12:37am: Johnson felt something in his groin and is heading for an MRI. That’s never good. Sounds like he’ll be out a few days at the very least.
10:20pm: Kelly Johnson exited tonight’s game with some sort of injury. He took the field in the top of the 11th before Joe Girardi and the trainer came out to check on him. He tried to run before leaving the game. Replays showed Johnson pulling up lame running out a ground ball in the previous half-inning. Hopefully it’s just a cramp. We’ll find out soon enough. · (6) ·
Just when I thought these Yankees couldn’t get any worse, they go and do something like this … AND TOTALLY REDEEM THEMSELVES! Seriously, that was the worst best game of the year. I loved it and hated it at the same time. The Yankees won but really, we all still lost in a way. The final score was 2-1 in 14 innings.
The New Guy
Just as we all expected when we woke up Tuesday morning, Chase Headley delivered a walk-off single to give the Yankees the win over the Rangers in the second game of their four-game series. New York acquired their new third baseman from the Padres in the afternoon, he joined the team after flying in from Chicago, arrived at Yankee Stadium in the second inning, pinch-hit in the eighth, and still managed to get four at-bats. Pretty hectic day, I imagine.
Before Headley could earn his True Yankee status, his new teammates had to rally to tie the game in the bottom of the 13th. Catcher turned first baseman J.P. Arencibia took David Huff deep for a solo homer in the top half of the inning, and it really did feel like the end of the game. The Yankees looked so inept for 17 innings dating back to Monday that scoring a run felt like impossible. Naturally, after struggling against no names all night, they pushed across the tying run against Joakim Soria, the best available pitcher on the Rangers’ staff.
Brett Gardner led off the 13th inning with a pure hustle double to right, using his speed to barely beat out Shin-Soo Choo’s throw. The play was really close. Derek Jeter bunted Gardner up to third and, for whatever reason, Texas elected to pitch to Jacoby Ellsbury with first base open. He singled to right to knot the game up. Ellsbury’s come up with a ton of huge hits this season so far. At least it feels that way. He advanced to third on Carlos Beltran‘s single but was stranded when Brian McCann banged into an odd 3-6-3 double play. It appeared Arencibia let the ball drop in rather than catch it for one out.
Anyway, the 14th inning rally started with another double, this one a one-out ground-rule job by Brian Roberts. I’m not sure if he would have gotten to second base on the play without the ball going over the wall. Thankfully it did. Frankie Cervelli followed with a ground ball single to right, though it was hit hard enough that Roberts had to hold at third. Headley followed up with the walk-off single, a nice little piece of hitting the other way on a sinker on the outer half. This game felt like it was never going to end. Pretty awesome that the new guy got to show off some #hitvelo and contribute directly to the win.
Nick, Not Pedro
One day after getting shut down by someone named Miles Mikolas, the Yankees managed three singles and one walk in 5.1 innings against rookie Nick Martinez. He retired 14 of the final 16 batters he faced and took the ball into the sixth inning despite being on a 65-ish pitch count in his first start off the disabled list. I imagine Headley was probably sitting in the dugout hoping he could go back to the Padres to play with a team that could score runs. (I kid, I kid.)
The Yankees didn’t get their first base-runner to second base (!) until Derek Jeter doubled to left with one out in the ninth. He was stranded after Ellsbury was intentional walked and Beltran hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Two two-out walks (Gardner and Jeter) were wasted in the 11th when Ellsbury grounded out. Two singles (Beltran and McCann) and an intentional walk (Roberts) loaded the bases with one out in the 12th, but the Rangers escaped the jam when Cervelli lined out to Adrian Beltre at third and Headley grounded out. It was remarkable. They were finding new and interesting ways to not score each inning.
Before Soria blew the save, the Yankees managed only six hits and five walks in 12 innings against a parade of mostly replacement level arms. Between Martinez and some relievers, 23 of 25 Yankees made outs from the first through ninth innings. That’s unbelievable. There was some hard contact against Martinez in the first two innings but nothing after that. The Yankees rolled over on a lot of weak grounders or popped up hittable pitches until Jeter doubled in the ninth. This offense, man. It makes you want to pull your hair out sometimes.
The Return of Ace Whitley
The pitching line is fantastic — 6 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K 8/2 GB/FB — and Chase Whitley was far better than he had been in his previous four starts, but the Rangers definitely bailed him out with some shoddy base-running. Whitley put the leadoff man on base in the first, second, third, fourth, and seventh innings, though Texas had a man thrown out at third trying to advance on a ball in the dirt in the third, then had another runner thrown out at home in the fifth. It was a soft ground ball back up the middle that Roberts fielded but was unable to throw to first for the out, yet for whatever reason Robinson Chirinos chugged on home after rounding third. He was out at home by a mile.
Whitley was a little shaky but ultimately he kept runs off the board and that’s all that matters. Given all the injuries, there are no style points for the team’s rotation. Get outs however you can. Six relievers held the Rangers hitless for six innings (only one walk) after Whitley until Arencibia homered leading off the 13th. Adam Warren (two outs), Dellin Betances (three outs), David Robertson (six outs), and Shawn Kelley (three outs) were all pretty awesome. Jeff Francis, who I had totally forgotten was on the roster, pitched a scoreless 14th for the win. I have to think the Yankees will bring up a fresh arm tomorrow. I’m just not sure who.
Jeter’s double was the 535th of his career, passing Lou Gehrig for the most two-baggers in Yankees history. He went 1-for-4 with a walk on the night. Gardner (two hits, two walks), Ellsbury (two hits, one walk), Beltran (two hits), and Roberts (two hits, one walk) all reached base multiple times. Kelly Johnson went 0-for-4 before leaving the game with a groin injury.
McCann had a weird night at the plate. He went 1-for-6 but there’s a story behind it. McCann hit a ball to the wall in his first at-bat that Leonys Martin caught and re-caught on the way down after it plopped out of his glove mid-jump. Next time up he smashed a line drive that Arencibia robbed with a leaping catch. Later in the game, he lifted a jam shot bloop into the triangle in left field that fell in because three Rangers defenders had communication issues. McCann hit two balls on the screws and got nothing. Then he got jammed and got a hit on a weak bloop. Baseball, man.
And finally, I was disappointed to see Questlove leave the game after the 13th inning, though I can’t say I blame him. It looked like he was going to hang around all night. The B-list celebrity who turned the season around?
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com is the place to go for the box score and video highlights. FanGraphs has some other stats and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Orioles won and the Mariners lost, so the Yankees remain four games back of the top spot in the AL East and climbed to within 1.5 games of the second wildcard spot.
The Yankees and Rangers will continue this four-game series on Wednesday night, when David Phelps squares off against Yu Darvish. That should be fun. (I’m not sure if that’s the right word.) Head over to RAB Tickets if you watch to catch that game or any of the other four games left on the homestand.
Two quick notes:
- IF Scott Sizemore has been transferred from the temporary inactive list to the Triple-A Scranton disabled list, reports Donnie Collins. I’m not sure what’s going on there, but the temporary inactive list usually means the player had to attend to some personal stuff.
- The Yankees have signed West Virginia 2B Billy Fleming as an undrafted free agent, according to Grant Dovey. He hit .357/.459/.420 with seven doubles, 20 walks, and 16 strikeouts in 30 games for the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod League this summer. Yankees obviously saw something they liked and scooper him up.
Triple-A Scranton (7-0 win over Gwinnett)
- SS Jose Pirela: 0-4, 1 BB, 1 CS — second game at short this year (zero from 2012-13)
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 3-5, 1 2B, 1 K — had three hits in his last 19 at-bats combined (.158)
- LF Zoilo Almonte: 1-5, 3 K
- RF Adonis Garcia: 1-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 K
- DH Kyle Roller: 0-2, 2 R, 3 BB, 1 K
- C John Ryan Murphy: 1-2, 2 R, 3 BB — 9-for-27 (.333) in his last eight games
- 1B Austin Romine: 1-5, 1 R, 2 RBI — 11-for-34 (.324) in his last ten games
- 3B Rob Segedin: 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB — grand slam in his second game at Triple-A
- RHP Bryan Mitchell: 5 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 5/3 GB/FB — 49 of 81 pitches were strikes (60%)
- LHP Tyler Webb: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0/2 GB/FB — 21 of 33 pitches were strikes (64%)
- RHP Danny Burawa: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/1 GB/FB — eight of 14 pitches were strikes (57%)
The Yankees threw the ball all over the field and looked generally helpless at the plate last night, so they responded today by swinging a trade for third baseman Chase Headley. He might not hit, there’s a chance he just stinks now, but at the very least he will be a huge upgrade at the hot corner defensively. I’m sure the pitching staff will appreciate that part of his game, if nothing else.
Headley is listed on the lineup card and is on the active roster for tonight’s game, but he is not in the starting lineup. The trade went down in the early afternoon and even though the Padres are in Chicago and not San Diego, getting to the Bronx in time for the game just didn’t happen. Joe Girardi told reporters Headley is expected to arrive at Yankee Stadium around 7:30pm ET and be available off the bench in the late innings. He also said he’ll be the team’s everyday third baseman going forward, because duh. Here’s the Rangers lineup and here’s the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- DH Carlos Beltran
- 1B Brian McCann
- RF Kelly Johnson — lots of experience in left but this is his first career game in right
- 2B Brian Roberts
- C Frankie Cervelli
- 3B Zelous Wheeler
RHP Chase Whitley
It’s a lovely day in New York. No clouds, warm but not hot, breezy but not windy. No rain in the forecast either. Tonight’s game is scheduled to start a little after 7pm ET and can be seen on My9. Enjoy.
Michael Pineda has started facing hitters in live batting practice, Joe Girardi told Jorge Castillo over the weekend. The right-hander has already thrown one batting practice session and is expected to throw one more before advancing to simulated games and eventually minor league rehab games.
Pineda, 25, has been out since late-April with a muscle problem in his back/shoulder. He suffered a setback during a throwing session in May and has slowly been working his way back since. The Yankees can’t count on Pineda to bolster the rotation at this point, not with his recent injury history, but man it would be some kind of boost if he returned sometime next month. · (39) ·
Finally, some help for the infield. The Yankees have acquired third baseman Chase Headley and cash from the Padres for utility man Yangervis Solarte and minor league pitching prospect Rafael DePaula, both teams announced. Jack Curry and Jon Heyman first reported the news and Chad Jennings says the Yankees hope he will be in town in time for tonight’s game. (The Padres are in Chicago.)
Headley, 30, is owed approximately $4.2M through the end of the season, and Heyman says the Yankees will receive about $1M from San Diego. Headley is due to become a free agent after the winter and because he was acquired at midseason, the team will not be able to make him a qualifying offer to recoup a draft pick in the offseason. This is a pure rental, obviously, though things could always go so well that they re-sign him.
Through 77 games and 307 plate appearances this year, the switch-hitting Headley is hitting .229/.296/.355 (88 wRC+) with seven homers and 12 doubles. He was dealing with some back issues a few weeks ago and has hit .298/.330/.405 (110 wRC+) in 21 games since receiving an epidural. As with all Padres’ position players, the hope is Headley will perform better away from spacious Petco Park. Here’s what I wrote in our recent Scouting The Market Post:
Petco Park is a notorious pitcher’s park, even after the walls were brought in last season. Headley is a career .286/.360/.444 (118 wRC+) hitter on the road (.243/.331/.371 (107 wRC+) at home), including a 154 wRC+ away from Petco Park in 2012 (97 wRC+ on the road from 2013-14). If the Yankees were to acquire Headley, he would be moving from one of the worst hitting parks in the game to one of the best. It would be damn near impossible for his numbers not to improve.
Headley’s offensive numbers might not improve, he might just stink as a hitter now, but there is no doubt he will improve New York’s dreadful infield defense. He has consistently graded out as above-average defender at third base and will be the team’s best hot corner gloveman since peak Alex Rodriguez. It would be awesome if Headley hits like he did in 2012 (145 wRC+), but being nothing more than a league-average bat with his defense would be a gigantic upgrade for the Yankees.
In exchange for Headley, the Yankees gave up a spare part in Solarte and a secondary pitching prospect. The team signed Solarte as a minor league free agent over the winter and he was awesome for the first two months of the season, but his production slipped in recent weeks and he was eventually shipped to the minors. The 27-year-old has hit .254/.337/.381 (100 wRC+) in 289 plate appearances this year. Hopefully he gets a chance to play everyday in San Diego. The Solarte Partay was a blast while it lasted.
DePaula, 23, has a 4.15 ERA (3.34 FIP) in 89 innings for High-A Tampa this season. I ranked him as the team’s 20th best prospect before the draft, mostly because of his high-end fastball velocity and promising slider. There are still questions about whether he is anything more than a reliever long-term. The Yankee signed DePaula for $500k out of Dominican Republic in 2010 but he did not make his pro debut until 2012 due to visa issues. He was suspended one year before signing for falsifying his identity.
It’s worth noting the Blue Jays were said to be pursuing Headley as well, so the Yankees essentially took him away from a division rival and direct competitor for a postseason spot. The Bombers have now added two rentals in Headley and Brandon McCarthy, and all they’ve given up is a good but not great pitching prospect and two players signed off the scrap heap. I mean, they turned Solarte and Vidal Nuno into half-seasons of Headley and McCarthy. That’s pretty awesome. DePaula, like most Single-A pitching prospects, was as tradeable as it gets. These moves might be not enough to put the Yankees over the top — they still need rotation help and a right fielder — but they were upgrades at minimal cost.
Via Jon Heyman: The Yankees have called the White Sox about left-hander John Danks. The two sides are not close to a deal and Heyman says talks may only be in the preliminary stages. The rebuilding ChiSox are, unsurprisingly, looking for young players and prospects in return.
Danks, 29, was a popular trade topic around these parts a few years ago, when he had a 3.77 ERA (3.89 FIP) and averaged 194.2 innings a year from 2008-11. Then he tore his shoulder capsule in 2012 and has pitched to a 4.56 ERA (4.89 FIP) since surgery, including a 4.35 ERA (4.70 FIP) in 124 innings this year. PitchFX shows his velocity (all pitches) has not returned since the shoulder injury.
Danks is owed roughly $35M through the 2016 season and torn capsules are usually the kiss of death. No one has returned from one to pitch to their pre-injury levels. It effectively ended the careers of Johan Santana, Rich Harden, Mark Prior, and Chien-Ming Wang, among others. Danks has been serviceable since the injury, but given the money left on his contract, I would hope he comes cheap in terms of prospects. · (94) ·
With four-fifths of the Opening Day rotation on the disabled list and not due back anytime soon, the Yankees are facing a pitching crisis. It’s not as bad as it could be thanks to the Brandon McCarthy pickup and the emergence of Shane Greene, but the team is pretty desperate for some quality arms. It’s tough to expect Masahiro Tanaka and/or Michael Pineda to return in the second half given the nature of their injuries.
The trade deadline is next Thursday and at this point it’s tough to see the Phillies not selling. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. recently told Jim Salisbury nothing more than “we’re going to try to do what we can to improve our club,” which makes sense. It’s not often a team will come out and announce they’re in sell mode. It pushes fans away. The Phillies do have baseball’s sixth worst record at 43-56 though, and the rumors of a fire sale are louder than ever. If and when they do pull the plug, they have several players who would interest the Yankees. Here are the pitchers, later today we’ll cover the position players.
LHP Cliff Lee
Lee, 35, returned to the mound last night after spending two months on the disabled list with a flexor pronator strain. That’s a muscle in your forearm, though forearm issues are usually symptoms of an elbow problem. Either way, Lee returned last night and was terrible, allowing six runs on a career high-tying 12 hits in 5.2 innings. I watched the game and he just looked rusty. PitchFX confirms his velocity was fine and he threw all of his pitches, but his location was terrible. He looked like a guy who threw only 10.2 rehab innings after missing two months.
Anyway, prior to last night, Lee had a 3.18 ERA (2.70 FIP) in ten starts and 68 innings, numbers that are right in line with his stellar 2008-2013 performance (2.89 ERA and 2.85 FIP). His strikeout rate (8.07 K/9 and 21.1 K%) was down a touch from recent years but still very good while his walk rate (1.19 BB/9 and 3.1 BB%) was outstanding as usual and his ground ball rate (49.1%) was a career high. Cliff Lee was pitching exactly like Cliff Lee before the injury. Here is his pitch breakdown:
Even during these last seven years, when he was one of the three or four best pitchers in baseball, Lee never had blow you away stuff. It’s good stuff but not great stuff that plays up (a lot) because he locates everything so well. Lee is essentially a sinker/cutter/changeup pitcher who will mix in a few four-seamers, curveballs, and sliders per start, with the changeup being the only pitch that is above-average at getting both swings and misses and grounders. (Whiff+ and GB+ are like ERA+, but for swing-and-miss and ground ball rates for the individual pitches.)
Lee’s contract is pricey but it’s not an albatross given how well he was pitching before getting hurt — he is owed roughly $10M through the end of this season plus another $25M last year. His $27.5M option for 2016 comes with a $12.5M buyout and vests if he throws 200 innings next year or 400 innings combined from 2014-15. The injury will hurt his chances of meeting the latter. Lee has thrown at least 210 innings every year since 2008, so he’s been very durable in recent years. He’s guaranteed $47.5M or so through the end of next year and at most $62.5M through 2016. I don’t see that as a deal-breaker for a pitcher of this caliber.
The Yankees are included in Lee’s 20-team no-trade list according to Jon Morosi, but that doesn’t appear to be much of an obstacle. In a perfect world New York would just absorb Lee’s contract and give up little in the way of prospects. The Phillies are a financial powerhouse though and shedding salary is not a priority at the deadline. In fact, Ken Rosenthal says they’re willing to eat money to get the best possible prospect package in return. Jim Bowden (subs. req’d) suggested Aaron Judge and Luis Severino for Lee, which is ludicrous, but he isn’t going to come cheap either. Giving up two very good but not truly elite prospects for a legitimate difference maker like Lee seems pretty reasonable in a vacuum, actually.
Of course, the health of Lee’s forearm/elbow is a critical and any team that trades for him will have to have to feel confident in the medicals. Lee is scheduled to start again Saturday, his last scheduled start before the deadline (he is scheduled to start again on the 31st). Teams are only going to get two looks at him before the deadline and the first look last night stunk. Saturday’s outing could be enough to convince a pitching needy club to pull the trigger, or Lee’s post-injury audition could stretch a little longer and make him an August waiver trade candidate. The Yankees are enamored with him and they are desperate for pitching. The stars are aligned.
LHP Cole Hamels
Want an elite left-hander who is younger than Lee and doesn’t have the same immediate injury concerns? The Phillies can also offer up the 30-year-old Hamels, who is once again pitching brilliantly (2.83 ERA and 3.14 FIP in 17 starts and 114.1 innings) after opening the season on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis. It clearly has not had any lingering effect — his strikeout rate (9.05 K/9 and 24.7 K%) is excellent and both his walk (2.99 BB/9 and 8.2 BB%) and ground ball (48.5%) rates are strong. His fastball velocity is also identical to last year and 2010-13 in general.
Let’s dive in to his pitch breakdown:
The changeup has always been Hamels’ bread and butter. It’s an elite offspeed pitch he can and will throw in any count to batters on both sides of the plate. He picked up the cutter during the 2010 season and it has helped him go from very good to excellent. Hamels throws five different pitches at least 10% of the time each (give or take) and has a go-to out pitch in his changeup. That kind of repertoire makes him one of the best (and most underappreciated?) pitchers in the game.
The Phillies signed Hamels to a massive six-year extension worth $144M two years ago, and at this point he is still owed approximately $99M through the 2018 season. That’s broken down into $9M for the rest of this year plus $22.5M annually over the next four years. The deal also includes a $20M team option/$24M vesting option for 2019. The option vests based on innings and shoulder-related time on the disabled list. Hamels wouldn’t be a short-term commitment like Lee, you’d be getting this guy from age 30-34 and possibly his age 35 season as well.
Both Jon Heyman and Nick Cafardo hear the Phillies are not inclined to move Hamels unless they’re blown away. They see him as someone who can anchor the rotation going forward and be part of the next winning team in Philadelphia. In fact, Cafardo says they’d need three top prospects and a team to absorb his full contract to move him. That seems unlikely to happen. (For what it’s worth, Buster Olney says the Phillies are telling teams Hamels is not available at all.) Like Lee, Hamels is an elite left-hander who has been a workhorse, has experience in a big market, and shown he can dominate in the postseason. Either guy would fit wonderfully in the Yankees’ rotation.
RHP Kyle Kendrick and RHP Roberto Hernandez
Regardless of whether you think the Yankees should be buying or selling — this is a very binary thing, of course, nothing in the middle is allowed — I think we can all agree they need to add another starter to eat up some innings at the very least. Hanging Chase Whitley out to dry in the second half is a recipe for disaster. Another McCarthy-esque pickup feels like the absolutely minimum for New York before the deadline.
The 29-year-old Kendrick has thrown at least 150 innings three times in the last four years and is at 20 starts and 125.2 innings this season. The problem? He’s been terrible, with a 4.87 ERA (4.57 FIP) this year and 5.38 ERA (4.51 FIP) over the last calendar year. Hernandez, 33, has also thrown 150+ innings in three of the last four years and is poised to do so again this year (17 starts, three relief appearances, 100.1 innings). He has a 4.22 ERA (4.78 FIP) this season and a 4.41 ERA (4.78 FIP) over the last calendar year. Both guys would likely come cheap and chew up some innings, but that’s it. They won’t have an impact.
RHP Jonathan Papelbon and various relievers
Papelbon, who is now 33, recently told Matt Gelb he would welcome a trade to a contender, assuming someone is willing to take on the $18M he is owed through next season (plus a $13M vesting option for 2016). He has been excellent in 2014 (1.17 ERA and 2.36 FIP) even though his strikeout rate (7.75 K/9 and 22.5 K%) has fallen for the third straight year. The Yankees could use another reliever, every team could, but this seems like overkill. If they’re willing to invest that kind of money in a reliever, I’d so much rather see them give it to the younger and better David Robertson.
The rest of Philadelphia’s bullpen includes 28-year-old lefty Antonio Bastardo, who has a 3.38 ERA (3.19 FIP) in 42.2 innings this year. He has been effective against right-handed hitters over the years and is not just a specialist. Veteran righty Mike Adams is once again on the disabled list with a shoulder problem and is likely done for the year. He’s a non-option. Others like lefty Jake Diekman (4.43 ERA and 3.01 FIP) and righty Justin De Fratus (3.07 ERA and 3.86 FIP) are fresh off the generic middle reliever farm. There’s a reason the Phillies have been looking for quality bullpen help for about two years now. There’s not much to see here.
* * *
The Yankees are said to have no interest in a reunion with A.J. Burnett — the Orioles are reportedly trying to acquire him, by the way (imagine having Burnett and Ubaldo Jimenez in the same rotation, yikes) — which isn’t surprising. I doubt we’ll see any reunions with failed Yankees starters for a little while after the Javy Vazquez fiasco. They’ve shown they’ll let things like that scare them away from repeats for a little while.
Lee and Hamels are obviously the big pitching names with the Phillies and I get the sense both are more available now than ever before. Lee seems more easily attainable, not that it won’t sting to get him. You have to give something to get an impact pitcher like that, assuming his arm is sound following the injury. Kendrick, Hernandez, and the miscellaneous bullpen arms are not needle-movers, just warm bodies to give innings in the second half. The Yankees could use use some of those types of pitchers too.
Barf. What an awful game. The Yankees managed to look terrible in every phase of the game in their come-from-ahead 4-2 loss to the Rangers in Monday night’s series opener. This is one I look forward to forgetting.
Right-hander Miles Mikolas, a career reliever up until about two months ago, came into Monday’s game with a 10.05 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP. He promptly held the Yankees to two runs on three singles, two walks, and a solo homer in 7.1 (7.1!) innings. They scored their first run on a Carlos Beltran sacrifice fly in the first — Derek Jeter walked, moved to second on a balk, then moved to third on Jacoby Ellsbury‘s infield single — and their second on Ellsbury’s solo homer in fourth. Thus ends the run scoring portion of the recap.
Mikolas retired eight in a row between Beltran’s sac fly and Ellsbury’s homer, then he retired the final eight batters he faced as well. The Yankees had a golden opportunity to break things open in the fifth, when they loaded with bases with one out on two singles (Frankie Cervelli and Zelous Wheeler) and one walk (Brett Gardner). Jeter wiped out the rally by banging into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play on the second pitch. Predictable, unfortunately.
The Yankees teased in the ninth thanks to a Kelly Johnson single and a Brian McCann pinch-hit-by-pitch, but that didn’t go anywhere. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to a pitcher for throwing a great game. Sometimes you have to look in the mirror and blame yourself for not rocking a guy like Miles Mikolas. Gross.
The Third Out
The sixth inning unraveled for Shane Greene and the Yankees in the blink of an eye. The young right-hander had the worst of his three career starts both in terms of results and stuff/command, as he struggled to locate just about all night. And yet, he held Texas to one infield defense-aided run in the first five innings (more on that in a bit). Then the sixth inning happened.
Greene started the inning with two quick outs before someone name Jake Smolinski singled on a ground ball back up the middle. Someone named Jim Adduci followed that with a walk, then Geovany Soto (I’ve heard of him!) slapped a broken bat single just over Wheeler and into left field for a game-tying single. Joe Girardi went to lefty specialist Matt Thornton at that point, and Thornton allowed run-scoring ground ball singles to (lefty) Rougned Odor and (lefty) Shin-Soo Choo. Lefty specialist: getting lefties out not required.
Adam Warren came out of the bullpen to record that elusive final out of the inning, but by then the damage had been done. The Yankees were up 2-1 and the bases were empty with two outs in the sixth, but the next five batters reached and suddenly that 2-1 lead was a 4-2 deficit. In hindsight, Girardi should have went straight to Warren after Smolinksi reached base. If you’re willing to use him down two runs in the sixth you might as well use him up one run instead.
The Yankees were charged with four errors … in the first four innings. It should have been five too. The official scorer was generous. Greene was responsible for three of those errors, one when he dropped a flip from Johnson at first and two when he threw the ball away. The first was a little flip on a comebacker, the second was a tough play on a weak grounder near the third base line. Both throws wound up in the stands, though Greene pitched around his errors all three times.
The fourth error — and what should have been the fifth error — was the one that burned him. The third inning rally started with a legitimate one-out Choo double to right-center, then he advanced to third when Brian Roberts muffed a hard-hit grounder and failed to get the out at first. They called it a hit even though Roberts was square to the ball and it hit him in the glove. Choo scored when Adrian Beltre hit what looked like a potential 6-4-3 double play, though Roberts failed to catch the flip from Jeter. It wasn’t a perfect flip, but again, it hit him in the glove. That was the error.
And, just for good measure, the Yankees committed their fifth error of the night in the seventh inning, when Jeter threw the ball away on the most routine of routine grounders. He didn’t even have to move. It was hit right too him and his throw (barely) pulled Johnson off the bag at first. They initially called it an out but the Rangers challenged and it was overturned. Somehow only one of the five errors led directly to a run, though Greene’s three misplays certainly upped his pitch count and could have led to fatigue in that sixth inning.
David Huff was the team’s third and final reliever of the night. He allowed a single to Beltre — the best case scenario, really — and an intentional walk to Chris Gimenez in two otherwise uneventful innings. He and Warren were fine. Thornton really ruined things by failing to retire either of the two lefties he was asked to face. He has one swing and miss in his last five appearances (35 total pitches), by the way.
Ellsbury had two hits while Cervelli, Johnson, and Wheeler had one each. That’s all. Five hits and five errors on the night. Gardner drew two walks and Jeter had one. The 4-5-6-7 hitters went a combined 1-for-14 with Johnson’s single, Beltran’s sac fly, and McCann’s hit-by-pitch. One day the Yankees will upgrade their offense. One day. (I don’t mean guys like Wheeler either. Real upgrades.)
The Yankees had five errors in a game for the first time since July 2007. Greene also became the first Yankees pitcher to make three errors in a game since Tommy John back in 1988. He heard some loud half-derisive/half-supportive cheers whenever he cleanly fielded a ball after that.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head over to MLB.com for the box scores and video highlights. There are some other stats at FanGraphs and the updated standings are at ESPN. Depending on the outcomes of the late games, the Yankees will be either three games (Orioles lose) or four games (Orioles win) back of the top spot in the AL East and either 1.5 games (Mariners lose) or 2.5 games (Mariners win) back of the second wildcard spot.
These same two teams will play the second game of this four-game series on Tuesday night, when rookie right-handers Chase Whitley and Nick Martinez get the ball. Something tells me we might be in for a whole lotta bullpen. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch that game or any of the other five games left on the homestand.
- Baseball America (no subs. req’d) covered 2B Rob Refsnyder as part of their What To Expect series today. You get a scouting report and a general overview of why he is not in the big leagues right now.
- 3B Rob Segedin has (finally) been promoted to Triple-A Scranton, according to Chad Jennings. LHP Jeremy Bleich has been placed on the Triple-A DL for an unknown reason in a corresponding move. He’s had a lot of arm issues over the years.
Triple-A Scranton (2-1 win over Gwinnett)
- 2B-1B Jose Pirela, RF-2B Rob Refsnyder & CF-RF Zoilo Almonte: all 1-4, 1 K — Refsnyder doubled in a run
- C John Ryan Murphy: 2-3, 1 K
- 3B Rob Segedin: 0-3, 1 RBI, 1 K — Triple-A debut
- LF Taylor Dugas: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SB
- RHP Bruce Billings: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 7/1 GB/FB — 65 of 91 pitches were strikes (71%)
- RHP Edgmer Escalona: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 5/0 GB/FB — 19 of 23 pitches were strikes (83%)