Archive for Game Stories
It wasn’t particularly easy, but the Yankees beat the Twins by the score of 6-5 on Friday afternoon to win their second straight game. The Twinkies always come through whenever the Yankees need a win. Let’s recap the Independence Day victory, for America:
- Early Offense: The Yankees were all over Kyle Gibson. Three of the first four, four of the first seven, and five of the first eleven men they sent to the plate had extra-base hits, including run-scoring doubles by Brian Roberts and Mark Teixeira. Teixeira missed a homer by a foot or two. Brett Gardner had a triple and Frankie Cervelli had a double amid the carnage. Carlos Beltran (sac fly), Brendan Ryan (sac fly), and Jacoby Ellsbury (two-run single) also drove in runs as the Yankees scored six runs in two innings against Gibson.
- Chased Whitley: Make it three straight dud outings for Chase Whitley. The right-hander allowed four runs (including two solo homers) and put nine men on base in only three innings of work, needing 74 pitches for nine outs. Over his last three starts, Whitely has allowed 17 runs on 27 hits and six walks in 10.1 innings. That is very bad. The Yankees really need another starter.
- Turn Back The Clock: When he woke up Friday morning, Roberts was hitting .237/.309/.355 (84 wRC+). He’ll go to bed hitting .248/.318/.384 (94 wRC+). That’s what a 4-for-5 with three doubles and a triple day will do for ya. Two of the doubles and the triple banged off the wall (one double was a grounder inside the line), so this was no luck. He was smashing everything. Roberts is the first Yankee with a four extra-base hit game since Alex Rodriguez had two doubles and two homers against the Devil Rays in 2005. Roberts is also the first Yankee with zero homers in a four extra-base hit game since Jim Mason in 1974 (four doubles). Crazy.
- Bullpen On Parade: Since Whitley bowed out after three innings, Joe Girardi was forced to dip deep into his bullpen. David Huff chucked three perfect innings then Adam Warren and Dellin Betances combined to throw the seventh and eighth. Betances allowed a run on a single, a hit batsman, a double steal, and a ground out. He looks like he’s running on fumes. The All-Star break can’t come soon enough for him. David Robertson allowed a double and struck out the side in the ninth for his 20th save. Forty-seven of his last 65 outs are strikeouts. Think about that.
- Leftovers: The Yankees had ten hits, including four by Roberts and three by Cervelli. Gardner, Ellsbury, and Teixeira had the other hits. Gardner drew the only walk, so the team now has two or fewer walks in seven of their last eight games … the Yankees had eight extra-base hits as a team for the second time this year (this was the other game), but it’s the first time they had eight extra-base hits with no homeruns since July 2007 (this game) … Zelous Wheeler made this great catch falling into the dugout, but it didn’t count because he was out of the field of play. Stupid rules.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Blue Jays lost (on a Nick Punto walk-off!) and the Orioles were rained out, so the Yankees are three games back of Baltimore and 2.5 games back of Toronto in the AL East. Depending on the outcome of the late game, they will be either 3.5 (Mariners lose) or 4.5 (Mariners win) games back of the second wildcard spot. David Phelps and Yohan Pino will be the pitching matchup in the third game of this four-game series on Saturday afternoon.
Minor League Update: It’s a holiday, so I’m taking a break from the usual minor league update. Here are the box scores: Triple-A Scranton, High-A Tampa, Low-A Charleston, Short Season Staten Island, Rookie GCL Yanks1, and Rookie GCL Yanks2. Double-A Trenton was rained out. 1B Greg Bird homered, LHP Miguel Sulbaran threw five one-hit innings, and 3B Eric Jagielo singled. Oh, and 2B Rob Refsnyder hit a three-run walk-off homer. That about wraps it up.
A win! Those are always fun. Two rookies (technically!) helped the Yankees snap their five-game losing streak with a 7-4 win over the Twins on Thursday night. The Bombers are now 14-3 all-time at Target Field and 42-42 on the season.
Zelous Makes Everyone Jealous With Strong Debut
It’s amazing. The Yankees dropped an unproductive player from their roster and replaced him with someone who was hitting very well in Triple-A, and it improved the offense for at least one night. Zelous Wheeler‘s first day as a big leaguer went very well thanks mostly to a fifth inning solo homer off Phil Hughes. It’s always neat when a guy hits a homer in his first MLB game. Wheeler singled in the seventh inning to help set up another run as well.
The solo homer was not the big blow of the night. Far from it. The Yankees fell behind 2-0 early on but broke out for four runs in the fifth, three on Carlos Beltran‘s three-run homerun. It’s fun being on the other end of Phil’s #obligatoryhomer, isn’t it? Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann both singled to right to set up Beltran’s homer. Nothing fancy, Hughes just left a pitch out over the plate and it went a long way. This game had a very “here we go again” vibe early after the Twins scored, but the four-run fifth inning was just what the team needed. Hooray dingers. Hooray runs.
By almost any measure, this was Masahiro Tanaka‘s worst start as a big leaguer. He allowed a career-high four earned runs on a career-high nine hits while striking out a career-low three batters. Three of the nine hits were doubles to the wall. It was his first non-quality start of the season. Tanaka only threw 85 pitches in his seven innings of work, so there was plenty left in the tank, but he wasn’t sharp and he’s going to close out the first half with three straight starts on normal rest. Not at all a bad move by Joe Girardi to get his ace out of there with a comfortable lead.
The four-run fifth inning was great but it was not going to be enough. The Yankees rallied for three more runs in the seventh thanks to a walk (Ichiro Suzuki), a single (Wheeler), a one-run double (Brendan Ryan), a one-run single (Brett Gardner), and a one-run fielder’s choice (Derek Jeter). Four straight batters reached base to end Hughes’ night. He allowed a season-high seven runs.
With the big-ish lead and Tanaka not sharp, Joe Girardi handed the ball to the rested Dellin Betances and David Robertson for the final six outs. Betances struck out two in a perfect eighth and Robertson struck out the side while walking one in the ninth. Betances now has a 14.33 K/9 (42.6 K%) while Robertson is at 16.01 K/9 (44.3 K%). Those two are some kind of weapon at the end of games. They don’t even let the other team put the ball in play. It’s so awesome.
The Yankees managed to record a 9-4-2-5-7 putout in the first inning. Chris Parmelee doubled to right and, long story short, he was caught in a rundown trying to advance to third on the play. It ended with Gardner tagging him out near the shortstop position. Not every day you see an outfielder apply a tag for an out near second base.
Teixeira, Ichiro, and Wheeler all had two hits while Gardner, McCann, Beltran, and Ryan had one apiece. Ichiro drew the only walk — the Yankees have drawn no more than two walks in six of their last seven games — and the only players who failed to safely reach base at least once were Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury. Ryan’s double was his first extra-base hit of the year. I know he was hurt for a while and is a rarely used backup infielder, but geez.
Scary moment in the fifth inning, when McCann came up limping on his single to right. There didn’t appear to be any kind of misstep or anything like that, he just reached for his left foot/ankle after getting to first. He remained in the game and afterwards Joe Girardi said McCann was sore and would likely sit on Friday. It’s a day game after a night game anyway.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and standings, FanGraphs some additional stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Blue Jays lost and the Orioles won, so they are now tied atop the AL East. The Yankees are 3.5 games back of both the division lead and the second wildcard spot.
It’s a Fourth of July matinee. These two teams will play the second game of this four-game set on Friday afternoon, when Chase Whitley gets the ball against Kyle Gibson.
For the first time this season, the Yankees have lost five straight games. The Rays took Wednesday afternoon’s series finale by the score of 6-3, completing the sweep. They had baseball’s worst record coming into the series. The Yankees have now lost nine of their last eleven games are are 41-42 on the year. Stinky.
For the first time in what felt like an eternity, the Yankees actually jumped out to an early lead on Wednesday afternoon. Brett Gardner opened the day with a typically long at-bat (seven pitches) and a leadoff homer into the right field second deck off Jake Odorizzi. It was gone off the bat. No doubter. Gardner has now hit eight homers this season, tying his career-high (set last year). He’s going to wind up hitting like 12-15 dingers this summer. Crazy.
Brian McCann chipped in a solo homer of his own two innings later, a cheap little New Yankee Stadium shot just inside the foul pole down the right field line. It was a high pop-up in almost every other ballpark. Like everyone else, I expected Gardner to be hitting the cheapies and McCann to be launching bombs into the second deck coming into the year. Also, believe it or not, the Yankees have hit multiple homers in four of their last eight games. Doesn’t feel like it, right?
One inning after that, the wholly unproductive right field platoon of Alfonso Soriano (single) and Ichiro Suzuki (walk) reached base to start the inning. Soriano was in right and Ichiro was playing center. Brian Roberts lined out and Yangervis Solarte popped out, so it appeared any potential rally would go to waste. Been an awful lot of that this year. Thankfully Gardner was up next and thankfully he pulled a two-strike single through the right side of the infield to score Soriano. Brett has been the best player on the team this season and I don’t think it’s particularly close at this point.
No Lead Is Safe
The Yankees took the lead three times early in the game and Vidal Nuno gave it back almost immediately each time. The Rays scored their first run in the third inning on a leadoff walk (Ryan Hanigan), a double (Ben Zobrist), and a passed ball. They scored their second run in the fourth inning, right after McCann homered. A double by Logan Forsythe and a single by Sean Rodriguez did the trick. In the fifth — again, right after Gardner re-gave the Yankees the lead — Desmond Jennings, Zobrist, and Brandon Guyer strung together a single, a double, and a single to score another run. Guyer would have had a two-run single had Gardner not thrown Zobrist out at the plate.
All told, Nuno was charged with four runs (three earned) in five innings of work. Joe Girardi opted to send him back out to start the sixth only to yank him when the leadoff runner reached base. I hate that. If his leash is one base-runner, then just let the reliever start the inning clean. This isn’t Masahiro Tanaka. It’s Vidal Nuno and he was putting guys on base all day. Shawn Kelley took over and allowed a two-run homer to Sean freaking Rodriguez on his third pitch. Just like that, the Rays were up 5-3 and had all the runs they would need on the afternoon.
I mean, it’s no surprise Nuno did not carry his success against the Red Sox over from his last start. Everyone has a great game now and then and it doesn’t mean they’ve turned some kind of corner. Four runs (three earned) in five innings is perfectly fine from your seventh (or eighth? whatever) starter, though Nuno is third on the team in starts (14) and innings (78). That’s not good. Kelley … good grief. He has been a mess since coming off the disabled list.
Not Hitting With Runners In Scoring Position Isn’t The Problem …
… bad hitters are the problem. The Yankees went one-for-whatever (nine, actually) with runners in scoring position and stranded runners at the corners in the fifth, at first and second in the seventh, and at second in the eighth. There were some chances to tack-on runs or make the game closer, but they were unable to take advantage. Gardner’s run-scoring single in the fourth was the lone hit with men in scoring position. He had three hits while McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Roberts had two apiece as well. McCann and Ichiro drew the only walks.
The Yankees have been unable to get hits with men on base all season but that in and of itself isn’t the problem. It’s just the symptom of the real problem. They aren’t unclutch or anything silly like that. They just have too many bad hitters. That’s the problem. Even if McCann and Beltran start hitting like everyone expected them to hit, the Yankees would still have Derek Jeter, Roberts, Ichiro, Soriano, Solarte, Kelly Johnson, etc. getting regular at-bats. It’s pretty remarkable how many flat-out bad hitters are on the roster and have been all season.
The Rays made four outs on the bases. Gardner threw Zobrist out at home, Soriano threw Rodriguez out at second trying to stretch a single into a double (on the play that scored Tampa’s second run), Jeter caught Zobrist wandering too far off second base on a ground ball in the seventh, and Kevin Kiermaier was picked off first in the eighth. The Gardner and Soriano throws were good plays, the other two were gifts.
Adam Warren allowed two singles (one infield) and a walk in 1.1 innings of work. He was helped out by Zobrist’s second base-running blunder. David Huff allowed one run in 1.2 innings of mop-up duty. He was hurt by some shaky infield defense. Guyer hit a slow grounder to third that Solarte threw into right field attempting to turn the 5-4-3 double play. Somehow it was ruled it hit. What?
Michael Kay went on a pretty amusing rant about Jacoby Ellsbury‘s off-day in the first inning. He pointed out that it was Lou Gehrig bobblehead day and basically said that if Gehrig could play every single day, Ellsbury should be able to do it in the first year of his seven-year contract. It was a hoot.
According to the YES broadcast, the Yankees are now 1-32 when allowing five or more runs. This is the latest into the season the Yankees have been below .500 since they were 39-42 at the halfway point of the 2007 season. That team rallied to win the wildcard and make the postseason. That team also had good players.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
You can find the box score and video highlights at MLB.com. There are some other stats at FanGraphs and the updated standings at ESPN. Edwin Encarnacion and the Blue Jays walked off against the Brewers on Wednesday afternoon, so the Yankees are now 4.5 games back of Toronto for first place in the AL East. The Mariners beat up on the Astros, so the Bombers are five games back of the second wildcard spot.
The homestand is mercifully over and the Yankees are heading up to Minnesota for a four-game series with the Twins. Current Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka and one time projected Yankees ace Phil Hughes start things off on Friday night.
The losing streak has hit four and the Yankees are back at .500 with a 41-41 record. This is the latest into the season the team has been at or below .500 during the Joe Girardi era. Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss to the Rays was a fairly straight forward “they just couldn’t get the big hit” loss.
Wait, They Scored How?
When I write these recaps, I tend to jot down notes while watching so I don’t forget stuff. Many of those notes don’t even make it into the recap, but you never know. I was at this game though, so I needed to look over the gamelog when I got home to remember exactly what happened. I remembered they scored just the one run and the box score says they went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, but wait … the one hit didn’t even score a run. Then I remembered how they scored.
David Price was not necessarily on cruise control, the Yankees did make him work a bit, but he held them scoreless in the first three innings before Derek Jeter led off the fourth with a booming double to center. The Cap’n just destroys Price for whatever reason. Jacoby Ellsbury followed with a soft line drive single to center — that was the lone hit with runners in scoring position, Jeter had to hold up because Ben Zobrist almost made the diving catch — to put runners on the corners with no outs.
Great situation, right? Well, it was until Mark Teixeira flew out to shallow right (too shallow to score Jeter) and Ellsbury got picked off first. He was dead to rights between first and second, but Zobrist’s throw hit Ellsbury in the back and allowed a) him to slide into second safely, and b) Jeter to cross the plate without a throw. That’s how the Yankees scored their one run on Tuesday. Ellsbury got picked off first and Zobrist hit him in the back with a throw during the rundown. Sigh.
It was not his prettiest start of the season, but with a short bullpen, Hiroki Kuroda gave his team eight innings of two-run ball. Logan Forsythe singled in a run in the third and James Loney hit a solo homer in the sixth, and that was it. Kuroda stranded runners on first and second in the fourth, on the corners in the fifth, and on second and third in the eighth. He had to grind a bit, yet at the end of the day he plenty effective and good enough to win.
All told, Kuroda allowed just those two runs on nine hits and one walk. He struck out seven and threw 69 of his season-high 109 pitches for strikes (63%). Twenty-one of his 24 outs were recorded on the infield. It wasn’t Kuroda at his best but in a sense it was a microcosm of his MLB career: reliable, effective, unrewarded. This poor guy never gets run support — he didn’t with the Dodgers back in the day either — yet he keeps plugging along. Kuroda now has a 3.58 ERA in his last eleven starts, by the way. He’s bounced back well from his poor April.
As usual, the Yankees did have some opportunities to plate the go-ahead or game-tying or whatever run. Teixeira lined out to left to end the first with Brett Gardner on second. Carlos Beltran and Alfonso Soriano flew out and struck out, respectively, with a) Ellsbury on second to end the fourth, and b) Jeter on second and Teixeira on first to end the sixth. And finally, Yangervis Solarte grounded out to first to end the game with Ichiro on second and Kelly Johnson at first. The four through eight hitters went a combined 0-for-17 with three walks. Gross.
Jeter had two of the team’s four hits. His fourth inning double was the 534th of his career, which tied him with Lou Gehrig for the most in franchise history. As Jeff Quagliata points out, Price has now given up Jeter’s 3,000th hit, the hit that moved Jeter into a tie with Willie Mays on the all-time list, the hit that tied Jeter with Gehrig for the most in Old Yankee Stadium history, and the double that moved Jeter into a tie with Gehrig for the most in team history. “I feel like if I had (to face) a lineup full of 40-year old Derek Jeters, I might not make it through the fifth,” said Price to Bryan Hoch after the game.
The Yankees struck out eleven times as a team and it was only their third time with double-digit strikeouts in their last 25 games. That includes extra-inning games. Strikeouts are at an all-time high right now but the club has an 18.5% strikeout rate overall, the fifth lowest in baseball. Putting the ball in play isn’t a problem. The quantity of contact is fine, the quality of contact is not. Price struck out nine and had his streak of consecutive starts with 10+ strikeout snapped at five. The last to do that was vintage Johan Santana back in 2004.
Kuroda’s eight innings spared the bullpen one day after the 12-inning game. David Huff was the only reliever used and he retired the side on 15 pitches. He hit 95.0 mph (!) with his fastball according to PitchFX. What in the world is that about? Maybe it’s time to see what Huff can do in a one-inning, air-it-out role? Maybe he’ll turn into the left-handed version of Adam Warren.
Last but unfortunately not least, the Yankees are now 18-22 at Yankee Stadium this season. They’ve been outscored 186-144 and out-homered 57-45 in the Bronx. I shouldn’t be looking forward to seeing this team go out on an extended road trip at the end of the week, but here we are.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some additional stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. Both the Orioles and Blue Jays won, so the Yankees are 3.5 games back of Toronto and 2.5 games back of Baltimore. They’re four games back of the second wildcard spot.
The Yankees will look to avoid being swept on Wednesday afternoon — yes, it’s an afternoon game — in their final home game before the All-Star break. Vidal Nuno and Jake Odorizzi will be the pitching matchup. If you want to see that one live, head over to RAB Tickets.
I have to say, I was pretty surprised by the outcome of Monday’s game. I totally thought Shawn Kelley was going to blow it when the Rays had the bases loaded with one out in the 11th inning. Instead, he escaped the jam and Jose Ramirez did the honors in the 12th inning. The Yankees lost the series opener 4-3 in excruciatingly familiar fashion.
A Tale Of Two Bullpens
He said he feels fine after the game, but it looks to me that Dellin Betances is starting to feel the effects of his workload. He came into Monday’s game having thrown 47.1 innings in the team’s first 80 games, and his stuff has generally not looked as crisp over the last week or so. Joe Girardi called on him in the eighth inning and he walked two of four batters faced, throwing 21 pitches in the process. It was his third appearance in four days (64 pitches).
The heavy workload isn’t just limited to Betances either. Adam Warren threw 42 innings in the team’s first 80 games and recently went through a little rough stretch himself. He threw 29 pitches on Monday and loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh before escaping the jam. David Robertson, the one reliever who hasn’t been worked especially hard (because he’s married to a specific inning as the closer), allowed the go-ahead single to Ryan Hanigan in the eighth, a run that was charged to Betances.
All told, Girardi’s trusted late-game trio of Betances, Warren, and Robertson combined to put six men on base in 3.1 innings, including four via walks. Kelley, who has been shaky since coming off the disabled list, loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a hit by pitch in the 11th inning, but he escaped with two strikeouts. He threw 23 pitches. Ramirez finally allowed the game-losing run on a two-out walk, a stolen base, and a single by Logan Forsythe. Girardi’s bullpen allowed two runs and put ten men on base in 6.1 innings.
The Rays relievers, meanwhile, shut the Yankees down. Yes, Joel Peralta did allow the game-tying solo homer to Brian Roberts with one out in the bottom of the ninth — it was a total golf shot, the pitch couldn’t have been more than about nine inches off the ground — but otherwise four relievers held the Yankees to four base-runners in five innings. New York stranded a runner at third in the eighth and a runner at second in the tenth. One bullpen executed, one labored.
Two Runs Two Times
David Phelps had a pretty representative David Phelps start — two runs on four hits (two solo homers) and three walks in 5.2 innings with four strikeouts. I feel like if you took all of his career starts, the average pitching line would look something like that. Matt Joyce (first inning) and Kevin Kiermaier (third) hit the homers. Phelps threw 101 pitches and left runners on first and second for Warren with two outs in the sixth. He pitched out of the mess.
The Yankees scored their first two runs in the third inning thanks to an Ichiro Suzuki hit-by-pitch, a Brett Gardner triple, and a Derek Jeter ground ball to second. Jacoby Ellsbury followed that with a walk and a stolen base, but that was it. He didn’t move any further. The Yankees went a combined 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, though to be fair, Gardner lined into a tough luck double play in the seventh inning. He scorched the ball right at James Loney at first, who threw to second to double up Roberts before he could get back to the bag. What can you do?
The Yankees walked eight batters for the second straight game. It’s the first time they’ve walked 8+ batters in back-t0-back games since August 2009, in that four-game series against the Red Sox with the 15th inning Alex Rodriguez walk-off homer and the Johnny Damon/Mark Teixeira back-to-back homers off Daniel Bard. You know what I’m talking about. I know you do. Good times.
On the other hand, the Yankees drew two walks and have drawn two or fewer walks in four straight and six of their last seven games. Don’t get me wrong, this offense is terrible, but the run scoring will increase as soon as they start taking some more walks. Pitchers aren’t pounding the zone aggressively, they’re swinging at stuff off the plate. Not enough discipline. Everyone’s squeezing sap out of the bat.
Ellsbury held up on Brian McCann‘s bloop single with two outs in the eighth, when it appeared Brandon Guyer had a chance to make the catch. If he puts his head down and runs hard the whole way, Ellsbury probably scores. But he had to hold up to make sure Guyer didn’t trap the ball cleanly and make a play at third base. Nothing you can really do there. Unfortunate play.
The Yankees sacrifice bunted for the fourth time in the last five games — Ichiro bunted Roberts to second in the seventh. Do you know how many runs those four bunts created? One. That’s it. Considering how much they are struggling to score runs, I’m all for swinging away. Give the offense as many opportunities as possible. This team is in no position to give away free outs.
And finally, the 2014 season is officially halfway over. The Yankees are 41-40 at the halfway point of the season and 84-78 in their last 162 games. They’ve lost seven of their last nine games overall. They stink.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, MLB.com is the place to go. FanGraphs has some more stats and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Blue Jays had a scheduled off-day but the Orioles won, so the Yankees are 2.5 games of Toronto and one game back of Baltimore in the AL East. They’re three games back of the Mariners for the second wildcard spot with both the O’s and Royals ahead of them.
Same two teams on Tuesday night, when Hiroki Kuroda and David Price square off. Might be Price’s last ever start for the Rays. That game and Wednesday’s series finale are the final two home games before the All-Star break, so head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch either.
For the second time this calendar month, the Yankees have lost three straight series. They dropped two of three to the Twins, Athletics, and Royals a few weeks ago, and now they’ve done the same against the Orioles, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. Believe it or not, they never once lost three consecutive series last season. Somehow the Yankees have only lost one game in the standings during this recent three-series-loss stretch. Thank goodness the rest of the AL East is garbage too. Let’s recap Sunday’s 8-5 series finale loss to Boston:
- Party’s Over: It appears the clock has struck midnight on Chase Whitley. He allowed ten of the 18 Red Sox batters he faced to reach base after getting destroyed by the Blue Jays last time out, though Sunday’s damage was limited to only five runs because two runners were erased on double plays, one was thrown out stealing second, and one was picked off first. Whitley has now allowed 13 runs and 24 base-runners in his last 7.2 innings. The Yankees need another starter and fast.
- Almost Comeback: The Bombers made it a game in the middle innings, at least for a little while. Derek Jeter capped off an eleven-pitch at-bat with an RBI single to plate the team’s first run in the third inning, and in the fourth Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran swatted solo homers to make it 4-3. Suddenly we had a ballgame. Then four walks, one single, and one botched pickoff led to three more runs for Boston in the next half-inning and that was that. It was fun pretending the Yankees were back in this game for a few minutes.
- Bullpen Weirdness: Joe Girardi is usually very, very good with his bullpen, but there were some really funny moves in this game. Whitley was getting smacked around all night, but Girardi sent him back out to start the fifth only to yank him following a leadoff walk. If the leash is one base-runner, why not just let the reliever start the inning clean? In the sixth, Dellin Betances was brought into the game after David Huff loaded the bases with no outs. If this game is important enough to use Betances in that spot, whey even bother sending Huff out? Shawn Kelley and Huff were charged with three runs in one total inning of work. Betances threw two scoreless but did allow an inherited runner to score.
- Leftovers: Beltran was thrown out trying to score from second on Kelly Johnson‘s single in the sixth inning because apparently no one has a scouting report on Jackie Bradley Jr. He might have the strongest center field arm in baseball … Ichiro Suzuki tripled (with an assist to a diving and missing Mookie Betts) four days shy of the two-month anniversary of his last extra-base hit … Beltran had three hits and Jeter had two. Brian Roberts was the only starter who failed to reach base … the Red Sox drew three straight walks to leadoff the fifth inning, which is more walks than the Yankees have had in five of their last six games … the Yankees are now 18-20 at home and have been outscored 180-140.
For the box score and video highlights, go to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some additional stats and the updated standings are at ESPN. Both the Blue Jays and Orioles lost, so the Yankees remain two back of Toronto and a half-game back of Baltimore. The Rays are coming to the Bronx next and Chris Archer and David Phelps open the three-game series on Monday night. These are the final three home games before the All-Star break, so head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch any of them live.
Well that was an annoying loss. Saturday night’s aces duel went to the Red Sox thanks to a late-inning solo homer, giving Boston the 2-1 win. It was the third time in the last seven games the Yankees scored zero or one run. Let’s recap the loss:
- Third Best Pitch: Mike Napoli’s two-strike, game-winning homer came on Masahiro Tanaka‘s third best pitch. Tanaka confirmed to Bryan Hoch that Brian McCann initially called for a splitter and then a slider, but he shook him off to get to a fastball away. He missed his spot, Napoli hit a cheap Yankee Stadium homer with two outs in the top of the ninth, and that was that. Tanaka was otherwise outstanding all night, allowing two runs (two solo homers) in nine innings while striking out eight. Not sure what more he could have done other than throw Napoli a splitter in the ninth inning.
- One Run Ain’t Enough: The Yankees played for one run in the third inning and that’s exactly what they got. Brian Roberts (Stephen Drew error) and Yangervis Solarte (hit-by-pitch) reached base to leadoff the inning, and, for the second straight night, Brett Gardner sacrifice bunted. He’s only the team’s best and hottest hitter at the moment. Derek Jeter drove in Roberts with a ground out and that was it. The Yankees had one batter make it as far as second base the rest of the night.
- Best Chances: Gardner reached base to lead off the sixth (single) and eighth (walk) innings, but was caught stealing the first time (David Ross got him with a great throw) and erased on Jeter’s double play ball the second. I’m not sure why you would sac bunt down a run in the third inning but not with the game tied in the eighth, when one run would have made a huge difference. Those were their best opportunities to scratch out another run against Jon Lester.
- Leftovers: The top three hitters in the lineup went a combined 4-for-9 with two walks and no strikeouts while everyone else went 1-for-21 with eight strikeouts and the hit-by-pitch. Anytime the Yankees want to add a bat or three is cool with me … Tanaka is the first Yankees pitcher to take a nine-inning complete-game loss since CC Sabathia last July. The last time before that was Randy Johnson in 2005.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated the standings. Both the Blue Jays and Orioles lost, so the AL East race is unchanged — the Yankees are two games back of Toronto and a half-game back of Baltimore. Chase Whitley will be on the mound looking for the series win Sunday night. Yes, it’s a Sunday night game. John Lackey is getting the ball for Boston. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to catch that or any of the other three games on this final homestand before the All-Star break.
That was as close to perfect as a Yankees-Red Sox game can get. Yankees win? Check. Quality pitching performance from an unexpected source? Check. Flawless bullpen work? Check. Dingers? Check. Game under three hours? Check! I’ll take a weekend full of games just like this. Let’s recap the 6-0 shutout:
- Reverse Lock: Just as we all expected, Vidal Nuno held the Red Sox to two hits and two walks in 5.2 scoreless innings. He seemed to be amped up too — he sat 91.2 mph with his fastball after averaging 90.1 mph as a starter all year. Nuno walked the last man he faced — Brett Gardner failed to catch a David Ortiz foul pop-up in that last at-bat because he thought he was closer to the wall than he actually was, it seemed — but retired ten straight and 14 of 15 before that. Fourteen of his 17 outs were recorded on the infield and only once (Brock Holt’s third inning double) did Nuno allow a runner to reach second base. Joe Girardi yanked him before he could face Mike Napoli a third time, which was the right move in my opinion. Helluva job, Vidal.
- Back to Basics: The Yankees played for one run in the third inning by having Gardner bunt, and that eventually led to blowing a bases loaded, one out situation. After that, they went back to their Bronx Bomber roots. Kelly Johnson hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Gardner followed with a solo shot to go back-to-back. I think that’s the first time the team has hit back-to-back homers this year, but don’t quote me on that. Brian McCann tacked on some insurance with a two-run shot (off a lefty!) in the eighth. It’s the first time the Yankees have hit at least three homers in a game since May 17th (Pirates series) and only the fifth time all year.
- Bullpen Bullies: A four-run lead isn’t technically a save situation, but Girardi used his ace relievers anyway before McCann broke things open. Dellin Betances allowed a hit and a walk in 1.1 innings, striking out two. Adam Warren followed with a perfect eighth (one strikeout) and Matt Thornton with a perfect ninth (one strikeout). I’m pretty sure that if the score was still 4-0 in the ninth, we would have seen David Robertson. The Red Sox did not have a runner reach third base all night and the staff retired ten of the last eleven and 24 of the last 28 batters they faced. That’s how you close it out after grabbing an early lead.
- Leftovers: Scary moment in the seventh inning, when Betances slipped on the mound while delivering a pitch. Girardi came out to talk to him, but Betances stayed in the game and looked fine afterwards. Caught a spike or something. Exhale … Brian Roberts had what looked like a homer robbed by Holt in the second inning. It was close. It was going to hit off the very top of the wall … the Yankees took a quick 1-0 lead in the first when Mark Teixeira plated Derek Jeter with a sacrifice fly … Jeter, Teixeira, and McCann all had two hits. The top four hitters in the lineup went 6-for-13 (.462) with a walk, a sac bunt, and the sac fly.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The White Sox beat the Blue Jays and the Orioles split their doubleheader with the Rays, so the Yankees are two games back of first place and 1.5 games back of second. There’s still more than half a season to go. I think I’m getting ahead of myself with the standings updates. Anyway, Masahiro Tanaka and Jon Lester will be on the mound in a matchup of aces on Saturday night (argh). Make sure you check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch that game or any other game on the homestand in person.
The four-game losing streak is over. The Yankees salvaged the final game of this three-game set up in Toronto, beating the Blue Jays 5-3 on Wednesday night to take the series finale.
The Big Inning
The Yankees’ four-run third inning was confusing because the hitters were not stopping at first base after getting hits. I didn’t know that was allowed. One double and one homer contributed to the rally, plus another two-out double was wasted. Three extra-base hits in an inning? That’s a miracle. The Yankees only had three extra-base hits in an entire game seven times in 22 games this month coming into Wednesday.
The rally all started with a leadoff five-pitch walk by Kelly Johnson. Frankie Cervelli doubled him home with a right-center field wall-banger — that ball just kept carrying and carrying, I thought it was a routine-ish fly ball off the bat — but Brett Gardner (pop up) and Derek Jeter (strikeout) followed with two quick outs. It looked like another one-run-and-done rally. This team has been allergic to big innings of late.
Then, thankfully, Jacoby Ellsbury singled to center to score Cervelli, and Mark Teixeira clubbed a two-run homer to right. Apparently they put some netting over the bullpens at Rogers Centre, so the ball hit the netting and hopped back onto the field. I thought it was a double off the wall at first. Am I going crazy? The netting over the bullpens is new, right? Anyway, Carlos Beltran laced a ground-rule double that was ultimately wasted, but the Yankees managed to score four runs in the inning, three with two outs.
For the second time in a week, Jose Reyes ambushed a first pitch fastball for a solo homer to leadoff the game. That’s getting annoying. Hiroki Kuroda shook the dinger off and worked through the next four innings without allowing a run, giving up four singles. One was an infield single. The Blue Jays did push across two runs in the fifth thanks to a walk (Munenori Kawasaki), a ground-rule double (Reyes), and two-out single (Melky Cabrera), but that was it.
Because the bullpen was a little short — Dellin Betances was unavailable after throwing two laborious innings on Tuesday — Joe Girardi pushed Kuroda into the seventh inning and got one base-runner and one out from him. It would have been two outs if the Yankees were able to turn a double play in something other than slow motion. Kuroda exited with a man on first and one out in the seventh, allowing just the three runs on eight hits and two walks. He struck out four. Kuroda has been much better over the last month or so, but this one was a grind.
Despite their best efforts, the Yankees did manage to score an insurance run in the seventh inning. Two walks (Gardner and Ellsbury) and a hit-by-pitch (Jeter) loaded the bases with no outs (!), then Teixeira brought home Gardner with a sacrifice fly. Beltran struck out, Ichiro Suzuki drew another walk, and Brian Roberts flew out to end the inning. Four base-runners, none put the ball in play. The extra run is always appreciated.
Once Kuroda was out of the game, Girardi went to Shawn Kelley (one single, one fly out) and Matt Thornton (tapper back to himself) to finish off the seventh. Anthony Gose and Reyes pulled off a double steal on Thornton, so the tying run was in scoring position when he broke Adam Lind’s bat for the final out. Adam Warren started the eighth, got a quick ground out from Edwin Encarnacion and allowed a single to Dioner Navarro, and that was that. David Robertson came in for the five-out save. Think Girardi was desperate to win this one?
Robertson, who had not pitched in a week, struck out Juan Francisco and Colby Rasmus on nine total pitches to end the eighth inning. Then he struck out Kawasaki and got ground balls from Gose and Reyes in the ninth inning to close things out. Five outs on 22 pitches. How about that? By the way, Robertson (16.06 K/9 and 44.3 K%) had zoomed by Betances (14.7 K/9 and 43.9 K%) in strikeout rate. He now has 40 strikeouts in his last 18.1 innings (19.64 K/9 and 51.9 K%). Helluva contract push.
The Yankees made two base-running funnies in the seventh inning that ultimately did not matter. Gardner and Jeter were on first and second, respectively, when lefty Rob Rasmussen uncorked a wild pitch. Gardner did not advance even though the ball bounced plenty far away from Navarro. Rasmussen threw another wild pitch later in the at-bat, this one even further away, and Gardner advanced but Jeter did not. Ellsbury ended up drawing a walk, so it didn’t matter. It was just weird.
I’m going to pretend Jeter intentionally dropped Navarro’s line drive in the fourth inning. There was a runner on first, Jeter had to jump to catch it, but the ball hopped out of his glove and hit the turf. Jeter picked it up, stepped on second for one out and fired to first for the double play. Both Navarro and Encarnacion (the runner at first) froze because they thought the line drive was caught. Two innings earlier Jeter fielded a Kawasaki chopper and never bothered to throw to first even though replays made it appear he had a play. Whatever.
Ellsbury went 3-for-4 with a walk and his only out was a line drive right at Reyes at short. He was thrown out trying to steal for only the third time this year, but replays did show he might have been safe. Girardi did not challenge the play. Gardner, Beltran, and Johnson also had a hit and a walk each. Jeter singled, Ichiro walked, and Cervelli doubled. Roberts was the only player in the starting lineup who failed to reach base. The Yankees did go 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, but who cares at this point. A win’s a win.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has the nerdier stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Yankees were 4.5 games back of first place at the start of this nine-game stretch stretch against the Blue Jays and Orioles and are 2.5 games back at the end of it. Progress!
This quick little three-game road trip it over. The Yankees are off on Thursday, then they will welcome the Red Sox to the Bronx for a three-game series. That series is going to get hyped up way, way too much given the present state of the two clubs. Vidal Nuno and Brandon Workman will start the opener on Friday night. Head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch that game or any game on the upcoming six-game homestand live. It’s the last homestand before the All-Star break, you know.
The clown show continues. The Yankees dropped their fourth straight game on Tuesday night, this one by the score of 7-6 to the Blue Jays thanks to a walk-off error. The Yankees have now been outscored 29-10 in their last four games.
I was just thinking to myself the other day that it’s been a while since the infield had a truly hideous defensive game. Earlier in the season they were botching something every day, but it hasn’t been so bad lately. Maybe I’ve become numb to it or simply hadn’t noticed around the offensive incompetence.
The infield defense was nice enough to rear its ugly head on Tuesday, and I’m going to save the worst of it for later. Right now all you need to know is that the Yankees lost this game because Brian Roberts chicken-winged on Yangervis Solarte‘s throw following Melky Cabrera‘s bunt in the ninth inning. The throw sailed down the line and Jose Reyes, who had doubled earlier in the inning, trotted around to score the walk-off run. Solarte and Adam Warren appeared to have some communication issues playing the ball before the throw.
There are two problems with the play. One, Solarte’s throw was rushed and not very good. He threw it right into the runner, basically. Two, Roberts saw the throw going into the path of the oncoming runner and pulled his glove away. I’m sure you remember the Bubba Crosby incident years ago, when Crosby ran into Roberts reaching for a ball on a similar play and destroyed his elbow. Pulling your arm out of the way after that is understandable, though it did cost the Yankees the game. Solarte shoulda just held on and not forced the throw.
Tied, For Now
The Yankees fell behind six-zip in the middle innings — again, more on that in a second — but they rallied to tie things up in the sixth and seventh innings. Derek Jeter hit a solo homer in the sixth — both of his homers have come on hanging offspeed pitches from lefties (Mark Buehrle and Hector Santiago), pretty much the only thing he can hit with authority these days — and Roberts tacked on a two-run shot in the seventh. I can safely say I did not expect Jeter and Roberts to homer in the same game at some point this season.
The rest of the seventh inning rally came after the Yankees had the bases empty with two outs. Brett Gardner blooped a double in and out of Melky’s glove in left, Jeter drew a walk, Jacoby Ellsbury sliced a single to left to score Gardner, and Reyes committed a throwing error on Mark Teixeira‘s would-be inning-ending ground ball, allowing Jeter and Ellsbury score. He short-hopped the throw and Edwin Encarnacion couldn’t handle it. Teixeira accidentally elbowed Encarnacion in the head on the way by and it looked like a sure concussion. Encarnacion stayed down for a while but ultimately remained in the game. Two homers, a single, and a two-run error led to six runs in two innings.
He’s In There For His Bat
Jeter has been playing baseball an awfully long time, yet the fifth inning may have been the worst inning of his career. David Phelps was pitching admirably as he waited for his offense to show up, and he got the dangerous Encarnacion to hit a nice chopper to Jeter with two outs and men on first and second. All Jeter had to do was throw the ball to first and the inning was over. But no. He looked at second (Reyes was basically at the bag already), looked at third (no one was there to catch a throw), then fired to first. Encarnacion beat it out for an infield single.
Jeter had to forget how many outs there were, right? I can’t think of any other explanation. There are two outs and there’s a slow runner at the plate. Field the chopper, fire over to first, inning over. Instead, the inning continued, Phelps hung a curveball to Colby Rasmus, and Rasmus smashed it off the wall for a bases-clearing single. It missed being a grand slam by about two feet, maybe less. Phelps made a terrible pitch that deserved to get hammered, but he shouldn’t have even have needed to make that pitch in the first place. The inning should have been over.
The cherry on top was another Jeter defensive miscue. Rasmus got caught in rundown between first and second on the single, and rather than flip to Teixeira at first to apply the tag, Jeter tried to out-run Rasmus and tag him himself. Rasmus had no trouble beating him to the bag and the sixth run of the game came around to score on the rundown. I mean, what the hell? Jeter’s never been a good defender but these were mental mistakes. He didn’t short-hop a throw or boot a grounder. He didn’t throw to first to get Encarnacion and he thought he could out-run Rasmus back to the base. The Cap’n has had better innings.
Phelps was charged with six earned runs in five innings but those last three weren’t really his fault. The inning should have been over if not for Jeter’s throwing gaffe. The first three runs scored on Dioner Navarro’s three-run bomb in the fourth inning. Phelps hung a curveball and Navarro deposited it in the second deck. He pimped it too. Phelps struck out seven and allowed those six runs on seven hits and a walk.
Dellin Betances threw two scoreless innings but he was clearly not sharp. He threw 45 pitches and really labored. The bases were loaded with one out in the eighth, then Roberts made a nice play with the infield in to cut the runner down at the plate and Betances struck out Munenori Kawasaki to end the threat. Matt Thornton threw a perfect inning and Warren allowed the Reyes’ double and Melky walk-off bunt into an error.
The Yankees had a chance to push a run across in the top of ninth, but they’d already met their quota for the day. Gardner started the inning with a single, Jeter effectively bunted him to second, except in this case the bunt was line drive off closer Casey Janssen. He recovered and fired to first for the out. Ellsbury grounded out and Teixeira struck out. Inning over.
Teixeira took an ill-timed 0-for-5. He ripped the team a bit on Monday, saying everyone needs to do more offensively. He’s the only big money guy in the lineup actually pulling his weight, this game aside. The amazing, invisible Carlos Beltran went 0-for-4 and otherwise everyone had at least one hit. Gardner, Ellsbury, Roberts, and Brian McCann had two apiece. The good news is that an offensive attack built around homers from Jeter and Roberts and Reyes throwing errors is totally sustainable.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com is where you can find the box score and video highlights while some other stats and the updated standings are at FanGraphs and ESPN, respectively. The Yankees still sit in third place in the AL East, one game back of the Orioles and three and a half back of the Jays. Shout out to the White Sox for beating Baltimore on Tuesday.
The Yankees will look to avoid the sweep on Wednesday night, when they send Hiroki Kuroda to the mound. Drew Hutchison will be on the bump for the Blue Jays. It would be very 2014 Yankees-esque for them to lose Wednesday’s game and make up zero ground in the standings following the three-game sweep of Toronto last week.