Fan Confidence Poll: June 27th, 2016

Record Last Week: 3-2 (21 RS, 27 RA)
Season Record: 37-37 (304 RS, 329 RA, 34-40 pythag. record)
Opponents This Week: vs. Rangers (four games, Mon. to Thurs.), @ Padres (three games, Fri. to Sat.)

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the Features tab in the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?

DotF: German, DeCarr, and Degano all make season debuts

LHP Nestor Cortes has been promoted from Low-A Charleston to Double-A Trenton, the team announced. That has to be a temporary move. Cortes has been really good this year, but not “skip him over High-A permanently” good.

Triple-A Scranton (9-3 win over Pawtucket)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 0-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
  • DH Nick Swisher: 0-5, 2 K
  • RF Aaron Judge: 2-4, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — no homer today, so he showed off his speed with a triple instead
  • C Gary Sanchez: 2-4, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 PB — 5-for-13 (.385) in his last three games, so he’s starting to come around a bit … he hadn’t been hitting much since coming back from the broken thumb
  • 1B Tyler Austin: 2-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K — he’s hitting .301/.366/.671 in 20 games since the promotion
  • LF Cesar Puello: 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB
  • RHP Diego Moreno: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HB, 3/1 GB/FB — 35 of 57 pitches were strikes (61%) … had to make the spot start with Luis Cessa in the big leagues
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 3/2 GB/FB — 30 of 48 pitches were strikes (63%)
  • RHP Gio Gallegos: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1/2 GB/FB — 29 of 44 pitches were strikes (66%)
  • RHP Conor Mullee: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K — ten of 14 pitches were strikes … 45/10 K/BB in 34.1 innings with the RailRiders this season

[Read more…]

Yankees can’t finish sweep, instead get embarrassed 7-1 by the Twins

That was maybe the single worst game of the season, which is really saying something. It had it all. An ineffective starter? Check. Minimal offense? Also check. A leaky bullpen? A third check. That was not a fun baseball watching experience. The Yankees lost 7-1 to the Twins on Sunday to again fall to .500 on the season. They’re 37-37. This team is mediocrity defined.

(Rich Schultz/Getty)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

Nate’s Homers
Nathan Eovaldi‘s home run problem has gone from annoying to alarming. He came into the season with a career 0.63 HR/9 and 7.1 HR/FB% in 614.1 innings. It was 0.58 HR/9 and 7.8 HR/FB% in 154.1 innings last year. That’s not a small sample! Eovaldi showed a legitimate home run suppressing skill prior to this season, and that skill has totally disappeared this season, and especially of late.

Eovaldi went into Sunday’s start with a 1.45 HR/9 and 17.1 HR/FB% in 80.2 innings this season. After allowing four homers to the Twins, including back-to-back-to-back (!) blasts in the sixth inning, those numbers are now 1.77 HR/9 and 21.3 HR/FB% in 86.2 innings. The 17 homers he’s allowed are a career-high — his previous career high was 14 in 2014 — and in his last five starts, he’s allowed ten homers in 26 innings. Yikes.

Having watched these last five starts, it’s pretty clear the homers are all the result of location problems. He’s not getting unlucky with Yankee Stadium cheapies on well-located pitches. When Eovaldi has missed, he’s missed right out over the plate …

Nathan Eovaldi home runs

… and hitters are just way too comfortable in the box against him. For a guy who throws 100 mph regularly, that should not be the case. Why has Eovaldi’s location been so poor of late? I have no idea. It wasn’t always this bad. Maybe he’s a mechanical mess or maybe he’s pitching through some sort of injury. Maybe it’s something else entirely.

Whatever it is, it’s a huge problem and it needs to get fixed. Eovaldi’s either going to help the Yankees back into contention or get traded as part of the rebuild. It’s hard to see a middle ground. And unless he gets this homer issue corrected and soon, Eovaldi won’t help the Yankees contend and he won’t fetch much in return. Along with Luis Severino being a disaster earlier this season, Eovaldi’s homers are the biggest big picture concern for the Yankees in 2016.

Cy Duffey
What a miserable performance by the offense. You have to give Tyler Duffey credit, of course. He pitched well and deserves all the praise he gets, but we’ve seen the offense disappear far too often this season to think Sunday was just a bad day. Duffey took a perfect game into the sixth inning before Aaron Hicks broke it up with a double to right. Their second and only other hit of the game was Mark Teixeira‘s garbage time solo homer in the eighth. It was his first homer in 43 games and 165 plate appearances.

The Yankees won two of three this weekend but scored only eight runs against a Twins team that came into the series on pace to allow 913 runs (!!!) this season. The last team to allow that many runs was the 2008 Rangers (967). Furthermore, three of those eight runs were unearned, and one of the five earned runs scored when Eduardo Escobar botched an inning-ending grounder Saturday. (Yes, that run was earned.) I can’t remember the last time the Yankees had an offense this boring and ineffective. Even the 2013 offense wasn’t this unwatchable.

(Rich Schultz/Getty)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

Leftovers
Luis Cessa (five outs), Richard Bleier (one out), and Kirby Yates (three outs) came out of the bullpen after Eovaldi. Cessa and Yates allowed solo homers. Cessa is stretched out and I’m not sure why Joe Girardi didn’t just leave him in for the final three innings. Getting Bleier, a 29-year-old rookie with almost certainly no long-term role with the Yankees, work shouldn’t be a priority. He was brought in for the left-on-left matchup in a game the Yankees were losing 6-0.

The two hits — Hicks’ double and Teixeira’s homer — was the team’s only baserunners on the afternoon. No walks, no hit-by-pitches, no catcher’s interferences, nothing. I count only three three-ball counts among the 29 Yankees to bat. They saw five pitches total in the ninth inning too. That was very much a “let’s just get this over with and swing at everything” inning.

The Yankees allowed six homers in a game for the first time since September 2012, when the Orioles got them. The Twins hit six homers in a game for the first time since July 2007, when they did it to the White Sox. The Yankees have been out-homered 95-76 this season. Gross.

And finally, the Yankees went 6-5 during this eleven-game stretch against the Rockies and Twins. The hope was they would pad their record and get over .500 for good during these eleven games, but lol no. Their postseason odds went from 16.6% to 13.4% during the eleven games, per FanGraphs.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
ESPN is the place to go for the box score and updated standings. MLB.com has the video highlights and we have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. Here’s the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The party is over. The Yankees just finished an extended stretch against some of the worst teams in baseball, and now one of the best is coming to the Bronx for a four-game series. The Rangers, owners of the best record in the AL t 49-27, will be in town this week. Ivan Nova and a man named Chi Chi Gonzalez will be on the mound Monday night. That’s the last home series before the All-Star break, so head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch one of those four games live.

Sunday Open Thread

Here is the open thread for the rest of the weekend. The ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game is the Dodgers at the Pirates. Some poor kid named Chad Kuhl is going to be making his MLB debut on national television opposing Clayton Kershaw. Now watch Kuhl go out and chuck eight scoreless innings. That’d be cool. Talk about anything except religion and politics here.

Game 74: Do the Twins really have to leave?

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

The Yankees are looking to finish a three-game sweep of the Twins this afternoon, and, unfortunately, they won’t play Minnesota again this season. That’s a damn shame. As we’ve seen the last two days, even with the Twinkies have a lead and the Yankees seem unable to do anything, the Twins will find a way to lose. Gonna miss that. Here is the Twins’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Carlos Beltran
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 1B Mark Teixeira
  6. 2B Starlin Castro
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 3B Chase Headley
  9. RF Aaron Hicks
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi

It’s a wee bit cloudy in New York, otherwise it’s a very nice day for baseball. A little warm but not really hot unless you’re stuck sitting in the sun. Anyway, this afternoon’s series finale will begin at 1:05pm ET. You can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Roster Move: Nick Goody was sent down and Luis Cessa was called up, the Yankees announced. Cessa was scheduled to start for Triple-A Scranton today, so he’s available to go long if necessary. Hopefully it’s not. Joe Girardi indicated he wants to limit Richard Bleier to left-on-left matchup work going forward, so Cessa’s the new long man.

Injury Update: Bryan Mitchell (toe) has started playing catch and could begin throwing off a mound reasonably soon. Girardi said they’re not going to push him though, so there’s a chance Mitchell won’t return to the big leagues this season. He needs innings and he can get them in Triple-A, not sitting in the big league bullpen for a week at a time.

A Wrinkled Reversal

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Though both just ended, the NBA and NHL playoffs can seem interminable. Despite the general excitement of playoff hockey–how do people watch that with a rooting interest and not die of a heart attack? My god–and playoff basketball, the postseaon s for both sports drag from April to June. But then we look at baseball and realize that barely half the season gets played in that same amount of time. And while it’s relatively short in baseball terms, a lot can change both on the team and individual level.

Back in April, Alex Rodriguez was struggling to catch up to fastballs, a trend that was contrary to what he’d done in 2015. The first three months of the season have given history a chance to repeat itself, as A-Rod is back to his 2015 form in terms of his results against certain pitch types.

Any pitches this year with even a modicum of movement have absolutely abused Alex and his bat, on the occasions he’s managed to make contact with. So far this season he has whiff/swing rate of 42.11% on sliders and 38.46% on curveballs. The struggle to make contact isn’t apparent on just moving slow pitches, as against cutters, Rodriguez is whiffing on 47.83% of his swings. The only pitch he makes less contact per swing against is the changeup–48.48% whiff/swing.

(Mike Stobe/Getty)
(Mike Stobe/Getty)

Against harder stuff like fastballs and sinkers, Alex’s made more contact, keeping his whiff/swing rates at 29.03% and 18.75% respectively. Additionally, he’s done his damage against those pitches, smacking them for line drives 33.33% and 24.32% of the time he puts either in play. Against fastballs, he’s hitting .290 with a .174 ISO; against sinkers, the marks are .250 and .325. Seven of his eight home runs (three against fastballs, four against sinkers) have come against those two pitch types; the other came against a changeup. That home run against the change up is one of just two extra-base hits Alex has against offspeed pitches the entire year. The other, a double, also came against a changeup. He has just four hits against either curveballs or sliders, with all of them coming against sliders. None have gone for extra bases.

So after prodding this dark spot on the X-Ray, what can Rodriguez do to improve? We could easily say he should be more aggressive and try to attack fastballs early in the count. But, there’s evidence he’s already done this. His walk rate is a career low 5.9% and he’s seeing just 3.7 pitches per plate appearance, a change from last year when he was seeing 4.04 P/PA. Any other advice I could offer as an outside observer–shorten your swing! Just take more breaking balls!–is much easier said than done. However, in baseball as in life, the simplest answer is often the right one and it just might be that Alex is too old now and he can’t recognize the spin of a non-fastball anymore. If that’s the case, there’s no much to do but hope he keeps running into the occasional fastball.

DotF: Judge homers in third straight game in AAA loss

Triple-A Scranton (7-3 loss to Pawtucket)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 1-4, 2 K
  • 1B Nick Swisher: 1-4, 1 R, 1 K
  • RF Aaron Judge: 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K, 1 E (throwing) — video of tonight’s homer is above … it’s his third straight game with a dinger … it’s also his sixth homer in his last seven games and eighth homer in his last 12 games … he’s raised his season batting line from .241/.315/.386 to .263/.347/.478 in those 12 games
  • DH Tyler Austin & LF Jake Cave: both 0-4, 1 K — Cave threw a runner out at second
  • LHP Phil Coke: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 5/3 GB/FB — 47 of 70 pitches were strikes (67%) … he’s back in the rotation because RHP Brady Lail is on the DL
  • RHP Johnny Barbato: 2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 3/0 GB/FB — 24 of 37 pitches were strikes (65%)
  • LHP Chasen Shreve: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K — 14 of 26 pitches were strikes (54%) … not going to earn your way back to the Bronx like that, Chasen
  • RHP Mark Montgomery: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 14 of 22 pitches were strikes (64%)

[Read more…]