Sweep! Yankees mash three dingers, rally from behind for 6-2 win over Angels

Make it six straight wins for the streakin’ Yankees. They rallied from behind on Sunday afternoon to take the series finale 6-2 from the Angels. The Bronx Bombers have now swept two straight series and three of their last four. They’ve also won ten of their last 13 games. I enjoy this. This is fun.

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

A Bad Start
Three batters into the game, the Angels had a 2-0 lead. CC Sabathia struck out Erick Aybar before serving up back-to-back solo homers to Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in the first inning. The pitch Trout hit wasn’t awful — it was middle of the plate but down at the knees, he just golfed it — but the pitch to Pujols was a total hanger. Cement mixer slider right in Albert’s wheelhouse. The quick two-run deficit was kind of a letdown.

Thankfully, the bad start was nothing more than that. A bad start. David Freese followed the back-to-back homers with a double, then Sabathia settled down and retired 16 of the next 19 batters he faced. The three base-runners were two infield singles (Aybar and Pujols) and a walk (Freese). The Angels didn’t square Sabathia up after the first. The infield single by Pujols and the walk to Freese put two on with one out in the sixth, though CC snuffed out the rally by coaxing a double play ball from Kole Calhoun.

The ground ball was Sabathia’s 87th and final pitch of the afternoon. After getting the out, Sabathia started barking at home plate umpire Dan Bellino because he didn’t agree with a ball/strike call earlier in the inning. Bellino was calling the low strike all afternoon, but he didn’t give one to Sabathia in a big spot that inning, and Sabathia didn’t like it. Sabathia got tossed, Joe Girardi ran out of the dugout to protect his pitcher, and he got tossed too. CC was really fired up. He was right up in Bellino’s face. I would not want to be confronted by an angry CC Sabathia, that’s for sure.

Anyway, Sabathia’s afternoon ended after six innings of two-run ball. No damage after the back-to-back home runs in the first inning. Five hits, one walk, seven strikeouts. That’s not the Sabathia of old but that’s a winnable start. I’d take it from the big guy every fifth day no questions asked. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pitcher get ejected after an inning-ending double play ball though.

Power hitting left fielder. (Jim McIsaac/Getty)
Power hitting outfielder. (Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Come From Behind
The early two-run deficit stunk but was hardly insurmountable. The Yankees started the comeback in the third inning thanks to Jose Pirela‘s leadoff double. It was a rocket off the wall in left that bounced right to Matt Joyce, so Pirela had to hustle into second. Pirela aggressively tagged up on John Ryan Murphy‘s fly ball to center and then scored on Didi Gregorius‘ ground ball to second base. Good ol’ small ball, aside from the leadoff rocket off the wall.

The comeback continued in the fifth inning with another leadoff extra base hit, this one a solo homer by the slumping Chris Young. Young came into the game with six hits in his last 55 at-bats (.109) dating back to May 23rd. Yikes. April was fun though. The homer was his first since May 2nd against the Red Sox, which I don’t even remember. Either way, the homer tied the game and gave the Yankees new life.

Now here’s a fun fact: Brett Gardner has pulled six fly balls to right field this season. Six! Most of his balls in play to right are ground balls (69.4%) or soft line drives (20.4%). And yet, four of those six fly balls have left the yard for home runs. The fourth of those four homers came a few batters after Young’s homer in the fifth inning, when Gardner unloaded on a 2-0 pitch from C.J. Wilson — I’m not even sure it was a strike, might have been off the plate inside — and yanked it just inside the foul pole for a three-run go-ahead homer. Murphy and Gregorius set the rally up with one-out singles. The Yankees went from down 2-1 to up 5-2 that inning.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
The Yankees caught a big break in the third inning after Gregorius and Chase Headley threw balls away. The Angels had runners on the corners with one out, Freese lifted a would-be sac fly to deep right field, but Carlos Beltran made a great throw to get Trout trying to tag up and advance to second. (Didi deserves props for a great tag.) Trout was tagged out for the third out before Aybar touched the plate, so the run didn’t score. Underrated big play in the game.

The bullpen didn’t make things interesting for the second straight day. Justin Wilson did walk the first batter he faced in the seventh, but erased the runner with a double play ball before getting the third out. Dellin Betances struck out two in a perfect eighth and Andrew Miller struck out the side in a perfect ninth. The Angels didn’t have a hit to the outfield after Freese’s double in the first.

Pirela had a big day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with the double off the wall and his first career homer in the seventh. The solo shot into the visitor’s bullpen gave the Yankees an always-appreciated insurance run to make it 6-2. I can’t ever remember seeing a player that happy after hitting his first homer. The smile still hasn’t come off Pirela’s face. Neat moment.

The Yankees scored six runs even though Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Beltran (the 3-4-5 hitters) went a combined 0-for-9 with a walk and three strikeouts. Gardner had the three-run homer and the 6-7-8-9 hitters (Young, Pirela, Murphy, Gregorius) went a combined 5-for-12 (.417) with a double and two dingers. The bottom of the order has been contributing of late. Nice to see.

And finally, Sabathia’s sixth strikeout of the day (Johnny Giavotella in the fifth) was the 2,500th punchout of his career. He’s the 31st pitcher in history to reach that round number milestone and only the ninth left-hander, so congrats to the big man.

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


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees have an off-day Monday, so we can all focus on Day One of the 2015 Draft instead. The Nationals are coming to town for a two-game series starting Tuesday night, and holy smokes are we in for a great pitching matchup in the opener: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Max Scherzer. Hell yeah.

Warren, big first inning carry Yanks to 8-2 win over Angels

That was close to a perfect win. Score a whole bunch of runs early, get a quality outing from the starter, then let the bullpen finish it off without making things interesting. Just perfect. The Yankees did all of that in Saturday night’s 8-2 win over the Angels. New York has won five straight and nine of their last dozen games overall.

(Adam Hunger/Getty)
(Adam Hunger/Getty)

First Inning Offense
Coming into Saturday’s game, the Yankees led all of baseball with 51 first inning runs. It wasn’t close either — the Padres were a distant second with 42 runs. The Tigers (41) were the only other team with more than 38. The Yankees dominate the first inning and they did it again Saturday, scoring six runs and knocking the generally awesome Garrett Richards out of the game after two-thirds of an inning. Let’s recap the inning with annotated play-by-play:

Yankees Angels play by play1

(1) The first at-bat of the inning told us right away that home plate ump Alfonso Marquez was going to have a tight strike zone. At least two of those balls to Brett Gardner looked like strikes, and that was a common theme throughout the inning. Marquez squeezed, Richards had to come over the plate, and the Yankees made him pay. The zone was tight for both teams but the Yankees did a better job of capitalizing. Here’s the strike zone. Notice how nearly every borderline pitch was called a ball:

Yankees Angels strike zone(2) Chase Headley‘s single maybe possibly could have been a double play. It was a hot shot grounder second baseman Johnny Giavotella couldn’t handle, and it deflected off his glove and into shallow right field. It was a tough play, no doubt about it. With a little luck Giavotella could have had his glove up quicker, fielded the hopper, and gotten at least one out (if not two), changing the inning. That didn’t happen. The ball clanked off his glove and the Yankees were in business.

(3) Richards recorded one out among the first eight batters he faced, and that was a 400-foot fly ball to the center field warning track. I didn’t think it was gone off the bat — it looked like Mark Teixeira hit it juuust off the end of the bat — but it kept carrying and carrying before Mike Trout settled under it. That was the second hardest hit ball of the inning behind Brian McCann‘s two-run home run, which was another example of Richards getting squeezed, having to come over the plate, and the Yankees capitalizing.

(4) Low baseball IQ alert! Stephen Drew hit a soft chopper to first base, and for some reason Albert Pujols tried to catch Didi Gregorius wandering off second base rather than take the sure out at first in hopes of snuffing out the big inning. Pujols made the throw to Giavotella, Gregorius slid back in, and second base ump Tom Hallion called him out. The Yankees immediately challenged and the replays clearly showed that not only did Didi beat the tag, there wasn’t even a tag applied. Giavotella tagged his own leg, not Gregorius. The call was overturned, Didi was ruled safe, and the Yankees reloaded the bases on a boneheaded play by Pujols, arguably the greatest player of his generation and usually a pretty smart defender.

(5) I thought Gardner’s two-out, two-run single was a back-breaker. Four runs in the first inning is awesome! But if Gardner makes an out there, Richards probably stays in the game, the Angels stay within grand slam distance, and a really good first inning doesn’t make the jump to a great first inning. Tacking on those two extra runs rather than “settling” for the four-run frame was huge. Changed the complexion of the game completely.

(6) This was already the fourth time this season the Yankees scored 5+ runs in the first inning. They did it twice last year, zero times the year before that, and twice the year before that. The other 29 teams have done it three times combined this season (!). This was also New York’s sixth inning of 5+ runs this season in general (first inning, second inning, whatever) compared to nine last year and eight the year before that. Hooray big innings!

(Adam Hunger/Getty)
(Adam Hunger/Getty)

Warren Report
It’ll get forgotten thanks to the big day by the offense, but Adam Warren turned in yet another very strong outing, holding the Angels to two runs in 6.2 innings. He threw a career high 105 pitches. After struggling to get through even five innings earlier this season, Warren has now completed at least 6.1 innings in each of his last five starts. He’s the first Yankee with five straight starts of 6.1+ innings since Masahiro Tanaka early last season. Who’d a thunk it?

Anyway, Warren retired the first nine batters he faced, then five of nine batters reached base the second time through the lineup. The Angels loaded the bases with an infield single and two walks in the fourth inning, so they were threatening to make it a game, but Warren was able to coax an inning-ending double play ball out of David Freese. The Halos then put the first two runners on in the fifth before Warren rebounded and limited the damage to one run on a sac fly. It was a long sac fly — Ramon Flores caught it at the wall — but it was just a sac fly.

Trout hit a solo home run in the sixth because that’s what Mike Trout does. What are you gonna do? The guy hits dingers. Luckily there was no one on base when it happened. Warren’s night ended when he walked Giavotella with two outs in the seventh — he actually had more walks (three) than strikeouts (two) on the night — but it didn’t come back to hurt. Justin Wilson retired Erick Aybar with one pitch to end the inning. Although Warren wasn’t as sharp on Saturday as he has been in recent weeks, this was his fifth straight quality outing nonetheless. Well done, Adam.

(Adam Hunger/Getty)
T’was a catch. (Adam Hunger/Getty)

Leftovers
The Yankees scored an insurance run in the second (Carlos Beltran singled in Teixeira) and another in the eighth (Teixeira walked with the bases loaded). The offense actually went kinda silent for a while — between Beltran’s single in the second and the start of the eighth inning, Angels pitchers retired 17 of 20 batters faced. The three base-runners were Gregorius (double) and A-Rod (walk, hit-by-pitch). Huh. Go figure.

Every starter reached base safely at least once other than Drew, though Drew reached on that weird Pujols play in the first. (It was scored a fielder’s choice.) Gardner (two singles, walk), A-Rod (three walks, hit-by-pitch), Teixeira (single, walk), McCann (homer, single), and Gregorius (single, double) all reached base multiple times. Gardner also stole a base because why not? The Yankees have been getting contributions from up and down the lineup during this five-game winning steak. Nice to see.

Unlike the series opener, the bullpen did not make things interesting in the late innings. Justin Wilson escaped the seventh, allowed a single in an otherwise uneventful eighth, and Chris Capuano retired the side in order in the ninth. Carlos Perez did work a 13-pitch at-bat before making the 27th out though. But see? It doesn’t have to be so hard with a huge late lead.

And finally, the Angels really had to tax their bullpen thanks to the short start by Richards. Cesar Ramos (20 pitches), Hector Santiago (45 pitches), Jose Alvarez (24 pitches), and Cam Bedrosian (40 pitches) all had to work quite a bit. That figures to play a role in the series finale Sunday.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score, video highlights, updated standings, Bullpen Workload page, and Announcer Standings page. Here’s the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Angels will wrap up this series on Sunday afternoon. CC Sabathia, not Michael Pineda, will square off against fellow left-hander C.J. Wilson. Pineda is having his scheduled start skipped this week to control his workload. Head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch that game or either of the other two remaining games on the homestand in person.

Yanks survive bullpen meltdown, beat Angels 8-7 in opener

Well that was way too stressful. The Yankees barely hung on to a seven-run lead in Friday’s series opening 8-7 win over the Angels. They were up 8-1 heading into the ninth. The bullpen melted down and the tying run was at third base when the final out was recorded. Goodness.

(Rich Schultz/Getty)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

Two Runs Two Times
In theory, Jered Weaver is exactly the type of pitcher who would struggle at Yankee Stadium. He’s a big time fly ball pitcher with a mid-80s fastball, and, sure enough, he came into Friday’s start with an 8.17 ERA and seven homers allowed in four starts and 25.1 innings at the new ballpark in the Bronx. This is not the ballpark to live and die with the fly ball, that’s for sure. Ask Phil Hughes.

The Yankees took advantage of Weaver’s propensity for the air ball with a pair of two-run home runs juuust over the wall in right field. They were Yankee Stadium cheapies for sure. The first came from Stephen Drew in the second inning, who did a nice job staying back on a slow 60-something mph curveball after being fooled by one earlier in the at-bat. Mark Teixeira hit his two-run home run one inning later. That gave Nathan Eovaldi and the Yankees a nice early 4-0 lead.

(Rich Schultz/Getty)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

Split
Eovaldi gave the Yankees 5.1 innings of one-run ball, and holy moly did he emphasize his relatively new splitter. PitchFX says Eovaldi threw 23 splitters in this game after throwing ten in his last start, seven in the start before that, and four in the start before that. Eovaldi got all four strikeouts on the splitter as well as a few other outs, including a pop-out and a soft line drive out by Mike Trout. This was definitely the most he’s used the pitch this season.

Eovaldi cruised for most of the game — he did have to pitch out of some bad defense-aided jams early — but the wheels came off rather quickly in the sixth inning. Yeah, the strike zone did seem to shrink, but Eovaldi lost the plate and walked three batters to load the bases with one out. No bueno. The three walks ended his night, and Chasen Shreve was able to limit the damage, escaping the inning with just one of the three inherited runners scoring. That was on a ground out too. Shreve was the unsung hero of the night for that inning.

I’m curious to see how Eovaldi uses his splitter going forward. Was this a one-time blip, or will it be a point of emphasis going forward? It was pretty effective for him on Friday night, and a pitch like that can really help him take that next step. Eovaldi threw the splitter so much in this game that I have to think it was intentional and something he is trying to improve. We’ll see.

Barely. (Presswire)
Barely. (Presswire)

Messy Ninth
The Yankees scored four insurance runs late in the game and they ended up needing them. Alex Rodriguez singled in a run in the fifth, Didi Gregorius plated a run with a sac fly in the sixth, Drew hit another home run in the sixth (solo), and Chris Young dunked a single into right to score another run in the seventh. They scored with homers, they scored with hits, they scored with sac flies, they scored in five of eight offensive innings. Great night for the offense, up and down the lineup. The top, middle, and bottom of the order all contributed.

Unfortunately, the bullpen really fell apart in the ninth inning. Esmil Rogers came in to face the bottom of the order with a seven-run lead — the Angels subbed out some of their regulars! — and was unable to retire any of the five batters he faced. Ridiculous. Dellin Betances had to come in with the bases loaded and no outs in the inning to clean up the mess. He allowed a two-run single to David Freese, walked Matt Joyce, walked Chris Iannetta with the bases loaded, struck out Kirk Nieuwenhuis, got Johnny Giavotella to hit into a run-scoring fielder’s choice, then struck out Carlos Perez with runners on the corners to end the game. Good grief.

The defense didn’t help Rogers — Jose Pirela and Chase Headley let a pop-up fall when it should have been the first out — but it did save the game with Betances on the mound. Gregorius made a nice play going to his right to snag Giavotella’s ground ball, keep it on the infield, and get the out at second. That ball was dangerously close to scooting into left field for a game-tying two-run single. Didi legitimately saved a run there. What a mess of an inning. Let us never talk about that again.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
Every Yankee in the starting lineup had at least one hit except for Gregorius, who walked and had the sac fly. Brett Gardner had two hits, A-Rod had four hits (!), and Drew had his two homers. The Yankees tallied 14 hits total while striking out just three times.

A-Rod’s fifth inning single gave him 1,997 career RBI, passing Barry Bonds and taking over sole possession of second place on the official all-time RBI list. Only Hank Aaron (2,297) has more. Alex is now only nine hits away from 3,000 as well.

And finally, Dellin Betances has an ERA now. It’s 0.30, but still. That 0.00 ERA was fun while it lasted.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. This is the team’s 18th series of the season, and so far YES has used 13 different booth combinations. Crazy. Here’s the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Angels will continue this three-game series with the second game on Saturday night. (Grumble grumble.) Adam Warren and Garrett Richards will be the pitching matchup. Warren is three months younger than Richards. Wouldn’t have guessed that. Anyway, head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch that game or any other game on the homestand in person.

Tanaka dominates Mariners, Yankees finish sweep with 3-1 win

Having a good day? Why not add a Yankees’ West Coast sweep to garnish it? The Yankees not only won three straight against the Seattle Mariners for a sweep, Nipponese ace Masahiro Tanaka pitched like he never missed a beat in his first start off the DL — certainly a welcome sight any day of the season.

Splitter! (Source: Getty)

Ma-kun!

Stuff-wise, Tanaka looked really good. His fastball velocity was around 91~94 mph, touching 95 and 96 at times. Against left-handers he threw some aesthetically-pleasing 2-seamers that spilled over into the strike zone. His other pitches — slider, splitter and the occasional get-me-over curveball — worked as he planned. When you have a guy like Tanaka with the command he showed and pitches he’s able to mix, you have a formidable ace.

The righty did run into a little trouble though. In the bottom of the third, Tanaka allowed a leadoff triple to Brad Miller. Dustin Ackley followed it up with an RBI double to deep left. Later on, Logan Morrison hit a single that would have scored Ackley … except Ramon Flores‘s strong arm totally denied the Mariners a run. He threw Ackley out at the plate. Well, those three hits were all the baserunners Tanaka allowed today.

Despite his 80-pitch limit, Ma-kun managed to throw seven innings (78 pitches and 58 strikes). His last pitch, by the way, clocked at 96 mph. How about that? Especially after all the velocity concerns the media and fans had at the beginning of the season. Pretty good to have another ace-caliber guy in the rotation, doesn’t it?

Teix, dingers, gluten-free, etc. (Source: Getty)

Offense did, well, just enough

Taijuan Walker looked quite impressive in top of first, showing off a mid-90’s fastball and swing-and-miss offspeed pitches. In the second inning however, Mark Teixeira drove a pitch just above a right-center field wall to give the Yanks a 1-0 lead. It was his 16th home run of the year. His power is just unreal this season. He has a .333 isolated power stat, which leads the American League. Gluten-free!

In the fourth inning, with a runner on first base, Garrett Jones turned it loose on an 89-mph offspeed pitch and hit it into the right field seats. 3-1 Yanks. Boy oh boy, Jonesy is hot right now. He now has two homers in Safeco Field as opposed to Robinson Cano‘s one. He now has a .258/.292/.452 line in 65 plate appearances, good for an about-league-average 104 wRC+. Given ohow cold he was in April and a portion of May, I’ll take it.

So yeah: two homers and three runs. Thanks to strong pitching, Yankees didn’t need any more run support. Love that this team is capable of driving balls out of the park again.

Dicey Eighth 

Chris Capuano entered the game as the eighth inning guy. He allowed a single but struck out Miller. Esmil Rogers and Andrew Miller were warming in the bullpen, and with one out in eighth, Girardi opted for the big lefty to get a five-out save. Heh. I sort of feared Esmil Rogers-as-the-eighth-inning-guy scenario.

Miller, who is a great reliever no doubt, can get into a trouble or two with his sometimes-imperfect command. He hit the pinch-hitting Rickie Weeks (just barely on the right leg) to put another runner on. Then against Mike Zunino, he completely lost the plate, allowing a four-pitch walk to a guy who only walked 3.8% of the plate appearances last season. Bases loaded and only one out, welp.

With a two-run lead in jeopardy, Logan Morrison stepped up to plate. Miller threw three consecutive balls, seemingly getting closer to make it a 3-2 ballgame. The lefty then threw two fastball strikes in a row – the second one being right down the middle that Morrison swung and missed. On the pitch No. 6, Miller threw a slider down and away that fooled LoMo for a swinging strikeout. Whew. That was stressful. Miller came back out in the ninth again and had a much cleaner inning – two strikeouts and only a single allowed for a 17th save of the year.

Leftover

Brian McCann exited the game in the second inning after limping a bit grounding out. Later, we learned that he has a sore right foot and will go to New York tomorrow to get an MRI. Hopefully it’s nothing serious.

Box Score, WPA, Standings, etc.

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


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees get a day off tomorrow and return to Bronx. They will face the Angels for another three-game series. Enjoy the rest of your night and the Yanks’ day off, guys.

Drew and Jones play hero in come from behind 5-3 extra innings win over Mariners


Source: FanGraphs

Holy moly. This was one strike away from being one of the most frustrating losses of the season … but instead it is one of the best wins of the year. Maybe the best. The Yankees rallied to tie the Mariners in the ninth inning then got a clutch three-run home run from Garrett Jones (off a lefty!) in the 11th inning for the 5-3 win. Look at that damn WPA graph. It was worth staying up for that. Let’s recap the West Coast night game with bullet points:

  • Rally To Tie: Of course it all came down to Stephen Drew. Fernando Rodney was on to protect a 2-1 lead in the ninth, but a walk (Chase Headley) and a single (Brian McCann) put runners on the corners with two outs. We were all waiting for the inevitable game-ending pop-up when Drew surprised us all and lined a two-strike double into the right field corner to tie the game. How about that? Drew singled in extra innings as well. It was only his sixth multi-hit game of the season. I don’t even care right now. What a huge hit.
  • Extra Innings Fun: Let’s see, the Yankees blew a bases loaded, one out rally in the tenth when Carlos Beltran banged into a 4-6-3 double play. Justin Wilson made a tremendous diving catch on Rickie Weeks’ bunt in the bottom of the tenth, and turned it into a rare 1-4 double play. And then Jones hit that insanely clutch three-run home run off Joe Beimel with two outs in the 11th. It was a bad pitch in a 2-0 count, the kind of pitch he is supposed to hammer, and he did just that. Seriously, who saw that coming? Drew and Jones, the heroes. Baseball.
  • Death By Bullpen: Once again, David Carpenter was brought into a high-leverage situation, and, once again, he did not get the job done. Carpenter inherited a first-and-third, two outs situation from CC Sabathia in the sixth, and allowed the go-ahead single to Austin Jackson in a two-strike count. He’s now allowed four of nine inherited runners to score this year. Chasen Shreve, Jacob Lindgren, Dellin Betances, and Wilson did the job with a scoreless inning each before Andrew Miller picked up the save. He allowed a run and had Nelson Cruz at the plate representing the go-ahead run … but he struck him out to end the game. You weren’t nervous right? Of course not.
  • Leftovers: Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon and catcher Mike Zunino were ejected in the third because they disagreed with some check swing calls. McClendon went on a great multi-umpire tirade. Here’s the videoMark Teixeira drove in the team’s first run with a third inning double … Kyle Seager tried to bunt home a run with two outs in the fifth and holy moly was Sabathia pissed after he made the play for the out. Guess he didn’t like Seager challenging his mobility. Sabathia did apologize for the outburst after the game … Didi Gregorius tripped going first-to-third on a single in the seventh, and was thrown out before he could scamper back to second. Didi literally can not get out of his own way … Gardner, Jones, Didi, and Drew all had two hits. Of course they did … Beltran fouled a ball off his foot in the tenth and x-rays came back negative.

Here are the box score, video highlights, updated standings, Bullpen Workload page, and Announcer Standings page. The Yankees will go for the sweep in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon (3:40pm ET start) when Masahiro Tanaka returns to the rotation. Hooray for that. Taijuan Walker will be on the bump for the Fightin’ Canos.

Teixeira slams King Felix while Pineda tosses six solid innings in a 7-2 win against the Mariners

After a deflating series loss against Oakland, Yankees brought on their ace (Michael Pineda, of course) against Mariners’ ace — Felix Hernandez. For the first three innings, it looked like a pitchers’ duel with Hernandez having the edge … then things fell apart for him. Yankees scored seven runs combined in fourth and fifth innings, capped by Mark Teixeira‘s grand slam. On the flip side, Pineda delivered another great outing to earn his seventh win of the season. If only Jesus Montero was in Mariners’ lineup. (Yes, I’m cruel.)

Notorious B.I.G. Mike (Source: Getty Images)

Big Mike‘s Homecoming

Prior to the seventh inning, Michael Pineda was just simply, well, awesome. The big guy threw six innings, struck out nine and, very uncharacteristically, walked two. Maybe that bad mound condition also got to him (/tongueincheek).

In the first six innings, Pineda had it all going – he located his mid-90’s fastball very well, sometimes just almost automatically into Brian McCann‘s glove, and his secondary pitches – change and slider – were on point. It seemed like he got swings-and-misses and called strikes on all three of them and that’s what the Yankees looked for when they traded for him – a future ace.

In the seventh inning perhaps he ran out of gas; he allowed four baserunners in a row – single, RBI triple, RBI double and a walk. Joe Girardi then pulled him for Justin Wilson. The lefty did not allow any more runs to keep Pineda’s earned runs at two. Pineda now has a 3.33 ERA/2.38 FIP in 70.1 IP with a 7-2 record this year. Not bad!

(Source: Getty Images)

Offense Explodes Against… Felix Hernandez??? 

The Yankees struck in the 4th inning. Well, “struck” may be a bit of a generous term but they did score two against Felix after not managing a baserunner prior! It’s not often that you see a guy like Hernandez allow three walks in a frame. He’s a tough pitcher and the ways the Yankees got runs that inning … weren’t the strongest. Brett Gardner scored on a wild pitch during an Alex Rodriguez at-bat and McCann grounded into a double play with bases loaded and no outs – hence, a 2-0 lead. It’s kind of a mixed feeling – you had a bases loaded with no outs with a run in but you only managed to score one more – but then again, it was against Felix Hernandez. It’s like getting a B on a hard exam: the result is there against a tough task but you could have done much better. Oh well.

Well, Felix allowed a walk to Stephen Drew (who came into the game 1-for-28 in the previous 9 games) the next inning so that was a bit of a rough stretch for him. Ramon Flores followed it up with a single to right. Gardner worked a hard-fought walk (after several checked swing calls) to get the bases-loaded with no outs again. Chase Headley hit a sac fly to drive a run in, 3-0. A-Rod squibbed a grounder through the hole to load the bases again.

When you hit a grand slam off one of the best pitchers (Source: Getty)

Up comes Mark Teixeira and he crushed a 91 mph fastball down the middle over the left field fence: grand slam! It was the second ever allowed by Hernandez in Safeco Field (the other one was from 2012 by Alberto Callaspo, thanks Katie Sharp!) so yeah, we were in for a rarity tonight. That was Tex’s 15th of the year in 52 games. That’s well on the way to 40+ homer territory for season. I am excited, aren’t you?

Leftovers (aka good bullpen tonight, man)

Justin Wilson (Source: Getty Images)

Justin Wilson came into the game to relieve Michael Pineda with runners on first and second with no out. The lefty overpowered Mike Zunino for a swinging strikeout and induced a 5-3 double play to end the inning. Nifty!

Dellin Betances came in for the eighth inning and, well, it was the same ol’ story. He got both Logan Morrison and Robinson Cano to strikeout swinging. It also seemed like Nelson Cruz struck out a breaking ball way outside but the ball went all the way to the backstop and the outfielder made it to first base. The next hitter, Kyle Seager, grounded out sharply to Teixeira to end the inning. Betances now has 12 punchouts in the past 4.1 innings pitched. That’s absurd. Pineda + Betances in a same game is like, a high-strikeout, low-walk pitching display heaven. Baseball is pretty fun when you have these two guys in a same team.

Chasen Shreve came in the bottom of ninth and closed things out. I noticed that he bumped his fastball velocity up to 93 mph tonight – maybe he’s more comfortable with how he has pitched. Last time out, Shreve struck out four in 1.1 IP of relief against the Athletics. Tonight, he didn’t strike anyone out (in fact, he gave up some loud flyouts) but he got the job done to shut the door.

Box Score, WPA, Standings

Here’s the box score, WPA chart and update standings. Yankees have the sole possession of the first place in division again thanks to the Rays losing 7-3 to the Angels tonight. So that’s that.


Source: FanGraphs


Tomorrow, another big guy (CC Sabathia) takes the hill in Safeco Field against Mike Montgomery – a former first rounder making his MLB debut. Can we have a winning streak going on? I miss those nice things.

Yanks waste Warren’s strong outing, drop finale 3-0 to A’s


Source: FanGraphs

Well that was a total letdown. The Yankees wasted Adam Warren‘s strong pitching performance because they couldn’t muster anything against Jesse Chavez, who threw 42 pitches in the first two innings and 68 in the next six. The final score was 3-0 Athletics. Let’s recap:

  • Not A Reliever: At this point the Yankees would be nuts to take Warren out of the rotation. He held Oakland to two runs in seven effective innings for his fourth consecutive strong start, with both runs coming on a two-run homer by Stephen Vogt, who has been one of the best hitters in baseball this year. It looked like a jam shot pop-up off the bat, but it kept carrying and carrying. Warren’s been really good the last four times out. He’s a starter.
  • Shutout: The Yankees scattered eight hits in the game, and four of the eight came in the first two innings. Mark Teixeira struck out and Carlos Beltran grounded out with two on to end the first, and Jose Pirela lined into a bad luck double play with two on in the second. The Yankees did not have another runner make it as far as second base until the ninth inning, when Alex Rodriguez singled and Beltran walked to bring the tying run to the plate with one out. Unfortunately, Brian McCann struck out and Garrett Jones fouled out to end the game. Womp womp.
  • Leftovers: Esmil Rogers and Jacob Lindgren combined to allow an insurance run in the eighth. Rogers put runners on the corners with two singles and Lindgren allowed a sac fly … Ramon Flores went 1-3, picking up his first MLB hit on a little ground ball single through the left side of the infield leading off the second … A-Rod and Didi Gregorius both had two hits.

Here’s the box score, video highlights, updated standings, Bullpen Workload page, and Announcer Standings page. The Yankees are done with the Athletics — did you know they’re 2-8 in the O.co Coliseum the last three seasons? true story — and now head up to Seattle for a three-game set against Robbie Cano and the Mariners. Former Mariner Michael Pineda will pitch against his former team for the first time Monday night. His opponent? Felix Hernandez.