Tag Archives: Bird

ALCS Game 5. Yanks solve Keuchel, are one win away from 41st AL pennant.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Dallas Keuchel owned the Yankees.

Until Wednesday, that is.

The Yanks solved him, and won Game 5 of the ALCS, 5-0. With the win, the Yanks have won every postseason game at home so far, and as a result, have gone up 3 games to 2 in the ALCS.

If they can win either Game 6 or 7 in Houston, they will be headed to the World Series for the 41st time.

Game 6 will be Friday night in Houston, Severino vs. Verlander, and right now, Houston is not hitting….     9 runs in 5 games vs. the Yankees, with 2 unearned.

If Masahiro Tanaka is wanting to opt out of his contract, he is making a statement with his postseason performances. After a very up-and-down regular season, he has been incredible this postseason. A 1-0 win, 2-1 loss, and a 5-0 win.

In the second inning, Houston got a leadoff double, moved the runner to third with one out, but with the Yankees’ infield in (because they wouldn’t know how they could or would get to Keuchel, their nemesis), ex-Yankee Carlos Beltran grounded out and Tanaka got out of it, yielding no runs.

In the bottom of the second, with two out, Castro doubled and Bird singled. 1-0 Yankees.

The big thing and difference in the Yankees this postseason as opposed to the regular season is that we are seeing what Greg Bird can do when he is healthy, and it is coming at the right time. A big difference between him now, and him at the beginning of the year when he wasn’t himself, and Chris Carter.

In the third, Headley singled, Gardner forced him, and Judge doubled Gardner home. 2-0.

To the fifth, and Houston had men on 1st and 2nd, one out, and Tanaka got out of it.

In the bottom of the fifth, with one out, Headley (who had 3 hits) singled, and after Gardner grounded out, Judge walked. Sanchez singled to make it 3-0, and Didi singled to make it 4-0.

In the bottom of the seventh, Sanchez homered to make it 5-0, the final score.

The Yankees’ bullpen is all set up. Tanaka for 7, Kahnle for 2 today. Off day tomorrow. A rested bullpen for Games 6 and possibly 7 in Houston.

Sanchez 2 hits, HR, 2 RBI.
Gregorius 2 hits, RBI.
Headley 3 hits.

Tanaka (WIN) 7 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 1 W, 8 K.
Kahnle 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.

In the NLCS, the Cubs avoided a sweep by the Dodgers by winning Game 4, 3-2.

In the Arizona Fall League, Scottsdale won 9-5. Yankees’ prospect 2B Kyle Holder went 2 for 4. Prospect Cody Carroll pitched a scoreless inning of relief, giving up a hit and a walk but striking out the side.

 

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ALCS Game 4. Yanks comeback from down 4-0 evens series, win 6-4.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Down 4-0 in the seventh.

Only got one hit in the game.

Facing 3-1 down in the series with Keuchel, their nemesis, going tomorrow.

And the Yankees came back to even the ALCS with a 6-4 win at two games apiece.

In the bottom of the fourth, a strange play. With Judge on first and one out, he was running on the pitch when Sanchez lined out. He was past second base and made it back to first. He was originally out but the challenge ruled him safe. However Judge didn’t touch second on the way back, knew it, and tried to get to second while the Astros were going to appeal. He was thrown out.

It went as a caught stealing, but had the Astros appealed, they would have won the appeal because if you round the bag, you have to touch it again on the way back.

It was a scoreless game, with only one hit for either side, when the Astros scored three in the top of the sixth. A walk, a catcher’s interference call on Romine, catching today with Sanchez DHing, and then after Sonny Gray was removed for David Robertson, a walk. Bases loaded, no one out. A strikeout, but then a bases-clearing double by Yuri Gurriel of Houston made it 3-0. Gurriel was thown out trying to take an extra base, and Robertson then got a ground out to get out of the inning.

In the seventh, Chad Green replaced Robertson. After a strikeout, he gave up a double. Ex-Yankee Brian McCann hit one to Castro, and he flubbed it for his second error of the game and the Yanks’ third total (the catcher’s interference on Romine being the other one). 4-0 Houston. Green got a dp to get out of the inning.

So…. bottom of the seventh, down 4-0. Staring at a 3 games to 1 deficit with Keuchel going tomorrow, and the Yanks came back.

Judge got it started with a HR, and after that, Didi tripled and scored on a SF by Sanchez.

To the eighth, and Todd Frazier leads it off with a single. Then, some luck. PH Headley (for Romine, Sanchez went in to catch, DH lost) singled Frazier to third, but Headley fell trying for a double. The Astros had him dead to rights. But in trying to get Headley out at first, Headley took off for second and beat the throw. It was challenged by Houston, but upheld. Second and third, no one out, down 4-2.

Gardner grounded out to second, scoring one run and moving Headley to third. Ellsbury pinch-ran.

Judge doubled in the tying run, and Didi was walked.

Sanchez then hit a GW 2-run double. Bird walked to load the bases but a force at the plate and ground out kept it at 6-4.

Chapman came in for the ninth and closed the game out. 6-4 Yankees.

The Yanks won despite making 3 errors. They held the Astros to just 3 hits.

Judge 2 hits, HR, double, 2 RBI. Scored 2 runs.
Didi 2 hits, scored twice.
Sanchez 3 RBI.
Bird walked 3x
Frazier 2 hits.
Big PH single by Headley.

Gray 5 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 H, 2 W, 4 K.
Robertson 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Green (WIN) 2 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Chapman (SAVE) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.

In the NLDS, the Dodgers got a walk-off 3-run HR from Justin Turner on Sunday to go up 2 games to none. In Game 3 Tuesday night, they won 6-1 to go up 3 games to none, and could sweep the defending champion Cubs tonight.

In the Arizona Fall League, Scottsdale won 10-1.

Yankees prospects:

SS Thairo Estrada 1 for 5, 2 RBI, scored one run.
LF Billy McKinney 1 for 5, double, RBI, scored 2 runs.
Starting pitcher Albert Abreu 5 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 2 W, 8 K.   

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.

 

 

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.

 

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 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.