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.

 

 

Advertisements

Ex-White Sox CF Landis dies. Thoughts on Jeter being an exec.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Jim Landis, CF for the Go-Go White Sox that won the 1959 AL pennant, died at the age of 83. He hit .272-5-60 with 20 SB that year with an OPS+ of 108 and finished 7th in the MVP voting.

A 2x All-Star and 5x Gold Glove winner, he played for the White Sox from 1957-1964, the KC A’s in 1965, was with the Indians in 1966, and split his final season of 1967 between Houston, Detroit and Boston.

His best years were from 1958-1961, with 1961 being his best when he hit .283-22-85 with 19 SB and an OPS+ of 123.

His 162 g. average was .247-11-56, 17 SB and an OPS+ of 99.

He went 7 for 24 with 1 RBI in the 1959 WS.

Meanwhile, a good article I read recently raised questions. Derek Jeter has already pilfered Gary Denbo from the Yankees’ front office to go to work for the Marlins. How many others may he try to steal? If Jeter raids the Yankees for front office talent and even coaching talent, will the beloved captain become not so beloved anymore?

Sounds like sacrilege, but…

Imagine Matsui or Tino or maybe Paul O’Neill being hitting coaches for the Marlins. David Cone or Andy Pettitte as a Marlins pitching coach (although, to be honest, I can’t see Cone or O’Neill leaving the comfy broadcasting booth of YES). Mo as bullpen coach? Posada as bench coach or even manager?

Can you imagine a Yankees’ Old-Timer’s Day without Jeter, Matsui, Mo, or any of the rest that I mentioned, because they are all now working, managing or coaching the Marlins? Would be kind of boring, right?

Will the most beloved Yankee since Mattingly, and one of the most beloved Yankees ever, tarnish his sheen with a raid on Yankees’ talent to build his Marlins teams?

If so, how will the Yankees’ fan base react?

This will be interesting to see.

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.

ALDS Game 2. Yanks in 0-2 hole after blowing 8-3 lead. Lose 9-8 in 13.

Yankee Stadium Friezed

Sorry for the late report. I slept in and am not feeling well. Bronchitis again? Same time, just about, every year. Sigh.

1997. Mariano gives up the first of only two postseason HRs he would ever give up. It ties Game 4 for Cleveland and instead of the Yanks winning the series 3 games to 1, the Indians come back to win Game 4 and then Game 5.

2007: The midges. Torre doesn’t pull the team off the field, regrets it later, and his Yankee tenure is over. Joba vs. the bugs.

2017: The Faux HBP that Girardi didn’t challenge. Now Girardi’s contract is up, and I don’t expect him to be fired, but he made a mistake that seems to be as big as Torre’s in 2007.

(ok as for the bad omens…. the Yanks did win it all in 1938, 1958, 1978 and 1998, so we should look forward to 2018, right?)

Anyway, the game started off great when the Yanks knocked around Cleveland ace Corey Kluber. Gary Sanchez hit a 2-run HR in the first inning.

An error by Todd Frazier led to the Indians scoring two unearned runs in the first to tie it up (came back to bite them), then the Indians scored one in the second to go up 3-2. At this point, you are wondering about the Yankees’ starting pitching this postseason. The Indians did lose Edwin Encarnacion due to an ankle injury.

The Yanks went up 6-3 with four in the third. Starlin Castro tied the game and Aaron Hicks hit a 3-run HR.

In the fifth, a two-run HR by Greg Bird made it 8-3. Then the Yanks blew it. For one thing, the game went 13 and they couldn’t score anymore.

CC was pulled in the sixth after 77 pitches. Ok, maybe he should or could have stayed in with an 8-3 lead. But this is how they’ve treated CC for a while now. One out, man on first and in comes Chad Green. Normally a good move and the right one.

But was Green still taxed from the two innings he pitched on Tuesday? Here is where the early knockout of Severino in Tuesday’s wild card game may have come back to bite the Yanks, for Green wasn’t his usual self. He got a flyout for out #2 but couldn’t put Yan Gomes away. After fouling off a few pitches, Gomes doubled.

Then PH Chisenhall was HBP. Or was he?

Chisenall had two strikes on him. Replays showed the ball hit the knob of the bat and ricocheted into Sanchez’ glove. Foul tip, strike three and out of the inning. Instead, the umpire ruled HBP. Bases loaded.

Sanchez pointed to the dugout to challenge. And Girardi did nothing. For the brilliance of Tuesday night, when Girardi pieced together 26 outs out of the bullpen, he bleeped up here.

He stated that the slo-mo replay didn’t come up in the 30 seconds he had to challenge. He also stated that he didn’t want to disturb his pitcher’s rhythm.

What BS. That sounds like the excuses your seven year old kid makes to mommy and daddy when the did gets into trouble.

First off, why aren’t you trusting your catcher when your catcher is urging you to challenge? He’s right there. He caught the ball. To quote Billy Joel, It’s a Matter of Trust. And that matter of trust came up later in the game as well. Players in the dugout were urging the same thing.

Secondly, what do you have to lose by challenging? You win, strike three, out of inning. No, Joe decided to leave it go.

Third, the batter never reacted as if he were hit! He had to be told to go the first.

And you don’t challenge?

As far as his pitcher’s rhythm? Green gave up a grand slam off the foul pole on his second pitch after the incident. 8–7.

We’ll never know what would have happened had he challenged as he should have, got the call and it remains 8-3. There is a huge difference between going home 1-1 in a best-of-five and in going home 0-2. Especially to a team that has won 35 of its last 39 games.

So in came David Robertson, and you had to wonder how much he had left in the tank after his 3 1/3 innings of Tuesday night. Four up, four down, three by strikeouts. Looks good.

But then Girardi tried to extend him. Why? A matter of trust. He trusted Robertson in the eighth over Betances. Betances did pitch in Game 1 (when the Yanks were down 4-0). He also pitched and lost this game. But Betances didn’t come in until other relievers had gone before him.

He tried to extend Robertson, who was already extended on Tuesday night. It didn’t work. Jay Bruce (thanks, Mets) did it again. HR to tie the game.

And so the game went into extras. Kahnle and Chapman came in, then Betances.

Meanwhile in the 11th, Ronald Torreyes pulled a rock. Pinch-running for Todd Frazier, who reached second on an error leading off the inning, Torreyes was picked off second when Brett Gardner had to take a pitch on a sac bunt attempt. Ouch.

Betances came in for the 11th. After Green, Robertson, Kahnle and Chapman. A matter of trust. In because he had to, not so much because Girardi trusted him. After all, if he was trusted, wouldn’t he have come in in the eighth, like usual? It appears that at this point, Girardi doesn’t trust Betances.

Betances had two good innings, but needed to be overextended himself. Working his third inning, he walked the leadoff guy, who stole second. It’s well known that Betances isn’t a good fielder and with his size and delivery, doesn’t hold runners on well. Cleveland took advantage with the SB. Gomes, who extended the AB in the sixth, and who picked off Torreyes in the 11th, got the GW hit.

This is one loss that (unless the Yanks pull off a miracle and win 3 in a row to stun the baseball world and make it to the ALCS) will hurt all winter long.

Sabathia 5 1/3 IP, 4 R, 2 ER, 3 H, 3 W, 5 K.
Green 1/3 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K. 1 HBP. Gave up grand slam.
Robertson 1 2/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 3 K. Gave up HR.
Kahnle 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.
Chapman 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 W, 2 K.
Betances (Loss) 2+ IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 W, 2 K.

Sanchez 2 hits, 2-run HR.
Castro 2 hits, RBI.
Bird 2 hits, 2-run HR.
Hicks 2 hits, 3-run HR.
Todd Frazier 3 hits, but 2 errors.
Torreyes bone-headed PR play.

In the other series, Houston dominated Boston again and the Astros go into Fenway up 2 games to nothing.

In the NL, the Cubs and Dodgers both took Game 1 over the Nationals and Diamondbacks, respectively.

 

ALDS Game 1. Yanks shut down, lose 4-0.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

All this morning, I heard about how Terry Francona was a dummy for pitching Trevor Bauer, arguably his third best pitcher, in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees, instead of Corey Kluber, who may win his second CYA this year.

Excuse me? Francona has 2 WS titles and almost (last year, extra innings in Game 7) a third, to his name. Give the guy credit, he knows what he is doing.

So Bauer takes a no-no into the sixth inning. The Yanks managed only three hits all night.

Now, not to make excuses, but the HP umpire’s strike zone tonight left something to be desired. Didi, Headley and Judge, to name three, argued against some calls tonight, and in watching the game, I had to agree. Judge had the “Golden Sombrero.” 0 for 4 with 4 strikeouts.

The Yanks have a problem. In the wild card game, Severino only lasted one out. Tonight, Sonny Gray was knocked out in the fourth inning. You can’t burn your bullpen.

Gray got out of a bases-loaded, no out situation in the second by only giving up one run.

He gave up a two-run HR to Jay Bruce in the fourth. Bruce doubled and scored the previous run.

The Yanks only got three hits tonight, but struck out 14x.

In the fifth, Bruce got a SF. Yup, him again. There were rumors about the Yanks going after Bruce, who started the year with the Mets, at the trade deadline. Instead of the Mets trading him to the Yankees, he got dealt to Cleveland.

That hurt tonight. Bruce got 2 hits, one a HR, and drove in 3 runs in the Indians’ 4-0 win. So Cleveland takes Game 1 of the best-of-five series, 4-0.  Cleveland only got 5 hits all night, but made them count. By contrast, the Yanks only got 3 hits. Castro had 2 of the three hits.

Gray (Loss) 3 1/3 IP, 3 R, 3H,  4 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Warren 1 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Garcia 2 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 3 K.
Betances 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K.

Good to see Betances on track.

Game 2 could be rained out Friday, with a lot of rain in the forecast.

CC vs. CYA candidate Kluber in Game 2.  A tough road for the Yanks. But then, they are facing a team that set an AL record of 22 wins in a row, and who has won 34 of their last 38 games.

In the other ALDS game, Jose Altuve hit 3 hr for Houston as the Astros took Game 1, beating Boston, 8-2