Tag Archives: Stanton

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%.

 

 

ALCS Game 4. Yanks pushed to the brink after 8-3 loss. CC ends career by getting hurt.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

It can’t be looking worse. An 8-3 loss to the Astros puts the Yanks down three games to one in the ALCS, and the Yanks are looking at Justin Verlander tonight, and if the series continues, Gerrit Cole later, and the Astros can afford to save Cole for a possible Game 7.

Besides giving up the eight runs, the Yanks’ bats were quiet for the most part again, as they blew a couple of chances. Twice they loaded the bases, only to come away with one run total.

In the bottom of the first, D.J. LeMahieu walked, was forced at second by Aaron Judge, but then Aaron Hicks blooped a single and after Gleyber Torres popped out, and a double steal was executed, both Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Gardner walked, Gardner’s walk forcing in a run. But the struggling Gary Sanchez struck out.

The Yanks really could have dropped the hammer there. They let the Astros off the hook.

Masahiro Tanaka gave up a 3-run HR to George Springer in the third inning, giving the Astros a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

The fifth inning was a killer, as the Yanks loaded the bases with one out. You thought here’s where they get back in the game, but Gleyber Torres and the slumping Edwin Encarnacion both struck out.  Torres has carried the team, but this was one occasion where he couldn’t do it.

Things unraveled in the sixth. Normally sure-handed Gold Glover D.J. LeMahieu made an error, the first of four (2 by LeMahieu, 2 by Torres) by the Yanks on the night. That ended Tanaka’s night and brought in Chad Green. An out later, a single, then a 3-run HR by Carlos Correa made it 6-1 Houston and the game, for all intensive purposes, was over.

Gary Sanchez finally woke up, hitting a 2-run HR in the bottom of the sixth to cut it to 6-3. LeMahieu later doubled with two out, but Aaron Judge struck out to end the inning, so the Yanks could not get closer.

I’ve disagreed with Boone’s decisions to keep going back to the struggling Sanchez and also Adam Ottavino. As Joe Torre said, he was advised by Don Zimmer that you can’t have patience in the offseason. Time is too short. Boone, in this series, basically has chosen to sink or swim with those guys (Encarnacion, too, and I’ll get to that in a bit) and it looks like the answer is sink. Ottavino came in for the eighth, and gave up a double right away. Then things got sloppy. LeMahieu, so good with the glove, made his second error of the game to put runners on first and third with one out. In came CC.

Torres then made an error, making it 7-3. A lineout and HBP loaded the bases. CC got another lineout, runners holding, but then had to leave the game with a sore shoulder. Even if the Yanks can come back in this series, win it, and go to the World Series, CC’s career is over. He’ll be replaced on the roster, perhaps by Stephen Tarpley or Jordan Montgomery. Jonathan Loaisiga got a strikeout to get out of the inning.

More sloppiness in the ninth. Torres made his second error of the night, a 2-base error, then a WP and a single made it 8-3 Astros. There was another WP and a walk, but no further damage.

The “savages” have turned tame. The Yanks only had five hits in the game.

The Yanks (.204) are actually out-hitting Houston (.182) in the series, but Houston is getting key hits and the Yanks are not.

Correa is 3 for 17 with 7 strikeouts, but had the GW HR in Game 2 and a 3-run shot last nght. Springer is just 2 for 17 with seven strikeouts but both are homers, the game-tying HR in Game 2 and a 3-run HR last night.

Meanwhile the Yanks were 0 for 7 w/RISP last night.

The late Bill Gallo of the NY Daily News used to draw cartoons, and in big series like this, had the hero with a halo over his head, and the goat with the goat horns.

Encarnacion, 1 for 15 in this series. It could be his last games as a Yankee, as I expect the Yanks not to p/u the $20MM option but buy him out at $5MM instead.

Brett Gardner is 2 for 15. Didi Gregorius 2 for 16. Gary Sanchez 2 for 17. Gio Urshela 2 for 15.

If Stanton can’t play, and he hasn’t, then I do have to question the Yanks’ decision to keep him on the roster and not replace him. If, as Boone states, he can PH, then why can’t he DH instead of the slumping Encarnacion? If he can’t do that, then why is he on the roster? Replacing Stanton with say, Luke Voit or Mike Ford would enable the Yanks to bench the slumping Encarnacion, and get someone off the roster who can’t play anyway.

Also, the decision to stick with Sanchez and not give Romine a game (he couldn’t be worse than Sanchez’ 2 for 17) may come back to haunt them.

There are some decisions made in this series, like the ones I mentioned above and in the last few days) (Stanton/Encarnacion/Ottavino/Sanchez) that it appears the Yanks will rue all offseason.

One thing also appears evident. The Yanks starters are decent, but not elite. That’s the difference between them and say, Houston or Washington.

As good of a bullpen as the Yanks have, consider this. Your best pitchers generally either start or are your closer. The last pitchers on your team are generally the middle relief guys. John Smoltz made a good point in the telecast. You really would like to have your starter go a long way and just hand the ball to the closer. No middleman. Maybe one. But not a bunch of them. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Of all the teams in the playoffs, Washington is in the WS, and had two guys with 200 IP this year. Houston has three starters who went 200 IP or more.

The Yanks haven’t had a starter give 200 IP in a season since 2013 (CC, who had a bad year that year with a 4.78 ERA, and Kuroda, who pitched well that year but had tough luck and no run support).

The Yanks need their starters to give more length, and especially in the postseason. They could really use an ace. An “A” pitcher to go along with a lot of “B” starters they currently have. That would help put them over the top instead of doing what they have the past few years—win 100 or more but come up short to a team that won 106 or more.

Of course, Domingo German, and what he did, didn’t help the Yanks, but that’s another story.

More clutch hitting would also help. The Yanks had 5 hits, and 7 walks, but …  the Yanks struck out 13x.

LeMahieu 2 hits (of the Yanks’ 5). Of course. But uncharacteristically, 2 errors.
Torres 0 for 5, 2 strikeouts, 2 errors. After carrying them so far, a bad game.

Tanaka (LOSS) 5 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 H, 2 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Green 1 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Kahnle 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Ottavino 0 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 W, 0 K. Once again, couldn’t get an out. An error hurt.
Sabathia 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 1 HBP.  Last outing of his career.
Loaisiga 2/3 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Lyons 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.

The Yanks aren’t done, but they are close, unfortunately. If they can come back from 3-1 down, and in doing so, beat Verlander and Cole, it’ll be one of the great comebacks ever, and maybe it will wash away some of that bad taste still left from 2004.



Passings: One -time Yankee (briefly, 20 games) Bobby Del Greco. 86. OF. Pittsburgh (1952, 1956), Cardinals (1956), Cubs 1957,  Yankees 1957-1958, Phillies 1960-1961, KC A’s 1961-1963 and Phillies again 1965. Hit .229, 42 career HR, OPS+ 85. 162 game average .229-9-37.

Jackie Hernandez, 79. Platooned at SS for the 1971 WS Champion Pirates. Angels 1965-1966. Twins 1967-1968. KC Royals 1969-1970. Pittsburgh Pirates 1971-1973. Hit .206-3-26 for 1971 Pirates (WS Champs), and .188-1-14 for 1972 Pirates (NL East champs). 162 game average .208=3-32, OPS+ 49. 7 for 31, 2 RBI in 11 postseason games.

 

 

 

 

Paxton thoughts, and could we be looking at a Game 4 postponement?

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Nice year for James Paxton, 15-6, 3.82, ERA+ 116. But you have to think the Yanks, when they got him, expected more than a total of 7 innings in 2 postseason starts, don’t you?

He’s got to be able to give more length next time out.

So when WILL next time out be? While Game 3 is scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday) at 4 PM, it is looking like Game 4 could be postponed.

Heavy rains are forecast for all, or most of the day Wednesday. This could work to the Yanks’ benefit, or maybe eventually against it, especially with how hard they are expected to utilize their bullpen. They could get an unscheduled off day between Games 3 and 4. However, there then may NOT be an off day between Games 5 and 6. We’ll see, and Aaron Boone and his coaching staff may need to do some readjusting.

The Yanks need to make a decision on Stanton soon. They could put him on the injured list, activate Voit, but if that is done, Stanton won’t be eligible for the WS roster.

ALCS Game 2. Houston evens up the series with a walkoff HR in the 11th, wins 3-2.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Justin Verlander was as tough as we thought he’d be. But the Yanks still had a chance to go up 2-0 in the series. Instead, they lost to Houston 3-2 in 11 innings and head home with the ALCS tied at a game apiece.

The problem is, certain guys not having good postseasons so far continued not to produce, and that hurt the Yanks in Game 2. See below.

James Paxton didn’t last long, giving up a run in the second, and getting knocked out in the third inning.

Aaron Judge hit a 2-run HR in the fourth for the Yanks’ only two runs of the game.

Chad Green did a great job in relief of Paxton, but Adam Ottavino, in relief of Green, gave up a HR on his very first pitch in the bottom of the fifth and the game was tied at two.

In the bottom of the eleventh, J.A. Happ gave up a HR to Carlos Correa on his first pitch of the inning, and the game was over. A tough, extra-inning loss, where a win would have put Houston’s backs against the wall what with the next three games in the Bronx.

Before the game, it was announced that Giancarlo Stanton had a quad strain, is day to day and was out of the Game 2 lineup. Cameron Maybin, who had a hit and a walk, replaced him. Aaron Hicks replaced Maybin later in the game.

Ottavino hasn’t had a good postseason so far. In 2 1/3 IP, he’s only given up 1 R, but on 5 H, 2 walks.

Gary Sanchez is 2 for 17 this postseason.

Edwin Encarnacion had a decent series against the Twins, but is 0 for 8 with 6 strikeouts against Houston.

Hopefully the off-day today (The NLCS will play Game 3 tonight) will give those players time to regroup and get right.

Game 3 features Severino vs. Cole. With tight games like this, not only do you need great pitching, which the Yanks so far have gotten for the most part (3 runs given up in 19+ innings) but you also have to play littleball, knowing you probably aren’t going to score many runs off of Houston.

Judge 2-run HR
Encarnacion 0 for 4, 3 strikeouts.
Sanchez 0 for 5, 3 strikeouts.
Paxton 2 1/3 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 2 W, 3 K.
Green 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Ottavino (BS) 1/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 2 K.  Gave up 1 HR.
Kahnle 2 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 3 K.
Sabathia 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.
Loaisiga 0 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 0 K.
Happ (LOSS) 2/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. Gave up walkoff HR.

Hard-fought game. Tough loss.

To get to the WS, the Yanks have to beat Verlander and Cole. They had a chance last night to win a game Verlander started. They didn’t do it, although they came close. That hurts.

Now to try to get one against Cole.

ALCS Game 1. Tee-Time! Tanaka and Torres lead Yanks to 7-0 win.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Masahiro Tanaka came into the game with the rep of being a big-game postseason pitcher with a 1.54 ERA.

That ERA was lowered Saturday night with a brilliant, one-hit, shutout performance over six innings as the Yankees beat the Astros in Game 1 of the ALCS, 7-0.

Gleyber Torres continues to remind people of Derek Jeter when it comes to his poise, maturity, and delivering in a key moment at such a young age. Torres drove in five of the Yankees’ seven runs.

The Yanks scored first in the fourth inning when D.J. LeMahieu singled, went to second on a WP and scored on a Torres double.

In the bottom of the fifth, Aaron Judge caught a liner and doubled off the runner on first. Great defensive play.

Home runs by Torres and Giancarlo Stanton in the sixth made it 3-0 Yankees.

With two out in the seventh, Gio Urshela and D.J. singled. Judge singled to load the bases and Torres dunked in a single to make it 5-0.

In the ninth, Urshela homered to make it 6-0. An out later, LeMahieu walked and Judge singled him to third. Judge stole second, and Torres’ RBI groundout made it 7-0.

LeMahieu 2 hits, scored 3 runs.
Judge 2 hits, made the great defensive play for a DP
Torres 3 hits, HR, 5 RBI
Stanton 2 hits, solo HR
Urshela 2 hits, solo HR

Tanaka (WINNER) 6 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 4 K.  Brilliant
Ottavino 1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K.
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K.
Loaisiga 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.


In the NLCS Game 2, St. Louis is in trouble. They lost both Games 1 and 2 at home and are down 0-2 in the series. In the two games the Cardinals have a TOTAL of four hits. They lost Game 2, 3-1. Max Scherzer 7 IP, 1 H, 11 K. Adam Wainwright pitched well for St. Louis, 11 K in 7 1/3, but the Cards bats are dead.

Adam Eaton 2 RBI for Washington, and a solo HR for Michael Taylor.

 

ALCS Roster set, and pre-series thoughts.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yankees have finalized their ALCS roster. Coming on are CC Sabathia and Aaron Hicks and coming off are Luke Voit and Tyler Wade.

The Yanks are going with 13 pitchers.

I think that they are going with the pitching (13) and defense, and expect low scoring games against Houston’s staff. If so, Gardner LF, Hicks CF, Stanton DH, Encarnacion 1b with DJ at 3b, and if they have a late inning lead, then DJ goes to 1b and Gio goes in at 3b. Either that or keep it as it was, but Maybin/Hicks d for Stanton late in game. But I would go with the first scenario. Dh Stanton. Have good D all around (save for maybe Edwin at 1B) then sub out Edwin later.

So my lineup would be:

DJ 3B
Judge RF
Gardner LF
Encarnacion 1B
Stanton DH
Torres 2B
Sanchez C
Gregorius SS
Hicks CF

Hicks hasn’t played since August 3. It may be a case of whatever he gives you offensively you take, but just cover the ground and play good defense. I also like him ninth because of his speed. He can steal, you can hit and run with him with DJ, there are nice options there.

The Astros front three of Greinke, Verlander and Cole seems to be better than the Yanks, but I wonder about something this time of year. They have been better than Tanaka, Paxton and Severino but will all those extra innings they pitched this year so far be to their detriment? Are the Yanks arms fresher (in the case of Severino, who missed most of this season, most definitely so)?

The IP this year (rounded to nearest out):

Greinke 209
Verlander 223
Cole 212

Tanaka 182
Paxton 151
Severino 12.

Who knows if those extra innings take a toll? I hope so.

Hopefully Stanton and Sanchez step up and have a good series, and key for the Yanks could be how Green and Ottavino do.

Since Hicks is coming off the IL, David Hale was DFA’d.