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.
Unless there is an injury during spring training the starting rotation is pretty much set for the Yankees. It’s not known what order the rotation will be, but the five starters in the rotation will most likely be Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Nate Eovaldi, CC Sabathia and Luis Severino. There are some injury question marks with three of those five starters, but that rotation has the potential to be a very reliable one if they all stay healthy and pitch how they are capable of.
Severino is the wild card of the five and the one who might have the most upside. The 21-year-old Dominican, who was the team’s #1 prospect after the 2014 season according to Baseball America, made his major-league debut on August 5 and in his 11 starts he had a 2.89 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and 56 strikeouts. He only allowed more than two earned runs in three of his 11 starts and if he can pitch with that kind of effectiveness for the majority of the 2016 season, after other teams have more of a scouting report on him, the rotation could be better than it was last season.
Ivan Nova, who had a below average 5.07 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in his 17 starts last season, recently avoided salary arbitration by signing a one-year, $4.1 million contract. The 29-year-old righthander will be headed to the bullpen due to the emergence of Severino. He is an intriguing option as a long-reliever and sixth inning option before the flame-throwing trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman.
Nova made four starts in April of 2014 before having to leave his start on April 19 with an elbow injury that led to him needing Tommy John surgery. He had a 8.27 ERA in those four starts and hasn’t been able to perform like he did in the 2013 season. In the 2013 season, Nova showed what he is capable of as he had an impressive 3.10 ERA in 23 games (20 starts) to go along with two shutouts and a career-low 1.28 WHIP.
Last season Nova proved that he can still be productive since he had six starts where he pitched five innings or more and allowed less than three runs. He is far too inconsistent to start games consistently this season, but based on the ability he showed at times last season it would make sense for him to be the top candidate to make a spot start.
Relievers only need two pitches that they can count on to be successful, which makes Nova an ideal candidate for the bullpen. Nova has 12-6 curveball that can be un-hittable at times and a slider that he throws between 85-89mph that can be also be a strikeout pitch for him when it is on. If Nova is restricted to one or two innings besides occasional spot starts then his pitches should be more reliable than they have been the last two seasons as a starter.
The Yankees bullpen likely will be the most dominant backend of a bullpen of all-time because of the last two seasons that Chapman, Betances and Miller have had. However, the bullpen will need depth and Nova can provide another quality pitcher with experience that Joe Girardi can have pitch in the sixth or seventh inning when one of the “Big Three” need a day off.
Chapman, who has been an All-Star in each of the last four seasons and throws the fastest fastball in baseball, will likely be suspended to begin the season because of his serious domestic abuse allegations. The league could suspend him under its new domestic violence policy. According to John Heyman, the league might not have enough evidence to give him a long suspension.
Other pitchers who will likely come north with the Yankees after spring training are Branden Pinder, Chasen Shreve, James Pazos and Bryan Mitchell. Pazos, Shreve and Pinder are all pitchers who had success last season and are used to pitching in the bullpen but they don’t nearly have the experience of pitching in the big leagues that Nova does.
The Yankees (77-60) play the final game of their three-game set against the Orioles tonight before their important three-game weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees have split the first two games with the Bronx Bombers winning the series opener 8-6, as a result of Greg Bird‘s 3-run homer, and the Orioles winning the second game, as a result of Chris Davis’s homer off of reliever Chasen Shreve. The Yankees are currently 1.5 games behind the Blue Jays in the AL East.
CC Sabathia will get the start tonight after not having pitched in a game since August 23. He was put on the disabled list on August 24 due to knee inflammation after feeling pain in his surgically repaired knee. He had to leave his start on the 23rd after allowing two runs on four hits and four walks in only 2.2 innings pitched.
Before that start against the Cleveland Indians, Sabathia had pitched six or more innings in three straight starts and allowed two runs or fewer in two of them. That is an improvement from earlier in the season, and the Yankees will be looking for him to give them a least six innings tonight against the Orioles. They can use length out of him because the Blue Jays offense that they will be facing in the upcoming series is more powerful than what the Orioles have, so it will be helpful to save the bullpen.
“I am looking forward to it and excited about it,’’ said Sabathia. “These games are big and I want to perform well. We control our own destiny. It’s sitting in our lap and that’s all you can ask for.’’
Since their two most effective weapons out of the bullpen will be available tonight after they needed Tuesday off, it will be ideal if Sabathia can pitch 7.0 innings, Dellin Betances can pitch the eighth inning and then Andrew Miller can come in for the save in the ninth. That is provided that the Yankees offense can score more than the one run that they scored on Tuesday night.
The Yankees were 0-3 with runners in scoring position last night and left seven runners on base. That will have to improve against Ubaldo Jimenez. A recipe for success offensively will be to take advantage of when runners are in scoring position and hit one or more homers because they are 42-11 when they hit two or more homers in a game this season.
Tonight against Jimenez, Brett Gardner is out of the lineup for the third consecutive game because his shoulder is not fully healed. Gardner jammed his shoulder after diving for a ball at the outfield fence during Saturday’s game. He was optimistic that he would play today when interviewed on Tuesday, but Joe Girardi is cautious because Gardner is often diving on the base-paths and in the outfield.
Gardner only has one hit in his last 13 at-bats and has a 3-17 average in his career against Jimenez. Dustin Ackley, who the Yankees acquired from the Mariners at the trade deadline on July 31, will get the start in right field. Ackley is 6-11 against Jimenez, which means that he has had a lot of success in a small sample size.
Here is the rest of the lineup for tonight’s game against the Orioles:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Chase Headley 3B
Carlos Beltran RF
Brian McCann C
Alex Rodriguez DH
Greg Bird 1B
Dustin Ackley LF
Didi Gregorius SS
Stephen Drew 2B
The Yankees lost to the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 on Tuesday night in a game that Masahiro Tanaka only allowed one run in eight innings pitched.
The score was 1-1 going into the ninth inning but reliever Chasen Shreve, who had a 1.86 ERA coming into the game and had not given up a run in his previous seven games, allowed the game-winning homer to Chris Davis, who now has 41 homers and 102 RBIs.
“It looked like it was a pitch that he left out over the zone,” Joe Girardi said. Girardi said that Shreve has been a big part of the team’s success this season.
Toronto’s 5-1 win over Red Sox in 10 innings combined with the Yankees loss pushed the Blue Jays lead in the AL East back to 1.5 games. The Yankees, who were tied with Toronto in the loss column and half a game behind overall, struggled on offense and that prevented them from keeping pace with Toronto in the division.
Tanaka, who had a season-high 10 strikeouts, had a perfect game through three innings and should have been able to win his 12th game of the season. He pitched well the few times that runners were in scoring position as J.J. Hardy popped up to 2nd with runners on first and third to end the fifth and he got Hardy to ground out to Didi Gregorius after Matt Wieters had doubled in the seventh.
The only mistake that Tanaka made was a pitch that Ryan Flaherty hit for a home run to right field in the sixth inning. That was Flaherty’s eighth round tripper of the season.
The Yankees only had six hits but one of them was Alex Rodriguez’s 30th homer of the campaign. Rodriguez, who has hit for more power than anyone could have predicted in spring training, hit his homer off of a Kevin Gausman fastball to the first row above the Budweiser sign in left field. A-Rod is now the only player besides Hank Aaron with 15 seasons with 30 or more home runs.
The Yankees were 0-3 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base. Brian McCann, who has 25 homers and leads the team with 86 RBIs, struck out swinging with runners on first and second with two outs in the fifth inning. Greg Bird, who has shown impressive power in his 23 games since being called up from Triple-A as he has five homers and 17 RBIs, ended the team’s scoring threat in the first with a strikeout with runners on first and second.
Zach Britton retired the side in order in the ninth inning, which included a Chase Headley ground out to end the game. A few players are in a slump right now as Stephen Drew, who was hitting very well, has three hits in his last 17 at-bats, Carlos Beltran has four hits in his last 22 at-bats and Jacoby Ellsbury has only four hits in his last 20 at-bats. The Yankees will need them to improve tonight and in their upcoming series against the Blue Jays.
The Yankees will try to win the series against the Orioles, who have lost seven of their last 10 games, with CC Sabathia pitching. Sabathia, who had been on the disabled list with a knee injury, has allowed two runs or less in two of his last three starts, which is not including the one that he only threw 2.2 innings after having to leave the game with an injured knee.
The Yankees will need Sabathia to give them length and effectiveness because Nathan Eovaldi has been shutdown for two weeks with elbow inflammation, which means he might not pitch again this season. His elbow injury might have caused Eovaldi to allow eight runs and 13 hits over 10.1 innings in his last two starts.
Wednesday’s game is at 7:05 p.m. and Ubaldo Jimenez, who has a 4.24 ERA this season, will get the start for the Orioles.
Greg Bird was the hero as the Yankees won Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Minnesota Twins, 4-3, to record the sweep. It was their third win in three games against the Twins at Yankee Stadium and it was their sixth win in their last seven games overall. They have turned the corner from losing six of seven games from August 5-12.
Bird, who was playing in his fifth game, drove in all four runs that the Yankees scored against the Twins. In the fourth inning, Bird homered to right above the Fox Business sign in the second deck. In the sixth inning, in what was the game-winning homer, Bird hit a round tripper off of Twins starter Ervin Santana into the Yankees bullpen. Each of Bird’s homers came with two outs and Carlos Beltran on first.
Bird has a .333 average in 18 at-bats with four runs scored and five RBIs since being called up from Triple-A Scranton. When asked what his favorite part about his two homer afternoon was he said that what stood out most was that the team got the win. He credits his teammates with helping him quickly have success.
“My teammates, they are the best in the league,” the 22-year-old Bird said. “They have been very welcoming. They have made it an easy transition.” Bird’s production has made it so that the Yankees have not lost anything with Mark Teixeira out of the lineup due to his deep bone bruise.
Chase Headley (two hits) also had a multi-hit game, Stephen Drew had a hit after going 0-9 coming into the game and Jacoby Ellsbury‘s single to leadoff the game him a seven-game hitting streak. He is hitting 13-32 (.406) in his last seven games with three runs scored, three RBIs and one steal.
Nathan Eovaldi was the other standout performer in this afternoon’s game. He threw seven innings when the Yankees needed length out of him, allowed three runs on only four hits, and recorded eight strikeouts, which was his highest total since his second start of the season on April 15.
He threw a season-high 120 pitches, and Girardi likely let his pitch count escalate because the bullpen had pitched a lot recently and Eovaldi was on an extra day of rest. He allowed all three of his runs in the sixth inning. Joe Mauer hit a two-run single and Brian Dozier scored on Trevor Plouffe’s infield single.
Eovaldi had a perfect game through 5.1 innings. “The biggest thing that has helped Eovaldi has been his split,” Joe Girardi said. Locating his fastball and throwing his cutter, slider and curve is key for Eovaldi and his secondary pitches have been greatly improved in the last two months.
“I was able to locate the fastball,” Eovaldi said. “It is a great feeling. You compete and try to do your best for the team. In between starts I was concentrating on getting the split back on track.” He felt it worked well during the game.
Eovaldi threw 100 mph in four out of five pitches in one stretch. He was able to give the bullpen a break as only Chasen Shreve and Dellin Betances pitched after he came out of the game after the seventh inning.
“He was awesome,” Betances said in reference to Eovaldi. “Electric from the first inning on. He came back on for the seventh, which was huge.” He was impressed that Eovaldi was able to throw 100 mph deep into the game. Betances, who pitched a scoreless ninth while striking out two and recording his eighth save of the season, is now the first Yankees reliever to ever record 100 strikeouts in back-to-back seasons.
The bullpen has a 2.90 ERA in 16 games and a .248 average against this month. The relief pitchers have been a key part of the team’s success this season and all of the key pitchers are throwing well right now.
The Yankees, who have the day off on Thursday, currently have 2 game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays for first place in the AL East. Toronto lost to the Philadelphia Phillies, who have the worst record in all of baseball.
The Yankees beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 3-1, to prevent being swept in the final game of the series. The Yankees scored as many runs in this game as they had in their previous three games combined.
After the Yankees had a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning, as a result of Chase Headley’s single to right that scored Didi Gregorius in the third, Garrett Jones hit what ended up being the game-winning homer. His homer to right field over the scoreboard with two outs was his fifth of the season and first hit in his previous eight at-bats.
The Yankees tacked on an insurance run in the eighth inning on an RBI single to center by Gregorius that scored Brian McCann. Gregorius was 2-4 and has three multi-hit games in his last five contests.
“I just have to keep hitting the ball hard and contribute when I can,” Jones said. “I feel like I saw it in the middle and got a nice smooth hard swing on it. Nate pitched a great game and our bullpen shut them down. You have to tip your cap to them.”
Nathan Eovaldi had what was his best start of the season as he held the Angels scoreless in 5.1 innings. He allowed five hits and held the opposition scoreless for the first time this season. He was taken out of the game after walking Mike Trout and Albert Pujols to load the bases in the sixth inning with one out.
He has rebounded from allowing nine runs in less than an inning against the Miami Marlins in Miami to allow two runs or less in his last three starts. These three starts lowered his ERA from 5.12 to a more respectable 4.52. His improved off-speed pitches have helped him not have to rely on his fastball as much.
“My split has been a lot better for me,” Eovaldi said. “I got a lot of outs with it. Not having to rely on the fastball all the time helps out.” He said that he now trusts and believes in his off-speed pitches more and can throw them in any count.
Eovaldi was able to use his improved command to get Mike Trout and Albert Pujols out after Giavotella was on second with one out in the first inning. Eovaldi had 11 ground ball outs. The Angels went 0-22 with runners in scoring position against the Yankees during the three game series.
Chasen Shreve got Erick Aybar to pop up and David Freese to ground out to third after coming into the game the bases loaded in the sixth. In the seventh, he retired the side in order after striking out Efren Navarro to end the frame.
“He has been doing it all year so we have a ton of confidence in him,” Joe Girardi said. “He throws strikes, he doesn’t walk people and he uses his split really well. He doesn’t beat himself and throws strikes.” Shreve has 15 straight scoreless appearances.
“I just try to focus on the glove and make my pitches,” Shreve said. “I just try to stay focused and stay with my routine.”
Chase Headley played well on offense and defense against the Angels. He had seven assists during the game and went 3-5 with his 29th RBI of the season. This game could get him back on track as he only had one hit in his previous 15 at-bats.
The only run that the Angels scored was a homer by Trout off of Justin Wilson that went just over the fence in right center. Trout’s 21st homer came after Wilson retired Giavotella and Calhoun, which meant that the homer didn’t cause much damage.
Dellin Betances retired the final batter of the eighth inning and pitched out of trouble in the ninth inning for his seventh save of the season and seventh scoreless game in his previous eight.
He walked two batters in the ninth but was able to strikeout Daniel Robertson on curve ball and then strikeout C.J. Cron to end the game. The Yankees are now 36-2 when leading after seven innings.
“We went on a tough road trip, but 3-4 is a lot better than 2-5,” Girardi said.
The Yankees (42-37) went into their off day on a positive note as they are now half a game out of first in the AL East. The Rays and Blue Jays are both one game behind the Baltimore Orioles.
With the Yankees losing 2-0 in the seventh inning, Young hit a three-run homer off of Will Harris over the 19-foot wall in left field at Minute Maid Park to give the visitors a 3-2 lead. Young’s game-winning homer, which was his ninth of the season, drove in Carlos Beltran and Garrett Jones.
“That is huge,” Joe Girardi said. “We had not done much up until that point. He (Young) has been really hot and that is why he is playing everyday.”
He is from Houston and always enjoys playing at Minute Park based on how well he plays and that his friends and family can watch him person.
Young said after the game that he left 50 tickets for friends and family to attend the game. He began his career back in 2006 and has been playing games as a visitor in Houston ever since. In 105 at-bats at Minute Maid Park he has hit nine homers with a remarkable .409 average.
“I’m sure it’s something to it,” he said of playing in his home park. “I mean it definitely doesn’t hurt to have some extra support behind your back, a little extra little fire when you to the plate.”
Young, who struggled in May after his hot start to the season, is on a nine-game hitting streak with four consecutive multi-hit games to raise his average to .271. He has been playing very well the previous seven games with Jacoby Ellsbury still on the disabled list and if he continues hitting like this he will deserve to split time with Beltran when Ellsbury returns.
“To be able to do it in front of your family, your home town, and the city you grew up coming to baseball games in and now you’re one of the players on the field, it’s a little special for me,” Young said.
The Yankees were only 1-5 with runners in scoring position, but Young came through when it counted as he hit his third homer in June.
Eovaldi (7-2, 4.81 ERA) is from nearby Alvin, Texas, which is well known as the hometown of Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan. Eovaldi looked up to Ryan growing up and said that he didn’t know that the all-time leader in strikeouts was sitting behind home plate until the fifth inning.
“Growing up, for me, I connected baseball with him,” Eovaldi said of Ryan.
He allowed two earned runs in six innings and this was his second consecutive start limiting the opposition to two runs scored. This means that he has bounced back very well from allowing nine runs in two thirds of an inning to the Miami Marlins on June 16.
Eovaldi, who had six strikeouts, used his splitter very effectively against the Astros according to Girardi. “I think his curveball was important for him tonight and the command of his fastball,” Giradi said. “He was able to elevate it at times and go down and away at times. I thought they mixed the pitches very well and kept them off balance.”
He has improved his stuff and has kept hitters off balance a lot more in his last two starts since he has allowed five and three hits respectively in his last two starts after allowing a combined 17 hits in his previous two starts.
“Tonight I was just trying to take it pitch by pitch,” Eovaldi said.
According to the Yankees PR Department and Fangraphs, Eovaldi’s fastball has the highest average velocity (95.9) in the Majors this season. He can be an effective starter when he locates his secondary pitches and throws his fastball at the right time, but he just needs to avoid starts when he completely loses his command.
After Eovaldi was taken out of the game after throwing 100 pitches, Chasen Shreve, Justin Wilson and Dellin Betances combined to throw three innings and not allow a hit. Shreve, who has not allowed a run in his last 13 games to lower his ERA to an impressive 1.76, had three strikeouts in his inning pitched, and Betances struck out two of the four batters he faced.
After winning the game on Friday in Houston with big contributions from hometown players, the Yankees will play the Astros at 4:10 EST and will try for their first winning streak since they won straight from June 17-20. Masahiro Tanaka will make his first start against the Astros and will hit for the second game this season.