Indians 6, Yankees 2…
In a potential play-off barometer, the Yankees showed they are not quite ready to compete with the big boys. The Tribe used four home runs to turn back the Yankees on Monday night.
This was destined to be a low scoring game for the Yankees with AL Cy Young contender Corey Kluber on the mound. The hope was that Luis Severino would be able to make him pitch-for-pitch. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. The top six hitters in the Yankees lineup went combined 0-for-22 with seven strikeouts and Aaron Judge wasn’t even in the lineup.
After Luis Severino cruised through the game’s first two hitters, Jose Ramirez took him deep to right center for a quick 1-0 lead. Sevy had tried to challenge Ramirez on a full count and lost.
|Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports|
The Yankees tied the game in the bottom of the 3rd when Chase Headley led off with a homer to right. “There it goes…see ya!” (courtesy of Michael Kay).
|Credit: Bill Kostroun-Associated Press|
Gary Sanchez showed off his powerful arm in the top of the 4th. After Jose Ramirez walked and stole second. A subsequent Sevy pitch got away from Sanchez. Ramirez broke for third. Sanchez grabbed the ball and fired it to third. Todd Frazier cleanly applied the tag as the runner was sliding into the base for the out. Sevy walked the next two batters before striking out Carlos Santana to end in the inning, but if Sanchez hadn’t made that play on Ramirez, it could have been much worse.
Todd Frazier put the Yankees ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the 5th. Jacoby Ellsbury doubled to left with two outs, a high fly which bounced on the warning track to the wall. Frazier’s single past diving shortstop Francisco Lindor into left field scored Ellsbury. Frazier took second on the throw but he was left stranded when Brett Gardner struck out.
In the top of the 6th, Jose Ramirez clubbed his second home run of the night off Severino, a solo shot deep into the second deck in right field. The game was tied again.
The Indians got the separation they needed in the 7th inning. With one out, Carlos Santana took Sevy deep to the second deck in right to give the Indians a 3-2 lead.
|Credit: Bill Kostroun-Associated Press|
The next batter, Bradley Zimmer, singled to center. Sevy struck out Yan Gomes for the second out, but that would be all for the Yankees’ ace. Joe Girardi made the call to the bullpen and brought in Adam Warren. With Giovanny Urshela at the plate, Zimmer stole second and got up and raced to third when Starlin Castro failed to catch the throw from Gary Sanchez for an error. A wild pitch by Warren got past Sanchez and allowed Zimmer to run home for the Tribe’s fourth run. Urshela ended up grounding out after watching The Zimmer Show on the bases.
Meanwhile, the Yankees couldn’t muster anything against the dominant Corey Kluber.
|Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports|
In the top of the 8th, the Indians added to their lead when Austin Jackson belted a solo homer to left. The Yankees challenged the call when replay showed the ball hit the hands of a fan in the first row and bounced back onto the field but the HR decision was upheld. 5-2, Indians.
|Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports|
Chasen Shreve replaced Warren in the top of the 9th. Like Warren, Shreve has looked very hittable in his last few outings and the trend continued. After striking out Jay Bruce, Shreve walked Carlos Santana. Big mistake. Bradley Zimmer hit a liner to the center field wall for a double to score Santana. Zimmer later reached third on a wild pitch but he was unable to score this time. The Indians didn’t need the run with the four-run lead heading into the bottom of the 9th.
Indians closer Cody Allen came on in relief of Corey Kluber and set the Yankees down in order, striking out Starlin Castro to end the game.
The Yankees (70-60) lost ground in the AL East with the loss. The Boston Red Sox held off the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-5, so the Yankees are now 3 1/2 games out of first. The Baltimore Orioles won their fifth consecutive game, 7-6 over the Seattle Mariners, to move within 4 1/2 games of the Yankees. The Tampa Bay Rays, 12-0 victors over the Kansas City Royals, are 5 1/2 games behind New York. The Minnesota Twins had the night off so they were able to shave a half-game off the Wild Card Standings and trail the Yankees by 3 games.
I can’t say that I am very excited about the prospect of pitching Jaime Garcia tonight against Cleveland in a must-win situation. No, it’s not the end of the world if the Yankees lose but I’d feel so much better about the team’s chances if Jordan Montgomery was the starter (despite the innings cap). I hope I’m wrong and that Garcia delivers his best performance in Pinstripes.
Severino (11-6) looked very strong early, but the three home runs were too much for him. He finished with 6 2/3 innings, giving up four hits and four runs (three earned) with 108 pitches thrown. He walked three and struck out nine. With Corey Kluber holding the Yankees to three hits and two runs over eight innings, Sevy didn’t have a chance.
Odds & Ends…
Manager Joe Girardi has announced that right fielder Aaron Judge will take a seat for several games in an attempt to help the young slugger break out of his slump. It always makes me think of Mark Grace’s infamous slumpbuster quote about finding the most hideous looking member of the opposite sex and taking one for the team. Hopefully Judge doesn’t have to go to those extremes to find his first half swing.
|Credit: Phil Long-Associated Press|
Another candidate for the “have a seat” approach is Aroldis Chapman. The Yankees need an effective Chapman in September. If that means some time away from the team to clear his head, so be it. I think Chapman’s problems are more mental than physical. He did have a MRI on Sunday but the results came back clear. I want to see him reclaim his closer’s job so whatever it takes to get him back to elite status.
Have a great Tuesday! It’s a wonderful day for a win! Go Yankees!
Tigers 2, Yankees 0…
Wouldn’t you know it…Getaway Day with a plane waiting on the tarmac for a flight to Ohio and a lengthy rain delay to extend the wait to depart the Stadium. I guess on the bright side, the Cleveland Indians had to wait for night game to be called because of rain in Boston before they could head home so both teams should be equally sleep-derived today when Sonny Gray makes his much anticipated debut for the Yankees.
With rain delays of over 4 1/2 hours, the end of the day was painful as the Yankees, behind a very lackluster offensive-performance (yes, it was very offensive), fell to the Tigers. It was only their second shut out of the season.
The game, originally scheduled to start at 2:30 pm Eastern, was delayed by rain.
Fresh off the 14-strikeout performance, Masahiro Tanaka did not have quite the same pitches on Wednesday. It was yet another game where the Yankees started off with a first inning deficit. Ian Kinsler led off with a single to left, and advanced to second when Jim Adduci singled to center. Before most fans could even get a sip of their first beer, Justin Upton doubled down the left field line, scoring Kinsler with the game’s first run. From there, Tanaka settled down retiring the next three batters (two by strikeout).
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Like Tuesday, the Yankees continued to struggle with runners in scoring position. They had their first scoring opportunity in the bottom of the 2nd when Gary Sanchez was hit by a pitch to reach first base. Chase Headley lined a double to right to move Sanchez to third. Todd Frazier was the suspect this time, with a fly out to end the inning.
A second great scoring opportunity presented itself in the bottom of the 3rd. Both Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury hit one-out singles, with Gardner moving to third. Aaron Judge had first crack at bringing one or both runners home but he struck out. Ellsbury stole second during the at-bat to move into scoring position, representing the potential tying run. Unfortunately, Gary Sanchez grounded out to end the threat.
The Tigers picked up their second run in the top of the 4th. With two outs, Mikie Mahtook walked. James McCann followed with a single to center which Jacoby Ellsbury mishandled (twice) for an error, allowing Mahtook to score from first. McCann ended up on second but was left stranded when Andrew Romine (man, I wanted to type Austin) flied out to left.
The bottom of the 6th brought another failed scoring opportunity for the home team. Aaron Judge opened with a single to left. Gary Sanchez doubled to left as Judge moved to third. Runners in scoring position with no outs. Didi Gregorius popped out to the shortstop. Matt Holliday hit a fly ball to center but it wasn’t deep enough for Judge to tag and score. One more opportunity with Chase Headley, but he went down swinging. More men left 90 feet away, suffering severe cases of “home” sickness.
Six innings and Masahiro Tanaka was done. After the wobbly start, his final line was decent. 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO. Also, he was successful in bringing his season ERA below five to 4.93. Tommy Kahnle pitched a three-up, three-down 7th, however, the Yankees hit into three consecutive ground outs in the bottom of the inning. Then, the second rain delay…
|Credit: Michael Noble Jr-AP|
After the game resumed in the top of the 8th, Dellin Betances pitched an immaculate inning. He struck out three Tigers on 9 pitches.
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In the bottom of the inning, Jacoby Ellsbury tried. On a pitch that would have been Ball 4, Ellsbury hit a grounder to short but was able to beat it out. A wild pitch from reliever Bruce Rondon that catcher James McCann was unable to handle allowed Ells to move to second. Like the previous Yankees in scoring position for this game, he was left stranded when Rondon retired the next 3 batters.
Shane Greene, the newly appointed Tigers closer following the trading deadline deal that sent Justin Wilson to the Chicago Cubs, took the mound in the 9th and easily retired the Yankees for the 2-0 win. A disappointing way to leave the Stadium for the road trip to Cleveland.
The Yankees (57-49) fell a game behind the Red Sox with the loss. Boston’s game with the Cleveland Indians was rained out and will be made up on Monday, August 14th (after the Red Sox complete a three-game series at Yankee Stadium). The Tampa Bay Rays moved 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees with their 3-0 victory over the Houston Astros. The Baltimore Orioles keep winning. They won their fifth in a row, a 6-0 shutout of Kansas City Royals, and have moved 4 1/2 games behind the Yankees. The Rays and Orioles defeat two of the best teams in the AL while the Yankees lose a series to one of its worst.
Masahiro Tanaka (8-10) took the tough luck loss. I am very concerned about Matt Holliday. He has been a shell of his former self since returning from his viral infection. His bat is hurting this offense. Same with Todd Frazier. Both hitters were hitless in four at-bats. As a team, the Yankees left 20 men on base. It’s very hard to win this game when you can’t push runs across the plate.
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Next Up: Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field, Cleveland, OH…
The Yankees are set to play a four-game series in Cleveland against the defending American League Champions. The Tribe are returning from a road trip that just ended in Boston against the hated Red Sox.
The scheduled pitching match-ups are:
Yankees: Sonny Gray (6-5, 3.43 ERA)
Indians: Corey Kluber (8-3, 2.90 ERA)
Yankees: Jaime Garcia (5-7, 4.29 ERA)
Indians: Trevor Bauer (9-8, 5.25 ERA)
Yankees: Jordan Montgomery (7-6, 4.15 ERA)
Indians: Danny Salazar (4-5, 4.63 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Severino (8-4, 2.98 ERA)
Indians: Mike Clevinger (5-4, 3.68 ERA)
Today’s game starts off with a marquee pairing. Luis Severino may be the staff ace, but Sonny Gray is the shiny new toy going against one of the AL’s best in Corey Kluber. It should be a fantastic game. I just wish the Yankee bats were swinging a little better.
|Credit: Kathy Willens-AP|
It’s reunion time for Clint Frazier who makes his first trip to Cleveland as a Yankee. Although he never played at the Major League level, it’s still the organization he began his professional career. He was Cleveland’s top prospect along with outfielder Bradley Zimmer and the two are close friends. Zimmer was called up earlier this season by the Indians and is hitting .282 with 8 home runs and 37 RBI’s in 67 games. I hope Frazier plays as well against the Indians as former Yankee Ben Gamel did against the Yankees a couple of weeks ago.
|Credit: Mark Podolski-The Times-Herald|
Odds & Ends…
The Yankees will miss old friend Andrew Miller on their trip to Cleveland. The Indians placed the versatile lefty on the 10-Day DL yesterday with right knee patella tendinitis. Another former Yankee, Boone Logan, is also on the DL for the Tribe. Logan is most likely good buddies with Tommy Kahnle since they spent a few years together in the Colorado Rockies bullpen. Good that we won’t have to face Miller, but bad for the player. All things considered, I’d prefer to see a happy and healthy Andrew Miller regardless of what uniform he currently wears.
|Credit: Getty Images|
Have a great Thursday! Let’s hope for better things in C-Town as Sonny Gray takes the field for the first time as a friend…not a foe. Go Yankees!
Credit: Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press
Team Prospect-Hugger could get a new look the last two weeks of July. In an interview, Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner indicated that he’ll look at any deal that crosses his desk during the final two weeks of July. He’ll read the scouting reports, talk to GM Brian Cashman and the Scouting Department and tap into other resources to determine the best moves for the Yankees organization moving forward. He said that he’ll divert all of his attention to any one deal that comes across his desk as he has always done in the couple of weeks leading up to the trading deadline. It doesn’t mean that he’ll approve a deal but he’ll certainly give more than a passing thought to any deal that makes sense.
Steinbrenner sees the value in holding onto the team’s prospects as they have done for the last three or four years.
With significant dollars coming off the payroll at the end of the year ($59 million alone with the expiring contracts of CC Sabathia, Matt Holliday, and Alex Rodriguez), Steinbrenner feels the Yankees will be active in the free agent market. “To what degree, and in what areas remains to be seen”, said Steinbrenner, in talking with reporters.
I am probably somewhere in between Hal and his father, George. I’d be more inclined to make moves to strengthen weaker areas. But I’d also be trying to find ways to unload dead weight off the roster. Spending $46 million for CC Sabathia’s unreliable performances and Alex Rodriguez’s “consulting services” is a bad return on investment in a statement of the obvious. Why don’t they just increase it to $47 million and toss me the difference? I would certainly have a more company-aligned outlook and they would be no worse for the wear. I am looking forward to next year when a greater percentage of the payroll goes to active, contributing members of the team’s 25-man roster.
Even though Steinbrenner may not be open to considering any deals until mid-July, there’s no doubt that Cashman and Company have already begin dialing other teams to open dialogue for potential trades involving targeted players. If the Yankees do prove that they are for real this year, it should be a very fun and active July. I am certainly not expecting a Bryce Harper or Manny Machado type trade, but reinforcements to stay the upward course would be very much appreciated.
I am glad to hear that one of my favorite prospects, pitcher Albert Abreu, will be coming off the DL for High-A Tampa on Friday. Abreu has been on the DL since May 2nd with elbow inflammation. Abreu will start in Friday’s game against the Dayton Tortugas in place of Domingo Acevedo, who was promoted to AA-Trenton.
Last summer, the two best outfield prospects in the Cleveland Indians organization were Clint Frazier and Bradley Zimmer. Zimmer received his call to join the Show this week, and looks to be a long-term fixture in Cleveland as an Andrew Miller teammate. On Wednesday, with his parents in attendance, Zimmer had a run-scoring double and a home run. Zimmer, two years older than Frazier, looks to be one of the game’s superior talents for years to come. I know it’s not Yankees-related but it is great to see good young players flourish in the Major Leagues. There’s no doubt he received a congratulatory text from Frazier.
The Yankees were victorious in baseball action last night with an 11-7 victory over the Kansas City Royals. With the final game of the series to be played today, the Yankees have already taken the series by winning the first two games of the three-game set.
Of the three Royals pitchers that we would be facing, I was most concerned about Jason Vargas. The veteran pitcher had gotten off to a great start at 5-1 with a 1.01 ERA. But four innings and six runs later, the ERA had more than doubled to 2.03. Michael Pineda (4-2) was the winner, but he did give up two home runs. For six innings of work, he gave up six hits, four runs (three earned), and two walks. He also registered 5 K’s. I would have liked to have seen better work but with the Yankees racing out to a 10-2 lead by the fifth inning, Pineda was guilty somewhat of letting up on the gas.
Every Yankee in the starting lineup got a hit in the 16-hit attack. Aaron Hicks, filling in for Jacoby Ellsbury, hit a three run homer in the fourth inning on a 2-for-4 night.
|Credit: John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS|
The Royals scored three runs with two outs in the ninth inning against Yankees reliever Giovanny Gallegos. With two runners on base and the potential tying run on deck, Dellin Betances came in for one out, a soft grounder back to the pitcher, to end the game, recording his first save of the season with just four pitches.
The Yankees (24-13) took advantage of a loss by the Baltimore Orioles to move 1 1/2 games up in the AL East. The O’s lost to the Detroit Tigers in a close game, 5-4. Former Yankee Justin Wilson, recently named closer for the Tigers, picked up his third save. It could have been a great night but the Boston Red Sox pulled out a 5-4 win in 13 innings against the St Louis Cardinals.
Have a great Thursday! Hopefully the Yankees grab another “W” before racing to Kansas City International Airport for the flight to Tampa later this evening.