Game 94 Recap: Yankees 9 Orioles 3

[caption id="attachment_77035" align="aligncenter" width="550"]A-Rod Slide vs BAL Just like they teach in the Tom Emanski videos. Courtesy of the AP[/caption]

There’s a big nit to pick from today’s game if you want to pick it.  But in all honesty, if you’re not tickled pink by the outcome of today’s game and smiling from ear to ear at where the Yankees stand right now, you’re the wrong kind of Yankee fan.

Might as well get the nitpick out of the way right up front.  Masahiro Tanaka gave up 3 home runs today.  All 3 were solo and they were the only runs the Orioles scored all game, but that is 5 homers allowed for Tanak in his last 2 starts and 11 in his last 6.  There have been a lot more hangers from him this season and hitters have been teeing off on them lately.

When he wasn’t throwing those bad pitches, Tanaka was a beast.  The Orioles only managed 2 more hits off him in 7.2 innings, he didn’t walk a batter, and he struck out 7.  His stuff and command seemed to get better and sharper as the game went on, and he was up in pitch count when he gave up 2 of the homers in the 8th inning, so fatigue could have been a factor.  For the most part, Tanaka was his usual dominant self.

And Ubaldo Jimenez was his typical terrible self against the Yankees.  He loaded the bases in the 1st on an Ellsbury leadoff single and 2 walks, and after getting 2 outs he couldn’t escape the clutches of Chase Headley, who smacked a bases-clearing double to center for a 3-run lead.  Didi Gregorius followed up with a base knock of his own and the Yanks went up 4-0.

It didn’t stop there.  They made it 5-0 on a home run by Jacoby Ellsbury to lead off the 2nd inning, and 7-0 on a pair of singles and a Stephen Drew 2-run double to end Ubaldo’s day before he got out of the 3rd.  That was all they would need, but that didn’t stop Ellsbury from knocking in 2 more in the 5th with a defense-aided double.

It was cruise control to the end for the bottom of the bullpen.  Always good to see that Chris Capuano and Branden Pinder are alive and well out there.  The Yankees sweep the series, go up 7 games in the loss column in the AL East heading into tonight, and cut their magic number down to 62. Continue reading Game 94 Recap: Yankees 9 Orioles 3

Game 93 Recap: Yankees 4 Orioles 3

[caption id="attachment_77027" align="aligncenter" width="600"]A-Rod HR vs BAL II Wheelhouse. Courtesy of MLB.com[/caption]

Just keep winning series.  That’s the focus right now and the Yankees locked up their 5th straight with another 1-run win last night.  Ivan Nova looked pretty good in his latest start, the offense jumped out early thanks to some pop from the old guys in the 3-4 spots, and the bullpen held on late.  That’s 3 wins in a row, 5 in the last 6, and 8 in the last 10.

I’d say Nova’s early comeback results from TJS have been more than acceptable, and last night was another example of that.  He walked the first batter of the game, gave up a 2-run home run to Ryan Flaherty in the top of the 3rd as part of a 3-hit inning, and he walked the first 2 batters of the 5th.  Nova also got out of the 1st without allowing any runs, worked 1-2-3 innings in the 2nd, 4th, and 6th, and retired 3 in a row to hold Baltimore scoreless after the 2 5th-inning walks.  When all was said and done, he only allowed the 2 Flaherty dinger runs in 6 innings.  That’s not bad.

And it was enough to win thanks to another customary 1st-inning offensive barrage.  Jacoby started the bottom of the 1st off against Kevin Gausman with a double and quickly came around to score on 2015 American League All Star Brett Gardner‘s RBI single.  A-Rod popped out for the first out, but Mark Teixeira picked him up by hitting a 1-2 hanger over the right field fence for a 2-run home run.  13 pitches into the game, 3-0 Yankees.  You gotta love that.

Just like you have to love A-Rod homers, which he joined Teix in doing in the 5th inning.  With 1 out and nobody on, Alex came up to face Gausman for the third time.  Gausman tried to throw him an 0-1 forkball, not a bad idea after A-Rod just took a strike, but he left it right in the middle of the plate and Alex killed it over the left field bullpen and into the bleachers for a solo home run.  If the ball was a living thing, he would have been arrested for murder.

The 2-run cushion held up fine for the relief corps.  Chasen Shreve retired the 3 O’s he faced in order, as did Dellin Betances in a 2-K 8th.  Andrew Miller converted another save with a 2-K 9th, although he did give up a Yankee Stadium cheapie home run to Chris Davis with 2 outs.  That made the game look closer than it was at that point, but no big deal.  Davis hits home runs off of lots of guys.  All that matters is that it wasn’t a 2-run homer and the Yankees picked up another game in the division. Continue reading Game 93 Recap: Yankees 4 Orioles 3

Game 92 Recap: Yankees 3 Orioles 2

[caption id="attachment_76978" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Miller-Mac vs BAL Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

They made it!  It’s been a long battle to get there, but the Yankees finally reached the 10 games over .500 plateau last night with a close win over the division rival Orioles.  Once again it was the combination of just enough starting pitching, just enough offense, and a lockdown bullpen getting the job done.

The offense staked Nathan Eovaldi to a lead with a couple of early manufactured runs.  Jacoby Ellsbury hit a ground-rule double to lead off the bottom of the 1st, moved to third on a Brett Gardner sac bunt, and scored on an Alex Rodriguez sac fly.  A pair of singles by Brian McCann and Chris Young put them in business in the bottom of the 2nd, and Chase Headley doubled in a run to make it 2-0.

The Yankees failed to tack on more in that inning though, and Eovaldi walked a fine line in working 5 scoreless innings.  He stranded a leadoff walk in the 1st and worked around 2 to keep Baltimore off the board in the 5th.  In between he was actually pretty dominant, handcuffing the Oriole hitters with a sick mix of upper 90s heat, low 90s splitters, and sharp curveballs.  It was arguably the best he’s looked as a Yankee.

So of course he got ground ball singled to death before he could get out of the 6th and got 2 runs charged to him before Justin Wilson could finish the inning.  That’s just how Eovaldi rolls.  No matter.  The Yankees just came back with one of their classic Didi GregoriusBrendan Ryan 2-out rallies in the bottom half.  Didi singled, Ryan doubled down the left field line to score him, and it was all up to the ‘pen.

Wilson got the first 2 outs, Dellin Betances came on for 4, and Andrew Miller went 1-2-3 for his 21st save in 21 chances.  That’s the new Yankee way and it worked to perfection last night. Continue reading Game 92 Recap: Yankees 3 Orioles 2

Game 91 Recap: Yankees 2 Mariners 1

[caption id="attachment_76927" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Teix HR vs SEA Standard Teix message rates apply. Courtesy of the AP[/caption]

Win the series.  Just win the series.  It’s all about winning series for the Yankees right now.  2 out of 3 while the rest of the AL East goes hot and cold will make it an easier stretch run, and it doesn’t matter how you get the W as long as you get it.  They got a rare stellar start from CC Sabathia this afternoon, and even though they didn’t do enough offensively to get him a win, they did just enough to come away with a team win and a series win.

It was a blast from the past for CC today.  He was pitching like he was feeling good after the extra rest, hitting 93 on his 4-seam fastball and sitting low 90s on his 4-seamer and sinker all day.  Seattle had a tough time squaring him up and didn’t generate much through 4 innings.  When the 5th came and the Mariners went back-to-back singles to lead it off, it looked like the one bad inning was coming.  But CC limited the damage to 1 run and stranded runners on the corners by striking out Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano on nasty sliders to end the threat.  That was pretty cool.  He even threw in a 1-2-3 6th for good measure.  Helluva day for the big guy.

The only run his lineup managed him was a Carlos Beltran RBI single in the 6th to tie the game.  They stranded 2 in the 1st and 4th innings against a less-than-stellar Felix Hernandez, but worked him hard enough to get him out of the game after 6 and that proved to be the difference.  Fernando Rodney came on with 1 out in the 8th and got A-Rod to pop out before going up 1-2 on Mark Teixeira.  Instead of making him chase out of the zone with 2 strikes, Rodney tried to challenge Teix with a fastball and he threw it right over the middle of the plate, where Teix smacked it out for the go-ahead home run.  He may not be the leading candidate, but Teix is definitely in the MVP race.

The Yankee ‘pen was stellar behind CC.  Scoreless frames from Justin Wilson, Dellin Betances (with 2 walks), and Andrew Miller for the save.  2 of 3, a series win, and another game off the magic number. Continue reading Game 91 Recap: Yankees 2 Mariners 1

Game 90 Quick Recap: SEA 4 NYY 3

Yesterday it was Kyle Seager going yard twice for all of Seattle’s runs.  Today it was Robinson Cano.  Yesterday those home runs weren’t enough to beat the Yankees, but today they were as the Mariners reversed last night’s decision and picked up a 4-3 win over the Bombers.

The first Cano homer didn’t take long at all.  Brad Miller singled to lead off the game and Cano came up with 1 on and 1 out looking to pull a first-pitch fastball.  He got one from Michael Pineda and did what he used to do all the time in Yankee Stadium to give his team a quick 2-0 lead.

The Yankees didn’t get much going against Hisashi Iwakuma early.  That changed in the bottom of the 4th when Mark Teixeira singled with 2 outs.  This brought Brian McCann to the plate and he got a hanging fastball from Iwakuma that he deposited over the wall for a game-tying 2-run homer.  But Seager led off the top of the 6th with a single and Cano got to Pineda again, yanking another 2-run homer into the right field seats.

The Yanks had a great chance to start a comeback in the bottom of the 6th after Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner singled to start the inning.  But the heart of order couldn’t come through and the game stay tied.  A Mark Teixeira double turned into 1 run in the bottom of the 9th, but the rally fell short and they’ll head to the rubber match tomorrow. Continue reading Game 90 Quick Recap: SEA 4 NYY 3

Game 89 Quick Recap: NYY 4 SEA 3

Sorry for the late recap.  I was out getting free t-shirts at the Brewer game and celebrating a little too hard post-game.  Part of that celebration was due to A-Rod’s game-winning home run for the Yanks, a big hit to save a second half-opening win over the Mariners.

If it wouldn’t have been for the existence of Kyle Seager, Masahiro Tanaka would have had a spotless performance last night.  Seager got to him for a solo home run in the 3rd to get Seattle on the board and a 2-run shot in the 5th to give them the lead.  Other than those 2 hits, Tanaka was on point last night.  7 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts.  Probably not good enough for some NY sports writers, but plenty good enough for me.

The Yankees bookended their 4 runs with solo homers, Chris Young‘s to start things in the bottom of the 2nd and Alex Rodriguez‘s to pull back ahead in the 7th.  Chase Headley and Brian McCann both picked up RBI base knocks in the middle innings to get Seattle starter Mike Montgomery out and get to the bullpen.

That was the difference in the game.  Joe Beimel couldn’t retire A-Rod in the 7th, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller couldn’t let Seattle’s lineup score in the 8th and 9th.  Magic number down to 70.

Game Notes:

– It was almost all Young and A-Rod for the offense.  They each went 2-4, each hit a home run, and they scored all 4 Yankee runs.

Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-4 with 3 Ks and a walk at the top of the order.  They can’t all be winners.

Rob Refsnyder went 0-2 with a strikeout and reached on catcher’s interference in his 3 plate appearances before being pinch hit for in the 8th. Continue reading Game 89 Quick Recap: NYY 4 SEA 3

2015 MLB All-Star Game Recap: AL 6 NL 3

[caption id="attachment_76817" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Teix ASG 2015 Arm sleeve game on a hundred thousand trillion. Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

The whole thing was kind of a farce without A-Rod involved, but the American League and National League squared off last night in Cincinnati to decide whose league would unfairly be granted home field advantage in the World Series.  Thanks to some bookend power and a deep pool of devastating relievers, the AL was able to nab the win and grab that World Series advantage for the Yankees come October.

Mike Trout led off the game with an at-bat that screamed “I’m the best baseball player on the planet and nobody forget it.”  He fell behind NL starter Zack Greinke 0-2, took an outside fastball for a ball, then waited on another one and drove it the other way for a solo home run to right field.  It was almost like he was setting Greinke up for that from the start.  1-0 AL.

The NL manufactured a run in the bottom of the 2nd with a Paul Goldschmidt single, a throwing error, an advance to third on a groundout, and a 2-out RBI single by Jhonny Peralta to tie the game, and it looked like we were settling in for a low-scoring affair as Greinke and AL starter Dallas Keuchel gave way to the gaggle of top-tier arms waiting behind them.  Then the top of the 5th came, Clayton Kershaw entered the game, and the AL took the lead for good.

The inning started innocently enough with an Alcides Escobar base hit and 2 quick outs that didn’t advance the runner.  That runner was Trout after he beat out a double play ball, and after Albert Pujols drew a walk, pinch hitter Prince Fielder poked a ground ball single through the left side of the infield, scoring Trout from second thanks mostly to Trout’s all-world speed.  Lorenzo Cain followed up with a double down the line to bring home Pujols and it was 3-1 AL.

They basically took command of the game from there.  Andrew McCutchen homered off Chris Archer to bring the NL back within 1 in the bottom of the 6th, but Ned Yost went to the actual reliever part of his bullpen after that and choked out any chance of a comeback.. Zach Britton got 2 outs to end the 6th, Dellin Betances struck out 1 and got 2 GB outs in a scoreless 7th, and Wade Davis fanned 2 in a scoreless 8th.  By the time the NL got a run off closer Glen Perkins in the 9th, the game was already out of reach.

The extra cushion came courtesy of Manny Machado, who doubled home Brock Holt in the 7th inning and scored on Prince Fielder’s sac fly to make it 5-2.  Brian Dozier smacked a solo home run in the top of the 8th to put the cherry on top.  Yost went with a very specific strategy for this game and it worked out in his favor.  How about that? Continue reading 2015 MLB All-Star Game Recap: AL 6 NL 3

Game 88 Recap: Yankees 8 Red Sox 6

[caption id="attachment_76735" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Refs vs BOS Somebody just earned himself a fancy new suit from Mr. Rodriguez. Courtesy of the AP[/caption]

It’s gone a tad under the radar, but that’s 7 wins in 10 games and 3 straight series victories for the Yankees going into the All-Star break.  They closed out this road series in Boston with a hard fought and sloppily-finished victory today and head into the break with a 3.5 game division lead, 5 in the loss column.

Nathan Eovaldi got the ball this afternoon, and his outing was about as textbook Nathan Eovaldi as it could have been.  He worked around 1-out hits in each of the first 2 innings, but needed over 40 pitches to do so.  When the lineup turned over in the 3rd, the Red Sox hitters were keyed into what he was doing and he couldn’t put anybody away.  5 base hits in a 6-batter span, the last 2 in 2-strike counts, plated 3 Boston runs and gave them a brief 1-run lead.

The lead was so short thanks to a 2-run, opposite field home run by Brian McCann off lefty starter Wade Miley in the top of the 2nd.  Those types of homers are as rare as a heads up penny sitting in a field of four-leaf clovers, but credit Big Mac for going with a fastball on the outer half.  Credit him with starting the game-tying rally in the 5th as well with a leadoff double.  It had been a whole lot of nothing offensively in between his at-bats.  Chase Headley followed up with a single to put runners on the corners, and even though the next 3 hitters couldn’t bring anybody around, a balk by Miley was enough to score McCann.

To his credit, Eovaldi settled down and retired the next 6 in order to get through 5 innings.  But his pitch count was north of 100 at that point and Joe went to his bullpen rather than send Eovaldi back out.  I thought it was the right move, but Adam Warren looked bad, giving up 3 hard-hit balls (double-lineout-single) to pull Boston within 2.  He got the hook and it was up to Justin Wilson to hold things at 2.  He did that, bridged to Dellin Betances with 2 outs in the 7th, and got the lead into the hands of Joe’s best guys.

That lead came in the 6th when the Yankees went HAM against Miley and reliever Tommy Layne.  2015 American League All Star Brett Gardner led off with an infield single and scored on Alex Rodiguez’s double into the left-center field gap.  This started a parade of doubles, as Chris Young doubled Alex home and Chase Headley doubled Young home to make it 6-3.  Rob Refsnyder chipping in with a big 2-run homer in the top of the 9th seemed to seal the deal.

Then the 9th inning came.  Brock Holt drew a leadoff walk against Andrew Miller, and after a Xander Bogaerts strikeout, Pablo Sandoval tapped a ball in front of the plate for what should have been out 2.  McCann flubbed the pickup, however, and threw enough inside that Mark Teixeira couldn’t make the catch.  Error, 2 on, 1 out.  No biggie, Miller got a double play ball off the bat of Hanley Ramirez in the next at-bat… and threw the ball into center field for another error and a run scored.  Alejandro De Aza hit a sac fly to bring the tying run to the plate, but Didi Gregorius made a nice running catch to end the silliness and secure the final out.

Yankees are 8 games over .500 and leading the AL East at the break.  That’s a pretty good place to be for the next few days while Betances, Gardner, and Teix go represent in the ASG. Continue reading Game 88 Recap: Yankees 8 Red Sox 6

Game 87 Quick Recap: BOS 5 NYY 3

Last night’s game started the same way Friday’s did, with Alex Rodriguez smacking a 1st-inning home run to give the Yankees an early lead.  This game didn’t end the same way though, with the Sox getting to Ivan Nova and the Yankee offense never getting going in a series-evening loss.

Nova got through the 1st inning 1-2-3, but he was battling through almost every inning from there on out.  He needed a big double play to work around leadoff double-single in the 2nd, gave up multiple hits in the 3rd and 4th, and got hit for another double in the 5th.  The run against him in the 3rd wasn’t all his fault.  John Ryan Murphy threw a ball into center field to move Alejandro De Aza to third base and he scored on a groundout in the next at-bat.  The go-ahead runs in the 4th were all on Nova.  David Ortiz hit a leadoff on a meaty fastball and Hanley Ramirez followed up with a 2-run homer.

After Nova left, the Sox tacked on in the 7th against Adam Warren thanks to Chris Young going “Serpentine Shelly” on a potential flyout and turning it into an RBI triple.  Warren walked Brock Holt and gave up a cheap infield single to Xander Bogaerts when the shift failed the Yanks and that plated Boston’s fifth run.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner did everything they could to bring the Yankees back.  Ellsbury homered in the 6th to make it 3-2 and singled and scored on Gardner’s double in the 8th to make it 5-3.  The tying run came to the plate in the 9th, but Brian McCann flied out to the deepest part of the park to end the game. Continue reading Game 87 Quick Recap: BOS 5 NYY 3