Pineda’s Slider Was Straight Up Disgusting Last Night

Given the situation and the small sample size from which to choose, it’s fair to say that last night was the best start of Michael Pineda‘s Yankee career.  Facing a hot team with a sneaky dangerous lineup, Pineda looked as good as he did in 2011 in spurts, flashing mid-to-high 90s fastballs with late movement and a hard, biting slider that he threw all over the zone.  KC really only put 2 good swings on him all night: on the Moustakas home run that he left up on a tee in the 3rd and the Perez double in the 7th on his final pitch of the night.

The fastball velocity, both in terms of the number and the sustainability, was really great to see.  The Yankees don’t have anybody in their rotation right now who can throw real smoke (maybe Greene kinda when he’s feeling good), so having Big Mike up there humming 95-97 is a good way to mix things up.  …

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Game 129 Recap: Yankees 8 Royals 1

Pineda vs KC

Do it, Big Mike. Do it. Courtesy of the AP

2 big guys, 1 big game.  Michael Pineda was the better man on this night, thoroughly outdueling James Shields and leading the Yankees to their 5th straight victory on their way out to a big 3-game Wild Card competition showdown.

Shields shot himself in the foot in the 3rd inning, throwing an Ichiro Suzuki grounder back to the mound away and putting him at second with nobody out.  Jacoby Ellsbury‘s speed was responsible for scoring the run, as he stayed out of 2 straight GIDPs to allow Ichiro to come around and score the game’s first run on a Derek Jeter RBI groundout.  Another Shields mistake, this one a belt-high fastball on a 3-2 pitch, led to the second Yankee run when Stephen Drew hit it for his second Yankee home run in the 4th.

Big Mike looked really, really good to me in the first 2 innings.  His fastball was snapping McCann’s glove, his slider was biting, and the Royal hitters weren’t putting a lot of good swings on anything he threw.  …

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Game 129: Battle Of The Bigs, Mike And Game James

The Yankees were supposed to have an off-day today to travel out to Detroit.  Instead, they’re making a quick pit stop in Kansas City to make up their rained out game from June 9th against the Royals.

KC took the first 2 games of this series back in June, and they send the winner of the second game and ace of their staff James Shield to the mound again for tonight’s belated series finale.  While he’s gotten hit around by the Yankees in the past and owns a 9-15 career record against them, Shields was very good on June 8th, surrendering only 1 unearned run in 6 innings of work while striking out 8.  He’s also riding quite the heater, with a 2.04 ERA, 51 K, and 10 BB over 61.2 IP in his last 9 starts.

Shields will be opposed by Michael Pineda in what will easily be his most important start in pinstripes.  Big Mike has been very good in his 2 starts off the DL (3 ER in 11.0 IP), and he’ll need to be again tonight.  …

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Evaluating The Offensive Production Of The Deadline Acquisitions

Prado-Drew vs HOU

The new Bash Brothers? Not exactly. Courtesy of Getty Images

It’s been a little over a month since the Yankees acquired Chase Headley from the Padres, and just short of a month since they added Stephen Drew and Martin Prado.  All 3 players were brought in to be marginal upgrades over the players who were playing second base, third base, and right field at the time, and as Katie pointed out last week, they’ve more than accomplished that on the defensive front.

Offensively it’s been a different story.  While there have been flashes of brilliance, a timely hit here and there, and a big current hot streak for Prado, collectively this trio has underwhelmed with the bats.  With each guy being brought in to help this year and audition for a more permanent role with the team next season, I think this rough 1-month cutoff point is a good time to take a look at how they’ve performed offensively and how those performances could factor into the team’s offseason plans.…

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Can Yankees Pull Off A 1995 Esque Run?

Every time you say you’re done with the 2014 New York Yankees they manage to pull you back in with a little glimmer of hope. Everybody was writing their obituaries of this year’s Yankees after two embarrassing losses to the Houston Astros on Tuesday and Wednesday, but they have come back to win four straight games and sit only three games in the loss column behind the Seattle Mariners for the second wild card spot.

Obviously, they have a lot to prove and four wins over the Astros and White Sox is not the greatest accomplishment. However, they did have some magic with two walk-off wins and a meeting among the position players and hitting coach Kevin Long might have sparked something:

We all came together as a team, Kevin Long had some things to say, and we’ve responded really well,” said catcher Brian McCann.

They can prove this week whether or not they will stay in the race for the remainder of the season when they play three other wild card contenders on the road in Kansas City, Detroit and Toronto.…

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Monday Morning Food For Thought: Yanks 4-0 Since “The Meeting”

McCann HR vs CHW

Courtesy of the AP

Things were pretty bleak in Yankeeland last Thursday morning.  They had lost 2 straight to the Astros thanks to more offensive no-showing and a leaky bullpen, and had fallen back to 63-61 and 5 games behind the second Wild Card spot.  It looked like the final nails were primed to be driven in on this season.  Then something happened.  A group of position players called a meeting that morning to talk about what they needed to do differently to turn their poor performance around.  Not that I really spent a ton of time looking, but I haven’t seen much reported on the specifics of this meeting.  Nobody really knows who was there and what was said.  Brett Gardner said the players in attendance “cleared the air” and Brian McCann made reference to it when he talked to the media after his big hit yesterday.  That’s it.

Interestingly enough, the Yankees are undefeated since that meeting.  They went out and won on Thursday afternoon behind a stellar pitching performance from Brandon McCarthy and finished up a sweep of the White Sox yesterday afternoon in dramatic walk-off fashion.  …

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Yankeemetrics: August 22-24 (White Sox)

Brian McCann gets a Gatorade shower after his walk-off homer on Sunday. (Photo: AP)

Brian McCann gets a Gatorade shower after his walk-off homer on Sunday. (Photo: AP)

The Prado of the Yankees
Martin Prado earned his pinstripes on Friday night with a two-out, bases-loaded game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth to give the Yankees a 4-3 win in the series opener against the White Sox.

It was the Yankees first walk-off win against the White Sox that didn’t go to extra innings since September 22, 1999.

Prado is first Yankee with a bases loaded walk-off hit against the White Sox since Ken Griffey in 1984.

Prado’s clutch hit came on a 3-2 pitch, giving the Yankees their first RBI in a 3-2, two-out, bases loaded situation since Bernie Williams walked with the bags full in a 3-2 win against the Mariners on May 2, 1993.

Jacoby Ellsbury had his 25th double of the season, becoming the fourth Yankee center fielder with at least 25 doubles and 30 stolen bases in a season.…

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Game 128 quick recap: McCann can, and did; Yankees 7, White Sox 4

With David Robertson on the mound in the ninth inning, Sunday’s game against the Chicago White Sox felt close to a lock. The Yankees were on the verge of sweeping Chicago.

However, Robertson gave up a home run to Avisail Garcia in the ninth to knot the game at four runs apiece – and thus sent the Yankees to another extra-inning game.

And then …

Brian McCann hit a 3-2 pitch over the wall for a pinch-hit, three-run walk-off shot to give the Yankees a 7-4 win in the 10th inning. The win and the sweep – only it took an inning longer, and the Yankees did it in dramatic fashion.

The win puts New York six games over .500.

The Yankee fell early to Chris Sale, 3-0, with a run in the first and a two-run home run by Conor Gillaspie in the sixth. But the Yankees rallied back in the bottom of the sixth inning with four runs in the frame.…

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Game 128: Chris Sale v. Chris Capuano

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