Tag Archives: Tanaka

Hicks out 8-10 months. Minor surgeries also for Tanaka, Voit. Ex-mgr. Girardi Philly-bound.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks may have to sign free agent OF Brett Gardner to a one-year deal. They won’t have Aaron Hicks until next July at the earliest. Hicks is to undergo Tommy John surgery on that throwing elbow of his and will miss 8-10 months.

Even though Gardner had a career year, reaching highs in HR (28) and RBI (74), you do have to wonder if, with Hicks out, the Yanks may also look elsewhere and sign someone else to a one-year deal to platoon with Gardy or if they might just see if Mike Tauchman, who had 13 HR and 47 RBI as a platoon player, or maybe even Cameron Maybin (11 HR, 32 RBI platooning as well) could be a fit.

The problem with Gardner is that he is 36, and turns 37 next August. A good, career Yankee, a leader, but will his age be a problem?

Ex-Oriole OF Adam Jones is a free agent. Maybe on a one-year deal. And only to platoon.

Masahiro Tanaka had bone spurs removed from his pitching elbow, and Luke Voit had a procedure done, probably related to that sports hernia he got. Both are expected to be ready for spring training 2020.


D.J. LeMahieu is a finalist for the Gold Glove Award, at 2B. He is the only Yankee to be a finalist (3 are named at each position). I thought maybe Gio Urshela,  Gardner, and Aaron Judge would be considered, but nope.


Ex-Yankee C and later manager Joe Girardi got a 3-year deal with the Phillies to be their next manager, replacing Gabe Kapler. Girardi managed the Yanks 2008-2017, winning the WS in 2009, and had one year managing the Marlins prior to that.

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.

 

 

 

 

ALCS Game 4 postponed. Does it help or hurt Yanks?

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Game 4 of the ALCS was postponed due to rain Wednesday night and rescheduled for Thursday night.

The schedule now is

Game 4            8 PM Thursday
Game 5            7 PM  Friday
Game 6            8 PM Saturday if needed
Game 7            7:30 PM Sunday if needed.

The Yanks will now go with Tanaka in 4, Paxton in 5. Houston also bumped up their starters to Greinke in 4, Verlander in 5.

Down 2 games to 1, Game 4 is a must win for the Yanks. They don’t want to be down 3-1 and then have Verlander staring them down in Game 5.

Will the rainout help or hurt? Some guys slumping, like Sanchez and Encarnacion, may benefit from the day off to clear their heads. Maybe, maybe not.

Sometimes a rainout turns a series around. Consider the 1951 WS for example. The NY Giants, fresh off the “shot heard ’round the world” by Bobby Thomson to win the NL pennant, took a 2 games to 1 lead over the Yankees, then a rainout reset the Yanks, who then won the next three games.

So you never know. Sometimes a rainout is what a team needs, sometimes not.

There is a good post on MLB.com asking why if he can’t start, is Stanton still on the roster and why haven’t the Yanks replaced him. Check it out. One reason is if they replace him, he won’t be eligible for the WS then. But the heck with that. In order to get to the WS, you have to worry about winning THIS round first.


Joe Maddon, who took Tampa Bay to a WS and who won the WS with the Cubs three years ago, now tries his hand with the Angels, who hired him as manager today.

ALCS Game 3. Yanks fall 4-1, trail in Series 2 games to 1. Nats win NL.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Since May 22, Gerrit Cole has been unbeatable, going 19-0 in 25 starts with a 1.59 ERA. Incredible.

He was vulnerable against the Yankees, giving up 5 walks and 4 hits in his seven innings of work, but no runs.

Luis Severino was OK, but gave up a HR in the first to Jose Altuve (Altuve kills the Yankees) and another in the second to Josh Reddick and that is all Cole needed. Houston wins Game 3 of the ALCS, 4-1, and is up two games to one in the series.

The Yanks have a couple of problems. For one, manager Aaron Boone has to wonder if he should bench Gary Sanchez and start Austin Romine instead. Sanchez is 1 for 13 in this series with six strikeouts. For the whole postseason, he is 2 for 21 with 10 strikeouts. He also couldn’t block a WP that enabled Houston to score a run.

In a post-game interview, Boone said no when asked about going to Romine. I think he may be making a mistake.

Another is Adam Ottavino, who came into Game 3 with the score 2-0 in the top of the seventh. Ottavino isn’t getting anyone out and gave up a walk and a single before being pulled. Both runners later scored. Boone said he’ll continue to use him…. what else is he going to say?

Ottavino’s numbers this postseason: 2 1/3 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 3 W, 3 K.  1 HR given up. He’s faced 16 batters and 9 have reached base. You just can’t trust him in tight games anymore. At least not now.

There is no time in the postseason to hope. It’s do or die. It’s why Joe Torre once benched Wade Boggs, Tino Martinez AND Paul O’Neill for the same game (replacing them in the lineup with Charlie Hayes, Cecil Fielder and Darryl Strawberry).

Cleanup hitter Edwin Encarnacion is also slumping. 1 for 12 with 6 strikeouts in this series. Maybe he needs to be dropped in the lineup.

The one constant is Gleyber Torres. The only Yankees’ run came on a HR by Torres in the eighth inning. He is 10 for 24 this postseason with 3 HR and 10 RBI. Maybe Boone should just keep him in the 3 spot. He batted fifth in Game 3, probably to try to protect Encarnacion and hopefully get Edwin going.

But that meant Brett Gardner hit third. Now the Yanks did get singles from D.J. LeMahieu and Aaron Judge to lead off the bottom of the first, but Gardner flied out. The Yanks didn’t score. Maybe Gardner should have bunted the runners over there. I know you are thinking big inning, but this is Cole on the mound, and Gardner is not your prototypical #3 hitter (like a Ruth, DiMaggio, Maris or Mantle), and who knows, maybe Gardner beats it out. Just saying.  Gardner is 2 for 13 in this series with five strikeouts.

Didi Gregorius JUST MISSED putting the Yanks up 3-2 with a two-out drive with two on in the fifth that was caught at the wall. Tough break. Didi is 1 for 12 in this series.

The forecast is for rain. There is a very strong chance Game 4 gets rained out tonight. If so, I believe the Yanks HAVE to come back with Tanaka then for Game 4 on regular rest (and in his six innings on Saturday, he only threw 68 pitches in Game 1) to try to even the series and avoid going down three games to one.

The Yanks only had five hits in the game. In their last 20 innings, they’ve scored just three runs.

LeMahieu 2 hits
Torres HR, 2 walks
Aaron Hicks, starting his first game in over 2 months, walked twice.

Severino (LOSS) 4 1/3 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 3 W, 6 K.  Gave up 2 HR
Green 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Kahnle 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.
Ottavino 0 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 1 W, 0 K.
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K.  1 WP that scored a run.
Cessa 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 3 K.

Who’d have thought Cessa would be out-pitching Ottavino this postseason?

Hopefully some of these Yankees’ bats heat up.

Also, hopefully Boone makes some right, and maybe necessary, tough decisions to shake the Yanks up.


Washington won the NLCS by beating St. Louis 7-4 last night, scoring all seven runs in the bottom of the first. With the four game sweep, the Nationals go to their first WS in franchise history, going back to 1969 when they were the Montreal Expos 1969-2004 before moving to Washington.

For D.C., it’ll host their first WS games since 1933 when the old Washington Senators (now the Minnesota Twins) won the AL pennant but lost the WS to the NY (now SF) Giants.

Howie Kendrick was named the NLCS MVP.

So whoever wins the ALCS knows they’ll have to face Washington with its trio of Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin (not to mention Anibal Sanchez).

 

 

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.

Starters set for first 3 games of ALCS. Times set for all.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The starters have been set for the first three games of the ALCS.

Game 1 Tanaka NY/ Greinke Hou
Game 2 Paxton NY/ Verlander Hou
Game 3 Severino NY/ Cole Hou

Games 1 and 2 are Saturday and Sunday at 8:08 in Houston. Fox Game 1 , FS1 Game 2

Game 3 in Ny at 4:08 Tuesday (rats, I work until 6 and will miss most of it).  FS1

Game 4 in NY at 808 Wednesday FS1

Game 5 in NY at 808 Thursday (if necessary) FS1

Game 6 in Hou at 408 Saturday if NLCS alive, 808 if NLCS over FS1 (if necessary)

Game 7 in Hou at 738 Sunday  FS1

All times Eastern.