Baltimore got a run in the first inning off of Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery, but the Yanks went ahead 2-1 with a couple of runs in the top of the fifth inning.
The Yanks loaded the bases with no one out when Brett Gardner singled, D.J. LeMahieu walked, and Giancarlo Stanton singled. After two non-productive outs, Rougned Odor singled in two runs.
Montgomery gave up a game-tying HR in the bottom of the sixth, and the O’s went ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth by getting a run off of Darren O’Day.
In the top of the ninth, Mike Ford walked, and after an out, LeMahieu also walked. Then came another out. Down to their last out, Gleyber Torres tied the game with a ground-rule double.
In the top of the tenth, the Yanks started the inning with Gio Urshela at second (I hate this extra inning rule). Tyler Wade couldn’t get down a bunt, and struck out. The Yanks failed to score when Aaron Hicks tapped back to the pitcher and after an intentional walk to Gary Sanchez, Ford struck out.
In the bottom of the tenth, the O’s started the inning with their man on second (once again, I hate that rule). Their guy DID get the bunt down to move the runner to third, then a sac fly brought home the winning run. Exactly what the Yanks needed to do.
One reason I hate that rule. The pitcher does his job, getting two outs, and it wasn’t his fault a man was on second. But he takes the loss. In this case, Loaisiga does nothing wrong. It’s just that MLB forces him to need a strikeout. They are forcing him to get an out a certain way.
Stanton 3 hits Odor 2 RBI
Montgomery 5+ IP, 2 R, 6 H, 1 W, 1 K. 4.39 Gave up 1 HR. Green 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 4 K. 0.59 O’Day 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 W, 0 K. 3.00 Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K. 0.00 Loaisiga (L, 2-1) 2/3 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 1.17
Before the game Mike King went down, Wandy Peralta (just acquired) up. Wade replaced Tauchman (traded for Peralta) on the roster.
This was more like it. The Yanks got hits from most of the lineup, a couple of players get a multi-hit game, a couple of homers, a crisp performance from a starter going deeper into the game, and in the end, the Yanks (10-13) beat Balltimore, 5-1, on Tuesday night.
First some moves. Deivi Garcia was sent back to the alternate site after his start Monday night, and Mike King was recalled.
Tyler Wade was brought back from the alternate site. Mike Tauchman was traded to SF for LHP Wandy Peralta. Peralta, 29, was 2-1, 5.40 with 2 saves for the Giants this year before the trade. The lefty reliever is 9-9, 4.72 in his career, with those two saves. ERA+ 94.
Tauchman was 3 for 14 (.214) OPS+ 62 for the Yanks this year, not playing much except for pinch-running (led Yanks with 2 SB) and defensive replacement work. From 2019 through yesterday, Tauchman played 141 games as a Yankee, hitting .266-13-61, OPS+ 114. He had a great 2019 as a backup OF, but his last two years were not as good.
The trade did come as a surprise.
Now to the game. Another move before the game. Aaron Boone told Gary Sanchez that Kyle Higashioka would get more playing time at catcher, and during the game Higashioka justified Boone’s decision.
The Yanks scored in the top of the first when D.J. LeMahieu doubled, went to third on an Aaron Judge single and scored on a SF by Gio Urshela. Believe it or not, it was the Yankees first SF of the season….in game #23!
Judge made it 2-0 Yankees in the third inning with his fifth HR of the season.
Baltimore got their only run in the fourth inning off Yankees’ starter Corey Kluber, who worked into the seventh, his deepest outing of the season so far.
Higashioka homered (4) with one out in the fourth to make it 3-1, then with two outs in the same inning, LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton singled, and Judge walked to load the bases. Urshela singled in LeMahieu but Stanton was thrown out by plenty at the plate. Bad send.
Stanton homered (6) in the seventh for the final score of 5-1.
Lemahieu 2 hits. Stanton 2 hits, solo HR (6) Judge 2 hits, solo HR (5) Urshela 2 RBI Torres 2 hits Higashioka 2 hits, solo HR (4)
Hopefully this is the start of long dormant bats waking up. Hopefully soon Luke Voit returns to give a jolt to the lineup.
I do wonder something. Miguel Andujar is at the alt. site, rehabbing not only at 3B but at 1B and LF as well, If he’s hitting, and can handle LF, could he soon be replacing the badly slumping (.132) Clint Frazier in LF?
The Yanks aren’t clicking right now. They don’t seem to get runs other than by homers. They only had five hits today, (and going into the game the team batting average was just .234) and two of those five hits were Aaron Judge homers. Even just the other day, all 3 runs were on Kyle Higashioka homers.
They have to start to string hits together and get more than just five hits a game.
Also, they need more length out of starters not named Gerrit Cole. Taillon got knocked out in the fourth last night, and Corey Kluber lasted just four innings today.
Judge hit a HR in the first to put the Yanks up 1-0, but Kluber gave up a 2-run HR in the second and a solo HR in the third and the Blue Jays were up 3-1 after 3.
The Yanks got three runs in the top of the fourth. Judge hit his second HR of the game (4) to cut the lead to 3-2. Brett Gardner then walked. After an out, Gleyber Torres doubled. After another out, Gio Urshela singled in two runs to give the Yanks a 4-3 lead. But they wouldn’t score again, and got only one more hit the rest of the way.
Jonathan Loaisiga got into trouble in the sixth. Two singles and a HBP loaded the bases with no one out, and a wild pitch enabled Toronto to tie the game. He was fortunate to get out of the inning giving up only one run.
Then in the bottom of the ninth, Green gave up the walk-off HR to Bo Bichette. It was Bichette’s second HR of the game.
Judge 2 Solo HR (4), 2 RBI Urshela 2 RBI
Kluber 4 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 2 W, 4 K. Gave up 2 HR. 6.10 1 HBP Loaisiga 2 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 0 W, 0 K. 1 WP, 1 HBP 1.13 O’Day 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 0.00 Wilson 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 0.00 Green (L, 0-2) 0 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 1.17 Gave up GW walk-off HR.
Hicks .179. Torres .220 with just 1 RBI Bruce .118 (hurry back, Luke Voit!) Frazier .200, no RBI Stanton .175 Odor .133 (2 for 15) Tauchman .143 (1 for 7)
For the second time in just six games, the Yankees (3-3) have lost a game by one run in extra innings. This time it was 4-3 to Baltimore in 11 innings.
Hopefully, when this pandemic is over, the rule that extra innings begin with a runner on second gets scrapped. I hate that rule. I’m a purist and hate seeing baseball bastardized. The only exception I make is with the DH. I can’t stand watching pitchers try to hit. (Ohtani and Bumgarner are exceptions).
The Yankees did not have Aaron Judge available for the game, because of a sore oblique. He is day to day.
A few things I haven’t liked this season. One is Aaron Hicks hitting third, even though he did get an RBI in last night’s game, and the other is Gleyber Torres’ defense.
Torres is basically a 2B playing SS. He did play SS in the minors, but his defense needs a lot of work, and it is costing the Yankees right now.
Jameson Taillon started for the Yankees, and it was his first start in nearly two years. Taillon has undergone two TJ operations, a hernia operation, cancer and being hit in the head by a line drive. He retired the first nine batters he faced and pitched well.
The Yanks struck first, getting a run in the bottom of the third on singles by Brett Gardner and D.J. LeMahieu, then after Torres struck out, Hicks’ single.
Taillon gave up two homers in the fourth and the Orioles took a 2-1 lead.
The Yanks tied it in the eighth. With two out, Gary Sanchez singled on a ball the Orioles’ LF should have caught. Sanchez thought it would be caught, and instead of a double, only got a single. Mike Tauchman pinch-ran for Sanchez and scored, just getting in ahead of the tag, on a double by Gio Urshela. Tie game.
A fine play by Jay Bruce in the top of the tenth on a bad throw by Chad Green appeared to be able to save the Yankees from giving up a run, but on the next play, which should have been the third out of the inning, Bruce couldn’t prevent a bad throw by Torres from becoming an error that let Baltimore go up 3-2. It was a routine play. Torres just botched it.
The Yanks tied in the the bottom of the tenth when down to their last out, Kyle Higashioka singled to right, scoring pinch-runner Tyler Wade, who just got in under the tag. Wade started the inning at second base. (I did mention I HATE that new rule.)
In the eleventh, the Orioles bunted the runner over, and dunked in a single to bring the runner in and take a 4-3 lead. Luis Cessa got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam by striking out two batters to keep it at 4-3.
In the bottom of the eleventh, Gio Urshela started at second base for the Yankees (once again, I HATE this rule). Gardner bunted him to third, then LeMahieu hit a liner to right. Urshela tried to tag up and score but was a dead duck at the plate, getting tagged out to end the game.
The Yankees out-hit Baltimore 13 to 4, They struck out 17 Orioles. They gave up 2 earned runs over 11 innings. In the last 6 1/3 innings, Yankees’ pitchers only gave up ONE hit (I hate that rule!).
Yet they lost. They left 12 men on base. They struck out 10 times.
Clint Frazier and Jay Bruce, the 5 and 6 hitters, combined to go 0 for 10. I can see Bruce being benched, LeMahieu going to 1B, and Odor playing 2B. … but there is still the problem of Torres’ defense at SS.
LeMahieu 2 hits Stanton 2 Hits Sanchez 2 hits Higashioka 1 for 1, RBI. Big hit at the time Urshela 2 hits, RBI, Big hit at the time Gardner 2 hits.
Taillon 4 2/3 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 W, 7 K. Gave up 2 HR. 3.86. Nelson 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. 0.00 O’Day 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 0.00 Loaisiga 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 0.00 Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K. 0.00 Green (L, 0-1) 1 1/3 IP, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K. 0.00 Cessa 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K. 0.00
With those runners starting the inning on second, (I … you get the idea) those runs are unearned.
And yes, our old buddy Didi Gregorius tortured his old club again with another HR.
Any remote chance Michael King had to be the #5 starter—or even on the team heading north—probably disappeared with his showing last night. With the spring training rules of letting a pitcher off the mound because of too many pitches in an inning, then to have the pitcher go back out for the next inning to complete his work after he got some rest, all to protect the pitcher, it is embarrassing for a pitcher to actually have that happen to him.
It has happened to several pitchers this spring, and last night King was one of them, and it had to happen twice. The same thing happened with Matt Moore, the Phillies starter. King hasn’t had a good spring training.
King hit not one, not two, but THREE batters. Meanwhile, a Phillies pitcher threw not one, not two, but THREE wild pitches.
Ugly game if you were a pitcher.
Right now, I’d say German is the #5 starter behind Cole, Kluber, Taillon and Montgomery. Not necessarily in that order, but we do know Cole is #1.
King 2 1/3 IP, 7 R, 5 H, 2 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR. Hit THREE batters. Lane 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. Loaisiga 3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 2 K. L. Garcia 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. Lyons 1 IP, 4 R, 3 H, 1 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR. Cortes (L) 1/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K.
Spring training games are different, because closers like Chapman don’t close. They are there to get their work in, and often pitch in the fourth or fifth inning of spring training games, then leave. As long as they got their work in.
Which means often spring training games are decided by people who won’t make the team but will be going to AAA, AA or lower once spring training is over.
Such was the case today, when Nick Goody couldn’t hold a 5-2 Yankees (13-7-2 in spring training) eighth inning lead in a game that finished in a 5-5 tie.
Mike Tauchman had two hits, including a HR leading off the game.
Greg Allen and Chris Gittens hit back-to-back HR for the Yankees in the eighth inning. Allen had 2 RBI in the game.
Tyler Wade added two hits.
Kluber 3 2/3 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 W, 4 K. Nelson (BS) 2 1/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 W, 3 K. L. Garcia (H) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. Goody (BS) 1 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 1 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR (3-run HR). 1 HBP. Kriske 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 2 K. 1 WP.
Clint Frazier went 3 for 3 with 2 RBI, including a HR, Mike Tauchman hit a 2-run HR, and Gio Urshela—playing SS—went 2 for 2 with an RBI as the Yankees (11-4-1 in Spring Training) beat Detroit 7-4 Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Rob Brantly caught Gerrit Cole. Kyle Higashioka has some pain in his side. Hopefully it isn’t serious because with Robinson Chirinos out with a broken wrist, the Yankees’ catching depth would be thinned out and Brantly then becomes the backup catcher.
Also, Adam Warren was shut down because of shoulder issues.
Cole struggled in the second inning, giving up 2 solo HR.
Cole 3 2/3 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 W, 5 K. Gave up 2 solo HR. 1 HBP Loaisiga (H) 2 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 2 K. Cessa 1 1/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 solo HR. Lyons (H) 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. Barraclough 1 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K.
So far, I like what I see in spring training, especially from the starting pitchers and relievers like Loaisiga and Nelson. Not to mention Luetge.
It’s always nice to watch that first S.T. game, especially when, where you live, there is still snow on the ground and the temperature is still in the low 40s.
The Yanks lost their first spring training game to Toronto today, 6-4, in a 7-inning game. Because of COVID, S.T. games may be shortened for health reasons, as long as everyone gets their work in.
The only pitcher who seems to have a shot of making the Yankees’ team was the starter today, Michael King, who is trying to win the #5 rotation spot. It didn’t go well for him.
Rob Brantly, looking for a backup C spot (odds are he is #3 or #4 and SWB bound) and Mike Tauchman each hit a HR for the Yankees.
Tauchman, and also Miguel Andujar (1 for 2 today) will be interesting calls for the Yanks. Tauchman is out of options, and with Gardner back, appears not to have a place on the team. He is out of options and could be DFA’d. The HR by Tauchman was welcome, because he hit 13 HR in 2019, but those are his ONLY MLB HR. He did not hit any last year. The lack of power was interesting. Tauchman says he had a sore shoulder. Sore enough to bother him but not put him on the IL.
Andujar is an interesting case. He has an option left, but it seems like the 2018 runnerup for ROY (47 doubles, 27 HR, 92 RBI) does not have a place on the team as well, barring injury.
Barring an injury, the 13 position players (taking into account 13 players, and 13 pitchers on a 26 man roster) appear to be
C Sanchez and Higashioka (Brantly and Chirinos looking to take spot away from Higashioka) 1B Voit (and I think Jay Bruce (1B, LF, RF) will take backup spot from Mike Ford) 2B LeMahieu SS Torres 3B Urshela UT Wade (2B, SS, 3B, and OF; fighting for spot with Estrada) LF Frazier CF Hicks RF Judge OF Gardner DH Stanton.
I don’t think others, like Derek Dietrich or Esteban Florial, have a legit shot.
LeMahieu 1 for 2, single Torres a double. Andujar 1 for 2, single Brantly 2 run HR Tauchman HR
King (L) 2 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 2 W, 1 K. 2 HBP Wojciechowski 1 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 0 W, 2 K. Barraclough 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 W, 2 K. Warren 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. 3rd time with Yanks. Coming off injury. Looked good. Needs more rehab. Luetge 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. Goody 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. Gave UP 1 HR.
Tomorrow Cole and Taillon pitch. Much more interested there.
The Yankees had a very productive day on Friday, coming to terms with all arbitration eligible players, re-signing free agent D.J. LeMahieu, and signing Corey Kluber. But all this will mean some people appear to not be coming back.
Hal Steinbrenner wants to get under the $210MM luxury cap, especially after the Yankees (and all of MLB) took such a financial hit in 2020 due to the 60 game season forced upon it by the pandemic. After yesterday’s dealings, word is they are only $10MM or so away from hitting that cap. Meaning only minor signings, if any, unless they make a trade to free up money and create room.
What this means is that all of the following may be gone: Happ (expected), Paxton (expected), Gardner (not as much so) and Tanaka (not so much so). Happ, 38, was 21-10, 4.13 ERA+ 106 while with the Yankees 2018-2020. He was excellent when coming over from Toronto in 2018, bad in 2019 and good in 2020. But he was ineffective in the playoffs, going 0-3. He also was very critical (as we fans and others were and are) of Aaron Boone’s decision to use Deivi Garcia as an opener in Game 3 of the ALDS then have Happ come in. A move that failed, miserably.
Paxton, 32, has had trouble staying healthy. He was very good in 2019, going 15-6, 3.82 (ERA+ 117) but then needed back surgery. His 2020 was horrible. Five starts, another injury, 1-1, 6.64. In three starts for the Yanks in the 2019 postseason, Paxton was 1-0, 3.46. He made $12.5MM in 2020 and probably doesn’t fit the Yankees budget unless he took a big cut in pay. As we’ve seen, he is also an injury risk, having never qualified for the ERA title (162 IP in a normal season, 60 IP last year).
Gardner, 37, seems like the most likely to possibly return, but it would have to be at a big cut in pay. He had power last year, but his batting average was way down. .223-5-15 in 49 games, OPS+ 108. Gardner, if he comes back, would probably have to be reduced to a bench player, what with the emergence of Clint Frazier. Gardner has spent his whole career (2008-2020) with the Yankees, and his 162 game average is .259-14-56 with 28 SB (OPS+ 101; 100 is average). He doesn’t run like he used to, but still is a good defensive player who could spell Frazier in the late innings. But the Yankees already have a younger, and more inexpensive alternative to Gardner in Mike Tauchman. Gardner made $10MM last year, and the Yankees bought out his option at $2.5MM. If he comes back, it probably would have to be for $5MM or less, and that doesn’t then give the Yanks a lot of wiggle room elsewhere. Gardner’s numbers seem average, but he is listed on baseball reference as the 41st best LF of all-time.
Tanaka, 32, now appears gone what with the signing of Corey Kluber, which I will get to soon. Tanaka has been with the Yanks 2014-2020, and while never being a dominant ace, proved himself dependable and reliable. He has gone 78-46, 3.74 (ERA+ 116) as a Yankee after signing a huge contract (and the Yanks posting a huge posting fee for him). His 162 gm. average is 15-9, 3.74. Solid. Not great, but solid. In 10 postseason starts, he went 5-4, 3.33 for the Yankees. He may go home to Japan, but there are also rumors that San Diego may be interested in this 2x All-Star. Tanaka made $23MM last year, would be taking a cut, but he wouldn’t take so much of a cut to get the Yanks under the cap. With the Kluber deal, Tanaka is gone, it appears.
Now to Kluber, who signed a 1 year, $11MM deal with the Yankees yesterday after wowing scouts at a tryout the day before. It helped the Yankees that Kluber had a working relationship already with the Yanks’ pitching coach and strength and conditioning coach. This is a gamble that could pay off big. Kluber will be 35 in April and if he gets back to what he was, sets in nicely at #2 behind Gerrit Cole. Heck he could even be #1 above Cole, believe it or not. From 2013-2018 for Cleveland, Kluber won two Cy Young awards, finished third twice, was a 3x All-Star, and got MVP consideration 3x, finishing 7th for MVP (great for a pitcher) in 2017. From 2013-2018, his average season was 16-8, 2.96, ERA+ 143. But he got injured in 2019, one of the injuries a broken forearm after being hit by a line drive. In seven starts for the Indians in 2019, he was only 2-3, 5.80. He only pitched one inning for Texas in 2020 before getting hurt again. So since 2018, just 2-3, 5.65 in eight starts, 36 2/3 IP. For his career, Kluber’s 162 g. ave. is 16-10, 3.16, ERA+ 135. Obviously the Yankees are hoping he can get back to where he was or close to it. If so, the $11MM for one year is a deal.
So as of now, the rotation looks like Cole, Kluber and Jordan Montgomery as the top 3 starters. Domingo German, who went 18-4, 4.03 in 2019 before being suspended and missing all of the 2019 postseason and all of the 2020 season, could slot in at #4. The #5 could be a battle between youngsters Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, Mike King and veteran Jhoulys Chacin. Don’t forget about the 33 year old Chacin, who was signed to a minor league deal and who has a 78-87 record with a 4.04 career ERA (ERA+ 108). Chacin was horrible in 2019-2020 (4-12, 6.06) but was a 15 game winner in 2018.
If Kluber and Chacin can get back to where they were…. but as you know, if is the biggest two letter word in the dictionary.
And don’t forget, Luis Severino, still just 26 next year, should return from his TJ surgery in June or July. A front three then of Cole, Kluber and Severino, with Montgomery and whoever wins the #5 (Garcia, German, Schmidt, King, Chacin) could be decent…. if of course, healthy. (Fingers crossed).
The Yankees also are coming to terms with D.J. LeMahieu on a long-term deal. LeMahieu, a free agent, has been the Yankees best player the past two seasons, and finished in the top four for MVP voting both years. As a Yankee, 2019 and 2020, D.J. has hit .336, leading the majors last year in batting average (.364), and he also led the AL last year in OBP, OPS and OPS+. A 3x All-Star, 3x Gold Glove, and 2x Silver Slugger, LeMahieu, 32, is a .305 career hitter. He’ll slot back in at 2B, but could also play 1B and 3B. Word is he wanted 5 years at around $100MM, the Yanks came back with something like 4 years at $75. In the end a compromise. The Yanks got the lower $$ figure they wanted but LeMahieu got the years he wanted. Six years, $90 MM. The years could hurt later on.
Lastly, the Yankees settled arbitration cases. Here are what players will get in 2021.
Judge $10.175MM Sanchez $6.35MM (I know, .147 and benched in postseason gets you THAT?!) Voit $4.7MM Urshela $4.65MM Torres $4MM Green $2.15MM Montgomery $2.13MM Frazier $2.1MM
Earlier, Luis Cessa got $1MM.
Remember, these are raises. Leaving little wiggle room, what with the D.J. and Kluber signings for much else. Which is why I wrote about the likelihood of many departures.