The Yankees know they need to be more rude to their guests in the second half. They have an AL-high 37 home games left. In the first half, they were just an 18-23 home team.
“We’re going to have to win at home,” Brian McCann said. “Our team is built for this ballpark. When we start to swing the bats better, we’re going to win more games.”
Now they’re 21-23 after this three-game sweep over the Reds to start a 10-game homestand out of the break.
“To be able to start off this way against a team that’s been playing well, that’s fighting for their division as well, I think it was real important,” Joe Girardi said.
Cincinnati put a bow on the sweep by giving the Yankees a gift run in the last of the ninth — McCann’s popup to shallow right that fell between three Reds and went for a single, scoring Jacoby Ellsbury from third to make it a 3-2 win.
“But I’ll take it, for sure,” McCann said.
“I thought I was under it and I was not,” first baseman Todd Frazier said.
Manager Bryan Price was looking at second baseman Skip Schumaker and right fielder Jay Bruce.
“Certainly I think it was a miscommunication in the sense that I’m sure Jay and Schumaker both thought the other was going to catch it,” Price said.
For all their rotation injuries, the Yankees’ starters are doing OK. They have given up three earned runs or less in each of their last eight games. They are 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA in this stretch.
“Right now, these guys are getting it done for us,” Girardi said.
The only original starter left, Hiroki Kuroda, sure did in this start, allowing one unearned run and three hits in 6 2/3.
“He was awesome — again,” McCann said.
Dellin Betances wasn’t awesome for a change, surrendering the tying homer to Frazier in the eighth.
“I think we were all a little bit shocked when it happened,” Girardi said.
Betances said: “It was definitely frustrating, but I had faith that our team would come back.”
Ellsbury went 4 for 4, stole two bases and made a great catch in center.
“He showed all his tools today,” McCann said.
The Yankees finished interleague play at 13-7. Now injury-ravaged Texas comes in for four.
Photo by The Associated Press
Well, this series didn’t go too well for the Yankees. The last-place Rays have been playing better, but still …
The Yankees sure weren’t expecting to get swept by them. The 6-3 win gave Tampa Bay a season-high five-game winning streak and the Yankees a season-high five-game losing streak.
They are now a losing team for the first time since they were 5-6 on April 11. After nine losses in 11 games, they are 41-42 and 4 1/2 back of the Blue Jays.
“The talent is in that room,” Joe Girardi said. “We just need to play better. It’s a lot of different phases. You can look at almost every phase and say we need to play better. We’ve got to find a way to get it done.”
The run production is the most glaring phase right now. The Yankees had 10 hits. They left nine on base. The RISP count was an RIP count — 1 for 9.
“Obviously offense has been an issue,” hitting coach Kevin Long said. “It’s been an issue all season. We’ve got to turn it around somehow. … It’s not for a lack of effort.”
Long indicated that Carlos Beltran (two singles) and Brian McCann (single, solo homer) appear to be making progress. McCann (seen in the photo above executing his home-run swing) eliminated a toe tap from his mechanics in this game, according to Long. Apparently it helped. McCann was happy to produce.
But as he put it, “When you lose, it’s irrevelent.”
The Yankees also finished a 15-game stretch against the AL East.
“It started off good and ended bad,” Girardi said.
It ended at 6-9.
“I thought you were going to say 2-13,” said Brett Gardner, who tied his career high with his eighth homer and is batting .288 overall after this three-hit game. “We just haven’t played good.”
So it’s on to 11 straight on the road before the All-Star break. It starts Thursday night in Minnesota.
“We’ve got to pick each other up,” Gardner said. “We’ve got to pitch better and we’ve got to hit better and find a way to give our pitchers the lead a lot more often.”
CC Sabathia made his second rehab start Wednesday night, this one at Trenton. The lefty threw 33 of his 55 pitches for strikes in 3 2/3 against Portland. He gave up five runs, three of them earned, five hits and one walk. He hit one batter and struck out two.
Alex Rodriguez is back in the news. Sports Illustrated has an excerpt from a new book claiming MLB gave A-Rod permission to use a PED – testosterone – through a therapeutic use exemption in his MVP season of 2007.
MLB countered with a statement:
“All decisions regarding whether a player shall receive a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) under the Joint Drug Program are made by the Independent Program Administrator (IPA) in consultation with outside medical experts, with no input by either the Office of the Commissioner or the Players Association. The process is confidentially administered by the IPA, and MLB and the MLBPA are not even made aware of which players applied for TUEs.
“The TUE process under the Joint Drug Program is comparable to the process under the World Anti-Doping Code. The standard for receiving a TUE for a medication listed as a performance-enhancing substance is stringent, with only a few such TUEs being issued each year by the IPA. MLB and the MLBPA annually review the TUE process to make sure it meets the most up-to-date standards for the issuance of TUEs.
“As recommended by the Mitchell Report, since 2008 MLB and the MLBPA have publicly issued the IPA’s annual report, which documents how many TUEs were granted for each category of medication. We believe this high level of transparency helps to ensure the proper operation of the TUE process.”
Photo by The Associated Press
Waiting on Beltran • 07.02.14
Carlos Beltran has brought something to the Yankees.
“I think he’s a very positive influence,” Joe Girardi said. “I think he has a lot of knowledge to offer as well. I love just listening to him when he talks baseball because he’s done so many things in the game and has been so successful.
”I think he’s still an asset to our club no matter what’s going on.”
If only the 37-year-old switch-hitter also hadn’t brought a bone spur in his elbow that cost him 21 games in May and early June and has him limited to DH duty, and brought a mostly silent bat. At least so far.
The Yankees are still waiting for the Beltran they thought they were getting when they signed him for three years and $45 million in the offseason.
Mr. October II is batting .216 with eight homers and 24 RBI across 56 games. He did have that three-run walk-off homer against the Orioles June 20. But now he’s just 5 for his last 27. Beltran went 0 for 3 with a walk and stranded a runner in scoring position in the fourth and the sixth Tuesday night when the Yankees fell to Tampa Bay 2-1, making them a .500 team at 41-41.
Girardi discounted age as a factor for Beltran as well as .220-hitting Brian McCann, who is just 30.
“I don’t think you forget how to hit in a year,” Girardi said.
Asked for his theory on why the offense really hasn’t clicked consistently so far as a whole, Beltran said: “No idea.”
Here’s my story on what happened in this latest loss. Here’s my story on CC Sabathia taking his next rehab step Wednesday night and the impact he wants to have when he returns. And here’s my feature story on Dellin Betances and his hopes for being an All-Star this month.
Photo by The Associated Press.
The big-ticket catcher is getting a rest tonight against the Rays, at least at the start. He’s batting just .221 through the first half, with a .281 on-base percentage. He has hit nine homers and drive in 36.
“I think everything involved — you talk about coming to a new town, a new contract, learning all these new pitchers — it can be difficult,” Girardi said. “His RBI total isn’t too bad. His home runs aren’t too bad. I think he’s done a really good job with our pitching staff.
“But when he looks at his average, I’m sure he’s frustrated and knows that he can do better. So I don’t want to just focus on one aspect of the game because he has driven in some big runs for us and he has done a great job with our staff.
“And he needs to remind himself of that, too.”
Without question, Dellin Betances belongs at the All-Star Game. And Girardi made a good case for him.
“If you want a big strikeout and you want a guy to come in in the middle of an inning and get people out, he’s pretty good at it,” Girardi said. “He’s done a tremendous job. He’s a reliever that can obviously give you multiple innings. Sometimes you get in an extra-inning game, that can be pretty important, too.”
Betances, who may get a game or two off after pitching in three of the last four, is 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA in 35 appearances. He’d love to be at Target Field July 15.
“You’re talking about guys that you grew up watching, unbelievable players,” Betances said. “I haven’t really thought too much about it, but I’d be honored.”
After the 12-inning game last night, the Yankees needed a fresh arm in the bullpen. Righty Jim Miller has the arm that was summoned from Triple-A. Jose Ramirez got sent down. And CC Sabathia got moved to the 60-day DL.
Speaking of Sabathia, he will pitch a rehab game on three days’ rest. His next start will come tomorrow for Trenton. Sabathia threw just 37 pitches in his first rehab start, Saturday with Tampa.
“After that, it’ll be every five days,” Girardi said.
Photo by The Associated Press.
Yankees waiting for some offense • 04.12.14
“I’m definitely surprised,” said Kelly Johnson, pictured above after going down swinging against Jon Lester in the fifth inning of the 4-2 loss to the Red Sox Friday night. “I think we all are.
“Offenses can do that, can have some ups and down. We’ll make up for that.”
Mark Teixeira is on the DL. And this offense has a lot of new parts, like Johnson. He was asked whether the newcomers may be trying too hard here at the beginning.
“I think it’s human nature,” Johnson said. “I’m not going to say yes. I’m not going to say no.”
Johnson is batting .258 with two homers and six RBI. But Brian McCann and Brian Roberts are new guys who haven’t done much yet. McCann is at .162 with no homers and three RBI. Roberts is at .148 with no homers and one RBI. Carlos Beltran is at .243 with a homer and four RBI. The Yankees have sent up just seven homers. Johnson is tied for the team lead with .216-hitting Alfonso Soriano.
“We don’t have everyone clicking at this point yet,” Joe Girardi said.
But, stating the obvious, it’s still very early.
Here are links to my three stories today on Lohud.com and in The Journal News, first off on CC Sabathia sinking last night in frustration, plus one on Michael Pineda not getting suspended and some injury updates, and then I have a Matt Thornton feature story. He received his World Series ring yesterday from Red Sox management, yet he was profoundly disappointed to have been left of their playoff roster. He’s hopes to win another this year with the Yankees. I spoke to him before last night’s game.
I’m not scheduled for the rest of this homestand, but you can follow me on Twitter at @bheyman99. Enjoy today’s game.
Photo by The Associated Press.