Archive for Game Stories
So much for starting the homestand off on the right foot. The Red Sox clobbered the Yankees by the score of 9-4 in Tuesday night’s series opener, New York’s fourth loss in their last five games. The Yankees are now 24-29 against the AL East this year, including 9-20 in their last 29 intra-division games.
Shane Greene is one of the few reasons the Yankees can even pretend to still be in the race for the second wildcard spot. He’s been really good since coming up just before the All-Star break. But Greene got destroyed on Tuesday night, allowing six runs on six hits and three walks in only three innings of work. Five of the nine base-runners reached in two-strike counts, which gives you an idea of how much he was struggling. Batters had a .175 OBP in two-strike counts against Greene coming into the game.
There’s no real mystery about what happened here. Greene was simply catching way too much of plate and giving hitters plenty of pitches to hammer. The box score says 38 of his 67 pitches were strikes (57%), but that doesn’t say anything about the quality of his pitches, which were awful. Even a few of his outs were hard hit. What can you do? Greene picked an unfortunate time to have his worst start in the big leagues. Now he has to shake it off and get back to where he was before Tuesday. The Yankees are falling out of the playoff race but he’s still competing for a 2015 rotation spot.
Fifth Inning Fight
Aside from Martin Prado‘s solo homer in the third inning, the Bombers didn’t put up much of a fight against Joe Kelly in the first four innings. The homer was their only base-runner in those four innings, in fact. That all changed in the fifth thanks to a patented 2014 Yankees rally that could have been a whole lot bigger if they were able to get out of their own way.
Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and Prado opened the inning with back-to-back-to-back singles — McCann bunted to third to beat the shift — but the end result was runners at second and third with one out and no runs scored. Beltran got a poor read on Prado’s hit over the left fielder’s head and was only able to advance to third. Prado, thinking it was an easy double, took a big turn around first only to see McCann standing at second. He was caught in a rundown for the first out. Beltran got a bad read but ultimately Prado has to know what the runners in front of him are doing.
Anyway, the Yankees ran themselves out of a bases loaded situation there but Chase Headley drew a walk following Prado’s single to re-load (?) the bases. Kelly then walked Francisco Cervelli to force in the team’s second run. Jacoby Ellsbury lined out to short for the second out and Derek Jeter grounded out weakly to short for the third out … until Joe Girardi challenged and it was overturned, scoring a run and re-loading the bases. Jeter hit the ball so weakly that he was able to beat it out. I’m not joking.
That set things up for Brett Gardner, the number three hitter du jour and the team’s best player pretty much all season. He saw five pitches from Kelly, all outside the zone, swung at one of them, and was called out on strikes. Strike three was such an awful call. Here’s the strike zone plot, courtesy of Brooks Baseball:
Terrible. The only actual strike in that at-bat was a strike because Gardner swung at it and missed (pitch four). YES showed an overhead angle and strike three was in the other batter’s box. Home plate ump Tim Timmons had a pretty crappy zone all night (strike zone plots) but that call took the cake. Gardner slammed his bat, slammed his helmet, and got himself ejected. That only compounded the problem. I know he was mad and rightfully so, but he’s way too important to get himself thrown out of a September game with his team fighting for a postseason spot. Four hits, two walks, two runs. 2014 Yankees.
Last Four Innings
After that self-stifled fifth inning rally, the game pretty much flew by. Esmil Rogers replaced Greene and served up a solo homer in the fourth, but otherwise he and three other relievers (Rich Hill, Adam Warren, David Huff) combined to retire 12 of 13 Red Sox batters from the fifth through eighth innings. Chaz Roe allowed two runs in the ninth. I’ve already seen enough of him to know whatever the Yankees gave the Marlins was too much. The bullpen more or less held up its end of the bargain until Roe showed up.
The offense never came, of course. It never does. The Yankees had runners on base in the sixth (one-out walk by Beltran), seventh (Prado reached on an error and Headley walked, both with no outs), and eighth (two-out walk by Teixeira) but couldn’t score. McCann banged into a double play to end the sixth, Cervelli banged into a double play to short-circuit the seventh, and Beltran flew out to end the eighth. McCann hit a garbage time solo homer off the shell of Koji Uehara in the ninth for no apparent reason.
The Yankees had seven hits as a team. Prado and McCann had two each while Jeter, Headley, and Beltran had one each. Two of the seven (Jeter and McCann) were infield singles and another (Beltran) was a ground ball with eyes. Really knocked it around on Tuesday. Teixeira, Beltran, Cervelli, and Headley (two) each drew walks. There’s your offense.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, managed to pick up 12 hits as a team even though five of the nine players in their starting lineup went hitless. Mookie Betts (three hits), Yoenis Cespedes (three hits), Daniel Nava (two hits), and Xander Bogaerts (four hits) did all the damage.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
The box score and video highlights are at MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stats and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Yankees are now five games back of the second wild-card spot and FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 4.7%. They were only 3.5 games out of a playoff spot after 136 games last year, before they committed $500M+ to free agents.
The Yankees and Red Sox will continue the series Wednesday, when Hiroki Kuroda and Anthony Ranaudo square off. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to catch that game or any of the other seven games left on the homestand. There are only 16 home games left this season, you know.
Remember when the Yankees won five straight games a week ago? They’ve followed that up by losing two of three to a wildcard competitor in the Tigers and two of three to a struggling Blue Jays team that played themselves out of the race this month. The Yankees have had a knack for following up winning streaks with a bunch of losses this year, and they did it again this week. Let’s recap Sunday’s 4-3 loss:
- Three Runs: Four pitches into the game, the Yankees had more hits (two) and runs (one) than they did Saturday. Brett Gardner lined J.A. Happ’s second pitch over the right field wall for a leadoff homer — his fifth leadoff homer this year, sixth of his career — and Derek Jeter grounded his fourth pitch back up the middle for a single. A leadoff single (Martin Prado) and two two-out singles (Chase Headley and Frankie Cervelli) created the team’s second run in the fourth inning, then Gardner created the third run with a triple. The errant throw from the outfield sailed into the dugout, allowing him to score. The Yankees had was appeared to be a comfortable-ish 3-0 lead.
- Four Batters: Brandon McCarthy was cruising along for the first five innings of the game, then it all fell apart in the span of four batters from the sixth through seventh innings. McCarthy held the Blue Jays to two singles and walk before Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion all launched no-doubt solo homers to tie the game at three. An Adam Lind fly out was sandwiched between the Bautista and Encarnacion homers. It’s very easy to second guess the decision to let McCarthy start the seventh, but he made basically two bad pitches — the Melky homer wasn’t even a bad pitch, he figuratively hit the glove — all afternoon and his pitch count was at like 80. Going to Dellin Betances for multiple innings was obvious only in hindsight.
- Game Over: McCarthy walked the next batter after the Encarnacion homer, ending his afternoon. Pinch-runner Steve Tolleson then stole second and scored on Munenori Kawasaki’s (really?!) single to right off Betances, giving Toronto the 4-3 lead. The Yankees actually had runners in scoring position in the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, but went a combined 0-for-5 with a strikeout and did not hit a ball out of the infield in those situations. The game ended on Jeter’s soft line drive to second with pinch-runner Ichiro Suzuki — Jacoby Ellsbury pinch-doubled with one out — standing at third.
- Leftovers: Gardner was a single shy of the cycle when he grounded out to first in the ninth. A single likely would have tied the game with Ichiro at second … McCarthy allowed three homers in the span of four batters after allowing three homers in his first 64 innings as a Yankee … Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran went a combined 0-for-8 with five strikeouts as the four-five hitters … Gardner (three), Prado, Headley, and Cervelli (two each) all had multiple hits … Betances struck out four in his two innings, giving him 120 on the year. Only 1996 Mariano Rivera (130) and 1978 Goose Gossage (122) have more among full-time relievers in franchise history, and both of those guys threw more than 100 innings. Dellin’s at 80.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Orioles are beating the snot out of the Twins, so the Yankees will be nine games back in the division in short order. Depending on the outcome of the day’s other games, the Yankees will be either 3.5 (Tigers and Royals lose) or 4.5 (Tigers and/or Royals win) games back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has New York’s postseason odds at a generous 9.6%. The Yankees are off on Monday and will open a three-game series against the Red Sox on Tuesday. Shane Greene and Joe Kelly is the scheduled pitching matchup for the opener. Head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch the game. There are only 17 regular season home games left in the season.
For the fourth time in four attempts this season, the Yankees failed to improve their record to eight games over .500. They just can’t get over that hump. Drew Hutchison (seven innings) and Aaron Sanchez (two innings) one-hit the Yankees and took Saturday afternoon’s game 2-0. Let’s recap the loss:
- One Hit: The Yankees put five men on base all afternoon but just one came via a hit. That was Mark Teixeira‘s two-out double in the fourth inning. They actually loaded the bases with two outs that inning thanks to the double and two hit batsmen (Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann), but Martin Prado flew out harmlessly to end the threat. Beltran walked in the sixth and Stephen Drew walked in the seventh. That’s it. That was the offense. If fairly certain Teixeira’s double was the only hard-hit ball of the afternoon too. Hutchison and Sanchez shut them right down.
- Big Mike: Michael Pineda only made one really terrible pitch on Saturday, and that was the 0-2 hanging slider Jose Bautista hit off the facing of the second deck for a two-run homer in the first inning. They handled Bautista with sliders all day, but that one was left up and he didn’t miss it. Otherwise Pineda did not allow any other runs the rest of the afternoon and held the Blue Jays to just those two runs on seven hits and no walks in six innings. He struck out three and did leave two runners on base in the seventh — Shawn Kelley bailed him out beautifully — but that’s it. Pineda was very good yet again.
- Leftovers: Kelley escaped that second and third, no outs jam in the seventh with a strikeout, a ground ball, and a fly ball. Great job by him … David Huff threw a scoreless ninth with an unintentional intentional walk to Bautista mixed in … the Yankees were held to one hit for the first time since, coincidentally, the Blue Jays did it to them in Rogers Centre in September 2009. That game was all Roy Halladay though.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some additional stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Tigers are playing a doubleheader today, so depending on the outcome of that (plus the Mariners game), the Yankees can finish the day anywhere from 2.5 to 4.5 games back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 12.4% at this very moment in time. Brandon McCarthy and J.A. Happ will be the pitching matchup in Sunday afternoon’s finale.
That was a good way to rebound from Thursday’s rough walk-off loss. After being shut down for the first six innings on Friday, the Yankees rallied late to walk away with a 6-3 win over the Blue Jays in the series opener. Let’s recap:
- Five-Run Seventh: The Yankees managed four base-runners against Mark Buehrle in the first six innings, though they started to square him up better in the sixth and that carried over into the seventh. Brian McCann opened the inning with a double to right, then Carlos Beltran walked, then Brett Gardner doubled to almost the exact same spot as McCann. The relay man tried to throw Beltran out at third for whatever reason, and the throw sailed wide and into the stands, allowing the second run to score to make it 2-1 Yankees. Dioner Navarro’s attempted snap throw sailed in left field later in the inning to allow Gardner to score the team’s third run, then Jacoby Ellsbury swatted a two-run homer to make it 5-1. The Yankees have been able to put together some big innings of late. It’s nice to see.
- Cap’d Off: When I looked at the box score, I was surprised to see Chris Capuano allowed eight hits and three runs (two earned) in 6.1 innings. It seemed like he pitched a lot better than that. A Jose Bautista solo homer and some really bad defense led to those runs. (Derek Jeter short-hopped a throw to first and McCann couldn’t handle a short-hop throw from Gardner.) Otherwise Capuano was solid. Not great, not terrible, but good enough to give the Yankees a chance to win, which is what he’s done since joining the team a few weeks ago. Given the news of Masahiro Tanaka‘s setback, the club will have to continue to rely on Capuano, and he’s given them no reason to think he won’t be up to the task.
- Late Innings: The Blue Jays answered the five-run inning with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the seventh, thanks mostly to the poor defense. Adam Warren faced Bautista as the tying run and then Edwin Encarnacion as the go-ahead run in that inning, but he escaped with a hit-by-pitch (hey, better than another homer) and a fly out. He got two quick outs in the eighth, Josh Outman came on to allow a single to the lefty hitting Munenori Kawasaki in his Yankees debut, then David Robertson retired all four batters he faced for the four-out save. He is 35-for-38 in save chances now. The seventh and eighth innings are always iffy whenever Dellin Betances isn’t available, but Joe Girardi & Co. got through them successfully on Friday.
- Leftovers: Chase Headley plated an insurance run with a long solo homer in the ninth … Ellsbury and Martin Prado had two hits apiece while Mark Teixeira and Beltran were the only starters without hits. Beltran did draw two walks … the Yankees had six extra-base hits for the first time in 22 games and only the ninth time this season … they scored 6+ runs for the fourth time in the last six games after doing it four times in their previous 25 games … there were two challenges on the same play in the ninth inning. The Jays challenged that Ellsbury had been tagged out at home on a fielder’s choice, and the play was overturned. Joe Girardi then challenged that Navarro was blocking the plate, but it was deemed he was not.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Orioles won, so the Yankees remain seven games back in the AL East. Assuming the Tigers hold on to their big lead over the White Sox, the Yankees will remain three games back of the second wildcard spot regardless of the what the Mariners do in the late game. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 10.8%. Michael Pineda and Drew Hutchison will square off in the second game of this series on Saturday afternoon.
The Yankees are playing their best baseball of the season right now. The rotation is giving them a quality outing just about every day, and the offense is finally starting to consistently score runs. Scoring 16 runs in 14.2 innings against Chris Sale, James Shields, and David Price these last few days is something that would have never happened earlier this year.
This afternoon’s rubber game against the Tigers gives the Yankees a chance to climb to within two games of the second wildcard spot (the Mariners are off today) with 30 games left to play. They also have a chance to draw closer to Detroit in the wildcard race. Passing one team is tough enough. Having to jump two is very difficult, which is why these head-to-head games are so important. Here is the Tigers lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- SS Derek Jeter
- 2B Martin Prado
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- DH Carlos Beltran
- C Brian McCann
- 3B Chase Headley
- LF Brett Gardner
- RF Zelous Wheeler
RHP Hiroki Kuroda
It is nice and sunny in Detroit this afternoon. Cool, too. Temperatures are in the low-70s. These games are starting to have playoff level intensity and the weather is appropriate. First pitch is scheduled for 1:08pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally, depending on where you live.
Now that is how you rebound from a loss. The Yankees have had a knack for following winning streaks with extended losing stretches this year, but they brushed Tuesday’s loss aside and pounded David Price and the Tigers on Wednesday, winning the middle game of the series 8-4. They’ve now won six of their last seven games and eight of their last eleven overall.
Nine Straight Hits
The third inning of this game was just ridiculous. The Yankees started the inning with nine (nine!) consecutive base hits against Price, and those nine hits featured a little of everything. Doubles into the corner, garden variety singles to the outfield, ground ball singles with eyes, infield singles, you name it. All nine of the hits came against Price too. It’s not like they got five hits off him and the rest off some random scrub reliever.
I think the easiest way to recap this is with the play-by-play, so here:
The doubles by Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira were opposite field shots into the right field corner. I thought Teixeira’s would slice foul off the bat and Beltran’s would sneak over the wall for a homer. Wrong on both counts. Ain’t mad about it. Those nine straight hits gave the Yankees six runs and loaded the bases with no outs before Price was pulled. At one point they were 8-for-8 with runners in scoring position in the inning. In the inning!
According to YES Network broadcast, the MLB record for consecutive base hits is 12 by both the 1920 Cardinals and 1930 Dodgers, though those rallies both spanned multiple innings with outs recorded on the bases mixed in. The record for most consecutive hits in a single inning is eleven by the 2010 Rockies. The last AL team with nine straight hits was the 1996 Tigers. The 1992 Blue Jays hold the AL record with ten straight hits. So yeah, this was something else.
Two sacrifice flies followed the nine hits and the pitching change, giving the Yankees an 8-0 lead through three innings. Price had not allowed nine hits in any of his last 14 starts, amazingly. The eight runs is a new single-inning high for the Bombers this year — they scored seven runs in an inning a few times — and, most importantly, it gave Shane Greene plenty of breathing room. Most fun inning of the year? Most fun inning of the year.
Second Time Around
The huge inning and those nine straight hits are going to grab all the headlines and rightfully so, but man, Greene was awesome once again. This was the first time a team got to see him twice as a starter, which is always a big test for a young pitcher. Greene aced that test by holding the Tigers to two runs on five hits and one walk in seven innings. He struck eight out and recorded 16 of his 21 outs on the infield. If the Detroit batters were comfortable in the box because they had already seen him once before, it did not show. Dude was sharp.
Greene has now made nine starts for the Yankees since joining the rotation just before he All-Star break — he crossed the 50-inning rookie eligibility threshold in this start, by the way — and in those nine starts he has a 3.11 ERA (3.15 FIP) with a 3.79 K/BB ratio in 55 innings. Remember, he had a 4.61 ERA (3.41 FIP) with a 2.19 K/BB in 66.1 Triple-A innings before being called up. There were legitimate questions about exactly how much he would be able to help the team. Greene has been outstanding so far and his lively sinker/slider mix suggests his success is more sustainable than, say, Chase Whitley‘s. (No offense to Whitley.) This guy’s been awesome.
Because these are the 2014 Yankees, the team did not have a base-runner following the nine straight hits until Martin Prado picked up a two-out in the sixth inning. A parade of Tigers relievers retired a) eleven straight Yankees from the third through sixth, and b) 20 of the final 25 Yankees batters to end the game. Hey, when you drop eight runs in an inning, you’re allowed to take it easy the rest of the game.
Everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit, obviously. That kinda has to happen to do the whole nine straight hits thing. Jacoby Ellsbury, Prado, Brian McCann, and Chase Headley all had two hits apiece. Derek Jeter, Prado, and Headley drew the walks. Ellsbury even stole two bases. The Yankees went 8-for-14 (.571) with runners in scoring position. Is that good? That seems good.
Adam Warren pitched the eighth inning and Dellin Betances pitched the ninth after Greene was done. They both allowed a garbage time run on two hits. Betances pitched because he actually needed the work, which is weird because he’s had to work a lot this year. He had four straight days off before Wednesday’s game and the rust showed. Better to shake it off in a game like than than a close one.
I don’t mean to laugh at him, but Frankie Cervelli took a foul ball right to the biscuits in the fifth inning. Direct hit. It was rough. I couldn’t help but laugh when Ken Singleton said “nope, didn’t hit him in the collarbone” during the slow motion replay. Poor Frankie.
And finally, the Yankees have now beat up on Price, James Shields, and Chris Sale in the span of four days. Baseball, man.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, check out MLB.com. You can find some other stats at FanGraphs and the updated standings at ESPN. Both the Orioles and Mariners lost, so the Yankees are now six games back in the AL East and 2.5 games back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 10.6%.
The Yankees and Tigers will wrap up this three-game series on Thursday afternoon. Hiroki Kuroda and Kyle Lobstein are the scheduled pitching matchup for the rubber game. Apparently the Tigers decided to push Justin Verlander back and give him an extra day of rest as he comes back from his sore shoulder.
I guess the Yankees just don’t like being eight games over .500, huh? The team’s latest attempt to reach that point fell short on Tuesday night. They lost 5-2 to the Tigers after a one hour and eight minute rain delay.
For the first time as a Yankee, Brandon McCarthy got hit pretty hard on Tuesday night. He was in trouble all night, allowing five runs and 13 base-runners in 6.1 innings. I’m not quite sure why he was sent back out to start the seventh — McCarthy surrendered the fifth run that inning — but it really didn’t matter in the end. It saved the bullpen an out, I guess. McCarthy threw 85 pitches and, by my unofficial count, 44 were from the stretch. So yeah, he was in trouble all night.
The Tigers scored their first run on a bases loaded walk of all things. McCarthy had walked two batters in only two of his first eight starts with New York, but he walked two and hit a batter in the second inning of this game. It was obvious he was off from the get-go. Just one of those nights, I guess. Detroit scored another run on a Miguel Cabrera double and a J.D. Martinez single in the third, then they did some real damage in the sixth with a single (Victor Martinez), a double (J.D. Martinez), a run-scoring single (Nick Castellanos), and a run-scoring double play (Alex Avila). A double (Rajai Davis) and a single (Torii Hunter) created the fifth run in the seventh. Ugly outing. What can you do.
Rick Porcello was really sharp just about all night. The Yankees scored their two runs on Jacoby Ellsbury solo homers, believe it or not. Otherwise the team only had one other base-runner make it as far as third base, and that was when they had runners on the corners with two outs in the fourth. Stephen Drew popped out to end the threat. Porcello faced 31 batters, threw 18 first pitch strikes, and allowed ten balls to be hit out of the infield.
Joe Nathan retired the side in order in the ninth, so 15 of the final 19 batters the Yankees sent to the plate made outs. The four exceptions were Ellsbury’s two homers, Derek Jeter‘s infield single, and Carlos Beltran‘s traditional single to center. The bottom four hitters in the order went 1-for-14 with an infield single (Ichiro Suzuki) and overall the Yankees went hitless in all of three at-bats with runners in scoring position. They saw nine total pitches in those at-bats. Just a blah night for the offense. Porcello was good and they couldn’t put anything together. Baseball.
Esmil Rogers retired five of six men he faced with three strikeouts and a hit batsman. He was the only reliever used. The Yankees have been able to get their key late-inning relievers some nice rest these last two or three days. Those guys have been worked really hard these last few weeks.
The Yankees actually had nine hits on the night, including three by Ellsbury and two each by Jeter and Beltran. They didn’t draw any walks because the Yankees don’t do that anymore. This was the offense’s tenth walk-less game of the year. They had 13 total from 2009-11. I miss offense.
Mark Teixeira saved Chase Headley two errors in the first two innings with scoops at first base. The second one saved some runs, which really wouldn’t have mattered in the end, but Tex flashed some leather in this game and that’s cool.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com is the place to go for the box score and video highlights. FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN has to updated standings. The Orioles beat the Rays, so the Yankees are seven back in the AL East. Depending on the outcome of the late game, the Yankees will be either three (Mariners lose, Tigers take over second wildcard spot) or 3.5 (Mariners win) games back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at a robust 14.8%. I have absolutely no idea how they picked up 2.0% since last night despite losing. Weird.
Same two teams on Wednesday night, in the middle game of this three-game series. Shane Greene and David Price will be the pitching matchup. Pretty sick of seeing Price at this point. This will be their fifth meeting of the year even though the guy got traded out of the division at the deadline.
If you’re only going to spend one day in Kansas City, you might as well win. The Yankees beat the Royals by the score of 8-1 on Monday night, in the makeup of a rained out game from early-June. The Bombers have won five straight — that ties their longest winning streak of the season, which they had previously done back in April — and seven of their last nine games overall.
One Run, Three Times
The Yankees scored the first run of the game without hitting the ball out of the infield. Ichiro Suzuki led off the third inning with an infield single and moved up to second when James Shields threw the ball wide of first. Zelous Wheeler drew a walk but was erased on Jacoby Ellsbury‘s grounder to first. Ellsbury is way too quick and the Royals didn’t even attempt to turn the 3-6-3 double play. That gave the Yankees runners on the corners with one out.
The run came across on Derek Jeter‘s tailor made 6-4-3 double play ball. Thankfully Ellsbury was running on the pitch and he slid in safely at second, meaning it was only a fielder’s choice. Ichiro scored and the Yankees were up 1-0. The Royals answered right back in the next half-inning with Mike Moustakas’ solo homer, and the Yankees answered that back with a Stephen Drew solo homer in the next half-inning. So, after all that, the Bombers were up 2-1 in the fourth inning. The two teams combined to score exactly one run in three consecutive half innings.
James Big Mike
For the first time as a Yankee, Michael Pineda recorded an out in the seventh inning on Monday. The team has understandably had him on pitch limits this year, both back in April and now coming off the injury. Pineda’s only real mistake was the homerball to Moustakas, which was nothing more than a pitch left up in the zone. Otherwise he allowed only two runners to get as far as second base — the speedy Jarrod Dyson singled and stole second in the sixth, and Salvador Perez doubled to center with one out in the seventh. The double ended Pineda’s night.
With an assist to David Huff for stranding Perez, Big Mike’s final pitching line was just the one run allowed on five hits and no walks in 6.1 innings. He struck out five and recorded eight of his other 14 outs on the infield. Pineda has walked just one batter in 17.1 innings since coming off the disabled list and four batters in 37 innings overall this year. That’s not a surprise — part of what made Pineda so special a few years ago was the combination of high-end stuff and strike-throwing ability. He’s always pounded the zone.
Pineda threw 96 pitches — Joe Girardi said he was scheduled for 95-100 before the game — as he continues to stretched out. PitchFX says he averaged 94.6 mph and topped out at 97.6 mph with his fastball — those are both season highs, but the PitchFX system has run hot in Kansas City for whatever reason over the years. I’m not sure if that’s still the case though — and the velocity plot shows he actually threw harder and harder as the night went on. Pineda’s been awesome. Just please stay healthy, Big Mike.
It was a random makeup game miracle. Rather than force the pitching staff to nurse a one-run lead for the rest of the game, the offense went out and scored some insurance runs. A bunch of them too. The four-run seventh inning started with a Martin Prado leadoff homer — OMG he is sooo hot right now — and continued with four singles by the next five batters. The only out during that stretch was Wheeler’s failed bunt attempt. He bunted back to Shields with runners at first and second and the force out was made at third.
The Yankees still had runners at first and second after the bunt, only this time with one out instead of none. Ellsbury pulled a single through the right side of the infield, scoring Ichiro and getting Wheeler to third. Jeter followed that with a single literally off Shields — the grounder hit him in the foot and deflected away from shortstop Alcides Escobar to score Wheeler. Brian McCann lifted a sac fly to right to score Ellsbury for the fourth and final run of the inning. He was originally called out at the plate, though the play was overturned after Girardi asked for a challenge.
It was great to see the offense string together some hits for a big inning, especially with the botched bunt mixed in there. Big innings are few and far between with this club, mostly because they don’t have a ton of power and it’s tougher to get a simple base hit right now than at any other point since the mound was lowered (shifts, specialized relievers, etc.). Ellsbury tacked on even more runs with a two-run homer in the ninth inning. For the first time in a long time, it actually felt like a game was in the bag. A seven-run lead with three outs to go will do that.
Shoutout to Huff for retiring eight of ten batters faced to close the game out in relief of Pineda. He allowed an infield single and a traditional single while throwing 2.2 scoreless innings. The key bullpeners got the night off thanks to the big offensive explosion and Huff’s quality work. Twenty-one of his 25 pitches were strikes too. Pretty cool.
Everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit while Ellsbury, Prado, and Ichiro had multiple hits. McCann, Beltran, and Wheeler all had a single and a walk. The Yankees had nine different players record at least one hit in a nine-inning game for the third time this season. They did it twice in April in the span of four days.
The Yankees scored 5+ runs in back-to-back-to-back games for the first time since late-June and the fourth time overall this season. It’s only the second time they scored 7+ runs in back-to-back games this year. They did it against the Mets back in May, and they managed to lose both of those games.
And finally, Ellsbury’s seventh inning single was his 1,000th career hit. He singled in the first and homered in the ninth for a three-hit game. One-hundred-and-thirty-six of those 1,001 career hits have come in Yankees pinstripes. Congrats to him.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
If you want to check out the box score and video highlights, head over to MLB.com. You can find some other stats at FanGraphs and the updated standings at ESPN. The Orioles pounded the Rays, so the Yankees are still six games back in the AL East. They’ll be either 2.5 games (Mariners lose) or 3.5 games (Mariners win) back of the second wildcard spot depending on the outcome of the late game. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 11.1%.
So long, Kansas City. The Yankees are done with the Royals and now they’re off to Detroit to start a three-game series with the Tigers. That one has some pretty serious wildcard implications. Brandon McCarthy and Rick Porcello will be the starters for Tuesday night’s opener.
That was fun! And unexpected! The Yankees finished off the sweep of the White Sox — in a game started by all-world lefty Chris Sale, no less — on Sunday afternoon thanks to Brian McCann‘s biggest hit in pinstripes, a three-run walk-off bomb in the bottom of the tenth. So awesome. Let’s recap the team’s fourth straight win:
- The Other Chris: Two pitches into the game, the Yankees were down 1-0 — Chris Capuano left a pitch up and Alexei Ramirez swatted it out to left for leadoff homer. With Sale pitching, it kinda felt like game over right there. It definitely felt like game over when Conor Gillaspie whacked a two-run homer to right in the top of sixth, extended Chicago’s lead to 3-0. Capuano was pretty damn good between homers, retiring 16 of 21 batters faced. His final line was those three runs on six hits and no walks in six innings. He struck out five and didn’t walk anyone. The very definition of a quality start, three runs in six innings.
- Unearned Rally: It all started with an error. Dayan Viciedo dropped a Martin Prado fly ball with one out in the sixth — the sun probably played a role, but it was a play a big league outfielder has to make — opening the door for the Yankees’ go-ahead four-run rally. Mark Teixeira doubled in Prado, Carlos Beltran and Frankie Cervelli sandwiched walks around a Chase Headley strikeout, loading the bases with two outs. Pitching coach Don Cooper went out to talk to Sale, whose pitch count was at 96, but he remained in the game. His next pitch hit Zelous Wheeler in the leg to force in a run, and his next pitch after that dunked into right for Ichiro Suzuki‘s two-run single. The Yankees put nine men on base against Sale, including six in that inning. All four runs were unearned because of Viciedo’s error, but who cares? Only people who own Sale in fantasy, I guess.
- Makeshift Bullpen: Because of their recent workloads, neither Shawn Kelley nor Dellin Betances were available. That meant Esmil Rogers and Rich Hill got the seventh inning and Adam Warren got the eighth once the Yankees took their 4-3 lead. Rogers retired the two men he faced (grounder, strikeout), Hill retired the one lefty he faced (fly out), and Warren sat down the side in order (fly out, grounder, strikeout). Warren fell behind in the count 3-0 to Jose Abreu but rebounded to strike him out looking. Helluva job right there. Everything was all set up for David Robertson, and then …
- Blown Save: For the first time since June 1st, 22 consecutive saves ago, Robertson blew a save. Avisail Garcia hit a game-tying solo homer into the short porch on the very first pitch of the ninth inning. It was a Yankee Stadium cheapie, but it still counts and the save was blown. Two of his three blown saves this year have come against the ChiSox. Robertson retired the next three batters with ease to end the inning. What’s Wrong With Robertson Week™?
- Extra Innings: The Yankees blew a first and second, one-out situation in the ninth thanks to Derek Jeter‘s double play. David Huff navigated the tenth — he struck out Abreu looking for the third out with two men on base — and set up the offense for the walk-off win in the bottom half. It all happened with two outs too. One-time Yankees draftee Jake Petricka struck out both Prado and Teixeira to start the inning, but Beltran fileted a double to left and Headley was intentionally walked to get the right-on-right matchup against Cervelli. Girardi went to McCann off the bench, and Petricka left a full count changeup out over the plate. McCann yanked it down the line, just fair for a cheap Yankee Stadium walk-off. Like I said before, it still counts. That’s exactly the type of homer the Yankees were expecting out of McCann when they signed him.
- Leftovers: Beltran (double, walk), Headley (double, two walks) and Ichiro (two singles) were the only Yankees to reach base twice … everyone in the starting lineup reached base at least once except for the leadoff man (Jeter) and number nine hitter (Brendan Ryan) … Robertson pitched in back-to-back-to-back games for the second time this month and only the fifth time in his career … the Yankees scored 5+ runs in back-to-back games for the first time since August 2nd and 3rd and only the second time since early-July.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. As of right now, the Yankees are 6.5 games back in the AL East and three games back of the second wildcard spot. Those numbers will change pending the outcomes of the other games today. The Yankees are now off the Kansas City to play a makeup game against the red hot Royals. (They were rained out on June 9th.) Michael Pineda and James Shields will be the pitching matchup Monday night. After that, the Yankees head to Detroit for three important games against the Tigers.
Five runs! It’s a Joe Torre Day miracle. The Yankees retired Torre’s No. 6 on Saturday afternoon and then went out and beat the White Sox by the score of 5-3. It’s their third straight win and fifth in their last seven games. Let’s recap:
- Just Three Runs: The Yankees have a knack for wasting opportunities this year, so while they scored three runs from the second through fourth innings, base-running mistakes and double plays limited what could have been huge rallies. Chase Headley‘s double play with the bases loaded and no outs in the second drove in their first run but also snuffed out a potential big inning. Mark Teixeira didn’t see Brian McCann being held up on Carlos Beltran‘s fourth inning single, so he got caught in a rundown between second and third for the first out of the inning. Martin Prado bailed him out with a two-run double to left. Three runs is really good! But man this team can’t get out of its own way.
- Kuroda Grinds It Out: Much like Shane Greene on Friday, Hiroki Kuroda started Saturday’s game by giving up a lot of hard contact. Back-to-back doubles by Conor Gillaspie and Alexei Ramirez led to the game’s first run in the second, then Jose Abreu singled in Alejandro De Aza in the fourth after a walk and a wild pitch. Kuroda did not have a 1-2-3 until his final inning, so this was a grind. His final line — 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 6/6 GB/FB — was fine though. Not pretty, but effective. The White Sox made Kuroda work and he did a good job of limiting the damage.
- Tack-On Runs: The Yankees scored some insurance runs in the sixth inning, which was a nice change of pace. Beltran hit a cheap Yankee Stadium solo homer and Prado created another run with pure hustle, hustling a single into a double, moving up a ground ball, and scoring on Stephen Drew‘s sac fly despite a strong throw home by Avisail Garcia. The Yankees scored 5+ runs for the first time in eleven games. Eleven games! Sadly, that is only their second longest such streak of the season. They went 12 straight with four or fewer runs earlier this year.
- Bullpen Work: Shawn Kelley gave back one of those insurance runs in the top of seventh on a single (Jordan Danks), a double (De Aza), and a ground ball (Carlos Sanchez). Dellin Betances escaped Kelley’s jam by getting Adam Dunn to fly out with runners on the corners. The struggling Adam Warren got the eighth inning due to Betances’ recently workload, and he had his first clean inning in what feels like an eternity. Ten pitches, 1-2-3. Nice and easy. David Robertson pitched around a one-out walk for his 34th save in 36 chances.
- Leftovers: Beltran had two hits and Prado had three while the rest of the lineup had two total. They were Ichiro Suzuki‘s infield single and McCann’s sun-aided double. That makes 5-for-8 for the number five and six hitters and 2-for-20 for the other seven guys … Teixeira drew two walks and was hit by a pitch, so he reached base three times … the Yankees did not strike out for the first time since May 2011. It’s the first time they struck out zero times in a win since July 2009. Here’s the list of zero-strikeout Yankees games.
The box score and video highlights are at MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other game stats and the updated standing are at ESPN. The Yankees are currently 7.5 and three games back in the AL East and second wildcard races, respectively, though that will change pending the outcome of the day’s other games. They’ll wrap up this three-game series against the ChiSox on Sunday afternoon. A pair of polar opposite lefties named Chris will be on the mound (Capuano vs. Sale).