|Credit: Corey Sipkin-NY Post|
Red Sox 5, Yankees 1…
Sunday’s loss was a microcosm of the season. In the end, it was about missing the pitches as the Yankees dropped the finale and the series with the Boston Red Sox.
It’s been a difficult season for last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner, Rick Porcello, but on Sunday, he gave a glimpse why he won the award last year. He held the Yankees to three hits over six innings, and three Red Sox relievers including closer Craig Kimbrel no-hit them the rest of the way.
Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Boston scored first with two runs in the bottom of the 2nd. Inevitably, it would be the only runs they would need. Jackie Bradley, Jr’s two-out triple to the center field wall off Yankees starter Sonny Gray scored Xander Bogaerts and Sandy Leon. The Red Sox had taken a 2-0 lead.
Meanwhile, the Yankees had runners in scoring position from the second through fourth innings but could not capitalize. Finally, in the top of the 5th inning, Brett Gardner lined a shot just inside of the Pesky Pole in right to pull the Yankees within one run, 2-1. But it was the last hit the Yankees would get off Porcello and the Red Sox bullpen.
Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
In the bottom of the 6th, the Red Sox added a run against Yankees reliever Adam Warren. Mitch Moreland reached on a single to left, and moved to second on a wild pitch by Warren that went through Gary Sanchez’s legs. A ground out by Sandy Leon moved Moreland to third. Jackie Bradley, Jr didn’t waste the opportunity like so many Yankee hitters had done. His single to right that dropped in front of Aaron Judge scored Moreland and Boston increased their lead to 3-1. Aroldis Chapman was brought in to replace Warren (the earliest he has appeared in a game as Yankee) and he struck out Brock Holt to end the inning.
Credit: Adam Glanzman-Getty Images
The Red Sox added two more runs in the bottom of the 8th. Tommy Kahnle started the inning in relief of Chapman. He couldn’t find the strike zone at all with the first batter, Xander Bogaerts, issuing a free pass on four pitches. Mitch Moreland doubled to left off the Green Monster and the Sox had runners at second and third. Sandy Leon lined a double to the right field corner, both Bogaerts and Moreland scored. 5-1, Red Sox. Kahnle was pulled and replaced by Caleb Smith. A walk and a single loaded the bases with no outs, but Smith was able to retire the next three Red Sox batters to leave the runners stranded.
It didn’t really matter. The Yankees weren’t going to win this game. Craig Kimbrel came on in the 9th and set the Yankees down in order, the last two by strikeouts.
If the Yankees were looking to make a statement in this series, they failed to do it. Boston exhibited superior bullpen strength and their hitters, excluding Saturday, didn’t miss their pitches. The Yankees (66-57) slipped back to five games behind the Red Sox with the loss. The Tampa Bay Rays’ 3-0 win, coupled with a loss by the Baltimore Orioles, moved them back into third place in the AL East. They are 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees. The O’s lost, 5-4, to the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels picked up a game on the Yankees in the Wild Card standings and trail the Yanks by 2 1/2 games for the top position. The Minnesota Twins, who pummeled the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-5, are also just 2 1/2 games behind.
Sonny Gray (7-8) took the loss. He pitched five innings on a high pitch count (106), allowing seven hits and two runs. He walked two and did not strike anybody out. Run support has not been his friend with the Yankees.
Credit: Steven Senne-Associated Press
If Aroldis Chapman can piece together more outings like his, his name might be back in play for the closer’s role. Adam Warren and Tommy Kahnle have some things to work on.
Brett Gardner, with two hits (a single and a homer), and Chase Headley, with one (a double), were the only Yankees with a hit. Everyone else took an 0-fer.
A win today would have been huge. But it was not to be. The Yankees need to re-group during today’s off-day and come out ready to play on Tuesday. There will be one more shot at the Red Sox. They’ll come to the Bronx for four games over Labor Day Weekend. The AL East is not dead…just wounded. There’s time to heal and show the Red Sox that the Pinstripes are back.
Next Up: The Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park, Detroit, MI…
The Yankees get a much-needed day off today, hanging around the Motor City, before starting a three-game series with the Tigers on Tuesday.
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (8-10, 4.92 ERA)
Tigers: Matthew Boyd (5-6, 5.70 ERA)
Yankees: Jaime Garcia (1-1, 5.64 ERA)
Tigers: Buck Farmer (2-1, 6.62 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Severino (10-5, 3.18 ERA)
Tigers: Jordan Zimmermann (7-10, 5.87 ERA)
The Yankees need to win these games. Anything less than two out of three will be a major disappointment. The Tigers stopped a six-game winning streak by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday with a convincing 6-1 victory behind Justin Verlander (making perhaps his final start in a Tigers uniform although I think he stays). A team with nothing to play for has nothing to lose. The Yankees had better be prepared. After the series, the Yankees return home for Player’s Weekend to take on the Wild Card contending Seattle Mariners and the player named “Don’t You Know”.
Odds & Ends…
Greg Bird had the day off on Sunday for his rehab assignment with Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but Jake Cave and Miguel Andujar did not as they powered the RailRiders to a 3-0 win over the Durham Bulls. Cave was 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored, while Andujar was 3-for-4, with a double and a home run, for 2 RBI’s. I am looking forward to seeing these guys in a few weeks when MLB rosters expand. It was a nice pitching performance by Domingo German (5-2), who shut out the Bulls for seven innings on four hits. He walked two and struck out nine. Giovanny Gallegos, with two innings of scoreless relief, got the save.
In anticipation of Masahiro Tanaka’s impending activation from the DL, the Yankees have optioned RHP Bryan Mitchell to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Have a great Monday! A day off…a day closer to the return of good health for Starlin Castro, Greg Bird and others. Go Yankees!
Yankees 8, Red Sox 0…
When CC Sabathia was named the #2 starter at the beginning of the year, I thought it was comical. Now, he’s probably the ace. This vintage run of excellent starts by Sabathia has been tremendous and much needed. I know that he has benefited from his talks with Andy Pettitte about transitioning to an older pitcher but after a few starts to forget earlier this year, I had given him up for dead. Then, suddenly he has re-emerged as a dominant pitcher. I am not sure how long this will last, but I’m lovin’ the ride.
Credit: Randy Miller-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
A night after a disappointing loss, Sabathia (7-2) shut the Red Sox down with eight solid innings. He held the Sox to 5 hits and struck out 5 in the shutout. He did not walk anyone. When he wasn’t pitching great, he was making excellent bare-handed defensive plays, like stopping the Jackie Bradley, Jr chopper in the fifth and throwing the runner out at first with a runner at third. It was a critical play as Josh Rutledge had opened the inning with a triple. The runner was eventually left stranded, thanks in very large part to CC’s great play on JBJ.
All of CC’s pitches were working, but it was the deadly slider that left the Sox batters shaking their heads. It’s an interesting stat that it was the first time CC has shutout an opponent with at least eight innings pitched since September 2012.
I expected Sabathia to tire in the later innings but he was still cruising in the eighth (retiring the final 12 batters he faced). Manager Joe Girardi made the right decision to pull CC after eight innings and 95 pitches. Jonathan Holder finished up in relief.
I wonder if we can get Pettitte to come to New York to talk to Masahiro Tanaka. I don’t know but it’s cool to write Pettitte’s name in a blog post again. He would make a good replacement for pitching coach Larry Rothschild one day.
As for the offense, it came from a very unlikely source. The forgotten man and the guy on almost everybody’s list for roster reduction when Greg Bird returns delivered in a big way. Chris Carter, who entered the game with a .183 batting average, blasted a three-run homer to left-center in the Yankees’ four-run fourth inning that gave the Yankees some breathing room in a game, which up to that point, had been a pitcher’s duel. The Yankees tacked on three more runs late, including a RBI single from Carter in the eighth. Carter was 3-for-4 on the night, with 4 RBI’s. He raised his batting average by 19 points to .202.
Credit: Randy Miller-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Carter should have had two home runs, but Mookie Betts was aided by a Yankees fan to make a leaping catch to rob Carter in the sixth. The ball seemingly was over the wall but landed in the fan’s hands and rolled back into Betts’ glove. Girardi tried to challenge but the umps ruled that he was outside of the 30-second window to appeal. I’m glad that play didn’t factor into the outcome of the game.
Didi Gregorius got the scoring started in the third with a solo shot off Red Sox starter and AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello. Porcello has not been the same pitcher he was last year (he is now 3-8) but when he started the game strong, I had been concerned that he was finding the success he had enjoyed last year. Thankfully, it was not meant to be as Carter and Company gave CC an abundance of runs, one night after they fell one short.
With the win, the Yankees (33-23) moved back up to two games ahead of the Red Sox. The Baltimore Orioles came up with another extra inning win over the Pittsburgh Pirates to remain 2 1/2 games back.
Odds & Ends…
It is being reported that Masahiro Tanaka will make his next start as scheduled. I think this is a mistake. Something is clearly wrong and to allow the pitcher to work out his issues in-game is not a smart move in my opinion. This seems to be psychological as best I can tell. I think Tanaka needs to get his head straight first, then work on the pitches. That’s why I would give him time away from the rotation. If I owned the Yankees, I’d send Tanaka back home to Japan for a week or two. Let him regroup, and then have him try to find what he had during spring training. Chad Green is capable of a spot start or even Adam Warren. Luis Cessa and Bryan Mitchell are also available for call-up. Any of the four are capable of doing better than the recent Tanaka performances. I’d love a spot start by Chance Adams but I agree that he’s not ready and then there’s the small issue of finding room on the 40-man roster.
I was going to rip NESN’s Jerry Remy for his comments that Tanaka should not be allowed to have a translator during mound visits, but then he owned up to his mistake and apologized.
Joe Giglio of NJ Advance Media for NJ.com reported yesterday that an anonymous GM has indicated he would give 2018 free agent-to-be Bryce Harper a 15-year deal for $600 million. If that’s the price tag, I have no problem with an outfield of Aaron Judge, Dustin Fowler, Clint Frazier and Aaron Hicks.
Oddly, the Yankees and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders have identical win-loss records at 33-23. The RailRiders won their 33rd game with a 5-1 win over the Rochester Red Wings. Gleyber Torres had the go-ahead two-run double in the 7th inning and scored on a wild pitch in the 9th. Torres was 2-for-4. Tyler Austin also had a run-scoring double in the 9th.
I love Yankees prospects but I saw that the St Louis Cardinals have assigned a young outfielder by the name of Matt Fiedler to the State College Spikes (High A). A 9th round pick in the 2016 Draft, the 22 year old right-handed leftfielder hit .325 with 4 homers and 31 RBI’s last year for Johnson City Cardinals (the 2016 Appalachian League Champions). I hope the Eagan, MN native continues his upward climb in the Cardinals organization. I’d buy his jersey if he makes it to the Show. I haven’t been this excited since, well, Jay Fiedler was a Miami Dolphin although Vernon Fiddler in the Stanley Cup Finals for the Nashville Predators is kinda neat…
Credit: University of Minnesota
Have a great Thursday! I don’t want much today…just a Yankees win!
Mindblowing! That’s how I felt when I saw the news about the ESPN layoffs and the inclusion of veteran Baseball writer Jayson Stark. I have long viewed Stark as the foremost Baseball authority at ESPN. He consistently wrote interesting, objective, and fact-based stories. After 17 years and recognized as a leading Baseball sportswriter, he was given the swift boot by ESPN. Amazing. I am not going to cry for Stark. ESPN’s loss will most certainly be another media giant’s gain. This proves that no industry is immune to economic turmoil. Most likely, all of us, at one point in our lives (or more), have been victimized by financial downturns in the economy. Still, it doesn’t make the losses any easier.
I will be anxious to see where Stark lands. He is too valuable to lose in this chaotic sport. While there were a number of notable names included in the ESPN layoffs, the other that stood out to me was NFL reporter Ed Werder. I’ve been following Werder since his days as the Dallas Cowboys beat writer for The Dallas Morning News. He has been an institution for the NFL. Like Stark, he has spent 17 years at ESPN. Also like Stark, I doubt Werder has any problems finding his next gig but I hope it is one that affords him a national presence as I don’t really follow Dallas area sports anymore.
It was definitely a crazy day…no doubt. Best of luck to all those affected by the layoffs. Hopefully their entries into the free agent market will be very short-lived.
In 2007, the Yankees first round selection (30th overall) was the long forgotten pitcher Andrew Brackman. Once slated to be part of the Killer B’s along with Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, the 6’10” Brackman was never able to realize his potential following Tommy John surgery and was later released. He is now out of baseball. The same year of the draft, the Yankees chose a college player in the 39th round (1191st pick overall) by the name of Eric Thames. Thames didn’t sign and went back to Pepperdine University. Fast forward ten years, and Thames, after spending three years in Korea and now with the Milwaukee Brewers, is the Major League leader in home runs with eleven. He has also scored a Major League-leading 27 runs. Although he was pulled from Wednesday’s game for a tight hamstring, he should be back to increase his homer total on Friday. Wow, where did this come from? In the off-season, the Brewers cut last year’s first baseman, Chris Carter, who tied Nolan Arenado for most homers in the NL with 41, and signed Thames as his replacement. While it is unlikely that Thames will continue at his current pace, the Brewers haven’t missed a beat in getting huge production out of their first basemen. Too bad those scouts who found Thames in 2007 didn’t see the potential in the Korean Leagues. Kudos to the Brewers scouts who did. The year after the Yankees had drafted Thames, he was picked in the seventh round by the Toronto Blue Jays which clearly showed the Yankees had uncovered a potential diamond in the rough. Thames did fail in chances with the Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles and Houston Astros before finding his niche in Korea. Still, there’s probably a few Yankees scouts saying “I told you so”.
The Yankees win!…
It was a very laborious 9th inning, but the Yankees beat the Red Sox 3-1 in the opener of their rain-shortened two game series at Fenway Park on a very foggy night. Luis Severino was quite simply…incredible. He did not look like the same pitcher on the mound. I don’t know if it was his best Major League performance but it might be his most impressive. Sevy (2-1) was in charge throughout his seven innings of work, giving up only three hits and no runs. He walked two and struck out six. This is the Severino we have been waiting for. The youngster has grown up. Very exciting stuff. The offense was 100% Baby Bomber-powered. Aaron Judge, celebrating his 25th birthday, slugged a second inning two-run homer to right off AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello (1-3). Greg Bird, showing that a Bird #33 jersey is no longer something to cheer for in Boston, delivered a run-scoring single in the sixth, scoring Judge. Judge also made a highlight reel catch that carried him into right field foul territory stands in the third inning. I was worried that the three runs might not be enough when Aroldis Chapman clearly didn’t have it in the 9th. He gave up a hit and allowed two walks and a run. Boston had the winning run on base but with Chapman’s 33rd pitch of the inning, he struck out Josh Rutledge to end the game. Big sigh of relief…
Credit: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other Yankees to homer at Fenway Park on their birthday are Yogi Berra and Roger Maris. 8, 9, and 99. Very select company for Aaron Judge! By the way, Happy Belated Birthday to him!
Have a great Thursday! Hopefully today is a sweeping success for everyone
Credit: Globe Staff/John Tlumacki
Impressive math skills, huh? With Tuesday’s rain-out, the 2017 opening Yankees-Red Sox series becomes a two game affair. It plays havoc with a wager I hold every year with a die-hard Red Sox fan. Years ago, when we were both bloggers, we started making bets on every series. Over the years, I’ve had to wear Red Sox caps in photos (including a pink one one year), write long posts about past and present Red Sox players, and sport Red Sox-related profile pics through social media. My friend no longer blogs so the current bets tend to revolve around FaceBook profile and cover pics. With only two games, a split means the win goes to the team with the most runs scored. The loser has to use a Red Sox player as their FaceBook profile pic for three days under the current bet. So, I have a vested interest in the Yankees to take this series. Yes, it’s all about me.
The rained out game will be made up on Sunday, July 16th as part of a day-night double-header. The scheduled starters are pushed back a day so Luis Severino takes the mound today against AL Cy Young Award Winner Rick “Justin Verlander Deserved It More” Porcello while Masahiro Tanaka, in the series marquee matchup, faces Chris Sale on Thursday. CC Sabathia becomes an observer for this series, with a probable early flight back to New York for Friday’s start against the AL East leading Baltimore Orioles.
It’s raining again today in Boston but hopefully the rain gods will make way for the 7:10 pm EDT start time to allow a few hours of clear skies. Oh yeah, this is Yankees-Red Sox, better make that four hours of clear skies.
I am not sure what I think about the possibility of Derek Jeter becoming an owner in Major League Baseball. As Bloomberg reported yesterday, the group led by former Presidential candidate and Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Jeter won the auction for exclusive negotiating rights to buy the Miami Marlins. The sides still have to hammer out a formal written agreement that must be approved by MLB owners, but I do not see any roadblocks to the eventual sale.
I suppose that all things considered, it would have been worse for Jeter to buy his local Tampa Bay Rays. Under that scenario, the Yankees would have had to face a Jeter-owned team 19 times a year in the fight for the American League East. With Jeter owning a National League team, the Yankees won’t face the Marlins except for every few years in inter-league play. There’s the possibility that the Yankees could face the Jeter-owned Marlins in the World Series at some point. But for the most part, they won’t step foot on the same field at the same time. So, this is probably the best situation for Jeter’s dream to be a Major League owner, particularly considering the Steinbrenner Family has no interest in selling the Yankees.
It was tough to watch Don Mattingly, a lifetime Yankee, put on another team’s jersey. If I have a second favorite or National League favorite team, it is probably the Los Angeles Dodgers (okay, not probably, it is). Mattingly as an assistant coach for Joe Torre in Los Angeles and then later the manager was very palatable. I was fortunate to live in Los Angeles during the Mattingly regime and I enjoyed having a long-time favorite player as manager of the local team. I remain a fan of Mattingly’s even though he now calls Miami home, but it’s weird. I am hopeful that he finds his way back home to Yankee Stadium one day. I do not know Jeter’s intended ownership percentage or how active he will be as the face of the organization. Unlike Mattingly, he won’t be putting on a Marlins uniform so technically the Yankees uniform should remain his only one. Magic Johnson is one of the owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers but activity-wise, he is a bigger part of the Los Angeles Lakers. Will Jeter take that type of passive ownership role or will he be the front man for the team like Denver Broncos non-owner John Elway? I can’t really see Jeb Bush taking a backseat to Jeter unless Jeter has the greater ownership interest. These are the things that will shake themselves out in the course of the coming days, weeks and months. Congrats to Jeter for apparent achievement of his lifelong dream. I hope he still finds time to visit the old stomping grounds on occasion.
Credit: Getty Images
I saw an article today on the YES Network asking if the Yankees should protect James Kaprielian on the 40-man roster next year in advance of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft. I want to say now, they had better make room. This should not even be a discussion. I will be very upset if the Yankees do not add him to the 40-man next year and risk losing him. I was mad about the sequence of events that led to Jacob Lindgren signing with the Atlanta Braves. I hope we do not have a repeat situation with Kaprielian. I know that he has been plagued by injuries and his body of work in the minor leagues is fairly slim, but he is a top talent. If, I know…ifs and buts…, if he can stay healthy, I really feel that he’ll be a high end starter in the rotation. I am steadfastly a fan of Kaprielian’s and I look forward to the day he takes the mound at Yankee Stadium.
The San Diego Padres, who had been carrying three catchers including Rule 5 draftee Luis Torrens (from the Yankees), demoted one of the catchers to AAA. Starter Austin Hedges has played very well this year. The catcher sent to AAA, Christian Bethancourt, was attempting to be a combo pitcher/catcher. The demotion leaves the soon-to-be 21 year-old Torrens as the primary backup for Hedges. In reality, Torrens should be no higher than A or AA so I am optimistic that events will force the Padres to upgrade backup catching to more seasoned talent to pave the way for the return of Torrens to New York. But as each month goes by, the chances decrease. Time will tell.
Have a great Wednesday! I hope it’s a dry one!
All Quiet on the Eastern Front…
It has been a very quiet end of the year for the Yankees. There were rumors of the Yankees talking with the Chicago White Sox about Jose Quintana and David Robertson but they quickly lost legs. While the Yankees need starting pitching, I agree that it is best not to raid the newly stocked farm system. It is a risk to bet on prospects over an established major leaguer, but while Jose Quintana is a good pitcher, he’s not Chris Sale. Given Chicago’s desire for top prospects in return, it just does not make sense. Quintana will not be a 2017 difference maker.
Credit: Kevin Jairaj, USA Today Sports
I still believe the Yankees are better served by identifying an undervalued young starter with potential. Sure, that’s every team’s wish but the Yankees have the scouts and resources to uncover the hidden gems. It is harder to pitch in New York than it is in, say, Pittsburgh, but for some guys, the main stage brings out their full potential.
The New York Mets’ Noah Syndergaard was once just a prospect included in a trade (when the Mets dealt knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays). I think that trade has worked out very well in favor of the Mets. It also brought them starting catcher Travis D’Arnaud. The 2012 trade was a risk for the Mets given Dickey was the reigning NL Cy Young winner, but he has never been as good as he was in 2011 and the other guys sent to Toronto are after thoughts (Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas).
The Yankees are not going to win the World Series in 2017. The current blueprint puts the Yankees on the path to World Series contention in two to three years. They have the time to develop frontline starters so why not take a chance on some other team’s “Jake Arrieta”. The Chicago Cubs saw something in the former Baltimore Orioles hurler and it has paid off quite handsomely for them.
I have high hopes for the Yankees young pitching prospects. James Kaprielian heads the list, but I haven’t forgotten or given up hope for Ian Clarkin. Jordan Montgomery and Dietrich Enns are other homegrown prospects that come to mind. The first young starters that will be given the chance to crack the rotation next season are the obvious ones…Luis Cessa and Chad Green. There’s also the hope that Luis Severino restores the promise that he showed in 2015 and is not just another failed starter that succeeds in the pen. Trade acquisitions Justus Sheffield, Dillon Tate, and Albert Abreu also hold promise.
If Severino is successful and just one of the young prospects stands out in the Spring, the rotation that already includes Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia does not look so bad. It might not be ‘Chris Sale-David Price-Rick Porcello-Eduardo Rodriguez’ worthy, but the foundation is being laid for future success. It will be imperative for the Yankees to re-sign Tanaka should he opt out of his contract following the season, but Sabathia’s departure as he plays out the final year of his contract will continue to create opportunity for the young prospects. Michael Pineda is a case by himself. He is either a really great starter or a disaster. If he can ever hold the focus on the former, the pitching staff will be significantly improved.
Next season, young players like Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin, and Greg Bird will play prominent roles for the Yankees. If any are not successful, there is another wave of young players waiting for their opportunities at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre or Trenton. It is inevitable that we’ll see outfielder Clint Frazier at some point in the season, even if it is just a September call-up. I don’t want to lose this talent in the farm system for the chance on a pitcher which always seems to be the biggest risk in baseball. Gleyber Torres has already shown that he has that “it” factor even if he is still a few years away from the Bronx. Stay the course. GM Brian Cashman’s blue print so far has been successful. He has turned what was one of the worst farm systems a few years ago to one of the best. They have the talent and depth in the system to make quiet but effective trades without sacrificing the organization’s best.
2017 may not be a banner year for the team but clearly the light is visible at the end of the tunnel. Now is not the time for the Ghost of Steinbrenner Past to raise its ugly head. Young Hal seems to have a plan and one that will soon yield fruit. Patience. Stick to the plan…