Tagged: Chris Sale

Tanaka has been the best Yankees starting pitcher and could be in contention for the Cy Young

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Masahiro Tanaka – ESPN 

Masahiro Tanaka pitched very well in five of his six starts in August and there is a chance that he could win the Cy Young if the can continue pitching like he has recently.

In Tanaka’s last three starts of August he allowed two, zero and zero runs, which lowered his ERA from 3.40 to 3.12. In his two starts before that outstanding three game stretch, he gave up one run in six innings and then four runs in seven innings. He was hurt by the long ball as the Rays hit two homers off of him leading to his four runs, but the Rays only had five hits against him and Tanaka recorded eight strikeouts and no walks, which is a great strikeout to walk ratio.

His ERA during August would have been even better if not for the Mets scoring six earned runs against him on August 2 but his ERA for the month was still a very good 3.00. He had a 3.40 ERA after that start at Citi Field against the Mets and it’s now a much improved 3.12. Also, showing his dominance during the month is that he had 38 strikeouts and only one walk. Only allowing one walk in the span of six starts is outstanding control and rarely seen in major league baseball.

Overall this season, Tanaka is seventh in the American League in ERA (3.12), sixth in the AL in WHIP (1.06) and third in the league in K/BB ratio (5.21). His 4.5 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is the seventh highest among qualified starters in the league, the .268 on-base percentage that opponents have against him is the second best in the league and the .360 slugging percentage that opponents have against him is fifth best in the league.

After the All-Star break this season, Tanaka has really excelled as he allowed two runs or less in six of his nine starts. He allowed zero runs in three of those starts and one run twice.

He will definitely be considered for the Cy Young if he can continue pitching at the success rate that he has after the All-Star break. (He will have to not have another start where he allows six runs.) Tanaka currently is not far from being first in ERA in the AL as Aaron Sanchez, who has made 25 starts this season to Tanaka’s 27, has a 2.88 ERA. Tanaka is also close to the pitchers immediately ahead of him as Chris Sale has a 3.10 ERA and Corey Klueber is in 5th place with a 3.09 ERA.

Tanaka has been by far the Yankees best starting pitcher this season. His 11 wins are most on the team by three, his 3.12 ERA is much lower than any other starting pitcher, his 1.06 WHIP is much better than the other starting pitchers, his 16 quality starts are four more than CC Sabathia who is in second place and he has been able to throw 29 more innings that any other pitcher on the team.

Tanaka, who is 27 and in his third season since coming over from Japan, is also on his way to having his best season in pinstripes since he is on track to pitch the whole campaign. In 2014, his rookie season, he had an excellent 2.77 ERA but that was after pitching only 136.1 innings and 20 starts. He has already made 27 starts this season and thrown 173.0 innings, which makes his performance up until now in this season more impressive than 2014.

He signed a 7-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees before the 2014 season and he is pitching this season like he deserved that contract and is beyond the injury he suffered in 2014. In his rookie season, Tanaka was placed on the disabled list in the beginning of July due to right elbow inflammation and an MRI revealed a partially torn UCL. He ended up returning at the end of September after multiple doctors said that Tommy John surgery was not necessary.

The rookie campaign was very impressive for Tanaka and he has been able to dominate even more this season based on the array of plus pitches that he has. He relies primarily on his sinker (90mph), slider (84mph) and splitter (87mph) while also throwing a four-seam fastball, cutter and curve.

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Brian McCann’s pinch-hit homer in the 10th gave the Yankees their fourth win in a row

Derek Jeter mural that I saw at Stan's.

Derek Jeter mural that I saw at Stan’s.

The Yankees beat the Chicago White Sox, 7-5, on Sunday afternoon for their fourth in a row. The crowd came alive in the 10th inning after Brian McCann hit a walk-off three-run homer to drive in Carlos Beltran and Chase Headley. His pinch hit homer landed about five rows deep near the foul pole in right.

Joe Girardi was impressed with how McCann was able to come in off of the bench and win the game. “It just shows that he had stayed ready all day,” Girardi said. “And mentally he was ready. He came in and got a huge hit for us. He worked the count, saw a lot of pitches and that is a huge hit.  

Every win is important the rest of the season as there are only 34 more games left. The Yankees are 3.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card. The Bronx Bombers have only gained a game on the Mariners during their winning streak since Seattle is on a three-game winning streak.

Chris Capuano recorded his third quality start in his six starts since being acquired from the Boston Red Sox. He allowed three runs in six innings and had five strikeouts. It did not seem promising that Alexei Ramirez led off the game with a homer, but Capuano was able to get seven of the next nine batters out that he faced. The White Sox scored their second and third runs off of Capuano in the sixth inning when Conor Gillaspie hit a two-run homer to right.

The home crowd got really into the game for the first time in the bottom of the sixth inning because the Yankees were able to put four runs on the scoreboard. They did so on only two hits. Martin Prado was able to reach second on Dayan Viciedo’s error and then was driven in on a double by Mark Teixeira. Beltran and Francisco Cervelli both walked and then Zelous Wheeler’s hit by pitch sent Teixeira home for the team’s second run. The standing ovation from the crowd got even louder when Ichiro Suzuki’s single to deep right center scored Beltran and Cervelli.

The Yankees impressively scored four runs off of White Sox starter Chris Sale, whose 2.03 ERA is first in the American League. However, all of those runs were unearned as a result of Viciedo’s error. 

David Robertson, who had previously only blown two saves all season, gave up a home run to Avisail Garcia in the ninth inning to tie the score at four. He had previously converted 22 straight saves before his last blown save. His ERA is now 3.06, and he was relieved after the game that the team got the win in extra innings.

I think the whole team was happy,” Robertson said. “It’s obviously a pitch I want back. I tried to throw a curve ball for a strike. I didn’t mean to hang it as bad as I did. I didn’t see that outcome coming. It is easier to shake that one off when the team wins the ballgame, that is for sure.”  

McCann’s homer with two outs in the 10th was his 15th of the season. The Yankees won their fifth walk-off game of the season and their fourth in the Bronx. This was also their sixth series sweep of the season. Their offensive has also recently improved since they have scored more than four runs in their last two games after scoring four or fewer in their previous 11 games. 

The Yankees will look to extend their winning streak to five games when they play a game in Kansas City against the surging Royals on Monday night. This game was previously rained out earlier in the season. Michael Pineda will pitch for the Yankees and James Shields will pitch for the Royals. Both starters allowed two runs in their previous start. 

Yankee Stadium right after the win and McCann's Gatorade shower.

Yankee Stadium right after the win and McCann’s Gatorade shower.

Martin Prado and Hiroki Kuroda led the Yankees to their second win in a row against the White Sox

Martin Prado.

Martin Prado.

The Yankees defeated the Chicago White Sox, 5-3, on Saturday afternoon for their third consecutive win. The Yankees scored more than four runs for the first time in their last 11 games

Martin Prado, who had a walk-off hit on Friday, led the Yankees with three hits and also had two RBIs and a run scored. In the fourth inning, for the team’s second and third runs, Prado hit a double to left that scored Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. In the sixth inning, a challenge was ruled in the Yankees favor giving Prado another double, and his hustle would help him score on Chase Headley’s shallow sacrifice fly. His other hit was a bunt single in the second.

In his last three games, Prado has six hits in 12 at-bats, five RBIs and three runs scored. His offense, defense and energy has greatly improved the team. Joe Girardi has been impressed with Prado in his three weeks with the Yankees. “He is a guy that grinds it out everyday,” Girardi said. “I knew how good of a player he was and he has been a good acquisition.” 

Prado, who had four productive seasons with the Atlanta Braves before moving on to the Arizona Diamondbacks, is a true team player. “I am trying to do whatever I can to help the team,” Prado said. “We are not looking at stats right now.” 

In the second-inning, Mark Teixeira scored on Chase Headley’s double play. Beltran, who was 2-4 in his first game since Tuesday due to his elbow injury, hit his 15th homer of the season in the sixth inning. Prado scored the team’s fifth run later in the sixth inning on a Stephen Drew sacrifice fly. 

Right now, I am just thinking about winning ballgames,” Beltran said. “That is all we are thinking about as a team. It is good to always contribute to the team. Most importantly, we need to go out there and try to get Ws.” He made a point of saying that he didn’t want to answer another question about his injury. 

Hiroki Kuroda was also key in helping the Yankees bring their winning streak to three. He pitched six solid innings while only allowing two runs. He had six strikeouts and retired the last three batters that he faced before Shawn Kelley came in for the seventh. Jose Abreu hit a single that scored Alexandro De Aza in the fifth, but Kuroda was then able to get Adam Dunn to hit into an inning ending double play.

Kuroda was pitching on a day of extra rest, and he has proven to pitch with much more effectiveness when this happens. In the last six starts that he has had one or more days of extra rest he is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA. His second consecutive dominating start lowered his ERA to 3.94 and gave him his ninth win of the season. 

David Robertson pitched the ninth and saved his 34th game in 36 chances this season. It was the 22nd consecutive save chance that he has converted.  

The Yankees are now 3.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card as a result of Seattle’s win on Saturday. The Yankees gained ground on the Detroit Tigers, who have lost three in a row, and are now only two games behind them.

On Sunday, the Yankees will face the White Sox ace, Chris Sale, as they try to sweep the White Sox. 

Brandon McCarthy’s shutout against the Astros ended the Yankees losing streak

Brandon McCarthy

Brandon McCarthy

Brandon McCarthy‘s complete game shutout helped the Yankees snap their two-game losing streak and win the series finale against the Houston Astros, 3-0. He needed 107 pitches to get through nine innings and only gave up four hits. His eight strikeouts were the fifth time out of eight starts with the Yankees that he had seven or more strikeouts. 

McCarthy has also allowed two runs or less in seven of his eight starts with the Yankees and had his second start where he allowed zero runs. He now has a 5-2 record and an outstanding 1.90 ERA since being traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Yankees. He is best when he is allowing a lot of ground balls, and he did just that on Thursday as he induced 12 ground balls. The Astros were 0-3 with runners in scoring position, Dexter Fowler and Marc Krauss were the only ones with extra base hits. 

After allowing 15 homers while pitching for the Diamondbacks, McCarthy has only allowed three homers in eight starts and two of those have come at Yankee Stadium. “I think my pitch mix is better now,” McCarthy said. “The cutter and the four-seam have become pitches I can use as weapons again. In turn, that just starts to build confidence.” 

Catcher Francisco Cervelli gave him a loud pep talk in the seventh-inning when McCarthy was losing his confidence after allowing a double and single. “He was like, ‘Your stuff’s is so good, let’s go. We’re going to get all the way through this.‘ From early on in the game he was on me,” McCarthy said.

His complete game was clutch because he was able to give the overworked bullpen an night off. The Yankees will now be able to potentially have Dellin Betances and David Robertson for two out of the three games against the Chicago White Sox. He has proven that the Yankees should definitely give him a new contract in the offseason.

The Yankees did not score more than four runs for their 10th consecutive game, but they scored enough runs in the second inning to give the team a needed victory. Chase Headley’s double to deep right in the second that scored Mark Teixeira and Martin Prado gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead. For the third run of the second-inning, Ichiro Suzuki hit a sacrifice fly to score Headley. With Cervelli’s single in the fifth, he is now on a five-game hitting streak.

On Friday, the Yankees will start a key three-game set against the White Sox, who are in fourth place in the AL Central with a 59-68 record. They need to win two games and it is important that they sweep the series so that they make up ground in the wild-card standings. They are four games behind the Detroit Tigers and 3.5 behind the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card, and they both lost their last game.

It will be important that the Yankees to win the first two games because the Tigers ace, Chris Sale, will be pitching on Sunday. Here are the pitching matchups for the series at Yankee Stadium:

Friday at 7:05 p.m.

RHP Shane Greene (3-1, 2.91 ERA)

vs.

LHP John Danks (9-8, 4.94 ERA)

Saturday at 1:05 p.m.

RHP Hiroki Kuroda (8-8, 3.97 ERA)

vs.

RHP Scott Carroll (5-7, 4.99 ERA)

Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

Chris Capuano (1-3, 4.35 ERA)

vs.

Chris Sale (10-3, 2.12 ERA)  

Eduardo Nunez’s two-run double ended up being the game winner against the White Sox

Eduardo Nunez.

Eduardo Nunez.

The Yankees defeated the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night after they scored five runs in the eighth inning. They recorded an impressive six of their nine hits in that pivotal sixth inning. The Yankees did their damage off of the White Sox bullpen as they scored all of their runs in the eighth after White Six ace Chris Sale left the game with one out and runners on second and third.

Hiroki Kuroda did not pitch up to the standards that he had earlier in this season that put him in CY Young consideration up until allowing 15 runs in three starts, but Kuroda showed some improvement after pitching into the sixth inning and striking out seven batters. He had not recorded seven strikeouts since August 12, and the four runs and seven hits were both less then he had allowed in his last two starts.

Sale, whose 2.97 ERA is the sixth best in the American League, dominated the Yankees for the second time in the past month. However, more importantly, the Yankees were able to get the win this time as their offense has greatly improved. They got clutch hits from four players who have spent time on the disabled list this season in that pivotal eighth inning.

In the second inning, Vernon Wells, who has been struggling recently, scored the team’s first run on a steal of home in the middle of a double steal after getting on base via a single. It did not look promising for the Yankees when the White Sox took a 4-1 lead in the seventh after Alexandro De Aza’s 16th homer, but the home team’s offensive onslaught was about to come in full force.

After Joe Girardi made the correct decision to pinch-hit Austin Romine for Chris Stewart in the seventh (Stewart doesn’t have a hit in his last 20 at-bats), Robinson Cano hit a double off the wall in to send Derek Jeter to third, which would start the rally and send Sale to the showers.

After Sale left the game for reliever Nate Jones, Alfonso Soriano hit a two-run single that drove in Jeter and Cano. Those were his 38th and 39th runs driven in during his 36 games with the Yankees. He has given the team even more than Brian Cashman could have hoped for. Those runs made the score 4-3. After an Alex Rodriguez single advanced Soriano to third, Curtis Granderson’s pinch-hit single drove in Soriano.

However, the hero of the game was Eduardo Nunez. Nunez, who is hitting .384 in his last 13 at-bats, smashed a double down the third base line to score A-Rod and Granderson. That hit would seal the win. Nunez received a much deserved Gatorade shower during his interview with Meredith Marakovits after what was his most clutch hit of his career.

Mariano Rivera came in for the ninth inning and retired the side in order to record his 40th save of the season. He has now saved 40 games nine times in his Hall of Fame career. His 2.12 ERA proves that he still has a lot left in the tank and could likely dominate again next year. It has been reported that Joe Girardi will try and delay his scheduled retirement until after the 2014 season.

Their win combined with the Orioles loss moves the Yankees up in the Wild-Card standings to 2.5 games back and half-a-game ahead of the Orioles. It seemed like the Yankees would gain ground on the Tampa Bay Rays who have one Wild-Card spot right now, since they were 0-9 in the Pacific time zone this season, but  They could move even closer if the Rays lose the game they are currently playing in Anaheim. The Rays are currently 0-9 in the Pacific time zone this year, but Tampa routed the Angels.