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Game 118. Gray seals it, but Chapman almost unseals it in a 5-4 Yanks’ win.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Pardons to Elton John for the headline.

The Yanks have a problem on their hands. That problem is Aroldis Chapman and a second problem may be Joe Girardi’s stubbornness right now.

Sonny Gray pitched well, six shutout innings before yielding a 2-run HR in the seventh. Still, the Yanks took a 5-2 lead into the ninth, when Chapman gave up a 2-run HR to make things shaky before the Yanks finished off the Mets 5-4.

Chapman is a problem right now. As I wrote a few days ago, the Yanks have three closers. They can go with the hot hand, something Girardi mentioned sarcastically a few days ago in saying “Chapman is my closer. What am I supposed to do, go with the hot hand?”

Yes, Joe, that is exactly what we want you to do. We also want you to leave relievers performing well in for more than one inning. For you almost blew another game tonight. 

The Yanks scored first, getting a run in the third on a Torreyes double, Gardner sac bunt and Hicks single. Good. Nice to see some littleball with the bunt there.

Jacoby Ellsbury hit a 2-run HR (6) in the fourth to make it 3-0.

Gary Sanchez homered in the sixth (21) to make it 4-0. Gray gave up a 2-run HR in the seventh,  but the Yanks made it 5-2 in the eighth on a SF by Sanchez.

Then in came Chapman who almost blew the game. Why not leave Betances throw a second inning. Why not use Warren (Robertson could use the day off). But no, the “he’s my closer” stubbornness mentality almost cost the Yanks a ballgame.

You just knew when Chapman came in tonight that this wasn’t going to go smoothly.

Aaron Judge struck out for the 32nd straight game, tying a MLB record, but he did have a key double and then scored that fifth run.

Gray (W, 7-7, 3.37) 6+ IP, 2 R, 5 H, 2 W, 5 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Kahnle (H, 11) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 2.30. Threw just 10 pitches. What, he can’t go two?
Betances (H, 17) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K. 2.20. Threw 19 pitches. He couldn’t go two?
Chapman (S, 16) 1 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K. 3.89. That save rule is a joke.

Happy the Yanks won. Unhappy Girardi is so inflexible with his thinking.

UPDATE: Chapman was pretty down after the game. Not as confident as previously. It could be getting to him. On the final play, he appeared to tweak his hammy a bit.

Cessa went on the DL. Smith back up.

Game 112. Yanks beat Toronto 11-5 behind Cooper, Todd Frazier.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Unfortunately, the Red Sox aren’t losing (they have won 8 in a row) so the Yanks could not make up ground, but the Yanks did win, so they continue to maintain or increase the advantage they have for the top wild card spot. There is a big series at home against Boston this weekend.

With tonight’s 11-5 win over Toronto, the Yanks record improves to 60-52. Fifty games left. Four back of Boston.

Before the game, Clint Frazier was a late scratch with an oblique problem. He has been slumping badly lately. Aaron Hicks was expected back Friday. That may be bumped up with this problem.

The Yanks struck first, scoring twice in the second on back to back HR by Gary Sanchez (18) and Todd Frazier (19).

Tanaka gave a run right back. 2-1 Yanks after two.

Didi Gregorius homered (18) in the third to make it 3-1 Yanks. Toronto scored in the bottom half of the frame off a stuggling Tanaka to make it 3-2.

In the fifth, with one out, Judge walked. Gregorius doubled Judge to third. After Sanchez struck out for the second out, Todd Frazier doubled in two runs. Ellsbury doubled in Frazier. 6-2 Yanks.

Jose Bautista homered off Tanaka in the bottom of the fifth, and chased him. 6-3.

Toronto got two in the fifth before the Yanks’ bullpen was able to slam the door. 6-5.

The Yanks put the game away in the last two innings. In the eighth, Garrett Cooper’s third hit of the night put runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. Ronald Torreyes singled in two runs.

In the ninth, with the bases loaded and no one out, a ground out by Ellsbury drove in a run. Cooper singled (his fourth hit) in two more.  11-5.

Gregorius (.311) 3 hits, HR, RBI.
Sanchez 2 hits, HR, RBI.
Todd Frazier 3 hits, HR, 3 RBI.
Ellsbury 2 RBI.
Cooper 4 hits, 2 RBI.
Torreyes 2 hits, 2 RBI.

Tanaka 4 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 H, 5 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR. 4.92. Uncharacteristically wild.
Green (W, 2-0, 2.06) 1 1/3 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 0 W, 3 K.
Kahnle (H, 10) 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K. 2.38
Robertson (H, 2) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 2.44
Betances (H, 16) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 2.36
Warren 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K. 1.89

With Tanaka not going the requisite five innings, it falls to the official scorer. Personally, I would not have given the W to Green (2 runs in 1 1/3?) but probably to Robertson instead. Too many official scorers are lazy, however, and go “by the book.”

 

Game 107. No support, offensively or defensively for Gray in Yanks’ 5-1 loss.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Sonny Gray made his Yankees’ debut last night, and when your teammates make as many errors behind you in the first inning as they had hits all game long, that’s not good.

The Yanks made three errors in the first inning, leading to two unearned runs, and that was all Cleveland needed in beating the Yanks 5-1. The loss drops the Yanks to 57-50, two games behind Boston in the AL East. They currently have the top wild card spot. Tonight’s game marks the 2/3 point of the season.

The Yanks only managed three hits off of Corey Kluber, who pitched a complete game, striking out 11 Yanks. The Yanks’ only run came on a HR (17) by Gary Sanchez in the seventh.

The Indians had scored two runs off of Gray in the sixth, so Sanchez’ HR cut the lead to 4-1.

Cleveland got a HR by Francisco Lindor off of Chasen Shreve in the bottom of the seventh for the final score of 5-1.

The slumping Judge, Holliday and Todd Frazier were all given a rest against the tough Kluber, a former CYA winner. In their places were Romine, Ellsbury and Wade.

Gray (L, 6-6, 3.41) 6 IP, 4 R, 2 ER, 4 H, 3 W, 6 K.
Shreve 2 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR. 2.83

Game 83. Judge ties a Joe D. record, but Yanks lose 7-6.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

You can talk about the injuries all you want, but with the Yanks going 23-30 after a 21-9 start, you have to look at the bullpen. Once a strength, it is killing them lately. Be it Clippard a few weeks ago, Betances now, or Chapman giving up a big double in Houston the other day, what was a strength is killing the Yanks right now.

Despite Aaron Judge tying the Yanks’ record for HR in a season by a rookie, held since 1936 by none other than Joe DiMaggio, the day was a disappointment as the Yanks came back from 5-0 down to take a 6-5 lead, only to lose 7-6 because all of a sudden, Dellin Betances can’t throw strikes. He walked a bunch in Houston the other day and in facing five batters today, walked four of them to force in the winning run.

The Yanks’ pitchers gave up 4 HR today as well. Despite the injuries to Hicks, Castro & Holliday, you can still overcome that with great pitching. After all, the other team can’t win if they can’t score. But the Yankees’ pitching, especially the bullpen, has failed them lately.

After a 21-9 start, the Yanks are 23-30. Those 53 games are 1/3 of the season. Those 53 games, multiplied by 3, are 69-90. That is awful and must change.

For the season, the Yanks are 44-39, but slowly dropping to the .500 level. That is unacceptable.

Michael Pineda reverted to the bad Pineda today, giving up 3 HR. He is a lot like A.J. Burnett used to be. You don’t know if you will get the good or bad that day.

After 3 1/2 innings, the Yanks were down 5-0. They got two runs back on Aaron Judge’s 2-run HR in the bottom of the fourth. HR #29 tied Joe DiMaggio (1936) for the most HR by a Yankees’ rookie. The MLB record or 49 was set in 1987 by Mark McGwire.

The Yanks made it 5-4 in the fifth, when Ji-Man Choi, just called up to replace Chris Carter at 1B, hit a 2-run HR (1), a 457 foot blast.

Later that inning, Didi Gregorius hit a 2-run double to put the Yanks up 6-5.

Chad Green gave up a HR in the seventh that tied the game. It was the fourth HR Yankees’ pitchers gave up in the game.

In the eighth, Dellin Betances faced five batters. He struck out one but walked the other four, forcing in what proved to be the winning run.

The strength when the Yanks started 21-9 has turned into a weakness. Whether it was Clippard a few weeks ago, Betances now, or Chapman giving up a key double the other day, the Yanks need to get their bullpen right.

In those last 53 games, that the Yanks have gone 23-30 in, the Yanks have lost 14 by one run. 14. Win 1/2 of those 14, and they are 30-23 in those games, and instead of 44-39, are 51-32.

Big difference. The Yanks are 9-17 in one run games this year. Make that even at 13-13 and instead of being four games out, then they are tied for first with Boston.

Say all you want about the injuries, but the bullpen has to be better, and they need to win those one-run games.

Judge 2 hits, HR #29, 2 RBI.
Gregorius 2 RBI.
Choi HR, 2 RBI.

Pineda 3 IP, 5 R, 9 H, 1 W, 1 K. Gave up 3 HR. 4.39. Just awful.
Shreve 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K. 2.63
Green (BS, 1) 2 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR. 2.03
Betances (L, 3-4, 3.29) 1/3 IP, 1 R, 0 H, 4 W, 1 K. Can’t find the strike zone lately.
Warren 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. 2.10.

 

Minor League Report. Big Day for Gleyber Torres.

cropped-the-stadium-facade.jpg

AAA: Tyler Austin was activated off the DL and assigned to AAA SWB. I’m a little surprised and disappointed. I would have liked him to be brought right up to the big club and for Chris Carter to be let go. I am not the only one.

SWB (32-22) won 6-3. A huge game for SS Gleyber Torres. 3 for 3 with a walk. HR, 4 RBI.

Mitchell 2 1/3 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 W, 1 K. 4.76
German (W, 2-1, 3.76) 5 1/3, 1 R, 5 H, 2 W, 7 K.
Heller (s, 3) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 2.84

AA: Trenton off.

High A: Tampa (30-28) won 6-0. Rehabbing 1B Greg Bird 1 for 3, single, RBI.

RF Trey Amburgey 2-run HR.  LF Tito Polo 2 hits, RBI.

Clarkin 4 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 2 W, 2 K. 1.56
Hissong (W, 1-0, 4.82) 3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 4 K.
Harvey 1 IP 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K, 0.00
Foley 1 IP, 0 r, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 0.00

Low A:   Charleston off.

Now, you can ask how someone could get a save in a 17-0 win (which Charleston had on Sunday) . Here’s how (although it seems ridiculous).

That rule states the official scorer shall credit a pitcher with a save when such pitcher meets all four of the following conditions:

  1. He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his team;
  2. He is not the winning pitcher;
  3. He is credited with at least ⅓ of an inning pitched; and
  4. He satisfies one of the following conditions:
    1. He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning
    2. He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, at bat or on deck
    3. He pitches for at least three innings.

Now in Charleston’s 17-0 win on Sunday, the relief pitcher, who pitched 4 innings, met criteria #1.

He met criteria #2.

He pitched 4 innings, so he met criteria #3.

and…

He met the 3rd subcriteria of criteria #4 by pitching 4 innings.

So as silly as it seems, this pitcher got a save in a 17-0 win.

 

 

Game 28. Yanks bomb Cubs 11-6 behind Hicks, Castro.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Starlin Castro and Adam Warren came back to haunt their former team, and Aaron Hicks continued his amazing year as the Yanks scored five in the first and bombed the Cubs 11-6 last night.

The win keeps the Yanks in first place in the AL East at 19-9, 1/2 game ahead of the 19-10 Orioles. The Yanks have won 18 of their last 23 games.

Jordan Montgomery was again was steady and kept his team in the game. I’m impressed with his five major league starts so far.

In the first, Brett Gardner, Friday’s hero, picked up where he left off, doubling to lead off the game. Hicks singled on a bunt (bunt more often, Joe) and Gardner scored on a throwing error, Hicks not being able to advance. Castro then doubled in Hicks to make it 2-0. After Judge struck out, Sanchez singled to make it 3-0. Gregorius singled, then Headley doubled in two runs and before the Cubs’ fans were comfortable in their seats, it was 5-0 Yanks.

In the third, Sanchez and Gregorius singled and Sanchez scored on an error.

In the fifth, ex-Cub Castro hit a 2-run HR (6) to make it 8-0. Castro is rivaling Judge for team MVP right now. He’s hitting .381.

The Cubs got two in the fifth (one of the runs unearned because of a two-out error by Didi) and another in the seventh to cut the Yanks lead to 8-3.

Then Hicks basically insured the win with a 3-run HR (6) in the eighth. I, like many Yankees fans, was all over Hicks last year when he hit just .217-8-31 in 327 AB, OPS+ just 63. This year he’s been a revelation as the fourth OF, hitting .355-6-15, OPS+ 216! I don’t know where that came from, but wow, we’ll take it.

Tommy Layne had a terrible bottom of the eighth, giving up three runs that really blows up his ERA, but Adam Warren, who struggled last year with the Cubs before coming back to the Yankees, came in to slam the door. Being back with the Yankees has worked out well for Warren. Last year with the Cubs, he was 3-2, 5.91 before being traded back to the Yanks, for whom he went 4-2, 3.26. This year, 0-0, 0.57 so far. Since Warren wasn’t with the Cubs in the postseason, and since he didn’t pitch well for them, he decided to receive his WS ring in the bullpen privately on Friday than on the field.

Gardner 2 hits, scored 2 runs.
Hicks 4 hits, scored 3, drove in 3, HR.
Castro 3 hits, scored 2, drove in 3, HR.
Sanchez 2 hits, rbi.
Gregorius 2 hits.
Headley 2 RBI

Montgomery (w, 2-1, 3.81) 6 2/3 IP, 3 R, 2 earned, 4 W, 3 K.
Clippard 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W,  0 K. 1.50. Threw one pitch, got the out.
Layne 2/3 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 1 W, 0 K. 9.45.
Warren 1 1/3, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 3 K. 0.57.

The Yanks/Cubs game is the ESPN Sunday night game tonight, then to Cincinnati. More games w/out the DH. You may see Matt Holliday at 1B tonight to get him playing time.

 

 

1950s Slugger Sievers dies at 90.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Roy Sievers, who led the AL in HR and RBI in 1957, has died at the age of 90.

Sievers was one of the last of the St. Louis Browns. He played for the Browns from 1949-1953, winning the ROY award in 1949, when he hit .306-16-91 with an OPS+ of 125.

He played for the Washington Senators from 1954-1959, finishing third for the MVP award in 1957 (behind Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams) when he hit .301-42-114 with an OPS+ of 164. He led the league in total bases that year. He led the AL in SF in 1954.

The following year, Sievers finished 6th in MVP voting after hitting .295-39-108, OPS+ 147.

He spent 1960-1961 with the White Sox, finishing 7th in the MVP voting in 1960 with a mark of .295-28-93, OPS+ 150. He led the AL in intentional walks that year.

From 1962-1964, he was with the Phillies, his last decent year being 1963, before ending his career back with the “new” Washington Senators (the one from the 1950s moved to become the Minnesota Twins) from 1964-1965. (The “new” Senators are now the Texas Rangers).

Primarily a 1B/LF, Sievers also played CF, 3B and RF in his career. A 5x All Star, he got Top-10 MVP consideration 3x and MVP consideration 7x.

He hit .267 in his career with 318 HR. His 162 g. average was .267-27-98, OPS+124. Solid.