Whitley brilliant but unfortunate series of events dooms the Yankees in a 3-1 loss to Blue Jays

So, let’s start with the good news: Chase Whitley looked like an ace out there. He’s definitely earned more trust with that gem. Okay, time for bad news: pretty much everything else that happened after he left. The Yankees had a chance to extend the winning streak to four and nail the first game of the series in the Rogers Centre, but the painful eighth inning got in the way and New York lost 3-1. For now, just be happy that we are still in the first place. Can’t win them all.

Ace (Source: Getty)

Chase the ace:

Whitley tossed seven scoreless innings, gave up six hits, no walks and struck out six. That’s a great line and yet it still doesn’t feel like it doesn’t do justice on how well he pitched tonight. He hit corners, lured hitters, changed speeds and made some great hitters look silly.

Only major blunder from Chase tonight came from the third inning. With one out, Ezequiel Carrera tried to bunt for a base hit. Whitley picked up the ball but did not get a complete grip and threw it way off target. Carrera advanced to third. Fortunately, Whitley got Devon Travis to strike out swinging and Josh Donaldson to ground out to end the inning. Phew.

It’s only been two ML starts for Whitley this season but he’s shown the ability to strike out hitters (11 K’s in 12 IP) and throw strikes (only 1 walk allowed). Definitely don’t expect him to maintain this sub-1.00 ERA but two sharp outings against division rivals is encouraging.

Roger Centre is no paradise (Source: Getty)

The eighth inning of doom:

Chase Whitley was mostly a reliever in minors. He did not adapt to a regular starting role until last year and needless to say, I don’t think it was a horrible decision to pull him after 90 pitches thrown, especially with the caliber of bullpen the Yankees have. Joe Girardi put in Chris Martin, who has essentially put himself into the Circle of Trust this season.

Martin got the reigning AL Rookie of the Month Devon Travis to ground out. Josh Donaldson followed that up with a single and so did Jose Bautista. With the cleanup hitter Edwin Encarnacion coming up, Girardi sub’d in Dellin Betances. On the first pitch curveball that the slugger did not particularly hit well … the ball dropped in front of Brett Gardner by the left field line for a fair ball and a run scored. Just last night, a David Ortiz line drive with bases loaded sucked right into the center fielder’s glove, and tonight, a blooper by Encarnacion falls right by the line and becomes a game-tying double. Go figure.

Former Yankee Russell Martin came in to pinch hit. With the count full, the catcher hit a hard grounder down the line that Chase Headley somehow caught. Headley’s throw, however, eluded Garrett Jones‘s glove as the first baseman couldn’t handle the hard bouncer in front of him. Two more Jays runs scored. 3-1 Toronto. Sigh. Mark Teixeira definitely would have handled that throw better but I don’t think it was an easy throw to cleanly scoop.

Leftovers:

Carlos Beltran went 1-for-3 but he did hit the ball hard on all three at-bats. He also hit a leadoff double in the seventh inning that got the only Yankee scoring going. I do have to mention that the only pitcher he faced tonight was R.A. Dickey, who is not exactly an overpowering guy, but Beltran’s bat seemed to show some life since the Red Sox series, which is good.

Brett Gardner walked twice but his six-game hitting streak came to an end as he also went 0-for-2. Jacoby Ellsbury did not go 4-for-4 tonight but he did get a hit so it’s 1-for-4 instead. Unlike last night, tonight’s game went by quite quickly but then again, I would definitely trade the faster pace of game for some more Yankee runs.

Box Scores, WPA, Standings:

Here is the box score and updated standings. Oh, and WPA.


Source: FanGraphs


What’s next:

The series continues at Toronto tomorrow. #BigMike goes against Marco Estrada, who gave up tons of homers last year (1.73 HR/9). Hope there’s another winning streak starting soon.

Sweep! Yankees manage to not blow eight-run lead in 8-5 win over Red Sox

For the first time since that five-game massacre in August 2006, the Yankees have swept a series of at least three games in Fenway Park. They held on — and I really mean held on, this one got a little hairy — for an 8-5 win over the Red Sox on Sunday night. The Yankees have won 13 of their last 16 games.

(Jim Rogash/Getty)
(Jim Rogash/Getty)

Singles Are For The Weak
It was very rude of the Yankees to interrupt Joe Kelly night on ESPN. It all started right in the first inning, when Mark Teixeira almost hit a ball literally out of Fenway Park, opposite field over the Green Monster. I’m not joking. His two-run homer landed in the very top row of the Monster Seats. He hit that ball about as hard as he possibly could hit a ball the other way. So strong.

The onslaught continued in the third inning, and like the first inning, it started with a Jacoby Ellsbury leadoff single. He is molten hot right now. Alex Rodriguez followed that with a one-out single to center before Teixeira popped up for the second out. The Yankees had runners at first and second with two outs when Brian McCann put together a monster eight-pitch at-bat, ripping a double into the right-center field gap. Look at this battle:

Brian McCann at-bat

There was one hittable pitch in that at-bat, and that’s one the one McCann hit for a two-run double. He fouled off several tough inside mid-90s fastballs — home plate ump Jeff Nelson was giving that inside corner to lefty batters all night — until Kelly made a mistake. Carlos Beltran followed with a double into the right field corner to score McCann and cap off the three-run rally, giving the Yankees a 5-0 lead in the third.

The middle innings came and went without much of anything offensively. The Yankees went back on the attack against Craig Breslow in the sixth inning. Didi Gregorius lined a single to center, Ellsbury lined a single to left, and Brett Gardner drove a three-run homer into the home bullpen in right-center. Breslow had nothing to put him away. Gardner didn’t flinch at some pitches just off the plate, fouled off another, then unloaded on a middle-middle offering. Just like that, it was 8-0. All eight runs scored on extra-base hits. Singles are for the weak.

Just getting a soda Adam. (Jim Rogash/Getty)
Just getting a soda Adam. (Jim Rogash/Getty)

All With Two Outs
Adam Warren retired the first nine batters he faced and none of them hit the ball out of the infield. Things were a bit uneven after that — seven of 14 batters reached base against Warren once the lineup turned over, including each of the last four. That helped the Red Sox get back into the game and really uglified Warren’s pitching line. He was better than four runs in 5.2 innings.

Boston’s five-run sixth inning all started with two quick outs. They then went single (Dustin Pedroia), run-scoring double off the wall (David Ortiz), hit-by-pitch (Hanley Ramirez), run-scoring single (Pablo Sandoval) to end Warren’s night. Hanley apparently thought the hit-by-pitch was intentional and started chirping. That was silly. Warren was pretty clearly out of gas and one got away from him.

Joe Girardi went to Esmil Rogers, who is firmly in the Circle of Trust™, to face Mike Napoli with two on and two out. Rogers left a pitch up just enough and Napoli hit it just high enough and into the front row of the Green Monster for a three-run homer, turning an 8-2 game into an 8-5 game. Rogers walked the next guy then bobbled a weak grounder for an infield hit before finally escaping the inning. That was unnerving. The five-run inning made this one uncomfortably close.

Officer McCann is on the case. (Jim Rogash/Getty)
Officer McCann is on the case. (Jim Rogash/Getty)

Last Nine Outs
Well knew Dellin Betances wasn’t going to be available Sunday night because of his recent workload, and although the Yankees have a strong bullpen, getting those last nine outs without Dellin was going to be a bit of a challenge. Rogers started the seventh, retired the first two batters, then Justin Wilson got Ortiz to line out to left field for the final out. Three outs down, six to go.

Like Saturday, Wilson was left in to face Hanley in the eighth, and this time Hanley lined a leadoff single back up the middle. Also like Saturday, Wilson then struck out the switch-hitting Sandoval. Pablo’s pretty bad against lefties. The strikeout dropped him to 2-for-24 (.083) against southpaws this year. David Carpenter replaced Wilson and got a first pitch inning-ending double play from Napoli. Not bad for Carpenter’s bi-weekly appearance! Six outs down, three to go.

The Yankees loaded the bases with two outs and had a chance to plate an insurance run(s) in the eighth, but they were unable to capitalize, so still-not-officially-the-closer Andrew Miller was tasked with protecting an 8-5 lead in the ninth. No problem, right? Well he walked the leadoff man, the generally punchless Allen Craig, struck out the next two, then walked Mookie Betts to bring the tying run to the plate. Not ideal!

Miller clearly didn’t have much command and fell behind the count 3-1 to Pedroia. Pedroia slapped a little ground ball to third, Chase Headley bobbled it, threw wildly to first, and Teixeira had to come off the bag to make the play. Everyone was safe. Bases were loaded with two outs and Ortiz was up as the go-ahead run. Uncomfortable! The at-bat went slider (swinging strike), fastball (called strike), slider (ball), slider (ball), slider (line drive) … at Ellsbury for the final out. Nine outs down, none to go. Nice and easy. (/barfs)

(Jim Rogash/Getty)
(Jim Rogash/Getty)

Leftovers
Like I said, Hanley was pretty annoyed when Warren hit him in the sixth. The Red Sox’s dugout was pretty fired up too. They retaliated in the top of the eighth — Edward Mujica plunked Ellsbury right in the behind in a 3-0 count. He tried to hit him with the first pitch, missed, went outside with the second pitch to make it look less obvious, missed again with the third pitch, then got the job done with the fourth. Both teams were warned and that was that.

Ellsbury went 4-for-4 and is 19-for-40 (.475) in his last ten games. Stephen Drew went 0-for-5 and is 5-for-33 (.152) in his last ten games. Good thing they’re hitting in appropriate lineup spots. Gardner, Beltran, and Headley all had two hits apiece as well. Teixeira, Ellsbury, and Gregorius drew walks and Headley was (unintentionally) hit by a pitch. Everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit aside from Drew. Offense up and down the lineup.

Warren and the Yankees caught a nice break in the fourth inning, when instant replay overturned a would-be inning ending double play, only to have Sandoval ground out with runners on the corners in a 3-0 count. Bit of a gift there, but that’s baseball. I’m not sure why the call at first was overturned either. It was hardly conclusive. Whatever.

And finally, ESPN brought James Taylor into the booth for an utterly pointless interview in the middle of the game. MLB is trying to find ways to appeal to younger fans and that didn’t help at all. Good grief. Thank goodness Gardner hit that homer to end the segment.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. We also have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages, if you’re interested. The former is kind of a big deal. The latter … not so much. Here’s the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees are done with the Red Sox and will head to Toronto in the morning. Apparently they’re staying in Boston tonight. They open a three-game set with the Blue Jays on Monday night. Chase Whitley and R.A. Dickey will be the pitching matchup.

Eovaldi, Gardner, and Betances help Yankees to 4-2 win over Red Sox


Source: FanGraphs

Another series, another series win. The Yankees took the second game of their three-game series with the Red Sox on Saturday afternoon, beating Boston 4-2. My real quick research tells me the Yankees have won five straight series for the first time since September 2012. They’ve won 12 of their last 15 games overall. Baseball is fun! It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon, so let’s recap with bullet points:

  • Offensive Outfield: Outfielders drove in all four runs Saturday. Chris Young hit an insurance solo homer in the top of the ninth, and earlier in the game Brett Gardner capped off two rallies with run-scoring hits. Didi Gregorius led off the third with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch, then scored on Gardner’s double to left. The fifth inning rally started with two hits and a sac bunt to move the runners up. Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out sharply to first and the runner at third had to hold, but Gardner picked him up with a clutch two-out, two-strike single to left. Brett’s now hitting .319/.405/.420 (135 wRC+). Very nice.
  • Easy Nate: Two runs in 6.2 innings at Fenway Park? That’ll do just fine. Nathan Eovaldi was hit hard in just one inning Saturday — three hits and one run in the fourth — and gave the Yankees exactly what they needed, specifically taking the ball relatively deep into the game. Two of the seven hits allowed were infield singles and it wasn’t until his pitch count was over 100 in the seventh that he walked a batter (last man he faced, actually). Eovaldi used his breaking ball well once the lineup turned over and got a lot of weak pop-ups. Nice outing for Nate.
  • Bullpen Machinations: It was a little curious when Joe Girardi sent Eovaldi out for the seventh and straight up weird when Justin Wilson was allowed to face Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval with a one-run lead in the eighth, but Joe always has the big picture in mind and it’s clear he was trying to get Andrew Miller some rest. Chris Martin allowed an inherited runner to score in the seventh, Wilson sandwiched a walk to Hanley between retiring David Ortiz and Sandoval, then closer du jour Dellin Betances struck out all four batters he faced for the four-out save. Hooray bullpen depth. (Aside: Holy moly Girardi does not trust David Carpenter, huh?)
  • Leftovers: Gardner was thrown out at third trying to stretch his third inning double into a triple, and I’m totally fine with it. Be aggressive and force Hanley to make a play … everyone in the lineup had at least one hit except for 4-5 hitters Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann … Young had two hits (homer, double) and now has six doubles, six homers, and eight singles on the year … Chase Headley lost a pop-up in the sun but otherwise the Yankees played really solid defense. No highlight plays or anything, but man, they caught everything. Very clean game, all the plays were made … and finally, here’s the pitch location for the Wilson-Sandoval at-bat in the eighth. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the plan was to get him to chase high heaters.

Here’s the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees will look to complete the sweep of the Red Sox on Sunday night. Adam Warren and Joe Kelly will be the generically named pitching matchup.

A-Rod hits 660th homer to tie Willie Mays for fourth place all-time, leads Yankees to 3-2 win over Red Sox

They booed. They chanted “Ster-oids! Ster-oids!” And then he shut them all up. With one swing of the bat Friday night, Alex Rodriguez tied Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time list with his 660th home run, and gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead over the Red Sox at Fenway Park in the eighth inning. That score held and the Yankees eventually won 3-2. New York has now won eleven of their last 14 games. Oh baby. Let’s recap with bullet points since it’s Friday night:

  • 660: Gosh, what a moment. A-Rod did not start Friday’s game as Joe Girardi went with a lefty heavy lineup against Justin Masterson, yet he still had a big impact. The hard-throwing Junichi Tazawa fell behind in the count 3-0, and rather than simply take a pitch for the sake of taking a pitch, Rodriguez hunted a 3-0 fastball, got it, and lined a home run over the Green Monster. It was a frickin’ laser. Out of the park in a hurry. Fenway went quiet and A-Rod’s teammates mobbed him in the dugout. I would have loved to see Alex get his 660th in the Bronx, but a go-ahead blast to silence the Fenway faithful and give the Yankees a late-inning lead works fine too.
  • Just Good Enough: CC Sabathia threw the ugliest six innings of two-run ball you may ever see. He had runners on base in every inning but the first and sixth, and he got lucky breaks on two occasions with what would have been run-scoring extra-base hits — a fan reached out and touched Ryan Hanigan’s double in the fourth, so the umps sent Xander Bogaerts back to third, and Hanley Ramirez wasn’t allowed to score from first when Mike Napoli’s double hopped over the wall in the fifth. The end result was two runs on seven hits and two walks in six innings. The end result was good. Getting there was … uncomfortable.
  • Score First, Score Last: Boy the Yankees really let Masterson off the hook. Nine of the first 21 batters he faced reach base, yet the Yankees scored just one run in that time, on a first inning double by Carlos Beltran. They stranded runners on second and third in the fourth and the bases loaded in the fifth. Boston took a 2-1 lead in the middle innings and it wasn’t until Masterson was out of the game that the Yankees rallied to tie. Didi Gregorius worked a leadoff walk in the seventh, moved to second when Mark Teixeira was hit by a pitch, then scored on Brian McCann‘s single to tie the game. A-Rod did the rest.
  • Leftovers: The bullpen wasn’t great but it was good enough. Esmil Rogers walked a batter in a scoreless seventh — why he was pitching the seventh inning of a tie game, I have no idea — and Dellin Betances put two runners on base with one out in the eighth. He struck out the next two hitters. Andrew Miller tossed a perfect ninth for his ninth save … Jacoby Ellsbury (two singles), Brett Gardner (single, walk), Teixeira (two walks, hit-by-pitch), Beltran (single, double), and Gregorius (single, walk) all reached base multiple times … the Yankees went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Thanks goodness for dingers.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also make sure you check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees and Red Sox will continue this series Saturday afternoon. It’ll be Nathan Eovaldi against Wade Miley.


Source: FanGraphs

Minor League Report: I don’t have time for a full version of DotF tonight. Sorry folks. You can find all the box scores right here though. Jake Cave and Angel Aguilar both went deep and Double-A Trenton walked off with a win in the 18th inning. 18th inning!

Rays outlast Yankees in 13 innings, take series finale 3-2

Extra innings have not been kind to the 2015 Yankees so far. The bullpen held on as long as possible Wednesday afternoon, but ultimately the offense never did come through, leading to 3-2 loss to the Rays in 13 innings. The Yankees won the series but couldn’t finish off the sweep. Whaddayagonnado.

(Al Bello/Getty)
(Al Bello/Getty)

Worn Down
It wasn’t until Tuesday afternoon that Michael Pineda knew he was going to pitch this game. He was originally scheduled to start Friday, but the Yankees had to change plans and start him Wednesday (on regular rest) because of Masahiro Tanaka‘s wrist/forearm injury. In fact, Joe Girardi had to find Pineda on Tuesday to make sure he didn’t throw his between starts bullpen so he could be ready for this game.

Big Mike started in typical Big Mike fashion, retiring the first six batters of the game before running into a little trouble in the third inning. A leadoff single, a bunt, and a strikeout/wild pitch combo gave Tampa Bay runners on the corners with one out, but Pineda responded by striking out David DeJesus and getting a ground out from Steven Souza to escape the jam.

Things unraveled a bit in the fourth and it happened after the first two batters made outs on four total pitches. James Loney grounded a single through the shift and Logan Forsythe grounded a single the other way to beat the shift — oh look, the Yankees were burned by the shift again! — to put two on for Kevin Kiermaier. Kiermaier worked Pineda real hard. It was a nine-pitch at-bat and he fouled off a pair of well-placed full count fastballs to stay alive.

The third full count fastball was a meatball. Center cut, middle of the plate, and Kiermaier banged it off the very top of the wall in right-center field for a two-run triple. I thought it was gone off the bat. Pineda hit the next batter with a pitch before stranding Kiermaier at third. The damage had been done though. The Rays were up 2-0 after having two outs and the bases empty in the inning. Those rallies are always annoying. Kiermaier just wore Pineda down with his at-bat.

Pineda’s afternoon came to end after Forsythe doubled with two outs in the sixth inning. It was another one high off the wall — this one in left field — that I thought was gone off the bat. Big Mike allowed those two runs on six hits and no walks in 5.2 innings. He fanned five and also got nine ground ball outs compared to ten in the air. Pineda now has a 32/2 K/BB in 31.1 innings this year with a 54.9% grounder rate, which is really awesome.

Strikeouts & Dingers
Rays lefty Drew Smyly was making his second start of the year after missing time with a shoulder problem, yet he showed no rust Wednesday afternoon. He gave up two Jacoby Ellsbury singles and a Chris Young walk through the first four innings — Ellsbury made it to third on a steal and a bunt in the first inning but was stranded — while striking out six. Smyly was looking pretty sharp.

The first of his two mistakes came in the fifth inning, when he hung a 1-1 changeup to Chase Headley, who smacked a no-doubt solo homer to left field. All three of Headley’s dingers this year have been bombs. No doubters off the bat. Smyly settled down and retired the next four batters (three on strikeouts) before making his second mistake: a hanging breaking ball to Young. It wasn’t an awful pitch, it was down around the knees, but it was over the plate and Young golfed it out for a game-tying solo homer in the sixth.

In his second start off the DL, Smyly held New York to four hits and one walk in six innings, striking out ten. It was only the third double-digit strikeout game of his career. He did a really nice job keeping the Yankees off balance with his breaking ball I thought, especially back-footing it to righties. The Yankees’ right-handed hitters went 2-for-16 (.125) with nine (!) strikeouts against Smyly. Unfortunately for him, the two hits left the park.

Bullpen Battle
It’s hard not to feel confident whenever this Yankees team gets locked in a battle of the bullpens. After Pineda exited with two outs in the sixth, five relievers combined to retire the next 14 batters before Chris Martin walked Asdrubal Cabrera with one out in the top of the 11th. Justin Wilson (one out), David Carpenter (three outs), Dellin Betances (three outs), Andrew Miller (six outs), and Martin (one out) got those 14 straight outs.

Unfortunately, Tampa Bay’s bullpen was excellent as well. Three Rays’ relievers retired eleven in a row at one point from the seventh through the tenth, and they pitched around leadoff singles in both the 11th and 12th innings as well. Ellsbury singled to leadoff the 11th yet never attempted to steal. Carlos Beltran singled to leadoff the 12th and pinch-runner Brett Gardner also never attempted to steal. I don’t understand. I don’t understand at all!

Chasen Shreve, in his second inning of work, opened the door for the Rays in the 13th with a one-out walk to Souza. Souza moved to second on a ground out and Evan Longoria was intentionally walked to set up the left-on-left matchup with Loney. The six-pitch battle ended with a weak ground ball through the right side that Stephen Drew snared in shallow right field but was unable to turn into an out. He had no play on Loney at first or Souza at home. The play developed too slowly.

The Rays scored all three of their runs thanks to perpetually awful Yankees’ shifts. They get burned by them game after game after game it seems. I’m not making this up either — the MLB average on ground balls is a .242 BABIP. The Yankees came into Wednesday with a .286 BABIP on ground balls. That shouldn’t happen with this infield defense. The bullpen held on as long as possible. One hit in 7.1 innings for the relievers!

(Al Bello/Getty)
(Al Bello/Getty)

Leftovers
The Yankees struck out 16 times on Wednesday, a new season high. (They struck out only 13 times in the 19-inning game.) It was their highest strikeout total since the final game of the 2013 season, when they struck out 16 times in 14 innings. The franchise record is 17 strikeouts, which has been done a few times. The 7-8-9 hitters went combined 0-for-12 with eight strikeouts and at one point nine of 12 Yankees’ batters struck out from the fifth through eighth innings. Not good!

Alex Rodriguez had his worst offensive day of the season so far, going 0-for-6 with four strikeouts and the game-ending double play. It was his first four-strikeout game since April 2008 and only the fifth of his career. Those other four four-strikeout games were nine-inning games though. Ellsbury had three hits, Young had two hits, and the rest of the team had two hits.

Loney banged into a 6-4-3 double play in the sixth inning. It was the first ground ball double play Pineda has induced in 26 starts, dating back back to July 2011, when he was with the Mariners. Also, Miller faced Loney to start the ninth inning. It was the first lefty batter Miller faced in 2015. The first 37 batters he faced were all righties.

And finally, Betances limped off the field in the eighth inning, but Girardi told reporters after the game he just has a blister on his big toe. It’s a non-issue. A band-aid will take care of that.

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. Lots going on there. Here is the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees have an off-day Thursday and will open a three-game series with the Red Sox on Friday night. CC Sabathia and Justin Masterson are the probable starters for the opener at Fenway Park.

Yanks take the series with a 4-2 win over the Rays behind Whitley’s arm and McCann’s bat

Make it three in a row for the Yankees. New York beat Tampa 4-2 to improve their record to 13-8. Chase Whitley threw five solid innings and the bullpen, not led by the usual cast, held on pretty well to win it. Yankees have won four series in a row and ten games out of last twelve. This is pretty enjoyable, guys. Winning!

Chase, the pitcher (Source: Getty)

Ace Whitley:
Chase Whitley was called up to make a spot start. Even though he had been throwing well in Triple-A, having to face a division rival and facing opponent’s best starter (Jake Odorizzi) is not an easy task.

However, the right-hander prevailed. In 5 innings, Whitley allowed six hits but allowed only one run and struck out five. His location and secondary pitches looked sharp. His only run allowed came on the third, when Asdrubal Cabrera hit an RBI double to drive in the runner from first. Unfazed, Whitley struck out the next two hitters – Evan Longoria and James Loney – to get out of the jam.

Just like Adam Warren last night, Whitley pitched well and gave the Yanks a good chance to win. Some spot starter, huh? I wonder if he’ll be making more ML starts now that Masahiro Tanaka is on the 15-day DL.

Call me Esmil:

In the sixth inning, Chasen Shreve came in after Chase to begin the bullpen relay. Tonight was definitely not one of Shreve’s strong showings, however. The lefty walked Loney to start the inning and allowed a long RBI triple to Logan Forsythe. Lead trimmed to 4-2. Shreve did strike out Kevin Kiermaier but Joe Girardi brought in Esmil Rogers to face Tim Beckham. With a runner on third and one out, Rogers struck out Beckham and Rene Rivera grounded out to avoid further damage.

But wait, he wasn’t done! Esmil went on to pitch two more scoreless innings, in which he struck out four and only allowed two baserunners. Big arms like Justin Wilson, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller had a heavy workload lately and Rogers came up big with this solid 2.2 innings of work. Memorable moment? That 90-mph slider/cutter to get Longoria to strike out swinging was pretty nasty.

(Source: Getty)

Leftovers:

Brian McCann is a fine catcher. He didn’t get off the the best offensive start (.250/.299/.417 before tonight’s game) but tonight, he drove in three of the four Yankee runs with two doubles. After tonight’s game, his line bumped up to .266/.310/.453, which is good for a 108 wRC+. Solid.

Speaking of a big free agent acquired after the 2013 season, Jacoby Ellsbury went 3-for-4, upping his season slash to .308/.400/.372. You know, I’d like to see a bit more power output from him but I can’t complain too much on how he’s been seeing the ball. Hopefully, more doubles and homers come along. So far, Ellsbury has 24 hits this season and only three are extra base hits. So basically, he’s the anti-Mark Teixeira.

Carlos Beltran went 0-for-3 and his season slash is now a dreadful .159/.217/.270. He’s also struck out 29.0% of the time, which is much higher than his 16.1% career rate. What’s the deal with that? Even when he struggled with injuries last year, he struck out around 17.8 % rate.

Instead of the unofficial 9th inning guy Andrew Miller, Chris Martin came into pitch for the save in the ninth inning. Martin had 14 saves in minor leagues but none in the majors before tonight. He pitched a scoreless inning — two lineouts, a single and a strikeout. Congrats on the first one, Chris!

Box Score, WPA, Standings:

Here is the box score, WPA, and updated standings. Spoiler: Yankees are still in the first place.


Source: FanGraphs


Yankees will have #BIGMIKE taking the mound tomorrow afternoon against Drew Smyly. Let’s get greedy and hope for a sweep. 14-8 is better than 13-9.

Warren and bullpen down the Rays 4-1 to take the series opener

Before tonight’s game, New York and Tampa were tied at the top of the division with 11-8 records. Well, one of those two won and it happened to be the Yankees. New York now sits on the top of the division and it’s a very good feeling. Adam Warren delivered his best start of the season and the offense benefited from a few miscues from the Rays pitching to win this one 4-1.

A Warren-ted Compliment

(Source: Getty)

The fifth starter looked much better today than on his other starts. From early on, Adam Warren’s fastball sat around 94 and he located his secondary pitches well. In the first inning, he got into a bit of trouble with runners on second and third and one out — he struck out the dangerous Evan Longoria swinging with a changeup inside and James Loney grounded out. In the second inning, Warren struck out all three batters he faced — Brandon Guyer, Kevin Kiermaier and Tim Beckham — and it was quite impressive. I mean, if Warren can bring on well-located fastballs around 93~94 miles per hour and can throw slider or changeup in any count, I think he’d be a pretty darn good number five starter.

Only noticeable blemish Warren left was the sixth inning. David DeJesus singled to start the inning and Warren uncorked a wild pitch to Steven Souza Jr. to let the runner advance to second. Souza flew out deep to center, advancing DeJesus to third. With the infield in, Warren induced a grounder from Asdrubal Cabrera … and Stephen Drew threw a cricket-pitch-like bouncer to Brian McCann — DeJesus was safe at home and the game tied up, 1-1. Warren took care of one more batter and Joe Girardi sub’d him out for Justin Wilson.

Man, if it weren’t for the Drew’s faulty throw, Warren probably would have been the winning pitcher. But what is more valuable is that he went out, showed some really good stuff and dominated the division rival lineup to give New York a chance to win. Warren’s final line: 5.2 innings pitched, 5 hits, 1 earned run, 0 walk and 6 strikeouts. The last two figures look awesome given that he had allowed 8 walks and struck out only 6 in the previous 15 innings he logged before tonight. So yea, more of this please, Adam.

You just threw a football into the strikezone (Source: Getty)

Scoring… more than the opponent

I don’t think tonight’s game will go down as especially memorable or anything but the team did what it could do to get a win — sometimes, it takes mistakes from the opponent. The game was in a 0-0 tie in the bottom of fifth. Rays starter, Nate Karns, had been cruising through the Yankee lineup and his command fizzled a bit that inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, the Rays manager Kevin Cash, not wanting to take any more chance, sub’d him out for a fresh bullpen arm Brandon Gomes. However, Gomes showed even worse command and walked Brett Gardner with bases loaded. Oops.

The Yanks’ next run was way more exciting. With the game tied at one, McCann unloaded a bunch of power into a Brandon Gomes meatball and sent the ball towards the second deck in the right field. It was one of those shots that you knew was gone right off the bat. 2-1 Yanks. The ghost of Carlos Beltran followed it up with a line drive double to the center field wall. After Chris Young struck out, manager Kevin Cash brought in the lefty Everett Teaford to face Stephen Drew. I thought it was an interesting choice. Teaford had not pitched in the bigs since July 14, 2013 and he was mediocre in Korea last year (5-6, 5.24 ERA in 99.2 innings pitched with the LG Twins). Well, I guess they liked what they saw of him so far this year. He did not do his immediate job though — Drew doubled to right field corner to score Beltran. 3-1 Yankees lead.

Yankees scored again in the bottom of the eighth. McCann singled to begin the inning. Beltran and Young followed that up by striking out swinging (welp) but Drew singled and Didi walked to get the bases loaded. I thought it was quite odd that Cash did not substitute out Teaford by then. Instead, he stuck the lefty in to face Jacoby Ellsbury. On the third pitch, Jacoby took a 88-mph pitch to the right arm. 4-1 Yankees. Not the prettiest way to score but it’s a scoring nonetheless.

Leftovers: 

Warren pitched very well tonight but bullpen was flat-out awesome. Four pitchers — Wilson, David Carpenter, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller — combined for 3.1 innings pitched, allowed only one hit and one walk and struck out 4. So good. So good. We all could get used to this. The unofficial 8th inning guy Betances dropped an especially nasty curve/slurve to strike out Asdrubal Cabrera to end the eighth and that was just unfair. Cabrera knew that he was gone as soon as the ball got to the mitt. Dellin just looks like an unstoppable force at this point.

Box Score, WPA, Standings: 

Here is the box score, win probability chart  and updated standings. First place, guys, first place!


Source: FanGraphs


Tomorrow, the Yankees will have Chase Whitley making the first 2015 ML start of the year as a spot starter. He will face the current Rays ace, Jake Odorizzi. Will the winning streak continue tomorrow at YSIII? We shall see. Would be sweet to extend the division lead and take the series at home.