Offense, Severino pick up Green in a 9-5 win over the Mets

It doesn’t matter where the two teams are in the standings. Watching the Yankees beat the Mets never gets old. The Yankees won Wednesday night’s game 9-5 and we all had a good laugh along the way. Good game. Would watch again.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

It’s Not Easy Being Green
Boy, that could have been much, much worse for Chad Green. Don’t get me wrong, three runs and 12 baserunners (!) in 3.2 innings is no good, but the Mets had him on the ropes a few times and failed to take advantage. Three ground ball double plays will do that. The Yankees had the bullpen working in every inning Green pitched. Heck, there was a reliever warming before he even got an out. He was that shaky.

The game started with a leadoff home run by Curtis Granderson, who knows a thing or two about going deep in this ballpark. That is the third leadoff homer the Yankees have allowed in the last nine games. Annoying! A string of singles followed to create another run — to be fair, none of them were hard-hit — before Green got the inning-ending double play. A defensive misplay by Mark Teixeira and another single create the Mets’ third run of the game in the second inning.

Green faced 20 batters and 13 saw at least four pitches. Seven saw a three-ball count. There were an awful lot of long counts and foul balls — Green got six swings and misses and allowed 18 fouls out of 86 total pitches — because Green simply had nothing to put hitters away. They were on his fastball and his offspeed stuff was finishing too far out of the zone. Not a good start by any stretch.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Pick Up The Pitcher
The top of the first inning was mighty ugly — the Mets scored two runs and put five men on base total — and yet the Yankees were able to take the lead in the bottom half. Chase Headley drove in Rob Refsnyder (single) and Mark Teixeira (walk) with a booming double into the left-center field gap, then Didi Gregorius cashed in the third run with a two-run double. So, after all of that, the Yankees led 3-2 after the first.

The Mets knotted the game back up in the next half inning, but the Yankees responded by taking the lead for good in the bottom of the second. It all happened with two outs too. Jacoby Ellsbury and Refsnyder slapped two-out singles, then Teixeira drove a not terribly located 1-0 fastball …

Mark Teixeira Steven Matz

… into the right-center field seats for a three-run home run. Was a cheap Yankee Stadium homer? Yes. Yes it was. It still counts. It’s not like Granderson’s leadoff dinger landed in the second deck. That was a wall-scraper too. Anyway, the opposite field homer gave the Yankees a 6-3 lead. Amazing they had a three-run lead considering a) the general terrible-ness of the offense this season, and b) Green’s ineffectiveness.

Shutdown Sevy
Since resurfacing a week or two ago, Luis Severino has look pretty good while pitching in mostly low-leverage relief innings. The Yankees have been taking it easy on him. Severino came out of the bullpen to replace Green and retired the first seven men he faced to take the ball into the seventh inning. That’s when things started to unravel.

That seventh inning started with a leadoff walk, then Neil Walker laid down a bunt single and Headley booted a potential double play ball. Just like that, the bases were loaded with no outs and the Yankees still nursing that 6-3 lead. The Mets had their 4-5-6 hitters coming up too. It was a certifiable mess, and yet Joe Girardi stuck with Severino. No one was warming in the bullpen.

Rather than implode, which happened far too often when Severino was in a jam earlier this season, he was able to bear down and escape while allowing just one run. He struck out Jay Bruce on three pitches, got Yankee Killer James Loney to ground out to first (run scored to make it 6-4), then struck out Michael Conforto to escape the inning. Severino went full Joba with his fist pump:

Luis Severino

That was some serious F.U. pitching by Severino. He was throwing with conviction and went right after hitters with the bases loaded; Bruce, Loney, and Conforto saw nine total pitches, only one of which was a ball. That was easily his best inning of the season. Severino was letting those innings spiral out of control earlier this year when he was still in the rotation. On Wednesday, he kicked it into another gear and got out of the jam. That was impressive.

Broken Open Late
Immediately after Severino escaped that jam, the offense put three more runs on the board. Refsnyder had a sac fly, Starlin Castro beat out an infield single to score a run, and Gregorius drew a bases loaded walk. Hansel Robles chirped at Teixeira that inning because he thought he was stealing signs from second base. It was pretty funny. Robles was clearly distracted and Teixeira was just laughing at him the whole time. The three runs gave the Yankees a 9-4 lead.

Severino chucked a scoreless eighth inning to finish the night with one run allowed in 4.1 innings. He allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out five. Severino threw 60 pitches and got nine swings and misses, which is pretty excellent. This was by far the best he’s looked all season. Tyler Clippard followed Severino and allowed a garbage time solo homer in an otherwise uneventful ninth inning.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
The benches cleared in the fifth inning. Steven Matz drilled Teixeira with a pitch in the leg and Mark didn’t like that. He thought it was intentional after the home run in the third inning. There were no punches thrown or anything like that, but Teixeira had to be restrained and the dugouts did empty out on to the field. He got his payback when he slid in hard at second on Headley’s double play ball.

The Yankees had nine hits total. Refsnyder had two, Austin Romine had none, and the other seven starters had one each. The Yankees also drew four walks total. Teixeira had two of them. He reached base four times (homer, hit-by-pitch, two walks). The Yankees went 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position. The Mets? They went 2-for-12 in those spots. Difference in the game right there.

And finally, congrats to Gary Sanchez. He picked up his first big league hit in the seventh inning on a solid ground ball single back up the middle. Sanchez went first-to-third on Aaron Hicks‘ double, then scored his first big league run on Refsnyder’s sac fly. Here’s to many more of those, Gary.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and updated standings, I suggest going to ESPN. MLB.com is the place to go for the video highlights. We have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings you may or may not find interesting. Here’s the graph of win probability, which is based on thousands and thousands of games worth of historical data:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The four-game home-and-home Subway Series is finally coming to an end. The Yankees and Mets wrap things up Thursday night at Yankee Stadium. Nathan Eovaldi and Bartolo Colon are the scheduled starters. RAB Tickets can get you in the door for that game or any of the other three games remaining on the homestand.

Yankees listless all around in a 7-1 loss to the Mets

(Getty)

I think we’re gonna have many more games like this the last few months. Pretty unspectacular, etc. The Yankee offense had almost nothing going on against Jacob deGrom and, well, the Mets bats scored seven, which was more than enough. The Yankees are bad and boring (for now) and this is this kind of game you get once in awhile.

The Mets Scoring Sequences

This game can be summarized by describing how the Mets scored. First, they jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom third. After retiring the first eight hitters, Masahiro Tanaka gave up a single to … Jacob deGrom. Against the next hitter, Alejandro De Aza, Tanaka threw a 91-mph sinker that found the meat of the barrel and landed in the right field seats. It was one of those “well, that happened” moments. De Aza is not a guy known for his power but then again, he did (somehow) hit for a 1.031 OPS in the month of July.

The Mets added another in the fifth. Travis d’Arnaud, leading off the inning, hit a Tanaka slider into the left field seats for a 3-0 lead. It was a hanger of a pitch and d’Arnaud reached out to make a solid contact. They tacked on four more runs in the seventh to make this game pretty much out of reach.

Wilmer Flores singled and reached second on Brett Gardner‘s throwing error to left to start the inning. Michael Conforto followed it up with an RBI double to left to make it 4-0. Two batters later, Matt Reynolds hit a soft fly ball RBI single to drive Conforto in. Tanaka surrendered another base hit to deGrom before being lifted for Richard Bleier.

Bleier, he of the 3.86 K/9 in the Triple-A, was tasked to face pinch-hitting Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes hit a pretty hard grounder towards the left of Starlin Castro. Castro couldn’t handle it and throw to first base in time to get Yoenis as another run scored for a 6-0 Mets lead. Neil Walker followed it up with an RBI double to score another for Metropolitans. Yawn. By the end of the inning, all seven runs that Mets scored were charged to Tanaka.

At least for the first eight batters, it seemed like Tanaka was going to be on a roll along with deGrom. However, bad pitches here and there snowballed into a mediocre 7 ER-outing.

Didi Bomb!

The Yankees were kept scoreless up to the very last inning. As it turned top of ninth, many on Twitter were quick to point out that Yankees have never ben shut out in Citi Field, as if that streak was going to break tonight. Didi Gregorius said “not so fast!” On the second pitch of the inning, Gregorius took a slow curve from Jon Niese into the right field seats to erase the shutout. 7-1 Mets. Well, that’s something, right?

As you know, Didi has been one of the very few bright spots of the team this year. After tonight, he’s hitting for a .290/.318/.453 line for season, good for a 104 wRC+. He’s slugging higher than Bryce Harper, Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez and Eric Hosmer this season. That short porch probably helped but still, how about that?

At least you didn’t get the golden sombrero. (Getty)

Leftovers

The first two guys of the lineup — Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury — were held to 1-for-8 tonight (Gardner struck out three times). They went 4-for-10 last night with 2 RBI’s, playing a big part of the Yanks’ exciting win. I feel like they both have been underperforming this year and that kind of translates to how the offense has done in general this year.

Box score, highlights, WPA and standings

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


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees are back in Bronx tomorrow for the second half of the Subway Series. Chad Green will face Steven Matz in the battle of young starters.

Yankees win a wild one in Queens, down the Mets 6-5

You thought the trades were the most exciting thing about the Yankees the past few days? Boy, how about tonight’s game? The Yankees were trailing 5-3 heading into the bottom of 8th, and they managed to tie it up. They scored a go-ahead run in the 10th and Dellin Betances barely held on to get the save.

Welp (Getty)

Taking the lead

The Yankees almost had an electric start to the game. Almost. On the second pitch of the game, Brett Gardner hit a big fly that hit the center field fence and trickled away from CF Justin Ruggiano. Gardner got to third pretty easily as they were just relaying the ball into the infield when he started to race towards home. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud got the ball and tagged Gardner out just before his hand got on the plate. It wasn’t like Gardner was slacking on base either – he rounded the base in 14.89 seconds, which is fastest home-to-home speed recorded by StatCast this season. I just think that Mets were in a better position to field it than the Yanks had thought. Oh well.

The Mets got the first run of the game in the bottom of second. Wilmer Flores got a hold of a fastball and drove it out to give them a 1-0 lead. At least on the mound, that was the only mistake CC Sabathia made prior to the sixth inning. The Yankees responded in the fourth with a run of their own. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with double and reached third on Brian McCann fly out. On a 0-1 count versus Didi Gregorius, Verrett threw a sinker way inside and d’Arnaud missed it for a wild pitch, scoring Ellsbury.

The Yankees plated two more in the fifth. With two outs and Rob Refsnyder on second, Gardner hit a double to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead and Ellsbury followed it up with an RBI single (Gardner reached second on Alejandro De Aza’s bobbling error). 3-1 Yankees. Sure, this isn’t the same team but the Yankees were making things happen tonight. However, they are still a flawed bunch.

Falling apart

CC was throwing a pretty solid game until the bottom sixth. Around then, while his slider was still snapping well, his fastball command was, well, not good. After Flores reached on an infield single, he allowed another single to d’Arnaud, but he hit it much better this time. The 91 mph fastball was up in the zone and he hit it squarely to right field.

Sabathia got himself some breathing room by easily striking out James Loney, courtesy of that nasty knockout slider that made him look silly. However, he threw yet another fastball up to Matt Reynolds that left the yard immediately. The Yankees trailed 5-3 after that three-run homer. CC got one more out and was lifted after walking … the pinch-hitting pitcher Steve Matz. That was a weird sight.

(Getty)

Tie Game!

The score stayed 5-3 going into the bottom of eighth. At this point, the odds against the Yanks were, well, not great. The Mets don’t necessarily have the best relief corp but the Addison Reed-Jeurys Familia combo in the eighth-ninth innings has been pretty solid. Reed came into the eighth with Gardner on and one out. Reed easily struck out Mark Teixeira to make it two outs and needed to get one more to hand it to Jeurys in the ninth. McCann, the next guy up, got a 0-1 fastball and hit it through the shift to make it runners on first and third. Next up? Probably the best hitter in the team, Didi Gregorius.

During Didi’s AB, Reed threw a wild pitch that advanced pinch-runner Ronald Torreyes to second, setting up two runners in scoring position. After a lengthy battle of fouling pitches off, Didi hit a blooper that landed between the left fielder and shortstop to bring both runners in. Wow. That reminded me so much of that Jorge Posada bloop double in the 2003 ALCS Game 7 that tied the game. The 2016 Yankees, now without some of their best players, made a thing happen!

Free Baseball! 

The game headed into extra innings with no changes in scoring. The Mets sent out RHP Seth Lugo to take care of the tenth. With an Ellsbury walk and Teixeira single, Yankees were immediately in business. With A-Rod on deck, Girardi pulled him back and put in Ben Gamel to sac bunt.

Gamel, who was called up just earlier today to take Carlos Beltran‘s spot, bunted it quite evenly between the baseline and the pitcher. Lugo thought he had a chance to get the lead runner out but wait … it’s Ellsbury we’re talking about. Jacoby beat the throw to third and it loaded the bases with no outs. Your usual sacrifice bunt with fielder’s choice.

Didi struck out to give Mets a sigh of relief, but Starlin Castro hit a long (I mean, really long) sac fly just a few feet away from being a grand slam to put the Yankees up 6-5. Chase Headley snared a liner that looked good off the bat but it was right towards Curtis Granderson. On to the bottom of the 10th. It’s neither Aroldis Chapman time nor Andrew Miller time. It’s … Dellin time.

Betances didn’t start great. On the third pitch of the inning, he allowed a double to Loney. The Mets, up against one of the deadliest pitchers of the league, decided to give away an out by having Reynolds sac bunt to advance Loney to third. A HBP to De Aza made it runners on corners with one out.

Next up was Rene Rivera, who took over Familia’s hitting spot after the ninth. He hit a grounder that bounced in front of the mound and went right into Dellin’s glove. Holy moly. If that went past Dellin, the game was surely going to be tied. Instead, it only advanced the runner from first to second.

With two outs and two runners in scoring position, Dellin did what he’s known for – being nasty and striking hitters out. He got Granderson out on three pitches – a fastball and two low curveballs. Game, 6-5 Yankees. This will probably be one of the top 10 games of the season. It wasn’t great for your heart but I would watch again.

Leftovers

Tyler Clippard, back in the pinstripes after being traded after the 2007 season, pitched in the bottom of 7th tonight. Fun fact: he made his Yankee debut in 2007 against the Mets in the old Shea Stadium. Tonight, he made his re-debut (if that’s a thing) with the Yanks against the Mets in Citi Field. He came into the game with an underwhelming 4.30 ERA but I personally think he can be serviceable – the dude had a 2.80 ERA up to mid-July before running into a series of nutty outings. He threw a scoreless inning with two K’s tonight. I’ll take that any night.

Adam Warren, another Yankee recently re-acquired through trade, threw two scoreless frames. I honestly feel like he could be back being a decent bullpen arm back in Bronx.

Box score, highlights, WPA and standings

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


Source: FanGraphs

Up next

The Yankees and Mets will play the second game of this four-game series Tuesday night. Aces Masahiro Tanaka and Jacob deGrom will be on the mound.

Swept! Yankees drop series finale 5-3 to Rays


Source: FanGraphs

The big stories of the day were the Andrew Miller and Tyler Clippard trades, but the Yankees did play a game Sunday, and they lost. Fourth loss in a row too. The last place Rays completed the sweep Sunday afternoon with a 5-3 win. #TeamSell has some new members: the Yankees. Let’s recap with bullet points because I’ve had a long day.

  • Small Mike: I gotta say, Michael Pineda has been a key member of #TeamSell this season. He’s really committed to the cause. He allowed five runs in six innings around some nasty sliders, so hooray for eight strikeouts? Pineda allowed six hits (four extra base hits) and four walks, and as soon as the Yankees made it a game in top of the sixth, he allowed two runs in the bottom half. Thoughts of a comeback were short-lived.
  • So Long, Carlos: In what could very well be his final game with the Yankees, Carlos Beltran belted a two-run home run in the sixth inning to cut the deficit to 3-2. Pineda gave those two runs right back, but still. Brian McCann singled in a garbage time run in the eighth. The Yankees did put 13 runners on base, but 12 of the 13 were singles or walks. Feel free to mix in an extra-base hit once in a while, dudes. I miss calling you the Bronx Bombers.
  • Sevy The Reliever: Luis Severino looked pretty good in his two innings of work. He struck out a pair and got three other outs on the ground. I know we’re all still scarred from the Joba Rules and whatnot, but I’m cool with Severino working in relief now. I think it’s good for him to experience success in any role in MLB after what happened earlier this year. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to build some confidence, you know?
  • Leftovers: Beltran and Brett Gardner each had two hits. Gardner drew a walk too … Jacoby Ellsbury, McCann, and Chase Headley each had a single and walk … Alex Rodriguez: not good enough to play everyday but good enough to pinch-hit against the hard-throwing closer in the ninth … and finally, the Yankees are back at .500. They’re 52-52.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. New York’s postseason odds are down to 2.6%, according to FanGraphs. The Yankees are going home to New York to begin a road series with the Mets. The four-game home-and-home Subway Series starts Monday night with the first of two at Citi Field. CC Sabathia and Logan Verrett are the scheduled starters.

Minor League Update: No DotF tonight, everyone. I’ve been busy all weekend and I just don’t have it in me right now. Here are the box scores and here’s the short version: Dustin Fowler and Billy McKinney hit homers, Chance Adams struck out nine in 5.2 scoreless innings, Gleyber Torres drew two walks, Drew Bridges had four hits, Kolton Mahoney threw a Maddux (complete game shutout with fewer than 100 pitches), and Blake Rutherford had two doubles and a walk. He is: good.

Yankees break out for three runs, lose 6-3 to Rays anyway


Source: FanGraphs
You know, the Rays were supposed to be the easy part of the schedule. Do you think other teams see the Yankees as the soft part of their schedule? They have to, right? The Yankees scored a big win for #TeamSell with a 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday night. New York has lost three straight to fall to five games back of the second wildcard spot. It’ll be 5.5 games back if the BoSox beat the lowly Angels tonight.

I, thankfully, did not see much of tonight’s game. A couple at-bats here and there. That’s about it. Sure doesn’t look like I missed much. There are better ways to spend a Saturday night than watching these Yankees, that’s for sure. I have some quick thoughts on the game.

1. Eovaldi’s Dingers. Two more homers allowed for Nathan Eovaldi, who has now allowed 21 dingers in 116.2 innings this year after allowing ten dingers in 154.1 innings last year. He allowed two homers Saturday night — a first inning solo shot (Brad Miller) and a third inning two-run shot (Curt Casali) — and finished with three runs allowed in six innings. Not a disaster start, but anything less than excellence usually means a loss for a Yankees starter. Eovaldi’s homer issue is really troubling. He was never this homer prone before. Not even close.

2. Behind Early, Again. Miller’s homer was the fourth first inning homer the Yankees have allowed in the last six games. It’s incredible. They’re behind early every game, it seems. Also, the Yankees have not scored first since last Sunday, the final game of the Giants series. This team isn’t good enough to play from behind all the time. They got away with two in Houston earlier this week, but not these last three games.

3. The A-Rod Absurdity. This Alex Rodriguez stuff is beyond ridiculous. Alex hasn’t hit at all this year so he’s been benched, and that’s smart. Bad players shouldn’t play. And yet, when Joe Girardi deems A-Rod worthy of a start, he bats him cleanup. Not good enough to play regularly but good enough to hit fourth when he does play. How silly. Alex went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts Saturday night and I’m guessing he looked awful in all four at-bats. The Yankees should release A-Rod because he’s a sunk cost and doesn’t deserve a roster spot, and yet I weirdly find myself hoping they keep him because this is truly hilarious. The Yankees are so dysfunctional right now.

4. Bullpen Mismanagement. Down one in the seventh? Bring in Anthony Swarzak! Down three in the eighth? Bring in Adam Warren! Also, in the Astros series Swarzak pitched with the Yankees up four and Warren pitched with the Yankees down three. That is completely and totally backwards. I figured Swarzak would find himself in the Circle of Trust™ with that escape job against the Orioles a week ago, but it’s wholly undeserved. Yes, Warren stunk with the Cubs this year. But it’s literally Anthony Swarzak. When it comes to on-field stuff, the manager’s job is putting his players and his team in the best possible position to succeed. The A-Rod situation and Swarzak/Warren stuff is the opposite of that. They were set up for failure.

* * *

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages as well. The Yankees will try to avoid getting swept by the last place Rays on Sunday afternoon. Michael Pineda and rookie lefty Blake Snell are the scheduled starters. It will be nothing short of negligence if the Yankees don’t continue selling before the deadline. We have 103 games worth of evidence telling us they just aren’t very good.

Minor League Update: Sorry folks, I don’t have time for a full DotF tonight. Might not tomorrow either. Here are the box scores and here’s the short version: Ben Gamel had three hits, Tyler Austin homered, Blake Rutherford had two hits, Dermis Garcia hit a ball off the light tower, and Jorge Mateo had a single. Three of the eight affiliates were rained out.

Nova hit hard, bats go quiet in 5-1 loss to Rays

I’ve seen more entertaining ballgames. Let’s put it that way. The Yankees dropped Friday’s series opener 5-1 to the Rays and the game was not terribly competitive. The Rays took a quick lead and New York never really came close to putting together a sustained rally. A blah game all the way around.

Bye Ivan. (Brian Blanco/Getty)
Bye Ivan. (Brian Blanco/Getty)

Nova, For The Last Time?
In what was possibly his final game as a Yankee, Ivan Nova couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning and he left jawing with home plate umpire Laz Diaz. To be fair, Diaz has been one of the worst umps in the game for years. Anyway, Nova got hammered Friday, and the damage would have been a lot worse than if not for some nice defense by Chase Headley and several great blocks by Brian McCann.

It took all of three pitches for the Rays to take a 1-0 lead, and after 12 pitches, they were up 2-0. Nova allowed first inning dingers to Logan Forsythe and Corey Dickerson, so he got the #obligatoryhomers out of the way early. He’s allowed a homer in 14 of his 15 starts this season, totaling 18 homers in 83.1 innings. That’s a 1.95 HR/9 for a guy who is supposed to be a sinkerballer. Not great, Bob.

The Rays scored their third run two innings later on what was ultimately scored a Didi Gregorius throwing error, but that had more to do with Starlin Castro flipping the ball too casually to second on a potential 4-6-3 double play, forcing Didi to rush the throw. Tampa should have had a runner on third with two outs after the double play. Instead they had a run home with a runner on second and one out.

Tampa’s other two runs came on back-to-back doubles in the fifth, and later a sac fly. They scored their five runs on six hits and three walks in 4.1 innings against Nova, and five of the six hits were for extra bases (two doubles, two homers, one triple). That’s pretty indicative of how hard they were hitting him. There were lots of rockets all over the field. Even the outs. It was not pretty. Nova’s location was awful, even by his standards.

The trade deadline is Monday, and based on everything we’ve heard the last few days, it seems inevitable that Nova will be traded before then. The pitching market is pretty wild right now — the Rangers trade for Lucas Harrell on purpose this week — so maybe the Yankees will get something more than nothing. Nova’s trade value wasn’t all that high and this game didn’t help matters.

(Brian Blanco/Getty)
(Brian Blanco/Getty)

One Run, Again
For the 23rd time this season, the Yankees failed to score at least two runs Friday night. Those 23 games with zero or one run are the most in the AL and the third most in MLB, better than only the Mets and Brewers (24 each). The Yankees did have ten hits in this game, but all ten were singles. They are dead last in the AL with a .391 SLG as a team — that’s even sadder when you consider their home ballpark — are their ten games with no extra-base hits are tied for the second most in baseball. Only the Braves (14) have more. Yuck.

The Yankees put two runners on base with one out in the first and didn’t score, because of course. Their 35 first inning runs are the second fewest in baseball. Only the Phillies have fewer. They have 34. Gross. Jake Odorizzi predictably settled down and retired 18 of the next 20 batters, and one of the two baserunners reached on an infield single. The Yankees finally broke through against the bullpen, scoring their run on a walk (Brett Gardner) and two singles (McCann, Mark Teixeira), but by then it was too late. I miss runs. Those are fun. This team isn’t. They’re boring.

Leftovers
Chad Green threw 3.2 shutout innings after Nova and honestly, I don’t think he looked as good as his pitching line (3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K). He allowed some very hard hit balls that just so happened to be right at people, and only 35 of his 67 pitches were strikes. Green faced 15 batters and threw only five first pitch strikes. Six of the 15 saw a hitter friendly 2-0 or 3-1 count. I still really like Green’s arm. This was one of those games that looks much prettier in the box score than it did in real life though.

Headley had two hits and Castro had no hits. The other seven starters had one hit apiece, and Alex Rodriguez came off the bench to provide a pinch-hit single. It was A-Rod‘s first game action since last Friday. I wish I was joking. He just sat on the bench for an entire week. It’s pretty amazing the Yankees would rather play with what amounts to a 24-man roster than release him, eat the rest of his contract, and use the roster spot on someone else. They have to pay the rest of the contract anyway.

And finally, the Yankees are 8-6 since the All-Star break against a pretty tough schedule, and according to FanGraphs their postseason odds have dropped from 8.1% to 7.4%. That recent hot streak was a total mirage built on unsustainably great pitching. The trade deadline is Monday and hopefully the Yankees do the smart thing and don’t stop selling at Aroldis Chapman. This isn’t a postseason team. Not even close.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and updated standings, go to ESPN. MLB.com has the video highlights and we have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings. The bullpen page is pretty useful. The announcer page? Not so much. Anyway, here is the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Leftovers
The Yankees and Rays will play the second game of this three-game series Saturday evening. That’s a 6:10pm ET start for whatever reason. Nathan Eovaldi and Drew Smyly are the scheduled starters.

Yankees can’t finish sweep, drop finale 4-1 to Astros

Well that was a letdown. The Yankees had a chance to complete a sweep of the red hot Astros on Wednesday, but the offense fell flat (surprise!) and the pitching wasn’t good enough to compensate. The result was a 4-1 loss and a missed opportunity to gain ground on the Red Sox and Blue Jays, the two wildcard teams.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The McCullers Curve
The Yankees have a pretty miserable offense. We’ve had to sit through all season. They’ve made more than a few crummy pitchers look great along the way and it’s mighty annoying. This was not one of those games. Lance McCullers Jr. was totally dominant in his six innings, during which he allowed a run on five hits and two walks. He joined Rich Hill as the only pitchers to strike out 10+ Yankees in a start this season.

As he tends to do, McCullers threw more curveballs than fastballs in this one. PitchFX says he threw that hellacious mid-80s bender 44 times compared to only 30 fastballs. I can’t imagine throwing more curveballs than fastballs is a good thing for the ol’ elbow long-term, but that’s not my problem. McCullers got 14 swings and misses out of 82 total pitches, including 12 whiffs on 22 swings against the curveball. It’s a nasty, nasty pitch. The Yankees had no chance against him. Tip of the cap to Mr. McCullers for this one.

Tanaka Struggles
Time to dust off those “Tanaka can’t pitch on normal rest!” columns that didn’t get printed last time out. Masahiro Tanaka struggled with pretty much everything Wednesday night. Location, getting his splitter to bite, driving his fastball to the corners, everything. The end result was four runs in five innings, though the first came on two walks and a ground ball single. Blah. Whatever.

The second, third, and fourth runs were much different. Marwin Gonzalez led off the third with a single to center, moved to second on a ground ball, then moved to third on a wild pitch. Carlos Correa drove him in with a single through the left side of the infield. Tanaka fell behind in the count 2-1 to Colby Rasmus, then hung the everloving crap out of a splitter …

Masahiro Tanaka Colby Rasmus

… that Rasmus promptly deposited in the left field seats for a two-run homer. Golly was that a bad pitch. Rasmus gave the Astros a 4-0 lead, and with the way McCullers was pitching, that was pretty much the ballgame. Tanaka allowed the four runs on seven hits and two walks in those five innings. He fanned four. This was his second shortest start of the season, behind that 4.2-inning disaster in Cleveland before the All-Star break.

The Two Returns
Welcome back, Adam Warren and Luis Severino. Those two made their first appearances back with the Yankees. Warren came over from the Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman trade and Severino returned following a stint in the minors. Warren allowed a double on a ground ball just inside the third base bag in an otherwise uneventful sixth inning. Severino struck out three in scoreless and hitless seventh and eighth innings.

Warren looked like Warren. Same as he ever was. Severino did a much better job keeping his slider down than he did earlier this season, though this was a limited look. His fastball was still crackling, and yeah, he missed his spots by a large margin a few times. The command is still not all the way where it needs to be, I’d say. This was a little tune-up appearance — Severino hadn’t pitched since last Wednesday — and my guess is his next appearance is a start after Ivan Nova gets traded wherever at the deadline.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
The Yankees scored their one token run on Brian McCann‘s fourth inning solo homer, which hit the tippy top the wall in center field and hopped over. The offense put two runners in scoring position all night. Brett Gardner reached on an infield single in the third and moved to second on a passed ball. Didi Gregorius singled in the fourth inning and moved up on a wild pitch. That’s all.

Gregorius had two hits while Gardner, McCann, and Mark Teixeira had one hit each. Jacoby Ellsbury and Starlin Castro drew the two walks, of all people. The Yankees struck out 15 times, a new season high. It was only their 12th game with double-digit strikeouts overall, second fewest in baseball. The Angels have nine.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
ESPN has the box score, MLB.com has the video highlights, and ESPN has the updated standings. RAB has Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages too. Here’s the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
This three-game series in Houston is over and the Yankees are heading to Tampa next. But first: an off-day. I could use one of those. Nova and Jake Odorizzi are the scheduled starters for Friday night’s series opener at Tropicana Field. Will that be Ivan’s final game in pinstripes? My guess is yes.