Prior to yesterday’s game, Brian Cashman confirmed to reporters that Alex Rodriguez has been declared healthy by the team’s insurance company and he is preparing to play in 2015. “He’s doing two-a-days right now. Last I remember, he said he was out at UCLA. Between that and his workouts in Miami, he’s (also) going to plan on working with our staff in Tampa at some point this winter. He looks forward to reintroducing himself in a positive way for us going forward,” said the GM to Chad Jennings.
A-Rod, now 39, has opted not to play winter ball as a tune-up heading into next season. Cashman said the team ran the idea by him just so they could begin the process of getting him on a roster, but he declined. Rodriguez missed most of last season following left hip surgery after having right hip surgery in 2009. He played only 265 of 486 possible games from 2011-13. What will the Yankees get out of A-Rod next year? Who in the world knows. Cashman made it pretty clear they aren’t going to release him — they could still recoup some of the $63M they owe him through 2017 if he gets suspended or hurt again (insurance!) — so they’ll need him to contribute something more than nothing. · (177) ·
Here is your open thread for the night. MLB.tv is free all weekend, so you can watch any game your heart desires. Tigers-Twins, Royals-White Sox, Athletics-Rangers, Cardinals-Diamondbacks, and Mariners-Angels all have postseason implications. I’m sure there’s a bunch of college football on somewhere as well. Talk about those games, this afternoon’s loss, Joe Girardi ripping the team, or anything else right here.
This is the type of game that would have totally sucked had it meant something but is easily brushed off because it didn’t. The Yankees got clobbered by the Red Sox by the score of 10-4 on Saturday afternoon, in the second to last game of the 2014 season. Let’s recap:
- Ugly Ending: This was definitely not the way Masahiro Tanaka wanted to go into the offseason. He looked pretty terrible on Saturday afternoon — stuff was flat, no command at all, laboring from start to finish — and the result was seven runs (five earned) in only 1.2 innings (50 pitches). Some really bad defense didn’t help but it’s not like Tanaka was fooling anyone either. As long as his elbow is healthy — Joe Girardi said he was fine physically after the game, no injury just ineffective — the bad performance doesn’t really matter. It just would have been nice to end the season on a high note.
- Swing Away: The Yankees went into “let’s get this over with” mode after Boston’s eight-run second inning — 17 of the next 19 men they sent to the plate swung at the first or second pitch. The plan went awry in the three-run eighth inning, which was highlighted by Chris Young‘s one-run single and Stephen Drew‘s two-run ground-rule double. Three singles, including infield hits by Frankie Cervelli and Chase Headley, set that rally up. The Yankees put two on the ninth but did not score.
- Bullpen On Parade: Preston Claiborne replaced Tanaka, faced six hitters, and retired one (three hits, one walk, one error). He was charged with two unearned runs. Bryan Mitchell allowed one run while soaking up four efficient innings (44 pitches) then Chase Whitely closed it out with two quick innings. Three September call-up relievers combined to allow three runs (one earned) in 6.1 innings while striking out seven. Not awful despite Claiborne.
- Leftovers: Derek Jeter started at DH and went 1-for-2 with an infield single before being replaced … the Yankees allowed a season-high four unearned runs, which is amazing considering how terrible the infield was for much of the year … Headley, Cervelli, and Young each had two hits while Ichiro Suzuki, Jeter, Austin Romine, Drew (double), and Jose Pirela (triple) each had one. Drew and Pirela walked … Tanaka is the first Yankee to allow at least seven runs in fewer than two full innings since Phil Hughes last May.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. Since this was their 78th loss of the season, the Yankees will officially have a worst record than last year (85-77). Gross. Michael Pineda and Clay Buchholz will be on the mound in the 2014 season finale Sunday afternoon.
Via ESPN NY: Joe Girardi ripped players in an “angry” team meeting before Thursday’s home finale, reportedly chiding some players for being overweight and others for not being “hungry.” Girardi and several players confirmed the meeting happened without giving details. “I’m not going to go into what I talked about. Write whatever you want,” he said.
“It was a speech the likes of which I’ve never heard him give before. It’s something he probably should have said back in Spring Training,” said someone involved with the meeting to ESPN NY. I’m guessing stuff like this happens much more often than we hear about and there’s nothing wrong with some brutal honesty and tough love in my opinion. The Yankees played like crap and definitely didn’t look “hungry” at times this year. It needed to be said. · (100) ·
The Yankees won the first game of this season-ending series with the Red Sox last night, and with a win today and tomorrow, New York will match last season’s 85-77 record. That’s a bad thing after spending all that money on free agents this winter. Unless they manage to score 30 runs the next two games, they’ll score fewer runs than last year. On the other hand, they’ll also allow fewer runs than last year unless they somehow give up 22 runs in the final two games. That’s … good? Here is the Red Sox lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- DH Derek Jeter
- C Brian McCann
- 1B Chase Headley
- LF Chris Young
- SS Stephen Drew
- 2B Jose Pirela
- 3B Brendan Ryan
- CF Eury Perez
RHP Masahiro Tanaka
It’s a perfect fall day for baseball in Boston. Blue skies, a few clouds, cool and breezy. This afternoon’s game will begin at 1:05pm ET and you can watch on FOX. Regular old FOX, not FOX Sports 1. Enjoy the game.
Update: Neither Jacoby Ellsbury (hamstring) nor Dellin Betances will play again this year. Betances isn’t hurt, they’re just shutting him down due to his workload … David Robertson will pitch again if he has a chance to get his 40th save of the season (he’s at 39) … both Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira will play tomorrow … the Red Sox were planning to use the Bob Sheppard recording to introduce Jeter before his at-bats (the Yankees and Sheppard’s family signed off), but Jeter shot it down, saying Sheppard’s voice belongs in Yankee Stadium. Yep.
Following his final start of the season earlier this week, Brandon McCarthy told Brendan Kuty it would be tough to pass up a return to New York when he hits free agency this winter. “I’d prefer to be anywhere where I’m wanted but this would be a hard place to turn down. It’s been a great time here,” he said. “I feel like gotten along with a lot of people. The way the organization goes about its business makes perfect sense to me. It’d be hard to find a better fit than here.”
McCarthy, 31, had a rough final start, but he still had a 2.89 ERA (3.22 FIP) in 14 starts and 90.1 innings with the Yankees. He was awesome. McCarthy will be arguably the fourth best pitcher on the open market behind Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, and James Shields this winter. At this point I would not be surprised if he got a three or even four-year contract. His lengthy history of shoulder problems (specifically stress fractures) is scary even though he did stay healthy this year. The Yankees need to add some pitching this offseason and McCarthy made it easy to want him back after the trade. · (153) ·
Neither the Yankees nor the Red Sox sent out their A-team on Friday night — heck, you could argue they didn’t even send out their B-team — but because this was a Yankees-Red Sox game, it went right down to the wire and took well more than three hours. It’s in their DNA. New York walked away with a 3-2 win. Let’s recap:
- Build Some Runs: The Yankees scored their first two runs thanks to some bad Red Sox defense. Eury Perez reached base with one out in the third on a passed ball after striking out, then another passed ball moved him to second. Francisco Cervelli singled him in. A single by Chris Young and an error by Mookie Betts brought Cervelli home for the second run. Then, in the sixth inning, a double (John Ryan Murphy), a single (Austin Romine), and a sacrifice fly (Zelous Wheeler) plated the team’s third run.
- Tip Of The Cap: In his final start of the season, Chris Capuano allowed one unearned run in 6.2 innings of work. Young bobbled a base hit in left field to allow Allen Craig to reach second on a would-be single. Bryce Brentz singled him in later in the second inning. Other than that, Capuano held the BoSox to two singles and no walks, and he retired 15 of the final 16 men he faced. He struck out five. Capuano (presumably) finishes his Yankees’ career with a 4.25 ERA in 12 starts and 65.2 innings. Not bad for the team’s 11th or 12th starter.
- Bullpen: Shawn Kelley‘s very first pitch of the night landed in the parking lot across the street after Rusney Castillo hit it over the Green Monster for a solo homer. That made it 3-2 in the seventh inning. He retired the next batter to end the inning, then Adam Warren tossed a perfect eighth. He was one strike away from an Immaculate Inning when Betts flew out. For shame. David Robertson allowed a leadoff ground ball single and struck out two in the ninth to earn his 39th save. I’m still hoping he gets to 40 for no reason in particular.
- Leftovers: Wheeler and leadoff man Jose Pirela were the only starters who failed to reach base. Cervelli had two hits while Perez, Young, Murphy, Romine, and Antoan Richardson had one each. Cervelli, Young, and Brendan Ryan drew walks … the pitchers struck out 9+ and walked zero for the MLB-leading tenth time this season … Young threw Yoenis Cespedes out at second trying to stretch a single into a double. Pirela did a nice job keeping the tag on Cespedes, so the safe call was overturned on review.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. I forgot to mention this last night, but the Yankees have clinched their 22nd consecutive winning season. That’s the second longest such streak in baseball history behind the 1925-64 Yankees, who did it 39 straight years. Masahiro Tanaka and Joe Kelly will square off in the penultimate game of the 2014 season on Saturday afternoon.
For all intents and purposes, the 2014 regular season ended last night. The Yankees are just running out the clock this weekend. So, with nothing on the line, Joe Girardi decided to send out the Triple-A Scranton lineup for tonight’s opener with the Red Sox. Or maybe I should say the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. Their lineup isn’t looking so hot either. Here is Girardi’s lineup:
- 2B Jose Pirela
- CF Eury Perez
- 1B Frankie Cervelli
- LF Chris Young
- C John Ryan Murphy
- DH Austin Romine
- SS Brendan Ryan
- 3B Zelous Wheeler
- RF Antoan Richardson
LHP Chris Capuano
Beautiful weather in Boston tonight. Clear skies and cool, which is to be expected this time of year. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm ET and you can watch on My9. Enjoy the game.
Updates: Derek Jeter asked for today off because he was “drained” following last night’s game. He won’t even pinch-hit but he will play the next two games … Joe Girardi said he wanted to send Hiroki Kuroda back out for the ninth inning so he could get an ovation last night, but Kuroda declined … Girardi offered to let Jeter manage on Sunday, but Jeter isn’t interested.
Derek Jeter’s final home game last night was the most watched game broadcast in the history of the YES Network, the network announced. The game averaged 1.25 million viewers in New York and peaked at 1.99 million viewers from 10:15-10:30pm ET. That works out to an average 10.84 Nielsen rating and a peak 16.55 Nielsen rating. The previous record was held by the second game of the 2005 season (1.21 million viewers). Can’t say I’m surprised. Jeter is one hell of a draw. · (42) ·
Boy these late-season Yankees-Red Sox series have lost something off their fastball these last few years, haven’t they? Both teams have already been eliminated from postseason contention, so they will wrap-up their seasons this weekend with nothing more than bragging rights on the line. The Yankees are 10-6 against the Red Sox this year, including 4-2 at Fenway Park.
What Have They Done Lately?
The BoSox just took two of three from the Rays — they outscored them 22-4 in the last two games — but they’ve won only seven of their last 17 games. They are 70-89 with a -82 run differential overall, both the fourth worst marks in the AL.
At 3.88 runs per game with a team 90 wRC+, the Red Sox are the Yankees’ equal offensively. That’s not a compliment. (The Yankees average 3.88 runs per game with a team 91 wRC+.) Boston will be without 1B Mike Napoli (123 wRC+), 2B Dustin Pedroia (99 wRC+), UTIL Brock Holt (98 wRC+), and OF Shane Victorino this weekend (88 wRC+). They’re all hurt and have been shut down for the season. DH David Ortiz (135 wRC+) is dealing with wrist inflammation and he is unlikely to play as well.
With all those familiar names out of action, manager John Farrell builds his lineup around OF Yoenis Cespedes (110 wRC+) and 1B Allen Craig (29 wRC+). Craig has looked completely helpless at the plate since hurting his foot last year. 2B Mookie Betts (131 wRC+) is having a nice late-season cameo and SS Xander Bogaerts (82 wRC+) has been better the last two weeks or so. The recently signed OF Rusney Castillo (79 wRC+ in very limited time) is still trying to find his way. OF Daniel Nava (99 wRC+) rakes against righties (118 wRC+).
The rest of the lineup includes 3B Will Middlebrooks (44 wRC+) and C Christian Vazquez (69 wRC+). OF Jackie Bradley Jr. (47 wRC+) seems to have played his way out of the organization’s plans and is now just a defensive replacement, even with all the injuries late in the season. C David Ross (74 wRC+) is the backup catcher. The long list of September call-ups includes C Dan Butler, C Ryan Lavarnway, 3B Garin Cecchini, IF Carlos Rivero, IF Jemile Weeks, and OF Bryce Brentz.
Friday: LHP Chris Capuano (vs. BOS) vs. RHP Steven Wright (vs. NYY)
The Red Sox have already shut down their various young starters and the 30-year-old Wright is getting the spot start tonight. He’s appeared in five games for Boston this year, all in relief, allowing six runs in 16 innings with 18 strikeouts and two walks. Wright had a 3.41 ERA (3.88 FIP) in 15 starts and 95 innings down in Triple-A this summer. His strikeout (6.44 K/9 and 17.6 K%), walk (2.8 BB/9 and 5.7 BB%), and homer (0.85 HR/9) rates down in Pawtucket range between okay and good. Ready to be surprised? Wright is a knuckleballer. He throws his mid-70s knuckler roughly three-fourths of the time, filling in the gaps with low-90s fastballs and mid-60s curveballs. I can’t help but wonder if those curveballs are just sloppy knuckleballs being misclassified by PitchFX. I guess we’ll find out tonight. Wright has never faced the Yankees but he did make two starts against Triple-A Scranton this year. Jose Pirela, Zelous Wheeler, John Ryan Murphy, and Austin Romine know what’s up.
Saturday: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. BOS) vs. RHP Joe Kelly (vs. NYY)
Kelly, 26, was the centerpiece of the John Lackey trade a few weeks back now that Craig is hitting like a pitcher. He has a 4.15 ERA (4.46 FIP) in 16 starts and 89 total inning this year, including a 4.00 ERA (4.81 FIP) in nine starts for Boston. His overall strikeout (6.37 K/9 and 16.3 K%) and walk (4.04 BB/9 and 10.4 BB%) rates stink, though he gets plenty of grounders (55.6%) and keeps the ball in the park (0.81 HR/9 and 12.9 HR/FB%). Lefties (.320 wOBA) have hit Kelly a little harder than righties (.299 wOBA). A mid-90s two-seamer is his main pitch, which he’ll use to set up low-80s changeups and upper-70s curveballs. He’ll throw a handful of mid-90s four-seamers and mid-80s sliders per start as well. Kelly held the Yankees to three runs in 6.2 innings earlier this month.
Sunday: RHP Michael Pineda (vs. BOS) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (vs. NYY)
In the span of a few days in late-July, the 30-year-old Buchholz went from being the Red Sox’s nominal number four starter to their staff ace. He has a 5.31 ERA (4.06 FIP) in 27 starts and 164.1 innings this year, with peripherals that are decent across the board: 7.01 K/9 (18.0 K%), 2.90 BB/9 (7.4 BB%), 0.93 HR/9 (9.6 HR/FB%), and 46.4% grounders. Buchholz has been hit much harder by lefties (.357 wOBA) than righties (.306 wOBA) this season. As always, Buchholz uses low-90s two and four-seamers as well as an upper-80s cutter to set up his knockout low-80s changeup and occasionally knockout upper-70s curveball. The Yankees scored four runs (two earned) in six innings against him in April, then seven runs in five innings in August.
The Yankees broke RHP Koji Uehara (3.08 FIP) with the Chase Headley walk-off homer game a few weeks ago. He was removed from the closer role after that game and has pitch very sparingly since. RHP Edward Mujica (3.70 FIP) is now pitching the ninth inning. RHP Junichi Tazawa (2.94 FIP) is his primary setup man and LHP Tommy Layne (3.08 FIP) will see the high-leverage matchup situations.
RHP Burke Badenhop (3.10 FIP), RHP Alex Wilson (4.01 FIP), and LHP Craig Breslow (5.34 FIP) are Farrell’s other bullpen regulars. The September call-ups are RHP Matt Barnes, LHP Drake Britton, LHP Edwin Escobar, and RHP Heath Hembree. Uehara and Wilson each threw a low-stress inning last night. Head over to our Bullpen Workload page for details on the Yankees’ bullpen, then head over to Over The Monster for everything you could possibly want to know about the Red Sox.