Masahiro Tanaka will get the start for the Yankees (86-71) tonight in Game 3 of their four-game series against the Boston Red Sox (77-80). In three starts against the Red Sox this year, Tanaka has gone 3-0 and held Boston to a .234 average. However, Tanaka will look for better results tonight since he has allowed four, three and three runs in his starts this season against Boston.
Tanaka is currently lined up to start the wild card game for the Yankees. He is the logical choice because he has allowed three runs combined in his last three starts while not giving up more than two runs in any of them and besides Luis Severino is the most reliable pitcher in the rotation right now. He held the powerful Blue Jays lineup to zero runs in seven innings on September 13, which proves that he is capable of shutting down the Los Angeles Angels, Houston Astros or Minnesota Twins.
The Yankees have a three-game lead with five games left to play for the right to have home field in the wild card game. The Angels are currently in sole possession of the second wild card spot and the Astros are half a game behind. The Twins are only half a game behind the Astros after their win today over the Cleveland Indians, and Minnesota would be the best matchup for the Yankees in the one-game playoff.
If the Angels stay in second that would be better for the Yankees because they have really struggled against Houston’s ace Dallas Keuchel this season. However, if they are going to keep the top spot and win the wild card game their offense will have to improve. The Yankees have gone 3-4 in their last seven games and have averaged only 2.57 runs per game. They have scored less than three runs in four of those games.
One player who has been hitting very well recently has been Jacoby Ellsbury. In Ellsbury’s last 13 games, he has a .347 average (17-49), a .429 slugging percentage, three steals, four doubles and eight runs scored. The Yankees need him to continue to hit well at the top of the lineup.
The Yankees can clinch a wild card spot if they win tonight and if they get help from the teams below them. The Yankees will also have won their 10,000th game in franchise history with a victory tonight over their rivals. Wade Miley, who has a high 4.39 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, will take the mound for the Red Sox and he allowed four runs on eight hits and a walk in his last start.
The lineup that the Joe Girardi is sending out tonight is the one that will likely be on the field for the wild card game if a lefty is pitching. Rob Refsnyder is getting another start at second against a lefty and he has a .417 average (5-12) in his four starts against lefties this month. Here is the lineup for tonight’s game against the Red Sox.
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Chase Headley 3B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Carlos Beltran RF
Brian McCann C
Chris Young LF
Greg Bird 1B
Rob Refsnyder 2B
Didi Gregorius SS
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 beat the Red Sox, 13-8, in the rubber game of their series at Fenway Park. Their pitching was not effective after taking a 12-1 lead in the fifth inning, but their five homers led them to a much-needed series win over their rival, and to Joe Girardi’s 800th win as a manager.
David Ortiz hit a ground rule double to right to score Mookie Betts in the first inning, but the Yankees would go onto score 12 unanswered runs. Greg Bird and John Ryan Murphy hit back-to-back homers in the second inning. Bird’s homer was a two-run blast and he now has three homers and 12 RBIs in his 18 games played and Murphy’s homer was solo blast and his average is now .276, which is very good for a back-up catcher.
After the back-to-back homers, Chris Young singled to left to score Didi Gregorius and advance Stephen Drew to third, Alex Rodriguez singled to left to score Drew and Young and then Carlos Beltran hit a homer over the Green Monster to drive in Rodriguez to give the team their eighth run of the second inning.
In the third inning, Drew homered to right to score Bird and Gregorius to make the score 11-1, and then in the fifth inning, Gregorius hit a solo blast to right center to give the team their 12th run of the game. The Yankees would tack on an insurance run in the eighth inning after the Red Sox made a comeback as Jose Pirela hit an infield single to score Brett Gardner. The speedy Rico Noel was going to make his first major league at bat, since he was in the on-deck circle, but Joe Girardi sent Pirela in to hit at the last minute.
The six, seven, eight and nine hitters for the Yankees combined to go 8/17 (.470) with eight runs scored, seven RBIs and four homers. That is much better production than you will normally see from the bottom of the lineup.
“When you get guys down there producing the way they are, a lot of times you can put up big numbers,” Girardi said. “And we did.”
In his last seven games, Gregorius has 16 hits in 28 at-bats (.571) with eight runs scored, three homers and 12 RBIs. His average is now a season-high .272 and he has raised his average from .252 to .272 in his last 10 games. Drew, who had not finished a game with his average above .200 this season until it was .201 on August 30, has his average up to .211 since he has nine hits in his last 13 at-bats, to go along with six runs scored, two homers and nine RBIs.
“Didi’s swinging the bat well, obviously, and myself, so it was a good day overall for everybody,” Drew said after the game.
Masahiro Tanaka picked up his 11th win of the season, but he allowed three runs after the Yankees had their 12-1 lead. To make the score 12-4, Pablo Sandoval hit a sacrifice fly to score Blake Swihart. Andrew Bailey, who was making his first appearance since the middle of the 2013 season because of serious injuries, didn’t have his control as he allowed two walks, a hit and an earned run to make the score 12-5.
The Yankees unfortunately were forced to bring in Dellin Betances and Andrew MIller into a game that they were winning 12-1. Betances was able to record the final two outs of the eighth inning after Bryan Mitchell allowed two runs and then Andrew Miller recorded all three outs in the ninth inning for his eighth consecutive scoreless appearance.
The Yankees did what they had to do as they went 5-1 on their road trip to Atlanta and Boston. They are still 1.5 games behind the Blue Jays since Toronto has also won their last two games. The Blue Jays will have to cool down soon since they have gone 19-5 win their last 25 games.
The Yankees have the day off on Thursday before closing the season with 30 games in the next 31 days. They will start a 10-game homestand with a three-game set against the 66-67 Tampa Bay Rays on Friday. Luis Severino, who has an outstanding 2.17 ERA in his five game this season and could be the team’s third best starter, will get the start for the Yankees.
In the Yankees 2-1 win over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night CC Sabathia allowed his fewest hits of the season as he pitched six innings, allowed only one run, had eight strikeouts and the Red Sox only had three hits off of him. The win allowed the Yankees to win the series against the last place Red Sox and maintain their lead in the division.
It was a great start for Sabathia (4-8, 5.34 ERA) and a big win for the Yankees because they will be playing the second place Toronto Blue Jays on Friday through Sunday. Toronto has won eight of their last 10 games and after their trade deadline acquisitions is now only 4.5 games behind the Yankees. There could be a lot of runs in this weekend series at Yankee Stadium since the Blue Jays are first and the Yankees are second in runs scored in the American League, the Blue Jays are second and the Yankees are third in homers and the Blue Jays are first and the Yankees are second in RBIs.
This was the first time that Sabathia had pitched six or more innings while allowing one run and striking out eight all season. He had not had eight or more strikeouts in a game since May 11 when he had nine against the Rays. He really bounced back from his previous two starts because he had allowed a combined 10 runs (five in each game) and five homers combined against the Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins.
“He had more velocity tonight,” Joe Girardi said. “I thought his location was better and his breaking ball was better. He pitched a really good game. He gave us six innings, an outstanding game and then out bullpen took over. Whenever you have more arm speed I think it helps the rest of your stuff as well.”
The only run that Sabathia allowed was an RBI single to Rusney Castillo to score Ryan Hanigan in the fifth. He was able to impressively pitch out of trouble in that inning since he walked the next batter but struck out David Ortiz swinging with the bases loaded in end the inning.
Sabathia has had one inning really hurt him in many of his starts this season but was able to avoid that on Thursday. He was able to strike out Josh Rutledge with runners on first and second to end the second inning but used his improved location to retire the side in order in the first, third, fourth and sixth innings. He was able to really keep the Red Sox off balance.
“I think just working both sides of the plate,” Sabathia said. “You have to give Murphy a lot of credit, he called a good game. I just tried to go out and establish both sides of the plate and we did that pretty good I think. I like pitching at the end of the year when the games mean a lot. It was a good series win.
The Yankees were 0-4 with runners in scoring position against Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez, but they were able to get two key hits against him. In the third inning, Alex Rodriguez hit a double to left to score Brett Gardner for the first run of the game. That was Gardner’s 73rd run scored of the season, which is fourth most in the AL.
In the seventh inning, with the score still tied at one, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a homer to right field that ended up being the game-winner. He was 2-4 and now has two homers in his last four games.
Dellin Betances (1.29 ERA and 89 strikeouts) pitched the eighth inning while allowing one hit and striking out one and Andrew Miller (1.70 ERA and 0.76 WHIP) pitched a scoreless ninth for his 24th save, which means he now has not blown a save this season in 24 chances. This was the 12th consecutive game that Betances has not allowed a run.
The Yankees are now 8-0-1 in their last nine series going back to the series in Anaheim at the end of June. They have momentum going into their big series against the surging Blue Jays. The Yankees will be facing their second knuckleball pitcher in three games as the veteran knuckleballer RA Dickey will get the start on Friday.
The Yankees lost to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night, 2-1, in Luis Severino’s major league debut. David Ortiz’s homer in the fourth inning to deep right center past the Modell’s sign in the second deck ended up being the game-winner.
Severino pitched very well in his first start with the Yankees after the top prospect had a 1.91 ERA in 11 starts with Triple-A Scranton. He threw five innings, allowed one earned run (two overall), recorded seven strikeouts and only allowed two hits.
A crucial play in the game ended up being Chase Headley’s throwing error on a Mike Napoli grounder when Headley had plenty of time to throw to first. Headley’s 18th error of the season allowed Alejandro De Aza to bat in the second and he hit a double to deep right center to score Napoli.
Severino was impressive pitching against the Red Sox and at Yankee Stadium for the first time. His fastball was consistently about 96mph, he mixed in his change up and he used his slider to get his strikeouts. He was not flustered after Ortiz’s long homer on a fastball that wasn’t low enough or after De Aza’s RBI double because he struck out the next batter after both of those at-bats.
Ortiz, the Red Sox longtime DH, was impressed with Severino’s ability. “That young kid, he’s got good stuff, man. I think he’s going to be pretty good,” Ortiz said. “I think at the end of the game he was missing location a little bit, but other than that, his stuff is very explosive.”
Joe Girardi also came away encouraged after Severino’s performance. “I thought he did a pretty good job,” Girardi said. “He has good poise. He made some big pitches in 3-2 counts. It’s a positive for him and what he can do going forward. I thought he located well with his fastball and can make some quality pitches.
Severino became the first pitcher in American League history to give up no more than two hits with seven strikeouts and no walks in his major league debut.
The Yankees struggled to hit off of Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright. He had a 4.53 ERA coming into the game, but he has an outstanding 2.08 ERA in his 13 innings pitched against the Yankees this season. Wright pitched eight innings and had nine strikeouts while only allowing four hits and one run.
The only run that the Yankees scored off of the 30-year-old was a homer to right in the seventh inning by Carlos Beltran. Didi Gregorius broke up Wright’s no-hitter with a single in the fifth inning.
Chase Headley had his 12-game hitting streak end. He hit .408 in 49 at-bats during that span with 14 runs scored, four doubles and 12 RBIs. He has been playing more like the player that the Yankees thought they were trading for. The Yankees hitting stats on Wednesday don’t mean that much because they so infrequently face a knuckleball pitcher.
As a result of the Blue Jays and Orioles both winning on Wednesday, the Yankees now have a 4.5 game lead over Toronto and a 5.5 game lead over Baltimore for first place in the AL East. CC Sabathia (4-8, 5.54 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees in the series finale on Thursday and Eduardo Rodriguez (6-3, 4.34 ERA) will get the start for the Red Sox.
The Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox, 13-3, on Tuesday in the first game of their series. This was the fourth time in seven games that they have scored in double figures and their offense has scored 68 runs in those seven games.
As a result of the Toronto Blue Jays win last night, the Yankees have a 5.5 game lead over Toronto for first place in the AL East and they have a 6.5 game lead over the Baltimore Orioles. The Blue Jays have won three games in a row and the Yankees will play an important three-game series against them this weekend.
The game was still close as the Yankees were winning 4-3 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, but the Yankees then used a nine-run outburst in the bottom of the seventh to give them a 13-3 lead. Alex Rodriguez hit a single to center to drive in Jacoby Ellsbury and then Brian McCann hit a homer above the Fox Business sign in the second deck in right field to send Chris Young and Rodriguez home to make the score 8-3.
Chase Headley hit an RBI double to left to make the score 9-3. Ellsbury singled to left to score Headley and then Chris Young blasted a three-run homer to left field. That was his 13th homer of the season after hitting 11 all of last season. Young had a great all around game as he caught three fly balls in left field, was 3-4, had three RBIs and scored four runs.
“Honestly, the blunt way to say it is we have a lot of really good hitters,” Young said. “Everybody’s a threat right now.”
The Yankees were an outstanding 8-15 with runners in scoring position and Mark Teixeira, Young, Rodriguez, McCann and Headley all had multi-hit games. McCann hit his 18th homer and drove in his 65th run of the season and is on pace to easily improve on his power numbers from his first season with the Yankees in 2014 when he hit 23 homers and drove in 75 runs.
Masahiro Tanaka had a quality start as he allowed three earned runs in six innings, but his performance was not similar to when he pitched like an ace earlier this season and last season. He was taken out of the game after allowing a homer to leadoff the seventh inning to Pablo Sandoval. Tanaka picked up his eighth win of the season, but he has now allowed three runs or more in seven of his last eight starts.
Tanaka has allowed four, five and six runs in three of those starts and has been hurt by the home run since the opposition has hit multiple homers against him in four of his last eight starts. His ERA has risen from 2.49 on June 15 to 3.84 on August 4.
Before the game against the Red Sox, infielder/outfielder Dustin Ackley, who was acquired in a trade with the Seattle Mariners on July 30, was put on the 15-day disabled list because of a strain in his lower back. Ackley only had three at-bats with the Yankees before being put on the DL. Yankees GM Brian Cashman thinks that Ackley will be out a minimum of 20-30 days.
Ackley has a herniated disk and the Yankees replaced him on the roster with relief pitcher Caleb Cotham. He was not injured when the Yankees traded for him. He took an epidural with the hope that it will solve his lumbar problem so that he can return to the roster at the end of the month.
“Timing is everything, and we had bad timing in terms of when he had an issue materialize,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “No complaints in Seattle, no tests, no issues, no treatment. I think we are optimistic that after a 20 or 30-day stint we’ll be able to utilize his flexibility.”
After going 6-4 on their 10-game road trip and having an off day on Monday, the Yankees have a six-game homestand, which includes three games against the Boston Red Sox and then three games against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays added David Price, Troy Tulowitzki, Mark Lowe and LaTroy Hawkins before the trade deadline, which makes it very likely that they will be able to secure a wild card spot.
Luis Severino will make his major league debut on Wednesday against the Yankees rivals. The rivalry doesn’t have as much meaning this season since the Red Sox are in last place and not playing for anything, but he will still be pitching his first game in a pressurized situation. He has obviously proved that he is ready since the 21-year-old phenom had a 1.91 ERA in 61.1 innings for Triple-A Scranton this season with a 7-0 record, 50 strikeouts, 17 walks and zero homers allowed.
The Yankees need production from him with Michael Pineda on the 15-day disabled list. The Red Sox have somewhat underachieved offensively as they are eighth out of 15 teams in the AL in runs scored, ninth out of 15 teams in homers and eighth in the league in RBIs.
The Yankees 18-8 record and 5.7 runs per game since July 1 are both best in Major League Baseball. There is a good chance that they can continue to put a high amount of runs on the scoreboard against the Red Sox since their 4.52 team ERA is second worst in the American League. Their pitching staff also has the fourth worst batting average against (.266) in the league.
The Red Sox currently have a -65 run differential and their 47-59 record puts them 13 games behind the Yankees in the AL East. Here are the pitching matchups for the series against the Red Sox in the Bronx.
RHP Masahiro Tanaka (7-4, 3.80)
LHP Henry Owens (MLB debut)
7:05 p.m. YES Network and MLB Network
RHP Luis Severino (MLB debut)
RHP Steven Wright (4-4, 4.53)
7:05 p.m., YES Network and ESPN
LHP CC Sabathia (4-8, 5.54)
LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (6-3, 4.34)
7:05 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network