The win that the Yankees had on Saturday afternoon was one that Brian Cashman envisioned when he traded for Aroldis Chapman in the offseason. Saturday’s 2-1 win over the Chicago White Sox was the first time that the flame-throwing trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Chapman all pitched in a game and they lived up to their potential.
Chapman’s first game active this season was May 9 after being suspended for 30 games due to domestic violence, and Saturday was the first game when Joe Girardi thought it made sense to use all three given the score and that each of the three were rested. Betances came into the game in the sixth after Ivan Nova walked Todd Frazier with two outs and then pitched 1.1 innings while striking out every batter he faced, Miller only allowed a single in the eighth inning and Chapman struck out two of the three batters he faced while getting his second save as a Yankee.
“We knew these would be the type of games that we would use all three of them, and that if we could line them up, it’d be pretty good,” Girardi said.
In total, Betances, Miller and Chapman pitched 3.1 innings while allowing only one hit, no walks and they combined to strikeout eight of the 11 batters that they faced. The most fearsome trio in baseball could not have been any better and all three will likely be available for Sunday’s game, when the Yankees will try for the third consecutive series win.
Dellin Betances has three more strikeouts (32, 2.20 ERA) than any other reliever in the American League, Miller has a near flawless 0.61 ERA and has only six fewer strikeouts than Betances and Chapman’s 116 strikeouts were tied for the 45th most in the National League last season and were 25 more than any other relief pitcher in the NL. Chapman also threw 77 of the 77 fastest pitches in Major League Baseball last season, which proves how much faster he throws than every other pitcher.
Nathan Eovaldi threw a 101.6 mph fastball last season and Chapman was able to actually throw 77 fastballs that were faster. He overpowers hitters with his fastball and catches them off guard with his slider that can be 13 or 14 mph slower than his fastball.
Nova had his second consecutive dominant start since replacing CC Sabathia in the rotation, who went on the disabled list due to a strained left groin on May 6. In Saturday afternoon’s game, Nova pitched 5.2 innings, gave up only four hits and only allowed Todd Frazier’s solo homer to left in the fourth inning. He is still getting stretched out after pitching in the bullpen before May 9, but was able to throw 48 of his 74 pitches for strikes. Nova’s sinker was really working on Saturday since 12 of the 17 outs that he recorded were via the groundout.
Nova only allowed one run in 4.2 innings in his start on May 9 and should be able to stay in the rotation for at least a few more starts. Luis Severino went on the 15-day disabled list with a right triceps strain after his start on Friday. He will likely need more than the required 15 days and he hasn’t been anything like the pitcher he was during the last two months of last season anyway.
Severino, who is 22 and made his big league debut last August, made 11 starts from the beginning of August through the end of September last season and had an impressive 2.89 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and a 2.0 Wins Above Replacement. However, possibly partly due to his triceps strain, this season he has a 7.46 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, eight homers allowed and a -0.7 Wins Above Replacement in seven starts. It might make sense for him to throw a few starts at Triple-A before coming off of the DL.
The Yankees did all of their scoring in the second inning. Aaron Hicks continued his improvement on offense as he was 1-3 and had an RBI double in the second. In the last seven days, Hicks has a .333 average (8-24) with one homer, two doubles, four RBIs and five runs scored. He has raised his average from .122 to .210 in the last seven days and is playing like the player that the Yankees thought they were getting when they traded for him in the offseason.
Didi Gregorius’s RBI single in the second that scored Hicks ended up being the winning run for the Yankees. Gregorius was 3-3 during the afternoon and the bottom third of the order had all five of the team’s hits. Gregorius has six RBIs in his last four games, which are as many as he had in his previous 17 games combined.
It is a positive sign that the Yankees have been getting more production from the bottom of the lineup recently. The Yankees will have a dangerous offense when the top, middle and bottom of the order are locked in at the same time.
Jose Quintana has been one of the best pitchers in the American League as he only has a 1.54 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in eight starts this season, but the Yankees were able to do just enough to even the series.
Masahiro Tanaka will get the start in the series finale and will look to get the team a series win against the first place team in the AL Central. Chase Headley will get the day off at third and will be replaced by Ronald Torreyes and Dustin Ackley will get the start in right with Hicks getting rest.
Unless there is an injury during spring training the starting rotation is pretty much set for the Yankees. It’s not known what order the rotation will be, but the five starters in the rotation will most likely be Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Nate Eovaldi, CC Sabathia and Luis Severino. There are some injury question marks with three of those five starters, but that rotation has the potential to be a very reliable one if they all stay healthy and pitch how they are capable of.
Severino is the wild card of the five and the one who might have the most upside. The 21-year-old Dominican, who was the team’s #1 prospect after the 2014 season according to Baseball America, made his major-league debut on August 5 and in his 11 starts he had a 2.89 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and 56 strikeouts. He only allowed more than two earned runs in three of his 11 starts and if he can pitch with that kind of effectiveness for the majority of the 2016 season, after other teams have more of a scouting report on him, the rotation could be better than it was last season.
Ivan Nova, who had a below average 5.07 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in his 17 starts last season, recently avoided salary arbitration by signing a one-year, $4.1 million contract. The 29-year-old righthander will be headed to the bullpen due to the emergence of Severino. He is an intriguing option as a long-reliever and sixth inning option before the flame-throwing trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman.
Nova made four starts in April of 2014 before having to leave his start on April 19 with an elbow injury that led to him needing Tommy John surgery. He had a 8.27 ERA in those four starts and hasn’t been able to perform like he did in the 2013 season. In the 2013 season, Nova showed what he is capable of as he had an impressive 3.10 ERA in 23 games (20 starts) to go along with two shutouts and a career-low 1.28 WHIP.
Last season Nova proved that he can still be productive since he had six starts where he pitched five innings or more and allowed less than three runs. He is far too inconsistent to start games consistently this season, but based on the ability he showed at times last season it would make sense for him to be the top candidate to make a spot start.
Relievers only need two pitches that they can count on to be successful, which makes Nova an ideal candidate for the bullpen. Nova has 12-6 curveball that can be un-hittable at times and a slider that he throws between 85-89mph that can be also be a strikeout pitch for him when it is on. If Nova is restricted to one or two innings besides occasional spot starts then his pitches should be more reliable than they have been the last two seasons as a starter.
The Yankees bullpen likely will be the most dominant backend of a bullpen of all-time because of the last two seasons that Chapman, Betances and Miller have had. However, the bullpen will need depth and Nova can provide another quality pitcher with experience that Joe Girardi can have pitch in the sixth or seventh inning when one of the “Big Three” need a day off.
Chapman, who has been an All-Star in each of the last four seasons and throws the fastest fastball in baseball, will likely be suspended to begin the season because of his serious domestic abuse allegations. The league could suspend him under its new domestic violence policy. According to John Heyman, the league might not have enough evidence to give him a long suspension.
Other pitchers who will likely come north with the Yankees after spring training are Branden Pinder, Chasen Shreve, James Pazos and Bryan Mitchell. Pazos, Shreve and Pinder are all pitchers who had success last season and are used to pitching in the bullpen but they don’t nearly have the experience of pitching in the big leagues that Nova does.
The Yankees, who remained at 9,999 wins in franchise history after last night’s game against the Red Sox, lost a 5-1 game to the Boston Red Sox in the first game of their series at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are 3.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros for the first wild-card spot with six games left to play, and their playoff probability is currently 99.9 percent.
The Yankees trail the Toronto Blue Jays by five games, and the reason the Yankees will not win the division is that since the start of play on July 29th, the Blue Jays are 41-14 and have a run differential of an outstanding +129.
Offense is key for any team to win games and the Yankees offense struggled for the fifth time in their last six games. They have now scored three runs or less in five of their last six games and have scored two runs or less in four of those games. They are 3-3 in those six games.
“You’re going to have hot streaks and cold streaks. Right now we feel like we are battling. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to put good innings together,” Carlos Beltran said. “Today was a day where we faced a guy who was pitching well.”
The Yankees were 0-7 with runners in scoring position, which makes it hard to win a game. Their only run came off of an Alex Rodriguez sacrifice fly that scored Jacoby Ellsbury in the first inning. Greg Bird struck out with runners on first and second to end the first inning, Brett Gardner flied out to right with Rob Refsnyder on second to end the fourth inning and Gardner struck out on a 94 mph fastball with Refsnyder on second and John Ryan Murphy on third to end the game.
The one positive offensively was that Refsnyder was 1-4 and now has one or more hits in every game that he has started this month (four). He has recently been playing second against lefties and Dustin Ackley has been the second baseman against righties. Refsnyder has five hits in his last 13 at-bats (.385) with one double, which is a sign that he is showing his skills on offense.
“I think we need to do a better job against left handers,” Joe Girardi said. “It’s something we need to do a better job at. We struggled offensively this weekend against lefties. It’s is a kid that has swung well against left handers in the past (Refsnyder).”
Ivan Nova allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks in seven innings pitched, but looked about as good as he has this season in the first five innings of the game. He did not allow a run before the sixth inning and only allowed three hits in that span. However, Nova was yet another Yankee pitcher whose effectiveness got worse in the sixth inning.
Nova had a good breaking ball but the homers off of him came on fastballs that didn’t sink. Travis Shaw blasted a homer to right that drove in Xander Bogaerts in the sixth inning. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a homer just above the Canon sign in left field that bounced back into the field in the seventh inning.
After taking Nova out of the game after the seventh inning, Girardi used five relief pitchers to get the final six outs of the game. After recording the first two outs of the ninth, Caleb Cathem gave up a solo homer to Deven Marrero, which was Marrero’s first career round tripper. Fellow rookie Nick Rumbelow got Dustin Pedroia to ground out to Didi Gregorius at shortstop to end the top of the ninth.
Michael Pineda will get the start for the Yankees in Game 2 of the series on Tuesday night and will try to make sure the Yankees don’t lose any ground to the Astros. Pineda only allowed one run in six innings and struck out six in his previous start and in his last two starts combined he has pitched 11.1 innings, allowed only one run, recorded 10 strikeouts and only one walk.
Masahiro Tanaka is on track to pitch the wild card game, but either Tanaka or Luis Severino should pitch Game 1 of the American League Division Series if the Yankees win the one-game playoff.
The Yankees (59-45) routed the Chicago White Sox, 12-3, on Saturday afternoon in the series finale at U.S. Cellular FIeld in Chicago. They now have a 6-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays for first place in the AL East and have not lost any of their last eight series.
The Bronx Bombers had 11 hits and were an impressive 6-11 with runners in scoring position against the White Sox. The bottom of the lineup continued to be productive as the No. 7-9 hitters, Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius and Stephen Drew, were a combined 7-12 with six RBIs and five runs scored.
“You can’t score 13-plus runs and 21 in Texas without the entire lineup doing their thing,” Teixeira said. “We’ve had days where the bottom of the order has carried us. You’re not going to have two or three guys stay hot all year long, and we need to continue to pick one another up as teammates.”
In the first inning, leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury smashed a home run to center off of Jeff Samardzija that set the tone for the rest of the windy game in Chicago. The Yankees were able to manufacture five more runs in the fourth inning. Gregorius hit a single to shallow left center to score Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, Ellsbury hit a sacrifice fly to score Headley & Brett Gardner singled to right to score Gregorius and Drew.
Gregorius has really been on fire as of late as he has 12 RBIs in his last eight games, which is as many as he had in May and June combined. In his last seven games, he has a .480 average in 25 at-bats with one homer, 11 RBIs and seven runs scored. His average was only .242 on July 26 and it is now a solid .260, which is very respectable for a shortstop.
In the fifth inning, Teixeira hit a homer to right to make the score 7-0. That was his 29th homer of the season, which is tied for third most in the AL. Later in the fifth, Drew doubled to center to score Headley and Gregorius. The Yankees scored three more runs in the seventh. Drew hit a two RBI triple and Ellsbury had an RBI groundout.
Ivan Nova won his third consecutive start on Sunday, allowing only one run with seven strikeouts in six innings. He has pitched well since his return from the disabled list (due to Tommy John surgery) on June 24. He has allowed two runs or less in five of his seven starts, which has helped lead him to a very good 3.10 ERA.
The only run that Nova allowed was a Melky Cabrera RBI single in the sixth that scored Adam Eaton. Chasen Shreve, who had not allowed a hit in his previous four appearances or an earned run in his last six appearances, allowed two solo homers in the seventh after the game was decided. He still has an impressive 2.18 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP.
“Everything worked for me, worked the way it was supposed to,’’ said Nova, who allowed a run, five hits and fanned seven in six innings. “Today there was good movement on the sinker.’’
The Yankees have the second best winning percentage in the American League and fifth best in all of baseball. After the completion of their 10-game road trip that took them to three midwest cities, the Yankees will not play a game outside of the Eastern Time Zone the rest of the season. The Yankees play 34 of their remaining 58 games at Yankee Stadium, where they have a 30-17 record (.638).
They will begin a three-game series at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox (47-59) on Tuesday.
The Yankees, who are 55-42, have a 6.5 game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays and 7 game lead over the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the AL East. They will continue their road trip with a four-game series in Arlington at Globe Life Park against the Texas Rangers. The Yankees have gone 8-3 in their last 10 games and have the second best record in the American League.
The Rangers are a mediocre team this year as they have a 47-50 record and are 4.5 games out of the second wild card spot. There are rumors that the Rangers could look to add Cole Hamels before the trade deadline. Jayson Stark has reported that the Rangers and Dodgers are in the lead to acquire Hamels. However, the Rangers still don’t know who will start in Wednesday or Thursday’s game.
Texas is reportedly considering an extra left-handed starter for this series to match up with the many left-handed bats that the Yankees have. The Yankees have not announced a starter for Tuesday’s game. The plan is for either Adam Warren or Chris Capuano to throw three or four innings, according to Joe Girardi, and then to have the other come on in relief.
Today is Alex Rodriguez‘s 40th birthday and he has performed better this year than anyone could have expected. He hit three homers in a game for the first time since 2010 during Saturday’s win over the Twins and is seventh in the league with his 23 homers, is tied for 10th in the league with his 58 RBIs and his .914 OPS is fifth in the league. He has been a key offensive force in the middle of the lineup and the Yankees will need him to stay healthy and productive the rest of the season.
Rodriguez’s OPS is higher right now than it has been since the 2008 season. He is also having his best season overall offensively since the 2009 season, which is the last time the Yankees won the World Series. Part of his return to form is due to being a full-time DH and part of it is due to him being completely healthy this season.
The Yankees will look to win their seventh consecutive series before ending their long road trip against the Chicago White Sox. Here are the pitching matchups for this series.
RHP Ivan Nova (2-3, 3.34)
LHP Matt Harrison (1-1, 5.40)
8:05 p.m., YES Network and ESPN
LHP Martin Perez (0-1, 4.91)
8:05 p.m., FS1
RHP Masahiro Tanaka (7-3, 3.64)
8:05 p.m., YES Network
RHP Michael Pineda (9-7, 3.97)
8:05 p.m. YES Network
After winning the first two games of the series on walk-off hits, the Yankees lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 8-1 on Sunday. afternoon. Ivan Nova didn’t not pitch well, the team made three errors and the offense only had three hits.
Nova had his worst start of his three outings since coming off of the disabled list, as he allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks in five innings pitched. In his previous two starts, he allowed two and zero earned runs respectively.
“I thought he did a pretty good job for not having anything,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He just had a hard time throwing strikes.”
He had trouble locating his pitches and missed a lot with his first pitch curveballs. James Loney, who has a .303 average this season against the Yankees and between 2012 and 2014 he had a .358 average (58-162), hit a single in the first inning to right to score David DeJesus and Evan Longoria to give the Rays all the runs they would need.
In the second inning, back-up catcher Curt Casali hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Kevin Kiermaier to give the Rays a 3-0 lead. In the first two innings, the Rays had four hits including Kiermaier’s triple and one walk.
The run that the Rays scored in the fifth inning was unearned due to Nova’s error. Casali doubled to leadoff the inning and then Asdrubal Cabrera sacrificed between third and the mound, but instead of taking the easy out at first, Nova made a wild throw to third causing Casali to score easily. Nova should have thrown to first because it would have taken a perfect throw to get Casali out at third.
To end the fifth inning, Nova got Loney out on a shallow pop up and then got Logan Forsythe to line out right to Stephen Drew.
Erasmo Ramirez, who has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last seven appearances, only allowed one run on three hits in his six innings pitched. Ramirez is an outstanding 5-1 with a 1.18 ERA in his last seven starts, which proves he has dominated any team that he has faced. He threw 99 pitched and had six ground ball outs and eight fly ball outs.
The only run that the Yankees scored during the game was an Alex Rodriguez solo homer to left center in the sixth inning. Chase Headley and Garrett Jones were the only other two Yankees who had a hit. Jones had a chance at putting some runs on the board in the first inning but he got out with the bases loaded in the first inning.
“They have a bunch of big left-handed hitters, lot of power, and I think his changeup really plays well for him against these hitters,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s able to separate a lot with the fastball and the changeup combination.”
Bryan Mitchell, who had been a starter during his five seasons in the minors and had a 2.79 at Triple-A Scranton this season, allowed two earned runs (four overall) in his two innings pitched in relief of Nova. Jose Pirela made two errors on one play in the eighth as he made a fielding error on Loney’s hit to him and then made a throwing error that caused Loney to advance to second and Longoria to third.
Forsythe singled to score Loney and Longoria and then the other two runs came with Chris Capuano pitching. This combined with the effectiveness of the Rays relievers put the game out of reach. The Yankees were 0-5 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base, which makes it hard to win a game especially when getting a sub-par start from your starter.
The Yankees had their three-game winning streak end, but they are still a game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles and two games ahead of the Rays and Blue Jays for first place in the AL East. The Yankees have an off day on Monday before playing a three-game series at Yankee Stadium against the Oakland Athletics.
After losing to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 4-1, in the series opener in Anaheim, the Yankees (41-36) and Angels will play Game 2 at 10:05 EST on Tuesday. Ivan Nova will get his second start of the season for the Yankees after throwing a shutout in 6.2 innings last week and Andrew Heaney will also get his second start of his season.
CC Sabathia allowed four runs in 7.1 innings in Monday’s loss. He has now allowed four earned runs or more in three out of his last four starts to raise his ERA to 5.59. He would have a better ERA this season but his 19 homers allowed lead the American League.
He allowed one run respectively in the first, third, fifth and seventh innings, which is different from many of his starts because he has usually been victimized by many runs in one inning. In the first inning, Albert Pujols hit a double to right to score Johnny Giavotella to give the Angels a 1-0 lead. The Yankees tied the game in the third inning when Alex Rodriguez hit a grounder between first and second, off of C.J. Wilson, to score Didi Gregorius for his 45th RBI of the season.
Mike Trout‘s homer just over the wall near the rocks in center gave the Angels all the runs they would need. That homer gave him four 20 plus homer seasons before the age of 24, and he is now one of six players to accomplish that feat. Kole Calhoun hit an RBI double to right in the fifth and then C.J. Cron hit his second homer of the season in the seventh inning.
The Yankees actually out hit the Angels, 8-6, but were only 1-10 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base. Chris Young was 0-4 and Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and Brett Gardner were all 0-1. Young would have had two RBI doubles in this game, but Trout made two outstanding Gold Glove caliber running catches in center field on two of his line drives.
Trout was the MVP last season for a reason as he can dominate the game offensively and defensively.
“Mike showed you his talent in every phase tonight,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Ivan Nova will look to dominate tonight just like he did in his first start after coming off of the disabled list. Against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 24, he pitched 6.2 shutout innings while only allowing three hits. He was able to throw his fastball effectively and he was able to locate his curveball after his extra minor league start.
Heaney, who was the Angels No. 1 prospect after the 2014 season according to Baseball America, had a 4.71 ERA in 14 starts at Triple-A Salt Lake City before being called up before his start on June 24. He only allowed one earned run in six innings while striking out six in his major-league debut. He relies primarily on a sinker (92mph), curve (80mph) and changeup (84mph).
The Angels have a more powerful offensive lineup than the Phillies, which means that this will be a true test to see if Nova is all the way back. In 2013, which was Nova’s last healthy season, he had a 2.44 ERA at home and a 4.40 ERA on the road leading to a very good 3.10 ERA. Tonight’s game will be played in Anaheim, which means that those splits are not in Nova’s favor, but their lineup is not very strong outside of Pujols and Trout.
Chris Young, who is hitting .370 in the last seven days, will be batting second for his second consecutive game. Before the last three games, he had four consecutive multi-hit games. This is the lineup for tonight’s game against the Angels, who have a 40-37 record:
Brett Gardner CF
Chris Young LF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran RF
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
Stephen Drew 2B