Game 51: Sabathia vs. Happ

The Yankees have lost four of six since reaching .500 and the offense has been nonexistent. Will tonight be different in Toronto? Or will the driveling offense continue?

CC Sabathia has been much better than any of us expected. Can he keep that going against the hot-hitting Toronto Blue Jays? We will know the answer to these questions and more in about three and a half hours.

As for me, I simply like seeing Rob Refsnyder's name in the starting lineup. Speaking of lineups, here they are:

New York Yankees:

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Game 50 Recap: TOR4 NYY 2

This team didn't hit leaving Tampa Bay and it kept on not hitting as it arrived in Toronto for the start of another interdivisional matchup.  The offense waited until the game was practically over to get going and it ended up being too little too late for the Yanks, who have lost 4 of 6 since first getting back to .500.

Ivan Nova has been pretty good since rejoining the rotation, but yesterday was not one of his better efforts.  His fastball command was not as good as it had been and Toronto got to him early for a run in the 1st on a single and ribbie double by Edwin Encarnacion, certified Yankee killer.  A leadoff double by Ryan Goin and a walk to Jose Bautista put Nova in big trouble in the 3rd, and Encarnacion got the 2-run inning started with an RBI groundout, and Goins got to Nova again in the 5th for a solo home run.  4 runs in 6 innings is hardly a disaster outing, but the Yankees needed Nova to be much better than that to have a chance at winning.

And that was because their offense laid another big smelly turd right on the field last night.  They got dominated by Marco Estrada for 8 scoreless innings before Brian McCann snapped out of his coma to hit a 2-run home run in the top of the 9th.  That late rally got snuffed out by Drew Storen, and it was really the only real rally the Yankees put together all night.  They wasted leadoff runners in the 4th and 5th and Jacoby Ellsbury couldn't come through with runners on second and third and 2 outs in the 8th.

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Game 49: Eovaldi vs. Odorizzi

The Yankees could use a good start today after the awful one Michael Pineda gave them yesterday.  Nathan Eovaldi has been providing more good starts than bad this season and he has a good history against the Rays.  He'll be on the mound this afternoon with this starting lineup supporting him:

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury- CF
  2. Brett Gardner- LF
  3. Starlin Castro- 2B
  4. Brian McCann- C
  5. Alex Rodriguez- DH
  6. Didi Gregorius- SS
  7. Aaron Hicks- RF
  8. Dustin Ackley- 1B
  9. Ronald Torreyes- 3B

A few pregame notes: Mark Teixeira took batting practice from both sides of the plate before the game, Carlos Beltran was left out of the lineup completely today but said he could be available to pinch hit if needed, and Joe confirmed that the team is not planning to remove Michael Pineda from the rotation at this time.

Here's your game thread if you're watching.  Go Yankees.

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Game 48 Recap: TB 9 NYY 5

A day after Masahiro Tanaka turned in one of his best pitching performances of the season, Michael Pineda took to the mound in the second game of this series and turned in another stinker.  He gave up runs aplenty early and didn't make it anywhere near the halfway point of the game before Joe pulled the plug.  The Yankees were down 5-0 before they even made a full turn through their lineup and despite a valiant effort from said lineup, they were unable to complete the comeback.

- 3 in the 1st, 2 in the second, and an exit before he completed the 4th.  6 earned runs on 9 hits in 3.2 innings for Pineda.  His ERA stands at a ghastly 6.92 and his numbers going back to his final 10 starts of last season are incredibly bad.  It's time to get him out of the rotation.

- The offense racked up 12 hits and put a lot of pressure on in the late innings, but they couldn't come up with the big hits they needed in the 7th and 8th to really draw themselves back into contention.  Chase Headley and Austin Romine led the way with 3 hits apiece, and Carlos Beltran hit another home run.

- Beltran's dinger was his 12th of the year but he did leave the game early with a shoulder strain.  Joe made it sound like he wasn't going to play today, but Beltran shouldn't miss more than a few games.  Without him and Teix today, the lineup will continue to run lean.

- A-Rod went 0-5 with 3 strikeouts.  Even with the home run the other night, he has not looked good since coming off the DL.

- Luis Cessa pitched 4 innings of 1-run ball in mop-up relief, although he did also give up a 3-run homer that provided Tampa's extra late-inning cushion.  If the Yankees do decide to remove Pineda from the rotation, Cessa would slide in nicely.

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Game 47: Tanaka vs. Archer

Tonight's game ostensibly features an ace versus ace match-up, with Masahiro Tanaka squaring off against Chris Archer. Unfortunately (or fortunately for the Yankees), Archer has struggled mightily this season, pitching to a 5.16 ERA and 4.57 FIP in ten starts. Here's hoping that trend continues tonight.

Here's the Yankees lineup:

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

The first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM. Let's go Yankees!

Game 46 Recap: TOR 3 NYY 1

Well that was a stinky way to end this series.  The Yankee offense was nowhere to be found again yesterday.  They wasted a great start by CC Sabathia and fell 3-1 to the Blue Jays.  I didn't follow this game at all as it was happening, so we're hitting it with the bullet points.

- Sabathia really was sharp.  He threw 7 innings of 2-run ball, both of the runs unearned, with 7 strikeouts and 1 walk on a very efficient 83 pitches.  The sharpness of his stuff was there again and it sounds like his velocity was up a bit.  It took a long time, but the big guy looks like he's finally figured out how to pitch without the big heat.

- All the damage against him came in the top of the 3rd, when Didi Gregorius bobbled a ball to give Toronto an extra out.  Jose Bautista singled, CC walked Josh Donaldson, and Edwin Encarnacion singled with the bases loaded to bring home 2.  There's all your baserunners against CC right there.  Talk about a tough luc

- Starlin Castro hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 1st to give the Yanks their only run of the day.  Their only other hits were 3 singles.

- Alex Rodriguez went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts in his first game back off the DL.  Not quite the same as Double-A pitching.

- Carlos Beltran also had a tough day, taking the golden sombrero with 0-4 and 4 Ks.

- Aroldis Chapman gave up a run on 3 hits in the 9th to essentially put the game out of reach.

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Game 46: Sabathia vs. Happ

It's a dose of lefty-on-lefty action for this afternoon's series finale in the Bronx.  The Blue Jays will send out J.A. Happ and the Yankees will counter with CC Sabathia as they look to take their 5th series out of the last 6 and (once again) bring themselves back up to .500.

The Yankees made a couple of roster moves prior to today's game, sending Rob Refsnyder and Chasen Shreve down to Triple-A, calling up lefty pitcher Richard Bleier, and activating Alex Rodriguez from the disabled list.  A-Rod goes right back into the heart of the lineup to replace Mark Teixeira, and that full lineup looks a little something like this:

  1. Brett Gardner- LF
  2. Aaron Hicks- CF
  3. Starlin Castro- 2B
  4. Carlos Beltran- RF
  5. Alex Rodriguez- DH
  6. Brian McCann- C
  7. Chase Headley- 3B
  8. Didi Gregorius- SS
  9. Austin Romine- 1B

First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM local time.  This is your afternoon game thread.  Let's go Yankees!

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Two Out Nightmares

The Yankees' starting pitching has been better lately. Ivan Nova would have notched the team's seventh consecutive quality start if the relief pitching hadn't betrayed him. Six innings pitched with three or less runs allowed will get the job done. One nagging problem that keeps popping up this season is the starters' inability to get the third out of an inning.

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Game 45 Recap: TOR 8 NYY 4

The winning streak is over.  The record has dropped back below .500.  All hope is lost.  Enjoy Arby's.  The Toronto offense decided to show up last night , conveniently when most of the offense didn't, and they beat up on the Yankee middle relief to secure a double-up victory in the second game of this series.

He took the loss in the scorebook, but this one wasn't on Ivan Nova.  He turned in another solid start with 6.2 innings of 3-run ball and 8 strikeouts.  The fourth run charged to him was on the relief pitcher in my book.  Even the first 2 could have been avoided if Chase Headley was able to make a play on a soft grounder.  But he couldn't, the inning continued, and Ryan Goins smacked a 2-run double to right on a 3-1 fastball to put the Blue Jays ahead 2-1.  Nova's other run came on a Russell Martin solo shot in the 6th.

When things really fell apart was in the top of the 7th, when Nova exited after hitting Edwin Encarnacion with a pitch with 2 outs.  Joe played the matchups and went to Chasen Shreve to face lefty Michael Saunders, and watched as Saunders hit a hanging 3-2 slider for a 2-run home run.  Justin Smoak followed up with a double, Martin hit his second home run of the game to make it 7-1 Jays, and the game was essentially over.  

The 4 runs for the Yankees is a tad misleading.  They had but the 1 heading into the bottom of the 7th, and even back-to-back solo home runs by Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius didn't really bring them close.  The sad reality is that the 6 Yankee hits last night all come from the bats of Headley (2), Didi (3), and Austin Romine.  That's the bottom third of the lineup, so when they're the only ones producing the chances of winning aren't good.  Oh well, CC the stopper is back on the hill today.

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