Game 154 Quick Recap: Yankees 2, White Sox 1

Hooray! A victory!

I didn’t see any of this game either but it was for a good reason. I was attending a charity event and hanging out with this guy.

meandconey

Yes, that’s friend of the blog, David Cone, and I can call him that since he was nice enough to give us a shout out on YES last season.

Anyway, I was getting updates on my phone – so was my brother – and when I saw that Chase Headley hit the double to tie the game and A-Rod hit the double to get the lead, I was pretty happy.

I was also happy to see that the Yankees held onto the lead and didn’t give up any stupid late home runs. Good job, guys!

And Adam Warren pitched a good game which is nice. He needed it.

Now, win the damn game tomorrow so that magic number can shrink even more! Continue reading Game 154 Quick Recap: Yankees 2, White Sox 1

Game 153 Quick Recap: White Sox 5, Yankees 2

portapottyfire

I’m not going to pretend and say I watched this game. I didn’t. I was keeping track on Twitter and all I know is the Yankees hit into about 300 double plays and couldn’t take advantage of a pitcher really trying to help them score by walking them.

How annoying.

Also annoying, CC Sabathia giving up home runs to Mike Olt and Gordan Beckham. And Olt’s went a long way into left field.

And even more annoying? Chasen Shreve seems to have lost the ability to pitch. Either that, or he never could and the league is catching up to him.

Anyway, today’s game isn’t until 4:05 so we have time to prepare ourselves for the Danks/Warren matchup. Let’s hope the Yankees can score some runs against a dude with a 7-13 record and a 4.59 ERA.

Great, now he’ll pitch a one-hit shutout. Sorry, everyone. Continue reading Game 153 Quick Recap: White Sox 5, Yankees 2

Game 152 Recap: Yankees 3 White Sox 2

[caption id="attachment_78643" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Beltran HR vs CHW The no-doubt second half team MVP. Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

With the disappointing Toronto series in the rearview, the Yankees needed to start winning games and fast against some lesser competition.  They did just that last night back at home, jumping out to an early lead against the Chicago White Sox and holding on for the win behind a strong team pitching performance.

Michael Pineda took the hill to start and believe it or not, he actually outpitched Chris Sale last night.  The White Sox singled off him a ton, even loading the bases with 2 outs in the 3rd inning, but never did any damage with them.  The only time they got to him was on Trayce Thompson‘s solo home run to lead off the top of the 6th.  Pineda’s fastball was lively and moving, his slider was sharp, and he gave his team a solid start.

Joe used a bit of an unconventional lineup against Sale, sitting Gardner, McCann, Bird, and Didi.  While the righty-heavy lineup didn’t do much damage against Sale, the one bit they did do was crippling.  Sale hit Jacoby Ellsbury to start the bottom of the 3rd, replaced him with Chase Headley on a fielder’s choice, then walked Alex Rodriguez.  This brought Carls Beltran to the plate, and after seeing a bunch of fastball earlier in the count, he squared up a 2-2 one and drove it out to left for a 3-run home run.  Seems like he’s been doing that a lot lately.  From bases loaded and nothing to show for it in the top half of the inning to a 3-0 deficit in the bottom.  It’s been that kind of year for the White Sox.

Joe didn’t play around with the lead once Pineda exited.  This game had Wilson-Betances-Miller all over it and that’s who Joe went with.  Justin Wilson wasn’t exactly sharp.  He loaded the bases on 2 walks and a single in the 7th to put Dellin in another highest of high-leverage situations.  Betances immediately walked in a run on the first batter he faced before recovering and striking out Adam LaRoche to end the inning.  Things went much smoother for him in the 8th and Andrew Miller struck out 2 in a scoreless 9th for his 35th save of the season.

The Yanks really need to take 3 of 4 in this series and last night was a good start on that goal.  Magic number is down to 5. Continue reading Game 152 Recap: Yankees 3 White Sox 2

Game 151 Recap: Blue Jays 4 Yankees 0

[caption id="attachment_78627" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Nova vs TOR III Ivan Nova salutes the adoring Toronto crowd after exiting in the 6th inning. Courtesy of the AP[/caption]

Going into last night’s game, I expected Ivan Nova returning to the rotation in place of Masahiro Tanaka to be the biggest thing working against the Yankees.  Turns out it was everything else.  Nova actually pitched well but got bested by Marcus Stroman and a sad showing by the lineup to drop the Bombers’ final game against the Blue Jays in the 2015 regular season and deal a major blow to their division title hopes.

Nova was in trouble early, putting runners on second and third with a single and a double in the top of the 1st.  He worked out of the jam with big strikeouts of Jose Bautista and Justin Smoak though, and those outs really set the tone for the rest of his night.  He wasn’t perfect and he put a runner on in almost every inning, but Nova’s stuff looked better than it had in a while and he was able to locate his fastball better in big spots.  He struck out 6 and walked 2 in what was really 5.2 shutout innings and then watched as James Pazos and Caleb Cotham failed to get the 3rd out of the 6th inning and let Toronto get on the board.

That first run proved to be the only one Toronto would need.  Stroman took the Yankee lineup behind the woodshed and slapped it around like a child.  It was only his third start of the season, second against the Yankees, and he looked like a much different pitcher than the one they saw a few weeks ago.  He had his fastball moving all over the place, his slider was sharp and drew a lot of swings and misses, and the Yankees were never able to put anything of substance together against him.  Closest they came was the top of the 5th when Greg Bird singled to lead off, got eliminated on Chase Headley‘s GIDP, and Dustin Ackely doubled to deep center in the next at-bat.  Who knows what could have happened on that hit if somebody still would have been on base.

With Andrew Miller unavailable, Joe was limited in his bullpen options and it seemed like his plan was to try and save Wilson and Betances for the 8th and 9th.  That led him to go with Andrew Bailey in the bottom of the 7th against the heart of the Blue Jay order and that turned out not to be a good move.  Josh Donaldson hit a leadoff double and moved to third on a Jose Bautista groundout.  The Yanks intentionally walked Edwin Encarnacion and Bailey made that work by striking out Justin Smoak.  With 2 outs, 2 on, and strikes against Russell Martin, Bailey threw a fastball that caught too much of the plate.  Martin crushed it for a killer of a 3-run home run and the game was all but over.  No runs for the offense in the 8th and 9th, Wilson and Betances never saw the field. Continue reading Game 151 Recap: Blue Jays 4 Yankees 0

Game 150 Recap: Yankees 6 Blue Jays 4 (10 Innings)

[caption id="attachment_78593" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Bird HR vs TOR I wish I was Joe Espada’s right hand in this picture. Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

My days of staying up ’til the end of every game are much fewer and farther between than they used to be, but I didn’t nod off once watching last night’s game.  That was awesome.  Even if you weren’t a fan of the Yankees or Blue Jays, you had to be entertained by that game.  It had a little bit of everything – as in a ton of huge hits and big pitches by both sides – and the Yankees came out on the winning end to even the series thanks to their 22-year-old stud rookie first baseman.

But we’ll start with their 21-year-old stud rookie starting pitcher, because he pitched a very nice game.  The last time he faced the Blue Jays, Luis Severino got clobbered.  He said he was throwing too much in that game and that he was going to “pitch” more in this game, and I’d say he did an excellent job of that.  He wasn’t perfect.  Severino had a man on base in each of his final 4 innings and he got hurt by the walk and the long ball.  But he located his fastball well to both sides of the plate and mixed in more changeups early to get outs on the ground, and when he needed to work out of trouble in the 5th and 6th, he did so by making great pitches with 2 outs and getting the strikeout.  I’ll take 2 earned runs in 6 innings against the best offense in baseball 25 hours a day, 8 days a week.

Those 2 runs came in the 3rd on a Kevin Pillar solo home run and the 4th on a Justin Smoak RBI single, and they represented the tying runs when Severino left after 7 innings.  The Yankee offense jumped all over Toronto starter Marcos Estrada in the 1st inning, putting 2 runs on the board with a Jacoby Ellsbury leadoff a double, a 1-out walk, a Brian McCann RBI single, and a Carlos Beltran sac fly.  Then they went into standby mode.  Jacoby Ellsbury doubled in the 2nd, Carlos Beltran singled with 2 outs in the 3rd, and they never got another hit off Estrada for the rest of his outing.  Estrada retired 11 straight into the 7th and avoided trouble after 2 walks and a base hit when Liam Hendriks came on and struck out Alex Rodriguez.

That hurt, but the Yanks quickly recovered from that disappointment to seize the lead in the 8th.  After Justin Wilson worked a 1-2-3 7th, Beltran came up to face the hard throwing Hendriks with 1 out.  Hendriks pumped a 97 MPH fastball in for ball 1, tried to throw it again on the next pitch, and Beltran had it timed perfectly.  He sent the ball over the right center field wall for a big time go-ahead home run and the Yankees were in good shape.  Dellin Betances worked himself out of another self-made bases loaded jam by striking out Edwin Encarnacion in the 8th, and Andrew Miller would have the easier part of the lineup to deal with in the 9th.

Miller got even got the added benefit of turning around Justin Smoak and Dioner Navarro.  He struck out Smoak swinging on the slider for the first out and tried to get a fastball for strike 1 against Navarro.  Navarro was looking for it and he drove it on a line out to left for a game-tying home run.  It was especially back-breaking after the Yankees failed to score with runners on second and third and no outs in the top half of the inning, and suddenly it was the Blue Jays who were in good shape heading to extras.

Then that great big, beautiful Bird stepped into the box in the 10th and made everything OK.  Brian McCann’s leadoff bunt single and Slade Heathcott‘s pinch hit catcher’s interference on pinch runner Rico Noel‘s stolen base attempt (both true stories) put runners on for Bird and Bird worked a beautiful at-bat against righty Mark Lowe before uncorking a 3-run shot to right to make it 6-3 Yankees.  Got down 0-2, took a few balls to even it up, saw 2 sliders earlier in the at-bat, recognized, stayed on, and drove a hanging slider on 2-2.  Disney movie stuff.

Miller got sent back out for the 10th, probably because he already had a high pitch count and wouldn’t be available tonight anyway.  He got tagged for another solo home run to briefly breathe some life back into the Jays, but he gathered it up to strike out Smoak and get Navarro to fly out to end the game.  Back within 2.5 games and feeling great after a win like that.  Don’t call off that division race just yet. Continue reading Game 150 Recap: Yankees 6 Blue Jays 4 (10 Innings)

Game 149 Recap: Blue Jays 4 Yankees 2

[caption id="attachment_78563" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Gardner K vs TOR II Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

It always blows when you lose games early.  It especially blows when you lose games early in pennant races and that’s exactly what the Yankees did last night.  A tough 1st inning, a bunch of missed opportunities, and a comeback that was too little too late cost them the first game of this all-important final series with the Blue Jays and pushed the division deficit back up to 3.5 games.

Adam Warren was the starter and he was working on an 80-85 pitch limit last night, a step up from his previous start.  He used a boatload of those pitches up in the bottom of the 1st and gave Toronto all the runs they would need.  Ben Revere singled to lead off the inning, Warren hit Josh Donaldson with an 0-1 fastball, and Jose Bautista singled up the middle to score Revere and make it 1-0.  3 batters, no outs, 1 run.  One of the worst ways to open the game imagainable.  Then Warren threw a wild pitch to advance the runners and Edwin Encarnacion grounded out to score a second run.  Justin Smoak followed up with a double to deep right to make it 3-0 Toronto and the damage was done.

Warren got out of the inning and kept Toronto at 3 before reaching his pitch count and exiting with 1 out in the 4th, and Joe had to manage the bullpen differently playing from behind.  He used James Pazos, Caleb Cotham, Chasen Shreve, Branden Pinder, and Andrew Bailey to get the final 14 outs and his top bullpen guys not at all.  To their credit, that group somehow combined to throw 4.2 innings of 1-run ball, but I’m sure Joe’s preference would have been to lean on Wilson-Betances-Miller a little more in the late innings.

The reason he didn’t get to do that was those missed opportunities I mentioned earlier.  It was a night of that more than anything against David Price and the Blue Jay bullpen.  The Yankees loaded the bases in the top of the 3rd on a throwing error, a single, and a walk, and they did that with their 9-1-2 hitters to bring up the heart of the order with 1 out.  Alex Rodriguez fought a good 9-pitch battle with Price but struck out on a well-placed fastball for out number 2, and Brian McCann lined out to center.

The Yankees didn’t touch Price after that inning.  He worked 12 up, 12 down from the 4th through the 7th, only leaving in the 8th because the Yanks took and fouled off enough pitches to drive up his count.  Aaron Sanchez came on and immediately got himself into trouble by walking Didi Gregorius.  Dustin Ackley singled to send Sanchez packing, and Jacoby Ellsbury singled off new pitcher Brett Cecil to score Didi and put 2 on and nobody out.  Cecil then did his best Andrew Miller impression, striking out Brett Gardner looking and A-Rod and Big Mac swinging to murder the rally in cold blood.

Things got interesting for a quick sec in the top of the 9th when Greg Bird blasted a solo home run to center on a Roberto Ozuna first-pitch fastball, but Didi couldn’t keep it going and the game was over.  2 runs on the night on a night when your 3-4 hitters came up with the bases loaded multiple times.  That’s a tough one to swallow. Continue reading Game 149 Recap: Blue Jays 4 Yankees 2

Game 148 Recap: Yankees 11 Mets 2

[caption id="attachment_78532" align="aligncenter" width="400"]CC vs NYM Get the man some Captain Crunch. The big guy’s hungry. Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

Innings limits are a trick thing to deal with.  You can do it the smart way, like the Yankees did with Luis Severino, and have a pitcher working with no restrictions late in the season when games are at their most important.  Or you can do it the not-so-smart way like the Mets have done with Matt Harvey and end up getting killed in a game you probably should have won.  I’m sure the Yanks will take wins however they can get them right now, and last night’s late offensive breakout/Subway Series victory was a positive heading into the final showdown with Toronto.

Harvey was on top of his game last night.  No doubt about that.  The Yankee lineup got but 1 hit off him in 5 scoreless innings, a Brett Gardner single in the 3rd.  Harvey created the rest of his own trouble with a walk and an error, but the Yankee bats were unable to turn those into anything.  Harvey had all his pitches working, he was striking guys out left and right, and at 77 pitches he should have been good for another few innings.  Thanks to the Mets’ plan to manage his workload, however, he was done after 5 and the game was in the hands of his bullpen.

To say they dropped the ball would be a major understatement.  They dropped the ball, puked on it, tried to pick it up, dropped it again, slipped in the puke and fell, and watched the puke-covered spontaneously combust and fall off the world’s tallest cliff.  It actually started off with some bad defense in the top of the 6th.  Daniel Murphy threw a ball away and David Wright couldn’t make a catch on a tough throw to put Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner on the corners with no outs.  Hansel Robles tried double up on a slider to Carlos Beltran in the next at-bat and Beltran roped a 2-run double to the center field wall.  Just like that, all of Harvey’s good work undone.

Then the Yankees really started piling on.  Greg Bird drew a walk around a pair of strikeouts, and the red hot Dustin Ackley teed up a fastball and put it into the bullpen for a 3-run home run and a 5-1 lead.  That ended Robles’ night, but not the scoring.  The Yanks pushed another run across in the 7th on a single, an HBP, and 2 walks, and went off for 5 more in the 8th on another string of walks, base hits, and a big 3-run shot from Greg Bird to complete the onslaught.

Most of those runs actually ended up being overkill, as we were treated to another “turn back the clock” edition of CC Sabathia.  The big fella gave up back-to-back doubles to open the bottom of the 1st, issued 2 straight 2-out wallks, and then made like Jon Taffer and shut it down for the night.  The Mets went down in order in the 2nd and 3rd, CC ended the 4th and 5th with big strikeouts to prevent potential 2-out runs from scoring, and he completed 6 1-run innings on a healthy 111 pitches.  Looked good doing it too, striking out 2 in the 7th and holding his fastball velocity in the low 90s.

After the offense turned on the jets to get CC in position for a win, it was a low-leverage bullpen night.  Nick Rumbelow fanned 2 in a perfect 7th, Chris Capuano gave up a run in the 8th because of course he did, and Nick Goody went 1-2-3 in the 9th.  The magic number is down to 8, the division deficit is down to 2.5, the bullpen is rested, and the offense might be waking up.  This Toronto series should be interesting. Continue reading Game 148 Recap: Yankees 11 Mets 2

Game 147 Quick Recap: NYY 5 NYM 0

[caption id="attachment_78523" align="aligncenter" width="550"]McCann HR vs NYM Heart of the order doing the damn thing. Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

Mets got the Yanks 5-1 last night.  Yanks one-upped them by completing the shutout today.  A pretty good Michael Pineda, a slew of relievers, and a pair of home runs from the middle of the order came together to even the series and stave off the takeover of the city for another day.

The first homer came minutes into the game, as Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner singled to start the rally in the top of the 1st and Carlos Beltran launched a 3-run home run off Noah Syndergaard to promptly put the Yankees up 3-0.  Both the Gardner and Beltran hits came on 0-2 pitches.  Syndergaard settled down after that and looked like he was going to turn in a decent outing, but Beltran singled off him with 1 out in the 6th and Brian McCann went long ball to make it 5-0.

Pineda did a fine job holding the lead he was given.  He put a few runners on over his first 5 innings of work, but he was never really in trouble and made pitches with 2 strikes to get himself out of innings before trouble could really start.  The Mets put 2 hits together off him in the bottom of the 6th, however, and after a big strikeout of Yoenis Cespedes Joe decided it was time for the bullpen.

That bullpen was all hands on deck today, and Joe used almost all of those hands.  Justin Wilson got the first 4 outs after Pineda, and Dellin Betances pitched a clean 8th inning, and around that Joe used 4 different pitchers to get the remaining 4 outs.  Everybody from Caleb Cotham to Andrew Miller.  Good times. Continue reading Game 147 Quick Recap: NYY 5 NYM 0

Game 146 Quick Recap: NYM 5 NYY 1

No Teix, no A-Rod, no McCann, no Ellsbury, no offense.  The Yankees played with half a lineup last night, and in a completely expected turn of events they managed to score a single run with that lineup and lose the series opener to the Mets.

Of course they got that run in the top of the 1st too.  Brett Gardner walk, Carlos Beltran bloop single, Chris Young sac fly.  That was it, that was the offense against Mets’ starter Steven Matz.  The Yanks stranded 2 runners in the 1st, 2 more in the 2nd, and 2 in the 6th against Matz, then for good measure loaded the bases against closer Jeurys Familiar in the 9th with 1 out and didn’t score.

Masahiro Tanaka looked excellent for most of the game, but he made 3 bad pitches on the night and all 3 hurt him.  Hung a splitter to Lucas Duda in the 2nd that Duda hit for a game-tying solo home run, hung another one to him in the 4th that he hit for a double, and hung a 2-strike slider to Daniel Murphy in the 6th that Murphy took yard.  Story of Tanaka’s season.  Can’t avoid making bad pitches in critical spots and can’t avoid getting killed on those pitches.

Game Notes:

Chasen Shreve put the game out of reach by serving up a 2-run bomb to pinch hitting Juan Uribe in the 7th.  He can’t be allowed to pitch important innings anymore this season.

Dustin Ackley doubled to lead off the 9th, continuing his strong run of games.  Maybe play him more?  Just a thought.

– Brutal night of pinch hitting by 2/3 of the available regulars.  Jacoby Ellsbury flied out swinging at the first pitch hitting for Tanaka in the 7th, and Brian McCann fouled out on the second pitch hitting for Shreve in the 8th.

– Despite throwing just 82 pitches in 6 innings, Joe still wouldn’t commit to Tanaka coming back on regular rest against Toronto on Thursday.  Sounds like the division race is over and it’s about the Wild Card and setting up Tanaka for that game now.  Whatever, I can’t say I hate that. Continue reading Game 146 Quick Recap: NYM 5 NYY 1