Yankees get what they need from their ace but not a lot more

Yankees get what they need from their ace but not a lot more

Starter Luis Severino did not give the Yankees great length again.

But he gave them a victory.

Guess what they wanted more?

For the seventh time in eight starts, Severino failed to complete six innings. And more disturbing on the list of recent headache trends was the All-Star going 1-4 with a gosh-awful 7.84 ERA in his previous six starts before Saturday. That little grouping included his shortest outing of the season, a four-inning stinker Monday against the Mets.

So the Yankees will shut up and gleefully take Severino completing five innings and walking off the mound with an 8-1 lead and one runner left on base against Toronto Saturday at Yankee Stadium.

“Of course you want to go seven,” Severino said. “But there were a lot of 3-2 counts, a lot of foul balls.”

And one win. So who cares about the length for now?

In all, Severino yielded six hits and walked two with eight strikeouts. The runner he left behind scored, but the Yankees went on to an 11-6 victory that raised Severino’s record to 16-6 and left him with a 3.28 ERA.

“He came out on the attack early. I thought there was some real urgency especially in that first inning. I thought the fastball was much better today. Much crisper,” manager Aaron Boone said. “He had a couple strikeout on changeups in the at first inning. But I thought when he missed with his fastball, he was missing how you want to miss.

“He walked a couple guys and had deeper counts where he was just off the edge with his fastball but not making mistakes in the center of the plate.”

Severino slipped in and out of trouble before his removal. He had one runner in each of the first four innings. Twice, in the first and second innings, the dust-up came from an eventual harmless two-out hit. In the third, he picked off the guy he walked, former Yankee Billy McKinney, moved in the J.A. Happ trade. In the fourth, after a leadoff walk, he struck out three straight, using a slider for the put away each time. He gave up two fifth-inning singles. Two hits, a double and an RBI single, to start the sixth ended his day.

All things considered — especially his recent history — no complaints.

“I was feeling pretty good. I was getting ahead in the count, a couple deep counts but I think I was commanding my fastball,” said Severino, who acknowledging mixing in his changeup more and using a productive slider through his 100-pitch effort.

And for all the recent worries and struggles, he has 16 wins, tied with Max Scherzer for the MLB lead.

“It means my team is helping,” Severino said. “A lot of homers every time I go to the mound, they support me.”

One area that pleased Severino was his improvement against the running game — “I’ve been doing a bad job, a lot of steals in the past games,” he said. So in the third, he picked off McKinney.

And he was pleased — very pleased — with his fastball command, which helped him feel like the pitcher he was in the first half.

“I feel pretty good. Most of the game I was dominating,” Severino said, admitting his sixth inning struggled. “Before that everything was great. I feel good, my body is strong and my confidence is way up.”

Greg Bird rediscovers his Yankees Stadium power stroke

Greg Bird rediscovers his Yankees Stadium power stroke

Greg Bird’s issues — both on offense and with his glove — didn’t seem to be going away until he went deep to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning of the Yankees’ 11-6 win over the Blue Jays Saturday at the Stadium.

He was booed again after striking out in the second inning. Bird also failed to come up with a scoop on a throw from Didi Gregorius in the seventh on a grounder to the hole by Justin Smoak. Bird was 8-for-63 with 17 strikeouts since his previous home run before smacking his 10th of the season.

Aaron Boone insisted he didn’t see Bird’s struggles affect him mentally — and liked his approach Saturday even before his late blast.

“I thought I saw more aggression in the strike zone and eventually it manifested itself with that home run,’’ Boone said. “I don’t feel like for a week to 10 days we’ve seen that club-head speed through the zone. I felt like all day today, he was working to let that go. Even though he didn’t have results to that point, he had better swings and in the end was able to ride one out of here. You hope he can build on it.”

Giancarlo Stanton’s fourth-inning homer left him one shy of 300 for his career. He has also hit seven home runs in his past 12 games, despite playing with a tight left hamstring.

“It’s getting there,’’ Stanton said of the injury that has limited him to DH since August 7. “We’re going to have some NL games soon [in Miami], so I’ll have to jump out in right field, but it’s getting better.”

Asked if he would be ready to play the outfield in time for Tuesday’s series opener against the Marlins, Stanton said: “We’re going to get there … I’m going to run around test it and make sure it’s ready to go.”

Stanton was drilled by a Luis Santos fastball near his left shoulder in the eighth. That loaded the bases with one out and Stanton did not believe it was intentional.

Gleyber Torres took more strides in breaking out of his second-half slump. After going 3-for-33 with 11 strikeouts in eight games between having an extra-base hit, the second baseman doubled in Friday’s victory and had a pair of singles on Saturday. It was his first multi-hit game since Aug. 6 against the White Sox.

With Luis Severino still not resembling an ace in Saturday’s win, J.A. Happ’s importance to the rotation is growing even more important. The lefty will start Sunday against his former team Sunday. Happ is 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA in three starts as a Yankee since being traded by Toronto.

— Additional reporting by Fred Kerber

9 NYY things to know: Stanton's hamstring, Bird optimism

9 NYY things to know: Stanton's hamstring, Bird optimism

Posted August 19, 2018 at 07:00 AM | Updated August 19, 2018 at 07:04 AM

How Miguel Andujar is thrilling Giancarlo Stanton

How Miguel Andujar is thrilling Giancarlo Stanton

NEW YORK — Miguel Andujar has been on a tear lately, leapfrogging teammate Gleyber Torres as perhaps the American League Rookie of the Year favorite.

The 22-year-old third baseman notched his 20th home run and a double in an 11-6 win over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.

Giancarlo Stanton has definitely taken notice.

“I love it, man,” Stanton said. “He’s enjoying the game — the best part is he’s enjoying playing. What he’s doing out there, it’s even cooler to watch.”

PHOTOS: Yankees celebrate 1998

Andujar has tied San Diego’s Christian Villanueva for the most bombs among MLB rookies.

And he’s the eighth rookie in Yankees history to hit that many in a season, and the third in as many seasons, following Judge’s 52 home runs in 2017 and Sanchez’s 20 in 2016.

Andujar also has the most doubles (36) by a Yankee since Robinson Cano had 41 in 2013 and he’d doubled in four of his last five games.

While Andujar’s defense has been shaky, his bat has been anything but.

In his last 12 games, he’s hitting .388 (19-for-49) with 11 runs, six doubles, six bombs and 15 RBI.

“He’s got a great swing,” manager Aaron Boone said. “That’s a swing that, first time I saw it, that’s a special look in the box. I feel like, very versatile, can handle a lot of different pitches, can’t just be pitched one way. Not a lot of holes.

“And I think what’s been impressive has been his ability to make adjustments. So he’s shown a real, I think, intelligence in the box for such a young player to be able to understand what teams are doing to him. He picks his spots where he’ll go up and look for something and it’s just a very — obviously there’s power, great bat speed — but it’s a really great swing. He lays the bat in the hitting zone for a long time.”

Brendan Kuty may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @BrendanKutyNJ. Find NJ.com Yankees on Facebook.

Yankees injury updates: Gary Sanchez close to playing in minor league games

Yankees injury updates: Gary Sanchez close to playing in minor league games

The Yankees have had a lot of key players miss significant time due to injuries this year. There’s no question that the lineup has been suffering without Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge over the past few weeks, but are they close to returning? Here’s the latest on all the Yankees who are dealing with injuries.

Aaron Judge

The good news is that Judge has progressed to playing catch. The bad news is that he reported that his wrist was “painful” following Friday’s throwing session. He has yet to start taking dry swings, and the Yankees won’t let him do so until he isn’t feeling pain. Obviously that’s the best course of action, and there’s no point in rushing him back if he isn’t healthy. Unfortunately, it sounds like he is further away than we’d like.

Gary Sanchez

Sanchez joined the team in New York to continue his rehab, and has been making good progress. On Friday, he threw to the bases out of a crouched position for the first time since being placed on the disabled list for the second time. An MRI revealed that his groin strain is healing, and Sanchez is expected to return to Tampa today to continue rehabbing. If he doesn’t experience any setbacks, Sanchez will likely get into some Gulf Coast League games sometime this week. He remains on track to join the team towards the end of August or early September.

Austin Romine

The Yankees backup catcher took a foul ball off his face mask during yesterday’s game, and ended up having to exit in the sixth inning. At one point, the home plate ump was holding Romine up by the armpits to keep him from falling to the ground. After the game, Aaron Boone stated that he seemed “fine,” but he won’t play today, and they will continue to monitor him for any concussion symptoms. The catcher depth without both Sanchez and Romine is…bad, so hopefully he is okay.

Jonathan Loaisiga

After just four starts in the majors, the right-hander was sent back to the minors. Not long after that, the team announced that he was dealing with shoulder inflammation. He received a cortisone shot and was shut down for three weeks. The Yankees really needed pitching help during that time, and were forced to turn to Chance Adams and Luis Cessa instead. The good news is that Loaisiga was activated from the 7-day disabled list and made his first start with Trenton on Friday night. He walked two batters and allowed one run to score during 1.1 innings of work. If he gets back on track, he could be a September call up.

CC Sabathia

The veteran was placed on the disabled list at the beginning of the week after letting the team know that it was in his best interest to give his knee a rest. He had that right knee drained on Monday, and threw his normal bullpen session on Friday. Sabathia is on track to return next weekend during the series against the Orioles.

Clint Frazier

It has been a rough season for Red Thunder. He originally missed months with concussion symptoms after slamming into an outfield wall during spring training. A month ago, he started suffering from post-concussion migraines. Frazier is reportedly still experiencing those symptoms and it is unknown when he might be able to start a rehab assignment.

Yankees aren't going to win it all with this patchwork formula

Yankees aren't going to win it all with this patchwork formula

On a day the Yankees celebrated the incredible accomplishments of the 125-win 1998 Yankees, the modern version of the team continued to tempt fate.

This team is baseball’s version of Jenga. One shaky piece and it can all come falling down. The Yankees are hoping to hold on for better days when they are healthy again.

The Yankees came away with an 11-6 victory over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, but Toronto is just another example of baseball gone bad in 2018.

Sure, the Yankees are 77-46, but there are major issues that won’t go away.

Brian Cashman had better find some reinforcements because the Yankees lose a little more talent every day. When Gary Sanchez returns it will be a welcome sight, no matter his .188 batting average.

The Yankees are just too thin right now, especially in the outfield.

That 1998 team was a testament to team play, depth and a ballclub thinking championship from Day 1. These Yankees are just trying to get through another day because of injuries. Catcher Austin Romine had to leave the game in the sixth inning after taking a foul ball off his mask in the fifth.

The Yankees are short at catcher as Kyle Higashioka had to finish and will start Sunday.

Accidental right fielder Neil Walker is trying to keep it together and is doing as well as expected for a veteran second baseman shifted to the outfield, but Walker made a critical error in the five-run sixth inning that enabled the Blue Jays to clear the bases.

Walker was fortunate that when he let Billy McKinney’s sharp single drop in front of him and then get past him, scoring all three baserunners, he hustled down the ball and threw it to cutoff man Gleyber Torres, who fired to third base to nail McKinney. The former Yankee over-slid the bag for the final out of the inning, one of countless mistakes made by the messy Blue Jays.

The Yankees need to pick up an outfielder, but refuse to do so. Even the Mets got Jose Bautista off the scrap heap. The Yankees’ fourth outfielder at this moment is Shane Robinson, who looks to be tremendously overmatched and is batting .129.

Walker could spell Greg Bird at first base if he did not have to spend so much time in right field. In addition, the lack of outfield depth takes a toll on Brett Gardner in left. The veteran could use a rest every now and then, but that is not the case because of that lack of depth.

Aaron Boone was quick to compliment Walker for making the sacrifice to go to right field for the team.

“Walk’s a pro and he has put a lot of work in,’’ Boone said. “He understands we are in a little bit of a unique situation. He’s actually played it really well out there. A couple of mistakes but all in all, he’s probably surpassed what I thought he’d be able to do just going out there on the fly.’’

Even bringing back a pro’s pro like Curtis Granderson in a deal with the Blue Jays would be welcomed, but the Yankees have not made the effort to do so, holding on to prospects even though there is such a big hole with Aaron Judge out of the lineup with that chip fracture in his right wrist.

It’s going to be a while before Judge is back in the lineup, so this problem is not going away.

If not for the accomplishments of young Miguel Andujar, the Yankees would be in serious trouble. Andujar homered, his 20th, and doubled, his 36th, as he continues to be an extra-base machine. He also singled to raise his batting average to .300, the only Yankee regular at .300. Andujar drew praise from Giancarlo Stanton, who blasted his 32nd home run of the season in the fourth.

“The best part is that he is enjoying the game and what he is doing out there is even cooler to watch,’’ Stanton said.

Still, the Yankees continue to tempt fate.

Getting to the postseason is nice, but this is about competing for a championship.