Tag Archives: Higashioka

ALCS Game 4. Houston sends Yanks home (again) 6-5 to sweep series.

The Yankees played 11 games vs. Houston this year. They won two, both in walk off fashion, and none in Houston. It was apparent Houston had the Yanks’ number. They Yanks hardly led at all in all 11 games.

That carried over to the ALCS, in which the Astros swept the Yanks out of, winning Game 4 6-5. I didn’t think the Yanks would beat Houston, although I was hoping. You have to separate your head from your heart. You think with your brain, not with your heart. But I didn’t think they would get swept. Ouch.

And what REALLY hurts? Of that 2-9 record (including the ALCS) this year, 4 of the losses were by 1 run, and another 3 by 2 runs. As if losing itself didn’t hurt, that was just twisting the knife.

It marked the fifth straight time the Yanks lost in the ALCS since last going to (and winning) the WS in 2009 (2010, 2012, 2017, 2019, 2022). The last three ALCS losses were all to the Astros.

There needs to be change, from the top down, within the Yankees’ organization. Otherwise, it’ll be the same old same old next year too. They have to break this pattern in order to advance further.

Many are calling for Derek Jeter to be the new GM and Don Mattingly to be his manager. Although I love both Yankees legends, and that would be the popular move, let’s step back and take a look at that. First off, with Jeter as CEO and Mattingly manager of the Marlins, the Marlins didn’t exactly do well, did they? Granted they didn’t have the talent or financial resources the Yankees do, but you didn’t even see year to year gradual improvement, did you? Here are the win totals, not counting 2020 (the 60 game Covid season) under Mattingly. 79-77-63-57-67-69. I would be more interested if they were on a gradual uphill climb, like 60-65-73-77-85 something like that. You didn’t see that. When Donnie managed the talented and much more financially stable Dodgers, he was ok (82-86-92-94-92), but he couldn’t get them in to the WS. His overall winning percentage, Dodgers and Marlins, is under .500. And as for Jeter, do you really think he would take a position (GM) in which he could be fired? Jeter doesn’t want to work for a boss, he wants to BE the boss. CEO or owner. If he was going to come back to the Yankees, it would be as an adviser, not GM. Much like Reggie Jackson was. Oh yeah, guess who Reggie is advising now. Ugh. The Astros.

The Astros are now unbeaten (7-0) in the postseason. They will face the Phillies in the WS. The Phils got lucky and hot. As the #6 seed in the NL, they never would have made the playoffs before this year. But with MLB changing the playoff structure, they snuck in and got hot at the right time. Dave Dombrowski, the Phillies’ President of Baseball Operations, is going to the HOF one day. This is the fourth team he has run that is going to the WS. Their manager, Rob Thomson, hitting coach Kevin Long and reliever David Robertson were all part of the last Yankees team to win a WS back in 2009.

The game started out good for the Yanks. They scored twice in the bottom of the first. Harrison Bader singled, and with one out, Anthony Rizzo was HBP. Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres followed with singles and the Yanks were up 2-0.

In the bottom of the second, the Yanks made it 3-0. Isiah Kiner-Falefa (IF) led off with a double, and two outs later, Aaron Judge walked. A double by Rizzo plated IKF.

But Nestor Cortes, who pitched two scoreless innings, was pitching through a groin injury that caught up to him in the third inning. Two walks and a 3-run HR to start the inning, and Cortes was removed. Wandy Peralta relieved Cortes, and Houston got another run off him. 4-3.

The Yanks tied it in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Bader singled, and with two out, moved to second on a passed ball. Rizzo singled to tie the game at four.

Bader, who had an incredible postseason, hit his FIFTH HR of the postseason to put the Yanks up 5-4 in the sixth.

But with one out in the seventh, it came undone. Jose Altuve got an infield hit, just beating Yankees’ pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga to first on a bang-bang play. Then came a ball that should have been a DP, but the exchange, Torres to IKF, went awry and everyone was safe. The error was charged to Torres, but I think IKF should have at least caught the ball for a force. Whatever, both at fault. Two consecutive singles, off Loaisiga and then Clay Holmes, followed to tie the game and then to give Houston the lead, which they held on to.

The Yanks hit .182 vs. Cleveland in the ALDS. They hit .162 in the ALCS vs. Houston. .173 for the postseason. Aaron Judge, the face of the Yanks, will get criticized (5 for 36, 2 HR, 15 K) but it wasn’t only him (And Judge, although he won’t admit it, was probably gassed from carrying the team the last two months and from the HR chase to 62).

Some other numbers:
Jose Trevino was 1 for 22 in the postseason. 6 K.
Kyle Higashioka 0 for 6, 5 K. So, neither catcher did anything.
Oswaldo Cabrera 2 for 28, with 12 K. Benintendi missed. Tough postseason for the rookie.
Stanton 6 for 36, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 9 K.
Torres 6 for 34, 10 K.
Josh Donaldson 5 for 29, 16 K. No LeMahieu.
Matt Carpenter 1 for 12, 9 K.

The only bright spots:
Bader,10 for 30 with 5 HR.
Rizzo 8 for 29, 2 HR.
Kiner-Falefa was 5 for 18, but the shaky fielding…

Game 4 recap:

Bader 3 hits, solo HR
Rizzo 2 hits, 2 RBI
Torres 2 hits, RBI but critical error

Cortes 2+ IP, 3 R, 2 H, 3 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Peralta 2 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Loaisiga (LOSS) 2 1/3 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Holmes 2 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 2 K.

Waiting for changes. Hoping they are MASSIVE Changes, from the top down.

ALCS Game 2. One bad pitch, couple of feet cost Yanks in 3-2 loss.

One bad pitch and a couple of feet cost the Yanks in a 3-2 loss to Houston last night. The Yanks are now down 0-2 in the best-of-7 ALCS.

There are certain things you can blame a manager for, and certain things you can’t. In some games, Aaron Boone’s bullpen management has been questionable, as have his lineups.

You can’t blame him for anything last night, though. Last night was just some bad luck. He also can’t swing the bat for some guys who aren’t putting the ball in play. 17 strikeouts in Game 1, 13 more in Game 2. Even some much needed and correct lineup changes didn’t work. The Yankees have played 16 postseason games against Houston, starting in 2015. They have scored 47 runs. Do the math. That is a little less than 3 runs per game. It seems like the Yanks keep losing to Houston 2-0, 4-0, 3-2, 4-2, 4-1, etc.

Harrison Bader, with his 4 postseason HR was moved to leadoff. He got a hit, drew a walk. Jose Trevino, 1 for 15, was benched for Kyle Higashioka. But Higashioka went 0 for 3 with 3 strikeouts. What can you do when NEITHER catcher hits?

Rookie Oswald Peraza started at SS. Peraza played a great defensive game, making a couple great plays, just missing out on a few more, and teaming up with Gleyber Torres for a remarkable DP. It already looks like Peraza will be next year’s starting SS. He looks that smooth. As long as he hits. At the plate last night, Peraza was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts, however. With Peraza, it will be interesting to see what the Yanks do with Anthony Volpe. With Josh Donaldson turning 37 and showing signs of age, does someone like Volpe or Oswaldo Cabrera move to 3B? Of course, you have D.J. for 3B but I’m thinking long-term.

Boone can’t do anything about the injuries. It is very apparent that the losses of D.J. LeMahieu and Andrew Benintendi have hurt the Yanks considerably. Both are contact hitters. Neither strikeout much. 30 strikeouts in two games. Ugh. Put the ball in play. You never know. It might fall in (See Cleveland last series) or someone could make an error—-which is how the Yanks scored their two runs last night.

Who would have thought in a postseason game that the Yanks would be forced to start two rookies?

Anyway, two things about roster construction for the playoffs. Here is where the Yanks could be held at fault a little. Once again, nothing you can do about injuries. Besides D.J. and Benintendi, the losses of bullpen stalwarts King, Green, Marinaccio and Effross hurt as well (we won’t discuss malcontent Chapman). But you have to go with and put HEALTHY people on the roster. It’s apparent Matt Carpenter isn’t ready. Cheers to him for trying. But he had no minor league rehab games to help him work his way back. He is 0 for 7 in the postseason and all 7 at bats are strikeouts. It is apparent he should not be on the team. But if not him, who? D.J. is hurt (and there was thought about having him on the roster. I think the results would be the same as with Carpenter. The rust and injury would limit him the same way and hurt the team the same way Carpenter is hurting them now). Benintendi is hurt. Hicks, who didn’t contribute much anyway, is hurt. You could have kept Gonzalez on the team for this round, but he wasn’t doing much even though healthy.

Secondly, and here is where the Yanks are at fault a little, although bullpen injuries have played a part as far as this year goes. Don’t force guys into situations they are not comfortable with. Bullpen guys are bullpen guys. Starters are starters. Putting a starter in the bullpen for the playoffs usually backfires. There are exceptions, but too often I see it backfire. Montas HR in Game 1. Schmidt, not a closer but a spot starter/middle relief guy, closing. J.A. Happ coming out of the bullpen to blow games in 2019 and 2020 (remember the Deivi Garcia as opener game?). Jack McDowell coming out of the bullpen in 1995. Heck, Jeff Weaver in 2003. Learn from history. Don’t repeat the same mistakes. Taking your #5 starter (granted, McDowell was higher than #5) and throwing him into the bullpen for the postseason usually backfires.

To the game. How many times this season have we seen the Yankees’ pitchers give up runs when they are ONE STRIKE away from getting out of an inning? Two out, two strikes and Boom. Gives up runs. In the bottom of the third, that is what happened to Luis Severino. I am a little concerned about Severino in the postseason, because in 11 postseason games, Sevy is 1-4, 5.15. Great stuff, but his postseason numbers aren’t too good. He was good last night except for that one pitch, which was with two outs and two strikes and hit for a 3-run HR.

The Yanks came back with two runs in the top of the fourth, helped by an error. Aaron Judge singled, and a double error (fielding and throwing) on a ball hit back to Astro’s pitcher Framber Valdez put runners on second and third with no one out. Anthony Rizzo moved the runners up, scoring Judge with a groundout. An infield single by Torres scored Stanton.

In the top of the eighth, the Yanks came oh-so-close. Harrison Bader walked with one out. Judge hit a ball deep to right field that was caught at the top of the fence. Three feet or so higher and it would have been a two-run HR that would have given the Yanks a 4-3 lead and possibly a victory. Yankee Stadium is the only park in which it WOULD have been a HR. Houston rarely plays with the roof open. It was open and there was a significant wind that may have held the ball up. The Yanks got unlucky.

Only 4 hits. 13 strikeouts. Put the ball in play.

Severino (LOSS) 5 1/3 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 1 W, 6 K. 1 HBP. Gave up 1 HR.
Loaisiga 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 0 K.
Peralta 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K.

Gold Glove nominations came out yesterday, with three nominations for each position plus one for utility players. Five Yankees got nominations: Taillon, Trevino, Rizzo, Benintendi (KC/NYY) and LeMahieu. Lemahieu’s was for the utility category. Two that should have gotten nominations but didn’t were Donaldson and Judge.

Game 162. Yanks drop regular season finale, finish 99-63. Next up, ALDS Game 1 Oct. 11.

The Yankees dropped their regular season finale, 4-2 to Texas to finish the season 99-63, 7 games in front of second place Toronto in the AL East. Game 1 of the ALDS is next Tuesday, October 11, at Yankee Stadium against the winner of the Tampa Bay/Cleveland Series.

The Yankees were 11-8 vs. Tampa Bay this season, and 5-1 against Cleveland.

Aaron Judge did not play in today’s game, getting a well-deserved rest after playing in 55 games in a row, with the last two weeks seeing incredible pressure. He finished second in the AL batting race at .311, five points back, so no Triple Crown, but he ends at .311-62 (new AL and Yankees record)-131, 16 SB, 111 walks, OPS+ 211 (! that could change by a point or so, but still, !) He led MLB in R, HR, RBI, OBP, SA, OPS, OPS+ and Total bases, and the AL in walks.

It’s amazing how many people wanted him to play in a meaningless game today. What if he would have pulled a hamstring running out a double? Or gotten hit by a pitch that broke his wrist? It was smart to have him out of the lineup and save him for the playoffs. People can be so dumb sometimes.

The Yanks scored first in the second inning when with one out, Oswald Peraza walked. Jose Trevino singled Peraza to third and one out later, Kyle Higashioka hit an RBI single.

Yankees’ starter and losing pitcher Domingo German gave up a HR to Charlie Culberson in the third that just snuck around the LF foul pole. Tie game, 1-1.

The Yanks went up 2-1 in the top of the fourth on a HR by Trevino (11).

German gave up a HR to Jonah Heim in the bottom of the fourth that tied the game at two, then two runs in the bottom of the fifth that cost him the game. He wasn’t helped by an error from Aaron Hicks or a double that Josh Donaldson probably should have made a play on. Final score 4-2.

Trevino 2 hits, solo HR (11)

German (L, 2-5) 4 1/3 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 1 W, 6 K. Gave up 2 HR. 3.61
Abreu 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 3.26 Just off IL
Castro 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 0 K. 1 WP 4.03
Trivino 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 4.53 (A’s/NYY ERA)
Luetge 1 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 0 W, 1 K. 2.67


Game 160. Yanks win 1st game of day/night DH 5-4. 3 HR hit, but Judge still waiting on 62.

Now we start wondering if #62 will come at all.

Aaron Judge was 1 for 5 with a single in the first game of a day/night DH, a game the Yankees (99-61) won 5-4. He is now hitting .310 after that game.

The Yanks have just the night game tonight and an afternoon game tomorrow left in their season before their postseason begins with Game 1 of the ALDS at Yankee Stadium on October 11.

The Yanks did hit three HR in the game, including the first MLB HR by Oswald Peraza.

Oswaldo Cabrera got the scoring started with a HR in the top of the first inning (6).

Yanks’ starter Jameson Taillon gave two runs back in the bottom of the first and had to get out of a bases-loaded jam or else he would have given up more than that. Texas up 2-1 after one inning.

Peraza hit his HR in the top of the second to tie the game.

The Yanks went up 3-2 in the top of the fifth. Peraza (who has been playing great since he has been called up, as has Cabrera) singled and stole second. After a popup, Marwin Gonzalez singled in Peraza.

But Taillon gave up a 2-run HR in the bottom of the fifth and Texas took a 4-3 lead.

The Yanks’ winning rally came in the top of the eighth. Kyle Higashioka, hot lately, led off the inning with a HR (10) to tie the game. Judge singled and Anthony Rizzo was HBP. Cabrera sacrificed both runners over, and Harrison Bader singled to give the Yanks the eventual winning run.

Cabrera solo HR (6)
Peraza 2 hits, solo HR (1) FIRST MLB HR
Higashioka solo HR (10)

Taillon 6 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 2 W, 5 K. 1 HBP Gave up 1 HR. 3.91
Chapman (W, 4-4) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. 4.46 The Chapman we need to see.
Weissert (H, 2) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 5.56
Loaisiga (S, 2) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 4.13

Ron Marinaccio to the IL. He will miss the ALDS. Albert Abreu back off the IL.





Game 159. Severino sensational in Yanks’ 3-1 win. 2 HR, but none by Judge.

There should be no doubt that Luis Severino is the Yankees #3 starter come playoff time.

Severino was marvelous last evening, pitching 7 no-hit innings as the Yankees (98-61) defeated Texas, 3-1.

It was Severino’s third start since coming off the IL. As a result, his pitch count was limited to 90 (he threw 94) and therefore was pulled for safety reasons. Also, Miguel Castro was activated (Chi Chi Gonzalez DFA’d) and the Yankees do need to see if Castro should be on the postseason roster or not.

Aaron Judge was 1 for 4 with an infield single. He has 2 days and 3 games left to see if he can hit #62 to set a new AL and Yankees record. You now wonder if he will do it. He has just 1 HR since September 20. His batting average is at .311, 4 points back. I doubt that he will make it up to win the Triple Crown. The Yanks have a day-night doubleheader today. If Judge doesn’t get a HR in the opener, does he play in the night game? I’m sure if he DOES HR in the opener, he will be given the night game off. Maybe even tomorrow too.

The Yanks scored in the fifth inning on a leadoff single by Oswald Peraza followed by a force out by Aaron Hicks. Isiah Kiner-Falefa walked, and Kyle Higashioka singled in Hicks.

The Yanks hit into six DP in the game.

In the top of the eighth, Marwin Gonzalez led off the inning with a 400 ft. HR (6), before Judge struck out. Giancarlo Stanton followed with a 457 ft. HR (30) to make it 3-0.

Castro came in for the eighth and got an out before losing the no-hitter and then the shutout.

Stanton solo HR (30) good to see. Hopefully coming out of slump.
Peraza 2 hits. .333 in limited time. Be interesting to see if on postseason roster.
Higashioka 2 hits, RBI. Heating up after a bad season.
Gonzalez solo HR (6)

Severino (W, 7-3) 7 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 7 K. 3.18
Castro (H, 9) 1 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K. 4.18 Just off IL. First game since mid-July.
Effross (S, 4) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 2.54 (Cubs/NYY ERA)




Game 157. Nestor Nasty as Yanks shutout O’s, 8-0. Judge stuck on 61. Rainout likely Sunday?

Nestor Cortes’ last regular season start could not have gone much better. The best Yankees’ starter this season (sorry, Gerrit Cole) pitched 7 1/3 one-hit, shutout baseball as the Yankees defeated Baltimore 8-0 Saturday afternoon. Cortes was dominating, striking out 12.

Cortes ends his season 12-4, with a superb 2.44 ERA.

Aaron Judge went 0 for 2, with 2 walks and a HBP as we still wait and see if he can get #62 to set a new AL and Yankees record. He has a couple of things working against him. For one, the weather forecast is not good for Sunday. Should the Yankees be rained out on Sunday, the game, meaningless in the standings, would not be made up. So, Judge has one less game in order to hit #62. The Yankees next four games are on the road in Texas. One game Monday, a doubleheader Tuesday and the regular season finale on Wednesday. There may be a window to play today, but the game may be delayed for a very long time until that window arrives. There appears to be only a one-hour rainless window around 2 pm today, and a window from about 7 to 10 pm. That’s it, and with the Yankees needing to travel to Texas, it does not look good for a game today. Do they really sit in a clubhouse (and make the fans wait) six hours to start the game at 7 PM when they have to travel to Texas for a game tomorrow? For a game that means nothing in the standings, but only for one player. I don’t think so.

Also, you can’t hit a HR if every pitch is 2 inches off the ground and 4 inches outside. Since hitting #60, Judge is 7 for 27, with that 61st HR, but SEVENTEEN walks and the HBP.

Yesterday, as mentioned above, Judge was 0 for 2, both strikeouts, with a HBP and 2 walks. His batting average is at .313, two points below Luis Arraez of the Twins .315 as Judge also attempts to win the Triple Crown. It appears to be a two-man race for the batting title. Xander Bogaerts of Boston has dropped to .305.

The Yanks got on the board quickly yesterday scoring 3 runs in the first inning. Judge was HBP but forced out at second by Anthony Rizzo. Gleyber Torres doubled in Rizzo and went to third on the throw home. Josh Donaldson hit a SF to make it 2-0, then Giancarlo Stanton smashed a 447-ft. HR (29) to make it 3-0. For the badly slumping Stanton, who was hitting .156 since June 1, he needed that badly.

Kyle Higashioka homered for the Yanks in the bottom of the second (9) to make it 4-0.

In the seventh, Judge walked to lead off the inning, with the pitcher, who appeared to be avoiding Judge, drawing a great deal of derision. The Yanks made him pay for that. Rizzo singled Judge to second. Torres singled in a run to make it 5-0, both runners moving up on the throw. Donaldson singled in both runners to make it 7-0, and he moved up on the throw. Two outs later, Harrison Bader doubled to close out the scoring at 8-0.

Rizzo 2 hits
Torres 2 hits, 2 RBI
Donaldson 2 for 2, walk, 2 RBI.
Stanton 2 hits, RBI. Solo HR (29)
Bader 2 hits, RBI
Higashioka 3 hits, RBI. Solo HR (9)

Cortes (W, 12-4) 7 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 W, 12 K. 2.44
Barnes 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 2 K. 5.64 (Det/NYY)

Before the game Jacob Barnes up from SWB. Zack Britton to IL.

If there is a game today, Chi Chi Gonzalez is supposed to start. No word as far as a corresponding move to get Gonzalez on the roster.

Luis Severino is to go on Monday. Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon will go in Tuesday’s doubleheader, and Domingo German closes out the regular season on Wednesday. The Yanks would then be off for six days, with Game 1 of the ALDS being at Yankee Stadium on October 11. Opponent to be determined.

Game 2 would be after another off day on October 13. Then another off day. Game 3, October 15.
Games 4 and 5 October 16 and 17 if necessary.

The Yankees would only need 3 starters for this series. Most likely Cole, Cortes and Severino. With the off days, the Game 1 starter could come back for Game 4, and the Game 2 starter for Game 5, but the Game 2 starter would be doing so on 3 days’ rest. Severino would probably go Game 3. But who goes in Game 1 and who in Game 2 between Cole and Cortes?

I think Cole would be better on his regular rest, so he lines up for 1 and 4. I think Cortes can adapt better to go on three days’ rest, so I’d have him Game 2. Taillon and German for middle relief if needed.

Game 154. Yanks win AL East; Judge 0 for 1, 4 Walks.

The Yankees (95-59) won the AL East by beating Toronto 5-2 last night.

It appears that they will face the winner of the Cleveland/Seattle series in the ALDS, unless something drastic happens. So, after the regular season ends, the Yankees will have a few days off while Cleveland and Seattle battle each other. Time to rest, heal, and set up their rotation and roster for that series.

Aaron Judge went 0 for 1 with 4 walks. His only at bat resulted in a lineout to third that off the bat appeared to be a double down the line. Good play by Toronto’s 3B Matt Chapman there.

While still waiting for HR #61, Judge still leads the AL batting race as he has a shot at the triple crown. Judge is at .3136, Luis Arraez of the Twins at .3125, and Xander Bogaerts of Boston is at .3104.

We will see if Judge plays today in Toronto. With an off day tomorrow, he could have the day off today as well as tomorrow to be fully rested with two days off to go after Maris’ AL and Yankee HR record. This weekend’s games are at home, before the Yankees end the regular season in Texas. I don’t think he will have today off (I think he will DH) but it would not surprise me if he did.

Yankees’ starter Jameson Taillon gave up a HR to the first batter he faced, George Springer, but settled in to pitch 7 1/3 innings for the win.

The Yanks got two runs in the top of the third inning. Kyle Higashioka led off the inning with a single, and one out later, Judge walked. Anthony Rizzo singled in one run and Gleyber Torres singled in the other.

Judge got the ball rolling in the fifth by leading off with another walk. Rizzo singled, and Torres singled in Judge. Rizzo was thrown out at third on the play, Torres taking second. 3-1 Yankees.

The Yanks got their final two runs in the top of the sixth. With one out, Higashioka and Aaron Hicks hit back-to-back doubles to bring in one run. Judge walked again, then after Rizzo lined out, Torres singled to make it 5-1.

Toronto got a run in the bottom of the sixth but ran themselves into two outs at second.

In the bottom of the eighth, Toronto had two on and one out when Luis Trivino relieved Taillon. Trivino got a DP on only one pitch to get out of it.

Rizzo 2 hits, RBI
Torres 3 hits, 3 RBI
Cabrera 2 hits
Higashioka 3 hits.

Taillon (W, 14-5) 7 1/3 IP, 2 R, 7 H, 0 W, 6 K. Gave up 1 HR. 3.83
Trivino (S, 11) 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 4.61 (Stats combined A’s/Yankees)

To see if Judge matches that record, try MLB network (out of network only) tonight.


Game 149. Yanks clinch playoff spot with 5-4, 10-inning win. Judge just misses #61.

The Yankees (91-58) clinched a playoff spot with a 5-4, 10-inning win over Boston Thursday night. Should they finish in a tie with Baltimore, the Yanks get in due to a tiebreaker. The magic # for clinching the division and a bye is 6.

A couple moves were made before the game. Scott Effross back off the IL. Greg Weissert sent down. Wandy Peralta to the IL. Zack Britton back off the IL.

The Yankees also DFA’d Miguel Andujar. They should have traded him when they could have got something for him. Since his 2018 season when he was second in ROY voting, hitting 47 doubles, 27 HR 92 RBI and OPS+ 130, Andujar hasn’t been the same. That injury that cost him most of the 2019 season seems to have destroyed his career. Since then, Andujar has only hit .228-8-26 in 359 at bats. OPS+ 58. The power hasn’t shown up. Of the 82 hits since 2018, only 15 were for extra bases. 100 is a normal OPS+. That drop-off from 130 to 58 is drastic. Granted he has been a yo-yo, up/down, up/down from SWB to NY in that time, but he clearly has dropped off considerably from 2018. A shame.

Aaron Judge almost won the game with a HR in the bottom of the ninth. How appropriate if #61 would have been a walk off into Monument Park. But the 404 ft. drive was caught just in front of the fence, 408 feet away. Judge was 0 for 2 in the game, with 3 walks. Boston’s Xander Bogaerts was 0 for 5 in the game, however, so Judge’s lead for the AL batting crown increased over Bogaerts. Judge is at .316, Bogaerts .314 as Judge tries not only for the AL single-season HR title, but also for a Triple Crown.

The Yanks scored first in the bottom of the fifth inning. Oswaldo Cabrera walked and went to second on a passed ball. He had to stay at second on Harrison Bader’s infield single. Isiah Kiner-Falefa (who made a fine defensive play in the ninth) singled to load the bases, and Kyle Higashioka’s SF scored Cabrera.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a 2-run HR (28) in the bottom of the sixth and the Yanks went up 3-0.

Jameson Taillon was great, pitching six shutout innings, but Clarke Schmidt gave up the lead in the top of the seventh. Schmidt started the inning by going HR, single, walk, HR and before you knew it, the Yanks lost their 3-0 lead and were losing 4-3.

Aroldis Chapman ran into trouble in the eighth, once again with his control. Lou Trivino got out of a bases loaded, one-out jam to keep the score at 4-3, but the Yanks need to fix their bullpen problems before the playoffs start.

The Yanks tied it in the bottom of the eighth. Stanton led off with a single and was PR for by Tim Locastro, who stole second. A groundout moved Locastro to third and he scored on a SF by Bader, who has really been great in his first three games with the club.

Judge got an OF assist in the top of the ninth, perfectly playing a single off the wall in right and throwing out Tommy Pham as he tried to make a double out of it. Then in the bottom of the ninth, the almost game-winning #61. So Close!

Clay Holmes had no trouble with the ghost runner for Boston in the top of the tenth, then it was the Yankees’ turn. Marwin Gonzalez PR for Anthony Rizzo as the ghost runner. Gleyber Torres was intentionally walked to set up a DP, but Josh Donaldson singled to win the game.

The Yanks sit as the #2 seed in the AL. There is almost no chance of catching Houston for the #1 seed (7 back with 13 to go). If, as expected, it stays this way, the Yanks get a bye into the ALDS where, as of now, they would face the winner of the Cleveland/Seattle series. You get what you hope for, and I won’t want to pick who I’d like to face, but I will say this. The Yankees targeted and didn’t get Luis Castillo, who went from the Reds to the Mariners at the trade deadline. Castillo has given the Yanks fits this year, as a Red and as a Mariner. The Yanks are 5-1 vs. Cleveland this year, 2-4 vs. Seattle (thanks in part, to Castillo). Now things could change, and it could be the winner of Cleveland/Tampa Bay or the winner of Cleveland/Toronto. Only 1 1/2 games separate Toronto, Tampa Bay and Seattle for the 4, 5, and 6 spots.

Donaldson 3 hits, GW RBI single
Stanton 3 hits, 2 RBI. 2-run HR (28)

Taillon 6 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 1 W, 8 K. 3.90
Schmidt (BS, 1) 1 IP, 4 R, 3 H, 1 W, 0 K. Gave up 2 HR. 3.46
Chapman 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 1 K. 4.36
Trivino 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K. 1 WP 4.78
Holmes (W, 7-4) 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 2.59

Game 146. Judge at 59 HR after Yanks win slugfest, 12-8. Triple Crown within reach.

Aaron Judge is at 59.

No right-handed batter in American League history has hit more in a season. Judge trails only lefty swinging hitters Babe Ruth (60 in 1927) and Roger Maris (61 in 1961) for most HR in a season by an American League player.

We know all about the 154 vs. 162 game season controversy, as well as the steroid-aided MLB and NL records.

Not only is Judge at 59 HR, but with a 4-hit performance yesterday that included 2 HR, he is now hitting .316, which is only one point short of the AL leader, meaning a Triple Crown is within reach. Only one man, Miguel Cabrera in 2012, has won the Triple Crown since 1967. Two Yankees have won it, Lou Gehrig in 1934 and Mickey Mantle in 1956.

With their 12-8 slugfest win Sunday, the Yankees (88-58) have a 5 1/2 game lead with 16 games to go. Their magic # for clinching the division is 11. Their magic # for a playoff spot is 5 (since they own the tiebreaker over Baltimore).

Gerrit Cole stuck out 8 batters to give him 236 for the season, 12 behind Ron Guidry’s Yankees record of 248 set in 1978, but Cole, despite getting the win, was victimized once again by the gopher ball.

Kolten Wong hit a 3-run HR off of Cole in the bottom of the first. Brewers 3-0.

Oswaldo Cabrera got a run back for the Yankees in the top of the second with his second HR of the season. 3-1.

In the bottom of the second, Tyrone Taylor homered off Cole and it was 4-1, Brewers. Things didn’t look good.

Judge and Anthony Rizzo hit back-to-back HRs in the top of the third to cut Milwaukee’s lead to 4-3. For Judge, #58. It was #31 for Rizzo, who just returned off of the IL. (Estevan Florial was sent down).

The Yanks got 4 runs in the top of the fifth to take a 7-4 lead. Judge led off with a walk. Rizzo singled Judge to second. A flyout by Gleyber Torres moved both runners up. Josh Donaldson walked to load the bases. An error on a fielder’s choice by Giancarlo Stanton tied the game. Bases still loaded. An infield single by Cabrera put the Yanks up 5-4. After a lineout with no advance, Kyle Higashioka singled in two runs to make it 7-4.

In the top of the seventh, the Yanks scored three times to increase their lead to 10-4. Cabrera doubled to lead off the inning, and two groundouts moved him around. 8-4. Aaron Hicks then hit his seventh HR. 9-4. Judge made it back-to-back HR by creaming #59, a 443-ft. blast. 10-4.

The extra runs proved necessary. Rowdy Tellez hit a 2-run HR for the Brewers in the bottom of the eighth to cut the Yanks’ lead to 10-6. They then stranded two.

Judge got a 2-run double in the top of the ninth to make it 12-6. Michael Kay mentioned something in the lines of that Judge was the only guy in baseball that can hit a 2-run double and you are disappointed.

Those two runs were necessary, too. Each of Milwaukee’s first three hitters in the bottom of the ninth singled off of Wandy Peralta. Clay Holmes then relieved Peralta and gave up a ground rule double that made the score 12-8. Holmes then got an out before a walk reloaded the bases, bring the tying run to the plate. A strikeout and groundout ended the game.

Judge 4 hits, 4 RBI. 2 solo HR (59) .316-59-127. One point short of batting average lead.
Rizzo 3 hits, RBI. Solo HR (31). First game off the IL.
Cabrera 3 hits, 2 RBI. Solo HR (2)
Higashioka 3 RBI.
Hicks 2 hits, RBI. Solo HR (7).

Cole (W, 12-7) 5 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 3 W, 8 K. Gave up 2 HR. 3.41 236 K, 12 behind Guidry’s 248 in 1978.
Schmidt (H, 2) 2 1/3 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 W, 4 K. Gave up 1 HR. 2.82
Loaisiga 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 4.35
Peralta 0 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 W, 0 K. 2.72
Holmes 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K. 2.55

The Yanks are off today.


Game 139. Lead down to 3 1/2 after 4-2 loss to Rays.

Before the game, news regarding C Jose Trevino. He was put on paternity leave. Ben Rortvedt was called up from AAA.

Trevino also is the team nominee for the Roberto Clemente award, given for community service.

With Trevino joining the list of unavailable Yankees due to injury or paternity leave, the lineup was further depleted, and the Yankees (83-56) lost to Tampa Bay 4-2 Friday night. Their lead in the AL East, once 15 1/2, is now 3 1/2.

Even the return of Derek Jeter to Yankee Stadium for the first time in a while didn’t bring any luck.

Some reinforcements back from the IL can’t arrive quickly enough (more on that in a bit), but how good will they be? How rusty?

Yankees’ starter Frankie Montas gave up back-to-back, one out doubles in the first inning, and the Rays were up 1-0.

The Rays got three runs in the fourth, thanks to a couple of misplays by Aaron Hicks, who was then booed mightily and pulled from the game. Harrison Bader can’t arrive soon enough, it seems. I had to laugh and pull a “show me” attitude when Hicks said his goal in spring training was to be a 30/30 guy. Not even close and right now his goal should be just to remain on the team in 2023, which I don’t believe will happen. Hicks contract, with 3 more years to go, is one of the worst in Cashman’s GM history. The Yanks, like they did with Joey Gallo and Sonny Gray, need to know when to cut the cord. As with Gallo and Gray, they’ve stuck with Hicks too long. Once the fans turn on you, you got to go.

With one out in that fourth inning, Ji-Man Choi walked. Montas got the second out, then gave up a single. Wander Franco, just off the IL, and who doubled in the Rays’ first inning rally, doubled again, driving in two runs. Hicks had the ball in his glove at the foul line, but with the side wall approaching, appeared to shy off and dropped it. He thought it was a foul ball and took his time getting the ball back in while two runs scored. Very bad look. Then he misplayed the next drive into another double and the Rays lead went from 1-0 to 4-0. If he makes the first play, the game remains at 1-0. He basically gave away three runs. With the Yankees’ offense compromised, that was like giving away the game. The fans then gave Hicks the “Gallo” treatment, not only booing him but actually chanting “Joey Gallo” at him. It was a bad look and made manager Aaron Boone pull Hicks after the inning.

On top of that, Hicks to that point was 0 for 2, 2 strikeouts, and his batting average dropped to .211.

You can’t have this. The Yanks need to find a taker for him or eat his contract. Like I wrote, when the fans turn on you as they have, you got to go.

This isn’t to be mean at Hicks. It’s just reporting the reality of what happened and what must happen.

The Yanks scored a run in the seventh, thanks to who else? Aaron Judge. Oswald Peraza walked, and with one out, moved to second on a groundout. Judge singled to make the score 4-1.

Kyle Higashioka homered (8) in the bottom of the ninth to make it 4-2. Judge walked with two out in the ninth, but Gleyber Torres, the potential tying run, flied to right to end the game. The ball was caught at the fence.

Judge 2 hits, RBI
Andujar 2 hits
Higashioka 3 hits, solo HR (8)

Montas (L, 5-12) 5 2/3 IP, 4 R, 9 H, 4 W, 4 K. 1 HBP 3.89 (Combined A’s/NYY record)
Luetge 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 2.49
Weber 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 0.84