Tag Archives: Heller

What happened? How to rectify? Mistakes made?

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Ok, for what could be the third year in a row, the Yanks get knocked out by the WS Champs (that is, if Houston beats Washington this year in the World Series). And, it might be said, for the third year in a row, the Yanks could be the second best team in baseball, with the Dodgers of the last two years disagreeing. Maybe the Yanks would have beaten the Dodgers in 2017 and 2018, maybe not. Maybe the Yanks would beat Washington this year, maybe not.

Joel Sherman has a post suggesting moves the Yanks could make. But the one thing he compares the Yanks to could be telling. Are the Yanks in danger of being the Patrick Ewing Knicks to the Michael Jordan Bulls. Good but not good enough to get over that one team (be in 2017/2019 Astros or 2018 Red Sox) standing in their way to a WS Championship?

Let’s take a look at some things that went wrong against the Astros in the ALCS and some things that went wrong prior to that. It’s ok to disagree. I’ve disagreed with some recently about my opinions.

Let’s start with the starting pitching. It would have been nice to have Domingo German, their winning-est pitcher on the Yankees this year (18-4, 4.03), starting a game, maybe especially Game 6 instead of a bullpen game (Chad Green starting), wouldn’t it?

Except that German was forced onto administrative leave by MLB for a domestic abuse incident. That helped hurt the Yanks. Couldn’t have seen that coming. Ouch.

Also hurting was that J.A. Happ didn’t start Game 6 because he had a bad year (12-8, 4.91) and lost the trust of his manager and coaching staff. With CC Sabathia’s condition (we’ll get to CC in a bit) adding onto the loss of German and Happ’s ineffectiveness, that left a rotation of Tanaka, Paxton, Severino—and Severino was just coming off an injury that cost him almost the entire season—and the opener, in this case, Green.

As for Sabathia, I wasn’t in favor of bringing him back. I admire his courage and applaud what he did for the Yanks. But you think with your head, not your heart. Last off-season, did you expect a lot from CC? More than what he gave this year? I didn’t. Bad knee, the stent put in, turned 39 in July. CC’s last win was on June 24. Think about that for a moment. His last winning decision was JUNE 24. His ERA was 4.95. He’s on and off the injured list. You couldn’t rely on him to take the mound. He would if he COULD, but a lot of times he COULD NOT. And in the ALCS, his arm gave out. A more reliable #5 would have helped more. You can’t make decisions on sentiment. It’s a cruel business.

Speaking of injuries, I feel the Yanks made a mistake keeping Stanton on the roster. Yes, if you take him off, he doesn’t play in the WS. But you cannot think about the World Series. You have to think about, and win, the ROUND YOU ARE CURRENTLY IN. He didn’t play in Games 2, 3, and 4 although Manager Aaron Boone said he could pinch-hit, which he didn’t. Nor did he play in Game 6. So for four games, even though Stanton was available, in reality it was like the Yanks were playing a man short.

They could have replaced him with Mike Ford. Replacing him with Ford (.259-12-25 in 143 at bats this year) would have put another lefty bat in the lineup against a team (Houston) that had NO lefty pitchers on its postseason roster. NONE. It also would have enabled Boone to bench Edwin Encarnacion (1 for 18 with 11 strikeouts in the series) for Ford.

Joe Torre said that Don Zimmer told him you can’t be patient in the postseason. True. You can let a guy ride out a slump in the regular season, but there is no time for that in the postseason. You can be a player’s manager in the regular season, but in the postseason who have to be a hard-ass. If a guy goes 1 for 9 in a ALDS sweep, and you win anyway, but that same guy starts the ALCS 0 for 12 and is killing your team, you have to pull the trigger. You have to sit him if you can.

Which leads me to Gary Sanchez. (I will get back to the starting pitching soon). Sanchez was 3 for 23, 12 strikeouts (1 HR, 3 RBI) against the Astros. He didn’t fare well against the Twins in the ALDS either. Later, his defense suffered too. Passed balls in two straight games.

I would have sat him for Austin Romine for at least one game. Romine doesn’t have the power Sanchez has, but maybe Romine would at least make contact instead of striking out half the time? The Yanks have to figure out what they have in Sanchez. He missed about 40 games in 2018 but still hit 18 HR. This year, he missed about 25 games and still hit 34 HR. He’s a 2x All-Star. But despite all those HR, in the past two seasons combined, he’s hit .211 (.186 and .232) and he’s better than that. He should be a .270 hitter with his talent. In that Joel Sherman article, Sherman states that he thinks it is a legitimate question to ask if the Yanks can win a title with Sanchez behind the plate. I think the answer is —-not THIS version of Gary Sanchez. But is there another one? The one he SHOULD be, given his talent? Sanchez has six postseason HR. He also has a .176 postseason batting average and 40 strikeouts in 102 postseason at bats.

Aaron Judge has struck out a lot in the postseason too (41 strikeouts in 101 at bats), but at least Judge is hitting .257 in the postseason with 8 HR. And defensively, Judge in RF is head and shoulders better than Sanchez has been at catcher.

Ok, getting back to the starting pitching, and here is where I’ve had some disagreements with others. I hope you see my point. If not, that’s fine.

But the Yanks, I think, need a stud pitcher. (Think going all out to get Gerrit Cole as a free agent this offseason, or Stephen Strasburg if he opts out). They are top of the line studs. Now others say that we have an ace in Severino. Maybe, maybe not. But here is the problem.

The last time the Yanks had a pitcher with 200 IP in a season was in 2013. (CC and Kuroda. CC 14-13, 4.78 (not a good year) and Kuroda 11-13, 3.31 (deserved a better record)). Meaning more work for the bullpen.

Now let’s take it to the postseason. Since Game 2 of the 2012 ALCS, the Yankees have played in 30 postseason games. In only 7 has their starter gone more than five innings.

Masahiro Tanaka was four of those seven.

In eight postseason starts, Luis Severino has gone over five innings just once. He has pitched just 31 innings in those eight starts. That is less than four innings per start.

I’m sorry. That is not ace-like.That is not a stud.

Remember what middle relievers are. No offense to them, but they are pitchers not good enough for the starting rotation, and not good enough to be your closer.

And, the more you see them in the postseason, the more comfortable the batters are facing them.

Which means you want to try to avoid using them too much. Meaning the starter has to give length, and you see the Yanks’ starters haven’t done that.

It’s not just the Yanks. The game is changing and other teams have this problem too. But for the Yanks to jump the Astros (Verlander, Cole, Greinke) or even last year’s Red Sox (Sale, Price) or maybe even this year’s Nationals (Scherzer, Strasburg, and Corbin—and oh, how I wanted the Yanks to sign Corbin last off-season), they need starters to give more length.

Now, as far as using the relievers too much (and the Yanks have one of the best bullpens in baseball, postseason problems notwithstanding) because the Yanks’ starters didn’t go deep enough, I think Aaron Boone stayed too long with Adam Ottavino. After a while it was apparent the Yanks had a problem. Ottavino couldn’t get anyone out. You got to jettison him. Boone stuck with him.

Remember what I just mentioned about hitters getting too familiar with pitchers if you are using them all the time in a short series? Maybe Boone could have rolled the dice and instead of using Chad Green as the Game 6 starter/opener (a pitcher Houston had seen before in the series), and who gave up a 3-run HR in the first inning of Game 6, maybe Boone could have used Ben Heller as the Game Six starter/opener instead?

Heller missed most of the 2019 season coming back from injury. BUT… Houston didn’t see him all year. No familiarity. You were asking for one inning, that is all. I don’t know how much video or how much of a scouting report Houston had on Heller, but it could not have been much.

It would have been a gamble, but maybe one worth taking. Throw someone Houston hasn’t seen before.

So…summing up.

One point made. Yanks’ starters need to go deeper in postseason games. Which is why I would like that one stud pitcher to complete the rotation.

Point two. If a guy is “day to day” he really isn’t helping. If the guy is going to miss a couple postseason games, replace him. Next round be damned. You got to win THIS round first. Stanton’s “questionable” status hurt. He can or can’t go.

Point three. Pull the plug on slumping players. Give them a day maybe just to clear their head, shake things up. Romine for Sanchez, Ford if placed on roster for Encarnacion.

Maybe even Maybin (1 for 3 vs. Houston, had a HR vs Twins) for Gardner? Granted Gardner hit into some tough luck in Game 6, but in the ALCS he was only 3 for 22 with 10 strikeouts.

Which leads me to Point Four. In one game, against the hottest pitcher on the planet right now, Gerrit Cole, Gardner hit third and came up in the first with both D.J. LeMahieu and Aaron Judge on base in the top of the first. Gardner isn’t your prototypical #3 hitter, like a Ruth, Mantle, Aaron, DiMaggio, etc. He can bunt, and has speed to beat it out. I know they were hoping for the big inning, and that Gardner hit a career high 28 HR this year, but was there any thought to “this is your one chance against Cole and let’s make sure we move the runners?”. Any thought of laying one down?

Littleball is more important in the postseason.

And that leads us to Point Five. Make more contact. Put the ball in play. Too many power or nothing guys like Encarnacion, Stanton, Sanchez. Need more LeMahieu-type guys. It’s one thing to slump and hit into bad luck, another not to hit the ball at all. If making outs, make PRODUCTIVE outs that can move runners over, or, in the case of sacrifice flies, get the run in.

We’ll see who among the free agents stays and who goes. We know CC is retiring. But going or staying are: Betances, Encarnacion (who I think will be bought out and gone), Didi, Romine, Gardner, Gearrin (I think gone), and Maybin.,

Sherman (writer for the NY Post and MLB Network contributor) has a nice article about two players the Yanks should target. I definitely agree with Gerrit Cole. I don’t know if and how they can get Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor. It would take a lot, probably a package including Miguel Andujar, Clint Frazier and maybe even a Jonathan Loaisiga or Deivi Garcia and/or Jasson Dominguez, the 16 year old international phenom they signed this summer. It would take a lot.

But definitely get a Cole or Strasburg. A must, in my opinion. I want to see length from starters in postseason games.

And no openers.

As for hitting, more contact. Less strikeouts. Give yourself more of a chance.

 

ALCS Game 5. ALIVE! Yanks force a Game 6 behind Paxton gem.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Before the game, it was announced that (surprise!) Giancarlo Stanton was good enough to play, and he replaced Edwin Encarnacion in the lineup as the DH. Didn’t make any difference, though.

CC was taken off the roster, and his career is officially over. Ben Heller replaced him.

The Yanks only got five hits in the game, but four came in the first inning, two of them homers, and it was enough was James Paxton threw a gem and the Yanks forced a Game 6 tonight in Houston with a 4-1 victory.

The top of the first was sloppy. An infield single that looked as if it should have been fielded by Paxton. A PB to move the runner up. A groundout to move him to third. A walk, a WP that allowed the runner to score and move the other to second. With Justin Verlander pitching for Houston, you wondered if one or two runs would be enough for him to close out the series.

Two lineouts to the outfield ended the inning.

D.J. LeMahieu tied up the game right away by hitting Verlander’s second pitch of the game for a HR. Aaron Judge walked and Gleyber Torres doubled Judge to third. Stanton struck out, and the fear was that the Yanks were on their way to wasting a big chance.

But Aaron Hicks lined one off of the right field foul pole for a three-run HR and the Yanks were up 4-1.

Both starters settled down after that, but because of Hicks’ shot, the Yanks had the upper hand.

With two out in the bottom of the sixth, Robinson Chirinos hit one deep to left that, for a moment, looked like it would cut the Yankees’ lead to 4-3. But just like with Didi Gregorius’ drive for the Yankees the other night, it died just short of the fence.

Tommy Kahnle got into a little trouble in the top of the seventh, but Zack Britton cleaned up the mess and he and Aroldis Chapman closed it out.

No starters have been announced for Game 6 yet, as it appears both teams will be using “openers” in a battle of the bullpens. It appears as if Chad Green may start, but after him (only one inning?) the Yanks may turn to the likes of Happ, Cessa, Loaisiga, even Heller to piece it to Britton and Chapman. Both teams would be holding back their aces for a potential Game 7—Gerrit Cole for Houston, Luis Severino for the Yankees.

Gary Sanchez may want to get away from the Bronx cheers. Sanchez, slumping badly,  was 0 for 3 with 3 strikeouts. He is 2 for 20 with 11 strikeouts in the series.

LeMahieu HR
Hicks 3-run HR

Paxton (WIN) 6 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 4 W, 9 K.
Kahnle (HOLD) 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 0 K.
Britton (HOLD) 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Chapman (SAVE) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.

So each team has won a blowout, each team has won a 4-1 game. That 3-2, 11 inning loss by the Yanks to Houston in Game 2 is the one thing separating the two teams right now.   The Yanks have scored 17 runs in the five games and are hitting .199. Houston has scored 16 runs and is hitting .178.

Just a thought. With Houston not having any lefties at all on their staff for this round, maybe the Yanks should have or could have found a way to get Mike Ford on the roster? I understand, you weren’t taking him over Edwin Encarnacion, but Edwin’s 1 for 15 with 8 strikeouts in the series. As they say, hindsight is always 100%.

 

 

Game 160. Yanks blast 6 HR in 14-7 win. Overtake Twins. Will play Twins in ALDS.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

With a nickname like the Bronx Bombers, you would expect the Yankees to be proud of the team HR record they had for years (240 in 1961 stood a long time) and regained last year with 267. You would expect they would want to keep it in house.

It appears they came out pretty mad after two games of offensive ineptitude against the Rays, where they scored just one HR (a Maybin HR) in 21 innings.

Last night the Yankees (103-57) hit 6 HR in a 14-7 win over Texas, and in this season where the ball seems like an oversized golf ball, overtook the Twins 305-303 in the race to see who sets the new record.

The Yanks also found out that with Houston beating the Angels last night, that they are locked into the #2 seed in the AL and will be facing those Twins in the ALDS. Houston will be the #1 seed. The Yanks will have Games 1 and 2 at Yankee Stadium next Friday and Saturday. Game 3 will be in Minnesota Monday. Game 4, if necessary, in Minnesota on Tuesday and Game 5, if necessary, will be back in the Bronx on Thursday, Oct. 10.

With two games left in the season, if the Yanks do make the WS, the Yanks are one game behind the Dodgers (the NL’s best team). The Yanks do hold the tiebreaker if both teams finish in a tie.

Giancarlo Stanton got things started with a HR (3) in the top of the first. It was the Yankees’ 300th HR of the season.

James Paxton gave up a two-run HR in the bottom of the first and left after one inning with a tight left glute. He says he could have continued but that he was pulled for precautionary reasons. Hopefully he is OK, since his next start will most likely be Game 1 or 2 of the ALDS.

The Yanks came right back in the second when Cameron Maybin tied it with his 11th HR of the season.

The Yanks got three in the fourth and didn’t look back. Brett Gardner led off the inning with his 28th HR of the season. Gio Urshela doubled and was forced at second by Maybin. Mike Ford then forced Maybin at second. D.J. LeMahieu doubled Ford to third and both runners scored on a single by Stanton. 5-2 Yanks.

The Yanks got three in the sixth when Urshela led off the inning with his 21st HR of the year. After a walk to Maybin, Ford hit his 12th HR. 8-2 Yankees.

They scored three more in the seventh to make it 11-2. With one out, Gardner singled. After Urshela struck out for the second out, Maybin singled Gardner to third, the Ford walked to load the bases. LeMahieu cleared the bases with a double and was thrown out trying for three. The three RBI put LeMahieu over 100 RBI for the season, at 102.

Gary Sanchez came off the IL, played, didn’t do too well at the plate, but said he felt fine. Edwin Encarnacion was on the bench, but didn’t play. He probably will today.

Update: Encarnacion probably not back until the postseason.

Texas got an unearned run in the eighth off of Mike King, who was making his MLB debut to make it 11-3.

The Yanks got three more runs in the top of the ninth. Austin Romine led off the inning with his 8th HR of the season. Clint Frazier walked and was forced at second by Urshela. Maybin singled. Ford doubled in both runs. 14-3.

Chance Adams continued to disappoint, giving up two HR and four runs in the bottom of the ninth to make it 14-7.

LeMahieu 3 hits, 3 RBI. Now at .331-26-102.
Stanton 3 for 3, 2 walks. Solo HR (3).
Torres 2 hits.
Voit 0 for 5, 3 strikeouts. SEE BELOW.
Sanchez 0 for 3, 3 strikeouts in return from IL.
Romine solo HR (8)
Gardner 2 hits, solo HR (28)
Urshela 2 hits, solo HR (21)  .316-21-74
Maybin 3 hits, solo HR (11)
Ford 2 hits, 4 RBI HR (12)

Voit is 1 for his last 30 and in danger of losing a postseason roster spot to Ford.

Paxton 1 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR.  3.82
Heller 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.  1.42
Tarpley (W, 1-0, 6.93) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Loaisiga (H, 1) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K.  4.55
Gearrin (H, 14) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.  4.14
Lyons 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.  6.75
King 2 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K.  0.00   MLB DEBUT
Adams 1/3 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 0 W, 1 K. Gave up 2 HR.  8.53
Cortes, Jr.  2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.  5.45

Win #103 matches the 2009 squad. To find a year where the Yanks had more, you have to go back to 1998 (114).

NOTE: I WILL NOT HAVE A RECAP OF SATURDAY’S GAME #161. I WILL BE OUT OF TOWN ATTENDING A NIECE’S WEDDING AND STAYING IN A HOTEL OVERNIGHT, AND WON’T BE BACK IN TOWN UNTIL LATER SUNDAY AND THEN HAVE A HIGH SCHOOL REUNION TO ATTEND SUNDAY. BUSY WEEKEND.

Game 158. Yanks lose in 12th, 2-1.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Cory Gearrin gave up a HR to the first batter he faced, Ji-Man Choi, in the bottom of the 12th as the Yanks lost to Tampa Bay 2-1 in a game that featured 20 pitchers.

Thank God for the changes coming next year regarding September callups. Ridiculous. Gearrin was the eleventh pitcher the Yanks used in the game.

When you use all those pitchers, eventually you find the guy who has nothing on that given night.

The only Yankees’ run came on a HR (10) by Cameron Maybin in the third inning. The bats were silent. In 12 innings, the Yanks got only 7 hits, and struck out 13x.

Maybin is the 14th Yankee with 10 or more HR this season, a MLB record.

CC Sabathia came out of the bullpen and pitched a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts.

The Yanks escaped a disaster when X-rays on Gio Urshela’s hand came up negative after he was HBP.

Kevin Kiermaier homered in the fifth for the Rays to tie the game, and it stood at 1-1 until Choi’s walkoff HR.

Maybin’s HR was #299 for the Yanks this season. The Twins didn’t homer, so they are still at 297 in the race for the new team HR record in a season. The Twins have one more game to play than the Yankees do.

With the loss, the Yankees (102-56) fall 1 1/2 behind Houston for the majors’ best record with just four games to play. Houston has the tiebreaker. It doesn’t look like the Yanks can catch Houston for the best record in the majors. Rather, it looks like they’ll be the AL’s #2 seed and play the Twins in the first round, with the Yanks having the home field advantage. With all those homers between the teams, it could be a shootout. Should the Yanks make it to the WS, they are 1/2 game ahead of the NL’s best team, the Dodgers, and the Yanks hold the tiebreaker over LA.

Maybin solo HR (10)

Montgomery 2 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 0 W, 3 K.  6.75
Heller 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.  1.69
Sabathia (H, 1) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.   4.95
Tarpley (BS, 1) 1 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR.   7.43
Lyons 0 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K.   7.36.  Faced one batter, walked him.
Cessa 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 2 K.  3.62
Kahnle 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.  3.45
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.  1.94
Ottavino 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.  1.79
Green 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 5 K.  4.24
Gearrin (L, 1-3, 4.25) 0 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. Faced one batter, gave up HR.

Yankees’ pitchers struck out 17.

 

Game 155. A Gleyber scare in Yanks’ 4-3 loss.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks (100-55) lost to Toronto 4-3 Friday night, and the loss hurts their chances of beating out Houston for the best record in the AL, but the bigger concern is that of Gleyber Torres.

In a season where the Yankees have overcome so many injuries, losing Gleyber could be the straw that would break the camel’s back. He’ll get tests today. Manager Aaron Boone said that Torres is likely OK. Let’s hope so.

J.A. Happ pitched pretty well. He gave up a run in the fourth on the play in which Gleyber may or may not have gotten hurt. After a double by Cavan Biggio and an out, Vlad Guerrero Jr. hit a grounder up the middle. Torres backhanded the ball and in trying to plant himself for the throw, his legs went out from under him. At first, it looked really bad. Torres remained in the game until the seventh inning, when he was removed after reporting what manager Aaron Boone described as “weakness in his lower legs.”

Aaron Judge tied the game up in the bottom of the fourth with his 25th HR of the season.

Happ gave up a HR to Danny Jansen in the top of the fifth to put Toronto up 2-1.

The Yanks took the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Tyler Wade hit his 2nd HR of the season. 3-2 Yankees.

Wade’s HR was #294 for the Yanks for the season. The Twins didn’t HR last night so the Yanks are up 294-293, but the Twins have played one less game. Also, the Yanks have a tougher schedule, it appears. The Yanks do play Tampa Bay for two games in a few days. Whoever comes out on top will have set the new team MLB HR record for a season.

That 3-2 Yankees’ lead was wiped out when Tommy Kahnle gave up a 2-run HR to Justin Smoak in the seventh inning.

Umpire “Cowboy” Joe West made a really bad call in the bottom of the ninth. Brett Gardner thought he walked on a 3-1 pitch, and replays appeared to show the pitch a good few inches outside. West called strike two and Gardner later lined out.

With the loss, the Yanks fell 1 1/2 games behind Houston for the best record in the majors. Houston holds the tiebreaker. Should the Yankees make it to the WS, they have a 1/2 game lead over the Dodgers, and the Yanks hold the tiebreaker there. It’s appearing as if the Yanks will have the #2 seed in the AL and play the Twins in the ALDS, with the Yanks having home-field advantage.

Judge 2 hits, Solo HR (25)
Voit 0 for 4 , 4 strikeouts. Golden Sombrero. Tough night.
Wade 2-run HR (2)

Happ 5 1/3 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 0 W, 4 K. Gave up 1 HR.  5.01
Ottavino (H, 29) 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.   1.82
Kahnle (L, 3-2, 3.51;  BS, 5)  1 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 1 W, 3 K.  Gave up 1 HR.
Gearrin 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.   4.08
Lyons 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.  6.30
Heller 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 W, 1 K.   2.08

Domingo German is done for the year because of  this domestic abuse incident.

Howard “Hopalong” Cassady, who won the 1955 Heisman Trophy Award at Ohio State, died at the age of 85. He was a member of the 1954 National Champ Ohio State team and also a member of the NFL Champion Detroit Lions of 1957. He worked for the Yankees for some 30 years.

Game 151. Yanks fall, 6-4, in game marked by returns of Montgomery and Betances.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks (98-53) lost to Toronto on Sunday, 6-4, in a game that marked the returns of Jordan Montgomery and Dellin Betances off the IL. Mixed results.

Tampa Bay lost, so the Yanks magic # for clinching the division is three. The magic # to just make it into the playoffs is 2.

They only hit 1 HR today, so they trail the Twins 287-286 in the race for the new HR record. The Twins have played two less games, so the Yanks have to get going there.

Houston won, and holds the tiebreaker. Both teams currently have the same record. The Dodgers are a game behind them.

As much as we would like the Yanks to get the best record in baseball (at least the AL) and maintain home field advantage, there are some things that Aaron Boone has to find out before the postseason begins, and finding out those things could cost the Yanks now but benefit them in the postseason.

One of them is outfield and Tyler Wade. With Tauchman and Hicks out, he needs to see how Wade is in the outfield. With Hicks out, Gardner will be in CF, and Judge in RF. Boone needs to find out if Stanton could play LF (when Stanton comes back) or if he has to DH. He needs to know who will play LF—Stanton, Frazier, Maybin or even Wade.

The question of if Stanton can play LF affects the 1B/DH spot. If Stanton has to DH, that affects Voit, Ford and/or Encarnacion, depending on who plays 1B. The best Yankees’ defensive infield has LeMahieu at 1B,  Torres at 2B, Didi at SS and Urshela at 3B. If Stanton has to DH and not play LF, that takes Voit, Ford & Encarnacion out of the mix.

As for the pitchers, he has to find out if Severino, Betances, and maybe even Montgomery have anything to offer for the postseason. He also has to rest his main bullpen guys (Kahnle, Ottavino, Green, Britton and Chapman) to make sure they are good to go, and not overworked, come October.

Boone has to find out those answers NOW, and in finding out those answers, he may have to sacrifice home field advantage to do so.

Aaron Judge homered in the top of the first today (23) to put the Yanks up 1-0.

Jordan Montgomery, in his first game back from TJ surgery, was shaky, giving up two runs in the bottom of the second. Toronto up, 2-1.

The Yanks got two in the top of the third. With one out, Tyler Wade singled and scored on a D.J. LeMahieu double that tied the game. Judge walked, then Didi Gregorius singled to put the Yanks up 3-2.

In the bottom of the third, Montgomery gave up a HR to Yankee-killer Randal Grichuk.

Nestor Cortes gave up a 3-run HR to Grichuk in the fifth. Cortes appears to me to be a tweener pitcher. Better than AAA but not MLB caliber. I don’t expect him on the postseason roster.

The Yanks got a run in the seventh when Austin Romine doubled and later scored on a two-base error.

Dellin Betances, making his first appearance of the season, faced two batters and struck both of them out.

Judge solo HR (23)

Green 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K.  4.50
Montgomery 2 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 0 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR.  13.50  Season Debut after TJ surgery.
Betances 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.  0.00    Season debut after shoulder trouble.
Cortes (L, 5-1, 5.54)  1 1/3 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 2 W, 3 K.  Gave up 1 HR.
Heller 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 3 K.    3.00
Lyons 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.   6.52

Note none of the “big four” of Ottavino, Kahnle, Britton or Chapman pitched since they were down in the game.

The Yankees are off Monday and Luis Severino makes his season debut on Tuesday.

Ryan Dull was DFA’d.

Games 147 and 148. Yanks sweep DH but injury bug bites again and hard. Magic #5.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

First the good news. The Yanks swept a DH from the Tigers on Thursday. The magic # for just getting into the playoffs, and also for winning the division outright, is down to 5.

Houston lost, so the Yanks lead Houston by two games for best record in the AL. The Yanks also lead the Dodgers by two games in the race for best record in the majors, which the Yanks currently own.

The lead in the AL East is 10 over Tampa Bay with 14 games to go.

More good news. Jordan Montgomery comes off the IL and will start Sunday. Luis Severino comes off the IL and starts Tuesday.

More news. Stephen Tarpley off the IL. He was activated before yesterday’s games. Also Ben Heller was brought up.

With 4 HR in the DH, the Yanks have more HR than the Twins (280 to 279) but the Twins have played two less games, in the race for who winds up with the new record for most HR in a season.

Now the bad news. We hope it isn’t worse. Tests will prove how bad. The injury bug has hit again, and at the worst possible time, with the end of the regular season just over two weeks away. J.A. Happ has been pitching with tendonitis in his left (pitching arm) biceps. Edwin Encarnacion had to leave Game 1 early with an oblique strain. Gary Sanchez had to leave Game 2 with tightness in his left groin. Losing Happ may be mitigated by the arrivals of Montgomery and Severino, but the lineup would take a huge hit if they lose the parrot and the Kraken.

As for Sanchez, what was he doing trying to steal? And in a game played in less than optimum conditions? And with the Yanks up 3-0? He’s a catcher. He’s slow. He NEVER tries to steal. SMH. That could really come back to bite them if he has to miss time—including PLAYOFF time.

Game 1: Yanks win 10-4. Luke Voit hit a 2-run HR (20) in the top of the first to put the Yanks up 2-0.

In the third, Encarnacion hit a 2-run HR (34) to put them up 4-0. He left later in this game with the oblique problem.

Detroit got a 2-run HR in the fifth off of MayHapp, who pitched well despite the biceps tendonitis. After giving up the HR, Happ gave up a single and then was pulled after 99 pitches, one out short of qualifying for the win. Understandable. The Yanks didn’t want to take any more chances.

In the seventh, Aaron Judge walked, and one out later, Luke Voit doubled. Didi Gregorius was intentionally walked to load the bases as the Tigers were hoping for an inning-ending DP. Instead a WP moved all runners up and put the Yanks up 5-2. After Gio Urshela struck out, Cameron Maybin doubled to put the Yanks up 7-2.

The Tigers scored in the bottom of the seventh to cut it to 7-3.

The Yanks put the game away with three in the top of the eighth. Austin Romine singled and one out later, Aaron Judge singled. With two out, Voit singled in one run and Didi Gregorius tripled in two and it was 10-3 Yanks.

Heller, who is just coming back from missing 2018 and most of this season recovering from TJ surgery, gave up a HR in the bottom of the eighth. 10-4, the final score.

Judge 3 walks, scored 4 runs.
Encarnacion 2-run HR (34)
Voit 3 hits, 3 RBI. 2-run HR (20). Scored 3 runs.
Gregorius 2 RBI
Maybin 2 RBI
Romine 3 hits.

Happ 4 2/3 IP, 2 R, 7 H, 3 W, 6 K. Gave up 1 HR.  5.07
Green (W, 4-4, 4.57) 2 1/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Heller 1 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 1 W, 1 K.  Gave up 1 HR.  9.00
Gearrin 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 0 K.  4.32
Lyons 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.  7.04

Game 2: Yanks win 6-4. CC, despite giving up 2 runs, looked good. German was great in relief getting his MLB=leading 18th win.

Aaron Judge hit a 2-run HR in the first inning (22) to give the Yanks a quick 2-0 lead.

In the second, Mike Ford singled and scored on a double by D.J. LeMahieu. 3-0.

CC lost it a bit in the fourth, when he gave up two runs, but German was in shutdown mode. 3-2 Yanks after four.

The Yanks got one run back in the top of the fifth when Tyler Wade doubled to lead off the inning and scored two outs later on a single by Didi. Didi went to third (two-base error) on the play but was left stranded. 4-2.

Gio Urshela hit a 2-run PH HR (20) in the top of the ninth to put the Yanks up 6-2, and they needed those runs because Detroit scored two in the bottom of the ninth to close it to 6-4 before the Yanks closed out the game.

LeMahieu 3 hits, RBI. .325
Judge 2-run HR (22)
Gardner the Golden Sombrero. 0 for 4, 4 strikeouts.
Urshela 2-run PH HR (20)  .328
Wade 2 hits

Sabathia 3 1/3 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 W, 5 K.  4.95
German (W, 18-4, 4.09) 4 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 5 K.
Kahnle (H, 26) 1 IP, 2 H, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K.  3.36
Chapman (S, 37) 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.  2.32

It doesn’t look as if CC will pass Bob Gibson on the all-time win list (both with 251) because CC isn’t going the five for the win, but CC did pass John Smoltz on the strikeout list last night. The next one up is too far ahead to reach before CC retires at the end of the season.