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Game 160: Yanks Slug Their Way to 14-5 Victory Amid Paxton Injury Scare

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Well, that was a scary game! At least a scary start. Paxton left the game with an injury (he’s fine, apparently precautionary, phew). After that, though, it was all Yankees all of the time. They mashed and mashed and mashed, and they destroyed the Rangers 14-7 (box). That was their 103rd win of the season, tying the 2009 team. One more and they’ll have won more than any Yankees team in recent memory aside from the mythical 1998 team. Not bad! Now just please stay healthy, for the love of all that is holy.

Let’s get right to the takeaways.

1. A Short Night From Paxton: James Paxton got hurt. We don’t have a whole lot of info on this yet, but check that link for more details. In the interim, though, it’s worth exploring the night that Paxton had on the mound. We all know how dominant he’s been recently, and honestly, I’m too bummed to get into it right now anyway. Anyway, he went 1.0 IP, surrendering 2 R on 3 H including this bomb to Danny Santana:

He didn’t look sharp and needed 21 pitches to complete the inning, but there were no real red flags that I could see. He didn’t really look to be in rhythm, but it’s hard to say from my couch if that was just because he didn’t really have it or due to any injury. Anyway, in 2019, Paxton’s average fastball velocity would be 95.4 mph. Here is his velocity chart from his one brief inning tonight:

His last two fastballs of the night? 95 and 94.8 mph, so I don’t think velocity was an issue. Ugh. Get well soon, James.

2. Have Yourself A Night, Giancarlo: The Yankees are in a race for the all-time single-season home run record and Giancarlo Stanton has just three of them. Baseball is a wild sport sometimes. He added that third one tonight, and boy was it a beauty. Check it out:

The Statcast data on this one is just as pretty as you’d think it is:

When Stanton hits them, he really hits them. It’s really a huge bummer that Stanton didn’t get to feast on the juiced ball all season because our guy may have touched 500 feet. Oh well. There’s still time yet. That was the 300th home run of the season for the Yanks, which is pretty damn cool. More on that in a minute, though.

Stanton really had himself a nice night tonight even beyond the majestic blast. With runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs in the 4th, Giancarlo had a nicely placed bloop single to drive in two more. Here is the video:

He would add two walks, and he went 3-3 on the night. He looked downright terrible on Wednesday, but overall I think it’s pretty hard to be disappointed with how Stanton has looked since coming back from his injury. I feel about as good as I would have hoped with Giancarlo at the plate (and in the field) going into October. Hooray for that.

3. A Great Night From the Bullpen: Well, that sure was a performance from the Yankee bullpen, wasn’t it? After James Paxton left tonight’s game with a tight left glute, there was a real chance for this game to turn into a real pain in the ass. But the bullpen stepped up and did its job across 8 innings. Here is the breakdown, pitcher-by-pitcher:

  • Ben Heller: 1.0 IP, 1 H, zeros, 1 K
  • Stephen Tarpley: 1.0 IP, zeros, 2 K
  • Jonathan Loaisiga: 1.0 IP, zeros, 1 BB, 1 K
  • Cody Gearrin: 1.0 IP, 1 H, zeros, 1 K
  • Tyler Lyons: 1.0 IP, zeros, 2 K
  • Michael King: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K
  • Chance Adams: 0.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R (1 HR), 1 K
  • Nestor Cortes Jr.: 0.2 IP, zeros
  • Total: 8.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R (2 HR), 1 BB, 9 K

That’ll do! Can’t say I love the one-man, one-inning approach from an aesthetic standpoint (Tuesday’s game in Tampa was really rough to watch) but hey, it worked tonight. And this was the very back end of the Yankee pen. Okay, so I’ll be honest. I wrote this before Chance Adams absolutely imploded in the bottom of the 9th inning, which completely ruined this narrative. Goodness was that frustrating. Whatever. It happens and they won.

Anyway, really nice to see Mike King get a chance on the mound in the big league game. King has been one of my favorite prospects to follow, and he’s really battled injuries this year, so that was a nice moment.

I would also be remiss not to note that my son Jonathan Loaisiga once again looked good. I still expect to see him as the 25th man on the playoff roster, and he’ll belong to be there.

4. It’s a Homer Party: Isn’t it wild to think that, as good as the Yankees have been at home this year, they are hitting so much better on the road, isn’t it? It’s even wilder to think that Yankee Stadium has been playing like a pitcher’s park (the 2nd most friendly pitcher’s park, in fact). Check out the home/road splits for the Yankees as a team, coming into tonight:

  • At Yankee Stadium: .263/.334/.474 (.809 OPS), 143 HR
  • On the Road: .271.343.502 (.845), 156 HR

I bring this up because wow did the Yankees crush the ball in the 3rd to last game in Texas’ park tonight. They hit 6 home runs! You already saw the first one above, which was Giancarlo’s moonshot. That was the 300th home run for the team on the season, which is wild. I am of the mind that Yankee home runs are fun so I am going to post each and every video highlight of them here. Why the hell not?

Here is Cameron Maybin’s, which tied the game at 2:

Here is Brett Gardner’s, which gave the Yanks a 3-2 lead (and it was also his 28th home run of the season!):

Here is the slumping Gio Urshela’s home run, which made it 6-2 Yanks:

And here is Mike “September is still Truck Month” Ford’s 2-run blast that made it 8-2 (he also added a 2-run double):

Here is Austin Romine’s 430 foot homer, LOL:

That is a lot of home runs in one game, and as YES’ Jeff Quagliata points out, this is the ridiculous 10th time in 2019 that the Yankees have hit 5 or more home runs in a single game:

The Yankees are also in a tight race with the Twins for the most home runs in a regular season history. I’m sure it will change fifty times by the time this post is actually ready to publish, but here is the leaderboard for now:

  1. Yankees: 305
  2. Twins: 303

I would prefer it if the Yankees won this race and then also outslug the Twins 15-0 in a 3 game sweep next weekend. Sound good? Good.

Leftovers

  • Gary Sánchez’s Return: Jeez, does Gary have an absolute cannon of an arm or what? Two non-notable plays early in the game involved Gary making snap throws behind runners at first, but I was too distracted by the Paxton injury to actually note when they were. Sorry about that. Anyway, I wish that we still had access to velocity stats on catcher’s throws because I’m telling you, those were two impressive ones. Gary is a hell of a player and it was nice to see him back behind the dish. (He left the game after 3 AB, exactly as planned.)
  • Luke Voit Is Struggling: Luke Voit had a really rough night, going 0-5 with 3 strikeouts. My man Luke has really struggled since returning from the DL, hitting just .222/.341/.375 (95 wRC+) since returning from injury on August 30. Now, he’s still getting on base, but that’s just about it. He’s not hitting for any power at all nor is he hitting the ball for average. Time is running out for him to turn it around before the ALDS. (He’ll make the roster, but playing time is right now far from a given.)
  • DJ LeMahieu, Hitting Extraordinaire: What, you think I could do one of these without bringing up DJ LeMahieu? Come on now. You know how this works by now. Our guy, who still has a tiny chance of winning the AL batting crown, went 3-5 with 3 RBI tonight. His batting average is up to .331 and he has 102 RBI on the season. What else can I say about him that I haven’t said already? What a player. Here’s a bases-clearing, bases-loaded triple double for DJLM:

Up Next

The Yanks and Rangers will play the penultimate game of the season tomorrow night at 8:05 pm EST. Luis Severino (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will take on a yet to be announced pitcher for Texas. You can catch that one on YES or on WFAN, as usual. Have a great night, everyone.

Game 150: Yanks Pound Blue Jays, Win 13-3

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Well, that sure was a baseball game. The Yankees absolutely destroyed the Blue Jays (box score) 13-3. It was even uglier than the line appears. The Yanks improve to 98-52 on the season and remain ahead of the Astros and Dodgers for home-field advantage in the postseason. Both teams will play later tonight. Keep an eye out on that, if you’re so inclined.

The Yankees had 19 hits and scored a bunch of runs. This one was a laugher. Let’s get right to the takeaways.

1. James Paxton, Game 1 Starter: I believe that James Paxton is reminding everyone why the Yankees traded for him. Today is his 9th consecutive victory (he has not lost since the trade deadline). As I wrote the other day, he should be the Yankees’ Game 1 starter, hands-down, at this point. Here is his line today: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, and 3 K.

It wasn’t his sharpest performance–he got lucky in the 1st, a 30 pitch inning from which he escaped unscathed because the one hit was hit too hard for a runner to score from 1st–but he got the job done. Here is his strike zone plot:

There’s not a whole lot to say about this one. He wasn’t great but he did not get punished for it. All in all, a fine performance. I’ll take it.

2. Brett Gardner Today, Tomorrow, Forever: Brett Gardner made his Major League debut on June 30, 2008, more than 11 years ago. In his first 620 big league games, played from that debut through the end of the 2013 season, Gardner hit .268/.352/.381 (97 OPS+) with 23 home runs in more than 2200 plate appearances. He actually had more triples (33) than home runs. What a difference a half-decade (and a juiced ball) makes, eh? As we all know, Gardner is having a career year in 2019 despite being asked to play every day–and he is having quite the power surge.

He added to that today, slugging two home runs, a double, and logging 5 RBI. Let’s start with the “double”. Check it out:

Obviously, that’s a seeing-eye ground ball, but it’s a bit misleading to leave it at that. After some bad baserunning earlier in the game, Gardner deftly took the extra-base and set up the team with 2nd and 3rd and nobody out. He also drove in a run. That’ll do.

That wasn’t enough, though. He added his 24th homer of the season, too. Check out the solo blast in the 4th:

That was no cheapie, either, leaving the bat at 99 mph and traveling 412 feet. Good stuff yet again. But that still wasn’t all, because one 412 foot home run just isn’t enough for Gardner anymore. Check it out, this one coming with two on in the 5th inning:

That one also traveled 412 feet and made it 6-0 Yankees. You might be thinking that this was enough excellence from Brett Gardner for one game but I am pleased to tell you, my friend, that you are badly mistaken. He flashed some trademark leather in the bottom half of the inning, making a great leaping catch against the wall that he had to travel to get to:

Statcast says he traveled 126 feet to get there, which feels about right. What a play that is, and what a game for Brett. He went 3-5 on the game, raising his line to .248/.323/.500 (113 wRC+). I love it. For good measure:

3. DJ LeMahieu Still Wants that Batting Crown: DJ LeMahieu has been in a bit of a slump recently. Check it out:

In English, that means he has been struggling. Coming into today’s game, DJ was hitting just .242/.306/.273 (58 wRC+) over the last week, which has gotta be one of his worst weeks of the season. I’m too lazy to look that up (though the above graph kinda supports it) but that is how it feels. There was never really much to worry about though. Good players get into slumps all of the time. They get out of them, too.

DJ started getting out of the funk in the 2nd game of the doubleheader in Detroit. He went 0-6 in the day game, 3-5 in the 2nd game, and 2-6 last night. He added 4 more hits tonight, raising his average to .329 on the season.

DJ is still trailing Chicago’s Tim Anderson for the AL batting crown, but today’s performance should help him close the gap. This will be a fun one to watch as the season winds down. It sure would rule if DJ won the batting crown. It’s amazing nobody has won it in both leagues before. It really is. I think that should stop being true now, though. It is time.

4. Luke Voit is Definitely Healthy: So, remember when Luke Voit was hurt and not looking like himself? Me too. But I think it’s plainly obvious at this point that the big man is feeling it yet again. He was hitting .289/.373/.444 (119 wRC+) in 51 plate appearances since returning from the injury coming into today, but the big question with him was the power. He’d been in a bit of a power funk before unleashing on a ball in Detroit last week.

More of the same today, really, where he absolutely mercilessly murdered a baseball. Check this out:

That thing had a family, man. Good grief. 107 miles-per-hour, 439 feet, etc. etc. Just an absolute bomb. That angle is good, but I just love this view from YES via The Times’ James Wagner:

That is just ridiculous. I could watch that all day, honestly. Anyway, remember when nobody was sure if Voit would be the odd-man-out in playoff lineups? I think those days are gone. Obviously, they’re gone in part because of injury, but even still: Luke Voit leads the team in OBP at .390, has been an offensive force for a year, and is getting his power back. If the Yanks make a run, Voit will be at the heart of it. It’s nice to see him getting back into his normal power-hitting form.

Leftovers

  • Gleyber Torres, 40-HR Power: Gleyber Torres is going to hit 40 home runs. It’s insane. Now, it’s also worth noting here that Gleyber left the game with what could have been an injury. He made a nice play in the middle innings, but seemed to have some weird footing on the dumb Toronto turf. He was examined, stayed in the game, and then was removed after the score became 9-1. Hopefully, that was just precautionary due to the blowout (laughs nervously). Everything is fine, right? Right? I mean, he did do this, so it can’t all be bad (laughs even harder):
  • Hit Batters: Thairo Estrada and Gleyber Torres were both hit by pitches in this game. So was Lourdes Gurriel. For a few minutes, it seemed like there may be some fireworks. That was quickly dispelled and the only fireworks came from the Yankee bats.
  • Bad Baserunning: There was a lot of bad baserunning in this game–from Torres and LeMahieu most notably–but the Yankees crushed the Blue Jays and those mistakes seemed to be mental errors. The kind where they misread a flyball and got caught stranded. I’m only putting this here because it happened and maybe cost the Yanks a few runs? Whatever. The Yanks don’t make these mistakes often and this game was, in the grand scheme of things, pretty pointless. (Cue 500 people on Twitter trying to “teach” me about home-field advantage.)

Up Next

The Yankees and Blue Jays will meet for the final time of the 2019 season tomorrow afternoon at 1:07 pm in the Rodgers Centre. Jordan Montgomery (read about him here) will make his season debut (!) against T.J. Zeuch (0-0, 5.40 ERA) in Canada. Enjoy the rest of your night, everyone.

Game 146: An ugly loss

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When it was 6-0 Yankees through the top of the second, the first thing that came to my mind was the mercy rule Aaron Boone brought up a few weeks ago. And if I told you the Yankees would go on to score 11 runs, you’d definitely think that the mercy rule was in need.

Well, the Yankees pitching staff wasn’t up to the task tonight. The team with the fewest runs scored in baseball plated 12. Detroit won via a walkoff RBI single from Jordy Mercer against Chance Adams. Here are the takeaways:

Fool me once… Nestor Cortes did a nice job in his first two innings of work. He blanked the Tigers while striking out two. But once the top of the order came around again, Cortes got knocked around. It was death by singles; three of the first four Tigers hitters singled and cut the Yankees’ advantage to 6-2. That knocked out Cortes with two on and one out in the third.

Cortes had a 4.39 ERA through July 31st and had done a very respectable job through then. But since August, he’s fallen off. He has a 6.75 ERA in 18 2/3 innins since then. Perhaps that’s to be expected of a pitcher who relies on arm angles and mostly junkballing. He’s having a hard time fooling hitters twice; not just in terms of the last month and change, but also tonight when the Tigers’ lineup turned over.

And then there’s Cessa, who has fooled everyone a million times. To be fair, Cessa has been mostly good this season. His ERA is 17 percent better than league average even though his FIP is just 3 percent better than average. So of course, Cessa entered and quickly allowed the two inherited runners to score. And eventually, the Tigers rallied to tie it up at 6.

Cessa seems to do this a lot: once you think he’s on the verge of getting DFA’d, he puts together a stretch of nice performances. After that, you’re just waitin for the outing where he blows up again. In tonight’s case, his previous three were all two innings scoreless outings. But tonight, his bad side flared up. He allowed 3 runs in 2 2/3 innings, though that doesn’t include the two inherited runners from Cortes that scored.

The B-list and C-list relievers need to pitch better than they did tonight. Once Cessa’s night was done and the score was 8-7 in favor of the Yankees, Aaron Boone turned the ball to Cody Gearrin. Look, the game shouldn’t have been 8-7 in the first place, especially after a 6-0 lead. But Gearrin had one job to do: get outs against a lowly Tigers team. He couldn’t do that.

After recording one out in between two singles, Gearrin was lifted for Jonathan Loaisiga. As great as his stuff is, Loaisiga really hasn’t clicked at the big league level yet, and he got hit around. It took three batters for the Tigers to take a 10-8 lead.

And after that, Loaisiga walked the next two hitters to load the bases before finally escaping.

The struggles of these relievers eventually forced Adam Ottavino and Zack Britton to enter this one. That’s not what you want. It’d be great if some of these secondary relievers could get the job done and give the back end guys some extra rest as the season closes out.

Why Chance Adams in the 9th? After Boone went to Ottavino and Britton in the seventh and eighth innings, he pitched Adams in a tie game in the 9th. Adams started off strong: he struck out Travis Demeritte to start the frame. It was all downhill thereafter. Grayson Greiner doubled, and Jordy Mercer won it:

Here’s why this doesn’t make sense: once he brought in Ottavino and Britton, Boone was clearly trying to win the game. Home field advantage is on the line, after all. He wasn’t necessarily punting with guys like Gearrin and Loaisiga earlier because there was still time to tack on more runs. However, once Adams came in, Boone was really living on the edge. The skipper should have stuck to one gameplan, not waver. If he was willing to give his guys some rest in spite of trying for the league’s best record, so be it. But don’t play it both ways.

Moreoever, Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman haven’t pitched since the 7th. Either could have pitched the 9th before Adams. Ultimately, though I didn’t like Boone’s decision-making here, it’s not all his fault. The Tigers’ offense is pitiful and should have never scored 12 runs in the first place.

Edit: Apparently Kahnle wasn’t available tonight but should be okay for tomorrow. Still, Boone could have gone to Chapman in the ninth.

Brett Gardner has shown no signs of his usual second half slump. Gardner went deep in each of the first two innings of tonight’s game. He hit both dingers against Edwin Jackson. The first homer, a solo shot that opened the scoring, set Gardner’s career-high mark in homers (22).

He had previously reached 21 in 2017. As you know, he wasn’t done:

Gardner has been great down the stretch this season. Entering tonight, he had a 107 wRC+ in the second half of this season vs. a 109 mark in the first half. That’s quite unlike him, as he typically craters in August and September. Remember, he finished last season with a second half wRC+ of 67.

Not enough homers. I’m being sarcastic, obviously. The Yankees offense did exactly what it had to do against Detroit. It just didn’t get the support of the pitching staff. Not only did Gardy go yard twice, but Didi hit two homers as well. The other two were from Gleyber Torres and Edwin Encarnación. Here’s Encarnacion’s which tied the game at 10 after Gearrin and Loaisiga coughed things up.

Here’s Didi’s second shot, which gave the Yankees a temporary 11-10 lead.

Leftovers

  • Tyler Wade hit his first career triple in the Yankees’ 5-run second inning. It was the first of his career. It looked like Wade thought he had a homer off the bat, but Comerica Park is huge. It traveled 390 feet in the air and probably would have left Yankee Stadium.
  • Ottavino gave up a run in his inning of work, because no Yankees’ pitcher was safe tonight. Except Zack Britton, of course. He finally delivered some semblance of stability with a 1-2-3 eighth inning.
  • The Yankees have caught the Twins in the home run race, 276-all. The Yankees have outpaced them significantly since August, though Minnesota still has two games in hand which could ultimately give them the edge. Whoever comes out on top will have the single season home run record.

These two sides go again tomorrow. Same time, same place. CC Sabathia will make his first start since is most recent knee flare up. Matthew Boyd will counter for Detroit.

Game 142: A Fenway Stinker

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Well that was a lame game. The Yankees fall to 92-50, losing 6-1 to Boston. Here is the box score. The magic number remains at 12. Tonight I really mean it when I say this: let’s get right to the takeaways.

1. Domingo Germán Has a Home Run Problem: Look, Germán has been a lifesaver in 2019. He really has been. All year, he has helped stabilize the Yankee rotation and taken a real step forward after flashing some promise in 2018. I think we’ve covered that again and again on this here website, including this afternoon when Steven noted that Germán might well reach 20 wins this year.

With that said, though, I think it’s pretty clear at this point that Germán gives up a few too many home runs. Coming into tonight, 108 pitchers logged at least 100 innings. Germán’s 1.97 HR/9 rate ranks 9th among them (though it ranks only 3rd on the Yanks, as both CC Sabathia and J.A. Happ have surrendered more). That is not ideal!

The HR bug came back to bite Germán again tonight. With two on and two out in the 4th, Brock Holt hit an RBI single to score Rafael Devers, which brought Mitch Moreland to the plate. Moreland promptly cleared the bases with this:

That made the game 4-0 right there, and it certainly ruined Germán’s night. He wasn’t sharp at all, with 4 walks in 4.1 IP, but the HR, as it so often is, was the biggest blow. Here’s his strike zone plot:

Oof. That about tells the tale right there. He struggled all night, really. Oh well. It is what it is. His final line was 4.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 5 K. There’s always next time, Domingo.

2. Not So Nasty Nestor Strikes Again: Nestor Cortes only pitched for two-thirds of an inning tonight, but they were not a good two-thirds of an inning. He immediately walked Rafael Devers after replacing Germán, which put two men on (Germán had walked Betts before exiting). Then Boegarts did this:

That added another run to Germán’s line, one to Cortes’, and made it 6-1 Boston. It was not an ideal appearance by any means.

Cortes has had a few of those recently, unfortunately. He had a 8.49 ERA in his last 11.2 IP coming into tonight, spanning 7 appearances since August 12. In those, he’d surrendered 2 runs or more 4 times, held opponents scoreless just twice, and given up 4 big flies. I still love watching Cortes mix up his delivery and arm angles, but it’s been a while since he’s been really effective now. Hopefully, he turns it around soon.

3. Stymied by…Them?: Who the hell even pitched in this game for Boston? I watched this whole game, unfortunately, and I don’t even know. Okay, that’s a little unfair, but I think you get the idea. Here’s who actually pitched for the Yankees’ big rivals tonight:

  • Jhoulys Chacín: 2.0 IP, zeros, 4 K
  • Josh Taylor: 1.0 IP, zeros, 2 K
  • Marcus Walden: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
  • Andrew Cashner: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 K
  • Ryan Weber: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K
  • Darwinzon Hernandez: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 K

The Yankees couldn’t muster up any offensive production against them. Gross! Now, that’s not completely true. Gregorius logged the Yankees’ first hit in the 4th inning, which was a nice piece of hitting. He slapped the ball the other way down the 3B line, beating the shift, so that was cool. Gary Sánchez followed that up with a walk, but Edwin Encarnación struck out. Oh well.

Brett Gardner, who rules, did log a solo HR right down the RF line, wrapping around the Pesky Pole. Here is the video:

Good stuff! That was Brett’s 21st home run of the season, which ties his career high. It’s September 6. Do we think the balls are juiced or what? But whatever. I’m really enjoying 2019 Brett Gardner and won’t let something like “doctored baseballs” stop that. Gardner also logged the only other Yankee hit of the night. He’s hitting .251/.329/.489 (115 wRC+) on the season. You love to see it.

That was about it, though, for the offense. It was not their best night. Alas.

4. At Least the Defense Showed Up: Hey, the Yankees played great defense! This game was a bummer, but it least it had that going on for it. Let’s go one-by-one.

Luke Voit had a nice play at first, nabbing a sharp grounder from Mitch Moreland that ended the 2nd inning. Check it out:

And then there’s my favorite play of the night. It wasn’t close, really. Jackie Bradley Jr. broke for 2nd on a pitch very low and out of the zone. It’s the type of pitch you dream of stealing a base on, really. But Gary had other plans (#DROG). He made a slick backhanded grab of the ball as it bounced and proceeded to fire an absolute rocket to Gleyber Torres at 2nd. Gleyber made a really impressive tag, and the speedy Bradley was way out. Check this beautiful thing out:

Remember when Gary was having throwing issues for like 3 minutes in the rainy days of April? Yeah, me neither. (Also, I wonder if that was because of the ball?) Anyway, that was a hell of a play.

Finally, Didi Gregorius made a sweet play of his own in the 5th. It didn’t result in a double play (almost!) but it sure was pretty. Check it out:

Sure, the Yankee offense didn’t show up and the pitchers didn’t have a great night. But hey, the Yanks brought their gloves! So that is nice, at least.

Leftovers

  • A Questionable Send: There was a bit of a questionable send in the th inning. With Gary on 2nd base, Brett Gardner lined a single to center field…and they waved Gary, who is slow, home. This despite: 1) the big deficit, 2) the fact that Gary is very slow, 3) the fact that the ball was struck very hard, and 4) Jackie Bradley Jr. has a cannon of an arm. As you can imagine, Gary was out by a mile. Here is the video, if you care to watch it:
  • New Faces in the Bullpen: The Yankees used Tyler Lyons, Cody Gearrin, and Chance Adams to get the last 3 innings worth of outs tonight, and they did very well. They each threw an inning, combining for 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, and 2 K. Not bad! A nice job by the back end of the pen there. Can’t say they didn’t give the offense a shot.
  • Nice to See Ortiz: Finally, Edwin Encarnación and Gary Sánchez visited with David Ortiz yesterday, which warmed my heart. We all remember Ortiz as the victim of a horrific attempted murder in the Dominican Republic two months ago, so it sure was nice to see him out and about with some friendly faces. Keep getting better, David. We’re all rooting for you. Here is some video of the get-together:

Up Next

The Yankees and Red Sox will meet for the 2nd game of their 4-game, wraparound series tomorrow at 4:05 pm. J.A. Happ (5.34 ERA) will face someone from Boston (starter TBD) in Fenway as the Yankees try to even this series at one each. You can catch the game on FS1 nationally, YES locally, and on WFAN for the radio broadcast.

Enjoy the rest of your night, everyone. Hope it’s better than this game was.

Game 136: Yanks Struggle Again Against Oakland, Fall 8-2

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The Yankees just cannot beat this damn A’s team, can they? It was another stinker for our Bombers tonight, who laid an egg and lost 8-2. Here is the box score, if you want it. The Yanks, as you know, maintain their huge lead in the AL East, but Tampa beat Cleveland. The magic number will remain unchanged tonight.

This game was a bummer and it’s a Friday night, so let’s not waste any more time. Let’s get right to the takeaways.

1. A Short Night for CC Sabathia: Jeez, I really hope that tonight wasn’t CC Sabathia’s last MLB appearance. Sabathia left tonight’s game after 3 innings pitched. Although no reason has been announced yet, YES’ Jack Curry reported that CC was having knee problems:

I don’t want to make any assumptions here, but there are only a few weeks left in the season. It would be really upsetting if CC’s last month is plagued by injury, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s focus on tonight instead.

Sabathia threw 48 pitches in those 3 innings, allowing just 1 hit. He did walk 2 batters and retired 2 more by the strikeout. And it was new age CC, with the average exit velocity of the 6 batted balls against him coming in at 82 miles per hour. He mixed up his pitches, too. Check it out:

  • Sinker: 8
  • Slider: 14
  • Changeup: 14
  • Cutter: 12

He topped out at 90 miles per hour. Unfortunately, the hit he did surrender was a big one, and it came at the hands of Jurickson Prufar:

Very unfortunate! That one gave the A’s a 1-0 lead. Here is his strike zone plot from the night:

Let’s hope this injury isn’t that bad and that CC is back on the mound soon. I’m not ready for anything else, honestly.

2. Tommy Kahnle Didn’t Have It: Of course, a few days after I wrote about Tommy Kahnle’s unhittable changeup, Tommy Kahlne’s changeup got smacked around. Great stuff by me, as always. Kahnle entered with the game with a 2-1 Yankee lead and left the game with the Yankees down 4-2. Here was his final line: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 K. It was not a great night.

That’s a lot of balls right over the plate right there, and many others not even close. He did not have it. Here was the first blow against him, a double off the bat of Seth Brown:

The big blow, though, came again at the hands of Jurickson Profar, but this time it was a double:

That came after Kahnle retired Josh Phegley on a nasty change. It was a big blow against Kahnle, but hey: you’re not going to have it every night. Sometimes in this sport you even get hit around by a guy hitting .218/.295/.417 (87 wRC+). Go get ’em next time, Tommy.

3. Cody Gearrin Also Didn’t Have It: Another rough night for a Yankee reliever, as Gearrin was tagged for 2 runs on 3 hits in his 1 inning of work tonight. That extended the Oakland lead to 6-2 in the inning after Kahnle’s struggles. Frustrating, especially after last week’s sweep in Oakland. Oh well.

Here was Gearrin’s strike zone plot:

Like Kahnle, many pitches way out of the zone and many others right over the heart of the plate. Oh well. There’s a new game tomorrow, right?

4. Wasted Offensive Opportunity After Wasted Offensive Opportunity: You can’t say that the Yankees didn’t have opportunities tonight. As always, the Yankees had traffic on the basepaths and had chances to score runs. They just didn’t get that timely hit. Again, this was just one of those games.

Let’s start in the 3rd inning. After DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge both recorded singles, Gleyber Torres walked, which set up a bases-loaded, one-out situation for Didi Gregorius. He grounded into a force out to first baseman Matt Chapman but beat out the double play. The run scored, but Sánchez promptly grounded out. Bases-loaded, one-out, only one run. Blah.

A similar situation occurred in the 4th inning. Luke Voit and Brett Gardner reached on a single and then Austin Romine reached on a fielder’s choice that was challenged by the Yankees and overturned. Here’s the video:

That set up a bases-loaded, no-out situation. Tauchman then grounded into a double play, which scored Voit but took the sails out of the inning. Here is the video:

Even after LeMahieu walked, the double play is a killer. Anderson would get Judge to retire the inning and end the rally.

Very annoying. The Yankees left 14 runners on base, but the big hit just didn’t come tonight. Oh well.

Leftovers

  • Luis Cessa With A Nice Performance: Luis Cessa is much-maligned, but honestly, he doesn’t deserve it this year. He’s been pretty good. He has a 3.99 ERA (4.68 FIP) in 70 IP this year, with a strikeout per 9 rate just below 9. That’s pretty solid for the last man outta the pen, no? Tonight he pitched 2 innings, with just 2 hits surrendered. No runs, no walks, and one strikeout. He was efficient and kept Oakland at bay. That’s what you want.
  • DJ LeMahieu Is A Human, After All: With one out in the top of the 7th inning, DJ LeMahieu had a rare defensive mishap. Matt Chapman hit a grounder–it was hit hard, to be fair–that just went under his glove. Didi was behind him to back up the play, but he was a little flatfooted and Chapman reached base. It was a part of the big inning. Now, it’s easy for me to say that he should have made the play from my couch, but I was surprised to see him miss it with his defensive prowess. You just never know what’s going to happen. He did add a hit and a run scored, though, because he always does something good. It’s just what he does.
  • Aaron Judge With A Rocket: Aside from the highlighted at-bat above, Aaron Judge continued to show how red hot he is right now. He went 2-4 tonight, and his first hit was an absolute rocket. It registered at 115.1 mph, which ranks as the 8th hardest-hit ball of the season. That’s kinda meaningless, but it’s fun. Aaron Judge crushes the ball and I like to see it. He’s up to .280/.387/.514 (135 wRC+) on the season. What slump?
  • Welcome Back, Luke Voit: Sure is nice to see Luke Voit back in action, no? He went 2-4 tonight with a run scored, raising his season line t0 .281/.394/.494 (135 wRC+). Truck Month has been a lot of fun, and Ford is cool to root for, but the Yankees are so much better with Voit in the lineup. I’m glad to see him back.
  • Appreciating Brett Gardner: To honor Randy’s appreciation post, Gardner notched another hit tonight. He went 1-4 on the night and is now hitting .252/.330/.479 (110 wRC+). Incredible. It really is.
  • Not So Nasty Nestor Returns Again: Not the best night for Nestor Cortes Jr. tonight. He got knocked around in the 9th inning, giving up a massive blow to Marcus Semien and another run later in the inning. He struggled just like every other non-Cessa reliever. Here’s the video of the double, which followed the HR:

Up Next

The Yankees will try to finally win a game against the Athletics tomorrow at 1:05 pm in the Bronx. Homer Bailey (12-8, 5.04 ERA) will take on Domingo Germán (17-3, 4.03 ERA), and the game can be found on MLB Network nationally, YES locally, and WFAN by radio. Enjoy the rest of your Friday, everyone.

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