Game 122: Jorge Posada Day

Jorge Posada is not my all-time favorite Yankee but he is definitely in the top three. A switch-hitting catcher with power, patience, and a fiery attitude? How did anyone not like the guy? Posada is one of the four best catchers in franchise history, and, among all catchers in MLB history, he ranks third in walks (936), eighth in homers (275), ninth in OBP (.374), 15th in OPS+ (121), and 17th in WAR (48.4).

I don’t know if Posada will ever get into the Hall of Fame, he’s a borderline candidate, but he is going into Monument Park this afternoon. The Yankees are retiring his uniform No. 20 and will also honor Posada with a plaque. He helped the team to five World Series titles — he was a key contributor to four of them — and holds several franchise records, including games caught (1,518). Simply put, he is one of the best catchers in both Yankees and baseball history.

The Yankees want fans in their seats by noon for the pre-game ceremony, but, knowing how these things go, the ceremony itself probably won’t start until 12:15pm or 12:30pm ET. Will Derek Jeter make his second appearance at Yankee Stadium since retiring? I have to think so. The whole gang will probably be there. The weather’s great and it should be a really fun day.

As for the regularly scheduled afternoon game, here is the Indians’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. DH Brian McCann
  5. 1B Greg Bird
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. C John Ryan Murphy
    RHP Luis Severino

This afternoon’s game is scheduled to begin at 1:05pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. The Posada ceremony will only be on YES, I believe. MLB Network usually doesn’t carry that stuff. For shame. Enjoy the ceremony and the game, folks.

Injury Updates: Michael Pineda (forearm) will rejoin the rotation Wednesday, Joe Girardi announced. Barring something unexpected, the team will do with a six-man rotation. Predictable … Bryan Mitchell (face) has passed all concussion tests and will throw a bullpen session tomorrow. Geez, sounds like he might be back fairly soon, huh?

Roster Moves: The Yankees have called up Branden Pinder and designated Chris Capuano for assignment, the team announced. Pinder was sent down ten days ago, so the Yankees brought him back as soon as possible.

Saturday Links: Postseason Schedule, Tulowitzki, Patches, Prospects, Online Streaming


The Yankees and Indians continue their four-game series later this afternoon. Here are a few links worth checking out while you wait for first pitch.

Postseason schedule announced

MLB announced the 2015 postseason scheduled this week. Unlike the last two years, I can post this information and not feel like I am wasting a bunch of time. The full schedule can be found right here. Here are the dates potentially relevant to the Yankees:

  • Tiebreaker Game: Monday, October 5th (if necessary to determine division winner, second wildcard spot, etc.)
  • AL Wildcard Game: Tuesday, October 6th
  • ALDS: Thursday, October 8th through Wednesday, October 14th (best of five)
  • ALCS: Friday, October 16th through Saturday, October 24th (best of seven)
  • World Series: Tuesday, October 27th through Wednesday, November 4th (best of seven)

As always, the best-of-three LDS round includes off-days between Games Two and Three and between Games Four and Five. The best-of-seven LCS round and World Series have off-days between Games Two and Three and between Games Five and Six. The World Series will bleed into November unless there is a four-game sweep. There hasn’t been a World Series game in November since 2010. The Yankees won the 2009 World Series on November 4th, as you surely remember.

Cashman preferred Tulowitzki to Jeter

Here’s a fun anecdote. According to Sports Illustrated, Brian Cashman told Derek Jeter he would rather have Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop while in contract talks during the 2010-11 offseason. Here’s the full blurb:

“Who would you rather have playing shortstop this year than me?” Jeter asked Cashman.

“Do you really want me to answer that?” Cashman replied. Jeter told him to go ahead, and he listed Tulowitzki, then the Rockies’ shortstop who was in the midst of his first All-Star campaign. “We’re not paying extra money for popularity,” he added, “We’re paying for performance.”

Jeter was 36 at the time and coming off the worst season of his career. He and the Yankees eventually agreed to a new three-year contract with $51M, though reportedly ownership stepped in to wrap things up. SI has a profile of Cashman in this week’s issue that has yet to make its way online.

Hey, as far as I’m concerned, Cashman did nothing wrong. He asked Jeter if wanted an answer, Jeter said yes, and Cashman gave him an honest answer. There needed to be a bad guy in those contract negotiations just to give the Yankees some sort of leverage. They couldn’t go in there kissing Jeter’s behind and willing to pay anything. I would have rather had Tulo instead of Jeter too.

FanGraphs’ midseason prospect update

Over at FanGraphs, Kiley McDaniel posted an updated look at the top prospects in baseball. Dodgers 3B Corey Seager sits in the top spot and is followed by Twins OF Byron Buxton and Phillies SS J.P. Crawford. The Yankee shave three players among McDaniel’s top 26 prospects: RHP Luis Severino (9th), OF Aaron Judge (22nd), and SS Jorge Mateo (25th). I doubt you’ll see Mateo ranked that highly anywhere else this year or heading into next year. McDaniel seems to really believe in him.

Posada & Pettitte Day patches

Later today, the Yankees will honor Jorge Posada by retiring his No. 20. Then tomorrow they’ll do the same for Andy Pettitte and retire No. 46. Both are very deserving in my opinion. It blows my mind anyone would try to argue otherwise. Anyway, in honor of their special days, the Yankees will wear Posada and Pettitte patches on their hats. Here they are:

Jorge Posada Andy Pettitte patch

The Pettitte patch is A+ work. Posada … I’ll give it a C. Good idea, not the best execution. Pettitte’s stare was kinda his trademark and it makes for a good patch. Posada doesn’t have that signature pose or image or whatever. (Maybe it’s this?) Still pretty cool. I’m really looking forward to seeing the ceremonies the next two days.

MLB, MLBPA announce new domestic violence policy

MLB and the MLBPA announced their new domestic violence policy yesterday. The press release is right here (PDF link). It covers domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. In a nutshell, the Commissioner’s Office will investigate, the player will be placed on leave for up to seven days, and commissioner Rob Manfred can impose any discipline he chooses. There is no minimum or maximum suspension, and discipline is not dependent on whether there are charges or a conviction. After the Ray Rice situation and everything else going on in the NFL, MLB and the MLBPA did a good job getting an agreement worked out. Manfred has the ability to be heavy-handed from the start.

Some online streaming to start next season

According to John Ourand and Eric Fisher, MLB and FOX have agreed to a deal making games available for in-market online streaming. There’s a catch: it only covers FOX affiliates. So Yankees fans in New York won’t be able to watch YES online just yet. FOX holds local broadcast rights to 15 teams, so this does cover half the league. That’s a start.

Part of the hold up with other broadcast networks is MLB’s requirement that MLBAM’s operation be in control to ensure the video security and quality, as well as a 4% rights fee. It’ll end up costing regional networks like YES and SNY a couple million bucks to make games available online in-market, say Ourand and Fisher. Hopefully the other networks hammer out a deal soon. It’s 2015. I’d like to be able to watch the Yankees on something other than my TV.

Update: Turns out the Yankees are covered by the FOX streaming deal. How about that? FOX owns a big stake in YES, remember. They bought in a few years ago.

Bad hitting, bad pitching, bad fielding: Yankees lose 7-3 to Indians

Source: FanGraphs

The Yankees are now 13-14 against last place teams this season. Thank goodness for that 8-4 record against the Red Sox, huh? This team really knows how to play down to the competition. The Yankees looked bad in all phases of the game Friday night, losing 7-3 to the Indians. It’s Friday night, so let’s recap with bullet points:

  • Almost Out Of The Inning: Masahiro Tanaka allowed four runs (three earned) in six innings and it could have easily been two runs in six innings. He got the soft ground ball to end the fifth with runners on the corners, but Brendan Ryan bobbled it, and the run scored. Very routine play that gets made like 999 times out of a 1,000. This was the one. Joe Girardi also sent Tanaka back out for the seventh, watched him put the leadoff runner on, then yanked him. Batter-to-batter is easily my least favorite managerial move. The bullpen allowed the runner to score. Tanaka wasn’t great by any means, but he didn’t much help from the rest of the team either.
  • Just Short: The Yankees scored just one run against the dominant Carlos Carrasco — he joined Dallas Keuchel as the only pitchers to strike out 11+ Yankees this year — and that run came with two outs in the fourth. Carlos Beltran doubled and Greg Bird singled him in. Nice and easy. The Yankees rallied against the bullpen in the eighth, getting two run on three singles (Brett Gardner, Chase Headley, Alex Rodriguez) and an error (Jose Ramirez). That got them to within 4-3. A walk loaded the bases with two outs, bringing Stephen Drew to the plate. Shockingly, the guy with a .263 OBP made an out. It would have been a letdown had it not been so predictable.
  • Blown Open: Not a great night for the usually reliable bullpen. Chasen Shreve allowed Tanaka’s inherited runner to score on a Michael Brantley single, then Justin Wilson allowed three runs on four hits in the top of the ninth. The inning would have ended with just one run on the board had Drew been able to complete the 5-4-3 double play, but alas. Wilson’s been awesome. A bad inning was bound to happen at some point.
  • Leftovers: Gardner had two hits while Headley, A-Rod, Beltran, Bird, pinch-hitter Jacoby Ellsbury, and Drew had one hit each … Ellsbury and Gardner drew walks, and Gardner stole a base … Brian McCann is clearly favoring his left leg, the one he hurt a few weeks ago, because he’s changed his batting stance drastically (video) … and finally, Ramirez, the Indians nine-hole hitter, went 3-for-3 with a walk. He’s hitting .455 against the Yankees this year and .184 against everyone else.

Here are the box score, video highlights, updated standings, and postseason odds. Also check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees have already lost the season series to the Indians but will try to salvage this four-game series starting Saturday afternoon. It’ll be Luis Severino and Danny Salazar on the bump. Oh, and by the way, it’s Jorge Posada day! No. 20 will be retired in a pre-game ceremony. Fun fun fun.

DotF: Pineda goes 4.2 innings in second rehab start

SS Hyo-Jun Park placed 20th on this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. “He’s rangy and instinctive and has a fantastic eye for the strike zone. He’s a line-drive hitter with pop enough to jerk one out of the park every now and again,” said the write-up.

Triple-A Scranton (3-2 win over Rochester in 14 innings, walk-off style)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 2-6, 3 K
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • RF Jose Pirela: 2-5, 1 BB
  • C Gary Sanchez: 1-6, 1 RBI, 1 K — in a 6-for-43 (.140) slump
  • DH Aaron Judge: 0-6, 2 K — really limping to the finish line this year
  • LF Slade Heathcott: 2-4, 2 K — left the game after running the bases in the ninth for an unknown reason
  • 1B Austin Romine: 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 CS — walk-off single
  • RHP Michael Pineda: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HB, 6/1 GB/FB — 45 of 62 pitches were strikes (73%) … he was scheduled to throw 65 pitches or so in his second rehab start … Pineda told Billy Witz he felt good and declared “Big Mike is back”
  • RHP Caleb Cotham: 1.1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 3/0 GB/FB — eleven of 18 pitches were strikes (61%)
  • RHP Chris Martin: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K — 13 of 20 pitches were strikes (65%) … first outing in a month … Martin told Witz he developed a staph infection from a bug bite in his hand, and it spread to his elbow … yikes
  • RHP Nick Goody: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1/2 GB/FB — 18 of 32 pitches were strikes (56%)
  • RHP Johnny Barbato: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 25 of 44 pitches were strikes (57%)
  • LHP James Pazos: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2/1 GB/FB – 18 of 28 pitches were strikes (64%)

[Read more…]

Game 121: Three-Fourths

Tonight marks the three-quarters point of the season. Well, kinda. I guess the true three-quarters point would be the middle of the fifth inning of tomorrow’s game, but 121 games is close enough for me. The days are starting to get a little shorter, there weather was crisp this morning … it’s starting to feel a little bit like fall, which means time is running out on the 2015 season. These next few weeks should be pretty intense.

The Yankees dropped last night’s series opener against the Indians and, until that ninth inning rally, it was the most nondescript game of the year. Nothing interesting happened whatsoever. What can you do. Can’t win ’em all. The Yankees have still won six of their last eight games and that’s a pretty good pace. I’ll take more of that going forward. Here is the Cleveland lineup and here is the New York lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. 1B Greg Bird
  7. LF Chris Young
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. SS Brendan Ryan
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Very nice day in New York today. Blue sky, nice breeze, and a few clouds. Good day for a game. Tonight’s contest will begin just after 7pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Injury Updates: Mark Teixeira (leg) is getting better but is unlikely to play this weekend … Bryan Mitchell (face) played catch today … Dustin Ackley (back) went through fielding drills and could begin a minor league rehab assignment next week … Jacoby Ellsbury and Didi Gregorius are fine. Just getting the night off during this long stretch of games.

TiqIQ: Yankees Prepare For Series Opposite Astros; Tickets Remain Very Affordable For Jacoby Ellsbury Bobblehead

A week ago, the New York Yankees lost their stronghold on the AL East. Now, they’ve got it back. That touch-and-go status atop one of the most competitive divisions in all of baseball will probably stick around, too, since the surging Toronto Blue Jays are just 1.5 games back and remain one of the hottest, not to mention most dangerous, teams in the American League.

Toronto isn’t the only team giving the Yanks a run for their money inside the division, which is all the more reason for New York to piece together a hot run without looking back. Thanks to a recent run of their own, the Baltimore Orioles are also just five games out of first, and even the Tampa Bay Rays were just 6.5 games out earlier in the week. Suffice to say, the home stretch is bound to be a wild one for the Bronx Bombers, making New York Yankees tickets an extremely hot item as the season soon enters its final month.

On top of their division title and playoff prospects, New York is force-feeding fans value on a regular basis at Yankee Stadium, and that should only continue with Jacoby Ellsbury Bobblehead Night when the Houston Astros come into town on Monday, August 24. When these two contenders collide, there will certainly be playoff implications, making it all the more of a tremendous bargain when this series-opening showdown gets underway. After all, Major League teams only give out a select number of bobbleheads commemorating their best and most celebrated players, and the Ellsbury offering happens to be one of the last of the season provided by the Yankees.

The first 18,000 guests get their hands on a Jacoby Ellsbury bobblehead, and then get to enjoy two powerful teams battle. Both Houston and New York have scored a healthy number of runs this season, and with Yankee Stadium being the perfect stage for an offensive explosion, the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Correa, and Jose Altuve could break out in a big way. The man of the night, Ellsbury, is also more than capable of churning out his own significant production, and may be extra tempted to do so on the night he is being honored with his first-ever bobblehead as a member of the Yankees.

Regardless of how the game goes down, fans from both sides are in for a major value, with Yankees tickets for game one of this three-game series averaging out at just $88.83 on TiqIQ. If that wasn’t good enough, fans can hit the cheap seats starting at $20 on and if they arrive to Yankee Stadium early enough, they’ll also get the desired Yankees collectible giveaway. Without question, it’s one of the best deals going down at Yankee Stadium left in the slate, and is certainly the game worth catching before August comes to a conclusion.

With the season starting to wind down, the Yankees need every win they can get to make sure they can stave off the pesky Jays and Orioles in the AL East. And while they do it, fans can continue to take advantage of the great promotional items being distributed at Yankee Stadium.

RAB on CBS: More aggressive approach helps Gardner become an All-Star

With an assist from Alex Gordon’s groin injury, Brett Gardner was selected to his first All-Star Game last month. He was the only player in the AL with at least ten home runs and 15 stolen bases at the break.

Gardner has been one of the most productive Yankees since he became a full-time player in 2010, back when he was a speedy leadoff type. He still is that speedy leadoff type, but over the last few years Gardner has added more power to his game. He set a career high with eight home runs in 2013, more than doubled it with 17 last year, and he’s hit eleven so far this year.

Despite being a hitter who always sees a ton of pitches and works deep counts, 14 of Gardner’s 36 home runs since 2013 have come on the first or second pitch of the at-bat, and all 14 of those have come on fastballs. He hit just one homer within the first two pitches of the at-bat prior to 2013. Simply put, Gardner started ambushing more fastballs early in the count, leading to the increased power production.

Thanks to the wonders of BBWAA membership, I spoke to Gardner about his newfound aggressiveness and power spike, and while he downplayed the new approach, he did acknowledge making an effort to be more aggressive early in the count. He changed the scouting report, basically. Gardner no longer wanted to be known as a guy who will sit back and take hittable fastballs early in the count.

You can read about Gardner’s newfound aggressiveness at CBS’s Eye on Baseball. You are forewarned: there is an autoplay video in the post. Not my call. Sorry.

Other RAB on CBS posts: Eovaldi shuts down the running game