Today’s blog is presented by New York Airlines -- with daily non-stops between SWB and wherever the Yanks are playing. (Just kidding)
After waiting out a two hour and 50 minute rain delay, the Yankees dropped Thursday night’s series finale to the White Sox by the score of 4-3. The game itself feels insignificant though. Dustin Fowler, in his first Major League inning, suffered a ruptured right patella tendon and will miss the rest of the season following emergency surgery. The injury happened when his knee hit an electrical box along the wall in foul territory. Need more heartache? It happened on Fowler's first defensive opportunity, and before he was set to lead off the next inning for his first big-league at-bat.
The Yankees are without four regular position players, Castro, Holliday, Hicks, and Austin. Then there’s, CC Sabathia, Warren, Bird, and Fowler. Eight players in all. The season total to date is 14 from the 40 man roster.
Fowler’s injury forced Rob Refsnyder into right field. Refsnyder grounded out to short to start the top of the second, then, in the bottom half, he made a backbreaking error that got the White Sox on the board. The ChiSox scored their first run because this ball was not caught for what would have been the final out of the inning. Joe Girardi‘s face after Refsnyder dropped that ball said it all. It was part exasperation and part death stare. Refsnyder dropped the ball, a run scored on the play, then the next batter dunked a bloop in front of Gardner to score the runner who reached on Refsnyder’s drop. Instead of the final out, two runs were on the board.
There was some good news…It was a good night for the bullpen! Shreve got 1 out to escape starter Luis Cessa’s mess in the fifth, then Ronald Herrera, Tyler Clippard, and Tyler Webb followed with a scoreless inning each. Their combined line: 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K. The one hit was an infield single literally off Herrera’s calf. Why can’t the bullpen have games like this when the Yankees lead? Every game is a nail-biter when they’re trying to protect a lead, it seems.
So the tired and hobbled Yankees open up a set in Houston tonight. It would be crushing if they were soundly swept by the Astros. Lets hope last night’s injury and loss can bring this team closer together. Lets get a win or two and no more plane tickets!
The Yankees’ mess of a bullpen blew another one Tuesday night. And this might have been the worst of all.
After a stirring eighth-inning rally gave the Yankees a two-run lead, they could not close it out. The White Sox defeated the Yankees, 4-3, on a walk-off two-out, two-run single by Jose Abreu off Dellin Betances. In a season full of ugly bullpen meltdowns, the Yankees hit a new low last night. Three relievers combined to walk 6 of 13 batters faced, and another was hit by a pitch. Betances, working for the third straight day, couldn’t protect a one-run lead against the bottom of the lineup. Why was he working for the third straight day? Because he had to bail out Jonathan Holder with a five-run lead (!) Monday night.
The Yankees were 4 games up in the AL East as recently as 16 days ago and now they’re 1 game back, and they’re lucky they’re still that close. June has been a terrible month for the Yankees overall and especially the relief crew.
So what do the Yankees do now? For one, the bullpen has to stop walking so many batters. Clippard, Domingo German, and Betances were all guilty last night. Why Clippard even got into a game is a mystery to me. Did he pitch better last night? Yes a little , but he still allowed a run. How many chances does Giardi give this guy? And then there’s Betances who again walks people and tries to pitch his way out of trouble. Last night he failed…again. I could go on and on about each member of 8 relievers, but I think you know the story. It’s not a happy one. We can point a finger at Giardi and his micromanaging, but can’t blame Joe for all of it.
The bullpen situation, is not getting better. It’s getting worse. Just when you think they can’t sink to a new low, they go out and do what they did last night. The Yankees aren’t going anywhere with the bullpen performing like this. Changing some personnel, changing some roles, and changing some pitch selection could go a long way to getting things straightened out. And, if it doesn’t, the Yankees will have no choice but to really shake things up and go outside the organization for help.
The Yankees won the game (barely) but lost another player, and the bull pen woes continue. In the 8th with an 6-1 lead Chasen Shreve allows two singles and a three-run homer by Tim Anderson on an 0-and-2 pitch. In comes Aroldis Chapman and promptly serves up a single by Melky Cabrera and an RBI double by Jose Abreu to make it 6-5, and doesn’t record a single whiff. A win is a win. As Ringo sang, “You know it don’t come easy”.
Serena Williams has proven her strength, quickness and grit on the tennis court in her 23 Grand Slam wins. On Monday, she took that same intensity to Twitter after John McEnroe commented that she was the best female player ever but “if she played the men’s circuit she’d be like 700 in the world”. Her response “Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based. I've never played anyone ranked "there" nor do I have time. Respect me and my privacy as I'm trying to have a baby. Good day sir” Thank goodness for twitter for all the unimportant tweets to blog about.
Now that Woody Johnson has been nominated to be this country’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Knick fans are probably starting to country shop for Phil Jackson, right?
Ichiro Suzuki is so old he's breaking records just by starting games. On Sunday, he managed to do it before the first out of the game was recorded, when he took the field in the top of the first, Suzuki became the oldest player ever to start a game in centerfield. The funny thing is at 43 he’s still better than some of the 33 year olds in MLB.
Nico Hischie was first overall pick in the NHL draft Friday night. Hischier hopes to play in the NHL next season. The Devils' plight and recent history suggest he should be able to do that. Devil fans are praying he can do that.
Yankee Roster Moves: Hicks to 10 DL, Refs replaces Hicks, Williams and, Webb returned to SWB, Herrera recalled for Webb, Ellsbury activated off 7 Day DL, Holliday still out, Castro on DL?? I gather the Yanks are buying bulk airline tickets these days.
South Africa’s most famous ultra-marathon runner was reportedly mugged at gunpoint while out jogging. 61 year old Bruce Fordyce was robbed of his shoes and watch by two men who pulled up next to him in a car and pointed guns at him in the Johannesburg suburb of Westcliff. Fordyce won the grueling 89-kilometer (55-mile) Comrades Marathon nine times, including eight in a row from 1981-88. Fordyce said his shoes smelled like Camembert cheese. Something about this story stinks.
Last night the Yankees seemed primed for a second straight win, with Luis Severino staked to a big early lead over the Angels thanks to another Aaron Judge home run. Then it went all wrong again.
A Starlin Castro error led to a disastrous inning added by another bullpen failure, in what turned out to be a terrible 10-5 loss to the Angels. . It was their eighth loss in nine games and it dropped them back into a first-place tie with the Red Sox, who were off Thursday Thanks for blowing a 5-1 lead and allowing 9 unanswered runs.
Manager Joe Girardi pulled starter Luis Severino with runners on the corners and no outs in the ugly 7th. It could have been better if not for that Starlin Castro error. After Cliff Pennington singled to start the inning, Castro badly misplayed Cameron Maybin's grounder, letting it bounce past him. Severino's relief, Chasen Shreve, was no help. The lefty's third pitch to Kole Calhoun was lifted to deep center field, scoring Pennington and knotting things at 5-all. Next up, a rested Dellin Betances.
Cameron Maybin exploiting Betances' utter inability to hold runners at first base -- took off to steal second. When catcher Gary Sanchez's throw to second sailed into center field for an error, Maybin scooted to third base. That set up Albert Pujols to knock Maybin in with a line-drive single to right field. Betances would then give up a walk before getting a strike out and then letting Andrelton Simmons tear a double to the left-field corner and score two runs.
The Angels tacked two insurance runs on reliever Domingo German in the eighth.
Earlier this week I had suggested on occasion, using our top bull pen guys in situations other than the 8th and 9th inning. So much for that idea.
The Yankee offense was basically listless after the Angels relief pitching shut down 15 straight batters before a Chris Carter hit in the 9th. The good news was another Aaron Judge home run. Too bad he can’t pitch!
That sound you heard last night was the Yankees falling into 2nd place. Shaky starting pitching, bad defense, not enough offense, and miserable relief pitching sent the Yankees to an 8-3 loss to the Angels on Tuesday night while the new penthouse tenants the Red Sox, won by the same 8-3 score over the Royals.
The Yankees got a so-so start out of Michael Pineda that put them in an early hole, but the offense was up to the task of building a comeback with home runs by Sanchez and Judge. Unfortunately, the same bullpen that gave the team fits on the west coast melted down in spectacular fashion. The losing streak is now at 7 games.
Tyler Clippard, who has been pretty awful as of late, came on to replace Chasen Shreve. He was, again, awful. Clippard managed to record just one out while allowing three runs on three hits. Astoundingly, it could have been much worse for him. There were a number of near-misses on the warning track that seemed destined for the seats. It was atrocious. Then Jonathan Holder comes in and allows a run on a double, a bunt, and an infield single. Then came the Luis Valbuena solo homer in the ninth to give the Angels the 8-3 lead. Holder threw 41 pitches in 2.2 innings. He has now allowed 9 runs, including 4 homers, in his last 12.1 innings. Again atrocious!
Currently the Yankees don’t look anything like the team that seemed poised to run away from the East last month. And as suspected in March , it’s pitching. The starting rotation remains unstable as long as Masahiro Tanaka continues to be ground into fine powder and CC Sabathia stays on the disabled list along with Adam Warren, while Betances and Chapman sit in the bullpen. The 2 best relievers watch as the others fail. Girardi insisting they pitch the 8th and 9th innings respectively, and he continues to call on guys like Clippard.
The big question coming into the season was pitching. The surprise other than Aaron Judge was the pitching. But now that they have come back down to earth Joe Girardi needs to get creative especially in his bullpen where he has limited options. Remember the World Series where Terry Francona brought in Andrew Miller to pitch against the Cubs in some big spots other than the 8th or 9th inning? Why can’t the stubborn manger try something new, like bringing in his big guns in big spots, not just the 8th or 9th innings? What do you say Joe?
You knew eventually it was going to happen. The Yankees came crashing back to earth after an embarrassing 1-6 road trip to California. They can’t get back to New York fast enough. They blew leads, didn't hit much, lost key players to injuries and dropped a bunch of games ... 6 in a row after a roadtrip-opening victory, including a sweep administered by the last place Oakland A’s. It is easily the lowest point of the 2017 Yankees season so far.
The Bombers are hanging on to first place over the Red Sox by 2 percentage points.
No need to panic but here are some thoughts…Our starting pitching has been awful. A good example was with CC out (who had taken over as staff leader) and Tanaka being the new terrible Tanaka (I’ll get to him in a moment), triple A pitchers get the last 2 starts (Chad Greene, and Luis Cessa) and both fall behind early. Michael Pineda again shows how inconsistent he can be. The bull pen gets called into action early. The result is 3 losses.
Yes, they aren’t hitting of late, but you can’t expect a team to score 8-10 runs every game. Chris Carter and Chase Hedley continue to seemingly be up in big spots and do nothing. Aaron Hick’s absence is being felt big time. Gary Sanchez has shown a return to last year but not when in the two spot.
And now back to Tanaka…As home runs continue to fly over the wall at a staggering rate, it has become painfully obvious that right now he doesn’t have the stuff to get major league hitters out with any regularity. Heck, Tanaka couldn’t even keep the Red Sox in the park, and they began that recent series with 53 home runs, the fewest in the American League. Not that the Yankees should give up their one-time ace. But they need to try something. Is it time for Chance Adams?
Regardless of how the rest of the season goes, this will be the turning point in the Yankees’ narrative of this season. Should they fall out of first place and ‘revert’ to what we thought they’d be this year, it’ll be because of this rough stretch. Should they recover, though, and go back on a winning streak when they get back to the Bronx, this horrible week will indicate the team’s resilience, its moxie, its fighting spirit. I’m hoping for the Fighting Spirit.
The Met's win despite another injury and another bad night for Harvey.
Second baseman Neil Walker injured his left leg Wednesday night, the latest ailment to befall a New York team hampered by a long list of health problems the past two seasons. The injury occurred one night after double-play partner Asdrubal Cabrera went on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb. And then there’s former ace Matt Harvey who will see a doctor Thursday after giving up three home runs in four innings. His fastball slipped at one point to 89 mph. Oh, and lets not forget Mets outfielder Michael Conforto (stiff back) who was held out of the starting lineup for the third consecutive night and Yoenis Cespedes who only made a pitch hitting appearance on one of his “rest” nights.
The news is wholly disconcerting for Met fans, as it dampened an otherwise victorious night for the Mets (they defeated the Cubs 9-4) yesterday, positioning the team with an unsure infield alignment for the next big series against the Nationals. If the Mets have ANY hope of getting back into the playoff picture, they need to win this series.
With the blowback entirely nearsighted, you can go so far as to say this straw will break the camel’s back and put to bed the Mets’ playoff hopes altogether, it’s fair to ask the questions that most have been continually asking. Why, does this rash of injuries continue and why is there a lack of communication in the organization. Is it conditioning, bad decision making or poor medical staff performance. Yes, I have blogged about this before, but, it goes on and on.
The Mets are still a mile back, or 8½ games to be precise. It’s do or die these next four games. All teams deal with injuries, but for some reason the Mets deal with them differently and four days from now it might be time to make some off field changes so the on field guys stay healthy.
Last night’s Aaron Judge 8th inning home run (22) over shadowed Masahiro Tanaka’s, 6 strong innings, before the Angels knocked him out of the game in the 7th. Tanaka, who entered the game 0-5 with a 10.72 ERA in his last five starts, got a no-decision, giving up 3 runs (one earned) and 4 hits in 6 2/3 innings. Just maybe he continues to pitch like this and then we can say the Yankee starting staff is one of baseball’s best.
One of the amazing things about Sidney Crosby, apart from what he can do when he has the puck on his stick, is that he is still just 29 years old. The Pens repeated, but I rooted for the Predators.
If Kevin Durant had decided to stay in Oklahoma City, the Cavaliers would be the repeat NBA champions. Even in a sports culture where greatness is so often defined by championships won, as if that is the only yardstick, Lebron James still plays better than anybody.
The Yankees have four starting pitchers who have pitched better than any four the Mets have.
ESPNEWS only airs about 3.5 hours of SportsCenter daily with most of the programming being replays of other ESPN shows and radio simulcasts. It’s really only “ESPNEWS” in name only at this point. Does anyone even watch it these days?
Because the United States Soccer team defeated Trinidad and Tobago last Thursday, the pressure to beat Mexico on Sunday was mitigated. The game was played at Azteca, where the partisan fans hurl insults and bottles and liquids that look like beer but may not be, tested the new look national team ( no Dempsey or Howard) like none other during the qualifying round. The result was 1-1 tie that should have left the team satisfied, but maybe not the fans.
A 1992 federal law bans sports betting in every state except Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon. New Jersey has asked the court to hear arguments in favor of legalizing sports betting. Yesterday Gov. Chris Christie said that sports betting at Monmouth Park Racetrack would be ”open inside a week” if the U.S. Supreme Court relaxes the ban. Now I know where my friends will be hanging out.
The Yankees beat the Orioles yesterday sweeping them in 3. Actually, they beat them up! The Bombers mix of home runs. high on-base percentage, solid D and great pitching helped deliver their fifth straight win and expand their AL East lead to 4 over 2nd place Boston.
Yesterday’s 14-4 demolition of the Orioles gave them a 5-1 homestand against their two main division rivals. Those 5 “wins” wouldn’t be the right word, how about “Smackdown”. They have scored eight or more runs in five consecutive games for the first time since 1956. In their last two wins over Baltimore, they scored 30 runs. Actually the O’s were outscored 38-8, out-hit 44-18, and out-homered 11-3, and now trail the division-leading Yanks by 6 ¹/₂ games. The ugly numbers accurately told the story of the one-sided series that looked more like three uneven scrimmages between the varsity and the JV than an AL East showdown. Yeah” smackdown” sounds about right.
While this has been a team effort, the Bombers have been led by rookie sensation, history making Aaron Judge who had another big day going 4-4 and hitting 2 bombs, numbers 20 and 21. He’s not just hitting them over the fence, he’s obliterating them and stunning baseball. One blast was calculated by Statcast at 495 feet, which was the farthest a homer has traveled since Giancarlo Stanton’s 504-footer last Aug. 6. Judge hit the hardest ball of the season Saturday for a homer. He hit the farthest Sunday. He has the three hardest-hit homers this season and five of the six hardest-hit balls overall. And there’s more…he leads the AL in the Triple Crown categories, hitting .344 with those 21 homers and 47 RBIs. He also has a .450 on-base percentage, .718 slugging percentage and 1.168 OPS.
Baseball is supposed to be hard, particularly hitting a round ball jetting toward you at high velocity with a round bat. Plus, you bat only every few innings and the other team can avoid throwing strikes. Yet, near daily Judge is making even seen-it-all players gawk and gasp and struggle for the right words to describe it all.
The Yankees have yet to have even a four-game losing streak this season, and the notion they are merely holding first until the division-favorite Red Sox hit their best gear is not such strong argument anymore. There doing this with no contributions from their number 1 starter, their closer and starting 1st baseman. Their doing this with a very good baseball team and a young phenom named Aaron Judge.
You knew it was coming. The Diva wants more money. Beckham’s absence from the Giants' organized team activities apparently is directly related to the wide receiver's desire for a new contract. It is about the money, because it almost always is about the money, so it is more about common cents for Beckham than even common sense.
If Beckham is at the Meadowlands, for next week’s three-day mandatory minicamp wearing his No. 13 jersey and dancing around the field, his blowing off the OTAs will be an afterthought. But if Beckham stays away, the Giants will have a bona fide contract squabble on their hands. And no one should be surprised.
No one inside the Giants is expecting Beckham to boycott the minicamp — if he is a no-show, he could be fined about $90,000. If he attends, it is safe to assume he will play this season, like it or not, for his scheduled $1.8 million base salary. The Giants picked up the fifth-year option that will pay Beckham $8.4 million in 2018.
The Giants have not opened up negotiation for a new deal; there is no immediate need to do so, as they own Beckham’s rights for several more years. They can use this time allotted to them to determine if Beckham is maturing the way they hope he will before they make him the highest-paid receiver in league history. Or they can decide he is not worth the headache he brings with his talent, which will make him hold out.
Beckham, a three-time Pro Bowler, had 101 catches for 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He also was fined at least six times for a variety of infractions. As good as his numbers have been, we shouldn’t forget that touchdown pass he dropped in last year’s playoff game against the Packers. You know, the game he prepared for in Miami?
All this is another example of the immaturity and unwanted attention he brings to the Giants. You see, with Odell, it’s all about HIM. If he performs up to the standard of the superstar he perceives himself to be — against the Cowboys on Sept. 10 and for the rest of the season — then no one will care if he ever attends another OTA or misses an appearance he promised to attend or hangs with Johnny Manzel. It will still be about him, but a much richer Him.
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