Game 29: Win it for Mom

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. You’re all pretty cool and I hope you had a wonderful day.

As for the Yankees, they’re on the verge of sweeping the Red Sox, and that’s pretty awesome. If you told me two days ago the Yankees would win two of three this weekend, I would have taken it in a heartbeat. Now? Now I’m greedy. I want the sweep. Go make mom proud. Here is the BoSox’s lineup and here is the Yanks’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. 2B Starlin Castro
  3. C Brian McCann
  4. DH Mark Teixeira
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. 1B Dustin Ackley
  7. CF Aaron Hicks
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 3B Chase Headley
    RHP Luis Severino

It was just a gorgeous afternoon for baseball in New York today. Too bad this game has to be played at night. It’s still nice and pleasant out, but, you know, the sun has gone down. Lame. Tonight’s series finale will begin a bit after 8pm ET and you can watch on ESPN. Enjoy.

Injury Update: Jacoby Ellsbury (hip) remains day-to-day. If he is not ready in five or six days, the Yankees will consider putting him on the DL.

DotF: Judge homers for fourth time in last eight games in Scranton’s loss

Triple-A Scranton (5-4 loss to Lehigh Valley)

  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB — threw a runner out at second for his fifth outfield assists in 23 games in the outfield … fourth homer in his last eight games
  • C Gary Sanchez: 1-5, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • CF Slade Heathcott: 0-4, 1 BB, 2 K — 8-for-38 (.211) since missing a few days after taking a pitch to the hand
  • DH Nick Swisher: 0-5, 2 K — in an 0-for-13 skid
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-4 — the hitting streak is up to a dozen games
  • RHP Luis Cessa: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 6/5 GB/FB — 58 of 97 pitches were strikes (60%) … had allowed six earned runs total in his first four outings at this level
  • RHP Matt Wotherspoon: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 20 of 32 pitches were strikes (63%) … home debut with the RailRiders for the Scranton area native
  • LHP James Pazos: 0.2 IP, zeroes, 2 K — ten pitches, seven strikes

[Read more…]

Nate and the Round Trippers

(Getty)
(Getty)

Far be it from me to criticize Nathan Eovaldi after the start he turned in yesterday. He twirled eight great innings, giving up just two runs on only six hits while striking out six and walking no one. One of those runs, however, came via a Jackie Bradley homer, which caused our very own Sunny to make an observation:

Eovaldi seems to be giving up dingers in a very alarming rate compared to how well he kept the balls in the park last year

A quick glance at the numbers shows us that Sunny’s hunch is, indeed, correct. In terms of raw dingers, Eovaldi’s already given up six this year; he surrendered just ten all of last season. His career high is an acceptable 14, set the year before last with the Marlins. In terms of HR/FB%, Nate’s clocking in at a whopping 19.4%, well above his previous career high of 8.1 (2012) and career norm of 7.7. His mark so far is good for fifth worse in the AL. The season’s still fairly young, so he has plenty of time to bring this number back down. That doesn’t mean, though, that it’s not a problem worth examining.

Let’s start on a positive note: Eovaldi’s blistering fastball has not left the yard much during his Yankee tenure. In 2015, it turned into a homer on only 0.48% of the time it was thrown; so far this year, it’s even better at a whopping 0.00%. We can attribute this trend to the fact that he’s allowing fewer fly balls per ball in play this year at 13.46 percent, compared to 21.33% last year. Fewer fly balls, fewer home runs. Pretty simple. His other pitches, though have seen spikes in fly ball rates, and in turn, spikes in home run rates.

The fly ball rates on his slider, curve, and splitter have risen by 21.3%, 7.74%, and 1.73% respectively. Not surprisingly, his homer rates–measured by HR/(FB+LD)–have risen big time as well, including a humongous number with his curveball: 50%. 50% of the fly balls and line drives Eovaldi’s given up via the curveball have gone for home runs. Yikes! But, his curveball is the pitch he utilizes the least. The narrative around Eovaldi–aside from his high-octane fastball–has focused on his ability to develop his splitter. Though improved, it’s still a work in progress. This year, it has an 18.18% HR/(FB+LD) mark, which is more damaging than the gaudy mark on the curve, since he throws the splitter so much more often. Take a look below at batters’ (both LHB and RHB) ISO against the split:

(BrooksBaseball.Net)
(BrooksBaseball.Net)

Those red spots are telling. Regardless of who’s batting, a splitter in those locations is going to get hammered. For a right-handed batter, that’s a tumbling pitch at a better hitting speed than a straight fastball. For a lefty, those are meatballs that didn’t break right, begging to be hammered. This all reminds me of a similar issue that Masahiro Tanaka had late last year. Pitchers who rely on splitters are going to get hurt when those pitches don’t, well, split. That seems to be happening a bit with Eovaldi this year. Luckily, his whiff/swing% on the split is nearing 30% and he’s getting grounders on it exactly two-thirds of the time (66.67%) it’s being put into play. The pitch is an overall positive that needs some polishing. Hopefully as the season goes along, he gets it to drop out of the zone more and the grounders and whiffs stay, while the homers recede.

DotF: Sanchez and Mateo homer again in wins

Some quick roster notes:

  • RHP Brady Lail has been promoted to Triple-A Scranton, so says Josh Norris. Lail has a 4.23 ERA (4.24 FIP) in 27.2 innings for Double-A Trenton this year. He started today in place of RHP Luis Cessa, and I’m guessing the Yankees held Cessa back in case they needed to call him up to help the bullpen.
  • Both OF Michael O’Neill and OF Zack Zehner were placed on the High-A Tampa DL, according to Nick Flammia. OF Carlos Vidal and UTIL Devyn Bolasky will take their place on the roster. Vidal was just bumped up from Extended Spring Training to Low-A Charleston last week. They like him enough to send him to High-A already, even temporarily.

Triple-A Scranton (8-7 win over Lehigh Valley in ten innings, walk-off style)

  • RF Aaron Judge & DH Nick Swisher: both 0-5, 3 K — womp womp … Judge did throw a runner out at the plate though
  • C Gary Sanchez: 3-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI — third homer in his last four games … he’s 10-for-19 (.526) with three doubles and three homers in his last four games
  • CF Slade Heathcott: 0-1, 1 K — he was lifted in the third inning because he was having problems with his new contacts, according to Shane Hennigan
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 K — 17-for-44 (.386) during his eleven-game hitting streak
  • 1B Chris Parmelee: 3-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI — walk-off dinger
  • RHP Brady Lail: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 5/2 GB/FB — 42 of 67 pitches were strikes (63%) … 14/20 K/BB in 40.2 career Triple-A innings
  • LHP Tyler Olson: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 3/5 GB/FB — 24 of 45 pitches were strikes (53%)
  • RHP Conor Mullee: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 24 of 44 pitches were strikes (55%)

[Read more…]

Saturday Open Thread

I command you to read Billy Witz on Aroldis Chapman. Chapman’s suspension is up Monday and Witz looks at the southpaw’s routine over the last few weeks. Aside from working out at the team’s Spring Training complex, he’s also seeing counselors as part of his discipline under the domestic violence policy. Chapman is eager to join the Yankees but he also remains unrepentant about the incident that earned him the suspension. Check it out. Really good stuff from Witz.

Here is the open thread for the rest of the day. The Mets are playing later and MLB Network will show a bunch of regional games throughout the evening. You’ve also got NHL and NBA playoff action as well. And the Kentucky Derby is on too, if that’s your thing. Talk about those games, this afternoon’s win, or anything else right here. Have at it.

The Big Hits Finally Arrive: Didi & Beltran back Eovaldi in 8-2 win over Red Sox


Source: FanGraphs

Don’t look now, but the Yankees have won two in a row and three of their last four games. They’ve scored at least seven runs three times in their last six games too. Are they turning it around? Possibly! For now I’m just happy with another win. The Yankees beat the Red Sox 8-2 Saturday afternoon. Let’s recap with bullet points, because it’s Saturday and I stayed up way too late writing last night’s recap.

  • The Big Hit: Finally! It sure looked like the Yankees were going to blow that bases loaded situation in the fourth inning, but Didi Gregorius wouldn’t let it happen. He hooked David Price’s 0-2 changeup into the right field corner for a bases-clearing half-swing double to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead. It wasn’t even a bad pitch. Didi just went down and got it.
    Didi Gregorius Aaron HicksWe could all feel the RISPFAIL coming when Gregorius fell behind in the count 0-2 against Price. Thankfully, it never did come. The Yankees have been waiting for a hit like that all season.
  • Nasty Nate: It was not always pretty, but boy, give me two runs and eight innings out of Nathan Eovaldi eight days a week and twice on Sundays. He allowed the first run on a dumb little shift-beating squibber and the second on a solo homer, and those things happen. Eovaldi managed to hold the BoSox to two at-bats with runners in scoring position. That’s it. Nasty Nate finished with those two runs allowed on six hits and no walks in eight innings. He stuck out six. Huge outing. The Yankees absolutely needed that with the bullpen short. That’s four good to great starts in a row for the rotation, by the way.
  • The Other Big Hit: The Yankees did it again! In the bottom of the fifth, the Yankees put two on with one out, and they again cashed in those runners. Carlos Beltran came up with the big two-strike, two-out double into the left field corner to score both runs and make it 6-2 Yankees. That was rather huge. They were going to need all the insurance they could get with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller unavailable. Price walked two and Beltran made him pay. B-e-a-utiful.
  • Leftovers: Home plate umpire Chris Conroy had a very tight strike zone, and it definitely seemed like Price got screwed more than Eovaldi. Here’s the PitchFX zone plot … three Yankees had multiple hits: Chase Headley, Gregorius, and Austin Romine. How about that? Headley and Didi had two hits each, Romine had three … Aaron Hicks went 1-for-3 with a walk and a sac fly. He seems to be coming around a bit … everyone in the starting lineup reached base at least once … Nick Goody finished things off with a perfect ninth … this is the Yankees’ third series win of the season. They’ve played nine three-game series.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Don’t forget to check our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages either. The Yankees and Red Sox will wrap this series up Sunday night on ESPN. Blah. Luis Severino and Steven Wright will be the pitching matchup.

Game 28: Short-Handed

Cut that hair, Gamel. (Presswire)
Cut that hair, Gamel. (Presswire)

The Yankees never seem to win an easy game these days, and last night’s win was easily the biggest nail-biter of the season. Between injuries and workloads, the team is pretty short-handed today. Jacoby Ellsbury (hip) is banged up, Alex Rodriguez (hamstring) and CC Sabathia (groin) are on the DL, and neither Dellin Betances nor Andrew Miller is available because they’re pitched so much lately.

It’s a long season and inevitably you’re going to run into games like this along the way. No one is going to feel bad for the Yankees. All they can do is grind it out and figure out a way to win. They’ve won two of their last three, you know. That’s good. It’s something positive to build on. Here is the Red Sox’s lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Aaron Hicks
  3. 2B Starlin Castro
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. DH Carlos Beltran
  6. RF Dustin Ackley
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. C Austin Romine
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi

It’s another cloudy and cool day in New York. At least it’s not raining though. This afternoon’s game will begin at 1:05pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Injury Update: Ellsbury is still on the active roster but is expected to miss a few days. He doesn’t need a DL stint though … Sabathia played catch today and said he feels pretty good. He hopes he’ll be able to be activated after the 15 days and doesn’t think he’ll need a rehab start.