Girardi confirms Aroldis Chapman will take over as closer when he returns


According to Bryan Hoch, manager Joe Girardi confirmed Aroldis Chapman will indeed take over as the Yankees’ closer as soon as he returns from his suspension next Monday. They’re not going to ease him back into things and Andrew Miller‘s otherworldly performance doesn’t mean he’ll remain in the ninth inning.

Chapman is scheduled to make tune-up appearances in Extended Spring Training today and Friday — today’s outing will likely be two innings, according to pitching coach Larry Rothschild — before joining the team Monday. He’s been throwing in Tampa since the end of Spring Training and has been gradually increasing the intensity of his prep work.

I thought maybe the Yankees would ease Chapman back into things at first, perhaps with a low to medium leverage outing or two before taking over the ninth. In a perfect world, I bet the Yankees would like to see Aroldis come into Monday’s game to face the 7-8-9 hitters with a three-run lead. Nice and easy for his first game, you know? Just to get those first game jitters out of the way.

Miller has been out of this world so far this season. He’s allowed three singles and one double in ten scoreless innings, with 16 strikeouts and zero walks. Only eight of the 33 batters he’s faced have hit the ball out of the infield. Insanity. Miller has said all along he’ll pitch in any role and he seems sincere about it, so I don’t expect giving up the closer’s job to Chapman to be a problem.

Now, if Chapman comes in and blows one of his first save opportunities, then there will be some second guessing. That’s inevitable. Hopefully that doesn’t happen. Girardi likes to assign relievers set innings, so in all likelihood Miller will take over the eighth inning and Dellin Betances the seventh. I suppose he could mix and match Miller and Betances as necessary, though they’re so good against all hitters it won’t make much of a difference.

“I just think it makes our bullpen longer,” said Girardi to Hoch when asked about the impact of adding Chapman to the bullpen. “You use guys maybe a little bit differently, which I think helps … Let’s just see what we get into. Worry about that when he gets here.”

Getting Chapman back is not going to cure all that ails the Yankees, not even close, but it’s not going to hurt either. Adding this kind of talent to the roster only helps. We’ll see what kind of shape the bullpen is in next week, though the smart money is one Nick Goody going to Triple-A to clear a roster spot for Chapman. Hopefully the Yankees start giving him some games to save.

Revisiting the MLBTR Archives: May 2011

(Mike Stobe/Getty)
(Mike Stobe/Getty)

It is time, once again, to go back and take a trip through the MLB Trade Rumors archives. We’re now in May 2011, so the season is well underway and teams have started to get serious about prep work leading up to the trade deadline. The Yankees lost Andy Pettitte (retirement) and Cliff Lee (signed with the Phillies) in the offseason, but did add Rafael Soriano.

The big story heading into May 2011 was CC Sabathia‘s impending opt-out clause. That was a thing all season. Sabathia was still a bonafide front of the rotation workhorse at the time, and the possibility of losing him to the opt-out clause was scary, particularly after missing out on Lee. The Yankees were still looking for rotation help in May as well. Time to have some fun and dig back through old rumors.

May 1st, 2011: New York Notes: Lowe, Reyes, Mets, Ownership

The Braves could look to trade Derek Lowe even if they’re still in the playoff hunt, according to a scout who follows the team. Ken Davidoff of Newsday says the Yankees, who “negotiated seriously” with Lowe when he was a free agent, would be an obvious candidate to kick the tires on the right-hander if he’s available.

True fact: I wanted the Yankees to sign Lowe, not A.J. Burnett, during the 2008-09 offseason. Good thing that didn’t happen. Burnett at least gave the Yankees one really good year in 2009. Lowe came out of the gate with a 4.67 ERA (4.06 FIP) in the first year of his four-year, $60M deal with the Braves.

Atlanta did not trade Lowe during the 2011 season. They instead send him to the Indians in a pure salary dump trade after the season. Lowe didn’t pitch well in Cleveland in 2012 either, so they released him at midseason, at which point the Yankees picked him up off the scrap heap. He had a four-inning save in his first game in pinstripes. Remember?

May 1st, 2011: Kevin Millwood Opts Out Of Contract

11:23am:’s Buster Olney confirms (via Twitter) that Millwood has opted out of his contract with the Yankees.

Millwood was very weirdly a hot topic for a few weeks back in 2011. It appeared the Yankees had major rotation issues and he was a familiar name, but he was also 36 years old and coming off a season with a 5.10 ERA (4.86 FIP) for the Orioles. There’s nothing wrong with a minor league deal though, so the Yankees signed him, Millwood allowed eight runs in nine Triple-A innings, then opted out. He later spent some time in Triple-A with the Red Sox before the Rockies let him make nine starts that year. The infatuation with Millwood was always a bit odd to me.

May 3rd, 2011: Minor Deals: Halsey, Cintron

The Yankees have signed left-hander Brad Halsey to a minor league contract, according to the AP (via the Washington Post). Halsey began his MLB career with the Yankees, who drafted him in 2002, but he hasn’t appeared in a big league game since 2006. The 30-year-old has a 4.84 ERA with 5.0 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 286 1/3 career innings for the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Athletics.

Ergh. Halsey, who the Yankees sent to the Diamondbacks in the Randy Johnson trade, had his career sabotaged by major shoulder problems. He had a 7.52 ERA in 32.1 minor league innings with the Yankees in 2011 and never pitched again after that. Halsey had drug problems throughout his career and was killed in a fall in 2014. Josh Peters wrote about Halsey’s career and off-the-field problems. Really sad stuff. He died at 33.

May 5th, 2011: Yankees Notes: Russo, Prospects, Granderson

The Yankees explored trading Kevin Russo during Spring Training, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).  Sherman notes that New York could take Russo off their 40-man roster to make room for Jorge Vazquez as a replacement for the injured Eric Chavez, though Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees blog believes Ramiro Pena will be called up instead.

Russo had his moments with the Yankees in 2010 (this game and this game, most notably) but there was no role for him on the 2011 team. He was a classic versatile/good stats minor leaguer who looked maybe like he could be a useful bench player, but it didn’t happen. The Yankees designated Russo for assignment literally the day after Sherman’s report, and he later cleared waivers and remained in the organization as a non-40-man roster player. Russo never did get back to MLB after 2010. He did hit .249/.301/.315 in an independent league last year though.

May 6th, 2011: Yankees Claim Jess Todd

The Yankees claimed right-hander Jess Todd off of waivers from Cleveland, the Indians announced. The Indians had designated Todd for assignment on April 30th.

Jess Todd is definitely a real person and not someone made up. For a while Todd and Chris Perez were supposed to be the long-term 1-2 punch in the Cardinals bullpen, but Perez was traded away and Todd never panned out. He allowed two runs in 1.2 innings with Triple-A Scranton before being released. Unlike Perez, Todd was still active full-time last season. He had a 5.51 ERA in 81.2 innings with Boston’s Triple-A club. He is not pitching anywhere this season as far as I can tell.

May 8th, 2011: New York Notes: Reyes, Jeter, Logan, Pridie

Within a piece about slow starters, Joel Sherman of the New York Post says he talked to 12 scouts or officials and not a single one believes Derek Jeter will “approach his old self.”

This is why scouts make the big bucks, folks. It takes a trained eye to tell you 38-year-old Jeter will not approach his old self, especially coming off a season in which he hit .270/.340/.370 (93 wRC+). Of course, Jeter then went out and hit .297/.355/.388 (104 wRC+) in 2011, and followed it up with a .316/.362/.429 (117 wRC+) effort in 2012. Sometimes scouts screw up the easy ones too.

May 10th, 2011: New York Notes: Jeter, Berkman, Mets

As Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out, it’s easy to forget that the Yankees declined their 2011 option for Lance Berkman. The switch-hitter has been among the best hitters in baseball this year, but the Yankees couldn’t have known that in the fall. At the time, they had a DH of their own (Jorge Posada) and Berkman’s $15MM option seemed steep, even for the Yankees.

This was a weird thing for Sherman to write because the Yankees agreed not to pick up Berkman’s option to get him to accept the trade, per Ken Rosenthal. He wanted to become a free agent after the season and test the open market. Besides, the Yankees had Posada at DH and Mark Teixeira at first base. There was no room for Fat Elvis even if they wanted to pick up the option. Facts get in the way of this LOLYanks story.

May 11th, 2011: Bartolo Colon Looks To Stem Cells For New Start

What’s to explain Colon’s resurgence, at age 37 and after five years dominated by shoulder and elbow problems?  According to a story in the Dominican daily Diario Libre, the new life in Colon’s arm could be partially attributable to two treatments of stem cells – or “células madre” as they’re called in the Dominican Republic, where Colon had the procedures. The doctors, Sergio Guzman and Leonel Liriano, told the newspaper they had envisioned using the treatment on Pedro Martinez, but they also sent “an invitation” out to Colon, which he accepted in March 2010. (Pedro’s invitation, the article says, is still open). Guzman was quick to insist, though, that when they took fatty tissue and bone marrow from Colon’s hip and injected it into injured tissues in his rotator cuff and elsewhere in his right shoulder, they weren’t doing anything revolutionary.

This was a big deal back in 2011. Colon was pretty awesome early that season — he had a 3.86 ERA (3.78 FIP) in 37.1 innings on the day of this report — and the doctors he used in the Dominican Republic were kinda shady, so suddenly performance-enhancing drugs entered the conversation. For what it’s worth, MLB looked into things and walked away satisfied. Of course, Colon was suspended 50 games after failing a PED test in August 2012 when he was with the Athletics, so yeah. The guy was as close to out of baseball as it gets in 2010. The Yankees took a chance on him and he has a 3.64 ERA (3.62 FIP) in 935.2 innings since. Wild.

May 13th, 2011: Quick Hits: Astros, Lincecum, Yankees, Beltran

Rosenthal says the Yankees shouldn’t rush lefty Manny Banuelos to the Majors. “Let Manny become Manny … No sooner than 2012,” Rosenthal writes.

There were an awful lot of Yankee fans who saw Banuelos strike out Kevin Youkilis with a 3-2 changeup in Spring Training in 2011 and deemed him MLB ready. That was weird. Banuelos, who was still only 20 at the time, had a 3.75 ERA (4.15 FIP) in 129.2 innings at Double-A and Triple-A in 2011. He made six minor league starts in 2012 before blowing out his elbow. Banuelos has been dealing with elbow problems ever since. That’s a shame. Calling him up 2011 was definitely a thing that was talked about. The Yankees never really needed him though.

May 14th, 2011: Jorge Posada May Be In Breach On Contract

7:31pm: Mired in a season-long slump, Jorge Posada pulled himself from tonight’s lineup according to Yankees GM Brian Cashman on the FOX Saturday Night broadcast. Posada had been penciled into the ninth spot in the order for the first time in 12 years, and ESPN’s Buster Olney says (on Twitter) that he refused to play for that reason. He has given no indication that he’s retiring.

This was ugly and Joe Girardi absolutely deserves some of the blame. Posada was not hitting at all — he went into that game with a .165/.272/.349 (68 wRC+) batting line — and Girardi was not wrong to move him down in the lineup, but he chose to bat Posada ninth for the first time during a nationally televised game against the Red Sox. Not the best timing. That was pretty embarrassing for Jorge.

That said, Posada had no right to pull himself from the lineup no matter how pissed off he was about batting ninth. There was talk he would retire, that he demanded a trade, that the Yankees would suspend him or even look to void his contract and call up Jesus Montero, all sorts of crazy stuff. Posada sat out a few days to collect himself before making an apology. The team accepted the apology and the matter was closed. That was rough though. The end of the line is rarely pretty for legacy players and Posada was certainly no exception.

May 17th, 2011: Yankees Sign Randy Flores

The Yankees signed lefty reliever Randy Flores to a minor league deal, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.  The deal includes an opt-out, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX SportsJoel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the opt-out is before the All-Star break.

The Yankees signed Pedro Feliciano in the offseason and he almost instantly blew out his shoulder, leaving the team short a lefty reliever. (World Series hero Damaso Marte, who was still with the Yankees at the time, was hurt as well.) Flores was a depth pickup and he was okay with Triple-A Scranton (3.07 ERA in 29.1 innings), but apparently the Yankees didn’t like what they saw, so they released him. That 2011 season was Flores’ last as a player.

May 21st, 2011: Quick Hits: Branyan, Bedard, Vazquez, Turner

Joel Sherman of The New York Post points out that the Yankees once drafted Mets‘ infielder Justin Turner, but he turned down a $200K offer as 29th round pick in 2005 and returned to school for his senior season. Turner signed with the Reds for $50K as a seventh round pick in 2006, then was traded to the Orioles in the Ryan FreelRamon Hernandez swap and was later claimed off waivers by the Mets. He went 3-for-4 with an RBI against the Yanks last night.

Here is a mostly complete list of active big leaguers the Yankees drafted but did not sign: Turner, Jon Gray, Tyler Lyons, Jake Petricka, Gerrit Cole, Rob Scahill, Drew Storen, Tyler Ladendorf, Doug Fister, and Chris Davis. I think that’s all of them. Cole and Davis are the headliners, obviously. Storen and Fister are pretty big names too. Gray is a recent top prospect who is still cutting his teeth at the MLB level. Turner’s had some nice years recently and everyone else is an up-and-down depth player. Every team has a list of players like this though. They’ve all failed to sign a draft pick who went on to become a pretty good player down the line. The Yankees are not unique.

May 23rd, 2011: Quick Hits: Herrera, Bautista, Blevins

Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues points out that recently-designated southpaw Jerry Blevins could be an appealing option for the Yankees if they’re looking for more upside than Randy Flores offers.

This was when RAB made it big and first started appearing on MLBTR. I remember being all over Blevins in 2011. The A’s waived him like four times that year and every single time I said the Yankees should claim him. They never did. No one did, actually. Blevins remained with the A’s all season and for another two years as well.

Blevins, who was only 27 at the time, had five years of team control remaining including that 2011 season. He pitched to a 3.29 ERA (3.61 FIP) with +2.5 WAR in 216 relief innings during those five years of control. Lefties hit only .188/.251/.323 with a 28.3% strikeout rate and a 5.8% walk rate against him during that time too. Lefties who are still in their 20s with an out-pitch breaking ball and a minor league strikeout rate over 30% are almost always worth a claim. SMH, Yankees. SMH.

May 25th, 2011: Yankees Notes: Soriano, Colon

A third MRI on Rafael Soriano‘s elbow has prompted the Yankees to send the pricey reliever to see Dr. James Andrews, report Mark Feinsand and Sean Brennan of the New York Daily News.  The writers note that this marks Soriano’s sixth elbow-related DL stint; he’s a survivor of Tommy John surgery and ulnar nerve transposition surgery.  I’m not sure what surgeries are left, but the decision by Hal and Hank Steinbrenner and Randy Levine to overrule GM Brian Cashman on this signing is looking bad.  If the team’s bullpen depth is compromised due to the Soriano injury, Cashman might be forced to throw more money and/or prospects at the situation.

Soriano’s first year in pinstripes was really bad. He was hurt for most of it, and when he did pitch, he wasn’t all that good: 4.12 ERA (3.97 FIP) in 39.1 innings. By the end of the season David Robertson had emerged as Mariano Rivera‘s primary setup man and Soriano was the seventh inning guy. Soriano really bailed the Yankees out when Mo got hurt in 2012, but yeesh, 2011 was bad. Real bad. That the signing cost the team a first round pick and came from over the baseball operations department’s head was a little extra salt in the wound too.

May 25th, 2011: Yankees Claim Kanekoa Texeira

The Yankees claimed right-handed reliever Kanekoa Texeira off of waivers, the Royals announced. Kansas City had designated the former Yankees farmhand for assignment last Wednesday.

Kanekoa! He is best known as the other guy the Yankees received from the White Sox in the Nick Swisher trade. He had a nice year with Double-A Trenton in 2009 (2.84 ERA and 3.64 FIP) before being picked by the Mariners in the Rule 5 Draft after the season. Texeira bounced from the Mariners to the Royals and then back to the Yankees. He was hurt and awful (11.74 ERA) in 2011, and he’s spent the 2012-16 seasons bouncing around the minors, Mexico, and independent leagues. He’s thrown 15 innings for the Braves’ Triple-A team this season, so he’s still out there slingin’.

May 27th, 2011: Quick Hits: McCourt, Abreu, Sizemore, Purcey

Joe Girardi said he could move Nick Swisher into a platoon with Chris Dickerson if Swisher doesn’t pick up his hitting from the left side of the plate, reports Wallace Matthews of  Swisher still has four months to get on track, but right now it looks like there’s no chance the Yankees will pick up his $10.25MM option for 2012.

When he woke up on May 27th, 2011, Swisher was hitting .204/.321/.289 (70 wRC+) with two home runs in 184 plate appearances. He was bad early that season. Swisher then hit .283/.396/.513 (146 wRC+) with 21 homers the rest of the way because he was quite good at baseball back in those days.

The “it looks like there’s no chance the Yankees will pick up his $10.25MM option for 2012″ comment was so far disconnected from reality though. Swisher was very good with the Yankees from 2009-10, and even if he stunk in 2011, his track record ensured he would get much more than $10.25M in free agency. At worst, the Yankees would have picked up the option and traded him. There was this very weird obsession with declining Swisher’s option after 2011. It make zero sense.

May 28th, 2011: Yankees Notes: Trade Calls, Myers, Scouts

Dan Barbarisi of The Wall Street Journal wrote about the club’s pro scouting department, which helped unearth Bartolo Colon and others this offseason. “It’s easy to recommend a guy when the numbers are there,” said scout Tim Naehring. “The most difficult thing is feeling confident and putting in a report when the production isn’t there. The biggest challenge is sticking your neck out and saying,’I know there’s more in there. I know there’s better performance coming.'”

I’m not really sure I have much to add to this. I just thought it was a pretty cool comment. The Yankees hit the lottery with some scrap heap pickups back then, most notably Colon but also Freddy Garcia, Luis Ayala, and Eric Chavez. Naehring, by the way, took over as Brian Cashman’s right hand man this past offseason when Billy Eppler left to take over as Angels GM.

Poll: The Next Step with Luis Severino

(Patrick Smith/Getty)
(Patrick Smith/Getty)

Last night, young right-hander Luis Severino made his fifth start of the season, and once again he was not good. He allowed four runs (three earned) in six innings and made a pair of carbon copy errors when he dropped a toss from Mark Teixeira because he was looking for first base rather than looking the ball into his glove. It was not a pretty night.

Through five starts Severino ranks 95th out of 101 qualified starters with a 6.31 ERA. His 4.44 FIP is better but still not good; it ranks 72nd out of those 101 pitchers. Also, his 13.8% strikeout rate ranks 94th. There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Severino has been bad this season. You really have to squint your eyes for positives. (He has the tenth lowest walk rate at 4.3%, so yay?)

“If necessary,” said Brian Cashman to Chad Jennings yesterday afternoon when asked about the possibility of sending Severino to Triple-A. “If we feel that’s what has to take place, that’s definitely an avenue that’s open. Hopefully it doesn’t have to come to that, but if that’s what’s in his best interest, and therefore our best interest, that’s something I have no problem doing.”

After another rough start, the talk about sending Severino to the minors is only going to continue. The Yankees have a ready made rotation replacement in Ivan Nova, or, if you prefer, they could call up either Luis Cessa or Chad Green from Triple-A Scranton since both have pitched well overall. When a young pitcher struggles, he gets sent back to the minors. That’s the way it’s always been.

A week ago I said it was a bit too early to send Severino to Triple-A. Now, after another rough outing, a strong case can be made on both sides. There’s an argument to be made for sending Severino down and an argument to be made for keeping him here. I’m not convinced there’s a right answer at the moment either. Let’s look at the two sides.

The Case For Keeping Severino Around

The rough start to this season can make it easy to forget just how dominant Severino was in the minors. From 2014-15 he had a 2.45 ERA (2.42 FIP) with a 26.4% strikeout rate and a 6.3% walk rate in 212.2 minor league innings. He climbed from Low-A to Triple-A in the span of about 14 months. Severino allowed more than three runs only three times in 43 starts from 2014-15. He allowed more than two runs only ten times. Dominant.

Severino has mastered the minors. He can go down to Triple-A and overwhelm hitters with his fastball alone, and that doesn’t accomplish much developmentally. Severino, like everyone else ever, needs to be challenged to continue his development, and it was not until he got to the big leagues that he was challenged consistently.

As best I can tell, most of Severino’s issues right now are location related. He’s missing his spots and not by an inch or two either. I refer you back to Mark Trumbo’s first home run last night:

Luis Severino Mark Trumbo1

Yeah, Brian McCann wanted it down and away, and Severino threw it up and in. That’s a mistake you can get away with in the minors when you throw 95+ like Severino. Big league hitters will make you pay for that pitch. Triple-A hitters often do not. That pitch shows up as a K in the minor league box score and that K leaves out all the important stuff.

The Yankees can force Severino to work on specific things in the minors — you need to throw this many down and away sliders per start, etc. — though they’ll never be able to replicate the MLB atmosphere. The intensity and the quality of the competition is totally different. Severino could go down, dot the corners with sliders for a month, then come back up and struggle again because it’s a much different game in the show.

Remember, Severino is only 22 years old. He’s a young 22 too. His birthday is in February, so he’ll spend the entire season at that age. He still has a lot to learn, and it seems Severino has learned all he can in the minors given the success he had. The next phase of his development is learning how to get big league hitters out, and that’s not something you can do in Triple-A.

The Case For Sending Severino Down

Let’s start with this: Severino is not pitching well and these games count, so the Yankees should swap him out for a more effective pitcher. That’s pretty simple, right? At the end of the day, results are the only thing that matters in MLB. It’s all about wins and losses, and the current version of Severino is not getting the results that help the Yankees win.

Beyond that, the Yankees can more easily target specific deficiencies in Severino’s game in the minors. They can have him throw X number of whatever per start in Triple-A regardless of situation because the final score doesn’t matter. Sending players to the minors is not about stats. The Yankees won’t send Severino down, watch him pitch to a 2.00 ERA for six weeks, then call him back up because the results are good. Nope. You send a player down to work on specific things, and once the necessary improvement is there, the player comes back up.

There’s also the confidence factor to consider. Severino is only human. He’s struggling, and when you’re a young player who is experiencing failure for the first time, it can be easy to get down on yourself. Imagine how Severino must of have felt last night after giving up two dingers and making those two errors. That has to be tough. An assignment to Triple-A gives him a chance to catch his breath and experience some success again.

* * *

Right now big league hitters are telling Severino he has to make adjustments to stick around, and the Yankees must decide whether they want him make those adjustments in the Bronx or in Scranton. We’re at the point now where having his conversation is not unwarranted. After one or two bad starts? Nah. Too soon to talk about it. But after five? Yeah, this is a thing now. What side of the argument are you on?

Should should the Yankees do with Severino?

Yankees lose sixth straight; drop opener 4-1 to Orioles

The losing streak has hit six. The Yankees have also lost 14 of their last 18 games. They skipped right over mediocrity and went straight from good to awful, apparently. The Yanks dropped Tuesday’s series opener 4-1 to the Orioles and once again looked bad at literally everything. Pitching, hitting, defense, base-running, you name it. They’re doing nothing right.

(Patrick Smith/Getty)
(Patrick Smith/Getty)

Two Errors, Two Dingers
I’d like to go back and rewatch this game because holy cow, Luis Severino missed the target on seemingly every pitch. He did bury a few sliders down in the zone in the first inning — elevating sliders has been a problem — but after that he was all over the place. Severino missed up in the zone at times and by the full width of the plate at others.

The first run Severino allowed — it came five pitches after the Yankees took a 1-0 in the top of the second — came on a long Mark Trumbo solo homer. Trumbo is known to mash dingers, so that’s going to happen, but look where Brian McCann wanted the pitch and where it ended up:

Luis Severino Mark Trumbo1

Not even close. McCann wanted it down and away and the pitch was up and in. The same thing happened on Trumbo’s second homer, a two-run shot that gave the O’s a 4-1 lead in the fifth. McCann wanted the pitch in one spot and Severino missed his location by no small margin:

Luis Severino Mark Trumbo2

Severino did not miss his spot as much as he missed on Trumbo’s first homer, but he still missed and put it in a hittable location. It seems like this has been a consistent problem for Severino this year. He’s missing the target and not by an inch or two. He’s not even in the same quadrant.

The Orioles scored a run between Trumbo homers and it was the result of Severino’s second error of the night. The two errors were identical: Mark Teixeira fielded a ground ball, flipped to Severino covering first, and he dropped the ball because he was looking down for the base before making the catch. He was able to wiggle out of trouble the first time, but not the second.

Ryan Flaherty hit the grounder to Teixeira with two outs in the fourth, and Jonathan Schoop chugged all the way around to score from second on Severino’s drop. Schoop just never stopped running. By time Severino picked up the ball and realized Schoop was heading home, it was too late to make a play at home. Flaherty’s grounder would have ended the inning and kept the game tied. Instead the O’s took a 2-1 lead.

(Teixeira put his arm around Severino and offers some words of encouragement following the second error. That was nice to see.)

Severino finished the night having allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks in six innings. He struck out four. Four of those five hits were for extra-bases: Trumbo went deep twice and both Schoop and Manny Machado had doubles. I was encouraged by the sliders Severino was able to locate down in the zone early, but at the end of the day, he wasn’t all that good. The kid is sitting on a 6.31 ERA and a 4.44 FIP in 25.2 innings. Yuck.

I'm not sure what's going on here, exactly. (Patrick Smith/Getty)
I’m not sure what’s going on here, exactly. (Patrick Smith/Getty)

The Offense Disappears (Again)
So it turns out Sunday’s seven-run outburst was an aberration. The Yankees were held to one run Tuesday night even though they put eleven guys on base against Chris Tillman and various relievers. They had seven hits, but only one went for extra bases. That was Brett Gardner‘s first inning double. He was stranded, of course. They also drew four walks. Three were leadoff walks too.

The Yankees scored their only run despite their best RISPFAIL efforts. McCann drew a four-pitch walk to start the second, then Carlos Beltran followed with a single. Starlin Castro banged into a double play, his fourth of the season, which threw a wrench into the rally. Didi Gregorius salvaged things with a two-out, two-strike single up the middle after Tillman threw him three straight curveballs.

Believe it or not, the Yankees went down 1-2-3 only once in this game. That happened in the seventh inning, when Tillman ended his night by striking out the side. He fanned six of the final 13 batters he faced. The Yankees put the leadoff man on base four times and didn’t even advance the runner two of the four times. That is: bad. This team isn’t doing anything right at the moment.

(Patrick Smith/Getty)
(Patrick Smith/Getty)

In case you missed it earlier, Alex Rodriguez left the game with a right hamstring injury. He hurt himself running out a fifth inning ground out. A-Rod is going for an MRI tomorrow. We’ll see what it says. If nothing else, an A-Rod injury would presumably open the door for a young player like Aaron Hicks to get more playing time.

McCann (single, two walks), Gardner (double, walk), and Beltran (two singles) all reached base twice. Gregorius, Jacoby Ellsbury, and pinch-hitter Dustin Ackley each had a single. Teixeira drew a walk as well. Chase Headley took another 0-for-4. They can’t keep running him out there. Give him a few days on the bench, at least.

Kirby Yates and Johnny Barbato came out of the bullpen and retired all six men they faced. Barbato fanned two in his perfect inning. Yay? Barbato’s been struggling of late, so it was good to see him come in and blow some hitters away. He’s looked a little rough over the last week or so.

And finally, the six-game losing streak is the longest since a six-gamer last May, which I completely forgot about. Prior to that the Yankees had not lost six straight games since 2011, when they had both a six-game losing streak and a seven-game losing streak in the same season.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head on over to ESPN for the box score and updated standings, and for the video highlights. Also make sure you check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages, because they’re there and they exist. Here is the loss probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The three-game series continues Wednesday night at Camden Yards. CC Sabathia and young right-hander Tyler Wilson is the scheduled pitching matchup.

A-Rod going for MRI on injured right hamstring tomorrow

(Patrick Smith/Getty)
(Patrick Smith/Getty)

Following tonight’s loss, Joe Girardi confirmed Alex Rodriguez has a right hamstring injury and will go for an MRI tomorrow. A-Rod pulled up lame running out a ground ball in the fifth inning, then was replaced by pinch-hitter Dustin Ackley in the eighth. Here’s the video.

A-Rod went 0-for-3 with a strikeout in the game before being lifted. He went into Tuesday’s game on a 7-for-16 (.438) hot streak, and three of those seven hits were homers. Rodriguez missed a few games with a sore oblique last week after tweaking something in the batting cage.

If the injury is a day-to-day thing — and I hope it is — my guess is Aaron Hicks will take over in right field with Carlos Beltran sliding over to DH. If it’s a long-term injury, well, that’s a much bigger problem. I wonder if we’ll see Nick Swisher in that case. Hopefully this is nothing.

DotF: Refsnyder plays right; Sanchez, Mateo, and Andujar all go deep

Both RHP Domingo Acevedo and LHP Josh Rogers were mentioned in this week’s edition of Baseball America’s The List for their big strikeout-to-walk ratios. It’s not behind the paywall, so make sure you check it out.

Triple-A Scranton (5-2 win over Buffalo)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 0-5, 1 RBI
  • C Gary Sanchez: 2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K, 1 E (missed catch) — 14-for-48 (.250) in his last 12 games, but nine of those 14 hits have gone for extra bases (six doubles, a triple, two homers)
  • DH Nick Swisher: 0-4, 1 K
  • RF Rob Refsnyder: 2-4, 1 R, 1 K — first start in the outfield since 2014
  • RHP Chad Green: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 7/4 GB/FB — 56 of 85 pitches were strikes (66%)
  • LHP Tyler Olson: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 4/0 GB/FB — 25 of 39 pitches were strikes (64%)

[Read more…]

Game 24: Losing Sucks, How About A Win?

(Rob Carr/Getty)
(Rob Carr/Getty)

The Yankees are back in action tonight with the first of three games against the Orioles. This is also the start of a 20 games in 20 days stretch, and given the way the Yanks have played of late, this is already a make or break stretch. Thirteen wins in those 20 games seems like the bare minimum to me. Anything less than that likely means they won’t gain any ground in the standings.

On the mound tonight is young righty Luis Severino, who so far this season has been part of the problem, not the solution. He allowed 32 hits and 15 runs in 19.2 innings, which is about as bad as it gets. Jared Diamond says the Yankees are trying to slow Severino down in more ways than one. They’ve noticed he’s rushing his delivery, and they also want him to take a little more time between pitches to collect himself. We’ll see if he does that tonight. Here is the O’s lineup and here is the Yanks’ 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. 2B Starlin Castro
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 3B Chase Headley
    RHP Luis Severino

The weather isn’t too great in Baltimore and won’t be the rest of the series either. It’s cloudy and there are on and off showers in the forecast. It doesn’t look like anything that will significant delay or postpone the game, however. Tonight’s game will begin at 7:05pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Chapman Update: Aroldis Chapman, who is eligible to rejoin the Yankees next Monday, will make tune-up appearances in Extended Spring Training tomorrow and Friday. “The outing (tomorrow) will be one-inning-plus and maybe two,” said pitching coach Larry Rothschild to George King.