Category: Brandon McCarthy

Derek Jeter helped the Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays by ending his long hitless streak

Brandon McCarthy pitching for the Yankees.

Brandon McCarthy pitching for the Yankees.

The Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Wednesday night during the last game of their three-game series at Tropicana Field. The Yankees got back in the win column after losing their last three games and five of their previous six. The three runs that the Yankees scored were as many as they had scored in their previous three games combined.

Derek Jeter was 0-28 coming into the game but his hit in the sixth inning snapped his second longest hitless streak of his career. He scored what ended up being the game-winning run on Brett Gardner’s sacrifice fly to right.

The Yankees scored their first two runs off of Rays starter Alex Cobb in the fifth inning. After being hit during Tuesday’s game, Chase Headley hit a double to deep center that scored Chris Young. Then, Brendan Ryan who usually doesn’t hit for much power, hit a ground rule double that landed near the foul pole in right to score Headley.

Brandon McCarthy had yet another dominating start for the Yankees. He pitched seven impressive innings, only allowed two runs and picked up four strikeouts. Evan Longoria was the only Ray that did damage off of McCarthy. He hit a solo homer in the first and had a RBI ground out in the sixth.

In the seventh inning, McCarthy wrapped up his start with an “immaculate inning” that included recording three strikeouts on only nine pitches. This feat is very rarely seen in baseball and was a great way to conclude his dominating performance. He has proven that the Yankees should make every effort to bring him back next season. Joe Girardi has been impressed with how McCarthy has been pitching.

I think his sinker has been really good and I think his curve ball has been really effective,” Girardi said. “I think that he gets some strikes with it, he puts some guys away with it and it has been really effective. But I think the command of his sinker has been the most important thing.”

McCarthy, who had struggled before being traded to the Yankees but had excelled in 2011 and 2012, has now allowed two runs or less in seven of his last nine starts. He needed only 91 pitches to get through seven innings and had 12 ground ball outs and eight fly ball outs.

The other pitching highlight from this game was that Dellin Betances, the flame throwing set-up man who was born in Washington Heights, recorded his 131st strikeout of his season. In his first full major league season, he set the record for most strikeouts in a season by a Yankee reliever. Future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera previously set the record with his 130 strikeouts in 1996. His knee buckling slurve and 99 MPH fastball has led him to a dominating 1.33 ERA.

I got a bunch of text messages (about the record),” Betances said. “I am happy we came out on the winning side. It is pretty incredible to think about the whole year and how everything has gone. I definitely feel honored, especially to be a part of this group and part of this organization. Just to be mentioned around his name (Mariano Rivera), you are talking about the best closer & reliever in the game, just to be around the same breath as him, I take thrill in that.”

“You think about the people that he (Betances) has passed in the last few weeks, Goose Gossage and Mariano Rivera, one Hall of Famer and one who has just got to wait his turn basically, it is pretty impressive what he has done,” Girardi said. “What he went through, some of the struggles that he went through, those struggles help you. When you struggle and are able to get back up and fight through it, it helps you down the road because it is not always going to be easy in this game.”

The Yankees won Derek Jeter’s final game at Tropicana Field after David Robertson got Nick Franklin to strike out swinging to end the game. Robertson picked up his 37th save of the season, which is the third best save total in the American League.

Young, who scored the Yankees first run, should be brought back as a fourth outfielder if he is willing to take a discount. His average on the season is .219, but since his first game with the Yankees on September 2, he has hit .324 in 34 at-bats with three homers and eight RBIs.

The Yankees and Blue Jays will begin a four-game series at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. Rookie Shane Greene (5-3, 3.56 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees and the veteran knuckleballer R.A. Dickey will get the start for Toronto.

The Yankees lost to the Toronto Blue Jays after only getting one hit

The Yankees lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-0, at the Rogers Centre in the second game of the series. Michael Pineda pitched well in his fourth start since coming off of the disabled list, but the Yankees lost because the only had one hit off of Drew Hutchison in seven innings and were held hitless in two innings against rookie Aaron Sanchez. 

This was Pineda eighth start this season and it was his eighth start where he has allowed two runs or less. He allowed a two-run homer to Jose Bautista in the first-inning that scored Jose Reyes. It was his only mistake pitch as he said that he left the slider higher in the strike zone than he wanted to. He rebounded very well after that since he only allowed three hits between the second and sixth innings. 

However, the Yankees had their worst offensive performance since September, 4 2009, when they also had one hit. Against Drew Hutchison, who had a 4.68 ERA coming into the game, the only hit that the Yankees had was a double by Mark Teixeira. His double in the fourth came after Beltran was hit by a pitch, but Martin Prado flied out to center with the bases loaded after Brian McCann had also been hit by a pitch. This was the only inning that the Yankees had a runner get to second. 

McCann was impressed with Hutchison and had never seen him perform better. “This was the best that I’ve seen him locate,” McCann said. Chase Headley credited Hutchison’s delivery with him having so much success on Saturday. His deception makes the fastball play up,” Headley said. 

The Yankees will look to win the series on Sunday when they play the Blue Jays at 1:07 p.m. They will have the pitching edge once again as Brandon McCarthy will be pitching against J.A. Happ. The need to win the game to keep pace with the Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners.  

Rick Porcello’s gem led to the Yankees’ ending their five-game winning streak

Jacoby Ellsbury running during a game.

Jacoby Ellsbury running during a game.

The Yankees saw their five-game winning streak come to an end as they lost to the Detroit Tigers, 5-2, on Tuesday night in Detroit. Brandon McCarthy had his worst performance in his nine starts with the Yankees. He now has a 2.47 ERA with the Yankees and it was only his second time in nine starts allowing more than two runs.

McCarthy allowed five runs, nine hits and two walks in 6.1 innings. He walked two batters in the second after only allowing one in his previous three starts. Those two walks directly lead to Detroit’s first run as he walked Nick Castellanos and then with the bases loaded, after hitting Eugenio Suarez with a pitch, he walked Rajai Davis to send J.D. Martinez home. He was able to get Ian Kinsler to hit into an inning ending double play to end the inning and was helped by a great scoop by Mark Teixeira.

In the third inning, J.D. Martinez’s single to center scored Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers scored two runs in the sixth and the fifth run that they scored off of McCarthy came off of a single by Torii Hunter to left that scored Davis.  

“I wasn’t comfortable mechanically and I wasn’t right from the get-go,” McCarthy said. “It sucks because as we get closer and closer the games become more important.” With the loss, the Yankees are now 3.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card and three games behind the Tigers.

Besides Jacoby Ellsbury, the Yankees were not able to have any success offensively against Tigers starter Rick Porcello. The Morristown, New Jersey native won his 15th game of the season after only allowing two runs in eight innings pitched. He has a 1.80 ERA in two starts against the Yankees this season.

The solo homers that Ellsbury hit to right field in the fifth and eighth innings were the only runs that the Yankees would score. He has recently been a bright spot since in his last five games he is hitting 9-18 (.500) with five runs scored, three homers and six RBIs. With Brett Gardner out of the lineup the last two games, Ellsbury has gone 6-9 batting leadoff. He was the leadoff hitter while he played for the Red Sox.   

I guess tonight, I got a couple pitches that I could hit, and I didn’t miss them,” Ellsbury said. “I felt pretty good, hopefully I can just keep it going. It is nice to hit the ball hard and get results.” 

In the eighth inning, Brian McCann hit into a double play with no outs. He had attempted to bunt against the shift earlier in the at-bat, and would have had a single if he didn’t foul it off. If the bunt would have gone for a single, the Yankees would have been set up for a big inning with runners on first and second with no outs.  

The Yankees were 2-10 with runners on base and 0-3 with runners in scoring position. The Yankees had runners on first and third in the fourth inning but Stephen Drew lined out to left. The Yankees were able to put together nine hits, but seven of the nine hits were singles and they hit into two double plays. The sinker is Rick Porcello’s best pitch and he got the Yankees to hit a total of 16 ground balls. 

In the second game of the series at Comerica Park, Shane Greene will pitch for the Yankees and David Price will get the start for the Tigers. Greene, the impressive right-handed rookie, is coming off of a start where he had seven strikeouts but allowed three runs and nine hits in five innings. The Yankees need him to pitch like he did in his two starts before that where he allowed two runs combined in 14 innings. 

Brandon McCarthy’s shutout against the Astros ended the Yankees losing streak

Brandon McCarthy

Brandon McCarthy

Brandon McCarthy‘s complete game shutout helped the Yankees snap their two-game losing streak and win the series finale against the Houston Astros, 3-0. He needed 107 pitches to get through nine innings and only gave up four hits. His eight strikeouts were the fifth time out of eight starts with the Yankees that he had seven or more strikeouts. 

McCarthy has also allowed two runs or less in seven of his eight starts with the Yankees and had his second start where he allowed zero runs. He now has a 5-2 record and an outstanding 1.90 ERA since being traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Yankees. He is best when he is allowing a lot of ground balls, and he did just that on Thursday as he induced 12 ground balls. The Astros were 0-3 with runners in scoring position, Dexter Fowler and Marc Krauss were the only ones with extra base hits. 

After allowing 15 homers while pitching for the Diamondbacks, McCarthy has only allowed three homers in eight starts and two of those have come at Yankee Stadium. “I think my pitch mix is better now,” McCarthy said. “The cutter and the four-seam have become pitches I can use as weapons again. In turn, that just starts to build confidence.” 

Catcher Francisco Cervelli gave him a loud pep talk in the seventh-inning when McCarthy was losing his confidence after allowing a double and single. “He was like, ‘Your stuff’s is so good, let’s go. We’re going to get all the way through this.‘ From early on in the game he was on me,” McCarthy said.

His complete game was clutch because he was able to give the overworked bullpen an night off. The Yankees will now be able to potentially have Dellin Betances and David Robertson for two out of the three games against the Chicago White Sox. He has proven that the Yankees should definitely give him a new contract in the offseason.

The Yankees did not score more than four runs for their 10th consecutive game, but they scored enough runs in the second inning to give the team a needed victory. Chase Headley’s double to deep right in the second that scored Mark Teixeira and Martin Prado gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead. For the third run of the second-inning, Ichiro Suzuki hit a sacrifice fly to score Headley. With Cervelli’s single in the fifth, he is now on a five-game hitting streak.

On Friday, the Yankees will start a key three-game set against the White Sox, who are in fourth place in the AL Central with a 59-68 record. They need to win two games and it is important that they sweep the series so that they make up ground in the wild-card standings. They are four games behind the Detroit Tigers and 3.5 behind the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card, and they both lost their last game.

It will be important that the Yankees to win the first two games because the Tigers ace, Chris Sale, will be pitching on Sunday. Here are the pitching matchups for the series at Yankee Stadium:

Friday at 7:05 p.m.

RHP Shane Greene (3-1, 2.91 ERA)


LHP John Danks (9-8, 4.94 ERA)

Saturday at 1:05 p.m.

RHP Hiroki Kuroda (8-8, 3.97 ERA)


RHP Scott Carroll (5-7, 4.99 ERA)

Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

Chris Capuano (1-3, 4.35 ERA)


Chris Sale (10-3, 2.12 ERA)  

The loss to the Rays extended the Yankees losing streak to five games

Brandon McCarthy

Brandon McCarthy

The Yankees had an off day on Thursday, but that did not help them find their offense as they lost 5-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays in the series opener at Tropicana Field. This was their fifth loss in a row after a three-game winning streak, and they have scored a total of seven runs in those five games. 

Brandon McCarthy pitched well enough to earn a win for his second straight start. He only allowed two earned runs in 6.1 innings pitched on Friday, and in his last start he got the loss after only allowing two runs in 6.1 innings as well. On Friday, McCarthy recorded seven strikeouts, only one walk and rebounded well after allowing two runs in the first inning.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran, who are the three, four and five hitters in the lineup. are a combined 4-31 over the last three games. That is an anemic .129 batting average. It is hard to win then the middle of the order does not produce.

The Yankees had chances in this game since they hit a single to start the second, third, fourth and fifth innings but none of those runners were able to advance past third. The offense left seven runners on base and the only hit in six opportunities with runners in scoring position that they had was Derek Jeter’s single in the eighth that loaded the bases. However, that scoring threat was wasted since Ellsbury struck out swinging and Teixeira struck out looking with the bases loaded.

Tampa Bay scored their two runs in the first on grounders that both could have been double plays, and then they scored their third run, in the seventh, on a Curt Casali single that scored Logan Forsythe. That run was unearned because Forsythe reached first as a result of third baseman Chase Headley’s error. With Tampa’s win, the Rays are only the fourth team in major league history to reach .500 after falling 18 games under in the same season. 

“Really proud of the boys,” manager Joe Maddon said. “It was not easy.”

Brett Gardner, who went 0-3 and only has two hits in his last 16 at-bats, knows that each loss from now on is a wasted opportunity. “We are running out of time,” Gardner said. “Every day that goes by and we don’t win makes us one step closer to being home at the end of September. McCarthy pitched a great game, it was just a wasted performance.”

Gardner is right because with this loss the Yankees are now 61-59, eight games behind the first-place Baltimore Orioles and 4.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners, who currently have the second wild-card spot. The Yankees offense will have to produce if they are going to be playing games that matter in the middle and end of September during the last few regular season games of Derek Jeter’s career.

On Saturday, with Drew Smyly pitching for the Rays, the Yankees will look to score more than three runs for the first time since they scored 10 runs during their last win on Friday, August 8. 

Pitching matchups for the series between the Yankees and Rays at Tropicana Field


Shawn Kelley

Shawn Kelley

After being swept in the two-game set at Camden Yards against the Orioles, the Yankees will look to make up ground in the race for the second wild-card spot when they start a three-game series against the fourth place Tampa Bay Rays. 

After the loss on Wednesday, Shawn Kelley admitted that trying for the second wild-card is more realistic at this point. “I think we’re looking more at the second wild-card spot,” Kelley said. “That’s a little bit better number, it’s a little more achievable at this point. 

The Yankees have scored more than three runs only twice in their last nine games. They have also lost their last four games and are 1-25 with runners in scoring position in those four games. 

On Wednesday, the Yankees lost to the Baltimore Orioles 5-3 in a game that it appeared that they would win. In Michael Pineda‘s first start since April, after being out due to a 10-game pine tar suspension and suffering a strained lat muscle below his pitching shoulder while throwing a simulated game during his suspension, he only allowed one run and two hits in five innings pitched. He had four strikeouts and no walks and was pitching just like he did before his injury.   

As a result of Francisco Cervelli’s two-run homer in the third Pineda left in position to win the game. However, in a desperate move by Joe Girardi, Dellin Betances was left in to pitch more than two innings for only the second time this season. Betances had four strikeouts and only allowed one hit in his first two innings, but in the eighth, Betances gave up a game-tying homer to Jonathan Schoop with one out. In 2014, Schoop has an overall average of .217 but has four homers with a .379 average against the Yankees. 

Betances was taken out of the game after the homer and Shawn Kelley gave up a single, a walk and then a three-run homer to the dangerous Adam Jones on a fastball. Jones hits the fastball better than any other pitch, so Kelley should have known to throw something else. That homer sealed the game since the Yankees only scored one run in the ninth. Kelley, who has been much worse recently, has allowed seven runs in his past three appearances. 

After Thursday’s much needed off day, the Yankees will look to find their offense at Tropicana Field. They will luckily not have to face Chris Archer, who has dominated the Yankees in his five career starts against the Bronx Bombers. The Yankees will need to score with runners in scoring position and score many more runs against the Rays than they have the past few games.

The Rays are 60-61 and have gone 6-4 in their previous 10 games. Friday’s game will start at 7:10 p.m., and Alex Cobb will start for the Rays and Brandon McCarthy get the start for the Yankees. In 2014, Cobb is 7-6 with a 3.41 ERA and has allowed two runs or less in each of his last six starts. McCarthy, who will be making his seventh start since being traded to the Yankees, has allowed two runs or less in five of his six starts with the Yankees. He has a 2.21 ERA with 36 strikeouts while pitching for the Yankees, and he has benefited from throwing his cutter more under Larry Rothschild.    

On Saturday, Shane Greene, is a rookie who pitched eight shutout innings against the Detroit Tigers in his last start and has a 2.89 ERA, will face the Rays for his first time. Drew Smyly will be making his third start for the Rays since being traded from the Tigers, and he threw 7.2 shutout innings in his last start. His ERA for the season is 3.73. On Sunday, Hiroki Kuroda (7-8, 4.03 ERA) will pitch for the Yankees and Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 2.03 ERA) will pitch for the Rays. 

The Yankees will need to win at least two out of three to stay in the race for the second wild-card. They are currently four games behind the Tigers and will have to pass the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners to catch Detroit. 

Brandon McCarthy won his fourth game with the Yankees in the series opener against the Tigers

Brandon McCarthy

Brandon McCarthy

The Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers and last year’s Cy Young winner, Max Scherzer, 2-1 on Monday night at Yankee Stadium. They have now won two games in a row and are only a game behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the second Wild-Card.

Brandon McCarthy allowed zero earned runs (one unearned) with eight strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched. The Yankees have won all of his five starts since coming over from the Arizona Diamondbacks, and he has picked up the win in four of those starts. He also has a 2.08 ERA in his last five starts, and Brian Cashman gets a lot of credit for  significantly upgrading the Yankees rotation. Going from a team that is 11 games out of the playoffs in the Diamondbacks to the Yankees, who have so much prestige and a realistic chance of making the postseason, has gotten McCarthy to pitch like it is 2012.

The reason he had zero earned runs was that Marin Prado’s throwing error at third on Eugenio Suarez’s grounder led to Andrew Romine scoring on Ian Kinsler’s single. McCarthy threw 34 of his 116 pitches in the second inning, but the Yankees would not have won the game if he did not step up with runners on base. The bases were loaded with one out but McCarthy impressively got Alex Avila and Suarez to strikeout.

Joe Girardi has been impressed by how effectively McCarthy has used his curve ball. “Brandon McCarthy has used his curve ball really well,” Girardi said. “He has used it more than I thought he would.”

The Yankees scored both of their runs in the third inning. They would have scored more runs, but Ezequiel Carrera’s leaping catch near the warning track with the bases loaded and no outs might have been the catch of the year. Ichiro Suzuki ended up scoring on that catch because he tagged up from third. After Carlos Beltran lined out to second, Brian McCann’s single to right scored Brett Gardner.

Chase Headley had not played first at all in his career, but he got the start because Mark Teixeira missed the game as a result of light- headedness that began about an hour before the game started. “I have kind of given Headley a heads up that he might go over there,” Girardi said. “I told Chase this week that if I give Tex a day off you will probably play first base. I didn’t know it would be at 6:15 today.”

Gardner made an uncharacteristic mistake in the fourth as he was caught in a run down to end the inning. Prado was on third, but this base running error did not end up being costly because the bullpen was dominant once again. Matt Thornton, Adam Warren, Shawn Kelley and David Robertson combined to throw 3.1 one-hit innings while Kelley had one strikeout and Robertson had two.

David Robertson picked up his third save in as many days. “When I came in I told Joe I was good. Fortunately we got a lead and I was able to hold it down. It was a great game and I feel great that we got the win.” With his 30th save in 32 chances he is tied for second in the American League in saves. The Yankees should resign Robertson soon, as Mark Feinsand wrote, so that they can keep their dominant bullpen in tact for at least a a few more years.

Jacoby Ellsbury had his first multi-hit game since July 22nd. He was impressed by how McCarthy has pitched. “He has been tremendous ever since he came over here,” Ellsbury said. “His pitching has been great.” Gardner also had two hits and with Headley’s single he now has one or more hits in eight of his past 10 games. The Yankees, who are facing the last three Cy Young winners in the first three games against the Tigers, will be opposed by David Price on Tuesday. Price won the Cy Young in 2012.

Joe Girardi won his 700th game as an MLB manager. With Derek Jeter’s single in the third inning, he is now only three more hits away from tying Honus Wagner for sixth place on the all-time hits list. He will likely either tie and pass Wagner, who played from 1897 to 1917, this series against the Tigers or the following series at home against the Cleveland Indians.