Archive for Game Stories
That was a pretty great start to the second half of the season, no? The big money lineup additions got big hits to drive in runs and three homegrown arms preserved the lead in Friday’s series-opening 4-3 win over the Reds. Undefeated after the All-Star break, baby. Let’s recap the interleague win:
- C.R.E.A.M.: The Yankees sunk a lot of money into Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Jacoby Ellsbury over the winter, and they all came through in this game. McCann’s two-out double drove in the game’s first run and salvaged a first inning rally that looked like it might go for naught. Two innings later, Beltran drove in the team’s second run with a two-out single. Those are the big hits neither guy was providing in the first half. Brett Gardner (single) and Mark Teixeira (walk) set up the first rally while Derek Jeter (single) and Jacoby Ellsbury (single) set up the second.
- Phelps Phriday: Other than the two solo homers by Brayan Pena (seriously?!?), David Phelps was once again rock solid. He held the Reds to three runs (two earned) in 6.1 innings, striking out seven and walking one. Errors by Brian Roberts and Jeter gave Cincinnati at least two and possible three extra outs in the fourth inning, leading to a run. It appeared Roberts would have been able to turn a double play had he not totally muffed Todd Frazier’s grounder. Oh well. Phelps was very good yet again, taking the ball into the seventh and sparing some relievers.
- No. 3 Hitter: The fourth inning defensive shenanigans knotted the game up at two, though it took Mike Leake all of five pitches to give up two runs in the fifth inning. Jeter led off with a single to right and Ellsbury followed with a two-run homer to right, a kinda sorta Yankee Stadium cheapie. It wasn’t a wall-scraper but it was only two or three rows back. Who cares, it counted. Ellsbury has been miscast as a number three hitter this year, but, for at least one game, he filled the role perfectly. The homer was his seventh of the year.
- Dellin & Dave: Joe Girardi did not mess around after the four-day All-Star break. He went right to Dellin Betances in relief of Phelps and let him carry the ball all the way to David Robertson in the ninth. Dellin struck out three of five batters faced while Robertson pitched around a two-out single in an otherwise uneventful ninth for his 24th save. These two are going to have to protect every lead they’re given in the second half if the Yankees are going to have a chance.
- Leftovers: The top six hitters in the Reds lineup went a combined 2-for-23 (.090) with one walk and nine strikeouts. The light-hitting Zack Cozart (63 wRC+) had the two hits, naturally … Jeter, Ellsbury, and Beltran all had two hits. Gardner and Teixeira drew the only walks while McCann and Kelly Johnson had one hit apiece … the Yankees stole three bases (Gardner, Ellsbury, Beltran (!)) for only the seventh time this year. I would have guessed it was more … Jeter made his 2,610th career start at shortstop, breaking a tie with Omar Vizquel and giving him sole possession of the most starts at short in history.
For the box score and video highlights, go to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN has the updated standings. Depending on the outcome of the late games, the Yankees will be either four games (Orioles lose) or five games (Orioles win) back of the top spot in the AL East and either 2.5 games (Mariners lose) or 3.5 games (Mariners win) back of the second wildcard spot. Brandon McCarthy and Alfredo Simon will be the pitching matchup in the second game of this three-game series on Saturday afternoon.
With an assist to leadoff hitter and Yankees captain Derek Jeter, the American League beat the National League by the score of 5-3 in the 2014 All-Star Game on Tuesday night. The AL will have home field advantage in the World Series this fall, which will be helpful after the Yankees make their huge second half surge and secure a postseason spot.
Jeter received the loudest ovations of the night, both during pre-game introductions and before each at-bat. He was pulled after taking the field in the fourth inning and was cheered as he exited to the dugout, eventually coming out for the curtain call. It was a pretty cool moment. Jeter went 2-for-2 with a double off Adam Wainwright in the first and a single off Alfredo Simon in the third, both to the opposite field (of course). He scored the game’s first run on Mike Trout’s triple. Trout was eventually named MVP. I thought Jeter would get it.
Following the game — or really in the middle of it — Wainwright created some controversy by saying he grooved a pitch to Jeter in his first at-bat. He eventually backtracked and said he misspoke, but whatever. It’s not the first time a pitcher has grooved a pitch to a legend in an All-Star Game, see Chan Ho Park and Cal Ripken Jr. Don’t forget Ian Kinsler’s weak attempt to field a Chipper Jones ground ball during the 2012 Midsummer Classic, allowing it to scoot by for a hit. Who cares. Grooved pitch or not, it was an awesome night for Jeter.
Dellin Betances did not pitch in the game and as far as I know he did not even warm up. Disappointing but I’m fine with it. He could use the rest. Masahiro Tanaka, the team’s third All-Star, was not in Minnesota because he is receiving treatment for his partially torn elbow ligament. What a sad sentence. Here is the box score, if you’re looking for it. There is no Major League Baseball at all these next two days. Everything returns to normal on Friday, when the Reds come to the Bronx for a three-game weekend set.
What a fitting end to a frustrating first half of the season. The Yankees lost 3-1 to the Orioles after only four and a half innings on Sunday night thanks to Mother Nature — the game was called after 2+ hour rain delay. New York heads into the All-Star break at a thoroughly mediocre 47-47. Let’s recap the rubber game loss.
- One Man Army: Right from Opening Day, the team’s best player this year has been Brett Gardner. He gave the Yankees their only run on Sunday with a leadoff homer against Kevin Gausman, his ninth long ball of the year. That’s a new career-high. Gausman allowed just three singles after that and the Yankees never had another runner reach second base. Well, not unless you count Mark Teixeira getting thrown out trying to stretch his first inning single into a double. He did physically get to second base, after all. Twelve of the final 13 men they sent to the plate made outs and I’m not sure they would have scored three more runs even if the game had continued.
- Back In The Rotation: Chase Whitley escaped a bases loaded situation in the second inning, but he wasn’t going to hold off this high-powered Orioles offense forever. Things fell apart for him in the fourth inning, the second time through the order. Nelson Cruz walked, Chris Davis mashed a go-ahead two-run homer, and J.J. Hardy doubled. All that happened within the first eleven pitches of the inning. Jonathan Schoop singled with two outs to plate the third run, ending Whitley’s night. He allowed the three runs on five hits and two walks in 3.2 innings. Over his last four starts, Whitley has put 40 men on base (five homers!) and surrendered 20 runs in 14 innings. He absolutely can not be in the rotation after the All-Star break. They gotta find someone else.
- Leftovers: The rain likely spared David Huff an ugly inning. He walked Steve Pearce to leadoff the fifth and was slated to face Adam Jones and Cruz before the tarp was brought out. Almost no chance that would have ended well … Gardner, Teixeira, Derek Jeter, and Brian McCann had the four hits … obviously this game gets an asterisk, but the Yankees closed out the first half by scoring no more than three runs in their final four games.
The box score and video highlights are at MLB.com, the nerdy stats are at FanGraphs, and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Yankees head into the break five games back of the top spot in the AL East and 3.5 games back of the second wildcard spot. They now get a much-needed four-game break before opening the second half against the Reds in Yankee Stadium. David Phelps and Mike Leake will be the pitching matchup on Friday night.
In the Yankees’ most important game of the season (to date!), they received their best starting pitching performance of 2014 by someone not named Masahiro Tanaka. Rookie right-hander Shane Greene used his turbosinker to lead his team to a much-needed 3-0 win over the Orioles on Saturday afternoon. Let’s recap:
- Chien-Ming Greene: For at least one start, the Yankees found themselves another Chien-Ming Wang. Greene, in his second big league start, held the high-powered Orioles scoreless for 7.1 innings thanks to ten ground ball outs and nine strikeouts. Only three of the 27 batters he faced hit the ball out of the infield in the air. Greene took a no-hitter into the fifth and allowed just four singles plus two walks. When it looked like things might unravel following two singles to leadoff the sixth, he got a quick double play and a strikeout. That sinker (sat 94.1 according to PitchFX) is legit, man. As Joe Girardi said following the game, Greene is “earning starts, that’s what he’s doing.” Bravo, young man.
- Two Rallies, Three Runs: This game had a very familiar feel to it, especially after the Yankees wasted a leadoff walk and single in the second inning. Mark Teixeira doubled in a run in the third inning but the rally was cut short when Derek Jeter was thrown out at the plate. Nine of the next dozen Yankees made outs before a single (Kelly Johnson), a wild pitch, another single (Jeter), a double (Jacoby Ellsbury), an intentional walk (Teixeira), and a single (Brian McCann) created two more runs in the seventh. Again, the rally was cut short when Ellsbury was thrown out at the plate by a mile. Three runs was enough with the way Greene was pitching, but it maybe coulda been more.
- Bullpen on Parade: Greene retired the leadoff man in the eight before being lifted with his pitch count at 106. David Huff came in to face Nick Markakis, allowed a leadoff single, and was pulled. Shawn Kelley got a broken bat fly out (Steve Pearce) and a strikeout (Adam Jones) to end the threat before David Robertson threw a flawless ninth for his 23rd save. He struck out two (Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy). Remember when people were worried how Robertson would handle the ninth inning? I could count how many closers I would take over him on one hand.
- Thrown Out: Like I said, the Yankees had two runners thrown out at the plate in the game. The first one I kinda get — Teixeira doubled into the corner and it took a perfect throw and relay to cut Jeter down. The second one I don’t understand. The single was hit directly to Adam Jones, who has a very strong arm. He was ready to release the ball as Ellsbury was just rounding third. I mean, the two plays didn’t come back to hurt, but geez. The Yankees have had 15 runners thrown out the plate this year, the most in
baseballthe AL and two more than last year (h/t @ktsharp).
- Leftovers: McCann had three hits and is 12-for-35 (.343) on the road trip. He fouled a pitch off his foot in the seventh, but x-rays came back negative and he expected to play Sunday … Jeter had two hits, Ellsbury a hit and a walk, Teixeira a hit and two walks … Kelley threw seven pitches and got three swings and misses. He’s looked much better his last three or four outings … by Game Score (77), Greene’s start was the team’s best by a) a non-Tanaka starter this year, and b) a non-Tanaka rookie since Ivan Nova held the Reds to one run in eight innings in June 2011. Pretty, pretty good.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees are now four games back of the Orioles for the top spot in the AL East, and depending on the outcome of the late game, they will be either 2.5 (Mariners lose) or 3.5 (Mariners win) games back of the second wildcard spot. Girardi confirmed after the game that Chase Whitley will start the series and first half finale on Sunday night after not being needed in relief these last two days. Kevin Gausman will be on the bump for Baltimore.
That was not the best way to start the most important series of the season (to date!). The Yankees and Orioles needed extra innings to determine Friday’s series opener, which ended with New York’s sixth walk-off loss of the season. They had seven such losses last year. The O’s won 3-2 in ten innings. Let’s recap the loss:
- Two Homers: In what was a pretty cool moment, Brian Roberts hit a solo homer on the very first pitch he saw as a visiting player in Camden Yards. The home crowd was mostly indifferent. Just a few cheers and not what I expected for a guy like Roberts. Anyway, that was New York’s first run. Kelly Johnson plated the second one inning later with a solo homer of his own. It was his sixth of the year and first away from Yankee Stadium. Thus concludes the run-scoring portion of the recap.
- Wild Kuroda: On the surface, two runs on three singles and no walks in seven innings seems pretty damn awesome. Hiroki Kuroda was very wild though — the lack of walks had more to do with Baltimore’s general impatience than his strike-throwing — hitting two batters and uncorking three (very) wild pitches. The Orioles scored those two runs on one hit in fourth inning. Two wild pitches and two hit batters contributed to the rally. Kuroda really had to battle himself but ultimately gave the team a quality outing.
- Offense Asleep: Ichiro Suzuki hit a ground-run double with one out in the fourth inning, putting men at second and third with one out. Yangervis Solarte popped out and Johnson flew out to end the threat, and the Yankees did not pick up another hit until Brian McCann singled leading off the ninth. A botched bunt contributed to that failed rally. Twenty of the final 23 batters the Yankees sent to the plate made outs. Orioles pitchers threw 14 total pitches in the eighth and tenth innings. Click this.
- Leftovers: The top four hitters in the lineup went a combined 1-for-19 (.053) with five strikeouts while the bottom five hitters went 6-for-18 (.333) … Ichiro went 2-for-4 with two doubles, his sixth and seventh extra-base hits of the season … Dellin Betances struck out three and hit a batter in two scoreless innings … Adam Warren served up the walk-off loss on a Manny Machado double/Nick Hundley single combination … the Yankees drew one walk in ten innings and have a measly 5.5% walk rate in the last 15 games … with the loss, the Yankees are 17-19 against the AL East and 46-46 overall this season.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Yankees are now five games back of the Orioles for first place in the AL East and, depending on the outcome of the late game, they will be either 2.5 (Mariners lose) or 3.5 (Mariners win) games back of the second wildcard spot. Shane Greene will be asked to stop the bleeding on Saturday afternoon, when he’ll be opposed by Chris Tillman. A win would be cool.
Well that was ugly. A spectacular bullpen meltdown turned a nice 3-0 lead into an ugly 9-3 deficit in the span of two innings on Thursday night, sending the Yankees to a loss in their series finale against the Indians. The final score was indeed 9-3.
Nine Unanswered Runs
You know, I made the mistake of feeling comfortable with the three-run lead. Yeah, the bullpen was taxed from the 14-inning game on Wednesday, but David Phelps was cruising (more on that in a bit) and I assumed the late-inning trio of Dellin Betances, Adam Warren, and David Robertson were all available. Everything seemed to be going well … until it wasn’t.
Phelps entered the seventh inning having thrown 96 pitches with seemingly plenty left in the tank, but Chris Dickerson and Roberto Perez opened the frame with singles. Just like that, the tying run was on base with no outs. Joe Girardi gave Phelps the hook and went to lefty specialist Matt Thornton, who allowed an infield single to Jason Kipnis to load the bases with no outs. It would have been a regular ol’ single into the outfield had it not deflected off Thornton’s glove going back up the middle.
That’s what the wheels came crashing off the bullpen bus. Thornton was left in to face the switch-hitting Asdrubal Cabrera, who poked a bases-clearing triple into the right field corner. Just like that, in the span of eleven total pitches, the Indians went from down three runs with the bases empty to tying the score and having the go-ahead run at third base with no outs. Michael Brantley’s sacrifice fly brought in Cabrera from third to give the Tribe the lead.
Girardi brought in the seldom-used Jim Miller and things completely fell apart from there. The journeyman righty allowed seven of 12 batters faced to reach base in the seventh and eighth innings, turning that one-run deficit into a five-run deficit. Both Perez and Carlos Santana clubbed two-run homers in the five-run eighth. Five runs on six hits and a walk in 1.2 innings raised Miller’s season ERA to 20.25. I’m pretty sure he will be dumped off the roster in favor of a fresh arm tomorrow (Matt Daley?). At least he completely erased all hope of a comeback. I hate being teased.
Three Runs Ain’t Enough
The Yankees scored their three runs because two guys named Zelous Wheeler and Yangervis Solarte had a two-run homer and a two-out run-scoring single, respectively. Just as we all expected in Spring Training. The Yankees left the bases loaded in the first and fourth innings, and Frankie Cervelli‘s strikeout to end that first inning rally was one of the worst at-bats of the season. He took a fastball for strike one, swung feebly over a slider for strike two, then swung even more feebly over a slider for strike three. At least Jacoby Ellsbury worked a 2-0 count and put a good swing on the ball when he grounded out to end the fourth. Geez, Frankie.
And yet, those three runs looked like they were going to stand up because Phelps was working his magic and pitching out of jams all night. He put two men on base in the first, third, and fourth innings, but escaped each time thanks to well-timed strikeouts and routine fly balls. Phelps put ten men on base (seven hits, three walks) in six innings plus two batters of work, including the leadoff man in the first, third, fifth, and seventh innings. He seems to have a little Andy Pettitte in him with the way he pitches himself into and out of trouble in just about every start. Phelps was charged with two runs on Cabrera’s game-tying double even though he had been in the dugout for two batters by that point.
Cervelli took a pitch to his knee in the fifth inning and he looked to be in a lot of pain. Like get carried off the field and see you in September pain. He got up and was able to walk it off though. The Yankees would have lost the DH if Cervelli had to come out of the game and Brian McCann had to move behind the plate, but thankfully that was not the case.
Speaking of McCann, he went 0-for-4 with a walk and four strikeouts on the night. He’s actually hit pretty well on the road trip, but yeah. That was ugly. Derek Jeter, Ellsbury, and Wheeler all had two hits apiece. McCann and Brendan Ryan were the only starters without hits. Ichiro Suzuki came off the bench to provide a pinch-hit single in the eighth. It was the 2,800th hit of his MLB career.
And finally, Jeter took a ground ball off his left wrist in the eighth inning and seemed to be in quite a bit of pain when he was being looked at in the dugout after the inning. The ball hit the lip of the grass and took a weird hop up into his wrist, above his glove. He is fine, by all accounts.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, MLB.com is the place to go. You can see some other stats at FanGraphs and the updated standings at ESPN. The Orioles won, so the Yankees are four games back in the AL East. Depending on what happens with the late game, they will be either be 2.5 (Mariners lose) or 3.5 (Mariners win) games back of the second wildcard spot.
The Yankees are off to Baltimore for a rather huge three-game weekend series to close out the first half. It’s time to start winning some of these head-to-head, intra-division games. Hiroki Kuroda and Miguel Gonzalez will be Friday’s pitching matchup.
For the third time in the last ten games, the Yankees needed extra innings on Wednesday. Thankfully they managed to win this time. Some stellar bullpen work and a clutch 14th inning homerun gave New York a 5-4 win over the Indians. The Bombers have won five of seven games on this never-ending road trip.
Welcome To New York, Brandon
The Yankees did not waste time showing Brandon McCarthy the ropes during his first start with the team — a throwing error led to three unearned runs in the very first inning. A bunch of singles that dropping in front of outfielders and bounced by infielders did the damage along with Mark Teixeira‘s throw off Michael Brantley’s back. He tried to get the lead runner ay second on a ground ball when he should have just taken the sure out at first base, in hindsight. Nick Swisher‘s two-run single with two outs was the big blow.
After that first inning, McCarthy settled down and allowed only one run in the next 5.2 innings. Fifteen of the 29 batters he faced hit the ball on the ground and four got through the infield for base hits. That’s basically his game, McCarthy doesn’t walk anyone (one walk in this game with a 4.2% walk rate on the season) and he makes hitters hit the ball on the ground (55.6%). He stayed true to form in his first start for the Yankees and the infield defense burned him in the first inning, which will happen from time to time. I mean, a throw into the back of a base-runner? Geez.
Overall, McCarthy gave the Yankees exactly what they were looking for when they acquired him: strikes and innings. He threw 101 pitches in his 6.2 innings and was only lifted to get the left-on-left matchup against the seemingly unstoppable Brantley. The Yankees were not acquiring an ace when they traded for McCarthy. They added someone who is more predictable and better able to pitch deep into the game than Vidal Nuno. Very solid first outing for the new guy.
Two Swings, Three Runs
Those unearned runs in the first inning put the Yankees in a quick three-zip hole, and it wasn’t until the middle innings that they started to chip away. Teixeira opened the team’s scoring with a leadoff solo homer in the fourth inning and he capped off their fifth inning rally with a monster two-run homer. A Jacoby Ellsbury double combined with a Derek Jeter single and a Brian McCann sacrifice fly created the first run in the fifth before Teixeira’s two-run tater. Five of ten batters reached base during that stretch between homers in the fourth and fifth.
Following Teixeira’s second homer, the offense did its best Derek Bell impersonation and went into Operation Shutdown, at least for a few innings. The next nine and 13 of the next 15 batters after the second homer made outs — neither base-runner reached scoring position — taking the Yankees into extra innings. That has become a theme on this road trip, scoring a bunch of runs relatively early then not doing much offensively the rest of the game. Quite annoying.
Who Wants To Win?
Both teams had excellent chances to score in the tenth inning, but neither capitalized. The Yankees put the first two men of the inning on base (Jeter walk, McCann single), but the next three made outs (Teixeira fly out, Roberts fielder’s choice, Ichiro Suzuki strikeout) to end the threat. Brian Roberts banged into what was initially ruled an inning-ending double play, but Joe Girardi challenged and replay showed Cody Allen’s foot slipped off first base before receiving the throw. Of course Ichiro didn’t make the Tribe pay and stranded runners at the corners. Of course.
In the bottom half, Adam Warren got a quick ground out from Asdrubal Cabrera before David Huff was brought in to get the platoon matchup against Brantley. Huff, who is apparently still on the Cleveland payroll as an Embedded Indian, then walked the next three batters to load the bases with one out. He did go to a full count on all three hitters, so he made it look like he was trying to get them out, which I’m sure the Indians brass appreciated. You gotta keep up appearances. Anyway, Shawn Kelley came in and escaped the jam with a strikeout (Swisher) and a routine ground ball to short (David Murphy). Five runners left on base between the two teams in the tenth.
The 11th, 12th, and 13th innings went by rather quietly — Roberts singled to leadoff the 13th and for whatever reason Ichiro did not bunt him over. I guess the bunt is reserved for the second inning when the opposing pitcher is struggling — and it appeared the 14th inning would be more of the same until Ellsbury hooked a Vinnie Pestano slider into right field for a two-out solo homer. Pestano threw him a few nasty sliders earlier in the at-bat and Ellsbury was sitting all over it with two strikes. Perfect.
Aside from Huff, who walked all three batters he faced, the bullpen was really strong in this game. Matt Thornton (one out), Dellin Betances (three outs), and Warren (one hit, four outs) bridged the gap between McCarthy and extra innings, then Kelley bailed out Huff in the tenth before adding a perfect 11th. Chase Whitley retired six straight after allowing a leadoff single in the 12th. David Robertson pitched around a one-out single in the ninth. The non-Huff portion of the bullpen allowed three singles and struck out nine in 7.1 scoreless innings.
The top four hitters in the lineup went a combined 8-for-24 (.333) with a double and three homers. The other five lineup spots went a combined 4-for-28 (.143) with no extra-base hits. Considering the starting lineup, I don’t think that’s too surprising. When Roberts is hitting fifth for your team in the year of our lord 2014, you can’t expect the bottom of the lineup to do much of anything.
For some reason Allen was allowed to throw two warm-up pitches following the video replay in the top of the tenth. The rules say warm-ups are only allowed at the start of an inning or when a new pitcher enters the game. I don’t think it changed the outcome at all, just wondering why it was allowed. Making up the rules as they go?
And finally, Kelly Johnson dropped the would-be final out in the bottom of the 14th. It was a tough basket catch play on a pop-up in foul territory, but the ball clanked off his glove. Brantley hit a rocket to left field that looked like it might get over Zoilo Almonte‘s head, but he twisted around and made the game-ending catch. Scary few moments there.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
The box score and video highlights are at MLB.com while some other stats are at FanGraphs. ESPN has the updated standings. The Orioles lost and the Mariners are getting blown out as of this writing, so the Yankees are now three games back of the top spot in the AL East and will likely be 2.5 games back of the second wild-card spot. This feels like the 2000 season all over again. First team to 87 wins gets the division title.
The Yankees and Indians wrap up this four-game series Thursday night. David Phelps and lefty T.J. House will be the pitching matchup.
This was a tale of two games. It was all Yankees in the first two innings and all Indians after that. Masahiro Tanaka‘s worst start of the season and an offense that completely vanished after the third inning led the Yankees to a 5-3 loss to the Indians on Tuesday night. The little two-game winning streak is snapped and New York is back to being only one game over .500 at 45-44.
Something came up tonight (nothing bad, everything’s fine), so I wasn’t able to watch this game at all after the first inning and can’t recap in much detail. Trevor Bauer was all over the place early on though, throwing 67 pitches in the first three innings while allowing three runs and putting seven of the first 14 men on base. Then he threw 45 pitches in the next four innings and retired 13 of the final 14 men he faced. The one base-runner came on a Nick Swisher error. It was a weak grounder right through his legs.
The Yankees did not have a hit after the third inning and did not have a base-runner after the fifth inning. They worked Bauer hard early on, scoring those three runs on a string of mostly singles — the sacrifice bunt in the second inning was silly with Bauer on the ropes, but in fairness, it was Zelous Wheeler at the plate. Two walks (of course) on the night, no extra-base hits. The 2014 Yankees in a nutshell.
Tanaka, meanwhile, got smacked around pretty good. He set a new season-high in hits (ten) and runs (five allowed) for the second straight start, surrendering a pair of homers to Michael Brantley and Swisher. Brantley was 3-for-4 with two doubles and the homer. He’s really impressive. Tanaka struck out five and got another ten outs on the ground, plus Cleveland hitters swung and missed 14 times at his 99 pitches, but his mistakes were crushed. He was bound to hit a rough patch at some point. The All-Star break will do him some good.
The box score and video highlights are at MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN has the updated standings. Brandon McCarthy will make his Yankees debut on Wednesday night, in the third game of this four-game series. Vidal Nuno threw seven shutout innings for the Diamondbacks tonight. Somewhere there is a Yankees fan lamenting the trade. Josh Tomlin will be on the bump for the Tribe.
Minor League Update: No time for the full update tonight, sorry. The box scores can be found right here. 2B Rob Refsnyder had two hits (single, double), OF Zoilo Almonte had three hits (triple, two singles), 1B Peter O’Brien had two hits (double, homer), RHP Luis Severino struck out eight in four innings, LHP Jacob Lindgren fanned three in two perfect innings, and fourth rounder LHP Jordan Montgomery allowed three runs in two-thirds of an inning in his pro debut. That’s about it.
It’s never easy with this team, but a win is a win. The Yankees won for the fourth time in five games on this road trip, beating the Indians by the score of 5-3 on Monday night.
Justin Masterson has not had a good year by any measure, but he looked far worse than I expected on Monday night. He had no idea where the ball was going — 24 strikes and 30 balls — and when he did locate in the zone, the Yankees clobbered it. They got to him for five runs on six hits and three walks in three innings, and all six hits were well struck. These weren’t bloops or grounders with eyes. Everything was hit with authority.
After stranding a runner at second in the first inning, the first seven men to bat in the second inning reached base against Masterson. The inning went double to right (Brian McCann), run-scoring double to left (Brian Roberts), single to left (Ichiro Suzuki, who was thrown out attempting to advance on the throw home), walk (Kelly Johnson), hit by pitch (Frankie Cervelli), run-scoring single to left (Gardner), bases loaded walk (Derek Jeter). Jacoby Ellsbury was robbed a bases-clearing double down the line by Carlos Santana, who made a sweet play at first to turn an inning-ending double play. The Yankees were all over Masterson.
The third inning was more of the same. Mark Teixeira (walk) and McCann (single) reached base to lead things off, ending Masterson’s day. Brian Roberts lined out as the next batter, but Ichiro plated a run with an infield single and the Indians helped bring home another run when Jason Kipnis threw away a potential double play ball. They got the out at second, but the throw was off line and Cervelli was safe, allowing the run to score and extending the inning. Twelve (!) of the first 17 men New York sent to the plate reached base.
It’s very obvious Shane Greene has the stuff to pitch in the big leagues, isn’t it? The kid was running his mid-90s sinker all over the place and breaking off some nasty upper-80s sliders as well. I thought half of them were cutters he was throwing them so hard. In fact, let’s take a second to look at the PitchFX breakdown, courtesy of Brooks Baseball (data may change overnight):
- 34 sliders, averaged 86.6 mph and topped out at 91.3 (!)
- 30 sinkers, averaged 95.4 mph and topped out at 97.2
- 13 cutters, averaged 95.1 and topped out at 97.0
- eight four-seamers, averaged 95.1 mph and topped out at 96.9
- two curves and one changeup
The stuff has never been the problem, but Greene’s command tends to come and go, sometimes within a start. He had it working in his first career MLB start on Monday night, holding the high-powered Indians to two runs in six innings. He faced the minimum (one hit by a pitch with a caught stealing mixed in) and did not allow a hit until Nick Swisher swatted a solo homer with two outs in the fifth. The Indians scored their second run with a series of soft hits in the sixth. Nothing crazy.
Greene used that Derek Lowe-esque sinker to get nine of his 15 outs on the ground. They were weak grounders too. Easy plays that required minimal effort from the defenders. Five of his other six outs were recorded on the infield via pop-ups and strikeouts. Greene threw 56 of 88 pitches for strikes (64%) and he didn’t walk anyone. Five batters saw a three-ball count and four of them made outs. The exception was Swisher’s homer.
Considering how shaky the non-Masahiro Tanaka portion of the rotation has been the last few weeks, Greene gave the Yankees exactly what they needed on Monday. Two runs in six innings? Can’t ask for much more from a kid making his first career start. Greene handled a good lineup well and I think he did more than enough to earn another start. Keep Chase Whitley in the bullpen for the time being, re-evaluate everything after the All-Star break.
After the Yankees scored their five runs in the first three innings, the Cleveland bullpen held them scoreless on five singles in the final six innings. They did manage to get three runners into scoring position, but were unable to get them home. Par for the course, I guess. The Yankees have had a knack for scoring runs early and doing nothing after that.
Greene got the Yankees through six innings, but the bullpen was taxed and that pressed David Huff into setup work. He retired the side in order in the seventh, served up a solo homer to Yan Gomes to leadoff the eighth, then was replaced by Dellin Betances. Betances finished off the eighth inning — Kipnis reached on a Roberts error with one out, then got deked out by Jeter on a foul pop-up and was doubled off first — then pitched around a leadoff single in the ninth. Lonnie Chisenhall and Swisher flew out for the 26th and 27th outs, and I’m not going to lie, I thought both balls were trouble off the bat. Maybe not homers, but extra-base hits. Thankfully that wasn’t the case and this was the first (of many?) save of Dellin’s career.
Santana made three very good plays at first base, including two to cut runners down at home plate. He threw Cervelli out at home in the second as part of Ellsbury’s inning-ending double play, then he managed to get McCann in a rundown between third and home in the fifth. Not too bad for a converted catcher. Santana legitimately saved his team some runs with his glove in this game.
Gardner went 3-for-5 at the plate and was thrown out trying to steal second in the eighth inning. He has been thrown out in each of his last three steal attempts and has not successfully stolen a base since June 20th, 16 games ago. What’s up with that? McCann and Ichiro had three hits apiece as well. Two of Ichiro’s were infield singles. Roberts had two knocks as well. The Yankees did draw three walks (Jeter, Teixeira, Johnson), so this was only the second time they drew more than two walks in their last eleven games.
Between Greene (two), Huff (one), and Betances (three), the Yankees got six swings and misses out of 116 total pitches (2.6%). Not a big deal or anything, it obviously didn’t hurt them at all, but it surprised me when I looked at the box score. I understand Huff not missing bats, but Greene was throwing some vicious stuff and Betances is Betances. Baseball can be weird.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, go to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stats and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Orioles beat the Nationals in extra innings, so the Yankees remain 2.5 games back in the AL East. Depending on what happens with the late game, they will be either 2.5 (Mariners lose) or 3.5 (Mariners win) games back of the second wildcard spot.
These same two teams play again on Tuesday night, in the second game of this four-game series. Masahiro Tanaka and Trevor Bauer will be the pitching matchup.
The All-Star break can not come soon enough for the bullpen. The Yankees jumped out to an early 9-0 lead against the Twins on Sunday afternoon, but Minnesota slowly chipped away, and before you knew it, the tying run was on base. Thankfully, New York still managed to walk away with a 9-7 win, taking three of four in Target Field. Let’s recap the nail-biter:
- Nope-lasco: The Yankees destroyed Ricky Nolasco. He faced 13 batters, put eight on base, and allowed six runs in two innings of work. One of the outs was a great jumping catch by Sam Fuld at the wall, another was an out at the plate when Mark Teixeira ran through a stop sign. The big blow was Jacoby Ellsbury‘s three-run homer in the second inning. Nolasco was fooling no one. They were all over him.
- Hiroki Why: The lead swelled to 9-0 in the third inning, but Hiroki Kuroda gave four runs back (two on a Chris Colabello homer) in the bottom half of the inning to make the came uncomfortably close-ish. He did not allow any more runs, he failed to complete six full innings of work after being staked to a nine-run lead. That really sucks, especially with the bullpen running on fumes. Kuroda allowed the four runs on seven hits and two walks in 5.2 innings. Yuck.
- Chipped Away: The Twins managed to score seven unanswered runs between the fourth and ninth innings. Adam Warren allowed a run (infield single, single, ground out) in 1.1 innings of work, Jim Miller allowed a run (solo homer) in an inning of work, and David Robertson (single, single single) allowed a run in his inning of work. The Twins had men on the corners and the go-ahead run at the plate when Robertson got Kurt Suzuki to ground out for the final out. Like I said before, these relievers need the All-Star break in the worst way.
- Leftovers: Derek Jeter went 3-for-4 and recorded his 3,400th career hit … every starter reached base at least once except Carlos Beltran and they all had a hit except Beltran and Brett Gardner (two walks) … Jeter, Ellsbury (two), Teixeira (two), Ichiro Suzuki (three), and Kelly Johnson (two) all had multiple hits … Ichiro had the team’s only strikeout (Twins!) and Gardner had the only walks, so make it nine times in the last ten games that they’ve been held to two walks or less … despite allowing nine runs and 16 base-runners, four Twins pitchers combined to throw only 138 pitches. Four Yankees pitchers threw 166.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some additional stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Orioles beat the Red Sox, so the Yankees are still 3.5 games back of both the AL East lead and the second wildcard spot. The Bombers are now off to Cleveland for a four-game series with the Indians. Shane Greene will get the call to make a spot start necessitated by the Brandon McCarthy/Vidal Nuno trade in the series opener on Monday. Justin Masterson will be on the bump for Cleveland.