Yankeemetrics: Stay classy, San Diego [July 1-3]

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Not enough in the ninth
The Yankees late-game magic disappeared on Friday night as their wild ninth-inning rally fell just short in a 7-6 loss to the Padres. Down 7-2 entering the final frame, they scored four runs and got the tying run on third base before Brett Gardner grounded out to end the game.

It was just the second time in his career that Gardner has made the final out of the game with his team trailing by a run and a man on third base; he also did it in a 2-1 loss to the Royals on June 8, 2014.

Nathan Eovaldi‘s June swoon continued into the month of July with the inconsistent right-hander getting tagged for six runs on seven hits, including two homers. Over his last six starts he’s allowed a whopping 31 runs, 45 hits and 12 home runs allowed in 30 1/3 innings (and a bloated 9.20 ERA).

In this stretch he’s allowed at least four earned runs and a homer in each of those six starts, the longest such streak in franchise history. Eovaldi has now surrendered 19 longballs in 91 innings this season, a rate of 1.88 homers per nine innings would be the highest by any Yankee that qualified for the ERA title.

One of Eovaldi’s biggest bugaboos during his free fall over the past month has been a flat and ineffective splitter, a pitch that batters are hitting .311 and slugging .556 against since June 1; opponents were just 6-for-40 (.150) with no extra-base hits in at-bats ending in his splitter in May.

A significant reduction in both the horizontal and vertical movement of the pitch — he’s getting an inch less of arm-side run and it’s also dropping an inch less in June/July compared to May — has made his signature splitter way too hittable over his last several outings.

Miller’s mistake
Just a couple days removed from back-to-back thrilling last at-bat wins at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees were on the wrong side of a walk-off celebration on Saturday night in San Diego. Melvin Upton Jr. hit a solo homer on the first pitch he saw from Andrew Miller in the bottom of the ninth inning to hand the Yankees their second straight loss on the west coast.

It was the fourth time they’ve lost an Interleague game on a game-ending longball: the Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman has beaten them twice (May 19, 2015 and June 18, 2006) and Todd Zeile also hit a walk-off home run against the Yankees in Denver on June 20, 2002.

The loss clinched a losing first-half record for the Yankees for only the second time in the last 20 seasons. The 2007 team was 40-41 at the halfway mark and then rebounded to win two-thirds of their games the rest of the way and clinch a Wild Card berth. That’s the only time in franchise history they managed to make the playoffs after having a sub-.500 record through 81 games.

Thanks to a dormant offense and a rare hiccup by Miller, the Yankees wasted a solid performance from the struggling Ivan Nova. The righty had posted a 6.92 ERA in his previous seven starts entering Saturday night, but rebounded to allow just one run on four hits in 5 1/3 innings in San Diego.

Nova’s curve was a key weapon for him in finishing off the Padres hitters, who whiffed on six of their eight swings against the curve and went 0-for-6 with five strikeouts in at-bats ending in the pitch.

(AP)
(AP)

Milestone Tex Message
The Yankees averted what would have been a historically awful sweep, winning the third game of the three-game series in San Diego. Since Interleague play began in 1997, the Yankees have only been swept in series of three or more games twice: June 19-21, 2007 by the Rockies and Sept 1-3, 1997 by the Phillies.

Even with the win the Yankees have some ground to make up in order to avoid their worst ever Interleague mark. They are now 3-7 (.300) halfway through the schedule; their lowest Interleague win percentage in a season is .333, when they went 5-10 in 1997.

Didi Gregorius‘ scorching hot bat gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning en route to the 6-3 victory. Each of the past four homers that he’s hit since June 16 have either tied the game or given the Yankees the lead. In that span, no other Yankee has hit more than two go-ahead/game-tying home runs.

Mark Teixeira gave the Yankees an insurance run in the eight inning with a milestone Tex message – the 400th longball of his career – and then added No. 401 in the next frame.

He is the fifth switch-hitter in the 400-homer club (Chipper Jones, Eddie Murray, Mickey Mantle, Carlos Beltran), and the 55th player in MLB history to hit that many homers. He’s also the ninth player to reach the milestone in Yankee pinstripes. The rest of the group are Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mantle, Reggie Jackson, Gary Sheffield, A-Rod, Alfonso Soriano, and, of course, Beltran.

Overall, of the 55 players to hit 400 homers, Teixeira is the 27th to do in his 14th season or earlier; but the only other switch-hitter to join the club this early into his career was Mickey Mantle. Among first baseman, he is one of just nine to compile 400 homers in their first 14 seasons: Carlos Delgado, Frank Thomas, Jim Thome, Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Jeff Bagwell, Albert Pujols and Mark McGwire are the others.

Fan Confidence Poll: July 4th, 2016

Record Last Week: 3-4 (31 RS, 36 RA)
Season Record: 40-41 (335 RS, 365 RA, 37-44 pythag. record)
Opponents This Week: @ White Sox (three games, Mon. to Weds.), @ Indians (four games, Thurs. to Sun.)

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 interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the Features tab on the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?

DotF: Dermis Garcia goes deep twice in Pulaski’s win

Here’s a must read piece from Grace Raynor on IF Angel Aguilar. Aguilar is trying to make it with the Yankees while his mother deals with the extreme poverty and crime back home in Venezuela. Make sure you check it out.

Triple-A Scranton (3-2 win over Buffalo)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 1-5, 1 R
  • 2B Donovan Solano: 4-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI — hitting .302/.333/.403 on the season
  • C Gary Sanchez: 0-5, 1 RBI, 2 PB
  • DH Tyler Austin: 0-4, 1 BB, 1 K
  • RHP Kyle Haynes: 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 11/1 GB/FB — 64 of 95 pitches were strikes (67%)
  • RHP Kirby Yates: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/3 GB/FB — 27 of 40 pitches were strikes (68%) … Yates has been one of the most dominant relievers in the International League over the years, so he should be a nice boost for the RailRiders as they look to remain in first place and get to the postseason

[Read more…]

Green’s solid outing, dingers lead the Yanks to a 6-3 win over the Padres

(Getty)

Imagine being swept by the Padres. Not a good thought, right? Thankfully, the Yankees didn’t suffer another one-run heartbreaker today. Youngster Chad Green tossed a solid outing and the offense backed him up with a bunch of dingers for his first career ML win. Its the weekend so let’s do it bullet-point style.

  • A Run!: The game started well for the Yankee offense. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner reached on base in the first with a single and walk, respectively. Mark Teixeira followed it up with a strikeout, Brian McCann flew out and Starlin Castro struck out as well to immediately kill the chance. However, they did score in the next inning. Didi Gregorius led off with an error by Alexei Ramirez. Aaron Hicks snared a single to center to put the runners on corners. The next hitter, Ronald Torreyes, grounded into a double play, which scored a run. 1-0 Yanks.
  • Another One!: In the fourth, Didi did it again. The Yankees’ hottest hitter not named Carlos Beltran went deep on a 86-mph slider that had some break, but Didi reached down low enough to drill it to right field seats. That’s his ninth homer of the year. It’s halfway through the year so a 15~20 HR year isn’t a dream for Gregorius if he keeps it up. In this bleh Yankee season, Didi’s offense has been one of the bright spots. Oh, and the Yankees led 2-1 thanks to the dinger.
  • Seeing Green?: Starting pitcher Chad Green has had a solid season down in Triple-A, In 14 starts, he had a 1.54 ERA and the peripherals suggest it to be legit – 9.04 K/9, 2.09 BB/9 and 0.22 HR/9. He had a start with the Yankees earlier this year and, well, he took a loss against the D’Backs. Today was a different story. Green threw six solid innings, allowing only three hits and one run (on former Yankee great Yangervis Solarte’s solo HR) while striking out eight and walking none. I know I shouldn’t buy into young pitchers too easily but I think the Yanks should give him more chances in rotation.
  • Tex Back: Boy, has this season been a struggle for Teixeira or what? Coming into tonight, he had a .187/.273/.290 slash line, which is “good” for a 52 wRC+. Dreadful. Today, however, he hit two homers – both of them coming against two loopy curveballs versus Carlos Villanueva and Kevin Quackenbush. The first one was his 400th dinger and it had a 48 degree launch angle, which, according to Statcast, is the highest of all the homers hit this year. If you’re gonna hit a milestone homer, why not make it special? Congrats Tex. His second homer in the top of ninth made the game pretty much out of reach by giving New York a 6-1 lead.
  • Hicks Hits Good: Aaron Hicks, who has struggled mightily this season, reached base four times today. He had two singles and a ground-rule double (oh, and a walk). I thought it was probably the best day for him in terms of squaring the ball up. He’s also been a much better second-half hitter in ML career so should we expect something special from him? We’ll see.
  • Ninth Inning: With a five-run lead in the ninth, Girardi brought in Anthony Swarzak to face the Padres. Swarzak immediately made it a game by giving up a single to Solarte and a dinger to Alex Dickerson. 6-3 Yanks. A save situation! The Yanks didn’t waste much time bringing in Aroldis Chapman and he retired the side for a Yankee victory.

Here’s tonight’s box score, video highlights, WPA and updated standings.


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees fly out to Chicago next to face the south siders for a three-game series. Happy Fourth of July weekend, you guys.

Game 81: Halfway Home

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The season is halfway complete, or at least it will be in a few hours. Today is the 81st game of the season, and because they are 39-41, the Yankees have already clinched a losing record in the first half. The Yankees were 40-41 the last two times they finished the first half with a losing record (1992, 2007), and the last time they lost 42+ of their first 81 games was 1990. They were 30-51 in the first half that year.

Rookie right-hander Chad Green is making a spot start today — the Yankees pushed CC Sabathia back a day to avoid having him hit and run the bases on his balky knee — and this is a pretty big game for him. Ivan Nova pitched well last night but has generally stunk this season, plus Nathan Eovaldi‘s been getting smacked around lately too. A strong effort tonight and could land Green another start before the All-Star break. Here is the Padres’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. 1B Mark Teixeira
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. RF Aaron Hicks
  8. 3B Ronald Torreyes
  9. RHP Chad Green

The weather is great in San Diego, I assume. This afternoon’s game will begin at 4:40pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Heyman: Yankees among teams looking to add a starter

(AP Photo/Gail Burton)
(AP Photo/Gail Burton)

According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees are “one of a dozen teams” looking to add starting pitching at the trade deadline. Heyman cites a source from a rival team, so take this for what it’s worth. That said, pretty much every team wants to add rotation help at the deadline, so this isn’t far-fetched. It certainly passes the sniff test.

Right now the Yankees have one reliable starter (Masahiro Tanaka), one really good starter who might be in for some home run rate regression (CC Sabathia), two frustrating starters (Nathan Eovaldi and Michael Pineda), and one Ivan Nova. Luis Severino is in Triple-A working on things and both Chad Green, who will make a spot start today, and Luis Cessa are available for depth.

Adding a starter doesn’t have to be about buying for this season. All five pitchers in New York’s current rotation can become free agents at some point in the next two years. The Yankees reportedly prioritized young controllable starters in offseason trade talks about Andrew Miller and Brett Gardner, and I doubt anything has changed. They still want someone to build their rotation around going forward.

The upcoming free agent class is very light on pitching, so expect the trade market to be active over the next eight months or so. It’s going to be a seller’s market and that’s bad for the Yankees. Prices will be high. That’s definitely one of the reasons why they traded a setup reliever (Justin Wilson) for two Triple-A starters (Cessa, Green) over the winter. It was a cheap way to add rotation depth now and for the future.

Which teams could look to capitalize on the seller’s market and trade a starter(s)? The Rays, Braves, and Padres immediately jump to mind as last place clubs with some spare arms. Contenders like the Indians, Mets, and Nationals could also look to take advantage of the market by trading one of their extra arms for big time help elsewhere. We’ve seen a lot of big league for big leaguer trades in recent years. Nothing would surprise me.

Some Runs DMC: Bullpen (and offense) blows it in 2-1 walk-off loss to the Padres


Source: FanGraphs

That walk-off loss would be more annoying if it didn’t feel so inevitable. I just didn’t expect Andrew Miller to give it up. The Yankees dropped their second straight game to the Padres on Saturday night, this one by the score of 2-1. West Coast night games get bullet point recaps, so here we go:

  • Ivan’s Good Start: For the first time in a long time, Ivan Nova put together a solid start. Better than solid, really. He held the Padres to one run on four hits and a walk in 5.1 innings while striking out seven. The run scored with Dellin Betances on the mound; Nova walked Wil Myers, was pulled, then Betances allowed a stolen base and a stupid little defensive half-swing double to Matt Kemp. I thought only Didi Gregorius was allowed to do that? Anyway, that was a much-needed good start from Nova.
  • Run, Singular: Drew Pomeranz is a very good pitcher having a great year, but with these Yankees, it’s impossible to tell if the pitcher had a good night or if the offense was just being its usual self. Pomeranz held New York to one run in seven innings, and the run scored on Starlin Castro‘s sixth inning ground out. Jacoby Ellsbury‘s double and Brett Gardner‘s infield single set it up. Unfortunately they couldn’t get Gardner home from second after Castro’s fielder’s choice, so one run was all the Yankees scored, both in that inning and in the game in general.
  • Battle of the Bullpens: Neither Betances nor Miller were especially sharp, but they did throw scoreless seventh and eighth innings, respectively. Joe Girardi opted to send Miller out for the ninth inning as well, which was perfectly cool with me, but he missed his spot with his fastball and the player formerly known as B.J. Upton hit a walk-off solo homer on the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth. It was gone off the bat. Upton crushed it into the second deck of the Western Medal Supply Building. When the top relievers are blowing games, it’s time to put the entire roster on the lawn with a “For Sale” sign.
  • Leftovers: Ellsbury and Gardner both went 2-for-4 with a double. Everyone else went 2-for-24 (.083) … Rob Refsnyder threw a runner out at the plate from right field, which was cool … the game featured three replays that totaled nearly ten minutes in review time. The Yankees were on the winning side of all three … the Yankees scored first for the first time in nine games, not that it helped … now that they’re 39-41 on the season, the Yankees are guaranteed to finish the first half with a losing record for the first time since 2007 and only the second time since 1992. They were 40-41 after 81 games in both 1992 and 2007.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Now here are our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees and Padres wrap up this three-game series Sunday afternoon. That’s a 4:40pm ET start. No more West Coast night games until August. Spot starter Chad Green and trade bait Andrew Cashner will be on the mound in the series finale.