Game 99: Pineda vs. Keuchel

Today was a great victory for #TeamSell, as Cashman sent Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs for top-25 prospect Gleyber Torres, fringe top-100 prospect Billy McKinney, former Yankee Adam Warren, and fourth outfield prospect Rashad Crawford. Calling it a tremendous return may well be an understatement - so much so that I almost want to root for the team to lose so that we can find out what two-plus years of Andrew Miller is worth.

Here's tonight's lineup, as the quest begins:

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Rob Refsnyder, LF
  3. Carlos Beltran, DH
  4. Starlin Castro, 2B
  5. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  6. Didi Gregorius, SS
  7. Chase Headley, 3B
  8. Austin Romine, C
  9. Aaron Hicks, RF

The first pitch is schedule for 8:10 PM.

Weekend Recap: Yankees-Giants

Friday- In the marquee pitching matchup of the series, Masahiro Tanaka outdueled Madison Bumgarner, tossing 6 shutout innings to Bumgarner's 7 of 2-run ball.  The Yankees got to Bumgarner early, but could not fully capitalize on their scoring opportunities, and that left the door open for the Giants to come back and tie the game late against Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller.  The game could have been ticketed for extras had Brandon Crawford not thrown a ball away for his third error of the game.  Chase Headley scooted home and Aroldis Chapman closed things down.

Saturday- This might have been an even better pitching duel than Friday.  Ivan Nova went 7 innings and gave up 1 run while striking out 7, but that still wasn't good enough to best Johnny Cueto's 6 innings, no runs, 9 strikeouts.  A 1-1 game through 11 innings, the Yankees finally fell when the game got to their mediocre middle relief in the 12th.  Anthony Swarzak is no Betances, and the Giants got to him for the go-ahead run.  Yankees went 0-10 with RISP and left 11 men on base.

Sunday- No big 3 and Eovaldi on the mound could have spelled trouble for the Yanks yesterday.  Instead it turned into the most comfortable game of the series, with the Yankee bats teeing off on Jeff Samardzija early (homers by Beltran and Teix) and putting him away late (3-run 6th).  Eovaldi pitched 6 scoreless before tiring in the 7th and watching 2 cheap runs get tacked on by a Buster Posey fluke double down the line.  It was a very nice job by him and an equally nice job by Chad Green to come in and pick up the 7-out save.

Game 95 Recap: BAL 4 NYY 1

I completely forgot this game was on yesterday afternoon.  Looks like the Yankees might have been in the same boat.  They didn't finish the sweep, but 3 of 4 from a team that's better than you is still pretty good.  Even when it doesn't help you a lick in the postseason standings.

- It was a typical CC Sabathia start.  He gave the team some innings (6.2), didn't give up too many runs (2 through 6), and gave the offense a chance to win.  He got burned by some tough bounces on Didi and a failure to put away Chris Davis with 2 strikes in the 1st, and then tired out in the 7th and gave up a first-pitch 2-run double to Jonathan Schoop that sealed the game.

- Yanks put the first 2 runners on in the 1st and got nothing out of it, then plated a run in the 2nd on a Didi double, A-Rod sac fly, and Starlin Castro single.  After that, it was all Chris Tillman.  He retired 16 of the final 17 hitters he faced and completed 7 innings with 7 strikeouts.

- Strange decision by Joe to let Sabathia face Schoop again in the 7th.  Also strange that he went to Chad Green after CC, which killed the chance of Green starting today to give Tanaka extra rest for his next 2 starts.

- Yankees had 5 hits as a team.  Didi's double was the only XBH.  3-5 hitters went 0-11 with 1 BB and 4 K.

Game 94 Recap: NYY 5 BAL 0

Break up the damn Yankees!  They picked up their 3rd straight win against the Orioles and 4th straight overall last night to move to 2 games over .500 for the first time since they were 4-2.  The timing of this team resurgence isn't great if you're on Team Sell, but I always enjoy watching them win more than lose so...

Michael Pineda was on the hill and there was reason to be wary of what he had in store after he got homered to death in his last outing.  He had the good version of his stuff working last night, however, and turned in a stellar 6 shutout innings.  He worked around a pair of baserunners in the 2nd and really got into trouble when he loaded the bases with 1 out in the 4th, but loaded up on his best sliders of the night to strike out the next 2 hitters and end the threat.  The Orioles made him work (113 pitches to record 18 outs), but Pineda made pitches when he had to and held them down.

Offensively the Yankees chipped away at Yovani Gallardo to build a comfortable lead late.  They got a run in the 1st on a Brett Gardner leadoff triple and Carlos Beltran sac fly, another in the 4th on a Mark Teixeira solo home run, a third in the 6th on a bases loaded walk by Teix, and a fourth in the 7th when Ronald Torreyes tripled and came home on a Gardner sac fly.  The icing on the 1-run-at-a-time cake came in the bottom of the 8th when Beltran clobbered a solo homer to right.

That extra cushion allowed Joe to only use Betances for the 7th, and the tag team of Nick Goody and Chasen Shreve finished up the last 2 innings.  The Yankees have a chance to sweep the O's today and have a rested back end of the bullpen to help do it.

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Game 93 Recap: NYY 7 BAL 1

Guess what, gang?  I think the Yankees are back.  I don't really, but I'm sure that's what the non-baseball side of the front office is telling itself today after the Yanks rattled off their third straight win against a tough division opponent.  The beat the Orioles up 7-1 last night at The Stadium.

Starlin Castro has been a disappointment since mid-April and I feel like a dope for honestly believing that coming to the Yankees was going to help him break out, but he came up big early last night to get the Yanks the lead.  Didi Gregorius drew a 2-out walk in the bottom of the 2nd and brought Castro to the plate.  He actually laid off a few pitches in the dirt to work a 3-0 count and then took a fastball for strike 1.  Vance Worley threw him another fastball 3-1 and Castro was all over it, smashing it into the second deck in left field.  His power hasn't been a disappointment.

Those 2 runs were surprisingly plenty for Nathan Eovaldi, who worked the first 5 innings scoreless in his return to the rotation.  He got into trouble in the top of the 6th when he walked the #9 hitter, following that up with a single, a double to score a run, and another walk to end his night.  It was Anthony Swarzak's job to get out of the bases loaded jam and he did so by getting Mark Trumbo and serial Yankee killer Jonathan Schoop to pop out.

That gave the Yanks a chance to tack on and they didn't waste any time.  Brian McCann walked to lead off the bottom half of the 6th, Didi singled with 1 out, and Starlin drove them both home with a double to right.  That pushed the lead to 5-1 and a late Chase Headley 2-run dinger made it 7-1.  Swarzak worked another 2 scoreless innings and the 6-run cushion was enough for Nick Goody to not gag it away in the 9th.

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Game 93: Worley vs. Eovaldi

On May 25, I wrote some incredibly glowing things about Nathan Eovaldi. I praised his newfound consistency, and, breaking from my usual trope, stated that there was good reason to be optimistic about the 26-year-old. He followed-up that post with a strong start on May 29, tossing 6.0 IP, allowing 6 hits, one run, and two walks, while striking out 7. Things were looking up. 

And then Eovaldi allowed 31 runs in his next six starts. His overall line during that stretch: 30.1 IP, 45 H, 12 BB, 19 K, 12 HR, 9.20 ERA, .344/.399/.710 slash line against. His ERA on the season jumped from 3.71 to 5.54 as a result, and he was sent to the bullpen for a couple of weeks. Tonight represents his return to the rotation, against a tough Orioles offense - the same offense that pummeled him on June 3, kick-starting this downward spiral.

Here's tonight's lineup:

  1. Brett Gardner, LF
  2. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  3. Carlos Beltran, RF
  4. Brian McCann, C
  5. Alex Rodriguez, DH
  6. Didi Gregorius, SS
  7. Starlin Castro, 2B
  8. Chase Headley, 3B
  9. Rob Refsnyder, 1B

The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.

Quick Hit: The Yankees Remaining Schedule

Earlier today, Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs wrote a bit about the Pirates having the easiest schedule for the rest of the 2016. He did so (in part) by creating a methodology that he referred to as 'win advantage,' which factors in both projected records and playoff odds. And, in Sullivan's estimation, the Yankees remaining schedule will hurt their record by about 1.5 games:

Phrased differently, FanGraphs projects the Yankees to finish 82-80, and miss the playoffs by seven-plus games. Based on Sullivan's methodology, those numbers may be closer to 81-81 (or 80-92), and eight or nine games. And even the rosiest of glasses could not spin that in a positive way.

Game 92 Recap: NYY 2 BAL 1

The Yankees followed their winning formula to perfection on Sunday night to grab the last game against the Red Sox.  They did the exact same thing last night to take the first of 4 against the Orioles.

This one was more impressive because it was Ivan Nova doing the starting pitching and not Masahiro Tanaka.  Nova surely generated some eye rolls from fans watching at home when he gave up a solo home run to Jonathan Schoop in the top of the 3rd, right after A-Rod gave the Yankees the lead with a solo shot of his own the inning before, but to his credit that was all he allowed.  He walked 3, gave up some hard contact, and had to work out of trouble a few times, but 1 run in 6 innings is a damn good job.

After the A-Rod dinger, the Yankee offense came right back in the bottom of the 3rd to regain the lead.  Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran singled to put runners on the corners with 1 out and Brian McCann hit a fly ball to center deep enough to score Gardner.  A power run and a manufactured run.  That was all the Bombers would get against Kevin Gausman and company.

And that was all they would need with the big three available again.  Dellin Betances walked 1 in a scoreless frame, Andrew Miller gave up a hit, and Aroldis Chapman touched 105 on the radar gun while somehow not striking anybody out in the 9th.  That's 2 straight wins and a trip back to the .500 threshold for the Yanks.

Game Notes:

- A-Rod's 2nd inning homer was crushed.  He was looking fastball in a fastball count and he pasted it deep into the left field bleachers.  If only he could face Gausman more often.

- 3-hit night for Beltran.  He's swinging like he wants to make his way onto a real contending team soon.

- Rob Refsnyder got the start at first base again while Teix nurses a sore foot.  I imagine that will continue for the next few games at least.

- Second start allowing 1 ER in the last 3 for Nova.  I doubt he has any real trade value heading to the deadline, but overall he's pitched better than a few other guys in the rotation the last few turns through.

Game 92: Gausman vs. Nova

The first pitch for this evening is scheduled for 7:05 pm. Here's tonight's lineup:

  1. Brett Gardner, LF
  2. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  3. Carlos Beltran, RF
  4. Brian McCann, C
  5. Alex Rodriguez, DH
  6. Didi Gregorius, SS
  7. Starlin Castro, 2B
  8. Chase Headley, 3B
  9. Rob Refsnyder, 1B