Game 125: Trying to get one

After losing two straight to the Houston Astros, the Yankees are trying to win the three-game finale at 1:05 p.m. today. They send Brandon McCarthy to the mound in hopes of ending their losing streak. McCarthy has been a hard-luck loser his last two outings. He have up two earned runs (two unearned in his last start) in each of his last two starts, but wound up losing both as New York was shut out in both games.

New York has lost seven of its last nine games,putting them five games behind the last Wild Card slot.

Before the game, the Yankees called up utility player Zelous Wheeler and sent down pitcher Chase Whitley.

New York Yankees
Brett Gardner, LF
Derek Jeter, SS
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Martin Prado, 2B
Chase Headley, 3B
Francisco Cervelli, C
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Zelous Wheeler, DH

Brandon McCarthy, RHP

Houston Astros

Robbie Grossman, LF
Jose Altuve, 2B
Chris Carter, DH
Dexter Fowler, CF
Marc Krauss, RF
Jon Singleton, 1B
Carlos Corporan, C
Matt Dominguez, 3B
Marwin Gonzalez, SS

Dallas Keuchel, LHP

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Inside McCarthy’s transformation with the Yankees

Where would the Yankees be without McCarthy in the rotation? (Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Where would the Yankees be without McCarthy in the rotation? (Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Brandon McCarthy arrived in the Bronx with a 5.01 ERA but somehow has emerged as the de facto ace of the Yankees staff over the last six weeks. He has a remarkable 2.30 ERA and four wins in seven starts – numbers that even Brian Cashman could not have imagined when he traded for the sinkerballer at the beginning of July.

Let’s take a deeper look at some of the adjustments by McCarthy that have made him into one of the most effective pitchers in the AL during the past month and a half. Hint: It’s more than just slimming pinstripes that have helped him.

It is high, it is far…it is not gone
The most fundamental difference in McCarthy’s performance since coming east is his ability to limit the longball. He gave up 15 homers in 109 2/3 innings as a Diamondback, but only three home runs in 43 innings as a Yankee.…

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Beltran’s Elbow: The Latest

Recent cold streak being what it is, the Yankees probably could have used Carlos Beltran in the lineup last night.  He was out after the bone spur in his right elbow acted up and caused him some pain when he swung on Tuesday night.  Beltran had just returned to playing the outfield when this happened, although he told reporters yesterday the elbow had not been bothering him on throws.

Beltran was checked out by the team doctor yesterday and given another cortisone shot in the elbow, the third one he’s received this year.  No further damage or any other problems were found, just the pesky bone spur.  Despite saying the pain yesterday wasn’t as bad as on Tuesday night, Beltran will not play in tonight’s game.  He may try swinging a bat today if Joe lets him, and said he’d like to return to the lineup by Friday.

This doesn’t sound as serious as some of this other setbacks, so that’s a relief.  …

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Game 124 Recap: HOU 5 NYY 2

Pineda vs HOU

Maybe you should have stuck with Big Mike. Courtesy of Getty Images

Everybody knows I’m approaching Costanza freakout territory with the Yankees be-boppin’ and scattin’ all over me.  Carlos Beltran being scratched with an aggravation of his elbow bone spur wasn’t helpful, and to be honest I don’t think I could have taken another loss like last night’s.  Luckily for me they were generous enough to change it up tonight, losing the lead well in advance of the 9th inning.

Michael Pineda wasn’t doing anything fancy against the Houston lineup.  He was throwing strike 1, getting ahead in the count, and the Astro hitters were swinging early and often and hitting into a lot of outs.  No strikeouts for Big Mike through 3, but all 3 innings were perfect and took an efficient 34 pitches to complete.

Things got a bit hairier the second time through the order.  Pineda’s cutter wasn’t cutting as much and he got touched up for a run in the 4th on a leadoff single and 2-out double by Dexter Fowler.  …

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Game 124: Home Game Pined

Michael Pineda returns to the Yankee Stadium mound tonight for the first time since April 16th, when he tossed six shutout innings in a win over the Cubs. We’re not sure if he had the aid of pine tar in that game, or if he’ll have it tonight, but he will face a Houston Astros lineup that struck out 15 times last night and stranded 10 runners. Pineda also heads into this one with a bit of steam, carrying a no-hitter into the 5th last time out in Baltimore. It’ll be his second start since being activated from the DL, so he presumably won’t be touching 100 pitches tonight.

Some conerning news for the Yankees – Carlos Beltran was scratched tonight with soreness in his right elbow, which he has felt from time to time battling a bone spur. Joe Girardi said before the game that Beltran has had occasional soreness, though last night his elbow “grabbed” a bit on a swing, and he still felt discomfort this morning.…

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Brian McCann’s Crazy Reverse Platoon Split

McCann HR vs HOU

Nice looking home run swing. Against a lefty.

In last night’s game recap, I made mention of Brian McCann‘s reverse platoon split this season and how he’s hit left-handed pitching incredibly well while being downright awful against righties.  It wasn’t an exaggeration.  After last night’s game, McCann owns a .301/.345/.544 tripleslash in 103 PA against southpaws, good for a .388 wOBA and 147 wRC+.  In 275 PA against righties, his slash line is .211/.270/.327 (.268/64).

That’s an astonishingly wide OPS gap.  Almost 300 points.  It’s even more astonishing when you consider that McCann’s career OPS against righties is .834 compared to .755 against lefties, and his career batting average is 15 points higher against righties.  This isn’t a case of big variations from year to year either.  Go back through each one of his Major League seasons and you won’t find a single instance of McCann’s OPS being better against LHP than RHP before this season.  Since 2005, the formula has been that McCann hits for better average, better power, walks more, and strikes out less against righties.…

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1994: The Yanks coulda been a contenda

I really enjoyed Domenic’s piece yesterday about the 1994 Expos and Yankees playing each other in the 1994 World Series. As Domenic mentions, much has been written about the 1994 Expos and how the labor stoppage not only killed the Expos’ greatest chance at post season history, but perhaps killed the franchise as well. While the Yankees franchise has survived the labor unrest quite well, the team was poised to erase twelve years of post season inaction and it was quite possible the Yankees’ great dynasty at the turn of the millennium might have started two seasons earlier. What if the 1994 Yankees were able to complete that 1994 season?

The more I thought about this piece, the more variables I came up with. I am not going to present simulations. Number one, I’m not that savvy. Number two, Bill James did that for us back in 1995. What interests me more is the individual seasons it cut short and whether the team would have actually made it to the World Series.…

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Injury Updates: Tanaka, Phelps, Severino, Claiborne

The contingent of injured arms forges on in various stages of rehab work from their respective injuries.  Here’s the latest.

Masahiro Tanaka- Still on track to throw another bullpen session this week.  Although the date and number of pitches is not yet known, it has been confirmed that he will throw some sliders and curveballs.

David Phelps- Was re-evaluated on Monday after the planned 2 weeks off and came through it fine, which allowed him to throw a flat ground session.  He also reportedly had a follow-up MRI on his elbow.  Joe said he’s about 3 weeks away from returning to game action and left the option open for Phelps to return in a relief role.

Luis Severino- Was activated off the Double-A DL and pitched in last night’s game.  Gave up 2 runs on a hit and a walk and struck out 3 in 3 IP.  He has to be close to whatever innings limit the team has set for him, so I imagine he’ll have his workload limited from here on out.…

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The 2014 New York Yankees. Our Mediocrity. Your Frustration

There’s no reason for this rant.  I’ll come right out and admit that in case anybody wants to skip it.  There was nothing in last night’s game that was new for the 2014 Yankees.  They didn’t hit when they needed to, their pitching was inconsistent and not able to make up for the lack of timely hitting, and when it came to doing the little things in the game, the Yankees simply didn’t do enough of them to win.

And that’s what’s absolutely killing me right now.  The little things.  All the little things.  I was following the gamecast last night and when Carter hit that home run I felt a wave of unhappiness and anger settle over me.  I stayed up through the predictable 1-2-3 bottom half of the 9th so I could finish the game recap, because that’s the kind of caring, all heart, team-first blogger I am, but what I really wanted to do was slam my laptop shut and heave it through my sliding glass door in my apartment.…

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