Ichiro Suzuki’s first home run of the season led the Yankees to a win over the Toronto Blue Jays


The Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 on Friday night for their seventh win in their last eight games since the All-Star break.It was their fourth win in a row, and since the All-Star break their record has improved from 47-47 to 54-48. They are now in sole possession of the second Wild Card  and 2.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East.

Hiroki Kuoda was able to rebound from Jose Bautista’s three-run homer in the first to make it through 5.2 innings and only allow one additional run. Kuroda gave up an additional homer to Bautista, eight hits, only one walk and three strikeouts. The two pitches that he would like to have back are the homers to Bautista, but thanks to his offense picking him up he was able to get his seventh win of the season.

There have been many times that the offense did not score for Kuroda when he pitched well, which makes this win that much better since the offense finally picked him up after he didn’t have his best stuff. Every Yankee in the lineup had a hit besides Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner, and four out of the six RBIs were driven in by the bottom third of the order. The other two were driven in on a solo homer by Carlos Beltran in the third and a sacrifice fly by Gardner in the second that drove in Chase Headley.

“The bottom of our order did a lot of damage tonight,” Joe Girardi said. “That is good to see.”

Brian Roberts, who was hitting eighth, drove in the first run of the game for the Yankees in the second inning with an infield single that scored Brian McCann. Ichiro Suzuki was the offensive star of the game as his first home run of the season, in the third inning, drove in McCann and Headley to give team a 6-4 lead. Derek Jeter gave him the the silent treatment and then started laughing.

It was expected that Mark Buehrle could struggle in this game because he previously had a  5.81 ERA with a record of 1-11 against the Yankees in his career.He is now 1-12 with a higher career ERA against the Bronx Bombers. Ichiro Suzuki is a hitter who has owned Buehrle as he is now 24-58, .414 average, in his career against the veteran. Buehrle has 196 wins and 1,738 strikeouts, which makes it hard to explain  his repeated struggles against the Yankees.

The Yankees have gotten the offensive upgrade that they wanted from Chase Headley. In four games since being traded from the San Diego Padres, Headley has a .429 average with two runs scored and two RBIs.”I feel comfortable at the plate,” Headley said. “I feel like I am swinging at pitches that I want to for the most part. The change of circumstances for me has been a lot of fun.”

Dellin Betances did not allow a run in the eighth inning and thenDavid Robertson converted his 26th save in 28 chances in the ninth inning. Betances and Robertson have been so good this season that they resemble the dominance of Mariano Rivera and John Wetteland in 1996.

Francisco Cervelli has hit very well recently just like Headley. He is on a seven-game hitting streak and is hitting .391 with four doubles in that span. He has been playing more consistently recently as a result of Mark Teixeira’s injury moving Brian McCann to first base.

The recently acquired Chris Capuano will start for the Yankees for the first time in Saturday’s 1:05 p.m. game against the Blue Jays. The Yankees will be looking to win their 18th consecutive win over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees won a rain-shortened game on Wednesday for their fifth win in six games


David Phelps throwing a pitch against the Blue Jays

David Phelps throwing a pitch against the Blue Jays

The Yankees won a rain-shortened 2-1 4.5 inning game against the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium. The game was official because the Rangers had finished batting in the fifth inning. It was the fifth win in six games for the Yankees since the All-Star break ended. The Yankees have now won two dramatic games in a row as Chase Headley hit a walk-off single in the 14th inning on Tuesday.

The rain delay started at 8:46 and the game was not called until 10:35. The grounds crew had trouble getting the tarp on the field because the severe storm came on all of a sudden, which caused the infield to not be playable when the rain stopped. After allowing one run and three strikeouts in five innings, David Phelps has now impressively allowed two runs or less in each of his last five starts.

(I felt) good,” Phelps said. “I thought my command was pretty good. I stayed away from the middle of the plate for the most part.” Since before his two runs or less streak began on June 24, he has lowered his ERA from a mediocre 4.35 to a much more respectable 3.77. He was able to out pitch rangers starter Yu Darvish, whose 2.92 ERA is ninth in the American League.

Darvish, who is in his third season with the Rangers since coming over from Japan, allowed both of his runs in the third inning. Francisco Cervelli, who was on third after hitting a double and being advanced to third on Brendan Ryan’s groundout, scored on a balk by Darvish. Cervelli, who went 2-2, has given the offense a boost when he has played since he has a .379 in his last nine games.

Brett Gardner scored the Yankees second run two batters after Cervelli crossed home plate for the first run. Gardner hit his 10th homer of the season, which is his career-high and already two more than he hit all of last season.

Gardner credited his increased power to working with hitting coach Kevin Long. “Just being more aggressive, working with Kevin Long and trying to stay consistent,” Gardner said.

For Phelps, the most important out that he recorded ended up being his last one. Leonys Martin was on third base, but then Phelps was able to get Chris Gimenez to foul out to Cervelli and Rougned Odor to strikeout swinging.

On July 23, 1999, 15 years ago, Derek Jeter had a walk-off hit in extra innings against the Cleveland Indians. During Tuesday’s game, Jeter added to his long list of accomplishments by  passing Lou Gehrig for sole possession of 1st place on the Yankees all-time doubles list.

Coming into the fourth game of the series, at 1:05 p.m. on Thursday, the last place Rangers have lost 26 of their past 29 games. The Yankees, who are now three games behind the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the American League East and half a game behind the Seattle Mariners for the second Wild Card, will look to win their second series in a row.

Brandon McCarthy will pitch for the Yankees and the struggling veteran righty Colby Lewis will get the start for the Rangers. McCarthy, whose season ERA is 4.63, has an outstanding 1.96 ERA in three July starts, which includes two with the Yankees.

The Yankees lost to the Rangers as a result of ineffective defense and offense


Shane Greene pitching Monday against the Rangers.

Shane Greene pitching Monday against the Rangers.

Only five hits combined with five errors led to the 4-2 loss by the Yankees to the Texas Rangers to begin the series. Shane Greene became the first  Yankees pitcher since Tommy John to record three errors in a game, but his three errors in the first four innings didn’t directly lead to a run.

Shane Greene pitched well overall in his first Yankee Stadium start and his four earned runs in 5.2 innings is deceiving. He would have been able to pitch deeper into the game if he didn’t make two throwing errors and one fielding error. This throwing error to first is one of the worst throws to first by a pitcher of all time. Greene was able to strikeout five, only allow one walk and get himself out of trouble in the second, third and fourth innings. Brian Roberts’s error in the third inning proved to be costly because it led to Shin-Soo Chu scoring the first run for the Rangers.

Greene left the game with the score tied at two, with two outs and runners on first and second. Matt Thornton, who had been pitching better the past few weeks, came into the game and allowed both of his inherited runners to score. Geovany Soto singled to left to score Jake Smolinski, and Rougned Odor singled to left to score Jim Aducci. If Thornton would have gotten Soto out then Greene would have had a very respectable line of two earned runs and five strikeouts.

“They didn’t really square up a lot of balls,” Joe Girardi said. “I thought Greene threw the ball well.” Girardi defended his decision to bring in Thornton because he was facing a lefty. “That’s our guy against lefties. That’s why he was in there.” According to Pete Caldera, had 12 errors in 112 total chances (.893 fielding %) in the minors, which proves that fielding his position is something he needs to concentrate on.

The Yankees were only able to score two runs in 7.1 innings against Miles Mikolas, who had a 10.05 ERA coming into the game. The Yankees were not able to capitalize on facing a struggling pitcher and a team that was in last place, 21-29 on the road and had lost 14 of their past 16 games.

Jacoby Ellsbury was the only positive offensively for the Yankees. He hit a solo homer to right to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the fourth. His infield single in the first inning sent Jeter to third. The Yankees were set up to score a few runs in the inning but Carlos Beltran hit a sacrifice fly to score Jeter and Kelly Johnson flied out to right. Ellsbury has two homers, four RBIs and is 8/16 (.500) since the All-Star break to improve his average from .282 to .291.

However, besides Ellsbury the Yankees combined for three hits and zero extra-base hits. Derek Jeter grounded into a costly double-play with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning. The Yankees offense that had showed positive signs against the Reds got worse as the game progressed. Mikolas, who was only making his fourth start after previously pitching 34 innings as a relief pitcher between 2012 and 2013, retired the side in order in the sixth and seventh innings.

With the loss combined with a Baltimore Orioles win the Yankees are now four games out of first place in the AL East. They are also now 2.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners for the second Wild Card spot. They will need to take advantage of playing nine of their next 12 games against teams that are under .500.

Two struggling pitching will start Tuesday night’s game. It will be Chase Whitley, who allowed three runs in 3.2 innings in his last start, against Nick Martinez, who allowed six earned runs in five innings in his start on July 1. There are not many MLB pitchers who went to Fordham like Martinez.

Hiroki Kuroda’s gem helped the Yankees sweep the Cincinnati Reds


Hiroki Kuroda pitching at Yankee Stadium

Hiroki Kuroda pitching at Yankee Stadium

The 3-2 win by the Yankees on Sunday at Yankee Stadium finished of a three-game sweep against the Cincinnati Reds. After the sweep, the Yankees are now only three games behind the Baltimore Orioles for first place and 1.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners for the second Wild Card. The Bronx Bombers won with a walk-off bloop single by Brian McCann, which was followed by a Gatorade shower by Brett Gardner.

Their pitching was solid in all three games, and Sunday’s game was highlighted by Hiroki Kuroda not allowing an earned run in 6.2 innings. He struck out six, allowed two walks and only three hits. His unearned run came in the fifth inning as Zach Cozart scored on Skip Schumaker double after Brian Roberts made an error to begin the inning. Kuroda has really stepped while 80 percent of the opening-day rotation is on the disabled list.

Kuroda, who is in his third season with the Yankees, has pitched much better since the beginning of June. His 3.88 ERA is now the lowest it has been since the beginning of April, and this is because he has allowed three runs or less in seven of his nine starts going back to June 3. In July, Kuroda has pitched 6.2 innings or more in three of his four starts and has allowed a dominating two runs or less in those three starts. With Brandon McCarthy, Shane Greene, David Phelps and Kuroda, the Yankees now have four starters pitching well.

Kuroda did a wonderful job today,” Joe Girardi said. “To give us almost seven innings, and he gave up the one unearned run, he was outstanding.”

A key play in the third inning was Jacoby Ellsbury’s great diving catch on a ball hit to shallow center to end the inning and prevent Frazier from getting an RBI since there was a runner on second.

These three wins have all been at home and that is important because the Yankees had struggled at Yankee Stadium before the All-Star break. Before the break their home record was 18-23 and it is now 21-23. Thirty-seven of their final 64 games come in the Bronx, which means that the weekend’s success needs to continue the next few months.

“If we are going to get to the playoffs, we’re going to have to win at home because we have so many games (here),” Joe Girardi said after the game. “To be able to start of this way against a team that has been playing well, that is fighting for their division as well, I think was very important. We did a good job of getting the leads in most games and keeping the lead.”

The Yankees scored for the first time in the fifth inning as two RBI singles gave them a 2-1 lead. Derek Jeter’s single to right scored Kelly Johnson with one out and then Ellsbury’s single to right scored Brett Gardner. Johnson and Gardner both walked earlier in the inning. Ellsbury steal of second in the fifth was his 17th of the season, which is the fourth highest in Major League Baseball.

All-Star Dellin Betances pitched 1.1 scoreless innings before giving up a solo home run to the powerful Todd Frazier. The Toms River, New Jersey product has 20 homers and was the runner up in the Home Run Derby. It was surprising that Frazier hit this homer because it was the first homer that Betances gave up since May 17. Betances had also previously held righties hitless in 24 at-bats.  This was only the third earned run that Betances had allowed in his last 15 appearances.

To set up McCann’s game-winning single, Ellsbury hit a clutch single off of the flame-throwing Aroldis Chapman. He consistently throws his fastball in the upper 90s and has once thrown a 105 MPH fastball, which is the fastest recorded pitch in a game. Girardi was impressed with Ellsbury’s at bat. “It was really good,” Girardi said. “A guy that is throwing 100 MPH, plus, to be able to stay in there, get the count in your favor, and foul off some tough pitches.”

Ellsbury was able to steal his second base and then advance to third on a wild pitch by Chapman. McCann was able to get his on a fly ball that went about 120-feet into the outfield grass because the infield was playing in and Frazier was playing first base instead of his normal third base position. However, in this case, a single that fell in between three fielders was just as good as a home run.

The Yankees are now 13-7 in inter-league play and they held the Reds to an inept 1-22 with runners in scoring position in the series. The Yankees will now continue their 10-game home-stand with a four-game series against the last place Texas Rangers. Monday’s 7:05 game will be a matchup between Shane Greene, who will be making his fourth start for the Yankees, and the struggling Miles Mikolas.

Brandon McCarthy’s nine strikeouts led to his first win with the Yankees


Brandon McCarthy

Brandon McCarthy

The Yankees beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-1 on Saturday afternoon for their second win in a row. They are now 12-7 in inter-league play this season. The Reds were previously the only team that the Yankees were under .500 against, but they now have a 7-7 record against them after their last two wins.

Three different players had multi-hit games and four different players had RBIs, but the player of the game for the Yankees was Brandon McCarthy. He now has a 1.42 ERA in two starts since coming to the team from the Arizona Diamondbacks. McCarthy, who is a ground ball pitcher when he is on, allowed one run and six hits in six innings pitched. He struck out the side in two separate innings, and is the first Yankee since CC Sabathia on April 16, 2010, to have nine strikeouts with no walks.

Joe Girardi is impressed with McCarthy 95 MPH sinker and that he is able to pitch down in the zone. “I really like what McCarthy did in Cleveland, he is able to pitch down in the zone and both of his starts have been outstanding,” Girardi said. Brett Gardner, who was 1-3 with 3 RBIs to improve his season total to 40, was also impressed by how McCarthy has pitched and that the doesn’t waste time between pitches.

“He (McCarthy) can be great,” Gardner said. “Our rotation has taken a big hit over the course of the season. McCarthy has been there and done that and is fun to play defense behind.” In regards to the offensive onslaught, Gardner said solid hitting by one can lead to team wide production. “It can kind of become contagious when guys swing the bat well,” Gardner said.

Brandon McCarthy thinks that a big key for him so far with the Yankees has been his cutter, which is a pitch that the Diamondbacks discouraged him from throwing.  “I am happy that we have won both games and when I was in Arizona that was not the case,” McCarthy said. “It has been a really nice mentally clearing week or two. I felt like I was in a better place towards the end of my time in Arizona, so it was good to come here on a positive note.”

McCarthy has credited catcher Brian McCann for a lot of his success so far as a Yankee. He had a 3.24 ERA in 2012 with the Oakland Athletics, which proves that he has the potential of greatly helping the team down the stretch of the season. The playoffs will be realistic if the team can continue to hit well with runners in scoring position, like today when they were 4-9.

Carlos Beltran started the scoring off for the Yankees with a homer to right in the second. It was his 10th homer of the season, and after two hits he is hitting .296 in his last seven games. In the third inning, Gardner drove in his first run after his single drove in Brian Roberts, after Roberts reached first as a result of an error on a ball that was almost caught by Jay Bruce.

The Yankees scored two more runs in the fifth off of All-Star Alfredo Simon, and were helped by a passed ball by Devin Mesorasco that advanced Roberts and Kelly Johnson to second and third after they both singled. Gardner hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Roberts for his second RBI. Derek Jeter would follow Johnson with a single up the middle to score Johnson. Jeter would steal his seventh base of the season, which proves that he still has some speed left at 40 years old.

In the sixth inning, with J.J. Hoover pitching, the Yankees scored their fifth, sixth and seventh runs. Johnson’s second single of the game scored McCann and Beltran. Gardner’s second sacrifice fly of the game scored gave Roberts his third run scored of the game. The bullpen trio of Adam Warren, Shawn Kelley and Matt Thornton threw three innings and only allowed one hit. After these two wins, the Yankees will now play 10 of their next 14 games against teams that are below .500.

Girardi credited the win to getting hits when they needed them and taking advantages of mistakes by Cincinnati’s fielders and pitchers. “I thought we took advantage of some miscues on their part,” Girardi said. “We faced a good pitcher that we put good at-bats on. I think our offense can get on a roll as a group.”

Before the game, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty and Todd Frazier, who met Jeter in 1998 at Yankee Stadium after his Toms River team won the Little League World Series, gave Jeter signed jerseys of former captains and shortstops Dave Concepcion and Barry Larkin, since the Yankees don’t come to Great American Ballpark.

With the win the Yankees are now 3.5 games behind the first place Orioles, with the potential of being three games out if the Orioles lose Saturday night against the Athletics.

 

The Yankees begin an important stretch of 10 of 16 games against teams below .500


Dellin Betances All-Star card

Dellin Betances All-Star card

The Yankees are 47-47 as the “second half” of the season begins, since their four-game All-Star break has ended, and they will play their first of three games against the Cincinnatti Reds on Friday. Derek Jeter, Dellin Betances and Masahiro Tanaka all made the All-Star team, but Jeter was the only one who played because Tanaka is injured and Betances was not put in the game by John Farrell.

Betances was not disappointed that he didn’t get a chance to pitch during the game. He enjoyed the whole experience of seeing Jeter go 2-2 in his final All-Star Game. “I guess I could use the rest and be ready to help the team win the division in the second half,” Betances said. The Yankees will need Betances, who has a 1.46 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 55.1 innings, to continue to command his slurve and fastball and dominate hitters like he has if they are going to win the weak AL East.

The Yankees are currently five games behind the first-place Orioles, but should be helped by their relatively weak schedule after the break combined with the challenging slate of games that Baltimore has.

The Orioles play their next 26 games against teams that are currently .500 or better. Their next 16 games are against the top three teams in the American League West, the Oakland Athletics, the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners, who have some of the best pitchers in baseball, including Garret Richards, Felix Hernandez, Jeff Samardzija and Sonny Gray. The Orioles, who are 7-3 in their last 10 games are known for their offense – since they have the third best average, second most homers and fourth most total bases in the AL – but could be due for a regression as a result of their weak pitching and the challenging west coast trip that they will be on.

On the other hand, the Yankees will play 10 of their next 16 games against teams that are currently below .500. In those games, they will play the Reds for three games, the injury ravaged under .500 Texas Rangers for seven games, their AL East rival Toronto Blue Jays for three games and the under .500 Boston Red Sox for three games to end this stretch of games.

Of the next 16 games that the Yankees play their first 10 will be at home. They will need to reverse the trend of playing much better on the road. The Yankees have a 29-24 record in away games and a less than mediocre 18-23 record in the Bronx. They will need to have a better than .500 record at home and continue to play at a similar record on the road if they are going to make the playoffs. It would be a successful home-stand if they can go 6-4 before playing six games on the road against teams that are below .500.

The Yankees will almost definitely be trading for a pitcher who can be better than Chase Whitley in the rotation to help the team in the next few weeks. As of now, Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka could return sometime in August, but it is not known for sure if that will happen. It is necessary for the offense to consistently hit with power at home and on the road, which means Carlos Beltran needs to be healthy and productive, and Mark Teixeira, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian Roberts need to be reliable.

David Phelps, who has an impressive 2.08 ERA in two July starts, will start Friday’s 7:05 p.m. game at Yankee Stadium against the Reds. Mike Leake (7-7, 3.54 ERA) will get the start for Cincinnati. Brandon McCarthy will be making his second start for the Yankees in Saturday’s 1:05 p.m. game. The ground ball pitcher allowed one earned run in 6.2 innings in his start against the Cleveland Indians. A good sign for McCarthy is that after having a 4.88 ERA in June, he now has a 2.19 ERA so far in July. All-Star Alfred Simon, who is 12-3 with a 2.70 ERA will start on Saturday for the Reds.

On Sunday at 1:05 p.m, in the series finale, All-Star Johnny Cueto, who had a 2.13 ERA before the All-Star break, will start for the Reds. Hiroki Kuroda, who has a 4.10 ERA, but is coming off of a start where he allowed two runs in 7.0 innings against the powerful Orioles, will try for his seventh win of the season on Sunday. The Yankees begin an important stretch of games, and it is equally important that Cashman acquires the right players to help the team down the stretch.

Bartolo Colon is intriguing option since he has a 3.99 ERA for the Mets, has already pitched well for the Yankees in 2011 and the Yankees should not have to give up a lot to trade for him. It would make sense for the Mets to get a prospect back for him because at 41 he is obviously not in their long term plans.

 

Derek Jeter ended his last All-Star Game in style by picking up two hits and scoring a run


Here is Jeter warming up for his final All-Star Game.

Here is Jeter warming up for his final All-Star Game.

The American League beat the National League, 5-3, in Derek Jeter’s final All-Star Game, and Jeter fittingly was 2-2 with a run scored.

In the top of the first inning, Jeter made an outstanding diving catch to get a hard grounder by Andrew McCutchen in the hole, but because McCutchen has blazing speed he just barely beat the throw to first. Jeter has made many diving plays similar to that one in his career, so starting his final All-Star Game with another vintage Jeter play made sense.

In the bottom of the first inning, after Bob Sheppard’s famous recording announced Jeter’s at bat and the crowd graciously gave him a one-minute standing ovation, Jeter hit a double to the wall in right field off of Adam Wainwright. Jeter said that he will always remember that Wainwright, along with catcher Jonathan Lucroy, made sure to step away to leave plenty of time for the lengthy standing ovation.

Jeter scored the first of five American League runs after All-Star Game MVP Mike Trout hit a triple to deep right. During Jeter’s at-bat where he hit a double an obnoxious person was heard clearly yelling “overrated” at him. Jeter’s double was the best response possible to his incorrect statement. Jeter seemingly can always get a hit clutch hit in an important game.

In his second at-bat, in the third inning, Jeter hit a single to shallow right off of Alfred Simon. It was a classic inside out swing by Jeter that he has used to get so many singles during his illustrious career. He would advance to second base on a wild pitch by Simon.

The single in the third led to Jeter’s third multi-hit game as an All-Star, which is the most in the legendary history of the New York Yankees. Jeter, who was playing in his 14th All-Star Game, now has 13 hits in the All-Star Game, which is second most among all American League players. In fact, according to MLB, at 40 years and 19 days, Jeter is the oldest player in All-Star Game history with a multi-hit game. Jeter finished his last All-Star Game with an outstanding .481 career average.

In the top of the fourth inning, with Jeter already at shortstop, John Farrell had Alexei Ramirez come to the position to take him out so that Jeter could get another lengthy standing ovation. This was a great move by Farrell because Jeter was able to get what he deserved. There was a three-minute standing ovation, and Jeter tipped his cap repeatedly to the crowd and hugged and thanked all of his teammates in the dugout while Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” was appropriately playing at Target Field.

Jeter liked how he was taken out of the game. “My back was turned,” Jeter said. “I heard Cano yelling, but usually when he yells I ignore him (laughing). It was unscripted, but I like how it was handled.”

After the game, Jeter said that he never takes coming to the All-Star Game for granted he enjoys seeing the players that he admires for afar. He took the high road when the controversy started about Wainwright apparently trying to let Jeter get a hit in his first at-bat.

“He grooved them?” Jeter said. “The first was a little cutter he threw down and away. The second one was about 98 two-seamer that stayed on really good– I don’t know, man. (Laughter.) If he grooved it, thank you. You still have to hit it. I appreciate it if that’s what he did, thank you.

This was yet another game that Jeter has played well in big moment. It would make sense if the Yankees can make the playoffs for the 17th time in his 19 year career, but making the playoffs at this point is an unknown since they are currently five games behind first place. Jeter has a very impressive .308 batting average in 650 at-bats, which proves that the pressure does not get to him. He still has a chance to add to his legacy in the last few month of his career, but the will definitely never be another player who will have the impact on baseball like Jeter has had.

Here is what Jeter had to say to his AL teammates before the All-Star Game. He continued the tradition as fellow member of the Core Four, Mariano Rivera, talked to his AL teammates before his final All-Star Game last season.

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/07/15/video-derek-jeters-pregame-speech-to-the-al-all-stars/

Here is what celebrities like Billy Crystal, Spike Lee, Regis Philbin, and Michael Strahan had to say about what Jeter means to baseball:

 

 

Yankees lost their rain shortened game to the Orioles to go into the All-Star Break at .500


Chase Whitely during spring training

Chase Whitely during spring training

The Yankees lost their final game before the All-Star break 3-1 to the Baltimore Orioles. The game was called in the fifth inning after a 2 hour and 22 minute rain delay at Camden Yards. They now have a 47-47 record and are five games behind the first place Orioles.

The game was official because the home team, the Orioles, were winning after the top of the fifth inning. Joe Girardi doesn’t like this rule. “My preference would be that you come back and finish it,” Girardi said. “We’re coming back (to Baltimore), why don’t we finish it?”

Girardi is satisfied that the team is still in it at the All-Star break even though the offense has underperformed and there have been so many injures. “With everything that we had go wrong, we’re still in it,” Girardi said. “That’s the big thing. We’ve got to take advantage of that when we get back to work on Friday.”

Chase Whitley, who was named the starter of Sunday’s game a few days after it was announced that Masahiro Tanaka would miss at lest six weeks as a result of a partially torn UCL, pitched 3.2 innings and allowed three earned runs on five hits. He allowed his three runs in the fourth inning.

Chris Davis hit a two-run homer to left and and then Whitley was taken out of the game after Jonathan Schoop hit single that drove in J.J. Hardy. Whitley has now allowed three runs or more in his last four starts, and General Manager Brian Cashman will likely be looking to trade for a pitcher to replace Whitley in the next week. He pitched with surprising effectiveness in his five starts, where he allowed two runs or less in four of them, but he has not gotten the results recently because he has just recently converted from the bullpen to the rotation.

The Yankees scored their only run of the game in the first inning off of a solo homer by Brett Gardner. It was Gardner’s ninth homer of the season, which is one more than he hit all of last season. The Yankees only had four hits in five innings, and besides Gardner’s homer, all of their hits were singles.

The Yankees need Hiroki Kuroda, Shane Greene and David Phelps to continue to pitch well after the break, and for Brandon McCarthy to continue to allow a lot of ground balls like the did in his first start with the Yankees. Offensively, Carlos Beltran needs to come back from his concussion DL stint hitting well, and Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira and Jacoby Ellsbury need to be consistent and hit with power for the Yankees to make up ground in the division.

Here is the new Jordan Brand commercial where many stars tip their cap to Derek Jeter:

 

Shane Greene’s gem led to a Yankees win over the Orioles


Shane Greene pitching for the Trenton Thunder.

Shane Greene pitching for the Trenton Thunder.

The 3-0 win by the Yankees over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday afternoon ended their two-game losing streak. Shane Greene has now picked up a win in each of his first two major league starts, and he appears to be able give the team more starts like this because of his dominating stuff.

Greene was aggressive against the dangerous Orioles lineup, which helped him leave his second start with an outstanding 1.32 ERA. He has only allowed two earned runs in his 13.1 innings pitched and hasn’t allowed a hit in his first 4.2 innings in each of his first two starts.

He threw 7.1 shutout innings against the Orioles, had an impressive nine strikeouts while only giving up four hits. In an interview on the field after the game, Greene said that he feels that all of his pitches were working.

“I felt pretty confident in everything today,” Greene said. “More than anything I just trusted Cervelli and threw everything with conviction. It is definitely an opportunity and I’m trying to make the best of it. I like where I am at.”

The Orioles had runners on second and third with two outs in the fifth but Greene got a big strikeout against Nick Hundley. Cervelli said that he was throwing his sinker and slider very well.

In the third inning, the Yankees scored their first run off of a double to deep right that scored Brett Gardner. Teixeira drove in his team-leading 48th run.

In the seventh inning, the Yankees scored their second and third runs off of Orioles starter Chris Tillman. Kelly Johnson advanced to second with one out after a wild pitch by Tillman. Derek Jeter’s single to left drove in Jeter, and Jeter advanced to second on the throw. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a double near the line in right to score Jeter to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead. He leads the team with 20 doubles.

The Yankees had nine hits in the win, highlighted by three by Brian McCann and two by Jeter. McCann is improving at the plate as he now has two multi-hit games in a row.

Zelous Wheeler, who came into the game as a defense replacement, made an outstanding leaping catch at third for the first out of the ninth inning. David Robertson struck out Chris David and J.J. Hardy to record his 23rd save in 25 chances. He has a 2.76 ERA, 59 strikeouts and only 10 walks. He has recorded multiple strikeouts in seven of his last 10 appearances.

Joe Girardi was impressed that Greene was able to step up with runners on base. “His innings were pretty short and he got some big outs when he had to,” Girardi said. “He didn’t walk people. He was ahead in the count and didn’t beat himself.”

So far this season, the Yankees are in impressive 32 and 12 when they score first. They are also 6-4 on their current road trip, which ends tomorrow, and after going 4-11 in Saturday’s game, have hit an impressive .304 with runners in scoring position.

They are now four games behind the first place Orioles, and Chase Whitley will look to help them decrease the deficit on Sunday, which will be the last game before the All-Star break. It is important that they go into the break with momentum, and being three games out with all of the injuries to the rotation and offensive underperformance would be impressive.

The loss by the Yankees to the Indians on Thursday added insult to injury


Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter

The Yankees lost 9-3 to the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night at Progressive Field. The Yankees were on track to win the game with a 3-0 lead in the top of the seventh after scoring two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth, but the previously reliable bullpen allowed nine runs combined in the seventh and eighth.

David Phelps, who had only allowed three runs combined in his previous two starts, continued his improved pitching as he only allowed two runs in six innings pitched. However, it could have been zero runs in six innings if Matt Thornton would have prevented Phelps’s two inherited runners from scoring in the seventh. Thornton hadn’t allowed a run in his previous nine appearances, but his ineffective pitching led to a loss for the Yankees.

Manager Joe Girardi was impressed by how Phelps pitched and was disappointed that they couldn’t get the win for him. “He threw pretty well,” Girardi said. “It is unfortunate that we were not able to win the game for him. He has been really good. He has been on a little bit of a roll for us, which is important.

Phelps gave up a single to Chris Dickerson and Roberto Perez’s first career hit in his first game before being taken out of the game. Thornton allowed those two runners to score and allowed two runs of his own as Asdrubal Cabrera hit a triple to right that scored three runs and Michael Brantley hit a sacrifice fly to center that scored Cabrera.

Perez also hit his first major league home run in the eighth inning. His two-run blast off of rarely used reliever Jim Miller to made the score 6-3. The Indians would score three more runs in the frame off of Miller, highlighted by a 394-foot two-run homer by Carlos Santana.

Girardi could have left Phelps in longer, but Phelps had thrown 103 pitches after allowing those two consecutive singles. The Yankees struggles with runners in scoring position continued as they were only 1-5 in those situations. In the first inning, Francisco Cervelli, who has hit well with the bases loaded in his career, struck out with the bases loaded and two outs.

Yangervis Solarte, who was recalled from AAA Scranton before the game since Carlos Beltran was put on the 7-day concussion disabled list, had a single to left to score Cervelli for the team’s only hit with RISP. The Yankees scored their other two runs off of a two-run homer by rookie Zelous Wheeler. This was his second homer in his first 18 at-bats since being brought up from AAA Scranton.

Derek Jeter, who was 2-4 in the game, now has 1,000 career multi-hit games. It is yet another milestone in his Hall of Fame career.

Masahiro Tanaka will now be out for at least six weeks with a partial tear of his UCL. He will have a PRP injection in the coming days, and Brian Cashman said that Tommy John surgery could be an option. This very much hurts the rotation as he has been by far the team’s best starter so far. Cashman has said that they will try to improve the team before the trade deadline, which means that he will likely add another starter since 80 percent of the rotation to begin the season is on the disabled list.

They loss meant that they split the series with the Indians, with the Yankees winning the first and third game and the Indians winning the second and fourth. The Yankees bullpen had a 1.75 ERA in their previous 16 games, and part of the reason the bullpen gave up so many runs last night was because the most reliable options were not available as a result of Wednesday’s 14 inning game. The team is now four games behind the Baltimore Orioles before they start a three-game series in Baltimore on Friday.

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