|Credit: Ben Margot-Associated Press|
A’s 7, Yankees 6…
I am not gonna lie. This has been a tough week with games that don’t start until after 10 pm EDT and a series of losses that could have been wins if not for bullpen breakdowns. Aroldis Chapman is within our sights yet he seems so far away as the bullpen provides loss after loss. Sunday cannot get here quick enough.
This was another game that saw the Yankees fight back after falling behind early. The A’s jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning but the Yankees answered with a three-run homer by Aaron Judge in the top of the 3rd, his 23rd HR of the year.
|Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports|
They picked up single runs in the 5th through 7th innings, including a solo shot by Chris Carter in the 6th, to take a 6-4 lead.
In the bottom of the 7th, with Chasen Shreve on the mound, the A’s picked up a run on a sac fly by Chad Pinder. Jonathan Holder replaced Shreve for the 8th, but a walk, double and intentional walk, which loaded the bases, set the stage for A’s rookie third baseman Matt Chapman to deliver the game-winning hit with a two-run single.
A’s closer Santiago Casilla struck out three of the four batters he faced to seal the 7-6 victory for Oakland.
Aside from the disastrous second inning, Luis Severino pitched well. He went six innings, allowing four hits, runs, and walks. He struck out six. He banged his knee against a locker prior to the game but didn’t attribute it as a cause for his early struggles. Jonathan Holder (1-1) took the loss with a pitch that was supposed to be in the dirt but was left where Chapman could emerge as the victor with the winning hit.
With a starting lineup that included Rob Refsnyder, Mason Williams, Austin Romine, and Ronald Torreyes, I was concerned about this game from the start. Nothing against those guys, but the players who sat (Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Gary Sanchez, and Didi Gregorius) are heavy artillery. Hopefully everyone is feeling a little healthier and/or rested today.
The 8th inning has been a major problem area with Dellin Betances as the designated ninth inning guy. It will be nice to have Betances back to provide the late setup coverage when Chapman returns. For all the bullpen failures, Betances has stood alone as the bright spot. Note to Yankees Prez Randy Levine, Betances is worth more than $3 million. Pay him, you blithering idiot.
While the Yankees (38-27) were losing to the American League’s worst team, the Boston Red Sox were beating its best (2-1 victory over the Houston Astros). So, the Red Sox have pulled to within one game of the Yankees in the AL East standings. All the other AL East teams lost. The Yankees have now lost four in a row, a new season high, after snapping their six-game winning streak in Anaheim.
Odds & Ends…
Prior to Friday’s game, the Yankees made a few roster moves. The injuries to Gary Sanchez and Aaron Hicks forced their hand. With both players day to day, a trip to the DL doesn’t make sense for either guy. So, roster help had to come from other areas. Adam Warren, dealing with a sore trapezius muscle, was moved to the DL and Giovanny Gallegos was returned to AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Kyle Higashioka was recalled to back up Austin Romine while Sanchez is dealing with his tight groin muscle, and Mason Williams was elevated to provide the Yankees an additional outfielder to help offset the temporary loss of Hicks. Necessary moves, but ones that weakened an already strained bullpen.
Speaking of Aroldis Chapman, the results of his final rehab tune-out at AA-Trenton were less than ideal. Chapman started the Thunder’s game on Friday against the Erie SeaWolves. He threw 20 pitches (his pitch limit). While he struck out two in pitching 2/3rd’s of an inning, he walked two and threw two wild pitches which allowed the SeaWolves to score a run. The Thunder eventually won the game, 4-2. After the game, Chapman, through an interpreter, said, “I felt good out there. I know my command wasn’t 100%, but I felt really good. The good thing is I know I am going to come back strong.” I hope so as the Yankees need a strong and healthy Chapman now more than ever.
|Credit: Greg Slaboda-The Trentonian|
It does not sound good for first baseman Greg Bird. He met with the Yankees team physician and had a CT scan and MRI for his knee and ankle on Friday. He’ll meet with Dr Bob Anderson in North Carolina for a second opinion. It’s starting to look as though this will be another lost year for Bird.
Yesterday saw a nice Triple A debut for starting pitcher Domingo Acevedo. He pitched 7 innings of three-hit ball in the RailRiders’ 8-1 win over the Buffalo Bisons. He gave up only one run, and struck out four. Walks were high (five) but it was a great start for Acevedo. Gleyber Torres was 3-for-4 in the game with a run scored.
Have a great Saturday! Please let today be the start of a new winning streak. Go Yankees!
Credit: Zach Bland/Charleston RiverDogs
With the news that James Kaprielian has elected Tommy John surgery, it is already being speculated that Albert Abreu moves to the top of the chart for right-handed prospects in the Yankees organization. At only 21 years of age, he is further away from the Major Leagues than Kaprielian is (was) and his status of the top righty would cause him to leap-frog over the more seasoned Chance Adams (and possibly Domingo Acevedo depending upon what prospect list you are looking at).
While I have high hopes for Chance Adams, I’ve been very intrigued by Abreu since he was acquired, along with pitcher Jorge Guzman, from the Houston Astros last November in the Brian McCann trade. At the time of the trade, I felt the Yankees did an outstanding job with their return for a player who longer fit. At the time of the trade, the only teams that you consistently heard connected to McCann were the Astros and his former team, the Atlanta Braves. It felt like a buyer’s market but GM Brian Cashman still came up with quality prospects.
In Abreu’s first start this year for the Single A Charles RiverDogs, he absolutely dominated. In 5 2/3 innings the other day, he held the Augusta GreenJackets to two hits and no runs, striking out eleven. He did not walk anyone. At one point, his pitches were hitting 100 mph on the radar gun. For the season, Abreu has pitched 9 2/3 innings, allowing only five hits and one run for an 0.93 ERA. He has struck out a total of 17 batters. I am sure the AA Trenton Thunder and High-A Tampa Yankees are already salivating over who gets their hands on Abreu next.
I am okay with the spotlight not being focused on Adams. My hope is his continued positive, upward climb in the organization. I have no problem with him slipping quietly into the rotation when it is time. Take a chance on Adams! If we do lose Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, and/or CC Sabathia at the end of the year, we’ll need every quality (healthy) arm that we can get.
Credit: Martin Griff
Regarding Kaprielian, given this is the same injury that cost him the 2016 season, I think the decision to undergo TJ surgery is the best possible option. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees. But as I’ve said before, he had to make the decision that was best for him and not necessarily what was best for the Yankees. Surgery probably means a reappearance in the minor leagues toward the end of the 2018 season since the standard recovery time is 12-18 months. More than anything, I hope he is able to rebound from this setback and return with the best health possible. It’s going to be a long journey for Kaprielian (basically, three lost seasons counting last year) but I hope that he is one day able to step foot on Yankee Stadium turf as a member of the New York Yankees. I am glad that he chose Dr Neal ElAttrache for the surgery given that he is one of the leading experts in the field.
Kaprielian’s surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday which coincides with Tax Day. So, I guess that day is going to be painful for all of us! Well, I suppose you could argue that Kaprielian is getting the pain from an orthopedic surgeon, whereas the rest of us are getting it from a proctologist.
The Cleveland Indians trade for Andrew Miller may have cost them more time without All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis. It seems odd that one would be connected to the other but Kipnis was hit by a pitch on his left hand the other day on a rehab assignment. Word is that Kipnis will give it go today so hopefully he won’t miss time. The irony is that the pitch was thrown by the Yankees’ Justus Sheffield, a former Indians prospect who arrived with Clint Frazier, among others, in the Miller trade.
After the second run through the rotation, which included a rookie, it’s hard to believe that the worst starting performance was courtesy of Masahiro Tanaka (last Saturday’s 5-4 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, which is also the last time the team has lost). After Micheal Pineda’s masterful performance on Opening Day, Luis Severino delivered a gem of his own. In getting his first starting victory since September 27, 2015, Sevy went seven strong innings and struck out eleven Rays batters. He only surrendered five hits, one walk and two runs. He did give up a fifth inning home run to Peter Bourjos but all things considered, he limited the damage and set the Yankees up for the win despite minimal offense. It’s the type of quality start that we consistently need from Severino and one that was so elusive last year when Sevy went 0-8 as a starter.
Credit: Frank Franklin II/AP Photo
The only offense was provided by Aaron Hicks and his two home runs. Thanks to Sevy’s great start, that’s all we needed for the 3-2 win. Dellin Betances did get into a bit of bind in the eighth inning when he had runners at the corners with no outs, but he worked out of trouble to escape the inning with no runs. The strikeouts for the first two outs of Kevin Kiermaier and Evan Longoria on called third strikes were huge. I was a little worried when Brad Miller came to the plate but he was tagged out by Betances on a soft roller hit toward first base for the final out.
Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth and picked up his second save of the season. Man, I love having that guy back from the Chicago Cubs.
After sitting at 1-4 following Saturday’s loss, the Yankees are 5-4 with the sweep of the Rays. The Yankees now begin a three game set with the St Louis Cardinals at the Stadium. The Cards have gotten off to a slow start this year and are currently in last place in the NL East with a 3-6 record (tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates). They are capable of so much more but I hope they don’t wake up in this series. It’s a reunion for Yankees DH Matt Holliday who spent eight years in St Louis. Michael Wacha faces Masahiro Tanaka in what should be a great pitching matchup. It’s time for a dominant Tanaka performance like we saw during Spring Training.
Have a great Friday! Let’s keep this winning streak alive! Go for five!