Detroit’s “All Wet”…
It sounds as though it will be a soggy Saturday and, unfortunately, Sunday for the Yankees. Rain is forecasted the entire day with no potential breaks in the weather. The first game of the double-header planned for today has already been postponed but it will most likely be two games lost to Mother Nature.
Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox keep winning. The Sox lead the AL East by three games over the Toronto Blue Jays after their destruction of the Baltimore Orioles yesterday, 10-3. The Yankees are five games back. For the Red Sox, it is the best start (12-2) in franchise history. They are averaging 6.14 runs per game with team ERA of 3.07. By comparison, the Yankees are scoring an average of 5.5 runs per game with team ERA of 4.78. Pitching, pitching, pitching.
With the postponement of at least one of today’s games, the Yankees will be forced to give up an off-day for the makeup. Depending upon the status of tonight’s schedule game, the Yankees will play at least nine and possibly eighteen innings of work on a day that should have been a day of rest. Mother Nature is not kind. Today’s games in Cleveland, OH and Minneapolis, MN have already been postponed.
|Credit: The late great Charles Schulz|
Here are the common days off for the Yankees and Tigers. I have not analyzed the impact on the Tigers, but some of these would be very difficult for the Yankees. Best case would be a flight path near Detroit, however, none are ideal. It’s a bad situation all around for the Yankees.
- Thursday, May 24th: After finishing road game in Arlington, TX on the way home.
- Monday, June 4th: Traveling between Baltimore, MD and Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
- Monday, June 11th: Between games in New York at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium.
- Monday, June 18th: Between two home series at Yankee Stadium.
- Monday, July 30th: Between two home series at Yankee Stadium.
- Monday, August 20th: After finishing home stand, en route to Miami, FL.
- Thursday, September 6th: Between road games in Oakland, CA and Seattle, WA.
- Thursday, September 13th: After finishing another road game in Minneapolis on way home.
I guess it could be worse. The Yankees could be playing like the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were pre-season World Series favorites. The Arizona Diamondbacks, with or without Brandon Drury, have the Dodgers’ number. The D-Back crushed the Dodgers yesterday, 9-1, to drop the Dodger Blue to 4-9 and six and a half games behind in the NL West standings. Arizona’s victory was their eleventh straight regular season win over the Dodgers. The D-Backs still feel the sting of the NLDS sweep by Los Angeles last October, but in the regular season, they own the Dodgers.
|Photo Credit: Associated Press (Jae C Hong)|
The San Diego Padres added to their collection of former Yankees yesterday. Their latest addition was former Yankees reliever Tyler Webb, claimed off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers. The Yankees traded Webb to Milwaukee last year for first baseman Garrett Cooper (who has since been dealt to the Miami Marlins and is currently on the disabled list). I always liked Webb, a lefty, and I hope that he finds success in San Diego with Chase Headley, Bryan Mitchell and Jose Pirela.
Nice job by the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders yesterday. They survived a four-run deficit to the Charlotte Knights (White Sox affiliate) and one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, Michael Kopech. In the seventh inning, after Kopech had departed with the Knights leading 5-1, the RailRiders struck for six runs on their way to the 10-5 victory. The RailRiders are 6-3 and share the International League North division lead with the Syracuse Chiefs (Nationals). I don’t want to take away anything from the other RailRiders who keyed the win (newly acquired L.J. Mazzilli had a bases-clearing double) but we’re clearly under a Gleyber Torres Watch right now. Torres was 2-for-5, with a run-scoring double during the six-run seventh inning. He had two doubles after Kopech had left the game and three RBI’s, and scored once. Torres is 14-for-36 with .389/.410/.583 batting line and .994 OPS in nine games. The dude’s on fire and is ready to take his game to the Bronx. We’ll see later this week if the Yankees make the move to bring the future star to Yankee Stadium or continue to wait a few more weeks. I think most Yankee fans are ready to see Gleyber in the Yankees lineup next Thursday.
|Photo Credit: MiLB.com (Ken Inness)|
Although there’s rain in New York today and tomorrow, Tuesday night looks good for Giancarlo Stanton’s reunion at Yankee Stadium with his former Miami Marlins teammates.
One of these days we’ll see Yankees baseball again. I am not optimistic about tonight’s game but we’ll see.
Aw shucks, do we really hafta?…
I have to admit the break was very nice. I took full advantage of it and enjoyed every minute. But alas, all good things must end. Time to get back to baseball and hopefully what will be a very productive second half for the Pinstripers.
I am glad the Chicago Cubs laid the Jose Quintana rumors to rest. It was a serious overpay (in my opinion) and I don’t think the cost was worth the top prospects in the organization. So, congratulations to GM Brian Cashman for his restraint. There’s no doubt we need pitching but we’ll just have to find another well, and hopefully a less costly one. The long term view is still the best view in the house. I am sure teams will now move to other rumored trade targets, ramping up the cost for guys like Yu Darvish or Gerrit Cole (should they be placed on the market). I’d rather see Chance Adams get a chance at some point rather than his inclusion in a trade for an older, more established pitcher.
|Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports|
With less than three weeks to the trading deadline, Thursday should just be a slight preview of the days ahead as teams jockey for position.
I thought yesterday’s trade for first baseman Garrett Cooper was a chance worth taking. Why not?…the Yankees do not have anything to lose. By trading Tyler Webb, it was an indication that he didn’t fit into their long-term plans. Plus, he tied up a valuable 40-man roster spot which will be a premium in the off-season when the Yankees have to decide whom to protect and whom to potentially expose to the Rule 5 Draft. Every move made today has ramifications on the off-season so I am sure that Cashman is being both near- and far-sighted at the same time. Ji-Man Choi has had a couple of nice home runs but I am not sold on him as a Major League first baseman. If he falters, it is nice to know that Cooper is waiting in the wings. He probably represents an upgrade over Mike Ford (currently on the DL for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre).
Stay tuned as I am sure we’re in for a ride.
I honestly did not think Aaron Judge would win the Home Run Derby last Monday. The win didn’t surprise me and I certainly loved watching the incredible show as much as anyone. But there was so much hype about him going into the Derby, I felt the weight of expectations would be too much. Between Judge and Gary Sanchez, I thought Sanchez would be the one to persevere. So, my apologies to Aaron and congratulations on the tremendous win. Now, in one of those bottom of the 9th at-bats when the Yankees are trailing and you represent the tying or winning run, please feel free to mix in a tape measure, Statcast-blowing blast instead of the usual strikeout. I am not trying to be critical of Judge and I am very appreciative of his consistent contributions game by game…but…outside of Clint Frazier’s recent walk-off, the bottom of the 9th at Yankee Stadium has generally meant three outs in recent weeks.
No All-Star Game recap from me, but it was tough to see a “formerly” beloved ex-Yankee hit the home run to win the game and another “probably still” beloved ex-Yankee save the win. Robinson Cano hurts more than Andrew Miller since the added measure (salt in the wound) was that Cano on the team as an injury replacement for current Yankee Starlin Castro. The losses of Cano leaving via free agency and the trade of Miller (not his fault) still sting. If Cano was still a Yankee, we’d probably be talking about the potential future retirement of his number. Now, Gary Sanchez gets the honors and Cano has a career that you primarily only see through box scores unless you live in Seattle.
Next Up: Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Boston, MA…
The Yankees get a very quick and hard test to open the second half. They’ll travel to Boston to play the first place Red Sox for four games in three days. The break, outside of Chris Sale, gave the Sox the opportunity to reset their pitching rotation. With Sale pitching Tuesday’s All-Star Game, he’ll take the mound on Saturday. But we’ll see the top 4 pitchers in Boston’s rotation for this series. So no fifth starters this go-around. The Red Sox are starting to play like everyone expected although they did lose their most recent series when they were beaten by the Tampa Bay Rays, the team currently tied with the Yankees for second place in the AL East. If Boston finds a solution for their third base problem and perhaps more arms for the pen, they’ll be a formidable team although at this point, I’d have to say the Houston Astros are the likely winners of the ALCS regardless of who they play.
By catching closer Craig Kimbrel in the All-Star Game, I am hopeful that Gary Sanchez picked up a thing or two to use during his at-bats. I think he was surprised at the movement of Kimbrel’s pitches from the catcher’s point of view. Very weird to see a Yankee catch a Red Sox pitcher.
The Red Sox can be beaten but not by the Yankees team we saw the last couple of weeks. They’ll need to rise to the challenge. I hope that Dellin Betances can right the ship once and for all. The same goes for Masahiro Tanaka. I only hope that we are not forced to use Tyler Clippard in a critical situation.
As expected, the Yankees have sent Starlin Castro to Double-A Trenton on a rehab assignment. They also released Chris Carter after he cleared waivers so there will be no Carter Experiment III.
Have a great Friday! Let’s start the second half off right with a win in Beantown! Let’s Go Yankees!
Mini Cooper he is not…
The Yankees have made their first trade of July 2017 with the acquisition of Garrett Cooper, a first baseman for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, the Triple A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. When I first heard that the Yankees had traded lefty reliever Tyler Webb to Milwaukee to acquire Cooper, I admit that I was skeptical. I have not been following the Brewers farm system nor did I watch this week’s Triple A All-Star Game. If I had, I would have realized that the Yankees have acquired a promising first baseman which happens to be a great need.
Cooper was named the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week for the week ending July 9th. He was also the starting first baseman for the PCL in the Triple A All-Star Game yesterday. He has steadily progressed through the ranks. He was taken in the 6th round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Brewers, and is considered a “late bloomer” in the midst of a breakout year. Cooper is currently hitting .366 with 17 HR and 82 RBI in 75 games for the Sky Sox. There’s not much doubt he’ll soon be the latest Baby Bomber in Pinstripes even if he has never played a game for the organization. He’s 26 and is a “big boy” (6’6″, 230 lbs). He has benefited from the altitude of Colorado Springs and playing in a hitters’ league but why not roll the dice.
After watching the Chicago Cubs send their top prospect, outfielder Eloy Jimenez, the #5 prospect in the MLB according to Baseball America’s midseason update, and other prospects to the Chicago White Sox for starting pitcher Jose Quintana, it’s clear that the cost of pitching is astronomical (as if we didn’t know that already). There’s no way I would have signed off on a deal to send Gleyber Torres or even Clint Frazier to the White Sox for Quintana. Let the Cubs fork over the farm. This reinforces that the Yankees should stay the course and continue to build for the next few years and avoid the “quick fix” for the Wild Card. So, I am okay with the under-the-radar moves that do not cost high-ranking prospects.
I hated to see Webb go as I’ve liked the pitcher and I was excited that he finally had his opportunity at the big league level. I felt that he performed well in his few appearances for the Yankees. He obviously was not one of Joe Girardi’s “go to” guys in the pen but he played a valuable support role. I guess all things considered, this was a modest cost for a guy who has torn apart Triple A pitching. How that translates to the Major Leagues only time will tell. But if my name was Ji-Man Choi, I’d probably be packing my bags. Yanks will want to see how Cooper performs in the International League before making his MLB debut but the guy with the similar name to the actor who played Lou Gehrig in The Pride of the Yankees is on his way. If he fields his position, knocks in a few runs, and doesn’t kill rallies by hitting into double plays, he’ll be better than anything we’ve seen yet at first base.
Cooper has been assigned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Welcome to the Yankees, Garrett!
Credit: Associated Press
Yankees 12, White Sox 3…
Two young Bombers collected their first Major League hits to help power Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees to the victory over the Chicago White Sox. Throw in another Aaron Judge home run and it was a good night at the office (even if it was a slightly wet and windy one).
When I saw the lineup card, I was a little concerned when I saw that two “fresh” rookies would be starting. But on this night, they were exactly what the doctor ordered. The Yankees jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. Brett Gardner walked to open the game. Following outs by Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez and a passed ball that moved Gardy to second, Didi Gregorius reached first safely on a throwing error by White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson. Gardy scored on the play. Chase Headley and Austin Romine both walked to load the bases. Miguel Andujar, a new arrival from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, stepped to the plate and chopped a single to center which scored Gregorius and Headley.
Credit: Jonathan Daniel-Getty Images
Tanaka escaped a bases loaded jam in the 2nd but he wasn’t so lucky in the 5th. After the White Sox opened the inning by loading the bases with two hits and a walk, former Yankee Melky Cabrera lined a single to left, scoring two runs. Fortunately, Tanaka was able to get out of the inning without any further damage. 3-2, Yankees.
The Yankees wasted no time in re-establishing a multiple run lead. In the top of the 6th, against Sox reliever Jake Petricka, Austin Romine doubled with one out. After Miguel Andujar hit a grounder for the second out, Tyler Wade followed with his first Major League hit, a fly ball that dropped in for a double to score Romine. Ronald Torreyes then laced a sharp double to right, scoring Wade. 5-2, Yankees. White Sox manager Rick Renteria came out to talk to Petricka and was thrown out when he began jarring with the Home Plate Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. The Yankees two-out hit parade continued as Brett Gardner singled to center to score Torreyes. Aaron Judge came up and lined “a bullet” to left for his 27th home run of the season. 8-2, Yanks.
Credit: Jonathan Daniel-Getty Images
Tanaka (6-7) finished his day by striking out the side in the bottom of the 6th. I really didn’t know what to expect out of Tanaka for this start. I didn’t know if last week’s stellar performance against Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers was an aberration or a sign that Tanaka was back on track. Fortunately, it appears the turbulence may be a thing of the past…or at least I hope so. Tanaka’s final line was very solid. 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 5 SO. He threw 101 pitches, lowered his season ERA to 5.56 and most importantly, did not give up any home runs.
It started to rain in the 7th inning. It got a little tense in the bottom of the inning when Tyler Wade, playing left field, was charged with an error. A fly ball that normally would have been destined for center field drifted toward left with the aid of the wind. Brett Gardner, playing center field, was moving with the ball and attempted to catch it but so was the left-fielder Wade. Their gloves collided causing the ball to bounce out of Gardy’s glove. The White Sox put a second runner on base on another wind-aided fly ball that Ronald Torreyes missed. There was also a fly in foul territory that normally would have been caught if not for the wind. Despite a subsequent walk that loaded the bases, Chad Green was able to strike out Todd Frazier to end the threat. Whew! I was very worried that the wind was going to help the White Sox get back in the game. I guess there’s a reason they call it the Windy City.
In the top of the 9th, Didi Gregorius hit a one-out two-run homer to increase the lead to 10-2. In a bit of deja vu from earlier in the game, both Chase Headley and Austin Romine walked in front of Miguel Andujar. Like the first inning, Andujar didn’t miss the opportunity. He lined a double to center to score (again) both Headley and Romine. Nice debut performance by Andujar with 4 RBI’s on the night. He finished 3-for-4 with a stolen base. He was probably left wondering what’s so hard about baseball at this level.
Chicago’s Adam Engel homered off Tyler Webb in the bottom of the 9th to make it 12-3 but then Webb settled down and retired the next three batters (two by strikeout). The Yankees win!
Then it was off to bed for the Baby Bombers…
After so many close games and disappointing losses, it was nice to have a blowout. The Yankees (42-34) moved back into a first place tie in the AL East with the win. The Boston Red Sox lost to the Minnesota Twins, 4-1. The Tampa Bay Rays lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-2, so they are three games back.
Odds & Ends…
Former Yankees top prospect Jesus Montero, 27, is looking for a new team. He was released on Tuesday by the Triple A Norfolk Tides, the top farm team for the Baltimore Orioles. Montero recently completed a 50-game suspension for a banned substance and was only batting .143 in 49 at-bats with 14 strikeouts for the Tide. After Montero’s trade to the Seattle Mariners in the 2012 deal that brought Michael Pineda to New York, he has spent time in the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization in addition to his latest Minors stint with the O’s. I guess that means the Red Sox or the Rays are on tap next. It’s been a hard road for the player once billed to be the next greatest catcher for the Yankees. Now he’s struggling to just stay in the game at first base or DH. Sad story for the guy who was supposed to be Gary Sanchez before Gary Sanchez was.
News started breaking early on Wednesday about the promotion of third base prospect Miguel Andujar to the Yankees. Andujar had just been promoted from Double A Trenton to Triple A Scranton on June 19th. In 67 games for the Thunder, Andujar had a slash line of .312/.342/.494 with 7 HR’s and 52 RBI’s. Out of 79 total hits, 23 went for doubles. He also had a team-high 10 errors. In 7 games for the RailRiders, Andujar was hitting .308 with 1 HR and 2 RBI’s (8-for-26). It is a small sample size but he only committed one error at Triple A. He hit well during Spring Training but his fielding was questionable. Nevertheless, he is known as an above-average defender. He now has a golden opportunity to out-perform an over-priced, 33-year-old veteran. Yesterday’s debut, even if he was at DH and not third, was a great start.
To make room for Andujar, the Yankees placed DH Matt Holliday (viral infection) on the 10-Day DL retroactive to June 25th. Holliday has been battling the symptoms of the allergic reaction he first encountered in Oakland. He’ll return to New York for further tests. We wish Matt the best and hope to see him back on the field in the near future.
We thought the Chris Carter Experiment was over, but alas, it might not be. The Yankees have announced that Carter, previously designated for assignment, has cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple A. He now represents the next option should the Yankees decide it is necessary to place Tyler Austin on the disabled list (hamstring). So, just when you thought it was safe to watch a Yankees game again…
Happy Thursday! One final game in Chicago before the getaway to Houston, Texas. Let’s Go Yankees!
Credit: John Munson-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Rangers 7, Yankees 6…
Bad Mike seems to be making more frequent appearances these days. Unfortunately, Michael Pineda chose the day of the 71st Old Timer’s Day at Yankee Stadium to throw up another stink ball.
The Yankees were immediately in the hole when the Texas Rangers opened with three runs in the top of the first. Delino DeShields, Jr. led off with a double and scored on a single by Elvis Andrus. Old-Timer Adrian Beltre, showing that he still has it, followed with a homer to left.
In the Rangers’ second, after Jonathan Lucroy opened with a single, Pineda came within a strike of getting out of the inning when he walked DeShields. Shin-Soo Choo made Pineda pay for it with a three-run blast to the second deck in right. It was 6-0 Rangers before most people had time to settle in to watch the game.
Pineda gave us a little view of his dominant side in the third when he retired the three batters he faced, two by strikeout. It was a facade. In the 4th, with two outs, the Rangers added what would prove to be the game-winning insurance run when rookie second baseman Drew Robinson grabbed his first major league hit with a solo home run to center. The Rangers held a commanding 7-0 lead.
Pineda (7-4) didn’t come back for the fifth so his final line was ugly. 4 innings, 6 hits, 7 runs, 3 home runs, 1 walk, and 4 strikeouts. The outing pushed his ERA back over 4 to 4.12.
Tyler Webb, making his second major league appearance, pitched the fifth. It didn’t start well for Webb when he walked the first two batters on 3-2 counts. But he rebounded to get Beltre to hit into a double play and struck out Rougned Odor.
In the bottom of the 5th, the Yankees made it a game again. Mason Williams led off with a single. Following outs by Ronald Torreyes and Brett Gardner, Austin Romine struck out but reached first base on a wild pitch by Rangers pitcher Nick Martinez. Aaron Judge followed with a run-scoring single to push the first Yankee run across the plate. Gary Sanchez made it 7-4 with a three-run shot to center.
The Yankees continued to chip away when Ronald Torreyes led off the bottom of the 7th with his second home run of the season, a shot to left. Both Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez walked with two outs. Didi Gregorius singled to right to score Judge, but Sanchez was tagged out at third to end the inning. The Yankees had closed to within one run, 7-6. “That’s a mistake on my part. I should never be the last out at third base.” — said Sanchez through an interpreter after the game.
Credit: John Munson-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
A scoring opportunity was wasted in the eighth inning when Chase Headley opened with a double, but he was left stranded at second, thanks to a ground out and two strikeouts. The Yankees had one more shot in the 9th when Aaron Judge hit a two-out single but Gary Sanchez went down swinging against Rangers closer Matt Bush to end the game.
Credit: John Munson-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect top of the 9th, striking out the side in the losing effort. Despite the loss, it was good to see a solid effort by the Yankees bullpen. Webb, Chad Green, Dellin Betances, and Chapman pitched five scoreless innings after the Pineda debacle.
Credit: John Munson-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Aaron Hicks left the game with right oblique tightness. He was scheduled to have a MRI last evening and the immediate word is that he could miss up to 3-4 weeks. Jacoby Ellsbury is the most likely choice for activation after a weekend of rehab starts. He was 2-for-5 on Sunday, with 2 RBI’s, for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. This would be a great time to promote Dustin Fowler, but then again, there is the small issue of room on the 40-man roster. No word yet on the Yankees plans when Hicks is placed on the DL.
Both Matt Holliday and Starlin Castro missed the game. Holliday is still dealing with the allergic reaction that arose in Oakland while Castro had a cortisone shot for a sore wrist.
The Yankees (40-33) remained tied for first place in the AL East as the Los Angeles Angeles defeated the Boston Red Sox again, 4-2. The Tampa Bay Rays lost to the Baltimore Orioles, 8-5, so they are still 2 1/2 games behind. The bottom two teams in the AL East were the only ones to gain ground. The Orioles are 4 games back, while the Toronto Blue Jays, who beat the Kansas City Royals 8-2, are 5 games.
Hopefully, the Yankees can rediscover the magic that has alluded them since the West Coast road trip. They’ll be in Chicago tonight to start a four-game series against the White Sox. If they can’t start winning with consistency, next weekend in Houston is not going to be pretty.
2017 Old Timer’s Day at Yankee Stadium
The weather cooperated for the 71st Old Timer’s Day. It was a beautiful setting for the pre-game announcements and it was spectacular to see so many Yankee greats and their families.
Credit: Seth Wenig-AP
Following a recorded intro by the late Bob Sheppard, Michael Kay and John Sterling had the honors of the pre-game introductions.
Widows of Yankee Greats
Helen Hunter, wife of Jim “Catfish” Hunter
Jill Martin, wife of Billy Martin
Diana Munson, wife of Thurman Munson
Kay Murcer, wife of Bobby Murcer
Former Players and Managers, and a Long-Time Trainer
The Chairman of the Board
The Yankees presented two chairs from the old Yankee Stadium to Raines in recognition of his entry into the Hall of Fame, Class of 2017.
Credit: John Munson-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
They also gave tribute to the many members of the Yankees family that have departed in the past year.
The Old Timer’s Game saw the Clippers defeat the Bombers, 2-1.
Next Up: The Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, IL
Here are the pitching match-ups:
Yankees: Jordan Montgomery (5-4, 3.74 ERA)
White Sox: David Holmberg (1-1, 2.84 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Severino (5-3, 3.30 ERA)
White Sox: Jose Quintana (4-8, 4.69 ERA)
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (5-7, 5.74 ERA)
White Sox: Mike Pelfrey (3-6, 3.73 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Cessa (0-2, 6.57 ERA)
White Sox: James Shields (1-1, 4.26 ERA)
Have a great Monday! Let’s Go Yankees!
Credit: Paul J Bereswill-The New York Post
Rangers 8, Yankees 1…
You have to score runs to win so starter Luis Cessa should not be faulted for this one. Aaron Judge tried too. He hit his league-leading 26th home run to extend his current hitting streak to 26 games. For as disappointing as the offense was from everybody else, the Yankees entered the 9th inning just a three-run jack away from tying the game.
However, Manager Joe Girardi chose to bring in game-killer Tyler Clippard. Perhaps we should just call him Relyt Drappilc because he is pitching so damn back-ass-wards right now. If you are feeling generous and want to give the other team the opportunity to score lots of runs, just bring Clippard into a game. But more rips on Clippard later.
Who is Austin Bibens-Dirkx? The Yankees never seem to do well against unknown rookies but this dude is a 32-year-old in his sixth major league organization. He spent 12 years in the minor leagues and was in the independent leagues last year. When the Rangers pitching staff gets healthy, we’ll probably never hear his name again. But on Saturday, he owned the Yankees. Aside from Judge’s solo home run in the sixth, Bibens-Dirkx only allowed four other meaningless hits in seven innings of work. He’ll be telling his grandkids one day about the time he shut down the high and mighty Yankees on the hallowed grounds of Yankee Stadium.
Credit: Randy Miller-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Cessa (0-2) was not awful but he did depart the game after five innings (having thrown 86 pitches). He allowed three runs on three hits, walked two, and struck out eight. His mistake pitch was a slider thrown to Carlos Gomez in the fourth inning that ended up in the left field stands for two runs, giving the Rangers a 3-0 lead. As YES Network announcer David Cone put it, it was a slider that stopped sliding or a slider that takes a seat (pulled up a chair).
Credit: Randy Miller-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
After Judge had brought the Yankees to within two runs with his homer, Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos answered with a solo shot of his own in the seventh off Yankees reliever Jonathan Holder. It was the tenth home run of the season for Chirinos in only 95 at-bats.
With two outs in the seventh, Tyler Webb entered the game in relief of Holder. It was Tyler’s Major League debut and he got his first batter (Shin-Soo Choo) to line out to end the inning. Webb pitched the eighth, retiring the three batters he faced, including one by strikeout, to complete a perfect debut.
Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
Sadly, Girardi opted to turn to Clippard for the ninth and he snuffed any chance for a comeback. Before he had recorded the third out, Clippard had allowed four more runs on a wild pitch and two doubles. He allowed a total of four hits in the inning and gave up two walks. The once-reliable set up artist is now a huge albatross. I am not sure how you can turn him around in games without costly implications. This is one of the worst stretches that I’ve ever seen. While he pitched well for the Yankees last year after his acquisition from the Arizona Diamondbacks at the trading deadline, his numbers in the Sonoran Desert weren’t that great. For the 2016 D-Backs, he was 2-3 with 4.30 ERA. That’s closer to the pitcher that we are seeing today. I hope Clippard can turn this thing around but at the moment, I am not optimistic. Clippard’s too valuable (I think?) to cut so hopefully he does work through this funk. I apologize for being so harsh but the last few weeks with Clippard have not been enjoyable.
Credit: Frank Franklin II-Associated Press
Facing the huge deficit, the Yankees went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th, with two strikeouts, and the Rangers walked away with the victory.
Fortunately for the Yankees (40-32), the Los Angeles Angels defeated the Boston Red Sox, 6-3, so the teams remain tied atop the AL East Standings. The Tampa Bay Rays also lost (8-3 to the Baltimore Orioles) so they stayed 2.5 games back.
Tyler Austin, making his season debut, finished hitless in three at-bats with two strikeouts and a grounder into a double play. There was concern in the fifth inning when Pete Kozma, standing off first base, jarred Austin’s left wrist while racing back to first standing up after a line out by Choo. Austin shook it off and continued the game. It does raise the question of who is the safety net for Austin should he get hurt. Chase Headley is currently unable to play due to back spasms and it is best to not over-expose Matt Holliday at the position.
Odds & Ends…
The Yankees have signed their top pick, RHP Clarke Schmidt, to an ‘as-expected’ below-allocation contract. By signing for $2,184,300 (or $1,274,300 below the allocated value of the 16th overall pick), the Yankees had the money to “overpay” RHP Matt Sauer, RHP Trevor Stephan, OF Canaan Smith, and RHP Dalton Higgins. With a signing bonus of $2.5 million, second round pick Sauer ended up as the most costly of the signed draft choices. The Yankees have only one player in the top 20 that remains unsigned…18th pick RHP Garrett Whitlock.
Credit: Allen Sharp-Spurs & Feathers
Jacoby Ellsbury made a rehab start yesterday for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. He broke up a no-hitter with a double in the fifth inning of SWB’s 8-0 loss to the Pawtucket Red Sox. He finished 1-for-3. He’ll start at DH today for SWB before moving over to AA-Trenton when the RailRiders hit the road.
Today is one of the best days of the year for the Yankees. It’s Old Timer’s Day. Pre-Game introductions begin at 11:30 am Eastern. It is always so fun to hear the name announcements for the Yankees legends as they run (or walk) out onto the field. Jorge Posada will be making his first Old Timer’s appearance at Yankee Stadium. Hip, hip, Jorge! This year’s participants will include Jesse Barfield (no offense, we should have kept Al Leiter), Scott Bradley, Homer Bush, Rick Cerone, David Cone, Bucky Dent, Al Downing, Brian Doyle, Mariano Duncan, John Flaherty, Whitey “Chairman of the Board” Ford, Joe Girardi, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Ron “Louisiana Lightning” Guidry, Charlie Hayes, Rickey Henderson, Reginald Martinez “Mr October” Jackson, Scott Kamieniecki, Pat Kelly, Don “Gooney Bird” Larsen, Graeme Lloyd, Hector Lopez, Sparky Lyle, Kevin Maas, Constantino “Tino” Martinez, Lee “Maz” Mazzilli, Ramiro Mendoza, Stump Merrill, Gene “Stick” Michael, Jeff Nelson, Paul “The Warrior” O’Neill, Tim “Rock” Raines, Willie Randolph, Mickey “Mick the Quick” Rivers, Tanyon Sturtze, Ralph Terry, Marcus Thames, Joe Torre, Mike Torrez (sorry, but I still think of him as a Red Sock), Roy White and Bernie “Bern Baby Bern” Williams.
Credit: Jim McIsaac-Getty Images
Have a great Sunday! It will be a fun day! Go Yankees!
Angels 10, Yankees 5…
The win on Wednesday was just a tease. Losing teams find ways to lose and unfortunately the Yankees gave another game away last night. Unless they can turn this around, the Yankees are showing that the early season was just a mirage. You can’t blame Aaron Judge. He’s trying. He hit his 25th home run of the season and has hit safely in 24 consecutive games (the longest Yankee streak of the year). But pitching, which has alternated between very good and very bad, is sitting in the latter category at the moment albeit with an occasional solid performance like Jordan Montgomery the other night.
Bronx Pinstripes had a great tweet last night. “What a disaster. At least we have Tanaka tomorrow. …Oh wait.” My line of thinking exactly…
The game started well enough. Despite Cameron Maybin’s lead-off home run to give the Angels an early 1-0 lead, the Yankees quickly answered in the bottom of the first when Angels starter Jesse Chavez walked Aaron Judge and Matt Holliday with two outs. Starlin Castro followed with a run-scoring single to tie the game.
In the bottom of the 2nd inning, it looked like this was going to be our night. Chris Carter doubled and Ronald Torreyes reached base on an infield hit, pushing Carter to third. Brett Gardner grounded into a force-out at second but Carter scored on the play. Aaron Hicks singled, putting runners at the corner, bringing up Aaron Judge. With a three-run shot to center, the Yankees were up, 5-1. I didn’t really expect those to be the final runs scored by the Yankees.
Credit: Kathy Willens-AP
The Angels started chipping away in the third when both Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar had run-scoring singles with two outs. 5-3, Yankees. Luis Severino settled down after that for a few innings of solid work, but gave up another run in the 6th when Escobar opened the inning with a double and scored on a single by Luis Valbuena. Valbuena, a third baseman, is a guy I thought the Yankees should have pursued in the off-season when he was a free agent.
Still, I had hope that the Yankees could lock down the Angels, score a couple of insurance runs and win the game. Then, the 7th inning happened. Cliff Pennington opened the inning with a single. From there, the game unraveled. Cameron Maybin hit a ground ball to Starlin Castro that should have been turned for a double play but Castro’s fielding error allowed Maybin to reach base, with Pennington moving to third. So, instead of two outs and no one on, the Angels had runners at the corners with no outs. End of game for Luis Severino. Chasen Shreve entered the game and was greeted by a sac fly from Kole Calhoun which tied the score at 5. Exit Shreve, enter Dellin Betances. Maybin stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Gary Sanchez. Albert Pujols said ‘I’ll take your gifts…thank you very much’ and lined a single to right, scoring Maybin for the lead. Betances walked Escobar, followed by a wild pitch moving the runners to second and third. With two outs, Andrelton Simmons doubled to give the Angels two more runs, 8-5.
Credit: Kathy Willens-AP
I was not ready to admit defeat and was pulling for an amazing comeback like the Yankees did earlier in the season against the Baltimore Orioles. Yeah, right. The Yankees went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 7th and the Angels were ready for more in the 8th. Domingo German took the mound, replacing Betances, and retired the first batter on a strikeout. Unfortunately, this was followed by Cliff Pennington’s double and a wild pitch that moved him to third. Cameron Maybin walked. A failed pick-off attempt at first by German, the third Yankees error of the game, allowed Pennington to score with Maybin moving to third. Kole Calhoun graciously accepted the latest gift, and hit a sac fly to push the score to 10-5.
The Yankees could only muster a single from Chris Carter in the 9th, and he was left stranded at second when Ronald Torreyes grounded out.
This was a very disappointing loss. I am not sure how you can lose two of three in your home park against the Mike Trout-less Angels. Giving away free runs on multiple errors and wild pitches are not the signs of a successful team. With the loss, the Yankees (39-31) fell back into a first-place tie with the idle Boston Red Sox. The Tampa Bay Rays, who also had the night off, moved to within 2 1/2 games of the leaders.
Yes, I am mad about this loss. And it scares the hell out of me that we’ll be throwing Tanaka out tonight against Yu Darvish. It doesn’t get any easier…
Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium…
The Texas Rangers make their first trip to NYC for a three-game series starting tonight. Pete Kozma, who started the year with the Yankees when Didi Gregorius was on the DL, is currently a back-up infielder for the Rangers. Ernesto Frieri, who previously opted out of his Yankees minor league contract, is in the Texas bullpen.
Rangers: Yu Darvish (6-5, 3.35 ERA)
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (5-7, 6.34 ERA)
Rangers: Austin Bibens-Dirkx (2-0, 4.25 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Cessa (0-1, 7.36 ERA)
Rangers: Nick Martinez (2-3, 4.33 ERA)
Yankees: Michael Pineda (7-3, 3.56 ERA)
Y’all enjoy the games now, y’hear!
Hopefully, we’ll see the team that throttled the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles a couple of weeks ago. I miss that team…
Odds & Ends…
Prior to yesterday’s game, the Yankees purchased the contract of left-handed reliever Tyler Webb from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. I am very excited to see Tyler finally make it to the Show. I’ve been following his career for a few years and I’ve liked the pitcher. I was worried in the off-season when he was selected in the Rule 5 Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. As a mature lefty reliever (he’ll turn 27 in less than a month), I thought he had the potential to stick with the Pirates. Despite a solid Spring performance, he was returned to the Yankees in a numbers game (fortunately for us). In 21 games for SWB, Webb is 3-1 with 3.24 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. He has struck out 47 batters in 33 1/3 innings while allowing 33 hits and 12 runs. He has only given up 3 walks and home runs. They may not be elite numbers but I feel Webb has earned his shot. I am glad that he is here even if it’s only temporary. Rob Refsnyder was sent to SWB to make room for Webb.
Credit: Chris O’Meara-AP
Greg Bird has been given a cortisone shot in his ankle and the hope is that he’ll soon be able to resume his rehab. I find it highly unlikely that this will be the solution that gets Bird back on the field. It seems to me that the problem with the ankle is more serious than we’ve been led to believe. The cortisone shot just masks the pain, it doesn’t fix the problem. There is daily speculation who the Yankees should look at on the trade market. Lately, Yonder Alonso has been receiving the most attention. I like Alonso and do feel that he’d be an upgrade over Chris Carter or Tyler Austin. I have no problems with Matt Holliday at first other than I want to keep the guy healthy. DH is the better avenue to accomplish that goal. The Atlanta Braves did a wonderful job in trading for the under-utilized Matt Adams, previously of the St Louis Cardinals. Adams has done nothing but hit since he became a Brave and has sparked speculation that injured first baseman Freddie Freeman may be moved to third when he returns. I want GM Brian Cashman to make one of those under-the-radar but highly productive moves. I know, easier said than done.
I think Aaron Judge should accept the invitation to participate in this year’s Home Run Derby. I know that some players mess up their swings but like Manager Joe Girardi, I don’t think it would adversely impact Judge’s swing. I like the idea of his exposure to the other great sluggers of the game. It’s all part of his maturation as a Major League superstar. The Yankees have renewed popularity this year because of guys like Judge and Gary Sanchez. The All-Star Game is a great format to represent the pride and tradition of the Yankees.
This is not baseball related but as an owner of a black cat, I found this one quite humorous…and true!
Have a great Friday! Let’s not start a new losing streak today, please.