Game 89: The Start of the Second Half

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

Is it crazy to call these 17 days before the trade deadline the most important 17 days for the Yankees since at least the 2008-09 offseason? I don’t think so. With ownership reportedly on the fence about buying or selling, these 17 days may determine while the Yankees sell buy for the future or do something silly like stand pat. I’m not sure what else the decision makers need to see, but whatever.

The second half gets started this evening with the first of three against the Red Sox. Believe it or not, this is the Yankees’ first home game of July. They started the month with a ten-game road trip before the All-Star break. The last home game was the walk-off wild pitch against the Rangers. Yeah, it’s been a while. Michael Pineda started the team’s last home game and he’ll start this one tonight too. Hopefully Big Mike shows up and not Mini-Mike.

I’m not going to have time to add the lineups to the game thread, so I’ll instead direct you to Chad Jennings’ site. I trust he’ll have ’em. The weather in New York today is so much nicer than it was yesterday. It’s hot, don’t get me wrong, but at least it’s not grossly humid again. Tonight’s second half opener will begin at 7:05pm ET. You can watch on WPIX locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.

Game 88: The End of the First Half

That's Sir Didi to you.
That’s Sir Didi to you. (Jason Miller/Getty)

Today marks the end of the first half of the 2016 season, and this afternoon’s game will determine whether the Yankees go into the All-Star break at .500 or something worse. The last time the Yankees had a sub-.500 record at the All-Star break was way back in 1992, when they were 42-45. That 1992 season was no good. Not fun at all. Here is the Indians’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. DH Carlos Beltran
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. SS Didi Gregorius
  6. 2B Starlin Castro
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. RF Rob Refsnyder
  9. C Austin Romine
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

It’s nice and sunny in Cleveland today. Pretty great day to spend at the ballpark. This afternoon’s game will begin a little after 1pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Game 87: Sabathia back in Cleveland

(Getty)
This was a long, long time ago. (Getty)

CC Sabathia spent the first seven and a half seasons of his career with the Indians. He won his Cy Young in Cleveland, went to three All-Star Games as an Indian, and led the club to two postseason appearances. And, when they traded him, Sabathia netted the Indians their best all-around hitter, Michael Brantley. The Sabathia era in Cleveland was a rousing success.

Sabathia has now spent the last seven and a half seasons of his career with the Yankees. He hasn’t won a Cy Young award in pinstripes, but he’s finished in the top four of the voting three times, plus he has a World Series ring and three more All-Star selections. The last few years haven’t been pretty. Overall though, Sabathia’s stint in New York has been a huge success. He’s been one of the best free agent signings in team history.

Sabathia returns to Cleveland to start against his former team this afternoon, something he’s done a bunch of times over the years. Since joining the Yankees, CC has started five games at Progressive Field, and in those starts he has a 2.10 ERA in 33.1 innings. Of course, four of those five starts came from 2009-12, back when he was still an ace. Despite his overall strong performance this year, Sabathia is long removed from his days as a No. 1 guy. Anyway, here is the Indians’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. DH Carlos Beltran
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. SS Didi Gregorius
  6. 2B Starlin Castro
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. 1B Rob Refsnyder
  9. RF Aaron Hicks
    LHP CC Sabathia

Pretty nice weather day in Cleveland, according to the internet. It’s sunny with temperatures in the upper-70s. Good afternoon for a game. This afternoon’s game will begin at 4:10pm ET and you can watch on FOX Sports 1. Yes, FOX Sports 1. Enjoy the game.

Roster Move: As expected, Chad Green was send down and Nick Goody was called up, the Yankees announced. Green told Chad Jennings he will start the first game after the All-Star break for Triple-A Scranton next Thursday. That means a) he won’t pitch in the Triple-A All-Star Game next Wednesday, and b) he’ll still be in line to start the fifth game of the second half for the big league team.

Rotation Update: Michael Pineda, Sabathia, and Masahiro Tanaka will start the first three games after the All-Star break in that order. They’ll face the Red Sox in a three-game series at home.

Game 86: The Quest for .500, Again

(Jason Miller/Getty)
(Jason Miller/Getty)

Once again, tonight the Yankees are trying to get themselves back to .500 for the season. They’ve been within two games of .500 for almost a month now. I’m serious. The last time they were more than two games above or below .500 was June 15th, when they were 31-34. They’ve been treading water for far too long. Either start winning or start losing. Here is the Indians’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. DH Carlos Beltran
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 1B Mark Teixeira
  6. 2B Starlin Castro
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 3B Chase Headley
  9. RF Rob Refsnyder
    RHP Chad Green

Yes, Joe Girardi flipped Gardner and Ellsbury atop the lineup. Why? Well, why not? I don’t see what harm it could do. Gardner gets on base more often, and Ellsbury’s the better contact hitter, so they could mess around with hit-and-runs and whatnot.

Anyway, it’s cloudy and humid in Cleveland, and there is rain in the forecast tonight. Quite a bit of it starting around 10pm ET or so. The Yankees better make sure they have a lead after five innings tonight. Tonight’s game will begin a little after 7pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Game 85: Hello Cleveland

Aug 13, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; General view as the Cleveland Indians take batting practice before playing the New York Yankees at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
(Presswire)

On paper, this series this is a total mismatch. The Indians have the best pitching staff in the league (3.93 runs allowed per game) while the Yankees have the third worst offense in the league (4.12 runs scored per game). With the exception of Josh Tomlin, who we won’t see this series, Cleveland’s rotation is full of power arms with wicked breaking balls. They’re mighty impressive.

So does that statistical mismatch make this a trap series? Maybe! This series could very well determine whether the Yankees are buyers or sellers at the deadline. They’re five games back of the second wildcard spot with six teams ahead of them. If they go into the All-Star any further back than that, not selling will be close to impossible to justify. Here is the Indians’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Carlos Beltran
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 1B Mark Teixeira
  6. 2B Starlin Castro
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 3B Chase Headley
  9. RF Rob Refsnyder
    RHP Ivan Nova

It is cloudy and humid in Cleveland, which usually means rain is on the way. Sure enough, there are thunderstorms in the forecast overnight. It doesn’t look like it’ll be anything that interrupts the game unless they go to extra innings or something like that. Tonight’s series opener will begin at 7:10pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

All-Star Update: Earlier today MLB announced the eight players for this year’s Home Run Derby. None of the eight are Yankees, but hey, Robinson Cano will participate. Here’s the full Home Run Derby squad.

Game 84: Is Big Mike Here?

(Hannah Foslien/Getty)
(Hannah Foslien/Getty)

The overall numbers are ugly. Michael Pineda is going into tonight’s start with a 5.24 ERA (3.84 FIP) in 89.1 innings this season. Ninety-seven pitchers have enough innings to qualify for the ERA title at the moment, and only ten of those 97 have a higher ERA than Pineda. He’s been bad overall this season. There’s no denying it.

Most of that damage came earlier in the season, however. Pineda had a 6.92 ERA in his first ten starts and 53.1 innings, but, in his last six starts, Pineda has a 2.75 ERA in 36 innings. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild credits some mechanical tweaks, which have tightened up Pineda’s slider, for the sudden success. Is Big Mike here? I’m not ready to say that yet, but I’m hoping to be convinced. Here is the White Sox’s lineup and here is the Indians’ lineup:

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

It is cloudy, hot, and humid in Chicago tonight. There is some rain in the forecast too, though hopefully not anything that will interrupt the game. Tonight’s series finale will begin at 8:10pm ET. You can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Game 83: Tanaka Tuesday

(David Banks/Getty)
(David Banks/Getty)

Folks, I have bad news. The Yankees are playing another game tonight. I know, it sucks. The Yankees can’t score and they have like one good pitcher, and he needs an extra day of rest to actually be, you know, good. Luckily, that guy is on the mound tonight with an extra day rest, so there’s a chance tonight’s game will be marginally entertaining. Small victories, I suppose. Here is the White Sox’s lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. RF Carlos Beltran
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. SS Starlin Castro
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. 2B Rob Refsnyder
  8. CF Aaron Hicks
  9. C Austin Romine
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

It’s cloudy in Chicago and there’s a small chance of rain pretty much all night. Hopefully it won’t be anything that interrupts the game. That would suck. Tonight’s game will begin a bit after 8pm ET. You can watch on YES. Try to enjoy.

Roster Move: The Yankees have called up Chasen Shreve and sent down Luis Cessa, the team announced. Good. Cessa needs to pitch to continue his development, not sit around so he can throw two mop-up innings every ten days.