Category Archives: Ex-Players

Game 64. Road trip from hell continues as Yankees lose in 10, 8-7, more players hurt.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Before the game, the Yankees made moves, sending down Ron Herrera and putting CC Sabathia on the DL. They brought back Ben Heller  Domingo German (my mistake) and called up Luis Cessa.

After the game, an 8-7 Yankees’ loss in 10 innings, the Yanks may have to make more moves, like maybe bringing up Dustin Fowler, Kyle Higashioka and a reliever.

The road trip from hell continued with not only a Yankees’ loss,  their third in a row, but now more players may be headed to the DL.

In the minors, the Yankees have shut down Greg Bird, who now has a knee injury on top of trying to get over the ankle injury. Poor guy appears to be like Nick Johnson. So much potential, but injuries keep eating him up.

We don’t know when Ellsbury is coming back from that concussion. That’s important because last night Aaron Hicks had to be taken out of the game because of an Achilles injury.

Gary Sanchez had to be taken out because of an abductor muscle injury. Adam Warren wasn’t available because of a sore trap muscle in his pitching arm.

We’ll see if these injuries are day to day or if they require DL stints. But geez…

The loss puts the Yanks at 38-26, and they maintain a 2-game lead in the AL East. It was a tough loss, because the Yanks came back in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth and took the lead in the tenth.

In the tenth, Giovanny Gallegos got the first two outs, then gave up two hits and an intentional walk before a blooper just extended past Starlin Castro’s reach, tipped off his glove, found grass, and gave the A’s their 8-7 walkoff win.

The Yanks left the bases loaded in the first, not scoring. They left two on in the fourth.

Jordan Montgomery gave up a solo HR in the first to Jed Lowrie and a 2-run double in the second to put the Yanks in a 3-0 hole.

The Yanks tied it in the sixth when with one out, Castro singled, Sanchez walked and Didi (17 g. hitting streak) singled to load the bases. Headley singled in two runs, Carter tied the game with a single.

The A’s got a run in the bottom of the sixth to go up 4-3 on a Yonder Alonso HR. The Yanks tied it in the seventh. With two out, Castro singled, stole second, and scored on a Gary Sanchez double.

The A’s scored in the bottom of the seventh, going up 5-4. The Yanks came back again to tie it in the eighth on a Chris Carter HR (7).

Once again, the Yanks couldn’t hold the A’s, as the A’s got a run in the bottom of the eighth. The Yanks tied the game at six in the top of the ninth when Castro doubled with one out and Sanchez singled him home. Sanchez was having a big game when he got hurt.

In the tenth, with one out, Gardner and Refsnyder (in for the injured Hicks) each singled. Judge walked to load the bases and Castro hit a SF.

Then came the bottom of the tenth when Gallegos got the first two batters but couldn’t salt the game away.

Gardner 2 hits.
Castro 3 for 5, scored 3, 1 RBI. (.328)
Sanchez 3 for 3, 2 walks, scored 1, 2 RBI. He raised his average to .297 before the injury.
Headley 2 hits, 2 RBI
Carter 2 hits, 2 RBI, HR
Montgomery 5 2/3 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 1 W, 5 K. 3.78. Gave up 2 HR
Green 1 1/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K. 2.70
Clippard 1/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K. 2.30
Betances 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 W, 3 K. 0.42
Gallegos (BS, 1; L, 0-1; 7.15) 2/3 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 W, 1 K.


Game 55. Trouble for Tanaka again in Yanks’ 5-4 loss.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The disturbing and troubling season of Masahiro Tanaka continued last night when he gave up 5 runs, including 3 HR in 5 IP as the Yanks lost to Boston 5-4.

Tanaka had such a great spring training. His fall from ace to Kei-Igawa-like performances has been shocking.

The loss decreases the Yanks’ lead over Boston to one game. The Yankees are 32-23.

That 32-23 has been built strangely. They started 1-4, went 20-5 over the next 25, and are 11-14 in their last 25.

Even though they are still in first place, there are a couple of problem areas that need to be addressed, and let’s start with Tanaka.

With the Yanks 10-11 in their last 21 games (stats via Joel Sherman’s NY Post article), Tanaka is 0-5, 10.72 in that span. If Tanaka was his old ace-like self, he would have gone, say 4-1. Now the Yanks would be 14-7 in this span and we wouldn’t be as concerned.

The season is just over 1/3 over, and Tanaka has already given up 17 HR.

They need to get him straightened out. But how? He is earning so much $$ and $$ talks. Can they just pull him from the rotation? Who would replace him? Chad Green, who was fabulous in relief last night? Chance Adams? They would need to create a roster spot for Adams (who pitched last night also, see my minor league report) who isn’t on the 40-man roster.

Boston got a run right away in the first inning on a couple of singles and an RBI forceout. The Yanks tied it in the second on a walk to Hicks, single by Didi, and Hicks scored on a throwing error by Boston RF Mookie Betts.

But in the fourth, Tanaka gave up three runs on back-to-back homers. He gave up another HR in the fifth and Boston was up 5-1. The Yanks couldn’t come all the way back.

Chris Carter (a problem we’ll get to in a bit) hit his fifth HR of the year in the bottom of the fifth to cut Boston’s lead to 5-2.

Castro and Hicks singled in the sixth, and Castro scored when Didi GIDP.

The Yanks got a break in the eighth that made you think maybe the gods were with them and they’d pull it out. Matt Holliday doubled and went to third on a groundout. After Hicks popped up, Didi Gregorius struck out for what should have been the third out, but the ball was a wild pitch and Didi reached, Holliday scoring to cut the lead to 5-4. You thought with a break like that, maybe…

But no…

Tanaka (L, 5-6, 6.55) 5 IP, 5 R, 5 H, 1 W, 2 K. Gave up 3 HR.
Layne 0 IP, 0 r, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K. 7.50. More on him in a bit.
Green 3 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 5 K. 1.62. See above. Replacement for Tanaka? Did great.
Shreve 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 w, 1 K. 0.57.

Judge, Hicks and Gregorius each had two hits. Carter had the HR.

But even with Carter’s HR, 1B is a position that the Yanks need improvement on. Bird was 6 for 60 (.100-1-3) and Carter is 21 for 115 (.183-5-15). So that is a combined 27 for 175, which comes out to .154-6-18. Somehow, the Yanks are in first place despite getting the worst production in MLB from their first basemen.

3B also is a problem. Chase Headley is down to .225, and rumors are that the Yanks are shopping for a 3B. Rumors also are that if Gleyber Torres starts adjusting to AAA pitching, that the Yanks may bring him up to play 3B, with Headley moving to a backup 1B/3B role, which would mean cutting Carter (Carter $3.5 MM left for this year, Headley is owed the rest of $13MM this year and $13MM for 2018).

Headley is at .225-3-23, but since April 18, has hit .168-1-19 in his last 37 games. When you take what he is doing at 3B, and the lack of production at 1B, it’s like the Yanks are playing with a 7-man lineup. That can’t continue if they want to stay in first place. Headley hasn’t homered since April 19.

So the Yanks desperately need to get better production from 1B, 3B and Tanaka. We’ll see how and if that happens.

The final thing may be minor. Tommy Layne hasn’t performed that well, and the Yanks do have a solution there if necessary. Tyler Webb has been doing well at SWB and could be a replacement for Layne. LOOGY for LOOGY.


Ex-All Star Piersall, subject of movie, dies at 87.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Jimmy Piersall, a 2x All-Star whose battle with bipolar disorder was the subject of the 1957 movie “Fear Strikes Out” starring Tony Perkins and Karl Malden, died at the age of 87.

Piersall was a 2x All-Star and 2x Gold Glove winner who played for the Red Sox 1950, 1952-1958, Indians 1959-1961, Senators 1962-1963, Mets 1963, and Angels 1963-1967.

Upon hitting his 100th career HR with the Mets in 1963, he ran the bases backward.

He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1952 and his experiences were portrayed in the movie.

He and Billy Martin once had a huge, celebrated fight.

He was named an All-Star in 1954 and 1956, and won Gold Gloves in CF in 1958 and 1961. He led the majors in doubles in 1956, sacrifice bunts in 1953 and sac flies in 1956.

Primarily a CF, he also played LF, RF, SS and 3B in his career.

He got MVP consideration five times, finishing 9th in 1953.

He hit .272 in his career, with a 162 g. average of .272-10-55, 11 SB, OPS+ 93.

He later became a broadcaster for Texas, and also for the Chicago White Sox.


For more on Piersall, check out his biography on Wikipedia




Game 46. “Holliday” weekend. Yanks win despite getting only 2 hits, 3-2.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Matt Holliday got the Yanks’ first hit of the game with a 2-run HR in the sixth inning, and despite only getting two hits in the game, the Yanks edged the Oakland A’s 3-2.

The Yanks got a run in the first without getting a hit. Sanchez walked and Holliday was HBP. After a wild pitch, Starlin Castro hit a SF.

CC gave up a run in the top of the sixth that tied the game at 1.

Then in the bottom of the sixth, Sanchez walked again and Holliday broke up the no-hit bid with his ninth HR of the year.

CC gave up a HR in the seventh to cut the Yanks’ lead to 3-2, but they held on, with Dellin Betances getting the last five outs, as Tyler Clippard ran into trouble again.

The Yanks are 28-18. The only other hit came when Castro singled after Holliday’s HR.

The Yanks got a little lucky when two balls almost resulted in violent collisions with Aaron Judge. There could have been serious injury there.

Sabathia (W, 5-2, 4.42) 6 1/3 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 3 W, 9 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Warren (H, 4) 2/3 IP, 0 r, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 2.88
Clippard (H, 6) 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K. 1.74.
Betances (S, 5) 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K. 0.52

Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, who later served as a U.S. Representative and Senator, died at the age of 85. See my other post on this blog for more information.

HOF Jim Bunning, also former Congressman and Senator, dies at 85.

Jim Bunning, the Hall of Fame pitcher who later became a U.S Representative and Senator from KY, died today at the age of 85.

Bunning went 224-184 in his career with the Tigers (1955-1963), Phillies (1964-1968), Pirates & Dodgers (1969) and back with the Phillies 1970 & 1971.

He threw a no-hitter while with the Tigers, and a perfect game while with the Phillies.

He never reached the postseason but came close. The 1961 Tigers won 101 games, but finished 8 games behind the Yankees.

In 1964, his Phillies team had a 6 1/2 game lead with 12 games to play, but lost 10 in a row before winning the last two, too late to save their pennant. They finished tied with the Reds, one game behind the Cardinals. Many blamed and still blame manager Gene Mauch for overusing Bunning and fellow pitcher Chris Short down the stretch.

Bunning was a 9x All Star in 7 different years (there were two All-Star games 1958-1962) who led the league in wins with 20 in 1957, the only year he won 20. He finished 9th in MVP voting that year. He won 19 four times, in 1962 (21st in MVP voting), 1964-1966.

He started the first game for the Phillies at Veterans Stadium in 1971.

He finished 24th in MVP voting in 1960, despite going 11-14, but with an ERA of 2.79.

He finished 13th in MVP voting in 1964, when he had his perfect game against the Mets on Father’s Day of that year.

In 1967, he finished 22nd for MVP, and was runnerup for the CYA (won by Mike McCormick of the Giants). Despite a 17-15 record, his ERA was 2.29.

His 162 g. average was 14-11, 3.27, ERA+ 115. 32 starts, 4 relief appearances.

He struck out 2855 batters, and led the league three times.

As a hitter, Bunning hit .167 with 7 HR.

In 1988, he missed HOF induction by four votes. He was named by the Veteran’s Committee to the HOF in 1996.

His uniform #14 was retired by the Phillies.

After retirement, he served as a Republican Representative in the House of Representatives, representing Kentucky, from 1987-1999 and then as a Senator from Kentucky from 1999-2011.

Ex-Yanks’ pitcher Kuzava dies at 93.


How many pitchers can you name that have closed out consecutive World Series?

Surely you think of Mariano Rivera in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

But you must be a hard-core fan to know and remember Bob Kuzava (or Will McEnaney of the 1975-1976 Reds).

Kuzava, who closed out both the 1951 and 1952 WS for the Yankees, died May 15 at the age of 93.

He pitched for the Indians in 1946 and 1947, the White Sox in 1949 and 1950, the Senators in 1950 and 1951, the Yankees from 1951-1954, the Orioles 1954-1955, the Phillies in 1955, and the Pirates and Cardinals in 1957.

His career record was 49-44, 4.05, ERA+ 98. He hit .086 with 1 HR.

In the WS, he was 0–0, 2.08 in three games, saving Game 6 of the 1951 WS and Game 7 of the 1952 WS.

In the 1951 WS, the only Game he pitched in was Game 6. With the Yanks up 3-2 in games in the series, and holding onto a 4-1 lead, Kuzava replaced Johnny Sain with the bases loaded and no one out. Monte Irvin hit a SF to LF that moved up all the runners. Bobby Thomson also flied to LF for a SF to make it 4-3. Sal Yvars then hit a line drive that Hank Bauer in RF made a sliding catch on to save the game and end the Series.

The only WS game Kuzava got into in 1952 was Game 7. With the Yanks up 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Kuzava replaced Vic Raschi with the bases loaded and one out. He got Duke Snider to pop to third, then watched as Billy Martin made his lunging grab of Jackie Robinson’s pop-up to save the WS.

Kuzava worked through an error by Gil McDougald (his second, and the Yanks’ fourth of the game) in the eighth, and worked a 1-2-3 ninth (last out: Pee Wee Reese flied to Gene Woodling in left) for the save, in which Kuzava worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings.

In the WS film, there is a famous clip of Yogi Berra piggybacking Kuzava after the final out.

Kuzava pitched in Game 5 of the 1953 WS, replacing Jim McDonald at getting the last out in the 8th. He started the 9th, gave up a HR to Jim Gilliam, and got Pee Wee Reese to fly to left. Duke Snider then singled off him and Allie Reynolds replaced Kuzava and got Jackie Robinson to GIDP to end the game for an 11-7 Yankees’ win. The Yanks would win Game 6 for their fifth consecutive WS title, a record.

It was Kuzava’s 3rd WS title.

Kuzava finished 4th in ROY voting in 1949, when he went 10-6, 4.02 for the White Sox.

His 162 game average was 11-10, 4.05, ERA+ 98. 22 starts, 24 relief appearances.




Game 39. Rays edge Yanks, 5-4.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Joe Girardi was attending his daughter’s graduation. Bench coach Rob Thomson filled in as manager, and Thomson made a couple of moves that have Yankees’ fans scratching their heads after a 5-4 Yankees loss to Tampa Bay that dropped their record to 24-15.

Luis Severino gutted out five innings, giving up just one run and leaving with a 2-1 lead. The Yanks got a run in the first when with one out, Ellsbury singled, Holliday doubled and Castro got an RBI groundout. Judge singled Holliday to third and stole second, but the Yanks couldn’t add on; Didi struck out. It would cost them later.

The Rays tied the game in the bottom of the first. In the third, Gardner got a bunt single and went to second on an error by Evan Longoria. It’s about the only thing Longoria did wrong all night. He had four hits against the Yankees, including the GW RBI. Ellsbury doubled Gardner home.

Jonathan Holder pitched a scoreless sixth and after that, the Yankees’ bullpen, which has been so great this year so far, let the game get away.

Thomson brought in Warren to pitch the seventh. I hate when managers go “by the book” or “by the formula.” If a pitcher is doing well, leave him in. Change for changes sake, I hate. Seventh inning guy, eighth inning guy, etc. Phooey. Too many cooks (or pitchers) spoil the soup (or game). Holder gave up a double in the sixth, but no runs and had two strikeouts. Why not leave him in? If a guy is doing well, and is smoking, use your own eyes and gut and go with the hot hand. Leave him in.

That over managing, seventh-inning guy, eighth-inning guy, etc., is a change to the game I grew up with that I do not like. A change for the worse. I’m old school, remembering the days when a Gossage or Lyle would come in in the seventh and really close a game out, going 2 1/3 scoreless or so. People older than me may remember Joe Page…

I miss those days.

The move to Warren, who has been great and probably was due for a clunker, backfired. Warren gave up 3 runs in the seventh. Rays 4-2. The key blow was a double that 3B Ronald Torreyes couldn’t come up with, shortly after it appeared Warren Shreve was squeezed on a pitch by the home plate umpire.

In the top of the eighth, Matt Holliday hit a two-run HR (8) to tie it, 4-4.

But Tyler Clippard gave up a run and the game in the bottom of the eighth.

In the bottom of the ninth, with two out, Thomson let Austin Romine hit for himself instead of pinch-hitting Gary Sanchez for him. This is a move, or non-move if you will, that has Yankees’ fans scratching their heads. Even the Yankees’ broadcasters on WPIX, Ken Singleton and John Flaherty, were a bit surprised by the non-move. Sanchez has a far greater chance of tying the game up with a HR than Romine did or does, and you are just PH-ing catcher for catcher. Why Sanchez wasn’t up there, who knows. Romine tapped back to the pitcher, game over. Not only that, Romine (0 for 4) has been slumping lately (0 hits in at least his last 16 at bats) and is down to .247.

So that’s that.

Ellsbury 2 for 4, RBI; Holliday 2 hits, HR, 2 RBI. Castro 2 hits, RBI (.352).

Chris Carter was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts. Tyler Austin’s start of his rehab was rained out.

Severino 5 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 3 W, 7 K. 3.64
Holder (H, 3) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. 2.04
Warren (BS, 2) 2/3 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 0 W, 1 K. 2.31
Shreve 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 0.00
Clippard (L, 0-2, 1.53) 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 2 W, 3 K.