Game 32 Quick Recap: KC 7 NYY 3

For all intents and purposes, this one was over after the top of the 1st inning.  Another Michael Pineda misfire at the start of the game put the Yankees in a hole they could never climb out of as they dropped the third game of this 4-game series. I don't know what it is with Pineda and the 1st inning this season.  This isn't the first time he's done this.  He couldn't locate his fastball, he was leaving slider after slider too far up in the zone, and yeah, he did get burned by the hotshot grounder that Mark Teixeira probably snares to start a double play but Dustin Ackley didn't even touch.  But Pineda was all-around terrible in the top of the 1st and the dead center slider he threw to Salvador Perez for a 3-run home run was one of the worst pitches you'll ever see.

And of course Pineda "rebounded" after that and pitched the next 4 innings scoreless with 6 strikeouts.  This gave the Yankees the chance to chip away at the early KC lead.  They did that on a Carlos Beltran solo home run and Chase Headley bloop RBI single in the 2nd and a Brian McCann RBI groundout in the 5th.  They had a great chance for another run when Aaron Hicks singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch to lead off the 4th, but the next 3 batters failed to get the ball out of the infield.

Pineda tired and put 2 on with 2 outs in the 6th, and Joe went to Nick Goody to escape the jam and keep the game close.  Probably not the right move, at the time or in hindsight.  Goody hit Alcides Escobar with a pitch to load the bases, then gave up a 2-run single to Lorenzo Cain to push the Royal lead back to 3.  The offense went to sleep after that and Joe burned through Phil Coke to get through the rest of the game.  Got a loaded relief deck to win the series today.

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Game 31 Recap: Yankees 10 Royals 7

Last night I posed the question on the IIATMS email chain about how good Masahiro Tanaka would have to be for the Yankees to win last night.  They were without yet another key bat in the middle of the order in Mark Teixeira, they had Dustin Ackley hitting in the 5-spot, and they still have Chase Headley toiling around in the bottom third of the order.  Well as the old saying goes, you just can't predict baseball, Suzyn.  The Yankee bats made up for an off night from Tanak and the usually reliable Andrew Miller, slugging their way to a 10-7 victory. Tanaka has done a great job keeping the ball in the yard so far this season, but he got bit hard by the long ball last night.  His slider command wasn't up to par and the Royals teed off on it twice for multi-run home runs.  Chester Cuthbert hit a 2-run home run off it in the 2nd and Lorenzo Cain smashed one for a deflating 3-run shot in the 5th.  Cain also hit a YS3 cheapie in the 3rd, totaling up the 3 homers and 6 earned runs Tanaka served up.  He did complete 7 innings and he didn't walk a batter, so it wasn't a total garbage start.  Just a night where Tanaka wasn't as sharp as we've seen him in previous starts and got hit by the defending World Series champions.

And he picked a good night to have an off-night because the Yankee B-squad lineup was feeling it last night.  They battered KC starter Kris Medlen for 4 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks in 2+ innings and made sure this was going to be a long night for the Royal 'pen.  Didi Gregorius was in on a lot of the early action, hitting a leadoff double and coming around to score in the bottom of the 2nd and clearing the bases with another double to put the Yankees ahead 5-3 in the 3rd.

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Game 29 Quick Recap: BOS 5 NYY 1

(Editor's Note- I'm sure everybody has noticed the lack of game threads and comment access over the last few days.  We've deactivated the comment section plugin on the blog because we believed it to be the source of some of the recent spam/site access problems that we've had lately.  We're working on making the fixes to eliminate that problem, but for now we're going to keep everything off until we can be sure that the bugs have been fixed.  The site is still active and there will still be new posts.  Just stick with us while we figure out the tech stuff.  Thanks.) Just when you think the Yankees are maybe getting over these early-season blues, they drop a game like last night's in your face.  This game was everything that's wrong with the Yankees on display: inconsistent starting pitching, complete lack of offense, depth issues, and a shaky front end of the bullpen.  Oh well, still a series victory.

Luis Severino really wasn't bad last night.  His outing really did come down to 3 or 4 bad pitches.  Eliminate those pitches and he threw almost 7 innings of 1-hit ball.  His fastball location was much better than it has been both down in the strike zone and on the corners.  His slider continues to make its way down and out of the strike zone where it can be more often swung and missed at.  Severino retired 10 straight from the 1st to the 4th innings and struck out 4 in a row during the run.  In that sample, he was brilliant.

But those 3-4 bad pitches led to the 4 Boston runs that would make the difference in the game.  One was a Yankee Stadium Special home run off the bat of Dustin Pedroia in the top of the 1st.  The luck on the home run location was bad, but Severino gave Pedroia that chance by throwing a fastball up and down the middle with 2 strikes.  He did the same thing to David Ortiz in the 3rd and Ortiz hit it into the right field bleachers.  And just for good measure, Severino grooved another heater for Ortiz to lead off the 7th and watched that one go sailing over the bullpen too.

Any combination of those home runs was enough to best the weak Yankee lineup.  They can never hit knuckleballers and Steven Wright had his working last night.  He threw a complete game on 101 pitches, allowing only 3 hits and striking out 7.  Brett Gardner got him for a meaningless solo home run in the 9th.  Other than that, Wright put the Yankee hitters in a diaper and left them there all night.  Now we get to hear about how much facing this guy threw them off their game when they score 6 runs combined in the next 4 games.

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Game 27 Quick Recap: NYY 3 BOS 2

It wasn't pretty or easy, but the Yankees squeaked one out last night to join the ranks of the double-digit win teams.  And on Sauv Blanc Day at The Stadium no less!  Congratulations, boys. The Michael Pineda Experience was in full effect to start the game last night.  He got 2 quick outs in the top of the 1st and then gave up a double down the line and a 2-run home run to David Ortiz on a 2-strike slider that hung right in the kill zone.  It looked like we were going to be in for another long night, but to his credit Pineda got it together and pitched 5 more innings without allowing another run.  He had to work out of trouble at times, but he managed to do so without giving up any more back-breaking 2-out, 2-strike hits.  That's a step in the right direction for him.

The offensive output came in 3 short bursts.  Brian McCann doubled in Jacoby Ellsbury to cut the Boston lead in half in the bottom of the 1st and Dustin Ackley singled in Starlin Castro to tie the game in the 2nd.  We stayed knotted up into the late innings when Aaron Hicks finally came through with a big hit.  Rick Porcello threw him a first pitch changeup to start the bottom of the 7th and Hicks was on it all the way, driving it out into the right field bleachers for a go-ahead home run.  It was left up just enough to square up and it sure looked like Hicks was waiting for it.

The finish was not without drama.  Dellin Betances got into some trouble with 2 outs in the 8th and Joe went to Andrew Miller for the 4-out save.  Miller himself got into big trouble by loading the bases with 1 out in the 9th, but he got some help from home plate umpire Ron Kulpa during David Ortiz's at-bat.  Say what you want about the 3-1 pitch, and it looked like it was a strike, but the 3-2 pitch was low.  Kulpa gave Miller the call, punched out Ortiz, and Miller got Hanley Ramirez swinging to end the game.  I'll take it.

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Game 26 Quick Recap: BAL 1 NYY 0 (10 Inn)

Well I hope you didn't miss the big offensive breakout on Wednesday night, because it might have been a one-time show.  The Yankees fell back into their bat coma last night, dropping the final game of the road trip 1-0 in extra innings to the Orioles. Masahiro Tanaka threw his best start in a long time.  He carved the Orioles up with a sick mix of sinkers, splitters, and sliders, and gave his team ample opportunity to dumb luck their way into a run and win the game.  He was hardly ever in any situation resembling trouble, his command was spot on, he generated a ton of weak ground balls, and he looked every bit the stud he was in 2014 before the injury problems started.  Fantastic outing.  Bravo, sir.

The offense?  Booooo, BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!  They did what they do.  They couldn't execute a bunt to move a runner over in the 3rd and it stalled a rally before it could start.  They wasted a Starlin Castro leadoff double in the 4th.  They grounded into a double play to end the inning the instant they got another baserunner on in the 7th.  It was a collection of all the 2016 greatest hits and then some.  Maybe this is a really bad string of luck and things are going to even out eventually and maybe these guys really are better hitters than they're showing.  But they don't hit.  Period.  That's all that matters.

The game went into the 10th inning after Tanaka finished 8 and Dellin Betances handled the 9th, and Joe's brain went in the toilet.  Instead of using a well-rested Andrew Miller to keep the game tied and make sure his team had another chance to hit and score the winning run, Joe elected to use Johnny Barbato and give the home-hitting Orioles the much better chance of scoring that winning run first.  The Orioles singled twice off Barbato and Joe finally went to Miller, who gave up the game-losing sac fly to Pedro Alvarez.  Nothing like having literally no margin for error.  Fitting end to a very bad road trip.

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Game 25 Recap: Yankees 7 Orioles 0

Hey, a win!  How about that?  In a stunning turn of events, the Yankees managed to score more runs than their opponent for the first time in 7 games last night.  They scored a lot more runs than their opponent in fact, turning the tables and shutting out the Orioles thanks to a stellar performance by CC Sabathia and big offensive contributions from Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann. Sabathia didn't turn back to the clock to his prime and fire a bunch of heaters past the Baltimore hitters.  He actually walked the figurative tightrope for most of the evening.  Baltimore put at least one runner on base in each of the first 5 innings, including 2 in the 3rd and 4th.  Sabathia avoided trouble by inducing inning-ending double plays in both innings and also worked around runners on the corners with 1 out in the 5th by striking out Joey Rickard and getting Manny Machado to line out to center field.  This wasn't vintage CC so much as it was the type of evolved, lower velocity CC we've been waiting for years to see.  He located his fastball well, he used his changeup marvelously, and he kept the Baltimore lineup off balance all night.  He even through in another inning-ending double play in the 6th for good measure.

For a while it looked like it was going to be a wasted outing for CC.  The lineup stumbled out of the gate when Ellsbury led off the game with a double, moved to third base, and then got thrown out at home trying to score on a ground ball to first base.  They were swinging early against starter Tyler Wilson and beating a lot of balls into the ground.  But they finally struck gold in the top of the 6th when Ellsbury singled and stole second with 1 out then moved to third on Brett Gardner's single.  Carlos Beltran brought home the first run with a sac fly, and after a Mark Teixeira walk the Yanks tacked on 2 more on a Brian McCann base hit and a throwing error by Wilson.  It took a while, but the cushion was established.

Once it was, the Bombers didn't take long to build on it.  They put up 4 more runs in the top of the 8th on pairs of singles, doubles, walks, and a hit by pitch.  McCann's 2-run double was the biggest blow and the 7-run lead was more than enough to preserve CC's win.

Not that there wasn't a tiny bit of drama in that preservation.  Joe went with Kirby Yates in the bottom of the 8th in an attempt to rest his bullpen aces.  Yates responded by loading the bases on 2 walks and a double after striking out the first batter of the inning, and in a semi-panic move Joe went to Dellin Betances to put out the fire.  Betances did just that by freezing Chris Davis with 3 straight curveballs and inducing a harmless pop out to end the inning.  Was he needed there?  Probably not.  Do I blame Joe for going to him given the 6-game losing streak and the way his club had been playing coming into last night?  Absolutely not.

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Game 24 Recap: Orioles 4 Yankees 1

[caption id="attachment_81188" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Severino HS vs BAL Too high. Courtesy of the AP[/caption] It's official.  This team has completely come off the rails.  I made a point to stay awake long enough to watch the entire game last night, which was a stupid move on my part.  Everything I saw was indicative of a baseball team that's not just slumping, but isn't actually a good baseball team.  Bad takes, bad swings, missed pitch locations, dropped throws, failure to tag up on the basepaths, getting doubled off for ranging too far of a base.  Tons of little mistakes that bad teams make.  There clearly isn't a shakeup to be made with this bunch, not unless somebody or somebodies get hurt and hit the DL.  But damn, they sure could use it because they are plain awful.

Luis Severino was back on the hill after his 3-inning disaster start in Texas, and while this one wasn't quite that bad it wasn't good by any means.  Severino battled his fastball command all night, missing by over a foot at times, and his worst misses got crushed.  He left a 2-strike fastball up to Mark Trumbo in the bottom of the 2nd and watched it get crushed to left field for a game-tying home run.  He did the same thing with a changeup in the 5th and Trumbo hit that one over the left field wall too for a 2-run home run.  Inability to hit spots with his fastball and absolutely zero respect for his offspeed pitches from opposing hitters.  That's a tough combo to work through as a young big league pitcher.

When he wasn't serving up gopher balls, Severino was putting on a clinic in how to not field your position.  With 2 on and 2 out in the 3rd, he wasn't quick enough getting to first base to cover on a ground ball hit to Mark Teixeira and he dropped the toss as he tried to find the base with his foot.  Severino did manage to get Manny Machado to pop out and end the threat, but he wasn't so lucky in the 4th when he did it again on a Ryan Flaherty grounder and Jonathan Schoop came around to score on the error.

Those 4 runs, earned or not, were all on Severino and they provided plenty of cushion for Baltimore starter Chris Tillman.  The Yankees got to him for a token run in the top of the 2nd on a Brian McCann walk and 2 singles by Carlos Beltran and Didi Gregorius and then basically withered up and died.  They put a runner on base in every inning except the 7th, including leadoff walks in the 4th and 6th, but never got any big hits to capitalize on the opportunities.  The biggest blow was in the 6th, when Mark Teixeira drew the leadoff walk and Brian McCann singled to left to put 2 on with nobody out.  Betran lined out for the first out and McCann got nabbed off first when Starlin Castro hit a soft liner to second base.  Not sure where McCann was going on that one, but it was a pretty brutal baserunning misread considering the situation.

Tillman racked up 9 strikeouts in 7 strong innings and the Baltimore bullpen made sure there would be no comeback.  The losing streak has reached 6.  The Yankees have scored 13 total runs in those 6 games.  7 of them came on Sunday night.

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Game 23 Quick Recap: BOS 8 NYY 7

There was heavy rain in the forecast all of last night, and there were questions as to whether the Yanks and Sox would get last night's series finale in.  A rainout would have been a better outcome for the Bronx Bummers, as they gagged away another one late to drop the series, their 5th straight game, and their record to a lowly 8-15 on the season. It was all about blown leads for Yankee starter Nathan Eovaldi.  He was given a 3-1 lead in the 3rd after a Jacoby Ellsbury RBI double and a 2-run home run by Alex Rodriguez and he promptly blew it in the bottom half by giving up 3 runs on 4 singles and a walk.  The offense came back with 3 runs in the 5th on a 2-run double by A-Rod and RBI single by Mark Teixeira, and Eovaldi blew that lead in the bottom of the inning by serving up a 2-run homer to Travis Shaw.  For once it wasn't the offense's fault.  They gave Eovaldi plenty of run support and he couldn't make any of it stick.

The 6-6 tie lasted until the bottom of the 7th, when Ivan Nova sandwiched 2 outs around a Shaw base hit and exited for Dellin Betances.  Betances has been scuffling lately with some poorly placed curveballs, but it was the heater that failed him last night.  Christian Vazquez was sitting fastball on the first pitch and Dellin threw one right down the pipe.  Vazquez hit it for the go-ahead 2-run shot, giving him his first home run of the season and the Red Sox the sweep of the series.  The Yankees scratched a run across on a double and a wild pitch in the 8th, but it wasn't enough to complete the comeback.  5 losses in a row, 9 of the last 12, and 13 of the last 17.  Truly pathetic stuff.

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Game 21 Quick Recap: BOS 4 NYY 2

I didn't catch a second of this game and I'm really glad about that.  Feels like I've already said that 2 or 3 times this season.  That can't be a good thing.  Whatever, the Yankees aren't a good thing either.  They stink. - Masahiro Tanaka was a beast for the first 6 innings, holding the Red Sox lineup to 3 hits and no runs.  He tired in the 7th, put a few runners on, and Joe left him in the game one batter too long.  Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a 2-out, 2-run double off the Green Monster to tie the game at 2 and end Tanaka's night.

- Dellin Betances was ready to enter in the 7th and Joe didn't go to him.  He came out in a tie game in the 8th and served up his second straight home run to a left-handed batter, David Ortiz to be specific, to put the Yankees behind 4-2 and take the loss.  From a 2-0 lead with 2 outs in the 7th to a 4-2 deficit in a handful of batters.  Those are the type of games the Yankees expect to win, but the bullpen formula failed this time.

- The offense was non-existent again.  A-Rod hit a solo home run early, Starlin Castro went 2-3 with a triple, and Brett Gardner had 2 hits and a ribbie single.  The rest of the team went 1-18.

- Chase Headley Watch: 0-3 at the plate and made his second error of the season in the field.  He's hitting .140/.265/.140.

- The Yankees have scored 74 runs in 21 games.  They've been held to 2 or less in 11 of those 21 games.  It's pathetic.  It really is.

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Game 19 Recap: Rangers 10 Yankees 1

[caption id="attachment_81129" align="aligncenter" width="388"]Teix K vs TEX Mark Teixeira sings his at-bat music during last night's game. Courtesy of the AP[/caption] This one wasn't good for the old run differential.  Facing possible thunderstorms and tornado delays in the forecast, the Yankee instead fell victim to the Ranger bats.  They beat up a scuffling Luis Severino pretty bad early and cruised out to a big lead that the Yankee offense was incapable of even denting.

So yeah, Severino.  He looked pretty good through the first 2 innings.  I thought he was settling in after a quick 2nd.  But it unraveled for him pretty quickly with 2 outs in the bottom of the 3rd.  The key play might have actually been a non-play.  After Nomar Mazara singled and Adrian Beltre doubled to put runners on second and third, Joe Girardi called for an intentional walk of Prince Fielder to load the bases and face Ian Desmond.  Severino did that and then unintentionally walked Desmond to force in a run.  From there he proceeded to allow 4 more runs on 3 singles and a wild pitch in what ended up being a 43-pitch inning.  Severino did not come out for the 4th.

That job went to Ivan Nova, and he proceeded to seal the win for the Rangers with 4 innings of 3-run ball.  He didn't walk anybody, but he suffered from the same lack of command inside the strike zone that has hampered Severino and Michael Pineda in this first month of the season.  Nova did allow Joe to save most of the rest of the 'pen from having to work in this one, but by the time he was out of the game it was 9-1 Rangers.

That 1 run came in the top of the 7th when the Yankees were able to string a walk and 2 singles together off of a tiring A.J. Griffin.  That left them with 2 on and nobody out and they did not score another run in the inning, so at least the anomaly of the Yankees being an even remotely competent offensive baseball team didn't last long.  They made Griffin look real good over the first 6 innings, hitting a lot of lazy fly balls and infield pop ups for easy outs.  The one positive contributor was Ronald Torreyes, who had exactly 100% of the team's hits through 6 innings.  The rest of the lineup hardly did anything.

This one was a stinker for sure, but the Yankees can still take the series with a win tonight.  CC Sabathia will get the start against Martin Perez and Joe will have his bullpen horses ready at the end if CC can do enough to bridge them a lead.

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