Archive for Game Stories
Just when I thought these Yankees couldn’t get any worse, they go and do something like this … AND TOTALLY REDEEM THEMSELVES! Seriously, that was the worst best game of the year. I loved it and hated it at the same time. The Yankees won but really, we all still lost in a way. The final score was 2-1 in 14 innings.
The New Guy
Just as we all expected when we woke up Tuesday morning, Chase Headley delivered a walk-off single to give the Yankees the win over the Rangers in the second game of their four-game series. New York acquired their new third baseman from the Padres in the afternoon, he joined the team after flying in from Chicago, arrived at Yankee Stadium in the second inning, pinch-hit in the eighth, and still managed to get four at-bats. Pretty hectic day, I imagine.
Before Headley could earn his True Yankee status, his new teammates had to rally to tie the game in the bottom of the 13th. Catcher turned first baseman J.P. Arencibia took David Huff deep for a solo homer in the top half of the inning, and it really did feel like the end of the game. The Yankees looked so inept for 17 innings dating back to Monday that scoring a run felt like impossible. Naturally, after struggling against no names all night, they pushed across the tying run against Joakim Soria, the best available pitcher on the Rangers’ staff.
Brett Gardner led off the 13th inning with a pure hustle double to right, using his speed to barely beat out Shin-Soo Choo’s throw. The play was really close. Derek Jeter bunted Gardner up to third and, for whatever reason, Texas elected to pitch to Jacoby Ellsbury with first base open. He singled to right to knot the game up. Ellsbury’s come up with a ton of huge hits this season so far. At least it feels that way. He advanced to third on Carlos Beltran‘s single but was stranded when Brian McCann banged into an odd 3-6-3 double play. It appeared Arencibia let the ball drop in rather than catch it for one out.
Anyway, the 14th inning rally started with another double, this one a one-out ground-rule job by Brian Roberts. I’m not sure if he would have gotten to second base on the play without the ball going over the wall. Thankfully it did. Frankie Cervelli followed with a ground ball single to right, though it was hit hard enough that Roberts had to hold at third. Headley followed up with the walk-off single, a nice little piece of hitting the other way on a sinker on the outer half. This game felt like it was never going to end. Pretty awesome that the new guy got to show off some #hitvelo and contribute directly to the win.
Nick, Not Pedro
One day after getting shut down by someone named Miles Mikolas, the Yankees managed three singles and one walk in 5.1 innings against rookie Nick Martinez. He retired 14 of the final 16 batters he faced and took the ball into the sixth inning despite being on a 65-ish pitch count in his first start off the disabled list. I imagine Headley was probably sitting in the dugout hoping he could go back to the Padres to play with a team that could score runs. (I kid, I kid.)
The Yankees didn’t get their first base-runner to second base (!) until Derek Jeter doubled to left with one out in the ninth. He was stranded after Ellsbury was intentional walked and Beltran hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Two two-out walks (Gardner and Jeter) were wasted in the 11th when Ellsbury grounded out. Two singles (Beltran and McCann) and an intentional walk (Roberts) loaded the bases with one out in the 12th, but the Rangers escaped the jam when Cervelli lined out to Adrian Beltre at third and Headley grounded out. It was remarkable. They were finding new and interesting ways to not score each inning.
Before Soria blew the save, the Yankees managed only six hits and five walks in 12 innings against a parade of mostly replacement level arms. Between Martinez and some relievers, 23 of 25 Yankees made outs from the first through ninth innings. That’s unbelievable. There was some hard contact against Martinez in the first two innings but nothing after that. The Yankees rolled over on a lot of weak grounders or popped up hittable pitches until Jeter doubled in the ninth. This offense, man. It makes you want to pull your hair out sometimes.
The Return of Ace Whitley
The pitching line is fantastic — 6 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K 8/2 GB/FB — and Chase Whitley was far better than he had been in his previous four starts, but the Rangers definitely bailed him out with some shoddy base-running. Whitley put the leadoff man on base in the first, second, third, fourth, and seventh innings, though Texas had a man thrown out at third trying to advance on a ball in the dirt in the third, then had another runner thrown out at home in the fifth. It was a soft ground ball back up the middle that Roberts fielded but was unable to throw to first for the out, yet for whatever reason Robinson Chirinos chugged on home after rounding third. He was out at home by a mile.
Whitley was a little shaky but ultimately he kept runs off the board and that’s all that matters. Given all the injuries, there are no style points for the team’s rotation. Get outs however you can. Six relievers held the Rangers hitless for six innings (only one walk) after Whitley until Arencibia homered leading off the 13th. Adam Warren (two outs), Dellin Betances (three outs), David Robertson (six outs), and Shawn Kelley (three outs) were all pretty awesome. Jeff Francis, who I had totally forgotten was on the roster, pitched a scoreless 14th for the win. I have to think the Yankees will bring up a fresh arm tomorrow. I’m just not sure who.
Jeter’s double was the 535th of his career, passing Lou Gehrig for the most two-baggers in Yankees history. He went 1-for-4 with a walk on the night. Gardner (two hits, two walks), Ellsbury (two hits, one walk), Beltran (two hits), and Roberts (two hits, one walk) all reached base multiple times. Kelly Johnson went 0-for-4 before leaving the game with a groin injury.
McCann had a weird night at the plate. He went 1-for-6 but there’s a story behind it. McCann hit a ball to the wall in his first at-bat that Leonys Martin caught and re-caught on the way down after it plopped out of his glove mid-jump. Next time up he smashed a line drive that Arencibia robbed with a leaping catch. Later in the game, he lifted a jam shot bloop into the triangle in left field that fell in because three Rangers defenders had communication issues. McCann hit two balls on the screws and got nothing. Then he got jammed and got a hit on a weak bloop. Baseball, man.
And finally, I was disappointed to see Questlove leave the game after the 13th inning, though I can’t say I blame him. It looked like he was going to hang around all night. The B-list celebrity who turned the season around?
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 the updated standings are at ESPN. The Orioles won and the Mariners lost, so the Yankees remain four games back of the top spot in the AL East and climbed to within 1.5 games of the second wildcard spot.
The Yankees and Rangers will continue this four-game series on Wednesday night, when David Phelps squares off against Yu Darvish. That should be fun. (I’m not sure if that’s the right word.) Head over to RAB Tickets if you watch to catch that game or any of the other four games left on the homestand.
Barf. What an awful game. The Yankees managed to look terrible in every phase of the game in their come-from-ahead 4-2 loss to the Rangers in Monday night’s series opener. This is one I look forward to forgetting.
Right-hander Miles Mikolas, a career reliever up until about two months ago, came into Monday’s game with a 10.05 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP. He promptly held the Yankees to two runs on three singles, two walks, and a solo homer in 7.1 (7.1!) innings. They scored their first run on a Carlos Beltran sacrifice fly in the first — Derek Jeter walked, moved to second on a balk, then moved to third on Jacoby Ellsbury‘s infield single — and their second on Ellsbury’s solo homer in fourth. Thus ends the run scoring portion of the recap.
Mikolas retired eight in a row between Beltran’s sac fly and Ellsbury’s homer, then he retired the final eight batters he faced as well. The Yankees had a golden opportunity to break things open in the fifth, when they loaded with bases with one out on two singles (Frankie Cervelli and Zelous Wheeler) and one walk (Brett Gardner). Jeter wiped out the rally by banging into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play on the second pitch. Predictable, unfortunately.
The Yankees teased in the ninth thanks to a Kelly Johnson single and a Brian McCann pinch-hit-by-pitch, but that didn’t go anywhere. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to a pitcher for throwing a great game. Sometimes you have to look in the mirror and blame yourself for not rocking a guy like Miles Mikolas. Gross.
The Third Out
The sixth inning unraveled for Shane Greene and the Yankees in the blink of an eye. The young right-hander had the worst of his three career starts both in terms of results and stuff/command, as he struggled to locate just about all night. And yet, he held Texas to one infield defense-aided run in the first five innings (more on that in a bit). Then the sixth inning happened.
Greene started the inning with two quick outs before someone name Jake Smolinski singled on a ground ball back up the middle. Someone named Jim Adduci followed that with a walk, then Geovany Soto (I’ve heard of him!) slapped a broken bat single just over Wheeler and into left field for a game-tying single. Joe Girardi went to lefty specialist Matt Thornton at that point, and Thornton allowed run-scoring ground ball singles to (lefty) Rougned Odor and (lefty) Shin-Soo Choo. Lefty specialist: getting lefties out not required.
Adam Warren came out of the bullpen to record that elusive final out of the inning, but by then the damage had been done. The Yankees were up 2-1 and the bases were empty with two outs in the sixth, but the next five batters reached and suddenly that 2-1 lead was a 4-2 deficit. In hindsight, Girardi should have went straight to Warren after Smolinksi reached base. If you’re willing to use him down two runs in the sixth you might as well use him up one run instead.
The Yankees were charged with four errors … in the first four innings. It should have been five too. The official scorer was generous. Greene was responsible for three of those errors, one when he dropped a flip from Johnson at first and two when he threw the ball away. The first was a little flip on a comebacker, the second was a tough play on a weak grounder near the third base line. Both throws wound up in the stands, though Greene pitched around his errors all three times.
The fourth error — and what should have been the fifth error — was the one that burned him. The third inning rally started with a legitimate one-out Choo double to right-center, then he advanced to third when Brian Roberts muffed a hard-hit grounder and failed to get the out at first. They called it a hit even though Roberts was square to the ball and it hit him in the glove. Choo scored when Adrian Beltre hit what looked like a potential 6-4-3 double play, though Roberts failed to catch the flip from Jeter. It wasn’t a perfect flip, but again, it hit him in the glove. That was the error.
And, just for good measure, the Yankees committed their fifth error of the night in the seventh inning, when Jeter threw the ball away on the most routine of routine grounders. He didn’t even have to move. It was hit right too him and his throw (barely) pulled Johnson off the bag at first. They initially called it an out but the Rangers challenged and it was overturned. Somehow only one of the five errors led directly to a run, though Greene’s three misplays certainly upped his pitch count and could have led to fatigue in that sixth inning.
David Huff was the team’s third and final reliever of the night. He allowed a single to Beltre — the best case scenario, really — and an intentional walk to Chris Gimenez in two otherwise uneventful innings. He and Warren were fine. Thornton really ruined things by failing to retire either of the two lefties he was asked to face. He has one swing and miss in his last five appearances (35 total pitches), by the way.
Ellsbury had two hits while Cervelli, Johnson, and Wheeler had one each. That’s all. Five hits and five errors on the night. Gardner drew two walks and Jeter had one. The 4-5-6-7 hitters went a combined 1-for-14 with Johnson’s single, Beltran’s sac fly, and McCann’s hit-by-pitch. One day the Yankees will upgrade their offense. One day. (I don’t mean guys like Wheeler either. Real upgrades.)
The Yankees had five errors in a game for the first time since July 2007. Greene also became the first Yankees pitcher to make three errors in a game since Tommy John back in 1988. He heard some loud half-derisive/half-supportive cheers whenever he cleanly fielded a ball after that.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head over to MLB.com for the box scores and video highlights. There are some other stats at FanGraphs and the updated standings are at ESPN. Depending on the outcomes of the late games, the Yankees will be either three games (Orioles lose) or four games (Orioles win) back of the top spot in the AL East and either 1.5 games (Mariners lose) or 2.5 games (Mariners win) back of the second wildcard spot.
These same two teams will play the second game of this four-game series on Tuesday night, when rookie right-handers Chase Whitley and Nick Martinez get the ball. Something tells me we might be in for a whole lotta bullpen. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch that game or any of the other five games left on the homestand.
What a great way to start the second half. The Yankees turned what was poised to be a frustrating, RISPFAIL filled loss into a walk-off win and a series sweep on Sunday afternoon, beating the Reds 3-2. That sure was fun. Let’s recap the win:
- Answer Back: The Reds scored their first run in the top of the fifth and the Yankees answered right back with two runs in the bottom half. The rally was set up by back-to-back one-out walks by Kelly Johnson and Brett Gardner and capped off by run-scoring singles to right by Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury. The Yankees forced Johnny Cueto, who came into this game averaging 7.1 innings per start, to throw 112 pitches in only five innings. Old school Yankees effort from the offense. They worked Cueto hard.
- My Hiro: For the third straight game, the Yankees got a strong outing from their patchwork rotation. De facto ace Hiroki Kuroda allowed just one unearned run — a Brian Roberts error is to thank for that — in 6.2 innings on Sunday afternoon, holding the Reds to three hits (all doubles) and two walks. He struck out six and recorded nine of his other 14 outs on the infield. I thought his splitter was really sharp — PitchFX says he threw 30 splitters, including 19 for strikes and ten for swings and misses. Pretty much a vintage Kuroda start. More of this in the second half, please.
- Blown: It was bound to happen at some point, and that point came Sunday afternoon. Dellin Betances blew the 2-1 run in the eighth inning, serving up a solo homer to Todd Frazier. Can’t even be mad about it. It was a 98 mph fastball up and in that Frazier somehow yanked down the right field line and kept fair. Impressive piece of hitting. Suddenly the offense’s string of blown opportunities — 3-for-15 (.200) with runners in scoring position overall, including runners stranded at third in the third, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings — looked like it would cost them the game. They had a lot of chances to blow this game open but were unable to do it.
- Shades of Castillo: Reds manager Bryan Price made a very smart move by going to all-world closer Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning of a tied game on the road because the middle of New York’s lineup was due up. It just didn’t work out. Ellsbury led the inning off with a marvelous at-bat, fouling off several triple-digit heaters before singling through the left side in a full count. He stole second uncontested and moved to third with no outs thanks to a wild pitch. Mark Teixeira struck out but Brian McCann picked him up … by blooping a single between three Reds defenders. Either they all lost it in the sun or there was a lot of “I’ve got it you’ve got it he’s got it” going on. Probably both. It didn’t hit off anyone’s glove like the Luis Castillo play, but it was the same idea. Not the way you’d expect to win but who cares. A win is a win is a win.
- Leftovers: Ellsbury went 4-for-4 with a walk and the stolen base, plus he made a great sliding catch to save a run in the second. Dominant two-way game by him … Teixeira had an awful afternoon, going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, all with men on base … everyone in the starting line reached base except Teixeira, with Ellsbury, McCann (two hits), Roberts (two singles), and Johnson (two walks) each reaching multiple times … David Robertson retired the side in the order in the ninth to set up the walk-off.
For the box score and video highlights, head over to MLB.com. You can find some more stats at FanGraphs and the updated standings at ESPN. Depending on the outcome of the late afternoon games, the Yankees will be either three games (Orioles lose) or four games (Orioles win) back of the top spot in the AL East and either 1.5 games (Mariners lose) or 2.5 games (Mariners win) back of the second wildcard spot. The last place Rangers — as in the worst record in all of baseball — come to the Bronx for four games next. Shane Greene and Miles Mikolas will be Monday night’s pitching matchup.
Two games, two wins in the second half. The Yankees clinched the series win over the Reds with a quick and crisp 7-1 win Saturday afternoon. They should all be like this. Let’s recap:
- Early Runs: Just as they did on Friday, the Yankees struck for some early runs and made the Reds play from behind right away. Carlos Beltran hit a solo homer (in an 0-2 count) with two outs in the second, then Brett Gardner singled in Brian Roberts in the third for a two-zip lead. Roberts reached second when Jay Bruce dropped his routine-ish fly ball in right-center. Must have lost it in the sun. Either way, the Yankees made him pay. Love early runs.
- B-Mac: Can you believe the Yankees got Brandon McCarthy for Vidal Nuno and the Diamondbacks are paying half his salary? McCarthy held Cincinnati to one run (solo homer) in six innings on Saturday, striking out nine and recording seven of his other nine outs on the infield. He struck out eight of the last 15 batters he faced, including the side in the fourth and sixth innings. Two singles in the sixth made things a little dicey but McCarthy escaped with some whiffs. Very nice outing for the team’s de facto number two starter (or the ace?).
- Pile On: The Yankees scored their third and fourth runs in the fifth after two singles (Roberts and Kelly Johnson) and a passed ball put runners at second and third with one out. Gardner (sac fly) and Derek Jeter (single) drove ‘em in. They blew things open in the next inning, loading the bases with one out on a infield single (Brian McCann) and two traditional singles (Beltran and Roberts). Johnson squibbed a two-run ground ball single just over the first base bag for the big blow. That was some good ol’ fashioned BABIP luck. Gardner followed with another sac fly for the team’s seventh run. Love insurance runs too.
- Leftovers: Adam Warren, Shawn Kelley, and Matt Thornton got the final nine outs without incident. It’s been a while since they all pitched because of the All-Star break. There is such a thing as underuse, you know … the top five hitters in the lineup went a combined 3-for-17 (.176) with a walk while the bottom four hitters went 6-for-15 (.400). Hey, sometimes the bottom of the order has to do the work … the bullpen is on pace for 591 strikeouts this year. The all-time record is 589 by the 2012 Rockies.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some additional stats, and ESPN the updated standings. Depending on the outcome of the late games, the Yankees will be either three games (Orioles lose) or four games (Orioles win) back of the top spot in the AL East and either 1.5 games (Mariners lose) or 2.5 games (Mariners win) back of the second wildcard spot. Go Athletics and Angels. Hiroki Kuroda and Johnny Cueto will be the pitching matchup in Sunday afternoon’s series finale.
That was a pretty great start to the second half of the season, no? The big money lineup additions got big hits to drive in runs and three homegrown arms preserved the lead in Friday’s series-opening 4-3 win over the Reds. Undefeated after the All-Star break, baby. Let’s recap the interleague win:
- C.R.E.A.M.: The Yankees sunk a lot of money into Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Jacoby Ellsbury over the winter, and they all came through in this game. McCann’s two-out double drove in the game’s first run and salvaged a first inning rally that looked like it might go for naught. Two innings later, Beltran drove in the team’s second run with a two-out single. Those are the big hits neither guy was providing in the first half. Brett Gardner (single) and Mark Teixeira (walk) set up the first rally while Derek Jeter (single) and Jacoby Ellsbury (single) set up the second.
- Phelps Phriday: Other than the two solo homers by Brayan Pena (seriously?!?), David Phelps was once again rock solid. He held the Reds to three runs (two earned) in 6.1 innings, striking out seven and walking one. Errors by Brian Roberts and Jeter gave Cincinnati at least two and possible three extra outs in the fourth inning, leading to a run. It appeared Roberts would have been able to turn a double play had he not totally muffed Todd Frazier’s grounder. Oh well. Phelps was very good yet again, taking the ball into the seventh and sparing some relievers.
- No. 3 Hitter: The fourth inning defensive shenanigans knotted the game up at two, though it took Mike Leake all of five pitches to give up two runs in the fifth inning. Jeter led off with a single to right and Ellsbury followed with a two-run homer to right, a kinda sorta Yankee Stadium cheapie. It wasn’t a wall-scraper but it was only two or three rows back. Who cares, it counted. Ellsbury has been miscast as a number three hitter this year, but, for at least one game, he filled the role perfectly. The homer was his seventh of the year.
- Dellin & Dave: Joe Girardi did not mess around after the four-day All-Star break. He went right to Dellin Betances in relief of Phelps and let him carry the ball all the way to David Robertson in the ninth. Dellin struck out three of five batters faced while Robertson pitched around a two-out single in an otherwise uneventful ninth for his 24th save. These two are going to have to protect every lead they’re given in the second half if the Yankees are going to have a chance.
- Leftovers: The top six hitters in the Reds lineup went a combined 2-for-23 (.090) with one walk and nine strikeouts. The light-hitting Zack Cozart (63 wRC+) had the two hits, naturally … Jeter, Ellsbury, and Beltran all had two hits. Gardner and Teixeira drew the only walks while McCann and Kelly Johnson had one hit apiece … the Yankees stole three bases (Gardner, Ellsbury, Beltran (!)) for only the seventh time this year. I would have guessed it was more … Jeter made his 2,610th career start at shortstop, breaking a tie with Omar Vizquel and giving him sole possession of the most starts at short in history.
For the box score and video highlights, go to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN has the updated standings. Depending on the outcome of the late games, the Yankees will be either four games (Orioles lose) or five games (Orioles win) back of the top spot in the AL East and either 2.5 games (Mariners lose) or 3.5 games (Mariners win) back of the second wildcard spot. Brandon McCarthy and Alfredo Simon will be the pitching matchup in the second game of this three-game series on Saturday afternoon.
With an assist to leadoff hitter and Yankees captain Derek Jeter, the American League beat the National League by the score of 5-3 in the 2014 All-Star Game on Tuesday night. The AL will have home field advantage in the World Series this fall, which will be helpful after the Yankees make their huge second half surge and secure a postseason spot.
Jeter received the loudest ovations of the night, both during pre-game introductions and before each at-bat. He was pulled after taking the field in the fourth inning and was cheered as he exited to the dugout, eventually coming out for the curtain call. It was a pretty cool moment. Jeter went 2-for-2 with a double off Adam Wainwright in the first and a single off Alfredo Simon in the third, both to the opposite field (of course). He scored the game’s first run on Mike Trout’s triple. Trout was eventually named MVP. I thought Jeter would get it.
Following the game — or really in the middle of it — Wainwright created some controversy by saying he grooved a pitch to Jeter in his first at-bat. He eventually backtracked and said he misspoke, but whatever. It’s not the first time a pitcher has grooved a pitch to a legend in an All-Star Game, see Chan Ho Park and Cal Ripken Jr. Don’t forget Ian Kinsler’s weak attempt to field a Chipper Jones ground ball during the 2012 Midsummer Classic, allowing it to scoot by for a hit. Who cares. Grooved pitch or not, it was an awesome night for Jeter.
Dellin Betances did not pitch in the game and as far as I know he did not even warm up. Disappointing but I’m fine with it. He could use the rest. Masahiro Tanaka, the team’s third All-Star, was not in Minnesota because he is receiving treatment for his partially torn elbow ligament. What a sad sentence. Here is the box score, if you’re looking for it. There is no Major League Baseball at all these next two days. Everything returns to normal on Friday, when the Reds come to the Bronx for a three-game weekend set.
What a fitting end to a frustrating first half of the season. The Yankees lost 3-1 to the Orioles after only four and a half innings on Sunday night thanks to Mother Nature — the game was called after 2+ hour rain delay. New York heads into the All-Star break at a thoroughly mediocre 47-47. Let’s recap the rubber game loss.
- One Man Army: Right from Opening Day, the team’s best player this year has been Brett Gardner. He gave the Yankees their only run on Sunday with a leadoff homer against Kevin Gausman, his ninth long ball of the year. That’s a new career-high. Gausman allowed just three singles after that and the Yankees never had another runner reach second base. Well, not unless you count Mark Teixeira getting thrown out trying to stretch his first inning single into a double. He did physically get to second base, after all. Twelve of the final 13 men they sent to the plate made outs and I’m not sure they would have scored three more runs even if the game had continued.
- Back In The Rotation: Chase Whitley escaped a bases loaded situation in the second inning, but he wasn’t going to hold off this high-powered Orioles offense forever. Things fell apart for him in the fourth inning, the second time through the order. Nelson Cruz walked, Chris Davis mashed a go-ahead two-run homer, and J.J. Hardy doubled. All that happened within the first eleven pitches of the inning. Jonathan Schoop singled with two outs to plate the third run, ending Whitley’s night. He allowed the three runs on five hits and two walks in 3.2 innings. Over his last four starts, Whitley has put 40 men on base (five homers!) and surrendered 20 runs in 14 innings. He absolutely can not be in the rotation after the All-Star break. They gotta find someone else.
- Leftovers: The rain likely spared David Huff an ugly inning. He walked Steve Pearce to leadoff the fifth and was slated to face Adam Jones and Cruz before the tarp was brought out. Almost no chance that would have ended well … Gardner, Teixeira, Derek Jeter, and Brian McCann had the four hits … obviously this game gets an asterisk, but the Yankees closed out the first half by scoring no more than three runs in their final four games.
The box score and video highlights are at MLB.com, the nerdy stats are at FanGraphs, and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Yankees head into the break five games back of the top spot in the AL East and 3.5 games back of the second wildcard spot. They now get a much-needed four-game break before opening the second half against the Reds in Yankee Stadium. David Phelps and Mike Leake will be the pitching matchup on Friday night.
In the Yankees’ most important game of the season (to date!), they received their best starting pitching performance of 2014 by someone not named Masahiro Tanaka. Rookie right-hander Shane Greene used his turbosinker to lead his team to a much-needed 3-0 win over the Orioles on Saturday afternoon. Let’s recap:
- Chien-Ming Greene: For at least one start, the Yankees found themselves another Chien-Ming Wang. Greene, in his second big league start, held the high-powered Orioles scoreless for 7.1 innings thanks to ten ground ball outs and nine strikeouts. Only three of the 27 batters he faced hit the ball out of the infield in the air. Greene took a no-hitter into the fifth and allowed just four singles plus two walks. When it looked like things might unravel following two singles to leadoff the sixth, he got a quick double play and a strikeout. That sinker (sat 94.1 according to PitchFX) is legit, man. As Joe Girardi said following the game, Greene is “earning starts, that’s what he’s doing.” Bravo, young man.
- Two Rallies, Three Runs: This game had a very familiar feel to it, especially after the Yankees wasted a leadoff walk and single in the second inning. Mark Teixeira doubled in a run in the third inning but the rally was cut short when Derek Jeter was thrown out at the plate. Nine of the next dozen Yankees made outs before a single (Kelly Johnson), a wild pitch, another single (Jeter), a double (Jacoby Ellsbury), an intentional walk (Teixeira), and a single (Brian McCann) created two more runs in the seventh. Again, the rally was cut short when Ellsbury was thrown out at the plate by a mile. Three runs was enough with the way Greene was pitching, but it maybe coulda been more.
- Bullpen on Parade: Greene retired the leadoff man in the eight before being lifted with his pitch count at 106. David Huff came in to face Nick Markakis, allowed a leadoff single, and was pulled. Shawn Kelley got a broken bat fly out (Steve Pearce) and a strikeout (Adam Jones) to end the threat before David Robertson threw a flawless ninth for his 23rd save. He struck out two (Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy). Remember when people were worried how Robertson would handle the ninth inning? I could count how many closers I would take over him on one hand.
- Thrown Out: Like I said, the Yankees had two runners thrown out at the plate in the game. The first one I kinda get — Teixeira doubled into the corner and it took a perfect throw and relay to cut Jeter down. The second one I don’t understand. The single was hit directly to Adam Jones, who has a very strong arm. He was ready to release the ball as Ellsbury was just rounding third. I mean, the two plays didn’t come back to hurt, but geez. The Yankees have had 15 runners thrown out the plate this year, the most in
baseballthe AL and two more than last year (h/t @ktsharp).
- Leftovers: McCann had three hits and is 12-for-35 (.343) on the road trip. He fouled a pitch off his foot in the seventh, but x-rays came back negative and he expected to play Sunday … Jeter had two hits, Ellsbury a hit and a walk, Teixeira a hit and two walks … Kelley threw seven pitches and got three swings and misses. He’s looked much better his last three or four outings … by Game Score (77), Greene’s start was the team’s best by a) a non-Tanaka starter this year, and b) a non-Tanaka rookie since Ivan Nova held the Reds to one run in eight innings in June 2011. Pretty, pretty good.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees are now four games back of the Orioles for the top spot in the AL East, and depending on the outcome of the late game, they will be either 2.5 (Mariners lose) or 3.5 (Mariners win) games back of the second wildcard spot. Girardi confirmed after the game that Chase Whitley will start the series and first half finale on Sunday night after not being needed in relief these last two days. Kevin Gausman will be on the bump for Baltimore.
That was not the best way to start the most important series of the season (to date!). The Yankees and Orioles needed extra innings to determine Friday’s series opener, which ended with New York’s sixth walk-off loss of the season. They had seven such losses last year. The O’s won 3-2 in ten innings. Let’s recap the loss:
- Two Homers: In what was a pretty cool moment, Brian Roberts hit a solo homer on the very first pitch he saw as a visiting player in Camden Yards. The home crowd was mostly indifferent. Just a few cheers and not what I expected for a guy like Roberts. Anyway, that was New York’s first run. Kelly Johnson plated the second one inning later with a solo homer of his own. It was his sixth of the year and first away from Yankee Stadium. Thus concludes the run-scoring portion of the recap.
- Wild Kuroda: On the surface, two runs on three singles and no walks in seven innings seems pretty damn awesome. Hiroki Kuroda was very wild though — the lack of walks had more to do with Baltimore’s general impatience than his strike-throwing — hitting two batters and uncorking three (very) wild pitches. The Orioles scored those two runs on one hit in fourth inning. Two wild pitches and two hit batters contributed to the rally. Kuroda really had to battle himself but ultimately gave the team a quality outing.
- Offense Asleep: Ichiro Suzuki hit a ground-run double with one out in the fourth inning, putting men at second and third with one out. Yangervis Solarte popped out and Johnson flew out to end the threat, and the Yankees did not pick up another hit until Brian McCann singled leading off the ninth. A botched bunt contributed to that failed rally. Twenty of the final 23 batters the Yankees sent to the plate made outs. Orioles pitchers threw 14 total pitches in the eighth and tenth innings. Click this.
- Leftovers: The top four hitters in the lineup went a combined 1-for-19 (.053) with five strikeouts while the bottom five hitters went 6-for-18 (.333) … Ichiro went 2-for-4 with two doubles, his sixth and seventh extra-base hits of the season … Dellin Betances struck out three and hit a batter in two scoreless innings … Adam Warren served up the walk-off loss on a Manny Machado double/Nick Hundley single combination … the Yankees drew one walk in ten innings and have a measly 5.5% walk rate in the last 15 games … with the loss, the Yankees are 17-19 against the AL East and 46-46 overall this season.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Yankees are now five games back of the Orioles for first place in the AL East and, depending on the outcome of the late game, they will be either 2.5 (Mariners lose) or 3.5 (Mariners win) games back of the second wildcard spot. Shane Greene will be asked to stop the bleeding on Saturday afternoon, when he’ll be opposed by Chris Tillman. A win would be cool.
Well that was ugly. A spectacular bullpen meltdown turned a nice 3-0 lead into an ugly 9-3 deficit in the span of two innings on Thursday night, sending the Yankees to a loss in their series finale against the Indians. The final score was indeed 9-3.
Nine Unanswered Runs
You know, I made the mistake of feeling comfortable with the three-run lead. Yeah, the bullpen was taxed from the 14-inning game on Wednesday, but David Phelps was cruising (more on that in a bit) and I assumed the late-inning trio of Dellin Betances, Adam Warren, and David Robertson were all available. Everything seemed to be going well … until it wasn’t.
Phelps entered the seventh inning having thrown 96 pitches with seemingly plenty left in the tank, but Chris Dickerson and Roberto Perez opened the frame with singles. Just like that, the tying run was on base with no outs. Joe Girardi gave Phelps the hook and went to lefty specialist Matt Thornton, who allowed an infield single to Jason Kipnis to load the bases with no outs. It would have been a regular ol’ single into the outfield had it not deflected off Thornton’s glove going back up the middle.
That’s what the wheels came crashing off the bullpen bus. Thornton was left in to face the switch-hitting Asdrubal Cabrera, who poked a bases-clearing triple into the right field corner. Just like that, in the span of eleven total pitches, the Indians went from down three runs with the bases empty to tying the score and having the go-ahead run at third base with no outs. Michael Brantley’s sacrifice fly brought in Cabrera from third to give the Tribe the lead.
Girardi brought in the seldom-used Jim Miller and things completely fell apart from there. The journeyman righty allowed seven of 12 batters faced to reach base in the seventh and eighth innings, turning that one-run deficit into a five-run deficit. Both Perez and Carlos Santana clubbed two-run homers in the five-run eighth. Five runs on six hits and a walk in 1.2 innings raised Miller’s season ERA to 20.25. I’m pretty sure he will be dumped off the roster in favor of a fresh arm tomorrow (Matt Daley?). At least he completely erased all hope of a comeback. I hate being teased.
Three Runs Ain’t Enough
The Yankees scored their three runs because two guys named Zelous Wheeler and Yangervis Solarte had a two-run homer and a two-out run-scoring single, respectively. Just as we all expected in Spring Training. The Yankees left the bases loaded in the first and fourth innings, and Frankie Cervelli‘s strikeout to end that first inning rally was one of the worst at-bats of the season. He took a fastball for strike one, swung feebly over a slider for strike two, then swung even more feebly over a slider for strike three. At least Jacoby Ellsbury worked a 2-0 count and put a good swing on the ball when he grounded out to end the fourth. Geez, Frankie.
And yet, those three runs looked like they were going to stand up because Phelps was working his magic and pitching out of jams all night. He put two men on base in the first, third, and fourth innings, but escaped each time thanks to well-timed strikeouts and routine fly balls. Phelps put ten men on base (seven hits, three walks) in six innings plus two batters of work, including the leadoff man in the first, third, fifth, and seventh innings. He seems to have a little Andy Pettitte in him with the way he pitches himself into and out of trouble in just about every start. Phelps was charged with two runs on Cabrera’s game-tying double even though he had been in the dugout for two batters by that point.
Cervelli took a pitch to his knee in the fifth inning and he looked to be in a lot of pain. Like get carried off the field and see you in September pain. He got up and was able to walk it off though. The Yankees would have lost the DH if Cervelli had to come out of the game and Brian McCann had to move behind the plate, but thankfully that was not the case.
Speaking of McCann, he went 0-for-4 with a walk and four strikeouts on the night. He’s actually hit pretty well on the road trip, but yeah. That was ugly. Derek Jeter, Ellsbury, and Wheeler all had two hits apiece. McCann and Brendan Ryan were the only starters without hits. Ichiro Suzuki came off the bench to provide a pinch-hit single in the eighth. It was the 2,800th hit of his MLB career.
And finally, Jeter took a ground ball off his left wrist in the eighth inning and seemed to be in quite a bit of pain when he was being looked at in the dugout after the inning. The ball hit the lip of the grass and took a weird hop up into his wrist, above his glove. He is fine, by all accounts.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, MLB.com is the place to go. You can see some other stats at FanGraphs and the updated standings at ESPN. The Orioles won, so the Yankees are four games back in the AL East. Depending on what happens with the late game, they will be either be 2.5 (Mariners lose) or 3.5 (Mariners win) games back of the second wildcard spot.
The Yankees are off to Baltimore for a rather huge three-game weekend series to close out the first half. It’s time to start winning some of these head-to-head, intra-division games. Hiroki Kuroda and Miguel Gonzalez will be Friday’s pitching matchup.