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.

The minors.

AAA: SWB lost 11-2. Bryan Mitchell gave up 8 r in 4 2/3. DH Corban Joseph hit a solo HR.

AA: Trenton lost 8-2. 3B Dan Fiorito 3 hits, rbi. 3 others with 2 hits each.

High A: Tampa won 11-1. CF Mark Payton 4 for 4, HR, 2 RBI. DH Rey Nunez, HR, 2 rbi. RF Aaron Judge 3 hits, 2 doubles, HR, 3 RBI. 3B Eric Jagielo 3 h, rbi. Three others with two hits each.

Low A: Charleston lost 7-2. 2 RBI for CF Brandon Thomas.

Game 124. Yanks fall to Houston again, 5-2.

Hmm. Same story. The Yanks’ bats only put up two runs, and a tiring bullpen couldn’t hold on as the Yanks lost to Houston 5-2 Wednesday night.

The loss drops the Yanks into third place in the AL East, 9 1/2 back of Baltimore. They are 63-61 and five games out of the final playoff position with just 38 games to go. They have lost seven of their last nine games.

Michael Pineda started and pitched well. He gave up a run in the fourth but the Yanks got it back in the bottom of the inning on Stephen Drew’s fifth HR of the year and first as a Yankee.

In the fifth, something I have been screaming about for a long time finally happened. FINALLY. The Yanks executed a squeeze play to get a run home. Ellsbury singled on the bunt that brought home Ichiro. They should be doing that way more often. I can’t remember the last time they did that. It has to be years. Finally. Hooray.

The Yanks took that 2-1 lead into the seventh, but Pineda and the bullpen couldn’t hold it as Houston got four runs.

Pineda 6+, 2 R, 4 H, 1 walk and 5 K. 2.05. It’s a shame he is just 2-2 with that ERA of 2.05. Six starts. You think he’d be 4-1 or something.

David Huff (L, 3-1, overall ERA 4.15) 1/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 walks and 1 K.

Esmiel Rogers 1 2/3 IP, 2 R, 4 h, 1 walk and 3 K. Overall ERA 5.45.

Chase Whitley 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 1 K. 5.43.

The bullpen was taxed, so Girardi was forced to go to the B-squad if you will. Kelley, Betances, Robertson all have pitched a lot lately and were unavailable.

Derek Jeter got two hits and now has 3437 for his career. It appears that he’ll end up somewhere in the 3470-3480 range.

The minors

AAA: SWB won 6-5, getting 3 runs in the bottom of the ninth on a two-out bases-loaded triple by Jose Pirela, who had three hits, including a solo HR (.306).

AA: Trenton lost 2-1. Luis Severino, in his first outing since coming off the DL, took the loss. 3 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 1 walk and 3 K. 2-1, 2.55 at AA. Overall this year, 6-4, 2.46 in 22 starts (Low A, High A and AA). Jacob Lindgren 2 scoreless IP, 2 K. Overall he is 2-0, 0.87 (1-0, 1.23 at AA) ranging from Rookie league through AA. 41 of his 62 outs have been strikeouts.

High A: Tampa gave up 2 in the bottom of the 9th and lost 2-1. Brady Lail pitched six no-hit innings, 2 walks, 3 K. Both runs given up were unearned.

Low A: Charleston won 8-7. 3B Miguel Andujar 3 hits, solo HR. 1B Jackson Valera 3 h, rbi. RF Yeicok Calderon 2 h, 2 rbi.

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.

The minors.

The Yanks were off Monday. Here is a look at minor league action.

AAA: SWB won 2-0. Manny Banuelos started but was wild. 3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 6 walks and 3 K. Chris LeRoux five shutout innings of relief. 2B Rob Refsnyder 2 hits, rbi (.311 at AAA, overall AA/AAA .326-14-60). 1B Kyle Roller 2 hits.

AA: Trenton off.

High A: Tampa lost 8-0. DH/RF Aaron Judge had 2 hits.

Low A: Charleston off.

The minors.

AAA: SWB scored 5 times in the top of the 9th to win 6-5. 2B Rob Refsnyder 3 hits, 3B Zelous Wheeler 2 rbi. RF Taylor Dugas and DH Corban Joseph 2 hits, rbi each.

AA: Trenton lost 4-3 in 12. 2 Hits, RBI LF Ben Gamel.

High A: Tampa hung on to win 8-7. SS Cito Culver 2 h, 2 rbi. 3B Eric Jagielo 4 for 4, rbi. C Trent Garrison 3 h, rbi and 1B Rey Nunez 2 doubles, rbi.

Low A: Charleston won 5-4. CF Brandon Thomas 2 h, HR, 2 RBI