Sabathia’s renaissance continues in 4-0 win over Tigers

Are the Yankees fun right now or what? They beat the Tigers by the score of 4-0 on Friday night for their fifth consecutive win, improving their record to 31-30 on the season. The Yankees are over .500 for the first time since they were 4-3 seven games into the season.

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

Cy Sabathia
One batter into the game, it did not seem CC Sabathia would be around very long. Ian Kinsler battled him for a 12-pitch at-bat to start the first inning — Sabathia got a generous strike three call from home plate umpire Carlos Torres to finally end the at-bat — and it seemed like we were in for another game in which Sabathia had to battle for each out. Remember how hard the Orioles worked him last time out?

Instead, Sabathia settled into a nice groove and pitched around some trouble in the early innings. The leadoff man reached base in the third and fourth innings but failed to score. Then, in the fifth, Detroit loaded the bases with one out for Miguel Cabrera. That was … bad. The Yankees were up 4-0 at the time and Miggy was very capable of tying things up with one swing. That didn’t happen. Sabathia got Cabrera to roll over into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play. Huge.

Sabathia finished his night by retiring the final seven batters he faced starting with that Miggy double play. I thought his night was over after the sixth with pitch count at 98, but Joe Girardi sent CC back out for the seventh, and he retired the side on ten pitches. Just perfect. Sabathia allowed five hits and two walks in his seven innings. He fanned four and got eight ground ball outs.

Baseball is way more fun when CC is pitching well. This is awesome. Following Friday’s start he’s down to a 2.28 ERA (3.33 FIP) in 59.1 innings. Among the 61 AL pitchers who have thrown at least 50 innings this season, Sabathia has the fourth lowest ERA and the eighth lowest FIP. It’s not crazy to say Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka have been one of the best one-two rotation punches in baseball this year. They’ve been that good.

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

Over Early
The offense has been clicking over the last week and right away the Yankees were doing damage against Mike Pelfrey. Two singles (Brett Gardner, Carlos Beltran) and a walk (Alex Rodriguez) loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, then Brian McCann drew a bases loaded walk to give New York a really quick 1-0 lead. McCann was ready to swing 3-0, you could see it in his stride, but the pitch was way high. He was looking to make it 4-0. No doubt.

Starlin Castro struck out for the second out of the inning, giving Pelfrey a chance to escape with just one run allowed. Thankfully Justin Upton was playing left field, and he turned what should have been an inning-ending fly ball into a two-run Didi Gregorius double. It wasn’t an easy play — Upton was playing shallow and had to backtrack — but it was a play a big leaguer has to make. The inning should have been over with the score 1-0 Yankees. Instead it was 3-0 Yankees after an inning of play.

In the third, Gardner drew a leadoff walk and was able to scoot all the way to third when James McCann threw a pickoff attempt down the right field line. Beltran drove in Gardner with a single to make it 4-0 good guys. The Yankees really had a chance to break the game open in the fourth when they loaded the bases with no outs, but new first baseman Rob Refsnyder grounded into a 1-2-3 double play to kill the rally. Alas.

The Yankees scored four runs in the first three innings and didn’t do much of anything thereafter. Refsnyder’s rally killer was the start of a stretch of ten straight batters retired by Pelfrey. His night ended when he walked Jacoby Ellsbury with two outs in the seventh. I didn’t think Big Pelf would be around that long. Fourteen of the final 16 Yankees to bat made outs. Good thing they scored early, huh?

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

I give Girardi a lot of crap for his bullpen use, but he handled his relievers perfectly in this game. Even with a 4-0 lead, he went to Dellin Betances in the eighth because the Tigers had the top of the lineup due up. If they were going to make a comeback, it was going to start in that inning. Betances tossed a 1-2-3 inning to snuff out the comeback before it even had a chance to start. Anthony Swarzak then handled the bottom of the order in the ninth.

Beltran and Gregorius each had two hits while Gardner and McCann each had a hit and a walk. Refsnyder went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and is 1-for-14 (.071) since taking over as the starting first baseman. The Yankees are pretty much out of alternatives though, so the job is his. His at-bats have been pretty good, so hopefully Refsnyder gets himself back on track soon.

And finally, Friday’s HOPE Week event involved Blissful Bedrooms, an organization that helps “transform the personal spaces of young individuals who have very limited resources and severe physical disabilities that make them wheelchair dependent and highly reliant on others for activities of daily living.” A bunch of Yankees helped renovate a bedroom earlier today. Pretty awesome. Good stuff, Yankees.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
ESPN has the box score and updated standings while has the video highlights. We have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages too. Here’s the win probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs
Up Next
The Yankees and Tigers continue this three-game series with the middle game Saturday night. Yep, a Saturday night game. The. Worst. Anyway, Tanaka and Justin Verlander are the scheduled starters. That should be fun. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch that game or Sunday’s game in person before the Yankees head out on the road next week.

Sweep! Five-run fifth helps Yankees to 6-3 win over Angels

Source: FanGraphs
Winning is so much better than losing, isn’t it? A five-run fifth inning led to a 6-3 win in Thursday night’s series finale against the Angels. The Yankees scored 29 runs in the four games, including at least five runs in each game. We’ve been waiting too long to see an offensive stretch like that. There’s a lot going on with the draft and stuff tonight, so I’m going to take the easy way out with a bullet point recap:

  • Five in the Fifth: The first four innings of this was one of those annoying games where a generally crummy pitcher, in this case Jhoulys Chacin, shut the offense down. Then the fifth inning happened. Didi Gregorius started the rally with a leadoff walk, and with one out, four straight Yankees reached base: Chris Parmelee (RBI single), Jacoby Ellsbury (single), Brett Gardner (walk), Carlos Beltran (two-run double). An Alex Rodriguez sac fly scored the fourth run of the inning, then Brian McCann doubled in the fifth. Hooray runs, hooray Yankees.
  • Solid Nova: Ivan Nova‘s pitching line looked a lot better before he allowed a two-run homer to the final batter he faced, Jefry Marte. That turned 6.1 innings and one run into 6.1 innings and three runs. Blah. Nova was very good though, striking out five and getting six ground ball outs. This is just more of the same from Ivan. He’s been pretty awesome since joining the rotation.
  • Shutdown Bullpen: After a night off, the big three relievers all went to work to nail down this win. Dellin Betances retired the two batters he faced, Andrew Miller pitched around a leadoff single in the eighth, and Aroldis Chapman pitched around a two-double in the ninth. Those three hit a bit of a rough patch last week. Good to see them getting back to dominating.
  • Leftovers: Gardner continued his recent hot streak with three hits and a walk. He’s been on fire of late … every player in the starting lineup had at least one hit except Gregorius, who drew that leadoff walk in the fifth. Headley had two knocks … the Yankees had 18 (!) at-bats with runners in scoring position. It didn’t seem like that many, did it? They went 5-for-18 (.278) in those spots … Chris Parmelee left the game with a hamstring injury and is heading for an MRI.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Tigers are coming to the Bronx for a three-game series next. CC Sabathia and Mike Pelfrey are Friday’s scheduled starters.

Minor League Update: No time for a full DotF post tonight, folks. Here are the box scores and here’s the short version: Brady Lail allowed three runs in six innings, Dustin Fowler stayed hot with a homer, Miguel Andujar and Thairo Estrada went deep as well, Austin Aune had four hits, Ian Clarkin struck out nine in seven innings, and Leonardo Molina doubled and tripled.

Yanks blow out Angels 12-6 thanks to Beltran & Parmelee

Can the Yankees change divisions? Between that Athletics series a few weeks ago and this Angels series, I think the AL West agrees with the Yankees. They blew the Angels out 12-6 Wednesday night for their third straight win. I asked for a blowout in the game thread and the Yankees delivered. Pretty cool. This was only their sixth win by five or more runs this season, by the way. Only the Athletics (four) and Twins (two!) have fewer.


Back & Forth Early
Wednesday night, power pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and finesse pitcher Jered Weaver showed you can allow runs in many different ways in baseball, and early on this game went back and forth. The Angels grabbed a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Mike Trout singled in Kole Calhoun. Calhoun had ground-rule doubled into the right-center field gap. The Yankees answered right back in the bottom half thanks to back-to-back doubles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner, and a run-scoring single by Alex Rodriguez. That gave them a 2-1 lead.

The Halos retook the lead the next half inning. Rafael Ortega slashed a double to left and ex-Yankee Gregorio Petit ambushed a first pitch curveball for a two-run homer. Greg Petit! He’s gone 6-for-10 with two doubles and a homer in the series so far. Good grief. Then again, maybe don’t throw this pitch …

Nathan Eovaldi Gregorio Petit

… to any hitter, even someone like Gregorio Petit. That two-run homer gave the Angels a 3-2 lead in the second. They extended that lead with a Jefry Marte solo homer into the second deck in left field. Petit and Marte, eh? Not exactly the guys who want to let beat you, Nate. Marte’s dinger gave the Halos a 4-2 lead in the third. It was all Yankees from there on out.

Chip Away
The Yankees started their comeback in the bottom of the third with an Ellsbury solo homer to right field. At 151 feet, it was the highest home run in all of baseball this season. That’s … obscure. But hey, whatever. It was the best at something. That homer cut the deficit to 4-3, then, one inning later, the Yankees tied the game thanks to yet another catcher’s interference by Ellsbury. Seriously.

Chris Parmelee doubled with one out in that fourth inning, then Ellsbury came up with two outs and Parmelee still on second. He hit a hard line drive to the right fielder for what should have been the final out, but the catcher’s interference extended the inning. Gardner made the Angels pay with a single to left to score Ellsbury and tie the game. The Yankees actually went on to load the bases that inning, though they couldn’t tack on any more runs. Alas. Didn’t matter at the end of the day though.

The Halos took a 5-4 lead in the next half-inning on back-to-back doubles by Trout and Albert Pujols. Blah. It always sucks when you rally to tie the game and the other team immediately retakes the lead. It was that kind of night for Eovaldi though. Five runs on ten hits and a walk in 5.1 innings. It was a pre-splitter Eovaldi start, basically. He couldn’t locate much of anything and paid for it.


The Parm of the Yankees
After falling behind 5-4, the Yankees blew this game open and made it a laugher with back-to-back four-run innings in the sixth and seventh. The tying run? A Chris Parmelee solo homer, of course. He was making his first start with the Yankees because he has pretty good career numbers against Jered Weaver, and, sure enough, he took Weaver deep to knot things up 5-5. [insert binder joke]

New York took the lead later in the inning because, once again, Ellsbury and Gardner reached base. Those two reached base times seven on the night. Ellsbury walked, Gardner singled, then Carlos Beltran gave the Yankees a 6-5 lead with a double into the left field corner. Brian McCann stretched the lead to 8-5 with a two-run single to left. It was a real nice piece of hitting, as broadcasters like to say. (That means he went the other way.)

The onslaught continued the next inning with a Didi Gregorius leadoff single and yet another Parmelee homer, this one a two-run shot off lefty Greg Mahle. Parmelee actually squared around to bunt earlier in the at-bat before Mahle fell behind in the count 2-1. Look at the location of the pitch he hit out:

Chris Parmelee Home Run

That’s a total golf shot. Angels catcher Carlos Perez was getting ready to pick that one out of the dirt. Not a bad pitch at all by Mahle. Parmelee just reached down and golfed it to right field. Remember the Nick Green Game in 2006? Green had a few big hits and made a few nice defensive plays in one random game and that was pretty much all he did in pinstripes. This might go down as the Chris Parmelee Game. Two dingers, including a game-tying shot? Bravo.

Parmelee’s second homer gave the Yankees a 10-5 lead. Beltran stretched it to 12-5 with a two-run homer later in that seventh inning. That’s three straight games with a dinger for Carlos. He’s gone deep 12 times in his last 29 games overall. Beltran now has 16 homers on the season after hitting 19 all of last year. He was pretty good last year! Beltran’s been unreal this year. It’s been a long time since he’s hit for power like this.

Bullpen Work
Solid work by Anthony Swarzak. He inherited a runner on first with one out from Eovaldi in the sixth, allowed a single to put two men on base, then retired the next five batters he faced. Swarzak was stretched out to 40-something pitches in Triple-A so I thought he would go back out for the eighth once the lead swelled to 12-5, but nope. Kirby Yates tossed the eighth and Nick Goody tossed the ninth. Trout took Goody deep for a monster solo shot into the right field bleachers. That’s opposite field. Whatever. Eh, no big deal given the big lead.

Who you gonna call? Chris Parmelee! (Presswire)
Who you gonna call? Chris Parmelee! (Presswire)

Parmelee did indeed get a chance to hit his third home run of the game in the eighth inning, but he struck out. Alas. Two homers and a double in five at-bats is a pretty damn good first impression though. I know everyone loves Rob Refsnyder, but if this game doesn’t earn Parmelee another start tomorrow, nothing will.

The top four hitters in the lineup: 10-for-17 (.588) with three doubles, two homers, eight runs scored, seven runs driven in, two walks, and one strikeout. That will do just fine, thanks. Gardner and Beltran each had three hits while Ellsbury and A-Rod each had two hits. Ellsbury and Beltran drew the walks, and Ellsbury had the catcher’s interference.

Gregorius also had two hits from the bottom of the lineup. The Yankees had 17 hits total, tying their season high. They had 17 in that 16-6 win over the Astros in the second game of the season. (I know I said 16 hits was the season high the other day. My bad.) Eight of those 17 hits were for extra bases. The Angels bullpen allowed six runs on eight hits in 2.2 innings.

Ellsbury’s catcher’s interference was already his sixth of the season. He actually had another one the other day, but he declined it because he had a base hit on the swing. The all-time single-season record is eight catcher’s interferences by Roberto Kelly with the 1992 Yankees. Ellsbury has 103 games to beat that. (He’s on pace for 16!)

And finally, Wednesday’s HOPE Week event involved an organization called Harlem Grown, which helps children “live healthy and ambitious lives through hands-on education in urban farming, sustainability and nutrition.” A bunch of Yankees helped the kids tend to their gardens and stuff. Pretty neat.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head on over to ESPN for the box score, for the video highlights, then back to ESPN for the updated standings. Also make sure you check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. Here’s the win probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees will go for the four-game sweep (!) Thursday night at Yankee Stadium. Ivan Nova and Jhoulys Chacin are the scheduled starters. We’ll have to watch the game and Day One of the 2016 amateur draft at the same time.

Pineda, Angels mistakes help Yankees to 6-3 win

Alright alright alright. Two straight wins! Feels good. The Yankees could have been on a four-game winning streak right now if not for that rain delayed blown lead Sunday. Whatever. Tuesday’s final score was 6-3. The Yankees took advantage of some silly mistakes by the Angels, which is the kind of thing good teams do. What is going on here?

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

Putting The Fun In Fundamentals
Mike Scioscia’s teams are known for being fundamentally sound and that is generally true. It definitely was not the case Tuesday night though. The bottom of the first inning started with a Brett Gardner infield single that deflected off David Huff‘s glove. It was a chopper just to the right of the mound, and it looked as though Huff had it squared up, but he didn’t make the catch and Gardner reached. Two batters later, Carlos Beltran gave the Yankees a quick 2-0 lead with a two-run homer to left.

Singles by Alex Rodriguez and Starlin Castro followed, then the Angels made their second mistake of the inning. This one was a huge mental mistake. Chase Headley hit a hard ground ball right to Yunel Escobar at third, who stepped on the bag for the force out. And that was it. He thought there were two outs and never threw over to first to complete what should have been an inning ending double play. Austin Romine made Escobar and the Angels pay with a single to drive in A-Rod as the next batter. That made it 3-0 good guys.

The mistakes continued in the second. Aaron Hicks started the inning with a double into the left corner, and he moved to third when Duff made a throwing error on another Gardner chopper. Hicks scored on Rob Refsnyder‘s sac fly and, to be fair, he would have moved to third on the play even if Huff made an accurate throw on Gardner’s chopper. The error still gave the Yankees an extra baserunner. Four runs by the Yankees, three mistakes by the Angels.

A New Pineda?
The first inning was Michael Pineda‘s best inning of the season. He needed eight pitches — four of which generated swings and misses — to get two strikeouts and a pop-up. That was domination. Then, of course, Pineda came out and fell behind every single hitter in the second inning. The first three batters saw 3-1 counts. Argh. Pineda allowed just a walk that inning, but still, he was annoyingly behind everyone after his offense staked him to a 3-0 lead.

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

The Angels were able to do some damage with a three-run fifth inning that included a Kole Calhoun two-run homer into the short porch. The Yankees stretched their lead to 5-0 on a Starlin Castro solo homer in the third inning, so that three-run fifth cut the lead to 5-3. Things got interesting quick. To Pineda’s credit, he settled down and retired seven straight following the Calhoun homer to end his night. The final line: 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K.

PitchFX says the Angels swung at 18 of Pineda’s 34 sliders, and missed ten times (55.6%). That is absurd. After the game Pineda told Bryan Hoch pitching coach Larry Rothschild tweaked his arm angle two starts ago, giving him more action on his slider, and it showed in this game. It had vicious break down in the zone. It was the best the pitch has looked since his 16-strikeout game last year. Hopefully it continues.

Another Run, Another Win
The Yankees tacked on an insurance run in the seventh thanks to yet another Angels misplay. Gardner was on first and he took off on the 3-2 count to Beltran. Beltran struck out, and the throw to second beat Gardner by a mile, but Gregorio Petit didn’t make the catch and Brett was safe. He came around to score on Alex Rodriguez’s single to right to stretch the lead to 6-3.

With Aroldis Chapman unavailable due to his recent workload, Joe Girardi went to the old formula of Dellin Betances in the eighth and Andrew Miller in the ninth. Betances struck out two in a perfect inning and Miller pitched around a one-out double for his seventh save. Nice and easy. It was sort of weird to see the back-end relievers blow to some games to the Orioles over the weekend. Things went back to normal Tuesday.

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

The Yankees had ten hits as a team, including two each by A-Rod, Castro, and Hicks. Gardner had a single and a walk. Refsnyder drew a walk and a had a sacrifice fly. Headley went 0-for-4 and was the only starter who failed to reach base. The Yankees have now scored at least five runs in five of their last six games. How about that?

Beltran’s first inning homer was the 1,000th extra-base hit of his career. He joins Pete Rose, Eddie Murray, and Chipper Jones as the only switch-hitters to do that. (Mickey Mantle had 952.) Carlos is the 38th hitter overall with 1,000 extra-base hits. Also, A-Rod is only five hits away from 3,100 for his career.

And finally, Tuesday’s HOPE Week event involved Cleaning for a Reason, a group that provides free house cleaning for women battling cancer. Several players went to the Bronx to help clean homes, and that’s pretty cool. Good work, Yankees.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
ESPN has both the box score and updated standings while has the video highlights. Make sure you don’t miss our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings page either. Here is the win probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Angels continue this four-game series Wednesday night. Nathan Eovaldi and Jered Weaver, who are polar opposites in terms of pitching style, will start that game. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch that game or any of the other four games on the homestand live at the ballpark.

Dingers are good! Yankees rally past the Angels 5-2 in the series opener

Elsa/Getty Images

Start spreading the news – the Yankees went from being shut out to hitting home runs late in the game to win this one 5-2 over the Angels. It looked like Masahiro Tanaka‘s strong seven inning effort was going to be wasted, but a pair of big solo HR’s in the seventh tied it up. Later, Carlos Beltran hit a three-run homer to put the Yanks ahead for good.

Elsa/Getty Images

Tanaka = Good

So, Tanaka has been good this season. Here’s a little bit of factiod from our own Katie Sharp: Tanaka is tied for second with Madison Bumgarner for most starts with 2 ER or less allowed in a game with ten. Who’s first? Clayton Kershaw (11). Tanaka may not be the 95-mph throwing fireballer anymore (but Brooks Baseball did have a pitch clocked at 95.3 mph so there’s that) but you know what, as long as he gets the hitters out, it’s not a concern at all. Overall, he threw 7 innings of 2 ER ball and struck out three. Solid, not sexy, but he gave the team a chance to win.

Tanaka allowed the first run in the top of first. Yunel Escobar singled on the very first pitch of the game and advanced to second and third on two different fly outs. With two outs, Albert Pujols hit a soft single to center to drive Escobar in for a 1-0 Angels. They increased their lead to 2-0 in the third when Kole Calhoun drove Gregorio Petit in with a sac fly. Fortunately for the Yanks, that was the only damage Tanaka allowed in his seven inning outing. However, it looked likely that he was in line for the loss because of Matt Shoemaker’s pitching.

En Route to a Maddux?

The Yankee offense was pretty bad for first six innings. We are not talking about bad RISP numbers like they put up yesterday. They just weren’t getting on base much. Matt Shoemaker, who hasn’t been going through his best season (5.50 ERA in 10 starts), seemed to pitch with some chip on the shoulder, averaging 93.1 mph with his four seamer (topping out at 95.3 mph), a bump above the usual.

For a good chunk of the game, it seemed like Shoemaker was on his way to throw a Maddux (a CGSO with less than 100 pitches). Through the first six innings, he had allowed only one baserunner in scoring position and threw 59 pitches. I gripe about the RISP in Yankee losses often but tonight, I felt like I wouldn’t even have the figure to write on.

The Yankees did have two instances early on with chance to put the runner on second. In the first inning, Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single and attempted to steal second. The 2B ump Clint Fagan initially ruled him out but Joe Girardi challenged the call. The replays showed that it did seem as if Ellsbury was safe but umps disagreed – they stood by Fagan’s call.

In the bottom of second, Starlin Castro hit a fly ball that LF Rafael Ortega barely failed to make a diving catch on. However, Ortega got up quickly and made a throw to second right away, catching Castro out trying to stretch the double into a single. Shoemaker went on to retire 11 straight batters until the Ellsbury double in the sixth with two outs (which they failed to score on). However, the game doesn’t end until the ninth…

Late Inning Dingers

Shoemaker had gotten first two hitters of the seventh out and had only 67 pitches thrown when Brian McCann stepped up to the plate. On a 3-1 count, McCann hit a gigantic foul ball that just twisted away from the right field foul pole, missing a home run by not much. On the next pitch, McCann didn’t miss it. He put the ball right up the luxury suites – in fair territory – for a solo home run. The Yankees trailed by one and that didn’t last long at all.

Elsa/Getty Images

The next batter, Castro, he second pitch of the at-bat way deep into the left field seats. And, just like that, the game was tied in a mere three pitches. I don’t know when was the last time the Yankees took charge offensively and changed the game around this quick. The two solo HR’s made it a brand new ballgame and the momentum probably shifted towards Yanks’ side.

With 80 pitches thrown, Shoemaker came back to start out the bottom of the eighth. After striking out Chase Headley on three pitches and grounding out Aaron Hicks, he allowed back-to-back singles to Ellsbury and Brett Gardner to create a two out, runners in corners situation. The Angels pulled him out for lefty Jose Alvarez. Up to the plate: Carlos Beltran.

On a 0-1 count, Beltran got a 91 mph fastball out over the plate – it didn’t look like the spot that Alvarez wanted to locate. What do talented ML hitters do with a mistake pitch? Crush it. Beltran squared up on the ball and took it over the right field fence for a go-ahead, three-run home run. 5-2 Yankees. This was a certainly refreshing sight considering how much the offense seemed incompetent for the most of the game. Aroldis Chapman closed the door in the ninth.

Box Score, Highlights, WPA, Standings

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

Source: FanGraphs

The Yankees will face their old friend David Huff tomorrow. Michael Pineda will start for New York, looking to build on from his best start of the season last week against Detroit.

Yanks lose to the O’s 3-1 and yeah, the lead was in doubt, yes sir

Getty Images

If I were to introduce baseball to a friend, this would have not have been the game to show. It was a rather slow-moving game with a lot of runners clogging up the bases without scoring. Oh yeah, there was a rain delay too. CC Sabathia didn’t have his prettiest outing but the bullpen blew the 1-0 lead in the eighth for the 3-1 loss to the O’s. The old friend #RISPFail really came back to bite the Yanks today. It’s the weekend so let’s do this bullet-style.

  • That *One* Run: The Yankees took the lead in the third. With one out, Jacoby Ellsbury squeaked a single by Manny Machado and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After he advanced to third on a Brett Gardner ground out, then A-Rod hit an RBI single for a 1-0 Yankees lead. Just like many other times in this season, that was the only time Yankees were able to drive in a run.
  • #RISPFail: The Yankees had runners in scoring position in six different innings, and they only scored one run. They were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, which is pretty poor. In the top of fourth, with a 1-0 lead, they had a chance to make it even bigger. However, in the most 2016 Yankees fashion, Aaron Hicks grounded into a force out and Ellsbury struck out to end the inning. How do I feel about this? Consider this video.
  • Just Getting By: CC overall did a nice job but it took him 71 pitches to get through three innings. Orioles hitters – especially Joey Rickard, who had a pair of 12-pitch AB’s – really worked him with foul ball after foul ball, and Sabathia himself didn’t display his finest command. He allowed six walks, which ties career high, but he was able to grind through those five innings to not allow any runs. It’s not nest we’ve seen the new Sabathia but I feel like if this were the CC of the previous few years, he would have had a much, much worse line. He still managed to baffle hitters with strikeouts (5 in 5 IP) and soft contact. He can stay.
  • The First Attempt to Hold On: I know the Yankees have a strong back of the bullpen but it’s hard to be optimistic about holding a 1-0 lead against the strong O’s offense. In the sixth inning with no outs, Joe Girardi pulled Sabathia out (111 pitches) for Kirby Yates. Yates tossed a solid 2-strikeout scoreless inning and passed the baton to Dellin Betances in the seventh. Dellin tossed a scoreless seventh and came back out for the eighth to get a couple of outs before Girardi summoned Aroldis Chapman. That eight inning started awfully shaky with Betances allowing a walk to Mark Trumbo and single to Chris Davis. After striking out Nolan Reimold, Girardi decided to bring Chapman … and then the umps called for the tarp for the impending storm.
  • Blowin’ it: After an hour and 37 minute rain delay, Chapman came into the game to record, hopefully, five outs for a save. He blew away Jonathan Schoop with a 100-mile high heat for a strikeout. Needing only one more to get out of the inning, Chapman allowed a first-pitch single to Tony Pena‘s kid Francisco to load the bases. Uh-oh. Next up, on a 0-2 count, pinch-hitter Matt Wieters hit a single to center that plated two and one more on Ellsbury’s throwing error. 3-1 Orioles. Sigh. Like I said, these guys are pretty special arms but not 100% foolproof. The Yankee big 3 pen arms tossed 5.1 IP this series and allowed 4 runs with 2 losses (both charged to Betances). Not a good couple of days for them. Yankees got completely shut down by Zach Britton in the ninth to lose the game.

Here’s today’s box score, video highlights, WPA and updated standings. The Yankees head home for a four-game series with the Angels. Masahiro Tanaka and Matt Shoemaker will be the starters Monday. It’s HOPE Week too. That’s cool.

Source: FanGraphs

Yankees beat O’s 8-6 and it was never in doubt, no siree

Source: FanGraphs

That was dangerously close to being a Very Bad Loss. The Yankees took a seemingly comfortable 7-0 lead into the seventh inning Saturday night, but some mistake pitches and questionable bullpen management allowed the Orioles to score six runs in the seventh inning. New York was able to hang on for the 8-6 win. Nice and easy, right? Saturday night games get bullet point recaps because they are the bane of my existence, so let’s get to it:

  • Four In The Fourth: After taking a 1-0 lead on Austin Romine‘s third inning sac fly, the Yankees broke the game open by scoring four runs in the fourth. Starlin Castro (double), Didi Gregorius (ground out), Rob Refsnyder (double), and Romine (single) drove those four runs in. Refsnyder and Romine came up with big two-out hits. They turned a two-run inning into a four-run inning. Huge. Castro singled in another run in the fifth to give the Yankees a 6-0 lead.
  • Safe At Home: Jacoby Ellsbury stole home for the second time this season. This one wasn’t a straight steal like the one against the Rays though. Ellsbury was on third when Brett Gardner attempted to steal second. Matt Wieters threw down to second, and when Manny Machado had to reach down to apply the tag (Gardner was safe), Ellsbury broke for home and beat the return throw. I was surprised a veteran catcher like Wieters threw down to second there. He knew who was at third, right? Either way, that made it 7-0 Yankees in the sixth.
  • Better Than Advertised: The box score is a damn lie. It’ll tell you Ivan Nova allowed five runs in six innings, and while that is true, it is not in any way representative of how he pitched. Nova dominated for the first six innings, holding the O’s to three hits and a walk. He was in total control. Then things unraveled quickly in the seventh. Mark Trumbo hit a homer to make it 7-1, and fine, whatever. It happens. Then Pedro Alvarez managed to sneak a two-run homer just inside the left field foul pole to cut it to 7-3. Argh. A single, a wild pitch, and a walk followed. That ended Nova’s night. It was still 7-3 at the time. Overall, good work Ivan.
  • No Goody: For whatever reason Joe Girardi opted to go to Nick Goody with two on and no outs in the seventh rather than Andrew Miller, who was warming in the bullpen. Goody threw two pitches. The first was a ball, and the second went for an Adam Jones three-run homer to turn a 7-3 game into a 7-6 game. The O’s scored six runs before making an out in the seventh. Not ideal! Miller came in following the homer. Why did Goody come in first? I’ll never know.
  • Big Two: Dellin Betances was unavailable due to his recent workload, meaning Miller had to serve as the seventh and eighth inning guy Saturday. He retired all six batters he faced. Only 28 pitches too. Miller is quite good at this pitching thing. Aaron Hicks (double) and Alex Rodriguez (single) created a much appreciated insurance run in the top of the ninth, then Aroldis Chapman closed the door in the bottom half. Never in doubt. (It was very much in doubt.)
  • Leftovers: Weird injury alert: Austin Romine tore the nail on his left thumb trying to catch a Chapman warm-up pitch in the ninth. Chapman spiked a fastball in the dirt and it came up and hit Romine in a weird way. He had to leave the game, so Brian McCann caught the final three outs. Romine is heading for x-rays just in case … the Yankees had 16 hits total, tying their season high. They had 16 in the 16-6 win over the Astros in the second game of the season … every starter had at least one hit. Ellsbury and Gardner had two each while A-Rod and Castro had three each.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. We have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages too. The Yankees and Orioles will wrap up this three-game series Sunday afternoon. That’s a 1:35pm ET start and it is the final game of this ten-game, four-city road trip. CC Sabathia and Kevin Gausman are the scheduled starters.