Game 103: In Search of the Elusive Second Run

Me too, Joe. Me too. (Brian Blanco/Getty)
Me too, Joe. Me too. (Brian Blanco/Getty)

The Yankees have scored two runs total since the end of Tuesday’s game. Yeah, there was an off-day Thursday, but still. One run Wednesday and one run Friday. That’s it. They’ve scored no more than two runs seven times in the last 13 games, and the Yankees rank dead last in the AL with a .391 SLG despite playing half their games in homer happy Yankee Stadium. In other words, it has been business as usual for one of baseball’s worst offenses lately.

Anyway, the Yankees and Rays are playing the second game of their three-game series tonight. I’m not going to be around to add the lineups to the post, so I’ll instead point you to Chad Jennings’ site. He’ll have them. Tonight’s game will begin a little after 6pm ET and you can watch on YES. Try to enjoy.

Injury Update: Bryan Mitchell (toe) was scheduled to throw a simulated game today. That’s good news. He’s pretty far along in his rehab if he’s already throwing sim games. We might see Mitchell in the big leagues by the end of August.

2016 Trade Deadline Rumors Open Thread: Saturday

(Brian Blanco/Getty)
(Brian Blanco/Getty)

The trade deadline is creeping closer and closer. It’s less than 55 hours away right now, and so far the Yankees have made just one deal, the Aroldis Chapman swap. To be fair, it’s not like a ton of trades are happening around the league. There’s been one or two a day this last week, and none have been particularly exciting. Chapman’s been by far the best player traded this week.

Once again, we’re going to keep track of the day’s trade rumblings right here. Or try to, anyway. I’m going to be running around all day today, so I can’t promise prompt updates, but I’ll do my best. The Yankees tend to keep things close to the vest anyway. It’s not like the last few days have been full of rumors. Here are Friday’s rumblings and here’s what’s happening today. All time stamps are ET.

  • 10:00am: Brian Cashman has been given the thumbs up to trade Ivan Nova, but not yet Michael Pineda or Nathan Eovaldi. Ownership is still hanging on to that “this team can contend!” silliness. Hopefully it’s just posturing. [Joel Sherman]
  • 10:00am: The Yankees and Indians have discussed all sorts of trade scenarios, including some involving Carlos Beltran. Cleveland doesn’t have much payroll wiggle room though and that’s an obstacle. In my opinion the Yankees should be very willing to eat money if it means getting better players in return. Flex that financial muscle. [Jon Heyman]
  • 10:00am: Brian Cashman told the Giants very early on that they didn’t have the prospects to get Chapman or Andrew Miller. Harsh? Maybe. But it’s good to get that out there early rather than string the Giants along and waste everyone’s time. [Sherman]
  • 1:53pm: The Yankees are gauging Brian McCann‘s market and the Braves have interest in a reunion. New York wants real prospects in return and doesn’t want to eat money. The Braves, naturally, want the Yankees to eat some of the $34M owed to McCann from 2017-18 and give up lower rated prospects. McCann has a no-trade clause but is from the Atlanta area, so he may be willing to waive it to go home and help the Braves open their new park next season. [Jon Heyman, Buster Olney, Joel Sherman]
  • 1:58pm: The Rangers have touched base with the Yankees about Beltran, but talks don’t appear to be serious. Texas lost Prince Fielder to season-ending neck surgery a few days ago, creating an opening at DH. [T.R. Sullivan]

Reminder before you comment: Your trade proposal sucks.

Nova hit hard, bats go quiet in 5-1 loss to Rays

I’ve seen more entertaining ballgames. Let’s put it that way. The Yankees dropped Friday’s series opener 5-1 to the Rays and the game was not terribly competitive. The Rays took a quick lead and New York never really came close to putting together a sustained rally. A blah game all the way around.

Bye Ivan. (Brian Blanco/Getty)
Bye Ivan. (Brian Blanco/Getty)

Nova, For The Last Time?
In what was possibly his final game as a Yankee, Ivan Nova couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning and he left jawing with home plate umpire Laz Diaz. To be fair, Diaz has been one of the worst umps in the game for years. Anyway, Nova got hammered Friday, and the damage would have been a lot worse than if not for some nice defense by Chase Headley and several great blocks by Brian McCann.

It took all of three pitches for the Rays to take a 1-0 lead, and after 12 pitches, they were up 2-0. Nova allowed first inning dingers to Logan Forsythe and Corey Dickerson, so he got the #obligatoryhomers out of the way early. He’s allowed a homer in 14 of his 15 starts this season, totaling 18 homers in 83.1 innings. That’s a 1.95 HR/9 for a guy who is supposed to be a sinkerballer. Not great, Bob.

The Rays scored their third run two innings later on what was ultimately scored a Didi Gregorius throwing error, but that had more to do with Starlin Castro flipping the ball too casually to second on a potential 4-6-3 double play, forcing Didi to rush the throw. Tampa should have had a runner on third with two outs after the double play. Instead they had a run home with a runner on second and one out.

Tampa’s other two runs came on back-to-back doubles in the fifth, and later a sac fly. They scored their five runs on six hits and three walks in 4.1 innings against Nova, and five of the six hits were for extra bases (two doubles, two homers, one triple). That’s pretty indicative of how hard they were hitting him. There were lots of rockets all over the field. Even the outs. It was not pretty. Nova’s location was awful, even by his standards.

The trade deadline is Monday, and based on everything we’ve heard the last few days, it seems inevitable that Nova will be traded before then. The pitching market is pretty wild right now — the Rangers trade for Lucas Harrell on purpose this week — so maybe the Yankees will get something more than nothing. Nova’s trade value wasn’t all that high and this game didn’t help matters.

(Brian Blanco/Getty)
(Brian Blanco/Getty)

One Run, Again
For the 23rd time this season, the Yankees failed to score at least two runs Friday night. Those 23 games with zero or one run are the most in the AL and the third most in MLB, better than only the Mets and Brewers (24 each). The Yankees did have ten hits in this game, but all ten were singles. They are dead last in the AL with a .391 SLG as a team — that’s even sadder when you consider their home ballpark — are their ten games with no extra-base hits are tied for the second most in baseball. Only the Braves (14) have more. Yuck.

The Yankees put two runners on base with one out in the first and didn’t score, because of course. Their 35 first inning runs are the second fewest in baseball. Only the Phillies have fewer. They have 34. Gross. Jake Odorizzi predictably settled down and retired 18 of the next 20 batters, and one of the two baserunners reached on an infield single. The Yankees finally broke through against the bullpen, scoring their run on a walk (Brett Gardner) and two singles (McCann, Mark Teixeira), but by then it was too late. I miss runs. Those are fun. This team isn’t. They’re boring.

Leftovers
Chad Green threw 3.2 shutout innings after Nova and honestly, I don’t think he looked as good as his pitching line (3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K). He allowed some very hard hit balls that just so happened to be right at people, and only 35 of his 67 pitches were strikes. Green faced 15 batters and threw only five first pitch strikes. Six of the 15 saw a hitter friendly 2-0 or 3-1 count. I still really like Green’s arm. This was one of those games that looks much prettier in the box score than it did in real life though.

Headley had two hits and Castro had no hits. The other seven starters had one hit apiece, and Alex Rodriguez came off the bench to provide a pinch-hit single. It was A-Rod‘s first game action since last Friday. I wish I was joking. He just sat on the bench for an entire week. It’s pretty amazing the Yankees would rather play with what amounts to a 24-man roster than release him, eat the rest of his contract, and use the roster spot on someone else. They have to pay the rest of the contract anyway.

And finally, the Yankees are 8-6 since the All-Star break against a pretty tough schedule, and according to FanGraphs their postseason odds have dropped from 8.1% to 7.4%. That recent hot streak was a total mirage built on unsustainably great pitching. The trade deadline is Monday and hopefully the Yankees do the smart thing and don’t stop selling at Aroldis Chapman. This isn’t a postseason team. Not even close.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and updated standings, go to ESPN. MLB.com has the video highlights and we have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings. The bullpen page is pretty useful. The announcer page? Not so much. Anyway, here is the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Leftovers
The Yankees and Rays will play the second game of this three-game series Saturday evening. That’s a 6:10pm ET start for whatever reason. Nathan Eovaldi and Drew Smyly are the scheduled starters.

DotF: Fowler extends hitting streak in Trenton’s win

High-A Tampa manager Pat Osborn spoke to Randy Miller about a whole bunch of his players, so check that out. Buried within the feature are a few injury updates. Here they are as well as the rest of the day’s notes:

  • LHP Ian Clarkin is done for the season with “a little meniscus issue that he’s getting repaired,” according to Osborn. I assume the “getting repaired” thing means surgery. Sucks. The good news is Clarkin’s arm is healthy. He was still able to throw 98 innings after missing all of last season with an elbow injury.
  • LHP Jacob Lindgren is currently throwing off a mound, which indicates he might actually pitch in games again at some point this season. He threw seven innings with High-A Tampa in April before getting shut down with some sort of elbow problem. Lindgren has surgery to remove a bone spur last year, remember.
  • This year Yankees’ farmhands will play for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League, the league announced (PDF link). Last year they were on the Surprise Saguaros. Scottsdale will have have Angels, Phillies, Mets, and Giants prospects as well. The AzFL rosters are usually announced in late-August. Someone should really send me a mailbag question about who the Yankees might send this year, wink wink nudge nudge.
  • Both OF Dustin Fowler (No. 9) and OF Blake Rutherford (No. 18) made this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet, so make sure check that out. Rutherford’s hitting .370/.430/.617 (182 wRC+) in his first 22 pro games. That’ll do, kid.

Triple-A Scranton (1-0 loss to Pawtucket)

  • CF Mason Williams: 0-4
  • DH Ben Gamel: 1-4, 1 K
  • 1B Tyler Austin: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K — 23-for-59 (.390) with six doubles, five homers, 15 walks, and 14 strikeouts in his last 18 games
  • RF Jake Cave: 0-3, 2 K
  • LHP Dietrich Enns: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 5/3 GB/FB — 53 of 89 pitches were strikes (60%) … tenth time in 19 starts he’s allowed one earned run or less
  • RHP Conor Mullee: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/0 GB/FB — all seven pitches were strikes … this starts his 20-day rehab assignment clock … he’s currently on the MLB DL with a hand/nerve issue
  • RHP Jonathan Holder: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB — ten of 14 pitches were strikes (71%) … 72/7 K/BB in 50 innings at three levels this year

[Read more…]

Game 102: Ivan’s final game as a Yankee?

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Aside from one Spring Training with the Padres as a Rule 5 Draft pick back in 2009, the Yankees are the only organization Ivan Nova has ever known. He’s been with the Yankees since July 2004, when they gave him an $80,000 bonus as a 17-year-old kid from the Dominican Republic. Only Alex Rodriguez has a longer tenure in the organization among all players.

Tonight very well might be Nova’s final game as a Yankee. The trade deadline is Monday and reports indicate the Yankees are planning to trade Ivan one way or another. He’s going to be a free agent this winter and he’s not a qualifying offer candidate, so the team would rather get something for him now instead of nothing after the season. Nothing personal. It’s just a sensible baseball move.

Nova’s thrown 724.2 innings for New York since 2010 and he’s been almost perfectly league average (95 ERA+). He’s had some big time peaks and valleys along the way, no doubt about it, but for a low-profile international signing, Ivan turned out pretty damn good. It’s sort of weird tonight might be his last outing as a Yankee. Here’s the Rays’ lineup he’ll face and here’s the Yankees’ lineup that will back him up:

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

The weather in St. Petersburg doesn’t really matter. It’ll be a climate controlled 72 degrees or so inside Tropicana Field tonight. Tonight’s game will begin at 7:10pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

2016 Trade Deadline Rumors Open Thread: Friday

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

As you may have heard, a fake rumor was going around last night that Carlos Beltran had been traded to the Indians. Actually, it wasn’t a fake rumor, per se. It came from this MLB.com article with a bunch of trade suggestions, and Twins people put the deals up on the dang Target Field scoreboard. The internet was abuzz for a few minutes, but no, there was no Beltran trade. Not yet, anyway.

The trade deadline is less than 80 hours away now, and since the Aroldis Chapman trade earlier this week, things have been rather quite around the Yankees. That’s not all that uncommon. They tend to keep things close to the vest. You can read through Thursday’s rumors right here. There’s not too many of them though. Once again, we’re going to keep track of the day’s Yankees-related trade rumors right here, so check back often. All time stamps are ET.

  • 9:30am: The Rangers have remained in contact with the Yankees about Ivan Nova as well as Andrew Miller and Beltran. Possibly Michael Pineda too. Texas is short on pitching, and they just lost Prince Fielder to season-ending neck surgery, so they have a hole at DH too. [Joel Sherman]
  • 1:39pm: The Nationals are believed to be willing to trade Lucas Giolito for Andrew Miller, straight up. This seems like a leak designed to get someone else to blink. Who? I’m not sure. [Jon Morosi]
  • 1:56pm: Word is the Yankees would need “three times as much” as they received for Chapman to trade Miller. That doesn’t mean they want 12 players in return (duh), they want higher quality players. That makes sense. The Cubs got one postseason run from Chapman. Whoever gets Miller gets three postseason runs. [Jon Heyman]
  • 2:15pm: The Yankees would not trade Miller for Giolito straight up. I’m in the minority, but I agree with that. The Yankees are right to demand more. Giolito’s great, but he’s not some kind of generational talent, and his performance in the minors hasn’t matched the stuff. [Heyman]
  • 2:22pm: If the Nationals are willing to trade Giolito for Miller, they’ve yet to approach the Yankees about it. [Sherman]

Reminder before you comment: Your trade proposal sucks.

7/29 to 7/31 Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays

(Getty)
(Getty)

Time for the final series before the trade deadline. The Yankees have already made one huge move by sending Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs. Will they do anything else before Monday? My guess is yes. This group could look a lot different in a few days. The Yankees are in Tampa for three games against the Rays this weekend, by the way.

What Have They Done Lately?

The Rays just wrapped up a West Coast trip in which they won four of nine games. They lost four of the final five games on the trip though. Tampa’s season completely raveled in mid-June. They were 31-32 on the morning of June 16th, and since then they’ve lost 29 of 37 games. Woof. No other team has lost more than 22 games since June 16th. The Rays are 39-61 with a -57 run differential overall. Only the Twins and the ain’t even tryin’ Braves have a worse record this season. The Yankees won two of three both times these clubs met earlier this season, including a series at Tropicana Field in late-May.

Offense & Defense

The Rays aren’t good at anything. Seriously. Below-average all the way around, even their vaunted pitching staff. Tampa is averaging only 3.95 runs per game with a team 96 wRC+. They have a 58 wRC+ as a team in high-leverage spots. Good gravy. The Rays are without OF Desmond Jennings (hamstring) and OF Mikie Mahtook (hand). Neither is expected back this series.

Miller. (Brian Blanco/Getty)
Miller. (Brian Blanco/Getty)

Manager Kevin Cash stacks the top of the lineup the same way pretty much every game: 2B Logan Forsythe (113 wRC+) leads off, SS Brad Miller (104 wRC+) bats second, and 3B Evan Longoria (135 wRC+) bats third. Longoria’s power has come back this year, it seems. He’s hit 23 homers in 98 games this season after hitting 22 and 21 homers the last two years. DH/OF Corey Dickerson (93 wRC+), UTIL Steve Pearce (147 wRC+), and 1B Logan Morrison (85 wRC+) occupy the rest of the middle of the order.

CF Kevin Kiermaier (90 wRC+) and RF Steven Souza (88 wRC+) are the other notable regulars. OF Oswaldo Arcia (87 wRC+) and OF Brandon Guyer (110 wRC+) get platoon duty while C Curt Casali (54 wRC+) is the primary catcher. C Luke Maille (30 wRC+) is the backup. IF Tim Beckham (93 wRC+), the first overall pick in the 2008 draft, is finally carving out a role as a part-time player. Imagine if the Rays had taken Buster Posey, the consensus top prospect in the 2008 draft, instead of Beckham. Everything would be different.

Tampa is not a good defensive team. In fact, that’s partially by design. They accepted defensive downgrades at first (Morrison) and short (Miller) as well as behind the plate (Casali) in an effort to add offense. It hasn’t really worked. Kiermaier is an outstanding defender in center and Longoria’s really good too. Souza and Forsythe are fine. That’s about all there is to say about that. Miller has a knack for hilarious errors, just FYI.

Pitching Matchups

Friday (7:10pm ET): RHP Ivan Nova (vs. TB) vs. RHP Jake Odorizzi (vs. NYY)
Two pitchers reportedly on the trade block will be on the mound tonight. Unless they’re traded within the next few hours, of course. Odorizzi, 26, has a 4.10 ERA (4.14 FIP) in 21 starts and 118.2 innings so far this season. His strikeout (22.5%), walk (7.2%), and grounder (37.2%) rates are the same as always, though he has been more homer prone (1.37 HR/9) this year than in the past. Odorizzi has a pretty big reverse split this year, which is not unusual for him. His best pitch is a nasty mid-80s splitter, which he uses to neutralize lefties. A low-to-mid-90s four-seamer sets it up. Odorizzi also throws a mid-80s cutter/slider hybrid and a soft low-70s curve. The Yankees have seen Odorizzi once before this season, when he flirted with a no-hitter. Starlin Castro ended up hitting a two-run bomb to spoil things. The Yankees won that game despite being one-hit.

Saturday (6:10pm ET): RHP Nathan Eovaldi (vs. TB) vs. LHP Drew Smyly (vs. NYY)
It’s probably not a good thing when you trade a legitimate ace and two years later the main piece in the return has a 5.42 ERA (4.44 FIP) in 19 starts and 111.1 innings. The 27-year-old Smyly has battled injuries and inconsistency since coming over in the David Price deal, and this summer he’s been both fly ball (32.4%) and homer (1.70 HR/9) prone. His strikeout (23.5%) and walk (6.3%) rates are good though. Both lefties and righties have hit him hard this season. Smyly is a four-pitch southpaw, using a low-90s four-seamer and a mid-80s cutter to set up his low-80s changeup and mid-70s curveball. The Yankees saw Smyly back in April and, naturally, he held them to one run in seven innings.

Babyface Snell. (Brian Blanco/Getty)
Babyface Snell. (Brian Blanco/Getty)

Sunday (1:10pm ET): RHP Michael Pineda (vs. TB) vs. LHP Blake Snell (vs. NYY)
Coming into the season the 23-year-old Snell was one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. The Rays selected him years ago with the compensation pick they received for losing Brad Hawpe (!) as a free agent. That was back in the old Type-A/B free agent days. Snell has a 3.05 ERA (3.12 FIP) in eight big league starts and 44.1 innings. His walk rate (11.4%) is a tad high and his strikeout (20.7%) and grounder (42.2%) rates are close to average. He hasn’t given up many homers at all (0.20 HR/9) and his platoon split is negligible. Snell sits in the mid-90s with his heater, and his array of offspeed pitches includes a mid-80s changeup, a low-80s slider, and an upper-70s curveball. He uses each of his three offspeed pitches at least 12% of the time too, so he throws everything. The Yankees saw Snell back in April — that was his MLB debut — and scored just one run in five innings.

Bullpen Status

The Rays have a bullpen with relievers in it. Some are good, some are bad. Their closer was an All-Star because the rules say the Rays needed an All-Star. That about sums up the state of Cash’s relief crew. Boring. Generic. Here’s the bullpen.

Closer: RHP Alex Colome (2.27 ERA/3.17 FIP)
Setup: LHP Xavier Cedeno (3.62/2.40), RHP Erasmo Ramirez (3.90/3.56)
Middle: RHP Kevin Jepsen (5.77/5.44), LHP Enny Romero (5.58/5.16)
Long: RHP Matt Andriese (2.70/2.91), RHP Dylan Floro (4.15/2.56)

Jepsen couldn’t get anyone out when we saw him in Minnesota a few weeks back. He’s since managed to land in Tampa. Romero throws very hard and Erasmo is kind of a multi-inning fireman reliever. Cash is pretty creative with him. Cedeno is a true left-on-left matchup guy who Cash uses for full innings for some reason. I dunno.

Like the Yankees, the Rays had an off-day yesterday. They were coming back from their West Coast and the rules say you have to have an off-day when flying west to east. Their bullpen is as fresh as it’s going to get. Same with the Yankees, but check out our Bullpen Workload page anyway.