Archive for Game Stories
The Yankees are playing their best baseball of the season right now. The rotation is giving them a quality outing just about every day, and the offense is finally starting to consistently score runs. Scoring 16 runs in 14.2 innings against Chris Sale, James Shields, and David Price these last few days is something that would have never happened earlier this year.
This afternoon’s rubber game against the Tigers gives the Yankees a chance to climb to within two games of the second wildcard spot (the Mariners are off today) with 30 games left to play. They also have a chance to draw closer to Detroit in the wildcard race. Passing one team is tough enough. Having to jump two is very difficult, which is why these head-to-head games are so important. Here is the Tigers lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- SS Derek Jeter
- 2B Martin Prado
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- DH Carlos Beltran
- C Brian McCann
- 3B Chase Headley
- LF Brett Gardner
- RF Zelous Wheeler
RHP Hiroki Kuroda
It is nice and sunny in Detroit this afternoon. Cool, too. Temperatures are in the low-70s. These games are starting to have playoff level intensity and the weather is appropriate. First pitch is scheduled for 1:08pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally, depending on where you live.
Now that is how you rebound from a loss. The Yankees have had a knack for following winning streaks with extended losing stretches this year, but they brushed Tuesday’s loss aside and pounded David Price and the Tigers on Wednesday, winning the middle game of the series 8-4. They’ve now won six of their last seven games and eight of their last eleven overall.
Nine Straight Hits
The third inning of this game was just ridiculous. The Yankees started the inning with nine (nine!) consecutive base hits against Price, and those nine hits featured a little of everything. Doubles into the corner, garden variety singles to the outfield, ground ball singles with eyes, infield singles, you name it. All nine of the hits came against Price too. It’s not like they got five hits off him and the rest off some random scrub reliever.
I think the easiest way to recap this is with the play-by-play, so here:
The doubles by Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira were opposite field shots into the right field corner. I thought Teixeira’s would slice foul off the bat and Beltran’s would sneak over the wall for a homer. Wrong on both counts. Ain’t mad about it. Those nine straight hits gave the Yankees six runs and loaded the bases with no outs before Price was pulled. At one point they were 8-for-8 with runners in scoring position in the inning. In the inning!
According to YES Network broadcast, the MLB record for consecutive base hits is 12 by both the 1920 Cardinals and 1930 Dodgers, though those rallies both spanned multiple innings with outs recorded on the bases mixed in. The record for most consecutive hits in a single inning is eleven by the 2010 Rockies. The last AL team with nine straight hits was the 1996 Tigers. The 1992 Blue Jays hold the AL record with ten straight hits. So yeah, this was something else.
Two sacrifice flies followed the nine hits and the pitching change, giving the Yankees an 8-0 lead through three innings. Price had not allowed nine hits in any of his last 14 starts, amazingly. The eight runs is a new single-inning high for the Bombers this year — they scored seven runs in an inning a few times — and, most importantly, it gave Shane Greene plenty of breathing room. Most fun inning of the year? Most fun inning of the year.
Second Time Around
The huge inning and those nine straight hits are going to grab all the headlines and rightfully so, but man, Greene was awesome once again. This was the first time a team got to see him twice as a starter, which is always a big test for a young pitcher. Greene aced that test by holding the Tigers to two runs on five hits and one walk in seven innings. He struck eight out and recorded 16 of his 21 outs on the infield. If the Detroit batters were comfortable in the box because they had already seen him once before, it did not show. Dude was sharp.
Greene has now made nine starts for the Yankees since joining the rotation just before he All-Star break — he crossed the 50-inning rookie eligibility threshold in this start, by the way — and in those nine starts he has a 3.11 ERA (3.15 FIP) with a 3.79 K/BB ratio in 55 innings. Remember, he had a 4.61 ERA (3.41 FIP) with a 2.19 K/BB in 66.1 Triple-A innings before being called up. There were legitimate questions about exactly how much he would be able to help the team. Greene has been outstanding so far and his lively sinker/slider mix suggests his success is more sustainable than, say, Chase Whitley‘s. (No offense to Whitley.) This guy’s been awesome.
Because these are the 2014 Yankees, the team did not have a base-runner following the nine straight hits until Martin Prado picked up a two-out in the sixth inning. A parade of Tigers relievers retired a) eleven straight Yankees from the third through sixth, and b) 20 of the final 25 Yankees batters to end the game. Hey, when you drop eight runs in an inning, you’re allowed to take it easy the rest of the game.
Everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit, obviously. That kinda has to happen to do the whole nine straight hits thing. Jacoby Ellsbury, Prado, Brian McCann, and Chase Headley all had two hits apiece. Derek Jeter, Prado, and Headley drew the walks. Ellsbury even stole two bases. The Yankees went 8-for-14 (.571) with runners in scoring position. Is that good? That seems good.
Adam Warren pitched the eighth inning and Dellin Betances pitched the ninth after Greene was done. They both allowed a garbage time run on two hits. Betances pitched because he actually needed the work, which is weird because he’s had to work a lot this year. He had four straight days off before Wednesday’s game and the rust showed. Better to shake it off in a game like than than a close one.
I don’t mean to laugh at him, but Frankie Cervelli took a foul ball right to the biscuits in the fifth inning. Direct hit. It was rough. I couldn’t help but laugh when Ken Singleton said “nope, didn’t hit him in the collarbone” during the slow motion replay. Poor Frankie.
And finally, the Yankees have now beat up on Price, James Shields, and Chris Sale in the span of four days. Baseball, man.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, check out MLB.com. You can find some other stats at FanGraphs and the updated standings at ESPN. Both the Orioles and Mariners lost, so the Yankees are now six games back in the AL East and 2.5 games back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 10.6%.
The Yankees and Tigers will wrap up this three-game series on Thursday afternoon. Hiroki Kuroda and Kyle Lobstein are the scheduled pitching matchup for the rubber game. Apparently the Tigers decided to push Justin Verlander back and give him an extra day of rest as he comes back from his sore shoulder.
I guess the Yankees just don’t like being eight games over .500, huh? The team’s latest attempt to reach that point fell short on Tuesday night. They lost 5-2 to the Tigers after a one hour and eight minute rain delay.
For the first time as a Yankee, Brandon McCarthy got hit pretty hard on Tuesday night. He was in trouble all night, allowing five runs and 13 base-runners in 6.1 innings. I’m not quite sure why he was sent back out to start the seventh — McCarthy surrendered the fifth run that inning — but it really didn’t matter in the end. It saved the bullpen an out, I guess. McCarthy threw 85 pitches and, by my unofficial count, 44 were from the stretch. So yeah, he was in trouble all night.
The Tigers scored their first run on a bases loaded walk of all things. McCarthy had walked two batters in only two of his first eight starts with New York, but he walked two and hit a batter in the second inning of this game. It was obvious he was off from the get-go. Just one of those nights, I guess. Detroit scored another run on a Miguel Cabrera double and a J.D. Martinez single in the third, then they did some real damage in the sixth with a single (Victor Martinez), a double (J.D. Martinez), a run-scoring single (Nick Castellanos), and a run-scoring double play (Alex Avila). A double (Rajai Davis) and a single (Torii Hunter) created the fifth run in the seventh. Ugly outing. What can you do.
Rick Porcello was really sharp just about all night. The Yankees scored their two runs on Jacoby Ellsbury solo homers, believe it or not. Otherwise the team only had one other base-runner make it as far as third base, and that was when they had runners on the corners with two outs in the fourth. Stephen Drew popped out to end the threat. Porcello faced 31 batters, threw 18 first pitch strikes, and allowed ten balls to be hit out of the infield.
Joe Nathan retired the side in order in the ninth, so 15 of the final 19 batters the Yankees sent to the plate made outs. The four exceptions were Ellsbury’s two homers, Derek Jeter‘s infield single, and Carlos Beltran‘s traditional single to center. The bottom four hitters in the order went 1-for-14 with an infield single (Ichiro Suzuki) and overall the Yankees went hitless in all of three at-bats with runners in scoring position. They saw nine total pitches in those at-bats. Just a blah night for the offense. Porcello was good and they couldn’t put anything together. Baseball.
Esmil Rogers retired five of six men he faced with three strikeouts and a hit batsman. He was the only reliever used. The Yankees have been able to get their key late-inning relievers some nice rest these last two or three days. Those guys have been worked really hard these last few weeks.
The Yankees actually had nine hits on the night, including three by Ellsbury and two each by Jeter and Beltran. They didn’t draw any walks because the Yankees don’t do that anymore. This was the offense’s tenth walk-less game of the year. They had 13 total from 2009-11. I miss offense.
Mark Teixeira saved Chase Headley two errors in the first two innings with scoops at first base. The second one saved some runs, which really wouldn’t have mattered in the end, but Tex flashed some leather in this game and that’s cool.
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 to updated standings. The Orioles beat the Rays, so the Yankees are seven back in the AL East. Depending on the outcome of the late game, the Yankees will be either three (Mariners lose, Tigers take over second wildcard spot) or 3.5 (Mariners win) games back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at a robust 14.8%. I have absolutely no idea how they picked up 2.0% since last night despite losing. Weird.
Same two teams on Wednesday night, in the middle game of this three-game series. Shane Greene and David Price will be the pitching matchup. Pretty sick of seeing Price at this point. This will be their fifth meeting of the year even though the guy got traded out of the division at the deadline.
If you’re only going to spend one day in Kansas City, you might as well win. The Yankees beat the Royals by the score of 8-1 on Monday night, in the makeup of a rained out game from early-June. The Bombers have won five straight — that ties their longest winning streak of the season, which they had previously done back in April — and seven of their last nine games overall.
One Run, Three Times
The Yankees scored the first run of the game without hitting the ball out of the infield. Ichiro Suzuki led off the third inning with an infield single and moved up to second when James Shields threw the ball wide of first. Zelous Wheeler drew a walk but was erased on Jacoby Ellsbury‘s grounder to first. Ellsbury is way too quick and the Royals didn’t even attempt to turn the 3-6-3 double play. That gave the Yankees runners on the corners with one out.
The run came across on Derek Jeter‘s tailor made 6-4-3 double play ball. Thankfully Ellsbury was running on the pitch and he slid in safely at second, meaning it was only a fielder’s choice. Ichiro scored and the Yankees were up 1-0. The Royals answered right back in the next half-inning with Mike Moustakas’ solo homer, and the Yankees answered that back with a Stephen Drew solo homer in the next half-inning. So, after all that, the Bombers were up 2-1 in the fourth inning. The two teams combined to score exactly one run in three consecutive half innings.
James Big Mike
For the first time as a Yankee, Michael Pineda recorded an out in the seventh inning on Monday. The team has understandably had him on pitch limits this year, both back in April and now coming off the injury. Pineda’s only real mistake was the homerball to Moustakas, which was nothing more than a pitch left up in the zone. Otherwise he allowed only two runners to get as far as second base — the speedy Jarrod Dyson singled and stole second in the sixth, and Salvador Perez doubled to center with one out in the seventh. The double ended Pineda’s night.
With an assist to David Huff for stranding Perez, Big Mike’s final pitching line was just the one run allowed on five hits and no walks in 6.1 innings. He struck out five and recorded eight of his other 14 outs on the infield. Pineda has walked just one batter in 17.1 innings since coming off the disabled list and four batters in 37 innings overall this year. That’s not a surprise — part of what made Pineda so special a few years ago was the combination of high-end stuff and strike-throwing ability. He’s always pounded the zone.
Pineda threw 96 pitches — Joe Girardi said he was scheduled for 95-100 before the game — as he continues to stretched out. PitchFX says he averaged 94.6 mph and topped out at 97.6 mph with his fastball — those are both season highs, but the PitchFX system has run hot in Kansas City for whatever reason over the years. I’m not sure if that’s still the case though — and the velocity plot shows he actually threw harder and harder as the night went on. Pineda’s been awesome. Just please stay healthy, Big Mike.
It was a random makeup game miracle. Rather than force the pitching staff to nurse a one-run lead for the rest of the game, the offense went out and scored some insurance runs. A bunch of them too. The four-run seventh inning started with a Martin Prado leadoff homer — OMG he is sooo hot right now — and continued with four singles by the next five batters. The only out during that stretch was Wheeler’s failed bunt attempt. He bunted back to Shields with runners at first and second and the force out was made at third.
The Yankees still had runners at first and second after the bunt, only this time with one out instead of none. Ellsbury pulled a single through the right side of the infield, scoring Ichiro and getting Wheeler to third. Jeter followed that with a single literally off Shields — the grounder hit him in the foot and deflected away from shortstop Alcides Escobar to score Wheeler. Brian McCann lifted a sac fly to right to score Ellsbury for the fourth and final run of the inning. He was originally called out at the plate, though the play was overturned after Girardi asked for a challenge.
It was great to see the offense string together some hits for a big inning, especially with the botched bunt mixed in there. Big innings are few and far between with this club, mostly because they don’t have a ton of power and it’s tougher to get a simple base hit right now than at any other point since the mound was lowered (shifts, specialized relievers, etc.). Ellsbury tacked on even more runs with a two-run homer in the ninth inning. For the first time in a long time, it actually felt like a game was in the bag. A seven-run lead with three outs to go will do that.
Shoutout to Huff for retiring eight of ten batters faced to close the game out in relief of Pineda. He allowed an infield single and a traditional single while throwing 2.2 scoreless innings. The key bullpeners got the night off thanks to the big offensive explosion and Huff’s quality work. Twenty-one of his 25 pitches were strikes too. Pretty cool.
Everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit while Ellsbury, Prado, and Ichiro had multiple hits. McCann, Beltran, and Wheeler all had a single and a walk. The Yankees had nine different players record at least one hit in a nine-inning game for the third time this season. They did it twice in April in the span of four days.
The Yankees scored 5+ runs in back-to-back-to-back games for the first time since late-June and the fourth time overall this season. It’s only the second time they scored 7+ runs in back-to-back games this year. They did it against the Mets back in May, and they managed to lose both of those games.
And finally, Ellsbury’s seventh inning single was his 1,000th career hit. He singled in the first and homered in the ninth for a three-hit game. One-hundred-and-thirty-six of those 1,001 career hits have come in Yankees pinstripes. Congrats to him.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
If you want to check out the box score and video highlights, head over to MLB.com. You can find some other stats at FanGraphs and the updated standings at ESPN. The Orioles pounded the Rays, so the Yankees are still six games back in the AL East. They’ll be either 2.5 games (Mariners lose) or 3.5 games (Mariners win) back of the second wildcard spot depending on the outcome of the late game. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 11.1%.
So long, Kansas City. The Yankees are done with the Royals and now they’re off to Detroit to start a three-game series with the Tigers. That one has some pretty serious wildcard implications. Brandon McCarthy and Rick Porcello will be the starters for Tuesday night’s opener.
That was fun! And unexpected! The Yankees finished off the sweep of the White Sox — in a game started by all-world lefty Chris Sale, no less — on Sunday afternoon thanks to Brian McCann‘s biggest hit in pinstripes, a three-run walk-off bomb in the bottom of the tenth. So awesome. Let’s recap the team’s fourth straight win:
- The Other Chris: Two pitches into the game, the Yankees were down 1-0 — Chris Capuano left a pitch up and Alexei Ramirez swatted it out to left for leadoff homer. With Sale pitching, it kinda felt like game over right there. It definitely felt like game over when Conor Gillaspie whacked a two-run homer to right in the top of sixth, extended Chicago’s lead to 3-0. Capuano was pretty damn good between homers, retiring 16 of 21 batters faced. His final line was those three runs on six hits and no walks in six innings. He struck out five and didn’t walk anyone. The very definition of a quality start, three runs in six innings.
- Unearned Rally: It all started with an error. Dayan Viciedo dropped a Martin Prado fly ball with one out in the sixth — the sun probably played a role, but it was a play a big league outfielder has to make — opening the door for the Yankees’ go-ahead four-run rally. Mark Teixeira doubled in Prado, Carlos Beltran and Frankie Cervelli sandwiched walks around a Chase Headley strikeout, loading the bases with two outs. Pitching coach Don Cooper went out to talk to Sale, whose pitch count was at 96, but he remained in the game. His next pitch hit Zelous Wheeler in the leg to force in a run, and his next pitch after that dunked into right for Ichiro Suzuki‘s two-run single. The Yankees put nine men on base against Sale, including six in that inning. All four runs were unearned because of Viciedo’s error, but who cares? Only people who own Sale in fantasy, I guess.
- Makeshift Bullpen: Because of their recent workloads, neither Shawn Kelley nor Dellin Betances were available. That meant Esmil Rogers and Rich Hill got the seventh inning and Adam Warren got the eighth once the Yankees took their 4-3 lead. Rogers retired the two men he faced (grounder, strikeout), Hill retired the one lefty he faced (fly out), and Warren sat down the side in order (fly out, grounder, strikeout). Warren fell behind in the count 3-0 to Jose Abreu but rebounded to strike him out looking. Helluva job right there. Everything was all set up for David Robertson, and then …
- Blown Save: For the first time since June 1st, 22 consecutive saves ago, Robertson blew a save. Avisail Garcia hit a game-tying solo homer into the short porch on the very first pitch of the ninth inning. It was a Yankee Stadium cheapie, but it still counts and the save was blown. Two of his three blown saves this year have come against the ChiSox. Robertson retired the next three batters with ease to end the inning. What’s Wrong With Robertson Week™?
- Extra Innings: The Yankees blew a first and second, one-out situation in the ninth thanks to Derek Jeter‘s double play. David Huff navigated the tenth — he struck out Abreu looking for the third out with two men on base — and set up the offense for the walk-off win in the bottom half. It all happened with two outs too. One-time Yankees draftee Jake Petricka struck out both Prado and Teixeira to start the inning, but Beltran fileted a double to left and Headley was intentionally walked to get the right-on-right matchup against Cervelli. Girardi went to McCann off the bench, and Petricka left a full count changeup out over the plate. McCann yanked it down the line, just fair for a cheap Yankee Stadium walk-off. Like I said before, it still counts. That’s exactly the type of homer the Yankees were expecting out of McCann when they signed him.
- Leftovers: Beltran (double, walk), Headley (double, two walks) and Ichiro (two singles) were the only Yankees to reach base twice … everyone in the starting lineup reached base at least once except for the leadoff man (Jeter) and number nine hitter (Brendan Ryan) … Robertson pitched in back-to-back-to-back games for the second time this month and only the fifth time in his career … the Yankees scored 5+ runs in back-to-back games for the first time since August 2nd and 3rd and only the second time since early-July.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. As of right now, the Yankees are 6.5 games back in the AL East and three games back of the second wildcard spot. Those numbers will change pending the outcomes of the other games today. The Yankees are now off the Kansas City to play a makeup game against the red hot Royals. (They were rained out on June 9th.) Michael Pineda and James Shields will be the pitching matchup Monday night. After that, the Yankees head to Detroit for three important games against the Tigers.
Five runs! It’s a Joe Torre Day miracle. The Yankees retired Torre’s No. 6 on Saturday afternoon and then went out and beat the White Sox by the score of 5-3. It’s their third straight win and fifth in their last seven games. Let’s recap:
- Just Three Runs: The Yankees have a knack for wasting opportunities this year, so while they scored three runs from the second through fourth innings, base-running mistakes and double plays limited what could have been huge rallies. Chase Headley‘s double play with the bases loaded and no outs in the second drove in their first run but also snuffed out a potential big inning. Mark Teixeira didn’t see Brian McCann being held up on Carlos Beltran‘s fourth inning single, so he got caught in a rundown between second and third for the first out of the inning. Martin Prado bailed him out with a two-run double to left. Three runs is really good! But man this team can’t get out of its own way.
- Kuroda Grinds It Out: Much like Shane Greene on Friday, Hiroki Kuroda started Saturday’s game by giving up a lot of hard contact. Back-to-back doubles by Conor Gillaspie and Alexei Ramirez led to the game’s first run in the second, then Jose Abreu singled in Alejandro De Aza in the fourth after a walk and a wild pitch. Kuroda did not have a 1-2-3 until his final inning, so this was a grind. His final line — 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 6/6 GB/FB — was fine though. Not pretty, but effective. The White Sox made Kuroda work and he did a good job of limiting the damage.
- Tack-On Runs: The Yankees scored some insurance runs in the sixth inning, which was a nice change of pace. Beltran hit a cheap Yankee Stadium solo homer and Prado created another run with pure hustle, hustling a single into a double, moving up a ground ball, and scoring on Stephen Drew‘s sac fly despite a strong throw home by Avisail Garcia. The Yankees scored 5+ runs for the first time in eleven games. Eleven games! Sadly, that is only their second longest such streak of the season. They went 12 straight with four or fewer runs earlier this year.
- Bullpen Work: Shawn Kelley gave back one of those insurance runs in the top of seventh on a single (Jordan Danks), a double (De Aza), and a ground ball (Carlos Sanchez). Dellin Betances escaped Kelley’s jam by getting Adam Dunn to fly out with runners on the corners. The struggling Adam Warren got the eighth inning due to Betances’ recently workload, and he had his first clean inning in what feels like an eternity. Ten pitches, 1-2-3. Nice and easy. David Robertson pitched around a one-out walk for his 34th save in 36 chances.
- Leftovers: Beltran had two hits and Prado had three while the rest of the lineup had two total. They were Ichiro Suzuki‘s infield single and McCann’s sun-aided double. That makes 5-for-8 for the number five and six hitters and 2-for-20 for the other seven guys … Teixeira drew two walks and was hit by a pitch, so he reached base three times … the Yankees did not strike out for the first time since May 2011. It’s the first time they struck out zero times in a win since July 2009. Here’s the list of zero-strikeout Yankees games.
The box score and video highlights are at MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other game stats and the updated standing are at ESPN. The Yankees are currently 7.5 and three games back in the AL East and second wildcard races, respectively, though that will change pending the outcome of the day’s other games. They’ll wrap up this three-game series against the ChiSox on Sunday afternoon. A pair of polar opposite lefties named Chris will be on the mound (Capuano vs. Sale).
The start of Friday night’s series opener against the White Sox was not so good, but the ending was arguably the best of the season. Thanks to Martin Prado‘s big night, the Yankees walked off with a much-needed 4-3 win over Chicago’s south-siders. That’s two straight wins and four in the last six games overall. It’s going to take a lot more than that to get the Bombers back into the postseason race, but hey, you’ve gotta start somewhere.
Three batters into the game, the ChiSox had a 3-0 lead thanks to two singles and a Jose Abreu three-run homer. Shane Greene hung a slider — though not too badly — and Abreu went down and golfed it out to left field. Given the Yankees’ offensive struggles, there was definitely a feeling that the game was already over after the homer. Give Greene credit though, he settled down and was very good the rest of the way, striking out seven and allowing just those three runs in five innings. Impressive bounce back.
The comeback started in the third inning, when Prado whacked a hanging John Danks changeup out of the park for a two-run homer. The Yankees tied the game on Jacoby Ellsbury‘s double in the fifth, which also gave them runners at second and third with no outs. Mark Teixeira (ground out), Prado (strikeout), and Brian McCann (fly out) couldn’t get any more runs home. Shawn Kelley did the bullpen heavy lifting, inheriting a first and second with no outs jam from Greene and escaped the inning. He had help when Brett Gardner threw a runner out at the plate for the third out.
Kelley (four outs), Dellin Betances (five outs), and David Robertson (three outs) combined for four innings of work in relief of Greene, giving the offense a chance to win it. Ichiro Suzuki‘s leadoff single in the ninth set the winning rally up, and eventually the Yankees loaded the bases with two outs on Ichiro‘s single, Gardner’s bunt, Derek Jeter‘s line out, Ellsbury’s intentional walk, and Teixeira’s unintentional walk. Righty Daniel Webb got ahead in the count 0-2 to Prado, followed that with three straight balls to run the count full, then allowed the walk-off ground ball single back up the middle. It was the Yankees’ fourth walk-off win of the season.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Mariners won but both the Tigers and Orioles lost, so the Yankees are eight games back in the AL East and 3.5 games back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 6.5%. Hiroki Kuroda and Scott Carroll will meet in the middle game of this three-game series on Saturday afternoon, but first the Yankees will retire Joe Torre’s No. 6. The ceremony is scheduled to start a little after 12pm ET. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch it live.
Minor League Update: No time for a full recap tonight, folks. Here is the system wrap-up from MLB Farm instead. Every game in one place. Jose Pirela was a single short of the cycle, John Ryan Murphy and Dante Bichette Jr. both homered, Jacob Lindgren struck out three in two innings, and both Aaron Judge and Abi Avelino doubled.
I don’t think you could have asked for a better finish to the series considering how the first two games played out. Brandon McCarthy led the Yankees to a 3-0 shutout win over the Astros on Thursday afternoon in the fastest game in New Yankee Stadium history. This one took only two hours and seven minutes.
McCarthy has been a big leaguer for ten seasons now. He was part of the 2005 World Champion White Sox team, believe it or not. He’s been around for a while, and yet on Thursday afternoon he set a new career-high by starting his 26th game of the season. McCarthy started 25 games with the 2011 Athletics and 22 games in two other seasons, but that’s it. Never before had he started 26 games in one big league season. He celebrated the new career-best in style.
As has been the case since he arrived in New York, McCarthy was fantastic on Thursday. He retired the first nine men he faced and then another seven in a row at one point from the fourth through seventh innings. The final eight batters he faced also made outs. The Astros put men at second and third in both the fourth (with two outs) and seventh (one out) innings, their only serious threats. McCarthy got out of the first jam with a ground ball back to himself and the second with a strikeout and a routine pop-up. Nice and easy.
McCarthy followed that seventh inning with a perfect eighth and ninth for his fourth career shutout and first since last season. He’s the first non-Masahiro Tanaka pitcher to throw a shutout for the Yankees since Ivan Nova last September. All told, McCarthy held the Astros to two singles, two doubles, and no walks in his nine innings, striking out eight and throwing 106 pitches. He retired the side in order in every inning but the fourth and seventh. Houston hit ten balls out of the infield all afternoon. That’s it. Fantastic outing for McCarthy and exactly what the team needed given the recent state of the bullpen.
For the first time in what felt like an eternity, the Yankees scored three runs in one inning. (They actually did it Sunday.) The second inning rally was set up by Mark Teixeira and Martin Prado, who respectively singled and doubled to give the Yankees runners at second and third with no outs. It was all Chase Headley after that. Well, almost all Headley.
First, Headley reached out and poked a double into the left field corner to score Teixeira and Prado, a nice little piece of hitting against a tough pitcher in Dallas Keuchel. It was the team’s third hit with runners in scoring position of the season, give or take. After that, Headley smartly advanced to third on Francisco Cervelli‘s grounder to short. He waited until Marwin Gonzalez fielded and threw the ball to first before taking off and making it to third without a throw.
The third run scored on Ichiro Suzuki‘s sacrifice fly to center, which Dexter Fowler ran down while running in towards the infield, putting him in okay position to throw as a right-handed thrower. Headley tagged up from third anyway and beat the off-line throw to the plate. Really heads up base-running in that inning. Headley could have stayed at second on Cervelli’s grounder and no one would have thought twice about it. He could have easily played it safe on Ichiro‘s shallow fly ball as well. Very nice inning.
The best chance for the Yankees to tack on insurance runs came in the sixth, when Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury started the inning with singles to put men on first and second with no outs. Teixeira struck out, Prado grounded out to advance both runners, then Headley grounded out to end the inning. That inning and the second inning rally were the only times New York had a runner reach second base.
Teixeira was the only player in the lineup with multiple hits, and he singled twice. Both Prado and Headley doubled for the team’s only extra-base hits. Jeter, Ellsbury, and Cervelli all had singles. No one walked because that’s not something the Yankees do anymore. Tack on runs would have been nice at some point, but whatever. They’ve scored four or fewer runs in ten straight games now.
And finally, Chris Rock caught a foul ball in the seventh inning. Well, he picked it up off the ground. Didn’t really catch it. He gave it to a kid. Details you just can’t get anywhere else, folks.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, head on over to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some nerdier game stats and ESPN has the up to the second standings. The Orioles are off today, so the Yankees are now nine games back in the AL East. They’re four games back of the second wildcard spot after the Rays held on to beat the Tigers. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 5.4%.
The White Sox come to town for a three-game weekend series next. Shane Greene and one-time Yankees trade target John Danks will the pitching matchup for Friday night’s series opener. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch any of the weekend games live.
Same old, same old. The Yankees lost to the Astros on Wednesday night for the fourth time in five tries this season, this time by the score of 5-2. New York has now scored four or fewer runs in nine straight games. Not coincidentally, they are 2-7 in those nine games.
Big Mike In The Bronx
Michael Pineda‘s first start back in Yankee Stadium after getting hurt in April went very well considering he was on a strict pitch count. The Astros touched him up for one run in the fourth inning on a single (Robbie Grossman), a sac bunt (Jose Altuve), and a loud double into the right field corner (Dexter Fowler), but that was it. Pineda was charged with a second run but we’ll get to that in a bit. He struck out three, walked one, allowed four hits, and threw 66 of 89 pitches for strikes (74%). Last time out he threw 67 pitches.
I don’t know if this is the norm, but Pineda seemed extra fidgety on the mound all night. Lots of stretching, lots of flexing, stuff like that. If he was in some kind of discomfort or just didn’t feel well, it didn’t show in the quality of his stuff, which was crisp from start to finish. He even threw some hard 90 mph changeups. (They might have been two-seamers, actually.) So far, so good for Pineda since he’s come off the disabled list. Just needs to continue getting stretched out, that’s all. He looks just as good as he did in April and that’s the most important thing.
Bombers Squeeze Bunters
It’s amazing what it takes for the Yankees to score a run these days. It seemed like just yesterday people were saying this team hit too many homers and needed to play more small ball and all that. Now the number three hitter has to lay down a squeeze bunt with two outs against the Astros in mid-August just to take a 2-1 run lead in the fifth inning. I miss offense. Ichiro Suzuki‘s single and stolen base combined with Derek Jeter‘s ground out set up Jacoby Ellsbury‘s run-scoring bunt, which was perfect. The Astros had no chance to get either runner. Desperate times, I guess.
The Yankees scored their first run a half-inning earlier, when Stephen Drew hit his first homer in pinstripes. I wouldn’t call it a Yankee Stadium cheapie, but he didn’t exactly crush it either. It landed in the bullpen, right next to stands. The homer and the squeeze bunt were the extent of the team’s run scoring on the night, though they sure had a bunch of chances. Eight at-bats with runners in scoring position overall, and the only hit was Ellsbury’s bunt. The lack of hitting with runners in scoring position is only a symptom, not the real problem. The real problem is a straight up lack of good hitters.
The B Team
Because they had each pitched three times in the last four games, the late-inning trio of Shawn Kelley, Dellin Betances, and David Robertson was apparently unavailable. Or at least one or two of them was, with the other guy(s) being held back for the eighth or ninth inning. That meant the B Team relievers were going to see high-leverage work because we all know the offense wasn’t going to give them any breathing room.
Pineda started the seventh inning but was lifted immediately after walking Jason Castro, the leadoff hitter. I can’t tell you how much I hate it when Joe Girardi sends his starter back out to start another inning when his leash is only one base-runner, especially when it’s someone on a pitch limit like Pineda. I hate it. Hate hate hate it. Just let the reliever start the inning fresh, you know? Anyway, that leadoff walk put the wheels in motion for Houston’s comeback.
In came David Huff — for the first time in ten days — to face the left-handed Jon Singleton (strike out) and the switch-hitting Marwin Gonzalez (single). Esmil Rogers replaced him with runners on first and second with one out, and he proceeded to allow four straight singles. All in the span of six pitches too. Matt Dominguez singled to load the bases, Jake Marisnick singled to tie the game at two, Grossman singled in two runs to give Houston a 4-2 lead, then Altuve capped it off with a single to score another run and make it 5-2. It happened in the blink of an eye.
The Yankees have an eight-man bullpen but only three are actually trustworthy right now. Maybe two depending on your opinion of Kelley. They’re wasting their time with guys like Rich Hill — what’s the point of dumping Matt Thornton if this is the guy you replace him with, even temporarily? — and others like Rogers and Chase Whitley just aren’t all that good. The lack of offense means Girardi’s go-to relievers have to work a lot, and every so often they need a rest. That’s how you end up with nights like this.
Brett Gardner (walk) and Jeter (single) reached base with two outs in the seventh to feign a rally but Ellsbury struck out to end the inning, so that was that. Almost the exact same thing happened in the ninth — Gardner (single) and Jeter (walk) reached base with two outs, meaning Ellsbury represented the tying run, but he flew out to right to end the game. The three-run bunt just wasn’t in the cards either time.
Jeter, Ellsbury, Chase Headley, and Ichiro all had two hits and both Gardner and Drew had one. Gardner, Jeter, and Drew each drew a walk. The Yankees stole four bases against Scott Feldman (two by Ellsbury, one each by Jeter and Ichiro) and got thrown out once (Headley). Feldman is really slow to the plate and ranks near the top of the league in stolen bases allowed.
Rogers tacked on a scoreless eighth inning after making a mess of things in the seventh and Whitley retired the side in order in the ninth. He had some help by Gardner, who made running catch in foul territory, hit the wall at hip-level, and flipped into the stands. Gardner held onto the ball and was fine. It wasn’t a violent fall or anything. Still a nice play.
According to the YES broadcast, Ellsbury’s squeeze bunt was the team’s first go-ahead bunt base hit in the fifth inning or later since August 1996, when Girardi did it. I doubt he was batting third. It was their second successful squeeze bunt of the year — Brendan Ryan did it to the Pirates back in May.
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. Both the Orioles and Tigers won, so the Yankees are 9.5 and five games back in the AL East and second wild-card races, respectively. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 6.3%. That’s really low!
The Yankees will look to avoid getting swept by the Astros at home in the year of our lord 2014 on Thursday afternoon. Brandon McCarthy and Dallas Keuchel will be the pitching matchup in the matinee. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to claw your eyes out in Yankee Stadium rather than at home.
So much for starting the homestand off on the right foot after those two wins in Tampa, huh? A rare David Robertson meltdown led to a 7-4 Astros win in Tuesday night’s series opener. The Yankees are now 1-3 against Houston this year.
From 0-2 to 2-0
As usual, the Yankees traded zeroes with [insert opponent here] for the first three innings of Tuesday’s game. They should just start every game in the fourth or fifth inning with the score 0-0 the rest of the season. It would save so much time. Mark Teixeira (strikeout) and Carlos Beltran (fly out) were quickly retired in the bottom of the fourth, but Martin Prado followed with a first pitch single and Brian McCann followed that with a two-run homer into the second deck in right. Brett Oberholtzer hung an 0-2 breaking ball right out over the plate. It was a cookie. Those were two of the five men the Yankees put on base in the first five innings.
For his 36th birthday, Chris Capuano have himself a no decision. His bullpen tried to give him a loss. Adam Warren, specifically. Capuano did what he’s done since he arrived in New York, specifically using his array of changeups and curveballs and other soft stuff to keep the Astros completely off balance through four innings, striking out six in the process. Houston had a base-runner in each of those four innings but only one (Gregorio Petit’s ground rule double in the third) made it as far as second base.
Capuano gave up a run in the fifth inning on Petit’s double and Robbie Grossman’s soft single to right, which kinda sucked because a) there were two outs and bases empty before the mini-rally, and b) McCann had just given the Yankees a 2-0 run in the previous half-inning. But, one run in five innings of work isn’t bad by any stretch. You’d take that from your … 11th? 12th? I’ve lost count at this point … starter every time out. Dexter Fowler’s leadoff stand-up triple in the sixth is when things started to fall apart.
Jason Castro drove in Fowler with a simple ground out to tie the game, which, I mean, fine. Hard to strand a guy after a leadoff triple. But then Matt Dominguez singled. Then Jon Singleton singled. Then Joe Girardi came out of the dugout to get Capuano with his pitch count at a season-high 103, opting to go with struggling Warren. Warren got the second out of the inning on a weak ground ball that hit him, but he hung a slider to pinch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez, who pulled it to right for a two-run single. Ichiro Suzuki completely misplayed the ball but there wouldn’t have been a play at the plate anyway.
Warren stranded the runner and got the third out, but the damage had been done. The 2-1 lead was suddenly a 4-2 deficit, and all four runs were charged to Capuano. His final pitching line — 5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K — looks worse than he pitched, if you know what I mean. Some shoddy bullpen work could gave given him a lead and did bloat his ERA. On his birthday, no less. Jerks.
Rally To Tie
You gotta hand it to them, as soon as the Astros had that big three-run top of the sixth to take the lead, the Yankees answered right back to tie the game in the bottom half. Jacoby Ellsbury started things off with a first pitch single — he’s a much better leadoff hitter than number three hitter, no? — and he took second on a stolen base/balk. He got a great jump and had the base stolen, but Oberholtzer balked, so it didn’t matter. Sucks if you own Ellsbury in fantasy, but it accomplished the same thing.
Teixeira struck out and Beltran walked, putting the tying run on base with one out. Astros manager Bo Porter opted to stick with the left-handed Oberholtzer against the right-handed Prado, who took five straight pitches to work the count full. One of the strikes was way off the plate should have been called a ball, but it’s a good thing it wasn’t. Prado yanked Oberholtzer’s 94th and final pitch of the night into the left field corner for a game-tying two-run double. It nearly hopped over the wall for a ground-rule double, which would have cost the Yankees a run. Thankfully it stayed in play and the game was tied.
The Yankees didn’t get Prado in from second with one out because that’s what they do. Just be happy they got the two runs. Ellsbury led off the bottom of the eighth with an infield single before stealing second and getting to third on a throwing error. The throw literally hit his leg as he slid into second and bounced into the outfield. Unfortunately, Beltran grounded right to shortstop with the infield in and Ellsbury was thrown out at home on the contact play. What can you do? This team can’t score runs and a speedy runner like Ellsbury could have forced a young infielder like Gonzalez to rush his throw, but alas. Wasted opportunity.
Robertson picked a really, really bad time to have his first terrible outing in about two and a half months. The score was still knotted up at four when he took over in the ninth inning, and he did get a quick first pitch out to start the inning, but things unraveled from there. Robertson walked Grossman on five pitches — he stole second, though that really didn’t matter given the outcome — then walked Jose Altuve after being ahead in the count 0-2. The Astros had men on first and second with one out.
In between the Altuve at-bat and the Chris Carter at-bat that followed, Robertson threw seven straight balls. The Astros turned Carter lose 3-0, Robertson grooved a fastball right down the middle, and Carter hit it a mile to left field for a three-run homer. No-doubter, gone on contact. The game was over because the offense sure as hell wasn’t scoring three runs in the ninth to tie. If you rank the players on the roster 1-25 based on how much of a problem they are, Robertson would be … 25th? Maybe 24th behind Dellin Betances? He’s been awesome this year but stunk in this game.
Ellsbury and Prado both went 3-for-4 while the rest of the lineup went 3-for-27 (.111). McCann homered, Teixeira singled, and Ichiro singled. Ichiro actually slipped when he took his stride and put his front foot down, but he still got the barrel on the ball on found a hole for a base hit. The guy’s bat control is ridiculous. Beltran drew the only walk. Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter both went 0-for-4 as the one-two hitters.
Between the Warren and Robertson calamities, Shawn Kelley and Betances retired six of seven batters faced with two strikeouts apiece. Betances allowed a dinky little ground ball single through the shift. Rich Hill came on to replace Robertson in the ninth, allowed the two lefties he faced to reach base (single and walk) and struck out the two righties. Of course.
I’m not normally one to complain about the strike zone (it is what it is), but Paul Emmel seemed to have a particularly big zone, especially the outside corner to righties. The PitchFX data confirms it. It completely changed Chase Headley‘s at-bat with Prado at second in the seventh, turning what should have been ball four in a 3-1 count into a 3-2 count. Changed everything. Headley struck out on the next pitch.
And finally, Jeter did the Ice Bucket Challenge before the game on Tuesday. The video is above. I’m sure there’s a perfectly good reason for doing it on the carpet in the middle of the clubhouse. Anyway, the hug with Masahiro Tanaka is the best part.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, go to MLB.com. You can find some more game stats at FanGraphs and the updated standings at ESPN. The Orioles won, so the Yankees are now 8.5 games back in the AL East. They’re in second place too. This division was there for the taking if someone wanted to go on an extended run, and Baltimore took advantage. The Mariners won as well, meaning the Yankees are now four games back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 6.6%.
Same two teams on Wednesday night, when Michael Pineda and Scott Feldman meet in the middle game of this three-game series. Hoping to see some big things out of Big Mike. If you want to catch that game or any of the other four games left on homestand, RAB Tickets can get you in the door.