fielder’s choice. Mookie Betts lifted a catchable fly ball to right field that Young turned into a triple with a, uh, circuitous route. The Statcast route efficiency was negative, probably. Adam Warren was on the mound for that one. Nova was out of the game after getting Hanigan because Joe Girardi didn’t want him facing Betts a fourth time.

Nova was charged with four runs on eight hits in 6.2 innings. He struck out three and, for the second time in his four starts, got more ground ball outs (eleven) than fly ball outs (six). Could have been better, could have been worse. I didn’t love the decision to send Nova back out for the seventh — two of his three outs in the sixth were rockets Brett Gardner ran down — but what can you do. Nova’s touch and go for now. Coming back from elbow reconstruction is a bumpy road.


The Late Innings
I wouldn’t say the game got out of hand in the seventh, but it got just far enough out of reach. It all happened with two outs too. Young misplayed the Betts fly ball into a triple to give Boston an insurance run, then the shift burned the Yankees (surprise!) when Xander Bogaerts poked Warren’s slider to the right side of the infield for an RBI infield single. Everyone in the park knew a down-and-away slider was coming, yet for some reason the Yankees had the second baseman playing up the middle. No chance to turn the routine soft grounder into an out. Blargh.

That gave the Red Sox a more comfortable 5-2 lead and it could have been more too. Warren faced three batters and didn’t retire any of them, though, to be fair, a catchable fly ball and a weak grounder were not turned into outs behind him. Chasen Shreve came in, walked Ortiz to load the bases, then threw gas by Hanley to end the inning. That was a tough at-bat. Nine pitches, Shreve showed him everything he had, then caught him looking for a splitter with a fastball. The score remained 5-2.

The Yankees got a run back in the eighth because Ellsbury and Gardner are awesome. Ellsbury singled with two outs and Gardner drove him in with a double off the Green Monster. Love those two. Young managed to double off Koji Uehara in the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate, and, after Headley struck out, Brian McCann crushed a ball about 400 feet … to the triangle in dead center for the 27th out. Definitely the wrong part of the park. So it goes.


Bullpen Bryan Mitchell is pretty awesome. Shreve started the eighth, gave up a single to Pablo Sandoval, then Mitchell escaped the jam with a grounder, a fly ball, and a strikeout. PitchFX says he averaged 97.0 mph with his four-seamer. Golly. I say let Mitchell continue to do that the rest of the season then put him back in the rotation next year. He’ll be mighty useful if the sub-100 pitch count thing continues in the second half.

Gardner (double), A-Rod (homer), Headley (single), and Didi Gregorius (single) each had one hit while Ellsbury (single, homer) and Young (single, double) each had two. Teixeira drew a walk while the catching tandem of Murphy and McCann each went 0-for-2 with a strikeout. McCann came close to tying the game though! Alas, it was not meant to be. Those dopey base-running mistakes in the second and third innings hurt.

And finally, Rob Refsnyder went 0-for-3 with a double play, a fly out, and a ground out in his MLB debut. He made a nice but fairly routine double play pivot in the second, and wasn’t really tested with any tough plays the rest of the game. The shift screwed up the Bogaerts infield single in the seventh and Sandoval slid in hard to spoil a potential 1-4-3 double play in the eighth. Nothing Refsnyder could do there.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score and video highlights for your perusal. Also check out the updated standings and our fun Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. Now here’s the loss probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
It’s the final game of the first half and, believe it or not, the Yankees and Red Sox are not playing the ESPN Sunday Night Game. All hail the baseball broadcasting gods for that. Nathan Eovaldi and Wade Miley will be the pitching matchup.