White Sox 4, Yankees 3…
Luis Severino pitched magnificently, Yankees took the lead, but the bullpen ingredients of Domingo German, Tyler Clippard and Dellin Betances handed the Chicago White Sox the walk-off win.
Severino allowed just one run on six hits over seven innings. He struck out a career high 12 batters, and issued no walks. You could not have asked for better, but unfortunately, on the other side, it was a very strong night for White Sox starter, and oft speculated trade target, Jose Quintana as he held the Yankees to only two hits and no runs in 6 1/3 innings.
|Credit: Armando L Sanchez-AP|
The White Sox scored the game’s first run in the third inning when Jose Abreu laced a run-scoring double to right. Chicago’s 1-0 lead held up until the eighth inning. Tyler Wade, making his Major League debut, pinch hit for Rob Refsnyder and walked against White Sox reliever Tommy Kahnle. Jacoby Ellsbury followed with a single as Wade advanced to second. After Chase Headley struck out, Aaron Judge singled to center, scoring Wade while Ellsbury moved to second. Game tied. Gary Sanchez doubled, bringing home both Ellsbury and Judge, as the Yankees took the 3-1 lead.
|Credit: Jonathan Daniel-Getty Images|
It felt like it was going to be a magical night for Severino with the stellar pitching and the late runs to potentially give him the win but thanks to the Yankees bullpen, it was not to be. Manager Joe Girardi brought in Domingo German to pitch the eighth, but he had control problems and was lifted after walking the first two batters. Tyler Clippard (Egads!) entered the game and was able to get three outs but not before two more walks had pushed another run across for the Sox. 3-2, Yankees. All things considered, I guess, you’d have to say that this was a better Clippard than we’ve seen lately. He escaped a bases-loaded situation with no outs, giving up only one run, so it could have been much worse.
|Credit: Associated Press|
The Yankees had runners at second and third with two outs in the top of the 9th following a passed ball by White Sox reliever Dan Jennings, but Chase Headley struck out to leave the runners stranded. As it turned out, the Yankees could have used those insurance runs.
The Yankees brought in Dellin Betances to pitch the ninth. He had worked the previous two games but had thrown only a total of 25 pitches. Aroldis Chapman was not available, having worked the preceding two days combined with his recent activation off the DL. Betances (3-2) earned the Tyler Clippard Pitching Award of the night when he walked Kevan Smith and Alen Hanson, and hit Yolmer Sanchez with a pitch to load the bases. He was able to retire former Yankee Melky Cabrera on a fly ball, but Jose Abreu came up and delivered a single to left, scoring the winning runs as the White Sox walked off with the 4-3 victory.
|Credit: Armando L Sanchez-Chicago Tribune|
With the loss, the Yankees (41-34) fell one game behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. The Red Sox, looking like a team that wants to win, beat the Minnesota Twins, 9-2. The Tampa Bay Rays also won (4-2 in extra innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates) so they are just two games behind the Yankees. I know it’s only June and it is just one game, but right now the gulf between the Yankees and the Red Sox seems much, much greater. The Red Sox are a team ready to kick it into another gear, whereas the Yankees just keep slip, sliding away. It was difficult to watch a game that was freely given to the White Sox. The final 3 of their 4 runs were walked batters that came around to score. It was not pretty and Severino’s gem was wasted.
Next up, Masahiro Tanaka. If he pitches like he did against Yu Darvish, I like our chances. If he pitches like the guy we saw prior to the All-Japanese confrontation, it is going to be a very long night.
Trade Speculation Heats Up…
Trade speculation and theories are starting to heat up as the calendar prepares to turn to July. Between now and the July trading deadline, I am sure that we’ll be hearing plenty of possibilities for how the 2017 New York Yankees can make upgrades.
Mark Feinsand of MLB.com posted “3 potential Yanks-Mets trades that make sense” yesterday. In his column, he proposed the following trades:
1. Lucas Duda for Austin Romine.
2. Jerry Blevins and/or Addison Reed for Dustin Fowler.
3. Curtis Granderson for Tyler Austin.
My immediate reaction was “I wouldn’t trade my guys for them”. Later in the day, Feinsand tweeted: Love the response to my trade column. Yankees fans: “I’d never trade those guys for that!”, Mets fans: “I’d never trade those guys for that!”. Seriously, and nothing against Kyle Higashioka, I wouldn’t trade Romine for Duda. With the belief that Greg Bird can still be a solid first baseman of the future, I’d take a less costly route to find an alternative for Tyler Austin if it comes to that. I certainly wouldn’t trade a valuable outfield prospect for a reliever that could have been had on the free agent market last off-season. Curtis Granderson? Been there, done that.
In a column that appeared on NJ.com (written by Joe Giglio), it was reported that MLB Network Radio Host Jim Bowden (former GM of the Cincinnati Reds and one-time Yankees employee during the brief reign of Syd Thrift) floated his idea of how to build a super rotation in the Bronx. Bowden indicated that he’d trade for Gerrit Cole now and sign Yu Darvish as a free agent in the off-season. His third and fourth starters would be Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery, while the fifth spot would go to Yankees prospect Chance Adams. With this rotation, Bowden believes “In 2018, it’s about what kind of champagne we can put on ice”. I can’t say that I disagree with this one. I like both Cole and Darvish. Severino and Montgomery have both proven they belong in 2018 and the “time is now” is rapidly approaching for Adams. Sign me up for this possibility…I’m on board.
Odds & Ends…
The Attack of the Tylers. It’s hard to believe but 16% of the Yankees active roster is now loaded with dudes named Tyler. With Tuesday’s call-up of Tylers Webb and Wade, there are four Tyler’s with Clippard and Austin already on the roster. I wanted to name my son Tyler but given my last name ends in “ler”, his mother didn’t want a kid named “ler-ler” so I had to ditch any ideas of using the name. I went with Kyle instead (as if there weren’t enough Kyle’s already in the world). Making room for the two Tyler W’s were the placement of Starlin Castro on the disabled list and the demotion of Jonathan Holder to Triple A. It kind of feels like all of these Tylers should be using Aerosmith for their walk-up music…
The results of Castro’s MRI came back with a Grade 1 strain of the right hamstring. He’s expecting to be ready when his time on the 10-Day DL is up.
Have a great Wednesday! Hopefully Tanaka will help get us over the hump! Let’s Go Yankees!
|Credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo-Chicago Tribune|
Yankees 6, White Sox 5…
Moral of the story…never take anything for granted. The Yankees took a comfortable five run lead into the bottom of the 9th inning but it was an edge of your seat, nail-biter at the end. A three-run homer and a run-scoring double made it interesting but the Yankees were able to hold on for the win over the Chicago White Sox.
There were a few stars in this game, but credit first has to go to starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery who has proven to be the stopper in the absence of CC Sabathia. Montgomery (6-4) held the White Sox to one run on five hits over seven innings while striking out eight. He issued just one free pass. Montgomery gave up his only run in the second inning when speculated trade target Todd Frazier opened with a solo shot to left center. From there, Monty kept the White Sox off the board while the Yankees built what appeared to be a comfortable lead.
A fielding error by Frazier in the fourth allowed Gary Sanchez to reach base. Aaron Judge, who had opened the inning with a walk, moved to third. Tyler Austin lofted a sacrifice fly to right which scored Judge, tying the game. Jacoby Ellsbury, fresh off the DL, singled to move Sanchez into scoring position. Chase Headley singled, scoring Sanchez. Following a walk by Austin Romine to load the bases, Ronald Torreyes hit into a double-play but Ellsbury was able to score before the White Sox completed the final out, catching Headley between second and third, to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead.
With one out in the sixth, Tyler Austin gave the Yankees what they were missing from first base with a line drive homer to left or as Michael Kay called it, “a bullet”. Ellsbury reached base on a fielding error by White Sox starting pitcher David Holmberg and Headley followed with a double to move Ells to third. The White Sox made a pitching change and Austin Romine greeted reliever Juan Minaya with a sac fly to center, scoring Ellsbury. A passed ball moved Headley to third. Ronald Torreyes hit a grounder that should have been the final out, but an error by first baseman Matt Davidson, the third White Sox error of the game, allowed Torreyes to reach first while Headley scored, making it 6-1 Yankees.
The Yankees got into some trouble in the 8th when Jonathan Holder replaced Montgomery to start the inning. He struck out the first batter but a single by former Yankee Melky Cabrera and a walk to Jose Abreu put Cabrera in scoring position. Avisail Garcia hit into a force out that erased Abreu at second, moving Cabrera to third. Holder was pulled and replaced by Dellin Betances who subsequently walked Frazier to load the bases. In what would prove to be one of the plays of the game, Betances struck out Davidson to end the threat.
Unable to tack on any further insurance runs, the Yankees took the 6-1 lead into the bottom of the 9th. Chasen Shreve was brought in to pitch in relief of Betances and secured the first out on a grounder by Yolmer Sanchez. But Kevan Smith and Adam Engel followed with singles to put runners at first and second. Tim Anderson punched a fly ball over the center field wall to pull the White Sox within two runs, 6-4. A frustrated Shreve was pulled for Aroldis Chapman but the White Sox kept the rally going with a single by Melky Cabrera. Fellow Cuban Jose Abreu doubled off Chapman, scoring Cabrera, and it was 6-5 Yankees. Fortunately, Chapman got Avisail Garcia on a ground out and Todd Frazier flied out to left to secure the save.
A little too close for comfort but the final result was a much-needed win. The Yankees (41-33) kept pace with the Boston Red Sox in the AL East standings. The Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins, 4-1, earlier in the evening. The Tampa Bay Rays were idle and slipped to 3 games back.
The game wasn’t without its bad news. Second baseman Starlin Castro left the game in the third inning after straining his right hamstring while trying to run out a grounder. He was replaced by Rob Refsnyder. Castro will have a MRI today while the Yankees decide whether or not to place him on the DL. The initial word is the Yankees will call up infield prospect Tyler Wade. Wade has 5 HR’s and 25 RBI’s for Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. His slash line is .313/.390/.444. In 71 games, he led the RailRiders with 13 errors but has stolen 24 bags. Wade, expected to be the utility-man of the future, will now get his first taste of the Bigs. He’ll back up Ronald Torreyes at second until Castro is able to resume play.
|Credit: Jon Durr-Getty Images|
Odds & Ends…
The Yankees were busy Monday on the transactions wire. They placed Aaron Hicks, as expected, on the 10-Day DL with a right oblique strain. Jacoby Ellsbury, who had been expected to continue his rehab with Double A Trenton was instead activated to replace Hicks. Healthy, there’s no question I prefer Hicks over Ellsbury, but since that’s not an option, I am hopeful the Yankees can get something…anything…out of first base for production. If so, it will help offset the loss of Hicks. The Yankees also sent LHP Tyler Webb and OF Mason Williams to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. I was sorry to see Webb go after just two Major League appearances, but hopefully, he’ll be back. RHP Ronald Herrera and IB/OF Rob Refsnyder were recalled to replace Webb and Williams. Refsnyder will provide corner outfield relief and help at first base if necessary. Herrera had been scheduled to start last night’s game for the RailRiders so he represents a rotation insurance arm.
Matt Holliday was unavailable for the second straight day with his condition as a result of the allergic reaction suffered in Oakland. He had some medical tests ran yesterday but hopefully everything comes back good. The Yankees can ill afford to lose his productive bat for any extended period of time.
I do not want to detract from the great rookie season Aaron Judge is having, but Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman/outfielder Cody Bellinger is amazing. He had his sixth multi-homer game on Sunday and now has 24 homers on the year. With a delayed start (he wasn’t promoted to the Dodgers until April 25th), he has the most home runs of any NL rookie in the first half since the All-Star Game debuted in 1933. The Dodgers have been steamrolling their opponents since he arrived. At his current pace, the son of a former Yankees utility player may catch and surpass Judge for most home runs in MLB. Bellinger and the Dodgers certainly have the mojo working right now.
|Credit: Chris Carlson-AP|
Have a great Tuesday! Hopefully it’s a two-for Tuesday as the Yankees attempt to secure their second win against the White Sox. Let’s Go Yankees!
Credit: John Munson-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Rangers 7, Yankees 6…
Bad Mike seems to be making more frequent appearances these days. Unfortunately, Michael Pineda chose the day of the 71st Old Timer’s Day at Yankee Stadium to throw up another stink ball.
The Yankees were immediately in the hole when the Texas Rangers opened with three runs in the top of the first. Delino DeShields, Jr. led off with a double and scored on a single by Elvis Andrus. Old-Timer Adrian Beltre, showing that he still has it, followed with a homer to left.
In the Rangers’ second, after Jonathan Lucroy opened with a single, Pineda came within a strike of getting out of the inning when he walked DeShields. Shin-Soo Choo made Pineda pay for it with a three-run blast to the second deck in right. It was 6-0 Rangers before most people had time to settle in to watch the game.
Pineda gave us a little view of his dominant side in the third when he retired the three batters he faced, two by strikeout. It was a facade. In the 4th, with two outs, the Rangers added what would prove to be the game-winning insurance run when rookie second baseman Drew Robinson grabbed his first major league hit with a solo home run to center. The Rangers held a commanding 7-0 lead.
Pineda (7-4) didn’t come back for the fifth so his final line was ugly. 4 innings, 6 hits, 7 runs, 3 home runs, 1 walk, and 4 strikeouts. The outing pushed his ERA back over 4 to 4.12.
Tyler Webb, making his second major league appearance, pitched the fifth. It didn’t start well for Webb when he walked the first two batters on 3-2 counts. But he rebounded to get Beltre to hit into a double play and struck out Rougned Odor.
In the bottom of the 5th, the Yankees made it a game again. Mason Williams led off with a single. Following outs by Ronald Torreyes and Brett Gardner, Austin Romine struck out but reached first base on a wild pitch by Rangers pitcher Nick Martinez. Aaron Judge followed with a run-scoring single to push the first Yankee run across the plate. Gary Sanchez made it 7-4 with a three-run shot to center.
The Yankees continued to chip away when Ronald Torreyes led off the bottom of the 7th with his second home run of the season, a shot to left. Both Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez walked with two outs. Didi Gregorius singled to right to score Judge, but Sanchez was tagged out at third to end the inning. The Yankees had closed to within one run, 7-6. “That’s a mistake on my part. I should never be the last out at third base.” — said Sanchez through an interpreter after the game.
Credit: John Munson-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
A scoring opportunity was wasted in the eighth inning when Chase Headley opened with a double, but he was left stranded at second, thanks to a ground out and two strikeouts. The Yankees had one more shot in the 9th when Aaron Judge hit a two-out single but Gary Sanchez went down swinging against Rangers closer Matt Bush to end the game.
Credit: John Munson-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect top of the 9th, striking out the side in the losing effort. Despite the loss, it was good to see a solid effort by the Yankees bullpen. Webb, Chad Green, Dellin Betances, and Chapman pitched five scoreless innings after the Pineda debacle.
Credit: John Munson-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Aaron Hicks left the game with right oblique tightness. He was scheduled to have a MRI last evening and the immediate word is that he could miss up to 3-4 weeks. Jacoby Ellsbury is the most likely choice for activation after a weekend of rehab starts. He was 2-for-5 on Sunday, with 2 RBI’s, for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. This would be a great time to promote Dustin Fowler, but then again, there is the small issue of room on the 40-man roster. No word yet on the Yankees plans when Hicks is placed on the DL.
Both Matt Holliday and Starlin Castro missed the game. Holliday is still dealing with the allergic reaction that arose in Oakland while Castro had a cortisone shot for a sore wrist.
The Yankees (40-33) remained tied for first place in the AL East as the Los Angeles Angeles defeated the Boston Red Sox again, 4-2. The Tampa Bay Rays lost to the Baltimore Orioles, 8-5, so they are still 2 1/2 games behind. The bottom two teams in the AL East were the only ones to gain ground. The Orioles are 4 games back, while the Toronto Blue Jays, who beat the Kansas City Royals 8-2, are 5 games.
Hopefully, the Yankees can rediscover the magic that has alluded them since the West Coast road trip. They’ll be in Chicago tonight to start a four-game series against the White Sox. If they can’t start winning with consistency, next weekend in Houston is not going to be pretty.
2017 Old Timer’s Day at Yankee Stadium
The weather cooperated for the 71st Old Timer’s Day. It was a beautiful setting for the pre-game announcements and it was spectacular to see so many Yankee greats and their families.
Credit: Seth Wenig-AP
Following a recorded intro by the late Bob Sheppard, Michael Kay and John Sterling had the honors of the pre-game introductions.
Widows of Yankee Greats
Helen Hunter, wife of Jim “Catfish” Hunter
Jill Martin, wife of Billy Martin
Diana Munson, wife of Thurman Munson
Kay Murcer, wife of Bobby Murcer
Former Players and Managers, and a Long-Time Trainer
The Chairman of the Board
The Yankees presented two chairs from the old Yankee Stadium to Raines in recognition of his entry into the Hall of Fame, Class of 2017.
Credit: John Munson-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
They also gave tribute to the many members of the Yankees family that have departed in the past year.
The Old Timer’s Game saw the Clippers defeat the Bombers, 2-1.
Next Up: The Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, IL
Here are the pitching match-ups:
Yankees: Jordan Montgomery (5-4, 3.74 ERA)
White Sox: David Holmberg (1-1, 2.84 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Severino (5-3, 3.30 ERA)
White Sox: Jose Quintana (4-8, 4.69 ERA)
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (5-7, 5.74 ERA)
White Sox: Mike Pelfrey (3-6, 3.73 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Cessa (0-2, 6.57 ERA)
White Sox: James Shields (1-1, 4.26 ERA)
Have a great Monday! Let’s Go Yankees!
Credit: Julie Jacobson-AP
Yankees 2, Rangers 1…
It’s a bird, it’s a plane…no, it’s Ronald Torreyes! The unlikely hero delivered in the 10th inning with a walk-off run-scoring single as the Yankees took the first game of a three game set from the Texas Rangers.
The game, delayed for an hour and forty minutes by rain, was a classic pitcher’s duel between Japanese greats Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka. The duel may have ended with goose eggs and no decisions for both pitchers, but they were incredible as the game did not see its first runs until the 9th inning. Worried about Tanaka prior to the game, he showed that he was anything but a concern as he pitched 8 innings of three-hit scoreless ball, Walking just two, he fanned nine. Darvish went 7 innings with no runs and two hits, and did one better than Tanaka with strikeouts (10). I am not sure what we’ll see the next time Tanaka takes the mound but with Darvish as his motivation on Friday night, he was magnificent.
Credit: Julie Jacobson-AP
I was worried that Rangers slugger Joey Gallo would torch Tanaka pitches but he struck out with two runners on in the third inning, and grounded out in a similar situation in the eighth as the last batter Tanaka faced. Gallo finished 0-for-4 and 3 strikeouts.
The Yankees brought Aroldis Chapman in for the 9th inning of the scoreless game. He struck out the first batter, Shin-Soo Choo, but Elvis Andrus followed with a single. Struggling with his command, Chapman, who was sweating profusely, hit Nomar Mazara with a pitch in the shoulder. With Adrian Beltre at the plate, Andrus stole third. A great defensive play by third baseman Torreyes in stopping a wide throw from Gary Sanchez prevented more damage at that point. But when Beltre struck out, the ball got away from Sanchez and Andrus ran home for the game’s first run.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the 9th, Torreyes went down on a groundout for the first out. But no worries, Brett Gardner came up and delivered with a game-tying home run to right. Aaron Hicks grounded out for the second out. Aaron Judge singled to put the potential winning run at first. Unfortunately, Matt Holliday struck out to send the game into extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, the Rangers loaded the bases against Chad Green and Chasen Shreve with two outs but Shreve got Andrus to pop out to end the threat. This set the stage for the home half of the 10th. With one out, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius singled, with Sanchez taking third. Chris Carter struck out on four pitches (surprise, surprise). But no fear, Ronald Torreyes stepped up to the plate. The little man with the big stick. A line drive single to center scored Sanchez with the winning run. The Yankees win.
Credit: Randy Miller-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
The victory allowed the Yankees (40-31) to keep pace with the Boston Red Sox atop the AL East Standings. The Red Sox had defeated the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 earlier in the evening. The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 15-5, to remain 2 1/2 games back.
After the game, the Yankees mercifully ended the Chris Carter experiment. He seemed lost at the plate, with another 0-for-4 performance and three strikeouts.
Credit: Paul J Bereswill-The New York Post
Carter had a chance to be a hero in the bottom of the 8th with Gary Sanchez on first and two outs. But he feebly struck out swinging. There was something about that weak final swing that gave me an “I’m done” feeling. It was reinforced in the 10th when Carter struck out with a huge opportunity to be the game’s hero. Apparently, GM Brian Cashman felt the same way as Carter was designated for assignment immediately after the game. Tyler Austin, who has homered in his last three of his last four games, was recalled to take Carter’s place. In the 27 games at Triple A after his reactivation from the DL in late May, Austin has hit .300/.366/.500 with 4 HR’s and 21 RBI’s for the RailRiders. Of his 30 hits in 100 at-bats, 17 have gone for extra-bases. The alarming statistic is 32 strikeouts but Austin has really been heating up with the bat over the past week. He has played error-free baseball at first. Welcome back, Tyler! Trust us, we are very glad to see you.
Big Papi, The Man Among Boys…
The Boston Red Sox retired the number of David “Big Papi” Ortiz last night in their game against the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park. Big Papi was a thorn in the Yankees’ side for many years. Time and again, a game was ended with a Big Papi blast. I am very glad that #34 will no longer be an active number worn when the Red Sox come to town. My biggest fear was that he would “un-retire”.
Credit: Stuart Cahill
Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr expressed it well when he said, “That just lets you know what a special impact he’s made in the community and the organization and all of baseball. What he’s done for the city, the team, people around him, it’s well deserved. I know we couldn’t be any happier for him.” I agree. As a Minnesota Vikings fan, I couldn’t wait for the Chicago Bears’ Walter Payton (may he rest in peace) to retire, and I felt the same about Papi. More than anything, it is a sign of how much respect I held for those men.
A close friend of mine who is a lifelong, die-hard Red Sox fan, and Boston-area resident, did post this comment on Social Media: “This is just my humble opinion, but I think it is much too early for the Red Sox to be retiring Ortiz’s number. With the exception of Johnny Pesky, the honor of having a number retired by the Red Sox was reserved for those players who entered the Baseball HOF.” My response…whatever it takes to keep him from coming out of retirement.
Odds & Ends…
Chance Adams is a friggin’ rock star. In Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s 11-1 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox on Thursday, the RailRiders’ ace was magnificent. Pawtucket didn’t get their first hit until the sixth inning. Adams (5-2) finished six innings strong, allowing just the one hit and no runs. He issued two walks, while fanning eight. The outstanding performance lowered Adams’ season ERA to 2.12. At some point in the not-so-distant future, it will be determined that Adams has nothing left to prove at the Triple A level. In my mind, he’s just a couple of Luis Cessa bumps and bruises away from stepping on the main stage (or the potential first call if another starter…I hope not…is injured). Why not take a Chance?…
The Boston Red Sox are going hog wild in an attempt to find help. Yesterday, they signed pitcher Doug Fister, released by the Los Angeles Angels, and shortstop/third baseman Jhonny Peralta, who was cut by the St Louis Cardinals. Injuries to their pitching staff forced the Fister move. The disaster known as Pablo Sandoval brought in Peralta. I still think the Red Sox will be heavy players for Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas at the trading deadline. The Boston Globe is reporting that the Sox should have about $9 million to play with before they risk crossing the luxury tax threshold.
Happy Saturday! Let’s Go Yankees!
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’s 8, Yankees 7…
I love California but this road trip has been horrific.
The Yankees fought back in this game time and again and took the lead in the 10th, only to lose another game with a rookie pitcher on the mound. I am not pinning this on Giovanny Gallegos but it’s a testament to the mounting bangs and bruises on this team.
After the Yankees failed to score with the bases loaded in the first inning, the A’s took the early lead in the bottom of the frame with a solo shot by Jed Lowrie. The A’s took a 3-0 lead in the second when Adam Rosales doubled off Jordan Montgomery, following a walk by Matt Chapman, making his Major League debut, and a ground-rule double by Josh Phegley, scoring both base runners.
The game stayed that way until the sixth. In the top of the inning, Chase Headley singled with the bases loaded to score two runs. Chris Carter followed with a single to tie the game at 3. The A’s replaced starting pitcher Sonny Gray with Sean Dolittle who retired the next two Yankees to get out of the inning. In the bottom of the 6th, Yonder Alonso homered as the A’s re-captured the lead, 4-3.
The seesaw battle continued in the 7th inning when Gary Sanchez doubled with Starlin Castro on second, scoring Castro with the tying run. But the A’s answered the run with a run-scoring single by Chad Pinder in the bottom of the inning and the A’s were back up, 5-4.
Chris Carter homered in the top of the 8th to once again tie the game, 5-5. Like the inning before, the A’s answered the call in the bottom of the inning when Matt Joyce hit a grounder into a force out with the bases loaded and only one out, scoring the lead runner. 6-5, A’s. Tyler Clippard had started the inning but he was ineffective (again) as two of three batters he faced reached base through a single and a walk. Dellin Betances was on the mound when the A’s scored their run, but he was able to strike out Rajai Davis to prevent any further damage.
The 9th inning saw the Yankees tie the game again when Starlin Castro doubled off A’s closer Santiago Casilla and Gary Sanchez followed with a run-scoring single. Gary Sanchez stole second to give the Yankees a runner in scoring position (replaced by pinch runner Ronald Torreyes as Sanchez came out of the game with a tight groin) with only one out, but Didi Gregorius and Chris Carter could not move the runner. Didi flied out, and Carter went down swinging on a 3-2 count. In the bottom of the 9th, the A’s loaded the bases with two outs against Betances but he was able to get out of the inning by striking out Matt Chapman.
The Yankees took their first lead of the game in the 10th when Starlin Castro hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. Matt Holliday, entering the game at DH to replace Torreyes, struck out against A’s reliever Liam Hendricks to end the inning. The Yankees could have used a few insurance runs on this night. In the bottom of the 10th, Giovanny Gallegos replaced Betances. He retired the first two batters he faced, but then Rajai Davis singled and Chad Pinder doubled to move Davis to third. Jed Lowrie was intentionally walked to load the bases. Khris Davis ended the game with a single just over Starlin Castro (ball tipped off his glove), scoring Davis and Pinder with the winning runs. A’s emerged with the 8-7 victory in another lost opportunity for the Yankees.
|Credit: Jason O Watson-Getty Images|
Manager Joe Girardi summed it up after the game, “It hurts because it’s a matter of a couple inches that you lose that game by and it’s frustrating.”
This was another game that shows how much the Yankees miss closer Aroldis Chapman. It will be good to get Chapman back this weekend (hopefully on Sunday) so that Betances can get into games earlier and lessen the reliance on other arms.
Fingers crossed for both Gary Sanchez and Aaron Hicks who also left the game in the 9th with tightness in his Achilles Heel. After the game, it was disclosed that reliever Adam Warren is battling tightness in his trapezius muscle which accounted for his unavailability. Hopefully, none of these ailments are serious.
Didi Gregorius singled in the game to extend his current hitting streak to 17 games.
Fortunately, the Yankees (38-26) did not lose any ground to any AL East team except the Toronto Blue Jays as everyone else lost. The Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays remain 2 games and 5 1/2 games behind, respectively, while the Blue Jays moved up to 6 1/2 games back (bringing the Baltimore Orioles into a tie for the AL East cellar).
Hopefully, better results await the Yankees today.
Odds & Ends…
Ronald Herrera, we hardly knew ye. After taking the loss in his lone Big League appearance on Wednesday night, Herrera has found himself back with the Double A Trenton Thunder. I thought it was much to ask of Herrera to make the jump from AA to the Majors, and the proof was in the pudding with the pitch he threw Andrelton Simmons. What works in AA goes for a long home run in the Big Leagues. The Yankees also placed CC Sabathia on the Disabled List, as expected. To replace Herrera and Sabathia, the Yankees have recalled Luis Cessa and Domingo German. Sunday’s starter has not yet been determined but Girardi has a pool of Cessa, German and Chad Green to choose from. Cessa appears to be the favorite to start on Sunday (or on Saturday if Girardi decides to push Masahiro Tanaka back a day).
The Yankees stopped the rehabilitation for Greg Bird yesterday and he’ll see Team Physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad today. Bird told Trainer Steve Donohue on Thursday morning that the leg was not feeling right and not functioning right. This is not good news. The Yankees are already suspect at both infield corners. Tyler Austin has not exactly set the World on fire at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He is currently batting .303 but only has 1 homer and 6 RBI’s in 17 games (66 AB’s). In my opinion, the best first baseman in the system is Thunder first baseman Mike Ford. This year, including his time at AAA, Ford, 24, is batting .289/.410/.509 with 10 home runs and 43 RBI’s. He has played 61 games and has walked 44 times. He even stole a base…once. But he has the same disadvantage as Chance Adams and others, he does not have a place on the 40-man roster.
There was already talk the Yankees needed to upgrade at third. If the priority becomes first base, does this increase the likelihood that we’ll see Gleyber Torres as soon as next month? I still think it is too premature for him and his AAA manager is on record saying that he is not ready yet. I guess this is why GM Brian Cashman is paid to make these decisions. The added pressure on him is the moves over the next 45 days will go a long way toward determining his future at the end of the year with the expiration of his contract.
Have a great Friday! Let’s win one of these close games for a change…
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…