Offense breaks out, A-Rod inches closer to 3,000th hit in 9-4 win over Marlins

That was a tale of two games. The first five and a half innings were kinda crummy, then the last three and a half innings were fantastic. A-Rod is now just one away from his 3,000th hit, but, more importantly, the Yankees beat the Marlins 9-4 on Thursday night. They’ve won two straight.

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

Score Early, Score Often … No Wait, Nevermind
Three batters and nine pitches into the game, the Yankees had three hits and a 1-0 lead. That’s always fun. Brett Gardner slapped a single to left, Chase Headley squibbed a single through something resembling the shift, and American Hero Alex Rodriguez drove in the run with a single back up to the middle. Bang bang bang, Yankees lead. They’ve now scored 62 first inning runs this year, 15 more than any other team.

The Yankees didn’t add any more runs in the first inning, however. Mark Teixeira followed A-Rod’s single with a deep fly ball, then Brian McCann drew a walk to load the bases (that’s good!) for Carlos Beltran (that’s bad!). Beltran swung at four identical pitches in the dirt — he fouled one off — and struck out for the second out. Didi Gregorius then popped up on the first pitch to end the inning. Golden opportunity wasted. They also stranded one runner in the second, two in the third, and two in the fifth for good measure.

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

Mistake Pitches
CC Sabathia opened the game with three perfect innings but you could see it was only a matter of time until he got into trouble. He was missing the glove consistently and got away with many mistake pitches. The Marlins really bailed him out with some terrible swings, both on pitches and in and out of the zone. Nine up, nine down was wonderful. But yeah, Sabathia’s location was ominous.

The fourth inning started with Dee Gordon’s Beltran-aided triple — how in the world do you let someone hit a triple on a soft line drive to right field in this ballpark? — and, two batters later, Christian Yelich tied the game with a run-scoring ground out. A single, a hit-by-pitch, and two fly balls created Miami’s second run in the fifth inning. Mason Williams was able to show off his arm on the two fly balls, but he was unable to cut Jeff Baker down at third or at home. Alas.

Following those three perfect innings to start the game, six of 14 Marlins reached base against Sabathia (.429 OBP). One of those six was a Giancarlo Stanton solo homer that wasn’t even a bad pitch — it was at Stanton’s shins and he golfed it out. Doesn’t hurt any less, but Sabathia didn’t leave him a meatball down the middle. Stanton’s just that good. The final line was three runs on five hits and no walks in six innings. He struck out seven. At this point of his career the Yankees will take that from Sabathia.

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

Tie The Game, Take The Lead
The comeback from the 3-1 deficit started with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Williams ripped a double into the right-center field gap with two outs to extend the inning, then Gardner unloaded on a center cut Mat Latos fastball for a game-tying two-run home run into the bullpen. It was a line drive that just barely cleared the wall. Latos was one out away from completing six innings of one-run ball, but he didn’t finish the sixth.

In the seventh, Teixeira sliced a one-out single to left, setting up the rally. Well, it wasn’t so much a rally as it was two swings. Ex-Yankee Mike Dunn left a pitch up to Beltran, who hammered a no-doubt two-run go-ahead homer to left field. Beltran has not been good this year and especially of late, and I’ve been hard on him, but he came through big time right there. The Yankees were #RISPFAILing all over the place earlier in the game and he finally provided the big hit. Good work.

Rather than sit on the two-run lead, the offense broke out in the eighth and hung a four-spot on reliever Sam Dyson. Leadoff walks to Headley and A-Rod put the wheels in motion. McCann singled in one run, A-Rod scored on a wild pitch, Chris Young doubled in another run — he took over as a defensive replacement for Beltran — and Stephen Drew got the fourth run in with a sac fly. That was a fun inning. The 5-3 lead became a 9-3 lead pretty quick.

All A-Rod, All The Time
Boy, did Dyson hear some boos after walking A-Rod in the eighth. Alex singled in the first inning and again in the fifth to get to within one hit of 3,000. He flew out on the first pitch in the sixth, his first shot at the milestone, then walked on four pitches in the eighth. None of Dyson’s pitches were close and the Yankee Stadium crowd gave him an earful. Ton of boos. A ton. The kind A-Rod used to hear. Rodriguez will look to pick up his 3,000th hit on Friday night.

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

Leftovers
Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson each allowed one hit in a scoreless seventh and eighth inning, respectively. Chris Martin allowed a run and almost made a real mess of things in the ninth — Gregorius saved his bacon with a great diving stop to get the force out at second — before nailing down the win. The middle relief is not very reliable right now. Shreve, Wilson, and hold on to your butts.

Gardner (single, homer), Headley (two singles), A-Rod (two singles), McCann (three singles), and Williams (two doubles) all had multiple hits. Headley, A-Rod, McCann, Beltran, Drew, and Williams drew walks. The Yankees pounded out season-high 15 hits. They had 17 hits total in the first three games of the series.

And finally, Sabathia did not get the win, but if he had, he would have become the 14th pitcher in history to record a win over all 30 teams. I heard that on the YES broadcast and thought it was neat. Pretty good chance Sabathia never pitches against the Marlins again, so this was probably his last chance to join the club.

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


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
This four-game home-and-home series with the Marlins is finally over. The Tigers are coming to the Bronx next for a three-game weekend series. Adam Warren and Justin Verlander will be the pitching matchup in Friday night’s opener. Head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch that game or one of the many other upcoming home games live.

Pineda flirts with no-no, Betances nails a five-out save to defeat Miami 2-1

After dropping two in the Marlins Park, Yankees took the first game in the Yankee Stadium portion of the four-game series on Wednesday night. Michael Pineda pitched one of the best games of the year and Dellin Betances recorded a save, and, believe it or not, the game was actually more stressful to watch than that information would lead you to believe.

(Source: Getty)

Colossal Mike

In his previous outing, we saw one of Pineda’s worst starts in pinstripes. Tonight, we saw one of his best. It was also one of the best Yankee starter efforts of the season – only a day after one of the worst (or probably just the worst). So many recent ups and downs!

As you know, Pineda flirted with no-hitter for most of the time he pitched. In fact, for the first four innings, he was perfect. By the end of fourth, he had struck out six and the only real hard hit ball he gave up was a liner hit by Ichiro Suzuki that went right into Didi Gregorius‘s glove.

He allowed his first baserunner on a walk to Christian Yelich in the fourth inning. The next inning, Pineda walked Justin Bour. Both walks came on a 3-2 count so it wasn’t like he was wildly missing the glove. But, going into the seventh inning, he still had not allowed any hits.

On the pitch No. 95, the first pitch of the seventh inning, Christian Yelich drove a pitch right down the middle to right-center for a home run, breaking the no-hitter. It was a cutter that broke towards middle of the plate and Yelich didn’t miss it. No-No Mike was no more but he was still the same ol’ Big Mike.

Pineda got the next two hitters – Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna – out and his pitch count reached 100. Joe Girardi pulled him out and Big Mike was obviously not too happy with it, but what can you do. Pineda went 6.2 IP, allowed only a hit and an earned run and two walks while striking out nine, good for a solid 75 game score.

Inching towards it (Source: Getty)

2,996 and 2,997

In the first inning, Yankees had a RISP chance with two outs when Chase Headley got on second base after being hit by a pitch. A-Rod came up and hit the fourth pitch of the at-bat to the center for an RBI single. 1-0 Yankees and hit number 2,996 for A-Rod.

A-Rod did not stop there. In the fifth, with two outs and runner on first, he turned it loose on a 3-0 count and looped a single to center field. Hit number 2,997! With bases loaded, Carlos Beltran hit a single to center, scoring Chase Headley to make it 2-0. A-Rod also tried to make it to home plate but Ozuna’s strong throw got him.

Besides those two hits, Rodriguez also had a walk and an intentional walk. Given that the Yankees will play next seven games in Bronx, I guess he’ll be hitting No. 3,000 at home.

Five-out save

Yankees brought in Justin Wilson to start the eighth. He got Jeff Mathis to fly out. Adeiny Hechavarria walked and Ichiro followed it up with a single, setting the Marlins up with one out and runners in the corners. Girardi then brought in Betances to get out of the situation. Dellin had to face one of the best contact hitters in baseball for the first assignment: Dee Gordon.

On the second pitch, Gordon grounded one to first base. Garrett Jones, instead of trying for a double play, threw home to get the lead runner out. But his throw to Brian McCann was high and it seemed like Hechavarria just slid under the tag to be safe – well, at least that’s what it initially seemed like to the umpires.

The replays showed that Hechavarria was probably out but was it enough to overturn the call? Yes. It became two outs with runners on first and second … and the Yankees still leading 2-1. Huge. Betances worked out of a jam when Derek Dietrich lined out to Beltran on a first pitch swing.

Betances retired Yelich to start the ninth. And then, it was a matchup versus Stanton. Betances versus Stanton! Power versus power! Dellin threw three nasty curves/slurves/whatever thing that drops like death to strike out the Marlins outfielder.

Marcell Ozuna hit a 2-out single to keep the Marlins alive and Justin Bour made things a bit tense by working a walk. However, Betances struck out Jeff Mathis to end the game. Things didn’t have to be on the edge so many times in the game! But it was. At least the Yankees and Big Mike got the win and Betances got the save.

Leftovers

Just like the past few days, there were some RISPFails going on tonight. The offense was 2-for-8 in RISP situations and the most painful moment of all was purely by lack of luck.

In the bottom seventh, the Yankees had runners on second and third with two outs. Garrett Jones, facing the lefty Brad Hand, hit one in the screws to right but got robbed by a diving 1B Justin Bour. That would have made the game 4-1 to Yankees’ favor. Oh well.

Box score, standings, highlights and WPA

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


Source: FanGraphs


One thing is clear, Yankees are not being swept by the Marlins. Tomorrow, New York looks to even up the series with C.C. Sabathia taking the mound versus Mat Latos.

Eovaldi, Yankees get crushed by Marlins, fall 12-2 for fifth loss in six games

It’s probably not a good thing that the most exciting part of the game was watching an opposing player crank an opposite field home run off the facing of the upper deck, but here we are. Giancarlo Stanton did just that in fifth inning on Tuesday, though the game was already out of hand by then — the Marlins demolished the Yankees 12-2. New York has now lost five of their last six games.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Lost The Trade!
This game was over in the first inning. The Marlins hammered their former teammate Nathan Eovaldi — I mean hit after hit after hit after hit — for eight runs on nine hits in just two-thirds of an inning. No, his defense didn’t do him any favors — Didi Gregorius bobbled a grounder and both Chris Young and (surprise!) Carlos Beltran failed to reel in catchable fly balls — and yes, four of the nine hits were ground balls with eyes, but some point Eovaldi has to pick his defense up. Can’t just fall apart like that.

Anyway, five of the nine hits came in two-strike counts and Eovaldi got one swing-and-miss out of 36 total pitches, which is basically a microcosm of his season (and career). Eovaldi came into Tuesday with a respectable 4.13 ERA (4.07 FIP) and left with a disastrous 5.12 ERA (4.06 FIP). (Hey, he lowered his FIP!). This is an anomaly start. I don’t care how much you hate Eovaldi, eight runs in two-thirds of an inning is an extreme outlier, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. I just wish Joe Girardi had left him in to bite the bullet, throw his 100 pitches, and save the bullpen, but alas.

Al after looking at the lineup without him. (Presswire)
Al after looking at the lineup without him. (Presswire)

Two Token Runs
Girardi may have out-thought himself with the whole “David Phelps as a reverse split since the start of last year so I’m going to put Chris Young and Brendan Ryan in the lineup” thing. Yeah, the reserve split business is true, but Young can’t hit righties and Ryan can’t hit anyone. Seems like that would negate any advantage gained by the reverse split. Maybe just stick with the best hitters regardless of handedness next time.

So, anyway, the Yankees scored their first run in the sixth inning on a bloop (Gregorius), a walk (Mark Teixeira), and a single through the shift (Brian McCann). They scored their second run on a walk (Stephen Drew), a single (Garrett Jones), and a double (Mason Williams). None of those last three guys started the game. McCann blooped a single, Beltran doubled into the right field corner, John Ryan Murphy singled back up the middle, and Ryan also reached on an error. The offense. What are you going to do. Sometimes you’re just going to run into twin aces like Tom Koehler and David Phelps.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
Chris Capuano bit the bullet and threw four innings and 77 pitches out of the bullpen, so thanks for that. Chris Martin got four outs — he served up the monster three-run homer to Stanton, with two of those runs being charged to Capuano — and Jose Ramirez allowed one run in two innings. His first inning was probably the best he’s looked as a big leaguer. Ramirez will likely be demoted to Triple-A for a fresh arm now.

Speaking of a fresh arm, I wonder if the Yankees will call up Jose DePaula before Wednesday’s game. It’s his day to start for Triple-A Scranton and he’s already on the 40-man roster, so it’s an easy move that would add another long man with Capuano down. Esmil Rogers can start for the RailRiders to save their bullpen too. We’ll see.

Eovaldi is the first Yankee to allow eight runs in one inning or less since Bartolo Colon in 2011. Before that it was Chien-Ming Wang in 2009 and before that you have to go all the way back to Orlando Hernandez in 2000. Colon, Wang, and El Duque, huh? Pretty good pitchers. Baseball is weird sometimes.

And finally, this was somehow not the worst loss by an AL East team on Wednesday. The Nationals beat the Rays 16-4. Good gravy. The Blue Jays lost too, so, after all that, the Yankees remain one game back of first and one game up on third. No harm, no foul.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score and video highlights, and here are the updated standings. We also have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages worth your time. Now here’s the loss probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Same two teams on Wednesday, though the four-game series now shifts to Yankee Stadium for the final two games. Righties Michael Pineda and Jose Urena will be on the mound. The Yankees will play 14 of their next 21 games at home, so head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch a game(s) these next few weeks.

Yankees lose a pitchers’ duel in Miami 2-1 as the offense can’t support Tanaka

For the third consecutive starts after coming off the DL, Masahiro Tanaka pitched pretty well. He had another seven-inning outing, limiting the Marlins to two runs despite not having his best command. But the New York offense went quiet against Tom Koehler and their bullpen – the Yankees fell tonight 2-1  and lost for the third time in last four games. Oh well. This one does hurt.

Eyes on target (Source: Getty)

Tanak Tanak Tun

Tanaka has been very, very good since coming off the DL. Tonight, while he did allow nine hits in seven innings, you can’t complain too much about the way he pitched – he didn’t allow any walks (again) and struck out six.

In the second inning, Tanaka allowed a one-out double to Derek Dietrich and Adeiny Hechavarria followed it up with an RBI-single on a hanging splitter.

In the third, Masahiro allowed two consecutive singles to Ichiro Suzuki and Christian Yelich. Luckily, Giancarlo Stanton hit a hard grounder right at Did Gregorius for a 6-4-3 double play. Boy, that was a break, especially against a guy like Stanton.

In the seventh, after retiring eleven consecutive batters, Tanaka allowed a homer to right to Dietrich. It was a fastball right down the middle and yeah, it was a goner off the bat. In a 1-1 game like this, especially after being on such a roll, that hurt quite much. For shame. The score remained 2-1 for rest of the game and Tanaka took a hard loss.

Despite the loss, his numbers are still quite elite. In seven starts, Tanaka has a 2.49 ERA and 2.71 FIP – doing it well on both conventional and sabermetric numbers. By the way, if you don’t “get” the title of the section, check this out.

The sole offensive triumph (Source: Getty)

Quiet bats

Tom Koehler is from New York City and grew up a big Yankee fan. Tonight, he earned a win against the team he rooted for.

Now, Koehler is not a bad pitcher. Before tonight, the righty had a 4.13 ERA in 13 games (12 starts) with a 4-4 record, which is not that shabby. But then again, if you put him in a matchup against Masahiro Tanaka, who would have a better chance to be victorious? Probably Tanaka. Didn’t really work out that way for New York tonight.

Leading off the second inning, Mark Teixeira hit a big solo fly to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. That was his 18th of the year and the gluten-free triumph continued! After that, Yankees didn’t get too much going on. I blame the Marlins infield for robbing at least three hard hits though – Hechavarria robbed Chase Headley twice (two at-bats in a row actually) and Dee Gordon robbed Brett Gardner of one. And, of course, Koehler reached first base safe because Mark Teixeira botched picking up a slow roller down the first base line. BABIP gods weren’t that great for New York tonight.

The head-scratcher

Joe Girardi put in Jose Ramirez to relieve Tanaka to begin the eighth. Now, Ramirez is no Chasen Shreve – the righty has a decent minor league track record but he’s yet to show a sustainable ML success. In fact, he has close to none – 5.40 ERA in 10 IP last year and 36.00 ERA in 1 IP in 2015 prior to tonight’s game. It came to no surprise when he got the bases loaded pretty quickly without getting an out. He just looked really, really bad out there not being able to throw strikes.

Now, the Yankees were trailing 2-1 in the bottom of eighth. The goal there is to keep it a 2-1 game and hope for a rally in the ninth. To increase the chance of keeping the same score, Girardi would have probably put a better pitcher – or at least a reliever with better track record – in.

Fortunately for the Yankees, Sergio Santos managed to get out of that situation unscathed. That was another head-scratching decision but it worked out in the end. The end does not always justify the means but I’m glad (or I was at the time) that the righty got out of it somehow.

Leftover

Yankees faced Ichiro for the first time he signed with the Marlins in the offseason. The Japanese veteran went 2-for-4 with a strikeout tonight, getting closer to the 3,000th hit. The 41-year old is doing eh this season – he does have a .288 batting average but that’s just about the only positive. He has a 89 wRC+ and a -0.3 fWAR. I do admire that he’s still out there and grinding in the Major Leagues though. (Also happens to be one of my idols since he started to play for the Mariners in 2001)

If you watched the ninth inning, you saw that Alex Rodriguez got a standing ovation on a road game. That was a weird yet pretty cool moment. Al from Miami got some love there. Also there were a lot of Yankee fans in the game – the “Let’s go Yankees” chants tonight were one of the loudest I’ve heard in Yankee road games, if not the loudest.

Box Score, standings, highlights, WPA

Here is the box score, updated standings, video highlights and WPA. Rays have already won tonight so Yankees are no longer in the first place of division anymore. Oh well. I have a feeling that it won’t stay that way for too long though.


Source: FanGraphs


How about the matchup for tomorrow – David Phelps vs. Nathan Eovaldi! Will it determine who #wonthetrade? We’ll see.

O’s rough up Big Mike, bury Yankees 11-3 in series opener


Source: FanGraphs

Remember when the Yankees had the bases loaded with no outs in the first inning? That was fun. Then they scored zero runs and that was less fun. The Yankees couldn’t get out of their own way in Friday night’s series opening 11-3 beatdown by the Orioles. Oy vey. It’s Friday night, so let’s recap with bullpen points:

  • Well-Rested: Somewhat predictably, Michael Pineda‘s command was a big issue in his first start in eleven days. He walked the first batter of the game, struggled to throw strikes all night, and couldn’t get his slider to behave like he wanted. The result: six runs (five earned) on nine hits and two walks in 4.1 innings. No, his defense didn’t help him much, but Big Mike was giving up loud contact all night. He was not sharp at all. Lose the battle, win the war. The Yankees have to watch Pineda’s workload this year.
  • Mason Arrives: On the bright side, Mason Williams made his MLB debut in style, clubbing a no-doubt two-run home run in his second at-bat. Here’s the homer and here’s his mom talking about it. Williams was then lifted for a pinch-hitter in his next at-bat because platoon splits rule everything around me. Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira each had two hits, which was cool, but the Yankees went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position, which is less cool. They left the bases loaded twice.
  • Offensive Defense: The Yankees have not played up to expectations defensively this season and this might have been their worst game yet. They were charged with only two errors (Chase Headley and Teixeira) but it could have easily been more. Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran let a ball fall between, Beltran again came up short on a foul pop-up, Williams misread a line drive and let it sail over his head, Brendan Ryan muffed a ground ball, Teixeira couldn’t get the ball out of his glove to complete a 3-1 put out … it was ugly.
  • Leftovers: Headley was charged with his career-high 14th error and left the game feeling nauseous after taking a ball to the groin. No joke … Teixeira’s error was his first in 109 games … Jacob Lindgren allowed his third homer in seven big league innings after allowing none in his minor league career … Esmil Rogers allowed four runs (one earned) and was dropped from the 40-man roster after the game … A-Rod is now six hits away from 3,000 … did I mention the Yankees had the bases with no outs in the first and didn’t score?

Here are the box score, video highlights, updated standings, Bullpen Workload page, and Announcer Standings page. CC Sabathia and Bud Norris will be the pitching matchup in the second game of the series Saturday night.

Yankees can’t hold on to a 4-2 lead, lose in extras against the Nationals 5-4

Last weekend I saw my alma mater University of Maryland lose two in a row to University of Virginia in the NCAA Super Regionals – both losses came in heartbreaking bullpen blown saves. All I could really tell myself was “that’s baseball.” The game can make you happy and it can make you incredibly disappointed. A lot of us have learned to deal with it, hopefully.

And that was what I uttered myself in top of 11th when Nationals took a 5-4 lead on Wednesday. Yankees had a 4-2 lead going into the top of the 8th. It seemed like another victory for New York, but alas, things don’t always work out ideally. Washington tied it in that inning, the game went to extras and New York fell on the short side of the stick. The seven-game winning streak has been snapped and the fans can now look forward to the Yankee starting another one. On the plus side, Eovaldi pitched one of the better starts of the season and, well, A-Rod had a hit so that’s eight away from number 3,000.

If I were Nate, I’d make this my Facebook profile picture (Source: Getty)

Not-so-shabby Nate

It’s pretty fun looking at the radar gun reading while Nathan Eovaldi is pitching on a warm day. 96! 97! 98! Velocity isn’t everything in pitching but it certainly helps.

In the third inning, after getting two outs, Eovaldi surrendered two consecutive doubles to allow a run. The second double to Denard Span was annoying – it was down the third base line and just inside the bad, but because Chase Headley was situated a little close to shortstop, the grounder went towards the left field corner and the Nationals took a 1-0 lead.

In the fifth, Danny Espinosa jumped on a first-pitch hanging curveball to drive it out of the park. Boy, that was crushed. Looks like Eovaldi threw it to get ahead of the count and setup other pitches – but it didn’t fool the Nats infielder. 2-0 Nationals.

Besides from that, Eovaldi was pretty solid. He pitched seven innings, allowed eight hits and three earned runs, a walk and struck out four. His ERA shaved down just a bit to 4.13 and FIP is at 4.07 – pretty nice no. 4 starter numbers.

Bottom of seventh, again

As Drake would rap, things went from 0 to 100 real quick this inning. Yankees looked hapless against Gio Gonzalez for the first six innings. In the bottom of sixth, New York had two runners on but failed to score.

In the next inning however, Yankees were luckier. Chris Young led off with single. Gonzalez retired Jose Pirela on a flyout to Bryce Harper. Up came Brendan Ryan. On his third plate appearance of the season, Ryan hit a big fly to center field that just got out of Denard Span’s reach for an RBI triple. 2-1 Yankees. How’s that for a comeback game?

Nationals went to the bullpen and brought up LHP Felipe Rivero. Brett Gardner hit a double just out first baseman’s reach to tie the game at 2-2. Two batters later, with RHP Aaron Barrett on mound, A-Rod hit his 2,992nd career hit for an RBI double to center to give the Yanks lead. Barrett then hit Mark Teixeira and allowed an RBI single to Brian McCann. 4-2 Yankees. New York has been quite deadly with a lead going into the late innings but today’s storyline turned … a bit darker.

Baby’s first blown save

(Source: Getty)

In the eighth inning, Jacob Lindgren came in relief of Eovaldi and faced Harper. That, by the way, was the first time ever Harper faced a pitcher younger than him. Lindgren, who was drafted just last year, was born 8 months after the Nats outfielder. Lindgren won the matchup by getting Harper to fly out to left, so that’s that.

Now, Lindgren is a young guy and he’s gonna see some growing pains being in ML roster- that’s pretty much what happened today. With two outs, a runner on and with a 1-2 count, Lindgren left a fastball up high the zone and Michael Taylor didn’t miss it – he drove it over the right field fence for a two-run homer. 4-4 game.

Giving up the lead and the game

A lot of us collectively held our breath when Chris Capuano came in for relief in the tenth and faced Harper as the first batter. The lefty somehow got Harper out on a grounder to first and two other batters – Ian Desmond and Taylor – grounded out as well. Not bad.

In the 11th, Capuano allowed a single to Tyler Moore to begin the inning. It was not a horribly-placed pitch – a changeup that was veering towards the outside the strike zone. Moore did a good job reaching and lining it to left field. Jose Lobaton hit a sac bunt to advance Moore to second and Espinosa grounded out to Capuano to move the runner to third.

Next batter, Denard Span, is always a threat with bat. He’s got a pretty good contact skills with leadoff hitter speed. With two outs and runner on third, Span hit a breaking ball for a chopper up the middle that Stephen Drew fielded and could not get the runner at first. Moore scored from third. 5-4 Nats. It was a really tough play for Drew to execute and as soon as it bounced over Capuano’s head, I didn’t think Yanks would have a chance to go to the next inning all tied up.

Mustaches aren’t really a thing anymore, Brendan (Source: Getty)

Leftovers

In the bottom 10th, with one out, Didi Gregorius took off from first on a 3-2 count on a hit-and-run move. Carlos Beltran struck out and it seemed like Lobaton threw Didi out at second … but maybe not? Didi signaled the dugout immediately for replay. The broadcast replay (and the broadcasters) made us pretty sure that Didi was safe – it seemed like he got around the initial tag attempt towards his shoulder and his hand got on the bag. But, for whatever reason, the umpires did not change the call. I guess it wasn’t conclusive enough for them to overturn it.

How about Brendan Ryan? Not a lot of people were fans of sending down Ramon Flores for the shortstop but boy, he did what he could do today. He hit the first Yankee hit of the afternoon, he got the offense going in the bottom seventh with an RBI triple and he made some really, really slick plays. Didi’s been showing off defensive prowess lately but Ryan’s glove is still there.

I was going to write a little section about today’s bullpen usage but turns out that Andrew Miller was placed in the disabled list for strained forearm muscle. Ugh. Also, it would have been pretty nice to get Dellin Betances to guarantee a non-loss but then again, he leads the American League in appearances (29) and pitched in three of the past five games. I really don’t want to defend not using him but Capuano was a better-placed chopper in the 11th inning away from getting out of the trouble. Sometimes a skipper’s gotta show faith in other arms in bullpen and that’s what he did – sometimes, it just doesn’t work out.

Box score, highlights, standings, WPA

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


Source: FanGraphs


Yankees get a day off tomorrow. They will face another team in the mid-Atlantic region – the Baltimore Orioles. On Friday night, Michael Pineda will take a mound in the Camden Yards against Ubaldo Jimenez. Here’s to starting another lengthy winning streak.

Tanaka outduels Scherzer in a Yankees 6-1 win over the Nationals

This game was an absolute nail-biter for the first six and a half innings. First off, the Max Scherzer vs. Masahiro Tanaka matchup lived up to its billing. Heck, even Bryce Harper’s home run power lived up to its billing. Tet Tanaka still threw a heck of an outing. Scherzer also lived up to his name value but unfortunately for him and the Nationals, a defensive miscue proved costly in the seventh inning as the game went from a 1-1 drama to a 5-1 laughter in few batters. The Yankees added another run in the 8th for a 6-1 victory. Oh yeah, also it’s their seventh straight victory.

Ma-kun

Webster definition of “mid-delivery” (Source: Getty)

Man, isn’t it more fun when Tanaka is back and is actually really, really good? Tanaka went on mound, did what he does when healthy and effective, and earned a win. I could easily end this section that way but nah, I’ll get more into it.

The only real mistake the righty made was on that 93-mph fastball to Bryce Harper in the fourth inning. McCann wanted the pitch outside but it caught too much of the plate. And well, as you know, the 2015 version of Harper punishes mistakes. That mistake also has better chance to end up in seats in the Yankee Stadium than Nationals Park and that’s exactly what happened. Thankfully, that was the only run Tanaka allowed all night. I feel like there’s no shame allowing a dinger to a monster like Harper, but then again, that ball went pretty far.

Besides that, Tanaka only allowed four baserunners for the entire game. His stuff was the usual – fastball, slider and splitter all working and being spotted well. The former Rakuten Golden Eagle pitched seven complete innings, allowed five hits, no walks and struck out six. His ERA is down to 2.48 and FIP is at a rock-solid 2.63. I think he’s not afraid of his elbow compromising the effectiveness.

Oh yeah, also, on June 9, Tanaka earned the game score of 69. Nice. 

One big missed opportunity

This is still a bit of an infuriating inning to look back on. In the bottom sixth, Mark Teixeira hit a double with one out. The game was then tied 1-1 so it would have been quite golden to scratch out a run in any way possible, especially against an ace like Scherzer. After fouling off several pitches, Brian McCann managed a single to left and it became one out with runners on first and third.

Then came the weird game moment. Carlos Beltran hit a liner to center that Nats CF Michael Taylor seeeeemed to make a diving/sliding play for it but didn’t. Teixeira seemed like he had enough time to score, but, for whatever reason, he didn’t charge in and Taylor got the ball just in time to get McCann for a force out in second. That should have been a 2-1 lead right there. Teixeira has to tag up.

Open the floodgates

The embedded Yankee Matt Thornton (Source: Getty)

After missing out on a run in the sixth, Yankees almost missed out on another in seventh. With one out, Ramon Flores singled and Brett Gardner added another. Chase Headley then hit a bullet to right but it just went right to Harper. Welp, BABIP will do that for you some times. With two outs and two runners on, it was up to A-Rod to see if the Yankee offense could muster anything.

Yankees got way luckier this time. A-Rod grounded one to short. Ian Desmond got the ball and it looked like an easy force out to first at a glance but he went third to get Flores out … and it hit the Yankee outfielder and got past Anthony Rendon. That allowed the run to score. Oh my. 2-1 Yankees. If you are Scherzer and had a heck of a game like that and that’s how it ends … I wouldn’t feel great.

Nationals went to former Yankee LHP Matt Thornton to stop the bleeding. Oddly, the first thing Thornton and the Nats did was intentionally walk Teixeira. Okay. That loaded the bases with two outs and McCann was up. The Yankee catcher hit a high inside fastball for a two-run single and Beltran followed it up with another RBI-single. 5-1 Yankees. Thornton’s embedded Yankee status confirmed? Maybe. In a matter of few batters, a nailbiter became a laugher. Strange but I’ll take it. I definitely did not think the game would end 6-1.

Sluggin’ Stephen (Source: Getty)

Leftovers

How about Stephen Drew? The man now has four homers in last four Yankee Stadium games. Yeah his batting average is still really like, not good (.175) and his 2015 overall run production ain’t great either (66 wRC+). But I do have to admit – that .198 isolated power does pop out.

With nine home runs after today’s game, the man has a legitimate chance to reach 20 home runs for the season – provided he continues to get consistent playing time, of course. The past few games probably lengthened his leash for several more games but if his hitting continues to improve to help the club, it wouldn’t be horrible.

Box Score, Highlights, Standings, WPA:

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


Source: FanGraphs


Tomorrow, the Yankees take on the field against the Nats on 1:05 ET. “(Sometimes) Nasty” Nathan Eovaldi takes the mound and hopefully, he’ll help deliver a two-game sweep.