Archive for Game Stories
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.
Once again, the Yankees were on the wrong end of a blowout. They dropped Monday’s series opener to the Blue Jays by the score of 8-3, and the game wasn’t as close as the score indicates. Toronto scored the same number of runs in this game that they did during the entire three-game series in the Bronx last week.
Ace Eighth Starter Whitley
Well, it was bound to happen eventually, right? Chase Whitley had been a revelation for the Yankees coming into Monday’s start, pitching like a borderline ace on a strict pitch count. Then he allowed eight runs on eleven hits and three walks in 3.1 innings against the Blue Jays. It was seven-zip through two innings and ten of the first 15 batters Whitley faced recorded hits. Some were hit right on the screws, others were ground balls with eyes. All were hits and all led to runs. He was fooling no one.
The Blue Jays were the first team to see Whitley twice in his young MLB career — they faced him just last week, so it was a fresh look — and while that certainly may have contributed to the onslaught, Whitley made some truly some awful pitches. Everything was out over the heart of the plate, especially his changeup, and a changeup right down the middle is a batting practice fastball. Here are the locations of the hits allowed, courtesy of Brooks Baseball:
Everything was over the plate and great hitting team like Toronto will make pitchers with less than stellar stuff like Whitley pay when they’re not on the corners. He came into the game with a 2.56 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP on the season and left with a 4.07 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. Statistical corrections aren’t always pretty. What can you do, sometimes pitchers get roughed up and that’s what happened to Whitley for the first time in his career. Welcome to the show, kid.
The Blue Jays scored the same number of runs in the second inning (six) that the Yankees scored in their previous 34 innings before plating two meaningless runs in the ninth. I mean, Whitley could have twirled a gem and he still probably would have lost. All the run scoring hits by Yangervis Solarte and Kelly Johnson did in the ninth inning was pretty up the run differential. The club’s four base-runners in the ninth equaled their total from the first eight innings. Too little, too late. The game was over at that point.
Mark Teixeira hit a solo homer literally off the top of the center field wall in the fourth inning for what looked like was going to be their only run. At least he continues to swing the bat well. Brendan Ryan, Ichiro Suzuki, and Carlos Beltran also had hits while Brett Gardner and Frankie Cervelli drew the only walks. The Yankees didn’t have a runner reach second base until the ninth inning. This team is no fun to watch whenever Masahiro Tanaka or Dellin Betances are not on the mound. Joyless baseball.
Big ups to David Huff for soaking up 3.2 innings (61 pitches) in long relief despite throwing 25 pitches on Sunday and 20 pitches on Friday. He allowed two walks, one infield single, and zero runs. Huff helped move this game along. The pace was really dragging there for a while. Shawn Kelley struck out three and allowed an infield single in his inning of work. He looked way better than he had in any other outing since coming off the DL.
Ryan made a really nice defensive play in the seventh inning, ranging to his right and diving to snare a hard-hit ground ball. He turned around and fired a strike to first base to get the out despite being off balance. It was pretty rad. Ryan almost made another really nice play ranging to his left behind second base later in the inning, but the throw was off-line and pulled Teixeira off the bag.
The Yankees allowed at least eight runs for the third time in their last eight games. The good news is that the Yankees are getting blown out so regularly this month that eventually Joe Girardi will have no choice but to let Ichiro pitch.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, head over to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some additional stats and ESPN has the up to the minute standings. The Orioles won, so the Yankees are now in sole possession of third place. They look the part.
David Phelps and Mark Buehrle will be on the mound Tuesday night, in the second game of this three-game series. It would be nice if the Yankees were on the other end of a laugher for once.
Well that was a disappointing weekend. The Yankees got blown out 8-0 on Sunday afternoon and were a Zach Britton disaster inning away from being swept by the Orioles in this three-game series. Let’s recap the loss:
- Deserved Better: Masahiro Tanaka gave the Yankees seven innings of three-run ball, and while that certainly isn’t his best game of the season, it’s a very winnable game. Instead he received his second loss of the year. Tanaka allowed a solo homer to Jonathan Schoop — Schoop is the first player to take Tanaka deep twice in MLB — before the O’s tacked on two runs with his pitch count over 100 in the seventh inning. He struck out six and walked one. There’s no way you could pin this loss on Tanaka.
- NOffense: Brett Gardner led the game off with a triple but over-slid the bag and was tagged out. The Yankees only had three more hits and two other runners reach third base the rest of the game. They did draw four walks, but big whoop. The four through eight hitters went a combined 0-for-17 and one of their best chances to score came in the fourth inning, when they had runners on the corners with two outs. Kelly Johnson lined right back to Chris Tillman. Bad hitting and bad luck on Sunday.
- Blown Open: Adam Warren had his first real disaster outing of the season, allowing four runs in the eighth thanks in part to Steve Pearce‘s illegal take-out slid on Johnson at third base. Replays showed Pearce clearly went out of his way to take out Johnson on the would-be 5-3 double play — he was nowhere close to being able to touch the base — but instead the throw sailed into the stands. Instead of there being a runner on second with two outs, there were runners on second and third with one out. J.J. Hardy cleared the bases with a double later in the inning.
- Leftovers: Ichiro Suzuki had two of the four hits and seems to be playing just well enough to get a new contract to be the fourth outfielder after the season … David Huff allowed a solo homer to Caleb Joseph in the ninth, the first homer of his career. Caleb is Corban Joseph‘s brother … Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury both had a hit and a walk … Yangervis Solarte went 0-for-4 and is now hitless in his last 28 at-bats. The Solarte Partay’s over, folks … the Yankees have now been outscored 170-128 in 35 home games. lol
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Yankees are off to Toronto for another three-game set against the first place Blue Jays, which is pretty big for a late-June series. Chase Whitley and Marcus Stroman will be the pitching matchup in Monday night’s opener.
Saturday afternoon started with a great ceremony honoring Tino Martinez and ended with a 6-1 loss that snapped the four-game winning streak. Five homers accounted for all the offense. Let’s recap the Yankees’ loss to the Orioles:
- Kei Nuno (or Vidal Igawa?): Sometimes you can predict baseball. The O’s have one of the most powerful offenses in the game and they teed off against Vidal Nuno, taking him deep three times for five runs in 6.1 innings. Adam Jones (solo), Nelson Cruz (two-run), and Steve Pearce (two-run) did the damage. Nuno has now allowed 30 runs and 13 homers in 39.1 innings at home this season. The Yankees have the option of skipping his next start thanks to Thursday’s off-day, and even though Joe Girardi indicated they will remain on rotation, I don’t see how they can let him make another start. The have to find an alternative and soon.
- One & Done: Remember how the Yankees blew numerous opportunities and couldn’t score in general prior to Carlos Beltran‘s walk-off homer on Friday? That’s what the offense did all day on Saturday. The scored their only run on Mark Teixeira‘s fourth inning solo homer, otherwise going hitless in nine at-bats with men in scoring position. The Yankees had men on base in every inning but the second and sixth, yet still only managed to get two runners as far as third base (not including the homer). Barf.
- Leftovers: The only positive from Nuno’s day was that he threw 6.1 innings (107 pitches), so he didn’t tax the bullpen. Jose Ramirez threw 2.2 innings and 48 pitches in relief, allowing one run on J.J. Hardy’s first homer of the year … Kelly Johnson was the only starter who failed to reach base while only Jacoby Ellsbury (single and walk) and Brian Roberts (single and double) reached twice.
MLB.com has the box score, FanGraphs some additional stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees wrap up their already successful six-game homestand with Old Timers’ Day on Sunday afternoon. The ceremonies start at approximately 11:30am ET. After that, Masahiro Tanaka will look to give his team the series win over the O’s. Chris Tillman will be on the bump for Baltimore.
That WPA graph says it all, doesn’t it? The Yankees blew opportunity after opportunity on Friday night — they loaded the bases three times and scored a total of zero runs in those situations — and looked to be heading towards a frustrating and disappointing loss. All the air was about to be let out of the Blue Jays sweep balloon.
Instead, Carlos Beltran came out of his offensive slumber to club a two-out, three-run, walk-off homer against Zach Britton, turning an ugly loss into the unquestioned best win of the season. At +0.83 WPA, it was the Yankees’ biggest hit since Jason Giambi hit a walk-off two-run homer against B.J. Ryan back in June 2008 (+0.89). I remember that game well and I will remember this one well as … well.
Pretty much everything before the homer is an afterthought. Hiroki Kuroda took a no-hitter into the sixth, Mark Teixeira doubled in Brett Gardner for the game’s first run in the first inning, and Brian McCann singled in a run ahead of Beltran’s dinger to extend the inning. It was a really good at-bat against the tough lefty. McCann’s at-bat and single in that ninth inning should not be forgotten.
I spent a good chunk of the game sitting in traffic and following on Gameday, so I can’t go into much more detail. I did see the ninth inning rally though, and that’s really all that matters. MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Blue Jays rallied to win after being down 8-0, so thanks for nothing Reds. The Yankees remain 1.5 games back of first place in the AL East.
Anyway, Yankees and Orioles meet again on Saturday afternoon, when Vidal Nuno and Bud Norris meet. The Yankees will add a plaque to Monument Park in honor of Tino Martinez before the game.
It took a while, but the Yankees finished off a huge three-game sweep of the Blue Jays on Thursday night. Huge by June standards, I mean. The Bombers now have 16 straight wins over the Jays in Yankee Stadium — the last time Toronto won a game in the Bronx, Cody Eppley allowed some late runs — which is pretty amazing. Thursday’s final score was 6-4.
The Yankees took a very slow and methodical approach to scoring runs in the early innings. Emphasis on slow. This game took forever. The Yankees scored their first run in the first inning, their second run in the second inning, their third run in the third inning, and their fourth run in the … fifth inning. You thought it was the fourth inning, didn’t you? Probably not. I’m guessing you saw the game.
Anyway, the duo of Brett Gardner (double) and Jacoby Ellsbury (sac fly) plated the first run with a Derek Jeter infield single mixed in. A walk (Brian McCann), a fielder’s choice (Carlos Beltran), a single (Ichiro Suzuki), another walk (Brian Roberts), and another sac fly (Kelly Johnson) created the second run. The Yankees left the bases loaded in the second inning, but they forced starter Drew Hutchison to throw 38 pitches. Ichiro, Roberts, Johnson, and Gardner combined to see 28 pitches themselves in that inning. Hutchison had nothing to put anyone away. They were fouling pitches off at will.
The third inning rally was pretty basic. Ellsbury singled and stole second, then moved to third on Mark Teixeira‘s single. Beltran drove in Ellsbury with yet another sacrifice fly. I didn’t think Ellsbury would run on Jose Bautista, but he did and catcher Erick Kratz couldn’t handle the throw. I didn’t think Beltran would test Bautista’s arm in the second inning either, but he did and the throw was a little up the line. The fourth run did not require a sac fly — Ellsbury scored on Beltran’s ground rule double after singling and stealing second. Teixeira likely would have scored from first had the ball not hopped over the fence. Tough break.
Seven hits, four walks, three sacrifice flies, and two steals equals four runs in five innings. I imagine everyone who enjoys manufacturing runs and extended rallies and stuff like that loved this game. The Yankees really worked Hutchison hard and just kept chipping away. It would have been nice if one of those sac flies had fallen in or found a gap for extra bases to really blow things open, but runs are runs and the Yankees need as many as they can get these days.
St. David of Phelps
This game did not start very well for David Phelps. Melky Cabrera singled and Bautista walked in the first inning, so he was in hot water right away. Then Melky got picked off second and the whole outlook of the inning changed. Phelps got out of the inning unscathed and went on to hold Toronto to just two runs in seven innings while throwing a career-high tying 115 pitches. The only blemish was Melky’s two-run homer in the third inning. It was a bomb. Phelps made a mistake and it got hammered. That’s baseball.
The bullpen was a little short after the first two games of the series, so Joe Girardi pushed Phelps a little longer than I think he normally would have, and David responded very well. He retired pinch-hitter Adam Lind with two on and two outs to end the sixth inning — Matt Thornton was unable to warm up in time, but it worked out — then retired the side in order in the seventh, including two via strikeouts. The finally tally was the two runs on six hits and two walks in those seven innings. He also struck out seven. Between his last start against the Athletics and this start against the Blue Jays, Phelps has had arguably his two best starts against the two best hitting teams in the league.
Interesting, Of Course
Dellin Betances and David Robertson were both unavailable due to their recent workloads, so it was much appreciated when the Yankees scored insurance runs in the sixth (Roberts scampered home on Jeter’s fielder’s choice) and seventh (Yangervis Solarte drew a bases loaded walk). Shawn Kelley got the ball in the eighth and served up a mammoth two-run homer to Edwin Encarnacion, turning a four-run lead into a two-run lead. See? Always good to score those insurance runs.
In my totally amateur opinion, Kelley hasn’t looked 100% healthy since coming off the disabled list. It doesn’t seem like he is able to finish his pitches, particularly driving his slider down and away to righties. That makes sense after a back problem, right? He left a slider up to Bautista for ball four and left a fastball slightly less up to Encarnacion, and now it’s a souvenir. Kelley shouldn’t see any important innings for a little while.
Thornton recorded the final out of the eighth inning and the first out of the ninth inning before allowing a ground ball single to Colby Rasmus. That brought the tying run to the plate, which was rather annoying. The game looked to be in the bag an inning earlier. Closer du jour Adam Warren took over and retired pinch-hitter Munenori Kawasaki (fly out) and Jose Reyes (ground out) to end the game. Unnecessarily stressful at the end there, but a win is a win.
Solarte was in the game to draw that bases loaded walk in the seventh because Johnson bunted a pitch off his fingers and had to leave with bruises. Plural. X-rays came back negative and he is day-to-day. Johnson technically struck out twice (Solarte struck out for him in one of those at-bats) and had a sac fly before leaving. Jeter, Ellsbury, and Teixeira all had two hits while Gardner, Beltran, Ichiro, and Roberts had one each. McCann drew two of the team’s seven walks. The Yankees struck out only four times.
I have no idea what happened on the Dioner Navarro pop-up/Encarnacion interference play in the fourth inning. Navarro popped it up, Texeira ran into Encarnacion while trying to field the ball, then caught it anyway. For whatever reason the play ended with one out and Navarro at first. Shouldn’t Encarnacion be out on the interference and Navarro on the pop-up? The ball isn’t dead, is it? Whatever.
Thursday’s HOPE Week event honored Musicians on Call, an organization that sends volunteer singers and musicians to visit hospital patients, particularly those confined to their rooms. Here’s the Musicians on Call website, here’s more on the day, and here’s the HOPE Week video archive.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, head over to MLB.com. Some other stats are at FanGraphs and ESPN has the updated standings. The Yankees and Blue Jays are now tied atop the AL East in the loss column, though the Bombers are technically still 1.5 games back. These two teams play three games in Toronto next week. That’ll be fun.
The Orioles are coming to town for a three-game weekend series. They are right behind the Yankees in the standings, so that’s another big series. Hiroki Kuroda and Ubaldo Jimenez kick things off on Friday night. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to catch any of the games live. Tino Martinez is having his plaque unveiled in Monument Park on Saturday and Sunday is Old Timers’ Day, you know.
Make it 15 straight wins for the Yankees over the Blue Jays in Yankee Stadium. Geez. The Jays don’t just lose in the Bronx either, they lose and get hurt. Brett Lawrie left Wednesday’s game after taking a pitch to the left hand, though x-rays came back negative. Still. Injury to insult. The Yankees clinched the series win with a 7-3 victory.
In Play: Run(s)
Brian McCann has had a few big games this season. He hit two homers off John Lackey in April, had three hits including a double against the Red Sox later that month, and picked up three hits including a homer against the Mets in May. Wednesday’s game was his best as a Yankee because of the circumstances — they were playing the Blue Jays team they are chasing in the standings. Yeah, it’s only mid-June, but these head-to-head games are crucial when you’re trying to make up ground.
McCann had the team’s two biggest hits of the night. In the fourth, he swatted a go-ahead two-run homer off Mark Buehrle to cap off an excellent ten-pitch, six-foul ball at-bat. It was a cheap Yankee Stadium homer, but hey, that’s why the signed him. The Yankees brought him on board because they believed his dead pull lefty swing would result in a lot of Yankee Stadium cheapies, and that’s what they got in this game.
Later on in the seventh inning, McCann tripled (!) into the right-center field gap to clear the bases and plate three huge insurance runs. Colby Rasmus’ dive came up juuust short. McCann came into Wednesday’s game with 4,595 career plate appearances. That was his third career triple and first since 2009. Add in a walk and he reached base three times and drove in five of their seven runs.
Against what is by far the best lineup he’s faced as a big leaguer, Chase Whitley gave the Yankees a quality outing and held the Blue Jays to two runs in five innings. They worked him hard (98 pitches) as they did Masahiro Tanaka on Tuesday, but Whitley held his own and limited the damage in a two-run fourth inning that could have easily spiraled out of control. Toronto had only five singles, one walk, and one hit batsman against the rookie righty. This was not an easy assignment but Whitley got the job done. Remember, we’re talking about the Yankees’ eighth starter here.
In Play: Out(s)
Joe Girardi used five pitchers on the night (including Whitley) and all five were homegrown. Adam Warren came in and retired all six men he faced in the sixth and seventh innings — the sixth inning was three strikeouts while the seventh was three grounders to second — while the lead was still one run. Once McCann broke it open, Girardi went to Jose Ramirez, who faced two batters, allowed two hits, and was yanked. Dellin Betances cleaned up the mess and retired all three men he faced.
If you want to nitpick, you could argue Girardi should have used Betances to start the eighth inning if Ramirez’s leash was going to be so short. Betances had already warmed up and Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion were due to hit. Let Betances get through them with the five-run lead, then let Ramirez face the bottom of the order in the ninth. Instead, Ramirez allowed a run on those two hits and Girardi wound up having to use David Robertson in the ninth. Robertson retired the side in order in the non-save situation. These games are pretty important and I have no issue with using Robertson there once Ramirez and Betances pitched in the eighth. Four relievers, all homegrown, held the most powerful offense in the league to one run on two hits in four innings. Well done.
The Yankees scored their two non-McCann runs when Alfonso Soriano poked a two-out single through the shift in the first inning to score Brett Gardner and pinch-hitter Ichiro Suzuki drew a bases loaded walk ahead of McCann’s triple in the seventh. So all seven runs were driven in by the catcher and right field positions.
Gardner went 4-for-5 and could have easily been 5-for-5 — the one out was a line drive snagged by Encarnacion at first. Derek Jeter doubled off the right-center field wall and Jacoby Ellsbury, Mark Teixeira, and Carlos Beltran also chipped in base hits. Yangervis Solarte drew a walk and Brian Roberts was the only starter who did not reach base.
For Wednesday’s HOPE Week event, the Yankees signed Quinn Ostergren (age 4), Ryan Tucker (12), and Sean Callahan (11) to one-day contracts and had them spend the day with the team. They are all battling pediatric brain cancer and going through chemotherapy. They’re with an organization called Friends of Jaclyn, which helps improve the life of pediatric brain cancer patients. Here’s the Friends of Jaclyn website, here’s more on the day, and here’s the HOPE Week video archive.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com is the place to go for the box score and video highlights. FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN has the updated standings. The Yankees are now only 2.5 games back of the Blue Jays for first place in the AL East. There are a ton of games left, but the sooner they catch up, the better.