It’s September, which means a heavy intra-division schedule and two series against the Rays in the span of a week. The Yankees are in Tampa to start a three-game set tonight. They’re 7-9 against the Rays this year, including 4-3 at Tropicana Field. Since their elimination number is two, the Yankees would be mathematically eliminated from the AL East race if they lose the series regardless of what the Orioles do.
What Have They Done Lately?
The Rays beat the Blue Jays in extra innings yesterday and took two of three in Toronto this weekend. They lost two of three to the Yankees in New York last week, as you may remember. Overall, Tampa Bay is 72-78 with a +4 run differential, leaving them in fourth place in the AL East and five games back of the Yankees.
Manager Joe Maddon’s offense averages 3.85 runs per game with a team 100 wRC+, which is weird. A 100 wRC+ is exactly league average but the runs per game rate is about half-a-run below average. Timing is important, I guess. OF Desmond Jennings (104 wRC+) is their only injured position player and he is done for the season with a knee problem.
As has been the case the last half-decade or so, Maddon’s lineup revolves around 2B/OF Ben Zobrist (119 wRC+) and 3B Evan Longoria (107 wRC+). Longoria is having a good year but a down year compared to his usual standards. 1B James Loney (109 wRC+) has been solid overall but the Yankees can’t seem to get him out. OF Wil Myers (83 wRC+) has been both injured and ineffective this year. OF Matt Joyce (114 wRC+) and OF Kevin Kiermaier (120 wRC+) have both been comfortably above-average.
SS Yunel Escobar (94 wRC+) plays everyday and OF Brandon Guyer (109 wRC+) platoons against lefties. C Ryan Hanigan (98 wRC+) and C Jose Molina (23 wRC+) split time behind the plate. UTIL Sean Rodriguez (100 wRC+), OF David DeJesus (131 wRC+ in limited time), and UTIL Logan Forsythe (81 wRC+) have been Maddon’s regular bench players this summer. C Curt Casali and IF Nick Franklin are the September call-ups.
Monday: LHP Chris Capuano (vs. TB) vs. RHP Alex Colome (vs. NYY)
The Durham Bulls, Tampa’s Triple-A affiliate, was eliminated from the postseason over the weekend, and the 25-year-old Colome is one of several players who will be called up today. He has spent most of the year hurt or in Triple-A — Colome made one start and one relief appearance for the Rays earlier this year (three runs in 9.2 innings) — where he had a 3.77 ERA (3.25 FIP) in 15 starts and 86 innings. His strikeout (7.64 K/9 and 19.8 K%) and walk (3.14 BB/9 and 8.1 BB%) rates were okay and hitters were completely unable to take him deep (0.21 HR/9). Colome sits in the mid-90s with his four-seam fastball and his top secondary pitch is a mid-80s changeup. He’ll throw a handful of upper-80s cutters and low-80s curveballs per start, but the fastball/changeup combination is his bread-and-butter. Neither of Colome’s big league outings earlier this year were against the Yankees.
Tuesday: RHP Michael Pineda (vs. TB) vs. RHP Jake Odorizzi (vs. NYY)
Odorizzi, 24, has a 4.08 ERA (3.69 FIP) in 29 starts and 159 innings this year, thanks mostly to his elite strikeout rate (9.51 K/9 and 24.9 K%). His walk (3.11 BB/9 and 8.1 BB%), homer (1.08 HR/9 and 9.0 HR/FB%), and ground ball (30.7%) rates are less impressive. Righties (.314 wOBA) have had a little more success against Odorizzi than lefties (.296 wOBA), and he’s been much better at home (.248 wOBA) than on the road (.379 wOBA). Odorizzi uses a straight four-seamer right around 90 mph to set up his mid-80s slider, which is his top breaking ball. He’ll throw a handful of mid-80s changeups and big-breaking upper-60s curveballs per start. The Yankees hammered Odorizzi for six runs in 4.1 innings last week.
Wednesday: RHP Brandon McCarthy (vs. TB) vs. RHP Alex Cobb (vs. NYY)
The 26-year-old Cobb has taken over as Tampa’s ace now that David Price has been traded away. He has a 2.75 ERA (3.06 FIP) in 24 starts and 147.1 innings this year — Cobb missed several weeks with an oblique strain in the first half — with very good to great strikeout (8.43 K/9 and 22.9 K%), walk (2.57 BB/9 and 7.0 BB%), homerun (0.55 HR/9 and 7.8 HR/FB%), and ground ball (56.1%) rates. Righties (.292 wOBA) have had more luck against him than lefties (.247 wOBA) because of his knockout mid-80s changeup. Cobb throws his two and four-seamers in the low-90s and he’ll also throw a bunch of low-80s curveballs. As you may remember, he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Yankees last week.
Although Maddon won’t come out and admit it, LHP Jake McGee (1.71 FIP) has taken over as Tampa’s closer these last few weeks. They had been using a committee for a while. McGee blew the save yesterday, like he did last week when he served up Chris Young‘s walk-off homer. RHP Grant Balfour (4.13 FIP), RHP Brad Boxberger (2.87 FIP), and RHP Joel Peralta (3.64 FIP) all see setup innings. McGee, Balfour, and Peralta all pitched yesterday.
Middle relievers RHP Brandon Gomes (4.57 FIP) and RHP Kirby Yates (3.59 FIP) have been in the bullpen just about all summer, ditto long man LHP Cesar Ramos (4.30 FIP). LHP Jeff Beliveau, RHP Steve Geltz, and LHP C.J. Riefenhauser are the extra September arms. Gomes and Beliveau both pitched briefly yesterday. Head over to our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s bullpen. I can’t imagine David Robertson will be available tonight and probably not tomorrow night either. The Process Report is the definitive Rays analysis on the web.
Record Last Week: 3-4 (22 RS, 25 RA)
Season Record: 76-72 (577 RS, 606 RA, 70-78 pyth. record) 12.5 GB in ALE, 5.5 GB of WC
Opponents This Week: @ Rays (three games, Mon. to Weds.), vs. Blue Jays (four games, Thurs. to Sun.)
Top stories from last week:
- The week started with the final scheduled off-day of the season. The Rays came to town for a three-game series starting Tuesday, and Tampa won the first game after scoring four runs in the first inning. The Yankees rallied from four runs down to win the next day, then Chris Young hit a walk-off homer in Thursday’s win.
- The Yankees spent the weekend in Baltimore. The Orioles walked off with an extra innings win in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader, then they shut New York out in the nightcap. The bullpen made an early lead stand up in Saturday’s win, but the O’s walked off with a win last night.
- Injury Updates: Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) is scheduled to pitch in an Instructional League game today. Chase Headley (chin) was hit by a pitch, though he avoided major injury and is day-to-day. Carlos Beltran (elbow) has been shut down with soreness but will not have surgery until after the season. David Phelps (elbow) was activated off the 15-day DL.
- VP of Baseball Ops Mark Newman will retire after the season. Hal Steinbrenner will conduct a “total evaluation” of the player development system after the season that may result in a “total overhaul.” Assistant GM Billy Eppler has decided not to interview for the Diamondbacks GM job.
- The Yankees have added a rookie level Appalachian League minor league affiliate to the organization: the Pulaski Yankees.
- The 2015 schedule was released. The Yankees will open the season at home against the Blue Jays.
- Zoilo Almonte cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Scranton.
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 nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.
Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
Is it bad this loss barely made me feel anything? The Yankees are out of the postseason race and they’ve been out-hit, out-pitched, out-defended, out-everythinged by the Orioles all season long. No reason to think that would change Sunday. Let’s recap the 3-2 walk-off loss:
- #HIROK ‘n Roll: Late season fade? What late season fade. Hiroki Kuroda held the Orioles to one run on two doubles and four singles in seven innings on Sunday night, walking no one and striking out five. Seventeen of his 21 outs came on the infield. The O’s scored that one run on an Alejandro De Aza single and an Adam Jones double that deflected off the glove of a leaping Martin Prado at third base. Kuroda was sharp but got no run support. Story of his career.
- Two Taters: The Yankees scored their two runs on solo homers. Prado took Chris Tillman deep leading off the second inning and Brian McCann took Darren O’Day deep with one out in the ninth. I didn’t think either was gone off the bat — doubles off the wall, if anything — but both managed to carry just over the wall and into the first row or two of seats. The club blew a first-and-third opportunity with no outs in the third inning, which was easily their best chance to push across some more runs. Oh well.
- Blown: Following Saturday’s game, David Robertson told reporters he was sore after pitching in back-to-back games and throwing a season-high 35 pitches on Friday. Despite that, Joe Girardi called on him for the third straight day to protect the one-run lead. Robertson looked awful and was completely unable to locate. He got squared up three times in the span of four batters, which never ever happens. Nelson Cruz doubled, Steve Pearce doubled to tie the game, and Kelly Johnson doubled for the walk-off win. Girardi usually goes to great lengths to keep his relievers fresh, so using Robertson this much this weekend was out of character. Almost seems like the team isn’t all that invested in the future of their impending free agent closer.
- Leftovers: Derek Jeter went 0-for-4, saw eleven total pitches, and is in an 0-for-24 slump. He’s down to .250/.298/.298 (67 wRC+) on the season … Prado and McCann had two hits each. The rest of the lineup had two hits total (Mark Teixeira and Stephen Drew). Chris Young drew their only two walks … Dellin Betances struck out two in a perfect eighth inning, giving him 130 strikeouts on the season. That ties 1996 Mariano Rivera for the most strikeouts by a full-time reliever in team history. Mo did it in 107.2 innings, Betances in 86.2 innings … the Yankees are now 4-11 against the Orioles this season.
MLB.com is the place to go for the box score and video highlights. FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN has the updated standings. The Yankees are now five games back of the second wildcard spot with 14 games to play. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 0.8% and their elimination numbers are two (AL East) and ten (wildcard). They’re off to Tampa next and will open a three-game series with the Rays on Monday night. Chris Capuano and Alex Colome will be the pitching matchup.
The Yankees managed to beat the Orioles yesterday afternoon, which is notable because they’ve beaten the O’s only four times in 14 tries this season. They had lost five straight to Baltimore before yesterday’s win. Winning tonight’s game would give the Yankees the series split, meaning they will have not lost a series to the O’s for the first time this season. Modest goals, I guess. Here’s the Orioles lineup and here’s the Yankees lineup:
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- SS Derek Jeter
- LF Brett Gardner
- 3B Martin Prado
- C Brian McCann
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- DH Chris Young
- 2B Stephen Drew
- RF Antoan Richardson
RHP Hiroki Kuroda
It is cool and clear down in Baltimore tonight. Pretty much perfect September baseball weather. Tonight’s game will begin just after 8pm ET and you can watch on ESPN. Enjoy.
A few days ago we learned the Pulaski Yankees of the rookie Appalachian League will be joining the organization as the Yankees’ eighth domestic minor league affiliate starting next season. The club will serve as a stepping stone between the two rookie Gulf Coast League affiliates and Short Season Staten Island. Here are some more minor league notes with the Arizona Fall League still more than three weeks away.
- According to George King, the Yankees have known about the impending retirement of VP of Baseball Ops Mark Newman since February. He’s been with the team since 1988 and has been running for the running the farm system for the last 15 years now. King adds that special assistant Trey Hillman, who was tabbed as Newman’s likely replacement, may not be interested in the job. Hal Steinbrenner will conduct a “total evaluation” of the player development system after the season and it may result in a “complete overhaul.”
- C Kyle Higashioka has been re-signed after becoming a six-year minor league free agent, according to Matt Eddy. Josh Norris adds Higashioka has been assigned to the Arizona Fall League as the team’s last position player. He missed most of these season following Tommy John surgery. The Yankees are sending several top prospects to the desert this year, including OF Aaron Judge, 3B Eric Jagielo, 1B Greg Bird, and OF Tyler Austin.
- 2B Rob Refsnyder was named the second baseman for Baseball America’s Triple-A International League All-Star Team. No other Yankees’ farmhands made their classification All-Star Teams. SS Angel Aguilar, UTIL Bryan Cuevas, and OF Alex Palma all made the official GCL postseason All-Star Team.
- Marc Hulet of FanGraphs reviewed the year the was in the team’s farm system. RHP Shane Greene and RHP Luis Severino understandably earned praise for their rises this season, albeit at very different levels.
- And finally, Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs put together a super early look at the 2015 draft class. Lots of names and lots of information. Make sure you check it out. The Yankees are currently slated to have the 18th overall pick.
Sad news to pass along from the extended Yankees family: Joe Torre’s older brother Frank passed away today. He was 82. You might remember when he needed a heart transplant in the middle of the 1996 World Series, which was quite the ordeal for the Torre family. You might not know that Frank also played seven years in the big leagues, spanning the 1956-63 seasons with the (Milwaukee) Braves and Phillies. He hit .273 with 13 home runs in 714 career games, all as a first baseman. Condolences to the Torre family.
Here is your open thread for the night. The Mets are playing, MLB Network will air a regional game later tonight, and there’s a ton of college football on as well. Talk about that stuff or anything else right here.
Sometimes three runs is enough. The Yankees jumped out to an early lead then held on for dear life on Saturday afternoon, beating the Orioles by the score of 3-2. Let’s recap their first win of the series:
- Three-Run Third: The Yankees had four hits all game and three came in the span of four batters in the third inning. Brian McCann hit a solo homer, Mark Teixeira drew a walk, Chris Young doubled, and Antoan Richardson singled in Teixeira. Young then stole home when Richardson stole second and rookie catcher Caleb Joseph tried to throw him out. There’s all three runs and three of the four hits on the afternoon. Good thing they bunched the hits together.
- Greene Grinds: Shane Greene really had to work on Saturday, especially early. Seven of the first 15 Orioles reached base but that only led to one run, on Nelson Cruz’s single to center in the third. Greene had to throw 71 pitches in those first three innings, but he shook it off to retire eight of the final nine batters he faced on 41 pitches. He struck out five of those final nine hitters and had nine strikeouts in the game overall. Two runs on seven hits and one walk in 5.1 innings isn’t particularly pretty, especially when you throw 112 total pitches, but Greene showed some moxie and found a way to grind through it.
- Bullpen: With Dellin Betances unavailable to due to his multi-inning appearance on Friday, Joe Girardi had to mix and match for those final eleven outs. Esmil Rogers got three outs (line out, strikeout, walk, sac bunt), Josh Outman got two outs (fly out, ground out), Shawn Kelley got three outs (single, fly out, two ground outs), and David Robertson got the final three outs (single, sac bunt, two ground outs). I didn’t expect Robertson to be available after throwing a season-high 35 pitches in 1.2 innings on Friday, but there he was. Maybe they’re just getting their money’s worth before he hits free agency this winter.
- Leftovers: Derek Jeter went 0-for-3 with a walk and is in an ugly 0-20 slump. He is down to .251/.300/.300 (68 wRC+) on the season. The end of this Hall of Fame career has been far from pretty … the only non-third inning base hit was Martin’s Prado infield single in the eighth. Jeter, Brett Gardner, McCann, and Teixeira (two) each drew walks. The wrap-around 9-1-2-3 portion of the lineup went a combined 0-for-14 with two walks … the Yankees beat the Orioles for the first time in six tries and only the fourth time in 14 games this season. With the win, New York can not be eliminated from the AL East race this series.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees are currently 4.5 games back of the second wildcard spot and they could end the day four games back depending on the other games tonight. The top of the wildcard race is bonkers right now. FanGraphs puts New York’s postseason odds at 0.7% with 14 games to go. Hiroki Kuroda and Chris Tillman will be the pitching matchup in Sunday night’s finale. Yes, it is the ESPN game.
Via Ken Rosenthal: Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler will not interview for the vacant Diamondbacks GM position. Arizona confirmed he was on their list of candidates soon after firing GM Kevin Towers last week. Eppler interviewed for the Padres GM job earlier this summer and was reportedly the runner-up to the since-hired A.J. Preller. He was also the runner-up to Jerry Dipoto for the Angels GM position a few years ago.
I think it’s only a coincidence we’re hearing Eppler will not interview for the D’Backs gig the day after reports surfaced that VP of Baseball Ops Mark Newman is retiring and a “complete overhaul” of the player development staff may be coming. Based on the typical power structure throughout baseball, going from assistant GM to some sort of top player development position would be, at best, a lateral move for Eppler. His decision not to interview may simply have to do with the uncomfortable situation in Arizona, where Tony La Russa appears to be calling the shots and will be looking over the new GMs shoulder constantly.
Following yesterday’s doubleheader sweep (the bad kind), the Yankees are 75-71 and have scored 572 runs (3.92 per game) this season. They were 78-68 with 606 runs scored (4.15 per game) last season through 146 games. The Yankees need to go 10-6 and score 78 runs (4.88 per game) the rest of the way to match last year’s total. Can they do that? I don’t see it based on way they’ve played all year, but hey, I’m open to being surprised. The push to be only as bad as last season begins this afternoon. Here is the Orioles lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- DH Jacoby Ellsbury
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Brett Gardner
- 2B Martin Prado
- C Brian McCann
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- LF Chris Young
- RF Antoan Richardson
- 3B Zelous Wheeler
RHP Shane Greene
Now, the bad news: it’s raining in Baltimore and has been all morning. It’s supposed to clear up in the afternoon but it there is a good chance the game will begin in a delay. Hopefully not a long one. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05pm ET at the moment and you can watch on FOX. Not FOX Sports 1, regularly old FOX. Enjoy the game, whenever they play.
Update (1:07pm): The game is currently in a delay. The tentative start time is 1:40pm ET.
For the first time since being scratched from Wednesday’s game with soreness in his elbow, Carlos Beltran was able to take swings yesterday, according to Chad Jennings. He took 20 light swings against soft toss pitches. Beltran told David Waldstein he feels a little bit better and will not have the bone spur surgically removed from his elbow until after the season matter what. He is trying to come back and play.
Beltran, 37, is hitting .236/.305/.409 (97 wRC+) with 15 homers this season, though he has put up a .265/.351/.420 (119 wRC+) batting line in the second half. The Yankees are essentially out of postseason contention and there’s no real reason to delay the surgery. Waiting an extra two or three weeks won’t be that big of a deal — it’s two-month rehab and supposedly will not interfere with his offseason routine — but there’s always a chance Beltran could somehow make it worse by continuing to play through the injury.