Results tagged ‘ Michael Pineda ’

Late-inning bullpen breakdown strikes Yanks again

The situation had reached the level that just scoring a run would be considered a moral victory for the Yankees. At this stage of the season, however, they need more than moral victories. They need out-and-out Ws, yet another late-inning breakdown Sunday on a trip that has turned into a train wreck stretched their losing streak to four games and dumped them 5 1/2 games out of the second American League wild card position.

The Yankees, who had been shut out in their previous three games, ended a 33-inning drought in the seventh Sunday at Toronto when Didi Gregorius belted his 19th home run of the season that tied the score at 1.

Jose Bautista, who had homered off Michael Pineda in the fourth inning, struck again in the eighth, another damaging inning for Dellin Betances in recent appearances. A leadoff walk to Josh Donaldson proved critical, particularly since Betances’ long stride to the plate makes him vulnerable to stolen bases. Last year’s AL Most Valuable Player wasted no time swapping second and then got to third on a risky crossing on a slow ground ball to the left of second base by Edwin Encarnacion.

That brought up Bautista, who lined a single to center that put the Jays ahead once more. Dalton Pompey ran for Bautista, and he stole second base as well with two out by taking advantage of another Betances shortcoming, throwing to bases. Betances stepped off the rubber as Pompey broke for second but instead of running directly at Pompey the reliever made one step toward the runner and tossed the ball behind him, to first baseman Mark Teixeira, who had no chance to keep Pompey from stealing second.

The steal did not result in a run as. Betances struck out Troy Tulowitzki, but that play explained why manager Joe Girardi had to pull Betances from the game when he began the bottom of the ninth with another walk, this time to Melvin Upton Jr., losing him after being ahead 0-2 in the count.

At that point, Betances was protecting the Yankees’ first lead in 36 innings. Blue Jays closer Jose Osuna blew the chance for his 36th save and was done in on three two-strike singles and a sacrifice fly. Osuna was ahead in the count 1-2 to Teixeira, 0-2 to pinch hitter Billy Butler and 1-2 to Mason Williams and gave up hits to all three. Ronald Torreyes put the Yankees ahead with his fly ball to right-center.

So Betances had a chance at a winning decision in the ninth, which has been his inning since Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller were traded, but the 6-foot-7 righthander has been shaky the past nine days with only one save against a blown save and two losses.

The walk to Upton whom Girardi thought Betances had struck out during the at-bat promoted the manager to make a move. Girardi simply could not allow Upton, a speedy runner, an easy path to second base with Betances on the mound. The skipper called on Tyler Clippard, who ended up losing the game for the second day in a row.

After failing to get down a sacrifice bunt on two tries, Kevin Pillar punched a single to right field that sent Upton to third base. More successful at bunting was Ezequiel Carrera, the 9-hole hitter, on a safety squeeze that worked with Upton crossing the plate.

Clippard worsened matters with a shovel pass in an attempt to get Upton that eluded catcher Gary Sanchez that put the trail runners on second and third. It also forced the Yanks to walk Donaldson intentionally to create a double-play situation with Encarnacion, who showed why he is leading the league in RBI with a bouncer to the right side for the game-winning single.

The 4-3 loss was as deflating as the Yankees have had all year, and they have had several just on this trip, which ends Monday night, in which they have lost eight of 10 games and may have removed themselves from serious contention. They are 5 1/2 games behind the Orioles for a playoff berth and also trail the Tigers by four games, the Mariners by three and the Astros by 2 1/2. The Yankees have even put themselves within catching distance of the Royals, who are only a half-game behind them.

Sanchez does it again as Yanks end 5-game skid

For the first time in nearly a week, the Yankees gained ground in the American League Wild Card race. After spending four games in Boston giving up leads in getting swept by the Red Sox, the Yankees did the opposite Tuesday night by overcoming a 2-0 deficit and beat the Rays, 5-3, to end a five-game losing streak.

It would have been a tough no-decision if that Tampa Bay lead held up for Yankees starter Michael Pineda, who struck out 11 batters and walked only one in 5 1/3 innings. But the two-out jinx struck him again when he gave up a two-rub triple to Brad Miller in the third. Pineda now has 195 strikeouts, the most for a Yanks righthander since A.J. Burnett had the same total in 2009.

Mark Teixeira got a run back the next inning with his 13th home run, off Rays starter Drew Smyly, the only run the lefthander gave up in six innings. Fortunately for the Yankees, the Rays are like every team in the major leagues these days who cannot wait to take out a starting pitcher in the middle innings. Tampa Bay went with Brad Boxberger in the seventh, and the Yanks clocked him for four runs and four hits.

The big blow came from — who else? — Gary Sanchez. One out after Brett Gardner singled to tie the score, Sanchez crushed a first-pitch changeup for a three-run home run. It came right after Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey came to the mound to discuss the situation with Boxberger. First base was open so surely the message was not to give Sanchez anything near the plate, a message that obviously went unheeded.

It was the 17th home run of the season for the Yankees’ rookie catcher and came in his 44th game. The only other rookie in big-league history to do that was Wally Berger of the Boston Braves in 1930. Sanchez has six home runs in his past 11 games after a 10-game homerless drought. Of his 53 career hits, 28 have been for extra bases (11 doubles, 17 homers), including eight of his past 13 hits (two doubles, six homers).

The winning decision went to Luis Severino (3-8), who kept up his quality pitching in relief with 1 1/3 hitless innings. Tyler Clippard allowed a run in the eighth on a triple by Logan Forsythe and a wild pitch.

Dellin Betances, who had not pitched since Thursday night after sustaining two straight losses, hopped back on the bicycle and fashioned a clean ninth inning for his 12th save.

With the victory, the Yankees picked up a game on the Orioles, who lost at home to the Red Sox, and trail Baltimore by 3 1/2 games for the second Wild Card berth. The Yanks also still trail the Tigers, Astros and Mariners, however.

There was good news for another Yankees rookie. Through fan voting, Rob Refsnyder was selected as the AL East winner for the 2016 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award presented annually by the Major League Players Association for community involvement.

Refsnyder partnered with Athletes Brand to design a T-shirt that benefits A Kid’s Place, a Tampa-based organization that works to provide stability and care for children removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. His name will appear on the 2016 Players Choice Award ballots for league-wide voting to determine this season’s award winner.

Two former Yankees players were among the other division winners, relief pitcher David Robertson of the White Sox (AL Central) and Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson (National League East). Also voted onto the final ballot were Astros pitcher Lance McCullers (AL West), Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (NL Central) and Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner (NL West).

Costly errors end successful homestand on a downer

Sloppy play, which has not been a characteristic of the Yankees this year, cost them a chance to finish off a triumphant homestand Wednesday. They were guilty of three errors, two of which came in the ninth inning that made both runs of the Dodgers’ 2-0 victory unearned.

So the Yankees finished up the homestand with a 7-3 record, but they squandered an opportunity to gain ground in the Wild Card chase on a day when Toronto lost, so they remained two games behind for the second Wild Card slot on the eve of what could be a season-shaping trip.

The Yankees take to the road for 11 games over the next 12 days — four in Boston Thursday night through Sunday, three in St. Petersburg, Fla., Tuesday through next Thursday and four in Toronto next Friday night through Monday, Sept. 26. That will leave only six games remaining in the regular season, which the Yankees will close out at home with three-game sets against the Red Sox and the Orioles.

All of which means the Yankees will have an abundance of opportunities to make up ground in the postseason hunt, but they will need to have fewer innings than Wednesday’s ninth. Two of Dellin Betances weaknesses came into play that inning and stuck him with the loss.

After reaching base on Starlin Castro’s misplay of a soft, back-spinning liner, Corey Seager took advantage of Betances’ long stride to the plate in his delivery and stole second base. Justin Turner broke up the scoreless game with a double over third base that scored Seager.

Turner alertly tagged up and crossed over to third base on Adrian Gonzalez’s flyout to deep left-center. Yasmani Grandal next hit a one-hopper right back to Betances, but the 6-foot-8 reliever made an awkward throw home that sailed over catcher Gary Sanchez’s high-stretched mitt for another damaging error.

After having shut out the Dodgers the night before on solo home runs by Jacoby Ellsbury, Didi Gregorius and Sanchez, the Yanks managed only three hits, all singles, off five L.A. pitchers in sustaining their 10th shutout loss of the season.

Clayton Kershaw, the three-time National League Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL Most Valuable Player, made only his second start since coming off the disabled list due to herniated disks in his back, and was masterful for five innings. He allowed only one hit with no walks and five strikeouts.

The first of two rain delays shorted Michael Pineda’s outing after four innings in which he gave up two hits and two walks with five strikeouts. Tommy Layne, Luis Severino and Tyler Clippard held the Dodgers scoreless as well until Betances’ hiccup. Severino has not allowed an earned run in eight relief outing covering 18 2/3 innings. Clippard has given up one earned run over 19 innings (0.47 ERA) in his 21 appearances since joining the Yankees from the Diamondbacks.

The Yankees also lost rookie outfielder Aaron Judge likely for the remainder of the regular season. Judge has a strained right oblique, a condition that is slow to heal. The Yankees called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre outfielder Mason Williams, who played right field in the last two innings after Rob Refsnyder was lifted in the seventh for pinch hitter Brian McCann.

The Yankees finished the season 8-12 in inter-league play. It was just their fourth non-winning record against NL clubs in 20 seasons of inter-league play. The Yanks were also 9-11 in 2013, 9-9 in 1999 and 5-10 in 1997, the first year of inter-league play.

They have a 16-3-1 inter-league series mark and are 45-31 (.592) in inter-league match-ups at the current Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009. They are 6-7 in inter-league competition against the Dodgers, one of only two clubs against which the Yankees have losing records. They are also 13-14 against the Phillies.

Yanks cannot overcome Pineda’s poor 1st inning

Too bad Monday night’s game did not start until the second inning for Michael Pineda. After a miserable first inning, the righthander settled in and was lights out through the sixth. It was another one of those Jekyll-and-Hyde outings for Pineda, whose record fell to 6-11 in the 8-5 loss to the Royals.

The Yankees are on a trip to Kansas City and Baltimore against two of the clubs they are chasing for the second wild-card slot and have a great opportunity to work themselves up the standings, so Monday night’s loss to KC and its fifth starter, Dillon Gee, was a major disappointment. The Orioles and the Mariners also lost, but the Royals, Tigers and Astros all won, so the Yankees remained 3 1/2 games back in the wild-card race.

The Royals jumped on Pineda for three runs in the first, a rally fueled by two stolen bases and three straight two-out singles. Opposing hitters are batting .341 with two outs against Pineda, which has been his Achilles heel all season. His catcher, Gary Sanchez, got the third out of that inning by throwing out Alex Gordon attempting to steal second base.

Pineda then proceeded to retire 15 batters in a row, including seven on strikeouts, before the Royals got another base runner on a leadoff single in the seventh by Kendrys Morales. Salvador Perez followed with a single, which ended Pineda’s night. Tommy Layne got an out, but Blake Parker took the Yankees out of the game by giving up a three-run home run to Alcides Escobar and two more runs on three singles.

The Yankees, who got a run in the fourth on back-to-back, two-out doubles by Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro, batted around in the eighth to get back in the game against an erratic Chris Young with only two hits in an inning that featured a catcher’s interference (in another Jacoby Ellsbury at-bat), a hit batter and two walks. Kelvin Herrera quieted the Yanks and went on to a four-out save.

The frustration of the game got to manager Joe Girardi, who has issues with plate umpire Brian O’Nora throughout the game and was ejected in the eighth during an at-bat by Gregorius, who then smoked a two-run double.

The Yankees emphasized the importance of winning this game when rookies Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin were both lifted for pinch hitters, Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira, respectively, in the eighth-inning rally.

Yankees lose home run derby to Mariners

The day he was notified that he was the American League Player of the Week for the games that ended Sunday night Gary Sanchez went out and campaigned for winning the award again this week. The rookie catcher continued the impressive start to his major league career Monday night, although his performance was not sufficient to prevent the Yankees from dropping a 7-5 decision to the Mariners in a game in which all the runs were the result of home runs, an unusual sight in spacious Safeco Field.

Sanchez cranked two home runs, which made him the first player in club history to total eight dingers in his first 19 major-league games. He connected for a solo home run off Seattle starter Cody Martin with two out in the first inning. Then after Kyle Seager put the Mariners ahead, 3-2, with a three-run home run off Michael Pineda in the fourth inning, Sanchez regained the lead for the Yanks with a two-run bomb over the center field wall in the sixth.

Two batters after Sanchez’s two home runs were a couple of solo shots by Starlin Castro, which marked the first time two Yankees teammates homered twice in the same game since Oct. 3, 2012 by Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson.

Cano now plays second base for the Mariners and had three hits Monday night. He nearly had a 4-for-4 game, but Jacoby Ellsbury robbed Cano of a potential extra-base hit with a dazzling, running catch in right-center in the eighth inning. The next batter, Nelson Cruz, homered to left off Kirby Yates for the seventh round-tripper of the night. On his 32nd home run of the season, Cruz broke his bat and the Yankees’ backs.

They threatened in the ninth against a shaky Edwin Diaz, who walked Brian McCann on four pitches to start the inning, gave up a one-out single to Chase Headley and then balked the potential tying runs into scoring position before recovering to retire pinch hitter Mark Teixeira on a fly ball and Brett Gardner on a grounder.

The key blow came in the bottom of the sixth when Yankees manager Joe Girardi made a quick hook of Pineda after he walked Seager with two out. Pineda had thrown only 82 pitches to that point, but Girardi called on lefthander Tommy Layne to face lefty-swinging Adam Lind, who popped up for the second out.

Girardi then brought in righthander Anthony Swarzak to face righty-swinging Mike Zunino. This did not turn out as well. The Mariners catcher drove a 3-2 slider into the right field seats that as it turned out put Seattle ahead for good.

The Yankees tried to get Sanchez an at-bat in the ninth, but the rally ended two batters before his next turn. He had another solid night back of the plate as well as Sanchez threw out another base runner to end the seventh inning.

Bullpen breakdown costs Yanks chance to advance

There was a time until last month when the Yankees might have easily put away Tuesday night’s game even after the Blue Jays had cut a 6-0 deficit to 6-4 in the sixth inning. Yankees manager Joe Girardi could have turned to his No Runs DMC formula of having Dellin Betances come on in the seventh, Andrew Miller in the eighth and Aroldis Chapman in the ninth.

That setup became history when the Yankees traded Chapman to the Cubs and Miller to the Indians to acquire needed prospects to help bolster the farm system and bring promise to the future. The Yankees brought Adam Warren back to the organization from the Cubs in the Chapman deal. Warren had pitched very well since returning to the Yankees until Tuesday night when he experienced a nightmare of an eighth inning that propelled the Blue Jays to a come-from-behind 12-6 victory.

If only it had kept raining back between halves of the fifth inning when a severe thunderstorm halted play for 42 minutes. With the Yankees ahead 5-0 at the time, it would have been an official game had the rain not subsided. The Yankees actually added to their lead when play resumed on a two-out, RBI single by Didi Gregorius, who had also driven in their first run with a home run (No. 16) in the first inning. That pushed the shortstop past Brian McCann for the club lead in homers.

Speaking of the long ball, rookie catcher Gary Sanchez whacked two home runs, a solo shot in the second and a three-run bomb in the fourth.

All that offense looked safe in the hands of Michael Pineda, who pitched five scoreless innings with four hits allowed, no walks and two strikeouts in sinking his season ERA below 5.00 (4.89) for the first time all year. Pineda was victimized by the storm as Girardi had to go to his bullpen which was not up to the task. On a night when they were primed to beat Toronto and with Baltimore also losing, the Yankees lost a major opportunity to gain ground in the American League East standings and wild-card chase.

Anthony Swarzak was stung by home runs to Troy Tulowitzki, who was 4-for-5, and Russell Martin, in the sixth as Toronto closed to 6-4. But it was the eighth inning that was a true disaster.

Warren entered the game having pitched 11 shutout innings since rejoining the Yanks. He was in trouble from the beginning as Josh Donaldson won a 12-pitch duel in drawing a leadoff walk. Edwin Encarnacion then tied the score with his 34th home run, a tracer’s bullet to left field.

One out later, Tulwotzski singled for his fourth hit and Martin cranked his second homer of the game. Chasen Shreve came on and faced five batters, all of whom reached base (two hits, two walks, one hit batter) and all but one scored. Michael Saunders’ double to drive in the eighth run of the 47-minute half inning meant that the entire lineup reached base during the frame, which is not something you see every day.

The Yankees hope they never see it again.

Yanks look more like contenders than Indians

In his retirement announcement before Friday night’s game, Mark Teixeira repeatedly emphasized that his departure would not be until the end of the season and that there was still plenty of ball left to play for him and his teammates, several of whom attended his press conference.

“There are still games left for us to win,” he said. “We want to win as many games as we can. This is a team in transition, but we still have a shot.”

Teixeira did not look like a player on his last legs Friday night in the Yankees’ 13-7 victory over the American League Central-leading Indians. The Yanks took three of four games from the Tribe in Cleveland two weeks ago and continued their success in the opener of a three-game series. The loss trimmed Cleveland’s lead to two games over the Tigers, 4-3 winners over the Mets at Detroit.

Tex extended his consecutive stretch of reaching base to eight plate appearances with hits his first two times up. He doubled to right in the first inning to help the Yankees build a 1-0 lead off Josh Tomlin. In the fourth, Teixeira got an infield single that aided in setting the table for Starlin Castro’s first career grand slam that followed an RBI double by Brian McCann and an intentional walk to Chase Headley.

McCann was the designated hitter as recent Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre call-up Gary Sanchez got his first start behind the plate. He did a solid job working with Michael Pineda and was part of the 16-hit attack. Sanchez doubled in a run in the fifth and got a second RBI the next inning on a bases-loaded walk.

Jacoby Ellsbury led the way with four hits as everyone in the Yankees’ starting lineup took part in the hit parade. Teixeira, Castro, Brett Gardner and Rob Refsnyder had two hits apiece. Seven different players had extra-base hits — doubles by Teixeira, Ellsbury, McCann and Sanchez, a triple by Gardner and homers by Castro and Aaron Hicks.

Pineda overcame a three-run homer by catcher Chris Gimenez, the 9-hole hitter, and pitched into the seventh.

Yanks, back at .500, deal Miller to Tribe

No Runs DMC is down to D.

Dellin Betances has become the Yankees’ closer this week with the trade of Andrew Miller to the Indians Sunday following a deal earlier last week of Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs. Emblematic of the kind of weekend it was for the Yankees in St. Petersburg, Fla., Betances never got into a game.

There was no chance for a closer because the Yankees did not have a lead heading into the ninth inning. Heck, the Yankees had a lead for only one half-inning in the series as they were swept by the last-place Rays. The Yanks were flying high after the first two games of the trip in Houston when they reached a season-best four games over .500, but four straight losses pushed them back to par at 52-52.

Whether the Yankees would be buyers or sellers at the non-waiver trade deadline, which is 4 p.m. Monday, was answered Sunday with the trade of Miller. The Chapman trade was a bit different because it involved a player who can be a free agent at the end of the season and who dismissed any talk of a contract extension. Miller, on the other hand, was signed through the 2018 season and had returned to the closer role he handled so well last year before moving aside for Chapman 11 weeks ago.

Just as was the case with Chapman, the haul general manager Brian Cashman received were four prospects, including one who is among the most highly touted young players on the rise, Clint Frazier, an outfielder rated 21st in Baseball America’s midseason rankings of top prospects.

The Yankees also received three pitchers, lefthander Justus Sheffield and righthanders Ben Heller and J. P. Feyereisen. While they are not necessarily running up a white flag on 2016, the Yankees are clearly looking much farther ahead than the current season.

It was nevertheless a sad day. Miller joined the Yankees as a free agent signing Dec. 5, 2014 enthusiastically and enjoyed his time in New York. The 6-foot-7 lefthander was a popular figure in their clubhouse.

“I loved my time here,” he told reporters Sunday. “It’s a first-class organization where I signed up to play. For me now, I get a chance to go to a team that is in the thick of it and has big plans for this year.”

Unlike the Chapman trade which included the return of pitcher Adam Warren to the Yankees, the players in the Miller trade do not present immediate help to the major-league roster.

Frazier, 21, was drafted in the first round by the Indians and was the fifth overall pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft from Loganville, Ga., High School after being named the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year.

In 94 combined minor league games in 2016 at Double-A Akron (89) and Triple-A Columbus (5), Frazier batted .273 (99-for-362) with 58 runs, 25 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 13 stolen bases, a .350 on-base percentage and an .811 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentages). He was named to the Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star Game and appeared in the 2016 Futures Game in San Diego where he had a single and a double and scored a run in three at-bats. He was promoted to Triple A July 25.

Right-handed all the way, Frazier played for Class A Lynchburg in 2015 and was named a Carolina League Postseason All-Star for hitting .285 with 88 runs, 36 doubles, three triples, 16 homers, 72 RBI, 68 walks, 15 steals, a .377 on-base percentage and an .842 OPS in 501 at-bats. He led the CL in hits, doubles and total bases (233), while ranking second in runs and third in RBI. He was also named both the Carolina League Player of the Month and Indians Minor League Player of the Month in July.

Over his four minor league seasons, Frazier is a .278 hitter with 248 runs, 90 doubles, 16 triples, 47 home runs, 198 RBI, 43 stolen bases my a .360 on-base percentage and an .812 OPS in 391 games and 1,509 at-bats.

Sheffield, 20, was 7-5 with a 3.59 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 19 starts totaling 95 1/3 innings for Class A Lynchburg and was named to this year’s Carolina League Mid-Season All-Star Team. In midseason rankings, he was tabbed by Baseball America as the 69th-best prospect in baseball and the fifth-best prospect in the Indians organization. Prior to the season, Baseball America rated him with the “Best Slider” in the organization.

Born and raised in Tullahoma, Tenn., Sheffield was originally selected by Cleveland in the first round (31st overall) of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. Like Frazier, he was also named the Gatorade National Player of the Year. Last year with Class A Lake County, Sheffield was 9-4 with a 3.31 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 26 starts covering 127 2/3 innings. His strikeouts ranked second in the Midwest League and he was named to the ML Mid-Season All-Star team. Over three minor league seasons, Sheffield has a 19-10 record with a 3.55 ERA and 260 strikeouts in 49 starts and 243 2/3 innings.

Heller, 24, was 3-2 with 12 saves in 13 chances and a 1.73 ERA in 43 relief appearances this season combined at Triple-A Columbus (28 games) and Double-A Akron (15). He held batters to a combined .159 batting average with a 0.84 WHIP. Heller began the season ranked by Baseball America as having the “Best Fastball” in the Indians organization.

The Wisconsin native was drafted by Cleveland in the 22nd round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.). In 150 games (including one start) over four minor league seasons, Heller has a 9-8 record with 31 saves and a 2.77 ERA in 172 1/3 innings. He has held opponents to a .193 batting average and struck out 226.

Feyereisen, 23, was 4-3 with a 2.23 ERA, five saves and 56 strikeouts in 33 relief appearances and 40 1/3 innings for Double-A Akron this season and was named to the 2016 Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star team. Another Wisconsin native, Feyereisen was was originally drafted in the 16th round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. At the time, he was the top Division III prospect as rated by Baseball America. Over three minor league seasons, Feyereisen has an 8-4 record with 21 saves in 23 chances and a 1.80 ERA in 105 innings. He has totaled 136 strikeouts and held opponents to a .184 batting average.

The Indians will be Miller’s sixth club in his 11 major league seasons but on none was he more effective than with the Yankees. Originally drafted by the Tigers as a starter, he went to the Marlins in the Miguel Cabrera trade and then on to the Red Sox who converted him to a reliever and the Orioles before signing a four-year, $36-million deal with the Yankees.

Miller, 31, was 6-1 with nine saves and a 1.39 ERA in 44 outings and 45 1/3 innings with the Yankees this year and was named to the American League All-Star team. Among major league relievers this season, Miller is second in strikeouts (77), strikeouts per batter faced (.448K/1BF) and fourth in K/9.0IP ratio (15.29). In 2015, he won the Mariano Rivera Award as the AL’s top reliever after going 3-2 with 36 saves (in 38 chances) and a 2.04 ERA in 60 relief appearances totaling 61 2/3 innings. He posted an AL-best 14.59 K/9.0IP ratio, the second-best mark among MLB relievers, and ranked third among relievers in strikeouts.

He will be sorely missed.

The Yankees completed one other trade Sunday in re-acquiring relief pitcher Tyler Clippard from the Diamondbacks for pitcher Vicente Campos. Clippard, 31, was 2-3 with one save and a 4.30 ERA (37.2IP, 34H, 18ER, 15BB, 46K) in 40 relief appearances and 37 2/3 innings with Arizona this year. In 2015, he pitched for the Athletics and the Mets and combined for a 5-4 record with 19 saves and a 2.92 ERA in 69 games and 71 innings.

Originally selected by the Yankees in the ninth round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Clippard was 3-1 with a 6.33 ERA in six starts as a rookie with the Yankees in 2007. Following the season, he was traded to the Nationals for pitcher Jonathan Albaladejo. A two-time National League All-Star (he was the winning pitcher of the 2011 game at Chase Field in Phoenix), Clippard has a 44-32 career record with 54 saves and a 2.97 ERA in 529 games, all but eight in relief. He is the only pitcher to appear in at least 69 major league games in each of the past six seasons.

Campos, 24, combined for a 9-3 record with a 3.20 ERA (121.0IP, 103H, 43ER, 38BB, 105K, 4HR) in 20 starts and 121 innings at Class A Tampa (10 starts, Double-A Trenton (9) and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (1) in 2016. He came to the Yankees with Michael Pineda in the Jan. 23, 2012 trade from the Mariners for catcher Jesus Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi. In 104 career minor league games (including 87 starts), Campos is 33-23 with a 3.67 ERA.

Pineda’s record fell to 5-10 Sunday as he gave up five earned runs, six hits and an uncharacteristic four walks (one intentional) with eight strikeouts in six innings. After Carlos Beltran’s two-run homer off lefthander Blake Snell (nine strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings) got the Yankees to 3-2 in the sixth, Pineda gave up two runs in the bottom of that inning on a two-out single to the 9-hole hitter, catcher Luke Maile, a .206 hitter.

Yanks’ recent surge may continue without Chapman

Calm down, Yankees fans, Monday’s trade of Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs for Adam Warren and three prospects is not the start of a fire sale.

No pun intended.

The debate about whether the Yankees will be buyers or sellers come the non-waiver trade deadline Aug. 1 can continue to rage while the club keeps trying to prove it will be a contender for post-season play.

Chapman won over Yankees fans with his triple-digit fastball readings, zooming as high as 105 miles per hour last week, but this was a deal general manager Brian Cashman had to make. He had a player who cost him relatively nothing (four lower-level prospects) and was highly sought after by contenders in need of a quality closer. The Yankees had an able successor to Chapman in Andrew Miller, who of course was also his predecessor and won the Mariano Rivera Award as the American League’s best reliever in 2015.

So Cashman had a huge chip in Chapman, who was 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA and 29 saves. The lefthander made it clear to the front office that he intended to enter free agency at the end of the 2016 season, so the Yankees had good reason to shop him. They had made incorrect calculations about second baseman Robinson Cano and reliever David Robertson in recent years and watched them bolt New York without getting anything in return.

No one can be sure how good a trade is until all the players involved make it to the majors, but Cashman appears to have acquired plenty of talent in the swap. Warren, of course, is known to Yankees fans as an able swing man who was a vital cog on the 2015 staff. I frankly admit that I did not like his being traded to the Cubs, although any deal that brings an everyday position player such as a Starlin Castro for a pitcher is a plus.

Warren did not pitch especially well for the Cubs and had been optioned to Triple A, but I believe his reunion with Yanks pitching coach Larry Rothschild will be beneficial.

The key ingredient in the deal from the Yankees’ standpoint is shortstop Gleyber Torres, the consensus top prospect in the Cubs organization. The Yankees currently have a solid shortstop in Didi Gregorius with Jorge Mateo highly touted in the organization, but players often shift off shortstop in the minors. By the time Torres is ready for the big time, a position will be found for him. The Yanks already have the example of Rob Refsnyder.

The Yankees had keen interest in the native Venezuelan three years ago but were outbid by the Cubs. Torres will remain on the Class A level for now as he was assigned to Tampa as was Rashad Crawford, one of two outfielders in the deal, along with Billy McKinney.

Crawford is similar to Gregorius in that as a left-handed batter he did better this year at Class A Myrtle Beach against left-handed pitching (.321 in 81 at-bats) than against right-handed pitching (.234 in 248 at-bats).

McKinney, who was assigned to Double A Trenton, is a former first-round draft pick of the Athletics who went to the Cubs two years ago in the multi-player trade for pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Dan Straily. Also going from Oakland to Chicago in that deal was Addison Russell, now the Cubs’ regular shortstop who was voted on to the National League All-Star team this year by fans. Such progress is what the Yankees are hoping will come out of this trade, but there are no guarantees.

Remember something else. Chapman, who said he loved playing in New York, could always come back to the Yankees as a free agent. So in many ways this is a win-win deal for the Yanks.

They have done fine without Chapman the first two nights of a three-game series at Houston with Miller closing out both victories, 6-3 Tuesday night and 2-1 Monday night.

Dellin Betances had to do a dance act in the eighth when he came in and walked two batters to load the bases but ended the threat with a strikeout. Miller surrendered a one-out double but followed that up with two strikeouts to put the Astros away.

CC Sabathia pitched into the seventh and had a strong outing in ending a personal four-game losing streak with his first victory in seven starts since June 16. Sabathia was touched for solo home runs by Marwin Gonzalez in the first and Evan Gattis in the seventh but allowed only two other hits over 6 2/3 innings. All three Houston runs in this series have come on homers.

Yankees hitters have been kept in the yard both nights, but they banged out 13 hits Tuesday night, including three by slumping Jacoby Ellsbury and two apiece by Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira and Castro.

Monday night, the Yanks overcame tormentor Dallas Keuchel. There were some tense moments in the bottom of the ninth when Houston had runners on first and second with one out before Miller got Carlos Gomez on a game-ending double play.

Michael Pineda gave up a leadoff home run to George Springer on the righthander’s first pitch of the game but limited the Stros to four hits and two walks with eight strikeouts through the seventh.

Keuchel, who is not having the AL Cy Young Award season he had a year ago, had a one-hit shutout working with two out in the fifth when Gregorius doubled and Chase Headley tied the score with a flare single to center field, which made the Yankees’ third baseman the all-time hits leader among players from Colorado.

Headley singled to right leading off the eighth and scored the go-ahead run on a booming double to center by Austin Romine. Betances pitched a perfect, three-strikeout eighth before Miller earned his eighth save.

The victories pushed the Yankees’ record four games over .500 for the first time this year. They have won eight of their past 10 games and 10 of their past 14. Their record has improved every calendar month (8-14 in April, 16-15 in May, 15-12 in June, 13-9 in July). If this keeps up, the Yankees may seek help in trades rather than trying to help others.

Yankees knuckle under to Red Sox

Alex Rodriguez was back in the starting lineup Friday night for the first time in six games since July 5. A-Rod had made some noise recently by saying he would take another shot at playing first base in case Mark Teixeira should be sidelined again by a cartilage tear in his right knee.

Playing the position was a disaster last year for Rodriguez, but he is willing to give it another try, particularly if it means getting him additional playing time. Carlos Beltran, back in right field after nursing a tender right hamstring the past 10 day, had cost A-Rod at-bats as the Yankees’ designated hitter.

As the Yanks hope to turn things around after the All-Star break, the sight of knuckleballer Steven Wright on the mound for the Red Sox was hardly welcomed. Wright has been a late-blooming cog in Boston’s rotation this season and earned All-Star recognition, although he did not get into Tuesday night’s game at San Diego.

Wright confounded the Yankees enough to be working on a perfect game two outs into the fifth inning. Ironically, it was Rodriguez who ended the righthander’s bid for a perfecto with a slow-roller to the left of the mound that Wright tried to field with his bare right hand, which was the only chance he had for an out, that became a single and finally gave the Yankees a base runner.

You know it is not much of a night for your team when a squib hit is among the game’s highlights.

That was the case for the Yankees until the sixth inning when Wright, working with a 5-0 lead, suddenly lost the plate. Starlin Castro led off with a more conventional hit, a line single to center. Wright then hit Chase Headley with a pitch, putting a runner in scoring position for the Yanks for the first time in the game.

After Brett Gardner flied out to center, Jacoby Ellsbury walked on a full count to load the bases. Beltran, fresh from his All-Star appearance, whacked a single down the right field line to score two runs to raise his career RBI total to 1,501. He became the 46th player in major league history to drive in more than 1,500 runs.

The Yankees cut the deficit to 5-3 when Brian McCann grounded into a force play as Ellsbury crossed the plate. That would be as close as the Yanks would get as they fell under .500 once again at 44-45.

Michael Pineda had another of his head-scratching performances, a combination of swing-and-miss pitching (six strikeouts) and swing-and-hit pitching (three home runs) in five-plus innings.

Ryan Hanigan, Wright’s catcher, started the assault with two out in the third on a solo home run to left, his first of the season. After a leadoff walk to Jackie Bradley Jr. in the fifth, Travis Shaw drove a 3-1 fastball into the right-center field bleachers. Zander Bogaerts made the score 5-0 in the sixth by following a leadoff single by Dustin Pedroia with his 11th home run, which ended Pineda’s night.

Nathan Eovaldi, who will return to the rotation and start Tuesday night against the Orioles, had another strong outing in relief. He allowed two hit and no walks with a strikeout in 1 1/3 innings. The righthander has pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings as a reliever and earned a chance to get back into a starter’s role.

The sellout crowd of 47,439 at Yankee Stadium was treated to another overpowering inning of relief by Aroldis Chapman, who rang up two fastballs of 103 miles per hour in the a-bat against Dustin Pedroia, one of the lefthander’s two strikeout victims in a perfect ninth inning.