Archive for Game Stories
The Yankees probably could have picked a better day to send out their postseason invoices. The bullpen melted down again in Wednesday night’s 5-3 loss to the Orioles, who left little doubt they are far and away the better team. The Yankees are 7-10 since winning seven of their first eight games after the All-Star break.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and for the Yankees, that means going to Dellin Betances for three innings with a 2-1 lead. Betances allowed a leadoff single to start the sixth inning but cruised after that, striking out four of the next six batters to get the Yankees to the eighth inning with that 2-1 lead. He went back out for the eighth, recorded the first out on an infield pop-up, then served up a hanging curveball to Jonathan Schoop, who hammered it out to left for a wall-scraping game-tying solo homer. It just barely cleared the wall but that doesn’t matter. They all count the same and the game was tied. Schoop has hit four of his eleven homers against the Yankees this year, by the way.
Betances was lifted immediately after the homer with his pitch count at 33. The Yankees have been scaling back on his workload in recent weeks — he had not thrown two full innings since before the All-Star break and only once did he throw more than 25 pitches in an outing since June 24th. I dunno, he didn’t look tired to me, it just looked like he hung a breaking ball. It happens. In important games like this, you have to lean on your best players, and that includes going to Betances for three innings. I have no problem whatsoever with sending him back out for a third inning. It just didn’t work out.
Anyway, once Betances was out of the game, Shawn Kelley came in to completely put it out of reach. He got a quick ground out to third for the second out of the inning, then Nick Markakis singled back up the middle, Chris Davis walked, and Adam Jones clobbered a go-ahead three-run homer. It wasn’t a question of if the Orioles would score more runs after Schoop tied the game, just how many. Three was the answer on Wednesday. Apparently the game was important enough to use Betances for three innings but not important enough to use David Robertson at all. For the second straight game, the bullpen was unable to keep things close and let Baltimore run away with it late.
The Return of Big Mike
Michael Pineda‘s triumphant return to the rotation started with 12 straight outs. Only one of those outs came on a hard hit ball too. That was Davis’ fly out to right field for the second out of the fourth inning. Pineda left a pitch up, Davis just got under it, and Martin Prado tracked it down and reeled it in with a perfectly timed leap at the warning track. That was it. Pineda was dominant through the first four innings, looking very much like the guy we saw back in April.
The fifth inning got a little bit messy. Nelson Cruz broke up the perfect game bid with a leadoff double when Pineda left a cutter up in the zone, putting him in the stretch for the first time all night. He retired Delmon Young on a ground out to third, but Steve Pearce went down and golfed a pitch into shallow left for a single to put runners on the corners. Cruz had to hold up to see if the ball was caught, so he only advanced to third. Ryan Flaherty drove him in with a sacrifice fly to center. Pineda got out of the jam with just one run thanks to Chase Headley‘s diving stop on Schoop’s ground ball.
After throwing 72 pitches in his last minor league rehab start last week, Joe Girardi pulled Pineda after that fifth inning, with his pitch count at only 67. I thought it was the right move because he clearly started to labor during the long 22-pitch fifth, leaving a lot of pitches up in the zone in particular. Remember, he only made two rehab starts and wasn’t stretched back out all the way. Pineda’s velocity graph shows he was running out of gas too (via Brooks Baseball):
Like I said, Pineda started to labor and his stuff wasn’t as crisp as it was earlier in the game. Given his history of shoulder problems, Girardi was right to play it safe and take him out after those five innings, especially since his bullpen was fresh and Thursday is an off-day. PitchFX says Pineda topped out at 95.3 mph with his fastball (averaged 93.8) and got five swings and misses, which is actually kinda low. First start in more than three months though. One run on two hits and no walks with four strikeouts in five innings is a pretty awesome first start back. Welcome back, Big Mike.
You’ll Get Three Runs And Be Damn Thankful For It
The Yankees had base-runners in three of the first eight innings of the game. That’s it. They plated two runs in the third inning on Frankie Cervelli‘s two-run homer — Chris Tillman hung the hell out of a 3-2 curveball — which came after Stephen Drew‘s leadoff double. It was nothing more than a fly ball to left field that Young couldn’t run down. It actually hit off his glove too. An average defensive outfielder turns that into an out, no doubt in my mind. Drew (and the Yankees) got lucky, but hey, at this point he’ll take whatever he can get.
One inning later, the Yankees put runners on the corners with two outs when Mark Teixeira and Headley dropped singles into right and left fields, respectively. Drew grounded out to second to end the threat. Cervelli drew a one-out walk in the eighth and stolen second base, but that’s it. Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter both flew out to end the inning. Drew’s double, Cervelli’s homer and walk (and steal), and singles by Teixeira and Headley represented the only offense in the first eighth innings.
The Yankees did score a garbage time run in the ninth inning on Headley’s ground out. Teixeira walked and Carlos Beltran doubled down the left field line with one out to bring the tying run to the plate. Headley’s ground out was the second out of the inning, then Drew grounded out to end the game. The Yankees have scored more than three runs just once in their last six games. That was the ten-run aberration in the series-opening win over the Indians. The last game they won, coincidentally. This offense couldn’t be any coming up any more small.
Girardi was ejected in the sixth inning when the umpires ruled Drew ran out of the baseline while running out a ground ball back in front of the plate. The ball was thrown wide of the bag and into right field, allowing Drew to go to second, but it didn’t matter because of the call. It was awful. Drew stepped on the grass a few steps before the bag when the ball was already in the outfield. So dumb.
The top three hitters in the lineup went a combined 1-for-12. The only hit was Gardner’s third inning single immediately after Cervelli’s homer. Jeter banged into a 6-4-3 double play as the next batter to ensure the Yankees did not run the risk of scoring another run. Teixeira (single, walk) and Cervelli (homer, walk) were the only players to reach base twice.
Kelley has now allowed seven runs on five hits and three walks in 1.2 innings across his last three appearances. Betances and Robertson are the team’s only trustworthy relievers right now. The bullpen is falling apart late in the season for the second straight year, I assume because they’re burnt out from pitching so many important e innings from April through July.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head over to MLB.com for the box score and video highlights. FanGraphs is where you can find some additional game stats. The up-to-date standings are at ESPN. The Yankees are now eight games back of the Orioles in the AL East — several members of the team said they were focusing on the second wildcard spot after the game — and as soon as the Tigers finish beating the Pirates, New York will be four games back of that second wildcard spot with three teams ahead of them. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 9.1% and that seems way too high.
The Yankees are traveling tonight and will spend tomorrow’s off-day in Tampa, at their home away from home. They open a three-game series with the Rays on Friday night. Brandon McCarthy and Alex Cobb will be the pitching matchup for the series opener.
It was pretty obvious which team is in first place and which team is struggling to stay in the second wildcard race on Monday night, wasn’t it? The Yankees lost the series opener in Baltimore by the score of 11-3. They actually lead 3-1 at one point. I assume the Bombers wanted to come into this series and make something of a statement. Instead they were the bug and the Orioles were the windshield.
Look At What The Orioles Did
The Yankees scored their first run in the first inning on a simple triple (Brett Gardner) plus ground ball (Derek Jeter) combination. The triple was juuust out of Adam Jones’ reach in left-center. It might have even hit off his glove. In such an important game, scoring a run within the first two batters is much appreciated. I love first inning runs on the road. Jump right on the other team and force them to play from behind.
The second and third runs … I can’t even begin to explain what happened. Carlos Beltran walked and Chase Headley snuck a ground ball single through the infield on a hit-and-run to give the Yankees runners on corners with no outs, and that’s the easy part. This is the Little League play that followed and resulted in two runs:
The official scoring was stolen bases for both Headley and Beltran — so Beltran technically stole home — plus errors on Manny Machado and Bud Norris. The errors allowed Headley to go to third and then home. I don’t even care how it gets scored. I’m just happy that hilarity led to two runs for the Yankees. They need all the runs they can get these days, and if it takes Machado hitting Beltran in the helmet with a throw, so be it.
With their nightly runs scored quota met, the offense packed it in the rest of the game and had just one runner make it as far as third base after the second inning. That was Jacoby Ellsbury in the eighth, when he walked, stole second, and moved to third on Beltran’s ground out. Jeter’s one-out double to right in the fifth was their only hit after the second inning. Beltran reached on an error by second baseman Jonathan Schoop in the third, Ellsbury drew his walk in the eighth, and Headley drew walks in both the sixth and eighth. That was all the offense in the final seven innings.
Chris Capuano had a typical Chris Capuano outing, at least based on his entire career and not just his two weeks in pinstripes. He allowed four runs in six innings, including two on Chris Davis’ mammoth go-ahead two-run homer in the fifth inning. It was a total hanger, the curveball curved right into Davis’ bat. Sucks because Capuano was ahead in the count 0-2 before David battled back to make it 3-2 and hit the homer. Blah.
The offense was going to have a hard enough time coming back from the 4-3 deficit following Davis’ homer, so the game was effectively over once Nelson Cruz clobbered an Adam Warren meatball for a two-run homer in the seventh inning to give Baltimore a 7-3 lead. Doubles by Nick Markakis and Jones gave the O’s a run earlier in the inning. Warren was almost out of the inning when Cruz popped up in foul territory, but Martin Prado couldn’t reel it in near the wall. Not like it would have mattered anyway.
Because being down 7-3 wasn’t enough, Chase Whitley put two guys on base and served up a three-run homer to Schoop in the bottom of the eighth to really put the game out of reach. That pretty much guarantees the Orioles will outscore the Yankees in the series. Dating back to June 1st, Warren has a 5.46 ERA (~4.10 FIP) in 28 innings. Whitley has allowed ten runs in 6.1 innings since moving into the bullpen last month, allowing at least one run in all five appearances. Capuano held his own, but otherwise New York’s staff was no match for Baltimore’s offense.
Gardner (triple), Jeter (double), Headley (single), Prado (single), and Frankie Cervelli (single) had the team’s only hits. Ellsbury, Beltran, and Headley (two) drew the walks. The Yankees have had exactly five hits in each of their last three games. The last time they had five or fewer hits in three straight games was, well, last September.
The Yankees took a big fat 0-fer in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position. They actually had men on first and second with one out in the second inning after that Little League play, but Gardner flew out and Jeter grounded out. Bud Norris was asking for it early on, but the Yankees are pros at letting pitchers off the hook.
Machado left the game in the third inning with a right knee injury after his leg buckled under him on a swing. It was kinda ugly. He had surgery on the other knee over the winter. The Orioles say he has a sprain and will be re-evaluated on Tuesday. I doubt we see him the rest of the series.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the video highlights and box score, go to MLB.com. For some other stats, go to FanGraphs. For the updated standings, go to ESPN. The Yankees are currently seven games back in the AL East and three games back of the second wildcard spot. The Royals jumped over the Tigers in the AL Central, so Detroit is currently sitting in the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has the Yankees’ postseason odds at 16.5%.
Same two teams on Tuesday night, when Shane Greene gets the ball against lefty Wei-Yin Chen. It will be the first time Greene faces a team for the second time as a starter. That’s always a big deal.
Well that was one giant letdown of a weekend. The Yankees started their seven-game homestand with four wins in five games before falling flat these last two days and finishing it at 4-3. Blah. Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Indians came by the score of 4-1. Let’s recap:
- August Wall: Hiroki Kuroda appears to be hitting his annual August wall a week or two early. He ran out of gas after 80-ish pitches for the second straight start, but he was left in to throw 97 pitches and that was long enough to load the bases and walk in a run in the fifth inning. The Indians scored their first run on two bloops and a ground ball single, and their second on a double and a sac fly (with a bunt mixed in), but Kuroda wasn’t fooling anyone all afternoon. Two runs on five hits and four walks in 4.2 innings is pretty gross. Joe Girardi has to start treating him as an 80-pitch pitcher going forward. If that means only four or five innings, so be it. Might as well put that eight-man bullpen to use.
- LMAOffense: Three singles, no walks, a double that was nothing more than a single that took a weird carom off the sidewall and away from the outfielder, and a garbage time (two outs in the ninth!) solo homer. That was the Yankees’ offense for the afternoon. They had two runners reach second base (none reach third base) before Jacoby Ellsbury‘s homer, and at one point they made 15 straight outs. The Yankees went 19 innings without a run before the homer. The at-bats were barely competitive on Sunday. Take a pitch or two, roll over and ground out or pop-up weakly. The offense really small-timed it this weekend.
- Leftovers: Congrats to Bryan Mitchell for making his MLB debut. He struck out two in two scoreless innings to wrap up the afternoon … David Huff and Shawn Kelley combined to allow Cleveland’s fourth run on an infield single, a bunt, and a two-strike, two-out single … Ellsbury (single, stolen base, homer), Mark Teixeira (single), Stephen Drew (single), and Ichiro Suzuki (double) were the only offense … the Yankees were one out away from being shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since May of 1999 against the Chuck Finley-led Angels.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some nerdier stats, and ESPN the updated standings. At this very moment, the Yankees are 6.5 games back in the AL East and two games back of the second wildcard spot, pending the results of the day’s other games. Bud Norris and Chris Capuano will be the pitching matchup in Monday night’s series opener against the Orioles. Needless to say, that’s a huge series.
Some days you’re just going to get beat, and that’s what happened Saturday afternoon. The Yankees lost 3-0 to the Indians in a game in which they were out-pitched and out-hit, though I wouldn’t say they were out-defended. It happens. That’s baseball. Let’s recap:
- Klubot: The Yankees hit three balls out of the infield — two of the four hits he allowed were infield singles — and only hit one ball hard during Corey Kluber’s six shutout innings. That one hard-hit ball was Jacoby Ellsbury‘s double to left in the fourth. That’s it. The team’s best chance to score came in the sixth, when Derek Jeter and Ellsbury singled with no outs, but Kluber rebounded to strike out Carlos Beltran, Chase Headley, and Stephen Drew. He flat out dominated them. Ten strikeouts, one walk, one double, three soft singles. This is one of those days when I’m perfectly fine tipping my cap. Kluber’s a top 10-15 pitcher in MLB and he showed why on Saturday.
- De Facto Ace: Brandon McCarthy‘s only real mistake was leaving a first pitch fastball up in the zone to rookie infielder Jose Ramirez, who hit a cheap Yankee Stadium two-run homer in the second inning. It was his first career long ball and it just barely cleared the wall. Other than the homer, McCarthy held the Indians to six singles and no walks while striking out eight in 6.1 innings. The homer stunk, but McCarthy once again gave the Yankees a good and winnable start.
- Bullpen: Rich Hill and Chase Whitley combined to pitch out of a bases loaded jam in the seventh — Headley made a nice play to get the force out at home — before Whitley allowed a solo homer to Michael Brantley in the eighth. That gave the offense six outs to score at least three runs against Cleveland hurlers. Even though Kluber pitched well, they did a nice job of running up his pitch count. Brett Gardner (double) and Ellsbury (fake hit-by-pitch) reached base to give Beltran and Headley a chance to tie the game in the eighth, but they struck out. The Yankees went down in order in the ninth.
- Leftovers: Jeter’s sixth inning infield single was his 3,431st career hit, moving him ahead of Honus Wagner for sole possession of sixth place on the all-time list. He won’t catch Tris Speaker (3,514), but sixth all-time is pretty awesome … rough third inning for the battery. McCarthy was hit by a line drive in the foot and Frankie Cervelli took a pitch to the ribs. Both stayed in the game … Gardner, Jeter, and Ellsbury went 4-for-11 (.364) while the rest of the lineup went 1-for-21 (.048) … the Yankees went 0-for-9 with six strikeouts with runners in scoring position … they set a season-high with 15 strikeouts after coming into the game with the fourth lowest strikeout rate in MLB (18.2%) … the Yankees were shut out for only the fourth time this year and the first time since June 22nd, 41 games ago.
Head over to MLB.com for the box score and video highlights. FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN has the updated standings. The Blue Jays won this afternoon while the Royals, Orioles, and Mariners all play later tonight, so as of right now the Yankees are 5.5 games back in the AL East and one game back of the second wildcard spot. Hiroki Kuroda and Carlos Carrasco will be the pitching matchup for Sunday afternoon’s series finale. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to catch the final game of the homestand live.
I think we can all agree the 2014 Yankees like to do things the hard way, yes? They beat the Indians by the score of 10-6 in Friday night’s series opener, but they really had to work for it, especially in the later innings. Whatever. At 61-54, the Yankees are seven games over .500 for the first time all season. Let’s recap:
- Five-Run First: The Yankees scored five runs and sent ten men to the plate in the first inning, and exactly three of them hit the ball out of the infield. Some sloppy infield defense and three Trevor Bauer walks fueled the rally, which included run-scoring singles by Carlos Beltran, Stephen Drew, and Martin Prado. Chase Headley drew a bases loaded walk. Carlos Santana flat out muffed a catch on a throw from shortstop at first base, and Jason Kipnis threw away a ball when he flipped it to second trying to turn a double play. Brett Gardner, the team’s best player, made the first and last out of the inning. Go figure. I missed innings like that so much. Everything went right.
- Can’t Spell Esmil Without Smile: One run in five innings from spot starter Esmil Rogers? I’m pretty sure we all would have signed up for that heading into the game. I know I would have. The right-hander used fastballs and sliders to hold the Tribe to four hits and a walk in those five innings, and at one point he retired ten of 12 batters. Rogers struck out three and got seven of his other 12 outs in the air, which is fine given the team’s outfield defense. At this point, I think the Yankees could pull anyone out of the stands, slap pinstripes on him, and get a winnable start. What a job the staff has done of late.
- Blown Open: Five runs in the first, five runs in the sixth. The Indians intentionally walked Jacoby Ellsbury to load the bases for Beltran for whatever reason, and he unloaded on a John Axford hanging curveball for a grand slam. Ichiro Suzuki and Gardner drew walks earlier in the inning. The Yankees plated another run on another error later in the inning. They scored ten total runs thanks to a pair of five-run innings, and in those innings they hit a total of five balls out of the infield. Crazy.
- No Easy Wins: It’s amazing how this team is allergic to easy wins. The five-run sixth gave them a nice and comfy 10-2 lead, right? Bring in Bryan Mitchell and let him bring it home, right? Nope. Shawn Kelley started the seventh, faced four batters, retired none, and left the bases loaded for Adam Warren. He served up a two-run double and a sac fly. The Indians answered the Yankees’ five-run sixth with a four-run seventh to make it 10-6. Sigh. Thankfully Warren, Rich Hill, and Dellin Betances navigated the eighth and ninth without much of a problem. Still sucks they even had to get into a game like this.
- Leftovers: Derek Jeter‘s first inning infield single was the 3,430th hit of his career, tying him for Honus Wagner for sixth place on the all-time list. He won’t catch Tris Speaker (3,514) for fifth place, so he’ll eventually retire in sole possession of sixth place on the all-time hit list. Not bat at all … Brian McCann left the game with a mild concussion, and Frankie Cervelli joined Beltran as the only players with two hits. Gardner (double, walk), McCann (single, walk), Ellsbury (three walks), and Ichiro (single, walk) all reached base multiple times. Headley and Ellsbury were the only players without hits … the lineup had more walks (seven) than strikeouts (five) for the AL-leading 13th time this year.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Orioles won and the Blue Jays lost, so the Yankees moved into second place in the AL East and are still five back of Baltimore. They are a half-game back of the Royals for the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 24.6%. The Yankees and Indians will play the second game of this series on Saturday afternoon (Brandon McCarthy vs. Corey Kluber), but first the team will unveil Paul O’Neill’s plaque in Monument Park. Head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch the ceremony and the game live.
So that was the best series of the season, no? The Yankees held on for a 1-0 win on Thursday afternoon, taking three of four from the first place Tigers. The one loss was a very winnable game as well. Great game, great series.
Tame The Tigers
I don’t know how they did it, but the Yankees’ patchwork rotation went toe-to-toe with Detroit’s collection of aces this week and collectively outpitched them. It was pretty awesome. Shane Greene stepped up on Thursday afternoon and was masterful, allowing five singles and three walks in eight shutout innings. He struck out five and recorded 13 of his other 19 outs on the ground. He was efficient too, throwing 99 pitches total and never more than 18 in an inning (only once more than 14). What more could you want?
The Tigers had two runners reach second base and one reach third base against Greene all afternoon. That’s all. A single (Victor Martinez) and a walk (J.D. Martinez) gave them runners on first and second with two outs in the fourth, but Greene rebounded to strike out Don Kelly. Two innings later an infield single (Ezequiel Carrera) and a bloop single (Ian Kinsler) gave Detroit men on the corners with one out, and this time Greene got out of it by getting V-Mart to bang into a 4-6-3 double play. He executed the exact right pitches at the exact right times.
Greene has been rock solid during his brief time as a big league starter, and I think the difference between his last few starts and this one was his slider. PitchFX says he threw 29 sliders out of 99 pitches, including 21 for strikes and seven for swings and misses. He was able to locate it just off the plate outside to the Tigers’ bevy of right-handed batters, resulting in whiffs and a lot of soft contact. It helps when you can back that up with a mid-90s sinker, of course. Greene was fantastic. What a job.
All With Two Outs
The Yankees scored one run on Thursday and that’s all they needed. Naturally, they did not score that run after Ichiro Suzuki (infield single) and Brendan Ryan (single) reached base with one out in the third, setting things up for the top of the lineup. Brett Gardner hit into a rare 4-6-3 double play to kill that rally. It was only his third double play ball of the season. Bases loaded with two outs in the seventh? Nope, didn’t score then either. Martin Prado grounded out weakly to short to end the threat.
No, the Yankees scored their run after having the bases empty with two outs in the fourth. Prado and Jacoby Ellsbury lined out to left and center field to start the inning, respectively, so it seemed like another quick scoreless inning for Rick Porcello. Instead, the Yankees were able to string together three soft hits to score a run. Carlos Beltran singled to center, Chase Headley blooped another single to center, then Stephen Drew blooped a ground-rule double to left. It was perfectly placed just inside the foul line. Had it not hopped over the wall, I’m pretty sure Headley would have scored from first. Alas. One run is better than none.
Joe Girardi surprisingly let Greene start the ninth, but his shutout complete-game bid ended when Kinsler led the inning off with a single to center. David Robertson came on, walked (Victor) Martinez, got super scary pinch-hitter Miguel Cabrera to bang into a 4-3 double play, then got Kelly to line out softly to short for his 31st save. No sweat. (Lots of sweat.)
Everyone in the starting lineup had exactly one hit except for Frankie Cervelli (zero) and Ichiro (two). Drew’s double was the only extra-base hit and Headley drew their only walk, a four-pitch job off ex-Yankee Phil Coke with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Ryan took a fastball to the back as part of that ultimately fruitless seventh inning rally.
Greene is the first Yankees’ starter to complete eight innings of work since Hiroki Kuroda on July 1st. They’ve gotten only five other 8+ innings starts this year, all by (who else?) Masahiro Tanaka. The bullpen really needed an easy day like this. No one even had to warm up until Robertson got ready for the ninth.
This was only the fifth 1-0 game in New Yankee Stadium history and the first since Chris Archer shut the Yankees out last July. The Bombers are 2-3 in those five games. The other win was CC Sabathia‘s shutout of the Rays in 2011, when James Shields threw away a pickoff throw for the only run.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. Depending on the outcomes of the night game, the Yankees will be either four games back in the AL East and one game back of the second wildcard spot (Blue Jays beat Orioles), or five games back in the AL East and tied for the second wildcard spot (O’s beat Jays).
This four-game series with the Tigers is finally over. The Indians are coming to town for a three-game weekend set next and they’ll have Trevor Bauer on the mound for Friday’s opener. The Yankees? They still have not announced their starter. Chances are it will be Esmil Rogers in place of the injured David Phelps. Chase Whitley seems to be the other option. We’ll find out soon enough.
Mark Teixeira‘s hand got stepped on as he slid across home plate last night, and following the game he needed three stitches to close the wound. X-rays came back negative. Teixeira told Vince Mercogliano the cut was “really, really bad” and he thought he saw bone. I know Tex has become increasingly brittle over the years and a pinkie injury is easy to laugh at, but I’m pretty sure that if you stepped on my hand with metal cleats, I’d curl up in the fetal position at home plate and retire on the spot.
Hopefully the Yankees rally around the injury and go out and win this afternoon’s series finale against the Tigers. Do it for Teixeira’s pinkie. Here is the Miguel Cabrera-less Tigers lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- 3B Martin Prado
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- DH Carlos Beltran
- 1B Chase Headley
- SS Stephen Drew
- C Frankie Cervelli
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- 2B Brendan Ryan
RHP Shane Greene
It’s a nice and pleasant day here in New York. A little cloudy with temperatures in the low-80s, and there is no rain or anything in the forecast. The clouds are supposed to go away in a few hours, in fact. This afternoon’s game is scheduled to begin a bit after 1pm ET. You can watch on YES locally and, depending on where you live, MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.
Injury Update: Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) played catch again, this time from both 60 and 90 feet. Everything went well and he’ll continue moving forward with his throwing program.
For the first time this year, a game gave me that little postseason-esque nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach. The Yankees and Tigers played an excitingly close game on Wednesday, close until the Bombers broke it open in the bottom of the eighth. New York won 5-1.
Changeup, Strike Three
Chris Capuano has had a knack for pulling gems out of nowhere throughout his career, and on the night when the Yankees needed a start like that, he gave them one. The wily veteran southpaw used changeup after changeup to hold the high-powered Tigers to one unearned run in 6.2 innings, striking out eight and walking one. He allowed just five hits and retired 20 of 25 batters at one point from the first through seventh innings. His night ended after 101 pitches and back-to-back two-out singles in that seventh inning.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus loaded his lineup with right-handed batters against the lefty Capuano — number nine hitter Ezequiel Carrera was the only lefty in the starting lineup — and that played right into his strength, the down and away changeup. He had the pitch working marvelously. PitchFX says Capuano threw 44 changeups out of those 101 pitches, including 33 for strikes and 11 for swings and misses. He doubled up on the pitch all night and at one point he even tripled up on the changeup to fan Nick Castellanos. Excellent outing by Capuano. What a nice surprise he’s been through three starts.
Justin Verlander retired the first eleven batters he faced before Jacoby Ellsbury singled to center with two outs in the fourth. The Yankees scored their first run an inning later, when Chase Headley ran into a meatball of a 2-2 changeup for a solo homer into the second deck in right. Everyone knew it was gone off the bat, including Verlander based on his reaction. The pitch was on a tee and it tied the game at one after some sloppy defense and a sacrifice fly gave the Tigers a quick 1-0 lead in the first.
The score remained 1-1 until the seventh inning, at which point the Yankees had only had four base-runners against Verlander. The big right-hander left a 1-2 fastball up in the zone to Brian McCann with one out in the inning, and that pitch landed just beyond the right-center wall for a solo homer into the Yankees bullpen. You can tell this isn’t the same Verlander of the last few years. That guy absolutely buried hitters with two strikes. This version gave up two two-strike homers in the span of three innings. McCann’s dinger gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead with six outs to go.
As good as Capuano was in this game, Adam Warren recorded by far the two biggest outs of the night. Really the three biggest when you consider he inherited a first-and-third situation from Capuano with two outs in the seventh, escaping with a ground ball. Warren got a quick first pitch ground out from Ian Kinsler to start the eighth, then he appeared to pitch around the ultra-dangerous Miguel Cabrera with one out. I don’t like that strategy — assuming he did pitch around him, of course — because all Miggy could do was tie the game there. Put him on and suddenly the go-ahead run is at the plate. Whatever.
Because I wrote about how good the infield defense has been since the trade deadline earlier on Wednesday, Stephen Drew managed to make two errors on one play to give the Tigers runners on the corners with one out. Victor Martinez hit a soft grounder into the shift, but Drew fumbled the scoop (first error) and rushed the throw (second error), which was wide of first base and wound up close to home plate. Cabrera alertly advanced from second to third once he realized the ball was by Mark Teixeira at first.
This was a problem. The Yankees had just taken the lead, and while Detroit’s two best hitters were on the bases and not coming to the plate, runners on the corners with one out is scary. Especially since Warren has been less than stellar the last few weeks for whatever reason. Fatigue, return to Earth, whatever. Warren fell behind in the count 3-0 to J.D. Martinez and suddenly things looked really bad. Then he reached back and threw three straight fastballs by Martinez for the strikeout. The PitchFX readings on those fastballs: 95.95 mph (foul), 97.35 mph (whiff), and 96.9 mph (whiff). Gas.
That was an obviously huge strikeout but the inning was not over. There was still one out to get and Warren was still wild. He again fell behind in the count 3-0, this time to Castellanos. Warren went 97.00 mph fastball (whiff), 89.22 mph slider (foul), 96.81 mph fastball (foul), 98.26 mph fastball (foul), and 89.40 mph slider (lazy fly to right) to get the final out of the inning. That 98.26 mph fastball was the fastest pitch Warren has ever thrown in the big leagues, again according to PitchFX. It was not at all easy, but hats off to Warren for his work in that eighth inning. One of the biggest innings of the season, hands down.
Some time around the fifth inning I said this was a classic “next team to homer wins” game, and technically I was right. The Yankees were nice enough to plate some insurance runs in the eighth though, with the big blow being McCann’s … weak grounder to first. The Bombers had the bases loaded with one out and a run already in when Andrew Romine’s throw to first on the 3-6-3 double play attempt sailed by first base and to the dugout fence. Teixeira chugged around from second on the play and slid in for the team’s fifth run of the night. He was initially ruled out but the call was overturned following Joe Girardi‘s challenge. Teixeira’s pinkie got stepped on at the plate and he needed stitches. Props to Brett Gardner (single), Ellsbury (walk), Teixeira (run-scoring single), and Carlos Beltran (single) for their work earlier in the inning. Scoring those three insurance runs was huge.
David Robertson was all warmed up and ready to pitch the ninth until the three-run bottom of the eighth. David Huff recorded the last three outs without incident instead. He threw all of nine pitches and Derek Jeter made a great jumping catch to rob Bryan Holaday of a line drive single. With all due respect to Huff, Capuano and Warren were clearly the pitching stars of the night. The rest of the overtaxed bullpen got a much-needed day to rest.
Headley (homer and single) was the only Yankee with multiple hits, though Ellsbury (single and walk) and Teixeira (single and walk) both reached base twice as well. McCann hit his homer while Gardner, Jeter, and Beltran singled. Drew and Martin Prado went a combined 0-for-6 from the 8-9 spots in the order. The Yankees may not be scoring a whole lot, but this lineup definitely feels more dangerous than what they were trotting out there not too long ago.
The Yankees ended their streak of consecutive games decided by two or fewer runs at 16, the third longest such streak in history. They were two shy of tying the all-time record set by the Twins in 1968. Or maybe it was 1948. I forget. They showed the graphic on YES and I didn’t take note of the year.
Last, but certainly not least, the Yankees just won two of three games against the last three AL Cy Young award winners. The one loss was a very winnable game as well. If nothing else, that’s something to brag about.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
The box score and video highlights are at MLB.com. Some other stats are at FanGraphs and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Blue Jays beat the Orioles, so the Yankees are now five games back in the AL East and one game back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 22.9%. I don’t know if they’ll get a chance to play in October, but I’ll sign up for another 50 games just like this one. These last few games have been very entertaining.
The Yankees and Tigers wrap up this four-game series on Thursday afternoon. Yes, an afternoon game. Shane Greene will get the ball against New Jersey’s own Rick Porcello. RAB Tickets can get in the door if you want to spend the afternoon at the ballpark.
Bah, that was an annoying loss. The Yankees simply ran out of good relievers in the 12th inning — really the 11th inning, but they survived that — and dropped a very winnable game to the Tigers after holding a multi-run lead. No fun. The final score was 4-3. Let’s recap with bullet points since I got home late:
- One, Two, Three Runs: David Price was making his first start for the Tigers, but the Yankees have seen him plenty of times before, so there wasn’t much “facing the new guy” hype. The Yankees got to him for one run in the second (Brian McCann solo homer), the third (Jacoby Ellsbury doubled in Brendan Ryan), and the fifth (Martin Prado solo homer) before Price settled down and retired 14 of the final 17 men he faced. He struck out ten, walked none, and allowed the three runs on eight hits in 8.2 innings.
- Out of Gas: It seemed like Hiroki Kuroda flat out ran out of gas in that seventh inning, when the Tigers rallied to tie. He gave up a quick run in the first on two singles and a sac fly, then settled down and retired 14 straight until Andrew Romine took him deep leading off the sixth. The seventh inning rally was an infield single (Victor Martinez) and two outfield singles (Nick Castellanos and Alex Avila) to tie game. Kuroda allowed three runs in seven innings and was gone after only 91 pitches. Given his recent history of late-season fades, that’s not exactly encouraging.
- Battle of the Bullpen: Hands down, my favorite moment of the night was Dellin Betances vs. Miguel Cabrera. Miggy got ahead in the count 2-0 but Dellin got him to swing and miss at the next three pitches, the last a 100 mph heater on the outside black. I needed a cigarette after that. It was wonderful. Betances, Shawn Kelley, David Huff, and Esmil Rogers combined to allow just one base-runner in 3.2 innings. Rich Hill hit the only batter he faced and eventually Matt Daley served up the game-winning homer to Avila. He’s allowed four homers in 14.1 innings this year. The bullpen has been worked very hard of late and at some point the crack in the dam was going to break open. It happened in the 12th. That’s life.
- Leftovers: So how about that infield defense? Chase Headley made several excellent plays, Brendan Ryan and Derek Jeter both made nice lunging catches (Ryan bobbled his but still caught it), and Mark Teixeira made a few nice scoops at first. The defense is so, so much better than it was earlier in the year … the Yankees didn’t have a hit after Carlos Beltran‘s leadoff single in the ninth. They had two runners reach scoring position in the final seven innings (Prado’s leadoff double in the seventh, Ichiro Suzuki‘s stolen base with two outs in the ninth) … Prado and Ellsbury each had two hits while Brett Gardner, Teixeira, and Headley went a combined 0-for-14. Headley hit a ball to the wall off Joe Nathan in the 12th. I thought it was gone off the bat, but alas.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights — go watch the highlights if only to see Dellin fan Miggy again — while FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN has the updated standings. The Orioles beat the Blue Jays and both the Mariners and Royals won, so the Yankees are six games back in the AL East and one game back of Toronto for the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has their playoff odds at 19.1%. Chris Capuano and Justin Verlander will be the pitching matchup on Wednesday night, in the third game of this four-game set.
One year ago today, MLB announced Alex Rodriguez‘s record 211-game suspension for his ties to Biogenesis. It was the same day he made his season debut after having hip surgery. A-Rod appealed the ban, played out the rest of the season, and eventually had it reduced to 162 games. I’m pretty sure he is still the best right-handed hitter in the organization right now. The Yankees could use him.
Anyway, the DEA arrested Anthony Bosch for conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids today. He’s the former Biogenesis chief who cooperated with MLB and sang like a bird as soon as they agreed to pay his legals bills and not sue him. You can read up on the whole mess right here. The most important thing is that T.J. Quinn says new names will emerge and more suspensions are likely on the way. I have so little interest in reliving this stuff. Beat David Price and win tonight’s game. That’s all I want to think about. Do it for A-Rod. Here’s the Tigers lineup and here’s the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- DH Carlos Beltran
- C Brian McCann
- 3B Chase Headley
- RF Martin Prado
- 2B Brendan Ryan
RHP Hiroki Kuroda
It’s nice and hot in New York. Blue skies, no rain, really nice summer night for baseball. First pitch is scheduled for just after 7pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.