Game 63: Tanaka Takes Miami

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

The Yankees are in Miami for the start of a four-game home-and-home series with the Marlins. Two games at Marlins Park, then two games at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have never played a regular season game in Marlins Park, though they did play two exhibition games there prior to the park’s opening in 2012. So, technically, the Yankees played the first two games at Marlins Park.

Anyway, Masahiro Tanaka will be on the mound this evening making his third start off the DL. His first two were identical in that he allowed one run in seven innings each time, though he only fanned six Nationals last time out after striking out nine Mariners six days earlier. Slacker. Tanaka’s been really great this season (2.48 ERA and 2.61 FIP) so please oh please just stay healthy. Please please please. Here is Miami’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. C Brian McCann
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. RF Garrett Jones
  6. 2B Stephen Drew
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. CF Mason Williams
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

It’s hot and humid with very few clouds in Miami this evening. I’m not sure if the Marlins Park roof will be open tonight — they could close it because of the heat. We’ll find out soon enough, I guess. Tonight’s game will begin at 7:10pm ET and can be seen on WPIX, not YES. Enjoy the game.

Injury Update: Jacoby Ellsbury (knee) took batting practice for the first time today but still has some discomfort. “It’s been pretty good but still not where it needs to be. There is a little feeling he needs to get rid of. I wouldn’t call it pain,” said Joe Girardi to reporters over the weekend … Ivan Nova (elbow) will make one more Triple-A rehab start … Carlos Beltran has a minor hamstring injury and is available tonight if necessary.

Roster Update: Esmil Rogers has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Scranton, so he’s still in the organization as a non-40-man roster player.

All-Star Voting Update: Mike Trout and the Royals are still on pace to start for the AL All-Star Team according to the voting update released by MLB today. No Yankees are close to starting. Alex Rodriguez is probably the closest and he dropped to fifth among DHs.

TiqIQ: Yanks, Fish Meet This Week For First Time Since ‘09; Drawing High Ticket Prices

The New York Yankees and Miami Marlins are getting set for a very rare clash with one another when they collide this week in a home-and-home four-game series, beginning tonight. The first two games will be played in Miami at Marlins Park, while the latter two will take place at Yankee Stadium. This could be a critical set for both clubs, as the Yankees are trying to stay atop the AL East, while the Marlins are simply trying to work their way up from the cellar of the NL East.

That may be easier said than done with New York’s big boppers poised to make an impact as usual, but Miami has some lively bats of their own that can help propel them to an upset. Giancarlo Stanton will be making his much-anticipated Yankee Stadium debut in this series, already in the midst of a home run flurry while sitting on top of baseball with 23 home runs. The Yankees’ Mark Teixeira isn’t too far behind him, having 17 long balls, and he’ll combine with Alex Rodriguez and the rest of the Yankees’ potent offense to try and best Stanton and Co. in the power game, which could ultimately be the difference in who takes this series.

All of that power is one reason why Yankees tickets on TiqIQ spike considerably for the first pair of games, relative to the general lower cost of games at Marlins Park. In fact, the opener currently features an average ticket price of $165.62, with a get-in price of $45, while the second affair has an average ticket price of $151.73 and a get-in price of $51, according to TiqIQ. Without question, these are two of the highest-priced games in Miami all season, as a lot of Florida residents are Yankees fans.

When the series shifts to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, June 17, the pricing isn’t as steep, as the Marlins are a drop from the usual competition that invades the Bronx. The average ticket price for the first game is currently only $68.74 on TiqIQ, whereas on Yankees.com fans can enjoy MasterCard preferred pricing for discounted tickets. The series finale, which features a Thurman Munson Bobblehead giveaway has an average ticket price of $103.42, with a $28 get-in on Yankees.com including fees. However, as good as those prices may seem, you might be able to get an even better deal through the Yankees Ticket Exchange, as they are offering 10 percent off in honor of Father’s Day and the graduating season for students until June 22.

Yankee fans certainly may have an interest in this series, being the first time the two teams have met since 2009, which, interestingly, was also the last time the Yankees won it all. In that series, though, it was the Marlins — who were still known as the Florida Marlins during that time — who emerged with a surprising 2-1 series victory. Six years later, the Yanks come down to Florida to return the favor, although both sides have had significant makeovers since they last saw each other, as one might expect.

On the surface, this looks like a tough matchup for Miami, as their starting pitching has mostly been suspect, and they’ll be opposing a lineup that ranks amongst the top teams in runs scored with 287. However, Stanton leads an offense that is far from paltry, as Miami has a solid 245 runs on the season, with an improved offense compared to recent years. Another big reason for that has been the emergence of infielder Dee Gordon, who leads all of baseball with a .354 batting average, not to mention while being second in steals with 22 stolen bases.

Miami should be behind the eight ball going into this clash, but regardless of who wins, this is one to cherish for both sides. Fans get to see major power go head-to-head in a series we haven’t seen for the better part of a decade. Considering the relatively solid pricing, fans are arguably getting a steal at both Marlins Park and Yankee Stadium when the two teams get together for this rare home-and-home meeting.

2015 Draft Signings: Finley, Jackson, Krill, Amburgey

Krill. (Patrick Record/The Ann Arbor News)
Krill. (Patrick Record/The Ann Arbor News)

The draft signing deadline this year is Friday, July 17th. First rounder UCLA RHP James Kaprielian might not sign until right before the deadline as a Scott Boras guy, but several other Yankees draft picks have already turned pro. Our 2015 Draft Pool Tracker page is now live, so use that to keep tabs on the draft pool situation. It’s available at all times via the Resources tab in the nav bar above. Here are some draft signing updates.

  • California HS RHP Drew Finley (3rd round) either has signed or will sign soon based on his Twitter feed. Finley’s pick is slotted for $626,600 and I think there’s a good chance he’ll get more than that. Finley was expected to be a late first or early second round pick.
  • Florida Southern OF Jhalan Jackson (7th) has signed for $100,000 according to MLB.com. That is a bit more than half the $192,000 slot value. Jackson was a college junior but was not expected to go in the top ten rounds, so the Yankees probably worked out a deal ahead of time for more than Jackson expected to receive.
  • Michigan State 1B Ryan Krill (9th) signed for a $5,000 bonus, according to Chris Cotillo. That is well below the $159,000 slot value, so pretty substantial pools savings there. Krill was a college senior with no negotiating leverage, hence the tiny bonus.
  • Louisville LHP Josh Rogers (11th) will pitch for the Bourne Braves in the Cape Cod League this summer, he says on Twitter. Seems like Rogers will be a summer follow this year, meaning the Yankees will track his progress on the Cape, and if they like what they see, they’ll make him an offer. If not, no big deal. They won’t lose draft pool space.
  • According to their Twitter feeds, late round picks St. Petersburg OF Trey Amburgey (13th), Alabama RHP Will Carter (14th), BYU RHP Kolton Mahoney (16th), and Fresno State RHP Garrett Mundell (23rd) have all signed. C. Jemal Horton also reports Clemson RHP Brody Koerner (17th) has signed. No word on their bonuses but there’s no reason to think they received more than the $100,00 slot for post-tenth round picks.

6/15 to 6/18 Series Preview: Miami Marlins

The Marlins play in a space ship. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The Marlins play in a space ship. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Time for another interleague series, though this is really two series. The Yankees and Marlins are playing a four-game home-and-home series — the first two games are at Marlins Park and the last two are in Yankee Stadium. This is the first Yankees-Marlins series since 2009, when they were still the Florida Marlins.

What Have The Marlins Done Lately?

Miami won yesterday but lost three straight immediately prior to that. They’ve really underachieved this year. I thought they’d be in the wildcard mix, but instead they are 27-37 with a -22 run differential overall. The Marlins are a distant fourth in the NL East.

Offense & Defense

A few weeks ago the Marlins fired manager Mike Redmond and replaced him with GM Dan Jennings, who moved from the front office to the dugout. It was … weird. Regardless of who is managing, Miami has a below-average offense with an average of 3.83 runs per game with a team 97 wRC+. They’re currently without 1B Mike Morse and UTIL Don Kelly, both of whom have finger injuries and are not due back this series.

Giancarlo. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty)
Giancarlo. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty)

Offensively, the Marlins are led by OF Giancarlo Stanton (154 wRC+), who leads baseball in homers (23), RBI (59), and strikeouts (84). You can get him out with quality breaking stuff, but man, if you miss your spot, he’ll hit the ball a mile. Stanton leads MLB with a 98.6 mph average exit velocity, nearly five (!) miles an hour better than any other hitter in baseball. Good gravy. The man is a monster at the dish. The Yankees will be lucky if he hits just one home run in this series.

2B Dee Gordon (118 wRC+) was been an excellent table-setter from the leadoff spot and 1B Justin Bour (125 wRC+) has done a nice job filling in for Morse. The Marlins got him from the Cubs in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft a few years ago. OF Marcell Ozuna (97 wRC+) has been average and while OF Christian Yelich (68 wRC+) has been bad overall, he’s warmed up of late and will be a tough out. He’s one of my favorite random players in the league. The Stanton/Ozuna/Yelich trio is a really impressive young outfield, at least when everyone is playing up to expectations.

Ex-Yankee 3B Martin Prado (88 wRC+) hasn’t done much this year and he left yesterday’s game with a shoulder sprain after taking a tumble when he ran through first base awkwardly. He’s day-to-day for the time being. SS Adeiny Hechavarria (98 wRC+) and C J.T. Realmuto (75 wRC+) are the regular shortstop and catcher, respectively. C Jeff Mathis (13 wRC+), IF Derek Dietrich (-100 wRC+), UTIL Jeff Baker (130 wRC+), IF Donovan Solano (-52 wRC+), and OF Ichiro Suzuki (86 wRC+) fill out the team’s bench. All those guys have very limited plate appearances aside from Ichiro.

The Marlins are a very good defensive team, especially up the middle, where Gordon, Hechavarria, and Ozuna are all above-average glove men. Yelich and Stanton are above-average in the outfield corners as well. Realmuto has thrown out attempted base-stealers at an average rate but has graded out as a below-average pitch-framer in his limited MLB time. Prado and Bour are rough on the infield corners. The outfield and middle infield are very good defensively.

Pitching Matchups

Monday: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (No vs. MIA) vs. RHP Tom Koehler (Career vs. NYY)
The 28-year-old Koehler was briefly demoted to the bullpen earlier this year, but returned to the rotation when Henderson Alvarez landed on the DL. Koehler has a 4.13 ERA (4.67 FIP) in 72 innings across 12 starts and one relief appearance, and nothing stands out about his underlying performance (17.2 K%, 9.3 BB%, 45.0 GB%, 1.25 HR/9). Lefties (.377 wOBA) have done a lot more damage against him than righties (.276 wOBA). Koehler throws low-90s two and four-seam fastballs at almost an equal rate, and he features mid-80s sliders and upper-70s curveballs. He has a mid-80s changeup but rarely throws it. Koehler is the very definition of a generic back-end starter. Not replacement level! But nothing that will wow you. The kind of guy who is nice to have during his cheap pre-arbitration years.

Tuesday: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (Career vs. MIA) vs. RHP David Phelps (Career vs. NYY)
Hey, look at that, it’s a matchup between the two guys who were traded for each other. Or at least traded as part of packages for each other. Phelps has a 4.11 ERA (3.59 FIP) in 65.2 innings spanning eleven starts and a pair of early-season relief appearances. The Marlins actually sent Koehler to the bullpen and kept Phelps in the rotation a few weeks ago. Phelps, 28, has a career low strikeout rate (16.0 K%), a career low walk rate (6.1%), a career high ground ball rate (43.2%), and a career low home run rate (0.69 HR/9). Career highs and lows all over the place. Righties (.313 wOBA) have hurt him more than lefties (.291 wOBA), but for his career he has close to no platoon split. As you know, Phelps is a five-pitch pitcher, using low-90s two and four-seamers to set up his mid-80s slider, low-80s changeup, and upper-70s curveball. He uses the slider against righties and the curve against lefties.

Phelpsie. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Phelpsie! (Doug Pensinger/Getty)

Wednesday: RHP Michael Pineda (No vs. MIA) vs. RHP Jose Urena (No vs. NYY)
Urena, 23, has been up twice this season, the first time to work in relief and the second time to help out the rotation. He’s made two relief appearances and four starts and has a 4.44 ERA (4.47 FIP) in 26.1 big league innings. Urena hasn’t missed many bats thus far (11.3%) but he has limited walks (5.7%) and gotten ground balls (55.8%). Homers (1.03 HR/9) haven’t been a huge problem, nor has his platoon split (.330 vs. .322 wOBA in favor of righties). Urena has a big fastball, sitting in the low-to-mid-90s, and he also throws mid-80s sliders and changeups. From what I’ve read, the general consensus is Urena isn’t quite MLB ready and was rushed to the big leagues because of injuries. Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked him as Miami’s fourth best prospect before the season and said his future may lie in the bullpen because his slider is below-average.

Thursday: LHP CC Sabathia (Career vs. MIA) vs. RHP Mat Latos (Career vs. NYY)
This has not been a good season for the 27-year-old Latos, who has a 5.44 ERA (3.08 FIP) in ten starts and 49.1 innings around knee and hamstring problems. His strikeout (21.5%) and walk (8.2%) rates have been about average while his ground ball (38.4%) and homer (0.54 HR/9) rates are lower than the league average. One of those is a good thing, the other a bad thing. Latos has been hit harder by lefties (.368 wOBA) than righties (.312 wOBA). A low-90s four-seamer is his main fastball, though he also throws a low-90s cutter. Latos uses his low-80s slider as his primary out pitch but will also throw low-80s changeups and upper-70s curves. It’s worth noting Latos has been much better from the windup (2.47 FIP) than out of the stretch (3.81 FIP) this year. Get men on and he unravels a bit.

Bullpen Status
The Marlins have had a surprisingly bad bullpen this year (3.71 ERA and 3.07 FIP) thanks in large part to ex-closer RHP Steve Cishek (4.25 FIP), who melted down spectacularly earlier this season. He didn’t just lose his closer’s job, he was demoted to Double-A at one point. Not Triple-A, Double-A. RHP A.J. Ramos (1.80 FIP) has taken over in the ninth inning with RHP Carter Capps (1.53 wRC+) seeing most of the setup time. This is Capps’ delivery (via @MLBGIFs):

Carter Capps

Also in the bullpen are RHP Sam Dyson (2.90 FIP), RHP Vin Mazzaro (4.49 FIP), LHP Mike Dunn (3.42 FIP), and LHP Brad Hand (2.42 FIP). Neither Dunn, a former Yankee, nor Hand is a left-on-left specialist. Dunn will throw full innings and Hand is the long reliever. Mazzaro (19 pitches), Cishek (13 pitches), and Hand (24 pitches) all pitched yesterday. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of New York’s bullpen, then check out Fish Stripes for everything you need to know about the Marlins.

Yankeemetrics: No sweep for you (June 12-14)

Welcome to The Show, Mason. (AP Photo)
Welcome to The Show, Mason. (AP Photo)

Orange crushed
So maybe that plan to skip Michael Pineda’s last start in order preserve his innings this season wasn’t the best idea. Sure, it might pay off in the long run, but in the short-term, it was really costly for the Yankees.

Pineda was rocked for six runs (five earned) on nine hits in Friday night’s 11-3 loss, and was pulled after getting one in the fifth inning. He is now 1-7 with a 4.23 ERA on six-plus days’ rest in his career, more than a full run higher than his ERA in all other games (20-11, 3.00 ERA).

The lone highlight of the game was the debut of Mason Williams, who joined a few notable names when Joe Girardi wrote his name on the lineup card as the starting center fielder for his first major-league game. The other Yankees to do that in the last 30 years were Melky Cabrera (2005), Bernie Williams (1991), Deion Sanders (1989) and Roberto Kelly (1987).

Williams wasted little time in showing why he deserved the call-up, getting his first big-league hit and home run with one swing of the bat in the fourth inning. His two-run blast was a historic one, making him just the ninth Yankee to homer in his first major-league game.

Only three others in that group, though, hit their milestone homer with at least one guy on base like Williams did: Marcus Thames (June 2, 2002 off Randy Johnson!), John Miller (Sept. 11, 1966) and Yogi Berra (Sept. 22, 1946).

Wild, wild, wild Martin
Somehow, someway, the Yankees keep finding new ways to lose games. On Saturday night, the goat was Chris Martin, who entered in relief of CC Sabathia in the sixth inning when the teams were locked in a 4-4 tie.

Martin then uncorked three (!) wild pitches in the frame and allowed three runs, and the Yankees could never recover in the 9-4 loss. Martin had thrown only one wild pitch in his career before this game … because, of course, baseball.

Oh, and he is just the second Yankee reliever in the last 100 seasons to throw at least three wild pitches in a game. The other was Ken Clay on July 28, 1979 against the Brewers.

Sabathia’s recent struggles at Camden Yards continued (4 R, 8 H, 5 IP) as he got the no-decision and is 0-5 in his last eight starts in Baltimore. That is tied with Stan Bahnsen (1968-71) for the longest road winless streak by a Yankee starting pitcher against the Orioles since the team moved to the Charm City in 1954.

The Orioles pounded all the Yankee pitchers for the second straight night, with 15 hits to go along with their nine runs. It is the first time the Yankees have allowed at least nine runs and 15 hits in back-to-back games against the Orioles since 1932 — when the team was known as the St. Louis Browns.

Losing streak is Ooooooh-ver
The Yankees avoided the series sweep on Sunday afternoon with a come-from-behind 5-3 win. John Ryan Murphy’s tie-breaking two-run double in the fifth inning was the game-winning hit, and the bullpen pitched 4 1/3 hitless innings to secure the victory.

Murphy is the first Yankees catcher to have at least three hits and two RBI in a road game against the Orioles since Thurman Munson on Sept. 5, 1976.

Once again, a Yankees starter failed to give them length, yet they still managed to win the game thanks to their dominant relief corps. It was the fifth time in 2015 the Yankees won a game despite their starter pitching fewer than five innings. No other team in baseball has won more such games this season.

Fan Confidence Poll: June 15th, 2015

Record Last Week: 2-3 (22 RS, 29 RA)
Season Record: 34-28 (287 RS, 264 RA, 34-28 pythag. record)
Opponents This Week: @ Marlins (two games, Mon. and Tues.), vs. Marlins (two games, Weds. and Thurs.), vs. Tigers (three games, Fri. 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?

DotF: Mateo and Aune have big days in Charleston’s win

A few days ago the benches cleared because Triple-A Rochester RHP Lester Oliveros intentionally threw at C Austin Romine‘s head after giving up back-to-back homers. Here’s video. Romine has not played since but Joe Girardi told Chad Jennings he is doing okay. No concussion and all other tests came back good. Still, scary moment. Oliveros has not yet been suspended. Oliveros was suspended a whole seven games.

Also, OF Tyler Austin was placed on the Triple-A Scranton DL, according to Donnie Collins. He hurt his hip diving after a ball in the outfield recently.

Triple-A Scranton (2-1 loss to Rochester)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 0-4, 1 RBI, 2 K
  • RF Jose Pirela & DH Rob Refsnyder: both 1-4 — Pirela struck out
  • LF Ramon Flores: 0-3, 1 K
  • 3B Gregorio Petit: 2-3
  • RHP Bryan Mitchell: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 8/4 GB/FB –– 59 of 97 pitches were strikes (61%) … gave up six runs in 0.1 innings on May 11th and has allowed just six runs in 36 innings since
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 2 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 1/3 GB/FB — 14 of 19 pitches were strikes (74%)

[Read more…]