|Credit: Andrew Schwartz-New York Daily News|
Yankees 2, Indians 1…
Chase Headley was the unlikely hero on Saturday to help power the Yankees over the Indians. With Jordan Montgomery and the bullpen holding the Indians in check after a top of the wall home run by Carlos Santana in the 2nd inning, Headley broke the 1-1 tie with his solo shot off former Yankee Zach McAllister in the top of the 8th. He may have only been 1-for-4 in the game, but the placement of the single hit could not have been better.
|Credit: Phil Long-AP|
For the first time in what seems like a long time, the Yankees scored the first run of the game. Brett Gardner led off with a walk. After Chase Headley struck out (What? The bum! Throw him out of the game! Oh well, may as well keep him around to see if he can do something later on…), Aaron Judge singled to left, moving Gardy to second. Didi Gregorius cranked a fly ball that hit the wall just below the yellow line in center, scoring Gardy. So close (thisclose) to a three-run bomb…the Yanks had to settle for the single run as neither Gary Sanchez nor Jacoby Ellsbury could bring Judge home from third.
The Indian tied the game in the bottom of the 2nd when Carlos Santana hit a fly ball off the top of the wall in left center. There was momentary confusion over whether it was a double or a home run (even Santana stopped at second), but the third base umpire called it a home run. Replay showed it hit the yellow line (maybe just a couple inches higher than Didi’s double in the first)…the Yankees did not challenge.
From there, it became a pitching duel between Jordan Montgomery and Cleveland’s Danny Salazar although the Yankees blinked first when Manager Joe Girardi pulled Monty after five innings and 65 pitches. The luxury of a powerful, rested bullpen.
The Yankees had a chance to get some runs in the top of the 6th inning when Didi Gregorius hit a one-out double to left. Gary Sanchez walked on four pitches, but Jacoby Ellsbury hit into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play ($153 million doesn’t go as far as it used to). David Robertson took over for Monty in the bottom of the inning and was able to get out of it with no runs despite a couple of hits, including a lead off single by Francisco Lindor that went over Aaron Judge’s head. I do have to give credit to the $153 million man for a great catch that prevented another hit.
In Salazar’s final inning, the 7th, he mowed down the Yankees, striking out the side. His final line was Corey Kluber-worthy…four hits, a lone run, a trio of walks, and a dozen strikeouts.
|Credit: Chuck Crow-The Plain Dealer|
Fortunately, with Salazar having thrown 112 pitches, the Indians brought in Zach McAllister to start the 8th. Brett Gardner was the first batter but he struck out. Chase Headley strolled to the plate and gave the Yankees the 2-1 lead with his sixth homer of the year, a high fly ball to the third or fourth row of the stands in right center.
|Credit: Chuck Crow-The Plain Dealer|
After David Robertson had pitched two scoreless innings, Dellin Betances shut down the Indians in the 8th, including two by strikeout. From there, it was up to Aroldis Chapman. As the YES Network announcers pointed out, the last time Chapman had appeared on the mound at Progressive Field was the 7th game of the World Series when he gave up the game-tying home run to Rajai Davis but was the eventual winner for the Chicago Cubs. Michael Brantley led off with a single to right, but that was all the Indians could do against Chapman this time as the Yankees finally took a game in the series. Credit Brett Gardner for a great leaping catch to record the first out and preventing a walk-off homer by Jose Ramirez. Ronald Torreyes also flashed the leather with a brilliant diving catch to rob Edwin Encarnacion.
The Boston Red Sox were winners (4-1 over the Chicago White Sox), so the Yankees (58-51) did not make any ground on the Sox. They remain 3 games back. The Tampa Bay Rays lost to the Milwaukee Brewers, 3-0, pushing them 2 1/2 games behind the Yanks. The Baltimore Orioles are still 4 1/2 games back of the Yankees after their 5-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
Despite only five innings, it was a solid effort by Jordan Montgomery who is fighting for his rotation spot. He held the Indians to three hits, one run, and struck out seven. He did not walk any batters as he was very effective at getting the Indians to swing at pitches outside of the strike zone.
|Credit: Getty Images|
All three relievers used by the Indians had Yankee connections. Of course, we’ve already mentioned Zach McAllister who was the losing pitcher. McAllister was traded to the Indians in 2010 for the long-forgotten Austin Kearns. Tyler Olson pitched for the Yankees in 2016 after he was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the trade that originally brought Ronald Torreyes to the Yankees for third baseman Rob Segedin (both Olson and Torreyes were subsequently designated for assignment and claimed by other teams although Toe eventually worked his way back after a brief stay with the Angels organization). The final Indians reliever was Nick Goody, who was designated for assignment last off-season and subsequently dealt to the Tribe to clear space for the free agent signing of Aroldis Chapman. The Yankees acquired righty Yoiber Marquina, who is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery, in the Goody trade.
After an ugly defensive performance on Thursday, this was an exemplary defensive effort by the Yankees. The key to the game was the defense…with a little help from Headley’s bat.
|Credit: Phil Long-AP|
Odds & Ends…
It sounds like Matt Holliday is head for the DL. As great as he was in the first half, he has been a liability in the second half. The latest ailment is the result of tweaking his back with a swing on Friday night, but it provides a good excuse to get Holliday off the active roster as he was struggling mightily up to that point.
|Credit: Mike Stobe-Getty Images|
As expected, the Yankees have, in fact, placed Holliday on the DL. 1B Garrett Cooper has been recalled from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. I thought maybe we’d see Aaron Hicks or Tyler Austin but neither one is quite ready yet (both on rehab assignments).
It’s not what Yankee fans want to hear, but with their latest win over the New York Mets, the Los Angeles Dodgers (78-32) are on pace for 115 wins. They’ve won 43 of their last 50 games, something no other team has done since 1912. Assuming they get Clayton Kershaw back before the post-season, their starting rotation of Kershaw, Yu Darvish, Alex Wood and Rich Hill has the potential of being a very dominant group. This probably represents the first real threat to the Yankees record of 125 total wins in 1998 since the Seattle Mariners won 116 games in the 2001 regular season but succumbed to the Yankees in the ALCS to finish with 120 total wins.
|Credit: Julie Jacobson-AP|
Have a great Sunday! Hopefully the Yankees can finally figure out Indians starting pitching today with Luis Severino pitching for the series split. Go Yankees!
Serious Competition for the Arms Race…
The sprint to the trading deadline begins in earnest this week as teams jockey for position over the next couple of months. The trading deadline is Monday, July 31st at 4:00 pm Eastern.
I fully expect the Los Angeles Dodgers to be major players. Losing their ace and perhaps the best pitcher in baseball hurts. It does not appear that the back injury that kept Clayton Kershaw out of action for two months last year is as bad this year, but he will miss time. Current speculation is that he’ll be out 4-6 weeks. The Los Angeles Times was already calling for Yu Darvish by Monday morning (or someone of similar ability…Sonny Gray?). The Times used the analogy that the Chicago Cubs had to trade elite prospect Gleyber Torres last season to bring All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman to Chicago. They go on to say that the Cubs would not have won the World Series if not for the trade, adding “it was a reminder that victory goes to the bold”. I think Andrew Friedman, Farhan Zaidi and the Dodgers will be very bold in their attempt to bolster starting pitching, particularly considering that Brandon McCarthy has gone back on the DL too.
Credit: Jon SooHoo
I do not want to give up any top prospects beyond the recent loss of outfielder Blake Rutherford. This is tough because I would love to see Yu Darvish or Sonny Gray run out onto the field at Yankee Stadium wearing pinstripes. But you can’t make a deal like that without parting with top pitching talent, such as Chance Adams or Justus Sheffield. It would make more sense to trade for a lower profile pitcher and make room on the 40-man roster soon for Adams to make his MLB debut. But even that move comes with cost. Adams has another year before he’ll be Rule 5 eligible so creating room on the 40-man roster for Adams costs a potential spot for a quality prospect that must be protected this year. It doesn’t really matter if Adams is Major League-ready but that’s something only time will tell. Given the Yankees have shown they do not believe Adams is ready, it seems more likely we’ll see more roll-outs of Caleb Smith (or Luis Cessa) or eventually another one of the current 40-man roster arms like Dietrich Enns (below) or Ronald Herrera before we ever get a sniff of Adams at the MLB level.
Credit: Sean McKeag-Times Leader
By most accounts, the desire of the Houston Astros to acquire another starter has lessened with the activation off the DL of Collin McHugh and soon, Dallas Keuchel. The Milwaukee Brewers remain hot for a starting pitcher as do a few other teams. The Minnesota Twins finally completed their delayed acquisition of Atlanta starter (and former Cardinal) Jaime Garcia, while the Kansas City Royals grabbed Trevor Cahill from the San Diego Padres. There are arms to be had and based on the prices paid by the Twins and the Royals, it is possible to get help without sacrificing the farm.
GM Brian Cashman and crew have a very tough week ahead of them. They have hard decisions to make and they’ll have to stand before Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner with their recommendations. The AL East can be won, despite the presence of Chris Sale in Boston, so the decisions over the next week will go a long way toward deciding who is playing October baseball.
Glad D-Rob’s back home…
It has been a few years since David Robertson performed in a set-up role for the Yankees, but I had forgotten how he likes to run off the field at the conclusion of an inning. It is so great to see that again. He is one of a kind and a direct link to the great Mariano Rivera. I’ve been excited to have Tommy Kahnle back in the organization after being such a great admirer of his when he was a Yankees prospect, but there is something special about D-Rob and I am glad that he is back in pinstripes. It would have been very difficult to watch him pitch for a team like the Boston Red Sox. So, even if I haven’t said it too much on this blog site, I am very happy that D-Rob is a Yankee once again.
Credit: Jim McIsaac-Getty Images
Next Up: Cincinnati Reds at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY…
The Yankees face the Reds for their second and final series this season. The teams split a two-game series in Cincinnati back in early May. The Reds represent a reunion for a few Yankees. Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman were once prominent Reds, and Didi Gregorius was a prospect in the organization (originally signed by the Reds as an amateur free agent in 2007).
Credit: Al Behrman-AP
Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups for the two-game series:
Reds: Luis Castillo (1-3, 3.86 ERA)
Yankees: Jordan Montgomery (6-5, 4.09 ERA)
Reds: Homer Bailey (2-4, 8.56 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Severino (6-4, 3.21 ERA)
Even without playing, the Yankees were able to gain a half game on the Boston Red Sox. The Sox replaced the Yankees at Safeco Field in Seattle and were shutout by James Paxton and the Mariners, 4-0. The Tampa Bay Rays also lost (5-0 to the Baltimore Orioles) so it was a great day off. The Yankees now trail the Red Sox by 2 games and increased their lead over the Rays by 1 1/2 games.
Angels 10, Yankees 5…
The win on Wednesday was just a tease. Losing teams find ways to lose and unfortunately the Yankees gave another game away last night. Unless they can turn this around, the Yankees are showing that the early season was just a mirage. You can’t blame Aaron Judge. He’s trying. He hit his 25th home run of the season and has hit safely in 24 consecutive games (the longest Yankee streak of the year). But pitching, which has alternated between very good and very bad, is sitting in the latter category at the moment albeit with an occasional solid performance like Jordan Montgomery the other night.
Bronx Pinstripes had a great tweet last night. “What a disaster. At least we have Tanaka tomorrow. …Oh wait.” My line of thinking exactly…
The game started well enough. Despite Cameron Maybin’s lead-off home run to give the Angels an early 1-0 lead, the Yankees quickly answered in the bottom of the first when Angels starter Jesse Chavez walked Aaron Judge and Matt Holliday with two outs. Starlin Castro followed with a run-scoring single to tie the game.
In the bottom of the 2nd inning, it looked like this was going to be our night. Chris Carter doubled and Ronald Torreyes reached base on an infield hit, pushing Carter to third. Brett Gardner grounded into a force-out at second but Carter scored on the play. Aaron Hicks singled, putting runners at the corner, bringing up Aaron Judge. With a three-run shot to center, the Yankees were up, 5-1. I didn’t really expect those to be the final runs scored by the Yankees.
Credit: Kathy Willens-AP
The Angels started chipping away in the third when both Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar had run-scoring singles with two outs. 5-3, Yankees. Luis Severino settled down after that for a few innings of solid work, but gave up another run in the 6th when Escobar opened the inning with a double and scored on a single by Luis Valbuena. Valbuena, a third baseman, is a guy I thought the Yankees should have pursued in the off-season when he was a free agent.
Still, I had hope that the Yankees could lock down the Angels, score a couple of insurance runs and win the game. Then, the 7th inning happened. Cliff Pennington opened the inning with a single. From there, the game unraveled. Cameron Maybin hit a ground ball to Starlin Castro that should have been turned for a double play but Castro’s fielding error allowed Maybin to reach base, with Pennington moving to third. So, instead of two outs and no one on, the Angels had runners at the corners with no outs. End of game for Luis Severino. Chasen Shreve entered the game and was greeted by a sac fly from Kole Calhoun which tied the score at 5. Exit Shreve, enter Dellin Betances. Maybin stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Gary Sanchez. Albert Pujols said ‘I’ll take your gifts…thank you very much’ and lined a single to right, scoring Maybin for the lead. Betances walked Escobar, followed by a wild pitch moving the runners to second and third. With two outs, Andrelton Simmons doubled to give the Angels two more runs, 8-5.
Credit: Kathy Willens-AP
I was not ready to admit defeat and was pulling for an amazing comeback like the Yankees did earlier in the season against the Baltimore Orioles. Yeah, right. The Yankees went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 7th and the Angels were ready for more in the 8th. Domingo German took the mound, replacing Betances, and retired the first batter on a strikeout. Unfortunately, this was followed by Cliff Pennington’s double and a wild pitch that moved him to third. Cameron Maybin walked. A failed pick-off attempt at first by German, the third Yankees error of the game, allowed Pennington to score with Maybin moving to third. Kole Calhoun graciously accepted the latest gift, and hit a sac fly to push the score to 10-5.
The Yankees could only muster a single from Chris Carter in the 9th, and he was left stranded at second when Ronald Torreyes grounded out.
This was a very disappointing loss. I am not sure how you can lose two of three in your home park against the Mike Trout-less Angels. Giving away free runs on multiple errors and wild pitches are not the signs of a successful team. With the loss, the Yankees (39-31) fell back into a first-place tie with the idle Boston Red Sox. The Tampa Bay Rays, who also had the night off, moved to within 2 1/2 games of the leaders.
Yes, I am mad about this loss. And it scares the hell out of me that we’ll be throwing Tanaka out tonight against Yu Darvish. It doesn’t get any easier…
Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium…
The Texas Rangers make their first trip to NYC for a three-game series starting tonight. Pete Kozma, who started the year with the Yankees when Didi Gregorius was on the DL, is currently a back-up infielder for the Rangers. Ernesto Frieri, who previously opted out of his Yankees minor league contract, is in the Texas bullpen.
Rangers: Yu Darvish (6-5, 3.35 ERA)
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (5-7, 6.34 ERA)
Rangers: Austin Bibens-Dirkx (2-0, 4.25 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Cessa (0-1, 7.36 ERA)
Rangers: Nick Martinez (2-3, 4.33 ERA)
Yankees: Michael Pineda (7-3, 3.56 ERA)
Y’all enjoy the games now, y’hear!
Hopefully, we’ll see the team that throttled the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles a couple of weeks ago. I miss that team…
Odds & Ends…
Prior to yesterday’s game, the Yankees purchased the contract of left-handed reliever Tyler Webb from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. I am very excited to see Tyler finally make it to the Show. I’ve been following his career for a few years and I’ve liked the pitcher. I was worried in the off-season when he was selected in the Rule 5 Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. As a mature lefty reliever (he’ll turn 27 in less than a month), I thought he had the potential to stick with the Pirates. Despite a solid Spring performance, he was returned to the Yankees in a numbers game (fortunately for us). In 21 games for SWB, Webb is 3-1 with 3.24 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. He has struck out 47 batters in 33 1/3 innings while allowing 33 hits and 12 runs. He has only given up 3 walks and home runs. They may not be elite numbers but I feel Webb has earned his shot. I am glad that he is here even if it’s only temporary. Rob Refsnyder was sent to SWB to make room for Webb.
Credit: Chris O’Meara-AP
Greg Bird has been given a cortisone shot in his ankle and the hope is that he’ll soon be able to resume his rehab. I find it highly unlikely that this will be the solution that gets Bird back on the field. It seems to me that the problem with the ankle is more serious than we’ve been led to believe. The cortisone shot just masks the pain, it doesn’t fix the problem. There is daily speculation who the Yankees should look at on the trade market. Lately, Yonder Alonso has been receiving the most attention. I like Alonso and do feel that he’d be an upgrade over Chris Carter or Tyler Austin. I have no problems with Matt Holliday at first other than I want to keep the guy healthy. DH is the better avenue to accomplish that goal. The Atlanta Braves did a wonderful job in trading for the under-utilized Matt Adams, previously of the St Louis Cardinals. Adams has done nothing but hit since he became a Brave and has sparked speculation that injured first baseman Freddie Freeman may be moved to third when he returns. I want GM Brian Cashman to make one of those under-the-radar but highly productive moves. I know, easier said than done.
I think Aaron Judge should accept the invitation to participate in this year’s Home Run Derby. I know that some players mess up their swings but like Manager Joe Girardi, I don’t think it would adversely impact Judge’s swing. I like the idea of his exposure to the other great sluggers of the game. It’s all part of his maturation as a Major League superstar. The Yankees have renewed popularity this year because of guys like Judge and Gary Sanchez. The All-Star Game is a great format to represent the pride and tradition of the Yankees.
This is not baseball related but as an owner of a black cat, I found this one quite humorous…and true!
Have a great Friday! Let’s not start a new losing streak today, please.
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…
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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…