Yankees blow six-run lead, rally to beat Astros 9-6 anyway

Source: FanGraphs

That was almost the worst lost of the season. Almost. Instead, it turned into a pretty satisfying 9-6 win over the first place Astros. The Yankees have won three of their last four games. It’s Saturday, so I’m going with bullet points:

  • Homer-oltzer: First inning grand slams are just the best. Brian McCann smashed one of those into the second deck to give the Yankees a quick 4-0 lead, long after it was apparent Astros lefty Brett Oberholtzer had nothing. Chris Young followed with a two-run shot in the second to make it 6-0. Then Oberholtzer got frustrated, threw at Alex Rodriguez, and was ejected from the game. He just walked off the field after the ejection. No argument. Small time.
  • Blown Lead: The 6-0 lead disappeared rather quickly. The Astros scored two runs in the second — whatever, they can hit, two runs are gonna happen — and then they scored the other four runs in the span of five batters. Chris Carter launched a solo homer in the fourth, Carlos Correa hit a two-run homer in the fifth, and Jose Altuve followed that with a solo homer to tie things up. Deflating! Masahiro Tanaka allowed six runs in five innings for his second straight bad outing. He insists he’s healthy. Either way, his location is garbage. Too many pitches up in the zone.
  • Oppo Pop: The Yankees blew prime scoring opportunities in the sixth and seventh innings, because of course, but they capitalized in the eighth. The rally started with a Brett Gardner leadoff walk, continued with Young’s fielder’s choice — Altuve didn’t touch second base when attempting the double play pivot, so no out was recorded on the play — and was capped off by Mark Teixeira‘s mammoth opposite field double off the wall. He’s so strong. Teixeira flicked his wrists and hammered Pat Neshek’s outside heater off the wall. Crazy. Two runs scored. Chase Headley hit a monster solo homer for an insurance run in the ninth.
  • Saved By The Bullpen: Seven strikeouts in four scoreless innings for the bullpen. Bryan Mitchell tossed a scoreless sixth, was bailed out by Chasen Shreve in the seventh, then Justin Wilson and Dellin Betances nailed things down in the eighth and ninth. Both allowed a base-runner, but no big deal. Shreve struck out Jon Singleton with the bases loaded to end the seventh. He’s been so, so good. Shreve’s excellent.
  • Leftovers: Gardner went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a walk. He’s hitting .300/.371/.494 (140 wRC+) on the season. Only Mike Trout, Nelson Cruz, and Jose Bautista have a higher wRC+ among AL outfielders … McCann and Didi Gregorius each had two hits. A-Rod and Carlos Beltran each drew two walks … the Yankees had seven walks and four strikeouts as a team. It’s their eighth game with more walks than strikeouts. Only the Blue Jays, Dodgers, and Red Sox have more … the Yankees scored 9+ runs for the tenth time this season. They did it nine times all of last year.

Here’s the box score, video highlights, updated standings, Bullpen Workload, and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees and Astros will wrap up their four-game series on Sunday afternoon. Michael Pineda and Collin McHugh will be the pitching matchup.

Saturday Night Open Thread

Happy Saturday, everyone. It’s raining here in New York but hopefully the weather is nice wherever you are. Here’s the nightly open thread. FOX is showing a bunch of regional games and MLB Network is airing a game later tonight. Talk about those games, this afternoon’s win, or anything else right here. Have at it.

Game 75: Tanaka in Texas


By Game Score, Masahiro Tanaka‘s last start was the second worst of his relatively brief MLB career. He allowed five runs (including three homers) in five innings against the Tigers and wasn’t sharp at all. Tanaka left a lot of pitches up in the zone and Detroit made him pay. Naturally, everyone worried about his elbow, but Tanaka said his problems were all mechanical.

So, in an effort to get things back on track, Tanaka threw two bullpen sessions between starts instead of his usual one. He told reporters he identified a mechanical issue while watching video and wanted two throwing sessions to make sure he ironed it out. Tanaka was pretty excellent prior to his last start (1.31 ERA and a 35/2 K/BB in his previous five starts), so hopefully that one was just a blip on the radar. Here is Houston’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. LF Chris Young
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. RF Carlos Beltran
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 2B Jose Pirela
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

It’s hot and humid in Houston, and it’s supposed to start raining pretty soon, so the Minute Maid Park roof will be closed. Apparently it’s going to start raining today and not stop until next Saturday. Texas is weird. This afternoon’s game will begin a bit after 4pm ET. You can watch on YES locally and, depending where you live, MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Injury Updates: Jacoby Ellsbury (knee) will run today and tomorrow. The Yankees will then decide whether he’s ready to begin a minor league rehab assignment … Andrew Miller (forearm) made 45 throws from 100 feet today and I assume everything went fine. We probably would have heard by now if it didn’t.

Saturday Links: Six-Man Rotations, A-Rod, Franco

(Scott Halleran/Getty)
(Scott Halleran/Getty)

I’m not sure if Andy Pettitte was hanging around the team last night or if he’ll be back this weekend, but he was in the clubhouse in full uniform on Thursday, and he tossed batting practice before the game. Pretty cool. Anyway, the Yankees and Astros continue their series later his afternoon. Here are some links to hold you over until game time.

Do six-man rotations work?

The Yankees are currently employing a six-man rotation but only temporarily — Joe Girardi said they are likely to go back to a normal five-man rotation once the road trip ends next week. The team has been talking about using a six-man rotation since before Spring Training and baseball as a whole seems to be heading in that direction. I don’t think it’ll be long before six-man rotations are the standard around MLB. Maybe ten years or so.

Russell Carleton did some research on six-man rotations to see if they are actually worth the trouble. Does it improve performance? Does it reduce injury? What happens if you have an ace like Clayton Kershaw and don’t want him to make five fewer starts in a season? After some gory math, Carleton found that most pitchers don’t see an uptick in performance with an extra day of rest and their injury risk isn’t reduced substantially. Unexpected!

That doesn’t mean a six-man rotation isn’t worth trying though. It just means historical data indicates the benefits may not be as great as they seem. Every pitcher is different though. Perhaps a six-man rotation greatly benefits Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda. Or maybe it helps Tanaka and does nothing for Pineda. Who knows? Carleton’s research just shows that a six-man rotation may not be as great everyone seems to think.

Yankees still negotiating for A-Rod‘s 3,000th hit ball

It has now been one week and one day since Alex Rodriguez took Justin Verlander deep for his 3,000th career hit, and, according to Dan Martin and Brendan Kuty, the Yankees are still trying to get the ball from ballhawk Zack Hample. The two sides have made “significant progress” after the team initially offered a package of tickets and memorabilia.

Hample says he wants the Yankees to “perhaps make a large donation” to Pitch In For Baseball, a charity that provides baseball equipment to kids around the county. “I could sell the ball at an auction for a lot of money and then turn over the money to the charity. I’ve certainly been hearing from a lot of auction houses,” he said. “This is a big chance to do something extraordinary for (the charity).”

Using the milestone baseball to help charity rather than for personal gain is an honorable thing. Of course, Hample has spent the last few days trolling A-Rod on Twitter and going on a media tour, so he’s milking his 15 minutes for all they’re worth. Hopefully A-Rod gets the ball, a charity gets a lot of money, and Hample stops pushing kids out of the way for baseballs. That way everyone wins.

Maikel Franco: Almost a Yankee

Earlier this week Phillies infielder Maikel Franco made a bit of a name for himself by wrecking the Yankees, going 6-for-12 with three home runs in the three-game series at Yankee Stadium. I won’t dub him a Yankees Killer based on one series, but yeah, he crushed them. Impressive showing by the kid. The Phillies are really bad but Franco is a definite bright spot and a reason for fans to tune in every day.

As Dan Barbarisi writes, the Yankees tried to sign Franco as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican Republic back in 2010, but fell $5,000 short of Philadelphia’s offer. The Phillies offered $100,000 and the Yankees offered $95,000. “I was very close to signing with the team—my agent told me which teams wanted to sign me, and the Yankees were up in that group,” he said. Only if Hal Steinbrenner wasn’t so stupid and cheap Franco would have been a Yankee argh!!!

Except that’s not really how this works. For starters, no one cares about this if Franco does 2-for-12 in the series. Second, we can’t assume he would have signed with the Yankees had they simply matched the offer. Franco might not have liked the idea of joining a team with a first baseman and third baseman signed until the end of time. Third, every team falls a few grand short of signing players every year. And sometimes those players get good. That’s baseball.

Young’s late homer gives Yankees come from behind 3-2 win over Astros

Source: FanGraphs

For the first six innings or so, it looked like the Yankees had a Dallas Keuchel hangover. The Astros ace dominated New York on Thursday and it took a while for their bats to recover Friday night. But, once they did, a clutch late-inning homer turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead and a win in the second game of the series in Houston. It’s Friday night, so let’s recap with bullet points:

  • Young Again: Man, what a pickup Chris Young has been. Yeah, he slumped a bit in May, but he has five hits in this series and swatted the go-ahead three-run home run in the seventh inning on Friday. The Yankees appeared headed for another shutout loss when Young sent a Will Harris pitch out to left field. Harris came into the game with a 0.78 ERA this season, by the way. He’s Houston’s relief ace. Young went 3-for-4 and now has nine homers off the bench. Good bench players are so valuable.
  • Nasty Nate: Outside of the disaster in Miami — and it was awful, no doubt about it — Nathan Eovaldi has been pretty good the last six weeks or so. Not great, but solid. He held the Astros to two runs on five hits and two walks in six innings, striking out six. The second run scored a dinky bloop just out of Stephen Drew‘s reach. Eovaldi got eleven swings and misses, his third highest total of the season. Nice start, Nate.
  • Bullpen On Parade: Three innings, five strikeouts, no hits for the bullpen. Chasen Shreve struck out the side in the seventh, Justin Wilson got two outs before walking a batter in the eighth, and Dellin Betances nailed down the four-out save. Betances struck out Evan Gattis on three pitches to end the eighth with the tying run in scoring position. Great night for the ‘pen. Shreve has been something else, hasn’t he? What a find.
  • Leftovers: Brett Gardner, who sat out Thursday’s game, stayed hot with two hits, including a double off the left-center field wall … Chase Headley had a single and two walks … Garrett Jones had two hits, including one off a lefty … Jose Altuve stole second in the sixth inning. It was the first successful steal against Eovaldi in 196.1 innings. Crazy. He’s the best right-handed pitcher in baseball at shutting down the running game.

Here are the box score, video highlights, updated standings, Bullpen Workload page, and Announcer Standings page. The Yankees and Astros continue this four-game series on Saturday afternoon, when Masahiro Tanaka gets the ball against lefty Brett Oberholtzer.

DotF: Severino dominates again in Triple-A; Fowler stays hot for Tampa

Triple-A Scranton (2-0 loss to Buffalo)

  • CF Ben Gamel & RF Aaron Judge: both 0-4 — Judge struck out once
  • C Austin Romine: 1-3
  • LF Ramon Flores: 2-3
  • RHP Luis Severino: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 7/5 GB/FB — 64 of 90 pitches were strikes (71%) … they’re going to have to call him up to MLB before he’s challenged, huh?
  • RHP Brandon Pinder: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1/0 GB/FB — 19 of 32 pitches were strikes (60%)
  • RHP Jose Ramirez: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 17 of 35 pitches were strikes (49%) … strikes, Jose

[Read more…]

Game 74: Bounce Back

(Scott Halleran/Getty)
(Scott Halleran/Getty)

Last night’s game was a legitimate “tip your cap” game. I know no one wants to hear it, and yes the Yankees probably do too much cap-tipping in general, but Dallas Keuchel was on point last night. Sometimes you just get beat. That’s what happened last night. That’s baseball.

Thankfully today is a new day with a new game and chance to, you know, get back in the win column. The Yankees haven’t done enough of that lately. They’re 18-22 in their last 40 games. That’s not good! No cap-tipping tonight. Just win, baby. Here is Houston’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. 1B Mark Teixeira
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. DH Carlos Beltran
  6. RF Garrett Jones
  7. LF Chris Young
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 2B Stephen Drew
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi

It’s another hot day in Houston, so the Minute Maid Park roof will probably be closed again. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin just after 8pm ET. You watch on both YES and MLB Network. Enjoy.

Injury Update: Jacoby Ellsbury (knee) will work out with the team tomorrow and could begin playing in rehab games as soon as early next week. No date is set in stone yet, however.

Roster Move: What, you didn’t think the Yankees would go a day without a roster move, did you? This one is only minor: Jose DePaula was outrighted to Triple-A Scranton, the team announced. He had been designated for assignment the other day to clear a 40-man roster spot for Ivan Nova. So DePaula is still in the organization as a non-40-man roster player.