Category Archives: Winter Leagues

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.

 

 

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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.

Minor League Report. Six going to AFL.

cropped-the-stadium-facade.jpg

The Yanks announced that six players will be going to the Arizona Fall League. They will be playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions. The players are: CF Estevan Florial, LHP Justus Sheffield, RHP Dillon Tate, SS Thairo Estrada, SS Kyle Holder and 1B Chris Gittens.. The manager will be Jay Bell, Tampa’s manager (the former Pirate and Diamondback SS who scored the winning run of the 2001 WS, beating the Yankees). The AFL runs from Oct. 10-Nov. 18th. Florial, Sheffield and Tate are considered top 10 Yankees’ prospects.

AAA: SWB (85-50) won 8-1. 3B Miguel Andujar 2 hits, triple, HR, 2 RBI. C Wilkin Castillo 2 hits, HR, 3 RBI. Rehabbing DH Matt Holliday 1 for 4. RF Billy McKinney 2 hits, RBI.

Cortes (W, 2-3, 1.28) 5 2/3 IP, 1 R, 7 H, 1 W, 5 K.
Mantiply 3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 2 K. 2.96
Jones 1/3 IP, 0 r, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 4.62

AA: Trenton (88-46) lost 8-3. Estrada 2 RBI. 2B Abital Avelino 3 hits, RBI. 1B Garrett Cooper is on rehab here (0 for 1, 2 walks).

Camarena (L, 2-3, 4.18) 5 1/3 IP, 6 R, 9 H, 2 W, 5 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Tarpley 2 1/3 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 W, 0 K. 3.68

High A: Tampa (80-49) won 1-0 on a 1-hitter. Florial had the RBI.

Widener 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 3.54
Pena (W, 3-2, 2.47) 4 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 W, 1 K. 2.47
Harvey (S, 4) 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 1 K. 1.09

The second game was rained out.

Low A:   Charleston (73-60) won 4-3. DH Dermis Garcia (double and triple), CF Dom Thompson-Williams and 2B Oswaldo Cabrera all had 2 hits & an RBI. LF Devyn Bolasky and RF Isiah Gilliam each had 2 hits.

Vargas 6 2/3 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 1 W, 5 K. 3.61
Mundell (W, 1-4, 2.51) 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 3 K.
Sosebee (S, 13) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 2.20

 

Torres becomes youngest ever to win AFL batting title and AFL MVP.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Yankees’ prospect SS Gleyber Torres was named the MVP of the Arizona Fall League today. Torres, just 19, became the youngest player to win the AFL batting title. He hit .403.

Torres is also the youngest MVP in league history.

Yanks trade McCann; MVPs announced; AFL ends.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

 

The Yankees traded Brian McCann to the Astros for two young righty minor league pitchers. In his three seasons with the Yankees, McCann hit 69 HR but only hit .235. The emergence of Gary Sanchez made McCann expendable. The Yanks will pay the Astros $11MM of the $34MM remaining on his contract.

In return, the Yanks get Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman. Here is what MLB Trade Rumors has to say about them:

Abreu is the more highly regarded of the two; as J.J. Cooper of Baseball America explains, he throws a live fastball that occasionally nears the triple-digits. With a four-pitch arsenal, he perhaps has a chance to stick as a starter. Still, he only just turned 21 and struggled with his command last year at the Class A and High-A levels.

Guzman, meanwhile, has even more velocity, with his heater ticking up to 102-103 mph at times. Cooper notes, though, that he’s more effective when he’s operating at a slightly lower velocity (in his case, the upper-nineties). While the long-term outlook suggests that Guzman will end up in the pen, he is said to have a promising slider and also a change-up that’s in the works. The 20-year-old has yet to move past Rookie ball, but showed big strikeout ability (12.2 K/9) in his time in the Gulf Coast and Appalachian leagues last year.

Abreu, 21, was 3-8, 3.72 between low and High A in 2016. 16 starts, 8 relief appearances. 115 K in 101 2/3 IP.

Guzman, 20, was 3-4, 4.05 in Rookie League ball. 8 starts, 5 relief appearances. 54 K in 40 IP.

MLB announced its MVPs yesterday, Mike Trout of the Angels and Kris Bryant of the Cubs.  For Trout, it’s his second MVP (he won in 2014) and he has finished 1st or 2nd in MVP in each of his five full seasons in the bigs. He is still just 25 years old.Bryant, 24, was the ROY last year and now wins the MVP in just his second MLB season.

No Yankee received MVP consideration (meaning at least a 10th place vote).

The Arizona Fall League ended yesterday. They have a championship game Saturday but Scottsdale and Yankees’ prospects will not be playing in it. Only Tyler Wade played in the final game, and he went 1 for 3, scored a run and drove in two in a 6-6 tie. Wade ended the AFL at .241. He had a SF yesterday and stole 3 bases, giving him 10 for the AFL.

Former MLB catcher and manager Russ Nixon died recently. He was 81. He played from 1957-1968 for Cleveland, Boston, Minnesota, and Cleveland again. He was the catcher when Roger Maris hit his 61st HR. Nixon later managed the Reds and Braves. He hit .268 with an OPS+ of 84.