The Yankees, who remained at 9,999 wins in franchise history after last night’s game against the Red Sox, lost a 5-1 game to the Boston Red Sox in the first game of their series at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are 3.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros for the first wild-card spot with six games left to play, and their playoff probability is currently 99.9 percent.
The Yankees trail the Toronto Blue Jays by five games, and the reason the Yankees will not win the division is that since the start of play on July 29th, the Blue Jays are 41-14 and have a run differential of an outstanding +129.
Offense is key for any team to win games and the Yankees offense struggled for the fifth time in their last six games. They have now scored three runs or less in five of their last six games and have scored two runs or less in four of those games. They are 3-3 in those six games.
“You’re going to have hot streaks and cold streaks. Right now we feel like we are battling. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to put good innings together,” Carlos Beltran said. “Today was a day where we faced a guy who was pitching well.”
The Yankees were 0-7 with runners in scoring position, which makes it hard to win a game. Their only run came off of an Alex Rodriguez sacrifice fly that scored Jacoby Ellsbury in the first inning. Greg Bird struck out with runners on first and second to end the first inning, Brett Gardner flied out to right with Rob Refsnyder on second to end the fourth inning and Gardner struck out on a 94 mph fastball with Refsnyder on second and John Ryan Murphy on third to end the game.
The one positive offensively was that Refsnyder was 1-4 and now has one or more hits in every game that he has started this month (four). He has recently been playing second against lefties and Dustin Ackley has been the second baseman against righties. Refsnyder has five hits in his last 13 at-bats (.385) with one double, which is a sign that he is showing his skills on offense.
“I think we need to do a better job against left handers,” Joe Girardi said. “It’s something we need to do a better job at. We struggled offensively this weekend against lefties. It’s is a kid that has swung well against left handers in the past (Refsnyder).”
Ivan Nova allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks in seven innings pitched, but looked about as good as he has this season in the first five innings of the game. He did not allow a run before the sixth inning and only allowed three hits in that span. However, Nova was yet another Yankee pitcher whose effectiveness got worse in the sixth inning.
Nova had a good breaking ball but the homers off of him came on fastballs that didn’t sink. Travis Shaw blasted a homer to right that drove in Xander Bogaerts in the sixth inning. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a homer just above the Canon sign in left field that bounced back into the field in the seventh inning.
After taking Nova out of the game after the seventh inning, Girardi used five relief pitchers to get the final six outs of the game. After recording the first two outs of the ninth, Caleb Cathem gave up a solo homer to Deven Marrero, which was Marrero’s first career round tripper. Fellow rookie Nick Rumbelow got Dustin Pedroia to ground out to Didi Gregorius at shortstop to end the top of the ninth.
Michael Pineda will get the start for the Yankees in Game 2 of the series on Tuesday night and will try to make sure the Yankees don’t lose any ground to the Astros. Pineda only allowed one run in six innings and struck out six in his previous start and in his last two starts combined he has pitched 11.1 innings, allowed only one run, recorded 10 strikeouts and only one walk.
Masahiro Tanaka is on track to pitch the wild card game, but either Tanaka or Luis Severino should pitch Game 1 of the American League Division Series if the Yankees win the one-game playoff.
Mark Teixeira, who has a deep bone bruise as a result of fouling a ball off his shin on August 18, was placed on the 15-day DL today retroactive to August 27. Teixeira has missed 13 of the last 15 games that the Yankees have played.
He has been missed in the lineup as a result of his 31 homers, 79 RBIs and .548 slugging percentage. His slugging percentage and homers both lead the team and his 79 RBIs are second on the team to Brian McCann’s 82 runs driven in. The Yankees have scored six runs or more five times since Teixeira has been out of the lineup, but they have also scored four runs or less 10 times, which includes the two games he played where he combined to make only three at-bats.
Rookie Greg Bird has been a capable replacement while Teixeira has been sidelined, but he is not able to help the offense at this stage like Teixeira is able to. In Bird’s 18 games since being called up from Triple-A Scranton, he has a .254 average in 63 at-bats with three homers, 12 runs scored and 12 RBIs. Bird will continue to be the everyday first baseman until at least September 11, which is when Teixeira is eligible to come off of the disabled list.
The injury didn’t heal like the Yankees originally expected it would, which led Teixeira to go on crutches this week. He was not likely to return before next Friday anyway, and putting him on the DL allowed the Yankees to call up Nick Rumbelow today, who would have had to stay at Triple-A one more day because without someone being put on the disabled list he would have had to stay with Scranton for 10 days.
Rumbelow, who is a rookie from LSU and was drafted in the 7th round by the Yankees in 2013, has gone back and forth between the big leagues and Scranton the last two months, but has pitched well with the Yankees when put into the game. He has a 2.79 ERA in 10 games (9.2 innings) this season with nine strikeouts, one homer allowed and a solid 1.13 WHIP. The DL stint by Teixeira will also give the Yankees the option of playing him in a rehab game.
The positive sign is that his injury is still not worse than a deep bone bruise, but it is still possible that he will return after next Friday. Returning a week from today would be ideal because that is when the Yankees begin a three-game series against the first place Toronto Blue Jays, and the Yankees could use the player who has been their best run producer this season in that series.
Before the series against Toronto, the Yankees will play three games against the Tampa Bay Rays and then three games against the Baltimore Orioles, who have lost eight of their last 10 games.
The Yankees will play the Philadelphia Phillies in a three game-series from Monday until Wednesday. These games will be the sixth, seventh and eighth games of their homestand before going on a seven-game road trip.
The Yankees (38-31), who are a game behind the surprising Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East, have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games. They won two out of three games in their weekend series against the Detroit Tigers. Brian McCann, who will be behind the plate tonight, hit a home run during Sunday’s 12-4 loss to the Tigers and has a .333 average with 10 RBIs in 54 June at-bats.
Michael Pineda will get the start tonight and will look to to pitch like he did during his last start when the only hit that he allowed was a solo homer to Christian Yelich in the seventh inning. He had a no-hitter through six innings and ended up pitching 6.2 innings while recording nine strikeouts and only allowing one hit and two walks.
He had the command of his slider and changeup that he did not have when he allowed five earned runs in 4.1 innings to the Orioles on June 12. His start against the Marlins lowered his ERA to 3.54, and he has had outstanding command of the strike zone this season since he has 87 strikeouts and only 11 walks. A few shaky starts have inflated his ERA since he has allowed two runs or less in eight of his 13 starts this season.
Ivan Nova, who had a 3.10 ERA in 23 games (20 starts) in 139.1 innings in 2013 before missing most of the 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery, will make his first start since April 19 of 2014 on Wednesday. He has dominated in the past when he has been able to locate his four-seam fastball, sinker and 12-6 curveball.
The Yankees will go with a six-man rotation this week as Adam Warren will get another start on Thursday, before likely heading back to the bullpen where he pitched very well the previous two seasons.
The Phillies (24-47) are 2-8 in their last 10 games and have the worst record in all of baseball. It is important that the Yankees win two or three games during this series because they need to beat the teams that they are better than at this point in the season.
Mark Teixeira will miss tonight’s game because of a sore neck. “My thought is that Tex will be in there Wednesday,” Joe Girardi said.
The Yankees called up Nick Rumbelow and Diego Moreno this afternoon. Moreno, who the Yankees received in the AJ Burnett trade with the Pirates in 2012, had a very good 2.27 ERA in 19 games at Triple-A Scranton this season. Rumbelow, who was drafted by the Yankees in the 7th round in 2013 out of LSU, had a 3.31 ERA and an impressive 41 strikeouts in 35.1 innings (25 games) with the Triple-A Scranton RailRiders.
Here are the pitching matchups for the series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
RHP Michael Pineda (8-3, 3.54 ERA)
RHP Kevin Correia (0-1, 1.69 ERA)
7:05 p.m., WPIX
LHP CC Sabathia (3-7, 5.31 ERA)
RHP Sean O’Sullivan (1-5, 4.79 ERA)
7:05 p.m., YES Network
RHP Ivan Nova (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
LHP Cole Hamels (5-5, 2.69 ERA)
1:05 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network
Here is the lineup for tonight’s game against the Tigers:
Brett Gardner CF
Chase Headley 3B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran RF
Garrett Jones 1B
Didi Gregorius SS
Chris Young LF
Stephen Drew 2B