Game 110: Runs Required

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

The Yankees have scored four (4) runs in their last four (4) games. We can bitch and moan for hours about bullpen usage and all that, but ultimately it hasn’t really mattered because the Yankees aren’t scoring at all. It happens! Offenses slump. But, you know, it is annoying. And it’s costing them games in the standings.

So today’s secondary goal is score a bunch of a run. The primary goal is not getting swept by a Blue Jays team that sure looks like a powerhouse now that they have the pitching to match the hitting. I don’t care if the Yankees win 1-0 or 24-22 this afternoon. Just win. Can’t get swept at home by the Blue Jays. That would be Very Bad. Here is Toronto’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

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

It’s a lovely day for baseball in the Bronx. A little cloudy but the sky is blue, the sun is shining, and it’s not overwhelmingly hot. Good afternoon to spend at the ol’ ball yard. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05pm ET and you can watch on YES. Try to enjoy.

Rotation Update: The Yankees have 16 games in 16 days starting Tuesday and Joe Girardi said they will likely insert a spot sixth starter at some point to give everyone in the rotation extra rest. My guess is Bryan Mitchell would make that start unless all hell breaks loose and he’s needed in long relief a few times. We’ll see.

Yanks seen as candidate to pursue Chase Utley in August waiver trade

(Mike Zarrilli/Getty)
(Mike Zarrilli/Getty)

According to Andy Martino, the Yankees are seen as a candidate to pursue Phillies second baseman Chase Utley in a waiver trade this month. The Cubs and Dodgers are also in that group, though I have no idea why the Dodgers would be looking for a second baseman when they have Howie Kendrick at the position.

Utley, 36, just returned from the DL after missing six weeks with a right ankle injury. He’s having a miserable season, going into last night’s game with a .179/.256/.274 (42 wRC+) batting line and four homers in 66 games. Utley has good strikeout (13.0%) and walk (8.3%) rates, but otherwise his defense, base-running, and hard contact numbers are all in steep decline.

The ankle injury means Utley’s $15M option will not vest for next season, so he’s a pure rental, and I’m certain his intense and ultra-hard-nosed style of play still generates respect around the league. Utley’s a big time gamer. That said, it looks like he’s toast, and I’m not sure why the Phillies would move him anyway. Utley’s a very popular player. His marquee value might be worth more than whatever they get in return.

The Yankees are currently employing a Stephen Drew/Brendan Ryan platoon at second base — literally Stephen Drew and Brendan Ryan — though I’m not sure this version of Utley is an upgrade. Maybe the magic of the pinstripes would rejuvenate him a la Ichiro Suzuki in 2012. Who knows. If the Yankees do make a change at second base, they’re probably best off going with Rob Refsnyder.

DotF: Austin goes deep again in Trenton’s win

Another promotion: RHP Cale Coshow was bumped up to Double-A Trenton, so says Nick Flammia. Coshow has a 2.01 ERA (2.40 FIP) with a 24.8 K% and 4.9 BB% in 80.2 innings split between Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa this year. The big (listed at 6-foot-5 and 260 lbs.!) hard-thrower started the season in the bullpen before moving to the rotation. Coshow was the team’s 13th round pick in 2013.

Triple-A Scranton (4-2 loss to Toledo)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 1-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 2 K — another day, another triple
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 0-3, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • 1B Greg Bird: 1-4, 1 2B — has an extra-base hit in four of his last six games
  • C Gary Sanchez: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K — my guess is he gets a September call-up to be the third catcher but rarely catches, a la Jesus Montero in 2011 … Montero caught three games that September but only a full nine innings once, after the team clinched the division
  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 3 K — 42 extra-base hits in 97 games this year after 45 extra-base hits in 131 games last year, so the power’s coming
  • LF Jose Pirela: 0-2, 1 K — ejected for arguing balls and strikes
  • RHP Joel De La Cruz: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HB, 3/5 GB/FB — 52 of 81 pitches were strikes (64%)
  • RHP Johnny Barbato: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 18 of 29 pitches were strikes (62%)

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Saturday Night Open Thread

Happy Saturday everyone. Here is your open thread for the remainder of the evening. The Mets are playing tonight, the Cardinals and Brewers will be on FOX Sports 1, and MLB Network will air some regional games as well. Talk about those games, this afternoon’s loss, or anything else here.

Offense no-shows again, Yankees fall 6-0 to Blue Jays


Source: FanGraphs

So this series is not going according to plan. The Yankees lost for the third time in four games Saturday afternoon, falling 6-0 to the Blue Jays. It was only the fourth time the Yankees have been shut out this season, breaking a tie with the Tigers for the fewest shutout losses in baseball. It was their first shutout loss at home. It’s Saturday, so let’s recap with bullet points:

  • What’s One More Batter?: Apparently the four-pitch walk to Edwin Encarnacion to load the bases wasn’t enough to convince Joe Girardi that Ivan Nova was out of gas in the sixth inning. Nova pitched very well for the first five innings, then in the sixth he needed a great play from Didi Gregorius to retire Troy Tulowitzki, walked Josh Donaldson, allowed a single to Jose Bautista, then walked Encarnacion on four pitches. Adam Warren was ready in the bullpen, but Girardi stuck with his tired starter — eleven of Nova’s previous 14 pitches were balls! — and Nova hung the hell out of a curveball, which Justin Smoak hit out for a grand slam. Maybe Warren would have given up the grand slam too, but man, Nova was so clearly gassed. Girardi’s bullpen decisions have been interesting this series. Let’s leave it at that.
  • NOffense: Meanwhile, former future Yankee David Price predictably had his way with New York’s struggling offense, limiting them to three singles and three walks in seven shutout innings. He struck out seven. I’m not too worried about the offense, slumps happen, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying. The Yankees had one runner make it to third base (Chase Headley in the seventh) and one other make it to second (Alex Rodriguez in the fourth). That’s all. In their last four games, the Yankees have four runs and 22 hits.
  • MIA: The marginalization of Adam Warren continues. He was one of the team’s three most effective starters when he was demoted to the bullpen, and when he’s entered his last five games, the Yankees have been down four runs, up 14, up ten, down two, and down four. They took a young, cheap, and effective asset and turned him into a low-leverage reliever. Warren faced two batters after Smoak’s grand slam, struck them both out, and was removed from the game. What a waste.
  • Leftovers: Bryan Mitchell replaced Warren to start the seventh — Girardi was doing that thing where he was saving a reliever for tomorrow again, right? — and allowed two runs in three innings … A-Rod, Gregorius, and Carlos Beltran had the three hits, all singles. Beltran, Headley, and Jacoby Ellsbury drew their only walks … Ellsbury went 0-for-3 with that walk and is hitting .198/.238/.358 since coming off the DL exactly one month ago.

Here are the box score, video highlights, updated standings, and postseason odds. Also check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees and Blue Jays will wrap up this three-game series Sunday afternoon. Masahiro Tanaka and Marco Estrada will be on the mound. The Yankees will try to avoid being swept in a three-game series for only the third time this year.

Game 109: Runs, Plural

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

So last night’s loss sucked. Thankfully there’s another game this afternoon with a quick turn around so we can all forget about it. The bullpen is a little taxed — but at least Andrew Miller is available! (I think) — so it would be cool if Ivan Nova could pitch deep into the game. Also: offense. This one or two runs a game nonsense ain’t cuttin’ it.

Former future Yankee David Price is starting for the Blue Jays and man, he really should be starting for the Yankees. I hate that they missed out on him. The Yankees have hit Price well the last two times they faced him — eight runs in 2.1 innings in April, eight runs in two innings last August — but that doesn’t mean much. He had a 2.92 ERA in his previous ten starts against New York before that. Facing Price is not fun. Here is the Jays’ lineup and here is the Yanks’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Chris Young
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. RF Carlos Beltran
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 2B Brendan Ryan
    RHP Ivan Nova

It’s cloudy in New York but there is no rain in the forecast, which is the most important thing. This afternoon’s game will begin a bit after 1pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.

Saturday Links: Mateo, Strength of Schedule, Four-Year Stretch

Mateo (No. 2). (Presswire)
Mateo (No. 2). (Presswire)

In just a few hours the Yankees and Blue Jays will continue their three-game weekend series at Yankee Stadium. Some runs and a win would be nice. Anyway, here are some links to hold you over until first pitch.

Mateo joins MLB.com’s top 100 prospects list

Earlier this week, MLB.com released their midseason top 100 prospects list, which included two Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (No. 16) and OF Aaron Judge (No. 21). Now there’s a third Yankees on the list. Braves RHP Matt Wisler lost his prospect eligibility the other day when he crossed the 50-inning rookie threshold, so Wisler fell off the list and SS Jorge Mateo jumped on as No. 100, according to MLB.com. As always, MLB.com’s lists and scouting reports are free to read, so check ’em out. Mateo figures to crack the various top 100 lists heading into next season.

Remaining strength of schedule

The season is now exactly two-thirds complete for the Yankees, who currently sit in first place and have exceeded just about all expectations. Been a fun year, no doubt. Over at FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan estimated strength of schedule for the rest of the season and found the Yankees have the fourth toughest remaining schedule in the AL. They are based on projections, not the number of games against teams over .500 or something like that.

The Royals have by far the easiest remaining schedule in the league — the AL Central is so, so bad — while the Athletics and Orioles have the toughest schedules. Don’t count out the O’s though! They’re lingering the race. Also, if you’re interested, SG at RLYW ran a bunch of simulations for the rest of the season, including how various outcomes of this weekend’s series with the Blue Jays would impact the race. Check out. Super nerdy but interesting.

2012-15 Red Sox or 2011-14 Tigers?

This was a fun little post, again from Jeff Sullivan. He asks whether you would prefer to see your team have a four-year run like the 2012-15 Red Sox (one World Series and three last place finishes) or the 2011-14 Tigers (four first place finishes, one pennant, no titles). It’s an interesting question!

My initial reaction was 2012-15 Red Sox because hey, flags fly forever. But, the more I thought about it, the more I started to lean towards the 2011-14 Tigers. There’s something to be said for being consistently good and playing meaningful games year after year. That’s what keeps us interested, at the end of the day. The Red Sox have been embarrassingly and unwatchably bad three of the last four years. It’s not fun following a team that is out of the race in July year after year. Contending is cool. What do you think?