Results tagged ‘ Xander Bogaerts ’

Yanks’ playoff hopes vanish despite sweep of Red Sox

The Yankees got revenge on the Red Sox for that four-game sweep at Fenway Park two weeks ago by completing a three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium Thursday night, but there was little to celebrate afterward because they were finally eliminated from playoff consideration in the 159th game of the season.

The killing blow was the Orioles’ 4-0 victory at Toronto, a game that ended while the Yanks and Red Sox were still playing. It was Baltimore’s 87th victory and tied the O’s with Toronto for the first American League wild card position. The Yankees can win no more than 86 games, so their playoff hopes have vanished.

The Orioles will come to town Friday night for the start of a season-ending, three-game series with still plenty at stake for them. The Tigers, who were rained out, and the Mariners, who opened a four-game set at Seattle against the Athletics, are still within striking distance of a wild card berth.

The Yankees have won four straight games, but a 3-11 stretch Sept. 11-25 with that 3-8 trip through Boston, St. Pete and Toronto was a dagger in the heart of their playoff chances. To be in the hunt this long in a season that took a rebuilding turn of events was nonetheless a positive for the Yankees.

Despite dealing Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran and Ivan Nova before the non-waiver trade deadline for mostly prospects, the Yankees made a strong second-half run behind the heroics of catcher Gary Sanchez, who has emerged as a Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award candidate.

Sanchez had a rough go of it Thursday night at the plate (0-for-5, four strikeouts) but was his usual forceful self behind it in guiding CC Sabathia through a strong outing. The big lefthander ended a stretch of six winless starts with his first victory since Aug. 23.

A solo home run by Xander Bogaerts in the fourth inning was the lone blemish on the night for Sabathia, who allowed only three other hits and two walks with eight strikeouts to finish the season with a 9-12 record and an ERA below 4.00 (3.91), his lowest since 2012 (3.38).

With his his 223rd career victory, Sabathia passed Jerry Koosman for sole possession of 16th place on the all-time list for wins by left-handed pitchers. It was also CC’s 228th start for the Yankees that moved him past Hall of Famer Jack Chesbro for sole possession of 12th place on the all-time franchise list. The combined 10 strikeouts by Sabathia, Tyler Clippard and Richard Bleier raised the staff’s season total to 1,370, which ties the single-season franchise record also accomplished both last year and the year before.

Unlike so many of his starts this year, the Yankees gave Sabathia plenty of runs to work with. Starlin Castro, Jacoby Ellsbury and Aaron Hicks had run-scoring doubles. Tyler Austin got an RBI on a bases-loaded walk with another run scoring on a wild pitch. The Red Sox, who had clinched the AL East title the night before, had something of a makeshift lineup. In his final game at the Stadium, David Ortiz was honored in a pregame ceremony and struck out and walked in his two plate appearances before coming out of the game in the fourth inning.

Yanks need to get leads for bullpen trio

The Yankees will get some help Monday, although it will not be in an area of need. Aroldis Chapman, the flame-throwing relief pitcher, will come off his 30-day suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, but the back end of the bullpen is the least of the Yankees’ woes.

The Yankees already have plenty of strength there with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances. Chapman, acquired by trade in the off-season from the Reds, will give the Yankees the most formidable bullpen trio since Cincinnati’s legendary “Nasty Boys” — Randy Myers, Rob Dibble and Norm Charlton — for Lou Piniella’s 1990 World Series champions.

What remains at question is how often the Yankees can give these three relievers leads to protect. The bats went silent again Sunday night as they were tamed by knuckleballer Steven Wright, who came within one out of a shutout ruined by Brett Gardner’s third home run of the season. It was one of only three hits by the Yanks, whose hopes of sweeping the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium were dashed in Boston’s 5-1 victory.

Luis Severino’s record fell to 0-5, although manager Joe Girardi expressed encouragement that the second-year righthander is turning the corner. Severino was clocked for three home runs — two by David Ortiz — but he had nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. The Red Sox added a fourth home run in the eighth as Xander Bogaerts took Chasen Shreve deep. The way Wright pitched, Severino’s fate was sealed In the first inning when he walked leadoff batter Mookie Betts and gave up a home run to Dustin Pedroia in the first row of the right field stands.

Big Papi, on the other hand, launched a pair of bombs that were milestones in a career he plans to conclude at the end of this season, a decision that looks awfully premature considering the way he is swinging the bat. Ortiz pushed his career home run total to 512, passing Mel Ott on the career list and tying Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews, three Hall of Fame sluggers. Of that total, 454 have come with the Red Sox, the second most in club history behind only Ted Williams, whose career total of 521 were all hit for Boston.

Ortiz has just been taking batting practice against the Yankees this season. In six games against them, Big Papi is batting .364 with five home runs and seven RBI in 22 at-bats. The Stadium crowd let him have it with the boos for his embarrassing tirade against umpire Ron Kulpa Friday night, but he pretty much quieted everybody with the pair of massive shots off Severino.

The Yankees had one hit over the first six innings against Wright, 30, a journeyman who has restarted his career with the knuckleball. They did not have a runner in scoring position until the seventh when Starlin Castro led off with a double to right. He crossed to third on a flyout but was thrown out trying to get back to the bag after deciding against trying to score on a pitch in the dirt. Castro, who was picked off second base four games ago, hurt a rib on the play and was pinch-hit for in the ninth, but Girardi said he did not consider the injury serious and expected Castro to play Monday night when the World Series champion Royals open a four-game set at the Stadium.

Chapman will be there, too. Can the Yankees give him reason to get into the game. Yankees fans can only hope so.

Yankees’ comeback re-heats rivalry

The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry seemed pretty dreary last weekend when the Yanks were swept in a three-game series at Fenway Park. It heated up Friday night in a tense, 3-2 Yankees victory at Yankee Stadium, although the Sox’s fury was aimed more at plate umpire Ron Kulpa than the other dugout.

Boston batters were particularly annoyed about Kulpa’s strike zone, which it must be stated was generous. Xander Bogaerts in the seventh and Hanley Ramirez in the eighth were upset about called third strikes, but it really got hairy in the ninth inning when David Ortiz batted with the bases loaded and one out against Andrew Miller, who really had to work to notch his sixth save. Miller had thwarted a rally in the eighth inning with a called strikeout of Jackie Bradley Jr., but the lefthander clearly did not have his A stuff.

The Red Sox reached him for three singles in the ninth to load them up for Ortiz. Miller fell behind 3-1 in the count to Ortiz, who was given the benefit of the doubt by the umpires on a checked swing. The next two pitches were very much borderline, but Kulpa threw his hand up each time. Ortiz beefed after the strike-two call, but Boston manager John Farrell interceded and was ejected for his effort.

After the called strike three, Ortiz walked slowly back to the dugout, then made a turnaround and charged back toward the plate and went ballistic, which resulted in his getting tossed as well. After order was restored, Miller finished off the four-out save by striking out Ramirez.

It was a most satisfying victory for the Yankees, who fell behind 2-0 in the first inning on Ortiz’s seventh homer of the season but came back to tie the score with a run in each of the first two innings against previously unbeaten Rick Porcello, whose record is now 5-1.

That was because Aaron Hicks, who has been struggling in his first season with the Yankees, finally came up with a big hit. He led off the seventh by driving Porcello’s first pitch to right-center for his first home run with the Yankees. Hicks also moved from right field to center field after Jacoby Ellsbury, who had scored the Yankees’ first run on a two-out double by Brian McCann in the first inning, had to leave the game with a tight right hip that will likely sideline him for at least several days.

Dustin Ackley, who played right field after Ellsbury’s departure, drove in the tying run with a two-out single in the second inning. Ben Gamel, who was called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, made his major-league debut taking over for Ackley in right field in the eighth and got a putout right away in gloving a liner by Ortiz leading off that inning.

Another key to the Yankees’ victory was starting pitcher Michael Pineda’s recovery from the first-inning when he allowed two runs and four hits. The righthander lasted through the sixth and worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam that inning by getting Bradley on a double play. The Red Sox had 13 hits but stranded 12 base runners. Perhaps they have calmed down by now, but do not bet on it.

No relief for Red Sox pen against Yankees

For a while there Tuesday night, it appeared as if Brian McCann might not survive this game. With Dellin Betances bouncing balls in the dirt in the seventh inning, McCann collected black-and-blue marks galore and at one point seemed destined to come out of the game when his right knee buckled.

He shook it all off, however, long enough to provide one of the crushing blows in the Yankees’ 13-3 victory over the Red Sox, a three-run home run off lefthander Craig Breslow that helped turn a close game into a rout during a nine-run seventh that secured the Bombers’ triumph.

Turning back the Red Sox kept the Yankees 5 1/2 games out in front in the American League East as the Blue Jays also won. It also took some of the pressure off rookie Luis Severino, who will make his major-league debut as the Yankees’ starting pitcher Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

Rookie Henry Owens was in that spot for the Red Sox Tuesday night. The lefthander actually pitched well but was hung with a losing decision because the Boston bullpen was so ineffective. Owens began the sixth inning with a 2-1 lead but was removed from game after he gave up a single to Chris Young and a double to Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees then began mugging Red Sox relievers, starting with Robbie Ross.

Mark Teixeira, who has been an extra-base hit machine this year, tied the score with his second RBI single of the game. McCann then quickly put the Yanks back in front with a double. Teixeira went to third on the hit and eventually scored on an infield out.

The Red Sox made it a one-run game again in the top of the seventh on a leadoff home run by Pablo Sandoval off Masahiro Tanaka. Considering that Sandoval has given up switch hitting after going 2-for-41(.049) batting right-handed, it was surprising that Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not start the inning with lefthander Justin Wilson, who entered the game after Tanaka gave up his sixth home run in his past four starts. But it is hard to criticize a manager in a 10-run victory.

A throwing error by Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts opened the floodgates for the Yankees in the seventh, first off righthander Jean Machi and then off the left-handed Breslow. Chase Headley and Carlos Beltran followed McCann’s 18th homer with doubles. Jacoby Ellsbury chased Breslow with an RBI single, and Young greeted righthander Alex Ogando by driving his first pitch to left for a three-run home run.

In three innings against four Boston relievers, the Yankees had 10 runs (nine earned), nine hits and four walks. Yankees relievers, meanwhile, gave ample support to Tanaka by limiting the Red Sox to no runs, two hits and one walk in three innings.

Since the start of 2011, the Yankees are 9-1 when facing an opposing starting pitcher making his big-league debut and 2-0 this year. The 10 opposing starters are 1-7 with a 5.40 ERA in 53 1/3 innings during that span.

With Severino starting Wednesday night after Owens started Tuesday night, they are only the second set of Yankees and Red Sox pitchers since 1914 to make their major league debuts in the same series against each other. The others were the Red Sox’ Jim Bagby April 18, 1938 and the Yankees’ Atley Donald April 21, 1938, both games at Fenway Park.

Over the last 51 seasons (since 1965), only two Yankees pitchers have made their big-league debuts as starters against the Red Sox: Randy Keisler Sept. 10, 2000 at Boston and Sam Militello Aug. 9, 1992 at Yankee Stadium.

Pineda comeback gaining momentum

It certainly looks as if Michael Pineda is the real deal. The Yankees had to wait it out for the righthander to recover fully from shoulder surgery in May 2012, only four months after he was acquired in a trade from the Mariners that sent catching prospect Jesus Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi to Seattle.

Pineda did not pitch in the major leagues last year or the season before, a long wait for the Yankees to find out if the trade was to their benefit. He pitched in 40 2/3 innings in three minor-league stops in the Yankees’ system in 2013. But with Montero lingering in the minor leagues and Noesi released by the Mariners, the swap is leaning in the Yankees’ favor.

Pineda turned in another solid outing Thursday night and earned his first victory since 2011 as the Yankees turned back the Red Sox, 4-1. Pineda took a no-hitter into the fifth inning against the defending World Series champions and lasted two batters into the seventh before manager Joe Girardi went to his bullpen.

Through two starts covering 12 innings, Pineda is pitching to a 1.50 ERA. He did not allow a hit Thursday night until the fifth inning when Xander Bogaerts led off with a single to left and held Boston scoreless until the seventh when Daniel Nava led off with his first home run of the season. Bogaerts followed with a single up the middle, which brought Girardi to the mound.

The manager was delighted at what he saw for six-plus innings from Pineda, an imposing 6-foot-7 and 265 pounds who walked two batters and struck out seven. The Yankees gave him the lead with two unearned runs off Clay Buchholz in the fourth inning and tacked on two runs in the fifth, including second baseman Dean Anna’s first career home run.

“We’re very encouraged,” Girardi said of Pineda. “He threw first-pitch strikes and gave us length, which we really needed.”

Girardi was hit with post-game questions about video replays circulated on social media showing a substance in Pineda’s right hand. On cold nights, it is not uncommon for pitchers to use pine tar to improve their grip. I saw Buchholz reach back at a spot on his neck to touch something, which was probably the same thing. Pineda made no secret of whatever it was to umpires as he exposed his palm numerous times.

In his first game against his old team, Jacoby Ellsbury had 1-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Derek Jeter raised his batting average to .290 with a single and a double. David Phelps earned his first career save with 2 1/3 innings of hitless, three-strikeout relief.