Yanks go down without a fight in Toronto finale

Pretty forgettable game on Sunday, one of those classic “end of a long road trip” games when entire team seemed like they just wanted to go home. The Jays won 3-0, handing New York their seventh loss in their last eleven games.

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The Homerun Regression Tour Continues

Like Bartolo Colon on Saturday, Freddy Garcia did not make it out of the fifth inning. He allowed three runs, two on solo homers by Adam Lind, making it three straight starts in which he’s allowed exactly two homers. Since the end of that 69 IP homerless streak, Sweaty Freddy has allowed seven homers in just 14 IP. The third run scored on a sacrifice fly after Garcia threw a ball away on a bunt attempt. Three runs on five hits and three walks in 4.2 IP raised Garcia’s ERA to 6.00 in 21 IP against Toronto this season. Against everyone else, he has a 3.38 ERA. I don’t think I’m alone in saying: thank goodness they don’t play the Blue Jays again this year.

No Fight

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With the season winding down and the Yankees having a pretty comfortable lead on the playoff spot, Joe Girardi understandably rested some of his regulars on Sunday afternoon. Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson did not play at all, and Robinson Cano got a half-day off at DH. Unsurprisingly, they struggled on offense. Eduardo Nunez (of all people) was the lone bright spot, going 3-for-4 with a double. He would have had a fourth hit (and another double) if it wasn’t for a nice lunging catch by Eric Thames in left, a ball hit right to the warning track. Of course, Nunez got thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double at one point, another example of the team’s recent baserunning stupidity.

Aside from that, the Yankees went a combined 2-for-26 with a walk, striking out nine times against Brandon Morrow. They worked the count well early, forcing the righty to throw 39 pitches in the first two innings, but he settled down and needed just 68 pitches for the final six frames.  Frank Francisco threw a chair scoreless ninth, striking out Alex Rodriguez to end it.

Leftovers

Aside from Scott Proctor (one intentional walk, one unintentional walk, one hit, one out) and Aaron Laffey (walked the only man he faced), the bullpen was pretty solid. Luis Ayala bailed Garcia out of a bases loaded jam in the fifth then tacked on a perfect sixth. Raul Valdes, pitching for the first time as a Yankee and the first time since August 29th, made a nice impression by striking out Lind and Colby Rasmus looking. He might get another look this week, just because. George Kontos threw one pitch, getting out of the eighth because Russell Martin threw someone out stealing. That’s really it, not much more to talk about.

The Rays beat the Red Sox (again), so the lead in the division remains at 4.5 games while the lead in the wildcard shrunk to 6.5 games. The magic number to clinch the division is down to seven, the magic number to clinch a playoff spot just five.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some more advanced stats, and ESPN has the updated standings.

Up Next

At long last, it’s time for the Yankees to go home. They’re going to play a one-game makeup with the Twins on Monday afternoon, a 1:05pm ET start that will feature A.J. Burnett and Scott Diamond. Minnesota is just 9-36 since July 30th, and they’re without Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Jason  Kubel due to injuries.

Sunday Night Open Thread

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At long last, that ugly road trip is finally over. The Yankees went just 4-6 on a trip that took them to Baltimore, Anaheim, Seattle, and Toronto in the span of 11 days, yet they still managed to increase their lead in the AL East from 2.5 games to 4.5 games because the Red Sox are playing that poorly right now. They lost to the Rays again this afternoon, and are now just two games up on the wildcard. When September started, they were nine up. The Yankees haven’t been playing well at all, but it could be worse. A lot worse.

Anyway, here is your open thread for the night. The ESPN Sunday Night game is the Cardinals at the Phillies (Carpenter vs. Hamels), and the Sunday Night Football game is the Eagles at the Falcons. You can talk about that more here, anything goes. Go nuts.

The Upcoming Rotation

There’s only a week (and three days) left in the regular season, and the Yankees need to start sorting out their starting pitching situation. Phil Hughes has already been pushed back because of back spasms, and before this afternoon’s game, Joe  Girardi announced the rotation for the upcoming series against the Rays…

Monday: A.J. Burnett (makeup game against the Twins)
Tuesday: Ivan Nova
Wednesday: Hughes and CC Sabathia (doubleheader)
Thursday: Bartolo Colon

It seems likely that the Yankees will have Sabathia start on three days rest next Sunday against the Red Sox, lining him up for Game One of the ALDS. I have to imagine that he’d be on a pitch count in that scenario, five innings or 80 pitches, something like that. Given how far along we are into the season, it sure seems like Colon is going to be the Game Two starter, doesn’t it? They could always flip him and Freddy Garcia, but it would take some work to get Nova lined up for that second game behind Sabathia.

Game 151: Rest

Ramiro's back in action today. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Now that we’re so late in the season and the Yankees have a playoff spot all but wrapped up, it’s time to start resting the regulars. Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, and Mark Teixeira get the afternoon off while Robinson Cano gets off the turf and spends the day as DH. Given their recent workloads, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rafael Soriano and David Robertson were on today’s no pitch list. Expect more of this in the coming days. Here’s the lineup….

Brett Gardner, CF
Eduardo Nunez, 2B
Robinson Cano, DH
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Nick Swisher, RF
Eric Chavez, 1B
Russell Martin, C
Chris Dickerson, LF
Ramiro Pena, SS

Freddy Garcia, SP

The game starts at 1:07pmET and can be seen on YES. If you’re interested, the Rays and Red Sox will be playing at 1:35pm ET, and that game will be on TBS. Enjoy.

Mo makes history as Yanks come back for win

Toronto's win expectancy peaked at 96.4% after Jose Bautista walked to lead off the fifth.

This one looked pretty bad early on. Like, really bad. Will the score be so out of hand that Dellin Betances and/or Andrew Brackman actually get to pitch bad. And yet, a few innings later, there was Mariano Rivera on the mound, nailing down the 601st save of his career. Hooray for come from behind wins…

  • You typically can’t have a comeback win without awful pitching, so Bartolo Colon jumped on the grenade Saturday afternoon. The big fella lasted just four innings, exiting the game after allowing six runs on seven hits and a walk. He threw only 67 pitches, and his Game Score of 25 was the 11th worst by a Yankees pitcher this season. Colon now has a 7.98 ERA in 23.2 IP against Toronto this season, but a 3.06 ERA in 132.1 IP against everyone else. Good thing the Jays aren’t going to the postseason, eh?
  • The Yankees were down four-zip heading into the fourth, and that’s when they started to chip away. Curtis Granderson scored the team’s first run when Adam Loewen dropped a fly ball in lefty, and the inning would have been bigger if it wasn’t for Robinson Cano‘s stupid baserunning. With men on second and third with one out, Nick Swisher clubbed a deep fly ball that Colby Rasmus managed to run down for the second out. Either Cano wasn’t paying attention or he forgot how many outs there were or something else, but he kept running and passed Mark Teixeira (the lead baserunner) on the bases to end the inning. It’s the second time on the road trip that Robbie make a huge baserunning blunder, and Tex called him out on it after the game.
  • After Colon gave two runs back in the bottom of the inning, the Yankees went to work. Teixeira (who had a pair of hits back up the middle, not his usually pull happy stuff) drove in Grandy, then two batters later Alex Rodriguez ripped a line drive three-run homer over the left field wall to make it 6-5. Alex singled in his first at-bat, and both hits came on inside fastballs. Pretty good sign following the thumb injury. Granderson completed the comeback in the seventh, when he whacked a two-run homer to center on the 12th pitch of a monster at-bat. Curtis was a triple shy of the cycle, and it all started with a first inning bunt single. As they say, sometimes a little bunt hit can help end a slump.
  • All the runs were great, but they wouldn’t have meant anything if it wasn’t for five stellar innings from the bullpen. Scott Proctor took over in the fifth and immediately walked leadoff man Jose Bautista, but that was it. Adam Lind grounded into a double play as the next batter, and the bullpen retired the final 14 batters they faced. Aaron Laffey threw the sixth, Hector Noesi the seventh, Rafael Soriano the eighth (struck out the side for the second straight day), and of course Mo handled the ninth. As you already know, he tied Trevor Hoffman for the most career saves in baseball history. It doesn’t get any better than that, just a stellar job by the relief corps. All five of ’em.
  • The Rays beat the Red  Sox, so the lead in the division increased to 4.5 games while wildcard lead remained at 7.5. The magic number to clinch a playoff spot is just five. Here’s the box score, here’s the advanced stats, and here’s the standings.

The rubber game of this series will be played Sunday afternoon, when Freddy Garcia starts against Brandon Morrow at 1:07pm ET. It was supposed to be Dustin McGowan for Toronto, but he had to start Friday after Brett Cecil cut his finger cleaning a blender.

Open Thread: 601

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese)

Mariano Rivera made history this afternoon, recording his 601st career save to tie Trevor Hoffman for the most in the baseball history. Every save he picks up from here on out will just add to the history, but like I’ve said before, Mo didn’t need the saves record to validate his position as the greatest reliever of all-time.

After the game, commenter Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat did some research and dug up the winning pitcher for each of Mo’s milestone saves…

1Andy Pettitte
100 – Orlando Hernandez
200 – Sterling Hitchcock
300Javy Vazquez
400 – Jaret Wright
479Phil Coke (passed Lee Smith for second place on the all-time saves list)
500Chien-Ming Wang
600A.J. Burnett
601 – Aaron Laffey

I’ll add one more to the list, number 225. That was another El Duque win, and it moved Mo past Dave Righetti for the most saves in team history. Who’s  going to be number 602? I honestly hope it’s not Freddy Garcia, he’s starting tomorrow and I want to see Mo get the record at home. So let’s hope for a blowout win on Sunday and then a save situation sometime next week.

Anyways, here is tonight’s open thread. There’s a ton of college football on, plus MLB Network will be airing a game (teams depend on where you live). You can talk about that, Mo’s awesomeness, or anything else you want. Have at it.