About Brad Vietrogoski

Born in Dover, Delaware and raised in Danbury, Connecticut, Brad now resides in Wisconsin, where he regularly goes out of his way to remind Brewers fans that their team will never be as good as the Yankees. When he’s not writing for IIATMS, he likes to spend his time incorporating “Seinfeld” quotes into everyday conversation, critiquing WWE storylines, and drinking enough beer to be good at darts.

Game 26 Quick Recap: BAL 1 NYY 0 (10 Inn)

Well I hope you didn’t miss the big offensive breakout on Wednesday night, because it might have been a one-time show.  The Yankees fell back into their bat coma last night, dropping the final game of the road trip 1-0 in extra innings to the Orioles.

Masahiro Tanaka threw his best start in a long time.  He carved the Orioles up with a sick mix of sinkers, splitters, and sliders, and gave his team ample opportunity to dumb luck their way into a run and win the game.  He was hardly ever in any situation resembling trouble, his command was spot on, he generated a ton of weak ground balls, and he looked every bit the stud he was in 2014 before the injury problems started.  Fantastic outing.  Bravo, sir.

The offense?  Booooo, BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!  They did what they do.  They couldn’t execute a bunt to move a runner over in the 3rd and it stalled a rally before it could start.  They wasted a Starlin Castro leadoff double in the 4th.  They grounded into a double play to end the inning the instant they got another baserunner on in the 7th.  It was a collection of all the 2016 greatest hits and then some.  Maybe this is a really bad string of luck and things are going to even out eventually and maybe these guys really are better hitters than they’re showing.  But they don’t hit.  Period.  That’s all that matters.

The game went into the 10th inning after Tanaka finished 8 and Dellin Betances handled the 9th, and Joe’s brain went in the toilet.  Instead of using a well-rested Andrew Miller to keep the game tied and make sure his team had another chance to hit and score the winning run, Joe elected to use Johnny Barbato and give the home-hitting Orioles the much better chance of scoring that winning run first.  The Orioles singled twice off Barbato and Joe finally went to Miller, who gave up the game-losing sac fly to Pedro Alvarez.  Nothing like having literally no margin for error.  Fitting end to a very bad road trip. Continue reading Game 26 Quick Recap: BAL 1 NYY 0 (10 Inn)

Game 25 Recap: Yankees 7 Orioles 0

Hey, a win!  How about that?  In a stunning turn of events, the Yankees managed to score more runs than their opponent for the first time in 7 games last night.  They scored a lot more runs than their opponent in fact, turning the tables and shutting out the Orioles thanks to a stellar performance by CC Sabathia and big offensive contributions from Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann.

Sabathia didn’t turn back to the clock to his prime and fire a bunch of heaters past the Baltimore hitters.  He actually walked the figurative tightrope for most of the evening.  Baltimore put at least one runner on base in each of the first 5 innings, including 2 in the 3rd and 4th.  Sabathia avoided trouble by inducing inning-ending double plays in both innings and also worked around runners on the corners with 1 out in the 5th by striking out Joey Rickard and getting Manny Machado to line out to center field.  This wasn’t vintage CC so much as it was the type of evolved, lower velocity CC we’ve been waiting for years to see.  He located his fastball well, he used his changeup marvelously, and he kept the Baltimore lineup off balance all night.  He even through in another inning-ending double play in the 6th for good measure.

For a while it looked like it was going to be a wasted outing for CC.  The lineup stumbled out of the gate when Ellsbury led off the game with a double, moved to third base, and then got thrown out at home trying to score on a ground ball to first base.  They were swinging early against starter Tyler Wilson and beating a lot of balls into the ground.  But they finally struck gold in the top of the 6th when Ellsbury singled and stole second with 1 out then moved to third on Brett Gardner‘s single.  Carlos Beltran brought home the first run with a sac fly, and after a Mark Teixeira walk the Yanks tacked on 2 more on a Brian McCann base hit and a throwing error by Wilson.  It took a while, but the cushion was established.

Once it was, the Bombers didn’t take long to build on it.  They put up 4 more runs in the top of the 8th on pairs of singles, doubles, walks, and a hit by pitch.  McCann’s 2-run double was the biggest blow and the 7-run lead was more than enough to preserve CC’s win.

Not that there wasn’t a tiny bit of drama in that preservation.  Joe went with Kirby Yates in the bottom of the 8th in an attempt to rest his bullpen aces.  Yates responded by loading the bases on 2 walks and a double after striking out the first batter of the inning, and in a semi-panic move Joe went to Dellin Betances to put out the fire.  Betances did just that by freezing Chris Davis with 3 straight curveballs and inducing a harmless pop out to end the inning.  Was he needed there?  Probably not.  Do I blame Joe for going to him given the 6-game losing streak and the way his club had been playing coming into last night?  Absolutely not. Continue reading Game 25 Recap: Yankees 7 Orioles 0

Quick Hit: A-Rod To The DL With A Hammy Strain

Well this isn’t going to help the offense break out anytime soon.  The Yankees announced earlier that they are placing Alex Rodriguez on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring.  The team also announced that they called up lefty reliever James Pazos to take A-Rod’s spot on the roster.  This is a double blow for A-Rod and the Yankees because he had been coming around with the bat after a painfully slow start.  Coming into last night’s game, Alex had hit 3 home runs, 3 doubles, and driven in 7 runs in his previous 5 games.  Without his hot bat in the middle of the lineup, the near lifeless offense will have a major void to fill.

As for Pazos, I highly doubt he’ll be in contention to pick up A-Rod’s lost DH at-bats.  The decision to call him up rather than a position player indicates the Yankees are going to give more regular playing time to Aaron Hicks and Dustin Ackley and rotate guys through the DH spot as needed.  Honestly, that’s probably a better plan than calling up Swisher or Refsnyder, and it’s not like the Yankee ‘pen has been as stellar lately as they were in the early weeks of the season.

Worst of all, the Yankees become a lot more boring with A-Rod out of action.  He remained one of the few reasons to tune in and watch this team and now they really need a spark to pull them out of this extended malaise.  Here’s hoping guys like Teix and Beltran and Gardner can step up and lead a rally while A-Rod recovers. Continue reading Quick Hit: A-Rod To The DL With A Hammy Strain

Game 24 Recap: Orioles 4 Yankees 1

[caption id="attachment_81188" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Severino HS vs BAL Too high. Courtesy of the AP[/caption]

It’s official.  This team has completely come off the rails.  I made a point to stay awake long enough to watch the entire game last night, which was a stupid move on my part.  Everything I saw was indicative of a baseball team that’s not just slumping, but isn’t actually a good baseball team.  Bad takes, bad swings, missed pitch locations, dropped throws, failure to tag up on the basepaths, getting doubled off for ranging too far of a base.  Tons of little mistakes that bad teams make.  There clearly isn’t a shakeup to be made with this bunch, not unless somebody or somebodies get hurt and hit the DL.  But damn, they sure could use it because they are plain awful.

Luis Severino was back on the hill after his 3-inning disaster start in Texas, and while this one wasn’t quite that bad it wasn’t good by any means.  Severino battled his fastball command all night, missing by over a foot at times, and his worst misses got crushed.  He left a 2-strike fastball up to Mark Trumbo in the bottom of the 2nd and watched it get crushed to left field for a game-tying home run.  He did the same thing with a changeup in the 5th and Trumbo hit that one over the left field wall too for a 2-run home run.  Inability to hit spots with his fastball and absolutely zero respect for his offspeed pitches from opposing hitters.  That’s a tough combo to work through as a young big league pitcher.

When he wasn’t serving up gopher balls, Severino was putting on a clinic in how to not field your position.  With 2 on and 2 out in the 3rd, he wasn’t quick enough getting to first base to cover on a ground ball hit to Mark Teixeira and he dropped the toss as he tried to find the base with his foot.  Severino did manage to get Manny Machado to pop out and end the threat, but he wasn’t so lucky in the 4th when he did it again on a Ryan Flaherty grounder and Jonathan Schoop came around to score on the error.

Those 4 runs, earned or not, were all on Severino and they provided plenty of cushion for Baltimore starter Chris Tillman.  The Yankees got to him for a token run in the top of the 2nd on a Brian McCann walk and 2 singles by Carlos Beltran and Didi Gregorius and then basically withered up and died.  They put a runner on base in every inning except the 7th, including leadoff walks in the 4th and 6th, but never got any big hits to capitalize on the opportunities.  The biggest blow was in the 6th, when Mark Teixeira drew the leadoff walk and Brian McCann singled to left to put 2 on with nobody out.  Betran lined out for the first out and McCann got nabbed off first when Starlin Castro hit a soft liner to second base.  Not sure where McCann was going on that one, but it was a pretty brutal baserunning misread considering the situation.

Tillman racked up 9 strikeouts in 7 strong innings and the Baltimore bullpen made sure there would be no comeback.  The losing streak has reached 6.  The Yankees have scored 13 total runs in those 6 games.  7 of them came on Sunday night. Continue reading Game 24 Recap: Orioles 4 Yankees 1

Game 23 Quick Recap: BOS 8 NYY 7

There was heavy rain in the forecast all of last night, and there were questions as to whether the Yanks and Sox would get last night’s series finale in.  A rainout would have been a better outcome for the Bronx Bummers, as they gagged away another one late to drop the series, their 5th straight game, and their record to a lowly 8-15 on the season.

It was all about blown leads for Yankee starter Nathan Eovaldi.  He was given a 3-1 lead in the 3rd after a Jacoby Ellsbury RBI double and a 2-run home run by Alex Rodriguez and he promptly blew it in the bottom half by giving up 3 runs on 4 singles and a walk.  The offense came back with 3 runs in the 5th on a 2-run double by A-Rod and RBI single by Mark Teixeira, and Eovaldi blew that lead in the bottom of the inning by serving up a 2-run homer to Travis Shaw.  For once it wasn’t the offense’s fault.  They gave Eovaldi plenty of run support and he couldn’t make any of it stick.

The 6-6 tie lasted until the bottom of the 7th, when Ivan Nova sandwiched 2 outs around a Shaw base hit and exited for Dellin Betances.  Betances has been scuffling lately with some poorly placed curveballs, but it was the heater that failed him last night.  Christian Vazquez was sitting fastball on the first pitch and Dellin threw one right down the pipe.  Vazquez hit it for the go-ahead 2-run shot, giving him his first home run of the season and the Red Sox the sweep of the series.  The Yankees scratched a run across on a double and a wild pitch in the 8th, but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback.  5 losses in a row, 9 of the last 12, and 13 of the last 17.  Truly pathetic stuff. Continue reading Game 23 Quick Recap: BOS 8 NYY 7

Game 21 Quick Recap: BOS 4 NYY 2

I didn’t catch a second of this game and I’m really glad about that.  Feels like I’ve already said that 2 or 3 times this season.  That can’t be a good thing.  Whatever, the Yankees aren’t a good thing either.  They stink.

Masahiro Tanaka was a beast for the first 6 innings, holding the Red Sox lineup to 3 hits and no runs.  He tired in the 7th, put a few runners on, and Joe left him in the game one batter too long.  Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a 2-out, 2-run double off the Green Monster to tie the game at 2 and end Tanaka’s night.

Dellin Betances was ready to enter in the 7th and Joe didn’t go to him.  He came out in a tie game in the 8th and served up his second straight home run to a left-handed batter, David Ortiz to be specific, to put the Yankees behind 4-2 and take the loss.  From a 2-0 lead with 2 outs in the 7th to a 4-2 deficit in a handful of batters.  Those are the type of games the Yankees expect to win, but the bullpen formula failed this time.

– The offense was non-existent again.  A-Rod hit a solo home run early, Starlin Castro went 2-3 with a triple, and Brett Gardner had 2 hits and a ribbie single.  The rest of the team went 1-18.

Chase Headley Watch: 0-3 at the plate and made his second error of the season in the field.  He’s hitting .140/.265/.140.

– The Yankees have scored 74 runs in 21 games.  They’ve been held to 2 or less in 11 of those 21 games.  It’s pathetic.  It really is. Continue reading Game 21 Quick Recap: BOS 4 NYY 2

Friday Morning Links: 4/29/16

Playing catchup here.  It’s been over a week since the last linkaround, but we’ve got a real good batch to get you ready for Yanks-Sawx this weekend after yesterday’s off-day.  Here we go.

– Last Wednesday, Daniel Burch of The Greedy Pinstripes weighed the option of trading one of the Betances/Miller/Chapman relief trio once all 3 are active.  I think it’s too early to think about that, but it’s definitely something the Yanks should do at the deadline if they’re out of contention.

– Last Thursday, Stacey looked at the slow starts for three important hitters over at BP Bronx.

– On Monday, el duque of It Is High… dished his first really good “the sky is falling” rant of the season.  Understandable considering it came right after the Pineda BP game.

– On Tuesday, Marly Rivera of ESPN got Luis Severino’s thoughts on his early-season struggles and what he’s doing to try and fix them.

– On Wednesday, Tanya Bondurant of Pinstripe Alley revisited the idea of extending Nathan Eovaldi this season.  More outings like his last one and that becomes a real possibility.

– Chris Carelli broke down how Masahiro Tanaka has lived up to his contract so far for SNY.

– Yesterday, Mike Axisa dug deep into Michael Pineda and Eovaldi’s problems giving up too much contact.  Check it out for the FIP/BABIP plot graphic alone. Continue reading Friday Morning Links: 4/29/16

Game 19 Recap: Rangers 10 Yankees 1

[caption id="attachment_81129" align="aligncenter" width="388"]Teix K vs TEX Mark Teixeira sings his at-bat music during last night’s game. Courtesy of the AP[/caption]

This one wasn’t good for the old run differential.  Facing possible thunderstorms and tornado delays in the forecast, the Yankee instead fell victim to the Ranger bats.  They beat up a scuffling Luis Severino pretty bad early and cruised out to a big lead that the Yankee offense was incapable of even denting.

So yeah, Severino.  He looked pretty good through the first 2 innings.  I thought he was settling in after a quick 2nd.  But it unraveled for him pretty quickly with 2 outs in the bottom of the 3rd.  The key play might have actually been a non-play.  After Nomar Mazara singled and Adrian Beltre doubled to put runners on second and third, Joe Girardi called for an intentional walk of Prince Fielder to load the bases and face Ian Desmond.  Severino did that and then unintentionally walked Desmond to force in a run.  From there he proceeded to allow 4 more runs on 3 singles and a wild pitch in what ended up being a 43-pitch inning.  Severino did not come out for the 4th.

That job went to Ivan Nova, and he proceeded to seal the win for the Rangers with 4 innings of 3-run ball.  He didn’t walk anybody, but he suffered from the same lack of command inside the strike zone that has hampered Severino and Michael Pineda in this first month of the season.  Nova did allow Joe to save most of the rest of the ‘pen from having to work in this one, but by the time he was out of the game it was 9-1 Rangers.

That 1 run came in the top of the 7th when the Yankees were able to string a walk and 2 singles together off of a tiring A.J. Griffin.  That left them with 2 on and nobody out and they did not score another run in the inning, so at least the anomaly of the Yankees being an even remotely competent offensive baseball team didn’t last long.  They made Griffin look real good over the first 6 innings, hitting a lot of lazy fly balls and infield pop ups for easy outs.  The one positive contributor was Ronald Torreyes, who had exactly 100% of the team’s hits through 6 innings.  The rest of the lineup hardly did anything.

This one was a stinker for sure, but the Yankees can still take the series with a win tonight.  CC Sabathia will get the start against Martin Perez and Joe will have his bullpen horses ready at the end if CC can do enough to bridge them a lead. Continue reading Game 19 Recap: Rangers 10 Yankees 1

Tuesday Morning News And Notes: 4/26/16

There were a lot of little stories coming out yesterday, zero of which we touched on here.  Let’s catch up on them in a little rapid fire notes blog.

– A-Rod’s MRI on his oblique came back negative, so the Yankees elected to not make a roster move for either him or Aaron Hicks.  They played last night with a 23-man roster.  I’m actually a little surprised they haven’t just put Hicks on the DL retroactive to the date he got hurt and called somebody up, but it sounds like A-Rod might be available again soon.  He did take BP yesterday.

– I don’t remember where I saw it, but apparently Hicks played catch yesterday before the game.  He hadn’t been doing much of anything before then, so I guess the advancement to “baseball activities” is a good thing.

Branden Pinder has decided to have Tommy John Surgery to repair his UCL tear.  He’ll be out for the next 12-14 months, which is a major bummer for him and the SWB Shuttle.

– With Pinder and Rumbelow out and Jacob Lindgren going back on the DL with an elbow injury in High-A, the Yankees made a move to bring back lefty reliever Phil Coke.  He had been pitching in the Independent Atlantic League and was mostly bad last year at multiple levels for multiple teams, but he is a former True Yankee and that’s something that can’t be measured.  Being left-handed is so awesome if you’re a baseball player.

– The worst news of the day yesterday might have been the James Kaprielian elbow injury.  He was placed on the DL with “elbow inflammation” and there is no timetable for his return.  The Yankees confirmed that an MRI showed no structural damage in his elbow, so there is no surgery planned for him.  The plan is to treat Kaprielian “conservatively” with rest and throwing, so at the bare minimum we can stop dreaming of him making it to the big leagues this season. Continue reading Tuesday Morning News And Notes: 4/26/16