Wild Card Game Recap: Astros 3 Yankees 0

Yankees WC Loss vs HOU

Courtesy of the AP

Well that was a huge bummer.  The Yankees went out of the postseason as sadly and quietly as they entered it, getting shut out and 3-hit at home in the Wild Card game by Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros.  The bats never showed up, Tanaka’s home run problem was front and center again, and the Astros will advance to play Kansas City in the ALDS while the Yankees will go home and start preparing for next year.

This was the biggest start to date for Masahiro Tanaka and he came out looking pretty good.  His fastball was lively and popping the glove and he threw a lot of good, tight sliders in a 1-2-3 1st inning with 2 strikeouts.  Colby Rasmus came up to lead off the top of the 2nd and hit the first pitch he saw DEEP into right for a solo home run.  It was a fastball meant for the outside corner that ended up about thigh high on the inside corner and Rasmus was all over it.  …

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Game 162 Quick Recap: BAL 9 NYY 4

Joe vs BAL

Better figure out some magic for Tuesday night, sparky. Courtesy of Getty Images

I have neither the time nor the inclination to recap this game in full detail.  I have to spend the next 2 days convincing myself that the Yankees aren’t going to get shut out 6-0 at home on Tuesday night.

Game Notes:

Michael Pineda puked on his shoes today in his final 2015 regular season start.  Didn’t make it out of the 4th inning, gave up 4 runs on 6 hits.  Finishes the year with a 4.37 ERA.  That’s pretty terrible when you consider where he was at before the ASB.

Carlos Beltran went 3-3 with a walk today and Greg Bird, Dustin Ackley, and Didi Gregorius all had 2 hits.  I’d bat them 1-4 in some order on Tuesday.

Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-10 with 3 Ks combined.  I’d bat them 7th and 9th respectively.

Chris Capuano sucks, Bryan Mitchell sucks, Caleb Cotham is pretty bad, and James Pazos is nothing special.  …

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Game 161 Quick Recap: BAL 4 NYY 3

Whatever.  I didn’t want home field advantage for the WC game anyway.  The Yankees followed up yesterday afternoon’s loss by completing the wrong side of the sweep in the nightcap and dropping both games to the Orioles.  They’ve lost 5 of 6 and 8 of 13 as they stumble into the postseason.

Can’t put this one on Luis Severino.  He gave up a solo home run to Nolan Reimold on the second pitch of the game and got into big trouble in the bottom of the 1st, but he held that damage at 2 runs and settled down quickly to turn in a pretty good start.  Manny Machado bopped a solo shot off him in the 3rd for Baltimore’s third run, then Severino worked the next 4 innings efficiently and scorelessly to keep his team in the game.

The Yankees battled back from the early deficits with a Didi Gregorius sac fly in the 2nd and a big rally against Ubaldo Jimenez in the top of the 5th.  …

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Game 160 Quick Recap: BAL 9 NYY 2

This one wasn’t pretty.  Not that you would or should have expected it to be with the lineup Joe put out there and Ivan Nova on the mound.  Oh well, guess we’re just going to have to wait until later tonight to clinch that Wild Card home field.

Nova was about as sterotypically Nova as he was in his last outing.  Threw a lot of pitches, gave up a lot of hits, and got burned by home runs on horribly located pitches.  The Orioles got him for a run in the bottom of the 1st on a GIDP after the first 2 batters of the inning singled, another in the 3rd on a ribbie groundout after he hit a batter and Gerardo Parra doubled, and the last in the 5th when Manny Machado finally stopped hitting ground balls and homered off him,  Nova created all his own trouble and wasn’t consistently good enough to get out of all of it.  Nova 101 really.…

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Game 159 Recap: Yankees 4 Red Sox 1

Yankees WC Celebration I

Yankees WC Celebration II

Yankees WC Celebration III

Yankees WC Celebration IV

There it is!  Now was that so hard?  The Yankees finally got to the 10,000 win plateau last night, beating the Red Sox 4-1 to salvage a game from this series and knock their AL Wild Card magic number down to 0.  The Yankees are going back to the postseason for the first time since 2012, and just like in 2012 they’ve got CC Sabathia to thank for it.

Sabathia took the ball last night and turned in another callback CC start.  It wasn’t the CC of 2012 or 2009 who could go for 7-8 innings and 125 pitches, but it was a good enough approximation and a reminder that this guy can still get it done.  CC put a man on in every inning and worked out of almost every jam.  He got Xander Bogaerts to ground into an inning-ending double play with 2 on and 1 out in the 3rd.  He got another double play to eliminate Travis Shaw‘s leadoff single in the 4th.  …

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Game 158 Recap: Red Sox 9 Yankees 5 (11 Innings)

Betances vs BOS

Courtesy of Getty Images

Full disclosure, I fell asleep last night when this game was 4-4.  And boy am I glad I did because this one didn’t end pretty.  The Yankees dropped their third straight to Boston, clawing back from an early 3-run deficit, briefly taking the lead in the later third of the game, and then watching their crumbling, leaky bullpen give it right and lose the game in extras.

The big story last night was Masahiro Tanaka‘s return.  Joe said he would be ready to throw 100 pitches and there were no restrictions on him, but Tanaka sure didn’t look that way to the naked eye.  To me, he looked like a guy who was pitching to protect his hamstring.  He didn’t throw a lot of fastballs, didn’t throw many hard ones when he did, and none of his offspeed pitches had their usual bite.  The Red Sox hitters squared him up a lot in the top of the 1st to create a 2-out rally, starting with Xander Bogaerts‘ single and ending with Travis Shaw‘s 3-run home run to right.…

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Game 157 Quick Recap: BOS 10 NYY 4

Pineda vs BOS III

Us too, Mike. Us too. Courtesy of Getty Images

Blech.  That was gross.  I’ve tried to be a calm, rational, steadying force through the ups and downs of this season, but the Yankees have played some bad baseball at the absolute worst time these last few games.  They aren’t pitching, they aren’t hitting, they aren’t fielding, and they got their butts kicked by the Red Sox again last night to put themselves in a 2-0 series hole and further delay the 10,000th win and clinching of the Wild Card.

Michael Pineda sucked last night.  Say whatever you want about limiting damage and keeping the game close and grinding through 6 innings, but 7 runs in 6 innings is bad and 6 of those runs coming in the first 7 batters of the game was brutal.  The Red Sox hitters were smoking balls off him and his 2-strike approach and execution stunk.  It would have been nice to get a solid Big Mike start ahead of Tanaka’s return.  …

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Game 156 Quick Recap: BOS 5 NYY 1

Nova vs BOS III

Homers always beat sac bunts. Courtesy of Getty Images

This game was all kinds of frustrating.  A “classic” Ivan Nova start, early chances not fully realized thanks both to bad hitting and bad decision making, and a disappearing offense in the later innings.  The Wild Card clincher and 10,00th win will wait another day.

Ivan Nova looked pretty good over the first few innings last night.  His sinker had great movement and he threw some good swing-and-miss curveballs.  He also worked around leadoff baserunners in the 1st and 2nd innings and 2 walks in the 3rd, so it wasn’t like he was in total control out there.  The baserunner bug finally bit him in the top of the 6th, when future AL batting champ Xander Bogaerts snuck a double down the third base line and Travis Shaw followed up with a 2-run home run to left.  It came on a dead middle first-pitch fastball, not a good pitch.  Jackie Bradley Jr.…

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Game 155 Recap: Yankees 6 White Sox 1

Noel-Headley vs CHW

Rico Noel stuntin’ in his pinch runner shades. Courtesy of Getty Images

I said before I left for the weekend that the Yanks taking 3 of 4 against the White Sox would be great, and lo and behold that’s exactly what they went out and did.  They locked up the final win of the series with another strong team pitching performance and some late offensive insurance.

In typical 2015 Yankee fashion, they came out and scored quickly in the top of the 1st.  Jacoby Ellsbury leadoff walk, Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran reaching on back-to-back Jose Abreu errors, Brian McCann sac fly.  I don’t even know if that counts as manufacturing runs because of the 2 errors, but I’ll take it.  Of course, in keeping with the “typical 2015 Yankee fashion” theme, they failed to add any more runs in that inning and went dormant through the next 4 innings despite creating plenty of opportunities against Chicago starter Erik Johnson.…

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