7/31 to 8/2 Series Preview: Detroit Tigers

(Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
(Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

I started writing this series preview this morning, about eight hours before the trade deadline, in the hopes that these two teams wouldn’t look entirely different before this hit the front page. That’s likely a fool’s errand, though, as most major deals on deadline day are announced with mere moments to spare, and this is scheduled to publish at 2 PM EST. And these two teams are expected to be active today, albeit on opposite ends of the buy-or-sell spectrum.

The Last Time They Met

The Tigers visited New York last June, from the 10th through the 12th. They took 2 of 3 that time around, dropping the Yankees to 31-32 on the season. And through that point that was the norm for the Yankees, as they spent the majority of the first half within two games of .500. Here are some notes from that series:

  • CC Sabathia, Dellin Betances, and Anthony Swarzak combined to pitch a gem in the first game of the series, a 4-0 Yankees win. They allowed eight baserunners (6 hits, 2 walks) and struck out 7 in 9 innings.
  • Former Yankee Shane Greene came in in relief in the 7th inning in games two and three … and he was relieved in the 8th inning by former Yankee Justin Wilson both times.
  • Four of the six Yankees relievers that pitched in this series (Swarzak, Kirby Yates, Nick Goody, Richard Bleier) are no longer in the organization.

For more information, check out Katie’s Yankeemetrics post.

Injury Report

LHP Daniel Norris and OF Alex Presley are both on the disabled list, and neither is expected to return for this series.

Their Story So Far

The Tigers are 47-56 with a -24 run differential, and are currently eight games out of the Wild Card race. They announced that they would be sellers back on July 18, when they sent J.D. Martinez to the Diamondbacks in exchange for prospects, and they dealt Justin Wilson and Alex Avila to the Cubs just last night. Rumors around Justin Verlander and Ian Kinsler have been swirling for a few weeks, as well, but there doesn’t seem to be anything in the works as of this morning.

Under-performance has been the Tigers greatest issue this season, as Miguel Cabrera (152 wRC+ to 103), Ian Kinsler (123 to 93), Nick Castellanos (119 to 96), and Victor Martinez (120 to 90) have all regressed heavily as opposed to last season; and Justin Verlander (136 ERA+ to 101) and Daniel Norris (123 to 82) have done the same on the pitching side of the game. It’s difficult to win games when the heart of your order and the top of your rotation struggles so tremendously.

The Lineup We Might See

Manager Brad Ausmus has been fairly consistent with his lineups, with the greatest discrepancies being caused by injuries, a catcher platoon (which no longer exists, thanks to the Avila deal), and the Martinez trade. Barring another trade, we’ll probably see something like this:

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  2. Mikie Mahtook, CF
  3. Justin Upton, OF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  6. Victor Martinez, DH
  7. James McCann, C
  8. Andrew Romine, RF
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

The Starting Pitchers We Will See

Monday (7:05 PM EST): RHP Luis Severino vs. RHP Michael Fulmer

For better or worse, most Yankees fan know Fulmer best as the pitcher that stole the AL Rookie of the Year from Gary Sanchez last year. Many expected him to see a dip in his production this season, due to the wide gulf between his ERA (3.06) and FIP (3.76), as well as his second-half drop-off (he had a 4.76 ERA in September), but that hasn’t really happened. His ERA has risen from 3.06 to 3.35 this year, but it’s still good for a 129 ERA+ – which ranks 10th in the American League.

Fulmer is a four-pitch guy, with a mid-90s four-seam fastball, a mid-90s sinker, a high-80s slider, and a high-80s change-up. He doesn’t get many strikeouts (6.4 K/9), but he keeps the ball on the ground (50.0 GB%).

Last Outing (vs. KC on 7/25) – 8.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 6 K

Tuesday (7:05 PM EST): LHP CC Sabathia vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez

Sanchez was a solid starting pitcher from 2006 through 2014, pitching to a 3.53 ERA (117 ERA+) in 1177.0 IP. He missed parts of several seasons with injuries, but he was reliable when he was on the field. Since then, however, he has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball, with a 5.55 ERA (74 ERA+) over the last three seasons. He’s bounced between the rotation and the bullpen these last to seasons, and the Tigers are likely counting down the days until the end of the season, when they can buy him out of his team option for 2018.

The 33-year-old Sanchez is a five-pitch pitcher, with a low-90s fastball, low-90s sinker, mid-80s slider, low-80s change-up, and high-80s curveball. None of those offerings is particularly effective, though.

Last Outing (vs. KC on 7/26) – 3.2 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 K

Wednesday (1:5 PM EST): RHP Masahiro Tanaka vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann

Two years ago, the Tigers signed Zimmermann to a five-year deal worth $110 MM. It wasn’t an entirely unreasonable deal, as he had averaged 203 IP of 3.13 ERA ball from 2012 through 2015, and he wouldn’t turn 30 until May of 2016. It hasn’t worked out, as Zimmermann has posted a 5.29 ERA (80) ERA+ in his time in Detroit, while also missing time with injuries.

Zimmermann has five pitches in his repertoire, but he focuses on three for nearly 95% of his offerings – a low-to-mid 90s four-seamer, a mid-to-high 80s slider, and a low-80s curve. He’ll also through a sinker and change-up, but those are more show-me pitches.

Last Outing (vs. KC on 7/28) – 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 2 K

The Bullpen

The Tigers are ostensibly closer-less right now, as Justin Wilson was filling that role most recently. He wrested that gig from Francisco Rodriguez, who was released in June, signed by the Nationals, and then released again. That’s not great news for a bullpen that has the worst ERA and FIP in baseball.

The expectation is that Shane Greene (2.74 ERA in 46.0 IP) will inherit the role for now, and recent call-up Joe Jimenez (12.46 ERA in 4.1 IP) will be groomed for it going forward. Alex Wilson (4.25 ERA in 42.1 IP), Daniel Stumpf (2.25 ERA in 20.0 IP), Chad Bell (6.10 ERA in 31.0 IP), Bruce Rondon (12.41 ERA in 12.1 IP), and Drew VerHagen (6.75 ERA in 4.0 IP) round out the group.

Yankees Connection

Shane Greene pitched well for the Yankees in 2014 (78.2 IP, 102 ERA+), but he is most memorable for being dealt for Didi Gregorius in December of that year. He was mostly bad for the Tigers in 2015 and 2016 (144.0 IP, 63 ERA+), but he seems to have found his niche as a short reliever this year.

Utility player Andrew Romine is the older brother of Austin Romine, and arguably the more successful of the two. He has a 67 wRC+ in 1070 MLB PA, and has spent most of the last four years on big-league rosters.

Who (Or What) To Watch

I’m looking forward to Sanchez and Fulmer squaring-off, which, depending on the Yankees batting order and ability to hit, will happen in the first or second inning. We could also see Gregorius vs. Greene, but that’s far less exciting.

Yankeemetrics: Gardy party rages on (July 27-30)

(AP)
(AP)

Brett Gardner, walk-off hero
You can add another chapter to the never-say-die tale of this rollercoaster season thanks to a thrilling and dramatic comeback win on Thursday night. After blowing a 3-0 lead in the fifth inning, the Comeback Kids rallied to tie the game in the ninth, setting the stage for the Gritty, Gutty Elder to win it on a blistering walk-off shot two frames later.

It was the Yankees fifth win this season when trailing at the start of the ninth frame, tied for the second-most such wins in the majors through Thursday, behind only the Dodgers (6). It’s a stunning reversal from last year’s team, which had only three wins of this kind during the entire season. And over the last 15 seasons, its the only time they’ve had five such wins before August 1. Hooray!

Brett Gardner sparked the stunning ninth inning rally with a lead-off triple and then scored the game-tying run on Gary Sanchez‘s two-out RBI single. El Gary’s grounder, which just barely sneaked through the infield, had a hit probability of only 19 percent, based on the combo of exit velocity (98.3 mph) and launch angle (-18 degrees) recorded by Statcast.

Aroldis Chapman held the Rays scoreless in the 10th and 11th innings as he needed just 19 pitches (16 strikes!) to mow down the six batters he faced. It was only the fourth time in his career he’s pitched at least two perfect innings, and the first time since September 2011 with the Reds.

Gardner then led off the bottom of the 11th with a solo shot to right field that quickly cleared the fences and gave the Yankees another wild-and-crazy 5-4 win. It was Gardner’s third career walk-off homer, making him one of just seven Yankees since 1930 to smash at least three walk-off home runs as an outfielder. He joins Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Tom Tresh, Tommy Henrich, Charlie Keller and Yogi Berra in this legendary group.

As the hero of the night, he also earns our Obscure Yankeemetric of the Series: Gardner, who had moved to center in the ninth, became just the third Yankee centerfielder in the last 75 years to lead off an inning in extras with a walk-off homer. The others were two guys named Mickey — Rivers (1977) and Mantle (1959 and 1963).

And finally our favorite stat of the night:

Master Masahiro
No Comeback Mojo, No Fighting Spirit was needed on Friday as the Yankees jumped out to an early lead and continued to pummel the Rays with an unrelenting combo of power pitching and power hitting en route to a tidy 6-1 win.

Less than 24 hours after his shocking game-ending home run to beat the Rays, Brett Gardner wasted no time in delivering another huge offensive spark by drilling the third pitch he saw deep into the bullpen in centerfield. With that blast, G.G.B.G. became the third Yankee to follow-up a walk-off home run with a lead-off home run in the next game. Roberto Kelly in 1990 and Joe Gordon in 1940 also achieved the feat.

(AP)
(AP)

The two other flycatchers — Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier — provided the rest of the power punch, with Judge homering in the fourth and Frazier going deep in the fifth. It was the second time this year all three starting outfielders hit home runs (also on May 2). Over the last 25 years, the only other season the Yankees had two such games was 2000, and the guys that contributed in those two games were Paul O’Neill, Bernie Williams, David Justice and Ryan Thompson.

Chicks dig the longball, but the real star of Friday’s game was Masahiro Tanaka. The up-and-down right-hander was back in ace form, as he carved up the Rays lineup with his devastating slider/splitter combo — which generated 20 of his 21 whiffs! — in producing the most dominant performance of his career. He retired the first 17 batters he faced and finished with 14 strikeouts, no walks, two hits and one run allowed in eight brilliant innings.

That masterpiece earned Tanaka an exclusive niche in franchise history: he’s the first Yankee pitcher ever to strike out at least 14 guys and allow no more than two baserunners in a game.

Tanaka flashed this type of dominance earlier in the season, too, when he had 13 strikeouts against the A’s in May. With his second game of 13-plus strikeouts, he joined an impressive list of MLB pitchers this season to achieve that feat: Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, Chris Sale, Corey Kluber and Clayton Kershaw.

Tanaka also is one of four Yankees in the last 50 years to have multiple 13-strikeout games in a season, along with CC Sabathia (2011), Roger Clemens (2002) and Mike Mussina (2001).

(AP)
(AP)

Deja vu all over again
Thanks to another heavy dose of Comeback Kids potion plus a shot of Brett Gardner Magic elixir, the Yankees kept their winning streak alive in dramatic fashion on Saturday afternoon.

They erased three separate Rays leads before finally pulling out the thrilling victory in the bottom of the ninth inning for their fifth walk-off win of the season. Four of them have come since June 23, and in that five-week span through Saturday, only the Royals (5) had more walk-off wins than the Yankees.

G.G.B.G again showed off his flair for the dramatic with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth. It was his eighth career walk-off hit in pinstripes, a number that is surpassed by only four other Yankees since 1930: Mickey Mantle (16), Graig Nettles (12), Yogi Berra (10), and Joe DiMaggio (9).

It was also the second time in three days that he wore the walk-off hero’s cape, making him the first Yankee with two walk-off hits in a three-day span since … Gardner did it August 9-11, 2013 against the Tigers. The last Yankee before Gardner to do this was Claudell Washington in September 1988.

Gardner, doing his best to prove that the clutch gene is a real thing, is the only Yankee since 1930 to do this — two walk-off hits in three days — twice in a career.

#RISPfail
There would be no sweep for the Yankees, who dropped the series finale on Sunday and saw their confidence-boosting six-game win streak snapped. They suffered another frustrating defeat, going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranding 10 batters in the 5-3 loss.

Jordan Montgomery was maddeningly ineffective as he fell behind early and often, allowing the Rays to tee off on him in favorable counts. He gave up up four runs and needed 71 pitches to navigate a career-low 2⅔ innings, the third time in six July starts he failed to get through five innings.

The problem was crystal clear: Monty threw first-pitch strikes to only six of 16 batters (37.5%), the lowest rate in any of his 20 career outings and the worst by a Yankee starter this season. Here’s what that type of inefficiency looks like … yuck:

chart-11

The lone statistical highlight was his five strikeouts, which gave him 104 for his career, a noteworthy achievement for the lefty. He is the sixth Yankee to strike out at least 100 batters in his first 20 big-league games, joining Masahiro Tanaka, Al Leiter, Orlando Hernandez, Dave Righetti and Al Downing.

2017 Trade Deadline Open Thread: Monday

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The 2017 non-waiver trade deadline is now only hours away, not days. The Yankees addressed their fifth starter’s spot yesterday by acquiring Jaime Garcia from the Twins, two weeks after addressing their bullpen by acquiring David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox. They also added a stray Todd Frazier along the way. My hunch is the Yankees are not done.

Over the last few days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) we learned the Yankees are still looking to add another starting pitcher even after picking up Garcia yesterday. A first baseman and a left-on-left matchup reliever are also on the shopping list, though they aren’t top priorities. We’re going to keep track of the day’s Yankees-related rumors right up until the 4pm ET trade deadline, so keep it locked right here. All timestamps are ET.

  • 3:10pm: Sonny Gray will be a Yankee. It’s Gray and $1.5M in international bonus money for James Kaprielian, Jorge Mateo, and Dustin Fowler, per reports.
  • 2:46pm: A trade! But a small one. The Yankees traded Yefry Ramirez to the Orioles for more international bonus money, the team announced. The deal clears a 40-man roster spot, which could be useful soon.
  • 2:40pm: The latest non-update: the Yankees and A’s are still talking about Gray. [Sherman]
  • 12:11pm: The Athletics are said to be “infatuated” with Mateo, for what it’s worth. [Sherman]
  • 11:55am: Apparently the A’s want 3-4 players beyond the Torres/Frazier tier for Gray. The two sides have agreed to some names but are still haggling about the others. [Heyman]
  • 11:48am: The Yankees and Athletics are gaining traction for a Gray trade, and it now seems more likely than less to happen. [Sherman]
  • 11:42am: The A’s initially wanted a Gleyber Torres/Clint Frazier package for Gray and backed away from that. They then wanted a Jorge Mateo/Estevan Florial package, but the Yankees won’t do that either. Huh. [Sweeny Murti]
  • 11:31am: The Braves’ interest in Gray has cooled, which is good news for the Yankees. One fewer suitor. Right now it seems the Yankees and Dodgers are the only teams on Gray, and the Dodgers seem to be focusing on Darvish. [Sherman]
  • 10:44am: The Yankees checked in with the Padres about Brad Hand yesterday, though it seems it was due diligence more than anything. Plenty of clubs are in on Hand. [Sherman]
  • 10:11am: The Yankees and A’s are “close enough to get over the hump” and complete a Gray trade today. The two sides still need to work some things out first. [Jerry Crasnick]
  • 10:00am: The Yankees and Athletics made “zero progress” yesterday during Sonny Gray trade talks. Apparently the A’s have set their price and the Yankees have made their offer, and that’s where things stand. [Bob Klapisch]
  • 10:00am: The Yankees are still in touch with the Rangers about Yu Darvish, though they’re not making a hard push for him. The Yankees are not included in Darvish’s ten-team no-trade list, for what it’s worth. [Joel Sherman, Jon Heyman]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

Fan Confidence Poll: July 31st, 2017

Record Last Week: 5-1 (33 RS, 22 RA)
Season Record: 56-47 (550 RS, 435 RA, 62-41 pythag. record)
Opponents This Week: vs. Tigers (three games, Mon. to Weds.), @ Indians (four games, Thurs. to Sun.)

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the Features tab in the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
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DotF: Cave extends hitting streak in Scranton’s win

In case you missed it earlier, the Yankees have acquired Jaime Garcia from the Twins for RHP Zack Littell and LHP Dietrich Enns. With Littell traded, sleeper RHP Cody Carroll has jumped into MLB.com’s top 30 Yankees prospects. Carroll has a 2.24 ERA (3.09 FIP) with 31.6% strikeouts and 10.2% walks in 52.1 relief innings with High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton this year. He’s one of those random college arms the Yankees grab in the late rounds of the draft and then bam, a year later he’s throwing 96-97 with a nasty slider.

Triple-A Scranton (3-2 win over Charlotte)

  • CF Jake Cave: 2-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 K, 1 CS — 28-for-61 (.459) with three doubles, one triple, and five homers during his 16-game hitting streak
  • RF Billy McKinney: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 K, 1 E (fielding) — remember how much he struggled earlier this year? he’s up to .279/.354/.500
  • 2B Cito Culver: 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI — that’s his career high tenth homer … he took White Sox RHP Lucas Giolito deep
  • LHP Nestor Cortes: 4.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 41 of 65 pitches were strikes (63%) … pretty excellent spot start … he started today in place of Enns, and I imagine LHP Caleb Smith will take over this rotation spot next time around
  • RHP Gio Gallegos: 1 IP, zeroes, 3 K — threw an Immaculate Inning (nine pitches, nine strikes, three strikeouts) … 58/9 K/BB in 32.2 innings down here

[Read more…]

Yankees can’t finish sweep, waste too many opportunities in 5-3 loss to Rays

Yucky way to end the six-game winning streak. But! The Yankees are still in first place. Shout out to the Royals for taking two of three from the Red Sox this weekend. The Yankees missed out on the sweep and dropped Sunday’s series finale to the Rays. The final score was 5-3. Bring on the trade deadline.

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

Jordan’s Not-So-Good July Ends
Why are the Yankees still pursuing Sonny Gray even after acquiring Jaime Garcia? Because Jordan Montgomery sure seems to be hitting a rookie wall. He went into Sunday’s start with a 5.13 ERA (4.78 FIP) in five starts and 26.1 innings in July, and that was before he failed to make it out of the third inning against the Rays. This was the third time in Montgomery’s last five starts that he didn’t complete five innings. Few too many short starts from the rotation lately.

Tampa Bay jumped out to a quick 1-0 first inning lead thanks to a four-pitch walk (Steven Souza Jr.) and an 0-2 single (Trevor Plouffe), which tells you where Montgomery was Sunday. He was behind in the count all afternoon. He faced 16 batters and six — six! — saw a first pitch strike. Five of the 16 saw a hitter friendly 2-0 or 3-1 count. The third inning in particular was brutal:

  • Peter Bourjos: 2-0 count
  • Steven Souza: 2-0 count
  • Evan Longoria: 1-0 count
  • Lucas Duda: 3-1 count
  • Trevor Plouffe: 0-2 count!
  • Corey Dickerson: 1-0 count
  • Wilson Ramos: 3-1 count

Dude. I like Montgomery, but he’s not going to blow anyone away, so falling behind in the count that much is a recipe for, well, pretty much exactly what happened Sunday. Bourjos (double), Longoria (infield single), and Duda (walk) all reached base in that third inning to load the bases with one out. Montgomery was able to strike out Plouffe, giving him a chance to escape the inning unscathed. Instead, he hung a two-strike curveball to Dickerson, who punched it out to center field for a two-out, two-run single. Montgomery’s lucky he held him to only a single:

jordan-montgomery-corey-dickersonGot away with three hangers in that at-bat before getting burned by the fourth. By time Dickerson stepped to the plate, Montgomery was 24 pitches into the inning, so I’m sure fatigue was a factor. Then again, given the way he was behind in the count all day, control wasn’t his strong suit to start with. Ramos lined a single to center to score another run, giving the Rays a 4-2 lead and ending Montgomery’s afternoon.

Joltin’ Toe
So it seems Ronald Torreyes is an everyday player again. I guess that was inevitable after Tyler Wade struggled and was booed off the field Thursday night. Torreyes has started all three games since then and hey, he’s played well. Sunday afternoon he was pretty much all the offense for the Yankees, clubbing a two-run home run (!) in the second inning and a run-scoring double in the fourth.

The home run gave New York a 2-1 lead and it came on the hangingest hanging slider that ever hanged. Jacob Faria threw a terrible pitch and Torreyes made him pay with a bullet into the left field seats. Chase Headley drew a walk earlier in the inning. Torreyes has three home runs this season now, you know. He hit one all of last season. Torreyes is only 24. Maybe he’s growing into some power? Or maybe Faria made a terrible pitch and the ball is juiced. Whatever.

Anyway, Toe’s run-scoring double in the fourth inning was set up by a Todd Frazier walk. Unlike the homer, the double did not come on a bad pitch. In fact, Toe went down and dug a changeup out of the dirt.

ronald-torreyes-double

No idea how he hit that. I guess having great bat-to-ball skills and being, uh, vertically challenged helped Torreyes go down and get that ball, and loop it into the left field corner. Frazier chugged all the way around from first to score and he very narrowly slid in safely. It was a bang-bang play at the plate. Torreyes went 2-for-4 with a double and a homer Sunday. The rest of the Yankees went 2-for-28 (.071). There’s yer ballgame.

Blown Chances
This game was lost in the fifth and sixth innings. The Yankees put five men on base those two innings with zero hits. Zero hits! The Rays did everything they could to give the Yankees the game. Brett Gardner and Clint Frazier started the fifth with back-to-back walks, then moved up on a wild pitch. Tampa was up 4-3 at the time, so the Yankees had the tying run at third and the go-ahead run at second with no outs and the 3-4-5 hitters coming up. Good situation!

The Yankees scored zero runs. Sergio Romo came out of the bullpen, slidered Aaron Judge to death for a strikeout, and got Matt Holliday to pop up in shallow right field. Shallow enough for Plouffe, the first baseman, to catch it. Rays manager Kevin Cash brought in lefty Dan Jennings, who got Didi Gregorius to ground out to short to end the inning. All they needed from Judge and/or Holliday was a fly ball or a grounder to the right side. They got neither.

In the sixth, the Yankees got another gift when Adeiny Hechavarria threw away a potential 6-4-3 double play ball from Torreyes, giving the Yankees new life. A walk (Todd Frazier), the error, and a hit-by-pitch (Austin Romine) loaded the bases with one out. Then Gardner hit a weak ground ball to first base — Plouffe threw home for the force out — and the young Frazier flew out to right. Five free baserunners in those two innings. No runs.

Waste all the free baserunners. (Jim McIsaac/Getty)
Waste all the free baserunners. (Jim McIsaac/Getty)

The Yankees did threaten in the ninth inning thanks to a Gardner single and a Frazier walk. The tying run was on base and the go-ahead run was at the plate. Alex Colome got Judge to pop up behind first base on a hanging … something. Not sure if it was a cutter or slider or whatever. It had a little wrinkle in it. Either way, it was a hanger. Holliday then grounded out to third and that was that. Game over. The Yankees with runners in scoring position: 1-for-11 (.091).

Leftovers
Shout out to Luis Cessa for sparing the bullpen after Montgomery’s short start. He tossed 3.1 scoreless innings. Only one hit too. (But four walks.) Chasen Shreve got two big outs in the seventh — he grounded out Duda with two men on and struck out Dickerson with the bases loaded — before giving way to Chad Green. Green struck out six in 2.1 innings. He also allowed an insurance run on an infield single (Mallex Smith), a stolen base, and a booming double (Souza). All things considered, one run in 6.1 bullpen innings is pretty good.

The Judge and Holliday slumps continue. Judge went 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts, and is 19-for-85 (.224) with a 36.9% strikeout rate in the month of July overall. I had a feeling the baseball gods wouldn’t let us get through the season without a month like this. Sucks. Holliday went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. He did hit a fly ball to right field in the seventh. It was the second ball he’s hit out of the infield on the homestand. Going back to the start of that nightmare West Coast trip, Holliday is hitting .137/.204/.255 in 113 plate appearances. He looks lost.

Tough day for Romine behind the plate. He took a hard foul tip to the throat — it bounced it the dirt and right up under his mask — got hit in the helmet by a backswing, and took a pitch to the left hand. He had to leave the game after that. X-rays came back negative and Romine is day-to-day. Having to scramble for a backup catcher right before the trade deadline would have been bad.

Gardner extended his hitting streak to 12 games with his ninth inning single. The young Frazier had a single and also made a great jumping catch on the warning track to help out Montgomery. Those were the only non-Torreyes hits. Lots of walks though. Seven total. Two each by the Fraziers and one each by Gardner, Judge, and Headley. Really needed to capitalize on those free baserunners, dudes.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and updated standings, go to ESPN. For the video highlights, go to MLB.com. My Google issues are resolved, so our Bullpen Workload page is back up and running. Here’s the loss probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
This four-game series is over and the homestand continues Monday night with the first of three against the Tigers. But first, the trade deadline. The deadline is 4pm ET Monday. Will the Yankees reel in Sonny Gray? My guess is yes. Anyway, Luis Severino and Michael Fulmer are the scheduled starters for Monday night’s series opener. That should be fun. There are three games remaining on the homestand and RAB Tickets can get you in the door to all three.

Update: Romine leaves with bruised hand, x-rays negative

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

6:17pm ET: Following the game Joe Girardi said Romine is unlikely to be placed on the disabled list, though he figures to miss a few days. Gary Sanchez will have to carry the workload behind the plate until then.

4:40pm ET: Good news: x-rays came back negative. Romine has a bruised left hand. The Yankees were looking at the possibility of scrambling for a backup catcher all of a sudden. Here’s the play:

3:51pm ET: Austin Romine exited this afternoon’s game after taking a pitch to the top of the left hand. It swelled up instantly. Romine did stay in the game to run the bases, though he was removed after the inning. I’m sure he’s heading for x-rays and all that. There are so many small, easy-to-break bones in your hand.

It’s worth noting Kyle Higashioka is currently on the Triple-A disabled list with a back injury, meaning veteran journeyman Eddy Rodriguez is the No. 3 catcher on the depth chart. The Yankees would need to add him to the 40-man roster to call him up should Romine need to go on the DL. Also, the trade deadline is tomorrow, so the Yankees could perhaps swing a minor deal for a catcher, if necessary.

The Yankees have not released an update on Romine, though they usually get the x-ray results pretty quickly. We should learn if there’s a fracture reasonably soon. Stay tuned for any updates.