Yankees 6, Mariners 4: Bullpen comes up big in come-from-behind win

A series win! The Yankees finally got that monkey off their back Sunday afternoon. They rallied from behind for a 6-4 win in the road trip finale over the Mariners. The Yankees managed to go 6-5 on this eleven-game, ten-day trip across three time zones. Thank goodness that one is over with.


Three Solo Dingers
It took the Yankees two pitches to take the lead Sunday afternoon. Yovani Gallardo’s first pitch to Brett Gardner in the first inning was a fastball in the dirt, and his second was a center cut fastball deposited into the right field seats for a leadoff home run. The home run was Gardner’s third leadoff dinger of the season and ninth of his career. It was also his career high tying 17th home run. There are 65 games remaining this season.

Gallardo was not done serving up the long ball. Didi Gregorius touched him up for a solo home run in the second and again in the fourth. Two Didi dingers! This was the first two-homer game of Gregorius’ career. The last Yankee shortstop with a two-homer game? Derek Jeter, of course. In 2011. Last one before that? Jeter again, in 2010. Last one before that? Cody Ransom! Ransom had two homers in Game 160 in 2008. Three solo homers equaled a 3-0 lead.


Smith Unravels
For the second time in as many big league appearances, Caleb Smith impressed early before unraveling once the lineup turned over. First time through the order he retired eight of nine Mariners faced, with Kyle Seager’s one-out double in the second the only blemish. Smith needed only 32 pitches to go through the first three innings. Eleven pitches in the first, eleven pitches in the second, and ten pitches in the third. Beautiful.

Then, one the lineup turned over, Smith retired only three of eight batters faced. He didn’t even get to face the ninth hitter. Two soft singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth inning, and I thought that was going to be it for Smith. The Yankees hadn’t won a series in forever, the bullpen is loaded, there’s an off-day Monday, and Smith let things get away from him in his previous outing after the lineup turned over. All the signs were pointing to a pitching change.

Joe Girardi didn’t agree. He stuck with Smith and hey, he struck out Seager and popped up Mitch Haniger, so he put himself in position to escape the jam. Instead, Ben Gamel managed to pull a soft first pitch jam shot into shallow right field for a two-run single. The pitch was right in on his hands:


Not sure how that pitch didn’t shatter Gamel’s bat. The two-run single cut the lead to 3-2. Two pitches later Guillermo Heredia gave the Mariners a 4-3 lead with a double to left field. Smith very nearly escaped that jam. He got two outs and really busted Gamel inside. Instead of escaping, four runs were on the board. Life is pain.

The Comeback
The Yankees regained the lead with a three-run sixth inning against former Yankees lefty James Pazos. After the way Gamel tortured them all series, Pazos stepped up and did the Embedded Yankee thing Sunday. Thanks for that, James. All the damage came with one out too. Gregorius started the inning with a ground out, then the next six men the Yankees sent to the plate reached base.

The rally started with back-to-back walks by Chase Headley and Todd Frazier, and an opposite field single by pinch-hitter Ronald Torreyes — Torreyes hit for Tyler Wade to get the right-on-left matchup against Pazos — loaded the bases with one out. Hooray for that. Gardner tied the game with an opposite field single off Gamel’s glove in left field. The way this series has been going, I figured Gamel would’ve caught that. Gardner’s single came in an 0-2 count too. Nice.

With the score tied 4-4, Mariners skipper Scott Servais brought in the right-handed Tony Zych, and Clint Frazier responded with a two-run double along the left field line. Like Gamel in the fourth inning, Frazier managed to get enough wood on a pitch in on his hands. He legendary-bat-speeded it into a go-ahead double. This kid is so much fun, isn’t he? The Gardner single and Frazier double turned a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 lead.

He's not going back to Scranton. (Presswire)
He’s not going back to Scranton. (Presswire)

The New Bullpen
Unsung hero Sunday: Chad Green. He replaced Smith, struck out Carlos Ruiz to strand two runners in the fourth, then tossed perfect fifth and sixth innings as well. Green struck out three of the seven batters he faced and gave the offense a chance to get back in the game. He restored order. That was big. It’s pretty nice to be able to use Green early in the game now, in key situations like that, isn’t it?

For whatever reason Joe Girardi decided to flip Dellin Betances and David Robertson on Sunday. Betances pitched the seventh and Robertson pitched the eighth. Not sure what that was about, though it doesn’t really matter. Three up, three down for both guys. Aroldis Chapman sandwiched a pickoff between an infield single off his leg and a double off the wall. He then got the last two outs for his 11th save. The bullpen: 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K. That’ll do.

The 3-4-5 hitters (Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Matt Holliday): 0-for-12 with three walks and four strikeouts. Judge had two walks and Holliday had one. The other six hitters in the lineup: 10-for-24 (.417) with four doubles and three homers. Sometimes the other guys have to carry you. Gardner, Gregorius, and Headley each had two hits. Headley also had two walks. He is hitting for zero power, but he’s been getting on base a bunch lately.

And finally, the series win is New York’s first since the massacre series against the Orioles from June 9th through 11th. They outscored the O’s 38-8 in that series. The Yankees were 0-8-2 in their last ten series. The last time they went at least ten series without a win? Back in 1991. What a terrible season that was. This one is much better.

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

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees are heading home for the first time in more than two weeks. They have an off-day Monday, then will welcome the Reds to the Bronx for a quick little two-game series. Rookies Jordan Montgomery and Luis Castillo will be on the mound in Tuesday night’s opener. That game is start of a nine-game homestand. RAB Tickets can get you in the door for any and all nine games.

Game 97: End of the Road Trip

(Lindsey Wasson/Getty)
(Lindsey Wasson/Getty)

This eleven-game, ten-day road trip through three times zones finally comes to an end this afternoon. The Yankees have a chance to close it out with a series win too. They haven’t won a series in more than a month now. Since massacring the Orioles that weekend at Yankee Stadium. It’s been far, far too long.

On the bump this afternoon is left-hander Caleb Smith, who will be making his first big league start. The Yankees opted to start Smith over Luis Cessa this afternoon for whatever reason. With an off-day tomorrow and a chance to a) win a damn series, and b) clinch a winning road trip, I imagine it’ll be all hands on deck out of the bullpen. Here is the Mariners’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. LF Clint Frazier
  3. RF Aaron Judge
  4. C Gary Sanchez
  5. DH Matt Holliday
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. 1B Chase Headley
  8. 3B Todd Frazier
  9. 2B Tyler Wade
    LHP Caleb Smith

You’re not going to believe this, but it’s cool and cloudy in Seattle today. Today’s series finale will begin at 4:10pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Roster Move: Ji-Man Choi has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, the team announced. I figured that would happen. Choi will remain with the Yankees as a non-40-man roster player.

Yankees trade Rob Refsnyder to Blue Jays for Ryan McBroom


The Rob Refsnyder era is over. The Yankees have traded Refsnyder to the Blue Jays for minor league first baseman Ryan McBroom, the team announced today. Refsnyder had been designated for assignment last week, when the Yankees needed 40-man roster space following the big trade with the White Sox.

McBroom, 25, is hitting .243/.321/.402 (98 wRC+) with 12 home runs in 96 Double-A games this year. He is a rare right-handed hitter and left-handed thrower. MLB.com ranked McBroom as the 30th best prospect in Toronto’s farm system before the trade. Here’s a snippet of their scouting report:

(He) does have some encouraging tools, such as above-average raw power that he generates with a strong, lofty right-handed swing. He’s an aggressive hitter with a knack for making hard contact, though there is some concern that upper-level pitchers will exploit his swing-and-miss tendencies. McBroom’s bottom-of-the-scale speed limits him to first base, but he has a chance to become an average defender there.

As a first-base-only prospect whose value comes solely from his bat, McBroom will be forced to hit his way to the Major Leagues. While he’s unlikely to ever serve as an everyday player, McBroom hits southpaws well enough to profile in a platoon role.

Not much to see here. Refsnyder didn’t have a whole lot of trade value given his MLB performance to date, lack of defensive value, lack of power, and the fact he’d already been designated for assignment. I thought the Yankees would go for a lower level lottery ticket arm like they did in the Nick Goody trade and Johnny Barbato trade. Instead, they brought in another right-handed hitting first baseman.

Prepare yourselves, Refsnyder will get a big hit against the Yankees at some point, and someone will make a “why can’t the Yankees get players like that?” joke. It will be no more clever than the first nine million times we’ve heard it.

Two comebacks aren’t enough, Yankees fall 6-5 to Mariners

Source: FanGraphs

Well that was a rough one. The Yankees showed some Fighting Spirit and rallied to tie Saturday night’s game against the Mariners twice — twice! — but ultimately, the bullpen took yet another loss. The final score was 6-5 in ten innings. The bullpen has been pretty great since the All-Star break, but still, bullpen losses stink. It’s Saturday and it’s a West Coast night game, so let’s bullet point this one:

  • Tanaka’s Bad Inning: Epitome of a One Bad Inning start for Masahiro Tanaka. He allowed four runs on four hits (including two homers) and a hit batsmen in the third inning, and no runs on two hits totals in his other five innings. The solo homers sucked. The bigger problem was four straight batters reaching with two outs to plate two additional runs. Blah. Tanaka retired the last ten batters he faced. His line: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. I don’t know either.
  • The First Comeback: After the Mariners took a 4-1 in the third inning, the Yankees chipped away. A Garrett Cooper triple and a Ronald Torreyes sac fly made it 4-2 in the fifth, an Aaron Judge solo homer made it 4-3 in the sixth, and a Matt Holliday sac fly tied it up 4-4 in the eighth. That eighth inning rally was set up by a Brett Gardner infield single and a Clint Frazier double. Holliday has really struggled lately. The two-strike sac fly was much appreciated.
  • The Second Comeback: Immediately after the Yankees tied the game in the top of the eighth, Robinson Cano took David Robertson deep in the bottom half. First pitch of the inning too. Wasn’t even a bad pitch. Down and away heater, and Cano hit it out the other way. Great hitter does great hitter things. Sucks. Anyway, in the ninth, Didi Gregorius drew a leadoff walk and Torreyes came through with the game-tying two-out single after pinch-runner Jacoby Ellsbury moved up on a wild pitch. Can’t say I saw that coming.
  • The Walk-Off Loss: Not really much to say about the game-losing rally. Adam Warren just didn’t have it. Ben Gamel smoked a leadoff double, Cano was intentionally walked, then Nelson Cruz yanked a ball to left for a walk-off single. What can you do? First earned run allowed by Warren since May 23rd. If Cruz had any decency, he would have hit a walk-off three-run home run so the Yankees could have avoided another one-run loss. They’re now 9-19 in one-run games, which means little but annoys lots.
  • Leftovers: Every starter had a hit except Todd Frazier, who did drive in New York’s first run with a double play. He is 1-for-13 with the Yankees so far … the other Frazier had a single and a double, both crushed off the wall. He was thrown out at second trying to stretch the single into a double … Tommy Kahnle struck out three and hit a batter in his scoreless inning. He’s faced ten batters as a Yankee: six strikeouts, two fly outs, one ground out, one hit batsman.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload page either. The Yankees wrap up this four-game series with the Mariners — as well as this eleven games in ten days road trip — Sunday afternoon. That’s a 4pm ET start. Luis Cessa and Yovani Gallardo are the scheduled starters. Not-so-bold prediction: runs will be scored. (Update: Caleb Smith, not Cessa, will start Sunday. The Yankees announced the late change following the game.)

Minor League Update: I have neither the time nor the energy for a full DotF tonight. Sorry. Here are the box scores and here’s the short version: OF Jake Cave had three hits, RHP Bryan Mitchell allowed three runs in 6.1 innings, CF Jorge Mateo drew a walk, CF Estevan Florial had two singles and a double, SS Wilkerman Garcia had two singles, DH Steven Sensley hit a solo homer, and 3B Andres Chaparro hit two homers.

Trade Deadline Rumors: Darvish, Gray, First Base, Betances

Darvish. (Tom Pennington/Getty)
Darvish. (Tom Pennington/Getty)

The July 31st non-waiver trade deadline is only nine days away now, and already the Yankees have made their most significant midseason trade in several years. Since … the Bobby Abreu deal? Nothing else comes to mind. Anyway, here are the latest rumors and rumblings.

Rangers gauging interest in Darvish

According to Jeff Passan, the Rangers have started reaching out to teams to gauge interest in staff ace Yu Darvish. Texas is slipping in the standings and out of the postseason race, so with Darvish set to become a free agent after the season, it only makes sense to see what teams will offer. Jerry Crasnick says the Rangers plan to wait as long as possible before making a trade. They want to see whether they can climb back into the race first.

The Yankees are said to be in the market for a starter and Darvish would be, by frickin’ far, the best available pitcher should the Rangers decide to actually trade him. The rental part is the problem. There’s no doubt Darvish would make the Yankees (or any other team) better. I don’t think the Yankees are willing to trade their top prospects — it’ll no doubt take at least one great prospect to nab Darvish — for a rental. The Yankees want to improve their postseason chances this season. The long-term plan still dominates their activity though.

A’s have named their price for Gray

The Athletics have told the Yankees their price for right-hander Sonny Gray, reports Jon Heyman. There’s no word on what that price is, but they’ve named it. The two sides are not close to a deal. Not coincidentally, Matt Kardos says the A’s had director of player personnel Billy Owens scouting Double-A Trenton on Thursday night. Jorge Mateo was in the lineup that night and Domingo Acevedo was on the mound. Hmmm.

“We’re going to stay engaged (with the A’s),” said Brian Cashman to Ethan Sears. Darvish is a better pitcher than Gray on a per-inning basis, though Darvish being a rental and Gray being under team control through 2019 is a huge difference. I think the Yankees would be more willing to trade prospects for the guy they can keep another two seasons, and I don’t think that’s unreasonable at all. That said, I don’t expect the Yankees to budge on their plan to keep their best close-to-MLB prospects. If a Gray deal gets done, it’ll be without those guys.

Yankees still open to adding a first baseman

Although Todd Frazier is now a Yankees, they remain open to adding a first baseman, reports Mark Feinsand. They are content to move forward with a Chase Headley/Garrett Cooper platoon at first base (that is one hell of a sentence), though if an opportunity to acquire an upgrade presents itself, they’ll pounce. Rentals Yonder Alonso and Lucas Duda are the big first base names out there.

Basically no team in baseball needs a first baseman right now, so the Yankees are in position to sit back, wait for the prices to drop as the deadline approaches, then make a move if something makes sense. More than anything, this is a pretty good indication the Yankees have reached their limit with Headley, who can still get on base a bit, but otherwise doesn’t offer enough offensively. He might end up spending the final year of his contract elsewhere next season, even if the Yankees have to pay a chunk of his salary.

(Mark Brown/Getty)
(Mark Brown/Getty)

Cashman says Betances is staying put

Even before the Yankees acquired David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, there was speculation the club could move Dellin Betances at the trade deadline similar to the Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman trades. Then once Robertson and Kahnle were brought on board, the speculation only increased. Now the Yankees have replacement setup men. Cashman shot all that down though. Here’s what he told MLB Network Radio this week (audio link):

“I have no intention of moving Dellin Betances. He’s a four-time All-Star and he’s a homegrown local guy. He’s as much a part of the solution of where we’re going. I’ve heard the rumblings and speculation out there. I don’t like to really address speculation, but I can tell you that Dellin Betances is not going anywhere.”

Never say never, right? Cashman says he has no intention of moving Betances … until someone puts a juicy offer in front of him. He’ll listen to trade offers for Betances the same way he listens to trade offers for everyone. I truly believe the goal behind the Robertson and Kahnle trade was adding them to Betances in the bullpen, not using them to replace Betances. They want a monster bullpen and, on paper, they have it.

Yankees were in the mix for Garcia

Before the whole non-trade saga with the Twins, the Yankees were pursuing Braves left-hander Jaime Garcia, reports Heyman. No idea if they’re still pursuing him. Here’s my Scouting The Market post. Garcia is boring and unspectacular, though he’s better than Bryan Mitchell and Luis Cessa, and the Yankees presumably could acquire him on the cheap. His injury history and the fact he’s a rental drives the price down.

Right now, my hunch is the Yankees are not going to make a significant trade for a starting pitcher like Gray. I think they’ll target rentals for the time being, just to get them through the season. They’re going to look for 2014 Brandon McCarthy in 2017, basically. That would be the optimal outcome. I can’t imagine the Yankees are done. You don’t go out and make that trade with the White Sox, then call it a day. The need in the rotation is too great to not get something done.

Judge’s monster homer leads Yanks to 5-1 win over Mariners

I don’t want to alarm anyone, but the Yankees have won two straight games and are 5-4 since the All-Star break. Crazy, I know. They might actually win a series this weekend. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. The Yankees took the second game of this four-game set against the Mariners on Friday night by the score of 5-1. Monster home runs and dynamite relief pitching. My kinda ballgame. West Coast night games get bullet points recaps, so let’s get to it:

  • Vintage Sabathia: Vintage start for CC Sabathia. He labored a bit early, everyone freaked out about his pitch count, and yet there he was on the mound in the sixth inning, with only one run on the board. And that run scored because Chase Headley is a third baseman playing first. He ranged too far to his right on a ground ball and missed the bag when he rushed to get back. That would have been the final out of the first inning. Instead, the runner was safe and a run scored. Womp womp. Sabathia allowed the one run on four hits and three walks in five innings plus one batter. He struck out five. A workmanlike effort.
  • Loud Contact: The first two innings did not go to well against rookie righty Andrew Moore. The Yankees got to him in the third when back-to-back doubles by Headley and Clint Frazier — Frazier flicked his wrists and smashed the ball off the center field wall — tied the game 1-1. Later in the inning Aaron Judge added a long sacrifice fly to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. They broke it open in the fifth inning. Single by Brett Gardner, single by Gary Sanchez, three-run home run by Judge. He almost hit it out of Safeco Field. The video is above. The guy in the last row of the upper deck caught it. Insane. Feels like an eternity since Judge last that. That mammoth homer gave the Yankees a 5-1 lead.
  • Bullpen On Parade: With the four-run lead, Joe Girardi went to his top relievers. Tommy Kahnle (one strikeout) in the sixth, David Robertson (three strikeouts) in the seventh, and Dellin Betances (two strikeouts) in the eighth. Adam Warren threw the ninth with the four-run lead. Aroldis Chapman has pitched five times in the last eight days, so yeah. Betances allowed a double just inside the bag and an opposite field single, but otherwise the bullpen shut things right down. Glad to have Robertson back. Some guys just look right in a Yankees uniform.
  • Leftovers: Nice little game for Clint Frazier, who doubled off the wall and made a great diving catch in left field. He also hit two other balls on the screws for outs. If they send Clint back to Triple-A when Aaron Hicks gets healthy, we riot … three hits for Didi Gregorius and two for Headley. The only starter without a hit was Todd Frazier … only three strikeouts for the offense, their second lowest total of the season. They struck out once in a game against the Rays in April (Jordan Montgomery‘s debut).

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload page either. This series continues Saturday night — that’s a 9pm ET start — with Masahiro Tanaka and lefty Ariel Miranda on the mound. The first series win in more than a month is within reach.

Source: FanGraphs

DotF: Robinson hits two homers in Staten Island’s win

Here are the day’s notes:

  • Two roster clearing moves, per Matt Kardos: RHP Branden Pinder has been released and RHP Dillon McNamara has been traded to the Giants for … something. Not sure what. Probably cash. Pinder had allowed just one run (unearned) in 11.2 innings back from Tommy John surgery.
  • 3B Miguel Andujar is away from Triple-A Scranton because he’s about to become a dad. He’s currently in New York with his girlfriend, who will soon give birth, reports D.J. Eberle. Congrats to them.

Triple-A Scranton (2-1 win over Charlotte, walk-off style)

  • 3B Tyler Wade: 1-4, 1 R, 1 K, 1 SB
  • CF Jake Cave: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
  • DH Mike Ford: 1-4, 1 RBI, 1 K — walk-off single
  • RF Billy McKinney: 0-3, 2 K
  • LF Mason Williams: 0-3 — threw a runner out at second
  • RHP Chance Adams: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 12/1 GB/FB — 64 of 95 pitches were strikes (67%) … only his second career start with zero strikeouts, and the first only last an inning due to rain … the ground balls are really good though

[Read more…]