Wednesday, August 19, 2015
It was the biggest day of Greg Bird’s six-day-old Major League career Wednesday, when he notched his first Major League homer in the third inning, only to follow it up with another two-run shot in the sixth, lifting the Yankees to a 4-3 win over the Twins.
The Yankees took a 2-0 lead when Bird homered to right field to score himself and Carlos Beltran. The Twins rallied back and took the lead in the sixth with a three-run frame that featured every Twins batter heading to the plate. Joe Mauer picked up two RBIs and Trevor Plouffe chipped in one, but the lead was already gone by the end of the inning.
Bird’s second homer of his career—and of the day—put the Yankees ahead for good, allowing them to complete the sweep. Of the Yanks’ four runs, Bird was responsible for all of them.
Oh man, John Sterling-isms are spreading like plagues! First Michael Kay said that Greg Bird was “flying around the bases” after his home run and now Yankees.com is making musical theater references in their headlines!
Anyhow, this was obviously yet another really great win for the Yankees, as they received the sort of unexpected run production that they used to get in the “good ol’ days” of the late 1990s, only here, Greg Bird might be a realistic part of the Yankees future. Awkwardly, he plays two positions where the Yankees are sort of set right now, but when a guy is hitting like this, you find a way to get his bat into the lineup.
Nathan Eovaldi started the game amazingly well, but he throws a ton of pitches and he ran into trouble in the sixth inning, putting the Yankees into a one-run hole that Greg Bird had to dig them out of. Eovaldi came into the game having thrown 39 pitches of 99 MPH or more this season and then threw forty pitches today at 99 MPH or better. So either the Yankees had a juiced radar gun today or Eovaldi was really bringing it. Eovaldi continues to have the “will to win,” as he knows how to give up just enough runs for the Yankees to score at least one more than the other team. Him and Jack Morris.
The Yankees get the Cleveland Indians next. They had a little trouble with the Tribe the other week, so hopefully they’ll do better against them at home.
1. Aaron Hicks (S) CF: (.272/.322/.416), 1.0 bWAR
2. Brian Dozier (R) 2B: (.246/.316/.489), 2.5 bWAR
3. Joe Mauer (L) DH: (.264/.331/.377), 1.0 bWAR
4. Miguel Sano (R) 3B: (.291/.398/.567), 1.3 bWAR
5. Trevor Plouffe (R) 1B: (.249/.306/.458), 2.2 bWAR
6. Eddie Rosario (L) RF: (.279/.301/.455), 1.8 bWAR
7. Eduardo Escobar (S) SS: (.246/.289/.383), 0.1 bWAR
8. Chris Herrmann (L) C: (.162/.235/.324), 0.1 bWAR
9. Shane Robinson (R) LF: (.259/.313/.340), 0.6 bWAR
Total Lineup bWAR: 10.6
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.276/.338/.379), 1.6 bWAR
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF: (.283/.367/.432), 3.6 bWAR
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.261/.368/.500), 2.8 bWAR
4. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.271/.333/.480), 0.6 bWAR
5. Greg Bird (L) 1B: (.286/.333/.357), -0.1 bWAR
6. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.272/.332/.390), 0.9 bWAR
7. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.257/.306/.340), 1.6 bWAR
8. Stephen Drew (L) 2B: (.190/.256/.384), 0.0 bWAR
9. John Ryan Murphy (R) C: (.282/.319/.391), 0.4 bWAR
Total Lineup bWAR: 11.4
The Yankees could win today, but it’s a stone cold lead pipe cinch that Toronto will win today. So a Yankee win today would really just be delaying the inevitable ascension of the Blue Jays’ rightful spot atop the AL East. Ergo, meaningless.
Players are generally paid based on how good they are, which makes sense. Ervin Santana is earning more than four times what Nathan Eovaldi is earning this year.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Alex Rodriguez has hit more grand slams than anyone in the history of the game, and the slugger extended that record with his 25th career grand slam on Tuesday, helping to lift the Yankees to an 8-4 victory over the Twins at Yankee Stadium.
Rodriguez’s seventh-inning shot came off reliever J.R. Graham, who inherited a bases-loaded, one-out jam from Ryan O’Rourke. Rodriguez received a curtain call from the Stadium crowd after circling the bases, celebrating his first homer in 72 at-bats and his first grand slam in nearly two years.
“I certainly have felt a lot more comfortable in those situations, especially this year,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve been through a lot, you know? I’ve been in those situations many, many times. The formula never changes. You want to get a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it.”
Miguel Sano homered for the second consecutive game, highlighting the Twins’ output against CC Sabathia, who held Minnesota hitless into the fifth but permitted four runs over 6 2/3 innings. Nick Rumbelow picked up his first Major League victory in relief. Twins starter Mike Pelfrey worked 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball in a no-decision.
You have to give the Yankees this much. Even if this season ends poorly, they sure have given us some tremendous wins to watch. A-Rod had not hit a home run since his birthday, which was eighteen games ago. He was mired in something that seemed to be more than a slump - he just looked like all of his energy was gone. He still had a good approach at the plate, he just couldn’t DO anything. So when he came to the plate with the Yankees trailing 4-1 in the seventh and the bases loaded, I don’t think anyone could have truly imagined that he would hit a go-ahead grand slam, and yet that’s exactly what he did.
The Yankees were trailing 4-1 because, due to the bullpen being wiped out covering for Bryan Mitchell yesterday, CC Sabathia had to start the seventh, and CC pitching to MIguel Sano three times was clearly not a good idea (CC had pitched well, but come on, in a normal game with a full bullpen, you take your six innings of one run ball from CC and say, “Thank you for the six innings of one-run ball, CC” and get him the heck out of there) and it was made even clearer when Sano hit a home run to put the Twins up 3-1. After CC put two more men on base, Nick Rumbelow came in and gave up another run before getting a final out (Nick Rumbelow got the win, and it was one of the least deserving wins you can get - come in, pitch 1/3 of an inning, allow an inherited runner to score and you get a win). Things got even crazier when Justin Wilson, who was supposedly unavailable tonight, came in to pitch the 8th inning. Andrew Miller came with two outs to face Sano and he struck him out easily. The Yankees then added three insurance runs in the ninth and Miller closed the game out for his 27th save.
A-Rod still “only” went 1-5 and Mark Teixeira is not responding well to his bruised shin (although a CT scan confirmed that there was no break in the bone), so there is still some unease with those two spots in the lineup, but Carlos Beltran is swinging the bat well, Ellsbury and Gardner are showing some life, Greg Bird looks like a Major League hitter and Brian McCann is doing some good things with the bat. The Yankees go for the sweep tomorrow with Nathan Eovaldi versus Ervin Santana (who I still hate for the 2005 ALDS). Let’s go, Eo!
1. Aaron Hicks (S) CF: (.276/.327/.423)
2. Brian Dozier (R) 2B: (.248/.318/.493)
3. Joe Mauer (L) 1B: (.266/.331/.380)
4. Miguel Sano (R) DH: (.292/.401/.554)
5. Trevor Plouffe (R) 3B: (.251/.307/.461)
6. Torii Hunter (R) RF: (.238/.291/.417)
7. Eduardo Escobar (S) SS: (.238/.282/.373)
8. Kurt Suzuki (R) C: (.229/.288/.304)
9. Shane Robinson (R) LF: (.255/.306/.338)
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.274/.337/.375)
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF: (.283/.366/.434)
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.262/.370/.496)
4. Brian McCann (L) C: (.249/.319/.481)
5. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.268/.331/.476)
6. Greg Bird (L) 1B: (.200/.273/.300)
7. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.257/.304/.340)
8. Stephen Drew (L) 2B: (.192/.258/.387)
9. Brendan Ryan (R) 3B: (.255/.293/.400)
I once knew a man who bet against FIP.
Chase Headley connected with a game-winning groundout off Glen Perkins with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning, lifting the Yankees to an 8-7 victory over the Twins on Monday evening at Yankee Stadium.
Brian McCann homered and drove in five runs for the Yankees, slugging a three-run shot in the first inning and lining a two-run single in the third off Twins starter Kyle Gibson, who lasted five innings and permitted six runs on four hits.
Carlos Beltran hit a game-tying home run in the sixth inning off Brian Duensing. Dellin Betances worked 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, and Andrew Miller pitched a perfect top half of the 10th before Greg Bird and McCann opened the home half with doubles, setting up the Yankees’ third walk-off victory of the season.
The Yankees expanded their lead in the American League East from a half game to a full game over the Toronto Blue Jays. But boy, was it a hard time coming. Yankee starter Bryan Mitchell suffered a horrible injury when a line drive off the bat of former Yankee Eduardo Nunez hit him in the face at 103 MPH. It broke Mitchell’s nose. The Yankees are monitoring him for concussion symptoms. I suspect that Mitchell will be headed to the disabled list, especially with the Yankee bullpen now stretched very thin. The entire bullpen was needed tonight, with the initial reliever, Caleb Cotham, not doing particularly well (giving up 4 runs in two innings). Cotham is likely heading back to the minors in favor of Nick Rumblerow. The problem is that both Rumbelow and Nick Goody pitched over an inning last night in the minors, so since Mitchell is likely going on the DL, the Yankees can bring back Brandon Pinder despite him not spending a full 10 days in the minors. So Rumbelow and Pinder will likely join the team tomorrow to help out the bullpen. The regular bullpen guys pitched decently enough, although both Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson gave up runs. Wilson’s run put the Yankees in a 7-5 hole going into the bottom of the sixth. Luckily. Carlos Beltran continued his strong recent play with another clutch home run, tying the game at 7 with a two-run shot in the sixth.
Adam Warren, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller dominated the Twins from that point on (Betances and Miller were electric), giving the Yankees a chance to win it in the 10th. The bottom half of the 10th opened up oddly as Greg Bird led off with a beautiful looking double off of Glen Perkins. Brian McCann followed with a long drive to deep left-center. The left fielder got a glove on it, so Bird couldn’t leave second base until it was clear that it was a hit, so with the throw coming home, McCann was able to get to second with a very rare double with a runner on second that did not drive in the runner. After a walk to Carlos Beltran, the Twins brought in a fifth infielder and their plan seemed to work as Chase Headley grounded out to shortstop, but our old friend Eduardo Nun-E couldn’t play the bad hop, so ZBrendan Rtan (pinch-running for Bird) scored easily. Interestingly enough, Nunez decided to throw to first to get the meaningless out for some reason (perhaps to avoid getting charged with an error?). This was somewhat important as it made it an RBI groundout for Headley rather than a game-ending error (with no ribbie for Headley). I suppose “somewhat” is even a stretch there, as only Headley’s RBI totals and Nunez’s error totals really care about it.
In two other pieces of bad news, Teix fouled a pitch off of his leg (just below the knee) and had to leave the game. X-Rays were negative and it is “just” a bruise, but he is likely out of the lineup for tomorrow. A-Rod, meanwhile, might as well be out of the lineup, as he looks lost at the plate right now. He can’t drive anything .Remember his return in 2012? When he couldn’t drive ANYthing? This is like that. He is still a fine hitter in terms of identifying pitches, so he still gets walks, but he can’t drive anything. It is sad to watch right now. Once Teix heals up, I would really try to give A-Rod some days off in case it is fatigue. Greg Bird looks like a legit hitter. He can DH for a little bit. This offense needs a back-on-track A-Rod. A-Rod did manage to steal a base today! And it was a big steal, as McCann then drove him in from second (and Brett Gardner from third) with a single for a brief 5-4 lead.
Former Met Mike Pelfrey goes for the Twins tomorrow. The Yankees haven’t seen him in years. CC Sabathia goes for the Yankees, who pushed him back a day in the hopes that some extra rest will do well for him. It has seemingly worked his last couple of starts, which were a marked improvement over his other recent performances, so maybe there’s something to this “extra rest” thing (then why don’t they use it for A-Rod?). Let’s go, CC!
Monday, August 17, 2015
1. Aaron Hicks (S) CF: (.279/.331/.416)
2. Brian Dozier (R) 2B: (.244/.316/.492)
3. Joe Mauer (L) 1B: (.267/.333/.382)
4. Miguel Sano (R) DH: (.280/.395/.528)
5. Trevor Plouffe (R) 3B: (.246/.303/.452)
6. Torii Hunter (R) RF: (.238/.292/.420)
7. Eddie Rosario (L) LF: (.277/.300/.456)
8. Kurt Suzuki (R) C: (.229/.286/.305)
9. Eduardo Nunez (R) SS: (.265/.297/.408)
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.269/.333/.371)
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF: (.283/.366/.436)
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.265/.372/.501)
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B: (.258/.360/.556)
5. Brian McCann (L) C: (.244/.315/.467)
6. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.268/.330/.470)
7. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.270/.330/.387)
8. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.259/.307/.343)
9. Stephen Drew (L) 2B: (.194/.261/.392)
Wow. I had no idea Smellsbury had ascended past the magical .700 OPS mark that denotes a $150M+ player.
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Drew Hutchison tossed a quality start backed by a three-run third from the Blue Jays’ bats in a 3-1 victory over the Yankees in the series finale at Rogers Centre on Sunday afternoon. With the win, Toronto narrowed New York’s lead in the American League East to a half-game.
Jose Bautista smacked a two-run homer off Yankees starter Luis Severino to give the home team a three-run cushion. That was was enough support for Hutchison, who lasted 6 2/3 innings while allowing an earned run on three hits to record his third victory in as many starts.
Jacoby Ellsbury hit a solo shot off Hutchison in the sixth to get the Yankees on the board, but the visitors could not generate any further offense as they saw their three-game win streak come to an end.
Severino, making his third career start, took the loss. He gave up three earned runs—all in the third—on five hits with nine strikeouts. The 21-year-old has yet to earn a big league win. Roberto Osuna came on for the ninth to close things out for the Blue Jays, recording his 13th save of the season.
Severino was hurt badly by Carlos Beltran losing a ball in the sun in the third inning that would have been the third out. Severino then gave up a single to Donaldson and then hung a slider to Jose Bautista and that was the scoring for the Blue Jays. In general, Severino looked excellent, though. Hell, even that inning he likely would have been okay had he just thrown fastballs. The Jays couldn’t touch his fastball early on. Once again, late in the game, he lost some MPH off of his change-up, making that a really effective pitch, as well. Adam Warren pitched really well in relief.
All together, through their last six games against Toronto, the Yankees have held the best offense in baseball to three runs or less in five of the six games. Here’s the problem, though. We all know who the second highest scoring offense is in baseball, right? Well, that offense is in the doldrums so far in August BIG TIME. Hutchinson pitched well, but the Yankees let him off the hook a lot. A-Rod, in particular, blew a lot of seemingly hittable pitches.
A-Rod in general has got to be a huge cause for concern. If he were a typical batter, I’d just say, “Eh, it’s a slump. Slumps happen.” But he’s 40 years old. Slumps late in the season from 40 year olds worry me a lot more because you have to wonder if he’s just tiring out. I wouldn’t mind him getting a whole series off. Let Greg Bird DH or let Carlos Beltran rest a bit by DHing in games against lefties. Beltran has been hot, so Girardi left him in in the 7th with a runner on second base and two outs rather than going with the lefty-mashing Chris Young. I probably would have done the same thing, but it was a tough call and Beltran ended the inning without getting the run in.
The Yankees came into Toronto trailing them by a half game and leading by one game in the loss column. They left LEADING them by a half game and leading them by two games in the loss column. This didn’t do that much to move the needle in the season overall, but still, it was a positive result. The Yankee pitching has been excellent recently. They’re looking like a tough team to face in the playoffs. They just need to start hitting again to actually make it TO the playoffs. By the way, don’t look now, but the Orioles are only four games back in the loss column. And unlike the Yankees, their offense has been torrid lately. The march to the playoffs is going to be very interesting. Let’s hope that they make it there!
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.265/.331/.358)
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF: (.284/.367/.438)
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.267/.373/.505)
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B: (.261/.363/.561)
5. Brian McCann (L) C: (.243/.312/.464)
6. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.271/.333/.474)
7. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.272/.333/.389)
8. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.262/.309/.346)
9. Stephen Drew (L) 2B: (.196/.263/.395)
1. Troy Tulowitzki (R) SS: (.287/.346/.460)
2. Josh Donaldson (R) 3B: (.292/.360/.561)
3. Jose Bautista (R) RF: (.241/.357/.513)
4. Edwin Encarnacion (R) DH: (.255/.351/.482)
5. Justin Smoak (S) 1B: (.221/.292/.442)
6. Russell Martin (R) C: (.249/.329/.447)
7. Ryan Goins (L) 2B: (.220/.286/.321)
8. Kevin Pillar (R) CF: (.259/.296/.366)
9. Ben Revere (L) LF: (.290/.325/.360)
Normally, you should bet on FIP. But when you only have an 11 inning sample size to work from, you should bet on something else because FIP is meaningless.
The best thing a pitcher can do is strike hitters out. This is really difficult to disagree with.
Hutchison has struck out 110 hitters in MLB this season. Severino has struck out nine.
I guess two out of three ain’t bad.
Saturday, August 15, 2015
Masahiro Tanaka fired his first complete game of the season and Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira swatted solo shots, as the Yankees topped the Blue Jays, 4-1, at Rogers Centre on Saturday.
Beltran, who belted the decisive three-run shot in Friday’s win, wasted no time getting the Yankees on the board, as he launched a first-inning homer over the wall in right field to give the visitors an early one-run lead. Teixeira went deep in the sixth to snap a 1-1 tie, and later delivered an RBI single in the eighth to put the Yankees up by a pair. Jacoby Ellsbury’s RBI single in the ninth capped N.Y.‘s offensive effort, as the Bombers they extended their lead over the Blue Jays in the American League East to 1 1/2 games.
Besides just the awesome nature of the Yankees winning the game and extending their lead in the AL East (it sure feels nice to say that), two things stood out to me.
1. Tanaka. This was his best game since that second (second, right?) game back from his DL stint. Having him pitch this well is so important to this team going forward. It also helped give a tired bullpen some rest. I mentioned during the game thread that the Yankees tweeted out something goofy and over-the-top but still got me pumped up:
THIS. IS. MY. TIME. #Tanakatime
Having a return of Tanakatime would be sweet.
2. The offense chipped in some insurance runs. We haven’t seen that happen too often. The clutch go-ahead homer from Teix we see somewhat often, but it seems like they rarely add on runs. They did in the last game in Cleveland and that turned out to be the ballgame. It turned out that they didn’t technically need the extra two runs, but they were greatly appreciated nonetheless.
Luis Severino goes tomorrow as the Yankees seek the sweep against the weakest Toronto pitcher. The problem, of course, is that offense is still excellent, so it will quite a task for Severino to hold them down. Let’s hope he’s up to that task!
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.263/.330/.350)
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF: (.287/.371/.443)
3. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.267/.328/.459)
4. Mark Teixeira (S) DH: (.259/.360/.554)
5. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.274/.333/.392)
6. Greg Bird (L) 1B: (.000/.000/.000)
7. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.264/.312/.350)
8. John Ryan Murphy (R) C: (.283/.322/.387)
9. Stephen Drew (L) 2B: (.195/.263/.396)
1. Troy Tulowitzki (R) SS: (.289/.347/.463)
2. Josh Donaldson (R) 3B: (.293/.361/.564)
3. Jose Bautista (R) RF: (.241/.358/.515)
4. Edwin Encarnacion (R) DH: (.253/.350/.479)
5. Chris Colabello (R) 1B: (.324/.368/.512)
6. Dioner Navarro (S) C: (.223/.285/.339)
7. Kevin Pillar (R) CF: (.261/.299/.369)
8. Ryan Goins (L) 2B: (.222/.286/.325)
9. Ben Revere (L) LF: (.290/.325/.360)
A wise man once told me, always bet on FIP.
Friday, August 14, 2015
Pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran came through with a crucial homer as the Yankees staged a come-from-behind, 4-3 victory to snap the Blue Jays’ 11-game winning streak in the series opener at Rogers Centre on Friday. With the win, the Yankees reclaimed first place in the American League East from the Blue Jays. New York leads the division by a half-game.
Down 3-0, the Yankees rallied to drive Blue Jays starter David Price from the game with a four-run eighth inning, culminating in Beltran’s three-run shot off reliever Aaron Sanchez, who was saddled with the loss. Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann singled with one out before Chase Headley’s ground-rule double brought home one run. That set the table for Beltran’s heroics.
Ivan Nova was strong in a winning effort for the Yanks. Outside of a three-run third, the right-hander turned in a quality start with a seven-inning performance. He struck out three and walked one before turning the ball over to Dellin Betances, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Andrew Miller came on in the ninth and surrendered a one-out walk to Chris Colabello before Kevin Pillar singled to give the Blue Jays some life. Miller uncorked a wild pitch with Ben Revere at the plate, allowing both runners to advance into scoring position. The lefty settled in to fan Revere before striking out Troy Tulowitzki in a 12-pitch at-bat to end the game.
The Yankees scored a run in the 2nd inning in the first game of their last series against the Blue Jays. They then did not score another run that series. They did not score a run in the first seven innings of this game. So entering the 8th inning, down 3-0, I’m sure we all assumed that they would win the game, right?
Wow, what a game. Carlos Beltran looked AWFUL on the first two strikes from Sanchez, so for him to then hit that home run? Wow. Wow. Wow.
Then Andrew Miller in the ninth inning has runners on second and third with one out? He strikes out Ben Revere (only his fifth strikeout as a Blue Jay) and then, in a 12-pitch epic battle with Tulo (with Brian McCann visiting him repeatedly on the mound to calm him down and go over their approach with Tulo), gets another strikeout to win the game. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.
So the Yankees are back in first….for now.
Let’s go, Tanaka!
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.264/.332/.353)
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF: (.286/.371/.444)
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.268/.375/.507)
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B: (.259/.361/.557)
5. Brian McCann (L) C: (.242/.313/.467)
6. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.269/.330/.384)
7. Chris Young (R) RF: (.256/.313/.477)
8. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.262/.310/.348)
9. Brendan Ryan (R) 2B: (.255/.296/.412)
1. Troy Tulowitzki (R) SS: (.291/.349/.467)
2. Josh Donaldson (R) 3B: (.293/.362/.567)
3. Jose Bautista (R) RF: (.241/.359/.516)
4. Edwin Encarnacion (R) DH: (.251/.349/.476)
5. Justin Smoak (S) 1B: (.226/.298/.451)
6. Russell Martin (R) C: (.251/.332/.453)
7. Ryan Goins (L) 2B: (.225/.289/.329)
8. Kevin Pillar (R) CF: (.261/.297/.370)
9. Ben Revere (L) LF: (.289/.323/.360)
The Yankees have had prior success against David Price, so they should win this game handily, right?
The Postseason Implications of the August 14-16, 2015 Yankees vs. Blue Jays Series
The Blue Jays have won 11 straight games and with that have put themselves into the driver’s seat for the AL East title.
W: Projected final 2015 wins
L: Projected final 2015 losses
RS: Projected final 2015 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2015 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)
W+/-: Projected wins within one standard deviation
A scant week later, here’s how those same postseason odds look.
There are still 10 games left between the two teams, beginning with tonight’s contest. This is how the various potential outcomes of this series affect the postseason outlook in the American League.
I really think if the Yankees get swept again this weekend their chances of winning the AL East are finished, even with seven games remaining against Toronto. The Yankees will be 62-54 trying to a catch a team that’s 67-52 and pretty clearly better than they are.
Luckily, the odds are that the Yankees should win at least one of these games.
They won’t, but they should.
Brian McCann and Stephen Drew homered as the Yankees enjoyed a respite from their recent offensive woes, snapping a five-game losing streak with an 8-6 victory over the Indians on Thursday night at Progressive Field.
The Yankees remained a half-game behind the Blue Jays for the American League East lead, knocking around Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer for six runs and seven hits over 3 1/3 innings. McCann slugged a three-run shot in the first and Drew hit a solo blast in the second off Bauer, who also gave up a pair of run-scoring doubles in the fourth.
“When you play 162 games, there’s going to be times when you struggle and you don’t hit,” McCann said. “It happened to us this past week. We have a deep lineup that can hurt you. I’ve been saying that all year long. Tonight was good to get back on track.”
Drew scored a career-high four runs as Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi enjoyed strong run support on the way to his career-high 12th victory, permitting four runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings. Yan Gomes had three hits for the Indians, who saw their four-game winning streak snapped.
“It’s a good win, no doubt about it,” Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez said. “We could have easily won two out of three, but we’ll take that one and hopefully take the momentum to Canada.”
As Yankee reliever Chris Martin once said, “Nobody said it was easy. No one ever said it would be this hard.”
After the Yankees took a 4-0 lead in the second on a home run by Stephen Drew (following McCann’s amazing three-run home run in the first - amazing because it came after the previous two batters popped up with runners on first and second, making it look like the Yankees were going to squander another scoring opportunity), Nathan Eovaldi suddenly looked a bit shaky. I don’t believe there is a single Yankees fan out there that wasn’t thinking that bad things were happening, Murphy’s Law style. You know, “When the Yankees don’t get hits, their pitching is great. When they hit, their pitching sucks.”
Luckily, the offense kept scoring, helping out a surprisingly shaky pitching staff tonight. Shakiest of all must be Andrew Miller, who gave up another run. Miller has been dreadful since he has returned from the Disabled List. When a guy is awesome, gets hurt, comes back and then is awful, you tend to think he’s probably still sort of hurt, no? Would the Yankees be better off just putting him back on the DL? Does anyone trust this guy with a one-run lead right now?
The Yankees now go into the lair of Grendel’s mother, AKA Rogers Centre, home of the soul-devouring Toronto Blue Jays, winners of 456 games in a row. Nova, Tanaka and Severino go for the Yankees. Come on, Yankees!
Thursday, August 13, 2015
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.260/.328/.351)
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF: (.281/.366/.438)
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.271/.377/.512)
4. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.265/.327/.450)
5. Brian McCann (L) C: (.243/.314/.462)
6. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.271/.329/.387)
7. Greg Bird (L) 1B: (—-/—-/—-)
8. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.262/.311/.349)
9. Stephen Drew (L) 2B: (.190/.257/.380)
1. Jose Ramirez (S) 2B: (.213/.289/.298)
2. Francisco Lindor (S) SS: (.277/.307/.386)
3. Michael Brantley (L) LF: (.316/.392/.466)
4. Carlos Santana (S) DH: (.226/.355/.382)
5. Yan Gomes (R) C: (.227/.260/.373)
6. Abraham Almonte (S) CF: (.247/.304/.397)
7. Chris Johnson (R) 1B: (.265/.297/.355)
8. Lonnie Chisenhall (L) RF: (.230/.262/.364)
9. Giovanny Urshela (R) 3B: (.238/.273/.341)
The only thing saving this game from a ‘Whatever’ is Greg Bird’s MLB debut. Which is still going to be frustrating when he gets pinch-hit for by zBrendan Rtan in the 6th.
Help is on the way.
The Yankees reportedly will summon slugging first baseman Greg Bird, one of the organization’s top prospects, from Triple-A on Thursday as the plunging club tries to regain first place from the Blue Jays.
The Yankees have lost five straight and are on Day 3 of a stretch of 16 consecutive games. YES Network reported there is concern about the workload on 35-year-old first baseman Mark Teixeira and 40-year-old designated hitter Alex Rodriguez.
Bird could be in the starting lineup Thursday night when the Yankees face right-hander Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer.
The 22-year-old Bird, a lefty swinger with lots of power, has a line of .277/.356/.469 across Double-A and Triple-A this season, with 12 homers and 52 RBIs in 83 combined games.
Bird’s a good prospect, but I wouldn’t get too excited just yet. Here are his MLEs (major league equivalencies) over the last three seasons.
What does that all mean? If CAIRO was to project Bird, it would look like this:
The baseline is not very good, but there’s some upside here obviously.
I’m not sure how much he’s going to play, which also makes this a questionable move. But we’ll see what happens.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Danny Salazar struck out eight and pitched into the eighth inning as the Indians dislodged the Yankees from first place in the American League East, notching their fourth consecutive victory with a 2-1 decision on Wednesday night at Progressive Field.
Francisco Lindor and Abraham Almonte each delivered a run-scoring single to account for the offensive production against CC Sabathia, who permitted 11 baserunners over six innings of work but limited the damage against one of his former clubs.
The Yanks’ offense again remained largely dormant as they lost their fifth straight game, falling out of first place for the first time since July 1. Brian McCann hit a second-inning homer off Salazar, who allowed just four hits while walking five over 7 1/3 innings as he earned his 10th victory of the year. New York is a half-game behind the Blue Jays.
Okay, things are obviously extremely terrible right now. The Yankees have gone from 7.5 in front to 0.5 games behind Toronto (and it’s even worse than that, as they were 8.5 games up on Toronto). That’s really bad.
However, let me try a bit of a thought experiment with you all. The Yankees play Toronto this weekend. If the Yankees had won these last two games, they’d still fall out of first if Toronto swept them this weekend. In other words, their remaining TEN games against Toronto will likely tell the tale of the division. If Toronto is really as good as they have looked recently, feasting on the souls of every team that dares try to defeat them, then these last two games didn’t really matter, since Toronto will be taking care of the division in these upcoming ten games. And if the Yankees actually do well against Toronto, then these last two games also won’t matter, as the Yankees will be in good shape again. In other words, as painful as these last two losses have been following the sweep against Toronto (at home!), the bigger case for the division will be made in how they do against Toronto, in both a good sense (they can get back into things by playing well against Toronto) and a bad sense (Toronto will, in the words of Mortal Kombat, “finish them”).
In addition, another area where we can’t just ignore it because everything else sucks is that the pitching has been really, really good lately. Eovaldi and Tanaka were great against a great Toronto offense and Severino and Sabathia pitched well against Cleveland. There are some positives here. They are very much outweighed by the complete collapse of the offense (don’t rush on picking up a hitter, Cash, things are totally fine here - no rush at all), but they are still there.