Game 101 Recap: HOU 4 NYY 1

So Lance McCullers is pretty good at pitching.  Now I see why the Yankees wanted him when the Astros came around asking about Andrew Miller.  He grossly outpitched a shaky Masahiro Tanaka last night to prevent the Yankees from sweeping the series and gaining a game all their major Wild Card competition.

The Yankees got their lone run in the top of the 4th on a Brian McCann solo shot.  McCullers left a fastball in a bad spot and McCann was ready for it.  Other than, he mostly held the Yankee lineup down over 6 innings.  He worked his fastball to both sides of the plate and his curveball was incredible.  The Yankee bats couldn't do a thing with it.  They could barely make contact with it.

Tanaka was not his usual sharp self last night.  He missed off the outside corner to a lot of hitters with all of his pitches, and neither his sinker nor his splitter was working like they usually do.  He had to battle through almost every inning and Houston drove him out of the game after 5 innings.  Walks and wild pitches turned into RBI singles in the 2nd and 3rd innings, but the big blow was a 2-run homer by Colby Rasmus, who came into the at-bat 0 for his last 29.  That made it 4-1 and that was enough for McCullers and the Houston 'pen.

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Game 100 Recap: NYY 6 HOU 3

When you're good you're good, and CC Sabathia was good last night.  He kept the Houston Astro hitters in check for 6+ innings and watched his teammates beat up on Doug Fister as the Yankees took another one from an AL contender and continued to ruin the plans for Team Sell.

Much like Michael Pineda before him, CC got bit early by the longball.  This time it took until the 6th pitch of the 1st, when Marwin Gonzalez clocked one to put Houston ahead 1-0, and it looked like CC was going to be in for a long night.  Then he struck out Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis to end the inning, didn't allow another hit until the 5th, and worked into the 7th without giving up another run before Gattis hit a solo shot to lead off that inning.

The 1-0 Houston lead didn't last long.  The Yankee lineup struck back for 2 in the top of the 2nd when Brian McCann singled and Mark Teixeira doubled to lead off, and came around to score on a Didi Gregorius sac fly and a Chase Headley single.  The Yanks worked Fister hard in the 2nd and in the next inning when they scratched another run across on 2 a pair of singles sandwiched around a walk, and all those early pitches paid off in the 5th.

Fister hit McCann with a pitch to start things off and Teix singled to center to put 2 on with nobody out again.  Just a couple of table setters doing what they do, you know?  Fister intentionally walked Starlin to load the bases with 1 out, but Headley plated a run with a deep flyout and Aaron Hicks of all people came through with a 2-run triple to right to plate the other 2 and give the Yankees a 5-run cushion.

CC used up a bit of that on the Gattis homer and Anthony Swarzak used up a bit on another solo shot, but once Joe went to his real bullpen it was over.  Dellin Betances worked out of a partially self-made jam in the 8th and Andrew Miller was cash money in the 9th.  For what feels like the first time in a long time, to me at least, a good CC start was not wasted.

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Quick Hit: The Prospects in the Chapman Deal

As I am sure everyone knows by now, the Yankees dealt Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs yesterday, for old friend Adam Warren, and prospects Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney, and Rashad Crawford. EJ posted a brief synopsis of the trade yesterday, as did most every baseball website in the land - it was a major deal, to say the least. In lieu of offering more of the same, I have compiled some of the more in-depth takes on the prospects involved in the deal for your reading pleasure.

And, for those of you who may be interested, MLB.com's Prospect Watch updated their Yankees list yesterday. Torres was ranked as the top prospect in the system and McKinney placed fifth, with the duo bookending Jorge Mateo, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez. The list does not include the 2016 draft class as of yet.

Game 99 Recap: NYY 2 HOU 1

 went to bed embarrassingly early last night, so I don't have much to offer on this game.  Here are the quick bullet points:

- Michael Pineda outpitched Dallas Keuchel, going 7 innings, giving up 1 run on 5 hits, and striking out 8.  The 1 run came on the first pitch of the 1st inning to George Springer.  Springer hit it for a solo home run, and that was all the Astros would get.

- Yankees got their runs in the 5th on a Didi double and Chase Headley single and in the 8th when Headley started the rally with a leadoff single and came around to score on a double by Austin Romine.

- Headley and Romine were each 2-3 with an RBI.  Carlos Beltran went 2-4 as he continues to audition for a new role.  Starlin Castro went 0-4 with 3 strikeouts.

- Now back to a twosome, Deldrew Millances worked the final 2 innings to preserve the 1-run lead.  No runs, no walks, 4 Ks.  Business as usual.

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.