New York Yankees Analysis: Is this the year of the dead ball?

It’s no secret that the New York Yankees have been struggling in the hitting department with eight players, including the Yankee bench, that are hitting .200 or on the interstate. For instance, the quick bat of Clint Frazier is hitting .149, switch hitter Aaron Hicks is hitting  .198, Brett Gardner is hitting .190, and Mike Ford is hitting just .103. Why is this? Most of it is probably because of the weather, or they haven’t found their timing yet. Or is there some other sinister reason?

There could be a reason that is not proven, and that reason is the new baseballs being used this year that are making pitchers look good and hitters look horrible. As of the beginning of this week, hitters across all of baseball are hitting .236/.309/.396 – a .705 OPS. That’s a good 10 points lower than expected for April and May when hitters are not at their best. For the New York Yankees, it’s not even that good. They are hitting .222/.320/.381.

As we approach mid-May, the New York Yankees haven’t been totally decimating by their lack of hitting, although they have surely lost several games because of a lack of hitting. They haven’t been burned because of some surprisingly good pitching recently highlighted by some timely hitting, primarily by Giancarlo Stanton. In the most recent homestand the Yankees went 7-2. Some of this is due to good pitching and some because the other teams aren’t hitting either.

“Certainly, offensively I know there’s more in there for us,” manager Aaron Boone said Sunday after the Yankees’ 3-2 win over the Nationals. “We’re gonna find our stride.”

But finding that stride may be made more difficult by the newly introduced baseball used this season. Home runs are down. It seems that many balls hit off the bat at a high velocity are dying on the warning track, just feet from being a home run. The balls that would go over the head of infielders are now being caught at a higher rate, causing far too many hitters hitting into double plays.

Is the culprit the new baseball? The bottom line here is that this baseball being used today isn’t the baseball MLB said it would be.  MLB announced before spring training that they would alter the baseball for the 2021 season. Keeping the size, lowering the weight somewhat, and that the change according to the Associated Press, would not impact the ball’s velocity.

In the memo to all 30, MLB clubs explained the difference in the baseballs but did not mention anything about the drag of the new balls. The drag on the ball is resulting in less successful hitting this season.

According to Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter at MLB.com:

MLB’s balls are hand-sewn by workers at the Rawlings factory in Costa Rica, which can result in minor deviations in production. The league requires all baseballs to have a coefficient of restitution (COR) — in simple terms, the bounciness of the ball — ranging from .530 to .570, but the average COR had trended toward the top of that range in recent years.

 

Rawlings has loosened the tension on the first of three wool windings within the ball. The company’s research believes this adjustment will bring the COR down slightly, while also lessening the ball’s weight by 2.8 grams without changing its size. According to the AP, MLB does not anticipate the weight change to impact pitchers’ velocity.

It appears that MLB’s change to the baseball has backfired. Balls being hit out into the outfield are dying. Rob Arthur, a data scientist who spends his days examining the various changes to the baseball, explained the changes best.

“(I)magine hitting a balloon and a dodgeball with a bat, swinging with the same force and angle each time. When you hit the balloon, it will explode off the bat at high velocity. But as it travels, air resistance will rapidly slow it down, and it won’t go very far. A heavier dodgeball, by contrast, won’t come off the impact as quickly, but it will also keep traveling once you hit it.

“A ball with reduced mass would behave a little more like the balloon and a little less like the dodgeball: higher exit velocity and less carry. And that’s exactly the pattern in the data: at the upper end, exit velocities are up by around 0.8 mph, which ought to boost fly-ball distance substantially (by around four feet). But the reduced carry from lower weight cancels that out, and average fly-ball distance has actually dropped slightly. (In raw terms, distance is down about five feet from 2019, but if you adjust for the weather, it may only be down a foot or two.)”

Here is the home run rate per fly ball in the 2020 season -14.8%; for this season, the same rate is 13.8%, and it’s not because of the weather; these are figures for over 6,000 balls hit during April for both years. For pitchers, fastballs stay up in the zone for longer than in previous years, and curveballs are dropping more.

According to the Athletic, Aaron Judge has said the pitch movement is what he has noticed about the new baseball.

“When you square it up, it’s still a home run, right?” Judge said. “So people are still hitting ’em. I’m seeing (Giancarlo Stanton) light up the scoreboard with 118, 120 mile per hour (exit velocities), so I don’t think it’s really changing too much. They’re just moving all over the place, really.”

The new ball can’t be blamed for the hitting malaise of the New York Yankees or any other team. There are still mechanics, timing, stance, and approach, but still, it is a factor that is too new to analyze fully; it will take a full season to do that. Stay tuned.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

 

 

 

New York Yankees Analysis: The Yankees need to break out now. Must read

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton

The New York Yankees got off to a slow start this season, and although they have been playing better lately, mostly due to better pitching, they are still only two games above .500. Some will say give them a break; it’s early in the season. Well, my answer to that is that it’s no longer early; the season is approaching 25% completed. Now is the time the Yankees need to step up and break away from the rest of the east.

The baseball picture right now is very different than it was on Opening Day. Back then, the New York Yankees were the clear favorites to win the East and go on to a 28th World Championship. Today, six weeks later, almost the opposite is true. The Boston Red Sox, who seemed to be a mess and sure to end up on the bottom of the division, are surprisingly leading the East, and that is without their ace Chris Sales. The Tampa Bay Rays were thought to be weaker, losing two of their best pitchers, having already won five of six games against the Yankees, and the Blue Jays don’t seem to be as good they were thought to be.

For the New York Yankees to win the AL East and go on to the postseason, it seems to me that they must win at least half of the games played against the Tampa Bay Rays. They play the Rays 19 times this season. They have already lost 5 of those games, which means they must win 9 of the next 13 to even up with the Rays. Going into this three-game series is why the Yankees need to turn this around right now. They must win this series with the Rays or sweep them to have any chance at reaching the goal of evening games with them. If they lose this series or get swept, they have almost no chance of winning the East.

What makes this so important is that although no team in the East is playing particularly well, the Boston Red Sox, with relatively no team, is three games ahead of the Yankees, what worse is that the Yankees still have not faced the Red Sox and will have to face them 11 times in a three-week period from late June to July. They have yet to face the Rays 13 more times, the Red Sox 14 times, and the Blue Jays 13 more times. The Yankees must win at least half of those games. The Yankees should also win the majority of games with the Orioles. But they only face the Orioles 10 more times.

It is probably good for the Yankees that they only have two west coast trips this season. For the last two years, the Tampa Bay Rays have kept the New York Yankees from advancing; the Yankees must change this and sooner than later. The Yankees must win the AL East; they don’t want to get involved in a one-game Wild Card situation, even with Gerrit Cole on the mound.

Getting back to the Red Sox for a moment, the big difference between the two teams is that the Red Sox having basically no pitching; their hitting lineup is widely outperforming the Yankee’s “strongest lineup in baseball.” The Yankee’s pitching is figuring it out, but it’s no secret to Yankee fans that, for the most part, the Yankee hitters have been dead on their feet so far in most of this season’s games. The Yankees have scored 3 or fewer runs in 29 of their games, including spring training.

To fix this, the New York Yankee hitters have got to start hitting. Only Giancarlo Stanton is hitting above expectations. DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, and Aaron Judge are doing okay but not up to what is expected of them. LeMahieu’s batting average is 86 points below his best hitter in baseball season last year. Gleyber Torres has just hit his first home run of the season. Of the rest of the lineup including the bench 8 Yankee hitters are hitting at .200 or below. The Yankee coaches and players must find a way to get several players such as Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier, Mike Ford, Rougned Odor, and Gary Sanchez off the interstate and hitting more consistently.

The Yankees also have to look at the catching situation. The Yankees have won a higher percentage of games with Kyle Higashioka behind the plate than when Gary Sanchez is catching. Also, add this fact, Higgy’s batting average is 50 points higher, and he has the most home runs on the team per number of games played.

There is no better time than right now for the Yankees on this 10 road trip to overtake the Red Sox and start to separate themselves from the rest of the AL East.

 

 

 

 

Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton speaks on walk-off single versus the Nationals

new york yankees, nyy, giancarlo stanton

The Yankees took down the Nationals yesterday by a score of 3-2. It was a well-pitched game on both sides as neither team lit up the scoreboard. However, the Bombers were able to outlast Washington and secure the series victory.

The Yankees’ offense was slow. They couldn’t seem to provide German with any kind of run support. Their first hit of the game was an RBI single by Hicks in the third. That gave New York a 1-0 lead. It wasn’t until the sixth that the Yankees would score another run. Gleyber Torres smashed his first home run of the season into the left-field bleachers. That gave the Bombers a 2-0 lead. 

After that, German gave up a two-run shot to Kyle Schwarber which tied the game. German was phenomenal the entire day and just slipped up at the end. He was taken out and Michael King finished the inning in relief. 

The game remained locked up at two as they headed into the bottom of the ninth. The Nationals looked to their closer Brad Hand to keep the game tied. Hand was in a similar situation on Saturday in which he blew a save in the ninth. However today, Hand was just trying to keep the team’s hopes alive.  

Tyler Wade walked to begin the ninth and the Yankees pinch-hit Aaron Judge for Brett Gardner. Judge had a great at-bat in which he also walked. DJ LeMahieu was up with Tyler Wade in scoring position and hit a soft grounder to third. Castro threw Judge out at second but LeMahieu was able to beat the throw at first. That means Stanton was up with men on first and third with only one out. Stanton ripped a single through the left side and walked it off for New York. 

Giancarlo Stanton talked to the media following his walk-off single. He said that he “loves” moments like that. Saying that coming through for his team was “big time.” He said he had a chance “earlier” that he “didn’t capitalize on.” But, Stanton said it was “great” to secure it the second time. “When you win those games that are right down to the wire, it’s big for everybody.” 

Another series win for Giancarlo Stanton and the Yankees. They finished 7-2 in their homestand and improved to 18-16 on the year.

Following an off day today, the Yankees will head to Tampa to face the Rays in a three-game set. New York has struggled tremendously against Tampa Bay and will look to build on their recent success. Tune in tomorrow at 7:10 pm EST to catch the first game of the series. 

New York Yankees: 3 Major takeaways from the Yankees 2nd walk-off win

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Santon

The New York Yankees went into yesterday’s rubber game with the Washington Nationals, with the Yankees hoping to take the series; after a second walk-off win in as many nights, they accomplished their goal. The Yankees are now 18-16 and have taken their 3rd series in a row.

2nd walk-off, different star

For the second night in a row, the New York Yankees had a walk-off win over the Washington Nationals at Yankee Stadium. Saturday’s rain-delayed matinee ended in the eleventh inning when Gleyber Torres hit a 50′ infield single, driving in the winning run. Yesterday in the bottom of the ninth inning Giancarlo Stanton that had been in a slight 0 for 10 slide hit a bomb single through the left-field gap for another walk-off win and allowed the Yankees to take the series from the Nationals.

No decision pitcher’s duel

Again for the second night in a row, the Yankees and the Nationals were locked into a pitchers duel. In Saturday’s game, Corey Kluber and Max Scherzer; both went deep into the game but ultimately were not involved in the decision. Yesterday, Domingo German had regained his form and, other than one bad pitch, pitched a brilliant game into the seventh inning. For the Nationals, it was Joe Ross who pitched a fine game into the 5th inning.

Both starting pitchers allowed two runs. With the game tied, it was up to the bullpen again to decide the game. German had 6 strikeouts with just one walk. Ross had 7 strikeouts but allowed 5 Yankee walks. The combination of Michael King, Wandy Peralta, and Aroldis Chapman pitched 2.2 scoreless innings. At the same time, the National’s closer Brad Hand gave up the winning hit in the bottom of the ninth inning. The final score was 3-2 Yankees, with Chapman taking the win.

Will Giancarlo Stanton have an MVP year?

New York Yankee fans see something they haven’t seen since 2018, a healthy Giancarlo Stanton, and he is showing Yankee fans the kind of player he can be when healthy. With 20% of the season already played, he leads the Yankees among players who have played in 20 or more games in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in.

The Yankees traded for Stanton after the 2017 season because he was the NL 2017 MVP. But after a fine 2018 season when he hit .266 with 38 home runs, he only played in 18 games in 2019 and 23 games in 2020 due to various injuries. Now healthy, he is on track to hit 45 home runs this season if he can remain healthy. If he can continue leading the team in these stats, he will give DJ LeMahieu a run for his money for the Yankee’s MVP Award. Yesterday, he hit the walk-off winning hit.

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees pull off second walk-off win to win the Nats series

Today at Yankee Stadium, the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals met up in the rubber game of the three-game set. The Nationals won the first game 11-4, and the Yankees had a 4-3 walk-off win yesterday. Today the Yankees Domingo German was set to start against the Nationals’ Joe Ross, who had never pitched at Yankee Stadium in his career. The Yankees got their second walk-off win in as many days. Yankees 3 Nationals 2.

With Domingo German on the mound in the first inning, he faced Trea Turner, who singled on an off-line throw by LeMahieu. Josh Harrison flew out to Frazier in right field. Juan Soto hit into a double play ending the half. At the bottom, DJ LeMahieu led off against Ross and ground out to short Giancarlo Stanton walked. Aaron Hicks had a long out to center. Gleyber Torres went down on strikes to end the scoreless inning.

The top of the second had Josh Bell at the plate; he flung his pink bat into the camera well before going down looking. Starlin Castro doubled with a ball to the left-field wall that died. Kyle Schwarber went down on strikes. Yan Gomes popped out to Ford behind first base. Leading off the bottom was Gary Sanchez, who struck out. Mike Ford walked of four pitches. Clint Frazier flew out to right. Miguel Andujar ground out and was 0 for 7 since being called up. No score.

The third inning had Yadiel Hernandez at the plate facing German; he struck out. Victor Robles ground out to LeMahieu. Turner dropped in a single to no man’s land in center. Harrison flew out to Frazier. At the bottom, Brett Gardner led off with a walk. LeMahieu flew out to the far right field. Stanton walked. Hicks had an RBI single scoring Gardner. Gleyber Torres ground into a force with Stanton going to third. Sanchez went down on strikes, but the Yankees took the lead. New York Yankees 1, Nationals 0.

Soto led off the fourth, flying out to Brett Gardner in left. Bell struck out. Castro got a walk off of German, his first one. Schwarber ground out to Ford to end the half. Ford led off by sticking out at the bottom. Frazier went down on strikes. Andujar ground out. Yankees 1 Nationals 0.

Gomes struck out against German in the fifth. Hernandez ground out to Gardner. Robles struck out for German’s sixth put down of the game. The bottom was led off by Brett Gardner, who ground out to second. LeMahieu singled to center. Stanton struck out be DJ stole second base. Hicks struck out to strand LeMahieu. New York Yankees 1 Nationals 0.

At the top of the sixth inning, Turner flew out to Hicks in center. Harrison flew out to left. Soto ground out as German put away 7 Nationals in a row. With only one run scored in the game, it was turning into a pitcher’s duel. At the bottom, Torres Gleyber Torres got the monkey off his back with his first home run of the season; a 411′ shot to left. Sanchez walked on four pitches, knocking Ross out of the game. Mike Ford faced Sam Clay and struck out. Frazier hit into a double play, dropping his batting average even further. Yankees 2 Nationals 0.

The seventh inning had Bell doubling off the left-field wall. Castro popped out to Sanchez. Schwarber had a two-run home run to tie up the game at 2 apiece. Gomes facing Michael King got a single. For the second game in a row, the game was up to the bullpens of both teams. Hernandez hit into a double play to end the half. At the bottom, Austin Voth took the mound for the Nationals against Andujar, who went down on strikes. Gardner hit into a ground-rule double when his hit bounced into the bullpen. LeMahieu walked with Stanton coming to the plate. He hit into a double play for the second DP of the game for the Yankees. The game tied at 2.

In the eighth inning, Robles ground out to Torres. Turner got a base hit to center. Harrison flew out to Hicks in center. Wandy Peralta came in to face Juan Soto; he popped out to Torres. At the bottom, Hick fouled a ball off his shin, dropping him to the ground for some time. Hicks walked it off and remained in the game; he ended up walking. Torres ground out to short, but Hicks moved to second base. Sanchez recorded his 3rd strikeout of the game. Ford was walked intentionally. Clint Frazier popped out to second to keep the game tied at 2.

Aroldis Chapman came on at the top of the ninth to hold it tied. Bell ground out to LeMahieu. Castro got a one-out single to center. Schwarber popped out to Torres. Gomes went down on strikes. At the bottom of the ninth, Wade faced the Nationals’ closer Brad Hand, and Wade walked on four straight pitches. Aaron Judge pinch-hitting for Gardner walked. LeMahieu ground out, but Wade moved to third with one out as they couldn’t complete the double play. Stanton singled to win the game for the Yankees driving in Wade. Final score New York Yankees 3 Nationals 2. The winning pitcher was Aroldis Chapman, and the loser was Brad Hand.

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 Recap: Altuve comes back to haunt the Yankees, prevents the sweep

In a matinee today, the New York Yankees met up with the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium for the finale of a three-game series and the Astros sweep. The Yankees won the first two games, 7-3 and 6-3, with fans booing the Astros from the start of the games all the way to the end of the games. Today Yankee ace Gerrit Cole would try to get the sweep facing the Astros Lance McCullers Jr; both pitchers were coming off their best starts of the season. It was a beautiful day for baseball in the Bronx. The field was bathed with sunshine, and the game-time temperature was 60 degrees.

In the first inning, Cole faced the Yankees’ most hated opponent Jose Altuve. Altuve singled past short. Michael Brantley hit into a double play. Alex Bregman struck out for a fast half for Cole. DJ LeMahieu led off the bottom of the inning, facing Lance McCullers Jr., he ground out. Giancarlo Stanton being patient he walked. Judge was called out on strikes. Gleyber Torres walked to load the bases. Mike Ford had a line drive directly at the first baseman to end the inning and leave the bases loaded with Yankees. No score.

At the top of the second Yordan Alverez, the DH led off against Cole, and he struck out. Yuli Gurriel blooped to short. Carlos Correa ground out for a 1-2-3 inning for Cole. Aaron Hicks led off the bottom by having a base hit to the right off the first baseman’s glove. Kyle Higashioka struck out. Clint Frazier ground out. LeMahieu struck out swinging. No score.

Tucker led off the third inning by grounding out. Straw flew out to Gardner in left. Maldonado singled in front of the charging Hicks in center. Altuve ground out to short to end the half. At the bottom, Giancarlo Stanton hit a monster homer off the centerfield bullpen wall. Judge stuck out. Urshela singled. Torres reached on a force with Urshela out at second. Ford struck out, but the Yankees took the lead in the game with Stanton’s home run. New York Yankees 1 Astros 0.

At the top of the fourth, Brantley led off by grounding out to Ford at first. Bregman flew out to the diving Aaron Judge. Alverez homered to the second deck of the right-field stands to tie up the game. Gurril flew out to end the half. Hicks led off the bottom, and he had a slow roller that he beat out for a single. Higashioka flew out to center. Frazier homer into the right-field stands for his third home run of the season, a two-run shot. LeMahieu ground out. Stanton struck out to end the inning, but the Yankees went two runs ahead on Frazier’s homer. New York Yankees 3 Astros 1.

The fifth inning was led off by Correa, who ground out to Torres. Tucker lined to; first, Ford flipped to Cole for the out. Straw ground out to Ushela for another 1-2-3 inning for Cole. At the bottom, Aaron Judge ground out to third. Urshela got a hustling double through the hole in left.  Torres went down on strikes. Ford flew out to left to end the scoreless inning for both starters.

Still, on the mound after 70 pitches and 8 ground outs, Cole faced Maldonado, who singled to left. Altuve flew out with LeMahieu running all the way to right field territory to catch the ball. Brantley hit into a double play to end the half. McCullers Jr. still in the game with 90 pitches,w Hicks led off the bottom by walking. Higashioka, with one on and no outs, went down looking. Frazier got a line drive to Altuve for the first out of the inning. LeMahieu, 0 for 3 in the game, ground out to second to end the inning. New York Yankees 3 Astros 1.

Leading off the seventh was Bregman, who flew out to Judge. Alverez hit a home run into Monument Park. Gurril struck out swinging. Correa went down looking end the top half. At the bottom, Andre Scrubb came in to replace McCullers Jr., who pitched really well. Stanton struck out swinging. Judge ground out to third base. Urshela flew out to the right-field wall. Yankees 3 Astros 2.

Chad Green took over for Cole at the top of the eighth inning. Tucker walked. Diaz hit to third, Urshela made an amazing diving catch but couldn’t get Diaz out first; Tucker advanced to third.  Pinch-runner McCormick replaced Diaz. Maldonado struck out. Altuve got a three-run homer to the left-field stands, knocking Green out of the game. Lucas Luetge replaced him, facing Brantley, who flew out to Hicks, who had to make a long run to make the catch. Bregman hit a two-out single. Alverez got his third hit of the game. Gurril popped out to Tyler Wade in for Ushela at third with two outs and runners on the corners.

At the bottom of the eighth, Ryan Pressly was on the mound for the Astros facing Torres, who singled between first and second. Ford struck out swinging for the first out. Hicks singled, the ball was bobbled, and Torres with excellent base running and the shift on went to third and the scored shocking the Astros. Higashioka, with one on and one out, hit into a double play to end the inning. Houston Astros 5 New York Yankees 4.

With Justin Wilson on the mound for the ninth, Tucker walked. McCormick struck out. Maldonado had a two-run homer, probably putting the game out of reach for the Yankees. Altuve flew out to Judge, but the Astros picked up two runs. At the bottom, with last licks on the line for the Yankees, Gardner walked to the plate and singled up the middle. LeMahieu struck out. Stanton hit into a double play ending the game and preventing the sweep. Final score Astros 7 Yankees 4. The winning pitcher was Andre Scrubb, the loser Chad Green and the save went to Ryan Pressly.

 

 

Yankees’ slugger Giancarlo Stanton is confident, locked, and loaded: ‘I’m doing some damage’

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

New York Yankees’ slugger Giancarlo Stanton is a different type of hitter when he is confident, and it shows. He will always be vulnerable to breaking stuff low and away, but even if that’s the case, he can punish baseballs at a torrid pace if he has mojo working. He has to believe he can be a special hitter, and right now, he is doing just that.

Stanton fueled yet another Yankees’ victory on Wednesday night, against the Houston Astros no less, by going 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, a run, and four RBI. It means he drove in more than half of the Yankees’ runs last night, as they won 6-3.

“I’m doing a great job on mistakes,” Stanton said. “If a pitcher makes a mistake in the middle of the plate, I’m doing some damage on it. That’s our job, that’s my job. Some stretches you do better than others, but I’m in a pretty good one right now.”

Stanton is carrying the Yankees

The mighty Stanton is batting .500 with five round-trippers and 10 runs in his current 11-game hitting streak. Before the hot run, he was hitting .158 and receiving boos from his home crowd. Now, he is at .314 and hearing ‘MVP’ chants from Yankees’ fans.

“He’s a special person and a talent,” manager Aaron Boone told MLB.com. “I’ve been saying it for a couple of years: This has been coming. It’s just been about getting him on the field. We saw it in the playoffs last year and after a week or two slow start, the at-bats have just been so good night in and night out.”

Yesterday, Stanton hit a two-run shot against Astros starter Luis Garcia in the third inning, and add RBI double and single later in the game. He is just in an impressive groove right now.

He made a mechanical adjustment recently. According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, he ‘has stopped releasing his swing early and is remaining more compact. By waiting an extra beat, he said, he is no longer waving through those fat chances.’

“Luckily, it turned pretty quick,” he said. “It’s tough when you’re climbing back from something for a month or two; you just feel like you’ll never get out of it. It’s still a long season ahead, so I didn’t climb out of anything. I’ve still got work to do.”

If health cooperates, the Yankees have a serious MVP candidate on their roster.

New York Yankees: 6 Major takeaways from the Yankees series win over the Astros

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton

Last night the New York Yankees rained on the Houston Astros parade; they won the series between the two rivals. It was a game that started with relatively heavy showers that subsided as the game continued, but that didn’t help the Astros as the Yankees took the second game away from the Astros 6-3. The rain also didn’t dampen the Yankee fans’ enthusiasm as they continued to make the Astro uncomfortable with loud boos throughout the game and mostly focused on Jose Altuve.

Stanton carrying the Yankees on his back

Giancarlo Stanton is quickly becoming SuperStanton; he is literally carrying the New York Yankees on his back. In his last twelve games, he has raised his batting average from .158 to .314 and is now performing as he did in his 2017 MVP season. In three games in May alone, he has struck out twice while hitting 8 hits and two home runs. He has now hit safely in 11 games in a row. He also is doing something no other player in baseball is doing; he is hitting the ball harder than hard. He has the highest exit velocity in home runs and line drives that can knock players down or pull the gloves right out of their hands. He officially has the highest exit velocity of any hit in this MLB season.

Besides Stanton’s first year with the Yankees, Stanton has been dogged with several injuries keeping him from being the player that all of baseball knows he can be. In the first month-plus of this season, he is healthy and showing the world he can still be that player that excels and sparks the rest of the team. While he has been on his hitting streak, the Yankees have climbed out of the hole they got themselves into, going 8-3. Stanton now leads the team in home runs and RBI’s.

Montgomery keeps them in the game

Jordan Montgomery didn’t have his best outing last night, but he pitched well enough to keep the New York Yankees in the game. Monty faced 23 Astro batters across six full innings of work. He gave up 3 earned runs, allowing 8 hits while striking out 4 Astros. Again, in what is almost expected, the Yankee bullpen came to the rescue, Luis Cessa, Wandy Peralta, and Jonathan Loaisiga combined for two innings of work, not allowing a run while striking out two. Loaisiga has been truly amazing this season with his .098 ERA. Also, as expected, Aroldis Chapman closed out the game for the Yankees striking out two and earning his seventh save of the season.

Other Yankees stuff

Rougned Odor that has been a spark for the New York Yankee lineup, certainly created his own spark running for home plate Tuesday night; he crashed into Maldonado, the Astros catcher, with such velocity that the two had to be helped off the field. The good news is that he was sent to the hospital for an MRI and has been diagnosed with a sprained left knee and put on the IL for a period the Yankees hope will not be too long. Manager Aaron Boone had this to say:

“All things considered, we kind of lucked out. You saw my reaction; I jumped out on the field because it looked ugly to me right away, and I was pretty concerned. I think it’s going to be on the shorter side. … I don’t think it’s going to be something that’s too long.”

Masahiro Tanaka still follows the Yankees

Masahiro Tanaka was one of the New York Yankee pitchers involved in the 2017 season when the Houston Astros may have stolen the World Series from the Yankees when it was discovered that the Astros cheated in the 2017 season and including the playoffs. In the 2017 ALCS, Tanaka was 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA. He pitched again in the 2019 ALCS and again went 1-1. Apparently, Tanaka has been taking a keen interest in how the Yankees are doing now that they have gotten to meet up with the Astros for the first time since MLB confirmed the cheating. Tanaka tweeted this on his Twitter account:

“I like the place where different fans give beer quickly to the fans who picked up the trash can,” Tanaka wrote. We don’t know what that means, but we love it! And we love that place too!

Astros complain to MBL about being taunted

Believe it or not, the Houston Astros have complained to MBL about being booed and taunted this season, although not specifically at Yankee Stadium. This writer says, “too bad Astros, you deserve it and more.”

The Yankees have made every effort to assure the safety of Astros players, including confiscating an inflatable trash can, and guards said that David Taub went too far after spending $85 on an Oscar the Grouch costume.  When he arrived at the Stadium, his costume said:  “YOU AIN’T STEALING THIS COSTUME TRASHTROS.” The guards wouldn’t have it and informed him the Yankees had tightened their policies. Taub, however, got the last word. He climbed a hill, balled up the costume, and put it under some rocks with a sign saying, “MY FRIEND HAD A SIGN LIKE THIS, BUT THE TRASHTROS STOLE IT.” Keep the faith David Taub; there have been plenty of hand-painted signs at the Stadium trashing the Astros.

Astros series end with Gerrit Cole on the mound

Today in a matinee game at Yankee Stadium it will be the final game of a 3 game series with the Astros that the Yankees have already won, by winning the first two games. Today they will go for the sweep of their cheating rivals. They will try to do that with Yankee ace Gerrit Cole on the mound for the Yankees. The Astros will challenge Cole with Lance McCullers Jr. who is coming off this best start of the season against the Rays he struck out 9 over seven scoreless innings. Cole who has the superior ERA has had 62 strikeouts, in April, the most in any calendar month since Ron Guidry did it in June of 1978.

This will be a don’t miss game. It will be televised on the YES Network, ATT SportsNet SW, and the MLBN out of market only.

 

 

Yankees: Good news and bad news after 2nd consecutive win over Houston

yankees, giancarlo stanton

Any time the New York Yankees can steal a victory over the Houston Astros, it represents a huge motivational booster. The Yankees won the second game of a three games series on Wednesday evening, thanks to more Giancarlo Stanton production.

Buy a score of 6-3, the Yankees are now two games above .500 as their offense finally begins to show signs of life. In the victory, Stanton raised his batting average to .310 and slugging percentage to .590. He recorded three hits and four RBIs, including a home run, a double, and single.

In addition to Stanton’s superb outing, the pitching also looked adequate, as Jordan Montgomery lasted 6.0 innings, giving up eight hits and three runs. I’m sure he gave up a few too many hits for his liking but got the job done allowed the bullpen to close out the win.

Good news and bad news for the Yankees:

Of course, the good news is that Stanton seems to be playing at an All-Star caliber level. After injuries have derailed him the past few seasons, it is nice to see Stanton taking good swings and connecting on long balls regularly.

So far this season, Stanton has eight home runs and 22 RBIs over 105 at-bats, which is a stellar statistical output. If he continues to play like this, the Yankees will be in good shape moving forward. As for the bullpen, Jonathan Loáisiga seems to be blossoming before our eyes, as he currently hosts 60.9 an ERA and has allowed 11 hits over 18.1 innings. He’s averaging one strikeout per inning and has only given up one home run. This is exactly the step the Yankees needed to see, especially with Zack Britton out and Darren O’Day recently going down with an injury.

The only real negative on the evening was Aaron Judge, who struck out in all five at-bats. It seemed like an off night for Judge, but his teammates rallied around him and picked up the slack, which is exactly what we expect from a team laden with powerhouse offensive weapons.

The Yankees now prepare for the final game of the series against Houston on Thursday afternoon, and they’re hoping starting pitcher Gerrit Cole can lead them to a sixth consecutive victory.