Yankees 8, Angels 4…
OMG, we scored more runs than the other team! What do we do now????
Seriously, it’s so good to experience the winning feeling again. Whew! It has been far too long. Congratulations to us! High fives all around. The game had its moments but in the end, it was a 103 mph fastball from Aroldis Chapman blazing into Austin Romine’s mitt for a swinging third strike that brought joy back to the Bronx.
The Yankees jumped out to the early lead when Didi Gregorius homered following a single by Gary Sanchez in the second inning. The Angels tied the score in the fourth. Didi’s buddy from Curacao, Andrelton Simmons, singled and advanced to second on a balk. Angels catcher Martin Maldonado then hit a ball over the left field wall. Game tied at 2. With someone like Masahiro Tanaka on the mound, you’d feel the floodgates were about to open for the opponent. But on this night, Jordan Montgomery was on the mound and he continues to instill confidence with each outing. For whatever reason, that dude looked slimmer on the mound than usual. I guess Pinstripes are thinning but I digress.
Matt Holliday’s solo shot in the fifth gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead which the Yankees took into the sixth. Montgomery (5-4) retired the first two batters he faced but then Simmons singled again. Manager Joe Girardi pulled Montgomery and inserted Chad Green who promptly struck out Maldonado to end the inning. In the bottom of the sixth, the Yankees picked up 3 more runs on a two-run double by Austin Romine and a run-scoring single by Aaron Hicks.
|Credit: Paul J Bereswill-The New York Post|
In the seventh, I had an uneasy feeling when Green walked C.J. Cron on four straight pitches. A ball to the next batter, Danny Espinosa, brought pitching coach Larry Rothschild to the dugout steps but Green found his groove and registered a strikeout. He retired the next two batters on groundouts and really emerged as one of the stars of this game. The Yankees picked up a couple of insurance runs in the bottom of the inning when Matt Holliday doubled and scored on Starlin Castro’s single. Chase Headley singled to score Castro, pushing the score to 8-2.
Dellin Betances pitched a clean eighth inning, punching out the first two batters he faced and getting the third on a groundout to short.
All was going great…until Tyler Clippard got up in the bullpen. I get the logic of trying to give Clippard a clean inning to work with and much better do it with a 6 run lead but, right now, if there is a pitcher that could butcher a large lead, it’s Clippard. Sure enough, Girardi brought him in to start the 9th. Simmons doubled and there was a strong sense of ‘here we go again’. Maldonado stepped up and hit his second home run of the night which Aarons Judge and Hicks could only watch sail over the right field wall to bring the Angels within four runs. Mercifully, Girardi pulled Clippard and signaled for Aroldis Chapman. The walkup music for Chapman drowned the boos for Clippard as he sadly walked off the field.
|Credit: Frank Franklin II-AP|
Admittedly, I was still a bit concerned with Chapman. This was only his second appearance since returning from the DL and he had not pitched since Sunday. I had visions of his control problems from his last minor league rehab stint, but my concerns were unfounded. He was the Chapman of old and he came out throwing extreme heat. By the time he was facing his third and final batter, Eric Young Jr, he was throwing pitches that registered on the Statcast leaderboard. His final pitch, at 102.9 mph, was the fastest in the Majors this year.
Yankees win. The Yankees win! All is right in the world again.
The Yankees (39-30) recaptured first place in the AL East, by 1/2 game, with the victory as the Boston Red Sox fell to the Kansas City Royals, 6-4. Thank you to Salvador Perez for his 8th inning grand slam. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Cincinnati Reds, 8-3. They are 3 games back. The Toronto Blue Jays also won so they, along with the Baltimore Orioles, are 5 games behind. The Red Sox are off today so the Yankees will either be tied or a full game up upon conclusion of tonight’s series finale with the Angels.
The Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth…
I realize that this blog is not for movie news, but hey, they don’t pay me so I’ll take the liberty of the departure. Director Jay Russell, best known for 2004’s Ladder 49 starring Joaquin Phoenix and John Travolta, has been tabbed to direct a planned feature film called The Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth. The movie will be based on Jonathan Eig’s biography Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig.
For those of you who have not read the book, here is the description per the book’s publisher:
“The definitive account of the life and tragic death of baseball legend Lou Gehrig.
Lou Gehrig was a baseball legend–the Iron Horse, the stoic New York Yankee who was the greatest first baseman in history, a man whose consecutive-games streak was ended by a horrible disease that now bears his name. But as this definitive new biography makes clear, Gehrig’s life was more complicated–and, perhaps, even more heroic–than anyone really knew.
Drawing on new interviews and more than two hundred pages of previously unpublished letters to and from Gehrig, Luckiest Man gives us an intimate portrait of a man who became an American hero: his life as a shy and awkward youth growing up in New York City, his unlikely friendship with Babe Ruth (a friendship that allegedly ended over rumors that Ruth had an affair with Gehrig’s wife), and his stellar career with the Yankees, where his consecutive-games streak stood for more than half a century. What was not previously known, however, is that symptoms of Gehrig’s affliction began appearing in 1938, earlier than is commonly acknowledged. Later, aware that he was dying, Gehrig exhibited a perseverance that was truly inspiring; he lived the last two years of his short life with the same grace and dignity with which he gave his now-famous “luckiest man” speech.
Meticulously researched and elegantly written, Jonathan Eig’s Luckiest Man shows us one of the greatest baseball players of all time as we’ve never seen him before.”
The planned movie already has a script written by Dan Kay. Branded Entertainment’s Michael Uslan and David Uslan head a producing team that includes Kingsway Productions’ Robert Molloy and Conglomerate Media’s Armando Gutierrez.
Molloy is the grandson of late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. “As my late grandfather always believed, Lou Gehrig was a great role model for the world. There is triumph even in tragedy and it’s only in the face of great odds that true human heroes are born and inspire us all.”
Barrie Osborne, an executive producer for the film, said, “What I love most about the project is the fact that audiences need to know nothing about sports, baseball, the Yankees, or even the legend of Lou Gehrig in order to be moved by this emotionally uplifting story.”
“Lou Gehrig is an iconic character, not just in baseball, but as a true American hero, a man who faced his intense, personal battles with quiet bravery,” said Russell. “While Gehrig’s story has previously been told in the beloved Pride of the Yankees (1942), this will be a new depiction with a more contemporary style and approach.”
As a lifelong Lou Gehrig fan, I am very excited to hear this news. I have always considered Gehrig to be the greatest Yankee and it’s wonderful that they are bringing his story to the big screen. We know Gehrig’s accomplishments on the baseball field. This is an opportunity to know and understand the depth of the man behind the legend. I can’t wait…
Odds & Ends…
A Jacoby Ellsbury sighting has been reported. Ellsbury took batting practice and ran the bases on Wednesday. GM Brian Cashman said before yesterday’s game that the most important thing is to see how Ellsbury responds to the next three to six days. As long as Aaron Hicks is healthy, I am completely fine with Ellsbury taking all the time he needs. But realistically, the Yankees are probably stronger with Hicks rotating through the outfield to provide relief for all of the outfielders and not just center. But if the Yankees could find a way to trade Ellsbury for a bucket of bolts, I’m all in. Just be sure that he takes Chris Carter and Tyler Clippard with him.
Congrats to Gleyber Torres for his successful Tommy John surgery yesterday. Gleyber posted “Surgery went as planned now time to recover and get back on the field. I can’t wait for next season thank you all for support” on Twitter last evening. Gleyber, we can’t wait for you to get back on the field either. Happy Recovery!
|Credit: Gleyber Torres-Twitter|
Have a great Thursday! I like this new thing called winning. Can we do it again today?…
Angels 8, Yankees 3…
It is difficult to remember when the Yankees last walked off a field with a victory. It seems so very long ago. The losing streak continues as the Yankees dropped their seventh consecutive game to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.
A little more than a week ago, we were very excited about the team and its surprising performance so far this season. But over the last week, the wheels have come off and the team is looking more and more like the .500 team it was projected to be at the beginning of the year. They’ll turn this around and start playing better but it doesn’t make the current losing funk feel any better.
I thought the return of Aroldis Chapman to push Tyler Clippard back to the 7th inning would help the latter to restore some of his effectiveness. I was wrong. After the Yankees had clawed their way back to a 3-3 tie, Clippard came into the game in the 7th and proceeded to hand the Angels the win. Retiring only one batter, he allowed a solo home run by Cameron Maybin (who is not exactly known for his ability to hit balls out of the park), a double and a run-scoring triple. He was just a single shy of a cycle, but Manager Joe Girardi ended the agony by pulling Clippard and replacing him with Jonathan Holder. Holder gave up the missing single to score the runner on third, charging a total of 3 runs to Clippard (1-4) for one out of work.
|Credit: Frank Franklin II-Associated Press|
Michael Pineda, who had normally pitched much better at home than on the road, was missing his primary pitch. The Angels grabbed the early lead with a run-scoring single by Albert Pujols in the first inning and they scored two runs in the second when Danny Espinosa drove in a run with a double and Kole Calhoun singled to score Espinosa.
Angels pitcher Parker Bridwell (who?) and their bullpen kept the Yankee bats silent for the most part. The Yankees were finally able to push across their first run in the fourth when Chase Headley hit a sacrifice fly to score Starlin Castro.
The Yankees then used solo home runs to tie the game. Aaron Judge blasted his 24th home run of the year in the fifth and Gary Sanchez went yard in the sixth with his 12th.
|Credit: John Munson-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|
There was excitement in the Bronx once again. Enter Tyler Clippard. The optimistic feelings were quickly extinguished as the Angels had taken the 6-3 lead by the time the seventh inning was over. The Angels tacked on a couple of insurance runs in the eighth and ninth innings as the Yankees just couldn’t get untracked offensively despite the earlier homers by Judge and Sanchez.
I knew we were in trouble when first baseman Chris Carter blew a routine fielding play that allowed Eric Young Jr to reach second base at the top of the second inning. It felt like it was going to be one of those games. It also reinforced that we are stuck with Carter for better or worse (my money is on the latter). Carter finished 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Just a typical day at the office for him.
|Credit: Getty Images|
It’s tough to win when you can only scratch out four hits against hittable pitchers.
Odds & Ends…
A Collective Groan in the Yankees Universe…
On the tail of a six-game losing streak, how can things go from bad to worse? Losing top prospect Gleyber Torres to Tommy John surgery certainly qualifies. Thought to have only a hyperextended elbow, consultation with Yankees team physician Christopher Ahmad revealed that Torres has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. Many were expecting the July call-up of Torres to the Major Leagues as a potential replacement for third baseman Chase Headley. Now, Torres will undergo surgery, with eyes for Spring Training 2018. Ouch, this one hurts. Well, him more than me but still, losing both the top pitching and the top hitting prospects to Tommy John surgery in the same year is difficult. I suppose the news would have been much worse if Torres had injured his throwing arm (longer recuperation and rehabilitation period). So, we should be grateful that this was not worse than it was. Good things never happen with headfirst slides.
Like the ascension of Chance Adams to top pitching prospect status, Clint Frazier becomes the de facto top prospect in the organization pending Gleyber’s successful return to good health. As I try to comprehend this depressing news, I didn’t really think that Torres was ready for the Big Leagues yet. I had already viewed his timetable as next Spring. With immediate projections that he’ll be ready for Spring Training, nothing really changes except he’ll lose valuable time learning the nuances of third base over the course of the next few months. Manager Joe Girardi is already on record saying that if there is an infield need at second/short on the MLB roster, Tyler Wade would be the guy.
Where do we go from here? With first base surfacing as the greatest need, this probably enhances the chances for Chase Headley to remain as the third base starter (regardless of the consequences) unless the Yankees swing a less expensive deal for a guy like Howie Kendrick of the Philadelphia Phillies. Without Major League ready third basemen in the Minor Leagues and greater needs at first base and left-handed relief in the bullpen, there’s probably not much that can be done to upgrade third base at this point without costing an arm and leg (a few arms and legs, in fact). Even the guy the Yankees traded to the San Diego Padres for Headley (Yangervis Solarte) would be a better option today in a side-by-side comparison.
|Credit: Associated Press|
The Yankees are competing against the Houston Astros in the pitching market and for third base, they face stiff competition from the Boston Red Sox who appear ready to flush the Pablo Sandoval disaster. I believe this makes the possibility of Mike Moustakas calling Fenway Park “home” the more likely outcome. This year’s July Trading Deadline figures to be a very expensive one for the many teams looking to upgrade.
The Yankees elevated 3B Miguel Andujar to AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to replace Torres. He was 1-for-4 last night in the RailRiders’ 6-1 victory over the Syracuse Chiefs. He also scored two runs. The heroes of the game were Dustin Fowler, who had a two-run home run, and Brady Lail, who pitched 6 2/3 innings, surrendering only the one run and four hits, for the win. Andujar is probably the best true third baseman right now but he’s not close to taking his game to the next level yet.
In case you were sleeping last night…
Despite the day off, the Yankees are back in sole possession of first place in the AL East. The Boston Red Sox lost to the Kansas City Royals, 4-2, to fall a 1/2 game off the pace. Having played three more games than the Yankees, the Red Sox are two games behind in the loss column. The third place Tampa Bay Rays slid to 4 games back, thanks to their loss to the Cincinnati Reds, 7-3. The Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles sit 5 games back entering play today. The Jays beat the Texas Rangers, 7-6, while the Orioles were de-feathered by the Cleveland Indians, 12-0.
Preview of Upcoming Angels-Yankees Series:
Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups for the series with the Los Angeles Angels which begins tonight at Yankee Stadium:
Tuesday, June 20th
Angels: Parker Bridwell (1-0, 2.79 ERA)
Yankees: Michael Pineda (7-3, 3.71 ERA)
Wednesday, June 21st
Angels: Ricky Nolasco (2-8, 5.01 ERA)
Yankees: Jordan Montgomery (4-4, 3.78 ERA)
Thursday, June 22nd
Angels: Jesse Chavez (5-7, 4.85 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Severino (5-2, 2.99 ERA)
Odds & Ends…
Yankees RHP Matt Marsh, 25, has been suspended for 50 games for a second violation of Baseball’s Minor League Drug Policy. Marsh, a relief pitcher, has appeared in 15 games for High-A Tampa and AA-Trenton. He is 3-2 with 2.49 ERA, and has held batters to .190 batting average while striking out 28 in 21 2/3 innings. He did not allow a run in 7 innings pitched for Tampa. Marsh was signed by the Yankees as an undrafted free agent in 2014.
|Credit: Josh Lefkowitz-Getty Images|
Move over, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers is now the hottest young home run hitter in baseball. Bellinger hit two more homers last night against Zack Wheeler and the New York Mets and now has 21 in 51 games. It is the fifth multi-homer game for Bellinger. He is just the fourth player 21 years or younger with 20 homers by the All-Star Break (joining Eddie Matthews, Albert Pujols, and Miguel Cabrera). Do the Dodgers miss injured first baseman Adrian Gonzalez? I think not…
|Credit: Harry How-Getty Images|
Have a great Tuesday! It’s time to put the losing streak in the rearview mirror!
Angels 7, Yankees 5…
Another tough loss for the Yankees despite fourteen hits.
The game started out well enough. The Yankees scored four runs in the first inning to give Michael Pineda the lead before he faced his first batter. Brett Gardner opened the game with a single off Angels’ starter Matt Shoemaker. After Aaron Hicks struck out, Aaron Judge singled to put runners at the corners. Judge stole second and Matt Holliday hit a sacrifice fly to score Gardy. The next batter, Starlin Castro, was hit by pitch, which brought up Gary Sanchez. The Sanchino homered to left and the Yankees looked like they were off to the races.
|Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports|
Sadly, this was not Michael Pineda’s night. The Angels came back in the bottom of the first with a run with they loaded the bases with singles from three of the first four Angels batters. Luis Valbuena then hit a fly to center that could have been a grand slam if not for a leaping catch by Aaron Hicks. Cameron Maybin scored on the sac fly. Pineda was able to get out of the inning without any further damage.
In the second inning, with one out, the Yankees wasted a triple by Rob Refsnyder when neither Brett Gardner nor Aaron Hicks were able to push the run across. When the Angels came to bat in the bottom of the inning, Eric Young Jr, the previous night’s hero, singled, and Danny Espinosa followed with a homer to right to bring the Angels within a run at 4-3.
The lead was lost in the third when Albert Pujols scored on a wild pitch with Young in the batter’s box. Young subsequently lined a run-scoring single to give the Angels a 5-4 advantage.
The Yankees tied the score in the sixth when Chase Headley singled home Gary Sanchez. Headley was thrown out trying to take two bases.
Manager Joe Girardi pulled Michael Pineda after six innings, and brought in Ronald Herrera to face the Angels in the 7th. It would not be a memorable debut for the rookie. He was able to get the first two batters (Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar) on ground-outs, but then he walked Valbuena. Andrelton Simmons came to the plate and rudely introduced Herrera (0-1) to life in the Big Leagues with a homer to center.
|Credit: Getty Images|
The Yankees had a chance in the 9th when Aaron Hicks doubled with two outs. The play was initially ruled as a game-ending out, but the call was overturned upon challenge by the Yankees. It didn’t matter as Aaron Judge hit a grounder to third for the final out.
The final line for Pineda was 6 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 2 SO. He allowed the one home run and his season ERA was pushed to 3.71.
|Credit: Sean M Haffey-Getty Images|
I felt bad for Herrera. He was in a difficult situation for his first Major League appearance, particularly for a pitcher who has yet to find success at the AAA Level. What works at AA does not necessarily work in the Major Leagues as Herrera found out.
This was a tough series. The Yankees were in all three games and could have easily won the series. Instead, the Angels took 2 of 3 and the Yankees left town on a bit of a downer.
The Boston Red Sox pulled to within two games of the Yankees (38-25) with a 7-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. The Tampa Bay Rays lost to remain 5 1/2 games back. Both the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays. They are 6 1/2 and 7 games back, respectively.
Odds & Ends…
RHP Ronald Herrera has been promoted to the Yankees prior to yesterday’s game in the aftermath of CC Sabathia’s strained hamstring. Herrera, 22, was acquired in 2015 from the San Diego Padres in the trade that sent infielder Jose Pirela to Southern CA. Herrera caught my attention this season, but I honestly didn’t expect the pitcher to make the jump from AA to the Majors even if he was already a member of the 40-man roster. Herrera combined with Yankees reliever Jonathan Holder to throw a no-hitter on April 26, 2016 for the Trenton Thunder. This season for the Thunder, Herrera is 7-0 with 1.07 ERA. In 8 games, he has pitched 50 1/3 innings, with 41 strikeouts and 9 walks. His WHIP is 0.7555. Herrera was born in Maracay, Venezuela, near the Caribbean Coast. Yankees utility infielder Ronald Torreyes is a fellow Venezuelan. Reliever Ben Heller was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room. Welcome to The Show, Ronald! I wish your first Major League decision could have been a victory but hopefully next time it is.
No roster decisions have yet been made regarding CC Sabathia, but it is speculated that he’ll be placed on the disabled list with a moderate (Grade 2) hamstring strain (expected to miss at least four weeks) with the recall of pitcher Domingo German.
The Yankees have acquired relief pitcher Matt Frawley (R) from the Pittsburgh Pirates to complete the trade that sent reliever Johnny Barbato to the Steel City. Frawley was drafted by the Pirates last year in the 17th Round out of Purdue University. He’ll be assigned to Class A Charleston. Turning 22 in August, Frawley (3-1) is an older prospect at the A Level but in 19 appearances and 33 1/3 innings, he has to pitched to an ERA of 1.62 with only 4 walks and 32 strikeouts (WHIP is an impressive 0.75). If Frawley continues to pitch as well as he did with the Class A West Virginia Power, he should soon find himself in AA with the Trenton Thunder.
In reviewing the draft choices on Day 3 of the MLB Draft, I have to say that I love the name of the 22nd pick. RHP Janson Junk. Now that’s a baseball name. Former Major League closer Brad Lidge’s cousin, Ryan Lidge, was chosen #20. Lidge is a senior catcher from Notre Dame. This helps offset the loss of catcher Luis Torrens who was taken in last year’s Rule 5 Draft by the San Diego Padres and is still on their Major League roster.
There were a couple of late names that stood out to me. In Round 29, the Yankees selected RHP Tristan Beck of Stanford. Beck is highly touted but missed the 2017 season due to a back injury. In some very early mock drafts, I saw Beck going as high as the first round. Without any knowledge of the situation, I suspect that he’ll return to Stanford for his junior year and attempt to rehabilitate his stock for higher placement in a future draft. In Round 37, the Yankees took high school pitcher Tanner Burns. Also highly touted, Burns’ father has said that it’s 100% his son will be attending Auburn University. It would be a great coup if the Yankees could sign one of these guys (or both) but I seriously doubt it. I suspect that we’ll see Burns as a much higher draft choice in a future draft.
The Yankees begin a four-game set tonight against the Athletics in Oakland, CA. Here are the pitching match-ups:
Yankees: Jordan Montgomery (4-4, 3.55 ERA)
A’s: Sonny Gray (2-2, 4.37 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Severino (5-2, 2.75 ERA)
A’s: Sean Manaea (6-3, 3.67 ERA)
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (5-6, 6.07 ERA)
A’s: Jesse Hahn (2-4, 3.56 ERA)
A’s: Jharel Cotton (3-7, 5.52 ERA)
Have a great Thursday! Here’s hoping for much better success in No-Cal than So-Cal…
Angels 3, Yankees 2…
After a weekend when runs came so easily, they were hard to find on Tuesday night as the Angels took down the Yankees in extra innings. The loss snapped the Yankees’ six-game winning streak. However, the bigger loss may have been CC Sabathia who strained his left hamstring and is probably headed for a DL stint. CC will undergo a MRI later today.
|Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports|
The feast or famine (with the emphasis on the latter) that surrounds Chris Carter was a primary ingredient for the loss. Carter was 1-for-5 (with a meaningless single), and he popped out with the bases loaded and only one out in the top of the 11th inning. He struck out 3 times, and committed an error at first in the fourth inning when he missed an accurate routine throw with two outs from Didi Gregorius, setting the stage for the first Angels’ run. The runner, Andrelton Simmons, advanced to second on the play, and scored on a single by C.J. Cron.
The Yankees tied the score in the 5th when Chase Headley doubled and Brett Gardner delivered a two-out run-scoring single. In the 7th, Headley hit a solo shot to center to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Headley, arguably the worst Yankees hitter not named Chris Carter, was the night’s best hitter. He finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and 2 runs scored.
From there, the Yankees were undone by a former Yankee, Eric Young, Jr. In the bottom of the 8th, with the Yankees nursing the one-run lead, the Yankees brought in Tyler Clippard to pitch and he was greeted by a Young home run which tied the game. As great a job as Clippard did last year after his acquisition last year at the trading deadline from the Arizona Diamondbacks, he’s been a weak link this year in the critical setup role. A healthy Aroldis Chapman would have meant Dellin Betances in that situation and the outcome may have been different. The homer denied the first Major League victory for Giovanny Gallegos who had relieved Sabathia in the fifth and pitched admirably for two innings, allowing only one hit and no runs.
The Yankees loaded the bases with one-out in the top of the 11th. Gary Sanchez walked and then advanced to third on a double by Didi Gregorius. Headley received an intentional walk, which brought Carter to the plate with a chance to bring runners home. He jumped on the first pitch from new reliever Keynan Middleton, who had just entered the game, but unfortunately, he popped out with an infield fly to third. Brett Gardner followed with another pop out which ended the Yankees’ threat and set the stage for the Angels’ walk-off in the bottom of the frame.
With Chasen Shreve pitching, Andrelton Simmons walked to open the bottom of the inning. Shreve got the next batter, C.J. Cron, on a fly out to left, but then Manager Joe Girardi pulled Shreve (he had thrown 38 pitches to that point in his 1 2/3 innings of work) to replace him with Ben Heller. Heller got the first batter he faced (Martin Maldonado) on a ground out, but Simmons stole second during the at-bat and advanced to third with the out. Eric Young, Jr, came to bat after Heller had walked Cliff Pennington and he hit an infield single that was deflected off the pitcher’s backside, scoring Simmons with the winning run.
|Credit: Sean M Haffey/Getty Images|
‘Woulda, coulda, shoulda’ was the story to this game. Losing is never fun, but losing games that should have been won are harder.
No word who will replace Sabathia in the rotation. Chad Green, Sunday’s starter, was limited to a pitch count of 50 (he was pulled after throwing 53 pitches). I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Luis Cessa or Bryan Mitchell recalled to be the interim starter. The less likely options would be Caleb Smith (who was the winning pitcher yesterday for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and is currently 4-0 with 2.71 ERA) or Chance Adams (3-2, 2.52 ERA) since neither one is on the 40-man roster.
The Boston Red Sox picked up a game on the Yankees, thanks to their second consecutive extra inning win over the Philadelphia Phillies. The Red Sox now trail the Yankees (38-24) by three games. The Tampa Bay Rays also won so they are 5.5 games behind. Both the Orioles and the Blue Jays lost.
Odds & Ends…
The MLB Draft completed Rounds 3 through 10 on Tuesday. Like the day before, the emphasis was high on right-handed pitchers. Only one position player was taken. High School catcher (who will be converted to the outfield) Canaan Smith (not to be confused with the country singer by the same name). Smith, a graduate of Rockwall-Heath (Texas) High School, was routinely pitched around with a Barry Bonds-like walk rate. He was selected in the 4th round.
The lone lefty taken was Dalton Lehnen of Augustana College in the 6th round. Otherwise, Day 2 was stacked with righties.
Here is the list of players taken on Day 2:
Round 3 (92): Trevor Stephan, Arkansas, RHP
Round 4 (122): Canaan Smith, Rockwall-Heath HS, RF
Round 5 (152): Glenn Otto, Rice, RHP
Round 6 (182): Dalton Lehnen, Augustana College, LHP
Round 7 (212): Dalton Higgins, Dallas Baptist, RHP
Round 8 (242): Kyle Zurak, Redford U, RHP
Round 9 (272): Austin Gardner, U Texas-Arlington, RHP
Round 10 (302): Chad Whitmer, Southern Illinois U Carbondale, RHP
The Baltimore Orioles are gushing about the fall of D.L. Hall to them. They didn’t expect him to be the board with the 21st pick on Monday. Nothing against Clarke Schmidt, but I hope this choice doesn’t come back to haunt the Yankees in future years.
Day 3 concludes today with Rounds 11 through 40. Start time is 12:00 pm Eastern.
LHP Tommy Layne, who was previously designated for assignment, has been outrighted to AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
RHP Ronald Herrera has been named the Eastern League (AA) Pitcher of the Week. In his last start, Herrera pitched 6 2/3 innings while only allowing two hits in the Trenton Thunder’s 9-0 victory over the Hartford Yard Goats. After giving up a two-out single in the first inning, Herrera retired 16 consecutive Yard Goats before surrendering the second hit. He struck out 9 in picking up the win. Herrera is the fourth Thunder pitcher to win the weekly award this year, following Chance Adams, Yefry Ramirez, and Justus Sheffield.
Aroldis Chapman was scheduled to pitch yesterday for High-A Tampa, however, the game was rained out. Chapman will pitch one inning Friday for AA-Trenton and is tentatively scheduled to rejoin the Yankees on Sunday in Oakland.
Have a great Wednesday! Time to start a new winning streak!
|Credit: Sean M Haffey-Getty Images|
Yankees 5, Angels 3…
One of the greatest highlights of this game were the chants of “MVP!” for Aaron Judge from the Anaheim crowd. It was incredible to get that type of response from the park that Mike Trout calls home. Judge is certainly deserving of the accolades but it is not something that you’d expect on enemy turf.
When Kole Calhoun, the second batter in the bottom of the first inning, homered with no one on, I had fears that Masahiro Tanaka was going to get rocked once again. But fortunately, the old Tanaka re-emerged and kept the Angels off the board until the 7th inning.
|Credit: Randy Miller-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|
The Yankees built up a 3-1 lead through the top of the 7th. Following a couple of two-out walks of Matt Holliday and Starlin Castro in the third inning, Didi Gregorius singled to left, scoring Holliday and tying the game at 1. The Yankees took the lead in the 5th, thanks again to another two-out hit from Gregorius. After Aaron Judge walked and Starlin Castro singled, Gregorius singled to center which scored Judge. In the 7th, Judge singled and moved to second on a groundout by Matt Holliday. Castro followed with a ground out to the pitcher, bringing Gregorius up again with two outs. The Los Angeles Angels took no chances and intentionally walked Didi to put the bat in the hands of Chase Headley (ugh!). Despite my lack of excitement about Headley, he delivered with a single, scoring Judge. The Yankees subsequently loaded the bases, but Austin Romine hit a grounder for the final out of the inning.
Tanaka pitched well enough to win but it was not to be. In the bottom of the 7th, after Andrelton Simmons had flied out, Eric Young, Jr reached base as a result of a fielding error by Chase Headley (his 11th of the season, one more than he had last year in 140 games at third). The next batter, Martin Maldonado, struck out but Young advanced to second on a steal. Former Washington National Danny Espinosa lined a single to right, scoring Young. Aaron Judge mistakenly threw the ball home on an overthrow which allowed Espinosa to take second. Manager Joe Girardi pulled Tanaka (hand clap for #19) and brought in Tyler Clippard. Clippard promptly gave up a double to Cameron Maybin, scoring Espinosa for a run charged to Tanaka and the game was tied at 3. He struck out Kole Calhoun for the final out, and the game moved to the 8th inning.
After Brett Gardner flied out, Aaron Hicks doubled to left. The Angels made a pitching change to bring in their interim closer, Bud Norris. On a 2-0 count, Judge showed the Anaheim crowd the magic that we’ve been experiencing in the Bronx with a home run to right center, giving the Yankees a 5-3 lead and the eventual margin of victory.
|Credit: Randy Miller-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|
With two outs and a runner at first thanks to a walk in the bottom of the 8th, Girardi took no chances and brought in Dellin Betances to get the final out of the inning. It was a much cleaner than the last time Betances entered an inning with two outs (when he loaded the bases and threw 17 pitches to record the necessary out). This time, it was three pitches and a fly out.
In the 9th, Betances was on his game as he struck out the side. Yankees win, 5-3.
This was a great game for the California Central Valley native Judge. He finished 2-for-4 with a walk, 3 runs scored and 2 RBI’s, while increasing his batting average to .347, in front of family, friends and James Kaprielian. Yankees fans are everywhere and they certainly made themselves known on this night with the “MVP!” chants.
Gregorius was 4-for-4 with the 2 RBI’s.
It may be a down year for the Angels, but they’ve always played well against the Yankees so this was a satisfying victory. It would have been nice for Tanaka to pick up the win, but still, it had to be a confidence-booster for him. His final line was 6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO. I hope to see more of this and less of the Tanaka starts we saw over the past month. Clippard, responsible for costing Tanaka the victory, took the win, thanks to Judge’s timely homer.
The Yankees (38-23) maintained their four-game lead over the Boston Red Sox. The Sox beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 6-5, in extra innings. The Tampa Bay Rays (who had the night off) remained in third, but dropped to 6 1/2 games back. The Baltimore Orioles lost again (10-7 to the Chicago White Sox), sliding to 7 1/2 games behind the leaders. The O’s are now just a half game from falling into the AL East Cellar.
Odds & Ends…
I hate to say that I am disappointed with the MLB Draft because Yankees scouts know a heck of lot more than I do, but I was not enthused with the first round selection (16th pick) of right-handed pitcher Clarke Schmidt. Schmidt had Tommy John surgery earlier this Spring and will be unavailable to pitch until sometime in late 2018. I couldn’t help but get flashbacks to the pick of Andrew Brackman a number of years ago. Taking a chance on an injured but high ceiling pitcher who never rose to the level of his potential and is subsequently out of baseball. I hope this is not the same situation with Schmidt. I thought first baseman Evan White or lefty pitcher D.L. Hall would have been great picks at that spot, or even lefty David Peterson (who was later picked by the Mets).
Damon Oppenheimer, Yankees VP of Domestic Amateur Scouting, had these words for Schmidt (who is from the University of South Carolina like Jordan Montgomery): “Schmidt’s got four pitches that at times are all plus. He has command, he has makeup. We really like his delivery. He’s got a chance to be a top end of the rotation type of guy who combines pitchability with power stuff. And you always like it when they’re the Friday night guy, pitching and having success in that conference.” A few of the pitchers taken in the first round sound better suited for relief work so I suppose if you have a chance for a top of the rotation guy, you take it. I hope this one works out.
In the second round (with the 54th pick), the Yankees chose a high school pitcher (Matt Sauer). I like this pick, perhaps more so than Schmidt. Sauer is right-handed and just 18 years old, he is already 6’4”. He a product of an appropriately named Righetti High School (CA) even if the school is named for a guy named Ernest Righetti and not former Yankees closer Dave “Rags” Righetti. Oppenheimer offered these words about Sauer: “Sauer is a projectable high school right-hander who is athletic, with a ‘now’ fastball and a plus slider. He really has a good way about his aggressiveness and makeup on the mound. We see a chance there for a starter with power stuff.”
|Credit: The Tribune (San Luis Obispo)|
Welcome to the Yankees Family, Clarke and Matt!
Have a great Tuesday! It should be a fun day as the Yankees try to keep this winning streak alive and MLB Draft continues with rounds 3 through 10.
Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Yankees 14, Orioles 3…
Wow…the Yankees figured out the best way to beat the Baltimore Orioles is to just blast them in the bottom of the first inning. A day after they crushed the O’s 16-3, the Yankee bats were in high gear once again. I carried a fear that they’d struggle a day after the blow-out but these Yankees do not play to anyone’s predictions. The forecasted 82-win team keeps rolling along as they pummeled the O’s 14-3 on Sunday to complete the three-game sweep.
This was a tough 13-game stretch against AL East opponents. When the Yankees returned home to face the Boston Red Sox and the Orioles, they were 3-4 in road games against the O’s and the Toronto Blue Jays. Boston had a chance to overtake the Yankees in the AL East standings with a sweep, but instead the Yankees took 2 of 3 from the Sox. Then, they absolutely crushed the Orioles by a cumulative score of 38-8 in sweeping the three-game series. So, the Yankees finish 8-5 for the 13 AL East games and are beginning to make believers that this team may be for real.
After losing the opening game of the Red Sox series, the Baby Bombers won the next five games against the Red Sox and the O’s by a combined score of 55-9. It was the first five game stretch of at least 8 runs or more for the Yankees since July 1956.
Replicating Saturday’s fast start, the Yankees jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning. Two of the first three batters (Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge) singled to put runners at the corners. Judge moved to second on a wild pitch, but it didn’t matter as Matt Holliday walked to load the bases. Starlin Castro hit the second pitch of the at-bat up the middle off O’s starter Kevin Gausman, scoring Gardner and Judge. Holliday moved to second. That brought up Gary Sanchez who parked one in left center to score three more runs.
Credit: Kathy Willens-Associated Press
The Yankees could have blown the game open in the second inning when they had the bases loaded with only one out, but Starlin Castro hit into a double-play to strand the runners.
Staked to the big lead, Chad Green, making his first Major League start of the season, couldn’t survive the third inning. The only blemish of the first two innings was a walk of Trey Mancini in the second inning, but JJ Hardy opened the third with a double off Green. The next hitter, former Yankee (or should I say RailRider) Ruben Tejada doubled off his former Scranton/Wilkes-Barre teammate to score Hardy. Green’s day was ended after 52 pitches. But the “doubles parade” continued against Chasen Shreve. Seth Smith lined a double to score Tejada, followed by Jonathan Schoop’s double to score Smith. Suddenly, the game was much tighter at 5-3. Or as Michael Kay put it, “a laugher has become a nail-biter”. Fortunately, Shreve rebounded to get Adam Jones on a ground-out, holding the runner at second. This was followed by swinging strikeouts of O’s sluggers Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 4th inning, after Jonathan Holder held the O’s scoreless in the top of the frame, the Yankees added a couple of insurance runs when Aaron Hicks walked and moved to third on a double by Aaron Judge. Matt Holliday rapped a single to center to score both of the Aarons, increasing the Yankees’ lead to 7-3.
Moving to the sixth, Aaron Judge smashed another monster home run. They should probably re-name Statcast as “Judge-cast” because he owns the leaderboards. A day after the hardest hit ball this year, Judge captured the lead for home run distance with 495 feet. Jake Lamb of the Arizona Diamondbacks had held the previous longest homer (481 feet) since April 29th. I’ve been convinced that we’ll see a 500 ft home run from Judge this season and he came within 5 feet of making my dream a reality. 8-3, Yankees.
Not finished in the sixth, Matt Holliday reached first base on a fielding error by second baseman Jonathan Scoop. Starlin Castro followed with a homer to left-center, making up for his second inning-ending double play. The once close score was now 10-3 Yankees.
You’d think that the Yankees bats were done for the day but not the Aarons. In the 7th, both Ronald Torreyes and Brett Gardner walked with one out. Aaron Hicks subsequently lined a double to center, scoring both runners. 12-3, Yankees. That set the stage for the man of the hour, Aaron Judge. In the daily game of who is going to hit two home runs next, Judge answered the call with his second homer of the game, a two-run shot to cap the Yankees scoring for the day and give the Yankees a 14-3 lead.
It’s nice to have games where it is difficult to pick the player of the game. Certainly, two home runs (including one that traveled nearly 500 ft) and a 4-for-4 day with 3 RBI’s gives Judge the leg up, but Starlin Castro’s 4 RBI’s warrant consideration. Gary Sanchez and his three-run homer. Or Matt Holliday, who has a knack for always being in the thick of the action. 1-for-3, Holliday walked twice, scored two runs, and had 2 RBI’s. I am not ready to say that this is a World Series contender quite yet, but this is the most exciting Yankees team that I’ve seen since the late 90’s. Please do not let the bubble burst.
In a game of relievers, the Yankees used 5 members of the bullpen to complete the game. The longest stint was provided by Domingo German who was making his Major League debut. German finished the final 2 2/3 innings of the game. Although he did allow two hits and a walk, he held the O’s scoreless and struck out a batter (Jonathan Schoop, to end the top of the 7th inning). Adam Warren (2-1), who preceded German, picked up the win.
The Yankees (37-23) moved up 3 1/2 games in the AL East, pending the outcome of Boston’s game on Sunday night. The Tampa Bay Rays won (5-4 over the Oakland A’s) to move into third place, 6 games behind the Yankees. The Orioles slipped to fourth with the loss, 6 1/2 games back.
This was an impressive home stand by the Yankees. But all good things must end. The Yankees take the show on the road for seven games in Southern and Northern California before returning to Yankee Stadium on June 20th to face the Los Angeles Angels. With the West Coast games, I guess there are going to be a few bleary-eyed fans this week suffering from lack of sleep.
Odds & Ends…
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders lost to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Sunday, 6-4. The RailRiders led the majority of the game, but the IronPigs scored 5 runs late to capture the win. Chance Adams was the starter, and pitched very well until the fateful 7th inning (when the IronPigs pushed 4 runs across the plate). He finished with a pitching line of 6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 1 HR, while increasing his season ERA to 2.52. He didn’t figure in the decision. Tyler Webb, who I had hoped would eventually find his way to the Bronx, was an absolute train wreck. He gave up 7 hits and 3 runs (plus a run charged to Adams) before recording the final out of the 7th inning. Adams deserved better but this was a learning experience.
Greg Bird had a quiet day at the plate. He was 0-for-2, with 2 walks and a run scored.
Domingo German’s stay in the Major Leagues was short-lived. Following yesterday’s game, he was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Right-handed reliever Ben Heller was recalled to take his place. Either Heller or Gallegos will be heading back to SWB when Aroldis Chapman is activated (hopefully this weekend in Oakland).
Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups in Anaheim for the series with the Los Angeles Angels:
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (5-6, 6.55 ERA)
Angels: Alex Meyer (2-3, 4.08 ERA)
Yankees: CC Sabathia (7-2, 3.66 ERA)
Angels: JC Ramirez ( 6-4, 4.33 ERA)
Yankees: Michael Pineda (7-3, 3.39 ERA)
Angels: Matt Shoemaker (6-3, 4.22 ERA)
Have a great Monday! Let’s keep this winning streak alive! Go Yankees!