Yankees hit five homers, Sabathia finally gets first win in 11-5 rout of Rays

You guys, the Yankees are good now. The Bronx Bombers hit five (five!) home runs — all five came with two outs too — to beat the Rays 11-5 in their series opener at Tropicana Field on Monday night. The Yanks have won 18 of their last 24 games. It’s early, but they have a four-game lead in the AL East for the first time since August 26th, 2012.

Liners & Homers
It started right in the very first inning with Alex Rodriguez‘s monster solo home run off Alex Colome. It was absolutely smoked. The Yankees seemed to hit nothing but rockets off Colome all night, scoring eight runs on eleven hits in six innings against the righty. All eight of those runs scored on dingers: A-Rod‘s solo homer, Chase Headley‘s three-run homer, Carlos Beltran‘s solo homer, and Brett Gardner‘s three-run homer.

Headley’s home run was probably the biggest in the grand scheme of things. The score was tied 1-1 in the fourth, and the Yankees had two runners on base with two outs. Brian McCann popped up on the infield for the second out and was unable to score Beltran from third, but Headley picked him up with a first pitch homer. That was dangerously close to a scoreless inning with two runners stranded. Instead, it was a three-run frame to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead.

Gardner’s homer turned this game into a laugher. It was another two on, two out situation in the sixth inning, and Colome gave Brett a meatball 2-0 fastball that Gardner drove out to dead center field. Gardner doesn’t hit too many homers to center. He tends to pull them to right field. That one was crushed right back up the middle and it gave the Yankees an 8-1 lead. For good measure, Mark Teixeira went opposite field for a two-run homer in the ninth.

The Yankees hit five homers for the first time this year after doing it twice last year and just once the year before. This game was about much more than the homers though. The Yankees ripped line drive after line drive it seemed. There were no soft hits. Even after Colome left the game, they were hitting line drives. Just a great night for the offense. Everyone seemed to be on every pitch.

(Brian Blanco/Getty)
(Brian Blanco/Getty)

The First Win
It took the combination of a big night for the offense and (arguably) CC Sabathia‘s best start of the season for the big lefty to get his first win of 2015. Four runs in seven innings doesn’t really tell you how well Sabathia pitched — he was in cruise control until giving up a bunch of garbage time runs in the seventh inning, when he appeared to run out of gas. At one point Sabathia retired 15 of 17 batters faced, and the two hits were a bloop and an infield single.

The first inning started pretty poorly for Sabathia, who walked the first two batters and gave up a booming double to the wall to the fourth batter. Two runs should have scored on Logan Forsythe’s two-bagger — Chris Young missed the cutoff man on Evan Longoria’s fly ball, allowing both runners to advance a base — but Steven Souza Jr. did a funny base-running thing and got thrown out at the plate. Souza tagged up like three times at second base on the double for some reason.

After the double, Sabathia used a combination of changeups and sinkers to keep the Rays off balance and strike out a season-high nine. Five of the nine strikeouts were looking. He really did a good job locating both in and out, I thought. Back-to-back solo homers and an outfield-aided run — Young misplayed a rolling ball and turned it into a triple — uglified Sabathia’s final line in that seventh inning. CC pitched very well, as well as he has at any point this season or last, and he earned that first win of the year.

(Brian Blanco/Getty)
(Brian Blanco/Getty)

David Carpenter allowed a stupid run in the eighth — he hit a batter, threw away a pickoff throw to allow him to go to second, then gave up a ground ball single just out of the reach of Didi Gregorius to score the run. He still struggled — two of his three outs were line drives that were caught — but this was exactly the kind of game Carpenter needs to pitch. They’ve got to get him straightened out. Branden Pinder got the final three outs, including the last on a pop fly off one of the catwalks.

The Yankees scored their only non-homer run on a Headley sac fly in the seventh. Beltran (single homer), A-Rod (single, homer), Teixeira (two singles, double, homer), and Headley (single, homer) all had multiple hits. Everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit except for Gregorius, who drew a walk. Teixeira went from .212/.336/.567 (137 wRC+) to .239/.353/.615 (154 wRC+) with his big game.

Erasmo Ramirez came out of the bullpen to throw the last two innings for the Rays, which more or less confirms he will not start Thursday’s game. (Tampa’s starter is listed at TBA.) Guessing it’ll be right-hander Matt Andriese instead.

And finally, Erasmo plunked A-Rod with a pitch in the top of the ninth. It didn’t look intentional, but Alex wasn’t happy, so he immediately stole second base. (They scored it defensive indifference for some reason.) That was the most “eff you” stolen base I’ve ever seen.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also make sure you check out our useful Bullpen Workload and useless Announcer Standings pages. Now here is the win probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Rays will be back at it Tuesday night, in the second game of this four-game series. Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Archer will be the pitching matchup. One of those guys is 18 months younger than the other. Guess who?

Big Mike fans 16, Yankees take series finale from O’s 6-2

Source: FanGraphs

Gosh, what a game. And of course I missed it. Well, missed most of it. I was around for the first inning, inning and a half before I had to head out for some family time on Mother’s Day. Just my luck, right? The Yankees won for the 17th time in their last 23 games on Sunday, beating the Orioles 6-2 in the series finale. Let’s recap this one with an annotated box score.

Yankees Orioles annotated box scoe

(1) Sixteen strikeouts! I don’t want to spoil too much of tomorrow’s Yankeemetrics post, but Michael Pineda tied David Cone for the most strikeouts by a right-handed pitcher in a single game in franchise history. (Cone struck out 16 in June 1997.) Ron Guidry of course holds the franchise record with 18 strikeouts. Here is Big Mike‘s 16th strikeout:

I can’t remember the last time there was that much energy in Yankee Stadium for a non-legacy player farewell game. Pineda has kinda sorta been the staff ace since Masahiro Tanaka got hurt last year, but he confirmed it with authority on Sunday. He’s the ace. Sixteen strikeouts, no walks, one run in seven innings on a solo homer. Total domination. Pineda has 54 strikeouts and three walks in 46.1 innings this year. That’s a 29.5 K% and a 1.6 BB%, with a 53.2% ground ball rate to boot. Have mercy, Big Mike.

(Aside: Dan Barbarisi says Pineda calls strikeouts “strike ’em outs,” and I think we should all call them that from now on.)

(2) Carlos Beltran hit a home run! It’s his first dinger in 176 plate appearances, dating back to August 23rd of last season. It was a bit of a meatball, a hanging 85 mph slider, but that’s fine. It’s a pitch the hitter is supposed to crush and earlier this year Beltran wasn’t doing much with pitches like that. Carlos is 10-for-32 (.313) with four doubles, the homer, two walks, and two strike ’em outs in May. It’s no secret the Yankees rely heavily on the top of the order for offense. If they can start getting some production from Beltran in the sixth spot, man that would be a big help.

(3) I watched the video of Didi Gregorius‘ seventh inning double and I like the aggressiveness there. It took a perfect set of relay throws to get him at third base. That said, the run is the priority there. Stephen Drew broke it down too soon, and once the throw gets to the infield and it’s clear he’s not going to make it to third, Didi has to stop and get in a rundown so Drew could score. I don’t mind going for the triple there — that ball could have taken any sort of weird bounce off the wall, it just happened to bounce right to the cannon-armed Adam Jones — but the run has to score. Priority number one. Thankfully it didn’t come back to bite them.

(4) That was an incredibly dumb attempted steal of third base by Brett Gardner in the first inning. We went through this exact same situation with Gregorius in the first series of the year. Two outs, runners on base, power hitter at the plate … what’s the point of going there? Just let the hitter hit. Bud Norris has been pretty crappy this year and Brian McCann had a 2-0 count. A 2-0 count! Geez, Brett. Just let the man hit next time. Norris seemed very willing to work himself into trouble there and Gardner let him off the hook.

(5) The Yankees went 3-for-8 (.375) with three doubles and two walks (.500 OBP) with runners in scoring position on the afternoon. That’s really good. During this stellar 17-6 stretch, New York is hitting .243/.348/.439 with runners in scoring position. The AL average is .261/.345/.414 this year and the Yankees hit .254/.331/.372 in those spots from 2013-14. The batting average is a little low, but the on-base and slugging numbers are way, way better the last two seasons. Big time improvement from the Yankees in this area, hence the increase in scoring.

(6) At some point a number three reliever behind Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller is going to have to emerge. For a while it was Chris Martin, and lately it’s been Justin Wilson, but that spot is still undecided. That’s the role Adam Warren filled behind Betances and David Robertson last year. A five-run lead with six outs to go is a spot where Betances shouldn’t be needed for five outs, even if he threw only 23 pitches. Maybe Wilson can take that role and run with it these next few days. Maybe Jacob Lindgren can assume that role later in the year. For now, the Yankees don’t have that obvious number three option behind Dellin and Miller. Those two need to be able to sit games like this one out.

* * *

Here are the box score, the video highlights, and the updated standings. Also make sure you check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees are now off to start a nine-game, eleven-day road trip. CC Sabathia will open a four-game series in Tampa on Monday night. Righty Alex Colome will be on the bump for the Rays.

Orioles rough up Whitley, Ellsbury’s hit streak snapped at 11 as Yankees fall 6-2

Source: FanGraphs

You could kinda see Saturday’s loss coming given the state of the overworked bullpen. What are you gonna do. You win some and lose some, and the Yankees lost 6-2 to the Orioles on Saturday afternoon. They’ve still won 16 of their last 22 games. It’s Saturday, so let’s recap with bullet points:

  • Bombs Away: Chase Whitley‘s third start of the season was easily his worst. The O’s tagged him for five runs in 5.2 innings, four thanks to a trio of homers. Jimmy Paredes (solo), Chris Davis (solo), and Alejandro De Aza (two-run) all took him deep. All lefties in Yankee Stadium. Probably not a coincidence. Whitley at least soaked up some innings despite getting hit around, and the bullpen needed that.
  • Not Enough Offense: The Yankees didn’t score their first run until the fifth inning, when they were already down five-zip. Chase Headley singled, Stephen Drew doubled, and John Ryan Murphy hit a sacrifice fly, all in succession. They scored their second run in the eighth, down 6-1. Carlos Beltran singled in Jacoby Ellsbury, who reached on an error. The Yankees made some noise in the ninth (two on, one out) but couldn’t capitalize. Wei-Yin Chen threw 43 pitches in the first two innings and finished the afternoon with 105 pitches in seven innings. Womp womp.
  • Leftovers: The David Carpenter rehabilitation program got underway with a 1.1-inning outing, during which he allowed a run on two hits. Chasen Shreve faced the minimum in his two scoreless innings … Jose Pirela had two singles, both off a lefty. Chris Young (double, walk) was the only other player to reach base twice … Headley had a really strong day in the field, making several tough stops including a few diving plays … Ellsbury’s hit streak ended at eleven games.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. We also have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages available. The Yankees and Orioles will wrap up this four-game series with a Mother’s Day matinee. Michael Pineda and Bud Norris are scheduled to be on the mound Sunday afternoon, but Roch Kubatko says Norris is sick, so they might need a spot starter. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Yankees take early lead, then bullpen nails down 5-4 win over Orioles

Was it easy? Nah. Was it a win? Yes it was. A win is a win is a win. The Yankees won for the 16th time in their last 21 games on Friday night, beating the Orioles by the score of 5-4. The Bronx Bombers — we can call them that unironically again! — are 14-9 (.609) against AL East opponents this year. They were 37-39 (.487) within the division last year.


Swinging 3-0 Makes It 3-0
Exactly one week ago, Alex Rodriguez unloaded on a 3-0 pitch at Fenway Park for his historic 660th career home run. On Friday night, Brian McCann did the same, except his homer wasn’t as historic. He took a healthy cut at Miguel Gonzalez’s 3-0 offering in the first inning for a two-run homer to right field. A Yankee Stadium special. The kind of home run the Yankees signed him to hit.

The homer gave New York a quick 3-0 lead. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner — who else? those two are something else atop the lineup — set the inning up with a single and a double, and A-Rod plated the first run of the night with a sacrifice fly. It was well-struck but not “hey that might get out of here” well-struck. In the span of five batters, the Yankees scored three times as many runs as they scored in seven innings against Gonzalez three weeks ago.

Ellsbury and Gardner set up another multi-run rally in the third, this time with a leadoff walk and a single. The next two batters made outs and Gonzalez again fell behind 3-0 on McCann, but he knew better this time. He walked him intentionally to load the bases for Carlos Beltran. Zombie Beltran rose from the dead and whacked a double to right-center field, scoring two runs, though McCann was thrown out at home trying to score at first.

In hindsight, that was a pretty big out at the plate. I was too busy being happy Beltran actually got a hit to care about the out at the time. That would have been a nice insurance run to have in the late innings, but thankfully it wasn’t necessary. Through the first three innings, the Yankees went 6-for-13 (.462) with a two doubles, a homer, a sac fly, a walk, and a stolen base against Gonzalez.

Six innings, Adam. You can do it. (Elsa/Getty)
Six innings, Adam. You can do it. (Elsa/Getty)

Five & Fly
This was Adam Warren‘s sixth start of the season, and it followed the same script as his other five starts. Pretty good the first time through the order, not as good the second time through, terrible the third time through. Warren got some help from his defense early in the game and navigated the first four innings unscathed despite putting at least one man on base in each inning.

The fifth inning is where it got messy. Warren didn’t just walk the first two batters to start the inning, he walked the number eight and nine hitters to start the inning. Ouch. Manny Machado followed with a single to left to drive in Baltimore’s first run. Warren rebounded to strike out Jimmy Paredes, but Adam Jones laced a single to right to load the bases. He hit it so hard Ryan Flaherty was unable to score from second.

With his pitch count rising and his command deteriorating — a classic sign of fatigue and something we’ve seen from Warren in his other starts this season when his pitch count crossed 85 or so — Warren was able to get Delmon Young to weak tapper to shortstop, too weak to turn the double play. The out was made at second and the second run scored, ending his night. Justin Wilson came in and struck out Chris Davis to end the threat.

Warren finished the night with two runs allowed on five singles and two walks in 4.2 innings. He struck out two and recorded ten of his other dozen outs on the infield. That’s sorta cheating though — one runner was thrown out at the plate and another was thrown out trying to steal. Warren is averaging 91.5 pitches and 5.1 innings per start this year, so he’s the very definition of a five-and-fly pitcher. Not terrible, not great. The Warren as a starter story.


Hang On
The bloom seems to be off the Chris Martin rose. After Wilson put two men on base with two outs in the sixth, Martin came in, walked Machado on six pitches that weren’t particularly close to the strike zone (Manny’s a hacker), then allowed a two-run single to Paredes to make it a 5-4 game. Martin has inherited seven runners this year and five have scored. Probably not the best guy to use in a fireman role going forward.

Joe Girardi doubled down and left Martin in to start the seventh, and he rewarded his manager’s faith with two quick outs before blossoming Yankees killer Caleb Joseph singled up the middle. Martin has faced eleven batters in his last three outings and six have reached base. Slump or a crash back to Earth? Girardi went for the kill with two outs and a man on first in the seventh by bringing Dellin Betances.

Betances struck out Travis Snider to end the seventh, got two ground balls and a fly out to the warning track in the eighth, then gave way to Andrew Miller. A strikeout, a pop-up, and a ground out later, Miller had his 13th save in 13 chances. Dellin and Miller this season: 33.1 IP, 11 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 16 BB, 54 K. This is good. I enjoy this. Oh, and by the way, Girardi officially named Miller his closer after the game. Never woulda guessed it.

Meeeeanwhile, the offense stopped scoring after the third inning. They had runners on the corners in both the fifth and eighth innings, but failed to capitalize. After Beltran’s double, 15 of the final 19 Yankees to bat made outs, and two of the four guys who reached base did so on an intentional walk and an infield single. Coulda used an insurance run or five there, fellas.

Nope, out. (Elsa/Getty)
Nope, out. (Elsa/Getty)

Each of the top six hitters in the lineup had at least one hit, and that includes Stephen Drew, who came off the bench to replace Beltran for defense in the late innings. (Drew took over at second and Chris Young went to right, replacing Jose Pirela.) The bottom three hitters in the lineup went 0-for-10 with a strikeout. New York’s lineup is very top heavy. They rely an awful lot on that Ellsbury-Gardner-Rodriguez-Teixeira foursome. It would be nice if some other guys got going.

The Yankees had eight hits, five for extra bases: McCann homered, A-Rod tripled, and Gardner, Teixeira, and Beltran each doubled. A-Rod tripled off the very top of the wall in right-center. It looked the ball glanced off the glove of a leaping Adam Jones before rolling away from Snider. The Yankees have five triples this year: McCann, A-Rod, Beltran, Chase Headley, and Garrett Jones. Go figure.

Gardner threw Machado out at the plate to end the first inning — it was a really bad send, Gardner was scooping the ball before Machado even got to third — for the team’s fifth outfield assist of the season. It’s the first runner they’ve thrown out at the plate this year. Don’t ask me why I looked that up. Even I’m not sure.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also make sure you check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. Important stuff going on there. Here’s the win probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Same two teams on Saturday afternoon, in the third game of this four-game series. Chase Whitley and Wei-Yin Chen will be the pitching matchup in the matinee. If Whitley wants to go out and throw a complete game, that would be swell. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch that game or Sunday’s game live. The Yankees won’t be back in the Bronx until May 22nd after this weekend.

A-Rod hits No. 661, Yankees hang on to take the series opener 4-3 against the O’s

So we not only witnessed A-Rod move up the all-time home run ranks, the Yankees also defeated one of their division rivals to start off the home series. When you look at results, not much to complain about, right? Well, it was a stressful one to watch but the bottom line is, New York won using some power hitting and a  shutdown bullpen, which seems to be a formula that’s worked well enough to lead the division.

661 (Source: Getty)

No. 661

The inevitable has happened and it could have happened few innings earlier. First inning, with two runners on, Alex Rodriguez hit a towering fly ball to the opposite field. For a moment, it looked like Rodriguez was going to get a Yankee Stadium-aided homer … but none other than Delmon Young timed the jump right to rob it. Granted, it looked like a fly ball that a lot of outfielders would have been able to catch, but what if?

But you know what, A-Rod got another big fly two innings later. It was hit quite deep and no one had a chance to catch it. In fact, it landed left to the Monument Park, so yeah. If you want to hit a milestone homer, might as well as hit it big. And of course, that dinger put A-Rod ahead of Willie Mays for the No. 4 spot on the all-time home run list. Next up? Babe Ruth (714) for No. 3 spot.

Look at that chin (Source: Getty)

One of those outings:

Here is Nathan Eovaldi‘s line from tonight:

5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K

First off, I wish he was able to finish the sixth inning just so the line looks neater (6, 6, 3, 3, 3, 3. Eh? Eh?) but Joe Girardi doesn’t care about that. Secondly, tonight’s start illustrated what keeps Eovaldi from taking his skills to the next level — making mistake pitches that result in hard contacts and the inability to finish off a hitter with a strikeout, which is frustrating given his gifted arm strength. But he’s still young and it’s up to him to learn and adapt.

I should also note that Eovaldi gave up two homers tonight — one to former Yankee minor leaguer Jimmy Paredes (who is hitting for a torrid 178 wRC+ in 65 PA this season) and Caleb Joseph. His 2015 HR/9 rate is now at 1.32, which is double his career figure of 0.66.  Oh well. It’s one of the drawbacks of moving to a hitter-friendly ballpark. It was nice seeing him pump up mid-to-late-90’s heat (just for the sake of aesthetics, I must admit), but there’s a lot to work on for Nate. If he is able to develop, I have a feeling that we’ll have the pleasure of watching a special pitcher grow in front of our eyes for the next few years. Yes, I’m optimistic.

Bullpen again:

You know, Justin Wilson has a solid 2.79 ERA, but when he comes in, I feel like a pitcher with a 4.79 ERA is on the hill — probably because of his 5.59 BB/9. Thank goodness for his power stuff, which makes it easy to forgive his less-than-ideal command. Tonight, by the way, Wilson had a relatively easy outing after inheriting a 4-3 lead with two runners on. While he did not strike out any, he induced three grounders and a fly ball, retiring all four hitters faced. That’s all the Yankees needed from tonight’s 7th inning guy.

After Wilson, Dellin Betances game in and well … he did what Betances does the best — get hitters out. He got Adam Jones to ground out, Delmon Young to line out to Stephen Drew, and made Chris Davis look foolish with a swinging strikeout. Every time Dellin has a good outing, I always praise Yeezus that he took the $1 million bonus from the Yankees instead of going to Vanderbilt or playing basketball back in 2006.

With the score still at 4-3, the unofficial closer Andrew Miller came in for the save. Baltimore, by the way, is not a light-hitting team and there’s always a chance for a dicey situation whenever a runner gets on. So when Miller walked Steve Pearce to start the ninth … well … it felt dicey. But that feeling did not last long. J.J. Hardy popped out and the next two hitters struck out swinging to end the game. Boom. Save no. 12.

Fail (Source: Getty)


Overshadowed by A-Rod’s HR milestone was Mark Teixeira‘s performance. Tex went 2-for-3 and both hits drove in runs — one of them a double to drive in the go-ahead run in the bottom of fifth. His 2015 line is at .223/.345/.606, good for a 148 wRC+ and .383 ISO. If only his BABIP could be higher than .153.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner also proved themselves as two of the hottest ML bats again. Both combined for 4-for-7 with a walk and scored three out of four runs for New York. Tonight was basically a Ells-Gardy-A-Rod-Tex show for the offense as the rest of lineup combined for a meager 3-for-19.

Box Score, WPA, Standings, etc.:

Here’s the box score, WPA and updated standings.  Also, check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages.

Source: FanGraphs

Tomorrow, Yankees take on the Orioles again. Adam Warren goes against Miguel Gonzalez. Here’s to hoping that the bats do something against this Orioles righty this time around. It would be sweet if the Yankees take the series as well especially because I live in Maryland.

Offense can’t out-score Sabathia, Yankees fall 5-1 to Blue Jays in series finale

All good things must come to an end. The Yankees’ consecutive series win streak was snapped at five on Wednesday night, as the Blue Jays beat New York by the score of 5-1 in the series finale. CC Sabathia has started six games this year, and in those games the Yankees have scored three, three, one, two three, and one run. That won’t be enough for the big man these days.

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

Beat By The Bottom Of The Order
Imagine if, before Wednesday night’s game, I told you Sabathia would pitch into the seventh inning while holding the ultra-dangerous top of the Blue Jays’ lineup to this:

CC Sabathia Blue Jays Top

I think we’d all feel really great about that. Two singles and a walk in 14 plate appearances against that foursome? That’s basically the best realistic case scenario. You know those four are going to do damage somehow, so you just had to hope Sabathia would limit it, and limit those four he did.

Unfortunately, all that success against the dangerous top of Toronto’s lineup was paired with this:

CC Sabathia Blue Jays Bottom

Yikes! That’s eight hits — six singles, a double, and a homer — in 15 at-bats against the bottom five spots in the lineup. I want to feel good about Sabathia’s success against the top of the lineup, yet I can’t ignore that he gave up three hits to Chris freakin’ Colabello, who was literally in Triple-A when the series started.

The first two runs Sabathia allowed were kinda dopey. Kevin Pillar bunted for a hit to leadoff the second — I have to think more teams will try that against CC as the season goes on given his lack of mobility — Colabello pulled a ground ball double that hugged the third base foul line, and Ezequiel Carrera snuck a two-run single through the infield. None of those balls were hit all that hard. That’s baseball.

Sabathia allowed the third run on an infield single, a balk, and a solid single to left-center by Colabello in the fourth. The fourth run came on a sixth inning solo homer by Russell Martin, who wore his former team out all series. Martin went 7-for-9 with two doubles and two homers in the three games. Four runs on nine hits and two walks in 6.1 innings and no reason to think any improvement is coming from Sabathia. He has a 5.45 ERA on the year and a 4.94 ERA in his last 295 innings dating back to Opening Day 2013.

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

Blown Chances
The Yankees had a few chances against Mark Buehrle, who hadn’t beaten New York in more than a decade. They scored their only run in the very first inning on a Mark Teixeira ground out. Chris Young singled and Alex Rodriguez doubled earlier in the inning to set it up. The Yankees have scored 26 first inning runs this year, the third most in baseball behind the Braves and Tigers (both 27).

The third inning brought a Jose Pirela leadoff hustle double, but a pop-up and two ground outs stranded him. Teixeira’s leadoff single in the fourth was followed by two fly outs and a ground out. The Yankees put two on with one out in the fifth and eventually loaded the bases with two outs, but Teixeira banged into an inning-ending ground out on the first pitch. One base-runner was stranded in the sixth (Carlos Beltran single), seventh (Stephen Drew walk), eighth (Teixeira walked), and ninth (Drew walk). Not a great night for the offense.

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

The full Pirela experience was on display in his first game of the year. He doubled and singled against a lefty, grounded into a double play against a righty, got caught wandering too far off second on a ground ball back to the pitcher, and looked like he was running in quicksand when he was unable to get to Carrera’s two-run single to keep it on the infield and maybe stop the second run from scoring. The Yankees next face a lefty on Saturday (Wei-Yin Chen).

The Blue Jays tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when Chasen Shreve served up a triple to light hitting lefty Ryan Goins. Esmil Rogers soaked up four outs between Sabathia and Shreve. I guess the good news is the key members of the bullpen all got the night off. Didn’t even have to think about warming up. They needed a night like that.

Drew (two walks) and Pirela (single, double) reached base four times from the bottom two spots of the lineup. The other seven lineup spots reached six times. A-Rod (double, walk) and Teixeira (single, walk) both reached two times each. The Brian McCann (0-for-4) and Beltran (1-for-3) tandem is killing them. Beltran hasn’t hit all season and McCann is down to .238/.298/.393 (90 wRC+) on the year.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. We also have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages for you to check out. Here’s the win probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees are headed home for their only series at Yankee Stadium from April 30th through May 22nd. Lots and lots of road games this month. Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Tillman will open the four-game Yankees-Orioles series on Thursday night. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch that game or any of the other three games live.

Yankees escape messy ninth with 6-3 win over Blue Jays

My favorite thing about the 2015 Yankees so far is that one loss is just that, one loss. It doesn’t spiral into two or three or four losses in a row like it the last two seasons. The Yankees rebounded from Monday’s tough series opening loss with a 6-3 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday. This game was pretty stress-free for the first eight and a half innings. New York has won 14 of their last 18 games.

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

Led By The Leadoff Hitter
Jacoby Ellsbury is a pretty streaky hitter, and right now he’s absolutely locked in and pitchers just can’t him out. The Yankees had three-run scoring hits in the first five innings and Ellsbury was involved in all three. He led off the first inning with a single, moved to third on Brett Gardner‘s hustle double, then scored on Alex Rodriguez‘s double down the line. Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada was in the stretch right away.

In the second, Estrada was on the verge of a clean inning when Josh Donaldson tried to barehand Gregorio Petit‘s soft ground ball, only to throw it into the stands. I’m pretty sure Petit would have beaten it out anyway, but the throw gave him the extra base. Ellsbury made Donaldson and Estrada pay with a single slashed down the left field line. That gave the Yankees an early 3-0 lead with Ellsbury scoring one run and driving in another.

The fifth inning rally started with another Ellsbury leadoff single, his second leadoff hit of the game and third hit on the night overall. Ellsbury stole second later in the inning but that didn’t matter — Mark Teixeira unloaded on Estrada’s first pitch fastball for a monster two-run homer to right-center. Gone off the bat, cleared the bullpens, so on and so forth. Estrada led MLB with 29 homers allowed in only 150.2 innings last year and pitches like that fastball to Teixeira show why. Batting practice.

The homer gave the Yankees a nice 5-0 lead in the fifth inning and made things much more comfortable with Joe Girardi understandably wanting to stay away from his key late-inning relievers if at all possible. Ellsbury led the way offensively with three hits in five at-bats, scoring two of the six runs and driving in another. He has an eight-game hitting streak and is 28-for-67 (.418) in his last 16 games overall. Yowza.

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

Big Mike Goes Eight
For the first time as a Yankee and only the second time in his career, Michael Pineda completed eight innings on Tuesday. Eight shutout innings too. And he did it a) after laboring a bit in the early innings, and b) on a night when the bullpen really needed a rest. That’s what an ace does. Pineda put four men on base in the first three innings and just two in the next five. He retired the last seven and 15 of the last 17 batters he faced.

The Blue Jays had their best chance to rally against Pineda in the third inning, after he walked number nine hitter Ezequiel Carrera on five pitches to start the frame. Two outs followed, but the Yankees caught a break on Russell Martin‘s two-out double when third base coach Luis Rivera held Carrera up. I thought he was going to score pretty easily with two outs, but I guess not. Pineda got some more help from Gardner when he snow-coned Edwin Encarnacion’s fly ball for the final out.

Big Mike was in cruise control after that. He held Toronto to five hits and one walk in those eight shutout innings, striking out six. Pineda also got eleven outs on the ground and another three on infield pop-ups. Considering the trouble he had in those first three innings, completing eight scoreless on only 101 pitches is pretty great. Big time outing from Big Mike. The bullpen needed it too.

Messy Ninth
So we’re never going to see David Carpenter in a meaningful spot again. Carpenter, who had thrown only 16 pitches in the last 13 days, allowed three runs on three hits and a walk while getting only two outs in the ninth. Andrew Miller had to come into the game for the final out, which he recorded after walking Jose Bautista to bring the tying run to the plate. Is Carpenter struggling because he hasn’t pitched or has he not pitched because he’s struggling? We’re probably not going to get much of a chance to find out the answer.


I learned something new in this game: apparently the pitch is still live after a balk is called. That’s what happened on Ellsbury’s run-scoring single in the second. Estrada was called for a balk mid-delivery, threw the pitch anyway, and Ellsbury shot it down the line to score the run with two outs. Apparently it’s a free swing when that happens — the manager gets to decide whether to accept the balk or the outcome of the play. Who knew?

The Yankees scored their sixth run when Didi Gregorius singled in Brian McCann in the eighth. Stephen Drew broke his 0-for-17 skid with two singles, one off a lefty and one off a righty. Everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit except for Carlos Beltran, who went 0-for-4. Beltran has 16 hits this year — seven against Red Sox starters and nine against everyone else. The Yankees went 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position as a team.

Petit took a pitch to the right hand in his final at-bat of the game. He stayed in to play defense for one more inning before being taken out. Preliminary tests came back clean, but either way Jose Pirela is ready to be activated on Wednesday. Petit would probably rather sit on the big league DL for two weeks rather than go to Triple-A.

Teixeira’s home run was his tenth of the season. This was the team’s 27th game, and prior to this year, the fastest Teixeira ever reached ten homers was 38 games in 2009. He was a chronically slow starter earlier in his career, but still, beat your old personal best by eleven games? No gluten for anyone next offseason.

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 is the win probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Blue Jays will wrap up this three game series on Wednesday night, when veteran southpaws CC Sabathia and Mark Buehrle face off. Feel free to insert a joke about which one has the faster fastball.