New York Yankees: Before the CBA Yankee options are quickly disappearing

Could the New York Yankees pursue Max Scherzer in a trade?

So far this postseason, the New York Yankees have been surprisingly quiet, as other teams are scooping up free-agent options with amazing speed, ahead of the Collective Bargaining Agreement deadline (CBA) on December 1.

Even before the end of the World Series, in which the Atlanta Braves won over the Houston Astros, the Yankees’ front office made it clear that they would be spending money to better the team for the 2022 season. General Manager Brian Cashman stated his priorities, with obtaining a star shortstop at the top of the list.

The Yankees needed to replace Gleyber Torres, who they permanently moved to second base. Getting a number two starting pitcher was also high on the list, that included help in centerfield and a decision to be made for a first baseman.

To date, the Yankees have basically done nothing. On social media Yankees fans are becoming frustrated, even enraged as it seems the Yankees have become watchers rather than actively participating in the postseason blitz to acquire team enhancing pieces to fill their needs.

The Yankees did replace third base coach Phil Nevin with ex-Mets manager Luis Rojas. The also made a play for starting pitcher Justin Verlander, who ended up signing with the Houston Astros, the team that turned his career around. The Yankees offered the same $25 million on a one-year contract; the Astros bested that with the same amount for two years.

Let’s take a look at some of the players that the Yankees have targeted or at least shown interest in, that are already gone to other teams. It seems the crosstown Mets, new owner Steve Cohen, and new general manager Billy Eppler are making every effort to make their team the one to watch in New York City, pushing the New York Yankees to the back burner.

MLB Network’s Jon Morosi and SNY’s Andy Martino have reported that Eppler is close to closing a deal for the big pitching prize out there, Max Scherzer. Reports are that they will spend as much as $42 million a year to have Scherzer pitch on the mound at Citi Field for next three or four years. Due to the cost the Yankees were never really in on Scherzer, much to the dismay of Yankee fans.

At this point there is no question that the Mets are making moves to bring them to at least a NL East division win, and maybe going to the their first World Series since 2015, in which they lost to the Kansas City Royals one game to four. The New York Yankees have not appeared in a World Series game since they won in 2009.

The Yankees were seriously looking at Starling Marte to bolster their center field presence, but that fell through, when the Mets scooped him up last week with a four year contract for a reported $78 million. If the Mets sign Scherzer, they will have already spent double the money the Yankees might consider spending. If that isn’t a statement, I don’t know what is.

Another possible starting pitching target, Kevin Gausman, and the Toronto Blue Jays are in agreement on a five-year, $110 million contract, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Red Sox moves:

The Red Sox lost their co-ace in Eduardo Rodriguez who signed with the Detroit Tigers, before the Yankees could even bid on him. Back on the fifth of November the Sox scooped up Tim Locastro off waivers from the Yankees. Kyle Schwarber elected for free agency and the Sox as of now have not resigned him. He was big for the Sox going down the stretch with his 31 home runs on the season. The Yankees don’t seem to be interested in the center fielder.

Tampa Bay Rays changes:

From a Yankee perspective it was not good news when the Rays inked an 11-year contract with their star infielder Wander Franco. The Rays will now have there cornerstone for the rest of the decade. Earlier in the month the Rays exercised Mike Zunino’s contract option, keeping him as their primary catcher. In the most recent move, although the Yankees didn’t seem interested in keeping two time Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber in pinstripes, the Rays, who always seem to make the right moves at the right time, signing Kluber to a one-year deal gauranting him at least $8M, with the possibility of making up to $13M based on incentives.

Toronto Blue Jay changes:

The Blue Jays’ only big splash is that they signed starting pitcher Jose Berrios to a seven year contract extension, keeping him with the Blue Jays through the 2028 season. They also acquired Off Waivers From San Diego right hand pitcher Shawn Anderson. The big prize from the Jays would be pitcher Robbie Ray who had a career season, winning the Cy Young award. The Yankees have shown interest and would like to secure him in the $12 million range, but most industry analysts say he will want closer to $100 million over three of four years. At age 30 this may be his last time to get big money.

New Yankee shortstop:

Right now Yankees fans are confused by the lack of movement in acquiring a shortstop after the statement that it would be their number on priority. The situation is very cloudy, as the front office seems more concerned with short stop prospects in the farm system, then getting what they need right now. Carlos Correa is probably out of the picture due to his Astros baggage and the cost of a contract he will ask for. Another Yankee target Corey Seager is said to be asking for as much as $300 million over the next ten years, likely putting him out of the reach of the Yankees. Lately it seemed that Cashman could be going with the less expensive of the top three, in Marcus Semien, but he has just signed a seven year $175 million deal with the Texas Rangers.

With Yankee options disappearing, it leaves one wondering when and if the Yankees will act at all. With the top names tumbling off the market, it looks likes Cashman, with money to spend, will be again looking for those off the radar gems, and not any of the big names Yankee fans are hoping for.

One thing is for sure, many fans are calling for Cashman who appears to be sitting on his hands, to be fired, and for owner Hal Steinbrenner to sell the team to someone who is interested in winning rather than watching every penny.

New York Yankees Corey Kluber reportedly now with the Tampa Bay Rays

corey kluber, new york yankees

The New York Yankees will now have to swallow a move made by the Tampa Bay Rays that may come back to haunt them in 2022.  Ken Rosenthal of the Atlantic has reported that this morning starting pitcher Corey Kluber reached an agreement on a one-year deal for the MLB 2022 season.

Corey Kluber for the Yankees in 2021 put together a good season, even pitching a no-hitter before injuring his shoulder. He compiled a 3.83 ERA and 1.34 WHIP with 82 strikeouts in 80 innings across 16 starts.

Injuries have become a major factor for Kluber, when he was hired on a one-year deal with the Yankees, he hadn’t pitched for almost two years. In 2020 he pitched only one inning for the Texas Rangers after a shoulder injury ended the season for the 35-year-old starter.

Now he will continue to revive his career, but with the Tampa Bay Rays. It is likely that the Yankees will have to face him three or four times this coming season.

Yankees lose free-agent pitcher to rivals, who always seem to make the right moves

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

The New York Yankees were willing to spend $25 million for just one year worth of Justin Verlander as of a few weeks ago, but since he signed with the Houston Astros on an extension, the Bombers have shifted their attention to other prospects. However, one of their own free agents this off-season has signed a one-year deal with an AL East rival.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Corey Kluber will sign a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays:

Free-agent RHP Corey Kluber in agreement with Rays on one-year deal, pending physical, sources tell The Athletic. Kluber, 35, missed more than three months with right shoulder strain before rejoining Yankees in late August. Finished with 3.83 ERA in 80 IP, including no-hitter.

Tampa Bay always seems to make the right decisions, and with the 35-year-old Kluber coming off a down here with the Yanks, pitching in just 16 games and 80 innings, they’re likely getting him at a reduced price. Kluber posted a 3.83 ERA this past year, hosting a 9.23 strikeout rate per nine and a 42.5% ground-ball rate.

Given he is healthy, Kluber is still capable of being an adequate pitcher, even featuring a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers on May 20.

The Yankees might regret not offering him a minor deal for his services, despite his injury history. Looking at his pitches, Kluber’s fastball dropped to just 90.6 mph, the lowest of his career. He threw his fastball just 29.7% of the time, relying heavily on his cutter, curveball, and change-up. Every single one of his pitches saw a significant decline in velocity, but his curve is still adequate, giving him some efficiency.

Clearly, the Rays viewed this as an opportunity to gain a pitcher at the end of his career with just a bit of gas left in the tank to offer in a back-of-the-rotation role.

The Yankees desperately still need to find a new starter to inject into the rotation, but they haven’t been very active in the market as they wait for the December 1 lockout.

New York Yankee Analysis: Big questions the Yankees must answer by March 31, 2022

The New York Yankee season is over, falling short of another World Series win. The “Boss” George Steinbrenner, if alive, would say it’s another failed season. If you consider not winning the World Series failing, then he is correct. But there is a lot to be said about getting to a wild card berth, win or not. Many other AL teams can’t say that. But the one with the biggest payroll; more is expected of them. The Yankees have not had a losing season since 1992. But the last World Series they won was in 2009.

Manager Joe Girardi won the 2009 World Series. But after not repeating for the next eight years and amongst complaints about being too strict, the Yankees moved on from Girardi and hired Aaron Boone.  Boone has been mostly successful in bringing the team to 100 wins, 103 wins, 33 wins in a short season, and 92 wins this year. But, regardless of that success, he has never gotten the team beyond late-season failures.

With each passing year, New York Yankee fans, even the most ardent fans, have become less patient waiting for the Yankees to win. Some fans have given up and moved on to other teams and even other sports. This isn’t good for business and baseball, although a game is a business. Principle owner Hal Steinbrenner and company have to figure out how to turn this team around. Yankee stadium never had a sell-out crowd this season. That is lost dollars, lots of them.

After a very inconsistent season that certainly cost them a trip to the World Series, the New York Yankees have many questions that must be answered before they try this all over again. And this year, there are more questions to be addressed than usual. So let’s have at it.

Renew Aaron Boone’s contract?

In 2018 Aaron Boone was hired as the new Yankee manager on a four-year contract that was over last night. So the Yankee organization has to decide whether to renew his contract or move on from the one-time manager.

When Boone was hired, many Yankee fans said, “Aaron who?”. Boone was never a great baseball player and had never managed even a minor league team. Others have learned to dislike him; still, others think he has done a good job. Most managers in baseball were catchers who seemed to have a better understanding of all baseball operations—Boone, who spent most of his career with the Cincinnati Reds primarily as a third baseman.

Boone will receive most of the blame for this poor season, although much of that blame can be placed on the hitters themselves, as Boone can’t hit for the hitters or pitch for the pitchers. Many fans question his decisions and his lack of holding bad players responsible for their play. Boone, with his style, constantly praises the team when they lose. An excellent example of that is his praise of Gerrit Cole after last night’s wild-card loss saying he threw some good pitches.

However, one must be cautious in blaming Boone. Many believe that Boone was hired to be a mouthpiece for Brian Cashman, the Yankee front office, making the significant decisions and Boone following them, only to be allowed to make minor decisions on the field during games. However, even those skeptical of that theory admit that the Yankee office and analytics department have too much influence over how the games are played.

Examine the organizational philosophy?

With so many questions unanswered about why this team can’t win big year after year, is it time to examine how the whole organization is run? Under the present philosophy, whether Boone is brought back or not, they would only hire another yes man that would be subject to the highly analytics-based front office.

All baseball teams receive the same analytics; it differs in how they are communicated and how they are executed. A manager who uses those stats exclusively and ignores what he sees on the field or who is hot and who is not will lose a lot of games. Analytics are a guide, not a user manual.

Should the Yankees hire a Bruce Bochi, Buck Showalter, or the like, it would require an entire shakeup of how the organization runs. Neither of these guys are yes men and would be challenging to work with under the present makeup. But it’s fair to mention that Bochi’s management style has brought the San Francisco Giants to win 107 games this season for the most in baseball and with less talent than the Yankees.

Brian Cashman will have much to do with if the Yankees are willing to examine themselves. Cashman is the driving force for how the Yankees perform. But many times in the past, Cashman has been slow to act. Lingering questions with Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez are examples of that. Last season he failed to act to improve the team. This year got two lefties to balance the lineup that fans have been screaming about for years.

Exceed the luxury tax threshold?

Do the Yankees need to exceed the luxury tax threshold to win finally. No!. Spending a lot of money has not helped them much. Better run and better-managed teams have gone further season after season. The Oakland Athletics and the Tampa Bay Rays have done it on about 30% of the Yankees payroll.

Extend Aaron Judge’s contract?

This may be the most challenging question to address in this off-season. If the Yankees offer Judge a contract, it will be huge. The question is do the Yankees want to spend that much, and if they do, how badly will it tie their hands on solving the other team’s needs.

Judge turns 30 next year, and based on his injury record, signing a long-term contract with him is risky at best. This season is the first season he has been healthy since 2017. Between 2018 and 2020, he played in only 243 games.  So the question remains how much and for how long. It is doubtful that the Yankees will go more than six years, even though Judge has said he wants to retire a Yankee, according to Bryan Hock.

Aaron Judge’s value is at its highest and could draw the most if the Yankees were willing to trade him. The Yankees could get a quality pitcher, a shortstop, and a few choice prospects for him. However, whether an extension could be agreed upon would most likely be a Derek Jeter-like situation, taking less than he is worth.

How to fix the Yankee outfield?

During this season, the Yankees have had either a drought or glut in the outfield. Aaron Judge is a solid right fielder, and Joey Gallo will be with the team in left field through 2022. However, the Yankees don’t have a true centerfielder with any kind of future. Brett Gardner has been adequate in the position, but it becomes more doubtful that the 38-year-old will return each year. In addition, Aaron Hicks (yes, remember him?) has yet to prove he can stay healthy.

If they fix that, they still have Tyler Wade and Giancarlo Stanton options to add to the mix and give days off.

Obtain a real shortstop?

There is still the ongoing question about Gleybe Torre’s worth to the team. Late this season, the Yankees finally realized they made a mistake trying to make Gleyber Torres a shortstop. Torres is no longer a 22-year-old with a bright future; he has become tarnished goods. He will turn 25 in December and is coming off of two back-to-back poor seasons on defense and offense. The Yankees, to a degree, have overlooked his poor defense because he led the team in 2019 with 38 home runs, but since then, he has only 12 long balls.  What the Yankees should be most concerned about is his lack of growth.

The Yankees have moved Torres to second, where he has played better but not by much. That pushed a Gold Glove second baseman DJ LeMahieu, into being a utility player. Unfortunately, LeMahieu’s performance has not been as good since the move.  While the Yankees have one of baseball’s top prospects, Anthony Volpe, he probably won’t be big team ready for another year or two. With Torre’s continued poor play, the Yankees should at least inquire about options in free agency this offseason.

What to do with the catcher situation?

Oh boy, this question yet again. Gary Sanchez has been one of the most controversial Yankee players since he became the Yankees lead catcher in 2017. That was a year that was pretty good for the young man. But since then, he has not duplicated that performance and has often been criticized for his performance behind at backstop. He continues to be a less-than-average defender and has had a poor batting average.

Last year, he had a disastrous season, hitting only .147 and losing his starting status in favor of backup catcher Kyle Higashioka, a better defender. Sanchez is still around because when he is hot, he can hit the long ball and has a rocket of an arm preventing many stolen bases. He has hit more this year with an average of .204 but still strikes out too much. With the other questions facing the Yankees, it is doubtful they will move Sanchez.

What to do with the loose ends?

The Yankees have two obvious loose ends. One is whether to renew a contract with first baseman Anthony Rizzo and, if they do, what they will do with Luke Voit. I wouldn’t be surprised if Luke Voit is not with the Yankees next season. He could be used in a trade. With the glut at DH, his use to the club is limited. He also has not been able to stay healthy while with the Yankees.  If the Yankees choose to replace Gleyber Torres at short, he too will become a trading piece.

How to reinforce the pitching staff?

The New York Yankees certainly need to beef up the pitching staff. Jameson Taillon is under contract through 2022 and is arbitration-eligible as of today. Also, as of today, Corey Kluber is a free agent.  That leaves Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery as the Yankees starting rotation. The organization will have to examine what place Luis Severino and Domingo German have going forward and if they need to replace Kluber if he doesn’t sign with the Yankees.

At the beginning of the season, the Yankees had one of the strongest bullpens in baseball. Unfortunately, as the season progressed, they lost much of their strength. Set up man Zack Britton underwent Tommy John surgery to keep him out until at least the end of the 2022 season. Justin Wilson and the Yankee’s best long reliever Luis Cessa went to the Reds in a salary dump. Darren O’Day, the sidearmer, had a shoulder injury followed by a hamstring strain that kept him away from the team for the rest of the season.

In a major disappointment this season for the bullpen, on July 31st Tommy Kahnle revealed that had a partially torn UCL and required Tommy John surgery. The Yankees outrighted him and he choose free agency. Just days afterward he signed a new contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Yankees picked up a few arms at the trade deadline, Andrew Heaney proved useless. These losses and moves left the bullpen short of components and overworked.

Not knowing if Deivi Garcia, Luis Gil, or Clarke Schmidt will be ready for the big time in 2022, the Yankees may have to go shopping to bolster the starting rotation and the bullpen. Unfortunately, any moves they make may have to wait until the end of spring training, when they can further evaluate their options.

 

New York Yankees: Yankees strengthen hold on the wild card with win over the Jays (video)

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

With new urgency, last night, the New York Yankees entered the last game of the Toronto Blue Jays series at Roger’s Center in Toronto with a need to win the rubber game of the series. The Yankees won the first game  7-2 but lost the second game in a 6-5 squeaker. The must-win would allow the Yankees to keep the wild card home field advantage even if the Red Sox won their game with the Orioles. Which they didn’t; they lost to the Baltimore Orioles, including the series.

The Yankees relied on Corey Kluber to get the win over the likely Cy Young award winner Robbie Ray. Kluber managed to keep the Yankees in the game at the night’s end as the Jay’s best pitcher Ray failed miserably. Five Yankee homers powered the way to a 6-2 win in the game, giving them even more cushion in the wild card race.

Corey Kluber got the job done

The still building up after coming off the IL, and after not pitching for three months, the New York Yankees sent righty Corey Kluber to the mound to at least keep the Yankees in the game against arguably the best AL pitcher Robbie Ray.  Even though Corey Kluber wasn’t at his best, he kept the Yankees in the game; he limited the Jays to just two runs against the energetic young Jays team. He pitched into the fifth inning, giving up seven hits and the two runs.

When Kluber was taken out of the game after 4.2 innings of work, Michael King entered. King finished off the fifth and pitched the sixth, giving up just one hit. Luis Severino, who has been lights out since his return from Tommy John surgery, pitched a hitless seventh. Chad Green, who has been returning to form lately, struck out three in the eighth. Chapman came in for the ninth in a non save situation and allowed one hit while striking out two and securing the 6-2 lead for the Yankees.

Bronx Bombers power their way to another win

The Toronto Blue Jays sent their best pitcher, the likely 2021 Cy Young award-winner, to shut down the Yankees and give them the series win. But the Bronx Bombers were not going to take any of that silliness; they pummeled the lefty with five home runs in the game. All the Yankee runs were via the home run, including the one other hit in the game.

It started in the first inning after DJ LeMahieu struck out and Anthony Rizzo ground out into the shift. Then, Aaron Judge came to the plate and hit a monster 455′ homer into the Roger’s Center left-field stands. He wouldn’t be denied as he hit his second home run in the sixth inning back to back after Anthony Rizzo hit the 250th homer of his career. Then, Gleyber Torres hit his own home run driving Robbie Ray out of the game. Finally, Brett Gardner tacked on an insurance homer in the top of the ninth inning for a 6-2 win that the Jays couldn’t recover from.

Questions with DJ Lemahieu

The New York Yankees are not done with injuries this year. Shortly before last night’s game, it was announced that the first baseman and DH Luke Voit was put on the 10 day IL with a knee injury. After a strikeout Wednesday night, Voit was seen limping off the field. Possibly of even greater consequence Tyler Wade entered the game to take DJ LeMahieu’s last two at-bats. LeMahieu has been suffering from hip and groin problems. The Yankees, in their usual vagueness, wouldn’t comment on how serious it is, other than he would work through it. Being taken out early last night questions that.

Yankees wild card standing

The New York Yankees strengthened their grip on a wild card berth by holding on to the home-field advantage. The Red Sox, who are behind the Yankees, lost their game against the Baltimore Orioles. Next in line was the Seattle Mariners, who were idle yesterday. The situation caused the Mariners and the Red Sox to have identical records two games out. With the loss last night, the Toronto Blue Jays are one game out for a wild card appearance with only three games left in the season.

In other standings, Dusty Bakers’ Houston Astros clinched the AL West for the fourth time in five years and will face the Chicago White Sox. When the Yankees win the wild card game, they will face the Tampa Bay Rays. The winners of those series will play each other in the AL Championship to determine who goes on to play in the World Series.

Notes: I can’t finish this article without giving a shout-out to Bo Bichette who played his heart out in this series. The little guy did everything he could to make the Blue Jays victorious. He had seven hits including two home runs in the series while striking out only twice.

Tonight at 7:05 pm EDT, the New York Yankees start out their final series of the season at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Nasty Nestor Cortes Jr. will be on the mound for the Yankees. The game will be televised on the YES Network, Bally Sports Sun, and on MLBN out of market.

New York Yankees Recap: Yankee homers win a hard fought game against the Blue Jays

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

With new urgency, tonight, the New York Yankees entered the last game of the Toronto Blue Jays series at Roger’s Center in Toronto with a need to win the rubber game of the series. The Yankees won the first game  7-2 but lost the second game in a 6-5 squeaker. The must-win would allow the Yankees to keep the wild card home field advantage even if the Red Sox win their game with the Orioles. The Yankees relied on Corey Kluber to get the win over the likely Cy Young award winner Robbie Ray. At the end of the night, the Yankee homers powered the way to a 6-2 win in the game.

DJ LeMahieu led off the first inning against Ray and went down on strikes. Anthony Rizzo ground out into the shift. Then, Aaron Judge had a monster home run 455′ into the Roger’s restaurant. Giancarlo Stanton walked. Gleyber Torres flew out to the warning track in  center as the Yankees got on the board first. At the bottom, George Springer led off and singled to no man’s land in center. Marcus Semien hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Vlad Guerrero ground out to short. New York Yankees 1 Blue Jays 0.

Gary Sanchez led off the second by walking. Brett Gardner ground out to second. Gio Urshela was called out on strikes. Kyle Higashioka flew out to the warning track in right. At the bottom, the bothersome Bo Bichette that homered twice last night singled up the middle. Bichette stole second. Teoscar Hernandez flew out to Stanton in left field. Corey Dickerson hit a long one for a double scoring Bichette to tie the game at one. Alejandro Kirk ground out to third. Santiago Espinal flew out to a diving Judge in right, but the Jays tied the game. New York Yankees 1 Toronto Blue Jays 1.

The third inning was led off by LeMahieu, who popped out to shallow center. Rizzo launched one to right for a fly-out. Judge flew out to right-center for three flyouts for Robbie Ray. At the bottom of the inning, Randel Grichuk flew out for the first out. Springer popped out to Torres. Semien singled on a soft line drive. Guerrero struck out on an excellent curveball from Kluber. Game tied at 1.

Giancarlo Stanton led off the fourth inning by grounding out to third Torres ground out up the middle. Sanchez went down swinging. At the bottom, the dangerous Bo Bichette led off by popping out to Urshela. Hernandez went down on strikes. Dickerson got a single on a hit cut-off by Judge. Dickerson stole second. Kirk walked. Espinal with two outs and two on ground out to short to end the inning and leave two on base. The game tied at 1 in the fourth.

The fifth inning was led off by Brett Gardner, who flew out to second. Urshela flew out to right-center. Higahioka struck out to end the half scoreless for the New York Yankees. At the bottom, Randal Grichuk led off by striking out. Springer ground to short for a single. Semiem struck out. Dickerson doubled driving in Springer for a Blue Jays run. Corey Kluber left the game in the fifth, giving up two earned runs, walking one, and striking out 2. Micheal King replaced him to finish out the fifth. Toronto Blue Jays 2 New York Yankees 1.

The sixth inning was huge for the New York Yankees. The inning produced four runs for the Yankees. First, Anthony Rizzo hit the 250th homer of his career. Then, Aaron Judge got his second homer of the game. Then, Gleybor Torres homered. Those homers led to the end of the night for Jay’s pitcher Robbie Ray. Luis Severino pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning. New York Yankees 5 the Toronto Blue Jays 2.

The seventh inning was scoreless for both teams. Anthoney Rizzo led off the eighth inning and struck out swinging. Judge walked. Stanton struck out. Gleyber Torres flew out to center to end the half. At the bottom Bichette against Chad Green singled. Hernandez stuck out swinging. Dickerson struck out swinging. Kirk also struck out with one-on and two outs, giving Green three strikeouts in the inning. New York Yankees 5 Blue Jays 2.

Gary Sanchez led off the ninth inning against Julian Merryweather by striking out looking. Brett Gardner homed for the New York Yankees’ fifth homer of the night. Gio Urshela singled up the middle. Higashioka, with one run in and one on with one out, struck out for the second out of the inning. Tyler Wade struck out to end the half. At the bottom, with last licks on the line for the Toronto Blue Jays Santiago Espinal against closer, Aroldis Chapman singled beyond short. Breyvic Valera pinch-hitting for Randal Crichuk with one on and no outs went down looking on a 99 mph fastball. George Springer, with one out, struck out for Chapman’s 1,000th strikeout. Marcus Semien, with two outs, ground out to Tyler Wade for the final out for the Blue Jays.

The New York Yankees won the rubber game and the series from the Blue Jays, keeping their number one berth in the wild card. The final score was the New York Yankees 6 and the Toronto Blue Jays 2. The winning pitcher was Michael King, and the loser was Robbie Ray.

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees: Yankees start a crucial three games at Toronto, here’s the preview

New York Yankees, Jameson Taillon

The New York Yankees start a three-game series tonight in Toronto, Canada, against the Toronto Blue Jays. It may be the most critical series of the season because the outcome could decide the whole season for the boys from the Bronx. Right now, the Yankees hold onto the number one wild card berth that gives the home-field advantage in the one win or go home game.

The Yankees can’t control what happens to other teams, but they can control their own destiny. Presently the Red Sox are just one game back from the Yankees. The Yankees, to maintain that home-field advantage, must win two of three of these games because the Blue Jays are just one game behind the Red Sox. I stated that there are things they can not control; one of those is that the Red Sox play their next three games against the lowly Baltimore Orioles.

The likelihood of the Sox winning two of three or even sweeping them is a real possibility. However, if the Yankees win two of three and the Sox sweep, both teams will be tied for home-field advantage. The problem is that the Sox already have the better season record against the Yankees and, therefore, will get the nod for that coveted home-field advantage.

For the Yankees to win this series, they will have to play their hearts out, playing their best baseball of the year, as they will face the Blue Jays three best pitchers, including their dual aces in Robbie Ray and Hyun Jin Ryu.

Tonight, September 28, 7:07 pm EDT

Tonight is the first game of a crucial three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays. The New York Yankees will send Jameson Taillon to the mound. The righty is 8-6 with an ERA of 4.41 and 136 strikeouts in 27 starts. The Yankees are not sure what they will get out of Taillon tonight as he hasn’t pitched in 22 days coming off an ankle injury. After not pitching for two years and two Tommy John surgeries, Taillon got off to a slow start this season but improved dramatically over the season, dropping his ERA from 6.23 to 4.41. From July 16 through August 26, the Yankees won all eight of his starts.

But pitching well against the energetic something to prove Blue Jays may be a challenge for Taillon. Bo Bichette, Vlad Guerrero, Randal Grichuk, and Marcus Semien have hit over .300 against him.

Taillon will face the Blue Jays ace, Hyun Jin Ryu. Ryu is a lefty that is 13-9 with a 4.34 ERA and 133 strikeouts. Ryu has faced the Yankees four times this year, the Jays winning three of those games. He most recently faced the Yankees on September 6th; in that win, he allowed the Yankees only three hits in the 8-0 shutout. For Ryu to win tonight, he will have to get by Gary Sanchez, who has 3 home runs off of him in four games. Anthony Rizzo, in 8 at-bats, has a .500 average, including a home run. The big bats of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have not fared well against him.

Wednesday, September 29, 7:07 pm EDT

Wednesday night contest will feature the Yankee ace Gerrit Cole on the mound for game two. Cole is the winningest Yankee starter with a record of 16-8 and an ERA of 3.08, and an incredible 237 strikeouts. Of the 150 or so starting pitchers, Cole has the second-most wins. Cole missed two weeks of the season with a bout of the Covid virus, which and possibly tiring from the adjustment from a 60 game to 162 game season, seems to have affected Cole. The Yankees have won two and lost two of this last four starts. On September 1, Cole struck out a season-high 15 batters, but it has fallen off dramatically since then. The last time he faced the Blue Jays, he lasted only 3.1 innings striking out 2.

The New York Yankees will face Jose Berrios, a righty that is 12-9 with an ERA of 3.48 and 197 strikeouts. The Yankees have only faced Berrios once this season; the bad news is that they lost that game when he pitched into the seventh inning with 109 pitches and only allowing five Yankees hits. Berrios has a lower ERA in September than Cole, by a full point. For the Yankees to win this game, Cole will have pitch better than Berrios, and Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, and Brett Gardner all have hit well off Berrios and will have to pummel him.

Thursday, September 30, 7:07 pm EDT

The Yankees will send Corey Kluber to the mound in the set’s final game to face the Blue Jays best pitcher, ace Robbie Ray. Kluber is still in comeback mode from a shoulder issue that kept him out three months of the season. He is a righty that is 5-3 with a 3.82 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 15 starts. Kluber started the season slowly with the Yankees but gradually got better to the point of having a no-hitter on May 19th against the Rangers for the only Yankee no-hitter since David Cone’s perfect game in 1999. Since coming back from his injury, the Yankees have won all three of his last starts.

Robbie Ray is in contention and a near-lock for the CY Young award this year. The lefty is 13-6 with a 2.68 ERA and a baseball-leading 244 strikeouts. The Yankees have only faced Ray once this year. It was an April 12th meeting with Gerrit Cole on the mound. Kyle Higashioka powered the Yankees to a win with two home runs in that game. Ray has won three of his five starts during September. The Yankees will have to get out fast and often against Ray because only Higashioka and Gio Urshela have hit well off of him.

New York Yankees: 3 Major takeaways from the sweep of the Rangers

corey kluber, new york yankees

Last night the New York Yankees completed a job they urgently needed to do; they swept the Texas Rangers with a game three win of 7-3. The sweeping need was caused by the Yankees slipping out of a wild card berth and only playing teams statistically better than them in the remaining games of the dwindling regular season.

Kluber is still a work in progress

Last night stater Corey Kluber proved he is still a work in progress to return to the form he had before a 3 month IL stint when he pitched the Yankees only no-hitter since David Cone’s perfect game in 1999. Kluber didn’t pitch badly and did keep the Yankees in the game, but with only one more likely start, it appears he is not postseason ready.

He pitched into the fifth inning using 84 pitches. He gave up three earned runs while walking no one and striking out 4 Rangers. But the problem that beset him as he allowed an average of two hits an inning, which could have put the game out of reach for the Yankees. But, somehow, he located some pitches well, keeping out of huge trouble.

In the fifth inning, Hernandez led off by doubling to center. Kiner-Falefa singled, with Hernandez scoring from second. Ibanez lined out to a diving Urshela. Lowe coming up knocked Kluber out of the game. Wandy Peralta came into the game and prevented further damage. In the 7th, 8th, and 9th, Clay Holmes, Chad Green, and Aroldis Chapman kept the Rangers scoreless.

Gleyber Torres rises to the occasion

Gleyber Torres has been oft-criticized for his poor defense and lack of power that allowed him to lead the team in home runs in 2019. In 2020  he hit only three and only seven this season. But last night, he came up big for the Yankees; it wasn’t a homer but a timely double when the game was tied at three. Torres’s double led to a four-run inning that put the Yankees over the top in the eighth inning.

At the bottom of the eighth, Judge popped out. Stanton struck out swinging. Gallo doubled. Torres doubled to score Gallo and the Yankee lead in the game. Urshela singled with Torres safe at home for the Yankee two-run lead. Sanchez homered, driving in two more runs. Gardner walked. LeMahieu grounded out to third. New York Yankees 7 Rangers 3.

Aroldis Chapman looked really good

Aroldis Chapman, who was so good in the first half when the New York Yankees were playing poorly, became shakey at best during the second half when the Yankees finally started to win more games than lose. It was so bad at one point that manager Boone was afraid to insert him into close games.

But more recently, Chapman seems to be making a turn to being more predictable. In his last two outings, he actually seems to have both his confidence and swagger returning. In Monday night’s game with only a one-run lead, Boone sent Chapman to the mound, he struck out two and got his 28th save. He almost gave his signature stare in upon the save. Last night that same swagger was on display in a non save situation. He again struck out two, allowing no runs, no hits, and no walks.

New York Yankees: Coming alive in the eighth the Yankees sweep the Rangers

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

Tonight after taking the series from the Texas Rangers, the New York Yankees looked for the sweep of the Texas team as they continually looked for a place in the wild card series. With the win last night and Toronto’s loss, they are tied for that second spot. So, the Yankees sent Corey Kluber to the mound with great urgency to face the Ranger’s Taylor Hearn looking for their third must-win in a row. The Yankees won the game 7-3.

Yonny Hernandez opened the game facing Kluber and struck out looking. Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled to no man’s land in left-center. Falefa stole second. Andy Ibanez struck out looking. Nat Lowe struck out, tapping into catcher Higashioka’s glove. At the bottom, DJ LeMahieu led off for the Yankees and flew out to left. Luke Voit ground out to third. Aaron Judge struck out in order. No score.

The second inning was led off by Adolis Garcia, who reached on a hit to short. Willie Calhoun singled with Garcia scoring on the play. DJ Peters reached on a fielder’s choice. Brock Holt reached on another fielder’s choice. Jose Trevino singled. Hernandez ground out to first, leaving two on base. At the bottom Giancarlo Stanton singled off the right-field wall; he hit it so hard he had to stay at first. Joey Gallo walked. Gleyber Torres, with two on and no outs, ground out to third with the runners advancing. Gio Urshela had a broken-bat out to left-center. Kyle Higashioka flew out to the right-field wall. New York Rangers 1 Yankees 0.

.Isiah Kiner-Falefa led off the third inning by flying out. Ibanez flew out. Lowe flew out to Gardner, going 1-2-3 for Kluber. Brett Gardner led off the bottom by singling to left. LeMahieu flew out to right. Voit ground into a double play to end the inning. Rangers 1 Yankees 0.

Adolis Garcia led off the fourth ground out. Calhoun ground out to first. Peters doubled. Holt singled to left on a ball that LeMahieu couldn’t corral it, scoring another Rangers run. Trevino ground out to end the inning. At the bottom, Judge struck out swinging. Stanton ground out to short. Gallo popped out to third to end the inning. Rangers 1 Yankees 0.

In the fifth inning, Hernandez led off by doubling to center. Kiner-Falefa singled, with Hernandez scoring from second. Ibanez lined out to a diving Urshela. Lowe coming up knocked Kluber out of the game. Lowe faced new Yankee pitcher Wandy Peralta and reached on a fielder’s choice, Falefa reached third on a bad throw. Garcia popped out, and Calhoun ground out to first to end the half. At the bottom, Torres walked. Urshela singled. Higashioka doubled to left field, scoring Torres and Urshela. Gardner ground out. LeMahieu hit into a double play. Higashioka was called out as he tried to reach home. Texas Rangers 3 New York Yankees 2.

Peters led off the sixth inning flew out to center. Holt tapped back to Peralta for the second out. Trevino ground out. Luke Voit led off the bottom by striking out. Judge walked. Stanton walked and knocked Hearn out of the game. Gallo faced the new pitcher Dennis Santana and walked to load the bases with only one out. Torres went down on strikes. A ball got away from the catcher, and Judge scored to tie the game. Urshela went down looking but stranding two; the Yankees tied the game. New York Yankees 3 Rangers 3.

Hernandez led off the seventh inning against new pitcher Clay Holmes and struck out looking. Kiner-Falefa struck out looking. Ibanez ground out. At the bottom, Higashioka singled to center. Speedy Tyler Wade replaced him as a pinch-runner. Gardner at the plate, Wade stole second. Gardner struck out. Wade stole third. LeMahieu struck out. Anthony Rizzo flew out to center, stranding Wade at third. Yankees 3 Rangers 3.

The eighth inning was lead off by Lowe facing new pitcher Chad Green and flew out to short. Garcia singled on an E6. Garcia tried to steal but was called out at second. Calhoun lined out directly to LeMahieu. At the bottom, Judge popped out. Stanton struck out swinging. Gallo doubled. Torres doubled to score Gallo and the Yankee lead in the game. Urshela singled with Torres safe at home for the Yankee two-run lead. Sanchez homered, driving in two more runs. Gardner walked. LeMahieu grounded out to third. New York Yankees 7 Rangers 3.

With last licks on the line for the Rangers, DJ Peters came to the plate in the top of the ninth against closer Aroldis Chapman and popped out to third. Culberson pinch-hitting struck out.  Trevino stuck out swinging.  The final score was the New York Yankees 7 and the Texas Rangers 3. The winning pitcher was Chad Green, and the loser was Spencer Patton.

 

 

 

New York Yankees: Preview of a Yankee must sweep series

Tonight, the New York Yankees enter a near must sweep series with the lowly Texas Rangers. The Rangers are playing .369 baseball, with the Yankees still trying to get a berth in a one-game wild-card playoff; they must dominate starting right now. Of the Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays, the Yankees have the most difficult schedule remaining. After this Texas series, the Yankees play the Red Sox, the Toronto Blue Jays, and finally, the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays.

Editorially speaking, after the last two really embarrassing losses, the Boo Birds are out in full force; they actually booed off the field their best starting pitcher of the season. Social media is packed with advice on who should be fired. This is not the time for boos. This is the time to root on the New York Yankees; they still have a chance at a wild-card berth and a 28th World Championship.

The Yankees unexplainably have played some of their best baseball of the season and their worst recently. The Yankee pitching is in shambles, they have been playing sloppy baseball, and the hitters have been inconsistent at best. But this is still a team that can show power and win games. This team has turned it around before and can do it again.

The Texas Rangers have had a dreadful season. Before the season, they lost some key players, including Corey Kluber. As a result, they sit at the bottom of the AL West, losing 94 games and winning only 55. Going into this series, the Yankees will have the ERA advantage against each Texas Ranger starter. The Yankees should dominate and sweep the Rangers, but at least they must take the series to have any hope of advancing.

Tonight, September 20, 7:05 pm EDT

Tonight, Nestor Cortes Jr., who has been a Godsend for the Yankees, will take the mound in the first game of the series. Cortes is a lefty that is 2-2 with an ERA of 2.60 and 87 strikeouts. The Yankees have won 6 of his last nine starts, and he is coming off of one of his best starts of the year. He went into the seventh inning, striking out a season-high 11 Orioles batters. First baseman Nathaniel Lowe is the only Ranger that has been successful off Cortes.

Cortes will face the Texas Rangers’ A. J. Alexy, a righty that is 2-0 with an ERA of 3.68 and 14 strikeouts in three starts. The Rangers needed a starter, and Alexy was promoted from the minors to the Rangers on August 30. He is coming off a 15-1 loss to the Houston Astros when he gave up 6 earned runs in 3.2 innings of work. No Yankee has ever faced Alexy.

Tuesday, September 21, 7:05 pm EDT

Tuesday night, the Yankees will bring Jordan Montgomery to the mound in the second game of the series. “Monty” is a lefty that is 5-6 with an ERA of 3.63 with 149 strikeouts. Montgomery has pitched much better than the record would suggest; he has gotten little run support in his games. He was the Yankees winningest pitcher for a time but seemed to have tired adjusting to a 162 game season. The Yankees have lost his last three starts, although he got a season-high 12 strikeouts in his last outing against the Orioles.

Montgomery will face Dane Dunning, a righty that is 5-8 with a 4.28 ERA and 103 strikeouts. This will be Dunning’s 22 start of the season, and he is coming off a loss to the Boston Red Sox. He gave up 5 earned runs in 4.2 innings of work. Dunning is a sinkerball pitcher that throws in three other pitches. He relies on getting ground-outs. Few Yankees have had much experience with him.

Wednesday, September 22, 7:05 pm EDT

Wednesday night’s starter for the Yankees will be Corey Kluber, building since his return from a three-month stint on the IL with a sore shoulder. He is 5-3 with an ERA of 3.68 and 76 strikeouts in 14 starts. He got the Yankees only no-hitter earlier in the season since David Cone’s perfect game in 1999. He is coming off his best start since that no-hitter when he shut out the Cleveland Indians 8-0. This will be the second time Kluber has faced his former team. In the first game, Kluber pitched a complete-game win.

Kluber will face the Rangers, Taylor Hearn. Hearn is a lefty that is 6-5 with an ERA of 4.52 and 87 strikeouts. Hearn had won two games in September but is coming off his worst game of the season when he gave up 7 earned runs in just 3.1 innings against the Chicago White Sox. Few Yankees have seen Hearn pitch.

Notes: The Yankees have sent down to Scranton both Luis Gil and Clarke Schmidt. But the Yankees could get some reinforcements as early as today. Joey Gallo is expected back from his sore neck, and 2018 pitching ace Luis Severino is expected to rejoin the team during this series, most likely working out of the bullpen.

All of the Texas Rangers games will be televised on the YES Network and Bally Sports Southwest. Tonight’s game will also be on the MLBN out of market.