The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Archive for the ‘Misc’

Regulars in the lineup for season finale10.04.15

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Carlos Beltran RF
Brian McCann C
Greg Bird 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Dustin Ackley 2B
Didi Gregorius SS

RHP Michael Pineda

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

Game 162: “We gotta win, you know?”10.04.15

Masahiro Tanaka

So here we are, the last day of the regular season, and we have no idea where the Yankees are going next. We know they’re the wild card team, but we don’t know who they’re playing or where they’re playing.

But ultimately, it comes down to this:

“We gotta win, you know?” Dellin Betances said. “It’s up to us. All we have to do is win, and we can’t depend on anyone else.”

Here’s the situation: The Yankees and Rangers are each 87-74. The Astros are 86-75. The Angels are 85-76. That means there’s a chance the Yankees could end this season tied with both the Rangers and Astros. Here’s the rule that applies in that situation (from

Joe GirardiTwo-Club Tie for Division Championship & Tie with Club Outside Division For Two Wild Card Spots
One tiebreak game will be played to determine the Division Champion. Home field advantage will be determined by the rules above for a two-team tiebreaker. The loser of the game and the team from the other division will both be declared Wild Cards. Home field advantage in the Wild Card game will be determined by the rules above for a two-team tiebreaker.

The “rules above for a two-team tiebreaker” state that head-to-head winning percentage is the top tiebreaker for determining home field advantage. Both the Astros and Rangers hold that head-to-head tiebreaker over the Yankees.

That means these are the scenarios that matter most for the Yankees:

1. If the Yankees win, nothing else matters (for the Yankees, anyway). They will be the top wild card team and host the wild card game on Tuesday.

2. If the Astros lose, nothing else matters (again, for the Yankees). The Yankees will again be the top wild card team and will hold the wild card game on Tuesday.

The situations that complicate matters involve the Yankees losing and the Astros winning. If that happens, then the Yankees have to watch see what happens in the Rangers game.

3. If the Yankees lose, the Astros win, and the Rangers win … then the Rangers will win the American League West and the Astros will be the top wild card hosting the Yankees on Tuesday.

4. If the Yankees lose, the Astros win, and the Rangers lose … then the Rangers and Astros will tie for the American League West and play a tiebreaker on Monday. The loser of that game will be the other wild card team hosting the Yankees on Tuesday.

If the Astros and Rangers both lose, then the Astros and Angels would have to play a tiebreaker to determine the second wild card. That would matter to the Yankees because it would impact who they play in the wild card game, but it wouldn’t matter in terms of home field advantage, which is the primary concern at the moment.

This thing can get complicated. The best way to make it easy is this: The Yankees just need to win.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

Postgame notes: “We’ve got to find a way to play better”10.03.15

Rob Refsnyder

Home field advantage. Roster decisions. Figuring out a wild card game opponent.

Those have been little more than distractions to a more important issue facing the Yankees heading into the final game of the regular season. They’re just not very good right now, and it’s not going to matter where they play or who they’re playing if the Yankees can’t get their own house in order.

And they know it, too.

“We just have to take care of what we need to do, and that’s play better,” third baseman Chase Headley said. “We’re not hitting with runners on base, we’re not pitching great, so we’ve got to find a way to play better and not worry about what everybody else is doing. That’s it. It’s not going to matter where we’re playing right now or if we know where we’re playing tomorrow. We’re frustrated because we’re not playing the way that we want to. I’m not necessarily worried about where that game is going to be. We’ve got another chance at it tomorrow.”

The Yankees scored five runs in 18 innings today. They were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position in the first game, then their top four hitters went 0-for-11 in the second game. Their pitching staff fell flat in the first game, then was undone by home runs and wild pitches in the second game. Their designated pinch runner was fooled by a left-handed pickoff move.

Mistakes. Missed opportunities. Disappointment and frustration. All of it all too familiar for a team about to play a must-win game on Tuesday.

The Yankees have lost five of their past six, all against sub-.500 teams.

“I’ve been on both sides of that,” Joe Girardi said. “Where you played extremely well going into the playoffs and you don’t play well in the playoffs, or you’re not playing very well and you run the table. That can go both ways. Everything starts new on Monday, so that’s not a concern. But it would have been nice to have home-field advantage wrapped up.”

Again, it comes down to playing better, and tomorrow the Yankees have perhaps their greatest wild card on the mound in Michael Pineda, whose best starts have been absolute gems while his worst starts have been total duds. Girardi said he will “absolutely” use his regular lineup tomorrow.

“I think you’d have to have your head in the sand not to know what we need to do,” he said. “We need to win.”

Delin Betances• The Astros have a big lead late in their game. Looks like they’re not going to let the Yankees back into home field advantage. “I think everybody in here anticipates we’re going to have to come and play and try to win a game,” Headley said.

• Dellin Betances has struggled lately, but it hasn’t always cost the team — he’s often gotten out of his own jams — and it hasn’t been the same thing each time. For a while he was walking a ton of people, then he gave up that home run on Wednesday, and tonight it was a couple of wild pitches. “Bloop hit to the first guy,” Betances said. “Then strike the next guy out. Then we’re playing back right there (against a guy) with power, and he bunts and gets it down. I yank one of those pitches, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I thought I pitched well, but unfortunately I gave up a run.”

• On the second wild pitch, the one that brought in the winning run, Betances said he was trying to go up and just threwthe ball down and away from McCann. It was a pretty brutal pitch. McCann didn’t have a realistic shot at blocking it. Would have been an incredible play to stop it. “Just yanked it,” Bteances said.

• Girardi on Betances: “Jam shot, two wild pitches, and a bunt. He didn’t get hit. He created it. The jam shot, what are you going to do? It’s unfortunate. It’s kind of how the night went.”

• With Luis Severino at 91 pitches, Girardi said he did not at all consider leaving Severino in the game. “No, he was done,” Girardi said.

• Severino reached a career-high with seven innings and did not walk a batter. He gave up a couple of first inning runs and then a second home run a little later, but he was really impressive the last few innings. “I got my rhythm going and I got my pitches down,” he said. “… The first inning I got a couple of runs and then felt great and kept battling.”

• Severino finishes his debut season having allowed three earned runs or less in 10 of his 11 starts. All but one has been a Quality Start.

• The Yankees have now been swept in a doubleheader twice in the past three weeks. They were swept last September here in Baltimore, as well. The last time the Yankees won a doubleheader was May 18, 2014.

Ryan Flaherty, Rico Noel• After getting his first career hit in today’s first game, Rico Noel fell victim to a left-handed pickoff move by Chris Britton. It was the second time Britton had thrown over, and Noel said he thought he’d figured out his move after the first attempt. “I thought I had a little something,” Noel said. “So pretty much I was going on the first move. … I wouldn’t say it was quicker, just a little different. But that happens. They all switch it up, especially now that they know (about Noel’s speed), they’re going to do things a little differently. That’s how it goes sometimes.”

• Even with the pickoff, Noel still made it pretty close getting into second base. Did he think he’d actually got in ahead of the tag? “Not at all,” Noel said.

• Why start light-hitting Brendan Ryan at third base for this game? “I just took my third baseman out the other day because he had a bad back,” Girardi said. “It is what it is. I’m trying to keep these guys healthy going into Tuesday and it’s been a juggling act. And then once we got to the sixth, I went for it (by pinch hitting Headley).”

• Betances was another guy Girardi didn’t want to use very much today, but he wound up throwing 23 pitches. His stuff was good, he just misfired on two of them. “More than I wanted to (use him), yep,” Girardi said. Betances is still going to finish with an innings total well below last season.

• Two more hits for Rob Refsnyder who’s batting average is up to .302 with a hit in every game he’s started in the month of September. He had a hit only one of those games in July. In his past five games he’s hitting .350/.409/.600 with three RBI.

• Greg Bird has now reached base safely in six straight games in which he’s had a bat, hitting .333/.440/.524 in that span. He had a single tonight.

• Final word goes to Girardi: “It’s kind of been like that all year. We’ve been up and down and we’ve always seemed to bounce back when we need to bounce back. We’ve got to do it tomorrow.”

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

Yankees swept in Baltimore doubleheader10.03.15

Chris Davis, Didi Gregorius

Two chances to lock up home field advantage. Two opportunities wasted. But what else is new for this team in free fall?

After a total letdown in today’s doubleheader opener, the Yankees let the nightcap slip away, 4-3, with the final outcome settled by a wild pitch and a caught stealing. The Yankees have now lost five of their past six games, and the Astros are leading, meaning the Yankees could very well head into the regular season finale having not yet locked up home field advantage in the wild card game.

Having rallied from an early two-run deficit, the Yankees brought Dellin Betances in to pitch the eighth with the game tied at 3. He allowed a soft single, then threw a wild pitch. There was a bunt single, then another wild pitch. That’s how the Orioles regained the lead. In the ninth, Alex Rodriguez delivered a pinch hit single, but Rico Noel was caught stealing on a pick off.

Despite what the final outcome suggests, rookie Luis Severino delivered one last gem in that second game, which was his final start of the regular season. Severino allowed a home run to the first batter he faced, then he coughed up another homer in the third inning, but those mistakes were not indicative of the way he pitched. He pitched through the seventh inning and retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced, including a strikeout on his final batter of the night. The 21-year-old struck out six, walked none and finished the year with a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

Game 161: Yankees at Orioles10.03.15

Rob RefsnyderYANKEES (87-73)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Ackley LF
Carlos Beltran DH
Brian McCann C
Greg Bird 1B
Rob Refsnyder 2B
Didi Gregorius SS
Slade Heathcott RF
Brendan Ryan 3B

RHP Luis Severino (5-3, 2.77)
Severino has never faced the Orioles

ORIOLES (79-81)
Nolan Reimold CF
Gerardo Parra RF
Manny Machado 3B
Chris Davis 1B
Steve Pearce LF
Steve Clevenger DH
Caleb Joseph C
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Paul Janish SS

RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (12-10, 4.10)
Jimenez vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., YES Network

WEATHER: Still cold. Rain still holding off. Let’s see how long that lasts.

UMPIRES: HP Mike Muchlinski, 1B Mark Wegner, 2B Sam Holbrook, 3B Toby Basner

UPDATE, 7:21 p.m.: So here’s how this game has started for the Yankees. Carlos Beltran hit into a double play in the top of the first, and now Luis Severino has allowed a home run and an RBI double in the bottom of the first. It is, as you might suspect, not what you want.

UPDATE, 7:38 p.m.: Yankees get a sac fly to get on the board in the second inning. Still trail 2-1.

UPDATE, 7:54 p.m.: Solo homer for Machado and now it’s a 3-1 game after three.

UPDATE, 8:07 p.m.: Leadoff double by Refsnyder. Single by Gregorius. Runners at the corners with no outs for Heathcott. Back in early May, that scenario would have felt highly unlikely come October.

UPDATE, 8:11 p.m.: Steve Pearce plays a clean single into a double and the Yankees have second and third with no outs down 3-2 in the fourth.

UPDATE, 8:19 p.m.: Beltran just took a 3-2 pitch to walk in the tying run. Bases still loaded for McCann in the fifth.

UPDATE, 8:42 p.m.: Two on and two out, Headley’s going to hit for Ryan. Girardi sees an opportunity to pull in front here in the sixth.

UPDATE, 8:44 p.m.: Headley is down looking. He argued, but it looked like a pretty good pitch to me. Runners stranded. Still 3-3.

UPDATE, 8:55 p.m.: Goofy play gets the second out of the inning, then Severino finishes off the sixth inning with a grounder to shortstop. He’ds through six innings with the score still 3-3.

UPDATE, 9:16 p.m.: Severino went seven and now Betances is in to start the eighth.

UPDATE, 9:30 p.m.: Two wild pitches in the eighth and the Orioles have a 4-3 lead. Man, swept in a doubleheader on the next-to-last day of the season would be rough.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

Refsnyder gets another turn at second base10.03.15

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Ackley LF
Carlos Beltran DH
Brian McCann C
Greg Bird 1B
Rob Refsnyder 2B
Didi Gregorius SS
Slade Heathcott RF
Brendan Ryan 3B

RHP Luis Severino

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

Postgame/pregame notes: “Bad”10.03.15

Ivan Nova

Ivan Nova is healthy. If there’s good news, that’s it. In his return from Tommy John surgery, Nova threw 94 big league innings — plus another 15.2 in the minors — and still got his fastball up to 95 mph this afternoon. His elbow is OK and his arm is strong.

But after making his final regular season appearance this afternoon, Nova gave a one-word evaluation of his season.

“Bad,” he said.

Eleven losses, a 5.07 ERA and he almost certainly would have finished the season in the bullpen had injuries not forced the Yankees to reconsider.

“I gave up a lot of hits, a lot of home runs, a lot of runs and I lost a lot of games,” Nova said. “I was struggling the whole year.”

Ivan NovaThat last part isn’t entirely true. In his first seven starts back from surgery, Nova had a winning record and a 3.10 ERA. He was pitching well into the month of August, but like the Yankees as a whole, that’s when things took a turn for the worse. Nova lost eight of his last 10 starts, including today’s doubleheader opener that could have clinched home field advantage and instead forced the Yankees to burn through Luis Severino in the nightcap.

“A lot of times Tommy John guys have trouble with their command when they first come back,” Joe Girardi said. “I think he’ll be much better next year. I think he’ll be more consistent. He had some really good starts for us, and then he had some that he struggled a little bit. The good thing is that he’s healthy and he’s throwing the ball hard and now it’s just the consistency.”

Nova has one more offseason of arbitration eligibility. He made $3.3 million this season and will get a raise in the winter if the Yankees don’t non-tender him. It’s an interesting decision because Nova’s last healthy season was 2013 when he had a 3.10 ERA for the year and pitched especially well in the second half. The Yankees still have health and durability concerns in their rotation going forward, and Nova would provide — at the very least — rotation depth without a long-term commitment.

“I still believe in myself,” Nova said. “Sometimes it’s hard not to believe, but I’m confident in myself that I can pitch better than what I did.”

Before deciding what to do with Nova this offseason, the Yankees might have to make a decision about him for the playoffs. He surely won’t be available for Tuesday’s wild card game, which means he’ll be an easy choice to leave off that roster, but he could be a long relief option should the Yankees advance to the division season. The Yankees don’t have a true long man — assuming Adam Warren pitches in more of a middle-innings role — and so there might still be room for Nova in the coming weeks.

Here and now, though, Nova felt nothing but disappointment. He had a chance to pitch the game that settled home field advantage, and he allowed five runs. Surgery was a long time ago. The way Nova saw it, he was healthy enough to win, and he couldn’t do it.

“I’m not talking about Tommy John anymore,” he said. “It has been over and over, every start. I didn’t pitch good in the regular season. That’s the only thing I can say about it.”

Alex Rodriquez• Girardi said he hoped to use this weekend to get Chasen Shreve back on track and restore confidence in the young left-hander. Instead, Shreve’s free fall continued through an ugly sixth inning when he let four straight batters reach base before finally getting the one out he needed. Shreve let two inherited runners score, then gave up two runs of his own. In his past nine appearances, he’s allowed nine earned runs and let eight inherited runners score. In his previous 50 games this season, he’d allowed 11 earned runs and and let seven inherited runners score.

• Here’s Girardi on Shreve: “I just don’t think that he’s quite as sharp as he was early on, I think, is the bottom line. He got ahead (against his first batter today) and then he left a couple of splits up, and that’s the difference.”

• With one game left, Girardi said he’d like to get Shreve in Sunday’s game. But even if Shreve pitches well, would that really be enough to put him on the wild card roster? “I don’t know,” Girardi said. “We’ll put the roster together when we need to. I don’t need to do it tonight. I think the big thing is that we still try to get him going.”

• Also not a good day for Nick Goody. He hasn’t pitched much this month, so it’s hard to expect much, but goody allowed two runs on three hits and a walk. Before today, he’d allowed one run in 4.2 big league innings.

• With out home field locked up, the Yankees will have to get some distance out of Luis Severino, which means he almost certainly won’t be available for the wild card game. “Now we’ll use him (tonight),” Girardi said. “The important thing is that we get the home field advantage, and we’re going to do everything we can. It’s not a kid that’s pitched out of the bullpen, so we’ll just see what happens.”

• Pretty cool moment for Rico Noel, who finally got a big league at-bat and reached on an infield single. It was meaningless in the bigger pictures, but meaningful for a career minor leaguer who waited a long time for his first chance at the plate. “Unbelievable,” he said. “I’ve been looking forward to this day, obviously, since I was a kid. With the day in Boston, where I thought I was going to get an at-bat and got taken out, pinch hit for. This, I’ve been waiting for for a long time. It’s finally here. To get in there, get a couple hacks after not seeing pitching in forever, get the hit out of the way in the first at-bat — unbelievable. It’s as good as it gets.”

• Noel said he went to the plate fully planning to take a hack at the first pitch he saw. That pitch was in, so he laid off and it was finally the fifth pitch that got him the hit. He was stunned that reporters wanted to talk to him, but it’s a nice feel-good story for a such an unexpected part of the roster. “My twitter’s blowing up, I see,” Noel said.

• Gary Sanchez also got his first big league at-bat today, but he popped out.

• Brett Gardner won’t play in tonight’s game, but he said he asked to be in both games today. “I talked to Joe yesterday about playing possibly (in the second game too),” Gardner said. “And he said, at this point in the season and where we’re at and the weather and the field conditions and everything, he wanted to make sure (to stay healthy) — try his best to keep everybody healthy. So I think we understand what’s at stake, but also he’s trying to be smart about it so whatever decision he makes in the lineup for Game 2 I’m good, and we’ll go from there.”

• Alex Rodriguez on not playing the second game: “Whatever Joe says.”

• Final word between games goes to Rodriguez, who found a positive spin on this negative start to the day: “I think it’s a really, really good thing that’s happening to us, I really do. It’s something we’re going to be able to build on. I’ve been on teams where we’ve clinched in September and it’s kind of been a little anti-climactic going into the playoffs. I think it’s a great thing that’s happening to us. We haven’t played an insignificant pitch in a long time, and I think that’s going to be a help for us.”

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

No home field advantage so far: Yankees pummeled in Baltimore10.03.15

Manny Machado, Brendan Ryan

The Yankees did not clinch home field advantage in the wild card game this afternoon. Not even close, actually. Ivan Nova was knocked around, Chasen Shreve’s free fall continued, and a bare-bones lineup produced just six hits in a 9-2 loss to the Orioles in the opener of today’s doubleheader. These two teams will play again at 7:05, and Joe Girardi’s hopes of limiting starter Luis Severino to just a few innings might not work out.

There are essentially four games left that could give the Yankees’ home field advantage on Tuesday. If the Yankees can’t win tonight or tomorrow, and Houston wins tonight and tomorrow, the Yankees will be flying somewhere for this upcoming must-win game.

Ivan Nova started this afternoon’s game with a chance to finish off that chase for home field advantage. Nova, though, was charged with five runs on eight hits and three walks through 5.2 innings. He limited the damage early, but the sixth inning got out of control when Chasen Shreve couldn’t get the final out. Called in with two on and two outs, Shreve let four straight batters reach base. Along the way he also threw a wild pitch and quite possibly — or almost certainly — wiped out any chance of making the Yankees’ postseason roster. Shreve’s late-season collapse has been stunning, and Girardi had hoped a couple of good outings this weekend might restore his confidence.

With Greg Bird, Didi Gregorius, Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran each out of the starting lineup, the Yankees’ offense missed multiple scoring chances early in the game, and they were held scoreless until the seventh when they finally brought in a couple of runs, one of them on a hit by Rob Refsnyder. Ultimately, though, the Yankees were blown out and left needing a win tonight. But, hey, at least Rico Noel and Gary Sanchez got to bat.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

Game 160: Yankees at Orioles10.03.15

Jose PirelaYANKEES (87-72)
Brett Gardner CF
Rob Refsnyder 2B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Chris Young LF
Chase Headley 3B
John Ryan Murphy C
Jose Pirela RF
Austin Romine 1B
Brendan Ryan SS

RHP Ivan Nova (6-10, 4.89)
Nova vs. Orioles

ORIOLES (78-81)
Nolan Reimold CF
Gerardo Parra RF
Manny Machado 3B
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
Steve Pearce LF
Steve Clevenger DH
J.J. Hardy SS
Ryan Flaherty 2B

LHP Wei-Yin Chen (10-8, 3.35)
Chen vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 12:05 p.m., YES Network

WEATHER: It’s cold, but right now it looks like the rain will hold off.

UMPIRES: HP Marty Foster, 1B Toby Basner, 2B Mark Wegner, 3B Sam Holbrook

NEW GUY AT SECOND: Rob Refsnyder hit his second career home run on Thursday. Since being recalled on September 1, Refsnyder has hit safely in all six starts while batting .400 with two doubles, two homers, three walks and a stolen base. Since September 18, when the Yankees basically made a full-time switch to a Refsnyder/Ackley platoon, Yankees second basemen have hit safely in 14 consecutive games while batting .333 with three doubles and four home runs.

MAGIC NUMBER: As you might have heard, the Yankees need either one more win or a Houston loss to clinch home field advantage in Tuesday’s wild card game.

ON THIS DATE: It was on October 2, 1978 that the Yankees beat the Red Sox 5-4 at Fenway Park in only the second one-game playoff game in American League history. Trailing in the seventh, Bucky Dent hit the two-out home run that gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead.

UPDATE, 12:13 p.m.: Yankees go down in order in the top of the first. Bottom of the first starts with a brutal hop that ate up Headley at third.

UPDATE, 12:27 p.m.: Well, the Orioles got a run on a double play in the first inning, but now Young has opened the second with a leadoff triple.

UPDATE, 12:32 p.m.: Runner at third with no outs. Headley, Murphy and Pirela couldn’t get him home. Yankees still down 1-0.

UPDATE, 12:45 p.m.: Bad decision by Ryan to round second and try for third. Instead of first and second with one out, there’s just a runner at second with two outs.

UPDATE, 1:01 p.m.: Nova allowed another run in the third inning, and it could once again have been worse. Yankees down 2-0 after three.

UPDATE, 1:30 p.m.: Solo homer by Machado has pushed the O’s lead to 3-0 in the fifth. Nova is at 81 pitches.

UPDATE, 1:58 p.m.: Shreve can’t get the lefty Parra, and that RBI single has pushed the Orioles’ lead to 4-0. Yesterday, I thought Shreve would pitch his way onto the wild card roster, but that at-bat is enough to make me think Girardi will leave him off the roster and go with either Chris Capuano or James Pazos.

UPDATE, 2:00 p.m.: Infield single makes it 5-0. If Shreve’s going to be both hit hard and unlucky, that’s a real problem.

UPDATE, 2:06 p.m.: Shreve just has nothing left. Another single. A wild pitch. A walk. Four straight batters reached base before a popup to end the inning. If he’d shown anything this weekend, I think he would have made the postseason roster (due to a lack of reliable alternatives) but at this point, I just can’t imagine a situation in which the Yankees would use Shreve in an important game. They owed it to themselves to see if he could right the ship this weekend, and Girardi brought him into a situation in which he certainly could succeed, but this was just a total mess.

UPDATE, 2:34 p.m.: The Yankees got a couple of runs in the seventh inning — the second scored on an RBI single by Refsnyder — but A-Rod struck out to strand two runners and leave the Yankees still trailing 7-2. The Orioles are definitely in control of this game.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

Pregame notes: “One thing that tops home field advantage is health”10.03.15

Dustin Pedroia, Chase Headley

Every lineup regular who’s not starting today’s first game will start the second game. The Yankees want to lock up home field advantage with a win today, but Joe Girardi said he did not even consider the possibility of playing his regulars in each game to make it happen.

“Home field advantage is extremely important to us,” Girardi said. “But I think the one thing that tops home field advantage is health. Playing guys two games today, to me, is risky in a situation like today where it’s cold and wet and rainy. It’s not ideal, but I think it’s the right thing to do.”

I guess Girardi could have loaded his Game 1 lineup, but if that didn’t work — if the Yankees lost that game — they’d be stuck with either playing a Triple-A lineup in Game 2 or Girardi would have to ask some regulars to play each game.

Ubaldo Jimenez is starting Game 2 for the Orioles, so the Yankees will go with a more left-leaning lineup in that game. For this game, they’re trending right-handed against the lefty Wei-Yin Chen.

The Yankees need to either win a game or have the Astros lose a game in order to clinch home field advantage in Tuesday’s wild card game. If the Yankees don’t clinch today or tonight, Girardi said he will play all of his lineup regulars on Sunday in an effort to lock up home field.

“I think it’s extremely important because obviously you want to play in front of your own fans,” Girardi said. “Our club is built for that ballpark. You get to sleep in your own bed. You don’t have to travel as much. I think it means a lot, and that’s why you’ll see us go for it if we have an opportunity.”

Luis Severino• Luis Severino is starting Game 2 instead of Game 1 because, if the Yankees clinch, they will limit the number of innings Severino pitches in an effort to have him available for Tuesday’s wild card game. He would not start that game or serve as a middle-innings reliever, but Girardi likes the idea of having Severino just in case that game goes long. “I think it would be more of an extra-inning type of affair (for Severino to pitch Tuesday),” Girardi said.

• Is Severino the go-to option for Game 1 of a division series? “I wouldn’t surmise that,” Girardi said (But) it’s a possibility.” Seems that the Yankees aren’t committing to Severino or CC Sabathia as their potential Game 1 division series starter until they see what happens Tuesday.

• Best-case scenario: The Yankees are able to give Justin Wilson, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller a little bit of work today — Wilson and Miller, certainly — so that they can have two days off before Tuesday. “That would be ideal,” Girardi said.

• With John Ryan Murphy catching this afternoon, the Yankees have basically punted on the idea of using him at first base. This would seem to be the time to do it, but Girardi said he ultimately decided there just wasn’t time to get anything meaningful out of it. “It just really hasn’t worked out,” Girardi said. “Maybe it works out that tomorrow I can do it a little bit. We’ll see.”

• Austin Romine, by the way, played a decent amount of first base in Triple-A this year, so he’s familiar with the position.

• By the way, someone is going to have to double up today. Playing Jose Pirela in right field this afternoon means there aren’t enough infielders for the Yankees to field two totally different lineups. Either Pirela or Brendan Ryan is probably going to have to play third base in the nightcap. I assume Slade Heathcott, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran will all play the second game, which means either Rico Noel or Gary Sanchez is probably going to be held out of the lineup. Hard to have room for both of them unless Brian McCann doesn’t play.

• Girardi said he has not talked to Nathan Eovaldi after yesterday’s bullpen. The expectation is that Eovaldi will throw another bullpen on Monday.

• If you’re curious, the players left for Game 2 who aren’t in the lineup for Game 1 are:
Catchers: Brian McCann, Gary Sanchez
Infielders: Greg Bird, Dustin Ackley, Didi Gregorius
Outfielders: Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Slade Heathcott, Rico Noel

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

Sponsored by:





    Read The LoHud Yankees Blog on the go by navigating to the blog on your smartphone or mobile device's browser. No apps or downloads are required.


Place an ad

Call (914) 694-3581