Results tagged ‘ Yankees ’

SimSeason: The 2015 Yankees, 162 games in the books

It’s episode five of our just-for-fun projection of the 2015 season, as run through the newest edition of Out of the Park Baseball, licensed by MLB.com. If you missed the first two posts, here’s our ground rules and what happened in April, and here’s how May and June wentJuly and August followed, and yesterday we covered September. If you want to get in the driver’s seat for your own GM/managing experience, OOTP 16 is available now for PC and Mac.

As I said in the previous entry, this is a good time to promise to everyone reading that, yes, I stuck to the ground rules of the simulation and did not alter the settings to help the Yankees. This is just what happened. “You can’t predict baseball,” as John Sterling might say.

Checking In… Oct. 1, 2015

Greetings from New York CityHello from Yankee Stadium, where we have seen some incredible baseball in front of packed houses over the last few days. While it seems pretty assured that the Yankees will be playing in the postseason, ending their two-year drought, the division is still very much up for grabs. Joe Girardi keeps talking about how it is hugely important to win the division and not put yourself in a situation where you’re the second Wild Card, guaranteed only to extend your season for nine innings. We’ll know if they can hold off Tampa Bay and accomplish that goal soon. 

Let’s wrap the regular season…

In our 2015 season sim, Ivan Nova's solid Oct. 4 effort helped the Yankees lock up the American League East title.

In our 2015 season sim, Ivan Nova’s solid Oct. 4 effort helped the Yankees lock up the American League East title.

Michael Pineda came up huge on Oct. 1, holding the Red Sox to a run and five hits over seven innings as the Yankees clinched a playoff spot. Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits as the Yanks improved to 86-73, one game up on the Rays. “The hard work doesn’t stop now, it’s only just beginning,” Ellsbury said. … Chase Headley and Stephen Drew homered Oct. 2 as the Yankees rolled to a 9-1 win over the Orioles at Camden Yards. Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of one-run ball, improving to 17-6 with a 3.17 ERA. …

CC Sabathia tossed a five-run clunker on Oct. 3 in Baltimore, chased in the third inning of the Yanks’ 6-2 loss as he fell to 9-16. New York and Tampa Bay were tied, 87-74, going into the season’s final day. …

Joe Girardi bypasses Nathan Eovaldi and pitches Ivan Nova on short rest on Oct. 4. The gamble pays off, as Nova hurls five solid innings and the Yanks beat the Orioles, 7-4, to clinch the American League East. Brett Gardner’s RBI single in the ninth inning off Brian Matusz provided the margin of victory, and Carlos Beltran added a two-run single.

With the Rays’ 2-1 loss to Toronto, here’s how the American League East finished:

x- NEW YORK  88-74 .543 --
z- Tampa Bay 87-75 .537 1
Toronto      77-85 .475 11
Boston       75-87 .463 13
Baltimore    65-97 .401 23

Let’s check back in on that Opening Day lineup:

Didi Gregorius enjoyed a solid debut campaign in pinstripes.

Didi Gregorius enjoyed a solid debut campaign in pinstripes.

Jacoby Ellsbury CF – 80 games, .261, 5 HR, 31 RBIs, 14 SB
Brett Gardner LF – 141 games, .249, 7 HR, 63 RBIs, 15 SB
Carlos Beltran RF – 91 games, .261, 9 HR, 37 RBIs,
Mark Teixeira 1B – 95 games, .206, 12 HR, 40 RBI
Brian McCann C – 138 games, .224, 22 HR, 76 RBI
Chase Headley 3B – 154 games, .232, 15 HR, 68 RBI, 12 SB
Alex Rodriguez DH – 108 games, .229, 12 HR, 36 RBI
Stephen Drew 2B – 116 games, .220, 6 HR, 29 RBI
Didi Gregorius SS – 134 games, .279, 7 HR, 62 RBI, 9 SB

Other contributors as the guys in the room start thinking about how to split up the playoff shares:

Garrett Jones (.232, 14 HR, 43 RBI in 410 at-bats), Slade Heathcott (.276, 3 HR, 24 RBI in 210 at-bats), Rob Refsnyder (.372, 1 HR, 15 RBI in 129 at-bats), Greg Bird (.246, 6 HR, 19 RBI in 134 at-bats), Chris Young (.193, 7 HR, 33 RBIs in 378 at-bats), John Ryan Murphy (.212, 2 HR, 8 RBI in 80 at-bats), Ramon Flores (.161, 2 HR, 4 RBI in 31 at-bats), Brendan Ryan (.168, 0 HR, 9 RBI in 131 at-bats).

So, yeah, if our ‘Brian Cashman’ could have made some moves at the Trade Deadline, he would have. 378 at-bats for Chris Young, and he didn’t even crack the Mendoza line? But, hey, they made it, thanks to the pitching and a 49-32 home record. They only scored 666 runs, 12th in the AL, and actually allowed 686 runs. Differentials be damned, I guess. Here’s a look at the biggest contributors on the pitching side:

Masahiro Tanaka — 34 starts, 17-6, 212.2 IP, 3.17 ERA
Michael Pineda — 33 starts, 14-10, 203.2 IP, 3.58 ERA
CC Sabathia — 33 starts, 9-16, 192.1 IP, 4.40 ERA
Nathan Eovaldi — 32 starts, 8-19, 174.2 IP, 5.62 ERA
Ivan Nova — 21 starts, 7-9, 122.1 IP, 4.27 ERA

Dellin Betances posted

Dellin Betances posted 35 saves and a 1.69 ERA in his first full season as the Yankees’ closer.

Dellin Betances — 64 IP, 10.0 K/9, 1.69 ERA, 35 SV
Andrew Miller — 62.1 IP, 10.4 K/9, 3.32 ERA, 2 SV
David Carpenter — 61 IP, 10.5 K/9, 2.95 ERA, 2 SV
Adam Warren — 76.2 IP, 6.6 K/9, 6.69 ERA, 4 SV
Justin Wilson — 67.1 IP, 8.8 K/9, 2.54 ERA, 3 SV
Esmil Rogers — 81.1 IP, 7.1 K/9, 4.54 ERA, 2 SV
Chase Whitley — 31.2 IP, 5.1 K/9, 2.27 ERA
Chris Capuano — 60.1 IP, 6.6 K/9, 4.48 ERA
Chasen Shreve — 22.2 IP, 11.1 K/9, 5.96 ERA

On to the postseason. Here’s how the Yankees set their roster…

PITCHERS (11): Betances, Carpenter, Eovaldi, Miller, Nova, Pineda, Rogers, Sabathia, Tanaka, Warren, Wilson.
CATCHERS (2): McCann, Murphy.
INFIELDERS (7): Drew, Gregorius, Headley, Jones, Refsnyder, Rodriguez, Teixeira.
OUTFIELDERS (5): Beltran, Ellsbury, Gardner, Heathcott, Young.

Joe Girardi brought the Yankees back to the postseason for the first time since 2012.

In our simulation, Joe Girardi handled injury problems and incorporated youth to steer the Yankees back to the postseason for the first time since 2012.

Remember back in the preseason, when I said ‘Joe Girardi’ must stick with the Opening Day lineup whenever possible? He’s got it, healthy and ready to go in October, so the vets will get the starting nods in the playoffs.

While we assume the Yanks were having workouts at the Stadium, the White Sox (87-75) beat the Rays (87-75) in the AL Wild Card playoff game and the Padres (90-72) beat the Reds (89-73) in the NL Wild Card playoff game.

The ALDS is thus set: the Yankees (88-74) will play the A’s (91-71) while the White Sox play the Tigers (101-61). In the NLDS, the Padres get the Dodgers (99-63) and the Nationals (95-67) face the Cardinals (97-65). See you in Oakland tomorrow.

Spring Game 33: Yankees vs. Nationals

The bags are packed, the cars have been sent north and the plane is waiting on the runway at Tampa International Airport. This is the end of the Grapefruit League portion of the spring, as CC Sabathia makes his final start. The Nationals are here and anxiously will be looking forward to getting to D.C., where the Yanks will tag along for an exhibition game Saturday before making it to The Bronx.

“I’m pleased with the way [Spring Training] went,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We had a couple of injuries that we have to deal with. We’ll try to get through these next two days without anything happening, but pretty good.”

Girardi said that the backup catcher decision won’t be made until tomorrow. He also said that the Yankees may go into the season with no set closer, as Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller could share the duties. Here are the lineups as we say goodbye to George M. Steinbrenner Field until 2016 in a game that will be televised on YES:

NATIONALS (10-15-4)
Michael Taylor cf
Yunel Escobar 3b
Bryce Harper rf
Ryan Zimmerman 1b
Wilson Ramos c
Ian Desmond ss
Tyler Moore lf
Danny Espinosa 2b
Stephen Strasburg p

YANKEES (16-15-1)
Brett Gardner lf
Didi Gregorius ss
Brian McCann dh
Mark Teixeira 1b
Garrett Jones rf
Chase Headley 3b
Chris Young cf
Gregorio Petit 2b
John Ryan Murphy c

CC Sabathia lhp

SimSeason: The 2015 Yankees, September

Out of the Park BaseballIt’s time for our fourth installment of our just-for-fun projection of the 2015 season, as run through the newest edition of Out of the Park Baseball, licensed by MLB.com. If you missed the first two posts, here’s our ground rules and what happened in April, and here’s how May and June went. Yesterday was July and August. If you want to get in the driver’s seat for your own GM/managing experience, OOTP 16 is available now for PC and Mac.

Checking In… Sept. 1, 2015

Boston

There’s a crisp in the air here at Fenway Park as the visiting clubhouse is becoming even more tough to navigate. Rosters expanded this morning and the Yankees have summoned several reinforcements from the Minors. Andrew Bailey, Chase Whitley, Jose Ramirez and Bryan Mitchell are up to supplement the pitching staff, while Jacoby Ellsbury and Slade Heathcott have been activated from the DL. Greg Bird was recalled, and the Yanks purchased the contract of Nick Noonan, who had a good year down at Triple-A. Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine are also here.

You probably wouldn’t have thought it this summer, but the Yanks have fought into playoff position at 70-60 (.538). They’re 4 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay (75-56), but well ahead of the third-place Red Sox (63-68), who started the season well but have had a rash of pitching problems. New York leads the Wild Card chase by a game over the White Sox (69-61), with the Mariners (67-65) three games off the pace.

How’d they do it? Great pitching all year, especially from Masahiro Tanaka (12-6, 3.38) and Michael Pineda (12-8, 3.41). CC Sabathia has been healthy (7-12, 4.24) and I really feel like Nathan Eovaldi (8-15, 4.93) has pitched better than his record. The bullpen has been a force, paced by Dellin Betances (31 saves, 1.49). Like Kansas City last year, if the Yanks get a lead to the sixth inning, they’re shaking hands more often than not after nine.

It’s getting those leads that has been the issue. They’re 13th in the AL with 518 runs scored and dead last with a .232 batting average. Their .310 on-base percentage ranks 14th, but the call-ups have added a spark. Brett Gardner leads the team with a .252 average, while Brian McCann paces the way with 20 homers and 62 RBIs. The Yanks should get Andrew Miller back in four days and, if Carlos Beltran returns in two weeks, they might actually have their Opening Day lineup back on the field.


In our sim of the 2015 season, CC Sabathia has taken the ball every fifth day without any health issues, which is exactly what the Yankees needed from him.

In our sim of the 2015 season, CC Sabathia has taken the ball every fifth day without any health issues, which is exactly what the Yankees needed from him.

Well, I spoke too soon. A-Rod sprained his ankle running the bases in a 9-3 win on Sept. 1. He’ll avoid the DL since rosters are expanded, but it looks like he’ll miss three weeks. … Masahiro Tanaka improved to 13-6 with 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a 6-0 win over the Rays Sept. 4. … Michael Pineda bumped his record to 13-8 with seven strong innings to beat the Rays, 8-1, on Sept. 5, and CC Sabathia threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings on Sept. 6 as the Yanks celebrate a sweep of Tampa Bay. Austin Romine homered and they’re just a half game off the AL East lead. …

New York (75-61) takes over first place with a 4-3 win over the Orioles on Sept. 7. Greg Bird’s two-run single in the ninth decides it. … The Yanks make it a 1-1/2 game lead with a 7-0 win over Baltimore on Sept. 8. Gary Sanchez hits his first MLB homer, off T.J. McFarland. … It’s a 2-1/2 game lead on Sept. 9 as the Yanks finish off the sweep of the O’s, posting a 6-2 decision for their sixth straight win. Bird and Jones homer off Ubaldo Jimenez to back Tanaka’s 14th win. …  A five-run eighth lifts the Yanks to a 10-5 win on Sept. 10 vs. Toronto, as Evan Reed issues two bases-loaded walks, then throws a wild pitch.

The Yanks (79-63) split the four-game set with Toronto while the fading Rays (75-67) lose their 11th straight, falling four games back in the East. Yanks’ magic number is 17. … Tanaka dominates in a 6-0 win at The Trop on Sept. 14, hurling 8 2/3 innings of scoreless, two-hit ball with 10 strikeouts. The Yanks improve to 80-63. … Tampa Bay snaps its 12-game losing streak on Sept. 15 as Alex Cobb out-pitches Michael Pineda, 6-0, then get to Dellin Betances in the ninth on Sept. 16 as Evan Longoria singles home the game-winner. It’s Betances’ third blown save. … At Citi Field on Sept. 18, Nathan Eovaldi throws another clunker as the Yanks lose, 5-2. They remain 2-1/2 up in the East. …

Chris Young started our 2015 season sim as a fourth outfielder, but injuries to Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran have forced him into a more prominent role.

Chris Young started our 2015 season sim as a fourth outfielder, but Jacoby Ellsbury’s lingering injury issues have forced him into a more prominent role. He has provided some big hits despite a low batting average.

Chris Young’s RBI double lifts the Yanks to a 3-2 victory over the Mets on Sept. 19. Tanaka improves to 16-6 and Dellin Betances logs save No. 33 as the Yanks stay 2-1/2 up on Tampa Bay, with a magic number of 13. … Matt Harvey out-pitches Ivan Nova on Sept. 20 as the Mets take two of three in this leg of the Subway Series. The Rays also lose, so the lead remains 2 1/2 … Brian McCann’s 13th-inning RBI single off Matt West lifts the Yanks to a wild 7-6 win on Sept. 21 at Rogers Centre. Esmil Rogers picks up his second win with two innings of scoreless relief.

The Yanks (82-67) remain 2 1/2 up on Tampa Bay (80-70). … New York loses the last two games to Toronto by scores of 6-2 and 6-3, trimming the lead to 1 1/2 games. Poor Nathan Eovaldi falls to 8-19. … A five-run ninth inning lifts the Yankees to a 7-6 win over the White Sox on Sept. 25. Garrett Jones walks it off with a three-run homer. Jose Ramirez gets the win as the Yanks’ lead is back to 2 1/2, magic number of eight. … Nova takes the loss in a 6-1 decision to Chicago on Sept. 25 as the Rays close within 1 1/2 … Pineda is spanked for 12 hits by the White Sox in a 4-2 loss on Sept. 26. The lead is now just a half-game as the Yanks (83-71) are 3-7 in their last 10 games. …

Carlos Beltran's two-run, game-tying double off Alexi Ogando on Sept. 29  was one of the the Yanks' biggest hits of the year.

Carlos Beltran’s two-run, game-tying double off Alexi Ogando on Sept. 29 was one of the the Yanks’ biggest hits of the year.

Chicago’s Jordan Danks holds the Yanks to a run over seven innings in a 6-1 loss on Sept. 27. Sabathia gets thumped. Tampa Bay also loses, reducing the Yanks’ magic number to seven. … It’s all tied in the East as the Yanks lose to the Red Sox, 10-3, on Sept. 28. New York and Tampa Bay hold identical 83-73 records. … Carlos Beltran’s two-run double off Alexi Ogando in the eighth inning Sept. 29 is arguably the Yanks’ biggest hit of the year. Mark Teixeira follows with an RBI single off Junichi Tazawa and Dellin Betances slams the door in the ninth as the Yanks beat Boston, 9-6. They remain even with the Rays at 84-73. …

Brett Gardner’s 11th inning double off Koji Uehara sets off a wild celebration in the Bronx on Sept. 30, scoring Stephen Drew to lift the Yankees to a 3-2 win over Boston. The Yanks and Rays remain tied for the AL East lead, at 85-73.

Checking In… Oct. 1, 2015

Greetings from New York CityHello from Yankee Stadium, where we have seen some incredible baseball in front of packed houses over the last few days. While it seems pretty assured that the Yankees will be playing in the postseason, ending their two-year drought, the division is still very much up for grabs. Joe Girardi keeps talking about how it is hugely important to win the division and not put yourself in a situation where you’re the second Wild Card, guaranteed only to extend your season for nine innings. We’ll know if they can hold off Tampa Bay and accomplish that goal soon. 

This is a good time to promise to everyone still reading that, yes, I stuck to the ground rules of the simulation and did not alter the settings to help the Yankees. This is just what happened. “You can’t predict baseball,” as John Sterling would say.

Tomorrow … the playoff tickets have been printed and sold. What happens next?

Spring Game 30: Yankees vs. Rays

Chase Whitley is making his seventh appearance (second start) of the spring on Wednesday.

Chase Whitley is making his seventh appearance (second start) of the spring on Wednesday.

Hello from George M. Steinbrenner Field, where the end of spring is near. The players’ cars have been loaded on the truck, the clubhouse is emptying out and we are officially in the home stretch. They say Spring Training is about a week too long, and you can tell the players are ready to play in some games that count. But first, the Yanks and the Rays will lock up this afternoon in a game that is being televised on YES.

Jacoby Ellsbury is playing in his first spring game since March 15, having logged five at-bats in a Minor League game yesterday with the Double-A Trenton squad. Didi Gregorius isn’t playing yet due to some swelling in his left wrist, but otherwise, this looks like the Opening Day lineup. Chase Whitley gets the start against Jordan Norberto.

A good sign for Gregorius’ wrist: Sir Didi is listed on the travel roster for tomorrow’s game against the Tigers in Lakeland. Upcoming pitching announced by the Yankees to wrap the spring — Michael Pineda faces A.J. Burnett tomorrow here, Bryan Mitchell faces the Tigers in Lakeland. On April 3, CC Sabathia faces Stephen Strasburg at Steinbrenner Field, and on April 4 in Washington, Nathan Eovaldi takes on Doug Fister.

Here are the lineups:

RAYS (12-12-2)
John Jaso DH
Logan Forsythe 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Desmond Jennings LF
James Loney 1B
Rene Rivera C
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Brandon Guyer RF
Juan Francisco 3B

Jordan Norberto LHP

In relief: Grant Balfour, Kirby Yates

YANKEES (15-13-1)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Chase Headley 3B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Stephen Drew 2B
Brendan Ryan SS

Chase Whitley RHP

In relief: Esmil Rogers, Chasen Shreve, Andrew Bailey

SimSeason: The 2015 Yankees, July and August

Out of the Park BaseballToday, we’ll enter the third installment of our just-for-fun projection of the 2015 season, as run through the newest edition of Out of the Park Baseball, licensed by MLB.com. If you missed the first two posts, here’s our ground rules and what happened in April, and here’s how May and June went. If you want to get in the driver’s seat for your own GM/managing experience, OOTP 16 is available now for PC and Mac.

To quickly reset for the morning of July 1, it’s not going very well. The Yankees are 36-42 (.462) and in fourth place, 7 1/2 games back, trailing Boston (44-35), Tampa Bay (42-37) and Toronto (38-41). Their 270 runs scored, .221 average and .297 on-base percentage are dead last in the AL. Mark Teixeira is out another five to six weeks with a wrist injury and Jacoby Ellsbury is out for at least eight more weeks with a hamstring injury. Brett Gardner leads the team with a .271 average and 34 RBIs, while Chase Headley and Brian McCann are tied for the team lead with nine homers.

The pitching has kept them in it. Michael Pineda is 9-5 with a 2.26 ERA, Masahiro Tanaka is 6-4 with a 3.34 ERA, and while CC Sabathia hasn’t been great (5-9, 4.33 ERA), he has been healthy and reliable. CC has 75 strikeouts, one behind Pineda for the team lead. Dellin Betances has been great in the closer’s role, posting a 2.08 ERA and 17 saves in 18 chances. The Yanks’ starters own a 3.99 ERA, 6th in the AL, and their bullpen ERA of 3.52 is fourth in the AL.

Here we go into July…

In our 2015 season sim, Alex Rodriguez stroked his 3,000th hit on July 3 off Tampa Bay's Ronald Belisario, but then sprained his ankle running the bases and was placed on the DL.

In our 2015 season sim, Alex Rodriguez stroked his 3,000th hit on July 3 off Tampa Bay’s Ronald Belisario, but then sprained his ankle running the bases and was placed on the DL.

The Yanks have to keep winning when Tanaka is on the mound. Jose Pirela and Brian McCann hit three-run homers to support the ace in a 10-5 win over the Rays on July 3. … Alex Rodriguez, are you kidding me? A-Rod logged his 3,000th career hit, a single to left field, off the Rays’ Ronald Belisario on July 3 at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees won, 10-5. You can’t make this up, though — running the bases after the hit, A-Rod tried to score from second base on a Brendan Ryan single to left. He made it home, but sprained his ankle in the process and will now limp to the disabled list for five weeks. The newest member of the 3,000 hit club is batting .215 (61-for-284) with eight homers and 23 RBIs.

Looking for a power boost, the Yankees called up Greg Bird, who leads the RailRiders with 14 homers and 51 RBIs … Oakland’s Scott Kazmir shuts out the Yankees on three hits June 7 in The Bronx, as Eovaldi falls to 4-12 with a 5.15 ERA … Bird notches his first two MLB hits in a 3-2 win over the A’s on June 9, then goes 3-for-4 in a 5-4 win at Boston the next night … The AL All-Star teams are announced. Congratulations to Michael Pineda (9-6, 2.46) and Dellin Betances (3-0, 20 SV, 1.83 ERA). The Yanks have no position player representatives. … The Yanks reach the All-Star break as Eovaldi spins an eight-inning, one-run gem at Fenway on June 12. Bird has three hits in the 4-1 win.

Checking in… July 15, 2015

Greetings From CincinnatiGreetings from Cincinnati, where my post All-Star Game flight has been delayed by a band of ugly thunderstorms in the Midwest. The Yanks will return from the break holding a 43-45 (.489) record, good for third place in the AL East, 4 1/2 games behind the Red Sox (48-41). They’re also looking up at the Rays (47-44), but they’re in the Wild Card chase — the White Sox (48-40) and Tampa Bay have a 2 1/2 game lead on them in that department.

Greg Bird and Slade Heathcott have been fun to watch, giving a shot of life to an offense that desperately needed it. They’ll need that to continue, with Mark Teixeira, Jacoby Ellsbury and now A-Rod all on the DL. I still can’t believe A-Rod was injured running the bases after his 3,000th hit. One way or another, the spotlight really does always seem to find that guy.

Back to business…

Garrett Jones is providing the Yankees with a midseason power boost as he fills in for the injured Mark Teixeira.

Garrett Jones is providing the Yankees with a midseason power boost as he fills in for the injured Mark Teixeira.

The Yanks opened the second half with their fifth straight win on July 17, beating the Mariners 8-4 behind another good Tanaka outing. … They’re back to .500 on July 18, beating Seattle 8-6. Stephen Drew is Suzyn’s Player of the Game. … Pineda picks up his 10th win July 19 as the Yanks sweep the Mariners and beat Felix Hernandez. Garrett Jones has three hits and drives in four runs in the 7-3 win, their seventh straight. … The win streak ends July 21 vs. Baltimore, but Ivan Nova bounces back with an 8-1/3 inning gem on July 22, a 6-0 win over the Birds on a rainy night in New York. Tanaka then beats Baltimore on July 23 to improve to 10-4 with a 3.15 ERA. 24th save for Dellin Betances (1.67 ERA). …

With the media buzzing about the Wild Card chase, the Yanks flop in Minneapolis, getting swept in a three-game series by scores of 1-0, 8-7 and 8-2 to fall below .500 at 48-49. They’re still just two games behind Chicago and Boston. … They end the skid and get back to .500 July 27 at Texas, as McCann homers twice, driving in five runs and scoring four in a 14-1 laugher. … Tanaka wins again on July 28, improving to 11-4 with a 3.12 ERA in a 4-2 win over Yovani Gallardo and the Rangers. Betances gets save No. 25… Sabathia falls to 5-11 with a 4.45 ERA, knocked out by the Rangers after three innings in an 8-6 loss July 29. …

The MRI results come back on Carlos Beltran July 31, and they’re not good. He’ll miss seven weeks with a torn ankle ligament. Here’s where ‘Brian Cashman’ would probably be burning up the phones at the Trade Deadline, but not in our alternate reality. These Yanks have to deal from within, and so Refsnyder returns – Ramon Flores was playing well at Triple-A, but this team is way too lefty-heavy as it is. They should get some help off the DL soon, though.

Checking in… August 1, 2015

Greetings From ChicagoGreetings from my room at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, where I just opened two fun e-mails from MLB PR. Masahiro Tanaka is the AL Pitcher of the Month for July after going 5-0 with a 2.52 ERA in five starts, striking out 34 in 35 2/3 innings. He’s 11-4 with a 3.12 ERA overall. The other nod is for Slade Heathcott, who was named AL Rookie of the Month for July after hitting .342 with 27 hits, one homer and 14 RBIs in 20 games.

Morale has improved around the club. They haven’t played up to expectations and some guys are missing, but the other teams in the race are flawed too. Joe Girardi seems optimistic. They’re 51-50 (.505) on this sunny Saturday, 1 1/2 games behind the division-leading Rays (54-50) and a half game behind the Red Sox (53-51). In the Wild Card chase, they’re going head-to-head with the White Sox (58-44) tonight and are just a half-game behind Boston.

Pitching is the key to the kingdom, Brian Cashman keeps saying, and the Yankees have that. Michael Pineda is 11-6 with a 2.88 ERA, pacing a rotation that has compiled a 4.04 ERA (fourth in the AL), and the bullpen has a very good 3.67 ERA. Dellin Betances is 26-for-27 in save chances with a 1.59 ERA. The call-ups have helped the offense, but they’re still dead last in runs scored (389), average (.229) and ranked 13th in on-base percentage (.307). Brett Gardner’s .266 average leads the team, while Brian McCann paces the club in homers (12) and RBIs (45).

Here comes August…

Injuries have provided Rob Refsnyder with an opportunity to make a big league impact.

Injuries have provided infield prospect Rob Refsnyder with an opportunity to make a big league impact.

August begins with another Eovaldi loss, as he falls to 5-15. He didn’t pitch poorly (3 ER in 5.1 IP), but the Yanks managed just five hits in a 6-0 loss to Chris Sale on the South Side. Back to .500 again. … In the rubber game, Refsnyder has three hits to support Nova in a 5-4 win on Aug. 2. …  A big three-game showdown vs. Boston begins with a tough one on Aug. 4, as Boston’s Brandon Workman outduels Tanaka. … Betances blows just his second save chance on Aug. 5, allowing a RBI double to Blake Swihart, but Refsnyder slaps the game-winning single in the 9th off Edward Mujica as the Yanks (53-52) grab second place from Boston. … The Yanks then take the rubber game Aug. 6 in dramatic fashion, as Chase Headley singles home Refsnyder with the winning run facing Koji Uehara in the 11th. … They make it three in a row behind Eovaldi on Aug. 7 at Toronto …

A-Rod returns from the DL on Aug. 8, and Twitter nearly melts down as the Yanks option Bird back to Triple-A. Bird was batting .286 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 20 games. A-Rod goes 2-for-4 in a 4-3 loss to the Jays (career hits 3,001 and 3,002, if you’re counting). … Adam Warren, David Carpenter and Chris Capuano melt down for five runs in the eighth on Aug. 9, but Slade Heathcott saves the day with a 10th-inning, walk-off homer facing Marco Estrada. Yanks beat Toronto, 6-5. … Heathcott goes on the DL Aug. 10 with a scratched cornea – really – and Teixeira is activated. Jose Pirela was optioned to Triple-A for Ramon Flores before the Yanks beat the Rangers, 7-6, on Brett Gardner’s 10th inning RBI single. …

Brian McCann hit his team-leading 13th homer on Aug. 13 at Cleveland, giving the Yankees a four-game lead for the second Wild Card spot.

Brian McCann hit his team-leading 13th homer on Aug. 13 at Cleveland, giving the Yankees a four-game lead for the second Wild Card spot.

McCann hits his team-leading 13th homer to support Sabathia (6-11) in a 7-2 win on Aug. 11 at Cleveland as the Yanks (58-53) move four games up of Boston (55-58), holding the second Wild Card spot. … A-Rod and Headley hit their 11th homers as the Yanks beat the Indians, 6-5, on Aug. 12 to improve to 59-53 and move into a virtual tie with Tampa Bay for first place in the AL East. … A 3-2 loss on Aug. 13 to Zach McAllister and the Tribe denies the Yanks a fifth straight win. They fall 1/2 game back. … Tanaka can’t make it out of the fourth inning in a 5-4 loss at Toronto Aug. 14. Flores hits his first MLB homer in the defeat. … Refsnyder drives in four runs in a 12-7 win at Toronto Aug. 15. … The Yanks take the series finale at Rogers Centre Aug. 16 in 14 innings, 5-4. Garrett Jones knocks in the go-ahead run with a single off Marco Estrada. …

Eovaldi beats the Twins Aug. 17 to improve to 7-15 with a 5.09 ERA … Chris Young’s eighth-inning RBI single lifts the Yanks to a 3-2 win over Minnesota Aug. 18, their fourth straight win … A rainout necessitates a Aug. 21 doubleheader. It’s a miserable day as the Yanks lose both ends to the Indians, 11-0 and 6-0, then place Andrew Miller on the DL with biceps tendinitis. He’s expected to miss 1-2 weeks. Chasen Shreve has been pitching well at AAA and is recalled. … Eovaldi wins again on Aug. 22, beating Cleveland 4-3. Jones and Drew homer. … Nova is pounded for six runs in three innings Aug. 23, a 12-2 loss to the Indians. …

The Yanks sweep Houston in a three-game series by scores of 7-5, 7-4 and 7-4, powered by McCann’s three homers in the series to improve to 67-59. They have a 4 1/2 game lead over Seattle for the second Wild Card. … Young’s two-run double in the 12th off Luis Avilan lifts New York to a 4-2 win at Atlanta on Aug. 28. … Tanaka handcuffs the Braves to a run and five hits over eight innings in a 2-1 win Aug. 29. … The Yanks sweep Atlanta behind Ivan Nova’s complete game, 6-1, on Aug. 30. … August concludes with a 5-3 loss to Eduardo Rodriguez and the Red Sox at Fenway.

Checking In… Sept. 1, 2015

BostonThere’s a crisp in the air here at Fenway Park as the visiting clubhouse is becoming even more tough to navigate. Rosters expanded this morning and the Yankees have summoned several reinforcements from the Minors. Andrew Bailey, Chase Whitley, Jose Ramirez and Bryan Mitchell are up to supplement the pitching staff, while Jacoby Ellsbury and Slade Heathcott have been activated from the DL. Greg Bird was recalled, and the Yanks purchased the contract of Nick Noonan, who had a good year down at Triple-A. Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine are also here.

You probably wouldn’t have thought it this summer, but the Yanks have fought into playoff position at 70-60 (.538). They’re 4 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay (75-56), but well ahead of the third-place Red Sox (63-68). New York leads the Wild Card chase by a game over the White Sox (69-61), with the Mariners (67-65) three games off the pace.

How’d they do it? Great pitching all year, especially from Masahiro Tanaka (12-6, 3.38) and Michael Pineda (12-8, 3.41). CC Sabathia has been healthy (7-12, 4.24) and I really feel like Nathan Eovaldi (8-15, 4.93) has pitched better than his record. The bullpen has been a force, paced by Dellin Betances (31 saves, 1.49). Like Kansas City last year, if the Yanks get a lead to the sixth inning, they’re shaking hands more often than not after nine.

It’s getting those leads that has been the issue. They’re 13th in the AL with 518 runs scored and dead last with a .232 batting average. Their .310 on-base percentage ranks 14th, but the call-ups have added a spark. Brett Gardner leads the team with a .252 average, while Brian McCann paces the way with 20 homers and 62 RBIs. The Yanks should get Andrew Miller back in four days and, if Carlos Beltran returns in two weeks, they might actually have their Opening Day lineup back on the field.

Tomorrow, the 2015 Yankees wander into September and … dare we say it … October?

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