The AL is such a mess this year, isn’t it? I’ve started scoreboard watching every night — it just sorta happens organically each year, there isn’t a set date when I start paying attention to other teams around the league — and I have no idea who to root for because everyone’s lumped together. The Orioles and Mariners play four games this weekend, for example. I’d like Seattle to sweep so the Yankees can potentially move closer to the top spot in the AL East, but that will hurt them in the wildcard race. Bah, whatever.

Here is your open thread for the night. The Mets are playing plus MLB Network is showing a few games tonight, both at 7pm ET and again at 10pm ET. Talk about those games, this afternoon’s win, or anything else right here. Have at it.

Categories : Open Thread
Comments (104)
(Jim Rogash/Getty)

(Jim Rogash/Getty)

The Yankees have acquired left-hander Chris Capuano from the Rockies for cash considerations, the team announced. Brian Cashman has been talking about making incremental upgrades in recent weeks and this move qualifies as an incremental upgrade over the Chris Lerouxes and Jeff Franci of the pitching world.

Capuano, 35, had a 4.55 ERA (4.06 FIP) in 31.2 relief innings for the Red Sox before being released earlier this year. He hooked on with Colorado and had a 2.79 ERA (~3.43 FIP) in four starts and 19.1 minor league innings split between Double-A and Triple-A. Lefties knocked Capuano around pretty well (.384 wOBA) during his time with Boston but he has dominated them in recent years (.260 wOBA from 2012-13).

I’m not sure if Capuano, who is not on the 40-man roster, will report to Triple-A or join the big league team. With eight relievers and Mark Teixeira banged up, some roster shuffling is in order. Leroux and Francis could both be on the way out with Capuano and a position player joining the team. We’ll find out soon enough. The Yankees are incrementally upgrading to glory.

Categories : Transactions
Comments (62)

Make it six wins in seven second half games. The Yankees wrapped up their series against the Rangers with a tidy 4-2 win on Thursday afternoon, giving them three wins in the four-game series. Business, it’s being taken care of.

Love this photo. (Presswire)

Love this photo. (Presswire)

Second Time Around
It took Colby Lewis, he of the 6.37 ERA and .347 opponent’s batting average coming into Thursday, a total of 29 pitches to work through the first three innings. The only base-runner during those three innings was Brendan Ryan, who took a pitch off his elbow with two outs in the third. After watching the Yankees get shut down by the likes of Miles Mikolas and Nick Martinez earlier in the series, it was easy to think the offense was on its way to another no-show.

Then, thankfully, the second (and third) times through the order went much differently. Four of the next seven batters reached base, including a leadoff bloop double by Brett Gardner and a two-out single off the wall by Chase Headley with two outs in the third. That scored Gardner for the team’s first run. A four-pitch Ichiro Suzuki walk and a Frankie Cervelli double into the left field corner leading off the fourth led to the second run. Cervelli eventually came around to score on Gardner’s sacrifice fly later in the inning. A Ryan sac bunt and an unintentional intentional walk to Jacoby Ellsbury was sandwiched in the middle there.

After retiring eight batters to start the game, Lewis put eight of the next 20 Yankees on base, including two on extra-base hits and four without making them take the bat off their shoulders (three walks and a hit batsman). Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann teamed up for a much-appreciated insurance run in the eighth inning — Beltran found a hole with a ground ball single and McCann drove him in with an opposite field double into the left-center field gap. Off a lefty too. The Yankees couldn’t get McCann home from second despite having three chances, but whatever. Getting the one run is a win in my eyes.

No Command, No Problem
In terms of stuff and command, this was the worst of Brandon McCarthy‘s three starts as a Yankee. Seventy-four of his 109 pitches were strikes but six of 23 batters saw a three-ball count and 15 had at-bats of at least four pitches. McCarthy came into Thursday averaging 3.59 pitches per plate appearance, the seventh lowest among 94 qualified starters, so he wasn’t sharp and Texas forced him to work hard.

(Presswire)

(Presswire)

And yet, McCarthy gave the Yankees six innings of one run ball. It helped that the Rangers are awful, no doubt about it, but McCarthy also made some pretty big pitches to work out of jams in the third (Alex Rios flew out with runners on the corners) and fifth (Elvis Andrus struck out with runners on second and third) innings. The only run scored after two ground ball singles (Rougned Odor and Shin-Soo Choo) and a bloop (Andrus) that fell between Ellsbury and Brian Roberts in shallow center. It was just out of the reach of Roberts and he kicked it away, letting Choo advance another base. Blah. Considering he did not have his best stuff and certainly not his best location, it was a solid outing for McCarthy.

To The Bullpen
Two-run lead with nine outs to go and a rested-ish bullpen after the rain-shortened game on Wednesday? Joe Girardi had things set up perfectly. Then Adam Warren served up a leadoff homer to J.P. Arencibia to start the seventh, throwing a bit of a wrench into things. Warren retired the next two batters (fly out, foul out) and Matt Thornton got his lefty (pop up) to finish off the seventh. Dellin Betances (strikeout, two fly outs) tossed a perfect eighth and David Robertson pitched around a one-out walk in the ninth (fly out, two strikeouts) for his 25th save in 27 chances. Give that man an extension already.

Leftovers
The only starters without a hit were Ellsbury, Roberts, and Ryan. Ellsbury drew a walk and Ryan got hit by that pitch, so they still managed to reach base. Gardner, McCann, Headley, Ichiro, and Cervelli all had exactly one base hit, though they were of varying importance. Gardner has now reached base in 35 of his last 34 34 of his last 35 games. Pretty awesome.

Odor made an outstanding sliding stop at first base on Ryan’s sac bunt in the third. Adrian Beltre’s throw was low, but Odor slid feet-first into the base to grab the short-hop. It was pretty stellar. Girardi challenged the play — it appeared Odor’s foot might have been off the bag when he caught the ball — but the call was upheld. Really nifty play. A Yankees infielder would have crumbled into dust and a run would have scored if they had tried that.

And finally, the Yankees are now 24-24 at home on the season. I said they needed to play better at home to make a run at the postseason and they’ve done that so far. Getting back to .500 in the Bronx is a nice start to the second half.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, head over to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some additional stats and ESPN has the updated standings. The Orioles and Mariners start a four-game series tonight, so the Yankees will gain ground in either the AL East (Mariners win) or the second wildcard (Orioles win) race. They are 2.5 games back of the top spot in the division and tied with Seattle for the second wildcard spot at the moment.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The homestand will wrap up with a three-game series against the Blue Jays this weekend. That’s kind of a big one, the Yankees and Jays are basically tied in the standings. Hiroki Kuroda and Mark Buehrle will be Friday night’s pitching matchup. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch of this weekend’s games.

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (97)
Like one of these guys is still healthy. (Presswire)

Like one of these guys is still healthy. (Presswire)

Here are some updates are various injured Yankees, courtesy of Chad Jennings, Dan Barbarisi, Bryan Hoch, Brendan Kuty, as well as the team itself.

  • Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) still has some pain after receiving his platelet-rich plasma injection. “He’s improved, but he still feels it on a daily basis. It’s not good that he’s still feeling it at this stage. (We’ll just) go day by day, week by week and adjust accordingly,” said Brian Cashman.
  • CC Sabathia (knee) had his clean-up surgery as scheduled yesterday and everything went “as planned,” the Yankees announced. “I don’t know if we’ll see him. Obviously he’s not allowed to travel for a few days, so we’ll probably see him when we get back from the road trip,” said Joe Girardi.
  • Michael Pineda (shoulder) was scheduled to throw two innings and 30 pitches in a simulated game today, but it was rained out. He threw two innings inside and will stretch it out to 45-50 pitches in the coming days. If all goes well, Cashman said Pineda would return to the rotation “sometime in August.”
  • The decision whether to place Mark Teixeira (lat) on the disabled list will be made tomorrow. “It’s just seeing how he feels after three or four days, and then we’ll decide if we think it’s going to be in the near future that he would play, or if we’re going to need the 15 days. If it’s going to be 12, 13, 14 days, it probably make sense to get a player,” said Girardi.
  • Kelly Johnson (groin) has a Grade I strain and is not expected to miss more than the minimum 15 days.
Categories : Injuries
Comments (19)
(Presswire)

(Presswire)

The Yankees have won two straight games — one in extra innings, one shortened by rain — and five of six since the All-Star break. They had to come out of the gate strong and take advantage of this ten-game second half-opening homestand, and so far they’ve done that. One more game with the worst team in baseball — a team that just traded its elite closer, by the way — is on tap for this afternoon. Finish off this series on a high note, then get ready for the big weekend against the Blue Jays. Here is the Rangers lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Carlos Beltran
  4. 1B Brian McCann
  5. 3B Chase Headley
  6. 2B Brian Roberts
  7. RF Ichiro Suzuki
  8. C Frankie Cervelli
  9. SS Brendan Ryan
    RHP Brandon McCarthy

It’s hot, humid, and overcast in New York today, but there isn’t any rain in the forecast, thankfully. It was coming down pretty hard last night. This afternoon’s game is scheduled to start at 1:05pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and, depending on where you live, MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (328)
"What do you mean I'm not a prospect anymore?" "You're a big leaguer now." (Elsa/Getty)

“What do you mean I’m not a prospect anymore?” “You’re a big leaguer now.” (Elsa/Getty)

The draft signing deadline was last Friday, and the Yankees were able to sign everyone they were expected to sign. There were no surprises, good or bad. Because they didn’t have a first round pick (or a supplemental round pick), this wasn’t the most exciting draft for the Yankees, who went heavy on college pitching and took a reliever with their top selection.

The Yankees did, however, add an amazing amount of talent to the farm system through international free agency earlier this month. My unofficial tally puts the spending spree at approximately $28.5M total between bonuses and penalties, though I’m sure there have been several deals that were not reported. Most of those players signed 2015 contracts and are not technically Yankees yet, so they are not included in this snapshot of the farm system. I usually wait until international signees show up in the U.S. to rank them anyway.

Two players — righties Dellin Betances and Chase Whitley — have graduated to the big leagues since the pre-draft list was posted late-May. I’ve been doing these for eight years and this is the very first RAB prospect list without Betances. I’m kinda sad. Another prospect, righty Rafael DePaula, was traded away just this week. Those three departures plus the draft and some stateside debuts have led to a healthy amount of turnover since the last list in May.

I feel like it’s clear who the top two prospects are (in whatever order), clear who the next seven prospects are (again, whatever order), and then a total mess after that with no obvious order. As always, this list is my personal opinion and based on how I value things like tools and probability and performance and all that. You’re welcome to disagree with the rankings. I’m sure you will. Rankings don’t mean anything anyway. They’re just fun to look at it. Anyway, the ages listed are as of today, and the levels listed are the player’s current level. The fun starts after the jump.
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Categories : Minors
Comments (146)

I’m not sure Wednesday night’s 2-1 win over the Rangers could have gone any better for the Yankees. They scored the runs they needed and played quick enough to get the minimum five innings in before the rain came. The Yankees were declared winners after four and a half innings. The baseball gods owed them one after the rain-shortened loss in Baltimore before the All-Star break.

Second on the team in homers! (Elsa/Getty)

Second on the team in homers! (Elsa/Getty)

Yu Ain’t Got Nuthin’
After getting shut down by guys named Miles Mikolas and Nick Martinez the last two days, the Yankees were able to get to Yu Darvish for two runs on four hits in 4.1 innings before the sky opened up. All four hits went for extra bases — Chase Headley doubled in the second, Frankie Cervelli doubled in both the third and fifth, and Brett Gardner homered in the third. Cervelli moved up on Brendan Ryan‘s ground ball and scored on Darvish’s balk in the third. Gardner went deep as the next batter. Two quick runs, just like that.

The Yankees forced Darvish to throw 67 pitches to get 13 outs (5.15 pitches per out), so they didn’t work him as hard as they did Johnny Cueto on Sunday (7.47 pitches per out) but they did make him work harder than either Mikolas (4.77) or Martinez (4.19). I guess this lineup is built to beat aces, huh? Two runs in four innings plus one out against Darvish is pretty damn good. Hats off to Cervelli and Gardner for that third inning rally. They did the heavy lifting. Gardner now has a career-high ten homers, by the way. He might get 15 this year. Isn’t that awesome?

(Elsa/Getty)

(Elsa/Getty)

Five For Phelps
The Rangers scored their only run of the night on two singles (Leonys Martin and Chris Gimenez) and a ground ball double play (Rougned Odor) in the third inning, but it was not their only prime run-scoring opportunity. In fact, they had a golden chance in the top of the fifth, right before the rain. Martin tripled into the right field corner with one out, though neither Gimenez (foul pop-up) nor Odor (strikeout) could bring him in. Phelps went full Joba with the fist pump after the strikeout.

All told, Phelps held the Rangers to just the one run on five hits in five innings. He struck out three and walked zero, recording nine of his other 12 outs on the infield. Joe Girardi never needed to warm up his bullpen thanks to the rain, which is exactly what the Yankees needed after the 14-inning game on Tuesday. Phelps has pitched very well since moving into the rotation and Wednesday’s game was more of the save. His first career complete-game was a cheap rain-shortened one, but who cares. He should get a win for the start and a save for the fifth inning.

It’s A Tarp!
As you can see in the video above, the grounds crew had a devil of a time getting the tarp on the infield because of the wind and heavy rain. It took them roughly 15 minutes to actually get the thing in place after the umpires called for it, and by then the infield was drenched. The game was set to continue about an hour later and the grounds crew went to work, but the infield was still a mess.

The umpires, Joe Girardi, and Ron Washington all walked around and agreed the infield was not safe to continue playing. The mound and the batter’s box were fine, but the areas around the bases, where players run and cut to turn directions, were too soft. They talked it over, it started raining again, and eventually the game was called. I’m not quite sure what more they could have done. Scrape the infield and apply more drying agent? Whatever. The grounds crew did their best but Mother Nature had other ideas.

Leftovers
There’s not really anything else to cover here. Brian McCann Cervelli threw Alex Rios out trying to steal second in the first inning, but only after the Rangers challenged the play. It appeared Ryan may have missed the tag, but the call was upheld. Every player in the starting lineup had two at-bats and only Gardner (ten) and McCann (12) saw more than nine pitches. This team, man. They’re a bunch of hackers.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head on over to MLB.com for the box score and video highlights. FanGraphs has some nerdier stats and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Mets beat the Mariners, so the Yankees are now only a half-game back of the second wildcard spot. They’re tied with Seattle in the loss column. Depending on the outcome of the late game, the Bombers will be either three games (Orioles lose) or four games (Orioles win) back of the top spot in the AL East.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Rangers will wrap-up this four-game series on Thursday afternoon. Colby Lewis and former Ranger Brandon McCarthy will be the pitching matchup in the matinee. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the game live.

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (101)

Matt Eddy (no subs. req’d) went back and ranked the most productive drafts of the last ten years. The 2004 Astros, led by Hunter Pence and Ben Zobrist, claim the top spot. The 2005 Yankees are eighth thanks mostly to Brett Gardner and Austin Jackson. I’m surprised the 2006 Yankees draft didn’t make the list. It produced arguably three of the ten best relievers in baseball (David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Mark Melancon) as well as the solid Ian Kennedy and serviceable Joba Chamberlain. I guess the WARs don’t add up.

Triple-A Scranton‘s game was suspended due to rain with two outs in the top of the third inning. They’ll finish it up tomorrow. Here’s the box score until then. OF Zoilo Almonte hit two homers already. Hopefully he’ll be in the Bronx tomorrow.

Double-A Trenton (5-2 win over New Hampshire)

  • CF Mason Williams: 1-5, 1 R, 1 K
  • LF Ben Gamel: 1-5, 2 K
  • DH Gary Sanchez: 1-4, 1 R, 2 K — 9-for-33 (.272) during his little eight-game hitting streak
  • 1B Peter O’Brien: 3-3, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB — 8-for-14 (.571) with four doubles and a homer in his last four games
  • RF Tyler Austin: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI — 15-for-36 (.417) with four doubles and a homer in his last ten games
  • RHP Zach Nuding: 8 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HB, 7/8 GB/FB — 66 of 97 pitches were strikes (68%)

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Categories : Down on the Farm
Comments (65)
(Presswire)

(Presswire)

I could totally go for a blowout win tonight. Like nine or tens run in the first two or three innings, then go into cruise control and let the just called up Chris Leroux get one of those silly three-out saves. It’s been a long time since the Yankees had a laugher like that — they haven’t scored double-digit runs since scoring 14 at Fenway Park on April 24th, which was 77 games ago — and after these last two games, I think we could all use one. Just do me a solid. Blow this one open early and make the last few innings boring. Here is the Rangers lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  4. DH Carlos Beltran
  5. 1B Brian McCann
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. RF Ichiro Suzuki
  8. C Frankie Cervelli
  9. 2B Brendan Ryan
    RHP David Phelps

It’s hot and humid as hell in New York, plus there is some rain in the forecast later tonight. Stuff that will probably affect the game somehow. We’ll just have to wait and see. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm ET and can be seen on YES.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (339)
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