Tagged: Carlos Beltran

The Yankees won after trading away Carlos Beltran and Ivan Nova

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Carlos Beltran – ESPN

After trading away Carlos Beltran, who was the team’s best offensive player in the first four months of the season, and Ivan Nova, who had been a pitcher with the Yankees since 2010 and was signed when he was 16, on Monday, the Yankees beat the Mets 6-5 in 10 innings.

The Yankees made the right decision in trading away their most valuable assets before the trade deadline because they had to improve the minor league system. They now have likely the best collection of prospects in baseball and those prospects will either be part of the next championship team or can be traded for players who can help the team win.

The Yankees had a middle of the pack farm system before trading Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Beltran but their minor league system has now vaulted to the top. Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner hit the reset at the right time because the team did not have a realistic chance at making the playoffs and in making these trades they are closer to winning their next World Series. If they didn’t make these trades the team would have been in contention for the second wild card spot for the next few seasons, which is not the goal that the Yankees have.

In return for Beltran, who should make it to the Hall of Fame when he retires, and two of the top five relievers in baseball in Miller and Chapman, the Yankees received a total of 10 prospects and Adam Warren. For Beltran, they received two lower profile prospects and Dillon Tate, from the Rangers, who is a pitcher that was the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft. For Miller, they got back highly rated outfield prospect Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield, Ben Heller and J.P. Ferereisen.

Frazier’s “bat speed and raw power are among the best in the Minor Leagues and suggest the ceiling of an All-Star” according to his MLB Pipeline scouting report. Frazier will be in Triple-A Railriders lineup on Tuesday, and Heller, a relief pitcher, has also been assigned to Triple-A.

Chapman is the only pitcher in baseball who can throw 105 mph. When the Yankees traded him the Cubs, who needed a closer, last week, the Yankees got back Warren, the Cubs top shortstop prospect in Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford.

In addition to those trades, Cashman also traded Nova just before the 4 p.m. trade deadline for two players to be named later. This made sense because Nova had struggled this season (4.90 ERA) and they likely would not have signed him in the offseason anyway. They also reacquired Tyler Clippard from the Arizona Diamonbacks for Vicante Campos. Clippard and Warren are not as talented as Miller and Chapman, but those two pitchers will be able to be valuable in the 7th and 8th innings and were important to get back since they lost so much production in the bullpen.

Cashman was able to get back a lot of top prospects for Miller and two players who might be rentals for the Cubs and Rangers. The Yankees had help from players who will be part of their present and future when they beat the Mets on Monday.

Didi Gregorius hit a two-run single in the 8th inning to tie the score at five. He has an impressive .291 average and is only 12 RBI away from setting a career-high. Starlin Castro was 0-3 but his sacrifice fly to right in the 10th that scored Jacoby Ellsbury ended up winning the game for the Yankees.

Dellin Betances, who is now the closer, recorded his first save of the season after James Loney, who owns the Yankees, doubled to leadoff the 10th. Betances was able to execute his pitches after that as he struck out Curtis Granderson to end the game after throwing two batters out at first.

The Yankees attempted to run more on the bases than before all of these trades. Austin Romine had his first steal of the season, Castro had his third steal of the season and Brett Gardner was thrown out at home attempting an inside the park home run.

Jacoby Ellsbury scored the first run of the game for the Yankees on a wild pitch and then the Yankees scored their second and third runs in the 5th. Brett Gardner had an RBI double and Ellsbury’s single drove in Gardner.

Warren and Clippard were big contributors out of the bullpen as they combined to pitch three innings, only allow one hit, not allow a run and strikeout four. This was Warren third appearance out of the bullpen since the trade and after struggling with the Cubs he has pitched like he did the previous few seasons with the Yankees, as he has only allowed one hit and no runs in four innings pitched.

The Yankees are now a game over .500 and can now play like they have nothing to lose since there is not much pressure after all of the trades thad were made. The Yankees recalled Ben Gamel and Nick Goody on Monday and will could bringing up catching prospect Gary Sanchez on Wednesday. Outfielder Aaron Judge, who is about to be reinstated from the disabled list and has performed well this season, and Tyler Austin, will both likely be called up in the next few weeks to continue the youth movement.

Since Sanchez will be coming up to the Yankees will have to decide what they will do with Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod has not hit at all recently (one hit in his last 16 at-bats) so they could cut him, but they might decide to have him DH until he hits his 700th homer (he is at 696). However, the Yankees don’t really want him taking at-bats away from a younger player.

 

Nathan Eovaldi’s dominant 6.2 innings helped the Yankees win the series against the Giants

 

The Yankees beat the San Francisco Giants on Sunday afternoon , 5-2, and were able to win the series against the  NL West leaders two games to one. After losing the first two games of their series to the Red Sox, the Yankees were impressively able to end the home stand with six wins in their last eight games against the Baltimore Orioles and Giants.

Pitching has been a key factor in the Yankees playing well against Orioles and Giants, as they have posted an outstanding 1.56 team ERA in the last eight games.     Nathan Eovaldi pitched well once again as he only allowed two runs in 6.2 innings while allowing seven hits and striking out six.

He threw 79 of his season-high 118 pitches for strikes and since being demoted to the bullpen for three appearances he has allowed only three runs in his last 12 innings (two starts). After dominating in his last two starts with an improved cutter, Eovaldi has lowered his ERA from 5.11 to 4.80.

Eovaldi really pitched well in the clutch as he held the Giants to 0-5 with runners in scoring position in the first six innings. Eovaldi left the game to a standing ovation after Angel Pagan’s double put runners on second and third with two outs.

Buster Posey hit a single to right off of Chad Green, who came into pitch after Chasen Shreve allowed a walk, that scored former Yankee Ramiro Pena and Angel Pagan. Those two runs were charged to Eovaldi because they were on base when Green came into the game.

Green really stepped up for the Yankees with Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman not available due to the amount that they had pitched recently. Green, who is normally a starting pitcher, picked up his first career save. He allowed three hits and one strikeout in 2.1 innings pitched and threw 28 of his 40 pitches for strikes.

Green is performing well in his new bullpen role since he hasn’t allowed a run in his last two appearances as a relief pitcher (4.2 innings). He could serve an important role in the new look bullpen because the flame-throwing Chapman is close to getting traded to the Chicago Cubs.

On offense, the crowd came alive for the two early solo homers that the Yankees hit. Carlos Beltran hit his 413th homer of his career in the first inning. The likely future Hall of Famer is now one homer away from tying Darrell Evans for 51st place on the all-time list. In the second inning, Mark Teixeira, who has a low .188 average but has hit four of his nine homers in July, hit a deep 425 foot homer to right center. Beltran is only 10 homers ahead of Teixeira as the first baseman hit his 403rd homer of his career.

The Yankees will tack on three more runs in the sixth inning to seal the win. Aaron Hicks scored on a double play and then the Yankees went on a two out rally. Starlin Castro’s single scored Beltran and then Didi Gregorius, who has really improved on offense this season, smashed a ground rule double that bounced off the warning track in center to score Brian McCann.

After Sunday afternoon’s win, the Yankees are now 7.5 games behind the Orioles for first place in the AL East and a little more manageable 4.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays fore the second wild card spot. It appears that the Yankees will see how they perform in the next week or so before deciding if they will trade other players besides Chapman.

 

 

 

 

 

The Yankees won the first game in the series against the Giants as Chapman had a strikeout on a 103 mph fastball to end the game

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.

Pineda pitched six dominant innings against the Orioles and the Yankees extended their winning streak

The Yankees shutout the Orioles, 5-0, on Wednesday night behind six dominant innings from Michael Pineda. This was their fourth win in a row (three against the Orioles) and they are doing what is needed right now to not be sellers before the trade deadline.

In their last 10 games, the Yankees have done 7-3 and those games have all been against the Indians, Red Sox and Orioles, who would all be in the playoffs if the season ended today. They have been able to get three games closer in the division and are now six games behind the Red Sox after knocking the Orioles out of first place. They are five games out of the second wild card spot, but only two teams are now between them and the Blue Jays.

First time since 2003 that the Yankees have held the opposition to one run or less for four games in a row. The Yankees are 48-46 and are two games above .500 for the first time since they were 4-2 in the beginning of the season.

Pineda only allowed five hits in his six innings pitched and was able to rebound well after giving up five runs in each of his previous two starts. He had an impressive eight strikeouts and only two walks and 70 of his 113 pitches were strikes.

He showed great poise and heart in the sixth inning as he was able to prevent Mark Trumbo from scoring after he doubled to leadoff the inning. Pedro Alvarez hit a sacrifice fly to advance Trumbo to third and then Pineda struck out the next two batters. That run likely would have scored in some of Pineda’s other starts this season.

When you can get outs with runners in scoring position those are the most crucial outs of the game,” Joe Girardi said in reference to Pineda’s sixth inning. The Yankees still only had a 2-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning.

Pineda’s slider and fastball were on point so he didn’t need to go to his change very much. Pineda stayed focused and didn’t hang any of his sliders. Pineda is third in the American League in most games with 8 or more strikeouts with 8.

After Pineda came out of the game in the sixth inning, the Yankees bullpen held the Orioles scoreless in the last three innings while not allowing a hit. Dellin Betances had one strikeout and Chasen Shreve recorded two strikeouts. A catalyst for the Yankees recently has been that they have 28.2 consecutive scoreless innings from their bullpen.

Carlos Beltran had two RBIs including a 399 foot homer to right in the 8th inning. In the sixth inning, Beltran did something that’s rarely seen from a power hitter. He had a push bunt on a shift off of Gallardo for a single to help give the Yankees an extra run since Mark Teixeira walked with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. The game was still close as Jacoby Ellsbury’s run on Teixeria’s walk made the score 3-0.

Brett Gardner hit the team’s second RBI sacrifice fly of the game in the seventh inning. His sac fly scored Ronald Torreyes, who had hit a triple to the wall.

Mark Teixeria, who was playing in his first game since July 16 after being hit by a ball, hit a homer in the fourth inning on a slider to go with his two walks. He really adds a lot to the offense if he can produce in the middle of the order as opposed to the lack of production that he gave the team earlier in the season.

Teixeira, who still has a low .189 average, now has five homers in his last 16 games after having only  three in his first 48 games. Homers in the middle of the lineup is what the team is counting on from Teixeira.

Beltran, who is 39, leads the team in average (.304, homers (20), RBI (60) and hits (97). He is on track to have much better numbers than last season and in turn if the Yankees decide to sell they will be able to get talent back that will be able to really help the team next year and down the line.

Girardi said it was good to only use of one his big three in his game. “Tomorrow (Thursday) is an important game for us,” Girardi said. “You have to keep pushing. It starts with starting pitching. Michael did a good job and it starts with CC tomorrow.”

If the Yankees can get the win on Thursday they will have swept the Orioles and it will be their third four-game sweep of the season but first against a team as good as the Orioles.

 

 

 

 

The Yankees had a season-high 20 hits in their 9-0 win over the White Sox

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Masahiro Tanaka – ESPN

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.

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.

 

Beltran’s three-run blast in the 8th gave the Yankees a win over the Angels

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Carlos Beltran – ESPN

The Yankees won a come from behind 5-2 game on Monday night against the Angels (26-31) at Yankee Stadium as they did not have the lead until the bottom of the eighth inning. Carlos Beltran’s homer to right just over the wall drove in Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner to break the 2-2 tie from the seventh inning.

That homer was Beltran’s team leading 14th of the season and he now also has a team leading 36 RBIs. His is leading the team in both categories by a wide margin as Starlin Castro and Brian McCann are tied for second with eight homers and Castro is second in RBIs with his 24. Beltran, who should be a DH instead of a right fielder at this point, has been performing very well at the plate since May of last year, and the Yankees would definitely be further under .500 than they are right now without the 39-year-old Beltran (27-30).

McCann and Castro smashed back-to-back mammoth homers in the seventh inning to tie the score at two. McCann pulled a pitch from Matt Shoemaker to the suite level in the second deck in right field and Castro pulled a pitch from Shoemaker that went 413 feet to left field.

“There’s power in this offense,” manager Joe Girardi said. “They can do it, and do it quickly.”

McCann’s homer was a much needed one since before this game he had previously only had two hits in his last 29 at-bats. His previous hit during the loss to the Blue Jays on May 30 was also a homer. It was a rarely seen at-bat by McCann because he just missed a homer since the previous ball did not stay fair and then he hit the round tripper on the very next pitch. His average is all the way down to .222 and the Yankees need him pick up his production on offense.

Masahiro Tanaka had another dominant performance to give the Yankees a chance to win the game. He pitched seven strong innings and only allowed two runs on six hits and two walks but got another no decision because the Yankees only scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Even though he has an ERA of 2.76, which is the eighth best in the American League, he only has three wins this season because he has eight no decisions.

The Yankees have repeatedly not scored runs for Tanaka this season but he has been an elite pitcher this season. His 1.01 WHIP is the third lowest among starters in the AL this season and has been able to command his sinker, slider, splitter and cutter while not having to rely as much on his splitter.

Tanaka has allowed a combined four earned runs in his last four starts, which has lowered his ERA from 3.51 to 2.76. He has remarkably allowed two earned runs or fewer in 10 of the 12 starts that he has made this season. Giving up too many walks can lead to trouble for a starting pitcher and Tanaka has eight starts this season with one or zero walks.

Former Yankee David Huff will pitcher for the Angels in the second game of the series at Yankee Stadium. Michael Pineda will get the start for the Yankees, and he will be looking to have similar results as he had in his last start. He struck out eight and walked none while allowing one run against the Tigers last week.

 

 

The Yankees were only 1-8 with RISP in their loss to the Blue Jays on Tuesday

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CC Sabathia – ESPN

The Yankees (24-27) lost Tuesday night’s game in Toronto to the Blue Jays, 4-1, as CC Sabathia pitched well once again but the offense wasn’t able to score enough runs to get him his fourth win. Sabathia has been a huge success for the Yankees, as he has allowed two, zero, one and zero runs in each of his last four starts, but the struggling offense has prevented the team from going above .500.

The Yankees were 22-22 after their win on March 24, which was the last win of their six-game winning streak, but after that game the team has gone 2-5 in their last seven games. They scored four runs or less in six of those seven games. Proving their recent offensive ineptitude is that in their last three games combined they have only scored five runs.

In Tuesday’s loss, the Yankees were only 1-8 with runners in scoring position. The Yankees were much better in that category when they went 13-5 earlier in May. The middle of the order – Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and Starlin Castro – combined to only have one hit in 11 at-bats.

It is much harder to win games when the three, four and five batters in the lineup do not contribute offensively. The rest of the lineup had five hits but they did not do enough with runners in scoring position (RISP). The only hit with RISP came when Austin Romine, who has been much better on offense this season, had a infield single in the second to advance Chase Headley to third after he doubled.

An opportunity was wasted in the second inning since the Yankees had runners on second and third with no outs and only scored one run. Didi Gregorius would fly out to center, Aaron Hicks’s fielders choice scored Headley and then Jacoby Ellsbury’s fly ball was caught in foul territory to end the inning.

Castro, who is tied for second on the team with 21 RBIs, has really struggled at the plate recently. He had a solid .276 average on May 22 but now his average is all the way down to .245. Castro only has three hits in his last 33 at-bats. The only upside of only having three hits in 33 at-bats is that two of those have been homers.

The Yankees need him to improve at the plate and hit like he did earlier in the season. From the end of April to the beginning of May he had six multi-hit games in 10 games, which proves that he is capable of really heating up.

Mark Teixeira is not hitting at the plate right now just like Castro, but unlike Castro he hasn’t really helped the team on offense this season. Teixeira only has three hits in his last 34 at-bats going back to May 17 and has 13 strikeouts in that span. The highest that his average was in May was .225.

He has a very low .190 average this season and only has eight extra-base hits the whole season (three homers). Joe Girardi has said that he will leave Teixeira in the lineup. Teixeira will have to give the team more production because the No. 3 hitter in the lineup is relied on to hit homers and drive in runs. He only has 12 RBIs in 158 at-bats this season after having 79 RBIs and 31 homers in 392 at-bats last season (111 games).

Headley did nothing in April and really turned it around in May as he had a .150 average in April but his .298 average in May has pushed his average up to a more respectable .236. Teixeira, who is 36 years old and has a -0.4 Wins Above Replacement, will be looking to have a turnaround similar to the one that Headley had. Teixeira traditionally starts the season slowly, but usually picks it up in May after struggling in April.

If Castro can start to hit like he did earlier in the season and Teixeira can hit like he did during his productive 2015 season then the offense will get better. The Yankees have five more games of their 10-game road trip as they have one more in Toronto, a makeup game in Detroit and then three games in Baltimore. The Blue Jays (28-26), who have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games, are currently in third place and 1.5 games ahead of the Yankees.

With Saturday’s win the Yankees are now on a season-high four-game winning streak

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Masahiro Tanaka – ESPN

After beating the Oakland Athletics, 5-1, on Saturday in Oakland, the Yankees are not in last place in the American League East for the first time since April 23. That was their longest stretch in last place since the last four weeks of the 1990 season. They have gone 11-5 in their last 16 games and have really turned their season around, as they are now 20-22 and 6.5 games out of first place.

This was their fourth consecutive win and in each of those wins their starting pitchers have pitched six innings or more and have impressively allowed only one run. CC Sabathia came off of the disabled list on Friday and showed the same dominance that he did in his start before going on the DL as he allowed one run on three hits and a walk. He struck out a season-high eight batters, and it appears that his knee brace has really been helping him.

Masahiro Tanaka got the start in Saturday’s game and allowed one run on five hits and two walks in seven very effective innings. In the fifth inning, with the Yankees leading 4-0, Danny Valencia hit a sacrifice fly to center that scored catcher Matt McBride, who walked to lead off the inning. Tanaka, who has been the team’s best starting pitcher this season, has a 3.24 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 50 strikeouts. This was a big bounce back game for Tanaka because he was able to rebound after allowing four and six runs in his last two starts, respectively.

The fifth run that the Yankees scored, a double by Starlin Castro in the seventh that scored Ronald Torreyes, was able to allow Nick Goody to pitch the last two innings and give the team’s big three of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman the game off. Goody, who was pitching in his seventh game this season and made his debut in 2015, allowed one hit and no walks in his two innings pitched. He has a 1.64 ERA (two earned runs) and 12 strikeouts in 11 innings pitched this season. Girardi might rely on Goody more as some of the other middle relievers before the big three haven’t been very reliable.

Entering the bottom of the fourth the score was still 0-0, but then the Yankees would score all the runs they would need off of Oakland starter Sean Manaea for the win. The Yankees, who scored five runs off of Manaea, capitalized off of a pitcher who had been struggling this season since he had allowed 8, 4, and 4 and three of his four other starts this season.

With the bases loaded and no outs, Carlos Beltran hit a single to left center that scored Jacoby Ellsbury for the team’s first run. Then, with one out, Aaron Hicks hit a sacrifice fly to left that scored Castro. To make the score 4-0, Rob Refsnyder hit a double to deep right that scored Beltran and Mark Teixeira. Refsnyder, who was playing right field, appeared in a game for the first time since being called up from Triple-A with Luis Cessa and James Pazos on May 17.

Refsnyder has really mastered Triple-A pitching since he had a .293 average with two homers and 10 RBIs in 133 at-bats this season, but from April 26 until May 12 he had a 16-game hitting streak with six multi-hit games and nine runs scored. He also slugged his first two homers of the season in his second to last game before being called up. He will be able to provide offense off of the bench while being able to play right field, third and second.

Castro, who has the highest batting average of any regular on the team, was 3-5 to improve his average to .277. He has adapted well to playing with the Yankees after being traded from the Cubs in the offseason and he forms a solid young middle of the infield with Didi Gregorius. Castro was able to break out of his mini slump since he had only one hit in 13 at-bats before Saturday’s game.

Beltran, who leads the team in RBIs with 26, was two for four to improve his average to .268. After finishing April of 2015 with a very low .162 average, Beltran has been able to continue the improved production that he had during the last five months of last season. He has been a major part of the team going 5-2 in the last week as he has .385 average (10-26) with four runs scored, four doubles, two homers and 11 RBIs in the last seven days.

With a win Sunday afternoon against Oakland (4:05 p.m. EST) they will have swept the Athletics and will have finished the road trip with a 5-2 record. After this series in the Bay Area the Yankees will return for three games against the last place Toronto Blue Jays and then go on a 10-game road trip. Those 10 games will be important because nine of those 10 games will be against AL East teams.

The Yankees lost to the Royals on Wednesday as Pineda struggled in the 1st inning again

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Aaron Hicks – MLB

The Yankees (13-19) lost to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night, 7-3, at Yankee Stadium. Michael Pineda allowed six runs in 5.2 innings pitched, but he allowed four of his six runs in the first inning. This continued his trend of struggling early in the contest but then rebounding. He needs to find consistency, so that he is a reliable pitcher in the beginning of the game.

He has really struggled in the first two innings this season as 20 of the 27 earned runs that he has allowed this season have come in the first two frames. He has been a completely different pitcher after the second frame, but his inability to prevent runners from scoring in the first two stanzas has led to him having a very high ERA of 6.28, a WHIP of 1.60 to go along with hitters having a .306 average against him in his seven starts.

After Alex Gordon’s sacrifice fly scored Lorenzo Cain, Salvador Perez would go onto smash a three-run homer to left that gave the Royals their fourth run of the first inning. That homer by Perez ended up being the difference in the game. Pineda has struggled with the long ball this year as his nine homers given up are tied for the fourth most in the American League.

Pineda has allowed a solid two earned runs in four of his seven starts, but that is not good enough because in his other three starts he has given up six, seven and six runs, respectively. He is obviously not injured based on the way he has pitched after the second inning, but he just needs a different mindset so that he doesn’t have starts where he allows four runs in the first inning.

With Wednesday night’s loss, the Yankees now have a 5-3 record in the last eight games. They are starting to turn the season around because in their previous eight games they had a record of 1-7. A factor in the team winning more games in the last eight contests is that they have scored 38 runs in that span versus only 17 runs in the stretch when they went 1-7.

A positive development during this stretch of improved offense has been the play of Aaron Hicks, who was traded to the Yankees in the offseason. He has gotten consistent at-bats since he has been playing everyday in the outfield as a result of Carlos Beltran being the DH with Alex Rodriguez on the disabled list. Hicks was 3-4 on Wednesday night, and in the last seven games he is an impressive 9-21 (.429) with one double, two homers, five RBIs and five runs scored. His average was .067 on May 4 and is now a much more respectable .216.

Beltran, who was 2-4 last night with a solo home run, has hit well during the month of May. He is 10-36 (.278) with three homers, four doubles, five runs scored and six RBIs. There have been 10 of the team’s 32 games during May, and three of his seven homers have come during May in addition to six of his 15 RBIs.

Beltran also hit his 399th career homer last night, which puts him in a three-way tie for 54th on the all-time list with Al Kaline and Andres Galarraga. Three Yankees are in the top five on the all-time switch hitter home run list as Mark Teixeira has 397, Beltran has 399 and Chipper Jones retired with 468, Eddie Murray retired with 504 and Mickey Mantle retired with 536.

Chase Headley had a single to shallow left in the second inning to score Hicks for his only hit of the game. He has a very low .178 average this season, but the third baseman has a .278 average (5-18) in the last seven days to show some signs of improvement. However, Headley still does not have an extra base hit this season and has only four RBIs. Proving how Headley has not done his part as an everyday player is that 26 pitchers have an extra base hit this season while Headley does not have one.

The Yankees will play the series finale against the Royals tonight at 7:05 p.m. They will win the series if they win tonight’s game that will be started by Nathan Eovaldi (4.78 ERA). In Eovaldi’s previous start, he dominated in eight innings as he allowed two runs and struck out six.

Joe Girardi has said that the goal is to win consecutive series that they play, and the Yankees should be able to get back into the race in the American League East if they can win the next five series that they play. They went into this series having won their previous two.