The Yankees aren’t going to the postseason, but this game almost dragged on long enough to have they playing in October. The 2013 season ended with a 5-1 win over the Astros (in 14 innings!) and a sweep in Houston. Let’s recap the last victory of the year:
- Shutdown Bullpen: Considering how terrible the bullpen was at times down the stretch, it’s kinda funny they turned in one of their best efforts of the season on Sunday. Six relievers combined to retire of 27 of 30 batters faced in nine scoreless innings. They struck out a dozen. Dellin Betances was particularly impressive (four strikeouts in 2.1 perfect innings), as what Matt Daley (two strikeouts in two perfect innings). David Robertson closed out the season with a perfect frame.
- Late Rally(ies): Let’s just say the Yankees didn’t show much urgency at the plate in this game. There were a lot of quick outs in the first seven innings and understandably so. Everyone wanted to go home. Eduardo Nunez (double) and Curtis Granderson (single) didn’t get the memo, apparently, and combined to create the trying run in the eighth. The two teams remained tied at one until the 14th, when Mark Reynolds hit a mammoth homer to left center to
put everyone out of their miserygive the Yankees a one-run lead. Nunez doubled in two runs later in the inning and J.R. Murphy singled in another to give the club some more breathing room. Five of eight batters reached base in the 14th after five of the previous 22 batters reached.
- Almost Historic: One more strikeout. That’s all the Yankees needed to set a new franchise single-game strikeout record. Instead, they tied the club record by whiffing 19 Astros in the 14 innings. They also struck out 19 Blue Jays in 2001 (17 innings) and 19 White Sox in 1987 (15 innings). The franchise record for a nine inning game is 18 strikeouts, done twice before — Ron Guidry’s game in 1978 and a combined effort just two years ago.
- Leftovers: For the 17th time this year, the Yankees did not draw a single walk. That ties the franchise record set in 1919 and 1971 … Nunez led the way with three hits but Granderson, Brendan Ryan, and Zoilo Almonte had two apiece … David Huff struck out a career-high-tying seven while allowing one run in five innings … the Yankees struck out 16 times themselves (David Adams five times all by himself), one shy of the franchise’s all-time record. They’ve struck out 17 times on three occasions, most recently in 2010.
For the box score and video highlights, check out MLB.com. For some other stats, check out FanGraphs. For the final standings, go to ESPN. With the season over, it’s time for hot stove talk and rumors and trades and whatever else the next four and a half brings. I do think the Yankees will be busy this winter and I do think there are some front office-level changes coming, particularly on the player development side. We’ll see. Thanks for sticking around this season. It was a blast.
Sadly, the Yankees season is over. The end came sooner than we all hoped but that’s life. Outside of the Bronx, the highlight of the final day of the 2013 season was clearly Henderson Alvarez’s walk-off no-hitter (!), which is pretty much the coolest thing ever. I was kinda sorta hoping the game would remain scoreless so he could go back out for the tenth, but I guess a walk-off wild pitch was good enough. Fun fun fun.
Anyway, here’s your open thread for the night. There is no late baseball game and the late NFL game is the Patriots at the Falcons (8:30pm ET on NBC). Also, ahhhh Breaking Bad finale. Looking forward to that. Talk about whatever you like here. Go nuts.
So this is it. The final game of the season. The Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs a few days ago and both Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte have had their grand send-offs. All of the important stuff has already been addressed, so this game is the epitome of meaningless. I expect a lot of quick at-bats by both teams since everyone wants to get home for the winter. Vacation’s a waitin’. Here is the final lineup of 2013:
- 3B Eduardo Nunez
- C J.R. Murphy
- CF Curtis Granderson
- LF Vernon Wells
- 1B Mark Reynolds
- DH Travis Hafner
- 2B David Adams
- SS Brendan Ryan
- RF Zoilo Almonte
And on the mound is left-hander David Huff, at least for a little while. A parade of September call-up relievers will follow him to close out the year.
More heat, more humidity, and more rain in Houston. The retractable roof at Minute Maid Park has gotten a workout this weekend. First pitch is scheduled for 2:10pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.
Via Andy Martino: Brian Cashman confirmed the Yankees hope to re-sign pitching coach Larry Rothschild after the season. “I think he is an excellent pitching coach,” said the GM. “I would like to have him back. I would like to have [Joe Girardi] back … I would think that Larry wouldn’t want to work with just any manager, so first and foremost we have to deal with that.”
Rothschild, 59, signed a three-year contract when he replaced Dave Eiland following the 2010 season. The staff has a 3.97 ERA and 3.92 FIP in three seasons under his watch — obviously that isn’t all attributable to him — both of which rank in the middle of the AL pack. Rothschild came to the Yankees with a reputation for improving strikeout and walks rates, and he’s done that for the most part. I think his future is tied to Girardi’s — if Girardi comes back, Rothschild comes back. If not, the team will be looking for both a new manager and a new pitching coach. · (17) ·
Even though the Yankees have been eliminated from postseason contention, these last few days have been pretty damn awesome. Congrats, Andy. And thanks.
For the last time in his career, Andy Pettitte will start a Major League game tonight. He is retiring after the season and, after making his final Yankee Stadium start last weekend, will wrap-up his borderline Hall of Fame career at home in Houston. Pettitte lives in the area and spent three years pitching for the Astros, so things worked out pretty well for him. Coincidentally, he will also be making his 438th career start in pinstripes, tying Whitey Ford for the most in franchise history. Pretty neat. Here’s the lineup that will face right-hander Paul “don’t call be Rogers” Clemens:
- CF Curtis Granderson
- 3B Eduardo Nunez
- 2B Robinson Cano
- LF Alfonso Soriano
- 1B Lyle Overbay
- RF Zoilo Almonte
- DH Ichiro Suzuki
- SS Brendan Ryan
- C Chris Stewart
And on the mound for one last time is Andy Pettitte. Maybe it’s just me, but this doesn’t seem to have the same luster as it would have had he not retired once before. Still going to sad to see him go.
It is hot, humid, and raining in Houston. Luckily, Minute Maid Park has a roof. We’ll have baseball tonight. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy the penultimate game of the season.
Mariano Rivera Update: Rivera said he was pitching with “tremendous soreness” in his forearm down the stretch. He won’t pitch against this season and is unlikely to play center field as well.
Injury Update: Alex Rodriguez (hamstring, calf) is unlikely to play at all this weekend. With his appeal hearing set to start Monday and a lengthy suspension on the horizon, it’s fair to think he may have already played the final game of his career.
Rotation Update: Girardi confirmed that Hiroki Kuroda has been shut down and will not pitch tomorrow even though he lines up for the game. David Huff is likely to get the ball, at least until the parade of September call-ups close out the season.
Via Jesse Sanchez: Cuban slugger Jose Abreu has officially been declared a free agent and cleared to both negotiate and sign with any team. He defected to somewhere in the Caribbean just last month, so the process didn’t take all that long. MLB has been looking to slow down the signing process for Cuban players.
Ben Badler described the 26-year-old Abreu as “an intelligent hitter without a lot of effort in in his swing and the power to hit 30-plus homers in a season … (though) some scouts consider his bat speed only fair.” He has a unorthodox double toe-tap and, like many Cuban hitters, is prone to breaking balls off the plate. Abreu is a big boy — he’s listed at 6-foot-2 and 258lbs. — with outrageous numbers in Cuba, including a .382/.525/.735 line this year and .394/.542/.837 last year. There’s plenty of video on YouTube.
The Giants, Red Sox, Rangers, Mets, White Sox, Pirates, and Marlins have all been rumored to have some interest in Abreu. Mike Napoli and Kendrys Morales will be the best free agent first base/DH types this winter, so Abreu is hitting the market at a good time. The Yankees need right-handed power and quality bats in general, but they already have a bunch of first base/DH types under contract. Can’t just ignore positional needs. Abreu doesn’t make much sense for New York. · (19) ·
Via Mark Feinsand: The Dodgers do not have interest in Robinson Cano and will not pursue him when he becomes a free agent after the season. “They’re not interested in Cano,” said Feinsand’s source flatly. Los Angeles already has a ton of money on the books in future years and must still sign Clayton Kershaw to what figures to be the richest pitching contract in history.
Cano, 30, was recently rumored to be seeking a ten-year contract worth $305M, but that’s just the big scary number every prominent free agent floats before the offseason. No one is paying him that much. The Yankees have reportedly offered a very fair seven years and $161M. The Dodgers are an obvious suitor for Cano given their need at second base and boatload of cash, so I have a hard time believing they’re not truly interested. Even if they aren’t, it would make sense to get involved just to drive up the price. The Nationals, Tigers, Mariners, Blue Jays, and heck, maybe even the Mets, could get involved. · (26) ·
Via Anthony Rieber: Hiroki Kuroda is still unsure if he wants to pitch in 2014, either in Japan or with an MLB team. He hasn’t ruled out retirement. “It all depends on how I feel after the season and think about things. Right now all I can say is I don’t know,” said the right-hander.
Assuming he doesn’t start tomorrow — he lines up for that game but the team has the starter listed as TBA — the 38-year-old Kuroda ends the season with a 3.31 ERA and 3.56 FIP in 201.1 innings. He hit a real big wall in mid-August and was just brutal down the stretch. The Yankees will surely make Kuroda the $14M-ish qualifying offer to ensure they get a draft pick if he signs with another MLB team, but they don’t get anything if he retires or heads back to Japan.
I would like to have Kuroda back next season at a reasonable price, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about an older pitcher who’s hit a wall in August two straight years. He earned $15M this season and I would be uncomfortable giving him more. It’s a very fair price. · (14) ·
The four-game losing streak that everyone forgot about is over. The Yankees won their third-to-last game of the season on Friday night, holding on for a 3-2 win over the last place Astros. Let’s recap the meaningless victory:
- Spotted Start: Before the game, Joe Girardi said he was hoping to get about 50 pitches and three innings out of spot starter Adam Warren. He gave him 64 pitches and five shutout innings. Warren allowed just two singles and a walk in those five innings, and he retired each of the last nine men he faced. Can’t do much better. Assuming he doesn’t pitch on Sunday, Warren finishes the season with a 3.39 ERA and 4.32 FIP in 77 mostly long relief innings. Gotta think he’ll get a look as a starter in Spring Training. Nice season, Adam.
- Three-Run Fourth: You can tell this was a late-season game between two teams eliminated from postseason contention because the two starters threw a combined 67 pitches to record the first 18 outs. That’s barely an average of 100 pitches per 27 outs. The Yankees didn’t make any offensive noise until the fourth, when four straight batters reached base to drive in three runs. Robinson Cano singled, Alfonso Soriano walked, Mark Reynolds singled (one run), and David Adams doubled into the right field corner (two runs). Just enough runs to show they tried. That’s all you need in a game like this.
- Last Look?: I really hope that was Joba Chamberlain‘s final appearance as a Yankee, but I fear he will get into Sunday’s game. Joba allowed three of the four men he faced to reach base, including a booming two-run double to center and a line drive single to right on his first two pitches of the game. He then walked the bases loaded before escaping on a fly ball. What a waste of talent.
- Leftovers: Following Adams’ double, 17 of the final 19 Yankees made outs. The two exceptions were Soriano’s sixth inning double and Reynolds’ ninth inning single … Preston Claiborne walked the leadoff man in the eighth but retired the next three guys in a row … David Robertson retired all three men he faced in the ninth for the save as angry fans chanted for Mariano Rivera. Hey, I’d be bummed too … Eduardo Nunez went 0-for-4 and saw seven total pitches.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. It’ll be Pettitte vs. Clemens — Andy Pettitte vs. Paul Clemens, no relation to Roger — in game two of this season-ended three-game set on Saturday. Andy will be making the final start of his career (for the second time). That’s a night game. Just had to sneak one more Saturday night game in before the end of the year, huh? Thanks, baseball gods.