DotF: Andujar hits first Triple-A homer in Scranton’s win

Triple-A Scranton (10-9 win over Pawtucket)

  • SS Tyler Wade: 1-2, 2 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 SB — he’s 24-for-28 (86%) in steal attempts this season … 10.5 BB% and 17.3 K% this year after 11.3 BB% and 17.7 K% last year … he’s managed to hold his strikeout and walk rates relatively steady despite moving up a level, so that’s cool
  • DH Jacoby Ellsbury: 2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI — 3-for-8 with two doubles in two rehab games … here’s video of his double and single … he supposed to head to Trenton next to continue his rehab assignment (Scranton is going out on the road and the Thunder will be home this week) though I suppose Aaron Hicks’ oblique injury could change that … rushing a dude back from a concussion doesn’t seem like a good idea though
  • CF Dustin Fowler: 1-5, 2 RBI
  • 1B Rob Refsnyder: 2-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
  • RF Clint Frazier: 2-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 K
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 2-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI — first Triple-A homer … he’s 8-for-22 (.364) with a double, a homer, two walks, and no strikeouts in six Triple-A games so far
  • RHP Bryan Mitchell: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 4/4 GB/FB — 60 of 82 pitches were strikes (73%) … Good Bryan showed up to the park today
  • RHP J.P. Feyereisen: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GB/FB — 22 of 35 pitches were strikes (63%)
  • RHP J.R. Graham: 0.2 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K — 19 of 35 pitches were strikes (54%) … tried his hardest to blow it in the ninth

[Read more…]

Comeback falls just short, Yankees drop finale 7-6 to Rangers


Source: FanGraphs

Well, at least the Yankees showed some Fighting Spirit in Sunday’s game. They very nearly rallied to erase an early 7-0 deficit — they brought the winning run to the plate in the ninth! — but ultimately could not finish the comeback. Alas. The final score as 7-6 Rangers. The Yankees have lost ten of their last 12 games now, yet somehow remain in first place in the AL East. The Red Sox can’t be too happy about that. Anyway, let’s recap with bullet points because it’s Sunday:

  • Small Mike: It is becoming increasing clear Michael Pineda‘s strong start to the season was nothing more than a classic Michael Pineda hot streak that happened to occur at the start of the season. Nothing’s really changed. He allowed three runs in the first inning Sunday afternoon, including a two-out two-run homer to Adrian Beltre, then he gave up three more in the second, all on a two-out three-run homer by Shin-Soo Choo. Here are his slider locations. Hanger city. Pineda finished the afternoon with seven runs allowed in four innings. He’s allowed at least five runs in three of his last five starts.
  • Four-Run Rally: All praise the obstruction rule. Nick Martinez struck out Austin Romine for the third out of the fifth inning, but the ball got away from catcher Jonathan Lucroy, and Martinez got in Romine’s way as he ran to first on the wild pitch. Romine beat the throw to first anyway, but the official call was obstruction on Martinez. Romine would have been awarded first anyway. That kept the inning alive for Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. Judge stroked a run-scoring single to center, then Sanchez followed with a three-run dinger into Monument Park. Suddenly a seven-run deficit became a three-run deficit. Hmmm.
  • Two More Runs: The comeback got serious in the seventh inning. Ronald Torreyes smacked a solo home run to get the Yankees to within 7-5 — the best part? Didi Gregorius picked up Judge to he could high-five Torreyes (video) — then two two-out walks set up Gregorius for a run-scoring single to right. Unfortunately, Sanchez got thrown out going first-to-third on the single to end the inning. Third out at third base down a run? Yuck. The Yankees couldn’t do anything after Chase Headley‘s leadoff double in the eighth, then Sanchez struck out with Judge on first base to end the game in the ninth. Bah. At least the offense showed some life. Haven’t seen much of that lately.
  • The Unsung Heroes: Shout out to the bullpen for making the comeback attempt possible. Tyler Webb (one inning), Chad Green (two innings), Dellin Betances (one inning), and Aroldis Chapman (one inning) combined for five zeroes after Pineda was removed. Two hits, two walks, seven strikeouts in those five innings. The bullpen has been pretty terrible the last two weeks or so. They did the job Sunday though. They gave the offense a chance to get back in the game. The bats just ran out of innings.
  • Leftovers: Aaron Hicks left the game with an oblique injury and is heading to the disabled list … Starlin Castro was not available after receiving a cortisone shot in his wrist … Judge (two singles, two walks) reached base four times and Headley (two singles, double) reached three times … the Yankees had 14 baserunners and did go 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position … Judge stretched his on-base streak to 27 games. That’s the longest by a Yankee since Derek Jeter had a 36-gamer in 2012. The last Yankee rookie with an on-base streak that long was Gil McDougald in 1951. He did it in 29 straight.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload page either. The Yankees are now heading to Chicago for the second time this season. They swept the Cubs earlier this year and they’ll look to sweep the White Sox this week. It’s a four-game series. Lefties Jordan Montgomery and David Holmberg are Monday night’s scheduled starting pitchers.

Update: Aaron Hicks exits Sunday’s game with oblique injury

(Al Bello/Getty)
(Al Bello/Getty)

5:56pm ET: Hicks will be placed on the disabled list, he told reporters following today’s game. He said he was told he would miss 3-4 weeks. That is: bad.

4:21pm ET: Hicks left today’s game with right oblique tightness, the Yankees announced. So it’s not the Achilles. It’s a new injury. That’s bad. Obliques can take a while to recover. Hicks is heading for tests to determine the severity of the injury and all that. Fingers crossed.

3:41pm ET: Aaron Hicks was removed from this afternoon’s game after four innings, presumably with an injury. The YES Network cameras caught him grimacing several times throughout the game, most notably after running to first on a base hit, and running down a ball in center field. There wasn’t one obvious play where he suffered the injury.

Hicks missed a few games with an Achilles injury last weekend. He returned a few days ago and seemed to be running fine since, though he could have reaggravated the Achilles injury at some point this weekend. Or it could be something else entirely. The Yankees haven’t announced an update yet, so stay tuned.

The Yankees are already without Jacoby Ellsbury, who is currently on a minor league rehab assignment. I doubt they’d rush him back from a concussion should Hicks miss time. Maybe they’ll call up Clint Frazier or Dustin Fowler. If Hicks lands on the DL, I’d bet Rob Refsnyder comes back until Ellsbury is ready. We’ll see.

Sunday Open Thread

Here is an open thread for the rest of the weekend. The Mets are playing right now and MLB Network is showing a regional game as well. The ESPN Sunday Night Game is the Pirates and Cardinals. ESPN probably didn’t expect both clubs to be at least five games under .500 when they scheduled this broadcast way back when. Anyway, you know how these open threads work, so have at it.

(You can see a bunch more Old Timers’ Day videos right here, by the way.)

Game 73: Old Timers’ Day

Hip hip. (Jim McIsaac/Getty)
Hip hip. (Jim McIsaac/Getty)

The Yankees are bad now, maybe forever but probably only temporarily, and this afternoon we’ll get to forget all about the 2017 Yankees for a few hours. Today is the 71st annual Old Timers’ Day, the franchise’s annual celebration of their unmatched history. Pretty much no other team can do something like this. The Dodgers tried it a year or two ago and it was kinda sad.

Based on experience, Old Timers’ Day is best enjoyed in person at Yankee Stadium, not through television. It also makes for a really, really long day in the ballpark, but that’s okay. No matter your age, many of the great Yankees of your youth will be in the ballpark today. Hall of Famers, All-Stars, fan favorites, role players … there’s something for everyone on a day like this.

Here is the roster of 2017 Old Timers. For the first time ever, a member of the Core Four Five will be in attendance. Jorge Posada is making his Old Timers’ Day debut this afternoon after inexcusably falling off the Hall of Fame ballot in his first year of eligibility over the winter. I’m not saying Posada was a no-doubt Hall of Famer, but man, he deserved more than one year on the ballot.

The Old Timers’ Day festivities will begin at approximately 11:30am ET. There will be the baseline introductions and then the Old Timers’ Game, as usual. I haven’t seen the Old Timers’ Game lineups posted anywhere, but if I find them, I’ll pass ’em along. The weather in New York today is pretty much perfect. A little on the humid side, but the sky is blue with just the right amount of clouds. The weather always seems to be great on Old Timers’ Day, doesn’t it?

Like I said, the Old Timers’ Day ceremonies begin at 11:30am ET. YES will show it of course and I believe the FOX Sports Go app will have it as well, though I can’t make any promises. MLB.tv never covers Old Timers’ Day. Sorry. Once the festivities are over, the Yankees and Rangers will wrap up their series at 2pm ET. Here is the Rangers’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Aaron Hicks
  3. DH Aaron Judge
  4. C Gary Sanchez
  5. SS Didi Gregorius
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. 1B Tyler Austin
  8. RF Mason Williams
  9. 2B Ronald Torreyes
    RHP Michael Pineda

Enjoy the day.

Injury Update: CC Sabathia (hamstring) threw a 35-pitch bullpen session today and everything went well. He hopes to return as soon as possible (duh). I wonder if he could skip a minor league rehab start at this pace. We’ll see … Greg Bird (ankle) ran on the field today for the first time since receiving a cortisone shot the other day.

DotF: Ellsbury doubles in first game of rehab assignment

Some quick notes:

  • RHP Ronald Herrera and RHP Domingo Acevedo are trading spots. D.J. Eberle says Herrera is going from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton while Acevedo goes the other way. This might only be a paper move to buy a temporary roster spot. The Yankees did the same thing with Acevedo last week. We’ll see.
  • The Yankees have released RHP Mike Schaub and OF Joe Burton, according to Matt Eddy. Schaub signed out of an independent league two years ago and spent the last two summers in Staten Island. Burton was the team’s 24th round pick last year. I do believe he is the first 2016 draftee the Yankees have released.
  • Mark Sanchez has a neat piece on 2B Nick Solak, so check that out. “Nick plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played. He’s an exceptional baseball player. Plus runner, great bat-to-ball skills,” said farm system head Gary Denbo.

Triple-A Scranton (8-0 loss to Pawtucket)

  • SS Tyler Wade: 0-3, 1 BB, 3 K
  • CF Jacoby Ellsbury: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 SB — here’s video of the double … he played five innings in center field, as scheduled … he’ll play the entire game at DH tomorrow, then join Double-A Trenton on Monday (Scranton is on the road next week and Trenton will be home)
  • LF-CF Dustin Fowler: 0-4, 3 K
  • RF Clint Frazier: 0-2, 2 BB, 1 K — threw a runner out at first … eight walks in his last 13 games
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 E (throwing)
  • LHP Daniel Camarena: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 6/1 GB/FB — 36 of 56 pitches were strikes (64%) … second start back from a shoulder issue … his first start was back with Trenton
  • RHP Brady Lail: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 5/4 GB/FB — 53 of 85 pitches were strikes (62%) … not counting RHP Luis Cessa, who is in the big leagues for the time being, the RailRiders currently have seven Triple-A caliber starters for five rotation spots (Lail, Camarena, Herrera, Acevedo, RHP Chance Adams, RHP Bryan Mitchell, LHP Chance Adams) … two guys are going to get squeezed outs, so Lail is in the bullpen for now

[Read more…]

Offense no-shows as Yankees fall 8-1 to the Rangers

The recent free fall continues. A lifeless offense and (more) bad bullpening sent the Yankees to an 8-1 loss to the Rangers on Saturday afternoon. The Yankees have lost nine of their last eleven games and are 10-12 in June overall despite outscoring their opponents by 40 (!) runs. The Orioles are good for the ol’ run differential.

This is a happy picture. (Rich Schultz/Getty)
This is a happy picture. (Rich Schultz/Getty)

The Amazing, Disappearing Offense
The Yankees have now scored three runs in their last 26 offensive innings, dating back to Aaron Judge‘s monster three-run home run against the Angels on Thursday night. They scored one run Saturday afternoon. A Judge home run, of course. He cranked a solo home run into the left field seats in the sixth inning. Austin Bibens-Dirkx caught a little too much of the plate with a 91 mph heater.

Three problems. One, the Yankees were already down 3-0 when Judge homered. Two, no one was on base when Judge homered. And three, the Yankees only had two other baserunners make it as far as second base in the game. Mason Williams walked and stole second in the first inning, then singled and stole second in the third inning. No runner made it as far as third base aside from the Judge dinger. Five hits and one walk on the afternoon. That’s all.

Bibens-Dirkx, a 32-year-old rookie who has spent multiple years in independent ball, deserves all the praise he’ll receive for this game and he should enjoy the hell out of his performance (7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) and this day. Good for him. The Yankees have been pretty crummy at the plate though. Have been for a few days now. A sampling of the ongoing slumps:

  • Aaron Hicks: 0-for-4 on Saturday and 2-for-18 (.111) since coming back from the Achilles issue.
  • Matt Holliday: 0-for-4 on Saturday and 5-for-36 (.139) in his last eleven games.
  • Starlin Castro: 1-for-4 on Saturday and 5-for-28 (.179) in his last seven games.
  • Didi Gregorius: 1-for-3 on Saturday and 5-for-27 (.185) in his last seven games.

Hmmm. That’s not good. This is baseball and players slump during the long season. It happens. It just bites when half the lineup slumps at the same time.

The Yankees went through an offensive slump a few weeks back — they scored 26 runs in a nine-game span at one point last month — and they snapped out of that. They’ll snap out of this eventually because no, those guys are not true talent .100-something hitters. Hopefully it happens soon. No disrespect to Bibens-Dirkx, but not getting a runner to third base against him is awful.

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

Five & Fly
On most days, getting five innings and three runs from your sixth starter would be an okay outcome. Just not Saturday given the way the Yankees have been swinging the bats of late. Luis Cessa gave up a first inning run in maybe the most annoying way possible. The first four batters of the game:

  • Delino DeShields Jr.: 0-2 to a walk (DeShields then stole second)
  • Shin-Soo Choo: Four-pitch strikeout
  • Elvis Andrus: 0-2 RBI single on a pitch out of the zone (strike zone plot)
  • Adrian Beltre: 0-2 to a 1-2 count to a broken bat single to center

Cessa jumped ahead in the count 0-2 to three of the first four batters, and all three reached base. The leadoff walk was easily the biggest mistake of the inning. Andrus tomahawked a high fastball to right and Cessa broke Beltre’s bat. What can you do? Cessa struck out Rougned Odor on three pitches and Carlos Gomez on six pitches to strand runners on the corners and limit the damage to one run.

After that, Cessa settled into a little groove and retired the side in order in both the second and third innings. Seven of his first eight outs were strikeouts. He ran into trouble again in the fourth, when he issued a leadoff walk to Mike Napoli and the defense couldn’t complete the line drive double play. Starlin Castro caught the ball, double-clutched, and the throw clanked off Tyler Austin‘s glove at first.

Naturally, the next batter hit a two-run home run. Cessa left a two-strike slider up enough to Gomez, who pounded it into the left field seats. Sigh. Cessa pitched around a leadoff hit batsman (Pete Kozma!) in the fifth before hitting the showers. Three runs on three hits and two walks in five innings, plus a career high eight strikeouts. Normally a winnable game from the sixth starter. Normally.

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

The Bullpen Of Our Discontent
The bullpen allowed the Rangers to tack on five runs in the late innings and it was the usual suspects: Jonathan Holder and Tyler Clippard. Holder’s sixth inning went double off the wall, fly out to the right field warning track, strikeout, fly out to the left field warning track. Seems good. The first batter he faced in the seventh, Robinson Chirinos, hit a homer. So four of the first five men he faced hit the ball to at least to the warning track.

A 4-1 deficit is a good time to try to iron out Clippard’s issues, apparently. Three-run lead in the ninth inning? This situation is so important I have to literally save my best reliever in case it arises. Three-run deficit in the ninth inning? Oh well, the chances of a comeback are so small that I might as well give my struggling reliever some work. The wonders of modern bullpen usage. Chess, not checkers, people.

Clippard allowed four runs on three hits and two walks. Loud hits too. They didn’t dink and dunk him that inning. Clippard needed 36 pitches to get three outs and looked just terrible. No life on his fastball and his changeup might as well be a batting practice fastball. He’s allowed eleven runs and 14 baserunners in his last 3.2 innings. Holder has allowed ten runs and 20 baserunners (including five homers!) in his last 14 innings. He’s lucky Clippard is around to deflect attention. Bad bullpen is bad.

Leftovers
Welcome back to the big leagues, Tyler Austin. He went 0-for-3 with a three-pitch strikeout, a six-pitch strikeout, and a first pitch double play. He also couldn’t make the catch on the potential line drive double play in the fifth, though, to be fair, it was not an easy play. Still, Chris Carter would have been raked the coals for that.

Welcome to the big leagues, Tyler Webb. He made his MLB debut between Holder and Clippard and retired the left-handed hitting Choo. He also tossed a perfect eighth inning as well. I’m pretty sure that makes Webb the third best reliever in the bullpen now.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head over to ESPN for the box score and updated standings. MLB.com has the video highlights and we have a Bullpen Workload page. Here’s the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Old Timers’ Day! The Yankees will hold their annual celebration of the team’s history Sunday afternoon. The ceremony starts at 11:30am ET. The series finale against the Rangers will then begin at 2pm ET. Michael Pineda and Nick Martinez are the scheduled starting pitchers. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to catch Old Timers’ Day, or boo the offense and bullpen.