Sweep! Yankees clobber Braves 20-6 for third straight win

Do the Yankees have to leave Atlanta? They finished the three-game sweep of the Braves with a 20-6 win Sunday afternoon. They outscored the Braves 38-11 in the three games. The Yankees scored 38 runs during their recent ten-game homestand.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)

Seven Runs, Two Outs
The Yankees scored their first nine runs of Friday night’s blowout with two outs — in two separate innings, but all with two outs — and they scored their first seven runs of Sunday afternoon’s game with two outs. Jacoby Ellsbury started the scoring with a three-run home run in the second inning on a hanging Julio Teheran slider. It was … not a good pitch. That was a common theme. The Yankees stranded two runners in the first and were on the verge of doing it again in the second before Ellsbury’s dinger.

In the third inning, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann flew out for the first two outs before Greg Bird drew a two-out walk. Chase Headley followed with his tenth homer of the season, a bomb to dead center field. Again, it was a really bad pitch. Teheran laid it in there, right over the plate. Didi Gregorius followed the homer with a walk and Stephen Drew then went deep, hitting a two-run shot to right. Again, terrible pitch. Middle-middle meatballs all afternoon from Teheran.

Teheran has always been home run prone, but he’s taken it to the extreme this year, allowing 21 homers in 157.1 innings coming into this game (1.20 HR/9). That’s playing in a big park in the NL. Teheran was one out away from escaping the second and third inning scoreless, but instead he left some very hittable pitches over the plate, and the Yankees took advantage for an early seven-run lead.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)

Not So Nasty Nate
Nathan Eovaldi picked a pretty good day to not have command of his … well … everything. He couldn’t locate his fastball and his splitter hung more often than not, resulting in five runs in five innings. A better offensive team than the Braves might have made this a much uglier start for Eovaldi, who allowed those five runs on eight hits and two walks. He did strike out seven.

Much like New York’s early rallies, Atlanta’s two-run rally in the third inning all happened with two outs. Eovaldi got two outs, then walked Nick Markakis and Nick Swisher, and Freddie Freeman and A.J. Pierzynski drove them in with singles. The walks were the big problem there. Can’t be walking dudes with the bases empty and two outs and the middle of the order looming. Especially not with a 7-0 lead. Not good, Nate. He knows that.

The sixth inning rally was kind of dumb but it still counts. The inning started with an Adonis Garcia ground ball single back up the middle. Okay. Then Jace Peterson hit a booming double to left-center to put runners at second and third with no outs. Argh. The Yankees led 8-2 at the time, but still. Andrelton Simmons then ripped a single back up the middle, scoring both runners and ending Eovaldi’s day.

Adam Warren replaced Eovaldi and allowed Simmons to score on two dinky bloop hits. Brett Gardner almost caught one of them in left. Eovaldi allowed all three men he faced in the sixth to reach base and Warren allowed two of the four he faced to reach. Chasen Shreve came in, walked Freeman to load the bases, then got Pierzynski to ground out end the inning. Three runs scored on five hits. Not a good inning or afternoon for Eovaldi. Shake it off, do better next time out.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)

Insurance Runs
Thankfully, the Braves are not very good. They gave those three sixth inning runs back and then some in the seventh. Headley walked, Gregorius was hit by a pitch, and Drew singled to load the bases with one out. Alex Rodriguez drove in two with a pinch-hit single, Gardner singled in another run, McCann singled in two more runs, Bird doubled in yet another run, Headley doubled in two more runs, then Drew capped it off with another run-scoring single. Gosh. Nine runs on eight hits, two walks, and a hit batsman. That was an enjoyable inning. The lead was extended to 17-5.

Then, in the eighth, the Yankees scored three more times. The highlight of the inning was Branden Pinder‘s run-scoring double. It was his first pro at-bat, and, as far as I can tell, he never batted in college either. Pinder was the first Yankees reliever to drive in a run since … Mariano Rivera‘s bases loaded walk against Francisco Rodriguez back in the day. Good times. Bird (sac fly) and Gregorius (single) also plated runs in the three-run frame. Twenty total runs on a season-high 21 hits.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)

Drew went 4-for-4 the afternoon and is now hitting .20115 on the season. It was his first four-hit game since June 2013 and the first time this season he’s finished a game hitting over .200. He reached base six times — he also drew two walks — for the first time in his career. Drew had reached base five times in one game on four previous occasions, last in 2011. Heck of a day at the plate.

Everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit and one run scored aside from the pitcher’s spot. Seven of the eight position player spots drove in a run. Headley (three hits, two walks) and Gregorius (two hits, two walks, hit-by-pitch) each reached base five times. Including Pinder, who hit in Headley’s spot, the 6-7-8 hitters went 10-for-11 with two doubles, two home runs, six walks, a hit-by-pitch, and one strikeout. That’s 17 times on base in 18 plate appearances. Wowza.

Pinder soaked up two inefficient innings in the blowout, allowing a run on an Adonis solo homer. He also walked three batters. Pinder threw 45 pitches in his two innings. Bryan Mitchell tossed a scoreless ninth. He made a nice play to snag a hard-hit comeback ground ball that was heading over his shoulder and into center. That was a little unsettling after Mitchell took the line drive to the face two weeks ago.

And finally, the Yankees have scored 20+ runs twice this season — they did it in Texas a few weeks ago, as I’m sure you remember — after doing it two times total from 2008-14. The last time they scored 20+ runs twice in one season was 1999. That was a good year.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
You can find the box score and video highlights for the game here and here, respectively. Here are the updated standings and postseason odds as well. Now here’s the win probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Sadly, the Yankees are done with the Braves and now head to Boston for a three-game series with Red Sox. Ivan Nova and Eduardo Rodriguez will be the pitching matchup in Monday night’s opener.

Game 129: Finish the Sweep

There's a lot going on in this photo. (Presswire)

The Yankees have played well for long stretches at times this season, and today they’ll try to earn their eighth sweep of at least three games in 2015. That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Eight sweeps? The 2013-14 Yankees had 13 sweeps total, and the 2009 Yankees had eleven sweeps, so I guess eight isn’t a ton. Kind of a normal amount.

Nathan Eovaldi, who is at least in the conversation for staff ace right now, will be on the mound this afternoon looking to clinch that sweep. The Yankees have taken care of business against the Braves these last two days, but the series isn’t over yet, there’s still one more win sitting out there. Here is Atlanta’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 1B Greg Bird
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. RHP Nathan Eovaldi

It has been raining for much of the morning in Atlanta, but the forecast says the showers are supposed to clear out by game time. Then they’ll come back later this afternoon, hopefully after the game ends. We’ll see. This afternoon’s game is scheduled to begin at 1:35pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Injury Updates: CC Sabathia (knee) received a cortisone shot Thursday and played catch both Thursday and Saturday. There is no firm timetable for Sabathia to throw off a mound. Just catch for now … nothing new to pass along about Mark Teixeira (leg). He’s on antibiotics to get rid of the inflammation and won’t do anything until it clears out.

Didi’s Improvement

(Ezra Shaw/Getty)
(Ezra Shaw/Getty)

If not for Alex Rodriguez‘s (mostly triumphant) return to pinstripes, the biggest narrative surrounding the Yankees this season would likely be Didi Gregorius and his attempt at replacing the beloved and legendary Derek Jeter. To say that talk of this has fully died down would be disingenuous as we hear it fairly frequently, mostly when the Yankees play on national broadcasts. Thankfully, Didi has worked hard at and succeeded in making those conversations positive, even if that wasn’t the case at first.

In the early going of this year, things were not looking great for Sir Didi. He was scuffling at the plate, hitting to just a .499 OPS during his first month as a Yankee. On top of that, he was flubbing plays in the field and making some poor decisions on the basepaths. He was pressing–and who could blame him? Going from the relative obscurity of playing for the Diamondbacks to the relative ubiquity of playing for the Yankees while replacing Derek Frickin’ Jeter would make any player, regardless of skill-level, press. As the season’s gone on, though, Didi has adjusted and looked more and more comfortable in the Bronx and a second-half surge at the plate has helped make that possible (along with fewer baserunning blunders and mostly stellar fielding–seriously, this dude’s arm is off the charts!).

Since the All-Star Break, Didi has hit .304/.333/.415. That hot streak didn’t just start after the (not really) midpoint of the season. If we extend back to July 1 to now, Didi is hitting .294/.333/.400. That’s ever-so-slightly off from the post-ASB pace, but it’s still solid, especially for a shortstop who’s as good a fielder as Didi’s proven himself to be. Let’s take a look into some batted ball numbers and see what we can find as a possible source for Didi’s improvement.

As it so often does, Didi’s improvement may start with the old number one. Since July, Didi’s seen a big increase in line drives per balls in play on fastballs: 33.33% compared to just 17.50% in April through June. Unsurprisingly, this has led to an increase in BABIP–.268 instead of .228–which has led to a slight increase in BA against fastballs, .239-.222. Also at factoring in here is a big drop in pop up percentage. In the early part of the season, Didi popped up on exactly 10% of the fastballs he put into play; that number is now hovering closer to 2%.

The non-fastball pitch Didi has seen most often this season has been the sinker, and he’s been productive against it all along. In the first few months of the season, he hit well against the pitch with a .298 batting average. However, from July on, he’s done even better. Currently, he’s hitting .556 (!) against the sinker. What’s interesting is that Didi has seen almost as many sinkers since July (104) as he did in all of April through June (156).

Didi’s ‘formula’ seems pretty simple: sting the ball a little bit harder and get some more hits because of it. I’m no scout–and it’s difficult and dangerous to draw such conclusions from data alone–but the harder contact, the more frequent line drives, and the less frequent pop ups (the trend from fastballs mirrored itself in sinkers, with a drop off in PU/BIP% of about 4%) seem to suggest that Didi’s leveled out his swing, which has led to an uptick in production. No matter what it is, the last two months have Didi have been great to watch (even if he’s been allergic to taking a walk) and let’s hope he settles in to his role even more.


Yankees win second straight, Severino shuts down Braves in 3-1 win

Source: FanGraphs

The Yankees really need to beat up on bad teams given their current place in the standings, and that’s exactly what they’ve done in the first two games of this series with the Braves. Following Friday night’s blowout win, New York picked up a more traditional 3-1 win Saturday. The Yankees have now won two straight to keep pace with the molten hot Blue Jays.

I only saw small bits and pieces of this game — I saw the Yankees score their first run on a wild pitch and Luis Severino labor through an inefficient first inning, and then I saw Andrew Miller close the door with a perfect ninth inning, but nothing in between — so I can’t talk too intelligently about it. The Yankees scored their second and third runs on doubles by Didi Gregorius and Brian McCann, respectively.

Severino settled down after that shaky first inning — he threw more balls (seven) than strikes (six) in the first — and finished the night with six scoreless innings. He allowed four hits and three walks, and struck out five. Ten of his other 13 outs came on the ground. Severino has yet to throw a pitch in the seventh inning in his big league career but that isn’t a priority right now. The Yankees will take six quality innings every time out from the rookie, and that’s what he gave them Saturday.

The Yankees actually had more walks (seven) than hits (six) offensively. Five of the six hits were doubles too — Greg Bird‘s single was the only non-extra-base hit. Carlos Beltran (two walks), McCann (double, walk), and Bird (single, walk) all reached base twice. Justin Wilson allowed a run in two-thirds of an inning, then Dellin Betances and Miller recorded the final seven outs to close things out. Nice crisp win.

Sadly, this game was marred by tragedy. A fan at Turner Field fell from the upper deck during seventh inning and landed on the concrete below. The fan was rushed to the hospital and Atlanta police later confirmed he died from his injuries. Here’s the full story. Man, that’s just awful. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of the fan.

Here are the box score and video highlights for the game, and here are the updated standings and postseason odds for the season. Also make sure you check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees will try to complete the sweep Sunday afternoon. It’ll be Nathan Eovaldi against Julio Teheran in the matinee.

DotF: Dustin Ackley goes deep in third rehab game

Triple-A Scranton (3-1 loss to Buffalo)

  • CF Ben Gamel & 2B Rob Refsnyder: both 0-4 — Gamel struck out once, Refsnyder twice
  • RF Dustin Ackley: 1-2, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI — played six innings in the field in his third rehab game
  • 3B Jose Pirela, CF Aaron Judge & C Austin Romine: all 0-3 — Judge struck out twice
  • LHP Eric Wooten: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 5/3 GB/FB — 39 of 56 pitches were strikes (70%)
  • RHP Caleb Cotham: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 3/0 GB/FB — 23 of 30 pitches were strikes (77%)
  • RHP Andrew Bailey: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 0/2 GB/FB — ten of 15 pitches were strikes (67%) … with rosters expanding Tuesday, I’m guessing he’ll be wearing pinstripes the next time he pitches

[Read more…]

Game 128: Prospect vs. Prospect


Last night’s win was an A+ game. Aside from Masahiro Tanaka‘s first inning shakiness, everything went according to plan. The series continues today with a pitching matchup featuring two top prospects: Luis Severino and Matt Wisler. Baseball America ranked them consecutively on their preseason top 100 list — Wisler was No. 34, Severino No. 35 — though Severino jumped Wisler during the season.

The pitching matchup is pretty cool. Some more offense would be even cooler. Those 15 runs last night sure were welcome after the Yankees scored 16 runs total in their previous six games. The Braves are not very good and it shows with their pitching staff. It seems like everyone in their bullpen is a random computer generated player from MLB: The Show. More runs tonight, plays. Lots of ’em. I want another laugher.

I won’t have time to update this post with the starting lineup, so I’ll instead redirect to you to Chad Jennings’ site. He’ll surely have the lineup at some point. It’s cloudy and cool in Atlanta, but there is no rain in the forecast, so that’s good. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:10pm ET and you can watch on FOX Sports 1. No YES, no WPIX, no regular old FOX. FOX Sports 1 only. Enjoy the game.

Guest Post: The Hiring of No. 37: Casey Stengel: October 1948

The following is a guest post from Adam Moss, who you know as Roadgeek Adam in the comments. He’s previously written guest posts on Tim McClelland, Frankie Crosetti, and the No. 26.


For many years, Yankee fans looked at the hiring of Joe Torre in the modern day mass media as an “Is George Steinbrenner crazy?” situation because Torre had never coached a winning team in his entire time as manager between the Mets, Braves and Cardinals. The New York Daily News famously had “CLUELESS JOE: Torre Has No Idea What He’s Getting Into” headline by Ian O’Connor on the Sports Final version of the paper. As we know quite well, the Torre years ended up being some of the best in New York Yankees history.

However, this time, I want to talk about the hiring of another famous manager, No. 37, Casey Stengel. Similar to Torre, the young Stengel had not been very successful before being hired by the New York Yankees. Managing since 1925, originally for Worcester Panthers of the Eastern League, he had very few winning seasons, including none with the Brooklyn Dodgers, in which he recorded only a 208-251 win-loss record. In 1937, he wasn’t even managing at all but was still being paid by the Dodgers. In 1938, he was the manager of the Boston Bees, but once again, showed mediocre results. His best season by far was the 1938 season, in which the team was one of two no-hit consecutively by Midland Park, New Jersey’s Johnny Vander Meer, drawing a 77-75 (.507) record. That 1938 Boston Bees team was not made of many names, but a couple stick out: Vince DiMaggio (Joe & Dom DiMaggio’s older brother) and Jim Turner, who ended up becoming Casey Stengel’s pitching coach from 1949-1959.

Stengel’s record in Boston was not even close to .500 for the rest of the seasons he was there, including a complete low in 1942 in which they recorded a 59-89 season. After 1943, he was out of the National League again and coaching in the minors. By 1946, he had gotten to manage the Oakland Oaks, where he won 321 games and lost only 236, including winning a championship in 1948 over the Seattle Rainiers. The Oaks, actually, were independent most of their time in Emeryville, California, except for a period of 1935-1937, when they were a farm team of the New York Yankees. (The Oakland Oaks soon moved to Vancouver, BC and became the Vancouver Mounties and continued to move to several cities afterwards).

The New York Yankees leading up to October 1948

The years of 1946 to 1948 were a bit strange for the Yankees, because they went through numerous managers in a short period of time. Longtime manager Joe McCarthy resigned on May 24, 1946 after 15 seasons of leading the team. McCarthy had been ill for quite a while, and had issues with pitcher Joe Page and team president Larry MacPhail. The legendary Bill Dickey took over after McCarthy’s resignation and to make things worse, Dickey resigned on September 12. One of McCarthy’s coaches, Johnny Neun completed the season in 1946. For a team with such managerial issues, you’d think they’d have performed poorly like McCarthy complained about in his resignation. The 1946 Yankees ended the season with an 87-67 record (.565), finishing 17 games back of the Boston Red Sox (who went 104-50).

Like a light bulb, the 1947 Yankees flipped a switch under new manager Bucky Harris. The Yankees acquired superstar pitcher Allie “Superchief” Reynolds from the Cleveland Indians on October 11, 1946 for Joe Gordon, a trade that almost never occurred because MacPhail was going for Red Embree (who was out of the league by 1949) until Joltin’ Joe told him to make a trade for Reynolds. Aside of that, the Yankees had a budding catcher to replace the great Bill Dickey, Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra, who was wearing No. 36 at the time. There was also star shortstop Phil Rizzuto, future All-Star third baseman Dr. Bobby Brown and even Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio, who had become a leader on the team. That 1947 team won the American League pennant by 12 games with a 97-57 record. They went to the World Series and defeated the cross-town Brooklyn Dodgers in 7 games, giving Harris his first ring since the 1924 Washington Senators. (The Twins-version for those curious.)

In 1948, the Yankees were a contender all the way to the end of the season, part of a huge race with the Red Sox and Indians. The 1948 season was famous for the the death of Babe Ruth at age 53 on August 16. Most of the 1947 championship team was still with the Yankees in 1948, including Red Embree, who MacPhail finally got for the 1948 season (after turning him down in 1946). Finishing a mere 2.5 games short of the World Series, the Yankees decided on October 4, 1948 to not extend Harris as the manager of the Yankees after a conference between Dan Topping, George Weiss and Bucky Harris determined they would not continue together.


So, now that Bucky Harris was out as New York Yankees manager, it was time to figure out who would replace him. A statement made by the Yankees indicated the new manager would come from outside of the team, eliminating Joltin’ Joe, Tommy Henrich and coach/infielder Frankie Crosetti despite all being good candidates and Crosetti having a big fan in George Weiss. The statement dropped names such as Bill Skiff of the Newark Bears of the International League, Jim Turner (the former Boston Brave, now coaching for the Portland Beavers) and Dick Bartell, the manager of the Kansas City Blues of the American Association, which was the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate.

By October 11, the Associated Press had reported that it appeared Oakland’s Casey Stengel, who had taken the team of “nine old men” to the Pacific Coast League championship, was a candidate. By the time these rumors had come to light, the names had changed a bit: Jimmy Dykes, Al Simmons, Stengel, Neun and Skiff were in consideration. It had announced the Yankees would make a choice in “a couple of weeks.” It didn’t take two weeks. The next day, October 12, the Yankees announced Casey Stengel had been given a 2-year contract to be manager. Stengel stated he was “delighted to be with the Yankees and not have much time to think.”

Media Response

The 57-year old Stengel quickly received mixed support. Stengel had support of Tommy Holmes in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, “Let’s Hope Casey is Not Restrained” citing that Stengel had been a lifelong baseball player and manager and as a result should’ve been completely accepted by baseball. Holmes stated that when Stengel was the manager of the Dodgers, they had no farm and, somewhat ironically, no money. One of the major articles that came up was “Stengel Specialized in Laughing Off Bad Ball Clubs: Ol’ Case May Have To Do Same Thing For Yankees” by Harry Grayson of the Newspaper Enterprise Association. The argument by Grayson was that players get older regularly and that the Yankees would become very much the same as what happened with Stengel’s Brooklyn Dodgers: they’d get old. However, Grayson denied that as Stengel came with money and that only the St. Louis Browns would be selling.

A major criticism that was brought up by both Holmes and Grayson was Stengel’s style of being not very serious when it came to the game. Stengel liked to spin stories quite a bit, including ones about a bird that flew out of Stengel’s cap when he was standing at the plate, but Holmes’ argued they were just spinning stories to make Stengel not look serious. There was also a story about Frenchy Bordagaray, an outfielder, threw a ball into one of Stengel’s ears. Frenchy joked when he came in the dugout after saving the game that he should be allowed to hit Stengel in the ears every game for good luck, and as a result, Casey told him, “Tell you what George [Earnshaw, the pitcher], I will hold him and you bite him in the leg.” Other articles called it a second chance for Stengel, who also had an issue with umpires in the days of games being called due to darkness, using a flashlight at the umpires to make a point.

Stengel’s return to the Major Leagues had caused quite a bit of media buzz, and by October 21, Stengel told the Associated Press that he is taking a job with challenges, but he also laughed off the idea that “I got the job simply because of my close friendship with Del Webb and George Weiss.” This new contract covered 2 years/$70,000 (1948 USD) and stated his wife could now work on the East Coast shopping. About a month on November 12, Grantland Rice of the Chino Champion, explained that the decision to fire Harris was a dumb one purely because Harris was a friend of MacPhail. He called the hiring of Stengel as a smart one, but only because it was preceded by a dumb one. He also stated that “Stengel is a high-grade manager who knows his trade. But there won’t be as many laughing stories about Casey in 1949-not with the job he has ahead.” Rice stated that the Yankees farm has been pretty bad the couple years prior and that he needed an outfielder, three new infielders, a catcher and three pitchers. This means working a team with Joltin’ Joe, Henrich, Berra, Charlie Keller and Johnny Lindell.


Yeah, there wasn’t as much negativity surrounding the Stengel hiring as there was in the Torre hiring in 1996 due to the lack of media coverage in that era, but the fact Stengel’s hiring caused more than your normal stir for a manager, it was worth pointing out the similarity. Similar to Torre, Stengel became a dynastic manager for the Yankees along with pitching coach Jim Turner and third base coach Frankie Crosetti, leading the Yankees to seven championships in eleven seasons including 1949-1953 straight before being fired for “not needing his services,” or, as Ken Burns argued, he was fired for turning 70. He became the manager of the newly-minted New York Mets in 1962, after being convinced out of retirement.

Stengel is a great manager in the history of the New York Yankees, but if not for the Yankees, you could argue he would’ve never made it into the Hall of Fame in 1966 because of the Veterans Committee. His record outside of the Yankees and the Oakland Oaks were absolutely terrible, but like Torre (who could’ve been in the HoF on player merits alone), he made his managerial career famous with the Yankees and no one would ever deny it.