Thursday, August 27, 2015
The Yankees scored at a strong clip for much of this season, yet all the pathologies that created concern about their lineup in spring lurked — like a sickness in remission.
There was, in many ways, a race — could the Yankees get to the finish line this season without being overwhelmed by their age, by their fragility, by the lack of speed/batting average that could diversify an attack if the walks and homers stopped coming?
They had a bit of a Fantasyland going there for four months.
Fountains of Youth for Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. Some injuries, but nothing to devastate the whole attack. Enough long balls — especially at home — to whitewash how much difficulty so many of their hitters had simply reaching base.
But the season is not four months and reality is a pitch — that these days the Yankees cannot hit.
The Yankees still have the second-most runs in the majors, but are 24th in August. Collin McHugh, the Houston starter Wednesday, is a fine pitcher, but he was overpowering the Yankees with 90- to 91-mph fastballs and 88-mph cutters. The Yankees looked like they were swinging spaghetti against the force of a wind tunnel — slow and ineffective. There were innings that went 1-2-3 and felt like seconds, not hitters used.
The Yankees scored four runs in three games against the Astros. They had just two extra-base hits in the three games, accentuating that when the ball does not fly for them, they do not have another way to build runs.
That they won Monday was a tribute to the pitching of Nathan Eovaldi and that Oliver Perez, now an Astros reliever, still can butcher a game in a hurry. The victory was 1-0. The only run scored Tuesday was in the ninth inning with Houston up 15-0. In a 6-2 setback Wednesday, the Yanks were behind 5-0 when Didi Gregorius hit a two-run homer.
It was not long ago that the Yankees saw their frequency of home games as an ally down the stretch, particularly because the short right-field porch played to their offensive strengths.
But after sweeping three games from their personal piñatas, the Twins, the Yankees went 2-5 against the Indians and Astros, managing 16 runs in seven games and going 5-5 overall.
“It [the offensive downturn] is the root of our problems,” Joe Girardi said.
The Yankee offense of August was the offense I was sort of expecting all season. That they exceeded expectations for four months was great at the time, but it doesn’t make me think they’re going to all of a sudden explode in September to score the way they did earlier in the season.
They probably aren’t as bad as they’ve looked in August, but they probably aren’t as good as they looked from April though July either. But it’s hard to see this team as presently constructed beating out Toronto for the AL East. And it’s even harder to see them advancing past the ALDS even if they make it into the play-in game and advance.
But that’s why they play the games I guess.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
NEW YORK—Collin McHugh pitched well into the seventh inning and Evan Gattis homered twice as the Astros defeated the Yankees, 6-2, on Wednesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, taking the rubber contest of a three-game set.
McHugh took advantage of a Yankees lineup that was outscored, 21-4, in the series, limiting New York to two runs and five hits, striking out eight in 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander snapped a three-start losing streak and earned his 14th victory as the Astros notched consecutive road victories for the first time since June 17-18 at Coors Field. Houston’s won 10 of its past 14 games.
Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda permitted five runs and six hits over just 4 1/3 innings in his return from the disabled list. Gattis homered off Pineda in the second and went deep again off Adam Warren in the eighth. Houston rallied for four runs in the fifth, highlighted by run-scoring hits by Jake Marisnick and Marwin Gonzalez.
Didi Gregorius hit a two-run homer in the seventh for the Yankees, who have lost five of their past seven.
The good news is that the Yankees are guaranteed to not lose tomorrow.
1. Jose Altuve (R) 2B: (.309/.353/.422), 3.1 bWAR
2. Marwin Gonzalez (S) SS: (.266/.302/.432), 1.3 bWAR
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 3B: (.238/.342/.423), 0.8 bWAR
4. Colby Rasmus (L) RF: (.229/.302/.455), 2.1 bWAR
5. Evan Gattis (R) DH: (.241/.274/.450), -0.2 bWAR
6. Carlos Gomez (R) CF: (.245/.305/.392), 1.3 bWAR
7. Luis Valbuena (L) 1B: (.210/.292/.422), 1.5 bWAR
8. Jake Marisnick (R) LF: (.230/.265/.370), 1.3 bWAR
9. Jason Castro (L) C: (.216/.280/.388), 1.5 bWAR
Total Lineup bWAR: 12.7
1. Brett Gardner (L) CF: (.275/.363/.424), 3.9 bWAR
2. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.273/.332/.477), 0.5 bWAR
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.257/.364/.493), 2.8 bWAR
4. Brian McCann (L) C: (.248/.317/.474), 2.5 bWAR
5. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.271/.329/.386), 0.9 bWAR
6. Greg Bird (L) 1B: (.237/.275/.421), 0.0 bWAR
7. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.251/.299/.333), 1.6 bWAR
8. Chris Young (R) LF: (.247/.308/.461), 1.3 bWAR
9. Stephen Drew (L) 2B: (.198/.268/.380), 0.4 bWAR
Total Lineup bWAR: 12.7
The Yankees desperately need a good and healthy Pineda over the rest of this season if they are going to make it into the postseason and do anything once there. Will they get it? Who knows, but today will be a data point at least.
He’ll have to be good, because he isn’t going to get any help from his offense, is he?
The Astros supported Dallas Keuchel with their largest offensive showing of the season, as Evan Gattis, Marwin Gonzalez and Carlos Gomez all homered in a 15-1 drubbing of the Yankees on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.
Houston pounced on Ivan Nova for five runs in the first, a rally that was jump-started when Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was unable to snag a Colby Rasmus RBI triple on a sliding attempt. Gomez, Luis Valbuena and Gonzalez also drove in runs in the frame off Nova, who lasted four-plus innings and surrendered seven runs.
While this was an embarrassing loss that knocked the Yankees out of first place (they might have to get used to that place in the division with the way that Toronto has been playing), at the end of the day, Ivan Nova could have given up two runs and that would have been enough for the Yankees to lose to Dallas Keuchel, who just OWNS them.
Oh well, at least we got to see Brendan Ryan pitch two scoreless innings (and shave off that dumb mustache - dude, when everyone else shaved off their mustaches, that was the cue for you to do it, too).
We also got to see that Brian McCann is making sure the next generation of players know how to “Play the Game the Right Way,” as backup catcher John Ryan Murphy took issue with Carlos Gomez showing up the Yankees, much as McCann himself famously got into it with Gomez.
Winning 1-0 and losing 15-1, they still end up as a 1-1 record for the series. Let’s hope that the Yankees can win tomorrow and win the series (and have a nice day off on Thursday, their first day off in weeks).
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
1. Jose Altuve (R) 2B: (.308/.352/.422), 3.1 bWAR
2. Jed Lowrie (S) 3B: (.246/.351/.437), 0.8 bWAR
3. Carlos Correa (R) SS: (.282/.347/.517), 3.0 bWAR
4. Colby Rasmus (L) RF: (.226/.299/.446), 2.0 bWAR
5. Evan Gattis (R) DH: (.238/.269/.443), -0.3 bWAR
6. Carlos Gomez (R) CF: (.244/.304/.382), 1.1 bWAR
7. Luis Valbuena (L) 1B: (.210/.293/.422), 1.5 bWAR
8. Marwin Gonzalez (S) LF: (.259/.296/.417), 1.2 bWAR
9. Jason Castro (L) C: (.209/.272/.380), 1.4 bWAR
Total Lineup bWAR: 13.8
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.275/.335/.373), 1.8 bWAR
2. Chris Young (R) LF: (.250/.309/.466), 1.0 bWAR
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.259/.366/.496), 2.8 bWAR
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B: (.257/.359/.553), 3.9 bWAR
5. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.272/.331/.474), 0.3 bWAR
6. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.272/.331/.388), 0.9 bWAR
7. John Ryan Murphy (R) C: (.271/.305/.373), 0.3 bWAR
8. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.253/.301/.336), 1.6 bWAR
9. Brendan Ryan (R) 2B: (.237/.286/.373), 0.1 bWAR
Total Lineup bWAR: 12.7
Keuchel absolutely dominated the Yankees in his only start against them this season, firing a complete game shutout with one walk and 12 strikeouts.
I’m not expecting much different tonight.
NEW YORK — CC Sabathia doesn’t know what’s ahead, but he remembers the pain. He remembers it for how remarkable it was. He remembers it because it’s back.
Sabathia said after the Yankees’ 1-0 win over the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium on Monday that the stabbing he feels in his right knee is “about the same as last year” when the degenerative condition in it limited him to just eight starts.
If that’s true, it doesn’t bode well for his return.
The Yankees placed Sabathia on the 15-day disabled list before Sunday’s contest, a day after he removed himself after just 2 2/3 innings of a start.
Sabathia said he’s scheduled to get a second opinion from a doctor in New York Tuesday. He’s already been examined by Yankees team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad.
Sabathia said he doesn’t know whether he’ll pitch again this season.
“But that’s the plan,” he said. “To try to get me back out on the field. But we’ll have to see what happens.”
This doesn’t seem like something that’s going to ever go away, which makes it unlikely that Sabathia will be able to return to being an effective starter. I hate to see this happen to him, but I also didn’t particularly enjoy watching a limited Sabathia getting lit up in just about every start he made this season.
We’ll have to see what happens, but I’d be surprised to see him pitching again in 2015, and cruelly that is probably not a bad thing for the Yankees.
Monday, August 24, 2015
NEW YORK—Carlos Beltran lifted a sacrifice fly to deep center field off Chad Qualls in the bottom of the ninth inning, driving home Brett Gardner with the only run of the game as the Yankees defeated the Astros, 1-0, on Monday night at Yankee Stadium.
Nathan Eovaldi started for New York and blanked the Astros over eight innings of four-hit ball, striking out seven around three walks. The win was credited to left-hander Andrew Miller, who pitched around a leadoff hit in the ninth to complete the shutout, moving the Yankees back into a tie for first place in the American League East with the idle Blue Jays.
Somewhere in the last few months, Eovaldi morphed from a guy I couldn’t stand to watch pitch to someone I am finding myself liking more. According to this Fangraphs article, a new grip on his splitter may be part of the reason.
Whatever it is, let’s hope he can keep it up. It’s pretty cool to see your starting pitcher hitting 100 mph more than once in the 8th inning, isn’t it?
1. Jose Altuve (R) 2B: (.310/.353/.425), 3.1 bWAR
2. Marwin Gonzalez (S) LF: (.263/.301/.424), 1.3 bWAR
3. Carlos Correa (R) SS: (.278/.345/.518), 3.0 bWAR
4. Colby Rasmus (L) RF: (.228/.299/.451), 2.1 bWAR
5. Carlos Gomez (R) CF: (.246/.307/.385), 0.9 bWAR
6. Evan Gattis (R) DH: (.236/.267/.442), -0.4 bWAR
7. Luis Valbuena (L) 3B: (.209/.291/.423), 1.5 bWAR
8. Chris Carter (R) 1B: (.183/.297/.375), -0.9 bWAR
9. Hank Conger (S) C: (.223/.327/.446), 0.6 bWAR
Total Lineup bWAR: 11.2
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.279/.339/.378), 1.8 bWAR
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF: (.278/.365/.428), 3.7 bWAR
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.261/.367/.500), 2.9 bWAR
4. Brian McCann (L) C: (.242/.310/.469), 2.0 bWAR
5. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.271/.332/.475), 0.3 bWAR
6. Greg Bird (L) 1B: (.273/.314/.485), 0.2 bWAR
7. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.274/.333/.391), 1.0 bWAR
8. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.252/.300/.336), 1.6 bWAR
9. Stephen Drew (L) 2B: (.198/.268/.383), 0.4 bWAR
Total Lineup bWAR: 13.9
At least they’re not playing Cleveland again.
Francisco Lindor homered in the eighth inning off Dellin Betances to lift the Indians to a 4-3 victory over the Yankees on Sunday at Yankee Stadium. Battling from behind, the Yanks had tied the game in the seventh. The Indians leave New York having taken three of the four-game set, and the Yankees fell a half-game behind the Blue Jays in the American League East after Toronto’s 12-5 victory over the Angels.
“He’s a good hitter,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Lindor. “Especially against that guy, [when] lefties’ OPS was like .330 or something absurd. He has bat speed from both sides of the plate and he doesn’t stop playing. That was obviously a huge lift for us.”
Entering Sunday’s game, Betances held left-handed batters to a .342 OPS with no home runs.
“Every once in a while, it’s going to happen. We’re so used to seeing him be so good that we’re always shocked when things just don’t go boom, boom, boom,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “And today, it didn’t. He got the 3-2 count and he left the fastball up and Lindor jumped on it.”
A couple of things…
1. Brandon Pinder annoyingly walked in a run on five pitches. However, besides that, he and Nick Rumbelow were excellent bailing the Yankee out from losing CC Sabathia to an injury early in the game. The Yankees were able to not use Adam Warren or Andrew Miller today. When you lose your starter that early, not having to use all of your good relievers is a big help. Sadly, their best reliever blew the game, as Betances allowed a run for his second straight appearance. He might be tiring. Or Lindor might just be a good hitter who got a big hit. I am leaning towards the latter.
2. Toronto gave up five runs to Los Angeles today in the first inning. They then scored 11 unanswered runs to win the game. They destroyed a decent Angels team (admittedly, the Angels’ pitching is not amazing) in three straight games. Destroyed them. In other words, with Toronto playing like this, it seems hard to believe that the Yankees are going to win the division even if they play well, as Toronto looks downright unbeatable at the moment. They look like the best team in baseball. But if they were going to have any chance outpacing Toronto, they really can’t afford to lose this many games against Cleveland. Losing three out of four at HOME against Cleveland? That’s cuckoo bananas. The offense has been horrendous.
The Yankees pull three poor pitching matchups against Houston next. They could easily be three back in the loss column by their next off day. Oh well, they’re at least still in the Wild Card hunt! Oh, and Baltimore was swept by Minnesota. That was fun.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
It was a day of firsts for Luis Severino—statistically and emotionally.
On Saturday, the 21-year-old earned his first Major League win, a six-inning, one-run performance to help the Yankees beat the Indians, 6-2, on Jorge Posada Day. After two losses and a no decision, Severino officially inked his name into the win column. But the Yankees’ top prospect, according to MLB.com, gained something else on Saturday, too—a feeling.
“For the first time,” he said, “I feel like I belong here.”
Severino has made four big league starts and has pitched well in each of them, but there was something about Saturday that solidified in his mind that he’s capable of competing at the Major League level. Perhaps it was the win, perhaps it was how he got it.
First off, Severino was fantastic. FANtastic. His fastball was electric.
Secondly, the Yankees actually scored runs, which was amazing. They even added in the rare insurance run after Dellin Betances gave up his first run in over a month in the eighth.
However, the Yankees were also very fortunate today, as the umpires blew a call at second base where they gave the Yankees the force even though Didi was off the bag when he caught the throw. The umpires determined that Didi was avoiding the runner, in which case the play is now reviewable. Didi was not avoiding the runner. Greg Bird’s throw pulled him away from the bag. So the Indians should have had the bases loaded and one out in a 5-1 game. Instead, they had runners on the corners with two outs and Carlos Santana then struck out to end the inning (I was astonished that Jason Kipnis didn’t try to score when Bird threw to second).
Anyhow, the Yankees go for the split tomorrow. Let’s hope that the Angels come through tonight against Toronto.
Friday, August 21, 2015
Carlos Carrasco torched the Yankees with a dominant performance, giving up five hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings Friday as the Indians beat the Yankees, 7-3, at Yankee Stadium. Carrasco struck out 11, throwing 81 of his 108 pitches for strikes.
Carrasco’s performance laid the groundwork for the bullpen, which was able to hold off an eighth-inning rally by the Yankees, who pulled within one run by the ninth. But the Indians added three more runs in the final frame off of Justin Wilson to put the game out of reach.
Carlos Santana, who homered, and Michael Brantley each drove in two runs for the Indians.
Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka pitched six-plus innings, charged with three earned runs and seven hits to pick up his sixth loss of the season.
Simply put, with the offense in the doldrums like this, the Yankees can sort of kind of afford to have only a decent performance from their starter, but they need the bullpen to be lights out and Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson were anything but that. Wilson had his worst outing in quite some time. That was painful to watch.
The offense scored just two earned runs. I can’t wait until they finish playing Cleveland. Cleveland just has their number for some weird reason.
1. Jason Kipnis (L) DH: (.325/.399/.472), 4.8 bWAR
2. Francisco Lindor (S) SS: (.284/.319/.388), 1.7 bWAR
3. Michael Brantley (L) LF: (.319/.391/.476), 3.1 bWAR
4. Carlos Santana (S) 1B: (.226/.352/.380), 0.4 bWAR
5. Lonnie Chisenhall (L) RF: (.249/.287/.393), 1.8 bWAR
6. Yan Gomes (R) C: (.227/.264/.377), 0.5 bWAR
7. Abraham Almonte (S) CF: (.225/.279/.373), 0.0 bWAR
8. Giovanny Urshela (R) 3B: (.230/.276/.338), 0.1 bWAR
9. Jose Ramirez (S) 2B: (.200/.273/.273), 0.2 bWAR
Total Lineup bWAR: 12.6
1. Brett Gardner (L) CF: (.277/.361/.424), 3.4 bWAR
2. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.275/.335/.396), 1.1 bWAR
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.262/.369/.504), 2.9 bWAR
4. Brian McCann (L) C: (.244/.315/.471), 2.0 bWAR
5. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.271/.334/.476), 0.6 bWAR
6. Greg Bird (L) 1B: (.286/.348/.619), 0.3 bWAR
7. Chris Young (R) LF: (.253/.312/.471), 0.1 bWAR
8. Stephen Drew (L) 2B: (.194/.263/.386), 0.2 bWAR
9. Brendan Ryan (R) SS: (.246/.295/.386), 0.3 bWAR
Total Lineup bWAR: 10.9
You know what would be nice? If the Yankees would stop losing to Cleveland.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Lonnie Chisenhall, Michael Brantley and Jose Ramirez each collected run-scoring hits to back a strong start from Josh Tomlin, and the Indians escaped a ninth-inning threat to beat the Yankees, 3-2, at Yankee Stadium to open a four-game set.
Chisenhall sent a double to center field in the second to score Carlos Santana, while Brantley’s RBI single in the third drove home Jason Kipnis and Ramirez’s RBI single in the fourth scored Abraham Almonte.
Alex Rodriguez homered in the fourth inning, but by then the Indians had already picked up their trio of runs off Yankees starter Ivan Nova. The Yankees put together a rally in the ninth after Rodriguez led off with a single, stole second and then scored on a Carlos Beltran single. That made it 3-2. Yankees manager Joe Girardi was ejected with one out for arguing balls and strikes with home-plate umpire Dan Iassogna. After Greg Bird walked to put two runners on, Chase Headley grounded out. Didi Gregorius’ flyout to left field ended the game with the tying and winning runs in scoring position.
Well, that wasn’t good. It’s funny how certain things stick in your mind, because I still remember being pissed at how Josh Tomlin dominated the Yankees way back in 2010 during his Major League debut. So them losing to him tonight didn’t surprise me, despite them handling him pretty well in the times they’ve seen him since (he does have a winning record against the Yankees overall, though, 3-2).
Ivan Nova wasn’t good, but nor was he terrible. And Adam Warren and Chris Capuano pitched very well in relief. This game is on the offense. They even came up with a serious CT in the ninth inning, just to make the loss more painful. Oh well. The Twins are at least kicking the Orioles’ ass. And honestly, who here seriously thought that the Blue Jays were going to lose to the Phillies last night? So this is almost like a make-up for that game. At least that’s what I will be telling myself to cope with this.
On an semi-related tangent, the Dodgers’ payroll is now at $298 million. The Yankees is somewhere around $217 million (depends on how much they spent on various call-ups). I certainly don’t expect the Yankees to have a payroll near $300 million, but come on, Steinbrenners, you better spend some money this offseason.
1. Jason Kipnis (L) 2B: (.321/.396/.470)
2. Francisco Lindor (S) SS: (.289/.324/.395)
3. Michael Brantley (L) DH: (.317/.390/.473)
4. Carlos Santana (S) 1B: (.227/.351/.382)
5. Lonnie Chisenhall (L) RF: (.248/.286/.389)
6. Yan Gomes (R) C: (.230/.268/.383)
7. Abraham Almonte (S) CF: (.232/.280/.384)
8. Giovanny Urshela (R) 3B: (.230/.277/.340)
9. Jose Ramirez (S) LF: (—-/—-/—-)
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.276/.337/.377)
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF: (.280/.364/.428)
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.259/.367/.496)
4. Brian McCann (L) C: (.247/.318/.477)
5. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.272/.335/.478)
6. Greg Bird (L) 1B: (.333/.368/.722)
7. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.276/.336/.395)
8. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.255/.303/.337)
9. Stephen Drew (L) 2B: (.192/.257/.384)
For some reason I thought this was an off day. Joined in progress with the Yankees trailing 3-1.