The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Girardi: “Stop it right now”

Derek Jeter

The Yankees weren’t going to win 20 in a row. A five-game winning streak was nice, and it gave some real reason for hope, but the streak was going to end at some point. We now know it ended last night.

Tonight is the night the Yankees have to keep a loss from becoming a free fall.

“We’ve got to find a way to win a game tomorrow and stop it right now,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Obviously we’re facing a good team and a good pitcher tomorrow, but we’ve got to get it done.”

The pitcher they’re facing is David Price, and the team they’re facing is pretty dangers, and the Yankees have to avoid one of their typical pitfalls this season. They’ve had a tendency to follow really good stretches with really bad stretches.

They won four in a row in mid-May, then lost four of the next five. Won eight of 10 in mid-June. Lost nine of the next 11. Won seven of eight after the All-Star break. Lost five of the next six. Won six of seven in early August. Lost the next five in a row.

“I guess you can’t think about it,” Jacoby Ellsbury said. “You’ve got to play to win, and not to lose. We just got to go out there tomorrow, compete and play like we have been. Hopefully we can go on another run, but all we can do is go out there, and I think our energy is what has helped us the last six or seven days. We just have to go out there and play the way we have the last six games.”

We’ll see. To a large extent Ellsbury is right. The Yankees were playing at least fairly well, and Monday’s win in Kansas City was a legitimately good one, and now they have a chance to keep going. There’s a big difference between being a team that’s lost two in a row and being a team that’s won six of seven.

Associated Press photo


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 at 9:00 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Postgame notes: “You’d like to be able to limit it a little bit more”

Brandon McCarthy

If a five-game winning streak is going to end, it might as well end like this. There was no one play that made the difference. No one player let them down. The Yankees simple did not pitch very well, didn’t hit very well, and they got beat by a pretty good Tigers team.

If the past five games were a reminder of how good the Yankees can be, tonight was a reminder of why they’re currently on the outside looking in for both the wild card and the division.

“We’re a team that, we play every day to win,” Brian McCann said. “We’re going to show up tomorrow and expect to win a ballgame.”

Make no mistake, the Yankees expected to win this one. Their offense looked pretty good last night, and they had arguably their top starting pitcher on the mound. That seemed like a good combination for a team that was riding a little bit of momentum. But it was clear in the second inning — when the usually in-command Brandon McCarthy hit a batter and walked two more, including the No. 9 hitter with the bases loaded — that the Yankees starter was off his game.

“I had the runners on because I wasn’t in a groove,” McCarthy said. “I just never felt settled in, never felt comfortable mechanically there. I wasn’t sharp right from the get-go. The middle few innings where I was able to work quickly, it felt like it was getting there, but it just wasn’t all the way back. It was just kind of a battle right from the start.”

On a night when the Yankees scored just two runs, it’s impossible to pin this loss entirely on McCarthy, but he did have his worst start since coming to the Yankees early last month. McCann said he thought the ball was coming out just fine, but McCarthy said he never felt it. He just didn’t have it tonight.

And too often this season, the Yankees offense has been unable to pick up a pitcher who inevitably just doesn’t have it.

“It sucks because as we get closer to the end, all of them become important,” McCarthy said. “I’ve thrown well enough to get through outings where I haven’t been as sharp, and today that’s the disappointment. I’d like to be able to fight back. You know days like this you’re going to give up some runs, especially against a good team like that. You’d like to be able to limit it a little bit more.”

Or make up for it a little bit more.

Derek Jeter• I know it’s frustrating for fans when teams start tipping their caps to opposing starters — especially when the team in question has consistently struggled to find enough offense — but Rick Porcello’s having a great year, and he kept the Yankees from making any sort of hard contact outside of the two Jacoby Ellsbury home runs. Porcello only struck out two, but he walked none and seven of his nine hits were singles. “I actually thought we swung the bats pretty decent,” Joe Girardi said. “We had nine hits off him. It’s hard to elevate the ball on him, so you’re going to see singles. You have to put a lot of singles together in the course of an inning to score runs. That’s what he’s so good at, being a sinkerballer.”

• Ellsbury was the exception to the rule. His two home runs gave him 13 for the year. He had three of the Yankees nine hits. He’s hit a home run in three of his past five plate appearances. “The stuff I’ve been doing before the games is basically the same stuff I was doing before (in) the season, throughout the season,” Ellsbury said. “But it’s nice to hit the ball hard and get results.”

• Ellsbury is 11-for-17 with a double and four home runs in his career against Porcello. “I can’t really explain it,” he said. “I mean I guess I got a couple of pitches I could hit and I didn’t miss them.”

• Otherwise, the Yankees didn’t have many chances. They were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and left five men on base. They hit into two double plays.

Jacoby Ellsbury• A positive sign for the offense: Brett Gardner said he did some short sprints inside today and felt pretty good. He’s hopeful that he’ll be in the lineup tomorrow night.

• A positive sign for the rotation: Masahiro Tanaka’s bullpen went just fine today, he felt fine afterward, and Girardi said he expects Tanaka to stay on course for Thursday’s sim game.

• What was McCarthy thinking in that second inning, when he walked two and hit a batter? “It’s just a matter of, figure this out really quickly,” he said. “I just felt really out of sync that inning. Threw a good pitch to end the inning. From that point on, I at least felt a little bit better, a little bit closer. There were just those little crisp finish on pitches weren’t there, and a couple of situations with runners on where I’ve got to be sharper. Those pitches just ventured too much over the plate.”

• Did McCann notice McCarthy’s mechanical mistakes in that second inning? “I didn’t,” McCann said. “It was coming out really good. He was just missing by, we’re talking inches. He fell behind. That’s the only inning that he lost command. … I thought he threw the ball well. I thought his stuff was there. I thought he threw the ball way better than his line. I didn’t think he pitched bad tonight.”

• Final word goes to McCarthy: “I just felt like one of those days where you’re not as sharp mechanically, you’re not as locked in as you’d like to be, where your arm is always where you’d expect it to be when the ball goes where you want. Days like that, when there’s a little bit of guesswork — where’s this pitch going to end up? — they happen. You just wish they didn’t happen against good teams like this.”

Associated Press photos


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 at 12:16 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Winning streak ends as McCarthy (and the lineup) struggle in Detroit

Brian McCann, Brandon McCarthy

Here’s what Joe Girardi said pregame: “I don’t know how you could for any more (than) what Brandon McCarthy has done, but we need him to continue to pitch like this.” That didn’t happen tonight. McCarthy’s worst start since joining the Yankees was a 5-2 loss to the Tigers, an obvious letdown that snapped a five-game winning streak and left the Yankees needing to win two in a row to win this three-game series. McCarthy had allowed more than two earned runs in only one of his eight Yankees starts — and never more than four earned — but this time he allowed five earned runs through 6.1 innings. He gave up nine hits, hit a batter for the first time since the trade, and walked in the first Tigers run. The Yankees offense couldn’t make up the difference. They’d progressively scored more and more runs through the five-game winning streak, but this time they took a step backward with their only two runs coming on a pair of solo home runs by Jacoby Ellsbury.

Associated Press photo



Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 at 10:46 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Game 130: Yankees at Tigers

Derek JeterYANKEES (68-61)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Derek Jeter DH
Brian McCann C
Mark Teixeira 1B
Carlos Beltran RF
Marin Prado 2B
Stephen Drew SS
Chase Headley 3B
Ichiro Suzuki LF

RHP Brandon McCarthy (5-2, 1.90)
McCarthy vs. Tigers

TIGERS (70-59)
Ian Kinsler 2B
Torii Hunter RF
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Victor Martinez DH
J.D. Martinez LF
Nick Castellanos 3B
Alex Avila C
Eugenio Suarez SS
Rajai Davis CF

RHP Rick Porcello (14-8, 3.10)
Porcello vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:08 p.m., MY9 (pushed back to approximately 8:15 p.m.)

WEATHER: Hoping the rain holds off the rest of the night.

UMPIRES: HP James Hoye, 1B Bob Davidson, 2B John Tumpane, 3B Bill Welke

NEW MEMBER OF A STRONG GROUP: Jacoby Ellsbury recorded his 1,000th career hit in Monday’s win at Kansas City, in his 841st career game. He?is the 13th active player to accomplish the feat in as many or fewer games and first in the Majors since Dustin Pedroia. The others are Ryan Braun, Hanley Ramirez, Joe Mauer, Robinson Cano, Jose Reyes, Matt Holliday, Carl Crawford, Albert Pujols, Ichiro Suzuki, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

WALK ON THE MILD SIDE: Yankees pitchers have issued no walks in each of their past two games and three of their past five. Only Washington has had three consecutive games with no walks this season. Also, well done by whoever on the Yankees PR staff came up with “Walk on the Mild Side” as the name for this little tidbit in the daily media notes.

GREAT EIGHT: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Brandon McCarthy has produced the lowest ERA for any pitcher through his first eight starts with the Yankees since Jimmy Key went 3-1 with a 1.79 ERA in his first eight games with the club in 1993.

UPDATE, 8:51 p.m.: Well, Brandon McCarthy just walked in a run. He’s walked two batters and hit a batter this inning.

UPDATE, 8:52 p.m.: Got out of it with a double play to third.

UPDATE, 9:11 p.m.: At least McCarthy didn’t walk in this run. It’s a two-out single for a 2-0 Tigers lead in the third.

UPDATE, 9:35 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury’s 12th home run of the season cuts the Tigers lead to 2-1 in the fifth. Offense isn’t showing much, but with a five-game winning streak, I have to think there’s a little more confidence — compared to, say, a week ago — that the Yankees could get something going and take control of this game. Need to give it at one-run, though.

UPDATE, 9:53 p.m.: Couple of hits to open the bottom of the sixth. The Tigers have runners at second and third with no outs and a chance to do some damage here and extend the lead.

UPDATE, 9:55 p.m.: Make that three straight hits and a 3-1 Tigers lead. Still no outs.


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 at 8:10 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

First pitch scheduled for 8:15 p.m.

The tarp is about to come off the field here in Detroit. The rain has gone away, and the Tigers have announced an 8:15 p.m. first pitch.


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 at 7:31 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Pregame notes: “We’re going to need him in there a lot”

Derek Jeter

Assuming the rain goes away, tonight will be Derek Jeter’s eighth start at designated hitter this season. He’s still a long way from his single-season career high — 25 DH games in in 2012 — but it seems significant that four of those turns at designated hitter have come in his past nine games.

Now that Carlos Beltran is available to play some right field, it’s clear that Joe Girardi is taking advantage of the opportunity to get Jeter a half day off now and then. Perhaps it’s strictly a rest issue. Perhaps it has a lot to do with Stephen Drew’s glove.

“I’m in the mode that I’m just taking it day by day,” Girardi said. “But with Carlos being able to go into the outfield once in a while, it gives me more flexibility to do this. … We’ve had some long stretches. We have a lot of lefties coming up the next five days after today where he’s going to play (probably at shortstop), so try to give him a little blow when I can. And I thought today was probably a good day. Two plane flights in two days, and as I said, we have day games after night games, so we’re going to need him in there a lot.”

Obviously Jeter prefers playing the field, but he said he understands the DH days, and he seems to embrace them — even when he’s had so many these past couple of weeks.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve done it,” Jeter said. “What, three or four times this year? I think a couple of years ago, in 2012, I may have done it 20 or 30-something times. Because of injuries, Carlos had to DH, so I haven’t really thought about it. My job is to come here, and when I’m in the lineup, play. I like to play every day. I like to play shortstop every day. Everyone is aware of that. But I get it. I understand it. We’ve had a long stretch here. I think we only have a couple of more days off, and then we have another long stretch at the end of the year. So, I don’t know what his plans are. My job is to play.’

Late last season, we saw Girardi use Mariano Rivera a little more heavily, making sure to get every last bit out of the retiring closer. Would he do the same with the retiring shortstop, running him out there with very little rest down the stretch?

“I don’t think I can play him much more than I’ve played him,” Girardi said. “He’s played in all but about 10 games maybe, maybe a few more than that, but there was a time when he missed three because his leg was bothering him. But when you get in these long stretches, these 13-game stretches, I’ve usually given him on day off. And that might be all he gets in this.”

Brett Gardner• Brett Gardner was hoping to run today, which he sees as the final test for his sore ankle. If he can run today, he thinks he should be available in some capacity tonight. Gardner didn’t run at all the past two days. “Hopefully that goes well and I’ll be available to play tonight,” he said.

• Here’s Girardi on his approach to the Gardner injury: “My concern was: he said he felt better but he needed to run,” Girardi said. “Gardy’s pretty tough, and Gardy’s played through a lot, which made me believe that it’s probably not 100 percent, which it might not be for a while. This extra day will probably do us some good. My concern is that he favors it, or that he gets out there and he can’t run, and then I’ve got to make a change. It can just really mess things up.”

• Not much concern about Mark Teixeira’s hamstring. “I think you’re always going to watch it a little bit,” Girardi said. “I think the day off probably helped, and we just tell him to play smart. I mean, he did play smart the couple of days that he had it, so he’s just going to have to continue to do that.”

• Masahiro Tanaka threw today, and as long as he still feels fine tomorrow, he’ll remain on track to throw a simulated game on Thursday.

• Initial Arizona Fall League rosters were announced this afternoon. The Yankees are sending RF Aaron Judge, 3B Eric Jagielo, OF/IF Tyler Austin and 1B Greg Bird. They’re also sending pitchers Caleb Cotham, Branden Pinder and Alex Smith. There remains a TBA spot on the roster listed as a Yankees catcher. Pretty interesting group of position players. I actually thought Ramon Flores might go, but I guess not. Jagielo seemed like a near lock in my mind after missing so much time. Bird and Austin make a lot of sense too.

• On the current Yankees momentum: “I think they feel pretty good about themselves,” Girardi said. “But the thing about baseball is you’ve got to go do it every day. It starts with your starting pitcher that night, and I don’t know how you could for any more (than) what Brandon McCarthy has done, but we need him to continue to pitch like this.”

• On the importance of three games against a team that’s also in the mix for the second wild card: “You’ve got to win the series. It’s extremely important. We know they’re a very good team, and we’re facing a good pitcher tonight who didn’t give up too many runs against us the last time. But Brandon pitched really well. You’ve got to win games.”

Associated Press photos



Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 at 6:11 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

No Gardner; Jeter DH; Beltran in right

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Derek Jeter DH
Brian McCann C
Mark Teixeira 1B
Carlos Beltran RF
Martin Prado 2B
Stephen Drew SS
Chase Headley 3B
Ichiro Suzuki LF

RHP Brandon McCarthy


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 at 3:43 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Pitching matchups in Detroit

Carlos Beltran, Brandon McCarthy

RHP Brandon McCarthy (5-2, 1.90)
RHP Rick Porcello (14-8, 3.10)
7:08 p.m., MY9

RHP Shane Greene (3-1, 3.17)
LHP David Price (12-9, 3.00)
7:08 p.m., YES Network and ESPN

RHP Hiroki Kuroda (9-8, 3.97)
RHP Justin Verlander (11-11, 4.82)
1:08 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network

Associated Press photo


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 at 12:15 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Pineda: “I feel like I have good power in my arm”

Jacoby Ellsbury

Just got into my Detroit hotel after missing Monday’s makeup game in Kansas City, so we’ll start this day with the AP story from last night. Here’s Dave Skretta:

Michael PinedaKANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Michael Pineda kept throwing strikes. The Royals kept taking them, trying in vain to drive his pitch count up. When Yankees catcher Brian McCann looked up in the third inning, his right-hander had still thrown just 35 pitches.

He knew then that Pineda was in a groove.

Pineda wound up pitching into the seventh inning Monday night to win for the first time since April 16, helping New York beat the Kansas City Royals 8-1 for its fifth straight win.

“He’s got so much cut on his fastball,” McCann said. “I feel like he could literally throw it every pitch and be successful. When he’s like that, he’s as good as anybody.”

In the makeup of a game rained out in early June, Pineda (3-2) gave up a solo shot to Mike Moustakas leading off the third inning. But that was about it in Pineda’s third game back from the disabled list. He struck out five without a walk.

Jacoby Ellsbury drove in a run in the seventh inning with the 1,000th hit of his career, then added a two-run homer in the ninth. Derek Jeter added a pair of RBIs in his final scheduled trip to Kauffman Stadium, and Stephen Drew and Martin Prado had solo home runs.

“It’s nice when you have a lot of people contribute,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

James Shields (12-7) allowed six runs over 6 2-3 innings for Kansas City.

“We’ve been playing really, really good baseball the last month or so. We’re definitely not going to let just one little game take care of us,” Shields said. “We’re going to move onto this next series and hopefully we’ll win it.”

If you’re willing to count the makeup against New York as a true series, it was the first time in their last 11 that the Royals have dropped one.

“It’s going to happen,” outfielder Alex Gordon said. “We’ll bounce back. We’ll be OK.”

Derek Jeter Dan Glass Dayton MooreJeter, who is retiring after the season, answered a standing ovation as he stepped to the plate in the third inning with a groundout to shortstop that gave New York a 1-0 lead.

Moustakas tied the game with his 15th homer in the bottom half.

Drew gave the Yankees the lead back in the fourth with his home run, and they piled on four more runs off Shields in the seventh to put things out of reach.

The last of the runs was scored by Ellsbury, who came home on a sacrifice fly by McCann. Ellsbury initially was ruled out at the plate, but the call was overturned after a 2-minute video review showed his left leg sliding just under catcher Salvador Perez’s tag.

That was plenty of support for Pineda, who had gone through the ringer since his previous win. He served a 10-game suspension for getting caught with pine tar on his neck in a game against Boston, then landed on the DL with shoulder trouble that kept him out until mid-August.

Pineda was stuck with a pair of no-decisions in his first two starts back.

“I feel pretty good,” he said. “I feel like I have good power in my arm.”

BRONX BOMBERS: The Yankees homered at least three times in a game for the seventh time this season, but it was the first time they had done it since July 9 at Cleveland.

CRACKED SHIELDS: Speaking of homers, Shields gave up at least two in a game for the seventh time this season, tied for second-most in the majors behind the Brewers’ Marco Estrada with nine.

TRAINER’S ROOM: 1B Mark Teixeira (left hamstring) and OF Brett Gardner (right ankle) were held out of the starting lineup. Girardi hopes both will be available Tuesday in Detroit.

UP NEXT: RHP Brandon McCarthy makes his ninth start with the Yankees to open a three-game series in Detroit, one of the clubs they’re chasing in the AL wild-card race.

Associated Press photos



Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 at 8:44 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Game 129: Yankees at Royals

Michael PinedaYANKEES (67-61)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Derek Jeter SS
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran DH
Stephen Drew 2B
Marin Prado LF
Chase Headley 1B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Zelous Wheeler 3B

RHP Michael Pineda (2-2, 2.05)
Pineda vs. Royals

ROYALS (72-57)
Jarrod Dyson CF
Omar Infante 2B
Alex Gordon LF
Billy Butler 1B
Salvador Perez C
Raul Ibanez DH
Lorenzo Cain RF
Mike Moustakas 3B
Alcides Escobar SS

RHP James Shields (12-6, 3.28)
Shields vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:10 p.m., MY9 and ESPN

WEATHER: It’s Kansas City in August. It’s hot and feels hotter.

UMPIRES: HP Lance Barrett, 1B Dana DeMuth, 2B Ron Kulpa, 3B Ed Hickox

ABOUT YESTERDAY: A quick note on Sunday’s dramatic win. According to Elias, Brian McCann now has eigth career extra-inning home runs, including at least one in each season since 2009. Over the past 20 years (1995-2014), the only other player with a streak of six-or-more straight seasons with extra-inning home runs is Albert Pujols who went even straight from 2003 to 2009.

HELP FROM THE NEW GUY: In his past eight games, Martin Prado is batting .406 (13-for-32) with seven runs, two home runs, nine RBI and one walk-off hit. Little coincidence that lately he’s been hitting closer to the middle of the order and not so much at the bottom.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Adam Warren turns 27 years old today. He’s looked a lot better lately. Has been working on staying back in his delivery and said he’s felt better on the mound. Said he feels like he’s getting back to the way he felt earlier in the season when he was earning all of those late-inning opportunities.


Posted by:Chad Jenningson Monday, August 25th, 2014 at 7:05 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

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