The first impact move that the Yankees made during the offseason was trading Brian McCann to the Houston Astros. They obviously need to add two or three starters since Hal Steinbrenner has said that he expects to have two rotation spots open to begin spring training. This means that it is unknown who will be in the rotation after Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia.
A move that the Yankees should make that involves their bullpen is acquiring an elite closer so that Dellin Betances can go back to being an elite set up man. Betances broke down and was much less effective during the end of last season and it’s possible that that might not happen if he is pitching primarily in the eighth inning instead.
He was outstanding in the first five plus months of the season as he had an ERA of 2.05 and a WHIP of 0.94 before his appearance on September 5, which was his 64th game of the season, but his results were much worse after the 5th of September. After allowing eight earned runs combined from June through the first two games of September, he allowed 10 earned runs in his final nine games of the season.
Betances struggled with his control as he walked eight batters in September, which came after allowing eight walks combined in April, May and June. He was an All-Star for the third season in a row this season after being an elite set up man during the first half of the season while Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman were still on the team. The 28-year-old who grew up in New York City had a 3.08 ERA after finishing with a 1.50 ERA while still having a very good WHIP of 1.123 and striking out 126 batters, which was the most in the American League among relief pitchers. Betances primarily throws a nasty 12-6 curveball (85 mph) and a fourseam fastball (98 mph)
As of now, the primary set up men behind Betances are Tyler Clippard, Tommy Layne, Chasen Shreve and Richard Bleier. The veteran Adam Warren could be in the rotation or the bullpen, and other young pitchers who could open the season in the bullpen are Jacob Lindgren, Jonathan Holder, Nick Goody, Ben Heller and Johnny Barbato. There is not much proven major league success beyond Betances, Clippard and Warren if he ends up in the bullpen, which is why the Yankees should sign a veteran closer and another relief pitcher to lengthen the game and add to the depth of the bullpen.
The Yankees are rumored to be interested in signing Chapman, who they traded to the Cubs on July 25 for top shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney, Rashad Crawford and Warren. Chapman, who regularly throws 100 mph or faster, had a outstanding 2.01 ERA in 31 games (31.1 innings) with 44 strikeouts, eight walks and an outstanding 0.894 WHIP with the Yankees this season before they traded him to the Cubs. During his 28 games with the World Series champion Cubs, the Cuban Missile had a 1.01 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 26.2 innings.
He is a proven commodity in the league as he has performed at an elite level in his last five seasons. Chapman was an All-Star with the Reds in every season besides his rookie season and he pitched well enough last season to be an All-Star but didn’t pitch in the first month of the season because of his suspension for domestic abuse. Chapman has recorded between 33 and 38 saves in every season since 2012, his ERA has been at 2.54 or below in all those seasons, he recorded an astounding 122 strikeouts for a reliever in 2012 and his low in that span was 90 strikeouts this past season and his WHIP has been between 0.809 and 1.146 in every season.
Another proven commodity at the closer spot who is currently available is Kenley Jansen. The native of Curacao started in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization as a 16-year-old catcher and made his debut as a relief pitcher for the Dodgers when he was 22 in 2010. Jansen is coming off of his best season of his career as he was an All-Star for the first time after finishing with a 1.83 ERA in 71 games (68.2 innings) with 47 saves, 104 strikeouts, 11 walks, 35 hits allowed and a remarkable 0.670 WHIP. Jansen also has the ability to be effective in more than one inning, which is a plus if some other relievers aren’t available or are struggling.
Jansen has been the Dodgers closer since the 2012 season and has had an ERA of 2.76 or lower in every season since then. In 2014, he had a 2.76 ERA, which is a good bit higher than his ERA from this season, but he did have 101 strikeouts and 44 saves. The pitches that he throws are a cutter (94 mph), slider (83 mph) and sinker (95 mph), according to Brooks Baseball.
Jansen and Chapman both made their major league debuts in 2010. Jansen turned 29 in September and Chapman will be 29 in February. Chapman’s ERA in his seven seasons in 2.08 and his WHIP is 0.992 and Jansen’s ERA in his seven seasons is 2.20 and his WHIP is 0.893. Their stats are similar and the Yankees couldn’t really go wrong with either one.
An advantage to signing Jansen instead of Chapman would be that he likely would not command as high of a contract as Chapman (he is rumored to want a $100 million contract for five years). Another positive for Jansen is that he doesn’t regularly throw 100 + mph like Chapman does, which means that he will be able to keep his fastball at the mid 90s velocity that his is at longer than Chapman’s velocity will stay over 100.
The Yankees lost to the Cleveland Indians, 4-3, on Sunday in the series finale at Yankee Stadium. They ended up losing three out of four games in the series and have now lost five out of seven games this season to the last place Indians. The loss combined with the Toronto Blue Jays win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim put the Yankees back in second place by half a game.
Dellin Betances allowed the game-winning run to the Indians in the 8th inning as Francisco Lindor blasted a homer to right on a fastball. Lindor went 3-5 and Betances allowed a run for the second straight game after not giving up a run in his previous 18 games. “Every once in a while it is going to happen,” Joe Girardi said. “He got in a 3-2 count, he left a fastball up and Lindor jumped on it.”
Lindor was the first left handed better to hit a round tripper against Betances. “I felt like I was missing glove handed side,” Betances said. “I fell behind again and Lindor hit a home run. I don’t want to walk him there so I am just trying to go after him. It was up and he put a good swing on it.” Lindor hit his homer to right after a great throw by Brian McCann got Jose Ramirez out as he was trying to steal second.
The Yankees scored their first run of the game in the third inning when Jacoby Ellsbury crossed home plate and Brett Gardner was safe at second on throwing error by Indians catcher Yan Gomes. The Yankees tied the score at three in the seventh inning on Carlos Beltran’s ground rule double that bounced into the stands in foul territory in left. Stephen Drew and Ellsbury scored.
In the fifth inning, the Indians almost had their third run, but Mike Aviles was thrown out trying to tag from third after a perfect short hop throw by Gardner and tag by John Ryan Murphy. The Indians would score their third run later in the inning when Branden Pinder walked Abraham Almonte with the bases loaded.
The Yankees pitchers combined to walk 10 batters against the Indians, which included four by CC Sabathia and three by Pinder. “I think there were a lot of walks on both sides,” Girardi said. “You are going to have those days too. You have got some young kids out there. That is not really a concern.”
CC Sabathia threw an 88 mph outside fastball to Carlos Santana in the first inning that he easily hit a home run on. Sabathia has a 5.80 ERA on regular rest this season (12 starts). He had to leave the game after 2.2 innings with a right knee injury after allowing two runs on four hits and four walks.
Brian Cashman said that he assumed that Sabathia will have to go on the disabled list based on how he had to leave the game. If he does go on the disabled list it is possible that he will not rejoin the rotation when he returns based on his 5.27 ERA.
Indians closer Cody Allen came into the game with two outs in the eighth inning and he recorded his sixth save of four or more outs of the season. That is the most of any closer in baseball.
The Yankees were only 1-8 with runners in scoring position and the No. 2-5 hitters combined to go 2-14. Greg Bird’s ground ball up the middle on the first pitch he saw in the sixth was the second hit of the game for the Yankees and Jacoby Ellsbury was the only player on the team with a multi-hit game.
Trevor Bauer, who had allowed 11 earned runs in his previous two starts combined, only allowed one earned run in his 6.1 innings pitched. He was able to repeatedly pitch out of trouble as he walked six batters.
The Yankees will conclude their homestand with a three-game series from Monday-Wednesday against the Houston Astros, who are in first place in the AL Central. Nathan Eovaldi will get the start on Monday night, and he had an excellent splitter and threw 25 pitches that were 100 mph or faster in his previous start.
The Yankees lost to the Oakland Athletics, 4-3, in 10 innings on Tuesday in the first game of their three-game series in the Bronx. The Yankees had the lead against A’s ace Sonny Gray twice but gave it back and then the bullpen, which has usually dominated this season, allowed the game-tying and game-winning run.
Brett Lawrie hit a homer to deep left in the 10th off of All-Star Dellin Betances (1.65 ERA, 71 strikeouts) to give the Athletics a 4-3 lead. That was the second homer that Betances allowed this season and the last one came in his previous appearance on July 4th against the Rays. Betances, who had three strikeouts in his 1.2 innings pitched in relief of Justin Wilson, threw Lawrie a hanging breaking ball on an 0-2 pitch.
“It just doesn’t happen very often,” Joe Girardi said. “It happened tonight. It’s a game where there is the human element involved. He (Betances) left a breaking ball in the middle and he (Lawrie) hit it out.”
In the sixth inning, after Nathan Eovaldi was taken out of the game, Chasen Shreve allowed a homer to Billy Butler, who was the second batter he faced. Butler, who went 1-4, made the score 3-3 on his homer to the first row in left and hit the first of two homers off of Yankees relievers. Shreve, who had a 15-game scoreless streak, has now allowed a run in back-to-back games.
Eovaldi, who allowed two runs on six hits with four strikeouts in 5.1 innings, held the opposition to less than three runs for his fourth consecutive start. Two of his highlights were striking out Marcus Semien on an 88mph splitter in the fifth and getting 11 swing and misses during his 5.1 innings.
“I’ve got to do a better job of getting quick outs and working deep into the ball game,’ Eovaldi said.
He was taken out of the game after throwing only 86 pitches partly because opposing teams have a .378 batting average against him the third time through the order. Joe Girardi also thought Shreve would have better success against the next batter.
“Reddick had hit him pretty hard and I had a fresh bullpen,” Joe Girardi said. “The way my bullpen has been throwing I just thought I would go to Shreve. With a fresh bullpen I would do it especially lefty on lefty in that situation.”
To give the Yankees a 3-2 lead, Didi Gregorius hit a single to right center that scored Brian McCann with two outs in the fourth. Gregorius is hitting 6-18 (.333) with two RBIs in July after having a .258 average in June. McCann and Garrett Jones both hit RBI singles in the first inning off of Gray but Oakland tied the score against Eovaldi in the third.
The Yankees were 3-11 with runners in scoring position and Chris Young, Mark Teixeira and Chase Headley all hit into a double play.
Alex Rodriguez walked in the 10th to put runners on first and second with two outs. Mark Teixeira, who was 0-5 with three strikeouts, struck out swinging on a 3-2 change by former Yankee Tyler Clippard to end the game. Clippard picked up his 16th save of the season.
Girardi was impressed with the bullpen overall and thought that more run support would have helped. “For the most part, they were pretty good,” Girardi said. “It is unfortunate we didn’t score some runs for them after it was 3-3.”
The Yankees, who are 44-39 and have a game and a half lead for first place in the AL East, could not take advantage of the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays both losing on Tuesday. The Orioles and Blue Jays are both 1.5 games out of first and the floundering Rays, who are 1-9 in their last 10 games, are 2.5 games out of first.
The Athletics (39-47), who have the worst record in the American League, will play the Yankees again tonight and Thursday afternoon. Before the All-Star break, the Yankees will play a three-game set from Friday to Sunday at Fenway Park against the Red Sox. Jacoby Ellsbury and Andrew Miller will come off of the disabled list before Wednesday’s game.
Dellin Betances and Mark Teixeira are the two Yankees that have been selected to play in this year’s All-Star Game in Cincinnati on July 14 at Great American Ballpark. They both deserve to be on the All-Star team and it would have been a mistake if they were not selected.
Brett Gardner, who has done a tremendous job as the leadoff hitter for the last month and a half while Jacoby Ellsbury has been on the disabled list, will make the All-Star team if he gets more votes than Xander Bogaerts, Yoenis Cespedes, Brian Dozier and Mike Moustakas between now and 4 p.m. EST on Friday in the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote contest.
Gardner is deserving because he is fourth in the American League in steals (15), tied for third in the league in runs scored (60) and tied for fifth in the AL with his 21 doubles. He also has the ninth best on-base percentage in the league (.372), which proves that he is doing very well getting on base and being a table-setter at the top of the lineup. You can vote for Brett Gardner to win the Final Vote here.
Teixeira is having a great bounce back season from his sub-par previous three campaigns when he had various injuries. He has a .243 average with 20 homers, 59 RBIs, 37 runs scored and a .532 slugging percentage. He has not had a season when he has had a better than .500 slugging percentage since 2009, which was the last year that he was an All-Star. He is on track to easily surpass his power numbers from his last two seasons when he played more than 120 games (2012 and 2014) as he had 24 homers and 84 RBIs and 22 homers and 62 RBIs, respectively, in those two seasons.
Teixeira, who has been playing Gold Glove caliber first base, is tied for fifth in the AL with his 20 homers, is first in the league with his 59 RBIs and is seventh in the league with his .532 slugging percentage. He has been an integral part of the middle of the Yankees lineup and the team would not be in first place by one and a half games without his resurgence.
Betances, who has been one of the top five relievers in the league, was named an All-Star for the second consecutive season. He is one of only three relievers in the AL with a pitching WAR of above 1.5.
He has pitched in 37 games (42 innings) and has a 1.50 ERA, a 0.86 WHP, 68 strikeouts, five wins and seven saves. He is tied for first among AL relief pitches in wins, is first among AL relief pitchers in strikeouts, and his ERA and WHIP are both in the top five among pitchers who have pitched as many games as he has.
Andrew Miller is supposed to return from the disabled list on Wednesday, and when both Betances and Miller have been healthy they have combined to form a top two set-up and closer combo in the American League. Betances thinks that Gardner is very deserving of winning the FInal Vote and was surprised that he wasn’t already selected.
“He’s very deserving,” said Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, who made the team in the players vote, of Gardner. “Obviously the numbers speak for themselves. I thought he would have gotten the call and not been in the final vote. So now, we’ve got to get him in somehow.”
Including tonight’s game against the Oakland Athletics, the Yankees (44-38) have six more games before the All-Star break.
In this video, late night talk show host Seth Meyers talked to people at Yankee Stadium who do not usually get to tell their story. He interviewed a bat boy, a clubhouse attendant, the organist and a beer vendor.
On Thursday, the Yankees (9-7) won the series finale against the Detroit Tigers 2-1. They won three of the four games during their series at Comerica Park against the Tigers who previously had the best offense in baseball, and they finished their 10-game road trip to Camden Yards, Tropicana Field and Comerica Park with an impressive 7-3 record.
After struggling on defense during their first nine games of the season, the Yankees have played like they are capable of defensively and have made a number of highlight plays while winning six of their past seven games. During the win over the Tigers last night, Chase Headley made outstanding plays in the seventh and ninth innings to help the team get the win.
After not allowing a run in seven innings in his previous start against the Tampa Bay Rays, Masahiro Tanaka allowed only one run in 6.1 innings pitched against the Tigers. He had six strikeouts and only allowed three hits and was arguably more impressive during this start because Detroit’s lineup is much deeper and more powerful than Tampa Bay’s. Tanaka looked shaky in his first two starts of the season, but he has pitched like the ace he was last season in his last two starts.
It is a positive sign that Tanaka (1), Nathan Eovaldi (1) and CC Sabathia (2) allowed a combined four runs against the Tigers. Those three starters shutdown what is likely the best offense in baseball and proved that the No 1, No. 3 and No. 4 starters can have success any time they take the mound.
Tanaka pitched on normal rest for the first time this season and when he was interviewed after the game he said that there was no difference for him throwing on four days rest instead of five. He now has a 2.85 ERA in day games between last season and this season.
Also, during the series against the Tigers, Chris Young continued to prove that he could be a superior option to Carlos Beltran going forward. Young went 1-4 Thursday night, but during the series he was 7-13 (.538) with three run scored, two doubles, a homer and an RBI. He has an outstanding .357 average this season with four homers, nine RBIs, eight runs scored and five doubles.
Beltran has a .184 average with zero homers, so there is not comparison as to who has been more valuable this season. Beltran might still turn it around, but he appears to at 37 years old not have much left and Young is performing like he did in 2010 when he hit 27 homers with 91 RBIs and was an All-Star.
Both Yankees runs were scored by Jacoby Ellsbury, who used his speed to his advantage. In the sixth inning, Ellsbury walked, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out and then he was able to score after causing Anibal Sanchez to balk. In the eighth inning, Ellsbury doubled to center, Brett Gardner sacrificed him to third and then he was able to score the winning run on Brian McCann’s ground out to first.
Dellin Betances looked like the dominating set-up man that he was last year for his fifth straight appearance as he picked up his fourth win and pitched a perfect eighth inning recording two strikeouts. Andrew Miller recorded his sixth save in as many chances and has proven to be an excellent offseason signing. He got the heart of the Tigers order, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez, out on only eight pitches.
Miller’s fastball and slider combo helped him strikeout Cabrera and J.D. Martinez. Either the Yankees or Kansas City Royals likely have the best bullpen in the American League.
The Yankees are pitching well and playing well defensively and getting timely hitting offensively going into their Subway Series against the Mets, who at 13-3 have the best record in baseball. The Mets have won their last 11 games and this will be the first time in Subway Series history that the Yankees and Mets are both in first place heading into the series.
“It is going to be awesome,” said Alex Rodriguez, who sat out his first game of the season on Thursday. “The stadium should be rocking. Our fans are ready and their fans are ready, too. It is fun for the players and even more fun for the fans.”
The Yankees have a deep and imposing bullpen with Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, David Carpenter, Justin Wilson, Esmil Rogers, Adam Warren and eventually Chasen Shreve and Jacob Lindgren. However, since none of them have more than Carpenter’s four career saves it would make sense for the Yankees to employ a closer by committee approach, at least for the first two months of the season.
In 2014, David Robertson saved 39 games for the Yankees after taking over from the retired Mariano Rivera, but he made sense to be the full-time closer because he had been the top set up man for Rivera for the previous four seasons and even had experience closing. The Yankees rightfully decided to not bring him back on a four-year contract, which has helped give the bullpen more options. However, it does not have a pitcher who has been a top set up man for more than three seasons, which means that the closer position should be earned by Betances or Miller.
Betances would be a logical and sentimental choice because he was an All-Star last season with the Yankees and grew up in the Lower East Side, but last season was his first full season as a relief pitcher. He could not have been better as he used his four-seam fastball that averaged 96 MPH, a devastating slurve (which is a mixture between a curve ball and slider and often freezes hitters) and a changeup to record an outstanding 135 strikeouts and a 1.40 ERA in 90 innings (70 games). He broke Mariano Rivera’s record for strikeouts in a season by a Yankee.
However, even though Betances proved that he has the stuff to be an effective closer as Robertson’s set up man last season, he still likely needs more time to prove himself. This is because before last season the only bullpen work he had was 32 innings for Triple-A Scranton during the 2013 season after being converted from being a starter. He was once a top starter prospect in the organization, as he was the fifth best prospect in 2009 and had an ERA of 2.11 in 17 minor league starts in 2010, but it was downhill from there for him as a starter.
Miller is similar to Betances in that they were both starters earlier in their career before being moved to the bullpen because of ineffectiveness. Miller was in the rotation for the Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins and Boston Red Sox before being sent to the bullpen because he never had an ERA below 4.84, but Miller has been in the bullpen for the Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles for the last three seasons.
Miller had an impressive 2.64 ERA while only pitching in 30.2 innings in 2013. He season was cut short in 2013 because of torn ligaments in the lisfranc zone of his foot. His 48 strikeouts led to an outstanding 14.1 strikeouts/nine innings, and he limited the opposition to three homers. One drawback of his productive 2013 season is that he walked 17 batters in those 30.2 innings, which led to a high 5.0 walks/9 innings.
Another similarity between Betances and Miller is that – even though Miller pitched well in 2013 and was one of the top relievers when healthy – they have both truly had one elite season. In 2014, while pitching in 50 games for the Red Sox and 23 games for the Orioles, Miller had a 2.02 ERA in 62.1 innings, a dominating 103 strikeouts, only 17 walks and a phenomenal .802 WHIP. His 2.5 walks/9 innings and 14.9 strikeouts/9 innings were also by far the best of his career. In 2014, Miller threw a fourseam fastball (95 MPH), a slider (85 MPH) and very rarely a changeup (91 MPH). His slider generates a higher amount of swings and misses compared to that of other pitchers.
Since they are both capable of closing based on their stuff and overall effectiveness last season, but can both pitch multiple innings, it would make sense if Joe Girardi went based on match-ups the first two months of the season since Miller is a lefty and Betances is a righty. Whoever proves to get better results in the ninth inning while limiting the walks could get the closer position for the long haul. The Yankees are shaping up to have a bullpen to be reckoned with a top four of Betances, Miller, David Carpenter and Justin Wilson.
They are both coming into their own, which is a definite positive, but have both only shown the ability to perform for a full season at an elite level once. This means that neither of them has earned the closer spot going into the season and since they can both pitch more than one inning it would make sense to utilize them in that way. They could handle the eighth and ninth innings, and Justin Wilson, David Carpenter, Esmil Rogers, Adam Warren, Chasen Shreve etc. can look to execute and be counted on in long relief and in the sixth and seventh innings.
Miller was given a four-year, $36 million contract earlier in the offseason, which means that he should get an opportunity to close just like Betances. Based on how Betances and Miller pitched last season, and if Carpenter pitches like he did in 2013, the Yankees bullpen could be just as potent as last year’s Royals bullpen that helped them essentially end games after six innings. In 1996, the Yankees had one of the best closer & set-up man combos in John Wetteland (2.83 ERA/43 saves) and Mariano Rivera (2.09 ERA/130 strikeouts/107.2 innings). However, in 1997, the Yankees had one obvious candidate to close but they now have two.
Teams definitely benefit from having defined roles, but Betances and Miller are both unselfish players, so Girardi should have them share the role to see who is better suited for the pressure of the ninth inning.
The Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 5-3 at Progressive Field as Shane Greene, a righty from Florida, picked up his first win of his career in his first start. The Bronx Bombers have now won four of their past five games after winning three of four games in Minnesota against the Twins.
Greene did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the fifth inning. He retired 17 of the first 22 batters that he faced. He lost his no-hitter in the fifth as former Yankee Nick Swisher hit a solo homer. Greene was very impressive as he only allowed two runs, didn’t walk anyone, picked up two strikeouts and his sinker and slider worked well for him.
“His sinker worked really well,” Girardi said. “He did a lot of good things. We have said all along this kid has a lot of talent. I don’t think he tried to do too much, and that is impressive. He was really, really good.” Francisco Cervelli, who Greene credited with calling a great game, was impressed with how Greene was able to bounce back. “In the first inning I think he was a little anxious,” Cervelli said. “The next inning he came back like a veteran guy. Kid was really good.”
“I would rather give up a homer than a walk,” Greene said. “Having a lot of familiar faces helped, (the season) has been a bit of a roller-coaster, but it feels good to be here.” (Greene was called up as a result of the Nuno for McCarthy trade, and he hadn’t allowed a run in his last 13 innings at AAA-Scranton. He was likely helped by having a 5-0 lead after three innings.
Brett Gardner had three hits, which ended up being his third game of three or more hits this season. He increased his average to a solid .289. In the second inning, his single to left drove in Brian Roberts and sent Cervelli to third. Earlier in the inning, for the team’s first run of the game, Roberts hit a double to deep left to score Brian McCann. The Yankees scored their third run of the inning on a Derek Jeter walk with the bases loaded that sent Johnson home. Jeter needs only two more multi-hit games to reach 1,000 for his career.
The Yankees scored their third and fourth runs of the game in the third inning. Ichiro Suzuki’s infield single to first scored Mark Teixeira with one out. Later in the inning, McCann scored after Cervelli grounded into a fielder’s choice to the shortstop. Justin Masterson struggled mightily against the Yankees as he only pitched two innings, and since he gave up a walk and single to start the third before being taken out, all five runs were charged to him.
Cleveland scored a run on three hits in the sixth inning, but Greene was impressively able to get Carlos Santana to fly out to right with runners on first and second to end the inning. David Huff gave up a homer to Yan Gomes to leadoff the eighth after pitching a scoreless seventh, and Dellin Betances came in after Gomes’s homer to get the final six outs for his first career save. He was very efficient as he got those six outs on only 15 pitches. Betances was pitching in his first game since being selected to his first All-Star Game.
This is what Betances said about being an All-Star for his first time: “It’s been unbelievable. I have been blessed. I have learned a lot from the guys and am just enjoying everyday.” On being voted in by the players Betances said: “It is a humbling experience for me. I have had a lot of ups and downs. I think confidence (has helped) more than anything. Just having fun as well.”
The Bronx Bombers had a balanced offensive attack as four players had two or more hits. The Yankees are an impressive 26-16 in games decided by two runs or less.
Masahiro Tanaka will get the start in Game 2 of the series on Tuesday. He has a 1.87 ERA in his 10 starts outside of the American League East. The Baltimore Orioles won on Monday night, which means that the Yankees are still 3.5 games behind them for first place in the division.
Tuesday’s game against the Oakland Athletics was delayed 1 hour and 12 minutes because of a heavy rainstorm, but the double rainbow that was over the stadium after the rain stopped was not able to wake up the struggling offense against Scott Kazmir. They lost 5-2 in 10 innings as a result of the offense scoring two runs for the third time in their last four games. Their only win in the last five games was when they scored three runs in a win over the Twins.
Mark Teixeira, who was playing in his first game since Saturday as a result his wrist keeping him out of the lineup again, drove in the two runs that the Yankees scored. His single to right in the first inning drove in Brett Gardner, and Teixeira’s 407-foot homer to left in the sixth gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead. The offense could have scored more runs but they were only 1-8 with runners in scoring position.
Alfonso Soriano was 0-3 with three strikeouts while looking completely off balance at the plate. He does not have a hit in his last 15 at-bats, which has dropped his average all the way down to .226. He should get designated for assignment or at the very least not play for an extended period as a result of how he is hurting the offense.
Joe Girardi said that the offense needs to step up and was relieved to have Teixeira back in the lineup. “We have had different people in the lineup, everyone has had a shot, and will continue try to put out what we feel is the best matchups against certain people and we got to get it done,” Girardi said. “Obviously, as we have said all along, we have missed him (Teixeira) because he is a run producer and that is exactly what he did tonight.”
Kazmir had 10 strikeouts and allowed those two RBIs by Teixeira before being taken out of the game with one out in the seventh, but Hiroki Kuroda had his best start of the season. Kuroda threw 6.2 innings while allowing one earned run and a season-low two hits. One of them was Brandon Moss’s first of two homers. It appeared that he would get his fourth win of the season, but Dellin Betances, who has been outstanding this season, lost the lead.
Betances’s strikeout to end the seventh drew a standing ovation from the crowd, but he unraveled in the eighth as he walked Albert Callaspo and gave up a game-tying RBI double to pinch hitter Stephen Vogt. Betances had previously only allowed one run in his previous nine appearances, while striking out 24 batters in those nine games, which has made him a very valuable pitcher in the bullpen for the Yankees.
Vogt was playing in only his second game of the season. After David Robertson pitched a perfect ninth inning, the game went into extra innings with the score tied at two.
Most of the fans had left at this point as many sections of the stadium had 10 or fewer people in them. They missed seeing the normally reliable Adam Warren gave up three earned runs in two thirds of an inning to raise his ERA from 1.71 to 2.53. Moss lead of the tenth with his second homer that would end up being the game winner, Jed Lowrie’s double passed Jacoby Ellsbury in center scored Yoenis Cespedes and Kyle Blanks’s single that scored Lowrie made the score 5-3.
The two, three and four hitters came to bat in the tenth for the Yankees but they were retired in order to end the game in front of a sparsely filled Yankee Stadium. There have not been many times when there were so few people at Yankee Stadium, but the struggling offense did not give much reason for hope.
The Yankees, 29-28 and third place in the AL East, will look to score more than three runs for the first time since the 7-4 win in St. Louis on May 28 when they play the second game of the series against the Athletics on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. Vidal Nuno, who allowed four runs in his last start, will pitch against righty Jesse Chavez (2.78 ERA).
In Derek Jeter’s final Subway Series game, the Yankees beat the New York Mets 1-0 at Citi Field on Thursday night as Chase Whitley pitched 4.2 shutout innings innings in his major-league debut. He walked two, gave up two hits and recorded four strikeouts while helping the Yankees split the season series with the Mets.
Joe Girardi could not have asked for much more from Whitley, who replaced Carlos Beltran on the active roster, and part of the reason he took him out when he did is because he knew he had Dellin Betances available to throw two innings. In seven games and six starts this season for Triple-A Scranton Whitley had a very good 2.39 ERA.
“To be in Scranton and then all of a sudden be here is unbelievable,” Whitley said after the game. Girardi was very satisfied and with how the rookie from Alabama stepped up in his first Subway Series. “I was impressed with what he did,” Girardi said. “To be able to control his emotions in a series like this is pretty impressive.”
David Robertson got his first save of more than one inning of the season, but Betances’s performance is the one that truly stands out. In the bottom of the sixth, Betances impressively struck out the three most powerful hitters in the Mets lineup – Daniel Murphy, David Wright and Curtis Granderson. He now has a remarkable 39 strikeouts and only nine walks in 22.1 innings pitched.
Girardi on Dellin Betances: “He has got a gift. He has got a very good fastball and a very good curveball.”
Catcher Brian McCann was impressed by the dominating reliever who went to high school in Brooklyn. “He is getting more confidence every time out,” McCann said. “He is starting to execute more now than he was earlier in the season.”
The Yankees were able to score the only run of the game in the seventh as Alfonso Soriano hit a clutch two-out double to deep center to drive in McCann. Soriano was the only Yankee with two hits and now has two multi-hit games in his last five. Whitley was even able to single to right in his first career at-bat.
Robertson, Adam Warren and Betances pitched out of the bullpen and they all struck out two or more batters. Betances got his second win of the season after striking out six and not allowing a hit or a walk. After Eric Young Jr. grounded out to third, Betances struck out the next six batters that he faced.
Girardi likes the ability that his bullpen has to record strikeouts. “We have some power at the back end, and when you have that you are going to get strikeouts, and those are very important,” Girardi said.
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild and Girardi have rightfully been showing more and more confidence in Betances, who was switched to pitching in relief last season, and he rewarded them tonight. In his two appearances before Thursday’s game, he combined to pitch 2.2 innings, allow one hit and strike out three. It seems that he is beyond his control issues that hurt him earlier in his career.
“I am just trying to make pitches,” Betances said after the game. “If I can get ahead I know I can try and put some guys away. Today is one of those days that I was able to do that. I am just happy we got the win. I grew up watching the Subway Series.” Betances added that Whitley is a good friend of his and is happy he pitched well.
Before the game, the Mets honored Jeter with a No. 2 mosaic designed using subway tiles and donated $22,222.22 to his Turn 2 Foundation.
The Yankees (21-19), who are now a half-game behind the Baltimore Orioles in the closely contested Al East, will try for their third consecutive shutout when they start a three-game interleague series at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday at 7:05 p.m.
The Yankees won two out of their three games in Anaheim against the Angels. Derek Jeter and Brian Roberts both hit their first homer of the season in the series, and the Yankees had dominating starts from Hiroki Kuroda and Vidal Nuno in the two wins.
Nuno, who is from San Diego and was pitching in front of his family and friends for the first time since high school, had his second excellent start while replacing Ivan Nova in the rotation. In his first outing, on April 20, Nuno shutout the Rays and only allowed three hits in five innings, and on Wednesday, he pitched 6.1 innings, allowed four hits and only one run.
He is a 26-year-old who was pitching in the independent Frontier League for the Washington Wild Things in 2011 before the Yankees signed him and assigned him to the Staten Island Yankees of the New York-Pennsylvania League. He does not throw very fast, but works deliberately on the mound and relies on a plus changeup and other off-speed pitches.
Nuno has been able to neutralize to potent offenses as he has pitched well against the Rays and Angels, which makes it seem like he could be a solid addition to the rotation for the long haul. He has a 5.47 ERA for the season, but his ERA would be much lower if it was not for the seven runs that he allowed in 3.1 innings of relief on April 8 against the Baltimore Orioles.
The Yankees, whose bullpen was a question mark heading into the series as there wasn’t a proven set-up man or closer, have had a few members of their bullpen really step up this season. Adam Warren, Dellin Betances, Preston Claiborne, David Robertson and Shawn Kelley have all pitched well and have given Joe Girardi a number of options that he can rely on.
Specifically in the series against the Angels, Claiborne, who has pitched well this season after struggling in September of last season, pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, Betances allowed a run in 1.2 innings while striking out two and Robertson struck out one in the ninth to record his fifth save of the season.
On Monday, the bullpen had one of their few hiccups of the season, as Kelley’s three runs allowed in the eighth led to the lone loss of the series for the Yankees (and also bumped his ERA from 1.88 to 3.60). However, other than that game, he picked up four saves while Robertson was on the disabled list, had not allowed a run in 12 of his previous 14 appearances and has 16 strikeouts to seven walks on the season, which includes three walks from the game on Monday.
Betances, who went to high school in Brooklyn, has been a bright spot as he made the opening day roster for the first time. His strikeout to walk ratio is outstanding given that he has 30 strikeouts and only nine walks. After throwing many pitches as a starter, he has found success while predominantly throwing his upper 90s fastball and slurve in the bullpen. After not being able to throw his curveball for strikes in the 2012 regular season, his teammate in the Arizona Fall League, Michael O’Brien, showed him a new way to grip his curveball. It is a mixture between a curve and slider, hence the word slurve.
Betances has a 2.08 ERA so far, and he is starting to pitch in higher leverage situations based on how reliable he has been. He has impressively struck out two or more batters in 12 of his appearances and he can thank his increased control and slurve for that success.
It was expected for Robertson to pitch well and he has not disappointed. D-Rob missed 15 games early on as a result of a strained groin, but that has not limited him after his return. He has a 1.13 ERA, five saves and seven strikeouts to only four hits in his first season after taking over for the great Mariano Rivera.
Warren, who is in his second full season in the majors, has been a pleasant surprise out of the bullpen. The converted starter had a 3.39 ERA last season in the pen, and he is pitching much better this season. His confidence is showing as he has a 1.40 ERA in 19.1 innings, 16 strikeouts, four holds and only four walks. Warren’s emergence gives the Yankees three reliable arms behind Robertson in the bullpen, to go along with the veteran Matt Thornton.