A Eulogy for Mark Teixeira’s Season

This guy is good at baseball. (Jeff Haynes/AP Photo)
This guy had a great season. (Jeff Haynes/AP Photo)

“A cardinal crashed into my window;

I think he might die. 

I’ll plan him a funeral; I’ll read his last rites

‘Cause I know what he saw in that reflection of light.

On the glass was a better life.”

With the announcement on Friday that he would miss the rest of the season due to his leg injury, Mark Teixeira‘s 2015 season came to a close. While this has been lingering since he fouled a ball off his leg on August 17 against the Twins, the news still carries a bit of a shock, considering the original diagnosis wasn’t this bad, not to mention just how well Tex had hit the ball all year. The timing of the announcement–on the verge of a terribly important four game series with the division-leading Blue Jays–was a harbinger for the weekend (or at least the first three games and two days thereof). Not only was the weather miserable yesterday, but so was the baseball as the Yankees have dropped all three games of the series so far, including a double-header sweep (hopefully, Masahiro Tanaka can right the ship today) leaving them 4.5 games back of the Jays with 21 games to play. Having played the last few weeks and facing the last few weeks without Teixeira, that lead seems about as bleakly large as it can be when it comes to winning the division.

Things aren’t all bad, however, as they do have a three game lead on the Rangers for the first Wild Card spot which is obviously good, but not preferable. That idea is just a microcosm of Tex’s injury situation; it’s nice that Greg Bird has filled in about as admirably as possible, but like the Wild Card spot, he’s just not your first choice.

2015 was a renaissance year for Tex as his 30 homer power (officially) returned. He clubbed 31 homers in his 111 games this year, nine more than he did all of last year in fewer games (123) and fewer plate appearances (462 this year; 508 last year). In terms of raw OPS, Tex’s .906 mark this year is the second best of his Yankee career, bested only by 2009 and its .948 mark. Using OPS+, though, 2015 has been Tex’s best season in the Bronx, beating out 2009 by a “score” of 148-141. A similar pattern holds true with wOBA/wRC+ as 2009 was better from a raw perspective–.402 to .381–while 2015 was better from an adjusted perspective–143-142.

Tex’s last three (partial) seasons have mirrored the Yankees’ last three seasons in that there were some underlying positives despite a less-than-desirable outcome. In 2013, Tex played in just 15 games. There were some signs that he was himself–a 12.7% walk rate and a .189 ISO–but there’s no way to call that a season, let alone a successful one. He took a step forward in 2014 and displayed his usual patience–11.4% walk rate–and solid power–.182 ISO. But, it still wasn’t quite enough, just like the Yankees’ season in general. With his return to prominence in 2015, so too returned the Yankees, who’ve long been in playoff position; with Tex back where he should be, the Yankees were back where they “should be.”

This isn’t to say that the loss of Tex dooms the Yankees into bird-crashing-into-unseen-window status. They have plenty of bats, a solid (if tired) bullpen, and plenty of games to make up some ground on the Blue Jays or separate themselves from the Rangers (and Twins and Angels). Those tasks are obviously a lot harder without the team’s offensive MVP, but they aren’t impossible. Thanks to Tex, the Yankees are in a good position to make the playoffs and hopefully make a deep run therein. He helped carry the this far and now it’s up to his teammates to carry his torch as far as they can. Thanks for a great season, Mark; we’ll see you in the spring.

Blue Jays pound Nova, sweep doubleheader with 10-7 win in nightcap

Source: FanGraphs

That was an embarrassment. If there was any doubt the Blue Jays are the far superior team, they showed it Saturday, sweeping a doubleheader in Yankee Stadium and doing it convincingly. The Yankees were blown out 10-7 in the second game Saturday night. The game did not feel as close as the score indicates. No siree. The Blue Jays are 8-1 in the Bronx this season and have outscored the home team 57-26. Let’s recap with bullet points:

  • NoNoNova: Back-end guys like Ivan Nova are always hurt the most by Tommy John surgery because they have the smallest margin for error and can’t afford to lose anything. Nova’s command was never great, but now it’s nonexistent, and the Blue Jays tagged him for six runs in just 1.2 innings Saturday night. Ten of the 15 batters he faced reached base. Nova’s up to 19 runs and 36 base-runners in his last 17.2 innings. He’s getting worse as he gets further away from elbow reconstruction, not better.
  • Comeback Attempt: Not that it matters, but could Alex Rodriguez really not play the second game of the doubleheader? Put Brian McCann at first and A-Rod at DH given the magnitude of the game? It’s not like Alex had to run hard in the first game. Whatever. Anyway, the Yankees didn’t pick up their first hit until John Ryan Murphy‘s infield single leading off the fifth. They didn’t get a hit on a ball to the outfield until Brett Gardner hit a three-run homer four batters later. That cut the deficit to 6-3 and suddenly we had ourselves a ballgame. The Yankees scored another run in the sixth on Didi Gregorius‘ double, but Chris Young (popup) and Jacoby Ellsbury (line out) stranded runners at second and third.
  • Pull Away: One half-inning after the Yankees got the tying run into scoring position, the Blue Jays scored four more runs to put the game out of reach. Chris Capuano deserved better — he threw three scoreless innings after Nova with a 33-minute rain delay mixed in — than to be charged with four runs on two ground ball singles, a walk, and an infield single. The infield single was lol-worthy and led to two runs. I can’t even explain it. Branden Pinder then came in, gave up some line drive singles to Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista, and that was that. Fin.
  • Leftovers: Gardner hit a garbage time three run homer in the eighth. He hit three homers on the day and is the first Yankee to homer in both ends of a doubleheader since Andruw Jones against the Red Sox in 2012 … Ellsbury went 0-for-10 with a walk in the doubleheader and is down to .259/.321/.352 (87 wRC+) on the season … the Yankees actually had 13 hits, including two each by Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Murphy, and Gregorius … and finally, the YES booth said the Yankees have never not won the division in a season in which they once had a four-game lead. The 2015 Yankees, of course, have turned their seven-game lead into a 4.5 game deficit in a touch more than six weeks.

Here are the box score, video highlights, updated standings, and postseason odds. The magic number to clinch a postseason spot remains 19 at this very moment, though that could change pending the outcome of the Twins game. Here are our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees and Blue Jays wrap up this mess of a four-game series Sunday afternoon. It’ll be Masahiro Tanaka and R.A. Dickey on the hill. If Tanaka can’t save them, no one can.

Games 140 & 141: Let’s Win Two Try To Win One


So yesterday sucked. That was men against boys. Thankfully, they play again today. Two games, in fact. The Yankees and Blue Jays will play a single-admission doubleheader this afternoon — there’s some rain in the forecast tonight and they want to get the second game over with as soon as possible — and if they want to win the division, the Yankees kinda have to sweep today. One win is an absolute must. It’s not a stretch to call this the most important day of the season.

Michael Pineda is on the mound in the first game this afternoon and he started the only game the Yankees have won against the Blue Jays in Yankee Stadium this season. The Yankees are 1-6 against the Jays in the Bronx this year, and the one win was the result of a fluky rally. Not good. Gotta come up big this afternoon. These are two monumental games. Here is Toronto’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup for the first game of the doubleheader:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. DH Alex Rodriguez
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. 1B Greg Bird
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 2B Stephen Drew
    RHP Big Mike

It’s cloudy and on the cool side in New York right now. Like I said, there is rain in the forecast, but not until this evening. It won’t impact this game. The second game? Maybe. We’ll have to see. This game will begin at 1:05pm ET and you can watch on FOX. We’re going to use this thread for both games, by the way. I’ll update this post with the lineups and whatnot prior to the second game. Enjoy the games.

Roster Moves: The Yankees have called up both Slade Heathcott and Gary Sanchez, the team announced. The Triple-A season ended last night. This is Sanchez’s first taste of MLB. Every player on the 40-man roster is now in the big leagues, either on the active roster or the DL. The Yankees have 39 active players right now. They could slide Mark Teixeira to the 60-day DL, call someone up, and carry 40 players on the active roster.

Update (5:59pm): The start time for Game Two will be approximately 6pm ET. There has been some light rain in New York and the heaviest stuff is still a few hours away. Hope for a lead after five innings then lots and lots of rain, everyone. Here is the Blue Jays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup for the second game of the doubleheader:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. DH Brian McCann
  5. 3B Chase Headley
  6. 1B Dustin Ackley
  7. C John Ryan Murphy
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 2B Brendan Ryan
    RHP Ivan Nova

This game will air on both YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Try to enjoy.

Yankees let important game slip away, drop first game of doubleheader 9-5 to Blue Jays

Source: FanGraphs

The chances of an AL East title keep getting smaller and smaller. The Yankees dropped their most important game of the season (to date!) on Saturday afternoon, losing 9-5 to the Blue Jays in eleven innings. Toronto is now 7-1 at Yankee Stadium this year. Gross. Let’s recap with bullet points, because there’s no way I’m writing two full recaps on a Saturday:

  • Small Mike: The Yankees gave Michael Pineda a two-run lead and a three-run lead, but it wasn’t enough. Three home runs did him in — Jose Bautista and Ben Revere hit solo shots, then Edwin Encarnacion hit a game-tying two-run shot in the fifth. All three landed in the first or second row, but they all count the same. Four runs on six hits and two walks in 5.1 innings for Pineda. The Yankees are now 19th in rotation ERA (4.31) and 23rd in innings (805.1). Amazing they are where they are with this starting staff.
  • Early Lead: The ball was flying in the Bronx and the Yankees built their early lead with the long ball. Brett Gardner hit a solo homer in the first, Chase Headley hit a solo homer in the second, then Alex Rodriguez lifted a two-run shot in the fourth. Gardner’s was a bomb into the second deck while Headley and A-Rod took advantage of the short porch. They had a 2-0 lead after two and a 4-1 lead after four. The Blue Jays had them right where they wanted.
  • Blown Chance: Dellin Betances served up a go-ahead solo homer to Bautista in the eighth inning, but the Yankees did battle back. Jacoby Ellsbury and Gardner starting the eighth with walks, then Ellsbury moved up on a wild pitch. Gardner did not and that’s probably a good thing — if he moves up, Brian McCann probably gets nothing to hit. Instead, McCann singled to tie the game. A-Rod loaded the bases with a walk and the Yankees were in business. But then Headley popped up to second and Greg Bird was robbed of a single by Cliff Pennington’s great sliding stop. Really great play. Bases loaded, one out, bottom of the eighth … no runs. Rough.
  • Given Away: The Yankees lost this game more than the Blue Jays won it. After Andrew Miller retired all six men he faced, Joe Girardi turned to Bryan Mitchell to start the 11th. He’s been really shaky since getting hit in the face, and, sure enough, his inning went walk, hit batsman, walk, strikeout. In came Chasen Shreve, who walked pinch-hitter Russell Martin on four pitches to force in the winning run. Revere then singled in an insurance run. Then Shreve walked Josh Donaldson and Bautista to force in two more runs. Four runs in an inning in which the Blue Jays had one hit. Yankees relievers walked five (!) and hit one batter. Excruciating.
  • Leftovers: A-Rod was lifted for a pinch-runner following his walk in the eighth, which was weird. The most important run was at third and they lost Alex’s bat in a close game. It burned them when Dustin Ackley grounded out with a runner at second to end the tenth in A-Rod’s spot. This game will not go down as Girardi’s managerial Mona Lisa … Gardner and McCann went 5-for-9 (.555). The rest of the lineup went 5-for-33 (.152) … there have been 13 homers in this series so far, and apparently the new Stadium record is 20 for a single series … how about that FOX broadcast? Think John Smoltz still hates the Yankees and Yankee Stadium or nah?

Here are the box score, video highlights, updated standings, and postseason odds. The magic number to clinch a postseason spot remains 19. Here are our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages as well. The Yankees and Blue Jays will begin game two of their doubleheader in just a few minutes. Ivan Nova and Marcos Stroman will be on the mound.

Saturday Links: Sabathia, Betances, 2016 Travel

"No you idiot, I said sell! SELL!" (Janette Pellegrini/Getty)
“No you idiot, I said sell! SELL!” (Janette Pellegrini/Getty)

The Yankees and Blue Jays continue their ultra-important four-game series with a doubleheader this afternoon. It’s a single-admission doubleheader too. One ticket gets you in the door for both games. Anyway, here are some miscellaneous links to help you pass the time before the first game.

Sabathia nominated for Marvin Miller Man of the Year award

CC Sabathia has been selected as the Yankees nominee for the 2015 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, the MLBPA announced. Each team nominates one player, who is selected by his teammates, for the award. Fans then vote for one finalist per division — the voting ends midnight tomorrow, by the way — and the players then vote for the winner. Here’s the fan voting ballot.

The Marvin Miller Man of the Year award goes to the player “whose on-field performance and contributions to his community inspire others to higher levels of achievement.” Mariano Rivera won the award in 2013. He’s the only Yankees player to win it since it was created in 1997. Carlos Beltran was last year’s nominee and was voted the AL East finalist. Just being nominated is an honor. Go vote for CC.

Betances will try new protective head gear next spring

Earlier this week, a representative from the MLBPA was in the Yankees clubhouse showing the pitchers new protective head gear, reports George King. This is not the head gear Alex Torres wears. It’s something new. This model has some sort of ear flap designed to protect the temples.

“I will try it in Spring Training to see how it feels. Anything for protection,” said Dellin Betances. Adam Warren, Luis Severino, and Justin Wilson also tried it on. The Yankees had a scare when Bryan Mitchell was hit in the face by a line drive a few weeks ago, and while a protective cap probably wouldn’t have helped him, it was a reminder of how defenseless those guys are on the mound.

Yankees will travel 12th most miles in 2016

The 2016 regular season schedule was announced earlier this week, and, according to Baseball Savant, the Yankees will travel 35,252 miles next season. That’s the 12th most in baseball. As usual, the Mariners will travel the most miles (47,704) while the Cubs will travel the fewest (24,271) in 2016. That has been the case for years and years and years. The M’s are isolated up in the Pacific Northwest — their closest division rival is 800 miles away — while the Cubbies are centrally located. Their farthest division rival is 460 miles away. The Yankees are always in the middle of the miles traveled pack. They’re a little higher than usual next season because they’re making three West Coast trips, not two. Blah.

Blue Jays hammer Severino, take series opener 11-5 from Yankees

That was rough. Geez. The Blue Jays walked into Yankee Stadium and pushed the Yankees around in the series opener Friday night, winning the game 11-5. A thorough beatdown, to be sure. The Blue Jays are now 6-1 in the Bronx this year, outscoring the Yankees 36-14 in the seven games.


Putting The No In Severino
It was obvious early on Luis Severino didn’t have it. His command was atrocious. Pitches were up in the zone first and foremost, and when he missed, he missed out over the plate. The Blue Jays are way too good and won’t let a pitcher with bad command off the hook, no matter how hard he throws. Severino’s command problems led to a five-run first inning for Toronto, including a pair of two-run home runs.

The first homer was on a high fastball after Severino went from 0-2 to 3-2 against Josh Donaldson, who is so clearly going to win the MVP at this point. The second two-run homer was another bad fastball, that one belt high on the inner half to Justin Smoak. Justin Smoak! Between the two homers Edwin Encarnacion smashed a doubled off the wall and Troy Tulowitzki drove him in with a hard-hit ground ball single. Everything was hard hit. Everything.

Severino gave up five runs in the first inning after allowing five runs total in his previous 24.1 innings. He struggled through a scoreless second inning, didn’t retire any of the three batters he faced in the third inning, and was done. Brutal outing. Severino faced 16 batters and nine reached base. His strike total (41 strikes in 71 pitches, or 58%) doesn’t tell you how bad his location was. Everything was up and/or out over the plate. It was bad.

Young pitchers are going to have bumps in the road, that’s just the way it is, and unfortunately Severino had his first bad start as a big leaguer in the Yankees’ most important game (until tomorrow!) since 2012. That 2.04 ERA wasn’t going to last forever, but damn, did it have to disappear all at once? What awful timing for a dud.


Catch Up, Fall Behind
Every single time the Yankees managed to scratch out a run, the Blue Jays answered right back. Brendan Ryan doubled and Brett Gardner later drove him in with a sacrifice fly in the third inning to cut the deficit to 6-1. Then Edwin Encarnacion smashed a two-run home run into the second deck in left field (!) off Chris Martin to make it 8-1 in the fourth.

In the bottom of the fourth, Didi Gregorius laced a two-out single to right to score Carlos Beltran. Beltran and Chase Headley singled earlier in the inning, and Beltran aggressively took third on a deep fly ball. It looked like he would have been thrown out had Tulowitzki not cut it off. That made it 8-2. Russell Martin then hit a solo homer off Andrew Bailey in the top of the fifth to negate Didi’s run and make it 9-2.

Two innings later Gregorius came up with another big hit, this one a three-run dinger into the second deck in right field. LaTroy Hawkins threw a cement mixer slider and Gregorius missed none of it. Gone off the bat. Headley reached on an error and Greg Bird singled earlier in the inning to set up the three-run dinger. That made it 9-5 and suddenly we had a little bit of a game. Then Martin hit a two-run homer off Chasen Shreve in the next half-inning. 11-5 Blue Jays. Womp womp.

Severino was pretty bad Friday, but the bullpen was a disaster. Martin, Bailey, Shreve, Caleb Cotham, and Branden Pinder combined to allow five runs on ten hits in eight innings. At least they didn’t walk anyone. (Five strikeouts.) The Yankees do have a 13-man bullpen thanks to September call-ups, but I have no idea why Joe Girardi opted to use five different relievers the day before a doubleheader rather than use one long man for multiple innings. Weird.


Alex Rodriguez had his worse game of the season, going 0-for-4 with four ugly strikeouts. He saw 25 pitches, swung times 17, and missed eight times. Yikes. The Blue Jays buried him with breaking balls. With Mark Teixeira done for the season, the Yankees need A-Rod to be a force in the middle of the lineup, and he just hasn’t been that since the start of August.

Gardner has been slumping the last few weeks but he had a good game, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a hard-hit sacrifice fly. Gregorius had his two hits while Ellsbury, Beltran, Headley, Bird, and Ryan had one hit apiece. There was just the one walk. The Yankees had one base-runner after Didi’s sixth inning homer. That was Gardner’s leadoff single in the seventh. That’s it.

Shreve allowed three hits, including the two-run homer to Martin, in two-thirds of an inning. He’s really hit a wall of late. Twenty-nine of the last 70 batters he’s faced have reached base (.414 OBP), five on homers. Turns out asking your bullpen to get 12 outs a game day after day early in the season might wear out the middle relief in the second half.

And finally, a fan seated near the Blue Jays dugout fainted in the sixth inning and play had to be halted as emergency personnel helped him out. The Yankees said the guy is doing well and he was brought to the hospital as a precaution. Still scary though. Glad he’s okay.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
You can find the box score and video highlights for the game here and here, respectively. Here are the updated standings and postseason odds for the season. The magic number to clinch a postseason spot remains 19. The Yankees are now 2.5 games behind the Blue Jays in the AL East, which is their largest deficit since April 17th (three games), the tenth game of the season. Anyway, make sure you check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. Here’s the loss probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Let’s play two! The Yankees and Blue Jays will play a single-admission doubleheader Saturday. Michael Pineda and Marco Estrada will start the first game at 1pm ET, then Ivan Nova and Marcus Stroman will start the second game roughly a half-hour after the first game ends. Head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch the doubleheader live. One ticket, two games. Not a bad deal.

DotF: Barbato’s ninth inning meltdown ends Scranton’s season

Baseball America released their end-of-season All-Star Teams for each level of the minors. RHP Luis Severino (Triple-A), OF Aaron Judge (Double-A), and RHP Domingo Acevedo (Short Season) all made the teams at their levels. Acevedo was named the Pitcher of the Year in Short Season ball as well, so congrats to him.

Triple-A Scranton (4-2 loss to Indianapolis) their season is over, they were swept in the best-of-five series

  • CF Slade Heathcott: 2-5, 1 R, 2 K, 1 SB — he created their first run by stealing third base, then scoring when the catcher threw the ball away … 5-for-13 (.385) in the three games
  • 2B Ali Castillo: 1-5, 1 K
  • LF Ben Gamel: 4-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SB — went 0-for-4 in the first game and 5-for-8 (.625) in the next two games
  • DH Gary Sanchez: 0-4, 1 BB, 3 K
  • 1B Kyle Roller: 0-5, 2 K
  • RF Aaron Judge: 2-5 — went 4-for-11 (.364) in the three games … since the season is over, those numbers in the Aaron Judge Watch are final
  • 3B Cole Figueroa: 2-3, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SB — drove in the second run with a two-out single in the fifth
  • SS Gregorio Petit: 0-4, 2 K — grounded out to short with the bases loaded to end the season
  • C Juan Graterol: 1-3, 1 HBP
  • RHP Kyle Davies: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 8/5 GB/FB — 54 of 95 pitches were strikes (57%) for Cy Davies … what a performance by the veteran innings guy
  • RHP Johnny Barbato: 0.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP — 16 of 31 pitches were strikes (52%) … and there goes the season, brutal outing
  • RHP Mark Montgomery: 0.2 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB — eight pitches, six strikes … he stranded both inherited runners, but by then it was too late

Short Season Staten Island swept Tri-City in the first round of the postseason. They’ll play the winner of the West Virginia vs. Williamsport series in the NY-Penn League Championship series (best-of-five). That series is tied at one game apiece. They’ll play the decisive Game Three tomorrow. So I guess the Championship Series will begin either Sunday or Monday.

The season is over for Double-A Trenton, High-A Tampa, Low-A Charleston, and both Rookie GCL Yanks affiliates. None of them qualified for the postseason. Rookie Pulaski qualified for the playoffs but was eliminated in the first round.