8/29 to 8/31 Series Preview: Kansas City Royals

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

This rather huge 12-game stretch continues this week with three games in Kansas City. The Yankees took two of three from both the Mariners and Orioles last week, two teams they are trying to catch in the wildcard race. The Royals are in that mix as well. The Yankees and Royals played four games in Yankee Stadium back in May. New York won three.

What Have They Done Lately?

Good gravy are the Royals hot. They walloped the Red Sox last night and have won 17 of their last 21 games. That’s the kind of run the Yankees have been unable to put together this season. Kansas City is 68-62 with a -18 run differential overall this year. The Yankees are 67-62 with a -9 run differential. These two clubs are separated by a half-game in the standings and obviously zero games in the loss column. Huge series. Huge.

Offense & Defense

Despite last night’s ten-run outburst (lol Red Sox pitching, lol), runs have been hard to come by for manager Ned Yost and his players. The defending World Series champions are averaging only 3.92 runs per game with a team 88 wRC+ this season. That ain’t good. Kansas City currently has only one injured position player, but it’s an important one: 3B Mike Moustakas (109 wRC+). He’s done for the season with a torn ACL suffered in a collision in June. Brutal.

Cain. (Jamie Squire/Getty)
Cain. (Jamie Squire/Getty)

Yost is known for setting his lineup and sticking to it, even when the team slumps. It was only recently that he dropped the wholly unproductive SS Alcides Escobar (65 wRC+) from leadoff to the bottom of the lineup. Nowadays OF Paulo Orlando (96 wRC+) and OF Jarrod Dyson (74 wRC+) platoon in the leadoff spot, and are followed in order by 3B Cheslor Cuthbert (103 wRC+), RF Lorenzo Cain (96 wRC+), 1B Eric Hosmer (104 wRC+), DH Kendrys Morales (96 wRC+), C Salvador Perez (97 wRC+), and LF Alex Gordon (92 wRC+). Those are the 1-7 hitters. Yost rarely deviates.

IF Raul Mondesi Jr. (36 wRC+) and IF Christian Colon (58 wRC+) share time at second and hit ninth. Escobar hits eighth. Also on the bench are speedster OF Billy Burns (50 wRC+) and backup C Drew Butera (102 wRC+). Those two don’t play a whole lot. Perez is workhorse behind the plate. He’s started 105 of the team’s 130 games this season. Only Yadier Molina has started more games at catcher in 2016. He’s started 114. That’s nuts.

Defensively, the Royals are the best in the business. They’re so good that Dyson and Orlando recently pushed Cain to right field full-time. Cain would be the everyday center fielder on pretty much any other team. Gordon is excellent in left, as are Escobar at short, Hosmer at first, and Perez behind the plate. Cuthbert isn’t Moustakas at the hot corner, but he’s good. Ditto the two guys at second. Kansas City is going to catch the ball. It’s what they do.

Pitching Matchups

Monday (8:15pm ET): RHP Michael Pineda (vs. KC) vs. RHP Dillon Gee (vs. NYY)
Gee, the former Met, jumped into Kansas City’s rotation full-time a few weeks back, after big Chris Young pitched his way into the bullpen. The 30-year-old has a 4.55 ERA (5.06 FIP) in 99 innings across eleven starts and 15 relief appearances, and it’s worth noting he’s been way more effective as a reliever (3.05 ERA and 4.94 FIP) than as a starter (5.62 ERA and 5.14 FIP). Gee has very unimpressive underlying stats (18.3 K%, 6.9 BB%, 43.2 GB%, 1.73 HR/9) and he’s been more effective against righties than lefties. As a starter Gee will sit right around 90 mph with his sinker, and he throws the three standard issue secondary pitches: mid-80s changeup, mid-80s slider, and upper-70s curveball. He uses all of them regularly too. True four-pitch guy. The Yankees did face Gee when these two teams met in May. He limited them to one run in 5.1 innings of long relief.

Tuesday (8:15pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. KC) vs. RHP Edinson Volquez (vs. NYY)
The 33-year-old Volquez has had himself a respectable career. Twelve years in the show with a 4.36 ERA (4.26 FIP), a World Series ring, and over $23M in contracts? You could do worse. Volquez has a 4.88 ERA (4.37 FIP) in 27 starts and 156.2 innings this season with a good grounder rate (53.0%) and middling strikeout (16.5%), walk (8.1%), and homer (1.03 HR/9) numbers. His platoon split is small because his low-to-mid-80s changeup is pretty nasty. Volquez still lives in the mid-90s with his sinker, and his hard power curveball averages right around 80 mph. When he’s on, Volquez has really nasty stuff. He can be dominant if he wakes up on the right side of the bed. The Yankees did not see the veteran righty earlier this year.

IPK. (Brian Blanco/Getty)
IPK. (Brian Blanco/Getty)

Wednesday (8:15pm ET): RHP Luis Cessa (No vs. KC) vs. RHP Ian Kennedy (vs. NYY)
The reason the Royals are stuck trying to hang around in the wildcard race the year after winning the World Series is the rotation. It’s been pretty rough overall (4.54 ERA And 4.82 FIP). Kennedy, now 31, has been solid this season with a 3.57 ERA (4.68 FIP) in 26 starts and 153.2 innings. His strikeout (24.0%) and walk (7.5%) rates are right where they always are, but he’s been far more fly ball (33.3%) and home run (1.64 HR/9) prone than in the past. IPK’s platoon split is small. Kennedy used to be one of those guys who would mess around with six pitches, but at this point of his career he’s scaled it back to four: low-90s four-seamer, upper-80s cutter, low-80s changeup, upper-70s curveball. The Yankees scored seven runs in 6.1 innings against their 2006 first round pick back in May.

Bullpen Status

A few weeks ago the Royals lost all-world closer Wade Davis to a flexor tendon strain, and he only recently began facing hitters as part of his rehab work. He’ll rejoin the team after rosters expand in September, but not this series. Here is the relief crew Yost has at his disposal:

Closer: RHP Kelvin Herrera (1.84 ERA/2.11 FIP)
Setup: RHP Joakim Soria (3.67/4.36)
Middle: LHP Brian Flynn (2.66/3.19), RHP Peter Moylan (3.62/3.61), LHP Matt Strahm (0.68/1.05)
Long: RHP Chris Young (5.74/6.29), RHP Chien-Ming Wang (4.38/4.65)

Strahm’s the secret weapon. He was called up straight from Double-A after Davis got hurt, and so far he’s struck out 20 batters in 13.1 innings. Strahm has pitched like Davis, basically. He’s starting to take setup innings from Soria, who is still solid, but is no longer the pitcher he was a few years ago. That second Tommy John surgery is a doozy.

Strahm (45 pitches), Moylan (12 pitches), and Soria (28 pitches) all pitched last night. Wanger threw three innings and 44 pitches in mop-up duty Saturday night, so he might not be available tonight or tomorrow. They have to be careful with his shoulder. Hopefully we get to see him pitch at some point this series though, preferably with the Royals down big. Nothin’ but love for CMW. Check out our Bullpen Status for the status of Joe Girardi‘s relievers.

The Yankee offense has come to life in August, and it’s not all Gary Sanchez

(Christopher Pasatieri/Getty)
(Christopher Pasatieri/Getty)

Yesterday afternoon the Yankees were shut out by the Orioles and Kevin Gausman, which, unfortunately, has been all too common this season. They have no answer for Gausman at all. The young right-hander has made four starts against the Yankees this season and he’s held them to three runs in 27.2 innings. That’s a 0.98 ERA. He has a 4.41 ERA against all other teams. Sigh.

Thankfully, games like that, in which the offense no-shows, have been rare this month. Very rare, in fact. Yesterday’s loss snapped the Yankees’ five-game streak of scoring at least five runs, the team’s longest such streak in three years. The Yankees scored 14 runs Friday night and another 13 runs Saturday. They scored 10+ runs six times in the first 126 games of the season, then did it back-to-back days this weekend.

Even with yesterday’s shutout loss, the Yankees have scored 133 runs in August, making it their highest scoring month of the season. There’s still three more games to play before September arrives too. Here is the Yankees’ month-by-month runs scored ranks among the 30 MLB clubs:

April: 74 (30th)
May: 119 (22nd)
June: 129 (13th)
July: 97 (23rd)
August: 133 (4th)

Not surprisingly, power has played a big role in the Yankees’ sudden run-scoring ability. They’ve hit 40 homers so far this month, ten more than any other month this season. (They hit 30 in both May and June.) Obviously the arrival of Gary Sanchez has played a huge role in the improved offense. He’s hitting .425/.489/.938 (274 wRC+) with eleven homers in 21 games this season since being recalled after the trade deadline.

Sanchez is not the only reason the offense has been much improved this month though. Remember, the Yankees traded away Carlos Beltran at the deadline, and he was their best hitter for much of the season. It’s not like they simply added Sanchez on top of what they already had. Several players have improved their performance this month as well. Three others in particular have mashed in August:

April to July August
Starlin Castro .256/.292/.395 (81 wRC+) .309/.337/.557 (135 wRC+)
Aaron Hicks .187/.251/.287 (41 wRC+)  .307/.342/.480 (121 wRC+)
Mark Teixeira .192/.269/.322 (58 wRC+)  .254/.359/.433 (116 wRC+)

That doesn’t include the red hot Ronald Torreyes, who has gone 14-for-26 (.538) with six doubles, a homer, a walk, and no strikeouts over the last week. He’s exactly the kind of high-contact hitter who can go on an insane BABIP-fueled run like this. Torreyes replaced Chase Headley at third for a few games while Headley nursed an Achilles injury, and he’s stayed in the lineup because he’s been so hot.

There are reasons to believe this is all legit too. Castro has always been a second half hitter; he has a career 86 wRC+ in the first half and 105 in the second half. Hicks is playing everyday again, something he wasn’t able to do for much of the first half. I know no one wants to hear it, but I truly believe the regular at-bats help get him on track. Teixeira? Well, he couldn’t possibly be that bad all season, right? I hope so. We have to hope and pray a little more with Teixeira than we do Castro and Hicks.

It hasn’t all been good news this month. That’s just the way it goes. Brett Gardner (78 wRC+) and Jacoby Ellsbury (85 wRC+) haven’t been great in August, which is kind of a problem because they hit first and second — directly in front of the molten hot Sanchez — most games. Brian McCann (77 wRC+) hasn’t done much either, and call-ups Aaron Judge (85 wRC+) and Tyler Austin (-11 wRC+) have cooled off following their big MLB debuts. You can’t really expect the kids to carry the offense though. Sanchez is the exception, not the rule.

Still, the point is the Yankees have multiple hitters locked in right now. Most of the season they were able to rely on Beltran and maybe one other hitter at any given time. Didi Gregorius was hot for a while. Then it was McCann. Then Headley. Then whoever. The offense never seemed to fire on all cylinders, and truth be told, it still doesn’t feel that way. At least now there’s more than one or two guys carrying to load. Sanchez has been getting the kind of help Beltran never received.

The Yankees beat up on some bad Orioles pitching Friday and Saturday night, which skews their August numbers a tad. They’re averaging 4.61 runs per game this month if you remove those two blowouts, which is still their second highest scoring month this year after June (4.78). Friday’s and Saturday’s games happened though. They count. Earlier this year the Yankees rarely beat up on bad pitching. They just did it on back-to-back days.

No one expects Sanchez to stay this hot the rest of the season. It’s pretty much impossible. Hopefully as he cools down others like Gardner and Ellsbury and McCann heat back up and create a deeper, more balanced lineup. Scoring runs can still be a struggle for the Yankees, we saw it yesterday, but they’ve done a much better job offensively of late. They’ll have to keep up this pace to continue climbing back into the postseason race.

Yankeemetrics: No sweep for you [Aug. 26-28]

(NY Post)
(NY Post)

Mr. Unstoppable
One of the most incredible starts to a career continued on Friday night with Gary Sanchez extending his unprecedented assault on big-league pitching in the series opener. He added three more hits, including a double and a homer, and drove in four runs to lead the Yankees to a 14-4 blowout win.

Sanchez is setting the record books ablaze every time he steps the plate as his feats are reaching epic proportions and every at-bat becomes must-see television for Yankee fans everywhere. At this point in his record-breaking spree, it’s just easier to recap with bullet points, so here we go:

  • By hitting his 10th homer on Friday, all of which have come in August, Sanchez broke the Yankee rookie record for homers in a calendar month. The previous mark of nine was set by Joe DiMaggio in August 1936 and later tied by Tom Tresh in August 1962.
  • He became the third-fastest player in MLB history to reach 10 homers, behind only Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (21 games earlier this year) and Red Sox infielder George Scott (21 games in 1966)
  • The three-hit, four-RBI performance also pushed his career totals in those stats to 31 and 20, respectively. The only Yankee to reach 30 career hits faster than Sanchez was Joe DiMaggio (16[!] games in 1936); the only Yankees to reach 20 career RBI faster than Sanchez were Hideki Matsui (20 games in 2003) and DiMaggio (21).
  • Where Sanchez truly stands alone in baseball history is his unique combination of elite hit and power tools: He is the first player in major-league history to compile at least 10 homers and 30 hits this early into his career (22nd game).

And we’ll finish this section with a #FunFact, because why not? Sanchez is the youngest Yankee catcher with at least three hits, three runs scored and four RBI in a game since a 23-year-old Yogi Berra on Aug. 3, 1948 against the Tigers.

Sanchez is not human
On Saturday, this Sanchez kid officially zoomed past the basic level of historic and entered the upper realm of absurdity. Since we’re beginning to run out of words to describe Sanchez’s mind-boggling pace, I’ll just put this GIF here instead:

on fire

Yup, he did it again. Sanchez homered for the 11th time this season, fueling another pinstriped offensive explosion as the Yankee routed the Orioles, 13-5. With his 370-foot blast to right-center in the fourth inning, he became the fastest player in the history of major-league baseball to reach the 11-homer mark, doing so in his 23rd career game.

All 11 of his homers came since his recall in early August, making this not just an unbelievable career-opening run, but also one of the best power-hitting months by any young player in recent memory. To the bullet points again:

  • Sanchez is the third Yankee ever to hit at least 11 homers in any month in his age-23 season or younger, joining Mickey Mantle (12 in August 1955) and Joe DiMaggio (15 in July 1937).
  • The rookie phenom is also the youngest big-league catcher since Johnny Bench in 1970 to go yard 11-plus times in a month.
  • And Sanchez is the first American League player in his age-23 season or younger to pile up at least 11 homers and 30 hits in a month since Alex Rodriguez (11 homers, 36 hits) for the Mariners in August 1999.

Sanchez wasn’t the only Yankee with a monster game. One of the guys he shared the spotlight with was Starlin Castro, who repeatedly destroyed the baseball on Saturday as he went 4-for-6, scored three runs, stole a base and drove in three runs.

Only one other second baseman in franchise history has enjoyed such a productive night at the plate — at least four hits, three runs, three RBI and a steal: Alfonso Soriano had a game with those numbers on April 8, 2002 against the Blue Jays.

Overall, for the second time in two games against the Orioles, the Yankee bats punished Orioles pitching — in record-breaking fashion. Coupled with Friday’s offensive fireworks, this is the first time since at least 1913 (and likely ever) that the Yankees have scored at least 13 runs, gotten 18 or more hits, and went deep at least three times in back-to-back games.

(AP)
(AP)

The Sunday Letdown
Nothing lasts forever, right? The Orioles somehow managed to cool off the torrid bat of Gary Sanchez and the streaking Yankees, blanking them, 5-0, on Sunday afternoon. For the seventh time this season the Yankees were going for a three-game sweep … and for the seventh time they failed to complete it.

The lack of three-game sweeps might be an odd stat, and sweeps are not “easy,” but it does speak to the inconsistency — and an inability to go on an extended season-changing run — that has plagued this Yankee team since day one. (Though, to be fair, they do have two four-game sweeps.)

The Orioles did manage to keep Sanchez from sending a ball over the fences, but the young slugger’s power binge was merely tempered. He still finished with two hits, a single and a double, in four at-bats, giving him a whopping 19 extra-base hits in the big leagues.

Only two major-league players in the last century had that many hits for extra bases this early into their careers (24th game): Mandy Brooks had 22 for the Cubs in 1925 and DiMaggio had 19 for the Yankees in 1936. Oh, and he now has more than twice as many multi-hit games (10) as hitless games (4) among the 22 contests he has started in pinstripes.

The fact that Orioles starter Kevin Gausman shut down the Bronx Bombers’ surging bats is hardly surprising given his dominance of them this year. After throwing seven scoreless innings on Sunday, he now owns a 0.98 ERA across four starts versus the Yankees. The last pitcher to finish a season with a sub-1.00 ERA in four-or-more starts against the Yankees was Angels lefty Chuck Finley in 1996 (0.57).

Fan Confidence Poll: August 29, 2016

Record Last Week: 4-2 (42 RS, 22 RA)
Season Record: 67-62 (552 RS, 561 RA, 64-65 pythag. record), 3.5 GB of postseason spot
Opponents This Week: @ Royals (three games, Mon. to Thurs.), Thurs. OFF, @ Orioles (three games, Fri. to Sun.)

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the Features tab in the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Yanks can’t finish sweep, fall 5-0 to Gausman and the O’s

Only the 2016 Yankees could win two of three and make it feel like a disappointment over and over again. They are now an imperfect 0-7 in the third game of a three-game series after winning the first two. I wonder how long it’s been since the Yankees last went an entire season without a three-game sweep? They dropped Sunday’s finale 5-0 to the Orioles.

Cy Gausman. (Rich Schultz/Getty)
Cy Gausman. (Rich Schultz/Getty)

You Can’t Win If You Can’t Score
Yet again, the Yankees were completely shut down by Orioles righty Kevin Gausman. Fourth time this season. He’s held them to three runs total in 27.2 innings this year, which works out to a 0.98 ERA. Gausman has a 4.41 ERA against all other teams. The worst. Here are his four starts against New York:

  • May 5th at Camden Yards: 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
  • June 5th at Camden Yards: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
  • July 18th at Yankee Stadium: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
  • August 28th at Yankee Stadium: 7 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K

The Yankees had their best chance to score against Gausman in the fourth inning, when Gary Sanchez and Mark Teixeira opened the frame with consecutive singles. Sanchez, however, got a little overeager and tried to go first-to-third on Teixeira’s single to right. Steve Pearce threw him out with an assist from a great Manny Machado tag. Can’t make the first out of the inning at third base, Gary.

Didi Gregorius followed with a single of his own, so the first three batters in the inning reached base. A Starlin Castro ground out and a Brian McCann strike out ending the threat. We’ll never know how the inning (and the game) would have played out had Sanchez put on the brakes and stopped at second, but man, it does stink to not score after the first three batters of the inning get hits.

The Yankees never threatened much after that fourth inning failed rally. In fact, they only had three baserunners the rest of the way. Ronald Torreyes singled in the fifth, McCann singled in the seventh, and Sanchez doubled in the eighth. Seventeen of the final 20 Yankees to bat made outs. Classic getaway day game by the offense.

Bad Gary. (Rich Schultz/Getty)
Bad Gary. (Rich Schultz/Getty)

Sabathia’s Long Leash
For a while now I’ve been saying I’d like see Joe Girardi have a shorter leash with CC Sabathia, but it just isn’t happening. Coming into this game opponents were hitting .289/.347/.485 against the big man from pitch No. 75 on, yet there he was, out there for 99 pitches as the game slipped out of reach. The O’s went 3-for-6 with a walk after Sabathia threw his 75th pitch. Sigh.

The Orioles had no answer for Sabathia through the first five innings. He held them to two singles and a walk in those first five innings, and one of the singles was an infield single. His first mistake came leading off the sixth, when Steve Pearce connected for a solo home run to break the scoreless tie. Sabathia rebounded to finish the inning before the wheels came off in the seventh.

To be fair, the Orioles didn’t hit Sabathia hard in that seventh inning. Jonathan Schoop poked a ground ball single the other way with one out, then Nolan Reimold reached on a weird infield single in which Castro went around the baserunner and missed the ball completely. Hard to explain. Just watch:

Nolan Reimolds CC Sabathia

Weird play. That put runners on first and second with two outs. Girardi left Sabathia in to get the left-on-left matchup against Hyun-Soo Kim, who CC struck out twice earlier in the game, but it didn’t work. Sabathia walked him on four pitches, loading the bases and ending his afternoon. Adam Warren came in and allowed a two-run single to Pearce to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 3-0 deficit.

Sabathia was charged with three runs on six hits and two walks in 6.2 innings. He did strike out eight. I don’t think I would have sent him back out for the seventh given a) his pitch count, b) the Pearce homer in the sixth, and c) the fact he was going through the lineup a third time. This isn’t the first time Girardi has left Sabathia in a little too long and watched it result in tack-on runs, and it won’t be the last unless he shortens up the leash. CC’s days of being a 100+ pitch monster are long over.

(Rich Schultz/Getty)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

Leftovers
Down three in the eighth doesn’t exactly seem like “bring in the rookie to face the middle of the lineup in his second MLB appearance” territory, but Girardi went to Ben Heller in that spot, and sure enough Mark Trumbo took him deep for a two-run homer to make it 5-0 O’s. Heller faced six batters and retired two. Blake Parker had to bail him out.

Machado made three great defensive plays in this game. He had the tag on Sanchez in the fourth inning, then he made a diving stop on Castro’s hard-hit grounder later in the inning, and then in the eighth he robbed Torreyes with a diving stop. He dove into foul territory and threw across the diamond from his knees. What can you do? Machado’s gonna do that.

The Yankees had eight hits total, including two each by Sanchez and Torreyes. They also drew zero walks for the 12th time this season. That’s their second highest total of no-walk games this century. (They had 17 in 2013.)

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
ESPN has both the box score and updated standings while MLB.com has the video highlights. The Yankees are again 3.5 games back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 5.6% as of this writing. Here are our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages, and here’s the lame-o win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees are off to Kansas City for an important three-game series with the Royals. The two clubs are both vying for the second wildcard spot and have identical 67-62 records. (Kansas City is playing Sunday night though.) Michael Pineda and ex-Met Dillon Gee are the scheduled starters for Monday night’s opener.

DotF: Holder fans 12 in relief as Scranton clinches playoff spot

The minor league season is winding down, so let’s update the standings. But first, some notes:

  • OF Blake Rutherford is done for the season with a minor hamstring injury, reports Bryan Hoch. He should be good to go for Instructional League next month though. Pulaski’s season ends Thursday and there’s no reason to push it. Seems like the Pulaski social media person was sick of being asked about Rutherford’s status though. Rutherford finishes his pro debut with a .351/.415/.570 (169 wRC+) batting line and three homers in 33 games.
  • OF Clint Frazier has been placed on the 7-day DL with a hamstring strain, reports Kelsie Heneghan. That explains why he was lifted for a pinch-hitter last night. Hopefully it’s minor and Frazier can come back after the seven days and play in the postseason.
  • RHP Chance Adams has been shut down for the season, Double-A Trenton manager Bobby Mitchell told Matt Kardos. He reached his innings limit. Adams finishes the year with a 2.33 ERA (2.96 FIP) and a 29.1% strikeout rate in 127.1 total innings. He was a reliever before this season, remember. They don’t want to push him too far. Big loss for Trenton’s playoff rotation.
  • And finally, OF Jhalan Jackson made an appearance in today’s Prospect Report following last night’s five-hit performance, so make sure you check that out.

Triple-A Scranton (3-1 win over Rochester) the win clinches a postseason spot, which is cool … they’re 84-49 and have the best record in all of Triple-A … their regular season ends a week from tomorrow

  • LF Ben Gamel: 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-3, 1 BB
  • DH Chris Parmelee: 2-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI — tied the game with a solo homer, then gave them the lead with an RBI single
  • CF Mason Williams: 1-4
  • RF Jake Cave: 1-4, 1 K
  • RHP Bryan Mitchell: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 1/0 GB/FB, 1 E (pickoff) — 53 of 84 pitches were strikes (63%) … I suppose he could come up when rosters expand on Thursday, though I’m guessing he’ll stay in Triple-A and pitch through the postseason to make up for all those innings he missed with the toe injury
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 19 of 28 pitches were strikes (68%)
  • RHP Jonathan Holder: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 12 K — 41 of 53 pitches were strikes (77%) … holy crap what a game … Holder struck out eleven straight batters at one point … the one hit was a pop-up that fell in because none of the infielders called for it too, so the one guy who did make contact (John Ryan Murphy!) didn’t square it up … the three pitchers combined for 22 strikeouts in nine innings

[Read more…]

Sunday Open Thread

This is the open thread for the remainder of the weekend. The Red Sox and Royals are the ESPN Sunday Night Game (Rodriguez vs. Ventura), plus there’s some preseason football on as well. Talk about those games or whatever else here. Go nuts.