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A look back. The games that could cost the Yankees ALCS Home-Field Advantage.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

If the Yanks play Houston in the ALCS, it appears that Houston, as in 2017, will have home field advantage. We know what happened in the 2017 ALCS. The home team won every game.

As of now, Houston has a 1 1/2 game edge over the Yanks for home field advantage, and owns the tiebreaker. Just seven games remain in the regular season.

Yes, you can lose things in April.

Looking back. The series that could come back to haunt them. The Jose Altuve series.

April 8 at Houston: Yanks take a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh. They lose 4-3. Tanaka was great, 1 R, in 6 IP, but Britton and Ottavino couldn’t hold it. Altuve hits a HR.

April 9 at Houston: The Yanks had a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the seventh. They gave up one in the seventh and three in the eighth to lose 6-3. One of the few games started this year by Jonathan Loaisiga. Chad Green has been great since getting fixed at AAA (when his ERA was 16.43) and coming back, but this was one of those games before having to go down to AAA that Green was awful in. He gave up 3 runs in 2/3 of an inning and took the loss. Jonathan Holder, who has had a bad, wasted year, was the one who gave up the run in the seventh. Altuve homered in this game.

I am not sure, but I think it was also this game in which Clint Frazier in LF really messed up a couple of balls as well.

April 10 at Houston: Houston won 8-6, Altuve hit 2 HR.

So a combination of failing bullpen, Jose Altuve being on fire, and bad defense doomed the Yankees. All before mid-April.

When the teams met at Yankee Stadium in June, the Yanks won the first three games 10–6, 4-1 and 7-5 before dropping the final one 9-4.

2017 ALCS: Yanks 0-4 @ Houston,  3-0 vs. Houston at home.
2018: Yanks 3-1 @ Houston (two shutouts), 2-1 against Houston at home.
2019: Yanks 0-3 @ Houston; 3-1 vs. Houston at home.

Ok, 2018 was a bit strange. But otherwise, you can see the difference recently.

If the Yanks do meet Houston in the ALCS this year, and Houston, as it looks like right now, does have home field advantage, we’ll ruefully look back at those games in April, esp. the first two, as games that could have tremendous bearing on home field advantage and who the AL pennant winner may turn out to be.

One thing is for sure. If the Yanks do play Houston in the ALCS, they’ll have to figure out a way to win in Houston (shutting them out, like in 2018, would help).

Game 155. A Gleyber scare in Yanks’ 4-3 loss.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks (100-55) lost to Toronto 4-3 Friday night, and the loss hurts their chances of beating out Houston for the best record in the AL, but the bigger concern is that of Gleyber Torres.

In a season where the Yankees have overcome so many injuries, losing Gleyber could be the straw that would break the camel’s back. He’ll get tests today. Manager Aaron Boone said that Torres is likely OK. Let’s hope so.

J.A. Happ pitched pretty well. He gave up a run in the fourth on the play in which Gleyber may or may not have gotten hurt. After a double by Cavan Biggio and an out, Vlad Guerrero Jr. hit a grounder up the middle. Torres backhanded the ball and in trying to plant himself for the throw, his legs went out from under him. At first, it looked really bad. Torres remained in the game until the seventh inning, when he was removed after reporting what manager Aaron Boone described as “weakness in his lower legs.”

Aaron Judge tied the game up in the bottom of the fourth with his 25th HR of the season.

Happ gave up a HR to Danny Jansen in the top of the fifth to put Toronto up 2-1.

The Yanks took the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Tyler Wade hit his 2nd HR of the season. 3-2 Yankees.

Wade’s HR was #294 for the Yanks for the season. The Twins didn’t HR last night so the Yanks are up 294-293, but the Twins have played one less game. Also, the Yanks have a tougher schedule, it appears. The Yanks do play Tampa Bay for two games in a few days. Whoever comes out on top will have set the new team MLB HR record for a season.

That 3-2 Yankees’ lead was wiped out when Tommy Kahnle gave up a 2-run HR to Justin Smoak in the seventh inning.

Umpire “Cowboy” Joe West made a really bad call in the bottom of the ninth. Brett Gardner thought he walked on a 3-1 pitch, and replays appeared to show the pitch a good few inches outside. West called strike two and Gardner later lined out.

With the loss, the Yanks fell 1 1/2 games behind Houston for the best record in the majors. Houston holds the tiebreaker. Should the Yankees make it to the WS, they have a 1/2 game lead over the Dodgers, and the Yanks hold the tiebreaker there. It’s appearing as if the Yanks will have the #2 seed in the AL and play the Twins in the ALDS, with the Yanks having home-field advantage.

Judge 2 hits, Solo HR (25)
Voit 0 for 4 , 4 strikeouts. Golden Sombrero. Tough night.
Wade 2-run HR (2)

Happ 5 1/3 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 0 W, 4 K. Gave up 1 HR.  5.01
Ottavino (H, 29) 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.   1.82
Kahnle (L, 3-2, 3.51;  BS, 5)  1 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 1 W, 3 K.  Gave up 1 HR.
Gearrin 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.   4.08
Lyons 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.  6.30
Heller 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 W, 1 K.   2.08

Domingo German is done for the year because of  this domestic abuse incident.

Howard “Hopalong” Cassady, who won the 1955 Heisman Trophy Award at Ohio State, died at the age of 85. He was a member of the 1954 National Champ Ohio State team and also a member of the NFL Champion Detroit Lions of 1957. He worked for the Yankees for some 30 years.

Game 153. No celebration yet. Magic Number still 1 as Yanks lose, 3-2.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yankees (99-54) lost to the Angels 3-2 Wednesday night in what most likely will be CC Sabathia’s last start at Yankee Stadium (unless he starts a postseason game).

With the loss, and the victories by both Tampa Bay and Cleveland, the Yankees’ magic # to get into the playoffs and also to clinch the AL East title both remain at 1. The Yanks have a 9 game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East with 9 games to go.

Houston won, so the Yanks are a game behind the Astros for best record in the AL, and worse yet, the Astros own the tiebreaker. The Yanks have a  1 game lead over the Dodgers if that WS matchup occurs, and the Yanks own the tiebreaker.

Before the game, Giancarlo Stanton was activated. He doubled his first time up.

CC pitched well for the first two innings, striking out the side in the second, but as has been the case lately, once he got past that, he faltered, giving up two runs in the third inning.

Aaron Judge tied the game in the bottom of the third with a two-run HR, his 24th of the season.

In the sixth, Adam Ottavino gave up the game-deciding run, making a costly error in the process.

Outside of Judge’s HR, the Yanks’ bats were pretty quiet.

Judge 2-run HR (24)
Gardner 2 hits

Sabathia 2 2/3 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 2 W, 4 K.  4.99
German 2 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 W, 2 K.  4.03
Ottavino (L, 6-5, 1.84) 1/3 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 W, 0 K.
Kahnle 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.  3.26
Green 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 3 K.  4.43
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.  1.97
Cessa 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.  3.66

The Twins lead the Yanks 289-288 for the new team HR record. The Twins have played one less game.

Notable Passings: Alex Grammas. 93. Infielder for St. Louis (1954-1956), Cincinnati (1956-1958), St. Louis again (1959-1962) and the Cubs (1962-1963). 162 game average .247-2-29, OPS+ 68. Long time coach.  Managed the Pirates for the last five games of the 1969 season (4-1) and managed the Brewers in 1976 and 1977, winning just 66 and 67 games in those two seasons.

Also Jim Greengrass, 91, OF for the Reds (1952-1955) and Phillies (1955-1956). He hit .285-20-100 in 1953, finishing 6th in ROY voting and then hit .280-27-95 the following season. Hit .269 in 504 games. 69 career HR. His 162 game average .269-22-91, OPS+ 103.  His career was shortened because of problems with phlebitis.


Game 151. Yanks fall, 6-4, in game marked by returns of Montgomery and Betances.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks (98-53) lost to Toronto on Sunday, 6-4, in a game that marked the returns of Jordan Montgomery and Dellin Betances off the IL. Mixed results.

Tampa Bay lost, so the Yanks magic # for clinching the division is three. The magic # to just make it into the playoffs is 2.

They only hit 1 HR today, so they trail the Twins 287-286 in the race for the new HR record. The Twins have played two less games, so the Yanks have to get going there.

Houston won, and holds the tiebreaker. Both teams currently have the same record. The Dodgers are a game behind them.

As much as we would like the Yanks to get the best record in baseball (at least the AL) and maintain home field advantage, there are some things that Aaron Boone has to find out before the postseason begins, and finding out those things could cost the Yanks now but benefit them in the postseason.

One of them is outfield and Tyler Wade. With Tauchman and Hicks out, he needs to see how Wade is in the outfield. With Hicks out, Gardner will be in CF, and Judge in RF. Boone needs to find out if Stanton could play LF (when Stanton comes back) or if he has to DH. He needs to know who will play LF—Stanton, Frazier, Maybin or even Wade.

The question of if Stanton can play LF affects the 1B/DH spot. If Stanton has to DH, that affects Voit, Ford and/or Encarnacion, depending on who plays 1B. The best Yankees’ defensive infield has LeMahieu at 1B,  Torres at 2B, Didi at SS and Urshela at 3B. If Stanton has to DH and not play LF, that takes Voit, Ford & Encarnacion out of the mix.

As for the pitchers, he has to find out if Severino, Betances, and maybe even Montgomery have anything to offer for the postseason. He also has to rest his main bullpen guys (Kahnle, Ottavino, Green, Britton and Chapman) to make sure they are good to go, and not overworked, come October.

Boone has to find out those answers NOW, and in finding out those answers, he may have to sacrifice home field advantage to do so.

Aaron Judge homered in the top of the first today (23) to put the Yanks up 1-0.

Jordan Montgomery, in his first game back from TJ surgery, was shaky, giving up two runs in the bottom of the second. Toronto up, 2-1.

The Yanks got two in the top of the third. With one out, Tyler Wade singled and scored on a D.J. LeMahieu double that tied the game. Judge walked, then Didi Gregorius singled to put the Yanks up 3-2.

In the bottom of the third, Montgomery gave up a HR to Yankee-killer Randal Grichuk.

Nestor Cortes gave up a 3-run HR to Grichuk in the fifth. Cortes appears to me to be a tweener pitcher. Better than AAA but not MLB caliber. I don’t expect him on the postseason roster.

The Yanks got a run in the seventh when Austin Romine doubled and later scored on a two-base error.

Dellin Betances, making his first appearance of the season, faced two batters and struck both of them out.

Judge solo HR (23)

Green 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K.  4.50
Montgomery 2 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 0 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR.  13.50  Season Debut after TJ surgery.
Betances 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.  0.00    Season debut after shoulder trouble.
Cortes (L, 5-1, 5.54)  1 1/3 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 2 W, 3 K.  Gave up 1 HR.
Heller 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 3 K.    3.00
Lyons 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.   6.52

Note none of the “big four” of Ottavino, Kahnle, Britton or Chapman pitched since they were down in the game.

The Yankees are off Monday and Luis Severino makes his season debut on Tuesday.

Ryan Dull was DFA’d.

Game 145. Paxton dominating again as Yanks win 5-0.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Bad news on Mike Tauchman. The calf injury is 6 to 8 weeks. Which means, at this date, out for the season.

The Yanks could sure use Giancarlo Stanton back right now, and to play the OF, not DH. Stanton in LF enables Luke Voit or Edwin Encarnacion to DH and also gives the Yanks their best defensive infield of D.J. LeMahieu at 1B, Gleyber Torres at 2B, Didi Gregorius at SS and Gio Urshela at 3B. If you want to sit Didi, Gleyber goes to SS. If you want to play LaMahieu at 3B and sit Urshela and play Voit or Encarnacion at 1B and the other at DH, Boone could do that. Stanton in LF gives manager Aaron Boone more flexibility elsewhere. So Stanton would need to come back, and also to play LF.

With Tauchman out, Cameron Maybin played LF tonight. You could go with Clint Frazier there, but then Frazier leaves at the end of the game, replaced by Maybin for defensive purposes.

As of now, backups are Tyler Wade and Breyvic Valera, and that isn’t ideal.

James Paxton has been great lately, and that continued tonight with 6 2/3 shutout innings.

With the 5-0 win, the Yanks (95-50) officially eliminated Boston from any chance of winning the AL East (Boston’s only hope and it is very slim one, is the wild card—and they need a miracle for that), and lowered their magic # over Tampa Bay for winning the AL East to 9. They have a 9 game lead with 17 games to go. The magic # to get into the playoffs is down to 7.  They remain tied with Houston (Houston has the tiebreaker) for best record in the majors and both are two games ahead of the Dodgers.

The Yankees took 14 of 19 from Boston this season.

Austin Romine got the scoring started with his 7th HR of the season, a solo shot in the fifth.

In the seventh, Gio Urshela hit his 19th HR of the season leading off the inning to make it 2-0. After an out, Romine doubled, went to third on a WP and scored on a single by LeMahieu. Aaron Judge doubled LeMahieu to third, and D.J. scored on a SF by Torres. 4-0.

In the ninth, Romine walked, and one out later, Judge walked. Gleyber Torres’ single loaded the bases, and after another out, Luke Voit singled to make it 5-0.

Judge 2 hits.
Torres 2 hits, RBI
Voit 2 hits, RBI
Urshela 2 hits, RBI, solo HR (19)
Romine 2 hits, RBI, solo HR (7)

Paxton (W, 13-6, 3.96) 6 2/3 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 3 W, 7 K.
Britton 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.  2.08
Gearrin 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.  4.01
Lyons 1 IP,  0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.  7.71

Game 136. Yanks’ bullpen comes up short in 8-2 loss.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Before the game, Luke Voit reactivated off the IL, but Gio Urshela goes on it.

CC Sabathia’s knee acted up yet again, and he had to leave after three innings tonight. CC is “limping” to the finish line of his career. Literally and figuratively. As much as I am rooting for and respecting CC, there is a big part of me that wishes he would have retired after last year. If you are a starter who will be going on the IL 3 or 4 times over the course of a season, and who can’t give more than five innings, then let’s face it, you aren’t giving much. I really wonder if CC is worth having on the postseason roster. Remember that you don’t think with your heart, you think with your brain. Sentiment doesn’t win titles. If the knee is OK, then maybe CC works as a guy who comes out of the bullpen to get a tough lefty out. I also worry about teams bunting against him in the postseason. He doesn’t get off the mound well or cover first base well anymore. He’s 39. It’s time. I really wonder if he has another win in him. It’s been a couple of months since the last one.

I’m rooting for him. But you have to face facts. He’s at the end of the line, and it’s a good thing he did announce that this is his last year.

You don’t want someone like him to hang on and embarrass himself.

A knee replacement will be in his future. You hope it goes well and that he can live the rest of his life normally.

The A’s have the Yanks’ number, beating them yet again, 8-2. They have won each of the games against them this year and are 33-17 against the Yanks going back to the middle of 2012. At least the Yanks beat them in the wild card game last year.

The A’s got a run in the second on a HR off of CC. The Yanks tied it in the third when Didi Gregorius bounced into a force out with the bases loaded.

The Yanks went up 2-1 in the fourth when with the bases loaded, Mike Tauchman GIDP.

Luis Cessa did provide two innings of scoreless relief of CC after CC was forced to leave, and the Yanks led 2-1 after five innings, but the A’s teed off on Tommy Kahnle, Cory Gearrin and Nestor Cortes, Jr. for the 8-2 win.

Tampa Bay won so the Yanks lead was cut to 10 and the magic # remains 17.

Judge 2 hits
Voit 2 hits

Sabathia 3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 2 W, 2 K. 1 HBP. Gave up 1 HR.   4.93
Cessa 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K.   3.99
Kahnle (L, 3-1, 3.19; BS, 4) 1 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 0 W, 1 K. 1 HBP.
Gearrin 1 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 W, 0 K.  4.26
Cortes, Jr. 2 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 W, 4 K.  4.58  Gave up 1 HR.


One-time Yankee Clevenger dies at 87.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Tex Clevenger, who was on the Yankees’ 1961 and 1962 WS Champion teams, has died at the age of 87.

Clevenger was with the Red Sox (1954), Senators (1956-1960), Angels (1961) and Yankees (1961-1962).

He got in 21 games in relief for the 1961 Yanks, going 1-1, 4.83, ERA+ 78, and another 21 games of relief for the 1962 Yanks, going 2-0, 2.84, ERA+ 134. He did not pitch in either WS.

For his MLB career, he was 36-37, 4.18, ERA+ 94. 307 games, 40 of which were starts.

He led the league in games pitched in 1958, when he was 9-9, 4.35 for Washington. Four games were starts, and he had six saves.

He hit .157 with 11 RBI.