I mentioned in a previous post that I hoped that the Yankees would not morph back into the dreadful offensive team that they were for the first 25 games or so. They have! For the second straight game, the Yankees barely had any offense. Just like on Sunday, they only scored two runs on a home run. Unlike Sunday, the Yankees lost, 4-2, to the Blue Jays. And we can’t even blame Alex Rodriguez, as he was out of the line-up. A-Rod is 1-for-16 since he returned from the DL. The one hit was a homer. He is hitting .170 in 88 at-bats this season. We can blame Bret Gardner, Mark Texeria and Brian McCann (to name a few) . McCann did hit a two-run homer which got the Yankees on the board in the ninth. It snapped his career long tying 0-for-21 streak. Texeria followed with a loud double to right. The first time he has hit the ball hard in a long time. For the most part he continues to strike out. He’s only hit 3 home runs all season. In Gardner’s last 7 games, he’s 1-24 with 1 walk, not the kind of numbers you want for one of your table setters. He went 0-for-3 before being pulled for a pinch-hitter Monday.
The Yankee starting pitching has been sold of late but yesterday Ivan Nova struggled a bit throwing six innings, and giving up 4 runs on eight hits while striking out 4 and taking the loss. The bullpen did a good job shutting down the Blue Jays the rest of the way, but the 4 runs were all Toronto needed against the anemic Yankee offense.
The lack of offense only puts pressure on the pitching. Each starter that takes the hill feels like he has to make a perfect pitch to every batter because he can’t give up more than 2 runs. Maybe the 9th inning was a sign of things to come. CC Sabathia takes the mound tonight. Hopefully his team can get him a few runs early and allow him to pitch like he has of late. The climb back to .500 continues.
While the starting pitching continues to impress, the Yankee hitting has sometimes slipped back to where it was before the 7-3 road trip. Yet somehow, someway, the Yankees find ways to win. For only the 2nd time in the club's history, they break up a no-hitter and win a game on just 1 hit. You can thank Starlin Castro for that. As a first year Yankee Castro had an opportunity to endear himself to the Yankees and their fans on Sunday when he blasted a two-run homer in the seventh inning, breaking up a no-hitter by the Tamps Rays’s Jake Odorizzi and sending the Yankees on their way to a 2-1 victory.
The Bronx Bombers, , who were last no-hit by six Houston Astros pitchers on June 11, 2003, had done little to impede Odorizzi’s bid. They hit no threatening balls and had only one base runner until Brett Gardner worked an eight-pitch walk from Odorizzi with one out in the seventh. Castro then drove a fastball to the deepest part of the park, and suddenly the Yankees were ahead. As the ball cleared the wall, landing 421 feet from home, Castro stepped on first base with an ear-to-ear grin. When he looked to the dugout, there were all smiles too. The blast meant a series win.
Nathan Eovaldi, who pitched out of two big jams in the 5th and 6th innings, had something to feel good about after another strong start. He has allowed two runs in 18 innings over his last three starts. Eovaldi is starting to look like the clear choice as the Yanks number 2 man in the rotation. If only the hitting can consistently get it going, this could be another fruitful road trip. It’s off to Canada as the always tough Blue Jays are next.
As mentioned in a previous blog, I am a Ranger fan. Disappointed the way they played down the stretch and in the series they lost to the Pittsburg Penguins. Being the hockey fan that I am, I will usually watch and follow the team that eliminates them, unless of course it’s the Devils or Islanders. So, here I was rooting for the Penguins who went into last night’s game on the brink, with a must win situation.
Before the game started the crowd was on fire and it was obvious the Pens were too as they took the ice. The last time I heard a crowd like that was at the Super Bowl. Not even the return of Lightening captain Steven Stamkos, who missed eight weeks while recovering from surgery to fix a blood clot, could give Tampa Bay a boost as the Florida squad sought a second straight appearance in the final round.
24-year-old Bryan Rust, ( a January re-call from the AHL) who managed all of five goals in 55 regular season games, scored a pair of second-period goals and Matt Murray stopped 16 shots to lift the them to a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals to send the franchise to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2009.
For the last 5 years the Penguins have endured a sordid playoff history (some of it at the hands of the Rangers), but finally history would change. When the final horn blared, Pittsburgh's metamorphosis from the blahs of playoff game 7 failures was complete. Bring on the Sharks!
On Wednesday the New York Yankees won their 6th in a row to climb back to .500, the Penguins won a big Must win playoff game and the Warriors lost again. On Wednesday afternoon, Steven Matz threw 8 scoreless innings against division rival Washington. Matz now has a 1..13 ERA along with his 7-1 record,. yet if you listened to local sports radio, the dominating story and the only one was and still is Matt Harvey. They talked about how he has struggled with his latest train wreck outing and the fact that his ERA is up over 6.00, and the other fact that he ducked out of Citi Field without talking to reporters after the game. That second part may not have been a big deal in other cities, but in New York, one of the last sports media markets with some real piranhas on the beat, the feeding frenzy is on. And then there is the Met fan who are again in the “waiting till the shoe drops mode”. You should have heard the FAN and ESPN callers- panic stricken! Oh did I mention that the Mets Twitter erupted, as you knew it would. “OMG How could this have happened?”
Apparently Mets fans have a tough life, even if their team is in 2nd place with a 27-19 record. Yankee fans have far more to worry about as the Yanks are hovering around .500. Met fans seem to forget that with out the Dark Knight who may be currently hiding out in the Batcave, they still have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. I understand that the long suffering fans have been disappointed many times. Whenever it looked like they’re about to turn a corner, or something slightly exciting seemed imminent, their hopes were crushed and someone got injured and the team gets robbed by a Ponzi scheme and they’re condemned to seven years bad luck. They seem to also forget that they went to the World Series last year.
Every other starting pitcher on the Met staff has and over .500 record and collectively they have a staff ERA of 3.08, (3rd best in baseball) not bad! Yet most every Met fan and many in the media love to talk about impending doom because the once GQ cover boy and around the big city celebrity is struggling big time. Is this a concern, yes, but give it a rest, he’s not the only stud in a rotation full of studs! (Ok, maybe big sexy isn’t a stud, maybe) I’m sure the Met coaching staff is doing everything to turn him around. On Monday he will pitch again, against the White Sox, and then we’ll find out if he’s a stud or a dud.
The Yankees make it 6 in a row by shutting out the Blue Jays 6-0. Again Nate Evoldi throws a gem and Carlos continues to hit in the DH role (Alex who?) Beltran has been the DH the last five games and is batting .476 over that span with five doubles and two home runs , including one last night, helping the Bombers to get back to .500. Ivan Nova takes the mound for the Yankees tomorrow as they'll go for the series win against Marco Estrada and the Blue Jays. Leave A-rod in the minors for a few more days, lets not upset the apple cart.
Matt Harvey had another rough start last night in Washington, D.C. He gave up five runs in five innings, struck out just one opposing batter, and he now has a 6.08 ERA on the season. But more importantly than anything else, at least according to the newspapers, he didn't stick around after the start to talk to the press. A no-no in New York. Sorry Matt, but you can’t live like a celebrity and then and then run and hide from tough times. The Mets lost 7-4. Harvey’s latest implosion should push him out of Mets’ rotation. Should, being the key word. Will Terry Collins and the Met management do the right thing and send him to the minors?
73 wins, huh? Oklahoma City built a double-digit lead with a big mid-first quarter run, put the hammer down midway through the second, hung 72 points on the Warriors before intermission, and cruised home late, dominating the 73 win Warriors, 118-94. The win brings the Thunder within one win of their first NBA Finals trip since 2012 and leaves Golden State one loss away from elimination., and one of the biggest choke jobs in NBA history. The wolves are at the door just itching to throw dirt on everything the Warriors accomplished this year.
Since I began the Sports Spin, I have not yet mentioned the New York Mets. So it’s time. Living in the northeast, the Mutts, errr, I mean the Metropolitans are one of 3 local teams I can watch on TV. As you can tell by now, Im a Yankee fan, and as true Yankee fan, I have no love for the Red Sox and Mets. (Should I include the Blue Jays?)
There is a former Yank with the Mets you have to love and that’s Big Sexy, otherwise known as Bartolo Colon. Colon got back on track in last night’s 7-1 domination of the Washington Nationals. Colon stated he battled through back issues during a great comeback performance against the same team who beat up on him a week prior. Big Sexy’s final line on the night stood with an impressive seven innings pitched, while allowing just one run. Last night was Colon’s final start as a 42 year-old as he turns 43 today. It is amazing what he is still able to do at such an advanced (baseball) age. A few weeks ago, he captured the hearts of baseball fans everywhere and knocked one out of the park for a two-run shot to help the Mets beat the Padres, 4-0. It was his first career round tripper. Somehow the loveable 290lb fifth starter is getting it done.
How has the guy built more like a member of your slow pitch softball team managed to remain a quality big league starter well into his 40s? By controlling every inch of the strike zone. The guy has amazing control. He always has. Before he was a Met, he was an up-and-coming ace with the Indians -- and as a member of the Angels in 2005, he won the AL Cy Young Award after putting up a 3.48 ERA. Colon once outdueled Roger Clemens, He pitched the game of his career: nine innings, one hit, one walk, no runs, and 13 K's for the Indians. Most MLB players he has teamed with say he’s a great teammate. Once during a game last season, the Mets were losing and the dugout was quiet. He went around handing out candy to his teammates, to try and cheer things up. Watch him pitch, winning or losing, he goes about his business like a professional and always with a smile.
If Colon is still around a 3.44 ERA in July, do the Mets package him for a prospect at the trade deadline with Met prospect Zack Wheeler returning to the rotation? Hopefully with the Mets or another team, he sticks around a while longer, he’s a gem.
Things in Yankeeland continue to improve, as a rare quality Michael Pineda start, a Mark Teixeira clutch hit and another Carlos Beltran double lead New York to a 4 game sweep of the Oakland A’s. The 5-4 win gives the Bombers a 5 game winning streak and an escape out of the AL East basement. A day after passing Toronto to get out of last for the first time in 28 days, the Yankees caught Tampa Bay for a third-place tie. Tex has just one hit in his last 21 at-bats, but it was a game-tying infield single in a Yankees sixth in which they turned a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead. What’s next Mark? A home run? (120 at bats since the last one).
The Yanks won the season series 4-3, as they were swept at home in April before winning four in a row in Oakland. Now they set their sights on a troubled Blue Jays squad that continues to rub umpires and opponents the wrong way. Amid an extended stretch of dust-ups, and ejections, the whining Jays beat the twins 3-1. Take your pick, Bautista, Donaldson or manager John Gibbons. You can bet the mortgage not a day or two goes by without one of them mouthing off to an umpire or opposing dugout. The latest out of control ego got Donaldson an early exit as he shot off his mouth in the direction of the Minnesota dugout on Saturday. On Sunday former Yankee Phil Hughes of the Twins threw a pitch inside to Donaldson and another behind him. Donaldson wasn't happy about it, and when Gibbons came out to argue, the manager was ejected once again.
The Jays are quickly becoming baseballs most hated team. They continue to moan about balls and strikes and stare down or mouth off to opposing teams. You would think someone in the organization would tell them to grow up and concentrate on winning some games. Lets hope they don’t figure it out till after their 3 game series with the Yanks this week.
The Yanks made it two in a row, as Ivan Nova pitched six strong innings Thursday night, and the three-headed bullpen monster struck out five batters as New York beat Oakland 4-1. Nova is now 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA in three starts, compared to a 5.14 ERA in relief. It seems like the Yankees should keep him in the rotation. Note that as a reliever, Nova allowed one home run, one walk, and struck out seven in 14 innings. As a starter he allowed three home runs (accounting for all his runs allowed) and two walks with eight strikeouts in 16 innings. In terms of three-true outcomes, he was just as good if not better as a reliever. The hits just fell in the wrong spots. I suspect he’ll stay in the rotation, especially now that Chapman gives the Yankees more bullpen depth. There’s nothing other than a small sample of bad luck that indicates he’d continue to do better in one role or the other. CC, in his first game off of the DL goes up against Sonny Gray in tonight's match-up.
Things didn't go as well at Citi Field as Matt Harvey and the Mets were shellacked by the Nationals 9-1.. The Met die hards shouldn't be left alone as mass hysteria sets in over possibly the worst out of Harvey's major league career. The panic stricken fans booed as Terry Collins showed mercy and pulled Harvey in the 3rd inning after he gave up 7 runs. After the game Collins said he would consider skipping Harvey's next start, scheduled to be next Tuesday against these same Nationals. I guess the Dark Knight has lost his super hero status!
The Yankees avoided a sweep by winning the final of a 3 game series with the Dback’s, 4-2. As silly as this may sound- this was a must win game. You can’t appear to turn things around by completing a 7-3 homestand against 3 good teams and then get swept by a below .500 team. So yes, this was a big win, even if it is mid May. Remember, a month from now we can no longer say,”hey, it’s early”
After a fluke lead off double, Nate Eovaldi did not allow another base-runner the rest of the night. He retired the next 18 men he faced, striking out five and getting eleven outs on the ground. The D’Backs hit two balls out of the infield in six innings against him. Fastball, splitter and slider all working to perfection. But to no one’s surprise, Joe Girardi went to Betances in the seventh inning even though Eovaldi had retired the last 18 (!) batters he faced and had thrown only 85 pitches. It was a questionable decision at best. It worked — Betances walked two and escaped without allowing a run, but he threw 31 pitches and that will affect his availability the next few days. What does a starter have to do to pitch past the sixth?? Anyways, Andrew Miller allowed a solo homer then struck out the side in the eighth, and Chapman did his thing in the ninth.
Even though Mark Texeria again floundered going 0-5, the offense did enough, fueled by a Brett Garner 2 run homer in the first to take the early lead. The Yankees managed to strand a small army of runners against Arizona starter Shelby Miller before tacking on an insurance run in the sixth, and another in the ninth. Every Yankee hitter had a hit except for Tex and Nate. Jacoby Ellsbury went 3-3.
While it sounds like a totally solid outing by the Bombers, it wasn’t. In the first Headley declined to throw home for whatever reason even though Segura literally stopped between third and home. Headley fielded the grounder, looked at Segura, then threw to first for the out while the run scored. I do not understand. In the second inning Didi managed to run into Headley’s ground ball for an out on the bases. Sloppy. Sloppy sloppy sloppy. On to Oakland.
What started with a bat flip all the way back in October, turned into a HBP, which turned into a hard slide and stare down, which then turned into a brawl, has now resulted in suspensions.
Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor has been suspended eight games for punching Jose Bautista in the jaw. Blue Jays pitcher Jesse Chavez was suspended three games for throwing at Prince Fielder in the eighth inning. Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus received a one-game suspension for "his aggressive actions" during the incident. There were several other suspensions and fines, including Blue Jay manager, John Gibbons. .
What I don’t get is why Kevin Pilar and Josh Donaldson only received small fines. Both were clearly " aggressive" as they charged the field.
Now here’s the thing that really bothers me…Bautista was suspended one game for his actions during the incident and for his postgame comments. If you watch the replay from the outfield angle, it shows without dispute, his aggressive slide and then his momentary stare at Odor. I say momentary, because Odor threw his haymaker a split second after Bautista’s “stare”. It was clear to me, he was looking for a fight and a fight he got, which was more than he bargained for. Sorry Joe (Torre) but I would have given him an additional game, as it was his slide and stare that set Odor off, resulting in one of the more big time brawls in recent memory. Seems to me he got off easy. It is not the first time this loser has opened his mouth or slid aggressively. Many players and umpires, if they could, would admit, he’s whiner and classless. When is someone going put this ego maniac in his place once and for all.
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