Tag Archives: Tanaka

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.

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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.

 

ALDS Game 2: Yanks up 2-0 after Didi slams, Tanaka tames Twins, 8-2.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

One thing about the postseason. A player can be struggling at the end of the regular season, then one postseason at bat can make him a hero.

Such is the case with Didi Gregorius in Game 2 of the ALDS. Didi, who was struggling badly at the end of the regular season, and also in Game 1, hit a grand slam that broke Game 2 open, and the Yanks beat the Twins 8-2 to take a two games to none lead into Minnesota on Monday for Game 3 of the best-of-five series.

Masahiro Tanaka continued to be a postseason force, improving his record to 4-2, 1.54 in the postseason. The YES network showed a graph of people with postseason ERAs under Tanaka’s (minimum five starts). That list was headed by Sandy Koufax, Christy Mathewson and Eddie Plank (although the YES network screwed up. The picture shown was of Lefty Grove, not Eddie Plank). Wild Bill Hallahan was in there too. Koufax, Mathewson and Plank are all hall-of-famers.

The Twins made a curious decision, starting a rookie, Randy Dobnak, making only his SIXTH start in the majors, and who had only 28 1/3 innings of major league experience. This, in Game 2 of the ALDS, in a game you NEED to win to avoid going down 0-2 in a best of five series. Strange decision indeed.

Not only that, the kid got married last Saturday. So his focus lately hasn’t been 100% on baseball.

Tanaka got out of a jam in first, being the back end of a nifty 3-6-1 DP to end the inning. Tanaka helps himself out when he pitches by holding runners on well and also by fielding his position well. Here his fielding helped him out.

The Yanks got to Dobnak early, scoring one run in the first. D.J. LeMahieu led off with a double and Aaron Judge walked. A flyout by Brett Gardner moved D.J. to third. Edwin Encarnacion, looking hot and nothing like a guy just off the IL, singled to make it 1-0 Yanks.

Then came the third inning. The Yankees tied their postseason record by scoring seven runs in the inning.

Judge led off with a single and Gardner walked. Encarnacion singled to load the bases and Giancarlo Stanton hit a SF to make it 2-0. Gleyber Torres singled in a run, 3-0. Gary Sanchez was HBP to reload the bases and then Didi hit his grand slam. 7-0. After Gio Urshela struck out, D.J. walked and Judge singled. Gardner singled to make it 8-0, and the game was basically over.

Tanaka did give up a run in the fourth, and the Twins also got a run off of Jonathan Loaisiga in the ninth.

Judge 2 hits, 2 walks
Encarnacion 2 hits, RBI
Gregorius 2 hits, 4 RBI. Grand slam. (1st by Yankee in postseason since Robbie Cano 2011)
Urshela 2 hits.

 

Tanaka (WINNER) 5 IP,  1 R, 3 H, 1 W, 7 K.  Brilliant.
Kahnle 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Ottavino 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Lyons 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Loaisiga 1 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 2 K.

Yankees’ pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts. Meanwhile, besides getting 11 hits, the Yankees drew 8 walks.

 


No offense to other good teams in the AL, like Oakland, Tampa Bay and Cleveland (who didn’t make the playoffs despite winning over 90 games) or the Twins, but for months it has appeared that, unless there is an upset, that the ALCS would be the Yankees vs. the Astros.

That possibility became even more of a certainty Saturday night when Houston beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to go up two games to none in their series. Gerrit Cole struck out 15 in 7 2/3 innings. The only pitchers to strike out more in a postseason game were Bob Gibson and Kevin Brown (yeah, I still wretch when I think of Kevin Brown). Houston pitchers combined for 17 strikeouts and Alex Bregman hit a HR.

Cole is a free agent after the season. The Yanks drafted him in 2008 but he went to college instead. The Yanks tried to trade for him but wouldn’t give up Miguel Andujar in the deal.  So the interest is clearly there. Cole went 20-5, 2.50 with 326 K this season. He led the AL in ERA and the majors in strikeouts. You can guess how much I want Hal Steinbrenner to break open the piggy bank and sign Cole (who, obviously, won’t come cheap) in this upcoming offseason. Not only to help the Yanks but to hurt Houston.

Can you imagine a rotation of Cole, Severino, Tanaka, Paxton and Happ (sorry to the youngsters).

Cole is 29. A three-time All-Star who will get CYA consideration for the third time this offseason (and who may win it, unless he loses to teammate Justin Verlander). His 162 g. average is 17-7, 3.22, ERA+ 127.

Look at that rotation again. You can buy Happ out after 2020 and maybe a youngster like Deivi Garcia is ready in 2021 (and I didn’t even mention Jordan Montgomery).

8 years, $250 million?

It isn’t my money, obviously. But I can dream about spending Hal’s, can’t I?

Yanks set rotation, no CC on roster ; Mets fire mgr; LA, StL win Game 1’s.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

St. Louis had late rallies and hung on to beat Atlanta in Game 1 of their NLDS Series, 7-6. Down 3-1 in the eighth, the Cardinals scored two in the eighth to tie and got four in the ninth. Atlanta scored three in the bottom of the ninth to almost come back.

The Dodgers pitched a two-hit shutout and beat the Nationals 6-0 in Game One of their division series. Walker Buehler 6 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 3 W, 8 K.

The Yankees open up their ALDS series tonight against the Twins and have set their rotation for the first three games. James Paxton for Game 1 tonight, Masahiro Tanaka for Game 2 Saturday and Luis Severino for Game 3 Monday. CC Sabathia isn’t on the roster due to shoulder issues. Edwin Encarnacion should be on, he says he feels great.

Another one bites the dust. The Mets fired manager Mickey Callaway.