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.
I agreed with the decision to start Deivi Garcia in game 2 of this ALDS. Less pressure on the rookie (the youngest Yankee to start a postseason game), and especially less pressure after the Game 1 win.
But I was shocked when I saw that Aaron Boone only planned to use Garcia as the opener, pitching just one inning, before bringing in J.A. Happ. I didn’t like that move, and that move backfired when Happ reverted to the Happ of earlier this year and of 2019 in a 7-5 loss to Tampa Bay that evened the series at one game apiece.
Who knows if Garcia, who gave up one run (a HR) in the first inning would have settled down? Happ, a starter his whole career, isn’t used to coming out of the bullpen. I didn’t like the move, still don’t, and the results speak for themselves.
Yankees’ pitching gave up four HR last night in the loss. After getting a couple of flyouts, Garcia gave up a HR, hit a batter, then got a groundout. I don’t know what Boone’s plans are for Garcia for the rest of the series, but who knows if the kid would have settled down after that and had given you four, five or six good innings after that?
In the top of the second, a red-hot (homers in four straight postseason games) Giancarlo Stanton homered to tie the game at one.
But in came Happ, who gave up a 2-run HR in the bottom of the second, then another two-run HR in the bottom of the third and after three innings, the Yanks were in a 5-1 hole they couldn’t get out of.
We won’t know what Garcia would have done because in going the “opener” route, Garcia was never given the chance. While he was pitching and getting the first two outs, Happ was already warming up. Sometimes you just outthink yourself, and maybe Boone did that here. How are you going to inspire confidence in the kid when you do that? Boone talks about the kid’s maturity and confidence but then does that?
This is just my opinion, and I haven’t read the NY Post, MLB, ESPN or anything but I’d be interested in reading some reactions to Boone’s move on those sites. Also see what the fans think.
As or me, I didn’t like it.
So, after Boone brings in Happ, who made the deficit 5-1, Stanton tried to get the Yankees back into the game with a three-run bomb of a HR in the top of the fourth that cut the Rays’ lead to 5-4.
But the Yanks showed little offense other than Stanton. They struck out 18x, a postseason record for a 9-inning game.
One problem the Yanks have had all year is that their bullpen is letting inherited runners score, and not shutting down the inning then and there. After Adam Ottavino walked the leadoff man in in the bottom of the fifth (who then stole second), and got a groundout, Jonathan Loaisiga gave up a run-scoring single before getting a DP (great play by D.J. LeMahieu) to end the inning.
Loaisiga gave up a HR in the sixth and it was 7-4.
The Yanks got a couple of walks to lead off the top of the ninth, but then two strikeouts. D.J. LeMahieu kept hope alive with an RBI single, but Aaron Judge grounded out to end the game.
Let’s hope Tanaka brings his A game tonight. At least we know he won’t be used as an “opener.”
Sanchez was 0 for 4, 3 strikeouts, PB. Maybe just stick with Higashioka?
Stanton 2 HR, 4 RBI
Garcia 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 1 HBP. Gave up 1 HR. Happ (LOSS) 2 2/3 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 3 W, 2 K. Gave up 2 HR. Made an error. Ottavino 2/3 IP, 1 R, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K. Loaisiga 1 2/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR. Holder 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. Nelson 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.
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.
Gerrit Cole, to no surprise, will start Game 1 of the ALDS for the Yankees against Tampa Bay, with Kyle Higashioka catching him. That sets him up to come back on three days rest for a do-or-die Game 5 if necessary. The rest of the rotation set up for Games 2-3-4 hasn’t been made yet. As I stated in yesterday’s post, I would go with the rookie, Deivi Garcia, in Game 2. Less pressure there than in Games 3 and 4.
The ALDS is set. On one side, we have the Yanks and Rays in San Diego. Oakland vs. Houston play in L.A.
The NLDS isn’t set yet, partly because of the Marlins/ Cubs game being rained out. The Dodgers swept the Brewers and are awaiting the winner of the St. Louis /San Diego Series which is even at 1 apiece. The Marlins lead the Cubs one game to nothing, Winner gets Atlanta, who swept Cincinnati, and who didn’t even give up a run to the Reds. Both NLDS in Texas. (Arlington and Houston).
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.
This was a stinker in many ways. The Yanks only got four hits and only scored one run, that on a passed ball. They made four errors, two by Gary Sanchez. They gave up 14 runs in losing to Toronto, 14-1, Wednesday night.
They have to clean up their act before the playoffs start next week. Even Luke Voit compared them to the Bad News Bears last night.
In one of the innings, they loaded the bases with no one out and didn’t score.
It got so bad that backup C Erik Kratz had to pitch…. again. His second pitching appearance in less than a week.
And the defense could be the Yanks’ Achilles heel come playoff time. Despite excellent defensive players like D.J. LeMahieu and Gio Urshela, the Yanks’ fielding percentage ranks as one of the worst, if not THE worst in the AL this year, and is the Yanks’ worst since 1988 (from a NJ.com article). Besides Sanchez, Gleyber Torres also is at fault, as Torres is a better 2B than SS, but LeMahieu is at 2B. Besides Sanchez’ two errors, another error last night was made by Torres.
You really have to wonder at this point if the Yanks are better off just going with Higashioka the rest of the way. His defense is unquestionably better than Sanchez’, and his bat, normally far worse, is much better at the present time, especially after Sanchez went 0 for 4 with 3 strikeouts last night to drop his batting average to a ghastly .143.
With a Rays win and the Yanks’ loss, the Rays clinched the AL East title. Minnesota has jumped over the Chicago White Sox for the AL Central lead, so at present the Yanks are the #5 seed, two games behind the White Sox with four games to go. Should it stay like this, the Yanks play the White Sox, all three games in Chicago, in the best-of-3 first round.
Masahiro Tanaka gave up two runs right away in the first inning. One was unearned because of a Sanchez error.
The Yanks’ only run came in the top of the second. Luke Voit walked, then with one out, Aaron Hicks walked. Gio Urshela singled to load the bases. Voit scored on a PB. With a chance to tack on, Sanchez struck out and Clint Frazier flied out.
The Blue Jays got an unearned run, courtesy of Torres’ error, in the third, then scored two more in the fourth, helped along by an error by Luke Voit.
Toronto got eight in the sixth to break the game wide open, four runs coming off of Tyler Lyons, who was making his first appearance of the season. Sanchez made his second error (catcher interference) in this inning.
LeMahieu 2 hits, .360. 2 of the Yankees’ four hits. Both Sanchez and Giancarlo Stanton were 0 for 4, 3 strikeouts.
Tanaka (L, 3-3, 3.56) 4 IP, 5 R, 3 ER, 8 H, 3 W, 5 K. Gave up 1 HR. Cessa 1 1/3 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 1 W, 1 K. 3.74 Lyons 1 2/3 IP, 4 R, 3 H, 1 W, 0 K. 1 HBP, 21.60 Season debut Kratz 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 9.00. Gave up 1 HR. Backup C.
Yes, it appears that Kyle Higashioka has become Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher, and based on the results last night and in his past few outings, should remain so come the postseason.
Helped by a healthy attack, Cole beat the Blue Jays 12-1 last night. The Yankees (32-23) remain as the #5 seed, 1 1/2 games behind the Twins with 5 games to go.
This was the last regular season start for the Yankees’ ace, who went 7-3, 2.84 in the regular season.
The Yanks scored twice in the first inning. Wirth one out, Aaron Judge walked and Aaron Hicks tripled him home. HIcks then scored on a WP.
With two out in the top of the fourth, Gleyber Torres doubled and was driven home by Gio Urshela’s single. 3-0.
Cole made one mistake that cost him all night. Cavan Biggio hit a solo HR off him in the bottom of the fourth to cut the Yanks’ lead to 3-1.
The Yanks came right back with four runs in the top of the fifth. With one out, Higashioka singled. LeMahieu was HBP. Judge singled in a run and everyone moved up on the throw. Hicks singled in two, stole second, then scored on a single by Torres. 7-1.
The Yanks got three in the top of the eighth. With two out, Urshela doubled, and Clint Frazier walked. Brett Gardner singled in a run. Kyle Higashioka’s drive hit the very top of the wall, just missing a HR. Instead, a 2-run double. 10-1 Yanks.
The Yanks closed out the scoring with two in the top of the ninth. Judge singled. Mike Tauchman walked. After an out, Torres singled in Judge, Tauchman moving to third. Urshela singled to make it 12-1, which was the final score.
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 Yankees have beaten Boston in every game this season, and will play them for the final time on Sunday.
On Saturday night, J.A. Happ was superb in pitching eight innings in an 8-0 shutout of the Red Sox.
As of right now, the Yanks have four starters who are all clicking and who all have ERAs of 3.30 or lower. That’s a good, encouraging sign as the playoffs draw near.
With the win, the Yanks remain three percentage points ahead of the Twins for the #4 seed in the AL.
The Yankees got two runs right away in the top of the first inning. D.J. LeMahieu (.368 leads MLB; leads AL in OPB, OPS and OPS+) singled, and Aaron Judge walked. Both runners moved up on a passed ball. With one out, Luke Voit (20 HR leads MLB) walked to load the bases. Gio Urshela hit a SF for one run, and Clint Frazier singled in another. 2-0, Yankees.
The Yanks scored twice in the fourth to go up 4-0. With one out, Frazier singled. He moved up to second, and Mike Tauchman reached first, on an error. Kyle Higashioka singled in a run, Tauchman going to third. Tyler Wade drove in the second run on a forceout.
In the fifth, Judge led off with a single but was caught trying to steal second. Brett Gardner singled and scored all the way from first on a single by Voit. Voit’s foot problems held him at first. After another out, Frazier hit a 2-run HR (8), to make it 7-0.
The Yanks made it 8-0 in the top of the ninth. With one out, Gardner walked, moved to second on a WP, to third on a single by Voit, and scored when Urshela hit a SF that turned into a DP (Gardner scored before Voit was doubled up).
Nick Nelson finished off the shutout.
LeMahieu 2 hits (see above; MLB leader in BA, AL leader in OBP, OPS, OPS+) Gardner 2 hits Voit 2 hits, RBI Urshela 2 RBI Frazier 3 hits, 2-run HR (8), 3 RBI
Happ (W, 2-2, 3.25) 8 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 0 W, 9 K. Nelson 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 5.17
UPDATE: The Yanks’ magic # to reach the postseason is 1. Win #31 guarantees the Yanks a winning season. They haven’t had a losing season since 1992.
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).