Thursday morning reflections after a sweep in Seattle

I said this other day after the Yankees were able to beat Felix Hernandez: This team is confounding.

They will sweep the best team in the league (in the AL and at the time the series began), lose three out of four to a terrible team in Oakland and then sweep the Mariners in Seattle while facing the aforementioned Hernandez.

And guess what? The Yankees are in first place and four games above .500! They’re 7-3 in their last 10 games, not that you’d know that with the way some people are reacting to how they’re playing.

Are they a great team? No, but in the AL Least – no, I did not spell that wrong – being just good enough will probably be more than adequate to win the division.

Were these three games against Seattle good? Yes and no.

Beating King Felix was fun but barely beating a rookie in Mike Montgomery – well, they actually didn’t beat him, they had to wait until Fernando Rodney entered the game to make some noise – and being nearly shut down by Taijuan Walker wasn’t that great. Aside from Mark Teixeira‘s solo shot and Garrett Jones‘ two-run jack, the Yankees’ offense didn’t do much yesterday.

Thank goodness for TANAK who pitched well for a guy just coming back from a somewhat extended DL trip. Oh, who am I kidding? He pitched well for anyone. Don’t let the naysayers make you think differently. He made more than a few guys on the Mariners look silly at the plate. He also hit 96.5 m.p.h. on the gun. Continue reading Thursday morning reflections after a sweep in Seattle

Yankeemetrics: The Final Series

[caption id="attachment_70039" align="alignnone" width="970"]The final hit of The Captain's career. (Photo: Steven Senne/AP) The final hit of The Captain’s career. (Photo: Steven Senne/AP)[/caption]
A rare meaningless Red Sox-Yankees game
Following Thursday’s dramatic Yankee Stadium finale, the Yankees rested most of their regulars on Friday night at Fenway Park in the opener of the final series of 2014, but still managed to beat the Red Sox, 3-2.

This was the first time since October 2-4, 1992 that the Yankees and Red Sox played a series with both teams eliminated from playoff contention; that date was also the last time both teams entered a head-to-head series at least 13 games out of first place in the division.

The Yankees started five rookies and all five got at least three at-bats. Since rookie rules were established in 1958, the only other time the Yankees had five rookies get at least three at-bats in a game vs Red Sox was on Sept. 10, 1966, a 5-1 Yankees win at Fenway Park.

Chris Capuano finished his season with a strong outing, allowing just one unearned run on four hits over 6 2/3 innings. He is the first left-handed Yankee starter to get win at Fenway without allowing an earned run and no more than four baserunners since Tommy John on May 20, 1979.

Eight is enough
The Yankees 10-4 loss on Saturday guaranteed that they would finish with fewer wins than the 2013 team. This is the fourth straight season they’ve finished with a lower win total than the previous year. The last time that happened was during a six-year period from 1985-90.

Eight of the 10 runs scored by the Red Sox came in the second inning. It is the first time the Yankees allowed at least eight runs in an inning vs the Red Sox since May 31, 1998, and the first time they did that at Fenway Park since Sept. 26, 1989.

Masahiro Tanaka was making his second start since coming off the DL and to say it didn’t go well would be understatement. He became the first Yankee to give up at least seven runs and seven hits in fewer than two innings against the Red Sox since Spud Chandler on May 11, 1941.

The Red Sox went 10-for-19 with runners in scoring position, just the third time the Yankees have given up at least 10 hits with RISP vs the Red Sox over the last 40 seasons. It also happened twice in 2005, on May 28 at Yankee Stadium and July 15 at Fenway.

The End
It is very fitting that Derek Jeter, one of the winningest players in major-league history, ended his career with a victory.

Jeter etched his name in the record books for the millionth time even before he took his first at-bat. This was Jeter’s 153rd game at Fenway Park (including postseason), passing Mickey Mantle and Lou Gehrig for the most games ever played there by a Yankees player.

He went 1-for-2, singling in his second at-bat for his 3,465th career hit and then was removed for a pinch-runner. That hit moved his average from .30945 to .30951, which rounds to .310.

He ended his career with a triple-slashline of .310/.377/.440, joining a group of four other Hall-of-Famers to reach each of those numbers in at least 10,000 career at-bats: Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, Tris Speaker and Honus Wagner.

Jeter finished the season with 149 hits, matching George Brett for the most hits by anybody who played in his final season at age 40 or older since 1900. His 18 seasons with at least 149 hits are also tied for the most in MLB history with Pete Rose, Speaker, and Cobb.

Michael Pineda stole a little bit of the spotlight from Jeter with another gem, tossing 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball with 10 strikeouts and no walks. He is the first Yankee to strike out at least 10 batters without a walk at Fenway Park since Mike Mussina‘s epic 13-strikeout shutout on September 2, 2001.

Pineda finished 2014 with a 1.89 ERA, the lowest ERA by a Yankee with at least 10 starts in a season since Ron Guidry (1.74) in 1978. Continue reading Yankeemetrics: The Final Series

Yankeemetrics: Captain Clutch edition

[caption id="attachment_70003" align="alignnone" width="620"]Captain Clutch does it again. (Photo: John Munson/NJ.com) Captain Clutch does it again. (Photo: John Munson/NJ.com)[/caption]
We’re leading this one off with The Captain, Derek Jeter

Captain Clutch’s last stand
You could not have scripted a better sendoff for The Captain in his final game at Yankee Stadium. His life really is a Hollywood movie, no joke.

Derek Jeter played his first and only game at Yankee Stadium with the Yankees eliminated from the playoffs on Thursday night, and he made sure that it would be a historic one.

Jeter came to bat in the ninth inning with the score tied and Antoan Richardson on second base, and lined a single to right field that scored Richardson for the game-winning run. It was his seventh career walk-off hit and first since 2007. Since his rookie season in 1995, no other Yankee has more walk-off hits than Jeter.

Four of those seven walk-off hits came in the ninth inning with the score tied. In the last 75 years, the only Yankees with more such hits than Jeter’s four are Mickey Mantle (6) and Graig Nettles (6).

It was also his third walk-off hit in September, matching Don Mattingly, Yogi Berra and Elston Howard for the most September walk-off hits by a Yankee in the last 75 seasons.

and now for the rest of the series

(Almost) Perfect Pineda
The Yankees opened the final series at Yankee Stadium of Derek Jeter’s career with a 5-0 win against the Orioles on Monday night. Michael Pineda pitched a gem, allowing just two baserunners (one hit, one walk) in 7 1/3 scoreless innings. He became the first Yankee with at least eight strikeouts and two or fewer baserunners allowed at Yankee Stadium since David Cone‘s perfect game in 1999.

The Yankees held the Orioles to one hit in a game for the first time since April 26, 1958 at Baltimore, and the first time in a game at Yankee Stadium since Sept. 2, 1942.

Jose Pirela had a historic debut, going 2 for 3 with two runs and an RBI. He etched his name in the record books even before taking a swing as the franchise-record 57th player used by the Yankees this season.

With a triple and a single in the third and fifth inning, he became the first Yankee to get a hit in each of his first two at-bats in his MLB debut since Mike Pagliarulo in 1984. He is also the first Yankee to triple in his first career MLB game since Steve Balboni in 1981.

And then there was one
Brandon McCarthy picked the wrong time to have his worst start in pinstripes. McCarthy allowed five runs over 5 1/3 innings on Tuesday in the Yankees 5-4 loss, which left them with a tragic number of one with less than a week remaining in the season.

The Yankees were lucky to lose this game by only a run, as the Orioles piled up 17 hits but scored just five times. It was the first time they allowed that many hits and gave up that few runs in a nine-inning game since Sept. 20, 1925 against the St. Louis Browns.

Brian McCann‘s two-run homer in the seventh inning was his 23rd of the season and 19th at home. He is the first Yankee catcher with at least 19 homers at Yankee Stadium in a season since Yogi Berra also had 19 in 1956.

That’s all folks
The Yankees were officially eliminated from the postseason race with another loss to the Orioles on Wednesday afternoon. This is the first time the Yankees will miss the playoffs in consecutive season since doing so 12 years in a row from 1982-93.

The O’s battered the Yankees pitching once again, knocking out 15 hits and scoring runs. It is the first time the Yankees have allowed at least 15 hits in back-to-back games vs the Orioles since 1962 and the first time doing so at home since 1932.
Continue reading Yankeemetrics: Captain Clutch edition

Yankeemetrics: Sept. 18-21 (Blue Jays)

[caption id="attachment_69901" align="alignnone" width="675"]Derek Jeter is on fire in his last homestand. (Photo: NY Times) Derek Jeter is on fire in his last homestand. (Photo: NY Times)[/caption]
Chasing the hero
The Yankees started Derek Jeter‘s final homestand with a dramatic walk-off win against the Blue Jays on Thursday night.

In the bottom of the ninth inning with the scored knotted at 2-2, Chase Headley hit a groundball to Blue Jays first baseman Adam Lind, who let it go through his legs, allowing Antoan Richardson to score the winning run from third base.

If you remember, the Yankees also lost a game via a walk-off error in Toronto on June 24. Hmmm… This is the first time in at least the last 75 years that the Yankees lost via walk-off error and won via walk-off error against the same team in a season.

Shane Greene held the Blue Jays without a run into the seventh inning, the second time he’s had a scoreless start at home this year. He is the first Yankee rookie with at least two scoreless starts at Yankee Stadium in a season since Orlando Hernandez in 1998.

Jeter did not disappointment the home crowd, going 2-for-4, including his first home run in the Bronx this season. That snapped a personal 75-game homerless streak at Yankee Stadium, the longest such streak of his career.

Buehrle=Win
I’ve definitely written this story before… there are few things you can predict in baseball, but one of them is a Yankee win when Mark Buehrle is the opposing starter on the mound.

Buehrle fell to 1-14 in 21 career starts vs the Yankees following Friday night’s 5-3 Yankee win over the Blue Jays. That is the worst record among the 212 pitchers that have at least 20 starts vs the Yankees in last 100 years.

He has now lost 12 straight decisions vs the Yankees, the longest losing streak by a left-handed pitcher vs Yankees in the last 100 years and tied with Dutch Leonard (1940-42) for the fourth-longest by any pitcher. The only pitchers with a longer streak are Red Ruffing (13, 1926-47), Dennis Martinez (13, 1984-98) and Slim Harriss (14, 1920-24).

Hiroki Kuroda allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings and improved to 5-0 with a 2.43 ERA in five career home starts against the Blue Jays since joining the Yankees. He joins Roger Clemens (2000-02) as the only pitchers in franchise history to win five straight starts in the Bronx vs Toronto.

Jeter milestone alert
The Yankees three-game win streak ended on Saturday in a 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays. They dropped to 79-75 on the season, the second straight year they’ve reached 75 losses (had 77 last year). It is the first time the Yankees have lost 75 or more games in back-to-back seasons since a five-year stretch from 1988-92.

Jeter scored a run in the third inning to tie the game at 1-1. It was his 1,920th career run, passing Alex Rodriguez for ninth place on the all-time list.

Tanaka-mas
The Yankees took the four-game series against the Blue Jays with a 5-2 win in the finale on Sunday afternoon.

Masahiro Tanaka had a solid outing in his first start since July 8, allowing one run over 5 1/3 innings. He improved to 13-4 with a 2.47 ERA, and is on pace to be the first Yankee rookie with a sub-2.50 ERA and 13 wins since Stan Bahnsen in 1968 (17-12, 2.05 ERA).

Brian McCann led the offense with two homers and three RBI, and now has hit 18 of his 22 home runs at Yankee Stadium (82%). That would be the highest percentage of homers hit at home by a Yankee (min. 20 homers) in a single season since Don Mattingly hit 19 of 23 (83%) at home in 1989.

Jeter continued to swing a hot bat on his final homestand, recording his fourth straight game with at least two hits. He is the first player in franchise history with four consecutive multi- hit games at the age of 40 or older. Continue reading Yankeemetrics: Sept. 18-21 (Blue Jays)

Yankeemetrics: Sept. 15-17 (Rays)

[caption id="attachment_69825" align="alignnone" width="620"]Brandon McCarthy etched his name in the Yankee record books on Wednesday. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports) Brandon McCarthy etched his name in the Yankee record books on Wednesday. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)[/caption]
No runs, no win
A 1-0 loss to the Rays in the series opener on Monday dug the Yankees into an even deeper hole in the playoff race, as they fell to six games out in the wild card standings with 13 games left.

It was the second time in the last two days that the Yankees lost in walk-off fashion after Sunday’s heartbreaking 3-2 loss in Baltimore, the first time they’ve suffered consecutive walk-off losses since Sept. 14 (Mariners) and 16 (Blue Jays, 2011.

The Rays won it on a two-out, bases-loaded single by Ben Zobrist in the bottom of the ninth inning off Shawn Kelley, who became the first Yankee pitcher to allow a two-out, walk-off hit in a 0-0 game since Ryne Duren on July 26, 1959 at Detroit.

The game took three hours and 28 minutes despite the fact that only one run was scored and it lasted only nine innings. At 208 minutes, it is the longest 1-0, non-extra-inning regular season game played between any teams over the last 100 years.

With the win, the Rays improved to 10-7 vs the Yankees this season. According to the Rays media notes, they are the first team since the 1973-75 Red Sox to beat the Yankees 10 or more times in three straight seasons.

One run, no win
Tuesday’s game didn’t go much better than the opener, as the Yankees managed to score just one run in a 6-1 loss to the Rays.

Michael Pineda was once again the hard-luck loser, allowing only two runs (one earned) before being pulled in the sixth inning. This was his fifth loss this season when allowing no more than two runs, the most by any Yankee starting pitcher since Chuck Cary also had five in 1990.

Perhaps the most surprising part of Pineda’s night was that he actually walked a batter (Ryan Hanigan in the fifth inning), snapping a streak of 119 batters faced without a free pass. That was tied with Collin McHugh for the longest active streak in the majors, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Jacoby Ellsbury made an outstanding catch in center field in the seventh inning, robbing Wil Myers of extra bases. However, Evan Longoria and James Loney came around to score on what became a two-run sacrifice fly. (Because of course that would happen to this year’s Yankees team.)

It was the first multi-RBI sac fly (without an error) by any batter against the Yankees since the Rangers Jeff Huson hit one on July 24, 1990.

Three runs, a win
The Yankees salvaged the final game of this three-game series vs the Rays, winning 3-2 on Wednesday night. The Yankees scored just 10 runs during their seven-game road trip, going 2-5. It is the team’s fewest runs scored in any seven-game span since May 1991.

Brandon McCarthy pitched a gem, highlighted by a seventh inning during which he struck out the side on nine pitches. He is just the fifth Yankee to throw an “immaculate inning”; the others are Ivan Nova (2013), A.J. Burnett (2009), Ron Guidry (1984), and Al Downing (1967).

Dellin Betances relieved McCarthy in the eighth inning and recorded his 131st strikeout of the season for his first out of the frame, passing Mariano Rivera (130 K in 1996) for the most strikeouts as a reliever in a season in franchise history.

Derek Jeter finally got a hit, snapping an 0-for-28 skid with a single leading off the sixth inning. It was the second-longest hitless streak of his career, behind an 0-for-32 stretch in 2004.

Rays pitcher Alex Cobb allowed three runs and took the loss, snapping his streak of seven undefeated starts allowing no more than two runs against the Yankees dating back to September 2012. It was the longest streak of its kind by any pitcher against the Yankees in the last 100 years. Continue reading Yankeemetrics: Sept. 15-17 (Rays)

Yankeemetrics: Sept. 12-14 (Orioles)

[caption id="attachment_69748" align="alignnone" width="970"]Shane Greene was the only Yankee pitcher that won this weekend. (Photo: Getty Images) Shane Greene was the only Yankee pitcher that won this weekend. (Photo: Getty Images)[/caption]
Nightmare on Eutaw Street, Part I
The baseball gods can be cruel sometimes. One day after arguably the Yankees most improbable win of the season, they lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Orioles in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader.

After both teams were scoreless through nine innings, the Yankees struck first in extra innings when Chris Young hit a solo homer in the top of the 11th inning.

He is the first Yankee with a tie-breaking, extra-inning home run in 0-0 game on road since Cecil Fielder on Aug 2, 1996 at Kansas City, and the first to do that in the 11th inning or later since Bernie Allen on July 8, 1972 at Minnesota.

Combined with his walk-off homer on Thursday, Young became the first Yankee to hit go-ahead homers in ninth inning or later on consecutive days since Graig Nettles on April 20-21, 1974 against the Orioles.

The lead was short-lived, however, when Jimmy Paredes hit a bases-loaded double off Adam Warren in the bottom of the 11th to give the Orioles the walk-off win. Warren has now been the losing pitcher in four Yankee walk-off losses this season, the most such losses in a season by any Yankee since Dave Righetti also had four in 1989.

Nightmare on Eutaw Street, Part II
If you thought the first game of Friday’s doubleheader was bad… well, I hope you didn’t watch the nightcap. The Yankees lost the second game, 5-0, and were swept in a doubleheader by the Orioles for the first time since September 24, 1984.

It was the first time they scored no more than one run combined in both games of any doubleheader since August 13, 1991 vs Royals, and the first time they did that on the road since July 31, 1966 at the White Sox.

Brett Gardner was one of two Yankees to reach scoring position, when he stole second base in the fourth inning. It was his 20th stolen base of the season, and the fifth time he has reached that milestone in a season in his career. The only other Yankees with at least five seasons of 20-plus steals are Rickey Henderson (5), Wid Conroy (6), Hal Chase (8), and Derek Jeter (8).

Rookies rule
The Yankees bounce back from those two ugly losses to win on Saturday, 3-2, snapping their five-game losing streak against the O’s.

Shane Greene pitched into the sixth inning while allowing only two runs and striking out nine batters, improving to 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA and 18 strikeouts against the Orioles this season.

He is the first Yankee with at least nine strikeouts in back-to-back games vs Orioles since Ron Guidry in 1979, and the first with that many strikeouts and no more than two runs allowed in consecutive games vs Orioles since Al Downing did so in 1967.

Greene’s win was the 22nd by a Yankee rookie starter this season, the most wins in a single season by Yankee rookie starting pitchers since rookie rules were established in 1958. The previous record of 21 was set by the 1986 team.

Nightmare on Eutaw Street, Part III
What goes around, comes around… The Yankees lost again in walk-off fashion in the series finale on Sunday night, 2-1, and the game-winning hit was delivered by former Yankee Kelly Johnson in the bottom of the ninth inning.

This was the third time the Yankees lost via walk-off to the Orioles this year, the first time they’ve suffered three walk-off losses to the O’s in a single season in the last 100 years.

Yankees finished with a 2-7 record in Baltimore, their most road losses to Orioles since they went 0-7 versus them in 1982.

Brian McCann had given the Yankees a 2-1 lead with a tie-breaking solo homer in the top of the ninth inning. It was his 20th homer of the season, making him the seventh catcher in MLB history with eight 20-homer seasons. The others are Carlton Fisk (8), Jorge Posada (8), Gary Carter (9), Yogi Berra (10), Johnny Bench (11), and Mike Piazza (11).

Dellin Betances struck out two batters in the eighth inning, giving him 130 strikeouts on the season. He is now tied with Mariano Rivera (1996) for the most strikeouts as a reliever in a single season in franchise history. Continue reading Yankeemetrics: Sept. 12-14 (Orioles)

Yankeemetrics: Sept. 5-7 (Royals)

[caption id="attachment_69602" align="alignnone" width="620"]This pretty much sums up the Royals series. (Photo credit: Star-Ledger) This pretty much sums up the Royals series. (Photo credit: Star-Ledger)[/caption]
No offense, Yankees stink – Part I
The Yankees wasted another brilliant start by Michael Pineda, losing 1-0 to the Royals in the series opener on Friday night.

It was the first time ever that the Yankees lost a 1-0 game at Yankee Stadium against the Royals. They had done so previously three times in Kansas City (twice in 1972 and in 2010).

Pineda is the first Yankee pitcher to lose a game despite at least seven innings pitched, no earned runs and three-or-fewer baserunners allowed since George Pipgras on August 2, 1931 in a 1-0 loss at Fenway Park against the Red Sox. Before Pineda, no Yankee pitcher had suffered a defeat like that at Yankee Stadium (old or new).

Pineda has now allowed no more than two runs in each of his nine starts this season, which matches Art Ditmar (1959) for the longest such streak at any point in a season by a Yankee pitcher over the last 100 years.

Martin our Hero
The Yankees kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a win a Saturday afternoon, thanks to the return of Martin Prado‘s scorching hot bat and a solid outing by Brandon McCarthy.

Prado went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored in his first game since suffering a mild hamstring injury. He is the first Yankee second baseman with at least two doubles and two runs in a game at home vs the Royals. Two others have done it in Kansas City: Mike Gallego and Pat Kelly, both in 1993.

McCarthy allowed two runs over six-plus innings, improving to 5-1 with a 1.36 ERA in six home starts since joining the Yankees. He is the first pitcher over the last 100 years to allow two or fewer runs in each of the first six home starts of his Yankee career.

The Yankees were scheduled to face one of the American League’s best pitchers, Danny Duffy, but Duffy was forced out of the game after throwing one pitch due to shoulder soreness. Duffy is the second starting pitcher in the last 100 years to leave the game before facing an official batter against the Yankees. The other was Red Sox pitcher Vicente Romo on September 13, 1969.

No offense, Yankees stink – Part II
The Yankees decided to celebrate Derek Jeter day by…. getting shut out once again vs the Royals on Sunday afternoon.

This was the second time this series that the Yankees lost a game despite allowing no earned runs. Before this weekend, they had not done that since May 28, 1996 vs Angels, and had not done it at home since August 16, 1987 vs Indians.

The last time the Yankees lost two games in the same series without allowing an earned run in each game was July 16-17, 1917 against the Indians.

Prior to this series, the Yankees had never been shut out twice by the Royals in the same series at Yankee Stadium. They had done that once before in Kansas City on June 9 and 11, 1972.

Shane Greene was the hard-luck starter, allowing two unearned runs in five innings. This was the 55th game started by a Yankee rookie pitcher this season, breaking the franchise record of 54 that was set in 1986 and 1991. Continue reading Yankeemetrics: Sept. 5-7 (Royals)

Yankeemetrics: August 29-31 (Blue Jays)

[caption id="attachment_65900" align="alignnone" width="512"]Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury swung hot bats against the Blue Jays (Photo: AP/Nathan Denette) Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury swung hot bats against the Blue Jays
(Photo: AP/Nathan Denette)[/caption]
More Buehrle, please
The Yankees beat up on their good friend Mark Buehrle on Friday night in a 6-3 win over the Blue Jays.

Buehrle is now 1-13 in 20 career starts vs the Yankees, is winless in his last 16 starts against them and has lost his last 11 decisions vs the franchise. Here’s what that means:

• Buehrle’s 1-13 record vs Yankees is the worst among any pitcher that has at least 20 starts vs Yankees in last 100 years
• His 11 straight decisions lost matches the longest losing streak by a left-handed pitcher vs the Yankees in the last 100 years
• Buehrle’s 16-start winless streak is the second-longest streak against the Yankees in last 100 years, behind only Slim Hariss (19 straight from 1920-25)

Jacoby Ellsbury had another strong offensive game, becoming the first Yankee leadoff batter ever with a triple and a homer in a game at Toronto (Brett Gardner would later match his feat in the series finale).

David Robertson pitched a perfect ninth for his 35th save of the season. He is the first Yankee reliever not-named Mariano Rivera with at least 35 saves and 75 strikeouts in a season since Dave Righetti in 1986.

Dead Bats Society
The Yankees offense went on vacation on Saturday, managing a season-worst one hit a 2-0 loss.

It was just the third time that the Yankees were held to one hit or fewer by the Blue Jays, along with an 8-0 loss in the Bronx on April 10, 1989 and a 6-0 loss in Toronto on September 4, 2009.

It was also just the fourth time in the last 100 years that the Yankees had no more than one hit and at least 12 strikeouts against any team. The other games were on September 10, 1999 vs the Red Sox, September 18, 2000 vs the Indians and June 11, 2003 vs the Astros (a no-hitter).

Michael Pineda took the loss despite only allowing a first-inning two-run home run by Jose Baustita. He extended his streak of allowing no more than two runs to eight straight starts to begin the season, the longest such streak in franchise history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Oh, Canada
The Yankees dropped their second straight game on Sunday, blowing a 3-0 lead, and fell to 8-7 against the Blue Jays this season.

They need to win at least two of their final four games vs Toronto in order to win the season series. Since the unbalanced schedule began in the AL in 2001, the only time the Yankees lost a season series to the Blue Jays was in 2010.

Brett Gardner sparked the offense from the top of the order, going 3-for-5 with a double, triple and a homer.

He is the first Yankee leadoff batter to miss the cycle by a single since Bobby Richardson in 1965. The only Yankee center fielders in the last 100 years besides Gardner to miss the cycle by a single are Earle Combs (1926), Joe DiMaggio (twice in 1937) and Jackie Jensen (1951). And Gardner is the first Yankee ever to miss the cycle by a single in a game against the Blue Jays.

Dellin Betances struck out four batters in two scoreless innings for his 43rd game this season with multiple strikeouts. That is the second-most multi-strikeout games by a reliever in a season in American League history, behind only Red Sox pitcher Dick Radatz in 1964 (54 games). Continue reading Yankeemetrics: August 29-31 (Blue Jays)

Yankeemetrics: August 25-28 (Royals, Tigers)

[caption id="attachment_69392" align="alignnone" width="970"]The Yankees had a lot to celebrate in Wednesday's win. (Photo: Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports) The Yankees had a lot to celebrate in Wednesday’s win. (Photo: Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)[/caption]
Big Game Mike
The Yankees started off their seven-game road trip with an impressive 8-1 win in Kansas City, a game that was a makeup from a rainout in June. Michael Pineda had yet another brilliant outing, allowing just one run on five hits in his third start since coming off the DL.

He is the third American League pitcher in the last 100 years to allow two runs or fewer and five hits or fewer in each of his first seven starts of the season. The others are White Sox pitcher Cisco Carlos in 1967 and Angels pitcher Jered Weaver in 2006.

Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits, including the 1,000th hit of his career, earning our obscure Yankeemetric of the Week:

He is the 11th major-league player from Oregon with at least 1,000 career hits, but just the second one of those to reach the milestone in a Yankee uniform. The other was Hillsboro, Oregon native Scott Brosius on October 2, 2001.

Five is enough
At least the Yankees are consistent. They entered the series opener vs the Tigers with five straight wins and at seven games over .500, both matching season-highs. So of course the Yankees lost on Tuesday, failing to get over the hump once again.

Ellsbury provided all the offense for the Yankees, going 3-for-4 with two solo homers. He is the first Yankee leadoff batter with a multi-homer game against the Tigers since Rickey Henderson in a 6-4 loss on June 21, 1985.

Brandon McCarthy had his worst start as a Yankee (five runs on nine hits), but still only walked two batters.

He has two or fewer walks and pitched more than five innings in each of his first nine starts in pinstripes, matching Tommy John (1979) for the second-longest such streak to start a Yankee career in the last 100 years. The only pitcher with a longer streak was Jimmy Key, who fashioned a 13-game streak in 1993.

‘Keep the line moving’
We talk a lot about not being able to predict baseball…. I think the Yankees eight-run third inning, which included nine straight hits, in Wednesday’s 8-4 win qualifies as such.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the nine straight hits allowed by David Price are the most consecutive hits allowed by a former Cy Young Award winner. Elias also notes that the Yankees are the first AL team to have nine consecutive hits in an inning since the 1996 Tigers.

Price became the first pitcher to allow at least 12 hits in two innings or fewer against Yankees since George Uhle, who also pitched for the Tigers, did so in 1929.

Shane Greene dominated the Tigers again, pitching seven innings of two-run ball, which nearly matched the eight scoreless innings he threw against them on August 7. He is the first Yankee to win each of his first two career games against the Tigers, pitching at least seven innings in each outing, since Spec Shea in 1947.

Lost in the ninth
The Yankees lost the rubber game of the series with the Tigers, 3-2, on a walk-off hit by Alex Avila.

This was the second game-winning hit in the ninth inning or later against the Yankees by Avila this season (go-ahead homer in top of 12th inning on August 5). He is the first Tigers batter with two go-ahead hits in the ninth inning or later against the Yankees in a season since Lou Whitaker in 1989.

Hiroki Kuroda got a no-decision despite allowing two runs in seven innings. This is the 21st game over the last two seasons in which Kuroda has given up no more than three runs in at least six innings pitched and didn’t get the win. The last Yankee pitcher to have that many “tough-luck” games over a two-season span was Mel Stottlemyre from 1969-70.

Dellin Betances threw another scoreless inning with two strikeouts, the 34th time this season he’s allowed no runs and had at least two strikeouts in an outing. That matches the Orioles’ B.J. Ryan (2004) and the Angels’ Francisco Rodriguez (2004) for the most games pitched with zero runs and two-or-more strikeouts by an AL reliever in a single season. Continue reading Yankeemetrics: August 25-28 (Royals, Tigers)