Weekend Recap: Yanks vs. Orioles

Friday (NYY 14 BAL 4)- This one got out of hand early.  The Yankees put 8 runs on the board in the first 2 innings, including a 6-run 2nd, and led 12-1 after 5.  Teix, Chase Headley, and Gary Sanchez all hit 2-run homers, Brett Gardner drove in 3, Ronnie T stayed hot, and Luis Cessa did a good enough job avoiding too much damage in his 6 innings of work.  Not a good night for Buck or his pitching staff.

Saturday (NYY 13 BAL 5)- More of the same from the Yankee offense.  They got out 5-2 after 4 innings, and when Baltimore climbed back within 1 on back-to-back solo shots in the top of the 5th, they turned it on again for 7 runs over the next 2 innings to put the game away.  Chad Green wasn't quite as successful as Cessa in avoiding damage and that put more on the New York 'pen, but they held up well in the late innings and got big games from Starlin Castro, Brian McCann, and Aaron Hicks.

Sunday (BAL 5 NYY 0)- The Yanks definitely used up all the runs in the first 2 games.  For what felt like the 5th or 6th time this year, they got outmatched by Kevin Gausman and his fastball/changeup combination.  He pitched 7 scoreless innings with 9 strikeouts while a few big Baltimore hits in the 7th inning ruined what was a pretty good CC Sabathia start.  Sanchez and Ronnie T did their job (2 hits apiece), but it wasn't enough to overcome the mighty Gausman.

Weekend Games Thread

On Saturday afternoon, the Yankees will get their first look at Dylan Bundy the starting pitcher. After missing a great deal of time from 2013 through 2015, Bundy has begun to round into form as a big leaguer. Through his first eight starts, he's pitched to the following line - 43.0 IP, 32 H, 14 BB, 42 K, 3.56 ERA. Considering the fact that many thought that Bundy's career may have been over before it really started, it's great to see him having some measure of success. And, for those optimists out there, he's still only 23-years-old.

The Yankees will counter Bundy with Chad Green, who has also found his stride of late. He's allowed just one run in his last two starts (12 IP), striking out 16 against one walk. 

And on Sunday, Kevin Gausman will square-off against ... TBA. Or TBD, depending upon where you look. Michael Pineda is in-line for the start, but the team has not made an official announcement as to who will be toeing the rubber on Sunday afternoon as of this writing. 

Game 127: Gallardo vs. Cessa

When I sat down to throw this game thread together, these were the lineups that greeted me:

Note the Yankees starting pitcher - one Aaron Dott. Mr. Dott has not thrown a professional pitch since July 27 of last year, though it does seem as though he got married on October 24, 2015. So there's that. Unfortunately, the YES Network is reporting that Luis Cessa is starting tonight.

The rest of the lineup is completely accurate, at least.

The Understated Brilliance of Masahiro Tanaka

The overarching theme of the Yankees season has been the team finally embracing its youth movement. Rookies Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge are the regulars at catcher and in right field, respectively, and fellow rookies Chad Green and Luis Cessa are the team's fourth and fifth starters. The 25-man roster has seven players that are 25 or younger, and its middle infield is made-up of a couple of 26-year-olds. This is the youngest group that we have seen in quite some time. 

And in the midst of this all, lest I bury the lede too far, is Masahiro Tanaka.

It seems as though few realize just how young Tanaka is, particularly comparatively speaking. He will not be 28-years-old until November 1, and he is more than seven months younger than Dellin Betances. He's more than a year younger than Adam Warren, and only a couple of months older than Michael Pineda. He's younger than Corey Kluber and Chris Archer, and only a few months older than Rick Porcello, Danny Duffy, and Jose Quintana. While I wouldn't suggest that he should be compared to the Jose Fernandezes and Noah Syndergaards of the world, it is important to contextualize just how young he is.

More importantly, though, we have reached the point wherein Tanaka has become underappreciated as a top of the rotation performer. When the focus does swing in his direction, it tends to linger on his elbow, and its potential for disaster. Meanwhile, he is one of the very best starters in the American League this year. 

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Game 126 Recap: NYY 5 SEA 0

Once again it wasn't the sweep it should have been, but the Yankees looked pretty damn good closing out their road trip yesterday with a crisp, commanding, all-around well played win over the Mariners.

Masahiro Tanaka was back on the bump following his 7 shutout innings against the Angels and he picked up right where he left off, throwing another 7 scoreless against a slightly better Seattle lineup.  He wasn't as dominant as last time.  He had to work out of consecutive 2 on/1 out situations in the 2nd and 3rd innings.  But once he cleared those hurdles, Tanaka was on point.  He got ahead in the count, he mixed pitches, and he finished strong, retiring the final 8 batters he faced in order and recording 4 of his 5 strikeouts in that span.

The offense wasn't electric as a whole, but it was consistent in putting runs on the board against Hisashi Iwakuma.  They got started with a bang on yet another Gary Sanchez moonshot in the top of the 1st.  It was a hanger and Sanchez waited on it to bash it into the left field upper deck.  From there the Yankees tacked on runs in the 2nd (Tyler Austin single), 4th (Brett Gardner sac fly), 7th (Mark Teixeira single), and 9th (Starlin Castro sac fly).

Joe had a well-rested bullpen and a day off today, so he used his best to finish the game off.  Tyler Clippard got into some trouble in the 8th, and that brought on Dellin Betances for the 4-out close.  He struck out 3 batters for 75% of the outs and picked up a save for the effort thanks to his early entry in the 8th.  Not a bad way to finish up a road trip.

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Game 126: Tanaka vs. Iwakuma

Today marks the Yankees last game West of Kansas City, and that comes as a relief for those of us that enjoy both watching the games and getting to bed at a reasonable hour. The team's latest start time for the rest of the season is 8:10 PM (barring some weather shenanigans, of course). Here's this afternoon's lineup:

  1. Brett Gardner, LF
  2. Didi Gregorius, SS
  3. Gary Sanchez, C
  4. Mark Teixeira, DH
  5. Starlin Castro, 2B
  6. Aaron Judge, RF
  7. Aaron Hicks, CF
  8. Tyler Austin, 1B
  9. Ronald Torreyes, 3B

The first pitch is scheduled for 3:40 PM.

Game 125 Recap: NYY 5 SEA 1

Remember when CC Sabathia used to be the stopper in the rotation?  Those were good times.  He called back to those times last night, turning in one of his best starts of the season to lead the Yankees to a 5-1 win and end their brief 2-game skid.

Seattle got its 1 run in the bottom of the 3rd on a 1-out triple by Leonys Martin and ribbie single by Ketel Marte, but it was more a bad route in right field by Aaron Judge that led to the triple than a bad pitch by CC.  Other than that inning, CC held the Mariners to 1 hit and struck out 7 in 7 total innings and he was in complete command of his stuff all night.

The Yankee offense spread its run out across the whole game.  They got on the board first in the top of the 2nd when the red hot Ronald Torreyes doubled in Aaron Judge, and assumed the lead on Jacoby Elslbury's 2-run home run in 5th.  Judge came through with a sac fly to make it 4-1 in the 6th inning, and Didi Gregorius doubled in Ellsbury for good measure in the 9th.

Joe didn't need much from his bullpen thanks to Sabathia's strong outing, and the tandem of Tommy Layne and Dellin Betances gave him no reason for concern over the final 2 innings.  The Yanks can come back to take the series on the final game of the road trip this afternoon.

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Game 125: Sabathia vs. Walker

Heading into this evening's game, Sabathia's season can be split neatly into eleven game halves. And it works out surprisingly well, given that he pitched quite well in start number eleven (6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 7 K), and horrendously in start twelve (4.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 3 K). Here is the full breakdown:

The first 11: 65.1 IP, 54 H, 27 BB, 56 K, 2 HR, 2.20 ERA, 3.30 FIP

The next 11: 65.0 IP, 77 H, 24 BB, 54 K, 13 HR, 6.78 ERA, 5.33 FIP

That's kind of incredible, isn't it? His BABIP also jumped 31 points, and his HR/FB climbed by 15.7 percentage points. And that's the difference between a contributing member of a starting rotation, and a sub-replacement albatross. At least there's only one year left on the deal.

Here's tonight's lineup:

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Didi Gregorius, SS
  3. Gary Sanchez, DH
  4. Starlin Castro, 2B
  5. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  6. Brian McCann, C
  7. Aaron Judge, RF
  8. Aaron Hicks, LF
  9. Ronald Torreyes, 3B

The first pitch is scheduled for 10:10 PM.

Quick Hit: Gary Sanchez and the Rookie Leaderboard

Have you used FanGraphs' wonderful rookie leaderboard recently? If not, I recommend doing so, and lowering the plate appearance threshold all the way down to 0. Take a look at the American League position players. It sorts automatically by WAR - a counting stat - so there are precious few shenanigans afoot. Check it out. I'll wait.

Actually, I'm not going to wait. I'm too excited, sample sizes be damned. I'll do it for you. Take a look at line number 2:

How about that?

And, for those of you who may be curious, he ranks sixth among all rookie position players in WAR.