As expected, the Yankees have activated Andy Pettitte (trap) off the DL. He will start tonight’s game. To clear room on the roster, Brennan Boesch was send down to Triple-A. The Bombers are now carrying a normal 12-man pitching staff and four-man bench.
Oh, and Lyle Overbay is starting in right field against the Indians tonight. So that’s where the Yankees are at right now. · (70) ·
In his latest mock draft (subs. req’d), Keith Law has the Astros selecting UNC 3B Colin Moran with the top overall pick. Seems like they’re poised to cut a deal and spread the draft pool savings around elsewhere. That leaves Stanford RHP Mark Appel, San Diego 3B Kris Bryant, and Oklahoma RHP Jonathan Gray for the Cubs (#2), Rockies (#4), and Twins (#4), respectively.
The Yankees have three first round picks, and Law has them selecting Texas HS OF Billy McKinney (#26), Notre Dame 3B Eric Jagielo (#32), and Tennessee HS RHP Kyle Serrano (#33). Click the links for my write-up of each player. Law also says the Yankees “appear to be on almost everybody, because with three picks in the first round, they need to scout almost everybody.” He connects them to JuCo LHP Cody Reed, California HS RHP Phil Bickford, and North Carolina HS RHP Hunter Harvey, specifically.
Other Mock Drafts: Baseball America (v1.0, v2.0, 3.0) Keith Law (v1.0, v2.0), and MLB.com (v1.0, v2.0). · (10) ·
Technically, this will be the second time the Indians and Yankees meet this season. In reality, it’s the third time. The two clubs were supposed to play a four-game series at Progressive Field in April, but two games were rained out and made up as part of a doubleheader last month. This will be, however, the first and only time the Tribe visit the Bronx in 2013.
What Have They Done Lately?
Cleveland was molten hot when these two teams last met, but that is not the case this time around. They lost both yesterday’s game and the weekend series to the Rays, and they’ve dropped nine of their last 13 overall. The Indians are 30-26 with a +18 run differential, just half-a-game back of the Tigers in the AL Central.
New manager Terry Francona has one of the better offenses in the game at his disposal: the Tribe average 4.9 runs per game with a team 111 wRC+. The former is a top-five mark in the game, the latter the top mark in baseball. The team’s only injured position player is backup C Lou Marson (72 wRC+ in very limited time). Everyone else is healthy.
The top four spots in Francona’s lineup are very well set: CF Michael Bourn (113 wRC+) leads off, 2B Jason Kipnis (106 wRC+) bats second, SS Asdrubal Cabrera (107 wRC+) bats third, and former Yankee 1B/RF Nick Swisher (128 wRC+) cleans up. The next three spots are usually occupied by 3B Mark Reynolds (126 wRC+), C Carlos Santana (143 wRC+), and former Yankee DH Jason Giambi (103 wRC+) in some order. The Giambino only plays against righties.
The rest of the Cleveland lineup features OF Michael Brantley (104 wRC+) and OF Drew Stubbs (74 wRC+), though UTIL Ryan Raburn (146 wRC+ in limited time) will sub in against righties. IF Mike Aviles (97 wRC+) is the backup infielder, C/UTIL Yan Gomes (148 wRC+) the backup … well, everything really. The Indians are among the most prolific homer-hitting (69) and base-stealing (40) teams in the game, so it’s not an easy offense to contain.
Starting Pitching Matchups
Monday: LHP Andy Pettitte vs. RHP Justin Masterson
Masterson, 28, threw a complete-game shutout against the Yankees last month and is in the middle of a career year: 3.07 ERA and 3.26 FIP in 82 innings. His strikeout rate (9.11 K/9 and 24.7 K%) has jumped big time while the walk (3.40 BB/9 and 9.2 BB%), homer (0.55 HR/9 and 7.9% HR/FB), and ground ball (54.3%) numbers have remained static. Masterson lives and dies with heavy low-90s sinker, though this year he is using his low-80s slider more than ever before. A mid-80s changeup is a rarely used third pitch — he throws maybe one or two per start. It’s worth noting Masterson appears to have gotten over his career-long trouble with lefties (.250 wOBA vs. RHB, .295 vs. LHB) but using that slider more often. The Yankees have seen him plenty of times before thanks to his time with the Red Sox. He’s been excellent this year.
Tuesday: RHP David Phelps vs. LHP Scott Kazmir
The Scott Kazmir Comeback Story has had its ups and downs this year, and so far the 29-year-old southpaw owns a 5.13 ERA (4.55 FIP) in eight starts. He’s missing a ton of bats (9.15 K/9 and 22.7 K%) and keeping his walks relatively down (3.35 BB/9 and 8.3 BB%), though he has been fly ball (39.0% grounders) and homer (1.56 HR/9 and 14.9% HR/FB) prone. Kazmir’s fastball velocity has fluctuated wildly, averaging 91.6 mph but sitting anywhere from 86-96 on the given day. His low-80s slider is an effective pitch even though it lacks the bite it had during its heyday. A low-80s changeup is his third offering. The Yankees haven’t seen this latest version of Kazmir yet, and in fact they haven’t faced him since 2010. I’m not sure how relevant all those times they saw him with the (Devil) Rays are right now.
Wednesday: LHP CC Sabathia vs. RHP Corey Kluber
Kluber, 27, has very quietly been rock solid if not spectacular this year. His 4.36 ERA (3.13 FIP) doesn’t stand out, but his strikeout (9.55 K/9 and 25.9 K%) and walk (1.66 BB/9 and 4.5 BB%) totals have been outstanding. He doesn’t get many ground balls (43.8%) and will surrender some homers (1.04 HR/9 and 12.8% HR/FB) though. An upper-80s slider is Kluber’s top pitch, and he throws it more than 30% of the time. A low-to-mid-90s fastball sets the slider up, and he’ll also throw mid-80s changeups and low-80s curveballs. It might just be small sample size noise, but Kluber has a big reverse split: .364 wOBA vs. RHB and .287 vs. LHB. That doesn’t make a ton of sense given his slider usage, so I’m guessing that will even out as the season progresses. The Yankees faced him once last year, scoring just one run in five innings.
The Rays did the Yankees a solid yesterday and forced Francona’s bullpen to get 14 outs in relief of former Yankees farmhand Zach McAllister. Add in the four-hour rain delay(s) that knocked the starters out of Friday’s game after two innings and you have some tired arms in that bullpen. Furthermore, closer RHP Chris Perez (6.19 FIP) is on the DL with a shoulder issue.
RHP Vinnie Pestano (5.57 FIP) is handling the ninth inning during Perez’s absence, and the setup onus falls on RHP Joe Smith (2.68 FIP) and RHP Cody Allen (2.43 FIP). LHP Rich Hill (5.07 FIP) and LHP Nick Hagadone (4.87 FIP) handle the matchup work while RHP Bryan Shaw (3.03 FIP) and RHP Matt Albers (3.90 FIP) do the middle relief thing. RHP Mark Langwell (9.82 FIP in very, very limited time) rounds out what is temporarily a 13-man pitching staff. Hagadone and Langwell both worked multiple innings on Sunday.
The Yankees are in good bullpen shape thanks in part to last night’s rain-shortened game. Adam Warren figures to be out of commission for another day or three after throwing 70 pitches on Saturday, however. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for full reliever use details, then check out Wahoo’s on First for some pretty great Indians coverage.
June 3rd: Cashman confirmed to Ian O’Connor that the team does indeed want to re-sign Girardi. “We’d like to have Joe Girardi back … We have a great interest in keeping him, and hopefully Joe will be here. I think there’s really no reason to believe Joe won’t be here,” said the GM to no one’s surprise.
May 18th: Via Jon Heyman: The Yankees have not yet had contract extension talks with either Joe Girardi or Brian Cashman. Cashman is under contract through 2014, so that’s no big deal, but Girardi’s deal expires after this season.
The Yankees do not negotiate new contracts until the current one expires thanks to their archaic team policy, and right now I have no reason to believe they won’t try to bring Girardi back after the season. The team is far exceeding post-injury expectations and the credit for that deservingly goes to the manager. If Girardi doesn’t return, my guess it will be his decision — wants a new challenge, another club makes a huge offer, burnout, etc. — and not the team’s. · (16) ·
Record Last Week: 1-6 (12 RS, 31 RA)
Season Record: 31-25 (223 RS, 218 RA, 29-27 pythag. record), 3.0 games back in AL East
Opponents This Week: vs. Indians (three games, Mon. to Weds.), @ Mariners (four games, Thurs. to Sun..)
Top stories from last week:
- The week opened with four games against the Mets, the first two at CitiField and the next two at Yankee Stadium. David Robertson blew a late least in the series opening loss, then Mariano Rivera did the same on Tuesday’s walk-off loss. The Yankees got blown out on Wednesday before the Amazin’s finished off the sweep on Thursday.
- The Red Sox came to town for a three-game weekend series, and CC Sabathia returned to form in the series opening win. Phil Hughes got pounded in the second game before Boston walked away with a rain-shorted win yesterday.
- Injury News: Michael Pineda (shoulder) had to be shut down for a few days with a cracked fingernail. Mark Teixeira (wrist), Kevin Youkilis (back), and Joba Chamberlain (oblique) were all activated off the DL, and Andy Pettitte (trap) is expected to come off the DL and start today.
- Chien-Ming Wang did not opt-out of his contract at Friday’s deadline because no other team made him a big league contract offer. The Yankees will continue to mine the scrap heap for a shortstop as Derek Jeter recovers from his ankle fracture. They also inquired about Mike Zagurski.
- Vidal Nuno and Ivan Nova were sent to Triple-A to clear roster spots while David Huff was designated for assignment. Francisco Rondon and Huff were both outrighted to Triple-A.
- Gary Sanchez ranked 16th on Keith Law’s midseason top 25 prospects list. There will not be an international draft in 2014, and in fact the owners and players’ union will hold off talks until the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires in 2016.
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The @YankeesWeather people did a very poor job of monitoring the weather situation Sunday night. The rubber game between the Yankees and Red Sox started with a 45-minute non-rain delay — literally no rain fell — then continued with two outs recorded between a 37-minute rain delay and an infinite-minute rain delay in the sixth inning. Eventually the game was called after five and a half innings and Boston walked away with a 3-0 win.
The Yankees couldn’t afford to have Hiroki Kuroda have an off-night, but that’s exactly what happened. The veteran right-hander cruised through the first three innings before surrendering one run in each of the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. A Mike Napoli fielder’s choice plated the first run before Jose Iglesias (!) and David Ortiz hit solo homers. Ortiz’s dinger is understandable, but Iglesias? That’s just the way it’s been going for New York of late.
Kuroda allowed a season-high eight hits in 5.1 innings of work, striking out five and walking zero. In fact, it has been four starts and 81 batters since his last walk. That’s rather impressive. He threw 62 of 95 pitches for strikes (65%). It wasn’t Kuroda’s best effort, but he’s allowed a subpar start once in a while. He’s been plenty good this year.
Saved By The Rain
If it wasn’t for the rain, Clay Buchholz almost certainly would have cruised to a complete-game victory. The Yankees couldn’t touch him. In five innings of work, the Boston right-hander allowed two balls out of the infield: Austin Romine‘s ten-hop ground ball single through the right side and a Travis Hafner foul ball. That’s it. Everything else stayed on the infield as either a ground ball, a pop-up, a strikeout, or an infield single (Ichiro Suzuki).
The Yankees never had a runner advance beyond first base against Buchholz, and the last nine men he faced all made outs. He’d only thrown 71 pitches as well, so there was plenty in the tank for at least another three innings, if not four. This offense … it’s bad. Twenty-sixth in baseball with an 87 wRC+ bad.
Boone Logan pitched between rain delays and struck out the only man he faced. Mike Napoli was thrown out trying to inexplicably steal for another out, so Logan’s record will show 0.2 innings. Andrew Miller had warmed up for Boston between rain delays but never actually pitched.
Romine and Ichiro were the only Yankees with hits, though Robinson Cano also drew a walk. Vernon Wells went 0-for-2 to drop his season OBP to an awful .298. Those three weeks in April sure were fun while they lasted. Mark Teixeira is 1-for-9 with a walk and seven strikeouts since coming off the DL while Kevin Youkilis is 1-for-9 with a walk and five strikeouts.
For the first time since 1992, the Red Sox have held the Yankees to four of fewer runs in five consecutive games. I feel like I’ve reference the early-1990s a lot recently.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has a box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Rays and Orioles both won, so right now the Yankees are tied with those two clubs in the loss column for second place in the AL East. The Sawx are two games up.
The Indians and two prominent former Yankees (Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi) are coming to the Bronx for a three-game series. Andy Pettitte is expected to be activated off the DL to start Monday night’s series opener against Justin Masterson. If you want to catch the game live, check out RAB Tickets.
The Yankees have lost six of their last seven games, which is very bad. Just as bad is the utter lack of offense. They’ve scored exactly one run in four of their last six games, and in the other two games they scored four runs. In fact, the Yankees haven’t scored more than four runs in eight games now, and they’ve only done it once in their last eleven games. It doesn’t matter how good your pitching staff is, you can’t win like that. Not in a small ballpark in the AL East. The offense needs to get its act together and quick. Here’s the lineup that will face right-hander Clay Buchholz…
- CF Brett Gardner
- 2B Robinson Cano
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- DH Travis Hafner
- LF Vernon Wells
- 3B Kevin Youkilis
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- SS Jayson Nix
C Chris StewartC Austin Romine
And on the mound is the former Senshu University reliever in the Tohto University Baseball League, right-hander Hiroki Kuroda.
It was crazy hot in New York today, but there’s actually some showers in the forecast tonight. The heaviest stuff is supposed to start sometime around 10-11pm ET and continue into the earlier morning, so who knows how that will impact the game. First pitch is scheduled for a little after 8pm ET and can be seen on ESPN. Try to enjoy.
Update (7:45pm): The game will officially start in a delay, and no tentative start time has been announced. Also, Stewart was a late scratch with similar dehydration symptoms as last night. He’s being checked out by the doctor.
Update (8:18pm): First pitch is tentatively scheduled for 8:50pm ET.
Triple-A Scranton (7-4 loss to Durham)
- RF Thomas Neal: 0-4, 1 K
- CF Melky Mesa: 0-3, 1 BB, 2 K — six walks, 85 strikeouts
- LF Zoilo Almonte: 2-4
- 3B Ronnie Mustelier: 1-4, 1 2B
- RHP Brett Marshall: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 5/4 GB/FB — 46 of 76 pitches were strikes (61%) … allowed four homers and is up to eight dingers in 12 innings since being sent down
The 2013 amateur draft is less than one week away, so between now and then I’m going to highlight some prospects individually rather than lump them together into larger posts.
Phil Bickford | RHP
A Southern California kid out of Oaks Christian High School, Bickford improved his stock this spring by showing livelier stuff. He’s strongly committed to Cal State Fullerton.
Bickford’s calling card is his premium fastball. He uses a clean and quick arm action to generate 90-94 mph fastballs from his 6-foot-4 and 185 lb. frame. The pitch runs in on right-handed batters and has touched 96 mph on occasion this spring. His delivery and size suggest he could flirt with the upper-90s as he matures. Bickford lacks a defined breaking ball even though he throws both a slider and curveball. They’re both very rough and fringy pitches at best, so that is a huge concern. He’s a one-pitch guy. Bickford draws rave reviews for his makeup and work ethic. There are plenty more videos on YouTube.
Baseball America and Keith Law (subs. req’d) ranked Bickford as the 20th and 55th best prospect in the draft in their latest rankings, respectively. For what it’s worth, Law says Bickford is part of the crop of prep pitchers the Yankees have had their eye on in recent weeks in his latest mock draft. The Bombers have three first round picks (26th, 32nd, 33rd) and are in a position to gamble on risky arms, but Bickford’s lack of a second pitch really scares me. He could come out of college as a top ten pick in a few years, but dropping seven figures and first rounder on a kid with no breaking ball is a big roll of the dice. The Yankees have had some success teaching curveballs over the years, but they definitely can’t teach this kind of hard, riding fastball.
Brian Cashman sat down for a chat with Buster Olney for ESPN’s Sunday Conversation recently, and the two discussed a number of topics including the idea of buying World Series titles, Alex Rodriguez‘s contract, and Robinson Cano‘s inevitable contract. Part of the interview can be seen above, but the entire thing will air later tonight, so check it out.