Archive for Game Stories
And just like that, the 2014 season is over. The Yankee closed out the year with a 9-5 win over the Red Sox on what amounted to Yankees Appreciation Day at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon. Let’s recap the final game of the season:
- Two Innings: The Yankees scored all nine of their runs in just two innings. They plated four in the third on Ichiro Suzuki‘s two-run triple, Derek Jeter‘s one-run infield single, and Mark Teixeira‘s sac fly. Then, in the seventh, they scored five runs on Jose Pirela‘s two-run double, John Ryan Murphy‘s one-run single, Austin Romine‘s one-run double, and Chase Headley‘s one-run single. The Yankees went 11-for-16 (.688) with a three doubles, a triple, a walk and a sac fly in the fourth and seventh innings and 1-for-22 (.045) with a walk in all other innings.
- Large Michael: What a finish to the season for Michael Pineda. He held the BoSox to three singles and no walks in 6.1 innings while striking out ten. (He was charged with a run after Esmil Rogers made a mess in the seventh.) Pineda finishes the season with a 1.86 ERA (2.71 FIP) in 13 starts and 76.1 innings. The question at the end of the season is the same as the question coming into the season: will he stay healthy? At least now we know Big Mike is a force when he’s on the mound.
- Bullpen Schmullpen: As always, the Yankees are not allowed to have easy wins. Rogers replaced Pineda, allowed five of six batters to reach base, and was charged with four runs. Adam Warren allowed a two-run double to Mookie Betts to cap that rally off. Warren threw a perfect eighth and David Phelps threw a perfect ninth to end the season. Chris Young caught a routine fly ball for the final out.
- Leftovers: Jeter went 1-for-2 with the infield single and was lifted for a pinch-runner in the third. Here’s the video of his final at-bat and exit … Young and Pirela both had two hits apiece while Ichiro, Jeter, Murphy, Brett Gardner, Romine, and Headley had one each … the Yankees went 7-for-11 (.636) with runners in scoring position.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees finished the season in second place in the AL East at 84-78 with a -31 run differential, 12 games back of the Orioles and one game up on the Blue Jays. Joe Girardi will hold his annual end-of-season press conference on Monday and then that’s it until the spring. Thanks for riding out the season with RAB. Should be an interesting winter.
This is the type of game that would have totally sucked had it meant something but is easily brushed off because it didn’t. The Yankees got clobbered by the Red Sox by the score of 10-4 on Saturday afternoon, in the second to last game of the 2014 season. Let’s recap:
- Ugly Ending: This was definitely not the way Masahiro Tanaka wanted to go into the offseason. He looked pretty terrible on Saturday afternoon — stuff was flat, no command at all, laboring from start to finish — and the result was seven runs (five earned) in only 1.2 innings (50 pitches). Some really bad defense didn’t help but it’s not like Tanaka was fooling anyone either. As long as his elbow is healthy — Joe Girardi said he was fine physically after the game, no injury just ineffective — the bad performance doesn’t really matter. It just would have been nice to end the season on a high note.
- Swing Away: The Yankees went into “let’s get this over with” mode after Boston’s eight-run second inning — 17 of the next 19 men they sent to the plate swung at the first or second pitch. The plan went awry in the three-run eighth inning, which was highlighted by Chris Young‘s one-run single and Stephen Drew‘s two-run ground-rule double. Three singles, including infield hits by Frankie Cervelli and Chase Headley, set that rally up. The Yankees put two on the ninth but did not score.
- Bullpen On Parade: Preston Claiborne replaced Tanaka, faced six hitters, and retired one (three hits, one walk, one error). He was charged with two unearned runs. Bryan Mitchell allowed one run while soaking up four efficient innings (44 pitches) then Chase Whitely closed it out with two quick innings. Three September call-up relievers combined to allow three runs (one earned) in 6.1 innings while striking out seven. Not awful despite Claiborne.
- Leftovers: Derek Jeter started at DH and went 1-for-2 with an infield single before being replaced … the Yankees allowed a season-high four unearned runs, which is amazing considering how terrible the infield was for much of the year … Headley, Cervelli, and Young each had two hits while Ichiro Suzuki, Jeter, Austin Romine, Drew (double), and Jose Pirela (triple) each had one. Drew and Pirela walked … Tanaka is the first Yankee to allow at least seven runs in fewer than two full innings since Phil Hughes last May.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. Since this was their 78th loss of the season, the Yankees will officially have a worst record than last year (85-77). Gross. Michael Pineda and Clay Buchholz will be on the mound in the 2014 season finale Sunday afternoon.
Neither the Yankees nor the Red Sox sent out their A-team on Friday night — heck, you could argue they didn’t even send out their B-team — but because this was a Yankees-Red Sox game, it went right down to the wire and took well more than three hours. It’s in their DNA. New York walked away with a 3-2 win. Let’s recap:
- Build Some Runs: The Yankees scored their first two runs thanks to some bad Red Sox defense. Eury Perez reached base with one out in the third on a passed ball after striking out, then another passed ball moved him to second. Francisco Cervelli singled him in. A single by Chris Young and an error by Mookie Betts brought Cervelli home for the second run. Then, in the sixth inning, a double (John Ryan Murphy), a single (Austin Romine), and a sacrifice fly (Zelous Wheeler) plated the team’s third run.
- Tip Of The Cap: In his final start of the season, Chris Capuano allowed one unearned run in 6.2 innings of work. Young bobbled a base hit in left field to allow Allen Craig to reach second on a would-be single. Bryce Brentz singled him in later in the second inning. Other than that, Capuano held the BoSox to two singles and no walks, and he retired 15 of the final 16 men he faced. He struck out five. Capuano (presumably) finishes his Yankees’ career with a 4.25 ERA in 12 starts and 65.2 innings. Not bad for the team’s 11th or 12th starter.
- Bullpen: Shawn Kelley‘s very first pitch of the night landed in the parking lot across the street after Rusney Castillo hit it over the Green Monster for a solo homer. That made it 3-2 in the seventh inning. He retired the next batter to end the inning, then Adam Warren tossed a perfect eighth. He was one strike away from an Immaculate Inning when Betts flew out. For shame. David Robertson allowed a leadoff ground ball single and struck out two in the ninth to earn his 39th save. I’m still hoping he gets to 40 for no reason in particular.
- Leftovers: Wheeler and leadoff man Jose Pirela were the only starters who failed to reach base. Cervelli had two hits while Perez, Young, Murphy, Romine, and Antoan Richardson had one each. Cervelli, Young, and Brendan Ryan drew walks … the pitchers struck out 9+ and walked zero for the MLB-leading tenth time this season … Young threw Yoenis Cespedes out at second trying to stretch a single into a double. Pirela did a nice job keeping the tag on Cespedes, so the safe call was overturned on review.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. I forgot to mention this last night, but the Yankees have clinched their 22nd consecutive winning season. That’s the second longest such streak in baseball history behind the 1925-64 Yankees, who did it 39 straight years. Masahiro Tanaka and Joe Kelly will square off in the penultimate game of the 2014 season on Saturday afternoon.
For one night, Yankee magic returned to the Bronx. Derek Jeter ended his final game at Yankee Stadium with one of his trademark inside-out singles to right field for a walk-off win over the Orioles. The final score was 6-5.
What an awkward start to the game. Yankee Stadium was rocking, the Bleacher Creatures were giving the Roll Call of a lifetime, and then Nick Markakis launched a monster solo homer into the second deck in right field to lead off the first inning. Then, four pitches later, Alejandro De Aza gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead with another long solo homer, this one longer than Markakis’ according to the official measurements (390 vs. 383 feet). The ballpark in the Bronx was electric and then all the air was let out of the balloon with two swings. Yeah.
Thankfully, those back-to-back homers were quickly erased from memory. The Yankees rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the first and Jeter was right smack in the middle of the rally. He doubled in Brett Gardner for the team’s first run — I thought it was gone off the bat, he missed a homer by about two feet when it clanked off the left-center field wall — then scored the game-tying run later in the inning, after moving to third on a wild pitch and coming home on Brian McCann‘s ground ball to second. This seemed like that would be Jeter’s big hit for the night, but lol to that.
Hiroki Kuroda‘s likely final start as a Yankee went the way so many of his other starts have gone these last few years. He gave up the two runs in the first, then settled right down and took the ball deep into the game. Kuroda allowed just two base-runners after the first inning — Kelly Johnson reached on a Jeter’s throwing error in the second and De Aza singled in the third — and retired the final 16 men he faced. After those two first inning homers, he turned into vintage Kuroda, mowing down hitters and looking like he could pitch another five years if he wanted.
By Game Score (77), this was Kuroda’s best start of the season and best since last August (box score). His nine strikeouts were not just a season high, they were more than he had in any start last year as well. The last time Kuroda struck out 9+ came in September 2012, when he struck out ten Rays (box score). The final pitching line was two runs on three hits and no walks in eight innings with nine strikeouts and nine ground ball outs. Kuroda never did get any kind of big ovation. He was lifted from the game after the eighth inning and that was that. Unless Kuroda surprisingly returns in 2015, it was a fittingly unceremonious end to a marvelous three-year career in pinstripes.
Signature Moment, Part I
The score remained 2-2 until the seventh inning — the Yankees did not have a hit and only put two men on base in the second through sixth innings — when Jeter gave the Yankees the lead in what everyone thought was his final Yankee Stadium at-bat. The inning started with Stephen Drew striking out and reaching first base on a wild pitch, capping off an awful defensive night for the O’s. Ichiro Suzuki followed that with a walk, then Jose Pirela reached when pitcher T.J. McFarland pulled first baseman Steve Pearce off the bag with a throw on his bunt attempt. The Yankees loaded the bases with no outs while hitting the ball maybe 20 feet total.
That brought Gardner to the plate with a chance to give the Yankees the lead, but, with Jeter looming in the on deck circle, I got the sense no out would have cared if Brett struck out. Well, he didn’t strike out, he just grounded into a 3-1 put-out. The bases remained loaded for Jeter, who hit a weak tapper to J.J. Hardy at short. Too weak to turn two, I thought. Hardy flipped to second for the force out, but the throw was wide of the bag and the ball sailed into right field, scoring two runs. Was it the classic Jeter moment we all expected? Nope. Did it get the job done? Hell yes. McCann plated the third run of the inning with a sacrifice fly as the next batter, giving the Yankees a 5-2 lead. That was the first ball to leave the infield in the inning.
David Robertson will forever be remembered for the best blown save in baseball history. Like many other people, I watched the ninth inning wondering when Brendan Ryan would trot out of the dugout to replace Jeter so the Cap’n could get one last grand send-off in his final game. That never happened, and while we waited the Orioles scored three runs to tie the game. Adam Jones hit a two-run homer to bring Baltimore to within a run, then Pearce hit a solo homer to knot things up. I mean, what? How did that happen? Ultimately, the baseball gods had another, much cooler ending planned for this game.
Signature Moment, Part II
As soon as Pirela singled leading off the bottom of the ninth, the script wrote itself. Gardner would bunt pinch-runner Antoan Richardson up to second and Jeter would drive him in for the game winning run. Right? Right. Sometimes you can predict baseball, Suzyn. Gardner did indeed bunt Richardson to second, and Jeter did indeed drive him in with a walk-off single. He jumped all over Evan Meek’s first pitch middle-middle fastball and laced it to right field for a classic Jeterian hit. We’ve seen that same hit about 3,000 times now. Richardson chugged around third and slid into home plate safely to score the team’s most memorable run in a long, long time.
Something weird happened following the walk-off hit: Jeter showed some emotion. And I don’t mean his little fist pump that usually follows wins either. Jeter literally jumped for joy after seeing Richardson score the game winning run. Derek’s face showed relief as much as it did excitement. He said following the game that his main thought all night was “don’t cry” — cameras showed him struggling to fight back tears a few times, especially when the “Der-Ek Je-Ter!” chants got louder in the late innings — and that hit allowed him to finally relax. His perpetual all business stare had finally been erased. Outside of winning the World Series, I can’t ever remember seeing Jeter that happy on a baseball field. I will always remember this walk-off hit for Jeter’s rarely seen sense of pure joy as I will the outcome of the game.
All told, Jeter went 2-for-5 with a run scored and three runs driven in on the night. He went 12-for-34 (.353) during the eight-game homestand. Jeter said after the game he will play this weekend out of respect for the fans, but he will not play shortstop. He will pinch-hit or DH only. It would be amazing if the walk-off hit was his final act on a baseball field, but I get it. Not playing this weekend never seemed all that realistic.
Pirela had two hits and both Gardner and Chris Young had one each. Chase Headley, Young, and Ichiro drew walks. That’s it for the offense. The Yankees went 2-for-7 (.286) with runners in scoring position and one of those two hits didn’t even score a run. It was Pirela’s sac bunt attempt in the seventh. Whatever. They scored enough runs to win. That’s all I care about.
Robertson’s blown save was his fifth of the season. He said after the game that “it created another Derek Jeter moment. As much as I wished I wouldn’t have created it, I’m glad it happened.” It’s easy to forget this might have been Robertson’s last game in the Bronx as a Yankee as well.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other game stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. At +.602 WPA, Jeter had the team’s third “biggest” game of the season. Only Carlos Beltran‘s walk-off homer against the Orioles (+.930) and Young’s walk-off homer against the Rays (+.671) were bigger.
Only one series left in the season. The Yankee are off to Boston for three totally meaningless games against the Red Sox this weekend. Both teams have already been eliminated from postseason contention, so the only thing on the line is bragging rights. Chris Capuano and knuckleballer Steve Wright will be on the mound Friday night.
It’s official: the 2014 Yankees will not go to the postseason. They were eliminated from playoff contention with Wednesday afternoon’s come-from-ahead 9-5 loss to the Orioles. This is the first time the Yankees have missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons since 1992-93.
In his final start of the 2014 season, Greene retired the first seven batters he faced and then only four of the next 14. His meltdown started in the third inning, when a single (Ryan Flaherty) and two walks (Nick Markakis and David Lough) loaded the bases with two outs. Greene got Adam Jones to ground out weakly to escape the jam and end the inning. The end result was a zero on the board, though the inning was unfortunately a sign of things to come.
Baltimore’s six-run rally in the fourth inning started with a simply little Nelson Cruz ground ball single kinda sorta back up the middle. It was just out of the reach of both Greene and the shifted infield. Steve Clevenger followed that with a single to center to put two on with no outs. Greene struck out Jimmy Paredes for the first out, then the line just kept moving. Kelly Johnson walked to load the bases, Ryan Flaherty drove in two runs with a double into the corner, Caleb Joseph struck out, Markakis singled in two runs with a soft liner to right, Lough tripled in another run, then Jones drove in Lough with a bunt hit. That finally ended Greene’s afternoon.
David Huff started warming in the bullpen after Flaherty doubled into the corner, but Joe Girardi decided to stick with Greene against the lefty hitting Markakis and Lough and it cost them. Not sure why you’d bother warming Huff up if you weren’t going to use him there. Anyway, Greene ended his season on a down note (3.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) like Brandon McCarthy on Tuesday, though he still finished the year with a 3.78 ERA (3.72 FIP) in 78.2 innings — his ERA jumped from 3.12 to 3.78 in that fourth inning — with a 9.27 K/9 and a 50.2% ground ball rate. That is pretty awesome. Bad ending but otherwise a very nice season for Greene.
One, One, One … Two
The Yankees built a nice picket fence in the early going, scoring exactly one run in the first, second, and third innings. A Chase Headley single and a Mark Teixeira double, both with two outs, created the game’s first run in the first inning. Stephen Drew clubbed a solo homer off Bud Norris in the second inning and then Headley did the same in the third to give New York a 3-0 lead. At one point spanning the first through third innings, the Yankees sent nine men to the plate and all nine either homered (Drew and Headley) or struck out (everyone else).
The team’s best chance to climb back into the game came in the bottom of the fourth, immediately after the Orioles scored those six runs. Frankie Cervelli singled and Drew walked to put runners on first and second with no outs, but Chris Young lined into a bad luck double play (runner doubled off second) and Antoan Richardson flew out to end the inning. Teixeira hit a two-run homer off the right field foul pole in the eighth inning, but by then the O’s had blown the game open and it was nothing more than a garbage timer. Young grounded out with two men on base to end the eighth inning, their last real chance to stay in the postseason hunt.
Huff replaced Greene in the fourth and stopped the bleeding at six runs. He threw two scoreless innings. Chase Whitley and David Phelps let the game get out of reach in the eighth inning, as Whitely put two men on and Phelps let both score in addition to one of his own. Surprisingly, intentionally walking the leadoff man (Markakis) to load the bases with Jones and Cruz looming didn’t work out. Those last three insurance runs especially sucked after Teixeira’s homer.
Derek Jeter went 0-for-4 to end his hitting streak at seven games. He was left on deck when the 27th out was recorded. Headley had three hits, Teixeira had two, and Cervelli, Drew, Young, and pinch-hitter Jose Pirela had one hit apiece. Cervelli and Drew drew walks. Buck Showalter used six pitchers in the span of 12 batters at one point.
It seems like the Yankees have been blowing big-ish leads to the Orioles all season, so I decided to look it up. They had a multi-run lead in nine of their 18 games against the O’s this year yet managed to win only five of those nine games. That’s not very good, especially for a team with Dellin Betances and David Robertson in the bullpen.
Aside from saying goodbye the Jeter, the last item on the 2014 agenda is securing a winning season. The Yankees’ next win will be their 82nd and will clinch the team’s 22nd consecutive winning season. That would be the second longest such streak in baseball history behind the 1926-64 Yankees, who did it 39 straight years.
And finally, recently claimed outfielder Eury Perez entered the game in the eighth inning after Brian McCann pinch-grounded out for Richardson. Perez was the 58th different player used by the Yankees this year, extending the franchise record.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, head over to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other game stats and the updated standings are at ESPN. As I said, the Yankees have been officially eliminated from postseason contention, so there is no more scoreboard watching to be done.
The Yankees and Orioles wrap-up this four-game series on Thursday night, in the final home game of Jeter’s career. Hiroki Kuroda and Kevin Gausman will be on the mound. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to risk a rainout and catch that game live. I’m sure it’ll be special.
The Yankees are officially on the brink of elimination from postseason contention after dropping Tuesday night’s game to the Orioles by the score of 5-4. Even if they win all five of their remaining games, they’ll still need help to play in October.
Brandon McCarthy‘s last start of the season — and possibly his last start for the Yankees — did not go so well. He allowed five runs on eleven hits in only 5.1 innings, and three of those eleven hits left the yard. McCarthy allowed three homers in his first 58.1 innings with the team and has now allowed seven homers in his last 33 innings. That was bound to happen at some point. Yankees’ pitchers always seem to struggle to keep the ball in the park because of Yankee Stadium.
The eleven hits were a personal season-high for McCarthy and a few of them were weak grounders that found holes. One literally went through Mark Teixeira‘s legs at first base and was ruled a hit. Don’t ask me why. McCarthy did manage to strike out eight and generate 14 swings and misses out of 92 total pitches, though he didn’t exactly miss many barrels. The Orioles had a lot of comfortable swings and just seemed to be on everything. It happens. If this was McCarthy’s final start in pinstripes, it was a bit of a letdown. Regardless, the man was outstanding during his brief time with the team. Well done, Brandon.
The Yankees were down four runs before they even recorded their first hit against Ubaldo Jimenez. Teixeira broke up the no-hit bid with a double into the right field corner with one out in the fourth. Between Brett Gardner‘s leadoff walk in the first and Chase Headley‘s one-out walk immediately prior to Teixeira’s double, Ubaldo retired ten straight batters. Nine of those ten batters hit the ball in the air and balls in the air tend to be high-percentage outs.
Anyway, the Yankees scored their first run when Chris Young grounded out following Teixeira’s double, allowing Headley to trot in from third. McCarthy gave that run back on a Nelson Cruz solo homer, his 40th, in the next half-inning. The Yankees loaded the bases with one out in the sixth but only managed one run, on Stephen Drew‘s hard-hit sacrifice fly to center. Ichiro Suzuki struck out feebly — he has really mastered the art of the ugly swinging strikeout, hasn’t he? — to end the rally with men on the corners.
A two-out, two-run homer by Brian McCann off Andrew Miller brought the Yankees to within one in the seventh. Jose Pirela and Gardner made two quick outs to start the inning, but Derek Jeter beat out an infield single and McCann took advantage. Coming into Tuesday, Miller had held left-handed batters to a .152/.198/.220 (.191 wOBA) batting line with a 49.5% strikeout rate, so taking him deep was no small feat. Don’t care that it was a first row Yankee Stadium cheapie either. It was a line drive over the right fielder’s head for extra bases no matter what. Just like that, the score was 5-4.
The offense was unable to score that fifth run to tie the game, so the comeback fell short. Gardner did beat out an infield single with two outs in the ninth, but Jeter struck out to end the game. I’m pretty sure Yankee Stadium would have exploded if he managed to tie or win the game there. Alas.
McCann was the only starter with two hits. He singled in addition to the homer. Gardner, Jeter, Teixeira, and Ichiro had the other hits. Jeter’s infield single extended his hitting streak to seven games. Gardner and Young each drew one walk. Headley drew two. The Yankees went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
The bullpen — Rich Hill (one out), Esmil Rogers (four outs), Dellin Betances (three outs), and David Robertson (three outs) — deserves credit for keeping the Orioles off the board and giving the offense a chance to come back. They did allow six hits in those 3.2 scoreless innings, but hey — bend, don’t break.
The Yankees allowed 17+ hits in a nine-inning game for the second time this year. The first? Against the Orioles of course, back in April. Here’s the box score. This was only the third time in team history the Yankees allowed 17+ hits and five or fewer runs in a nine-inning game. The others: May 1918 against the Red Sox (box score) and September 1925 against the Browns (box score). Crazy.
And finally, the Yankees set a new franchise single-season strikeout record when Robertson fanned Jonathan Schoop to end the ninth inning. It was their 1,319th strikeout of the season. The previous record was set two years ago. They still have another five games to pad that strikeout total.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has the other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Royals beat the Indians, so the Yankees are now five games back of the second wildcard spot with five games to play. No bueno. One more win by Kansas City or one more loss by the Yankees will officially eliminate New York from the postseason. Just for kicks, FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 0.2% right now.
These two teams will play the third game of this four-game series on Wednesday afternoon. Yes, afternoon. It’s a day game because of Rosh Hashanah. Shane Greene and Bud Norris will be the pitching matchup for the matinee. There are only two (!) home games left in the season and Jeter’s career, so make sure you head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch one of them live.
The Yankees might not be going to the postseason this year, but they’ve yet to be officially eliminated and they’re not going down without a fight. They won for the fifth time in six games on Monday night, shutting out the Orioles 5-0.
Big Mike Does Big Things
I thought this was the best Michael Pineda has looked all season. Easily. He was dominant, throwing only ten of his 106 pitches from the stretch. The only base-runners he allowed were J.J. Hardy’s one-out ground ball single by a diving Chase Headley in the fifth and a one-out walk by Christian Walker in the eighth. Only five of the 24 batters Pineda faced hit the ball out of the infield and none of them were particularly hard-hit. The hardest hit ball was Hardy’s line drive at Stephen Drew leading off the eighth inning. Drew took a step or two to his right to catch the liner.
Overall, Pineda held the Orioles scoreless for 7.1 innings and allowed just the one hit and one walk. He struck out a season-high eight and generated a season-high 18 swings and misses. Pineda had his F U fastball working and his slider was vicious, consistently diving down and out of the zone after hitters started their swings. He even threw some changeups, a few of which had some serious action down and away to lefties. I know the Orioles have already clinched the AL East and half their regulars were on the bench, but Pineda was in total control on Monday night. Completely dominant. This is the type of game that reminds you just how special he really is when healthy.
Young & Old
The Yankees scored two runs in the third inning and two runs in the fifth inning, and both times the young guy and the old guy were involved. The third inning rally started with an error by Orioles third baseman Ryan Flaherty, who made a poor throw and pulled Walker off the first base bag to start the inning. Walker didn’t even catch the ball. Ichiro Suzuki would have been safe even if he had kept his foot on the bag.
Anyway, that brought Jose Pirela to the plate for his first career at-bat, and he lifted Wei-Yin Chen’s 1-1 pitch into Death Valley in left-center field. Ichiro scored from first with ease and Pirela slid into third base safely with a triple. Again, it was his first career at-bat, so he was running around the bases faster than he’s ever run around the bases before. Derek Jeter brought Pirela home with a ground ball later in the inning. Pirela took off on contact and got a great jump.
The fifth inning rally started with two outs, at least after Ichiro grounded into a double play following Drew’s leadoff single. Pirela started that rally with a soft little line drive single over the second baseman’s head into shallow right field. Brett Gardner drew a walk, then Jeter doubled into the left field corner to score both runs. That was a great at-bat. Chen got ahead him 0-2, Jeter worked it back to 3-2, fouled off a pitch, then doubled. Vintage Cap’n. Two runs in the third, two runs in the fifth thanks to Pirela and Jeter.
After Pineda was removed from the game, Shawn Kelley cleaned up the eighth inning with a strikeout and a routine ground out. He struck out the first batter in the ninth before Rich Hill walked and struck out the next two batters, respectively. David
Robertson Phelps got Adam Jones to fly out on the first pitch for the 27th out. Three pitchers in the ninth inning of a five-run game was a tad bit excessive.
Headley tacked on an insurance run with an eighth inning solo homer into Monument Park. Jeter drove in three of the team’s other four runs and went 1-for-3 with a walk on the night. He is 9-for-20 (.450) on the homestand. Going out in style. The top four hitters in the lineup went a combined 1-for-13 (.080) with three walks while the bottom five hitters went 7-for-18 (.389). Brian McCann was the only starter who failed to reach base.
Pirela became the 57th different player to play for the Yankees this season. That breaks the franchise record set just last year. He went 2-for-3 in his MLB debut with that run-scoring triple and rally-starting single. Nice night for the kid.
The Orioles did not have a runner reach second base all night, nevermind third base. This was the Yankees’ first one-hitter since July 2011 against the Mariners. Here’s the box score of that game.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, head on over to MLB.com. There are some other stats at FanGraphs and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Royals beat the Indians, so the Yankees remain four games back of the second wildcard spot with only six games to play. Their elimination number is three and FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 0.2%.
The Yankees and Orioles will play the second game of this four-game series on Tuesday night. Brandon McCarthy will be on the mound against … someone. The O’s still have not announced their starters for the rest of the series because they’re busy setting up their postseason rotation. There are only three home games left in the season and Jeter’s career, so head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch any of them live.
All things considered, Sunday afternoon’s 5-2 win over the Blue Jays might have been the most important game of the Yankees’ season as Masahiro Tanaka returned to the rotation after more than three months on the shelf. He and his right elbow are mighty important to the team going forward. Let’s recap series-winning win:
- The Return: Tanaka’s return went as well as we could have reasonably expected. He was rusty, particularly with his location, but he didn’t shy away from his splitter or slider (or curveball) and it didn’t look like he was holding anything back, so to speak. Didn’t seem tentative at all. Tanaka ended the day right at 70 pitches (48 strikes, six swings and misses) and his pitching line was fine (5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K), though the performance is secondary to his health. With the caveat that they have to see how he feels in the coming days, Sunday’s return was overwhelmingly positive for the Yankees and Tanaka.
- Three Taters: The Blue Jays scored a quick first inning run on two singles and a double play, but the Yankees answered right back with a Brian McCann solo homer in the bottom half of the inning. The score remained 1-1 until the fifth inning, when Brett Gardner unloaded on a Drew Hutchison pitch for a solo homer. It was his 17th (!) of the season. Back-to-back doubles in the seventh by Gardner and Derek Jeter created New York’s third run, then the fourth and fifth came off the bat of McCann, who hit his second homer of the game as the next batter. I declare it the most aesthetically pleasing homer of the 2014 season. Here, watch. All three homers were bombs. No doubters.
- Bullpen: Weirdly, the Yankees’ least effective reliever on the afternoon was Dellin Betances. He allowed a run on a single (Jose Reyes), two stolen bases, and another single (Edwin Encarnacion). Encarnacion’s was off the wall, one of those “he hit it so hard it was a single” jobs. Adam Warren replaced Tanaka in the sixth and stranded a runner with two strikeouts, then threw a perfect seventh as well. His last two outings have been very good. David Robertson pitched around a two-out walk to close out his 38th save. Really hope he gets to 40 for no reason in particular.
- Leftovers: Gardner made #toomanyhomers history. His solo shot was the 15,000th homerun in Yankees history, easily the most among the 30 clubs (Giants are second with 13,984) … the Yankees hit three homers as a team for the first time in nearly a month, since the makeup game in Kansas City. It’s only their eighth 3+ homer game of the season … Gardner, Jeter, McCann, and Ichiro Suzuki all had two hits apiece. The rest of the lineup went 0-for-16. McCann, Chris Young, Chase Headley, and Frankie Cervelli (two) had the walks.
The box score and video highlights are at MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN has the updated standings. At this very moment, the Yankees are four games back of the second wildcard spot with seven games to play. Their elimination number is five and FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 0.2%. Big Mike Pineda and Wei-Yin Chen will be on the bump for Monday night’s series opener against the Orioles. There are only four home games left in the season/Jeter’s career, so head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch any of them live.
The little three-game winning streak was fun while it lasted. A rough sixth inning sent the Yankees to a 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon. Let’s recap:
- Answer Back: Toronto scored a quick run in the first inning but the Yankees rallied to take a 2-1 lead by the fourth. Brian McCann singled in Derek Jeter in the third after Jeter reached on an infield single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Then, an inning later, Frankie Cervelli singled in Chase Headley. They had first-and-third with two outs thanks to singles by Headley and Ichiro Suzuki. Five of eight Yankees reached base against Marcus Stroman at one point spanning the third and fourth innings.
- Meltdown: After allowing the first inning run, Chris Capuano kept the Blue Jays off the board for the next four innings. Then things completely unraveled in the sixth. A walk (Jose Bautista), an infield single (Edwin Encarnacion), and another walk (Dioner Navarro) loaded the bases with no outs, which usually means bullpen time. Instead, Capuano remained in the game to serve up a two-run ground-rule double to Danny Valencia, erasing the lead. He also stayed in to allow a long sacrifice fly to John Mayberry Jr., stretching the deficit to 4-2. Either Joe Girardi got caught off guard and didn’t have a reliever ready or he gave Capuano way, way too long of a leash at that point in the game.
- Late Innings: The Jays tacked on some runs with a Bautista solo homer in the seventh and then a walk, a wild pitch, and a single in the ninth. The insurance runs ultimately did not matter even though Jeter doubled in Brett Gardner in the bottom of the ninth. The Yankees did manage to bring the tying run to the plate that inning, but Brendan Ryan struck out and Chris Young flew out. Hard to believe Ryan was allowed to hit in that spot even with Carlos Beltran hurt. Zelous Wheeler or John Ryan Murphy would have been better options. Oh well.
- Leftovers: Jeter scored the 1,920th run of his career, breaking a tie with Alex Rodriguez and moving him into sole possession of ninth place on the all-time runs scored list … Gardner snapped an 0-for-27 slump with his first inning double. He had another hit later in the game … Ichiro (two), McCann, Headley, Cervelli, and Stephen Drew had their other hits. Headley drew the only walk … Chase Whitley and David Phelps allowed the insurance runs. Esmil Rogers and David Huff threw a scoreless inning each.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Yankees are 4.5 games back of the second wildcard spot with only eight games to play. Their elimination number is five and FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 0.2%. All eyes will be on Masahiro Tanaka in the series finale on Sunday afternoon. He is returning to the mound after missing three months with a partially torn elbow ligament. Drew Hutchison is starting for the Jays. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you watch to catch that game or any of the other four final home games of the season/Jeter’s career live.
For the first time in almost exactly a month, the Yankees have won three straight games. They beat the Blue Jays by the score of 5-3 on Friday night thanks to some timely hits and a bad error by Toronto. Let’s recap the win:
- #HIROK Solid: In what was likely the second to last start of his Yankees career, Hiroki Kuroda gave the team 6.2 innings of three-run (two earned) ball. He did serve up a two-run homer off the foul pole to Edwin Encarnacion in the first inning, but after that only five Blue Jays reached base in his final 6.1 innings. Kuroda struck out seven, didn’t walk anyone, and recorded 15 of his 20 outs on the infield. Rock solid, as usual. I’m really gonna miss this guy.
- Homer, Error: The Yankees bounced right back and scored a run in the bottom of the first after Encarnacion’s homer in the top half. Brian McCann‘s single against the shift did the honors. In the third inning, they took the lead for good on Jacoby Ellsbury‘s two-run homer. He nearly homered in his first at-bat but had to settle for a double off the wall. Then, an inning later, Ellsbury grounded into what looked like a potential inning-ending double play with the bases loaded, but Jose Reyes’ throw sailed wide of first and allowed two runs to score. Ellsbury scored their first run and had the plate appearances that resulted in the other four.
- Patchwork Bullpen: Dellin Betances and David Robertson were both unavailable due to their recent workloads, forcing Joe Girardi to turn to his B-team relievers. Esmil Rogers walked Jose Bautista to load the bases with two outs in the seventh before getting Encarnacion to bounce out to short to end the inning. That was scary. Rogers got the first out of the eighth inning before giving way to Adam Warren, who struck out two with a man on third before throwing a perfect ninth as well. He was outstanding. As good as he’s looked all season. Nice job by Rogers to escape that seventh inning jam and nice job by Warren in general.
- Leftovers: Ellsbury left the game with a hamstring strain after running out the Reyes error ball. Girardi said there is a “distinct possibility” his season is over. Bummer … Derek Jeter went 2-for-4 and flew out to the warning track in left. I thought it was gone off the bat … Brett Gardner, meanwhile, went 0-for-4 and is in an 0-for-27 slump. He hasn’t hit since coming back from the abdominal strain … Ellsbury went 2-for-3 with a double and homer. McCann, Mark Teixeira, Stephen Drew, and Ichiro Suzuki had the other hits.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other game stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Yankees now have a two-game lead over the Blue Jays for second place in the AL East and they will be four games back of the second wildcard spot once the Tigers are finished demolishing the Royals. Their elimination number remains six with nine games to play. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 0.5%. Chris Capuano and Marcus Stroman will be the pitching matchup on Saturday afternoon. There are only six home games left in the season/Jeter’s career. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch any of them live.