Game 73 Recap: Astros 4 Yankees 0

[caption id="attachment_76327" align="aligncenter" width="525"]Joe vs HOU III Yankee manager Joe Girardi applauds Joe West for an excellent called strike 3 during last night’s game. Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

The Yankees did end up 5-3 on their latest homestand, which is pretty damn good when you consider that 3-game stretch of butt kickings they took.  They were out in Texas to take on the Astros last night, and Joe decided it would be the perfect opportunity to rest a bunch of hot hitters and play his B-squad against Dallas Keuchel.  Almost impossible to think that that strategy wouldn’t work out.

The game got off to a very ominous start for the undermanned offense.  Leadoff hitter Chris Young (not a typo) singled to open things up, and the next 3 hitters (Headley, A-Rod, Teix) struck out in succession to end the frame.  That was bad enough on its own, but the strike 3 calls on Alex and Teix by home plate umpire Joe West were bogus.  So Keuchel had his A-game working and Joe West was going to make sure the game was another episode of The Joe West Show.  Greeeeaaaaaat…

All things considered, Adam Warren didn’t pitch a bad game.  He gave up a run in the 2nd on a 2-out Preston Tucker double after the Yanks were unable to turn an inning-ending double play, another in the 4th on what became an inning-ending sac fly thanks in part to a Stephen Drew fielding error, and his last in the 6th after a 1-out single, stolen base, and throwing error by his catcher.  He didn’t finish the 6th and he wasn’t entirely sharp, but Warren was only a few pitches and a few better defensive plays away from going 6+ with 2 runs or fewer allowed.  He gave his offense plenty of chances to get into the game.

They never did.  Despite putting a runner on in each of the next 3 innings, the Yanks could never so much as advance one into scoring position against Keuchel.  He ground them up with his patented mix of moving fastballs and offspeed stuff, accumulating 11 strikeouts in 6 innings and 4 in a row from the 5th through the 6th.  Joe West and his friendly strike zone were a part of the performance, as always, but Keuchel was truly nasty and there was no way a lineup with a 6-9 of Pirela, Murphy, Drew, Petit was going to compete against him.

Chris Capuano came on in relief of Warren and he was about what you’d expect.  At least he saved the rest of the bullpen with 2.1 innings of 1-run ball.  That extra run didn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things.  Keuchel easily pitched into the 9th before running into any trouble, which came in the form of loaded bases with 2 outs.  But he had the luxury of facing Pirela as the 6th hitter and he got him to ground out on a changeup to end the game. Continue reading Game 73 Recap: Astros 4 Yankees 0

Game 72 Recap: Yankees 10 Phillies 2

[caption id="attachment_76264" align="aligncenter" width="375"]Nova vs PHI The return of Super Nova. Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

The Yankees had gotten WHOMPED heading into this afternoon’s series finale against the Philadelphia Fightin’ Amaros.  Like “34 runs allowed in the last 3 games” type of whomped.  And they had Ivan Nova returning to the mound to make his first Major League start in over a calendar year today, which didn’t spell good things for their chances of ending that trend.  Coming back from TJS is always a tricky process, and typically it’s a pitcher’s command rust that causes the biggest problems early on.  So of course Nova came out and threw 6+ shutout innings.  Of course he did.  That’s just how this season has gone for the Yankees and the offense showed up to support him in a big way to drive a blowout, wrong-side-of-the-sweep-saving win.

Cole Hamels was the Phillies’ starter, which spelled even worse things for the Yankees’ chances coming into the game.  But he was not at his best today and the lineup jumped on him early and often.  The bottom of the order loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the 2nd, and a Philly throwing error turned that into 2 runs on Jose Pirela‘s ground ball.  The top half couldn’t fully cash in on the second-third-no outs situation and it looked like a major chance had been wasted.

Then the 4th inning came and they dropped the hammer.  Leadoff double by Didi Gregorius, Pirela walk, Brett Gardner RBI single, Chase Headley RBI double, and it was 4-0.  After an A-Rod groundout, Mark Teixeira singled Gardner home to make it 5-0 and all but ensure Hamels’ day would be a short one.  He only made it through 5 innings on 102 pitches, and the Yanks beat him up for 8 hits and 3 walks.

This gave Nova plenty of cushion to work with, and he didn’t waste it.  It wasn’t what you would call a “normal” Nova outing.  He only struck out 1 batter all day, generated 7 swings and misses, and got more flyball outs than outs on the ground.  He also attacked the Philly hitters with a good mid-90s fastball, threw his curveball for strikes when he needed to, and only walked 1 batter in 6.2 innings.  He worked out of potential jams in the 2nd and 3rd innings and seemed to get stronger after that before leaving with 2 on and 2 out in the 7th.  The Yankees were hoping for a good start from Ivan at the absolute best and he gave them a great one.  Very interesting start to the 6-man rotation competition that will eventually go back down to 5.

The offensive onslaught didn’t stop when Hamels left the game.  The Yanks tacked on a run in the 6th on 3 singles against Jake Diekman, the last off the bat of Alex Rodriguez.  They got 4 more against Justin De Fratus in the 7th, and A-Rod’s 2-run single was the biggest hit.  That turned the game into a 10-0 laugher heading into the late innings, and the bullpen combination of Bryan Mitchell (1.1 scoreless innings) and Diego Moreno (1 IP, 3 H, 2 R) handled the finish.  Today was the type of game you would have expected from the Yankees in the first 2 games of the series.  Ya just can’t predict baseball, Suzyn. Continue reading Game 72 Recap: Yankees 10 Phillies 2

Game 71 Recap: Phillies 11, Yankees 6

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Are you there Girardi? It’s me, Stacey. You guys lost again last night, but you know that because you were in the dugout watching the horror unfold right before your eyes.

I have something to say, and I am a little scared to say it, but I think it is something that you really need to hear.

Please stop pitching CC Sabathia every five days. He is killing this team and it is time to take him out of the rotation. Actually, the time to take him out of the rotation was probably a couple of weeks ago, but I get it, he’s your “ace” and you probably feel bad about having to call him into your office to give him the news. If you’re worried about doing it, your predecessor Joe Torre, had to do it a few times. Two big examples of former aces who had to be removed from the starting rotation are Mike Mussina and David Cone.

Don’t worry about the money. I know the Yankees owe him a lot of money and that pitching in the starting rotation is what CC’s paid to do but he can’t seem to do it anymore. And also, don’t worry about the fact that CC played a big part in the Yankees’ past successes of the extremely late aughts and early 10’s because it is now 2015 and Sabathia looks like he’s completely done. And it is no longer a small sample size. We are now up to hundreds of innings of doneness from him without any glimpse of a turnaround.

And when he has a bad game, it affects the entire team because the bullpen as taxed as it is, always seems to have to come out early when Sabathia starts.

He can’t throw as hard as he used to and he can’t adjust to life without a plus fastball because his command, while good, wasn’t in the same class as other ace pitchers. His decline, for lack of a better word, sucks, and it is not fun to watch but it happens to the best of them. And unfortunately for CC, it’s happening a little sooner than we all anticipated. So, for the love of God, and for the sake of the little hair I have left on my head, Girardi, please take Sabathia out of the rotation.

Thank you.

Last night’s game was awful and here’s why:

  • Sabathia’s outing: 4 2/3 innings, eight hits, six runs (all earned), two walks, four strike outs and he gave up two home runs.
  • Allowing 11 runs to the Phillies and losing two games in a row to them. They’re awful and it is embarrassing to lose a game to them, forget two. That’s ‘going somewhere naked when everyone has clothes on’ embarrassing. The Yankees should feel really terrible about it.
  • Like throwing things awful. I want some broken chairs. No broken limbs though. Let’s not Kevin Brown ourselves into a DL stint.
  • Who the hell is Maikel Franco and why can’t any of the Yankees’ pitchers get him out?
  • Seriously though, 11 runs? Come on.
  • The Yankees had chances to pull ahead, didn’t, and then everything fell apart in the ninth inning.
  • Of course, home plate ump Jeff Kellogg’s dreadful ninth inning strike zone didn’t help much. I realize there are plenty of them with jobs and they’re all working MLB games, but at least try to avoid giving up run scoring doubles to some dude no one’s heard of until this series.
  • Well, Phillies fans know him.

Why did I agree to do this recap? I could have gone to sleep early instead of being aggravated by the Yankees doing their typical win a bunch of games, lose a bunch of games in annoying fashion routine.

And to the Phillies?? Bleh.

Again. CC needs to be removed from the rotation. He needs to call up Andy Pettitte, get some tips, and he needs to figure out how to pitch now that he can’t dial it up to 95+ anymore. And I know it’s sad to see this sort of thing happen – it’s never fun to watch someone who used to be so dominant be so predictably dreadful – but the Yankees just cannot afford to have him in the rotation anymore. They really can’t. He’s its biggest problem and it’s not even close. Continue reading Game 71 Recap: Phillies 11, Yankees 6

Game 70 Quick Recap: PHI 11 NYY 8

[caption id="attachment_76173" align="aligncenter" width="525"]Pineda vs PHI Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

The Yankees lost last night.  They lost because Michael Pineda was terrible and got knocked around by one of, if not the worst lineup in baseball.  None of that is good, but the last time I checked none of us non-MLB players have a great day at our jobs every single time we go to work.  Pineda didn’t have it yesterday and even the crappiest professional hitters are going to tee off on a guy when he doesn’t have it.  Oh well.

So how bad was Pineda’s night?  He gave up multiple hits in every inning he pitched, including the lone scoreless frame in the top of the 2nd, and 11 in 3.1 innings.  5 of those hits came with 2 strikes, so just like Tanaka the other night, the issue was Pineda’s inability to command in the strike zone or locate with 2 strikes rather than throw strikes period,  Still, it’s not a good look to be giving up that many hits to such a terrible lineup, and Joe had no choice but to pull the plug in the 4th.  Pineda finished with 8 earned runs charged to him in 3.1 innings.

Because the Phillies are terrible, the Yankees were never out of the game.  Brett Gardner got the comeback started in the bottom of the 4th with a 3-run home run to cut the Philly lead from 8-2 to 8-5.  After Chris Capuano gave up Makiel Franco’s second home run of the game in the top of the 6th, Brian McCann hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 7th, and the Yanks did put together a 2-run rally in the bottom of the 9th to make the final score respectable.  But the hole Pineda dug them was too deep to climb out of and the Yanks dropped their second straight. Continue reading Game 70 Quick Recap: PHI 11 NYY 8

Game 69 Recap: Tigers 12 Yankees 4

[caption id="attachment_76140" align="aligncenter" width="525"]Tanaka vs DET Hair still looks fantastic. Courtesy of the AP[/caption]

Apologies for the delay in this recap.  The family is out for a few days to visit and see The Rolling Stones on Tuesday night, so my afternoon was spent entertaining.  Not that you really need a detailed description of what happened yesterday if you glanced at the final score.  Masahiro Tanaka was way off, the Tigers hitters crushed him (particularly the Martinezes), and they put a sour note on the end of an otherwise positive series.

It didn’t take long for Tanaka’s command issues to surface.  With 2 outs in the top of the 1st, Miguel Cabrera singled to keep the inning going.  Tanaka left a 2-1 splitter up in the zone to Victor Martinez in the next at-bat and Martinez took it for a ride over the fence to give Detroit a quick 2-0 lead.  A Didi Gregorius error gave the other Martinez a chance to hit, and he copied his namesake with a 2-run shot of his own on a non-sinking sinker.  Just like that, 4-0 Tigers.

The trouble continued in the top of the 2nd, when Tanaka loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk to Cabrera to give Victor a chance with runners in scoring position.  He came through with a 2-run single and the rout was on.  Tanaka managed to get through the 3rd and 4th unscathed despite putting more runners on base, but J.D. Martinez touched him up for his second homer of the day to lead off the top of the 5th.  Tanaka got through the rest of the inning, but that was all for him.  Some days you just don’t have it and yesterday was one of those days for Ma-kun.

The lineup made a token effort at coming back from the early deficit.  They got 2 runs in the bottom of the 2nd on a 1-out Brian McCann solo home run and an improbable 2-out rally by the bottom of the order.  Chris Young singled with 2 outs and quickly stole second during Stephen Drew‘s at-bat.  Drew took a 4-pitch walk from Anibal Sanchez to pass the baton to Brendan Ryan, and Ryan singled back up the middle to bring Young home and make it a 4-run game.  It looked like things were getting out of hand for Sanchez as the lineup turned back over to Brett Gardner, but he got Gardner to ground out and settled down to get through the 6th without further damage.  It wasn’t until Drew homered off him to lead off the 7th that the Yankees got to him again, and by then the game was way out of hand.

That came courtesy of the bullpen again, as Joe went to his new guys to soak up some innings in relief of Tanaka.  Danny Burawa got the first shot and he showed he was definitely in over his head against the top of the Detroit order.  He walked Cabrera with 2 outs, gave up back-to-back singles to Victor and Yoenis Cespedes to surrender another run, and then got to be part of history as J.D. took him deep for a 3-run shot.  It was his third homer of the day, something that hadn’t been done at Yankee Stadium by an opposing player since 1990 (h/t Katie Sharp).  Burawa couldn’t get out of the inning and Jose De Paula took over from there.  He managed to complete the final 3 innings with only 1 more run coming across despite walking 4 batters.  Hooray for small victories.

Of course Stephen Drew hit another home run in the bottom of the 9th.  Of course he did.  His 1-man comeback attempt fell far short, however, and the Yankees’ 4-game win streak was ended. Continue reading Game 69 Recap: Tigers 12 Yankees 4

Game 68 Quick Recap: NYY 14 DET 3

[caption id="attachment_76131" align="aligncenter" width="525"]Didi HR vs DET Best shortstop in New York. Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

The Yankees were starting to heat up on Friday night when they smacked Justin Verlander around a little bit on their way to a series-opening win.  They not only finished heating up, they straight up boiled over on poor Alfredo Simon last night.  They hammered him for 7 earned runs on 8 hits before the end of the 3rd inning and kept the onslaught going on their way to a laugher of an Old Timers’ Day victory.

The scoring started off harmlessly enough, on a run-scoring fielder’s choice error by Andrew Romine in the bottom of the 1st.  Then it snowballed from there.  Didi Gregorius hit a solo home run and Alex Rodriguez a sac fly to make it 3-0 in the 2nd.  Carlos Beltran and A-Rod each homered in a 5-run third to make it 8-0.  Beltran went yard again and Chris Young singled to make it 10-0 in the 4th.  And a single, bases loaded HBP, and RBI groundout made it 13-0 after 5.  It was a thing of beauty.

Underneath all that run support, Nathan Eovaldi put together a pretty good start in his first after getting shelled on Tuesday.  He was scoreless through 6 before tiring and giving up a few meaningless runs in the 7th.  All in all it was a 2-run, 6-inning outing, and while there still weren’t enough swings and misses, Eovaldi did locate much better in the strike zone and got plenty of groundball outs.

Chris Young hit the last Yankee homer of the day for good measure and the extra point in the bottom of the 8th, and the recently recalled Bryan Mitchell picked up a 3-inning save in relief of Eovaldi.  Always nice when you qualify for a save despite having a double digit lead.  The series victory has been wrapped up, another sweep can be secured today. Continue reading Game 68 Quick Recap: NYY 14 DET 3

Game 67 Quick Recap: NYY 7 DET 2

[caption id="attachment_76119" align="aligncenter" width="525"]A-Rod 3000th Hit Courtesy of the AP[/caption]

If you tuned in even a little bit late to this game, you missed the biggest fireworks.  Alex Rodriguez made like his buddy and teammate Derek Jeter and got his 3,000th career hit in style, smacking an oppo field home run on the first pitch of his first at-bat of the game against Justin Verlander.  Verlander tried to throw him an outer half fastball for a gimme strike and A-Rod was looking fastball and ready to swing.  Another smart home run from an incredibly smart hitter.  The crowd went wild, his teammates mobbed and hugged him, and for the 194th time this season the Yankees had an early lead.

From that point on it was the Adam Warren & Brett Gardner show.  Warren had a tough top of the 2nd, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits and a hit batsman, but he quickly recovered, found his command again, and ended up working a career-high 8 innings without any more runs crossing the plate.  He retired 9 in a row after the 2nd, worked out of a few jams when he had to, and struck out 2 in his final inning of work.  If this was his last chance to keep himself in the rotation, it would have been hard to do better.

Gardner did most of the heavy offensive lifting after A-Rod’s moment.  He hit a 2-run homer off Verlander in the 5th to put the Yankees ahead for good, scored a run on a wild pitch in the 7th, and singled home the last insurance run in the 8th.  4 hits, 2 runs, 3 RBI.  Guess he’s not slowing down after all. Continue reading Game 67 Quick Recap: NYY 7 DET 2

Game 66 Recap: Yankees 9 Marlins 4

[caption id="attachment_76088" align="aligncenter" width="525"]A-Rod vs MIA The at-bat before THE at-bat. Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

DH makes all the difference.  After slogging through 2 losses in Miami earlier this week, the Yankees returned home and snagged 2 straight wins with their most important bat back in the lineup.  The Alex Rodriguez march to 3,000 was at the forefront of the game again last night, and highlighted a collection of good performances from pitchers and hitters alike that helped create a 5-run win.

The Yankees are the best 1st inning team in baseball.  That can’t be debated.  They scored in the 1st again last night, on 3 straight singles to open the game, and have now scored 62 1st-inning runs this season.  The next closest team (Orioles) have 47.  A-Rod was the third and run-scoring hit in the bottom of the 1st, giving him 2,998 and setting the stage for a potential record-setting night later.

CC Sabathia made the 1 run stand up the first turn through the Miami lineup.  I don’t know how he did it, but he went 9 up/9 down and struck out 4 batters.  You’ll take a chunk of innings like that from the big guy whenever you can these days, and they helped control the bleeding when things started going south in the middle innings.  Dee Gordon led off the 4th with a triple to right, one that was aided by Carlos Beltran‘s slow-footed chasing of the ball.  He came around to score on an RBI groundout to tie the game at 1, and another leadoff hit, a hit batter, and a Jeff Mathis sac fly in the 5th gave the Marlins the lead.  CC always walks the fine line and he couldn’t stay on the right side in those innings.  When Giancarlo Stanton did Giancarlo Stanton things in the 6th and smashed a solo homer to left, things started looking glum.

Then the offense finally broke through again against Matt Latos.  They had wasted opportunities to score more in the 3rd and 5th innings, but not in the 6th.  With 2 outs and nobody on, Mason Williams doubled to center to turn the lineup over.  This gave Brett Gardner a fourth look at Latos and it sure looked like he knew what to expect.  Gardner took 2 changeups for balls to force a fastball count, and Latos obliged and threw him one.  Gardner did what he’s gotten really good at doing in these situations and crushed the ball out over the short porch for a game-tying home run.  More underratedly brilliant hitting by Gardy.

After that it was on.  Carlos Beltran came through with a 2-run shot of his own the next inning to put the Yankees ahead 5-3, and they really got nasty on reliever Sam Dyson in the 8th.  Walk, walk, lineout, single, wild pitch, double and his night was over with 3 more runs on the board.  Stephen Drew tacked on the 9th with a sac fly later in the inning and it was all over but the crying.

Which Chris Martin seemed more than willing to induce in the mop-up 9th.  Miami put together 3 hits off him to plate a fourth run and it took a great defensive play by Didi Gregorius for the second out of the inning to prevent it from being more.  He eventually did pull it together and close the game, but damn. Continue reading Game 66 Recap: Yankees 9 Marlins 4

Game 65 Recap: Yankees 2 Marlins 1

[caption id="attachment_76037" align="aligncenter" width="625"]Betances K vs Stanton Byyyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeee… Courtesy of MLB.com[/caption]

The last time he took the mound, Michael Pineda was coming off a week plus of rest and it showed.  His command was bad, his slider had little movement, and he got hit around by the same Baltimore Orioles he owned the last time he faced them.  Last night, starting on regular rest, Pineda looked much more like the dominant starter we saw for most of April and May.  The Yankees needed that too, as they scratched together just enough runs to support Big Mike and get a win.

As they always seem to do at home, the lineup gave Pineda a very early lead.  Chase Headley was hit by a pitch with 1 out in the bottom of the 1st and moved to second on a Brian McCann groundout to bring up Al from Miami.  A-Rod singled back up the middle to bring home Headley and bring himself within 4 hits of 3,000.  More to come from him.

Staked to that 1-run lead, Pineda came out firing against the Marlins lineup.  He retired the first 11 batters he faced into the 4th inning, using mid-90s heat and a biting slider to generate a lot of swings and misses and infield contact.  He didn’t give up a hit through 6 and hadn’t even allowed a ball to be hit into the outfield, which got everybody a little excited heading into the game’s final third.  Then Christian Yelich got ahold of a first-pitch fastball to lead off the top of the 7th and hit it for a shutout-and-no-hitter-ruining solo home run.  Immediate bummer, but Pineda had a high pitch count and wasn’t going to be allowed to go all 9 innings anyway, so no biggie.

Also no biggie because the homer wasn’t enough to tie the game.  Alex Rodriguez was at the center of a 5th-inning rally that brought in the Yankees’ insurance run.  He singled with 2 outs and Headley on 1st to put a run in scoring position and put some pressure on Miami starter Jose Urena.  He didn’t respond well to it, walking Garrett Jones on 4 pitches in the next at-bat to load the bases.  It was Carlos Beltran‘s turn and he came through with a run-scoring single to center to make it 2-0 at the time.  A-Rod got thrown out at home by about a quarter mile trying to score, which killed the chance for more 2-out runs, but with the way Big Mike was pitching I think it was worth the send.

Joe didn’t play around with his bullpen after the Yelich home run.  Chasen Shreve came on to get the final out of the 7th and Justin Wilson got the ball in the 8th.  He worked into trouble by walking a batter and getting burned by an Ichiro infield single with 1 out, and he got hooked for Dellin Betances.  It was shades of early career Mo as Betances wiggled out of the 8th without any damage and then flexed his muscle a bit with 2 strikeouts in a scoreless 9th, the first of which was Giancarlo Stanton.  It was a master class in changing levels and a big out in what ended up being a 5-out save. Continue reading Game 65 Recap: Yankees 2 Marlins 1