The Yankees have called up right-hander Jim Miller from Triple-A Scranton, the Yankees announced. Righty Jose Ramirez was sent down in a corresponding move. The Yankees needed to add a fresh arm after burning through their bullpen in extra innings last night. CC Sabathia was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot.
Miller, 32, has a 2.85 ERA (3.11 FIP) in 41 Triple-A innings this season. He appeared in one game with the Yankees last September, allowing three runs in 1.1 innings. Ramirez showed a very live arm in his limited time with the team but was erratic, which is not uncommon for young pitchers. Some more time in Triple-A won’t be the end of the world. · (15) ·
I was only partially paying attention, but did hear Michael Kay mention last night that the Yankees lead the league in relief appearances of more than four outs this season. They have 80 such relief appearances, seven more than the White Sox. That’s basically one relief appearance of 4+ outs per game at this point of the year. Last season they only had 101 such outings, for comparison.
On an individual level, Dellin Betances leads baseball with 22 relief appearances of at least four outs while Adam Warren is tied for fourth with 15 such appearances. (Ex-Yankees property Tommy Kahnle and Dan Otero rank second and third, coincidentally.) Betances and Warren are on pace for 96 and 86.2 innings this season, respectively, at a time when only 12 relievers have thrown 86+ innings in a season since 2009.
Joe Girardi has been very good at keeping his relievers fresh and controlling their workload in recent years, but it does seem both Betances and Warren may be starting to wear down a bit these last few days. Warren struggled in back-to-back outings last week (and last night, but he escaped the jam) and Betances just hasn’t looked as sharp. This could just be a case of two relievers going through rough stretches at the same time, obviously.
“I know when I have to give them days off, and I understand that,” said Girardi to Chad Jennings following last night’s game. “Betances has been a starter in his career and has logged a lot of innings, and so has Warren. But there’s times where you just say, ‘You know what? I have to give them two days and get them back recharged.’”
Shawn Kelley‘s return from the disabled list early last month was supposed to make life easier on Betances and Warren, though he has put 14 men on base and allowed five runs in seven innings of work since returning. He loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a hit batsman in last night’s game before escaping with two strikeouts. Yeah, the end result was a zero on the scoreboard, but again Kelley was shaky. He hasn’t been able to move back into a late-inning role just yet.
Between the general bullpen workload and Kelley’s recent ineffectiveness, not to mention the season-long inability to find a decent sixth reliever and long man, the Yankees could find themselves in the market for a relief pitcher or two at the trade deadline. In fact, Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday that New York will “seek to add another reliever to increase their depth and reduce the burdens on Betances and Warren,” so this isn’t just my crazy idea.
Now, obviously, bullpen help is a secondary concern at this point. The Yankees need rotation and lineup help much more desperately than they do another reliever, especially considering their internal options. Even with Preston Claiborne on the Triple-A Scranton DL they still have interesting hard-throwers like Danny Burawa and Diego Moreno in the minors. Matt Daley is still around as well, plus acquiring a starter could push someone like Chase Whitley into a relief role.
The Yankees received some fine bullpen relief work in May (3.53 ERA and 2.85), but the relievers worked hard and had to throw 94.1 innings. (They threw 79.1 innings in April and 80 in May, for comparison.) The bullpen’s overall performance suffered last month (4.28 ERA and 4.18 FIP), possibly as a result of that workload. Getting rotation help and more length from the starters will lighten the load on the relievers, but at this point the Yankees could also wind up having to add another bullpen arm before the deadline.
The Yankees officially wrapped up the first half of the 2014 season last night with a 4-3 extra innings loss to the Rays. They currently own a decidedly mediocre 41-40 record with an awful -33 run differential that ranks ninth worst in the game. It feels like this team loses nothing but blowouts and wins nothing but close games, last night notwithstanding. Nothing comes easy.
Now that the season is halfway complete, I want to look back and compare the team’s current position to where they were last year at this point. Last year’s squad, as you know, was decimated by injuries (especially on the position player side) and only the second Yankees team to miss the postseason in 19 years. Here is a quick nuts and bolts comparison of the last three half-seasons:
|W-L||RS||RA||Run Diff.||AVG||OBP||SLG||ERA||FIP||Def. Efficiency|
|’13 1st Half||42-39||310||326||-16||.239||.302||.379||3.87||3.68||0.692|
|’13 2nd Half||43-38||340||345||-5||.246||.312||.372||4.00||3.90||0.692|
|’14 1st Half||41-40||326||359||-33||.252||.316||.382||4.00||3.82||0.697|
Right now, this year’s club is marginally better than the team the Yankees trotted out there in the second half last season despite a worse record. They’ve performed slightly better at the plate — the difference is basically a few points of batting average, which hasn’t translated to more runs — and in the field and almost identically on the mound. The first half of this year has gone much better offensively and much worse run prevention-wise than the first half of last season.
The difference between this season’s team and the one that closed out last season is very small, which is a big problem. The 2013 Yankees were hit hard by injuries and scrambled for replacements all summer. This year’s team added over $500M worth of contracts to the roster and have not benefited from them in the standings at all. Masahiro Tanaka‘s been outstanding, Jacoby Ellsbury‘s been very good, and just about every other offseason addition has been terrible. Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran have truly been $30M+ worth of dead weight through 81 games.
The problem is two-fold. Not only is like, half the roster underperforming, but now the Yankees are locked into even more big money contracts with even less roster flexibility. They drew a lot of criticism for having an old, expensive, declining, veteran-based roster a year ago, yet they doubled down on that over the winter. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I don’t think. It only looks really bad when those guys underperform, which is something young players are certainly capable of doing as well. The Yankees needed better players this past offseason, not necessarily younger players. That got neither (in terms of actual, on-field performance).
The Yankees are only 2.5 games out of a playoff spot with half-a-season to play and I think the best thing that can happen to them right now is some kind of streak. Either win a whole bunch of games or lose a whole bunch of games. They have 13 games remaining before the All-Star break and either winning or losing about eleven of them would provide some clarity before the trade deadline. The standings say this team is still in contention, but man, watching them day after day does not inspire confidence. Going on some kind of run, either good or bad, puts the front office in a better position to make decisions before July 31st.
Of course, I fully expect the Yankees to go about 7-6 in these next 13 games and be in just about the same position they are right now. That’s what they’ve been doing all season. Whenever they’ve had a chance to beat up on some direct competition or take advantage of a soft part of the schedule, they’ve broken even. If they continue to do that, they’ll look to add pieces at the deadline, perhaps aggressively so because missing the postseason a second straight year will really take a bite out of the bottom line. There is bound to be some desperation setting in and I have a hard time seeing how that can be good.
The Yankees have been wholly underwhelming this season and the numbers bear that out, especially compared to last year. Outside of about five players (Tanaka, Gardner, Ellsbury, Dellin Betances, David Robertson), I don’t find this team to be particularly enjoyable to watch either. That’s just my opinion. They took steps to improve on last year’s performance over the winter and by and large those moves have backfired. The shape of the production may be different, but overall the team is simply not any better than last year’s mess.
I have to say, I was pretty surprised by the outcome of Monday’s game. I totally thought Shawn Kelley was going to blow it when the Rays had the bases loaded with one out in the 11th inning. Instead, he escaped the jam and Jose Ramirez did the honors in the 12th inning. The Yankees lost the series opener 4-3 in excruciatingly familiar fashion.
A Tale Of Two Bullpens
He said he feels fine after the game, but it looks to me that Dellin Betances is starting to feel the effects of his workload. He came into Monday’s game having thrown 47.1 innings in the team’s first 80 games, and his stuff has generally not looked as crisp over the last week or so. Joe Girardi called on him in the eighth inning and he walked two of four batters faced, throwing 21 pitches in the process. It was his third appearance in four days (64 pitches).
The heavy workload isn’t just limited to Betances either. Adam Warren threw 42 innings in the team’s first 80 games and recently went through a little rough stretch himself. He threw 29 pitches on Monday and loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh before escaping the jam. David Robertson, the one reliever who hasn’t been worked especially hard (because he’s married to a specific inning as the closer), allowed the go-ahead single to Ryan Hanigan in the eighth, a run that was charged to Betances.
All told, Girardi’s trusted late-game trio of Betances, Warren, and Robertson combined to put six men on base in 3.1 innings, including four via walks. Kelley, who has been shaky since coming off the disabled list, loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a hit by pitch in the 11th inning, but he escaped with two strikeouts. He threw 23 pitches. Ramirez finally allowed the game-losing run on a two-out walk, a stolen base, and a single by Logan Forsythe. Girardi’s bullpen allowed two runs and put ten men on base in 6.1 innings.
The Rays relievers, meanwhile, shut the Yankees down. Yes, Joel Peralta did allow the game-tying solo homer to Brian Roberts with one out in the bottom of the ninth — it was a total golf shot, the pitch couldn’t have been more than about nine inches off the ground — but otherwise four relievers held the Yankees to four base-runners in five innings. New York stranded a runner at third in the eighth and a runner at second in the tenth. One bullpen executed, one labored.
Two Runs Two Times
David Phelps had a pretty representative David Phelps start — two runs on four hits (two solo homers) and three walks in 5.2 innings with four strikeouts. I feel like if you took all of his career starts, the average pitching line would look something like that. Matt Joyce (first inning) and Kevin Kiermaier (third) hit the homers. Phelps threw 101 pitches and left runners on first and second for Warren with two outs in the sixth. He pitched out of the mess.
The Yankees scored their first two runs in the third inning thanks to an Ichiro Suzuki hit-by-pitch, a Brett Gardner triple, and a Derek Jeter ground ball to second. Jacoby Ellsbury followed that with a walk and a stolen base, but that was it. He didn’t move any further. The Yankees went a combined 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, though to be fair, Gardner lined into a tough luck double play in the seventh inning. He scorched the ball right at James Loney at first, who threw to second to double up Roberts before he could get back to the bag. What can you do?
The Yankees walked eight batters for the second straight game. It’s the first time they’ve walked 8+ batters in back-t0-back games since August 2009, in that four-game series against the Red Sox with the 15th inning Alex Rodriguez walk-off homer and the Johnny Damon/Mark Teixeira back-to-back homers off Daniel Bard. You know what I’m talking about. I know you do. Good times.
On the other hand, the Yankees drew two walks and have drawn two or fewer walks in four straight and six of their last seven games. Don’t get me wrong, this offense is terrible, but the run scoring will increase as soon as they start taking some more walks. Pitchers aren’t pounding the zone aggressively, they’re swinging at stuff off the plate. Not enough discipline. Everyone’s squeezing sap out of the bat.
Ellsbury held up on Brian McCann‘s bloop single with two outs in the eighth, when it appeared Brandon Guyer had a chance to make the catch. If he puts his head down and runs hard the whole way, Ellsbury probably scores. But he had to hold up to make sure Guyer didn’t trap the ball cleanly and make a play at third base. Nothing you can really do there. Unfortunate play.
The Yankees sacrifice bunted for the fourth time in the last five games — Ichiro bunted Roberts to second in the seventh. Do you know how many runs those four bunts created? One. That’s it. Considering how much they are struggling to score runs, I’m all for swinging away. Give the offense as many opportunities as possible. This team is in no position to give away free outs.
And finally, the 2014 season is officially halfway over. The Yankees are 41-40 at the halfway point of the season and 84-78 in their last 162 games. They’ve lost seven of their last nine games overall. They stink.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, MLB.com is the place to go. FanGraphs has some more stats and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Blue Jays had a scheduled off-day but the Orioles won, so the Yankees are 2.5 games of Toronto and one game back of Baltimore in the AL East. They’re three games back of the Mariners for the second wildcard spot with both the O’s and Royals ahead of them.
Same two teams on Tuesday night, when Hiroki Kuroda and David Price square off. Might be Price’s last ever start for the Rays. That game and Wednesday’s series finale are the final two home games before the All-Star break, so head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch either.
Some real quick notes:
- LHP Manny Banuelos will come off the Double-A Trenton DL to start tomorrow, according to Nick Peruffo. He’s been out with a blister issue.
- RHP Luis Severino was named the High-A Florida State League Pitcher of the Week after his six-inning, no-hit outing the other day. Congrats to him.
- According to Matt Eddy, the Yankees have signed Texas Tech LHP Jonny Drozd, Dallas Baptist C K.J. Alexander, and Texas Tech OF Adam Kirsch as undrafted free agents.
- UNC Wilmington RHP Jordan Ramsey (32nd rounder) told Eric Detweiler will not sign and instead return to school for his senior season. He confirmed the Yankees did offer him an above-slot bonus.
Triple-A Scranton (9-7 loss to Lehigh Valley)
- RF Jose Pirela: 1-5, 1 RBI — they’re not playing him in right field for fun, he might be coming up soon
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-4, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 CS
- LF Zoilo Almonte: 1-3, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K
- 3B Zelous Wheeler: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K, 1 HBP — 19 doubles and seven homers in 64 games
- DH Kyle Roller: 0-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K
- C John Ryan Murphy: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
- 1B Scott Sizemore: 2-3, 2 R, 2 3B, 2 RBI, 1 BB — last five hits have done for extra bases (two doubles, two triples, one homer)
- SS Dean Anna: 0-4, 1 K
- CF Taylor Dugas: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI
- RHP Bruce Billings: 6 IP, 12 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 8/4 GB/FB — 66 of 103 pitches were strikes (64%)
- RHP Danny Burawa: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 3/1 GB/FB — 21 of 37 pitches were strikes (57%)
- RHP Matt Daley: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB — ten of 15 pitches were strikes (67%)
So here we are, the halfway point of the season. Well, technically we’re still one game away from the true halfway point, but that’s close enough. Depending on the outcome of tonight’s game, the Yankees will be either 42-39 or 41-40 through the first half of the season, and neither is particularly great. They’ve certainly looked the part of a near-.500 team for long stretches of time.
The last place Rays — like, literally last place, worst record in baseball last place — are in town for three games and I can’t think of a better way to start the second half of the season than by pounding a terrible team. The Yankees have a soft schedule heading into the All-Star break, at least on paper, and they need to take advantage. They didn’t in similar situations earlier this season. Here is the Rays lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- C Brian McCann
- DH Carlos Beltran
- 3B Kelly Johnson
- 2B Brian Roberts
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
RHP David Phelps
It has been overcast all day in New York and that will continue to be the case tonight, but there is no rain in the forecast, thankfully. First pitch is scheduled for just after 7pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and ESPN nationally. Enjoy the game.
Injury Updates: As expected, CC Sabathia (knee) will make his second minor league rehab start with Double-A Trenton on Thursday. He is scheduled to throw approximately 50 pitches.
All-Star Update: Derek Jeter remains the leading vote-getter at shortstop with a healthy 600k vote lead over Alexei Ramirez. No other Yankees are in line to start the game. Here is the latest voting update and here’s the ballot. Voting ends at midnight Thursday.
The YAI Network, once a HOPE Week honoree, has joined the folks from Charm City Cakes’ Baltimore headquarters to hold a fundraising effort during the Yankees-Orioles series in Baltimore on Sunday, July 13th. A portion of the proceeds will be donated directly to YAI Network.
These classes are fun, engaging and have sold out quickly in the past. For more information, including sign-up details and a sneak peek at the Yankees/Orioles cakes, please click here. The Orioles have donated four tickets to the July 13th game vs. the Yankees, with batting practice field passes included. Guest judges will choose their favorite Yankees and Orioles-themed cakes and will award each winner a pair of tickets to that evening’s game.
Since 1957, the YAI Network has been providing hope and opportunity to people of all ages with developmental disabilities and their families. Our organization includes more than 450 programs and serves more than 20,000 people every day. To learn more about YAI’s mission, please visit their website. · (6) ·
According to information allegedly leaked from the Astros’ proprietary “Ground Control” database, the Yankees offered to eat $4.5M of Ichiro Suzuki’s $6.5M salary in order to facilitate a trade with Houston at some point before the season. They also called to ask about a trade involving Chris Stewart before sending him to the Pirates. The leaked info was posted on Anonbin and dug up by Deadspin.
We heard the Yankees were willing to eat salary to move Ichiro all winter, so this isn’t a surprise. Now we just know exactly how much. More importantly, holy crap someone leaked a bunch of trade chatter from a team’s internal database. It reads like a fantasy league message board too — we’ll trade our okay veteran for your top prospect, stuff like that. Here’s the link again. Make sure you check it out. This kind of leak should never ever ever happen. · (41) ·
Once again, the Yankees are set to play a division rival as the Rays come to town for three games. This will be the Bombers’ fifth straight series against an AL East opponent and they’ve lost three of the first four. The Yankees will pass the season halfway mark tonight. It’s time to start stringing together some wins. They split four games in Tampa in mid-April and lost two of three to the Rays in the Bronx in early-May.
What Have They Done Lately?
The Rays just did the Yankees a solid and took three of four from the Orioles (in Baltimore!) over the weekend. Tampa has won four of their last five and eleven of their last 18 games overall. Despite that, they still have the worst record (35-49) and sixth worst run differential (-37) in baseball.
Manager Joe Maddon’s team is league average offensively with a team 100 wRC+ and an average of 3.79 runs per game. The Rays are currently without OF Wil Myers (wrist), OF David DeJesus (hand), and SS Yunel Escobar (shoulder). Myers and DeJesus are on the disabled list and won’t be returning anytime soon. Escobar is day-to-day and could return to the starting lineup as soon as tonight.
As usual, Maddon’s lineup is built around 3B Evan Longoria (107 wRC+) and 2B/OF Ben Zobrist (109 wRC+), but neither is having a particularly great year. OF Matt Joyce (121 wRC+) has been their best regular hitter while 1B James Loney (104 wRC+) and OF Desmond Jennings (103 wRC+) have been solid. OF Kevin Kiermaier (162 wRC+ in limited time) has been awesome filling in for Myers.
The rest of the offense is mix and match. C Ryan Hanigan (98 wRC+) and C Jose Molina (14 wRC+) share catching duties while UTIL Sean Rodriguez (96 wRC+) and OF Brandon Guyer (102 wRC+) sub in against lefties. OF Cole Figueroa (49 wRC+ in very limited time) and UTIL Logan Forsythe (76 wRC+ in limited time) fill out the bench. Tampa has stolen the third fewest bases in the league (Jennings leads the team by far with 12), so these aren’t the runnin’ Rays of a few years go.
Monday: RHP David Phelps (vs. TB) vs. RHP Chris Archer (vs. NYY)
Once David Price gets traded, the 25-year-old Archer is going to take over as the staff ace by default. He has a 3.29 ERA (2.96 FIP) in 16 starts and 93 innings this year, with improved strikeout (8.32 K/9 and 21.8 K%) and ground ball (47.5%) rates compared to his strong rookie campaign a year ago. Archer’s walk rate (3.48 BB/9 and 9.1 BB%) has jumped a bit and his homer rate (0.29 HR/9 and 3.9 HR/FB%) is unsustainably low at this point. I don’t think that will last all year. Righties (3.41 wOBA) have actually fared better than lefties (2.55 wOBA) so far this year, which is odd because Archer is a mid-90s fastball/mid-80s slider guy. He throws only a handful of mid-80s changeups per start and those guys tend to have platoon splits, not reverse platoon splits. Small sample, I guess. Archer has never not pitched well against the Yankees — in four starts and 28.2 career inning against New York, he’s allowed four runs and 20 base-runners.
Tuesday: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (vs. TB) vs. LHP David Price (vs. NYY)
Could this be Price’s final start with the Rays? I think that’s possible for every one of his starts from here on out. Price, 28, has a 3.63 ERA (3.00 FIP) in 17 starts and 124 innings this year, but that really undersells just how good he’s been. He has 144 strikeouts (10.45 K/9 and 28.4 K%) and 14 walks (1.02 BB/9 and 2.8 BB%) on the season, and has struck out at least ten batters in each of his last five starts. The last pitcher to strike out double-digit batters in five straight games was sicko Johan Santana back in 2004. Price’s ground ball rate (42.8%) has been about average but he has been homer prone (1.23 HR/9 and 13.3 HR/FB%). His platoon split is small. As always, Price remains a fastball machine, throwing his low-to-mid-90s two and four-seamer and mid-80s cutter more than 70% of the time combined. He backdoors the cutter to righties for called strikes better than anyone I’ve ever seen. Unhittable pitch. Mid-80s changeups and upper-70s curveballs round out his repertoire. The Yankees have seen Price twice this season. One start went well for them (six runs in five innings) and the other didn’t (two runs in seven innings).
Wednesday: LHP Vidal Nuno (vs. TB) vs. RHP Jake Odorizzi (vs. NYY)
After a very rough start, the 24-year-old Odorizzi has turned his season around of late, allowing two or fewer runs in each of his last four starts. He owns a 4.14 ERA (3.16 FIP) in 16 starts and 82.2 innings with a very high strikeout rate (10.56 K/9 and 25.2 K%). His walk rate is kinda high (3.70 BB/9 and 9.5 BB%), his ground ball rate is low (35.6%), and his homer rate is probably a touch low as well (0.76 HR/9 and 7.4 HR/FB%). Righties (.318 wOBA) have been a bit better than lefties (.297 wOBA). Reverse platoon splits seems to be a trend on Tampa’s staff. Odorizzi uses a four-seamer right around 90 mph to set up his mid-80s slider, which is his top secondary pitch. He’ll throw a handful of mid-80s changeups and rainbow upper-60s curveballs per start. The Yankees scored three runs in four innings the only time they saw Odorizzi earlier this year.
Because RHP Grant Balfour (4.27 FIP) had some big time meltdowns earlier this year, Maddon has been using a closer by committee system in recent weeks. Balfour, LHP Jake McGee (1.58 FIP), RHP Joel Peralta (4.22 FIP), and RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo (4.50 FIP) have all grabbed saves at one point or another. McGee in particular has been fantastic and is not just a lefty specialist.
Peralta, RHP Brad Boxberger (4.27 FIP), RHP Kirby Yates (4.52 FIP in very limited time), and LHP Cesar Ramos (4.46 FIP) all pitched in yesterday’s game. Ramos threw 45 pitches and probably won’t be available tonight in anything other than emergency. Everyone else threw only one inning and should be good to go tonight. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s bullpen and then check out The Process Report for everything you need to know about the Rays.
The Yankees continue to prioritize pitching help in trade talks, Brian Cashman confirmed to Brendan Kuty. About a week ago we heard they were targeting starters “almost exclusively.” “I’m looking to make some additions if I can, so I’d like to try to do things before (CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda) get back if possible,” said the GM. “But I’ve already been trying. There’s a reason we haven’t done anything. It’s not because of a lack of phone calls. But we’ll see.”
I think it goes without saying that the Yankees need both pitching help and offensive help. This isn’t a one or the other thing, they need both. Sabathia is still a few weeks away, Pineda just started (another) throwing program, Chase Whitley is not so slowly turning into a pumpkin, and Vidal Nuno is Vidal Nuno, so bolstering the rotation is definitely a pressing need. The Yankees have some internal options that may be able to give the lineup a shot in the arm, but no such pitching options exist. As always, the sooner they can swing trades to improve the roster, the better their chances of actually going to the postseason. · (120) ·