Game 43 Quick Recap: NYY 5 OAK 4

The Yankees got their brooms out and swept the A's out of their own park this afternoon, picking up their fifth straight win in the process and bringing themselves back to the brink of .500 as they head home and get a well deserved off-day tomorrow.

He wasn't great by any means, but Michael Pineda was better than he has been today.  The A's got to him for a run in the 1st on a single and a pair of stolen bases by Billy Burns and an RBI groundout, but he held it together from there through the 4th and didn't let things get too out of hand when his 2-out/2-strike troubles crept up again in the 5th.  All in all he held things together nicely through 6 innings of 3-run ball, and that's as good as you can ask for from the team's #5 starter in terms of effectiveness.

The offense got its start with the long ball, taking an early lead on solo home runs by Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury.  But they did their best work after Pineda coughed up the lead in the 5th, immediately erasing the deficit with a 2-run 6th inning.  Mark Teixeira drove in the game-tying run with an infield single and Starlin Castro put the Yankee ahead for good with a run-scoring base knock of his own.  Just for fun, Carlos Beltran doubled home a run in the 7th to keep his hot bat smoldering.

Joe had his bullpen aces rested and he followed the formula after getting 6 from Pineda.  Dellin Betances struck out 2 in a scoreless 7th, Andrew Miller worked around some piss poor middle infield defense in the 8th with a solitary unearned run to his credit, and Aroldis Chapman made it 6-6 in save opportunities with a 1-2-3 9th.

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Game 42 Quick Recap: NYY 5 OAK 1

The good starting pitching vibes kept on vibing this afternoon as the Yankees won their fourth straight game and third straight in this Oakland series, inching ever closer back to the .500 line in the process.  They'll go for the sweep tomorrow.

Masahiro Tanaka was the pitching star of the day today, giving up a single run in 7 innings.  He wasn't overwhelming, but he was much better than he had been in his previous 2 outings.  He was efficient, he got supported by his defense, and he made his best pitches when he really needed to get guys out with runners on to stymie rallies in the 4th and 5th innings.

It took the offense a little while to get going against Oakland starter Sean Manaea, but when they did they made it count.  They got to him for 4 runs in the top of the 4th on 2 walks, 2 singles, a sac fly, and a 2-run double off the bat of Rob Refsnyder.  That came on the 10th pitch of the at-bat and it was the pivotal moment in the game.

The Yanks tacked one on in the 7th on a Starlin Castro RBI double, and Nick Goody handled the final 2 innings without delay.  A chance for a sweep and the bullpen horses will be well-rested.  Hopefully Michael Pineda can get through the first few innings.

Game Notes:

- 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K for Tanaka on 92 pitches, and he got a bunch of GB outs.  He was good on extra rest as he usually is, and he'll have it again the next time he starts after the off-day on Monday.

- 3-hit day for Starlin, who had been struggling a bit.  The first 2 were bloops, but the ribbie double was a solid line drive down the left field line.  It would be nice to see him get back to raking as A-Rod comes off the DL to balance out the lineup.

- Another 2-hit game for Beltran, who scored a run and drove in a run in the 4th.

- Did you know Nick Goody has a 1.64 ERA in 11.0 IP?  It's true.  Struck out 12 and only walked 1 too.  He hasn't really been asked to handle anything super important, but he's been solid.

Game 41: Sabathia vs. Gray

CC Sabathia is back, and I am somewhere between indifferent and excited about it. That may sound like a huge range (and it is) - but it is surprising nevertheless that I am not in the least bit worried, considering how poor he has performed over the last few years. So it goes.

Here's tonight's lineup:

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

Game 40 Quick Recap: NYY 4 OAK 1

I'm tired and I don't have a lot of time this morning, so this one's getting the real quick treatment.  The Yankees won (yaaayyyy!!)

- Ivan Nova was a groundball machine in his 6 innings of work.  He had full command of his sinker and the Oakland hitters could do nothing with it.  Nova recorded 12 of his 18 outs on the ground and used a lot of early strikes and double plays to get those 18 on only 62 pitches.

- That didn't stop Joe from going to his bullpen horses for the final 9 outs though, and they responded as you'd expect.  Betances, Miller, and Chapman combined to strike out 5 in 3 scoreless innings and Chapman picked up his 5th save in 5 chances.

- The offense was 90% driven by Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran.  Gardner went 2-3 with 2 walks and 2 runs scored, and got the Yankees on the board when Beltran doubled him home in the 3rd.

- Beltran went 2-5 with the double, a home run, and 3 RBI.  The homer was a 2-run shot in the top of the 9th to give Chapman a big extra cushion.  Don't look now, but Beltran has hit 5 homers in the last 10 days.

- Chase Headley went 2-4 with a double as he continues his slow climb back to respectability.

- Big second game of the series tonight as CC Sabathia comes off the DL to retake his rotation spot.  He'll be facing Oakland ace Sonny Gray.

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Game 40: Nova vs. Graveman

It's good to have the designated hitter back, but these late start times on the east coast are killer. Here's tonight's lineup:

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

And the pitching match-up is Ivan Nova against Kendall Graveman. 

Death by HR/FB and BABIP

If given only a few metrics to look over, many would suspect that the Yankees pitching staff is absolutely killing it in 2016. The group ranks second in the Majors in BB/9 (2.50), second in GB% (50.4%), third in K/9 (9.10), third in xFIP (3.46), and 9th in fWAR (4.5). Hell, they even lead the Majors in SIERA (which is essentially a Super xFIP that factors in batted ball data).

Despite all of this, the Yankees sit 20th in baseball with a 4.44 ERA. How did we get here?

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Game 39 Quick Recap: NYY 4 ARI 2

Ladies and gentlemen, your new number 2 starter.  Nathan Eovaldi turned in another great performance last night, albeit a shorter one that it probably should have been, and the Yankees salvaged something from this Arizona series.

Eovaldi gave up a leadoff double in the bottom of the 1st, which was a fluke in its own right as a ground ball up the middle that hit the bag and turned into a double, and then proceeded to sit the Diamondbacks down in order.  They were able to turn that fluke double into a run with a pair of productive outs in the inning, but they never put another man on base through the 6th.  18 up, 18 down.  Eovaldi was cruising and looking more and more like the evolved form of himself that has been coming together over the last year plus.

The 1 run in the bottom of the 1st didn't matter because even when it was scored it left the D'backs behind.  The Yankees wasted little time getting themselves on the board in the top half.  Jacoby Ellsbury drew a leadoff walk and Brett Gardner immediately brought him home with a 2-run dinger.  Ellsbury drove in the first insurance run in the 6th by singling home Chase Headley, and scored on a wild pitch in the top of the 9th for the final Yankee run.

Eovaldi was only at 85 pitches after his 6 marvelous innings, but with a well-rested bullpen and desperate for a win, Joe pulled the plug on him and went to his big 3.  Dellin Betances walked 2 but escaped scoreless in the 7th, Andrew Miller gave up a solo home run to Chris Owings in the 8th, and Aroldis Chapman converted his fourth save since rejoining the team last Monday.  It was clearly a case of over-managing by Joe, but it worked out and they got the W so I'm not going to harp on it.  Now it's on to Oakland for a weekend 4-gamer.

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Game 39: Eovaldi vs. Miller

Heading into tonight's action, 129 pitchers have thrown more than 30 IP. Among those pitchers, Shelby Miller ranks 124th in ERA (6.94), 127th in FIP (6.88), and 128th in BB/9 (5.91). Tonight seems to be the sort of perfect storm - a bad pitcher in a hitter's park - that should help the Yankees bats break out. Or it could mean that a formerly solid starting pitcher will find his way against a banged up, disappointing offense. Who knows? That's just the sort of drama that these Bronx Bombers bring to the table.

Here's tonight's lineup:

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Brett Gardner, LF
  3. Carlos Beltran, RF
  4. Brian McCann, C
  5. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  6. Starlin Castro, 2B
  7. Didi Gregorius, SS
  8. Chase Headley, 3B
  9. Nathan Eovaldi, SP

Game 38 Quick Recap: ARI 5 NYY 3

Another bad Michael Pineda start, another loss.  The Yankees dropped their second straight to the Diamondbacks last night as the starter formerly known as Big Mike continued to kill this team with his performance.

It wasn't the 1st inning for a change, but Pineda was quick to put runners on base and runs on the board last night.  Chris Owings tripled with 2 outs in the 2nd and Nick Ahmed hit a hanging 0-2 slider for a base hit to get Arizona on the board.  They tacked 2 more on in the 3rd with 4 singles in a 5-batter span to open the inning, and 2 more in the 5th on a Paul Goldschmidt walk and a Jake Lamb 2-run homer.  Pineda dressed it up nice with 9 strikeouts and only 1 walk, but the 9 hits and 5 earned runs in 5 innings tell you the real story of how Pineda pitched.  That and his 6.60 season ERA.

The Yankees held a brief lead after a Starlin Castro solo homer in the top of the 2nd, and they tried to get a rally going late with 2 runs in the 8th on a trio of singles and a ribbie groundout.  But Zack Greinke held the lineup for his 7+ innings of work and that 8th inning rally ended with 2 straight strikeouts.  Too little too late.

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