Yankees lose Fowler, lose series finale 4-3 to White Sox

After waiting out a two hour and 50 minute rain delay, the Yankees dropped Thursday night’s series finale to the White Sox by the score of 4-3. The game itself feels insignificant though. Dustin Fowler, in his first Major League inning, suffered a ruptured right patella tendon and will miss the rest of the season following emergency surgery. The injury happened when his knee hit an electrical box along the wall in foul territory. This sucks so much.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Two Earned, Two Unearned
The Yankees got off to a quick start Thursday night. They scored a run within the first ten pitches of the game. Brett Gardner beat out an infield single, Aaron Judge drew a walk, then Jose Abreu committed an error and allowed Gardner to score. Didi Gregorius hit a chopper to first, and Abreu attempted to start the 3-6-3 double play, but the throw hit Judge in the shoulder and deflected away. Gardner scored all the way from second.

Fowler suffered his injury in the bottom half of the first inning, which forced Rob Refsnyder into right field. Refsnyder grounded out to short to start the top of the second, then, in the bottom half, he made a backbreaking error that got the White Sox on the board. The ChiSox scored their first run because this ball was not caught …

rob-refsnyder

… for what would have been the final out of the inning. Joe Girardi‘s face after Refsnyder dropped that ball said it all. It was part exasperation and part death stare. Refsnyder dropped the ball, a run scored on the play, then the next batter dunked a bloop in front of Gardner to score the runner who reached on Refsnyder’s drop. Instead of the final out, two runs were on the board.

The leadoff walk came back to bite Luis Cessa in that second inning, and it did again in the fourth. A leadoff walk and a one-out hit-by-pitch started that rally. Cessa missed badly with a first pitch fastball to Willy Garcia, who hammered it to left field for a two-run double. Cessa’s night came to an end with two outs in the fifth, after the White Sox loaded the bases on a double, a walk, and an infield single. Chasen Shreve escaped that jam. Cessa’s final line: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K. Not great, Luis.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Not Enough Offense
The Yankees are without four regular position players due to injury and it’s really starting to show on offense, Wednesday night’s outburst notwithstanding. They managed only three runs (two earned) against the reanimated corpse of James Shields, who was behind almost every hitter and generated only four swings and misses among his 81 total pitches. The White Sox played some nice defense behind him, but still.

Following that gift run in the first inning, the Yankees got on the board again in the fourth thanks to a Jacoby Ellsbury leadoff walk and a Ronald Torreyes two-out single. Torreyes was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double, which was the 1,000,000th bad baserunning play by the Yankees this season, so he wins a prize. Austin Romine slapped a one-out single that inning, so had Torreyes stopped at first base, it would have been runners on the corners for Gardner. Alas.

The third run against Shields came in the sixth. Ellsbury smashed a leadoff triple off the center field wall — Adam Engel nearly ran it down and it was going to be Mad Online if he caught it — and Romine got him in with a ground ball. But not before Refsnyder struck out on three pitches. He’s a zero-tool player at this point. It’s impressive, really. No redeeming qualities at all. Remember when everyone wanted him to play second everyday a few years ago? Yeesh.

The Yankees last best chance to score came in the eighth inning. Gary Sanchez led off with a single but was erased on Ellsbury’s fielder’s choice. Ellsbury was able to steal second with two outs, though Romine struck out to end the inning. Anthony freaking Swarzak blew him away. David Robertson closed it out in the ninth inning. Seven hits (five singles) and four walks. Three runs. One of which was defense-aided. Everyone get healthy soon please.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
Good night for the bullpen! Shreve got one out to escape Cessa’s mess in the fifth, then Ronald Herrera, Tyler Clippard, and Tyler Webb followed with a scoreless inning each. Their combined line: 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K. The one hit was an infield single literally off Herrera’s calf. Why can’t the bullpen have games like this when the Yankees lead? Every game is a nail-biter when they’re trying to protect a lead, it seems.

Those seven hits by the offense includes the Ellsbury triple and singles by Gardner (two), Sanchez, Romine, Torreyes, and Tyler Wade. Wade hit a ball to the wall against Robertson in the ninth that I thought looked pretty good off the bat. Alas. It was just short of the game-tying home run. The Yankees did get Judge to the plate with the tying run on the base in the ninth, so that’s cool. Robertson struck him out to end the game though. Better luck next time.

By the way, Judge is officially getting the Bonds treatment now. He was intentionally walked with the bases empty and two outs in the seventh inning. The White Sox were up 4-3 at the time, so they put the tying run on base intentionally. Gregorius grounded out on the first pitch, so it worked! Didi has been great this year, but squeezing him between Judge and Sanchez was not Girardi’s finest decision. Anyway, Judge is the fifth Yankee to be intentionally walked with the bases empty and the fourth who wasn’t hitting in front of the pitcher. Pretty crazy.

And finally, Judge’s on-base streak has hit 31 games, the second longest in baseball this season. (Zack Cozart had a 32-gamer a few weeks ago.) That’s the longest by a Yankee since Derek Jeter had a 36-game on-base streak in 2012. Judge went 0-for-2 with three walks in this game, and one of the outs was a robbed home run by Melky Cabrera. In addition to all sorts of other things, Judge now leads MLB with 56 walks. He has one more than Matt Carpenter and Joey Votto.

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


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
This four-game series in Chicago is finally over. The Yankees are heading to Houston next for a three-game weekend set with the first place Astros. Michael Pineda vs. Lance McCullers Jr. is the scheduled pitching matchup for Friday night’s series opener.

Youngsters thrive in a 12-3 blowout win against the White Sox

What is one way to make sure the bullpen doesn’t ruin the game? An offensive outburst! The Yankees took game three of the four-game series with the White Sox thanks to youngsters driving in tons of runs and Masahiro Tanaka coming up solid. This was a very, very stress-free game especially considering how things have gone lately for the Yankees. 10/10, would watch again.

(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

#TANAK

The narrative so far has been that Masahiro Tanaka has been in a serious funk this season. However, he’s shown signs of coming out of that slump lately. Including tonight’s start, Tanaka has marked a 2.92 ERA in the past four GS (8 ER in 24.2 IP), striking out 32 and walking 7. That’s more like it. Four games wouldn’t really qualify as the stretch that turned the season around, but for now, it is an encouraging sign.

Looking at Brooks Baseball, Tanaka got 15 whiffs total, with 12 coming from his slider, sinker and splitter. He also brought some extra juice tonight, topping out at 97.3 mph with his four-seam fastball and averaging 94.9 mph. Whoa. His splitter also hit 90 mph multiple times in the YES gun, for what it’s worth. Good conditions? Amped up?

The only major trouble came in the bottom of the fifth. With the Yankees carrying a 3-0 lead, Tanaka allowed the first four hitters to reach base. Omar Narvaez singled to lead it off and Adam Engel hit a double to put two runners in RISP with no outs. Yolmer Sanchez walked to load the bases and Melky Cabrera hit a 2-RBI single to center to make it a 3-2 game.

Fortunately for the Yankees, that was all the damage Tanaka allowed in the frame. Jose Abreu grounded into a double play to give Yankees two quick outs and Tanaka got Todd Frazier to force out to second to end the inning. When it was all said and done, it was a solid 2 ER, 6 IP outing for Tanaka. His season ERA dropped from 5.74 to 5.56 and he earned the 6th victory of the year. It would be very ideal for the Yankees for that ERA to keep decreasing.

(Jonathan Daniels/Getty Images)
(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Runs! 

The Yankees scored the first runs of the game thanks to some sloppiness from the White Sox. Carlos Rodon, making his first start of the year after missing the first few months suffering biceps injury, was clearly rusty. Brett Gardner walked to lead off the game. In a span of three hitters, Gardner reached to second and third respectively with two wild pitches from Rodon. He scored when Didi Gregorius hit a grounder that looked like an out at first glance, but SS Tim Anderson’s high throw pulled the first baseman off the bag as Didi reached safe. 1-0 Yankees.

Rodon’s command continued to struggle as Chase Headley and Austin Romine worked a back-to-back walk to load the bases. Miguel Andujar, a 22-year-old making his ML debut, hit a grounder up the middle to drive in two. 3-0 Yankees. Not a bad way to make an impression, eh?

As noted, Tanaka got into a bit of a pickle in the bottom of the fifth and allowed two runs. Holding a slim 3-2 lead, the Yankees needed to extend it to make it a stress-free ending after a whirlwind of bullpen nights they had lately. Thankfully, that’s exactly what they did. In the top of the sixth, the kids and Aaron Judge dropped a five-burger on the ChiSox pitching.

With one out, Romine doubled to right to get on base. Andujar grounded softly to put the runner at third and Tyler Wade followed it up with his first ML base hit, an RBI double drilled to left field. Ronald Torreyes continued the doubles parade by hitting one to the right field and scoring Wade. Gardner hit an RBI single to center that drove Toe in. Aaron Judge, being Aaron Judge, then hit a 115 mph screamer of a home run to make it 8-2 Yankees. An all-around enjoyable inning right there.

The Yankees tacked on four more in the top of the ninth. Against the tall RHP Michael Ynoa, Judge started it off with a swift, 5-pitch walk. After Gary Sanchez struck out swinging, Gregorius brought two runs in with a home run just above the right field fence. 10-2 Yankees. They were not done there. Headley and Romine worked back-to-back walks and Andujar doubled to drive both of them in to make it 12-2 Yankees.

(Jonathan Daniels/Getty Images)
(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Leftovers

Boy, how about Miguel Andujar’s night? He put himself in elite company with tonight’s 3-for-4, 4 RBI performance … a company of only himself. Per Katie Sharp, he’s the only Yankee to have 3 hits and 3 RBI’s in an ML debut. Not bad for a guy who was behind Gleyber Torres in the system’s 3B depth chart. Wade did not have as an awesome night but he did have a double and a stolen base. Pretty fun stuff when the team calls up talented youngsters and they contribute right away.

Aaron Judge, as mentioned, hit another HR tonight and had a solid 1-for-3, 2 BB game. He became the first player this season to crack the 5.0 fWAR mark. By my calculation, he’s on pace for a ~10 fWAR season, which is Trout-esque. His line for this season? .333/.449/.704.

The Yankees brought in Tyler Webb to close the game out and he allowed a HR to Adam Engel, who was one of the very few bright spots for the Sox tonight (2-for-3 and a great catch to rob Torreyes of an extra base hit). Besides that, Webb finished the inning and the game for a 12-3 Yankees victory.

Box score, standings and WPA graph

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


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees will look for a series win tomorrow at the Guaranteed Rate Field. Luis Cessa will be on the hill seeking for his first win of the season while the White Sox will start James Shields.

White Sox 4, Yankees 3: The Bullpen Hates Us All

Boy, the Yankees stink right now. I mean really, really stink. The bullpen especially. Quick 1-2-3 innings are a thing of the past. The Yankees were one out away from a win Tuesday night, yet it turned into a 4-3 walk-off loss to the White Sox. Baseball is so stupid.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Death by Bullpen
What the hell happened to the bullpen? Everyone is going belly up at the same time. The Yankees managed to take a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning (more on that later) and three relievers faced 13 batters, and allowed eight to reach base. Seven didn’t have to take the bat off their shoulders. Seven! At least make them work for it dudes. The bullpen situation has become untenable.

Not everyone was available due to recent workloads, which meant the first guy out of the bullpen was Domingo German. He threw ten pitches. Two were strikes. Back-to-back walks sent German to the showers and brought Tyler Clippard into the game, who is pretty much the last guy anyone wants to see on the mound in a close game. His first four pitches? Balls. Walked the bases loaded with no outs. Inexcusable!

To Clippard’s credit, he escaped that jam while allowing just one run, which is close to the best case scenario there. He struck out Jose Abreu, got Avisail Garcia to fly out to shallow right, walked Todd Frazier to force in a run (argh), and struck out Matt Davidson to end the inning. After all that, the Yankees had a 3-2 lead! Considering the way the inning started, getting out with a lead was amazing.

In the ninth, the Yankees had the situation they would sign for every day of the week: Dellin Betances on the mound with a one-run lead. A quick ground out got the inning started. Then Betances lost the plate, something he has done far more frequently this year than he has in the past. A walk (Kevan Smith), a walk (Alen Hanson), and a hit batsman (Yolmer Sanchez) loaded the bases. Six of the first ten batters the bullpen faced drew walks. The 11th was hit by a pitch.

The death blow came with two outs, when Abreu pulled a ground ball single through the left side of the infield to score both the game-winning and go-ahead runs. Brett Gardner‘s throw from left field was good, but there was no way he was going to get the speedy Hanson at the plate. The final line on the bullpen: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 BB, 2 K, 1 HB. German and Clippard were bad, but bottom line, Betances has to protect a one-run lead against the bottom of lineup, even if he is pitching for the third straight day. Please shoot this bullpen into the sun.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Kids Shall Lead Them
For the first seven innings the Yankees couldn’t do much of anything against Jose Quintana and, weirdly, Anthony Swarzak. On two occasions they had a walk followed immediately by a first pitch double play. Is that not the most annoying thing in baseball? It wasn’t until Didi Gregorius beat out a squibber to third with two outs in the fourth that the Yankees had a hit, and that was the only time they had two runners on base simultaneously until the eighth.

The go-ahead rally started with a Tyler Wade walk. How about that? In his first big league at-bat — he pinch-hit for Rob Refsnyder — Wade worked a walk against former Yankees farmhand Tommy Kahnle. Jacoby Ellsbury then beat out an infield single to put runners on first and second. Two batters later, Aaron Judge shot a hard-hit grounder back up the middle to score Wade and knot things up 1-1. Gary Sanchez, the next batter, split the right-center field gap to score both Ellsbury and Judge, giving the Yankees a 3-1 lead. Hooray homegrown Yankees! They’re cool.

A Dozen For Sevy
Also cool: Luis Severino. He struck out a career high 12 in seven innings, allowing just one run on six hits and no walks. The run he allowed was kinda dumb too. Smith jam-shotted a leadoff single the other way to right, then two batters later Sanchez found a hole with a single to right field. Chicago had runners on first and second with one out and when Abreu reached out and poked a quality 2-0 fastball …

luis-severino-jose-abreu

… inside the first base bag and down the right field line for a run-scoring double. Bah. Good pitch. Abreu got enough wood on it and it stayed fair. Baseball is so stupid sometimes. Especially of late.

That was the only run Severino allowed. He struck out the last three batters he faced and was overpowering. He retired the final nine batters he faced and 12 of the final 14 batters he faced following the Abreu single. Severino has been great all season and he was great again Tuesday night. Wins are stupid, but the bullpen has now blow six potential wins for Severino. He can’t do it all himself.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
Welcome to the big leagues, Tyler Wade. He drew that walk in his first at-bat to spark the go-ahead rally. He also played an inning in left field — after he was called up to play second base, naturally — and struck out in his second at-bat, though it was a tough eight-pitch at-bat. Kid’s gonna be a hell of a ballplayer. Can’t wait to see more.

Judge and Gregorius each had two hits while Ellsbury, Sanchez, and first baseman Austin Romine had one each. Judge, Sanchez, Wade, Tyler Austin, and Ronald Torreyes drew walks. The Yankees went 3-for-8 (.375) with runners in scoring position, which is easily my least favorite stat in baseball, yet I still pass it along because I hate myself.

Did I mention the bullpen has been dog poop? Good grief. The last two nights: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 8 BB, 4 K, 1 HB. They’ve hit DEFCON 1. Something has to give here. They can’t keep running out the same guys and expecting different results. At some point Brian Cashman and the front office have to make changes. This ain’t working.

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


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
This four-game series continues Wednesday night with the third game. Masahiro Tanaka and Carlos Rodon are the scheduled starting pitchers. Rodon will be making his first start of the year. He’s been out with a biceps issue.

Montgomery dominates in a 6-5 Yankees win over the White Sox

After all the futility that we saw in that homestand (and the past few weeks), it’s refreshing to see a win tonight to start the road trip. Jordan Montgomery stepped up as the stopper and the Yankee bats did their thing – despite losing Starlin Castro – to win this one 6-5. The bullpen was a bit shaky in the end but it sure is nice to have a 5-run lead heading into the ninth inning. They remain in first place along with the Red Sox, who also won a game tonight.

(Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Jon Durr/Getty Images)

Gumby Good

Ho-hum, another good start from Jordan Montgomery. He’s been the Yankees best starter for the past few weeks – marking a 2.52 ERA in his last 6 starts.

The Yankees rookie did a great job being a stopper: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 8 K. He’s done much more than the Yankees could have hoped for and has become a legitimate ML starter. The only blemish from Montgomery tonight came in the bottom of the second. Todd Frazier hit the second pitch he saw from Montgomery over the left center field seats for a 1-0 White Sox lead. That was the only run Monty allowed all night.

Let’s go to Brooks Baseball to look at his arsenal tonight, shan’t we? He got 17 whiffs alone from his offspeed pitches, including 8 from his curveball. That’s pretty good. Yankees looked at him as a guy who can get hitters out with savvy approach using different looks and that’s exactly what he’s been able to do. After tonight’s start, his ERA dropped to 3.53 and he’s up to 1.6 fWAR, which is the 25th best among all qualified SP’s in the MLB. Not a bad

(Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Jon Durr/Getty Images)

Let’s go get some runs

Trailing 1-0, the Yankees scored three in the fourth to get it started. Aaron Judge led off the frame with a walk. Gary Sanchez grounded to third but Judge advanced to third on an error by 3B Todd Frazier, making both runners safe. Tyler Austin followed it up with a sac fly to score Judge to make it 1-1 game. The Yankees didn’t stop there. Jacoby Ellsbury singled to put runners on first and second and Chase Headley followed it up with an RBI single of his own to make it 2-1 Yankees. Austin Romine walked to load the bases and Ronald Torreyes hit a sac fly that ultimately became a double play when 1B Matt Davidson cut the throw off and got SS Tim Anderson to tag out Headley advancing to second. Meanwhile, Ellsbury scored to make it 3-1 Yankees. Not a bad inning!

Tyler Austin added another run for the Yankees in the sixth. He got the 88 mph up the zone and hit a bullet into the bullpen over the left field fence to make it 4-1 Yankees. Ellsbury followed it up by hitting a roller down the first base line that pitcher David Holmberg couldn’t handle for an E-1. Headley hit a double to deep right to put two runners in RISP and that was it for Holmberg. White Sox brought in Juan Minaya to try to finish the inning off. Romine hit a sac fly to add another run and during Torreyes’ AB, Headley advanced to third on a passed ball by C Kevin Smith. Torreyes reached on a missed catch error by 1B Matt Davidson and Yankees tacked on another, 6-1. The White Sox played some sloppy, sloppy baseball in this frame. A five-run lead was pretty comfortable but man, thank God that Yankees scored that much because they really needed it later on.

Bullpen show

After Montgomery finished his 7-inning gem, Jonathan Holder was summoned to pitch in the eighth inning. After getting Tim Anderson strike out swinging, Holder allowed a single and walk to Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu respectively. After he got Avisail Garcia to ground into a fielder’s choice to third, Joe Girardi brought in Dellin Betances to nail down the final out of the inning. After walking Frazier to load the bases, Betances struck out Matt Davidson to finish the eighth unscathed. That was just a prelude to a big egg that the bullpen would lay in the next inning.

Boy, the ninth got edgy pretty quickly didn’t it? The Yankees had a 6-1 lead heading into the 6-1 and, because it was far from being a save situation, Girardi sent Chasen Shreve to the mound to close it out. However, after getting the first out, Shreve allowed back-to-back singles to Smith and Adam Engel, and allowed a three-run bomb to Tim Anderson (on a 0-2 count!) to make it 6-4 Yankees lead.

Aroldis Chapman came in to try to nail down the last two outs. Dude still hits 100, 102 on the radar guns but the White Sox hitters pestered him well tonight. He threw 20 pitches and did not get a single whiff. Melky Cabrera singled to center and Jose Abreu followed it up with an RBI double to make it 6-5. Dicey! Thankfully, Avisail Garcia grounded out to third and Frazier flew out to Brett Gardner to end the game. This was way more stressful than it should’ve been, but a win is a win.

Leftovers

Aaron Judge did not get a hit but man, he still continues to be a wiz at getting on base. He walked three times tonight, which brings his season totals to 50. It’s not even the middle of the season and he has that much! The last time a Yankee hitter had more than 100 walks in a season was 2006 Jason Giambi, who had 110.

Starlin Castro, who’s been having a nice season, hurt himself in the top of the third trying to beat out a grounder for a base hit. He had to limp off the field and the Yankees announced that he had a hamstring strain. Not good! As a response, they are calling up Tyler Wade, who’s been hitting .313 with .834 OPS in the Triple-A this season (.351 BA, .894 OPS this month). Wade coming up is exciting because he’s a young guy (22-years old) with legitimate talent but you don’t want to see your starting second baseman with a good bat go down.

Box score, standings and WPA graph

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


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees are back again tomorrow at the Guaranteed Rate Field at 8:10 pm EST. Luis Severino is up against the former Yankees farmhand Jose Quintana. It’ll be a nice matchup to watch.

Comeback falls just short, Yankees drop finale 7-6 to Rangers


Source: FanGraphs

Well, at least the Yankees showed some Fighting Spirit in Sunday’s game. They very nearly rallied to erase an early 7-0 deficit — they brought the winning run to the plate in the ninth! — but ultimately could not finish the comeback. Alas. The final score as 7-6 Rangers. The Yankees have lost ten of their last 12 games now, yet somehow remain in first place in the AL East. The Red Sox can’t be too happy about that. Anyway, let’s recap with bullet points because it’s Sunday:

  • Small Mike: It is becoming increasing clear Michael Pineda‘s strong start to the season was nothing more than a classic Michael Pineda hot streak that happened to occur at the start of the season. Nothing’s really changed. He allowed three runs in the first inning Sunday afternoon, including a two-out two-run homer to Adrian Beltre, then he gave up three more in the second, all on a two-out three-run homer by Shin-Soo Choo. Here are his slider locations. Hanger city. Pineda finished the afternoon with seven runs allowed in four innings. He’s allowed at least five runs in three of his last five starts.
  • Four-Run Rally: All praise the obstruction rule. Nick Martinez struck out Austin Romine for the third out of the fifth inning, but the ball got away from catcher Jonathan Lucroy, and Martinez got in Romine’s way as he ran to first on the wild pitch. Romine beat the throw to first anyway, but the official call was obstruction on Martinez. Romine would have been awarded first anyway. That kept the inning alive for Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. Judge stroked a run-scoring single to center, then Sanchez followed with a three-run dinger into Monument Park. Suddenly a seven-run deficit became a three-run deficit. Hmmm.
  • Two More Runs: The comeback got serious in the seventh inning. Ronald Torreyes smacked a solo home run to get the Yankees to within 7-5 — the best part? Didi Gregorius picked up Judge to he could high-five Torreyes (video) — then two two-out walks set up Gregorius for a run-scoring single to right. Unfortunately, Sanchez got thrown out going first-to-third on the single to end the inning. Third out at third base down a run? Yuck. The Yankees couldn’t do anything after Chase Headley‘s leadoff double in the eighth, then Sanchez struck out with Judge on first base to end the game in the ninth. Bah. At least the offense showed some life. Haven’t seen much of that lately.
  • The Unsung Heroes: Shout out to the bullpen for making the comeback attempt possible. Tyler Webb (one inning), Chad Green (two innings), Dellin Betances (one inning), and Aroldis Chapman (one inning) combined for five zeroes after Pineda was removed. Two hits, two walks, seven strikeouts in those five innings. The bullpen has been pretty terrible the last two weeks or so. They did the job Sunday though. They gave the offense a chance to get back in the game. The bats just ran out of innings.
  • Leftovers: Aaron Hicks left the game with an oblique injury and is heading to the disabled list … Starlin Castro was not available after receiving a cortisone shot in his wrist … Judge (two singles, two walks) reached base four times and Headley (two singles, double) reached three times … the Yankees had 14 baserunners and did go 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position … Judge stretched his on-base streak to 27 games. That’s the longest by a Yankee since Derek Jeter had a 36-gamer in 2012. The last Yankee rookie with an on-base streak that long was Gil McDougald in 1951. He did it in 29 straight.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload page either. The Yankees are now heading to Chicago for the second time this season. They swept the Cubs earlier this year and they’ll look to sweep the White Sox this week. It’s a four-game series. Lefties Jordan Montgomery and David Holmberg are Monday night’s scheduled starting pitchers.

Offense no-shows as Yankees fall 8-1 to the Rangers

The recent free fall continues. A lifeless offense and (more) bad bullpening sent the Yankees to an 8-1 loss to the Rangers on Saturday afternoon. The Yankees have lost nine of their last eleven games and are 10-12 in June overall despite outscoring their opponents by 40 (!) runs. The Orioles are good for the ol’ run differential.

This is a happy picture. (Rich Schultz/Getty)
This is a happy picture. (Rich Schultz/Getty)

The Amazing, Disappearing Offense
The Yankees have now scored three runs in their last 26 offensive innings, dating back to Aaron Judge‘s monster three-run home run against the Angels on Thursday night. They scored one run Saturday afternoon. A Judge home run, of course. He cranked a solo home run into the left field seats in the sixth inning. Austin Bibens-Dirkx caught a little too much of the plate with a 91 mph heater.

Three problems. One, the Yankees were already down 3-0 when Judge homered. Two, no one was on base when Judge homered. And three, the Yankees only had two other baserunners make it as far as second base in the game. Mason Williams walked and stole second in the first inning, then singled and stole second in the third inning. No runner made it as far as third base aside from the Judge dinger. Five hits and one walk on the afternoon. That’s all.

Bibens-Dirkx, a 32-year-old rookie who has spent multiple years in independent ball, deserves all the praise he’ll receive for this game and he should enjoy the hell out of his performance (7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) and this day. Good for him. The Yankees have been pretty crummy at the plate though. Have been for a few days now. A sampling of the ongoing slumps:

  • Aaron Hicks: 0-for-4 on Saturday and 2-for-18 (.111) since coming back from the Achilles issue.
  • Matt Holliday: 0-for-4 on Saturday and 5-for-36 (.139) in his last eleven games.
  • Starlin Castro: 1-for-4 on Saturday and 5-for-28 (.179) in his last seven games.
  • Didi Gregorius: 1-for-3 on Saturday and 5-for-27 (.185) in his last seven games.

Hmmm. That’s not good. This is baseball and players slump during the long season. It happens. It just bites when half the lineup slumps at the same time.

The Yankees went through an offensive slump a few weeks back — they scored 26 runs in a nine-game span at one point last month — and they snapped out of that. They’ll snap out of this eventually because no, those guys are not true talent .100-something hitters. Hopefully it happens soon. No disrespect to Bibens-Dirkx, but not getting a runner to third base against him is awful.

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

Five & Fly
On most days, getting five innings and three runs from your sixth starter would be an okay outcome. Just not Saturday given the way the Yankees have been swinging the bats of late. Luis Cessa gave up a first inning run in maybe the most annoying way possible. The first four batters of the game:

  • Delino DeShields Jr.: 0-2 to a walk (DeShields then stole second)
  • Shin-Soo Choo: Four-pitch strikeout
  • Elvis Andrus: 0-2 RBI single on a pitch out of the zone (strike zone plot)
  • Adrian Beltre: 0-2 to a 1-2 count to a broken bat single to center

Cessa jumped ahead in the count 0-2 to three of the first four batters, and all three reached base. The leadoff walk was easily the biggest mistake of the inning. Andrus tomahawked a high fastball to right and Cessa broke Beltre’s bat. What can you do? Cessa struck out Rougned Odor on three pitches and Carlos Gomez on six pitches to strand runners on the corners and limit the damage to one run.

After that, Cessa settled into a little groove and retired the side in order in both the second and third innings. Seven of his first eight outs were strikeouts. He ran into trouble again in the fourth, when he issued a leadoff walk to Mike Napoli and the defense couldn’t complete the line drive double play. Starlin Castro caught the ball, double-clutched, and the throw clanked off Tyler Austin‘s glove at first.

Naturally, the next batter hit a two-run home run. Cessa left a two-strike slider up enough to Gomez, who pounded it into the left field seats. Sigh. Cessa pitched around a leadoff hit batsman (Pete Kozma!) in the fifth before hitting the showers. Three runs on three hits and two walks in five innings, plus a career high eight strikeouts. Normally a winnable game from the sixth starter. Normally.

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

The Bullpen Of Our Discontent
The bullpen allowed the Rangers to tack on five runs in the late innings and it was the usual suspects: Jonathan Holder and Tyler Clippard. Holder’s sixth inning went double off the wall, fly out to the right field warning track, strikeout, fly out to the left field warning track. Seems good. The first batter he faced in the seventh, Robinson Chirinos, hit a homer. So four of the first five men he faced hit the ball to at least to the warning track.

A 4-1 deficit is a good time to try to iron out Clippard’s issues, apparently. Three-run lead in the ninth inning? This situation is so important I have to literally save my best reliever in case it arises. Three-run deficit in the ninth inning? Oh well, the chances of a comeback are so small that I might as well give my struggling reliever some work. The wonders of modern bullpen usage. Chess, not checkers, people.

Clippard allowed four runs on three hits and two walks. Loud hits too. They didn’t dink and dunk him that inning. Clippard needed 36 pitches to get three outs and looked just terrible. No life on his fastball and his changeup might as well be a batting practice fastball. He’s allowed eleven runs and 14 baserunners in his last 3.2 innings. Holder has allowed ten runs and 20 baserunners (including five homers!) in his last 14 innings. He’s lucky Clippard is around to deflect attention. Bad bullpen is bad.

Leftovers
Welcome back to the big leagues, Tyler Austin. He went 0-for-3 with a three-pitch strikeout, a six-pitch strikeout, and a first pitch double play. He also couldn’t make the catch on the potential line drive double play in the fifth, though, to be fair, it was not an easy play. Still, Chris Carter would have been raked the coals for that.

Welcome to the big leagues, Tyler Webb. He made his MLB debut between Holder and Clippard and retired the left-handed hitting Choo. He also tossed a perfect eighth inning as well. I’m pretty sure that makes Webb the third best reliever in the bullpen now.

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


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Old Timers’ Day! The Yankees will hold their annual celebration of the team’s history Sunday afternoon. The ceremony starts at 11:30am ET. The series finale against the Rangers will then begin at 2pm ET. Michael Pineda and Nick Martinez are the scheduled starting pitchers. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to catch Old Timers’ Day, or boo the offense and bullpen.

Toe to the rescue! Tanaka tosses gem and Yankees walk-off with 2-1 win over Rangers

Boy did the Yankees need a win like that. I think we all did after these last 12 days. The Yankees turned the clock back to April and used good pitching, timely hitting, and (occasionally) good defense to earn a hard-fought 2-1 walk-off win over the Rangers on Friday night. They needed ten innings.

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

Master ‘Hiro
As bad as Masahiro Tanaka has been overall this season, there have been some flashes of brilliance, and we saw one Friday night. Eight shutout innings, three soft singles (one didn’t leave the infield), two walks, and nine strikeouts against a Rangers lineup that is more than capable of hitting the ball out of ballpark. At one point Tanaka retired 16 consecutive batters.

This start was not about Tanaka getting away with mistakes and lucking out when some balls were hit right at defenders. His defense definitely helped out — Ronald Torreyes made two very good plays at third base, including one to start an inning-ending double play in the second, and Didi Gregorius made a great play up the middle as well — but Tanaka was razor sharp. Best splitter and slider and he’s had in a while. Here are his pitch locations:

masahiro-tanaka-pitch-locationsNot many middle-middle pitches at all. You can count them on one hand. Tanaka stayed on the edges and down in the zone, something he’s struggled to do most of the season, mostly because neither his slider nor his splitter have had the same movement as last season.

Also, Tanaka elevated his fastball for strikeouts several times Friday night. Those green and red dots at the top of the strike zone were not mistakes. Gary Sanchez called for the high fastball with two strikes several times and Tanaka executed. (Most of the time.) We haven’t seen him elevate fastballs all that much over the years. I wonder if this is a new trick or just something they saw in the Texas scouting report.

We’ve seen Good Tanaka a few times this season. He had the shutout in Boston and the 13-strikeout game against the Athletics, plus he was pretty good two starts ago in Anaheim, but he’s been unable to get on any kind of roll. Hopefully this is the start of something big. Given his season to date, I need to see more before declaring Tanaka #cured. Still though, what a night. This man is something else when he’s on.

No Runs For Yu
Unfortunately, Yu Darvish was on top of his game as well. This was the first time Tanaka and Darvish had ever faced each other in MLB — they had four head-to-head matchups in Japan — and it lived up to the hype. Did it ever. Darvish carved the Yankees up with mid-90s fastballs and wicked mid-80s sliders and silly low-70s curveballs. He even threw Aaron Judge a 65 mph curveball at one point. He was better than Tanaka, really.

The Yankees did get a runner to second base in the first inning — Brett Gardner singled and stole second — but their only other baserunner against Darvish was Sanchez’s one-out single in the fifth inning. He was immediately erased on a double play. That was it. Two baserunners, both singles to center, in seven innings against Darvish. He struck out ten and threw only 88 pitches, and after the game manager Jeff Banister said he removed Darvish as a precaution because he felt “tightness.” Can’t really blame the offense for doing nothing in those seven innings. Darvish was lights out.

Yardy. (Adam Hunger/Getty)
Yardy. (Adam Hunger/Getty)

Battle of the Bullpens
Lately anything that involves the bullpen has been bad news for the Yankees, no matter who’s on the mound. Aroldis Chapman took over in the ninth inning and put the go-ahead run in scoring position with one out with a single (Elvis Andrus) and a hit batsman (Nomar Mazara). Chapman plunked Mazara in a 1-2 count. Two-strike hit-by-pitches are the worst.

The Mazara hit-by-pitch pushed Andrus to second base and he then stole third, which is pretty gutsy. Not many players would attempt that in that spot. Not with one out. Sanchez’s throw was high and wide and Torreyes did a great job lunging to make the catch and stop the ball from going into the outfield. He saved a run. Only temporarily, unfortunately. Chapman struck out Adrian Beltre with a 101.3 mph fastball in the dirt Sanchez couldn’t block.

aroldis-chapman-gary-sanchez-adrian-beltre

Yes, Sanchez has to block that. No, a 101.3 mph fastball in the dirt isn’t an easy pitch to the block, especially when you called for and were expecting the pitch on the outside corner. But still, Gary’s gotta get his body in front of that one. Andrus scooted home to break the scoreless tie. The steal of third base was pretty huge. Chapman got Rougned Odor to ground out to limit the damage to one.

Given the way things have been going lately, it was easy to think the game was over at that point. The offense went to sleep after the Judge home run Thursday night and Darvish shut them down for seven innings Friday night. Matt Bush is pretty darn good too. Fortunately he caught a little too much of the plate with a 2-1 fastball to Gardner, who yanked it into the short porch for a game-tying solo home run in the bottom of the ninth. No. 14 of the season for Gardner. How about that?

The Gardner blast gave us what we all wanted to see: more bullpen! Woof. Chad Green and Chasen Shreve (and Gregorius) conspired to load the bases in the top of the tenth without allowing a hit. Gregorius made an error on Carlos Gomez’s soft line drive — it took a short hop right in front of Didi, but still, a Major League shortstop should make that play — to give the Rangers a leadoff baserunner. The next four batters:

  • Jonathan Lucroy grounds out to third on first pitch (no chance at a double play)
  • Mike Napoli walks on eight pitches (Shreve then replaces Green)
  • Joey Gallo strikes out on six pitches
  • Shin-Soo Choo walks on five pitches

Including the Gomez at-bat, that’s 24 pitches to load the bases with two outs. And, naturally, Shreve fell behind in the count 3-1 to Andrus with the bases full. Not ideal! He tried to get him to fish for splitters, but Andrus wasn’t having it. He took the fastball down the middle for the 3-2 count — it was a good pitch to hit, but I don’t blame Andrus for taking here — fouled off the next fastball down the middle, then popped up the third to shallow right field. Inning over. Ex-friggin-hale. A scoreless inning felt like a miracle given the recent bullpen issues.

Joltin’ Toe
The game-winning rally in the bottom of the tenth was made possible by three of my favorite Yankees. Sanchez got it started with a one-out single back up the middle, then Gregorius set it all up with a big single to right-center field, allowing Sanchez to chug all the way to third. A fly ball wins it! And of course Chris Carter was due up, and of course he struck out. At least he had the decency to do it on four pitches rather than the minimum three.

Suddenly, the rally was on life support. Two outs, runners on the corners, Torreyes up against Bush, who was still pumping upper-90s heaters and nasty breaking balls. Bush left one of those upper-90s fastballs out over the plate and Toe slapped it back up the middle for the walk-off single. Beautiful little piece of hitting. Right back up the box. Torreyes knew he’d won the game right away:

ronald-torreyes

Smart move by Carter striking out rather than hitting into a double play, eh? The Yankees really need a new first baseman. Like yesterday. Anyway, Sanchez to Gregorius to Torreyes gave the Yankees a much-needed feel-good win. The last week and a half as been pretty terrible. Suddenly now everything feels like it’ll be a-okay.

Leftovers
Somehow the Yankees finished the night with seven hits despite getting only two in seven innings against Darvish. They sent ten men to the plate against Bush and five got hits. Five! Didn’t see that coming. Gardner and Sanchez each had two hits. Judge, Gregorius, and Torreyes had one each. No walks and 14 strikeouts, mostly because Darvish was so ridiculous.

Chapman, Green, and Shreve combined: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP. I guess that qualifies as a good bullpen day these days? Chapman really labored. He threw 28 pitches and got only two swings and misses. His velocity was there though. He topped out at 102.2 mph. After the shoulder issue, I can’t help but keep on eye on the radar gun.

And finally, the no shutout streak remains alive! It was in serious jeopardy there. The Yankees and Nationals are the only teams in baseball yet to be shut out this season. I love it.

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


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The second game of this three-game series, assuming the rain holds off Saturday afternoon, which it looks like it will. Luis Cessa and Austin Bibens-Dirkx are the totally not made up scheduled starting pitchers. There are two games left on the homestand and RAB Tickets can get you into Yankee Stadium for both of them.