Game 142: Win The Series

(Richard Rodriguez/Getty)
(Richard Rodriguez/Getty)

The Yankees sure do seem to have a knack for coming through with big wins after crushing losses, don’t they? They came back with a nice win yesterday after blowing a four-run lead Friday. They blew out the Orioles the day after that crushing walk-off loss. Shut down by Doug Fister? Win the next day. Aroldis Chapman gives up an extra inning homer to the Mariners? Sonny Gray dominates the next day. All season long they’ve been doing it.

The Yankees did that again yesterday, meaning today’s game with the Rangers is the rubber game. Win the game, win the series. I’ve been saying this for years, but just keep winning series. The Yankees have seven series remaining this season, including this one, and winning all seven would all but assure them of a postseason spot. Go out and win the series, then head back to New York for basically the rest of the season. Here is the Rangers’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

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

Another great weather day in Arlington. Sunny but not crazy Texas hot. Today’s series finale will begin at 3:05pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Roster Move: Garrett Cooper (hamstring) was activated off the disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Scranton, the Yankees announced. Kinda surprised they didn’t bring him to the big leagues now that rosters have expanded, but how many right-handed hitting corner bats does one team need?

Thoughts Before the Stretch Run Starts

(Rich Schultz/Getty)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

Before we begin, I’m sure that many of you reading this may be in or from Florida or have relatives/friends there. If that’s the case, I speak for everyone here when I say that we hope you’re safe and they’re safe.

CY-Verino

I know Luis Severino isn’t going to win the Cy Young Award. And given how Chris Sale and Corey Kluber have pitched this year, he probably doesn’t deserve to win it. But dammit if I’m not rooting for those two to crash and burn this month so Severino has a chance to grab it. We’ve talked a lot about things going as well as possible for Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez–and I wrote about it regarding Severino last week–but we might be able to argue that things have gone even better for Luis considering what happened last year. He’s stepped up for the Yankees time and time again this year, including yesterday, and he’s gone a long way towards making me feel better about the rotation next year, which was looking shaky.

Pleasantly Frustrating

This was supposed to be a process year, a developmental year. Then the Yankees started winning and that mindset of mine changed. The Yankees are incredibly likely to win the wild card and host the play-in game for the second time in three years and that’s a lot better than we could’ve hoped for in February and March. But it’s also frustrating as hell because the Yankees are clearly better than any of the teams they’d face in that game. Their starters are better than any starter they will face. In the end, that may not matter. One bad game could derail things. That’s not to say this season would be any sort of failure if the Yankees don’t make it to the Division Series. Would it be disappointing? Definitely. But considering the expectations at the beginning of the year, this season has largely been a success.

The teasing thing is that this is a team built well for a series-style playoff run: a solid rotation of Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, and CC Sabathia. A dominant bullpen. A lineup capable of explosion. All of that is dangerous in October, especially the pitching, but they may not even get there. Times like this make me long for the old Wild Card system or something radically new and different.

My pipe dream is a balanced schedule with no divisions within the AL and NL, so the top 4 teams from each league make it. That will never ever happen, but a guy can dream, no?

Anyway, it was nice last year to have a relatively stress-free season (especially in my first year as a parent), but that competitive baseball, the idea of the playoffs, it’s something I definitely missed. Sure, this isn’t like 2009-12 when you knew the Yankees were racking up division wins and what not, but it feels good to have some form of baseball to look forward to in the fall. Remind me I said this when I’m rocking back and forth like Leo Mazzone during the Wild Card game.

DotF: Hendrix & Estrada lead Trenton to championship series

Triple-A Scranton (6-1 win over Lehigh Valley) they lead the best-of-five first round postseason series two games to one

  • CF Mason Williams: 2-4, 1 R — 5-for-13 (.385) in the series, and according to people at the games, he’s made a number of great defensive plays as well
  • 2B Donovan Solano: 3-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 E (fielding) — 7-for-13 (.538) with two walks in the series
  • LF Billy McKinney: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K — second homer of the series, and he hit it against former big leaguer Henderson Alvarez
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 0-2, 1 RBI, 1 K — flashed his arm on a nice play going to his right (here’s video)
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB
  • RF Jake Cave: 0-3, 1 K
  • RHP Brady Lail: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 64 of 96 pitches were strikes (67%) … comes up big in his first postseason start after allowing 15 runs in his final 21.1 regular season innings

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Yankees 3, Rangers 1: Severino sensational, the offense rallies late to get the win


Source: FanGraphs

This game went from frustrating to gratifying in a matter of few innings. The Yankee bats couldn’t score a run against Andrew Cashner while Luis Severino was up there just straight-up dealin’. However, they rallied in the eighth and the ninth to tie it up and take the lead. It’s the weekend so let’s do it bullet-point style.

  • Sevvy great: It’s hard to choose Severino’s signature game from this season. He’s had a lot of great starts this season and this has to be up there as one of the best. He went 7.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 BB with 10 strikeouts. Really hard to ask any more from your starter. From 100 pitches thrown, Sevvy threw 18 changeups, which is not too many fewer than the amount of sliders (27) he threw – a big indicator of how far he has come with his pitch development. Although he did not get the win today, his ERA has decreased to 2.96. Also, he has 211 strikeouts in 176.1 IP. That’s really darn good, folks.
  • The lone mistake: It’s hard not to make at least a mistake or two during a start. Severino allowed his only run on the only hit that he (and the Yankees) allowed today. In the fifth inning, Sevy walked Joey Gallo to start the frame. Will Middlebrooks hit into a fielder’s choice groundout. Severino struck out Rougned Odor to get the second out but allowed an RBI double to Brett Nicholas, a September call-up catcher. 1-0 Rangers. Crappy way to lose a no-no and let the other team go ahead. On the other side, Cashner was simply dealing, holding the Yankee bats scoreless for the first seven innings while striking out four. However…
  • Tying it up: The Rangers pulled Cashner out in the eighth inning after he plunked Todd Frazier on the first pitch of the frame. He was in command all day and the Yankee hitters were probably glad to see him gone. Matt Holliday, pinch-hitting for Greg Bird to face the lefty Alex Claudio, lined a single to right to make it runners on corners with no out. Brett Gardner popped out for the first out but Chase Headley tied it up with a sac fly. A run! Gary Sanchez swung at 3-0 pitch for a single past Elvis Andrus and Yankees, once again, had a runner in the scoring position. However, Didi Gregorius grounded into the shift to end the inning.
  • The ninth-inning rally: Joe Girardi brought in David Robertson for the bottom of the eighth. D-Rob responded with an easy eight-pitch inning. In the top of the ninth, Starlin Castro led off with a single to right and Aaron Judge grounded into a fielder’s choice out. With one out and runner on first, Jacoby Ellsbury fought for an eight-pitch at-bat and lined a base hit to right to put runners on corners – huge at-bat, huge outcome. With Frazier coming up, Jeff Bannister put in the righty Ricky Rodriguez. On a 1-2 count, Rodriguez hit Frazier on the left triceps to load the bases. Tyler Austin, who took over for Bird at the first base, followed it up with an RBI single to left to finally give the Yankees a lead. Gardner popped out (again) for the second out, but Headley worked a walk to extend the lead to 3-1. That’ll do.
  • Leftovers: Aroldis Chapman was the closer for today. He had a solid past two outings and I assume that was enough to restore some faith in him. The lefty threw a perfect inning with two strikeouts to close it out and earn his first save since August 15.

Here are today’s box score and updated standings from ESPN, video highlights from MLB.com and WPA graph from Fangraphs. The Yankees will play the series finale at Arlington tomorrow. It’ll be a Jordan Montgomery vs. A.J. Griffin matchup for a 3:05 pm EST start.

Game 141: Sevy Saturday

(Rich Schultz/Getty)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

Yet another tough loss last night. The Yankees have let a five-run lead and a four-run lead turn into losses within their last three games. Games like those are why the Yankees are unlikely to win the AL East — FanGraphs puts their division odds at 6.4% at the moment, for what it’s worth — and are instead fighting for a wildcard spot.

Fortunately, the Yankees have Luis Severino on the mound this afternoon, and he’s been their best starter all season. The Yankees could really use a dominant Sevy outing today. I’m pretty sure none of us want to see three innings worth of middle relievers again this afternoon. Here is the Rangers’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. DH Chase Headley
  3. C Gary Sanchez
  4. SS Didi Gregorius
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. RF Aaron Judge
  7. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  8. 3B Todd Frazier
  9. 1B Greg Bird
    RHP Luis Severino

Lovely weather in Arlington today. Nice and sunny but not insanely hot either. Great day for a ballgame. This afternoon’s game will begin at 1:05pm ET and FOX has the broadcast. Regular old FOX. Not FOX Sports 1. Enjoy the game.

Yankees waste away an early lead, drop the series opener to the Rangers 11-5

After Yankees took a 5-1 lead, the Rangers scored ten unanswered runs against Masahiro Tanaka and the bullpen to take the first game of the series. Early on, it seemed like the Yankees could win this game in a laugher but it totally turned around. Tanaka unraveled, the bullpen bled out more runs and the offense stopped hitting. Not a good formula.

(Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
(Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

The upward spiral

In the top of the second, against Martin Perez, the Yankees got a rally going. Matt Holliday reached with a single to lead off. Didi Gregorius hit a grounder to second that should have been turned as a GIDP but Rougned Odor’s throw to second pulled Elvis Andrus off the bag and both runners were safe. Chase Headley squared a single to right field to load the bases with no out. Jacoby Ellsbury, who’s been on fire lately, lined an RBI single to score Holliday to give Yankees a lead. Perez hit Todd Frazier on his second pitch to push another run across. Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge struck out back-to-back to alleviate things for Perez but Gary Sanchez hit a 2-run single to tack on more runs. 4-0 Yankees.

The Rangers got one back on the next frame. Leading off the inning, Nomar Mazara simply crushed – I mean 453 feet crushed – a solo homer to make it a three-run lead for New York. However, Gregorius added a run by hitting a solo homer into the right field seats – 5-1 Yankees. With the offense clicking so far and Tanaka looking solid, it should be a walk in the park for the Bombers, right? Nope. That’s why you play the game…

(Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
(Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

The downward spiral

Texas added more runs in the bottom of the third. Robinson Chirinos singled past Didi with one out and Delino DeShields Jr. followed it up with a double down the third base line to for an RBI. After a Shi-Soo Choo flyout, Andrus added an RBI double of his own to make it 5-3. All of sudden, the 5-1 early lead looked awful shaky.

The Rangers struck big time in the bottom of the fifth. Odor started it off with a single and Chirinos hit a doubled past Frazier to drive him in. 5-4. DeShields followed it up with a single to left to put the runners on corners with no outs. Facing Choo, Tanaka threw a wild pitch past Sanchez and it became a tie game. Things even got worse as Choo hit a flyball towards the deep left part of the ballpark and the ball bounced off Gardner’s glove. Ideally, Gardner would’ve made the catch, but it was not an easy one to get to in the first place.

That double by Choo would have scored DeShields had he not been held up. As a result, Tanaka left the game with two runners on scoring position with no outs. As Tommy Kahnle allowed the remaining two runners to score with an Andrus single, seven earned runs were charged to Tanaka’s final line – 4.0 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 1 HR, 7 K. His ERA rose to 4.82 and it was easily his worst start in awhile. Pitchers are allowed to have stinkers once in awhile. Right now, it’s just not an ideal timing with the Yankees trying to chase the Red Sox in the AL East standings.

Rangers threatened once again in the bottom of the seventh. Caleb Smith started the inning and allowed a base hit to Choo and a walk to Andrus. Mazara hit a big liner that hit the right field wall that should have drove a run in. However, Choo misjudged the fly and ended up third instead of home. With no out and bases loaded, Joe Girardi put in Ben Heller to remedy the situation. And it, uh, didn’t go well. Here’s how the rest of the inning went.

bandicam-2017-09-09-12-29-29-849

7-5 to 11-5 just like that. Ugly. And that’s how the score remained for good.

Leftovers

After Kahnle and Chasen Shreve, Girardi pretty much ran out the B-side portion of the ‘pen tonight – Heller, Smith and Bryan Mitchell. The three relievers combined for 2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB and 2 K’s. The silver lining of this was that Mitchell looked pretty decent (1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K) but Smith and Heller didn’t really inspire confidence.

Sanchez was back in the lineup after serving the 3-game suspension and did not seem to miss a beat, going 2-for-3 with a walk. He scorched the two base hits and the out that he made was a line out that went right towards 3B Joey Gallo.

Box score, video highlights, updated standings and WPA

Here are tonight’s box score and updated standings from ESPN, video highlights from MLB.com and WPA from Fangraphs.


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees will have their staff ace Luis Severino on the mound to try to start a winning streak going on. The Rangers will have Andrew Cashner up. It’ll be a 1:05 pm EST start at the Globe Life Park in Arlington.

DotF: Trenton throws combined no-hitter in postseason win

A few quick notes to pass along:

  • Now that High-A Tampa’s season is over, OF Estevan Florial and SS Kyle Holder have joined Double-A Trenton, reports Kyle Franko. Both are working out with the team but are not on the active roster. They could be added if there’s an injury.
  • RHP Clarke Schmidt has resumed throwing following Tommy John surgery, according to his Twitter feed. The Yankees’ first round pick in this year’s draft had his elbow rebuilt in early May. He’s been throwing for two weeks now, so it seems his rehab is going well.
  • Baseball America released their end-of-season minor league All-Star Teams and two Yankees farmhands made it. RHP Chance Adams is on the First Team and Florial is on the Second Team.

Triple-A Scranton (4-2 win over Lehigh Valley) the best-of-five first round postseason series is now tied at one

  • CF Mason Williams: 2-4, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 SB — 3-for-8 with two walks in the two games so far
  • LF Billy McKinney: 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 3-5, 2 2B, 1 RBI — here’s video of the first double
  • 1B Mike Ford: 1-5, 1 RBI
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K — back here after crushing the ball in a few rehab games at the lower levels
  • RF Jake Cave: 0-3, 1 BB, 2 K
  • RHP Chance Adams: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 2/5 GB/FB — 61 of 102 pitches were strikes (60%) … bit of a grind, but he got through five with a lead
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 22 of 35 pitches were strikes (63%) … bullpen got pretty taxed in extra innings yesterday, so he came up pretty big in a close game today

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