Game 62: CC, Yanks Look to Continue Streaks

With the Yankees winning streak up to six games, and CC Sabathia‘s personal win-streak at five, the lefty looks to extend both.

Sabathia has been nothing short of brilliant as he enters the final year of his contract. He has won each of his last five starts, during which time he has a 1.11 ERA and 31 strikeouts. Sabathia did not face the Angels last season, but carries a career 3.76 ERA in 11 starts at Angel Stadium.

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The Angels counter with converted reliever JC Ramírez. He has made 11 starts with a 4.25 ERA, and beat the Detroit Tigers last time out. He did give up four runs on 10 hits in that outing, however. Ramírez pitched two scoreless innings out of the bullpen against the Yankees last year.

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The Yankee lineup resets to “normal” as Gary Sánchez will be behind the plate. Didi Gregorius looks to push his hitting streak to 15 games tonight. During the streak, he is 23-for-58 (.397) with seven RBI.

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The Angels trot out a very similar lineup, with the exception of a lefty-righty platoon difference at first base. C.J. Cron gets the start instead of Luis Valbuena.

Starting Lineups

New York Yankees
  1. Brett Gardner – LF
  2. Aaron Hicks – CF
  3. Aaron Judge – RF
  4. Matt Holliday – DH
  5. Starlin Castro – 2B
  6. Gary Sánchez – C
  7. Didi Gregorius – SS
  8. Chase Headley – 3B
  9. Chris Carter – 1B
Los Angeles Angels
  1. Cameron Maybin – CF
  2. Kole Calhoun – RF
  3. Albert Pujols – DH
  4. Yunel Escobar – 3B
  5. Andrelton Simmons – SS
  6. C.J. Cron – 1B
  7. Martín Maldonado – C
  8. Danny Espinosa – 2B
  9. Eric Young Jr. – LF

Yankees 5, Angels 3: Judge’s Clutch HR Wins It

Masahiro Tanaka turned in a strong 6⅔ innings, and rookie outfielder Aaron Judge continued his dream season with a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning.

Judge hit a 2-0 cutter from Bud Norris out to right center field to put the Yankees ahead for good. However, the rookie said he was just making up for a mistake he made earlier in the game.

“I screwed up the game for Tanaka. He was untouchable out there after the first inning, and I air-mailed a throw to the backstop,” Judge said. “I screwed up and I wanted to come up the next inning and help the team somehow.”

The errant throw was not scored an error, but did play a part in Tanaka’s eventual no-decision. He settled in after a first inning home run from Kole Calhoun put the Yankees in an early hole. He retired 13 consecutive batters after Andrelton Simmons singled to lead off the second inning.

“You want your pitchers to get through it,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He got comfortable. I thought his sliders were pretty good, and I thought his splitters were pretty good tonight, too.”

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Tanaka’s trouble came from his defense. Eric Young Jr. reached on Chase Headley‘s 11th fielding error in the seventh, and eventually scored on a Danny Espinosa RBI single. Espinosa moved to second after Judge overthrew the cutoff man and catcher Austin Romine.

Tyler Clippard entered to face the following hitter, Cameron Maybin, who doubled after an eight-pitch at-bat to tie the game, 3-3. The two runs that came across in that seventh inning were charged to Tanaka as unearned runs.

A double by Aaron Hicks, which missed being a homerun by a matter of inches, set the stage for Judge to hit the game-winner in the top of the eighth. Clippard got two more outs in the eight, then closer Dellin Betances dominated his way to a four-out save.

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Didi Gregorius went 4-for-4 with four singles and an intentional walk to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. He notched two RBIs, and raised his average on the season to .344. Four hits in one game is a career-high for the Yankees shortstop. The Yankees other run scored on an RBI single by Chase Headley.

Yankees Select RHP Matt Sauer In Second Round

The Yankees dipped into the high school talent pool and selected right-handed pitcher Matt Sauer with the No. 54 pick out of Ernest Righetti High School near Santa Clara, California. Sauer is committed to play baseball at the University of Arizona, so the Yankees have the flexibility to offer him a hefty signing bonus above the $1.2 million his slot typically carries.

He is described as having “premium velocity,” sitting mostly between 91 and 95 mph. MLB.com’s scouting report also mentions that he hit 97 mph a few times in the spring. He throws a “nasty” slider from a three-quarters arm slot as an effective secondary pitch. He still has a ways to go on his changeup, but as a high school arm, he will have plenty of time to develop it.

Some scouts see him as a potential power-reliever, but could start if he refines his arsenal. His future role is definitely hard to project, but the 6’4″ hurler certainly would bring a high ceiling with him to the Yankees organization.

The Yankees selected fellow right-handed pitcher Clarke Schmidt with the No. 16 overall pick out of the University of South Carolina earlier tonight. Schmidt’s stock was down prior to the draft because of an oblique injury and recent Tommy John surgery. The Yankees will probably lower his signing bonus in order to convince Sauers to spur in Arizona in favor of professional baseball.

Game 61: Tanaka’s Last Stand?

With the Yankees looking to extend a five-game winning streak, righty Masahiro Tanaka looks to end a five-game streak of his own.

Tanaka is on a personal five-game losing streak, during which time he has a 10.72 ERA. In those 22⅔ innings, he has given up 11 home runs. Those struggles saw the team push back his start from Sunday to today in order to give him extra rest.

“It can be minor, just a tick late with your arm or your hip opens up a tick early,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Your shoulders open up a tick early. That’s what leads to the inconsistency of the pitches. We’ve seen good sliders. We’ve seen good splits. We’ve seen good location of his fastball, but when you’re off a little bit mechanically, there’s inconsistency.”

Tanaka pitched well against the Angels last year, with a 1.23 ERA in two starts. Joe Girardi has said that the Yankees will continue with their regular five-man rotation even if Tanaka falters. That schedule would put Tanaka on the mound for Saturday’s matchup with the Oakland Athletics.

The Yankees will get their first glimpse at Angels right-hander Alex Meyer in the series opener. He allowed three hits over six innings against the Detroit Tigers in his last time out. The 6’9″ hurler also struck out a career-high nine batters in that outing. No Yankee has recorded an at-bat against Meyer.

Gary Sánchez gets the night off in the series opener after playing six consecutive games, only DHing June 9 against Baltimore. Austin Romine gets the call behind the plate in his place. The Yankees hope their offense made the trip to Anaheim too, as they have scored at least eight runs in each of their past five wins.

Starting Lineups

New York Yankees
  1. Brett Gardner – LF
  2. Aaron Hicks – CF
  3. Aaron Judge – RF
  4. Matt Holliday – DH
  5. Starlin Castro – 2B
  6. Didi Gregorius – SS
  7. Chase Headley – 3B
  8. Chris Carter – 1B
  9. Austin Romine – C
Los Angeles Angels
  1. Cameron Maybin – CF
  2. Kole Calhoun – RF
  3. Albert Pujols – DH
  4. Yunel Escobar – 3B
  5. Luis Valbuena – 1B
  6. Andrelton Simmons – SS
  7. Eric Young Jr. – LF
  8. Martín Maldonado – C
  9. Danny Espinosa 2B

Yankees Select Clarke Schmidt With No. 16 Overall Pick

Picking at No. 16 in this year’s MLB First-Year Player Draft, the New York Yankees selected right-handed pitcher Clarke Schmidt out of the University of South Carolina.

Schmidt is the third college pitcher to go tonight, and the eighth college junior to hear his name called. He’s a bit of an injury risk after struggling with an oblique injury all season, and blowing out his elbow. He underwent Tommy John surgery in April.

He profiles as a starter if his recovery goes well. Scouts report that his fastball typically sits between 92 and 94 mph, but can jump to 96 when needed. He sports a slider and curveball that will be plus pitches with some development. A scouting report provided by MLB.com described his change-up as “decent”.

The last player drafted at No. 16 overall by the Yankees is also dealing with elbow surgery, as 2015 first-round pick James Kaprielian also had Tommy John in April. An elbow injury limited him to just three games in 2016, and he threw two innings in major league spring training this year before deciding to go under the knife.

The Yankees have a busy night tonight, as they pick at No. 54 and play the series opener with the Los Angeles Angels.

Aaron Judge Named AL Player of the Week

Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge currently sits atop all three Triple Crown categories in the American League. That was enough for him to take home AL Player of the Week honors.

“I think our guys realize it’s special watching his power. This is not something you see every day,” manager Joe Girardi said Sunday, per David Adler. “How can you not get excited over the home run he hit?”

Of course, the home run Girardi is talking about traveled 495 feet, and cleared the Yankee Stadium bleachers in left field. That shot currently holds the title as longest home run hit so far this season. The day before, Judge broke his own record for hardest-hit home run by hitting a 121.1 mph laser down the left field line at Yankee Stadium.

Judge sported a .500/.600/1.000 slashline over the week, with three home runs, six RBIs, six walks and 10 runs scored. He went 12-for-24 during that span. The rookie was named AL Rookie of the Month for both April and May. He currently leads the American League in overall All-Star votes.

“If the MVP were voted on today,” Yankees teammate Brett Gardner said also, “he’d win that, too.”

Ben Heller Recalled, Germán Optioned

To fortify the bullpen, the Yankees have recalled right-handed pitcher Ben Heller to make the trip out west.

In a corresponding move, the Yankees optioned fellow righty Domingo Germán back to Scranton. Germán made his major league debut with 2⅔ scoreless innings in a mop-up role.

This transaction was expected since the Yankees used long man Chad Green as a starter, and Germán was called up as a reinforcement. Green threw 53 pitches as his outing lasted two batters into the third inning. Germán came in during the seventh inning, and threw 36 pitches to finish out the game.

Heller has impressed so far out of the bullpen for Scranton. He has allowed just two earned runs in his last 10 outings. His season ERA is 2.60, and he has struck out 35 batters in 27⅔ minor league innings. He is also 3-for-4 in save opportunities, generally working the back-end of Scranton’s games.

Heller was acquired from the Cleveland Indians alongside Clint FrazierJustus Sheffield and J.P. Feyereisen in the Andrew Miller trade. He made his major league debut for the Yankees on August 25, 2016. He finished the 2016 campaign with a 1-0 record and a 6.43 ERA in 10 appearances.

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