Yanks top BoSox 9-5 on final day of 2014 season

Source: FanGraphs

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.

Tanaka, Yankees get roughed up 10-4 by BoSox

Source: FanGraphs

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.

Yankees beat Red Sox 3-2 in battle of call-ups

Source: FanGraphs

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.

Yankees 6, Orioles 5: Jeter walks off in final game at Yankee Stadium

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.


Down Two
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.

Tied Up
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.


Forgotten Man
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.

(Mike Stobe/Getty)
(Mike Stobe/Getty)

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.

Blown Save
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.

(Alex Trautwig/Getty)
(Alex Trautwig/Getty)

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.

(Mike Stobe/Getty)
(Mike Stobe/Getty)

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.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
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.

Eliminated: Yankees knocked out of postseason contention with 9-5 loss to O’s

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.

( Jim McIsaac/Getty)
( Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Six-Run Fourth
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.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
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.