Spring Training Game Quick Recap: Yanks 4 Jays 3

I don’t intend on missing any of Buddy Hield’s second half, so here’s the really short version:

Bryan Mitchell pitched well in his 4 innings of work today, allowing no runs, no walks, and striking out 4.  He’s absolutely locked up a spot in the Opening Day bullpen, and if we’re being honest with each other, he should probably be in consideration for the 5th starter spot because he’s outpitched both CC and Nova.

– The Yankee scoring started almost immediately as Aaron Hicks led off the game with a solo home run, his 2nd of the spring.  He’s been really good all-around so far.  Ellsbury can take his time coming back from the bruised wrist.

Rob Refsnyder showed his inexperience at third base again today, taking another bad hop off the grillpiece.  I don’t care who you are or what level it happens at, taking a grounder off the face in 2 consecutive games is pathetic.  Maybe we should pump the brakes on the “Refs can handle third base” thing for a bit.

– Semi-related, Ronald Torreyes went 2-4 today.  A-Rod went 1-3 with a ribbie and Carlos Beltran also had a hit in 3 trips.

Branden Pinder threw a scoreless inning to pick up the win, although he did give up a hit and walk a batter.  Wouldn’t be surprised at all to him in the Opening Day ‘pen, but I wouldn’t take him personally. Continue reading Spring Training Game Quick Recap: Yanks 4 Jays 3

Spring Training Game Quick Recap: Rays 6 Yanks 2

The Yankees and Rays squared off last night and it was another chance for CC Sabathia to gain or possibly lose ground in the 5th starter competition.  Things didn’t get off to a great start for him, but he was able to battle through 5 innings and give his team a chance.  The offense couldn’t generate much against the Tampa pitching contingent, however, and the Yankee bullpen gave the game away late as the Bombers dropped to 9-11 this spring.

It was tough going for CC in the early innings last night.  His fastball was only sitting in the upper 80s, his offspeed stuff wasn’t fooling the Tampa hitters, and the Rays got to him for a run each in the top of the 1st and 2nd.  The first came on an Evan Longoria solo bomb and the second came on a Desmond Jennings leadoff double and Kevin Kiermaier ribbie single.  Lotta hard contact in the early going for the Rays, but give CC credit.  He got it together and pitched the next 3 innings scoreless, getting the ball down in the zone and picking up 7 of his final 9 outs either via strikeout or groundout.

The Yankees answered Tampa’s second run with a carbon copy of that rally.  Brian McCann started the inning with a double and came around to score on Carlos Beltran‘s single.  They didn’t score again until the bottom of the 7th, when Pete Kozma hit a 1-out triple and came home on a wild pitch, but by then it was too little too late.  The Rays racked up 4 runs against a wild Tyler Olson in the top of the 6th to put themselves comfortably ahead.

Game Notes:

– Final line on CC: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K.  In general I think the Yankees would take that from their 5th starter every time out.

– McCann went 2-3 and was the only Yankee with multiple hits.  He’s quietly having a nice spring.

Kirby Yates strengthened his case for a bullpen spot by recording 4 scoreless outs after Olson’s implosion.  He struck out 2.

Chasen Shreve also K’d 2 in a scoreless frame to continue his stellar spring.

– DH A-Rod went 1-2 with a BB and a K. Continue reading Spring Training Game Quick Recap: Rays 6 Yanks 2

Spring Training Game Quick Recap: Yanks-Mets

You just have to love those un-televised games, don’t you?  The Yankees and Mets squared off last night to see who could take back Spring Training or whatever and the matchup featured 2 of the teams’ top young pitchers.  The one pitching for the good guys get the better of the one pitching for little brother, and the Yankees used a 5-run burst in the 2nd inning to cruise to victory.

– Speaking of cruising, that was mostly what Luis Severino did through the first 4 innings of his outing.  He hit the wall a bit in the 5th and got tagged for 2 runs, but overall a 4.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K start with more GB outs than FB outs is just fine.  He threw 77 pitches and from what I saw on Twitter looked pretty good as he rounds into regular season shape.

– The Yankee lineup battered Mets starter Steven Matz in the bottom of the 2nd, batting around and tuning him up for 5 runs on 6 consecutive hits, a walk, and a sac fly.  The biggest blow was a 2-run single off the bat of Alex Rodriguez, and Brian McCann had the distinction of making the first and last outs of the inning.

– After Sevvy, it was the big 3 out of the bullpen and they all handled their business.  2.2 innings, 4 hits, no runs or walks, and 5 strikeouts.  Interestingly enough, it was Aroldis Chapman who entered first, mid-inning, to replace Severino.  He got the final 2 outs of the 5th, but not before allowing both of Severino’s baserunners to come around and score.

Aaron Hicks did a little of everything batting in the 2-hole.  He went 1-2 with a walk and a stolen base and he’s hitting .290/.343/.516 this spring.

– McCann did rebound from his useless 2nd inning to finish with a 2-hit night.  A-Rod also had 2 hits and Didi Gregorius went 2-3 with 2 runs scored and a ribbie.  He’s hitting .357/.419/.429 this spring.  No way he hits that well in the regular season, but he certainly seems to be picking up where he left off in the second half of 2015.

– A few random outfielder notes: Jacoby Ellsbury is scheduled to take tee-and-toss today and possibly take BP if he feels OK.  Brett Gardner is scheduled to play in back-to-back games for the first time today, so all appears well with his bone bruise.  Slade Heathcott was optioned to Triple-A. Continue reading Spring Training Game Quick Recap: Yanks-Mets

Spring Training Game Recap: Yanks 6 Red Sox 3

I don’t know what number game it is anymore.  I guess that’s what I get for not writing consistent game recaps.  Last night was an important one though, as important as any mid-March game can be, so we’ll get back on the recap horse this morning.  It was the Yankees’ first game under the lights in 2016, they were facing their hated blood rival the Red Sox, and they picked up a victory behind a mostly good team pitching performance and an 8th-inning offensive breakout.

Ivan Nova made the start and I thought he looked really solid in his 4 innings of work.  His fastball had good life and he kept it out of the middle of the plate, and his offspeed stuff looked as sharp as I remember seeing it at any time in the last few years.  The Sox got to him for a run on 2 base hits and a ribbie GIDP in the bottom of the 1st and then he locked them down.  Strong outing for Nova.

– The Yankees didn’t wait long to get their run back.  Aaron Hicks came up to face Boston starter David Price for the second time and he muscled a 1-1 hanger out over the right-center field fence for a solo shot.  Having never seen Hicks’ power before, I was impressed.  If that’s how he’s going to hit against lefties, I’m cool with it.

– Joe went with a shorter pitching staff last night, sending Bryan Mitchell in for 3 innings after Nova’s 4.  Mitchell’s stuff also looked really good to me and he didn’t allow a run or a walk while he was out there.  It has to be said that he was pitching against lesser competition after Boston started pulling starters, but he still looked good.

– Dustin Ackley was back in the lineup and he didn’t show any ill effects of the quad tightness that kept him out over the weekend.  He went 2-3 with 2 sharp singles up the middle.

– The Yanks put the game away with a 5-run barrage in the top of the 8th.  There was a little bit of everything to the rally and the big hits were a 2-run single by Cesar Puello and 2-run double down the left field line off the bat of Cito Culver (for real).  The best part about it was that it came against Robbie Ross Jr., a member of the big league bullpen.

– As smooth as the sailing was for Nova and Mitchell, the Nicks certainly made things interesting in the 8th and 9th.  Rumbelow and Goody combined to give up 2 runs on 7 hits in their 2 innings and the back end bullpen competition continues to be wiiiide open. Continue reading Spring Training Game Recap: Yanks 6 Red Sox 3

Spring Training Game 4 Quick Recap: NYY 6 BOS 4

[caption id="attachment_80500" align="aligncenter" width="625"]Mateo ST HR Peace out. Courtesy of MLB.com[/caption]

It may only be the 4th game of the spring and we may be weeks away from games really meaning anything, but it’s never too early to beat the Red Sox and that’s just what the Yankees did this afternoon.  Behind a mostly solid team pitching performance and some home run power from the top prospects, the Yanks picked up the W to get back to .500 this ST.

– The first blue chip 4-bagger came in the bottom of the 3rd, when Jorge Mateo got ahold of a knee-high knuckleball from Steven Wright that didn’t knuckle and drove it off the bottom of the left field scoreboard.  It was gone off the bat and he was quick around the basepaths, losing his batting helmet as he rounded first.  You can see why some sites put him at the top of their top Yankee prospects list.  He’s got talent oozing out of him.

– The second homer came off the bat of Mateo’s fellow top prospect Aaron Judge, who waited on a hanger in the 7th and hit it over the right field fence for a 3-run shot.  The approach, the swing, and the result were A-Rod-esque if I may say so, and Judge seems to be benefiting from his new leg kick.  It’s helping him stay back on offspeed stuff and better cover the outside of the plate.

– Speaking of A-Rod, he went 2-2 with a pair of singles up the middle and a walk in his 3 trips to the plate.  By my count, he’s gotten 3 hits on 4 swings in his 2 games, so he’s hitting the truest .750 in Spring Training history. Continue reading Spring Training Game 4 Quick Recap: NYY 6 BOS 4

Spring Training Game 2 Quick Recap: PHI 13 NYY 4

This one wasn’t pretty.  Guess the lack of live broadcast wasn’t such a bad thing after all.  Here’s a quick recap.

Alex Rodriguez was the story of the day.  He hit the first pitch he’s swung at all spring for a 2-run home run in the 1st inning, which is bananas when you really stop and think about it, and finished his day 1-2 with a walk.  Dude’s going for 30+ dingers again this year.  Watch.

– Decent first outing for Ivan Nova, who completed 2 innings and struck out 1 while giving up 1 run in the 1st inning.  Sounds like he and the coaching staff were all happy with his performance.

– Different story for Jacob Lindgren, who walked 3, hit a batter, and got charged with 4 earned runs while only recording 1 out.  He’s working his way back into game shape after elbow surgery so he gets a pass for a bad first game.

– Not much to talk about as far as offense goes.  Beltran, Teix, and Headley all had hits in their ABs and Gary Sanchez drew 2 walks in 3 trips to the plate.

– The pitching was ugly across the board after Nova.  The only Yankee pitcher out of 8 to throw a clean inning was Branden Pinder in the 7th. Continue reading Spring Training Game 2 Quick Recap: PHI 13 NYY 4

Spring Training Game 1 Recap: NYY 10 DET 9

Wild finish in the Yankees’ first game of 2016.  Wild game in general.  It is the first of many, many more to come, though, so I don’t want to overdo it on the excitement and tweak something.  We’ll stick to bullet points.

Luis Severino was really hot and really cold in his 2 innings of work.  He retired the side in order on 5 pitches in the top of the 1st and struck out Justin Upton on 3 pitches for the final out, then completely lost his command in the 2nd and allowed 5 runs on 2 hits, 2 walks, and a hit batter.  The big blow was a grand slam by somebody named Bryan Holaday and Severino only recorded 4 outs before being relieved.  Oh well.  Young pitcher, first outing of the year, no big deal.  Fix whatever flaw flared up in the 2nd inning and move on to the next start.

– Pitching star of the day was probably Mark Montgomery, who pitched a perfect 5th inning and struck out a batter.  He’s said he feels better this spring than he has the last 2 years and he’s really had his momentum slowed by injuries.  If he is back to 100% physically, he could be a bullpen sleeper.

– Best position player on the field in pinstripes this afternoon was Starlin Castro.  He ranged way to his right to make a beautiful play to end the 3rd inning and went 2-3 at the plate with a double, a run, and a ribbie.  I said this on Twitter earlier, but I sure hope Rob Refsnyder can play third base because Castro should be getting all the time at second.

Austin Romine also had a 2-hit day and scored 2 runs backing up Big Mac, and Jorge Mateo tripled to start the game-winning rally in the bottom of the 9th.  Johnny Barbato struck out 2 while recording 4 late-game outs.

– Between the Holaday grand slam, the Yankees going down 7-0 then coming back to lead 8-7 heading into the 9th, Nick Goody coughing up the lead and blowing the save on a ground-rule double and a 2-run homer, and the Yanks walking off with the win on a dropped catch in the outfield, this probably would have been an instant classic if it happened in the regular season. Continue reading Spring Training Game 1 Recap: NYY 10 DET 9

Wild Card Game Recap: Astros 3 Yankees 0

[caption id="attachment_78892" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Yankees WC Loss vs HOU Courtesy of the AP[/caption]

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.  1-0 Houston.

That homer seemed to rattle Tanaka a bit, and he labored through a busy 2nd.  George Springer doubled to start the 3rd, but Tanaka stranded him with 3 big outs and appeared to be settling back in.  Then Carlos Gomez came up to lead off the top of the 4th and he hit the first pitch he saw out to left center field for a solo home run.  It was a classic cement mixer slider, starter belt high, middle and stayed there.  Terrible pitch, 2-0 Houston.

Those 2 runs were all Houston would get against Tanaka, who was finished after 5, but it was more than enough for their ace Dallas Keuchel.  He put the Yankee hitters in a diaper for the third time this season, twirling 6 shutout innings with 1 walk and 3 strikeouts.  Where Tanaka missed way off the corners and left meatballs out over the plate, Keuchel nicked the corners for called strikes and kept the ball out of the good parts of the hitting zone.  He got some help from home plate umpire Eric Cooper, which was to be expected, but Keuchel didn’t need any help.  He absolutely overwhelmed the Yankee lineup.

The one time he did get into a bit of potential trouble was the 6th, when Didi Gregorius hit a leadoff single and Carlos Beltran singled with 2 outs to bring Alex Rodriguez to the plate for a third time.  Houston manager AJ Hinch came out to talk to Keuchel, who said what his manager needed to hear to stay in the game and rewarded that faith by getting A-Rod to fly out harmlessly to center on a first-pitch cutter.  That was the best and only real good scoring chance the Yankees had all night and it lasted about 75 seconds, including mound visit.

Joe went with his best bullpen arms after pulling Tanaka, which was the only decision to make in what should have been a close 2-run game.  Justin Wilson got all 3 in the 6th and Luis Valbuena to ground out to start the 7th and that was it for him.  Joe went to Dellin Betances for the real heavy lifting and Betances responded by walking Chris Carter on 5 pitches.  The Astros put their bench to work, pinch running Jonathan Villar and having him steal second base to put a runner in scoring position.  With 2 outs, Jose Altuve came up and just put the bat on an 0-1 curveball enough to dink it out into left field and score Villar.  It was a big insurance run and there was nothing Betances’ followup 3-K 8th inning could do to change that.

The bats went weakly in the 8th and 9th.  6 up, 6 down, no balls out of the infield.  At least Jacoby Ellsbury got to pinch hit.  You wouldn’t want to waste that bullet after letting Gardner put up a silver sombrero.  Bah. Continue reading Wild Card Game Recap: Astros 3 Yankees 0

Game 162 Quick Recap: BAL 9 NYY 4

[caption id="attachment_78825" align="aligncenter" width="375"]Joe vs BAL Better figure out some magic for Tuesday night, sparky. Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

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.  Just throw a name at a dart board for the final few bullpen spots on Tuesday’s roster.  There’s really no better way to decide.

Brian McCann hit .199/.307/.398 after the ASB.

– The Yankees went 1-5 in their final 6 games against 2 sub-.500 divisional opponents and got outscored 47-23 in those games.  That’s not stumbling to the finish line, that’s tripping, falling, snapping both your legs in half, and spontaneously combusting at the finish line. Continue reading Game 162 Quick Recap: BAL 9 NYY 4