Chad Green and one of baseball’s most dominant fastballs

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees, thanks largely to young players like Aaron Judge and Luis Severino, have a chance to return to the postseason this year and a chance to win their first AL East title since 2012. Judge and Severino have been the headliners, though others like Gary Sanchez and Jordan Montgomery have been key contributors as well. The young kids are driving this bus.

Among those young players is 26-year-old right-hander Chad Green, who I suppose isn’t really that young by baseball standards, but is in his first full MLB season. He’s locked himself into a bullpen spot, and if not for the David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle trade, he’d be seeing much more high-leverage work. It’s a big time luxury to be able to use Green in the middle innings rather than saving him for the seventh or eighth.

So far this season Green has a 1.74 ERA (2.28 FIP) with 39.0% strikeouts and 7.0% walks in 46.2 innings, almost all out of the bullpen. (He did make one two-inning spot start.) He’s been as good as Dellin Betances was in 2014. Green relies heavily on his fastball like so many other relievers, though his fastball is not like most others. It’s unlike any other fastball, really. Check out the fastball swing-and-miss leaderboard. This is whiffs-per-swing, not whiffs-per-total fastballs thrown (min. 100 fastballs):

  1. Chad Green: 40.3%
  2. Justin Wilson: 38.7%
  3. Craig Kimbrel: 38.4%
  4. Dellin Betances: 37.3%
  5. Tyler Clippard: 35.8% (?!?)

Holy Yankees/ex-Yankees. Think they value the ability to generate swings and misses with the fastball? Of course they do. We’ve know that for a while now. The Yankees love their power arms. Anyway, the MLB average is 19.7% whiffs-per-swing on the fastball this year, and Green is the only pitcher in baseball to double that rate. The gap between him and Wilson, the guy he was traded for and the No. 2 pitcher on the list, is pretty significant.

The whiffs-per-swing rate is incredible and what makes it so interesting to me is the velocity. Green has very good velocity, though his fastball not an overpowering triple-digit heater like Betances’ or Kimbrel’s or Aroldis Chapman‘s. His fastball is averaging 95.7 mph this year and he’s topped out at 98.2 mph. Dellin’s average fastball is 98.4 mph this year. Kimbrel’s is 98.7 mph. Chapman’s is 100.1 mph. And yet, none get as many whiffs-per-swing as Green.

There is more to a fastball than velocity, of course. Location matters, as does spin rate. You want either a high spin rate or a low spin rate on a fastball. High spin equals swings and misses and low spin equals ground balls. When you’re in the middle, you get neither. Green’s fastball, as the whiffs-per-swing rate suggests, has one of the league’s highest spin rates. The 22nd highest among the 423 pitchers to throw 100+ fastballs this year.

  • Green’s fastball spin rate: 2,483 rpm
  • MLB average fastball spin rate: 2,258 rpm

One thing about Green we can’t quantify is the deception in his delivery, and I have no doubt that plays a role in his overall effectiveness and fastball dominance. He’s a big guy at 6-foot-3 and he lifts his leg up real high, and his arm action is pretty long in the back. There’s a lot going on before Green explodes forward and the hitter actually sees the ball. Good velocity plus good spin rate plus good deception equals a great fastball.

Also, the same way there’s more to a fastball than velocity, there’s more to a good fastball than swings and misses. If hitters are missing with 40% of their swings but squaring it up with the other 60%, how good is the fastball really? Not very. (That’s Clippard’s fastball, apparently.) According to expected wOBA (xwOBA), which is based on exit velocity and launch angle and things like that, hitters don’t do much damage even when they make contact with Green’s fastball. The fastball xwOBA leaderboard:

  1. Anthony Swarzak: .198 xwOBA
  2. Chad Green: .219 xwOBA
  3. Sean Doolittle: .219 xwOBA
  4. Seung-Hwan Oh: .227 xwOBA
  5. Tommy Kahnle: .228 xwOBA

Man, what in the world has gotten into Anthony Swarzak this year? Whatever got into Kahnle, I guess. Anyway, a .219 wOBA is “pitcher hitting” territory. The worst hitter with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, Alcides Escobar, has a .235 wOBA this year. Green’s fastball turns everyone into a worse version of Escobar, and boy does Escobar stink.

One thing I should note is that Green’s fastball didn’t suddenly get good this year. Most guys see their fastball tick up once they shift to relief, though that’s not necessarily what happened here. Green’s fastball showed similar traits last season, when he worked primarily as a starter:

  • 2016 average velocity: 95.4 mph (95.7 mph in 2017)
  • 2016 max velocity: 99.2 mph (98.2 mph in 2017)
  • 2016 whiffs-per-swing: 30.6% (40.3% in 2017)
  • 2016 spin rate: 2,471 rpm (2,483 in 2017)

Velocity and spin rate are similar — max velocity is down, weirdly enough — while the whiffs-per-swing rate was much lower last year, as a starter. It was still comfortably above-average, but not as good as this year. Also, last season’s Green’s fastball had a .346 xwOBA, which was almost exactly league average (.347 xwOBA). Not bad, not great, just … average.

I think the big improvements in whiffs-per-swing rate and xwOBA this year are entirely the result of the move into relief. The velocities and spin rates may be similar, but hitters aren’t seeing Green multiple times this year. He’s not turning a lineup over. He’s coming in for an inning or two at a time, airing it out, then leaving the game before the lineup turns over. There’s no second (and third) time through the order penalty.

Green throws his fastball roughly 70% of the time this season and I think he could even stand to throw it more, especially as a full-time reliever. He can’t thrown only fastballs, eventually hitters will catch on, but could he get away with, say, 80% fastballs? Maybe 85%? Green’s slider isn’t anything special. He dominates with his fastball. Either way, Green has found a home in the bullpen, where his elite fastball has made him into an overwhelming power reliever and a member of Joe Girardi‘s Circle of Trustâ„¢.

The short and long-term future of Miguel Andujar

(Jonathan Daniel/Getty)
(Jonathan Daniel/Getty)

For the first time in a few years the future of the Yankees looks overwhelmingly positive. The roster is not bogged down by aging players on big money contracts. Instead, the roster is now loaded with high-end young talent. Aaron Judge, even with his second half slump, has performed at an MVP caliber pace so far. Luis Severino is a Cy Young candidate. Then there’s Gary Sanchez, Clint Frazier, Chad Green, Jordan Montgomery, and more.

The Yankees have more young talent on the way too. Gleyber Torres likely would have been in the big leagues right now had he not blown out his non-throwing elbow sliding into home plate a few weeks back. He’d probably be playing second base while Starlin Castro is on the disabled list. Heck, maybe Torres would be playing third base and the Yankees would have never made the Todd Frazier trade. Either way, Gleyber is the crown jewel of the farm system.

There’s also third base prospect Miguel Andujar, who played one big league game earlier this season. The Yankees called him up for one day because they needed a short-term fill-in and he’s already on the 40-man roster, and in that one game he went 3-for-4 with a double. Andujar became the first Yankee in history to drive in four runs in his MLB debut.

The 22-year-old Andujar went into last night’s game with a .320/.352/.518 (136 wRC+) batting line in 101 total games this season, including a .333/.370/.563 (158 wRC+) line in 34 Triple-A games. His 14 home runs are already a career high, and he’s paired it with a 13.6% strikeout rate. Andujar has always been able to get the bat on the ball, and his offense has been trending up for a few years now.

  • 2015: .243/.288/.363 (98 wRC+) with 17.3% strikeouts at High-A.
  • 2016: .273/.332/.410 (111 wRC+) with 12.6% strikeouts at High-A and Double-A.
  • 2017: .320/.352/518 (136 wRC+) with 13.6% strikeouts at Double-A and Triple-A.

Andujar’s been a personal fave for a while now and this year he’s having the kind of breakout season that makes everyone take notice. Hit like that — again, we’re talking career best power output with a very low strikeout rate — at the upper levels of the minors and you’re going to force your way into the team’s plans. Andujar went from maybe part of the future last year to a serious factor this year.

The question now is where does Andujar fit, both short-term and long-term? The easy answer: this’ll work itself out. It always does. That’s the boring answer, so let’s talk this out.

The Short-Term

The Yankees have an opening at DH! Matt Holliday is on the disabled list and the Yankees could’ve easily called up Andujar and plugged him into the everyday lineup at DH. Instead, they called up Garrett Cooper for a platoon bat — Cooper is a righty hitter like Andujar — so Andujar could remain in Triple-A to work on his third base defense. It’s rough around the edges, though it’s more about bad habits than a lack of tools. Point is, he needs work in the field.

The Holliday injury means the Yankees could call Andujar up at any time and get him into the lineup without worrying about his defense. Do the Yankees want him to work on his defense in Triple-A? Yes. Do the Yankees want to win the AL East for the first time since 2012? Also yes. They want that more than anything. At some point soon they could decide Andujar is their best DH option, put his defensive work on hold, and call him up because he’ll (maybe) help them win games. Winning at the MLB level is the top priority.

If the Yankees don’t call up Andujar while Holliday is on the disabled list, a September call-up is all but a guarantee. He’s on the 40-man roster and he’s earned it. Andujar might not be a September 1st call-up, he might have to wait until the end of the Triple-A postseason to ensure he gets as much third base time as possible, but he’ll be up once rosters expand. How the Yankees use him is another matter. DH? Third base only in blowouts? We’ll see.

The Long-Term

(Jonathan Daniel/Getty)
(Jonathan Daniel/Getty)

Third base is wide open going forward. Chase Headley has another year on his contract, though I’m pretty sure the Yankees would jettison him in the offseason if the opportunity presents itself. Also, they recently moved Headley to first base full-time, so they’re not going to let him block Andujar or Torres or whoever they want to put at third base. So even though he’s under contract for next season, Headley’s not an obstacle.

The problem the Yankees hope they have is too many infielders. Didi Gregorius and Castro are locked in on the middle infield and Torres and Andujar are coming. The Yankees would love love love to have to figure out how to make Torres and Andujar, two young up-and-comers, co-exist with the established veterans Gregorius and Castro. Too many players is a good thing, and trying to squeeze all these guys into the lineup is something the Yankees could face as soon as next April.

Having all these options — the Yankees could put Torres at third, or Castro at third and Torres at second, or stick with Headley, etc. — puts pressure on Andujar to improve his defense. He doesn’t want to have to move to first base and the Yankees don’t want that either. Rotating the four infielders at the three positions (second, third, short) and DH sounds great until you realize the Yankees are probably going to need that DH spot for an outfielder.

I don’t think Gregorius is going anywhere because he’s pretty awesome all around, on and off the field. I could see the Yankees being open to moving Castro, however, but only if Torres and Andujar prove capable. Gleyber is the priority here. He’s a special player and the Yankees will make room for him. It’s up to Andujar to displace Castro or possibly even Gregorius. Probably Castro. First base is the fallback option should Greg Bird never get healthy.

* * *

In a weird way, there’s a greater opportunity for Andujar in the short-term than there appears to be long-term. Usually a prospect is blocked and has to wait for some veteran to go away to get playing time. The Yankees could plug Andujar in at DH tomorrow to fill in for Holliday. Where does he fit beyond this season? Eh, that’s difficult to answer given his defense and the team’s other infielders.

As always, Andujar himself could be trade bait. You sign and develop prospects for two reasons. To plug into your MLB roster and to trade. When you have as many close to MLB ready prospects as the Yankees, inevitably some guys get squeezed out. That’s why Dustin Fowler and Jorge Mateo are now Athletics, and why Blake Rutherford is a White Sox. The Yankees have depth at their positions.

Andujar made the leap from talented and interesting prospect to bonafide big league option this season. He’s forced his way into the conversation long-term. Maybe his defense never improves to the point where the Yankees are comfortable running him out there at third base regularly and this is all moot. I don’t think that’ll be the case though. He’s got the skills, he just needs refinement. And when he’s ready, the Yankees will have to figure out how to get him into the lineup on a daily basis.

Sabathia’s injury gives Yankees a chance to line up their best starters for the upcoming Red Sox series

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

This weekend the Yankees will play their most important series of the season (to date), as they’ll host the first place Red Sox for a three-game set at Yankee Stadium. At worst, the Yankees will be six games back in the AL East at the start of the series. At best they’ll be two games back. There’s still more than seven weeks to go in the regular season, but the remaining head-to-head games against Boston are more or less going to decide the division title.

The Red Sox have already announced that Chris Sale will start in every remaining series against the Yankees, which isn’t surprising. The Yankees are actually 2-0 when facing Sale this season. Masahiro Tanaka threw the shutout against Sale in April, then the Yankees won that long 16-inning marathon last month after Matt Holliday‘s game-tying home run against Craig Kimbrel in the ninth.

Anyway, here are the tentative pitching matchups for this weekend’s series against the Red Sox. Teams usually don’t make their starters official until the day before the start of a new series, though this is how it lines up at the moment:

That TBA was CC Sabathia, who left last night’s start with right knee pain and seems destined to land on the disabled list. Both Sabathia and Joe Girardi admitted there’s a lot of concern. Sabathia was in a lot of pain and his knee has been pretty messed up for a few years now. It’ll be surprise if he doesn’t wind up on the disabled list, really. Hopefully the upcoming tests bring good news.

As for the Red Sox series, noticeably absent from the pitching matchups are Tanaka and Sonny Gray. Tanaka is scheduled to start tonight and Gray tomorrow night, so they’ll miss the Red Sox series. Those two plus Severino are the Yankees’ three best starters at the moment. I don’t think anyone will disagree with me there. In the most important series of the season (to date), you want them on the mound.

The thing is, the Yankees could have easily lined up their rotation to ensure Tanaka and Gray (and Severino) would face the Red Sox this weekend. Yesterday’s off-day and last week’s six-man rotation would have made it possible with no headache at all. No one starting on short rest, no call-up spot sixth starter, nothing like that. Here’s how the Yankees could have lined the rotation up:

  • Tuesday @ Blue Jays: Tanaka on normal rest after Monday’s off-day
  • Wednesday @ Blue Jays: Sabathia on extra rest
  • Thursday @ Blue Jays: Garcia on normal rest after Monday’s off-day
  • Friday vs. Red Sox: Gray on extra rest
  • Saturday vs. Red Sox: Severino with an extra day of rest after Monday’s off-day
  • Sunday vs. Red Sox: Tanaka on normal rest

In a nutshell, the Yankees would have used Monday’s off-day to flip Tanaka and Sabathia, and Garcia and Gray. That would’ve lined up Gray, Severino, and Tanaka for the Red Sox series in that order. Instead, the Yankees are currently scheduled to start Garcia this weekend even though the Boston’s offense performs better against lefties (100 wRC+) than righties (92 wRC+).

The Sabathia injury changes things, assuming he’s unable to make his next start and doesn’t make a miraculous overnight recovery. The Yankees are going to have to plug someone into the rotation to take his spot. Jordan Montgomery is the obvious answer, but you know what? It might not be him. The Yankees could decide to keep him in Triple-A and continue on with his limited workload plan. Other rotation options include Bryan Mitchell, who pitched well in long relief last night, and either Luis Cessa or Caleb Smith. And I suppose Chance Adams, but I don’t see that happening.

Someone has to replace Sabathia, but that someone doesn’t necessarily have to start the same day Sabathia would have started. Sabathia’s replacement, whoever it is, could start tomorrow against the Blue Jays, which would push Gray back to Friday and into the Red Sox series. Mitchell and Smith pitched last night, which means Cessa and Montgomery are the only options for tomorrow’s start. (Adams doesn’t line up either.) Instead of Garcia-Severino-TBA this weekend it would be Gray-Garcia-Severino. Much better, I’d say.

One thing to keep in mind is these two teams will play again next weekend. Three games at Yankee Stadium this weekend and three games at Fenway Park next weekend, with four games against the Mets in-between. Whatever the Yankees do to the rotation this weekend will impact how things line up next weekend. For example:

Stay on turn Use spot starter tomorrow
Thursday at Blue Jays
Gray TBA
Friday vs. Red Sox
Garcia Gray
Saturday vs. Red Sox
Severino Garcia
Sunday vs. Red Sox TBA Severino
Mon. to Thurs. vs. Mets Tanaka-Gray-Garcia-Severino TBA-Tanaka-Gray-Garcia
Friday at Fenway Park TBA Severino
Saturday at Fenway Park Tanaka TBA
Sunday at Fenway Park Gray Tanaka

The column on the right looks much better, no? The Yankees would be getting two Severino starts against the Red Sox rather than two starts from whoever ends up being the TBA. There’s no way to line up Gray, Tanaka, and Severino for both Red Sox series with doing something really crazy like using multiple spot starters, and no. Just no. Two starts from Severino and one each from the other four guys is greatly preferable to two starts from TBA and one each from everyone else.

This is one of those things that makes too much sense not to happen. I hope it is. I was a bit surprised the Yankees didn’t flip-flop Sabathia and Tanaka this week — again, starting Tanaka last night and Sabathia tonight would have allowed Tanaka to face the Red Sox this weekend and next, rather than just next weekend — so who knows. Maybe the Yankees don’t care that much about optimizing their rotation for the two series against Boston and will remain on turn. I hope that’s not the case.

The Sabathia injury stinks. It really does. Sabathia looked genuinely upset and concerned about his future following the game last night, and that absolutely sucks. CC is forever cool in my book. The one thing the injury does is give the Yankees another chance to rearrange their rotation and make sure Gray faces the Red Sox this weekend, and Severino faces them this weekend and next. They had a chance to line up their ideal rotation with Monday’s off-day and didn’t take it. Now they get a second chance.

Sabathia going on the disabled list means either Montgomery or Cessa could come back up before spending the requisite ten days in the minors to make that spot start tomorrow, pushing Gray back. That’s how this is all made possible. The disabled list stint is needed to bypass the ten-day rule. The Yankees are four games back with 51 games to play, so they can’t afford to fall too much further behind Boston. The Yankees should do whatever they can to make sure their best pitchers start as many of those remaining ten head-to-head games against the Red Sox as possible.

Yankees lose Sabathia to injury, game to Blue Jays 4-2

For the sixth time in seven games since the trade deadline, the Yankees scored no more than three runs Tuesday night. They’ve lost 3.5 games in the standings in those seven games. Really could’ve used a bat at the deadline, huh? The Yankees lost 4-2 in Tuesday night’s series opener against the Blue Jays. They’ve lost six of their last nine games, almost exclusively because of the offense.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

Sabathia’s Short Start
I have no idea how CC Sabathia managed to get through three innings. He had nothing. Less than nothing. His fastest fastball of the night clocked in at 89.7 mph and his average heater sat 87.9 mph. There were also a ton of pitches up. I mean way up and above the strike zone, as if Sabathia were trying to muscle up and overthrow to generate velocity. He looked terrible. Sure enough, after the game we learned he exited with pain in his right knee, and he’ll go for tests. Yuck.

Sabathia allowed four runs in his three innings and they came on two two-run home runs by Josh Donaldson. Somehow Donaldson had never taken Sabathia deep prior to Tuesday night. Here are the home run pitch locations:

josh-donaldson-cc-sabathia1

Woof. Donaldson has not had a typical Josh Donaldson year, but still. Leave cement mixers there to a guy like Donaldson and he’ll park them over the wall. The first, the 2-0 changeup, was an opposite field shot with plenty of distance. The second was yanked down the line and fair by maybe a seat or two. The Yankees needed a little more hook to get it to carry foul, but no luck.

Sabathia’s final line before the knee forced him out of the game: 3 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. Five of those six hits went for extra bases. The two homers by Donaldson and doubles by Jose Bautista, Kendrys Morales, and Steve Pearce. Sabathia now has a 5.67 ERA (5.99 FIP) in six starts and 27 innings since coming back from the disabled list. That includes one start with six shutout innings. Good thing the Yankees got two starters at the trade deadline, huh?

Cooper Can’t Do It All
Garrett Cooper managed to drive in New York’s two runs and also not come through in their two biggest chances. Well, that’s not fair, because he did get a run in with a sac fly with the bases loaded in the eighth inning. It was a good at-bat too. He fell behind 0-2, worked the count back full, then had the sac fly. The Yankees were down three runs at the time though. Needed a little more than a productive out there.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees did have plenty of baserunners Tuesday night. Fourteen in nine innings. The big spot always seemed to find Cooper though. Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius opened the second with back-to-back singles, though before you even had a chance to say “at least Chris Carter isn’t up,” Todd Frazier banged into a 6-4-3 double play. Sigh. Cooper picked him up with a two-out single to right field to score the run to cut Toronto’s lead to 2-1.

In the sixth the Yankees loaded the bases with two outs on two walks (Gary Sanchez and Headley) and an infield single (Frazier). Cooper was left in to face the right-hander Dominic Leone, a questionable decision at best, and he flew out to strand all three runners. Maybe rethink your roster construction if you have no left-hander to pinch-hit for Cooper against a righty pitcher with the bases loaded? I mean, if you don’t trust to Jacoby Ellsbury to hit there, what purpose does he serve?

Cooper found himself again facing a righty with the bases loaded in the eighth, though this time there was only one out. Two hit-by-pitches (Sanchez and Headley) and a walk (Frazier) set that rally up. Cooper worked a strong at-bat and did get the sac fly, but that was the Yankees’ last best chance against a pitcher not named Roberto Osuna, and a sac fly was basically the bare minimum there. It’s not Cooper’s fault the Yankees lost, of course. You can’t count on the up-and-down platoon bat to get all the big hits. The offense stalled out weeks before the trade deadline.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

Leftovers
Nice job by Bryan Mitchell to spare the bullpen. He tossed four scoreless innings after Sabathia exited the game. Mitchell made two goofy errors too. He misjudged a soft chopper and let it hop over his glove — the glove he was holding chest high — and then he got his feet twisted up and fell down fielding a chopper later on. Heh. We can laugh because he escaped unscathed both times.

The 1-2-3-4 hitters: 1-for-15 with three walks and six strikeouts. Judge had two walks and Clint Frazier had the hit (a single) and three of the strikeouts. Tough to win when the top of the lineup does that. The 5-6-7-8-9 hitters went 6-for-16 (.375) with two walks and no strikeouts. Cooper was the only Yankee with multiple hits. He had two. Headley, Gregorius, Ronald Torreyes, and the Frazier had one hit each.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and updated standings, go to ESPN. MLB.com has the video highlights and we have a Bullpen Workload page. Here is the loss probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Blue Jays will continue this three-game series with the middle game Wednesday night. Cesar Valdez, who was originally scheduled to start that game for the Blue Jays, was placed on the disabled list prior to Tuesday’s series opener. Nick Tepesch is getting the ball now. Masahiro Tanaka will be on the bump for the Yankees.

DotF: Sensley homers again in Charleston’s win

Got some roster notes to pass along:

  • RHP Dillon Tate has been promoted from High-A Tampa to Double-A Trenton, the team announced. He has a 2.62 ERA (3.64 FIP) with 19.3% strikeouts and 6.3% walks in nine starts and 58.1 innings since coming back from a shoulder issue. Tate came over from the Rangers in the Carlos Beltran trade after being the fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft.
  • RHP Jonathan Holder has been placed on the Triple-A Scranton disabled list, the team announced. That’s not good. The Yankees really beefed up their bullpen at the trade deadline, but losing pitching depth is never a good thing. Hopefully it’s minor and Holder will be back quickly.
  • OF Carlos Vidal was placed on the Low-A Charleston disabled list, the team announced. Not sure what’s wrong with him, but he left yesterday’s game after a single and running the bases. Vidal’s had a bunch of injury problems over the years. OF Dom Thompson-Williams was bumped up from Short Season Staten Island to take Vidal’s roster spot.
  • The Short Season NY-Penn League All-Star Game rosters were announced (North and South) and no Staten Island Yankees made it. Huh. Can’t remember the last that happened. Staten Island has been in first place pretty much all year too. Chances are someone will go to the All-Star Game as an injury/promotion replacement, so whatever.

Triple-A Scranton (7-2 win over Gwinnett)

  • CF Mason Williams: 2-5, 1 R, 1 2B
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 1-5, 1 R, 1 K
  • DH Tyler Austin: 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K — 4-for-16 (.250) in his five rehab games
  • LF Jake Cave: 1-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K
  • 1B Ji-Man Choi: 1-2, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB — keeps socking dingers … that’s 12 in his last 26 games between Triple-A and MLB
  • LHP Caleb Smith: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 4/3 GB/FB — 62 of 95 pitches were strikes (65%) … 102/31 K/BB in 100.2 Triple-A innings this year
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GB/FB — ten of 13 pitches were strikes

[Read more…]

CC Sabathia heading for tests on troublesome right knee

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

CC Sabathia left tonight’s start after three innings due to discomfort in his troublesome right knee, Joe Girardi said. He’s going back to New York for tests and there’s concern he’ll have to go on the disabled list. Sabathia has had right knee problems for years now and has been wearing a knee brace during his starts since 2015.

Following the game Sabathia said he tweaked his knee at some point in the third inning tonight. It’s not something that has been gradually been getting worse the last few weeks. Sabathia admitted he is concerned because it hurts more now than it has the last few years. That sucks. His knee is basically bone-on-bone at this point. He gets regular lubrication injections and all that.

Should Sabathia go on the disabled list, which sounds likely, the Yankees have an obvious replacement in Jordan Montgomery. The only problem is Montgomery will be limited to 180 innings or so this season, per Girardi, so the Yankees will have to deal with that at some point. Groan. Pitching depth always has a way of evaporating.

Game 111: Sanchez returns behind the plate

(Lindsey Wasson/Getty)
(Lindsey Wasson/Getty)

This shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is: Gary Sanchez is back at catcher for tonight’s series opener against the Blue Jays. He served as the designated hitter Saturday and was flat out benched Sunday, all because of his recent passed ball issues. Sanchez has allowed five passed balls in his last 12 games, which is entirely too many. Joe Girardi had enough, so he sat Gary to send a message.

The Yankees, without Sanchez in the lineup, broke out for eight runs Sunday after scoring eight runs total in their previous five games. Hopefully that gets them going on a little hot streak. The pitching staff has been phenomenal since the All-Star break — the Yankees lead the AL in ERA (2.92) and FIP (3.11) in the second half — and now the bats need to do their part. Here is the Blue Jays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. LF Clint Frazier
  3. RF Aaron Judge
  4. C Gary Sanchez
  5. DH Chase Headley
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. 3B Todd Frazier
  8. 1B Garrett Cooper
  9. 2B Ronald Torreyes
    LHP CC Sabathia

Great weather today in Toronto, at least according to the internet, so I assume the Rogers Centre roof will be open. Tonight’s game will begin at 7:07pm ET and YES will have the broadcast. Enjoy the game.

Injury Update: Greg Bird (ankle) and Starlin Castro (hamstring) both took batting practice and went through fielding drills today. First time since surgery for Bird and first time since going on the disabled list for Castro. They’re both still a few days away from running the bases, but at least they’re progressing. Bird said he hopes to begin a minor league rehab assignment in the middle of next week … Aaron Hicks (oblique) will continue his rehab assignment with Double-A Trenton tonight and could rejoin the Yankees later this week … Matt Holliday (back) saw a doctor today, though the Yankees didn’t have an update yet.

Roster Move: As expected, Bryan Mitchell has been called up to replace Jordan Montgomery on the roster, the Yankees announced. Mitchell was scratched from last night’s Triple-A Scranton start, which was a pretty good indication he’d be the one coming up. The Yankees have eight relievers and a three-man bench right now.

Rotation Update: According to Jon Morosi, Montgomery will make his next start on seven days’ rest in Triple-A, and he’ll have an innings cap in that game. Girardi said Montgomery’s limit is roughly 180 innings this year — he’s thrown 120.2 innings so far — and that’s how the Yankees will keep his workload in check the rest of the way.