Results tagged ‘ Joe Espada ’

Yankees overcome Severino’s poor start

For an organization that relies so much these days on analytical statistics, the Yankees seem to be stubborn in the belief that Luis Severino is better suited as a starting pitcher than a reliever when the numbers at this point clearly suggest otherwise.

Severino got another start Saturday as the Yankees chose to shut down Mashiro Tanaka the day before the end of their season. In his prior start last Monday night at Toronto, Severino in my view got into a foolish exchange of purpose pitches with the Blue Jays and was ejected from the game in the second inning.

None of that nonsense occurred this time, but once again in a starting appearance Severino failed to fulfill the promise he displayed a year ago when he was 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts.

Saturday was Severino’s 11th start this season and the sixth time he did not pitch the minimum five innings to qualify for a winning decision, of which this year he has none. The righthander was gone two outs into the fourth after giving up three earned runs, five hits and two walks with five strikeouts.

The stats tell the story on Severtino. In 11 starts this year, he was 0-8 with an 8.49 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings. In 11 appearances in relief, he was 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA and 25 K’s in 23 1/3 innings. The Yankees continue to have faith that Severino will emerge as an important figure in the rotation someday, but the numbers lend evidence to the possibility that late-inning work may be a better fit for him.

His teammates got Severino off the hook by coming back from the 3-0 deficit to stall at least momentarily the Orioles’ path to the playoffs with a 7-3 victory. Baltimore’s loss opened the gates somewhat for the Blue Jays, Tigers and Mariners, all of whom were playing later in the evening. The sound man at Seattle’s Safeco Field was so happy he played the Frank Sinatra hit, “New York, New York,” before the Mariners’ game against the Athletics.

The Yankees fought back in small chunks the way teams that fall behind early are supposed to. Tyler Austin singled in the Yanks’ first run, in the fifth, and Chase Headley made it a one-run game with a two-out, RBI double in the sixth. Austin tied the score and chased Orioles starter Wade Miley with another opposite field home run, to right-center, in the seventh. All five of Austin’s home runs have been to the opposite field at Yankee Stadium and have either tied the score or put the Yankees ahead.

Baltimore’s bullpen came apart in the eighth and surrendered four runs. The normally reliable Brad Brach imploded starting with a walk to pinch hitter Jacoby Ellsbury with one out and giving up Headley’s second double on a ground ball over the first base bag and down the right field line.

Austin Romine thrust the Yankees ahead with a two-run single. After a two-out walk to Ronald Torreyes, who was on base three times, Brett Gardner greeted reliever Oliver Drake with a double to left field for two more runs.

Headley showed some heads-up base running on Gardy’s hit. Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy bumped into Headley between second and third. Headley ignored the stop sign put up by third base coach Joe Espada and continued to the plate. Third base umpire Jim Reynolds took note of Hardy’s interference, so there was a good chance he would have called obstruction on the shortstop but Headley made it home safely anyway.

Dellin Betances bounced back from some disappointing outings recently to withstand a leadoff single in the ninth by Michael Bourn to wrap things up by striking out the next three batters. It was a stirring October victory for the Yankees, albeit in a spoiler role.

Are Yankees contenders or punching bags?

Before Tuesday night’s game against the Rockies, the opener of a nine-game homestand, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said his team has to play better for it to be considered a contender for a playoff berth. He may have to say the same thing Wednesday.

The only contender the Yankees looked like Tuesday night was Chuck Wepner, the professional bleeding machine, in an 8-4 loss to Colorado, which is now 3-0 against them this year.

In or out of Coors Field, the Rockies can hit. Often derided for their inflated statistics at home, the Rockies peppered 15 hits all over Yankee Stadium. In three games against the Yankees, the Rockies have 43 hits, 18 of them for extra bases, including seven home runs.

One night after hitting five solo home runs at Miami, Colorado led off this game with yet another solo shot, by Charlie Blackmon, on a drive that struck the foul pole next to the third deck. The Rox added two more runs that inning against Ivan Nova.

The final score might have been worse if not for some erratic fielding by the Rockies. Errors led to the Yankees’ first two run. In the fifth inning, Carlos Beltran got thrown out at second base trying to advance on a sacrifice fly by Alex Rodriguez. Beltran also misplayed a ball in right field that became a gift double to Carlos Gonzalez, who ultimately scored on a two-out double by Mark Reynolds.

“Mistakes really hurt us,” Girardi said.

A lot of folks in the Stadium crowd of 34,760 got all over third base coach Joe Espada for holding up Didi Gregorius at third base in the sixth inning when it appeared he had a shot at an inside-the-park home run. That might have been the case if Gregorius had run hard out of the box instead of jogging to first base and not turning on the jets until midway between first and second.

The Yankees had 10 hits but were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Colorado batters struck out 13 times, but only once against Nova, whose career record in three starts against the Rockies is 0-2 with an 8.40 ERA.

“He didn’t make the pitches he had to,” Girardi said. “The top four guys in their lineup gave him a hard time.”

Blackmon, D.J. LeMahieu, Nolan Arenado and Gonzalez combined for 11 of Colorado’s hits with eight runs and six RBI. Blackmon homered again in the fourth. Arenado ended the solo-homer stretch by the Rockies with a two-run blast off Nick Goody in the sixth.

Nova’s season ERA rose to 5.18. That gives the Yankees three of their five starting pitchers with ERAs above 5.00. Nathan Eovaldi is at 5.02 and Michael Pineda is at 5.82. The staff ERA leader at 2.20 is CC Sabathia, who will get a chance to turn things around Wednesday.

HOPE Week: Special needs cheerleaders

The Yankees might try an alternative for the YMCA break between the sixth and seventh innings at Yankee Stadium. How about some players coming on to the field and doing a cheerleaders routine, complete with pom-poms?

Several Yankees players proved adept at such an exercise Thursday when they surprised the Hunterdon Huskies Contender Cheerleaders at the Jawonio Center in New City, N.Y., as part of the club’s HOPE Week initiative.

Coached by instructor Debbie House and the girls themselves, pitchers Andrew Miller, Michael Pineda, Chasen Shreve and Chris Capuano, catcher John Ryan Murphy and third base coach Joe Espada showed off some deft moves in doing a few of the squad’s regular routines. The Yankees players were joined by the Prime Time Players — the wrestling duo of Darren Young and Titus O’Neil, who are the reigning WWE tag team champions.

Before the Yankees’ contingent arrived, the cheerleaders went through their paces in a practice session in front of relatives and friends that drew wild applause. The girls wanted to be letter perfect for their guests from the Bronx.

The idea of the Hunterdon Huskies Contender Cheerleaders was born in the mind of House five years ago as the result of watching a national cheerleading competition on television at her home in Clinton Township, N.J. House noticed that there were teams of special needs cheerleaders performing between the competitive routines.

Although she does not have a special needs child, House has a passion for helping children who must persevere through Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and autism and saw in cheerleading a potential outlet for local young girls in similar circumstances. She approached officials from the Hunterdon Huskies cheerleading program to gauge interest in creating their own special needs team. The organization welcomed the idea and decided to create a team for the following year with House serving as head coach.

There were six girls in the first year of the program that is based in High Bridge, N.J. More girls joined up over succeeding years and the current squad is an even dozen students of high-school age. The Contender Cheerleaders are one of five such squads within the Huskies organization, which also sponsors eight football teams, including one for special needs boys.

Each August, the Contender team begins its season with bi-weekly practices and performs at Huskies home football games at Union Forge Park. They will make a trip in December to the 2015 American Youth Cheer National Championships in Kissimmee, Fla.

Overcome with emotion at the appearance of the Yankees, House said, “I could never imagine anything better.”

Her cheerleaders surely feel the same way about her program.