Severino strikes out nine, but Yankees fall 3-1 to Blue Jays

Winning two of three is an acceptable outcome in any series, but man, I really wanted the sweep this weekend. The Yankees dropped the third and final game of this series with the Blue Jays by the score of 3-1 Sunday afternoon. The Bronx Bombers went 3-3 on the six-game road trip.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

Fastball Only
Luis Severino‘s fastball was excellent on Sunday. He was throwing serious gas, but his secondary pitches seemed to be lacking early on and it cost him. The first hit he allowed came on a two-strike changeup out over the plate to Justin Smoak, then a pair of bad sliders led to three runs in the third.

The three-run rally started with two quick outs and then a Carlos Beltran misplay — he lost a ball in the sun and allowed a routine fly ball to fall in for a Troy Tulowitzki double. I mean, it happens, outfielders will lose a ball in the sun on occasion. That’s baseball. Tulo was on second with two outs, so Severino had a chance to escape the inning without the error hurting.

Instead, Severino left a two-strike slider up to Josh Donaldson, and Donaldson poked it to right field for an RBI single. Fine, whatever. Sucks the misplay cost them a run. Sucks even more Severino couldn’t stop the bleeding there. He spun a cement mixer slider to Jose Bautista and Bautista clobbered it for a no-doubt two-run homer. It was an awful, awful pitch.

Luis Severino Jose Bautista1

Yeah, that is not a good location. Severino allowed five hits in six innings and all five came on offspeed pitches — one on a changeup and four on sliders. His fastball was electric! He averaged 96.5 mph and got eight swings and misses out of 62 four-seam fastballs (12.9%), but you can’t live on fastballs alone. Especially not against this Blue Jays lineup.

The misplay stunk, absolutely, but Beltran didn’t leave the slider up to Donaldson and he sure as hell didn’t give up the homer to Bautista. All three runs were earned — the Beltran misplay was originally called an error and later changed to a double — and four of the six batters immediately following the misplay reached base. It would have been five of six if not for a great diving grab by Chase Headley to rob Kevin Pillar of a hit leading off the fourth.

All told, Severino struck out nine — eight on fastballs and one on a slider — and walked three, retiring seven of the last eight batters he faced. The third inning totally stunk. Severino got the would-be third out on a routine fly ball, but it fell in, and he couldn’t stop the bleeding. The two mistake sliders to Donaldson and Bautista ruined an otherwise impressive start. Hard not to be excited about Severino’s future. Can’t really blame him for the Yankees being 0-3 in his three starts.

Why. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
Why. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

SeveriNo Run Support
Of course, it didn’t matter what Severino did on the mound. It could have been David Price or Johnny Cueto or Cole Hamels or Cy Young. Wouldn’t have mattered. The Yankees were held to one run and you can’t realistically expect that to stand up. They’ve scored seven runs total in Severino’s three starts and only two when he was actually on the mound. Luis is getting that Hiroki Kuroda run support.

The Yankees scored their one run on Jacoby Ellsbury‘s sixth inning solo home run off the facing of the second deck in right field. Pretty standard homer — Drew Hutchison missed his spot by a decent margin and Ellsbury put a good swing on it. Not sure what else to say. About as generic as homers come. Hutchison had the Yankees beating the ball into the ground all afternoon. He came into the game with a 39.9% ground ball rate and, naturally, got nine of his 20 outs on the ground. (Five others were strikeouts.)

Ellsbury singled leading off the game and was later thrown out trying to steal second to end the inning, which I hate. I’d rather just let Mark Teixeira hit with a man on base that early in the game. Their second base-runner was Alex Rodriguez‘s two-out walk in the fourth and their third was Brian McCann‘s leadoff hit by pitch in the fifth. A-Rod was stranded and McCann was erased on Beltran’s double play ball.

McCann blooped a double with two outs in the seventh — it was a bloop single that hopped over the diving Pillar and standing Bautista thanks to the turf — and Brett Gardner singled with one out in the ninth. They were New York’s only base-runners after Ellsbury’s homer. Ten of the final dozen batters they sent to the plate made outs. At the end of the day, the Yankees lost because they didn’t score, not because Severino put some sliders on a tee in the third inning.

The Blue Jays gave away two outs on the bases. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
The Blue Jays gave away two outs on the bases. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

Leftovers
Chasen Shreve and Adam Warren had an adventurous seventh inning. Shreve walked Ryan Goins, gave up a single to Pillar, then got the force out at third on Ben Revere’s bunt. I didn’t think he had a chance to get the runner at third on that play. Warren came in to strike out Tulo and get Donaldson to ground out. He tossed a scoreless eighth as well.

Ellsbury (two), McCann, and Gardner had the team’s four hits. McCann was also hit by a pitch and A-Rod drew the only walk. Six base-runners in nine innings? Not good! The offense has been a bit better these last few games but it’s still not all the way back to where it was even two weeks ago.

And finally, the Yankees held the Blue Jays to 17 runs in six games these last two weekends, which I would have signed up for in a heartbeat. Too bad they went 2-4 in those six games. Gross.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score and video highlights for the game as well as the updated standings and postseason odds for the season. Also make sure you check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages, because I made them and do update them daily, and I’d hate for all that effort to go to waste. Here’s the loss probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The six-game road trip is over and the Yankees are heading home for a ten-game homestand. First up: three games with the Twins. CC Sabathia and Kyle Gibson will be on the mound in Monday night’s opener. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to attend any of those ten games in person.

Masahiro comes up masterful, Yankees take two straight from the Blue Jays with a 4-1 victory

That shadow (Source: Getty)

Can’t overstate how big of a win this is — the Yankees defeated the Blue Jays 4-1 to gain another game on their first place lead in the AL East. The bats delivered some pop while Masahiro Tanaka pitched one of the finest games of his ML career. New York also took the series in enemy’s territory, so that’s pretty cool too.

Early offense attempts

Carlos Beltran did it again – in the first inning, against Marco Estrada, Beltran drove a high fastball over the right field fence for a 1-0 lead. Estrada, by the way, has a 31.9% ground ball rate, which is really, really low. He’s just done a much better job at keeping the ball in the park (0.95 HR/9) than he used to (1.73 HR/9 last year, for instance).

(Source: Getty)

Top third, with one out, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a deep triple to right to set up a scoring situation for Brett Gardner. Gardner, however, struck out after being fooled badly by Estrada’s three straight changeups (that at-bat looked like a clinic for “how to make hitters look really bad with your changeup”). Beltran walked on four pitches but Teixeira bloop-lined out softly to end the inning. Up until the top of sixth, the Yankee offense didn’t have that much going against Estrada.

Maestro Masahiro

Meanwhile on the pitching side, this was probably the biggest Yankee start to date for Tanaka and boy, he showed up. The righty delivered a one-run CG, striking out eight and allowing only five hits. This was a truly ace-like performance, especially with the bullpen quite spent after the past few games.

His start wasn’t without a dent or two; Tanaka started the fifth by walking Ryan Goins on four pitches. He then allowed a slap single to Ben Revere and another four-pitch walk to Troy Tulowitzki to load the bases with no out. This is the definition of not what you want, especially with Josh Donaldson coming up.

After falling behind 2-0 to an MVP candidate in Josh Donaldson, Tanaka threw a 88 mph slider that he just got under – had Donaldson swung a bit more level and squared it up, it could have been out to the seats in a hurry. But instead of a grand slam, Donaldson hit a towering sac fly to tie the game 1-1. Tanaka managed to get out of the inning without further damage by striking out Jose Bautista and inducing a soft line out from Edwin Encarnacion. That outcome, especially considering the Jays lineup, is just tremendous.

Besides that fifth inning, boy, Tanaka was fantastic today. I will take many more starts like that. Especially with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller not being available, a complete game from a starter was just what the doctor ordered.

Gluten free forearms (Source: Getty)

Retaking and extending the lead

In the sixth, with two outs, Teixeira pulled a changeup into the second deck for a massive solo home run, 2-1. Chase Headley worked a walk against Estrada and Greg Bird stepped up to the plate, looking for his first ML hit.

On a 1-0 pitch, Bird hit a massive fly ball that hit the top of the second deck seats … that was initially called a foul, just outside the pole. Joe Girardi encouraged the umpires to review the foul, and after replay the call remained. It was foul. Oh well. Bird ended up striking out swinging to end the inning.

In the eighth, Beltran struck again – with one out, he hit a deep double that just missed a homer by inches. Teixeira followed it up with an RBI single to bring in Chris Young (pinch-running for Beltran), making it 3-1.

The Yankees got another insurance in the ninth. John Ryan Murphy led off the inning with a double and Stephden Drew sent him to third with a sacrifice bunt. Ellsbury, who seems to be hitting balls harder lately, lined an RBI single to center to make it 4-1. There’s never an enough insurance runs against the Blue Jays.

Leftovers

Man, how big has Beltran been? Not only did he hit a homer in the first, he also made two not-so-easy inning-ending catches that would’ve scored runs for Toronto. After today’s game, Beltran has a 122 wRC+ and .203 ISO in 2015, which are great – especially for a 38-year old who had a very, very abysmal start to the season.

Greg Bird had his first ML hit in the eighth inning! After starting his career 0-for-8, Bird grounded a pitch from LaTroy Hawkins for a single to opposite field. It also happened to be one of the weaker contacts he’s made in ML, so of course.

“And our long national slow-down is over,” quipped Michael Kay in the ninth as Brett Gardner finally stole a base with two outs. That is his first stolen base since June 12, more than two months ago.

Box score, standings, highlights and WPA

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


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees will go for the series sweep tomorrow with 21-year old Luis Severino on the mound against Drew Hutchinson. This weekend has gone exorbitantly better than the previous weekend so bask in it, readers!

Game 115: The Day After

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

My heart is still pumping after that game last night. That was something else. Been a while since a baseball game made me feel that way. But today is a new day, and what happened yesterday is in past. The Yankees have another game this afternoon and a chance to win the series over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. I’d like that, especially after last weekend.

The Yankees have the right guy on the mound this afternoon in Masahiro Tanaka, who has been really homer prone of late, but also pretty good. Last weekend he held the Jays to three hits — two solo homers — in six innings and could have gone out for the seventh because he’d only thrown 80 pitches. Hopefully Tanaka goes deeper into the game today and keeps the ball in the park. Here is Toronto’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. DH Mark Teixeira
  5. 3B Chase Headley
  6. 1B Greg Bird
  7. SS Didi Gregorus
  8. C John Ryan Murphy
  9. 2B Stephen Drew
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

It is cloudy, cool, and humid in Toronto this afternoon, and there is some rain in the forecast, so I’m guessing the Rogers Centre roof will be closed. This afternoon’s game will begin at 1:07pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Roster Move: The Yankees have recalled Caleb Cotham and designated Chris Capuano for assignment, the team announced. I guess that means Bryan Mitchell is available for long relief work again.

Injury Update: Forgot to mention this in the recap last night, but x-rays on Ivan Nova‘s finger came back negative following last night’s game. He took that hard-hit grounder to the hand in the third inning. It got him in the ring finger. Nova stayed in the game and didn’t seem to have any problems afterward … Diego Moreno will have bone chips removed from his elbow, Brian Cashman announced. Moreno had been pitching when them for years, but they didn’t become a problem until recently.

Beltran’s clutch homer gives Yankees come from behind 4-3 win over Blue Jays

Man, it has been a long time since a baseball game made my heart race like that. I’ve missed you, meaningful baseball. Carlos Beltran‘s ultra-clutch three-run pinch-hit home run gave the Yankees a 4-3 come from behind win over the Blue Jays on Friday, ending Toronto’s eleven-game winning streak. Never in doubt. (There was a lot of doubt.)

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

Battlin’ & Grindin’
Usually reserved for CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova fell victim to the One Bad Inning on Friday night. It would have been worse if not for a miraculous Jacoby Ellsbury diving catch — the camera work made it look like Ellsbury came out of nowhere — to save a run and end the second inning, but Ellsbury made the catch, so no harm no foul. The One Bad Inning was the third.

It all started with a hit batsman. Nova plunked No. 8 hitter Kevin Pillar with a hanging curveball, allowed a single to No. 9 hitter Ben Revere, then Troy Tulowitzki literally hit Nova with a hard-hit grounder. Nova reached out with his barehand and the ball deflected to Didi Gregorius at short, who was able to get the force out at second. It was a pretty great play by Didi. Nova stayed in the game after getting checked out by the trainer and throwing some test pitches.

Tulowitzki’s grounder drove in the first run of the night, then Josh Donaldson parked a double into the left field corner to score the second run. Edwin Encarnacion plated the third run with a sacrifice fly. That was not a fun inning. Nova settled down though, retiring 12 of the next 13 batters he faced, including nine on ground balls.

Nova pitched out of a little jam in the seventh — he got Josh Donaldson to ground out with runners at first and second — to end his night with the three runs allowed on five hits and one walk in seven innings. Nova struck out three and got 14 outs on the ground compared to four in the air. That third inning was ugly, but the Blue Jays have a great offense, and Nova did a great job battling. Completing seven full innings is especially appreciated this year.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

Scattered Hits
The Yankees managed eleven hits (eleven hits!) off David Price in 7.1 innings of work. The problem? Eight of them were singles and they weren’t really bunched together — the Yankees had multiple hits in just three innings. It was the very definition of scattering hits. Price deserves credit for bending and not breaking, but, after watching this offense scuffle for more than a week now, it was frustrating to see so many hits and no runs.

That all changed in the eighth inning. The Yankees were still down 3-0, though Price was approaching 100 pitches and the lineup had just turned over yet again. The hitters were getting a fourth look at him. The rally started with a one-out ground ball single back up the middle by Mark Teixeira, then continued with Brian McCann‘s bloop to shallow left. At this point Price was at 109 pitches.

Right-hander Aaron Sanchez was warming in the bullpen, but manager John Gibbons decided to stick with Price against Chase Headley, who already had two hits on the night. Headley leaned into a 1-1 changeup and yanked it into the left-center field gap for a run-scoring ground-rule double. It’s easy to say the hop over the wall was a bad break, but I’m not sure McCann scores all the way from first base anyway. Regardless, the Yankees had runners at second and third with one out. They were in business.

Headley’s double ended Price’s night and Gibbons brought in Sanchez to face Chris Young, who was predictably lifted for pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran. I thought Beltran should have hit for Brendan Ryan following Didi’s leadoff single in the seventh, but that didn’t happen, and thank goodness it didn’t. Sanchez blew two upper-90s heaters by Carlos for swings and misses, threw the third high for a ball, then threw the fourth for … well … look:

Oh baby. Sanchez didn’t get the fourth fastball by Beltran. I know the Yankees have been sitting in first place most of the season and have gotten some pretty big hits along the way, but yeah, that’s the biggest hit of the season. Hands down, right? It checked in at +0.45 WPA, making it fourth biggest hit of the year by WPA, behind McCann’s walk-off home run against the Rays (+0.68), Stephen Drew‘s grand slam in Baltimore (+0.57), and Headley’s game-tying ninth inning homer against the Red Sox in April (+0.49). WPA lacks context though. It doesn’t know first place was on the line, or that the Rogers Centre crowd was raucous, or that the Yankees have been struggling to score runs. Beltran’s hit was the biggest of the year. I am pronouncing it so by the power vested in me by the BBWAA. So there.

Andrew Miller Brian McCann

Never Easy In The Ninth
Once Beltran gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead, Joe Girardi went to his two-headed bullpen monster, and Dellin Betances responded by cutting through Jose Bautista, Encarnacion, and Justin Smoak in the eighth. Smoak hit a ball hard to the warning track in dead center, but a) he hit it to the wrong part of the park, and b) replays showed it was closer to the handle of the bat and away from the sweet spot. An out’s and out, right? Right.

Andrew Miller got the ball in the ninth inning and he’s been shaky of late. Very shaky, really. He got Russell Martin to pop-up for the first out, then walked Chris Colabello to put the tying run on base. To be fair, home plate umpire Andy Fletcher squeezed Miller and called his 2-2 fastball ball three when it should have been strike three:

Andrew Miller Chris Colabello

That’s a pretty big non-call! It should have been two outs with the bases empty, but instead the at-bat continued and Miller walked Colabello to put a man on base with one out. Yuck. Kevin Pillar followed that with a single to center to put the tying run on base, then a wild pitch moved the runners up. Not good! The tying run was on third and the winning run was on second with one out.

Miller was able to get the second out by striking out the left-handed Ben Revere, who is pretty much un-strikeout-able. He came into the game with a 9.2% strikeout rate, the fifth lowest in baseball among the 155 qualified hitters. Putting the ball in play is his game, but Miller got him to take a pitch for a called strike one and swing over two sliders for strikes two and three. That brought Tulowitzki to the plate and holy smokes, what a battle. Twelve pitches, three fastballs, nine sliders, seven fouls. Look:

Andrew Miller Troy Tulowitzki

McCann deserves a ton of credit here. He’s had some issues blocking balls in the dirt this year, and there was already one wild pitch in the inning, but he kept calling the slider and trusting he would block it. Very gutsy with the tying run at third. Tulowitzki put up one hell of a fight, spoiling some good pitches, but Miller eventually got a slider in far enough to get the swing-and-miss he needed. Game over. Ex-friggin-hale. What a battle. The game and that at-bat.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

Leftovers
The Blue Jays had shut the Yankees out for 33 consecutive innings before Headley’s double. Their last run against the Toronto before that was Teixeira’s solo homer in the second inning of last Friday’s game, the one they had to review to make sure it actually cleared the wall. Teixeira, by the way, went 1-for-4 and struck out looking at a center cut fastball with two on and two outs in the third. Slightly frustrating.

Everyone in the starting lineup had a hit except Young, who went 0-for-3. He’s been quite streaky this year and seems to be in another funk. Headley had three hits, Gardner and Gregorius had two hits, and everyone else had one hit each. The Yankees didn’t draw a walk for only the fifth time this season, second fewest in baseball behind the Cubs (four).

The defense was rock solid this game. Ellsbury made that spectacular diving catch and Gregorius made a great play to convert the chopper off Nova’s hand into an out, but that wasn’t all. Ellsbury and Gardner each did a good job cutting a ball off and holding the hitter to single, Headley made a few nice snags on short hop grounders, and Teixeira made at least one nice scoop at first. Sound defense.

And finally, the Yankees have now snapped two eleven-game winning streaks this year. They ended Toronto’s in this game and they did it to the Mets back in April. YES said the Yankees have snapped an 11-game winning streak in each of their last four opportunities. I have no idea how far back that dates, however. It’s not exactly a common occurrence.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score and video highlights for Friday’s game, and here are the updated standings and postseason odds for the season. Also head over and check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. Here’s the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
That was just game one of this three-game series. Great googly moogly. The Yankees and Blue Jays will play again Saturday afternoon, when Masahiro Tanaka gets the ball against Marco Estrada.

Yankees stop skid in Greg Bird’s debut with an 8-6 win over Indians

Textbook post-swing extension shot. (Source: Getty)

At last, the Bombers are back in the win column. It was not a squeaky clean game but a win is a win. The early offensive outburst was a really, really good sign and hopefully the start of an upwards trend while Nathan Eovaldi pitched just well enough to earn another win.

Runs!!!

The Yankees offense had been in something of a drought the past several games. But tonight, the fountain burst from the first inning — Brian McCann hit a towering three-run homer to drive in Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner for a quick 3-0 lead.

In the second inning, Stephen Drew once again showed off his power by taking a Trevor Bauer pitch out for a solo homer, making it 4-0. How about that: Stephen Drew, a second baseman with 15 homers!

Drew struck again in the fourth! With Didi Gregorius on first, Drew drove a double down the left field line for another RBI, 5-2 Yankees. Two batters later, Gardner drove a big double off the left field wall to drive in Drew, making it 6-2. Golly, that was probably the hardest hit ball Gardner’s hit in awhile.

The Yankees would score two more – both on Brett Gardner singles (sixth and eighth innings) and those proved to be quite vital considering the Indians managed to score some runs against the bullpen.

(Source: Getty)

An avian debut

Highly-touted 1B prospect Greg Bird got his first ML at-bat in the first inning against Trevor Bauer. On the sixth pitch, Bird drove a curveball to deep right but right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall caught it in almost a shoestring manner. Had the ball sliced just a bit more, it could have been an RBI double.

In his second at bat, Bird squared up a Bauer fastball pretty well towards left field – but it ended up being another hard-luck line out. In the fifth, Bird hit another liner to left but it was right towards the left fielder Michael Brantley. Three hard contacts in a row but nothing to show for it (at least on the scoreboard)!

When it was all said and done, Bird went 0-for-5 with three well-hit balls and two strikeouts. I didn’t think he looked overmatched or anything — Joe Girardi‘s gotta be pretty pleased with the hard contact the kid made.

Also, some may know this, but the last Yankee to go 0-for-5 in ML debut? Some guy named Derek Jeter.

(Source: Getty)

“Eh” Nate

Eovaldi didn’t really have his A-game tonight. Well, that is not to say that he didn’t pitch well – it was more like he was lacking a bit with his command and got into some trouble.

Eovaldi got into his first jam in the third inning – he walked Giovanny Urshela to lead off the inning and Jose Ramirez followed it up with a single up the middle. He did take care of Francisco Lindor via sac bunt but the renowned Yankee killer Michael Brantley came up with both runners in scoring position with one out. Brantley drove Urshela in with a sac fly, giving Eovaldi a chance to get out of the inning with only a run allowed, but then Carlos Santana drove in Ramirez with an RBI single. 4-2.

Eovaldi allowed two more runs in the bottom sixth before departing. He allowed back-to-back doubles to Yan Gomes and Abraham Almonte to make it 7-3, and Chisenhall knocked him out of the game with an RBI single, 7-4. Tonight’s start was quite underwhelming for post-Marlins disaster Eovaldi – sometimes pitchers can have a game like this and luckily, it happened on a night where offense certainly supported him.

Bullpen

In the sixth, Adam Warren inherited Eovaldi’s mess and got Urshela to ground into a double play to get out of the inning. Personally, I would have let him start the seventh but Girardi opted for Justin Wilson, who ended up only recording two outs and allowing two baserunners before being lifted for Dellin Betances.

Betances walked Yan Gomes to load the bases. While facing the next hitter, Almonte, he uncorked a 0-2 wild pitch to let Lindor score from third base, 7-5. Yeesh, thank goodness for extra runs tonight. However, Dellin K’d Almonte and pitched a scoreless eighth to bring a save situation for Andrew Miller.

Just like two nights ago, Miller didn’t seem too sharp. Lindor led off the inning with a single. Miller did manage to strike out Brantley and get Santana out with a pop-up. With Yan Gomes batting, Lindor advanced to second on a defense indifference and the Brazilian catcher drove him in with an RBI single, 8-6. Miller avoided further damage by striking out Almonte to end the game.

Leftovers

Ellsbury and Gardner provided some offensive spark tonight and it was vital. They went 5-for-8 combined with two walks and three RBI’s (all by Gardner by the way). See what the team can do (win) when the numbers one and two hitters can hit?

Stephen Drew went 2-for-3 with a homer, double, walk and reached on an error. He also scored four runs, meaning that he scored every time reaching on base one way or another.

Box score, standings, highlights and WPA

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


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees head to Toronto for another three-game series versus the Blue Jays, fun! I’m not going to say it’s a make-or-break series because there’s still a good amount of games left in the season but it would be very positive to see New York beat a much-improved Blue Jays team. Well, we’ll see. Ivan Nova takes the mound against David Price.

Yankees lose 2-1 to Indians, drop fifth straight and fall into second place in the AL East

Remember when we all laughed at the Mets for blowing a seven-game lead in 18 days at the end of the 2007 season? Well the Yankees just blew a seven-game lead in 15 days. At least they still have another 50 games to play. Wednesday night’s 2-1 loss to the Indians was New York’s fifth straight loss and ninth in their last 13 games. The Blue Jays won yet again, so Toronto now leads the AL East by a half-game. The Yankees do have a one-game lead in the loss column, but that doesn’t make me feel any better.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Bend, Sorta Break
Looking at the box score, this seems like a perfectly acceptable start for CC Sabathia. Two runs on nine hits and two walks in six innings? Not great but that works. Sabathia has not been good this year and that’s a winnable start. Of course, if you watched the game, you know it was maybe the ugliest six innings of two-run ball you will ever see. Sabathia was in bend but don’t mode all night. Basically from the very first batter he faced.

Sabathia put the leadoff man on base is five of six innings including the first, when Jose Ramirez sliced a 2-2 single to left field. CC was able to strand that runner, as well as the leadoff base-runners he allowed in the third and fourth innings, but Sabathia wasn’t as lucky after that. Three singles and a bunt tied the game 1-1 in the fifth and then the Indians took a 2-1 lead on three singles and a ground out in the sixth. At one point six of nine Indians had hits against Sabathia and one of the three who didn’t laid down a sac bunt.

The defense gave Sabathia a big lift and helped him navigate those six innings with only two runs allowed. They turned two double plays behind him and Didi Gregorius turned in a pair of gems, one in the second and one with runners at first and second to end the sixth. Gold star kinda plays. Two runs in six innings from Sabathia is fine, you’ll take that result every time at this point of his career, but it was not pretty. He’s lucky the damage wasn’t worse.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Missed Opportunities
Early on, it looked like the offense was on the verge of breaking out. Chase Headley drew a one-out walk in the first and the Indians turned a gorgeous double play on Alex Rodriguez to bail out Danny Salazar. Brian McCann smashed a long solo home run in the second, it was a no-doubter off the bat, and two batters later Gregorius crushed a ball to the warning track that looked long gone. The acoustics at Progressive Field are deceiving. It sounded like Didi really laid into that one.

The Yankees had just the one run but there were some encouraging signs in the early innings. Salazar needed the great double play in the first and Gregorius nearly hit a ball out in the second. Offense was coming … then it didn’t. Salazar settled in, retired 13 of the next 15 batters faced — one of the base-runners was erased on a botched hit and run! — and pitched into the eighth inning. More of the same. Lots of weak contact and easy outs. Nothing we haven’t seen the last week or so.

Salazar did give the Yankees some hope in both the seventh and eighth innings but of course they didn’t capitalize. A Mark Teixeira single and a Carlos Beltran double put runners at second and third with one out in the seventh, then Gregorius popped up on the infield and Chris Young struck out. Inning over. In the eighth, Brett Gardner and Headley drew back-to-back walks with one out, then Indians closer Cody Allen got A-Rod to bang in a 6-4-3 double play. He couldn’t have rolled it any better. Tailor made.

Earlier this year, a one or two run deficit felt like nothing because the Yankees were consistently putting together rallies. Now I’m at the point where I’m wondering how they’ll blow whatever opportunities they do get, which feels a little too much like the 2013-14 seasons to me. It hits a little too close to home, ya know? The offense has rendered me speechless. I am without speech. Aarglebargle.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
Chasen Shreve and the just called up Nick Goody tossed scoreless seventh and eighth innings, respectively, to spare the rest of the overworked bullpen. Shreve took a line drive to the pitching shoulder and the trainer didn’t even come out to check on him. Yes, Shreve waved them off, but still. Right in the shoulder! Gotta get out there and check on him. Geez.

Four hits: McCann’s homer, Beltran’s double, and singles by Gardner and Teixeira. Gardner, Beltran, Young, and Headley (two) drew the five walks. Gardner was thrown out trying to steal in the sixth inning but it wasn’t really a steal attempt. It was a hit and run, Headley swung through the pitch, and Gardner was out by a mile. Brett has one attempted one real steal in almost two months.

Gregorius made a spectacular diving stop to rob Giovanny Urshela of a hit in the second inning (video). Urshela was originally called safe but it was overturned on replay. The Yankees are 15-for-21 (!) on replays this year. That 71% success rate is the best in baseball. (The Mariners and Diamondbacks are the only other teams over 66%.) Bret Weber, whose official title is Baseball Operations Assistant, is the club’s behind the scenes video replay guy. He deserves a full World Series share after the season.

And finally, we reached peak crazy in the ninth inning, when John Ryan Murphy pinch-ran for McCann with one out, not Jacoby Ellsbury. (McCann reached on a wild pitch after striking out.) Ellsbury instead stood on deck when Gregorius struck out out to end the game, waiting to pinch-hit for Young. Amazing.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score and video highlights, and here are the updated standings and postseason odds. Also check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. Now here’s the LPA graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees will look to avoid their sixth straight loss Thursday night when they wrap up this three-game series against the Indians. The pitching matchup will be Nathan Eovaldi and Trevor Bauer.

Miller blows first save, Yankees drop fourth straight in 5-4 extra innings loss to Indians

So that was the worst loss of the season. The Yankees got the big hit, handed a lead to their bullpen … and still lost. The Indians walked off with a 5-4 win in 16 stupid innings Tuesday night. The Yanks have lost four straight and eight of their last 12 games. Hard to think they’ll be in first place much longer.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Six Strong
The first two innings of this game were pretty scary. Luis Severino looked very much like a 21-year-old rookie in over his head, and by that I mean missing his spots (by a lot) and falling behind in the count. Six of the first ten batters he faced reached base — Didi Gregorius helped him out by starting a spectacular 6-4-3 double play in the second — and at one point Severino threw first pitch balls to six straight batters. It wasn’t pretty. He needed 45 pitches to get his first six outs.

Then, in the fourth inning, Severino seemed to settle down and get on a nice little roll. He retired ten of the final eleven batters he faced and looked better all around. Severino did a better job locating and keeping hitters off balance — it seemed like he used his changeup much more often the second and third time through the lineup — and generated a lot of weak contact. The beginning of the game was not good at all. Severino was all over the place, but he recovered nicely, and that’s good to see from a kid making his second start.

31 Innings
The Yankees went 31 innings without scoring a run before Stephen Drew swatted one of his trademark “keep me on the roster another few weeks” solo home runs leading off the sixth inning. 31 innings! The last run the Yankees scored prior to Drew’s homer was Mark Teixeira‘s solo homer in the second inning of Friday’s game. Remember that? When they had to review it to make sure it actually went over the wall? Yeah, it had been a while. That one run felt like a minor miracle. It cut the deficit in half and brought the Yankees to within 2-1.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Tied … Then Tied
The score remained 2-1 into the eighth inning, when Carlos Beltran knotted things up with a line drive solo home run to right field. It hit the top of the wall and just scooted over, though who the hell cares at this point. The Yankees are desperate for runs and that was a run. A big one that tied the game. Beltran had the best at-bats of the night against Carlos Carrasco by a mile. No one else was close. He really battled.

To extra innings they went. (Brett Gardner walked with one out in the ninth and was thrown out stealing in his first stolen base attempt in two months. Good idea to run! Didn’t work out though.) Indians righty Bryan Shaw came out of the bullpen in the tenth and was quite wild. He walked Brian McCann with one out, fell behind Beltran 3-0 before giving up a single, then fell behind Drew 2-0 with the bases loaded. Gregorius had served a single to load things up between Beltran and Drew.

Drew, surprisingly, did not pop-up. He instead hit a ground ball to first base and the force out was made at the plate. Now the bases were loaded with two outs. Brendan Ryan was lifted for pinch-hitter Chase Headley, who promptly worked a 3-0 count. At that point Shaw had thrown only ten of his 22 pitches for strikes. Headley took the 3-0 pitch for a strike, swung through the 3-1 pitch to run the count full, then ripped a two-run single to right. It was glorious. He’s hitting .317 with runners in scoring position, you know.

Two-run lead in the bottom of the tenth means a win, right? Wrong. Andrew Miller picked a bad time for his first blown save of the season. The Indians didn’t exactly smack him around — the two-run rally started with a leadoff infield single — but two runs is two runs. Michael Brantley doubled to left to put runners at second and third with no outs, Carlos Santana plated a run with a sac fly, then Yan Gomes singled to center to knot things up. Miller has now allowed seven runs in 12.2 innings since coming back from the DL. Yuck.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Let’s Burn Out The Bullpen
You could kinda see it coming. As soon as the Indians tied things up in the tenth, it was only a matter of time until they walked off with the win, but the Yankees delayed things long enough to burn out their bullpen. Bryan Mitchell was a damn hero, striking out five in three scoreless innings while pitching out of some big jams. His reward? Likely a trip to Triple-A Scranton for a fresh arm tomorrow. Baseball can be so dumb sometimes.

The offense, of course, couldn’t be bothered to do anything in extra innings. Not even work the count. The last 14 batters they sent to the plate made outs and those 14 guys saw 34 total pitches. That’s 2.43 pitches per plate appearance. Those 14 batters hit four balls out of the infield. Embarrassing. Total breakdown in their approach. There were an awful lot of defeated swings those innings. Lots of “let’s get this over with” at-bats. Gross. What a mess.

The Indians finally won in the 16th inning on Brantley’s oh so predictable walk-off single. The Yankees haven’t been able to get him out since about 2012. Branden Pinder took the loss in his second inning of work, but, aside from Miller, no pitcher on the staff deserves blame in this one. What more do you want from them? The Yankees have allowed 15 runs in their last 43 defensive innings (3.14 runs per nine innings) and are 0-4 in those games.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
The top of the order is killing the Yankees right now. It’s brutal. Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-for-7, Gardner went 0-for-6, A-Rod went 1-for-6, and Teixeira went 0-6. That’s 1-for-25 combined with two walks and nine strikeouts for the one through four hitters. Awful. Just awful. Ellsbury hasn’t hit a ball out of the infield in his last 17 plate appearances. Just slap a No. 14 jersey on him at this point.

Gregorius, meanwhile, went 3-for-6 and is the club’s best player on the both sides of the ball right now. How crazy is that? Beltran went 2-for-4, Drew had his homer, and Headley his two-run single. Chris Young and John Ryan Murphy came off the bench — Young pinch-ran for McCann in the tenth and Murphy took over behind the plate — and went 0-for-4 combined.

The bullpen aside from Miller was splendid. Chasen Shreve, Dellin Betances, Justin Wilson, and Adam Warren all threw scoreless innings. I’m not sure why Warren only threw one inning, but then again I haven’t understood anything about his usage this year, so lol whatevs. Mitchell threw his three scoreless and Pinder threw a scoreless 15th before losing in the 16th.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score and video highlights for the game and here are the updated standings and postseason odds for the season. Also please check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. They’re cool. Here’s the loss probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Same two teams Tuesday night, in the middle game of this three game series. CC Sabathia will start against his former team for the eight time in his career. Hard-throwing Danny Salazar will be on the bump for the Indians.