Red Sox 3, Yankees 0: No shutout streak ends as Yanks settle for series split

Source: FanGraphs

A series win continues to elude the Yankees. The Yankees dropped the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader 3-0 to the Red Sox after winning the first game by the same score. The two teams split the four-game series as well. New York is now 0-7-2 in their last nine series. They haven’t gone this long between series wins since 1991, which was an awful season. Let’s recap the second game of the doubleheader with bullpen points:

  • Tanaka’s One Mistake: Masahiro Tanaka pitched better than his line (7.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K) would lead you to believe. He made one mistake, which of course was hit for a home run, because every mistake is hit for a home run in 2017. Mookie Betts cranked a two-run homer over the Green Monster on a hanging slider in the third inning. The third run was stupid. Betts should have been out twice on his infield double — Starlin Castro and Garrett Cooper both threw the ball away on that play — then two grounders got him in. The second should have been stopped at third by Ronald Torreyes, who inexplicably played all 43 innings of the series. The homer stunk. Everything else about Tanaka was pretty rad.
  • No Match For Price: The Yankees have had an awful lot of success against David Price in recent years, but he carved them up Sunday night. It was Price at his best. He was pounding both corners with fastballs and busting righties inside with cutters. The Yankees didn’t have much of a chance. Their best chance to score came in the seventh, when Castro and Clint Frazier singled to put two on with one out, but then Cooper and Torreyes came up, and that was that. Price had the Yankees guessing inside and out and was overpowering with velocity. He was dominant.
  • No Shutout Streak Ends: The Yankees did get the tying run to the plate with two outs in the ninth against Craig Kimbrel, but Chase Headley struck out, and that was that. The no shutout streak is officially over at 89 games. This is the fourth longest no shutout streak to start a season in franchise history behind 1932 (156 games, never shutout that season), 1927 (128 games), 1933 (97 games). Yeah, it’s been a while. The last time the Yankees were the last team to be shutout in a season was … 2009. That was a good year. My favorite subplot of the season is over. The no shutout streak is dead. Long live the no-shutout streak.
  • Leftovers: Aaron Judge‘s on-base is over at 42 starts. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. The two balls in play were a line drive at Betts and a robbed home run by Jackie Bradley Jr. Here’s the video. Incredible catch. As long as Judge keeps taking swings like that, I’m not worried … the Yankees had eight hits. One by every starter except Judge. Brett Gardner drew the only walk. He came off the bench in the ninth against Kimbrel … Chasen Shreve was the only reliever used and he struck out Mitch Moreland, the only batter he faced.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. We have a Bullpen Workload page worth checking out as well. The Yankees are now off to Minnesota for a three-game set with the Twins. Lefty Adalberto Mejia will be on the mound for the Twinkies in Monday night’s opener. For the Yankees? It’ll be either Bryan Mitchell or Caleb Smith, Joe Girardi said. I’m guessing it’ll be Mitchell. (Update: The Yankees announced it’ll be Mitchell. Told ya.)

DotF: Rutherford hits game-winning homer, extends hit streak

Triple-A Scranton (5-0 win over Buffalo)

  • SS Tyler Wade: 2-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 3 K, 1 SB — first game since being sent down
  • LF Rob Refsnyder: 3-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K — his second home run since May 15th … of last year
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 2-4, 1 RBI
  • RF Mason Williams: 0-4
  • LHP Joe Mantiply: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 6/2 GB/FB — 36 of 55 pitches were strikes (65%) … making the spot start because today’s scheduled starter, RHP Domingo German, was called up to the big leagues after last night’s 16-inning marathon
  • LHP Nestor Cortes: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 5/3 GB/FB — 45 of 61 pitches were strikes (74%) … 2.44 ERA with 61/24 K/BB in 66.1 total innings this year, as he’s been shuttling back and forth between Trenton and Scranton

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Game 90: Let’s Win Two


Things are looking up. The Yankees already have one win today and they’ve won back-to-back games for the first time in more than a month. They’ve also held the Red Sox scoreless in their last 22 innings. In fact, the Yankees have already shut the BoSox out three times this season, and that doesn’t include nine shutout innings from the bullpen in last night’s 16-inning affair. The Yankees had shut the Red Sox out only twice in the previous seven years and 130 games. Geez.

Anyway, it’s time to get greedy. The Yankees have already secured a split of this four-game series, which was basically the bare minimum coming in, and now they have a chance to win three of four. A win tonight keeps the AL East title very much in reach. A loss … keeps the AL East title within reach. But still, the closer the better. You know what I mean. Here is the Red Sox’s lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup for Game Two:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. C Gary Sanchez
  3. RF Aaron Judge
  4. DH Matt Holliday
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. LF Clint Frazier
  8. 1B Garrett Cooper
  9. 3B Ronald Torreyes
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

No change in the weather from this afternoon other than the fact the sun has gone down. It’s a nice clear night in Boston. Tonight’s game will begin a little after 8pm and ESPN will have the broadcast. Enjoy the game.

Sabathia cruises as Yankees pick up 3-0 win over Red Sox in first game of doubleheader

Source: FanGraphs

For the first time since winning six straight from June 7th though June 12th, the Yankees have won back-to-back games. It had been far too long. The Yankees rode great starting pitching, timely hitting, and more zeroes from the bullpen (?!?) to a 3-0 win over the Red Sox in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader. Feels good. It’s Sunday and there’s no chance I’m writing two full recaps in one day, so let’s recap with bullet points:

  • Building A Three-Run Lead: Considering everyone looked out of gas following Saturday’s marathon, the Yankees did a nice job against Rick Porcello. One baserunner in the first, two in the second, then one in the third before finally breaking through in the fourth. A single (Didi Gregorius), a Xander Bogaerts error (Clint Frazier), a single (Austin Romine), and a sac fly (Ji-Man Choi) got the Yankees on the board. Ronald Torreyes drove another run in with a two-out single to left. Frazier made a great slide around at the tag at the plate for the 2-0 lead. One inning later Gregorius stretched the lead to 3-0 with a 295-foot home run (!) around the Pesky Pole. Clutch hits and a dinger. My kind of offense.
  • Six Strong From Sabathia: Things did not look out of the gate. Sabathia walked the first two batters he faced Sunday, but two ground balls got him out of the jam, and he went on to hold the Red Sox to two hits in six scoreless innings. He did walk five, which is atypical, but I guess making two starts in the last five weeks will do that. Sabathia threw 97 pitches — his limit for the day — and he did exactly what the Yankees needed him to do. Soak up innings in the front end of the doubleheader after the 16-inning game last night. The big man is down to a 3.54 ERA (4.21 FIP) on the season. I’ll take it.
  • Three From The Bullpen: With the bullpen taxed and his options limited, Joe Girardi handed the ball to Tyler Clippard for the seventh inning with a 3-0 lead, and he pitched around a leadoff infield single. So many infield singles this series. Clippard has been terrible for a good month now, but if you’re going to have to use him, using him with a three-run lead against the bottom of the lineup is the time to do it. Chad Green had to pitch around two two-out walks in the eighth, then Aroldis Chapman, pitching for the third straight day, nailed down the save despite allowing a two-out single. I’m a bit surprised the Yankees were willing to use him three straight days after the shoulder injury, but whatever.
  • Leftovers: Aaron Judge snapped out of his little 0-for-12 slide with an infield single, extending his on-base streak to 42 starts … two hits apiece for Chase Headley, Gregorius, Frazier, Choi, and Torreyes. The 5-6-7-8-9 hitters went 9-for-19 (.474) … the Yankees have held the Red Sox scoreless over their last 22 innings. The BoSox are 2-for-51 with runners in scoring position against the Yankees this year, and one of the two hits didn’t even score a run. Good gravy.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload page either. The Yankees and Red Sox will wrap up this four games in three games series later today with the second game of the doubleheader. That’s the 8pm game on ESPN. Masahiro Tanaka and David Price as the scheduled starting pitchers.

Game 89: Let’s Play Two

(Rich Gagnon/Getty)
(Rich Gagnon/Getty)

Between yesterday’s 16-inning affair and today’s doubleheader, the Yankees and Red Sox are going to play (at least) 34 innings of baseball in about 34 hours this weekend. Pretty crazy that the All-Star break ended three days ago and the pitching staff is already overworked. Baseball can be a real jerk like that sometimes.

Anyway, the Yankees are an Aroldis Chapman blown save away from winning the first two games of this series, but that cuts both ways. The Red Sox are a Craig Kimbrel blown save away from winning the first two. As poorly as the Yankees have played these last few weeks, these two teams always seem to be evenly matched when they meet. It’s weird but also kinda fun and puke inducing. Here is the Red Sox’s lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup for Game One:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. RF Aaron Judge
  4. DH Matt Holliday
  5. SS Didi Gregorius
  6. LF Clint Frazier
  7. C Austin Romine
  8. 1B Ji-Man Choi
  9. 2B Ronald Torreyes
    LHP CC Sabathia

It is a lovely day for two games in Boston. Nice and sunny with temperatures right around 80. Not a bad day to spend 18 innings at the park. This afternoon’s game will begin shortly after 1pm ET. You’ll be able to watch on YES locally and TBS nationally. Enjoy the game.

Roster Moves: As expected, the Yankees have reinforced the bullpen for today’s doubleheader. Bryan Mitchell is up as the 26th man, and both Domingo German and Caleb Smith have been called up as well. Jonathan Holder and Ben Heller have been sent down. Joe Girardi said they might make more moves between games depending how things go. Neither Holder nor Heller deserve to be sent down after last night’s performances, but that’s the way it goes with young relievers. Michael Pineda (elbow) was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot for Smith, who will be the 12th player to make his MLB debut with the Yankees this season whenever he gets into a game.

Cause for Concern

(Adam Glanzman/Getty)
(Adam Glanzman/Getty)

Ever since 2013, expectations for the Yankees have been ratcheted down in preseason discussion. Their roster construction from then on limited their outlook to wildcard contenders rather than division favorites, as they’d been for the 15-20 years before then, excepting 2008 (a brief digression: The ’08 Yankees won 89 games despite getting 30 starts from the combination of Darrel Rasner and Sidney Ponson; that’s incredible).

While spectacular–or even good–results were hard to count on, one thing was pretty sure: the Yankees would have a good bullpen. It helps when your relief corps is led by Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman over the last 20 or so years, but after that, whether it was Joe Girardi pushing the right buttons, the team cycling through and replacing options quickly and efficiently, some combination of those things, or bullpen fairy dust, the Yankees always did well in relief. This year, things have not followed that pattern.

Before the All Star Break, Betances and Tyler Clippard had well-publicized meltdowns. It seemed just about every reliever was taking his turn in coughing up winnable games for the Bombers during their futile June and early July. Things came to a head on Friday night in Boston when Chapman blew a save in grand fashion, walking in the winning run after experiencing some combination of bad luck and bad performance, a bit of a microcosm of his season.

From certain angles, things look good for Chapman. He hasn’t allowed a home run all year. His K/9 is in line with his career norm. He’s got a 1.66 FIP. Then there’s the weird stuff. His ERA is sky high (for him) at 3.74. His strikeout percentage is down to 34.3 (which is still good!), way off from the 42.1% mark he’s had for his career; he hasn’t been under 40% since 2011. His strand rate–normally around 80%–is at 67.7%. His BABIP is .415, which seems insane for a guy who throws that hard (and has a career BABIP of .290).

That strand rate seems odd to me, so I checked out his splits with runners on and it turns out his K% is “only” 30%. It hasn’t been that low since 2011. Batters are hitting .277 against him when they’ve never hit over .186 in those situations. He also seems to be allowing much more hard contact and much less soft contact in those situations. That and the BABIP suggest a lot of flukiness in the runs he’s given up–excluding, of course, that awful walk to Andrew Benintendi on Friday night.

The underlying data, though, suggest some reasons to be concerned. Let’s start with velocity, which is an odd place to start considering how hard Chapman throws. This year, he’s hucking fastballs at a ridiculous 100.08 MPH on average; that’s absurd. Human beings shouldn’t be able to do that. What’s crazy is that it’s actually down a full MPH from the 101.08 mark he averaged in 2016. There are explanations–playoff hangover, time on the DL this year–but any time you see a drop like that, it’s a bit iffy. The tables also show that Chapman is getting slightly less horizontal movement on his slider this year than he was last year; Friday, he threw only fastballs in his outing, which seemed odd. More odd was that of 23 pitches, Chapman got just one swing and miss.

2017 has seen big drops in whiff/swing rate on Chapman’s pitches over where they were in 2016 and that is scary for any pitcher, especially one who’s going to be in big leverage spots. This helps explain the above trouble with runners on, too; if guys aren’t whiffing, they’re making more contact and they’re gonna get more hits and they’re gonna score more runs, etc. Indeed, Chapman’s contact rates are up, and have been trending in the wrong direction for a few years now. The only ‘comfort’ is that the jumps this year are so extreme that they should even out towards his career norms at some point (right?).

The first year of Chapman’s five year deal has been fraught with a lot of things, including frustration that the deal is even a thing. Now, there’s been a mix of injury, worse-than-normal performance, and a little bit of negative flukiness. There’s nothing we can do as fans but sit and wait for an adjustment. It’s in the hands of Chapman and the staff to make that adjustment. If there isn’t one to be made, though, and this is a sign of things to come, this may be a long, long five years.

DotF: Adams labors in win, Acevedo really struggles in loss

That 16-inning win took a lot out of me and I’m not really feeling a full DotF tonight. Here’s the short version of tonight’s minor league action:

  • Triple-A Scranton (2-1 win): CF Mason Williams and 1B Rob Refsnyder both went 0-for-4. Mason’s hitting streak ended at 14 games. LF Billy McKinney had a double and 3B Miguel Andujar had a single and double. RHP Chance Adams struggled, walking four in 4.2 innings.
  • Double-A Trenton (7-6 loss): 2B Jorge Mateo had a single and CF Tito Polo had four hits, including a double. SS Thairo Estrada picked up his daily double. RHP Domingo Acevedo got knocked around for six runs on nine hits and two walks in four innings. Ouch. He allowed three homers.
  • High-A Tampa (5-4 win): 2B Nick Solak and CF Trey Amburgey each had a single while LF Alex Palma had two. RHP Dillon Tate allowed three runs, including two homers, in his 6.1 innings.
  • Low-A Charleston (5-4 win): 2B Diego Castillo, who has been swinging well for a while now, had three hits, including a pair of doubles. DH Blake Rutherford extended his hitting streak to ten games with a single. CF Estevan Florial struck out three times in four hitless at-bats.
  • Short Season Staten Island (5-3 win): A triple for SS Oswaldo Cabrera, a single for 3B Nelson Gomez, and no hits for 2B Wilkerman Garcia or CF Leonardo Molina. RHP Drew Finley struck out seven and allowed three runs in six innings.
  • Rookie Pulaski (9-7 loss): Three hits for my man CF Pablo Olivares, all singles. 3B Dermis Garcia and RF Steven Sensley both had two hits as well. One of Sensley’s left the yard. DH Brayan Emery had two hits too. Nothing interesting happened on the mound.
  • Rookie GCL Yanks East Game One (9-0 loss): One single but no walks for LF Canaan Smith. RHP Harold Cortijo came out of the bullpen and allowed four runs in 1.2 innings.
  • Rookie GCL Yanks East Game Two (8-3 loss): DH Canaan Smith had three hits but again, no walks. He must be broken. RF Jonathan Amundaray had a single. RHP Roansy Contreras, last year’s $300,000 bonus baby, allowed five runs in five innings in his stateside debut. He’s 17.
  • Rookie GCL Yanks West (6-5 win): SS Oswald Peraza, DH Gustavo Campero, and 1B Miguel Flames all went hitless.