The Yankees (76-66) lost to the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-2, on Sunday, September 11, and ended their seven-game winning streak. They are now four games behind the Boston Red Sox for first place in the American League East and tied with the Detroit Tigers for two games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the second wild card spot.
“Every loss at this point stings just because of how few games are left,” manager Joe Girardi said.
The Yankees have won seven of their last 10 games but could have really benefited from winning on Sunday because their schedule is about to get much more challenging than the 60-82 Rays. In their next three games, they will closeout their home stand with the Dodgers, who are 80-62 and in first place in the NL West and then will play the rest of their games against teams ahead of them in the AL East, except for three games in Tampa Bay from September 20-22. This will give them opportunity to directly gain ground in the division and wildcard but will also automatically lose ground with any losses.
Rookie Luis Cessa, who had allowed three runs or less in his four starts this season before Sunday, was hurt by the home run as the Rays slugged three round trippers against him in 5.2 innings. He ended up allowing four runs on five hits while striking out five in 78 pitches. Cessa has been a reliable starter so far as his array of pitches helped him have a 4.07 ERA going into yesterday’s game, but he needs to prevent so many homers since the opposition has hit eight homers in his 29 innings as a starter, and in his 47.2 innings overall the opposition has hit 13 homers.
A positive to yesterday’s start is that Logan Forsythe and Brad Miller both hit solo homers in the sixth. If they would have hit two or three-run homers then the game would have been out of reach and much more difficult to make a comeback.
Chase Headley hit his 14th homer of the season in the fifth inning, but the Yankees were only able to score one more run after that. In the seventh inning, Brett Gardner singled to right to drive in Headley for the team’s second and final run. During Sunday’s afternoon game, the Yankee had a total of seven hits but were only 1-5 with runners in scoring position (RISP). Jacoby Ellsbury was 0-2 with RISP, Mark Teixeira was 0-1 with RISP and Gary Sanchez was 0-1 with RISP.
Ellsbury flied out with Gardner on second to end the seventh inning and he also flied out to left after Gardner doubled to deep left in the third inning. To end the third, Sanchez struck out with Gardner still on second. The Yankees were not able to do anything in the last two innings since the Rays retired the side in order in the 8th and 9th innings with Brad Boxberger and Alex Colome pitching. The Rays closer, Colome, picked up his 32nd save of the season and lowered his ERA to an impressive 2.01.
Luis Severino pitched well once again but will unfortunately likely not be available for two or three days because he threw 2.1 innings in the loss. He held the Rays scoreless while allowing only two his and a walk while striking out three. Severino, who was sent to Triple-A earlier in the season due to ineffectiveness as a starting pitcher, has now not allowed an earned run in his 16.2 innings pitched as a reliever this season and has only given up four hits in those seven games out of the bullpen.
The Yankees will now play three important games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. LA is coming off of a series where they lost two of three to the Marlins in Miami and former manager Don Mattingly. The Dodgers will send out rookies Jose De Leon and then Julio Urias in the first two games and then 2014 Cy Young winner and likely the best lefty in baseball, Clayton Kershaw, will make his second start since coming off of the disabled list on Wednesday.
It’s important that the Yankees win two out of three games to keep pace or possibly gain ground on the teams ahead of them in the standings.
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 (40-42) did not have a memorable 4th of July since they lost 8-2 to the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field to begin their series against the 4th place team in the AL Central. The Yankees have continued their trend of struggling once getting to .500 since they got to .500 on Thursday at 39-39 but have gone 1-3 since then.
CC Sabathia, who was on track to possibly be in the All-Star Game as of the middle of June, has really struggled in his last three starts. Against the White Sox on July 4th, he allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks, and this was his third consecutive start where he gave up five or more runs.
Sabathia has allowed 11 runs in his last three starts after limiting the opposition to 13 runs in his previous 10 starts. Also, in his last three starts, Sabathia’s ERA has increased from 2.20 to 3.48. All pitchers have stretches in the season where they struggle and Joe Girardi said he believed that these three starts are not really cause for concern. However, it is important that he shows signs of improvement in his last start before the All-Star break so that he can pitch the Yankees to a win and prove that he can still have his previous effectiveness.
A player who was a borderline All-Star before this game was Didi Gregorius. He is still a small possibility but his chance has likely gone away as a result of going 0-4 (0-3 with runners in scoring position) and committing three errors (one throwing and two on ground balls). His 11 errors are only two fewer than his high for an entire season. He is usually very reliable on defense but sometimes doesn’t make the routine play.
Gregorius’s offensive numbers are much better than last season and he still ranks near the top among shortstops in the American League. His .287 average is fifth best among shortstops, his 38 RBIs are sixth best among shortstops, his nine homers are tied for 8th best and his 13 doubles are tied for 8th most among shortstops. However, a stat that will likely keep him out of the ASG is that his 11 errors are ninth most in the league among shortstops.
The offensive stars in this game for the Yankees were Starlin Castro and Chase Headley but they did not nearly have enough help. Castro was 4-4 with a run scored to raise his average from .246 to .256. He was 0-12 in his previous four games, so this could be a sign of him starting to hit like he did earlier in the season. He only has three RBIs in his last 10 games, and it is important for him to drive in runs since he has been the No. 5 or 6 batter in the lineup.
Headley was 1-2 and drove in both runs that the Yankees scored in the game on his 364 foot homer to right in the second inning. Headley had a .150 average at the end of his inept April, a much improved .208 average on May 25 and his average now is all the way up to .247. He and Carlos Beltran have been the team’s best hitters the last two months, but in Monday’s game he and Castro did not have enough help.
Castro and Headley combined to have five hits but the rest of the lineup combined for only three hits. Those three hits were all singles and the Yankees combined to go a pathetic 0-13 with runners in scoring position.
Tim Anderson, Brett Lawrie and Dioner Navarro all drove in two runs for the White Sox, which gave them all the runs they would need to win the opening game of the series. Toms River, NJ, native Todd Frazier drove in one run for Chicago and is having a Dave Kingman like season since he has a .212 average with 23 homers.
It is looking more and more like the Yankees should at least be partial sellers at the trade deadline for the first in about 26 years. They lost two out of three games to the San Diego Padres from Friday to Sunday. The Padres have the worst record in the NL West at 36-47 and have already started trading some of their best players in James Shields and Fernando Rodney.
The Yankees are seven games behind the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the American League East and are now 4.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the second wild-card spot. It will be tough to make up that deficit since the Yankees would have to play much better than they have been and there are five teams between them and the Blue Jays.
If the Yankees trade Beltran and Aroldis Chapman to a team that is on track to make the playoffs they will be able to get back players who will help them be a much better team next season and improve their depth. The Yankees play two more games against the White Sox and then travel to Cleveland to play four games against the red-hot Indians before the All-Star break. The Indians have won 15 of their last 17 games.
Chase Headley scoring on a passed ball by Robinson Chirinos in the ninth inning with Carlos Beltran at the plate led to the Yankees winning their second walk-off win in a row over the Texas Rangers. They won 2-1 in a matinee game and closer Aroldis Chapman got his second win of the season.
The star of today’s game was Michael “Big Mike” Pineda. He pitched six dominant innings while allowing only one run, two hits, three walks and a season-high 12 strikeouts. According to Katie Sharp, all 12 of his strikeouts were swinging strikeouts, which doesn’t happen very much. He allowed a homer to Shin-Soo Choo to leadoff the game and then was impressively able to rebound from there and keep the Rangers offense off of the scoreboard.
“I feel really good,” Pineda said. “It’s what I am looking for, just pitching good and I am trying to help the team. I want to finish strong.”
This is what Pineda said in reference to how he rebounded from allowing Choo’s homer: “It’s the first batter, so I tried to be aggressive with my fastball and he got it. Then, I was walking on the mound, and said ‘OK, Big Mike, keep your head up, be focused right now and give my team the opportunity to win the game.”
This was impressive because in earlier starts Pineda has gotten frustrated at himself and has allowed one early run to turn into a few runs. It seems like he is figuring out how to motivate himself on the mound.
He has a lot of talent and when his cutter, slider and change are located he is tough to hit. Pineda was much better in June than he was in May. In 37 innings (six starts) he allowed 11 runs, did not allow more than three earned runs in any start and allowed one run three times while striking out 49 and only walking eight batters.
Big Mike has really improved as he has lowered his ERA from 6.92, when the Yankees considered dropping him from the rotation, to the much more respectable 5.24 ERA that it is now. He now seems like a starter that the Yankees will want to give an extension.
The Yankees scored their first run of the game on a homer to right by Didi Gregorius off of Rangers starter A.J. Griffin in the 5th. This was his second homer in two days and yesterday’s blast was the walk-off 3-run homer in the 9th. He has really improved on offense from last season, and he should get strong consideration for a spot on the All-Star team since he ranks near the top in homers, RBI and average among shortstops in the American League.
In 27 games in June, Gregorius had a .337 average with 11 extra-base hits, 18 RBIs, 15 runs scored and a .906 OPS. His extra-base hits included one triple, four homers and six doubles. The Yankees would not have won these last two games against the best team in the American League without Gregorius and it is a positive sign that he is coming into his own and showing real improvement at the age of 26.
“We never give up,” Gregorius said. “Hopefully we go on our best foot forward from now on and end the first half on a good note. We are doing stuff the right way lately and we just have to keep it up. I am trying to put the barrel on the ball, that’s all I’m trying to do. For me, I am just trying to get good at-bats and get something to show for it.”
The Big Three in the bullpen of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman were dominant like normal. They combined to pitch the last three innings, allow only two hits and strike out four Rangers. Betances has only allowed one run in his last 10 appearances (9 innings), Miller has only allowed two runs in his last 10 appearances (10 innings) and Chapman has allowed four runs in his last 10 appearances, but two of those came in one game (9 innings). There is a good chance that the Yankees will win if all three pitch in the same game.
With today’s win, the Yankees earned a split against the Rangers who have the best record in baseball, and it was close to being three out of four since the second game was delayed a few hours due to rain with the Yankees having the lead in the 9th. The Yankees are back to .500 once again and will look to keep the winning streak going in San Diego.
The Bronx Bombers will play a 3-game series at Petco Park against the Padres, who are 13 games below .500 (33-46). They have the worst record in the NL West and just traded away their best reliever, Fernando Rodney, to the Marlins. He has a 0.31 ERA and 17 saves.
The Yankees struggled to maintain momentum the last few times they reached .500, so they will try to reverse that trend against the Padres. If they can win the first two games against San Diego they will be two games above .500 for the first time since they were 4-2. If they sweep the lowly Padres they will be three games above .500 for the first time all season.
Alex Rodriguez will not play in the series against the Padres unless he comes into the game as a pinch hitter. He is strictly a designated hitter now and there is no DH in National League stadiums. If the Yankees sweep the Padres that could prove that the team is turning the corner since they were not able to do so against the Twins.
The Yankees defeated the Kansas City Royals, 7-3, on Thursday night in the Bronx. That victory gave them the series win over the defending World Series champions and their second consecutive series win.
The Bronx Bombers, who are now starting to earn their nickname again, have won six of their last nine games to pull within five games of .500 (14-19). Their winning percentage has been equal to or worse than five games below .500 everyday since April 27 when they were 8-12.
Offensively the Yankees scored six runs or more for the fourth time in their last six games. They had previously scored three runs or less in five of six games. The Yankees are becoming a good team and the Yankees were able to have production from the bottom of the lineup in this game, which teams need to have in order to win consistently.
Chase Headley was 2-3 with two runs scored, two RBIs and his first home run of the season. His homer in the second inning that drove in Carlos Beltran was his first extra-base hit of the season as well. Noah Syndergaard, who is a starting pitcher, had two homers for the Mets on Wednesday.
“It’s been a long time,” Headley said. “Felt like it’s been a really long time.” Headley finished 5th in the National League MVP voting in 2012 after his .286, 31 homer, 115 RBI season, so he is obviously capable of producing power numbers.
The Yankees need Headley, who was hitting 8th in the lineup, to continue his turnaround at the plate as he is 7-20 (.350 average) with five runs scored, one homer and four RBIs in his last six games. This improved play in the last week has increased his average from .151 to .194. Headley’s work in the cage after games recently is now showing on the field. He also made a Gold Glove caliber play to end the game on a ball that took a bad hop.
Didi Gregorius, who was hitting 7th Thursday night, was the second of three Yankees to hit a round tripper. Gregorius’s homer was his only hit of the game, but it was important as it gave the team two more insurance runs in the 4th after the Royals had made the score 3-2. His homer to deep right off of former Yankee Ian Kennedy over the WB Mason sign was off of a hanging curve ball.
It is always a positive when four of the team’s seven runs are driven in by the seven and eight hitters in the lineup.
Starlin Castro, whose .300 average is higher than any everyday player on the team, went 2-4 with two RBIs. He hit his fourth homer of the season in the first inning and singled to right in the seventh to score Headley. Castro is by far the best second baseman that the Yankees have had since Robinson Cano left to go to the Seattle Mariners after the 2013 season. Brian McCann gave the Yankees their seventh run on a bases loaded walk in the 7th, which was his team-leading 16th run batted in.
Nathan Eovaldi (3-2) did not pitch nearly as well as he did in his previous start when he allowed only two runs in eight innings, but he was able to keep the team in the game without having his best command of his pitches. The Royals scored three runs off of him in five innings off of eight hits and two walks.
The Yankees were leading 3-0 going into the 4th but then Alex Gordon hit a homer to deep right center and Christian Colon hit an RBI double to make the score 3-2. Eovaldi nearly finished the fifth inning without allowing a run but Eric Hosmer hit a double with two strikes and two outs. However, he was able to pitch will with two outs and a runner in scoring position since after Gordon’s RBI single he got Salvador Perez to fly out to right to end the inning.
Four Yankee relievers combined to pitch the sixth, seven, eighth and ninth innings and they combined to only allow one hit.
Kirby Yates, who pitched the sixth inning, has somewhat gone under the radar since he has not allowed a run in his last seven innings (7 games) and has struck out eight batters and lowered his ERA from 5.06 to 2.19. The 29-year-old Hawaii native, who is in his third season, is having much more success than he did last season for the Tampa Bay Rays when he had a 7.97 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 20.1 innings. He will be a valuable pitcher before Girardi gets to his Big Three of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman.
The duo of Betances and Miller combined to pitch the 7th and 8th innings and not allow a hit and strikeout two batters. Miller has an outstanding 0.66 ERA and the only run he has given up this year was a solo homer in the second game of the series against the Royals.
The Yankees had a 7-3 lead in the ninth so they were able to save Chapman for the opening game of the series against the first place Chicago White Sox on Friday night. Chicago is somewhat surprisingly 23-12 and five games ahead of the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central. The Yankees, who need to win their third consecutive series, could be facing the White Sox at the right time as they have lost their last two games.
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.
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.