Thoughts following Gleyber Torres’ promotion to Triple-A

(Justin K. Aller/Getty)
(Justin K. Aller/Getty)

Later tonight, top Yankees prospect Gleyber Torres is expected to play his first game with Triple-A Scranton. He was promoted from Double-A Trenton on Sunday. (The RailRiders were off yesterday.) I was planning to write something about the Torres promotion and what it all means, and it kinda morphed into a thoughts post, so here are some thoughts.

1. On a scale of 1-10, my level of surprise over the quick promotion is about a six. Surprised, sure, but not completely stunned. Torres is a special talent and those dudes have a way of moving up the ladder quicker than you’d expect. “More than ready. There was nothing left for him to do (in Double-A),” said one scout to Erik Boland. “Just a complete all-around hitter. Instincts far ahead of his years. There’s nothing he can’t do,” said another. Even Keith Law, who hates every Yankees prospect, says Torres is ready for Triple-A. Still, as of seven weeks ago Gleyber had never played above High Class-A. Now the Yankees — and everyone else, apparently — have deemed him ready for Triple-A. It’s not often a player this young makes nothing more than a pit stop at Double-A. The Yankees aren’t even going to let him go through the league twice. Rather than see how Torres adjusts once teams develop a book on him, they’re going to see how he adjusts to the best pitching he’s ever faced in his life at Triple-A.

2. Back in February I used MLB.com’s scouting grades to find prospects similar to Torres, and the vast majority were not nobodies. They were bonafide MLB stars. Not role players or solid regulars. Stars. Two of the most similar, Carlos Correa and Xander Bogaerts, started their age 20 seasons at Double-A like Torres. Here is how their age 20 seasons played out:

  • Correa: 29 games in Double-A, 24 games in Triple-A, 99 games in MLB.
  • Bogaerts: 56 games in Double-A, 60 games in Triple-A, 18 games in MLB.

The Astros moved Correa very aggressively during his age 20 season and he wound up winning AL Rookie of the Year. The Red Sox moved Bogaerts a little more slowly, though he quickly took over as their starting third baseman in September and played the position throughout their run to the 2013 World Series. I don’t think that sort of timetable is out of the question for Torres. I could see him making his MLB debut later this season. Torres is a special talent, though this aggressive timetable is not unprecedented. Others like Correa and Bogaerts have done it in recent years, and they’ve thrived.

3. Sorting out the playing time at Triple-A Scranton won’t be an issue. Generally speaking Torres has been playing three games at shortstop, two games at second base, and two games at third base each week, and I expect that to continue going forward. “He is a shortstop learning second and third. This is the best way to prepare him to provide protection in case we need him in the majors,” said Brian Cashman to Joel Sherman. Tyler Wade has been playing all over the field as well — he’s played every position other than pitcher, catcher, and first base this season — so squeezing him and Torres into the same lineup will be a piece of cake. Rob Refsnyder will probably end up seeing more time in right field and at first base (and at designated hitter) to accommodate the extra infielder. If anyone loses playing time, it’ll be Ruben Tejada, the veteran journeyman on a minor league contract. Not a young player with the potential to be something more than a spare part for the Yankees going forward. The ability to move Torres and Wade around means they can coexist easily. If the Yankees had kept both at shortstop full-time, well, then that would be a problem, but that’s not the case.

4. Speaking of the RailRiders, holy cow is their lineup fun now. I mean, it was fun before, but now it’s really fun. This is the batting order Scranton manager Al Pedrique will probably run out there going forward:

  1. Tyler Wade
  2. Gleyber Torres
  3. Dustin Fowler
  4. Clint Frazier
  5. Mike Ford
  6. Rob Refsnyder
  7. Mason Williams
  8. Kyle Higashioka
  9. Ruben Tejada

Goodness. The guys will rotate positions, but those are the names. (Mark Payton will play a bunch too, likely rotating with the outfielders and at designated hitter.) Torres and Frazier are two of the top 30 prospects in baseball, and both Fowler (FanGraphs) and Wade (Baseball Prospectus) managed to sneak onto the back of some top 100 lists this spring. Usually it’s exciting if a minor league affiliate has two guys like that on the roster. Scranton now has four, and it’s extra exciting because they’re at the highest level of the minors. They’re knocking on the door of the big leagues. Without question, the RailRiders are one of the most talent-packed teams in the minors. (Just for laughs, compare Scranton’s lineup to the Orioles’ Triple-A lineup. Chance Sisco is the only legit prospect the O’s have at Triple-A. Yeesh.)

5. As it stands, third base is really the only place to play Torres should the Yankees call him up at some point later this season. They’re not going to call him up only to use him twice a week as a bench player. If he gets called up, he’s going to play. Starlin Castro has been the team’s best non-Aaron Judge hitter so far this season, so he’s not sitting. Didi Gregorius has played well since returning from his shoulder injury, so he’s not going to sit either. That leaves third base, where Chase Headley has crashed back to Earth, burned up in the atmosphere, hit every tree branch on the way down, and landed in a pile of dog poop since his insane start to the season. I don’t think Headley is truly this bad, nor do I think he’s really as good as he was earlier this year. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Still, he’s the obvious candidate to lose playing time to Gleyber. The Yankees showed last season they’re willing to sit well-paid veterans in favor of young prospects. Brian McCann, who was more productive than Headley and had more years and more dollars left on his contract as well, lost his catching job to Gary Sanchez. Mark Teixeira‘s playing time was reduced to make room for Tyler Austin. Headley losing playing time to Torres would not surprise me at all. Aside from occasional spot starts at short and second, third base is the only spot to get Gleyber in the lineup regularly. Castro’s and Didi’s (and Headley’s) performances have made this an easy decision for the Yankees.

6. One argument against calling up Torres later this season, even if he is tearing up Triple-A, is service time. Call him up at any point this year and Gleyber will become a free agent during the 2023-24 offseason. Wait until the middle of next April and his free agency gets pushed back to the 2024-25 offseason. We’re talking about gaining control of his age 27 season here, a peak season. I don’t think that’s a good enough reason not to call Torres up this year, but it is something to consider. If the Yankees stay in the race and they consider Torres an upgrade over Headley, they absolutely should call him up and put the best team in the field. I am 100% in favor of that. But, if they fall out of the race and don’t have much to play for down the stretch, perhaps waiting until next April to call Torres up to gain that extra year of team control might be a smart move. Then again, the Yankees have probably done enough already this year to ensure they’ll be in the postseason hunt just about all season. It would take a colossal collapse to be out of the race come August. Manipulating service time and getting that extra year of control makes sense for any team. If Gleyber is ready though, I say call him up. It’s not like the Yankees wouldn’t be able to afford to keep him down the line anyway.

DotF: Austin continues rehab, Andujar has big game in AA win

Some notes to start the day:

  • Double-A Trenton hitting coach Tom Slater broke down SS Gleyber Torres‘ swing frame-by-frame with Josh Norris, so make sure you check that out. Torres, as you know, was promoted to Triple-A Scranton yesterday.
  • RHP Yefrey Ramirez was named the Double-A Eastern League Pitcher of the Week. He allowed three runs on seven hits and four walks in 13 innings spread across two starts. Also struck out 15 batters. Nice week, Yefrey.

Triple-A Scranton had a scheduled off-day. Gleyber’s Triple-A debut will have to wait until tomorrow.

Double-A Trenton (6-1 win over Reading)

  • SS Thairo Estrada: 0-2, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 E (throwing) — with Torres in Triple-A, shortstop figures to be all his going forward
  • RF Tyler Austin: 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K — played five innings in his third rehab game … he played his first game at DH, his second game at first base, and his third game at right field, so they’re moving him around already
  • DH Jake Cave: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 3-3, 1 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 1 SB — 8-for-26 (.308) with three doubles and two homers in his last seven games
  • LF Billy McKinney: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB
  • CF Rashad Crawford: 2-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 CS
  • LHP Justus Sheffield: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 9/3 GB/FB — 61 of 94 pitches were strikes (65%), plus he picked a runner off first … had allowed at least four runs in each of his last four starts, so good to see him bounce back well

High-A Tampa (4-3 win over Jupiter)

  • CF Jorge Mateo: 1-4, 2 K — he’s played center field in four of his last six games
  • SS Kyle Holder: 2-4, 2 R, 1 K, 1 SB — 9-for-20 (.450) during his little five-game hitting streak
  • 2B Nick Solak & RF Trey Amburgey: 0-4, 1 K
  • DH Chris Gittens: 2-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K — 11-for-27 (.407) with four doubles and three homers in his last eight games
  • 3B Gosuke Katoh: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K — his huge pro debut in the Gulf Coast League feels like a lifetime ago
  • RHP Taylor Widener: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 4/2 GB/FB — 51 of 75 pitches were strikes (68%) … 43/12 K/BB in 42.2 innings for the converted reliever … not quite Chance Adams-esque, but pretty good

Low-A Charleston was rained out. They’re going to make this game up as part of a doubleheader on June 10th.

Game 42: The Royals, Again

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Once again, the Yankees are playing the Royals, this time in New York rather than Kansas City. The Yankees took two of three from the 2015 World Series champions at Kauffman Stadium last week. Since that series, both teams have lost two of three on the road. The Yankees did so in Tampa Bay, the Royals in Minnesota.

Anyway, this is a pretty important homestand for the Yankees. Important probably isn’t the right word. It’s a good opportunity. That’s better. Seven games against the Royals and Athletics, two of the worst teams in baseball, is a great chance to pad the ol’ win-loss record a bit. One game at a time though. Here is the Royals’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. C Gary Sanchez
  3. DH Matt Holliday
  4. 2B Starlin Castro
  5. RF Aaron Judge
  6. CF Aaron Hicks
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 3B Chase Headley
  9. 1B Chris Carter
    RHP Michael Pineda

It rained in New York much of the day, but the rain has stopped, and there’s none in the forecast the rest of the night. Tonight’s game will begin a little after 7pm ET. You can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Injury Update: Greg Bird (ankle) took dry swings today. It was his first time swinging a bat since being placed on the disabled list. Bird is scheduled to hit off a tee and soft toss tomorrow.

HOPE Week: Today was the first day of HOPE Week, one of the best weeks of the year. Several Yankees went to the Bronx Zoo to help benefit the Icla da Silva Foundation, which recruits bone marrow donors. Here are some photos.

The Masahiro Tanaka Problem

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

All things considered, it’s pretty incredible the Yankees are where they are even though Masahiro Tanaka has legitimately been one of the worst pitchers in baseball so far this season. Among the 94 pitchers with enough innings to qualify for the batting title, Tanaka ranks 91st in both ERA (6.56) and FIP (6.07). Yankees starters have a 4.61 ERA (4.51 FIP) this year. Yankees starters other than Tanaka have a 4.10 ERA (4.00 FIP). Yeesh.

Tanaka hasn’t looked right pretty much all season, at least aside from the shutout in Boston, but things have been especially bad the last two times out. Especially bad as in 14 runs on 16 hits, including seven home runs, in 4.2 innings. This goes beyond the usual “he had a few bad starts” stuff. We are officially in Big Problem territory here. Something is not right with Tanaka. The question is what? No one seems to know.

Here’s the weird part: Tanaka’s contact allowed is nearly identical to last season. I mean, it’s clearly not identical given the results, but look at the batted ball data:

LD% GB% FB% Soft% Hard% Avg. Exit Velo
2016 20.7% 48.2% 31.0% 18.5% 32.4% 88.2
2017 17.4% 49.7% 32.9% 18.5% 32.7% 89.4

A quick glance at that tells you everything is fine, no need to worry, Tanaka will be back to normal in no time. La la la, I can’t hear your screams.

In all seriousness, the biggest difference between 2016 Tanaka and 2017 Tanaka is this right here:

masahiro-tanaka-splitter

That’s the splitter Tanaka threw light hitting Jesus Sucre in the second inning Saturday, the splitter Sucre smashed back up the middle for a two-run double. That pitch is flat as a table. It spins and spins and spins, and does nothing. It stayed up and Sucre hammered it. We’ve seen plenty Tanaka splitters over the years. The pitch should dive down into the dirt. That one did nothing.

“When Spring Training ended he looked like he was back to before the injury. Now he doesn’t look the same,” said a scout to George King over the weekend. “He isn’t finishing his pitches, and he’s making mistakes with the fastball.”

For whatever reason Tanaka’s pitches have been much flatter this year, and it’s not just the splitter. We’ve seen him thrown some junky sliders too. Tanaka is not a blow-you-away pitcher. He succeeds by tricking hitters and keeping them off balance, and he can’t do that when his splitter and slider aren’t behaving. His fastball isn’t good enough to make up for the shortcomings of the secondary pitches. Never has been even though his velocity is fine. Everyone keeps saying Tanaka’s velocity hasn’t been the same since his 2014 elbow injury, but:

  • 2014: 92.8 mph average (96.6 mph max through May)
  • 2015: 92.8 mph average (96.2 mph max through May)
  • 2016: 92.1 mph average (95.5 mph max through May)
  • 2017: 92.9 mph average (95.8 mph max through May)

Tanaka’s velocity and overall pitch selection this season have been right in line with previous years. Much like the batted ball data, nothing has changed, and yet something has very clearly changed. The overall numbers say one thing. The individual pitches tell you another. Tanaka had no trouble getting ahead Saturday — he threw a first pitch strike to 13 of 21 batters, and went 0-2 on nine batters — but the finish pitch wasn’t there, and hasn’t been for much of the season.

With Tanaka, a bad start or string of bad starts are never just bad starts. They’re an indication of injury, right? The partially torn elbow ligament is in the back of everyone’s mind, and whenever he has a bad start or even just throws a bad pitch, it’s because of the elbow. That seems to be the most common reaction. Tanaka did something bad? Blame the elbow. Everyone insists Tanaka is healthy though. Tanaka, Joe Girardi, Larry Rothschild, everyone. “There’s no indication of (injury),” said Rothschild to Bryan Hoch over the weekend.

Having watched every one of his starts this season, Tanaka doesn’t look injured to me. Remember Aroldis Chapman‘s last few appearances? That’s an injured pitcher. A dude laboring and putting everything he has into each pitch just to get to his normal velocity. Tanaka is still throwing free and easy. His location sucks and he’s throwing more cement mixers, and I suppose that could be injury related, but I feel like there would be more red flags in that case. A dude pouring sweat on the mound (like Chapman) and throwing max effort. Tanaka hasn’t done that.

The way I see it, the Yankees have two realistic options with Tanaka right now:

1. Put him on the disabled list. The Yankees could stick Tanaka in an MRI tube and inevitably find something that would justify a trip to the disabled list. Every 28-year-old pitcher with nearly 2,000 career innings is bound to have something that doesn’t look right in his arm. The disabled list stint would be a time out, effectively. Tanaka could figure things out on the side while one of the club’s depth starters (Chad Green, Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cessa, etc.) steps into the rotation for the time being. Perhaps he’d figure things out quickly and return after missing only one start. It is a ten-day disabled list now, after all.

2. Keep running him out there. This is what the Yankees are going to do, for now. Girardi confirmed yesterday that Tanaka will make his next start Thursday, as scheduled. Tanaka needs to pitch to get things straightened out. He can’t go sit on the couch for a week and expect everything to go back to normal. He needs to pitch to right the ship, and the Yankees are going to let him to continue to work on things in the MLB rotation. And who’s to say Tanaka won’t figure it out during his between-starts bullpen session this week and then dominate Thursday?

“We have to get him right … We need to continue to work at it. He’s not making the pitches he was last year,” said Girardi to Hoch. Rothschild told Brendan Kuty, “I think we need to go back to the basics. He likes to change some things occasionally, but I think it’s easier when things are going well to make some adjustments than it is when things are going bad and you try to make too many adjustments.”

Tanaka shifted from the first base side of the pitching rubber to the third base side Saturday, an adjustment he’s made in the past, but obviously it didn’t help. He’s trying though. Tanaka said all thoughout Spring Training his mechanics weren’t where they need to be, and we all kinda laughed him off because he was dominating. Maybe we should have paid more attention? If he’s not hurt, this has to be something mechanical. What else would it be?

As long as he’s not injured, I think Tanaka will get things straightened out because he’s too good and too smart a pitcher not too. We’ve seen him go through rough patches in the past — nothing like this, but one or two rough starts in a row, that sort of thing — and he always bounced back well. The Yankees and Tanaka need to figure out exactly what is wrong first, and so far that’s proving to be quite the challenge. No one has an answer yet, and that’s the scariest part.

Fan Confidence Poll: May 22nd, 2017

Record Last Week: 3-3 (32 RS, 29 RA)
Season Record: 25-16 (232 RS, 177 RA, 25-16 pythag. record)
Opponents This Week: vs. Royals (four games, Mon. to Thurs.), vs. Athletics (three games, Fri. to Sun.)

Top stories from last week:

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

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DotF: Fowler homers, Austin continues rehab in the minors

As you may have heard, SS Gleyber Torres was promoted to Triple-A Scranton following today’s Double-A Trenton game, reports Antonio Mendes. Gleyber hit .273/.367/.496 with five homers and nearly as many walks (17) as strikeouts (21) in 32 Double-A games. I had a feeling the Yankees would promote him quickly, though I didn’t think it would be this quickly. Pretty fun. For what it’s worth, Keith Law says Torres is ready for Triple-A on both sides of the ball. Here are some other notes:

  • RHP Dillon Tate update! Farm system head Gary Denbo told Josh Norris that Tate has been pitching in Extended Spring Training games and is “close.” I assume that means close to joining one of the affiliates. Tate has been out all season with a shoulder issue.
  • LHP Josh Rogers have been promoted to Double-A Trenton, according to Matt Kardos. I’m surprised it took this long. Rogers had a 2.52 ERA (2.97 FIP) in 27 starts and 160.2 innings with High-A Tampa over the last two years prior to Sunday’s start. Not much left to prove there.
  • Check out 20-80 Baseball’s write up on RHP Domingo Acevedo’s Double-A debut the other day. “He looked every bit the part a future Role 60, number three starter, and he was quickly comparable, to my eye, to the huge frame, soft build, sloped shoulders, and gait of Michael Pineda (RHP,Yankees), just with more juice in the overall stuff,” said the report.

Triple-A Scranton (5-4 win over Rochester in eleven innings, walk-off style) they faced old pal LHP Nik Turley, who is still bouncing around the minors

  • 3B Tyler Wade: 1-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K, 1 E (fielding)
  • LF Dustin Fowler: 1-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 K — second straight game with a dinger, and his third homer in his last eight games
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 0-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
  • 1B Mike Ford: 1-3, 1 2B, 2 BB, 1 K — 10-for-33 (.303) with three doubles and four home runs in eight games since the promotion
  • RF Clint Frazier: 0-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
  • CF Mason Williams: 1-5
  • SS Cito Culver: 0-4, 1 RBI, 3 K — walk-off squeeze bunt!
  • DH Mark Payton: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K — someone’s future fourth outfielder is hitting .333/.387/.471 so far this year
  • RHP Eric Ruth: 3 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 3/3 GB/FB, 1 E (throwing) — 31 of 50 pitches were strikes … he’s here just to make the spot start after RHP Bryan Mitchell was called up to the big leagues
  • RHP Colten Brewer: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 3/1 GB/FB — 22 of 41 pitches were strikes (54%) … 28/3 K/BB in 21 innings this year … will he be the second player in as many years to go from minor league Rule 5 Draft pick to Yankees’ 40-man roster? RHP Yefrey Ramirez did it last year
  • RHP Ernesto Frieri: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2/3 GB/FB — 21 of 33 pitches were strikes (64%)

[Read more…]

Sabathia, Gardner, Gregorius help the Yankees avoid sweep with 3-2 win over Rays

Good win. Not an easy win, but a good win nonetheless. The Yankees avoided the sweep Sunday afternoon against the Rays to clinch a 3-3 road trip. Could have been better. Could have been a lot worse. Sunday’s final score was 3-2.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Righties Are Not Right
Fortunately, the first inning did not set the tone for the rest of the game. The Yankees were gifted a rally in the top of the first and failed to capitalize. Brett Gardner started the game with a single, then shortstop Tim Beckham threw away Gary Sanchez‘s tailor made 6-4-3 double play ball. He flipped it into right field. The Yankees had runners on second and third with no outs, then:

Those three batters swung at eleven of the 15 pitches they saw and missed seven times. Joe Girardi goes to such great lengths to split up the lefties in the lineup, yet he’ll bat four righties in a row against Chris Archer, who has a disgusting slider and has held right-handed batters to a .229/.296/.362 (.290 wOBA) batting line with a 27.5% strikeout rate since the start of 2015. Shrugs.

Naturally, the left-handed hitting Jacoby Ellsbury, who went into the game a career .514/.561/.703 hitter against Archer, doubled on the first pitch to leadoff the second. Shrugs again. Two batters later Didi Gregorius got Ellsbury home with a one-out single, and two batters after that Gardner got Gregorius and himself home with a two-out, two-run home run. Eighth dinger of the year for Gardner. He’s hit one more home run than last season in 468 fewer plate appearances. Is that good? That seems good.

The Yankees did not score again against Archer, who exited after throwing 108 pitches in 6.1 innings. Left-handed batters went 6-for-11 (.545) with a double and a home run against him. Righties went 0-for-15 with ten strikeouts. Free advice for future managers: stacking righties in the lineup against Archer isn’t a good idea, especially when several of them are strikeout prone like Holliday, Judge, and Chris Carter. Fortunately the left-handed bats picked up the righties.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

A Strong Start For Sabathia
Good to see CC Sabathia have another solid outing after that string of clunkers a few weeks ago. Throwing six scoreless innings against the awful Royals last time out is one thing. The Royals are real bad. The Rays can hit though, and they were going to present some trouble for whoever the Yankees threw out there. Sabathia allowed two runs (one earned) in five innings plus one batter Sunday, and looked about as good as you could have hoped.

The first run was sorta stupid, as it was built on an infield single, a walk, and a Sanchez error. He tried to pick Evan Longoria off first base with a snap throw, and the off-line throw sailed into right field. Carter actually got there and got his glove on the ball, but it went through his legs. Bad throw by Sanchez — and an unnecessary throw, I’d say, since Longoria wasn’t that far off first base — and a bad play by Carter. He’s got to knock that down. Corey Dickerson scored from second on the play.

Tampa scored their other run on a Derek Norris solo home run in the fifth, and I can’t remember Sabathia giving up any other hard hit balls. I’m sure he did at some point, but they were infrequent. Sabathia retired 12 straight before the Norris home run. His afternoon ended after Dickerson slapped an opposite field single leading off the sixth. Sabathia was definitely at the end of the line there — he had to work hard to get Beckham to ground out to end the fifth — but Girardi sent him back out to get the left-on-left matchup. Didn’t work, but a good start overall for Sabathia. The Yankees needed it.

The Final 12 Outs
This game had a very 2013-16 vibe to it, by which I mean the Yankees built a small lead, then turned things over to their bullpen and held on for dear life. First out of the bullpen was Chad Green, who inherited the runner on first from Sabathia. He got a clutch double play from … Aaron Judge? Aaron Judge. Longoria smoked a line drive into the right-center field gap, then this happened:

Judge went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, but good players help you win games even when they do nothing at the plate. The funny thing is replays showed Dickerson, the runner at first, did slow down to read the play before taking off for third base. He didn’t think Judge would get there. Whoops. Judge laid out for the tremendous diving catch — if you’re into Statcast, that ball had a catch probability of 26% — and threw to first for the easy double play. Love it.

Green started the seventh inning with a four-pitch walk, because of course. Two ground balls and a stolen base later, Kevin Kiermaier was at third base with two outs, representing the tying run. Girardi went to Tyler Clippard against pinch-hitter Logan Morrison, who worked an eleven-pitch at-bat. Eventually he popped up a full count fastball to end the inning, preserving the 3-2 lead.

Clippard went back out for the eighth and struck out pinch-hitter Colby Rasmus and Beckham, then Girardi went to Dellin Betances for the four-out save. Betances struck out Dickerson hilariously to end the eighth — it was one of the silliest swings you’ll ever see — then cruised through the ninth. Longoria popped up, Michael Martinez struck out, and Steven Souza struck out. Dellin was throwing fire. That was as good as he’s looked at any point since 2014.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
Strikeouts are becoming a real problem. The Yankees struck out 17 times Sunday, their second nine-inning game with 17 strikeouts this season. They did it only twice in their history prior to this season. The Yankees have struck out 10+ times in 18 of their 41 games this season. The single-season franchise record is 37 10+ strikeout games set back in 2013. The 2017 Yankees project to get there by the All-Star break. Everyone is striking out more these days, but geez guys.

Four-hit game for Sir Didi! Two-hit game for Gardner! One-hit game for Ellsbury! No-hit game for literally everyone else. Both Judge and Holliday went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Castro went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. So the 3-4-5 hitters went 0-for-12 with eleven strikeouts. They’ve had better days. The Yankees went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Both hits came in that three-run second inning innings. Didi’s single and Gardner’s dinger.

Sanchez is probably glad this road trip is over. He took a beating behind the plate. Sanchez took a foul tip to the right forearm in this one, after taking a foul tip to the jaw Saturday. He also got his bell rung by a few foul tips in Kansas City. I have no idea why anyone catches. It looks like no fun at all.

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


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
HOPE Week! One of the best weeks of the season. The Yankees are heading home for a seven-game homestand. The week home begins with a four-game set against the Royals, who the Yankees just saw last week. The A’s come to town after that. Jason Hammel and Michael Pineda are the scheduled starting pitchers for Monday night’s series opener. RAB Tickets can get you in the door for any of the seven games on the homestand.