The Yankees stayed alive and evened up the best-of-five series at two games apiece by beating Tampa Bay 5-1 Thursday night.
Gerrit Cole will start the deciding game 5 tonight. He has never pitched on three days rest before.
The rest of the division series are over. The winner of the Yankees/Rays game tonight faces Houston in the ALCS. The NLCS features the Braves against the Dodgers.
Houston, of course, beat the Yanks in the ALCS in 2017 and 2019.
The Yanks scored twice in the second inning. Luke Voit led off the inning with a 450 ft. home run, then walks to Brett Gardner, Gleyber Torres and Gio Urshela loaded the bases. After Kyle Higashioka struck out, D.J. LeMahieu hit a SF.
Tampa Bay got their only run in the top of the third.
With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Gardner singled and Torres followed with a two-run HR.
The Yanks added their final run in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Torres singled. After another out, he stole second and scored on a single by Higashioka.
The Yankees’ bullpen came through with five no -hit innings after a decent, if short, start by Jordan Montgomery.
The Yankees’ slugger homered for the fifth straight postseason game, and set a record in doing so, but Yankees’ pitching failed again in an 8-4 loss to Tampa Bay.
With the loss, the Yanks are down two games to one in the best-of-five series. One more loss, either tonight or tomorrow night, and the Yankees’ season is over.
Masahiro Tanaka gave up a run in the second, but the Yanks tied it on a bases-loaded SF by Aaron Judge in the bottom of the third.
But Tanaka gave up a 3-run HR in the top of the fourth. 4-1, Rays.
Randy Arozarena, who is turning into Mr. October this month, homered off Tanaka in the top of the fifth to make it 5-1.
An Aaron Hicks RBI double in the bottom of the fifth cut the lead to 5-2.
The Yankees’ bullpen was supposed to be a strength but has been a disappointment. Chad Green gave up a 2-run HR in the top of the sixth, Luis Cessa let another run in, and it was 8-2. For all intensive purposes, the game was over.
Stanton hit his 2-run HR in the bottom of the eighth.
Stanton 2 hits, 2-run HR.
Tanaka (LOSS) 4 IP, 5 R, 8H, 1 W, 4 K. Gave up 2 HR. Green 1 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 W, 2 k. Gave up 1 HR. Cessa 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K. Nelson 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. King 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.
A sad thing when some of the worst umpires in MLB still get postseason assignments (Bucknor, Hernandez). See Game 2.
Jordan Montgomery starts for the Yanks in Game 4. He’ll be on a short leash because of the do-or-die nature of the game.
We’ve seen the rookie Nelson twice. Chapman not at all. That’s really what you need to know. And that isn’t good.
Giancarlo Stanton’s ninth inning grand slam broke open a close game and the Yanks took Game 1 of the best-of-five ALDS from the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-3.
The Yanks got on the board right away in the top of the first when D.J. LeMahieu singled, went to second on a WP, to third on a groundout, and scored on a SF by Aaron Hicks.
Tampa Bay came right back in the bottom of the first on a HR by Randy Arozarena off of Yankees’ starter Gerrit Cole.
The Yanks went up 2-1 in the third on a HR by Clint Frazier.
For whatever reason, one-time Yankee Ji-Man Choi seems to own Cole. He hit a 2-run HR in the borrom of the fourth to put the Rays ahead 3-2.
The Yanks came right back in the top of the fifth. Kyle Higashioka led off the inning with a HR to tie the game, and one out later, Aaron Judge homered to put the Yanks up 4-3.
Cole escaped a bases-loaded jam in the botttom of the fifth.
It stayed 4-3 until the top of the ninth. Higashioka singled to lead off the inning, then LeMahieu walked. After an out, Hicks singled in Higashioka. Tyler Wade, who had replaced Luke Voit for defensive purposes, walked. Stanton then hit his grand slam to break the game open. The Yanks reloaded the bases but didn’t score again.
As I had hoped, Deivi Garcia will start Game 2 tonight. Less pressure on the rookie, especially after the Yanks won Game 1.
LeMahieu 2 hits Judge solo HR Hicks 3 hits, 2 RBI Stanton grand slam, 4 RBI Urshela 2 hits Frazier solo HR Higashioka solo HR, 2 hits
Cole (Winner) 6 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 2 W, 8 K. Gave up 2 HR Green (H) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K. Britton (H) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K. Cessa 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Rain delayed the start of Game 2 of the Yankees-Indians game, and that seemed to affect Masahiro Tanaka, who gave up four runs in the bottom of the first, an inning started later than scheduled, and then delayed in the middle of it.
Tanaka settled down a little, and eventually the Yankees prevailed in a back and forth, 10-9 win over Cleveland. With the win, the Yankees swept the Indians in the best-of-three series and now head to neutral site San Diego for a best-of-five ALDS showdown against the Tampa Bay Rays, against whom they were just 2-8 this season. The Rays have surpassed Boston this year as the Yanks’ arch nemesis. There is a lot of bad blood between the teams.
After the Yanks fell into that early 4-0 hole, Giancarlo Stanton got the Yanks on the board in the second with a solo HR.
The Yanks took the lead on a Gio Urshela grand slam in the fourth. Aaron Hicks tripled on a misplayed liner to lead off the inning, then Luke Voit and Stanton both walked before Urshela’s 432 ft. grand slam.
The Yanks got a run in the top of the fifth on a walk to Hicks, Luke Voit’s double which sent Hicks to third, then a SF by Stanton. 6-4, Yankees.
But the Indians came back to tie it in the bottom of the fifth.
In the top of the sixth, Brett Gardner led off with a walk, then Gary Sanchez hit a wind-blown, 2-run HR to put the Yanks up 8-6.
For Sanchez, a bit of a redemptive night after a season (albeit a shortened one) where he only hit .147.
But Cleveland came back to tie it in the bottom of the seventh.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Indians went ahead 9-8, and could have had more except for a fabulous DP started by Gio Urshela.
The Yanks then scored twice in the top of the ninth to win the game and send the Indians packing. Stanton walked, and Mike Tauchman PR for him. Urshela, and then Gleyber Torres both singled to load the bases with no one out. After Brett Gardner struck out, Sanchez tied up the game with a SF. D.J. LeMahieu hit a seeing-eye single up the middle to put the Yanks up 10-9, and they hung on for the win.
LeMahieu GW RBI Stanton, HR, 2 RBI Urshela 2 hits, 4 RBI, Grand Slam, great defensive play Sanchez 3 RBI, 2-run HR.
The Yanks drew 12 walks in the game, in addition to getting 8 hits (3 of which were HR).
The Yankees and Rays can now set up their rotations, since Game 1 of the ALDS won’t start until Monday, October 5. Time to be determined. On TBS. There will be no off days. It will be in the “bubble” of a neutral site in San Diego. With the Rays being the 1 seed (AL EAST champ) and the Yanks being the #5 seed, the Rays will be the home team for Games 1, 2 and 5 (5 if necessary) and the Yanks the home team for Games 3 and 4 (4 if necessary).
I would expect Cole in Game 1 and to also go on three days rest if there is a Game 5. As for the rotation for Games 2-3-4, we will see. If I were Boone, I might go with Garcia in Game 2 to place less pressure on the kid and save the veterans Tanaka and Happ for the more pressure-packed Games 3 and 4.
The Miami Marlins, a team managed by one Yankees legend (Don Mattingly) and run by another (CEO Derek Jeter) beat the Yanks 4-3 in 10 innings last night. The win ensured the Marlins (the Marlins! One of MLBs worst in recent years) a playoff spot. Their first in 17 years, when they beat the Yanks in the 2003 WS.
For the Yanks, however, it was their fifth loss in their last six games. I don’t know what to think of this team. So inconsistent. From 16-6 to 5-15 to 10-0 to 1-5. That has been their season so far. Which team shows up in the postseason? Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde?
Once again, they were sloppy, committing four errors. Once again, an error by Gary Sanchez, another by Gleyber Torres.
With the loss, it is certain that the Yankees will not host a postseason game at Yankee Stadium. They will be the #5 or the #8 seed. At present, they are the #5 seed and would go to #4 Cleveland (who are tied with the White Sox but who own the tiebreaker) for the first round. They still could wind up in Chicago or Minnesota. Even worse, if they continue losing today and tomorrow (and they have two rookies starting in Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt) they could fall to the #8 spot, 3rd in the AL East, behind Toronto. Right now they are only one game ahead of Toronto. At #8 they as of now would head to Tampa Bay, against whom they were 2-8 this season.
We probably won’t know until the last minute.
One thing we do know. The Yankees better snap out of their funk or their postseason will be a short one.
The Marlins got off to a quick 3-0 lead when, after two outs and then two walks, one-time (briefly) Yankee Garrett Cooper hit a 3-run HR off of J.A. Happ in the first inning.
Manager Aaron Boone was tossed in the bottom of the first for arguing a called strike three on Aaron Judge. It was a pathetic call by the home plate umpire. As I wrote many times last year, the umpire has to adjust his strike zone. As Suzyn Waldman said last night, “he can’t help it he’s tall.” Judge’s knees aren’t where a normal person’s knees are. He is 6’7″ . Knee high to a normal person isn’t knee high to Judge. Even worse, on a side view of the pitch crossing the plate, the pitch was just above his ANKLE, far from knee high. Terrible call, and Boone was tossed after the first pitch to Aaron Hicks, called a strike that appeared low as well.
MLB needs to do something about umpires like that. They need to adjust to the hitter’s strike zone, especially if that hitter is tall.
The Yanks got two runs in the third. With two out, D.J. LeMahieu walked and Aaron Judge doubled. A double by Hicks brought home D.J. and Judge.
In the eighth, the Yanks tied the game. Sanchez singled and was PR for by Mike Tauchman. He moved up on an error on a pickoff attempt and with two out, Judge singled him home to tie the game.
To extras, and that “man on second to start the inning” rule (which I hate). A bunt moved the runner to third. Then, a huge error by Kyle Higashioka. With the infield in, a grounder to Gleyber Torres, who ran at the runner on third before throwing home to Higashioka. Rundown. Higashioka ran the runner back towards third but his throw hit the runner, Monte Harrison, with the batter, Starling Marte, advancing all the way to second. No outs on the play. 2nd and 3rd. A SF gave Miami a 4-3 lead.
The anguish didn’t stop there.
The Yanks started the bottom of the tenth with their man on second, Tyler Wade, pinch-running for Gio Urshela. Torres walked. Once again, Higashioka didn’t come through, popping up a bunt. The Yanks have NO sac bunts this year. NONE. Then a double steal, and a walk to Clint Frazier that loaded the bases. So Higashioka’s failure to bunt didn’t seem to hurt, especially with D.J. LeMahieu up.
SF ties the game. A hit most likely wins it.
Instead a GIDP. Game over. Yanks lose, 4-3. Agonizing.
The Yanks are glad to get out of Buffalo, where they went 2-5 against the Blue Jays this season. The Yanks (32-25) have now lost four of their last five after a 4-1 loss last night.
Barring a miracle or disaster, the Yanks appear entrenched in the #5 playoff spot. They are two games behind the White Sox for the #4 seed and are two games above 3rd place Toronto (the #8 seed) in the AL East. At present the Yanks would head to Chicago for all three games of a best-of-three first round.
The Yanks would have to start playing better on the road, and immediately. The last three games of the regular, shortened 60-game season are at home, where the Yanks are 21-7. They are just 11-18 on the road this season. With no home games at all (after Chicago, then, if the Yanks advance, all would be at neutral sites) in the postseason, that road record isn’t good.
Toronto got a run in the second when Vlad Guerrero, Jr. tagged Jordan Montgomery for a solo HR. Monty gave up another run in the third when Toronto, with two out, got back-to-back doubles. A two-out, two-run double made it 4-0 Toronto in the sixth.
The Yanks’ only run came in the eighth inning. With one out, Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton walked. After a forceout, Gio Urshela singled in a run. Clint Frazier walked to load the bases, but PH Gary Sanchez try for a go ahead grand slam fell just short.
Voit 2 hits Urshela 2 hits, RBI
Montgomery (L, 2-3; 5.11) 5 1/3 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 0 W, 8 K. Gave up 1 HR. Ottavino 2/3 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 0 W, 2 K. 6.00 Green 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 0 K. 3.65 Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. 3.38
The Yanks don’t seem to like Buffalo too much. Buffalo is the COVID-19 induced “home” of the Toronto Blue Jays this year, and in the games played there this year, the Yanks haven’t fared too well.
Last night the Yankees (31-23) lost 11-5, dropping them 1 1/2 games behind the Twins for that #4 playoff seed. There are only six games left. The Twins at 33-22 have five games left. If things stay like this, the Yanks will not have a home playoff game. All three games in the first round would be in Minnesota and if the Yanks advance, they then head to the “bubble” in California for the ALDS and ALCS. The WS will be at another neutral bubble in Texas. The Yanks are 21-7 at Yankee Stadium this year, 10-16 on the road.
The lack of a minor league season has really hurt Michael King. Hopefully he can learn from his MLB experience this year but it is becoming apparent he needed more minor league time to develop–minor league time not available during this COVID dominated year. Sending someone to the alternate site isn’t the same as sending them down for AAA games.
King, 25, had 15 games at AA (6-3, 3.14) and 10 games at AAA (7-1, 2.30) so 25 games equals basically a full season of AA or higher experience. Nice records but the majors are different. He’s 1-2, 7.76 in the majors this season. More minor league experience would have helped, but it just isn’t there this year.
The Yanks scored first, getting a run in the top of the second. With one out, Gleyber Torres walked. Aaron Hicks walked, and Gio Urshela singled in Torres.
King gave up five runs in the bottom of the third, the last two coming in when Jonathan Loaisiga gave up a double allowing two inherited runners to score.
Loaisiga, good this year until last night, then gave up four runs in the bottom of the fourth. 9-1.
Nick Nelson, a pitcher in the same boat as King, gave up a HR in the bottom of the sixth. 10-1 Toronto.
The Yanks got a run in the top of the seventh. Torres led off with a walk, moved to third on a double by Hicks and scored on a groundout by Urshela. 10-2.
Chad Green gave up a HR in the bottom of the seventh. 11-2.
The Yanks got three in the top of the ninth. With one out, Urshela singled. With two out, both Brett Gardner and Tyler Wade walked. With the bases loaded, Mike Tauchman doubled all three runners home.
I haven’t cared too much for C Gary Sanchez’ pitch selection at times this year (in addition to Sanchez’ low batting average), and in reading a recent article, it seems manager Aaron Boone was questioning Sanchez the other day about it too. It will be interesting to see if Kyle Higashioka catches Gerrit Cole again tonight. Has Higgy become Cole’s personal catcher? Will we see that in the postseason? Tonight will be Cole’s last start before the postseason, Game 1 of the first round vs. (it appears to be) the Twins.
The Yanks (30-21) were down 4-0 at one point. They were one out away from losing the game in nine innings, came close to losing it in extras, but pulled out a 6-5, 12-inning win over Boston Friday night.
It was the Yankees’ ninth straight win.
Starter Jordan Montgomery gave up a 3-run HR to Christian Arroyo in the fourth inning and Boston was up 3-0. The Red Sox got another run in the fifth and were up 4-0.
Meanwhile, the Yanks’ bats, so hot in those last three games at home against Toronto, had cooled off in Fenway.
The Yanks finally scored in the seventh when they cut Boston’s lead to 4-2. Giancarlo Stanton walked, and after a strikeout and force out, Aaron Hicks singled Gleyber Torres to second. Gio Urshela walked to load the bases and Gary Sanchez hit a ground rule double to drive in two runs.
With one out in the top of the eighth, Aaron Judge singled and scored on a double by Stanton.
Down to their last out, with two outs in the top of the ninth, Sanchez tied the game with his tenth HR of the season.
So the game went into extra innings, with those rules in which the half-inning starts with a guy on second.
Both teams got the runner over to third in the tenth, but neither could score.
In the top of the eleventh, Mike Tauchman started the inning at second and was singled in by Luke Voit.
But Boston tied it in the bottom of the eleventh. After tying the game, the Red Sox had the bases loaded with one out, but Jonathan Loaisiga got out of it.
In the top of the twelfth, Hicks started the inning at second base. Gio Urshela singled him to third, and after two strikeouts, D.J. LeMahieu doubled in a run to put the Yanks up 6-5.
Boston got the tying run to third in the bottom of the twelfth, but could not score him.
Final 6-5, Yanks.
With nine games left in the regular season, it doesn’t appear the Yanks, 3 1/2 back of Tampa Bay, will catch the Rays. It’s the Yanks own fault for going 2-8 against Tampa Bay this year. But they did move 3 percentage points ahead of the Twins for the 4th seed in the virus-caused expanded playoff race, important because the #5 seed would have to play all three games in the best-of-3 first round at the #4 seed. The Yanks are 30-21, .588 and the Twins are 31-22, .585.
Montgomery 4 2/3 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 2 W, 7 K. Gave up 1 HR. 5.12 Cessa 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 W, 1 K. 2.45 Ottavino 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 6.46 Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. 2.12 Green1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. 3.63 Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K. 3.72 Loiasiga (W, 3-0; BS, 2; 2.70) 2 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Just a thought. You have defensive replacements for the infielders and outfielders, like subbing Gardner or Tauchman for Frazier, or putting Wade at 2B while moving LeMahieu to 1B to sub for Voit.
Something to think about. If the Yanks are using 3 catchers, why then not sub Higashioka, better defensively than Sanchez, in those extra-inning games where a WP or PB can kill you? Especially in an extra-inning POSTSEASON GAME?
I don’t see Montgomery starting a postseason game. Not when he is sitting with a 5.12 ERA while Cole is at 3.00, Tanaka 3.27, Garcia 3.28 and Happ 3.96.
Albert Pujols passed Willie Mays on the all-time HR list last night with HRS 661 & 662. The top five are now Barry Bonds, 762*; Henry Aaron 755; Babe Ruth 714; Alex Rodriguez 696*; Pujols 662. Mays is next at 660 . Also with 600 or more are Ken Griffey, Jr. at 630, Jim Thome at 612 and Sammy Sosa at 609*. (Asterisks mine).
Jordan Montgomery pitched a great game after having had a couple of clunkers lately, and the Yankees’ bullpen completed the job in a 2-1 win in 10 innings over Baltimore on Saturday afternoon.
The win was the Yankees’ (25-21) fourth straight.
The Yanks scored right away in the bottom of the first when D.J. LeMahieu doubled, Luke Voit flied to right, moving D.J. to third, Aaron HIcks walked, and Clint Frazier hit a SF.
We’ll read more about Voit getting the job done again in a couple more paragraphs.
The Yanks would have a couple scoring opportunites in the game, especially when in different innings, Frazier (third inning) and Brett Gardner (eighth) got two-out triples, but they were left stranded.
The O’s tied the game in the sixth due to the Yankees’ fielding miscues. A single, an error by Gardner, then, after an out, and with the Yankees playing the infield in, a pop single that second baseman Thairo Estrada went back for but had glance off his glove. If Estrada was at normal depth he would have had it, but that’s baseball.
In the bottom of the tenth, D.J. LeMahieu started the inning at second base, what with these 2020 extra inning rules. He advanced to third on a wild pitch and Voit did his job, winning the game with a sac fly.
The Yanks got only five hits and made three errors, but still won the game.
Montgomery 5 2/3 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 W, 9 K. 4.76 Green 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 3.98 Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 2.40 Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. 5.14 Holder (W, 3-0, 2.12) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K
Mark Newman, long time front office exec for the Yankees, died at the age of 71.