Game 83: Tanaka Tuesday

(David Banks/Getty)
(David Banks/Getty)

Folks, I have bad news. The Yankees are playing another game tonight. I know, it sucks. The Yankees can’t score and they have like one good pitcher, and he needs an extra day of rest to actually be, you know, good. Luckily, that guy is on the mound tonight with an extra day rest, so there’s a chance tonight’s game will be marginally entertaining. Small victories, I suppose. Here is the White Sox’s lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. RF Carlos Beltran
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. SS Starlin Castro
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. 2B Rob Refsnyder
  8. CF Aaron Hicks
  9. C Austin Romine
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

It’s cloudy in Chicago and there’s a small chance of rain pretty much all night. Hopefully it won’t be anything that interrupts the game. That would suck. Tonight’s game will begin a bit after 8pm ET. You can watch on YES. Try to enjoy.

Roster Move: The Yankees have called up Chasen Shreve and sent down Luis Cessa, the team announced. Good. Cessa needs to pitch to continue his development, not sit around so he can throw two mop-up innings every ten days.

Game 82: The Start of the Second Half

Bat flips for America. (Denis Poroy/Getty)
Bat flips for America. (Denis Poroy/Getty)

The first half of the 2016 season is in the books, and it did not go well for the Yankees. They’re 40-41 on the season, which means they have to go 47-34 the rest of the way to match last year’s record. That’s a 94-win pace for half a season. Are these Yankees capable of that? Never say never, but I find it tough to believe. Hopefully the second half brings a little a lot more success. Here is the White Sox’s lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Carlos Beltran
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. RF Aaron Hicks
  9. 1B Rob Refsnyder
    LHP CC Sabathia

It’s cool and cloudy in Chicago this afternoon, and there is some rain in the forecast, though it looks like it’ll hold off until later tonight. It shouldn’t be a problem for the game. This afternoon’s series opener will begin at 2:10pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Injury Update: Carlos Beltran (hamstring) is not yet return to return to the outfield. Joe Girardi said there’s a chance he won’t play the field at all this series … Mark Teixeira had the day off because the Yankees are trying to manage his knee. He’s not hurt, it’s just part of their plan to get him off his feet a little more often.

Bullpen Update: Nathan Eovaldi is available in relief and will be the seventh and eighth inning guy today, Girardi said. It’s his throw day and the bullpen is worn out. Chad Green is going to start in Eovaldi’s place Friday and they’ll determine when Eovaldi will make his next start based on his usage this afternoon. Girardi said the move to the bullpen is only temporary.

Game 81: Halfway Home

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The season is halfway complete, or at least it will be in a few hours. Today is the 81st game of the season, and because they are 39-41, the Yankees have already clinched a losing record in the first half. The Yankees were 40-41 the last two times they finished the first half with a losing record (1992, 2007), and the last time they lost 42+ of their first 81 games was 1990. They were 30-51 in the first half that year.

Rookie right-hander Chad Green is making a spot start today — the Yankees pushed CC Sabathia back a day to avoid having him hit and run the bases on his balky knee — and this is a pretty big game for him. Ivan Nova pitched well last night but has generally stunk this season, plus Nathan Eovaldi‘s been getting smacked around lately too. A strong effort tonight and could land Green another start before the All-Star break. Here is the Padres’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. 1B Mark Teixeira
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. RF Aaron Hicks
  8. 3B Ronald Torreyes
  9. RHP Chad Green

The weather is great in San Diego, I assume. This afternoon’s game will begin at 4:40pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Game 80: What’s better than a ninth inning comeback?

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Last night the Yankees made a spirited ninth inning comeback attempt, scoring four runs in the final inning to turn a 7-2 deficit into a 7-6 loss. A loss is a loss, but at least they showed some fight, you know? Three days ago the Yankees had that massive ninth inning comeback against the Rangers too. If nothing else, this team is going down swinging. They still have that Fighting Spirit.

But you know what’s better than a ninth inning comeback? Not trailing in the ninth inning! Good teams don’t come from behind to win all the time. Good teams are ahead all the time. The Yankees play from behind an awful lot these days, which makes getting back into the postseason race that much more difficult. Scoring first, which the Yankees have not done in their last eight (!) games, would be cool tonight. Here’s the Padres’ lineup and here’s the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. 2B Starlin Castro
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. 3B Chase Headley
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. RF Rob Refsnyder
  8. C Austin Romine
  9. RHP Ivan Nova

The weather is surely lovely in San Diego tonight. The weather is never not nice in San Diego. Tonight’s game will begin a little after 10pm ET and you can watch on FOX Sports 1 only. Not YES, not MLB Network, not even regular old FOX. FOX Sports 1 only. Enjoy the game, nerds.

Injury Update: Conor Mullee has been placed on the 15-day DL with a hand injury, the Yankees announced. He left last night’s game with of a weird feeling in his fingers. Mullee went for tests for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which thankfully came back negative. That’s serious stuff. Chad Green took his spot on the roster. Green is making the spot start tomorrow.

Game 79: A Late Night on the West Coast

(Presswire)
Tony Gwynn hit .338. For his entire career. (Presswire)

I have to say, if you’re staying up for tonight’s series opener against the Padres, you are one dedicated fan. A night game on the West Coast on a Friday night? Geez. Not only that, but it’s a holiday weekend, and it’s a 10:40pm ET start too. Why is the game starting a half-hour later than usual? I have no idea. That’s such a Padres thing to do. Anyway, here is the Padres’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. 1B Mark Teixeira
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. RF Aaron Hicks
  9. RHP Nathan Eovaldi

The weather in San Diego tonight is perfect. I’m not even going to both to look it up. It’s safe to assume the weather is perfect. Like I said, tonight’s game will begin at 10:40pm ET. You can watch on YES. Enjoy, if you’re still awake.

Injury Update: Carlos Beltran (hamstring) hit again and continues to make progress. Joe Girardi did say it’s possible Beltran will not play at all this weekend, however.

Game 78: The Final Home Game of the First Half

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Was that the best game of the season last night or what? That was so fun. This season has generally sucked, but games like last night make it all worth it. Baseball is still pretty dang cool.

Thanks to that win, the Yankees have a chance to earn a split of this four-game series with the AL best Rangers this afternoon. Heck, the Yanks were pretty close to winning the first game of the series too before the rain interfered. This is the final home game before the All-Star break, so go out, get the win to split the series, then head to San Diego. Here is the Rangers’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 1B Mark Teixeira
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. RF Aaron Hicks
  9. 2B Ronald Torreyes
    RHP Michael Pineda

We’ve got pretty much perfect weather in New York today. No clouds in the sky, temperatures in the mid-80s, not that humid. Couldn’t ask for a better afternoon for a ballgame. Today’s series finale will begin at 1:05pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network out-of-market. Enjoy the game.

Injury Update: Carlos Beltran (hamstring) feels better and is planning to hit today. I’m not sure if he’ll take batting practice or hit in the cage. He’s not in the lineup, but he did test the hammy with some baseball activities.

Rotation Update: The Yankees will call up Chad Green to make a spot start Sunday. CC Sabathia will start Monday instead, so he won’t have to hit or run the bases on his balky knee (and ankle) over the weekend in San Diego. As an added bonus, the starters get an extra day of rest. It’s also worth noting this means Masahiro Tanaka will start July 10th, the Sunday before the All-Star break, which makes him ineligible to pitch in the All-Star Game should he make the roster. I wrote about that this morning.

Holy cannoli! Yankees stun the Rangers with a six-run rally in ninth for a 9-7 victory

(Getty)

Wow! I already had a chunk of this recap written and had to erase a paragraph or two after that ninth inning. After a lackluster showing for the first eight innings, the Yankee bats slugged their way to a six-run inning in the ninth to win this game 9-7.

Not the best Tanaka start

After tossing a scoreless first, Masahiro Tanaka gave up a run in the second. He allowed a double to Prince Fielder and Elvis Andrus later drove him in with an RBI single, making it 1-0 Rangers.

After the Yanks tied it with Chase Headley‘s homer, Masahiro¬†got into another jam in the third. He allowed back-to-back singles to Robinson Chirinos and Shin-Soo Choo to begin the frame. Ian Desmond worked a walk in a 3-2 count to get the bases loaded. In another full count, Tanaka threw a 87-mph slider that just kind of hung in the strike zone, and Nomar Mazara drove it into the gap for a three-run double. 4-1 Rangers. Fielder followed it up with a grounder that 1B Rob Refsnyder was able to reach but not pick up. Nomar Mazara raced to home to score another, 5-1 Rangers. That was one of the worst innings from Tanaka in this season.

In the sixth, Tanaka allowed another run – this time, a solo blast by the rising star Rougned Odor for his 15th of the season. 6-1 Rangers. By the time his outing was done, Masahiro had allowed six earned runs in 6.0 IP – not necessarily what you want to see from your ace. If you want to see the bright side, he did strike out seven while walking only one, which is good for padding on that xFIP. (But you know who has a good xFIP though? Michael Pineda with 3.36)

(Getty)

Little offense scattered throughout the game

With the team trailing 1-0, Chase Headley tied the game in the second inning with a solo home run. He got a 93 mph fastball on the inside corner and smoked it towards the right field seats for his fifth dinger of the year. Don’t look now but he’s now hitting for a .250 AVG and his OPS has crept up kind of close to .700 (.682 in reality). Keep it up and he actually might end up with a decent line.

The Yankees had a major chance in the bottom of sixth. Brian McCann led off with a walk and Starlin Castro singled to put two baserunners with no out. Rangers manager Jeff Banister summoned lefty Cesar Ramos to face Didi Gregorius. Gregorius *almost* grounded out into a double play but he was called just barely safe to make it runners on corners with one out. That made at least some difference – the next hitter, Headley, flied out deep enough to drive a run in, making it 6-2 Rangers.

Oh, meanwhile, Luis Cessa came into the game in the seventh to relieve Tanaka. After throwing a 1-2-3 seventh, he allowed a solo home run to Adrian Beltre on the first pitch of eighth. It was a Yankee Stadium cheapie that just cleared the right field fence. Aaron Hicks gave it a good try to rob it but he barely missed it – from the replays, the ball just sailed over his glove as he was in mid-air. The home run increased Texas’ lead to 7-2, which was insurmountable, right? That was about the only damage Cessa allowed – he pitched for 3 innings, allowed one run while striking out and walking two each. Not awful.

New York added another run in the bottom eighth with Brian McCann going deep for a solo shot to make it 7-3 Texas. The ball sailed just over RF Shin-Soo Choo’s glove and into the seats, a classic Yankee Stadium cheapie (again). But hey, a run! Bad news: YES Network cameras showed that he slowed down between first and second. It seemed like something was going on with his knee. Not good. Fortunately, he came into catch the next inning. I’m guessing things were alright. Well, you haven’t seen everything yet…

(Getty)

Rally! Win!

Former no. 1 overall pick Matt Bush was on the mound to start the bottom of ninth. He had come into the game in the bottom eighth and retired both hitters that he faced. In the ninth, however, he allowed a single to Refsnyder and walked Jacoby Ellsbury to make it a bit interesting. Bannister decided to hammer it down by bringing the closer Sam Dyson. That’s when all the fun began.

Brett Gardner, in a 1-1 count, hit a 95 mph fastball towards center to drive Refsnyder in, reducing the deficit to three runs. The next hitter, A-Rod, hit a sharp liner right at Rougned Odor for an out. That was quite dangerous with runners on second and first. Had both runners been off the base a bit further, it would’ve been a potential triple play situation. Instead of that, the Yankees got something else.

Brian McCann, coming off a bit of a knee scare after homering in the eighth, got a 97 mph fastball right in his wheelhouse to hit a game-tying solo homer Against the power-hitting, pull-happy lefty hitter in Yankee Stadium, I don’t think Dyson could have located it any worse. Just take a look:

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 10.26.26 PM

The inning was already nuts and the Yanks weren’t done partying yet. Only with one out, Starlin Castro, he of 4.0% walk rate, worked a five-pitch walk to get on base. Gregorius, who is actually having a decent season with a bat (.290/.320/.425 after the game), swung at a first-pitch changeup and didn’t miss any of it – he hit it right above the right field fence for a walk-off two-run homer. 9-7 Yankees. That was a heck of a roller coaster ride of an inning.

a look of pure joy (Getty)

Box score, highlights, WPA and standings

Here’s tonight’s box score, video highlights, WPA and updated standings. As you may see from the WPA chart, tonight was a bit nuts.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

The Yankees and Rangers wrap up this series Thursday afternoon. Michael Pineda and A.J. Griffin will be the starters.