Thoughts prior to Ivan Nova’s return to the rotation

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Yesterday afternoon Joe Girardi announced Ivan Nova will make his (hopefully) triumphant return to the rotation tomorrow afternoon, in the Yankees’ series finale with the Phillies. Nova had Tommy John surgery late last April, so his rehab lasted 14 months or so. I have thoughts on this development. Time to share.

1. It goes without saying Nova’s return is a good thing. Getting a healthy pitcher back and beefing up the depth chart is never bad. That said, I really have no idea what to expect from Nova. Heck, even when he was healthy it was tough to know which Nova would show up from start to start. He’d have rough stretches and dominant stretches, which isn’t uncommon for talented young pitchers. Command was never really his strength though — he seemed to lack command all through 2012 and the result was the most extra-base hits allowed in baseball — and that’s usually the last thing to return following Tommy John surgery. Nova’s return could be a little rocky at first, and, if it is, there’s nothing the Yankees can do other than ride it out and wait for him to adjust to his new elbow.

2. So yes, while Nova’s return is a good thing, it does create some roster headaches. Girardi told reporters the Yankees will use a six-man rotation for the time being, something they’ve been talking about since before Spring Training even started. They want to give everyone, particularly guys with health questions like Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) and Michael Pineda (shoulder) an extra day of rest whenever possible, and the six-man rotation allows them to do that during this 20 games in 20 days stretch that is a little more than halfway complete. (Tonight is Game 12.) My guess is the Yankees figured the crowded rotation would take care of itself, either by someone getting hurt or Adam Warren pitching himself back into the bullpen, but that didn’t happen. The six-man rotation both gives the starters extra rest and gives the team time before deciding who to remove from the rotation.

Warren for 2B. (Presswire)
Warren for 2B? (Presswire)

3. I don’t think anyone expected Warren to pitch this well as a starter — 3.62 ERA (4.25 FIP) overall and 2.93 ERA (4.23 FIP) in his last seven starts — including the Yankees. Remember, he was only in the rotation to start the year because Chris Capuano got hurt in Spring Training. I think the Yankees figured Warren would simply hold down the fort, be serviceable but not really excel, and then slide back into the bullpen whenever someone got healthy. That didn’t happen. Warren complicated things (in a good way!) by pitching well. He took Capuano’s rotation spot — that was the easy part — and is now going to have to show he belongs in the rotation ahead of … who? Tanaka, Pineda, and CC Sabathia won’t lose their spots and Nathan Eovaldi is unlikely to as well. It’s either Warren or Nova, and my guess is Nova will be given a lot of rope coming off elbow surgery. Barring an injury, it’s hard to see how Warren remains in the rotation beyond next week. For shame.

4. When the time comes to activate Nova tomorrow, I have no doubt the Yankees will send Ramon Flores down to Triple-A Scranton and play with a three-man bench. Everything they’ve done the last few years says they will not play with a six-man bullpen. And, not for nothing, they need all the arms they can get right now. They’ve had some problems keeping the other team off the board the last week or so. Going with a six-man bullpen is not a good idea right now. So Flores goes down, Garrett Jones and Chris Young share a quasi-platoon in left, and John Ryan Murphy and Brendan Ryan are on the bench. The roster stays like that until … who knows. Until a starter is moved into the bullpen or Jacoby Ellsbury returns. This is another one of those “deal with it when the time comes” situations. Either way, like I said, I have no doubt Flores is going down and the Yankees will use a three-man bench while using the six-man rotation.

5. Opening a 40-man roster spot for Nova will be a bit more interesting. The Yankees could call up Jacob Lindgren (elbow) and slide him to the 60-day DL, which would allow him to accrue service time, which the team wants to avoid. They’ve been hesitant do that “call up then 60-day DL” thing with other prospects in the past. That means someone will be designated for assignment, with Gregorio Petit and Jose DePaula standing out as candidates. Diego Moreno is another candidate as well. The Yankees have added three pitchers to the 40-man in recent weeks (Moreno, Lindgren, Nick Rumbelow) and could opt to jettison DePaula or Moreno while keeping the extra infielder. This isn’t a critical move, whoever they cut can be replaced relatively easily, but this stuff always interests me. Nova’s return means someone else has to go.

Pineda doesn’t fool anyone, Yankee pitchers allow 18 hits in an 11-8 loss to the Phillies

Boy, that was ugly. The Yankees’ pitching staff allowed 18 hits tonight against a poor Phillies lineup. Eighteen! The Yankees’ offense did manage to score eight runs and made a late run, but, as the final score indicates, they fell short. If one had told me the Yankees were going to score eight runs, I would have predicted an easy Yankee win but alas, you can’t predict baseball.

(Relative) calm before the storm

With two outs in the first inning, Big Mike hung a slider in a 1-2 count to Maikel Franco, who is one of the few on the Philadelphia Phillies who is good at baseball. The 22-year old Dominican didn’t miss any of that pitch and put it beyond the left field fence. 1-0 Phils.

Luckily for New York, Kevin Correia (at least on paper) is much more hittable. Yankees started the bottom of the first with two straight singles. A-Rod went on to strike out but Brian McCann hit a sac fly to tie it up at 1.

With two outs, Carlos Beltran worked Correia into a 3-2 count and drove an RBI double to left to score Chase Headley from first. 2-1 Yankees. Garrett Jones singled but Beltran got thrown out at home. New York still got out of the inning with a lead. You would think that Yankees would end up score more and Michael Pineda settles down nicely for an easy win, right? Well …

Le Sigh (Source: Getty)

Michael Pine-d’oh!

Pineda’s velocity was good tonight. His command was less than ideal. But luckily, the Phillies lineup isn’t exactly a Murderer’s Row … or so you would think.

In the top third, Pineda allowed three straight baserunners (two singles and a walk) to loaded the bases with no outs. Ryan Howard followed that with a two-RBI single to retake the lead for Philadelphia and Domonic Brown’s GIDP scored another run for a 4-2 Phillies lead.

Things didn’t seem to be any better in the fourth. In fact, it got a whole lot worse. Pineda allowed two straight singles to start the inning. Freddy Galvis attempted a push bunt and the ball went down the line … and it just managed to stay fair. Oof. It was that kind of night for Pineda.

With bases loaded and no outs, Ben Revere grounded into force out to home. The next hitter, Cesar Fernandez, hit a double to right to drive in two more. That was a hanger of a slider that not many big leaguers would miss and Pineda paid for it. Maikel Franco, who had already homered this game, added a two-RBI single to knock Pineda out of the game. 8-2 Phillies.

Tonight was a culmination of not a lot of things working for the big guy. Sure, there were a good amount of soft/unlucky singles for Pineda but he also wasn’t getting swings-and-misses to strike guys out. In fact, he struck out no one in 3.1 innings pitched. Pitchers have bad games and Pineda just happened to have one of his worse ones against one of the worst lineups in the league. Oh well.

By the way, after tonight’s game, Pineda’s ERA is at 4.25 and he’s allowed 96 hits in 84.2 IP. He definitely has shown ability to keep the walks down (12) and strike out hitters (87) for a solid 2.89 FIP but, well, he’s been allowing too many hits recently. I think he will rebound – he’s got too much talent not to be better than his ERA – but it’s not ideal to see him go through this while every win is so important for the Yankees right now.

Extra note: tonight was only the second time Pineda recorded zero strikeout in an ML start – the first after the pine tar game.

Comeback attempt/RISPFail

In the bottom fourth, after two outs, Chris Young singled to right and Stephen Drew reached on an infield hit. Brett Gardner followed it up with a three-RBI home run to tighten the gap at 8-5 Phillies lead. Progress!

Come bottom fifth, the Phillies took out Correia and brought in fireballing LHP Jake Diekman. Diekman walked A-Rod in four pitches but took care of McCann with a pop-up. Beltran, who has been hitting much better lately, hit a double to the gap to get the runners on second and third with one out. If it were A-Rod ten years ago, he would have scored easily, but remember, we are talking about a guy almost at 40 who came off hip surgeries in last few years.

Garrett Jones, who is capable of hitting balls to outfield, hit a pop up that A-Rod would have no chance scoring on. Blah. Two outs and Didi Gregorius had to face a flame-throwing lefty to drive runs in … and  that didn’t work out well for New York. Gregorius struck out to end the trouble for Diekman and the Phillies. That was painful to watch.

When you get beat by a 99 mph fastball (Source: Getty)

New York had another opportunity in the sixth when Drew and Gardner walked with one out. Diekman, bringing his A-game fastball on, struck out both Headley and A-Rod swinging to get out of the trouble. Again, painful.

The lesser evil

Chris Capuano came in relief for Pineda in the fourth inning. After Pineda failed to strike out anyone, Capuano struck out the first batter (Ryan Howard) he faced, because of course.

In the fifth, Capuano tossed a (relatively) clean inning for the Yanks. After plunking Chase Utley, the lefty struck out Cameron Rupp and Cody Asche and got Galvis to line out to left.

Welcome to New York, it may have not been waiting for you that eagerly (Source: Getty)

In the sixth, with one out, Cesar Hernandez hit a single to right. Maikel Franco then came to bat and, on a 3-0 count, the Dominican swung as confident as anyone could and boy, he did show what he can can. He hit a homer way up in the left field bleachers for a two-RBI home run. 10-5 Phillies.

Another pitching debut!

Remember the A.J. Burnett trade after the 2011 season? Well, the Yankees got RHP prospect Diego Moreno out of it. New York also got the minor leaguer with an awesome name Exicardo Cayones but he later became a part of the package to the Angels when the Yankees traded for Vernon Wells in March 2013.

After pitching in the minors for a bit more than five seasons, Moreno displayed a solid showing for the Triple-A Scranton RailRiders in 2015: 2.27 ERA in 35.2 IP with 26 hits and 8 walks allowed and 29 strikeouts.

As advertised, Moreno threw pretty hard. His fastball sat around 95~97 mph. On the first hitter faced in ML level, Moreno plunked Rupp in the ribs. Ouch, that’s gonna hurt for awhile.

Moreno also had a changeup around 88~90 mph that garnered him his first ML strikeout from Cody Asche. The righty went on to allow a consecutive singles to Galvis and Revere but got Cesar Hernandez to force ground out to home. Moreno then accomplish something Pineda or Capuano couldn’t – he actually got Maikel Franco out – on a swinging strikeout nonetheless.

All in all, not a bad debut for the righty – a full inning of work with two hits allowed but no runs and two punch outs.

Late inning attempts

The Phillies brought in another LHP (Elvis Araujo) for the bottom of seventh. McCann hit a fastball right in the screws for a homer to the second deck in right field to lessen the gap at 10-6. The offense failed to come up with much in the rest of the seventh and the eighth.

In the bottom of ninth, the Phillies turned to their closer and our old fiend, Jonathan Papelbon. A-Rod greeted him with a deep double to left to lead off. McCann flew out but Beltran reached on an infield single to second to get the runners in corners with one out.

Garrett Jones, who was earlier denied of an RBI in the first and failed to capitalize on a big RISP situation in the fifth, hit a deep double to left to drive in both Rodriguez and Beltran. 11-8 Yankees. Unfortunately for New York, Papelbon got both Gregorius and Young to pop out to end the game. Bleh.

Leftovers

Chasen Shreve came in the top of eighth and tossed his eleventh consecutive scoreless outing. How about that? Meanwhile Manny Banuelos threw a shutout for the Braves Triple-A team tonight. So that’s also that.

Buried by this loss was a big night from Brett Gardner – the gritty guy went 4-for-4 with three RBI’s and a walk. His line is up to .290/.361/.472 and that’s more than what you could ask for from a leadoff guy.

Box score, standing, video highlights, WPA

Here’s the box score, updated standings, highlights and WPA – if you do so dare to revisit the game.


Source: FanGraphs


Yankees have the big lefty CC Sabathia take the mound against Sean O’Sullivan. On the paper, Yankees should have an edge but then again, the team had a huge edge in the Pineda vs. Correia matchup… on the paper. We’ll see how the next one goes.

DotF: Campos, Bailey return to the mound on GCL Opening Day

OF Dustin Fowler has been promoted from Low-A Charleston to High-A Tampa, the team announced. Also, I missed this the other day, but 3B Miguel Andujar won the High-A Florida State League Home Run Derby over the weekend. He won on a walk-off homer in a tie-breaker round. Neat.

Triple-A Scranton (4-2 loss to Louisville)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 1-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 K
  • 2B Jose Pirela: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K — 5-for-37 (.135) in his last nine games
  • DH Rob Refsnyder: 0-4, 2 K — so is he gonna start hitting at some point or nah? Stephen Drew has been really bad and Refsnyder hasn’t forced the issue whatsoever
  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-4, 1 K — Triple-A debut
  • C Austin Romine: 1-4, 1 K
  • RHP Kyle Davies: 5 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 5/5 GB/FB — 55 of 95 pitches were strikes (68%)
  • LHP Matt Tracy: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 6/3 GB/FB — 33 of 43 pitches were strikes (77%)

[Read more…]

Game 70: Big Mike and the Phillies

BIG MIKE IS HERE

The Yankees open a three-game series with the punchless Phillies this evening — Philadelphia has baseball’s worst offense in terms of runs per game (3.10) and wRC+ (75) — and they’re sending Michael Pineda to the mound. Last time out Big Mike took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Marlins. There is no such thing as a guaranteed win in baseball, but man, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel good going into this game.

Anyway, the Yankees got blown out by the Tigers on Sunday and that sucked. They had won four straight before that though, and this series with the Phillies is a great opportunity to shake off the blowout and pile up some wins. The Yankees have to take care of business this series. The Phillies are terrible and they need to beat teams like this to remain in the hunt in the AL East. The division is too close to give away series to bad teams. Here is Philadelphia’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. 1B Garrett Jones
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. LF Chris Young
  9. 2B Stephen Drew
    RHP Michael Pineda

It’s a gorgeous day in New York. Just perfect for baseball. Tonight’s game will begin at 7:05pm ET and you can watch live on WPIX. Enjoy.

Injury Update: Mark Teixeira is out of the lineup with a stiff neck. It’s been bothering him on and off for a week or so now. Teixeira went for an MRI today and Joe Girardi said he expects him to be back in the lineup in a day or two … Andrew Miller (forearm) will play catch on Wednesday.

Roster Update: In case you missed it earlier, Ivan Nova will start Wednesday and the Yankees will temporarily shift to a six-man rotation … as expected, both Nick Rumbelow and Diego Moreno were called up from Triple-A Scranton. Jose DePaula and Danny Burawa were sent down yesterday.

All-Star Update: MLB released the latest AL All-Star Game voting update today, and the good news is it is no longer Mike Trout and the Royals. Now it’s Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, and the Royals. No Yankees are remotely close to the top spot for their positions. No non-Royals other than Trout and Cabrera are, basically.

Nova to make season debut Wednesday, Yankees going to six-man rotation for time being

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

It’s official: Ivan Nova will return to the rotation and start Wednesday’s series finale against the Phillies. Joe Girardi told reporters the news this afternoon. Adam Warren, who is also lined up to start Wednesday, will start Thursday instead. Everyone else is getting pushed back a day and the Yankees will use a six-man rotation for the time being. Girardi said he doesn’t anticipate that lasting beyond next week, however.

Nova, 28, had Tommy John surgery last April and the team took a conservative approach with his rehab, partly because so many other pitchers around the league have needed second Tommy John surgeries the last year or two. Some, including Dr. James Andrews, have speculated the recent spike in second elbow reconstructions stems from an overly aggressive rehab following the first Tommy John surgery.

After making a bunch of Extended Spring Training starts, Nova pitched to a 4.02 ERA in three official minor league rehab starts, one with High-A Tampa and two with Triple-A Scranton. Reports said he looked good even though his last start (five runs in five innings) was rough. Command is the last thing to return following Tommy John surgery and it was never Nova’s strong suit anyway. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about his first few starts back.

The Yankees don’t have an obvious candidate to remove from the rotation. Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, and Warren have all pitched well, CC Sabathia isn’t going anywhere because of his contract, and Nathan Eovaldi will stay in the rotation for developmental reasons. Heck, who’s to say Nova isn’t the team’s sixth best starter right now?  These things have a way of working themselves out. For now, a six-man rotation it is.

6/22 to 6/24 Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies

Philly Phanatic1

Hey, it’s a rematch of the 2009 World Series! Good times. (We’ll conveniently ignore the fact that last week’s Marlins series was a rematch of the 2003 World Series.) The Phillies are visiting the Bronx for a three-game series this week. This is not their first visit to Yankee Stadium since the ’09 Fall Classic — the Yankees and Phillies played three games in the Bronx back in 2010 as well.

What Have The Phillies Done Lately?

The Phillies are very bad. Very very bad. They beat the Cardinals yesterday but lost two of three in the series and have dropped eleven of their last 13 games overall. Philadelphia is 24-47 with a -122 run differential, both the very worst marks in baseball. The AL East is crazy tight and the Phillies are terrible. The Yankees have to take care of business this series.

Offense & Defense

With an average of 3.10 runs per game and a team 75 wRC+, the Phillies have the worst offense in baseball. They’re actually tied with the White Sox for the worst wRC+ but are three-tenths of a run below the ChiSox and Mariners for the worst runs per game average in MLB. This team has major offensive problems and their position players are perfectly healthy too. No one’s on the DL or even day-to-day.

Uh, Chase? (Presswire)
Uh, Chase? (Presswire)

The two biggest names in Philadelphia’s lineup are 2B Chase Utley (45 wRC+) and 1B Ryan Howard (101 wRC+). Utley’s been a disaster, one of the worst players in baseball, but Howard has been a useful platoon piece. Stalwart C Carlos Ruiz (56 wRC+) has been really bad too. I mean, the whole team has been bad. SS Freddy Galvis (70 wRC+), OF Jeff Francoeur (91 wRC+), OF Ben Revere (90 wRC+), OF Cody Asche (64 wRC+) … all of ’em. Manager Ryne Sandberg’s best regular hitter right now is 3B Maikel Franco (136 wRC+), who was called up a few weeks ago.

OF Domonic Brown (63 wRC+ in very limited time) was called up not too long ago and Rule 5 Draft pick OF Odubel Herrera (77 wRC+) is really fast and can play defense, but that’s about it. I guess when someone like him gets popped in the Rule 5 Draft it makes it even easier to understand why the Yankees protected Mason Williams last offseason despite his dreadful 2013-14 efforts. C Cameron Rupp (78 wRC+), IF Andres Blanco (126 wRC+ in limited time), and IF Cesar Hernandez (81 wRC+) fill out the bench.

The Phillies are below-average defensively but not as bad as they are offensively. Utley is still an okay defender and Galvis and Herrera are fine at short and center, respectively, but that’s about it. Franco and Howard aren’t good on the corners, Brown is a disaster in the outfield and Asche started the season as a third baseman before moving to the outfield. Revere is rangy but has no arm at all. Francoeur has limited range but a great arm. Ruiz rates as one of the worst catchers in baseball at throwing out attempted base-stealers and framing pitches.

Pitching Matchups

Monday (7pm ET): RHP Michael Pineda (vs. PHI) vs. RHP Kevin Correia (vs. NYY)
Because the offense isn’t bad enough, the Phillies are also scraping the bottom of the pitching barrel. The 34-year-old Correia signed with the Phillies earlier this month and has allowed six runs in 10.2 innings in two starts since. He’s struck out eight and walked two but has historically missed no bats at all. Correia’s strikeout rate from 2012-14 was 12.2%. Eek. He’s got a cutter, a two-seamer, and a four-seamer, all of which sit in the upper-80s, and he throws them about 35% of time combined. A mid-80s slider is Correia’s go-to pitch. He throws it so much it makes me think PitchFX is incorrectly classifying some cutters as sliders. Either way, he’ll also throw mid-80s changeups and mid-70s curveballs.

Tuesday (7pm ET): LHP CC Sabathia (vs. NYY) vs. RHP Sean O’Sullivan (vs. PHI)
Correia’s bad, but wait, it gets worse! The 27-year-old O’Sullivan has bounced around the last few years and has a 4.79 ERA (5.62 FIP) in ten starts and 56.1 innings this year. Good walk rate (6.8%)! But a bad strikeout rate (10.8%), a bad home run rate (1.60 HR/9), and an okay ground ball rate (45.4%). Lefties (.426 wOBA) have also hit him a lot harder than righties (.306 wOBA). O’Sullivan has an upper-80s four-seamer and an upper-80s sinker, which he uses to set up his upper-70s slider, mostly. He’ll also throw a handful of low-80s changeups and low-70s curveballs per start. This is what replacement level looks like. O’Sullivan and Correia.

Hamels. (Presswire)
Hamels. (Presswire)

Wednesday (1pm ET): TBA vs. LHP Cole Hamels (vs. NYY)
The Yankees almost lucked out and missed Hamels this week, but alas. He’s been dealing with a very minor hamstring problem and was supposed to start Saturday before having his start pushed back, so Wednesday it is. Hamels, 31, had a 2.96 ERA (3.55 FIP) in 14 starts and 94.1 innings this year with a great strikeout rate (26.6%) and average-ish walk (8.0%), grounder (46.9%), and homer (1.05 HR/9) rates. This is his worst season in about five years, believe it or not. Righties (.297 wOBA) have actually had much more success against Hamels than lefties (.207 wOBA) in 2015, which is unusual. He’s historically had no platoon split at all. Hamels is a true four-pitch pitcher, using his low-to-mid-90s four-seamer, upper-80s cutter, mid-80s changeup, and upper-70s curveball regularly. His changeup is world class. Arguably the best in baseball. He’ll use it against righties and lefties.

Meanwhile, the Yankees have Wednesday’s starter listed as TBA. That is Adam Warren‘s spot but Ivan Nova also lines up to pitch that day, should the team go in that direction. Joe Girardi told reporters over the weekend he anticipates Nova making his next appearance in the big leagues and not in Triple-A, for what it’s worth. It’ll be either Warren or Nova. That much is clear.

Bullpen Status
The Phillies have a really weak bullpen overall (3.69 ERA and 4.06 FIP) but Sandberg has a dynamite setup man/closer combination in RHP Ken Giles (2.50 FIP) and RHP Jonathan Papelbon (2.81 FIP). Giles really struggled back in April but has since righted the ship, sorta like Dellin Betances. Those two both pitched yesterday, as did RHP Luis Garcia (4.49 FIP).

LHP Jake Diekman (4.13 FIP) and LHP Elvis Araujo (2.28 FIP) are the two lefties and RHP Justin De Fratus (4.47 FIP) and RHP Jeanmar Gomez (2.78 FIP) are the other two righties. Gomez is the long man. The Phillies are really tough to beat if they have a lead after seven innings because of Giles and Papelbon. Before that, well, they stink. Having the worst record in baseball is no fluke. Head over to our Bullpen Workload page for an update on Joe Girardi’s bullpen, then head over to Phillies Nation and The Good Phight for the latest on the Phillies.

(GIF via Reddit)

Yankeemetrics: Hello, dingers (June 19-21)

"I'm not a home run hitter." Really? (AP/Frank Franklin II)
“I’m not a home run hitter.” Really? (AP/Frank Franklin II)

For everything you need to know about A-Rod’s 3,000th hit, be sure to check out my AROD3K By The Numbers post from the weekend.

Thanks Brett and Adam. Yours truly, Al From Miami
Friday night belonged to A-Rod and his dramatic 3,000th hit, but it was Brett Gardner and Adam Warren who made sure that the historic milestone would be celebrated along with a Yankees win over the Tigers.

Gardner sparked the Yankees offense from the top of the lineup, going 4-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. He’s the first Yankee leadoff batter to drive in at least three runs and have four hits against the Tigers since Steve Sax in 1989.

Adam Warren pitched a career-high eight innings and allowed just two runs to pick up his fifth win of the season. He’s now 3-1 with a 2.21 ERA at home this season and has allowed two runs or fewer in each of those six games. Only three other Yankees in the last 100 seasons have given up no more than two runs in each of their first six home starts of a season: Brandon McCarthy (2014), David Cone (1997) and Red Ruffing (1939).

Blast from the past
Perhaps inspired by the Old Timers’ Day celebration during which the Yankees paid tribute to many of their former players and legends, the current Yankees reminded everyone how they got their Bronx Bombers nickname by crushing the Tigers, 14-3.

The Yankees hit five homers in a game for the third time this season, matching the total number of five-homer games they had in the last two years combined. It was just the second time in the past 100 years they hit five homers against the Tigers at Yankee Stadium, along with a six-homer outburst on May 24, 2005.

Carlos Beltran homered from both sides of the plate for the 12th time in his career, one behind the record set by teammate Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher. The 38-year-old Beltran also was just one day shy of tying Eddie Murray as the oldest player to homer from both sides of plate in a game.

A-Rod also went deep for his 3,001st hit and had a season-high five RBI on the night. It was his 29th career game with five-or-more RBIs, tying Sammy Sosa for the third-most all-time. The only players with more are Lou Gehrig (41) and Manny Ramirez (34).

Tigers’ revenge
The Yankees got a taste of their own medicine on Sunday afternoon, as the Tigers blasted five home runs en route to a 12-4 beating of the home team. It was the first time ever that the Tigers hit five home runs at Yankee Stadium.

J.D. Martinez delivered three of those longballs for Detroit, becoming the first Tigers player to hit three homers against the Yankees since Charlie Maxwell in 1959. Martinez hit a solo homer, two-run homer and three-run homer, giving him six RBIs in the game.

The last player with at least six RBIs and three home runs against the Yankees was Ken Griffey Jr. on May 24, 1996 in Seattle. Before Martinez, the last visiting player to do that in the Bronx was a fella named Mr. Bo Jackson on July 17, 1990.

In one of the worst outings of his career, Masahiro Tanaka tied career-highs in hits (10) and runs allowed (7) as his ERA ballooned from 2.49 to 3.17. His losing effort ended an incredible run by the team’s rotation over the past three weeks at Yankee Stadium. Prior to Tanaka’s disaster against the Tigers, Yankee starters had been 10-0 with a 2.29 ERA in their previous 12 games in the Bronx.

Stephen Drew‘s bizarre season continued as he hit his 10th and 11th homers of the season, raising his batting average all the way up to .188. Looking ahead … the lowest batting average for any Yankee with more than 10 homers in a season is .192, by Steve Balboni in 1990.

Brian McCann hit his 10th homer of the season, reaching that milestone for the 10th time in 10 seasons played. He is now the only catcher in baseball history with at least 10 homers in each of his first 10 major-league seasons. That deserves a Big Bravo, Brian.