Tagged: Tigers

Sevy & The Sanchino…

Credit:  Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees 10, Tigers 2…

I could really get used to these easy wins.  Riding the arm of Luis Severino and the bat of Gary Sanchez, the Yankees rode their way to victory over the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers opened the game with two good defensive plays to record outs.  As Gary Sanchez strolled to the plate, the FOX announcer said “This cat can hit”.  Yes, he can.  Sanchez sent the pitch from Tigers pitcher Jordan Zimmermann high into the left field stands for the early lead.

Credit:  Duane Burleson-Associated Press

The Yankees added more runs in the 3rd inning.  Jacoby Ellsbury, making a rare start, led off with a single to center.  Ronald Torreyes followed with a single through the hole into left field.  Brett Gardner came up and everyone was expecting bunt.  But Gardy swung away and lofted a fly ball deep enough into center for Ellsbury to tag and move to third.  Tigers centerfielder Andrew Romine threw the ball to third, over the head of the cut-off man, too late to get Ellsbury but the throw allowed Toe to recognize the opportunity to take second. Aaron Hicks took a walk to load the bases. Gary Sanchez hit a fly ball that dropped in between the outfielders in left center field.  Both Ellsbury and Toe scored to make it 3-0. Hicks moved to second.  Aaron Judge added a run on a double to center that went over Andrew Romine’s head and bounced on the warning track, scoring Hicks.  After a coaching visit to the mound, Didi Gregorius singled to up the middle to center to score Sanchez.  Judge moved to third.  He didn’t wait there long as Chase Headley lofted a fly deep enough to center for Judge to tag up and score.  The Yankees had taken a 6-0 lead.

Credit:  Duane Burleson-Associated Press

Didi Gregorius added a solo homer to right center, a few rows behind the wall, in the 5th inning to make it 7-0.

Tigers reliever Chad Bell replaced Zimmermann to start the 6th inning and he proceeded to walk the first two batters (Todd Frazier and Jacoby Ellsbury).  The big little man, Ronald Torreyes, singled to left through the hole between third and short to score Frazier.  

Luis Severino had been cruising up to this point but Ian Kinsler led off the bottom of the 6th with a homer to left to get the Tigers on the scoreboard.  The Yankees wasted no time in getting the run back when Chase Headley homered to left inside the foul pole with two outs in the top of the 7th inning, a solo shot.  It was 9-1 Yankees.

In the bottom of the 7th, Sevy struck out John Hicks to start the inning.  Then, he walked Andrew Romine, and Jose Iglesias singled to center.  Sevy got the second out when he struck out Ian Kinsler swinging but that would be all.  Manager Joe Girardi made the trip to the mound and brought in former Tiger prospect Chad Green.  Green struck out Alex Presley for the third out.

The Yankees final run came in the top of the 8th.  With one out, Ronald Torreyes reached on a grounder that glanced off first baseman Miguel Cabrera’s glove into right field.  It was scored a hit for Toe. Brett Gardner chopped a grounder to second and the Tigers got the force out on Toe but a throwing error on second baseman Ian Kinsler (off-balance throw that went into the Yankees dugout) allowed Gardy to make it to second.  A ground ball to left by Aaron Hicks scored Gardy.  10-1, Yankees.

Tommy Kahnle replaced Chad Green for the 9th inning.  John Hicks, the first batter, hit a deep fly to right but it stayed in the park for the out.  Kahnle struck out Andrew Romine for the second out but the next batter, Jose Iglesias, smashed a change-up from Kahnle into the left field stands.  Iglesias may not hit a lot of home runs (this was his 5th) but when he gets a hold of one, it goes far.  Dixon Machado doubled down the left field line, making me wonder if Kahnle was going to make it to the end of the game (Aroldis Chapman was warming up) but Alex Presley grounded out to first to end the drama.  The Yankees win!

The Yankees (68-57) were unable to make up any ground on Boston as the Red Sox beat the Cleveland Indians for the second day in a row.  They remain 4 games behind.  The see-saw battle for third place continued as the Baltimore Orioles reclaimed the spot with an 8-7 victory over the Oakland A’s in 12 innings.  The Tampa Bay Rays dropped to fourth with a 7-6 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.  The O’s and Rays are 7 and 7 1/2 games behind the Yankees, and the Jays are one game behind the Rays.  The Yankees picked up a game in the Wild Card standings and lead the Minnesota Twins by 3 1/2 games for the top spot.

Great game by Luis Severino (11-5).  He went 6 2/3 innings (100 pitches…71 for strikes).  He scattered 6 hits and gave up only one run.  One walk and eight strikeouts.  Chad Green had four strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings against his former organization.  I’d like to see Tommy Kahnle get back on track with a few clean innings but at least he got the job done despite the Iglesias home run.  

Credit:  Gregory Shamus-Getty Images

Gary Sanchez continues to scorch August with the homer and 3 RBI’s.  The Kraken will be well prepared to take the field this weekend for Player’s Weekend at Yankee Stadium.  Aaron Judge had one strikeout to extend his latest consecutive game strikeout streak to one game.  Seriously, it was a good game for Judge.  2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.  Also, hats off to Ronald Torreyes who was 4-for-4, also with an RBI and run scored.  You can’t say enough great things about the job Toe has done this year filling in for Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro, not to mention his time at third before Todd Frazier’s arrival.

Credit:  Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Odds & Ends…

The Boston Red Sox made a few roster moves yesterday.  Starting centerfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr was placed on the 10-day DL with a sprained left thumb (he is expected to be out longer than the minimum time).  They also designated first baseman/outfielder Steve Selsky for assignment. President of Baseball Ops Dave Dombrowski then swung a trade with the Oakland A’s to acquire swifty outfielder Rajai Davis. The A’s received a low level outfielder from the Red Sox (Rafael Rincones). Davis had the game-tying home run off Aroldis Chapman in Game 7 of last year’s World Series.  The Sox also recalled 2B Deven Marrero from Triple A.  

I really felt bad for one-time Yankee Rich Hill last night when he lost a no-hit bid in the 10th inning.  The Pittsburgh Pirates beat Hill and the Los Angeles Dodgers on a walk-off home run by Josh Harrison.  The Dodgers have not had any issues with scoring runs this season but yesterday they were unable to score any and it cost Hill the chance for the no-hitter.  He carried a perfect game into the 9th until Logan Forsythe’s error allowed a baserunner.  One run could have given Hill the no-hitter in a regular 9-inning game.  That’s a tough way to lose a no-no.

Credit:  Justin K Aller-Getty Images

Have a great Thursday!  It’s Getaway Day.  Let’s get away with the series sweep! Go Yankees!

Quick, Grab the Imodium A-D!…

Credit:  Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees 13, Tigers 4…

Watch out, the Yankees have the runs!  Seriously, it was great to finally have a breather.  The tone was set early when Gary Sanchez blasted the second longest home run this year (493 feet) as the Yankees throttled the Tigers.

Aaron Hicks got the party started in the first inning with a one-out single, a grounder up the middle.  Enter El Gary.  Boom!  He blasted a moon shot that flew over all rows in the left field stands and bounced off the back wall just under the LED board that shows pitch count.  The home run was two feet short of the home run Aaron Judge hit on June 11th against the Baltimore Orioles.  Aaron Judge, moved down in the order to clean-up, worked a walk off Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd.  Didi Gregorius, the road warrior (has hit in 16 of his last 19 road games), lined a double to right-center.  Judge advanced to third.  The Yankees picked up their final run of the inning when Tyler Austin lofted a sacrifice fly to center which scored Judge.  3-0, Yankees.

Credit:  Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

With Masahiro Tanaka cruising, the Yankees picked up more runs in the third.  Aaron Judge led off with another walk.  Didi Gregorius hit an infield bouncer toward third that glanced off the leg of the pitcher, Matthew Boyd, as he attempted to field the ball.  Didi was awarded a hit.  Tyler Austin lined a solid fly that dropped in left, scoring Judge.  Didi moved to second.  After Chase Headley lined out to center, Todd Frazier ripped the ball down the line to the right field corner.  Both Judge and Gregorius scored.  The Toddfather safely slid into third ahead of the outfield relay.  The Tigers pulled Boyd and brought in reliever Warwick Saupold.  Ronald Torreyes, the little man always coming up big, lined a sacrifice fly to right, and Frazier slid into home under the throw from the outfield.  The Yankees led, 7-0.  

The Tigers finally got on the board in the bottom of the 3rd.  James McCann led off with a liner to center to reach first.  Two outs later, Ian Kinsler hit a long fly that bounced off the warning track in center for a double.  McCann scored on the play.  

The Yankees loaded the bases in the 4th with a single (Gary Sanchez) and two walks (Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin) but couldn’t score.  With Warwick Saupold still on the mound, they broke through with more runs in the 5th.  Todd Frazier lined a single to left. Ronald Torreyes chopped a hit through the left side for single.  Brett Gardner hit into a fielder’s choice to first baseman Miguel Cabrera, Cabrera off first, threw to second to erase Toe. Gardy was too fast for the Tigers to get the ball back to first.  Runners at the corners.  Aaron Hicks hit an infield grounder toward first that Miguel Cabrera couldn’t field cleanly.  It was ruled a fielder’s choice with Hicks safely reaching base. Frazier scored on the play while Gardy took second. After Gary Sanchez struck out, Aaron Judge ripped the ball to left to score Gardy.  The Yankees had increased their lead to 9-1. It was the end of the day for Saupold.  I was sorry to see him go.  The Tigers brought in Drew VerHagen and he got the Tigers out of the inning by inducing Didi Gregorius to ground out to second.  

The 7th inning brought more runs for both sides.  I am sure that Sonny Gray was feeling slightly envious of the run support Masahiro Tanaka was getting.  Brett Gardner led off the 7th with a triple, a long fly to right that Alex Presley couldn’t catch up to.  Aaron Hicks followed with a shot into the right center field stands and the Yankees had added to their lead, 11-1.  

Credit:  Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In the bottom of the inning, the Tigers finally broke through against Tanaka again.  John Hicks, pinch-hitting for Miguel Cabrera, doubled to left.  Nicholas Castanellos homered to right, just a few rows up in the stands and it was 11-3.  Following a coaching visit to the mound by pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Andrew Romine hit a ball down the left field line similar to the ball that John Hicks had hit, but Gardy’s throw to second was ahead of the runner for the out.  A ground out by James McCann ended the inning and the game for Masahiro Tanaka.  

Chasen Shreve replaced Tanaka in the 8th.  He retired the Tigers despite a double by Jose Iglesias to push the game to the 9th.  With Tigers reliever Jeff Ferrell pitching, Tyler Wade, pinch-hitting for Ronald Torreyes, reached on an infield single to short thanks to his speed out of the box.  Following line outs by Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks, Gary Sanchez   hit his second home run, a blast to right.  It was 13-3 Yankees.  The homer was El Gary’s 25th of the year.  He is only 5 homers of the team record shared by Jorge Posada and Yogi Berra (twice).  All this from a man who missed a month of the season.  I think he likes the third hole in the lineup.  

Shreve finished up the 9th to protect the bullpen. There was a bit of comedy with Nicholas Castanellos at bat (easy to say when the Yankees are holding a 10-run lead).  Castanellos hit a fly to center.  Jacoby Ellsbury tried to catch the ball on a slide but the ball got past him and rolled to the wall.  Brett Gardner retrieved it and threw to the cut-off man, Tyler Wade, who threw home too late to get Castanellos.  Inside-the-park home run and the second HR of the night for Castanellos.  Andrew Romine followed with a high fly ball that took Brett Gardner to the wall but Gardy made the catch to end the game.  The Yankees win!  

The Yankees (67-57), who picked up a 1/2 game during Monday’s day off thanks to a Red Sox loss, couldn’t make up any ground on Tuesday as Boston pounded the Cleveland Indians, 9-1.  It was an interesting game for the Red Sox as starter Doug Fister gave up a lead off home run to Francisco Lindor and then held the Indians hitless for the duration of the game.  Not bad for a bargain basement pickup.  The Yankees trail the Sox by 4 games.   The battle for third place in the AL East continues to swing back and forth between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Baltimore Orioles.  The Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-5, to move back into third.  They are 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees.  The O’s fell to the Oakland A’s, 6-4.  They are 7 games back of the Yankees.  No change in the Wild Card standings as the Yankees continue to lead the Minnesota Twins by 2 1/2 games.

I had no problem with Manager Joe Girardi’s decision to pinch-hit for Aaron Judge in the 7th inning.  Judge had four at-bats.  He walked three times and had the RBI single.  He also scored two times.  It was a productive day for him and it was time for the MLB-record for strikeouts in consecutive games to end at 37.  Girardi denied pulling Judge to end the streak but regardless of whether or not he did, I thought it was the right thing to do.

Credit:  Carlos Osorio-Associated Press

The two-run home run masked an otherwise tremendous start by Masahiro Tanaka (9-10).  This is the pitcher the Yankees need down the stretch.  His final line was 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 4 SO which qualified as a quality start but it was better than that.  Nice job, Masa!

Credit:  Carlos Osorio-Associated Press

It was a very productive night for Gary Sanchez, including the two home runs, and Aaron Hicks, with his dinger.  They had 4 and 3 RBI’s, respectively.  Every Yankees starter reached base by either hit or walk.  We needed this.  Hopefully the Yankees will continue to hit and drive in runs during this road trip.  

Have a great Wednesday!  The Yankees can take the series today with a win.  Go Luis Severino and Go Yankees!

The Curious Case of Run-Scoring Aversion…

Credit:  Julie Jacobson-AP

Tigers 2, Yankees 0…

Wouldn’t you know it…Getaway Day with a plane waiting on the tarmac for a flight to Ohio and a lengthy rain delay to extend the wait to depart the Stadium.  I guess on the bright side, the Cleveland Indians had to wait for night game to be called because of rain in Boston before they could head home so both teams should be equally sleep-derived today when Sonny Gray makes his much anticipated debut for the Yankees.  


With rain delays of over 4 1/2 hours, the end of the day was painful as the Yankees, behind a very lackluster offensive-performance (yes, it was very offensive), fell to the Tigers.  It was only their second shut out of the season.  


The game, originally scheduled to start at 2:30 pm Eastern, was delayed by rain.  

Fresh off the 14-strikeout performance, Masahiro Tanaka did not have quite the same pitches on Wednesday.  It was yet another game where the Yankees started off with a first inning deficit.  Ian Kinsler led off with a single to left, and advanced to second when Jim Adduci singled to center.  Before most fans could even get a sip of their first beer, Justin Upton doubled down the left field line, scoring Kinsler with the game’s first run.  From there, Tanaka settled down retiring the next three batters (two by strikeout).

Credit:  Elsa-Getty Images

Like Tuesday, the Yankees continued to struggle with runners in scoring position.  They had their first scoring opportunity in the bottom of the 2nd when Gary Sanchez was hit by a pitch to reach first base. Chase Headley lined a double to right to move Sanchez to third.  Todd Frazier was the suspect this time, with a fly out to end the inning.

A second great scoring opportunity presented itself in the bottom of the 3rd.  Both Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury hit one-out singles, with Gardner moving to third.  Aaron Judge had first crack at bringing one or both runners home but he struck out.  Ellsbury stole second during the at-bat to move into scoring position, representing the potential tying run.  Unfortunately, Gary Sanchez grounded out to end the threat.

The Tigers picked up their second run in the top of the 4th.  With two outs, Mikie Mahtook walked.  James McCann followed with a single to center which Jacoby Ellsbury mishandled (twice) for an error, allowing Mahtook to score from first.  McCann ended up on second but was left stranded when Andrew Romine (man, I wanted to type Austin) flied out to left.

The bottom of the 6th brought another failed scoring opportunity for the home team.  Aaron Judge opened with a single to left.  Gary Sanchez doubled to left as Judge moved to third.  Runners in scoring position with no outs.  Didi Gregorius popped out to the shortstop.  Matt Holliday hit a fly ball to center but it wasn’t deep enough for Judge to tag and score.  One more opportunity with Chase Headley, but he went down swinging.  More men left 90 feet away, suffering severe cases of “home” sickness.

Six innings and Masahiro Tanaka was done.  After the wobbly start, his final line was decent.  6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO.  Also, he was successful in bringing his season ERA below five to 4.93.  Tommy Kahnle pitched a three-up, three-down 7th, however, the Yankees hit into three consecutive ground outs in the bottom of the inning.  Then, the second rain delay…

Credit:  Michael Noble Jr-AP

After the game resumed in the top of the 8th, Dellin Betances pitched an immaculate inning.  He struck out three Tigers on 9 pitches.  

Credit:  Elsa-Getty Images

In the bottom of the inning, Jacoby Ellsbury tried.  On a pitch that would have been Ball 4, Ellsbury hit a grounder to short but was able to beat it out.  A wild pitch from reliever Bruce Rondon that catcher James McCann was unable to handle allowed Ells to move to second.  Like the previous Yankees in scoring position for this game, he was left stranded when Rondon retired the next 3 batters.


Shane Greene, the newly appointed Tigers closer following the trading deadline deal that sent Justin Wilson to the Chicago Cubs, took the mound in the 9th and easily retired the Yankees for the 2-0 win.  A disappointing way to leave the Stadium for the road trip to Cleveland.

The Yankees (57-49) fell a game behind the Red Sox with the loss.  Boston’s game with the Cleveland Indians was rained out and will be made up on Monday, August 14th (after the Red Sox complete a three-game series at Yankee Stadium).  The Tampa Bay Rays moved 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees with their 3-0 victory over the Houston Astros.  The Baltimore Orioles keep winning.  They won their fifth in a row, a 6-0 shutout of Kansas City Royals, and have moved 4 1/2 games behind the Yankees.  The Rays and Orioles defeat two of the best teams in the AL while the Yankees lose a series to one of its worst.  


Masahiro Tanaka (8-10) took the tough luck loss.  I am very concerned about Matt Holliday.  He has been a shell of his former self since returning from his viral infection.  His bat is hurting this offense.  Same with Todd Frazier.  Both hitters were hitless in four at-bats.  As a team, the Yankees left 20 men on base.  It’s very hard to win this game when you can’t push runs across the plate.

Credit:  Elsa-Getty Images

Next Up:  Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field, Cleveland, OH…

The Yankees are set to play a four-game series in Cleveland against the defending American League Champions.  The Tribe are returning from a road trip that just ended in Boston against the hated Red Sox.  

The scheduled pitching match-ups are:

TODAY

Yankees:  Sonny Gray (6-5, 3.43 ERA)

Indians:  Corey Kluber (8-3, 2.90 ERA)

FRIDAY

Yankees:  Jaime Garcia (5-7, 4.29 ERA)

Indians:  Trevor Bauer (9-8, 5.25 ERA)

SATURDAY

Yankees:  Jordan Montgomery (7-6, 4.15 ERA)

Indians:  Danny Salazar (4-5, 4.63 ERA)

SUNDAY

Yankees:  Luis Severino (8-4, 2.98 ERA)

Indians:  Mike Clevinger (5-4, 3.68 ERA)


Today’s game starts off with a marquee pairing.  Luis Severino may be the staff ace, but Sonny Gray is the shiny new toy going against one of the AL’s best in Corey Kluber.  It should be a fantastic game.  I just wish the Yankee bats were swinging a little better.

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP

It’s reunion time for Clint Frazier who makes his first trip to Cleveland as a Yankee.  Although he never played at the Major League level, it’s still the organization he began his professional career.  He was Cleveland’s top prospect along with outfielder Bradley Zimmer and the two are close friends.  Zimmer was called up earlier this season by the Indians and is hitting .282 with 8 home runs and 37 RBI’s in 67 games.  I hope Frazier plays as well against the Indians as former Yankee Ben Gamel did against the Yankees a couple of weeks ago.

Credit:  Mark Podolski-The Times-Herald

Odds & Ends…

The Yankees will miss old friend Andrew Miller on their trip to Cleveland.  The Indians placed the versatile lefty on the 10-Day DL yesterday with right knee patella tendinitis. Another former Yankee, Boone Logan, is also on the DL for the Tribe.  Logan is most likely good buddies with Tommy Kahnle since they spent a few years together in the Colorado Rockies bullpen.  Good that we won’t have to face Miller, but bad for the player.  All things considered, I’d prefer to see a happy and healthy Andrew Miller regardless of what uniform he currently wears.

Credit:  Getty Images

Have a great Thursday!  Let’s hope for better things in C-Town as Sonny Gray takes the field for the first time as a friend…not a foe.  Go Yankees!

90 Feet: So Close Yet So Far Away…

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP
Tigers 4, Yankees 3…
On a night when the Boston Red Sox refused to lose, the Yankees meekly fell to the Detroit Tigers and a collection of underwhelming pitchers.  It was a very disappointing loss as the Yankees fell out of first place.  The Yankees had the tying run at third and the winning run at second in the bottom of the 9th but Clint Frazier failed to deliver in the clutch against former Yankee Shane Greene.

For CC Sabathia, it really came down to one bad pitch.  With runners at first and second with two outs in the top of the 2nd inning, CC got into an extended battle with Tigers first baseman John Hicks, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at him.  On the 10th pitch of the at-bat, Hicks deposited a poorly thrown backdoor slider into the right field stands (just beyond the glove of a leaping Aaron Judge), giving the Tigers a lead they would not relinquish.  

Credit:  Paul J Bereswill-New York Post

Justin Upton homered off Sabathia in the 3rd inning, also with two outs, to give the Tigers the necessary insurance run they would need to win.  The Yankees wasted an opportunity to chip away in the bottom of the 3rd when Tyler Wade led off with a double to center.  A wild pitch by Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez moved Wade to third with no outs.  But Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier and Aaron Judge all failed to bring Wade home.

In the bottom of the 4th, the Yankees finally got on the board when Gary Sanchez opened with a double to left.  Didi Gregorius homered to right to bring the Yankees within two runs, 4-2.  But those were the only runs the Yankees would be able to get off Anibal Sanchez.

The Yankees picked up their final run in the bottom of the 8th against the Tigers bullpen.  With Alex Wilson pitching, Gary Sanchez singled to left and advanced to second on a throwing error by left fielder Justin Upton.  The Tigers replaced Wilson with Daniel Stumpf and he was greeted by a run-scoring single from Didi Gregorius to make it a one-run game. Matt Holliday grounded into a double play to end the inning.  

The Tigers almost added to their lead in the top of the 9th.  David Robertson had been brought in to start the inning, in relief of Adam Warren.  Thanks to two singles, the Tigers had runners at first and second with two outs.  Austin Romine’s brother Andrew singled to center but Brett Gardner gunned down the lead runner (James McCann) at the plate.  

Credit:  Jim McIsaac-Getty Images

In the bottom of the 9th, Jacoby Ellsbury walked with two outs.  A throwing error by Tigers reliever Shane Greene on a pick-off attempt allowed Ellsbury to race to third.  The Tigers chose to intentionally walk Brett Gardner to face Clint Frazier.  Gardner stole second to put the winning run in scoring position.  The stage was set for Frazier to be the hero.  Unfortunately, he took two called strikes without moving his bat and then popped out on the third pitch from Greene to end the game.  It was a disappointing loss and another game of missed opportunities.  

The Yankees (57-48) dropped a half game behind the Boston Red Sox with the loss.  Boston battled the Cleveland Indians all night long, with the lead constantly changing hands.  The Indians scored 7 runs off Red Sox ace Chris Sale in the game.  They also scored two runs in the top of the 9th against Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, including a solo homer by Francisco Lindor which tied the game.  The Indians took a 10-9 lead into the bottom of the 9th with closer Cody Allen on the mound, but Boston’s Christian Vasquez hit a three-run homer for the 12-10 walk-off win.  The Tampa Bay Rays also won.  They beat the Houston Astros, 6-4, behind Chris Archer.  They are 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees.  The Baltimore Orioles won their fourth consecutive game (7-2 over the Kansas City Royals) so they moved within 5 1/2 games of the Yankees.  

Credit:  John Wilcox-Boston Herald
Matt Holliday was 2-for-4 with a double so there’s hope he is finally coming around, but he continues to be a disappointment in clutch situations.  Getting his bat right is a key for the Yankees as long as Manager Joe Girardi keeps penciling his name into the lineup.  Clint Frazier and Aaron Judge were a combined 0-for-9.  CC Sabathia (9-4) took the loss. He did rebound to give the Yankees six innings.  He allowed 6 hits, 4 runs, and 1 walk while striking out 3.  The Yankees could have taken him off the hook but offense from Didi Gregorius alone was not enough.
Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP
Brett Gardner stole two bases during the game and moved into fifth place tie with Roy White on the Yankees all-time list with 233 steals.  Next on the list is Hal Chase with 248 steals and Willie Randolph at 251.  The top leaders are Derek Jeter (358) and Rickey Henderson (326).
The Yankees can take the series this afternoon with a win on getaway day. Hopefully, the cold bats from yesterday have thawed overnight.
The Great Thurman Munson…
I always think of Thurman Munson on this day.  I can still remember where I was when I heard the news that my favorite player had died in a plane crash in Akron, Ohio on August 2, 1979.  It ripped the heart and soul out of the 1979 team.  The late Bobby Murcer, who had been reacquired by the Yankees a little more than a month before the plane crash, was the spiritual leader through this very difficult time.  “The life of a soul on earth lasts longer than his departure. He lives on in your life and the life of all others who knew him.” 

Odds & Ends…
The newcomers have chosen their new numbers.  Sonny Gray will take #55, most recently occupied by Bryan Mitchell, and Jaime Garcia will don #34, worn the last few years by Houston Astros catcher Brian McCann.  When it was obvious that neither player would be able to get their same preferred number (54), I thought the selections of 34 and 55 were the most obvious.
Credit:  Robert Sabo-New York Post
The history of 55, in recent years, has resided with Hideki Matsui and Ramiro Mendoza, but lately it’s been available for Mitchell whenever he’s been called up.  I guess he’ll finally have to choose a new number when he gets his next Bronx phone call.  I think 55 is a great number for Gray.  I’ve long associated the number, pitching-wise, to the “Bulldog”…former Los Angeles Dodgers hurler Orel Hershiser.  I am sure there are plenty of other prominent players that have worn the number, but for some reason, I’ve always just thought of the Bulldog.

Credit:  Getty Images

Jaime Garcia, in a pre-game interview, told the story how his late grandfather had told him as a boy he would play for the Yankees.  The Yankees are his family’s favorite team, and they were Jaime’s favorite team as a kid.  Great story.  I am looking forward to watching Jaime pitch in pinstripes.  Based on Joe Girardi’s comments, it appears that Sonny Gray will start in Cleveland on Thursday and Garcia will take the mound the next day.  I hate to be guilty of looking ahead, but I can’t wait for Thursday and Friday.  They should be fun and exciting games.

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP

It has been said that the Gray trade has the potential to be a steal for the Yankees.  While I am glad Gray is a Yankee, the potential also exists for the trade to be a steal for the A’s.  I still believe that James Kaprielian can be a top of the rotation starter.  Jorge Mateo and Dustin Fowler can be very dangerous players for a future A’s squad.  Best case, the trade is a win/win for both organizations.  

It was another win for Chance Adams (7-3, 2.32 ERA).  The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders defeated the Buffalo Bisons, 5-1, on Tuesday behind Adams but the usual problem surfaced with too many walks (four).  He went 6 innings (101 pitches), giving up 8 hits and 3 runs to the Bisons.  He struck out 3.  Billy McKinney, one of the players that will need to be placed on the 40-man roster before December’s Rule 5 Draft, hit a three-run homer to back Adams.

Have a great Wednesday!  Let’s grab a win before the guys hop a plane to Cleveland.  Go Yankees!

Winning On A Sonny Day…

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP

Yankees 7, Tigers 3…

Despite a few unintentional plunkings, the Yankees emerged victorious over the Detroit Tigers on Monday.  A critical error by Ian Kinsler of the Tigers opened the door for runs in the fourth inning, and Aaron Judge later added to his collection of home runs.  

Let’s start first with Luis Severino.  He didn’t have his best stuff but he battled.  That’s the sign of a very good pitcher.  Sevy threw nearly 30 pitches in the first inning which showed that he probably would not have length in the game.  After striking out the first two Tigers batters in the first inning, the Tigers loaded the bases when Justin Upton singled, Miguel Cabrera walked, and Nicholas Castanellos singled.  Fortunately, Sevy got out of the inning when Victor Martinez struck out swinging at a pitch below the strike zone.  

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP

Detroit’s Mikie Mahtook suffered his first hit by pitch leading off the second inning.  Sevy’s pitch got away from him and hit Mahtook between the numbers.  Sevy retired the next three batters to get out of the inning.

The Tigers scored first in the top of the 4th inning.  Mikie Mahtook singled to left with two outs, and advanced to second when Clint Frazier overran the ball for an error.  James McCann doubled to right (just beyond a diving Aaron Judge), scoring Mahtook for the early 1-0 lead.  The Yankees came right back in the bottom of the inning.  After Aaron Judge walked, Gary Sanchez hit a grounder to second baseman Ian Kinsler which he mishandled.  Both runners were safe at first and second.  Matt Holliday walked to load the bases for Chase Headley.  Headley took advantage of the situation with a double to the right center wall, splitting the outfielders.  Both Judge and Sanchez scored, while Holliday moved to third.  Todd Frazier followed with a single to right, scoring Holliday and Headley.  The Yankees had taken a 4-1 lead that would not be relinquished.  

The Yankees added a run in the fifth inning when Aaron Judge muscled his 34th home run into the left center stands.  

Luis Severino did not return for the 6th inning and was replaced by Tommy Kahnle.  Sevy had thrown 116 pitches by the time he struck out Victor Martinez in the top of the 5th.  But by completing at least 5 innings, Sevy (8-4) would be the eventual winner.  His final line:  5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 8 SO. It was his second shortest start of the year.  Kahnle didn’t fare so well but he did limit the damage.  The top of the 6th started with a high fastball that curved inside, striking the side of Mikie Mahtook’s batting helmet.  It was a very scary moment but Mahtook jumped up quickly and visibly voiced his displeasure.  I was very glad to see that Mahtook was not hurt on the play.  James McCann followed Mahtook and hit an infield grounder to third for a hit.  Mahtook moved to second.  Kahnle was able to retire the next two batters, but then Jim Adduci singled to left to score Mahtook.  5-2, Yankees.

In the bottom of the 7th, Tigers starter Michael Fulmer hit Jacoby Ellsbury in the butt leading off the 7th inning.  “It stinks for Ells,” Manager Joe Girardi said after the game, “It stinks for everyone involved. But I kind of expected it to come.”  Ellsbury shook it off and promptly stole second.  Clint Frazier tripled to left to score Ellsbury.  

Credit:  Charles Wenzelberg-New York Post

Following a walk to Aaron Judge, Fulmer was pulled in favor of Alex Wilson.  Wilson allowed a sacrifice fly to Gary Sanchez as the Yankees increased their lead to 7-2 before striking out the next two batters to get out of the inning.

Yankees reliever Jonathan Holder made it a little too interesting in the top of the 9th inning.  Holder had entered the game to start the 8th, allowing only a meaningless single while striking out two of the four batters he faced.  The 9th didn’t go quite so well.  After striking out Justin Upton to start the inning, both Miguel Cabrera and Nicholas Castanellos singled.  Holder hit Victor Martinez with a pitch to load the bases.  End of game for Holder; enter Aroldis Chapman.  Mikie Mahtook hit into a force out at second to erase Martinez, but Cabrera scored.  7-3, Yankees.  Chapman then struck out James McCann with runners at the corners to end the game, picking up his 13th save.  A little too much drama at the end, but the end result worked.  The Yankees win!

Credit:  Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees (57-47) maintained their half game lead over the Boston Red Sox in the AL East with the win.  The Red Sox easily defeated the Yankees’ next opponent, the Cleveland Indians, 6-2.  The Tampa Bay Rays were pummeled by the Houston Astros, 14-7, to fall 4 1/2 games off the pace.  The Baltimore Orioles won their third game in a row and sit 6 1/2 games back.  

Chase Headley is hot.  He was 3-for-4 with 2 RBI’s and a run scored.  He is batting .383 since the All-Star break (23-for-60). Matt Holliday is not.  He was 0-for-3, with three strikeouts although he did score a run when he walked in the 4th inning.

Deadline Day Recap…


Sonny Skies in the Bronx!  There will be no Gray Matter left hanging in the Bay as the Yankees finally consummated the long awaited deal to bring Sonny Gray to New York.  GM Brian Cashman was successful in retaining top OF prospect Estevan Florial but it cost 2B/SS/CF Jorge Mateo, OF Dustin Fowler, and RHP James Kaprielian.  Fowler is out for the season due to the horrific knee injury suffered in Chicago when he made his MLB debut for the Yanks, and Kaprielian is recovering from Tommy John surgery.  I hate to see all three go but at the end of the day, the Yankees are better today than they were yesterday with a young, controllable starter that will be in Pinstripes beyond this year.  

All things considered, not losing Florial in the trade has to be a win even if it cost the team Fowler and Kaprielian in addition to Mateo.  The stars seem to be aligning for the potential future free agent signings of OF Bryce Harper and/or 3B Manny Machado.  No word yet when Gray will make his Yankees debut, but his turn in the rotation had originally been scheduled for last Sunday and then pushed to Monday (which was obviously postponed due to the trade) so he’s ready.  Based on Manager Joe Girardi’s words, it sounds as though we’ll see both Gray and Garcia when the team travels to Cleveland later this week.  


The Yankees also picked up $1.5 million international bonus slot money in the A’s deal.  

The Yankees have a mission to rebuild the Baltimore Orioles’ pitching staff.  After sending pitchers Richard Bleier and Matt Wotherspoon to the O’s earlier this year, the Yankees sent RHP Yefry Ramirez to the O’s for international bonus pool money prior to the Sonny Gray acquisition.  


The day’s action opened three spots on the 40-man roster (those held by Jorge Mateo, Dustin Fowler and Yefry Ramirez).  One will be taken by Sonny Gray, while another will go to Jaime Garcia.  


A very productive day for GM Brian Cashman… 

Odds & Ends…

A couple of quick notes about new Yankees lefty Jaime Garcia.  I thought Garcia was in Oakland, CA with the Minnesota Twins when it was announced that he had been traded to the Yankees.  He was actually home in Atlanta packing his bags when news of the trade was officially announced after catching a red-eye flight on Saturday night. Twins manager Paul Molitor had a great line about Garcia, “Unless we bring him back, he’ll go down as one of the few undefeated pitchers in Twins history”.  Garcia, with the Twins for only 6 days, won his only start on Friday night.  It is amazing to think that the Minnesota Twins are paying the freight on Garcia’s salary, with the Yankees only responsible for the prorated share of the league minimum.  Hal Steinbrenner must have been giddy about dollar savings on the deal.

RHP Jonathan Holder has been recalled from Triple A prior to Monday’s game to fill the spot vacated by RHP Luis Cessa when he was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this weekend. Holder and 1B Garrett Cooper were both optioned to SWB after the game, presumably to make room for Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia.  Garcia is scheduled to join the Yankees today.

I am anxious to see what numbers Gray and Garcia will wear.  Both pitchers have worn #54 and we know that one is already taken.  Garcia wore #24 for 6 days in Minnesota, but that one’s already spoken for too.  


Have a great Tuesday!  New faces all around…David Robertson is already an old-timer once again.  Let’s Go Yankees!

If at First you don’t succeed…

He has swing and miss ability!…

My first thought hearing the news (allegedly, as there has been no official announcement yet) that the Yankees signed free agent first baseman Chris Carter was the team had captured last year’s strikeout leader.  Great if the signing was for a pitcher, but not so great when it is a hitter.

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Credit:  USA TODAY Sports

Still, for a team with questions at first base, the signing makes some sense.  It’s not a given that Greg Bird will pick up where he left off in 2015 given that he missed most of last year due to injury (playing only in the Arizona Fall League).

The other first base candidate (Tyler Austin) was completely off the Yankees’ radar last off-season.  He had a surprisingly good year to recapture prospect status and came up with some big hits in the Bronx at the end of the year.  But he is not the second coming of Don Mattingly, Tino Martinez, Jason Giambi or Mark Teixeira.

Carter will end many innings with strikeouts, but the potential for the big smash to win games is there.  He provides help from the bench if Bird captures first with a strong Spring performance or is there for a platoon if necessary.  He also provides insurance at DH for Matt Holliday who has spent a fair amount of time on the DL over the last few years.

For only $3.5 million (and one year), Carter is a good investment.  He can play his way into a new contract with the Yankees or the parties can decide to part ways at the end of the year which fits with Hal Steinbrenner’s desire to get under the luxury tax threshold next year.

We’ve been spoiled by great first basemen over the years, but I didn’t enjoy the various Teixeira ailments that plagued the team in recent years.  I am hopeful that Bird grabs the position and runs with it.  Carter will be there for insurance.

 

Wanted:  Starting Pitchers…

I had been hopeful the Yankees would sign a veteran pitcher to bring to camp but it doesn’t look like it will happen.  Jason Hammel had been my choice, but he recently signed with the Kansas City Royals as they attempt to recover from the devastating passing of Yordano Ventura.  Doug Fister is still out there, but I don’t think he’ll be coming in for the Yankees.  So, it looks like the Yankees will fill the two open spots in the rotation with in-house candidates.  Clearly, they have to be hoping for a rebound by Luis Severino who failed miserably as a starter last year (finding success only in the bullpen).  But with off-season work with Pedro Martinez, maybe Sevy can show he is capable of becoming a good starter at the major league level.

I would love for James Kaprielian to take the other spot, but I recognize that he is not ready yet.  He’ll need more time in the minors and might get a chance later in the year.  Luis Cessa and Chad Green will be given every opportunity, but Jordan Montgomery is quickly becoming my favorite.  Last year, he pitched to a 2.95 ERA in 19 starts with AA Trenton, and then 0.97 in just 6 starts with AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre.  At 6-6, he is a formidable presence on the mound with the pitches to match.  His time may be now.  Severino and Montgomery have the potential to make the back end of the Yankees rotation quite strong, which would certainly help the question marks that exist in the front end.

jordan-montgomery

Credit:  Jason Farmer/Scranton Times Tribune

It’s exciting that baseball is almost back.  Pitchers and catchers will report on Valentine’s Day (that must have made a bunch of wives and girlfriends very happy) so we’re only days away.  It seems like it wasn’t that long ago Aroldis Chapman was on the mound winning a World Series.  It will be good to see him back in blue (well, a darker shade of blue than we last saw him in).  The excitement of spring training and the limitless possibilities it brings is fun.

Welcome back, Yankees!

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Sad Day for Detroit and all of Major League Baseball…

On a final note, my deepest sympathy and condolences to the Detroit Tigers, their fans, and the family of their late owner Mike Ilitch who passed away yesterday.  He was great for the Tigers and for the city of Detroit.  He will be missed.  It’s unfortunate that he was unable to see a Tigers championship or the opening of the new Little Caesars Arena for his other team, the Detroit Red Wings.

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Credit:  MLB.com

—Scott

Yanks have a new shortstop – yes, in-Didi!…

Filling a position of need…

Finally, there is life in the Bronx!  Of course, it was only a matter of time given the needs of the team, but today was a day of large activity by the New York Yankees.

The morning was greeted with news that the Yankees had acquired shortstop Didi Gregorius from the Arizona Diamondbacks, shipping starting pitcher Shane Greene to the Detroit Tigers in a three-way trade.  While it’s never good to relinquish young, controllable pitching talent, the price of a 4th or 5th starter (or possibly long reliever) in Greene to acquire a starting shortstop was a no-brainer.

Christian Peterson/Getty Images North America

Gregorius is not coming to the Bronx to replace Derek Jeter.  He is merely the man who will be penciled into the slot created by the retirement of the future Hall of Famer.  But truth be told, short looks so much better in the hands of a 25 year old than it would have with a 41 year old regardless of the achievements for the latter.  Gregorius will bring good defense to an infield that needed help.  He may not hit, but he’ll hit better than backup shortstop Brendan Ryan.  He may be headed into the season as a platoon with Ryan (per Brian Cashman’s words earlier today), but Gregorius will have every opportunity to prove that the position is his.  The Yankees are much better with his presence.  Time will tell if he is a short or long term solution, but for now, he is an improvement over the speculated possibilities of Stephen Drew, Asdrubal Cabrera or Jed Lowrie.

SOMEONE had to take Jeter’s spot and it may as well be Didi.

With Greene’s departure, the obvious first question is whether this will motivate the Yankees to pursue Max Scherzer.  While I would love the Yankees to pursue Jon Lester, it seems almost too late in the process for the Yankees to enter the picture since it has been speculated that Lester will choose his destination next week during the Winter Meetings.

My fear is that the Boston Red Sox will soon be touting both Lester and Cole Hamels in their starting rotation which is even more reason that the Yankees need a true ace at the top of their staff.  Too many questions with the other starters so Scherzer is sorely needed.

It’s Miller Time!…

In the morning, it was also reported that reliever Andrew Miller would be deciding his selection today.  Later, it was announced the Yankees were his choice.  I wouldn’t say that they ‘won’ the bidding since technically, they were runner-up to the Houston Astros who offered more, but Miller felt the Yankees were the better destination.  Of course, it helps that Miller makes his home in Tampa so it will be a short commute to spring training.

AP Photo/Winslow Townson

Miller’s signing makes the most sense if the Yankees can somehow re-sign closer David Robertson.  The bullpen is so much stronger with the trio of Robertson, Dellin Betances and Miller than it is with Betances and Miller as co-closers.  Given the shortcomings of the starting rotation, mastery of the 6th innings on will be crucial.  I really like the thought of two powerful lefties in the pen (Miller and newcomer Justin Wilson, acquired earlier in the off-season from Pittsburgh).  Of course, last year’s top draft selection, lefty reliever Jacob Lindgren is burning through the system and will be in the major league bullpen in the not so distant future.  So, for a team that has struggled with finding dominant left-handed relief in recent years, they’ll soon be dealing with a position of strength.  Manager Joe Girardi must be getting good night’s sleep these days.

I love the Baseball Winter Meetings.  It is always my favorite time of the off-season.  Of course, as a Yankees fan, my team is generally very active during the week.  Last year’s flurry of acquiring Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran on the same day was such a rush.  Kind of like today when the Yankees acquired Gregorius and Miller…

When they needed a manager, the Rays simply took the Cash…

Finally, the Tampa Bay Rays announced their new manager when they named former catcher Kevin Cash to the position.

I was a little surprised that the Rays are replacing perhaps baseball’s best manager with a guy who has never managed before.  But Cash has been learning the craft under the watchful eye of Tito Francona in Cleveland as bullpen coach, and he brings the right amount of enthusiasm and intelligence to the position.  Clearly, new Rays President Matt Silverman is trying to place his own stamp on the team.  The best choice would have been to hire former Rays bench coach Dave Martinez but of course, that would have been a carryover from the Andrew Friedman-Joe Maddon regime.  All things considered, I am glad that Martinez was able to slide over to the Chicago Cubs to continue his role as bench coach for Maddon.

It will be interesting to see how Cash does.  It’s interesting that he can claim World Series rings with both the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.  Now, he’ll see those teams routinely as a member of the AL East.  Hopefully, he does well and his stay in St Petersburg is long and mutually rewarding.  Well so long as it doesn’t involve any AL East or World Series championships.

The next week should be interesting regardless of what happens.  The Yankees have awakened from their slumber…

–Scott