Game 12: Bats go quiet after hot start in walk off loss to Toronto

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The Yankees dropped this afternoon’s affair to the Blue Jays, 5-4. Bo Bichette, who homered twice in this one, delivered a walk off home run against Chad Green in the ninth. The Yankees are now 5-7 and have lost three of the four series they’ve played thus far.

Corey Kluber delivered another less-than-ideal outing and the offense sputtered again. The bullpen kept the Yankees in the game, but the relievers can only keep doing so much. I’ll expand on Kluber, the bats, and the ‘pen in the takeaways from this one after the jump.

Game 12: Quick turnaround

A beautiful day in Dunedin. (Erik Boland)

One of the nice things about regular season baseball — especially early in the season — is that there’s a clean slate daily. Forget about last night’s loss and the team’s slow start to the season. There’s a new game to play this afternoon against the Blue Jays. It’s the rubber game after the two sides split the first two of the series.

Corey Kluber gets the ball for his third start with the Yankees. Hopefully we see a step forward today. On the other side, Toronto starter Ross Stripling was a late scratch due to forearm tightness (yikes). TJ Zeuch starts in his place. Here are the lineups behind Kluber and Zeuch:

New York Yankees (5-6)

  1. Aaron Hicks, CF
  2. Aaron Judge, RF
  3. Brett Gardner, LF
  4. Gary Sánchez, DH
  5. Gleyber Torres, SS
  6. Jay Bruce, 1B
  7. Gio Urshela, 3B
  8. Rougned Odor, 2B
  9. Kyle Higashioka, C

RHP Corey Kluber

Toronto Blue Jays (5-6)

  1. Marcus Semien, 2B
  2. Bo Bichette, SS
  3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., DH
  4. Randal Grichuk, CF
  5. Cavan Biggio, 3B
  6. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., LF
  7. Rowdy Tellez, 1B
  8. Alejandro Kirk, C
  9. Josh Palacios, RF

RHP Ross Stripling TJ Zeuch

News & Notes

  • Toronto placed Julian Merryweather on the injured list with an oblique strain. That explains why he didn’t return for the ninth inning of last night’s game.
  • Even though tomorrow’s off day affords the Yankees to keep the rotation on regular rest, the Bombers will go with a spot starter on Friday against Tampa Bay. It’ll likely come down to Deivi García or Michael King, though it could be someone else. (Kristie Ackert)
  • Quick thought: I don’t really get why Clint Frazier is sitting again. I know he’s off to a rough start, but he’s supposed to be the starting left fielder. A little patience for him would be nice, but instead, he’s on the bench again.

First pitch is 1:07pm on YES and WFAN. Have a great day, everyone.

Thoughts ahead of today’s rubber game against Toronto

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Happy hump day, folks. The Yankees are 5-6 as of this writing, and while that’s a less than ideal start to the season, it’s important to emphasize that there are still 151 games remaining on the slate. I’m not sure what the cause is, but it feels like everyone is hyper-focused and scrutinizing each and every pitch so far unlike any season prior. Perhaps that’s because people are more focused on baseball after 2020’s general awfulness. Nonetheless, as the old saying goes: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. So with that, I have some thoughts on the Bombers thus far.

The non-Cole starters need to do better finishing at-bats. Not everyone can be Gerrit Cole, obviously, but the rest of the Yankees’ rotation has had a lot of trouble putting away hitters when they get to two strikes. We saw it last night with Jameson Taillon, namely in his second inning. He wound up plunking a batter and walking another after getting to a couple of favorable two strike counts. Unfortunately, that’s been a theme for the Yankees’ starters thus far, other than the ace of course. Some numbers to chew on:

OBPK-Rate (%)
MLB.23345.0
NYY.26552.6
NYY excl. Cole.29744.5
SP in two strike counts.
OBPK-Rate (%)
MLB.19439.9
NYY.24540.6
NYY excl. Cole.30533.3
SP ahead in the count.

Ugly, to say the least. It’s no wonder that the rotation hasn’t been able to offer much length so far this season. Can’t go deep into games if you’re unable to put away opponents in pitcher’s counts consistently. As I noted in last night’s recap, the team has gotten 5+ innings from its starters four times in eleven games. All of those came from Cole and Jordan Montgomery.

Now, it’s very early in the season and I’m not ready to hit the panic button on this rotation. A few reasons why I’m still confident:

  • Corey Kluber will not maintain a 15.2 percent walk rate. Admittedly, his command has not been good to date. But we’ve seen flashes, and his stuff looks fine. There’s still some rust to shake off here.
  • Jordan Montgomery is terrific at suppressing hard contact. I know his last start didn’t exemplify this, but I believe that was a blip. Monty owns a career hard hit rate of 31.5 percent, well below the league mark of 35.1.
  • Jameson Taillon’s stuff looks sharp. He’s dotting his fastball up in the zone and getting tons of whiffs. He had a difficult time honing his breaking balls last night, but the movement and spin on those offerings are still very good. I think we’ll see more of the performance he gave in his first outing, plus some more length as he builds up.
  • Deivi García is waiting in the wings and even though Domingo Germán had two terrible starts, I think he’s perfectly capable of being a better-than-your-typical fifth starter.

Game 11: Ryu dominates, but Sánchez’s baserunning blunder foils comeback

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Tonight’s 7-3 loss to the Blue Jays never really felt all that close, aside for a brief moment in the eighth inning. Before that, Toronto’s ace Hyun Jin Ryu shut down the Yankees’ bats while Jameson Taillon struggled with his command in a short outing. And yet, things started to go the Yankees’ way in the eighth against the Blue Jays’ bullpen.

The Yankees had the tying run at the plate in Aaron Hicks against lights-out closer Julian Merryweather with two outs in the eighth. Unfortunately, Merryweather didn’t even need to retire Hicks to escape. Instead, Gary Sánchez got caught in a rundown after a pitch in the dirt and was tagged out to end the threat.

There’s no doubt it was atrocious baserunning, and it’s very frustrating that the bat was taken out of Hicks’ hands. Still would have been a really difficult matchup for the Yankees’ center fielder, but you never know. Anyway, to the takeaways:

Game 11: Urshela at short while Torres nurses minor injury

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It was going to happen eventually. Once the Yankees demoted Tyler Wade to the Alternate Site, Gio Urshela became the de facto back up shortstop. Today, he makes his first start at the position as Gleyber Torres gets the night off. It’s the first time Urshela has played the position in the regular season since 2018.

Torres jammed his ring finger diving back to a base last night (Bryan Hoch). All testing came back clean, which is good news. He’ll hopefully return to the lineup tomorrow. Even with the minor injury in mind, Torres was due for a rest at some point. Up until today, Torres started all ten games this season at shortstop. The night off will leave DJ LeMahieu as the only Yankee to appear in every team game.

On the mound, Jameson Taillon makes his second start of the season. Toronto counters with the team’s ace, Hyun Jin Ryu. Here are the lineups behind the two pitchers:

New York Yankees (5-5)

  1. DJ LeMahieu, 3B
  2. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
  3. Aaron Judge, RF
  4. Gary Sánchez, C
  5. Aaron Hicks, CF
  6. Rougned Odor, 2B
  7. Gio Urshela, SS
  8. Clint Frazier, LF
  9. Jay Bruce, 1B

RHP Jameson Taillon

Toronto Blue Jays (4-6)

  1. Marcus Semien, 2B
  2. Bo Bichette, SS
  3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B
  4. Randal Grichuk, CF
  5. Cavan Biggio, 3B
  6. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., LF
  7. Rowdy Tellez, DH
  8. Danny Jansen, C
  9. Josh Palacios, RF

LHP Hyun Jin Ryu

News & Notes

This one starts at 7:07pm on YES and WFAN. Enjoy the game!

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