Yankees close out 2016 season with a 5-2 loss to the O’s

One-hundred-and-sixty-two games later, the 2016 regular season is over. The Yankees closed out the season with a 5-2 loss to the Orioles at Yankee Stadium on Sunday afternoon. This season was … interesting. That’s a good word for it. We’ve got all offseason to talk about that though.

(Mike Stobe/Getty)
(Mike Stobe/Getty)

Dominated By Gausman, One Last Time
I guess it’s fitting the Yankees closed out the season by getting crushed by Kevin Gausman. They haven’t been able to touch him all season. His pitching line was worse than I realized (7.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) but still, this was Gausman’s worst start against the Yankees this season. The Yankees scored three runs total in 33.2 innings the first five times they faced him.

New York’s first run came the ol’ fashioned way: with a dinger into the short porch. Brian McCann did the honors. That was his 20th home run of the season. McCann has now hit at least 20 home runs in each of the last nine seasons. The only other player to do that is (who else?) David Ortiz. Ortiz is a DH though. McCann did that as a catcher. Impressive. The solo shot came in the fourth inning, when the Yankees were already down 3-0.

The second run came when the game was all but decided. The O’s were up 5-1 in the eighth when Gary Sanchez, McCann, and Didi Gregorius strung together singles against Gausman and Zach Britton. The Yankees did bring the tying run up to the plate at one point, but Aaron Hicks grounded out. So it goes. Not surprisingly, the Yankees only scored two runs in Game 162. They scored no more than two runs 58 times this year. Only the Angels (59) did it more.

Almost Six From Cessa
For only the second time in his nine starts, Luis Cessa allowed four runs Sunday afternoon. Two came on Matt Wieters’ fourth inning home run. Even with that, Cessa was able to get his homer problem under control late in the season. He allowed three homers total in last four starts after allowing eight in his first five. A ground rule double, a fielder’s choice, and a sac fly gave the O’s a 1-0 lead in the third.

Cessa was charged with a fourth run when Wieters hit his second home run of the game in the seventh inning, though Tommy Layne was on the mound for that one. Four runs on five hits and no walks in 5.2 innings was Cessa’s final line. He struck out a career high six. After taking over for the injured Nathan Eovaldi, Cessa gave the club 52 innings of 3.98 ERA ball across nine starts. He also averaged 14.6 pitches per inning, which is pretty darn good by rookie starter standards. I’m looking forward to seeing what Cessa does in 2017.

(Mike Stobe/Getty)
(Mike Stobe/Getty)

Mark Teixeira went 0-for-3 in the final game of his career and was removed with one out in the top of the seventh so he could get one final ovation. His pregame ceremony was nice. Nothing compared to Derek Jeter‘s or Mariano Rivera‘s, of course. It was on par with Alex Rodriguez‘s, minus the rain. The Yankees gave him a framed jersey and a base signed by his teammates. Good stuff.

The Yankees had ten hits total, including two each by Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, McCann, and Gregorius. Sanchez and Ronald Torreyes had the others. Sanchez drew the only walk. He had a very nice game to close out the season. One hit, one walk, two runners thrown out trying to steal. By a mile, of course.

Layne was the only reliever to give up a run. Blake Parker, Adam Warren, and Richard Bleier all fired a scoreless inning. Bold prediction: none of the four relievers used Sunday are on the 2017 Opening Day roster. Just a guess. A shot in the dark. Nothing more.

And finally, McCann and Billy Butler raced on the field before the game. Here’s the video. Butler won by a hair. Even though they missed the postseason, I’m going to miss this team. They’re the most fun 84-win club I’ve ever rooted for.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Go to ESPN for the box score and updated standings, and MLB.com for the video highlights. Here are out Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages, and here’s the win probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The offseason. Pitchers and catchers are four and a half months away. I’m planning to take it easy this coming week, so RAB won’t be updated as often as usual. Next week we’ll kick it into offseason and season review mode. Thanks for reading this year.

Sunday Open Thread

Well folks, the 2016 season is officially over. The Yankees finished in fourth place with an 84-78 record and a -22 run differential, and, of course, they missed the postseason. Mediocrity defined. At least this time the Yankees took steps to correct that by selling off impending free agents and valuable veterans for young players at the deadline. The future looks much brighter than it did six months ago.

Here is an open thread for the rest of the day. MLB.tv is free this weekend, so you can use that watch the last few innings of whatever games are still being played. There’s also the rest of the day’s NFL action. Talk about that stuff and more right here.

Game 162: So long, Tex


Today is the final day of the 2016 regular season. The Yankees have already been eliminated from postseason contention, though they’ve also clinched their 24th straight winning season, and that tells you they were good but not good enough. The offense was the main culprit. The pitching certainly wasn’t without flaws either.

Prior to today’s season finale, the Yankees will honor Mark Teixeira, who has decided to call it a career because his body simply can handle the 162-game grind anymore. He’s got neck and knee issues, on top of who knows what else. I still remember the day the Yankees signed Teixeira. The day they pulled the rug out from under the Red Sox to sign him was one of the most exciting days in RAB history.

Teixeira’s eight years in pinstripes have been, well, complicated. Mostly productive. He’s put up a .248/.344/.479 (119 OPS+) batting line with 206 home runs with the Yankees, which works out to 18.3 fWAR and 20.6 bWAR. WAR underrates his defense too. It doesn’t handle first basemen well. Teixeira was second in the MVP voting in 2009 and he hit in the middle of the order for the team’s most recent World Championship squad.

At the same time, the last few years of Teixeira’s career have featured a lot of injuries and a lot of balls hit into the shift, and both of those things are disappointing. Even still, Teixeira was a really good player for the Yankees for a long time, plus he was a bit of a goof and always good for a laugh. It’s too bad we won’t get to enjoy BLOWN SAVE a little longer. That was a hoot. At least we got a full season of Foul Territory.

A year ago Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez carried the Yankees offensively. After today, they’ll both be gone. A-Rod was released back in August and now Teixeira is walking away. This is kind of sad. Sad and exciting at the same time. Those two were key members of some really good teams. At the same time, the Yankees are making room for younger players who we hope will one day form the next great Yankees team.

This afternoon’s series finale is scheduled to begin at 3:05pm ET — every game on the final day of the season starts at the same time for maximum drama — and the Yankees say the Teixeira ceremony will begin at 2:45pm ET. I’m certain the YES Network will carry it. As for today’s game, here is the Orioles’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. C Gary Sanchez
  4. DH Brian McCann
  5. 1B Mark Teixeira
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. RF Aaron Hicks
  8. 3B Ronald Torreyes
  9. 2B Donovan Solano
    RHP Luis Cessa

Today’s game is important for the Orioles. A win will clinch a wildcard spot. A loss won’t automatically eliminate them — the Blue Jays and Tigers both need to win — but it would put their backs up against the well. Here are the tiebreaker scenarios. Let’s make life miserable for them. Enjoy the final game of the season and Teixeira’s career, everyone.

Goodbye, Mark

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Memory and baseball are bedfellows of randomness. Just like we’re not sure what’s going to happen when a ball is hit or thrown, we have little control over what we remember, regardless of how much or how little. There are baseball-related things I’ll forget the day after they happen and others I’ll remember for as long as I have a memory. Most of those times, my memories are on the field. Two moment off the field, however, stand out.

In February of 2004, I was waiting for my name to be called for a haircut as the TV in the barbershop played Alex Rodriguez‘s introductory press conference. Almost five years later, in December of 2008, I was on a side road, facing the on-ramp to I-95 at Exit 5 of the Connecticut Turnpike. To my right was a McDonalds and to my left was a shipping center–both are still there.

That’s where I was — coincidentally in the town he and his family would eventually call home — when I heard via WFAN that Mark Teixeira was signing with the Yankees for eight years, sneaking out from under the thumb of the Red Sox (and the Orioles according to their fans).

Those eight years on, it’s hard to believe time’s gone as fast as it did; a contract that long feels like it’ll never end. But, as always, time is undefeated. All told, barring any changes today, Tex hit .248/.344/.479/.823 (119 OPS+) in his time with the Bombers. He was a steady, switch-hitting first baseman you could count on for power, patience, and pure, blissfully self-aware dorkiness.

Teixeira Foul Territory

He was the latest in a line of prestigious Yankee first base regulars and he will be missed, as will his insight regarding healthy eating and organized crime (or at least films about it). Greg Bird is poised to take the torch and keep the line moving, but as Tex bows out, this is a time to look back, a time to reflect, and a time to give thanks for Teixeira most always being on the Mark. Fare thee well, number 25; take care of Greenwich for me.

Yanks come from behind for 7-3 win over Orioles in second to last game of 2016

Even though they’ve been eliminated from postseason contention, the Yankees are not going quietly this final weekend of the season. They erased a three-run deficit and scored seven unanswered runs Saturday afternoon to earn a 7-3 win over the Orioles. That creates some serious headaches for Baltimore’s postseason push. Hooray for that.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Sevy The Non-Starter
Luis Severino‘s final start of the season didn’t go any better than the first ten. While on a strict pitch count, he allowed three runs on five hits and two walks in 3.2 innings. The first two runs came on Michael Bourn’s two-out, two-strike single in the second inning. The third came on Manny Machado’s solo homer. Meh. Machado’s going to do that. But a two-strike hit by Bourn? Weak.

Severino finishes the season with an 8.50 ERA (5.41 FIP) in eleven starts and 47.2 innings. Opponents hit .337/.389/.587 against him as a starter. Severino basically turned every hitter he faced into a more powerful Jose Altuve (.337/.396/.533), at least when working as a starter. Woof. Severino was awesome as a reliever — 0.39 ERA (2.29 FIP) and a .105/.209/.158 opponent’s batting line in 23.1 innings — but as a starter, he was historically terrible. He’s only the 24th pitcher in history to make at least ten starts with an 8.50+ ERA, and more than a few of the other 23 were broken down old guys trying to hang on.

Severino’s issues as a starter seem pretty obvious. He admitted he’s lost confidence in his changeup — only three of his 66 pitches Saturday were changeups — and his location is generally poor. With everything, really, but especially with his offspeed stuff. Considering the expectations coming into the season, Severino was a colossal disappointment this year. Can’t sugarcoat it. Hopefully he learns from this season and is better for it in the future.

The Comeback
After falling behind 3-0 early, I wouldn’t have blamed the Yankees for packing it in and coasting to the finish line. This game means nothing to them. Guys are already planning their vacations and looking forward to some rest and relaxation. Instead, they battled back in a game that meant an awful lot to the Orioles. The Yankees scored runs in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. They chipped away.

Tyler Austin‘s one-out single drove in the team’s first run in the fifth inning. A single (Mark Teixeira) and a walk (Chase Headley) set that one up. In the sixth, Headley doubled in the team’s second run after Billy Butler and Rob Refsnyder singled with two outs. Love those two-out rallies. The Yankees tied the game in the seventh inning on Austin’s solo home run. Yet again, it was an opposite field job.

Austin has hit five homers since being called up. All five have a) been opposite field shots at Yankee Stadium, and b) either tied the game or given the Yankees the lead. Clutch right field dingers seem to be Austin’s specialty. Pretty cool. Can’t believe Buck Showalter still had Wade Miley on the mound at that point. Ronald Torreyes followed the homer with a single against Miley too. He was at 99 pitches and set to face a bunch of righties. Why send him back out for the seventh? Their loss.

The wheels came off in the eighth inning for the O’s. Brian McCann popped up to start the frame, then Showalter went to setup man Brad Brach, who’s had a great season overall but has really struggled of late. Brach walked Jacoby Ellsbury on five pitches, then fell behind in the count 3-1 to Headley. Headley jumped on the 3-1 hanger and poked it by a diving Chris Davis at first base for a double. The Yankees were in business.

Brach again fell behind in the count, this time 2-0 to Austin Romine, and Romine sliced a hanging breaking into shallow left field for a two-run single. Headley actually bumped into J.J. Hardy while on the bases, which third base umpire Jim Reynolds saw, resulting in an obstruction call. Headley scored well ahead of the throw, so ultimately the obstruction didn’t matter. Had he been thrown out, Reynolds could have awarded him home because of the obstruction.

Romine’s single gave the Yankees a 5-3 lead. Torreyes drew a walk two batters later, then Brett Gardner slapped a two-run double to left field to stretch the lead to 7-3. September call-up Oliver Drake was on the mound at that point. The Orioles are fighting for their playoff lives, yet Zach Britton watched that inning from the bullpen. I do not understand. Well, no, I do. Closers are for closin’. Bullpen usage can be so stupid sometimes.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

The Unsung Hero(es)
The bullpen made the comeback possible. Severino bowed out after 3.2 innings, then Jonathan Holder came in to get the next four outs without incident. Richard Bleier, Kirby Yates, and Tyler Clippard each followed with a scoreless inning to keep the O’s at bay. Those four guys combined to allow three singles and two walks in their 4.1 innings. Weirdly, they did not strike a single batter out. Huh.

You know who did strike a batter out? Dellin Betances. Three of them, in fact. He came in to pitch the ninth inning with the 7-3 lead, allowed a dumb infield single — the throw got to him in time, but Dellin took a little stutter step that allowed Bourn to beat him to the bag — then struck out the next three batters on eleven pitches. Four of the eleven were swings and misses. Vintage Betances. Total domination. Great to see him finish the year on a high note. Enjoy the offseason, Dellin.

Teixeira got two at-bats and was out of the game That seems to be the plan this weekend. They did it Friday night too. Refsnyder took Teixeira’s spot in the lineup and went out to right field — Austin moved from right to first — and he managed to throw Machado out at third to end the seventh inning. The throw appeared to be on time, but Machado overslid the bag anyway, so he was tagged again for good measure. Nice throw, Ref.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

The Yankees had 12 hits as a team, and every starter had at least one except Starlin Castro. The 6-7-8-9 hitters (Headley, Romine, Austin, Torreyes) went a combined 7-for-14 with two doubles, a homer, five runs scored, and five runs driven in. The guys at the top of the lineup did well too. Those bottom four guys really carried the load offensively though.

And finally, the win means the Orioles were unable to clinch a postseason spot Saturday. Doesn’t matter what the Tigers or Blue Jays do in their late games. The O’s needed the win and one of those two teams to lose, and they didn’t get the win. Showalter’s boys will be playing for all marbles Sunday.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
ESPN is the place to go for the box score and updated standings. MLB.com has the video highlights. Here are our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages, and here’s the pretty awesome win probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
It’s the final game of the 2016 season. Been a helluva ride. Luis Cessa and Kevin Gausman are the schedule starters for Sunday’s game. That’s a 3:05pm ET start. The Yankees will honor Teixeira with a pregame ceremony, so that’ll be cool. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to catch the final Yankees game until next year live and in person.

Saturday Night Open Thread

Here’s an open thread for the remainder of the night. MLB Network is showing regional games at 7pm ET and 10 pm ET — also, MLB.tv is free this weekend, though local blackouts still apply — plus there’s a ton of college football on as well. Preseason hockey too! What? No one cares? Okay, nevermind. Anyway. Talk about whatever right here.

Game 161: Severino Saturday


So I came to a realization last night: I want the Blue Jays to miss the postseason more than I want the Orioles to miss the postseason. In a perfect world both would miss the postseason, but that doesn’t seem to be an option at this point. After that benches clearing nonsense and the general mouthiness of the Blue Jays, I’m all for seeing them stay home. Maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, Luis Severino is making the start this afternoon — his first start since that benches clearing incident in Toronto — in place of Masahiro Tanaka, who is healthy, but is being shut down. The Yankees don’t want to push their ace in a meaningless game so soon after a forearm issue. I don’t blame them one bit. Here is today’s Orioles’ lineup and Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Aaron Hicks
  3. 2B Starlin Castro
  4. DH Billy Butler
  5. 1B Mark Teixeira
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. C Austin Romine
  8. RF Tyler Austin
  9. SS Ronald Torreyes
    RHP Luis Severino

It is really cloudy and cool in New York today, but there’s only a tiny little bit of rain in the forecast, so it looks like they should be able to get this game in. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05pm ET. The game will be on YES. Enjoy.

Injury Update: Chad Green (forearm) played catch for the second straight day. Everything is going well and he should have a reasonably normal offseason.