Category Archives: Managers and Coaches

Game 150. Yanks lose, 6-1.

Michael Pineda has an ERA of 2.15.

He also has a W-L record of 3-5, since the Yanks don’t hit for him. Tuesday night was no exception as the Yanks lost 6-1 to the Rays.

Pineda went 5 1/3, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 2 walks and 5 K. He left losing 2-1.

The bullpen didn’t keep the Yanks in the game after Pineda left.

Josh Outman 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 0 K. Overall ERA 2.86.

Esmiel Rogers 1/3 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 1 walk, 0 K. Overall ERA 5.31.

Rich Hill 2 batters, 2 hits. 0 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 walks or K. Overall ERA 3.86.

David Phelps 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 walk and 0 K. 4.35.

David Huff 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 0 K. Overall ERA 3.54.

Things got a bit heated when Derek Jeter was HBP and David Phelps threw a pitch inside in retaliation. The Rays have hit a couple batters in recent Rays/Yanks games recently, including Jeter last week as well as the pitch that hit Headley in the chin. Phelps, Girardi and coach Tony Pena were ejected.

Jeter’s 0-for string reached 26. His batting average is down to .249, a 29 point drop since August 2nd.

Earlier in the day, the Yanks lost their hottest hitter, Martin Prado, for the season due to an emergency appendectomy.

Masahiro Tanaka will test out his arm (and that hopefully-recovering torn ligament in his elbow) with a start on Sunday.

The only Yanks run in the game came on an rbi single by Ichiro in the second. They were 1 for 10 with RISP.

One other sad note: The Yanks are dead last in the AL in runs scored.

With the loss, the Yanks remain in 3rd place in the AL East (Baltimore clinched the division last evening) at 76-74, and there is a chance they may finish without a winning record for the first time since 1992. They are six out of the final playoff spot with just 12 games remaining and would have to jump four teams.

Game 148. Robertson can’t hold lead, Yanks lose 3-2.

David Robertson threw 35 pitches on Friday in one of the doubleheader games. He threw 11 Saturday in saving that game. He was brought in yesterday to save a 2-1 Yankees lead in the 9th.

You just knew what was going to happen. Robertson had nothing, gave up two runs and the Yanks lost 3-2.

On the ESPN telecast, the announcers basically said that to them, it appeared that the Yanks were basically saying “you are a free agent, we aren’t going to re-sign you, so we’ll just run you into the ground.”

Seriously, there was no one else Girardi could have brought in to get three outs? Robertson for a third straight day?

Martin Prado homered in the second, his 12th overall HR of the year, to give the Yanks a 1-0 lead. Baltimore tied it in the sixth.

Brian McCann put the Yanks up 2-1 in the top of the 9th with his 20th HR of the year.

But then Robertson gave up doubles to Nelson Cruz, Steve Pearce to tie it (and see my recent post “You were saying” about Pearce, a one-time Yankee), and after a fly out, a double to Kelly Johnson (remember him? Yup, that Kelly Johnson from the Yanks earlier this year) to win it.

Kuroda went 7, 1 R, 6 H, 0 walks and 5 K. 3.81. Too bad the Yanks, like usual for this year, didn’t give any run support to a starter who pitched well.

Betances 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 1.35. His 2 K tied Mariano Rivera’s record of 130 K in a season by a Yankees’ reliever. It looks more and more like he will be the closer next year and the Yanks will let Robertson leave via free agency and take the money saved to shore up other needs. This year’s first-round draft pick, Jacob Lindgren, may wind up being the set-up man. We’ll see what happens this winter.

Robertson 1/3 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 walks and 0 k. He falls to 2-5, 2.93.

The Yanks fall to 76-72. They remain in third place, 12 1/2 behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East with 14 to go. They are one game behind second-place Toronto. The Orioles’ magic # for eliminating the Yanks from the division title is down to two. As far as that final playoff spot is concerned, the Yanks are five out with 14 to go and would have to jump over four teams to get there.

The Yanks finished 85-77 last year. They would need to go 9-5 in their last 14 games just to meet that mark this year. That’s what has been disappointing. They had a lot of injuries last year (Jeter and Teix both missed most of the year), and with the free agent signings of Beltran, McCann, Ellsbury and Tanaka, you thought the record would be better, or at least the same—not worse. Yes, there have been injuries this year, but still, it’s been disappointing.

Derek Jeter went 0 for 4. He is now 0 for his last 24 and down to .250 (actually, .249534, which is rounded up to .250). He did hit a couple of balls well last night, but no luck. His OPS+ is down to 70 and he’s hitting .172 since August 2nd. It makes you wish the season, and his career, were over already.

It’s not like you want Jeter’s career to be over, and yes, you’d like for a miracle to happen and for the Yanks to make the playoffs (isn’t happening) but you just don’t want Jeter to go on to the end like this. Another point fell off the lifetime batting average. He started this year at .312, and it’s down to .309.

There are 14 games to go, and how many Jeter plays in we don’t know. You’d hate to see him below .250 or even .240. You’d hate to see another point drop off that lifetime batting average.

You hope he has one or two multi-hit games left in him.

But does he?

You were saying?

In 2012, a certain NY beat writer arrogantly dismissed me when I mentioned that the Yanks should call up Steve Pearce, who that year in AAA hit .318-11-30 in 53 games for AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. At the time I advocated for his call up, the Yanks had some injuries/slumping players, I forget which. It was probably a combination of the two.

Now this reporter usually dismisses minor leaguers. I don’t know why he doesn’t like to give them chances. After all, he was a rookie in his job at one time. Someone had to give HIM a chance at one time. Often, he has no clue who is doing well in the minors or at what level. He’d rather bring in a washed up veteran than give a kid a chance.

I remember Suzyn Waldman once urging the Yanks to bring a 45-year-old David Wells out of retirement rather than bring up and see what a promising minor league prospect had. Really? You couldn’t give a youngster a chance to establish himself but want to bring a faded, retired veteran out of retirement? But then, we remember her going way over the top when the Yanks brought Roger Clemens out of retirement in 2007.

For all the praise heaped on the Core Five (and yes, I include Bernie Williams along with the “Core Four” of Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte and Posada), someone had to give them that first chance. Now, a quintet that that coming along at about the same time (Bernie came up four years before the others) doesn’t happen but once in a generation, and the Yanks’ minor league talent isn’t as deep as it was 20-25 years ago with those players, but people, especially youngsters, need chances.

But I digress. In 2012, Pearce played for three different major league teams at the age of 29. He wasn’t a prospect, but someone who bounced back and forth from the majors to the minors for Pittsburgh from 2007-2011. In that timeframe he hit .232-9-52 in 185 games. His OPS+ was 79. Nothing to write home about.

In 2012, for three teams (Balt/Hou/NYY) Pearce hit .239-4-26 in 61 games. OPS+ 92. He was 4 for 25, 1 HR, 4 RBI for the Yankees in 12 games. Nothing to write home about, and probably a good cause for the one reporter’s arrogant dismissal.

But sometimes all it takes is a player to get a chance and to be used right and managed correctly, which is what I hoped the Yanks could do with Pearce in 2012.

In 2013, Pearce only played in 44 games with Baltimore, but put up an OPS+ of 114. Solid. .261-4-13.

This year, the 1B/OF has an OPS+ of an excellent 146. .284-16-39 as a platoon player. Now, Pearce is a righty batter and LF at Camden Yards is as much of a short porch—-with a short wall—as RF is at Yankee Stadium. After all, it’s just 364 to LCF there (most places have it 370-390, and Yankee Stadium has a 399). That short LCF may have helped Pearce.

But look at those numbers. Pearce could have fit right into this Yankees team as a legitimate 1B backup to Teixeira (rather than using the players the Yanks HAVE used this year there). He also could have been a legitimate righty-hitting backup to Gardner and platoon partner for the power-challenged Ichiro in RF.

In 2013-2014 combined, Pearce has hit .278-20-52 in 136 games, 425 at bats. The OPS+ is a superb 136.

Take a look at those numbers. You think they wouldn’t fit in well with these offensively challenged Yankees?

Sometimes, all it takes is an opportunity, and a manager who gives you that opportunity. Someone who knows your strengths and weaknesses, and who maximizes those strengths and minimizes those weaknesses by platooning you —playing you and sitting you at the appropriate times. It appears Buck has done that with Pearce down in Baltimore.

We have no idea whether Pearce’s recent success will continue. After all, he is 31 now. But his 2013 and 2014 seasons have me doing a few things.

One is to shake my head and wonder what might have been. Could Girardi have utilized Pearce as Buck has? His numbers match anything any current Yankee has done this year. As I wrote above, he would have been a fine fit on this team as a backup 1B/sometimes DH/RF platoon/backup OF.

Besides shaking my head, there is also the satisfaction of having the last laugh.

Sometimes, all one needs is a chance.

Game 135. Another painful loss, 4-3.

The Yanks had a 3-0 lead entering the bottom of the sixth in Toronto. Brandon McCarthy was working on a two-hit shutout.

Then the game slipped away. McCarthy got two outs but then gave up back-to-back HRs to Melky Cabrera and Juan Bautista to make it 3-2. He then got out of the inning.

Instead of pulling him, manager Joe Girardi left him in for the seventh. Mistake. Edwin Encarnacion homered to tie the game and McCarthy walked the next batter. Dellin Betances got two strikeouts, but in the interim, the runner stole second. Betances then gave up a single which turned out to be the game-winning hit before getting another strikeout to finish the inning.

Toronto won 4-3. The loss puts the Yanks 9 back of Baltimore in the division with just 27 games to play. Worse yet, it knocks the 70-65 Yanks 3 1/2 games out of the last wild card spot and now to get there they would need to pass three teams—Cleveland, Seattle and Detroit.

Brett Gardner led off the game with a HR (16). The Yanks got a run in the fourth on a Cervelli single and another in the fifth when Gardner (who missed the cycle by just a single) tripled and scored on a throwing error.

McCarthy went 6+, 4 R, 5 H (but 3 were HR), 2 walks and 4 K. He falls to 8-14, 4.19 overall, 5-4, 2.80 as a Yankee.

Betances 2 IP, 0 R, 2 h, 0 walks and 4 K. 1.46.

The Yanks are off today.

Derek Jeter got hit #3445 of his career, but has been slumping lately. 16 for his last 85.

The Yanks did make a minor move, acquiring pitcher Chaz Roe.

Games 126-128. Yanks sweep Chisox.

Maybe I should go away for the weekend more often.

For while I was away, the Yanks swept the White Sox to run their winning streak to four.

I won’t have time to go into detail about each game, so here is a very brief recap.

Friday the Yanks won 4-3. Martin Prado had a 2-run HR and a walkoff hit in the bottom of the 9th. David Robertson got the win.

Saturday the Yanks won 5-3. Prado had a 2-run double and Carlos Beltran homered, his 15th of the season and #373 of his career. Win for Kuroda.

Saturday was the day ex-mgr. Joe Torre got a plaque in Monument Park and his #6 retired.

Yesterday (Sunday) the Yanks won 7-4 in 10 innings on a 3-run, walk-off, PH HR (15) by Brian McCann. David Huff with the win.

The Yanks are 67-61, 2nd place in the AL East, six behind Baltimore. They are 3 1/2 out of the final wild card spot.

They have a makeup game in KC tonight before heading to Detroit. Tonight is the second of a tough five-game stretch in which they faced Sale yesterday, Shields today and then Porcello, Verlander and Scherzer (I think that is the order, that they miss Price while in Detroit, but I am not sure. Anyway a tough stretch.)

Derek Jeter’s hit count stands at 3439.

Game 125. Yanks blank Houston, 3-0.

Brandon McCarthy pitched a CG shutout at the Astros Thursday afternoon and the Yanks beat Houston 3-0.

McCarthy upped his record to 8-12, 4.01. He is 5-2, 1.90 as a Yankee.

9 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 0 walks and 8 K.

The Yanks are in a virtual tie for 2nd in the AL East, 9 back of Baltimore. They are 4 out of the last wild card spot.

The Yanks got all their runs in the second. Teixeira singled, Prado doubled, and Headley doubled in two. After a groundout advanced Headley to third, Headley scored on a SF by Ichiro.

Derek Jeter upped his career hit total to 3438.

I’ll be heading away for the weekend and will have to briefly recap Friday-Sat-Sun games together on Monday.

Just a reminder that Joe Torre’s #6 gets retired on Saturday.

Game 123. Houston beats Yanks, 7-4.

At this stage of the season, and given their situation, the Yanks can’t afford to give games away.

Unfortunately, I feel that is exactly what they did last night in losing to Houston, 7-4. I really have to question some plays and decisions made in this game.

Brian McCann gave the Yanks a 2-0 lead with his 14th HR of the season in the fourth inning.

Chris Capuano pitched well for four innings, but gave up a run in the fifth. It was apparent to me that he was losing it. But with the Yanks up 2-1, Capuano started the sixth. He didn’t finish it, giving up three runs. I don’t feel he should have started the inning at all.

Secondly, Girardi brought in Adam Warren to relieve Capuano. Warren hadn’t pitched in a while and in his last nine outings, Warren had a 9.82 ERA. He gave up a huge hit which let a run score (and a second run scored when Ichiro made an error on the play). I wouldn’t have used the slumping Warren in such a spot.

Capuano 5 1/3, 4 R, 8 H, 2 walks and 8 K. Overall ERA 4.35.
Warren 2/3 IP, 0 r, 1 h, 0 walks and 1 K. 3.49.

Martin Prado tied the game at 4 with a 2-run double in the bottom of the sixth.

And as far as decision-making, here is where I really was shaking my head. I hate roles. If a pitcher is doing fine, and his pitch count is OK, leave him the hell in. Ride the hot hand.

Shawn Kelley pitched the 7th. 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 4.46.

So instead of him going an extra inning (stretch out your relievers?) Girardi brought in Betances for the 8th.

Betances 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 1.46.

So does Girardi leave Betances in for a second inning? No. He brings Robertson into a tie game to start the ninth.

I don’t like bringing in closers into tie games. I also don’t like burning Kelley and Betances for only one inning each when each did well.

Mixing and matching and using too many pitchers means that sooner or later, you will find the pitcher who doesn’t have it that night. Too many cooks ruin the broth. Too many pitchers blows you a ball game.

Which is what Robertson did, giving up a 3-run HR in the top of the ninth to blow the game, 7-4. Not only that, he grooved a 3-0 pitch. Chris Carter got the green light and launched it. Just b/c you want the strike on 3-0, you still can’t groove the pitch.

Robertson (L, 1-4, 3.06) 1/3 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 2 walks, 0 K.

Rich Hill finished up. 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 walk, 2 K. 4.50.

In the eighth, Jacoby Ellsbury singled, stole second on a Teix strikeout and went to third on an error. Houston brought the infield in. Carlos Beltran couldn’t hit a fly ball for a go-ahead SF. He grounded it to short. Ellsbury should have held, but ran on contact. He was thrown out at the plate easily.

To me, some bad decisions were made in this game, and it cost the Yanks.

Earlier in the day, a hit given to Jeter was changed (correctly) to an error. It knocks Derek down to 3435 hits for his career.

Forget the division, even though they are in second place, the Yanks are 8 behind the Orioles. At 63-60, they are four back of Seattle and Detroit for the final wild card spot. That is the concern.

Four out of a playoff spot with 39 games left. You can’t afford to give any games away. You have to play, and manage, smart.

Like I wrote, too many pitchers, too many mix and matches, is like too many cooks. It spoils the broth.