TiqIQ: Subway Series This Weekend Carries High Prices on Secondary Market

This upcoming weekend, the Mets and Yankees will get together at Yankee Stadium for the first Subway Series of the season, and it comes at a very interesting time for both in-state rivals. The Mets are in the midst a remarkable run, having won 10 in a row entering Thursday and actually have the best record in the National League. The Yankees, on the other hand, struggled a bit out of the gate, but have righted the ship since, with wins in five of their last six, including a sweep of fellow AL East division tenant Tampa Bay on the road.

The drama is always high when both New York baseball clubs meet, and now it’s expected to reach even higher levels as they clash in this crucial early-season three-game set. Below the three pitching matchups, along with ticket information pertaining to each contest is broken down. It is interesting to note that for each of these three games fans can find cheaper tickets on Yankees.com than comparable seats on the secondary market. A few examples are highlighted below.

4/24 Jacob deGrom vs Michael Pineda | Yankees.com 100-level (Section 126) pricing: $225 | Secondary market 100-level (Section 126) pricing: $333 | Average price: $149.73

When the Mets and Yankees kick off the latest chapter in their rivalry on Friday night, they’ll be doing so with a couple of brilliant youngsters on the hill. Jacob deGrom gets the ball in game one for the Mets, and the reigning National League Rookie of the Year has been outstanding in the early going, being 2-1 with a microscopic 0.93 ERA. He’s gone at least six strong innings in each start, displaying the same consistency that led him to his award last season, and he also has an impressive 17/3 K/BB ratio in his 19.1 innings of work. Michael Pineda will be his opponent, and while he hasn’t jumped out to the same type of dominant start as his counterpart, he’s still looked pretty good nonetheless, posting an even more impressive 20/2 K/BB ratio in his three starts, while logging at least six innings in each start as well. Fans wanting to see how the series will commence can get a better deal at Yankees.com for tickets, in which you could get seats in section 126 for a relatively reasonable $225. By comparison, seats in the same section draw a $333 price tag on the secondary market. With both starters having the potential to overpower any given lineup, this should be a great opener that could set the tone for the rest of the series.

4/25 Matt Harvey vs C.C. Sabathia | Yankees.com 100-level (Section 135) pricing: $80 | Secondary market 100-level (Section 135) pricing: $139 | Average price: $209.18

Unsurprisingly, the second game of the series features the highest average ticket price and get-in price of all three contests, not just because it’s Brett Gardner Kids Replica Bat Giveaway, but also largely because Matt Harvey will be on the mound for the Mets. “The Dark Knight” made his much-heavily anticipated return to the big leagues this season after missing more than a year due to Tommy John surgery, and he’s performed thus far as if he never left. Harvey is 3-0 through three starts with a 3.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and has racked up an impressive 24 punch-outs in only 18 innings of work, as he’s gone exactly six innings in each outing. C.C. Sabathia, meanwhile, was once in the place occupied by Harvey on the Yankees’ side of things, as a consistent ace that fans could count on perennially. He’s fallen off in recent years, but is enjoying a bit of a renaissance so far in 2015, despite an undeserving 0-3 record. Sabathia currently has a 4.35 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, which are his best marks since 2012, and he’s coming off an especially strong start in which he shut down an impressive Tigers lineup over eight innings, limiting them to only two runs, so his confidence is returning to normal. As a result, this will be an interesting pitching matchup that somewhat highlights the new sheriff in town being pitted against the old guard. This high-profile matchup also appears to have better ticket deals on Yankees.com, where one can purchase tickets in section 135 for an affordable $80, compared to a much more inflated $139 for tickets in the same section on the secondary market.

4/26 Jon Niese vs Nathan Eovaldi | Yankees.com 200-level (Section 234) pricing: $55 | Secondary market 200-level (Section 234) pricing: $89 | Average price: $111.04

For the series finale on Sunday, it’s a battle between two completely different pitchers, as left-hander Jon Niese, someone who relies on precision and location, takes on powerful righty Nathan Eovaldi, one of the hardest throwers in all of baseball. In fact, Eovaldi is ranked amongst the upper echelon of baseball in hardest average fastball, consistently clocking in the mid-to-upper 90’s MPH. In his first season with the Yankees, the 25-year-old flamethrower has been solid, being 1-0 in three starts with a 3.12 ERA, while racking up 14 strikeouts in 17-plus innings of work. However, when he was with the Marlins last year, Eovaldi faced the Mets twice and was shelled to the tune of a 7.15 ERA, allowing nine runs on 11 hits. Niese, on the other hand, has been a little more consistent, and has actually been one of the Mets’ best pitchers in the early going. Heading into this fourth start of the year, he’s 2-0 with a sparkling 1.50 ERA, although he also has a far-from-shiny 1.56 WHIP as well. The contrasting styles of both pitchers should help create a compelling final game of the series, which could end up deciding who takes this three- game set. For those wanting to see how the series wraps up, Yankees.com has better deals for tickets, such as in section 234, where you can buy tickets for just $55. On the secondary market, tickets for that same section will fetch a price of $89, which is more than 50% higher than the aforementioned Yankees.com pricing.

DotF: Wade’s torrid streak continues in Tampa’s win

3B Miguel Andujar was featured in Baseball America’s Scout’s Video View today, so make sure you head over to check that out. You don’t need a subscription.

Triple-A Scranton was rained out. They’re going to play a doubleheader Saturday.

Double-A Trenton (5-0 win over Portland)

  • CF Jake Cave: 3-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K — got picked off first … had been in a 2-for-19 (.105) slump
  • RF Aaron Judge: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB
  • 1B Greg Bird: 2-4, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB — swoon
  • 3B Eric Jagielo: 1-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K — eight of his 15 hits have done for extra bases (four doubles, one triple, three homers)
  • C Gary Sanchez: 2-5 — he’s had a slow start, so he needed a good game
  • LF Mason Williams: 1-4, 1 BB, 1 SB
  • DH Dante Bichette Jr.: 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
  • SS Cito Culver: 0-2, 1 BB, 1 K — in a 5-for-33 (.152) rut
  • LHP Caleb Smith: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HB, 3/2 GB/FB — 62 of 92 pitches were strikes (67%) and he picked a runner off first
  • RHP Nick Goody: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 32 of 46 pitches were strikes (70%) … 14/3 K/BB in 9.1 innings

[Read more…]

Thursday Night Open Thread

Here is your open thread for the night. This afternoon’s win will be replayed on YES at 7pm ET, if you’re interested. MLB Network is showing a regional game tonight and there’s a ton of postseason hockey and basketball action as well, including the Islanders. Talk about those games or anything else right here.

Yankees beat Tigers 2-1 behind Tanaka and Ellsbury, take three of four in Detroit

So that series couldn’t have gone much better. The whole road trip couldn’t have gone better, really. The Yankees eked out a 2-1 win over the Tigers on Thursday afternoon to win three of four in the series. They’ve won six of their last seven games overall and went 7-3 on the ten-game trip through Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and Detroit.

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

Settled Down
Much like Adam Warren on Wednesday night, Masahiro Tanaka seemed to struggle with his command in the cold weather in the first inning of Thursday’s game. The results weren’t as bad as Warren’s but Tanaka still allowed a first inning run on an Anthony Gose double, an Ian Kinsler ground out, and a Victor Martinez sac fly. He struck out J.D. Martinez looking with Miguel Cabrera on second to end the inning.

Then, like Warren on Wednesday, Tanaka settled down and found a groove. He retired 16 of the next 17 batters he faced with the only blemish a booming two-out double by J.D. Martinez in the fourth that stayed in the park because of the cold. The ball was well-struck and probably leaves the yard on a nice hot summer day. Martinez doubled again with one out in the seventh — hard-hit but not as hard-hit as the first double — and Tanaka followed that by walking Yoenis Cespedes, ending his afternoon.

The bullpen and infield defense picked up Tanaka out in that seventh inning. Justin Wilson was brought in to face the lefty hitting Alex Avila, who was replaced by righty pinch-hitter James McCann, who then ripped a hard-hit grounder to third base. Chase Headley snared the ball on his knees and fired a one-hopper to second to get the force out. Gregorio Petit made a real nice scoop. Great plays by both Headley and Petit. Dellin Betances then coaxed a pop-up from Nick Castellanos to strand runners on the corners.

All told, Tanaka limited a powerful Detroit lineup to one run on three hits and two walks in 6.1 innings. All three hits were doubles. He struck out six, got five ground ball outs, two foul pop-ups, and six fly balls outs. Only one or two of the fly ball outs were any kind of trouble. They were mostly routine. After two shaky starts to open 2015, the pre-injury version of Tanaka has returned these last two starts. He’s locating his fastball up and down, breaking off nasty sliders, and still throwing the embarrasplitter. It’s glorious.

Stop arguing, it was a balk. (Leon Halip/Getty)
Stop arguing, it was a balk. (Leon Halip/Getty)

AniBALK Sanchez
Despite his ugly early season numbers, Anibal Sanchez is a damn good pitcher and it was clear early in Thursday’s game he was sharp. He was locating his fastball well, particularly inside on lefties, and his changeup was dancing all over the place. Chris Young had the team’s first and only hit of the first six innings, singling to left in the second. Sanchez sat down eleven of the next 13 batters.

The Yankees caught their big offensive break — well, two of them, really — in the sixth inning, when Jacoby Ellsbury worked a nine-pitch at-bat to draw the leadoff walk. He stole second and moved to third on Brett Gardner‘s ground ball. That brought Carlos Beltran to the plate. Beltran struck out feebly to end the third inning with runners on second and third and two outs, so he had a chance to redeem himself. Instead, Beltran struck out again, taking some hittable fastballs over the plate before waving at a changeup in the dirt for the second out of the inning. Ugly.

It appeared New York was about to blow their best run-scoring opportunity when Ellsbury took matters into his own hands. Sanchez was working from the full windup and Ellsbury coaxed him into a balk by dancing off third base. Check out the play:


For whatever reason, home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi did not call that a balk. Third base ump Gerry Davis had to step in to bail him out a few seconds later. Balk rules are weird, but c’mon. Sanchez was in the middle of his windup, stopped, stepped off the rubber, and threw home. Easy balk call yet Cuzzi missed it. Davis didn’t and Ellsbury was awarded home plate for the game-tying run. Jacoby can be game-changer on the bases and we saw it there.

Dellin's back. (Presswire)
Dellin’s back. (Presswire)

Battle of the Bullpens
Both starters were out of the game with the score tied 1-1 in the seventh inning, and while the Yankees’ bullpen was able to navigate through danger in the seventh, the Tigers’ bullpen couldn’t do the same in the eighth. It started once again with Ellsbury, who laced a hustle leadoff double to center and narrowly beat the throw. He was looking two all the way. Like I said, his base-running can be a real game-changer.

Gardner bunted Ellsbury to third base, which again put Beltran in the spotlight, but this time he didn’t have a chance to redeem himself/fail. The Tigers intentionally walked him to set up the double play and get the left-on-left matchup with Tom Gorzelanny against Brian McCann. It almost worked! McCann hit a ground ball to first base. Miguel Cabrera couldn’t handle it cleanly though, so there was no chance for a double play. They took the out at first and Ellsbury trotted in with the go-ahead run from third. The Yankees were up 2-1 with six outs to go.

Betances stayed on to pitch the eighth and, for the first time this year, he really looked like 2014 Dellin. Nasty breaking balls and upper-90s fastballs all inning. He completely overwhelmed Hernan Perez, Gose, and Kinsler, sandwiching two strikeouts around a weak tapper back to the mound. Vintage Dellin. And yet, he did not face Miguel Cabrera to start the ninth. Not-the-closer Andrew Miller came in even though Cabrera was 2-for-2 with a double against him in his career. (Miggy is 0-for-3 with three strikeouts against Betances.) Pretty safe to say the co-closers experiment is over.

Anyway, Miller is a retired the side in order in the ninth inning for his sixth save in six chances. He struck out Miggy, got a ground out from Victor Martinez, and struck out J.D. Martinez for a clean 1-2-3 frame. Seven of his eight pitches were strikes. Headley made a great diving stop on V-Mart to save a single. It took some nice third base defense, but the bullpen retired all seven men they faced. Beautiful.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
I can’t remember the last time the Yankees played a series in Detroit in which Cabrera didn’t hit a massive home run. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout on Thursday and 2-for-13 (.154) with two walks and two strikeouts in the four-game series. That’s basically the best case scenario. V-Mart went 0-for-3 with a sac fly on Thursday and 0-for-10 with three walks (one intentional) with two strikeouts in the series. Pretty awesome.

Betances threw six straight curveballs to Castellanos to get the final out of the seventh, then threw eight fastballs and four curves in the eighth inning. Dellin has been throwing a ton of breaking balls lately but it seems he is starting to go back to the fastball now. That’s good to see. Betances is making real progress and starting to look more like the elite reliever he was last summer.

The Yankees only had three hits in the game — Ellsbury’s hustle double, Young’s second inning single, and a single by Petit off the bench. They only drew one walk too, and it was intentional. Four base-runners and they still won! That won’t happen often. I’m an idiot. They drew six walks. That’s a lot. Ellsbury’s speed had a major impact and some good ol’ fashioned small ball did the trick. Sometimes you have to win games like this.

And finally, Miller’s six saves currently lead the league. He’s struck out 15 batters in 7.1 innings so far this year. Two hits, four walks, no runs. As advertised. Maybe even better.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also, here are our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. Do with them as you please. Now here is the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The ten-game road trip is over. The Yankees will fly back home this evening before opening a three-game weekend series with the Mets. Michael Pineda and reigning NL Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom kick off the Subway Series on Friday night. Fun fact: Pineda is seven months younger than deGrom.

Yankees will soon reach a crossroads with Jacob Lindgren in Triple-A

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

With the exception of last Wednesday’s massive meltdown in Baltimore, the Yankees’ bullpen has been a major strength so far this season. They own a collective 2.13 ERA (3.32 FIP) in 55 innings with a very good strikeout rate (26.5%) and a below-average walk rate (10.9%) that should come down once Dellin Betances and Justin Wilson get over their early-season strike-throwing issues. Hopefully get over them, anyway.

New York’s bullpen has thrown a ton of innings this season, fourth most in MLB thanks in part to that 19-inning game, so they’ve worked a lot and answered the bell. On the list of problems with the team, the relief crew is very far down right now. That said, there is always room for improvement, and when you rely on the bullpen as much as these Yankees, fielding the strongest possible bullpen seems like a no-brainer.

At some point very soon, the Yankees are going to reach a crossroads with Jacob Lindgren, their top bullpen prospect who is currently wasting bullets in Triple-A. And that’s basically what he’s doing. Wasting bullets. Lindgren has struck out 42.1% of batters faced with an 84% ground ball rate in 32.2 innings since signing last year. He’s faced 36 batters in Triple-A this year — eleven have struck out and 19 others hit the ball on the ground. Exactly 80% of the batters he’s faced as a pro have either struck out or hit a grounder. Total domination.

Given how quickly he’s risen up the ladder and how much success he’s had in pro ball, I’m not sure what’s left for Lindgren to learn in the minors. He’s never going to be a control artist because there’s some funk in his delivery, so sitting around and waiting for his walk rate (career 12.1%) to come down seems like a waste since it might never happen. Lindgren’s not a starter who has to work on turning over a lineup three times or a position player who needs to iron out his approach at the plate or improve defensively. He’s a one inning, air it our reliever who isn’t being challenged.

Part of Lindgren’s appeal out of the draft was his ability to move quickly, which he has. He’s knocking on the door of the show nine months out of college. The Yankees have downplayed his MLB readiness since last year but that’s not really uncommon. Lots of teams try to pump the breaks on their recent draft picks. Here’s what scouting director Damon Oppenheimer told Anthony McCarron after drafting Lindgren with the team’s top pick last summer:

“I kind of leave those decisions for other people. My job’s just to bring the talent into the system. But we just think as a group that he does have the capability of moving through the system hopefully quickly. Whether he’s good enough to go pitch in the big leagues right away, somebody else will make that decision. But he’s obviously advanced. He’s obviously gotten out really good hitters. There’s some history with guys doing this, but there’s also some history with guys getting to the big leagues as relievers too quick and it doesn’t last. We’d like to get impact and longevity from him, not just something that’s real quick.”

Development isn’t always nice and linear. Even David Robertson, another strikeout and ground ball heavy reliever, went up and down a few times before sticking for good. Chances are Lindgren will do the same, and those trips up and down are a learning experience. Right now Lindgren doesn’t seem to be learning all that much in Triple-A, but he will learn in the big leagues because he will be challenged, at which point he may have to go back to Triple-A to make adjustments. The sooner he comes up, the sooner the sticks for good, even if he rides the bus a few times before it happens.

The Yankees have moved Lindgren through the minors much quickly than any of their other recent reliever draft picks. J.B. Cox, another high-end college reliever selected in the second round (2005), spent his entire first full pro season with Double-A Trenton. Lindgren started his first full season in Triple-A. He did the Double-A thing late last year. The team hasn’t been shy promoting him. It would be ridiculous if Lindgren was still in High-A or even Double-A. He’s not though. He’s right on the doorstep.

I think the Yankees are planning to call Lindgren up very soon because they’ve moved him aggressively. Maybe it’ll even happen this weekend. Fitting him on the roster won’t be difficult — I like Chris Martin, but you don’t let a soon-to-be 29-year-old who was designated for assignment in the offseason stand in the way of a bonafide end game bullpen prospect, Martin can go to Triple-A for a few weeks — and even if the Yankees were playing the service time game, Lindgren’s free agency has already been pushed back a year. (Relievers are so volatile that planning six and seven years into the future with them seems totally pointless, but I digress.)

Given his overwhelming minor league dominance to date, every pitch Lindgren throws in Triple-A is a wasted bullet. It’s a pitch he should be throwing in MLB. I’ve been saying that since the spring. The Yankees are rapidly approaching a crossroads with Lindgren if they haven’t gotten there already — he needs to come up to be challenged so he can take the next step in his development. The bullpen has been very strong and I understand not wanting to fix something that isn’t broken, but this isn’t an attempt to fix anything. It’s a necessary step to continue Lindgren’s development that also has the potential make that all important bullpen even stronger.

Game 16: End of the Road Trip

(Duane Burleson/Getty)
(Duane Burleson/Getty)

Considering it started with a series loss in Baltimore, this ten-game road trip has gone pretty darn well for the Yankees. They’ve won six of nine games so far — including five of the last six — and this afternoon’s series finale with the Tigers will determine if it’s a great 7-3 road trip or merely a very good 6-4 road trip. I’m greedy, I want the former.

Masahiro Tanaka is on the mound this afternoon and he is making his first start on normal rest this year. He’s made all of his previous starts — regular season and Spring Training — with an extra day of rest by design. Tanaka looked like the pre-injury version of himself in his last start, during which he threw only 85 pitches in seven innings. Detroit’s lineup is much tougher than Tampa Bay’s, but, when Tanaka is on, he can dominate anyone. Here is the Tigers’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Carlos Beltran
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 3B Chase Headley
  6. RF Chris Young
  7. 1B Garrett Jones
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

It’s still really cold and windy in Detroit, but thankfully there is no rain (or snow!) in the forecast this afternoon. The game will begin at 1:08pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Starters finally giving the Yankees innings and sparing the bullpen

Sabathia leads the Yankees in innings, just like the good ol' days. (Presswire)
Sabathia leads the Yankees in innings, just like the good ol’ days. (Presswire)

Heading into Spring Training, the Yankees had plenty of reasons to be concerned about their rotation. Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, and Michael Pineda all missed significant time with injuries last season, Nathan Eovaldi was making the NL-to-AL transition, Chris Capuano is Chris Capuano, and Adam Warren had never held down a full-time big league rotation spot. Question marks were abound.

The Yankees lost Capuano to a quad injury early in camp and they took it very easy on Tanaka and Sabathia this spring, bringing them along slowly for completely understandable reasons. They’re also hoping to give them an extra day of rest between starts this month whenever possible, even if it means using a spot sixth starter. So far so good — everyone has stayed healthy aside from Capuano and they’ve all shown flashes of effectiveness, if nothing else.

One thing the Yankees were not getting from their rotation in the early going this season is length. New York’s starters completed six innings of work just three in the first ten games of the season — Pineda did it twice (6 IP and 6.1 IP) and Sabathia did it once (7 IP) — and they were averaging only 5.3 innings per start, which is no good. It’s no surprise the team’s bullpen has thrown the fourth most innings in baseball this season (55.0). (The 19-inning game skews things but those innings happened and contributed to the bullpen workload.)

Only once has Joe Girardi allowed his starter to throw 100+ pitches this year — Eovaldi threw 101 pitches against the Orioles last week — though that is partially by design. Like I said, the team is trying to take it easy on everyone early in the season, so Girardi isn’t necessarily letting them pitch as deep as they normally would. Of course, some early season starts were ugly and leaving the starter out there for 100+ pitches wasn’t doable. They were getting knocked around.

Over the last five games though, the last turn through the rotation, the starter has completed seven innings of work three times and come within one out of completing six innings the other two times. Tanaka and Eovaldi both completed seven innings and Sabathia threw an eight-inning complete game. Pineda and Warren both labored in their 5.2-inning starts but still managed to take the ball deeper into the game than the rotation had averaged in the first ten games of the year.

The Yankees have gotten seven innings from their starting pitcher four times in the last eight games and six innings five times in the last nine games. After averaging 5.3 innings per start through the first ten games, they’ve raised their season average to 5.8 innings per start through 15 games. The AL average is 5.6 innings per start right now, so the Yankees are just above that mark and they’re trending in the right direction.

As we’ve seen so far this season, the Yankees have a pretty dynamic bullpen, particularly at the end of games with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. Not many clubs are using relievers as good as David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve in mop-up innings like New York did last night. Pitchers like that are logging setup innings for many clubs around the league. I mean, how many teams could afford to send someone like Shreve to Triple-A for ten days to get a fresh arm?

As good as that bullpen is, Girardi and the Yankees don’t want to use it as much as they’ve had to so far this year. Miller has already recorded a four-out save and a five-out save, and they don’t want outings that long to become the norm. The longer the starters can go, the easier it is on the bullpen, and the more effective the club’s key relievers will be late in the season. The Yankees weren’t getting many innings from their starters the first two turns through the rotation, but this last turn though was much better and it’s lightened the load on the bullpen considerably.