Comeback falls short, Yankees lose 5-4 to O’s

The Yankees are officially on the brink of elimination from postseason contention after dropping Tuesday night’s game to the Orioles by the score of 5-4. Even if they win all five of their remaining games, they’ll still need help to play in October.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Finale
Brandon McCarthy‘s last start of the season — and possibly his last start for the Yankees — did not go so well. He allowed five runs on eleven hits in only 5.1 innings, and three of those eleven hits left the yard. McCarthy allowed three homers in his first 58.1 innings with the team and has now allowed seven homers in his last 33 innings. That was bound to happen at some point. Yankees’ pitchers always seem to struggle to keep the ball in the park because of Yankee Stadium.

The eleven hits were a personal season-high for McCarthy and a few of them were weak grounders that found holes. One literally went through Mark Teixeira‘s legs at first base and was ruled a hit. Don’t ask me why. McCarthy┬ádid manage to strike out eight and generate 14 swings and misses out of 92 total pitches, though he didn’t exactly miss many barrels. The Orioles had a lot of comfortable swings and just seemed to be on everything. It happens. If this was McCarthy’s final start in pinstripes, it was a bit of a letdown. Regardless, the man was outstanding during his brief time with the team. Well done, Brandon.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Chip Away
The Yankees were down four runs before they even recorded their first hit against Ubaldo Jimenez. Teixeira broke up the no-hit bid with a double into the right field corner with one out in the fourth. Between Brett Gardner‘s leadoff walk in the first and Chase Headley‘s one-out walk immediately prior to Teixeira’s double, Ubaldo retired ten straight batters. Nine of those ten batters hit the ball in the air and balls in the air tend to be high-percentage outs.

Anyway, the Yankees scored their first run when Chris Young grounded out following Teixeira’s double, allowing Headley to trot in from third. McCarthy gave that run back on a Nelson Cruz solo homer, his 40th, in the next half-inning. The Yankees loaded the bases with one out in the sixth but only managed one run, on Stephen Drew‘s hard-hit sacrifice fly to center. Ichiro Suzuki struck out feebly — he has really mastered the art of the ugly swinging strikeout, hasn’t he? — to end the rally with men on the corners.

A two-out, two-run homer by Brian McCann off Andrew Miller brought the Yankees to within one in the seventh. Jose Pirela and Gardner made two quick outs to start the inning, but Derek Jeter beat out an infield single and McCann took advantage. Coming into Tuesday, Miller had held left-handed batters to a .152/.198/.220 (.191 wOBA) batting line with a 49.5% strikeout rate, so taking him deep was no small feat. Don’t care that it was a first row Yankee Stadium cheapie either. It was a line drive over the right fielder’s head for extra bases no matter what. Just like that, the score was 5-4.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
The offense was unable to score that fifth run to tie the game, so the comeback fell short. Gardner did beat out an infield single with two outs in the ninth, but Jeter struck out to end the game. I’m pretty sure Yankee Stadium would have exploded if he managed to tie or win the game there. Alas.

McCann was the only starter with two hits. He singled in addition to the homer. Gardner, Jeter, Teixeira, and Ichiro had the other hits. Jeter’s infield single extended his hitting streak to seven games. Gardner and Young each drew one walk. Headley drew two. The Yankees went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

The bullpen — Rich Hill (one out), Esmil Rogers (four outs), Dellin Betances (three outs), and David Robertson (three outs) — deserves credit for keeping the Orioles off the board and giving the offense a chance to come back. They did allow six hits in those 3.2 scoreless innings, but hey — bend, don’t break.

The Yankees allowed 17+ hits in a nine-inning game for the second time this year. The first? Against the Orioles of course, back in April. Here’s the box score. This was only the third time in team history the Yankees allowed 17+ hits and five or fewer runs in a nine-inning game. The others: May 1918 against the Red Sox (box score) and September 1925 against the Browns (box score). Crazy.

And finally, the Yankees set a new franchise single-season strikeout record when Robertson fanned Jonathan Schoop to end the ninth inning. It was their 1,319th strikeout of the season. The previous record was set two years ago. They still have another five games to pad that strikeout total.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has the other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Royals beat the Indians, so the Yankees are now five games back of the second wildcard spot with five games to play. No bueno. One more win by Kansas City or one more loss by the Yankees will officially eliminate New York from the postseason. Just for kicks, FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 0.2% right now.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
These two teams will play the third game of this four-game series on Wednesday afternoon. Yes, afternoon. It’s a day game because of Rosh Hashanah. Shane Greene and Bud Norris will be the pitching matchup for the matinee. There are only two (!) home games left in the season and Jeter’s career, so make sure you head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch one of them live.

Pineda, Yankees one-hit Orioles in 5-0 win

The Yankees might not be going to the postseason this year, but they’ve yet to be officially eliminated and they’re not going down without a fight. They won for the fifth time in six games on Monday night, shutting out the Orioles 5-0.

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

Big Mike Does Big Things
I thought this was the best Michael Pineda has looked all season. Easily. He was dominant, throwing only ten of his 106 pitches from the stretch. The only base-runners he allowed were J.J. Hardy’s one-out ground ball single by a diving Chase Headley in the fifth and a one-out walk by Christian Walker in the eighth. Only five of the 24 batters Pineda faced hit the ball out of the infield and none of them were particularly hard-hit. The hardest hit ball was Hardy’s line drive at Stephen Drew leading off the eighth inning. Drew took a step or two to his right to catch the liner.

Overall, Pineda held the Orioles scoreless for 7.1 innings and allowed just the one hit and one walk. He struck out a season-high eight and generated a season-high 18 swings and misses. Pineda had his F U fastball working and his slider was vicious, consistently diving down and out of the zone after hitters started their swings. He even threw some changeups, a few of which had some serious action down and away to lefties. I know the Orioles have already clinched the AL East and half their regulars were on the bench, but Pineda was in total control on Monday night. Completely dominant. This is the type of game that reminds you just how special he really is when healthy.

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

Young & Old
The Yankees scored two runs in the third inning and two runs in the fifth inning, and both times the young guy and the old guy were involved. The third inning rally started with an error by Orioles third baseman Ryan Flaherty, who made a poor throw and pulled Walker off the first base bag to start the inning. Walker didn’t even catch the ball. Ichiro Suzuki would have been safe even if he had kept his foot on the bag.

Anyway, that brought Jose Pirela to the plate for his first career at-bat, and he lifted Wei-Yin Chen’s 1-1 pitch into Death Valley in left-center field. Ichiro scored from first with ease and Pirela slid into third base safely with a triple. Again, it was his first career at-bat, so he was running around the bases faster than he’s ever run around the bases before. Derek Jeter brought Pirela home with a ground ball later in the inning. Pirela took off on contact and got a great jump.

The fifth inning rally started with two outs, at least after Ichiro grounded into a double play following Drew’s leadoff single. Pirela started that rally with a soft little line drive single over the second baseman’s head into shallow right field. Brett Gardner drew a walk, then Jeter doubled into the left field corner to score both runs. That was a great at-bat. Chen got ahead him 0-2, Jeter worked it back to 3-2, fouled off a pitch, then doubled. Vintage Cap’n. Two runs in the third, two runs in the fifth thanks to Pirela and Jeter.

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

Leftovers
After Pineda was removed from the game, Shawn Kelley cleaned up the eighth inning with a strikeout and a routine ground out. He struck out the first batter in the ninth before Rich Hill walked and struck out the next two batters, respectively. David Robertson Phelps got Adam Jones to fly out on the first pitch for the 27th out. Three pitchers in the ninth inning of a five-run game was a tad bit excessive.

Headley tacked on an insurance run with an eighth inning solo homer into Monument Park. Jeter drove in three of the team’s other four runs and went 1-for-3 with a walk on the night. He is 9-for-20 (.450) on the homestand. Going out in style. The top four hitters in the lineup went a combined 1-for-13 (.080) with three walks while the bottom five hitters went 7-for-18 (.389). Brian McCann was the only starter who failed to reach base.

Pirela became the 57th different player to play for the Yankees this season. That breaks the franchise record set just last year. He went 2-for-3 in his MLB debut with that run-scoring triple and rally-starting single. Nice night for the kid.

The Orioles did not have a runner reach second base all night, nevermind third base. This was the Yankees’ first one-hitter since July 2011 against the Mariners. Here’s the box score of that game.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, head on over to MLB.com. There are some other stats at FanGraphs and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Royals beat the Indians, so the Yankees remain four games back of the second wildcard spot with only six games to play. Their elimination number is three and FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 0.2%.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Orioles will play the second game of this four-game series on Tuesday night. Brandon McCarthy will be on the mound against … someone. The O’s still have not announced their starters for the rest of the series because they’re busy setting up their postseason rotation. There are only three home games left in the season and Jeter’s career, so head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch any of them live.

Tanaka rusty yet effective in return; Yankees beat Blue Jays 5-2


Source: FanGraphs

All things considered, Sunday afternoon’s 5-2 win over the Blue Jays might have been the most important game of the Yankees’ season as Masahiro Tanaka returned to the rotation after more than three months on the shelf. He and his right elbow are mighty important to the team going forward. Let’s recap series-winning win:

  • The Return: Tanaka’s return went as well as we could have reasonably expected. He was rusty, particularly with his location, but he didn’t shy away from his splitter or slider (or curveball) and it didn’t look like he was holding anything back, so to speak. Didn’t seem tentative at all. Tanaka ended the day right at 70 pitches (48 strikes, six swings and misses) and his pitching line was fine (5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K), though the performance is secondary to his health. With the caveat that they have to see how he feels in the coming days, Sunday’s return was overwhelmingly positive for the Yankees and Tanaka.
  • Three Taters: The Blue Jays scored a quick first inning run on two singles and a double play, but the Yankees answered right back with a Brian McCann solo homer in the bottom half of the inning. The score remained 1-1 until the fifth inning, when Brett Gardner unloaded on a Drew Hutchison pitch for a solo homer. It was his 17th (!) of the season. Back-to-back doubles in the seventh by Gardner and Derek Jeter created New York’s third run, then the fourth and fifth came off the bat of McCann, who hit his second homer of the game as the next batter. I declare it the most aesthetically pleasing homer of the 2014 season. Here, watch. All three homers were bombs. No doubters.
  • Bullpen: Weirdly, the Yankees’ least effective reliever on the afternoon was Dellin Betances. He allowed a run on a single (Jose Reyes), two stolen bases, and another single (Edwin Encarnacion). Encarnacion’s was off the wall, one of those “he hit it so hard it was a single” jobs. Adam Warren replaced Tanaka in the sixth and stranded a runner with two strikeouts, then threw a perfect seventh as well. His last two outings have been very good. David Robertson pitched around a two-out walk to close out his 38th save. Really hope he gets to 40 for no reason in particular.
  • Leftovers: Gardner made #toomanyhomers history. His solo shot was the 15,000th homerun in Yankees history, easily the most among the 30 clubs (Giants are second with 13,984) … the Yankees hit three homers as a team for the first time in nearly a month, since the makeup game in Kansas City. It’s only their eighth 3+ homer game of the season … Gardner, Jeter, McCann, and Ichiro Suzuki all had two hits apiece. The rest of the lineup went 0-for-16. McCann, Chris Young, Chase Headley, and Frankie Cervelli (two) had the walks.

The box score and video highlights are at MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN has the updated standings. At this very moment, the Yankees are four games back of the second wildcard spot with seven games to play. Their elimination number is five and FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 0.2%. Big Mike Pineda and Wei-Yin Chen will be on the bump for Monday night’s series opener against the Orioles. There are only four home games left in the season/Jeter’s career, so head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch any of them live.

Bad sixth inning sends Yanks to 6-3 loss to Jays


Source: FanGraphs

The little three-game winning streak was fun while it lasted. A rough sixth inning sent the Yankees to a 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon. Let’s recap:

  • Answer Back: Toronto scored a quick run in the first inning but the Yankees rallied to take a 2-1 lead by the fourth. Brian McCann singled in Derek Jeter in the third after Jeter reached on an infield single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Then, an inning later, Frankie Cervelli singled in Chase Headley. They had first-and-third with two outs thanks to singles by Headley and Ichiro Suzuki. Five of eight Yankees reached base against Marcus Stroman at one point spanning the third and fourth innings.
  • Meltdown: After allowing the first inning run, Chris Capuano kept the Blue Jays off the board for the next four innings. Then things completely unraveled in the sixth. A walk (Jose Bautista), an infield single (Edwin Encarnacion), and another walk (Dioner Navarro) loaded the bases with no outs, which usually means bullpen time. Instead, Capuano remained in the game to serve up a two-run ground-rule double to Danny Valencia, erasing the lead. He also stayed in to allow a long sacrifice fly to John Mayberry Jr., stretching the deficit to 4-2. Either Joe Girardi got caught off guard and didn’t have a reliever ready or he gave Capuano way, way too long of a leash at that point in the game.
  • Late Innings: The Jays tacked on some runs with a Bautista solo homer in the seventh and then a walk, a wild pitch, and a single in the ninth. The insurance runs ultimately did not matter even though Jeter doubled in Brett Gardner in the bottom of the ninth. The Yankees did manage to bring the tying run to the plate that inning, but Brendan Ryan struck out and Chris Young flew out. Hard to believe Ryan was allowed to hit in that spot even with Carlos Beltran hurt. Zelous Wheeler or John Ryan Murphy would have been better options. Oh well.
  • Leftovers: Jeter scored the 1,920th run of his career, breaking a tie with Alex Rodriguez and moving him into sole possession of ninth place on the all-time runs scored list … Gardner snapped an 0-for-27 slump with his first inning double. He had another hit later in the game … Ichiro (two), McCann, Headley, Cervelli, and Stephen Drew had their other hits. Headley drew the only walk … Chase Whitley and David Phelps allowed the insurance runs. Esmil Rogers and David Huff threw a scoreless inning each.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Yankees are 4.5 games back of the second wildcard spot with only eight games to play. Their elimination number is five and FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 0.2%. All eyes will be on Masahiro Tanaka in the series finale on Sunday afternoon. He is returning to the mound after missing three months with a partially torn elbow ligament. Drew Hutchison is starting for the Jays. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you watch to catch that game or any of the other four final home games of the season/Jeter’s career live.

Yankees top Blue Jays 5-3 for third straight win


Source: FanGraphs

For the first time in almost exactly a month, the Yankees have won three straight games. They beat the Blue Jays by the score of 5-3 on Friday night thanks to some timely hits and a bad error by Toronto. Let’s recap the win:

  • #HIROK Solid: In what was likely the second to last start of his Yankees career, Hiroki Kuroda gave the team 6.2 innings of three-run (two earned) ball. He did serve up a two-run homer off the foul pole to Edwin Encarnacion in the first inning, but after that only five Blue Jays reached base in his final 6.1 innings. Kuroda struck out seven, didn’t walk anyone, and recorded 15 of his 20 outs on the infield. Rock solid, as usual. I’m really gonna miss this guy.
  • Homer, Error: The Yankees bounced right back and scored a run in the bottom of the first after Encarnacion’s homer in the top half. Brian McCann‘s single against the shift did the honors. In the third inning, they took the lead for good on Jacoby Ellsbury‘s two-run homer. He nearly homered in his first at-bat but had to settle for a double off the wall. Then, an inning later, Ellsbury grounded into what looked like a potential inning-ending double play with the bases loaded, but Jose Reyes’ throw sailed wide of first and allowed two runs to score. Ellsbury scored their first run and had the plate appearances that resulted in the other four.
  • Patchwork Bullpen: Dellin Betances and David Robertson were both unavailable due to their recent workloads, forcing Joe Girardi to turn to his B-team relievers. Esmil Rogers walked Jose Bautista to load the bases with two outs in the seventh before getting Encarnacion to bounce out to short to end the inning. That was scary. Rogers got the first out of the eighth inning before giving way to Adam Warren, who struck out two with a man on third before throwing a perfect ninth as well. He was outstanding. As good as he’s looked all season. Nice job by Rogers to escape that seventh inning jam and nice job by Warren in general.
  • Leftovers: Ellsbury left the game with a hamstring strain after running out the Reyes error ball. Girardi said there is a “distinct possibility” his season is over. Bummer … Derek Jeter went 2-for-4 and flew out to the warning track in left. I thought it was gone off the bat … Brett Gardner, meanwhile, went 0-for-4 and is in an 0-for-27 slump. He hasn’t hit since coming back from the abdominal strain … Ellsbury went 2-for-3 with a double and homer. McCann, Mark Teixeira, Stephen Drew, and Ichiro Suzuki had the other hits.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other game stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Yankees now have a two-game lead over the Blue Jays for second place in the AL East and they will be four games back of the second wildcard spot once the Tigers are finished demolishing the Royals. Their elimination number remains six with nine games to play. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 0.5%. Chris Capuano and Marcus Stroman will be the pitching matchup on Saturday afternoon. There are only six home games left in the season/Jeter’s career. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch any of them live.