Category Archives: Media

ALDS Game 2: Yanks up 2-0 after Didi slams, Tanaka tames Twins, 8-2.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

One thing about the postseason. A player can be struggling at the end of the regular season, then one postseason at bat can make him a hero.

Such is the case with Didi Gregorius in Game 2 of the ALDS. Didi, who was struggling badly at the end of the regular season, and also in Game 1, hit a grand slam that broke Game 2 open, and the Yanks beat the Twins 8-2 to take a two games to none lead into Minnesota on Monday for Game 3 of the best-of-five series.

Masahiro Tanaka continued to be a postseason force, improving his record to 4-2, 1.54 in the postseason. The YES network showed a graph of people with postseason ERAs under Tanaka’s (minimum five starts). That list was headed by Sandy Koufax, Christy Mathewson and Eddie Plank (although the YES network screwed up. The picture shown was of Lefty Grove, not Eddie Plank). Wild Bill Hallahan was in there too. Koufax, Mathewson and Plank are all hall-of-famers.

The Twins made a curious decision, starting a rookie, Randy Dobnak, making only his SIXTH start in the majors, and who had only 28 1/3 innings of major league experience. This, in Game 2 of the ALDS, in a game you NEED to win to avoid going down 0-2 in a best of five series. Strange decision indeed.

Not only that, the kid got married last Saturday. So his focus lately hasn’t been 100% on baseball.

Tanaka got out of a jam in first, being the back end of a nifty 3-6-1 DP to end the inning. Tanaka helps himself out when he pitches by holding runners on well and also by fielding his position well. Here his fielding helped him out.

The Yanks got to Dobnak early, scoring one run in the first. D.J. LeMahieu led off with a double and Aaron Judge walked. A flyout by Brett Gardner moved D.J. to third. Edwin Encarnacion, looking hot and nothing like a guy just off the IL, singled to make it 1-0 Yanks.

Then came the third inning. The Yankees tied their postseason record by scoring seven runs in the inning.

Judge led off with a single and Gardner walked. Encarnacion singled to load the bases and Giancarlo Stanton hit a SF to make it 2-0. Gleyber Torres singled in a run, 3-0. Gary Sanchez was HBP to reload the bases and then Didi hit his grand slam. 7-0. After Gio Urshela struck out, D.J. walked and Judge singled. Gardner singled to make it 8-0, and the game was basically over.

Tanaka did give up a run in the fourth, and the Twins also got a run off of Jonathan Loaisiga in the ninth.

Judge 2 hits, 2 walks
Encarnacion 2 hits, RBI
Gregorius 2 hits, 4 RBI. Grand slam. (1st by Yankee in postseason since Robbie Cano 2011)
Urshela 2 hits.

 

Tanaka (WINNER) 5 IP,  1 R, 3 H, 1 W, 7 K.  Brilliant.
Kahnle 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Ottavino 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Lyons 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Loaisiga 1 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 2 K.

Yankees’ pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts. Meanwhile, besides getting 11 hits, the Yankees drew 8 walks.

 


No offense to other good teams in the AL, like Oakland, Tampa Bay and Cleveland (who didn’t make the playoffs despite winning over 90 games) or the Twins, but for months it has appeared that, unless there is an upset, that the ALCS would be the Yankees vs. the Astros.

That possibility became even more of a certainty Saturday night when Houston beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to go up two games to none in their series. Gerrit Cole struck out 15 in 7 2/3 innings. The only pitchers to strike out more in a postseason game were Bob Gibson and Kevin Brown (yeah, I still wretch when I think of Kevin Brown). Houston pitchers combined for 17 strikeouts and Alex Bregman hit a HR.

Cole is a free agent after the season. The Yanks drafted him in 2008 but he went to college instead. The Yanks tried to trade for him but wouldn’t give up Miguel Andujar in the deal.  So the interest is clearly there. Cole went 20-5, 2.50 with 326 K this season. He led the AL in ERA and the majors in strikeouts. You can guess how much I want Hal Steinbrenner to break open the piggy bank and sign Cole (who, obviously, won’t come cheap) in this upcoming offseason. Not only to help the Yanks but to hurt Houston.

Can you imagine a rotation of Cole, Severino, Tanaka, Paxton and Happ (sorry to the youngsters).

Cole is 29. A three-time All-Star who will get CYA consideration for the third time this offseason (and who may win it, unless he loses to teammate Justin Verlander). His 162 g. average is 17-7, 3.22, ERA+ 127.

Look at that rotation again. You can buy Happ out after 2020 and maybe a youngster like Deivi Garcia is ready in 2021 (and I didn’t even mention Jordan Montgomery).

8 years, $250 million?

It isn’t my money, obviously. But I can dream about spending Hal’s, can’t I?

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Yanks make a minor signing; Kay to return to booth.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks signed Tyler Lyons to a minor league deal as they continue to look for depth for their bullpen.

Lyons, LHP, 31, has pitched in 150 MLB games for the Cardinals (2013-2018) and Pirates (3 games in 2019). He is 13-11, 4.20 (ERA+ 95) in his MLB career. Although he had his best year in 2017 (4-1, 2.83) he has struggled since (2-1, 9.15). Like the David Hernandez signing, a flyer.

After having had surgery on his vocal cords and having been disallowed from speaking for quite a while, broadcaster Michael Kay has been cleared to speak and will be returning to the broadcast booth tomorrow (Saturday).

Game 120. Gleyber bashes O’s again, Yanks win 11-8.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks (79-41) beat Baltimore 11-8 in the night game of the day/night DH as Gleyber Torres continued to torment the Orioles.

Of Torres’ 26 HR this season, half have come vs. Baltimore. With two games left against the Orioles this year, Torres has 13 HR against Baltimore. The Yanks as a team have hit 59 HR vs. the Orioles (13 Torres, 9 by Sanchez), 43 at Camden Yards.

The major league record for most HR against one team in a single season is by Lou Gehrig in 1936 against the Cleveland Indians—14 of his 49 that year. Gleyber is one short.

Want more? From MLB.com (some repeating what I mentioned above) :

• The 13 homers vs. the Orioles this season are the most by a player against a single opponent in the divisional era (since 1969).

• The 13 homers vs. the Orioles are tied for the second most by a player against a single opponent in a season in MLB history (record is Lou Gehrig‘s 14 vs. Cleveland in 1936).

• Torres is the first player since Roger Maris in 1961 vs. the White Sox — his record-setting season — with 13 homers against a single opponent in a season.

• Torres’ five multihomer games vs. the Orioles are the most by a player in a season against a single opponent.

• With 50 career homers, he’s the third-youngest Yankees player to reach that mark.
(Mantle and DiMaggio)

• Torres is the youngest player in American League history to reach 8 career multihomer games.

• The second-year player has surpassed his rookie-year homer total of 24.

• Torres is the first player since Mike Schmidt (1983 vs. the Expos) to homer in both games of a doubleheader twice against the same team in the same season. Torres also homered in both games of a twin bill vs. the Orioles on May 15.

He’s not even 23 yet.

Things are getting so ridiculous with Gleyber vs. the Orioles that in the eighth inning, with two on and two out, the Orioles walked him intentionally to load the bases rather than face him.

The win was the Yanks’ 14th in a row over the Orioles. They are 15-2 vs. them this season.

With the win, the Yanks have a 9 game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East. The magic # to clinch the division is 34.

In the first inning, D.J. LeMahieu singled, and one out later, Gio Urshela singled. Torres singled to load the bases, and Brett Gardner hit a 3-run triple. 3-0 Yanks.

With one out in the second, Breyvic Valera singled and LeMahieu walked. A WP moved the runners up, and an error in trying to get Valera at third moved them up even further, Valera scoring to make it 4-0.

The Yanks used a lot of B-pitchers in this game. Chad Green once again served as the opener.

Recently acquired Joe Mantiply, who got his first MLB win, gave up 3 runs, including a 2-run HR, in the third that cut the Yanks’ lead to 4-3. Mantiply was making his Yankees’ debut. He did pitch in five games in 2016 for the Tigers—to a 16.88 ERA. That career ERA wasn’t lowered by much.

Mike Ford homered (4) in the bottom of the fourth to make it 5-3 Yankees.

Torres hit the first of his two 3-run homers in the game in the fifth (25) to make it 8-3.

In the bottom of the sixth, he hit his SECOND 3-run homer of the game (26) to make it 11-3.

Brady Lail, making his MLB debut, gave up a 3-run HR in the seventh that cut the Yanks’ lead to 11-6.

Bottom of the eighth, and with two on and two out, Torres, as mentioned earlier, is intentionally walked. No chance for a third 3-run HR.

Torres also turned a nifty DP, barehanding a the flip to second before firing to first.

Baltimore got two runs in the top of the ninth to make it 11-8 before Adam Ottavino closed things out.

The Yankees’ pitching wasn’t great, but Gleyber made up for it.

LeMahieu 3 hits, .338
Urshela 3 hits, .332 (can he catch D.J.?)
Torres 3 hits, Two 3-run HR (26)  6 RBI. Team HR leader (passed Sanchez).
Gardner 3 RBI
Ford solo HR (4)

Green 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.   4.69
Mantiply (W, 1-0, 9.00) 3 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 2 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR. NYY Debut, 1st MLB win.
Lail (H, 1) 2 2/3 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 1 W, 2 K.  Gave up 1 HR. MLB debut.  10.13
Cortes, Jr. 1 1/3 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 W, 1 K.   4.44
Ottavino (S, 2) 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.  1.71

 

 

 

Game 116. Yanks’ winning streak ends in 8-2 loss.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Before the game, the Yanks made a minor league deal (those are still allowed after the deadline) getting Joe Mantiply from the Reds for cash considerations. Mantiply, 28, LHP, pitched in five games for the Tigers in 2016, going 0-0, 16.88. He actually was in the Yanks’ minor league system in 2017, going 6-5, 2.83 for SWB (6 starts, 29 relief appearances). He was 1-0, 4.15 for the Reds’ AA/AAA teams in 19 relief appearances this year. He’ll be going to AAA.

Good news on Luis Severino. He threw off a mound and felt great. It looks like the Yanks could get him back in September. But would it be for only two or three outings before the postseason? Would that be enough? More on that later after this game report. (Also, in a separate minor league report, good news on Jonathan Loaisiga Friday night).

On Firday, Yanks’ GM Brian Cashman had a scare, being mistaken for a car thief. He was stopped—at gunpoint—by as many as nine officers in CT.

Per ESPN:

Cashman, 52, said in an interview with the New York Post that his white Jeep Wrangler had been stolen and returned to him but that the New York City police had not cleared the vehicle from its stolen-car database.

Luckily, things didn’t escalate or get mistaken into anything tragic.

Now for the game. Good point made by John Flaherty on YES about holding umpires accountable. Players have to face the media after a bad performance and answer questions, not so umpires. Players get suspended and/or fined, umpires should too. Because the umpiring last night was bad.

Brett Gardner got tossed from the game by the home plate umpire who A) didn’t give a warning first, and B) wasn’t even looking in the dugout to see who was getting on him, thus ejecting the wrong person. How do you eject someone without seeing and making sure you are ejecting the right individual? Gardner says he didn’t say anything or do anything to get ejected, and when he came out to vociferously argue, was lied to by that home plate umpire. As a result, Aaron Judge, who was supposed to get the night off, had to play. Of course, after the game there is no media questioning the umpire. HE isn’t held accountable. If Gardner faces a fine or ejection, that would make this even more of a travesty. MLB needs to hold more bad umpires (like Angel Hernandez, even though this time it wasn’t him) accountable by fining or suspending them. They probably won’t though. It’s  a joke how they let some really bad umpiring slide. This wasn’t all. There was a really bad call later in the game.

As far as strike zones, MLB has to tell the umpires off on that. You can’t have “your” strike zone and call it the same way on a 6’7″ player like Aaron Judge the same way you do on a 5’9″ player. How many times do we see strikes called on Judge that are below his knees because he is 6’7″? But the umps don’t adjust to his height as they should. Ridiculous.

Umpires need to face the same criticism and meet the same standards and receive the same penalties as the players. Start cracking down on bad umpiring, MLB.

As for the game, well, those bad decisions didn’t cost the Yanks the game, bad pitching by J.A. Happ did. Unfortunately, Happ, who was so good for the Yanks after the Yanks traded for him last year (until Game 1 of the ALDS), has turned into this season’s “Sonny Gray”. What is worrisome is that he has a contract for next year for another $17MM and a vesting option for 2021 for another $17MM that kicks in with 27 starts or 165 IP in 2020. If Happ, who turns 37 in mid-October, is falling off the cliff per se, then the Yanks have a problem. I don’t know if he has a no-trade clause. But right now, would you trust him on the postseason roster? I wouldn’t. Would you look into dealing him after the season (and probably having to eat a lot of his contract)? I would.

Happ only gave up four hits in 5 IP, but three were HR as he was plagued by the gopher ball again. Those resulted in six runs. We can only hope for improvement, but it looks like a lost season for him. We’ll see if it is the start of the end for his career as well.

He has to improve, that is for sure.

Things got off to a bad start when Happ gave up a 2-run HR in the first and a solo HR in the second. Yanks down 3-0 after two innings, already.

In the top of the fourth, immediately after the fiasco with the umpire that got Gardner ejected, Mike Tauchman homered (12) to cut it to 3-1. Boy, is Tauchman hot.

But Happ gave up a 3-run HR in the bottom of the fourth that made it 6-1 and basically ended the Yanks’ (76-40) chances for a win in this one. Oh well, you can’t win them all and the loss snapped a nine-game winning streak.

Tampa Bay won, so the Yanks’ lead in the AL East was cut to 9 1/2.

Mike Ford homered (3) in the seventh to make it 6-2, but Tommy Kahnle gave up a 2-run HR in the eighth. Final score 8-2 Toronto.

LeMahieu 2 hits,  .340
Maybin 0 for 4, Golden Sombrero 4 strikeouts, should have had a hit. Bad call.
Tauchman 2 hits, solo HR (12)  .301
Ford solo HR (3)

Happ (L, 9-7, 5.48) 5 IP, 6 R, 4 H, 3 W, 4 K.  Gave up 3 HR.
Cortes, Jr.  2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K.  4.18
Kahnle 1 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 1 W, 1 K.  3.04   Gave up 1 HR.

You wonder how much of an “opener” the Yanks could use in the postseason. Could Severino AND Loiasiga be used in such a fashion because of just coming off the IL in September? Could German be (because of an innings limit) used as the guy AFTER the “opener” ? There will be very interesting decisions made in a month because, even with the great record the Yanks have right now, you can’t be comfortable with what you are getting from the starters right now, especially Tanaka, Happ and even CC.

Especially if they are going up against Greinke, Verlander and Cole.

Over the next few weeks, here’s hoping the rotation can step it up and alleviate my concerns.

 

 

Yanks rained out. A minor move, news on Chapman, and Heller has a setback.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

From MLB.com:

The New York Yankees announced that Wednesday’s game between the Yankees and Rays has been postponed due to the forecast of severe inclement weather.

Tonight’s game has been rescheduled as the first game (3:00 p.m.) of a single-admission doubleheader for tomorrow, Thursday, July 18. The regularly scheduled second game will start approximately 30 minutes after the first game ends, but no earlier than 7:05 p.m.

The Yanks did make a minor move today, picking up Terrance Gore from KC for cash considerations. He will go to SWB and isn’t on the 40 man roster. He could go on at the end of the year. The speedster could be used late in the year or in the postseason as a pinchrunner. He already has been used in that role in the postseason with the 2014 and 2015 Royals and with the 2018 Cubs.

Gore, 28, only has 67 MLB at bats, hitting .224 with just 1 MLB RBI. He does have 40 SB however, in 49 attempts. He can play all three OF positions but is primarily a corner outfielder.

Rumors were going around today that Aroldis Chapman absolutely, positively, 1 million percent sure was going to opt out of his contract at the end of the season. Maybe he still will, but (per mlb.com):

Chapman said that no decisions about his future have been made.

“The report is completely false,” Chapman said through a translator. “I haven’t even spoken to my agent about it. Like I said before, we have a big task in front of us, which is to win the division and win the World Series. That’s the main focus for me right now. Contract stuff hasn’t even crossed my mind at all.”

….

“But the truth is, honestly, I feel really good here,” Chapman said. “There’s no reason for me to start thinking about changes or anything like that. I feel great here. Eventually, when the season is over, I’ll sit down and talk about it. No need right now.”

Also from MLB.com:

Right-hander Ben Heller, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, has been pulled back from his Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre due to an issue with his right elbow or forearm. Heller is returning to New York to be evaluated by the Yankees’ medical staff.

The YES network has had different people in the studio for pre- and post-game Yankees’ game reports. Seeing Jeff Nelson and David Wells was one thing, but it is a little surprising the past few nights to see Buck Showalter doing commentary.

 

Game 93. Yanks get six in 8th to defeat Rays, 8-3.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Rays were about to cut the Yanks’ lead in the AL East down to four games. They were four outs away from doing so.

But a 2-run HR by Aaron Judge and a grand slam by Didi Gregorius turned a possible 3-2 Yankees’ loss into an 8-3 Yankees’ win and enabled the Yankees (60-33) to stretch their lead over Tampa Bay to six games. The Yankees are 10 up on Boston.

The Rays took an early lead when CC Sabathia gave up a HR to Austin Meadows in the top of the second inning.

The Yanks came right back in the bottom of the second when Edwin Encarnacion hit a 435 ft. HR (28) to tie the game. Encarnacion’s 28th HR of the season (Seattle and NY) was #408 of his career, passing Duke Snider on the all-time list, and putting him one behind Mark Teixeira.

In the fourth, CC gave up a HR to Yandy Diaz to make it 3-1 Rays. He almost gave up back-to-back HR, but Brett Gardner robbed Avisail Garcia of a HR.

In the bottom of the fifth, Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres both made bad base-running decisions on the same play, and Tampa Bay got a DP to end that half-inning.

Diaz got an RBI double in the top of the sixth to put the Rays up 3-1.

D.J. LeMahieu homered in the bottom of the sixth (13) to cut the Rays’ lead to 3-2.

In the top of the seventh, Nestor Cortes, Jr. came in for CC but loaded the bases with one out, David Hale relieved Cortes, and got a DP to get out of the inning and keep the game within reach for the Yankees.

In the bottom of the eighth, Gleyber Torres walked. Two outs later, Aaron Judge hit a 2-run HR (10) to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead, but then they got insurance runs when Luke Voit singled, Gary Sanchez doubled, Encarnacion was intentionally walked, and Didi Gregorius hit his fifth HR of the season, this one a grand slam, to put the Yankees up 8-3.

Hale got into a jam in the top of the ninth, but Zack Britton finished off the Rays.

Yankees’ radio announcer John Sterling missed the game. He’s missed a couple lately as he (81 years old) is battling a health issue.

LeMahieu solo HR (13)  .331
Judge 2 hits, 2 RBI, GW 2-run HR (10)  .304
Encarnacion 2 hits, solo HR (28)
Gregorius 4 RBI; Grand Slam HR (5)

Sabathia 6 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 0 W, 6 K. Gave up 2 HR.  4.06
Cortes, Jr. 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 W, 1 K.  4.50
Hale (W, 3-0, 2.45) 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 3 K.  2.45
Britton 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.  2.31

Game 84. Yanks beat Mets 5-1 behind G-“FOUR”CES.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Well, you have heard of G-forced, how about G-“FOUR”CES?

The Yanks beat the Mets 5-1 Wednesday night behind key contributions from four “G’s”:

German
Gleyber
Gregorius and
Gleyber

G-FOURCE.

(if you want to add Green to that, go ahead, but G-FIFTH doesn’t read too well… ).

The win puts the Yankees (55-29) 6 1/2 up on the Rays and 11 up on Boston in the AL East.

The Yanks now have a four-game series in Tampa vs. the Rays. It could be huge. All the Yanks really have to do is split, stay 6 1/2 up and take four games off the schedule.

A sweep could help bury the Rays at 10 1/2 out. Just don’t get swept yourself and get them back to 2 1/2 out.

The Yanks struck at the Mets right away, scoring two in the first inning. D.J. LeMahieu led off with a double, and Aaron Judge followed with a double to score D.J. Later in the inning, Gleyber Torres’ single knocked in Judge.

The fact Torres (.298-19-50, basically a .298-37-97 pace more or less–and for a middle infielder, to boot) is not on the AL All-Star team is a travesty.

Domingo German, just off the IL, gave up a HR on his first pitch, and you wondered if he was brought back too soon. But he settled down after that to pitch six great innings for his tenth win of the season.

Gio Urshela looked like Graig Nettles at third base last night. Maybe even better. He put on a defensive show.

Down 2-1 in the fifth, with a man on, Mets’ manager Mickey Callaway made a curious decision. He didn’t PH for pitcher Jason Vargas. Vargas’ did get his bunt down, but the Mets didn’t score.

That decision came back to bite the Mets in the sixth. With one out, Didi Gregorius hit his fourth HR of the season to give the Yanks a 3-1 lead. Callaway then replaced Vargas with Wilmer Font.

If Vargas’ leash was that short, why not PH for him in the fifth? ESPN announcers were arguing about that last night. You are down, need to score runs, don’t PH for the pitcher, but then the next inning he only faces two batters? Makes no sense.

And that is one reason why Callaway’s seat with the underachieving (39-48) Mets is extremely hot.

Font gave up a HR to the first batter he faced, as Gregorius and Urshela went back-to-back. Urshela’s seventh HR of the season made it 4-1.

For a while, it appeared as if Gio was hurt, but he turned out OK. Whew.

LeMahieu led off the seventh with a double, and two outs later, Hicks walked. Torres’ single made it 5-1, which was the final score.

Aaron Hicks robbed Robbie Cano of a possible HR during the game. Definitely a possible double, questionable whether it would have cleared the fence or not.

LeMahieu 2 hits (.342 leads AL)
Torres 2 hits, 2 RBI
Gregorius 2 hits, solo HR (4)
Urshela 2 hits, solo HR (7). A couple of superb defensive plays.

German (W, 10-2, 3.67) 6 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 0 W, 6 K. Gave up 1 HR (on his first pitch).
Green 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 4 K.  5.64
Cortes, Jr. 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.  5.04

German looked like the German, ace-like, that he was before his last few starts when he struggled with the hip problem.

Yankees’ announcers are now on the IL. John Sterling will not be broadcasting this weekend because of health issues. Sterling, who turns 81 today, the 4th of July, had broadcast 5,060 consecutive games, ever since he had to take two days off for the death of a sister in 1989.

Meanwhile, Michael Kay will miss a month because he needs surgery on one of his vocal cords.