Indians hammer Green, Yankees get blown out 10-2

The last three times the Yankees have won a game, they went out and got clobbered the next day. They followed Thursday’s win over the Indians with a lopsided 10-2 loss Friday. I’m not joking when I say this game was over in the first inning. The Yankees fell behind by four runs early and that was that.

(Jason Miller/Getty)
(Jason Miller/Getty)

Hangers, Chad
Not a good start for Chad Green! I mean that in both the small (first inning) and big (the start overall) picture sense. Carlos Santana hit Green’s fifth pitch out of the park for a leadoff homer, then Jason Kipnis hit his eighth pitch out for another homer. Back-to-back shots to open the game. Neat. Cool. Rad. Lonnie Chisenhall tacked on a two-run homer later to give the Indians a 4-0 first inning lead. The game was over before it even had a chance to begin.

I suppose the good news is Green kinda sorta settled down and was able to take the ball into the fifth inning. He didn’t completely melt down and get knocked out in the second inning or something like that. Mike Napoli hit a two-run homer in the third, and good gravy, it was one of the longest home runs you’ll ever see. Look at this thing:

Not even mad. I’m impressed. Statcast says that traveled 460 feet and came off the bat at 107 mph, and I dunno, that seems light. Napoli destroyed that ball. He destroyed another ball earlier in the at-bat too, but that one hooked foul. Made up for it later in the at-bat.

Green finished the night having allowed seven runs on five hits and two walks in 4.1 innings. He struck out six and has now allowed seven homers in his 15.1 big league innings. That is: bad. Five of the seven have been hit by lefties. Earlier today I said the Yankees should send Green down after the game for an extra reliever, and boy, did he make the decision easy. Hopefully they don’t bury him and actually give him another start soon after the All-Star break. I’m not holding my breath. Not everyone gets Ivan Nova‘s leash.

Offense Not Included
Solid work by the offense not making this game any longer than necessary. The Yankees struggle to score four runs a game anyway, and against a guy like Corey Kluber, that four-run bottom of the first pretty much clinched the loss. I know, I know. Never say never. You’ll have to forgive me for not having much faith in this team though. Friday night the Indians did to the Yankees what the Yankees used to do to everyone else.

Anyway, Brian McCann put two token runs on the board. First he hit solo homer in the seventh — it was an opposite field homer, only his second with the Yankees — then he doubled in a run in the ninth. McCann had three hits, Sir Didi Gregorius had two hits, and the rest of the offense had two hits. The Yankees had four runners in scoring position all night. That’s it. Kluber shut them right down, though it doesn’t exactly take a Kluber caliber pitcher to shut this offense down.

(Jason Miller/Getty)
(Jason Miller/Getty)

Leftovers
Richard Bleier and Anthony Swarzak, the only when losing relievers, combined to allow three runs in 2.2 innings after Green. Bleier threw 36 pitches in 1.2 innings and might find himself in Triple-A for a fresh arm tomorrow. Chasen Shreve struck out one in a perfect eighth. You could tell Joe Girardi was planning to use Swarzak for two innings, but that went out the window when needed 30 pitches to get three outs in the seventh.

(Late Update: Shane Hennigan says Nick Goody is on his way to join the Yankees, so there you go. Someone’s getting sent out, probably Green.)

Mark Teixeira left the game in the sixth inning with soreness in his knee, Girardi said after the game. He’s planning to sit Teixeira Saturday and play him Sunday. My guess is he sits out the entire weekend. We’ll see. Also, for some reason Carlos Beltran and his not 100% hamstring hit for himself — and doubled! — in the ninth. Why not let bench player Alex Rodriguez hit there instead of risking more damage to Beltran’s hamstring? He’s valuable trade fodder, you know.

And finally, the loss guarantees the Yankees will be no better than .500 at the All-Star break. The last time the Yankees were .500 or worse at the break was … 2014. I thought it was going to be much further back than that. They were 47-47 at the break in 2014.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
The box score and updated standings are at ESPN. The video highlights are at MLB.com. We have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. Here’s the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
This four-game series is halfway complete. The Yankees and Indians will play game three Saturday afternoon. That’s a 4:10pm ET start. Former Indian CC Sabathia and current All-Star Danny Salazar are the schedule starters.

Game 86: The Quest for .500, Again

(Jason Miller/Getty)
(Jason Miller/Getty)

Once again, tonight the Yankees are trying to get themselves back to .500 for the season. They’ve been within two games of .500 for almost a month now. I’m serious. The last time they were more than two games above or below .500 was June 15th, when they were 31-34. They’ve been treading water for far too long. Either start winning or start losing. Here is the Indians’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. DH Carlos Beltran
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 1B Mark Teixeira
  6. 2B Starlin Castro
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 3B Chase Headley
  9. RF Rob Refsnyder
    RHP Chad Green

Yes, Joe Girardi flipped Gardner and Ellsbury atop the lineup. Why? Well, why not? I don’t see what harm it could do. Gardner gets on base more often, and Ellsbury’s the better contact hitter, so they could mess around with hit-and-runs and whatnot.

Anyway, it’s cloudy and humid in Cleveland, and there is rain in the forecast tonight. Quite a bit of it starting around 10pm ET or so. The Yankees better make sure they have a lead after five innings tonight. Tonight’s game will begin a little after 7pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Chad Green and optimizing the pitching staff around the All-Star break

(Denis Poroy/Getty)
(Denis Poroy/Getty)

Later tonight, rookie right-hander Chad Green will make his second straight start and third overall for the Yankees. His first start back in May — his MLB debut — didn’t go so well. Over the weekend Green rebounded to hold the Padres to one run on three hits in six innings of work. He fanned eight. That start combined with Nathan Eovaldi‘s recent struggles earned Green another start.

Tonight will be Green’s last start for a while simply because the All-Star break is next week. The Yankees will be off from Monday through Thursday, then they figure to go with their veterans arms right out of the gate to start the second half. That leaves Green somewhere in rotation limbo, which stinks for him because he wants to pitch, but it also presents an opportunity for the Yankees to maximize their pitching staff in the short-term.

In a nutshell, the Yankees can take advantage of the All-Star break by sending Green to Triple-A and calling up an extra reliever. It’s pretty simply, really. Green starts tonight, goes down tomorrow in favor of a fresh reliever, then comes back up sometime after the break. Here’s why it works.

1. Green won’t actually miss a start. As I said the other day, Green should get an extended look in the rotation because he’s pitched well in Triple-A, he pitched well Sunday, and he added a new pitch (cutter) in recent weeks. The guy did everything he had to do to earn a longer look. Green has a chance to be part of the rotation long-term — an ace? no, but a mid-to-back-end guy? sure — and the Yankees should give him a chance to show he belongs.

The ten-day rule — once a player is sent down, he has to wait ten days before being called back up (unless there’s an injury) — complicates things but it is not a deal-breaker. The Yankees could send Green down tomorrow and bring him back in ten days to make a start without any problem. Here’s a rough pitching schedule:

Friday, July 8th: Green starts @ Indians
Saturday, July 9th: CC Sabathia starts @ Indians (Green sent down, day one of ten)
Sunday, July 10th: Masahiro Tanaka starts @ Indians (day two of ten for Green)
Monday, July 11th: All-Star break (day three of ten)
Tuesday, July 12th: All-Star break (day four of ten)
Wednesday, July 13th: All-Star break (day five of ten)
Thursday, July 14th: All-Star break (day six of ten)
Friday, July 15th: Sabathia starts vs. Red Sox (day seven of ten)
Saturday, July 16th: Tanaka starts vs. Red Sox (day eight of ten)
Sunday, July 17th: Michael Pineda starts vs. Red Sox (day nine of ten)
Monday, July 18th: Nova starts vs. Orioles (day ten of ten)
Tuesday, July 19th: Green returns to start vs. Orioles

See? Nice and easy. The Yankees have the option of starting their four veterans in any order from the 15th to the 18th — I assume they’ll want to give Tanaka an extra day, so he probably won’t start the 15th — before bringing Green back to start the fifth game of the second half. Eovaldi could also be a factor here too. He could start in place of Nova or start on the 19th with Green’s return waiting one extra day until the 20th.

Point is, the Yankees have some options with how they can line up their rotation after the All-Star break. Every team does. The break is a chance to step back, catch your breath, and get your pitching in order. Everyone gets a nice breather. The All-Star break gives the Yankees the opportunity to send Green down and have him make his next start while dancing around the ten-day rule.

2. An eighth reliever is better than an unavailable starter. Once Green starts tonight, he’s won’t be able to pitch for a few days. That’s just the way it goes. Sending Green down allows the Yankees to bring up an extra reliever, who for all we know may not even be used this weekend. You never know though. Blowouts and extra innings happen. You’d rather have the extra reliever and not need him than need him and not have him.

Keep in mind this extends beyond the weekend. The Yankees would be able to carry this eighth reliever until Green returns after the All-Star break. The extra reliever would be available for two games this weekend plus another four games to start the second half. The high-scoring Red Sox are coming to the Bronx next weekend too. They can score runs in a hurry and having the extra arm could come in handy. Same with the first game of the Orioles series.

3. Who could the Yankees call up to temporarily replace Green? Almost anyone. Kirby Yates and Nick Goody are eligible to be recalled because their ten days will be up. There’s also Johnny Barbato, and heck, even Luis Severino. I wouldn’t count on Severino though. The only guy they couldn’t call up is Luis Cessa, who was just sent down Tuesday. Otherwise pretty much everyone is fair game. Finding a spare reliever for a few days won’t be a problem.

4. What does Green do in the meantime? Good question with a good-ish answer: he gets to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game. Would Green rather be on the MLB roster collecting service time and big league salary? Of course. But this is the life of a rookie with a few days in a show. You go up and down a few times until you’ve established yourself as one of the 25 best players in the organization.

Green was indeed selected to the Triple-A All-Star Game along with RailRiders teammates Aaron Judge, Ben Gamel, and Gary Sanchez. The All-Star Game is Wednesday in Charlotte, so Green lines up perfectly to pitch that day. In fact, he should start for the International League. He still leads the league in ERA (1.54) and FIP (2.17), after all. The temporary demotion gives Green the opportunity to pitch in the Triple-A All-Star Game, which would double as a tune-up appearance to help him stay sharp before coming back in a few days.

* * *

I don’t know about you, but this seems like a completely obvious move to me. So obvious that I don’t expect it to happen. The Yankees have had chances to pull similar roster maneuvers in recent years but declined to do so. I do think there’s something to be said for keeping Green on the roster through the All-Star break to let him know he is a big league player. Positive reinforcement like that can do wonders for a player’s confidence. (Scott Boras just ripped the Brewers for making a move like this with Zach Davies.)

In the cold and heartless “baseball players are robots, not human beings with thoughts and emotions” world, sending Green down for a spare reliever following tonight’s start is a perfectly sensible move. Being demoted is never fun, especially when it’s undeserved, but it does happen. The weirdness of the All-Star break and Green’s flexibility (read: ability to be sent to the minors without going through waivers) give the Yankees the option of beefing up their bullpen these next few games without having the young righty miss a start.

King: White Sox asked about Gary Sanchez this week, but asking price was “far too high”

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

According to George King, the White Sox asked the Yankees about top catching prospect Gary Sanchez earlier this week, but talks didn’t progress far because the asking price was “far too high.” The ChiSox just lost Alex Avila to a hamstring injury and are looking to stay in the wildcard race. Also, Sanchez would be a long-term solution behind the plate.

Sanchez, 23, went into last night’s game hitting .281/.321/.487 (132 wRC+) with nine homers in 55 Triple-A games. He missed a few weeks earlier this season after taking a foul tip to the thumb and suffering a fracture. Sanchez spent one day in the big leagues a few weeks ago, serving as the DH against the White Sox, coincidentally enough. Anyway, I have three quick thoughts on this.

1. So the Yankees asked for one of the lefties, right? I’m guessing the Yankees asked the ChiSox for one of their three left-handed starters, meaning Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, or Carlos Rodon. When a team asks about one your top prospects, you ask about getting one of their best players in return. That’s how this usually works. Sale and Quintana are presumably off-limits and I’m sure the Yankees knew that. They were probably asking for Sale or Quintana, and willing to “settle” for Rodon. He’d satisfy their need for young pitching controllable beyond 2017.

2. What else do the White Sox have to offer? The White Sox don’t have a great farm system, especially with Tim Anderson now holding down the shortstop position in the big leagues. Carson Fulmer, the eighth overall pick in last year’s draft, has a 4.76 ERA (4.11 FIP) with a 13.0% walk rate in Double-A this year. His stock is down because concerns about his high-effort delivery and imprecise command are manifesting themselves in pro ball.

Here is MLB.com’s top 30 White Sox prospects, for your perusal. I don’t see anyone — or even a combination of multiple players — worth giving up Sanchez to get. Maybe I’m just a raging homer. If nothing else, that prospect list shows why the Yankees (probably) focused on the White Sox’s lefty starters. What else do they have to offer? Brett Lawrie? No thanks.

3. Sanchez is the most “untouchable” prospect the Yankees have. As far as I’m concerned, the Yankees do not have an untouchable player in their organization. They don’t have a young franchise cornerstone like Mike Trout or Francisco Lindor, and they don’t have a truly elite prospect like Lucas Giolito or Dansby Swanson. Those guys should be untouchable. Not players like Sanchez or Didi Gregorius or Aaron Judge.

That said, it would be tougher to part with some players than others, and Sanchez is one of them as a Triple-A catcher with a chance to hit in the middle of the order. Those guys are hard to find. Trading Judge would make more sense because the Yankees have a ton of outfield prospects in Double-A and Triple-A. Trading Jorge Mateo would also make more sense because he’s only in High Class-A and the Yankees have a whole bunch of other quality shortstop prospects. They only have one Sanchez though. Outfield and shortstop are positions of depth. Catcher isn’t.

* * *

Austin Romine‘s surprisingly competency as Brian McCann‘s backup has bought the Yankees some time. They’ve been able to leave Sanchez in Triple-A so he can continue to work on his defense. He is clearly the catcher of the future, and his path to the job is pretty clear. Sanchez figures to spend next year as McCann’s understudy before taking over as the No. 1 guy in 2018 or 2019. Trading him shouldn’t be off the table, but the Yankees are right to set the price high.

Mailbag: Vogelbach, Rule 5 Draft, Cardinals, Joba, Mateo

Got a dozen questions in the mailbag this week, the last one before the All-Star break. As always, you can send us questions or comments at RABmailbag (at) gmail (dot) com.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Matt asks: Given the increased discussions about the Yankees being “sellers” at the deadline, is there any chance that the team takes a look at the Cubs’ Dan Vogelbach? Would a Vogelbach for Miller trade be realistic? (And yes, my trade proposal sucks—sorry if this has been asked already elsewhere!)

Vogelbach is the most likely to be traded prospect in all of baseball. Defensively, the kid is basically present day Alex Rodriguez. He’s a bad defensive first baseman who fits best at DH. The Cubs move everyone around to different positions and they haven’t even bothered to try Vogelbach, who is listed 6-foot-0 and 250 lbs., in left field. With Anthony Rizzo entrenched at first base and no DH spot in the NL, Vogelbach has no long-term place with the Cubs.

Now, his defense may stink, but boy, Vogelbach can hit. The lefty hitter owns a .301/.413/.536 (152 wRC+) line with 15 homers, a 15.4% walk rate, and a 19.6% strikeout rate in 81 Triple-A games this year. Last year he hit .272/.403/.425 (140 wRC+) in 76 Double-A games around oblique and hamstring problems. MLB.com’s scouting report praised Vogelbach because “(rather) than selling out for home runs, he controls the strike zone, makes consistent contact and uses the entire field.”

The Yankees have the DH spot available as well as a long-term opening at first base, at least until Greg Bird shows he’s back to normal following shoulder surgery, so yes, Vogelbach does seem like someone who could interest them. There’s no way I would trade Miller straight up for Vogelbach though. I’m not even sure I’d take Vogelbach as the second piece for Miller. Vogelbach for Aroldis Chapman is more realistic, but even then I’d want more. The kid can hit, but at the end of the day we’re talking about a 23-year-old DH. If he doesn’t hit, he’s useless.

Matt asks: I noticed when the International League All-Stars were announced the team included 4 Yankees: Green, Sanchez, Judge, and Gamel. This got me wondering, when was the last time the Yankees had 4 All Stars at the AAA level? Particularly, 4 All-Stars who have a change to legitimately contribute at the MLB level in the near future? It seems like the type of thing that would’ve been impossible to imagine a few years ago.

Unlike the other minor leagues, which stay within themselves and play division vs. division in the All-Star Game, the Triple-A All-Star Game is International League vs. Pacific Coast League. The Yankees and Blue Jays lead the way with four International League All-Stars each this year. Here are New York’s Triple-A All-Stars over the years:

2016: Ben Gamel, Chad Green, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez
2015: Kyle Roller, Austin Romine
2014: Jose Pirela
2013: Chris Bootcheck, Thomas Neal
2012: Juan Cedeno
2011: Jesus Montero, Jorge Vazquez, Kevin Whelan
2010: Jonathan Albaladejo, Jesus Montero, Eduardo Nunez
2009: Shelley Duncan, Austin Jackson, Zach Kroenke
2008: Justin Christian
2007: Shelley Duncan

Okay, I’ve gone back far enough. To answer Matt’s question: a long time. It’s been a long time since the Yankees last had four Triple-A All-Stars, nevermind four Triple-A All-Stars who were legitimate big league prospects. That 2010 class is the closest by default. Most of the guys listed above are journeymen filling out the roster.

Being selected to a Triple-A All-Star Game hardly means the player is destined for a productive big league career. For example: almost everyone listed above. It’s still cool to see the Yankees not only have legitimate prospects in Triple-A, but legitimate prospects playing well enough to make the All-Star team. That’s pretty awesome.

Joe asks: Who are the rule V candidates of note for this offseason?

The Yankees have some big time prospects eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this offseason, including Judge and Jorge Mateo. Miguel Andujar and Luis Torrens too. The first three guys will definitely be added to the 40-man roster. I can’t imagine Torrens will be though. He’s nowhere close to ready for MLB duty, even as a sparsely used backup catcher. Some team might pick Torrens, but I doubt he’d even make it through Spring Training. This is one of those situations where the best way to keep him is to leave him unprotected, because you know he’ll be offered back.

Others eligible for the Rule 5 Draft after the season include Jake Cave, Tyler Webb, Brady Lail, Dietrich Enns, Kyle Higashioka, and Cale Coshow. Cave’s an interesting one because he’s been a Rule 5 pick once before, which means he can elect free agency rather than return to the Yankees if he doesn’t stick with his new team. I’m curious to see what the Yankees do with Cave and all their other upper level lefty hitting outfielders. They can’t all of ’em. Does the Rule 5 Draft stuff make Cave trade bait? My guess right now is Judge, Mateo, Andujar, Webb, Higashioka, and Cave (assuming he isn’t traded) get protected. No one else.

Update: Higashioka will be a minor league free agent after the season. Forgot about that. My bad. He’ll still be Rule 5 Draft eligible if he signs a minor league contract with the Yankees or any other team though. The Yankees could add Higashioka to the 40-man roster to prevent him from hitting free agency.

Judge will added to the 40-man roster in November. (Justin K. Aller/Getty)
Judge will be added to the 40-man roster in November. (Justin K. Aller/Getty)

Adam asks: Why are the Cardinals not mentioned as a potential trade partner when looking at where guys like Miller or Chapman could be sent? They would seem to have a need in their bullpen and while their farm system has been ranked around the same as the Yankees’ they always seem to do a good job of player development.

Trevor Rosenthal is having a shockingly bad season — he went into yesterday with 22 walks and a 5.28 ERA (4.17 FIP) in 29 innings  — while other bullpen veterans like Jonathan Broxton, Kevin Siegrist, and Seth Maness have been hurt and/or ineffective. Korean important Seung-hwan Oh (1.67 ERA and 1.69 FIP) has been awesome and is manager Mike Matheny’s only reliable late-innings reliever right now.

The Cardinals are not catching the Cubs in the NL Central, no one is, but they remain in the wildcard mix. The bullpen is an obvious place to upgrade. We should definitely be talking about them more as a possible trade partner. Here’s their MLB.com top 30 prospects list, if you want to look that over. I love righty Jack Flaherty, have since the 2014 draft (he was said to be unsignable, but the Cardinals were able to buy him away from UNC), and I’d want him in any trade involving one of the big three relievers. Catcher Carson Kelly and (injured) lefty Marco Gonzales are also personal faves.

Mary asks: Why doesn’t MLB have something similar to the NFL draft scouting combine? I realize that some teams are still playing such as in the College World Series, but what about moving the draft a little later and having a scouting combine for teams to get a look at the players in that kind of environment? Do you think it will ever happen?

There has been talk about doing something like this for the top 200 draft prospects per the MLB Scouting Bureau. Those guys are already subject to performance-enhancing drug tests. The scheduling is difficult because, like you said, the college baseball season is still going on. Plus the high school season usually ends a few weeks before the draft, so you’d be expecting kids to come in when they’re not in midseason form.

I’m not sure how much useful information teams can gain from a scouting combine anyway. Are they going to change the scouting reports they’ve been building for years just because a guy hits few batting practice homers or runs a 4.4 40? If so, a combine might do more harm than good. Baseball’s much different than football. At the NFL combine teams are looking at players who will be on their roster next year. Baseball draft picks are years away.

Daniel asks: I know its way too early, but care to guess the Yankees starting 9 position players and top 3 SP for Charleston next year? There seems to be at least 10 actual position player prospects in the 3 rookie league teams alone.

Thanks to the 2014-15 international free agent haul and the last two drafts, it looks like the 2017 Low-A Charleston River Dogs will be the most exciting minor league affiliate we’ve seen in a very, very long time. Here’s an extremely preliminary roster:

Catcher: Luis Torrens
First Base: Drew Bridges (?)
Second Base: Hoy Jun Park (repeating the level)
Shortstop: Wilkerman Garcia
Third Base: Dermis Garcia
Outfield: Estevan Florial, Blake Rutherford, Isiah Gilliam, Leonardo Molina
Starting Pitchers: Drew Finley, Nick Nelson, Austin DeCarr, Jeff Degano (?)

First base is the only position where it looks like the River Dogs won’t have a really good prospect, assuming Park is held back. (Nick Solak will almost certainly start with High-A Tampa.) I suppose the Yankees could move Gilliam back to first base, the position he played as an amateur, but he’s doing well in the outfield right now. Those four outfielders will do the “rotate among the three outfield spots plus DH” thing the Yankees have going on in Triple-A Scranton right now.

Obvious caveat: a lot can change over the next nine months. Guys will get hurt, traded, held back in Extended Spring Training, all sorts of stuff. As it stands right now, it looks like that group of players will head to Charleston next season. I’m sure the actual finished product will be different, perhaps substantially so.

Anonymous asks: I know you’re pretty high on Tyler Wade, & your recaps often mention how he’s holding his own offensively at a young age in AA, but have you noticed his soaring error total lately? He’s up to 19(!) as of 7/4. I know minor league error totals can be high, but is there any concern here?

Wade is now up to 20 errors in 81 games: five in 27 games at second and 15 in 54 games at short. Last season Wade made 35 errors in 124 total games, so he’s more or less on the same pace. I don’t worry too much about minor league error totals though because these are minor leaguers. They’re still learning the game and they’re going to make mistakes. Also, the fields aren’t as well-groomed as MLB fields, so there are lots of tricky hops and things like that.

MLB.com’s scouting report says Wade has the “quick feet and hands to go with solid arm strength” necessary for shortstop, so the tools are there. Is he going to be a Gold Glover? Probably not. But he can play the position. Wade has close to no power — it’s 30 power, not true 20 power on the 20-80 scouting scale — but he’s a lefty hitter who makes contact (16.2 K%), knows the strike zone (12.8 BB%), can run (16-for-20 in steal attempts), and can play short. He’s doing all of that as a 21-year-old in Double-A, where he’s more than three years younger than the average Eastern League player. That’s a really good prospect. If I were another team with a hole at shortstop, I’d be looking to trade for Wade to be a stopgap the next few years.

Joba. (Adam Glanzman/Getty)
Joba. (Adam Glanzman/Getty)

Dustin asks: Now that he’s DFA’d by the Indians, should the Yanks bring Joba back?

My initial reaction was nah, why bother? Joba Chamberlain hasn’t been all that good for about five years now. That said, the bar he has to clear is “better than Anthony Swarzak,” so yeah. Maybe it is worth it. Joba had a 2.25 ERA (3.82 FIP) with a 22.0% strikeout rate and a 13.4% walk rate in 20 innings with the Tribe after pitching to a 4.28 ERA (4.36 FIP) from 2012-15. Has anything changed? Did he learn a new pitch or improve his command, anything like that? Glossing over the numbers, the answer seems to be no. Same old Joba. There’s nothing wrong with bringing him back on a minor league deal, but when it comes to the MLB roster, I say roll with Nick Goody and Johnny Barbato first.

Jeff asks: Chase Headley is slashing .297/.369/.494 with a 129 wRC+ since he hit his first HR on May 12th. Do you think this is sustainable for him, or just an outlier similar to his 41 wRC+ prior to this run?

Another outlier, and that’s coming from a Headley fan. The real Headley is somewhere between the 41 wRC+ and 129 wRC+, though closer to the latter. A year ago Headley hit .259/.324/.369 (91 wRC+), and ZiPS pegged him for .251/.328/.392 (98 wRC+) this year. That’s pretty much exactly who I think he is. A bit below league average offensively and above-average defensively. Headley’s been awesome the last few weeks. I expect him to level off and settle in a little south of league average in the second half.

Steve asks: How bout a buy-low candidate in someone like Patrick Corbin either at the trade deadline or in the off season? I think I remember at one point he was included in one of your articles as the type of pitcher the Yankees go for with his peripherals. Also, do not exactly trust the D-Backs to be putting him in the best position to succeed based on their track record. Interesting candidate or not worth the trouble?

I’ve always liked Corbin and felt validated when he had his breakout 2013 season (3.41 ERA and 3.43 FIP). Then he blew out his elbow the next spring and needed Tommy John surgery. Go figure. Corbin, 26, had a 3.60 ERA (3.35 FIP) in 85 innings after returning last year, but so far this year he has a 4.90 ERA (5.05 FIP) in 101 innings. His strikeouts (16.9%) are down while both his walks (8.2%) and homers (1.51 HR/9) are up. That’s … bad.

Corbin’s stuff has bounced back well from Tommy John surgery. He’s still throwing in the low-90s and using his slider and changeup as much as ever. It’s not uncommon for location to be off following elbow surgery, though it seems Corbin’s command was fine a year ago. He’s also going to be a free agent after the 2018 season, so he wouldn’t be a super long-term rotation addition. Corbin’s someone who is worth a deeper analysis outside a mailbag setting. For now, I’ll call my interest “limited.”

Dave asks: Does a suspension of this type (i.e. a violation of team policy as opposed to, say, a drug suspension) hurt Mateo’s trade value?

I don’t think so. Other clubs will cite the suspension (“makeup concerns”) as a reason to talk down Mateo’s value when negotiating with the Yankees, but has his value as a player changed? No. Mateo’s still the same guy on the field, and teams have shown time and time again they will put up with a player who is a jerk (or worse) as long as he can play, and Mateo can play. If no club is willing to pay full price to get Mateo, that’s fine, the Yankees can keep the dynamic top 25-ish overall prospect.

Alex asks: My question is do you think it’s the right decision for Judge to hit in the AAA HR derby? Will it mess up his swing right as he’s getting hot and starting to strike out less?

We hear about this every year. One or two players who participate in the Home Run Derby slump in the second half, and inevitably it gets blamed on the Derby rather than just baseball being baseball. Pick eight players at random and chances are one or two of them will have down second half. That’s just baseball. If one night of glorified batting practice screws up Judge’s swing so much that he can’t hit the rest of the season, then he’s not going to amount to much anyway. The Home Run Derby is a total non-issue to me.

Gregorius’ homer, bullpen help Yankees win a wild one in Cleveland, 5-4

(Getty)

A mismatch of a game actually ended up much differently than expected. The Indians, the hottest team in AL with one of their best starters on the mound, lost to the Yankees, a meh team with an Ivan Nova starting. Hey, you can’t predict baseball. Yes, the Yankees won but it was a bit of a struggle at times – not that you should expect an easy win against a team like Cleveland anyways.

Not a promising start 

After allowing homers in each of his first nine starts, Nova didn’t give up any versus the Padres his last start out. How about that?

Tonight, however, he went back to the familiar routine of giving up dingers. In the third, Nova allowed a leadoff dinger to Tyler Naquin, one of the best AL rookies this year. Two batters later, Jason Kipnis followed with a solo dinger of his own. 2-0 Indians. Both pitches were just about the same and very hittable – a spillover two-seamer that just happened to be located right on the middle of the plate. Now that is a formula for failure.

After allowing two big ones tonight, Nova has a HR/9 rate of 1.69. No, that is not nice. The 2011 A.J. Burnett had a 1.47 HR/9 and that is still pretty darn bad. Meanwhile, Trevor Bauer was putting up zeros (well, he did allow a hit during the span) for the first four innings of the game. It didn’t last too much longer.

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Runs??? What is this sorcery?

Didi Gregorius hit a solo HR in the fifth inning. It wasn’t one of those Yankee Stadium cheapies critics have been bickering about. It was absolutely crushed into the right field seats. There wasn’t any doubt about it off his bat. That homer bumped Gregorius’ isolated power go up to .160, which is pretty darn great for a shortstop. His slash line? .296/.323/.456. I mean, yes please.

After that homer, Chase Headley and Rob Refsnyder hit back-to-back singles to keep the pressure on. After a Jacoby Ellsbury pop out, Brett Gardner drove in Headley with a grounder single up the middle, 2-2 tie. Carlos Beltran walked to load the bases but Brian McCann flew out to the end frame.

The Yankees had another scoring chance in the sixth. With one out, Starlin Castro and Didi hit a back-to-back single to create another RISP situation. Headley followed it up with a single to right field that had a chance to bring in Castro. However, he was called out by the HP umpire Dan Bellino. The Yankee bench begged to differ. They called for an instant replay and the call overturned – New York went ahead 3-2.

But wait! There’s more! With runners on second and third, Refsnyder hit a sac fly to drive in another and Ellsbury followed it up with an RBI single to make it 5-2. Who would’ve guessed we’d see this kind of offensive outburst (well, “outburst” used relatively here) tonight against Bauer, who had a 3.02 ERA coming into the game?

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No-more-Va

Oh yes, this is the 2016 Yankees and not a lot of things come easy for the team. With a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of sixth, Nova got into quick trouble with back-to-back doubles from Carlos Santana and Kipnis putting two runners on scoring position. (It is indeed curious how Santana didn’t score though) With Francisco Lindor batting, Nova threw a curveball that just missed way off McCann’s target, inducing a wild pitch and letting Santana score easily. 5-3 Yankees. The young shortstop hit a grounder to first and Mark Teixeira grabbed it, kept Kipnis in check on third, and stepped on first for the first out. Girardi brought in Dellin Betances to face Napoli and beyond.

Nova’s line – 5.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 6 K’s and 2 HR’s – leave something to be desired but to be fair, he was doing decently (besides the two HR third) up to the sixth. There were times that it seemed like he was getting weak contact at will and there were those where his pitches just getting nailed. Such is the life of following Ivan Nova.

Anyways, Betances induced a grounder to third from Mike Napoli and the Yankee infield let the run score, but also took an out at first. 5-4 Yankees. Dellin went on to pitch a scoreless seventh with two strikeouts and Miller followed it up with a perfect frame with one strikeout. This is going to be another easy win finished by the bullpen, right? Well…

Wacky Ending

The Yankees went with Chapman to close out the game. What else is new? This ninth inning was a grinder though. Napoli led off with a walk on a 3-2 count. The next hitter, Jose Ramirez, struck out on 6 pitches. Juan Uribe followed it up with a battle though – an 8-pitch AB that he won with a base hit.

With one out, two runners on, there was a distinct chance that the game would be tied pretty soon. Up next was Rajai Davis, who hit a liner to the outfield that looked like a game-tying hit off the bat, but luckily for the Yanks, it was hit right at Gardner. Two outs. That deep breaths, but don’t get comfortable. Up next was Tyler Naquin, who had homered earlier in the game and has been one of the catalysts in the red-hot Indians lineup.

Naquin hit a hard grounder that Teixeira stopped but did not field cleanly. Castro picked it up, tossed it to Chapman, who seemed to be having an even race with Naquin to the bag. Initially the umps called him safe, loading the bases with two outs. However, Joe Girardi thought that there was a reason to double-check it via instant replay. Upon further review, Chapman just barely beat Naquin to the bag, confirming Girardi’s call. And such was the game: the one that closed out so anticlimactically but no Yankee fans left complaining – a 5-4 New York win.

Box Score, Highlights, WPA and Standings

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


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees continue their series in Cleveland tomorrow. Youngster Chad Green goes up against former AL Cy Young and 2016 All Star Corey Kluber. I don’t know about you but I’d definitely watch this one.