Game 29: Home For The Weekend

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Get a good look at Yankee Stadium this weekend. We’re not going to see it for a while. The Yankees are in the middle of a stretch in which they will only play four of 19 games at home. They just wrapped up a six-game road trip and will head out on another ten-game trip early next week. The NYCFC guys are going to have the Stadium all to themselves this month.

Anyway, the Yankees are opening a four-game series with the Orioles tonight. Their five-series winning streak was snapped yesterday, but that was bound to happen at some point. Time to start a new streak tonight against yet another division rival. Did you know the Yankees have played the toughest schedule in MLB to date based on the numbers crunchers at FanGraphs? It’s true. That makes their 17-11 record even more impressive. Here is the Orioles’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. RF Carlos Beltran
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi

The weather in New York is just perfect. Bright blue sky with temperatures in the upper-70s and very little humidity. Just perfect. It’ll be just as pleasant tonight. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:05pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and, depending on where you live, MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Tanaka resumes throwing, makes 50 throws from 60 feet

(Brian Blanco/Getty)
(Brian Blanco/Getty)

Last week the Yankees placed ace Masahiro Tanaka on the 15-day DL with wrist tendinitis and a supposedly minor forearm strain. At the time, Brian Cashman said the right-hander would be shut down 7-10 days before resuming baseball activities.

It has now been eight days since Tanaka was placed on the DL, and this afternoon Tanaka threw for the first time since getting hurt. He played catch and made 50 throws at a distance of 60 feet, so it was nothing intense, but this is only the first step. Tanaka reported no problems and I assume he’ll throw again at some point this weekend.

Tanaka, 26, was unhappy with being placed on the DL because the doctors said the injury was very minor, according to Jon Heyman. The Yankees decided to play it safe for obvious reasons. Cashman confirmed the MRI showed no damage to Tanaka’s elbow ligament, but still, forearm strains tend to lead to ligament problems, so this injury is a red flag.

Tanaka is expected to “conservatively” miss a month between being shut down and getting built back up again, though of course the Yankees are going to be very careful with his rehab no matter what kind of shape the MLB rotation is in. Chris Capuano may only be another week away from returning and Ivan Nova‘s about a month away as well.

5/7 to 5/10 Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles

fightinshowalter

The Yankees went 4-2 on their six-game road trip through Boston and Toronto, and now they’ll return home for a four-game set against the Orioles this weekend. After this series, the Yanks will head out on another ten-game road trip. This will be the team’s only home series from April 30th through May 22nd. Baltimore took two of three games from the Yankees last month, in their first meeting of 2015.

What Have The Orioles Done Lately?

The O’s beat the Yankees to New York by several days — they’ve been in town playing the Mets. The Mets swept the two-game series and Baltimore has now lost eight of their last 13 games. Manager Buck Showalter’s squad is 12-13 with a +7 run differential on the season, which has them in fourth place in the AL East.

Offense & Defense

Despite scoring only three runs total in the two games against the Mets, the Orioles are averaging a healthy 4.92 runs per game with a team 113 wRC+ this season. The O’s are pretty banged up — they’re without SS J.J. Hardy (shoulder), C Matt Wieters (Tommy John surgery), UTIL Ryan Flaherty (groin), and IF Jonathan Schoop (knee). It sounds like Hardy might come off the DL this series though, according to Steve Melewski.

Davis. (Presswire)
Davis. (Presswire)

Baltimore’s offense is led by OF Adam Jones (187 wRC+), who has legitimately been MVP caliber so far this season. 1B Chris Davis (139 wRC+) is striking out a ton (40.0%) but is also putting up some real nice numbers. C Caleb Joseph (129 wRC+) has done well replacing Wieters, OF Travis Snider (113 wRC+) has been solid, 3B Manny Machado (122 wRC+) has been on fire of late, and ex-Yankees farmhand UTIL Jimmy Paredes (160 wRC+) has been great in part-time duty.

The rest of the regular lineup isn’t doing much of anything. DH Delmon Young (101 wRC+) has been fine in a platoon role but OF Alejandro De Aza (74 wRC+), IF Everth Cabrera (24 wRC+), and UTIL Steve Pearce (52 wRC+) aren’t hitting at all. Pearce has actually been playing second base of late, if you can believe that. C Ryan Lavarnway, IF Rey Navarro, and OF David Lough are what’s left on the bench.

The O’s have a good team defense that has somehow developed the reputation for being a great team defense. I guess because they rarely make errors, which don’t tell us much. Anyway, Machado is elite at third base while Jones and De Aza are above average in the outfield. Davis and Joseph are solid at first and behind the plate, respectively. Snider is an adventure in right, Cabrera’s nothing special at short, and Pearce at second is … yikes. It’s yikes.

Pitching Matchups

Thursday: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (Career vs. BAL) vs. RHP Chris Tillman (Career vs. NYY)
It’s been a rough start to the season for the 27-year-old Tillman, who has a 6.23 ERA (5.31 FIP) in five starts and 26 innings. His strikeout (17.7%) and ground ball (35.1%) rates are right where they usually sit, but he’s walked a ton of batters (13.3%) and his homer rate (1.38 HR/9) has returned to its pre-2014 levels. His reverse split (.372 vs. .338 wOBA in favor of righties) is likely a function of sample size based on his career numbers. Tillman has historically had a tiny platoon split. There has been no real change in the right-hander’s stuff this season — he still sits in the low-90s with his two and four-seamers, and uses them to set up mid-80s sliders, low-80s changeups, and mid-70s curves. Tillman has lots of weapons but hasn’t yet gotten a handle on them in 2015. The Yankees did not face Tillman during the series in Baltimore a few weeks ago.

Friday: RHP Adam Warren (Career vs BAL) vs. RHP Miguel Gonzalez (Career vs. NYY)
Gonzalez, 30, is off to a nice start this year, posting a 2.59 ERA (3.88 FIP) in 31.1 innings across five starts. His strikeout (21.1%), walk (9.4%), and ground ball (42.5%) numbers are all a bit higher than they have been the last few seasons while his homer rate (0.86 HR/9) is much lower than his career rate (1.25 HR/9). Righties (.317 wOBA) have hit Gonzalez harder than lefties (.249 wOBA) this year, which is out of whack with the rest of his career. He’s historically been another guy with no platoon split. Gonzalez sets up his trademark low-80s splitter-changeup hybrid — that pitch seems to give the Yankees fits every time they face him — with a low-90s four-seamer. He also throws low-80s sliders and mid-70s curves. The Yankees scored one run in seven innings against Gonzalez a few weeks ago, when he set a new career high with ten strikeouts.

(Presswire)
Chen. (Presswire)

Saturday: RHP Chase Whitley (Career vs. BAL) vs. LHP Wei-Yin Chen (Career vs. NYY)
On one hand, the 29-year-old Chen is off to a great start (2.83 ERA). On the other, he’s been really bad (5.45 FIP). Chen currently owns career worsts in strikeout rate (16.8%), walk rate (9.2%), and homer rate (1.57 HR/9) to go with a grounder rate (37.8%) in line with his career norms. He has no platoon split this year (.315 vs. 314 wOBA) but has been tougher on lefties than righties throughout his four years in MLB. Chen has lost approximately two miles an hour across the board this season. He now operates with an low-90s four-seamer, an even lower-90s two-seamer, a low-80s slider, a low-80s changeup, and a low-70s curveball. Chen held the Yankees to two runs in six innings in their first series of 2015.

Sunday: RHP Michael Pineda (Career vs. BAL) vs. RHP Bud Norris (Career vs. NYY)
Boy this season has been ugly for Norris. He has a 9.75 ERA (4.78 FIP) in 24 innings across five starts — so he’s averaging fewer than five innings per start, which is never good — and his strikeout rate (14.0%) is down considerably from the last few years. His walk (8.8%), grounder (37.2%), and homer (1.13 HR/9) numbers are right in line with his career norms though. Lefties (.485 wOBA) has absolutely destroyed Norris this year. Righties (.317 wOBA) have had success too. Left-handers have hit him harder historically, but not to this extreme. Norris is basically a two-pitch pitcher, using his low-to-mid-90s heater and mid-80s slider nearly 95% of the time combined. He’ll also throw a show-me mid-80s changeup hitters don’t really have to worry about. The Yankees scored three runs in five innings against Norris when these two teams played in Camden Yards last month.

Bullpen Status
The Mets knocked Ubaldo Jimenez out of yesterday’s game after only four innings, so Showalter had to get a dozen outs from his relievers. RHP Brad Brach (3.66 FIP) threw two innings while RHP Kevin Gausman (4.36 FIP) and Rule 5 Draft pick RHP Jason Garcia (7.88 FIP) threw one inning each. Otherwise the ‘pen is pretty fresh. They were off Monday and didn’t work much Tuesday.

LHP Zach Britton (1.14 FIP) is the closer and he’s been really, really good in that role since moving into the bullpen full-time last year. RHP Darren O’Day (4.01 FIP) is his primary setup man and both RHP Tommy Hunter (4.08 FIP) and LHP Brian Matusz (5.78 FIP) will see important innings as well. Baltimore’s bullpen isn’t as strong as we’re used to seeing — they have a 3.95 ERA (4.36 FIP) as a unit and that puts them in the bottom third of MLB.

As for the Yankees, head over to our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Jose Girardi’s relievers. Camden Chat is the place to go for the latest and greatest on the Orioles.

Yankeemetrics: May 4-6 (Blue Jays)

This is what an ace looks like. (Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports)
This is what an ace looks like. (Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports)

The Chase is on
The situation was set up perfectly for another Yankees win in the series opener when they took a 1-0 lead into the eighth inning against Toronto. Entering Monday, the Yankees:

• were 12-0 when leading after seven innings
• had allowed seven runs in the eighth and ninth innings combined (tied for fewest in AL)
• had one blown save (tied for fewest among teams with more than five save opportunities)

But the Yankees bullpen proved to be mortal on this night, giving up three runs and coughing up that one-run lead, handing the Blue Jays a 3-1 victory.

They wasted a gem by Chase Whitley, who threw seven scoreless innings with six strikeouts and no walks. His changeup was really nasty; he threw 14 of them and those pitches netted him five whiffs and six outs (including three strikeouts), with just one hit allowed.

R.A. Dickey dominated the Yankee lineup for eight innings with his knuckleball, allowing just one run and three hits despite not getting any strikeouts. The only other pitcher in the last 30 years with at least eight innings pitched and no strikeouts in a game against the Yankees was the Tigers’ Steve Sparks on June 19, 2001.

Ace Pineda
Another dominant performance from a starting pitcher, another win, ho hum. On Tuesday night the gem was delivered by the man that has rightfully earned that title of staff ace, Michael Pineda, who pitched perhaps his best game of the season.

The right-hander threw eight scoreless innings, allowed five hits and struck out six batters in leading the Yankees to a bounceback 6-3 win over the Blue Jays. Dating back to last year, he’s now 6-0 with a 2.38 ERA in his last eight starts. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that he’s had incredible command of the strike zone during this undefeated run, with at least five strikeouts and no more than one walk in each of those eight games.

You know how many other pitchers have fashioned an eight-start streak like that – at least five strikeouts, one or fewer walks and no losses – over the last 100 seasons? Two. Curt Schilling in 2002 and Bret Saberhagen in 1994.

Jacoby Ellsbury had another all-around awesome game, with three hits, two stolen bases and two runs scored – the fourth time he’s reached each of those totals in a game with the Yankees. The only players in franchise history to have more games like that in their entire career with the team are Roberto Kelly (5) and Rickey Henderson (5). Yeah, Ellsbury has been in pinstripes for only two seasons.

“Ya know, Suzyn…”
There’s a popular saying among fans (and radio broadcasters) that “you can’t predict baseball.” But if there ever was one thing about baseball that you could predict, it was that the Yankees would win a game started by Mark Buehrle.

Entering the series finale, the 16-year veteran had made 21 career starts versus the Bronx Bombers and won exactly one of those. His 1-14 record was second-worst among any pitcher in the last 100 years that had made at least 15 starts vs. the Yankees. The lone win came on April 10, 2004. Since then, Buehrle had….

• lost 12 straight decisions against the Yankees, tied for the fourth-longest losing streak vs. the franchise by any pitcher in the last 100 years
• gone 17 consecutive starts without a win against the Yankees, the second-longest winless streak vs. the franchise by any pitcher in the last 100 years

So, of course, on Wednesday night in Toronto he held the Yankees to one run in five innings pitched and got the win. #Weirdbaseball

CC Sabathia took the loss and fell to 0-5 in six starts, becoming the first Yankee to lose his first five decisions of the season since Chien-Ming Wang in 2009. He also lost his first game in Toronto as a member of the Yankees (entered the game 4-0 in five starts). Sabathia’s unbeaten streak of five consecutive starts at the Rogers Centre was tied for the longest at the ballpark by any Yankee pitcher.

Scouting The Trade Market: Milwaukee Brewers

Lohse. (Mike McGinnis/Getty)
Lohse. (Mike McGinnis/Getty)

The 2015 season is still very young, but one team has already fallen completely out of the race. The Brewers are 9-19 on the season and are already 11.5 games back in the NL Central, and over the weekend they fired manager Ron Roenicke. The club is also reportedly “ready to listen” to trade offers, according to Buster Olney. The Brew Crew quickly pulled the trigger on a managerial change and now they’re ready to start reshaping the roster.

Milwaukee’s two best players — catcher Jonathan Lucroy and center fielder Carlos Gomez — do not make sense for the Yankees, realistically. Brian McCann is locked in at catcher and, like it or not, Carlos Beltran isn’t going anywhere. Both Lucroy and Gomez would be upgrades for the Yankees, but this is the real world, and those moves seem unlikely to be made. Same with Adam Lind. The Yankees aren’t going to give up a prospect and take on about $6.5M in salary to replace Garrett Jones. Ryan Braun? No way. His five-year, $105M extension starts next year.

Those are far from the only guys on the Brewers roster, of course, and despite their terrible start they do have some useful players to market in trades. Some may even be able to help the Yankees. Here are four who jump to mind and could be available for different reasons and different prices.

RHP Matt Garza

Garza. (Mike McGinnis/Getty)
Garza. (Mike McGinnis/Getty)

We’ve done the Garza song and dance multiple times over the years. When he was available in trades, when he was free agent … it seems like every year we’re talking about him as a potential target. The 31-year-old is off to a slow start this year, pitching to a 4.58 ERA (5.41 FIP) in six starts and 35.1 innings. He’s been really homer prone (1.53 HR/9), but I’m guessing that’ll return to normal before long because his 20.0 HR/FB% is way out of line with his career average (9.8%) despite a healthy 48.2% ground ball rate.

Reasons To Pursue: Just last year Garza had a 3.64 ERA (3.54 FIP) and he’s consistently been league average or better throughout his career. He knows the AL East from his time with the Rays — to be fair, he last pitched for Tampa in 2010 and the division has changed a lot since then — and wouldn’t only be a rental. Garza is owed $12.5M this year, next year, and the year after. That’s market value for a league average-ish arm.

Reasons To Back Away: Garza’s strikeout rate is in the middle of a four-year decline — 23.5% to 22.6% to 20.6% to 18.5% to 15.2% from 2011-15 — at a time when strikeouts around baseball are at an all-time high. His walk rate has also climbed from 6.4% in 2013 to 7.4% in 2014 to 10.1% in 2015. Those are bad trends! Garza’s velocity has held fairly steady over the years (averaging 92.4 mph in 2015) but the swing-and-miss rate on both his heater and slider are trending downward:

Matt Garza whiffs

Also not good! Garza’s had some kind of arm problem every year since 2012 — stress fracture in elbow in 2012, shoulder strain in 2013, shoulder tightness in 2014 — and there are statistical trends that indicate he is in the decline phase of his career, which is not what you want in a dude signed through 2017. It might not be long before Garza’s name value exceeds his on-field value, if it hasn’t already.

RHP Kyle Lohse

I’m always wary of guys who go to the Cardinals and revive their careers. They tend to not sustain their performance after leaving St. Louis (Jeff Suppan immediately jumps to mind), but Lohse is the exception. The 36-year-old had a 3.45 ERA (4.02 FIP) in his first two years with the Brewers but has been dreadful in his third, with a 7.01 ERA (6.03 FIP) in 34.2 innings this year.

Reasons To Pursue: Lohse hasn’t lost any stuff this year. His sinker, slider, curveball, and changeup are all moving like they have the last few years according to PitchFX — same general velocity, break etc. — and both his strikeout (15.4%) and walk (5.4%) rates are in line with what he’s been doing since the Cardinals fixed him. In fact, both his soft contact and hard contact rates this season are the best of his three years in Milwaukee:

Kyle Lohse contact

Disclaimer: We don’t know a whole lot about these new quality of contact stats — when do they stabilize? how well do they correlate to ERA? how predictive are they? etc. — so don’t take those numbers to heart just yet. Either way, what Lohse is doing this year isn’t much different than what he’s done in the past, when he was an effective workhorse who limited walks and pitched well despite not missing many bats. There might be some Brandon McCarthy-esque bounceback potential here. Also, Lohse is owed $11M this season and that’s it. He’s a pure rental. No long-term risk.

Reasons To Back Away: Lohse has been amazingly, incredibly, outrageously homer prone in 2015. Like nine homers in 34.1 innings home prone. That’s a 2.34 HR/9 (!). Lohse is sitting on a 20.0 HR/FB% rate despite a career 9.8% rate like Garza — kinda freaky they have identical 2015 and career HR/FB% rates, no? — but unlike Garza, Lohse’s ground ball rate has dropped big time this year. He’s at 35.4% grounders in 2015 after sitting north of 40% the last four or five years.

While a 2.34 HR/9 is really extreme and unlikely to stay that high all year, my concern is Lohse is an older guy who didn’t have a ton of margin for error to start with. He was never a big strikeout or ground ball pitcher, he succeeded with weak contact, but suddenly if his location is off or his pitches don’t have the life they once did, a spike in homer rate is understandable. Again, maybe not that extreme, but enough to take him from above-average NL innings eater to below-average AL five-and-fly guy.

Peralta. (Ezra Shaw/Getty)
Peralta. (Ezra Shaw/Getty)

RHP Wily Peralta

Unlike Garza and Lohse, Peralta is young (25), cheap ($525,500 in 2015), and under team control long-term (through 2018). He’s a potential building block for the Brewers’ rebuild, so his availability isn’t guaranteed. Peralta has a 3.92 ERA (4.58 FIP) in 39 innings this year, his third in Milwaukee’s rotation. He had a 3.53 ERA (4.11 FIP) in 198.2 innings last year and a 4.37 ERA (4.30 FIP) in 183.1 innings the year before that.

Reasons To Pursue: Peralta has some Nathan Eovaldi in him. He had the third highest average fastball velocity among qualified starters last season at 95.6 mph (Eovaldi was fourth at 95.5 mph) yet his strikeout rate (14.6% in 2015 and 17.2% career) is mediocre. Peralta has also improved his walk rate every year he’s been in the show like Eovaldi, going from 9.7% in his 2012 cup of coffee to 9.1% in 2013 to 7.3% in 2014 to 4.9% in 2015. And again, like Eovaldi, Peralta’s slider and changeup show promise but are works in progress. The Yankees love guys who throw hard and throw strikes — Eovaldi and Michael Pineda were targeted in trades for that reason! — and Peralta fits the bill.

Reasons To Back Away: There’s not many aside from the whole “you have to teach him how to get the most out of his stuff” thing, which is significant and something the Yankees are already attempting to do with Eovaldi. Do they want two guys like that in the rotation? Peralta’s ground ball rate has consistently sat around 50% throughout career, which is better than what Eovaldi’s done (mostly around 45%), so maybe the learning curve will be less painful. That said, Peralta has lost 1.5 mph off his four-seamer and 2.0 mph off his two-seamer compared to last April and May. He’s still throwing mid-90s fairly regularly, but that has to be a concern for a guy whose biggest asset is his arm strength.

Segura. (Mike McGinnis/Getty)
Segura. (Mike McGinnis/Getty)

SS Jean Segura

The Brewers have some shortstop depth (Luis Sardinas, specifically) and could look to move Segura for a hefty package right before he gets expensive in arbitration. Young middle infield help is really hard to find. Lots of teams would love to have someone like Segura in the organization. The 25-year-old has hit .282/.321/.369 (92 wRC+) with six steals this year around a concussion suffered when he took a pitch to the helmet.

Reasons To Pursue: Like I said, young middle infielders are hard to find, and the Yankees are looking for long-term solutions at both second base and shortstop. (They hope Didi Gregorius can be the answer at short but the jury is still out on that one.) Segura has one really good season under his belt, hitting .294/.329/.423 (105 wRC+) with 44 steals in 57 attempts (77%) back in 2013. He’s flashed the ability to hit at the MLB level.

Depending on your choice of defensive metric, Segura has either been above-average or below-average in the field. There’s no consensus. Scouting reports from his prospect days said he projected to be an okay defender for what it’s worth, and I tend to stick with the scouts in these situations. Segura is under team control through 2018, though his arbitration salaries figure to be on the high side because of his stolen base totals. Steals pay.

Reasons To Back Away: Segura’s big season in 2013 was really just a big first half. He hit .325/.363/.487 (133 wRC+) with a .349 BABIP in the first half that year, .241/.268/.315 (56 wRC+) with a .285 BABIP in the second half, and then hit .246/.289/.326 (67 wRC+) with a .275 BABIP in 2014. So since that big first half two years ago, Segura has hit .249/.288/.328 (67 wRC+) with a .282 BABIP in just shy of 900 plate appearances. That’s not very good.

Now, that said, middle infielders who have shown they can hit and defend at the big league level don’t hit the trade market often. Their teams hang on to them for dear life, which is why we’re instead talking about a flawed player like Segura. It cost Shane Greene to get Gregorius, who didn’t have anything close to Segura’s 2013 on his resume. The price for Segura should be even higher despite being under team control one fewer year. That’s the cost of middle infield help these days.

* * *

The Yankees have leaned towards rental players with their in-season trades the last few years. The two most notable exceptions are Alfonso Soriano and Martin Prado, and the Soriano deal only happened because his salary was heavily subsidized. Part of that is a function of the market — more rental players are available in trades each year than guys with multiple years of control — but I also think the Yankees try to stick to band-aids in-season, not clutter up the long-term picture.

Now, does that mean they would pass on Peralta or Segura if the price is right? Of course not. Young players are an obvious exception. Someone like Garza — a guy over 30 making good money with signs of decline in his game — might not be though. Lohse is a rental who shouldn’t require a big trade package — McCarthy cost Vidal Nuno, so does Lohse cost … Chasen Shreve? — and fits the Yankees’ trade target mold as a veteran buy low candidate with a track record of success and some reasons to think a rebound is coming.

Either way, the Yankees tend to be patient when it comes to going outside the organization for help in the middle of the season. My guess is they will wait a few weeks before calling the Brewers or any other team with the intention of having serious trade talks. That’s just their style these days. Whenever the Yankees are ready to deal, Milwaukee does have some pieces to offer, but none are truly great fits.

Offense can’t out-score Sabathia, Yankees fall 5-1 to Blue Jays in series finale

All good things must come to an end. The Yankees’ consecutive series win streak was snapped at five on Wednesday night, as the Blue Jays beat New York by the score of 5-1 in the series finale. CC Sabathia has started six games this year, and in those games the Yankees have scored three, three, one, two three, and one run. That won’t be enough for the big man these days.

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

Beat By The Bottom Of The Order
Imagine if, before Wednesday night’s game, I told you Sabathia would pitch into the seventh inning while holding the ultra-dangerous top of the Blue Jays’ lineup to this:

CC Sabathia Blue Jays Top

I think we’d all feel really great about that. Two singles and a walk in 14 plate appearances against that foursome? That’s basically the best realistic case scenario. You know those four are going to do damage somehow, so you just had to hope Sabathia would limit it, and limit those four he did.

Unfortunately, all that success against the dangerous top of Toronto’s lineup was paired with this:

CC Sabathia Blue Jays Bottom

Yikes! That’s eight hits — six singles, a double, and a homer — in 15 at-bats against the bottom five spots in the lineup. I want to feel good about Sabathia’s success against the top of the lineup, yet I can’t ignore that he gave up three hits to Chris freakin’ Colabello, who was literally in Triple-A when the series started.

The first two runs Sabathia allowed were kinda dopey. Kevin Pillar bunted for a hit to leadoff the second — I have to think more teams will try that against CC as the season goes on given his lack of mobility — Colabello pulled a ground ball double that hugged the third base foul line, and Ezequiel Carrera snuck a two-run single through the infield. None of those balls were hit all that hard. That’s baseball.

Sabathia allowed the third run on an infield single, a balk, and a solid single to left-center by Colabello in the fourth. The fourth run came on a sixth inning solo homer by Russell Martin, who wore his former team out all series. Martin went 7-for-9 with two doubles and two homers in the three games. Four runs on nine hits and two walks in 6.1 innings and no reason to think any improvement is coming from Sabathia. He has a 5.45 ERA on the year and a 4.94 ERA in his last 295 innings dating back to Opening Day 2013.

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

Blown Chances
The Yankees had a few chances against Mark Buehrle, who hadn’t beaten New York in more than a decade. They scored their only run in the very first inning on a Mark Teixeira ground out. Chris Young singled and Alex Rodriguez doubled earlier in the inning to set it up. The Yankees have scored 26 first inning runs this year, the third most in baseball behind the Braves and Tigers (both 27).

The third inning brought a Jose Pirela leadoff hustle double, but a pop-up and two ground outs stranded him. Teixeira’s leadoff single in the fourth was followed by two fly outs and a ground out. The Yankees put two on with one out in the fifth and eventually loaded the bases with two outs, but Teixeira banged into an inning-ending ground out on the first pitch. One base-runner was stranded in the sixth (Carlos Beltran single), seventh (Stephen Drew walk), eighth (Teixeira walked), and ninth (Drew walk). Not a great night for the offense.

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

Leftovers
The full Pirela experience was on display in his first game of the year. He doubled and singled against a lefty, grounded into a double play against a righty, got caught wandering too far off second on a ground ball back to the pitcher, and looked like he was running in quicksand when he was unable to get to Carrera’s two-run single to keep it on the infield and maybe stop the second run from scoring. The Yankees next face a lefty on Saturday (Wei-Yin Chen).

The Blue Jays tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when Chasen Shreve served up a triple to light hitting lefty Ryan Goins. Esmil Rogers soaked up four outs between Sabathia and Shreve. I guess the good news is the key members of the bullpen all got the night off. Didn’t even have to think about warming up. They needed a night like that.

Drew (two walks) and Pirela (single, double) reached base four times from the bottom two spots of the lineup. The other seven lineup spots reached six times. A-Rod (double, walk) and Teixeira (single, walk) both reached two times each. The Brian McCann (0-for-4) and Beltran (1-for-3) tandem is killing them. Beltran hasn’t hit all season and McCann is down to .238/.298/.393 (90 wRC+) on the year.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. We also have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages for you to check out. Here’s the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees are headed home for their only series at Yankee Stadium from April 30th through May 22nd. Lots and lots of road games this month. Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Tillman will open the four-game Yankees-Orioles series on Thursday night. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch that game or any of the other three games live.

DotF: Lindgren, Rumbelow both pitch for second straight day in Scranton’s win

Triple-A Scranton (5-3 win over Gwinnett) faced old buddy RHP Chien-Ming Wang

  • LF Slade Heathcott: 2-4, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 CS — up to .337/.393/.436 on the season
  • DH Ramon Flores: 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-3, 1 BB — 16-for-41 (.390) during his ten-game hitting streak
  • RF Tyler Austin: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB
  • RHP Bryan Mitchell: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 7/4 GB/FB — 68 of 96 pitches were strikes (71%) … the Yankees are in the middle of playing 17 games in 17 days, so I wonder if get called up to make a spot start at some point just to give everyone else a rest
  • LHP Jacob Lindgren: 1 IP, zeroes, 2/1 GB/FB — nine pitches, eight strikes … 27/4 GB/FB in 12.1 innings this year … he pitched yesterday as well and this is the first time Lindgren pitched on back-to-back days as a pro … doesn’t mean he is close to being called up, but it’s not nothing either
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/1 GB/FB — ten of 17 pitches were strikes (59%) … back-to-back days for him too, but he did it last year, so it’s not new
  • RHP Jose Ramirez: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 18 of 25 pitches were strikes (72%)

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