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

Game 130 Recap: Red Sox 4 Yankees 3

[caption id="attachment_78021" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Ortiz Out vs NYY Out by a mile. My favorite part of this game. Courtesy of the AP[/caption]

From one divisional basement dweller to another, the Yankees traveled to Boston to start a 3-game series last night looking to continue  to beat up on inferior competition and keep pace with the Blue Jays.  Based on the number of opportunities they generated, the Yankees should have won this game in a walk.  But they could never cash in big on even one of them, and instead they went home with a frustrating “coulda, shoulda, woulda” type of loss.

How many missed opportunities were there?  Let’s just list them out.

  • Top 1st- Yanks loaded the bases with nobody out on a catcher’s interference, a fielding error, and an Alex Rodriguez base hit.  They scored a run on a Carlos Beltran sac fly and nothing else.
  • Top 4th– Loaded the bases again with nobody out on a walk to Brian McCann and 2 singles by Chase Headley and Greg Bird.  They scored a run on a Didi Gregorius single and nothing else.
  • Top 5th– Loaded the bases with 2 outs on a Beltran double and back-to-back walks by Eduardo Rodriguez.  Greg Bird struck out to end the inning.
  • Top 6th– 2 on, 2 out with A-Rod facing Robbie Ross.  A-Rod flied out swinging at the first pitch to end the inning.
  • Top 9th- Loaded the bases with 1 out on a Stephen Drew single and 2 walks by Boston closer Jean Machi.  Scored a run on another walk to Headley and nothing else, as Bird struck out again and Didi flied out to deep right field.  Would have been a grand slam at Yankee Stadium.

And that’s not factoring in the double plays to kill potential rallies in the 7th and 8th innings, the last one a freak play off a deflection to nab Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury.  It was just one of those nights where the Yankees could never get the big hit they needed.

And it killed them because the pitching was just poor enough for the Yankees to lose.  Ivan Nova had to battle and work around trouble all night, but he did end up pitching 6 innings and only gave up 3 runs.  1 came on a solo home run by David Ortiz on a pretty good pitch that Ortiz drove out the other way.  That you can live with.  The other 2 that came on a Mookie Betts homer you can’t.  That pitch was right down the pipe, the type of pitch that any decent Major League hitter is going to annihilate.  Still, Nova located a little better than he had been, got a lot of outs on the ground, and kept his team in the game.  This one wasn’t on him.

The bullpen made matters worse in the 7th.  Adam Warren struck out Ryan Hanigan to start the inning, then gave up a double off the monster to Jackie Bradley Jr. and a single to Betts to end his night with runners on the corner.  That brought in Chasen Shreve, who got the ground ball he wanted off the bat off Pablo Sandoval but Bird couldn’t come up with the clean catch and was unable to attempt to turn 2.  It would have been a close play anyway, but because it wasn’t made, Bradley scored from third and the Sox got their insurance run.  It proved to be huge with how badly Machi melted down in the 9th, but even then the bats couldn’t come through. Continue reading Game 130 Recap: Red Sox 4 Yankees 3

Game 129 Quick Recap: NYY 20 ATL 6

The Yankees were struh-guh-ling coming into this weekend interleague set, and looked to be in trouble with an undermanned, underperforming offense.  Naturally that meant they were going to sweep the Braves by outscoring them 38-8 in the 3 games.  They hung a 20-spot on Atlanta this afternoon to wrap things up in style.

Julio Teheran is arguably the ace of the Atlanta staff, but he didn’t have it at all today.  The Yankees jumped on him early with 3 runs in the second on a Jacoby Ellsbury home run and 4 in the 3rd on a pair of 2-run shots by Chase Headley and Stephen Drew.

Teheran’s day ended with 2 outs in the 5th, and the Yankees proceeded to pummel the Braves’ bullpen again from there.  Brigham got it the worst, taking it on the chin to the tune of 8 runs on 9 hits and 4 walks over just 1.1 innings.  The Yanks hung 12 on the Braves in the 7th and 8th innings after Atlanta rallied to pull within 8-5 after 6.  It was an absolute beatdown.

Before that, the game was a bit interesting thanks to an off day for Nathan Eovaldi.  He didn’t have the command inside the strike zone that he’s shown his last few times out and he wasn’t efficient at all with his pitch count.  He tired big time in the 6th and gave up 3 runs in the inning, 5 total for the day while recording 15 outs on 103 pitches.  Still struck out 7, but definitely not Eovaldi’s best work.

Not that he needed it after the 7th-inning outburst.  Branden Pinder did most of the late work after Shreve and Warren cleaned up Eovaldi’s mess in the 6th and Bryan Mitchell worked a clean 9th.  Another win and another day of rest for the bullpen A-team.  You have to like that heading back to Boston. Continue reading Game 129 Quick Recap: NYY 20 ATL 6

Game 128 Recap: Yankees 3, Braves 1

[caption id="attachment_77992" align="aligncenter" width="900"](AP Photo/John Bazemore) (AP Photo/John Bazemore)[/caption]

Before I start the game recap, I’d just like to say that my thoughts are with the family and friends of the man who died after falling from the upper deck at Turner Field last night. I cannot imagine what they’re going through. I’d also like to extend my thoughts to the people who witnessed it because that kind of incident can mess a person up for a while. How scary.

***

This game seemed like one of those contests that the Yankees would lose in annoying fashion for two reasons: 1) The first inning and how they only managed to score one run on a wild pitch after starting off with a bloop double and 2) Luis Severino was pitching and the Yankees like to not score when he’s on the mound.

I’m glad that my initial feeling was wrong and that the Yankees woke up late, scored some runs and closed this one down.

First up, the aforementioned Severino. What a game by the kid. And while I realize the Braves are not an offensive juggernaut, he pitched into and out of a couple of sticky situations and showed some serious poise on the mound while doing so. Also, he nearly hit a home run in his first at bat of the night. If the game were in Yankee Stadium, he would have. Severino pitched six innings, gave up four hits, walked three and struck out five. Last night’s performance helped lower his ERA to 2.17.

The offense woke up in the seventh and eighth innings. Chase Headley started things off with a double over Cameron Maybin‘s head and Didi Gregorius, who is having a nice series, also hit a double to score Headley. The Yankees looked like they could have a big inning brewing but Stephen Drew popped out to first, the Braves intentionally walked pinch hitter Alex Rodriguez, and then Jacoby Ellsbury struck out on three pitches and Brett Gardner struck out on a foul tip.

The Braves came back and scored a run in the bottom of the frame to cut the score to 2-1 thanks to a wonky play by Gregorius and reliever Justin Wilson, and things were looking slightly hairy for Dellin Betances with runners on first and second with two outs, but then this happened:

The Yankees would score another run in the eighth thanks to a Carlos Beltran walk and long double by Brian McCann. Chris Young pinch ran for Beltran and score from first on McCann’s drive.

And I don’t know if anyone else noticed but Andrew Miller seems like he’s feeling better. During this past month or so, while he’s been good and locking down saves, he tended to make things slightly interesting every time out. Not last night. He mowed down both Pedro Ciriaco and Nick Markakis – making the latter look silly on a sexy slider for a swinging strike three – and inducing a Maybin ground out to end the game.

The Yankees did what they needed to do last night: Win a game against a bad team. Today they go for the sweep. Continue reading Game 128 Recap: Yankees 3, Braves 1

Game 127 Quick Recap: NYY 15 ATL 4

Well there you go.  Who knew that all the Yankees needed to wake up the offense was remove the DH from the lineup and replace him with a pitcher?  The Yankee beat up Atlanta starter Williams Perez early for 9 runs in the first 2 innings and stretched the game into a laugher late with 6 runs in the final 2 innings to take the first game of this interleague weekend set.

Didi Gregorius led the offense with a 4-hit night and 6 RBI.  His 3-run home run in the top of the 1st stretched a 2-0 lead to 5-0, and his 2-run single in the 2nd capped off a 4-run inning to make it 9-2.

Masahiro Tanaka looked shaky in the bottom of the 1st, giving back 2 of the runs that the Yankees had scored.  But he came back with a 1-2-3 2nd inning on all strikeouts and ended up throwing 7 innings of 3-run ball.  It probably wasn’t good enough for Andrew Marchand, but it was plenty good enough for me. Continue reading Game 127 Quick Recap: NYY 15 ATL 4

Game 126 Quick Recap: HOU 6 NYY 2

Going with the quick recap format for this one.  I didn’t really follow this game past the 1st inning due to work stuff and I don’t think anybody who did needs to be put through the additional pain of the details.

Today was Michel Pineda’s return from the DL and it was far from glorious.  He gave up a fluke home run to Evan Gattis in the top of the 1st on a pitch that only weirdos like Evan Gattis swing at and hit for power, but got into trouble in the 5th when he hit the wall physically.  3 straight singles, a walk, and a sac fly made it 3-0 Astros, and Chasen Shreve allowing his 2 inherited runners to score brought Pineda’s run total to 5 in just 4.1 innings of work.  The Yankees had him lined up to throw 80-85 pitches and he was done after 71.  I don’t know if I like that.

Offensively the Yankees continued to be stagnant at best, not that that comes as a surprise when their already limp lineup was without Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira.  The only runs they scored came against a tired Colin McHugh in the bottom of the 7th when he hung a curveball to Didi Gregorius and Didi parked it in the right field seats.  Other than that, they only had 4 more hits against McHugh in his 6.1 innings and not a single one more against the bullpen.  I know I’m super late to the party acknowledging this, but the offense officially stinks. Continue reading Game 126 Quick Recap: HOU 6 NYY 2

Game 125 Recap: Astros 15 Yankees 1

[caption id="attachment_77934" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Gomez HR vs NYY Is hitting home runs playing the game the right way? Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

Well that one wasn’t good for the old run differential.  The Yankees got absolutely mollwhopped by the Astros last night, dropping their fourth of 6 games to once again drop out of first place in the AL East.

This one was over early.  Ivan Nova issued a 2-out walk to Carlos Correa in the top of the 1st, and Colby Rasmus lined a ball to center field that Jacoby Ellsbury misplaced in the next at-bat.  The ball got by him for what was scored a triple and the first Houston run, and the floodgates opened wide from there.  The next 5 batters after Rasmus all reached base – walk, double, double, single, walk – and Houston had a 5-spot on the scoreboard when Nova finally managed to get the third out of the inning.  The Ellsbury play didn’t help at all.  That’s a catch that has to be made and if you can’t make it, you have to keep the ball in front of you.  But all that play really did was expose how bad Nova was last night.  He had no command again, hitters were locked in on all of his pitches, and they pounded him.

Nova did get through the 4th inning and briefly give folks hope that the Yankees could pull out a miracle comeback, but that ended in the top of the 5th when he gave up a leadoff double Rasmus and 2-run home run to Evan Gattis to make it 7-0.  That closed the book on Ivan and Nick Rumbelow gave up 2 more runs in the inning to make it 9-0.  Chris Capuano took over for him in the 6th and melted down in the 7th to put the finishing touches on the blowout.  Walk, walk, 2-run single, 3-run home run and there you have a 15-0 deficit.  The trainer came out after the first walk to check on Capuano, but he stayed in the game and got shelled.  Not sure what that was about.

There was no offense to speak of against Houston ace Dallas Keuchel.  He held the Yankees to 3 hits over 7 scoreless, low-stress innings.  After Carlos Beltran‘s double in the 4th, Keuchel sat down the final 10 Yankee hitters he faced in order and ended his night by striking out the side in the 7th.  The only run they could scrounge up came against Vincent Velasquez in the bottom of the 9th.  Ellsbury singled and Velasquez hit Chris Young to put 2 on with no outs, Brett Gardner grounded them over, and Greg Bird scored Ellsbury on another groundout.  Manufacturing runs, baby!!  Well, “run” as it were. Same concept.  Series finale this afternoon. Continue reading Game 125 Recap: Astros 15 Yankees 1