The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Yankees postgame: “That was pretty malicious”06.22.14

Kelly Johnson, Steve PearceJoe Girardi wasn’t thrilled with Steve Pearce’s takeout slide on Kelly Johnson at third in the Orioles’ four-run eighth, causing a throwing error. It looked like Pearce was way out of the basepath, although you can’t really tell by the angle of the picture above. There was no call.

After the 8-0 loss, Girardi called it “pretty malicious.”

“I don’t think he intended to try to hurt him, but it was a pretty violent and dangerous slide,” Girardi said.

Johnson said Pearce told him: “My bad.”

“You got away with one,” Johnson told Pearce.

Pearce told reporters: “When I saw the replay, I was like, ‘Man, I was really far away from the bag.’<TH>” But it’s no different than if the play is at second base. I was trying to time it, trying to take him out before he can make the throw.”

Then T.J. McFarland hit Mark Teixeira with a pitch in the bottom half of the inning, getting him on the last two toes of his left foot. X-rays were negative. Teixeira was still feeling sore, but he thought he would play Monday night in Toronto.

He had feared the worst, though, having broken a toe in 2010. Teixeira slammed his helmet before leaving the game.

“I thought it was broken again,” said Teixeira, who lost a 10-game hitting streak. “So I just took it out on my helmet.”

In the end, the Yankees wasted Masahiro Tanaka’s 15th quality start in 15 tries. He would’ve had to pitch a shutout just to tie.

“It wasn’t the best today,” Brian McCann said about the inconsistent offense.

Tanaka hopes to be involved on Old-Timers’ Day someday as an Old-Timer.

“I think the important thing is to try to become a very good player so I would be invited on such occasions,” Tanaka said via an interpreter.

The Orioles were thrilled to take the series after losing the opener on Carlos Beltran’s walk-off homer.

“This was a big series,” J.J. Hardy said. “To lose like we did on Friday and then come back and win the next two, especially against such a great pitcher like Tanaka, was huge.”

Derek Jeter continues to be the lone Yankee leading in the AL All-Star balloting, according to the update released Sunday night. He’s ahead of Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox, 2,353,336-1,933,117.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 40 Comments →

Game 74: Yankees (39-34) vs. Orioles (38-35)06.22.14

Yankees lineup

1. Brett Gardner LF

2. Derek Jeter SS

3. Jacob Ellsbury CF

4. Mark Teixeira 1B

5. Brian McCann C

6. Carlos Beltran DH

7. Kelly Johnson 3B

8. Yangervis Solarte 2B

9. Ichiro Suzuki RF

Masahiro Tanaka RHP


Orioles lineup

1. Nick Markakis RF

2. Steve Pearce DH

3. Adam Jones CF

4. Nelson Cruz LF

5. Chris Davis 1B

6. J.J. Hardy SS

7. Manny Machado 3B

8. Jonathan Schoop 2B

9. Caleb Joseph C

Chris Tillman RHP


Umpires: Tom Woodring HP, Chris Guccione 1B, Eric Cooper 2B, Tom Hallion 3B

Weather: Partly cloudy, comfortable

TV/Radio: YES/WFAN 660 AM, 101.9 FM


Tanaka time: Masahiro Tanaka is 11-1, making him 39-1 over his last 40 regular-season decisions dating to 2012 in Japan.


Update, 2:22: Tanaka allows singles to the first two Orioles, then sets down Adam Jones, Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis, striking out the last two.

Update, 2:28: Replay review for Gardner’s leadoff triple, whether he slid off the bag and was tagged. Hard for me to tell on the replay.

Update, 2:30: Gardner ruled out.

Update, 2:47: Schoop solo HR to left, 1-0 in the second.

Update, 2:54: Yankees go down 1-2-3 against Tillman in the second.

Update, 3:03: Tanaka gives up a single to Jones in the third and that’s it. One run, four hits allowed so far. Four Ks.

Update, 3:15: Jeter grounds into a 6-4-3 double play to end a two-on, one-out threat in the third.

Update, 3:21: Tanaka sets the Orioles down 1-2-3 in the fourth.

Update, 3:31: Ellsbury hits a leadoff double and the Yankees don’t score. Teixeira moved him over with a grounder to third and McCann popped to third in the key one-out at-bat. Beltran walked with two outs, and Johnson lined back to Tillman.

Update, 3:41: Tanaka gives up his first walk and posts his fifth strikeout in the fifth, still 1-0. Yankees have three hits. Tillman came in 5-4 with a 4.82 ERA.

Update, 3:51: The Yankees are up to four hits after Ichiro bloop single in the fifth. Still no runs. Ichiro has half the hits.

Update, 3:59: Tanaka one run, four hits and one walk allowed through six.

Update, 4:03: That was fast. Yankees get nothing done in the sixth, hit three balls in the air. Tillman is at 95 pitches.

Update, 4:10: The Orioles go up 2-0, single, double, RBI grounder by Schoop.

Update, 4:12: Joseph sac fly, 3-0.

Update, 4:24: Gardner leaves runners at the corners in the seventh after a walk and an error. Tanaka is done, 15th quality start in 15 tries, second in history to start a career with this long a streak. The record is 16. Adam Warren comes on.

Update, 4:32: Pearce went out of the path to trip up Kelly Johnson after a force at third and Johnson threw the ball into the stands past first. Ends up an E-5, runners at second and third with one out. Girardi wasn’t pleased.

Update, 4:39: J.J. Hardy three-run double, 6-0.

Update, 4:41: This one has gotten away from the Yankees, 7-0, after Machado RBI single.

Update, 4:43: Tillman is done, allowed four hits over seven. Lefty T.J. McFarland is on.

Update, 4:51: If the day wasn’t going bad enough for the Yankees, Teixeira got hit by a pitch, looked like in the foot. He got down near first, spiked his helmet with two hands and left the game.

Update, 4:57: Joseph first MLB homer, off David Huff in the ninth, 8-0.

Update, 5:14: Yankees lose 8-0.






Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 417 Comments →

Yankees postgame: In praise of Tanaka06.17.14

Masahiro TanakaMasahiro Tanaka struck out 10 and gave up one run and five hits in six innings, and the only run came on the first pitch of the game.


Yet Tanaka wasn’t pleased with what he brought to the mound. So it was a tribute to him that he did what he did against the heavy-hitting Blue Jays in this 3-1 victory.

“Overall I think my stuff wasn’t really there tonight,” Tanaka said. “All I was trying to do was trying to hang in there and try to keep the ball down as much as possible.”

He’s 11-1, now the major-league leader in wins. His ERA is an AL-best 1.99. The Yankees are 12-2 in his 14 starts, and all have been quality starts. It’s the longest active streak in the majors. He’s one of two pitchers in major-league history to have a streak like this to begin his career. Tanaka is also 5-0 with a 1.26 ERA in his last five starts.

“What he’s done has been remarkable,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s been a big part of our success.”

The Yankees cut Toronto’s lead to 3 1/2 games with the victory, Girardi’s 600th as Yankees manager. He’s just the sixth in franchise history to reach the milestone.

“It means I’ve been fortunate,” Girardi said. “I’ve been blessed. I’ve had a great opportunity with some really good teams.”

Brett Gardner, who hit a two-run homer, is batting .333 with four homers and 12 RBI in his last 15 games at Yankee Stadium

Derek Jeter, who went 2 for 4, is batting .444 over his last seven games.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 30 Comments →

Game 69: Yankees (35-33) vs. Blue Jays (41-30)06.17.14

Yankees lineup

1. Brett Gardner LF

2. Derek Jeter SS

3. Jacoby Ellsbury CF

4. Mark Teixeira 1B

5. Brian McCann C

6. Carlos Beltran DH

7. Ichiro Suzuki RF

8. Brian Roberts 2B

9. Kelly Johnson 3B

Masahiro Tanaka RHP


Blue Jays lineup

1. Jose Reyes SS

2. Melky Cabrera LF

3. Jose Bautista RF

4. Edwin Encarnacion 1B

5. Brett Lawrie 3B

6. Dioner Navarro C

7. Juan Francisco DH

8. Munenori Kawasaki 2B

9. Anthony Gose CF

Marcus Stroman RHP


Umpires: Jordan Baker HP, Gabe Morales 1B, Jerry Meals 2B, Chris Conroy 3B

Weather: Clear, 85 degrees

TV/Radio in NY area: MY 9/WFAN 660 AM, 101.9 FM


Tanaka time: Masahiro Tanaka is tied for the major-league lead in wins with 10 and leads in ERA and is third in the majors at 2.02. All 13 of his starts have been quality starts, the longest streak right now in the majors.

Milestone waiting: The next win by the Yankees will be Joe Girardi’s 600th as their manager.

Who says I’m old? Nine days from his 40th birthday, Derek Jeter is batting .435 (10 for 23) and has a .462 on-base percentage over his last six games. He enters at .271 overall.


Update, 7:13: Reyes homers to right on Tanaka’s first pitch. Jays lead the majors in homers, now 93. Reyes’ 20th career leadoff homer.

Update, 7:33: Yankees go down 1-2-3 against Stroman in the first.

Update, 7:43: Tanaka has four Ks after his first two innings.

Update, 7:49: Yankees no hits in the first two innings, just a Beltran walk in the second.

Update, 8:03: Tanaka hasn’t been exceptionally sharp, six baserunners in three innings. But he has allowed just the one run. Got out of a first-and-second, one-out problem in the third. He has five strikeouts.

Update, 8:13: Gardner two-run HR, 2-1 Yankees in the third. No. 6 for Gardner. Career high was 8 last year.

Update, 8:33: Seven baserunners and seven Ks through four for Jays vs. Tanaka. He is impressive in general and especially with men on base.

Update, 8:40: Lefty Aaron Loup warming for the Jays after a leadoff walk to Beltran in the fourth.

Update, 8:47: First and second for the Yankees with two outs, and John Gibbons pulls Stroman for lefty Aaron Loup with Gardner due up. Still 2-1 Yankees.

Update, 8:51: Gardner grounds out.

Update, 9:01: Tanaka 10 Ks and he has only pitched five innings. Struck out the side in the fifth. Fifth double-digit strikeout game in 14 starts. High of 11 Ks (so far).

Update, 9:12: Teixeira RBI single, 3-1.

Update, 9:17: On to the sixth. Today is the anniversary of Ron Guidry’s club-record 18-strikeout game against the Angels.

Update, 9:26: Blue Jays don’t strike out in the sixth, first no-K inning for Tanaka. He’s at 104 pitches. Todd Redmond on to pitch for the Jays. Betances warming up.

Update, 9:37: Tanaka out, Betances on for the seventh. Tanaka allowed one run, five hits and two walks and he hit one. Plus he fanned 10. If the Yankees hang on, he will become the sole MLB wins leader with 11.

Update, 9:40: Betances has a 1-2-3 seventh.

Update, 9:57: Two hitless innings for Betances with three Ks. So the Blue Jays have struck out 13 times so far. Sergio Santos on to pitch the eighth for them.

Update, 10:19: Yankees win 3-1.





Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 303 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Cervelli back, Murphy down06.17.14

John Ryan MurphyJohn Ryan Murphy has been sent down to Triple-A and Francisco Cervelli has been activated from the DL, not just to be the backup catcher, but again to possibly be one of the backups for Mark Teixeira. When Cervelli hurt his hamstring back in mid-April, it was a game in which he started at first base. Two of his five starts in April were at first.

Joe Girardi said a choice between Kelly Johnson and Cervelli would come down to matchups.

“I think I’m comfortable there,” Cervelli said. “But I don’t want to forget about catching. That’s what I like, but I want to help any way I can.”

This has been the second straight season Cervelli has missed a huge chunk of time. He said he stayed positive these last two months.

“It’s frustrating,” Cervelli said. “But this time I took it differently. … I spent time with my dad. I recovered so fast before the 60 days.”

John Ryan Murphy got sent down to Triple-A to make room. He hit .286 with one homer and eight RBI in 24 games.

“He played extremely well,” Girardi said. “Obviously we were pleased with what he did. … We think it’s important for him to go play every day.”

CC Sabathia threw a 25-pitch bullpen yesterday and will have another session out there tomorrow. Joe Girardi compared this to the beginning of spring training for him.

Michael Pineda, who was shut down after his setback, is scheduled to play catch Saturday.

Rotation fill-in Vidal Nuno is 1-3 with a 5.90 ERA. Adam Warren has been mentioned as a possible replacement. But the reliever would have to be stretched out. Girardi said Warren could probably only go up to about 50 pitches now.

“We’ll continue to evaluate our staff and decide what we’re going to do,” Girardi said.

Tonight it appears the ball is in good hands. It’s Masahiro Tanaka time.

“Obviously Tanaka is the best pitcher on the planet,” Sabathia said.

Photo by The Associated Press


Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 52 Comments →

Yankees postgame: Tanaka not satisfied04.10.14

Masahiro TanakaMasahiro Tanaka is now the second Yankees pitcher and the first since 1915 to strike out at least eight in his first two major-league starts. This time, he fanned 10. So after two starts, he owns 18 Ks and one walk in 14 innings.

But he worked in and out of trouble three times in this 5-4 loss to the Orioles and served up a three-run homer to Jonathan Schoop on the way to a no-decision, leaving him displeased.

“I thought I was able to battle,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. “But I put runners on and gave up a home run to the ninth batter. That I can’t do.”

Still, you can see he has the kind of stuff to get out of jams. His splitter bailed him out in the third and the fifth.

“He made some pitches when he had to,” Joe Girardi said. “I thought he threw the ball good.”

Tanaka, though, has allowed three runs by the end of the second inning in both of his starts before firing off five scoreless innings each time. Not time to call it a trend yet.

“Obviously that’s something I need to adjust, but it’s hard to make an assessment after two games,” he said.

Tanaka also said there was no problem making the transition to four days’ rest after usually pitching once a week in Japan. He came out after 101 pitches, but he has  thrown a lot more back home. He said he probably could have gone longer.

“But I understand it’s only four days in between and it’s a long season,” Tanaka said. “So I’m going by what the team tells me to do.”

The Yankees starters’ streak of five straight games without issuing a walk came to end when Tanaka gave out his one free pass in the third. It was the team’s longest streak since 2002.

Shawn Kelley lamented not being able to put batters away in the ninth, giving up three two-strike hits.

“I thought they did a pretty good job getting the barrel to some of those pitches,” Kelley said.

Now the Red Sox come in for four. I’ll have Jacoby Ellsbury’s thoughts on facing his old team in the morning post.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 29 Comments →

Game 9: Yankees (4-4) vs. Orioles (3-5)04.09.14

Yankees lineup

1. Brett Gardner CF

2. Derek Jeter SS

3. Jacoby Ellsbury DH

4. Carlos Beltran RF

5. Brian McCann C

6. Alfonso Soriano LF

7. Kelly Johnson 1B

8. Brian Roberts 2B

9. Yangervis Solarte 3B

Masahiro Tanaka RHP


Orioles lineup

1. Nick Markakis RF

2. Delmon Young DH

3. Chris Davis 1B

4. Adam Jones CF

5. Matt Wieters C

6. Nelson Cruz LF

7. Steve Lombardozzi 2B

8. Ryan Flaherty SS

9. Jonathan Schoop 3B

Miguel Gonzalez RHP


Umpires: Tim Welke HP, Will Little 1B, Tim Timmons 2B, Todd Tichenor 3B

Weather: Clear, chilly

TV/Radio: YES/WFAN 660 & 101.9


Streaking: Masahiro Tanaka hasn’t lost a regular-season game since Aug. 19, 2012, when his Rakuten team fell at Seibu. His winning streak, including his first start with the Yankees, is at 29 games.


Update, 7:16: Tanaka blows a 94 mph fastball past Adam Jones to strand Delmon Young, who had doubled, and end the top of the first.

Update, 7:23: Gardner singles, but Jeter lines into a double play.

Update, 7:35: Schoop really launched that homer off Tanaka, three-run shot to the second deck in left, 3-0 in the second.

Update, 7:40: Beltran first homer as a Yankee, 3-1.

Update, 7:42: Kelly Johnson second homer as a Yankee, 3-2.

Update, 8:05: Tanaka strands two in the third, gets Nelson Cruz to wave at a splitter after doing the same vs. Adam Jones earlier in the inning.

Update, 8:19: Finally a 1-2-3 inning for Tanaka.

Update, 8:26: Beltran’s bat is paying off tonight. Leadoff double and he scores on a Soriano grounder, 3-3.

Update, 8:38: Tanaka strands two more thanks to his splitter, gets Matt Wieters.

Update, 8:48: Ellsbury strands two to end the fifth.

Update, 8:52: Nice diving grab by Soriano to rob Lombardozzi, then nice play by Roberts to end the Baltimore sixth.

Update, 9:07: My first in-person look at Tanaka, very impressive, 10 Ks in seven innings, has the pitches to get out of trouble, especially that splitter.

Update, 9:16: Yankees go down 1-2-3 vs. Evan Meek in relief of Gonzalez. Headed for the eighth, 3-3. Thornton on for Tanaka.

Update, 9:22: Thornton gets a K, Warren comes on.

Update, 9:33: Warren strands Adam Jones at second after an infield hit and an error by Johnson trying to catch a pickoff try at first.

Update, 9:38: 39,412 here for Tanaka Night. Gardner leadoff double in the eighth.

Update, 9:43: Ellsbury a not-clutch foul out with Gardner at third, two outs. Beltran intentionally walked.

Update, 9:46: McCann, who hasn’t done much so far, flies to center. Kelley on to pitch the ninth.

Update, 9:54: Orioles up 4-3. Shawn Kelley gives up three straight hits, including an RBI single by Nick Markakis.

Update, 9:58: Chris Davis sac fly, 5-3.

Update, 10:19: Yankees lose 5-4.





Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 710 Comments →

Yankees pregame: New guys in the news04.09.14

Masahiro TanakaShane Greene flashed some ability in spring training. The 25-year-old old righty didn’t make the team, but then Tuesday he got a call from senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman.

“Basically, it was just, ‘Congratulations, you’re going to New York in the morning,’ ” Greene said quietly this afternoon, standing at his new locker in the Bronx.

Austin Romine got sent down to make room for Greene, whose parents were thrilled.

“They were a little more emotional than I was,” Greene said.

The 6-foot-4 Greene had been a starter in his five previous minor-league seasons. He took a large step forward last season, combining to go 12-10 with a 3.38 ERA with Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, and it carried over to spring training. He fanned 10 and walked one across 7 2/3 innings and six outings. Greene gave up four runs and eight hits.

“I just kept the same mentality as last year — attack guys, throw strikes and make them earn their way on base,” Greene said.

He was the Kevin Lawn Award winner for 2013 as the organization’s pitcher of the year.

But why is he here now?

“We felt at this time in the stretch that we’re in that we could use 13 pitchers,” Joe Girardi said.

After throwing 67 pitches Tuesday, lefty Vidal Nuno may not be available until Saturday, during the four-game Red Sox series, according to Girardi. There may be a need for some lefty relievers vs. Boston, and now Girardi has three of them with Matt Thornton around as well.

“I think it’s important we have those options when we need them,” Girardi said. “You can be more situational.”

Another new guy gets to start tonight in the series finale against the Orioles — Masahiro Tanaka’s Bronx debut. Girardi said it’s too early to tell how Tanaka will handle the pressure of New York, but he did note that Tanaka has a lot of experience in big games in Japan.

“He has seemed to fit right in,” Girardi said. “He needles people. I see him smile. I see him laugh. He has fit in really well. He’s been a good teammate.”

Yangervis Solarte is starting for the seventh time in nine games, the sixth time at third. The rookie is batting a team-high .458 — 11 for 24. He also leads the Yankees with six doubles and seven RBIs. Girardi plans to keep running him out there while he’s out.

So is Solarte surprised by his early success?

“I am a little bit,” Solarte said, “but for that I give thanks to God.”

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 47 Comments →

Tanaka time in the Bronx04.09.14

Masahiro TanakaIt figures to be rather chilly inside Yankee Stadium Wednesday night, but Masahiro Tanaka isn’t sweating over the thought.

“I’m not worried too much just because I used to pitch in a city called Sendai, which is in the northern part of Japan, which was usually cold around this time of the season,” Tanaka said through an interpreter.

Of course, if Tanaka pitches the way he did last year in his 24-0 Rakuten run or like he did in the final five innings of his win Friday night when the Yankees were in Toronto, he should receive a lot of warmth from the home crowd. Tanaka will be making his Bronx debut in the series finale against the Orioles.

And he’s looking forward to it, especially after experiencing the festivities at Monday’s home opener.

“I was going through the ceremony; I felt that the fans are here to back us up,” Tanaka said. “So unlike Toronto, it should be nice.”

His 29-game regular-season winning streak will be on the line, dating to Aug. 19, 2012, when the Seibu Lions beat him. After giving up three runs in the first two innings of his Yankees debut, the 25-year-old righty fired off five scoreless innings against the Blue Jays and picked up a 7-3 win.

“For me, it’s all about the mechanics of how I pitch,” Tanaka said. “That said, I know what I need to fix.”

Ivan Nova knows he has to fix some things, too, after reverting to his inconsistent ways in his first two starts. Here’s the link to my story on and in The Journal News today about what went on with him and the team in yesterday’s 14-5 loss.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 267 Comments →

All eyes on Tanaka tomorrow (and he’s OK with that)02.28.14

Masahiro TanakaTomorrow afternoon, Masahiro Tanaka will be limited to two innings out of the bullpen for a spring training game on the first of March.

His spring debut is not exactly going to replicate a playoff game at Yankee Stadium, but it will be his closest thing to real game since closing out the Japanese championship series in early November.

“Curious (to) see how he does,” manager Joe Girardi said. “His first outing, hopefully he keeps his emotions in check and that’s what you worry about a little bit, trying to do too much. Players a lot of times want to try to validate contracts. I’ve always said, (for) Japanese-born players I think there’s a certain amount of pride that they feel that they’re pitching for their whole country sometimes and that can be a little much.”

To his credit, though, Tanaka seems unaffected by all of the attention and expectation. Perhaps it’s all a facade — certainly there’s a language and cultural barrier that makes it hard for me or any American writer to have a great sense of what’s going on in his head — but all around him seem to have been impressed by Tanaka’s demeanor this spring.

Asked today if he is curious about his own debut, Tanaka gave a one-word answer that needed no translation: “Mucho.”

“I understand there’s going to be a lot of attention on the results, the numbers of what I do out there,” Tanaka said. “But for me, I’m not looking at it at all. I just want to go out there and pitch my style out there and see how it is on the mound. … Just want to go out there and pitch tomorrow what the catcher requests and see how things are.”

The Yankees have not asked that Tanaka significantly alter his pitching plan. They want to see how he does against major-league hitters and adjust from there. If his approach from Japan carries over with positive results, then there will be no need to fix something that’s not broken. His split-finger, in particular, has become a curiosity.

“I think you have to watch how hitters react in a sense once we get to games, but it has been an out-pitch for him,” Girardi said. “It has been really effective in Japan. His slider has also been really effective. But I think you have to see once he starts to face hitters and they see it a second and third time how they react to it. But I’ve got to tell you, I like it, and I saw how hitters reacted over there and it was a really good pitch for him.”

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 59 Comments →

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