Results tagged ‘ Ryan Flaherty ’

Yanks’ offense can’t match Tanaka’s brilliance

Division races do not get much tighter than this: two teams separated by only a half-game both locked in 1-1 games entering the ninth inning. That was the case for the Yankees and the Blue Jays Tuesday night.

Toronto ended up going into extras. The Yankees wished they could have done the same. After eight brilliant innings from Masahiro Tanaka, Chasen Shreve (6-2) gave up a home run to Chris Davis leading off the ninth and it held up for a 1-0 Orioles victory. Not long after the game at Yankee Stadium ended, the Blue Jays scored four runs in the 10th for a 5-1 victory at Fenway Park and took a 1 1/2-game lead over the Yankees in the American League East.

It was a tough no-decision for Tanaka, who gave the Yankees exactly the kind of start they needed on the heels of the loss of Nathan Eovaldi probably for the rest of the regular season due to right elbow inflammation and to spare the bullpen that may be needed Wednesday night with CC Sabathia coming back to the rotation after a stint on the 15-day disabled list because of right knee inflammation.

Tanaka was at his dominant best with 10 strikeouts. He flirted with a perfect game for four innings. That ended with a leadoff walk, his only base on balls, in the fifth, and soon the no-hit bid was gone as well when Matt Wieters singled on a dribbler against the overshift.

The shutout remained intact through that inning, but a home run to right by Ryan Flaherty at the start of the sixth put an end to the scoreless tie. The Yankees responded with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the inning by Alex Rodriguez off Kevin Gausman. It was an historic hit for A-Rod, career No. 3,056 that pushed him by Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson into 22nd place on the all-time list. In addition, Rodriguez reached the 30-homer plateau for the15th time in his career, tying the record established by Hall of Famer Henry Aaron.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, that would be the extend of their scoring as relievers T.J. McFarland, Darren O’Day (6-2) and Zach Britton (31st save) held them hitless over four innings. The last 11 Yankees batters went out in order.

That the game was so close was a testament not only to Tanaka’s pitching but also their defense. Third baseman Brendan Ryan made a remarkable stop of a scorching grounder by Jonathan Schoop and from his knees threw a dart to second baseman Stephen Drew to start a double play that loomed large when the next batter, Wieters, doubled off the wall in left-center. Shortstop Didi Gregorius followed with a good stop of a grounder by J.J. Hardy to get the third out of the inning.

After Davis’ homer in the ninth, the Orioles threatened to extend their lead with singles by Jimmy Paredes and Schoop. One out later, Shreve struck out Hardy for the front end of a double play as Ryan kept the glove on Schoop, who attempted to steal third base but over-slid the bag slightly. An offensive highlight to match that was not forthcoming, however.

Few positives in shellacking to Orioles

After an 11-3 loss there is not much positive to dwell on. The Yankees were out of Saturday night’s game early as the Orioles scored four runs in the first inning and had a 9-0 lead in the third against David Phelps. Ivan Nova replaced him and pitched pretty well for 5 2/3 innings to save the bullpen.

Normally, I am critical of clubs that carry more than 11 pitchers. It just seems to me that a six-man bullpen ought to be enough. The Yankees are currently carrying 13 pitchers, which leaves the manager with a three-man bench of position players. That may not be a major problem in the American League where there is less pinch hitting because of the designated hitter. Still, when one of those bench players is someone like Travis Hafner, who no longer plays in the field, the situation can hamper a manager.

On the other hand, the Yankees are in a stretch of games on 20 consecutive days. And with Phelps failing to get through the third inning, Joe Girardi probably felt better about having the extra arms in the pen. This was a real turnaround for Phelps, who had been undefeated over his previous nine starts dating to Aug. 27 last year against AL East competition with a 4-0 record and 3.91 ERA over that period covering 53 innings. Saturday night’s line for Phelps was truly ugly – 2 1/3 innings, 9 hits, 9 runs, all earned, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 2 home runs – as his ERA rose from 4.01 to 4.95.

Chris Davis showed why he is a Triple Crown candidate by driving in five runs with his 29th and 30th home runs of the season. His three-run shot off Phelps in the first put the Orioles in control. Davis’ second homer was a two-run shot off Nova, the only blemish on his appearance. Phelps also gave up another three-run homer, to Ryan Flaherty in the third, that ended his outing.

For the second straight night, the Yankees banged out 11 hits but scored only three runs. They had 3-for-16 (.188) with runners in scoring position. This marked the fifth straight loss by the Yankees when facing a left-handed starting pitcher. Zach Britton gave up two runs (one earned) in 5 2/3 innings. Both runs were scored in the sixth when the Yankees had only one hit in a rally fueled by three walks and an error. Their other run came in the ninth off reliever Pedro Strop on successive doubles by Chris Stewart and Brett Gardner, who was left stranded at second base.

The Yankees are 15-12 when opposed by a left-handed starter but have lost six of their past seven such games. Their current losing streak to left-handed starters is their longest since dropping their final nine such games in September 2010. Despite the winning record against left-handed starters, the Yankees are definitely vulnerable in those games because their right-handed batters continue to struggle. For the season righty swingers are hitting .216 with 24 home runs in 1,178 at-bats.

And the 3-4-5 positions in the order, normally the most productive hitters on a team, have been a weakness. The Yanks’ hitters in those spots have combined to hit .213 with 38 homers in 911 at-bats.

The Yankees as a team have not homered in their past three games and in just three of their past 10 games. They have hit only two home runs over their past 10 road games since June 7. The Yankees are 9-24 this year when they don’t homer. Last year they were 7-24, which means they already have two more games in which they have not homered than all of last year, and they still have 82 games left on the schedule.