Tag Archives: Ichiro

Game 80. Yanks fall to Boston, 8-5.

In his first seven starts, Chase Whitley was a revelation. Maybe the league has caught up to him, maybe it’s just a slump, but in his last two starts, Whitley has hit a bump.

How so? Those two losses have pushed Whitley’s ERA from 2.56 to 4.70.

Whitley went 4+ Sunday night vs. Boston, 5 R, 8 H, 2 walks and 1 K in falling to 3-2 for the season in the Yanks’ 8-5 loss.

Shawn Kelley has been ineffective since coming off the DL. 0 IP, 2 R, 1 h, 2 walks, 0 k. 4.87.

Whitley gave up a run in the second, then David Ortiz’ took him deep for a 3-run HR in the third, Ortiz’ 450th career HR.

The Yanks got one in the third on a Jeter single, and HRs by Teixeira (15, 356 career) and Beltran (8, 366 career, tying Lance Berkman on the all-time list) in the fourth to cut it to 4-3, but the three runs Boston got in the fifth and one more off David Huff in the sixth doomed the Yanks, despite the Yanks getting two in the bottom of the fifth on a triple by Ichiro, double by Gardner and RBI groundout by Ellsbury.

Jeter got two hits to move his career total to 3393.

David Huff 1 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 2 walks and 0 K. 5.16.

Dellin Betances 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 1.33.

Jose Ramirez the 9th, 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 walks and 2 k. 5.00.

The loss puts the Yanks at 41-39 and keeps them two games behind Toronto in the AL East and in third place (1/2 gm. behind the Orioles). They are two games out of the final WC spot. Tonight’s game vs. the Rays is Game 81. Half the season will be over.

Game 79. Tanaka, Yanks, lose heartbreaker, 2-1.

In his last two outings, Masahiro Tanaka has given up 5 runs in 16 IP.

That is an ERA of 2.81. But Tanaka has lost both games because in those 16 innings, he got one unearned run of support.

Saturday night, Tanaka pitched a complete game, but two mistakes, both hit for HR, cost him the game, 2-1.

Tanaka gave up a HR to Cody Ross in the top of the 3rd. The Yanks tied the game in the bottom half of the inning on an error, HBP, sac bunt by Gardner and groundout by Jeter. Jeter did get one hit tonight to go to 3391 for his career, but also had a key GIDP besides the RBI groundout.

I hate to say this, but in my opinion, Jeter shouldn’t be hitting second anymore. Ellsbury isn’t a #3 hitter. But Girardi 1) doesn’t want to disrespect Jeter by dropping him to 8th in the lineup, even though, halfway through the season, Jeter’s numbers for the year project to .270-4-37 or so, which isn’t that great (ok for a 40 year old but very Alvaro Espinoza-like, otherwise) and 2) Girardi is so tied into splitting up the lefty hitters Gardner and Ellsbury by having the righty hitting Jeter hit between them. Personally, I feel that keeping Jeter second, and not putting Gardner/Ellsbury 1-2 is hurting the team. Of course, the problem, then, is who do you hit #3? For the guys supposed to be the beef of the lineup are not producing.

The game stayed at 1-1 until the 9th. Heck, in the fourth, Tanaka showed a lot of mettle. He gave up a leadoff single to Pedroia (the little pest had three hits tonight) and a double to Ortiz. 2nd and 3rd, no one out and Tanaka got two strikeouts and a ground out to get out of it. GUTS.

But the Yanks did not even get a hit off Lester until the sixth.

In the top of the 9th, with two out and two strikes on Napoli, Tanaka threw a fastball. Should he have thrown the splitter? In retrospect, yes. The fastball was 96 and on the black, but up. An inch further outside and Napoli may swing and miss for strike three. But he went the other way and the ball cleared the short porch by a foot to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead and ultimately, the win.

After the HR, Napoli supposedly called Tanaka a “f***ing idiot.” I know what I’d do tomorrow if I were pitching. I don’t expect Whitley, a rookie, to do it. I’d shave Napoli’s ugly beard with my first pitch. You don’t disrespect my teammate by saying that. I show toughness. I knock his ass down. I’d love to see Whitley do that tomorrow night. If Napoli charges the mound, bring it on. But Napoli showed no class by doing that tonight. F*** Napoli.

Now as for the Yanks. I got to be honest here. Being less than honest isn’t my style and you would have every right to disrespect me and my postings if I weren’t. This offense needs some help. You read above that I don’t think that Jeter should be hitting second anymore. If his name wasn’t Derek Jeter he probably wouldn’t be. You just gave your ace only one unearned run of support over his last 16 innings of very good work.

Hey, Koufax and Seaver and every other great pitcher couldn’t win with only one unearned run of support over a 16 inning stretch.

2B. Brian Roberts is 36 and is hitting .237. He hasn’t been a full-time player in four years because of injury. The future is now. Bring up Rob Refsnyder, who was hitting .342 at AA Trenton and even though he has been at AAA only a couple of weeks, is raking there. He is the future. Roberts isn’t. Start the future now. See what you have in him.

RF: Soriano is hitting .228. He is 38 years old. I love Soriano. He has had a great career. But he is one of the biggest reasons this offense has been struggling (along with McCann and Beltran). RF is a major problem for the Yanks right now. Heck, Sori’s defense tonight was questionable, let alone that .228. Bring back Almonte and play him everyday or bring in a power-hitting RF. That brings me to Ichiro. Yes, Gardner, Ellsbury and Ichiro are a good defensive OF, but Ichiro, despite a .298 BA, has absolutely no pop anymore. Of Ichiro’s 45 hits, 41 are singles, 4 are doubles. If you play him with Gardner & Ellsbury, your OF is one of the weakest in the league power-wise. Get rid of Soriano, make Ichiro a backup defensive OF/PR and either get a RF or play Almonte everyday to see what you have. But get one with some pop in his bat.

The middle of the lineup has Teix (who leads the team in HR and RBI) at .243. Beltran (who has 2 more years on his deal) at .209. McCann, in the first year of a five-year deal, at .224. Soriano is at .228. The Yanks can’t and won’t win if that continues. It’s amazing that they are only two games out right now, considering the lack of production by the middle of the lineup and the fact that 3/5 of their Opening Day starting rotation is on the DL. They are still in it, but to stay in it and win it some members of the offense either need to pick it up, be benched, and/or a deal must be made. Some may not like to hear that, but we are halfway through the season. I say this not to be negative but to try and improve this team, for the Yanks middle of the lineup cannot continue like that. Period.

For you see the result. They waste a great outing by Tanaka tonight. They are forcing pitchers to be perfect. Even Tanaka isn’t perfect, and he is the best of the bunch. What about someone like Phelps, Whitley or Nuno?

Tanaka’s ERA actually DROPPED tonight. 9 IP, 2 R, 7 H, 1 walk, 8 K. ERA 2.10 (came in at 2.11). He still leads the majors in wins (11) and CG (3) and the AL in ERA (2.10), and ERA+ (190).

This was a tough loss. But the middle of the Yanks offense MUST produce better. At present, and at its current pace, the Yanks RBI leader at the end of the year will have only 84 RBI or so. Nowhere near 100. That won’t cut it.

As far as help on the way, CC went 2 1/3 at High A Tampa in a rehab outing. 2 R on 3 H. Pineda threw 25 pitches from 60 feet, no problems. Both 4-6 weeks away, but even if they come back healthy and well, what kind of offensive support will they receive?

Moves are forthcoming. I suggested a few of my own. But something needs to be done to make the team better so that they can make the postseason, and every Yankees fan wants to see that.

Game 62. Yanks shoot themselves in foot in 2-1 loss.

I’d rather lose 9-0 then lose this way.

The Yanks went 1 for 17 with RISP in losing to KC 2-1. They fall to .500 (31-31) with the loss and are 2-6 this month.

Hiroki Kuroda went 7, 2 R, 5 H, 2 walks and 3 K as he fell to 4-4, 4.12.

Adam Warren pitched a scoreless 8th, 1 Ip, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 0 K. 2.38.

It had to be painful for Kuroda, who pitched well, but who watched his offense shoot themselves in the foot time and time again. 1st and 2nd, two out in the first, nothing. In the second, the Yanks loaded the bases and couldn’t score as Johnson struck out, Gardner grounded into a 3-2 force and Jeter struck out. They wasted a leadoff double by Ellsbury in the third.

In the fourth, a one-out double by Roberts. Nothing. They finally got their run in the sixth when Solarte doubled, went to third on a PB and scored on an Ichiro groundout.

A one-out triple by Gardner in the 7th. Surely they would tie the game. But, remember, Girardi NEVER ******* squeezes. He doesn’t bunt guys over or in. It’s what I don’t like about Girardi (who I do regard as a good manager). With Jeter up there, he should have bunted. Jeter isn’t Jeter anymore. He’s only 2/3 of the Jeter we remember, if that. Heck, (and I hate to say this), Jeter shouldn’t be hitting 2nd anymore. He should be hitting 8th. He’s hitting .254, OPS+ 72. Just seven of his 54 hits are for extra bases. Jeter grounds out, runner can’t score. Ellsbury strikes out. In the 9th, Ichiro singled and went to 2nd on a WP. Tying run on second, no out, nothing.

So it went.

I hate to say this, but Jeter was a major culprit today in the Yanks losing. Derek isn’t Derek anymore. Not even close. Look at what I wrote above. Bases loaded, two out, he whiffed. Man on third, one out, a weak grounder that can’t get the run in. He and Gardner each left five on, Johnson four, McCann three.

It was like Chinese water torture. They would get guys on and leave them there.

A painful loss.

If the Yanks continue like this, I’d consider some major changes. Once Cervelli comes off the DL, I’d look to trade him. Go with the kid, Murphy. I’d also look to dump Soriano, Ichiro, Johnson and Roberts, as well as good-field/no-hit Brendan Ryan. Go with a youth movement. You are using a soon-to-be 40 year-old SS in Jeter, a 36 yr. old 2b in Roberts, Beltran is 36 (and on a 3-yr. deal), Soriano 38 and Ichiro 40. The age is showing.

Obviously, Jeter is going nowhere.

Some things I’d consider if I were in the Yanks’ front office:

Replace Roberts (.239-2-13, OPS+86) with Rob Refsnyder, 23, 2B, currently hitting .340 or so at AA. RHB

Replace Johnson (.216-4-14, OPS+ 85) with Zelous Wheeler, 27, mostly 2B/SS/3B as another utility man (He’s played a little OF as well). Hitting .298 at AAA, RHB.

Replace Ryan (.238 career hitter, .217 2010-2013) with Pirela, who has played 2B/SS/LF (gives you an OF in an emergency, 24) currently around .333 at AAA.

Replace Ichiro with Almonte, a switch-hitter and 25 this week and see what you have in him. You won’t know unless you play him. Bringing him up and not playing him, or playing him once every seven games or so, does nothing. In 105 AAA games, Almonte is .293-14-66 with 8 SB. Over a full season, he would be .293-21-99 with 12 SB. You don’t know how that would translate to the majors, but I’d rather lose with a 25 year old, seeing what he has and what he could offer, than a 38 year old Soriano and/or a 40 year old Ichiro. Yes, I know Ichiro is hitting .320, but he’s not your future, and only four of Ichiro’s 33 hits are for extra bases. Maybe you get some power, as well as some consistency, if Almonte plays every day instead of once in a blue moon when you bring him up.

Replace Soriano (.229-6-20, OPS+ 78) with Kyle Roller, a legit 1B (instead of Johnson) who is a lefty power hitter. 26, and between AA/AAA, .343-14-38 this year. Maybe he could be like Kevin Maas when Maas first came up in 1990 and you catch lightning in a bottle with him as he takes advantage of the porch as a DH and 1B sub for Teixeira.

Couldn’t hurt. I’d rather be .500 with youth who could develop than washed-up has-beens, no matter how much I love what they did in their prime.

Maybe it sounds harsh, but this game was the 10th in a row in which the Yanks scored four runs or less. You can’t just keep going on this way.

Some changes may need to be made. I just made a few suggestions.

Game 37. Bullpen lets it get away in 9-7 Yanks loss to Mets.

The Yanks had leads of 4-1 and 7-4, but the Mets hit 4 HR in beating the Yanks 9-7.

The loss drops the Yanks to 19-18, tied for 2nd, 1 1/2 back.

The Mets got a run in the first off of Kuroda, but Brett Gardner hit a grand slam (HR #2) in the second.

Travis D’Arnaud hit a HR off Kuroda to make it 4-2 in the fifth, and Curtis Granderson got a 2-run jack off of Kuroda to tie the game in the sixth.

Kuroda was shaky, 6 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 0 walks and 3 K. The 2 HR. 4.62.

The Yanks got three back in the bottom of the sixth on a double by Soriano, RBI single by Solarte, RBI triple by Johnson and a throwing error to make it 7-4 but the bullpen couldn’t make it hold up.

Eric Young hit a 2-run HR off Aceves to cut it to 7-6 in the seventh.

Aceves 2/3 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 1 walk, 2 K. 3.38.

Matt Thornton gave up a double and single to tie the game in the eighth, but later that same inning, Preston Claiborne gave up a 2-run HR to Chris Young which proved to be the game-winner.

Thornton (L, 0-1, 5.40) 2/3 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 0 walks, 0 K.

Claiborne 1 2/3 IP, 1 R, 3 h, 0 walks and 3 K. 1.69.

Jeter had 3 hits to raise his career total to 3348. Solarte had 3 hits to raise his average to .330. He leads the team with 21 RBI.

Since Aceves was used in relief, it appears Chase Whitley will be making his MLB debut on Thursday at Citi Field.

Ouch. CC to DL. Pineda, Cervelli on it (and Murphy may be “Wally Pipp-ing” Cervelli). Nova done for year. Beltran hyperextended elbow. Kelley bad back. Teix tired legs. Ichiro knee/back sore. It’s an aging team, and as my friend, who works security in S.T. stated, a fragile one.

Vidal Nuno against the Mets tonight. The Yanks are trying to get some revenge. Besides the loss last night, the Mets swept the Yanks four in a row last year.

Game 29. Tanaka toughs out a 9-3 win.

 

Masahiro Tanaka still hasn’t lost a regular season game since August of 2012. Today he improved to 4-0, 2.53 by pitching seven innings, giving up 3 R, striking out five, and walking no one.

The thing I like about him is that he is a bulldog.

He appeared to be struggling today, giving up 3 R in the first 4 IP, and 2 HR, but the next thing you know, he gives 7 innings (important, what with all the pitchers used in last night’s 14-inning loss) and gets the win. He limited damage.

The top three of the Yanks’ lineup today were huge. Ellsbury (so far worth every penny) had three hits and drove in a run. He also stole his 10th base. Gardner had 2 hits and 2 RBI. Teixeira is hot right now. He had his 5th HR (346 career), and drove in 3 runs.

Kelly Johnson had a HR (4) which broke a 3-3 tie.

Ichiro had 2 hits (2760 U.S., now) and drove in a run.

Dellin Betances (1.72) and Preston Claiborne (1.17) each threw a scoreless inning. Betances struck out two and now has 28 K in 15 2/3 IP. It seems like he has found his niche.

Baltimore lost 6-1, so the 16-13 Yanks go back into first place.

Now if I can hit my trifecta I bet on the KY Derby….

 

 

Game 28. Yanks waste comeback, waste chances, lose 10-5 in 14.

The Yanks came back twice to force extras, then wasted chances in extras in losing to the Rays 10-5. It’s the Yanks’ third straight loss and dropped them to 15-13 and out of first place.

Vidal Nuno started and struggled, giving up 4 runs in 4 2/3 (6.87) After that, the Yankees’ bullpen gave up 1 run in 8 1/3 innings, the only run being given up by Robertson (1 IP, 1.29)  in the top of the 9th.  After Nuno it was Betances (1 1/3, 1.84), Claiborne (1 1/3, 1.35) and Thornton (2/3, 1.50) before D-Rob. After D-Rob, Shawn Kelley (2, 1.88) and Adam Warren (2, 1.53) shut down the Rays before Chris LeRoux (LeWHO?) coughed up the game by giving up 5 in the 14th (0-1, 22.50).

The Yankees’ bullpen has been good so far this year, except when Girardi is forced to go to the last guy in the bullpen—usually the guy just called up from the minors. Those marginal big leaguers have really stunk. LeRoux (22.50), Daley (27.00), Cabral (27.00), SS Dean Anna in an emergency situation (and you can’t blame Anna) (18.00), Bruce Billings (9.00) and rookie Shane Greene (0.00, but 3 unearned runs in 1/3 IP) were terrible in their short outings. The regular guys—great so far. That 12th or 13th man? Terrible.

Down 4-2 (Yanks earlier got a 2-run HR by McCann (4))) in the bottom of the 8th, the Yanks tied it on back-to-back HR by Teixiera (4, 345 career) and Soriano (5, #411 career). After Robertson gave up a run in the top of the 9th, Ellsbury’s 2-out rbi single in the bottom half forced extras.

But here, and in extras, I have to question Girardi’s managing. I like Girardi, but….

In the 9th, Roberts led off with a single and was advanced to second, here, Girardi (perhaps going for the game-winning HR?) put up Kelly Johnson, who does have pop at the expense of a low batting average, up to PH instead of a guy with over 4000 hits between Japan and the U.S. in Ichiro. Roberts stole third while Johnson was up, but Johnson couldn’t get the ball out of a drawn-in infield. I questioned the move but Ellsbury’s two-out single saved the day for a while.

In extras, Girardi (who I like) once again proved that he can’t even SPELL the word squeeze. He never does it. Not even when a guy with speed is on third and a guy with speed is at the plate. It’s not in his playbook, his encyclopedia, his vocabulary, whatever. It’s almost as if, to him, it’s unmanly to win that way. It’s sad to see fundamental, old-fashioned baseball, like the squeeze play, disappear.

Mickey Mantle squeezed runs home on occasion. One of the most famous plays in Yankees’ history was a squeeze by Rizzuto (driving home DiMaggio) late in the 1951 season.

Not only that, but how many times do you see pitchers and fielders who can’t handle bunts? Remember the Tiger pitchers throwing the ball around in the 2006 World Series?

In the bottom of the 11th, with Roberts (a good baserunner) on third after he and Solarte singled, Ichiro did PH. Granted there were two outs. But two good, intelligent and fast runners in Roberts at third and Ichiro at bat.  Ichiro took two called strikes before grounding out to third on a full-count pitch. NO attempt to bunt. NO element of surprise. Really?

The Yanks had first and second, no out in the 12th and couldn’t score. In the 13th, they had second and third, one out and Gardner up. Granted that the guy on third was McCann, a catcher. Not quick. Gardner, who has speed, never showed bunt, grounding out on a  2-1 pitch. Once again, no element of surprise. No squeeze play. Ellsbury was walked to load the bases for Jeter, who grounded out.  Jeter went 0 for 7 last night.

One friend asked, if there was a squeeze, and the catcher came out to field the ball (obviously not too far because of a potential play at the plate), then realized that it wasn’t his play but then stayed at home—in the path of the runner—if, with the new rules, he would be called for obstructing the runner? Good question.

Anyway, a questionable choice of PH in the 9th, two opportunities to squeeze a run home in the 11th and 13th with guys who are fast and who should be able to bunt (Ichiro is a great bunter) and they don’t even SHOW it. Even if shown but done executed, it could force the infielders up a bit to where you can then slap the next pitch by them. Not even shown. No element of surprise. It’s like the opponent KNOWS you won’t show it or try it.

Why? Billy Martin, John McGraw and other aggressive managers must be spinning in their graves or, (the ones still alive), spitting up their beer.

Anyway, after having been given chances, the Rays made short work of LeWho in the 14th.

The Yanks had 18 hits and scored just 5 runs. They were 1 for 13 w/RISP.

This is the second game this year where the failure to be able to squeeze a run home may have cost the Yanks a run. You have good runners and bunters in Ellsbury, Jeter, Roberts, Gardner and Ichiro and if one, or both, are on third or at the plate, you don’t even show squeeze bunt?  Especially in a tie game in the bottom of the ninth or in extras? Fundamental baseball. You are taking away and not using a weapon. It’s like taking the bayonet off the rifle of a U.S. Marine. You use ALL your weapons!

Tanaka today to try and stop the three-game losing streak.

Game 25. Yanks edge Angels, 3-2.

This may be the definition of an ace. Masahiro Tanaka appeared to not have his best stuff tonight. He struggled, walking 4 and hitting a batter in his 6 1/3 innings of work. He came into the game having walked just 2 in 29 2/3 innings.

He struggled, but in 6 1/3, gave up just 2 R and struck out 11.

2 R and 11 K on a night when you are struggling? That is an ace. Tanaka got a no-decision as the Yanks beat the Angels 3-2.

The Angels got a run in the fourth, and the Yanks tied it in the fifth when Ichiro, who failed before with a man on third (Girardi never squeezes, but I’ve bitched about that before) grounded out to tie the game in the fifth. Roberts had a key double in that inning.

The Yanks won this game despite getting just 3 hits all night.

Tanaka gave up a HR to Freese in the sixth, but Teixeira tied it with a HR in the 7th (2). It was Teix’s 343rd career HR.

In the 8th, Ellsbury walked and after Jeter struck out, Beltran walked. A PB and a WP brought in the game-winning run.

Tanaka stays at 3-0, and his ERA goes to 2.27.
6 1/3 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 4 w and 11K. 1 HBP.

Warren (W, 1-1, 1.93) 1 2/3,  0 R, 1 H, 0 walks and 2 K.

Robertson (o.oo, 4th save) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 walk and 2 K. Yankees pitchers struck out 15 tonight.

McCann needs to get going.

Earlier, Billings was put on the DL (forearm strain) and Claiborne was brought back up.

The win puts the Yanks at 15-10 with a 2 1/2 game lead. They are off tomorrow and on Tuesday Seattle comes in.

Will Cano be booed?