Sunday, August 17, 2014
Hiroki Kuroda retired 17 straight batters to highlight a dominant outing and Brett Gardner drove in two runs as the Yankees completed their road trip with a 4-2 victory over the Rays on Sunday at Tropicana Field.
Mark Teixeira also hit an eighth-inning homer as New York wrapped up a weather-shortened five-game trip with a pair of weekend wins over Tampa Bay, heading home 2-3 overall after dropping two games to the Orioles in Baltimore.
The Yankees were held hitless into the fifth inning by Jeremy Hellickson, but mounted a two-out rally that produced three runs. Martin Prado notched the Yankees’ first hit of the afternoon, a double to left field that moved Stephen Drew to third base after a walk.
Gardner cashed both runs with a base hit into center field, and after Derek Jeter singled through the left side of the infield, Jacoby Ellsbury picked up his first hit of the road trip with a single to left field. Ellsbury had been in an 0-for-17 skid.
The Yankees get an off day tomorrow and then begin what is most likely their biggest homestand of the season, six games against the Astros and the White Sox. If they can’t go at least 4-2 on the homestand then their season is more over than it already is.
Hiroki Kuroda vs. Jeremy Hellickson
I am not going to be around Sunday afternoon, so I figured I’d get a placeholder thread up here for discussions.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
These series between the Yankees and Rays have always been circled on Derek Jeter’s calendar, since they provide the opportunity to sleep in his own bed, just a short drive away from Tropicana Field. This one sounded and felt a lot like a home game.
Jeter connected for a run-scoring, go-ahead single in the ninth inning off Jake McGee on Saturday, lifting New York to a 3-2 victory over Tampa Bay that snapped the Bombers’ five-game losing streak.
Brett Gardner scored from second base on the ground ball, shooting past a diving attempt by second baseman Logan Forsythe. Jeter had tried unsuccessfully to bunt the runner ahead, but his knock was rewarded with a standing ovation from much of the sellout crowd of 31,042.
David Robertson, pitching for the first time since Aug. 7, recorded the final three outs for his 32nd save. Dellin Betances was credited with the victory, having pitched a scoreless eighth inning with a strikeout.
Shane Greene struck out a career-high 10 men over six-plus innings but settled for a no-decision after the Rays mounted a soft seventh-inning rally that tied the game.
I’ve already checked out on this season, so I will instead look to the positives for next season.
1. Shane Greene is looking pretty damn good.
3. Carlos Beltran’s return to right field signals that his age 38 season will be a healthy season spent in the field and it will offensively be a marked improvement over his age 37 season.
Okay, that last one was a stretch.
Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Yankees (61-59) @ Rays (61-61), Saturday, 16 August 2014, 4:10pm
The Rays are in the midst of passing the Yankees in the standings and it is pretty depressing.
Friday, August 15, 2014
The Yankees have run out of ways to explain their season-long difficulty in scoring runs. The numbers aren’t matching up to the backs of the baseball cards, and the time for excuses has expired. They need production, and they need it urgently.
For at least one more night, that proved to be easier said than done. Alex Cobb handcuffed their lineup to six hits over 7 1/3 innings as the Yankees lost their fifth straight game, dropping a 5-0 decision to the Rays on Friday at Tropicana Field.
The Yankees managed one runner as far as second base through the first seven innings against Cobb, who struck out eight and helped Tampa Bay reach the .500 mark for the first time since April 22. The Yankees have totaled seven runs during this losing skid.
Good golly, Miss Molly, this team is so bad.
Well, let’s just hope that when this series ends, the Rays are not over .500. It is crazy that they have a realistic chance of passing the Yankees in the standings. Stupid Yankees.
Hal Steinbrenner believes it is important to factor injuries into evaluations of how his Yankees have performed this season to date, but the team’s managing general partner also is firmly pointing his finger at the bats to score more runs.
Steinbrenner spoke with a small group of reporters at the quarterly Owners Meetings, taking place at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore. The Yankees have not received the expected returns after investing a combined $283 million on Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran as free agents this past offseason.
“All teams have injuries, but when you lose four of your starting pitchers by the All-Star break, three by the first or second week in May—it’s going to have an impact on any club, in my opinion, regardless of how good their farm system is,” Steinbrenner said.
“That’s certainly been part of it. But we put a lot of money into the offense as well, and they have been, as a whole, inconsistent. It’s been a problem. And it needs to change, needless to say.”
The Yankees entered play on Wednesday ranked 11th in the American League in runs scored (471) and OPS (.696), and ninth in home runs (107). They had scored in just three of their past 29 innings, and they’ve scored one run or fewer in 22 games this year.
Steinbrenner, who authorized the July acquisitions of Stephen Drew, Chase Headley and Martin Prado in an attempt to upgrade the lineup, said that he wants to see the production improve over the season’s final 44 games.
“They have to. They know that,” Steinbrenner said. “They’re professionals and the talent is there. But they’ve got to step it up and they know that. ... Look, my job is to be an optimist, and I am confident.”
Steinbrenner added that he has not made any decisions about general manager Brian Cashman’s future. Cashman has held his current position since February 1998, and his current three-year contract expires after 2014.
Ah, I see. So that was the issue all along. The owner just forgot to tell the offense to do better. Well, that should be solved now. Phew.
Seriously though, I wonder if Cashman’s job might actually be in jeopardy this time around.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Rob Manfred was one vote short of the required three-quarters majority Thursday in balloting to succeed Bud Selig as baseball commissioner, a person familiar with the balloting told The Associated Press.
Manfred, baseball’s chief operating officer, received 22 votes and Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner got eight, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.
I don’t think it is overselling it to suggest that the winner of the Manfred/Werner competition might be one of the most important developments in baseball for the next five or so years.
Like Bud Selig or not, electing Manfred is a vote for things staying pretty much the way they are. If you like labor peace, Manfred is the way to go.
Werner, meanwhile, is supported by a dedicated eight owner bloc led by Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf that want to try to do to the players what the other leagues have done in their respective recent labor disputes. They look at the NFL, the NHL and the NBA (where Reinsdorf owns the Chicago Bulls) and say, “They all broke their players unions and got massive concessions from the players. Why can’t we do that, too?”
So if you’re a fan of labor peace, a fan of sharing the vast MLB wealth with the players, a fan of not having a former Boston Red Sox owner becoming the Commissioner of Major League Baseball and, of course, a fan of a system that allows the Yankees to exploit their economic advantages, then you should be pulling for Manfred here.
It’ll be fascinating to see who caves.
EDITED TO ADD: Well, THAT didn’t take long. Rob Manfred is the new Commissioner of Major League Baseball. As it turned out, it was the Nationals who broke from Jerry Reinsdorf’s eight-owner voting bloc (earlier, Milwaukee and Tampa Bay had also done so, back when Reinsdorf had a tentative ten-owner bloc) to vote for Manfred. Here are the teams whose owners held out against Manfred:
Note that the way the system works is that once there is a majority, everyone agrees to vote for the winning candidate “officially,” so he was technically elected unanimously. Just throwing that out there in case anyone is confused by headlines like “Manfred elected unanimously.”
Well, as stated, I’m a fan of this move, if only because he is the lesser of two evils. Let’s hope that 2016 doesn’t bring any labor strife.
The deep eighth-inning drive off Adam Jones’ bat disappeared over the left-center-field fence to find a safe landing spot in the bullpen, and the Yankees’ hopes of catching the Orioles in the American League East may have vanished with it.
Dellin Betances served up a game-tying Jonathan Schoop homer, spoiling his third inning of relief, and Jones blasted a go-ahead three-run homer off Shawn Kelley that sent the Yankees to a 5-3 loss on Wednesday at Camden Yards. The defeat dropped New York a season-high eight games behind Baltimore for the division lead.
“That’s where we are? Well, I think we were more looking at that second Wild Card spot,” Kelley said. “That’s a little bit better number. That seems a little more achievable at this point, but we’ve got to win every day. We’ve got to go out there and we got to win series and we got to win in our division. We didn’t get it done.”
You almost have to love the ability of Bryan Hoch (who is a very good writer) to avoid just pointing out crazy cuckoo bananas this game was by Yankee manager Joe Girardi. He literally brought Dellin Betances in in the 6th inning and then tried to get 2 and 2/3rd innings out of the guy with a 2-1 lead. Say whaaaaaaa???? Like I said, it was just crazy cuckoo bananas. Especially learning after the game that David Robertson was going to come in had Betances gotten the second out of the 8th. So D-Rob could get four outs with an off day tomorrow but not six? For serious?
Yankee killer Jonathan Schoop had a hilarious quote about his success against the Yankees (4 of his 11 home runs have come against the Yankees): “I don’t know exactly why, but I think I put more emphasis, more focus on [those at-bats], I need to learn how to do that every at-bat.” Yeah, probably a good idea there, Schoop. What an odd thing to say.
Anyhow, while clearly this is up there with the most painful losses of the season, I can’t help but come away still pretty pleased about two things…
1. Michael Pineda was excellent. He doesn’t even look fully healed and he was still excellent. I think he’ll even be better once he’s fully healthy. Awesome news for next year.
2. Speaking of next year, Masahiro Tanaka continues to throw without incident. He became the latest flat ground all star today and as he notes, things went well
“It’s feeling really good,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. “Really, I didn’t feel anything special compared to just regular tossing. I thought everything went well.”
It seems pretty hard to believe he seemingly is coming back, but, well, all we can judge is what he’s doing and so far he’s doing okay.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
The Yankees are pretty much screwed this year, but it’s weird, as screwed as they are (and they definitely are screwed) it is just too hard to look at a team that’s 2.5 games out of the playoffs on August 13th and say “Yeah, it’s over. They’re done.” That just can’t be. It is UNLIKELY that they will make the playoffs, but to be so close to the playoffs with over forty games left to play, you just can’t give up yet.
Luckily, even if you disagree with that sentiment, the Yankees are still giving us reasons to pay attention tonight as Michael Pineda returns to the team tonight. He was one of the few early bright spots and if he can return well, then at least 2015 will look a little bit brighter.
Monday, August 11, 2014
The Yankees arrived at Camden Yards recognizing what a pivotal week this will be for their postseason chances, perhaps determining if they have a realistic shot at the division or should instead focus their attention upon one of the Wild Card spots.
After one game, the early returns aren’t what they would have hoped. Chris Davis hit a go-ahead fifth-inning homer, Nelson Cruz also went deep and the Yankees’ bats couldn’t respond in an 11-3 loss to the American League East-leading Orioles on Monday evening.
Davis started the night on the bench before replacing Manny Machado, who exited in the third inning with a right knee sprain. The slugger’s 21st home run carried deep into the right-field seats off Yanks starter Chris Capuano, boosting Bud Norris to a win in his five-inning effort.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children run amok,
But there is no joy in New York— because the Yankees fucking suck.
No Chris Davis or JJ Hardy tonight, so the Yankees really need to win this game. Of course, they “really need” to win every game against Baltimore going forward, seeing as how they are six games back of the Orioles with 45 games to go, but still.
The Yankees will forgo another rehab start for Michael Pineda and throw him into the fire for Wednesday night’s series finale against the Baltimore Orioles.
Originally, Esmil Rogers had been listed as the probable starter, and Pineda, who has made two rehab starts for Triple-A Scranton, had been slated to make one more. But with time, and games, running out on the Yankees in their quest to remain in the AL East race—they trail the Orioles by six games, with 10 remaining between the teams—the Yankees have decided to get Pineda back into the rotation.
He will face right-hander Chris Tillman (9-5, 3.73 ERA) in a 7:05 p.m. ET start
It is kind of crazy to think that he hasn’t pitched since April 23rd.
It seems a bit rash to skip a last rehab start to throw him against a decent offense like Baltimore, but I suppose these are desperate times.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
It was understandable when the Indians’ Corey Kluber, one of the American League’s top pitchers this season, put the Yankees’ bats to sleep Saturday. But it was quite puzzling, if not frustrating for the 46,152 in attendance, to see Carlos Carrasco produce the same result Sunday.
Making his first start since April 25, Carrasco, who was moved to the bullpen after just four starts this year, limited the Yankees to only two hits over five innings and 77 pitches. The Indians’ bullpen then tossed four solid frames, and the Yankees dropped the rubber match to the Tribe, 4-1.
“We ran into some pretty good pitching this week,” said manager Joe Girardi. “That’s part of the game. You’re going to go through that as an offense.”
After a loud 10 runs on Friday, the Yankees’ offense was baffled again by Cleveland’s pitching staff, which produced 19 straight scoreless innings against them, dating back to the last two innings of Friday’s game. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a solo homer in the ninth to break that streak, but the Yankees’ fifth hit of the day was too little, too late.
This is up there with one of the most embarrassing losses of the season. On top of that, the Tigers blew a five-run lead behind David Price and then lost in the nineteenth inning to the Blue Jays.
Not good, people. Not good.