Category Archives: Players

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.

 

 

ALCS Game 1: Keuchel Curse Continues as Yanks lose, 2-1.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Deja Vu all over again.

In the 2015 WC game, Masahiro Tanaka pitched well, only to lose to Dallas Keuchel and the Astros, 3-0.

In Game 1 of the ALCS last night, Tanaka again pitched well, and once again the Yankees couldn’t figure out Keuchel, and this time they lost 2-1. Keuchel and his relievers struck out 14 Yankees.

Keuchel has owned the Yankees the past few years. In order to advance to the World Series the Yanks have to either find a way to beat him, or just beat all of the other Astros’ pitchers.

The Astros scored two runs in the second when MVP candidate Jose Altuve (he’ll win the award if Judge doesn’t, and he had 3 hits on the night, half of Houston’s total) singled with one out and stole second. Carlos Correa singled in Altuve, moved up on a groundout, and scored on a single by Yuri Gurriel. Half of the Astros six hits came in this inning.

In the fifth, Greg Bird, who had two of the Yanks’ five hits, singled. Matt Holliday reached on an error, moving Bird up, but two outs later, the runners hadn’t advanced. Aaron Judge singled but Bird was thrown out at the plate. That proved to be the difference in the ball game.

Much has been made since, and will continue to be made, of Bird’s lead, not-so-good turn at third, and lack of foot speed. You may also wonder if that ankle injury that required surgery had anything to do with anything. Maybe that slowed him down even more or forced a turn that wasn’t too good. The short LF in Houston also helped the OF, who made a perfect throw. Anyway, Bird was nipped at the plate, and it was confirmed upon review.

Bird homered with two out in the ninth for the Yankees’ only run.

Tanaka (Loss) 6 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 1 W, 3 K.
Green 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H,  0 W, 2 K.

Severino vs. Verlander in Game 2 today.

In the Arizona Fall League, Yankees’ OF prospect Estevan Florial was 1 for 4 with an RBI in Scottsdale’s 6-4 loss.

 

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 4. Yanks survive, force Game 5, 7-3.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Redemption.

Luis Severino got redemption for his wild card clunker by pitching seven strong innings as the Yankees evened up the series, two games apiece, with a 7-3 win over Cleveland Monday night.

The series will have a do-or-die, deciding Game 5 on Wednesday night. In a bit of a surprise, it will be CC going for the Yanks, and NOT Sonny Gray. Do-or-die game, all hands on deck.

The winner will face Houston in the ALCS. Houston eliminated Boston in Game 4 Monday.

The Yanks got four in the fourth. Castro reached on an error and moved up on a PB, then Todd Frazier’s double off the foul line deep in left made it 1-0. Hicks singled to make it 2-0 and Gardner singled. Gardner stole second. Judge, with his only hit of the series so far, doubled in two. (Should Judge, with only one hit and many strikeouts, be moved out of the #2 slot?)

A walk, double and walk loaded the bases in the third with one out. After a force at home, Gardner reached on an error that made it 5-0.

Severino faltered, giving up a two-run HR in the fourth, and a solo HR in the fifth. The Indians had cut the lead to 5-3.

The Yankees got one right back in the bottom of the fifth. Todd Frazier reached second on on error (Cleveland made 4 on the night) and moved to third on a Hicks’ groundout. Gardner hit a SF to bring him in. It was a risky send, since the flyball wasn’t deep, but they challenged Kipnis, a converted infielder, and the risk paid off.

Sanchez homered in the sixth to make it 7-3.

Betances came in in the eighth and was horrible, walking both batters and he wasn’t close to the strike zone.

Kahnle came in and was brilliant, blowing Cleveland away.

So Robertson and Chapman were saved for Game 5. Don’t forget about Warren and Green, either.

Severino (Winner) 7 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 1 W, 9 K. Gave up 2 HR.
Betances 0 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 0 K.
Kahnle (Save) 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 5 K.

Gardner 2 hits, RBI.
Judge 2 RBI. Struck out 4x.

Headley 0 for 4, 3 K. The Yanks have gotten nothing from him or Ellsbury at DH this series. You wonder who DHs Game 5 vs. Kluber. Even though Holliday is a righty batter, do you go back to him? What about Judge’s struggles? Do you drop Judge?

There will be interesting decisions made. Both before and during the game, especially with bullpen pecking order.

Besides Houston eliminating Boston, the Dodgers swept Arizona, so they are in the NLCS. In the other NLCS game, the Cubs, despite being no-hit for 6 1/3 innings, won 2-1 over Washington to take a two games to one lead in that series.

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.