The Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-3 in their second to last game of the season. They bounced back after losing the first game of the series, and Dellin Betances bounced back after allowing at least one run in three of his last four appearances to strike out three batters in a row after Michael Bourn reached on an infield single.
That was a major takeaway from the game because Betances will be able to go into the offseason with some momentum after struggling in September after having a very successful first five months of the season. His ERA is now 3.08 but it was an outstanding 2.05 on September 5 before the opposition scored 10 earned runs against him in his next six innings pitched (eight appearances) as a result of decreased mechanics. However, his 126 strikeouts are more than any other reliever and he does have a very solid 1.12 WHIP.
Luis Severino did not pitch as well as he would have liked as he tried to go into the offseason with momentum as a starter. Even though he excelled this season as a reliever, the Yankees still see him as a starting pitcher going forward. He allowed three runs on two walks, five hits and a homer, but it could have only been one run if Tyler Austin would have made a diving catch in right field, which Joe Girardi thought he could have made.
The Yankees will really have to decide in spring training where Severino will be best going forward since it is possible that he should be a eighth or ninth inning relieve since he does not have more than two dominant pitches right now.
Bourn hit a single to center field in the second inning with two outs that scored Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis. However, to lead off the inning, Trumbo hit a ground rule double to near the foul line in right that Austin came very close to catching. If he would have made that catch than Bourn would not have come to bat with runners on second and third. Tyler Austin didn’t make that catch but he made up for it later in the game with his bat.
Manny Machado, who has had a great season, with 37 homers and 96 RBI, hit a solo homer in the third inning. After his homer Severino allowed two singles in a row but then struck out Chris Davis to end the inning.
The Yankees were losing 3-0 in the fifth inning but Tyler Austin would hit a single that drove in Chase Headley, who walked earlier in the inning, and sent Austin Romine to second. The next two Yankees got out but Romine’s and Austin’s RBI later in the game gave the team enough runs for the win that hurt the Orioles wild card hopes.
In the seventh inning, Austin hit a solo homer off of Orioles starter Wade Miley as he went to the opposite field once again. Besides Austin’s first career homer in his first game, all of his homers have come in clutch situations in the game. This homer in the 7th tied tied the game at three.
To give the Yankees a 5-3 lead in the 8th backup catcher Romine singled to shallow left center with one out to scored Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury. Romine has been another clutch player for the team this season as he has 26 RBI in only 165 at-bats this season. Brett Gardner closed out the scoring by hitting a double down the left field line that scored Romine and Torreyes in the 8th inning.
The relief pitchers all threw well as five pitchers combined to complete 5.1 innings and allow four hits and strike out three. Besides Betances, Richard Bleier (2.05 ERA) and Tyler Clippard (2.49 ERA) pitched in this game and had great seasons with the Yankees and could be pieces of the bullpen next year. Jonathan Holder allowed one hit in 1.1 innings and even though he had a 5.40 ERA in eight appearances he could be a factor in the bullpen next season based on his dominant 0.89 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 12 games (20.1 innings) at Triple-A this season and his very good 2.20 ERA in 28 games before getting promoted to Triple-A.
Austin could be a real contributor next season as a backup at first base to Greg Bird as well as in the outfield. He has a .244 in 30 games (82 at-bats) since the beginning of August, but in his 49 at-bats at Yankee Stadium he has a .306 average (15 of his 20 hits), and he has also hit all five of his homers and 11 of his 12 RBI. This is something that Girardi can remember for next season.
Austin’s performance as well as the bullpen’s effectiveness and especially Betances’s are the major takeaways from Satruday’s win. The major theme of Sunday’s game will be that Mark Teixeira will be playing in his final major league game.
When Tyler Austin was asked about being with the Yankees the last two months he thought it had been important.
“It’s been big,” Austin said. “It’s something I will take with me into next year.”
He was also asked if he ever got down on himself after some of his struggles.
“I struck out seven consecutive times against the Dodgers so it’s easy to get down on yourself but you just have to work.”
“I am excited to be part of Mark Teixeira’s final game because tomorrow is his day. There have been a lot of plays where I have come back and he has told me what you should do here or there. He has been important for me.”
If the Yankees win the last game of the season they will send Teixeira out on a winning note, prevent the Orioles from hosting a wild card game and only finish two games worse than they did last season. That would be impressive after trading away Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran and Ivan Nova at the trade deadline.
The 5-2 win that the Yankees had on Sunday afternoon in Baltimore over the Orioles was their most important win of the season. Their win prevented them from being swept by the Orioles, who have the second wild card spot, and improved the Yankees deficit to 3.5 games.
The Yankees have a 70-65 record before Monday’s game are are half a game up on Kansas City Royals, who are 70-66. The Houston Astros are currently two games behind the Orioles and the Detroit Tigers are tied with the Orioles for the second wild card spot. An offensive outburst was needed since the team had not scored a run in the first two games of the series against the Orioles.
“You can’t afford to lose three in a row to these guys,” Girardi said. “We know they play really well in this building. We lost a tough one (Saturday) night. To be able to bounce back is important. It keeps us alive.”
The starting lineup had five rookies in it but the veterans were the ones who drove in all five of the team’s runs.
In the first inning, Chase Headley’s single to left scored Brett Gardner and then backup catcher Austin Romine hit a single to left that scored Headley and Rob Refsnyder. In the third inning, Headley’s infield single to third scored Refsnyder and then the Yankees added an insurance run with Brett Gardner’s sacrifice fly in the ninth inning. The Yankees had six hits in this game, which equals the amount of hits that they had in the previous two games combined.
Refsnyder was 1-2 with two runs scored after getting into his first game since rosters expanded on September 1. He spent the last few weeks with the Triple-A RailRiders, but he now has five hits in his last 10 at-bats with four runs scored.
Chase Headley, who had two big RBI in the first inning, is now 9-24 (.375) with one homer and six RBI in his last seven games. He has performed very well for the Yankees since the first month and a half of the season.
The bullpen really stepped up for the Yankees since the didn’t allow any runs after Michael Pineda was taken out of the game after four innings. In his four innings pitched he threw 87 pitches and allowed five hits, two walks and two runs. Throwing 87 pitches in only four innings is much more than normal.
Luis Severino came in next and continued his dominance as a relief pitcher. He pitched two innings while walking two batters, striking out two, and not allowing a hit. He has really performed well since he has been able to concentrate on his plus fastball and slider while not having to worry about throwing a third pitch (change-up).
Severino has surrendered only one hit in the 40 batters he has faced in relief this season. He has thrown 11.1 innings as a relief pitcher this season and has not allowed an earned run while striking out 13 batters and walking five. That is outstanding and could be a sign that his best role going forward could be as a relief pitcher and not as a starter since he does not really trust his third pitch.
The four other Yankee relief pitchers combined to allow one hit and strike out four. Dellin Betances pitched the final 1.1 innings, after not having appeared in a game since August 31, and picked up his 8th save. He is firing on all cylinders right now since he has pitched in 10 games since August 10, 11.2 innings, and has allowed only one earned run while limiting the opposition to four hits. He has also struck out 18 batters and only walked four in that 10 game span.
The Yankees play a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays from Monday to Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees need to at least win two out of three to stay in the race. It will be a challenging series as Toronto is in first place in the AL East with a 77-59 record.
The Yankees edged the San Francisco Giants, 2-1, on Friday night. They have now won seven of their last 10 games and are 4.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the second wild card spot.
Chapman threw a few 104 mph fastballs in the ninth and then threw a 93 mph slider Brandon Belt and then struck out Belt on a a 103 mph fastball to end the game. He recorded his 20th save of the season. Gregor Blanco doubled to left to leadoff the inning but Chapman was able to come through in the clutch by getting three outs in a row.
Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller struggled more than normal but the Yankees still escaped with a win over the Giants, who are in first place in the NL West. The impressive 31-inning scoreless streak by the bullpen ended when Betances allowed a run in the seventh on a wild pitch. Andrew Miller, who picked up his sixth win, allowed three hits and one run in the 8th to tie the score at two.
The Yankees scored the winning run in the bottom of the 8th as Austin Romine grounded into a fielder’s choice and Chase Headley scored on a throwing error by Brandon Crawford. That was the normally very reliable shortstop’s third error of the game.
Carlos Beltran drove in the team’s second run of the game as his double in the second scored Ronald Torreyes. That was his team-leading 61st RBI of the season and he could definitely be traded before the trade deadline because the 39-year-old will be able to get back quality prospect and the Yankees likely would not resign him after the season.
Masahiro Tanaka pitched very well on regular rest after struggling in some of his starts that were not on extra rest earlier in the season. He gave up one run in his previous start so he was able to continue his momentum and he has been by far the team’s best starting pitcher since 3.00 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. Against the Giants, he didn’t allow a run, recorded four strikeouts and only gave up four hits.
Beltran made a perfect throw in the third to get Blanco out at home to prevent a run from scoring and complete a double play. Blanco missed home and Romine was able to tag him out. In the sixth inning, Beltran, who has lost much of his speed, was also able to make a running catch near the warning track to prevent a double from happening.
“It helped me a lot,” Tanaka said in reference to Beltran’s throw home. “That double play made it really easy for me.”
Didi Gregorius, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann were all not in the lineup to start the game because Madison Bumgarner was pitching but the offense was still able to do enough off of them. The Yankees will have a good chance at winning the next two games because Saturday and Sunday’s starters for the Giants are not nearly as good as Bumgarner, who is one of the best starting pitchers in baseball.
The Yankees played well in all phases of the game on Tuesday night in Chicago in beating the White Sox 9-0. Masahiro Tanaka had a bounce back performance as he did not allow a run in 7.2 innings pitched after giving up six runs in six innings in his previous start.
Tanaka allowed six hits, one walk and struck out six batters. He recorded nine ground ball outs, 13 fly ball outs and was taken out of the game after throwing 103 pitches. He pitched like an ace against the White Sox and was taken out after recording two outs in the 8th because Joe Girardi said that about 100 pitches was his limit. His ERA is now down to a solid 3.12 and he probably needed a few more one or two run games to be an All-Star like 2014.
The Yankees offense did most of their damage off of White Sox starter Carlos Rodon, who saw his ERA rise from 4.24 to 4.50 after allowing six runs (five earned) on 12 hits and two walks. Carlos Beltran, who is 39 years old and was selected to his ninth All-Star team on Tuesday night, hit a single to right to drive in Rob Refsnyder in the second for the team’s first run. Later in the second inning Brett Gardner scored on an error by White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson.
It is a great accomplishment for Beltran to be selected to another All-Star team especially after the way he started last season. Beltran has been the team’s best offensive player in the first half, and the Yankees would not nearly have the 41-42 record without his .302 average, 17 doubles, 19 homers, 54 RBIs and .571 slugging percentage.
He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame after he retires based on his postseason success and the fact that he has more than 400 homers (411), almost 1,500 RBIs (1,497), 2,537 hits and 311 steals. Also, when he hit his 400th homer earlier this season he became only the fourth switch-hitter to hit that many homers. (Mark Teixeira recently became the 5th switch-hitter to hit 400 homers.)
In the third inning, Chase Headley hit a homer to drive in Starlin Castro for his seventh round-tripper of the season. He has really turned it around at the plate in the 1.5 months. In the fourth inning, Teixeira’s double scored Beltran, and in the fifth, the Yankees hit their second homer of the game. Austin Romine’s blast to left center made the score 6-0 and was what led to a relief pitcher coming in for Rodon.
The Yankees added two insurance runs in the eighth as Refsnyder’s double scored Headley and Aaron Hicks‘s double to deep center scored Refsnyder. Refsnyder continued his impressive season at the plate as his two hits increased his average to .288 and he now has nine RBIs and a .354 on-base percentage in 73 at-bats.
Hicks went 1-4 and has improved in the last three games after struggling before that. He has four hits in his last 11 at-bats after previously not having a hit in 19 at-bats. Hicks’s defense is much better than his offense but this recent stretch could be a sign of him being more consistent and showing his ability.
The Bronx Bombers recorded a season-high 20 hits, which helped them move to within one-game of .500. According to James Smyth, the only two other times since 1940 that the Yankees have had 20 hits and pitched a shutout were in 1977 against Toronto Blue Jays and in 1997 against the Minnesota Twins.
Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller were the two other All-Star selections for the Yankees. This will be Betances’s third consecutive season going to the All-Star Game, and it is Miller’s first time being named an All-Star.
Betances said after yesterday’s game that he thought that Miller deserved to be an All-Star last season when he had a 100 strikeouts, only 20 walks and an impressive 2.04 ERA. Miller added after the game that he is looking forward to having Betances with him so that they can soak it in together and so that he will be able to ask him questions about the experience.
They both deserved to be selected after their outstanding first three months, and Betances has the most strikeouts among relievers and Miller is in second place. Miller has a 1.47 ERA with 66 strikeouts and only six walks in 36.2 innings while Betances has a 2.63 ERA with 74 strikeouts and only nine walks in 41 innings.
Chicago is currently 1.5 games ahead of the Yankees in the race for the second wild card spot. With a win tonight the Yankees will get back to .500 again and win the series against the White Sox before closing out the first half in Cleveland against the Indians. The Yankees will have to hit well and pitch well if they are going to win the series against the red-hot Indians.
The Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox, 8-2, at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon for their second consecutive win against their rivals to the north. The Yankees (11-17), who have now won three of their last four games, will have their first three-game winning streak since the first week of September if they can beat the Red Sox tonight on Sunday Night Baseball.
The Yankees are still six games below .500, but it is a positive sign that they have had four consecutive quality starts and the offense is scoring more runs than earlier in the season. The offense has scored seven or more runs twice in their last four games after previously only doing so once in 20 games.
Nathan Eovaldi dominated against the Red Sox offense on Saturday afternoon, which helped save the bullpen and defeat David Price. He threw eight innings, which is a season-high, and gave a season-low zero walks. He also allowed six hits, only two earned runs and struck out six batters. He lowered his ERA from 5.36 to 4.78 and rebounded well from his previous start when he allowed 10 hits, six runs and three walks in five innings pitched.
Before his meltdown in his last start against the Red Sox on May 1, he had progressively improved in every start this season. In order he had allowed five, four, three and then zero earned runs. He showed what he is capable of during Saturday’s start and he just needs to consistently not walk batters, limit his homers and combine his overpowering fastball (99mph) with his improved splitter, slider and curve.
Joe Girardi will need Eovaldi to be consistent because CC Sabathia, who threw seven shutout innings on May 4, was put on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin strain on May 6. Eovaldi has the ability to be a No. 2 caliber starter but he along with Michael Pineda just need to learn to not get sidetracked to adversity during the game.
On offense, the bottom third of the Yankees order won the game for the team as the trio of Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius and Austin Romine scored three runs and drove in five. Headley, who has not hit a home run yet this season and has been one of the worst players on offense in the league, had his first multi-hit game since April 19 and crossed home plate for the first time since April 12.
Headley went 2-4, which improved his average from .151 to .169, and scored his third and fourth runs of the season. The Yankees hope that this is a sign of his improving at the plate and of him hitting more like he did at the end of August last season when he had one or more hits in 12 of 14 games.
Austin Romine, who has an impressive .348 average this year as the back-up catcher, smashed a double to right center in the third that scored Headley, for one of this three hits. He also hit a double in the eighth to drive in Headley for the team’s eighth run of the contest. Romine has to this point greatly improved his hitting at the plate compared to previous seasons.
Didi Gregorius’s double in the fourth that scored Starlin Castro, Mark Teixeira and Dustin Ackley made the score 4-1 and gave the Yankees all the runs that they would need to defeat Boston. A positive sign from Gregorius was that his double was his first extra base hit since he slugged a homer on April 20 against the Oakland Athletics.
Carlos Beltran had a two RBI double in the fifth and Aaron Hicks had a sacrifice fly in the sixth to give the Yankees their three other runs.
Hicks is also gradually starting to improve offensively since he has one hit in each of the last three games after previously starting his season with two hits in his first 30 at-bats. His increased playing time in the outfield due to Alex Rodriguez being on the disabled list could lead to more production.
The Yankees will look to sweep the Red Sox tonight on Mother’s Day and get some revenge for when the Red Sox swept them last week at Fenway Park. If the Yankees win and the Orioles lose today, the Yankees could only be 4.5 games out of first place, which isn’t that bad considering the start that they have had.
The backup catcher competition was one of the major position battles of spring training for the Yankees. It seems like with the 23-year-old Gary Sanchez being sent to Triple-A late last week that the 27-year-old Austin Romine will start the season in the Bronx.
Sanchez, who only had one hit in 21 at-bats in 13 spring training games before being sent to minor league camp, was likely putting too much pressure on himself. He has been in the Yankees minor league system since he was drafted when he was 17 out of the Dominican Republic and is thought of as being the next Yankees starting catcher after Brian McCann‘s contract is finished after the 2018 season.
Sanchez played well at Triple-A and in the Arizona Fall League (AZFL). He had a .295 (132 at-bats) average with six homers, 17 runs scored, 26 RBI and a .500 slugging percentage in 35 games with Triple-A Scranton to end last season. Also, as one of the team’s top prospects, he played in the AZFL, and he had a .295 average (88 at-bats) with seven homers, six doubles, four steals, 21 RBI and a .625 slugging percentage in 22 games for the Surprise Saguaros. He hit the most homers on his AZFL team and his RBI total was tied for the team lead.
However, even though he performed well offensively with Scranton and in Arizona, it makes sense that he will be starting the 2016 season with Triple-A. His weakness is his defense and Sanchez will be able to better improve his mechanics behind the plate by playing everyday with the RailRiders than once a week with the Yankees.
Another factor that has caused his development to take longer is that in the 2014 season the Double-A Trenton Thunder manager Tony Franklin benched him multiple times to discipline him because of his behavior.
“That benching was the low point of his career, it was his rock-bottom,” a team executive told Pinstriped Prospects. “He has come a long way in the last year and a half, his attitude has seen a drastic improvement and it has allowed him to grow as a player and a person.” It is a plus that his attitude has drastically improve but it can only help for him to continue to improve his leadership abilities as a catcher at Triple-A.
Sanchez has greatly improved defensively in the last few years but there is still some room to grow. He allowed a very high career-worst 26 passed balls in 2011 for Single-A Charleston, but with determination he was able to bring that number down to only two in 2015.
Sanchez, who is 6-2 and 230 pounds, allowed fewer errors last season than he did in 2014, proving his defense is getting better, but his skills behind the plate still need some more refining. He had 17 for Double-A Trenton in 2014, but with Double-A and Triple-A combined in 2015 he had 10 errors. In comparison, John Ryan Murphy, who was the Yankees backup catcher last season, only had three errors in 2015 and in 46 starts for Triple-A in 2014, he only had two errors.
Another benefit of Sanchez beginning the season at the Triple-A level is that 35 days in the minors this season will delay Sanchez’s free agency by another year. That is significant because five weeks with the RailRiders could equal control of Sanchez’s age 29 season in 2022.
Romine, on the other hand, performed better in spring training than Sanchez did. Romine had seven hits in 27 at-bats (.259) with five RBI and four doubles. He had two and 13 at-bats respectively the last two seasons, but in 2013, Romine had a .207 average in 135 at-bats with only one homer, 10 RBI and a .296 slugging percentage. He had 37 strikeouts and eight walks.
However, the California native who was drafted by the Yankees in 2007 is more known for his defense and if he can hit about .240 or .250 then he can be serviceable as the backup catcher. He has experience being the backup from his 60 games in 2013 and will be a catcher that most of the pitchers have experience with. Romine was out of options and couldn’t be sent to Triple-A out of spring training, which means that the team’s depth at the catcher position would have been hurt if Sanchez had opened the year in the Bronx.
Sanchez will likely serve an important role at some point this season once his defense improves. His bat is likely already ready and when the Yankees feel that his skills behind the plate are on par he could be able to win some games with his offense, and there are not many backup catchers who are potent offensively as he is. Sanchez slugged 25 homers in 119 minor league games last season, which proves how much power he has.
In the series finale between the Yankees (38-31) and Detroit Tigers (35-34) at Yankee Stadium, with the Yankees going for the sweep, the Yankees lost to the Tigers 12-4 as J.D. Martinez drove in half of Detroit’s runs. Martinez hit two homers off of Masahiro Tanaka and one against Danny Burawa to become the first player in the American League to hit three homers in a game this season.
J.D. Martinez hit his first homer, a two-run blast, after an error with two outs by Didi Gregorius. His third homer was a second deck opposite field homer that drove in Victor Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes in the sixth inning and it was his first multi-homer game of his career. Victor Martinez hit a two-run homer to the second deck in right in the first inning for his first homer since May 6.
Tanaka gave up six runs in the first the two innings and his pitches were up in the zone. His splitter, sinker and slider didn’t have the movement that they normally do. He ended up allowing five earned runs, seven overall, in five innings pitched. The three homers that he allowed were a career-high.
He took a step back in this start as he had allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last five starts. His ERA went up from 2.49 to 3.17 after his rare ineffective performance.
“I was missing spots and I was missing by far margins so I wasn’t really sharp today,” Tanaka said.
“Location, split was up to Martinez,” Joe Girardi said. “He just didn’t have the control that he had the last couple of starts. For whatever reason, he (Tanaka) didn’t have it today. He just didn’t have good location. King Felix gave up eight runs in a third of an inning, these are human beings and some days they just don’t have it. He will bounce back.”
Also in the sixth inning for the Tigers, Andrew Romine, who is the brother of Yankees Triple-A catcher Austin Romine, hit a solo homer off of Jorge De Paula to give the Tigers their 12th and final run. Burawa allowed four runs while only recording two outs in the sixth and then Jorge De Paula come in with two outs in the sixth to give up Romine’s solo blast, and then was able to save the bullpen by holding the opposition scoreless over the final three innings. De Paula and Burawa both made their major-league debuts.
Stephen Drew hit a homer over the Lays sign in right in the ninth inning, to give the Yanks their fourth run, after hitting a solo shot in the seventh. That was his third multi-homer game of the season and his homer in the ninth inning gave him 11 for the season.
Even though he only has a .188 average, he has driven in 24 runs and his 11 homers are second in the American League among second basemen. He has been playing solid defense and has been contributing with homers and RBIs even though his average is not where he wants it to be.
The Yankees, who are still a game behind the Rays for first place in the AL East since Tampa Bay lost today, will continue their homestand with a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday. It is important that the Yankees win two or three games against the Phillies because their 24-47 record gives them the worst record in all of baseball.