DotF: Mateo and Aune have big days in Charleston’s win

A few days ago the benches cleared because Triple-A Rochester RHP Lester Oliveros intentionally threw at C Austin Romine‘s head after giving up back-to-back homers. Here’s video. Romine has not played since but Joe Girardi told Chad Jennings he is doing okay. No concussion and all other tests came back good. Still, scary moment. Oliveros has not yet been suspended. Oliveros was suspended a whole seven games.

Also, OF Tyler Austin was placed on the Triple-A Scranton DL, according to Donnie Collins. He hurt his hip diving after a ball in the outfield recently.

Triple-A Scranton (2-1 loss to Rochester)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 0-4, 1 RBI, 2 K
  • RF Jose Pirela & DH Rob Refsnyder: both 1-4 — Pirela struck out
  • LF Ramon Flores: 0-3, 1 K
  • 3B Gregorio Petit: 2-3
  • RHP Bryan Mitchell: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 8/4 GB/FB –– 59 of 97 pitches were strikes (61%) … gave up six runs in 0.1 innings on May 11th and has allowed just six runs in 36 innings since
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 2 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 1/3 GB/FB — 14 of 19 pitches were strikes (74%)

[Read more…]

Sunday Night Open Thread

Here is your open thread for the last few hours of the weekend. The Cubs and Reds are the ESPN Sunday Night Game (Lester vs. DeSclafani) and Game Five of the NBA Finals is on as well (8pm ET on ABC). Talk about those games or anything else right here. Talk about those games, this afternoon’s win, or anything else right here.

Yankees grind out a 5-3 win to avoid being swept in Baltimore

This game started 1:35 pm EST and ended at 5:08. It did not reach the long-awaited four-hour mark (see what I did there) but at least earlier in the game, it was quite tense — jams after jams and #RISPFail after #RISPfail. New York, however, broke through in the three-run fifth to take a 5-3 lead and would not look back, snapping their three-game losing streak.

(Source: Getty)

Farewell (out of rotation)? 

This was definitely not a banner series for Yankee starters. Adam Warren pitched 4.2 IP, allowed six hits, three earned runs, three walks and struck out five. The only positives from that line are that he struck out five in 4.2 IP and that he didn’t allow any more runs, keeping the Yanks in the game. His outing was the best that a Yankee starter tossed this weekend, so, how about that.

Also the thing about Warren is that he is probably the odd man out of the rotation if they go with a five-man rotation when Ivan Nova returns. I would honestly prefer having Warren stay and CC Sabathia be the odd man out because, well, Sabathia honestly hasn’t been a good pitcher. But because of the obvious reasons – a lot of which that has to do with the contract – I don’t see Girardi placing Sabathia out for Nova. Oh well.

Nova recently threw a nice outing at Triple-A and it seems like a matter of time before he comes back. If this was indeed Warren’s last start, he’ll head to bullpen with 64.1 IP, 55 hits allowed, 22 walks, 38 strikeouts and a 3.78 ERA. Not too shabby numbers for a starter, really – especially considering the slow start he had.

#RISPFails

Yankees were 2-for-12 in RISP today. That is not good. A 5-3 win is a win but if the Yankees capitalized on earlier opportunities, not only they would have had a less stressful win but also Warren would probably have had the opportunity to go at least five full innings to pitch for a win.

In the second inning, Yankees had the bases loaded with no outs – Stephen Drew, Didi Gregorius and John Ryan Murphy had all reached with singles. Mason Williams came to bat and squibbed a ball down to 1B Chris Davis. Davis threw to make a force out at home. Welp. Brett Gardner came up next – after a torturous nine-pitch battle, Brett managed to line one to the outfield … right at Adam Jones. The run did score on a sac fly but it was far from the worst case scenario for the Orioles. 2-2 tie. Moreover, Chase Headley struck out swinging to end the inning. That was one of the most stressful one-run-scoring innings I’ve ever seen.

The Yankees had another golden opportunity on third inning. With one out, Mike Wright plunked Mark Teixeira. Garrett Jones followed it up with a single to make it runners in corners with one out. And, without fail, the next two hitters – Drew and Gregorius, popped out to end the threat. Ugh.

By the way, Mike Wright had a lot of trouble throwing strikes and putting hitters away. He was leaving pitches up and some of his arm actions on changeup pitches were obviously slowed-down – yet the team didn’t break through until after he left in the fifth (with whopping 104 pitches thrown in 4.0 IP !) and speaking of which…

#NotRISPFail

Top of the fifth, Wright loaded the bases for the Yanks with no outs … with three walks. Buck Showalter sub’d in Brian Matusz, who hadn’t pitched since May 31, and he was a bit rusty with the first batter, Garrett Jones. Yankees tied the game when he walked with the bases full. 3-3.

Things seemed like it was heading towards another #RISPFail outcome when Matsuz went on to strike out both Drew and Gregorius. But John Ryan Murphy refused to go down quietly – on the third pitch of the at-bat, Murphy drilled a liner past Manny Machado’s glove for a 2-RBI double. Finally! That gave Yanks a 5-3 lead and the score would never change.

Actually winning a game! (Source: Getty)

Bullpen

In the fifth inning, with New York leading 5-3, Adam Warren allowed a single to Jimmy Paredes and, later, walked Chris Davis to put two runners on with one out. While he did strike out Nolan Reimold to make it two outs, Joe Girardi decided not to take the chance letting generally-ineffective righty Warren to face a lefty Travis Snider. Chasen Shreve came into relief and went on to induce a fly out to get out of the inning. The lefty went on to toss a 1-2-3 sixth as well, which was a big stress reliever after a slow-paced drama it was for the first five innings.

You know who was really impressive today? Justin Wilson. He tossed two perfect winnings, striking out three along the way. In the seventh inning, coming in to relieve Chasen Shreve, the Orioles had Delmon Young pinch-hit to face the lefty. Wilson fired three straight fastballs down the middle – and Young swung and missed at all of them! Wow, I mean, that was some kind of statement the lefty made right there. When he can put the pitches in the zone, he’s very hard to hit. Some of us wondered if Dellin Betances will come in during the eighth to try for a four or five-out save. Instead, Wilson had a very clean eighth to reduce Betances’ workload to just an inning.

And, of course, Betances came into pitch in the ninth. And, again of course, he earned a save. He did allow a five-pitch walk to Machado and had to face Matt Wieters as the game-tying run … but the Oriole catcher didn’t have much of a chance. Dellin struck Wieters out in four pitches to seal the Yankee victory.

Leftovers

A-Rod went 0-for-4 today. He’s still five hits away from 3,000th hits so unless if he goes 0fer for a long while, I assume he’ll get that milestone either in Miami or in Bronx. That’s just me saying it with fingers crossed, by the way.

Teixeira drove in a run in the first with Gardner on first for his 47th RBI of the season, which leads the AL and good for fifth in the entire ML (behind Giancarlo Stanton, Bryce Harper, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado). I say this again and again: I enjoy Tex’s age-35 season revival. All hail gluten-free diet.

Box score, WPA, standings, highlights

Here’s today’s box score, updated standings, video highlights and WPA.


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees will head to Miami to face the Marlins on their own field for two games. If you, like me, have somehow managed to sit through the whole three-and-half of this game, take a break from staring at screens (or not) and have a less stressful rest of Sunday!

Game 62: Stop the Streak

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

Man, the 2015 Yankees are so streaky, and right now they’re stuck in a three-game losing streak. That’s after winning seven straight and eleven of 14, which followed ten losses in eleven games. And that came after an 18-6 streak. These Yankees are either very good or very bad at any given point in time. There seems to be no middle ground.

The Yankees are looking to salvage their series with the Orioles this afternoon after getting roughed up the last two days. The bullpen has allowed ten runs in 6.2 innings in the series, but of the five relievers that pitched, two are already off the roster (Jacob Lindgren and Esmil Rogers) and a third probably isn’t too far behind (Sergio Santos).

New York needs some length out of Adam Warren this afternoon and lately he’s provided that. He’s gotten at least one out in the seventh inning in each of his last five starts despite throwing 100+ pitches just once during that stretch. Going straight from Warren to the Chasen Shreve, Justin Wilson, and Dellin Betances portion of the bullpen today would be a nice change from these last two games. Here is the Yanks’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. RF Garrett Jones
  6. 2B Stephen Drew
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. C John Ryan Murphy
  9. CF Mason Williams
    RHP Adam Warren

Now, the bad news. Or maybe it’s good news? It’s supposed to rain in Baltimore this afternoon, starting around 3pm ET and continuing pretty much all night. Hopefully it holds off long enough for them to get the game in. Either that or the rain comes with the Yankees leading after five innings. This afternoon’s game will begin at 1:35pm ET and can be seen on YES. Try to enjoy.

Sunday Links: Harper, McCann, Old Timers’ Day, Draft

(Mike McGinnis/Getty)
(Mike McGinnis/Getty)

The Yankees and Orioles wrap up their three-game series later this afternoon. Until then, here are some miscellaneous links to help you pass the time.

Future Yankee Bryce Harper?

It was inevitable. When the Nationals visited the Bronx to play the Yankees last week, Bryce Harper was asked about his hardly imminent free agency and whether he would consider signing with the Yankees. Harper grew up a Yankees fan because of his father, a big Mickey Mantle fan, and famously said he wants to “play in the pinstripes” in his 2009 Sports Illustrated feature.

“I enjoy playing for the Nationals,” said Harper to Dan Martin last week, astutely avoiding the question about the Yankees. “We try to win a World Series, just like every other team. If I could bring that back to DC, bring that back to the city, that’s what I want to do. I’ve said it for a long, long time. That’s something that I want to do … We have such a great team here. I look at every single day as a new day. I go in and have the same mentality. DC is a great place to play. It’s a monumental town.”

Harper won’t be a free agent until after the 2018 season, when he will still be only 26 years old. He’s already one of the best players in the game and figures to be in position to smash contract records when he hits the open market a la Alex Rodriguez in 2000. Sure, the Nationals have one of the wealthiest owners in sports and could sign Harper to an extension at some point, but Giancarlo Stanton set the bar at $325M, and I’m sure Scott Boras will look to top that with Harper. (Stanton signed his deal at roughly the same service time level Harper will be at after the season.)

It both is and is not too early to look ahead to Harper’s free agency. It is early because geez, it’s still three and a half years away, but it isn’t because Harper is so talented and will be such a hot commodity. He’s a can’t your eyes off him superstar in every way. Buster Olney (subs. req’d) recently wrote it “would be shocking if Harper isn’t wearing a Yankees uniform on Opening Day in 2019,” in fact. Most of the team’s huge contracts will be off the books by then and the Yankees will be in position to go huge for Harper, who might command 12 years and $400M+ come 2018.

(Jason O. Watson/Getty)
(Jason O. Watson/Getty)

How McCann stopped popping up

During his first season with the Yankees, Brian McCann was a pop-up machine, hitting weak fly ball after weak fly ball, which resulted in a disappointing .232/.286/.406 (96 wRC+) line with a .231 BABIP. All those weak fly balls were easy outs, hence the low BABIP. McCann has been one of the team’s best hitters this season though, coming into the weekend with a .264/.327/.447 (122 wRC+) line that is right in line with the 121 wRC+ he put up during his healthy seasons with the Braves from 2009-13.

How did McCann improve this year? He stopped popping up, as Eno Sarris explains. McCann credits former hitting coach Kevin Long for some mechanical adjustments late last season. “Last year, for whatever reason, my hands weren’t taking a direct route to the ball,” said McCann to Eno. McCann averaged about 4.0% infield pop-ups from 2006-03, but that jumped to 5.0% last year, and it doesn’t take into account all the weak fly balls to the outfield. This year he’s down to a 0.8% pop-up rate (!), one of the lowest in the game. Fewer pop-ups, more hard contact, better McCann.

Old Timers’ Day attendees announced

Earlier this week the Yankees announced the list of former players, coaches, and personnel who will attend Old Timers’ Day next Saturday. Here is the full list. No Derek Jeter, no Jorge Posada, no Andy Pettitte, and no Mariano Rivera. Also no Mike Mussina or Hideki Matsui either this year. Lame. Oh well, it’ll still be fun. The Yankees will honor Willie Randolph with a plaque in Monument Park that night as well.

Several 2015 draft picks en route to Tampa

According to his Twitter feed, LHP Jeff Degano (2nd round) traveled to Florida earlier this week, which usually indicates he has a deal in place and will sign soon. Bryan Hoch and Jeff Hartsell say 3B Donny Sands (8th) and LHP James Reeves (10th) will turn pro as well. Also, RHP Kolton Montgomery (16th) and 1B Kale Sweeney (29th) told ABC 4 Sports and Norm Sanders, respectively, they are signing with the Yankees and will report to Tampa. The team’s mini-camp for draftees actually started Thursday, so these guys are probably already in uniform working out.

And finally, scouting director Damon Oppenheimer confirmed to Chad Jennings the Yankees will sign RHP Alex Robinett (32nd). Robinett is a second lieutenant and a staff ace at West Point, and will have to finish his military commitment after playing this summer. “Hopefully we can keep him in some kind of baseball shape when he’s able to finish that commitment and come back after serving his country,” said Oppenheimer. Earlier this season Cardinals righty Mitch Harris became the first military academy graduate to play in MLB in nearly a century.

Law’s team-by-team draft breakdowns

Keith Law posted his AL and NL draft reviews earlier this week (subs. req’d). He didn’t hand out grades or anything like that, just said which picks he liked and didn’t like. Law says the Yankees “wanted a bat with their first pick, but all the candidates went before them,” which is what I wondered the other day. He also says Degano has “first-round stuff, but slipped because he hadn’t pitched in more than two years due to Tommy John surgery and will turn 23 this fall,” and that RHP Drew Finley (3rd) “was a steal.” The Yankees reportedly had interest in Finley for their supplemental first round pick, the 30th selection, but they were able to get him with the 92th pick. Neat.

Also make sure you check out Draft to the Show’s review of New York’s draft class.

Game 61: Sabathia the streak-stopper?

(Leon Halip/Getty)
(Leon Halip/Getty)

So, let’s just forget about last night’s game, okay?

Good.

Even with this mini two-game slide, the Yankees have won seven of their last nine games and are 11-5 since May 25. The only AL team with a better record in that span is the red-hot Toronto Blue Jays. Everyone feeling a little better now?

CC Sabathia is on the mound tonight, and is on a bit of a roll right now, with a tidy 3.09 ERA in his first two June outings. He’s pitched into the sixth inning and hasn’t allowed more than two runs in each of those games. That’s great, but Sabathia hasn’t had much luck recently pitching in Baltimore. He’s 0-5 with a 5.48 ERA in his last seven starts in the Charm City, including a loss on April 14 this season. Time to right the ship!

Here is the Orioles lineup and here is your New York Yankees lineup:

1. Brett Gardner LF
2. Chase Headley 3B
3. Alex Rodriguez DH
4. Mark Teixeira 1B
5. Brian McCann C
6. Carlos Beltran RF
7. Didi Gregorius SS
8. Stephen Drew 2B
9. Mason Williams CF
LHP CC Sabathia

It was hot and humid today in Baltimore, and it looks like the possibility of showers and thunderstorms should hold off until midnight. Tonight’s game will start at 7:15 pm ET and can be seen nationally on FOX. Enjoy the broadcast and the game, wherever you are.

(Not)Milestone watch: A-Rod is now one RBI away 2,000 for his career, and six hits away from 3,000. #AROD3K

Roster Update: The Yankees signed Sergio Santos to a major-league contract this morning and added him to the bullpen. He will take the spot of Esmil Rogers, who was outrighted to Triple-A last night. Also, Jose Ramirez has been recalled and is listed in the Yankees bullpen; Jacob Lindgren was sent back down to Scranton to make room for Ramirez on the roster.

Nova’s return coming at just the right time for the Yanks

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Nothing is set in stone yet, but all signs point to Ivan Nova rejoining the Yankees after making his second minor league rehab start with Triple-A Scranton later today. The Yankees do need to see how he feels after that start, how his arm bounces back, all that stuff, but so far his rehab has gone very well and by all indications Nova will be activated off the DL very soon.

“We’re pretty encouraged with where he’s at right now. The sink on his fastball, his changeup, his curveball, we’re pretty encouraged. I didn’t say he would be ready after (today). I said we would evaluate him,’’ said Joe Girardi to George King earlier this week. “I think you evaluate where he is after each start, how built up he is. He should be able to give you 90 pitches the next time, 85 to 90 pitches, and then you just look at his stuff.”

Fitting Nova back onto the roster is one of those problems that isn’t a problem because there’s no such thing as too much pitching. The Yankees don’t have an obvious candidate to take out of the rotation because the five guys in the rotation have been pretty good for a few weeks now. The easy move would be sticking Adam Warren back in the bullpen, especially now that Andrew Miller is on the DL, but man, he’s been so good as a starter of late. I’d hate to see them pull the plug on Warren in the rotation when he’s pitching so well.

There’s also the six-man rotation option, which the Yankees have been talking about since before Spring Training and might now have the necessary pieces to pull it off. We weren’t even sure if they had five viable starters back in March. Remember that? Four of their five starters have been league average-ish or better and the fifth has a massive contract that ensures he’ll remain in the rotation until his arm falls off. Like it or not, CC Sabathia is not losing his rotation spot to Nova.

The Yankees started a stretch of 20 games in 20 days yesterday, and they’ve already skipped Michael Pineda once this season to control his innings. Warren’s innings have to be monitored as well and, as good as he’s been, the Yankees still have to be careful with Masahiro Tanaka. Giving him an extra day whenever possible is a good idea, and now the Yankees can possibly do that thanks to Nova’s return.

“We know that we’re going to need to insert a starter somewhere. We know that,” said Girardi to Chad Jennings earlier this week when asked about using a sixth starter to give the other starters extra rest during this stretch of 20 games in 20 days. “Do you do it twice? Maybe. Maybe we have to do it twice. We just have to see how the guys are doing and how they’re responding.”

Assuming Nova comes back well and a six-man rotation is a viable strategy during this stretch of games, the only concern would be making it work with the roster. The Yankees aren’t going to shed a reliever and use a six-man bullpen, everything they’ve done over the last few years shows they prefer having extra arms, which means a three-man bench. A backup catcher (John Ryan Murphy), a backup infielder (Brendan Ryan), and a backup outfielder (Garrett Jones or Mason Williams).

Williams has minor league options, Jones doesn’t, and that’s pretty much the deciding factor there. The Yankees don’t figure to cut Jones for Williams no matter how well Williams performs in the next week or so before Nova returns. Jones has started hitting of late after that brutal April. A three-man bench is less than ideal, though it might only be temporary until the Yankees get through these next 20 days.

“We just know we have a number of different guys that we’ve got to find ways to protect,” said Brian Cashman to Maria Guardado. “There’s other avenues to do it. If everybody’s healthy, you could always play with a six-man rotation, if Nova’s back and everyone’s in line. But we’re just trying to find ways to manage it properly so everybody keeps that full tank of gas and doesn’t have fatigue set in too easily, because when fatigue sets in, injuries can happen.”

Either way, Nova’s return is imminent and that’s a positive. The Yankees have some workloads to control this year and having him around to chew up innings will come in handy. And if the Yankees do stick Warren in the bullpen to replace Miller, as unfair as that would be, they have Nova ready to step in to the rotation spot. The rotation hasn’t been a weakness, but Nova’s return comes at a very convenient time for the Yankees. He gives them some options going forward, including a six-man rotation.

“There’s no strict plan as much as find ways at times to give people blows is basically what we’re going to try to do,” added Cashman. “But how we’re going to do it, we’re not sure just yet.”