The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Yankees postgame: From 10 runs to no runs08.09.14

Corey Kluber

After winning 10-6 in the series opener Friday night, the Yankees didn’t get much done again with bats their hands. They managed five hits and struck out 15 times against four pitchers in this 3-0 win by Cleveland, snapping their three-game winning streak.

Who was to blame?

Joe Girardi mostley blamed Corey Kluber. The right-hander gave up four of the hits and struck out 10 in six innings to improve to 13-6, including 7-1 in his last nine starts. This stretch comes with a 1.19 ERA. Girardi ranks him in the top five in the league.

“He’s got really good stuff,” Girardi said. “He’s got an outstanding slider that he uses against righties and lefties.”

“He’s nasty, man,” Derek Jeter said.

“Every time he toes the rubber, it’s a win,” Cody Allen said after picking up his 15th save.

The timely hitting sure wasn’t there. The Yankees finished 0 for 9 with six strikeouts with runners in scoring position. This was the fourth time they were shut out this season.

But they were also missing Brian McCann for the first of at least six games since he’s now on the 7-day concussion DL.

“It’s not what you want, but what we felt was necessary to do to protect him,” Girardi said.

They were also missing Mark Teixeira for the third straight game.

“He felt better,” Girardi said. “It’s possible tomorrow he’s a player for us. We’ll see.”

In the end, they wasted yet another outstanding start by Brandon McCarthy. He had to shake off the pain and numbness from a third-inning liner by Michael Brantley that got his right foot.

“It was Paul O’Neill Day,” McCarthy said. “It wasn’t Leave the Game Early Day.”

McCarthy allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 1/3. He struck eight and walked none. This was his first loss in six starts since coming over from Arizona. He’s 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA. X-rays were negative on his foot.

Jeter had a memorable day, picking up hit No. 3,431, passing Honus Wagner for sole possession of sixth on the all-time list. The Captain did it with an infield hit in the sixth and called it a “wow” moment.

Ichiro Suzuki picked up hit No. 2,811, passing George Sisler for sole possession of 48th on the all-time list.

Here’s my Lohud.com story on McCarthy’s bad history with comebackers and what happened today. And here’s my Yankees notebook on Paul O’Neill getting his plaque, Michael Pineda’s positive feelings and some other items.

Photo by The Associated Press.

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Yankees pregame: Teixeira improving/McCann to DL/Pineda says he’s ready08.09.14

Mark Teixeira

Mark Teixeira took some swings off a tee yesterday, testing the left pinkie that took a three-stitch cut on Wednesday. It didn’t go well.

“It’s not the cut,” Teixeira said this morning. “The joint is really, really sore.”

Then Teixeira tested it again after he spoke.

“He took swings and he felt better,” Joe Girardi said. “Hopefully it’s not much longer with him.”

The Yankees just announced that Brian McCann is going on the 7-day concussion DL. He suffered a mild concussion on a foul tip to the face mask in last night’s game. Austin Romine was recalled from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and Brian Roberts was unconditionally released.

Michael Pineda went 4 1/3 for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Friday night, allowing one run and six hits while striking out seven. He threw 72 pitches.

“Everything is there,” Pineda said, back at his locker this morning. “The velocity is there. I’m feeling good. I’m happy with that.”

That was his second rehab start in his latest comeback from the upper back muscle strain near that right shoulder. Asked if he’s ready to pitch for the Yankees again, Pineda said, “I’m ready for pitching, yeah.”

Esmil Rogers turned in a strong five-inning start last night, filling in for the injured David Phelps. Both Rogers and Pineda are set to throw a bullpen session tomorrow, so both are on line for Wednesday.

But will Pineda make his return that night against the first-place Orioles in Baltimore?

“That’s something we’ll have to talk about,” Girardi said. “Ideally you’d like to get someone to 90 pitches. … We’ll sit down, Brian (Cashman) and the people who saw it, and decide what’s next for him.”

Paul O’Neill is receiving his Monument Park plaque honor before the game.

“The intensity he brought, I used to love to watch,” Girardi said.

Photo by The Associated Press.

 

 

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Opening up the DH spot07.28.14

Carlos Beltran

Joe Girardi is looking forward to Carlos Beltran being able to play some in right again because it’s going to give the manager more flexibility without having one guy locked into the DH role.

“I’m sure Gardy could probably use a DH day,” Girardi said. “Ells could use a DH day. These guys are run out there on a regular, regular basis. It probably wouldn’t hurt them. By having (Beltran) and Ichiro, who’s an outstanding outfielder as well, I could probably do some things.”

Girardi indicated Beltran could be back out there as soon as next week, barring any setback with the bone spur in his right elbow that caused him to miss 21 games while on the DL in May and early June.

“He’s continuing to throw,” Girardi said. “He has progressed and he has thrown more and more distance as we’ve went on, and he’s done some outfield drills early.”

Beltran wants to get back out there, but it’s a process for him. After yesterday’s 5-4 loss to the Blue Jays, he said he had only been throwing for five days.

“Right now, throwing 90 feet isn’t going to do it,” said Beltran, who has picked it up offensively of late, batting .314 on the 10-game homestand to lift his average to .228. “So when I get to I guess 140, something like that, where I can make a throw from the outfield to home plate on a do-or-die play, let it go, then I will be close to playing games. Right now, I’m not.”

The Yankees, of course, could also acquire another outfield bat before Thursday’s nonwaiver deal deadline, which could impact how Beltran would be used.

Then there’s the question of who will mainly be used to back up the now oft-injured Mark Teixeira.

After missing the last seven games with a strained lat, Girardi didn’t rule out Teixeira returning as soon as tonight in Texas, depending on how felt today when he woke up after taking 50 swings yesterday and how he feels following live batting practice later, if he’s good to swing more.

With Kelly Johnson going on the DL Wednesday due to a strained groin, Brian McCann became the regular fill-in at first instead of squatting behind the plate. If Teixeira needs a day off, it figures to be Johnson’s job to fill in once he returns, according to Girardi. Johnson is eligible to return Aug. 7.

“We don’t anticipate Kelly Johnson’s injury is going to be long,” Girardi said. “So probably when I give Mac a day off (from catching), I’ll give him a day off.”

Here’s my latest story on what went on yesterday and Girardi’s frustration over the loss and really the mistakes of the last two days.

Photo by The Associated Press

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Yankees postgame: Girardi frustrated07.27.14

Dave Robertson

Joe Girardi wasn’t thrilled over these last two games. The Yankees had beaten Toronto 17 straight times at Yankee Stadium, but they lost 6-4 Saturday and then 5-4 Sunday.

“It’s a team we’re fighting with obviously and it’s a frustrating loss,” Joe Girardi said after they fell a game back of the Blue Jays for the second wild card. “We fought back a number of times and we were never able to get a lead.

“Our miscues is what cost us in this series, really, when you look at. We’ve got to be better at that.”

David Robertson had a mental lapse in the ninth, leading to the go-ahead run. Jose Bautista was on first with two outs and stole second without a throw, leading to Dioner Navarro’s tiebreaking single.

“He can’t let a guy get a walking lead,” Girardi said.

“I just let him slip,” Robertson said. “I didn’t think he’d be going.”

Bautista said: “I know there was two outs and I figured it’s going to have to be a pretty long extra-base hit for me to score from first because I’m not the fastest guy on the team.”

This was the first game in which Robertson and Dellin Betances each surrendered at least one run. Betances had a big mess-up, too.

He walked Colby Rasmus on four pitches to open the eighth in a 3-3 game. Before Betances knew it, Rasmus was on third with no outs because of the wild pickoff throw to first.

“My cleat got stuck,” Betances said. “As soon as that happened, I had a feeling I was going to throw it away.”

Shane Greene departed after giving up an RBI double to Rasmus with one out in the sixth, making it 3-2 Jays.

“I’ve got to have a short memory, but that one hurt,” Greene said.

The Yankees have now failed to score more than four runs in 12 of the last 14 games.

There was a hitter in the ballpark who could help. Colorado All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who’s the subject of trade speculation, is on the DL with a hip flexor problem. He was back East to see a doctor in Philadelphia. Tulowitzki is a big Derek Jeter fan. He told The Denver Post he wanted to see Jeter play once last time.

Jeter said he wasn’t aware of it. The Post story said a Tulowitzki trade to the Yankees wasn’t imminent.

Jeter also said he had reached out Saturday to Joe Torre, who went into the Hall of Fame Sunday.

“I don’t think I’d be where I am now if it wasn’t for him,” Jeter said.

Here’s what I wrote for Lohud.com and The Journal News on the happenings at the Stadium Sunday and the big picture.

Photo by The Associated Press.

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Greene’s turn again07.27.14

Shane Greene

The Yankees had to take one 25-year-old rookie righty out of the rotation with the acquisition Thursday of Chris Capuano, and they chose Shane Greene over Chase Whitley to keep starting.

Greene will take the ball today against in the Blue Jays in the finale of the 10-game homestand. He’s 2-1 with a 2.79 ERA through four appearances, three of them starts. He won his first two, throwing 4 2/3 no-hit innings in each, before losing Monday night to the Rangers, although he left with two outs in the sixth with the score tied at 2-2. He did make three errors in that game, though.

“He’s done really good things,” Joe Girardi said. “We feel good about where he’s at and the way he’s throwing the baseball.”

Whitley is at 87 1/3 innings between his Triple-A and Yankees work. His career high during his four previous minor-league seasons was 91 because he was primarily a reliever. And that’s his role again. Whitley is 4-3 with a 4.87 ERA through 14 appearances with the Yankees, 12 of them starts. He was charged with two runs in a third of an inning after opening the ninth in Saturday’s 6-4 loss.

“Chase has done a really good job for us, but it’s a guy that’s (almost) never logged this many innings,” Girardi said. “There were some concerns around the All-Star break, so we pushed him as far as back as we could. I told him, ‘Just take it easy, rest and we’ll get you going again.’ And he came out and threw the ball really well.

“But a Greenie’s a guy that I think has thrown 175 innings in the minor leagues (actually 154 1/3 was his high last year), is used to being a starter and has thrown the ball really well, and that’s why we’re staying with him.”

Here’s my story on the end of the Yankees’ 17-game home winning streak against Toronto and problems that led to it. And here’s my Yankees notebook with items on Red Sox turned Yankee Chris Capuano and his debut start, Brian Roberts’ shaky defense and Mark Teixeira’s status.

Photo by The Associated Press.

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Yankees postgame: The streak is over07.26.14

Brian McCann

The Yankees had beaten the Blue Jays 17 straight times at Yankee Stadium. But the streak is now past tense after this 6-4 Toronto win, its first here since Aug. 29, 2012.

“When we have a tough year, usually around this place you’d see tire tracks on your neck,” John Gibbons said.

But the Jays are improved this year and finally weren’t run over in their fifth try here in 2014.

“Sometimes you need a screwup or something to help you win a game in a tough streak, and we got some of that,” Gibbons said.

Yes, they did. In the seventh inning, Brian McCann had a bad moment filling in for the injured Mark Teixeira at first base, failing to get an out on a ball hit to him by Dioner Navarro with runners at second and third and no outs in a 2-2 game. The catcher, making just his seventh start this season at first, looked at Melky Cabrera holding in place down the third-base line, then looked at first too late, then threw to second and couldn’t get Jose Bautista getting back to the bag.

“There are a lot of things he could do, but he’s extremely inexperienced over there,” Joe Girardi said.

“The game sped up on me,” McCann said. “I didn’t make the play. … The more experience I’ll get over there, the better decision making I’ll have.”

One out later, Matt Thornton came on and Dan Johnson hit an infield blooper between first and second. Brian Roberts couldn’t get to it, then couldn’t hold the ball in his glove after a tricky hop. The go-ahead run scored.

“Maybe it’s a play I’m supposed to make,” Roberts said. “I don’t know.”

The Yankees are going to have to remake their middle infield. Derek Jeter will be retiring, of course. Roberts hasn’t been too impressive offensively or defensively. They could use a steadier backup first baseman as well with Teixeira breaking down a lot.

Chris Capuano put a lot of runners on, but the 35-year-old lefty didn’t give up a lot of runs in his Yankees debut, allowing just two in six innings.

“I had a little nerves going in the beginning,” Capuano said. “… But I made some good pitches today when I had to and was just thrilled to be out there.”

Francisco Cervelli went 1 for 2, so he has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 starts, batting .405 in that stretch.

Here’s my Lohud.com/Journal News story about the day’s happenings and the end of the streak. And here’s my Yankees notebook with items on Capuano, Roberts’ defense and Teixeira’s status.

Photo by The Associated Press.

 

 

 

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Yankees pregame: State of the homestand (with two to go)07.26.14

Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian Roberts

The state of the homestand has been excellent, 7-1 with two games to go. Not the offense has steadily hummed. That has been a problem all season.

But the Yankees take a four-game winning streak into today’s game with the Blue Jays, and their last five wins have all featured comebacks.

“We’ve played good baseball,” Joe Girardi said. “We’ve had some timely hitting. We’ve pitched extremely well. You look at a lot of the scores, they’ve been fairly low-scoring games. Our bullpen has continued to do a good job. Our starters have done a good job. You look at (Hiroki Kuroda’s) night last night, he gives up three in the first and then he pretty much shut them down the rest of the game and gave us a chance to come back. I think that’s the important thing. We’ve been able to come back in some of the games.

“But it’s just I think our pitching has been really good. You look at this homestand and that’s one of the reasons we’ve won a lot of games.”

Chris Capuano will make his Yankees debut in this game. The 35-year-old lefty got stretched out over four starts in the Rockies’ system after relieving for the Red Sox before his July 1 release. Girardi said he could be used for about 100 pitches.

“This guy is a competitor,” Girardi said. “He knows what he’s doing out there.”

Mark Teixeira isn’t scheduled for baseball activities today. Girardi said Teixeira may try to test his back with tee and toss tomorrow and then the Yankees could decide whether he needs to be put him on the DL or will be good to go again very soon.

Brian Roberts owns a team-high 10 errors. The veteran second baseman has looked especially shaky in the field lately.

“He’s just going through some things that fielders probably go through,” Girardi said. “I don’t really have any concerns about it.”

The man Girardi replaced in this job, Joe Torre, is going into the Hall of Fame Sunday along with Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox.

“I think it’s great how they’re going in, the three of them together,” Girardi said. “You’re talking about three great managers who have had a ton of success. I had a chance to play for two of them (Torre and La Russa), which was really pretty neat for me, and be able to pick their brains as much as I did. So I feel really fortunate. But it’s three guys that are well deserving, not only who have been great managers but have been great men. I think when you talk to the players that have played for them, they would say they learned a lot and look up to them.

“I’ve always tried to keep a fairly even demeanor. I had that as a player, but I saw the important of it from Joe as a manager, how important it is to keep that even demeanor. There are days that you’re going to be happier than others, but you have to be the same guy every day. When I looked at Tony La Russa, it was just the preparation that he did in watching him. You talk about ideas that had validity and the way he used the bullpen. There’s a lot to learn from all these guys.”

Photo by The Associated Press.

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Cervelli stepping in and stepping up07.26.14

David Robertson, Francisco Cervelli

Francisco Cervelli has gotten a ticket to more playing time behind the plate thanks to the injuries to Mark Teixeira and Kelly Johnson. Brian McCann has been needed to fill the hole at first base, leaving Cervelli to catch.

He has started five straight games — his longest stretch since he caught 10 straight in May of 2010 — and has done fine. Cervelli has four doubles in the last three games. He has hit safely in nine of his past 10 starts, batting .400 (14 for 35) with six doubles and three RBI in those games. His hitting streak is at seven games.

Last year, he missed the final 140 games due to a fractured hand and his 50-game Biogenesis-related suspension. And then he missed 55 games after suffering a hamstring strain April 13. But he’s at .356 (16 for 45) since being reactivated June 17, which includes a 2-for-3 effort in Friday night’s 6-4 win over the Blue Jays.

“I just think as he has gotten more at-bats under his belt, he understands what people are trying to do to him and he understands what he needs to do,” Joe Girardi said. “Cervi’s biggest issue is — he had the concussion issue (in 2011) and … he broke the hand last year — getting nicked up.

“But when he’s played for us, he’s played really well. It’s a nice player to have on your team because he allows you to do a lot of things with (McCann). In a situation where we don’t have a first baseman, we can run Mac at first every day, and it’s worked out well.

“Cervi, it was tough when we lost him last year because he had started to take over that No. 1 spot and was playing extremely well and swinging the bat extremely well. But he’s just matured and understands what he needs to do.”

Here’s my story on last night’s victory and the Yankees’ domination of Mark Buehrle as well as the Jays when they come to the Bronx. And here’s my feature story on today’s starter Chris Capuano. He’s rather happy to be here and starting again.

Photo by The Associated Press.

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Yankees postgame: If only Buehrle could pitch against them every game07.25.14

Ichiro Suzuki, Brian McCann, Chase Headley, Rob Drake

The Yankees — and Ichiro Suzuki — just own Mark Buehrle. Actually the Yankees own the Blue Jays here at Yankee Stadium.

This 6-4 win marked their 17th straight against the Jays in the Bronx, the fourth-longest home winning streak by one team against another since divisional play began in 1969. The Yankees have 26 of the last 28 here against Toronto since May 24, 2011.

And then there’s Buehrle. The 35-year-old lefty is 0-10 with a 7.34 ERA in his last 15 starts against the Yankees. He’s 1-12 overall in 19 starts against them. He hasn’t beaten them since April 10, 2004, and that was at the old Yankee Stadium.

Asked the reason for the dominance, Joe Girardi said, “It’s hard to say. He’s a really good pitcher.”

Ichiro, who’s now 25 for 60 lifetime vs. Buehrle, hit a three-run shot in the third to snap his 294 at-bat homerless streak dating to last August 30. Derek Jeter had been on his case with some friendly teasing.

“During batting practice, he always tells me, ‘Can’t leave. Can’t leave,’ which means the ball doesn’t leave the ballpark,” Ichiro said through his interpreter.

“For a Japanese person, it’s hard to hear the ‘t’ at the end. I think he said, ‘Can leave,’ ” Ichiro added jokingly.

Hiroki Kuroda struggled some, but he earned the win, allowing four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3. Girardi said he had trouble with command of his sinker.

“He just fought all night,” Girardi said.

Chase Headley went 3 for 4, so he’s at .429 (6 for 14) after four games with his new team.

Mark Teixeira didn’t do any baseball activity, according to Girardi, just ran and did rotational exercises. Girardi said he’s expected to do the same Saturday, and that it wasn’t “probably realistic” that Teixeira could return to the lineup Sunday.

The Yankees are 7-1 since the break, having won four in a row. Their last five wins have been of the comeback variety. They own the second wild card at the moment.

“It beats the alternative,” Girardi said. “But it really doesn’t mean a whole lot with 60 games to go.”

Photo by The Associated Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yankees pregame: Capuano moves right in07.25.14

Chris Capuano

Joe Girardi announced that Chris Capuano is moving right into the rotation in the wake of yesterday’s deal with the Rockies. He will be starting tomorrow against the Blue Jays. Shane Greene will be pushed back a day. Chase Whitley is headed for the bullpen.

“That’s why we went and got Cap, to be a starter for us,” Girardi said. “And we’re obviously hopeful that he’ll do good things.”

Capuano did good things in April in relief for the Red Sox — he owned a 0.00 ERA in 11 outings — and then it started to go bad. The 35-year-old lefty had a 22.50 ERA across five June outings and got released on July 1, ultimately with a 1-1 record and 4.55 ERA. He signed with the Rockies organization three days later and made four starts combined in Double-A and Triple-A, going 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA.

Asked what he likes about Capuano, Girardi said, “Just the experience that he has, used to being a starter, used to logging a lot of innings, gives us a left-hander at our ballpark, which you like. It also allows to — Chase is really built up — put him in the bullpen to help us out there as a real long guy. It gives you more flexibility with (David) Huff. So it does a lot of things for us, actually.”

Capuano has a career record of 74-84 with a 4.28 ERA over 10 seasons and 266 games, 209 of them starts. He was also with the Diamondbacks in 2003, the Brewers from 2004-07 and again in 2010, the Mets in 2011 and the Dodgers in 2012 and 2013. He won 18 games in 2005, was an All-Star in 2006 and went 11-12 with the Mets in 2011. He has also been through Tommy John surgeries, the last one in 2008.

The Yankees designated righty Chris Leroux for assignment to make room. Mark Teixeira remains on the roster, at least for now, although he has been unavailable since Monday due to the strained lat in his back.

“I hope to be back in a few days,” Teixeira said. “… The spasms have really felt better. The actual strain itself is feeling better.”

But baseball activity will be more of a test.

“I would hate to put Tex on the DL and he’s ready after seven days or eight days or six,” Girardi said. “That’s what I don’t want to do. So as he does some activity over the next two days, we’ll have a much better idea where he’s at.”

Photo by The Associated Press.

 

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