The Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees finished up their season with a win today, and Donnie Collins reports that the quartet of Greg Golson, Hector Noesi, Ramiro Pena and George Kontos are heading to New York to join the big league team. We’ve seen Golson, Pena and Noesi before, but Kontos will be the new face. The righty reliever struck out 91 and unintentionally walked just 25 in 89.1 IP this year, his first full season in the bullpen following Tommy John surgery. Kontos would have been Rule 5 Draft eligible after the season, and the Yankees will have to make room for him on the 40-man roster.
Via Jack Curry, there’s a chance that Dellin Betances may soon join the Yankees as a September call-up. Brian Cashman told Curry that he wanted to discuss it with Joe Girardi before making the move. Just last week we heard that Betances and Manny Banuelos would not be called up, mostly due to fastball command.
Because he’s already on the 40-man roster, adding Betances to the roster would be a simple call-up without any other maneuvering required. He just pitched last night (5 IP and 101 pitches), so he wouldn’t be a available for a few days anyway. The Yankees called up Andrew Brackman under similar circumstances last year, but he did not pitch. If anything, we’d probably see Betances for an inning or two of mop-up work, nothing too crazy. It would be fun to see him, though.
You know what the Yankees could use today? A nice big blowout. Big enough so that Freddy Garcia could go five and fly while some September call-ups mop up the last four innings. Big enough that both Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira can get off their banged up knees for a few innings. Big enough to get everyone off their feet. You know I mean, that kind of game. Here’s the starting nine…
Freddy Garcia, SP
It’s not raining in New York, but it looks like it might start at any minute. Apparently there’s enough of a window to get the game in, so hope for the best. They don’t need another doubleheader. Both YES and MLB Network will carry the game. Enjoy.
Man, the Orioles again? All these games against the Fightin’ Showalters would be annoying if they were any good. But they’re not, so I’ll live. I suspect there aren’t many of you out there reading this on the holiday, plus we’re all familiar with the Orioles by now, so I’ll keep it short.
What Have The Orioles Done Lately?
Since splitting that impromptu four-game series around Hurricane Irene with the Yankees last weekend, the Orioles have lost two of three to both the Blue Jays and Rays. They got spanked 8-1 yesterday and have allowed six or more runs in four of their last five games. Baltimore is 55-83 on the season with a -150 run differential, second worst in baseball behind the Astros. To make matters worse, they’ve already been eliminated from playoff contention. Not even a glimmer of hope anymore.
Orioles On Offense
Their two best hitters over the last two weeks or so have been Matt Wieters (.268/.331/.439 on the year) and Mark Reynolds (.221/.320/.476), who are both sporting .400+ wOBA’s over the last two weeks. J.J. Hardy (.269/.308/.499), Nick Markakis (.279/.339/.397), Nolan Reimold (.230/.297/.399), and Ryan Adams (.261/.320/.319.) have each chipped in as well, but they’ve hardly been stellar. Vlad Guerrero (276/.307.396) and Adam Jones (.286/.324/.476) have both been slumping big time, and Jones has been banged up as late. It’s the same below-average offense we’ve seen all year, but they do have a few guys that can really hurt you if you make a mistake.
Orioles On The Mound
Jo-Jo Reyes Brian Matusz (vs. Freddy Garcia): The Yankees, especially Andruw Jones, have simply crushed Reyes this year. We’re talking a dozen runs in 8.1 IP across two starts, and Jones has taken him deep four times total (twice in each game). That’s what happens when you can’t miss bats (5.29 K/9) and come at the Yankees with a high-80’s fastball and two offspeed pitches (change and slider) that don’t fool anyone.
Apparently Matusz is starting, not Reyes. The Yankees bombed him for three homers and six runs in 5.1 IP last week, and he doesn’t throw as hard as he once did. Boom.
Tuesday, RHP Tommy Hunter (vs. Phil Hughes): We all know Hunter from the various Yankees-Rangers battles last season, and last week he held New York to a four runs (on three homers) in seven innings. His underlying performance this season is … interesting: 3.91 K/9, 1.19 BB/9, and 44.3% grounders. Hunter works with a low-90’s fastball, a mid-80’s cutter, and a high-70’s curve.
Wednesday, LHP Zach Britton (vs. A.J. Burnett): Britton has either been really really good against the Yankees, or really really bad. He held them to one unearned run over seven innings in his first start, gave up nine runs in a third of an inning in his second start, and then held them scoreless over seven innings last time out. Britton’s a big-time ground ball guy (53.3%), getting them with his low-90’s sinker, a mid-80’s changeup, and a low-80’s slider.
Bullpen: The O’s have ten guys in their bullpen thanks to September call-ups, so Buck Showalter has plenty of options to work with. Two guys he doesn’t have anymore are dynamite setup man Koji Uehara and top lefty Mike Gonzalez, who’ve been traded in recent weeks. Jim Johnson (2.80) is still as good as it gets in the setup role, but other than him, they don’t have a single guy in their bullpen with a sub-4.00 FIP in more than 20 IP. That includes closer (and perpetually shaky) Kevin Gregg, who recently told reporters that “The bottom line is you obviously haven’t acquired my taste in pitching yet.” How awesome is that?
Recommended Orioles Reading: Camden Crazies.
Record Last Week: 6-1 (35 RS, 27 RA)
Season Record: 85-53 (754 RS, 549 RA, 90-48 pythag. record), 1.5 games up in AL East, 9.5 up for wildcard
Opponents This Week: vs. Orioles (three games, Mon. to Weds.), @ Orioles (one game, Thurs), @ Angels (three games, Fri. to Sun.)
Top stories from last week:
- The week started off with the conclusion of the Hurricane Irene series against the Orioles, and Freddy Garcia pitched the Yankees to a win in his return from the DL.
- It was off to Boston after that, and the Yankees took the series opener thanks to a grind-it-out performance from their ace. The pitching faltered in the second game, but Russell Martin‘s go-ahead double gave them a win in the finale on Thursday.
- After the intense series against the Red Sox, it was back home for a three-game weekend set against the Blue Jays. Brett Gardner homered and made some big defensive plays in Friday’s win, then Robinson Cano‘s big hit led to a comeback win the next day. Lots of late runs led to yesterday’s win and the series sweep.
- Injury News: Alex Rodriguez got a cortisone shot in his sprained left thumb and returned the lineup a few days later. Mark Teixeira missed two games with a bruised knee after getting hit by a pitch in Boston. David Robertson was unavailable Friday due to some stiffness. Both Pedro Feliciano and Damaso Marte suffered setbacks during their rehab work. Kei Igawa was placed on the minor league DL, effectively ending his time with the Yankees.
- The first few guys to get September call-ups were Jesus Montero, Brandon Laird, Scott Proctor, Chris Dickerson, Lance Pendleton, Raul Valdez, and Aaron Laffey. Ryan Pope was designated for assignment to make some 40-man roster room. Hector Noesi was send down to make room for Freddy Garcia, but he’ll be back soon.
- The Yankees continued to look for pitching, particularly left-handed, before the postseason roster trade deadline. They came up empty and are sticking with the six-man rotation for at least one more turn.
- MLB suspended 20-year-old Dominican right-hander Juan Carlos Paniagua and voided his contract with the Yankees for an unknown reason. The Yankees are sending four (so far) to the Arizona Fall League.
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We play today, we win today, das it. Mariano Duncan’s mantra still holds true 15 years later, and the Yankees sure are doing a whole lotta winning these days. Sunday’s 9-3 beat down of the Blue Jays gave them the series sweep and pushed them even further out in front of the AL East.
Derek Loves The Lefties
Despite all the struggles Derek Jeter went thought last year and the first part of this year, there’s one thing he never stopped doing, and that’s hit lefties. He tagged them for a .382 wOBA last year and came into this game with a .410 wOBA off southpaws, so he took care of business when Brett Cecil caught too much of the plate with an 87 mph fastball in a 1-1 count in the third inning. Jesus Montero (single) and Brett Gardner (hit-by-pitch) had reached base ahead of the Cap’n, so it was a three-run shot that landed not too far away from where his 3,000th career hit landed. It gave the Yankees a four-zip lead in the early going.
Sabathia Shows No Ill Effects
Last time out, CC Sabathia threw 128 grueling pitches in a six-inning outing against the Red Sox, but the Yankees opted not to give him an extra day of rest before this start. He came out of the gate in this game and was a little wild at first, but he quickly settled down and chipped in his usual seven-plus strong innings. The two runs he allowed came in the fourth inning on a single, walk, double down the left field line, and an RBI groundout. Nothing too crazy.
Sabathia threw another 111 pitches (79 strikes, or 71%), struck out ten, walked just the one, and got six outs on the ground compared to two in the air. It was his fifth double-digit strikeout game of the year (compared to five total during his first two years in pinstripes), and he’s now just two whiffs shy of becoming the 65th member of the 2,000 career strikeout club. Over his last seven starts, the big guy has walked just six compared to 55 strikeouts in 49.2 IP. That’ll do.
F**k! Just Another Homer
It’s always fun when a batter shows some frustration after making contact and the ball drops in for a hit anyway, usually a bloop single or a ground ball with eyes or something like that. It’s not often that the hit is a homerun though, but that’s exactly what happened on Alex Rodriguez‘s solo homer in the sixth inning. Cecil busted him inside with a 2-0 sinker that Alex hit off the label, prompting a four-letter level of frustration. The ball looked like a pop-up off the bat, but it just kept carrying and carrying and carrying, and soon enough to dropped into the first row of seats in right for a solo shot. How about that?
Speaking of frustration, I enjoyed Paul O’Neill giving Cecil tantrum-throwing tips after he exited the game was caught on camera smashing various items in the dugout. Never use the pitching hand!
Rafael Soriano took over for Sabathia and immediately gave up the obligatory solo homer to Jose Bautista, but kinda sorta settled down to record the final two outs of the frame. He’s been much better since coming off the DL, no doubt about it, but there have been a lot of loud outs in his last few outings going back to Boston. Cory Wade finished things off with a scoreless ninth inning.
Gardner basically created a run in the first inning with a walk and stolen base before coming around to score when the shortstop threw the ball away on Mark Teixeira‘s would-be ground out. Nick Swisher clubbed a two-run insurance homer in the bottom of the ninth, and Jeter plated two more with a single in the same inning. Andruw Jones was the only player in the lineup that failed to reach base, even pinch-runner Eduardo Nunez managed to pick up a knock later in the game. He ran for Jesus Montero after the starting DH reached base for the third time (two singles and a reach-on-error).
The Yankees swept Toronto for the first time in a series longer than two games for the first time since 2005, and they’ve now won four games in a row and seven of their last eight. They improved to 24-3 in day games at home and 37-9 in day games overall. The Rangers annihilated the Red Sox, so the lead in the AL East increased to 1.5 games and two in the loss column. The Rays beat the Orioles, so the lead in the wildcard race remained 9.5 games. The magic number to clinch a postseason berth dropped to 15 with the win.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
It’s a Labor Day matinee against the Orioles, who are coming to town for a three-game series to close out the mini-homestand. Freddy Garcia gets the start against
Jo-Jo Reyes Brian Matusz at 1:05pm ET. If you want to catch the game before the unofficial end of the summer, RAB Tickets can help get you there.
Just one more day of regular season minor league baseball left…
Triple-A Scranton Game One (5-1 loss to Buffalo in seven innings)
Kevin Russo, 3B, Ramiro Pena, 2B, Jorge Vazquez, 3B & Jordan Parraz, RF: all 0 for 3 – Russo and Pena each struck out
Mike Lamb, DH, Ray Kruml, LF & Gus Molina, C: all 1 for 3 – Kruml got caught stealing and struck out … Gus doubled
Greg Golson, CF: 2 for 3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Luis Nunez, SS: 1 for 2, 1 2B
Dellin Betances, RHP: 5 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 WP, 1 HB, 5-3 GB/FB – 61 of 101 pitches were strikes (60.4%) … finishes the year with 142 strikeouts and 70 walks in 126.1 IP, career highs across the board but just barely (previous highs: 141 K, 62 BB, 121.2 IP)
Andrew Brackman, RHP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 3-2 GB/FB – 23 of 33 pitches were strikes (69.7%) … assuming he doesn’t pitch tomorrow, he’ll finish the year with a 75-75 K/BB in 95 IP, but 17-6 in his last 18.1 IP … at least he can go into the offseason feeling a little better about how things went