Game 48: Start A New Winning Streak

(Brian Blanco/Getty)
(Brian Blanco/Getty)

Last week, the Yankees dropped two straight games to the Diamondbacks and it turned out to be nothing more than a hiccup. They won six straight games after that. The Yankees are trying to do that again. They dropped two straight to the Blue Jays but rebounded to win last night. Time to keep winning and get back to .500 yet again. Here is the Rays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Aaron Hicks
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. DH Alex Rodriguez
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. 1B Dustin Ackley
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. C Austin Romine
    RHP Michael Pineda

It is still hot and humid in St. Petersburg. The weather is great in the dome though. This afternoon’s game will begin a bit after 4pm ET and you can watch on WPIX locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Saturday Links: Old Timers’ Day, Mateo, Pettitte, Draft

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees and Rays will continue their three-game series a little later this afternoon. Until then, here are some links to help you pass the time.

Old Timers’ Day roster announced

Earlier this week the Yankees announced the roster of attendees for the 70th annual Old Timers’ Day this summer. Old Timers’ Day is Sunday, June 12th this year. That’s two weeks from tomorrow. Among the first time Old Timers this year are John Wetteland, Mariano Duncan, Bubba Crosby (!), and Eddie Robinson. Robinson, 95, is the oldest living Yankee. Pretty cool that he’ll be there. Here’s the full Old Timers’ Day roster. Still no Core Four members. /shrugs

Mateo among Law’s top 25 midseason prospects

Keith Law updated his list of the top 25 prospects in baseball (subs. req’d) a few days ago. Both Dodgers SS Corey Seager and Twins OF Byron Buxton have since graduated to the big leagues, so Nationals RHP Lucas Giolito now sits in the top spot. SS Jorge Mateo just barely makes the list at No. 25. Here’s a piece of Law’s write-up:

Mateo’s line this year is a little fluky — .388 BABIP and more home runs (5) than he had in all of 2015 (2) — but he certainly can hit and run, which, as long as he’s at shortstop, makes him a future above-average regular with a chance to develop into a star.

I respectfully disagree about the .388 BABIP being fluky. It is not uncommon for a top prospect to run a high BABIP in the minors, especially speedy guys like Mateo. A .380-ish BABIP across the full season wouldn’t be completely nuts. Anyway, Mateo ranked 55th on Law’s preseason list, so he made a real big jump in the span of two months. OF Aaron Judge ranked 35th before the season and is not in the updated top 25.

Pettitte, Thurman to represent Yankees at 2016 draft

Andy Pettitte and scout Mike Thurman will represent the Yankees during the 2016 draft broadcast on MLB Network this year, MLB announced. Here is the full list of team representatives. It reads like an MVP Baseball 2005 roster. Thurman is the team’s Pacific Northwest scout and Pettitte is Pettitte. Commissioner Rob Manfred announces all first round picks during the broadcast before the team representatives take over, so Pettitte figures to announce New York’s second round selection (No. 62 overall). David Cone, Jeff Nelson, Tino Martinez, and Willie Randolph are among those who have represented the Yankees in previous drafts.

Yankee Stadium security guard fired for stealing memorabilia

According to Nathaniel Vinton, a Yankee Stadium security guard — and former NYPD detective — named Joe Flannino was fired for stealing memorabilia. Flannino was on the Yankee Stadium security staff from 1997-2013 before being reassigned to the archive room, which is where he was caught lifting documents. As far as I can tell there was no arrest made. Flannino was terminated and apologized to team officials. I wonder what else is in that archive room. Probably some pretty cool (and valuable) stuff, huh?

Tanaka and A-Rod lead Yankees to 4-1 win over Rays


Source: FanGraphs

It figures that after sitting through those last two losses, I couldn’t watch Friday’s series opening win over the Rays. I was at Citi Field for Julio Urias’ debut and I planned to watch the game on the FOX Sports Go app, but the stupid game was on WPIX, so the app was useless. Blah. I caught a few innings on the radio instead. Here are some thoughts to quasi-recap the 4-1 win.

1. 80 pitches is the new 100. Based on the box score and what I heard on the radio, Masahiro Tanaka was awfully sharp Friday. One single and one double in seven scoreless innings. No walks, four strikeouts, four balls hit out of the infield. Just awesome. And yet, Tanaka was out of the game after only 82 pitches, which is starting to become the norm. Joe Girardi is like a kid on Christmas morning with his bullpen. He’s got all these shiny toys and he can’t wait to play with them. Tanaka was cruising and, as far as I know, there was no reason he couldn’t go out and pitch the eighth. This isn’t the first time a starter was taken out of the game before necessary and I’m guessing it won’t be the last.

2. Narratives: busted. For the last few days we’ve been hearing about Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran being unable to coexist because there is only one DH spot — Beltran’s Golden Sombrero on Thursday didn’t help matters — but they put an end to that Friday. A-Rod smacked a long two-run home in the sixth inning …

… and Beltran hit a solo homer in the eighth as well. Yeah, I think they’ll be just fine. There’s no doubt the defense is worse off with Beltran in right field, but as long as both guys hit, it’ll be worth it. I do love A-Rod’s bat flip too. That is a gentleman’s bat flip.

3. Two quick runners, three quick outs. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner started the game with a single and walk, respectively. Chris Archer has struggled overall this season and especially so in the first inning — he came into the game with 12 first inning runs allowed, second most in baseball (Michael Pineda is first with 13) — so it looked like the Yankees were going to put up a crooked number early. Instead, Beltran and Brian McCann popped up and A-Rod grounded out. Ellsbury and Gardner didn’t move after reaching base. Sigh. Ultimately it didn’t matter when the game was over, but you still hate to see early opportunities like that go to waste.

4. Matte helmets? Whaaa? It has come to my attention the Yankees were wearing helmets with a matte finish Friday night. Here’s a photo:

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

That’s the first time we’ve seen those this season and, well, ever. Apparently the Yankees are only going to wear those on the road. They’ll continue to wear the regular glossy helmets at home. I dunno man, the Yankees uniform is a classic. Why the change? Eh, whatever. No big deal. I do wonder what spurred this on though.

5. Save situation. Like I said, Girardi is like a kid on Christmas morning. He went to Aroldis Chapman for a one-out save (!) because Kirby Yates allowed a two-out solo homer in the ninth with a four-run lead. Now Chapman has pitched two straight days, which will affect his availability the rest of the weekend. Andrew Miller pitched the eighth because he needed the work — he hadn’t pitched since Sunday — so why not stick with Tanaka for the eighth and let Miller close out the ninth? I mean, I know the answer (eighth inning guys pitch the eighth inning), but good gravy, not everyone needs to warm up every day. The bullpen is gonna be toast by August. (Update: Chapman didn’t even get a save. Heh.)

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages too. The Yankees and Rays will continue this series with the middle game Saturday. That’s a 4pm ET start for whatever reason.

Minor League Update: I don’t have time for a full DotF tonight, sorry. Here are the box scores. Ben Gamel homered, Chad Green tossed seven scoreless innings, Jorge Mateo had a hit and a walk, and Kyle Holder extended his hitting streak. That’s the short version.

Game 47: On The Road Again

Can't sleep, mascot will eat me. (Presswire)
Can’t sleep, mascot will eat me. (Presswire)

The Yankees just got done with a long road trip, didn’t they? They played seven games on the West Coast, played three games at home, and now they’re back out on the road for another ten-game trip. Lame. At least they’re in Tampa this weekend. That’s kinda like home.

Anyway, the Yankees have dropped their last two games and that’s annoying. They were playing well for a good three weeks there before falling short against the Blue Jays. The Rays have lost five of their last six games, so it seems the Yankees are catching them at the right time. Hopefully it translates to a win. Here is the Rays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. DH Alex Rodriguez
  6. 2B Starlin Castro
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 3B Chase Headley
  9. 1B Dustin Ackley
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

It is hot and humid in St. Petersburg and a cool 72 degrees or so inside Tropicana Field. Isn’t air conditioning the best? Tonight’s game will begin at 7:10pm ET and you can watch on WPIX. Enjoy.

Injury Update: Mark Teixeira (neck) is aiming to return to the lineup Sunday. Joe Girardi said he’s looking at Monday. The manager usually wins these battles.

2016 Draft: Baseball America Mock Draft v4.0

T-minus one week and six days until the start of the 2016 amateur draft. Baseball America published their fourth mock draft of the season earlier today, and this time they have the Phillies taking California HS OF Mickey Moniak with the top pick. “Mickey Moniak” is an A+ baseball name. As always, the mock draft is free. It’s not behind the paywall.

As for the Yankees, Baseball America has them selecting Virginia C Matt Thaiss with their first round pick, the 18th overall selection. The 21-year-old lefty hitter owns a .382/.478/.599 batting line with ten homers, 35 walks, and 12 strikeouts this year. Here’s a snippet of MLB.com’s free scouting report:

He has an advanced approach at the plate and solid power, especially on the extra-base front, though he should have some over-the-fence pop at the next level. He’s continued to be very consistent at the plate as a junior, though there are many questions about his ability to stay behind it as a pro. His catching skills are quite raw, with a fringy arm and rough receiving skills … (His) bat alone — and he has played first base at times — should make him a day one selection.

Interestingly, the write-up says reports of the Yankees being in on pitchers is “inaccurate,” and instead “the focus has been on finding a college bat.” Intrigue! This draft is a bit thin on impact college bats beyond likely top five picks Mercer OF Kyle Lewis and Louisville OF Corey Ray. Thaiss, Tennessee 3B Nick Senzel, and Miami C Zack Collins represent the best of the rest.

There is quite a bit of pitching in this draft, both college and high school, and that’s good because the Yankees could use some arms in their farm system. The best strategy may be to take the best available bat in the first round, then take advantage of the pitching depth and load up on arms in the second round and beyond.

5/27 to 5/29 Series Preview: Tampa Bay Rays

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

That quick little three-game homestand is over and the Yankees are back out on the road for a ten-game, four-city road trip. The trip starts with three in Tampa, the Yankees’ home away from home. They took two of three from the Rays at Yankee Stadium last month.

What Have They Done Lately?

The Rays are slumpin’. They just lost two straight at home to the Marlins and they’ve lost five of their last six games overall. Tampa is 21-24 with a +4 run differential on the season. The Yankees are playing the last place team in the AL East for the second straight series. Hopefully they don’t let the Rays climb out of the cellar like they did the Blue Jays.

Offense & Defense

Here’s a fun fact: the Rays lead baseball with 67 home runs as a team. How about that? We’re not used to seeing them hit the ball out of the park like that. They’re averaging 4.18 runs per game with a team 106 wRC+ overall. Tampa is without two of their best players in OF Kevin Kiermaier (109 wRC+) and 2B Logan Forsythe (160 wRC+). Kiermaier broke some bones in his hand making a sliding catch and Forsythe has a small fracture in his shoulder thanks to a Felix Hernandez pitch. Neither is coming back this series.

Guyer. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty)
Guyer. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty)

These days manager Kevin Cash bats OF Brandon Guyer (172 wRC+) leadoff and SS Brad Miller (105 wRC+) second against righties. Miller has hit much better the last few weeks. 3B Evan Longoria (109 wRC+) bats third, IF Steven Pearce (155 wRC+) cleans up, and OF Steven Souza Jr. (125 wRC+) hits fifth. That’s the regular lineup. Pearce plays whatever position needs to be played that day. OF Desmond Jennings (53 wRC+) has taken over in center with Kiermaier out and 1B Logan Morrison (84 wRC+) is the regular first baseman.

Behind the plate C Curt Casali (59 wRC+) and C Hank Conger (0 wRC+) split time. OF Mikie Mahtook (-50 wRC+) and UTIL Tayler Motter (106 wRC+) are right-handed hitters who will see platoon duty. Mahtook is the kid the Rays took with the Yankees’ first round pick after they signed Rafael Soriano. Good times. DH Corey Dickerson (87 wRC+) is the DH and the 12th position player on the roster. The Rays are carrying eight relievers.

The Rays willingly downgraded their defense in an effort to improve their offense. Jennings is very good in center but he’s no Kiermaier. Longoria is still solid at third, and Souza and Guyer are fine in the outfield corners. Aside from them, Tampa has shaky gloves at first (LoMo), second (Pearce lately), short (Miller), and behind the plate. Conger has actually thrown three runners out trying to steal this season. Runners are only 16-for-19 (84%) against him this year after going 42-for-43 (98%) last year.

Pitching Matchups

Friday (7:10pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. TB) vs. RHP Chris Archer (vs. NYY)
Woof. Rough season for Archer. The 27-year-old has a 5.16 ERA (4.58 FIP) in ten starts and 52.1 innings, and both his walk (10.9%) and homer (1.72 HR/9) rates have shot up big time. He’s still getting a ton of strikeouts (27.3%) and a healthy amount of grounders (45.9%). Archer’s struggles really started last season. He had a 4.87 ERA (3.80 FIP) in his final ten starts of 2015. Thanks to his very improved upper-80s changeup — it’s a real weapon now — Archer has closed up his platoon split. Archer still sits in the mid-90s with his heater and his upper-80s slider is vicious. It might be the best slider in baseball, at least among right-handers. The Yankees did not see Archer when these two teams met last month.

Saturday (4:10pm ET): RHP Michael Pineda (vs. TB) vs. LHP Matt Moore (vs. NYY)
I fell for it. Moore was awful last year after coming back from Tommy John surgery, but he was throwing darts in Spring Training and looked really good for his first few starts of the regular season, so I bought in. He was ready to dominate. The result: a 5.47 ERA (4.52 FIP) in nine starts and 51 innings. He had a 5.43 ERA (4.83 FIP) in 63 innings last year. D’oh. Moore still has good strikeout (21.9%) and walk (7.1%) rates, but he’s not getting grounders (43.3%) and he’s not keeping the ball in the park (1.59 HR/9). Moore, who has historically been better against lefties than righties, works with a four-seam fastball that averages 93 mph and tops out around 97 mph. A hard low-80s curve and a power mid-80s changeup are his two secondary pitches. The Yankees scored four runs in 6.2 innings against Moore when these clubs met in New York a month ago.

(Rob Foldy/Getty)
(Rob Foldy/Getty)

Sunday (1:10pm ET): RHP Nathan Eovaldi (vs. TB) vs. RHP Jake Odorizzi (vs. NYY)
The Rays got Odorizzi in the James Shields/Wil Myers trade a few years back, and he’s turned into a rock solid starter for them. The 26-year-old has a 3.46 ERA (4.22 FIP) with good strikeout (20.1%) and walk (7.1%) rates in ten starts and 54.2 innings so far this season. He has been both fly ball (38.3% grounders) and homer (1.32 HR/9) prone, and righties have hit him much harder than lefties, which is normal. Odorizzi’s had a reverse split throughout his career because his best pitch is a nasty mid-80s splitter. He sets it up with low-90s four-seamers. A low-80s cutter/slider is his third pitch, and he’ll also flip a few low-70s curves per start to mess with hitters. The Yankees did not see Odorizzi in April. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out Brian McCann is 12-for-20 (.600) with three doubles and three homers against him. McCann crushes Odorizzi.

Bullpen Status

The Rays have been without closer RHP Brad Boxberger all season because of core muscle surgery, but they could get him back this series. He’s been on a rehab assignment and he recently pitched back-to-back days, which is usually the last step before being activated. We’ll see. Here is Cash’s bullpen:

Closer: RHP Alex Colome (1.29 ERA/1.61 FIP)
Setup: LHP Xavier Cedeno (3.65/1.95) and RHP Erasmo Ramirez (2.43/3.90)
Middle: LHP Dana Eveland (7.43/5.49), LHP Enny Romero (3.71/4.44), RHP Ryan Webb (3.31/4.01)
Long: RHP Ryan Garton and RHP Tyler Sturdevant

There are a few names in there you might not recognize. Sturdevant and Garton were both called up recently, and they made their MLB debuts earlier this week. Garton (46 pitches), Webb (26), and Eveland (5) all pitched yesterday. Eveland pitched Wednesday too, otherwise the bullpen is in good shape. It’s not the most intimidating bullpen out there, but for the most part they’re rested.

As for the Yankees, head on over to our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s relievers. The starters have gone at least six innings in each of the last eight games, so the bullpen has not been worked too hard of late. That’s good.