Game 3 is Severino vs. Eovaldi.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Boston is going with ex-Yankee Nathan Eovaldi for Game 3 vs. the Yanks’ Luis Severino. As far as the Yanks’ lineup is concerned, a lot depends on the health of Aaron Hicks.

Boston says they’ll use David Price in relief if necessary.

Milwaukee is headed to the NLCS after sweeping Colorado with a 6-0 win today.

As for Dodgers/Braves, the Braves stayed alive with a 6-5 win, forcing Game 4 Monday.

 

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Game 2 ALDS. Yanks even series behind the Kraken.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Turn the page.

Gary Sanchez had a poor regular season. His .186 batting average was the lowest ever for any Yankee with 300 or more plate appearances.

But he did hit 18 HR. He hit 33 last season. He hit 20 in just 53 games in 2016. You knew the power was there, and that at any time he could put up a two homer, 4 RBI game.

That is the Sanchez we hoped would return, and in time for the playoffs. Make up for a bad regular season with a great postseason.

It is the Sanchez we got last night. Sanchez hit two homers and drove in 4 runs as the Yanks won 6-2 to even the series up. Game 3 is in the Bronx Monday night.

David Price started for Boston, and he has had a couple of problems lately. #1, he has trouble against the Yankees. #2, he has trouble in the postseason (0-9 record in 10 starts). #3 Gary Sanchez owns him. Not a good combination.

So Aaron Judge, the second batter of the game, hit a 445-ft. HR to give the Yanks a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Judge has homered in all three postseason games so far.

Sanchez came up in the bottom of the second and continued his mastery of Price by hitting a HR to make it 2-0 Yanks. With two out, Price proceeded to walk Gleyber Torres and Brett Gardner. Gardner was starting in CF for Aaron Hicks, who has a tight hamstring. Hicks was available for pinch-hitting duty and the hammy won’t keep him out for the rest of the series (if it did, he wouldn’t be available again until the World Series–no ALCS).

Andrew McCutchen then singled off of the green monster to make it 3-0 Yanks and give Price an early shower.

Meanwhile, Masahiro Tanaka was on, and was his postseason bulldog self. (He is now 3-2, 1.50 in five postseason starts). He gave up a HR in the bottom of the fourth, but it was a solo one, and went five innings giving up just that one run.

In the seventh, the Yanks broke the game open. Judge singled and Voit walked. Stanton, who is struggling—so much so that lots of people are comparing him to A-Rod and A-Rod’s postseason struggles—hit a topper that at first it appeared as if Nunez’ throw hoping for a force pulled the fielder off the bag. But Boston reviewed and the call was overturned. Forceout. Hmm. The fielder must have kept his big toenail on the bag because it didn’t look that way. Nunez’ throwing was shaky all night long. He almost made 3 errors instead of the one he did make. But then again, when he was a Yankee, he had the nickname of Nun-E.

Hopefully Stanton comes around. Aim for RF in the Bronx, Giancarlo. You are strong enough to hit it out anywhere, especially there. Stay back.  No need to pull everything.

So it was first and third, one out, and here is where Sanchez hit his second HR of the game, a 479-ft. bomb that left everything and went out on the street. 6-1 Yanks.

Dellin Betances gave up a run in the bottom of the seventh to make it 6-2, but that was it. Yankees’ pitchers limited Boston to 2 runs and 5 hits. Good job.

I am a bit concerned yet about the Yanks’ hitting w/RISP. 2 for 10 last night (the Yanks had 8 hits and drew 7 walks, so they could have scored more runs than 6). Hopefully that picks up.

Judge 2 hits, solo HR.
Voit 0 for 2 but drew 3 walks.
Sanchez 2 HR, 4 RBI
Gardner 0 for 2 but drew 2 walks.

Tanaka (WIN) 5 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 1 W, 4 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Betances (H) 2 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K.
Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K.

In the other ALDS series, Houston beat Cleveland 12-1 behind Gerrit Cole’s 7 innings and 12 K. Houston is up 2 games to 0.

The NL was off. Milwaukee is up 2-0 on Colorado and the Dodgers are up 2-0 on the Braves.

Game 1 ALDS. Un-Happ-y result as Yanks lose, 5-4.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

J.A. Happ didn’t have it, giving up a 3-run HR to J.D. Martinez in the first inning and getting knocked out in the third. The Yanks clawed back in it, but couldn’t come all the way back and lost Game 1 of the Division Series to Boston 5-4.

Masahiro Tanaka will start for the Yanks tonight vs. David Price. The Yanks have had success against Price so hopefully the Yanks will exit Boston with a split.

The hope was that Chris Sale, who has a history of owning the Yankees, would be stale Sale since he hasn’t pitched much since the All-Star break, having been on the DL twice and whose velocity has been down recently. Instead, Sale mixed his pitches well, and was hitting 95 instead of the recent 90. Sale struck out the side (with one walk in there) in the first inning.

Meanwhile, in the bottom of the first, Happ gave up that 3-run HR that just cleared the green monster.

In the third, Betts doubled off the monster, Benintendi bunted for a hit, and Happ was replaced by Chad Green. The Yankees nemesis, Steve Pearce, singled in a run. 4-0 Boston. Two flyouts advanced and scored Benintendi. 5-0 Boston.

The Yanks’ bullpen shut down Boston after that as the Yanks tried to make a late charge to steal the win away from the Red Sox.

But the rookies who have helped so much this year, Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres, along with veteran Giancarlo Stanton, who is in his first playoff series, couldn’t come up with the big hits when needed.

In the fourth, Aaron Hicks singled but had to be pulled from the game due to a tight hamstring. We’ll have to see about his availability for the rest of the series. A huge blow. Gardner can provide the D, but not the power that Hicks can provide.

With two on and two out in the fourth, Andujar struck out. The Yanks struck out 13x in the game.

The Yanks finally broke through in the sixth. Judge singled, and after a forceout, Stanton singled, which knocked Sale out of the game. Voit singled in a run to make it 5-1. Didi grounded into a forceout, runner scoring. 5-2. Didi moved up on a WP. Andujar and Sanchez both walked to load the bases, but Torres struck out.

Maybe the young Torres (21) got too anxious. He swung at the first pitch out of the zone, took three balls, but that 3-1 pitch he took for strike two looked like a pitch he should have swung at and crushed. Then he fished on a breaking pitch which would have been ball four and struck out.

The Yanks probably lost the game for good in the seventh, when they loaded the bases with no one out and only got one run out of it. McCutchen and Judge started it off with singles, and after a pitching change, both moved up on a WP. Gardner walked to load the bases.

But Stanton, who went 1 for 5 with 4 strikeouts, struck out. That may have been THE at bat of the ball game.

A-Rod got criticized often for not coming up big in key moments of the postseason (at least until 2009, and even in retirement he still gets criticized, despite 2009, for it today). Yankee fans are hoping Stanton isn’t another “A-Rod” in this regard.

But last night didn’t help.

The fact that Stanton couldn’t get his bat on the ball, even for a SF there, played a major factor in costing the Yanks the game.

Voit grounded into a force out, barely beating out the DP attempt, to make it 5-3. Didi grounded out to end the inning.

But the Yanks needed more there. They couldn’t load the bases with no one out and come away with just one run. That inning was the difference and cost the Yanks the game.

In the ninth, Judge homered to lead off the inning, but Kimbrel bounced back with three straight strikeouts (including Stanton, who NEVER TOOK THE BAT OFF HIS SHOULDER) to end the game. Voit striking out to end it.

Big one for the Yanks tonight. Get out of Boston with the split. Hopefully Tanaka is on.

And hopefully, the Yanks’ situational hitting improves. Don’t worry about the green monster. Use the whole field.

Make contact.

Judge 3 hits, solo HR.
Stanton 1 for 5, struck out 4 times
Voit 2 hits, 2 RBI.

Happ (L) 2+ IP, 5 R, 4 H, 1 W, 2 K.  Gave up 3-run HR
Green 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 W, 0 K.
Lynn 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 2 K.
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K
Robertson 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.

 

In other series, Milwaukee shut out Colorado 4-0 and is up 2 games to 0.
The Dodgers blanked the Braves, 3-0, and are up 2 games to 0.
Houston beat Cleveland behind 4 HR, 7-2, and are up 1-0.

By the way, did you see who the Brewers’ catcher is? Erik Kratz, who started the year being the backup to Kyle Higashioka at SWB. Kratz, who is 38, played in four games for the Yanks in 2017,  going 2 for 2 with a double and 2 RBI. He started this year at SWB. On May 25 of this year, the Yanks traded him to Milwaukee for a player to be named later (it turned out to be Wendell Rijo). In 67 games for the Brewers, Kratz hit .236-6-23, OPS+ 69. Six walks, 40 strikeouts.

 

 

 

Yanks/Red Sox overshadowing other series? One team may have a beef about that.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Because of the rivalry and the markets, the focus is on the Yankees/Red Sox series. You wonder how the other teams feel about that. The NL, and especially, one AL club.

With that focus on Boston/NY, Houston may be saying, “What about us? We won 103 this year, and we’re the defending WS Champs!”

And they would have every right to feel that way.

The Yanks made a couple of moves. That roster for the wild card game was only for that game so off goes Higashioka and Wade, and on goes CC and Tarpley.

Tarpley could be a shocker (or sleeper?). I saw his MLB debut on 9/2. He got in 10 games this year, no decisions, ERA 3.00.

9 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 6 W, 13 K. Walks too high, but here he will be facing the Red Sox in a postseason series, as most likely, a LOOGY.

Happ will start Game 1.

Boston has announced Sale, Price, Porcello and Eovaldi for Games 1-4.

Interesting a lot of lefties going up in Fenway. Happ, Sale, Price.

I haven’t seen the Yanks order, but after Happ, I expect Tanaka (Update: it is), then Severino, CC and then Happ. (Update: No starter named after Tanaka. Looking like 3/4 could be switched, CC then Severino?).

Happ has a 2.98 ERA or so in 21 games (20 starts) against Boston. A good record, but unconventional in that a lefty goes in Games 1 and maybe 5 up in Fenway.

Milw. won game 1 of their NLDS against Colorado. As I write this, the Dodgers have a nice lead in Game 1 over the Braves. (Update: Dodgers won 6-0).

A passing: Marty Pattin at the age of  75 yesterday. Angels 1968, Seattle Pilots 1969. Milwaukee Brewers 1970-1971, Boston 1972-1973, KC Royals 1974-1980.

Pattin faced the Yanks in the ALCS in 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1980.

He was an All-Star in 1971 for the Brewers.

He won 17 in 1972 for Boston.

114-109, 3.62, ERA+ 102. Average 162 g. season? 22 Starts, 24 more in relief. 11-11, 3.62.

 

Yanks advance to ALDS with 7-2 win over A’s.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yankees advance to the ALDS against Boston after beating the Oakland A’s 7-2 in the one-game, sudden death, wild card game Wednesday night.

They jumped off to an early 2-0 lead when Andrew McCutchen led off the bottom of the first with a walk and Aaron Judge crushed a 2-run HR that was estimated at 427 feet.

Luis Severino pitched four no-hit innings before being removed after giving up back-to-back singles to begin the fifth.

Severino did have some trouble with walks and some shaky fielding (Miguel Andujar throws) and had to work out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth.

After Severino gave up the hits in the fifth, Dellin Betances came in to work out of the jam, and Betances pitched a 1-2-3 sixth.  Adeiny Hechevarria replaced Andujar at third for defense early—in the sixth.

A bit early for Betances, and maybe for Hechevarria, but in a sudden death game you manage differently, and Aaron Boone did a great job managing last night.

The A’s meanwhile, were doing a bullpen game. They had an opener, who gave up 2 runs (the Judge HR), another guy for 3 innings, another for 1, etc.

The Yanks broke it open in the bottom of the sixth. Judge and Aaron Hicks doubled off of Fernando Rodney (who can stick his arrow in his quiver) to make it 3-0, and Rodney then threw a WP. The A’s then brought in their closer, Blake Treinen, who was 9-2, 0.78, with 38 saves this season, in an effort to keep the game where it was.

Treinen walked Giancarlo Stanton, Stanton maybe getting the benefit of a call, and then Stanton stole second. Luke Voit worked Treinen over, fouling off a few pitches before getting one he liked. Voit drove it the other way for a 2-run triple, just narrowly missing a HR. 5-0 Yanks. Didi Gregorius hit a SF (Didi had made a nice defensive play earlier, saving Voit an error), the burly Voit somehow getting in there despite the throw beating him to the plate. 6-0.

Hechevarria made a fabulous catch at third off a line drive to start the seventh.

In the eighth, Zach Britton was very shaky, giving up a 2-run HR to Khris Davis. Davis had led the majors with 48 this year. 6-2 Yanks.

Brett Gardner had come in for defense for McCutchen in LF in the eighth, and Neil Walker would do so for Luke Voit at 1B in the ninth.

Giancarlo Stanton led off the bottom of the eighth for the Yanks with a HR that was crushed, 443 feet and just fair. It seemed to almost go over the foul pole.

7-2 Yanks, the final score.

On the Boston where the best-of-five ALDS begins Friday night. I expect J.A. Happ to get the call to start Game 1 for the Yanks.

Judge HR, double, 2 RBI
Hicks double, RBI
Stanton solo HR
Voit 2-run Triple

Yankees’ pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts.

Severino 4+ IP, 0 R, 2 H, 4 W, 7 K.
Betances (W) 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K.
Robertson 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Britton 1 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 1 W, 0 K.  Gave up 1 HR.  He’s been shaky lately.
Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K.

Yanks set for tonight. Severino starting. Colorado eliminates Cubs.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

In the NL wild card game last night, Colorado eliminated the Cubs in the wee hours of the morning, 2-1 in 13 innings. The Rockies advance to face the Brewers.

The Yanks and A’s meet tonight in the AL wild card game.  (8 PM, TBS). Luis Severino will start for the Yanks. Here is hoping he is dominant, but the Yanks also could say throw as hard as you can for as long as you can, even if it is only three or four innings and then turn it over to the bullpen.

Here is also hoping no passed balls from Sanchez, and that his .186 bat wakes up and he hits a homer or two.

The roster could change after the game. But for this game, besides the starters, C Sanchez, 1B Voit, 2B Torres, SS Didi, 3B Andujar, OF of McCutchen, Hicks and Judge and DH Stanton, the backups are OF Gardner, C Romine, C Higashioka, INF Walker, INF Hechevarria, INF/OF/PR Wade.

Backing up Severino are Happ, Lynn, Tanaka, Green, Chapman, Betances, Robertson, Britton and Holder. Should the Yanks advance, expect CC to replace Wade. As for Higashioka next round or Bird (or another pitcher) that’s up in the air.

The A’s are going with 11 pitchers, 10 of them relievers, and one guy for extra-innings protection. So the Yanks could be facing a new pitcher every inning or every other inning. Strange scenario but it is what it is. Hopefully, for the Yanks’ sake, too many cooks spoil the soup and eventually the A’s put a pitcher out there who doesn’t have it. Eventually, if you use too many pitchers, you may find the rotten egg.

In a one and done scenario, you never know who might wind up being the hero… or goat.

The Twins fired manager Paul Molitor. So Texas, the Angels, the Twins, the Blue Jays, probably the Orioles, others? looking for new managers. Surprisingly, Joe Girardi isn’t rumored for any of these open positions.

 

NL seedings set. Meanwhile, who’ll start for Yankees?

Yankee Stadium Frieze

It took a couple extra games, but the NL seedings are finally set.

In game 163, the Brewers beat the Cubs to win the NL Central and be the #1 seed in the NL. They will play the winner of tonight’s wild card game, which could be right back to playing the Cubs.

The Dodgers beat the Rockies to win the NL West. LA will play the Braves. LA with the home field advantage.

The Cubs host the Rockies tonight in the NL wild card game. Winner plays the Brewers.

The Yankees and A’s still haven’t named their starters for Wednesday night’s wild card game.  It is looking like the A’s will take a page from Tampa Bay’s playbook and go with an “opener.”

For the Yanks, who will it be? Severino? Happ? Tanaka?

Winner goes to Boston.

In the other AL matchup, Houston has home field advantage over Cleveland.