Tag Archives: Tanaka

Game 124. Tanaka Time! Yanks edge Tribe, 3-2.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

After a really rough stretch, the Masahiro Tanaka we have seen the last two times out is the Tanaka that Yankees’ fans are hoping to see in October.

The Yanks assured a winning season with win #82. Their last non-winning season was in 1992. 27 years ago. An impressive stretch, but still a long ways away from the stretch of 1925 to 1965 without a losing season.

Since 1925, the only times the Yankees have had a losing season were 1965-1967, 1969, 1973, 1982, and 1989-1992, with the worst year being 1990.

Only ten losing seasons in 94 years. Not bad.  Not bad at all.

At 82-42, the Yanks now have a 10 1/2 game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East and the magic # for clinching the division outright (barring any tiebreaker scenario) is down to 29.

The Yanks scored first, getting two in the bottom of the first. With one out, Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela singled. After a force out, putting runners on first and third with two out, Gary Sanchez singled for one run and Gleyber Torres singled for another.

Tanaka gave up a solo HR in the top of the second that cut the Yanks’ lead to 2-1.

In the bottom of the second, Yasier Puig threw out Cameron Maybin at the plate to keep another Yankees’ run from scoring. This would make the Yanks justifiably gun-shy of Puig’s cannon the rest of the game. I’ll get to that in a minute.

With two out in the fifth, Aaron Judge doubled, and Gio Urshela singled. Judge was going to be held at third (Puig’s arm) but Puig bobbled the ball for an error, enabling Judge to score. It turned out to be the decisive play in the game.

Tanaka gave up a solo HR to Puig in the seventh. 3-2 Yanks. Tommy Kahnle came in with a man on second, one out, and got two strikeouts to maintain the Yankees’ lead.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Yanks loaded the bases with no one out but couldn’t score. Two balls were hit to Puig but were too shallow for D.J. LeMahieu to score. Puig’s arm would have been too much.

Having wasted a huge scoring opportunity like that, I feared the worst. But the Yanks held on.

They held on because of Brett Gardner. With a man on second and one out in the top of the eighth, Gardner made a fine running catch to rob Cleveland of a double and the tying run. It saved the game.

Before the game, Chance Adams was sent down and recently acquired Ryan Dull was added.

Judge 2 hits.
Urshela 3 hits, .342. If he qualifies for the batting title, his .342 tops D.J. LeMahieu .337.

Tanaka (W, 9-6, 4.56) 6 1/3 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 0 W, 2 K. Gave up 2 HR.
Kahnle (H, 22) 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.  2.88
Britton (H, 26) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.  2.13
Chapman (S, 34) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K.  2.40

 

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Game 118. Tanaka Terrific as Yanks win, 1-0.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Before the game, Stephen Tarpley to the Injured List (pitching elbow), Breyvic Valera sent down. Coming up, pitchers Brady Lail and Joe Mantiply.

With a DH tomorrow, the Yanks needed an outing that would save their bullpen today (Sunday).

They were also hoping to see improvement from Masahiro Tanaka.

They got both. And how.

Tanaka threw 8 shutout innings as the Yanks (77-41) beat Toronto 1-0. The win keeps the Yanks 8 1/2 up on Tampa Bay.

In his previous seven starts, Tanaka had a 10.23 ERA, causing justifiable concern.

Today he was brilliant and was the Tanaka we hope to see in October.

The only run of the game scored in the top of the fifth inning. The first 12 Yankees went down in order from innings one through four, but back-to-back doubles by Gio Urshela and Brett Gardner, the first two batters in the top of the fifth, plated the only run of the game.

Urshela 2 hits (.323) also a nice play in the field.
Gardner RBI. Only run of the game.

Tanaka (W, 8-6, 4.64) 8 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 0 W, 4 K.
Chapman (S, 31) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.  2.56

Game 112. Yanks win 6th in a row, lead now 9.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks (73-39) won their sixth game in a row, beating the Orioles 9-6 in a slugfest on Monday night to open up a nine-game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East.

Austin Romine got it started with a second inning HR, his 5th of the season, to put the Yanks up 1-0.

The Orioles tied it in the third, and had a runner thrown out at the plate (Brett Gardner to Didi Gregorius to Romine) or else they would have taken the lead. They also could have taken the lead in the fourth on a double steal attempt, but Didi’s throw back home to Romine nailed the runner at the plate. So Didi’s arm saved Masahiro Tanaka two runs. Tanaka’s luck would not hold up.

The Yanks got three in the fifth to go up 4-1. Gardner singled, and with one out, the red-hot Mike Tauchman singled Gardner to third. Breyvic Valera tripled in two runs. The 20th hit of Valera’s MLB career was only his 2nd extra base hit—-both triples. D.J. LeMahieu grounded into a fielder’s choice. D.J. was safe at first, and Valera scored when the throw to the plate was bad for an error.

The Yanks make it 6-1 in the sixth on homers by Gardner (16) and Tauchman (8). Tauchman wasn’t finished.

Tanaka fell apart in the sixth. Double, HR made it 6-3. Single, Double and you hardly had time to get the bullpen up. SF makes it 6-4. Out goes Tanaka, in comes Tommy Kahnle. Strikeout. But then Kahnle gave up a two-run HR that tied the game before getting the last out of the inning. 6-6.

Tanaka’s recent efforts are worrisome.

The Yanks won it in the eighth. With one out, Mike Ford hit his 2nd HR of the season to make it 7-6. Gardner singled, then after an out, Tauchman hit his second HR of the game (9) to give the Yanks insurance with a 9-6 lead, which held up as the final score.

Ford solo HR (2)
Gardner 3 hits, solo HR (16)
Romine solo HR (5)
Tauchman 3 hits, 3 RBI, 2 HR (9)
Valera 2 RBI

With all the injuries, a lineup featuring Ford, Romine, Tauchman and Valera seems like a spring training lineup, but they got it done. Next man up.

The Yanks set a record for most HR ever in a season by a team in a visiting park. And they aren’t done yet. 

Tanaka 5 1/3 IP, 5 R, 10 H, 2 W, 4 K.   4.93  Gave up 1 HR
Kahnle (BS, 3) 2/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.   2.72     Gave up 1 HR.
Ottavino (W, 5-3, 1.47) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.   1.47
Britton (H, 23) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K.   2.30
Chapman (S, 30) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 3 K.  2.62

The Yanks will use the “opener” tonight as Jonathan Holder is scheduled to get that role.

Gary Sanchez is scheduled for a couple of rehab games Wednesday and Thursday for SWB, then to join the Yankees this weekend in Toronto. He was slumping badly before going on the IL, maybe the stint gets him right.

 

 

Game 107. Yanks win game 7-5, but do they lose out at the trade deadline?

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks (68-39) beat Arizona today, 7-5, but it seems like they won the game but lost out big at the trade deadline.

I’ll have another post dedicated to what happened or didn’t happen regarding the trade deadline.

Before the game, the Yanks put Luke Voit (sports hernia) and David Hale (lower back problem) on the IL. Voit’s could be a problem. If he requires surgery, he could be out six weeks, meaning not back until mid-September.

As for Greg Bird (sorry if I am shaking my head, or even laughing), he isn’t even close. He isn’t even doing baseball activities yet.

To replace Voit and Hale on the roster, the Yanks called up infielder Breyvic Valera and reliever Jonathan Holder.

As for the game.

The Yanks got two runs in the bottom of the second off of Zack Greinke (and there will be a lot about Greinke in the other post—teaser alert) when Gio Urshela doubled and Mike Tauchman hit his seventh HR of the season.

With the bases loaded and two out in the top of the fourth, Urshela made a great defensive play to save two runs. He would make another great play in the ninth.

Arizona scored three runs in the fifth and in so doing, knocked Tanaka from the game.

There was a slight rain delay, and it knocked Greinke out after five innings. Greinke soon would find out he was traded to Houston.

In the bottom of the seventh, Tauchman doubled with two out and Austin Romine hit a 2-run HR (4) to give the Yanks a 4-3 lead.

The Yanks got three more in the eighth. Aaron Judge and Edwin Encanacion got back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, with Judge going to third on Edwin’s single. Didi Gregorius grounded out, all runners advancing, and in Judge’s case, scoring. 5-3. Gleyber Torres doubled, 6-3. After Gio Urshela made an out, Cameron Maybin singled in Torres, 7-3.

Nestor Cortes, Jr. came in for the ninth, faced one batter, and gave up a HR. He was pulled for Aroldis Chapman, who gave up a run himself, but eventually closed out the 7-5 win.

Tauchman 2 hits, 2 RBI, 2-run HR (7)
Romine 2 RBI, 2-run HR (4)

Tanaka 4 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 3 W, 4 K.  4.78
Green 1 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 W, 0 K.    5.06
Kahnle 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K.  2.68
Ottavino (W, 4-3, 1.53) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Britton (H, 20) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.  2.45
Cortes, Jr. 0 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K.  Gave up HR to only batter he faced.   4.39
Chapman (S, 27) 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 2 W, 1 K.  2.81

 

Game 103. Pitching woes continue in Yanks’ 10-5 loss.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

For the third straight time, James Paxton gave up a HR to the leadoff hitter.

And this time, that leadoff hitter then proceeded to go deep two MORE times against Paxton.

Mookie Betts hit three HR, all in the FIRST FOUR INNINGS, off of Paxton, to lead Boston to a 10-5 win over the (66-37) Yankees Friday night.

The loss cuts the Yanks’ lead to 8 1/2 over Tampa Bay and 9 over Boston.

Paxton has struggled, while targets like Patrick Corbin, Gio Gonzalez, and Dallas Keuchel are doing Ok elsewhere. Three guys the Yanks could have had (they had Gio, but he opted out when there was no room in the rotation for him).

Also disheartening is when guys like Paxton or Sonny Gray have success elsewhere (and what do you think Gray would tell his former Vanderbilt teammate, Mike Minor of Texas, a trade target, about NY?) come to NY and don’t do well. In Gray’s case, now that he is out of NY, he’s doing well again. You could put J.A. Happ in that category for this year, but to be fair, Happ did pitch well last year for the Yanks before the playoff outing.

Another disheartening thing is not having some players, like Michael Pineda or Nathan Eovaldi, realize their potential while in pinstripes.

You may say, that some guys can’t pitch in NY. True. But when it happens over and over and over again, that pitchers good elsewhere come to NY and have difficulties, when do you start looking at the pitching coach, and not just blame it on NY?

Remember that Larry Rothschild was inherited by Aaron Boone. Boone picked some, not all, of his coaching staff. He inherited the pitching part, Rothschild and bullpen coach Mike Harkey.

If the Yanks don’t turn this abysmal week by the starting pitchers around, they not only could blow their lead (Boston worries me more than Tampa Bay, because the Rays have now lost Snell for a month) and if so, could Rothschild be on the hot seat? The next few months will be very interesting to see how the starting pitching does. Because if it continues to flounder as it has, it won’t be good. Changes would have to be made, and maybe not just the pitchers but also the coach. Maybe this is only a blip. We hope so.

For the first 14 games of July, the Yanks’ starter’s ERA was 2.88. In the last six games, an atrocious 15.61. The Yanks have given up 64 runs in their last six games. 10.66 per game. Amazingly, they won two of those games. No Yankee starter in the last six games has pitched in the fifth inning. None in seven games has pitched in the sixth.

Forget about any of these starters, even when they are going GOOD, pitching in the seventh, eighth or ninth. They just don’t do that.

One worry I have is this. Even if they rebound, and wind up with 100 to 105 wins, who, amongst all the starters in the rotation, do you absolutely trust to start a must-win postseason game? A fair question, I think. None are “old reliable” Andy Pettitte’s, El Duque’s, or David Cone’s.

With this bad stretch, the Yanks’ ERA+, which was about 110 most of the year, has dropped to 104, just 4% above league average. No starter has an ERA less than 4.00.

Tanaka 7-6, 4.79. ERA+ 93 (7 % below league average)
Happ 8-5, 5.23  ERA+ 86
German 12-2, 4.03  ERA+ 111 ( his youth and inexperience are a concern)
Sabathia 5-5, 4.50  ERA+ 99
Paxton 5-6, 4.72  ERA+ 95.

As I mentioned, which of these would you trust to start a must-win playoff game? It’s a huge concern.

One last thing before the game recap. Could it be that Boston sees some guys tipping pitches or has some Yankee pitching been too consistent in their approach? Rumors are that Severino was tipping pitches in Game 3 of the ALDS last year. Boston has pounded Tanaka this year, and Tanaka thought he made good pitches at some points the other night. Did Boston know what was coming? Paul O’Neill on WPIX last night mentioned Boston waiting for hard stuff inside from Paxton, got it, and creamed it.

Paxton’s line is strange. 9 K in 4 IP. But 4 HR given up, 3 to Betts, 7 runs allowed.

If guys ARE tipping, why isn’t the pitching staff seeing it? Remember that Chad Green was straightened out at AAA, not by the major league staff. Once sent down, he worked it out. Also, Jonathan Holder has had to go down. He also, couldn’t work it out at the big league level.

Could there be a problem with the pitching coach? Sorry, Rothschild, but that has to be addressed right now. To stop that, the starting pitching, once again, has to improve, and IMMEDIATELY.

Let’s remember that Gray took some parting shots at Rothschild on the way out to Cincinnati, where Gray is doing well. Could there be something to what Gray said?

And it’s not just Rothschild. Let’s remember that the Yanks lost out on possibly getting Verlander, Cole, Corbin, Keuchel, and Gonzalez, all of whom could certainly be helping right now.  If the Yanks would have just one of those right now…

So something is amiss with their pitching philosophy. Whether it is the coach, or the whole organizational approach of what is coached, who is targeted, what you’ll give up for a stud pitcher…

Anyway you look at it, corrections and improvements are necessary. The Yanks have two more games against Boston this weekend, and after two games against Arizona on Tuesday and Wednesday, have four more against Boston next Friday to Sunday, including a DH on Saturday. If they don’t turn it around, and FAST, Boston could be right back in it. Let’s just say Boston takes 6 of 8 in the games this weekend and next. The lead goes from 11 to 7. If they take 7 of the 8, it’s 5. Sweep and 3. Yankees’ fans don’t want 1978 in reverse. Yes, there is the wild card to fall back on, and that wasn’t there in 1978. We don’t want that. Win the division, avoid the wild card game.

This is the time to bury Boston, not have them rise from the dead. So far, the shovels have been put away. Boston has woken up.

As for making a trade, I am getting really discouraged that that may happen. Teams are asking for Gleyber Torres in any deal. That is a non-starter. The two-time All-Star, who has hit 20 or more HR in both of his MLB seasons, isn’t even 23 yet.

As for the game, Paxton gave up, as noted above, a leadoff HR to Betts, marking the third straight time he gave up a HR to the first batter of the game. He has had (like German) first inning woes all season. Then a single, strikeout and HR (by J.D. Martinez) and it was 3-0 already. After the week the Yanks have had, it was like here we go again.

A HR by Betts and an RBI triple by Martinez made it 5-0 after three innings.

Then Betts hits his THIRD HR of the game to make it 7-0 in the fourth.

The Yanks got a run in the sixth when with two out, they got consecutive singles by Encarnacion, Gregorius and Voit.

Boston got two in the bottom of the sixth to make it 9-1. Betts doubled in one run and scored the other on another double. He was 4 for 5 with 5 RBI—3 HR and a double.

Before the game, Stephen Tarpley was sent down and Cameron Maybin came off the IL. Maybin walked to lead off the seventh, and went to third on a double by Mike Tauchman. Austin Romine singled in one run, and another scored when D.J. LeMahieu GIDP.

Boston got a run in the bottom of the seventh, 10-3.

The Yanks got two in the ninth before succumbing. Tauchman led off the inning with a single, and scored on a double by Romine. A walk to LeMahieu and an error on a ball hit by Judge loaded the bases. But then three consecutive outs ended the game. One out was a SF by Gregorius.

It is hard to win when you are giving up 10 or more runs a game.

Tauchman 3 hits
Romine 3 hits, 2 RBI

Paxton (L, 5-6, 4.72) 4 IP, 7 R, 9 H, 0 W, 9 K. Gave up 4 HR, 3 to Betts. Weird line.
Hale 2 2/3 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 0 W, 0 K.   2.89
Ottavino 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.  1.59
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.  2.57

The Yanks really could use a well-pitched, crisp victory right now. They are taking it on the chin right now.

July 27. The trade deadline is just four days away.

Is any pitching help coming from the outside? Or do the Yanks have to keep their fingers crossed that internal options who have been on the IL (Severino, Betances, Montgomery, Loaisiga) will be coming to the rescue?

 

 

 

 

 

Game 102. Red Sox Rout Yanks, 19-3. Tulo retires, Gardy to IL. Don Mossi dies.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Larry Rothschild, the Yanks’ pitching coach, has some work to do.

This turn around the Yanks’ rotation has been brutal. Brian Cashman will definitely be working the phones as the trade deadline looms.

The Yanks were able to get some wins, 14-12 and 10-7 over the Twins, even though the starting pitching stunk.

Not so tonight, when Masahiro Tanaka gave up seven runs in the third inning, could not give four innings, and was pulled after he gave up twelve runs.

Yes. TWELVE.

Stephen Tarpley came in,  and he gave up four more. Luis Cessa established some sense of normalcy with two scoreless innings, then Austin Romine had to close things out (as he did in that 16-1 playoff loss to Boston last year) by giving up three runs in his one inning of work.

The nineteen, (Yes, NINETEEN) runs Boston scored were the most ever by Boston against the Yankees.

Well, it’s just one game, the margin doesn’t matter. It’s not like Boston could make up an 11-game deficit in just this one game.

The Yanks (66-36) are up 9 1/2 on Tampa Bay, and 10 over Boston. The Yanks just have to split the series. If so, they stay 11 up on Boston, and four games come off the schedule.

Just don’t get swept and have Boston cut that deficit down to 7. Don’t give them hope.

But the pitching the past week or so has been a mess.

Get to work, Rothschild.

Voit 3 hits.
Higashioka solo HR (1)

Tanaka (L, 7-6, 4.79) 3 1/3 IP, 12 R, 12 H, 3 W, 4 K. Gave up 2 HR. UGLY OUTING
Tarpley 1 2/3 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 2 W, 1 K.   8.22   Good spring training, but has been awful.
Cessa 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K.  3.96
Romine 1 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 0 W, 0 K. Gave up 2 HR.  27.00  Catcher used to close game, save BP.

Gardner to IL, Tarpley brought up.

Troy Tulowitzki announced his retirement. He only got into five games for the Yanks this year, going 2 for 11 with a HR.  Tulo, a 5x All-Star, won 2 Gold Gloves and 2 Silver Sluggers in his career with Colorado (2006-2015), Toronto (2015-2017) and the Yankees (2019). He retires with a .290 batting average and 225 HR. His 162 G Average .290-28-98, OPS+ 118. He was runnerup for ROY in 2007 when he helped the Rockies to the NL pennant, and had 3 top 10 MVP finishes 2009-2011. It’s a shame his career basically ended at the age of 31, three years ago.

Don Mossi, who many think was the inspiration for the Chief Wahoo logo the Indians used to have, died last week at the age of 90. With his hawk nose, and huge ears, many thought he WAS Chief Wahoo. Mossi pitched for the Indians 1954-1958, Tigers 1959-1963, White Sox 1964 and KC A’s 1965. He went 101-80, 3.43, ERA+ 115. The lefty was on the 1954 Indians team that won the AL pennant, and a 101 win 1961 Tiger team that finished second. He was 6-1, 1.94 with 7 saves for the 1954 Indians, and pitched four scoreless innings in three WS games against the NY Giants. He won 17 games for the 1959 Tigers and 15 for the 1961 Tigers. He was an All-Star in 1957. His 162 game average was 11-9, 3.43, ERA+ 115, 18 starts, 32 relief appearances.

 

Game 97. Yanks Rout Rockies, 11-5.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yankees (64-33) routed Colorado Saturday afternoon, 11-5.

We will see about tonight’s games regarding the Rays and Red Sox.

I am writing this recap early because my bus for Cooperstown, and Mariano’s HOF ceremony (along with Mussina’s and others) leaves at 5 AM tomorrow morning.

Masahiro Tanaka’s day was better than it will appear. He pitched five scoreless innings before tiring because of the intense heat in the sixth inning.

The Yanks scored in the first inning when D.J. LeMahieu singled and Aaron Judge doubled.

The scored five in the second inning to make it 6-0. Didi Gregorius doubled to lead off the inning. Gleyber Torres singled in Didi and went all the way to third on an error. Didi had stopped at third and the error enabled Didi to score and Torres, who was heading for second, to advance to third. Austin Romine singled in Torres to make it 3-0, and after an out, Romine stole second. LeMahieu and Judge each walked to load the bases, and Aaron Hicks singled in one run to make it 4-0 then Edwin Encarnacion doubled in two to make it 6-0. At that point, you figured the Yanks had this game. Luke Voit walked to load the bases with one out, but the Yanks didn’t score any more runs that inning.

The Yanks made it 9-0 in the fourth. Hicks led off the inning with a walk, and one out later, Voit was HBP. It hit his shoulder and ricocheted into his face. Although he finished the inning and was OK, Voit was removed after the inning, what with the 9-0 lead and the heat to be sure he was OK. Didi Gregorius then singled in Hicks, Voit moving to third, to make it 7-0. A WP moved Didi up to second, Voit holding. Gleyber Torres then singled in two runs to make it 9-0.

Tanaka, who pitched five shutout innings, fell victim to the intense heat with one out in the sixth, giving up a single, run-scoring double, walk, 3-run HR, double, and RBI single before getting the last two outs. 9-5 Yankees.

On a day as hot as today was, the pitch count limit probably gets dropped from say, 100, to 80. Tanaka threw 85, so the heat may have gotten to him after say, 65? It was about 97 degrees in NYC today, heat index higher.

The Yanks got two runs in the seventh. Brett Gardner walked, and D.J. LeMahieu singled him to third. Mike Tauchman, who replaced Aaron Judge when the Yanks had a big 9-0 lead to give Judge a break, grounded into a force out that brought the run home, making it 10-5. After Aaron Hicks struck out, Edwin Encarnacion hit a ball that should have been caught but wasn’t. Another case of hustle by Tauchman. With two out, he was running on the pitch and scored on a single by Encarnacion, who only moved to second because of the attempt at the plate to nail Tauchman.

Tauchman is growing on me. I like his hustle the past few games.

LeMahieu 3 hits.  .334 leads AL
Encarnacion 2 hits, 3 RBI. Heating up.
Gregorius 2 hits, RBI
Torres 3 hits, 2 RBI
Romine 2 hits, RBI

Tanaka (W, 7-5, 4.00) 6 IP, 5 R, 7 H, 1 W, 3 K. Gave up 1 HR. Heat got to him in 6th. Gave up no runs on only 2 hits through first five innings.
Kahnle 1 IP,  0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.  2.82
Hale 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.   2.23