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.…

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Game 86 Quick Recap: NYY 5 BOS 1

Big Mike and Buchholz.  The pitching matchup was a really good one on paper last night.  Unfortunately for Boston only Big Mike was able to live up to that matchup, as they lost their ace early to an elbow injury.  The Yankees used that unexpected pitching change to grab a comfortable lead and ride Pineda’s strong start to a series-opening victory.

Pineda was sharp, even if he did have at least one runner on base all night.  The Sox put men on in each of the first 4 innings, but Pineda was always in control and shut them down with his strong fastball-slider combo.  Mookie Betts got to him for a solo homer in the 5th and that was the only black mark on Pineda’s line.  He struck out 6, didn’t walk a batter, and left with 2 outs in the 7th as Joe went to the ‘pen to face Betts again.

The top of the 4th was when the Yankees won the game.  …

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Game 85 Recap: Yankees 6 Athletics 2

Tanaka vs OAK

A master at his craft. Courtesy of Getty Images

I said I wanted the Yankees to go at least 4-2 in these last two series before the break.  They got halfway there this afternoon with a series-clinching win over the A’s behind a strong start from Masahiro Tanaka and an All Star-caliber performance by 2015 American League All Star Brett Gardner.

Things didn’t look promising for Tanaka early.  He seemed to get rattled by a catcher’s interference call to start the top of the 2nd and gave up a double to Billy Butler in the next at-bat to tie the game at 1.  A walk and another double made it 2-1 Oakland and got the NY tabloid guys’ fingers ready to type out another “the sky is falling!!!” post on Tanaka for tomorrow morning.  The 2-seamer appeared to be the problem pitch, and Tanaka’s command in general seemed a tick off again.

And then he went on to retire the next 18 batters he faced in a row.  …

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Game 84 Recap: Yankees 5 A’s 4

Teix HR vs OAK

Insert gluten-free joke here. Courtesy of the AP

From one starter who struggles to get through 6 to another who struggles to get through 6 without getting shelled, the Yankees were on the wrong side of the odds again heading into last night’s game.  But their luck changed quickly after a discouraging start and they held on late to even the series.

That discouragement came thanks to the Ace Formerly Known as CC Sabathia, who gave up 2 runs on 5 hits before he recorded his 5th out of the game.  Almost all the contact generated off him was extremely hard and it took a little luck for him to get out of the 1st inning unscathed.  Roth was out to talk to him and Joe had Bryan Mitchell up in the ‘pen for him in the 2nd, so that’s a sign of how little leash CC has left these days.  Hard to say he hasn’t earned it.

But the big guy managed to get it together long enough to stop the bleeding in the 2nd, and once he did that he actually settled in and gave his team a decent start, by his present day low standards that is.  …

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Game 83 Recap: A’s 4 Yankees 3 (10 Innings)

Betances vs OAK

Courtesy of the AP

The Yankees followed up a string of 20 games in 20 days with 2 scheduled off-days in 5, and kicked off their final short series of series before the All-Star break last night against the Oakland A’s.  They got whooped pretty bad by the A’s the last time they faced them out in Oakland, and they were facing Oakland’s best starter last night.  While they didn’t get peak Sonny Gray, they were unable to take full advantage of that early and coughed the game up late.

It was clear from the first batter of the bottom of the 1st that Gray wasn’t his usual sharp self.  Brett Gardner singled to lead off and Gray walked Chase Headley on 4 pitches to put the Yankees in business.  After 2 outs by A-Rod and Teix, Brian McCann and Garrett Jones came through with back-to-back base hits to give the Yankees a quick 2-1 lead.

That lead could have been more if A-Rod or Teix came through, and it would have been more than a run if Nathan Eovaldi could have had a clean top of the 1st.  …

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Game 79 Recap: Yankees 3 Angels 1

High Fives vs LAA

Courtesy of Getty Images

The Yankees were guaranteed a losing road trip when they dropped the second game of this series on Tuesday night.  It was all about saving face and not getting swept in the finale last night, and to their credit the Yanks were able to do enough to prevent that.  They matched the offensive output of their previous 3 games and got a solid all-around pitching performance to get the W.

It wasn’t exactly an offensive outburst for the lineup.  They got their first run in the top of the 3rd the hard way.  Didi Gregorious led off with a single, moved to second on a Stephen Drew sac bunt, third on a Brett Gardner groundout, and home on a Chase Headley ribbie single.  If you can’t mash ‘em, manufacture ‘em, I guess.  The second run came much easier in the 6th, as the heart of the order came up for a third time against Angels starter Matt Shoemaker and Garrett Jones smashed an 0-2 fastball into the right field seats for a solo home run.…

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Game 78 Quick Recap: LAA 2 NYY 1

Nova vs LAA

Courtesy of the AP

The Yankees really aren’t doing much lately, so there’s no point in spending too many words on last night’s game.  You only get 2 hits as a team, you lose.  Pretty simple.

The first of those 2 hits came in the top of the 2nd, when Mark Teixeira homered to lead off the innings against Andrew Heaney.  It was his 19th of the year and the only run the Yanks would get.  Brett Gardner had the other hit, a 2-out single, the next inning and that was it for the rest of the game.  The Yanks drew 2 walks over the final 6 innings against Heaney and the Angel relievers and never advanced a runner to second base.

To his credit, Ivan Nova was pretty solid in his second start back from Tommy John.  This one definitely had more of that post-TJS feel than his first start.  Nova had to work around 2 on/1 out in the 1st inning and bases loaded in the 2nd to keep Anaheim off the board.  …

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Game 77 Recap: Angels 4 Yankees 1

Sabathia vs LAA

Ooooooooh, the symbolism. Courtesy of the AP

The Yankees’ first trip out west roughly a month ago netted them 4 wins and 2 losses.  They started this latest one off with a 4-game split in Houston before making their way out to Cali for a 3-game set with the Angels.  The bats weren’t around very often in Texas and they didn’t make the trip out to LA either last night as the Yanks dropped the series opener.

The bar has been set impossibly low for CC Sabathia at this point.  Anything more than 5 innings pitched and less 4 earned runs allowed seems like a major victory.  Sabathia managed to do that last night and still ended up not really pitching that well.  He gave up a run in the bottom of the 1st on a 2-out RBI double by Albert Pujols.  No shame in that, nor is there shame in giving up a home run to Mike Trout, which CC did with 2 outs in the bottom of the 3rd.  …

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Game 76 Quick Recap: HOU 3 NYY 1

The Yankees did themselves a huge favor by coming back to win yesterday afternoon’s game.  They’ve blown more than a few games like that already this season and the failure to win those games is what has them in second place in the division.  The offense no-showing today made yesterday’s win all the more important and allowed them to leave Houston with their heads held at least at normal head-holding position after dropping the series finale to the Astros.

The Yanks jumped out to the early lead in the top of the 3rd, thanks in part to some bad pitching (Stephen Drew walk), worse pitching (wild pitch in the next at-bat), and clutch hitting (Brett Gardner RBI single).  That was all they would get off Houston starter Colin McHugh, however.  He held them to 1 measly hit over the next 5 innings and set the stage for his team’s comeback.

That comeback came slowly and methodically against a pretty solid Michael Pineda.  …

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