New York Yankees: Paxton, Hicks Lift the Yankees to Fight Another Day

New York Yankees, James Paxton

With their backs up against the wall, the New York Yankees fought viciously against the Houston Astros to force a game 6.

James Paxton pitched a gem against a heavy-hitting Astros lineup. Through 6 innings of work, he allowed 4 hits, 1 run and struck out 9 batters on 112 pitches. The bullpen, which consisted of Aroldis Chapman, Tommy Kahnle and Zack Britton, pitched a combined 2.3 innings and allowed 1 hit, no runs and struck out 3 batters on 35 pitches.

The top of the 1st didn’t go according to plan for Paxton. Due to a pitch that bounced in the dirt, George Springer sprinted home to give the Astros an early 1-0 lead.

Justin Verlander also ran into issues of his own in the bottom of the 1st, who gave up a lead-off home run. The man responsible, DJ LeMahieu, blasted the baseball to right field, traveling 355 feet with an exit velocity of 103.2 MPH.

Aaron Hicks unleashed the floodgates in the bottom of the 1st with a 3-run blast to right field, banking just off the foul pole and granting the Yankees with a 4-1 lead. This knock traveled 347 feet with an exit velocity of 105.5 MPH and most importantly, released the zoo into hysteria.

This single moment from Hicks is arguably the most important in the series for the Yankees. The offense has been mediocre since game 2, leaving 26 runners on base and going 1 for 16 with runners in scoring position.

A few names, including Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius, Edwin Encarnacion, Gary Sanchez, and Gio Urshela have all struggled severely. Before game 5 started, each player slashed at the following:

Brett Gardner: .133/.235/.133

Didi Gregorius: .125/.125/.125

Edwin Encarnacion: .067/.222/.133

Gary Sanchez: .188/.188/.294

Gio Urshela: .133/.188/.33

I don’t think I need to explain why this not a sufficient formula to win postseason games. All of these players have looked lost at the plate and have not replicated what they did in the regular season. That needs to change and quickly, or the Yankees will be in serious trouble.

With all of this being said, the Yankees live to fight for another day, beating the Astros by a score of 4-1. The starting pitching and bullpen were both excellent and the offense did just enough to sneak away with a victory. However, the offense can definitely use more of a motivation booster heading into Houston for game 6 tomorrow night.

 

New York Yankees Face Elimination On Friday

New York Yankees, Edwin Encarnacion

It always sucks talking about elimination games, but here we go again for the New York Yankees. They played absolutely horrible on Thursday, having just five hits while making four errors in an 8-3 loss to the Houston Astros.

On Friday, the Yankees will be facing Astros ace Justin Verlander for the second time this series. They did enough against him in game two where it was tied when he exited, thanks to a two-run shot off the bat of Aaron Judge.

But, Yankees game two starter James Paxton will need to do a whole lot more in game five. He needs to be on and go deep into the game. He can’t have another short exit like in game two.

The Yankees haven’t had much offense since game one, since when Giancarlo Stanton was injured. But now, Stanton is back in the lineup and batting fourth, taking the role of DH from the slumping Edwin Encarnacion.

Since it is an elimination game on Friday, the Yankees need to do everything they can to send it to Houston on Saturday. They may need to stretch guys like Tommy Kahnle and Zack Britton a bit, but they can’t be pitching in the early innings.

The ideal situation in my mind would be to try and get six strong from Paxton, go to Kahnle for the seventh, Britton for the eighth, and Chapman for the ninth. But, if it is too close or Paxton doesn’t last long, they may need to pitch those guys two or even three innings apiece.

If the Yankees extended the series, the Astros would throw a bullpen game on Saturday as would the Yankees. If a game seven occured, Gerrit Cole would pitch against Luis Severino, a game three rematch.

The Yankees have their backs to the wall, but everybody knows that the fourth win in a playoff series is the hardest to get. There have been many 3-1 chokes in all of sports, so anything is possible if the Yankees play like they did in the regular season.

 

New York Yankees: Will Game Four being Postponed Help or Hurt the Yankees?

New York Yankees shortstop, Didi Gregorius.

The New York Yankees lost game three 4-1, due to a below-average start by the Houston Astros, Gerrit Cole, who the Yankees drafted 28th overall in 2008 (MLB.com). However, Cole decided to stay with his commitment to UCLA. Cole was not at his best but still held the Yankees scoreless over 7 innings. The Yankees now trail the series 2-1. There is no need to panic though, the Yankees can still take the series lead before they head back to Houston.

The Yankees are still very much alive after an off game three. Severino battled for all five of his innings, but the Yankees’ hitters did not take advantage when they had runners in scoring position, which is a rare occurring for the highest-scoring team in baseball during the regular season.

The Pros and Cons of Game Four being Postponed

With game four being postponed on Wednesday, October 16th, the Yankees manager, Aaron Boone, made the decision to send playoff ace, Masahiro Tanaka, to the bump. Tanaka now has a career 1.32 ERA in the postseason, after winning his two starts in this year’s playoffs (Baseball-Reference). Tanaka has been brilliant this postseason and maybe the only reason the Yankees are only down a game in the 2019 ALCS. With Tanaka on the mound, the Yankees should do everything in their power to provide run support and tie this series back up.

On the other hand, the game being postponed means the Yankees have to face ageless Justin Verlander. In his postseason career, Verlander is 14-8, with a 3.18 ERA, and a 9.9 strikeout per nine innings ratio (Baseball-Reference). He has dominated the regular season and postseason for over a decade. This matchup will be one for the record books.

There is a possibility Stanton will need to head to the IL yet again. Thankfully, Mike Tauchman is healthy and could replace Stanton on the roster. He will most likely be a pinch-runner and a defensive upgrade with Cameron Maybin off the bench. Gardner is struggling significantly this series and it is possible Maybin will start in left field in game four. There is also a possibility Austin Romine will start and replace Sanchez, who has struggled in every postseason he has been in.

The ultimate question is: will an extra day help or hurt the Yankees? Aaron Boone has the toughest job in the world right now is creating the best lineup, so that he can get this team back in the win column. Facing Verlander again will certainly not help with that, but to be the best you have to beat the best. If the Yankees come out strong out the gate, get Verlander out of the game early, that is the best chance fo the Yankees to win game four. Let’s see what Yankee team we get: the game one or game three teams. The way the Yankees played in game one has to give fans hope that this team can rebound and get it’s 28th World Series title.

How A Wednesday Rainout Would Help The New York Yankees

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

Though nothing has been announced yet, game four of the ALCS between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros will likely be rained out. If it is rained out, game four would be played on Thursday and game five would be played Friday, eliminating the scheduled off-day. Games six and seven would go on as planned on Saturday and Sunday in Houston.

Both teams are planning to pitch a bullpen game in game four. The only positive thing from Aaron Boone’s awful managing is that everybody but Luis Cessa will be available on Wednesday if they play. Cessa pitched two shutout innings in game three, throwing 35 pitches. They would only go to him in an emergency.

We don’t know the official starter, but it’s safe to say that it would be Chad Green. The Astros also haven’t announced a starter.

What A Wednesday Rainout Does

The forecast shows rain setting in around 2PM in the Bronx and staying there until about midnight. With that, there’s no real way to move the game up or push it back.

Assuming there is a rainout, the ball would go back to Masahiro Tanaka and Zack Greinke on Thursday. It would be so huge having Tanaka pitch a must-win game four. Both guys would be on normal rest.

Then come Friday, James Paxton and Justin Verlander would pitch game five. It would be huge for the Yankees being able to face him at home.

Come game six, both teams would probably do their bullpen game. Gerrit Cole and Luis Severino would be on three days rest, and I can’t see them going in game six. If anything, the Yankees would even go to JA Happ or do some type of piggyback start with him and CC Sabathia.

If a game seven is played, Severino and Cole would pitch that game.

A rainout is likely on Wednesday night, and if it happens, it will help the Yankees a lot.

 

New York Yankees: Should fans be concerned?

New York Yankees, Edwin Encarnacion

It’s no question that the New York Yankees did not play well in Game 2 and Game 3. They had a chance to steal a game against Justin Verlander in Houston in Game 2 and blew the opportunity.

Game 3 was pretty much the same. Gerrit Cole, who didn’t even pitch that well, was still able to silence the Yankees’ offense. There was a boatload of chances the Yankees failed to capitalize on.

“It’s obviously a little frustrating we weren’t able to break through with him,” said manager Aaron Boone. “But I think up and down we gave ourselves a chance. And anytime you’re facing a guy like that, you want that kind of traffic. And we had that in several innings. He made big pitches when he had to.”

Should fans be worried?

It’s important to remember that the series is 2-1. Things can switch at the drop of a hat. Momentum changes, things happen. Obviously, not ideal to start the three games at home this way, but it’s not over yet. As the great Yankee Hall-of-Famer Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

Something important to take away from these two games against Cole and Verlander is that the Yankees caused a lot of traffic and stress pitches on them. It’s the offense’s fault for not taking the opportunities to pull away.

Even though the Yankees’ offense hasn’t been able to produce the last two games, the games have been close. A 3-2 ballgame and a 4-1 game is something to realize. The defense is holding up. The pitchers are doing their jobs (except for a few exceptions).

Overall, look at the big picture. It’s a seven-game series with two more home games to go. The New York Yankees have the ability to flip a switch at any moment. Sit tight, the series isn’t over.

The New York Yankees Drop An Ugly ALCS Game Three

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

The New York Yankees were hoping to face Houston Astros ace Gerrit Cole on a night when he didn’t have his best stuff. The Yankees got their wish, but never capitalized in their 4-1 game three loss. That, plus a few questionable decisions by Aaron Boone led to the loss.

Cole Struggled Early

Luis Severino made a huge mess in the first, but managed to give up just one run. But, the Yankees came out swinging to start the bottom of the inning as DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge opened with back-to-back singles.

Brett Gardner and Edwin Encarnacion were retired, Gleyber Torres walked, then Didi Gregorius grounded out on the first pitch he saw with the bases loaded.

The Yankees also had things going in the second, fourth, and fifth but failed to score each time. Cole got into a groove late, retiring his final seven batters.

He went seven innings, struck out seven, and walked five. Cole usually sits around 12 strikeouts a game, and has never walked that many guys. The Yankees kept getting on base but couldn’t deliver with RISP, something they did well all season.

The Yankees had just five hits and one run. The run came on a solo-shot by Gleyber Torres in the eighth, and opposite field blast.

Luis Severino wasn’t great for the Yankees, but gave up just two runs in 4 and 1/3 innings. He threw nearly 100 pitches and booted an easy grounder that would of gotten him out of a big jam in the second inning.

Boone’s Part

Aaron Boone yet again managed a poor game.

First of all, why on earth is Brett Gardner batting third and Gleyber Torres batting fifth? Gardner is batting .154 this series while Gleyber has been scorching hot all postseason.

He also ate up his high leverage relievers very quickly. Chad Green and Tommy Kahnle threw no more than eight pitches each before being removed, and both were throwing good. After those two guys, he went to Adam Ottavino who yet again made a mess. Two runs would score from his mess.

Another topic of discussion is the effort of Gary Sanchez. There were two consecutive pitches thrown by Zack Britton who came in to bail out Ottavino that were thrown inside and in the dirt, and he made no effort to block the pitches. He was lucky because the first one drilled the umpire and stayed in front, but the second went to the backstop and a run scored.

Sanchez continus to dog it down the line, and in my opinion, Austin Romine should be starting. He hit better later in the season, hustles all the time, and calls great games behind the plate.

Also, the Yankees need to make a decision on Giancarlo Stanton. He says that he is healthy enough to DH, so DH HIM! Edwin Encarnacion has one hit since game two of the ALDS, and needs to sit. If Stanton isn’t healthy enough to play, they need to drop him from the roster. Mike Tauchman is healthy and ready to go if need be, and I’m sure that he would love to be on the roster, as would Clint Frazier.

The Yankees struggled all night in game three, and along with some poor decisions from Aaron Boone, the Yankees now trail in the ALCS 2-1. The team is hoping for a rainout on Wednesday to push game four to Thursday where Masahiro Tanaka could start the game. And as we know, playoff Tanaka is on a whole nother level.

This team needs to figure something out or they won’t be playing come next Tuesday.

New York Yankees: The ALCS Shifts To New York, But Weather May Affect The Series

New York Yankees

The New York Yankees and the Houston Astros have split the first two games in Houston, and now the series comes to New York playing as a five game series.

The Yankees will host the next three games before going back to Houston for the final two if necessary.

Luis Severino will get the ball in game three against Gerrit Cole. Cole has been dominant in two postseason starts, but has yet to pitch on the road.

Giancarlo Stanton remains questionable for the game, injuring his quad in game one. Dependent on if he plays or not, Aaron Hicks might get a start for the Yankees.

Game four will be a bullpen game for both teams, but the weather does not look promising on Wednesday. If the game on Wednesday does not happen, the remainder of the ALCS takes place without an off-day. Game four would be on Thursday, game five on Friday. Saturday and Sunday for games six and seven would still go on as planned in Houston. They can’t push the entire series back a day because game seven would be scheduled the day before game one of the World Series.

If Wednesday is rained out, Zack Greinke would be in line for game four as Justin Verlander would be for game five. That would put Gerrit Cole for game six, and a bullpen game in game seven unless you go with Greinke on short rest. But, even with a rainout, the Astros may still do a bullpen on Thursday and the Yankees may too.

If the Yankees don’t do a bullpen game for game four, it would jump back to Masahiro Tanaka. But, they would only do that if Wednesday is rained out.

The ALCS has made its way to New York, but Wednesday has a threat to be rained out, and that would dramatically affect the series.

New York Yankees ALCS Roster: Hicks And CC On

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks hits a home-run against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The New York Yankees have released their roster for the 2019 ALCS against the Houston Astros, and it has a few changes compared to the ALDS roster.

The team has added CC Sabathia and Aaron Hicks to the roster. CC missed the ALDS due to a little shoulder soreness, but has continued to stay fresh.

Hicks has been out since August 3rd with a right flexor strain. He bat .235 with 12 home runs and 36 RBIs in 221 at-bats, good for a 1.3 WAR. He was on the 60-day IL, and the team DFA’d David Hale to make room for him.

Adding two guys to the ALCS roster comes at a cost. The team took infielders Tyler Wade and Luke Voit off of the active roster. Voit really struggled down the stretch, but Wade played really well as a September call up.

If it was up to me (which it’s obviously not), I would of put CC on in place of Luis Cessa, and keep Hicks off. That way, they could use Wade as a fifth outfielder if needed. The Yankees rolled with just four official outfielders in the ALDS (Gardner, Stanton, Judge, Maybin) and they should of done the same in the ALCS.

Wade has a lot of defensive versatility, is very fast, and his offense has came a long way this season. Instead of keeping an extra pitcher, they should of put Wade on the roster.

Now that CC is on the roster, the Yankees will likely have another high-leverage weapon. CC looked really good in his lone relief appearance this year, and could be a middle innings guy to bridge it to somebody like Ottavino or Kahnle.

Game one begins at 8PM ET with Masahiro Tanaka on the hill. Let’s go Yankees!