Archive for Game Stories
Once again, the Yankees played just well enough to fall short of a much-needed win. Friday night’s 4-3 loss to the Red Sox was their fifth loss in the last six games, with the last three of those losses coming against last place teams. After starting the second half with seven wins in eight games, the Yankees are now 8-6 since the All-Star break. Let’s recap the latest loss:
- Cap’d Off: I feel like every out Chris Capuano records is a gift from the baseball gods. He was left in just long enough to set up the game-losing run on Friday night, holding the Red Sox to four runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings. Boston was all over Capuano in the third (two runs) and fourth (one) innings, I mean even the outs were hard hit, but he did set down nine in a row at one point after that. He allowed a single to the number nine hitter leading off the seventh inning, a batter he probably shouldn’t even have faced, which led to that fourth and final run for the Red Sox. Capuano was fine, but these Yankees don’t win when the starter is only fine.
- Chip Away: The Yankees scored one run in three different innings. Carlos Beltran clubbed a solo homer in the fourth, then he singled in another run in the sixth. Jacoby Ellsbury walked and stole second to set that one up. Derek Jeter homered over the Green Monster for the team’s third and final run in the eighth. It was a bomb. It was also Jeter’s first homer off a right-handed pitcher (Junichi Tazawa served it up) since September 9th of 2012, when he took Kevin Gregg deep. His last three dingers had come against southpaws.
- Blown Chances: Anthony Ranaudo was okay in his MLB debut, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks in six innings. He only struck out two and seemed to miss up all night. Ranaudo walked the leadoff man in the first and second innings, but the next three batters made outs both times. The Yankees had runners on the corners with two outs in the eighth following a Mark Teixeira bloop double and a Brian McCann walk, but Chase Headley grounded out to end the inning. That was by far their best chance to tie the game. Close but no cigar.
- Leftovers: Headley went 0-for-4 but was awesome in the field, making three outstanding stops to save Capuano hits … Stephen Drew (0-for-4) and Martin Prado (0-for-2 off the bench) had forgettable Yankees debuts … Shawn Kelley allowed the inherited runner to score in the seventh, accounting for Boston’s fourth run. Adam Warren and Matt Thornton combined for a scoreless eighth on five total pitches (with a base-runner!) … Brett Gardner (two walks) and Ellsbury (single, walk) each reached twice, and Ellsbury was robbed of extra bases on Mookie Betts’ outstanding lunging catch in the eighth … the Yankees have hit multiple homers in seven straight games now, the first time they’ve done that since 2009. They’re 2-5 in those games.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Orioles won while the Blue Jays and Mariners lost, so he Yankees are six games back of the top spot in the AL East and 3.5 games back of the second wildcard spot. You can pretty much forget about the division at this point. FanGraphs gives them a 13.1% of making the postseason right now. Shane Greene and Allen Webster will be the pitching matchup on Saturday afternoon.
So much for taking advantage of a soft spot in the schedule. The Yankees lost Wednesday night’s series finale against the Rangers by the score of 3-2, dropping two of three in Texas to the team with the worst record in baseball.
For the first time since June 2012, Colby Lewis completed seven full innings of work. He retired the final 13 (!) batters he faced and held the Yankees to two runs — solo homers by noted power threats Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury — on four hits and two walks in those seven innings, striking out four. The Yankees actually loaded the bases in the first inning, but of course they couldn’t capitalize. I swear, they must lead the league in first inning runners left on base. It would be nice if they blew a game open early once in a while.
Anyway, Carlos Beltran‘s two-out single to left in the third inning was the Yankees’ finally base-runner of the night. Chase Headley followed that with a hard-hit fly ball right to the wall in right field — I thought it was gone off the bat — but Alex Rios was able to run it down for the third out of the inning. Headley went hitless for the first time in pinstripes but he did draw a walk. After Beltran’s single, exactly six Yankees hit the ball out of the infield. The final 19 men they sent to the plate made outs. The only good thing about this offense is that the games are usually over in under three hours.
Hiroki Kuroda pitched just well enough to lose. I feel like that is a bit of a running theme this year thanks to the offense. Kuroda left far too many pitches up in the zone in the three-run first inning, which featured four singles and a double, but followed with six more scoreless frames to spare the bullpen. Three runs in seven innings on nine hits and a walk isn’t great by any stretch of the imagination, especially since he never really seemed to be in control of his stuff, but it isn’t a disaster. It’s the type of start a good team would win.
Kuroda spared the bullpen after that dreadfully long game on Tuesday night, which was appreciated even with the off-day coming on Thursday. Getting those guys two straight days of rest this time of year is a big deal. David Huff issued two walks in an otherwise uneventful eighth inning and was the only reliever used. I’m not sure what else the pitching staff is supposed to do. These guys are giving the team a chance to win almost every night despite all the injuries. Something has to give at some point.
Mark Teixeira contributed to the first inning damage with a boneheaded play. He simply let a Leonys Martin ground ball roll foul rather than pick it up and tag Martin as he ran by for the final out of the inning. That would have limited the damage to two runs. Instead, the at-bat was extended and Martin eventually blooped a single to left to plate his team’s third run.
The Yankees’ four hits came from Gardner (homer), Ellsbury (homer!), and Beltran (two singles). Teixeira and Headley drew the only walks. The bottom three hitters in the lineup (Frankie Cervelli, Zoilo Almonte, Brendan Ryan) went a combined 0-for-9 with two strikeouts. Cervelli’s ground out with the bases loaded to end the first was their only at-bat with runners in scoring position on the night. Pitchers like Lewis, a guy with a 6+ ERA, used to be like bugs hitting a windshield whenever they faced the Yankees. Now they throw up quality starts.
Gardner’s homer was another leadoff job, his fourth of the season. It was also his fourth homer in the span of ten plate appearances and seventh (!) in July, or the same number of homers Robinson Cano has hit all season. The Yankees have now hit multiple homers in each of their last six games. I didn’t think they had that in them. It is their longest such streak since a nine-gamer in May 2009. They topped out at four games last year.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
The box score and video highlights can be found at MLB.com. FanGraphs has some more game stats and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Blue Jays and Orioles both won, so the Yankees are now 5.5 games back of the top spot in the AL East and three games back of the second wildcard spot, tied with the Mariners. They’ve lost four of five after winning seven of their first eight games out of the All-Star break. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 13.5%.
The Yankees are off on Thursday and they’ll head up to Boston to open a three-game series with the Red Sox on Friday night. Pretty good chance both teams will look a little different by then, especially the Sawx. Chris Capuano vs. John Lackey is the scheduled pitching matchup at the moment, but the Yankees are looking for a rotation upgrade and Lackey’s name has been in all sorts of trade rumors the last 24 hours or so. The trade deadline is 4pm ET on Thursday and I suspect both clubs will do something.
* lol nope
The good news: the Yankees scored a lot of runs and beat the Rangers 12-11 on Tuesday night. The bad news: my cardiologist doesn’t have any open appointments until next week. That was not the easiest win of the season. Let’s put it that way.
All With Two Outs, Again
For the third time this season and fourth time in his career, Brett Gardner opened the game with a leadoff homerun. That gave him three homers in the span of five plate appearances. I don’t get it but I love it. Brett now has 13 homers on the season and is close to doubling his previous career high of eight, set just last season. Gardner being the team’s best overall hitter and second best power hitter is both awesome and terrible at the same time.
The Yankees nursed that 1-0 lead until the third inning, when they ran into the same problem they had in the fifth inning of Monday’s game: they couldn’t get the third out. Brandon McCarthy got Shin-Soo Choo to fly out and Elvis Andrus to ground out for two quick outs, but Alex Rios and Adrian Beltre followed with singles to put men on the corners. Jim Adduci singled to score Rios and J.P. Arencibia doubled into the left field corner to score Beltre and Adduci. In the span of 17 pitches, the Rangers went from being down 1-0 with the bases empty and two outs to leading 3-1 with a runner on second and two outs. That third out, man. The Bombers are having some trouble getting it this week.
McCarthy managed to hang around a few more innings and surrendered four runs — Arencibia hit a wall-scraper solo homer in the fifth to give Texas a 4-1 lead — on nine hits and a walk in six innings of work. Fifteen of the 28 batters he faced hit the ball in the air, which is a more than usual. Only eight of his 15 non-strikeout outs were recorded on the ground. Not the best night for McCarthy, who was in bend but don’t break mode.
Man, it has been a long, long time since we last got to see the Yankees put up an inning like the sixth inning of this game. One of those “everything goes right, everything falls in, all the runs score” innings. It’s been too long. I had forgotten what they were like.
The seven-run assault started with a Gardner double into the corner because of course. He’s in the middle of it whenever they score these days. Derek Jeter reached on an infield single off starter Nick Martinez’s glove, and eventually Mark Teixeira walked to load the bases with one out. They had to score, right? Right. Carlos Beltran ripped a single to right to plate two and bring the Yankees to within 4-3.
Brian McCann‘s sac fly to center tied the game and I thought that would be the end of the rally, but no, they kept plugging along. Chase Headley walked, Zoilo Almonte poked a run-scoring ground ball single back up the middle, and Brendan Ryan ripped a two-run double into the left-center field gap to put his team ahead 7-4. This wasn’t a well-placed bloop double inside the line or something, it was a rocket.
The Yankees scored their seventh and final run of the inning when Rios and Leonys Martin miscommunicated on Gardner’s fly ball and basically ran into each other. The ball hit off Rios’ glove, hit off Martin’s head, and dunked in for a run-scoring three-base error. Here’s a GIF. Jeter struck out to strand Gardner at third, but by then seven runs had scored on five hits, two walks, an error, and a sac fly. Man did I miss big innings.
The Yankees extended their lead to 10-4 thanks to two walks (Jacoby Ellsbury and Teixeira), two singles (Beltran and Headley), and a run-scoring fielder’s choice (Almonte) in the seventh inning, giving them their first huge lead in far too long. Six-run lead with nine outs to go against the worst team in baseball? Smooth sailing from there, right? I wish.
The usually dynamite bullpen had their first total disaster inning in a while in the bottom half of the seventh, as Adam Warren and Dellin Betances combined to allow four runs before the second out was recorded. Warren loaded the bases on two walks (Andrus and Adduci), a single (Rios), and a fielder’s choice (Beltre, out made at home). Betances came in to clean up the mess and instead served up a grand slam to J.P. friggin Arencibia. J.P. Arencibia. The dude who came into the game with a .196 OBP and a 36 OPS+. He went 4-for-5 with two doubles, a solo homer, the grand slam, and seven runs driven in on the night. Argh.
Anyway, Betances put two more runners on base after the grand slam but escaped the inning with no more damage. Teixeira tacked on some much-appreciated — and ultimately needed — insurance runs with a two-run homer in the top of the eighth to give the Yankees a 12-8 lead, Chase Whitley coughed up a run to make a 12-9 lead in the ninth (Andrus single, stolen base, two ground outs), and the bottom of the order went quietly in the top of the ninth. Of course the bottom half of the ninth couldn’t be a nice and easy 1-2-3 inning. Of course not.
David Robertson, who was warming for the four or five-out save in the eighth, started the ninth innocently enough, with a strikeout of Arencibia. Take that, JPA. Martin followed with a one-out ground ball single back up the middle. Then Robertson walked Robinson Chirinos. Rougned Odor grounded out to first for the second out, but Choo drew a walk to load the bases and bring the winning run to the plate. Andrus singled to score two runs and make it a 12-11 game.. The Robertson walked Rios to re-load the bases. Then he went to a full count to Beltre. Then Beltre ripped a line drive to left that … the total awesome and dreamy and handsome Gardner ran down for the 27th out. Never in doubt. /barfs
Four Yankees relievers — their top three relievers among them — allowed seven runs on six hits and six walks in three innings of work. Whitley was their most effective bullpen arm on the night. I guess they picked a good game to melt down like this? The offense gave them a lot of breathing room and they used every last little bit of it.
Gardner seems to be starting one of his sicko hot streaks, going 4-for-5 with a single, the homer, two doubles, and the makeshift three-base error triple one night after taking Yu Darvish deep twice. He is 7-for-10 with two doubles and three homers in the last two games, raising his season batting line to .283/.357/.455 (125 wRC+). Brett is prettay, prettay good.
Jeter went 2-for-5 and Beltran went 2-for-4, making them the only other players with multiple hits. Teixeira hit the homer and drew three walks while Headley singled and had two walks, his first two in pinstripes. The Yankees went 6-for-15 (.400) with runners in scoring position and had more walks (six) than strikeouts (five) for the tenth time this year, tied for the third most in baseball with the Blue Jays and Athletics. Only the Pirates (14) and Rays (11) have more.
The Yankees scored double-digit runs for only the third time this season and the first time in 83 (!) games. They last did it on April 24th at Fenway Park, in a 14-5 win over the Red Sox. The seven runs in the sixth inning were their most in an inning this season. They had scored five runs in an inning three times, most recently on June 24th.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com is the place to go for the box score and video highlights. FanGraphs has some more stats and ESPN has the updated standings. The Orioles, Blue Jays, and Mariners all won, so the Yankees are 4.5 games back of the top spot in the AL East and two games back of the second wildcard spot, tied with Seattle. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 15.3%.
These two teams wrap up this three-game series on Wednesday night, when Hiroki Kuroda gets the ball against Colby Lewis. Gonna need you to go nine, Hiroki.
The losing streak has suddenly hit three games. That happened quick, no? It would be easier to swallow if the first two losses didn’t come against a direct wildcard competitor and the third against the worst team in baseball. The Yankees came from ahead to lose Monday’s series opener to the Rangers by the score of 4-2.
All With Two Outs
This game started out pretty well for the Yankees. Brett Gardner hit two solo homers off Yu Darvish (more on that in a bit) and David Phelps was cruising for the first four innings, pitching around a two-out single/error combination in the first before retiring ten of the next 12 batters he faced. He was in total control of the game against an abysmal last place team … and then the fifth inning happened. It all came crashing down in the blink of an eye.
Chris Gimenez started that fifth inning off with a single, and he moved to second on Rougned Odor’s ground ball. Phelps got Shin-Soo Choo to fly out for the second out and everything looked to be fine because hey, Elvis Andrus stinks. At least at the plate. Instead, he laced a first pitch single to left to score Gimenez. Fine, whatever. Get the next guy. Nope. Alex Rios singled to center to put men on the corners. Then bam, Adrian Beltre doubles into the corner to score the game-tying run. Phelps walked someone named Jim Adduci (I think that’s him in the photo above) on four pitches to load the bases, then he threw possibly the worst 0-2 pitch in baseball history to J.P. Arencibia, who singled back up the middle to score two runs.
In the span of 14 pitches, Phelps went from having a two-run lead with a man on second with two outs to being down two runs with men at first and second and two outs. Five straight batters reached base with two outs in the inning, and the final two runs scored thanks to that awful 0-2 pitch to Arencibia. It was basically a flat cutter down the middle. A batting practice fastball. Arencibia has zero plate discipline whatsoever and Phelps had three chances to get him to chase something out of the zone. Instead, he grooved a fastball.
All told, Phelps allowed the four runs on eight hits and a walk in six innings of work. He struck out three and threw 66 of his 96 pitches were strikes (68%). That fifth inning ruined everything. Phelps was cruising right along like he had in his last eight starts or so.
Brett Owns Yu
Gardner hit two homers off Darvish! Go back to the game last week and he took him deep three times in the span of four at-bats. What in the world is that about? The first came on a 1-0 fastball in the third inning and the second came on a hanging 2-2 slider in the fifth. That one was a bomb out to center, just to right field side of the grassy knoll. The two blasts gave the Yankees a two-zip lead before Phelps coughed it all up.
Gardner joined Mike Trout and Brandon Moss as the only MLB players to take Darvish deep four times in his career. Both Trout (40) and Moss (26) did it more than twice as many plate appearances (11) as Gardner. I dunno, sometimes a guy throws just your speed and you pick the ball up real well out of hand. Gardner seems to have Darvish down pat. He was a one-man wrecking crew.
Gardner may have done all the damage against the Darvish, but the righty didn’t exactly shut the Yankees down. I mean, he did on the scoreboard, but they had base-runners. They had a runner on second with two outs in both the first (Carlos Beltran struck out) and third (Brian McCann struck out), runners at first and second with two outs in the fourth (Brian Roberts struck out and Ichiro Suzuki grounded out), and runners at second and third in the seventh (McCann struck out). McCann had no chance against Darvish. He was completely lost all night.
That seventh inning rally was their best chance to get back into the game, though the Yankees did put two men on base against lefty Neal Cotts in the eighth inning. Pinch-hitter Mark Teixeira came off the bench to single with two outs, his first game action in eight days. I guess batting practice went fine before the game. Pinch-hitter Zelous Wheeler popped up to end the threat, however. The Yankees took a big fat 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. I love the guy, but relying on Gardner to hit dingers to generate offense ain’t gonna work.
Jacoby Ellsbury pinch-hit for Zoilo Almonte leading off the ninth inning and for the life of me I can not understand why he didn’t bat instead of Wheeler in the previous inning, with the tying run on base. I know Joe Girardi wanted to get him the day off, but was the half-inning off his feet that important? Ellsbury has hit lefties (128 wRC+) better than righties (98 wRC+) this year, so I hope it wasn’t a platoon thing. I dunno. That was weird.
Gardner and Jeter had six of the team’s eleven hits (three each). They were on base seven times and the only runs scored when Gardner drove himself in. Beltran had two hits and the trio of Texeira, Chase Headley, and Frankie Cervelli had one apiece. Jeter drew the only walk — the Yankees now have a 6.2% walk rate in their last 28 games as a team (over 1,000 plate appearances), which is awful — and stole the only base.
Shawn Kelley and Matt Thornton were the only relievers used after Phelps. Kelley got squeezed and walked a guy with two outs in his second inning of work for their only-base-runner. The bullpen gave the offense a chance to get back into the game, which proved to be a fruitless endeavor.
And finally, Jeter first tied and then passed Carl Yastrzemski on the all-time hit list with his first and second hits of the night. The Cap’n is now in sole possession of seventh place on the all-time list with 3,421 career hits. Next up is Honus Wagner at 3,430 hits and that’s probably Jeter’s ceiling. Passing Tris Speaker for fifth place all-time ain’t gonna happen. He’s at 3,514 hits.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head over to MLB.com for the box score and video highlights. You can find some more game stats at FanGraphs and see the updated standings at ESPN. The Orioles were off and the Blue Jays demolished the Red Sox, so the Yankees are now 4.5 games back of the top spot in the AL East and two games back of the second wildcard spot.
It’ll be these same two teams again on Tuesday night. Brandon McCarthy and Nick Martinez will be the pitching matchup. Hopefully the Yankees will hit Martinez now that they’ve seen him once before. Color me skeptical.
Following last night’s come-from-behind win, the Yankees have now won 17 straight games over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. That dates back to August 2012. It’s pretty unbelievable, really. Yankee Stadium for the Blue Jays must feel like what Angel Stadium feels like for the Yankees.
Anyway, Chris Capuano makes his Yankees debut this afternoon and, based on how things go, I suppose this could be anything from a spot start to the beginning of an extended stay in the rotation. Hopefully he gives the team something to think about. Here is the Blue Jays lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- DH Carlos Beltran
- 1B Brian McCann
- 3B Chase Headley
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- 2B Brian Roberts
- C Frankie Cervelli
LHP Chris Capuano
It’s warm and the sun is trying to poke through some clouds here in New York. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 1:05pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and, depending on where you live, MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.
Make it 17 straight wins over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees came back from a three-zip deficit on Friday night to win their fourth straight game and seventh in eight games since the All-Star break. I wouldn’t say they’re playing their best baseball of the season, but they’re definitely getting the results right now. Let’s recap the 6-4 win:
- Oh No Hiroki: A bloop, a chopper, a three-run homer. It was not a good start for Hiroki Kuroda, who gave up two cheap hits before Jose Bautista unloaded on a 3-0 fastball for a quick three-run bomb in the first inning. Bautista took him deep again in the third, though that was only a solo shot. Kuroda was definitely not sharp and, frankly, four runs in 5.2 innings feels like a bit of a miracle. He really had to grind all night.
- Death By Singles: The players change but the results do not. Mark Buehrle just can’t beat the Yankees. He started giving back that three-run lead in the second inning, when two singles (Brian McCann and Chase Headley) and a walk (Ichiro Suzuki) loaded the bases with no outs. Brian Roberts plated a run with an infield single, Brett Gardner another with a sac fly. They could have done some more damage but getting the two runs started the comeback.
- Two Dingers: After needing three singles and a walk (and a sac fly) to score two runs in the second inning, the Yankees dropped four runs on Buehrle with two homers in the third. Carlos Beltran hit a one-out solo shot and three batters later Ichiro Suzuki clubbed a three-run shot, his first of the year. Derek Jeter’s reaction was pretty great. McCann and Headley singled before Ichiro’s blast. Those two were the unsung offensive heroes. Ichiro’s dinger was unexpected, to say the least.
- Shutdown Bullpen: I don’t know how David Huff pitched his way into a setup role, but here we are. He retired two lefties and a switch-hitter before Shawn Kelley retired the only batter he faced, bridging the gap between Kuroda and Dellin Betances. Betances allowed a bloop double to center — Roberts couldn’t make the play doing back on the ball — but otherwise escaped the jam. David Robertson pitched around an infield hit that should have been an error on McCann for his 26th save. This bullpen is so great.
- Leftovers: Headley went 3-for-4 and is already paying major dividends. He did forget how many outs there were fifth though, getting picked off second when he started walking towards the dugout … Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury, the team’s two best hitters, where the only starters who failed to reach base … McCann and Frankie Cervelli each had two hits while Ichiro homered and walked … the Yankees hit two homers in a game for the first time in the second half.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some additional stats, and ESPN has the updated box score. The Orioles and Mariners are playing each other out in Seattle, so, depending on the outcome of that game, the Yankees will be either two games back of the top spot in the AL East and 0.5 games up on the second wildcard spot (Mariners win), or three games back of the top spot in the AL East and 1.5 games up on the second wildcard spot (Orioles win). Got all that? Chris Capuano will make his Yankees debut on Saturday afternoon against Drew Hutchison. Head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch either of the two games left on the homestand.
Make it six wins in seven second half games. The Yankees wrapped up their series against the Rangers with a tidy 4-2 win on Thursday afternoon, giving them three wins in the four-game series. Business, it’s being taken care of.
Second Time Around
It took Colby Lewis, he of the 6.37 ERA and .347 opponent’s batting average coming into Thursday, a total of 29 pitches to work through the first three innings. The only base-runner during those three innings was Brendan Ryan, who took a pitch off his elbow with two outs in the third. After watching the Yankees get shut down by the likes of Miles Mikolas and Nick Martinez earlier in the series, it was easy to think the offense was on its way to another no-show.
Then, thankfully, the second (and third) times through the order went much differently. Four of the next seven batters reached base, including a leadoff bloop double by Brett Gardner and a two-out single off the wall by Chase Headley with two outs in the third. That scored Gardner for the team’s first run. A four-pitch Ichiro Suzuki walk and a Frankie Cervelli double into the left field corner leading off the fourth led to the second run. Cervelli eventually came around to score on Gardner’s sacrifice fly later in the inning. A Ryan sac bunt and an unintentional intentional walk to Jacoby Ellsbury was sandwiched in the middle there.
After retiring eight batters to start the game, Lewis put eight of the next 20 Yankees on base, including two on extra-base hits and four without making them take the bat off their shoulders (three walks and a hit batsman). Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann teamed up for a much-appreciated insurance run in the eighth inning — Beltran found a hole with a ground ball single and McCann drove him in with an opposite field double into the left-center field gap. Off a lefty too. The Yankees couldn’t get McCann home from second despite having three chances, but whatever. Getting the one run is a win in my eyes.
No Command, No Problem
In terms of stuff and command, this was the worst of Brandon McCarthy‘s three starts as a Yankee. Seventy-four of his 109 pitches were strikes but six of 23 batters saw a three-ball count and 15 had at-bats of at least four pitches. McCarthy came into Thursday averaging 3.59 pitches per plate appearance, the seventh lowest among 94 qualified starters, so he wasn’t sharp and Texas forced him to work hard.
And yet, McCarthy gave the Yankees six innings of one run ball. It helped that the Rangers are awful, no doubt about it, but McCarthy also made some pretty big pitches to work out of jams in the third (Alex Rios flew out with runners on the corners) and fifth (Elvis Andrus struck out with runners on second and third) innings. The only run scored after two ground ball singles (Rougned Odor and Shin-Soo Choo) and a bloop (Andrus) that fell between Ellsbury and Brian Roberts in shallow center. It was just out of the reach of Roberts and he kicked it away, letting Choo advance another base. Blah. Considering he did not have his best stuff and certainly not his best location, it was a solid outing for McCarthy.
To The Bullpen
Two-run lead with nine outs to go and a rested-ish bullpen after the rain-shortened game on Wednesday? Joe Girardi had things set up perfectly. Then Adam Warren served up a leadoff homer to J.P. Arencibia to start the seventh, throwing a bit of a wrench into things. Warren retired the next two batters (fly out, foul out) and Matt Thornton got his lefty (pop up) to finish off the seventh. Dellin Betances (strikeout, two fly outs) tossed a perfect eighth and David Robertson pitched around a one-out walk in the ninth (fly out, two strikeouts) for his 25th save in 27 chances. Give that man an extension already.
The only starters without a hit were Ellsbury, Roberts, and Ryan. Ellsbury drew a walk and Ryan got hit by that pitch, so they still managed to reach base. Gardner, McCann, Headley, Ichiro, and Cervelli all had exactly one base hit, though they were of varying importance. Gardner has now reached base in
35 of his last 34 34 of his last 35 games. Pretty awesome.
Odor made an outstanding sliding stop at first base on Ryan’s sac bunt in the third. Adrian Beltre’s throw was low, but Odor slid feet-first into the base to grab the short-hop. It was pretty stellar. Girardi challenged the play — it appeared Odor’s foot might have been off the bag when he caught the ball — but the call was upheld. Really nifty play. A Yankees infielder would have crumbled into dust and a run would have scored if they had tried that.
And finally, the Yankees are now 24-24 at home on the season. I said they needed to play better at home to make a run at the postseason and they’ve done that so far. Getting back to .500 in the Bronx is a nice start to the second half.
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 updated standings. The Orioles and Mariners start a four-game series tonight, so the Yankees will gain ground in either the AL East (Mariners win) or the second wildcard (Orioles win) race. They are 2.5 games back of the top spot in the division and tied with Seattle for the second wildcard spot at the moment.
The homestand will wrap up with a three-game series against the Blue Jays this weekend. That’s kind of a big one, the Yankees and Jays are basically tied in the standings. Hiroki Kuroda and Mark Buehrle will be Friday night’s pitching matchup. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch of this weekend’s games.
I’m not sure Wednesday night’s 2-1 win over the Rangers could have gone any better for the Yankees. They scored the runs they needed and played quick enough to get the minimum five innings in before the rain came. The Yankees were declared winners after four and a half innings. The baseball gods owed them one after the rain-shortened loss in Baltimore before the All-Star break.
Yu Ain’t Got Nuthin’
After getting shut down by guys named Miles Mikolas and Nick Martinez the last two days, the Yankees were able to get to Yu Darvish for two runs on four hits in 4.1 innings before the sky opened up. All four hits went for extra bases — Chase Headley doubled in the second, Frankie Cervelli doubled in both the third and fifth, and Brett Gardner homered in the third. Cervelli moved up on Brendan Ryan‘s ground ball and scored on Darvish’s balk in the third. Gardner went deep as the next batter. Two quick runs, just like that.
The Yankees forced Darvish to throw 67 pitches to get 13 outs (5.15 pitches per out), so they didn’t work him as hard as they did Johnny Cueto on Sunday (7.47 pitches per out) but they did make him work harder than either Mikolas (4.77) or Martinez (4.19). I guess this lineup is built to beat aces, huh? Two runs in four innings plus one out against Darvish is pretty damn good. Hats off to Cervelli and Gardner for that third inning rally. They did the heavy lifting. Gardner now has a career-high ten homers, by the way. He might get 15 this year. Isn’t that awesome?
Five For Phelps
The Rangers scored their only run of the night on two singles (Leonys Martin and Chris Gimenez) and a ground ball double play (Rougned Odor) in the third inning, but it was not their only prime run-scoring opportunity. In fact, they had a golden chance in the top of the fifth, right before the rain. Martin tripled into the right field corner with one out, though neither Gimenez (foul pop-up) nor Odor (strikeout) could bring him in. Phelps went full Joba with the fist pump after the strikeout.
All told, Phelps held the Rangers to just the one run on five hits in five innings. He struck out three and walked zero, recording nine of his other 12 outs on the infield. Joe Girardi never needed to warm up his bullpen thanks to the rain, which is exactly what the Yankees needed after the 14-inning game on Tuesday. Phelps has pitched very well since moving into the rotation and Wednesday’s game was more of the save. His first career complete-game was a cheap rain-shortened one, but who cares. He should get a win for the start and a save for the fifth inning.
It’s A Tarp!
As you can see in the video above, the grounds crew had a devil of a time getting the tarp on the infield because of the wind and heavy rain. It took them roughly 15 minutes to actually get the thing in place after the umpires called for it, and by then the infield was drenched. The game was set to continue about an hour later and the grounds crew went to work, but the infield was still a mess.
The umpires, Joe Girardi, and Ron Washington all walked around and agreed the infield was not safe to continue playing. The mound and the batter’s box were fine, but the areas around the bases, where players run and cut to turn directions, were too soft. They talked it over, it started raining again, and eventually the game was called. I’m not quite sure what more they could have done. Scrape the infield and apply more drying agent? Whatever. The grounds crew did their best but Mother Nature had other ideas.
There’s not really anything else to cover here.
Brian McCann Cervelli threw Alex Rios out trying to steal second in the first inning, but only after the Rangers challenged the play. It appeared Ryan may have missed the tag, but the call was upheld. Every player in the starting lineup had two at-bats and only Gardner (ten) and McCann (12) saw more than nine pitches. This team, man. They’re a bunch of hackers.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head on over to MLB.com for the box score and video highlights. FanGraphs has some nerdier stats and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Mets beat the Mariners, so the Yankees are now only a half-game back of the second wildcard spot. They’re tied with Seattle in the loss column. Depending on the outcome of the late game, the Bombers will be either three games (Orioles lose) or four games (Orioles win) back of the top spot in the AL East.
The Yankees and Rangers will wrap-up this four-game series on Thursday afternoon. Colby Lewis and former Ranger Brandon McCarthy will be the pitching matchup in the matinee. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the game live.
Just when I thought these Yankees couldn’t get any worse, they go and do something like this … AND TOTALLY REDEEM THEMSELVES! Seriously, that was the worst best game of the year. I loved it and hated it at the same time. The Yankees won but really, we all still lost in a way. The final score was 2-1 in 14 innings.
The New Guy
Just as we all expected when we woke up Tuesday morning, Chase Headley delivered a walk-off single to give the Yankees the win over the Rangers in the second game of their four-game series. New York acquired their new third baseman from the Padres in the afternoon, he joined the team after flying in from Chicago, arrived at Yankee Stadium in the second inning, pinch-hit in the eighth, and still managed to get four at-bats. Pretty hectic day, I imagine.
Before Headley could earn his True Yankee status, his new teammates had to rally to tie the game in the bottom of the 13th. Catcher turned first baseman J.P. Arencibia took David Huff deep for a solo homer in the top half of the inning, and it really did feel like the end of the game. The Yankees looked so inept for 17 innings dating back to Monday that scoring a run felt like impossible. Naturally, after struggling against no names all night, they pushed across the tying run against Joakim Soria, the best available pitcher on the Rangers’ staff.
Brett Gardner led off the 13th inning with a pure hustle double to right, using his speed to barely beat out Shin-Soo Choo’s throw. The play was really close. Derek Jeter bunted Gardner up to third and, for whatever reason, Texas elected to pitch to Jacoby Ellsbury with first base open. He singled to right to knot the game up. Ellsbury’s come up with a ton of huge hits this season so far. At least it feels that way. He advanced to third on Carlos Beltran‘s single but was stranded when Brian McCann banged into an odd 3-6-3 double play. It appeared Arencibia let the ball drop in rather than catch it for one out.
Anyway, the 14th inning rally started with another double, this one a one-out ground-rule job by Brian Roberts. I’m not sure if he would have gotten to second base on the play without the ball going over the wall. Thankfully it did. Frankie Cervelli followed with a ground ball single to right, though it was hit hard enough that Roberts had to hold at third. Headley followed up with the walk-off single, a nice little piece of hitting the other way on a sinker on the outer half. This game felt like it was never going to end. Pretty awesome that the new guy got to show off some #hitvelo and contribute directly to the win.
Nick, Not Pedro
One day after getting shut down by someone named Miles Mikolas, the Yankees managed three singles and one walk in 5.1 innings against rookie Nick Martinez. He retired 14 of the final 16 batters he faced and took the ball into the sixth inning despite being on a 65-ish pitch count in his first start off the disabled list. I imagine Headley was probably sitting in the dugout hoping he could go back to the Padres to play with a team that could score runs. (I kid, I kid.)
The Yankees didn’t get their first base-runner to second base (!) until Derek Jeter doubled to left with one out in the ninth. He was stranded after Ellsbury was intentional walked and Beltran hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Two two-out walks (Gardner and Jeter) were wasted in the 11th when Ellsbury grounded out. Two singles (Beltran and McCann) and an intentional walk (Roberts) loaded the bases with one out in the 12th, but the Rangers escaped the jam when Cervelli lined out to Adrian Beltre at third and Headley grounded out. It was remarkable. They were finding new and interesting ways to not score each inning.
Before Soria blew the save, the Yankees managed only six hits and five walks in 12 innings against a parade of mostly replacement level arms. Between Martinez and some relievers, 23 of 25 Yankees made outs from the first through ninth innings. That’s unbelievable. There was some hard contact against Martinez in the first two innings but nothing after that. The Yankees rolled over on a lot of weak grounders or popped up hittable pitches until Jeter doubled in the ninth. This offense, man. It makes you want to pull your hair out sometimes.
The Return of Ace Whitley
The pitching line is fantastic — 6 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K 8/2 GB/FB — and Chase Whitley was far better than he had been in his previous four starts, but the Rangers definitely bailed him out with some shoddy base-running. Whitley put the leadoff man on base in the first, second, third, fourth, and seventh innings, though Texas had a man thrown out at third trying to advance on a ball in the dirt in the third, then had another runner thrown out at home in the fifth. It was a soft ground ball back up the middle that Roberts fielded but was unable to throw to first for the out, yet for whatever reason Robinson Chirinos chugged on home after rounding third. He was out at home by a mile.
Whitley was a little shaky but ultimately he kept runs off the board and that’s all that matters. Given all the injuries, there are no style points for the team’s rotation. Get outs however you can. Six relievers held the Rangers hitless for six innings (only one walk) after Whitley until Arencibia homered leading off the 13th. Adam Warren (two outs), Dellin Betances (three outs), David Robertson (six outs), and Shawn Kelley (three outs) were all pretty awesome. Jeff Francis, who I had totally forgotten was on the roster, pitched a scoreless 14th for the win. I have to think the Yankees will bring up a fresh arm tomorrow. I’m just not sure who.
Jeter’s double was the 535th of his career, passing Lou Gehrig for the most two-baggers in Yankees history. He went 1-for-4 with a walk on the night. Gardner (two hits, two walks), Ellsbury (two hits, one walk), Beltran (two hits), and Roberts (two hits, one walk) all reached base multiple times. Kelly Johnson went 0-for-4 before leaving the game with a groin injury.
McCann had a weird night at the plate. He went 1-for-6 but there’s a story behind it. McCann hit a ball to the wall in his first at-bat that Leonys Martin caught and re-caught on the way down after it plopped out of his glove mid-jump. Next time up he smashed a line drive that Arencibia robbed with a leaping catch. Later in the game, he lifted a jam shot bloop into the triangle in left field that fell in because three Rangers defenders had communication issues. McCann hit two balls on the screws and got nothing. Then he got jammed and got a hit on a weak bloop. Baseball, man.
And finally, I was disappointed to see Questlove leave the game after the 13th inning, though I can’t say I blame him. It looked like he was going to hang around all night. The B-list celebrity who turned the season around?
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 the updated standings are at ESPN. The Orioles won and the Mariners lost, so the Yankees remain four games back of the top spot in the AL East and climbed to within 1.5 games of the second wildcard spot.
The Yankees and Rangers will continue this four-game series on Wednesday night, when David Phelps squares off against Yu Darvish. That should be fun. (I’m not sure if that’s the right word.) Head over to RAB Tickets if you watch to catch that game or any of the other four games left on the homestand.
Barf. What an awful game. The Yankees managed to look terrible in every phase of the game in their come-from-ahead 4-2 loss to the Rangers in Monday night’s series opener. This is one I look forward to forgetting.
Right-hander Miles Mikolas, a career reliever up until about two months ago, came into Monday’s game with a 10.05 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP. He promptly held the Yankees to two runs on three singles, two walks, and a solo homer in 7.1 (7.1!) innings. They scored their first run on a Carlos Beltran sacrifice fly in the first — Derek Jeter walked, moved to second on a balk, then moved to third on Jacoby Ellsbury‘s infield single — and their second on Ellsbury’s solo homer in fourth. Thus ends the run scoring portion of the recap.
Mikolas retired eight in a row between Beltran’s sac fly and Ellsbury’s homer, then he retired the final eight batters he faced as well. The Yankees had a golden opportunity to break things open in the fifth, when they loaded with bases with one out on two singles (Frankie Cervelli and Zelous Wheeler) and one walk (Brett Gardner). Jeter wiped out the rally by banging into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play on the second pitch. Predictable, unfortunately.
The Yankees teased in the ninth thanks to a Kelly Johnson single and a Brian McCann pinch-hit-by-pitch, but that didn’t go anywhere. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to a pitcher for throwing a great game. Sometimes you have to look in the mirror and blame yourself for not rocking a guy like Miles Mikolas. Gross.
The Third Out
The sixth inning unraveled for Shane Greene and the Yankees in the blink of an eye. The young right-hander had the worst of his three career starts both in terms of results and stuff/command, as he struggled to locate just about all night. And yet, he held Texas to one infield defense-aided run in the first five innings (more on that in a bit). Then the sixth inning happened.
Greene started the inning with two quick outs before someone name Jake Smolinski singled on a ground ball back up the middle. Someone named Jim Adduci followed that with a walk, then Geovany Soto (I’ve heard of him!) slapped a broken bat single just over Wheeler and into left field for a game-tying single. Joe Girardi went to lefty specialist Matt Thornton at that point, and Thornton allowed run-scoring ground ball singles to (lefty) Rougned Odor and (lefty) Shin-Soo Choo. Lefty specialist: getting lefties out not required.
Adam Warren came out of the bullpen to record that elusive final out of the inning, but by then the damage had been done. The Yankees were up 2-1 and the bases were empty with two outs in the sixth, but the next five batters reached and suddenly that 2-1 lead was a 4-2 deficit. In hindsight, Girardi should have went straight to Warren after Smolinksi reached base. If you’re willing to use him down two runs in the sixth you might as well use him up one run instead.
The Yankees were charged with four errors … in the first four innings. It should have been five too. The official scorer was generous. Greene was responsible for three of those errors, one when he dropped a flip from Johnson at first and two when he threw the ball away. The first was a little flip on a comebacker, the second was a tough play on a weak grounder near the third base line. Both throws wound up in the stands, though Greene pitched around his errors all three times.
The fourth error — and what should have been the fifth error — was the one that burned him. The third inning rally started with a legitimate one-out Choo double to right-center, then he advanced to third when Brian Roberts muffed a hard-hit grounder and failed to get the out at first. They called it a hit even though Roberts was square to the ball and it hit him in the glove. Choo scored when Adrian Beltre hit what looked like a potential 6-4-3 double play, though Roberts failed to catch the flip from Jeter. It wasn’t a perfect flip, but again, it hit him in the glove. That was the error.
And, just for good measure, the Yankees committed their fifth error of the night in the seventh inning, when Jeter threw the ball away on the most routine of routine grounders. He didn’t even have to move. It was hit right too him and his throw (barely) pulled Johnson off the bag at first. They initially called it an out but the Rangers challenged and it was overturned. Somehow only one of the five errors led directly to a run, though Greene’s three misplays certainly upped his pitch count and could have led to fatigue in that sixth inning.
David Huff was the team’s third and final reliever of the night. He allowed a single to Beltre — the best case scenario, really — and an intentional walk to Chris Gimenez in two otherwise uneventful innings. He and Warren were fine. Thornton really ruined things by failing to retire either of the two lefties he was asked to face. He has one swing and miss in his last five appearances (35 total pitches), by the way.
Ellsbury had two hits while Cervelli, Johnson, and Wheeler had one each. That’s all. Five hits and five errors on the night. Gardner drew two walks and Jeter had one. The 4-5-6-7 hitters went a combined 1-for-14 with Johnson’s single, Beltran’s sac fly, and McCann’s hit-by-pitch. One day the Yankees will upgrade their offense. One day. (I don’t mean guys like Wheeler either. Real upgrades.)
The Yankees had five errors in a game for the first time since July 2007. Greene also became the first Yankees pitcher to make three errors in a game since Tommy John back in 1988. He heard some loud half-derisive/half-supportive cheers whenever he cleanly fielded a ball after that.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head over to MLB.com for the box scores and video highlights. There are some other stats at FanGraphs and the updated standings are at ESPN. Depending on the outcomes of the late games, the Yankees will be either three games (Orioles lose) or four games (Orioles win) back of the top spot in the AL East and either 1.5 games (Mariners lose) or 2.5 games (Mariners win) back of the second wildcard spot.
These same two teams will play the second game of this four-game series on Tuesday night, when rookie right-handers Chase Whitley and Nick Martinez get the ball. Something tells me we might be in for a whole lotta bullpen. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch that game or any of the other five games left on the homestand.