Category Archives: Managers and Coaches

Little things mean a lot.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

In the first two games against Houston, we’ve seen perfect execution by the Astros, doing the little things right, especially in plays that got Greg Bird and Brett Gardner thrown out at the plate and at third, respectively.

Not to pick on Gary Sanchez, but maybe Joe Girardi needs to put a bug in his ear about a few things. Not only didn’t he corral Didi’s throw that would have have Altuve out in Game 2, instead of scoring the tying run, but… (from the NY Post)…

In Game 1, in the fifth, that big play at the plate — Greg Bird thrown out — included conspicuous evidence that as Bird slid, on-deck batter Gary Sanchez stood off to the side, just watching. He was in no position to gesture if Bird should slide, let alone to which side of the plate.

And while that went ignored — or at least unspoken — more silence when Sanchez led off the sixth, striking out swinging. The ball kicked away. But instead of running toward first, forcing a throw, Sanchez walked to the dugout.

For these, Girardi and the coaching staff have to put a bug in his ear.

Little things do mean a lot.

Game 3 tonight at 8. The Yankees have to start doing those little things.

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ALCS Game 2. Yanks clipped by Astros in 9th 2-1. In 0-2 Hole.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Carlos Correa drove in Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth to win Game 2 of the ALCS, 2-1 for Houston over the Yankees.

Houston now leads the series two games to none.

Correa and Altuve each had two hits, accounting for four of Houston’s five.

Correa’s HR in the fourth gave the Astros a 1-0 lead. It was ruled no fan interference on the play as a youngster almost pulled a “Jeffrey Maier.”

The Yanks tied it in the fifth on back-to-back two-out doubles by Aaron Hicks and Todd Frazier. Frazier’s ground-rule double was odd in that it stuck in the fence.

In the ninth, Altuve singled and Correa doubled him home. The throw beat Altuve, but catcher Gary Sanchez could not catch it cleanly and Altuve scored.

The Yanks only had five hits in the game, as Justin Verlander got a CG win with 13 K.

Severino 4 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 2 W, 0 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Kahnle 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K,
Robertson 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Chapman (Loss) 1/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K.

Joe Espada is having a bad couple of games as the Yankees’ third base coach. Bird thrown out at the plate in Game 1, and in Game 2, Brett Gardner was thrown out at third trying for a triple.

One thing about Aaron Judge batting second: He does draw lots of walks, so his OBP is good (although right now he is slumping badly with many strikeouts), but with Judge up, Gardner doesn’t run because he doesn’t want to get thrown out at second with Judge up. A double-edged sword. You got the homers and walks with Judge #2, but at the expense of a Gardner SB?

Game 3 is in the Bronx on Monday night.

In the NLCS, the Dodgers took Game 1 from the Cubs, 5-2.

In the Arizona Fall League,  Scottsdale lost 11-1. Yankee SS prospect Kyle Holder was 1 for 4. DH Thairo Estrada was 2 for 4 with the RBI. Cody Carroll pitched a scoreless inning, walking one batter.

 

 

Yanks set rotation, Cubs knock off Nats, and AFL news.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks have set their rotation for the ALCS. In a bit of a surprise, Sonny Gray was pushed back to Game 4.

Game 1 will have Tanaka, then he’ll be followed by Severino, then CC, then Gray. Houston will open with Keuchel, followed by Verlander.

With lefty Keuchel going, does Girardi go to Holliday at DH? Houston has a short LF porch, and Headley and Ellsbury didn’t do much if anything in the ALDS vs. Cleveland.

After losing Game 4 to Washington at home on Tuesday, the Cubs rebounded by beating the Nationals, 9-8 Thursday night, coming back from an early 4-1 deficit. So the NLCS will be the defending champion Cubs going up against the Dodgers.  Washington can’t get over the hump. Same for its manager, Dusty Baker.

In the Arizona Fall League, 19-yr. old OF Yankees’ prospect Estevan Florial went 4 for 5 and scored 3 runs in Scottsdale’s 8-0 win last night. Billy McKinney, an OF learning 1B, drove in 4 runs. SS Thairo Estrada was 1 for 5. Andrew Schwaab pitched one inning of scoreless relief, striking out one.

Don Lock, an OF for the Senators, Phillies and Red Sox from 1962-1969, passed away at the age of 81. He hit 27 HR and drove in 82 runs for the 1963 Senators, and followed it up with 28 and 80 in 1964 for them. His 162 g. avg. was .238-21-66, OPS+ 111.

Also, Johnny Herrnstein, 1B for the 1964 Phillies that Phlopped at the end of the season, passed away at the age of 79. He joins Bunning, Green, Amaro and Sievers as members of the 1964 Phillies who all passed away this year. In that 1964 season, Herrnstein hit .234-6-25, OPS+ 82. He played for the Phillies from 1962-1966, the Cubs in 1966 and the Braves in 1966. In 239 games, he hit .220-8-34, OPS+ 67 in 450 career at bats.

 

 

ALDS Game 5. Yanks complete comeback! Advance to ALCS, 5-2. Didi HRs twice.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yankees stunned the baseball world, completing a comeback from an 0-2 deficit in their best-of-five ALDS series vs. Cleveland, by beating the Indians, 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Before losing the last three games of this division series, Cleveland had won 35 of their previous 39 games. Cleveland manager Terry Francona, while with Boston, led them to their historic comeback from down 0-3 to the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, but now has seen the Indians lose a 3-1 WS lead last year, and a 2-0 ALDS lead this year.

The Indians’ last WS title? 1948.

For Joe Girardi, a reprieve from what happened with the non-challenge in Game 2.

The Yankees now head to Houston to take on the Astros for the AL pennant. The ALCS is a best-of-seven.

Didi Gregorius got the Yanks on the board in the first inning with his first HR of the night.

In the third, Didi did it again, hitting a 2-run HR to put the Yanks up 3-0.

CC Sabathia was brilliant for 4 1/3 innings, striking out nine, but faltered in the fifth, giving up four straight hits, and two runs.

David Robertson came in and got a DP to get out of the inning, then went two more innings.

It was nail-biter time until the ninth, when the Yanks got two insurance runs to put the game away. With one out, Hicks singled and went to second on an error. After an out, Todd Frazier walked, and Brett Gardner got his third hit of the night to drive in a run. When the throw to the infield got away for another Cleveland error, Frazier scored.

Aroldis Chapman then closed out the game.

The Yanks won despite striking out 16x. Judge struck out 4x. The Yanks struck out 15 Indians.

Sabathia 4 1/3 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 0 W, 9 K.
Robertson (Winner) 2 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K.
Chapman (Save) 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 4 K.

Gardner 3 hits, RBI.
Didi 3 hits, 2 HR, 3 RBI.

What to do about Aaron Judge? 1 for 20 in the series with 16 strikeouts. Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird had a rough Game 5, each took 0-for’s with 3 K each. Chase Headley had an 0 for the series.

Despite some players having offensive woes that they need to break out of vs. Houston, the Yanks came back from a seemingly impossible situation and advance.

Game 1 of the ALCS is Friday in Houston. I would expect the Yanks’ rotation to go like this for the ALCS:

Gray
Tanaka
Severino
CC
Gray
Tanaka
Severino (lined up for Games 3 and 7)

One problem with that is that Tanaka has pitched far better at home than on the road, and with this scenario, Games 2 and 6 are on the road. The Yanks could (and probably won’t) use Montgomery, but Montgomery hasn’t pitched in a while, and with that short LF fence in Houston, the Yanks probably wouldn’t want to use a lefty there.

As for that trade with Chicago this summer? Getting Robertson back has been huge.

And better things to come? The Arizona Fall League started yesterday, and Yankees’ prospects did well in a 7-4 win.

Yankees’ prospects for the Scottsdale Scorpions:
Justus Sheffield 5 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 6 K. Win
Cody Carroll 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 3 K. Save
SS Thairo Estrada 2 for 4, RBI
OF Billy McKinney 1 for 4, 3 -run HR.
OF Estevan Florial 1 for 4.

Lastly, Boston manager John Farrell got the axe yesterday. Brad Ausmus of the Tigers is history. So the Phils, Mets, Tigers and Red Sox are all currently looking for new managers.

ALDS Game 3. Yanks survive 1-0 behind Tanaka gem, Bird HR and Judge catch.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

By the skin of their teeth, the Yankees survive to play another game. They won Game 3 of the ALDS 1-0 Sunday night to avoid being eliminated by Cleveland. Cleveland still leads the best-of-five series two games to one.

Masahiro Tanaka was brilliant, pitching seven shutout innings. He got two strikeouts after a one-out Kipnis triple in the fourth to get out of trouble.

In the sixth, Aaron Judge robbed Francisco Lindor of a 2-run HR. It appeared that had Judge not stretched out his 6’7″  frame to make the catch that the ball would have cleared the fence or hit the top and bounced over for a 2-run HR.

The Yanks blew a chance in the sixth. Hicks singled but Gardner GIDP (why wasn’t Gardner bunting there?) Judge walked, Sanchez singled and Didi walked, but Castro popped up.

In the bottom of the seventh, Greg Bird accounted for the only run of the game with a HR.

David Robertson got the first out in the eighth, but Aroldis Chapman had to come on for a five-out save, stranding two in the ninth.

Game Four is scheduled for 6:30 today with Luis Severino starting for the Yanks. There is a chance of rain.

Tanaka (Winner) 7 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 1 W, 7 K.
Robertson (Hold) 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K.
Chapman (Save) 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 4 K.

Chapman had to apologize to Girardi before the game because of a social media faux pas he had made after Game 2, criticizing the manager. Girardi was booed when introduced pre-game because of what happened in Game 2 with his not challenging a call that turned that game around.

In the other ALDS, Boston also stayed alive and forced a Game 4 vs. Houston.

ALDS Game 2. Yanks in 0-2 hole after blowing 8-3 lead. Lose 9-8 in 13.

Yankee Stadium Friezed

Sorry for the late report. I slept in and am not feeling well. Bronchitis again? Same time, just about, every year. Sigh.

1997. Mariano gives up the first of only two postseason HRs he would ever give up. It ties Game 4 for Cleveland and instead of the Yanks winning the series 3 games to 1, the Indians come back to win Game 4 and then Game 5.

2007: The midges. Torre doesn’t pull the team off the field, regrets it later, and his Yankee tenure is over. Joba vs. the bugs.

2017: The Faux HBP that Girardi didn’t challenge. Now Girardi’s contract is up, and I don’t expect him to be fired, but he made a mistake that seems to be as big as Torre’s in 2007.

(ok as for the bad omens…. the Yanks did win it all in 1938, 1958, 1978 and 1998, so we should look forward to 2018, right?)

Anyway, the game started off great when the Yanks knocked around Cleveland ace Corey Kluber. Gary Sanchez hit a 2-run HR in the first inning.

An error by Todd Frazier led to the Indians scoring two unearned runs in the first to tie it up (came back to bite them), then the Indians scored one in the second to go up 3-2. At this point, you are wondering about the Yankees’ starting pitching this postseason. The Indians did lose Edwin Encarnacion due to an ankle injury.

The Yanks went up 6-3 with four in the third. Starlin Castro tied the game and Aaron Hicks hit a 3-run HR.

In the fifth, a two-run HR by Greg Bird made it 8-3. Then the Yanks blew it. For one thing, the game went 13 and they couldn’t score anymore.

CC was pulled in the sixth after 77 pitches. Ok, maybe he should or could have stayed in with an 8-3 lead. But this is how they’ve treated CC for a while now. One out, man on first and in comes Chad Green. Normally a good move and the right one.

But was Green still taxed from the two innings he pitched on Tuesday? Here is where the early knockout of Severino in Tuesday’s wild card game may have come back to bite the Yanks, for Green wasn’t his usual self. He got a flyout for out #2 but couldn’t put Yan Gomes away. After fouling off a few pitches, Gomes doubled.

Then PH Chisenhall was HBP. Or was he?

Chisenall had two strikes on him. Replays showed the ball hit the knob of the bat and ricocheted into Sanchez’ glove. Foul tip, strike three and out of the inning. Instead, the umpire ruled HBP. Bases loaded.

Sanchez pointed to the dugout to challenge. And Girardi did nothing. For the brilliance of Tuesday night, when Girardi pieced together 26 outs out of the bullpen, he bleeped up here.

He stated that the slo-mo replay didn’t come up in the 30 seconds he had to challenge. He also stated that he didn’t want to disturb his pitcher’s rhythm.

What BS. That sounds like the excuses your seven year old kid makes to mommy and daddy when the did gets into trouble.

First off, why aren’t you trusting your catcher when your catcher is urging you to challenge? He’s right there. He caught the ball. To quote Billy Joel, It’s a Matter of Trust. And that matter of trust came up later in the game as well. Players in the dugout were urging the same thing.

Secondly, what do you have to lose by challenging? You win, strike three, out of inning. No, Joe decided to leave it go.

Third, the batter never reacted as if he were hit! He had to be told to go the first.

And you don’t challenge?

As far as his pitcher’s rhythm? Green gave up a grand slam off the foul pole on his second pitch after the incident. 8–7.

We’ll never know what would have happened had he challenged as he should have, got the call and it remains 8-3. There is a huge difference between going home 1-1 in a best-of-five and in going home 0-2. Especially to a team that has won 35 of its last 39 games.

So in came David Robertson, and you had to wonder how much he had left in the tank after his 3 1/3 innings of Tuesday night. Four up, four down, three by strikeouts. Looks good.

But then Girardi tried to extend him. Why? A matter of trust. He trusted Robertson in the eighth over Betances. Betances did pitch in Game 1 (when the Yanks were down 4-0). He also pitched and lost this game. But Betances didn’t come in until other relievers had gone before him.

He tried to extend Robertson, who was already extended on Tuesday night. It didn’t work. Jay Bruce (thanks, Mets) did it again. HR to tie the game.

And so the game went into extras. Kahnle and Chapman came in, then Betances.

Meanwhile in the 11th, Ronald Torreyes pulled a rock. Pinch-running for Todd Frazier, who reached second on an error leading off the inning, Torreyes was picked off second when Brett Gardner had to take a pitch on a sac bunt attempt. Ouch.

Betances came in for the 11th. After Green, Robertson, Kahnle and Chapman. A matter of trust. In because he had to, not so much because Girardi trusted him. After all, if he was trusted, wouldn’t he have come in in the eighth, like usual? It appears that at this point, Girardi doesn’t trust Betances.

Betances had two good innings, but needed to be overextended himself. Working his third inning, he walked the leadoff guy, who stole second. It’s well known that Betances isn’t a good fielder and with his size and delivery, doesn’t hold runners on well. Cleveland took advantage with the SB. Gomes, who extended the AB in the sixth, and who picked off Torreyes in the 11th, got the GW hit.

This is one loss that (unless the Yanks pull off a miracle and win 3 in a row to stun the baseball world and make it to the ALCS) will hurt all winter long.

Sabathia 5 1/3 IP, 4 R, 2 ER, 3 H, 3 W, 5 K.
Green 1/3 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K. 1 HBP. Gave up grand slam.
Robertson 1 2/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 3 K. Gave up HR.
Kahnle 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.
Chapman 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 W, 2 K.
Betances (Loss) 2+ IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 W, 2 K.

Sanchez 2 hits, 2-run HR.
Castro 2 hits, RBI.
Bird 2 hits, 2-run HR.
Hicks 2 hits, 3-run HR.
Todd Frazier 3 hits, but 2 errors.
Torreyes bone-headed PR play.

In the other series, Houston dominated Boston again and the Astros go into Fenway up 2 games to nothing.

In the NL, the Cubs and Dodgers both took Game 1 over the Nationals and Diamondbacks, respectively.

 

Gray, CC, set for Games 1 & 2.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks’ Sonny Gray will start Game 1 of the ALDS against the Indians’ Trevor Bauer Thursday night, and it’ll be CC Sabathia vs. Corey Kluber in Game 2 late Friday afternoon.

Both games will be in Cleveland.

UPDATE: Masahiro Tanaka is penciled in for Game 3 Sunday at the Stadium, with Luis Severino for Game 4 (if necessary). Gray would start Game 5 if necessary. There is a chance that Game 2 will be rained out Friday and have to be played Saturday.

Solly Hemus has passed away at the age of 94. The former infielder played in the majors from 1949-1959 with the Cardinals (1949-1956, 1959) and Phillies (1956-1958). He finished 31st in MVP voting in 1952 when he hit .268-15-52, OPS+ 126, as mostly as the Cardinals’ SS. He led MLB in runs scored and HBP that year. After a good 1953, he hit .304 in 1954 as a part-timer.   The only years he got 300 or more at bats were 1951-1953 and 1958. His 162 game average was .273-9-44, OPS+ 115.

He later managed the Cardinals from 1959-1961. He was 71-83 in 1959, finishing seventh in the eight-team league. In 1960 the Cards went 86-68, finishing third, and in 1961 he was fired with the Cards 33-41 and in fifth place. 190-192 in his managerial career.