The Yankees have won the first three games of this four-game series against this winter’s offseason darling, the currently last place Toronto Blue Jays. If it wasn’t for the lowly Astros, the Jays would have the worst record (9-16) and run differential (-34) in the AL. It’s early, but they’ve been a big disappointment.
Four-game sweeps are pretty rare, and if the Yankees are going to pull it off they’re going to have to beat the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner to do it. R.A. Dickey’s 4.66 ERA (4.24 FIP) is relatively mediocre at the moment, but it’s not all that surprising a feel pitcher is off to a slow start. He had a 4.45 ERA (5.24 FIP) last April before turning into the best pitcher in the world during the summer. Here’s the lineup…
- CF Ichiro Suzuki
- 2B Robinson Cano
- LF Vernon Wells
- DH Travis Hafner
- RF Brennan Boesch
- 3B Jayson Nix
- 1B Lyle Overbay
- SS Eduardo Nunez
- C Chris Stewart
And on the mound is the fourth longest tenured player on the active roster, Phil Hughes.
It’s a beautiful day for baseball in New York. This afternoon’s game is scheduled to start a little after 1pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and TBS nationally. Enjoy.
Kevin Youkilis Update: Youkilis’ back is bothering him again, which is bad news. If he does need to go on the DL, the Yankees won’t be able to backdate it because he played yesterday. For shame.
Via Jeff Passan: The Yankees appear increasingly unlikely to follow through on their plan to get under the $189M luxury tax limit by 2014 and beyond. They’ve been telling other executives and agents the plan is “unlikely and impractical,” with one team official saying it “was a good idea to try, but deep down, we all pretty much knew it wasn’t going to happen.”
First things first, Passan’s article appears to be speculation and he said, she said based more than anything. Wally Matthews had a similar report back in February, so this isn’t the first time we’ve heard the 2014 payroll plan may be going by the wayside. That said, where there’s smoke there’s fire. Passan explains the expected savings are not as great as anticipated and that’s as good a reason to scrap the plan as any. I want to see how the team approaches next offseason before I fully believe these reports, however. · (38) ·
RHP Graham Stoneburner has been bumped back up to Triple-A Scranton in the wake of the LHP Vidal Nuno promotion, reports Mike Ashmore. LHP Josh Romanski was activated off the DL to fill the Double-A Trenton roster spot.
Triple-A Scranton was rained out. They’re going to play a doubleheader tomorrow.
Double-A Trenton (6-0 loss to Portland)
- LF Ramon Flores: 2-4, 2 K
- RF Tyler Austin: 0-4, 3 K
- C J.R. Murphy: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 HBP
- CF Slade Heathcott: 0-3, 3 K — that’s 20 strikeouts in 62 at-bats … he’s been pretty overmatched so far
- RHP Zach Nuding: 6 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 8/3 GB/FB, 2 E (both throwing) — 62 of 94 pitches were strikes (66%)
- RHP Tommy Kahnle: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 0/1 GB/FB — only 13 of 29 pitches were strikes (45%) … seven strikeouts and six walks in his last three innings
For the seventh consecutive game, the other team scored first. The Yankees have made an unfortunate habit of falling behind relatively early over the last week, but they’ve also made a habit of battling back and winning those games as well. That’s exactly what happened on Saturday afternoon, as they overcome both a three-run and then a one-run deficit to win their third straight game against the Blue Jays. That’s pretty awesome. Let’s recap…
- A Battle For Sabathia: It was another laborious start for CC Sabathia, who averaged 91.0 mph and topped out at 93.2 mph with his fastball according to PitchFX. He got touched up for two solo homers (Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie) and two other runs (one earned) in his eight innings of work, and those eight innings are again a testament to his ability to battle. Sabathia threw 112 total pitches (80 strikes, 71%) and generated a healthy 13 swings and misses, but he also gave up nine hits to go with only four strikeouts. He did retire the final nine men he faced following Lawrie’s homer. It wasn’t pretty, but it did the job, especially with a short bullpen.
- The Man They Call Pronk: Travis Hafner started just three of the last ten games heading into Saturday because of all the lefties the Yankees have seen of late, but Joe Girardi penciled him into the lineup against southpaw J.A. Happ anyway. The reward? A game-tying three-run homer in the fourth and a go-ahead triple (!) in the seventh. Rajai Davis got turned around a bit in center and had the ball clank off his glove for the triple, in case you were wondering. Hafner drove in four of the team’s five runs and raised his early season line to .309/.433/.727. Girardi will have to make sure he’s rested given his injury history, but it really hard to take Hafner out of the lineup right now.
- Saved By Joba: Both Mariano Rivera and David Robertson were unavailable due to their recent workloads, so the ball went to Joba Chamberlain in the ninth inning with a one-run lead. He struck out the first man he faced despite falling behind in the count 3-0, but the next two reached base (solid single to left, infield single to third). The tying run was in scoring position, but Joba rebounded to get the second out on a pop-up and the third on a ground ball to third. It was nerve-wracking for sure, but it goes down as the righty’s first save since 2010.
- Leftovers: Chris Stewart was responsible for the unearned run after dropping Ichiro Suzuki‘s throw home on a sacrifice fly. The throw was right on line, well ahead of the runner and on a perfect one hop right to Stewart’s mitt, but he muffed it and the runner was safe. He’s a classic Nichols Law catcher … Jayson Nix may have saved a run in the ninth by snagging Emilio Bonifacio’s hard-hit ground ball. If the ball gets by him and heads into the corner, the Blue Jays would have tied the game at worst and put the tying run at third at best … Robinson Cano had two hits including a double, and Vernon Wells singled him one batter later to tie the game in the seventh. Kevin Youkilis was the only player in the lineup who failed to record a hit, but we’ll cut him some slack since he missed the last week with back trouble.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. You can’t win or lose a division title in April, but the Yankees have a chance to really bury the Blue Jays on Sunday by completing a rare four-game series sweep. If they do finish that sweep, they’re going to earn it because reigning NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey will be on the bump for Toronto. New York will counter with Phil Hughes. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the game.
Well that was a fun game this afternoon, wasn’t it? The Yankees have let the other team score first in each of their last seven games (!) now, but this team really battles and they notched yet another come-from-behind today. Stressful, but a win is a win.
Here is your open thread for the night. MLB Network will air a game later tonight and there are a bunch of NBA playoff games on as well, but otherwise talk about whatever’s on your mind here. Go nuts.
CC Sabathia might have the quietest 3.34 ERA in baseball right now. He hasn’t been particularly sharp in any of his five starts outside of his seven shutout innings in Detroit, and he’s been prone to the “one bad inning.” The Red Sox scored four runs against him in the second inning on Opening Day, the Diamondbacks scored two runs against him in the first inning two starts ago, and the Rays scored four runs against him in the first last time out. Six of the 14 runs he’s allowed this year have come in that first inning (42.9%), which is way more than the league average (21.7%). Today would be as good a time as any to reverse that annoying trend. Here is the starting lineup that will face left-hander J.A. Happ…
- CF Brett Gardner
- 3B Jayson Nix
- 2B Robinson Cano
- LF Vernon Wells
- 1B Kevin Youkilis — came through batting practice after missing a week with back trouble
- DH Travis Hafner
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- SS Eduardo Nunez
- C Chris Stewart
And on the mound is the big man, CC Sabathia.
It’s a gorgeous day for baseball in New York. First pitch is scheduled for a little after 4pm ET and can be seen on YES. It’s not a FOX game despite the unusual start time, so hooray for that. Enjoy the game.
Roster Move(s): In case you missed it earlier, Ivan Nova was placed on the 15-day with right triceps inflammation. Vidal Nuno has been called up from Triple-A to take his spot. Austin Romine was also recalled to replace Frankie Cervelli, who was officially placed on the 15-day DL with a broken right hand.
The Yankees have placed Ivan Nova on the 15-day DL with right triceps inflammation according to Dan Barbarisi. That’s pretty much the best case scenario. He left last night’s start with what was originally called elbow pain, but after the game he and Joe Girardi confirmed it was stiffness in the triceps and not the elbow.
Vidal Nuno has been called up to fill Nova’s vacated roster spot, and. Derek Jeter was moved over to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot. David Phelps will replace Nova in the rotation and Nuno will work out of the bullpen. · (39) ·
12:27pm: Nuno has indeed been called up. No word on the corresponding roster move(s) yet, but you have to think it’s Nova to the 15-day DL and Jeter to the 60-day DL.
10:00am: According to farmhand Manny Barreda, the Yankees are calling up left-hander Vidal Nuno from Triple-A. The move suggests Ivan Nova is headed to the DL after leaving last night’s start with elbow pain. The team will need to clear a 40-man spot, with the easiest move being Derek Jeter to the 60-day DL.
Nuno, 25, has pitched to a 1.54 ERA (2.34 FIP) with 26 strikeouts and just two walks in 23.1 innings for Triple-A Scranton this month after putting himself on the map with a strong Spring Training. The finesse southpaw was scheduled to start today for the Triple-A squad, so he will be available to throw 80+ pitches in relief if need be. The Yankees signed Nuno out of an independent league back in 2011 and he’s done nothing but get outs since then, so the call-up is both a great story and well-deserved. · (46) ·
Pretty safe to say the Blue Jays were hoping for better than one win in their first five games against the Yankees. New York won the second game of the four-game set 6-4 on Friday night, once again coming from behind. They were only down one run for a half-inning through, so it’s the smallest possible comeback really. They all count though. Let’s recap…
- The Long Man: Ivan Nova left the game after two innings with right elbow pain, giving way to David Phelps for what might have been the best outing of his young career. The right-hander faced 15 batters and struck out a career-high nine, otherwise surrendering two hits (including a solo homer) and two walks in four innings of work. Phelps threw 77 pitches (44 strikes), including a career-high 12 swings and misses. He really stepped up in relief and is all but guaranteed to take Nova’s rotation spot if he misses any time.
- Six Runs, Six Different Ways: The Yankees scored six runs and only once did they score more than one run in an inning, and that was just two in the fourth. The attack was diverse, with an RBI fielder’s choice (Eduardo Nunez in the second), a sacrifice fly (Vernon Wells in the third), an RBI triple (Lyle Overbay in the fourth), a run-scoring wild pitch (Overbay scored in the fourth), a run-scoring passed ball (Robinson Cano scored in the eighth), and a solo homer (Brett Gardner in the eighth). Everyone in the lineup except for Nunez and Overbay reached base twice thanks to ten (!) total walks. Toronto pitchers threw 165 total pitches but only 85 strikes (52%).
- Leftovers: In case you missed it earlier, the Yankees lost Frankie Cervelli (fractured right hand) fir at least six weeks … David Robertson allowed a solo homer to Jose Bautista and Mariano Rivera allowed three ground ball singles (no runs), but otherwise those two plus Joba Chamberlain closed things out over the final three innings in relief of Nova and Phelps … Chris Stewart came off the bench to replace Cervelli and wound up drawing two walks and throwing out two attempted base-stealers. Neither was particularly close either.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees will go for their third consecutive win on Saturday when CC Sabathia gets the ball against fellow lefty J.A. Happ. Make sure you check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the game. If tonight’s attendance was any indication, there are plenty of good seats to be had.
At long last, RHP Jose Ramirez was activated off the DL and added to the Double-A Trenton roster according to Mike Ashmore. He is on a 75-pitch limit for the time being and he will join the rotation the next time through. Pitching coach Tommy Phelps said the team could go to a six-man rotation to accommodate him — there’s no obvious candidate to be taken out of the roster unless they move LHP Francisco Rondon back to the bullpen — but they’ll figure it out. LHP Jeremy Bleich was put on the DL with a sore left knee to clear a roster spot.
In other news, RHP Rafael DePaula ranked tenth on this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. It’s a little early to start promoting people, but DePaula is a unique case because of his visa issues and all that. I can’t imagine he’ll be with Low-A Charleston much longer.
Triple-A Scranton (3-2 win over Columbus)
- 2B Corban Joseph: 0-4, 2 K — three hits in his last 21 at-bats (.143)
- CF Melky Mesa: 1-4, 1 R
- RF Zoilo Almonte: 2-4, 1 K, 1 E (fielding) — came into the game in a 5-for-31 slump (.161)
- RHP Brett Marshall: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 6/3 GB/FB — 56 of 100 pitches were strikes, which I think makes him the first minor leaguer to hit the century mark this season … four or more walks in three of his four starts this season, which is not good