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
“This next week I’ll get some of the other guys into games here to keep everyone going,” Girardi said. “But you like to try to run the same lineup out there as much as you can.”
Will there come a day when Carlos Beltran will be in the lineup as the right fielder again instead of as the DH? He would need to start throwing again first.
“We’ve talked about that,” Girardi said. “That could probably start happening pretty soon here.”
With Beltran’s bone spur in the right elbow and the struggles and departure of Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki has taken on a larger role in right. This will be the 40-year-old’s 49th start out there. Ichiro is batting. 286 with no homers and 11 RBI in 83 games. He’s 0 for his last 16.
“He’s had a pretty decent year for us,” Girardi said. “He’s played a lot as of late. I know that I have to give him a day off every once in a while to keep him fresh. Even though he won’t say that, I think it’s important that that happens. But he’s been an everyday player for us.”
Michael Pineda has thrown one live batting practice session and Girardi thinks he will do that again.
“And then you might start seeing him, in a sense, throw a couple of innings, three innings, that sort of thing, depending on how that goes,” Girardi said.
“Sometimes we like to do sim games because it’s easier to build them up. It’s more controlled.”
This has been substandard home team this year. After beating the Reds in the first two games of this series, the Yankees are still only 20-23 at home.
“It’s going to take everyone in that clubhouse for us to play better at home,” Girardi said.
Photo by The Associated Press
Jeter staying in play • 07.03.14
Derek Jeter is due for a day off one of these days.
“He’s going to get one here soon,” Joe Girardi said.
The 40-year-old Captain has played in 73 of the 83 games — starting 69 at short — following the injured-ravaged 2013 season that limited him to 17 games with the Yankees. He’s pow batting .271 with two homers and 20 RBI in his final season.
In the homestand-closing 6-3 loss to the Rays Wednesday, he went 0 for 5. But he had been at .338 over his previous 19 games, going 26 for 77 with four doubles, a homer and eight RBI. His on-base percentage had been .381 in that stretch. He stands four hits from 3,400.
It’s doesn’t figure that he will get a break during the All-Star break. Jeter has been leading the AL shortstop voting.
“As long as his body feels good and I feel that he’s moving around, I’m going to keep playing him,” Girardi said. “He’s done a really good job. He had the one little issue early on with the tight quad, but he’s really held up well.”
Jeter is staying optimistic despite the team’s struggles. The Yankees will take a season-high five-game losing streak into their game at Minnesota tonight. They have fallen below .500 at 41-42.
“Can’t change it,” Jeter said. “It’s over with now. It’s done with. We have a lot of games left. Anything that’s happened up until this point, you can forget about it. We need to play better. Talent doesn’t win games. You have to go out there and perform on the field. It doesn’t make a difference what kind of talent we have. We have to find ways to win games.”
ESPN is reporting that Yangervis Solarte is being sent down to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room for Zelous Wheeler.
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
Yankees pregame: Teixeira, Ellsbury hurting • 07.02.14
Mark Teixeira and Jacoby Ellsbury aren’t in the lineup, and it isn’t just a typical day of rest.
Teixeira had his left knee drained after last night’s game. Joe Girardi said he expects him back for tomorrow night’s game in Minnesota.
“He’s been playing with a little fluid on it for a few days,” Girardi said.
Ellsbury isn’t feeling great in general, according to Girardi.
“Ells is just kind of beat up and needs a day off,” Girardi said. “He should be back in there tomorrow, too. He’s a little bit sore all over. So he needs a day. And a guy needs a day, he needs a day.”
The struggling offense loses the .288 bat and the speed of Ellsbury and its leading homer (15) and RBI (41) producer in Teixeira, but the Yankees still have to try to avoid a sweep by the Rays.
“It is what it is and someone else has got to come up with some big hits today,” Girardi said.
Girardi added this about the offense: “There’s no magic formula. Can I go, I don’t know, walk on my hands through the clubhouse? No, I can’t do that. It’s just continue to work and you keep throwing them out there. You try to give the guys that you believe are the most productive consistent at-bats and eventually it’s going to change.”
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 Yankees are short on runs and short on answers.
“If I knew, I would tell you, but I don’t know,” Joe Girardi said after the 2-1 loss to the Rays.
“It’s frustrating,” Brett Gardner said, admitting he’s a bit surprised.
There hasn’t been much in the way of consistency.
Of course, it doesn’t help having to try to break out against David Price.
“He’s one of the best lefties in the game,” Carlos Beltran said.
The Yankees managed four hits off him and none off the bullpen. They went 1 for 9 with eight left on base. Girardi pointed to situational hitting being a problem of late.
“These guys have proven track records,” Girardi said. “These are the guys we have and these are the guys who have to get it done on a nightly basis.”
They are not getting it done on a nightly basis. Maybe a guy will be brought in from another team to help. The Yankees are now a .500 team after 82 games. Their 41-41 record comes with a collective .251 average. They have tied their season highs with four straight losses and four straight losses at home. Overall they have dropped eight of the last 10, but they are still only 3 1/2 back of the Jays.
At least Hiroki Kuroda looked pretty good for the third straight start. This time, he allowed the two runs and nine hits over eight innings. Girardi called it a “great performance.” Kuroda knew he had to be sharp with Price pitching.
“It was going to be a real tight game,” Kuroda said through an interpreter. “I had to make sure I minimized the damage when I was on the mound.”
The Yankees are 1-4 on the homestand with Wednesday’s game to go. Then there are 11 games on the road — at Minnesota, Cleveland and Baltimore — before the All-Star break.
Photo by The Associated Press.
Yankees in need of more production • 06.23.14
Orioles starters really shut down the Yankees in the three-game series that ended Sunday with Baltimore’s 8-0 win. The Yankees managed four hits to follow up on their one-run, seven-hit Saturday loss. They needed a walk-off three-run homer from Carlos Beltran Friday to claim a 5-3 victory.
The offense really hasn’t taken off on a consistent basis.
Asked if he expected more, Joe Girardi said: “Yeah, I think that’s probably fair to say, but we still have a long way to go. And I see signs of us swinging the bats better. I do. But it is what it is and we’ll go from here.”
They have a lot of below-average averages right now on a 39-35 team. For instance: Carlos Beltran .220; Brian McCann .222; Kelly Johnson .222; Alfonso Soriano .232; Brian Roberts .244; and Mark Teixeira .246. The Yankees also have Yangervis Solarte at 0 for his last 28, dropping him to .263.
“We definitely have more in us,” Teixeira said. “I think we expect more out of each other. Hopefully we can score more runs.
“There’s a lot of time left, but we do need to pick it up.”
Here’s my story on Sunday’s events, from the Old-Timers’ Game to Masahiro Tanaka’s effort to the punchless offense to Steve Pearce’s takeout slide to Teixeira’s fear he had broken a toe or two. And here’s my Yankees notebook on Goose Gossage heading to Monument Park, Jeter’s response to Hideki Matsui’s marital advice and Girardi talking about the Adam Warren/Vidal Nuno situation. Thanks for reading. You’re always welcome to join me on Twitter as well at @bheyman99. Chad will be back with you later.
Photo by The Associated Press.
Yankees pregame: Old-Timers’ Day • 06.22.14
There are three first-time Old-Timers here today, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and John Montefusco.
Matsui said through his old interpreter Roger Kahlon that he’s basically relaxing and enjoying retirement. So Matsui was naturally asked what advice he would give the retiring Derek Jeter.
“He’s got to find a wife, first and foremost,” Matsui said.
Joe Torre is here today and he’s bound for the Hall of Fame next month. He acknowledged Jeter’s role.
“I wouldn’t be going to have a Hall of Fame speech unless he was here,” Torre said.
“It’s something that hasn’t really settled in for me yet.”
The introductions are going on now. Then comes the Goose Gossage plaque ceremony, then the Old-Timers’ Game, then Tanaka time.
As for the current team, Joe Girardi again sounded down on the idea of moving Adam Warren into the rotation to replace Vidal Nuno.
“In a sense, you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul,” Girardi said. “Whereas Warren has been able to help us twice out of every five days, you’re only going to get one start every five days. He’s been extremely important to our success in the bullpen. I know he’s been talked about a lot, but our rotation is what it is.”
CC hoping “spring training” ends early • 06.18.14
CC Sabathia could be at least six weeks away from returning after throwing his first bullpen session Monday. Joe Girardi indicated Tuesday it was fair to compare this to the start of spring training for him. But Sabathia is hoping to return sooner than later. His problematic right knee has been cooperating.
“I’ve been throwing the whole time,” Sabathia said. “I feel pretty good. Obviously you have to be cautious, not wanting to hurt my arm. But we’ll see. I feel good. Hopefully we can skip some steps.”
The 33-year-old lefty was just 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA when he was done with his last start on May 10.
“It’s hard to watch the games and sit here and not be a part of it,” Sabathia said. “This is one of toughest things I’ve ever had to deal with as far as my career goes.”
Sabathia is scheduled to throw another bullpen today.
“We’ll just continue to increase the amount of pitches and the pitches that he throws,” Girardi said. “He threw fastball, changeup the first day. I think he’s going to mix in some other pitches (today), mix in his slider as well. And then just kind of go day by day with him for me.
“If he gets through (today), then he’ll probably throw another bullpen and we’ll increase the number there. And then if he gets through that, eventually you start to see hitters and BP and then you get the games.
“So it’s really just taking it a step at a time. … He’s been out for a little bit. We’ve said when you’re a starter and you have not thrown a lot, we have to somewhat rebuild you up. So it’s fairly similar (to spring training).”
Masahiro Tanaka just continues to win. Here’s my story on his victory over the Blue Jays last night. Francisco Cervelli is back and ready to help in any way possible, while John Ryan Murphy is now back in Triple-A. Here’s my story on Cervelli’s return and other Yankees notes. And Chase Whitley will take the ball tonight against Toronto. Here’s my feature story on Whitley and his success as a rookie.