Gio Urshela produces in Yankees return with Gleyber Torres close to being back

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New York Post 27 August, 2021 - 02:34am 33 views

Why did Boone get ejected today?

Boonie absolutely lost his marbles on the home plate umpire in Oakland on Thursday night as the Yankees opened up a four-game set against the Athletics. Todd Tichenor ejected Boone for arguing balls and strikes after he was squeezing Aaron Judge and Joey Gallo in the first two frames. Come on, Todd! Yanks Go YardYankees: Aaron Boone’s epic ejection fuels Giancarlo Stanton moonshot

Yankees vs. Athletics: Four things to know as streaking Yanks face A's in crucial series

CBS Sports 27 August, 2021 - 05:20am

One of the most important series of the regular season will take place this weekend at RingCentral Coliseum. The molten-hot New York Yankees will visit the struggling Oakland Athletics for a four-game series as the two clubs look to solidify their spot in the American League wild card race. The two clubs met in the 2018 Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium.

Here are the wild card standings heading into Thursday night's series opener:

Because of the pandemic and regional play in 2020, the Yankees have not visited Oakland in more than two years, since Aug. 20-22 in 2019. The A's swept that series, and they are 9-1 in their last 10 home games against the Yankees dating back to 2016. The Yankees last won a game in Oakland on Sept. 4, 2018. The A's used Liam Hendriks as an opener that day.

Here are the details for this weekend's Yankees vs. Athletics series at RingCentral Coliseum. Select games can be streamed on fuboTV (try for free).

RHP James Kaprielian (7-4, 3.24) vs. RHP Jameson Taillon (8-4, 3.94)

NBC Sports California, YES Network, MLB Network

LHP Sean Manaea (8-8, 3.77) vs. RHP Gerrit Cole (12-6, 2.92)

NBC Sports California, YES Network

RHP Frankie Montas (9-9, 3.84) vs. LHP Néstor Cortes Jr. (2-1, 2.56)

RHP Paul Blackburn (0-1, 4.09) vs. LHP Jordan Montgomery (5-5, 3.69)

Kaprielian is former Yankees prospect and first-round pick. The A's acquired him as part of the Sonny Gray trade back in 2017. The 27-year-old has battled a series of arm injuries throughout his career, including Tommy John surgery, but he has been a godsend for Oakland this year, and still has enough time to pitch his way into the Rookie of the Year conversation.

The 27-year-old Blackburn was summoned from Triple-A last week to replace All-Star Chris Bassitt, who was hit in the face by a line drive on Aug. 17, and had surgery earlier this week. Bassitt fortunately escaped with only facial fractures and did not suffer any eye or neurological damage. Cortes is in New York's rotation because Corey Kluber (shoulder) and Michael King (finger) are injured.

The Yankees are expected to welcome Gio Urshela back from the injured list Thursday. He's been out with a hamstring issue since July 31. Now here are four other things to know heading into this week's important series in Oakland, with a prediction thrown in at the end for good measure.

These two clubs met in the Bronx in mid-June, with the Yankees taking two of three. It was a close, competitive series, with all three games decided by one or two runs. Here's the recap:

Although the Yankees and Athletics are not division rivals, clinching the season series is important. It would lock in the tiebreaker and thus home-field advantage should these two clubs finish with the same record and meet in the Wild Card Game or a Game 163 tiebreaker. New York needs to split the four-game series to secure the season series win. The A's must win at least three of four.

The last two weeks could not have gone any differently for these two teams. The Yankees head into Thursday night's series opener having won their last 11 games, including sweeping two games from the NL East-leading Braves in Atlanta earlier this week. It is New York's first 11-game winning streak since 1985. They haven't had a 12-game winning streak since 1961.

"We're in the grind, we're in the fight," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said following Tuesday's win (video link). "It's been so much fun competing with these guys. Watching these guys compete, watching these guys show up every single day, knowing there's a lot on the line."

As for the Athletics, they've lost their last four games and eight of their last 10 games. They blew a one-run lead in the ninth inning Saturday, a one-run lead in the eighth inning Sunday, and a one-run lead in the ninth inning Monday. That's three gut-punch losses in the last four games. Letting winnable games slip away in a postseason race is no way to punch your ticket to October.

"Everything right now. Everything," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters, including Jessica Kleinschmidt of NBC Bay Area, when asked to identify what's wrong with his team following Tuesday's loss to the Mariners. "Putting too much pressure on every facet that we have right now ... This is the wrong time to go into a slump, wrong time to go into a team slump. We'll figure it out."

When you're fighting for a postseason spot, you need your best players to be your best players, and both the Yankees and Athletics have received tremendous production from their stars this month. Here are the August numbers:

Marte joined the Athletics in a trade deadline deal with the Marlins and he already ranks eighth in the American League with 17 stolen bases. He is still third in the National League with 22 steals. Decent chance Marte finishes in the top 10 (maybe even in the top five) in stolen bases in each league. He is an incredible 39 for 42 stealing bases this season.

On the flip side, the Yankees are still waiting for trade deadline additions Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo to really get going. They've both hit a few clutch home runs this month and have greatly improved the defense, though they're hitting a combined .164/.309/.358 in pinstripes. The A's, meanwhile, really need Mark Canha (.185/.274/.222 in August) to get going at the plate.

The Yankees have had five different pitchers record a save during their 11-game winning streak and neither Aroldis Chapman nor Zack Britton are among the five. Britton went down with an elbow issue earlier this week and Chapman recently returned from an elbow issue of his own. He loaded the bases and walked in a run in the ninth inning Tuesday, and had to be pulled from the game.

"We've got to figure it out, and the bottom line is a lot of people are doing really good things down there," Boone told reporters, including the Associated Press, following Tuesday's win. Boone did not commit to Chapman remaining the closer. 

Since returning from the injured list Chapman has retired only six of 14 batters faced, and twice in three games he had to be pulled so another reliever could close out the game. His struggles date back before the elbow injury too. Since June 10, Chapman has allowed 18 runs in 19 innings, and opponents have tagged him for a .289/.449/.553 batting line. Yikes.

Jonathan Loaisiga is New York's obvious closer alternative -- he has been their best reliever all season -- though he is so valuable as a multi-inning fireman in the middle innings. Using him against the other team's best hitters regardless of inning makes sense. Boone may mix and match with Loaisiga, Chad Green, Wandy Peralta, and others in the ninth inning until Chapman rights the ship.

As for the A's, they signed Trevor Rosenthal to be their closer in the offseason, but he has not pitched (and will not pitch) this year following surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome and a torn hip labrum. Lou Trivino stepped in at closer in April and was magnificent up until this past weekend, when he blew back-to-back saves and was booed off the mound by the Oakland faithful.

"He is not gonna be able to pitch [Tuesday]. The workload, he was going to be off today or tomorrow," Melvin told reporters, including MLB.com's Martín Gallegos, when asked whether Trivino would remain the closer following Monday's loss. "We were trying to break it up between all our guys in these next two days. I won't have him available tomorrow. We'll get through the off-day [Wednesday] and we'll see where we're at."

Should the Athletics demote Trivino (even just temporarily), a closer by committee approach with lefties Andrew Chafin and Jake Diekman, and righties Sergio Romo and Yusmeiro Petit, seems most likely. At the moment though, both the Yankees and A's are having issues in the ninth inning. Neither club as a reliable closer going into this weekend's series.

We'll close with a prediction because hey, why not? The official CBS Sports prediction: Yankees win three of four. I'm going with the reverse lock and will say the Yankees lose Cole's start but win the other three games, because baseball is weird like that. Ultimately, the Yankees are playing just too well to bet against them right now. Just about everything is clicking except their closer. The A's have concerns up and down the roster in addition to their closer questions.

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Yankees win 12th game in a row, 7-6, after blowing six-run lead to A’s

Pinstripe Alley 27 August, 2021 - 05:20am

The Yankees overcame a rough start by Jameson Taillon to start the West Coast swing with a victory.

All history set aside though, this was an incredibly frustrating game to recap (to watch, for that matter) considering that the Yankees had a commanding 6-0 lead early and looked like they would win a rare laugher in Oakland. We should have known better. As Hawkeye said in Avengers: Endgame, “Don’t do that. Don’t give me hope.” Jameson Taillon had a rare clunker of a start and the Yankees’ bats went to sleep after an early outburst until they scratched out the winning run. Aroldis Chapman shut the door this time to secure the 7-6 victory.

This one did not start in promising fashion. Former Yankees first-round pick James Kaprielian came out on a mission, striking out DJ LeMahieu and Anthony Rizzo in rapid succession, and then “struck Aaron Judge out looking.” That’s in quotes because the called third strike was so far off the plate that the call was a complete disgrace.

More of the same in the second as home plate umpire Todd Tichenor rang up Joey Gallo on a curveball that was wildly outside. Yankees manager Aaron Boone was rightfully apoplectic, so he lost his cool and was rewarded with an ejection.

Thankfully, Giancarlo Stanton decided that the Yankees had seen enough and with two strikes, didn’t give Tichenor a chance to ring him up on a ball a foot off the plate. Giancarlo absolutely demolished a solo dinger, 116.2 mph off the bat and 436 feet to dead-center, putting the Yankees up early.

Eat, sleep, hit dingers, repeat. pic.twitter.com/UPFpysywMD

After a Gary Sánchez strikeout, Brett Gardner decided to host a Gardy Party. Sitting 3-1, the old man turned on a fastball from Kaprielian and deposited it in the right-field seats; 2-0 good guys.

California knows how to (Gardy) party. pic.twitter.com/tSo698vlN8

The Yankees seemingly broke the game open in the third. Andrew Velazquez led off by crushing a hanging curveball into the right-field corner for a double. After LeMahieu moved Velazquez to third, Anthony Rizzo broke an 0-for-17 slide when he drove a ball to left field that Josh Harrison was unable to catch, allowing Rizzo to pick up the ribbie double to run the score up to 3-0, Bombers.

The Yankees kept making Kaprielian work. Judge walked, and then Joey Gallo worked a long at-bat, fouling off full-count pitches until he got something to hit… deep to right-center. A three-run homerun – his fourth off Kaprielian, which is insane considering he only has nine at-bats against the hurler – and the Yanks had an early 6-0 lead:

.@JoeyGallo24 crushes one and the @Yankees going for a dozen straight. pic.twitter.com/JWWCKVYw1d

A typically majestic Gallo dinger, the moonshot left his bat at a 39-degree angle and traveled 419 feet.

Home run derby in Oakland continued in the bottom of the inning, unfortunately. Matt Chapman turned on a 3-2 fastball from Taillon and blasted it into the left-field seats. Even worse, Jamo promptly missed with another fastball to Sean Murphy and 6-0 lead turned into 6-2 lead in the blink of an eye. On the positive side, Taillon buckled down and escaped without any further damage.

Taillon’s struggles with location continued in the fourth. First, he walked Matt Olson. Then, after recording the first out of the inning, Taillon hung a curve that Harrison smoked to left to put runners on first and second. A walk to Mitch Moreland later and the bases were full of Athletics.

Taillon recorded a dubious hat trick, walking Matt Chapman to force in a run with his third free pass of the inning. Unbelievably, given how the game started, the Athletics now had the go-ahead run at the plate. Taillon got a huge second out when he struck out Murphy swinging with high cheese. On 0-2 to Elvis Andrus, though, Taillon left a fastball middle-middle.

Frankly, he was lucky that all the aging Andrus did was hit a two-run single to make it 6-5. Taillon hit the showers, and Albert Abreu came out of the bullpen for the Yanks to face Mark Canha. Thankfully, Abreu induced a groundout to finally put an end to an infuriating half-inning that the Yankees were lucky to escape with the lead.

Because nothing is ever easy in Oakland, even when the A’s are mired in a terrible rut, Harrison obliterated a high cement mixer of a slider from Abreu in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game. Three long balls by each teams, and the Yankees had officially blown a 6-0 lead.

Meanwhile, since the Gallo bomb what seemed like 84 years earlier, the Yankees’ offense went almost completely silent. The odd runner reached base but as the Athletics erased their six-run deficit, the Bombers’ bats failed to put any runs on the board. Given the combination of the late hour on the East Coast and the underwhelming display of the past several innings, the signs seemed to point toward the end of the Yankees’ winning streak.

Clay Holmes, the third Yankees pitcher of the night, came into the game in the sixth to relieve Abreu and did yeoman’s work. Jonathan Loáisiga continued the parade of Yankee relivers in the seventh, and took care of the next six outs for New York. The 26-year-old righty continues to be the bullpen MVP.

Loáisiga dusting off the high four-seamer against Matt Olson. Check the Gary nod of approval at the end. pic.twitter.com/l746FOeXsb

Finally, with two outs in the ninth, the Yankees retook the lead. After Rizzo walked, Tyler Wade pinch-ran and broke for second on a 1-1 count to Judge. The throw sailed into center field, allowing him to scamper to third.

On the very next pitch, Judge inside-outed a ball to shallow right field, scoring Wade and putting the good guys back on top:

Clutch Judge. pic.twitter.com/heToM8sokv

The Yankees had both Aroldis Chapman and Chad Green warming in the eighth, but they continued to show faith in their embattled closer. Chapman came out for the save with the slimmest of leads to protect. He induced a harmless fly ball to center from Andrus for the first out. Then he struck out Canha for the second out. An infield single from Starling Marte kept the game alive for the A’s and brought the winning run to the plate. But Chapman buckled down and got a weak groundout from Matt Olson to seal the win.

Interestingly, Chapman abandoned his slider tonight, throwing nothing but fastballs other than the splitter that whiffed Canha. Considering his notable struggles with the fastball, his pitch selection is worth tracking as we move forward.

Aroldis Chapman appears to have ditched the slider for this evening's affair. pic.twitter.com/r2oOS8XGNV

Stressful? Yes. But at the end of the night, the Yankees have won 12 straight and just did some damage to the A’s playoff hopes. New York held onto its three-game lead over Boston (who beat Minnesota), expanded the advantage on Oakland to 5.5 games, and even gained half a game on idle Tampa Bay. The AL East crown is a target worth pursuing, and the Yankees trail the Rays by four games.

Tune in tomorrow night to see if the Bombers can tie the ‘61 club to make it 13 in a row as they send Gerrit Cole to the hill against Sean Manaea. First pitch is at 9:40 ET.

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