8/14 to 8/17 Series Preview: New York Mets

Conforto. (Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Conforto. (Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

This may technically be two separate series, as it is a home-and-home affair. The Yankees will host the Mets tonight and tomorrow, and then travel to Queens on Wednesday and Thursday. I want to say something about facing a reeling/selling team like the Mets being just what the Yankees need – but the Mets have actually been slightly better this month, with one more win (5-7 to 4-8) and eleven more runs scored. Ugh.

The Last Time They Met

The Subway Series was a similar arrangement last year, as the Yankees visited Citi Field on August 1 and August 2, then played host to the Mets on August 3 and 4. They split each two-game set, and the series as a whole. Some notes:

  • This was the Yankees first series after last year’s trade deadline, with the first game occurring hours after they dealt Carlos Beltran and Ivan Nova to complete the sell-off. They dealt Andrew Miller the day before, and Aroldis Chapman a week prior.
  • The Yankees starters were hit hard in all four games, surrendering 22 runs (21 ER), 38 base-runners, and 7 homers  in 22.2 IP. The bullpen, however, was quite good, holding the Mets to just 2 runs (1 ER) in 13.1 IP.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury, Starlin Castro, and Didi Gregorius all reached base safely in all four games.

Check out Katie’s Yankeemetrics post for more fun fact.

Injury Report

I wanted to put a snarky joke here about everyone being hurt, but that’s too easy (and hits too close to home, to boot).

Jeurys Familia, Matt Harvey, T.J. Rivera, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, and David Wright are all on the disabled list, with no return date as of yet. I wouldn’t be shocked if all six were shut down at some point, given that the Mets are basically just playing out the string at this point. Robert Gsellman is close to returning, having made four rehab starts already, but he won’t be back this series. And Jacob deGrom left his last start early with a triceps bruise after getting hit by a line drive, but he’s slated to start tomorrow.

Their Story So Far

The Mets are 53-62 with a -54 run differential, and they have been selling off assets since late July. Lucas Duda and Addison Reed were sent packing just before the deadline, and Jay Bruce and Neil Walker were dealt over the last week. Of course, Yankees fans are well-aware of these moves, as the Mets seemingly refused to deal with the Yankees, even if it meant a much better return.

As has been the case for what seems like forever, the Mets hopes have been torpedoed by injuries this year. Yoenis Cespedes missed more than 40 games, Syndergaard hasn’t pitched since April, Familia hasn’t pitched since May, and three other starting pitchers have spent at least a month on the disabled list. And that ignores the nagging injuries that have kept several other players out for a few weeks at a time.

The Lineup We Might See

Manager Terry Collins has a reputation for being stubbornly adherent to old school lineup configurations and overly loyal to veterans, but he has been flexible with his lineup construction for the majority of the season. One could argue that his hand has been forced by injuries and non-performance, but Mets fans are pleased to see Michael Conforto hitting at or near the top of the order, and top prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith getting playing time. Here’s the lineup that we’ll probably see in the Bronx:

  1. Curtis Granderson, RF/DH
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B
  3. Yoenis Cespedes, DH/LF
  4. Michael Conforto, CF
  5. Wilmer Flores, 3B
  6. Dominic Smith, 1B
  7. Travis d’Arnaud, C
  8. Brandon Nimmo, LF/RF
  9. Amed Rosario, SS

And here’s what we should see in Queens:

  1. Curtis Granderson, RF
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B
  3. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  4. Michael Conforto, CF
  5. Wilmer Flores, 3B
  6. Dominic Smith, 1B
  7. Travis d’Arnaud, C
  8. Amed Rosario, SS
  9. [pitcher]

The Starting Pitchers We Will See

Monday (7:05 PM EST): RHP Luis Cessa vs. RHP Rafael Montero

Four years ago, Montero was a consensus top-100 prospect as a 23-year-old on the verge of reaching the majors. And four days ago, when asked about Montero’s future in the rotation, Collins said “We don’t have a lot of options right now. And if we can’t come up with an option, he’s going to go back out.” Such is life when you’re sitting on a career 5.58 ERA (71 ERA+) and 12.3 BB%.

Montero throws four pitches – a mid-90s four-seamer, a low-80s sinker, an upper-80s change-up, and a mid-80s slider. His stuff is quite good when taken at face value, but he struggles to locate his offerings, and is often hit hard when he nibbles with his fastball.

Last Outing (vs. TEX on 8/9) – 3.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 5 K

Tuesday (7:05 PM EST): RHP Sonny Gray vs. RHP Jacob deGrom

The 29-year-old deGrom came out of nowhere to win Rookie of the Year in 2014, when he pitched to the following line – 140.1 IP, 117 H, 43 BB, 144 K, 2.69 ERA (128 ERA+), 2.67 FIP. Many expected him to drop-off the following season, due to his lack of prospect hype and suddenly and almost inexplicably improved stuff, but he has gotten even better since then. deGrom is currently fourth in the NL in IP, fifth in bWAR, and 10th in ERA+. At this point, the argument isn’t about regression; it’s whether or not he’s an ace.

deGrom is a true five-pitch pitcher. He throws a mid-90s four-seamer, a mid-80s sinker, an upper-80s slider, an upper-80s change-up, and a low-80s curve, and he can throw all five for strikes.

Last Outing (vs. PHI on 8/10) – 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K

Wednesday (7:10 PM EST): LHP Jaime Garcia vs. RHP Seth Lugo

There is a good chance that you know of Seth Lugo solely because of Statcast’s infatuation with his curveball. For those of you who aren’t aware, Lugo’s curveball has the highest spin rate in the game, and it is a heck of a pitch to see live. It would be a more impressive feat if he was better, though; Lugo currently has a 4.85 ERA (88 ERA+), and his 17.4 K% is well below the league-average of 21.6%. Having a scale-breaking pitch is cool, but it hasn’t led to success just yet.

In addition to that big-breaking mid-70s curveball, Lugo also throws a low-90s fastball, a mid-80s change-up, and a mid-80s slider.

Last Outing (vs. PHI on 8/11) – 5.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 8 K

Thursday (7:10 PM EST): RHP Luis Severino vs. LHP Steven Matz

Matz has had an arduous journey since being drafted, to say the least. He was drafted in 2009, but did not make his professional debut until 2012 due to Tommy John surgery and several complications therefrom. He was relatively healthy for the next four years, but he missed time with shoulder soreness last year, and needed surgery to remove bone spurs from that same elbow in the off-season. Matz has missed ten starts this season due to elbow and shoulder soreness, and has not looked good (5.54 ERA, 4.91 FIP) when healthy.

Matz is basically a three-pitch pitcher, utilizing a low-to-mid 90s sinker, a low-to-mid 80s change-up, and an upper-70s curve. He’ll also throw a mid-80s slider, but he has shelved that of late (perhaps due to the injuries).

Last Outing (vs. PHI on 8/12) – 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K

The Bullpen

The Mets have one of the worst bullpens in baseball by some measures, including park-adjusted ERA (28th in the majors), WPA (26th), and walk rate (28th). And those numbers include Reed, who was the team’s best reliever by a significant margin, and now pitches for the Red Sox.

A.J. Ramos (recently acquired from the Marlins) is the team’s closer for the time being, and he has a track record of success in that role. Jerry Blevins is a quality LOOGY (lefties are batting .181/.230/.191 against him this year), but he’s extremely limited against righties. Paul Sewald, a 27-year-old rookie, handles the set-up duties (3.99 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 28.0 K%, 7.3 BB%), and he has been decent in that role. Erik Goeddel and Josh Smoker handle the middle innings.

Blevins, Sewald, and Ramos all tossed an inning apiece last night, so their availability tonight may be questionable.

Yankees Connection

Granderson played for the Yankees from 2010 through 2013, batting .245/.335/.495 (122 wRC+) with 115 HR and 55 SB in 512 games (2148 PA). The Yankees essentially let him walk in favor of Jacoby Ellsbury in the 2013-14 off-season, and that hasn’t worked out too well.

Who (Or What) To Watch

I’m most excited for the Gray vs. deGrom match-up on Tuesday, as I’m a sucker for a pitchers’ duel. Of course, I’d rather not see deGrom shut the Yankees offense down – but this has the makings of a terrific match-up.

Shortstop Amed Rosario and first baseman Dominic Smith bear watching, as well. Both have been top-100 prospects for three years running (with Rosario cracking the top-10 this year), and both are getting an opportunity to secure a starting gig at the highest level. And, even with the injury to Gleyber Torres, “Rosario or Torres” will likely be a New York baseball fan debate for the next half-decade or so.

Sunday Links: Walker, Best Tools, Bullpen, Food Safety

Random photo is random. (Rich Schultz/Getty)
Random photo is random. (Rich Schultz/Getty)

The Yankees and Red Sox will wrap up their three-game weekend series with the ESPN Sunday Night Game later today. The game should end sometime Monday morning. Anyway, here are some bits of news and notes to check out.

Yankees, Mets had Walker deal

More Yankees-Mets trade deadline drama. According to Mike Puma, the Yankees and Mets agreed to a Neil Walker trade prior to the trade deadline, but the Yankees backed out due to medical concerns. Puma says the Mets believe the Yankees used the medical concerns as an excuse to back out after finishing the Sonny Gray trade. Hmmm. Walker returned from a partially torn hamstring a few days before the trade deadline and had back surgery late last year.

Walker, 31, was traded to the Brewers last night and is hitting .264/.339/.442 (107 wRC+) with ten home runs in 299 plate appearances this season. Although he’s primarily a second baseman, the Mets also used Walker at first and third bases. He’s an impending free agent and the Yankees would have presumably used Walker at second base until Starlin Castro returned, then shifted him into a utility role. Eh, whatever. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little sick of this Yankees-Mets drama.

Baseball America’s best tools survey

One of my favorite features of the year is Baseball America’s annual best tools survey. They poll managers and coaches and scouts about the best tools and players in their leagues, from MLB all the way down to Low-A. Here’s where the various Yankees ranked:

Bell, the longtime big leaguer, is in his first season managing High-A Tampa after spending 2013 as the Pirates hitting coach and 2014-15 as the Reds bench coach. I’m curious to see what the Yankees do with him going forward. If Bell is a highly regarded managerial prospect as the survey suggests, either the Yankees are going to have to move him up the ladder, or they’ll lose him to an organization that will move him up.

Also, must be a down year for relievers in the Sally League, huh? Lane, who has since been promoted to High-A Tampa, is a 23-year-old former tenth round pick, and a sinker/slider lefty with middling velocity and a low arm slot. A classic left-on-left matchup profile. He’s got really good numbers this year, throwing 57 innings with a 1.26 ERA (2.26 FIP) and strong strikeout (27.1%) and walk (6.7%) rates. Not sure he’s much of a prospect though.

Yankees top ZiPS bullpen projections

Not surprisingly, the Yankees sit atop the ZiPS bullpen projections for the rest of the season, so says Dan Szymborski. Projections don’t really mean anything, of course. They’re not predictions. They’re more like an estimate of talent level. Anyway, here’s what ZiPS has to say about New York’s new-look bullpen:

Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman was already one of the best, if not THE best, one-two relief punch in baseball. Now you add in David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, the latter possibly the most underappreciated player acquired this deadline. Even Adam Warren has been lights-out, with a 1.97 ERA/2.69 FIP. Not to mention the team’s remaining big acquisition: Adding the complete absence of Tyler Clippard.

The bullpen before the Robertson/Kahnle trade: 3.39 ERA (3.33 FIP). The bullpen since the Robertson/Kahnle trade: 2.09 ERA (2.64 FIP). That 3.39 ERA (3.33 FIP) before the trade is a little deceiving too, because Jonathan Holder and especially Clippard had become wholly unreliable. They started the season well before crashing hard. The Yankees needed to fix their bullpen at the trade deadline, and they did exactly that. Too bad the starters are all getting hurt and the offense has since gone in the tank.

Yankees lagging in food safety rankings

Earlier this week Tanner Walters, using public inspection records, compiled ballpark food safety rankings. How clean are the facilities, is everything stored properly, so on and so forth. Yankee Stadium ranks 21st among the 28 parks in the rankings (data wasn’t available for Progressive Field or Comerica Park), and ranking 21st among 28 teams seems not good? From Walters:

Yankee Stadium led the league with critical violations (62% of its stands), and an infestation of flies highlighted the inspections from late July in the Bronx. Inspectors handed out citations at over a dozen food entities around the ballpark for observation of flies and improper vermin-proofing. The city doesn’t give detailed observations in its reports, but nearly a quarter of the stadium’s violations came from improper maintenance for non-food surfaces. Last year, even without a fly problem, Yankee Stadium would have finished in the same spot in our rankings. The ballpark had fewer overall violations but more that were critical, mostly from the restaurants and suites.

Kinda gross! Even with recent improvements, the concessions at Yankee Stadium lag big time in quality and selection behind the rest of the league — the concessions at Citi Field are so much better it’s not even funny, and it’s not just Shake Shack — and apparently they’re lacking in cleanliness and proper food safety too. Yuck.

The Yankees are trying to add a bat, but the Mets keep taking lesser offers from other teams

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

Last night’s outburst notwithstanding, the Yankees have had a hard time scoring runs in the second half, and especially over the last week or so. They’ve scored no more than two runs in six of their last eight games, and since the All-Star break they are hitting .251/.316/.412 (91 wRC+) as a team. They’re averaging only 4.19 runs per game since the break. It’s not just Aaron Judge. Lots of guys haven’t hit.

The Yankees did try to get add some offense prior to last Monday’s trade deadline. They made a run at Lucas Duda — “The Mets just wouldn’t trade him to us,” said someone with the Yankees to Jon Heyman — and this week they tried to acquire Jay Bruce. Bruce was instead traded to the Indians last night in a pure salary dump. Cleveland took on the remainder of his $13M salary (roughly $4M) and sent the Mets a non-prospect.

Joel Sherman and Marc Carig report the Yankees were willing to meet the Mets’ asking price. They offered the two prospects the Mets wanted — there’s no word on who those prospects were, and I’m not really expecting the names to leak — but apparently the hangup was the money. The Yankees wanted the Mets to eat some of Bruce’s salary — Ken Rosenthal says they wanted the Mets to eat $1M — and the Mets opted to save money than receive actual prospects, so that’s that.

Bruce, an impending free agent, is hitting .256/.321/.520 (120 wRC+) with 29 home runs this season. The Yankees really need another left-handed bat and Matt Holliday‘s injury creates an opening at DH, so Bruce was an obvious fit for the offense. He wouldn’t have even had to change cities. The Yankees were reportedly on Bruce’s no-trade list, though I doubt he would’ve blocked a deal to a contender, especially when he wouldn’t have even had to relocate.

Anyway, the Mets opted for the salary dump and the Yankees still need offensive help. There are two ways to look at this. One, the Wilpons are cheap and petty, and would rather dump Duda and Bruce for payroll relief than trade them to the Yankees for actual prospects. The dynamics of a crosstown trade are complicated, though is it really that big a deal if Duda or Bruce helped the Yankees win? They’re impending free agents. Who cares?

And two, the Yankees should have upped the ante to make sure they got the bat needed. They could have offered more for Duda. They could have offered to take on Bruce’s salary. Heck, they could have claimed Bruce on trade waivers and backed the Mets into a corner. Their options would have been a) trade him to the Yankees for a prospect, b) dump him and his contract on the Yankees with no return as a waiver claim, or c) pull him back and keep him. I don’t see (c) happening. The Mets wanted to clear Bruce’s salary.

While I can understand the argument for overpaying to get make sure you get Bruce or Duda — the Yankees didn’t trade all those prospects to the Athletics and White Sox for nothing, after all — I don’t really agree with it. The money bothers me more than anything. You’re the Yankees, you got the pitching help you needed at the trade deadline, and these guys are rentals. Why not take on the extra cash to get a deal done? Then again, if you’re taking on Bruce’s entire salary, why are you giving up two actual prospects? There has to be some give and take here.

One thing to keep in mind: the Yankees are pretty annoyed with how the Bruce deal played out. They’re one of the quietest teams in the league when it comes to leaks, and yet, since Bruce was traded to the Indians, we’ve heard the Yankees met the asking price and offered two prospects. That’s coming from the Yankees, not the Mets. Why would the Mets leak something that makes them look bad? The Yankees aren’t happy so they’re letting this info out to make the Mets look petty, and hey, it’s working. Mets fans I know don’t like the straight salary dump.

Ultimately, Duda and Bruce were two of the better bats available, and the Yankees made offers for both. Could they have offered more? Yeah, of course, but at some point you have to stand your ground and not allow yourself to be taken advantage of. There are other bats out there (Jed Lowrie, Daniel Nava, Curtis Granderson). The Mets didn’t want to trade them across town and that’s fine. That’s their right. It still leaves the Yankees short a bat, but at least they’re trying. Hopefully they pivot elsewhere and pick up another hitter soon, because they still need one.

Offense, Severino pick up Green in a 9-5 win over the Mets

It doesn’t matter where the two teams are in the standings. Watching the Yankees beat the Mets never gets old. The Yankees won Wednesday night’s game 9-5 and we all had a good laugh along the way. Good game. Would watch again.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

It’s Not Easy Being Green
Boy, that could have been much, much worse for Chad Green. Don’t get me wrong, three runs and 12 baserunners (!) in 3.2 innings is no good, but the Mets had him on the ropes a few times and failed to take advantage. Three ground ball double plays will do that. The Yankees had the bullpen working in every inning Green pitched. Heck, there was a reliever warming before he even got an out. He was that shaky.

The game started with a leadoff home run by Curtis Granderson, who knows a thing or two about going deep in this ballpark. That is the third leadoff homer the Yankees have allowed in the last nine games. Annoying! A string of singles followed to create another run — to be fair, none of them were hard-hit — before Green got the inning-ending double play. A defensive misplay by Mark Teixeira and another single create the Mets’ third run of the game in the second inning.

Green faced 20 batters and 13 saw at least four pitches. Seven saw a three-ball count. There were an awful lot of long counts and foul balls — Green got six swings and misses and allowed 18 fouls out of 86 total pitches — because Green simply had nothing to put hitters away. They were on his fastball and his offspeed stuff was finishing too far out of the zone. Not a good start by any stretch.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Pick Up The Pitcher
The top of the first inning was mighty ugly — the Mets scored two runs and put five men on base total — and yet the Yankees were able to take the lead in the bottom half. Chase Headley drove in Rob Refsnyder (single) and Mark Teixeira (walk) with a booming double into the left-center field gap, then Didi Gregorius cashed in the third run with a two-run double. So, after all of that, the Yankees led 3-2 after the first.

The Mets knotted the game back up in the next half inning, but the Yankees responded by taking the lead for good in the bottom of the second. It all happened with two outs too. Jacoby Ellsbury and Refsnyder slapped two-out singles, then Teixeira drove a not terribly located 1-0 fastball …

Mark Teixeira Steven Matz

… into the right-center field seats for a three-run home run. Was a cheap Yankee Stadium homer? Yes. Yes it was. It still counts. It’s not like Granderson’s leadoff dinger landed in the second deck. That was a wall-scraper too. Anyway, the opposite field homer gave the Yankees a 6-3 lead. Amazing they had a three-run lead considering a) the general terrible-ness of the offense this season, and b) Green’s ineffectiveness.

Shutdown Sevy
Since resurfacing a week or two ago, Luis Severino has look pretty good while pitching in mostly low-leverage relief innings. The Yankees have been taking it easy on him. Severino came out of the bullpen to replace Green and retired the first seven men he faced to take the ball into the seventh inning. That’s when things started to unravel.

That seventh inning started with a leadoff walk, then Neil Walker laid down a bunt single and Headley booted a potential double play ball. Just like that, the bases were loaded with no outs and the Yankees still nursing that 6-3 lead. The Mets had their 4-5-6 hitters coming up too. It was a certifiable mess, and yet Joe Girardi stuck with Severino. No one was warming in the bullpen.

Rather than implode, which happened far too often when Severino was in a jam earlier this season, he was able to bear down and escape while allowing just one run. He struck out Jay Bruce on three pitches, got Yankee Killer James Loney to ground out to first (run scored to make it 6-4), then struck out Michael Conforto to escape the inning. Severino went full Joba with his fist pump:

Luis Severino

That was some serious F.U. pitching by Severino. He was throwing with conviction and went right after hitters with the bases loaded; Bruce, Loney, and Conforto saw nine total pitches, only one of which was a ball. That was easily his best inning of the season. Severino was letting those innings spiral out of control earlier this year when he was still in the rotation. On Wednesday, he kicked it into another gear and got out of the jam. That was impressive.

Broken Open Late
Immediately after Severino escaped that jam, the offense put three more runs on the board. Refsnyder had a sac fly, Starlin Castro beat out an infield single to score a run, and Gregorius drew a bases loaded walk. Hansel Robles chirped at Teixeira that inning because he thought he was stealing signs from second base. It was pretty funny. Robles was clearly distracted and Teixeira was just laughing at him the whole time. The three runs gave the Yankees a 9-4 lead.

Severino chucked a scoreless eighth inning to finish the night with one run allowed in 4.1 innings. He allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out five. Severino threw 60 pitches and got nine swings and misses, which is pretty excellent. This was by far the best he’s looked all season. Tyler Clippard followed Severino and allowed a garbage time solo homer in an otherwise uneventful ninth inning.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
The benches cleared in the fifth inning. Steven Matz drilled Teixeira with a pitch in the leg and Mark didn’t like that. He thought it was intentional after the home run in the third inning. There were no punches thrown or anything like that, but Teixeira had to be restrained and the dugouts did empty out on to the field. He got his payback when he slid in hard at second on Headley’s double play ball.

The Yankees had nine hits total. Refsnyder had two, Austin Romine had none, and the other seven starters had one each. The Yankees also drew four walks total. Teixeira had two of them. He reached base four times (homer, hit-by-pitch, two walks). The Yankees went 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position. The Mets? They went 2-for-12 in those spots. Difference in the game right there.

And finally, congrats to Gary Sanchez. He picked up his first big league hit in the seventh inning on a solid ground ball single back up the middle. Sanchez went first-to-third on Aaron Hicks‘ double, then scored his first big league run on Refsnyder’s sac fly. Here’s to many more of those, Gary.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and updated standings, I suggest going to ESPN. MLB.com is the place to go for the video highlights. We have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings you may or may not find interesting. Here’s the graph of win probability, which is based on thousands and thousands of games worth of historical data:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The four-game home-and-home Subway Series is finally coming to an end. The Yankees and Mets wrap things up Thursday night at Yankee Stadium. Nathan Eovaldi and Bartolo Colon are the scheduled starters. RAB Tickets can get you in the door for that game or any of the other three games remaining on the homestand.

Game 107: Sanchez returns, maybe for good this time

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

As expected, the Yankees called up top catching prospect Gary Sanchez today and he is in tonight’s lineup (at DH) against southpaw Steven Matz. They’ve done this before, calling up Sanchez to spot start against a left-handed pitcher, but this time it seems he may be up for good. For starters, the Yankees gave him No. 24 this time, which looks like a “you’ll be here a while” number. Sanchez wore 73 and 57 his last two times up.

Secondly, the Yankees have spent the last few days doing nothing but talking about prospects and incorporating them into the lineup in the second half. Sanchez is as ready as he’s going get, and with Carlos Beltran gone and Alex Rodriguez glued to the bench, the DH spot is wide open. He just might be here for a while. Here is the Mets’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. RF Rob Refsnyder
  3. 1B Mark Teixeira
  4. 3B Chase Headley
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. C Austin Romine
  8. DH Gary Sanchez
  9. LF Aaron Hicks
    RHP Chad Green

The weather in New York is pretty much perfect. Nice and sunny but on the cool side and a little breezy. There are worse days to spend at the ballpark. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin a little after 7pm ET. You can watch on YES and SNY locally, and ESPN nationally. Enjoy the game.

Roster Move: Ben Gamel was sent down to clear a spot on the roster for Sanchez, the Yankees announced. That’s not surprising. Releasing A-Rod is a pipe dream at this point. Joe Girardi did say the team is likely to call up other young players before rosters expand in September, for what it’s worth.

Injury Update: Conor Mullee (hand) is heading to see a doctor after feeling renewed symptoms during his latest minor league rehab game. He’s on the DL with some sort of nerve issue that is making his fingers go numb.

Game 106: Ace vs. Co-Ace

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees took game one of the Subway Series last night in thrilling come-from-behind fashion. It was one of the most exciting games of the season, I’d say, and not just because I got to give all the Mets fans in my family a hard time today.

Game two tonight features a premium pitching match: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Jacob deGrom. Ace vs. ace. Or, really, ace vs. co-ace. That Noah Syndergaard guy is pretty darn good. It’s always fun when each team’s best starters meet. Hopefully tonight’s game is as exciting as last night’s. Here is the Mets’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. 1B Mark Teixeira
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. SS Didi Gregorius
  6. 2B Starlin Castro
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. RF Aaron Hicks
  9. RHP Masahiro Tanaka

The weather has been pretty nice in New York today. A little cloudy but cool and breezy. Almost autumnal. Tonight’s game, the second of two at Citi Field, will begin at 7:10pm ET and you can watch on both YES and WPIX. Enjoy the game.

Rotation Update: Chad Green will start tomorrow in place of the since traded Ivan Nova, Joe Girardi announced. Sounds like Green will inherit Nova’s rotation spot permanent, so this isn’t a one-time spot start.

Yankees win a wild one in Queens, down the Mets 6-5

You thought the trades were the most exciting thing about the Yankees the past few days? Boy, how about tonight’s game? The Yankees were trailing 5-3 heading into the bottom of 8th, and they managed to tie it up. They scored a go-ahead run in the 10th and Dellin Betances barely held on to get the save.

Welp (Getty)

Taking the lead

The Yankees almost had an electric start to the game. Almost. On the second pitch of the game, Brett Gardner hit a big fly that hit the center field fence and trickled away from CF Justin Ruggiano. Gardner got to third pretty easily as they were just relaying the ball into the infield when he started to race towards home. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud got the ball and tagged Gardner out just before his hand got on the plate. It wasn’t like Gardner was slacking on base either – he rounded the base in 14.89 seconds, which is fastest home-to-home speed recorded by StatCast this season. I just think that Mets were in a better position to field it than the Yanks had thought. Oh well.

The Mets got the first run of the game in the bottom of second. Wilmer Flores got a hold of a fastball and drove it out to give them a 1-0 lead. At least on the mound, that was the only mistake CC Sabathia made prior to the sixth inning. The Yankees responded in the fourth with a run of their own. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with double and reached third on Brian McCann fly out. On a 0-1 count versus Didi Gregorius, Verrett threw a sinker way inside and d’Arnaud missed it for a wild pitch, scoring Ellsbury.

The Yankees plated two more in the fifth. With two outs and Rob Refsnyder on second, Gardner hit a double to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead and Ellsbury followed it up with an RBI single (Gardner reached second on Alejandro De Aza’s bobbling error). 3-1 Yankees. Sure, this isn’t the same team but the Yankees were making things happen tonight. However, they are still a flawed bunch.

Falling apart

CC was throwing a pretty solid game until the bottom sixth. Around then, while his slider was still snapping well, his fastball command was, well, not good. After Flores reached on an infield single, he allowed another single to d’Arnaud, but he hit it much better this time. The 91 mph fastball was up in the zone and he hit it squarely to right field.

Sabathia got himself some breathing room by easily striking out James Loney, courtesy of that nasty knockout slider that made him look silly. However, he threw yet another fastball up to Matt Reynolds that left the yard immediately. The Yankees trailed 5-3 after that three-run homer. CC got one more out and was lifted after walking … the pinch-hitting pitcher Steve Matz. That was a weird sight.

(Getty)

Tie Game!

The score stayed 5-3 going into the bottom of eighth. At this point, the odds against the Yanks were, well, not great. The Mets don’t necessarily have the best relief corp but the Addison Reed-Jeurys Familia combo in the eighth-ninth innings has been pretty solid. Reed came into the eighth with Gardner on and one out. Reed easily struck out Mark Teixeira to make it two outs and needed to get one more to hand it to Jeurys in the ninth. McCann, the next guy up, got a 0-1 fastball and hit it through the shift to make it runners on first and third. Next up? Probably the best hitter in the team, Didi Gregorius.

During Didi’s AB, Reed threw a wild pitch that advanced pinch-runner Ronald Torreyes to second, setting up two runners in scoring position. After a lengthy battle of fouling pitches off, Didi hit a blooper that landed between the left fielder and shortstop to bring both runners in. Wow. That reminded me so much of that Jorge Posada bloop double in the 2003 ALCS Game 7 that tied the game. The 2016 Yankees, now without some of their best players, made a thing happen!

Free Baseball! 

The game headed into extra innings with no changes in scoring. The Mets sent out RHP Seth Lugo to take care of the tenth. With an Ellsbury walk and Teixeira single, Yankees were immediately in business. With A-Rod on deck, Girardi pulled him back and put in Ben Gamel to sac bunt.

Gamel, who was called up just earlier today to take Carlos Beltran‘s spot, bunted it quite evenly between the baseline and the pitcher. Lugo thought he had a chance to get the lead runner out but wait … it’s Ellsbury we’re talking about. Jacoby beat the throw to third and it loaded the bases with no outs. Your usual sacrifice bunt with fielder’s choice.

Didi struck out to give Mets a sigh of relief, but Starlin Castro hit a long (I mean, really long) sac fly just a few feet away from being a grand slam to put the Yankees up 6-5. Chase Headley snared a liner that looked good off the bat but it was right towards Curtis Granderson. On to the bottom of the 10th. It’s neither Aroldis Chapman time nor Andrew Miller time. It’s … Dellin time.

Betances didn’t start great. On the third pitch of the inning, he allowed a double to Loney. The Mets, up against one of the deadliest pitchers of the league, decided to give away an out by having Reynolds sac bunt to advance Loney to third. A HBP to De Aza made it runners on corners with one out.

Next up was Rene Rivera, who took over Familia’s hitting spot after the ninth. He hit a grounder that bounced in front of the mound and went right into Dellin’s glove. Holy moly. If that went past Dellin, the game was surely going to be tied. Instead, it only advanced the runner from first to second.

With two outs and two runners in scoring position, Dellin did what he’s known for – being nasty and striking hitters out. He got Granderson out on three pitches – a fastball and two low curveballs. Game, 6-5 Yankees. This will probably be one of the top 10 games of the season. It wasn’t great for your heart but I would watch again.

Leftovers

Tyler Clippard, back in the pinstripes after being traded after the 2007 season, pitched in the bottom of 7th tonight. Fun fact: he made his Yankee debut in 2007 against the Mets in the old Shea Stadium. Tonight, he made his re-debut (if that’s a thing) with the Yanks against the Mets in Citi Field. He came into the game with an underwhelming 4.30 ERA but I personally think he can be serviceable – the dude had a 2.80 ERA up to mid-July before running into a series of nutty outings. He threw a scoreless inning with two K’s tonight. I’ll take that any night.

Adam Warren, another Yankee recently re-acquired through trade, threw two scoreless frames. I honestly feel like he could be back being a decent bullpen arm back in Bronx.

Box score, highlights, WPA and standings

Here’s tonight’s box score, video highlights, WPA and updated standings.


Source: FanGraphs

Up next

The Yankees and Mets will play the second game of this four-game series Tuesday night. Aces Masahiro Tanaka and Jacob deGrom will be on the mound.