New York Yankees: Tampa Bay preview, unwanted baggage?

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

On Friday, the New York Yankees will take on the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-game set at Tropicana Field In Tampa, Florida, and they will be carrying on the plane with them some unwanted baggage. The baggage they will take with them is Aaron Judge, who, just five games into the season, appears to be injured again, a shortstop that already has two errors in his first six games, and a catcher that doesn’t always hustle.

There is a bunch of good and bad news for the Yankee fans to digest in this very young season. After two series, the Yankees have a .500 record. That is both good and bad. At least they haven’t lost 6 straight. In fact, no MLB team is without a win in the first week. But at the same time, the Yankees haven’t won 6 straight. We call the Sox the lowly Red Sox, yet they have the same record the Yankees do. But let’s be real, it’s only one week, and the Yankees are still tunning up, plus they are going to face a much weaker Tampa Bay Rays team the whipped their butts last season.

Let’s examine the good news first. The New York Yankee front office has to be mostly tickled with both the Yankee starters and relievers; they have pitched for the most part really well in the first six games. Some anxiety has been relieved as all the pitchers seem healthy and confident, which was a concern with three starters not having pitched in nearly two years. Domingo German was the only downer in his start, but there is likely nothing to worry about after a stellar spring training. This week Gerrit Cole was totally dominant in his second start throwing to Kyle Higashioka. Yesterday the last Yankee pitcher to start the season, Jameson Taillon, pitched really well, giving up two runs, striking out seven with no walks.

In the first full week of play, the Yankee bullpen has been excellent. Leading the pack is Jonathan Loaisiga; in four innings of relief, he hasn’t allowed a run while striking out 5 and not allowing a walk. In spring training, in 14 innings of work, he allowed 2 runs, striking out 11, walking two with an ERA of 1.26. Next is Luis Cessa, Chad Green, Micheal King, Nick Nelson, Darren O’Day, and Aroldis Chapman, who have not given up an earned run. The only blemish has been Lucas Luetge, who gave up 2 runs in one inning. But the Yankees are not worried about that as he was their second-best pitcher in spring training. In 10.1 innings, he struck out 18 hitters for an ERA of 1.74.

The bad news going into the Tampa Bay series isn’t yet horrible but is concerning. First, the New York Yankees will have to endure the Rays celebrating their division and ALCS win at their home Opening Day celebration at 3 pm on Friday. Baggage to be dealt with includes Aaron Judge. Will he be healthy enough to play? It was revealed Wednesday that he was suffering from left side soreness. Is it an oblique strain for just some soreness? Aaron Judge didn’t seem overly confident that Judge would be in the lineup Friday.

Another baggage they will be carrying is Gleyber Torres, who has committed two errors already in just six games. Gary Sanchez didn’t exactly show a lot of hustle yesterday either. It wouldn’t be an issue, except he has been criticized for lack of hustle several times before. In yesterday’s game, he got a ground ball that he gave up on and was called out at first, barely. But if you watched the tape, he was hardly running when he reached first. The rule is you run like Brett Gardner because you never know someone may drop the ball. As far as Torres is concerned, he made a bad throw that may have cost the Yankees the Orioles’ sweep. Torres has to start charging the ball to give himself more time to throw an accurate throw.

The last bit of baggage the Yankee hope they can leave behind is their lack of hitting with runners in scoring positions. In the first six games of the season, when the bat wasn’t always active, the Yankees went 12 for 51 with runners in scoring position. It’s tough to win games when you leave that many in scoring position. The Yankees have to find a way to hit more consistently, especially with men in scoring position.

Tomorrow the Yankee’s Corey Kluber will make his second start of the season; he will face the lefty Rich Hill. In Hill’s first outing, he gave up 4 runs for an ERA of 9.00. On Saturday, Domingo German will face Ray’s Chris Archer, who has had a horrible start this season. He has an ERA of 13.50, although he has pitched well against the Yankees before. The finale on Sunday will feature an unknown Ray facing Jordan Montgomery, who had an excellent start in his first outing in a game the Yankees won. 7-0.

Over the offseason, the Tampa Bay Rays got rid of two of their best pitchers. They let Charlie Morton walk to the Braves, and they traded away Blake Snell, their ace, to the Padres. On paper, the New York Yankees seem to have the edge on the Rays this season. During this meeting, the Yankee pitchers will have to watch out for Randy Arozarena, who created havoc with the Yankees last season, and Austin Meadows likes to homer off Yankee pitching, however this season he will face a very different rotation.

The game on Friday will be at 3:10 pm and will be broadcast on the YES Network and in Florida on the Bally Sports Sun Network, the old FoxSports. The games on Saturday and Sunday will be at 1:05 pm.

 

 

Yankees: Throwing strikes consistently is the key to unlock Jonathan Loaisiga’s potential

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga

In order to take the next step and advance to their first World Series since 2009, the New York Yankees will likely need best-case scenarios everywhere on their roster. Starters will need to be healthy and effective, and the offense needs rebound seasons from Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres, plus full healthy campaigns from Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.

However, the bullpen needs to take a step forward, too. And one of the arms that the Yankees have the most faith on is right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga, who had a fine 3.52 ERA last year, but wasn’t able to do the job come playoffs time.

Loaisiga blew a save against the Cleveland Indians in the 2020 Wild Card series, so he decided that was enough. He worked hard this offseason and now looks like a completely different pitcher, command-wise.

After his blown save last season, veteran closer Aroldis Chapman told Loaisiga that “It’s important to believe in your pitches, believe in the quality of your pitches and attack hitters.”

Now, with that advice and other veteran pitchers like Zack Britton, Chad Green, Justin Wilson, and Darren O’Day available to help, Loaisiga seems to have stopped nibbling and looks poised and composed. The Yankees, of course, are ecstatic.

The Yankees’ pitcher has received useful advice

“It’s important for me,” Loaisiga said through a translator per MLB.com. “Not only do I get to spend time with them in the bullpen, I get to spend time with them in the clubhouse, on the field, playing catch, and that allows me to ask questions and find bits of information that can be useful for me. Information that I can put into practice right away when I enter a game.”

So far, the Yankees’ multi-inning reliever has two appearances, covering three innings with no runs allowed and four whiffs.

The command of his fastball is important, but his changeup has been a real weapon, as he used it to strike out Cavan Biggio and Rowdy Tellez over the weekend.

Throwing strikes, however, is the key to unlock his potential.

“He’s really attacked the zone in a really good way this spring and so far in these first couple of games,” Boone said.

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

The New York Yankees met up with the Toronto Blue Jays for game 2 of a three-game set to start the Yankee Stadium season. The Yankees lost the first game as the Yankee bat remained mostly silent except for a two-run homer by catcher Gary Sanchez. Yesterday was a totally different story as the Yankees beat the Jays 5-3. The Yankee bats came alive with 11 hits and 6 walks. The pitching was also great in the game. Corey Kluber started the game making his Yankee major league debut.

Corey Kluber made his Yankee major league debut

Yesterday in the Bronx, Corey Kluber made his major league debut for the New York Yankees. It wasn’t the first time Kluber pitched at Yankee Stadium; as a Cleveland Indian, he pitched at Yankee Stadium with a 3-1 record before becoming a New York Yankee. Over the offseason, the Yankees took the risk to hire a two-time Cy Young Award winner that hadn’t pitched in almost two years due to injury.

After watching Kluber’s rehab with Yankee training head Eric Cressey over the winter and being satisfied that he was ready to pitch again, the Yankee hired him to be their number two starter after losing Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ to free agency. The Yankees did not attempt to hold any of their pitching free agents. After re-signing DJ LeMahieu, the Yankees immediately signed Kluber to an $11 million one-year contract, betting he could return to his Cy Young form.

So far, the Yankees have been happy with Kluber’s spring training performance and his start yesterday. In the game against the Blue Jays, Kluber got in and out of trouble, as any good veteran pitcher should do. Kluber, in four innings of work, allowed 5 hits while striking out 5 Jays. He allowed one earned run while walking 3. His earned run average sits at 2.25. If Kluber can remain with that ERA throughout the season, the Yankees will be more than happy with their $11 million investment.

Jonathan Loaisiga still amazing

Jonathan Loaisiga was one of the best New York Yankee pitchers in spring training. Yesterday he was called in to replace Cory Kluber in the fifth inning. What did he do in two innings of work? He went six up and six down for another brilliant performance.

The Yankees have been thrilled with Loaisiga’s performance since the beginning of spring training. In spring training, he pitched in seven games with an ERA of zero. So far in the regular season, he has pitched in two games for a total of 3 innings and still has an ERA of zero. Loaisiga, in his career with the Yankees, has been both a starter and a reliever. The Yankees feel that he can be best used as a reliever, but if there is a starter injury, you can be sure the Yankees will look to Loaisiga.

Gary Sanchez repeats his Opening Day performance

Over the offseason, the New York Yankees again put their faith in the struggling Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez. They did it because they thought he could still be the Yankee pitcher of the future, despite the horrid season he had last year. Last season he had a batting average of just .147 and lacked starts at the end of the season and in the postseason to the better catching and hitting Kyle Higashioka.

The Yankees tendered him an offer and hoped that he could return to the form he had in 2019 when he hit 34 home runs. As the regular season started, Sanchez needed to get off to a good start on the season. In-game one against the Jays, he had a single, a walk, and a massive home run driving in two runs for a great start on the season. Today against the Jays, he hit another home run and appears to be on his way to a rebound.

 

New York Yankees Recap: Corey Kluber good, Loaisiga brilliant, Sanchez homers again in win

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga

Today for the New York Yankees, Corey Kluber made his Yankee debut at Yankee Stadium, and he had 11 million reasons to pitch well. He will be a free agent at the end of the season; he would like to up his value to when he was a Cy Young Award winner. Today he faced the Toronto Blue Jays Ross Stripling a swingman forced into the starting rotation due to Blue Jays’ pitching injuries. Last year between the Dodgers and the Jays, he had a 3-3 record and an ERA hovering at 6.00. It was a beautiful day for baseball in the Bronx. The bright sun lighted the field throughout the game with a game temperature of 50.

Shortly after 1:05 pm, Corey Kluber took the Yankee’s mound; he faced Marcus Semien of the Jays. Semien singled sharply, Baggio at the plate Semien stole second. Baggio singled when Frazier lost the ball in the sun. Bichetter hit into a double play that Urshela was able to get rid of the ball quickly. Hernandez struck out to end the half and gave Kluber his first scoreless inning in pinstripes. LeMahieu led off for the Yankees against Stripling he popped out in the infield. Aaron Judge had a sharply hit single to left. Aaron Hicks struck out. Giancarlo Stanton walked, moving Judge to second. Gleyber Torres flew out to center, leaving two Yankees on base. No score.

At the top of the second, Vlad Guerrero Jr. was hit by a pitch. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit into a double play. Rowdy Tellez struck out to end the half. Jay Bruce at the bottom struck out. Gary Sanchez ground out. Gio Urshela singled to center. Clint Frazier hit a booming double to the left-field wall moving Urshela to third base. LeMahieu singled, and Urshela scored for the Yankee lead. Judge came to bat with men on the corners; he ground out. New York Yankees 1 Jay 0.

Grichuk against Kluber struck out.  Jensen walked, Semien walked, Biggio at the plate, Sanchez had a passed ball with Jensen reaching third. Matt Black, who worked with Kluber with the Indians, came out to the mound to talk things over. Semien stole second, and Jensen scored when Sanchez threw an off-center throw to second. Tie score with two outs. Bo Bichette struck out looking. Hicks led off the bottom, striking out. Stanton had a huge fly out to the left. Torres hit a single to right-center. Bruce went down looking. Yankees 1 Jays 1.

Hernandez started the fourth grounding out. Guerrero Jr. singled up the center. Gurriel Jr. line drove to left. Tellez flew out to Judge, and Judge fired in keeping Guerrero at third with men on the corners. Grichuk walked, loading the bases with Blue Jays. Danny Jansen ground out to end the half. Gary Sanchez at the bottom hit a line drive bomb into the left-field stands to give the Yankees the lead. Urshela struck out. Clint Frazier walked. LeMahieu singled, moving Frazier to second. The Jays relieved Stripling in favor of Chatwood. Aaron Judge loaded the bases for Hicks. Hicks singled, driving in Frazier as the Yankees tacked on a run. Stanton, with the bases, still loaded flew out behind the plate for the second out. Torres struck out, leaving the bases loaded. New York Yankees 3 Jays 1.

Marcus Semien homered off Kluber, and that was his day being replaced by Jonathan Loaisiga in the fifth. Baggio struck out, Bichette struck out, and Hernandez flew out to center, and Loaisiga goes 1-2-3. At the bottom, Bruce ground out to short. Sanchez flew out. Urshela singled and made it to second on a throwing error. Frazier ground out to end the inning. Yankees 3 Jays 1.

Loaisiga out for a second inning he grounded out Guerrero Jr. Gurriel Jr. ground out. Tellez struck out. For Loaisiga, that was 6 up and 6 down. At the bottom, LeMahieu walked. Judge flew out to left. Hicks struck out for his 6th time in two games. Stanton walked for two on and two outs. Gleyber Torres walked to load the bases again for the Yankees. Bruce hit his first hit as a Yankee and drove in two runs to give the Yankees a 5-2 lead. Sanchez ground out.

At the seventh, Lucas Luetge made his major league debut on the mound for the Yankees. Grichuk singled on a hit that dropped in front of Judge. Crichuk advanced on a ball that bounced off Sanchez’s chest protector. Then another got away from Sanchez, letting him go to third. Jansen struck out. Semien ground out, but Crichuk scored. Baggio ground out. Urshela at the bottom struck out, Frazier went down looking. The Jays made a pitching change, and LeMahieu made a lot out to right. Yankees 5 Jays 3.

At the top of the eight with O’Day on the mound, Bichette hit a blooped hit over DJ’s head. Hernandez had a base hit moving Bichetter to second. Guerrero Jr. flew out. Gurriel Jr. flew out to Gardner. Chad Green replaced O’Day. Tellez struck out.  Judge led off at the bottom of the eighth with a strikeout. Hicks walked. Stanton flew out to shallow center. Torres ground out to short. Yankees 5 Jays 3.

With last licks on the line for the Blue Jays, Chad Green returned to the mound to face Grichuk, who struck out. Joe Panik flew out to short. Semien popped out to Urshela, and that was the game. Final score Yankees 5 Jays 3. Kluber was good, but Loaisiga in relief went six up and six down. The New York Yankees had 11 hits and 6 walks with much traffic on the basepaths. Yet they were only able to score 5 runs, but it was enough.  The winning pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga, loser Stripling, and the save went to Chad Green.

 

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees Analysis: “The Big Three,” Cole, Kluber, and Taillon

By now, all New York Yankee fans know that the Yankees have completely revamped the starting rotation. For those more casual fans who don’t know, the Yankees let the bulk of the pitchers walk into free agency and made no known offers to retain any of them at the end of the season. Masahiro Tanaka is now pitching in Korea, James Paxton is back with the Seattle Mariners, and J.A. Happ is with the Minnesota Twins.

During the 2019/20 offseason, the New York Yankees went to California and lured arguably the best pitcher in baseball, Gerrit Cole, to become a Yankee. This offseason, they contracted two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and traded with the Indians for Jameson Taillon, another top of the heap starter. (Taillon is pronounced TIEown)

Just like the “core 4” was really the core 5 with Bernie Williams, the “Big Three” may also be a misnomer because, in addition to the three, the Yankees also have holdovers Jordan Montgomery, Domingo German, and eventually Luis Severino. Before we get too cheery about this rotation, there is a bugaboo involved, that being Kluber and Taillon’s health. They both have had health issues in the past two years. Kluber was hit by a pitch in 2019 and only pitched one inning last year, suffering a should issue. Taillon is coming back from his second Tommy John surgery.

So far, the health issues seem to be in the past, and both of these guys seem entirely healthy in spring training; hopefully, the fact that they haven’t pitched in the past two years won’t be an issue, and they will return to their previous form. If that is the case, the Yankees could have one of the most feared starting rotations in baseball.

With the season’s Opening Day just a few days away, two of the best performing pitchers are not in the “Big Three.” German leads the entire pack, pitching 9 innings without allowing a run while striking out 13 opponents. Montgomery has the second-lowest ERA, a tiny 0.90. As of today, the Yankee pitching rotation has the 4th lowest ERA in all of baseball.

It’s important to realize that these are spring training numbers and may not translate to the regular season. Pitchers often try out new pitches and make adjustments that can affect their stats in spring training. Many pitchers such as Gerrit Cole have always pitched better during the regular season than the spring stats. Spring training is just a snippet of what might happen in the regular season. Wins and losses mean nothing.

Domingo German:

Domingo German, who did not pitch at all last year due to suspension, has by far been the New York Yankees’ best pitcher in spring training. He looks good, looks confident, and is healthy. In three starts and 9 innings pitched, he has a zero ERA. He has allowed 5 hits while being a strikeout machine, striking out 13. He has had excellent control walking only one across the span. These numbers are also too good to be believed and probably won’t continue, but if his spring performance is any indication, he could very well be the season’s best pitcher. In 2019 he was 18-4 and could have had a 20 game season had it not be cut short.

Jordan Montgomery:

At one point, many in the know thought that Jordan Montgomery could be the next great Yankees pitcher, which has never come to fruition, mostly because of his Tommy John surgery which greatly held him back. Now two years removed from the surgery, “Monty” is this spring’s second-best performing pitcher.  His ERA is 0.90 in three games for a total of 10 innings. He has allowed only 4 hits. He needs to tune up his command; he has allowed walks to 3 batters. This could be Montgomery’s break-out year.

Jameson Taillon:

Taillon holds down the number 3 spot for spring training performance and a solid one at that. Since his second Tommy John surgery, Taillon has made adjustments to his delivery to ease up arm strain. So far during the spring, he has looked great. Very strong and very confident. His ERA is a tiny 1.08. He has pitched 8.1 innings allowing 9 hits, but at the same time striking out more batters than any Yankee pitcher (14) other than Gerrit Cole. Taillon will probably be the number three starter for the Yankees. How he ends up is anyone’s guess. The trio of German, Montgomery, and Taillon has not allowed a home run this spring.

Corey Kluber:

Kluber will be the number two starter by most reports. He also has the second worse ERA of any of the starters, sitting at 1.86. Please make no mistake, we use the word worse very loosely, and an ERA of 1.86 at the end of the season would make what the Yankees paid for him worth at least twice that amount. Over 9.2 innings, he has allowed 9 hits, 2 earned runs while striking out 9. What is most important with Kluber is that he feels great and is healthy. If he stays that way, he could have a Cy Young season.

Gerrit Cole:

Gerrit Cole could be best described as a work in progress. Cole is known for trying out new things and refining others in spring training. He has had his last start of the spring and is easily the New York Yankee’s worst-performing starter. But that being said, if he continued at his present rate, the Yankees would be tickled with a 2.45 ERA over the season.

His biggest problem in the spring has been giving up the long ball (3) only second to Deivi Garcia demoted to the minors. The big difference between the two is that Cole has the most strikeouts of any starter (24). However, it concerns that those home runs dog him. Surely something he will look to fix in the regular season. With Cole’s 3.19 career ERA, the Yankees are certainly not worried about how Cole will perform in the regular season.

Although this article is about the Yankees starters, it would not be fair not to mention the big three Yankee reliever standouts. Jonathan Loaisiga has been a huge bright spot for the Yankees during the spring. He has pitched in six games with the most innings of any reliever and has an ERA of 1.36. He has allowed only 6 hits across 13.1 innings while striking out 10 and walking only 2. If any Yankee starter becomes injured, the Yankees will surely consider Loaisiga as a replacement.

Lucas Luetge was picked up over the offseason. He has been terrific for the Yankees. He has struck out more hitters than any reliever (18). His ERA is 1.74, and if it weren’t for one game, he would not have any ERA, but in one outing, he gave up two home runs. Nick Nelson is another standout this spring. Nelson has an ERA of 1.04, has not given up a home run, and has struck out 9 batters.

The Yankees going into the regular season have never looked so good since they acquired CC Sabathia. That was 2009 the last time the Yankees won a World Series. One huge thing missing from this article is that no starter or reliever mentioned has an ERA over 2.45. This is enormous for the New York Yankees; if they can maintain this and stay healthy, the Yankees have a great chance to be on their way to a 28th World Championship.

 

New York Yankees Recap: Michael King implodes in Yankee loss 25 run game to the Phillies

New York Yankees, Michael King

The New York Yankees were at Clearwater, Florida, tonight against Joe Girardi’s Philadephia Phillies. Starting for the Yankees was Michael King, and for the Phillies was Matt Moore. It was a warm night for a ballgame, even for Florida at this time of year. It was humid with a game-time temperature of 86 degrees. It was sunny to start the game with only light breezes. Tonight Yankees fans got a look at what most likely will be the Opening Day lineup at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees lost the game as starter Michael King absolutely imploded in Yankee’s 13-12 loss.

DJ LeMahieu was the first to face Matt Moore. He singled on a line drive. Aaron Judge next up was rewarded getting a monster home run, his first of spring training, driving in two runs for the Yankees. Up next was Aaron HIcks, who immediately doubled. Giancarlo Stanton flew out. Luke Voit struck out swinging, and Gleyber Torres walked. Gio Urshela struck out, but the Yankees picked up two runs in the inning. Yankees 2 Phillies 0.

At the bottom, the Yankees sent Mickael King out onto the mound for his third start of the spring. Ex-Yankee McCutchen made first when hit by a pitch. JT Realmuto doubled, moving McCutchin to third. King walked Bryce Harper to load the bases with Phillies with no outs. Rhys Hoskins was hit by another pitch driving in a run. Bohm ground out, but another run scored. Didi Gregorius homered, driving in three runs. Still, with only one out Trevor Lane replaced him; however, Segura doubled. Herrera struck out, and Quinn flew out to finally end an inning with a whole game of scoring. Phillies 5 Yankee 2.

Clint Frazier struck out at the top of the second, Kyle Higashioka flew out, and DJ LeMahieu, the “hitting machine,” singled. Aaron Judge, who homered in the first, grounded out sharply to second to end the Yankee half. Michael King still in for the second, McCutchen singles off King. A pitch hit JT Realmuto as King had absolutely no command hitting 3 Phillies in just two innings. Harper singled, loading the bases again. Hoskins walked in another Phillies run. Bohm struck out for the first out of the inning. Gregorius lined out, and Segura singled, driving in Realmuto as the Phillies had their way with King. Herrera struck out mercifully, allowing King to leave the mound. Phillies 7 Yankees 2 after two innings.

At the top of the third, Aaron Hicks struck out, and Giancarlo Stanton being much more patient at the plate this season, walked. Luke Voit singled, moving Stanton to scoring position. Torres homered, driving in three runs eating away at the Phillies lead. Gio Urshela flew out. Clint Frazier struck out to end the half, but the Yankee Picked up another three turns. At the bottom, surprisingly, Michael King was still on the mound after giving up seven runs. Welcome to spring training. Quinn struck out swinging, McCutchen flew out, and Realmuto grounded out for a quick inning for King.

Kyle Higashioka led off for the New York Yankees in the fourth against Matt Moore in his fourth inning of work. Higgy struck out. LeMahieu lined out, and Aaron Judge walked. Aaron Hicks made the last out of the inning. At the bottom, Michael King was replaced by Jonathan Loaisiga. Hoskings struck out, Hoskins ground out, and Ronald Torreyes struck out for the final out of the inning. Loaisiga has been the best Yankee reliever this spring. The fourth inning was the first inning with no scoring by either team.

For the fifth, Stanton led off flew out to Bryce Harper. Luke Voit walked after a wild pitch Viot advanced to second. Gleyber Torres walked, producing Yankees on the corners. Torres stole second, Urshela struck out, but Voit scored on a wild pitch. Frazier, with one-on and two outs, walked, getting Yankees on the corners again. That drove Alverado out of the game. Higgy against ex-Yankee David Hale ground out into a force out ending the half, but the Yankees did pick up a run. Gregorius against Loaisiga he ground out as did Segura. Herrera popped out to Luke Voit, ending the inning. Phillies 7 Yankees 6.

LeMahieu led off the sixth by walking. Aaron Judge was called out on strikes. Aaron Hicks walked for two on. Stanton struck out, and Luke Voit flew out for the final out, leaving the Yankees scoreless in the inning. Quinn flew out to center, McCutchen ground out, and Realmuto singles and Realmuto doubled, driving in a run. Hoskins flew out to end the inning, but the Phillies picked up another run. Phillies 8 Yankees 6.

Gleyber Torres was called out on strikes, Urshela popped out, and Frazier flew out for a 1-2 -3 inning for pitcher Neris. With Luis Garcia on the mound, Torreyes ground out, Williams lined out, and Philly Luis Garcia ground out to end the quick seventh inning.

At the top of the eighth, Kellin Deglan ground out for the Yankees. Duran ground out, and Floria stuck out. At the bottom Tyler Lyons too over for the New York Yankees. Rojas singled on a line drive. He then stole second. Jankowski struck out. Betancourt walked, given Phillie’s men on the corner. Vierling singled, driving in another run. O’Hoppe homered, driving in two more Phillies runs. Ex-Yankee Torreyes struck out for the third out. Phillies 12 Yankees 6.

With the last licks on the line at the top of the ninth,  Chris Gittens homers to right field. Austin Wells ground out softly. Milone walked, Peraza walked for two on and no outs. Alvarez singled for two on, Milone scored. Amburgey struck out, and Deglan singles Peraza scored. Duran doubled, scoring two. Estevan Florial singles driving in two more runs. Chris Gittens struck out, ending the half with a 12-12 tie. Nestor Cortes Jr. came out for the Yankee at the bottom, hoping to hold the Phillies down. Williams singled. Garcia was out on a sac punt. Rojas singled, scoring William from first for the Phillies win in a 25 run game.

Note: Bringing back a pitcher after being pulled can only happen in spring training and is done to give the pitcher more work. However, in the game, Michael King removed himself from any chance at taken the fifth anchor spot in the Yankees rotation. The New York Yankees’ hitting surely gave the Yankees a chance to win this game but couldn’t quite get there in 9 innings. The Phillies won the game 13-12.

New York Yankees Spotlight: Giancarlo Stanton and Jonathan Loaisiga shine in the spring

New York Yankees, Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

In this weekly column, we spotlight the New York Yankee who has made the most positive impact on the team during spring training for the week. It will spotlight one pitcher and one hitter that excelled beyond the rest. So far in spring training, both starters’ and relievers’ pitching has generally been better than the Yankee hitting. But one Yankee is standing out from the rest, and that is Giancarlo Stanton, who has the highest batting average of any regular lineup hitter. The standout Yankee reliever, hands down, is Jonathan Loaisiga.

This week’s pitcher spotlight is on Jonathan Loaisiga, he has pitched more innings (10.1) than any Yankee reliever, and he has shined, allowing only 1 earned run over the span. His only earned run a home run. He has also allowed 3 hits but prevented those hitters from scoring. He has the lowest WHIP of any reliever that has pitched in five or more games. He has a tiny ERA of 0.87.

Loaisiga, because he has been used as a starter and reliever in the past, has remained mostly under the radar. When many pitchers and hitters underperformed in the shortened 2020 season, Jonathan got the job done. In 12 games, 23 innings, he was 3-0 while starting 3 of those games. He got 22 strikeouts with a WHIP of 1.22. Although probably not destined to be in the starting rotation, there is no question that if any of the regular guys get injured, the New York Yankees will look to Loaisiga to start a few games.

Honorable mention goes to Lucas Luetge, who is really turning heads in spring training. The Yankees acquired him over the offseason. Luetge, in six innings of work, has struck out 13 batters.

This week’s hitter spotlight is on Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton has been the one Yankee hitter that is performing better than others in the regular lineup. The Yankees have five hitters with higher batting averages, but they have played in fewer games and are non-roster players. It’s a bit of a surprise that Stanton is completely healthy so far. But even his detractors know that when he on the field, he can be an MVP-type player. So far in spring training, he is hitting .333.

Stanton last season played in only 18 of the 60 game season. But when he returned healthy after being on the IL, he played much better. He was the star player in the postseason, hitting six home runs over the seven postseason games. He had a postseason batting average of .302. So far, Stanton seems to have more plate discipline than he has in the past. He is being much more selective and taking his walks. His OPS stands at 1.016.

Honorable mention goes to Gleyber Torres, who is hitting .267 with two home runs in spring training. Torres hit 38 homers in 2019 but only 3 during 2020. Playing well at short and hitting two homers already suggests that Torres could have a great rebound season.

 

New York Yankees Recaps: Gio Urshela homers in Yankees loss to the Orioles

The New York Yankees went with their “B” lineup last night in their match-up with the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. The skies were sunny, and the game-time temperature was in the mid-sixties. Michael King took the mound for the Yankees and Matt Harvey for the Baltimore Orioles.

DJ LeMahieu dropped his spring training average down to .258 when he struck out in the first inning.  Shortstop Gleyber Torres walked. Jay Bruce ground out, and Gary Sanchez struck out swinging to end the half. With King on the mound, Mullins and Mancini both struck out swinging, and Santander flew out to the left-field for a quick inning for King.

At the top of the second inning, Gio Urshela hit a monster home run to centerfield, his first of the spring training for the Yankees 1-0 lead. Derrick Dietrich reached on a hit by a pitch, but Ford, Tauchman, and Brito all struck out or flew out to end the inning, but the Yankees picked up a run. At the bottom of the inning, Ruiz struck out, and Galvis flew out, two away. Hays grounded out to LeMahieu to end the inning. Yankees 1 Orioles 0. At the bottom of the third inning Ramon Urias grounded out, but Sisco, who was on second, scored to tie up the game a 1 apiece. Michael King finished up three innings allowing one earned run and an ERA of 3.85 on spring training.

The New York Yankees had a scoreless fourth inning. The Orioles were also scoreless,b but in the bottom of the fifth inning, Pat Valaika hit a solo homer off Jonathan Loaisiga on a line drive to center field for his second home of spring training. Orioles 2 Yankees 1. It was Jonathan Loaisiga’s first home run allowed and second hit allowed of spring training.

The game remained 2-1 Baltimore Orioles through the top of the ninth inning. Luis Cessa pitched two quality inning for the New York Yankees while striking out three Orioles. The Yankee’s lineup again remained quiet except for Urshela’s home run way back in the second inning. Gary Sanchez struck out twice going 0-3 while his batting average dropped to .193. The final score was the Baltimore Orioles 2 and the New York Yankees 1. The winning pitcher was Mac Sceroler.  The Loser was Jonathan Loaisiga, who allowed the second Baltimore run in the fifth inning.

Tomorrow the New York Yankees play the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Florida. Gerrit Cole will get the start against the Jays. The 1:05 pm game will be televised on MLBN. Stay with EmpireSportsMedia. Com for all the Yankee updates.

New York Yankees: Big battles and big decisions for the Yankees

Tomorrow is the first day of spring, and for the New York Yankees, spring training games are waning; there are only eleven games left to play before players and staff head north to Yankee Stadium. The players may be itching to get the regular season going but some are itching more than others. Why? Because some will be cut as the Yankees face crunch time to firm up the 26 man roster. There are still battles for those last spots.

This may be the last games of spring training, but it’s also a time that both the players and the front office is busy as can be. Housing to be arranged and cars to be shipped for the big move north. But for manager Aaron Boone, coaches, and the front office, they still have some big decisions to be made, and they won’t be able to wait until the last moment.

The New York Yankees know pretty much what the opening day lineup will be. They know who their starting pitcher will be, and they know who all the position players will be. But the question of who will fill the fifth spot in the starting rotation is still unanswered. Who will be added to the bullpen is yet to be determined and who will sit beside Brett Gardner and Kyle Higashioka as reserves on the bench are still unknown.

The battle to anchor the pitching rotation:

RHP Domingo Germán (0.00 ERA 9 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 13 K)
RHP Deivi García (2.25 ERA in 8 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 10 K)
RHP Michael King (4.00 ERA in 9 IP, 6 H, 5 BB, 6 K)
RHP Jhoulys Chacín (5.40 ERA in 6 2/3 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 7 K)

All of these starting pitchers want that last spot in the starting rotation. New York Yankee manager Aaron Boone has said that he will carry 13 pitchers and 13 players at the start of the season. That means with the first four starters pretty well nailed down, one of the above will be the fifth starter. This decision may be the easiest for the Yankee brasse to make because, at this point, it seems to be a no-brainer. Domingo German is the clear leader in this category. It is very likely the Deivi Garcia will start his season in May at Scranton Wilkes/Barre. That being said, it is also as likely that all of these pitchers will spend some time at Yankee Stadium during the season.

The battle to gain a home in the bullpen:

LHP Lucas Luetge (spring stats: 0.00 ERA in 6 1/3 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 13 K)
RHP Nick Nelson (0.00 ERA in 6 1/3 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 6 K)
RHP Kyle Barraclough (1.80 ERA in 5 IP, 2 H, 7 BB, 7 K)
RHP Nick Goody (1.93 ERA in 4 2/3 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 3 K)
LHP Tyler Lyons (2.08 ERA in 4 1/3 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 7 K)

These are the relievers that have a chance to be added to a bullpen that will include: Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga, Luis Cessa, Justin Wilson, and Darren O’Day. This will be a much more difficult decision to be made by management. All five of these relievers are good in their own way. Actually, I should change the word good for excellent. It seems obvious, with an ERA of zero and 13 strikeouts per nine, that the Yankees will select Lucas Luetge. Beyond that It’s anyone’s guess. At this point, to me, it seems to be very close between Tyler Lyons and Nick Nelson.

Like the starters, Matt Blake and manager Boone will have to watch the innings pitched this season as the staff adjusts to a 162 game season after a short 60 season this past year. All of these pitchers will be used during the season, and some of the relievers like Jonathan Loaisiga, Deivi Garcia, and Clarke Schmidt will be used in various roles. There is still an outside chance that Jonathan Loaisiga could snag that fifth starter spot due to his excellent spring.

The battle to sit on the bench:

This is probably the biggest battle yet to be resolved. Who will sit on the bench? There is no question that Brett Gardner will be the backup outfielder who can play at all outfield positions and Kyle Higashioka, who will be the backup catcher for Gary Sanchez.

Chris Gittens (3 for 8, .375, 1HR, 5 RBIs) first base

Jay Bruce (6 for 23, .261, 2HR, 3 RBIs) first base & outfield

Mike Tauchman (5 for 21, .238, 2HR, 3 RBIs) outfield

Mike Ford (3 for 19, .158, 0HR, 2 RBIs)  first base

Derek Dietrich (2 for 18, .111, 1HR, 3 RBIs) utility

Thairo Estrada (3 for 18, .167, 1RBI) second base

Tyler Wade (3 for 21 .143, 2DBL, 1 RBI) utility

The New York Yankees would like to keep all these players around, but to fill out the 26 man roster, they will only be able to keep two to add to the bench. Mike Tauchman may not be the best player on this list, but he is one of the most versatile, and considering he is out of minor-league options, the Yankees will likely want to keep him around or trade him in the coming days.  With Chris Gittens playing like he is, my guess is Mike Ford will start in the minors again, and Gittens will be Luke Voit’s backup. If Tauchman is traded, Jay Bruce will be the next man up.

The Yankees may have been weeding out these players by creative moves. The Yankees have shown they can have Brett Gardner play in right field. This may not spell well for Tauchman and Bruce. LeMahieu can play all three bases. Gio Urshela had a successful try-out at short, lessening the need for Tyler Wade. At this point, Dietrich and Ford look like they will be on the outside looking in. Sometime within the next six or seven exhibition games, this will likely be all sorted out and the Yankees will announce their 26 man roster for opening day at Yankee Stadium.

Yesterday was the last day off for the Yankees in this spring training. Today the Yankees will host the Philadelphia Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. Ex-Yankee Ivan Nova will start for the Phillies. At the time of this writing, the Yankees have not announced their starter for the 6:35 pm non-televised game.

 

 

The Yankees have renewed faith in Jonathan Loaisiga, and it’s starting to show

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga

After throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday’s Grapefruit League action, Jonathan Loaisiga is shaping up as a crucial piece in the New York Yankees’ pitching puzzle. It’s clear that, barring a series of injuries, he won’t make the rotation, but the young righty can be a valuable contributor in a multi-inning relief role.

So far, Loaisiga has thrown 8 1/3 scoreless frames for the Yankees, and his command, which is what has set him back all these years, is starting to improve, despite walking a pair of batters on Tuesday.

“I’ve always been pretty open in telling them that I’m here to pitch and help in any way possible,” Loaisiga said to MLB.com through an interpreter. “That could be multiple innings, that could be middle relief, it could be starting. To me, it’s just being available and putting myself in a position where I can help, regardless of what that may be.”

The Yankees know that, after Zack Britton’s injury, there is a huge hole in the late innings that someone will need to fill. Manager Aaron Boone has said it will be a team effort, but it’s nice to know that Loaisiga is good enough to be one of the pitchers with that duty.

The Yankees know he can be an important piece

The right-hander wasn’t bad at all in 2020, with a 3.52 ERA in 12 games, but faltered during key moments in the postseason and is looking for another chance.

“He’s been a guy that has had varying degrees of success these last few years, but that we feel really good about,” Boone said. “With the length that he can give you in the pen, that role becomes really important. He’s a dynamic pitcher with great stuff and the ability to fill up the strike zone.”

The Yankees’ skipper encourages Loaisiga to attack the strike zone and stop nibbling around the corners, which often leads to walks. Loaisiga believes his changeup has developed into a reliable third pitch, and continues to tinker with a slider.

“I’ve felt really good in camp,” Loaisiga said. “This year I feel that physically that I’m at 100%. My arm feels really good.”