DotF: Judge, Austin, Cave lead Scranton to another win

The daily notes:

Triple-A Scranton (11-2 win over Syracuse) they faced former RailRider RHP Jaron Long … they’ve averaging 5.55 runs per game this month

  • LF Ben Gamel: 1-4, 1 R, 2 RBI
  • RF Aaron Judge: 2-5, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K — 23-for-63 (.365) with nine homers, 14 walks, and 16 strikeouts in his last 17 games
  • C Gary Sanchez: 1-6, 1 R, 1 K
  • 1B Tyler Austin: 2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K — 11-for-27 (.407) with three doubles and four homers in his last six games
  • CF Jake Cave: 3-4, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB
  • RHP Luis Severino: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 1/5 GB/FB — 73 of 100 pitches were strikes … allowed two runs on four hits and a walk in the first inning, then cruised the rest of the way
  • LHP Chasen Shreve: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K — eleven of 17 pitches were strikes … 11/3 K/BB in 6.2 Triple-A innings so far
  • RHP Johnny Barbato: 1 IP, zeroes, 3 K — ten of 14 pitches were strikes … 22/12 K/BB in 21 innings here
  • RHP Mark Montgomery: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K — 12 of 19 pitches were strikes

[Read more…]

Game 77: Avoiding No. 40

(Getty)
(Getty)

Every once in a while I go back and compare teams to the 1998 Yankees, who were so obscenely good it doesn’t seem real even though I watched them with my own eyes. That team went 114-48, and they suffered their 40th loss in Game 140. I’m not joking. They were 100-39 at one point. The Red Sox went 92-70 in 1998 and finished 22 games behind the Yankees. Ridiculous.

Anyway, tonight the 2016 Yankees are trying to avoid their 40th loss of the season. In Game 77. This 2016 team is a wee bit off the pace from that 1998 squad, huh? Heck, even the 2013 Yankees didn’t suffer their 40th loss until Game 88. Can the 2016 Yankees delay that inevitable 40th loss another day? Maybe! Here is the Rangers’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. RF Aaron Hicks
  9. 1B Rob Refsnyder
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Much nicer weather today than the last few days. The sun is out and the chance of rain is down around 5%. There should be no problem getting the game in tonight. This evening’s game will begin a little after 7pm ET you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Injury Update: Carlos Beltran (hamstring) is still sore and remains day-to-day. Joe Girardi said it is “worrisome” he’s still feeling it. This is fine. … Mark Teixeira has some soreness in his knee, which is why he’s out of the lineup.

Yankees holding 1996 championship team reunion on August 13

The 1996 Yankees are my favorite Yankees team of all time. I’m guessing many of you feel the same way. Sure, the 1998 and 2009 teams were awesome, but that 1996 squad was my first World Series championship team. I was still a kid and baseball had just crushed my soul for the first time in the 1995 ALDS. Not team will compare to the 1996 Yankees to me.

Earlier today the Yankees announced they will hold a ceremony honoring the 20th anniversary of 1996 Yankees on Saturday, August 13th. A total of 32 members of that 1996 team will be in attendance, including Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Wade Boggs, Paul O’Neill, Tim Raines, David Cone, Jimmy Key, Jim Leyritz, and Joe Torre. But not Kenny Rogers. He wasn’t invited. (I don’t know if that’s true, but he won’t be there.)

Here is the press release with the full list of attendees. The Yankees are playing the Rays, who didn’t even exist back in 1996, that weekend. Here’s the schedule of events:

  • Friday, Saturday 12th (7pm ET): First 15,000 fans receive a 1996 World Series replica trophy.
  • Saturday, Saturday 13th (1pm ET): 1996 Yankees reunion ceremony.
  • Sunday, Saturday 14th (1pm ET): Mariano Rivera Monument Park plaque dedication ceremony.

That is going to be a pretty awesome weekend. I’m sure the cynical folks among us will say the Yankees are doing all this because attendance is down and the 2016 team stinks, but this has been in the works for a while. The 20th anniversary of the 1996 Yankees was always going to have a special day, as it should. They’re going to do this again in 1998, 1999, and 2000 too.

We had an entire Retro Week dedicated to the 1996 Yankees earlier this season, so go back and check that all out if you haven’t seen it. And even if you have seen it, read it again.

What can Andrew Miller tell us about a possible Aroldis Chapman trade?

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

At some point in the next four weeks, the Yankees will hopefully come to their senses and realize the 2016 Yankees aren’t going anywhere. It would take a massive run to become serious postseason contenders. Something like 20-8 in the 28 games before the trade deadline. That kind of run. Does this team seem capable of doing that? Not at all. Never say never, but … never.

I want the Yankees to win this year. I really do. But the team isn’t cooperating. At some point the focus has to shift from winning right now to winning in the future, and that decision has to be made relatively soon with the trade deadline looming. Should the Yankees sell, their two best trade chips are Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman, two impact late-inning relievers wanted by basically every other team in the league.

Chapman will be a free agent after the season, so there figures to be more urgency to move him. Miller is signed for another two years and keeping him is a perfectly viable strategy. Estimating trade value is difficult — especially for an elite player since so few get traded — because so many trades come down to one team liking a player more than everyone else and making a bigger than expected offer. That’s what happened with Shelby Miller over the winter.

The Yankees figure to get a good return for Chapman assuming they make him available, but how good, exactly? That’s where Miller comes in. Two years ago he was an elite reliever due to become a free agent who was traded at the deadline. Miller can help give us an idea what Chapman is worth on the trade market, and I don’t mean just the trade itself. The trades for Miller that didn’t happen can tell us something too. Let’s look.

The Comparison

Might as well start here. At the time of the trade Miller was one of the most dominant relievers in all of baseball. He took his game to another level during that 2014 season, and somehow he’s taken it to yet another level with the Yankees. It’s been pretty awesome. Here is Miller’s pre-2014 trade deadline performance and Chapman’s 2016 performance to date.

ERA FIP K% BB% GB% HR/9
Miller in 2014 2.34 1.69 40.6% 7.7% 52.5% 0.43
Chapman in 2016 3.15 1.96 38.8% 5.0% 38.6% 0.90

Miller then was better than Chapman is now. It’s not quite as simple as a half-season worth of numbers in a table though. At the time of his trade, Miller had performed like one of the best relievers in the world for roughly 40 innings. That’s it. He broke out that 2014 season. Chapman has been doing it for years. His track record is far greater than Miller’s was back then, and that means something.

There’s also the salary difference, which isn’t negligible. Miller made only $1.9M during that 2014 season. Chapman is pulling down $11.325M this season. That’s a lot of money to take on at the deadline. Of course, the Yankees could always eat some money to facilitate a trade, and they should be very willing to do so if it means getting a greater return. I don’t think the money will be deal-breaker, but it is something that will factor into talks, no doubt.

I don’t think we can ignore the off-the-field stuff too. Chapman has served his suspension, but the domestic violence case absolutely means there will be a negative PR hit. Maybe not a huge one, many fans don’t seem to care about his incident, but there will be a PR hit. Pick up Chapman and some folks won’t like it. Miller has no such off-the-field issues and is widely seen as pretty much the perfect teammate. The perception of the two is very different and that matters.

Statistically, Miller was having a better season at the time of his trade than Chapman is now, but his track record was not nearly as good. Chapman is more expensive and the domestic violence incident isn’t something that can be ignored. I see 2014 Miller and 2016 Chapman having similar trade value overall despite all the differences. They’re elite rental relievers. Teams are looking at these guys as 20-30 inning pickups, not a long-term addition.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Initial Ask

What happens when a team makes a player available? They ask for the moon in return. Free agents do it too. The initial ask is always super high. Why? For starters, someone just might pay it. You’re never going to get Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano if you don’t ask. Scondly, it gives you some wiggle room to come down in negotiations.

According to Jayson Stark, here’s what the Red Sox sought for Miller at the 2014 trade deadline:

(The) two players on that list they’ve priced the highest are Lester and Miller. Officials of two clubs report the Red Sox have asked for one of their top prospects, plus a lesser prospect, just for Miller.

The BoSox set the price high. They initially asked teams for a top prospect plus a second piece for Miller. That’s a lot to seek for a rental reliever, but again, this was only the initial ask. When the time comes to move Chapman, the Yankees should open negotiations with a similar request. Give me a top prospect and a second player or he’ll go to one of the many other interested teams.

Interested Teams

As you’d expect, a whole bunch of teams wanted Miller in 2014. Contenders were the most aggressive. Ken Rosenthal says 10-12 team inquired about Miller, and according to Rosenthal and Nick Cafardo, the four finalists were the Orioles (duh), Tigers, Dodgers, and Brewers. Here are their records on the morning of the 2014 trade deadline.

  • Brewers: 60-49, 2.0 games up in NL Central (67.1% postseason odds per Baseball Prospectus)
  • Dodgers: 61-47, 2.5 games up in NL West (97.2% postseason odds)
  • Orioles: 60-46, 2.5 games up in AL East (77.0% postseason odds)
  • Tigers: 58-46, 5.0 games up in AL Central (90.4% postseason odds)

Four first place teams made the most serious pushes for Miller. The Brewers collapsed spectacularly in the second half of the 2014 season, but the three other teams went to the postseason. They weren’t looking at Miller as a “get me over the hump and into the playoffs” pickup. He was viewed as a “help me win the World Series” pickup. There’s a difference.

As of this morning, only six teams have postseason odds of 67% of better according to Baseball Prospectus: Cubs (99.8%), Indians (96.5%), Rangers (96.1%), Nationals (94.7%), Giants (90.3%), and Dodgers (80.8%). The Red Sox and Orioles are at 64.0% and 62.8%, respectively, so they’re not too far behind. That’s pretty much the market for Chapman right there. The best of the best. Not bubble teams.

The Actual Trade

When it was all said and done, the Red Sox traded Miller to the Orioles for pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. It was a straight one-for-one trade. Two things stand out about this.

1. They traded him within the division. The Red Sox took what they felt was the best package and sent Miller to a division rival. Some teams aren’t willing to make intradivision deals like that. Obviously it helped that the BoSox were out of it and Miller was only a rental, not someone under control for a few years. It wasn’t going to matter if he helped beat them that season, and he probably wasn’t going to stick around long enough to keep beating them in future years. Trading Chapman, the rental, to the Red Sox would be one thing. Trading Miller and two years of control to the Red Sox would be another.

2. They took the single best player over a package of multiple players. The initial ask was a top prospect and a secondary piece. Boston settled for only the top prospect. Rodriguez was in Double-A at the time of the trade and he really wasn’t pitching all that well: 4.79 ERA (3.52 FIP) with a 19.0% strikeout rate and an 8.0% walk rate in 82.2 innings. Orioles pitching prospects, yo.

Rodriguez went into the 2014 season as a consensus top 100 prospect. Keith Law (subs. req’d) ranked him as the 43rd best prospect in the game while Baseball Prospectus (61st), Baseball America (65th), and MLB.com (68th) all had him a little lower. Neither Law (top 25) nor Baseball America (top 50) ranked Rodriguez in their midseason prospect list a few weeks prior to the trade deadline.

Based on that, the possible return for Chapman could be a top 100 caliber prospect who is reasonably close to the big leagues, but is not a truly elite prospect. Someone in the middle of the top 100. The precedent has been set. Using Baseball America’s 2016 top 100 list as guide, here are some possible targets from the teams mentioned in the previous section:

  • Cubs: SS Gleybar Torres (No. 41), C Willson Contreras (No. 61)
  • Indians: OF Clint Frazier (No. 44)
  • Rangers: RHP Luis Ortiz (No. 64), RHP Dillon Tate (No. 69)
  • Nationals: none
  • Giants: IF Christian Arroyo (No. 62)
  • Dodgers: 1B/OF Cody Bellinger (No. 54)

It goes without saying some of those guys are more attainable than others. There’s basically no chance the small market Indians will trade Frazier for a rental reliever. Contreras is in the big leagues now and making an impact for the Cubs, so forget him too. Also, I would be surprised if the Rangers were willing to discuss their 2015 first round pick (Tate) in a trade so soon. Torres, Ortiz, and Bellinger seem to be the most realistic trade targets.

Keep in mind this is just a “these guys are similar to the guy the Red Sox got for Miller two years ago” list, not a “this is who the Yankees can definitely get for Chapman now” list. The error bars here are pretty large. We’re just trying to get a ballpark idea here.

Bellinger, who is indeed Clay's kid. (Presswire)
Bellinger, who is indeed Clay’s kid. (Presswire)

The Failed Trade

Here’s where it gets interesting. Before completing the deal with the Orioles, the Red Sox actually agreed to trade Miller to the Tigers, but they backed out once the O’s put Rodriguez on the table. Detroit got 2010 Cliff Lee/Justin Smoak’d, basically.

“We thought we had him,” said then Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski to Joel Sherman at the time. “We were disappointed because we offered what (the Red Sox) asked for. Normally when you do that, you get the player. They felt they could do better. That is their prerogative.”

It’s unclear who the Tigers would have traded to the Red Sox for Miller, but reports indicate it was a multi-player package, not a one-for-one deal. Jon Morosi says pitching prospect Austin Kubitza was a name discussed in the deal, though I don’t think he was the center piece. He was a 22-year-old in Low Class-A who was Detroit’s fourth round pick the year prior. Kubitza was likely the second piece.

Miller was traded on deadline day, and a few days earlier the Tigers sent pitching prospects Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel to the Rangers for Joakim Soria. Perhaps that was their Plan B? They offered Thompson and/or Knebel and/or Kubitza for Miller, then moved on to Soria once it was clear the Red Sox were going in another direction? Knebel was just a reliever, but Thompson was in the middle of a breakout season and has since landed on multiple top 100 lists.

Given their willingness to trade Thompson — and the fact their farm system was otherwise short on high-end prospects — it seems like he could have been the center piece in Miller trade talks. He was a 20-year-old kid in High Class-A at the time, so he wasn’t a Rodriguez level prospect, but he was in the process of becoming a top prospect. It wasn’t a secret. Everyone knew it at the time. Kubitza and/or Knebel would have then been the sweeteners.

There’s more than one way to build a trade package. The Red Sox went for the big one-for-one deal, though it seems they also considered a package of lesser prospects as well. The Yankees figure to entertain all offers, and really, it’s going to come down to their preference. One big prospect sounds more attractive, but getting two pieces for Chapman instead could be the best move. I don’t think there’s one right answer here. Both are reasonable.

* * *

The O’s were widely panned for trading Rodriguez for Miller, which means nothing as far as Chapman is concerned. It doesn’t mean clubs will be less willing to trade a top prospect for a rental reliever. Remember, it only takes one team — and one desperate GM or owner — to go out and make that big offer. The Yankees picked up Chapman for peanuts, and now that the uncertainty surrounding his suspension no longer exists, they have a chance to flip him for something really good. The 2014 Miller trade suggests as much.

Yankees sign first round pick Blake Rutherford to overslot $3.282M bonus

(Lenny Ignelzi/AP)
(Lenny Ignelzi/AP)

The Yankees have taken care of their most important piece of 2016 draft business. The team has signed first round pick Blake Rutherford, they announced this morning. He is heading to one of their two rookie level Gulf Coast League affiliates. Here’s a photo of the contract signing.

Jim Callis says Rutherford received a $3,282,000 bonus. That’s the absolute maximum the Yankees could give him without forfeiting a future first round pick. Here’s our Draft Pool Tracker. The Yankees have less than $200 of bonus pool space remaining, so they won’t be signing any late round picks to overslot bonuses. This seems like it was a “here’s the most we can offer, take it or leave it” negotiation.

Rutherford was widely considered a potential top ten pick heading into the draft. Keith Law (6th), MLB.com (8th), and Baseball America (9th) all ranked him among the ten best players in the draft. Here’s a quick little study I did looking at similar prospects, and here’s a snippet of MLB.com’s free scouting report:

The left-handed-hitting outfielder from the Southern California high school ranks can do just about everything on a baseball field. Rutherford has the chance to be an above-average hitter with above-average raw power. He’ll record average to plus run times, and his speed helps him on the basepaths and in the outfield. Rutherford is a solid defender in the outfield, though most feel he’ll move to right field in the future. The good news is his bat should profile just fine if that move does happen.

The Yankees have a pretty lousy track record with first round picks. Only two of their first rounders since 2007 have even reached the big leagues. Andrew Brackman (2007) threw 2.1 innings in pinstripes and Slade Heathcott (2009) appeared in 17 games last year. That’s it. Obviously some of the recent picks are still in the minors, but still, that’s almost ten years with zero impact from first rounders.

Now that he is officially signed, the 19-year-old Rutherford slots in neatly as one of the Yankees’ five best prospects, joining Jorge Mateo, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and James Kaprielian. We could argue the exact order all day. Point is those guys are clearly the five best prospects in the organization, even after Kaprielian’s elbow injury.

The Yankees have signed all of their picks in the top ten rounds, the picks tied directly to the bonus pool. They exceeded their bonus pool by $290,800 this year and will pay $218,100 in tax. The team has spent the maximum 5% overage and paid the penalties in each of the last few drafts now.

Thoughts following Carlos Beltran’s hamstring injury

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Last night the Yankees received a bit of a scare when Carlos Beltran pulled up slow running out a would-be double. He grabbed at his right hamstring before walking off the field with trainer Steve Donohue. An MRI showed nothing major — it was deemed nothing more than a cramp — and Beltran is day-to-day. The injury scare led to some thoughts, so let’s get to ’em.

1. I firmly am on #TeamSell at this point and I really hope the injury scares the Yankees into selling at the trade deadline, if not sooner. (Let’s call it “buying for the future.” That sounds better.) I don’t think there’s a realistic chance the Yankees will do anything more than hang around the fringes of the wildcard race and win maybe 82 or 83 games tops. That’s a waste of a season. It’s time to make some moves geared towards the future. Beltran is one the club’s top trade chips, and that’s now two injury scares this month. He had the hamstring last night and had to have his knee drained in Colorado a few weeks back. The baseball gods are telling the Yankees to sell now before he breaks down any more. Same with Aroldis Chapman and whoever else they are considering dealing. Waiting the four and a half weeks until the deadline to make moves is awfully risky. Last night was a reminder.

2. Isn’t it incredible how much the Yankees rely on Beltran to create offense? Exactly two Yankees had a 100 OPS+ or better going into last night’s game: Beltran (136) and Chris Parmelee (376). That’s it. Out of everyone. Even the guys with one or two plate appearances. Beltran and Parmelee. Everyone else has been below-average — not even average, below-average — in terms of OPS+. The Yankees have a few guys in the 95-99 OPS+ range and that’s pretty much it. Beltran is the offense. I really have no idea how they would score runs without him. It’s amazing anyone has pitched to him the last few weeks. I know the offense will be even more painful if the Yankees trade Beltran, but man, it’s for the greater good. Besides, it’s not like winning games will be a priority at that point anyway.

3. As much as I love him, I don’t want the Yankees to put Alex Rodriguez back in the lineup full-time while Beltran is out, even if it’s only for a day or two. It would be the easiest move, but I say to stick to the plan of sitting Alex against righties — the Yankees will face a righty starter tonight and tomorrow — and use the DH spot for someone else. Mark Teixeira‘s a good candidate given his recent knee trouble. That allows the Yankees to play both Rob Refsnyder (at first) and Aaron Hicks (in right), and I’d like to see those two get more at-bats. Just keep playing them and see what happens. If A-Rod does return to the regular lineup with Beltran out, then play Refsnyder in right over Hicks. Either way, Beltran’s injury is an opportunity to give a young player at-bats. Someone who might actually have a future with the team. That’s the silver lining.

(Free Adams/Times Leader)
(Free Adams/Times Leader)

4. As soon as the injury happened, I couldn’t help but think about the possibility of an Aaron Judge call-up. Would it be exciting? Hell yes. But I stand by what I said yesterday. Give him some more time in the minors as he continues to make all these adjustments at the plate — he’s added a bigger leg kick and lowered his hands and who knows what else this year — and go with someone else in right. Hicks, Refsnyder, Ben Gamel, whoever. A prospect’s timetable should not change because someone else gets hurt. Judge didn’t suddenly become MLB ready because Beltran felt something in the hamstring, you know? This guy is not just the right fielder of the future. He’s the right fielder of the future and possibly the No. 3 or 4 hitter of the future. Calling Judge up now would feel like a panic move to me, and those are the worst possible moves you can make.

5. One non-Beltran thought: man does the James Kaprielian injury suck. He had all the look of a quick moving college starter who could maybe help the Yankees late this season, but instead he’s looking at a lost year of development. Even if his upcoming trip to see Dr. ElAttrache brings good news, a strained flexor tendon typically requires several weeks of rehab, and you know the Yankees are going to play it safe. Kaprielian’s season may very well be over and that totally bites. Even if he didn’t reach the show this season, he figured to put himself in position to be an early call-up next year, and that was exciting. Now, who knows? Maybe the Yankees should just forfeit all their first round picks to sign free agents going forward. It seems they’re all cursed. Sigh. I guess no good velocity spike goes unpunished.

Yankees lose Beltran and get shut down by Hamels in a 7-1 loss to the Rangers

I don’t know to make this one sound any better than it was besides saying “at least there wasn’t any three-hour rain delays tonight!” (Poor Mike) Okay, back to the sadness. The Yankees ran into one of the hottest pitchers in AL in the month of June and lost their best hitter very early in the game. CC Sabathia pitched well but everything pretty much fell apart in the eighth to make the win virtually unattainable. Last night, the Yankee offense at least showed some life. Tonight, offense was minimal. The final score was 7-1 Rangers.

(Rick Schultz/Getty Images)

Hard Luck CC

One of the more frequently-stated lines of the night was “CC pitched better than his line indicates” and it’s because it’s true. Sabathia had tough luck more than one way tonight. Not only did he not get support from his lineup, but also he was charged for six earned runs in seven innings. If you didn’t watch the game, trust me – he did much better than that.

CC wasn’t too sharp in the very beginning though. The Rangers struck in the very first inning. Ian Desmond got on first with a single and Adrian Beltre followed it up with a homer to the opposite field to make it 2-0 Rangers in the first inning. From then on though, Sabathia was just dealing.

From the second to seventh inning, he allowed only three baserunners and, of course, no runs. According to Brooks Baseball, he topped out at 94.3 mph, which is a good sight. He was hitting 93 mph in the eighth inning against Shin-Soo Choo, so it’s good to see that velocity maintained late as well. Speaking of which, that eighth inning spelled doom for not only CC but also the team.

Sabathia hit Choo with a pitch to start the eighth inning. On a 0-2 count, nonetheless. Desmond followed it up with a single on a grounder that deflected off of Sabathia. If these two outcomes were different, Sabathia could’ve had a nice line to exit with tonight. However, Beltre followed it up with a sharp single that deflected off Chase Headley‘s glove and trickled into center. Choo scored to make it 3-0 Rangers. Prince Fielder followed up with a double down the right field line that scored Desmond. Sabathia exited with a 4-0 deficit and once Anthony Swarzak allowed inherited runners to score, the big lefty was charged with six earned runs. Welp. Life ain’t fair.

Sabathia had a final line of 7 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 2 K’s and 1 HR allowed. His ERA rose from 2.71 to 3.17. Man, that’s rough.

Handcuffed Bats

(Getty)

Cole Hamels had been on a roll prior to tonight’s start. In the month of June, the lefty had pitched to a 1.82 ERA in five starts. But fear not, maybe guys like Carlos Beltran can make something happen! Except he exited the game early after hitting a single. In the first inning, Beltran drilled a liner that reached the left field wall that looked like a sure double. However, he stopped at first. He is not a fast guy but it seemed like he could have easily taken second. Joe Girardi and athletic trainer Steve Donohue came out to examine him and Beltran soon exited. Not ideal!

The Yankees had a chance in the fourth with one out and runners on first and second. Didi Gregorius hit a bloop single that barely missed Rougned Odor’s glove, and Chase Headley followed it up with a soft grounder for another base hit. The next batter, Aaron Hicks, hit a hard liner to left but it was right towards 3B Beltre. The third baseman caught it and doubled Didi off at second. Ouch. Two very soft hit balls set up the chance but once a guy hits it hard, the entire inning gets wiped away. Story of this team’s season.

Besides the first and fourth innings, uh, not much there to highlight besides that. Hamels pitched seven scoreless. The lefty threw to a 7.0 IP, 6H, 1BB, 7 K line – neat and tidy if you are a Rangers fan. RAB may have New York Rangers fans but probably zero Texas Rangers readers. So uh, a yucky showing by the Yankee bats.

A Run!

As soon as Hamels departed the mound, the Yankee lineup immediately abolished the shutout. Jake Diekman, a hard-throwing lefty, came into relief in the bottom of the eighth. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a double to lead off and advanced to third on a Rob Refsnyder fly ball to right. A-Rod followed it up with a sac fly to center to drive Ellsbury in. A run! Sound the (moral) victory alarms! The Rangers still led 7-1, a score that would never change.

Leftovers

As mentioned before, Anthony Swarzak came into the eighth inning to somehow make a no out, runners on second and third situation better. Well, I’ll tell you what, Swarzak ain’t David “Houdini” Robertson. He ended up allowing both runners to score and, in fact, he added an earned run of his own! After starting the eighth with a 2-0 deficit, Yankees got out of the inning trailing 7-0.

Conor Mullee, who was called up earlier today, got the call to take care of the garbage time ninth inning. I don’t know how you saw it, but I thought he looked pretty darn good tonight. He struck out Choo and Desmond swinging and retired Beltre with a fly ball.

Box Score, Highlights, WPA and Standings

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


Source: FanGraphs


Will the Yankees get a win this four-game series? They will have Masahiro Tanaka on the mound versus Nick Martinez for the Rangers on Wednesday.