New York Yankee Analysis: Results of my 2021 predictions

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

Every year before the season starts, I make my predictions on what the New York Yankees season might look like, who will star, and who will bomb. Last year I bombed out several times but still had a 50% winning percentage. This year’s predictions were made on March 30, 2021, when things looked risky but pretty rosy for the upcoming season. But, of course, things have changed a lot since then, so let’s examine whether I stared or bombed.

1. Gerrit Cole will not perform as expected!

This year after his average spring training performance, I predicted he would go 15-6 with at least 24 home runs given up. He will also leave several games early. I hit this one -pretty much on the nose; Cole hasn’t come close to his 2019 performance with the Astros. Hed ended the season 16-8 with an ERA of 3.23. In 2019 he was 20-5 ERA 2.50. That’s quite a drop-off, particularly in ERA. I hit the nail on the head with my home run prediction; he gave up precisely 24. Projection grade A.

2. DJ LeMahieu will be good, but not as good!

Last year LeMahieu was the New York Yankees MVP and was all of baseball’s batting champ, hitting .364. At the beginning of the season, I suggested that DJ would not come close to those lofty numbers. He will start the season slowly and only marginally improve after the All-Star break. He has definitely not performed like he did last year, with a batting average of about .100 less. Projection grade A.

3. Clint Frazier will shine in his first full season!

Clint Frazier hit .267 last year, and his defense improved so much he was nominated for a Gold Glove Award. This season I predicted the same, except that he will have a better batting average and would play his first entire season with the Yankees. Oh boy, I made an absolute mess of this one. First, Frazier was not as good in the outfield and has bombed at the plate. His batting average is .186, with only five home runs. Then midway through the season, he came down with some ailment that still hasn’t been fully explained. Dizziness and eye focus problems kept him off the field. Projection grade F.

4. Aaron Judge will have an injury-free season

Last year I predicted that Aaron Judge would have an injury-shortened season, and I was correct; he played in only 28 games while nursing injuries. This year in what will probably prove to be my most foolish prediction, I am saying he will play in at least 135 games and stay healthy for most of the season, hitting over 35 home runs. I did considerably better on this one. He mainly stayed healthy and played in 148 games. He hit 39 home runs, four above my prediction. Projection grade A.

5. Gleyber Torres will lead the Yankees in home runs

Last season after Torres hit 38 home runs in 2019; I predicted he would be much better during 2020. I was wrong. I made nearly the same prediction this season, saying that he would return to his winning ways and lead the Yankees in home runs. Suggesting he could hit as many as 45 long balls. We all know how that turned out. His defense was poor to the point that the Yankees gave up on him as their shortstop. If anything could be worse than that, his performance behind the plate was worse. I bombed big time on my prediction. He batted only .259 after an uptick late in the season; he hung around the .210 mark most of the season. He hit only nine home runs. Projection grade F.

6. Domingo German will be the winningest pitcher

After returning to the New York Yankees from his suspension, Domingo German will be the Yankees winningest pitcher. He started the season pitching magnificently in spring training which is what I based my prediction on. I predicted that he would have a 20 game winning season, returning to his 2019 performance when he went 18-4. I completely flopped in this one. German wasn’t close to good. He started the season with a heartbreaking loss and was sent down to Scranton to figure it out. Upon his return, he would go out and have a can’t touch performance, followed by miserable outings. He finished the season just 4-5 in 18 starts. Projection grade F.

7. Jonathan Loaisiga will be the Yankees’ best reliever

Loaisiga has been growing in Yankee importance for the last few years. This spring training, he was just short of perfect. He didn’t allow a run in his first six games. He had a tiny 1.26. He will outshine all the other relievers and give up less than 30 earned runs in the 2021 season. I will add a caveat that that could be affected by the number of innings he throws. I hit this one on the nose. Loaisiga has been the Yankees’ most dependable reliever. He is 9-4 with an ERA of 2.17 in 57 games. He had five saves. With all the pitching injuries, he quickly became Aaron Boone’s go-to guy. Projection grade A.

8. Gary Sanchez will prove the Yankees wrong

Last year I predicted that Gary Sanchez would have the second-most home runs of any Yankee player. I was correct; he shared that stat with DJ LeMahieu. This year I am saying that the New York Yankees made a mistake in offering him to stay with the team. As much as I would like to see him prevail if his spring training performance is was an indication, he will not. Gary gets into long slides that make him ineffective as a hitter. Although he got ten homers last year, he batted a miserable .147. I predict he will have another poor season that may seal his fate with the Yankees. I was pretty correct for the first half of the season, but after the All-Star break, he improved somewhat. He ended the season with a .204 batting average and 24 home runs. Regardless of the somewhat improved season, he is still a topic of controversy. Projection grade C.

9. Yankees will win 108 games

Last season, a 60 games season, I said that the Yankees would win 48 games; they only won 33. I fell substantially short of my prediction. In 2018 and 2019, they won 100 and 103 games. This year with improved pitching, they will exceed that and win 108 games. Unfortunately, I blew this one big time. The Yankees fell far below my prediction, with Aaron Boone guiding the club to only 92 wins on the season, falling eight games behind the East-leading Tampa Bay Rays. Projection grade F.

10. The Yankees will win their 28th World Championship

Last year I made this exact prediction and was very wrong; they didn’t even win the East Division. However, this year I will stick with the same forecast for several reasons. One is that at least at the beginning of the season, most all the Yankees are healthy. With their new pitching staff and the return of both Domingo German and Luis Severino, the New York Yankees will prevail over the significantly reduced Tampa Bay team, with the Toronto Blue Jays coming in second in the East. The Yankees will go on to beat the San Diego Padres in the World Series in seven games. I guess I am the perennial optimist; if they have a chance of winning it all, they have to have a highly dramatic turnaround.

As the Yankees failed miserably, so did my prediction. They won only 92 games but were good enough at the end to face the Boston Red Sox that I predicted would have a failed season. Unfortunately, the Yankees lost the winner take all wild card game, and their season was over. To add insult to injury on my prediction, the San Diego Padres didn’t even make the postseason. Projection grade F.

Notes: In my years of making annual predictions, so far, this has been my worst. However, in my defense, most industry analysts would have agreed with me. This has been a very disappointing season for the New York Yankees and its fans. No one has been able to come up with a reason that one of the most potent lineups in baseball hasn’t been able to hit the ball consistently. They have made far too many basic ball-playing mistakes and pitching failures. Jameson Taillon and Domingo German have underperformed. The loss of Corey Kluber for three months could not have been foreseen. The only part of the team that has mostly shined is the bullpen.

You usually don’t see substantial changes in teams until after the World Series has been completed. The Yankees have announced that they are retaining Aaron Boone as manager for at least another three years. They also will not renew the contracts of their hitting coach, assistant hitting coach, and third base coach. In addition, their first base coach announced he was retiring from the Yankees.

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

New York Yankees 9/30: 4 Takeaways from Yankees loss to the Blue Jays

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga

After an incredible run of winning seven games in a row, the New York Yankees hoped to win another one last night by taking the series from the Blue Jays. The Yankees swept the Red Sox and retook the number one berth in the wild card race, gaining home-field advantage and putting the Red Sox two games behind. With five games to go in the regular season, the Yankees sent their ace Gerrit Cole to the mound at Roger’s Center in Toronto to face the Jays Jose Berrios. At the end of the night, Berrios acted like the Toronto ace and Gole didn’t; the Yankees lost when Bo Bichette hit a homer in the eighth, the Blue Jays edged the Yankees 6-5.

Gerrit Cole is no longer a sure thing

The outlook for New York Yankee ace has changed. After three poor games in a row, when Cole takes the mound, there is no reason to believe the Yankees will win the game. Please make no mistake about it; he is still probably the Yankee’s best starter, but it appears that he has tired; he is not as sharp and not as quick to make the adjustments that he is known to create.

In the past month, Cole lost as many games as he has won; his last three are the worst of the month as the team tries desperately to be in the postseason for a chance at a 28th World Series win. On September 24th, he got a win going six innings only giving up three runs. But also walked three and was taken out before giving up another two runs. In the other two games, he gave up 12 runs, including five home runs. Last night he gave up two home runs, and a total of five earned runs as the Yankees winning streak ended. Cole’s September ERA is 5.13, not the signature of an ace.

Pitching: Who’s hot and who’s not

To the delight of Yankee fans, Jonathan Loaisiga was activated and back off the IL. He has been missing from the Yankees bullpen for 22 days. Last night arguably, the Yankees’ best reliever was back, and he announced it at the bottom of the seventh inning against the Jays; Springer struck out on a 99 mph slider. Semien ground out to LeMahieu. Guerrero ground out to LeMahieu for the 1-2-3 inning.

Last night the usually dependable lights out Clay Holmes gave of the losing run when he allowed Bo Bichette his second homer of the night. But due to how he has been pitching, he can mostly be forgiven. Likewise, most of the bullpen has been doing a great job. Andrew Heaney has proven he is not primetime and has been assigned and is now with low-A Tampa. After a period of undependability, Chad Green and closer Aroldis Chapman seem back on track.

Hitting: Who’s hot and who’s not

For most of the season, especially during the last month, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have been on a rip, carrying the team on their backs. Stanton, for the first time in his previous five games, didn’t hit a home run. Judge, for his part last night, did drive in his 95th RBI but was also homerless.

Joey Gallo last night was the poster boy for why the Yankees lost. The ordinarily defensive great let a ball drop in front of him when neither he nor the advancing Gio Urshela called for the ball. Gallo was also 0-2 after being 0-5 the previous night. The bottom line is that neither Gallo nor Rizzo are doing the job the Yankees thought they would when they added them at the trade deadline.

Last night with the hot Brett Gardner due up in the seventh, Boone decided to pinch-hit Luke Voit, that failed as the injury-prone Voit struck out and limped off the field. Gio Urshela has been pretty hot this month, but last night he made what might be the defensive play of the season. He managed to dive for a ground ball, caught it, and threw a laser to Rizzo while lying on his back for an out.

Where do the Yankees stand in the wild card race?

Even with the loss last night, the New York Yankees still own the home-field advantage in the wild card game. But with the Red Sox win last night over the Baltimore Orioles, they are just one game behind. So if the Yankees lose tonight and the Sox win, they will be tied for that first spot. Because the Red Sox have the better season record over the Yankees, the home field advantage would revert to Boston, and the game would be played at Fenway Park.

In the race, the Yankees indeed are watching the Seattle Mariners, as the Mariners are just a half-game out of the wild card, and the Jays are just a half-game behind them. The Yankees must win 3 of the season’s last four games to secure a wild card appearance. In the worst-case scenario, if the Yankees don’t win tonight, the Tampa Bay Rays adding an insult to injury after taking the division could also decide the Yankee’s 2021 wild card fate. The Yankees, to save face, must avoid that at all costs. If the Yankees don’t pitch and hit well in these last games, even “Bronxie” the turtle won’t save them.

 

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees lose a squeaker in the eighth at Rogers’ Center

yankees, gerrit cole

After an incredible run of winning seven games in a row, the New York Yankees hoped to win another one tonight, taking the series from the Blue Jays. The Yankees swept the Red Sox and, with the win last night, retook the number one berth in the wild card race, gaining home-field advantage and putting the Red Sox two games behind, but the Yankees couldn’t get complacent as the Blue Jays, and Seattle Mariners were nipping at their heels.

With five games to go in the regular season, the Yankees sent their ace Gerrit Cole to the mound at Roger’s Center in Toronto to face the Jays Jose Berrios. At the end of the night, with a homer by Bo Bichette in the eighth, the Blue Jays edged the Yankees 6-5.

The game started with DJ LeMahieu at the plate and Jose Berrio on the mound; LeMahieu went down on strikes. Anthony Rizzo also went down on strikes. Aaron Judge made it three as Berrios stuck out the Yankee side. At the bottom, George Springer doubled. Marcus Semien got a two-run homer into the left-field stands. Vlad Guerrero, with no outs, flew out to Gallo in left. Bo Bichette doubled. Teoscar Hernandez ground out to second, but Bichette went to third. Two outs. Lourdes Gurriel ground out to short. Blue Jays 2 Yankees 0.

The top of the second saw DH Giancarlo Stanton ground out to Bichette at short. Joey Gallo, who went 0-5 last night, flew out to the far center. Gleyber Torres also ground out to short to end the half scoreless. At the bottom, Cory Dickerson flew out to Gallo in left. Santiago Espinal doubled easily up the left-field line. Reese McGuire went down swinging. Springer singled, scoring Espinal. Semien struck out. Blue Jays 3 Yankees 0.

Gio Urshela led off the third inning by popping out to center. Brett Gardner went down on strikes. Kyle Higashioka struck out; Berrios was perfect through three. At the bottom, Guerrero ground out to short. Bichette homered to center. Hernandez struck out. Gurriel struck out. Toronto Blue Jays 4 New York Yankees 0.

The fourth inning was led off by LeMahieu, who ground out to short. Rizzo grounded out to second. Judge ground out up the middle for a perfect four innings for Berrios. At the bottom, with Cole still on the mound, faced Dickerson, who flew out to Gardner in center. Espinal struck out. McGuire flew out to center to end the inning. Blue Jays 4 Yankees 0.

Giancarlo Stanton led off the fifth inning by struck out swinging. Gallo struck out. Torres doubled to left to break up Berrios’ perfect game. Urshela singled, driving in Torres as the Yankees got on the board. Gardner got an RBI double driving in Urshela. Higashioka, with one on and two outs, ground out to first to end the half, but the Yankees picked up two runs. At the bottom, Springer led off by doubling to left both Urshela and Gallo let it fall between them as they both backed off. . Semien flew out to right, but Springer made it to third. Guerrero doubled as Springer scored. Bichette struck out. Hernandez few out to Gardner. Blue Jays 5 Yankees 2.

The sixth inning was led off by LeMahieu, who doubled to center. Rizzo ground out. Judge had a sac fly scoring LeMahieu. Stanton ground out to third to end the half, but the Yankees picked up a run. At the bottom Gurriel out. Dickerson lined out to left. Espinal singled. McGuire flew out to Gardner in center. Blue Jays 5 New York Yankees 3.

Joey Gallo led off the seventh inning by facing new pitcher Tim Mayza and was hit by a pitch. Torres, who broke up the perfect game by Berrios, singled on a slow roller to left, moving Gallo to second. Urshela, with two on and no outs, went down swinging for the first out. Luke Voit pinch-hitting for Gardner struck out. Higashioka got a two-run single, tying the game at 5. LeMahieu faced the new pitcher Adam Cimber and flew out to center, but the Yankees scored two runs to tie up the game. New York Yankees 5 Blue Jays 5.

At the bottom of the inning against Jonathan Loaisiga, Springer struck out on a 99 mph slider. Semien ground out to LeMahieu. Guerrero ground out to LeMahieu for the 1-2-3 inning for Loaisiga after coming off the IL and not pitching for four weeks. Yankees 5 Jays 5.

The eighth inning was led off by Rizzo, who flew out to Hernandez in right. Judge tapped back to the pitcher Cimber. Stanton flew out to the warning track in center to end the half. Bo Bichette led off the bottom of the inning by hitting a homer to center to retake the lead. Hernandez struck out. Gurriel ground to short, and Urshela laid out to get it and threw from his back for the second out. Dickerson chopped out to end the inning, but the Jays retook the lead. Blue Jays 6 Yankees 5.

With last licks on the line for the New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez pinch hit for Joey Gallo leading off and went down looking. Gleyber Torres singled to left. Gio Urshela flew out to center. Torres tagged and made it to second. Tyler Wade pinch-hitting for Gardner flew out to center to end the game.

The final score was the Toronto Blue Jays 6 and the New York Yankees 5. The winning pitcher was Adam Cimber, the loser was Clay Holmes and the save went to Jordan Romano.

 

 

 

 

Yankees News, 9/28: Jamison Taillon, Jonathan Loaisiga injury update, 6 important days upcoming

New York Yankees, Jameson Taillon

The New York Yankees are preparing to start their most important six days of the season as they prepare to take on the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays consecutively.

After sweeping the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers, the Yankees find themselves in first place in the Wild Card, but they aren’t out of the woods yet. Boston remains just one game behind New York, and Toronto is one game from the second playoff spot in the WC. If the Yankees don’t continue winning, there’s a very real chance they miss the postseason and are watching from their couch by the beginning of October.

However, as streaky as the Yankees are, they are currently on a hot one, and they plan to start Jamison Taillon on Tuesday against Toronto in the first game of the series. Taillon has been working his way back from a partially torn tendon in his right ankle, which she suffered on September 6.

Missing 22 days of baseball, Taillon will be injected right back into the starting rotation, but with a full bullpen, the team has plenty of backup options if need be. Taillon enjoyed just one rehab start before being activated, throwing three innings and 51 pitches on September 22. He gave up two runs and struck out two batters.

So far this season, Taillon host a 4.41 ERA with 8.83 strikeouts per nine and a 33.2% ground ball rate, the lowest of his career. The second half of his season has been far more efficient, but he is still inconsistent, and the Yankees need the best version of him against the Blue Jays.

Skipper Aaron Boone is also anticipating the return of star relief arm Jonathan Loaisiga. The 26-year-old has been a stud this season, making 54 appearances, earning a 2.25 ERA and a career-high, 61.3% ground ball rate. He’s seen his fastball velocity increase by nearly 2 mph to 98.3 mph. In addition, his curveball and changeup have both experienced increases in velocity. He’s relying heavily on his sinker and newfound slider.

Jonathan has buried his fastball in favor of more off-speed and ground-ball oriented pitches, which has aided in his development significantly.

“I wasn’t out there for the bullpen, but I talked to (pitching coach) Matt (Blake) about it,” Boone said of Loaisiga. “He said it went really well. It looks like Lo. So now the biggest thing is making sure he recovers well (Monday), and then we’ll make a call on possibly whether we want to activate himTuesday or if we want to give it another day and wait until Wednesday. That’s just something we’ll weigh.

Getting back both Taillon and Loáisiga is huge for a Yankees team trying to close out the year strong. Hopefully, they won’t suffer any setbacks, and they’ll be ready to go for the postseason, given the Yankees can secure a Wild card spot.

Yankees could have their best reliever back by next week

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga

As of Wednesday morning, the New York Yankees are still out of the playoffs. They are half a game behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the second Wild Card spot and two games behind the Red Sox for the first berth.

And while the Yankees have certainly suffered the injury bug all season long, they have been slowly recovering soldiers for the battle. Starters Corey Kluber and Clarke Schmidt recently came back after long-term absences, while Luis Severino made his first appearance since 2019 on Tuesday.

Pitcher Domingo German will return this week, too. The Yankees, however, need their best and most reliable reliever if they are going to mount a serious charge at one of the two Wild Card spots.

Jonathan Loaisiga, who went down with a rotator cuff injury on September 3, took a step forward by stretching his throwing program to 120 feet on Tuesday. The Yankees are now confident he will be able to return next week.

The Yankees could really use Loaisiga

The next step would be throwing a bullpen session, which could come on Friday.

“I’m very encouraged,” Boone said to NJ Advance Media before the Yankees-Texas Rangers’ game at Yankee Stadium. “I watched most of his catch play (Tuesday) and I thought he looked really good. It doesn’t look like he’s favoring anything. There’s life on it without a lot of effort. It’s just catch play at 120 feet, but the first thing I noticed when I saw him throwing was, ‘Wow, that looks free and easy’, which is encouraging to see.”

Loaisiga has carried the Yankees’ bullpen throughout the whole season, with a 9-4 record and a 2.25 ERA in 54 outings.

After he throws his bullpen on Friday, the Yankees will evaluate the next steps for him. He could throw another bullpen or face hitters in a sim game.

“We’ll see,” Boone said. “That’s something that we’ll kind of watch as we go. Obviously, the trainers will have a big role in that in deciding how many of those he needs, how sharp they are, how he’s recovering from those. Because he wasn’t down very long, he probably in theory shouldn’t need too much (rehabbing), but hopefully he passes those and we do get him back before the regular season ends.”

Yankees get good news on key reliever dealing with injury

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga

During the 2021 season, the New York Yankees have suffered blow after blow in their bullpen. Darren O’Day and Zack Britton are out for the season with long-term injuries, pitchers like Wandy Peralta and Clay Holmes have been out with COVID-19, Aroldis Chapman hasn’t looked right in months, and Chad Green appears to have hit a wall in recent outings.

The unit is so decimated that Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone opted to leave Holmes for two innings to lock down a save yesterday, a decision that ended up backfiring.

Perhaps the best reliever on the Yankees in 2021 has been Jonathan Loaisiga, and he has been out since early September with a right shoulder strain, an injury that affected his rotator cuff.

The rotator cuff is the single most important body part for a pitcher, and the most feared injury for them, so the Yankees are obviously concerned. Thankfully, tests and imaging showed that the ailment is just a strain.

The Yankees expect Loaisiga back this month

Loaisiga, whose expected return date is sometime in September, will begin a throwing program on Sept. 17, after making progress in his rehab, according to manager Aaron Boone (link to MLB.com article here).

“We’ll see how he does with starting his throwing program,” Boone said, “and how he progresses from there, how his shoulder and everything responds from there.”

A return this week seems out of the question, but if everything goes well and he suffers no setbacks, there is a scenario in which Loaisiga returns to the Yankees in late September to help the team protect crucial advantages in the last few games of the regular campaign.

 

Right now, the Yankees are 82-65, half a game behind the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox for the American League Wild Card. From this point on, every game counts, and for that, the Bombers need a healthy Loaisiga.

Yankees News, 9/6: Bombers lose best relief pitcher, Andrew Heaney implodes to lose series

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga

The New York Yankees fell to the Baltimore Orioles 7-8 on Sunday, losing the series 2-3. Against one of the worst teams in baseball, the Yankees can’t afford to be dropping games, and after losing one of their best relief pitchers in Jonathan Loáisiga, the Yankees were forced to plug in Andrew Heaney to help supplement the loss. He gave up four hits, and four earned runs in 0.1 innings, elevating his ERA to 5.81.

Loáisiga, who has pitched 68 innings this year, has a 2.25 ERA and 61.3% ground ball rate. He has been an absolute stud for the bullpen and likely would’ve helped the Yankees secure victory if not for Heaney being his supplement.

“Obviously that’s a tough loss for us, which hopefully is only a couple of weeks but still something we’ll have to navigate,” Boone said.

The Yankees placed Loáisiga on the 10-day injured list with a strained rotator cuff. They are hopeful he will return in time for the postseason, and after receiving a cortisone shot after Saturday’s game, an MRI revealed a slight injury.

“Hopefully this is something that’s a little bit of a timeout and we get him back for the stretch drive,” Boone said.

As stated above, Heaney was the culprit in the Yankees’ loss, and ever since being acquired from the Los Angeles Angels, he has been a liability. Posting a 32.4% ground ball rate this year, he simply doesn’t fit the mold of Yankee Stadium. He gives up too many home runs and is walking far too many batters.

The offense did everything possible to win this game, as Gary Sanchez smacked a grand slam in the second inning to give the team a healthy lead. In fact, Sanchez hit two home runs on the afternoon, including a two-run shot in the sixth inning. Unfortunately, an Orioles team that won three of their last five games is surging despite their pitching issues.

The Yankees will take on the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday afternoon with Jameson Taillon on the mound. Toronto will feature Hyun Jin Ryu, who hosts a 3.92 ERA. Toronto has won four of their last five games, indicating a bit of momentum.

New York Yankees: Yankees blow a 6 run lead but get 12th win in a row

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

The New York Yankees entered last night’s first game with the Oakland Athletics after winning 11 straight games and looking for their 12th, for the first time since 1961. The Yankees are 10-0 in their last ten games and the Athletic 2-8 in their last ten, losing their last four games in a row. The Yankees could not be complacent as the A’s are a hazardous team at Oakland Coliseum. Jameson Taillon was on the mound for the Yankees and James Kaprielian for the A’s. The final score was the Yankees 7 and the Athletics 6.

In the first inning, DJ LeMahieu faced Kaprielian and went down on three pitches. Next, Anthony Rizzo went down on strikes. Aaron Judge also went down on strikes for a 1-2 -3 inning for Kaprielian. At the bottom, with Taillon on the mound for the Yankees, he faced Mark Canha, who went down on a Taillon hook. Starling Marte flew out to Gardner in center. Then, matt Olsen flew out to left as Taillon put down the A’s in order. No score.

The top of the second saw Joey Gallo at the plate for the Yankees; he struck out on a way outside pitch. Gallo argued, Boone argued, and was thrown out of the game. Giancarlo Stanton answered with a long home run to center. Gary Sanchez was out swinging. Then, Brett Gardner hit a homer to the right-field stands. Gio Urshela ground out, but the Yankees took a two-run lead in the game. At the bottom, Jed Lowrie flew out to Gallo in left. Josh Harrison ground out to Urshela at third. Mitch Moreland flew out to Gardner in deep center to end the inning and give Tailon another 1-2 -3 inning. New York Yankees 2 Athletics 0.

At the top of the third, Andrew Velazquez got a head slide double to center. LeMahieu ground out, but Velazquez moved to third. Rizzo got an RBI double to the center-field warning track scoring Velazquez. Judge walked. Gallo hit a three-run homer as the Yankees poured it on. Stanton went down on strikes. Sanchez flew out to the right-center to end the inning, but the Yankees picked up 4 runs. At the bottom, Matt Chapman led off for the A’s and hit a homer to get the A’s on the board. Sean Murphy hit a back-to-back homer. Elvis Andrus flew out to Gardner. Canha ground out to Urshela. Marte struck out to end the inning. New York Yankees 6 A’s 2.

Brett Gardner led off the fourth and flew out to far center. Urshela singled to center. Velazquez struck out. LeMahieu flew out to center to end the half. Olsen in the bottom walked. Lowrie struck out. Harrison got a base hit, moving Olsen to second. Moreland walked the bases loaded. Chapman walked in a run. Murphy struck out. Andrus got a two-run single to center to get the A’s within one of the Yankees. Those runs knocked Taillon that has been so good, out of the game. Andrus stole second. Albert Abreu came in to face Canha, who walked reloading the bases. Marte ground out to second to end the inning, but the A’s picked up 3 runs in the inning. Yankees 6 A’s 5.

The fifth inning was led off by Rizzo, who popped out to left-field foul territory. Judge went down swinging. Gallo ground out to first to end the half. At the bottom, Olson struck out swinging. Lowrie struck out when he couldn’t hold up. Harrison homered to tie up the game at six apiece. Moreland flew out to Gallo in left to end the inning, but the A’s tied up the game. Yankees 6 Athletics 6.

Giancarlo Stanton led off the sixth inning by popping out to third base. Sanchez singled to the left side. Gardner hit into the force out at second. Then, Urshela went down swinging on a ball way out of the strike zone. At the bottom, Chapman led off with a single to center. Murphy stuck out. Andrus struck out. Canha struck out to end the inning. Yankees 6 Athletics 6.

The seventh inning was led off by Velazquez, who tapped back to the pitcher. LeMahieu ground out to third. Rizzo had a sky-high pop-out to short. Marte in the bottom tapped back to Loaisiga pitching. Olsen ground out to LeMahieu. Lowrie flew out to Gallo to end the inning. Yankees 6 Athletics 6.

Aaron Judge led off the eighth inning and doubled to right field. Gallo walked. Stanton flew out to centerfield. Sanchez walked the bases loaded. Gardner popped out to the infield holding the runners. Urshela just off the IL today, and with the base loaded and two outs ground out to third, leaving the bases loaded with Yankees. At the bottom, Harrison against Loaisiga struck out. Moreland ground out to third for the second out. Chapman walked. Murphy struck out for two scoreless innings for Loaisiga. Yankees 6 A’s 6.

In the ninth inning, Velazquez led off and flew out to left-center. LeMahieu flew out to right. Rizzo walked on four pitches. Tyler Wade in as a pinch-runner. Wade stole second and, on an errant throw, went to third. Judge singled to center, scoring Wade for the one-run lead. Judge tried to steal second, and on review, was out. At the bottom, The Yankees send out Aroldis Chapman to close it out. Andrus flew out to Gardner in center. Canha struck out. Marte singled and stole second. Olsen who had 32 home runs on the season ground out to second for the Yankee’s 12th win in a row the most since 1961.

The final score was New York Yankees 7 the Oakland Athletics 6. The winning pitcher was Jonathan Loaisgia, the loser Lee Trivino, with the save going to Aroldis Chapman (24).

 

 

New York Yankees: Closer Aroldis Chapman continues to be a worry

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

Despite all the injuries and players on the Covid list, there is no question that the New York Yankees have been excelling, going 28 and 8 since July 17th. Yet, strangely for most of that time, they have gone without a reliable closer. Both setup man Zack Britton and closer Aroldis Chapman haven’t been themselves blowing saves they used to get easily. This presents a big problem for the Yankees; who will close those close games that they have been playing lately?

Last night with the game on the line, Chapman was called in to close the game in the ninth inning; he faltered, giving up a run and loading the bases. Wandy Peralta was called in to clean up his mess. Peralta did his job and got the save.

Chapman started the season with a new weapon to add to his missile fastball, a splitter that he used early in his career and reincarnated. For the first half of the season, he mixed it up for 18 games, not blowing a save and not allowing a run for an 0.00 ERA. Then, on May 23rd, he blew his first save but got the win in the game. He continued to pitch well through June 20th as he racked up 16 saves, then he blew two saves in a row. Since then, things have gone south, only adding on 7 saves through July and August, and most of those weren’t pretty.

It seems as though Chapman has lost control of his fastball and is often afraid to throw it at critical times. He got so bad at one point that manager Aaron Boone was afraid to use him, resorting to others, including setup man Zack Britton. But now, that isn’t an option either, as Britton has gone on the IL and may require surgery.

Recently Boone brought in Chapman in a non save situation to build up his confidence with a four-run lead. Chapman did his job, which was encouraging. But in his first close situation last night, he again faltered. Giving up a run and then loading the bases, that required Peralta to come in and save the game.

The New York Yankees look poised to at least get a wild card berth and are in hot pursuit of the Tampa Bay Rays to take the AL East lead away from them. They are going to need a solid closer to accomplish that. But who will it be? Jonathan Loaisiga has been the most successful, saving 5 games out of 8 tries. Chad Green is next, saving 6 out of 10 tries. Wandy Peralta has gone 3 for 3. Albert Abreu and Lucas Luetge have also gotten a save.

But the bottom line is that the New York Yankees have to find a way to get Chapman right, get his confidence back and get his blazing fastball working again. Chapman has 23 saves in 27 tries, but the record is really not that good as Boone has held him back in several opportunities because he was afraid to use him in one-run games.

If Wandy Peralta saves a couple more games without a blown save, he may become Boone’s go-to guy. Only time will tell. If and when the Yankees get to the postseason, which seems almost a lock, Boone may also be forced to use starters in the postseason to close games. Although I am not a huge Aaron Boone fan, he has been on fire finding the right mixes to win games. One thing is for sure; it’s going to be an exciting last five weeks of the regular season; it just may go down to the final series with the Rays at Yankee Stadium.

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees pull out a win in first game of a doubleheader (video)

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga

After a series win over the Chicago White Sox and a win in a makeup game with the Los Angeles Angels last night today, the New York Yankees entered what could be a pivotal three-game series. The three-game series could go a long way to who will secure a wild card berth. Today will be a day-night doubleheader; if the Yankees win both, they will be even with the Red Sox in the race. Game one had Jordan Montgomery on the mound in his first game returning from the Covid list. He faced Tanner Houck. The Yankees won it 5-3.

Leading off for the Red Sox was Kiki Hernandez, who ground out on the first pitch. Then, Hunter Renfroe got a base hit to left. Next, Xander Bogaerts went down on strikes. Next, Rafael Devers singled, but Renfroe was tagged out by Velaquez trying to reach third to end the inning. At the bottom, with Tanner Houck on the mound, DJ LeMahieu ground out to third. Brett Gardner also ground out to third, as did Aaron Judge to end the inning with no score.

At the top of the second, JT Martinez went down on strikes. Kyle Schwarber was called out on strikes, but a wild pitch allowed him to get to first, where he was called safe, but on review, he was out. Christian Vázquez flew out to right field. At the bottom, Joey Gallo led off by flying out to center field. Luke Voit was hit by the first pitch he saw. Rougie Odor hit a single to center, moving Voit to second. In his return from the Covid list, Gary Sanchez lined directly to third, holding the runners. Now with two outs, Tyler Wade singled, loading the bases. Andrew Velazquez got two-run single driving in Voit and Odor. LeMahieu popped out to end the inning, but the kid from the Bronx, Velaquez, created his own field of dreams with his family in the stands. New York Yankees 2 Boston Red Sox 0. Velazquez got hugs from third base coach Phil Nevin.

Alex Verdugo led off the third inning by grounding out to second.  Bobby Dalbec singled beyond short. Hernandez walked. Renfroe tapped to Monty for the second out as the runners moved up. Bogaerts got a two-run single, but Bogaerts was out at first as Sanchez fired. New York Yankees 2 Red Sox 2.

At the bottom of the third, Gardner tapped back to Houck. Judge struck out swinging. Gallo flew out to center, keeping the game tied at 2.

Devers led off the fourth inning popped out to Sanchez. Martinez went down on strikes. Schwarber struck out as the Red Sox went down 1-2-3. At the bottom,  Luke Voit struck out. Rougie Odor singled. Sanchez ground out. Tyler Wade singled, and Velaquez flew out to center to end the inning.

Vazquez led the fifth inning, who homed to the left-field stands for a solo shot, putting the Sox up by a run. Verdugo hit a line drive out to Odor. Dalbec struck out. Hernandez walked, and that was the day for Montgomery, as Aaron Boone called in Albert Abreu to face Renfroe, who flew out to Judge to end the half.

At the bottom, with Garrett Whitlock on the mound, LeMahieu struck out. Gardner walked. Judge walked. With Gallo coming up, Cora went with Josh Taylor; Gallo walked the bases loaded. With the bases loaded and one out, Voit got a bloop single to center, scoring Gardner and Judge as the Yankees took the lead in the game. Giancarlo Stanton pinch-hitting for Odor with men on the corners and one out singled to center, driving in Gallo. Jonathan Davis was brought in to pinch-run for Stanton. Cora again went to the bullpen for Hansel Robles to face Gary Sanchez, who struck out. Tyler Wade, with two on and two outs, walked. Velaquez struck out to finally end the inning, but the Yankees picked up 3 runs in the half to go ahead in the game. New York Yankees 5 Red Sox 3.

In the sixth inning, with Jonathan Loaisiga on the mound, Bogaerts struck out. Devers ground out to short, and Martinez lined out to Velaquez at short. At the bottom, it was the top of the order for the Yankees. LeMahieu against Robles singled to left. Gardner walked with LeMahieu taking second. Judge struck out. Again Cora went to the bullpen to have lefty Austin Davis face lefty Joey Gallo. Gallo struck out for the second out of the inning. Then the lefty had to face the righty Luke Voit who walked to load the bases for the Yankees again. Jonathan Davis brought in as a pinch-runner struck out, leaving the bases loaded. Yankees 5 Red Sox 3.

Schwarber led off the seventh and final inning of the game with Jonathan Loaisgia in for the close and singled to short. Vazquez singled to Judge in right, with Schwarber stopping at second. Arauz pinch ran for Vazquez. Verdugo singled, loading the bases with no outs in the seventh. Travis Shaw pinch-hitting flew out to Gardner, but Gardner’s arm held the runners. Hernandez struck out. Renfroe struck out to get Loaisiga out of the inning unscathed. The Yankees win!!!

Nothing comes easy for the New York Yankees, but they get the win. The final score was New York Yankees 5 and the Boston Red Sox 3. The winning pitcher was Albert Abreu, the loser was Whitlock, and the save went to Jonathan Loaisiga (5). The video below is Velazquez’s two-run shot in the second.