New York Yankees: 3 Major takeaways from loss to the Nationals

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

After winning two of three games against the Houston Astros, the New York Yankees entertained the Washington Nationals in game one of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium in that Bronx last night. This was a much weakened Nationals team that won the World Series in 2019. They had just come off a three-game sweep by the Atlanta Braves. The Yankees lost the ugly game 11-4.

Taillon vs. Corbin

Both Jameson Taillon and the Nationals’ Patrick Corbin pitched pretty good games. Corbin went 6 innings, giving up 3 earned runs, and Taillon when 6.1 innings giving up 3 earned runs. The cause of the Yankee trampling was for the second night in a row; the Yankees bullpen fell apart.

What is so unusual about this is that up to the third game of the Astros series, the Yankee bullpen had the lowest ERA in baseball. Where that stands, presently, I am not sure. In the 3rd game of the Astros series, one of the most dependable Yankees relievers, Chad Green, gave up 3 earned runs in 1/3 of an inning, Justin Wilson gave up 2 earned runs. Last night another of the Yankees’ best relievers, Jonathan Loaisiga, entered the game with an ERA of 0.98 and gave up 5 runs in 1/3 of an inning. Luis Cessa gave up 3 runs.

LeMahieu, Sanchez, Stanton and Andujar

CBS News, this morning, had a story on the “Season of the slump.” The story basically discussed how pitchers are getting better, and hitters are paying for it. Some of the Yankee hitters have been in prolonged slumps, but they are not unique; it’s all over baseball this year. Why is not clear, but better pitching is part of the reason. There have been four no-hitters already in the first five weeks of the season.  April 9, Joe Musgrove (Padres), April 14, Carlos Rodon (White Sox), May 5, John Means (Orioles), and yesterday, Wade Miley (Reds).

The New York Yankees have spent far too long at .500 or below, a stat; they have not suffered since 1991. Although some of that fault may lie at the feet of the pitching staff, most of it is because the Yankee hitters aren’t hitting. Last night the Yankees put together a lineup that had four hitters hitting at .202 or less. And on the bench were two more players on the interstate (.115 and .169). That results in low-scoring games and ultimately in losing games.

Miguel Andujar was added to the staff last night. He went 0 for 4. Giancarlo Stanton had his 12 game hitting streak broken, although he has been the Yankees’ best hitter this season, with the most hits, most home runs, and most RBI’s. DJ LeMahieu, while hardly in a slump by most standards, his batting average is almost 100 points less than his batting average in 2020 when he was the batting champ. It’s encouraging to see his two home runs last night and seeing him go 3 for 4 after going 0-5 the previous night.

Gary Sanchez, who has been in a season-long slump, hit his first home run since the first two season games. Sanchez is hitting .182. After just one home run in his last 30 games, manager Aaron Boone is already singing the praises of the failed catcher.

“There’s a lot of underlying things that suggest he’s ready to really bust out,” Boone said Friday, before Sanchez was one of a few bright spots in an ugly 11-4 loss to the Nationals at Yankee Stadium.

Yankee errors helped the Nationals

In his longest outing of the season, Jameson Taillon got cheated out of a possible win when the bullpen and Yankee errors may have robbed him of a win. The eighth inning last night was a mess for the Yankees. It all started with Torres, whose defense has recently improved. Hernandez hit a liner to him that he didn’t catch. The usually perfect Aaron Judge bobbled a ball in right for an error that allowed Hernandez to get to second. Following that, Robles reached when DJ LeMahieu threw wide to first. That put runners on the corners with no outs, and Trea Turner’s single up the middle gave the Nationals the lead. Then the bullpen collapsed, allowing eight additional runs putting the New York Yankees out of the 11-4 game.

“It’s not good timing for those errors to happen,’’ LeMahieu said. “It was just one of those innings. We didn’t help our pitchers out there.”

 

 

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees pummeled by the Washington Nationals 11-3

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga

The New York Yankees met up with the Washington Nationals tonight at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees’ Jameson Taillon faced the Nationals’ Patrick Corbin in the first game of a three-game set ending the Yankees longest homestand of the season. Although some of the names were the same, this is not the same team that won the 2019 World Series. The Nationals finished at the bottom of the NL East last season. The Nationals were coming off 3 straight losses to the Atlanta Braves, and the Yankees were coming off winning two of three against the Houston Astros.

In the first inning, Jameson Taillon faced off against the Nationals Trea Turner, who ground out to Miguel Andujar at first. Andujar was called up to replace Gio Urshela, who was injured in last night’s game against the Astros. Why the career 3rd baseman was playing first, I had no idea. Jost Harrison popped out to second. Juan Soto ground out for a fast inning for Taillon. DJ LeMahieu started off the bottom with a home run to right. Stanton gound out. Aaron Judge ground out. Gleyber Torres ground out to short, but the Yankees got the lead with the DJ home run. New York Yankees 1 Nats 0.

Josh Bell tied it up immediately in the top of the second inning with a home run of his own. Starlin Castro flew out to Judge in right. Kyle Schwarber walked. Yan Gomes had a two-run home run to put the Nationals up three runs.  Yadiel Hernandez ground out. Victor Robles ground out, but the Nationals picked up three runs for the Nationals 3, the Yankees 1. At the bottom, Aaron Hicks had a line drive out. Gary Sanchez hit a homer to center. Clint Frazier flew out to center. In his 2021 major league debut, Miguel Andujar flew out to the warning track in center field to end the inning. Nationals 3 Yankees 2.

At the top of the third inning, Turner ground out to Wade at second. Harrison flew out to left, but Clint Frazier made another phenomenal play catching the ball at the warning track. Juan Soto struck out for a 1-2-3 inning for Taillon. At the bottom, Tyler Wade led off by grounding out to first with a flip to the pitcher for the out. Lemahieu hit to right for a single. Giancarlo Stanton almost hit another home run to right. Aaron Judge struck out to end the inning scoreless. Nats 3 Yanks 1.

Leading off the top of the fourth was Josh Bell, who ground out to Wade. Castro ground out. Schwarber struck out for 8 in and row for Taillon after the home run. At the bottom, Torres gound out. Hicks gound out to left, and Sanchez struck out as Corbin put down the Yankees in order. Nats 3 Yankees 2.

Leading off the fifth, Hernandez rolled back to Taillon. Gomez ground out, and Robles flew out to Hicks to end the half 1-2-3 for Taillon. Clint Frazier led off the bottom by flying out to center. Andujar ground out to second. Tayler Wade ground to first as they went down for the very fast inning for both pitchers. Nats 3 Yankees 2.

At the top of the sixth, with Taillon still on the mount, turner flew out. Harrison ground out. Juan Soto struck out with Taillon putting down the last fourteen Nationals in a row. At the bottom, it was the top of the lineup for the Yankees. LeMahieu started the bottom by getting his second home run of the game to tie it up. Stanton flew out to left. Judge flew out. Torres flew out to right to end the inning, but the New York Yankees tied it up at 3 apiece.

Bell led off the top of the seventh with Taillon still on the mound; he flew out to Judge in right. Castro singled. And that was the last pitch for Taillon. He was replaced by Wandy Peralta, who faced the lefty Schwarber who struck out. Gomes struck out, leaving a Nats on base. With Corbin out of the game, Kyle Finnegan struck out Hicks. Sanchez walked. A passed ball to Gomes allowed Sanchez to go to second base. Frazier ground out to short. Andujar flew out for far center, and the game remained tied at 3 apiece.

At the top of the eighth, Hernandez led off against Jonathan Loaisiga replacing Jameson Taillon. Hernandez doubled was Judge did not cleanly handle the catch for an error. Robles made it to first on another error for the Yankees in the same inning, Hernandez to third on the DJ error. Hernandez scored on the Turner single. Harrison homered to left for a 3 run homer and the 7-3 lead for the Nationals. Loaigia had allowed only 2 runs in his first 14 outings and now four runs in one inning.  Juan Soto singled. Josh Bell struck out. Loaisiga was replaced by Luis Cessa facing Starlin Castro, who walked on four straight pitches. Schwarber, with two on and two outs, doubled as Soto scored another run, as the wheels have fallen off for the Yankees. Gomes reached on an error by Torres. Stevenson walked. Robles went down on strikes. Turner ground out but six runs scored in the inning. Nationals 9 Yankees 3.

Tyler Wade led off the bottom of eighth inning against Tanner Rainy; he walked. LeMahieu went down on strikes after going 3 for 3 and two home runs. Stanton, with a 12 game hitting streak, went down on strikes. Judge struck out for Rainy’s third strikeout of the inning. The Nationals blew the game open with 6 runs.

At the top of the ninth inning, Harrison led off by walking against Cessa still in there. Soto hit a homer to center for the Nat’s 11th run in the game. Bell lined out to LeMahieu fr the first out. Castro singled. Schwarber hit into the force for the second out. Gomes flew out to Hicks on Cessa’s 42 pitch of the game. With last licks on the line for the New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres faced Will Harris. Torres struck out swinging. Hicks walked. Sanchez, who homered in the third, flew out to the warning track in center. Hicks took second on defensive indifference. Frazier singled, driving in Hicks for the Yankees’ fourth run. Andujar ground out to end the game.

Final score Washington Nationals 11 and the New York Yankees 4. The winning pitcher was Finnegan, and the loser was Jonathan Loaisiga. The game looked good for the Yankees through seven innings, but then it all fell apart. The Nationals got 9 runs in the last two innings.

Tomorrow in a matinee matchup, game two will take place between these two teams at Yankee Stadium. Corey Kluber will face the Nationals’ Max Scherzer. The game will be televised on the YES Network, MASN, and MLBN out of market.

 

New York Yankees: Takeaways from the day the Yankees couldn’t sweep the Astros (video)

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

Last night in the Bronx, the New York Yankees failed to get a sweep to the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium in what could be best described as a competitive and exciting game that didn’t go the Yankee’s way. The game had just about everything, including how to score from first base on a single. It was a game that the nearly perfect Yankee bullpen failed to hold down the Astros.

All this while some surprising things were going on around the country. One of the most iconic baseball players in the history of baseball turned 90 years old. Willie Mays celebrated the milestone. Many Yankee fans weren’t even alive when Willie hit his 660th home run. President Obama said of Mays and Jackie Robinson; you guys paved the way for me to be president of the United States.

In other stunning news, the Los Angeles Angels released future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols, designating him for assignment. Also, this is the first time in ML history that no team at this point of the season (30 games) has accomplished 18 wins or reached .600. By the way, Yankees fans, t The lowly Boston Red Sox, are the number one team in all of baseball. Also, the month of April marked the first time in baseball history that both New York teams (Yankees/Mets) have had the pitcher of the month in their respective leagues.

Gleyber Torres scores from first on a single

The New York Yankees couldn’t complete the sweep of the Astros last night, but for baseball fans, there was some pretty exciting stuff in the game, not all to their liking. One of the most exciting was when Gleyber Torres scored all the way from first base on a single by Aaron Hicks. This can all be summed up by saying the Astros were kicked in the butt by their own right field shift and a myriad of other mistakes.

With Hicks at the plate the Astros put on the shift, Hick smoked one to the third baseman that was near second base. Torres took off for second, Bregman bobbled the ball. Torres saw daylight, no one at third, and took off for third; as he approached third, he saw catcher Maldonado jogging to cover third. Torres rounded third, and Maldonado tried to reverse, and Torres tumbled home ahead of the catcher, bringing the Yankees just one run short of tieing the Astros. The shift and with Maldonado running for third. Bregman froze as he had no one to throw the ball to. Astounded, Pressly the pitcher also froze when he should have been covering home plate.

Ace Gerrit Cole left the game with the lead

After the game in an interview, Aaron Boone stated that Gerrit Cole didn’t have his best stuff but ground through six innings and left the game with the lead. Cole, in his interview, seemed to differ with that explanation, saying that he made some good pitches and was a victim of the home plate umpires tight strike zone. As an observer, I would have to say both statements were true. Cole didn’t seem as comfortable on the mound and was a victim of giving up two home runs in his six innings of work. Cole had the smallest number of strikeouts since he pitched with the Pirates during 2017. He did get an amazing 10 ground outs.

But the bottom line was that Cole was not the problem; the usually almost perfect bullpen totally fell apart trying to keep the New York Yankees in the lead column over the remaining 4 innings. The usually outstanding Chad Green gave up a very disappointing 3 run home run to Jose Altuve, much to the displeasure of Yankee fans. It was the first time in Green’s career that anyone had hit a home run off his high out pitch. Green took the 7-4 loss. In the ninth, Justin Wilson gave a 2 run homer to catcher Maldonado, who hadn’t had an RBI in his last 75 plate appearances.

Other stuff

  • Yankee Giancarlo Stanton continued his torrid play. He hit safely in his 12th straight game. He had a monster home run and leads the team in both home runs and RBI’s.
  • Other than Gleyber Torres’s amazing score caused by Aaron Hicks single, every other run scored was via the home run for both teams.
  • Aaron Hicks has had a plodding start for the 2021 season, keeping him on the interstate (below .200). Last night he went 3 for 3 and increased his batting average to .202.
  • Is the 2020 batting king DJ LeMahieu in a slump? Last night he went 0 for 5. In the Astros three-game series, he has gone 3 for 12.
  • Last night in the eighth inning, star third baseman Gio Urshela made an amazing stop with a diving catch. He landed on his knee; he made a failed throw to first but remained on his knee, apparently in pain. He was removed from the game and sent for an MRI. The outcome of that MRI is unknown at the time of this writing. The Yankees will take a hit if he has to go on the IL, being one of the Yankees’ most productive players. It could be an avenue for Miguel Andujar to return to the team.

Today the New York Yankees start their final series of the homestand against the Washington Nationals at 7:05 pm. The Yankees Jameson Taillon will take on the Nationals’ Patrick Corbin.

New York Yankees: Why is the powerful Yankees lineup impotent

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

The New York Yankees lineup is one of the most powerful lineups in baseball, yet a lack of hitting that has dogged them since the beginning of the season has found them at the bottom of the American League East. This is not to say that the Yankee pitching has been stellar because it hasn’t been. But this is not the biggest problem facing the Yankees. It’s that the team-wide hitting has been impotent. And it’s no just one or two hitters; it’s pretty much across the board and all at the same time. Even last year’s batting champ DJ LeMahieu isn’t up to par. Let’s look at each player in the lineup and how they are or aren’t performing.

This listing is for players that have played in 12 or more games.

DJ LeMahieu:

Last year’s batting champion has one of the better batting averages (.250) on the team but is not performing as he has in the past two seasons. Over the offseason, he signed a six-year deal that will take him all the way to his retirement from the game. This season he has been hitting the ball, but the results aren’t there; he has hit into an inordinate number of double plays.

Aaron Judge:

Slugger Aaron Judge started the season pretty well, but since then has gone stone cold. In his last ten games, he has hit only 2 home runs and has been striking out much more than the first ten games when he often walked. It was said that if the New York Yankees could keep both Judge and Stanton on the field, there would be no stopping them. So far, with both healthy, that hasn’t been the case.

Giancarlo Stanton:

Giancarlo Stanton, I guess you could call him the most successful Yankee hitter, hitting the most home runs (5) and the most RBI’s (14), but his .192 batting average is miserable. He has been lucky enough to hit home runs with men on base, but his contact hitting isn’t there. He does seem to be one of the most energized at the plate.

Aaron Hicks:

Aaron Hicks has been awful, one of the worst Yankee players at the plate. He is hitting .162 and is usually in the crucial number 3 slot in the lineup. That’s a decision that has been criticized since the beginning of the season, but the analytics say he should be there, and even though it hasn’t worked out, manager Boone for the most part, seems to be sticking with it. Hicks has 3 homers on the season, but just one extra-base hit. He is number 3 on the team for strikeouts (20).

Gleyber Torres:

After a poor showing in the 2020 season and not being ready to play, Torres is in much better shape, but there have been no results. He is batting .208 with no home runs, only two extra-base hits, and only two runs driven in. He has more strikeouts than hits.

Gio Urshela:

Gio Urshela, in a season with few bright spots he has shown brighter than most. His batting average is .264, which is the highest batting average of everyday players. He has the second-highest number of hits with 4 extra-base hits and 10 runs driving in. He, unlike many, has better situation hitting, avoiding hitting into double plays. He also has 3 homers on the season.

Gary Sanchez:

Gary Sanchez, although starting well, with each game, his batting average keeps reducing. He is hitting .182 with only 2 home runs, and those were in both of his first two games. He has now gone 20 games without a home run while striking out 15 times with only 1 extra-base hit on the season. His backup catcher Kyle Higashioka is superior behind the plate and in front of it. He has the most home runs per game played and has the highest batting average.

Clint Frazier:

Clint Frazier, besides some spectacular plays in the field as been disappointing behind the plate, to say the least. He is batting only .142; only MIke Ford has a lower batting average. He looks ready at the plate, but his timing isn’t there yet. He has yet to hit a home run this season.

Brett Gardner:

Brett Gardner, although a bench player, has played in 13 of the New York Yankees 22 games. He started the season hot. At one time, he led the team in batting. But he, too, has gone cold, hitting just .194, with no home runs.

Rougned Odor:

Rougie Odor is a recent addition to the team and has been getting some playing time (13 games). He has a batting average of just .159, but his situational hitting has been among the best on the team. Since he has been a Yankee, the Yankees have won 7 games, he was the deciding run in three of the wins. In 13 games, he has 3 home runs. He also seems to be a catalyst playing with significant energy.

Why and how to fix it

The why and how to fix it is far above my grade. But, Aaron Boone and the coaches better figure it out sooner than later. The team needs to start playing with energy and determination. There is still plenty of time to turn it around, but that time is quickly running out. Let’s go New York Yankees!!

New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from loss to the Orioles

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

In the good news department of the New York Yankees, they almost swept the Cleveland Indians, losing the last game of the four-game set.  After an abysmal start of the season, that series showed some hope, with the team basically playing better baseball across the board. For a team that is built on the home run ball that also showed up in the series hitting 8 long balls. Last night they didn’t hit a home run and lost their first game against the Baltimore Orioles.

Garcia throws 65 pitches and gives up 2 runs.

Last night the New York Yankees called Deivi Garcia out of the traveling taxi squad to start the first game of a four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles. After not making the starting day roster, he made his season debut start. Garcia took the loss but didn’t pitcher as poorly as the decision might suggest. He gave up a run in each of his first two innings but then pitched two scoreless innings using 65 pitches.

Many might ask why he was taken out throwing only 65 pitches, but that is not totally unusual for a first start of the season. Had the relievers not given up more runs and the hitters were actually hitting, the outcome might have been better for the 21-year-old pitcher. The news is that after this taxi squad he will be sent back down to Scranton. Considering how poorly everyone that isn’t named Cole has been performing, that move may be premature.

The so good bullpen failed

Last night was an unusual one for the New York Yankee bullpen. For the most part, the Yankees bullpen has been one of the best since the beginning of the season. But last night, they gave up 2 runs in 4 innings of work. After Deivi Garcia was removed from the game, Lucas Luetge pitched a clean fifth inning. Why he was only allowed to pitch only that one inning is anyone’s guess, he was replaced by sidewinder Darren O’Day who allowed a run. He was replaced by Justin Wilson, who gave up a home run to Cedric Mullins, who got two long balls on the night.

Yankee hitters have again gone silent

I hate to say this, but when the New York Yankees don’t hit home runs, they don’t win games. The Yankees are not a small ball-playing team. They haven’t gotten many hits in most games; spare a few. They don’t hit with men in scoring position, meaning their lack of situational hitting keeps their scoring down. And add to that, this season, they are hitting into an unusual amount of double plays. Even last year’s batting champ, DJ LeMahieu, isn’t performing as expected.

Lacking hitting since the beginning of the season, the Indians series was encouraging, but it shouldn’t have been if you look closer. In the Yankees’ last three games, including last night, they have only scored 1.7 runs a game. You aren’t going to win many games that way. Most industry know it alls; say you have to score an average of 5 runs a game to win consistently. The Yankees came away winning their series with the Indians because the Indians didn’t play well either.

Most baseball analysts say that the New York Yankees have one of the best and most powerful lineups in baseball. So far this season, they are anything but. I am not sure if it’s Hal Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman, Aaron Boone, or the coaches, but someone has got to get these players inspired and playing to their abilities before the Yankees dig a hole so deep they can’t get out of it.

New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from the Yankees win over the Braves

New York Yankees, Gio Urshela

The New York Yankees finally pull out a win last night after sliding 5 games in a row that put them as far into the cellar in the America League that you can get. From the aspect that a win is a win, last night’s game shouldn’t be confused with something to celebrate; it wasn’t a pretty win, it wasn’t a win produced by the Yankees, it was a win provided to the Yankees by the Atlanta Braves. The Yankees won the game 3-1.

Taillon had a good start

After a good start and a shaky start, Jameson Taillon performed well in last night’s game. He kept the Yankees in the game allowing only four hits and one earned run across 5 innings of work with five strikeouts. Taillon faced only four more batters than the minimum.

Jameson Taillon came to the New York Yankees via the trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates with the hope that after two Tommy John surgeries that he could return to the pitcher he was before the surgeries; so far, it’s a mixed bag that seems to have an upside to it. His performance last night shows that when the rust shakes off, he could be everything the Yankees could have wanted.

For the most part, the Yankee bullpen has been stellar, headlining Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisga, Justin Wilson, and Aroldis Chapman with a new pitch that may make him the closer the Yankees have always wanted him to be. In five innings of work, he has had 19 pitches registered at 100 mph or more.

Yankee batting is still substandard

Last night’s win is nothing to rejoice about. The fact of the matter is that the Yankees as a team still aren’t hitting, especially considering that they are supposed to be one of the most powerful lineups in baseball. The team in the last sixteen games is batting just .210  with an OPS of .642. If that is isn’t bad enough, the only reason it’s that high is the anchor players in the lineup. The heart of the lineup is pitiful.

What is truly disturbing is that only half of the team is doing their jobs. The team is leaving too many men on base and hitting into too many double plays. In several games, the defense has been downright miserable, not making plays that would be made in high school games. These stats are unexplainable; more than half of the Yankee’s regular lineup is hitting below .200. You don’t win games consistently when more than half of your lineup isn’t being productive.

Those Yankees that are doing their jobs

It still early in the season, and all is not bad. Defense wise last night’s game was free from errors that have plagued Gleyber Torres and others. Even though there were only 5 hits in the game, the Yankees played solid ball.

There are some stand-out players, and it’s not just from last night’s game. Gio Urshela won the game for the New York Yankees with a double and a home run (437′). DJ LeMahieu contributed with two hits and has the highest number of multihit games since 2019. Ushela and LeMahieu have also been defensive standouts. We need to include Kyle Higasioka, who has the team’s highest batting average.

Playing in average mode is Aaron Judge, who leads the team in home runs, Giancarlo Stanton, the team’s only real situational hitter; he has the most RBI’s. Brett Gardner has been the best player out of the dugout. Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier have been absolutely abysmal. I give the team coaching staff an F for not energizing and motivating the team. And that applies to manager Aaron Boone as well. These coaches must inspire the players to play to their considerable abilities as we advance.

Upcoming games

Tonight the New York Yankees will face the Atlanta Braves in the finale game at Yankee Stadium. Corey Kluber will face the Brave’s Ian Aderson at 6:35 pm. Starting on Thursday, they will face the Cleveland Indians in a four-game set. Then a four-game set with the Orioles before returning to the Stadium to face the Tigers and Astros.

 

 

The New York Yankees finally find the win column, but plenty of work remains

New York Yankees, Gio Urshela

As April nears an end, the New York Knicks continue their downward spiral. Coming off yet another ugly loss while sitting at the bottom of their conference, the Knicks somehow found the win column on Tuesday to put an end to their five-game losing streak.

Oh wait, the Knicks are currently on a seven-game winning streak and sitting fifth in the Eastern Conference. It’s actually the New York Yankees off a five-game losing streak and on the floor of the American League. Certainly not a jab towards the Knicks who have done an incredible job on their rebuild, but it’s certainly unusual to see them flourishing while the Yankees struggle to win games.

However, the Yankees finally managed to pull out a victory on Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves, putting an end to their dismal losing streak spanning a week. Giveth, the Braves played without the hottest hitter in all of baseball, Ronald Acuna Jr., as he’s day-to-day with an abdominal strain. But, just seeing a win is something to celebrate, regardless of who the Yankees are playing.

Sure, it wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win in the end. The Yankees only had five hits, but two of them came off the bat of Gio Urshela with the latter flying 437 feet into Monument Park for a home run. DJ LeMahieu added two hits, but Urshela’s home run was really the only run-producing swing of the night. The team had the bases loaded in the eighth and scored two runs, but they came off a wild pitch and a walk. LeMahieu and Aaron Judge each singled to set up the two run-scoring plays, but each of the scoring plays wasn’t direct results of swings.

So basically, the Yankees won the game off the Braves pitching mishaps. The Yankees did get a strong five-inning start out of Jameson Taillon and four shutout innings from the bullpen, but the bats weren’t there to back the pitching staff. When the Braves scored their lone run of the evening in the second inning, it felt like the Yankees were going to lose that game 1-0. Fortunately, Urshela came through with a bomb and the team had enough plate discipline late.

Right now, LeMahieu and Urshela are really the only two guys swinging the bat well on the team. The common factor between the two: Both are probably the most versatile hitters on the team. By that, they can hit the long ball, but can also go the other way for a base hit. They can put one in the gap when needed, or beat out a chopper for a hit. And on Tuesday night, that’s exactly what happened. Urshela’s first hit of the evening was a two-strike pitch slapped down the right-field line for extra bases, and LeMahieu picked up an infield single on a ball hit about six feet.

However, the other seven guys in the order look lost at-bat. Judge has been hit-and-miss this season, but he did manage to single on Tuesday. Giancarlo Stanton’s hitting .170, Gleyber Torres is hitting .182, and Clint Frazier’s hitting .162. All three of those guys have enormous expectations set for them this season and have so far been let-downs.

Through almost three weeks, the Yankees are hitting just .210 as a team with an OPS of .642. Players are striking out in 25% of at-bats with a combined 87 wRC+. The team has also been the worst at hitting fastballs across the league, a category that the Yankees are typically towards the top of. In short, the New York offense has performed terribly through 16 games and needs to improve. No other way to put it.

However, we have seen a few positives of late. Baserunning seems to have….improved, and the infield defense hasn’t done anything horrific over the past few games. Torres has looked a little more comfortable at shortstop and has made all of his throws, while of course LeMahieu and Urshela continue to play Gold Glove-caliber defense.

As cliche as a sounds, the Yankees should hopefully snap out of this rut soon. We’re finally seeing a few positives on each side of the ball, and a win should give the team some confidence with a long road trip looming. However, the team still has a long way to go, and the battle continues with trying to win back-to-back games against the Braves to conclude the homestand.

 

New York Yankees: Mike Ford finally gets a role in the 2021 season

New York Yankees, Mike Ford

New York Yankee player Mike Ford after not making the starting day roster, finally has a role to fill, and it’s an important one. Over the weekend, first baseman Jay Bruce decided to hang up his cleats and retire from baseball, creating a void at first base until the rehabbing Luke Voit rejoins the team in a month. Yesterday I wrote about who would replace Bruce. Today it is apparent that it will be Mike Ford as the Yankees have announced his call up from Scranton.

Ford didn’t make opening day due to a slow start in spring training, but in the past has provided quite a bit of spark for the Yankees, both with home runs and timely hitting. The lineup for today’s Atlanta Braves meeting has not been released as of this writing, so it’s hard to tell if he will replace temporary first baseman DJ LeMahieu at first or if he will sit in the dugout to be used when needed.

Here’s a bit about Ford: Robert and Barbara Ford are parents of 28-year-old Mike Ford. Ford was born and grew up in the Belle Mead area of New Jersey. When he was 12 and 13, he was part of Montgomery’s Babe Ruth League teams that went to the Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth World Series. He attended Montgomery High School as a freshman before transferring to the Hun School of Princeton.  The Hun School is a private boarding school. He played baseball during college at Princeton University, where he played as a first baseman and a pitcher. In 2013 he received the distinction of being named both Player and Pitcher of the year at Princeton. He hit .320 and pitched 6-0 that year.

Ford spent seven years in the minor leagues between the Yankees and Mariners. For the Yankees, he played in the minors for Staten Island Yankees, The Trenton Thunder, The River Dogs, Tampa, and the Scranton Wilkes/Barre Rail Riders. In  2012 Ford went undrafted and signed with the Yankees as an undrafted free agent. He spent that whole year with the Staten Island Yankees. In 2014 while with the River Dogs, Ford hit four home runs in one game. He was later promoted to Tampa, where he was named an All-Star for the Florida State League. In the winter of 2017, he was selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Seattle Mariners, but in March of 2018, he was returned to the New York Yankees.

At the start of 2019,  Ford was invited to spring training as a non-roster player. He was eventually assigned to the Rail Riders but got his big break when he was called up to the majors when Greg Bird was injured. He made his major league debut in April and got his first hit on April 21. He hit his first home run on April 23rd. He had traveled back and forth from Scranton to the Stadium several times during that year, but near the end of the season, he remained at the stadium batting .200 with five home runs in 85 at-bats. In a blowout by the Indians, Ford was sent out to pitch due to his pitching experience at Princeton. He gave up two home runs but pitched three innings, including a 1-2-3 ninth inning; the experience somewhat amused him. With Bird and Voit both out due to injuries, Ford alternated with DJ LeMahieu at first base.

In an interview by the New York Post’s  Steve Serby Ford was asked how he would sum up his journey to the big leagues.  Ford replied:

“It was a long, long journey. A tough one, too. It’s something I would never give back. Definitely hard work, determination, and just kind of the will of not quitting. … There were definitely times where I was very close [to quitting]. I had very good people around me that supported me and kind of kept me in line.”

He was also asked what drives him today?

“Living up to the player that I know I can be. I think [that’s] what a lot of guys strive for. It took me a long time to get here, but keeping the faith and getting here and being a confident hitter and being confident in what I do, I just want to prove that I can be that player that I know I can be.”

By the end of the season, Ford had become a fan favorite and was making a name for himself in the front office.  He ended the season playing in fifty games with 143 plate appearances.  He hit to a batting average of .259 with 12 home runs; that’s one home run in every four games.

On September 1, 2019, against the Oakland Athletics, it was the ninth inning in a game tied at 4.  The Yankees came all the way back to tie the game.  Mike Ford stepped to the plate and, on a 3 and 2 count, hit the first walk-off home run of his career, giving the Yankees the win.

During the shortened 2020 season, Ford appeared in less than half the New York Yankee games with 10 hits, two of them home runs but suffered with a .135 batting average. His 2021 spring training was a bit better; in 11 games, he had one homer and a batting average of .259. Ford tends to get energized at Yankee Stadium, and hopefully, he will provide a spark that gets the Yankees on track.

When not playing at New York Yankee Stadium, Ford lives near the Rail Riders stadium and is not married, nor is there any news of a steady girlfriend.

New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from loss to the Rays

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

Yesterday afternoon the New York Yankees met up with their nemesis Tampa Bay Rays in the first game of the season against the team that beat them in the 2020 AL Divisional series. After a few years of building dislike for each other, the two teams kept it non-violent other than a few hit batters that did not cause much unrest. For the Yankees, it was a sad day that saw their pitching collapse early in the game, causing a 10-5 loss.

A tough Opening Day

The New York Yankees started their afternoon having to endure a celebration by the Tampa Bay Rays, celebrating their 2020 win of the East and their win in that made them pennant champions. Reportedly the Yankee players were allowed to stay in the visiting clubhouse or view the festivities from the dugout. Most were in the dugout. It had to be painful for many players to see the Rays raise those celebratory flags.

Last season the Yankees lost the East Division to the Rays, falling seven runs behind the Rays at the end of the short season. After the Yankees swept the Indians in the Wild Card Series, they again met up with the Tampa team in the divisional series for the AL that they lost in five games.

Yankee pitching fails early

After a generally good start in his first game of the season, Corey Kluber took to the mound for the first game of the season against the East rival Tampa Bay Rays. In the first inning, Yoshi Tsutsugo struck out. Austin Meadows singled to left field. Randy Arozarena hit into a double play to end the inning, letting Kluber get out of trouble quickly. At the second, Brandon Lowe struck out, but Yandy Diaz singled on a LeMahieu error.  Joey Wendle singled, and Diaz went to third. Willie Adames hit one off the centerfield wall, Diaz scored, and Wendle went to third base for the Rays early lead. Brett Phillips flew out, but Wendle scored for the 2 run lead. Mike Zunino popped out to the infield, but the Rays picked up 2 runs in the inning.

At the bottom of the third inning, after Tsutsugo scored, a single and two walks knocked Kluber out of the game early. Nick Nelson was brought in to save Kluber, but he made it worse. Nelson gave up two more runs in the inning, putting the Yankees behind the eightball. Had Nelson cleaned up for Kluber, Kluber’s start wouldn’t have looked so sad.

In the fourth inning Nelson who had pitched so well in the spring, loaded bases, then a double by Brandon Lowe cleared the bases. Arozarena scored. At the end of the fourth inning, the Rays had scored 9 runs in the game, putting it out of reach. Lucas Luetge gave up a homer for the final scoring for the Rays. Luis Cessa pitched a clean eighth inning. The final score was Rays 10, Yankees 5. Starter Kluber now has a 5.68 ERA early in the season.

Hitting still inconsistent

In yesterday’s Rays game, the New York Yankee hitting remained inconsistent. Although they did get 7 hits in the game, most were in the third inning when they scored 4 of their runs. The only other scoring in the game came in the top of the eighth inning from a LeMahieu solo home run. In the third inning, Aaron Hicks got his first home run of the season. At the end of the inning, the Yankees took the 4-2 lead in the game, giving them hope that the game’s poor early pitching would not prevent them from winning the game. But that was not to be; the Rays scored 8 unanswered runs.

DJ LeMahieu had two hits in the game, and Giancarlo Stanton continued to look good driving in two runs. Jay Bruce and Clint Frazier are off to sluggish starts in the season. Bruce stuck out twice in the game, and Frazier struck out three of four times.

Today’s matchup

Today at 1:10 pm, the New York Yankees will have their second game against the Rays. Domingo German will start for the Yankees and for the Rays, newly acquired Chris Archer, who gave up four runs in his two innings of work in his first game of the season. Archer, in his career, has held the Yankees to a 3.14 ERA. The game will be televised in Florida on Bally Sports Sun and in the New York area on the YES Network. It will also be televised nationally on MLBN. (out of market).

 

 

New York Yankees Recap: Double digits as the Yankee pitching struggles in loss to the Rays

New York Yankees, Nick Nelson

Today the New York Yankees started their first away series of the season against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Florida. It was the home Opening Day for the Rays. The Yankees had to sit by and watch the Rays celebrate their 2020 pennant win. After the Opening ceremonies, the Rays sent Rich Hill to the mound to face the Yankees. Hill bombed in his first start of the season, giving up 4 runs in 4 innings of work. The Yankees started 2 times Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. Fans watched how the two teams that don’t like each other played at the start of the season.

DJ LeMahieu led off for the New York Yankees; he struck out.  Slotted in the number two spot was Giancarlo Stanton because Aaron Judge still rested for left soreness. Stanton ground out. Aaron Hicks popped out for a 1-2-3 half for Hill. Corey Kluber took to the mound in the bottom facing Yoshi Tsutsugo, who struck out. Austin Meadows singled to left field. Randy Arozarena hit into a double play to end the inning. No score.

At the top of the second, Gleyber Torres led off, flying out to left. Jay Bruce lined out. Gary Sanchez struck out and caused the Yankees to go down in order again. At the bottom, Brandon Lowe struck out. Yandy Diaz reached on an errant throw from LeMahieu. Joey Wendle singled, and Diaz went to third. Willie Adames hit one off the centerfield wall, Diaz scored, and Wendle went to third base for the Rays early lead. Brett Phillips flew out, but Wendle scored for the 2 run lead. Mike Zunino popped out to the infield. Rays 2 Yankees 0.

Clint Frazier led off the third, striking out looking. Mike Tauchman struck out, and Tyler Wade singled. LeMahieu doubled for a tough break for the Yankees as it bounced into the stands, not allowing the speedy Wade to score. Stanton had a two-run single to tie up the game at 2 apiece. Hicks homered to deep left field, driving in two more Yankee runs, all of this action with 2 outs. Torres popped out, but the Yankees scored 4. At the bottom, Tsutsugo singled, while Frazier’s rocket arm prevented him from advancing. Meadows walked for two on and no outs. Arozarena singled, scoring Tsutsugo to score. Arozaren stole second. Lowe struck out. Diaz walked to load the bases, and that was the end of the day for Kluber. Nick Nelson replaced him.  Wendle hit one off the wall above Tauchman’s head, driving in two runs. Adames popped out. Phillips ground to Wade, but the Rays picked up 3 runs. Rays 5 New York Yankees 4.

Hill still on the mound, Bruce led off striking out. Sanchez ground out. Frazier struck out for the quick half for Hill. At the bottom of the fourth will Nelson on the mound, Zunino was hit by a pitch and advanced to first. Tsutsugo walked. Meadows singled with a man on first and second, loading the bases with Rays with no outs. Arozarena struck out. Lowe doubled, clearing the bases. Lowe singled scoring Arozarena as the Rays poured it on, scoring 9 runs off Yankee pitching with only one out in the fourth. Wendle struck out, but the ball got by Sanchez, and Lowe moved to second. Adames struck out for Nelson to finally get out of the inning. Rays 9 Yankees 4.

The Yankees lead off the fifth trying to recover from the Rays onslaught, with Hill still on the mound. Tauchman flew out. Wade ground out to the shortstop. LeMahieu ground out to second. At the bottom, Lucas Luetge took to the mound facing Phillips, who ground out. Zunino ground out to short. Tsutsugo doubled to far left field. Meadows flew out to Hicks for the first quick inning for both teams.

Hill, still on the mound in the sixth with 71 pitches, faced Stanton, who flew out to left-center. Hicks went down on strikes. Torres popped out to end the half. Arozarena, with Luetge still on the mound, struck out. Lowe struck out. Diaz doubled. Wendle flew to left-center, and Tauchman made a diving catch to end the inning. Jays 9 Yankees 4.

Hunter Stickland faced Jay Bruce at the top of the seven, striking him out. Sanchez walked. Frazier, with one on and one out, struck out for the third time in the game. Tauchman, who made that beautiful diving catch in the sixth, popped out to the third baseman. Luetge out for his third inning allowed a home run by Adames. Phillips flew out. Zunino struck out looking. Tsutsugo went down on strikes, but the Rays picked up another run, Rays 10 Yankees 4.

Tyler Wade led off the eighth, facing Strickland, striking out. LeMahieu hit a home run, his first of the season just over the left-field wall. Stanton ground out to short for the second out. Hicks, who hit a homer in third, flew out, but the Yankees scored a run in the half. After three innings for Luetge, Luis Cessa took over the Yankees’ pitching. Meadows doubled. Arozarena struck out. Lowe hit into a double play ending the inning.  Rays 10 New York Yankees 5.

With last licks on the line, Gleyber Torres singled. Jay Bruce hit into a double play for two outs. Gary Sanchez who stuck out three times lined drove to left field avoiding the Sombrero. Frazier grounded to short to end the game with the Yankees losing the first game of the three-game set.

The Tampa Bay Rays hitting that really struggled in the first six games of the season came alive in the first game against the Yankees. The Yankees had two home runs in the game but just couldn’t get the job done. The Rays had 13 hits in the game for10 runs. The final score was Tampa Bay 10 Yankees 5. The winning pitcher was Rich Hill and the loser was Corey Kluber.