If you knew nothing about baseball and decided to watch Saturday night’s game out of boredom, I’m pretty sure it would have turned you off from the sport forever. There wasn’t much offense, both teams played bad defense, Hiroki Kuroda was very wild, and play was delayed 38 minutes because the lights at the O.co Coliseum wouldn’t turn on. The Yankees lost 5-1 to end their four-game winning streak.
New York’s lack of offense — they had three hits and three walks, and the final 15 men they sent to the plate made outs — had more to do with the Athletics’ pitching staff being really good than their offense being bad, I thought. Scott Kazmir was pretty sharp and the Dan Otero/Scott Doolittle combination is quietly one of the best in the game. The Yankees scored their only run on a throwing error by shortstop Andy Parrino. They had another runner thrown out at the plate on the contact play.
Kuroda, on the other hand, was as wild as I’ve ever seen him as a Yankee. He threw two pitches to the backstop, bounced a bunch of 55-footers, and was generally all over the place. It’s surprising he managed to throw 55 strikes out of his 93 total pitches. Kuroda had no idea where the ball was going at all. A two-out rally in the second and some terrible defense in the fifth led to four runs in 4.2 innings. Kelly Johnson picked up a weak grounder that appeared to be rolling foul and John Ryan Murphy allowed two passed balls. Everyone can now use that inning to justify sending him down for Frankie Cervelli next week.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. That might have been the worst game of the year in terms of watchability. The Yankees wrap up their ten-game turned nine-game road trip on Sunday afternoon, when they send Vidal Nuno to the mound in the rubber game against righty Jesse Chavez.
Minor League Update: Here is the scoreboard for Saturday’s games. Here’s the box score for the High-A Florida State League All-Star Game. 2B Rob Refsnyder went hitless again, C Peter O’Brien homered, OF Aaron Judge had two hits, LHP Manny Banuelos threw three scoreless innings in the rain-suspended game, and RHP Luis Severino struck out eight in six innings. C Gary Sanchez remains glued to the bench for disciplinary reasons.
The Yankees have won four straight games for the third time this season, but only once have they won five straight. That was way back in April. They’ve already clinched a winning road trip and a win tonight would give them three straight over the Athletics, the best team in all the land. That sure would be nice, wouldn’t it? Here is the Athletics lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- C Brian McCann
- DH Alfonso Soriano
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- 2B Yangervis Solarte
- 3B Kelly Johnson
RHP Hiroki Kuroda
It’s sunny and cool in the Bay Area, so the weather won’t be a problem for tonight’s game. First pitch is scheduled for a little after 10pm ET and you can watch on YES locally or MLB Network nationally, depending on where you live. Enjoy the game.
Injury Update: Brian Roberts fouled a ball off his knee last night and is dealing with some lingering soreness. Joe Girardi said he wants to sit him tonight and tomorrow leading into Monday’s off-day.
Saturday night games on the West Coast should be banned. Yuck, this sucks. Anyway, here is an open thread until the regular game thread comes along later tonight. The Mets are playing and the World Cup is on, so talk about those games or anything else.
The Yankees have officially signed second round pick LHP Jacob Lindgren, according to George King. His father Stephen posted a photo of Jacob actually signing the contract on Twitter, if you’re looking for more confirmation. King says he received the full $1,018,700 slot value for the 55th overall selection. Keep tabs on the draft pool situation with our 2014 Draft Order Tracker.
Lindgren, 21, was in Tampa to take his physical earlier this week. Brian Cashman has already confirmed they plan to assign him to Low-A Charleston once he’s ready to pitch in game. Mississippi State’s season ended early last week, so Lindgren hasn’t been sitting idle for all that long. The consensus is that he could work out of the big league bullpen in the second half, but it remains to be seen whether the Yankees will let him. Everything you need to know about Lindgren is right here. · (17) ·
While the Yankees were busy shutting out the Athletics for their fourth straight win last night, another New York sports team was a couple hundred miles south in Los Angeles, playing the franchise’s most important game in two decades. The (hockey) Rangers were trying to climb out of a three games-to-none deficit in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals, winning Game Four on Wednesday to force a Game Five against the Kings on Friday.
The Rangers lost the game and thus the series last night. It all happened in the blink of an eye in double overtime too, as gut-wrenching a loss as you’ll ever see. Here’s how the season ended:
Brutal. It was over before you knew what the hell happened. Just like that, it was done.
If you’ve been reading RAB long enough you know that I’m a Rangers fan — not nearly as much as I am a Yankees fan, hockey is a distant second sport to baseball for me — so naturally I was pretty bummed out about the loss. But not nearly as much as I have been for recent Yankees postseason exits. The feelings were way different.
To make a long story short, the Rangers were clear underdogs not just in the series against the Kings, but throughout almost the entire postseason. They rallied back from a three games-to-one deficit in the second round and were not the best team in the conference. Not by a long shot, yet they rode an all-world goaltender and overcame some serious adversity to reach the Finals. It was the epitome of the “just get into the postseason and anything can happen” mentality.
So, when the Rangers lost last night, I was disappointed but not devastated. The regular season and especially the postseason run were thrilling and exciting, every step of the way. Following the Rangers as they exceeded expectations and got to within three wins of a championship as a legitimate underdog was not something I was used to seeing as a sports fan. The Yankees are never the underdog. The notion of them even being considered an underdog is silly. That’s just not who they are.
When the Yankees won the World Series in 2009, I felt like there was a sense of relief to go along with the excitement. They were supposed to win. They’re the Yankees. When they lost the ALCS in 2010 and 2012, there were no thoughts of how exciting it was to watch the team get there. All the focus was on their inability to advance further. That whole “win the World Series or the season is a failure” mantra has consumed the franchise and it’s sucked some of the joy out of winning. Not all of it, but some of it. At least that’s how I feel. You’re welcome to feel differently.
Sports are supposed to be fun, right? I watch (entirely too much) baseball because I love it and it’s fun and it’s a great escape from everyday life. There will be some devastating losses along the way, that comes with the territory, but as a Yankees fan the good has outweighed the bad over the years. The opposite is true of being a Rangers fan. There has been more bad than good over the last 15-20 years. So, even though the Rangers lost last night and it completely sucked, it didn’t diminish the ride. All the exciting moments and huge wins over the last few weeks were some of the best times in my life as a sports fan and that’s never going away.
I don’t know, I think this post is coming off as pretty dumb and I’m not sure I’m making my point. I guess I’m trying to say that watching the Rangers the last few weeks was a breath of fresh air in my life as a sports fan. It reminded me that sometimes you’re going to lose and it isn’t a complete and total failure. The memories are still there. I love the Yankees and I choose to be a fan and I fully accept the whole “win or it’s a failure” life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But seeing how the other half lives was eye-opening. If you’re not going to sit back and enjoy the ride regardless of the outcome, then what’s the point?
Four straight wins! It’s been a while since they’ve done that. Almost exactly a month, in fact. Since the Mets and Pirates series. The Yankees rode a quality pitching performance and some well-timed base hits to a 7-0 win over the powerhouse Athletics in the first game of their weekend series on Friday night. Let’s recap the dubya:
- Strike First: Early runs have become something of a habit on this road trip. I approve. Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, and Jacoby Ellsbury opened the game with three straight singles for a quick 1-0 lead, then Mark Teixeira followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0. Just like that, boom boom boom (boom), the Yankees had the lead. A single (Brian Roberts), a walk (Kelly Johnson), and another single (Gardner) led to the team’s third run an inning later. Six of the first ten men they sent to the plate reached base against Sonny Gray.
- Two-Hit Wonder: David Phelps had some early breathing room, and he must have been real comfortable because he carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning. Derek Norris broke it up with a single to left. Phelps allowed a double to Jed Lowrie in the seventh to end his night. His final line: 6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K. Very, very nice. I thought it was the best he looked all season both stuff and location wise. The Yankees have been getting some very good starting pitching of late and Phelps kept it going Friday.
- Strike Second: Tack-on runs? What is this sorcery? The Yankees scored … ready for this? … four runs in the eighth inning to make a comfortable lead a really comfortable lead. All four runs were driven in with two outs too. Ichiro Suzuki (infield single), Roberts (single), and Johnson (single) had the key hits. These late extra runs are something the club has not been able to get at all this year. It was refreshing to watch the rally unfold.
- Leftovers: Ellsbury’s first inning single extended his hitting streak to 17 games. That’s the longest by a Yankee since Robinson Cano in 2012 (23 games) … Dellin Betances and Jose Ramirez combined to record the final seven outs (three strikeouts). Hooray for homegrown arms. Include Phelps in that too … Carlos Beltran was the only starter without a hit while Gardner, Jeter, Ichiro, and Roberts all had two apiece … the 12 hits were the team’s most since the middle game of the Twins series at the end of last month. They went 6-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
For the box score and video highlights, head over to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some additional stats and ESPN has the updated standings. These same two teams will play the second game of the series on Saturday night — yes, a 10pm ET start on a Saturday. I can’t wait for California to break off and sink into the ocean — when veterans Hiroki Kuroda and Scott Kazmir get the ball
Triple-A Scranton (4-3 loss to Columbus)
- 1B Jose Pirela: 1-4, 1 K, 1 SB
- LF Zoilo Almonte: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI — four homers in nine games since being sent back down
- DH Kyle Roller: 0-4, 2 K
- RF Zelous Wheeler: 2-4, 1 R, 1 K
- 3B Scott Sizemore: 0-3, 1 BB, 2 K
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 0-4, 2 K — back-to-back hitless games … you’re not in Double-A anymore, kid
- C Austin Romine: 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 K – 11-for-35 (.314) in his last ten games
- RHP Bruce Billings: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 4/5 GB/FB — 50 of 89 pitches were strikes (56%)
- RHP Alfredo Aceves: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 19 of 27 pitches were strikes (70%)
- RHP Heath Bell: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K — nine of 17 pitches were strikes (53%) … he was signed to a minor league contract earlier today
Sweeping the Mariners in Seattle earlier this week sure was a lot of fun, but life is about to get much more difficult for the Yankees. They are in Oakland for a three-game weekend set against the Athletics, who are the best team in baseball by almost any measures. They have scored the most runs (336) and allowed the fewest runs (206) in MLB. If that doesn’t qualify you as elite, nothing will.
The Athletics took two of three in the Bronx last week but even that one win was tough for the Yankees. Masahiro Tanaka had to grind through six innings and the tying run was at third base when the 27th out was recorded. The Yankees are playing better right now than they were a week ago, though I’m not how much that matters. Oakland is damn good. Here is the Athletics lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury — back in the lineup following last night’s hip tightness scare
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- C Brian McCann
- DH Carlos Beltran
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- 2B Brian Roberts
- 3B Kelly Johnson
RHP David Phelps
It’s sunny with temperatures in the low-70s in Oakland, so pretty much classic California weather. Perfect night for baseball. Tonight’s game will begin a little after 10pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.
Injury Updates: C Frankie Cervelli (hamstring) will rejoin the team on Tuesday, after they get home from the road trip … CC Sabathia (knee) continues to play catch off flat ground … in case you missed it earlier, Michael Pineda (shoulder) will be out until at least August.
Friday: DeCarr received a $1M bonus, according to Jim Callis. So technically he got slightly below double slot. Every little bit counts these days. Keep tabs on the draft pool situation with our 2014 Draft Pool Tracker.
Tuesday: Via New England Baseball Journal: Third round pick RHP Austin DeCarr will report to Tampa to sign with the Yankees tomorrow. They offered him double the $585,100 slot value for the 91st overall pick, so he’s getting a cool $1,170,200. Good for him. That’s a big chunk of draft pool change they’ll have to save elsewhere. (h/t @JoshSabo1)
DeCarr, 19, graduated from high school last year but did a post-graduate year at The Salisbury School in Connecticut. He’s a low-to-mid-90s fastball guy who, on his best days, has an out pitch hammer curveball. Like most pitching prospects from the Northeast, DeCarr doesn’t have a ton of innings or experience under his belt. He was committed to Clemson. You can see all of the team’s picks at Baseball America. · (31) ·
Michael Pineda is not expected to return to the rotation until August at the earliest, Joe Girardi told reporters. He has not had another setback, that’s just the realistic timetable. It’s entirely possible Big Mike will be out even longer than that. That would really suck.
Pineda, 25, has been out since early-May with a strained muscle in his shoulder. He then suffered a setback following an Extended Spring Training outing a few weeks ago and has yet to even begin playing catch. Pineda had shoulder surgery two years ago and guys who have shoulder surgery tend to continue having shoulder problems. He managed only four starts and 19.2 innings before getting hurt.
With Pineda out until at least August and CC Sabathia still several weeks away, the Yankees do not have any rotation reinforcements on the horizon. They’ll stick with Vidal Nuno, David Phelps, and Chase Whitley behind Masahiro Tanaka and Hiroki Kuroda for the time being. They have reportedly been looking at the trade market for rotation help and you can expect their search to intensify in the coming weeks.