The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


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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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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Pregame notes: “It definitely needs to get better”08.08.14

Mark Teixeira

Mark Teixeira tested his cut lefty pinky earlier today, and by “tested” I mean that he gripped a bat and took a few dry swings.

“Pretty painful,” Teixeira said. “But I’m going to go out, run around, stretch, hopefully some blood flow will help, get it warm. During the day, as the day goes on, hopefully it just keeps getting a little better.”

Despite the early pain just gripping a bat, Teixeira said he’s going to take some tee and toss in the indoor cage, but there are no plans for him to immediately take batting practice. There’s really no telling when he’ll be back in the lineup. Could be soon. Could be several days.

“I’d love to play as soon as possible,” he said. “But I have no idea. I’ve never done this before. I have no idea how long it’s going to take.”

The cut is to his left pinky, and Teixeira said he’s assuming he’ll have an easier time batting left-handed. He’s also assuming he’ll be alright in the field, but he hasn’t tried to put on a glove. Joe Girardi said he’s considering Teixeira day-to-day and will follow guidance from the trainers in deciding whether Teixeira will be available to pinch hit before he’s available to start.

“There’s a big cut and then there’s the bruising and then the joints probably sprained a little bit too,” Teixeira said. “It’s just sore. I’m not sure if it’ll get worse, but it definitely needs to get better.”

Masahiro Tanaka• Masahiro Tanaka played catch again this afternoon. He made 25 throws at 60 feet and 25 throws at 90 feet. He will throw at 90 feet again tomorrow, then take a day off. He needs to get up to 120 feet before the Yankees will let him throw a flat-ground bullpen. “He said he felt good,” Girardi said.

• Michael Pineda is make a rehab start tonight with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Girardi said he might get an update or two during the game, but he’s really planning to wait until it’s over before finding out how Pineda looked. “Chances are it will be flashed on our TV screen in the video room and someone will give me a report,” Girardi said. “But for the most part I’ll check in after.”

• Bryan Mitchell is back. This is his third call-up, but he has yet to get in a game. Girardi said he’s just up to give the Yankees some bullpen innings if necessary. The Yankees are happy with the way Mitchell was pitching in Triple-A, where he had a 2.88 ERA through five starts (four of which were very good).

• Although Esmil Rogers was stretched out as a starter in Triple-A and has been stretched out beyond 100 pitches this season, Girardi said he doesn’t expect to get that many pitches out of Rogers tonight. “Obviously he pitched Sunday and went 45 pitches,” Girardi said. “And then he pitched Tuesday which would be a normal side day. But he threw in the game, and I think you expend a little bit more than if you do your normal side. He’s been built up to 100 pitches, but I wouldn’t think we’d get that many. It’s basically going to be watch and see.”

• The Yankees are carrying two left-handed relievers, but neither is a typical left-on-left specialist (Rich Hill and David Huff have been primarily long men and spot starters). Eventually, it seems the Yankees would like to bring up a young reliever to try to be a left-on-left replacement for Matt Thornton, but that hasn’t happened yet and might not happen right away. “Obviously we hope one of them moves quickly here and could be an option for us,” Girardi said. “As of today, we don’t feel that, but we like what we see.”

Associated Press photos

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Yankees postgame: McCarthy outpitches Scherzer08.04.14

Brandon McCarthy

Brandon McCarthy has started five times since coming over from Arizona and he’s now 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA after this 2-1 win over the Central-leading Tigers.

This is the first time in his career that he has won four straight starts.

“He’s been huge for our rotation,” Joe Girardi said. “… He’s meant a lot. He’s come over here and pitched as well as he could.”

McCarthy allowed an unearned run and five hits and two walks while striking out eight over 5 2/3 innings. He threw 116 pitches, and 50 of them came in keeping Detroit scoreless over the first two innings.

“I know this is a big series and I know what they’re throwing at us this series,” McCarthy said. “I took that as a challenge.”

Detroit is throwing the last three AL Cy Young winners at the Yankees in the first three games of this four-game series, the first time three consecutive Cy Young winners will have faced a team in three straight games. Max Scherzer, the 2013 winner, gave up two runs in the third and nine hits overall in his seven-inning start.

“We know how talented their starting rotation is, but they’re not always going to have their perfect stuff,” Girardi said.

Jacoby Ellsbury went 2 for 22 on the trip, then went 2 for 3 with a sac fly in this one. The sac fly, with the bases loaded and nobody out, came on an outrageous grab in left-center by Ezequiel Carrera, who went sprinting back and then dove. The ball stuck in the heel of his glove as he landed on the warning track.

I asked Ellsbury about it and he said, “It was a spectacular catch. I don’t know if I’ve seen a better catch this year. It saved most likely three runs.”

Mark Teixeira was scratched with lightheadedness that resulted in IV treatment. Girardi hopes he will be able to play Tuesday night when David Price is the Detroit starter. Chase Headley ended up making his first career start and third appearance at first.

“I hope it’s just a weird one-day thing,” Teixeira said. “It could’ve been a bug. It could’ve been food poisoning. It could’ve been a lot of things. It knocked me on my tail at little bit.”

David Robertson pitched for the third straight day for the first time this season, throwing a perfect ninth with two Ks to nail down his 30th save in 32 chances. He has converted 18 straight.

It enabled the Yankees to move to 9-6 in their last 15 games, all decided by two runs or less. The 15-game streak extended the franchise record. It’s the longest two-runs-or-less streak in the majors since the the 1975 Orioles had 16 straight games decided that way.

“As long as we win them, it’s OK,” Girardi said.

The Yankees are now one game back of the Blue Jays for the second wild card.

Here’s my Lohud.com/Journal News story on the game and the latest with Masahiro Tanaka and David Phelps.

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 pregame: Progress by Teixeira, Beltran07.27.14

Mark Teixeira

Mark Teixeira took 50 swings this morning, 25 from each side of the plate. He told a couple of reporters that he felt no pain.

“He took swings today; he felt good,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s taking ground balls. He felt good. So we’ll reevaluate where he is tomorrow and how he feels after today. Hopefully he’s a player here pretty soon.”

Asked if tomorrow night’s game is a possibility, Girardi said, “I don’t know. I’m going to take it day by day and just see how he feels.”

He has missed six straight games heading into today.

“The one thing he hasn’t taken is live BP, (just) tee and toss,” Girardi said. “The one thing you always have to measure is when you’re working, you can guard against a lot of things. When you’re in the course of a game, sometimes you can’t do that. … Hopefully he wakes up and feels great tomorrow and he’s able to take BP and we’ll go from there.”

Carlos Beltran could be back in right within the next few weeks, freeing up the DH spot.

“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. I don’t think it’s too far off. I don’t know if it will happen next week, but after that, I think it’s a possibility.”

Zelous Wheeler is making his second start in right today.

“This is a guy that’s been used to being moving around in his career, and I’m OK,” Girardi said.

Brian McCann, after yesterday’s seventh-inning debacle, is again at first.

“He’s going to give me everything he’s got,” Girardi said. “This guy is a professional.”

Brian Roberts, not excelling offensively or defensively, isn’t in the lineup. Girardi indicated it’s just a normal day of rest for the second baseman.

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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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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