Game 102: ChiTown


The trade deadline has come and gone. The Yankees didn’t do anything other than pick up Dustin Ackley, so they’re sticking with the roster they have and whatever they get from their farm system. I find that quite risky! But it is what it is. The post-deadline portion of the season starts tonight on Chicago’s south side.

The Yankees dropped their last two games to the Rangers but have generally played well of late. They’re 9-4 with a +24 run differential since the All-Star break, stretching their AL East lead to six games. That’s pretty good. Heck, if you’d have told me before the season that the Yankees would be six games up on deadline day, I’d have taken it in a heartbeat. Shake off those last two losses and get a win tonight, mmmkay? Here is the White Sox’s lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Chris Young
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. C John Ryan Murphy
  8. 2B Brendan Ryan
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi

It’s nice and sunny in Chicago yet not nearly as hot as it was in Texas the last few days. Mid-80s, not 100+. Tonight’s game will begin a bit after 8pm ET and you can watch live on good ol’ YES. Enjoy the game, everyone.

Injury Updates: Brett Gardner and Brian McCann are fine, just sitting against the lefty Carlos Rodon … CC Sabathia (dehydration) is doing much better. He was discharged from the hospital in Texas and has rejoined the team in Chicago.

Roster Moves: In case you missed it earlier, Garrett Jones was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for Ackley and Esmil Rogers was released so he could sign with a team in KoreaChris Capuano cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Scranton, the Yankees announced. He can reject the assignment and elect free agency if he wants … Slade Heathcott was activated off the 60-day DL and optioned to Triple-A Scranton, the team announced.

Yankees designate Garrett Jones for assignment

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)
(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)

Earlier today, the Yankees designated first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones for assignment, the team announced. The move clears a roster spot for the recent acquired Dustin Ackley. Joe Girardi confirmed Ackley will fill the same role as Jones: seldom-used backup outfielder and backup first baseman, plus he’ll take some grounders at second.

Jones, 34, hit .215/.257/.361 (67 wRC+) with five homers in only 152 plate appearances this season. He had a brutal start to the season — 6-for-40 (.150) in the team’s first 41 games — but kinda sorta picked it up of late, hitting .240/.288/.413 (92 wRC+) in his last 111 plate appearances. Jones did hit one huge home run this season, so thanks for that.

The Yankees acquired Jones in the Nathan EovaldiMartin Prado trade this past offseason and still owe him the rest of his $5M salary, which is a relative drop in the bucket. Brian Cashman explained they replaced Jones with Ackley because Ackley is younger, more versatile, and under team control beyond this season.

Cashman: Severino will make next start with the Yankees


After not picking up any pitching help at Friday’s trade deadline, top pitching prospect Luis Severino will be called up to make his next start with the Yankees, Brian Cashman told reporters this afternoon. Joe Girardi and Larry Rothschild will map out the exact date at some point, though Girardi did say Severino will make his MLB debut during the Red Sox series next week. Severino last started Wednesday.

The rotation is in rough shape right now with Michael Pineda (elbow) on the DL and CC Sabathia (dehydration) temporarily out of action — Girardi said there is no date for Sabathia to resume baseball activities at the moment — so the Yankees are turning to Severino, who they refused to trade prior to the deadline. This doesn’t figure to be a spot start. Severino will get a chance to stick.

“Only if we needed it, and only if he earned it. Well, he’s earned it, and we need it,” said Brian Cashman to Chad Jennings when asked about the decision to call up Severino. “So we’ll see what the next step for this youngster is. He moved really fast through the system and obviously had a lot of success. We’ll see what the next level is going to be like for him and hopefully he can contribute and add into the cast of characters.”

Severino, 21, has a 2.45 ERA (2.45 FIP!) with 24.8 K% and 6.8 BB% in 99.1 total innings this year, including a 1.91 ERA (2.53 FIP) in 61.1 innings at Triple-A Scranton. Baseball America ranked him as the 35th best prospect in baseball before the season and the 17th best prospect in baseball in their midseason update a few weeks ago. Severino is a mid-90s fastball guy with a promising slider and changeup.

I’ve speculated that Severino only has about 50 or so innings left before hitting his limit this year — he threw 113.1 innings at three levels last year — but Cashman said that is not the case. “He doesn’t have any (limit) … We prepared for this,” said the GM to Erik Boland and Mark Feinsand. My guess is Severino does have an innings limit and the Yankees don’t want to make it public. That’s smart. As we’ve seen with Joba Chamberlain and Stephen Strasburg, making innings limits public can turn into quite the distraction.

As with all young pitchers, I’m skeptical of Severino’s ability to come up and make an impact right away — he’s thrown more than five full innings only 18 times in 65 career starts; how will he navigate the third time through a big league lineup? — but at this point, with no trade for a pitcher, calling Severino up is a move that had to be made. He was crushing Triple-A and the Yankees have a need in the rotation. It’s time.

Yanks make no trades, instead stand pat at the deadline

Kimbrel. (Stephen Dunn/Getty)
Kimbrel. (Stephen Dunn/Getty)

As reported by Jack Curry and Joel Sherman, and later confirmed by Brian Cashman, the Yankees did not make a trade prior to today’s 4pm ET trade deadline. Their only move was yesterday’s Dustin Ackley pickup. The Yankees reportedly offered Jorge Mateo for Craig Kimbrel at some point, but the Padres didn’t respond. There weren’t many rumors besides that, though the team does tend to keep things quiet.

“I approached this deadline with discipline but at the same time with aggressiveness. We could not find a match. In most cases it was our opponents trying to peel away the Judges, the Severinos,” said Cashman to Sweeny Murti, Mark Feinsand and Erik Boland this afternoon. “I’m doubling down on what we’ve got … It’s all hands on deck from our system.”

That’s not lip service either — top pitching prospect Luis Severino is coming up to make his MLB debut and join the rotation next week. That’s fun, but, at the same time, the rotation has a 4.36 ERA, ranking 23rd out of the 30 clubs. All seven teams with a worse rotation ERA are non-contenders. Furthermore, the staff is averaging just 5.78 innings per start, 21st in MLB and tenth out of the 15 AL clubs.

Pitching help was an obvious need, if only to provide some depth and protect against injury. Michael Pineda (elbow) is on the DL and both Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) and CC Sabathia (knee) are perpetual concerns. Adding an ace like Johnny Cueto and David Price would have been great! But even an innings eater like, say, Mike Leake would have helped. The Yankees left themselves very susceptible to injury.

The Angels and Yankees were the only AL contenders to not add meaningful pieces at the deadline. Most notably, the division rival Blue Jays (David Price, Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Revere, Mark Lowe) and Orioles (Gerardo Parra, Junior Lake) shored up areas of need. Then again, the Yankees do have a six-game lead over both Toronto and Baltimore, which is nice with just about two-thirds of the season complete.

Yanks release Esmil Rogers so he could pursue opportunity in Korea

Call me Esmil. (Presswire)
Call me Esmil. (Presswire)

It’s not the big trade we’re all waiting for, but the Yankees did make a minor move this afternoon. The team granted Esmil Rogers his release from Triple-A Scranton so he could sign with the Hanwha Eagles in Korea. The Yankees will receive an undisclosed amount of cash for letting Rogers go.

Rogers, 29, had a 6.27 ERA (4.62 FIP) in 33 innings for the Yankees earlier this year. He was dropped from the 40-man roster and sent to Triple-A Scranton, where he worked as a starter and hung around as a depth arm the team never did need. Rogers has a 5.59 ERA (4.45 FIP) in 454 career big league innings, most with the Rockies.

The Yankees don’t have a starter for tomorrow’s game thanks to Michael Pineda‘s injury, and Rogers did line up perfectly to pitch that day, but obviously he’s not an option now. Esmil deserves props for soaking up all those innings in the 19-inning game earlier this year. Otherwise the Yankees loved his stuff a little too much.

7/31 to 8/2 Series Preview: Chicago White Sox

... what the hell is that? (Presswire)
… what the hell is that? (Presswire)

The Yankees are on Chicago’s south side for the final three games of this ten-game, three-city road trip. It’s almost August and yet this is the first meeting of the season between the Yankees and White Sox. The only other AL team the Yankees have yet to face this season is the Indians. They’ll see them in a week and a half.

What Have The White Sox Done Lately?

The ChiSox got off to a miserable start to the season, one that had them looking like a seller at the trade deadline, but they’ve been hot of late, winning seven of their last eight and 17 of their last 26 games. Suddenly they’re being talked about as buyers, or at least not sellers. Chicago is 49-51 with a -52 run differential overall, and somehow they’re only 3.5 games out of the second wildcard spot. Welcome to MLB in the year 2015.

Offense & Defense

Despite their strong recent play, the White Sox are still one of the worst offensive teams in baseball, averaging only 3.66 runs per game with a team 84 wRC+. They are managed by ex-Yankee Robin Ventura and, aside from UTIL Emilio Bonifacio, they are healthy on the position player side. Bonifacio was placed on the DL with an oblique strain earlier this week.

Abreu. (Presswire)
Abreu. (Presswire)

Ventura’s lineup has exactly two above-average everyday hitters: 1B Jose Abreu (129 wRC+) and OF Adam Eaton (109 wRC+). Abreu is having a fine season that is a notch below his Rookie of the Year winning campaign of a year ago. That won’t make me any less terrified whenever he is at the plate this weekend. Former Yankees OF Melky Cabrera (94 wRC+) has been hitting much better of late but DH Adam LaRoche (80 wRC+) has not. Stalwart SS Alexei Ramirez (55 wRC+) is having the worst season of his career.

3B Tyler Saladino (99 wRC+ in very limited time) was just called up and 2B Carlos Sanchez (59 wRC+) is now playing second everyday. C Tyler Flowers (63 wRC+) and C Geovany Soto (125 wRC+) are the catching tandem and OF Avisail Garcia (87 wRC+) plays right. IF Gordon Beckham (49 wRC+), OF J.B. Shuck (85 wRC+), and UTIL Leury Garcia (two plate appearances) round out the bench. The ChiSox have a strong defense up the middle but not so much on the corners. Melky and Avisail sure do make it interesting in left and right, respectively.

Pitching Matchups

Friday (8pm ET): RHP Nathan Eovaldi (vs. CWS) vs. LHP Carlos Rodon (No vs. NYY)
Rodon, 22, was the third overall pick in last year’s draft. The White Sox wasted no time calling him up. He has a 4.09 ERA (3.63 FIP) in 77 innings spread across 13 starts and three relief appearances this year, and he has the kind of peripherals you’d expect from such a young kid: 24.1 K%, 12.8 BB%, 47.1 GB%, and 0.58 HR/9. You don’t get to the big leagues this quickly without good stuff (strikeouts and grounders!), but, you know, young pitchers are rough around the edges (walks). Rodon has a big platoon split — righties have a .363 wOBA and lefties a .267 wOBA — which isn’t unexpected. His mid-80s changeup lags behind his mid-90s two and four-seamer and wipeout upper-80s slider. Rodon’s slider is filthy. It’s Andrew Miller-esque. That’s the pitch that got him drafted third overall.


Saturday (7pm ET): TBA vs. LHP John Danks (vs. NYY)
Boy, last year around this time there were a lot of trade rumors connecting the Yankees to Danks, but thankfully that didn’t happen. The 30-year-old has a 4.97 ERA (4.37 FIP) in 108.2 innings this year and a 4.80 ERA (4.76 FIP) in 440.2 innings since coming back from shoulder capsule surgery in 2013. He’s simply no longer the guy he was before surgery. That’s not uncommon for pitchers with a torn capsule. Anyway, the only thing Danks does well is limit walks (6.3%). His strikeout (15.7%), grounder (36.4%), and homer (1.24 HR/9) rates are not good and righties have crushed him (.380 wOBA). Danks has held his own against lefties though (.271 wOBA). Post-shoulder surgery Danks sits in the upper-80s with his two and four-seamer and a tick below that with his cutter. A low-80s changeup is his go-to secondary pitch and he’ll also throw a few mid-70s curveballs per start. But mostly Danks mixes the changeup in with the fastballs and that’s it.

The Yankees do not have a starter for tomorrow right now because Michael Pineda landed on the DL yesterday with an elbow injury. Adam Warren, Bryan Mitchell, and Diego Moreno are all candidates to start — I suppose Warren and Moreno could tag team the start similar to earlier this week — though Joe Girardi said all those guys are available in the bullpen tonight if necessary. Esmil Rogers is scheduled to start for Triple-A Scranton tomorrow and I suppose that makes him a candidate too. And, you know, they could also always trade for a starter before the trade deadline today. That’d be neat.

Sunday (2pm ET): RHP Ivan Nova (vs. CWS) vs. RHP Jeff Samardzija (vs. NYY)
Thanks to their recent surge, the ChiSox are leaning towards keeping the 30-year-old Samardzija at today’s trade deadline. That’s a shame. He’d look great in pinstripes. Samardzija has a 3.94 ERA (3.58 FIP) in 148.1 innings this year with a tiny walk rate (4.4%) and slightly lower than league average strikeout (18.2%), grounder (41.3%), and homer (0.91 HR/9) numbers. Left-handed hitters (.322 wOBA) have had a little more success against him than righties (.289 wOBA). Samardzija sits in the mid-90s with his four-seam fastball and low-90s with his cutter, and in the mid-80s with his splitter. He also throws a mid-80s slider. Samardzija’s a no nonsense guy. He goes right at hitters with power stuff.

Robertson. (Presswire)
Robertson. (Presswire)

Bullpen Status
Overall, the White Sox have a middle of the pack bullpen (3.50 ERA/3.77 FIP) that is top heavy. Former Yankee RHP David Robertson (2.63/2.00) is the closer and former Yankees draft pick RHP Jake Petricka (3.06/3.36) joins LHP Zach Duke (3.32/4.77) as his primary setup men. Robertson is having another fantastic season with a career-best walk rate (6.1%), a career-best swing-and-miss rate (15.7%), and his typically awesome strikeout rate (35.6%). Nothing but love for D-Rob.

RHP Matt Albers (1.38/4.31 in limited time), LHP Dan Jennings (5.97/4.08), RHP Zach Putnam (3.21/3.64), and RHP Daniel Webb (1.47/4.06) round out the rest of the bullpen. Albers and Jennings both pitched yesterday. The middle relief is a little shaky. You can get to them in the sixth and seventh. The eighth and ninth? Not so much. Our Bullpen Workload page has everything you need to know about Girardi’s bullpen and South Side Sox has everything you need to know about the White Sox.

Yankeemetrics: Deep in the heat of Texas (July 27-30)

Over the hill but still raking. (Getty Images)
Over the hill but still raking. (Getty Images)

Al’s birthday bash
Alex Rodriguez certainly has a flair for the dramatic, eh? A-Rod celebrated his 40th birthday in style with a homer in the sixth inning of Monday’s 6-2 win over the Rangers, etching his name in the record books once again.

It was the sixth homer he’s hit on his birthday, the most birthday dingers by any player in MLB history. The solo shot also gave him 16 career RBI on his birthday, tied for the third-most all-time, behind only Lou Gehrig (17) and Al Simmons (19).

He is just the sixth player in baseball history to homer on his 40th birthday, joining the quintet of Chipper Jones, Tony Phillips, Wade Boggs, Joe Morgan and Bob Thurman, and is the oldest Yankee to go deep on his birthday.

A-Rod is also now a member of an even more exclusive group of major-league players to hit homers in their teens, 20s, 30s and 40s — Rusty Staub, Gary Sheffield and Ty Cobb are the only others to do that. Will he become the first to also do it in his 50s? LOL.

Although A-Rod stole the headlines with his birthday blast, Didi Gregorius was the real offensive star of the night, breaking out for a career-high four RBI and his first home run against a left-handed pitcher as a major-leaguer. Before the home run, his 264 career plate appearances vs. lefties without a homer were the third-most among active players.

”It didn’t suck”
Yeah, I think that quote from Chris Young pretty much sums up Tuesday’s 21-5 shellacking of the Rangers. There’s so much statistical awesomeness from this game, let’s just get right to the Yankeemetrics.

The game obviously did not start well for the Yankees, who were down 5-0 early as spot starter (and thankfully DFA’d) Chris Capuano allowed five runs on three hits and five walks before being removed with two outs in the first inning. With that performance, Capuano became the only Yankee starter in last 100 years to allow at least five runs and five walks in less than one inning pitched.

Remember when the Yankees couldn’t score on the road and couldn’t put together big comebacks? Ha! Of course, the Yankees then exploded for 11 runs (and somehow no home runs) in the second inning, their highest-scoring frame since putting up a 12-spot on the Orioles in the bottom of the first on July 30, 2011.

The Yankees knocked Rangers starter Martin Perez out of the game before he could record an out in the second inning, which somehow made Capuano not even the worst starting pitcher in this game. It was the first time that both starters pitched one inning or fewer and allowed at least five runs in a Yankee game since April 23, 1932 against the Philadelphia A’s. The starters that day were Gordon Rhodes for the Yankees and Rube Walberg for the A’s.

The Rangers then turned to Wandy Rodriguez to stop the bleeding, but the Yankees showed no mercy and tagged him for another seven runs. Like Perez, he got just three outs, making this first time in the last 100 years that two pitchers have lasted an inning or fewer and allowed at least seven runs in the same game against the Yankees. In fact, the only other team to do that since 1914 was the Blue Jays on Sept. 28, 2000 against the Orioles.

Sure, the offensive highlights were fun and all. But the MVP of this game was Diego Moreno, who cleaned up Capuano’s mess in the first inning and tossed 5 1/3 innings without allowing a run or a hit. He’s the first Yankee reliever to pitch at least five hitless innings since Bob Shirley on Sept. 21, 1986 against the Tigers, and the first to do that and get the win since Tom Morgan in 1956 against the Indians.

So, in the end, the Yankees scored 21 runs after being down 5-0, the most unanswered runs they’ve scored in any game since August 12, 1953 against the Senators.

Finally, because many of you have asked, let’s cap it off with this gem from the Elias Sports Bureau: the Yankees are the first team in MLB history to allow the first five (or more) runs of game and then score 21 or more unanswered runs.

Back to reality
The Yankee bats were humbled by the Rangers in the third game of their four-game series, scoring just two runs on eight hits in the 5-2 loss.

Tuesday’s outburst was the 17th time in franchise history they scored 21-or-more runs, but Wednesday was just the second time that they failed to score more than two runs in their next game. It also happened July 25, 1999 when they beat the Indians 2-1, one day after they crushed them 21-1.

If there was anything positive that came out of the game, it was probably the debut of pitcher Caleb Cotham. The former fifth-round pick struck out four and walked none in 1 2/3 scoreless innings. The only other Yankee in the last 100 years to not allow a run or a walk and strike out at least four guys in his first career major-league game was Stan Bahnsen in 1966. Bahnsen would go on to win the Rookie of the Year award in 1968.

Tex hot, CC not
For the first time since the first week of July, the Yankees have an official losing streak. They lost again on Thursday night on a game-ending single by Josh Hamilton in the bottom of the ninth inning, their first walk-off loss against the Rangers since Sept. 11, 2010.

CC Sabathia’s decline is really hard to watch. He turned in yet another poor outing in this game, one that included three homers over five innings pitched. Two of those longballs were by left-handed batters, the first time he allowed multiple homers to lefties in a single game since Aug. 12, 2011.

Mark Teixeira gave the Yankees an early 2-0 lead with his 25th homer of the season in the first inning, the 10th time in his career he’s reached that milestone. The only other switch hitters in MLB history with 10-or-more seasons of at least 25 home runs are Eddie Murray (12), Chipper Jones (10) and Mickey Mantle (10).

Tex wasn’t finished after that blast, though, giving the Yankees a 6-5 lead with another solo homer in the seventh. This was his 40th career multi-homer game, tied with Jones for the second-most all-time among switch-hitters; the only guy with more is Mantle (46).