Staying up for these late night West Coast games is never easy, so it’s always nice whenever the Yankees can eke out a win. They used some late-inning heroics to top the Mariners 3-2 on Tuesday night. The Yankees avoided falling below .500 for the first time since the season was nine games old. Let’s recap:
- Amazing, Disappearing Offense: The Yankees met their daily quota with two runs in the first inning thanks to two-out hits from Carlos Beltran (double) and Brian McCann (infield single). Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira both singled to set up the rally. New York forced Hisashi Iwakuma to throw 46 pitches in the first two innings, then he retired 14 of the next 17 batters he faced and threw only 62 pitches in the next 5.1 innings. Things started off so promising, then the bats disappeared for about six innings.
- Numero Nuno: Vidal Nuno owes his outfielders a steak dinner. The gerbil-ish southpaw needed several outstanding defensive plays on well-struck balls to hold the Mariners to four hits and one run in 5.2 innings. Brett Gardner got off easy; Jacoby Ellsbury and Ichiro Suzuki had to make the really tough plays. Nuno did retire 13 of 15 at one point (again, thanks to his defense) and he now owns a 1.80 ERA in 25 innings away from Yankee Stadium. If he could pitch every game in Safeco Field with an elite outfield defense, he’d be pretty great.
- A Third Run?: Oddly, the Yankees scored another run in the eighth inning, but not until after Dellin Betances blew the 2-1 run lead in the seventh. It was a dumb rally. Hit batsman, move to second on a wild pitch, soft line drive just over a leaping Brian Roberts. Dumb. Then, in the eighth, the Yankees hit three Yankee Stadium homers and were left with a Jeter ground rule double to show for it. Gardner hit two balls that would have been gone in the Bronx and Jeter’s double would have been out as well. Ellsbury came through with a big two-strike single to plate Jeter and again give the Yankees the lead.
- Six More Outs: Once the Yankees got that 3-2 lead, Joe Girardi turned the game over the Adam Warren and David Robertson, who combined to retire six of eight batters faced. Warren allowed a single to Robinson Cano but otherwise cut through the heart of Seattle’s lineup. Robertson issued a two-out walk while striking out the side and recording his 15th save. With Shawn Kelley set to come off the DL on Wednesday, the late-inning guys are going to get some much-needed help and extra rest going forward.
- Leftovers: In addition to the go-ahead single, Ellsbury hit the ball on the screws in two other at-bats, but right at defenders … Jeter may or may not have missed first base on his ground rule double. He went back to touch the base and I’m not sure he gets to second without the ball hopping over the fence … Beltran had two hits (both to the opposite field) and generally seems to be getting more comfortable at the plate following the long DL stint … each of the top six hitters in the lineup had at least one hit while the bottom three hitters went a combined 0-for-9 with a walk.
For the box score and video highlights, head over to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stats and the updated standings are at ESPN. These same two teams will play the second game of this three-game set on Wednesday night, when Masahiro Tanaka starts against the soft-tossing yet effective Chris Young.
After 60 games and a 158 wRC+ with Double-A Trenton, 2B Rob Refsnyder was promoted to Triple-A Scranton, according to Nick Peruffo. Refsnyder played 62 games with Low-A Charleston last year (173 wRC+) before being promoted last year, so he’s on the same basic schedule.
In other news, OF Adonis Garcia has been placed on the Triple-A Scranton DL, according to Chad Jennings. He left yesterday’s game with an unknown leg injury. Donnie Collins says RHP Zach Nuding was demoted back down to Double-A. Also, LHP Dietrich Enns underwent some kind of elbow surgery today based on his Twitter feed.
Triple-A Scranton (6-3 loss to Toledo in ten innings)
- LF Jose Pirela: 2-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SB, 1 CS — threw a runner out at the plate … 20-for-44 (.455) in his last ten games
- DH Frankie Cervelli: 1-4 — he’ll continue his rehab with Double-A Trenton tomorrow since the RailRiders are heading out on a road trip
- RF Zoilo Almonte: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 K
- SS Zelous Wheeler: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K
- 1B Kyle Roller: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI — third homer in his last six games
- 3B Scott Sizemore: 0-3, 1 RBI
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-4 — eight straight multi-hit games and 13 in his last 14 games… doesn’t miss a beat after the promotion
- C Austin Romine: 1-3
- RHP Shane Greene: 4 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 4/1 GB/FB — 60 of 87 pitches were strikes (69%)
- RHP Mark Montgomery: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HB, 3/1 GB/FB – 24 of 31 pitches were strikes (77%)
- RHP Preston Claiborne: 2 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 1/2 GB/FB — 15 of 27 pitches were strikes (56%)
You are a trooper if you’re staying up for this game. Late night West Coast game with Vidal Nuno on the mound? I don’t even need to bring up the struggling offense for everyone to know this is as good a night as any to turn in early.
The Yankees are coming off a surprise off-day thanks to the weather in Kansas City, an off-day that will hopefully wake up the bats a little. Maybe the day away from the park helped everyone clear their heads. Hisashi Iwakuma is very tough and Safeco Field is not a fun place to hit though. Here is the Mariners lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- DH Carlos Beltran
- C Brian McCann
- 3B Yangervis Solarte
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- 2B Brian Roberts
LHP Vidal Nuno
It’s cool and cloudy in Seattle, but there is no rain in the forecast. Even if there was, Safeco has a retractable roof and it would be a non-issue. Baseball’s always better with the roof open anyway. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin a little after 10pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.
Injury Updates: Shawn Kelley (back) will indeed be activated off the disabled list tomorrow … CC Sabathia (knee) is continuing to throw back in New York and will be re-evaluated when the team returns from the road trip next week.
Via Jack Curry: Mississippi State LHP Jacob Lindgren is traveling to Tampa to take his physical on Thursday. That’s a strong indication the two sides have a contract agreement in place. He was the club’s top selection (second round) in last week’s amateur draft. Slot money for the 55th overall pick is $1,018,700.
Lindgren, 21, already said he wants to sign “as soon as possible,” and Brian Cashman recently told Donnie Collins they will send the southpaw to Low-A Charleston when the time comes. Mississippi State’s season ended just last week, so Lindgren probably won’t need much more than a bullpen session or two to get back into game shape. You can see all of the team’s picks and keep tabs on their draft pool situation at Baseball America. · (4) ·
The Yankees are out in Seattle to play the Mariners later tonight, so use this as your open thread until the regular game thread comes along in a few hours. The Mets are playing, plus MLB Network will air a game as well. Who you see depends on where you live. Game Three of the NBA Finals will also be on. Talk about those games or anything else right here.
Late last week we heard Mississippi State LHP Jacob Lindgren, the Yankees’ top pick in last week’s draft (second round, 55th overall), wants to turn pro “as soon as possible.” He has not signed yet, but Brian Cashman did tell Donnie Collins they will assign the southpaw to Low-A Charleston once he is under contract, so they’ve already got a plan in place and everything. I’m surprised they’re not sending him to High-A Tampa right away like they did RHP J.B. Cox back in the day.
Anyway, the signing deadline this year is Friday, July 18th, so a month and a week away. All of the team’s picks can be seen at Baseball America (Day One & Two, Day Three reviews). Here are some miscellaneous signing updates. Keep in mind that many mid-to-late rounders agreed to pre-draft deals, which is the reason they were selected where they were in the first place (draft round in parentheses):
- Central Michigan RHP Jordan Foley (5) is indeed going to sign, according to Dominick Mastrangelo. I don’t see any reason to think any of the team’s picks in the top ten rounds won’t sign this year. Slot money for the 152nd overall pick is $317,500.
- Mississippi State RHP Jonathan Holder (6) indicated he will sign on Twitter. He even posted a photo of himself and college teammate Lindgren wearing Yankees hats. Slot for the 182nd pick is $237,600.
Eastern Illinois RHP Matt Borens (11) said he is traveling to Tampa and will be “starting his career” on Twitter, so yeah, he’s signing. I’m guessing he’ll be in the Short Season Staten Island rotation.
- Citadel 1B Bo Thompson (13) is signing, according to Jeff Hartsell. Thompson said he “can’t wait to get back to Riley Park as quickly as possible,” indicating he will eventually be assigned to Low-A Charleston.
- West Virginia RHP Sean Carley (14) will sign and head to Short Season Staten Island, reports Baseball America. He’s going to have to cut his hair and lose the whole Kenny Powers look.
- Concordia RHP Corey Holmes (20) will sign and report to Staten Island, according to Pinstriped Prospects.
- Pittsburgh RHP Matt Wotherspoon (34) told Steve Bennett he was flying to Tampa this week to take his physical and go through a brief mini-camp. He said the team has not yet told him if he will be a starter or reliever.
- William & Mary 2B Ryan Lindemuth (37) said he is signing on Twitter. Guessing he will go to Staten Island as well.
- South Carolina HS SS Madison Stokes (40) said he will be following through on his commitment to South Carolina on Twitter. Stokes was considered a tough sign going into the draft and the Yankees grabbed him late in case he changed his mind about school.
- Based on his Twitter feed, the Yankees have signed USC C Jake Hernandez as an undrafted free agent. The 22-year-old hit .327/.363/.374 in 50 games this year. He spent most of his career as a backup for the Trojans. Veteran catchers to guide young pitching prospects are important!
- The Yankees also signed Dayton RHP Travis Hissong as an undrafted free agent, according to Curt Conrad. He is heading to Staten Island.
Also, it’s worth noting Texas OF Mark Payton (7), UC Irvine 1B Conner Spencer (8), and Vanderbilt SS Vince Conde (9) can’t sign just yet because their schools qualified for the College World Series over the weekend. Once they get eliminated or win the National Championship, then they’re free to turn pro.
The schedule gods were kind to the Yankees this year. This is their final trip out to the West Coast and it only lasts six days. Not too bad. The Yankees are in Seattle to open a three-game set against Robinson Cano and the Mariners tonight. Seattle won all three games at Yankee Stadium earlier this season, one of which was postponed a few weeks by rain.
What Have They Done Lately?
The Mariners are coming in very hot. They’ve won eight of their last nine games (including the makeup game in the Bronx) and just took three of four from the oh so terrible Rays in Tampa. At 34-29 with a +34 run differential, the Mariners currently sit in the second wildcard spot, 2.5 games up on New York.
Manager Lloyd McClendon’s team has an 85 wRC+ and averages 4.16 runs per game, so they’re below-average offensively. They’re banged up too. 1B Logan Morrison (8 wRC+) and DH Corey Hart (82 wRC+) are on the disabled list and both 1B Justin Smoak (79 wRC+) and OF Michael Saunders (112 wRC+) are day-to-day with quad and shoulder problems, respectively. Smoak has been used as a defensive replacement the last few days but hasn’t been able to do much more than that.
As expected, Cano (120 wRC+) has been the team’s best hitter this year, though his power output (two homers and .090 ISO) is way down. 3B Kyle Seager (118 wRC+) has been very good while Brooklyn-born OF James Jones (99 wRC+) has been league average. He grew up in the Ebbets Field apartments. Pretty cool, no? OF Cole Gillespie (121 wRC+ in limited time) has been a useful part-timer, but otherwise the Mariners don’t have anyone who has been even an average hitter this season.
OF Dustin Ackley (81 wRC+) and C Mike Zunino (84 wRC+) are disappointments, but at least Zunino has the whole “young catcher in MLB” excuse to fall back on. SS Brad Miller (47 wRC+) has been awful, Ditto OF Stefen Romero (69 wRC+), OF Endy Chavez (65 wRC+ in limited time), and backup C John Buck (84 wRC+ in limited time). UTIL Willie Bloomquist (72 wRC+) has been playing first base with Smoak banged up. Cano and Seager are the two guys the Yankees can’t let beat them.
Tuesday: LHP Vidal Nuno (vs. SEA) vs. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (vs. NYY)
Iwakuma, 33, was on the disabled list with a finger injury when these two clubs first played. Masahiro Tanaka‘s former teammate with the Rakuten Golden Eagles has a 2.66 ERA (3.44 FIP) in seven starts and 50.2 innings this year. Last year, when he finished third in the AL Cy Young voting, Iwakuma had a … 2.66 ERA and 3.44 FIP. Freaky. His strikeout (6.39 K/9 and 19.2 K%) and walk (0.71 BB/9 and 2.1 BB%) rates are both down a bit from last year while his ground ball rate (55.8%) has jumped a notch. Iwakuma’s homer rate (1.07 HR/9 and 15.8 HR/FB%) is about the same and lefties (.313 wOBA) had hit him much harder than righties (.228 wOBA). Like Tanaka, Iwakuma’s out pitch is a mid-80s splitter, though his upper-80s four-seamer and sinker lag behind his ex-teammate. A slow low-80s slider is his other offspeed pitch.
Wednesday: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (No vs. SEA) vs. RHP Chris Young (vs. NYY)
The Mariners have struck scrap heap gold with Young, who has a 3.42 ERA (5.38 FIP) in eleven starts (and one relief appearance) and 68.1 innings. Safeco Field has been perfect for his extreme fly ball (25.8% grounders) ways, as he’s been much more effective at home (.230 wOBA) than on the road (.269 wOBA). He doesn’t have a platoon split, doesn’t miss bats (4.35 K/9 and 11.6 K%), doesn’t limit walks (3.95 BB/9 and 10.6 BB%), and doesn’t keep the ball in the park (1.32 HR/9 and 8.0 HR/FB%). And yet, it works for him. Baseball is so weird. Young is a pure two-pitch pitcher these days, throwing a mid-80s fastball about 75% of the time and filling in the gaps with upper-70s sliders. He survives because of his funky delivery, which hides the ball very well. Young held the Yankees to two runs (one earned) in 5.2 innings back in April.
Thursday: RHP Chase Whitley (No vs. SEA) vs. LHP Roenis Elias (vs. NYY)
Due to injuries, the 25-year-old Elias jumped straight from Double-A to MLB this season, and he has a 3.64 ERA (4.01 FIP) in 13 starts and 81.2 innings so far. Not bad for an unheralded Cuban signee. Elias has good but unspectacular peripherals across the board — 7.71 K/9 (20.8 K%), 3.20 BB/9 (8.7 BB%), 0.99 HR/9 (11.8 HR/FB%), and 46.3% grounders — and he has small home/road and left/right splits. Elias uses a low-90s fastball to set up his mid-80s changeup and upper-70s curveball, both of which are quality offerings. The Yankees won’t have to face Felix Hernandez this series, but Elias did strike out a career-high ten while allowing two runs in seven innings in the Bronx a few weeks ago.
The Mariners made the long flight from Tampa to Seattle yesterday, and their bullpen has worked quite a bit of late. Closer RHP Fernando Rodney (2.72 FIP) has pitched in two of the last three days and four of the last seven. Setup man RHP Danny Farquhar (2.70 FIP) threw two innings yesterday and RHP Dominic Leone (2.85 FIP) has pitched in back-to-back games.
The rest of the bullpen includes RHP Yoervis Medina (4.04 FIP), RHP Tom Wilhelmsen (4.06 FIP), LHP Joe Beimel (3.08 FIP), and LHP Charlie Furbush (3.66 FIP). There isn’t a true long man in the bunch, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Just unusual. The Yankees were rained out yesterday, so their bullpen is rested. Check out our Bullpen Workload page anyway. For the latest and greatest on the Mariners, head over USS Mariner and Lookout Landing.
Both Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui will make their Old Timers’ Day debuts later this month, the Yankees announced. That’s going to be a lot of fun. Former right-hander John Montefusco will make his Old Timers’ debut as well. The full roster of Old Timers can be seen right here. The usual cast of characters will be there.
Old Timer’s Day is June 22nd this year, so not this coming Sunday, the following Sunday. The Yankees will be unveiling the second of four new Monument Park plaques that day, this one in honor of Goose Gossage. Tino Martinez’s plaque will be unveiled one day earlier. Plaques for Paul O’Neill and Joe Torre are coming later this summer. Torre is having his number retired as well. · (44) ·
The Yankees were able to get to Seattle a few hours early last night thanks to the rainout in Kansas City. I’m not gonna lie, getting a night away from the struggling offense was pretty nice. It can get mighty frustrating when you have to watch it game after game. Here are some miscellaneous thoughts a few hours before the series opener against the Mariners.
1. The Diamondbacks surprisingly designated Trevor Cahill for assignment yesterday, and I say surprisingly because there is still roughly $18M (!) left on his contract through next year. Teams are usually reluctant to eat that kind of money, but bravo to Arizona for recognizing a sunk cost and being willing to improve their team. Cahill is only 26 and he was good as recently as last year (3.99 ERA and 4.26 FIP in 146.2 innings), so someone will surely give him a job once he clears waivers and becomes available for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum. The Yankees should be looking to replace Vidal Nuno, though it’s worth noting Cahill lives and dies by the ground ball. (He had a 17.1% strikeout rate and a 57.8% ground ball rate from 2011-13.) As you’ve surely noticed, ground balls and the Yankees’ infield do not mix well. That said, he’s almost certainly better than Wade LeBlanc — Cahill had a 3.04 ERA (2.87 FIP) with 26.5% strikeout rate and a 47.5% ground ball rate in 23.2 relief innings for the D-Backs after being demoted to the bullpen a few weeks ago — and if the Bombers can convince him to come to New York, they should do it. Pitchers usually don’t come to the AL East and Yankee Stadium to rebuild value unless it’s a last resort though. (For what it’s worth, Nick Piecoro says GM Kevin Towers made it sound like Cahill agreed to go to the minors when he clears waivers.)
2. Shawn Kelley‘s second rehab game went fine last night by all accounts, so he is expected to be activated off the 15-day DL in time for tomorrow’s game. I assume either Matt Daley or Jose Ramirez will be sent to Triple-A Scranton to clear a roster spot. Doesn’t really matter either way. The important thing is that the back-end of the bullpen is getting some much needed help, so Joe Girardi will be able to take it a bit easier on Dellin Betances and Adam Warren in front of David Robertson. We’re in mid-June now and Betances and Warren are still on pace for 94 and 89 innings this season, respectively, and it seems like all that work has started to catch up to them of late. Girardi has already indicated he won’t necessarily stick Kelley in the eighth inning right away — did you realize he’s been out for a month already? time flies — which makes sense. I love Betances in his current fireman role and both Kelley and Warren seem to be at their best when they start an inning clean and only throw exactly one inning. The bullpen’s about to get a pretty big boost and it is definitely needed right now.
3. Speaking of bullpens, just about every reliever I wanted the Yankees to sign this past offseason has flopped, namely Jose Veras, Grant Balfour, and Brian Wilson. Others like Eric O’Flaherty, Joel Hanrahan, and Jesse Crain have yet to pitch this year. Boone Logan has been on the disabled list twice and Joe Nathan has completely melted down for the Tigers. Like, spectacularly. The only two free agent relievers who signed biggish contracts and have been good so far this season are Joaquin Benoit and Joe Smith. I thought the Yankees needed to sign a pretty good reliever this winter after losing Mariano Rivera to retirement, but instead Betances has stepped up to fill the void. The Yankees replaced an elite reliever with another elite reliever from within. Obviously Betances is not Mo, he’s got a long way to go before being mentioned in the same breath as Rivera, but the relief crew hasn’t missed a beat this year. It’s been pretty impressive to watch. Every year Girardi & Co. seem to unearth a new weapon.
4. You’ve probably seen it by now, but if not, Manny Machado had a little meltdown against the Athletics this weekend. Two meltdowns, really. First he got in Josh Donaldson’s face because he felt he was tagged too hard (really?), then he threw his bat at … someone on the other team. It looked like he tried to throw it at the pitcher but it wound up going towards the third baseman, who was not Donaldson at the time. Here’s the video of the tag play and here’s the video of the bat throwing. The Orioles threw up and in at Donaldson twice in the series, and the Athletics threw inside at Machado right before he threw the bat. I’m guessing Machado and Fernando Abad (who threw at Machado) will both be suspended some length of time this week. Anyway, this an unnecessarily long way of pointing out Machado is hitting .254/.288/.381 (81 wRC+) over the last calendar year. The fans at Camden Yards booed him following each one of his at-bats during last night’s 0-for-4. Boy that honeymoon sure is over, huh? Machado got lumped in with Mike Trout and Bryce Harper as part of the next wave of superstars, but he was always a notch below those two because of his general lack of plate discipline. Now the kid is throwing fits because he didn’t like the way he was tagged. Maybe it’s time for a little wake up call stint in the minors? Don’t get me wrong, I’d take Machado on the Yankees in a heartbeat, but he’s part of the problem right now for Baltimore, not part of the solution.
According to his Twitter feed, RHP Ty Hensley will throw three innings in an Extended Spring Training game tomorrow. He’s working his way up to five innings. The two short season leagues open their seasons in a little less than two weeks, so it seems like he’ll be stretched out just in time to join one of ‘em.
Triple-A Scranton (7-4 win over Toledo)
- LF Jose Pirela: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB — not his first time playing left field, in case you were wondering … he’s done it plenty of times in the past
- C Frankie Cervelli: 0-4 — picked a runner off second with a snap throw … caught all nine innings for the first time during his rehab assignment
- CF Adonis Garcia: 2-2 — left the game for an unknown inning after singling and running the bases in the third
- RF Zoilo Almonte: 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K
- SS Zelous Wheeler: 2-4, 1 R, 2 RBI
- 3B Scott Sizemore: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K
- DH Austin Romine: 1-2, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB — 12-for-37 (.324) with four doubles, two homers, six walks, and eight strikeouts in his last ten games
- RHP Shawn Kelley: 1 IP, 1 Hm 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GB/FB — 11 of 16 pitches were strikes (69%), plus he threw some more pitches in the bullpen afterward according to Donnie Collins … Kelley told Collins he doesn’t know what the next step will be, but he assumes he will join the big league team
- RHP Joel De La Cruz: 4 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 Balk, 6/2 GB/FB — 43 of 62 pitches were strikes (69%)
- RHP Danny Burawa: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K — 0/1 GB/FB — 13 of 20 pitches were strikes (65%)