The Yankees stomped the Rays by the score of 9-4 on Friday night — the score makes it seem a lot closer than it felt — but more importantly, they lost Curtis Granderson for an extended period of time after a pitch broke his left pinky in the fifth inning. It’s a win in the standings and a loss in the big picture. Let’s recap…
- Three-Run Second: It started with (another) blown call at first base. David Adams was incorrectly ruled safe on an infield single, putting two men on-base for Lyle Overbay. He took a big hack at a 3-0 fastball and doubled in the first two runs of the game, then Jayson Nix singled him in for a three-zip lead. The call at first would have only been the second out of the inning, but it changed everything. The Yankees took advantage of the gift call.
- Blown Open: It’s been a while since the Bombers put a crocked number on the board, so it was nice to see them so some serious damage in the middle innings. Brett Gardner sabotaged a first pitch fastball for a two-run homer in the fourth, which is exactly what he’s done for three of his four homers this year. Nix (bases loaded walk), Chris Stewart (single), and Robinson Cano (bases loaded hit-by-pitch) each drove in a run in the fifth to make it eight-zip.
- Job Security: Ivan Nova is going to have to get comfortable in the bullpen. David Phelps retired the first 13 men he faced on Friday and finished the night with four runs allowed in a career-high 7.2 innings, a line that looks a lot worse than he actually pitched. He threw 63 of 98 pitches for strikes and was very efficient, never once throwing more than 15 pitches in an inning. Phelps’ night came to an unfortunate end when a line drive hit him in the right forearm — there’s a chance he was going to be removed at time anyway — but x-rays came back negative and it’s just a bruise. Once again, the right-hander was rock solid. Nova ain’t taking this rotation spot back anytime soon.
- Leftovers: The bottom four spots in the lineup went a combined 8-for-18 (.444) and scored six of the nine runs … replays showed Cano was not hit by the pitch in the fifth, it hit the bat and he was awarded first base anyway … Nix had a very strong game, with a single and a triple to go along with the bases loaded walk … Boone Logan struck out the only man he faced while Shawn Kelley worked a scoreless, strikeout-less ninth … the Yankees went 5-for-9 with runners in scoring position and remain undefeated (22-0) when leading after seven innings … the Rays had to get 15 outs from their bullpen, which could impact the rest of the series.
Check out MLB.com for the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs for some more stats, and ESPN for the updated standings. Both the Red Sox and Orioles won, so they remain two and four back of the Yankees in the loss column. The Rays dropped to five back. These same two teams will play game two of this three-game set on Saturday afternoon, and the pitching matchup features a pair of very different southpaws: Vidal Nuno and Matt Moore.
Triple-A Scranton (9-4 loss to Durham)
- 2B Corban Joseph: 3-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 E (fielding) — had been in a 5-for-35 (.143) slump
- RF Brennan Boesch: 0-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — he was called into the manager’s office after the game, so he’ll almost certainly be coming up to replace the injured Curtis Granderson
- LF Zoilo Almonte: 1-4, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
- 3B Ronnie Mustelier: 1-5
- DH Thomas Neal: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 K — 11 hits in his last 25 at-bats (.440)
- CF Melky Mesa: 2-4, 1 R, 1 K — 70 strikeouts (!) and four walks in 45 games
- RHP Chase Whitley: 1.2 IP, zeroes, 3 K, 2/0 GB/FB — 15 of 22 pitches were strikes (68%) … first scoreless outing of the year
- RHP Mark Montgomery: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 2/0 GB/FB — 25 of 48 pitches were strikes (52%), and he was sitting mostly 89-90 mph with the fastball … 15 strikeouts and 15 walks in his last 15.1 innings
- RHP Sam Demel: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GB/FB — 12 pitches, eight strikes … he’s been their only reliable reliever this year
10:29pm: The x-rays came back negative, so officially it is just a right forearm contusion. No word on whether Phelps will make his next start yet. Here’s video of the injury.
10:15pm: Phelps has a bruised forearm and will head for precautionary x-rays. Joe Girardi didn’t seem too concerned during his post-game chat.
9:49pm: David Phelps was taken out of tonight’s game after being by a line drive in the right arm. It looked like it got him somewhere near the elbow. I couldn’t tell if he was in pain or just angry after getting hit, but it was clear something wasn’t right. Stay tuned for updates. Sigh. · (29) ·
The Yankees just can’t get ahead of all these injuries. Less than two weeks after he returned from a fractured right forearm, Curtis Granderson suffered a fractured fifth metacarpal (pinky) in his left hand when Cesar Ramos hit him with a pitch in the fifth inning on Friday’s game. Joe Girardi indicated he will miss a minimum of four weeks, but they won’t have a firm timetable until he sees a specialist on Monday. There’s a chance Curtis will need surgery.
Granderson, 32, actually stayed in the game to run the bases before being removed after the inning. The trainer did come out to look at him while he was on the bases, but not until he reached third base because they were originally waved off. In eight games since coming off the DL, Granderson went 7-for-28 (.250) with a double, a homer, and a stolen base. He also moved to the corner outfield in deference to Brett Gardner, playing primarily right field with a smattering of innings in left.
Ichiro Suzuki will presumably return to the lineup on an everyday basis even though he came into Friday’s game hitting .241/.279/.331 (56 wRC+) in 156 plate appearances on the season. Brennan Boesch is the obvious candidate to be called up from Triple-A Scranton to fill the roster spot; he’s gone 5-for-28 (.179) with a double in seven games since being sent down. The Yankees have hard enough time generating offense as it is, so losing Granderson is pretty devastating.
The Yankees and the Rangers are the only teams in baseball that have yet to lose three consecutive games this season, but the Bombers have lost two straight coming into tonight’s contest against the Rays. This series could create some headaches for New York with Vidal Nuno starting tomorrow and Alex Cobb starting on Sunday, so winning the opener tonight would be a pretty nice regardless of how many games they’ve lost in a row. Here’s the lineup that will face the pitcher former known as Fausto Carmona:
- CF Brett Gardner
- 2B Robinson Cano
- LF Vernon Wells
- DH Travis Hafner
- RF Curtis Granderson
- 3B David Adams
- 1B Lyle Overbay
- SS Jayson Nix
- C Chris Stewart — I guess the groin is okay
And on the mound is the former Falmouth Commodore (Cape Cod League), right-hander David Phelps.
The sky is clear and it’s sweltering in St. Petersburg, but that doesn’t matter because the Yankees and Rays are playing indoors. Tonight’s game is scheduled to start at 7:10pm ET and can be seen on My9 locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.
Injury News: Andy Pettitte (trap) will throw a bullpen session tomorrow after playing catch the last two days … Kevin Youkilis (back) could join Mark Teixeira (wrist) on a minor league rehab assignment next week … Joba Chamberlain (oblique) will throw two innings in an Extended Spring Training game tomorrow … Eduardo Nunez (ribcage) will play in a minor league rehab game soon … in case you missed it earlier, Ivan Nova (triceps) was activated off the DL while Dellin Betances was sent to Triple-A to clear a roster spot.
Friday: Teixeira will indeed join Double-A Trenton for a rehab assignment next week according to George King. He will play with the Thunder on Wednesday and Thursday, and it’s unclear what happens after that since Trenton is heading out on a road trip. I have to think he’ll need more than two rehab games, however.
Thursday: Via Erik Boland: Mark Teixeira could join Double-A Trenton for an official rehab assignment as soon as next Tuesday. He’s been hitting in the cage and in simulated games down in Tampa, and I assume he’ll squeeze in a few Extended Spring Training at-bats before joining the Thunder.
Teixeira, 33, has been out with an injury to the tendon sheath in his right wrist since early March, so his rehab assignment is probably going to last longer than two or three days. He might be there for a week considering he missed a big chunk of Spring Training and needs to iron out two swings. Lyle Overbay has started to cool off recently and if nothing else, getting Teixeira in the lineup will be a huge help against left-handed pitchers. · (17) ·
The Yankees have activated Ivan Nova off the DL, the team announced. Dellin Betances has been returned to Triple-A Scranton to clear a roster spot. Nova will pitch out of the bullpen for the time being.
Nova, 26, missed nearly a month with a triceps issue and back soreness. He pitched to a 6.48 ERA (3.64 FIP) in 16.2 innings spread across four starts before the injury. Nova has never pitched out of the bullpen for an extended period of time in his career, so it will be a new experience for him. There hasn’t been any indication about how Joe Girardi will use him, but I doubt he’ll be given high-leverage work or anything like that. Probably mop-up duty at first. · (16) ·
For the second time this year, the Yankees are at their home away from home in Tampa. They lost two of three to the Rays at Tropicana Field about a month ago, the only other time these two teams have played in 2013. Believe it or not, this is a pretty important series for both clubs. Important for late-May, anyway.
What Have They Done Lately?
The Rays kinda stink. They just lost two of three to the Blue Jays to drop their season record to 24-22 with a +11 run differential. Before the Toronto series, they won nine of eleven. Tampa currently sits in fourth place in the AL East, four games back of the Bombers for the top spot.
Believe it or not, the Rays are one the top offensive teams in baseball. They average 4.8 runs per game with a team 110 wRC+, and both rank as top-six marks in all of baseball. Tampa’s offense is healthy outside of OF Matt Joyce (130 wRC+), who is day-to-day while nursing a hamstring issue. He could return to the lineup as soon as tonight.
As always, manager Joe Maddon’s lineup is anchored by 3B Evan Longoria (171 wRC+) and 2B/OF Ben Zobrist (105 wRC+). This year they’re getting a lot of help from 2B Kelly Johnson (128 wRC+), who plays primarily against righties, and 1B James Loney (150 wRC+). Yes, Loney is really hitting .350/.405/.497. And you thought Lyle Overbay was exceeding expectations. DH Luke Scott (149 wRC+) has performed well since coming off the DL a few weeks ago.
OF Desmond Jennings (92 wRC+) hasn’t been any good as the leadoff man, but UTIL Sean Rodriguez (111 wRC+) and IF Ryan Roberts (94 wRC+) have done fine in their limited platoon roles. SS Yunel Escobar (76 wRC+) and OF Sam Fuld (42 wRC+) have been terrible. Former Yankee C Jose Molina (69 wRC+) and C Jose Lobaton (88 wRC+) sharing catching duties. The Rays don’t steal as many bases as they once did (only 21 this year), but they don’t need to because the lineup is deeper and more powerful.
Starting Pitching Matchups
Friday: RHP David Phelps vs. RHP Roberto Hernandez
The pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona has been predictably awful this year, pitching to a 5.24 ERA and 4.98 FIP in eight starts. His underlying performance has actually been outstanding — 8.46 K/9 (21.2 K%), 2.62 BB/9 (6.6 BB%), and 53.3% grounders — but he’s insanely homer prone (1.81 HR/9 and 25.0% HR/FB) and has been a few years now. The 32-year-old Hernandez lives off his trademark low-90s sinker and the Rays have him throwing his mid-80s changeup nearly 30% of the time, way more than he ever has before. A low-to-mid-80s slider rounds out the repertoire. It’s worth noting Fauxsto has a massive platoon split, holding righties to a .268 wOBA while lefties tag him for a .400 wOBA. That’s good for the Yankees, who have seen Hernandez plenty over the years.
Saturday: LHP Vidal Nuno vs. LHP Matt Moore
Moore, 23, is starting to live up to the hype as the next great Rays pitcher by going 8-0 with a 2.29 ERA in his first nine starts. Of course, his FIP sits at a much less impressive 4.20 because he walks a ton of guys (4.25 BB/9 and 11.6 BB%) and will serve up the long ball (1.15 HR/9 and 10.8% HR/FB). In fact, when you add in his strikeout (8.84 K/9 and 24.0 K%) and ground ball (36.0%) rates, basically all of his peripherals stats have taken a step back from last season. The joys of a .197 BABIP, eh? Moore is a true-three pitch pitcher who uses a low-to-mid-90s four-seamer to set up mid-80s changeups and low-80s curveballs. He will beat himself with walks if given the opportunity, but this Yankees lineup is one of the least patience in the game. They’ve seen Moore a few times since he broke in late in 2011, and they actually roughed him up good last summer.
Sunday: LHP CC Sabathia vs. RHP Alex Cobb
This spot was supposed to belong to rookie RHP Jake Odorizzi, but the Rays took advantage of yesterday’s off-day and flipped him with the 25-year-old Cobb. Cobb has been very good this year, posting a 2.73 ERA (3.78 FIP) in nine starts with greatly improved peripherals: 8.19 K/9 (22.3 K%), 2.12 BB/9 (5.8 BB%), and 54.4% grounders. He is pretty homer prone (1.21 HR/9 and 19.5% HR/FB) like most of the Rays pitchers this year. I guess that’s the extra 2%. Cobb is a mid-80s changeup specialist, though not as extreme as former Ray Jamie Shields. He’ll set the change up with low-90s two- and four-seamers while backing it up with an upper-70s curveball. Cobb is pretty darn good, and he’s pitched very well against the New York every time he’s faced them.
As I mentioned, the Rays were off on Thursday, so their bullpen is as fresh as can be. RHP Fernando Rodney (5.38 FIP) has been dreadful this year, so much so that he was yanked from his last appearance mid-inning before things could really spiral out of control. He hasn’t officially lost the closer’s job yet, but it won’t be long at this rate.
RHP Joel Peralta (2.62 FIP) is the backup plan at closer, and he has been Maddon’s most (only?) consistently reliable reliever this season. RHP Kyle Farnsworth (6.88 FIP) is cooked and LHP Jake McGee (5.15 FIP) has been unable to repeat last season’s success. RHP Jamey Wright (4.07 FIP) is his perpetually solid but unspectacular self while LHP Cesar Ramos (3.03 FIP) has done a nice job in a matchup role. Rapist RHP Josh Lueke (5.11 FIP) rounds out the bullpen. As a unit, the Tampa bullpen is a bottom-three unit with a 4.81 ERA (4.18 FIP).
The Yankees, meanwhile, are pretty well set in the bullpen outside of Adam Warren, who threw 60 pitches in long relief in Thursday and still needs at least one and probably two more days of rest before he’s available again. David Robertson and Boone Logan have both pitched in three of the last five days but should be fine for tonight. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for reliever usage details, then check out DRays Bay and Process Report for the latest and greatest on the Yankees’ division rival to the south.
Baseball America’s Jim Callis posted his second mock draft today (no subs. req’d), and he has the Astros taking former Yankees draft pick/Oklahoma RHP Jonathan Gray with the first overall selection. Callis notes Houston is rumored to be seeking a pre-draft deal with a college bat — likely San Diego 3B Kris Bryant or UNC 3B Colin Moran — so they can redistribute the draft pool savings elsewhere. The Cubs and Rockies are projected to take Stanford RHP Mark Appel and Bryant with the second and third overall picks, respectively.
The Yankees have three first round picks, and Callis has them selecting New Jersey HS LHP Rob Kaminsky (26th overall), Indiana State LHP Sean Manaea (32nd), and Oklahoma HS C Jon Denney (33rd). Click the links for my profile of each player. The Yankees have been connected to Denney, an offense-first catcher, in every single mock draft so far. Callis suspects the Yankees will roll the dice on Manaea — he missed his last start with shoulder stiffness and hip soreness that has lingered all spring — thanks to their extra picks and draft pool money ($7.96M), but they have become risk-averse in recent years, at least when it comes to their highest selections. Those three players might represent the best case scenario for the Yankees, unless they’re willing to take on an another injury risk in Minnesota HS OF Ryan Boldt.
Other Mock Drafts: Baseball America (v1.0), Keith Law (v1.0), and MLB.com (v1.0). · (15) ·