Game 112: Runs, Plural

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

So the Yankees need to figure out how to score some runs, huh? They’ve scored no more than two runs in six of their last seven games, and to make matters worse, they’ve been shut down by guys like Anibal Sanchez and Jordan Zimmermann during that stretch. It’s not 2013 anymore. Those dudes are pretty terrible. There’s nothing worse than a struggling offense. Give me bad pitching over bad hitting every day of the week.

On paper, tonight’s pitching matchup is a mismatch. Masahiro Tanaka is not having a typical Masahiro Tanaka season, but he’s been much better over his last ten starts or so, and it looks like he’s figuring things out. Nick Tepesch, on the other hand, is an emergency spot starter who has a 5.88 ERA in 49 Triple-A innings this year. He allowed seven runs in 1.2 innings in his only other MLB start this season. Please score some runs against Tepesch. Here is the Blue Jays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. DH Chase Headley
  3. RF Aaron Judge
  4. SS Didi Gregorius
  5. C Gary Sanchez
  6. 3B Todd Frazier
  7. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  8. 1B Garrett Cooper
  9. 2B Ronald Torreyes
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

It’s another lovely day in Toronto, so the Rogers Centre roof will probably be open. Tonight’s game will begin a little after 7pm ET. YES will have the broadcast. Enjoy the game.

Injury Updates: CC Sabathia (knee) went for tests today and everything came back clean. There’s no new damage in his knee and he might be able to make his next start. Huh. Didn’t see that coming … Aaron Hicks (oblique) is tentatively scheduled to be activated off the disabled list Friday, so hooray for that … both Greg Bird (ankle) and Starlin Castro (hamstring) will begin minor league rehab assignments next week. Bird is ahead of Castro in their rehabs … Clint Frazier was a late scratch from tonight’s lineup with oblique tightness.

Yankees lose Sabathia to injury, game to Blue Jays 4-2

For the sixth time in seven games since the trade deadline, the Yankees scored no more than three runs Tuesday night. They’ve lost 3.5 games in the standings in those seven games. Really could’ve used a bat at the deadline, huh? The Yankees lost 4-2 in Tuesday night’s series opener against the Blue Jays. They’ve lost six of their last nine games, almost exclusively because of the offense.

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

Sabathia’s Short Start
I have no idea how CC Sabathia managed to get through three innings. He had nothing. Less than nothing. His fastest fastball of the night clocked in at 89.7 mph and his average heater sat 87.9 mph. There were also a ton of pitches up. I mean way up and above the strike zone, as if Sabathia were trying to muscle up and overthrow to generate velocity. He looked terrible. Sure enough, after the game we learned he exited with pain in his right knee, and he’ll go for tests. Yuck.

Sabathia allowed four runs in his three innings and they came on two two-run home runs by Josh Donaldson. Somehow Donaldson had never taken Sabathia deep prior to Tuesday night. Here are the home run pitch locations:

josh-donaldson-cc-sabathia1

Woof. Donaldson has not had a typical Josh Donaldson year, but still. Leave cement mixers there to a guy like Donaldson and he’ll park them over the wall. The first, the 2-0 changeup, was an opposite field shot with plenty of distance. The second was yanked down the line and fair by maybe a seat or two. The Yankees needed a little more hook to get it to carry foul, but no luck.

Sabathia’s final line before the knee forced him out of the game: 3 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. Five of those six hits went for extra bases. The two homers by Donaldson and doubles by Jose Bautista, Kendrys Morales, and Steve Pearce. Sabathia now has a 5.67 ERA (5.99 FIP) in six starts and 27 innings since coming back from the disabled list. That includes one start with six shutout innings. Good thing the Yankees got two starters at the trade deadline, huh?

Cooper Can’t Do It All
Garrett Cooper managed to drive in New York’s two runs and also not come through in their two biggest chances. Well, that’s not fair, because he did get a run in with a sac fly with the bases loaded in the eighth inning. It was a good at-bat too. He fell behind 0-2, worked the count back full, then had the sac fly. The Yankees were down three runs at the time though. Needed a little more than a productive out there.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees did have plenty of baserunners Tuesday night. Fourteen in nine innings. The big spot always seemed to find Cooper though. Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius opened the second with back-to-back singles, though before you even had a chance to say “at least Chris Carter isn’t up,” Todd Frazier banged into a 6-4-3 double play. Sigh. Cooper picked him up with a two-out single to right field to score the run to cut Toronto’s lead to 2-1.

In the sixth the Yankees loaded the bases with two outs on two walks (Gary Sanchez and Headley) and an infield single (Frazier). Cooper was left in to face the right-hander Dominic Leone, a questionable decision at best, and he flew out to strand all three runners. Maybe rethink your roster construction if you have no left-hander to pinch-hit for Cooper against a righty pitcher with the bases loaded? I mean, if you don’t trust to Jacoby Ellsbury to hit there, what purpose does he serve?

Cooper found himself again facing a righty with the bases loaded in the eighth, though this time there was only one out. Two hit-by-pitches (Sanchez and Headley) and a walk (Frazier) set that rally up. Cooper worked a strong at-bat and did get the sac fly, but that was the Yankees’ last best chance against a pitcher not named Roberto Osuna, and a sac fly was basically the bare minimum there. It’s not Cooper’s fault the Yankees lost, of course. You can’t count on the up-and-down platoon bat to get all the big hits. The offense stalled out weeks before the trade deadline.

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

Leftovers
Nice job by Bryan Mitchell to spare the bullpen. He tossed four scoreless innings after Sabathia exited the game. Mitchell made two goofy errors too. He misjudged a soft chopper and let it hop over his glove — the glove he was holding chest high — and then he got his feet twisted up and fell down fielding a chopper later on. Heh. We can laugh because he escaped unscathed both times.

The 1-2-3-4 hitters: 1-for-15 with three walks and six strikeouts. Judge had two walks and Clint Frazier had the hit (a single) and three of the strikeouts. Tough to win when the top of the lineup does that. The 5-6-7-8-9 hitters went 6-for-16 (.375) with two walks and no strikeouts. Cooper was the only Yankee with multiple hits. He had two. Headley, Gregorius, Ronald Torreyes, and the Frazier had one hit each.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and updated standings, go to ESPN. MLB.com has the video highlights and we have a Bullpen Workload page. Here is the loss probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Blue Jays will continue this three-game series with the middle game Wednesday night. Cesar Valdez, who was originally scheduled to start that game for the Blue Jays, was placed on the disabled list prior to Tuesday’s series opener. Nick Tepesch is getting the ball now. Masahiro Tanaka will be on the bump for the Yankees.

Offense finally breaks out, Yankees escape Cleveland with a split after 8-1 win


Source: FanGraphs

Boy did that feel good. After scoring eight runs total in their previous five games, the Yankees broke out for eight runs in the span of two innings Sunday afternoon. The offensive explosion gave New York an 8-1 win and a split of the four-game series in Cleveland. Considering they lost the first two games, I’ll take it. It’s Sunday, so let’s recap this one with bullpen points:

  • Cy Sevy: Luis Severino went into Sunday’s start with a 2.98 ERA (2.91 FIP) on the season and he left with a 2.91 ERA (2.91 FIP). He held the Indians to one run on two hits in 6.2 innings. Michael Brantley hit a first inning solo homer and Edwin Encarnacion hit a sixth inning ground ball single back up the middle, ending Severino’s afternoon. He struck out nine and allowed one walk. Domination. Severino is pitching to the best case scenario this year. I would’ve been happy with Jordan Montgomery numbers this season. He’s putting up Corey Kluber numbers.
  • The Big Hit Arrives: When a team struggles offensively like the Yankees have struggled the last few days, and they finally get that big hit, it feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off their shoulders. Jacoby Ellsbury provided that big hit Sunday. The Yankees had already tied the game 1-1 in the sixth inning on Chase Headley‘s sac fly, and when Ellsbury came to the plate, the bases were loaded with two outs. He jumped all over Carlos Carrasco’s 1-0 fastball and, off the bat, I thought it was gone. It had the sound and the look. It didn’t leave the yard though. Right fielder Abe Almonte went all Bobby Abreu near the wall, allowing Ellsbury’s line drive to clank off the wall for a bases clearing triple. Phew. The Yankees were up 4-1.
  • Insurance Runs: Ellsbury’s triple seemed to wake the bats up. Ronald Torreyes got Ellsbury home with a two-out single, the kind of hit the Yankees haven’t been able to get for weeks. One inning later Clint Frazier drew a walk and Didi Gregorius singled to set up Aaron Judge for the line drive opposite field three-run home run. Statcast tells me the ball was 42 feet off the ground at its highest point, which is insane. Just a rocket. Not many players can hit a ball like that. The Judge home run officially broke the game open and gave the Yankees an 8-1 lead.
  • Leftovers: Very strong work by the bullpen. Seven up, seven down for Tommy Kahnle, Adam Warren, and Chasen Shreve … the Yankees held the Indians to three baserunners (two hits, one walk) and this was their AL leading fourth game with no more than three baserunners allowed. The Rockies have done it four times too. No other team has done it more than once … every starter had at least one hit except Austin Romine. Three hits for Gregorius and two each for Ellsbury and Torreyes. Judge and the Fraziers each had a hit and a walk.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Here’s our Bullpen Workload page. The Yankees have an off-day Monday before beginning a three-game series in Toronto on Tuesday night. That game will feature two first initial, middle initial veteran lefties: CC Sabathia and J.A. Happ.

Yankees 2, Indians 1: Headley’s late homer helps Yanks snap four-game losing streak

It wasn’t easy, but a win is a win, and boy did the Yankees need that win Saturday night. The offense broke out for two (2) runs and the pitching staff made them stand up against an Indians team that seemed to threaten every single inning. The final score was 2-1.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Nearly Three, Settle For One
The Yankees tried something new and exciting Saturday night: they scored in the first inning and held a lead. Pretty wild. Prior to Didi Gregorius‘ run-scoring double in the first inning, the Yankees had not held a lead since Monday. Monday! They beat the Tigers and Michael Fulmer that day. They didn’t hold a single lead Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. Good grief.

And yet, that one-run first inning was so close to being so much better. Brett Gardner started the game with a walk and Aaron Judge laced a single to left to put runners on first and second with one out. Didi, the cleanup hitter du jour, then smoked a double over Austin Jackson’s head in center field and it was this close to being a three-run home run:

didi-gregorius-double

Maybe six inches away from a home run? That’s the way it’s been going for the Yankees lately. When you’re going well, you get that little bit of extra carry over the wall for a three-run homer. When it’s not going well, there’s a little too much topspin and you settle for a one-run double. Gary Sanchez struck out and Jacoby Ellsbury flew out, stranding Judge at third and Gregorius at second. I guess we should be happy they got at least one run out of it.

65 & Fly
Very good outing for Jordan Montgomery. Very good and surprisingly short. He was pulled after five innings and 65 pitches. Hmmm. Joe Girardi said after the game Montgomery is fine, and the bullpen “is how we are built,” so he went to it. Montgomery had gotten through the lineup two times and the top relievers were rested, so Girardi went to them. Considering how badly the Yankees needed this win, I can’t say I blame him.

Montgomery made basically one bad pitch all night. Even when Francisco Lindor led off the first with a double and Giovanny Urshela led off the third with a single, they went out and hit pitcher’s pitchers. It happens. Montgomery’s one mistake was the curveball he hung to Carlos Santana in the second inning. Might as well have put it on a tee. Santana did what he should have done and cranked it over the left field wall for a solo homer. Bad pitch, good hitter, etc. etc.

The solo homer knotted the game up 1-1. Following the Urshela leadoff single in the third, Montgomery settled down and retired the final nine batters he faced, and only one of the nine hit the ball out of the infield. His final line: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. I thought his curveball was as good as it’s been at any point this season. He threw 24 curveballs and got nine swings and misses with the pitch. Nine! He dropped ten others in for called strikes. Very nice. Go Monty.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Battle of the Bullpens
With the scored tied 1-1 and Montgomery out of the game, in came David Robertson to throw scoreless sixth and seventh innings. Sure is nice to be able to bring him out of the bullpen in those situations and not Tyler Clippard, isn’t it? Robertson actually allowed two hits in the sixth, but he struck out Edwin Encarnacion to strand the two runners. He threw two scoreless innings on 28 pitches. It used to take him 28 pitches to get through one inning.

The score remained 1-1 until the top of the eighth, when Chase Headley golfed a hanging Zach McAllister curveball out to right field for a go-ahead solo home run. Headley homers are very rare. That was his sixth of the season. When he hits one, you’ve got to make it count. The homer gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead, and given the way they’ve been swinging the bats, it was up to the bullpen to make it stand up. Scoring again was not really an option.

Dellin Betances got the eighth and holy smokes, he was dominant. A fly ball and two they-had-no-chance strikeouts. His last 12 appearances: 13.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 6 BB, 23 K. Good to have Good Dellin back. Aroldis Chapman got the ninth inning and of course he made it interesting. Winning this game was never going to be easy. Michael Brantley led off the inning with a single, then Gardner made an outstanding jumping catch at the wall to rob Jose Ramirez of extra bases.

Very reminiscent of the catch against the Blue Jays last year. Know which one I mean? The Blake Parker game? That catch that had “if he doesn’t catch that, the Yankees are losing this game” feeling to it. Gardner took a double away from Ramirez, then Ronald Torreyes laid out to take a single away from Encarnacion for the second out. Chapman froze Santana with a 3-2 slider for the 27th and final out. Ex-friggin-hale.

Leftovers
Hero of the game: the outfield defense. Gardner made that great catch in the ninth. Judge held Urshela to a single in the third by getting to the ball in the gap quickly, then firing into the cutoff man. He also held Lindor to a single in the sixth by playing the ball well of the wall, and throwing it in quickly. Ellsbury made a sliding catch coming on a bloop in that sixth inning. All three outfielders had a gold star play. Judge had two. And Torreyes made that nice running catch in the ninth. This was the opposite of Thursday’s game, when the Yankees kicked the ball around behind Sonny Gray.

Five hits by the Yankees. That’s all. One by Gardner, one by Headley, one by Judge, and two by Gregorius. The 5-6-7-8-9 hitters went a combined 0-for-17 with nine strikeouts. At least Sanchez and Todd Frazier drew walks, I guess. Gardner drew two. Ellsbury batted with runners on second and third in the first (inning-ending fly out) and sixth (inning-ending double play) and didn’t get a run in either time. He’s down to .241/.322/.347 (83 wRC+) on the year.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
ESPN has the box score and updated standings, and MLB.com has the video highlights. We have a Bullpen Workload page. Here’s the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
This four-game series finally comes to an end Sunday afternoon. That’s a normal 1pm ET start. Luis Severino and Carlos Carrasco will be on the bump.

Game 109: My Kingdom For Some Runs

(David Maxwell/Getty)
(David Maxwell/Getty)

The 2017 season is now two-thirds of the way complete. The Yankees begin the final third of the season tonight three games back in the AL East and 1.5 games up on a wildcard spot, which isn’t a bad place to be. Could be better, could be worse. Beats being several games out like the last few years.

Now the Yankees just need to offense to snap back into shape. They’ve scored six runs in their last four games, all losses, and three of those four games were started by Anibal Sanchez, Jordan Zimmermann, and Trevor Bauer. Yuck. Struggling to score against those guys would be understandable in, like, 2013. Not 2017. End the losing streak, fellas. Here is the Indians’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. RF Aaron Judge
  4. SS Didi Gregorius
  5. DH Gary Sanchez
  6. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  7. 3B Todd Frazier
  8. 2B Ronald Torreyes
  9. C Austin Romine
    LHP Jordan Montgomery

It is cool and partly cloudy in Cleveland this evening. Not a bad night for baseball, aside from the fact it’s Saturday. Weekend night games are the worst. Anyway, tonight’s game will begin at 7:10pm ET and you’ll be able to watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Injury Update: Matt Holliday tweaked his lower back taking a swing last night and could be placed on the disabled list. I look forward to the Yankees played shorthanded for three or four days before putting Holliday on the disabled list, then rushing Aaron Hicks back from his rehab assignment to fill the roster spot.

Losing streak hits four as Yankees fall 7-2 to Indians

Four-game losing streak. The Yankees have scored six runs in those four games. It was abundantly clear which team went to World Series last year and which team has played one postseason game in the last four years Friday night. The Yankees were out-hit, out-pitched, out-defended, out-everything-ed in the 7-2 loss to the Indians. The Yankees are now 39-42 in their last 81 games.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Garcia’s Debut
Rough first start for Jaime Garcia, though his defense did him no favors. For the second straight night the right-fielder made an ill-advised throw and allowed a runner to score when the ball skipped away. Thursday night Clint Frazier‘s throw was airmailed into the dugout. Friday night Aaron Judge‘s throw short-hopped Todd Frazier at third and hopped into foul territory. Also, the Indians scored a run on a Gary Sanchez passed ball.

Garcia’s biggest problem was the walks and the lack of control in general. He walked four batters in his 4.2 innings and threw a first pitch strike to only ten of the 22 batters he faced. The Indians had five hits against Garcia and all five were ground balls. Only three of those 22 batters hit the ball to the outfield. Normally, that’s a good thing. When you keep walking dudes and the grounders keep finding holes, it’s probably a bad thing.

All told Garcia allowed six runs (five earned) on five hits and four walks in those 4.2 innings. He struck out four. He’s better than that. Gotta stop walking dudes though. Keep getting those grounders, hope the defense gets its collective head out of its butt, and go from there.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees Need A Bat (Or Three)
Of course, Garcia could have gone out and allowed two runs in eight innings Friday night, and it wouldn’t have mattered. Another miserable night for the offense, this time against another bad pitcher. Trevor Bauer came into this start with a 5.25 ERA (3.90 FIP) on the season. He held the Yankees to one run in seven innings. The run was a Todd Frazier opposite field solo homer. Thanks for coming, Todd.

Getting shut down by Corey Kluber like the Yankees did on Thursday is one thing. Kluber’s great and he’s gonna have starts like that against everyone. Tip your cap and move on. But Bauer? And Anibal Sanchez and Jordan Zimmermann? Those three have a 5.33 ERA in 299 combined innings this season. They held the Yankees to three runs in 20.2 innings these last four days. Impressively pathetic job by the offense.

The Yankees had their best chance to really get on the board in the fifth inning, after Frazier’s homer. Two singles (Ronald Torreyes and Brett Gardner) and a walk (Judge) loaded the bases with two outs, but Sanchez went fishing for a curveball and struck out to end the inning. The score was 4-1 at the time. Gardner singled in a run with two outs in the ninth. Too little, too late is an understatement. The offense needs an exorcism.

Great play is great. (Presswire)
Great play is great. (Presswire)

Leftovers
Believe it or not, the Yankees had eleven hits in the ballgame. Eleven hits and somehow only five at-bats with runners in scoring position. Scattered hits, they were. Gardner, Torreyes, Old Frazier, Didi Gregorius, and Chase Headley each had two hits. Judge had the other hit. He went 1-for-2 with two walks and looked more comfortable at the plate than he has in weeks. Hopefully his slump is coming to an end.

Matt Holliday, meanwhile, went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and is now hitting .138/.202/.248 in his last 31 games and 129 plate appearances. He has no business being in the lineup. Young Frazier went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts and is 5-for-34 (.147) in his last eight games. That eight-game slump is going to be the justification for sending him to Triple-A when Aaron Hicks is ready even though Holliday should be the one to go. Not a doubt in my mind.

Mop-up man Chad Green was electric out of the bullpen, striking out five of the eight batters he faced in his 2.1 scoreless innings. Green now has a 1.74 ERA (2.29 FIP) with a 38.9% strikeout rate in 46.2 innings this year. He’s been so good. Tommy Kahnle got touched up for a run in his inning of work. Good he got out of his system now rather than the next time the Yankees have a lead, which should be sometime in 2018.

And finally, the Yankees had a runner thrown out at the plate on a truly phenomenal play by Indians third baseman Giovanny Urshela. Here’s the video. I’m not even going to try to describe it. Just watch. The Yankees have been playing like crap but I can’t fault anyone for anything there. Just an outstanding play by Urshela. Maybe the best defensive play turned against the Yankees this year.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
The box score and updated standings are at ESPN and the video highlights are at MLB.com. We have a Bullpen Workload page too. Here’s the loss probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Same two teams Saturday night, in the third game of his four-game series. That’s a 7pm ET start. Jordan Montgomery and Danny Salazar as the scheduled starting pitchers.

Game 108: Jaime’s Debut

(Jim McIsaac/Getty
(Jim McIsaac/Getty

Last night Sonny Gray made his Yankees’ debut. Tonight Jaime Garcia will do the same. Garcia came over from the Twins last Sunday and, thanks to the Gray trade, his role going forward is a little undecided. Fifth starter? Long reliever? Both are possible. Depends what the Yankees want to do with Jordan Montgomery, and what’s going on with Montgomery’s and Luis Severino‘s innings limits.

Some fun facts: Garcia will be the first pitcher to start a game for three different teams in one season since Byung-Hyun Kim in 2007. Completely forgot he started for a while. Kim started for the Rockies, Marlins, and Diamondbacks that year. Also, Garcia will be the first pitcher to make three consecutive starts for three different teams since Gus Weyhing in 1895. 1895! Just score some runs and win a game, please. Here’s the Indians’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. LF Clint Frazier
  3. RF Aaron Judge
  4. C Gary Sanchez
  5. SS Didi Gregorius
  6. DH Matt Holliday
  7. 1B Chase Headley
  8. 3B Todd Frazier
  9. 2B Ronald Torreyes
    LHP Jaime Garcia

Another cool and cloudy day in Cleveland, though there’s no rain in the forecast, and that’s all that matters. Tonight’s game will begin a little after 7pm ET and you’ll be able to watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Try to enjoy.