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.



New York Yankees: Maldonado Or Higashioka As The Backup Catcher?

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

On Thursday, it was reported that Austin Romine signed a one year, $4.5 million deal with the Detroit Tigers. Romine will be going into a starting role with the Tigers, a role well deserved.  However, he’s leaving the New York Yankees with a decision on who the new backup catcher will be.

The team is reportedly interested in signing Martin Maldonado, a catcher on the Houston Astros in 2019 that worked extremely well with Gerrit Cole. Cole had a 1.57 ERA in innings that Maldonado caught him.

But at the same time, the team feels really comfortable using Kyle Higashioka as the backup. Higashioka previously served as the “third catcher”, primarily playing with the Railriders but getting called up in September and when Gary Sanchez hit the IL.

Which one is the better fit?

In my opinion, it’s Higashioka.  Higgy has spent a lot of time with Yankees pitchers, and you can’t make a decision to sign somebody based off one player. If they were to sign Maldonado, they would need him to fit well with all pitchers, not just Cole.

Both players also have a similar play style. They are defensive orientated and don’t have great offensive numbers. Higashioka hit .214 in 2019 and Maldonado hit .213.

Higgy has shown offensive potential, and has surprising power. In May, I saw him hit two home runs and drive in seven runs in a AAA win over the Syracuse Mets. He has the potential to have more of those types of games.

Maldonado is a bit older, 33, and will want more money than Higashioka is currently getting paid. Saving money on somebody like the backup catcher is ideal to have money to pay the big guns.

Going with Kyle Higashioka instead of signing Martin Maldonado as the backup catcher is the better move for the Yankees.

New York Yankees rumors: Brett Gardner, Dellin Betances, Martin Maldonado

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole, Martin Maldonado

The New York Yankees have started the offseason active, but there’s plenty of work left to be done with players like Brett Gardner and Dellin Betances waiting in the wings. Reports have indicated that Gardner is a likely retention candidate while Betances could be on his way out, as GM Brian Cashman can’t spend every last dollar he has before the season even begins.

However, there are several free agents that still make sense for the Bombers, one of them being catcher Martin Maldonado.

Here are your latest New York Yankees rumors:

Mark Feinsand: The Yankees have interest in C Martin Maldonado, per source. Interesting stats to consider: Maldonado caught Gerrit Cole 10 times in 2019 – and Cole had a 1.57 ERA and .471 opponent OPS in those starts, his lowest numbers with any of Houston’s catchers last season.

Jon Heyman: Yankees are hopeful to get a Brett Gardner deal done soon. Gardy belongs in pinstripes.
Joel Sherman: #Yankees were described as far down the line on a new contract with Brett Gardner. It would be a surprise if it doesn’t get done. #Reunion
Dan Federico: Heard from a source earlier that the Mets are pushing hard for a one year contract with Dellin Betances. Yankees still have interest.

Regarding Betances, the Yankees have an interest in retaining him on a one-year deal, but his price-tag might be too steep considering the hefty cost of Gerrit Cole and the expected agreement with Gardner. Manager Aaron Boone and pitching coach Matt Blake could elect to stick with Zack Britton as their primary relief arm, especially since Betances missed all of 2019, and the Yankees still had one of the best bullpens in baseball.

On the Gardner front, a contract is expected within the next few days; it would be ludicrous to let him go anywhere else, considering his familiarity with the organization and ability to supplement injuries.