Tagged: Alex Rodriguez

Pineda, Beltran and Castro led the Yankees to a win over the Angels

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Michael Pineda – ESPN

For their second win in a row, and third win in their last four games, the Yankees (28-30) beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 6-3, at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night. Michael Pineda also had his second consecutive solid start after allowing one run in 5.2 while striking out eight and walking none against the Tigers last week.

The Yankees are now 6.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the American League East, two games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for third place in the division and four games out of the second wild card spot. They could be in worse shape in the division and the wild card based on the start they have had to their season.

In Tuesday’s start against the Angels he allowed three runs in seven innings on one homer, two walks and four hits. Pineda, whose ERA was 6.92 on May 28, has lowered his ERA to 6.14 after his two consecutive solid starts where he has showed many signs of improvement.

One positive sign is that Pineda had better velocity on Tuesday since he was able to throw 97mph. He did a good job rebounding from allowing three runs in the fifth – on an RBI single and then a two-run homer by Kole Calhoun – to not allow a run in the sixth or seventh. That’s progress for him because he has often not been able to pitch well again after allowing runs to score.

Pineda said that working with Larry Rothschild has led to him lowering his arm angle to give him better movement on his slider. He has also been able to improve the movement on his cutter. The lower arm angle has led to more side-to-side movement on his slider.

Pineda said that he made this adjustment before his start last week against the Tigers. This arm angle adjustment could help him stay consistent the rest of the season and not have many more starts where he allows five or more runs, which he has done five times this season.

Offensively, the Yankees had 10 hits during the win over the Angels and Alex Rodriguez, Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks all had two hits.

Carlos Beltran got the scoring started in the first inning with his homer to left center that drove in Rob Refsnyder. He is in fifth place in the American League with his 15 homers and in 14th place in the league with his 38 RBIs, which are great stats for a 39-year-old. According the Rodriguez, he has been a lifesaver for the team and A-Rod didn’t want to think of where the team would be without the contributions of Beltran.

Later in the first inning, Austin Romine, who has really improved at the plate this season, hit a single that scored Castro to make the score 3-0. He has a .290 average in 69 at-bats.

In the second inning, Refsnyder hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Hicks to give the Yankees all the runs that they would need to beat the Angels. Refsnyder, who has been the starting first baseman the past few games with Mark Teixeira on the DL, only has three hits in his last 16 at-bats, but those three hits were all doubles and he has scored four runs and driven in three in that span.

Then, in the third inning, Castro hit a solo homer off of the foul pole in right. That was Castro’s ninth homer of the season, which is the second most on the team. He has been one of the better performers on the team this season and the Yankees need him to continue to play well on offense and defense.

“This stadium is tailor made for Castro,” Rodriguez said. “He is a guy who can hit .300 and hit 25 homers.”

Rodriguez’s single in the seventh scored the team’s seventh and final run. The 40-year-old designated hitter has 10 hits in 29 at-bats in June (.345), which is a significant improvement than how he was hitting earlier in the season.

He has performed much better at the plate after being on the disabled list from May 4 until May 25. His average was .170 on May 31 and it is now all the way up to .214. It seems like his two weeks off and then his rehab assignment has helped him, and the offense is better with A-Rod hitting like he is right now.

“I feel pretty good,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like I am getting shorter to the baseball and not trying to do too much.”

Beltran’s homer on Tuesday was his 1,000th extra-base hit of his likely Hall of Fame career. He is now the fourth switch hitter to reach that milestone, joining Eddie Murray, Chipper Jones and Pete Rose.

The Yankees have two more games against the Angels before continuing their homestand against the Detroit Tigers. Nathan Eovaldi, who had pitched very well in his previous three starts, will look to bounce back from allowing five runs on June 3 against the Orioles.

 

The Yankees beat the Orioles 7-0 in a game that was a must-win

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CC Sabathia – ESPN

On Wednesday, in the middle game of their three-game series at Camden Yards, the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-0 to end their six-game losing streak. Before Wednesday night’s game, the Yankees had only scored more than four runs once in their previous 10 games.

The Yankees are currently last in the American League with 89 runs scored after finishing last season with the second most runs scored in the AL, which means that the team is due to continue to score runs more runs than they had been the previous 10 games. They will need to based on the teams that they play coming up.

CC Sabathia did not allow a run in seven innings pitched to go along with only allowing six hits and recording six strikeouts. It was a throwback performance for Sabathia, who was the ace of the staff when the Yankees won the World Series in 2009, as this was the first time that he allowed zero runs in seven innings pitched since April of 2013. He was able to lower his ERA from 5.06 to 3.81 and picked the perfect time to have his best start of the season.

Sabathia, who won his 99th game as a Yankee, entered the season as the team’s No. 5 starter but his ERA is second best of the five starters, he has allowed the second fewest hits and his one homer allowed this season is lower than any other starter.

He does not pitch with the same velocity that he used to, but he has figured out how to change his pitching style to be more reliant on his change-up and still be effective. The Yankees will need Sabathia, who is in his 17th season, to continue pitching more like a No. 3 starter than a No. 5 because Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi and Luis Severino have been struggling.

The offense for the Yankees had a much needed seven-run outburst. They were able to do this after Alex Rodriguez was put on the 15-day disabled list earlier on Wednesday due to a strained right hamstring that he suffered while running to first on Tuesday. A-Rod was only hitting .194 on the season but his five homers are most on the team and his 12 RBIs are tied for most on the team with Starlin Castro.

A positive sign from Wednesday’s game offensively was that Jacoby Ellsbury was 3-3 with two walks, two steals and one run scored. He was active on the basepaths, which the Yankees need him to do more of. Ellsbury has five hits in his last three games (including Wednesday night’s game) after previously only having one hit in four games. The Yankees need Ellsbury to continue to get hits and steal bases at the top of the lineup.

It was a scoreless game going into the sixth inning but then Ellsbury scored on a Carlos Beltran sacrifice fly, Brett Gardner scored from second after Brian McCann’s single and then Mark Teixeira scored after an error by Orioles pitcher Tyler Wilson with Castro batting.

The Yankees would add four more insurance runs in the eighth inning. McCann’s double to deep right scored Beltran and Teixeira, Didi Gregorius’s single scored McCann and Gardner’s hit by pitch scored Gregorius. This was a much needed performance from McCann since he had not had a homer or RBI in his previous eight games. The Yankees were 4-12 (.333) with runners in scoring position, which is an improvement on how the team has hit in the clutch in many games this season.

Aaron Hicks, who will be playing a lot more now since Beltran will mainly be the DH with A-Rod on the DL, went 0-4. He will make the outfield defense better because he covers more ground and has a much better arm than Beltran, but he needs to start to produce offensively. Hicks only has two hits in his 30 at-bats this season, which gives him a very low .067 average.

Hicks’s performance was basically the only negative. Dellin Betances, who had allowed a homer in each of his previous three appearances, was able to retire both batters that he faced and strikeout one of them. The Yankees bullpen will get even better and deeper when Aroldis Chapman returns from his suspension on Monday.

The Yankees, who are now 9-16 after the win over Baltimore, will go from May 5 until May 22 without an off day. They will need solid performances from the starting pitchers so that the dominant bullpen will not be overworked. This 18-game stretch could go a long way towards determining if the Yankees will be able to turn their season around.

During these next 18 games, they have one more in the series against Baltimore (15-11), then three against the Red Sox (16-11), four against the Royals (14-13), three against the White Sox (19-9), three against the Diamondbacks (12-17) and then four against the Athletics (13-16). The Yankees need to pitch and hit like they did on Wednesday during the next 11 games because those teams have a combined 64-44 record.

 

 

 

The Yankees lost to the Blue Jays as only one starter has an ERA below 4.50

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Luis Severino – Jim McIsaac – Getty Images

 

The Yankees lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-2, on Thursday night in Toronto to even their record at 4-4. The Yankees had a  2-0 lead in the fourth on a fielder’s choice by Carlos Beltran that scored Alex Rodriguez and then a a wild pitch by Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman that sent Mark Teixeira home, but the Blue Jays would take the lead for good when the fearsome Josh Donaldson hit a three-run homer to deep center in the fifth.

Stroman, who is a Long Island native and one of the best starting pitchers in the American League, threw 106 pitches  and only allowed three hits and two runs in a dominant eight innings pitched. Further proving the Yankees offensive ineptness during Thursday’s game was that the only hits they had all game were singles by Teixeira, Brian McCann and Beltran.

The first three hitters in the lineup – Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Rodriguez – were a combined 0-10 with one run scored and a walk. It is a plus that they didn’t strikeout at all, which means that it could partly be due to bad luck since they put the ball in play every at-bat, but they have to be able to get on base at the top of the lineup. Gardner and Rodriguez have really struggled to begin the season as Gardner has a .174 average with only one steal and three runs scored in 23 at-bats and Rodriguez has only three hits in 25 at-bats (.120 average) with one homer and two RBIs.

The Yankees need Gardner to get on base often and steal bases from the two spot in the lineup and they need Rodriguez to have a similar statistical season as last season when he slugged 33 homers and drove in 86 runs. The issue could be that they haven’t really found their swing yet and will have better production by the end of the month. Sometimes established major league players have a slow start to the season like Beltran did last April, but they both need to show some signs of progress.

Nate Eovaldi, who made his second start of the season, only allowed a single, a walk and a double in the first four innings. However, his effectiveness ended in the fifth as he gave up a two-out three-run homer to Donaldson to give Toronto a 3-2 lead. Eovaldi needs to be a better pitcher with two outs and be more careful with hitters like Donaldson, who led the American League with 123 RBIs last season.

Eovaldi also allowed a solo homer to Troy Tulowitzki with one out in the sixth inning, which took away his quality start. He needs to prove that he can be successful pitching five and more importantly six innings and not fade after the fourth inning. Eovaldi ended up throwing 98 pitches in 6.2 innings while allowing four earned runs, seven hits, two walks and two homers. The only positive from Eovaldi’s performance was that he recorded eight strikeouts.

The bullpen has not surprisingly by far been the strength of the pitching staff so far. Rookie Johnny Barbato, Chasen Shreve, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller all have 0.00 ERAs. Barbato, who is from Miami and came to the Yankees from the Padres in the Shawn Kelley trade in December of 2014, appears that he will be able to help the bullpen the whole season after getting outs in clutch situations.

However, Masahiro Tanaka is the only Yankees starter with less than a 4.50 ERA. It is a small sample size, but Tanaka has a 3.38 ERA in two starts, CC Sabathia has a 4.50 ERA in his one start, Luis Severino has a 5.40 ERA in his one start, Michael Pineda has a 6.55 ERA in his two starts and Eovaldi has a 6.94 ERA in his 11.2 innings pitched.

It will be important for the rotation to be more effective so that the bullpen will not have to be overworked. The bullpen will have more depth once Aroldis Chapman returns from his suspension, but the team will win a lot more games when the starters can effectively throw six or seven innings. The Yankees need Severino, who is in his first full season, to be similar to the pitcher he was in the final two months of last season when he had a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts.

For the Yankees to live up to their potential Pineda and Eovaldi will need to be consistent and pitch like they are capable of and Tanaka will need to step up and be the ace of the staff for the duration of the season. Proving Pineda’s inconsistency he allowed six earned runs in his first start and then two runs in his second outing.

Severino will look to regain his form from last season during today’s start against the Seattle Mariners. Based on how the starting pitching and some of the hitters have underwhelmed so far this season it is somewhat impressive that the Yankees are 4-4.

Dustin Ackley’s role will be even more important with the loss of Greg Bird

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Dustin Ackley

The Yankees depth took a hit since Greg Bird will miss the season due to a torn labrum in his right shoulder. This will mean that back-up first baseman, second baseman and outfielder Dustin Ackley will be more important than the Yankees initially thought he would be.

Bird was slated to begin the season at Triple-A Scranton even before his torn labrum, but he would have been a valuable bat to bring up in the likely scenario of a Mark Teixeira or Alex Rodriguez injury, or to give Teixeira a few days off against a right-handed pitching. The Yankees will now not have a proven offensive and defensive first baseman (and DH) who they can call-up when Teixeira or Rodriguez go through a slump.

Bird hit very well once he made his major league debut on August 13 as he had a .261 average with 11 homers, 31 RBIs and a .529 slugging percentage in 46 games (147 at-bats). He also had a .343 on-base percentage and hit .270 with nine homers against righties vs. .238 with two homers against lefties. He came through in the clutch a number of times to win a game for the Yankees and played very reliable defense at first base.

Ackley, who has the ability to play second base, left field and first base, will be the primary back-up to Teixeira and the Yankees will now not have a player with a lot of offensive ability to bring up at first base. Brian Cashman has said that he will not sign a notable free agent who can play first and will continue the trend of only adding players through trade. If this holds true, the Yankees will be able to bring up a player like Tyler Austin in case of an injury.

If Ackley can stay healthy the whole season and produce like he did while he was with the Yankees last season then the Yankees might not need to acquire another first baseman. However, it isn’t known if that will happen based on how he performed while with the Mariners last season.

In 85 games with the Mariners last season (207 at-bats), he had a .215 average with a .270 on-base percentage, six homers and only 19 RBIs. After being traded to the Yankees, he had a .288 average in 23 games (57 at-bats) with four homers, 11 RBIs, two triples and a .654 slugging percentage. His 57 at-bats were obviously a small sample size, but he obviously showed that he can be productive while giving the team versatility. Ackley missed 33 games after his second game with the team due to a lumbar strain.

The 27-year-old Winston-Salem, North Carolina native who played on the University of North Carolina baseball team with former Yankee Adam Warren was the second overall selection of the 2009 draft by the Mariners. In his last season in the minors with Triple-A Tacoma in 2011, Ackley had a .303 average in 66 games (331 at-bats) with nine homers, 35 RBIs, 17 doubles, seven steals and .421 on-base percentage. After he was called up to the Mariners that season he had a solid .273 average in 376 at-bats.

He has the potential to hit above .270 in the at-bats that he gets and to have a solid on-base percentage. He should also be able to hit for more power than he did at Safeco Field because his swing is built for Yankee Stadium, which is much more hitter friendly than Safeco is.

Ackley, who is signed through this season on a one-year, $3.2 million contract, has made one error in his 22 games at first in his career. He played four games including three starts at first while with the Yankees last season and made 28 put outs and had two assists. He has primarily played the outfield and second base in his five-year career, but he should be reliable enough while improving with increased opportunity at first base.

Ackley proved that he can be a productive offensive player while with the Yankees last season, but Cashman will need to sign a player or make a trade in June if he produces like he did while with the Mariners last season.

Slade Heathcott’s homer led to the Yankees winning their biggest game of the year

Slade Heathcott.

Slade Heathcott.

The Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-1, on Monday night at Tropicana Field, as Slade Heathcott had the biggest hit of his rookie season. With the win, the Yankees gained a half a game in the AL East to move three games behind the first place Toronto Blue Jays.

Tampa was winning 1-0 going into the top of the ninth after Logan Forsythe hit a double off of Justin Wilson to score Mikie Mahtook, and it appeared that the Yankees were on their way to a deflating loss, but Heathcott hit a 3-run homer to drive in Brian McCann and Chris Young that landed just over the wall in left field. John Ryan Murphy gave Heathcott a quick scouting report on Rays closer Brad Boxberger and it ended up helping because Heathcott’s blast gave the Yankees a big come from behind win.

Heathcott pinch-hit in the ninth and it was his first at-bat in the majors since May 27, when he went on the disabled list. He was called up from Triple-A on Saturday. Heathcott now has a .389 average with two homers, six RBIs and four runs scored in 18 at-bats. Alex Rodrguez was impressed with how Heathcott was able to step up in such an important at-bat.

“Just tremendous,” Rodriguez said. “You get caught up and I become a fan when you’re watching a young kid with so much talent. Big, signature Yankee moment.”

CC Sabathia, who had what was his biggest start of the season, thought the same about Heathcott’s hit. “You just look at our dugout, the way they reacted, it’s the biggest hit of the season,” CC Sabathia said of Heathcott’s blast. The Yankees are now 3-54 when trailing after eight innings.

Brett Gardner stole second after drawing a two out walk in the ninth. Alex Rodriguez was able to keep the game alive and get the Yankees on the scoreboard with a double to deep right that scored Gardner. That was Rodriguez’s 82nd RBI of the season, which is tied for 12th in the American League.

Sabathia allowed zero earned runs in a start for the first time this season. He pitched 6.2 innings, only allowed three hits and recorded six strikeouts. Sabathia gave the Yankees much more length on Monday as he allowed one run in 4.2 innings in his previous start.

“I thought his sinker was tremendous,” Joe Giradi said. “It just had a lot of movement. It seems like the knee brace has helped and he has kind of picked up where he left off.”

Andrew Miller pitched a perfect ninth inning and struck out three batters for his 33rd save in his first season as a closer. His ERA is now an outstanding 1.83. The Yankees had three errors during the game, but as a result of their ninth inning rally with two outs it didn’t cost them the win. The victory made their chance of catching the Blue Jays more realistic.

Adam Warren will make the start in Game 2 of the series since Nathan Eovaldi has elbow inflammation. It will be Warren’s first start since June 25.

Alex Rodriguez’s 30th homer was not enough as the Yankees lost to the Orioles 2-1

Alex Rodriguez.

Alex Rodriguez.

The Yankees lost to the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 on Tuesday night in a game that Masahiro Tanaka only allowed one run in eight innings pitched.

The score was 1-1 going into the ninth inning but reliever Chasen Shreve, who had a 1.86 ERA coming into the game and had not given up a run in his previous seven games, allowed the game-winning homer to Chris Davis, who now has 41 homers and 102 RBIs.

“It looked like it was a pitch that he left out over the zone,” Joe Girardi said. Girardi said that Shreve has been a big part of the team’s success this season.

Toronto’s 5-1 win over Red Sox in 10 innings combined with the Yankees loss pushed the Blue Jays lead in the AL East back to 1.5 games. The Yankees, who were tied with Toronto in the loss column and half a game behind overall, struggled on offense and that prevented them from keeping pace with Toronto in the division.

Tanaka, who had a season-high 10 strikeouts, had a perfect game through three innings and should have been able to win his 12th game of the season. He pitched well the few times that runners were in scoring position as J.J. Hardy popped up to 2nd with runners on first and third to end the fifth and he got Hardy to ground out to Didi Gregorius after Matt Wieters had doubled in the seventh.

The only mistake that Tanaka made was a pitch that Ryan Flaherty hit for a home run to right field in the sixth inning. That was Flaherty’s eighth round tripper of the season.

The Yankees only had six hits but one of them was Alex Rodriguez’s 30th homer of the campaign. Rodriguez, who has hit for more power than anyone could have predicted in spring training, hit his homer off of a Kevin Gausman fastball to the first row above the Budweiser sign in left field. A-Rod is now the only player besides Hank Aaron with 15 seasons with 30 or more home runs.

The Yankees were 0-3 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base. Brian McCann, who has 25 homers and leads the team with 86 RBIs, struck out swinging with runners on first and second with two outs in the fifth inning. Greg Bird, who has shown impressive power in his 23 games since being called up from Triple-A as he has five homers and 17 RBIs, ended the team’s scoring threat in the first with a strikeout with runners on first and second.

Zach Britton retired the side in order in the ninth inning, which included a Chase Headley ground out to end the game. A few players are in a slump right now as Stephen Drew, who was hitting very well, has three hits in his last 17 at-bats, Carlos Beltran has four hits in his last 22 at-bats and Jacoby Ellsbury has only four hits in his last 20 at-bats. The Yankees will need them to improve tonight and in their upcoming series against the Blue Jays.

The Yankees will try to win the series against the Orioles, who have lost seven of their last 10 games, with CC Sabathia pitching. Sabathia, who had been on the disabled list with a knee injury, has allowed two runs or less in two of his last three starts, which is not including the one that he only threw 2.2 innings after having to leave the game with an injured knee.

The Yankees will need Sabathia to give them length and effectiveness because Nathan Eovaldi has been shutdown for two weeks with elbow inflammation, which means he might not pitch again this season. His elbow injury might have caused Eovaldi to allow eight runs and 13 hits over 10.1 innings in his last two starts.

Wednesday’s game is at 7:05 p.m. and Ubaldo Jimenez, who has a 4.24 ERA this season, will get the start for the Orioles.

The Yankees need more production from Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez going forward

Alex Rodriguez.

Alex Rodriguez.

After Thursday’s off day and losing two out of three games at home to the Houston Astros and previously losing three out of four games to the Cleveland Indians, who are six games below .500 and were in last place in the AL Central when they faced off, the Yankees will now play an important three-game inter-league series in Atlanta against the Braves.

The Yankees, who went 5-5 on their home-stand against the Minnesota Twins, Indians and Astros, are now 1.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East. Toronto has gone 7-3 in their last 10 games and their +170 run differential is 40 runs better than the St. Louis Cardinals, who have the second best run differential in Major League Baseball. The Yankees play seven more games left with the Blue Jays before the end of the season, which could go a long way in deciding who wins the AL East, but their upcoming six-game road trip against the Braves and Boston Red Sox will be very important.

Atlanta and the Red Sox are a combined 30 games under .500, which means that the Yankees need to take advantage of them since they are obviously not going to the playoffs this season. Atlanta has a 54-73 record, has only one win in their last 10 games, is 17 games out of first place in the National League East and has scored the fewest runs out of any team in either the American or National League. Boston has a 58-69 record, is 13 games back in the AL East and their -41 run differential is fourth worst in the AL

Atlanta’s season long ineptitude in the run scoring department could help the Yankees during this series because they have been struggling to score recently. The Yankees have only scored 38 runs in their last 10 games, which equals an average of only 3.8 runs per game. In comparison, in the 10 games from July 25-August 4, the Yankees scored 90 runs, which is an average of a very impressive nine runs per game.

The Yankees offense has had many of their regulars not produce like normal during the month of August. Alex Rodriguez, who has 26 homers and a .255 average, has a very low .138 average in 80 August at-bats with only eight RBIs. Mark Teixeira, who has not played in seven of the previous nine games because of a bone bruise, has a .175 average in 57 at-bats with three homers and only six RBIs.

A-Rod and Teixeira are the two main players that the Yankees need to improve their average and drive in more runs if they are going to get back in first place and win the AL East. Teixeira and A-Rod are first and third on the team in RBIs, with 79 and 69, respectively, and are first and second in homers with 31 and 26, but they have combined to only drive in 14 runs in August and their averages are both below .200.

Also, Brett Gardner has a .193 average with only one double in August, Stephen Drew has a .217 average in 60 August at-bats and Brian McCann has a .219 average in 73 at-bats in August, but McCann has been productive power wise as he has hit six homers and has 15 RBIs during the month. Part of the struggles could be due to age and not being able to continue the same level of production the whole season. The offense needs to bounce back after the off day and with the inferior teams on the schedule.

One player who could help offensively is Rob Refsnyder. It was announced by Brian Cashman that Refsnyder will be one of the September call-ups. In 504 plate appearances with Triple-A Scranton, Refsnyder has hit .269/.360/.396 with nine homers, 11 steals, 24 doubles and 53 RBIs. That is better production than Drew, who only has a .196 average and a .266 on-base percentage and 36 runs scored to the 64 that Refsnyder has. However, Drew does have 15 homers to Refsnyder’s nine and Drew does play better defense at second.

It will be a positive to have Refsnyder’s bat on the bench and to start some games instead of Drew. The Yankees will also be able to call-up a few pitchers who already have experience out of the bullpen this season, which will make it easier to go to a six-man rotation to give the pitching staff more rest.

The Yankees are 6-8 so far this season in inter-league play, so they will look to at least be 8-9 in games against the National League at the end of this series against the Braves in Atlanta. The Braves have rookies pitching in the first two games and then Julio Tehran, who has 15 wins, will get the start in the series finale on Thursday.