Archive for Game Stories
I don’t think you could have asked for a better finish to the series considering how the first two games played out. Brandon McCarthy led the Yankees to a 3-0 shutout win over the Astros on Thursday afternoon in the fastest game in New Yankee Stadium history. This one took only two hours and seven minutes.
McCarthy has been a big leaguer for ten seasons now. He was part of the 2005 World Champion White Sox team, believe it or not. He’s been around for a while, and yet on Thursday afternoon he set a new career-high by starting his 26th game of the season. McCarthy started 25 games with the 2011 Athletics and 22 games in two other seasons, but that’s it. Never before had he started 26 games in one big league season. He celebrated the new career-best in style.
As has been the case since he arrived in New York, McCarthy was fantastic on Thursday. He retired the first nine men he faced and then another seven in a row at one point from the fourth through seventh innings. The final eight batters he faced also made outs. The Astros put men at second and third in both the fourth (with two outs) and seventh (one out) innings, their only serious threats. McCarthy got out of the first jam with a ground ball back to himself and the second with a strikeout and a routine pop-up. Nice and easy.
McCarthy followed that seventh inning with a perfect eighth and ninth for his fourth career shutout and first since last season. He’s the first non-Masahiro Tanaka pitcher to throw a shutout for the Yankees since Ivan Nova last September. All told, McCarthy held the Astros to two singles, two doubles, and no walks in his nine innings, striking out eight and throwing 106 pitches. He retired the side in order in every inning but the fourth and seventh. Houston hit ten balls out of the infield all afternoon. That’s it. Fantastic outing for McCarthy and exactly what the team needed given the recent state of the bullpen.
For the first time in what felt like an eternity, the Yankees scored three runs in one inning. (They actually did it Sunday.) The second inning rally was set up by Mark Teixeira and Martin Prado, who respectively singled and doubled to give the Yankees runners at second and third with no outs. It was all Chase Headley after that. Well, almost all Headley.
First, Headley reached out and poked a double into the left field corner to score Teixeira and Prado, a nice little piece of hitting against a tough pitcher in Dallas Keuchel. It was the team’s third hit with runners in scoring position of the season, give or take. After that, Headley smartly advanced to third on Francisco Cervelli‘s grounder to short. He waited until Marwin Gonzalez fielded and threw the ball to first before taking off and making it to third without a throw.
The third run scored on Ichiro Suzuki‘s sacrifice fly to center, which Dexter Fowler ran down while running in towards the infield, putting him in okay position to throw as a right-handed thrower. Headley tagged up from third anyway and beat the off-line throw to the plate. Really heads up base-running in that inning. Headley could have stayed at second on Cervelli’s grounder and no one would have thought twice about it. He could have easily played it safe on Ichiro‘s shallow fly ball as well. Very nice inning.
The best chance for the Yankees to tack on insurance runs came in the sixth, when Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury started the inning with singles to put men on first and second with no outs. Teixeira struck out, Prado grounded out to advance both runners, then Headley grounded out to end the inning. That inning and the second inning rally were the only times New York had a runner reach second base.
Teixeira was the only player in the lineup with multiple hits, and he singled twice. Both Prado and Headley doubled for the team’s only extra-base hits. Jeter, Ellsbury, and Cervelli all had singles. No one walked because that’s not something the Yankees do anymore. Tack on runs would have been nice at some point, but whatever. They’ve scored four or fewer runs in ten straight games now.
And finally, Chris Rock caught a foul ball in the seventh inning. Well, he picked it up off the ground. Didn’t really catch it. He gave it to a kid. Details you just can’t get anywhere else, folks.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, head on over to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some nerdier game stats and ESPN has the up to the second standings. The Orioles are off today, so the Yankees are now nine games back in the AL East. They’re four games back of the second wildcard spot after the Rays held on to beat the Tigers. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 5.4%.
The White Sox come to town for a three-game weekend series next. Shane Greene and one-time Yankees trade target John Danks will the pitching matchup for Friday night’s series opener. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch any of the weekend games live.
Same old, same old. The Yankees lost to the Astros on Wednesday night for the fourth time in five tries this season, this time by the score of 5-2. New York has now scored four or fewer runs in nine straight games. Not coincidentally, they are 2-7 in those nine games.
Big Mike In The Bronx
Michael Pineda‘s first start back in Yankee Stadium after getting hurt in April went very well considering he was on a strict pitch count. The Astros touched him up for one run in the fourth inning on a single (Robbie Grossman), a sac bunt (Jose Altuve), and a loud double into the right field corner (Dexter Fowler), but that was it. Pineda was charged with a second run but we’ll get to that in a bit. He struck out three, walked one, allowed four hits, and threw 66 of 89 pitches for strikes (74%). Last time out he threw 67 pitches.
I don’t know if this is the norm, but Pineda seemed extra fidgety on the mound all night. Lots of stretching, lots of flexing, stuff like that. If he was in some kind of discomfort or just didn’t feel well, it didn’t show in the quality of his stuff, which was crisp from start to finish. He even threw some hard 90 mph changeups. (They might have been two-seamers, actually.) So far, so good for Pineda since he’s come off the disabled list. Just needs to continue getting stretched out, that’s all. He looks just as good as he did in April and that’s the most important thing.
Bombers Squeeze Bunters
It’s amazing what it takes for the Yankees to score a run these days. It seemed like just yesterday people were saying this team hit too many homers and needed to play more small ball and all that. Now the number three hitter has to lay down a squeeze bunt with two outs against the Astros in mid-August just to take a 2-1 run lead in the fifth inning. I miss offense. Ichiro Suzuki‘s single and stolen base combined with Derek Jeter‘s ground out set up Jacoby Ellsbury‘s run-scoring bunt, which was perfect. The Astros had no chance to get either runner. Desperate times, I guess.
The Yankees scored their first run a half-inning earlier, when Stephen Drew hit his first homer in pinstripes. I wouldn’t call it a Yankee Stadium cheapie, but he didn’t exactly crush it either. It landed in the bullpen, right next to stands. The homer and the squeeze bunt were the extent of the team’s run scoring on the night, though they sure had a bunch of chances. Eight at-bats with runners in scoring position overall, and the only hit was Ellsbury’s bunt. The lack of hitting with runners in scoring position is only a symptom, not the real problem. The real problem is a straight up lack of good hitters.
The B Team
Because they had each pitched three times in the last four games, the late-inning trio of Shawn Kelley, Dellin Betances, and David Robertson was apparently unavailable. Or at least one or two of them was, with the other guy(s) being held back for the eighth or ninth inning. That meant the B Team relievers were going to see high-leverage work because we all know the offense wasn’t going to give them any breathing room.
Pineda started the seventh inning but was lifted immediately after walking Jason Castro, the leadoff hitter. I can’t tell you how much I hate it when Joe Girardi sends his starter back out to start another inning when his leash is only one base-runner, especially when it’s someone on a pitch limit like Pineda. I hate it. Hate hate hate it. Just let the reliever start the inning fresh, you know? Anyway, that leadoff walk put the wheels in motion for Houston’s comeback.
In came David Huff — for the first time in ten days — to face the left-handed Jon Singleton (strike out) and the switch-hitting Marwin Gonzalez (single). Esmil Rogers replaced him with runners on first and second with one out, and he proceeded to allow four straight singles. All in the span of six pitches too. Matt Dominguez singled to load the bases, Jake Marisnick singled to tie the game at two, Grossman singled in two runs to give Houston a 4-2 lead, then Altuve capped it off with a single to score another run and make it 5-2. It happened in the blink of an eye.
The Yankees have an eight-man bullpen but only three are actually trustworthy right now. Maybe two depending on your opinion of Kelley. They’re wasting their time with guys like Rich Hill — what’s the point of dumping Matt Thornton if this is the guy you replace him with, even temporarily? — and others like Rogers and Chase Whitley just aren’t all that good. The lack of offense means Girardi’s go-to relievers have to work a lot, and every so often they need a rest. That’s how you end up with nights like this.
Brett Gardner (walk) and Jeter (single) reached base with two outs in the seventh to feign a rally but Ellsbury struck out to end the inning, so that was that. Almost the exact same thing happened in the ninth — Gardner (single) and Jeter (walk) reached base with two outs, meaning Ellsbury represented the tying run, but he flew out to right to end the game. The three-run bunt just wasn’t in the cards either time.
Jeter, Ellsbury, Chase Headley, and Ichiro all had two hits and both Gardner and Drew had one. Gardner, Jeter, and Drew each drew a walk. The Yankees stole four bases against Scott Feldman (two by Ellsbury, one each by Jeter and Ichiro) and got thrown out once (Headley). Feldman is really slow to the plate and ranks near the top of the league in stolen bases allowed.
Rogers tacked on a scoreless eighth inning after making a mess of things in the seventh and Whitley retired the side in order in the ninth. He had some help by Gardner, who made running catch in foul territory, hit the wall at hip-level, and flipped into the stands. Gardner held onto the ball and was fine. It wasn’t a violent fall or anything. Still a nice play.
According to the YES broadcast, Ellsbury’s squeeze bunt was the team’s first go-ahead bunt base hit in the fifth inning or later since August 1996, when Girardi did it. I doubt he was batting third. It was their second successful squeeze bunt of the year — Brendan Ryan did it to the Pirates back in May.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com is the place to go for the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. Both the Orioles and Tigers won, so the Yankees are 9.5 and five games back in the AL East and second wild-card races, respectively. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 6.3%. That’s really low!
The Yankees will look to avoid getting swept by the Astros at home in the year of our lord 2014 on Thursday afternoon. Brandon McCarthy and Dallas Keuchel will be the pitching matchup in the matinee. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to claw your eyes out in Yankee Stadium rather than at home.
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.