The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Three nights in Baltimore08.11.14

Nick Markakis

This is a big series coming for the Yankees, three in Baltimore against the first-place Orioles.

The Yankees still have dreams of winning the AL East, even with their sporatic offense. But they will show up tonight trailing by six games.

“We can’t afford to lose any more ground,” Mark Teixeira said. “It’s getting late for that.”

The Yankees still have 10 games left against Baltimore, including seven in September. They are at 61-56 after Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Cleveland that capped a 4-3 homestand. They scored just one run in their final 20 innings in the series. (Here’s my Lohud.com/Journal News story on the Yankees’ lack of offense the past two days and Hiroki Kuroda’s struggle Sunday.)

The Orioles lost to St. Louis 8-3 on Sunday, but they are still 17 over .500, at 67-50.  The Yankees are 14-9 since the All-Star break, including 6-4 in August. Baltimore is 15-8, including 7-3 in August. The Orioles won 12-2 and 10-3 in the first two games against the Cardinals.

“This is the team we’re chasing,” Joe Girardi said. “It’s very important that we win a series at the least. We have to play extremely well because they’re playing well. … They’ve been hot lately and they’ve been scoring runs, so we’re going to have to hold them down.”

Chris Capuano, Shane Greene and Esmil Rogers or Michael Pineda will start for the Yankees, who are also 2 1/2 behind the Royals for the second wild card.

So do you think the Yankees can catch Baltimore?

Nick Markakis photo by The Associated Press.

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Yankees postgame: No O08.10.14

Jacoby Ellsbury

When Jacoby Ellsbury homered with two outs in the ninth, the Yankees snapped their season-high streak of 19 straight innings without a run.

Somehow that streak didn’t seem shocking even though they scored five in the sixth Friday night when they won 10-6. There have been too many dead stretches by this team. The new guys may have improved the defense, but the consistency offensively hasn’t been there, meaning they have fit right in.

The Indians took the series with the 4-1 win that followed Saturday’s 3-0 victory. (Here’s my Lohud.com story on what happened Sunday.)

Joe Girardi credited the pitching that the Yankees faced the last two days and for much of the last week, considering the Tigers’ staff. He also said these punchless stretches of games this season have puzzled him at times. But he said this is part of baseball now.

“I think we got caught up with teams scoring 900 runs in the past,” Girardi said. “That’s not happening anymore.”

Mark Teixeira, while also crediting the Cleveland pitching, gave a realistic assessment of this offense.

“We haven’t really been great all year,” Teixeira said. “We just need to try to do our best and scratch runs when we can and pick it up a little bit.”

Teixeira went 1 for 4 in his return after three games off. He said he was happy with how his pinkie felt.

Hiroki Kuroda felt his pitching was rather subpar. He allowed three runs, five hits and four walks, plus hit a batter and threw a wild pitch in 4 2/3. He also gave a realistic assessment, saying his command was off.

The 39-year-old righty indicated that he was less than 100 percent as well.

“Everybody look around,” Kuroda said through an interpreter. “It’s hard to find players 100 percent physically. So you’ve got to be able to respond with whatever you’ve got.”

Bryan Mitchell responded well in his major-league debut. The 23-year-old righty gave up just one walk and struck out two while working the final two innings. He said he was nervous.

“Knowing that I’ve done this before, I’ve been here, I’ve pitched here, I think it’ll be not easy obviously, but it will be a lot easier next time,” Mitchell said.

Ellsbury batted .417 (10 for 24) in the 4-3 homestand. The Yankees headed to Baltimore for a three-game series. They are 61-56 and trail the Orioles by six games. And the Yankees are 2 1/2 back of the Royals for the second wild card.

Photo by The Associated Press.

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Yankees pregame: Teixeira watch08.10.14

Tom Woodring, Mark Teixeira

Joe Girardi is really hopeful he can stick with the lineup he put together today for the series finale against the Indians, the one with Mark Teixeira batting cleanup and playing first after missing three games.

Teixeira is testing his left pinkie in batting practice.

“It’s important to us,” Girardi said. “It means we can move some other people around and do some things that would help us, and you get him in the middle of the order where he’s been productive. It would be nice.”

Girardi still had no decision to announce on Wednesday night’s starter in Baltimore, Michael Pineda or Esmil Rogers. It will be the finale of a three-game series. The Yankees are in second, trailing the Orioles by six games at the moment.

“They’re important games because we’re chasing them,” Girardi said. “They have a lead in our division and that’s where we want to be, on top of the division. I think we have 10 more games with them. But the important thing is that we continue to take series, like we have an opportunity to today. And you need to do that if you want to play in October.”

Hiroki Kuroda goes today. The 39-year-old hasn’t shown signs of wearing down like he did last year, at least not yet.

“I’ve been really pleased,” Girardi said. “We’ve been somewhat conscious of his workload. I know the one day in Texas we had to push him (to 115 pitches), but we knew he had an extra day. I think the last start he threw 90 pitches (actually 91). It was seven innings, though. We’ll continue to watch him.”

Girardi seems in no hurry to get Carlos Beltran back in right.

“He’s been throwing,” Girardi said. “He definitely feels better. But … with the flexibility we got with (Martin) Prado, we feel less of a rush, not a rush, but we’re OK. It’s subject to change, but we’ll see what happens.”

Photo by The Associated Press.

 

 

 

 

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Jeter hits another milestone08.10.14

Indians Yankees Baseball

The ball ironically was a roller toward short. The Indians’ Jose Ramirez had no play. An infield hit for Derek Jeter. But not just any hit.

This sixth-inning hit in Saturday’s 3-0 loss by the Yankees gave the retiring 40-year-old Captain 3,431 for his career. It gave him sole possession of sixth on the all-time list, passing Honus Wagner.

“You have more hits than anyone who’s played the position at all,” Jeter said. “It’s something I’m extremely proud of. Obviously I would’ve liked to have won the game, but it’s something I’ll be able to tell my kids one day about.”

Tris Speaker sits in fifth place at 3,514, so he’s ahead by 83 with 46 games left in the regular season. Sixth isn’t too bad a way to go out. Passing an immortal name like Wagner’s isn’t too bad, either.

“The people he has passed, it’s unbelievable,” Joe Girardi said. “This guy has been consistent for us all year long. There were a lot of questions of where he would be at, but he’s played pretty well.”

Jeter has played in 103 games and is batting .276 with 12 doubles, a triple, three homers and 30 RBI.

Here’s my story on Jeter’s latest feat, Brandon McCarthy’s problems with comebackers and the Yankees’ latest loss. Also, here’s my Yankees’ notebook on Paul O’Neill Day, Michael Pineda, the roster moves and Ichiro Suzuki’s somewhat-lesser milestone hit. I’ll be back with the Yankees’ lineup later this morning.

Photo by The Associated Press.

 

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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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