Archive for Game Stories
That was some start to the final homestand of the season. The Yankees scored three runs again — they scored at least three runs in back-to-back games for the first time in exactly a week — and used a walk-off error to beat the Blue Jays by the score of 3-2 on Thursday night. It was their eighth walk-off win of the season and fourth in their last eleven home games. They’ve been involved in five walk-offs in their last nine games overall (two wins, three losses).
I was out running around all afternoon/evening and I didn’t get home until right before Derek Jeter hit his solo homer in the sixth inning. I mean right before. I walked in the door, turned on the television, changed the channel, and R.A. Dickey was in mid-windup on the homer pitch. Pretty great timing on my part. The homer was Jeter’s first at Yankee Stadium this year and fourth on the season overall. It is also likely to be the final homer of his career. Bummer.
Jeter’s long ball gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead — apparently Stephen Drew (!?) doubled in Chase Headley in the fifth inning, which was unexpected — but that lead evaporated in the eighth inning on Jose Bautista’s entirely predictable two-out, two-strike, two-run homer. Francisco Cervelli called for and Shawn Kelley threw the same exact pitch three straight times to Bautista:
What did they think was going to happen? Bautista was visibly angry with himself after fouling off the second pitch, so maybe change it up a bit? He was sitting on the third straight high fastball and appropriately pimped the homer trot. I would have too. Can you imagine being a big leaguer? I’d pimp the hell out of it every time I hit a ball out of the park. That must be the coolest feeling in the world.
Anyway, the Yankees rallied to win the game in the bottom of the ninth on a walk-off error by Adam Lind at first base. Chris Young led the inning off with a single, pinch-runner Antoan Richardson stole second, then Brett Gardner bunted him over to third. He actually got ahead in the count 3-0, bunted foul twice, then got it down in the 3-2 count. Not textbook. Headley then hit the ground ball that Lind straight up Bucknered at first base. Right through his legs. Richardson was running on contact and I thought he had a chance to beat the throw even if Lind fielded it because he had dropped to his knees. Whatever, doesn’t really matter now.
Headley now has three walk-off … batted balls? … with the Yankees. That wasn’t a hit, so I guess walk-off batted balls it is. He had the walk-off single in his first game in pinstripes, the walk-off homer against Koji Uehara, and now this walk-off error ball. My brother said Headley reminds him of a late-1990s Yankee, if that makes sense. I hope they find a way to keep him after the season. David Robertson deserves some props for his perfect top of the ninth and Dellin Betances as well for getting the final out of the seventh. The Yankees are scaling back on his workload, hence the one-out appearance. Shane Greene (three singles, two walks in 6.2 shutout innings) was awesome yet again.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees are five games back of the second wildcard spot with ten games to play. Their elimination number is six and FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 0.1%. Veterans Hiroki Kuroda and Mark Buehrle will be on the bump Friday night. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to catch that or any of the other six home games left on the season/Jeter’s career.
The Yankees scored three runs! And they won too! Games like Wednesday night’s have become way too rare for this team. Those three runs stood up thanks to the pitching staff and the Yankees were able to salvage the series finale against the Rays with a 3-2 victory.
In the span of two innings on Wednesday, the Yankees matched their runs total from the previous three games combined. A leadoff hit-by-pitch got the offense started in the fifth inning — it was unintentional and not a continuation of Tuesday’s silliness, Alex Cobb hit Chris Young with a breaking ball in the butt cheek — then Chase Headley and Brendan Ryan had the big blows with doubles to left-center and right field, respectively. Headley drove in Young and scored when Ryan’s double hopped over the fence for a ground-rule job.
The two runs gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead, and an inning later they managed to tack on an ultimately necessary insurance run. A single (Derek Jeter) and two walks (Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira) loaded the bases with no outs, though Young popped up in foul territory for the first out, putting the team a ground ball away from no runs. Thankfully, Brett Gardner unloaded on a 3-0 fastball and hit it to the very top of the wall in right field, only to watch Wil Myers make a tremendous leaping catch to rob him of an easy double and a possible triple. It was a truly great catch. Jeter was able to score from third on the sac fly.
Headley drew a walk to reload the bases but Ichiro Suzuki hit a tapper back to Cobb to end the threat. Considering how things have been going for this offense of late, getting one run out of a bases loaded, no outs situation kinda felt like a win. It would have been several runs if not for Myers. In all likelihood Gardner’s fly ball is a grand slam in the Bronx. It was close to leaving the yard anyway. The Yankees scored seven runs total in their last six games, so consider cobbling together three runs against Cobb a minor miracle.
De facto staff ace Brandon McCarthy made two bad pitches all night, basically. He left a pitch up in the zone to Evan Longoria in the fourth inning, resulting in a solo homer to dead center and the game’s first run. Then, in the sixth, McCarthy left another pitch up to David DeJesus, who hit it over Ichiro‘s head in right field for a triple. I thought Ichiro had a chance to make a play, but his leap was either ill-timed or just short. DeJesus was rounding second by time the ball bounced off the turf and high off the top of the wall.
Longoria grounded out to short to score DeJesus and bring the Rays to within 3-2. McCarthy held the Rays to those two runs on four hits and a walk in seven innings of work — his final inning was an Immaculate Inning, three strikeouts on nine pitches — while striking out four and getting 15 of his other 17 outs on the infield. I was surprised Joe Girardi lifted him after only 91 pitches (63 strikes) because it looked like he had plenty of gas left in the tank for the eighth inning, especially with the bottom of the order due up. Either way, McCarthy was pretty great on Wednesday, which has been the norm during his time in pinstripes.
Girardi went to Dellin Betances for the eighth inning and, long story short, he struck out DeJesus looking to strand pinch-runner Brandon Guyer at third base. Ryan Hanigan drew a leadoff walk before Guyer stole second and moved to third on Ben Zobrist’s grounder. Betances struck out Kevin Kiermaier earlier in the inning, so he now has 132 strikeouts on the season. That breaks Mariano Rivera‘s single-season franchise record for a reliever. Mo had 130 strikeouts in 107.2 innings in 1996. Dellin has 132 strikeouts in 87.2 innings. Congrats to him.
David Robertson, who was pitching for the first time since blowing the save in his third straight day of work on Sunday, pitched around a two-out single for his 37th save of the season. He struck out Longoria, got James Loney to ground out, then struck out Nick Franklin after Myers singled through the shift. Hopefully Robertson gets to 40 saves this year. No reason in particular, it’s just a cool round number. Rivera, Rafael Soriano, John Wetteland, and Dave Righetti are the only pitchers in team history with a 40+ save season. Mo had nine, the other three guys had one each.
Jeter’s leadoff single in the sixth inning snapped his ugly 0-for-28 skid. It was a legit line drive back up the middle. He went 1-for-4 with a run scored on the night overall. Jacoby Ellsbury (single), Headley (double), and Ryan (double) had the team’s other three hits. McCann, Teixeira, and Headley had the three walks. Headley’s walk to reload the bases in the sixth was New York’s final base-runner.
According to Lee Sinins, McCarthy had the fifth Immaculate Inning in Yankees’ history. Al Downing, Ron Guidry, A.J. Burnett, and Ivan Nova have also done it. I remember Burnett doing it but not Nova. SABR says there have been fewer than 100 recorded Immaculate Innings in baseball history.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
You can find the box score and video highlights at MLB.com. FanGraphs has some additional stats and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Yankees will be either five games (Royals lose) or six games (Royals win) back of the second wildcard spot will eleven games remaining. FanGraphs has their current postseason odds at 0.2% and their elimination number is seven. It’ll be six of Kansas City wins. The Yankees did move into a tie with the Blue Jays for second place in the AL East though. Second is better than third.
The Yankees are heading back to the Bronx for their final homestand of the season. The Blue Jays are coming to town for four games and will send knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to the mound in Thursday night’s opener. Shane Greene will be on the bump for the Bombers. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch any of the final eight home games of the season/Jeter’s career.
It looks like we’re in for an ugly end to the season, doesn’t it? The Yankees are out of the postseason race and another weak game by the offense led to some frustration boiling over in the late innings on Tuesday. The Rays won the game 6-1. The Yankees have lost five of their last six games and seven of their last ten.
For the seventh time in the last six games, the Yankees scored a run. Chris Young and Ichiro Suzuki teamed up for this historic event with two outs in the second inning. Young doubled down the left field line and Ichiro drove him in with a single through the right side of the infield. Young’s at-bat was very impressive. He fell behind in the count 0-2, took three straight balls to work it full, fouled off two more pitches, then ripped the double. Somehow Chris Young is the team’s best hitter.
The Yankees had some chances to score additional runs but quickly made sure not to capitalize. Brendan Ryan (walk) and Jacoby Ellsbury (single) reached base to start the third inning before Derek Jeter (bunt), Brett Gardner (pop-up), and Brian McCann (strikeout) made outs. Francisco Cervelli and Ryan (both singles) reached base to open the fifth, then Ellsbury (line out), Jeter (fly out), and Gardner (strikeout) ended the inning. The Yankees have had two runners on base with no outs three times in the first two games of the series and have scored zero runs.
Big Mike For Four Innings
Things sorta spiraled out of control for Michael Pineda in the fifth inning on Tuesday. He cruised through the first four innings, allowing just two singles (both by James Loney, of course) and another runner to reach on the ol’ strikeout/wild pitch combination. His pitch count sat at 52 starting the fifth inning, but Pineda would only record four more outs.
The Rays scored their first run thanks to some of the Yankees’ trademark bad infield defense, specifically errors by Ryan and Pineda. Ryan short-hopped a throw to first, allowing Kevin Kiermaier to reach with one out, starting the rally. Ryan Hanigan followed that with a walk, then Ben Zobrist slapped a ground ball to first base. McCann scooped it up and made a less than perfect flip to Pineda, who bobbled the ball and eventually dropped it. Zobrist was safe and Kiermaier chugged around to score from second.
An inning later, three consecutive Tampa hitters reached base without only one ball being hit out of the infield. Nick Franklin sliced a one-out double to left field and Matt Joyce worked a walk to put two men on base. A wild pitch during Joyce’s at-bat moved Franklin to third. Joe Girardi came out to chat with Pineda, left him in the game, then Yunel Escobar laid down a beautiful safety squeeze to score Franklin. Cervelli didn’t even bother to throw to first after looking home. The Rays took the 2-1 lead on the bunt.
Josh Outman came in to clean up the mess — Kiermaier bunted into an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play because he slipped coming out of the box and was slow to get off the ground — so Pineda’s final line was two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks in 5.1 innings. He struck out five. After allowing three (really two) base-runners in the first four innings, five of nine Rays reached base at one point spanning the fifth and sixth innings.
Things got dumb in the eighth inning. In the top half, home plate ump Rob Drake warmed both benches after Steve Geltz accidentally plunked Jeter. I didn’t get that, it was clearly unintentional (0-2 count!). Girardi was ejected after coming out of the dugout to yell at Geltz. Then, in the bottom half, David Phelps immediately threw at Kiermaier and was tossed. Both benches cleared though nothing really happened. Lots of standing around and yelling. Usual baseball scruff stuff. Phelps didn’t even hit Kiermaier, the pitch buzzed him. The Yankees can’t even do beanball wars right these days. There’s a lot of frustration in the dugout and it’s starting to show.
The law firm of Rogers, Hill & Phelps combined to allow four runs in the seventh inning to put this one out of reach. Esmil Rogers was charged with three runs after allowing two hits and a walk. He got one out. Rich Hill failed to retire either batter he faced and was charged with one run. Ellsbury made an unbelievable diving catch in center to take extra bases away from Wil Myers, though two runners scored on the sac fly anyway. Double sac fly! The trail runner was Loney too. Good grief. Apparently tagging up on a sac fly isn’t reviewable either. Who made up these rules?
Jeter’s slump reached 0-for-26 and lowered his batting line to .249/.298/.297 (67 wRC+). He did have the sac bunt and was hit by a pitch though. The Yankees had three base-runners after Ryan singled to put two on with no outs in the fifth — Cervelli’s one-out single in the seventh, Jeter getting hit by Geltz, and Chase Headley‘s leadoff single in the ninth. They scattered seven hits, two walks, and a hit batsman.
Hanigan’s one-out walk in the fifth inning snapped a string of 119 consecutive batters without a walk for Pineda. That dates back to August 20th, his second start off the disabled list. That’s not any sort of record — Phil Hughes went 178 (!) batters between walks earlier this year — but it is a really impressive streak.
Girardi was ejected in the top of the eighth after both benches were warned, then bench coach/acting manager Tony Pena was ejected after Phelps threw at Kiermaier. Third base coach Robbie Thomson took over as acting manager. Is it bad when you have three times as many managers as runs in a game? That seems bad.
Box Score, WPA Graphs & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, go to MLB.com. For some other game stats, go to FanGraphs. For the updated standings, go to ESPN. The Yankees will be either six games (Royals lose) or seven games (Royals win) back of the second wildcard spot with a dozen games remaining. FanGraphs puts New York’s postseason odds at 0.4%. Their elimination number is down to seven and will drop to six if the Royals win. The Orioles clinched the AL East title on Tuesday, by the way.
The Yankees and Rays will wrap up their season series on Wednesday night. (Tampa has already clinched it at 11-7.) Brandon McCarthy and Alex Cobb will square off in a battle of aces (?).
For the second straight year, the Yankees will not be AL East champs. Monday night’s 1-0 walk-off loss to the Rays combined with the Orioles’ win over the Blue Jays eliminated New York from the division race. We all knew it was coming, but now it’s official.
What luck, we were treated to another pitcher’s duel on Monday night! Chris Capuano and Alex Colome traded zeroes for the first six innings — the only runner to reach third base in those innings was Mark Teixeira thanks to two singles (Tex and Carlos Beltran) and a wild pitch in the second inning — until the bullpens took over in the seventh, when they started trading zeroes for another few innings. The game remained scoreless until Ben Zobrist’s two-out walk-off single in the ninth.
The game-losing rally was a classic feeble offense rally. Shawn Kelley allowed a one-out ground ball single to Logan Forsythe, then a soft line drive single to center to James Loney. Kelley rebounded to strike out David DeJesus, but he was left in to face pinch-hitter Matt Joyce and that resulted in a walk to load the bases. Rich Hill was warming up in the bullpen and Joyce is dreadful against lefties (11 wRC+!), but Joe Girardi stuck with Kelley for whatever reason. Zobrist followed with a soft line drive single to right to win the game. Nothing fancy, just a pitch that got too much of the plate.
The Yankees had two good opportunities to score earlier in the game. The first came in that second inning, when they managed to put runners at second and third with one out on the singles by Teixeira and Beltran plus the Colome wild pitch. Ichiro Suzuki popped up to shortstop for the second out and John Ryan Murphy was unable to get the big two-out hit. An Ichiro hustle double and a Murphy walk put runners at first and second with two outs in the seventh, but pinch-hitter Brian McCann popped up to end the threat. Very weird. That never happens.
Tampa had two good chances to score a run of their own against Capuano. A single (Zobrist), a wild pitch, and a walk (Wil Myers) put runners at first and second with one out in the first, but Yunel Escobar flew out weakly. Then, in the fifth, a Zobrist leadoff walk and a Brandon Guyer one-out single put men at first and second. Evan Longoria and Myers followed with hard-hit fly balls pretty much right at Brett Gardner to end that rally. It wasn’t until Kelley walked Zobrist that the Rays had a runner reach third base.
Adam Warren rebounded from Friday’s blown save to retire all six batters he faced between Capuano and Kelley. Nice job by him. Kelley threw more balls (14) than strikes (13) and actually had his first real bad appearance in a month now. He allowed two runs total in his last 13 appearances. The Yankees suffered back-to-back walk-off losses for the first time since September 2011.
Chase Headley, who was playing in his first game since taking a pitch to the chin last week, was ejected in the middle of an at-bat in the seventh inning for arguing balls and strikes. Can’t say I blame him for wanting to check out of this game early. I was hoping Stephen Drew would come off the bench to hit the post-mid-at-bat ejection homerun a la Colin Curtis, but nope.
Prado had two hits while Teixeira, Beltran, Ichiro, and Brendan Ryan had one each. Teixeira and Murphy had the team’s two walks. The Yankees have now been shut out five times in their last 16 games and are 3-6 in their last nine games. They’ve scored six runs in their last 47 innings. They stink.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, head over to MLB.com. There are some other stats at FanGraphs and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Yankees will end the night either five games back (Royals lose) or six games back (Royals win) of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 0.9%.
These same two teams will play game two of this three-game series on Tuesday night, unfortunately. Over/under on the number of scoreless innings to start that game is set at 5.5. Big Mike Pineda and Jake Odorizzi will be the pitching matchup.
Is it bad this loss barely made me feel anything? The Yankees are out of the postseason race and they’ve been out-hit, out-pitched, out-defended, out-everythinged by the Orioles all season long. No reason to think that would change Sunday. Let’s recap the 3-2 walk-off loss:
- #HIROK ‘n Roll: Late season fade? What late season fade. Hiroki Kuroda held the Orioles to one run on two doubles and four singles in seven innings on Sunday night, walking no one and striking out five. Seventeen of his 21 outs came on the infield. The O’s scored that one run on an Alejandro De Aza single and an Adam Jones double that deflected off the glove of a leaping Martin Prado at third base. Kuroda was sharp but got no run support. Story of his career.
- Two Taters: The Yankees scored their two runs on solo homers. Prado took Chris Tillman deep leading off the second inning and Brian McCann took Darren O’Day deep with one out in the ninth. I didn’t think either was gone off the bat — doubles off the wall, if anything — but both managed to carry just over the wall and into the first row or two of seats. The club blew a first-and-third opportunity with no outs in the third inning, which was easily their best chance to push across some more runs. Oh well.
- Blown: Following Saturday’s game, David Robertson told reporters he was sore after pitching in back-to-back games and throwing a season-high 35 pitches on Friday. Despite that, Joe Girardi called on him for the third straight day to protect the one-run lead. Robertson looked awful and was completely unable to locate. He got squared up three times in the span of four batters, which never ever happens. Nelson Cruz doubled, Steve Pearce doubled to tie the game, and Kelly Johnson doubled for the walk-off win. Girardi usually goes to great lengths to keep his relievers fresh, so using Robertson this much this weekend was out of character. Almost seems like the team isn’t all that invested in the future of their impending free agent closer.
- Leftovers: Derek Jeter went 0-for-4, saw eleven total pitches, and is in an 0-for-24 slump. He’s down to .250/.298/.298 (67 wRC+) on the season … Prado and McCann had two hits each. The rest of the lineup had two hits total (Mark Teixeira and Stephen Drew). Chris Young drew their only two walks … Dellin Betances struck out two in a perfect eighth inning, giving him 130 strikeouts on the season. That ties 1996 Mariano Rivera for the most strikeouts by a full-time reliever in team history. Mo did it in 107.2 innings, Betances in 86.2 innings … the Yankees are now 4-11 against the Orioles this season.
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. The Yankees are now five games back of the second wildcard spot with 14 games to play. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 0.8% and their elimination numbers are two (AL East) and ten (wildcard). They’re off to Tampa next and will open a three-game series with the Rays on Monday night. Chris Capuano and Alex Colome will be the pitching matchup.
Sometimes three runs is enough. The Yankees jumped out to an early lead then held on for dear life on Saturday afternoon, beating the Orioles by the score of 3-2. Let’s recap their first win of the series:
- Three-Run Third: The Yankees had four hits all game and three came in the span of four batters in the third inning. Brian McCann hit a solo homer, Mark Teixeira drew a walk, Chris Young doubled, and Antoan Richardson singled in Teixeira. Young then stole home when Richardson stole second and rookie catcher Caleb Joseph tried to throw him out. There’s all three runs and three of the four hits on the afternoon. Good thing they bunched the hits together.
- Greene Grinds: Shane Greene really had to work on Saturday, especially early. Seven of the first 15 Orioles reached base but that only led to one run, on Nelson Cruz’s single to center in the third. Greene had to throw 71 pitches in those first three innings, but he shook it off to retire eight of the final nine batters he faced on 41 pitches. He struck out five of those final nine hitters and had nine strikeouts in the game overall. Two runs on seven hits and one walk in 5.1 innings isn’t particularly pretty, especially when you throw 112 total pitches, but Greene showed some moxie and found a way to grind through it.
- Bullpen: With Dellin Betances unavailable to due to his multi-inning appearance on Friday, Joe Girardi had to mix and match for those final eleven outs. Esmil Rogers got three outs (line out, strikeout, walk, sac bunt), Josh Outman got two outs (fly out, ground out), Shawn Kelley got three outs (single, fly out, two ground outs), and David Robertson got the final three outs (single, sac bunt, two ground outs). I didn’t expect Robertson to be available after throwing a season-high 35 pitches in 1.2 innings on Friday, but there he was. Maybe they’re just getting their money’s worth before he hits free agency this winter.
- Leftovers: Derek Jeter went 0-for-3 with a walk and is in an ugly 0-20 slump. He is down to .251/.300/.300 (68 wRC+) on the season. The end of this Hall of Fame career has been far from pretty … the only non-third inning base hit was Martin’s Prado infield single in the eighth. Jeter, Brett Gardner, McCann, and Teixeira (two) each drew walks. The wrap-around 9-1-2-3 portion of the lineup went a combined 0-for-14 with two walks … the Yankees beat the Orioles for the first time in six tries and only the fourth time in 14 games this season. With the win, New York can not be eliminated from the AL East race this series.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees are currently 4.5 games back of the second wildcard spot and they could end the day four games back depending on the other games tonight. The top of the wildcard race is bonkers right now. FanGraphs puts New York’s postseason odds at 0.7% with 14 games to go. Hiroki Kuroda and Chris Tillman will be the pitching matchup in Sunday night’s finale. Yes, it is the ESPN game.
One run in 20 innings. The Yankees played 20 innings in hitter friendly Camden Yards on Friday, and they scored just one run. That was a solo homer by Chris Young in the first game of the doubleheader. Pretty gross. The Yankees dropped the nightcap by the score of 5-0. Let’s recap the second loss of the day:
- Mitchell’s First Start: Rookie right-hander Bryan Mitchell held his own in his first career MLB start, limiting the Orioles to two runs on six hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out two, got six ground ball outs, six fly ball outs, and threw 48 of 84 pitches for strikes (57%). That includes seven swings and misses. Mitchell was on an 80-90 pitch limit. Considering he hadn’t pitched in a real game in close to two weeks and had to deal with the usual first career start jitters, he did a fine job.
- Death By Bullpen: David Phelps made his first appearance since since early-August after being activated off the disabled list Friday morning. He got two quick outs, walked the next three batters, then allowed a two-run single to Delmon Young to make it 4-0 O’s. The ball ate up Stephen Drew, who should have made a play on it, but hey, Phelps shouldn’t have walked three straight batters with two outs either. Chaz Roe allowed another insurance run because he’s Chaz Roe. The two lefties (Josh Outman and Rich Hill) combined to retire all four batters they faced.
- Four Singles: The Yankees’ offense was held to four singles — one an infield bunt single — in the shutout loss. Young, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, and Antoan Richardson had the hits. Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki drew the only walks. Pretty pathetic display by the offense in a season full of them. The Yankees were shut out for the third time in the last eight games, the fourth time in the last 13 games, and the ninth time this season overall.
- Leftovers: I don’t think there’s anything else left to cover from this game. Not a whole lot of action aside from everything above. The Yankees have now dropped five straight games to the Orioles and are 3-10 against them on the season. They’ve been outscored 67-32. The division elimination number is down to four, meaning any combination of Orioles wins and Yankees losses totaling four will mathematically eliminate New York from the AL East race. Could happen this series.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights while ESPN has the updated standings. There are some other stats at FanGraphs. The Yankees are currently five games back of the second wildcard spot and could be 5.5 games back by the end of the night. Their elimination number in the wildcard race is 13. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 1.5%. Shane Greene and Miguel Gonzalez will be the pitching matchup on Saturday afternoon.
For not the first time this season, the Yankees’ bullpen was unable to preserve a lead against the Orioles on Friday afternoon. Baltimore walked off with a 2-1 win in eleven innings in the series opener.
Nine Scoreless Innings, The Good Way
Brandon McCarthy gave the Yankees everything they could have possibly wanted against the most powerful offense in baseball. The tall right-hander held the Orioles to three scattered singles and one double in seven scoreless innings, striking out six and recording 14 of his 21 outs on the infield. McCarthy retired 13 straight batters at one point from the second through sixth innings and he retired 17 of the final 19 men he faced overall. Seventy-five of his 106 pitches were strikes (71%). He was dominant.
Joe Girardi opted to send McCarthy out to start the eighth inning even though his pitch count was sitting at 104, and sure enough ex-Yankee Kelly Johnson greeted him with a leadoff ground-rule double. That ended McCarthy’s afternoon. I absolutely hate that, sending the starter back out for another inning when his pitch count is over 100 and his leash is one base-runner. Just let the reliever start the inning clean if that’s the case, especially with expanded rosters and no real need to worry about running out of arms.
Dellin Betances was able to escape the mess with two strikeouts and a ground ball, though it wasn’t that easy. Nick Hundley bunted Johnson to third, and for whatever reason Mark Teixeira tried to throw him out, which didn’t work. He’s lucky the throw hit Johnson as he slid into the base, otherwise it would have sailed into left field. Maybe Teixeira thought it was a force play? Anyway, Betances struck out Jonathan Schoop, then Nick Markakis grounded to Stephen Drew at second base, who was able to catch Johnson wandering too far off third for the second out. That was big. Betances struck out Adam Jones to end the inning after walking Alejandro De Aza to load the bases. Two fastballs, one breaking ball, three swings and misses. Filthy.
Betances and David Robertson combined to walk the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth — one of the walks was intentional — but Robertson was able to wiggle out of it by striking out Schoop. It was a nine-pitch at-bat that included four foul balls with two strikes. Schoop put up a nice little battle. The two other outs came on a Nelson Cruz leadoff line drive to left and a Johnson pop-up to third base in foul territory. Betances and Robertson combined to put four guys on base in the eighth and ninth innings (all walks) after McCarthy put four men on base in the first seven innings.
Nine Scoreless Innings, The Bad Way
The Yankees put nine men on base in seven innings against Kevin Gausman but only one of the nine managed to reach third base. Their best chance to score against him came with two outs in the sixth inning, when Chris Young doubled to left and Drew walked to load the bases. Prado had singled to lead off the inning and I don’t think he would have scored on Young’s double even with a healthy hamstring. It was hit hard and De Aza played it quickly and cleanly. John Ryan Murphy leaned into a hanging slider and flew out to left field corner, in foul territory. He juuust missed it.
Once Gausman was out of the game, the Yankees couldn’t touch Baltimore’s bullpen. Almost literally couldn’t touch them. Andrew Miller struck out all three men he faced in the eighth and Darren O’Day struck out two of three in the ninth. Young popped up in foul territory along the first base side for the first out against O’Day. The Yankees struck out a dozen times in the first nine innings and only had three plate appearances with runners in scoring position (one walk, two outs) despite putting those nine guys on base against Gausman. I miss offense.
This game felt like it had entered “first team to homer wins” territory after Dellin’s escape job in the eighth inning, which usually puts the Yankees at a disadvantage, but not when they have Chris Young on the roster. For the second time in less than 24 hours, the Mets cast-off came up with a big go-ahead homerun on Friday afternoon, this one an 11th inning solo shot off Brad Brach. It wasn’t quite as dramatic as Thursday’s walk-off dinger, but it was still a huge homer. Chris Young, people. Baseball is weird sometimes.
With Betances and Robertson having already been used, Girardi gave the ball to Adam Warren for the 11th inning save opportunity. Warren, like Betances and Robertson in the ninth inning, loaded the bases without surrendering a hit. He walked Cruz, plunked J.J. Hardy with a pitch, then inexplicably walked pinch-hitter Steve Clevenger. The walk to Clevenger was just terrible. Ex-Yankees farmhand Jimmy Paredes jumped on Warren’s first pitch with two outs, lining it into the right field corner for a walk-off two-run single. Three relievers combined to walk six batters and hit another in 3.2 innings. Gross.
Prado, Drew, and Antoan Richardson all had two hits while Jacoby Ellsbury, Drew, and Murphy had one each. Brian McCann, Drew, and Richardson also drew walks. Teixeira and Brendan Ryan were the only starters who failed to reach base, which is par for the course these days. Richardson got picked off first base to end the seventh inning, which is less than ideal for a guy who was brought up to be the pinch-running specialist.
Believe it or not, this was the first time the Yankees and Orioles played nine scoreless innings and went to extras in Baltimore. Like, ever. It had never happened before, not with the Yankees. It did happen when they were still the New York Highlanders more than a century ago.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other game stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Yankees are currently 4.5 games back of the second wildcard spot but that’s going to change with all the games tonight. As of this moment, FanGraphs has the team’s postseason odds at 2.8%.
Let’s play two, he said with a shrug. The Yankees and Orioles will play the second game of this doubleheader at 7pm ET, so make sure you come back in a few hours. Bryan Mitchell will be making his first career start. Bud Norris is the scheduled starter for the O’s.
Baseball, man. The Yankees went from staring a no-hitter and a humiliating loss in the face in the eighth inning to celebrating a huge walk-off win in the ninth. I don’t know if this was the best win of the season, but it was very satisfying and it certainly feels like the most improbable. The final score was 5-4.
All With Two Outs
For the first time in his ten starts this season, Michael Pineda allowed more than two runs on Thursday night. He served up three runs on one swing and it all happened with two outs. Wil Myers beat out an infield single with two outs in the fourth, Matt Joyce followed with a solid single to center, then Yunel Escobar unloaded on a hanging slider for a three-run homer into the first row in left field. I though it was gone off the bat. Kinda surprised me when it only landed in the first row. Either way, it was a three-run homer.
Escobar took Pineda deep for a solo homer in the seventh inning on a nearly identical pitch, a hanging slider that he hit out to left. This one had a little more distance than the first dinger. Pineda allowed four runs in 7.1 innings on Thursday, making this his worst non-pine tar start of the season. He struck out two and didn’t walk anyone because he never walks anyone — Pineda has walked four batters in 57.1 innings this year. That’s nuts. Giving up two homers to Yunel friggin’ Escobar is pretty annoying, but that’s life. Pineda was bound to have a dud eventually.
The Yankees did not get their first real base-runner until Brian McCann drew a one-out walk in the seventh inning. The only guy they put on base in the first six innings came when center fielder Kevin Kiermaier dropped Stephen Drew‘s fly ball leading off the third. It wasn’t a routine play, he did have to go back on the ball a bit, but he had a second to camp under it and the ball hit off his glove. Clearly an error. The Yankees didn’t even see their first three-ball count until there was one out in the fifth inning. Alex Cobb was mowing them down.
Mark Teixeira followed McCann’s walk with a walk of his own, which was the first sign Cobb was starting to lose it a bit with his pitch count approaching 90. Chase Headley struck out and Ichiro Suzuki popped out to end the mini-rally, however. The Yankees got their first base hit in the next inning, when Chris Young ripped a legitimate line drive double into the left-center field gap with one out in the eighth. Cobb left a fastball up and out over the plate, which is something a tiring pitcher tends to do. Not getting no-hit felt like a win all by itself. It really looked it would happen for a good while.
The team’s second hit of the night came one batter after Young broke up the no-hitter. The hobbling Martin Prado pinch-hit for Brendan Ryan and clubbed a two-run homer to left field to give the Yankees some life. Derek Jeter was hit by a pitch (more on that in a sec) and McCann reached on a James Loney error with two outs in eighth to bring the go-ahead run to the plate, but Teixeira struck out on three pitches to end the threat. That one is in the running for the worst at-bat of the year. Strike one looking, strike two looking, strike three swinging through a belt high fastball. End of rally.
Win It For Chase’s Chin
The game-winning ninth inning rally started the hard way. Headley took a Jake McGee fastball to the chin leading off the ninth inning and was down on the ground for several minutes. Eventually he walked off the field under his power. It’s always so scary whenever a player gets hit up around the face. Headley looked to be responsive but there was blood and you could already see some swelling. He’s heading to tests on his jaw. Scary.
The hit by pitch did spark the rally though, so it did not go for naught. Ichiro followed with an opposite field hustle double, putting the tying run in scoring position with no outs. Pinch-hitter Zelous Wheeler swung through three McGee fastballs for the first out, but then September hero Chris Young jumped all over a fastball up in the zone, sending the pitch out to left field for a three-run walk-off homer. He knew it was gone off the bat based on his rather aggressive bat flip. The Yankees went from losing 4-0 and being no-hit to walking off with a win in the span of three offensive outs. It was the first homer McGee allowed all season. This team, man.
Jeter took a Brad Boxberger fastball to the elbow in the eighth inning. It looked like it hit his elbow guard but he was still in a lot of pain. (Post-game x-rays came back negative.) Given his impending retirement and the fact that the season is almost over, I know I wasn’t the only one who suddenly worried his playing days were over because of some sort of fracture or whatever. Thankfully Jeter remained in the game and seemed to be fine. That was kinda scary for a minute.
Rich Hill bailed out Pineda in the seventh inning by striking out both Loney and Joyce with a runner on second base. There was an intentional walk of Myers mixed in there as well. The Yankees pulled someone named Chaz Roe out of the bleachers and he walked the leadoff guy in the ninth after getting ahead in the count 0-2. Josh Outman got his lefty out on a sac bunt and Shawn Kelley finished the inning with two ground balls. Five pitchers to get the last six outs.
Young’s homer was the team’s fourth walk-off homer of the season and second of the homestand — Headley walked off against Koji Uehara and the Red Sox one week ago. Carlos Beltran and McCann had the other walk-off homers. Headley, McCann, and Prado also had walk-off singles, giving the Yankees seven walk-off wins this year. They had seven last year as well, which surprised me. I can’t remember any of them right now. Drawing a blank.
Ichiro threw Loney out at the plate on Joyce’s single to end the sixth inning. It wasn’t a perfect throw by any stretch — it was a three or four hopper along the first base line — but McCann did a great job of catching the ball and lunging across the plate to tag the very slow Loney. A runner with even average speed would have been safe by a mile. Loney slid a little early and didn’t even touch the plate. Pretty big in hindsight.
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 up to the minute standings. Both the Tigers and Mariners were off on Thursday, so the Yankees are now four games back of the second wildcard spot with 18 left to play. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 2.5%.
The Yankees are off to Baltimore for a four-game weekend series with the Orioles. The two teams will make up the August 12th rainout as part of a doubleheader Friday. Brandon McCarthy and Kevin Gausman will be the pitching matchup for the first game.
I feel like it’s been a long time since the Yankees had a game like this, a game in which both the hard-hit and weak-hit balls fell in for hits. Thanks to the bullpen, New York rallied to erase an early four-run deficit and beat the Rays by the score of 8-5 on Wednesday night.
I don’t think Chris Capuano could have gotten anyone out on Wednesdayeven if the hitters were blindfolded. He had nothing — less than nothing, really — en route to allowing four runs in one-third of an inning. Yes, Mark Teixeira and Stephen Drew combined to miss a foul pop-up to start the game — Teixeira over-ran it, Drew didn’t get there in time — and Ben Zobrist took advantage of the extra out by leading off the game with the single, but that hardly matters. Capuano was fooling no one.
Following Zobrist’s single, Capuano struck out Brandon Guyer, walked Evan Longoria after getting ahead in the count 0-2, allowed a one-run double to Wil Myers, walked James Loney, then allowed one-run singles to Yunel Escobar and Logan Forsythe. That’s it. Chase Whitley came out of the bullpen to allow a sacrifice fly to Ryan Hanigan for Tampa’s fourth run. Four hits, two walks, four runs, one out. Capuano threw 36 pitches, eight of which were fouled off to extend at-bats. He has now allowed 18 runs in his last 22.1 innings. Ewww.
Six Unanswered Runs
It’s hard not to be discouraged when your team falls behind 4-0 before they get a chance to hit, but the Yankees shook it off and rallied to score six (!) unanswered runs from the first through fifth innings. Brian McCann started the scoring with a first inning solo homer, then he kept it going with a two-run single in the third. Chris Young (single, stolen base) and Jacoby Ellsbury (single, stolen base) set those two runs up in the third.
The game-tying fourth run was another solo homer, this one off Young’s bat. How about that? The Mets cast-off and Yankees September call-up was pushed into the lineup by the Brett Gardner‘s abdominal strain, and he helped create two runs in the span of two innings. The next two runs took an act of the baseball gods — McCann scored from first on a Teixeira triple. Think how absurd that is. McCann was hit by a pitch, then Teixeira ripped a line drive into the right field corner. Myers kicked it around a bit, allowing McCann to score and Teixeira to get to third. It could have easily been ruled an error and double, but the official scorer was feeling generous and gave Teixeira a hit. It was his sixth triple in pinstripes.
The triple gave the Yankees the lead for the first time in the game, and Chase Headley extended that lead to 6-4 with a run-scoring single to plate Teixeira. I’m not sure how in the world to look this up, but I think it’s safe to say the Yankees haven’t scored six unanswered runs many times this year. That’s tough to do in general. Nevermind when you have one of the lowest scoring offenses in the league. Great job by the offense chipping away and rallying to get back in the game.
Big Time Bullpen
Know who else did a great job? The bullpen. Capuano was done one out into the game and the duo of Whitley (2.2 innings) and Preston Claiborne (two innings) kept the Rays off the board and not only gave the offense a chance to get back into the game, but also allowed Joe Girardi to not go to his late-inning relievers earlier than he would have liked. Whitley and Claiborne allowed just three hits and a walk in their 4.2 shutout innings.
Once the Yankees had the lead, Girardi went to Adam Warren, who looks like he’s gotten a second wind. His last three or four outings have been very good. He held Tampa to two singles — one was erased on a ground ball double play — in 1.2 innings before giving way to Dellin Betances, who got the final out of the seventh inning after allowing a broken bat single to Loney. The Yankees just can’t get that guy out. Betances jams him with high-90s gas, breaks his bat, and it still falls in. Argh.
Anyway, Betances struck out one in a perfect eighth inning and Esmil Rogers allowed a solo homer in the ninth after the Yankees tacked on some insurance runs. (The homer ended the bullpen’s 29-inning scoreless streak.) All told, five relievers combined to hold the Rays to one run on seven hits and one walk in 8.2 innings. It’s usually very bad news when you need your bullpen to get 26 outs, even after rosters expand, but those five guys did an excellent job in this game. Whitley and Claiborne deserve a ton of credit for holding down the fort in the early innings.
Headley (single), Ichiro Suzuki (bloop double misplayed by the outfielders), and Young (line drive double) combined for the team’s seventh and eighth runs in the eighth inning, so it was really eight unanswered runs, not six. McCann, Teixeira, and Headley collectively went 5-for-9 with two walks, a hit-by-pitch, a triple, and a homer as the three, four, and five hitters. Nice to see the middle of the order do something.
Ellsbury and Jeter went a combined 0-for-8 with a walk. Pretty amazing they still managed to score eight runs with the top two hitters in the lineup doing that. Young went 3-for-4 and was a triple away from the cycle. Considering they signed him off the scrap heap and are paying him the pro-rated portion of the league minimum for a month, Young justified his signing with this one game. That’s all it takes when a player comes that cheaply.
Know who had an unlucky night at the plate? Brendan Ryan. He hit four balls right on the screws and all four were right at defenders, one to left field and three to third base. Ryan had some great swings on Wednesday night and was left with nothing to show for it. Sucks.
Believe it or not, this was the first time all season the Yankees rallied to win a game after being down four runs at one point. In fact, it was the first time they came back to win after being down four runs since 2012. They didn’t do it last season at all.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, head over to MLB.com. FanGraphs has a bunch of other game stats and ESPN is the place to go for the updated standings. Depending on the outcome of the late game, the Yankees will be either 4.5 games (Mariners lose) or 5.5 games (Mariners win) back of the second wildcard spot with 19 games to play. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 1.0% at this very moment.
The Yankees and Rays will wrap up this three-game series on Thursday night. Michael Pineda and Alex Cobb will be on the mound in the rubber game. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the final game of the homestand. There are only nine home games left in the season (and Jeter’s career), you know.