Via Ken Davidoff: The Yankees are likely to support MLB COO Rob Manfred as baseball’s next commissioner. Manfred is up for the job along with MLB executive vice president of business Tim Brosnan and Red Sox chairman Tom Werner. Richard Sandomir and Michael Schmidt note Brewers owner Mark Attanasio and Rays owner Stuart Sternberg were also interviewed for the job but not nominated. Manfred and Werner are considered the favorites with Brosnan lagging behind.
Davidoff says the Yankees figure to support Manfred because of his relationship with the players’ union and the belief that he’ll be able to keep both big and small market teams happy going forward. Manfred spearheaded MLB’s investigation into Biogenesis and testified against Alex Rodriguez during his appeal, though I highly doubt that has anything to do with the team’s willingness to support him. Supporting Manfred is all about what Yankees ownership believes is best for their billions of dollars, not a grudge against A-Rod.
The owners will vote on the next commissioner this Thursday at the quarterly meetings, and a candidate needs 23 of 30 votes to be elected. There’s a chance no one will be elected on Thursday and the search for Bud Selig’s replacement will continue for another few weeks. Selig is retiring in January. · (44) ·
When Chris Davis hit that two-run homer off Chris Capuano last night, it gave the Orioles a 4-3 lead that felt a whole lot bigger than one run because of how ineffective the Yankees’ offense has been. Scoring has been a big problem, so when Adam Warren and Chase Whitley combined to let the O’s blow things open in the later innings, the game was over. The Yankees might not score as many runs in the series as Baltimore did on Monday.
The offense was again a huge issue last night, especially considering two of the team’s three runs were gift-wrapped by some defensively hilarity. The bullpen was also an issue, which has been the case more and more often in recent weeks. Last night was an extreme example, obviously, but the bullpen has now allowed at least one run in each of the last four games and in 15 of 24 games since the All-Star break. The bullpen overall has a 3.91 ERA (3.99 FIP) since the break, which doesn’t sound awful, but the AL average is 3.63 ERA (3.68 FIP).
The Yankees have had a revolving door in the last spot or two of the bullpen all season, and guys like Chris Leroux and Alfredo Aceves and Matt Daley have put a dent in the team’s overall bullpen numbers. Joe Girardi has a top heavy bullpen this year led by the two elites in David Robertson and Dellin Betances. Adam Warren was an excellent supporting piece at various points, but that has not been the case lately. In fact, he’s been part of the problem these last few weeks.
Obviously last night was a total nightmare. Three runs on a single, a double, and a homer in one inning of work, giving Warren a 6.97 ERA (5.65 FIP) in 10.1 innings in the All-Star break. Take it back to May 15th (arbitrary!), which immediately follows a stretch in which he threw multiple innings five times in eleven days, and he has a 4.75 ERA (3.60 FIP) in 36 innings. Warren has walked six batters and struck out only five in his last 6.1 innings and he just looks worn down. He’s not locating well or finishing his pitches; his breaking balls are cement mixers more often than not.
Shawn Kelley had a disaster outing against the Indians on Friday night (four runs in one-third of an inning) but otherwise has allowed just one run since the break. He looked a little rough when he first came off the disabled list back in June, but Kelley has sorted it out of late and should clearly be ahead of Warren on the bullpen pecking at this point. I really like Warren as a one-inning, air-it-out reliever, but I just don’t see how Girardi can use him as a high-leverage guy right now. He’s not equipped to help the team in that capacity at this point in time.
The Yankees are carrying eight relievers — it’s a necessity more than overkill right now given the state of the rotation — but the last few spots are for spare arms in case of blowouts. Daley, Bryan Mitchell, and Leroux have cycled in and out of the last bullpen spot just within the last week. Soon Esmil Rogers will take over. Rich Hill (and David Huff) is keeping the left-handed specialist position warm until the Yankees deem someone like Tyler Webb or Jacob Lindgren big league ready, and Chase Whitley is flat out unusable. Four runs in two-thirds of an inning last night, ten runs in 6.1 innings since moving into the bullpen, and 30 runs in his last 28.1 innings overall. I don’t see why he belongs on the MLB roster at this point.
That eight-man bullpen is effectively a three-man bullpen with a lot of filler mixed in. Robertson, Betances, and Kelley should be Girardi’s top choices for important innings — it seems like Huff has worked his way into the Circle of Trust™ as well, but yuck — simply because no one else is pitching well. Warren shouldn’t see big innings because he hasn’t shown us anything recently to make us think he’s reliable. I don’t know if it’s fatigue or something else, but it’s happening. The Leroux, Whitley, and Hill group is there to steal outs whenever they can, basically. Sometimes you get lucky, most of the time you don’t.
At the moment, you could make a pretty strong case Rogers is the fourth best reliever in the Yankees’ bullpen. I’m talking about this very moment in time. There is definitely an argument to be made that Rogers is better able to help you win a game on August 12th than Warren or Whitley or whoever. The Yankees aren’t getting a lot of length from their starters and the offense has been stagnant, so the bullpen has had to work a lot and these emergency type arms have been forced into important situations. That’s a problem. Girardi’s bullpens have been very good over the years, but the combination of a bad offense and a short rotation has this relief crew teetering on the edge of disaster whenever someone other than Betances or Robertson enters the game.
It was pretty obvious which team is in first place and which team is struggling to stay in the second wildcard race on Monday night, wasn’t it? The Yankees lost the series opener in Baltimore by the score of 11-3. They actually lead 3-1 at one point. I assume the Bombers wanted to come into this series and make something of a statement. Instead they were the bug and the Orioles were the windshield.
Look At What The Orioles Did
The Yankees scored their first run in the first inning on a simple triple (Brett Gardner) plus ground ball (Derek Jeter) combination. The triple was juuust out of Adam Jones’ reach in left-center. It might have even hit off his glove. In such an important game, scoring a run within the first two batters is much appreciated. I love first inning runs on the road. Jump right on the other team and force them to play from behind.
The second and third runs … I can’t even begin to explain what happened. Carlos Beltran walked and Chase Headley snuck a ground ball single through the infield on a hit-and-run to give the Yankees runners on corners with no outs, and that’s the easy part. This is the Little League play that followed and resulted in two runs:
The official scoring was stolen bases for both Headley and Beltran — so Beltran technically stole home — plus errors on Manny Machado and Bud Norris. The errors allowed Headley to go to third and then home. I don’t even care how it gets scored. I’m just happy that hilarity led to two runs for the Yankees. They need all the runs they can get these days, and if it takes Machado hitting Beltran in the helmet with a throw, so be it.
With their nightly runs scored quota met, the offense packed it in the rest of the game and had just one runner make it as far as third base after the second inning. That was Jacoby Ellsbury in the eighth, when he walked, stole second, and moved to third on Beltran’s ground out. Jeter’s one-out double to right in the fifth was their only hit after the second inning. Beltran reached on an error by second baseman Jonathan Schoop in the third, Ellsbury drew his walk in the eighth, and Headley drew walks in both the sixth and eighth. That was all the offense in the final seven innings.
Chris Capuano had a typical Chris Capuano outing, at least based on his entire career and not just his two weeks in pinstripes. He allowed four runs in six innings, including two on Chris Davis’ mammoth go-ahead two-run homer in the fifth inning. It was a total hanger, the curveball curved right into Davis’ bat. Sucks because Capuano was ahead in the count 0-2 before David battled back to make it 3-2 and hit the homer. Blah.
The offense was going to have a hard enough time coming back from the 4-3 deficit following Davis’ homer, so the game was effectively over once Nelson Cruz clobbered an Adam Warren meatball for a two-run homer in the seventh inning to give Baltimore a 7-3 lead. Doubles by Nick Markakis and Jones gave the O’s a run earlier in the inning. Warren was almost out of the inning when Cruz popped up in foul territory, but Martin Prado couldn’t reel it in near the wall. Not like it would have mattered anyway.
Because being down 7-3 wasn’t enough, Chase Whitley put two guys on base and served up a three-run homer to Schoop in the bottom of the eighth to really put the game out of reach. That pretty much guarantees the Orioles will outscore the Yankees in the series. Dating back to June 1st, Warren has a 5.46 ERA (~4.10 FIP) in 28 innings. Whitley has allowed ten runs in 6.1 innings since moving into the bullpen last month, allowing at least one run in all five appearances. Capuano held his own, but otherwise New York’s staff was no match for Baltimore’s offense.
Gardner (triple), Jeter (double), Headley (single), Prado (single), and Frankie Cervelli (single) had the team’s only hits. Ellsbury, Beltran, and Headley (two) drew the walks. The Yankees have had exactly five hits in each of their last three games. The last time they had five or fewer hits in three straight games was, well, last September.
The Yankees took a big fat 0-fer in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position. They actually had men on first and second with one out in the second inning after that Little League play, but Gardner flew out and Jeter grounded out. Bud Norris was asking for it early on, but the Yankees are pros at letting pitchers off the hook.
Machado left the game in the third inning with a right knee injury after his leg buckled under him on a swing. It was kinda ugly. He had surgery on the other knee over the winter. The Orioles say he has a sprain and will be re-evaluated on Tuesday. I doubt we see him the rest of the series.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the video highlights and box score, go to MLB.com. For some other stats, go to FanGraphs. For the updated standings, go to ESPN. The Yankees are currently seven games back in the AL East and three games back of the second wildcard spot. The Royals jumped over the Tigers in the AL Central, so Detroit is currently sitting in the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has the Yankees’ postseason odds at 16.5%.
Same two teams on Tuesday night, when Shane Greene gets the ball against lefty Wei-Yin Chen. It will be the first time Greene faces a team for the second time as a starter. That’s always a big deal.
- LHP Manny Banuelos has been promoted from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton, according to Josh Norris. Banuelos has been much better of late and if things go well with the RailRiders these next few weeks, I think he’ll join the Yankees when rosters expand in September.
- 1B Greg Bird was named the International League Offensive Player of the Week, the Thunder announced. Pretty awesome considering he was just promoted and this was his first week in the league.
Triple-A Scranton (8-4 loss to Louisville)
- LF Jose Pirela: 0-5, 1 K
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB — 12-for-40 (.300) in his last ten games
- RF Zoilo Almonte: 2-5, 1 R
- DH Kyle Roller: 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K — second straight game with a homer, third in his last four games, and fifth in his last ten games
- 3B Zelous Wheeler: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
- LHP Matt Tracy: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HB, 9/2 GB/FB — 54 of 85 pitches were strikes (64%)
- RHP Matt Daley: 1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1 HB, 2/0 GB/FB — 17 of 27 pitches were strikes (63%)
- RHP Diego Moreno: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 2/0 GB/FB — six of ten pitches were strikes
Including tonight, the Yankees have 45 games left this season. Ten of those 45 will be played against the Orioles. The Yankees are six games back of Baltimore in the AL East, and they have intentions of winning the division, the head-to-head matchups are there for them to make up ground. They have to start winning them though. The O’s have won two of three in each of the first three series these clubs have played this year. That has to stop. Here is the Orioles lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- DH Carlos Beltran
- 3B Chase Headley
- 2B Stephen Drew
- RF Martin Prado
- C Frankie Cervelli
LHP Chris Capuano
It’s cloudy and humid in Baltimore, and there is rain in the forecast later tonight. Once it starts, it’s supposed to continue right through until tomorrow morning, so we might be in for another one of those five-inning games these two teams had right before the All-Star break. Get the lead early, I guess. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin just after 7pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.
Updates: In case you missed it earlier, Michael Pineda will indeed return to the rotation and start Wednesday’s series finale … Bryan Mitchell has been sent down and Chris Leroux was called up to give the team a fresh long man.
The Yankees have called up right-hander Chris Leroux from Triple-A Scranton to give the team a fresh long man, they announced. Bryan Mitchell was sent down in a corresponding move. The Yankees had two open 40-man roster spots, so they don’t need to do anything else to accommodate Leroux.
Leroux started and threw 73 pitches for the RailRiders three days ago, so he’ll be available for lots and lots of innings if need be. Hopefully not, unless the Yankees are winning in a blowout. (Like that will ever happen.) Safe to say Leroux is only keeping the roster spot warm until Wednesday, when Michael Pineda makes his hopefully triumphant return to the rotation. · (44) ·
Michael Pineda will be activated off the disabled list and return to the rotation on Wednesday, the Yankees announced. That’s what I was hoping for. Esmil Rogers will presumably move back into the bullpen after making a spot start last Friday.
Pineda, who has only made four starts this year, has been out since late-April with a muscle problem in his back/shoulder. If he pitches anything like he did earlier in the year (1.83 ERA and 2.73 FIP), he’ll be an enormous shot in the arm for the rotation and team in general. · (73) ·
At some point in the next day or two, the Yankees will officially announce whether Esmil Rogers or Michael Pineda will start Wednesday’s series finale against the Orioles. Rogers pitched very well in a spot start on Friday, giving the team five innings of one-run ball on a limited pitch count, but it’s obvious he’s just keeping the spot warm for Pineda, who made his second minor league rehab start that same night. He threw 72 pitches in that rehab game.
“We haven’t made a decision. A lot depends on what happens the next few days,” said Joe Girardi to Dan Martin when asked about Pineda possibly rejoining the rotation this week. “Ideally you’d like to get him to 90 pitches … We’ll talk to the people who saw him and decide what’s next. You have to make sure the player is ready.”
Naturally, Pineda feels ready to come off the disabled list because just about every player thinks they’re healthy and ready to return to the team after a rehab outing or two. “Everything is there. The velocity is there. I’m feeling good. I’m happy with that,” he said to Brian Heyman the other day. Pineda has allowed one run on nine hits and one walk in 7.2 rehab innings, striking out eleven, so statistically the rehab assignment has gone well.
Girardi indicated the decision to bring Pineda back could depend as much on the shape of the bullpen as it does how he feels. The Yankees aren’t getting much length out of their starters in general and Rogers could be used in long relief as soon as Tuesday, according to the skipper. “The bullpen has been used a lot. Sometimes plans change,” said Girardi to Martin. If Rogers is needed to bail out Shane Greene tomorrow, Pineda would start Wednesday by default.
At this point though, I think it’s time for the Yankees to bring Pineda back regardless of his pitch count in his most recent rehab start. If the team doesn’t feel he is where he needs to be with his pitches, that his fastball command isn’t all the way back or he doesn’t have feel for his slider yet, that’s different. Pineda can’t be effective without fastball command or feel of his slider. If he needs another rehab start to get that stuff back, so be it. Then he’ll have to make another start with Triple-A Scranton.
But, if we’re talking only about a matter of pitch count, being stretched out to throw 85 pitches vs. 100 pitches, then I don’t think there’s much to consider here. In that case the Yankees should absolutely bring Pineda back this week, upgrade their rotation, and simply keep an eye on his pitch count until he is fully stretched out. Rogers did very well in his spot start but nothing in his track record suggests we should expect more of the same going forward. Pineda limited to 85 pitches or whatever is still better than maybe any other pitcher on the staff at this point. It’s not like he threw 45 pitches last time out. He’s stretched out enough to give the team the same five innings as Rogers.
The Yankees head into this series with the Orioles six games back in the AL East, though they are only 2.5 games back of the second wildcard spot. The division isn’t completely off the table at this point but it sure does seem like a long shot. The wildcard is still very much up for grabs though, there’s just a ton of competition. The Blue Jays, Royals, and Mariners are all right there with the Yankees, so every little upgrade is huge. Brian Cashman‘s been talking about incremental upgrades these last few weeks, and, well, Pineda is an upgrade over Rogers, even if he’s only out there for 85 pitches on Wednesday.
For all intents and purposes, this three-game series against the Orioles in Camden Yards will determine whether the Yankees have a realistic chance of winning the AL East this season, or if they’ll have to focus solely on the wildcard. The O’s have won two of three in each of the first three series these two teams have played this year.
What Have They Done Lately?
The Orioles outscored the Cardinals 25-13 this weekend but “only” won two of three. They’ve won six of their last eight games and are 15-8 since the All-Star break. Baltimore is 67-50 with a +48 run differential, giving them the biggest division lead in baseball at five games. The Yankees are six games back.
At 4.29 runs per game with a team 105 wRC+, the Orioles are only a slightly above-average offense despite leading baseball with 147 homeruns. They don’t get enough guys on base in front of the power hitters. Baltimore is without C Matt Wieters (131 wRC+), who is done for the year following Tommy John surgery. SS J.J. Hardy (94 wRC+) is currently day-to-day with a thumb sprain and may or may not be available this series.
Manager Buck Showalter’s lineup is built around the 30-homer power of OF Adam Jones (117 wRC+) and OF Nelson Cruz (129 wRC+). Cruz already has 30 homers and Jones will get there before season’s end. (He’s at 22.) 1B Chris Davis (90 wRC+) is having a relatively awful year, but OF Steve Pearce (139 wRC+) has picked up some of the slack. Steve Pearce, huh? Both OF Nick Markakis (114 wRC+) and 3B Manny Machado (107 wRC+) have been productive on both sides of the ball.
C Caleb Joseph (95 wRC+) recently went deep in five consecutive games. Corban’s brother splits catching duties with C Nick Hundley (68 wRC+) in the wake of Wieters’ injury. DH Delmon Young (129 wRC+ in limited time), OF David Lough (71 wRC+ in limited time), IF Jonathan Schoop (59 wRC+), and UTIL Ryan Flaherty (62 wRC+) fill out the rest of the bench. Flaherty has been filling in at short while Hardy’s been banged up.
Monday: LHP Chris Capuano (vs. BAL) vs. RHP Bud Norris (vs. NYY)
The 29-year-old Norris has arguably been his team’s most consistent starting pitcher, with a 3.68 ERA (4.36 FIP) in 19 starts and 115 innings. His peripherals don’t jump out at you — 6.73 K/9 (17.9 K%), 2.90 BB/9 (7.7 BB%), 1.02 HR/9 (10.4 HR/FB%), and 42.3% grounders — but he has essentially zero platoon split and simply keeps runs off the board. After years of underperforming his peripherals, he’s now doing the opposite. Maybe it’s dumb luck. Norris is basically a two-pitch pitcher with two other pitches. He relies heavily on his low-90s four-seamer and mid-80s slider, throwing them roughly 80% of the time combined, but he’ll also throw a handful of mid-80s changeups and low-90s two-seamers per start. He held the Yankees to one run in five innings back in June.
Tuesday: RHP Shane Greene (vs. BAL) vs. LHP Wei-Yin Chen (vs. NYY)
Chen, 29, has a 3.90 ERA (4.16 FIP) in 22 starts and 129.1 innings this year, his third straight year pitching at almost exactly the same level. The only thing he does exceedingly well is limit walks (1.60 BB/9 and 4.2 BB%). His strikeout (6.68 K/9 and 17.7 K%), homer (1.32 HR/9 and 12.8 HR/FB%), and grounder (40.9%) numbers aren’t special at all. Like Norris, he also has what amounts to no platoon split whatsoever. Chen has the standard issue four-pitch mix, so a low-90s fastball, mid-80s changeup, low-80s slider, and low-70s curveball. The changeup is his go-to offspeed pitch. The Yankees scored four runs in five innings when they faced the Taiwanese southpaw back in April.
It’s worth noting the Orioles will be the first team to see Greene a second time as a starting pitcher, which is always a big test. That mid-90s sinker and hard upper-80s slider won’t sneak up on them this time.
Wednesday: RHP Esmil Rogers (vs. BAL) vs. RHP Chris Tillman (vs. NYY)
Tillman started Opening Day for the Orioles but he’s been unable to build on last year’s success, instead posting to a solid 3.73 ERA (4.22 FIP) in 149.2 innings across 25 starts. His strikeout rate (6.13 K/9 and 15.9 K%) is his lowest since breaking into the league full time three years ago while his walk rate (3.19 BB/9 and 8.3 BB%) is its highest. Tillman has done a much better job of keeping the ball in the park this season (0.90 HR/9 and 8.2 HR/FB%) even though his ground ball rate (41.1%) continues to be no better than okay. Again, like Norris and Chen, he has zero platoon split, but he has pitched quite a bit better at home (.281 wOBA) than on the road (.332 wOBA) in 2014. Low-90s four-seamers and cutters set up Tillman’s mid-80s slider, low-80s changeup, and big-breaking mid-70s curveball. He’s lost about one mile an hour off his fastball for the second straight year. The Yankees have seen Tillman twice this year: seven shutout innings in June and three runs in 6.2 innings in July.
Rogers is still listed as the starter for the series finale though there are rumblings Michael Pineda may rejoin the rotation that day. He got up 72 pitches in his second rehab start this weekend, meaning he should be good for 85-90 pitches next time out. “That’s something we’ll have to talk about,” said Joe Girardi to Brian Heyman over the weekend. “Ideally you’d like to get someone to 90 pitches … We’ll sit down, Brian (Cashman) and the people who saw it, and decide what’s next for him.”
The Cardinals did the Yankees a favor by both forcing Kevin Gausman out of yesterday’s game early and keeping the score close enough that Showalter used his key relievers. Both closer RHP Zach Britton (3.15 FIP) and setup man/deadline pickup LHP Andrew Miller (1.73 FIP) not only pitched, but they also allowed runs and threw longer than usual innings. LHP T.J. McFarland (3.58 FIP) threw 51 pitches across two innings of work as well.
The rest of Showalter’s bullpen includes RHP Brad Brach (3.59 FIP), RHP Tommy Hunter (3.44 FIP), LHP Brian Matusz (4.30 FIP), and RHP Darren O’Day (2.88 FIP). Matusz is a pure lefty specialist while McFarland is a multi-inning lefty and Miller is a one-inning high-leverage guy who will face both lefties and righties. The eight-man Yankees bullpen is in relatively good shape. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for details and then check out Camden Chat for the latest on the Orioles.
Record Last Week: 4-3 (22 RS, 19 RA)
Season Record: 61-56 (468 RS, 493 RA, 55-62 pythag. record) 6.0 GB in ALE, 2.5 GB of WC
Opponents This Week: @ Orioles (three games, Mon. to Weds.), Thurs. OFF, @ Rays (three games, Fri. to Sun.)
Top stories from last week:
- The week started with a four-game series against the Tigers. The Yankees won the first game behind Brandon McCarthy but dropped the second in extra innings. Chris Capuano outpitched Justin Verlander in Wednesday’s win, then Shane Greene tossed a gem to help the club win the finale.
- The Indians came to the Bronx for a three-game weekend set next. The Yankees held on to win the opener after taking a big early lead. They were shut out on Saturday and nearly shut out on Sunday to lose the series.
- Injury Updates: Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) started a throwing program and everything has gone well so far. Brian McCann (concussion) was placed on the 7-day disabled list. Michael Pineda (shoulder) threw 72 pitches in his second minor league rehab start. Mark Teixeira (finger) needed three stitches but has since returned to the lineup. Carlos Beltran (elbow) has started throwing to the bases. John Ryan Murphy (unknown) was placed on the Triple-A DL. He was hit in the face mask with a foul tip in the last game he played, though it’s unclear if that led to the DL trip.
- David Robertson said he “probably would have gone for a discount” had the team offered him an extension over the winter. The Yankees like Cuban free agent Rusney Castillo at second base and want to talk about a contract.
- The Yankees sent Matt Thornton to the Nationals when Washington claimed him off trade waivers. They said the move was about adding flexibility. Brett Gardner, Martin Prado, and Stephen Drew all cleared trade waivers. Ichiro Suzuki and Brendan Ryan are currently on trade waivers.
- The Phillies wanted Aaron Judge for Marlon Byrd at the trade deadline. The Yankees called up Austin Romine to replace McCann and Bryan Mitchell to bolster the pitching staff. Matt Daley was designated for assignment and Jeff Francis was officially released.
- The Padres named A.J. Preller, not Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, their new GM.
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 nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.
Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?