YANKEES 6, INDIANS 2
In his first three Major-League starts right-hander Luis Severino received a total of two runs of support in the 17 innings he had pitched. Despite giving up a run in the first inning on Saturday, the 21-year-old rookie got five runs of support in the first two innings of the game.
He pretty much took control of things from there.
Severino pitched six solid innings to notch his first Major-League victory and Brett Gardner and Brian McCann both homered in the first inning as New York downed Cleveland on Jorge Posada Day with a paid crowd of 47,031 on hand at Yankee Stadium.
Severino (1-2) held the Indians to one run on just three hits with three walks and six strikeouts in a workmanlike 100-pitch outing.
The only run he gave up was when fellow rookie Francisco Lindor laced his eighth pitch of the game into the right-field porch for his sixth home run of the season to give the Indians an early 1-0 lead.
It did not last long, however, as Gardner lined right-hander Danny Salazar’s seventh pitch off the top of the right-field wall for his 12th home run of the season. It came with Jacoby Ellsbury on first on a single and it gave Severino a 2-1 lead that he never relinquished the rest of the afternoon.
One out later, McCann crushed a 0-1 fastball into the bleachers in right-center for his 22nd home run of the season.
The Yankees added a pair of runs in the second inning after Stephen Drew and John Ryan Murphy opened the frame with singles to put runners at first and third with no outs.
Salazar then botched a potential double-play ball off the bat of Ellsbury by throwing wide of second base for an error. Ellsbury got credit for an RBI and Murphy was safe at second. After Murphy advanced to third on a fly ball by Gardner, Carlos Beltran scored him on a sacrifice fly that made it 5-1.
After entering the game pitching at least seven innings in his previous seven starts with a 1.45 ERA in that span, Salazar (11-7) was charged with five runs on eight hits with no walks and six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.
Meanwhile, Severino got some help in keeping the Indians from mounting a comeback in both the third and sixth innings.
After Jason Kipnis drew a one-out walk and Lindor singled to advance him to third, Michael Brantley hit a hard one-hopper to rookie first baseman Greg Bird. Bird whirled and threw the ball high and wide to shortstop Didi Gregorius at second base.
Second base umpire Dan Iassogna ruled that Gregorius kept his foot on the base to retire Lindor. But, inexplicably, Kipnis elected to stay at third base on the play.
Indians manager Terry Francona asked Iassogna, the crew chief, to review the play using replay but the crew chose only to discuss it amongst themselves. Francona was ejected from the game by Iassogna during an ensuing argument.
In the sixth inning, Severino appeared to be wobbling as he approached the 100-pitch mark by issuing two-out walks to Lonnie Chisenhall and Abraham Almonte, However, he got out of the inning when Gregorius ranged to grab Roberto Perez’s ground ball and he retired Almonte at second base on a throw from the seat of his pants.
The Indians added a run in the eighth inning off right-hander Dellin Betances on a two-out bloop single by Chisenhall that scored Lindor, who led off the frame with a double.
The Yankees got that run back against right-hander Jeff Manship on a one-out double by Gregorius, a single by Drew and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Murphy.
The victory snapped a slight two-game skid and gave the Yankees a season record of 68-54. They remain a half-game ahead of the second-place Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East. The Indians, who are in last place in the American League Central, dropped to 57-65.
- Severino actually pitched much better in his previous three starts than he did on Saturday. But run support is essential to his success. Fortunately, Severino got it and he still was able to keep the Indians from coming back despite the four walks he issued. He is 1-2 with a 2.74 ERA and manager Joe Girardi announced on Saturday that he will remain in the rotation for now.
- In only the second game he used it, McCann was able to hit a home run with a new batting stance that puts a lot more weight on his front foot to prevent him from flying open too early with his right shoulder. It also was fitting on Jorge Posada Day that McCann (who was the designated hitter) and Murphy each got a hit and drove in a run.
- Gardner’s homer was a product of the short porch in right-field, but it still counts and it was a bit overdue. That was Gardner’s first home run since July 28 at Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX. Gardner is batting .274 with 12 homers and 54 RBIs on the season.
- My only issue was the lineup Girardi chose to use against the Indians after they had lost the first two games of the series. With Mark Teixeira still nursing a sore right shin, he elected to bench Alex Rodriguez, which left Beltran hitting third, McCann fourth and the rookie Bird fifth. On Friday, Girardi benched both Ellsbury and Gregorius against a right-handed pitcher and the team lost. The Saturday moves did work but this resting philosophy with the Blue Jays breathing down the Yankees’ necks is just a bit silly.
- Odd stat of the day: The Indians collected as many hits off Betances and left-hander Andrew Miller in the final two innings than they did against Severino in six. Linder doubled and Chisenhall singled off Betances in the eighth and Miller was touched by a leadoff single by Perez in the ninth. It is rare the “Twin Towers” give up any hits at all much less as many as the starter.
Right-hander Michael Pineda will come off the 15-day disabled list to start for the Yankees on Wednesday against the Houston Astros to push Masahiro Tanaka’s next start back to Friday, Girardi told reporters on Saturday. Pineda yielded one run on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings in his second rehab start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday. He has been on the DL since July 30 with a right forearm flexor strain. Girardi said he had no plans to remove anyone in the rotation. So it appears the Yankees will use a six-man rotation in the final month. . . . Posada was honored before Saturday’s game by having his No. 20 officially retired and a plaque placed in Monument Park. Posada played for the Yankees for 17 seasons and hit .273 with 275 homers and 1,065 RBIs. He was part of five world championship teams and was a five-time All-Star. On Sunday, the Yankees similarly will honor one of his battery-mates, left-hander Andy Pettitte.
The Yankees will have a chance to split the four-game series against the Indians with a victory on Sunday.
Left-hander CC Sabathia (4-9, 5.24 ERA) will go to the mound for the Yankees. Sabathia, 35, gave up four runs on five hits and three walks with five strikeouts in a no-decision that the Yankees won against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday.
Right-hander Trevor Bauer (9-10, 4.62 ERA) will pitch for the Indians. Bauer, 24, was shelled for five runs on six hits and one walk in just 1 2/3 innings in a loss to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday. In his previous start on Aug. 13, he gave up six runs in 3 1/3 innings to the Yankees at Progressive Field.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.
YANKEES 3, BRAVES 2
With all the Bronx, the Yankee front office and the coaches having completely chewed off their fingernails all winter worrying about Masahiro Tanaka’s right elbow they can now relax. The Japanese right-hander made his spring debut on Thursday and he looked just fine – really.
Tanaka pitched two perfect dominant innings and Jake Cave’s RBI ground-rule double and Nick Noonan’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of seventh inning propelled New York to a come-from-behind victory over Atlanta at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, FL.
The Yankees entered the seventh trailing 2-1. With one out and pinch-runners Jonathan Galvez and Jose Pirela on second and first, respectively, Cave laced long double to center that plated Galvez to tie the game at 2-2. Noonan followed with a sacrifice fly to left that scored Pirela from third with the go-ahead run.
Left-hander Justin Wilson (1-0) pitched a perfect seventh inning and recorded two strikeouts to get credit for the victory. Braves right-hander Tyrell Jenkins (0-1) was saddled with the loss. Right-hander Wilking Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth and earned a save.
The Yankees improved their Grapefruit League record to 6-4.
Tanaka, 26, looked every bit the same pitcher who was 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA in 20 starts last season. It did not take the Braves too long to see it.
He retired Andrelton Simmons and Alberto Callaspo on routine grounders and struck out Freddie Freeman looking on a pitch that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez disputed so vehemently that he was ejected from the game after the first pitch of the bottom of the inning by home-plate umpire Dan Iassogna.
Tanaka then opened the second by fanning Jonny Gomes and inducing groundball outs from Christian Bethancourt and Chris Johnson. And that was Tanaka’s evening.
All told he threw only 19 pitches, 15 of them for strikes and he threw first-pitch strikes to four of the six batters. He was so efficient he had to go the bullpen to throw enough pitches to get up the 35 he had been allotted.
“Overall, I think it was good,” Tanaka told reporters through an interpreter. “Probably the best part is that I was able to get first-pitch strikes a whole lot tonight.”
He was clocked as high 94 miles per hour on his fastball and he stayed within 88 to 91 most of the outing. He drew raves from his catcher, Brian McCann.
“He looked great, kind of picking up right where he left off last year,” McCann told reporters. “His sinker tonight was what impressed me the most. He had good downward action on it. His split was there, and he had a couple of quick innings. He was putting the ball where he wanted.”
Manager Joe Girardi now feels relieved to have his ace pass his first test of the elbow.
“You want to get all your starters out there and try to get them going,” Girardi told reporters. “You can’t spend your time worrying about what might be. You just approach every day, you know what you have, and you go forward.”
Tanaka also was glad to have his first outing out of the way.
“I feel better right now,” he told reporters. “I’ve had the time to prepare myself up to this point. It has gone well thus far.”
Now all of Yankee Universe can exhale. The team’s ace is just fine – really.
- The concern about Didi Gregorius has not been his glove or arm because both have been sensational. The real issue has been his bat but Gregorius ripped a leadoff triple into left-center off Braves starter Shelby Miller. The 25-year-old shortstop later scored on a fielder’s choice groundout by Brett Gardner to give the team a 1-0 lead.
- After getting shelled for three runs on six hits in the first inning by the Houston Astros in Kissimmee, FL, on Saturday in his spring debut, non-roster invitee Scott Baker pitched two perfect innings before giving up a one-out double to Bethancourt and two-RBI single to Todd Cunningham in the fifth. Baker, 33, now has a chance to stick with the Yankees due to the right quad injury of left-hander Chris Capuano, who will sidelined for a month.
- Cave, 22, is very quietly have a great spring training. The speedy outfielder is 5-for-9 (.556) with a double and home run and four RBIs. Cave advanced from Class-A Tampa to Double-A Trenton in 2014 and batted a combined .294 with seven homers and 42 RBIs in 132 games.
- Right-hander David Carpenter looked a little shaky in his one inning work against his former teammates. Carpenter was tagged for a pair of singles by Pedro Ciriaco and Simmons to begin the sixth. Callaspo followed with a sac fly to score Ciriaco from third. Carpenter, 29, and left-hander Chasen Shreve were acquired over the winter in exchange for former Yankees No. 1 pitching prospect Manny Banuelos. Carpenter figures to be the primary setup man in the bullpen for Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances.
- I am always being reminded that it is early but Stephen Drew keeps extending his hitting woes. He was 0-for-2 on Thursday and is 1-for-13 (.077) this far. Drew likely will break camp as the team’s starting second baseman. But after he hit a combined .162 with the Boston Red Sox and the Yankees last season he better get going with the bat sooner rather than later.
With the bad news about Capuano’s injury it is about time the Yankees got some good news about their starters. Along with Tanaka’s successful debut the Yankees were encouraged by left-hander CC Sabathia’s 29-pitch simulated session earlier in the day. Sabathia, 34, said he has not felt any pain in his surgically repaired right knee and thinks he is ready to take the next step of starting in an exhibition game. That could come as soon as next Tuesday at home against the Toronto Blue Jays or in Lake Buena Vista, FL, on Wednesday against the Braves.
The Yankees will make their only trip of the spring to Fort Myers, FL, on Friday to face the Red Sox at JetBlue Park.
Right-hander Adam Warren will make his third start of the spring for the Yankees. Warren, 27. has no record and has a 1.80 ERA.
McCann will play along with Garrett Jones, Chris Young and John Ryan Murphy.
The Red Sox will counter with right-hander Rick Porcello, 26, who was acquired from the Detroit Tigers and is 0-0 and with 0.00 ERA after one outing.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will broadcast by the MLB Network.
YANKEES 4, INDIANS 0
Some games you just win, some games you lose and some games you win but lose something important at the same time. Saturday was one of those costly victories for the Yankees.
Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez each hit a solo home run and Bartolo Colon shut out the Indians on just two hits and a walk over 6 2/3 innings as New York blanked Cleveland on a grim and wet day at Yankee Stadium. However, the Yankees might have lost Colon for a significant amount time with a left hamstring injury.
Colon (5-3) was cruising with a 2-0 lead, six strikeouts and he had thrown only 82 pitches with one out in the seventh inning. With Shin-Soo Choo at the plate, Colon induced him to hit a slow grounder to Mark Teixeira and Colon ran to first to take Teixeira’s toss to retire Choo. However, a few strides before he reached the bag, Colon pulled up noticeably and limped to the bag to record the out. He was immediately pulled from the game.
An MRI exam conducted after the game indicated a strained left hamstring but it is unclear if Colon will need to be placed on the disabled list.
The game also featured another throwing incident. Granderson hit his 20th home run — his third in his last three games — in the sixth inning off Indians starter Mitch Talbot (2-3). After Teixeira was retired for the second out of the inning, Rodriguez stepped to the plate having homered off Talbot in the fourth inning. Talbot’s first pitch rode inside and struck Rodriguez high up on his left thigh and Rodriguez fell to the ground in a heap writhing in pain.
Home-plate umpire Dan Iassogna immediately ejected Talbot mindful of an incident in Friday’s game in which Teixeira was struck in the right shoulder on a pitch from the Indians’ Fausto Carmona after Carmona had given up a solo home run to Granderson in the second inning. Both benches cleared, tempers flared and manager Joe Girardi got into a heated face-to-face shouting match with Indians manager Manny Acta. Iassogna warned both benches and the game continued without any further incidents.
The Yankees added a run in the seventh on a Nick Swisher single and Jorge Posada followed with a single that eluded Choo and rolled to the wall to allow Swisher to score. Choo was charged for an error on the play. The Yankees added a final run in the eighth on Teixeira’s 19th home run of the season.
David Robertson and Boone Logan finished off the shutout for Colon, combining to strike out five batters over the last 2 1/3 innings.
With the victory the Yankees improved to 35-27 on the season and they remain two games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The Indians have now lost seven of their last eight games and are 34-28.
- Colon was in the midst of another outstanding performance when he was injured. He threw 56 strikes out of 83 pitches (67% strikes) and mainly relied on his two-seam and four-seam fastballs to either corner. He gave up a single to Michael Brantley with two out in the third inning and a two-out ground-rule double to Jack Hannahan in the fifth inning. Four of his six strikeout victims were caught looking. Colon lowered his season ERA to 3.10.
- Granderson’s home run drew him into a tie for the major-league lead with Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista with 20. Bautista has not homered since May 25. Granderson’s home run on Saturday was in virtually the same spot he hit his 19th on Friday. It reached the second deck just down the right-field line. Granderson hit his 20th home run in 2010 on Sept. 20.
- Rodriguez’s home run was his second in two games and was the 625th of his career, five behind his former Mariners teammate Ken Griffey in fifth place all-time. Unlike Friday’s majestic 450-foot shot to left-center, Rodriguez hit his 13th home run of the season on a line-drive just over the wall in left-center.
- Teixeira’s 19th home run was his 10th home in his last 21 games. His home run off reliever Vinnie Pescano was a high blast into the same second deck right down the right-field line. Teixeira also leads the team in RBIs with 47, two better than Granderson.
- Robertson continues his amazing high-wire escape acts. In the seventh inning he was called upon to replace an injured Colon and promptly gave a single on an 0-2 pitch to Matt LaPorta. But he escaped by striking out rookie Cord Phelps, who represented the potential tying run at the plate. Then Robertson gave up back-to-back singles to Hannahan and Lou Marson to begin the eighth. Then, after striking out Brantley looking, Robertson balked the runners up a base. But he escaped the jam by striking out Asdrubal Cabrera looking and Grady Sizemore swinging. Robertson needed 30 pitches to get four outs.
- Once again, “Speedy” Posada was caught off base. This time he was thrown out at second by Marson when Brett Garner fanned on a bunt attempt. That is the second time in two days Posada has been thrown out on the bases. Gardner also got nailed twice on attempted steals. In the third, he was thrown out by Marson trying to steal second on a pitchout. In the fifth he was picked off by Talbot as he took off for third on a steal attempt. The Yankees can’t afford to be having runners nailed running the bases when the games are this close.
- Derek Jeter was 0-for-4 in the game and he remains nine hits away from 3,000 at 2,991. Jeter struck out twice, grounded out to third and had a potential hit to right taken away on a fine running catch by Choo. Jeter needs nine hits with five games remaining on the current homestand.
If the Yankees should need to replace Colon with a starter pitching from the minors, the Yankees have a few candidates at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and two very tantalizing options at Double-A Trenton. The Yankees’ best Scranton option is 24-year-old David Phelps (4-4, 2.95 ERA). Phelps has 66 strikeouts in 76 1/3 innings and has only walked 20. The Yankees also could call on veteran right-hander Carlos Silva (2-0, 3.44 ERA) or 23-year-old right-hander D.J. Mitchell (4-4, 2.95 ERA). If the Yankees want, they could call up either of their two phenoms at Trenton. Right-hander Dellin Betances is 3-1 with a 1.75 ERA and 58 Ks in 51 1/3 innings. Left-hander Manny Banuelos, 21, is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings. The Yankees also could start long reliever Hector Noesi and call up another relief pitcher. Colon is scheduled to pitch on Thursday in Arlington, TX, against the Rangers. . . . Russell Martin missed his fourth straight game with back stiffness. Francisco Cervelli has started all four games in his place and Posada is considered the backup catcher. Martin hopes to be able to start on Sunday.
The Yankees will go for the series victory on Sunday in their four-game series with the Indians.
They will start 34-year-old right-hander Freddy Garcia (4-5, 3.86 ERA). In order to preserve Garcia’s dignity I will not report what he did in his last start against the Red Sox on Tuesday. He is 6-6 with a 4.06 ERA in his career against the Indians.
The Indians will counter with right-hander Josh Tomlin (7-3, 3.71 ERA). On Monday, Tomlin was blasted for six runs in six innings against the Twins. He is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his one major-league start against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by TBS and locally by the YES Network.