|Credit: Al Bello-Getty Images|
Yankees 5, Brewers 3…
Finally! A fun and dramatic game. Clint Frazier was the man of the hour with three hits. The first hit broke up a no-hitter by Milwaukee starter Brent Suter in the fifth inning. The second hit brought the Yankees within a run when the ball landed on top of the Stub Hub sign in left for a triple to score two runs. The third hit was a game-winning walk-off home run to left as the Yankees overcame the Brewers on Saturday afternoon.
The first inning didn’t get started on the right foot. After Eric Thames looped a double to right field, Travis Shaw was awarded first base in a controversial “hit by pitch”. The umpire didn’t react until Shaw said something which caused the ump to send Shaw to first base, drawing the ire of Manager Joe Girardi. Girardi could be overheard saying “He called it, you didn’t call it”. The TV replays, to me, were inconclusive. If the ball hit Shaw, it was fabric only but even then, the jersey didn’t move as the ball passed through to the catcher’s mitt.
|Credit: Julio Cortez-AP|
Domingo Santana followed with a fly ball just over the right field wall which gave the Brewers an early 3-0 lead.
|Credit: Getty Images|
For the Brewers, it would be the end of their offensive show for the day. Luis Severino made the necessary adjustments (I hope you were watching, Michael Pineda!) and shut the Brewers down for the next six innings. By the time he departed, he had pitched 7 innings, allowing 6 hits and the 3 runs allowed via the first inning home run. He walked two, both in the 6th inning, while striking out 10. It was a no-decision for him but the Yankees do not win this game without Severino’s performance.
|Credit: Julio Cortez-AP|
The Yankees had a scoring opportunity in the 2nd inning when Didi Gregorius lofted a fly ball to center. Four Brewers converged at the same time and the ball fell between them for an error on Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia. But the Yankees were subsequently caught with awful base-running. Chase Headley hit a come-backer to the pitcher and the Brewers had Didi caught between second and third. Didi didn’t try to extend the rundown and the Brewers were able to tag Didi out and nail Headley off first base for the double play. If Didi had tried to evade the tag, it would have given Headley the time to get back to first.
The Yankee bats were silent until the fifth inning when Clint Frazier finally collected the Yankees’ first hit off Brent Suter, a two-out single to right. The Yankees weren’t able to do anything with it but it was a start.
After Luis Severino struck out Eric Thames with a runner in scoring position to end the top of the 7th, the Yankees finally got some runs on the board. Chase Headley hit a one-out ground rule double to center. Jacoby Ellsbury singled to move Headley to third. A failed pick-off attempt at first allowed Headley to score while Ellsbury moved to third. Clint Frazier hit a fly ball that momentarily looked to be a home run but it bounced off the lower part of the left field wall for a triple which scored Ellsbury. The Yankees had closed the gap to 3-2. Ji-Man Choi, pinch hitting for Austin Romine, and Ronald Torreyes were unable to bring Frazier home.
Onto the 8th inning and it was time for the Yankees bullpen which has been an Achilles Heel in recent days. Dellin Betances took the mound in relief of Severino. It was a ‘hold your breath’ moment until Betances proved to be the All-Star that he is, allowing everyone to exhale. He induced Ryan Braun to ground out and then struck out both Travis Shaw and Domingo Santana. Whew…Welcome back, Dellin!
|Credit: Corey Sipkin-New York Post|
The Yankees were unable to generate any offense in the bottom of the 8th. Moving to the top of the 9th, Aroldis Chapman replaced Betances. Chapman has struggled with his command in recent games, but not yesterday. Three strikeouts later, it was off the bottom of the 9th with the Yankees still trailing by one run. The Brewers brought in their strong closer, Corey Knebel, who has been a very pleasant surprise for the Brewers this year. Knebel has struck out 72 batters in 41 innings while saving 13 games for Milwaukee. He came into the game having only allowed 5 runs in 41 games. The only knock against him is a tendency to walk too many batters. The weakness appeared right away as Didi Gregorius walked to open the inning on four straight balls. Chase Headley went down swinging but Jacoby Ellsbury, like Didi, also walked on four straight balls as Knebel continued to struggle with his control. So, the Yankees had runners at first and second with one-out when Red Thunder strolled to the plate. After a ball in the dirt, Knebel grooved a 97 mph four-seam fastball down the middle. With his blazing bat speed, Frazier quickly blasted a shot into the left field stands for the game-winning three-run home run as the Yankees won the game, 5-3.
|Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports|
Aroldis Chapman (2-0) was the winner. The Yankees (45-40) were able to pick up a game on the Boston Red Sox so they are 3.5 games out in the AL East. The Tampa Bay Rays remain a game behind the Yankees, courtesy of their 1-0 victory over the Red Sox.
|Credit: Julio Cortez-AP|
The Yankees conclude the first half today when Masahiro Tanaka (7-7, 5.25 ERA) takes the mound against Milwaukee’s Jimmy Nelson (7-4, 3.20 ERA). Hopefully, yesterday’s dramatic win and stellar bullpen work provide the momentum for a new surge by the home team.
Odds & Ends…
The rumor mill is certainly heating up. Within the last 24 hours, it has been reported the Yankees have heavy interest in first baseman Justin Bour of the Miami Marlins and reliever Brad Hand of the San Diego Padres. I am always a little suspect of the trade rumors you openly hear about as GM Brian Cashman generally plays his cards close to the vest. The more likely trades are the ones that you never hear about in advance. I would love to have Hand in the bullpen but the issue is cost. I’d hate to lose Chance Adams or Miguel Andujar (a couple of the names that have been mentioned). There would be a bit of irony with the Marlins (which includes Manager Don Mattingly) sending Bour to New York to be the Yankees first baseman. Bour hit his 20th homer of the year yesterday in Miami’s 5-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants. There’s no doubt he’d be an upgrade over Ji-Man Choi.
|Credit: Ben Margot-AP|
The YES Network’s Michael Kay mentioned an interesting stat during the telecast. Yesterday was the 17-year anniversary of the Yankees’ double-header sweep over the New York Mets which featured games at both home parks. Dwight Gooden and Roger Clemens were the winning pitchers in the subway double-header. It’s hard to believe that it has been 17 years as I can clearly remember that day well. It was a preview of the memorable Fall Classic that would pit the two teams against each other.
Matt Holliday was 2-for-4, both singles, with two runs scored in his rehab assignment for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The RailRiders won the game, 8-1, over the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Jake Cave was 3-for-3 with 2 HR’s and 5 RBI’s. Miguel Andujar also chipped in a home run.
Have a great Sunday! I am looking forward to more Red Thunder! But, please, no Tyler Clippard. Let’s Go Yankees!
But at least it wasn’t for BIG money…
Good for Ivan Nova to get his new contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. All things considered, I am still glad that he is an ex-Yankee. Even though the Yankees are in desperate need of help in the starting rotation, I wasn’t looking for a reunion with the right-hander.
One headline I saw did strike me as odd. It basically said that Nova had signed but not for big money. 3 years, $26 million. Maybe it’s just me, but $26 million is definitely “big money”. Okay, if Nova pitches for Pittsburgh like he did after the trade from the Yankees last year, he’ll be a bargain. But still, receiving more than $8 million per year is still a heck of a lot of money for a historically inconsistent pitcher.
But the more telling headlines are about how great Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage is. The so-called “Pitch Doctor” is getting the credit for Nova’s turnaround performance in Pittsburgh last year. The underlying tone of the message is that the Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild is inadequate. If Searage is so great, perhaps the Yankees should find a way to pry him from the Pirates.
I know that Rothschild has a good reputation, but at some point, someone has to be held accountable for the inconsistencies of the Yankees starters. Masahiro Tanaka rebounded to have a very solid 2016 campaign but the work put up by Michael Pineda continues to be frustrating to say the least. Luis Severino was dreadful as a starter. I can’t say that I’ve ever looked at Rothschild as an “amazing” coach. It would be nice to have one of those for a change.
Kevin Long is an excellent hitting coach. Yet, when Yankees hitters couldn’t hit, he lost his job and now flourishes in Queens. He remains better than the Yankees current array of hitting coaches. I personally felt that Long was a better hitting coach than Rothschild is a pitching coach. Long was held accountable and so too should Rothschild. The Yankees have too much at stake with their young, unproven starters to fail miserably because they didn’t have the right guy at the helm.
Thanks to a 7-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles last night, the Yankees finally get back into the win column. Of course, it’s been so long, I had forgotten what “win” means. So, I looked it up in the dictionary:
1.be successful or victorious in (a contest or conflict).“the Mets have won four games in a row”
synonyms: take, be the victor in, be the winner of, come first in, take first prize in, triumph in, be successful in More
The definition references the Mets, so I guess this is just another loss…
Still no shortstop, closer, help for the starting rotation, hitting coach, first base coach, legitimate third baseman…
Understandably, the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are always quiet. Okay, we’ve seen signings elsewhere (Russell Martin to the Toronto Blue Jays, Michael Cuddyer to the New York Mets) and a new $325 million dollar man. But in the Yankees Universe, the biggest news this week was GM Brian Cashman’s Thursday night sleepover on the streets of New York.
There have been reports the Yankees will not pursue any of the major free agents, comments that they may join the chase, followed by more reports of non-interest. With the Yankees, you never know if that’s just a smoke screen to help keep prices down or if it is genuine Hal Steinbrenner fiscal conservatism at play. But one thing is known, the 2015 Yankees will not win with the current roster. As it stands, they are losing talent from last year’s team that arguably over-achieved.
I know the thought of another long-term mega contract is frightful, but to plug Max Scherzer or Jon Lester into the starting rotation would provide an immediate upgrade. Yes, they still need to bring back David Robertson, Chase Headley, and Brandon McCarthy but there’s too much uncertainty in the starting rotation at the moment. The San Francisco Giants have proven time and again that a great starting pitching rotation helps to offset a less than elite offensive lineup.
Honestly, I am not sure what to expect this winter. If the Yankees maintain the status quo, it will be yet another October-less season for the Yanks.
When the Yankees drafted shortstop Cito Culver a few years ago, it was the perfect setup for him to be the eventual successor for Derek Jeter. He never developed as expected and will always be left to wonder what could have been. The Yankees are certainly worse off for his failure as they’ll either need to pay to bring back Stephen Drew as a temporary solution or give up quality prospects to bring in other options. There’s absolutely nothing in the upper levels of the farm system to provide relief in the foreseeable future.
I look at the current Yankees roster and do not see anyone that is worthy of replacing Derek Jeter as Captain. That’s one spot that will sit vacant for a few years. There’s certainly no urgency to pass the baton.
There’s no doubt the Yankees have a plan. Eventually, the plan will start to unfold and we’ll see what the team has up its sleeve. Until then, eat lots of Turkey, potatoes and gravy and look forward to the Winter Meetings in December. We’re at the calm before the storm.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
During the off-season, when Robinson Cano walked for the cash in Seattle, I was worried about first base when the other holes popped up at second and third base. The Yankees weakly filled the other holes with injury-prone Brian Roberts and utility-man Kelly Johnson while spending millions elsewhere on the roster.
Shortstop has been a concern as an aging Derek Jeter attempts to make his comeback from a serious ankle injury.
Catcher was truly the only infield position of strength with newcomer Brian McCann backed superbly by Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine and John Ryan Murphy.
But first base was and still is my primary concern. The Yankees did nothing to bring a solid backup to the team as a hedge against Mark Teixeira’s health. So, when Teixeira went to the DL this week due to a muscle strain in his leg, the Yankees had no legitimate first baseman on the roster. As it stands, Kelly Johnson has become the team’s first baseman. When Johnson signed, Cano was still a possible return so Johnson was viewed as the team’s super-sub. Then, Cano left and Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the season, and Johnson found himself as the starting third baseman. Now Teixeira’s gone, and Johnson stands at first. It is great that he’s so versatile, but the Yankees are so vulnerable with its current infield.
Yangervis Solarte has been a godsend but realistically I do not expect the guy to continue to play all season like he has in its first few games. He is an aging minor leaguer who had never gotten a major league shot and there’s reasons for why that happened. Yes, late bloomers can happen, but I am too much of a realist to believe that the Yankees have struck gold with the minor league free agent. I like him in a bench role, but now he’s the apparent starting third baseman along with another career minor leaguer, Dean Anna.
Mark Teixeira has always concerned me with his notorious slow starts and now he has other issues for us to worry about. I really thought that the Yankees needed to bring in a strong first baseman to help cover for Teixeira. This is where someone like Nick Swisher is really missed. An outfielder who can easily step in to play first.
When I heard that the Mets were dangling Ike Davis, I thought he’d be the perfect guy for the Yanks to pursue despite his underwhelming performance and injuries with the Mets. Son of a former Yankee (former Goose Gossage setup man, Ron Davis), I thought that Davis might benefit from a change in scenery. In a supporting role for Tex, Davis would be in a good spot to resurrect his career. The cost to acquire Davis would be less than acquiring a more frontline first baseman, but of course, on the day Teixeira was placed on the DL, Davis hit a grand slam to win a game for the Mets. It should be noted that on the same day, the Yanks did not score any runs in a 4-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Right now, I think that Ichiro Suzuki’s presence on the roster is hurting the team. For the Yankees to call-up Scranton/Wilkes Barre first baseman Russ Canzler, the Yankees would have to free up a spot on the 40-man roster. The Yankees need more help for the infield than they do with the outfield. Alfonso Soriano provide good relief as the fourth outfielder/DH, and the ever-versatile Johnson can play there as well.
The Yankees need to go out and get Plan B for first base, and perhaps move Ichiro along the way.
For Whom the Beltrans…
Well, it’s finally official. The Yankee fan is finally a Yankee. With today’s introductory press conference, the Yankees have continued to rebuild the team’s offense following the departure of Robby Cano and his bat. Carlos Beltran talked about how he has long looked up to the Yankees organization. The backhanded swipes at the Mets certainly didn’t hurt boosting his stock in the Bronx, particularly after those comments made by Curtis Granderson during his Mets press conference earlier in the off-season (even if the Grandy Man was just being lighthearted).
It’s always nice to see guys who genuinely want to be in the Bronx. Brian McCann certainly conveyed that message and Carlos Beltran did the same today. I think Jacoby Ellsbury is just as excited but his situation was a bit different and he is coming off a World Series championship.
Listening to Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi talk, it clearly sounds as if the Yankees outfield will be consisted of Brett Gardner, Ellsbury, and Beltran. Three centerfielders, with two playing out of position. I know, there are a multitude of reasons for why it makes sense to keep Gardner, but he is really the only major league trading chip and the Yankees still need rotation help. They have not shown any desire to pursue the likes of Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, or others that can be had for a simple cash outlay. Johan Santana’s name has been bandied about, and I would see no harm as long as the Yankees clearly invest in a Plan B to go with it. My primary hope is that Michael Pineda can finally show us the potential he had in Seattle. But that’s for the #5 spot. The Yankees should roll the dice with the young organization pitchers, including Pineda, for the last position in the rotation but not both #4 and #5. For #4, the Yankees need a proven performer. Santana is a huge health risk, but if healthy…I know, that’s a big IF…he would significantly solidify the rotation and help mask any further regressions by CC Sabathia or Hiroki Kuroda.
It’s unfortunate the Yankees have to keep an eye on the Alex Rodriguez situation to determine what their next moves will be. I just hope they aren’t caught looking while waiting to find out if A-Rod and his behemoth contract will be an obligation for 2014 or not.
But regardless of what happens for the remainder of the off-season, it goes without question that Carlos Beltran was a good signing. The reports have surfaced that free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo turned down a 7-year, $140 million deal from the Yankees before they turned to Beltran. I would prefer to go with the 3-year Beltran deal as opposed to locking into 7 years with Choo considering the Yankees are already on an extended hook with Ellsbury. At some point, the young talent in the lower levels of the farm system have to make their way to the surface. I have high hopes for Aaron Judge, and I really hope that Slade Heathcott can bring his game to the next level within the next couple of years.
Much has been written about Beltran replacing the lost production in St Louis when Albert Pujols signed his $240 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels and is now being asked to do the same with Cano opting for money over a win-first mentality. However, there is a big difference. The Cardinals have Allen Craig and Matt Adams as two very capable first baseman. The Yankees are not so lucky at Cano’s former position. There are no immediate farm system solutions. With Beltran now scheduled to start in Ichiro Suzuki’s position, it is a foregone conclusion that either Ichiro or Vernon Wells will soon be an ex-Yankee. Pitcher Brett Marshall may have paid the price for Beltran’s spot, but I expect Ichiro or Wells to go when the Yankees create roster space for their latest additions. The Yankees will have to include cash if they move Ichiro so that makes Wells the more likely one to go given that the Angels are still paying the majority of his salary.
I keep getting sidetracked when the main topic is Beltran but he opens up much discussion in other areas. I am glad that he’s a Yankee and I truly hope the Yankees can make the additional moves that will be necessary to return one of baseball’s great play-off performers to October. Pitching, pitching, pitching…
Meanwhile, at Second Base…
Kelly Johnson, Eduardo Nunez, Corban Joseph…
None of the names are exciting and it’s more likely that Johnson, with a platoon-mate in Nunez, will be asked to cover third if A-Rod is suspended for a lengthy period as expected. Joseph is not ready so the Yankees signed long-time Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts. Roberts was once one of the best 2B’s in the game, but injuries have robbed him of playing time the last four years. I do not expect him to be a major force at the position this year assuming that he makes the team. It is a curious move for a beloved Oriole to join a hated AL rival. I know that Mike Mussina did it but he was still in his prime. I know, there’s Jacoby Ellsbury too, but again, that player, despite his past injuries, still has prime years ahead. Roberts has seen his better days. At that point, I’d probably go out of division or out of league even if it sacrificed a few dollars to maintain my legacy with the original team.
Roberts will always be a great Oriole. There’s nothing that he can do to take away his quality years. Hopefully, the Baltimore fans will recognize that it was time for Roberts and the O’s to part ways, particularly given their acquisition of second baseman Jemile Weeks. Mike Mussina had quality years with both the O’s and the Yankees. Roberts will be like Luis Tiant. The best years were with the home team, and the last year or two were with the Yankees.
At this point, it does appear the Yankees will be heading to spring training with Roberts, Nunez and Johnson covering second. However, things will change when the A-Rod drama is finally put to rest. I was surprised the Yankees didn’t try harder for Omar Infante. It’s not often the Kansas City Royals beat the Yankees in free agency.
As for third…
It’s a given that A-Rod will be lost for a certain amount of time. It’s just a question for how long. I would like to see a trade for the San Diego Padres third baseman, Chase Headley, something that has been mentioned on and off for the last few years. We know that it won’t be a return of last year’s third base wannabe, Kevin Youkilis (thwarted by injuries to the surprise of no one). Youk in stating a preference to being closer to his West Coast home, decided to take his family on a one year vacation touring Japan. I am not quite sure how the DL works in the Japanese League but I guess we’ll find out. I loved Wallace Matthews’ quote that Youk will probably be injured on the plane trip to Japan.
Another third base possibility, and former Yank, Casey McGehee, signed with the Miami Marlins. So, like second base, pickings are getting very slim at the infield positions. I fully expect the Yankees to lose one of their promising young catchers in any trade.
I was disappointed to see Boone Logan go. Good for him in signing the three year contract with the Colorado Rockies. Denver is a wonderful city and I do not begrudge anyone who wants to be a part of that community. But still, he was a solid option in the pen for the Yanks and will be missed. To replace him, the Yankees signed former Sox (both White and Red) reliever Matt Thornton. A great lefty, no doubt, but one that is 37. All things considered, I would have preferred a few more years of Logan. I’d like to see a younger guy like Nik Turley take it to the next level but I am fearful that Turley will be a roster casualty with the additional moves the Yankees have yet and still need to make.
I am not sure how I feel about David Robertson as closer. When Mariano Rivera was hurt in Kansas City early in the 2012 season, Robertson failed in his brief appearance as closer. If memory serves correctly, he was injured and it opened the door for Rafael Soriano to grab the job and run with it. If the Yankees opt to go with Robertson, they need another Plan B like Soriano in place. Yes, I know, there are only so many spots on a 25-man roster for Plan B…
On the bright side, catcher and center field are locked up… 😉
I don’t expect much in the way of Yankees news next week so Operation Improvement will have to be resumed in January. Meanwhile, Happy Holidays to All! Enjoy!
He has been and always will be my hero…
It has been that long since the great Lou Gehrig departed this universe. Yet, his legacy still burns brightly and strongly throughout the world. He made a difference on and off the field and his model has continued to set the example for others to live their lives.
June 2, 1941. I will always remember it as well as August 2, 1979 even if I was only alive for one of those tragic days. 1941 was not a good year for the country nor was it a particularly good year for my family. My dad’s brother, then 21, died while moving out of his mother’s house after she had “evicted” him when she learned that he had secretly married. My uncle didn’t carve a life or legacy that others outside of the immediate family will remember, but he strived to be the man that Lou Gehrig. But like so many, we fail miserably.
Gehrig continues to be my all-time favorite Yankee. Mariano Rivera has long been my favorite current Yankee, but even he will have to take the bench when compared to Gehrig. Sorry Mo, I know you are the man that Gehrig was but there is only room for one at the top.
I’ve been a baseball fan since I was about 5 or 6 and read a book about Lou Gehrig. It was his story that propelled my interest in baseball. I didn’t become a Yankees fan because of him (I owe that to Catfish Hunter) but I would have never been a Catfish Hunter fan if not for Gehrig. So, I fully understand that the core root of my love of baseball and the Yankees lies solely with the Iron Horse.
Lou, I miss you even if I didn’t have the opportunity to meet you. My world is better because you were in it, and I thank you for simply being you.
The Ice Man Cometh…
I have to admit that I was/am a bit concerned about Mark Teixeira’s late start to the season. Granted, he hit a grand slam in tonight’s win over the Cleveland Indians, but he is a notoriously slow starter. To start slow at the beginning of June is not good. Tex needs to hit the ground running. I can only hope that the grand slam will propel him forward and bypass the usual ice freeze that starts any Teixeira season. I feel bad for Lyle Overbay. He’s done everything asked of him, and he has won a few games with his bat. Now, he takes the back seat to Teixeira which, given the aforementioned history of slow starts, might not be a move for the better…at least in the short run.
As much as I want the return of the other injured players, I still do not want the return of Alex Rodriguez. I have never dreaded seeing a player put on pinstripes as much as I do him. Well, maybe Ed Whitson or Carl Pavano, but as for as $30 million a year players go, I’d rather see A-Rod elsewhere.
If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all…
I am still making bets with Julia of the former MLBlog’s Julia Rants. The latest bet, thanks to the Yankees series failure, has me sporting a picture of Carl Yastrzemski as my profile pic on FaceBook for a week. Sometimes, I just wish the Yankees would come through for me on these bets! I am getting tired of getting the short straw…
Oh well, it’s June and we’ve moved past the start of the season. The Yanks need to shake off the doldrums of getting swept by the New York Mets and the series loss to the Red Sox to propel themselves to a 10-game win streak to regain some momentum…
Let’s go, Guys, we can do this!