Yanks 8, Orioles 2: Montgomery starts, Hicks finishes ’em off

Source: FanGraphs

Three straight wins! It’s been a while since the Yankees have done that, believe it or not. This is the first time since early May. The Yankees beat the Orioles 8-2 in Friday’s series opener, though it wasn’t until the late innings that they broke the game open. It was much closer most of the night. The Yankees have outscored the Red Sox and Orioles 25-3 during this little three-game winning streak. That’s the good stuff. Anyway, it’s Friday night, so let’s recap with bullet points:

  • Monty’s Best: Thanks to what I thought was his best breaking ball of the season, Jordan Montgomery set new career highs in innings (seven) and strikeouts (eight) on Friday night. He did allow two runs on a Jonathan Schoop homer, though it wasn’t even that bad a pitch. Schoop managed to reach across the plate and hammer it into the left field bleachers. Not sure how he did that. Montgomery pitched out of some jams, mostly notably a runner on third with one out in the fifth with the score tied 2-2, and finished by retiring the last nine men he faced. What a nice little surprise this kid has been, huh?
  • Second Best Aaron: Schoop gave the O’s a 2-0 lead in the top of the second and the Yankees immediately answered with two in the bottom half. Starlin Castro‘s home run and Chase Headley‘s sac fly did the deed. It wasn’t until the sixth inning that the Yankees took a 3-2 lead. They did that on an Aaron Hicks solo homer. Dylan Bundy fooled him with a changeup earlier in the at-bat (and earlier in the game), and it sure looked like Hicks sat on the pitch. He got it and he crushed it. Then, in the seventh, Hicks cracked his second homer of the night, that one a two-run shot. This dude belongs in the All-Star Game.
  • Tack-On Runs: The 2017 Yankees really do a great job tacking on runs late in the game. Matt Holliday doubled in Aaron Judge after the Hicks homer in the seventh inning to stretch the lead to 6-2, then Austin Romine came through with a two-run single in the eighth inning to make it 8-2. The Yankees are only 7-8 in one-run games this season, but you know what? They’re 17-2 in games decided by at least five runs. This team can really tack on runs. It’s awesome.
  • Leftovers: Tyler Clippard and Jonathan Holder finished off the game after Montgomery without making it interesting … Hicks, Holliday, Brett Gardner, and Gary Sanchez each had two hits … Castro had the homer and a walk … Headley had two walks … every starter reached base at least once … the Yankees are a season high 12 games over .500.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload page either. The Yankees and Orioles will continue this series Saturday night (argh) at Yankee Stadium. Luis Severino and Chris Tillman are the scheduled starters. If you want to catch either of the final two games in this series, RAB Tickets can get in the door.

DotF: Frazier homers twice, Torres once in Scranton’s win

Here are the day’s notes:

  • Brendan Kuty spoke RHP Chance Adams about his looming big league opportunity. “Whenever they want to call me up. It’s not really under my control. When they feel I’m ready, they’ll call me up and I’ll do the best I can to help the team win,” he said.
  • RHP Ronald Herrera (No. 14) and RHP Zack Littell (No. 19) made this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. Cool to see two lower profile pitching prospects get some attention. “The 5-foot-11 righthander is not overpowering but can touch 94 mph and is difficult to square up,” said the write-up of Herrera. As for Littell, it says, “Advanced command helps all of Littell’s offerings play up.”
  • The Triple-A International League released their second All-Star voting update. A bunch of Lehigh Valley and Buffalo players are in line to start. Adams and SS Gleyber Torres lead the write-in votes though. Here’s the ballot.

Triple-A Scranton (10-1 win over Lehigh Valley)

  • SS Tyler Wade: 3-5, 2 R, 1 RBI — 15-for-37 (.405) during his nine-game hitting streak
  • 2B Gleyber Torres: 2-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K — 8-for-19 (.421) with a double and two homers in his last five games, so someone is starting to get his bearings at Triple-A
  • 1B Greg Bird: 0-5, 1 R
  • RF Tyler Austin: 2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K
  • LF Clint Frazier: 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI — now hitting .262/.350/.510 on the season
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB
  • CF Mason Williams: 1-4
  • RHP Luis Cessa: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 6/5 GB/FB — 64 of 90 pitches were strikes (71%) … two earned runs or less in eight of his eleven outings down here
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 0.1 IP, zeroes, 1 K — four pitches, three strikes … he usually works full innings or even multiple innings … if he makes a few more of these short left-on-left matchup outings, they might be considering him for that role in the show

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Game 58: The Fully Monty


The Yankees won their last two games against the Red Sox, so tonight they have a chance to win three straight games for the first time in a month. Since winning six straight from May 2nd to May 8th. That winning streak ended during the series in Cincinnati. I didn’t realize it had been that long since the Yankees won three straight. They won back-to-back games a bunch of times these last few weeks, but not back-to-back-to-back games. Huh.

Anyway, Jordan Montgomery is on the mound tonight and he is coming off his best (and first scoreless) big league start. The start before that, the Orioles worked him hard for three runs in 4.1 innings. He threw 100 pitches. Ouch. This will be Montgomery’s third start against the O’s already this season. The two sides are pretty familiar with each other by now. Whatever. Just win the series. Here is the Orioles’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Aaron Hicks
  3. RF Aaron Judge
  4. 1B Matt Holliday
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. DH Gary Sanchez
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 3B Chase Headley
  9. C Austin Romine
    LHP Jordan Montgomery

Lovely weather in New York today. Warm and sunny. The sky will continue to be clear tonight too. Tonight’s series opener will begin at 7:35pm ET — there will be a large pregame youth sports parade on the field, hence the delayed start — and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Rotation Update: The Yankees are indeed pushing Masahiro Tanaka‘s next start back. He’ll now start Monday in Anaheim rather than Sunday against the Orioles. As an added bonus, the rest of the rotation gets an extra of rest too. Sunday’s starter is not yet decided. Joe Girardi said it depends how the next few days play out. That’s probably code for “it’ll be Chad Green unless we need him in long relief tonight or tomorrow.”

Injury Update: Aroldis Chapman (shoulder) is heading to Tampa and will throw a simulated inning tomorrow. They’re going to see how he feels after that before determining how many rehab outings he needs. Chapman said he hopes to rejoin the Yankees at some point during the A’s series next weekend.

2017 Draft: Jo Adell

Jo Adell | OF

Adell, 18, attends Ballard High School in Louisville, and this spring he led the country with 25 home runs. He did struggle against other elite high school prospects on the showcase circuit last summer. Adell is committed to Louisville.

Scouting Report
At 6-for-2 and 195 lbs., Adell has some of the best athleticism and loudest tools in the draft class. He’s a right-handed hitter and thrower with top of the line bat speed and power potential. The problem is his tendency to swing and miss, even against high school pitching. Will he make enough contact to tap into that power potential at the next level? That’s the question. Adell is a very good runner with a strong arm, both of which serve him well in center field. It’s worth noting he is also a decent pitching prospect with mid-90s gas and a good curveball, but just about everyone agrees he has more potential as a position player. Adell has 30-30 upside if things break right.

The various scouting publications are pretty split on Adell. Baseball America ranks him as the seventh best prospect in the draft class. Keith Law (subs. req’d), meanwhile, ranks him 50th. MLB.com kinda splits the middle and ranks him 21st. The Yankees hold the 16th overall pick. The Yankees love their high upside up-the-middle athletes as much as anyone, though they usually save those long shot picks for the later rounds and go after more polished players in the first round.

6/9 to 6/11 Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles

Trey Mancini after a walk-off (Rob Carr/Getty Images North America)
Trey Mancini after a walk-off (Rob Carr/Getty Images North America)

After taking two of three from the Red Sox, the Yankees close out their two weeks in the AL East with a three-game set against the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s sit 3.5 back (four in the loss column) and are in third place.

The Last Time They Met

Long time, no see, eh? Yankees faced the Orioles just a week and a half ago, losing two of three starting on Memorial Day.

  • Jordan Montgomery struggled through the first game, needing 34 pitches to finish the first inning. He gave up three runs in five innings and the Yankees fell, 3-2, despite another home run from Aaron Judge.
  • Brett Gardner and Matt Holliday each hit two home runs and the Bombers rode 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball from Luis Severino to an 8-3 victory. Severino lowered his ERA to 2.93 and struck out eight.
  • Masahiro Tanaka was tagged for seven runs and the Orioles took the series finale, 10-4, with eight RBI between Adam Jones and Chris Davis.

Be sure to check out Katie’s Yankeemetrics post from the set at OPACY.

Since They Last Met

  • The O’s split a four-game set at Camden Yards with the Red Sox, winning the first two before losing the final pair.
  • They then swept a pair at home with the Pirates in dramatic fashion. They came back from 4-1 down, 5-3 in the 9th inning, on Tuesday thanks to a game-tying two-run shot from Jonathan Schoop and a 10th-inning walk-off single from Mark Trumbo.
  • The next night, Tony Watson blew another save (with the help of old friend Johnny Barbato) and the Orioles won despite being down to their last out. Trey Mancini did the honors with a game-tying two-run homer in the 9th and a three-run shot in the 11th to win it.
  • The O’s lost a makeup game with the Nationals, 6-1, in Washington on Thursday. They struck out 15 times.
  • They’ve called up veteran RHP Edwin Jackson and former Scranton RailRider Ruben Tejada, replacing LHP Donnie Hart and SS Paul Janish on the roster.

Injury Report

Big injury news with Baltimore: Third baseman Manny Machado suffered a strained left wrist, which caused him to sit out Thursday’s loss to the Nationals. He took a spike from Andrew McCutchen to the wrist on Wednesday and had to leave the game early. For more on the injury, check out the Baltimore Sun.

In his place, the Orioles put Davis at third on Thursday. He avoided making any errors, but his replacement at first, Trumbo, wasn’t so lucky.

Zach Britton is still on the DL and won’t be back during this series. Utility man Ryan Flaherty (right shoulder strain) is still on shelf and could return soon. Starting catcher Welington Castillo is still on the DL after a ball deflected off Didi Gregorius‘s foot on a HBP into Castillo’s groin area. Yikes. Get well soon, Wellington.

Lineup We Might See

With Machado out on Thursday, the O’s put together a weird lineup while in a National League park. Jones also got a day off. Buck Showalter always mixes up his lineups depending on opposing pitchers, platoons, etc. He’ll face an extra question mark with Machado’s health.

Here’s something resembling what Showalter will throw at Montgomery on Friday.

1. Joey Rickard, LF
2. Adam Jones, CF
3. Mark Trumbo, RF
4. Trey Mancini, DH
5. Chris Davis, 1B
6. Jonathan Schoop, 2B
7. Caleb Joseph, C
8. J.J. Hardy, SS
9. Ruben Tejada, 3B

Against RHPs, he tends to take out Rickard and move Seth Smith into the leadoff spot, playing RF. If Machado’s healthy, the lineup Domenic wrote up in last week’s Series Preview is a pretty good idea of what it’ll look like. Heck, you should read his piece regardless.

The Starting Pitchers We Will See

Friday (7:35 PM EST): LHP Jordan Montgomery vs. RHP Dylan Bundy

These are literally the same three pitching matchups as we saw in Baltimore last week, so I won’t bore you with the details on each pitcher, referring you again to Domenic’s terrific work on that series preview. Instead, let’s look at each of the three O’s last time out.

After holding the Yankees to two runs on Memorial Day, Bundy was a little shaky in a 5-2 loss to the Red Sox on Saturday. He allowed just two runs in five innings but wasn’t very economical, needing 100 pitches to get through the frames. A 31-pitch fourth inning did him in. He gave up a two-run homer to Hanley Ramirez in that inning. Still, he allowed just five baserunners, but long at-bats were his downfall.

Saturday (7:15 PM EST): RHP Luis Severino vs. RHP Chris Tillman

Tillman was battered by the Yankees for five runs last Tuesday, including three home runs. He didn’t get much better results come Sunday against the Red Sox.

He lasted six innings this game but earned a loss with five runs (three earned). He put 10 Boston hitters on base, four with walks, and allowed a home run to Andrew Benintendi. Believe it or not, his 43 game score was actually his best performance since his May 19 start vs. the Twins. He’s allowed at least three earned runs in every start since his season debut on May 7.

Sunday (1:05 PM EST): RHP Masahiro Tanaka vs. RHP Kevin Gausman

Thirteen Yankees got on base vs. Gausman last Wednesday, yet he held them to three runs (two earned) while beating Tanaka. He had a better outing with superior control on Monday.

Facing the Pirates, he gave up four runs in 6 2/3 innings, although he was better than that line makes him seem. The Pirates strung together three runs in the second while Gausman scattered eight hits over his outing. He walked just one and struck out five. He was in line for the loss until the Orioles’ late-game heroics.

The Bullpen

They needed three innings from Ubaldo Jimenez and one inning from Richard Bleier on Thursday night. It was Bleier’s second straight night of work (just two pitches on Wednesday). They needed work from their two other long relievers, Jackson and Mike Wright, on Wednesday while Brad Brach and Mychal Givens each pitched both games vs. the Pirates.

Yankees Connection

Vidal Nuno is down in the minors, but there’s still Buck Showalter, Bleier and Davis, the latter who was a former Yankees draft pick who didn’t sign.

But there’s a new one with Tejada, who spent spring training with the Yankees and was in Triple A Scranton until he was traded to the Orioles last week.

Who (Or What) to Watch?

The big thing to watch will be Machado. If he comes back, will he be at full health? If not, how will the Orioles manage their defense without the two-time Gold Glove winner? Machado played 319 out of a possible 324 in 2015-16, so he’s typically durable.

Beyond that, this is the last time the Yankees face the O’s until Sept. 4. Closing out this stretch of division play strong before heading on a trip out west would be a nice feather in the Bombers’ collective caps.

Yankeemetrics: Old Ace rising, Tanaka tanking (June 6-8)


Numbers Never Lie
A home run derby broke out at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night, but in a very depressing way for the hometown fans. Masahiro Tanaka‘s batting-practice fastballs and cement-mixer sliders were flying out of the park, while the Yankees’ repeated clutch-hitting woes sealed their fate – a disappointing 5-4 loss to their AL East rival.

The Red Sox entered the game with the fewest homers in the league, but that statistic mattered little on a chilly night in the Bronx as they went deep three times against Tanaka, who gave up five runs in five innings. Tanaka’s longball issues have reached crisis mode, with 14 surrendered in his last 32 innings pitched dating back to the fifth inning of his May 2 start vs Toronto.

That’s a remarkable number considering that:

  • It’s more home runs than any Yankee pitcher had given up the entire season through Tuesday
  • 77 of the 86 other qualified pitchers in MLB had allowed fewer than 14 home runs for the entire season through Tuesday

If those stats aren’t sobering enough, how about this: he gave up more homers to the Red Sox (3) than guys he struck out (2) … and it’s not even the first time he’s done that in a game this season! Unsurprisingly, he never did that in any game during his first three seasons in pinstripes.

The bottom line: Tanaka is the only pitcher in the majors this year who has multiple starts where he struck out at least two batters and still managed to allow more home runs than strikeouts in the game. Send help, please.

Not only did Tanaka serve up meatballs left and right against the Red Sox, his overall “stuff” was severely diminished and his pitches showed little deception. He got just three swings-and-misses (yup, the same number of homers he allowed), tied for the fewest in any of his 87 career starts.


CC’s lead the way
While the team’s improbable comeback wins have been getting a lot of buzz this season, an underrated theme for this Yankees squad has been their resiliency and avoiding long losing streaks. They haven’t lost more than three games in a row and haven’t been swept in any series so far. They assured both those milestones would remain intact on Wednesday, snapping their two-game slide and taking the second game of the series, 8-0.

This was a historic rout of their longtime division rival, marking their largest shutout win vs Red Sox since June 27, 1991 at Fenway. The last time they blanked the Red Sox by this large of a margin at Yankee Stadium was more than 50 years ago – on September 3, 1965!

The Yankees definitely had the right guy on the mound – Carsten Charles Sabathia – to stop their losing streak. After twirling eight scoreless innings, the 36-year-old lefty improved to 6-0 with a 1.25 ERA in seven starts following a Yankee loss. That’s the lowest ERA in games after a team loss for any pitcher in the majors this season (min. five starts).

This brilliant outing continued a string of ace-like performances by Sabathia, who is 5-0 with a 1.11 ERA in his last five starts. He’s just the third lefty in franchise history to win five starts in a row, allowing no more than two earned runs and six hits in each game: Ron Guidry had two such streaks (in 1978 and 1981) and Lefty Gomez also had a similar stretch in 1937.

On Wednesday, Sabathia’s slider was in peak form as the Red Sox went 0-for-8 in at-bats ending in the pitch – including four punchouts. Here’s a beautiful pitch chart of the 30 sliders he threw:


As you can see in the graphic above, he got only one whiff with his slider, but instead relied on its nasty movement to paint the edges of the zone and generate a whopping 13 called strikes. That matches the most he’s gotten with the pitch in any game since joining the Yankees.

His backdoor slider has been among the toughest in baseball for hitters to pick up this season. Sabathia’s 14 looking strikeouts with the slider are tied with Jhoulys Chacin for the most in MLB, and his slider called-strike rate is the second-highest among pitchers that have thrown at least 200 sliders this season.

While Sabathia was dealing on the mound, the other CC was a monster at the plate. Chris Carter went 3-for-4 with a towering home run and a season-high four RBIs, providing us with our Obscure Yankeemetric of the Week: he joins Scott Brosius (2000) as the only Yankee No. 9 hitters to drive in at least four runs and have at least three hits in a game against the Red Sox.


Who’s Your Daddy?
The Yankees finished off the series with another dominant win over their AL East rival, 9-1. This is just the third time in the last 30 years that they’ve notched back-to-back wins by at least eight runs against the Red Sox; the other two instances were Sept. 18-19, 2004 and May 23-24, 1998.

The Yankees pummeled David Price, scoring six runs in five innings against the former Cy Young winner. It was the sixth time over the last two seasons that Price has given up at least six earned runs in a game — and four (!) of those six disaster outings have come against the Yankees.

Gary Sanchez broke the game open with a towering three-run homer in the third inning to give the Yankees a 4-0 lead. But he was just getting warmed up… Sanchez took Price deep again two innings later, making him a ridiculous 4-for-7 with four homers in his career vs the Boston lefty.

He is one of six players with at least four homers vs Price — Manny Machado, Curtis Granderson, Edwin Encarnacion, Nelson Cruz, Jose Bautista are the others — and those five guys have faced him at least 40 times.

It was also Sanchez’s fifth multi-homer game in the big leagues, a staggering figure for someone playing in his 87th career game. He became the second-fastest player in major-league history to reach five multi-homer-games, behind only Mark McGwire (who did it in his 84th career game).

And, oh yeah, he also was the first Yankee catcher ever to have at least five RBIs and two homers in a game against the Red Sox. #FunFacts

While Sanchez was re-writing the Major-League record books, Aaron Judge continued his assault on the Statcast leaderboards. Judge’s sixth inning single left his bat at 119.8 mph, the third time this season he’s hit a ball 119 mph or faster. The rest of the players in major-league baseball have combined to do that zero times in 2017.