Game 25: Win it for Bird

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees lost their talented young first baseman earlier today, as Greg Bird went on the 10-day disabled list with a bone bruise in his right ankle. This is the same issue he’s been dealing with since fouling a pitch off the ankle at the end of Spring Training. It sucks, but hopefully this DL stint turns into a positive. This’ll give Bird a chance to get healthy and hopefully get back on track at the plate.

As for tonight’s game, the Yankees have lost consecutive games for the first time since losing three straight from April 5th through the 8th. Those were the third, fourth, and fifth games of the season. It’s been a while since the Yankees had anything resembling a losing streak. Thankfully, they have the right man on the mound tonight to stop this losing nonsense. Here is the Blue Jays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. DH Matt Holliday
  4. 2B Starlin Castro
  5. SS Didi Gregorius
  6. RF Aaron Judge
  7. CF Aaron Hicks
  8. 1B Chris Carter
  9. C Austin Romine
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

It’s a lovely day here in New York. Windy as hell — the wind is blowing out at Yankee Stadium, so we could see some dingers tonight — but it’s cool with only a few clouds in the sky. Very pleasant evening. Tonight’s game will begin a little after 7pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Roster Moves: As expected, Luis Cessa was send down earlier today, the Yankees announced. Chasen Shreve has been called back up. Cessa threw 55 pitches in 3.1 innings yesterday, so it’s no surprise he was sent down for a fresh arm … Rob Refsnyder was called up to take Bird’s roster spot.

Injury Updates: In addition to Bird, the Yankees will be without Jacoby Ellsbury for a few days. He went for an MRI today and has been diagnosed with a bruised nerve in his left elbow. It happened when he crashed into the wall making that catch last night. The Yankees will see how he feels the next few days before deciding whether to put him on the disabled list before the road trip.

Yankees place Greg Bird on 10-day DL with ankle bruise, call up Rob Refsnyder

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

Greg Bird will finally get a chance to rest his achy ankle. Earlier today the Yankees announced they have placed their young first baseman on the 10-day disabled list with a bruised right ankle. Joe Girardi said Bird had an MRI a few weeks ago and another one today, and both showed a bone bruise that is healing slowly. Rob Refsnyder has been called up from Triple-A Scranton to fill the roster spot.

“In watching him yesterday, and talking to (hitting coach Alan Cockrell) about his work yesterday, I just didn’t feel like there was a lot of explosion in his lower half,” said Girardi. “We talked after the game. We felt that we just need to give this some time … He just felt like his ankle wasn’t working properly. Yesterday was the first day I really, really noticed it.”

Bird, who missed all of last season with shoulder surgery, has been playing through soreness since fouling a pitch off the ankle at the end of Spring Training. He sat out a few games early in the season to rest the ankle and also get over an illness. Girardi said Bird will be shut down completely for 7-10 days — he won’t make the road trip with the Yankees — and they’ll reevaluate him after that.

“I know what I am capable of and those guys know, too. It’s frustrating but you got to deal with it,” said Bird to George King yesterday. “I have been open to them and I am playing and giving my all … (The ankle) is slowly getting better. When I am playing I am playing.”

Bird had a monster Spring Training and is off to a dreadful start to the regular season, hitting .100/.250/.200 (35 wRC+) with 30.6% strikeout rate in 72 plate appearances. His timing seems completely off at the plate — the bone bruise is in his right ankle, his front ankle when hitting, so it could have an effect on his leg kick — and he hasn’t looked 100% when running either.

Letting Bird play through the ankle soreness perhaps wasn’t the team’s best idea, especially given what happened with Mark Teixeira and his bone bruise two years ago. Hopefully this disabled list stint does the trick. The ankle gets to heal, Bird gets a bit of a mental break, then he can go rake in a few minor league rehab games before rejoining the Yankees.

The Yankees aren’t relying on the bullpen shuttle in 2017

Cessa. (Presswire)
Cessa. (Presswire)

Yesterday afternoon, prior to the series opener against the Blue Jays, the Yankees did something they had not done all season. The swapped out a reliever for a fresh arm. Bryan Mitchell was sent down following his pitch an inning/play first base for an inning/pitch an inning adventure and Luis Cessa was called up to give the Yankees another long man. Cessa wound up throwing 3.1 innings last night.

Prior to that move, the Yankees had made exactly one transaction involving a relief pitcher this season. They optioned Chasen Shreve to Triple-A Scranton to make room on the roster for Jordan Montgomery last month. The Yankees started the season with eight relievers and inevitably someone was going to get send down for the fifth starter, so we all knew that move was coming.

Otherwise, the Yankees stuck with their Opening Day bullpen through the season’s first month — good health has played a part in that and hopefully it continues — which has not been the norm the last few seasons. The last few years the Yankees have shuttled relievers up and down to ensure Joe Girardi always has a fresh bullpen arm or two available. Lots of teams are doing that nowadays and the Yankees took it to the extreme.

Last April, for example, the Yankees made three shuttle moves, including sending down Cessa and calling up Tyler Olson on April 15th, then sending down Olson and calling up Branden Pinder on April 16th. The year before the Yankees made five shuttle transactions in April, transactions that included names like Kyle Davies and Joel De La Cruz and Matt Tracy. They called you up, used you as much as possible, then sent you down for someone else the next year.

The Yankees did not make their first shuttle move until yesterday — Cessa was send down for Shreve earlier today, so now it’s two shuttle moves today — though it was not because of a lack of opportunity. Mitchell threw nine pitches on April 22nd and 35 pitches on April 23rd, yet remained on the roster. He threw 26 pitches last Friday and got clobbered, and he still stuck around. Jonathan Holder threw 19 pitches on April 22nd, the second game of back-to-backs, and yet he remained with the Yankees.

In the past, sending unavailable pitchers like Mitchell and Holder down for a fresh arm following outings like that would have been a given. They’d get sent down knowing full well it was essentially a temporary demotion. Once their ten days were up — players have to remain in the minors at least ten days after being sent down unless they’re replacing someone who goes on the disabled list — they’d ride the shuttle back to the Bronx. It happened constantly from 2015-16.

The Yankees have yet to fully activate the bullpen shuttle this season and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I think it’s a shift in philosophy. That doesn’t mean they won’t send guys down if necessary — again, they did it yesterday and did it again today — but right now, they seem to be trying to avoid it, and I think there’s something to that. Two possible reasons why:

Holder. (Presswire)
Holder. (Presswire)

1. The shuttle doesn’t really work. The shuttle worked the last two years in that it provided Girardi with a rested reliever every single night and hey, that’s a good thing. It did not work in that those relievers rarely provided quality innings. Last year’s shuttle crew included Shreve, Kirby Yates, Nick Goody, Johnny Barbato, Richard Bleier, and Conor Mullee, among others. Those dudes combined for a 4.74 ERA (4.26 FIP) in 142.1 innings. Eh.

Reliever quality is certainly one factor in that poor performance, though I also think there’s something to be said for not having to look over your shoulder, knowing the next trip to Scranton is only a few days away. I can’t imagine going back and forth between Triple-A and MLB can be an easy thing, and not just for the player. For his family too. It’s difficult not knowing where you’re going to be from week to week, or even day to day. Being treated like a big leaguer can go a long way.

2. It’s time to give some players an extended audition. Shuttling guys in and out and seeing them for two innings at a time every few weeks is no way to evaluate a player. The only way the Yankees will be able to find out whether any of these guys are long-term bullpen pieces is by keeping them around and seeing how they perform once they’re able to get settled in. And maybe they pitch themselves out of the picture. That’s part of the process.

Holder had a phenomenal minor league season a year ago — he threw 65.1 innings with a 1.65 ERA (1.30 FIP) and a ridiculous 42.4% strikeout rate against a 2.9% walk rate — and the Yankees seem to like him, so he’s getting an extended opportunity right now. Mitchell was sort of in the same boat before being sent down yesterday. He turned 26 last month and still can’t seem to develop a changeup. With him, this is more make or break time. Time to see what he can do, you know? Holder is younger and has time on his side.

Point is, I think the Yankees have decided while shutting relievers in and out allowed Girardi to have fresh relievers at all times, it is no way to evaluate players. They’re rebuilding transitioning, and they have to figure out who is part of the future, and that includes relievers. Maybe Holder will be the next David Robertson and emerge as a setup force in a year or two. The only way you can find out is by giving him an opportunity, and they’re doing it now.

* * *

This all isn’t to say the Yankees will never send down relievers again. Someone might pitch their way down to the minors, plus you know at some point the Yankees are going to have one of those series where the bullpen gets wrecked, and they have no choice but to call some people up to help get them through the next few days. They’re kinda going through that right now. It happens to every team.

In the big picture though, the idea of shuttling relievers in and out on a nearly daily basis seems to have gone by the wayside. The Yankees tried it out for two years, didn’t like the results, and decided to change things up. That allows a young guy like Holder to really show what he can do. Eventually others like Ben Heller and Gio Gallegos may get a chance to join him as well. The bullpen shuttle as we know it seems to be a thing of the past.

Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez, and the Yankees’ pitching staff

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Later today Gary Sanchez will begin a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton, and, if all goes well the next few days, he could rejoin the Yankees in time for the start of their road trip Friday. Sanchez played four games and four innings before hurting his biceps taking a swing at Camden Yards. Fortunately it was nothing structural with his shoulder or elbow.

Losing Sanchez seemed devastating at the time. The Yankees started the season slowly, and while Sanchez had yet to really get going at the plate, taking away ostensibly their best hitter felt like a recipe for disaster. Instead, the Yankees have gone 14-5 since the Sanchez injury and have averaged 5.55 runs per game. Turns out all they had to do to start winning was lose a guy who hit 20 homers in one-third of a season last year. Who knew?

The Yankees have thrived without Sanchez thanks in large part to fill-in catcher Austin Romine. Romine was pushed into everyday duty for the first time in his big league career and he’s responded by hitting .315/.350/.463 (125 wRC+), including going 4-for-6 with two walks and no strikeouts with runners in scoring position. How about that? Romine has been a godsend these last few weeks. Can’t say enough about the job he’s done.

The offense only tells part of the story though. The Yankees sport a solid 3.51 ERA, which ranks fourth in all of baseball. (It was a 3.35 ERA prior to yesterday’s loss.) Since the Sanchez injury the pitching staff has a 3.38 ERA in 176 innings overall, including a 3.60 ERA in 140 innings with Romine behind the plate. Run prevention has been the surprise of the season so far. I don’t think anyone saw this coming.

“He’s done a really good job with our pitching staff. He’s very bright and he knows what he’s doing back there, and he understands how to call a game,” said Joe Girardi over the weekend when asked about Romine’s work behind the plate. “Sanchez is our No. 1 guy here, but Romine has played excellent. He could be a No. 1, too. I believe in the kid and he’s played really well.”

As Girardi said, Sanchez is the No. 1 catcher, and whenever he gets healthy he’ll step in behind the plate. He’s a cornerstone type of player. Sanchez showed us what he is capable of last year, and it’s basically what Aaron Judge is doing now, only as a catcher. Romine knows the deal — “All I want to do as a backup player that gets thrust into that kind of position is do well for the team and show them that you belong,” he said over the weekend — and will go back to being the backup when Sanchez returns.

With Sanchez’s return looming, it’s fair to wonder what it means for the pitching staff. The pitchers have performed very well with Romine behind the plate, and now the Yankees will be throwing a wrench into that. Here’s the thing though: evaluating a catcher’s impact on the pitching staff is tough. Nearly impossibly to isolate, at least right now. At the end of the day, it is still up to the pitcher to execute. Calling the best game in the world won’t help if Michael Pineda is still hanging two-strike sliders, you know?

Here are the facts. These are the numbers with Romine and Sanchez catching since the start of last season to give us the largest possible sample size:

IP ERA FIP K% BB% HR/9
with Romine 492.1 3.77 3.74 22.1% 7.4% 1.08
with Sanchez 353 4.39 4.29 23.1% 8.0% 1.48

In a relatively limited sample — the average starting catcher catches about 1,000 innings each season — New York’s pitchers have been quite a bit more effective with Romine behind the plate than Sanchez. Sanchez has a small edge in strikeout rate and that’s basically it. And he’s better at throwing out runners too, but that’s another matter for another time.

The difficult part is determining how much, exactly, the catcher is contributing to those numbers. Like I said before, you could call the best game in the world and whisper the sweetest nothings into the pitcher’s ear during mound visits, but, at the end of the day, the catcher isn’t throwing the pitch. All the catcher can do is offer suggestions and try to guide the pitcher one way or the other. He can’t make him execute.

One thing we know the catcher can do for his pitcher is turn borderline pitches into strikes with his receiving ability. As long as human umpires are calling balls and strikes, pitching-framing will be a real and valuable skill. We can quibble with the exact worth of pitch-framing all day. I don’t think anyone would argue it’s not a real thing though. We see it every day. Here are the pitch-framing numbers dating back to last season, via Baseball Prospectus:

  • Romine: -1.1 runs (-2.3 runs per 1,000 innings caught)
  • Sanchez: +1.7 runs (+4.8 runs per 1,000 innings caught)

The small sample size numbers tell us Sanchez has been better than Romine at presenting those borderline pitches in a way that leads to the umpire calling them a strike more often. I feel like the opposite is true based on the eye test. Sanchez seems to stab at the ball from time to time rather than receive it calmly and present it to the umpire. Maybe I’m wrong. Who knows? The numbers say I am.

That, right there, is pretty much the extent of how we can analyze a catcher’s impact on the pitcher. The personal relationships they build, they way they talk pitchers through things, we can’t quantify that. That doesn’t mean it has no value! It absolutely does, we just can’t measure it. A lot of what we’re hearing today boils down to “the Yankees are pitching well and Romine deserves credit,” because that’s how these things usual work. Backup catchers tend to have their defense and ability to work with pitchers talked up (Nichols Law), and Romine is no different.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Remember last season when Sanchez first came up? He was praised for going out to the mound and taking control of the game despite being a young catcher. Sanchez would go out there and set things straight with a veteran pitcher. People ate it up. But it seems no one stopped to think that maybe it wasn’t such a good thing. Maybe those mound visits meant Sanchez and the pitcher had a hard time getting on the same page, hence all the mound visits. We have no idea how well these guys work together because we’re not part of the conversation. The pitcher’s performance gets projected onto the catcher. That’s all.

This is what’s going to happen: At some point the Yankees are going to start to allow more runs because this is not a true talent 3.51 ERA pitching staff. They’re playing over their head a bit. The league is going to get another look at Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery soon, fatigue will set in, stuff like that. The Yankees had a 4.16 ERA last season and I do believe they’re better than that because Severino seems to be figuring some things out, and also because I think Montgomery is better than the back-end starters they used in 2016. That said, I’d be shocked if they finished the season with a 3.51 ERA. I’d sign up for that right now if possible.

A some point the Yankees will begin to allow more runs, and when that happens, Sanchez is going to get the blame. The pitchers worked so great with Romine and now they have Sanchez and they’re just not on the same page! They can’t find the same dynamic. The Yankees should consider making Sanchez the designated hitter (or first baseman?) and starting Romine behind the plate because it’s best for the pitching staff. Prepare to hear all of it. It’s coming.

Romine very well might work better with the pitching staff and be the smart choice behind the plate from that point of view. Here’s the thing though: Sanchez is the future behind the plate. He’s a potential All-Star catcher and building block player for the Yankees going forward. The goal shouldn’t be putting Romine behind the plate because he works better with pitchers. The goal should be working with Sanchez and helping him get better at working with pitchers. That should be the priority going forward, and I think it will be.

The Yankees are off to a very nice start at 15-9, but, as they said all winter, they’re a team in transition. And part of that is helping Gary Sanchez develop into a better all-around catcher. Transitioning him from a bad defender into a good defender, so to speak. Romine has done a phenomenal job filling during Sanchez’s injury. He’s been awesome. But when Sanchez is healthy, he will rightfully take over as the starting catcher, even if it is not necessarily the best thing for the pitching staff in the short-term.

Yankees lose 7-1 as the offense gets quieted by Blue Jays

Yeah, just a bad game all-around. The bats got shut down by fastball-changeup mix master Marco Estrada while Luis Severino and Luis Cessa did not have their best showings. The Yankees drop the first of the home three-game series to the Blue Jays 7-1 in a typical oh-well-it’s-just-a-game fashion.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Laboring through 5.2 innings

Severino started the game with spottier command than what he’s shown in April. He got into a jam in the first but got out of it unscathed. However, he allowed a two-run homer to Ryan Goins (!) in the 2nd inning to put the Jays up top 2-0. On a 3-1 count, Severino wanted to throw a strike and the ball missed Austin Romine‘s outside corner spot.

The Yankees scored a run in the bottom of 4th to inch it close to 2-1. In the bottom of sixth, with Severino heading towards 100 in pitch count, the Jays got couple of baserunners on with a Justin Smoak infield single and Devon Travis ground-rule double. Goins hit a deep fly that looked like a double at worst, but Jacoby Ellsbury made a great leaping catch to rob him. However, Ellsbury flipped the ball right over Aaron Judge‘s head and both runners — from 2nd and 3rd base — were able to score for a rare 2-run sacrifice fly. Two hitters later, Chris Coghlan saw a hanging slider in the middle of the plate and took it into the right field seats for a 5-1 Jays lead. Joe Girardi then took out Severino for Cessa. He departed with a very mediocre 5.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K and 2 HR line.

After showing what he can do when everything clicks, Severino couldn’t deliver today. Happens to young pitchers. Actually, happens to all pitchers. Pitching is a hard occupation. While he didn’t totally melt down, it surely would have been nice for things to go his way more often. His command was just off tonight. Look at all those pitches he missed trying to nick the strike zone corners. There are tons towards the lower right part and left side:

bandicam-2017-05-02-12-25-31-067

Oh well. He’ll bounce back.

Death by changeup

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

My personal opinion is that, in the world of Noah Syndergaard sliders and Dellin Betances curveballs, the fastball-changeup combination remains the superior approach for pitchers. Hitting is all about getting the timing right and pitching is disrupting it. And boy, Estrada really disrupted Yankee hitters’ timing up tonight. That’s what he’s been living off of since 2015.

Not only is Estrada good at changing speeds, he also specializes in changing hitters’ eye levels. Check out the zone profile of his game tonight from Baseball Savant:

est

That’s a healthy mix of pitches both low and high. Yankees hitters did have seven base hits against Estrada but none of them were extra-base hits and they only scored a run – on an RBI single by Aaron Judge (who else?). Per Brooks Baseball, Estrada threw 37 fastballs and 45 changeups. That will get into hitters’ heads.

Miscellaneous

It took him until May but Ellsbury finally got his trademark catcher’s interference tonight. In the bottom of 6th, Ellsbury hit a grounder up to a middle that seemed like a fielder’s choice, but he just nicked the catcher’s mitt on the backswing, so umpire Jordan Baker rewarded him a base. That was Ellsbury’s 27th career catcher’s interference and he needs three more to surpass Pete Rose’s record. Incredible. We’re all rooting for ya, Jacoby.

On a quiet night for the bats, Starlin Castro still got some base hits. The second baseman got two hits in four at-bats, upping his season average to .358. Rest of the lineup collected only four hits, and, as mentioned, none of them being extra-base hits. Remember when too many homers was a thing? That was just this past weekend. They’ll get it going soon, hopefully.

Luis Cessa pitched the rest of the way after Severino departed and well, he was unspectacular. 3.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K and one long home run allowed to Jose Bautista. He’ll likely be sent back to Triple-A for tomorrow and they’ll promote another fresh arm in case of a long-relief situation.

Box score, standings and WPA graph:

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


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees face the Blue Jays again tomorrow. Masahiro Tanaka will be on the hill against Mat Latos (!).

DotF: Another big night by Torres gives Trenton a win

OF Dustin Fowler hit for the cycle with Triple-A Scranton yesterday and he completed it with a walk-off home run. That’s pretty damn cool, isn’t it? Video of the walk-off cycle homer is above. (Also, here’s video of OF Clint Frazier’s homer earlier in the game. He took former Blue Jays’ Opening Day starter Drew Hutchison deep.) Here are the day’s notes:

  • Thanks in part to the cycle, Fowler was named the Triple-A International League Offensive Player of the Week. He went 11-for-26 (.423) with three doubles, two triples, two homers, three walks, and two strikeouts last week. Good gravy. LHP Josh Rogers, meanwhile, was named the High-A Florida State League Pitcher of the Week.
  • SS Kyle Holder was placed on the High-A disabled list with an unknown injury and RHP Zack Littell was sent to Extended Spring Training, the team announced. I assume this is a paper move for Littell and he will soon join another affiliate, a la RHP Colten Brewer last week. IF Vince Conde and RHP Matt Marsh were brought up from ExST to fill the roster spots.

Double-A Trenton (7-0 win over Harrisburg)

  • 2B Thairo Estrada: 1-3, 1 R, 2 BB — eight strikeouts and eleven walks in 18 games
  • CF Jake Cave: 0-5, 2 K
  • SS Gleyber Torres: 3-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI — 8-for-15 (.533) with two walks and no strikeouts since coming off the disabled list
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI
  • RF Billy McKinney: 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB
  • RHP Chance Adams: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 7/4 GB/FB — 60 of 98 pitches were strikes (61%) … he’s allowed two earned runs in 28 innings so far (0.64 ERA)
  • RHP J.P. Feyereisen: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K — ten of 13 pitches were strikes

High-A Tampa (5-4 loss to Dunedin)

  • CF Jeff Hendrix: 3-4, 1 R, 1 HR, RBI, 1 BB, 1 CS — 5-for-13 (.385) since coming off the disabled list
  • 2B Nick Solak: 1-4, 1 BB — 5-for-14 (.357) during his little four-game hitting streak
  • DH Tito Polo: 1-5, 1 R, 1 K
  • LF Trey Amburgey: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 K
  • RF Jhalan Jackson: 2-4, 1 RBI, 2 K
  • RHP Albert Abreu: 3 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 4/2 GB/FB — 46 of 74 pitches were strikes (62%) … first dud outing of the season

Both Triple-A Scranton and Low-A Charleston had scheduled off-days.

Game 24: Roles Reversed

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Once upon a time the Blue Jays were a lock for third place in the AL East behind the Yankees and Red Sox, and ahead of the Orioles and (Devil) Rays. Then the Rays got good and Toronto slipped down in the standings. The last two years though, the Blue Jays have a pair of trips to the ALCS to their credit, all while the Yankees have been floundering in the 85-ish win range.

The last two seasons we frequently saw the Blue Jays riding high and the Yankees struggling whenever these two teams met. Now the roles are reversed. The Yankees are tied for first place in the AL East and they’ve won 14 of their last 18 games. The Blue Jays are in last place at 8-17. Only the Royals at 7-16 have a worse record this year. It wasn’t until this past weekend that Toronto won their first set of back-to-back games. Yeah.

That doesn’t mean this three-game series will be easy, of course. All intra-division games in the AL East seem to be tough, even when bad or slumping teams are involved. The Yankees lost yesterday, but they laid a pretty good beating on the Orioles this weekend, and before that they won a pair of games at Fenway Park. Time to take care of business against Toronto. Here is the Blue Jays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. SS Didi Gregorius
  3. DH Matt Holliday
  4. 2B Starlin Castro
  5. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  6. RF Aaron Judge
  7. 1B Greg Bird
  8. C Austin Romine
  9. 3B Ronald Torreyes
    RHP Luis Severino

Not the best weather day in New York today. It’s cloudy and humid, which usually means rain is coming. The heaviest stuff won’t arrive for a few hours. Looks like they should be able to get nine innings in before that. I hope so, anyway. Tonight’s game will begin at 7:05pm ET. You can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Roster Move: The Yankees optioned Bryan Mitchell to Triple-A Scranton earlier today, the team announced. I assume he’ll work on his first base skills down there. Luis Cessa was called up to give the Yankees a fresh long man. He’s stretched out to 90+ pitches and today was his day to start, so he’s good to go very long, which I hope is not necessary.