Astros 8, Yankees 1: The free fall continues

(Bob Levey/Getty)
(Bob Levey/Getty)

Well, at least the bullpen didn’t blow it? The Yankees were completely outclassed by the Astros in Sunday’s series finale and will fly back home with an 8-1 loss fresh in their minds. They were outscored 12-1 in the final ten innings of the series. The Yankees are 5-14 in their last 19 games and have gone from four games up in the AL East to three games back. An impressive free fall, this is. It’s Sunday and it’s a holiday weekend, so let’s recap this one with bullet points:

  • Sevy Struggles: Seven extra-base hits allowed — including four to the first eight batters — in 5.1 innings is pretty much all you need to know about Luis Severino‘s afternoon. Even the outs were loud. The ‘Stros tattooed Severino for six runs on nine hits and one walk and one hit batsman in 5.1 innings, and six of those eleven baserunners reached in two-strike counts. Pretty annoying. Severino against the Astros in 2017: 10.13 ERA. Severino against everyone else in 2017: 2.93 ERA.
  • Lots Of Pitches, No Runs: The Yankees forced Astros starter Mike Fiers to throw 105 pitches in four innings (!). They scored zero runs. The Yankees had two runners on base in each of the first three innings, including twice with only one out. The batters after that second runner reached in those innings went a combined 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and an infield pop-up. The one guy who managed to hit the ball out of the infield in those spots, Brett Gardner, fell about a foot short of a three-run home run. Alas.
  • Bullpen Mismatch: As if there were any doubt, the bullpen put the game completely out of reach after Severino. Tyler Webb and Domingo German combined to allow Severino’s inherited runner to score plus two runs of their own in 2.2 innings. The Astros bullpen: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. I can just picture Joe Girardi laughing in the dugout when Chris Devenski entered in the fifth inning. “Those fools, you can’t use your best reliever outside his assigned inning!”
  • Leftovers: The no shutout streak lives! A double by Chase Headley and a single by Chris Carter got the Yankees on the board in the ninth. The Yankees and Nationals are still the only teams to score in every game so far this season. The last time the Yankees went this deep into the season without being shutout was 1988 (83 games) … Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez: 4-for-7 with a walk. The rest of the Yankees: 2-for-25 (.080) with four walks, and those two hits were the Headley double and Carter single in the ninth … Clint Frazier went 0-for-3 with a walk and a double play grounder, though his at-bats were all good. Worked the count and swung at the right pitches. He saw 25 total pitches in his four plate appearances.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. The road trip is over and the Yankees are coming back to the Bronx for a six-game homestand against the Blue Jays and Brewers to close out the first half. Masahiro Tanaka and Marcus Stroman are the scheduled starters for Monday night’s series opener. RAB Tickets can get you in the door for any of the six games on the homestand. I hear booing is cathartic.

(FanGraphs seems broken and the WPA graph is not currently available. It’ll be here once everything is working properly. The graph won’t be very interesting anyway.)

Game 80: Win the series, please

(Bob Levey/Getty)
(Bob Levey/Getty)

Just imagine. If not for a pair of Dellin Betances meltdowns, the Yankees would be coming into today’s road trip finale with a 5-1 record in the first six games, and they’d be trying for a sweep of the first place Astros. Alas. The bullpen has been a mess for a solid month now, and now even Betances is having problems.

Last night’s loss stunk, though the Yankees still have a chance to clinch a series win today, and they have their best pitcher on the mound. The Yankees haven’t won a series — or back-to-back games! — since annihilating the Orioles at Yankee Stadium three weeks ago. It’s been far too long. Gotta start picking up those series wins to get anywhere. Here is the Astros’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. DH Brett Gardner
  2. RF Aaron Judge
  3. C Gary Sanchez
  4. SS Didi Gregorius
  5. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. 1B Chris Carter
  8. 2B Tyler Wade
  9. LF Clint Frazier
    RHP Luis Severino

It’s a hot one in Houston and that means the Minute Maid Park roof will be closed yet again. This afternoon’s series finale will begin at 2:10pm ET. YES and MLB Network will have the broadcast. Enjoy.

Injury Update: Adam Warren (shoulder) threw a simulated game today and everything went well. He could be activated Tuesday. Hopefully that means Domingo German will go to the minors and actually pitch once in a while.

Sunday Musings

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Happy Fourth of July weekend, everyone! Hope you’re celebrating and will be celebrating safely with friends, family, and baseball. What’s on your mind, baseball wise, as the calendar has flipped to July? Here’s what’s on mine.

The State of the Union

It would be an overstatement to call the state of the Yankees precarious at this point, even if that’s the first word that comes to mind after two weeks of bullpen disasters and a slide out of first place. The team is still in the lead for the first wild card and, frankly, I never expected this group to be here when the season was about to start.

I’ve heard and seen talk of adjusting expectations and that at this point, a lack of playoffs would be a severe disappointment for this edition of the Yankees, but there’s a part of me that’s hesitant to agree with that. Would I be bummed if this team missed the playoffs? Definitely. Maybe. They’ve mashed and played better than expected; the playoffs would be a great reward for that. But from the outset, this year was about developing the young players; Greg Bird notwithstanding, this year has been a success for that as Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Jordan Montgomery have flourished in staring roles for the team, with Chad Green emerging as a reliable bullpen option to boot. Hopefully Clint Frazier‘s big night last night is a sign of more success for 2017.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

The All Stars

Aaron Judge leads the AL in All Star votes. Gary Sanchez is having the best overall season of any AL catcher, though Salvador Perez of the Royals is leading the vote behind the plate. Still, it’s hard to say both of the Yankees’ youngsters won’t be All Stars. As I’ve matured as a fan, I’ve longed for my favorite team’s players to skip the All Star Game, opting for rest and rehab, rather than strain in an exhibition. But this year, it’s different. Though both have played in the Futures Game, this is likely to be the first (of many) All Star appearances for both players. That makes it special. And on top of that, they deserve it. As they say, you always remember your first and both Judge and El Gary should be proud to represent the Yankees at the game.

On that note, there’s another reason–a less important one–for Judge and Sanchez to play in the game. It signals to the league as a whole that the future is now for the Yankees, that they’re reloading and retooling, not rebuilding. Judge and Sanchez are going to be an important part of returning the Yankees to dominance. That’s obviously a good thing for us as Yankee fans, but isn’t it just as easy to argue that they represent something more important to baseball as a whole? People, silly people, really, love to root against the Yankees. They love for the Yankees to be the heel. For the last few years, the team has been so mediocre that they bordered on irrelevance and I’d imagine hating them was hard. Everyone loves a villain and the Yankees are poised to be that once again.

Also, Aaron, if you’re reading this, please participate in the Home Run Derby. Please.

(NY Daily News)
(NY Daily News)

A Good Problem to Have?

With Clint Frazier joining the big league team, the Yankees have four outfielders they’d want to start for only three positions. Barring MLB letting them play four outfielders and bat ten men like slow pitch softball, someone is going to need to sit every night. Well, not exactly. With Matt Holliday out with a viral infection–let’s hope he’s not patient zero of some apocalyptic nightmare disease–one of the four can DH each night for the time being. That keeps everyone fresh and keeps bats in the lineup. As a plus, all four guys are good enough defensively that it won’t cost them. When Holliday comes back, there may be an issue. There definitely will be when Aaron Hicks returns. This, however, is a great logjam to have and I’m sure it’ll work itself out in time.

Astros 7, Yankees 6: Yet another bullpen meltdown wastes Frazier’s big debut


Source: FanGraphs

Sigh. Just … sigh. Remember when the bullpen was supposed to be a strength? Now it’s a bigger weakness than it has been at any other point during the Joe Girardi era. The Yankees had a three-run lead with five outs to go Saturday and the final score was 7-6 Astros. Life is pain. Let’s recap with bullet points on this Saturday night:

  • Monty’s Loud Outs: Bit of an uneven start for Jordan Montgomery. He cruised through the first four innings scoreless before the ‘Stros really started to hit him hard in the fifth. Yulieski Gurriel’s two-run home run gave the Astros a 2-0 lead in the fifth, and all three outs that inning were loud too. Two went to the warning track. Then, in the sixth, Montgomery gave up a solo homer to Carlos Correa and a hard-hit double to Evan Gattis, ending his night. Six of the final seven batters Montgomery faced hit the ball quite hard. His final line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2/10 GB/FB.
  • YES IN-DIDI: After five innings of doing nothing in particular against Francis Martes, the Yankees exploded for five runs in the sixth inning. It all started with a Clint Frazier double, his first big league hit. A Brett Gardner single and a Jacoby Ellsbury walk loaded the bases with no outs. In business! Gary Sanchez got the Yankees on the board with a fisted single to right field, then Didi Gregorius turned the 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 lead with a grand slam juust over the right field wall. A Yankee Stadium cheapie in Houston. Second straight day with a grand slam for the Yankees.
  • Happier Times: Montgomery’s sudden exit in the sixth inning brought Chad Green into the ballgame. Six up, five down, three strikeouts. That includes fanning Carlos Beltran and Marwin Gonzalez in the sixth, when they represented the tying run. Green has found a home in relief. The Yankees got an insurance run on Frazier’s solo homer into the Crawfish Boxes in left field in the sixth. So awesome. He’s the first Yankee in over a century with a double and a homer in his debut.
  • The Meltdown: Three-run lead with Dellin Betances on the mound and Aroldis Chapman waiting for the ninth? That’s a win that has to be nailed down. Instead, the Astros rallied for four runs in the eighth, mostly because Betances couldn’t find the plate (again) and couldn’t control the running game (again). His inning went strikeout, walk, stolen base, stolen base, RBI ground out, home run, walk, runner reaches second on Chris Carter‘s error (the runner would have stolen second anyway), stolen base, walk. Dellin threw 13 strikes and 16 balls. The death blow was Gurriel’s two-run double into the left field corner against Chapman. Betances’ last two outings have been rough. Chapman hasn’t looked quite right all year. The Yankees aren’t good enough to overcome these two being something less than dominant. They need to be better. Dellin must cut down on the walks (18.3 BB%) and Chapman has to remember how to miss bats (13.6 Whiff%).
  • Leftovers: Because the bullpen meltdown wasn’t enough, the game ended when Gardner slapped a two-out single in the ninth, and was thrown out at first because he took too big of a turn. He was caught in no man’s land. This team has been so bad on the bases lately. Sooo bad … the wraparound 9-1-2-3-4 portion of the lineup: 8-for-19 (.421) with a double, two homers, and two walks … the 5-6-7-8 hitters: 2-for-15 (.133) with a walk … Aaron Judge pinch-hit for Carter in the ninth and flew out. His on-base streak ends at 32 games. What a lame way to end it.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload page either. The Yankees wrap up this series with the Astros on Sunday afternoon, then they head back to New York for a six-game homestand to close out the first half. Luis Severino and Mike Fiers will be on the bump Sunday.

DotF: Mateo’s huge game leads Trenton to a win

The various affiliates announced a whole bunch of roster moves today. Let’s get to ’em:

  • LHP Dietrich Enns has been activated off the Triple-A Scranton disabled list. He’d been out since April 14th with a shoulder issue. He made a six-inning rehab start in the Rookie GCL the other day, which was a pretty good indication he was close to returning to the RailRiders.
  • OF Billy McKinney and OF Devyn Bolasky have been promoted from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton. They need outfielders given all the recent call-ups. McKinney has hit .321/.405/.555 (163 wRC+) with five homers in his last 37 games.
  • OF Tito Polo and OF Jhalan Jackson have been promoted from High-A Tampa to Double-A Trenton. Polo is hitting .283/.341/.429 (124 wRC+) with four homers and 19 steals this year. He came over in the Ivan Nova trade.
  • OF Alex Palma was moved up from Low-A Charleston to High-A Tampa. Palma has spent parts of the last three seasons with the RiverDogs. This will be his first stint with Tampa.

Triple-A Scranton Game One (5-2 loss to Pawtucket) completion of yesterday’s game, which was suspended due to rain after three innings

  • CF Mark Payton: 0-4, 2 K
  • RF Clint Frazier: 0-1, 1 K, 1 E (fielding) — he played yesterday, before it started raining … this is the second time a guy has played in a big league game and appeared in that night’s DotF in the last four days … 3B Miguel Andujar did it Wednesday
  • PH-RF Billy McKinney: 0-3 — his Triple-A debut is a relief appearance
  • LF Cito Culver: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K — first career game in the outfield
  • DH Jake Cave: 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K — ten homers in 45 games this year is a career high … he had eight in 116 games last year
  • SS Abi Avelino: 0-3
  • LHP Daniel Camarena: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 36 of 64 pitches were strikes (56%) … eight runs allowed in 10.1 innings since coming back from the shoulder issue
  • LHP Nestor Cortes: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 Balk, 1/3 GB/FB — 32 of 51 pitches were strikes (63%) … he got one out yesterday, then stayed in to throw two innings today

[Read more…]

Game 79: Up Goes Frazier

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Another day, another big league debut for one of the Yankees’ top prospects. It was Tyler Wade on Tuesday, Miguel Andujar on Wednesday, Dustin Fowler on Thursday, and now Clint Frazier on Saturday. Frazier will make his MLB debut this evening, largely because Fowler suffered that truly awful injury the other day. I don’t think Frazier is here if Fowler is healthy.

More important the Frazier’s debut is tonight’s game itself. The Yankees made a great comeback last night to earn the blowout win, and now they’re trying to win back-to-back games for the first time in more than two weeks. They haven’t won two straight since that bloodbath series against the Orioles. Win it for Dustin. That’s the motto the rest of the season. Here is the Astros’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. DH Gary Sanchez
  4. SS Didi Gregorius
  5. 3B Chase Headley
  6. 2B Ronald Torreyes
  7. C Austin Romine
  8. 1B Chris Carter
  9. RF Clint Frazier
    LHP Jordan Montgomery

It’s another hot and humid day in Houston, which means the Minute Maid Park roof will be closed. Tonight’s game will begin at 7:15pm ET and FOX will have the broadcast. Enjoy the game.

Injury Updates: CC Sabathia (hamstring) is tentatively scheduled to rejoin the rotation Tuesday. That’s the plan as long as the hamstring doesn’t act up again … Adam Warren (shoulder) will throw a simulated game tomorrow. If that goes well, he’ll be activated next week. I guess neither he nor Sabathia will go out on a minor league rehab assignment … Aaron Judge is fine. Joe Girardi is trying to give him some rest because he’s played right field basically every day so far this season. Judge is available to pinch-hit and will play the outfield tomorrow.

Roster Moves: Andujar was sent down to Triple-A Scranton to clear a 25-man roster spot for Frazier and Fowler was transferred over to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot. Andujar needs to play every day and that’s not going to happen in the big leagues.

Saturday Links: Padres, Torres, Bullpen Help, Draft Signings

Gleyber. (Presswire)
Gleyber. (Presswire)

The Yankees and Astros will continue their three-game weekend series later today, though not until 7pm ET. Blargh. I really hate Saturday night games, you guys. Anyway, here are some links to check out in the meantime.

Padres have asked about Torres

According to Jon Heyman, the Padres have asked the Yankees about top prospect Gleyber Torres. I’m not sure whether this was before or after Gleyber hurt his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. San Diego is in the middle of a deep rebuild and needs, well, everything. But especially a shortstop. Before the injury, few prospects could match Gleyber’s combination of near-MLB-readiness and long-term potential.

I imagine Torres is atop New York’s untouchables list, and I don’t think there’s any chance the Yankees would sell low on him while hurt. Also, who in the world could the Padres offer for Torres? Brad Hand? Nope. Not happening. Wil Myers? Meh. He’s good and by far their best player, but I’m not giving up Torres to get him. I don’t blame the Padres for trying. You can’t get Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano without asking. There doesn’t seem to be a fit here at all. The Yankees could use Hand, but not at the price of Gleyber.

Yankees looking for bullpen help

From the no duh department: the Yankees are in the market for bullpen help right now, reports Heyman. I don’t know about you, but I get the feeling a trade for bullpen help is inevitable at this point. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Yankees are going to trade top prospects for a high-end reliever. It could be a smaller deal similar to last season’s Tyler Clippard trade. A change of scenery guy. I trust Brian Cashman to make a good value trade. I can’t even remember the last time the Yankees made a trade that made me say “wow, they overpaid.” The Yankees want bullpen help. News at 11.

Latest 2017 draft signings

The signing deadline for 2017 draft picks is Friday, July 7th, though the Yankees have already handled most of their major business. They’ve signed all of their picks in the top 17 rounds plus several others. Here are my Day One, Day Two, and Day Three draft recaps, and here are all of the Yankees’ picks. Now here are the latest signings (and non-signings):

  • The Yankees have signed Puerto Rico HS C Hemmanuel Rosario as an undrafted free agent, reports Jonathan Mayo. He received a $247,500 bonus, of which $122,500 counts against the bonus pool. Rosario is still only 16, but he already graduated high school, which is why the Yankees were able to sign him. Here’s his Perfect Game scouting report. Nice little find.
  • The Yankees have also signed Carl Albert State C/OF Pedro Diaz as an undrafted free agent, according to his coach on Twitter. No word on his bonus, though I don’t believe this is another over-slot signing. Diaz hit .282/.407/.380 as a freshman in 2016. Seems like an organizational depth pickup.
  • Arizona HS RHP Colby Davis (23rd round) will not sign and instead go to Arizona State, reports Richard Obert. Davis was always expected to go to school. He can locate three pitches right now, though none are an out pitch. He could come out as a top ten rounds guy in three years.

As our Draft Pool Tracker shows, the Yankees still have roughly $317,000 in bonus space remaining. I imagine that money is going to spent somewhere. The Yankees have spent right up to the max each year since the bonus pools were put in place. It’s worth noting Duke OF Jimmy Herron (31st round) is currently 18-for-45 (.400) with six doubles and a home run through 13 Cape Cod League games. He’s got some interesting leadoff hitter skills and the Yankees could offer him as much as $442,000 at this point. Either way, I’d bet on that pool money getting spent on someone.