Trade Rumor Roundup: Ubaldo, Gio, Kuroda

The deadline is coming up rather quickly, so let’s round up the latest from Yankeeland…

  • Unless a big-time ace caliber starter hits the market, the Yankees have made it clear to other teams that they will not trade Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, and Austin Romine. (Joel Sherman)
  • The Yankees would, however, consider dealing Montero for Ubaldo Jimenez, but the Rockies want multiple top prospects for their ace. New York is also concerned about his inconsistency, arm action, and the NL-AL transition. Colorado is out of it (11 games back now), but they have little reason to move the young and cost-controlled Jimenez, who’s one of the better pitchers in baseball. (Joel Sherman)
  • Executives from other clubs believe the Yanks will end up trading for a left-handed reliever at some point this week. We heard about their interest in Craig Breslow over the weekend. (Jon Paul Morosi)
  • The Yankees would “pay big” to get Gio Gonzalez from the Athletics, but Oakland is still refusing to talk about the lefty. Gio threw 111 pitches while giving up six runs in 4.2 IP against the Yanks yesterday, but he has a 3.57 FIP on the season. He’s young (26 in Sept.), left-handed, throws hard, misses bats, and is cheap (still in his pre-arbitration years), but the walks and lack of success away from the Coliseum are scary. (Sherman).
  • The Yankees remain interested in Hiroki Kuroda but have not had any recent discussions with the Dodgers about his availability. The 36-year-old right-hander has a full no-trade clause (and wants compensation to waive it) and Rosenthal says he’s keeping his options open, but other reports indicate that he will not approve a trade to the east coast. Kuroda’s got a 3.76 FIP this season, which is actually his worst since coming to the U.S., but he’s pitched very well over the last two months and makes sense for New York. (Ken Rosenthal & Bob Klapisch)

Scouting The Trade Market: Edwin Jackson

The trade deadline is just six days away now, so if the Yankees are going to make a move for a starting pitcher, it’s going to happen soon. We’ve been highlighting potential trade candidates for weeks now and we’ll do another one this afternoon: Edwin Jackson of the White Sox. Chicago is 49-50 with a -2 run differential this year, but they’re still just 4.5 games back of the AL Central lead. They’ve won five of eight since the All-Star break but are just 9-9 in July, and they haven’t been within three games of the division lead since mid-April. A healthy John Danks gives them six starters and one very nice trade chip to dangle. It makes sense that it would be the impending free agent.

Jackson is no stranger to being dealt, having been traded four times overall and three times in the last two and a half years. He was part of the three-team trade that brought Curtis Granderson to the Yankees, going from the Tigers to the Diamondbacks before being traded to the ChiSox at the deadline last year. Does that mean the clubs that had him didn’t like him and got rid of him, or does it mean that so many other teams wanted him? Choose your own narrative and we break down the facts…

The Pros

  • It seems like Jackson’s been around forever, but he’s still just 27 (28 in September). His career is progressing like it should be; he’s getting better every year. His FIP (3.20 this season) has improved every season since he became a full-time starter in 2007. His xFIP (3.41) and K/BB ratio (2.49) have gotten better every year since 2008. Jackson owns career bests in walk (2.74 uIBB/9) and homer (0.59 HR/9) rates this year, and you can see that just about everything is trending in the righty direction at his year-by-year graphs page on FanGraphs.
  • Jackson has the kind of power stuff the Yankees typically covet. His fastball sits in the mid-90’s and has his entire career, and he’ll also use a high-80’s slider and a mid-80’s changeup. It’s worth noting that the ChiSox and pitching guru Don Cooper had Jackson incorporate a two-seamer and use more offspeed pitches after trading for him last year. From 2008 until the trade last August, he threw basically no two-seamers and just 22.9% sliders and 8.1% changeups. Since the trade, he’s up to 8.4% two-seamers, 37.4% sliders, and 11.4% changeups. It’s probably not an accident that he’s done his best pitching with Chicago.
  • Aside from a forearm strain way back in 2004, Jackson has never dealt with injury problems. He’s made at least 31 starts every year since 2007 and has thrown at least 200 innings in each of the last two years and 180 innings in each of the last three. He’s on pace to do it yet again this season. Jackson has spent the vast majority of his career in the AL and a good chunk of it in the AL East with the (Devil) Rays.
  • Jackson is a pure rental is his salary is miniscule: $8.35M for the season, so approximately $2.78M after July 31st. He projects to be a Type-B free agent (though just barely), and it would be an easy choice to offer arbitration given his relatively low base salary.

The Cons

  • Jackson is surrendering more line drives that ever, a career-high 23.5% of the time this season. That’s led to a .333 BABIP and 134 hits allowed in 121.2 IP. The number of hits allowed and his batting average against (.283) are both among the ten worse in the AL. His career BABIP is .309, so it’s not like there’s a huge regression coming.
  • Despite the high-end stuff, Jackson has never really excelled at missing bats. His 7.18 K/9 this season is barely above the league average (7.02) and down from 7.78 K/9 last year. His 8.9% swing and miss rate is above the league average (8.5%) but down from last year (10.4%) and the year before (9.8%).
  • Although he doesn’t really have much of a platoon split over his entire career, he does have one this year. It’s not huge but it exists, likely because of the increased emphasis of his slider, a pitch not normally used against batters of the opposite hand.
  • Jackson has pitched in the postseason but not really. Tampa left him off their ALDS roster in 2008 then used him for just three relief appearances and 4.1 IP in the ALCS and World Series combined. That’s the only time he’s played on a serious contender, though he was part of the 2009 Tigers that played in a Game 163 against the Twins.
  • Jackson is a Scott Boras client, so he will definitely test the market after the season. Acquiring him wouldn’t give a club the inside track to re-signing him this offseason based on Boras’ history. I’m sure he’ll be touting Jackson as the next Roy Halladay or something.

The Yankees had a scout in Cleveland yesterday, a game in which Jackson just so happened to be pitching. He gave up two runs in six innings but walked as many as he struck out (three). Chicago has also been keeping an eye on the Yankees’ farm system. There have been rumblings about a potential deal that would have Jackson going to the Cardinals as part of a package for Colby Rasmus, but who knows if that’s true. If it is, the Yankees have little chance of acquiring him because they won’t be able to top St. Louis’ offer. Well, they could, but it wouldn’t be the smartest thing they’ve done.

The ol’ trade value calculator values the remainder of Jackson’s season and Type-B free agent status at $11M or so, assuming he maintains his current performance level for 31 starts. Victor Wang’s research gives us an idea of what that would be in prospects, essentially a back-end of the top 100 guy or some combination of two Grade-B prospects. Austin Romine or David Phelps plus Corban Joseph? Gary Sanchez or Adam Warren plus J.R. Murphy? I’m just throwing names out there, the reality is that we have absolutely no idea what the White Sox would want in return. The calculator at least gives us a halfway decent estimation. Brian Cashman has fleeced Kenny Williams before, though I don’t think we can count on that happening again. Either way, Jackson seems like he’d been a rock solid pickup for the stretch run, a legitimate starter than you can count on to stay healthy and outperform the cache of back-end arms on the roster.

The Yankees unclutch hitting

It seems odd to read complaints about an offense that had scored the second most runs per game in baseball. Yet as the deadline approaches and the Yankees make plans to shore up their roster, there have been an increasing number of calls for the Yankees to add a bat. Some of that might be the temporary frustration of an A-Rod-less lineup, but it does extend a bit beyond that. Something feels off about this offense. They put plenty of men on base, for sure — their .342 team OBP ranks second in the AL and is 20 points better than league average. But it seems as though they hit a degree worse once those men are on base.

We can look to fairly standard stats to debunk that idea. With men in scoring position the Yankees are hitting .261, which ranks fifth in the AL. Even better, they’re slugging .439 in those situations (.178 ISO). The added power helps ensure that runs score. Even when you add in situations when they have a man on first, they’re right around the same area. That is, while they might not be a super team with runners in scoring position, they are in no way deficient. When you put that many men on base in the first place, you’re going to score plenty of runs by being just above average with men on base.

Still, there’s some context lacking from the runners in scoring position stats. For instance, on Friday night the Yankees hit extremely well with runners in scoring position. But there came a point where all those extra runs were superfluous. That is, they were putting up numbers with men on base, but not in what would be considered clutch situations. The leverage in those situations was low. Thankfully, we have some numbers we can examine to help us mete out the higher pressure situations.

At FanGraphs there are leader boards and splits for almost everything. One thing I started checking this weekend, when researching an article on the Reds for ESPN, is how teams are performing in high-leverage situations. As it turns out, the Yankees are pretty poor in this regard. They rank 10th in the AL in both batting average (.244) and wOBA (.301) in high pressure situations. The Rays and Red Sox, by comparison, are their superiors, with .338 and .335 wOBAs in those same situations. In fact, the AL East takes the top three spots; the Blue Jays rank third with a .330 wOBA when it counts the most.

We can take this notion of high-leverage performance a step further, still, when we include WPA-based stats. There are two in particular I’ve grown to enjoy on a team level: WPA/LI and Clutch. WPA/LI basically strips leverage out of a team’s performance and gives you a context-neutral rating of a team’s offensive output — that is, how they hit, period, regardless of a situation’s leverage. The Yankees here rank third with a 3.54 WPA/LI, though they trail the Red Sox and Rangers by a considerable amount. But they’re about an equal degree ahead of the No. 4 team, the Tigers, while nine of the 14 AL teams have negative scores.

(On an individual level, Curtis Granderson leads the way, while Jorge Posada has been the worst on the team.)

The Clutch stat is similar in nature, but instead of comparing a team’s production to its context-neutral state, it compares overall performance to performance in high level situations. Here’s where the Yankees are at their worst. Their -3.65 Clutch score is dead last in the AL. This is in part because they hit so well overall; the Red Sox and Rangers are the second and third worst teams in terms of clutch. But when combined with their poor overall performance in clutch situations, it helps illustrate why there is a perception that the Yankees have underperformed this year. They have scored plenty of runs, but they’ve failed when a hit would have made a huge difference.

(Russell Martin actually has the best Clutch score on the team, followed by, gulp, Francisco Cervelli. Mark Teixeira is the trailer at -1.41, and A-Rod is pretty bad at -1.19. Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, and Robinson Cano round out the bottom five.)

In a way, a similar issue afflicted the Yankees last year. In 2010 they had a -2.50 Clutch score, fourth worst in the AL, while their WPA/LI was second best. It’s a bit different this time, though, as Alex Rodriguez led the way in Clutch last year. That is to say that Clutch score is not skill-based. Players will often regress to the -1 to 1 range if given enough time — even Captain Clutch himself has a 0.78 career Clutch score. Obviously high leverage situations have different effects on different players, but they normally don’t perform out of line with normal expectations. The problem is that the season has particular start and end dates, giving only a finite time for adequate regression.

There is a chance still for the Yankees offense to perform like the juggernaut it is on paper. Their numbers in high leverage situations stink now, but it’s not as though the team collectively wilts under pressure. In some cases, such as Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira, it might be a matter of approach. With others it could be as simple as dumb luck. The perception that they need a bat is understandable, and at DH they certainly could use some help. But what they need more than anything is for their current lineup to hit in high-leverage situations as they’re capable of normally. If that aspect of the game falls into place, the Yankees will have little to worry about in the final two months.

Series Preview: Seattle Mariners

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Keith Allison via Creative Commons license)

This one has trap series written all over it folks, and I’ll explain why in a second. The Yankees and Mariners have met once before this season, in Seattle back at the end of May. The Yankees lost two of three but had leads in all three games, they just couldn’t close things out.

What Have The Mariners Done Lately?

Losing. Lots and lots of losing. As in a franchise-record 15 losses in a row. Seriously. The Mariners haven’t won a game since July 5th, when they beat the Athletics 4-2. They’ve been outscored 87-40 during the losing streak, and eight of those 40 runs came yesterday. All told, the Mariners are 43-58 with a -50 run differential, the third worst record and run differential in the AL. It seems inevitable that they’ll end that ugly losing streak in the Bronx, if not win the series.

Mariners On Offense

(Photo Credit: Flickr user hj_west via Creative Commons license)

Seattle scored just 513 runs last season, the worst run production in the DH era. They’re on pace for 533 this season, so I guess that’s improvement. For comparison’s sake, the Yankees have already scored 513 runs on the season. Think about that. The Mariners are hitting .226/.289/.334 with a .279 wOBA as a team, MLB worsts in everything but SLG. They’re one point ahead of the Padres in that department.

It all starts at the top, where Ichiro Suzuki is going through the same kind of painful-to-watch age-related decline as Derek Jeter. He went 2-for-5 yesterday and that raised his season line to .268/.315/.318. Brutal. Brendan Ryan was a pain the last two times these two clubs met, and he’s hitting .264/.324/.342 as the regular two-hitter. He did go 2-for-4 yesterday and is on a nice little .305/.362/.436 tear over the last 30 days though. Dustin Ackley was called up a little more than a month ago and has already emerged as the team’s best hitter. He’s up to .297/.347/.505 on the season following yesterday’s 2-for-5. Everything kinda goes downhill from there.

When these two clubs met in May, Justin Smoak was at .263/.365/.461 on the season and making the Mariners looking very smart for taking him over Jesus Montero last July. He’s hitting just .190/.278/.341 since then, and we’re talking about 205 plate appearances. That’s dragged Smoak’s season line down to .244/.319/.396. Miguel Olivo has been hitting cleanup with his .223/.260/.395 batting line, and both Adam Kennedy (.251/.297/.382) and Jack Cust (.214/.347/.332) are getting regular at-bats. Franklin Gutierrez catches everything hit in the air and between the lines, but he’s all the way down to .192/.230/.231. Mike Carp (.263/.344/.439 in limited action) is now the regular left fielder, but it’s just 64 PA. That’s their regular lineup, though Chone Figgins (.182/.236/.240), Greg Halman (.256/.284/.385), Jack Wilson (.229/.259/.252), and Josh Bard (.222/.243/.417) almost might make appearances. It’s an ugly offense, as ugly as it gets.

Mariners On The Mound

Monday, LHP Jason Vargas (vs. Freddy Garcia): The Yankees tagged Vargas for six runs in three innings back in May, and he’s coming off back-to-back five-run outings. His 3.94 ERA lines right up with his 3.96 FIP, and his peripheral stats aren’t anything to write home about: 5.80 K/9, 2.35 uIBB/9, and 37.3% grounders. Vargas throws four pitches regularly but will mix in two others; his high-80’s four and two-seamers set up his low-80’s changeup, and he’ll also throw some mid-80’s cutters. Every once in a while you’ll see a curveball or slider. He doesn’t have much of a platoon split because of the changeup, but Vargas is a fly ball pitcher that doesn’t miss bats. Handedness shouldn’t matter much.

Tuesday, RHP Doug Fister (vs. CC Sabathia): The Yankees drafted Fister once upon a time, back in the sixth round of 2005. He didn’t sign and went back to Fresno State for another year, then the Mariners grabbed him in the seventh round of the 2006 draft. Fister has developed into a very nice starting pitcher in his second full-season, backing up his 3.30 ERA with a 3.19 FIP. His strikeout rate sucks (5.44 K/9), but he’s even stingier with the walks than Vargas (1.88 uIBB/9) and does a much better job of keeping the ball on the ground (45.5%). He gets good downhill plane from his 6-foot-8 frame and pounds the zone with his high-80’s four and two-seamers. A mid-70’s curveball and a mid-80s slider are his go-to secondary offerings, but we’ll also see a low-80’s change on occasion. The Yankees have not faced Fister this season or last, so the only experience they have against him is a pair of starts in 2009 (7 IP, 3 R and 4 IP, 6 R).

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Mark Sobba via Creative Commons license)

Wednesday, RHP Felix Hernandez (vs. Phil Hughes): Long live the king. Felix won the Cy Young Award with a 3.04 FIP and a 3.14 xFIP last season, and this year he’s at 3.11 and 3.11, respectively. Don’t be fooled by the 3.47 ERA, blame that on a low (for him) 72.0% strand rate. It had been north of 76% in the past. His .299 BABIP is also his highest in three years. Hernandez’s peripherals are still as good as it gets (8.43 K/9, 2.73 uIBB/9, 48.9% grounders), and his stuff is world class: mid-90’s with both the four and two-seamers, a high-80’s changeup, a mid-80’s slider, and a low-80’s curve. There are few better than Felix, who has made a habit of wrecking the Yankees in recent years. Yeah, they got to him for four runs in seven innings earlier this year, but that was a minor miracle. When it comes to pitchers of this caliber, history doesn’t matter.

Bullpen: The Red Sox did the Yankees a favor by taxing Seattle’s bullpen yesterday, forcing four relievers to throw 72 pitches across 3.2 IP. One of those four relievers was lefty Aaron Laffey (4.65 FIP), who recorded zero outs but gave up four hits and three runs on a dozen pitches. He also threw 18 pitches on Saturday, so he might not be an option tonight. He’s their only lefty in the ‘pen.

Closer Brandon League (2.69 FIP) threw 18 pitches, but he was just getting work in the blowout. Sometimes setup guy Jamey Wright (4.76 FIP) threw 28 pitches, and garbage time reliever Josh Lueke (4.54 FIP in limiting time) threw 14 pitches. David Pauley (3.36) is the Mariners’ relief ace, and you’ve also got some guy named Jeff Gray (3.42 FIP) and Yankees’ punching bag Chris Ray (3.54 FIP). They typically get the job done, though most of these guys are no names.

Recommended Mariners Reading: U.S.S. Mariner and Lookout Landing. Remember that RAB Tickets can get you to any of the three games for cheap.

2011 Draft: Yankees sign fourth rounder Matt Duran

The Yankees have signed fourth round pick Matt Duran, or at least that’s what this tweet from the kid suggests. The team hasn’t confirmed the signing yet, but given the context of Duran’s tweet, I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet. Baseball America (subs. req’d) said the New Rochelle native “generates plus raw power from his 6-foot-1, 220-pound build” and “has a long swing and can drive the ball to all fields.” Because of his limited defensive skills, he’s likely to move off third base down the road, probably to first. I don’t know what kind of signing bonus he received, but MLB’s slot recommendation for the 149th overall pick is $171,000. I figure the rookie level GCL Yankees are in his immediate future.

Update: Jim Callis says Duran got $335,000, so almost double slot. Good for him.

Fan Confidence Poll: June 25th, 2011

Record Last Week: 4-3 (39 RS, 25 RA)
Season Record:
59-40 (513 RS, 385 RA, 63-36 pythag. record), three games back in the loss column
Opponents This Week:
vs. Mariners (three games, Mon. to Weds.) Thurs. OFF, vs. Orioles (four games, Fri. to Sun., two on Sat.)

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

{democracy:169}

Yanks survive late chaos to take series from A’s

The first series of this cushy ten-game homestand is complete, and the Yankees did what they had to do by taking two of three. It got a little hairy in the late innings, but all that matters is that they … put it on the left side!

And there's the lead.

Biggest Hit: Eduardo’s Double

The Athletics jumped out to a two-zip lead in the second inning with a little help from Russell Martin (more on that in a bit), but the Yankees answered back with one run in the bottom half before taking the lead for good in the fourth. It was a two out rally too; Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher started the fourth out with a ground out and a fly out. Gio Gonzalez created his own mess by putting Martin (grazed by a pitch in the pant leg) and Andruw Jones (four-pitch walk) on base without making them take the bat of their shoulders. That brought Eduardo Nunez to the plate.

Playing shortstop while Derek Jeter got a half day off as the DH, Nunez saw two fastballs and a changeup in his first at-bat, a fly out to Josh Willingham left. Gio went to the hook the second time around, dropping the first curve in for a called strike. The second curve wasn’t a bad pitch, but Nunez loves pitches down in the zone and he golfed it out to left. Willingham didn’t catch this one, and it landed on the warning track. Martin scored easily from second and Jones chugged all the way from first to score. Just like that, the Yankees turned a one-run deficit into a one-run lead with just one swing of the bat. The WPA on this sucker was +.227, the second biggest play of the game. We’ll cover the first in a bit.

Hi Eduardo.

Honorable Mention: Grandy Goes Boom

One inning after Nunez gave the Yankees the lead, their offensive MVP tacking on what proved to be a pair of big insurance runs. Gio again hurt himself by walking Jeter after a full count to lead off the fifth, then he again ran the count full to Curtis Granderson. Curtis saw nothing but fastballs that at-bat, and I assume it was because Oakland was worried about a stolen base. The seventh heater of the encounter was a little inside but it was up, and Granderson did what he’s been doing to that pitch all season. He pulled his hands in and yanked it down the line, into the second deck for a two-run homer to turn a 3-2 game into a much more comfortable 5-2 game. At +.138 WPA, this was the third biggest play of the game.

Seven From Bart

Out.

It wasn’t the complete game shutout he threw against the A’s in May, but Bartolo Colon gave the Yankees seven innings of one-run ball, his second straight strong effort after a pair of stinkers. He did allow eight hits, several of which were very hard hit (as were some of the outs), but he only walked one and recorded 15 of his 21 outs on the infield. Colon did get some help in the fifth, when Eric Sogard got thrown out at the plate on Hideki Matsui‘s double. Granderson made a nice throw to the cutoff man, but Cano kinda airmailed the relay throw to the plate. Martin jumped to catch it and came down in time to apply the tag. That made up for the ball he failed to receive properly in the second, which led to a pair of Oakland runs.

Colon threw 99 total pitches and just 28 balls, though 23 of those pitches were offspeed (22 sliders and one changeup). That’s about double his season average, which is something that’s been going on since he came off the DL. I think it’s a conscious decision to change up the scouting report and keep the hitters guessing a little bit simply because he doesn’t seem to favoring the hamstring anymore. The four-seam fastball averaged 92.35 mph and topped out at 95.5, so the velo’s there. Things got a little scary with the injury, but these last two starts have shown that the clock hasn’t struck midnight just yet.

Why Robertson?

Joe Girardi pulled off his best Joe Torre impression in the eighth inning, using David Robertson with a four-run lead one day after he threw 25 pitches in oppressive heat and humidity. Robertson ended up getting smacked around a bit, giving up three hits for just the second time this season and two runs for the third time. He ended up throwing 30 pitches while recording only two outs, so forget about having him on Monday and probably Tuesday as well. It just seemed pretty unnecessary, if you can’t use Luis Ayala or Cory Wade with a four-run lead in the eighth inning against the Athletics, when can you use them?

And that's the ball game.

Relax, Mo’s Got This

Robertson’s struggles resulted in Mariano Rivera coming in for the four-out save, just the second time all season he’s been asked to do that. The other time was April 24th in Baltimore, when he blew the save but escaped the inning because Felix Pie got thrown out the plate. The Yankees went on to win that game in extra innings after a rain delay. Anyway, Mo cleaned up Robertson’s mess with a ground ball out to end the eighth, but some BABIP shenanigans created an interesting situation in the ninth. Jemile Weeks singled through the right side on what sounded like a broken bat, Coco Crisp reached on an infield single off Cano’s glove at second, then Matsui blooped in a broken bat single.

All of a sudden, the bases were loaded with one out (Sogard grounded out to open the inning). Willingham became the fourth straight batter to single, a legit line drive to left that could only score one run. Paul O’Neill made an interesting point, saying that the outfielders should not have been playing deep because it’s not often that Mo gives up a ball to the wall. Had Brett Gardner (who replaced Jones for defense late) been playing normal depth, that ball is hit right at him for the second out. Anyway, the next batter hit a line drive to Mark Teixeira at first, who stepped on the bag for the game-ending double play. I thought the ball would have curved foul when I say the play live, but upon further review it clearly would have gone down the line and into the corner for extra bases. Three dinky hits started the rally but a line drive double play ended it. The BABIP gods work in mysterious ways. That double play was worth +.291 WPA for the Yankees and was the biggest play of the game.

Leftovers

Nunez’s double was obviously very important, but he also created an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Joey Devine came on for Oakland and much like Friday night, his first pitch was behind the batter. Eduardo ducked out of the way and then singled two pitches later. Brandon Laird bunted him over to second then Nunez stole third*, and with the infield in, he managed to score on Jeter’s ground ball. Nunez broke on contact and was so far down the line that the A’s didn’t try for the play at home. That whole inning was like a big FU for the first pitch of the inning, like Nunez got mad and got some revenge.

* Am the only one that finds that kinda funny? Bunt a guy to second and then he steals third? Why not just have him steal second and save the out?

The Yankees botched a chance to score some runs in the third inning, when Laird (reached on an error) and Jeter (walk) started the inning by reaching in base. Grandy clobbered a pitch to deep center, but Crisp ran it down on the warning track. Laird should have tagged up there as soon as he saw Crisp settle under it, but he wandered too far off the bag and had to stay at second. Jeter did was he was supposed to do, he’s got to go to second so he can score in case it gets over the outfielder’s head. Rookie mistake by Laird. Teixeira grounded into a double play as the next batter to end the inning.

Granderson’s homer was his 11th off a left-handed pitcher this year, by far the most in the majors by a left-handed batter. Matsui is second with seven. Speaking of Godzilla, damn did he have himself a game or what? Five hits in five at-bats including two doubles, his first five-hit game since 2007. He was a thorn in the side all weekend, but I can’t bring myself to dislike the guy. First class all the way and a great Yankee.

As for the rest of the offense … Jeter had two walks, Tex a bloop single just off Crisp’s glove, Cano a single, Martin two singles, and Jones had two singles and a walk. Andruw has five hits (including two homers) in 14 at-bats (.357) since the break to go along with two walks and just one strikeout. He’s coming around a little bit, which is nice to see. Martin has nine hits in 32 at-bats (.281) since the break with four walks and one hit-by-pitch (.378 OBP). Maybe the three days off (he did fly to Arizona but didn’t play in the All-Star Game) did him some good.

The Yankees managed to give up 38 hits in the series, the most they’ve given up in any three-game stretch all season. This game was also the first one all year they won while allowing 15 hits or more. Oh, and it’s the first time Mo allowed four hits in an outing and still got the save in eight years. Go figure. Rivera’s 25th save of the season extended his own record of consecutive seasons with 25+ saves to 15.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, ESPN the up to date standings.

Up Next

Trap series! The Mariners are coming to town on a 15-game losing streak. Yes, 15 games. That streak will inevitable end in the Bronx and cause MASS PANIC! Freddy Garcia will be charged with keeping his former team in check in the opener on Monday. Jason Vargas gets the ball for Seattle. If you want to catch the game, RAB Tickets can get you there on the cheap.