Labor Day Open Thread

Happy Labor Day everyone. Here is your open thread for the last few hours of the holiday weekend. MLB Network is airing a bunch of regional games tonight and there’s some college football on as well, I believe. Talk about those games, this afternoon’s win, or anything else right here.

(I was hoping to embed Greg Bird’s homer, but it’s not embeddable as I finish writing this.)

Bird’s late blast gives Yankees 8-6 win over Orioles

Source: FanGraphs

Another day, another come from behind win. The Yankees fell behind early Monday afternoon but used the power of the longball to beat the Orioles 8-6 on Labor Day. They’ve won 16 of their last 24 games. It’s a holiday, so let’s recap with bullet points:

  • A Tale of Two Mikes: That was an awful start and a great finish by Michael Pineda. He allowed four runs in the second inning — his three outs were a bunt, a miraculous play at the plate (thanks Didi!), and a screaming line drive at Chase Headley — including three on Jonathan Schoop’s three-run homer. Pineda made a really bad 0-2 pitch to Schoop. Spun right out over the plate. But, after the second inning, Big Mike retired 12 of the final 14 batters he faced, and the two base-runners were a walk and an infield single. Four runs in six innings kinda stinks, but Pineda did a great job settling down and keeping the O’s at four.
  • Comeback: The Yankees scored their first inning run on some well-placed bloops, including Chris Young‘s single that barely left the infield. They went big after that. Headley stole a run in the third — he caught Adam Jones napping on a routine fly ball and was able to tag up and advance to second before scoring on Young’s double — then Alex Rodriguez solo homered in the fifth. A few batters later, John Ryan Murphy went opposite field for a two-run go-ahead dinger. Greg Bird drew a walk to set it up. Wei-Yin Chen faced 26 batters and ten reached base (.385 OBP).
  • Let’s Go Flying: The 5-4 lead evaporated in the seventh inning on Manny Machado’s solo homer to dead center off Justin Wilson. Machado will do that. He’s a stud. The Yankees answered right back though. Carlos Beltran walked leading off the seventh, Young followed with a single, then Greg Bird whacked a three-run home run off lefty specialist Brian Matusz to give New York an 8-5 lead. Came on an 0-2 pitch too. Bird hit it like he knew it was coming.
  • Door Closed: Dellin Betances, who has now pitched or warmed up eight of the last ten days, had a no contact inning in the eighth. Three walks, three strikeouts. The last strikeout came on a 3-2 hanging curveball Caleb Joseph swung through. Dellin needs a few days off. He looks like he’s running on fumes. Andrew Miller got the ninth inning, allowed a run when Chris Davis singled in Steve Pearce, but otherwise nailed down his 32nd save in 33 chances. Never easy.
  • Leftovers: Every starter had at least one hit. The 5-6-7 trio of Young, Bird, and Murphy went a combined 6-for-11 (.545) with a walk, a double, and two homers. They drove in seven of the eight runs … Wilson, Betances, and Miller put six runners on base in two innings. That doesn’t happen often … the Yankees are now sitting on 9,990 career wins as a franchise. Ten more to 10,000. They’ll be the eighth franchise with that many wins. (The others have been around much longer. New York’s .569 winning percentage is by far the best in baseball history.)

Here are the box score, video highlights, updated standings, and postseason odds. The magic number to clinch a postseason spot is now 20, so Jorge Posada is in the sidebar. Now here are our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees and O’s continue this series Tuesday night. Masahiro Tanaka and Kevin Gausman will be the pitching matchup. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to catch that game or any of the other five games left on the homestand.

Game 136: Big Mike on Labor Day


I have to say, I thought this early-September series against the Orioles would be a bit more meaningful than this. Don’t get me wrong, these three games are crazy important for the Yankees, but the O’s are out of it. For a while I thought these two clubs would be battling it out for the division title. (I picked the O’s to win the division!)

The man they call Big Mike is on the mound this afternoon, making his third start off the DL. His first two starts were a mixed bag. The first was rough (five runs in 4.1 innings) but the second was good (one run in six innings). Of course, the last time Pineda faced the O’s in Yankee Stadium, he struck out 16. Let’s hope for a repeat. Here is Baltimore’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. RF Carlos Beltran
  5. LF Chris Young
  6. 1B Greg Bird
  7. C John Ryan Murphy
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 2B Jose Pirela
    RHP Michael Pineda

Just a perfect weather for the Labor Day matinee. It’s nice and sunny in New York with temperatures in the mid-80s. Wonderful day to spend at the ballpark. This afternoon’s game will begin a bit after 1pm ET. You can watch live on YES locally and ESPN nationally. Enjoy the game.

Roster Moves: Chris Capuano is back! The Yankees called up the veteran southpaw prior to today’s game, the team announced. He started for Triple-A Scranton on Friday and probably won’t be available until tomorrow. Maybe not until the next day. Jacob Lindgren (elbow) was called up and transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot. His season is officially over.

9/7 to 9/9 Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles

(David Banks/Getty)
(David Banks/Getty)

Another division rival visits the Bronx. The Orioles come to town clinging to very remote postseason hopes while the Yankees are very much in the race and in need of every possible win. Big series. They’re all big series from here on out. The Yankees are 8-5 against the O’s this season, including 6-1 at Yankee Stadium. The home team has won all four series these two clubs have played in 2015.

What Have The Orioles Done Lately?

Boy, manager Buck Showalter’s team has collapsed big time the last few weeks. They have lost 14 of their last 17 games and are now 65-71 with a +26 run differential overall this season. They’re 11.5 games back of the second place Yankees in the AL East and 6.5 games back of a wildcard spot. Doesn’t look like there will be October baseball in Baltimore this year.

Offense & Defense

The O’s average 4.34 runs per game with a 97 team wRC+, so they’re an approximately league average offense this year. They hit a lot of homers (fourth in baseball with 179) but they don’t get on base (27th in baseball with a .305 OBP). The O’s are currently without SS J.J. Hardy (groin), who is not expected to return this series. C Matt Wieters (90 wRC+) is day-to-day with a sore wrist.

(Jamie Squire/Getty)
Jones. (Jamie Squire/Getty)

Showalter has three star caliber producers in the middle of his lineup: IF Manny Machado (132 wRC+), OF Adam Jones (116 wRC+), and 1B Chris Davis (140 wRC+). Davis leads all of baseball with 40 home runs, including 21 homers in his last 44 games. He’s a monster. Machado, by the way, has been playing some shortstop with Hardy out. He came up through the minors as a shortstop. Those three are the core of the O’s lineup.

Yankees killer IF Jonathan Schoop (118 wRC+) has been playing second everyday and C Caleb Joseph (101 wRC+) has played a ton this year thanks to Wieters’ injuries. OF Gerardo Parra (117 wRC+) hasn’t had much impact since being acquired at the deadline (60 wRC+ with the O’s) and UTIL Steve Pearce (84 wRC+) has been unable to repeat last season’s success. UTIL Jimmy Paredes (99 wRC+) predictably crashed back to Earth following his hot start. IF Ryan Flaherty (78 wRC+) is the utility infielder. OF Junior Lake, OF Nolan Reimold, IF Paul Janish, and C Steve Clevenger are the September call-ups.

The O’s have a pretty good defensive club, though they’ve somehow picked up the reputation for being one of the best defensive units in the game. Jones and Parra are great in the outfield and Machado is unreal at third (haven’t seen him much at short), plus Davis is underrated at first and Wieters is a stud behind the plate. Others like Schoop, Pearce, and Paredes are in the lineup for their bats, not their gloves. Well, Schoop’s okay. That’s not fair to him.

Pitching Matchups

Monday (1pm ET): RHP Michael Pineda (vs. BAL) vs. LHP Wei-Yin Chen (vs. NYY)
This has been a solid contract year for the 30-year-old Chen, who has pitched to a 3.36 ERA (4.37 FIP) in 26 starts and 160.2 innings. His walk rate (5.3%) is very good, his strikeout rate (19.4%) is about average, and both his grounder (40.7%) and homer (1.46 HR/9) rates are worse than average. Righties (.347 wOBA) have hit him a ton harder than lefties (.277 wOBA) this season. Chen operates with low-90s two and four-seamers, low-80s changeups and sliders, and a low-70s curveball. The slider is his go-to offspeed pitch. The Yankees have faced Chen three times this season: two runs in six innings in April, one run in seven innings in May, and three runs in 6.1 innings in July.

Tuesday (7pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. BAL) vs. RHP Kevin Gausman (vs. NYY)
The O’s have not had much success getting their top pitching prospects to fulfill their potential over the last two decades or so, and the 24-year-old Gausman is no different. He has a 4.59 ERA (4.46 FIP) in 12 starts and eight relief appearances this season. Like Chen, he has a good walk rate (5.7%), an average strikeout rate (20.1%), and below-average grounder (43.6%) and homer (1.53 HR/9) rates. Gausman has a big reverse split: righties have a .362 wOBA against him while lefties have a .294 wOBA. A mid-90s four-seamer sets up his mid-80s changeup and low-80s slider, the latter of which he’s yet to really develop a feel for since being the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft. The Yankees have seen Gausman twice this year, scoring two runs in two-thirds of an inning of relief in April, and then scoring four runs in a six-inning start in July.

Gausman. (Ronald Martinez/Getty)
Gausman. (Ronald Martinez/Getty)

Wednesday (7pm ET): LHP CC Sabathia (vs. BAL) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (vs. NYY)
These are the same three starters — in the same order — the Yankees faced when they swept the O’s at Yankee Stadium a few weeks ago, effectively knocking them out of the AL East race. Jimenez, 31, has a 4.24 ERA (4.11 FIP) in 153 innings spread across 27 starts this season. His 49.2% ground ball rate is better than the league average, but otherwise his strikeout (20.9%), walk (8.5%), and homer (1.06 HR/9) numbers are average or slightly worse. Ubaldo’s platoon split is relatively small (.333 vs. .320 wOBA in favor of righties) because his out pitch is a mid-80s splitter, which helps him neutralize lefties. Jimenez sets the split up with low-90s two and four-seamers, and will also throw low-80s sliders and mid-70s curves. The curve is his distant fifth pitch. Ubaldo has faced the Yankees twice in 2015. One start went okay (three runs in five innings) and the other was a disaster (seven runs in 2.1 innings).

As for the Yankees, Sabathia (knee) is tentatively scheduled to come off the DL to make Wednesday’s start. That depends on how he feels following today’s bullpen session. If he has some sort of problem, Joe Girardi said the Yankees would simply stay on rotation, meaning Luis Severino would get the ball on normal rest instead.

Bullpen Status
Showalter’s bullpen was a disaster early in the season, though they settled down in the middle of the summer and now have a 2.93 ERA (3.36 FIP) overall. Closer LHP Zach Britton (2.00 ERA/1.92 FIP) and setup man RHP Darren O’Day (1.71/2.73) are among the top end-game duos in baseball this year. LHP Brian Matusz (2.25/3.17) is the primary left-on-left matchup guy. Ex-Yankee RHP Chaz Roe (3.65/3.55) has had some success this year around injury.

RHP Brad Brach (2.58/3.48), LHP T.J. MacFarland (4.13/4.53), and Rule 5 Draft pick RHP Jason Garcia (4.62/5.16) are the other regulars in Showalter’s bullpen. RHP Mychal Givens (1.42/1.83 in limited time) has seen a lot of work of late. The crop of September call-ups includes RHP Oliver Drake, RHP Steve Johnson, and RHP Jorge Rondon. Johnson, Matusz, Roe, Brach, Garcia, and Drake all pitched a bit yesterday. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi’s bullpen, then check out Camden Chat for the latest on the Orioles.

Yankeemetrics: Return of the Bronx Bombers (Sept. 4-6)

The Future looks really good right now. (Getty Images)
The Future looks really good right now. (Getty Images)

Singles are for losers …
… at least when you’re the Bronx Bombers and can hit baseballs really high and far. The Yankees turned four hits into five runs thanks to three home runs from the middle of the order, which was just enough offense to beat the Rays on Friday night.

Overall they had six baserunners the entire night, making this the first time the Yankees scored at least five runs in a game with six or fewer baserunners since a 5-4 win over the Royals on April 26, 1988.

Sure, the home runs by A-Rod, Brian McCann and Greg Bird were nice and all, but the real star of the game was Luis Severino, who pitched another gem in his sixth major-league start. With 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball he lowered his ERA to 2.04, the third-lowest by any Yankee pitcher through his first six career games (all starts) since at least 1914. The only guys better than Severino in that span are Bob Porterfield (1.94 in 1948) and Bill Piercy (1.70 in 1917).

Severino has pitched at least six innings and surrendered no more than one run in each of his last three starts, putting up a 0.98 ERA in that span. He’s the first Yankee aged 21 or younger to have three straight games of six-plus innings and one or fewer run allowed since Hall of Famer Waite Hoyt in 1921.

Andrew Miller closed out the game with his 30th save of the season, becoming the fourth different Yankee in the last four seasons to reach 30 saves (David Robertson in 2014, Mariano in 2013, Rafael Soriano in 2012). In the previous 15 years (1997-2011), the Yankees had 14 30-save seasons — all by one guy, Mr. Rivera.

Unlucky No. 13
Not even the Yankees’ official good-luck charm — Nathan Eovaldi — could help the Yankees avoid loss to the Rays on Saturday afternoon in the Bronx. The bats failed in key scoring opportunities — they went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position — but it wasn’t because they didn’t smack the ball around hard enough.

According Statcast, the line drive Didi Gregorius hit for the final out of the eighth inning with the bases loaded left his bat at 107 mph. It was the third time this season Gregorius hit a ball that hard … the previous two went for a double and a homer.

Eovaldi got tagged with his first loss since June 16 and his streak of unbeaten starts ended at 13. It was the second-longest streak of starts without a loss by a Yankee in the last 10 seasons, behind only Ivan Nova’s 20-start unbeaten run spanning the 2011-12 seasons.

The Yankees were held to six hits or fewer for the sixth straight home game, matching their longest such streak ever at Yankee Stadium (old or new). The last time it happened was July 26-30, 1988.

Another ace goes down
In the span of two pitches, the Yankees went from facing a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 deficit against the Rays and their ace Chris Archer to enjoying a 4-3 advantage. It was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish en route to a crucial 6-4 win on Sunday afternoon.

Brian McCann tied the game in the sixth inning with his career-high 25th homer of the season, a towering two-out shot into the right field seats off Archer. He’s just the second left-handed catcher in the last two decades with at least 25 homers and 80 RBI in a season. The other was Joe Mauer during his 2009 MVP campaign.

A-Rod then immediately gave the Yankees the lead, sending the very next pitch over the fence in right-center. It was his team-leading fourth go-ahead homer in the sixth inning or later this year, and the most such homers he’s hit in any season since 2010.

The Yankees ended up tagging Archer for five runs, the most they’ve ever scored off him in his nine career starts facing them. Archer entered the game 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA versus the Yankees, the lowest ERA and best record by any active pitcher with more than five starts against the team.

Fan Confidence Poll: September 7th, 2015

Record Last Week: 4-2 (32 RS, 22 RA)
Season Record: 76-59 (659 RS, 572 RA, 77-58 pythag. record) 1.5 GB in ALE, 6.5 games up on WC spot
Opponents This Week: vs. Orioles (three games, Mon. to Weds.), vs. Blue Jays (four games, Thurs. 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.

Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?

DotF: Amburgey homers in Staten Island’s important win; Tampa’s season ends with a loss

Triple-A Scranton (4-0 win over Syracuse) their season ends tomorrow … they’ve already clinched the division title

  • LF Jake Cave: 4-5, 1 R, 1 2B — 7-for-19 (.368) in six games at this level
  • 2B Ali Castillo: 1-3, 2 BB
  • CF Slade Heathcott: 3-5, 3 RBI, 1 K — he’s hot at exactly the right time
  • RF Aaron Judge: 0-5, 1 K
  • RHP Kyle Davies: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 9/2 GB/FB — 60 of 99 pitches were strikes … the designated Triple-A innings eater finishes the season with a 3.30 ERA and 99/37 K/BB in a system leading 152.2 innings
  • RHP Chris Martin: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GB/FB — eleven of 18 pitches were strikes (61%)

[Read more…]