Yankeemetrics: Sweep in scorching Hot-lanta (Aug. 28-30)

(Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports)
(Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports)

Sir Didi The Great
The Yankees ended their offensive slump in style, routing the Braves 15-4 in Friday’s series opener in Atlanta. They scored five runs in the first inning — one more run than they had scored in 27 total innings against the Astros last week.

Didi Gregorius had a truly historic night, going 4 for 5 with a home run and six RBIs, becoming the first shortstop in franchise history with at least six RBIs and four hits in a single game. He also is the only Yankee ever to have that many hits and RBIs against a National League team — in interleague play or the postseason. And, at 25 years old, he is the youngest Yankee to record four hits and six RBIs in a game since a 25-year-old Yogi Berra on Aug. 22, 1950 against the Tigers.

Brian McCann had a homecoming to remember in his first game back at Turner Field since leaving the Braves after the 2013 season. He pretty much did it all for the Yankees, reaching base four times, scoring three runs and driving in four runs. McCann is the first Yankee catcher in team history to have the unusual box score line of at least three walks, three runs scored and four RBIs. The last Yankee (at any position) to reach those totals in a game was Roy White in 1972.

Three is enough
Luis Severino’s fifth start was perhaps the best of his young major-league career, as he threw six scoreless innings with just four hits allowed in the Yankees 3-1 win on Saturday night. The Braves couldn’t touch his slider … the pitch got five whiffs and nine outs for Severino, without yielding a hit.

Severino lowered his ERA to 2.17, the second-lowest by any Yankee pitcher in his first five career games (all starts) in the last 50 years. The lowest belongs to El Duque Hernandez, who had a 2.04 ERA in his first five career starts in 1998.

Brian McCann’s eighth inning double gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead and it was his 15th two-bagger of the season. He’s now the seventh catcher in major-league history with at least seven seasons of 15-or-more doubles and 20-or-more homers. The others? Mike Piazza, Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Jorge Posada, Carlton Fisk and Gary Carter.

Braves move to the AL East, please?
The Yankee bats were once again scorching-hot in Atlanta on Sunday afternoon, as they erupted for 20 runs and 21 hits in yet another blowout win against the Braves. Here we go …

With the sweep, the Yankees are now 12-2 at Turner Field in the regular season, their best record at any ballpark — and the best record by any major-league team at any current ballpark (min. 10 games).

The 20 runs matches the most the team has ever scored against any National League team, interleague and postseason included. The only other time it happened was when they beat the Rockies 20-10 on June 19, 2002.

This is also the second time they’ve scored at least 20 runs this season (also a 21-5 win at Texas), making this the first time since 1939 that they’ve scored 20-plus runs twice on the road in a single season. That 1939 team — which had a major-league record run differential of plus-411 — did it three times.

It was less than a week ago that these same Bronx Bombers were on the losing end of a 15-1 disaster against the Astros. So that’s a 14-run loss and a 14-run win in the span of six days! Yup, this is the first time in franchise history that the Yankees won a game by at least 14 runs and lost a game by at least 14 runs in the same week.

Nathan Eovaldi had his worst start since his June 16 disaster against the Marlins, allowing five runs in five innings as his ERA rose to 4.17. But he still got the win, and is now 14-2 on the season, good for a .875 win percentage. Looking ahead … the highest win percentage in a season by any Yankee pitcher that qualified for the ERA title with an ERA above 4.00 is .778 by Bump Hadley, who went 14-4 in 1936 while splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen. #KillTheWin

The biggest offensive star of the game was — not joking — Stephen Drew, who was 4 for 4 with two walks and four RBIs. He is just the third Yankee infielder (not including catchers) in franchise history to reach base at least six times, not make an out and drive in at least four runs in a game. The others were second baseman Tony Lazzeri on May 22, 1930 and first baseman Wally Pipp on August 6, 1922.

Yankeemetrics: 4 runs, 3 games, 2 losses (Aug. 24-26)

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Naaaaaasty Nate
The Yankees got their 69th victory of the season in bizarre fashion on Monday night against the Astros — their only run came on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning, which gave them the rare 1-0 walk-off victory.

Since sacrifice flies became an official statistic in 1954, this the first time the Yankees have won a 1-0 game on a walk-off sac fly. The last time they celebrated a 1-0 walk-off win of any kind was Sept. 20, 2008, when Robinson Cano’s RBI single scored Brett Gardner from third base to beat the Orioles.

Coincidentally (or not), Gardner also scored the winning run against the Astros, but that wasn’t the only thing he celebrated on Monday — it was his 32nd birthday, too. So, that got us thinking here at Yankeemetrics …

Gardner is just the third Yankee in the last 100 years to score the game-winning run in a walk-off victory on his birthday! Pretty sweet, eh? He joins Jerry Mumphrey (Sept. 9, 1982) and Tom Tresh (Sept. 20, 1963) as the only other Yankees in this very exclusive and obscure club.

Nathan Eovaldi’s ace-like run continued with another brilliant outing from the 25-year-old flamethrower. After firing eight scoreless innings against the Astros, Eovaldi now has a 2.93 ERA in his last 12 starts and has allowed more than three runs just once in that span.

Pitch F/X had him with seven pitches of at least 100 mph, giving him 23 pitches of 100-plus mph this season, according to baseballsavant.com. As of Monday night, the rest of the starting pitchers in the majors had thrown four 100-mph pitches … Total.

Brendan Ryan, True Yankee
When the highlight of a game is your utility infielder throwing two scoreless innings, you know you’ve been on the wrong side of a blowout. That was pretty much how it played out for the Yankees on Tuesday night in their 15-1 loss to the Astros.

Of course, this wasn’t the first time that the Yankees have suffered a lopsided loss this season — the Rangers also tagged them for 15 runs in the Bronx in late May. The only other season in the last 25 years that the Yankees allowed at least 15 runs in multiple home games was 2000.

Brendan Ryan lived out his dream of pitching in a major-league game when he entered in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s debacle, joining Garrett Jones (in that Rangers game) as the lucky Yankee position players to take the mound this season. The last time the team had two different position players pitch in a single season was 1968, when Gene Michael and Rocky Colavito did it on back-to-back days in late August. Colavito is also the last Yankee position player to throw multiple scoreless innings in a game.

Astros starter Dallas Keuchel completely shut down the Yankees offense, striking out nine batters in seven scoreless innings. Combined with his 12-strikeout shutout earlier this season vs. the Yankees, Keuchel joined Red Sox right-hander Ray Culp in 1968 as the only pitchers in last 100 years with back-to-back games of at least seven scoreless innings and nine-or-more strikeouts against the Yankees.

Not panicking … yet
So, about that homefield advantage the Yankees were supposed to enjoy… not so much recently. They went 5-5 on their recently completed 10-game homestand, punctuated by a 6-2 loss to the Astros on Wednesday afternoon, and scored just four runs in the three-game series. Welp.

It is the first time they’ve been held to no more than two runs and six hits in three straight home games since May 12-14, 1999 against the White Sox and Angels. The last time a single team did that to them in Bronx in a three-game span was the A’s in 1990. Yes, the same A’s team that ended up in the World Series that year. (You’re welcome, Houston.)

Michael Pineda really struggled in his return to the rotation after an extended stint on the DL with a strained forearm. He allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings and was pulled after throwing 71 pitches against the Astros. Pineda is now 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA in five starts when pitching on six-plus days of rest this season (and 9-4 with a 3.48 ERA in all other starts).

Yankeemetrics: The last-place curse (Aug. 20-23)

Rare celebration against the Indians (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Rare celebration against the Indians (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Cy Tomlin
This might have been the most boring game of the season, until Joe Girardi got himself ejected in the ninth inning and the Yankees’ rally fell just short, sending them to a 3-2 loss to the Indians in the series opener.

Josh Tomlin held the Yankees to just two hits and one run in seven innings, becoming the first Indians pitcher to give up no more than two hits in at least seven innings pitched at Yankee Stadium since Bartolo Colon on Sept. 18, 2000. Of course, Tomlin entered this game with a 11.57 ERA at the new Yankee Stadium, the fifth-highest by any pitcher with at least two starts at the ballpark.

Cy Carrasco
The Yankees lost their second in a row to the last-place Indians on Thursday, which gave them a 1-4 record vs the Tribe this season and guaranteed they’d lose the season series. Combined with their 3-4 record against them last year, this is the first time that they Yankees have lost the season series to the Indians in back-to-back seasons since 1968-69.

Carlos Carrasco became the latest Indians pitcher to silence the Yankee bats, striking out 11 guys in 6 2/3 innings. He’s the only Indians starter in the last 100 years with that many strikeouts in fewer than seven innings pitched against the Yankees. The last pitcher on any team to do that to the Yankees was the Rays’ Matt Moore on Sept. 22, 2011.

Carrasco has now allowed one run in 18 2/3 innings pitched over three starts in the Bronx against the Yankees in his career. That’s the fewest runs allowed by any visiting pitcher in his first three major-league starts at Yankee Stadium (old or new).

Welcome to the club
It’s amazing what a little run support will do … Luis Severino finally earned his first career win, throwing six innings of three-hit, one-run ball on Saturday afternoon as the Yankees beat the Indians, 6-2.

The Yankees had scored a total of two runs when he was on the mound in his first three starts combined. And then Brett Gardner matched that total with one swing of the bat, hitting a two-run homer in the first inning.

Brian McCann extended the lead with a solo shot, giving him 75 RBI this season, the seventh time in his career he’s reached that number. The only other catchers in MLB history with at least seven 75-RBI seasons within their first 11 major-league seasons are Bill Dickey, Johnny Bench, Ted Simmons, Yogi Berra and Mike Piazza.

This is the second time in four games Severino has pitched at least five innings and allowed no more than three hits. Here’s the list of Yankee pitchers besides Severino with two starts like that within their first four career games in the last 100 years: Dave Righetti and Johnny Broaca.

Babe Lindor
This habit of losing to cellar-dwellars might really come back to haunt the Yankees. They dropped another game to the Indians on Sunday and are now 14-15 vs last-place teams this season; the Blue Jays are 16-11 against last-place teams and the Orioles are 23-7.

Dellin Betances took the loss when he allowed a tie-breaking homer to Francisco Lindor — the first homer that Betances had ever given up to a player batting left-handed. He had faced 302 lefties in his career before Lindor’s eighth-inning blast.

Lindor finished the season with a .433 batting average (13 for 30) in seven games against the Yankees. Over the last 100 years, the only players in their age-21 season or younger to have a higher batting average (min. 25 at-bats) against the Yankees are Claudell Washington (.452 in 1976) and Alex Rodriguez (.434 in 1996).

Brett Gardner reached a milestone in this game, becoming the sixth Yankee with 200 career stolen bases. He’s also just the second player in franchise history to get 200 steals within his first eight seasons, joining Hal Chase, who racked up 243 steals in his first eight seasons from 1905-12.

Yankeemetrics: Bird goes boom, sweep Twins (Aug. 17-19)

(Elsa/Getty Images)
(Elsa/Getty Images)

Thank you, NunEEEEEE
In what might turn out to be one of the wildest and most bizarre games of this 2015 season, the Yankees walked off with a 8-7 win over the Twins on Monday night.

Brian McCann put the Yankees on the board first with a three-run homer in the opening frame, and then after the Twins rallied with four runs of their own, he put the home team back on top again with a two-run single in the third. McCann finished with five RBIs, becoming the first Yankee catcher to drive in at least five runs in a game against the Twins franchise since Yogi Berra on April 17, 1956 (when they were known as the Washington Senators).

Because of Bryan Mitchell’s scary injury in the second inning, the Yankees were forced to use a parade of relievers to finish the game, with none pitching more than 2 1/3 innings. This is the only time in the last 100 seasons that the Yankees have won a game using at least seven pitchers, who each got no more than seven outs.

The Yankees won the game when Eduardo Nunez muffed a grounder with the bases loaded and threw to first base anyways for the out, thereby allowing Brendan Ryan to trot home from third for the victory. Oh Nuneeeee, the gift that keeps on giving for Yankee fans.

Per the play-by-play data at Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index, this is the first time the Yankees won on a walk-off RBI ground out (that’s how it was scored) since May 16, 1985 against the Rangers. That victory 30 years ago was courtesy of a bases-loaded ground out by Dave Winfield that scored pinch runner Rickey Henderson from third base.

“Home runs are great, grand slams are awesome.” – Mr. Alexander Enmanuel Rodriguez

Another night, another comeback win for these 2015 Yankees. This time the hero was a slumping A-Rod (3-for-37 in his previous nine games), who drilled a home run with the bases loaded in the seventh inning to turn a 4-1 deficit into a 5-4 lead and an eventual win over the Twins on Tuesday night.

It was his 25th career grand slam, extending his major-league record, and the fourth time A-Rod has hit a grand slam in the seventh inning or later to give the Yankees a lead. In the last 75 seasons, no other Yankees has hit more than two homers like that with the bases loaded.

The four-run homer was also A-Rod’s 25th home run of the season, the 15th time in his career he’s reached that mark. The only other players in major-league history with at least 15 25-homer seasons are Babe Ruth, Frank Robinson, Reggie Jackson, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds.

The win guaranteed a series victory for the Yankees, their first in the Bronx against the Twins since 2011. In that span, the Yankees had won at least one home series against every other AL team.

Bird droppings
The Yankees comeback train kept on chugging along on Wednesday afternoon as the team rallied for yet another win over the Twins, sweeping them at home for the first time since May 2009.

Greg Bird had himself a day, hitting his first two career homers and driving in all four of the Yankee runs. He’s the third Yankee in the last 100 years with a multi-homer game within his first five career games, joining Jesus Montero (2011) and the immortal Shelley Duncan (2007).

In that span, he’s also the third Yankee first baseman with two or more homers in a game at the age of 22 or younger. The others you might have heard of: Joe Pepitone (1962, 1963) and Lou Gehrig (1925).

Since RBI became an official stat in 1920, Bird is just the second major-leaguer to have at least four RBI in a game this early into his career (first five games), and drive in all of his team’s runs. The other was Vada Pinson, who tallied four RBI in his second career game, a 4-1 win for the Reds over the Pirates on April 18, 1958.

Bird’s sixth inning two-run blast was the game-winner, and put him in some more good company, too. The only other Yankee first baseman in the last 40 seasons with a go-ahead homer in the sixth inning or later against the Twins are Tino Martinez (1996) and Don Mattingly (1993, 1985).

Yankeemetrics: Payback north of the border (Aug. 14-16)


Streaks are made to be broken
So this is what it feels like to be in a pennant race, eh? The Yankees stunned the scorching-hot Blue Jays with a 4-3 comeback victory at the Rogers Centre on Friday night, ending Toronto’s 11-game win streak and jumping back into first place in the AL East.

For a while it looked like the Yankees might never score against the Blue Jays again (they had been shut out in each of their last two matchups) and the Blue Jays might never lose again. But then the eighth inning happened, when the Yankees rallied from down 3-0 to take the lead thanks to an RBI double from Chase Headley and a three-run homer from Carlos Beltran.

With one swing of the bat, Beltran became the first Yankee pinch-hitter to hit a go-ahead homer when trailing in eighth inning or later on the road since Don Mattingly on July 24, 1994 against the Angels. Perhaps even more amazing is that it was Beltran’s first homer on a pitch of at least 97 mph since August 9, 2008, when he got Matt Lindstrom.

Andrew Miller locked down the win with his 26th save of the season … But not before he made every Yankee fan hold their breath for the entirety of the near-eight-minute final at-bat, which ended on the 12th pitch when Miller struck out Troy Tulowitzki with runners on second and third.

How clutch was Miller’s strikeout? Since 1988 (as far back as we have reliable pitch data), Miller is the only pitcher in the majors with a game-ending strikeout in an at-bat lasting at least 12 pitches and the go-ahead run on base.

Second place is for losers
The Yankees made sure that they’d leave Canada as a first-place team, beating the Blue Jays on Saturday 4-1 to take a game and a half lead heading into the series finale.

Masahiro Tanaka called it “one of the most important games” he’s ever pitched in as a Yankee and he delivered like an ace, throwing a complete-game five-hitter with eight strikeouts. It was his fourth complete game as a Yankee — the same number that all other Yankee pitchers have combined for since his debut last season.

Before Tanaka’s gem, the last Yankee to get a complete-game victory against the Blue Jays with at least eight strikeouts and five hits or fewer allowed was Ron Guidry on September 28, 1978.

And finally, Brett Gardner ended another streak for the Yankees when he stole second base in the top of the ninth inning. That snapped a stretch of 19 games in a row without a stolen base by any Yankee, their longest drought on the basepaths since 1963.

Not-Lucky Luis
A sweep would have been nice, but winning two of three against the team you’re fighting for the division lead isn’t bad, right?

The Yankees dropped the series finale to the Blue Jays, 3-1, despite another impressive performance by Luis Severino in his third major-league start. Severino, who allowed three runs in six innings, became the youngest Yankee pitcher with at least nine strikeouts in a game since a 20-year-old Ray Keating on May 19, 1914 versus the St. Louis Browns.

He made a couple mistakes with his off-speed pitches but otherwise dominated the powerful Toronto lineup with his dazzling fastball. The Blue Jays went 0 for 14 with eight strikeouts in at-bats ending in Severino’s four-seamer.

However, the Yankees scored just one run to support him — they’ve scored just two runs in the 17 innings he’s been on the mound — and he once again failed to get his first career win. In the last 100 years, Severino and Dave Righetti (1979) are only Yankees with at least five innings pitched and no wins in each of their first three career games.

The Blue Jays have now held the Yankees to one run or fewer in seven of their 12 matchups in 2015. The only other teams in the Divisional Era (since 1969) to allow no more than one run in at least seven games against the Yankees in a season were the 1990 Athletics — who went 12-0 against the Yankees that year! — and the 1973 Red Sox. And the Yankees still seven more games to play against our neighbors north of the border …

Yankeemetrics: Welcome back, Offense (August 11-13)

(AP/Aaron Josefczyk)
(AP/Aaron Josefczyk)

Can it get any worse?
Just when you thought the Yankees had hit rock bottom last week … Well, they somehow managed to break that unbreakable rocky crust and dig themselves into an even deeper hole to start this week.

Yeah, Tuesday night’s marathon loss to the Indians was that bad.

The Yankees finally scored more than one run — progress! — and actually had a lead in the game — even better! — but Andrew Miller picked the wrong time to blow his first save of the season. Miller’s streak of 24 straight saves was the longest in franchise history to begin a Yankee career, the second-longest in franchise history to start a season and the third-longest in major-league history to begin a career with a new team.

Before Miller blew the save and the rest of the extra-inning sadness played out, the Yankees snapped a 31-inning scoreless streak — their longest since 1991 — and Luis Severino delivered another terrific outing (6 IP, 2 R, 7 H). Severino has now pitched at least five innings and given up no more than two runs in each of his first two career games, but has zero wins on the back of his baseball card. The last Yankee pitcher to start his major-league career like that was … um … yeah, no one in the last 100 seasons.

In the end, the Yankees were beaten 5-4 in the 16th inning, the first time they lost a game that long to the Indians since a 19-inning loss on May 24, 1918. Amazingly, the Indians starting pitcher that day — Stan Coveleski — threw a complete game (yes, 19 innings!) for the win.

Of course, this wasn’t the first time the Yankees lost a game this season that went at least 16 innings. (I tried to forget that 19-inning loss to the Red Sox in April, too.) This is the only season in the last 100 years that the Yankees have lost two games lasting 16-plus innings. Wut?!

Jacoby Ellsbury (0 for 7), Brett Gardner (0 for 6) and Mark Teixeira (0 for 6) — aka, the top of the order — had the worst “hitting” performances of the night at the plate. The last time the Yankees had three of the top four hitters in the lineup go 0 for 6 or worse was July 26, 1967 (Roy White, Mickey Mantle, Elston Howard).

Is it winter yet?
The Yankee bats went into hibernation again on Wednesday night, wasting a second straight solid performance by CC Sabathia in a 2-1 loss to the Indians. And thanks to the fact that the Blue Jays will never lose another game this season, the Yankees fell out of first place in the AL East for the first time since the morning of July 2.

Sabathia has now thrown a quality start in all five games he’s pitched against the Indians in Cleveland. He’s the first Yankee with a streak of five straight road starts of at least six innings and three earned runs or fewer against the Indians since Mel Stottlemyre from 1967-71.

Return of the bats
The Yankees finally broke out of their deep offensive slump with 10 hits and eight runs in Thursday’s win, and avoided being swept in Cleveland for the first time since September 11-13, 1970.

Brian McCann got the fireworks started with his 20th homer of the season, a three-run shot in the top of the first inning. He joins Mike Piazza, Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra and Gary Carter as the only catchers in major-league history with at least nine 20-homer seasons.

Stephen Drew clubbed a solo homer in the second inning to make it 4-0, his 15th dinger of the year, and added a double in the fourth inning to raise his season batting average to .195. That’s better! (But still pretty awful.) Looking ahead … the lowest batting average by any Yankee to hit at least 15 homers in a season was .192 by Steve Balboni.

Despite the offensive outburst, the Yankees running game remained dormant; no one even attempted to steal a base. The Yankees have now gone 18 straight games without a stolen base, their longest streak since 1975.

Greg Bird, the latest Baby Bomber to be called up to The Show, wasn’t invited to the scoring party; he went 0 for 5 in his major-league debut. Bird is the first Yankee to go hitless with at least five at-bats in his first career game since a 20-year-old shortstop named Derek Jeter on May 29, 1995. That guy turned out okay, I guess.

Yankeemetrics: The Bronx is burning? (August 7-9)

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

Offense optional
So what happens when the two highest-scoring teams in the majors get together for a game at Yankee Stadium … of course, the final score would be 2-1.

And what happens when the Yankees have Nate Eovaldi on the mound, who entered the game with the second-highest run support average and tied for the highest win percentage among qualified starters … of course, the Yankees would score just one run and lose the game.

Or what happens when the Yankees face the team with the second-worst record in one-run games this season … of course, they’d get beat by the the score of 2-1 against the Blue Jays, who entered the weekend 11-23 in games decided by one run.

Mark Teixeira drove in the Yankees’ only run with a solo homer in the second inning, his 30th home run of the season. It’s the ninth time he’s reached that milestone, matching Mickey Mantle for the most 30-homer seasons all-time by a switch-hitter.

In the words of the philosopher-manager Joe Girardi, “it’s not what you want.” Nope, Joe, scoring zero runs against a team that is chasing you in the division race is not exactly what you want.

The Yankees were blanked on Saturday afternoon, 6-0, and had just three singles the entire game. It was the first time they been shut out by the Blue Jays at home and held to three hits or fewer, with no extra-base hits, since April 10, 1989. The Yankees were one-hit by Dave Stieb in a 8-0 loss that day.

Justin Smoak broke a scoreless tie in the sixth inning with a grand slam, the first time ever that a Blue Jay had hit a homer with the bases loaded at Yankee Stadium (old or new). The last Blue Jay to hit a grand slam against the Yankees was Tony Fernandez off Ted Lilly on Sept. 4, 2001 at the SkyDome.

Panic city?
So remember when the Yankees had scored 90 runs in a 10-game span and the offense seemed unstoppable? Yeah, me neither. The Yankees were shut out for a second straight day on Sunday afternoon, 2-0, and were swept by the Blue Jays in a series of at least three games for the first time since May 22-25, 2003.

It also marked the first time the Yankees had been blanked in back-to-back games by any team since May 12-13, 1999 against the Angels — snapping their major-league-record streak of 2,665 games without consecutive shutouts.

They were held to three singles for the second straight game, too, the first time they’ve had threw or fewer hits and none for extra bases in back-to-back games at either version of Yankee Stadium. The last time they did that in consecutive home games was September 1919 at the Polo Grounds.

The not-Bronx Bombers have now scored no more than two runs in each of their last five home games, their longest such streak at Yankee Stadium since April 17-May 2, 1969. In those five games they’ve totaled just four runs, their worst five-game scoring stretch since August 1973 on a west coast trip against the Angels and A’s.

And it gets even uglier … this is the first time in franchise history they’ve scored four or fewer runs combined in a five-game span, with all those games coming at Yankee Stadium (old or new). The last time that happened to them in a five-game stretch at home was September 1908, when they played at Hilltop Park. They finished the 1908 season 51-103, the second-worst win percentage in a season in franchise history.