Game 142 Quick Recap: NYY 5 TOR 0

You might have noticed that I didn’t bother writing a recap for either of yesterday’s games.  That’s mostly because I thought Stacey’s visual recap spoke louder than any of my written words could, and a little bit because I just didn’t feel like it.  I’ll write one today because they won though, and I don’t feel the slightest bit bad about it.

The story of this afternoon’s game was Masahiro Tanaka.  He was top notch in his last start against earlier in the week and he repeated that level of excellence today against the Jays.  Tanaka worked around hits in each of the first 3 innings, then sat the Toronto lineup in order from the 4th through the 6th.  Toronto finally got another hit on a Chris Colabello double in the 7th, but Tanaka snuffed that out before it could become anything.  He got a lot of ground ball outs, he struck out 7 and he didn’t walk anybody.  It was another ace-caliber performance from the no-doubt ace of the staff.

He got half his offensive support early by the piece-it-together method and the other half by the long ball.  The Yanks got to R.A. Dickey for a pair in the bottom of the 2nd by loading the bases on a walk, single, walk, and plating 2 runs with sac flies by Dustin Ackley and Did Gregorius, and created a run-scoring chance with 2 outs in the 4th on a Chase Headley base hit.  That brought Ackley back up and he laced a 1-1 pitch into the right field seats for his first Yankee home run and a 4-0 lead.

That was plenty for Dellin Betances and a pair of Quad-A arms.  Betances struck out the side in a perfect 8th inning and the immortal tag team of James Pazos and Caleb Cotham got the final 3 outs in the 9th. Continue reading Game 142 Quick Recap: NYY 5 TOR 0

Game 139 Quick Recap: TOR 11 NYY 5

Luis Severino wasn’t going to pitch lights out forever.  Every pitcher has a bad start every now and then and Severino had a bad one last night.  Unfortunately for him, and the Yankees, that bad game came against the best offense in baseball and the Yanks got pounded by the Jays in the first game of their 4-game series.

For all intents and purposes, the game was over after the top of the 1st.  Severino couldn’t command his fastball and Toronto went double, homer, strikeout, double, single, homer in the first 6 batters to grab a 5-0 lead.  A pair of walks and a ribbie single by Russell Martin in the top of the 3rd ended Severino’s day and put the game on the arms of the bottom of the Yankee bullpen.

Toronto kept right on scoring against those guys.  They got 2 runs in 1.2 innings against Chris Martin, another run in 2 innings against Andrew Bailey.  Joe changed it up with Chasen Shreve after the offense pulled them back within 4 in the 7th and Toronto bashed him around for their final 2 runs.  The only 2 guys who worked scoreless innings were Caleb Cotham and Branden Pinder.

The biggest flash of Yankee offense came in the bottom of the 6th on a Didi Gregorius 3-run home run.  Didi drove in 4 of the 5 runs and was one of only 2 players to achieve multiple hits, so yeah, not much hope of a high-scoring comeback here.  Also not the way the Yankees wanted to start this series with the doubleheader coming today. Continue reading Game 139 Quick Recap: TOR 11 NYY 5

Game 138 Recap: Orioles 5 Yankees 3

[caption id="attachment_78264" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Sabathia vs BAL The look of a man whose teammates let him down. Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

I wrote about how the starting rotation has been a constant cycle of turnover and drama the other day, and that cycle kept turning last night as CC Sabathia made his return from the DL.  But quality of starting pitching doesn’t really matter if you don’t hit and don’t play defense and the Yankees didn’t do either of those things last night.  That’s why they lost another easily winnable game against the Orioles and why they took a series loss against those lowly Orioles instead of a sweep.

I thought Sabathia looked pretty good last night.  He was throwing his fastball in the low 90s, his offspeed stuff had good movement, and he was generally locating pitches where he wanted to.  He got charged with an earned run in the top of the 1st when Stephen Drew flubbed a potential double play ball and only got 1 out, Didi Gregorius failed to check and go after the lead runner from second thus allowing him to move to third, and Carlos Beltran let a weak bloop fly ball land in front of him for a single.  It was collectively pathetic and CC got dinged for the run and about 10 more pitches in the inning.

He got burned by the bad defense again in the top of the 5th, although to be fair CC does bear some of that burden by hitting Chris Davis with 1-2 pitch the at-bat after striking out Manny Machado for the second out in the inning.  That ended his night and brought on Adam Warren for some long relief/starter stretch out work.  With the bases loaded and 2 outs, Warren got Jonathan Schoop to hit an inning-ending ground ball to Chase Headley.  Headley made a bad throw to second, forcing Stephen Drew to go low to make the catch and Drew couldn’t make it.  The ball trickled away from him, allowing 2 runs to score and tie the game.  All of Carlos Beltran’s work to give CC a lead was wasted.

I specify that it was Beltran’s work and not the whole lineup’s because the rest of the lineup really didn’t have much to do with the scoring last night.  Beltran popped an opposite field solo home run to left in the bottom of the 1st to get that run back and tie the game at 1.  In the bottom of the 3rd, Didi got hit by a pitch to lead off and Drew singled to set up the top of the order.  Ellsbury and Headley made outs, but Beltran picked them up by stroking a 2-run single up the middle to put the Yankees ahead 3-1.

After that inning, the Yankees did a whole lot of nothing with the bats.  Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez retired 12 straight batters after the Beltran single and held the Yankees at 3 through the 7th.  He was in position for the win after Warren, still in the game on stretch out duty, served up a brutal 2-2 meatball to Steve Pearce that Pearce hit out for the go-ahead home run.  Had him 0-2, couldn’t put him away, threw a curveball that spun over the middle.  Not good.  Nick Rumbelow and Bryan Mitchell added fuel to that fire with 2 walks and a ground-rule double in the 9th, and the already quiet Yankee bats stayed mute in the 8th and 9th.

Ugly defense, no hitting, questionable managerial decision making, and poor late-game relief work.  About the only positive part of this game was Sabathia’s performance.  Who would have expected that?  Not the right time to stumble at home, and now the Yankees need to gather it back up with the Blue Jays coming to town for a 4-game weekend set. Continue reading Game 138 Recap: Orioles 5 Yankees 3

Game 137 Recap: Orioles 2 Yankees 1

[caption id="attachment_78231" align="aligncenter" width="550"]A-Rod HR vs BAL III The offense. Courtesy of the AP[/caption]

With Nathan Eovaldi out, possibly for the rest of the year, there’s added pressure on Masahiro Tanaka to pitch well down the stretch.  If last night’s start was any indication, I think he’ll be just fine with that.  Tanaka turned in a gem, arguably his best start of the season last night, but he ended up doing it in a losing cause as the offense no-showed and Baltimore struck late with a go-ahead home run.

It didn’t take Tanaka long to settle in.  He had his game going from the first pitch and he retired the Orioles in order through the first 4 innings with 5 strikeouts from the 2nd-4th.  He did walk the leadoff hitter in the 5th and a questionable official scorer’s call a few batters later broke up the no-hitter, but Tanaka struck out 2 more and got out of the inning easily.  His fastballs had good movement, he could throw multiple pitches for strike 1, and his offspeed stuff was really sharp.  The splitter, the slider, and the curveball drew a ton of swings and misses.  This was ace form Tanaka.

The only bad pitch he made came to the leadoff batter in the top of the 6th.  Ryan Flaherty worked the count to 3-1 by taking a couple fastballs for strikes, then swung through a cutter for strike 2.  With the count full, Tanaka and/or Brian McCann elected to go fastball again and Tanaka threw one in the heart of the strike zone that Flaherty hit for a home run.  That was all the scoring Tanaka would allow, as he battled through the next few innings and completed 8 to save a tired bullpen.  But I have to think he wants that fastball decision to Flaherty back.

Or maybe just a little help from his offense.  They made Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman look good by going down 1-2-3 in the 2nd and 4th innings and wasted situations with multiple runners on base in the 1st, 3rd, and 5th.  Matt Wieters even dropped a sure foul pop out in Alex Rodriguez‘s 2-out at-bat in the 3rd to give him another chance to drive in a run, but A-Rod couldn’t come through.

Alex led off the bottom of the 6th against Gausman and this time he made sure he didn’t waste the opportunity.  He worked the count full like Flaherty did in his big AB, took a fastball for ball 3, then got another one on the 3-2 pitch and had it timed up.  A-Rod hit the ball out to deep left field and seemed to think it was a flyout off the bat.  But the ball carried just enough to sneak over the fence and the game was tied on A-Rod’s 30th home run of the season.

With Millance unavailable, Joe went to Chasen Shreve in the top of the 9th.  That move proved to be fatal, as Shreve served up a solo shot to Chris Davis on a 2-0 get-me-over fastball.  Davis let it get deep and muscled it over the wall in left.  The lineup went down 1-2-3 in the 9th just like they did in the 7th and 8th and the loss was secure.  Bad pitch by Shreve, but he shouldn’t have been pitching in a 1-1 game there.  Offense has to do more and they didn’t. Continue reading Game 137 Recap: Orioles 2 Yankees 1

Game 136 Recap: Yankees 8 Orioles 6

[caption id="attachment_78196" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Bird HR vs BAL Greg Bird, lefty killer. Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

I don’t know what to say to people who aren’t on board with this team yet.  if you don’t enjoy watching and don’t have full confidence in this team at all times, you must live a very sad life.  The Yankees opened up a home set with the Orioles this afternoon and they pulled the comeback card again today, slowly battling back from a rough start for Big Mike before icing the game late with a big blow from the Birdman.

It was a quick start for Michael Pineda, as he retired the side in order in the top of the 1st on fewer than 10 pitches.  But his fastball command was not present in the slightest today, and that lack of command got him in big trouble in the 2nd inning.  He walked Chris Davis to start the inning, gave up a single to Jimmy Paredes, and threw a horrible 0-2 fastball down the pipe Jonathan Schoop that Schoop yanked out to left field for a 3-run home run.  He then hit Nolan Reimold with another 0-2 fastball in the next at-bat.  This all happened before an out was recorded in the inning.  When all was said and done, Baltimore had 4 runs on the board in the inning and it was looking like a short day in the making for Big Mike.

The good news was that the offense gave him some early support to keep the game close.  They got a run in the bottom of the 1st on a trio of singles, the last by Chris Young, and another in the 3rd when Chase Headley reached on a tough call error to lead off the inning and Young drove him with a 2-out double to left.  They didn’t appear to be fooled by anything Wei-Yin Chen was doing and they worked him hard in every inning.  That persistence paid off in the bottom of the 5th when Alex Rodriguez took him deep on a 3-1 fastball, and John Ryan Murphy did the same with 2 outs after Greg Bird fought back from 1-2 to draw a walk.  Chen threw over 100 pitches to get through 5 innings and he left without the lead his offense had given him.

That was where Pineda’s day turned into a good one.  Whatever was killing his command in the 2nd inning got fixed in a hurry, and for the rest of the game he was brilliant.  1 hit, 1 walk, and no runs for the O’s from the 3rd through the 6th, and Pineda finished with 5 strikeouts.  He might have even picked up the win had it not been for Manny Machado being a boss and taking Justin Wilson out to dead center for a game-tying home run in the top of the 7th.  That gave the Orioles life again, but in the end all it did was slightly delay the inevitable. Continue reading Game 136 Recap: Yankees 8 Orioles 6

Game 135 Recap: Yankees 6 Rays 4

[caption id="attachment_78170" align="aligncenter" width="550"]A-Rod HR vs TB II “Thanks, bat. I’ll just toss you over here and be right back.” Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

There was reason for pessimism heading into this afternoon’s rubber match against the Rays.  Ivan Nova had been battling his command lately and Tampa was rolling out staff ace Chris Archer, who has owned the Yankees in his short career.  The Yanks got to him in 1 big inning to pull themselves ahead, then tacked on enough runs for their bullpen to take the W home.

It was another up and down day for Ivan.  He got hit around a bit in the early innings, gave up a 2-run homer to Kevin Kiermaier in the 2nd, and another run on a walk and a pair of singles in the 3rd to put his team in a 3-0 hole.  But he also managed to gather things up after the 3rd and work 3 more innings scoreless, turning in a 6-inning, 3-run performance when his day was done.  Once again it wasn’t pretty, but Nova kept it close and gave his club a little bit more length than it appeared he would when the game started.

Archer continued his complete and total mastery of the Yankees for the first 5 innings.  The only hit they got off him was off the bat of noted Archer-killer Jacoby Ellsbury, and Archer looked poised to go the distance.  Then he hit a speed bump in the 6th when Ellsbury singled with 1 out and Carlos Beltran drew a walk with 2 to bring up Brian McCann.  McCann worked a 3-0 count and then took a fastball for a strike.  He was looking for the same fastball on the next pitch and he got it, turning on it and crushing it deep into the right field seats for a game-tying, 3-run homer.  Archer was clearly rattled by what happened because he grooved a slider to Alex Rodriguez on the next pitch and A-Rod hit it out to right for the go-ahead home run.  2 pitches, 2 swings, 2 dingers, 1-run lead.

The Yanks got one insurance run in the 7th thanks mainly to Didi Gregorius‘ heads up baserunning.  He singled to start the inning, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored from there when Logan Forsythe threw the ball away trying to turn 2 on Brett Gardner.  Didi drove in the second insurance run with a bases loaded single in the 8th.  How’s that for the BABIP game evening out after his unlucky lineout yesterday?

Joe did his usual thing and pieced the game together with his top tier relievers after Nova’s 6.  Justin Wilson got 2 outs in the 7th and handed over to Dellin Betances after surrendering a 2-out double.  Betances finished the 7th and then labored through the 8th, serving up a solo home run to Asdrubal Cabrera and needing a clutch double play to end a go-ahead threat.  That got the ball to Andrew Miller and he worked around a pair of 2-out hits to pick up his 31st save of the year.  Big series win. Continue reading Game 135 Recap: Yankees 6 Rays 4

Game 133 Quick Recap: NYY 5 TB 2

Now that’s how you kick off a home series.  With too many damn home runs.  The Yankees didn’t get many hits off Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi last night, but they certainly made them count.

In fact, “many” might be too strong a word to describe the Yankee hit total.  They only got 3 against Odorizzi, but all 3 were home runs and 2 of those home runs were preceded by Odorizzi’s 2 walks.  Alex Rodriguez hit a hanging offspeed pitch for a 2-run homer to left in the bottom of the 2nd to give the Yankees an early lead, Brian McCann crushed a solo shot to left in the 3rd to make it 3-0, and Greg Bird smacked a 2-run shot to right in the 7th to make it 5-1.  When you only manage 3 hits and 2 walks against a starter, that’s usually bad.  When you turn it into 5 runs, that’s efficiency.

Yankee starter Luis Severino made those 5 runs work for him as he pitched into the 7th and only surrendered 1 run on an Evan Longoria solo shot.  He had to work hard to get a few outs, and he did have 10 men on base against him, but Severino showed the stuff and the nerves to make pitches when he needed to.  Justin Wilson, Adam Warren, and Andrew Miller teamed up to get the final 8 outs and Severino picked up his third straight win. Continue reading Game 133 Quick Recap: NYY 5 TB 2

Game 132 Recap: Yankees 13 Red Sox 8

[caption id="attachment_78100" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Drew HR vs BOS Cue the music from “The Natural”. Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

The last time he faced the Yankees on August 4th, Henry Owens did alright for himself in a 3-run, 5-inning outing that netted him an ND and his team a blowout loss.  He wasn’t even close to being that lucky this afternoon, failing to make it out of the 2nd inning and giving up the bulk of an early run-scoring onslaught that the Yankees would use to slowly plod to victory.  Poor bastard.

Owens retired the side in order in the 1st and struck out Carlos Beltran to start the top of the 2nd.  It spiraled downward at warp speed for him from there.  Chase Headley walked on 5 pitches and Greg Bird hit a 2-run home run to get the Yankees on the board.  John Ryan Murphy followed up with a solo shot of his own to make it 3-0, and the Yankees proceeded to go single, single, walk, single, single to make it 6-1 and end Owens’ day.  Beltran hit a 2-run homer to welcome Ryan Cook to the game and cap off the 8-run inning.

Masahiro Tanaka used those 8 runs to steady himself after a 1st inning in which he gave up 2 hits and a run.  He gave up another run in the 5th on a Blake Swihart double and Mookie Betts sac fly and another in the 6th on a Xander Bogaerts home run, but there was nothing to get worked up about one way or the other in regards to his start.  Tanaka didn’t appear to be overworking himself and he did enough to get the important outs when he needed to.  That 4th run doesn’t make his line look great, but 92 pitches, 5 strikeouts to 1 walk, and an easy victory pitching on regular rest.  You have to take that when you can get it.

The Yankees really blew the game open with a Stephen Drew 3-run home run in the top of the 2nd, they tacked on a run for an even dozen in the 5th on a Did Gregorius solo shot, and then watched as the bullpen slowly let the big lead evaporate after Tanaka left.  Andrew Bailey, making his first MLB appearance since July of 2013, gave up a run on 2 walks and a hit in the 7th, Bryan Mitchell got beat up for 2 runs on 4 hits without finishing the 8th, and Caleb Cotham got tagged for a pair of back-to-back doubles in the 9th.  Joe ended up using Deldrew Millances to get the final 5 outs of the game, but you could hardly blame him for doing it.  The rest of the guys were straight booty.  And there’s an off-day tomorrow.  Do what you have to do to win that game. Continue reading Game 132 Recap: Yankees 13 Red Sox 8

Game 131 Recap: Yankees 3 Red Sox 1

[caption id="attachment_78083" align="aligncenter" width="575"]Ortiz K vs NYY It’s so beautiful it almost makes me cry. Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

That’s more like it.  I wouldn’t necessarily call it snapping out of their funk from Monday night, but the Yankees did turn in a very good team pitching performance to shut down the Red Sox and picking up a win to even the series.  I’ll always take a win.

Michael Pineda started the night with the ball in his hand for the Yanks and from the get go it was clear that he was feeling better tonight than he has in a while.  He pumped a few fastballs in at 94-95, threw a couple good, hard sliders, and retired 7 of the first 8 Boston hitters he faced.  He hit a speed bump in the bottom of the 3rd when Jackie Bradley Jr. smacked a double and came around to score on a Pablo Sandoval hit, but he quickly recovered from that to strike out Xander Bogaerts swinging on a 96 MPH fastball and end the inning.

From that point on, Pineda was a stud.  Only Bradley reached base on him again after the 3rd, on another double.  But Pineda sandwiched that between 3 strikeouts in the 5th and sandwiched that figurative sandwich in between 2 1-2-3 innings in the 4th and 6th.  His cutter had great movement, his 4-seamer had great life, and he buried a ton of sliders for bad swings.  This was the Big Mike we saw at his best early in the season and he gave his scuffling offense a big lift.

And boy did they need one because they made Rick Porcello look like a Cy Young candidate last night.  I don’t know what the scouting report was or why it called for so many guys to take so many strikes down the middle if it did, but it was pretty brutal to watch.  Brett Gardner AND Carlos Beltran took strike 3 to end the 1st, Porcello rattled off 3 more strikeouts in the top of the 2nd, and the Yankees stranded the only 2 runners they got over the first 4 innings.

The 2 runs they scored in the top of the 5th were more Boston’s fault than their success.  With 2 outs and Alex Rodriguez on first, Didi Gregorius hit a hard ground ball to first that should have been the final out.  But Travis Shaw didn’t get down on the ball and it went under his glove and into right field, putting A-Rod on third and Didi on second.  The scorching hot Stephen Drew (not kidding) stepped in and cranked a hanging 2-0 changeup to left-center to score both runs and the Yankees grabbed the lead.

They would never surrender it, but they didn’t do much to add on to it.  Gardner took another called strike 3 into the 6th, Greg Bird watched one go by in the 7th, and Porcello tallied up 13 strikeouts in 8 innings of work.  That’s… not what you want.  At all.  That 8th inning did him in though, when Gardner finally decided to take the bat off his shoulder and swing it at hittable pitches.  Porcello grooved a slider with 2 outs and Gardner yanked it out to right for a solo home run.  Insurance run ahoy.

That 1 run was all the bullpen would need.  Justin Wilson got 2 outs in the 7th and gave way to Dellin Betances, who struck out JBJ to end the inning and navigated his way through a stressful 8th.  He got helped out in a big way when the Mookie Betts got thrown out trying to steal third for the second out of the inning.  He argued that he was pushed off the base by Chase Headley on the tag, but replay confirmed that he came off the bag on his own and was tagged out.  Too bad, so sad.  With that free out in his pocket, Betances K’d David Ortiz and handed over to Andrew Miller, who struck out the side in the 9th and hit Rusney Castillo just to make it interesting.  Ballgame over, Yankees win. Continue reading Game 131 Recap: Yankees 3 Red Sox 1