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.
Maybe pitching in the place (Fenway Park) where his idol, Pedro Martinez, made his mark was too much for young, 21 year old Deivi Garcia. Maybe he just didn’t have it. But Michael Chavis hit two homers off him, and after twelve straight wins over Boston, eight of them this year, the Yanks (31-22) finally lost to Boston, 10-2.
Chavis hit a two-run HR in the second, and added a three-run HR in the third and Boston was up 6-0.
The Yankees’ bats didn’t provide much help. They didn’t get their first hit until the sixth inning, and got only three for the game.
In the sixth, Tyler Wade doubled for the Yanks’ first hit, and went to third on a PB. After a walk to D.J. LeMahieu, Wade scored when Luke Voit GIDP.
Jonathan Holder gave up 3 runs in the bottom of the seventh, one on a solo HR by Bobby Dalbec, and Boston went up 9-1.
Yankees’ backup C Erik Kratz gave up a HR to J.D. Martinez in the 8th and the Yanks were down 10-1.
Luke Voit hit his MLB leading 21st HR in the top of the ninth for the final of 10-2.
Even with the loss, the Yanks clinched a posteason berth when Seattle lost.
But the loss did knock the Yanks into the #5 seed for now. They are 31-22, while the Twins are 33-22. The way it looks now, the Twins, a familiar Yankees’ postseason opponent, and so-far, Yankees’ punching bag in the postseason, will be their opponent again.
The Yanks are moving back Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka in the rotation to set them up for starting Games 1 and 2 of the playoffs.
Voit solo HR (21)
Garcia (L, 2-2, 4.88) 3 IP, 6 R, 8 H, 1 W, 2 K. Gave up 2 HR. Cessa 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 W, 1 K. 2.21 Holder 2 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 1 W, 0 K. 5.03 Gave up 1 HR. Kratz 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 9.00 Gave up 1 HR. (BACKUP C)
Got to say, I’m not sure how much I trust Holder or Ottavino right now.
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).
First team in MLB history to hit six or more HR in three consecutive games.
There’s mashing, and there is MASHING.
The Yanks (29-21) won their eighth straight game, 10-7 over Toronto Thursday night (and it wasn’t that close. Toronto got 4 in the top of the ninth) and by sweeping the three game series against the Blue Jays, opened up space between them and Toronto. Not only that, the #5 seed (as of now) Yankees are just one game behind the #4 seed (as of now) Twins. That is the difference between having all three games in the first round be at home or on the road.
The scores in this three game bludgeoning of Toronto were 20-6, 13-2 and 10-7. As mentioned, if Jonathan Holder does his job last night instead of being sloppy, that last game would have been 10-3.
The Yankees got two runs in the first inning when D.J. LeMahieu walked, Luke Voit doubled him to third, and Aaron Hicks walked to load the bases. Giancarlo Stanton singled in one run, and the second scored when Gleyber Torres GIDP.
Masahiro Tanaka gave up two runs in the top of the third, one on a solo HR by Lourdes Gurriel, Jr., and the game was tied.
Then, in the bottom of the fourth, came a power show you had to see to believe. You’ve never seen anything like it before.
With one out, Clint Frazier walked. Gary Sanchez doubled to make it 3-2.
Brett Gardner homered (5). 5-2. D.J. LeMahieu homered (10). 6-2. Back-to back HR. Luke Voit made it three HR in a row (MLB leading 20th). 7-2.
Six straight batters. 5 HR. Three in a row, then after a strikeout, back-to-back. Wow.
Gurriel hit another HR off of Tanaka in the fifth. 9-3, Yankees.
Sanchez homered (9) in the bottom of the seventh to make it 10-3 and enable the Yanks to set the record of first team with six or more HR in three consecutive games.
As mentioned above, things got sloppy in the top of the ninth. Jonathan Holder couldn’t do his job to close it out and Aroldis Chapman was needed to do so. Final 10-7.
The Yanks now go to Boston to hopefully put a lot of dents into the Green Monster or the seats above it.
LeMahieu (.373) solo HR (10) Leads MLB in BA, OPS+, AL in OBA, OPS Voit 2 hits, solo HR (20—leads MLB) also leads AL in SA. Stanton 4 hits, 2 RBI, solo HR (4) Torres solo HR (3) Sanchez 2 hits, 2 RBI Solo HR (9) Gardner 2 hits, 2 RBI. A 2-run HR (5)
Tanaka (W, 3-2, 3.27) 7 IP, 3 R, 7 H, 0 W, 5 K. Gave up 2 HR. Ottavino 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. 6.91 Holder 1/3 IP, 4 R, 3 H, 2 W, 0 K. 4.08 Chapman (S, 3) 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. 4.15
Lately, it seems like every move Aaron Boone is making is backfiring on him.
Especially when it comes to the bullpen.
Right now, Brian Cashman is with the team, and after last night’s 12-7 loss, I wouldn’t be surprised if heads roll after this season.
Watching part of the YES postgame show, it seemed like ex-Yankee and current YES broadcaster John Flaherty had a couple of criticisms, and was more critical than normal.
In the line of fire would be pitching coach Matt Blake, bullpen coach Mike Harkey and even manager Boone himself.
Blake had no coaching experience before getting the pitching coach job this year and was a bit of a surprise choice to replace the fired Larry Rothschild (now with SD).
You may argue that maybe going with David Cone, who interviewed for the job, may have been a better choice.
I wonder if the Yankees need to take a good, hard look at how their pitching philosophy has or hasn’t worked lately. One reason they have been coming up short has been their rotation. Just getting Cole may be like putting a band-aid on what seems to be a bigger problem.
When you lose 14 of 19, and have free-falled your way into clinging to the 8th and last playoff spot (and that spot is only there because of the virus of 2020), you can expect fans not to be happy on Twitter. And, it appears, there isn’t much happiness on the YES postgame show or in the front office. I would guess Hal isn’t too happy either.
Injuries are one thing, but bad play is another.
If ever there is a time for a good ripping into a team to wake them up, now is the time.
The Yanks (21-20) took a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the sixth, only to see Chad Green and Adam Ottavino give up 10 runs in what turned out to be a 12-7 loss.
Flaherty, on the postgame show, wondered why Boone stayed with Ottavino (who didn’t record an out, all six batters scoring) so long. He also criticized Boone’s body language during the inning. Just an observation, but Flaherty’s words sounded like someone angling for Boone’s job. They were quite critical, and you may add, harsh.
But this was really bad. It’s one thing to lose 14 of 19 in a 162 game season, but in a 60 game season? We’re talking 1/3 of the season here.
The Yanks got back-to-back HR from Luke Voit (14) and Aaron Hicks (4) in the top of the first to take a 2-0 lead.
But as has been their wont lately, the Yankees’ pitchers, Jordan Montgomery in this instance, gave runs right back, and Montgomery joined the cast of Yankees’ starters not giving any length, thus putting more pressure on a failing bullpen.
Montgomery gave up a run in the first, another in the second, and the game was tied.
The Yanks got a run in the fourth when Miguel Andujar hit his first HR of the season. 3-2 Yanks.
In the fifth, with one out, D.J. LeMahieu and Luke Voit both singled, and with two out, Clint Frazier’s double scored two runs. 5-2, Yanks.
A bases-loaded walk to Hicks in the top of the sixth made it 6-2.
Then the roof fell in, as Green and Ottavino gave up ten runs in the bottom of the sixth. The final indignity came when Ottavino gave up a grand slam. The bottom of the sixth lasted 43 minutes and took up 67 pitches.
I have wondered about pitch selection a lot lately. In checking out the game on MLB’s gameday, I had to shake my head when, during a 9 or 10 pitch at bat (which resulted in Luke Voit making an error), Green threw nothing but fastballs. Really? Eventually the batter will time the fastball, especially after seeing nine or ten in a row.
There is a difference between pitching and throwing. Yes, there was criticism of that in Twitterworld, and I think, on the YES postgame show as well (I’m not too sure about YES, but YES was a bit critical last evening, and rightfully so).
The Yankees’ defense, suspect lately, made two more errors. Nothing is going right.
The Yanks got a run in the top of the ninth on an RBI groundout by Andujar.
But this game signified “just when you think things can’t get worse…”
Something’s gonna happen. It has to. This can’t continue.
Because the Yanks are close to missing out on the playoffs entirely.
Voit 2 hits, solo HR (14) Hicks solo HR (4), 2 RBI Frazier 2 hits, 2 RBI Andujar solo HR (1), 2 RBI
Montgomery 3 1/3 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 2 W, 1 K. 5.72 Holder 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 2 K. 2.25 Green 1/3 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 H, 2 W, 0 K. 4.26 Ottavino (L, 2-3; BS, 3; 7.82) 0 IP, 6 R, 4 H, 2 W, 0 K. Gave up grand slam. Cessa 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 2.81 Schmidt 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 2 K. 7.71
The Yanks (20-16) have had a lot of disappointments this season, from injuries to underperforming ballplayers.
The bullpen was supposed to be a strength, not a weakness. But lately, it has been hurting the Yankees.
The Yanks blew 4-0 and 7-4 leads and lost in 10 innings today (Thursday) to the Mets, 9-7.
The Yanks got four runs in the second. With one out, Gio Urshela singled and Brett Gardner walked. Kyle Higashioka singled to load the bases, then Tyler Wade singled in one run to make it 1-0. D.J. LeMahieu hit a SF to make it 2-0. Luke Voit’s 2-run double made it 4-0. They reloaded the bases, but couldn’t score any more.
J.A. Happ gave up a HR to ex-Yankee Todd Frazier in the bottom of the second and it was 4-1. The Toddfather hurt his former team today.
Happ gave up 3 more runs in the fourth and the game was tied. Frazier started off the inning for the Mets with a double. Happ got the next two hitters out, but four straight hits brought in three runs.
The Yanks got two runs in the seventh. With one out, Aaron Hicks walked, and with two out, stole second. Mike Ford walked, then Gio Urshela singled in a run. Brett Gardner doubled in a run and it was 6-4.
The Yanks scored another run in the eighth. With one out, LeMahieu doubled. He went to third on a WP and Luke Voit walked. Aaron Hicks singled in a run. 7-4.
Then the bullpen imploded.
Zack Britton gave up two runs in the bottom of the eighth and it was 7-6. Guess who started the rally for the Mets? Yup. The Toddfather.
Aroldis Chapman, pitching while he is appealing his suspension, gave up a game-tying HR to J.D. Davis in the bottom of the ninth. Yankee fans probably wish he was sitting out the game and serving that suspension.
Then in the top of the tenth, Tyler Wade made a baserunning mistake, getting doubled off of second.
In the bottom of hte tenth, Albert Abreu gave up a 2-run HR to Pete Alonso. Ball game over. Mets 9-7.
The Yankees have lost 10 of their last 14 games.
UPDATE: They have now fallen into a tie for 2nd place in the AL East with Toronto, five games behind Tampa Bay.
Voit 2 RBI Urshela 2 hits, RBI Happ 5 IP, 4 R, 8 H, 1 W, 4 K. 4.68 Gave up 1 HR. Ottavino 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 3.55 Green (H, 6) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 3.06 Britton (H, 2) 1 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 W, 0 K. 3.27 Chapman (BS, 2) 1 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 1 W, 2 K. 9.00 Gave up Game -tying HR. Abreu (L, 0-1, 20.25) 0 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. Gave up GW HR
After what happened with Aroldis Chapman (suspended 3 games, managers Aaron Boone and Kevin Cash suspended one game each), the Rays came out mad and took it to the Yankees and Jordan Montgomery, defeating the Yankees (20-15), 5-2.
The Yankees finished the regular season 2-8 against the Rays.
The first five batters went double, HR, single, HR, double. The Rays were up 4-0 after just five batters. Montgomery didn’t make it out of the first inning.
One of the homers was by Mike Brosseau, whom Chapman buzzed the night before. Brosseau homered again in the fourth to make it 5-0.
The Yanks got one run back on a HR by Clint Frazier (4) in the sixth.
They got another in the bottom of the ninth when with one out, Gary Sanchez singled, was forced at second by Brett Gardner, Mike Ford walked, and D.J. LeMahieu singled in Gardner.
With the loss the Yankees fall 4 1/2 back of the Rays. If the Yanks don’t win the AL East, they can just look to their 2-8 record against the Rays this year.
Frazier solo HR (4) Urshela 2 hits.
Montgomery (L, 2-2, 5.76) 2/3 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 1 W, 2 K. Gave up 2 HR Nelson 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 3 W, 2 K. 6.17 Holder 1 1/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. 2.70 Gave up 1 HR. 1 WP Heller 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K 1.80. 1 HBP Cessa 2 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K. 1 WP 3.29 Ottavino 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. 3.86 Green 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 3.24
HOF pitcher Tom Seaver, who broadcast Yankees games on TV for several games after retiring from baseball, died last night age 75. I have another post on the passing of the Mets’ legend.