For the second time this calendar month, the Yankees have lost three straight series. They dropped two of three to the Twins, Athletics, and Royals a few weeks ago, and now they’ve done the same against the Orioles, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. Believe it or not, they never once lost three consecutive series last season. Somehow the Yankees have only lost one game in the standings during this recent three-series-loss stretch. Thank goodness the rest of the AL East is garbage too. Let’s recap Sunday’s 8-5 series finale loss to Boston:
- Party’s Over: It appears the clock has struck midnight on Chase Whitley. He allowed ten of the 18 Red Sox batters he faced to reach base after getting destroyed by the Blue Jays last time out, though Sunday’s damage was limited to only five runs because two runners were erased on double plays, one was thrown out stealing second, and one was picked off first. Whitley has now allowed 13 runs and 24 base-runners in his last 7.2 innings. The Yankees need another starter and fast.
- Almost Comeback: The Bombers made it a game in the middle innings, at least for a little while. Derek Jeter capped off an eleven-pitch at-bat with an RBI single to plate the team’s first run in the third inning, and in the fourth Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran swatted solo homers to make it 4-3. Suddenly we had a ballgame. Then four walks, one single, and one botched pickoff led to three more runs for Boston in the next half-inning and that was that. It was fun pretending the Yankees were back in this game for a few minutes.
- Bullpen Weirdness: Joe Girardi is usually very, very good with his bullpen, but there were some really funny moves in this game. Whitley was getting smacked around all night, but Girardi sent him back out to start the fifth only to yank him following a leadoff walk. If the leash is one base-runner, why not just let the reliever start the inning clean? In the sixth, Dellin Betances was brought into the game after David Huff loaded the bases with no outs. If this game is important enough to use Betances in that spot, whey even bother sending Huff out? Shawn Kelley and Huff were charged with three runs in one total inning of work. Betances threw two scoreless but did allow an inherited runner to score.
- Leftovers: Beltran was thrown out trying to score from second on Kelly Johnson‘s single in the sixth inning because apparently no one has a scouting report on Jackie Bradley Jr. He might have the strongest center field arm in baseball … Ichiro Suzuki tripled (with an assist to a diving and missing Mookie Betts) four days shy of the two-month anniversary of his last extra-base hit … Beltran had three hits and Jeter had two. Brian Roberts was the only starter who failed to reach base … the Red Sox drew three straight walks to leadoff the fifth inning, which is more walks than the Yankees have had in five of their last six games … the Yankees are now 18-20 at home and have been outscored 180-140.
For the box score and video highlights, go to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some additional stats and the updated standings are at ESPN. Both the Blue Jays and Orioles lost, so the Yankees remain two back of Toronto and a half-game back of Baltimore. The Rays are coming to the Bronx next and Chris Archer and David Phelps open the three-game series on Monday night. These are the final three home games before the All-Star break, so head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch any of them live.
Triple-A Scranton (6-5 win over Lehigh Valley)
- DH Jose Pirela: 1-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-3, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 BB, 1 K — 21-for-46 (.457) with 15 walks and nine strikeouts in his last 15 games
- LF Zoilo Almonte: 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 K, 1 CS, 1 E (fielding) — his 12 total homers are in the organization behind Peter O’Brien (25), Kyle Roller (16), and Mark Teixeira (14)
- 1B Kyle Roller, SS Dean Anna & C Austin Romine: all 0-4 — Roller struck out once, Romine twice … Romine picked a runner off first with a snap throw
- 3B Scott Sizemore: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K
- RHP Joel De La Cruz: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 3/1 GB/FB — 35 of 58 pitches were strikes (60%)
- LHP Francisco Rondon: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 3/1 GB/FB — 22 of 41 pitches were strikes (54%)
- RHP Diego Moreno: 2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0K, 2/2 GB/FB — 17 of 27 pitches were strikes (63%)
Once again, both the Blue Jays and Orioles lost earlier today, so the Yankees are in position to make up some ground on both teams in the AL East race. They blew the same opportunity with last night’s gut punch loss. Chase Whitley will be welcomed to the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry tonight and he’s in position to give his team the series win. Whitley got destroyed by the Blue Jays last time out, now we’ll get to see how well he can rebound. Here is the Red Sox lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- C Brian McCann
- DH Carlos Beltran
- 3B Kelly Johnson
- 2B Brian Roberts
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
RHP Chase Whitley
It’s a lovely day in New York. Perfect night for baseball. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin a little after 8pm ET and you’ll be able to watch on ESPN. Enjoy the game.
As planned, Michael Pineda started a new throwing program yesterday. He was scheduled to start throwing last weekend, but it was pushed back after a precautionary MRI showed a lingering “trace” of inflammation. Pineda told Marly Rivera he felt “very good” after throwing while Joe Girardi told Chad Jennings the throwing session was “probably 25 throws at 60 feet, so probably not a lot to get excited about.”
Pineda, 25, has been out with a muscle problem in his back/shoulder since late-April. He made it as far as pitching in Extended Spring Training games a few weeks ago before suffering a setback. Given his history and the nature of the injury, I think the Yankees have to forget about Pineda and move forward under the assumption that he isn’t coming back. If he does, great. But there’s no way they can count on him to bolster the rotation in the second half. · (57) ·
Well that was an annoying loss. Saturday night’s aces duel went to the Red Sox thanks to a late-inning solo homer, giving Boston the 2-1 win. It was the third time in the last seven games the Yankees scored zero or one run. Let’s recap the loss:
- Third Best Pitch: Mike Napoli’s two-strike, game-winning homer came on Masahiro Tanaka‘s third best pitch. Tanaka confirmed to Bryan Hoch that Brian McCann initially called for a splitter and then a slider, but he shook him off to get to a fastball away. He missed his spot, Napoli hit a cheap Yankee Stadium homer with two outs in the top of the ninth, and that was that. Tanaka was otherwise outstanding all night, allowing two runs (two solo homers) in nine innings while striking out eight. Not sure what more he could have done other than throw Napoli a splitter in the ninth inning.
- One Run Ain’t Enough: The Yankees played for one run in the third inning and that’s exactly what they got. Brian Roberts (Stephen Drew error) and Yangervis Solarte (hit-by-pitch) reached base to leadoff the inning, and, for the second straight night, Brett Gardner sacrifice bunted. He’s only the team’s best and hottest hitter at the moment. Derek Jeter drove in Roberts with a ground out and that was it. The Yankees had one batter make it as far as second base the rest of the night.
- Best Chances: Gardner reached base to lead off the sixth (single) and eighth (walk) innings, but was caught stealing the first time (David Ross got him with a great throw) and erased on Jeter’s double play ball the second. I’m not sure why you would sac bunt down a run in the third inning but not with the game tied in the eighth, when one run would have made a huge difference. Those were their best opportunities to scratch out another run against Jon Lester.
- Leftovers: The top three hitters in the lineup went a combined 4-for-9 with two walks and no strikeouts while everyone else went 1-for-21 with eight strikeouts and the hit-by-pitch. Anytime the Yankees want to add a bat or three is cool with me … Tanaka is the first Yankees pitcher to take a nine-inning complete-game loss since CC Sabathia last July. The last time before that was Randy Johnson in 2005.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated the standings. Both the Blue Jays and Orioles lost, so the AL East race is unchanged — the Yankees are two games back of Toronto and a half-game back of Baltimore. Chase Whitley will be on the mound looking for the series win Sunday night. Yes, it’s a Sunday night game. John Lackey is getting the ball for Boston. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to catch that or any of the other three games on this final homestand before the All-Star break.
Triple-A Scranton (4-3 sin over Lehigh Valley)
- RF Jose Pirela: 2-4, 1 BB – first career game in right and I don’t think it’s a coincidence … Alfonso Soriano‘s been awful all season and they can’t keep running him out there anymore
- C John Ryan Murphy: 1-5, 1 R, 1 K
- LF Zoilo Almonte: 1-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 K
- 3B Scott Sizemore: 1-5, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K
- DH Kyle Roller: 2-2, 1 R, 2 BB — 9-for-20 (.450) in his last six games
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-2, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K — second straight game with a homer and third in his last seven games
- RHP Chris Leroux: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 5/6 GB/FB — 48 of 75 pitches were strikes (64%) … missed the last month and a half with some kind of arm problem
- SwP Pat Venditte: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 29 of 44 pitches were strikes (66%)
- RHP Danny Burawa: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB — 12 pitches, seven strikes
- RHP Matt Daley: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K — 16 of 21 pitches were strikes (76%)
In his first minor league rehab start with High-A Tampa, CC Sabathia allowed two runs on three hits and a walk in 2.1 innings. He struck out two. Adam Berry says he threw 24 of 36 pitches for strikes. A scout told Erik Boland that Sabathia sat 87-89 with a few 90s. “Couldn’t be happier with the way I felt physically out there,” he said to Berry, which is the most important thing.
Today’s outing officially starts the 30-day minor league rehab clock, so Sabathia has to be activated by July 27th. That’s enough time for four more rehab starts, if need be. There is no word on where Sabathia will pitch next, but it’s worth noting Double-A Trenton send out an email pushing tickets for next Thursday’s game, which would line up perfectly for his next outing. Makes sense to me, but there is no official word yet. · (7) ·
The Blue Jays lost to the White Sox earlier today, so the Yankees have a chance to climb to within one game of the AL East lead with a win tonight. They are technically ahead of Toronto in the loss column. It’ll be tough with Jon Lester getting the ball for the Red Sox, but the Yankees are running Masahiro Tanaka out there tonight, and when the Yankees need a win, he’s the guy you want on the mound. Here is the Red Sox lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- DH Carlos Beltran
- RF Alfonso Soriano
- C Brian McCann
- 2B Brian Roberts
- 3B Yangervis Solarte
RHP Masahiro Tanaka
It’s gorgeous outside. Warm and sunny with very few clouds. Pretty awesome weather for baseball. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:15pm ET and you’ll be able to watch on FOX. Enjoy the game.
According to multiple reports, the Reds have signed Cuban right-hander Rasiel Iglesias to a seven-year contract worth a guaranteed $27M. The team also confirmed his name is spelled Rasiel, not Raciel. There was some confusion about that. The deal will not become official until he secures a work visa, which doesn’t figure to be a problem.
Iglesias, 24, is a skinny little guy (5-foot-11 and 165 lbs.) who has been a reliever his entire career, though apparently the Reds are going to give the opportunity to start. Reports indicated that teams felt he could step right in to help a big league bullpen in the second half. Iglesias had been working out and holding showcases in Haiti, though there were no reports the Yankees (or any other team, for that matter) had interest in signing him. The deal with Cincinnati came out of nowhere.
With Iglesias off the board, the best available Cuban free agent is power-hitting outfielder Yasmani Tomas, who defected earlier this month. Here’s more on him from Ben Badler. Tomas will not be eligible to sign for another few months — he has to establish residency and be unblocked by the Office of Foreign Assets Control before being declared a free agent by MLB — and from what I understand, he will be the last potential impact bat to come out of Cuba for a while. · (34) ·
That was as close to perfect as a Yankees-Red Sox game can get. Yankees win? Check. Quality pitching performance from an unexpected source? Check. Flawless bullpen work? Check. Dingers? Check. Game under three hours? Check! I’ll take a weekend full of games just like this. Let’s recap the 6-0 shutout:
- Reverse Lock: Just as we all expected, Vidal Nuno held the Red Sox to two hits and two walks in 5.2 scoreless innings. He seemed to be amped up too — he sat 91.2 mph with his fastball after averaging 90.1 mph as a starter all year. Nuno walked the last man he faced — Brett Gardner failed to catch a David Ortiz foul pop-up in that last at-bat because he thought he was closer to the wall than he actually was, it seemed — but retired ten straight and 14 of 15 before that. Fourteen of his 17 outs were recorded on the infield and only once (Brock Holt’s third inning double) did Nuno allow a runner to reach second base. Joe Girardi yanked him before he could face Mike Napoli a third time, which was the right move in my opinion. Helluva job, Vidal.
- Back to Basics: The Yankees played for one run in the third inning by having Gardner bunt, and that eventually led to blowing a bases loaded, one out situation. After that, they went back to their Bronx Bomber roots. Kelly Johnson hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Gardner followed with a solo shot to go back-to-back. I think that’s the first time the team has hit back-to-back homers this year, but don’t quote me on that. Brian McCann tacked on some insurance with a two-run shot (off a lefty!) in the eighth. It’s the first time the Yankees have hit at least three homers in a game since May 17th (Pirates series) and only the fifth time all year.
- Bullpen Bullies: A four-run lead isn’t technically a save situation, but Girardi used his ace relievers anyway before McCann broke things open. Dellin Betances allowed a hit and a walk in 1.1 innings, striking out two. Adam Warren followed with a perfect eighth (one strikeout) and Matt Thornton with a perfect ninth (one strikeout). I’m pretty sure that if the score was still 4-0 in the ninth, we would have seen David Robertson. The Red Sox did not have a runner reach third base all night and the staff retired ten of the last eleven and 24 of the last 28 batters they faced. That’s how you close it out after grabbing an early lead.
- Leftovers: Scary moment in the seventh inning, when Betances slipped on the mound while delivering a pitch. Girardi came out to talk to him, but Betances stayed in the game and looked fine afterwards. Caught a spike or something. Exhale … Brian Roberts had what looked like a homer robbed by Holt in the second inning. It was close. It was going to hit off the very top of the wall … the Yankees took a quick 1-0 lead in the first when Mark Teixeira plated Derek Jeter with a sacrifice fly … Jeter, Teixeira, and McCann all had two hits. The top four hitters in the lineup went 6-for-13 (.462) with a walk, a sac bunt, and the sac fly.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The White Sox beat the Blue Jays and the Orioles split their doubleheader with the Rays, so the Yankees are two games back of first place and 1.5 games back of second. There’s still more than half a season to go. I think I’m getting ahead of myself with the standings updates. Anyway, Masahiro Tanaka and Jon Lester will be on the mound in a matchup of aces on Saturday night (argh). Make sure you check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch that game or any other game on the homestand in person.