Via Jon Heyman: Brett Gardner, Martin Prado, and Stephen Drew all cleared trade waivers this month. That means they can all now be traded to any team. It doesn’t mean the Yankees want to move them, of course, but they can if they want. The Nationals claimed Matt Thornton off trade waivers the other day and the club let him go for nothing.
As a reminder, teams will pass almost all of their players through trade waivers this month. They are completely revocable, so players can be pulled back if claimed. Most of the time they try to hide a player they’re looking to move by putting a whole bunch of players on waivers on the same time. The Yankees figure to claim a player or three this month if for no other reason than to block them from going to one of the teams they’re trying to catch in the standings. I’m surprised no one claimed Gardner. · (75) ·
Mark Teixeira needed three stitches in his left pinkie after getting stepped on while sliding across home plate during last night’s game. X-rays came back negative but he will miss at least one game and maybe more. Here are some more injury updates prior to this afternoon’s series finale against the Tigers, courtesy of Marly Rivera, George King, Fred Kerber, Jack Curry, and Vince Mercogliano:
- Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) came through the first two days of his throwing session well — yesterday was a rest day and he will throw again today — and the team has a return date in mind, but they won’t reveal it. Can’t say I blame them. It is sometime in September, however. “I’m happy the early return on rest and two throwing days on Tanaka have gone well,” said Brian Cashman.“I’m not gonna say (the date). We’ll take this day-by-day … He’s in one of those situations where every day you hold your breath, hoping it’s a good day. The more of those that come, the better it will be for us.”
- CC Sabathia (knee) acknowledged he will continue to need treatment going forward and will never truly be 100% healthy because there is no cartilage left under his knee cap. Doctors removed a previously undetected bone spur during surgery and he’s scheduled to undergo another stem cell procedure in a few weeks. “Hopefully, this procedure he just had is good enough to return him to our rotation every five days for an entire year starting next year,” said the GM.
- Michael Pineda (shoulder) threw his between-starts bullpen session yesterday and will make his next rehab start with Triple-A Scranton on Friday. He has been ruled out as a replacement for the injured David Phelps that day, though he could return to the rotation next week. “He’s probably available to go somewhere between 75 and 80 (pitches), and then we see where we’re at,” said Joe Girardi. “I said we wanted to get him to 90 (before bringing him back), but with the circumstances that we’re in, you never know.”
- Carlos Beltran (elbow) has started throwing to the bases as part of his throwing program. He expects to return to the outfield at some point — “I’m a position player, have to work on all aspects of my game,” he said — though Girardi acknowledged they aren’t as desperate to get him back in the field after the trade deadline. “There is less of a sense that we need to get him out there,” said the skipper. “We will keep him throwing. The one thing we don’t want to risk is him having a setback.’’
- Jacoby Ellsbury (thumb) is still sore after being stepped on during a rundown on Tuesday. “I’ll just play through it,” he said. There is no long-term concern.
For the first time this year, a game gave me that little postseason-esque nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach. The Yankees and Tigers played an excitingly close game on Wednesday, close until the Bombers broke it open in the bottom of the eighth. New York won 5-1.
Changeup, Strike Three
Chris Capuano has had a knack for pulling gems out of nowhere throughout his career, and on the night when the Yankees needed a start like that, he gave them one. The wily veteran southpaw used changeup after changeup to hold the high-powered Tigers to one unearned run in 6.2 innings, striking out eight and walking one. He allowed just five hits and retired 20 of 25 batters at one point from the first through seventh innings. His night ended after 101 pitches and back-to-back two-out singles in that seventh inning.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus loaded his lineup with right-handed batters against the lefty Capuano — number nine hitter Ezequiel Carrera was the only lefty in the starting lineup — and that played right into his strength, the down and away changeup. He had the pitch working marvelously. PitchFX says Capuano threw 44 changeups out of those 101 pitches, including 33 for strikes and 11 for swings and misses. He doubled up on the pitch all night and at one point he even tripled up on the changeup to fan Nick Castellanos. Excellent outing by Capuano. What a nice surprise he’s been through three starts.
Justin Verlander retired the first eleven batters he faced before Jacoby Ellsbury singled to center with two outs in the fourth. The Yankees scored their first run an inning later, when Chase Headley ran into a meatball of a 2-2 changeup for a solo homer into the second deck in right. Everyone knew it was gone off the bat, including Verlander based on his reaction. The pitch was on a tee and it tied the game at one after some sloppy defense and a sacrifice fly gave the Tigers a quick 1-0 lead in the first.
The score remained 1-1 until the seventh inning, at which point the Yankees had only had four base-runners against Verlander. The big right-hander left a 1-2 fastball up in the zone to Brian McCann with one out in the inning, and that pitch landed just beyond the right-center wall for a solo homer into the Yankees bullpen. You can tell this isn’t the same Verlander of the last few years. That guy absolutely buried hitters with two strikes. This version gave up two two-strike homers in the span of three innings. McCann’s dinger gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead with six outs to go.
As good as Capuano was in this game, Adam Warren recorded by far the two biggest outs of the night. Really the three biggest when you consider he inherited a first-and-third situation from Capuano with two outs in the seventh, escaping with a ground ball. Warren got a quick first pitch ground out from Ian Kinsler to start the eighth, then he appeared to pitch around the ultra-dangerous Miguel Cabrera with one out. I don’t like that strategy — assuming he did pitch around him, of course — because all Miggy could do was tie the game there. Put him on and suddenly the go-ahead run is at the plate. Whatever.
Because I wrote about how good the infield defense has been since the trade deadline earlier on Wednesday, Stephen Drew managed to make two errors on one play to give the Tigers runners on the corners with one out. Victor Martinez hit a soft grounder into the shift, but Drew fumbled the scoop (first error) and rushed the throw (second error), which was wide of first base and wound up close to home plate. Cabrera alertly advanced from second to third once he realized the ball was by Mark Teixeira at first.
This was a problem. The Yankees had just taken the lead, and while Detroit’s two best hitters were on the bases and not coming to the plate, runners on the corners with one out is scary. Especially since Warren has been less than stellar the last few weeks for whatever reason. Fatigue, return to Earth, whatever. Warren fell behind in the count 3-0 to J.D. Martinez and suddenly things looked really bad. Then he reached back and threw three straight fastballs by Martinez for the strikeout. The PitchFX readings on those fastballs: 95.95 mph (foul), 97.35 mph (whiff), and 96.9 mph (whiff). Gas.
That was an obviously huge strikeout but the inning was not over. There was still one out to get and Warren was still wild. He again fell behind in the count 3-0, this time to Castellanos. Warren went 97.00 mph fastball (whiff), 89.22 mph slider (foul), 96.81 mph fastball (foul), 98.26 mph fastball (foul), and 89.40 mph slider (lazy fly to right) to get the final out of the inning. That 98.26 mph fastball was the fastest pitch Warren has ever thrown in the big leagues, again according to PitchFX. It was not at all easy, but hats off to Warren for his work in that eighth inning. One of the biggest innings of the season, hands down.
Some time around the fifth inning I said this was a classic “next team to homer wins” game, and technically I was right. The Yankees were nice enough to plate some insurance runs in the eighth though, with the big blow being McCann’s … weak grounder to first. The Bombers had the bases loaded with one out and a run already in when Andrew Romine’s throw to first on the 3-6-3 double play attempt sailed by first base and to the dugout fence. Teixeira chugged around from second on the play and slid in for the team’s fifth run of the night. He was initially ruled out but the call was overturned following Joe Girardi‘s challenge. Teixeira’s pinkie got stepped on at the plate and he needed stitches. Props to Brett Gardner (single), Ellsbury (walk), Teixeira (run-scoring single), and Carlos Beltran (single) for their work earlier in the inning. Scoring those three insurance runs was huge.
David Robertson was all warmed up and ready to pitch the ninth until the three-run bottom of the eighth. David Huff recorded the last three outs without incident instead. He threw all of nine pitches and Derek Jeter made a great jumping catch to rob Bryan Holaday of a line drive single. With all due respect to Huff, Capuano and Warren were clearly the pitching stars of the night. The rest of the overtaxed bullpen got a much-needed day to rest.
Headley (homer and single) was the only Yankee with multiple hits, though Ellsbury (single and walk) and Teixeira (single and walk) both reached base twice as well. McCann hit his homer while Gardner, Jeter, and Beltran singled. Drew and Martin Prado went a combined 0-for-6 from the 8-9 spots in the order. The Yankees may not be scoring a whole lot, but this lineup definitely feels more dangerous than what they were trotting out there not too long ago.
The Yankees ended their streak of consecutive games decided by two or fewer runs at 16, the third longest such streak in history. They were two shy of tying the all-time record set by the Twins in 1968. Or maybe it was 1948. I forget. They showed the graphic on YES and I didn’t take note of the year.
Last, but certainly not least, the Yankees just won two of three games against the last three AL Cy Young award winners. The one loss was a very winnable game as well. If nothing else, that’s something to brag about.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
The box score and video highlights are at MLB.com. Some other stats are at FanGraphs and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Blue Jays beat the Orioles, so the Yankees are now five games back in the AL East and one game back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 22.9%. I don’t know if they’ll get a chance to play in October, but I’ll sign up for another 50 games just like this one. These last few games have been very entertaining.
The Yankees and Tigers wrap up this four-game series on Thursday afternoon. Yes, an afternoon game. Shane Greene will get the ball against New Jersey’s own Rick Porcello. RAB Tickets can get in the door if you want to spend the afternoon at the ballpark.
10:50: X- rays came back negative and Teixeira received three stitches in his pinkie. Not too bad.
10:29pm: Teixeira is getting stitches and will likely go for x-rays, Joe Girardi announced. He will definitely not play tomorrow and it’s unclear what will happen after that.
10:16pm: Mark Teixeira left tonight’s game after either having his left hand stepped on or his fingers bent back (or both) while sliding into home plate in the bottom of the eighth. YES showed him holding a towel over his fingers, so hopefully it’s nothing more than a cut. Either way, the Yankees can’t really afford to lose their best power hitter and only real first baseman. Stay tuned for updates. · (125) ·
Let’s start with some notes:
- 3B Dante Bichette Jr. has been promoted from High-A Tampa to Double-A Trenton, according to Eric Morlock. He’ll finish the season there as the everyday third baseman. After two poor years with Low-A Charleston from 2012-13, DBJ hit .271/.352/.410 (120 wRC+) with nine homers for Tampa this summer.
- MLB.com posted top 20 Yankees prospects list a few weeks ago, and today Jim Callis released his list of five bonus prospects. No. 21-25, basically. No real surprises, though I’m surprised to see OF Dustin Fowler get so much love.
- Baseball America published their best tools surveys for MLB and Triple-A. The Yankees didn’t have anyone on the Triple-A list, but Brett Gardner (second best AL bunter, wtf?), Jacoby Ellsbury (second best AL base-runner), Masahiro Tanaka (second best AL pitcher), Dellin Betances (best AL curveball, second best AL reliever), Mark Teixeira (third best AL defensive first baseman), and Martin Prado (second best AL hit-and-run artist) all appear on the MLB survey.
Triple-A Scranton had a scheduled off-day.
Double-A Trenton (7-3 win over Altoona)
- CF Jake Cave: 1-5, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 K – 15-for-43 (.349) in his last ten games
- LF Ben Gamel: 1-4, 1 RBI
- DH Gary Sanchez: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K — 13-for-42 (.310) in his last ten games
- RF Tyler Austin: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K
- 1B Greg Bird: 4-4, 3 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI — that’s three homers in his last two games
- LHP Manny Banuelos: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1/4 GB/FB – 49 of 79 pitches were strikes (62%) … little bump in the road after allowing only two runs total in his last 14 innings
- LHP Jacob Lindgren: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K – 12 of 20 pitches were strikes (60 %) in his Double-A debut … now has a 33/4 K/BB in 14.1 pro innings, which works out to a 20.73 K/9 and 55.9 K%
- RHP Danny Burawa: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 2/0 GB/FB – nine of 16 pitches were strikes (56%)
Quick note to pass along: Double-A Trenton’s bat dog Rookie is up for a Minor League Best Mascot Award. You might remember that Rookie’s grandfather Chase passed away last summer. You can vote right here or by using the hashtag #VoteRookieThunder on Twitter. There are 14 finalists and Rookie is the only living, breathing animal. The rest are dudes in mascot suits. Voting closes on August 11th. Take a second and go vote because bat dogs are awesome. · (13) ·
As you can see, we now are using Disqus to handle our comments. Why the quick change? Because from a technology standpoint we really needed something with low overhead and easy administration. Old comments should be back within the next day or so. As I mentioned previously, please act responsibly and enjoy the discussion. Thanks, Yankees Only.
The Yankees suffered a tough loss last night, though they’ve played well of late and have a chance to bounce back tonight. The bullpen is a little short though — Joe Girardi said Dellin Betances is unlikely to be available due to his recent workload — so Chris Capuano is probably going to throw 100+ pitches whether he likes it or not. This would be a good night for the offense to give the pitching staff some breathing room, for once. Here is the Tigers lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- DH Carlos Beltran
- C Brian McCann
- 3B Chase Headley
- 2B Stephen Drew
- RF Martin Prado
LHP Chris Capuano
It’s warm and cloudy in New York, but there is no rain in the forecast. Tonight’s game is scheduled to start just after 7pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.
Via Bill Madden: The Phillies wanted top outfield prospect Aaron Judge in exchange for Marlon Byrd at the trade deadline. The report comes after Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told Matt Gelb his deadline inactivity was due to other teams not being aggressive enough. Other reports indicate clubs did not believe Philadelphia had sincere interest in moving their players given their unwillingness to negotiate.
Judge, 22, is having a monster year after being selected with the second of the Yankees’ three first round picks last summer. He’s hitting .319/.429/.509 (165 wRC+) with 20 doubles, 15 homers, and a system-leading 74 walks in 108 games split between Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa. Judge for Byrd is silly and the Yankees would never do it, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with initially asking for a big return. If teams never did that, there wouldn’t be any Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano trades. It’s the unwillingness to budge that’s the real problem. For the Phillies, anyway. · (72) ·
Heading into the trade deadline, it was clear the Yankees needed to beef up their offense. They were getting very little from right field and second base in particular, plus third base became a black hole as soon as Yangervis Solarte returned to Earth. The Yankees needed to do something to add to their lineup, something more than wait for Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran to turn their seasons around.
Improving the offense wasn’t their only need at the trade deadline. The Yankees also needed to upgrade their infield defense because it was disastrous. Truly one of the worst infield defenses I have ever seen and it would have been a lot worse if not for the club’s emphasis on shifting to compensate for the lack of range. The bad defense was the most consistent part of the team too — every day the infield would cost them. It was amazing to watch, really.
The Yankees are locked into Derek Jeter at short and Mark Teixeira at first for better or worse, though there was nothing standing in way of acquiring upgrades at second and third bases. Acquire those upgrades is exactly what they did, swinging a deal for Chase Headley last month and bringing in Stephen Drew just before the trade deadline. Headley has long been a solid gloveman and while Drew would be playing out of position at second base, his athleticism and quickness made him a decent bet to outperform Brian Roberts.
Headley’s bat hasn’t been anything special yet (86 wRC+ in 58 PA), but he has been outstanding in the field. He gobbles up everything hit his way and seems to really excel at going to his right for backhanded stops. Drew has been with the team for only five games, and while he hasn’t done much with the bat either (64 wRC+ in 18 PA), he’s looked pretty comfortable at second. We haven’t gotten much of a look at him, of course, but Roberts was bobbling routine plays towards the end of his time with the Yankees. Drew hasn’t done that.
With some help from the indispensable Baseball Savant, here is a quick and dirty look at how the Yankees have fared at turning ground balls into outs this season. Real basic stuff, how many grounders are being converted into outs with no adjustment for hit quality or hit location or anything like that. Obvious sample size caveats apply:
|Total Grounders||BABIP||Grounders Per Error|
|Before Headley Trade||1,164||.255||28.4|
|Since Headley Trade||198||.227||66.0|
|Since Drew Trade||67||.194||67.0|
The AL average is a .250 BABIP on ground balls this season, so the Yankees were just a touch worse than that before acquiring Headley. Even with all the shifts and whatnot, they were still a bit below-average because of the general lack of range and sure-handedness they had around the infield. It felt a lot worse, to be honest.
Since acquiring Headley though, that has dropped to a .227 BABIP, much better than the league average. The infield has also cut their rate of making an error — errors aren’t the best way to measure defense, but I’m mentioning them because the Yankees did seem to have a knack for getting to the ball and failing to make the play for much of the year — basically in half. That isn’t all because of Headley, but he is a big part of it. Solarte was sneaky bad in the field and Kelly Johnson never looked comfortable at the hot corner (or first base, for that matter).
The infield defense has improved even more since Drew arrived, though it has been less than a week, so who really knows. The numbers do match up with the eye test though, and that’s always cool. You don’t need to be a trained scout to see how improved defensively the infield has been the last few weeks. Headley is a tremendous upgrade over what the Yankees had at the hot corner for most of the year. Drew looks comfortable at second and has been better than Roberts.
Going from below-average defenders to above-average defenders at two of the four infield spots is a big, big deal. The Yankees had a weirdly built roster earlier in the season in that their best defensive players (Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury) were marginalized by a pitching staff that focused on getting ground balls to avoid cheap homers at Yankee Stadium. Thanks to the Headley and Drew additions, the Yankees now have an infield defense better suited for the strength of the pitching staff, and their impact in the field has been obvious.