Archive for Game Stories
So much for starting the homestand off on the right foot after those two wins in Tampa, huh? A rare David Robertson meltdown led to a 7-4 Astros win in Tuesday night’s series opener. The Yankees are now 1-3 against Houston this year.
From 0-2 to 2-0
As usual, the Yankees traded zeroes with [insert opponent here] for the first three innings of Tuesday’s game. They should just start every game in the fourth or fifth inning with the score 0-0 the rest of the season. It would save so much time. Mark Teixeira (strikeout) and Carlos Beltran (fly out) were quickly retired in the bottom of the fourth, but Martin Prado followed with a first pitch single and Brian McCann followed that with a two-run homer into the second deck in right. Brett Oberholtzer hung an 0-2 breaking ball right out over the plate. It was a cookie. Those were two of the five men the Yankees put on base in the first five innings.
For his 36th birthday, Chris Capuano have himself a no decision. His bullpen tried to give him a loss. Adam Warren, specifically. Capuano did what he’s done since he arrived in New York, specifically using his array of changeups and curveballs and other soft stuff to keep the Astros completely off balance through four innings, striking out six in the process. Houston had a base-runner in each of those four innings but only one (Gregorio Petit’s ground rule double in the third) made it as far as second base.
Capuano gave up a run in the fifth inning on Petit’s double and Robbie Grossman’s soft single to right, which kinda sucked because a) there were two outs and bases empty before the mini-rally, and b) McCann had just given the Yankees a 2-0 run in the previous half-inning. But, one run in five innings of work isn’t bad by any stretch. You’d take that from your … 11th? 12th? I’ve lost count at this point … starter every time out. Dexter Fowler’s leadoff stand-up triple in the sixth is when things started to fall apart.
Jason Castro drove in Fowler with a simple ground out to tie the game, which, I mean, fine. Hard to strand a guy after a leadoff triple. But then Matt Dominguez singled. Then Jon Singleton singled. Then Joe Girardi came out of the dugout to get Capuano with his pitch count at a season-high 103, opting to go with struggling Warren. Warren got the second out of the inning on a weak ground ball that hit him, but he hung a slider to pinch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez, who pulled it to right for a two-run single. Ichiro Suzuki completely misplayed the ball but there wouldn’t have been a play at the plate anyway.
Warren stranded the runner and got the third out, but the damage had been done. The 2-1 lead was suddenly a 4-2 deficit, and all four runs were charged to Capuano. His final pitching line — 5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K — looks worse than he pitched, if you know what I mean. Some shoddy bullpen work could gave given him a lead and did bloat his ERA. On his birthday, no less. Jerks.
Rally To Tie
You gotta hand it to them, as soon as the Astros had that big three-run top of the sixth to take the lead, the Yankees answered right back to tie the game in the bottom half. Jacoby Ellsbury started things off with a first pitch single — he’s a much better leadoff hitter than number three hitter, no? — and he took second on a stolen base/balk. He got a great jump and had the base stolen, but Oberholtzer balked, so it didn’t matter. Sucks if you own Ellsbury in fantasy, but it accomplished the same thing.
Teixeira struck out and Beltran walked, putting the tying run on base with one out. Astros manager Bo Porter opted to stick with the left-handed Oberholtzer against the right-handed Prado, who took five straight pitches to work the count full. One of the strikes was way off the plate should have been called a ball, but it’s a good thing it wasn’t. Prado yanked Oberholtzer’s 94th and final pitch of the night into the left field corner for a game-tying two-run double. It nearly hopped over the wall for a ground-rule double, which would have cost the Yankees a run. Thankfully it stayed in play and the game was tied.
The Yankees didn’t get Prado in from second with one out because that’s what they do. Just be happy they got the two runs. Ellsbury led off the bottom of the eighth with an infield single before stealing second and getting to third on a throwing error. The throw literally hit his leg as he slid into second and bounced into the outfield. Unfortunately, Beltran grounded right to shortstop with the infield in and Ellsbury was thrown out at home on the contact play. What can you do? This team can’t score runs and a speedy runner like Ellsbury could have forced a young infielder like Gonzalez to rush his throw, but alas. Wasted opportunity.
Robertson picked a really, really bad time to have his first terrible outing in about two and a half months. The score was still knotted up at four when he took over in the ninth inning, and he did get a quick first pitch out to start the inning, but things unraveled from there. Robertson walked Grossman on five pitches — he stole second, though that really didn’t matter given the outcome — then walked Jose Altuve after being ahead in the count 0-2. The Astros had men on first and second with one out.
In between the Altuve at-bat and the Chris Carter at-bat that followed, Robertson threw seven straight balls. The Astros turned Carter lose 3-0, Robertson grooved a fastball right down the middle, and Carter hit it a mile to left field for a three-run homer. No-doubter, gone on contact. The game was over because the offense sure as hell wasn’t scoring three runs in the ninth to tie. If you rank the players on the roster 1-25 based on how much of a problem they are, Robertson would be … 25th? Maybe 24th behind Dellin Betances? He’s been awesome this year but stunk in this game.
Ellsbury and Prado both went 3-for-4 while the rest of the lineup went 3-for-27 (.111). McCann homered, Teixeira singled, and Ichiro singled. Ichiro actually slipped when he took his stride and put his front foot down, but he still got the barrel on the ball on found a hole for a base hit. The guy’s bat control is ridiculous. Beltran drew the only walk. Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter both went 0-for-4 as the one-two hitters.
Between the Warren and Robertson calamities, Shawn Kelley and Betances retired six of seven batters faced with two strikeouts apiece. Betances allowed a dinky little ground ball single through the shift. Rich Hill came on to replace Robertson in the ninth, allowed the two lefties he faced to reach base (single and walk) and struck out the two righties. Of course.
I’m not normally one to complain about the strike zone (it is what it is), but Paul Emmel seemed to have a particularly big zone, especially the outside corner to righties. The PitchFX data confirms it. It completely changed Chase Headley‘s at-bat with Prado at second in the seventh, turning what should have been ball four in a 3-1 count into a 3-2 count. Changed everything. Headley struck out on the next pitch.
And finally, Jeter did the Ice Bucket Challenge before the game on Tuesday. The video is above. I’m sure there’s a perfectly good reason for doing it on the carpet in the middle of the clubhouse. Anyway, the hug with Masahiro Tanaka is the best part.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, go to MLB.com. You can find some more game stats at FanGraphs and the updated standings at ESPN. The Orioles won, so the Yankees are now 8.5 games back in the AL East. They’re in second place too. This division was there for the taking if someone wanted to go on an extended run, and Baltimore took advantage. The Mariners won as well, meaning the Yankees are now four games back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 6.6%.
Same two teams on Wednesday night, when Michael Pineda and Scott Feldman meet in the middle game of this three-game series. Hoping to see some big things out of Big Mike. If you want to catch that game or any of the other four games left on homestand, RAB Tickets can get you in the door.
Two wins in a row! That’s always fun. The Yankees should do it more often. They took Sunday afternoon’s series finale from the Rays by the score of 4-2. Let’s recap the win:
- All With Two Outs: For the first 4.2 innings, Jeremy Hellickson kept the Yankees completely off balance with a mix of changeups and sneaky fastballs. They didn’t even hit the ball hard. That all changed in the fifth with a two-out walk by Stephen Drew. Martin Prado picked up his team’s first hit with a double into the left field corner (hard hit!), putting men at second and third with two outs. Brett Gardner plated both runners with a single back up the middle, then Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury strung together two more singles to score the third run. Two-out rallies are so great.
- Return of HIROK: Hiroki Kuroda allowed a first inning run(s) for the fifth straight start. Thankfully it was just one run (on two singles and a ground ball) on Sunday. He settled right down and retired 17 straight after that, getting the ball into the seventh inning. Matt Joyce’s leadoff double in the seventh ended the consecutive outs streak, and he eventually scored on Evan Longoria’s single. Kuroda did not make it out of the inning — Shawn Kelley bailed him out with a strikeout — but holding Tampa to two runs in 6.2 innings is plenty good enough. He only struck out one but did limit the Rays to four hits and a walk. The extra rest seemed to do Kuroda some good.
- Late Innings: Like I said, Kelley bailed out Kuroda in the seventh, striking out Brandon Guyer with runners on the corners to end the inning. Mark Teixeira whacked a solo homer in the top of the eighth to give the Yankees a much-appreciated insurance run right after the Rays cut their deficit to one. It was his 20th homer of the year. Dellin Betances pitched around an infield single in the eighth and David Robertson retired the side in order in the ninth for his 33rd save in 35 chances. He has successfully converted 21 straight saves, the longest active streak in MLB.
- Leftovers: Prado had himself a great day both at the plate (single, double) and in the field. He made several stellar stops at second base … Chase Headley also had two hits (singles) and several great defensive plays … every starter reached base safely at least once except for the just off the disabled list Brian McCann, though he reached on an error … the run-scoring single in the fifth was Ellsbury’s first hit in a week, since his solo homer against the Indians last Sunday.
For the box score and video highlights, head over to MLB.com. FanGraphs is where you can find some more stats and ESPN is where you can find the updated standings. The Yankees are now seven games back in the AL East — they are back in second place, percentage points ahead of the Blue Jays — and 3.5 games back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 10.3%. The Yankees are off on Monday — third off-day in the last week — and will welcome the Astros to the Bronx for three games starting Tuesday. Lefties Chris Capuano and Brett Oberholtzer are scheduled to start the opener. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch that game live.
After the Rays rallied to the tie Saturday afternoon’s game in the seventh inning, it sure felt like the Yankees were headed for another ugly come-from-ahead loss. Instead, Derek Jeter came through with a huge hit in the ninth inning and the Bombers snapped their five-game losing streak. They beat the Rays by the score of 3-2 in the second game of the series. Let’s recap the sorely needed win:
- Two Strikes, Two Outs, Two Runs: The Yankees scored a total of seven runs during the five-game losing streak, so going up 2-0 in the second inning felt like a minor miracle. Drew Smyly got two quick outs in the second before walking Chase Headley, allowing him to steal second base, then catching way too much of the plate with an 0-2 pitch to Martin Prado. Prado yanked it out to left for a two-run homer, his second dinger in pinstripes.
- Greene Machine: Once again, Shane Greene was outstanding. He didn’t get a decision because of defensive funny business and spotty bullpen work, but he struck out ten and held the Rays to two runs in six innings. At one point he retired nine in a row. Greene threw 102 pitches and got 18 swings and misses, which is awesome. Had Headley taken the out at first on Kevin Kiermaier’s bunt in the seventh (no outs were recorded), maybe Greene escapes with only one run allowed. Either way, he was excellent, much better than the pitching line indicates.
- Late Innings: I’m not quite sure why Joe Girardi went to Shawn Kelley two on and no outs (and a one-run lead) in the seventh instead of Dellin Betances, who threw the eighth once the score was tied, but it happened and it helped the Rays tie the game. The Yankees retook the lead in the top of the ninth thanks to a big error by Logan Forsythe, who threw a ball into the stands on Brett Gardner‘s infield single. Gardner would have been safe anyway, but the error allowed him to advance to second. Jeter tried to bunt him to third, failed, then laced a two-strike single to right against the hard-throwing and awesome Jake McGee to score the go-ahead run. Huge hit. Game-winning hit.
- Leftovers: David Robertson, who has not pitched in nine days, retired the side in order in the ninth for his 32nd save in 34 chances … Mark Teixeira had two singles while Gardner (single), Jeter (single), Prado (homer), Frankie Cervelli (double), and Brendan Ryan (single) had one hit apiece … Headley drew the only walk. He’s reached base in 20 of his 22 games as a Yankee … technically, the bullpen was perfect, nine up and nine down. Kelley did allow an inherited runner to score with two ground outs though.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Orioles lost and the Tigers won, so the Yankees are seven games back in the AL East and four games back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 8.6%. The Yankees and Rays will wrap up the series on Sunday afternoon, when Hiroki Kuroda and Jeremy Hellickson get the ball.
Make it five straight losses to both the Rays and all teams in general. The Yankees were shut out 5-0 by Tampa in their series opener on Friday night as the offense continues to fold like a lawn chair during what was an important stretch of the season. Now it doesn’t look like there will be many important games left this year.
I missed tonight’s game and I ain’t mad about it. I’ve been told Brandon McCarthy was once again solid, falling victim to some shaky defense early and broken bat bloopers late. He was around the plate all night, throwing 84 of his 110 pitches for strikes (76%) and a first pitch strike to 23 of 28 batters faced. Seven strikeouts, ten ground ball outs, and two fly ball outs. That’s work just fine. McCarthy isn’t part of the problem.
The offense put one runner at third base all night, and that came with one out in the eighth inning, after they were already down four runs. Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira, aka the three-four hitters, both struck out with the bases loaded to squash that rally. The Yankees actually had the leadoff man reach base in five innings, so I guess that means they made Alex Cobb work hard? Based on his pitching line, it doesn’t look like it.
Derek Jeter and Teixeira both had two hits while Chase Headley, Frankie Cervelli, and Drew had one each. Brett Gardner drew the only walk. Esmil Rogers came out of the bullpen and served up a solo homer to James Loney — apparently he tried to quick-pitch him — for the Rays’ totally unnecessary fifth run. The Yankees have scored seven runs during the five-game losing streak, two of which scored when Manny Machado hit Carlos Beltran in the head with a throw.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees are now eight games back in the AL East and 4.5 games back to Robinson Cano‘s Mariners for the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 5.8% and shrinking. They’ll try to score a run or two against lefty Drew Smyly during Saturday afternoon’s probable loss. Shane Greene will be on the bump for the Yankees.
Minor League Update: All of the night’s box scores can be seen in one place at MLB Farm. RHP Bryan Mitchell struck out three in five shutout innings, OF Tyler Austin had two doubles and a single, LHP Jacob Lindgren struck out five in two scoreless innings, and C Luis Torrens doubled. Not much else to see there.
The Yankees probably could have picked a better day to send out their postseason invoices. The bullpen melted down again in Wednesday night’s 5-3 loss to the Orioles, who left little doubt they are far and away the better team. The Yankees are 7-10 since winning seven of their first eight games after the All-Star break.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and for the Yankees, that means going to Dellin Betances for three innings with a 2-1 lead. Betances allowed a leadoff single to start the sixth inning but cruised after that, striking out four of the next six batters to get the Yankees to the eighth inning with that 2-1 lead. He went back out for the eighth, recorded the first out on an infield pop-up, then served up a hanging curveball to Jonathan Schoop, who hammered it out to left for a wall-scraping game-tying solo homer. It just barely cleared the wall but that doesn’t matter. They all count the same and the game was tied. Schoop has hit four of his eleven homers against the Yankees this year, by the way.
Betances was lifted immediately after the homer with his pitch count at 33. The Yankees have been scaling back on his workload in recent weeks — he had not thrown two full innings since before the All-Star break and only once did he throw more than 25 pitches in an outing since June 24th. I dunno, he didn’t look tired to me, it just looked like he hung a breaking ball. It happens. In important games like this, you have to lean on your best players, and that includes going to Betances for three innings. I have no problem whatsoever with sending him back out for a third inning. It just didn’t work out.
Anyway, once Betances was out of the game, Shawn Kelley came in to completely put it out of reach. He got a quick ground out to third for the second out of the inning, then Nick Markakis singled back up the middle, Chris Davis walked, and Adam Jones clobbered a go-ahead three-run homer. It wasn’t a question of if the Orioles would score more runs after Schoop tied the game, just how many. Three was the answer on Wednesday. Apparently the game was important enough to use Betances for three innings but not important enough to use David Robertson at all. For the second straight game, the bullpen was unable to keep things close and let Baltimore run away with it late.
The Return of Big Mike
Michael Pineda‘s triumphant return to the rotation started with 12 straight outs. Only one of those outs came on a hard hit ball too. That was Davis’ fly out to right field for the second out of the fourth inning. Pineda left a pitch up, Davis just got under it, and Martin Prado tracked it down and reeled it in with a perfectly timed leap at the warning track. That was it. Pineda was dominant through the first four innings, looking very much like the guy we saw back in April.
The fifth inning got a little bit messy. Nelson Cruz broke up the perfect game bid with a leadoff double when Pineda left a cutter up in the zone, putting him in the stretch for the first time all night. He retired Delmon Young on a ground out to third, but Steve Pearce went down and golfed a pitch into shallow left for a single to put runners on the corners. Cruz had to hold up to see if the ball was caught, so he only advanced to third. Ryan Flaherty drove him in with a sacrifice fly to center. Pineda got out of the jam with just one run thanks to Chase Headley‘s diving stop on Schoop’s ground ball.
After throwing 72 pitches in his last minor league rehab start last week, Joe Girardi pulled Pineda after that fifth inning, with his pitch count at only 67. I thought it was the right move because he clearly started to labor during the long 22-pitch fifth, leaving a lot of pitches up in the zone in particular. Remember, he only made two rehab starts and wasn’t stretched back out all the way. Pineda’s velocity graph shows he was running out of gas too (via Brooks Baseball):
Like I said, Pineda started to labor and his stuff wasn’t as crisp as it was earlier in the game. Given his history of shoulder problems, Girardi was right to play it safe and take him out after those five innings, especially since his bullpen was fresh and Thursday is an off-day. PitchFX says Pineda topped out at 95.3 mph with his fastball (averaged 93.8) and got five swings and misses, which is actually kinda low. First start in more than three months though. One run on two hits and no walks with four strikeouts in five innings is a pretty awesome first start back. Welcome back, Big Mike.
You’ll Get Three Runs And Be Damn Thankful For It
The Yankees had base-runners in three of the first eight innings of the game. That’s it. They plated two runs in the third inning on Frankie Cervelli‘s two-run homer — Chris Tillman hung the hell out of a 3-2 curveball — which came after Stephen Drew‘s leadoff double. It was nothing more than a fly ball to left field that Young couldn’t run down. It actually hit off his glove too. An average defensive outfielder turns that into an out, no doubt in my mind. Drew (and the Yankees) got lucky, but hey, at this point he’ll take whatever he can get.
One inning later, the Yankees put runners on the corners with two outs when Mark Teixeira and Headley dropped singles into right and left fields, respectively. Drew grounded out to second to end the threat. Cervelli drew a one-out walk in the eighth and stolen second base, but that’s it. Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter both flew out to end the inning. Drew’s double, Cervelli’s homer and walk (and steal), and singles by Teixeira and Headley represented the only offense in the first eighth innings.
The Yankees did score a garbage time run in the ninth inning on Headley’s ground out. Teixeira walked and Carlos Beltran doubled down the left field line with one out to bring the tying run to the plate. Headley’s ground out was the second out of the inning, then Drew grounded out to end the game. The Yankees have scored more than three runs just once in their last six games. That was the ten-run aberration in the series-opening win over the Indians. The last game they won, coincidentally. This offense couldn’t be any coming up any more small.
Girardi was ejected in the sixth inning when the umpires ruled Drew ran out of the baseline while running out a ground ball back in front of the plate. The ball was thrown wide of the bag and into right field, allowing Drew to go to second, but it didn’t matter because of the call. It was awful. Drew stepped on the grass a few steps before the bag when the ball was already in the outfield. So dumb.
The top three hitters in the lineup went a combined 1-for-12. The only hit was Gardner’s third inning single immediately after Cervelli’s homer. Jeter banged into a 6-4-3 double play as the next batter to ensure the Yankees did not run the risk of scoring another run. Teixeira (single, walk) and Cervelli (homer, walk) were the only players to reach base twice.
Kelley has now allowed seven runs on five hits and three walks in 1.2 innings across his last three appearances. Betances and Robertson are the team’s only trustworthy relievers right now. The bullpen is falling apart late in the season for the second straight year, I assume because they’re burnt out from pitching so many important e innings from April through July.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head over to MLB.com for the box score and video highlights. FanGraphs is where you can find some additional game stats. The up-to-date standings are at ESPN. The Yankees are now eight games back of the Orioles in the AL East — several members of the team said they were focusing on the second wildcard spot after the game — and as soon as the Tigers finish beating the Pirates, New York will be four games back of that second wildcard spot with three teams ahead of them. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 9.1% and that seems way too high.
The Yankees are traveling tonight and will spend tomorrow’s off-day in Tampa, at their home away from home. They open a three-game series with the Rays on Friday night. Brandon McCarthy and Alex Cobb will be the pitching matchup for the series opener.
It was pretty obvious which team is in first place and which team is struggling to stay in the second wildcard race on Monday night, wasn’t it? The Yankees lost the series opener in Baltimore by the score of 11-3. They actually lead 3-1 at one point. I assume the Bombers wanted to come into this series and make something of a statement. Instead they were the bug and the Orioles were the windshield.
Look At What The Orioles Did
The Yankees scored their first run in the first inning on a simple triple (Brett Gardner) plus ground ball (Derek Jeter) combination. The triple was juuust out of Adam Jones’ reach in left-center. It might have even hit off his glove. In such an important game, scoring a run within the first two batters is much appreciated. I love first inning runs on the road. Jump right on the other team and force them to play from behind.
The second and third runs … I can’t even begin to explain what happened. Carlos Beltran walked and Chase Headley snuck a ground ball single through the infield on a hit-and-run to give the Yankees runners on corners with no outs, and that’s the easy part. This is the Little League play that followed and resulted in two runs:
The official scoring was stolen bases for both Headley and Beltran — so Beltran technically stole home — plus errors on Manny Machado and Bud Norris. The errors allowed Headley to go to third and then home. I don’t even care how it gets scored. I’m just happy that hilarity led to two runs for the Yankees. They need all the runs they can get these days, and if it takes Machado hitting Beltran in the helmet with a throw, so be it.
With their nightly runs scored quota met, the offense packed it in the rest of the game and had just one runner make it as far as third base after the second inning. That was Jacoby Ellsbury in the eighth, when he walked, stole second, and moved to third on Beltran’s ground out. Jeter’s one-out double to right in the fifth was their only hit after the second inning. Beltran reached on an error by second baseman Jonathan Schoop in the third, Ellsbury drew his walk in the eighth, and Headley drew walks in both the sixth and eighth. That was all the offense in the final seven innings.
Chris Capuano had a typical Chris Capuano outing, at least based on his entire career and not just his two weeks in pinstripes. He allowed four runs in six innings, including two on Chris Davis’ mammoth go-ahead two-run homer in the fifth inning. It was a total hanger, the curveball curved right into Davis’ bat. Sucks because Capuano was ahead in the count 0-2 before David battled back to make it 3-2 and hit the homer. Blah.
The offense was going to have a hard enough time coming back from the 4-3 deficit following Davis’ homer, so the game was effectively over once Nelson Cruz clobbered an Adam Warren meatball for a two-run homer in the seventh inning to give Baltimore a 7-3 lead. Doubles by Nick Markakis and Jones gave the O’s a run earlier in the inning. Warren was almost out of the inning when Cruz popped up in foul territory, but Martin Prado couldn’t reel it in near the wall. Not like it would have mattered anyway.
Because being down 7-3 wasn’t enough, Chase Whitley put two guys on base and served up a three-run homer to Schoop in the bottom of the eighth to really put the game out of reach. That pretty much guarantees the Orioles will outscore the Yankees in the series. Dating back to June 1st, Warren has a 5.46 ERA (~4.10 FIP) in 28 innings. Whitley has allowed ten runs in 6.1 innings since moving into the bullpen last month, allowing at least one run in all five appearances. Capuano held his own, but otherwise New York’s staff was no match for Baltimore’s offense.
Gardner (triple), Jeter (double), Headley (single), Prado (single), and Frankie Cervelli (single) had the team’s only hits. Ellsbury, Beltran, and Headley (two) drew the walks. The Yankees have had exactly five hits in each of their last three games. The last time they had five or fewer hits in three straight games was, well, last September.
The Yankees took a big fat 0-fer in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position. They actually had men on first and second with one out in the second inning after that Little League play, but Gardner flew out and Jeter grounded out. Bud Norris was asking for it early on, but the Yankees are pros at letting pitchers off the hook.
Machado left the game in the third inning with a right knee injury after his leg buckled under him on a swing. It was kinda ugly. He had surgery on the other knee over the winter. The Orioles say he has a sprain and will be re-evaluated on Tuesday. I doubt we see him the rest of the series.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the video highlights and box score, go to MLB.com. For some other stats, go to FanGraphs. For the updated standings, go to ESPN. The Yankees are currently seven games back in the AL East and three games back of the second wildcard spot. The Royals jumped over the Tigers in the AL Central, so Detroit is currently sitting in the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has the Yankees’ postseason odds at 16.5%.
Same two teams on Tuesday night, when Shane Greene gets the ball against lefty Wei-Yin Chen. It will be the first time Greene faces a team for the second time as a starter. That’s always a big deal.
Well that was one giant letdown of a weekend. The Yankees started their seven-game homestand with four wins in five games before falling flat these last two days and finishing it at 4-3. Blah. Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Indians came by the score of 4-1. Let’s recap:
- August Wall: Hiroki Kuroda appears to be hitting his annual August wall a week or two early. He ran out of gas after 80-ish pitches for the second straight start, but he was left in to throw 97 pitches and that was long enough to load the bases and walk in a run in the fifth inning. The Indians scored their first run on two bloops and a ground ball single, and their second on a double and a sac fly (with a bunt mixed in), but Kuroda wasn’t fooling anyone all afternoon. Two runs on five hits and four walks in 4.2 innings is pretty gross. Joe Girardi has to start treating him as an 80-pitch pitcher going forward. If that means only four or five innings, so be it. Might as well put that eight-man bullpen to use.
- LMAOffense: Three singles, no walks, a double that was nothing more than a single that took a weird carom off the sidewall and away from the outfielder, and a garbage time (two outs in the ninth!) solo homer. That was the Yankees’ offense for the afternoon. They had two runners reach second base (none reach third base) before Jacoby Ellsbury‘s homer, and at one point they made 15 straight outs. The Yankees went 19 innings without a run before the homer. The at-bats were barely competitive on Sunday. Take a pitch or two, roll over and ground out or pop-up weakly. The offense really small-timed it this weekend.
- Leftovers: Congrats to Bryan Mitchell for making his MLB debut. He struck out two in two scoreless innings to wrap up the afternoon … David Huff and Shawn Kelley combined to allow Cleveland’s fourth run on an infield single, a bunt, and a two-strike, two-out single … Ellsbury (single, stolen base, homer), Mark Teixeira (single), Stephen Drew (single), and Ichiro Suzuki (double) were the only offense … the Yankees were one out away from being shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since May of 1999 against the Chuck Finley-led Angels.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some nerdier stats, and ESPN the updated standings. At this very moment, the Yankees are 6.5 games back in the AL East and two games back of the second wildcard spot, pending the results of the day’s other games. Bud Norris and Chris Capuano will be the pitching matchup in Monday night’s series opener against the Orioles. Needless to say, that’s a huge series.
Some days you’re just going to get beat, and that’s what happened Saturday afternoon. The Yankees lost 3-0 to the Indians in a game in which they were out-pitched and out-hit, though I wouldn’t say they were out-defended. It happens. That’s baseball. Let’s recap:
- Klubot: The Yankees hit three balls out of the infield — two of the four hits he allowed were infield singles — and only hit one ball hard during Corey Kluber’s six shutout innings. That one hard-hit ball was Jacoby Ellsbury‘s double to left in the fourth. That’s it. The team’s best chance to score came in the sixth, when Derek Jeter and Ellsbury singled with no outs, but Kluber rebounded to strike out Carlos Beltran, Chase Headley, and Stephen Drew. He flat out dominated them. Ten strikeouts, one walk, one double, three soft singles. This is one of those days when I’m perfectly fine tipping my cap. Kluber’s a top 10-15 pitcher in MLB and he showed why on Saturday.
- De Facto Ace: Brandon McCarthy‘s only real mistake was leaving a first pitch fastball up in the zone to rookie infielder Jose Ramirez, who hit a cheap Yankee Stadium two-run homer in the second inning. It was his first career long ball and it just barely cleared the wall. Other than the homer, McCarthy held the Indians to six singles and no walks while striking out eight in 6.1 innings. The homer stunk, but McCarthy once again gave the Yankees a good and winnable start.
- Bullpen: Rich Hill and Chase Whitley combined to pitch out of a bases loaded jam in the seventh — Headley made a nice play to get the force out at home — before Whitley allowed a solo homer to Michael Brantley in the eighth. That gave the offense six outs to score at least three runs against Cleveland hurlers. Even though Kluber pitched well, they did a nice job of running up his pitch count. Brett Gardner (double) and Ellsbury (fake hit-by-pitch) reached base to give Beltran and Headley a chance to tie the game in the eighth, but they struck out. The Yankees went down in order in the ninth.
- Leftovers: Jeter’s sixth inning infield single was his 3,431st career hit, moving him ahead of Honus Wagner for sole possession of sixth place on the all-time list. He won’t catch Tris Speaker (3,514), but sixth all-time is pretty awesome … rough third inning for the battery. McCarthy was hit by a line drive in the foot and Frankie Cervelli took a pitch to the ribs. Both stayed in the game … Gardner, Jeter, and Ellsbury went 4-for-11 (.364) while the rest of the lineup went 1-for-21 (.048) … the Yankees went 0-for-9 with six strikeouts with runners in scoring position … they set a season-high with 15 strikeouts after coming into the game with the fourth lowest strikeout rate in MLB (18.2%) … the Yankees were shut out for only the fourth time this year and the first time since June 22nd, 41 games ago.
Head over to MLB.com for the box score and video highlights. FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN has the updated standings. The Blue Jays won this afternoon while the Royals, Orioles, and Mariners all play later tonight, so as of right now the Yankees are 5.5 games back in the AL East and one game back of the second wildcard spot. Hiroki Kuroda and Carlos Carrasco will be the pitching matchup for Sunday afternoon’s series finale. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to catch the final game of the homestand live.
I think we can all agree the 2014 Yankees like to do things the hard way, yes? They beat the Indians by the score of 10-6 in Friday night’s series opener, but they really had to work for it, especially in the later innings. Whatever. At 61-54, the Yankees are seven games over .500 for the first time all season. Let’s recap:
- Five-Run First: The Yankees scored five runs and sent ten men to the plate in the first inning, and exactly three of them hit the ball out of the infield. Some sloppy infield defense and three Trevor Bauer walks fueled the rally, which included run-scoring singles by Carlos Beltran, Stephen Drew, and Martin Prado. Chase Headley drew a bases loaded walk. Carlos Santana flat out muffed a catch on a throw from shortstop at first base, and Jason Kipnis threw away a ball when he flipped it to second trying to turn a double play. Brett Gardner, the team’s best player, made the first and last out of the inning. Go figure. I missed innings like that so much. Everything went right.
- Can’t Spell Esmil Without Smile: One run in five innings from spot starter Esmil Rogers? I’m pretty sure we all would have signed up for that heading into the game. I know I would have. The right-hander used fastballs and sliders to hold the Tribe to four hits and a walk in those five innings, and at one point he retired ten of 12 batters. Rogers struck out three and got seven of his other 12 outs in the air, which is fine given the team’s outfield defense. At this point, I think the Yankees could pull anyone out of the stands, slap pinstripes on him, and get a winnable start. What a job the staff has done of late.
- Blown Open: Five runs in the first, five runs in the sixth. The Indians intentionally walked Jacoby Ellsbury to load the bases for Beltran for whatever reason, and he unloaded on a John Axford hanging curveball for a grand slam. Ichiro Suzuki and Gardner drew walks earlier in the inning. The Yankees plated another run on another error later in the inning. They scored ten total runs thanks to a pair of five-run innings, and in those innings they hit a total of five balls out of the infield. Crazy.
- No Easy Wins: It’s amazing how this team is allergic to easy wins. The five-run sixth gave them a nice and comfy 10-2 lead, right? Bring in Bryan Mitchell and let him bring it home, right? Nope. Shawn Kelley started the seventh, faced four batters, retired none, and left the bases loaded for Adam Warren. He served up a two-run double and a sac fly. The Indians answered the Yankees’ five-run sixth with a four-run seventh to make it 10-6. Sigh. Thankfully Warren, Rich Hill, and Dellin Betances navigated the eighth and ninth without much of a problem. Still sucks they even had to get into a game like this.
- Leftovers: Derek Jeter‘s first inning infield single was the 3,430th hit of his career, tying him for Honus Wagner for sixth place on the all-time list. He won’t catch Tris Speaker (3,514) for fifth place, so he’ll eventually retire in sole possession of sixth place on the all-time hit list. Not bat at all … Brian McCann left the game with a mild concussion, and Frankie Cervelli joined Beltran as the only players with two hits. Gardner (double, walk), McCann (single, walk), Ellsbury (three walks), and Ichiro (single, walk) all reached base multiple times. Headley and Ellsbury were the only players without hits … the lineup had more walks (seven) than strikeouts (five) for the AL-leading 13th time this year.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Orioles won and the Blue Jays lost, so the Yankees moved into second place in the AL East and are still five back of Baltimore. They are a half-game back of the Royals for the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 24.6%. The Yankees and Indians will play the second game of this series on Saturday afternoon (Brandon McCarthy vs. Corey Kluber), but first the team will unveil Paul O’Neill’s plaque in Monument Park. Head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch the ceremony and the game live.
So that was the best series of the season, no? The Yankees held on for a 1-0 win on Thursday afternoon, taking three of four from the first place Tigers. The one loss was a very winnable game as well. Great game, great series.
Tame The Tigers
I don’t know how they did it, but the Yankees’ patchwork rotation went toe-to-toe with Detroit’s collection of aces this week and collectively outpitched them. It was pretty awesome. Shane Greene stepped up on Thursday afternoon and was masterful, allowing five singles and three walks in eight shutout innings. He struck out five and recorded 13 of his other 19 outs on the ground. He was efficient too, throwing 99 pitches total and never more than 18 in an inning (only once more than 14). What more could you want?
The Tigers had two runners reach second base and one reach third base against Greene all afternoon. That’s all. A single (Victor Martinez) and a walk (J.D. Martinez) gave them runners on first and second with two outs in the fourth, but Greene rebounded to strike out Don Kelly. Two innings later an infield single (Ezequiel Carrera) and a bloop single (Ian Kinsler) gave Detroit men on the corners with one out, and this time Greene got out of it by getting V-Mart to bang into a 4-6-3 double play. He executed the exact right pitches at the exact right times.
Greene has been rock solid during his brief time as a big league starter, and I think the difference between his last few starts and this one was his slider. PitchFX says he threw 29 sliders out of 99 pitches, including 21 for strikes and seven for swings and misses. He was able to locate it just off the plate outside to the Tigers’ bevy of right-handed batters, resulting in whiffs and a lot of soft contact. It helps when you can back that up with a mid-90s sinker, of course. Greene was fantastic. What a job.
All With Two Outs
The Yankees scored one run on Thursday and that’s all they needed. Naturally, they did not score that run after Ichiro Suzuki (infield single) and Brendan Ryan (single) reached base with one out in the third, setting things up for the top of the lineup. Brett Gardner hit into a rare 4-6-3 double play to kill that rally. It was only his third double play ball of the season. Bases loaded with two outs in the seventh? Nope, didn’t score then either. Martin Prado grounded out weakly to short to end the threat.
No, the Yankees scored their run after having the bases empty with two outs in the fourth. Prado and Jacoby Ellsbury lined out to left and center field to start the inning, respectively, so it seemed like another quick scoreless inning for Rick Porcello. Instead, the Yankees were able to string together three soft hits to score a run. Carlos Beltran singled to center, Chase Headley blooped another single to center, then Stephen Drew blooped a ground-rule double to left. It was perfectly placed just inside the foul line. Had it not hopped over the wall, I’m pretty sure Headley would have scored from first. Alas. One run is better than none.
Joe Girardi surprisingly let Greene start the ninth, but his shutout complete-game bid ended when Kinsler led the inning off with a single to center. David Robertson came on, walked (Victor) Martinez, got super scary pinch-hitter Miguel Cabrera to bang into a 4-3 double play, then got Kelly to line out softly to short for his 31st save. No sweat. (Lots of sweat.)
Everyone in the starting lineup had exactly one hit except for Frankie Cervelli (zero) and Ichiro (two). Drew’s double was the only extra-base hit and Headley drew their only walk, a four-pitch job off ex-Yankee Phil Coke with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Ryan took a fastball to the back as part of that ultimately fruitless seventh inning rally.
Greene is the first Yankees’ starter to complete eight innings of work since Hiroki Kuroda on July 1st. They’ve gotten only five other 8+ innings starts this year, all by (who else?) Masahiro Tanaka. The bullpen really needed an easy day like this. No one even had to warm up until Robertson got ready for the ninth.
This was only the fifth 1-0 game in New Yankee Stadium history and the first since Chris Archer shut the Yankees out last July. The Bombers are 2-3 in those five games. The other win was CC Sabathia‘s shutout of the Rays in 2011, when James Shields threw away a pickoff throw for the only run.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. Depending on the outcomes of the night game, the Yankees will be either four games back in the AL East and one game back of the second wildcard spot (Blue Jays beat Orioles), or five games back in the AL East and tied for the second wildcard spot (O’s beat Jays).
This four-game series with the Tigers is finally over. The Indians are coming to town for a three-game weekend set next and they’ll have Trevor Bauer on the mound for Friday’s opener. The Yankees? They still have not announced their starter. Chances are it will be Esmil Rogers in place of the injured David Phelps. Chase Whitley seems to be the other option. We’ll find out soon enough.