Archive for Game Stories
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.
For the third time in the last ten games, the Yankees needed extra innings on Wednesday. Thankfully they managed to win this time. Some stellar bullpen work and a clutch 14th inning homerun gave New York a 5-4 win over the Indians. The Bombers have won five of seven games on this never-ending road trip.
Welcome To New York, Brandon
The Yankees did not waste time showing Brandon McCarthy the ropes during his first start with the team — a throwing error led to three unearned runs in the very first inning. A bunch of singles that dropping in front of outfielders and bounced by infielders did the damage along with Mark Teixeira‘s throw off Michael Brantley’s back. He tried to get the lead runner ay second on a ground ball when he should have just taken the sure out at first base, in hindsight. Nick Swisher‘s two-run single with two outs was the big blow.
After that first inning, McCarthy settled down and allowed only one run in the next 5.2 innings. Fifteen of the 29 batters he faced hit the ball on the ground and four got through the infield for base hits. That’s basically his game, McCarthy doesn’t walk anyone (one walk in this game with a 4.2% walk rate on the season) and he makes hitters hit the ball on the ground (55.6%). He stayed true to form in his first start for the Yankees and the infield defense burned him in the first inning, which will happen from time to time. I mean, a throw into the back of a base-runner? Geez.
Overall, McCarthy gave the Yankees exactly what they were looking for when they acquired him: strikes and innings. He threw 101 pitches in his 6.2 innings and was only lifted to get the left-on-left matchup against the seemingly unstoppable Brantley. The Yankees were not acquiring an ace when they traded for McCarthy. They added someone who is more predictable and better able to pitch deep into the game than Vidal Nuno. Very solid first outing for the new guy.
Two Swings, Three Runs
Those unearned runs in the first inning put the Yankees in a quick three-zip hole, and it wasn’t until the middle innings that they started to chip away. Teixeira opened the team’s scoring with a leadoff solo homer in the fourth inning and he capped off their fifth inning rally with a monster two-run homer. A Jacoby Ellsbury double combined with a Derek Jeter single and a Brian McCann sacrifice fly created the first run in the fifth before Teixeira’s two-run tater. Five of ten batters reached base during that stretch between homers in the fourth and fifth.
Following Teixeira’s second homer, the offense did its best Derek Bell impersonation and went into Operation Shutdown, at least for a few innings. The next nine and 13 of the next 15 batters after the second homer made outs — neither base-runner reached scoring position — taking the Yankees into extra innings. That has become a theme on this road trip, scoring a bunch of runs relatively early then not doing much offensively the rest of the game. Quite annoying.
Who Wants To Win?
Both teams had excellent chances to score in the tenth inning, but neither capitalized. The Yankees put the first two men of the inning on base (Jeter walk, McCann single), but the next three made outs (Teixeira fly out, Roberts fielder’s choice, Ichiro Suzuki strikeout) to end the threat. Brian Roberts banged into what was initially ruled an inning-ending double play, but Joe Girardi challenged and replay showed Cody Allen’s foot slipped off first base before receiving the throw. Of course Ichiro didn’t make the Tribe pay and stranded runners at the corners. Of course.
In the bottom half, Adam Warren got a quick ground out from Asdrubal Cabrera before David Huff was brought in to get the platoon matchup against Brantley. Huff, who is apparently still on the Cleveland payroll as an Embedded Indian, then walked the next three batters to load the bases with one out. He did go to a full count on all three hitters, so he made it look like he was trying to get them out, which I’m sure the Indians brass appreciated. You gotta keep up appearances. Anyway, Shawn Kelley came in and escaped the jam with a strikeout (Swisher) and a routine ground ball to short (David Murphy). Five runners left on base between the two teams in the tenth.
The 11th, 12th, and 13th innings went by rather quietly — Roberts singled to leadoff the 13th and for whatever reason Ichiro did not bunt him over. I guess the bunt is reserved for the second inning when the opposing pitcher is struggling — and it appeared the 14th inning would be more of the same until Ellsbury hooked a Vinnie Pestano slider into right field for a two-out solo homer. Pestano threw him a few nasty sliders earlier in the at-bat and Ellsbury was sitting all over it with two strikes. Perfect.
Aside from Huff, who walked all three batters he faced, the bullpen was really strong in this game. Matt Thornton (one out), Dellin Betances (three outs), and Warren (one hit, four outs) bridged the gap between McCarthy and extra innings, then Kelley bailed out Huff in the tenth before adding a perfect 11th. Chase Whitley retired six straight after allowing a leadoff single in the 12th. David Robertson pitched around a one-out single in the ninth. The non-Huff portion of the bullpen allowed three singles and struck out nine in 7.1 scoreless innings.
The top four hitters in the lineup went a combined 8-for-24 (.333) with a double and three homers. The other five lineup spots went a combined 4-for-28 (.143) with no extra-base hits. Considering the starting lineup, I don’t think that’s too surprising. When Roberts is hitting fifth for your team in the year of our lord 2014, you can’t expect the bottom of the lineup to do much of anything.
For some reason Allen was allowed to throw two warm-up pitches following the video replay in the top of the tenth. The rules say warm-ups are only allowed at the start of an inning or when a new pitcher enters the game. I don’t think it changed the outcome at all, just wondering why it was allowed. Making up the rules as they go?
And finally, Kelly Johnson dropped the would-be final out in the bottom of the 14th. It was a tough basket catch play on a pop-up in foul territory, but the ball clanked off his glove. Brantley hit a rocket to left field that looked like it might get over Zoilo Almonte‘s head, but he twisted around and made the game-ending catch. Scary few moments there.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
The box score and video highlights are at MLB.com while some other stats are at FanGraphs. ESPN has the updated standings. The Orioles lost and the Mariners are getting blown out as of this writing, so the Yankees are now three games back of the top spot in the AL East and will likely be 2.5 games back of the second wild-card spot. This feels like the 2000 season all over again. First team to 87 wins gets the division title.
The Yankees and Indians wrap up this four-game series Thursday night. David Phelps and lefty T.J. House will be the pitching matchup.
This was a tale of two games. It was all Yankees in the first two innings and all Indians after that. Masahiro Tanaka‘s worst start of the season and an offense that completely vanished after the third inning led the Yankees to a 5-3 loss to the Indians on Tuesday night. The little two-game winning streak is snapped and New York is back to being only one game over .500 at 45-44.
Something came up tonight (nothing bad, everything’s fine), so I wasn’t able to watch this game at all after the first inning and can’t recap in much detail. Trevor Bauer was all over the place early on though, throwing 67 pitches in the first three innings while allowing three runs and putting seven of the first 14 men on base. Then he threw 45 pitches in the next four innings and retired 13 of the final 14 men he faced. The one base-runner came on a Nick Swisher error. It was a weak grounder right through his legs.
The Yankees did not have a hit after the third inning and did not have a base-runner after the fifth inning. They worked Bauer hard early on, scoring those three runs on a string of mostly singles — the sacrifice bunt in the second inning was silly with Bauer on the ropes, but in fairness, it was Zelous Wheeler at the plate. Two walks (of course) on the night, no extra-base hits. The 2014 Yankees in a nutshell.
Tanaka, meanwhile, got smacked around pretty good. He set a new season-high in hits (ten) and runs (five allowed) for the second straight start, surrendering a pair of homers to Michael Brantley and Swisher. Brantley was 3-for-4 with two doubles and the homer. He’s really impressive. Tanaka struck out five and got another ten outs on the ground, plus Cleveland hitters swung and missed 14 times at his 99 pitches, but his mistakes were crushed. He was bound to hit a rough patch at some point. The All-Star break will do him some good.
The box score and video highlights are at MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN has the updated standings. Brandon McCarthy will make his Yankees debut on Wednesday night, in the third game of this four-game series. Vidal Nuno threw seven shutout innings for the Diamondbacks tonight. Somewhere there is a Yankees fan lamenting the trade. Josh Tomlin will be on the bump for the Tribe.
Minor League Update: No time for the full update tonight, sorry. The box scores can be found right here. 2B Rob Refsnyder had two hits (single, double), OF Zoilo Almonte had three hits (triple, two singles), 1B Peter O’Brien had two hits (double, homer), RHP Luis Severino struck out eight in four innings, LHP Jacob Lindgren fanned three in two perfect innings, and fourth rounder LHP Jordan Montgomery allowed three runs in two-thirds of an inning in his pro debut. That’s about it.
It’s never easy with this team, but a win is a win. The Yankees won for the fourth time in five games on this road trip, beating the Indians by the score of 5-3 on Monday night.
Justin Masterson has not had a good year by any measure, but he looked far worse than I expected on Monday night. He had no idea where the ball was going — 24 strikes and 30 balls — and when he did locate in the zone, the Yankees clobbered it. They got to him for five runs on six hits and three walks in three innings, and all six hits were well struck. These weren’t bloops or grounders with eyes. Everything was hit with authority.
After stranding a runner at second in the first inning, the first seven men to bat in the second inning reached base against Masterson. The inning went double to right (Brian McCann), run-scoring double to left (Brian Roberts), single to left (Ichiro Suzuki, who was thrown out attempting to advance on the throw home), walk (Kelly Johnson), hit by pitch (Frankie Cervelli), run-scoring single to left (Gardner), bases loaded walk (Derek Jeter). Jacoby Ellsbury was robbed a bases-clearing double down the line by Carlos Santana, who made a sweet play at first to turn an inning-ending double play. The Yankees were all over Masterson.
The third inning was more of the same. Mark Teixeira (walk) and McCann (single) reached base to lead things off, ending Masterson’s day. Brian Roberts lined out as the next batter, but Ichiro plated a run with an infield single and the Indians helped bring home another run when Jason Kipnis threw away a potential double play ball. They got the out at second, but the throw was off line and Cervelli was safe, allowing the run to score and extending the inning. Twelve (!) of the first 17 men New York sent to the plate reached base.
It’s very obvious Shane Greene has the stuff to pitch in the big leagues, isn’t it? The kid was running his mid-90s sinker all over the place and breaking off some nasty upper-80s sliders as well. I thought half of them were cutters he was throwing them so hard. In fact, let’s take a second to look at the PitchFX breakdown, courtesy of Brooks Baseball (data may change overnight):
- 34 sliders, averaged 86.6 mph and topped out at 91.3 (!)
- 30 sinkers, averaged 95.4 mph and topped out at 97.2
- 13 cutters, averaged 95.1 and topped out at 97.0
- eight four-seamers, averaged 95.1 mph and topped out at 96.9
- two curves and one changeup
The stuff has never been the problem, but Greene’s command tends to come and go, sometimes within a start. He had it working in his first career MLB start on Monday night, holding the high-powered Indians to two runs in six innings. He faced the minimum (one hit by a pitch with a caught stealing mixed in) and did not allow a hit until Nick Swisher swatted a solo homer with two outs in the fifth. The Indians scored their second run with a series of soft hits in the sixth. Nothing crazy.
Greene used that Derek Lowe-esque sinker to get nine of his 15 outs on the ground. They were weak grounders too. Easy plays that required minimal effort from the defenders. Five of his other six outs were recorded on the infield via pop-ups and strikeouts. Greene threw 56 of 88 pitches for strikes (64%) and he didn’t walk anyone. Five batters saw a three-ball count and four of them made outs. The exception was Swisher’s homer.
Considering how shaky the non-Masahiro Tanaka portion of the rotation has been the last few weeks, Greene gave the Yankees exactly what they needed on Monday. Two runs in six innings? Can’t ask for much more from a kid making his first career start. Greene handled a good lineup well and I think he did more than enough to earn another start. Keep Chase Whitley in the bullpen for the time being, re-evaluate everything after the All-Star break.
After the Yankees scored their five runs in the first three innings, the Cleveland bullpen held them scoreless on five singles in the final six innings. They did manage to get three runners into scoring position, but were unable to get them home. Par for the course, I guess. The Yankees have had a knack for scoring runs early and doing nothing after that.
Greene got the Yankees through six innings, but the bullpen was taxed and that pressed David Huff into setup work. He retired the side in order in the seventh, served up a solo homer to Yan Gomes to leadoff the eighth, then was replaced by Dellin Betances. Betances finished off the eighth inning — Kipnis reached on a Roberts error with one out, then got deked out by Jeter on a foul pop-up and was doubled off first — then pitched around a leadoff single in the ninth. Lonnie Chisenhall and Swisher flew out for the 26th and 27th outs, and I’m not going to lie, I thought both balls were trouble off the bat. Maybe not homers, but extra-base hits. Thankfully that wasn’t the case and this was the first (of many?) save of Dellin’s career.
Santana made three very good plays at first base, including two to cut runners down at home plate. He threw Cervelli out at home in the second as part of Ellsbury’s inning-ending double play, then he managed to get McCann in a rundown between third and home in the fifth. Not too bad for a converted catcher. Santana legitimately saved his team some runs with his glove in this game.
Gardner went 3-for-5 at the plate and was thrown out trying to steal second in the eighth inning. He has been thrown out in each of his last three steal attempts and has not successfully stolen a base since June 20th, 16 games ago. What’s up with that? McCann and Ichiro had three hits apiece as well. Two of Ichiro’s were infield singles. Roberts had two knocks as well. The Yankees did draw three walks (Jeter, Teixeira, Johnson), so this was only the second time they drew more than two walks in their last eleven games.
Between Greene (two), Huff (one), and Betances (three), the Yankees got six swings and misses out of 116 total pitches (2.6%). Not a big deal or anything, it obviously didn’t hurt them at all, but it surprised me when I looked at the box score. I understand Huff not missing bats, but Greene was throwing some vicious stuff and Betances is Betances. Baseball can be weird.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, go to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stats and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Orioles beat the Nationals in extra innings, so the Yankees remain 2.5 games back in the AL East. Depending on what happens with the late game, they will be either 2.5 (Mariners lose) or 3.5 (Mariners win) games back of the second wildcard spot.
These same two teams play again on Tuesday night, in the second game of this four-game series. Masahiro Tanaka and Trevor Bauer will be the pitching matchup.
The All-Star break can not come soon enough for the bullpen. The Yankees jumped out to an early 9-0 lead against the Twins on Sunday afternoon, but Minnesota slowly chipped away, and before you knew it, the tying run was on base. Thankfully, New York still managed to walk away with a 9-7 win, taking three of four in Target Field. Let’s recap the nail-biter:
- Nope-lasco: The Yankees destroyed Ricky Nolasco. He faced 13 batters, put eight on base, and allowed six runs in two innings of work. One of the outs was a great jumping catch by Sam Fuld at the wall, another was an out at the plate when Mark Teixeira ran through a stop sign. The big blow was Jacoby Ellsbury‘s three-run homer in the second inning. Nolasco was fooling no one. They were all over him.
- Hiroki Why: The lead swelled to 9-0 in the third inning, but Hiroki Kuroda gave four runs back (two on a Chris Colabello homer) in the bottom half of the inning to make the came uncomfortably close-ish. He did not allow any more runs, he failed to complete six full innings of work after being staked to a nine-run lead. That really sucks, especially with the bullpen running on fumes. Kuroda allowed the four runs on seven hits and two walks in 5.2 innings. Yuck.
- Chipped Away: The Twins managed to score seven unanswered runs between the fourth and ninth innings. Adam Warren allowed a run (infield single, single, ground out) in 1.1 innings of work, Jim Miller allowed a run (solo homer) in an inning of work, and David Robertson (single, single single) allowed a run in his inning of work. The Twins had men on the corners and the go-ahead run at the plate when Robertson got Kurt Suzuki to ground out for the final out. Like I said before, these relievers need the All-Star break in the worst way.
- Leftovers: Derek Jeter went 3-for-4 and recorded his 3,400th career hit … every starter reached base at least once except Carlos Beltran and they all had a hit except Beltran and Brett Gardner (two walks) … Jeter, Ellsbury (two), Teixeira (two), Ichiro Suzuki (three), and Kelly Johnson (two) all had multiple hits … Ichiro had the team’s only strikeout (Twins!) and Gardner had the only walks, so make it nine times in the last ten games that they’ve been held to two walks or less … despite allowing nine runs and 16 base-runners, four Twins pitchers combined to throw only 138 pitches. Four Yankees pitchers threw 166.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some additional stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Orioles beat the Red Sox, so the Yankees are still 3.5 games back of both the AL East lead and the second wildcard spot. The Bombers are now off to Cleveland for a four-game series with the Indians. Shane Greene will get the call to make a spot start necessitated by the Brandon McCarthy/Vidal Nuno trade in the series opener on Monday. Justin Masterson will be on the bump for Cleveland.
This game was so stupidly 2014 Yankees. It had everything. No offense? Of course. Worn out bullpen? Indeed. Terrible defense? Naturally. Add it all together and you get a silly 2-1 walk-off loss in eleven innings. I can’t even be mad. I’m impressed at how low they’ve stooped. Let’s recap the team’s tenth loss in the last 14 games:
- Gift Run: The Yankees scored their only run after the umpires missed Ichiro Suzuki being thrown out at second on a stolen base. It was a bang-bang play, no doubt, but replays showed he was tagged out. Thankfully the Twins never bothered to challenge or even argue. Frankie Cervelli followed with a two-out single to left to give the Yankees a one-zip lead in the fifth. It was the first of two runs he helped drive in on the afternoon.
- Cy Phelps: David Phelps deserves so much better than a no decision. He gave the team seven innings of one-run ball when the bullpen was gassed, which is exactly what they needed. He allowed three hits — one a Josh Willingham solo homer off the facing of the second deck — and two walks while striking out three. Phelps retired eleven in a row at one point, immediately before the homer. He did his job.
- LMAOffense: The Yankees put runners in scoring position in the sixth, seventh, and tenth innings, but of course they didn’t get The Big Hit. (They went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position overall.) They had opportunities to score in the late innings. This wasn’t the offense disappearing for like five innings at a time, though someone named Yohan Pino held them to one run on three singles in six innings. Blah.
- Thrown Away: Cervelli literally threw this game away. Joe Girardi went to Shawn Kelley and Matt Thornton for two innings each because the bullpen has been overworked — Kelley escaped a bases loaded jam in the eighth — which is about as risky as it gets. Thornton faced eight batters and six were right-handed. (He didn’t even get the two lefties out.) Chris Colabello just missed a walk-off homer in the 11th, instead settling for a leadoff double. A Willingham intentional walk and an Oswaldo Arcia hit-by-pitch loaded the bases with one out. Thornton got a weak grounder back to himself, started the potential 1-2-3 double play, but Cervelli threw the ball into right field to lose the game. Shoulda just held onto it, I’m not sure a perfect throw would have gotten the out. It’s their second walk-off error in the last eleven days.
- Leftovers: Alfonso Soriano missed a foul pop-up and went 0-for-4 with two feeble strikeouts at the plate. He is hitting .221/.244/.367 (61 wRC+) on the year. I defy you to find a more useless player on an active 25-man roster … Brett Gardner replaced Soriano in left to start the ninth inning but did not pinch-hit for him in the previous half-inning for whatever reason … the Yankees had no extra-base hits and the singles belonged to Derek Jeter, Brian Roberts, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Ichiro, and Cervelli (two) … Mark Teixeira and Beltran drew the only walks, so for the eighth time in the last nine games, the Yankees drew two walks or less … the so-called Bronx Bombers have been held to one run or less 18 times this season. They did it 29 times all of last year.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees wrap up this four-game series in Target Field on Sunday afternoon, when Hiroki Kuroda gets the ball again Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco has a 5.49 ERA, which is the highest among qualified starters by one-third of a run. You and I both know that means little with this offense.
It wasn’t particularly easy, but the Yankees beat the Twins by the score of 6-5 on Friday afternoon to win their second straight game. The Twinkies always come through whenever the Yankees need a win. Let’s recap the Independence Day victory, for America:
- Early Offense: The Yankees were all over Kyle Gibson. Three of the first four, four of the first seven, and five of the first eleven men they sent to the plate had extra-base hits, including run-scoring doubles by Brian Roberts and Mark Teixeira. Teixeira missed a homer by a foot or two. Brett Gardner had a triple and Frankie Cervelli had a double amid the carnage. Carlos Beltran (sac fly), Brendan Ryan (sac fly), and Jacoby Ellsbury (two-run single) also drove in runs as the Yankees scored six runs in two innings against Gibson.
- Chased Whitley: Make it three straight dud outings for Chase Whitley. The right-hander allowed four runs (including two solo homers) and put nine men on base in only three innings of work, needing 74 pitches for nine outs. Over his last three starts, Whitely has allowed 17 runs on 27 hits and six walks in 10.1 innings. That is very bad. The Yankees really need another starter.
- Turn Back The Clock: When he woke up Friday morning, Roberts was hitting .237/.309/.355 (84 wRC+). He’ll go to bed hitting .248/.318/.384 (94 wRC+). That’s what a 4-for-5 with three doubles and a triple day will do for ya. Two of the doubles and the triple banged off the wall (one double was a grounder inside the line), so this was no luck. He was smashing everything. Roberts is the first Yankee with a four extra-base hit game since Alex Rodriguez had two doubles and two homers against the Devil Rays in 2005. Roberts is also the first Yankee with zero homers in a four extra-base hit game since Jim Mason in 1974 (four doubles). Crazy.
- Bullpen On Parade: Since Whitley bowed out after three innings, Joe Girardi was forced to dip deep into his bullpen. David Huff chucked three perfect innings then Adam Warren and Dellin Betances combined to throw the seventh and eighth. Betances allowed a run on a single, a hit batsman, a double steal, and a ground out. He looks like he’s running on fumes. The All-Star break can’t come soon enough for him. David Robertson allowed a double and struck out the side in the ninth for his 20th save. Forty-seven of his last 65 outs are strikeouts. Think about that.
- Leftovers: The Yankees had ten hits, including four by Roberts and three by Cervelli. Gardner, Ellsbury, and Teixeira had the other hits. Gardner drew the only walk, so the team now has two or fewer walks in seven of their last eight games … the Yankees had eight extra-base hits as a team for the second time this year (this was the other game), but it’s the first time they had eight extra-base hits with no homeruns since July 2007 (this game) … Zelous Wheeler made this great catch falling into the dugout, but it didn’t count because he was out of the field of play. Stupid rules.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Blue Jays lost (on a Nick Punto walk-off!) and the Orioles were rained out, so the Yankees are three games back of Baltimore and 2.5 games back of Toronto in the AL East. Depending on the outcome of the late game, they will be either 3.5 (Mariners lose) or 4.5 (Mariners win) games back of the second wildcard spot. David Phelps and Yohan Pino will be the pitching matchup in the third game of this four-game series on Saturday afternoon.
Minor League Update: It’s a holiday, so I’m taking a break from the usual minor league update. Here are the box scores: Triple-A Scranton, High-A Tampa, Low-A Charleston, Short Season Staten Island, Rookie GCL Yanks1, and Rookie GCL Yanks2. Double-A Trenton was rained out. 1B Greg Bird homered, LHP Miguel Sulbaran threw five one-hit innings, and 3B Eric Jagielo singled. Oh, and 2B Rob Refsnyder hit a three-run walk-off homer. That about wraps it up.
A win! Those are always fun. Two rookies (technically!) helped the Yankees snap their five-game losing streak with a 7-4 win over the Twins on Thursday night. The Bombers are now 14-3 all-time at Target Field and 42-42 on the season.
Zelous Makes Everyone Jealous With Strong Debut
It’s amazing. The Yankees dropped an unproductive player from their roster and replaced him with someone who was hitting very well in Triple-A, and it improved the offense for at least one night. Zelous Wheeler‘s first day as a big leaguer went very well thanks mostly to a fifth inning solo homer off Phil Hughes. It’s always neat when a guy hits a homer in his first MLB game. Wheeler singled in the seventh inning to help set up another run as well.
The solo homer was not the big blow of the night. Far from it. The Yankees fell behind 2-0 early on but broke out for four runs in the fifth, three on Carlos Beltran‘s three-run homerun. It’s fun being on the other end of Phil’s #obligatoryhomer, isn’t it? Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann both singled to right to set up Beltran’s homer. Nothing fancy, Hughes just left a pitch out over the plate and it went a long way. This game had a very “here we go again” vibe early after the Twins scored, but the four-run fifth inning was just what the team needed. Hooray dingers. Hooray runs.
By almost any measure, this was Masahiro Tanaka‘s worst start as a big leaguer. He allowed a career-high four earned runs on a career-high nine hits while striking out a career-low three batters. Three of the nine hits were doubles to the wall. It was his first non-quality start of the season. Tanaka only threw 85 pitches in his seven innings of work, so there was plenty left in the tank, but he wasn’t sharp and he’s going to close out the first half with three straight starts on normal rest. Not at all a bad move by Joe Girardi to get his ace out of there with a comfortable lead.
The four-run fifth inning was great but it was not going to be enough. The Yankees rallied for three more runs in the seventh thanks to a walk (Ichiro Suzuki), a single (Wheeler), a one-run double (Brendan Ryan), a one-run single (Brett Gardner), and a one-run fielder’s choice (Derek Jeter). Four straight batters reached base to end Hughes’ night. He allowed a season-high seven runs.
With the big-ish lead and Tanaka not sharp, Joe Girardi handed the ball to the rested Dellin Betances and David Robertson for the final six outs. Betances struck out two in a perfect eighth and Robertson struck out the side while walking one in the ninth. Betances now has a 14.33 K/9 (42.6 K%) while Robertson is at 16.01 K/9 (44.3 K%). Those two are some kind of weapon at the end of games. They don’t even let the other team put the ball in play. It’s so awesome.
The Yankees managed to record a 9-4-2-5-7 putout in the first inning. Chris Parmelee doubled to right and, long story short, he was caught in a rundown trying to advance to third on the play. It ended with Gardner tagging him out near the shortstop position. Not every day you see an outfielder apply a tag for an out near second base.
Teixeira, Ichiro, and Wheeler all had two hits while Gardner, McCann, Beltran, and Ryan had one apiece. Ichiro drew the only walk — the Yankees have drawn no more than two walks in six of their last seven games — and the only players who failed to safely reach base at least once were Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury. Ryan’s double was his first extra-base hit of the year. I know he was hurt for a while and is a rarely used backup infielder, but geez.
Scary moment in the fifth inning, when McCann came up limping on his single to right. There didn’t appear to be any kind of misstep or anything like that, he just reached for his left foot/ankle after getting to first. He remained in the game and afterwards Joe Girardi said McCann was sore and would likely sit on Friday. It’s a day game after a night game anyway.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and standings, FanGraphs some additional stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Blue Jays lost and the Orioles won, so they are now tied atop the AL East. The Yankees are 3.5 games back of both the division lead and the second wildcard spot.
It’s a Fourth of July matinee. These two teams will play the second game of this four-game set on Friday afternoon, when Chase Whitley gets the ball against Kyle Gibson.
For the first time this season, the Yankees have lost five straight games. The Rays took Wednesday afternoon’s series finale by the score of 6-3, completing the sweep. They had baseball’s worst record coming into the series. The Yankees have now lost nine of their last eleven games are are 41-42 on the year. Stinky.
For the first time in what felt like an eternity, the Yankees actually jumped out to an early lead on Wednesday afternoon. Brett Gardner opened the day with a typically long at-bat (seven pitches) and a leadoff homer into the right field second deck off Jake Odorizzi. It was gone off the bat. No doubter. Gardner has now hit eight homers this season, tying his career-high (set last year). He’s going to wind up hitting like 12-15 dingers this summer. Crazy.
Brian McCann chipped in a solo homer of his own two innings later, a cheap little New Yankee Stadium shot just inside the foul pole down the right field line. It was a high pop-up in almost every other ballpark. Like everyone else, I expected Gardner to be hitting the cheapies and McCann to be launching bombs into the second deck coming into the year. Also, believe it or not, the Yankees have hit multiple homers in four of their last eight games. Doesn’t feel like it, right?
One inning after that, the wholly unproductive right field platoon of Alfonso Soriano (single) and Ichiro Suzuki (walk) reached base to start the inning. Soriano was in right and Ichiro was playing center. Brian Roberts lined out and Yangervis Solarte popped out, so it appeared any potential rally would go to waste. Been an awful lot of that this year. Thankfully Gardner was up next and thankfully he pulled a two-strike single through the right side of the infield to score Soriano. Brett has been the best player on the team this season and I don’t think it’s particularly close at this point.
No Lead Is Safe
The Yankees took the lead three times early in the game and Vidal Nuno gave it back almost immediately each time. The Rays scored their first run in the third inning on a leadoff walk (Ryan Hanigan), a double (Ben Zobrist), and a passed ball. They scored their second run in the fourth inning, right after McCann homered. A double by Logan Forsythe and a single by Sean Rodriguez did the trick. In the fifth — again, right after Gardner re-gave the Yankees the lead — Desmond Jennings, Zobrist, and Brandon Guyer strung together a single, a double, and a single to score another run. Guyer would have had a two-run single had Gardner not thrown Zobrist out at the plate.
All told, Nuno was charged with four runs (three earned) in five innings of work. Joe Girardi opted to send him back out to start the sixth only to yank him when the leadoff runner reached base. I hate that. If his leash is one base-runner, then just let the reliever start the inning clean. This isn’t Masahiro Tanaka. It’s Vidal Nuno and he was putting guys on base all day. Shawn Kelley took over and allowed a two-run homer to Sean freaking Rodriguez on his third pitch. Just like that, the Rays were up 5-3 and had all the runs they would need on the afternoon.
I mean, it’s no surprise Nuno did not carry his success against the Red Sox over from his last start. Everyone has a great game now and then and it doesn’t mean they’ve turned some kind of corner. Four runs (three earned) in five innings is perfectly fine from your seventh (or eighth? whatever) starter, though Nuno is third on the team in starts (14) and innings (78). That’s not good. Kelley … good grief. He has been a mess since coming off the disabled list.
Not Hitting With Runners In Scoring Position Isn’t The Problem …
… bad hitters are the problem. The Yankees went one-for-whatever (nine, actually) with runners in scoring position and stranded runners at the corners in the fifth, at first and second in the seventh, and at second in the eighth. There were some chances to tack-on runs or make the game closer, but they were unable to take advantage. Gardner’s run-scoring single in the fourth was the lone hit with men in scoring position. He had three hits while McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Roberts had two apiece as well. McCann and Ichiro drew the only walks.
The Yankees have been unable to get hits with men on base all season but that in and of itself isn’t the problem. It’s just the symptom of the real problem. They aren’t unclutch or anything silly like that. They just have too many bad hitters. That’s the problem. Even if McCann and Beltran start hitting like everyone expected them to hit, the Yankees would still have Derek Jeter, Roberts, Ichiro, Soriano, Solarte, Kelly Johnson, etc. getting regular at-bats. It’s pretty remarkable how many flat-out bad hitters are on the roster and have been all season.
The Rays made four outs on the bases. Gardner threw Zobrist out at home, Soriano threw Rodriguez out at second trying to stretch a single into a double (on the play that scored Tampa’s second run), Jeter caught Zobrist wandering too far off second base on a ground ball in the seventh, and Kevin Kiermaier was picked off first in the eighth. The Gardner and Soriano throws were good plays, the other two were gifts.
Adam Warren allowed two singles (one infield) and a walk in 1.1 innings of work. He was helped out by Zobrist’s second base-running blunder. David Huff allowed one run in 1.2 innings of mop-up duty. He was hurt by some shaky infield defense. Guyer hit a slow grounder to third that Solarte threw into right field attempting to turn the 5-4-3 double play. Somehow it was ruled it hit. What?
Michael Kay went on a pretty amusing rant about Jacoby Ellsbury‘s off-day in the first inning. He pointed out that it was Lou Gehrig bobblehead day and basically said that if Gehrig could play every single day, Ellsbury should be able to do it in the first year of his seven-year contract. It was a hoot.
According to the YES broadcast, the Yankees are now 1-32 when allowing five or more runs. This is the latest into the season the Yankees have been below .500 since they were 39-42 at the halfway point of the 2007 season. That team rallied to win the wildcard and make the postseason. That team also had good players.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
You can find the box score and video highlights at MLB.com. There are some other stats at FanGraphs and the updated standings at ESPN. Edwin Encarnacion and the Blue Jays walked off against the Brewers on Wednesday afternoon, so the Yankees are now 4.5 games back of Toronto for first place in the AL East. The Mariners beat up on the Astros, so the Bombers are five games back of the second wildcard spot.
The homestand is mercifully over and the Yankees are heading up to Minnesota for a four-game series with the Twins. Current Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka and one time projected Yankees ace Phil Hughes start things off on Friday night.
The losing streak has hit four and the Yankees are back at .500 with a 41-41 record. This is the latest into the season the team has been at or below .500 during the Joe Girardi era. Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss to the Rays was a fairly straight forward “they just couldn’t get the big hit” loss.
Wait, They Scored How?
When I write these recaps, I tend to jot down notes while watching so I don’t forget stuff. Many of those notes don’t even make it into the recap, but you never know. I was at this game though, so I needed to look over the gamelog when I got home to remember exactly what happened. I remembered they scored just the one run and the box score says they went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, but wait … the one hit didn’t even score a run. Then I remembered how they scored.
David Price was not necessarily on cruise control, the Yankees did make him work a bit, but he held them scoreless in the first three innings before Derek Jeter led off the fourth with a booming double to center. The Cap’n just destroys Price for whatever reason. Jacoby Ellsbury followed with a soft line drive single to center — that was the lone hit with runners in scoring position, Jeter had to hold up because Ben Zobrist almost made the diving catch — to put runners on the corners with no outs.
Great situation, right? Well, it was until Mark Teixeira flew out to shallow right (too shallow to score Jeter) and Ellsbury got picked off first. He was dead to rights between first and second, but Zobrist’s throw hit Ellsbury in the back and allowed a) him to slide into second safely, and b) Jeter to cross the plate without a throw. That’s how the Yankees scored their one run on Tuesday. Ellsbury got picked off first and Zobrist hit him in the back with a throw during the rundown. Sigh.
It was not his prettiest start of the season, but with a short bullpen, Hiroki Kuroda gave his team eight innings of two-run ball. Logan Forsythe singled in a run in the third and James Loney hit a solo homer in the sixth, and that was it. Kuroda stranded runners on first and second in the fourth, on the corners in the fifth, and on second and third in the eighth. He had to grind a bit, yet at the end of the day he plenty effective and good enough to win.
All told, Kuroda allowed just those two runs on nine hits and one walk. He struck out seven and threw 69 of his season-high 109 pitches for strikes (63%). Twenty-one of his 24 outs were recorded on the infield. It wasn’t Kuroda at his best but in a sense it was a microcosm of his MLB career: reliable, effective, unrewarded. This poor guy never gets run support — he didn’t with the Dodgers back in the day either — yet he keeps plugging along. Kuroda now has a 3.58 ERA in his last eleven starts, by the way. He’s bounced back well from his poor April.
As usual, the Yankees did have some opportunities to plate the go-ahead or game-tying or whatever run. Teixeira lined out to left to end the first with Brett Gardner on second. Carlos Beltran and Alfonso Soriano flew out and struck out, respectively, with a) Ellsbury on second to end the fourth, and b) Jeter on second and Teixeira on first to end the sixth. And finally, Yangervis Solarte grounded out to first to end the game with Ichiro on second and Kelly Johnson at first. The four through eight hitters went a combined 0-for-17 with three walks. Gross.
Jeter had two of the team’s four hits. His fourth inning double was the 534th of his career, which tied him with Lou Gehrig for the most in franchise history. As Jeff Quagliata points out, Price has now given up Jeter’s 3,000th hit, the hit that moved Jeter into a tie with Willie Mays on the all-time list, the hit that tied Jeter with Gehrig for the most in Old Yankee Stadium history, and the double that moved Jeter into a tie with Gehrig for the most in team history. “I feel like if I had (to face) a lineup full of 40-year old Derek Jeters, I might not make it through the fifth,” said Price to Bryan Hoch after the game.
The Yankees struck out eleven times as a team and it was only their third time with double-digit strikeouts in their last 25 games. That includes extra-inning games. Strikeouts are at an all-time high right now but the club has an 18.5% strikeout rate overall, the fifth lowest in baseball. Putting the ball in play isn’t a problem. The quantity of contact is fine, the quality of contact is not. Price struck out nine and had his streak of consecutive starts with 10+ strikeout snapped at five. The last to do that was vintage Johan Santana back in 2004.
Kuroda’s eight innings spared the bullpen one day after the 12-inning game. David Huff was the only reliever used and he retired the side on 15 pitches. He hit 95.0 mph (!) with his fastball according to PitchFX. What in the world is that about? Maybe it’s time to see what Huff can do in a one-inning, air-it-out role? Maybe he’ll turn into the left-handed version of Adam Warren.
Last but unfortunately not least, the Yankees are now 18-22 at Yankee Stadium this season. They’ve been outscored 186-144 and out-homered 57-45 in the Bronx. I shouldn’t be looking forward to seeing this team go out on an extended road trip at the end of the week, but here we are.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some additional stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. Both the Orioles and Blue Jays won, so the Yankees are 3.5 games back of Toronto and 2.5 games back of Baltimore. They’re four games back of the second wildcard spot.
The Yankees will look to avoid being swept on Wednesday afternoon — yes, it’s an afternoon game — in their final home game before the All-Star break. Vidal Nuno and Jake Odorizzi will be the pitching matchup. If you want to see that one live, head over to RAB Tickets.