Game 103 Quick Recap: CHW 8 NYY 2

Tough go for the Yankees last night in the second game of this Second City weekend series.  They didn’t pitch well and they didn’t hit much.  Baseball games are hard to win when you don’t do those things.

Bryan Mitchell got the spot start and he showed flashes of the potential that’s always kept him on the Yankees’ top prospect lists.  His fastball was lively and his curveball drew some swings and misses.  He also gave up a lot of hard contact and the White Sox got to him for 4 runs in his 4 innings of work.  Alexei Ramirez tagged him for a solo home run in the bottom of the 2nd, which is always embarrassing, and he set the stage for Melky Cabrera‘s 3-run homer in the 5th that basically put the game away.

Didi Gregorius was responsible for the first Yankee run on a 3rd inning sac fly.  It could have been a 3-run home run if it wasn’t for Avisail Garcia making a leaping catch at the wall.  Brian McCann did hit a ball over the wall late for the second run, but in between there wasn’t much else to speak of.  Just a bad day all-around.

Game Notes:

– The top 5 spots in the order (Ellsbury, Gardner, A-Rod, Teix, Young) combined to 0-16 with 4 BB and 8 K.  It’s not what you want.

Diego Moreno came on in relief of Mitchell and this outing wasn’t nearly as good as his Tuesday outing.  He gave up the 3-run homer to Melky and gave up 4 runs on 4 hits without striking out a single batter in 3 innings.

John Ryan Murphy went 1-2, his 5th straight game with a hit.  He’s actually got 9 hits and 5 RBI in those last 5 games and is hitting .289/.330/.402 on the year. Continue reading Game 103 Quick Recap: CHW 8 NYY 2

Game 102 Recap: Yankees 13 White Sox 6

The Yankees were reeling heading into Chicago for this weekend series.  Coming off 2 straight losses for the first time since July 7th and a trade deadline that passed without them making any more moves, they were basically a dead stick and set up to miss the playoffs altogether.  They needed a miracle to get the ship righted and they got one in Carlos Rodon.  He served up a ton of tasty pitches early and the Yankee bats feasted on them to build a big early lead that they would never give up.

The Yanks got to Rodon for a run in the 1st on a pair of doubles by A-Rod and Carlos Beltran sandwiched around a Mark Teixeira walk.  Teix factored much more prominently in the scoring in the 2nd when he hit a 2-out grand slam to give his team a 6-0 lead.  The top half of the order was locked in on Rodon and they knocked him out in the 4th after Chris Young doubled to lead off the inning and scored on 2 wild pitches, and A-Rod walked again.  That brought up Teix again and he clubbed another home run off reliever Matt Albers to give the Yankees 9 runs and a 7-run lead.

New York starter Nathan Eovaldi looked like he was going to have another strong night after striking out 2 in each of the first 2 scoreless innings.  But he served up a 2-run shot to Jose Abreu in the bottom of the 3rd and his game deteriorated to what’s been its normal state for most of the season.  Eovaldi wasn’t efficient with his pitch count, he couldn’t keep guys off the bases or runs off the board in the 4th and 5th, and he left the game with 2 outs in the 6th and 2 men on base.  The one thing the Yankees really need Eovaldi to provide is consistent length and he couldn’t do it last night.

Adam Warren got the call to mop up after Eovaldi and he pitched 2.1 innings of 2-run ball with 4 strikeouts.  Such a waste.  The lineup tacked on 2 more runs after the Teix dinger in the 4th and a run each in the 5th and 6th to blow the game wide open and remove all pressure.  This gave Joe the opportunity to rest his bullpen horses and he did that while Nick Goody finished things up in the 9th. Continue reading Game 102 Recap: Yankees 13 White Sox 6

Game 101 Recap: Rangers 7 Yankees 6

[caption id="attachment_77313" align="aligncenter" width="550"]TEX Walk-Off vs NYY Womp. Courtesy of the AP[/caption]

Well that’s not the way you want to end a road series.  After taking the first 2 games in Texas handily, the Yankees fell again last night, coughing up a late-inning lead and dropping their second straight to the Rangers.  CC Sabathia did not pitch well (as usual), but it was the bullpen failing to hold the lead that really did the Yanks in.

As they typically do, the Yankee offense got going in a hurry.  Jacoby Ellsbury led off the game with a bloop shot to left that turned into a double and a fielding error to put him on third, and Brett Gardner sac flew him home to make it 1-0.  Mark Teixeira doubled it up with a 2-out solo home run and a single-walk-single rally culminated in a Chase Headley RBI base hit and a 3-0 Yankee lead after 1.

It would be a very short-lived lead.  The Rangers’ first 2 hitters got on with infield singles, and with 2 outs CC hung a slider to Josh Hamilton that Hamilton hit for a 3-run home run.  That’s why CC sucks these days.  Creates too much trouble for himself and he isn’t even close to good enough to work out of it anymore.  To make matters worse, Shin-Soo Choo clubbed a solo shot off a 2-0 meatball to lead off the bottom of the 2nd and the Rangers took the lead…

… That was also very short-lived.  The Yankees came right back in the top of the 3rd on a Brian McCann 2-run shot off of Yovani Gallardo.  He was matching CC bad pitch for bad pitch and wasn’t fooling anybody with his stuff.  Unfortunately, the Yanks could never tack on more.  They wasted a leadoff single in the 4th and a leadoff single/followup walk in the 5th when McCann and Carlos Beltran lined out and Chase Headley flew out to center.  That inning really hurt them.

The final run charged to CC came on an inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the 4th, and this one wasn’t his fault.  Ellsbury tried to make a sliding catch on a line drive to center and didn’t come close.  The ball got by him and went all the way to the wall, and of course Beltran isn’t tracking down anything in any kind of a timely fashion.  That’s on Ellsbury all the way.  You have to read that better and know you don’t have a play on it.  Just keep the ball in front of you and keep the guy at first base.

Sabathia still sucked though, and while it was wise of Joe to not give him much of a leash after 5 innings, it was pretty dumb to have that leash be 1 pitch.  He removed Sabathia after a leadoff single in the 6th, which made the situation tougher for the incoming Justin Wilson.  He got out of it, but the point remains.

The Yanks re-took the lead in the top half of the 7th on another Teix message, this one against reliever Keone Kela, but once again lost it just as quickly.  A leadoff walk and a wild pitch set the Rangers up in the bottom half, and Dellin Betances couldn’t shut the door after taking over for Wilson.  Elvis Andrus singled to put runners on the corners, and the tying run scored on a fielder’s choice groundout by Prince Fielder.  The Yanks probably didn’t have a shot at turning 2, but Stephen Drew didn’t help the chances by throwing a crap ball to Didi for the turn.

Betances wasn’t especially sharp, and he had to come out for Nick Goody in the 8th.  Goody handled his business, but Joe made the short leash mistake again in the 9th.  He let Goody go back out, then yanked him for Andrew Miller after a leadoff walk.  Just start the inning with Miller!!  Regardless, Miller got hit hard, walked a batter with 2 outs, and surrendered the walk-off hit to Hamilton in the next at-bat.  Ballgame.

A tough loss for sure, but there’s really no cause for the level of panic and anger I was seeing on Twitter last night.  The Yankees are still 6 games up in the division, and despite playing bad baseball last night they still had a lead in the 7th inning with their stacked bullpen ready.  That’s what you want and they got it.  Sometimes the bullpen doesn’t come through.  Everybody just needs to relax. Continue reading Game 101 Recap: Rangers 7 Yankees 6

Game 100 Recap: Rangers 5 Yankees 2

[caption id="attachment_77246" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Tanaka-McCann vs TEX Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

The Yankees were bound to lose a game in this series at some point.  Figured it would be last night as the follow-up to the mauling they put on the Rangers on Tuesday.  Masahiro Tanaka wasn’t especially sharp in his start, and the offense never got going against Colby Lewis despite some early runs.  Oh well.  Series victory still intact heading into tonight’s series finale.

It looked like it was shaping up to be a productive night against Lewis in the top of the 2nd.  Carlos Beltran smacked a solo home run to start the inning, and a pair of singles by the middle infield combo put runners on the corners with 2 outs.  Jacoby Ellsbury came up and lined a ribbie single up the middle to make it 2-0, and the Yankees were off and running.

Or not.  Lewis retired the side in order in the 3rd, got a strike ’em out/throw ’em out double play to end the 4th, and Brett Gardner hit into another double play to end the 5th.  Lewis got through 6 and the Texas bullpen held the Yankees to 1 hit over the final 3 innings.

Tanaka was off again and it showed early.  He gave back the 2-run lead he was given in the bottom half of the 2nd on 4 singles and a walk, and the inning was defined by his complete inability to locate his splitter.  He was able to work around multiple baserunners in the 3rd and 4th innings, but gave up a run in the 5th on a GIDP after the first 2 hitters of the inning singled.  He wasn’t efficient, he had spotty command, and he was very hittable in the strike zone.  But hey, at least nobody took him yard.

The final Texas run came in the 7th on a 1-out walk, a fielding error by Didi Gregorius, and a Josh Hamilton 2-out single.  That hit came off Caleb Cotham, the latest Triple-A arm to make his debut this season.  He came on in relief of Chasen Shreve in the 7th and got the final 5 outs for the Yankees. Continue reading Game 100 Recap: Rangers 5 Yankees 2

Game 99 Recap: Yankees 21 Rangers 5

21 unanswered runs.  Is that good?

Last night’s game was about as ridiculous as a Major League game could be.  Spot starter Chris Capuano didn’t make it out of the bottom of the 1st for the Yankees, surrendering 5 runs on 3 hits and 5 walks while recording only 2 outs.  It looked like the Yankees were going to be in for a long night.  And then the top of the 2nd happened.

[caption id="attachment_77229" align="aligncenter" width="903"]Yanks Top 2nd vs TEX Courtesy of ESPN.com[/caption]

11 runs, 10 hits, 1 walk, 1 HBP.  The first 8 batters of the inning reached base.  Brendan freaking Ryan had 2 extra-base hits in the inning!! And somehow, strangely enough, the Rangers struck out the side.  Ya know, Suzyn, sometimes you just can’t predict baseball.

The onslaught continued from there, finally ending at 3 touchdowns and 3 extra points while Texas didn’t record another hit against Yankee pitching after the 1st.  It’s almost like a blowout loss in the sense that there really isn’t any need to recap all the details of the game.  That image and the final score speak for themselves.  The Yankees are a good baseball team right now, even when their 9th and a half starter isn’t. Continue reading Game 99 Recap: Yankees 21 Rangers 5

Game 98 Recap: Yankees 6 Rangers 2

[caption id="attachment_77180" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Didi HR vs TEX Best shortstop in town. Courtesy of the AP[/caption]

New York, Minnesota, Texas, doesn’t matter where.  The Yankees show up at the ballpark on any given day and they’re probably going to beat you.  That’s just how things are going right now.  Everybody is chipping in, everybody has their turn to contribute, and the Bombers are rolling like a well-oiled baseball machine as they pull away in the AL East.

Ivan Nova got the start last night and once again he turned in an outing that wasn’t nearly as good as his line made it look.  The Rangers got to him for 2 runs in the bottom of the 2nd, all generated with 2 outs.  Josh Hamilton singled and scored of Elvis Andrus‘ double, then Andrus came home on a Lenonys Martin.  The Rangers looked like they were going to put a hurting on Nova, then he managed to get through the next 3 innings scoreless.  He had to escape a bases loaded/1 out situation in the 4th with a couple ground ball outs, and he put 2 men on with 2 outs again in the 5th, but no more runs crossed.  He wasn’t all that sharp and he put 8 men on base in 5 innings, but Nova gave the Yanks just enough to have a chance.

They grabbed that chance in the top of the 3rd when Chase Headley led off with a base hit and Didi Gregorius homered (!!) on a Matt Harrison first-pitch fastball to tie the game at 2.  Brendan Ryan tripled after that and Brett Gardner walked to keep the rally going.  A Chris Young sac fly plated the go-ahead run but Alex Rodriguez banged into an inning-ending double play to put the brakes on a potentially big inning.

No matter.  He just made up for it when he came to the plate for a third time in the top of the 6th.  He knew what Harrison had at that point and he didn’t budge when Harrison threw 4 straight fastballs, only 1 for a strike, to start the at-bat.  Harrison tried to throw a fifth straight one down and away and A-Rod went with the pitch, driving it just out over the right field wall for a home run.  Happy birthday indeed.

Didi provided the insurance with a 2-run single in the 7th and Joe turned the game over to his well-rested ‘pen upon Nova’s departure.  Chasen Shreve was spectacular in 2 scoreless innings, striking out 4 and making guys look plain silly on a couple swings.  Justin Wilson handled a scoreless 8th and Dellin Betances shook off some mini-rust on a walk in the 9th before gathering it up and shutting the Rangers down.  The Yankee formula working to perfection again. Continue reading Game 98 Recap: Yankees 6 Rangers 2

Game 97 Quick Recap: NYY 7 MIN 2

The Yankees flipped the script on what was shaping up to be a crummy weekend with last night’s A-Rod-aided come-from-behind victory in Minnesota.  They kept those good vibes rolling this afternoon, sans A-Rod, to beat the Twins again and rack up another 2-1 series victory.

Nathan Eovaldi was today’s starter, and for the first time in a while it felt appropriate and accurate to describe his performance as nasty.  The Twins got to him in the 3rd for a solitary run on a pair of singles and an RBI groundout, but other than that they could do nothing.  Eovaldi recorded 4 of his first 5 outs via the strikeout, then settled into a very efficient and dominant ground ball-heavy outing.  He got multiple GB outs in every inning from the 4th through the 7th and pitched into the 9th for the first time this season.  This was the first major step forward for Eovaldi in his development in a while, and it was a glance at the type of GB/K pitcher the Yankees envision him being for years to come.

Offensively, it was a slow start for the Yanks without their #3 hitter.  They didn’t do anything against Twins’ starter Kyle Gibson over the first 4 innings.  But they got a run in the 5th to tie the game on a Chase Headley solo home run, and they broke the game open with a 6-run 6th.  They sent 9 men to the plate in the inning, recorded 3 singles, 2 walks, an RBI safety squeeze play by Didi Gregorius, and an exclamation point 2-run homer by Stephen Drew to take a comfortable 7-1 lead.

Eovaldi’s leash was short in the 9th and he left after giving up a leadoff double to Miguel Sano.  Justin Wilson allowed that run to score on a Trevor Plouffe single and didn’t record an out, but no worry.  Dellin Betances came on to take care of everything.  Take another couple games off the magic number countdown.  We’re officially below 60 with a 7-game lead in the loss column. Continue reading Game 97 Quick Recap: NYY 7 MIN 2

Game 96 Recap: Yankees 8 Twins 5

[caption id="attachment_77126" align="aligncenter" width="550"]A-Rod High Ten vs MIN Somebody give the man some skin! Courtesy of the AP[/caption]

There are a few games every season that a good winning team can look back on and say “yep, that was a big one.  That one really helped us get to where we wanted to be.”  Last night was one of those games for the Yankees.  Coming off a beatdown against their former teammate on Friday night and starting the game in a quick 5-0 hole thanks to the rotting corpse of CC Sabathia, the Yankees stormed back late on the bat of Alex Rodriguez and his 3 home runs and stole a huge win to even this series.

Might as well get the bad CC stuff out of the way early.  Brian Dozier singled to start the bottom of the 1st and Aaron Hicks hit a hanging changeup for a 2-run home run in the next at-bat.  2 batters, 5 pitches, 2-run deficit.  Things got worse in the 3rd when the lineup turned over and Hicks started things off with a base hit.  An out and another hit brought up Torii Hunter, who took a ball and fouled off a sinker for a strike.  Sabathia tried to come back with the sinker on 1-1 (first mistake), left it belt high (second mistake) and over the plate (third mistake), and Hunter smashed it the opposite way over the right field wall for a 3-run home run.  An hour into the game and it was looking like a repeat of Friday night.

To his credit, CC got it together and “limited” the damage to just those 5 runs.  He pitched into the 6th inning before giving way to Adam Warren and at least kept the game close enough to allow the comeback that followed to happen.  It wasn’t a good start by any means, and there’s still no reason for Sabathia to be in the rotation, but he didn’t completely fall apart and let the game get out of hand.

That minor accomplishment started to pay off in the top of the 4th, when Alex Rodriguez came to the plate to face Minnesota starter Tommy Milone for a second time.  Milone had a perfect game intact through 3.2 innings, but he got behind A-Rod 2-0 and had to throw him a fastball for a strike.  That was exactly what A-Rod was looking for and he simply destroyed tet next pitch for a solo shot to put the Yanks on the board.  The ball hit off the face of the upper deck in left field and was measured at 480 feet after the game.  Comeback mode engaged.

A-Rod got to Milone again with a man on to start the 7th and it was a 5-3 game.  A Mark Teixeira double ended Milone’s day and a Chase Headley sac fly a few batters later put the final run on his line.  The Yankees were right back in the game and it was Alex who put the finishing touches on the comeback with his THIRD homer of the game to lead off the 9th against Glen Perkins.  First-pitch fastball right down the middle, A-Rod was ready for it, and he drove it out into center field.  To quote Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek: simply stunning.

It didn’t end there though.  That homer rattled Perkins and he couldn’t get it back together to hold the game at a tie.  A pair of singles put runners on the corners for John Ryan Murphy, who picked a helluva time to hit his first home run of the season on a hanging 2-2 slider.  The dugout went absolutely apepoop in celebration and justifiably so.  It was a shocking comeback, punctuated by a shocking 3-run bomb from a guy without a home run.  Andrew Miller came on for the save and got the top of the Minny order in order.

Best win of the year?  If it wasn’t, it was damn close.  The Yanks will be in position to secure another series win today and they have A-Rod to thank for that. Continue reading Game 96 Recap: Yankees 8 Twins 5

Game 95 Quick Recap: MIN 10 NYY 1

Michael Pineda didn’t pitch very well, Phil Hughes did.

The Yankee bullpen didn’t pitch very well, Minnesota’s did.

The Yankees didn’t have any extra-base hits and couldn’t score any runs, Minnesota had a ton and scored a ton.

Game Notes:

Mark Teixeira went 3-4 so he’s still hot.  Shocking that all 3 hits were singles.  He must have been so disappointed.

– Probably made up for that disappointment with his second stolen base of the year though.  The guy can do it all.

– As rock solid as Big Mike was earlier in the year, he has settled into this pattern of inconsistency.  He’s really good for a start or 2 and then he mixes in a clunker like last night.  The Yanks really need him to tighten up and be better start-to-start.

Chris Capuano stinks.  He serves no real purpose on the roster anymore.  If the Yankees add 1 arm via trade, starter or reliever, he should probably go. Continue reading Game 95 Quick Recap: MIN 10 NYY 1