DotF: Sauer makes pro debut in GCL doubleheader

Let’s get started with some notes, shall we?

  • Keith Law (subs. req’d) got a look at Low-A Charleston recently and had some notes on OF Estevan Florial. “(Florial) is a physically imposing, athletic kid with a big, furious swing who is loading his hands a little deep and creating some length, which might explain his high strikeout rate this year,” said the write-up.
  • Here is Baseball America’s analysis of yesterday’s big trade with the White Sox. It is not behind the paywall and it includes the latest scouting reports on OF Blake Rutherford, LHP Ian Clarkin, and OF Tito Polo, if you’re interested.
  • With Rutherford and Clarkin gone, OF Jake Cave and OF Billy McKinney have moved into MLB.com’s top Yankees prospects list. Not sure I agree with Cave being a top 30 prospect in this system, but to each his own.

Triple-A Scranton (6-3 win over Norfolk)

  • SS Tyler Wade: 1-3, 1 R, 2 BB — 4-for-14 (.286) with three walks and six strikeouts in four games since being sent down
  • LF Jake Cave: 2-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 K — so maybe he is a top 30 prospect
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 1-5, 1 2B, 2 K
  • RF Billy McKinney: 2-4 — 10-for-28 (.357) during his little seven-game hitting streak
  • CF Mason Williams: 2-4, 2 R, 1 K
  • RHP Domingo German: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 33 of 52 pitches were strikes (63%) … prior to this game, he’d thrown 7.1 innings and 121 pitches over the last 31 days … he needs to pitch, not sit in the bullpen as the eighth reliever, so hopefully he stays down here and starts until the Triple-A season ends
  • RHP Gio Gallegos: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 21 of 32 pitches were strikes (66%)
  • RHP J.P. Feyereisen: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HB, 4/1 GB/FB — 17 of 28 pitches were strikes (61%)
  • RHP Ben Heller: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 1/1 GB/FB — 26 of 37 pitches were strikes (70%) … first outing since his two innings of hero ball in the 16-inning game against the Red Sox on Saturday

[Read more…]

Wednesday Night Open Thread

The Yankees played (and lost) earlier today, and now they’re heading out to the West Coast for a four-game set with Seattle. During this baseball-less night, I recommend Tom Verducci’s article on how the Yankees have veered away from one of the core principles of pitching. They don’t pitch off their fastball. The Yankees throw the lowest percentage of fastballs in baseball. “Fastballs get hit,” said pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Make sure you check out Verducci’s article. Really great stuff.

Here is an open thread for the evening. The Mets are playing (on ESPN) and that’s about it. Talk about that game, this afternoon’s loss, the Verducci article, or anything else here. Just not religion or politics.

Bad second inning sends Yankees to 6-1 loss to Twins

All the good feelings from Tuesday’s big trade with the White Sox were wiped away within two innings Wednesday afternoon. The 2017 Yankees do not mess around. The Yankees dropped Wednesday’s series finale 6-1 to the Twins. They are now 0-8-2 in their last ten series and 10-22 in their last 32 games. The Yankees have been playing at a 51-win pace for the last 20% of the season.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

All With Two Outs
Jordan Montgomery‘s rough July continues. He was able to complete five innings Wednesday afternoon — he hadn’t done that in either of his previous two starts — though the Yankees were staring at a 6-0 deficit before Montgomery recorded his sixth out. All six runs scored with two outs in the second inning too. At one point he allowed three straight hitters to reach in two-strike counts. Blah.

Rookie Zack Granite, who came into the game 2-for-22 (.091) in seven MLB games, got the scoring started with a two-run single to center. That was disappointing for a few reasons. One, Granite was 2-for-22! Two, Granite was the No. 9 hitter. Three, Montgomery had the left-on-left platoon advantage. And four, Montgomery was on the verge of escaping the jam after getting a big shallow fly out with runners on second and third from the previous batter.

As disappointing as the Granite two-run single was, if Montgomery could keep it at two runs, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. He couldn’t do that though. The next three batters all reached base, all in two-strike counts. Brian Dozier walked, Eduardo Escobar drove in another run with a single, then Miguel Sano clobbered a hanging curveball …

jordan-montgomery-miguel-sano

… in an 0-2 count for a three-run home run. That escalated quickly. Impressively bad location on that pitch to Sano. Hang a curveball there and he’ll hit it a mile. Stop the bleeding at two runs? Fine. Three runs? Argh, whatever. Three-run bomb in an 0-2 count and two outs? *throws hands up and walks away*

I guess the good news is Montgomery did settle down a bit after the six-run second inning and was able to chew up some innings to spare the bullpen. He retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced after the Sano home run. His final line: 6 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. Montgomery has now allowed 14 runs in 19.2 innings in four July starts. Hopefully it’s just a little rookie wall and he snaps out of it soon. The Yankees sure need him to.

Operation Shutdown
The Yankees had their best chance to score against Jose Berrios in the second inning, when Didi Gregorius (walk) and Clint Frazier (walk) reached with one out, and Austin Romine (walk) with two outs to load the bases. The Romine at-bat was really good. He was down in the count 0-2, but battled back to get ball four. Alas, everyday player Ronald Torreyes grounded out to end the threat.

Once the Twins put up six runs in the second, we saw more than a few “it’s a getaway day so let’s get this over quick” at-bats. Berrios threw 49 total pitches from the third through sixth innings, and gave up only three baserunners in the process. One of those three baserunners was an infield single. Another was a hit-by-pitch. It wasn’t until Brett Gardner‘s two-out single in the seventh that the Yankees finally got on the board. By then it was too little, too late.

Jacoby Ellsbury struck out with runners on second and third to end that seventh inning, which was New York’s last best chance to make it a ballgame. With Wednesday’s one-run effort, the Yankees have now scored 20 runs in 85 offensive innings since the All-Star break. That’s 2.12 runs per nine innings. If the offense were a pitching staff, they’d be great.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
Welcome to the Yankees, Todd Frazier. He made his debut with the team as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning — his flight from Chicago was delayed and he didn’t get to the ballpark until after the game started — and struck out against Berrios. Clearly the trade is a failure. Frazier remained in the game at third base and was not tested defensively. He did take a pitch to the hand in the ninth inning, but remained in the game.

Welcome back to the Yankees, Tommy Kahnle. Well, I guess it’s not really welcome back since he never actually played for the Yankees, right? He only played in their farm system. Whatever. Kahnle struck out two a perfect eighth and ran his fastball up to 100 mph. Even though they got in late, I’m glad Frazier and Kahnle played. Get those “first game as a Yankee” jitters out of the way.

Two hits for Gardner, two hits for Frazier, two hits for Starlin Castro, and one hit for the rest of the Yankees. That was a Gregorius single in the eighth inning. Gregorius and Romine drew the only walks. I miss offense. Perhaps getting all the regulars in the lineup on the same day at some point would help.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head on over to ESPN for the box score and updated standings, and MLB.com for the video highlights. Here’s our handy dandy Bullpen Workload page and here’s the loss probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees are done in Minnesota and are now heading west for a four-game series in Seattle. It’ll be Luis Severino against Felix Hernandez in Thursday night’s series opener/passing of the torch.

Contract talks between the Yankees and Joe Girardi could get pretty interesting this offseason

(Bob Levey/Getty)
(Bob Levey/Getty)

Following this season the Yankees will shed a pair of massive contracts in Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia. Those two are making a combined $46M this season — yes, the Yankees are still paying A-Rod — plus it’s possible Masahiro Tanaka will opt out of the three years and $67M left on his deal. That’ll all go a long way to helping the Yankees get under the $197M luxury tax threshold next season.

Two other key members of the organization will become free agents after the season: Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi. Cashman’s quick fix youth movement has been a smashing success so far (despite the last 31 games), so I can’t imagine the Yankees won’t bring him back. They might have to fend off some suitors — the Marlins under new ownership? — and give him a raise into the Andrew Friedman ($7M annually) and Theo Epstein ($10M annually) pay grade, but I think the chances of a Yankees-Cashman reunion are pretty high.

As for Girardi, he is a favorite of Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner, and other are two pretty good people to have in your corner. Girardi is wrapping up a four-year contract worth $4M annually, which, at the time it was signed, made him the second highest paid manager behind Mike Scioscia. The Yankees and Girardi — and the Yankees and Cashman, for that matter — have not yet discussed a new contract, which isn’t unusual. They always wait until the offseason for this stuff.

“To be honest, I only worry about this year,” said Girardi to Dan Martin when asked about his contract last month. “I’m not really worried about seven years down the road, ten years down the road. There’s a lot of things that could happen in my life that could make me want to do it or make me not want to do it — or prevent me from doing it.”

This is, incredibly, Girardi’s tenth season with the Yankees. Only Miller Huggins, Joe McCarthy, and Joe Torre have had longer continuous managerial stints in franchise history. I don’t think Girardi has had a particularly good year strategically — a bad bullpen makes every manager look bad, though Girardi has had a few too many “this doesn’t give the Yankees the best chance to win” moments — and as far as I can tell, he’s great in the clubhouse. That to me is every bit as important than the X’s and O’s on the field.

And yet, I feel like the odds of an offseason divorce — they’re not firing him midseason no matter how bad things get, no way, no how — between the Yankees and Girardi are greater than they have been at any other point during his tenure. Two reasons for that:

1. The Yankees might miss the postseason again. There are still 70 games to play this season and the Yankees are right in the thick of the both the division and wildcard races, but missing the postseason again is a very real possibility. The Yankees are 10-21 in their last 31 games. That’s rough. If the freefall continues, it’ll be one postseason games in five years for the Yankees. How many managers survive that? Even with rebuilding teams?

2. Other teams could come after Girardi. If the Mets (finally) part ways with Terry Collins, I imagine Girardi would among their top choices at manager. The Marlins could come calling under new ownership. Dusty Baker’s contract with the Nationals will be up after the season. The Tigers and Pirates could both be in the market for a new skipper too. What happens if Bruce Bochy decides to retire because of his ongoing heart issues? Girardi figures to have some options this winter. It won’t be Yankees or bust.

My gut feeling is ownership is happy with their management team and the overall direction of the franchise, even after this rough month, and even if the Yankees miss the postseason again. There’s a ton of high-end young players in the organization and the payroll is starting to clear up. As frustrating as these last few weeks have been, the future is awfully exciting. The Yankees have an exciting young core and will soon have a lot of money to spend.

Because of that, I expect both Cashman and Girardi to be back next year. Both will probably leverage opportunities elsewhere into healthy raises because that’s what anyone in their shoes should do, but I think they’ll be back. Cashman is ultra-loyal to the Yankees and I don’t think he wants to leave. I don’t think Girardi wants to leave either, and it helps that those above him are on his side.

Game 93: The New Guys

(Jonathan Daniel/Getty)
(Jonathan Daniel/Getty)

The Yankees and Twins are wrapping up their three-game series this afternoon, and the Yankees will have three new players in uniform. Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle are all available today even though their flight from Chicago was held up by bad weather and they’re not expected to arrive at the park until around first pitch. The Yankees are a much better team right now than they were 24 hours ago. No doubt about it.

As for this afternoon’s game, the Yankees have a chance to do something they haven’t done in more than a month now: win a damn series. They’re 0-7-2 in their last nine series dating back to that massacre weekend against the Orioles. It’s about time for this extended run of crappiness to end. The front office went out and got the Yankees some help. Now it’s up to the players to turn things around. Here is the Twins’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. DH Gary Sanchez
  4. 2B Starlin Castro
  5. SS Didi Gregorius
  6. RF Clint Frazier
  7. 1B Garrett Cooper
  8. C Austin Romine
  9. 3B Ronald Torreyes
    LHP Jordan Montgomery

It is a lovely afternoon for baseball in the Twin Cities. Nice and sunny with temperatures in the 80s. Good day to play hooky and sit in the bleachers. This afternoon’s series finale will begin at 1:10pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Roster Moves: Even with Tyler Clippard going the other way in the trade, the Yankees still needed to clear two 25-man and two 40-man roster spots following the trade. Ji-Man Choi was designated for assignment to clear one of each. Chasen Shreve was sent down to clear the other 25-man spot and Rob Refsnyder was designated for assignment to clear the other 40-man spot. Choi will likely clear waivers and go to Triple-A Scranton. I bet Refsnyder ends up getting traded for nothing in particular. Either that or they’ll lose him on waivers.

Uniform Numbers: Clint Frazier has switched from No. 30 to No. 77, which is an expert troll move. He said it has nothing to do with Mickey Mantle though. He thought it would look cool with No. 77 and No. 99 in the outfield. Robertson is wearing his old No. 30. The other Frazier, Todd, is wearing No. 29. He wore No. 21 with the Reds and White Sox. I guess the Yankees are just never going to put that number back in circulation, huh? Kahnle is wearing No. 48.

Thoughts following the big trade with the White Sox

Frazier. (Christian Petersen/Getty)
Frazier. (Christian Petersen/Getty)

Are the Yankees buyers or sellers? That question was answered definitively last night. The Yankees completed a big seven-player trade with the White Sox that brings Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle to New York. Going the other way are Blake Rutherford, Tyler Clippard, Ian Clarkin, and Tito Polo. There’s a lot going on here and I have some thoughts, so let’s get to it.

1. For all intents and purposes this trade is Rutherford for Frazier, Robertson, and Kahnle. The Yankees aren’t going to miss Clippard at all. He was included in the trade to offset salary. Clarkin is a former first rounder, but his stock has been slipping since his 2015 elbow injury and he’s fallen behind several other pitching prospects in the system. Polo has a classic fourth outfielder’s profile in a system loaded with outfielders. Also, both Clarkin and Polo will be Rule 5 Draft eligible after the season and I thought it was unlikely the Yankees would add either to the 40-man roster. They could have lost both guys for nothing in the offseason — I absolutely could see Polo sticking in the big leagues as an extra outfielder next year — and instead they turned them into big league help. The Yankees gave up one very good prospect plus stuff for three players who represent significant upgrades to their MLB roster. No one wants to see Rutherford go, but man, getting two high-end relievers for one top prospect is a hell of thing these days.

2. I don’t think the Yankees soured on Rutherford. I think this was simply a matter of having to give up a top prospect to get the deal done, and getting it done without giving up an MLB or near MLB piece. Rutherford’s really good! He’s also in Low-A ball and the Yankees have Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier in the big leagues with Dustin Fowler waiting once healthy. Don’t forget Tyler Wade and Jorge Mateo either. And even Aaron Hicks. He’s pretty cool too. There’s also Estevan Florial at Low-A as well. The Yankees have more quality outfielders than they could ever possibly roster. If they were going to dip into their system and trade one of their top prospects, the outfielder several years away from the big leagues is the one to give up. The Yankees kept all their close to MLB prospects and the kids who play positions of greater need. Rutherford was probably my favorite prospect in the system, so in that sense I’m bummed to see him go. I totally get it though.

3. My biggest qualm with giving up Rutherford in this trade is the opportunity cost. What else could they have gotten for him? Could the Yankees have used Rutherford as the centerpiece in a package for a controllable starting pitcher? Joel Sherman says the Yankees offered Rutherford to the White Sox for Jose Quintana, so they tried. I guess it wasn’t happening though. It’s only natural to wonder what else was out there. The Yankees do know what else was out there though. They didn’t decide on a whim yesterday to include Rutherford in this trade. They looked around the league, weighed their options, and decided this was the best way to maximize him as an asset. The Yankees haven’t gotten taken to the cleaners in a trade in a long time. Brian Cashman and his staff do their due diligence and there’s no reason to think they didn’t here. I trust that they explored the rotation trade market before agreeing to this deal with Rutherford.

4. One component of this trade you can’t quantify is the message it sends to the players. The guys already on the team. The Yankees just told everyone in the clubhouse we believe in you. We believe you’re good enough to win and we’re going to get you the help you need. Last year the message was the complete opposite. You guys aren’t good enough, so we’re going to trade some of our best players and hope for better days ahead. Now, just a year later, the Yankees are buying. I’m certain the guys in the clubhouse are fired up by this, especially everyone who sat through the trade deadline sale last year. How much will it translate to production on the field? I have no idea. I don’t think this is negligible though. The Yankees sent a message to their players with this trade and that message is we believe in you and we’re going to give you whatever support you need. How could anyone not be excited by that?

5. As for things we can quantify, holy smokes is this bullpen going to miss a lot of bats now. The lowest strikeout rate among the regular relievers belongs to Adam Warren at 25.7%. There are currently 152 relievers in the big leagues who have thrown at least 30 innings this season. Four of the top 15 strikeout rates now belong to Yankees:

3. Tommy Kahnle: 42.6%
4. Dellin Betances: 42.5%
8. Chad Green: 37.4%
15. David Robertson: 35.6%

Aroldis Chapman hasn’t thrown 30 innings because he spent all the time on the disabled list, but he has a healthy 32.7% strikeout rate this year as well. Bring me a bullpen full of guys who can miss bats and get outs without allowing a ball in play. To hell with ground balls and weak pop outs and all that. Give me big strikeout totals in the late innings. The Yankees have that now. Well, they have more of it now. Adding Robertson and Kahnle to Betances and Chapman and Green gives Joe Girardi plenty of options when he needs a strikeout. I love it.

(Matthew Stockman/Getty)
Kahnle. (Matthew Stockman/Getty)

6. Kahnle is the main piece in this trade. Not Frazier or Robertson. Frazier is the former All-Star and Home Run Derby champ, and Robertson is a Proven Closer™, but Kahnle is the reason the Yankees had to give up Rutherford. He’s been unreal this season — he has a 2.50 ERA (1.47 FIP) with 42.6% strikeouts and 5.0% walks in 36 innings — and he’s also only 27 with three full years of team control beyond 2017. And his arbitration salaries won’t be significant because he doesn’t have many career saves (only three). The Yankees believe they just acquired three and a half years of an elite reliever in his prime. Of course, Kahnle has never pitched this well before, mostly because he never threw this many strikes. His career walk rate prior to this season was 14.1%. It was 13.0% in the minors. What changed? Here’s what Kahnle told Colleen Kane back in April:

“It’s just a few changes, one with the leg kick and keeping my head on a straight line,” Kahnle said. “That’s basically keeping me going toward home plate and keeping my fastball command right there. (I’m) just a little more focused as well. (The leg kick) is basically just modified so I don’t sway back or take too long with my arm action. That way I’m opening up. But now I’m more closed with a direct line to the catcher.”

And there you have it. Kahnle streamlined his delivery and is now more on-line with the plate. That’s pretty big for the whole “throw strikes” thing. Will it last? Who knows. I wouldn’t blame you for being skeptical. Heck, I am a little. I mean, Kahnle probably won’t be this good forever. He certainly wouldn’t be the first live-armed reliever to figure out how to throw strikes in his mid-to-late-20s though. Robertson did it. Andrew Miller did it. Lots of guys do it. The Yankees believe in Kahnle’s newfound control and that’s why they traded for him. He’s the main piece here. Frazier and Robertson are the big names and they’re pretty awesome in their own right. Kahnle’s the most impactful player the Yankees acquired in this trade.

7. As for bullpen roles, my guess is Girardi will bump Betances back to the seventh inning and use Robertson as the eighth inning guy ahead of Chapman. That’s fine. Dellin’s walk issues and general inability to hold runners mean he is no longer a great option to bring into the middle of an inning to put out a fire. He’s best off starting an inning fresh, at least until he starts throwing strikes again. The best option for that fireman role is Kahnle. He’s got the huge strikeout rate and he won’t beat himself with walks. That’s the guy Girardi should use in the highest of high-leverage spots, when he needs to escape a jam in a close game. Let Betances, Robertson, and Chapman have the assigned innings — you know Girardi is going to assign innings — and let Kahnle be the fireman. This really is a hell of a bullpen now. The Yankees have the three-headed monster in the late innings, Kahnle available to put out fires, and Warren and Green for whatever other situations arise.

8. Speaking of Green, I’ve already seen some speculation that this trade could tempt the Yankees to move him back into the rotation, and I am completely against that. The bullpen is the place for him. Green still doesn’t have a changeup and he’s an extreme fly ball pitcher (29.0% grounders this year). He’s not equipped to turn over a lineup multiple times. I absolutely believe learning how to get outs in the bullpen can help a pitcher when he transitions back to the rotation — I’ve said this before, but I don’t think Luis Severino turns into the pitcher he is today without that stint in the bullpen last year — but with Green, I don’t see the tools to start. He’s found a home in the bullpen and there’s no shame in carving out a career as a reliever. Not these days. Let him continue to air it out in one and two-inning stints. If anything, Warren is the guy the Yankee should move into the rotation, not Green. Warren definitely has the repertoire and command to start. (I say that as the world’s biggest Adam Warren fan, so I’m biased.)

9. This trade felt like the start of a series of moves for the Yankees prior to the trade deadline, not the move. I think they’re going to look high and low for rotation help. They’d love a controllable guy, we all know that, but if they have to settle for a rental, they’ll do it. You don’t make a trade like this only to stick with Luis Cessa or Bryan Mitchell every fifth day, you know? A starter is the top priority now and that’s understandable. I could also see the Yankees pursuing a true matchup left-on-left reliever. Someone better at neutralizing lefties than Chasen Shreve. I suppose a bullpen southpaw isn’t all that important since the Yankees have several righty relievers who can get out lefties (Warren, Betances, Robertson), but it would be nice to have. Rotation help is far and away the priority right now. If the Yankees happen to find a lefty reliever too, great. Point is, I think there’s something else coming. The Yankees didn’t make this trade with the intentional of calling it a deadline and hoping for the best.

10. As for Frazier, he’s going to play everyday and I expect him to spend most of his time at first base. I could see a convoluted platoon in which Frazier (first base) and Chase Headley (third base) play against righties while Frazier (third) and Garrett Cooper (first) play against lefties. Something like that. First base has been an absolute disaster this season — the Yankees have gotten a .183/.272/.355 (66 wRC+) batting line from the position this year, which gave me a headache just typing it out — even when factoring Cooper’s and Ji-Man Choi‘s recent heroics. Frazier, as flawed a hitter as he is, will be a big upgrade. He could be worth as much as +2 WAR to the Yankees the rest of the way relative to the guys he’s replacing. Hopefully he comes in, is energized by being in a postseason race for the first time in several years, and goes all 2000 David Justice in the second half.

Yankees 6, Twins 3: The offense finally wakes up

The Yankees had themselves a productive little Tuesday, eh? They made a big seven-player trade with the White Sox and also picked up a much-needed 6-3 win over the Twins to create a little breathing room in the wildcard race. The Yankees are an even 3-3 since the All-Star break.

(Hannah Foslien/Getty)
(Hannah Foslien/Getty)

Cessa Struggles
Holy moly what a brutal start by Luis Cessa. I mean, it wasn’t a total disaster (three runs in 3.2 innings), but geez, the guy could not throw strikes. He walked three and hit a batter … in the first inning. Cessa also gave up a solo homer to Miguel Sano and, well, it happens. I’m not going to get mad about that. He then allowed a loud run-scoring triple to Brian Dozier after (yep) falling behind in the count. The final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K. Yuck.

With Michael Pineda done for the season, Tuesday’s start was a pretty good opportunity for Cessa to seize a rotation spot for the foreseeable future. Bryan Mitchell pitched well enough Monday — not great, but good enough — but the Yankees decided to option him down Tuesday. Will Cessa get another start? Eh. It wouldn’t surprise me. Then again, the wheelin’ and dealin’ Yankees could swing something before then. Just please, not another start like this.

The Offense Breaks Out
Bartolo Colon went into Tuesday’s start with an 8.14 ERA (5.07 FIP) in 63 innings, so of course he started the game with three scoreless innings. Sigh. The Yankees finally got on the board in the third inning thanks to a leadoff single by Aaron Judge, a one-out single by Didi Gregorius, and a two-out single by Chase Headley. Three singles, one run. Love that small-ish ball.

It wasn’t until the fourth inning, when the 44-year-old Colon was visibly fatigued, that the offense really broke out. The Twins were up 3-1 at the time. The first four men the Yankees sent to the plate that inning reached base. Ronald Torreyes got it started with a single. Brett Gardner then dunked a ground rule double just fair inside the line in the left field corner, and Gary Sanchez knotted the game up with a two-run double into the left field corner. Exhale.

(Hannah Foslien/Getty)
(Hannah Foslien/Getty)

The Sanchez double ended Colon’s night at 82 pitches. He looked completely out of gas. In came Ryan Pressly, who allowed the go-ahead single to Judge. Hooray for that. Judge is starting to come around a bit. His five-game slump has been annoying. Two batters later Gregorius gave the Yankees some much-appreciated breathing room with a loud two-run home run to right field. The Yankees were down 3-1 when the inning started. They were up 6-3 when it ended.

More Stellar Bullpen Work
Who is this bullpen and what have they done with the Yankees bullpen? Maybe they didn’t need to make the David Robertson/Tommy Kahnle trade after all. I kid, I kid. But seriously, how good has the bullpen been since the All-Star break? Aroldis Chapman had the ugly ninth inning Friday and Caleb Smith got hung out to dry Monday night, otherwise it’s been nothing but zeroes.

Chasen Shreve was the first man out of the bullpen and he escaped Cessa’s mess with a strikeout. Shreve then tossed a scoreless fifth inning, and Adam Warren retired all six men he faced in the sixth and seventh. Dellin Betances made things interesting in the eighth — the inning went double, strikeout, hit batsman, strikeout, walk, line out — but escaped without allowing a run, and that’s all that matters. Chapman pitched around a leadoff walk in the ninth.

The final line on the bullpen: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HBP. Pretty darn good. The Yankees didn’t go out and get Robertson and Kahnle for the hell of it. They really need those guys. The bullpen has been mess for a few weeks now. They’ve been better since the All-Star break, so perhaps this means the guys who are already here are turning things around, and now the Yankees have two new high-end relievers as well. That’d be cool.

(Hannah Foslien/Getty)
(Hannah Foslien/Getty)

Leftovers
Big day for the bats. The Yankees had 13 hits, including three each by Gregorius and Torreyes. Gardner, Sanchez, and Judge had two apiece as well. Matt Holliday went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and is now 3-for-27 (.111) with eleven strikeouts since coming off the disabled list. He’s been really late on fastballs too. Hopefully it’s just rust and not something more serious.

Not a whole lot to add other than that. The Yankees picked up a win, remained in postseason position, and added three new players to the roster. Fun day.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and updated standings, go to ESPN. MLB.com has the video highlights and we have a Bullpen Workload page. Here’s the ol’ win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Twins will wrap-up this three-game series with a Wednesday matinee. That’s a 1pm ET start. Jordan Montgomery and Jose Berrios are the scheduled starting pitchers. Then it’s off to Seattle.