Sunday Night Open Thread

Here is your open thread for the rest of the weekend. The Mets and Giants are the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game (Syndergaard vs. Samardzija), plus the Olympic closing ceremonies are on too. That’ll be fun. You all know how these open threads work by now, so have at it.

Game 123: Finish the Sweep

(Stephen Dunn/Getty)
(Stephen Dunn/Getty)

The Yankees have thoroughly manhandled the Angels the last two days, winning the first two games of this series by the combined score of 12-1. Last night they were three outs away from throwing back-to-back shutouts against an AL team for the first time since 2009. (They did it to the Mets in 2014.) The Angels stink, yeah, but it’s still fun to see the Yankees playing so well, especially after the kids were called up.

This afternoon’s game is a chance to finish not just the series sweep, but the season series sweep. The Yankees are a perfect 6-0 against the Angels this season, and that’s pretty cool. The last time they swept a season series of at least seven games was 2009, when they did it to the Twins. Figures. They then swept Minnesota in the ALDS that year too. Here are Angels’ lineup and Yankees’ lineup for today’s game:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. C Gary Sanchez
  4. SS Didi Gregorius
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. DH Brian McCann
  7. 1B Mark Teixeira
  8. 3B Chase Headley
  9. RF Aaron Hicks
    RHP Chad Green

The weather is great in Anaheim again. Pretty nice afternoon to spend at the ballpark. Today’s series finale is set to begin at 3:35pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Yanks should hesitate to trade prospects for pitching

sanchez judge
(Getty)

So, the last few weeks of Yankee baseball have been pretty fun, huh? With rookies Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, and Tyler Austin making their loud debuts in the lineup and Chad Green and Luis Cessa finding success–however limited–in the rotation, the Yankees are interesting to watch again. For the majority of 2013-July of this year, the Yankees haven’t exactly been exciting for a variety of reasons, but with prospects starting to graduate and make their bones in the Bronx, that’s changing for the better.  Enjoying these performances in the moment is great as it is, but since these players are young and figure to (hopefully) be mainstays in the House that George Built going forward, it’s easy to keep the future in mind. And with the injury to Nathan Eovaldi, it’s become necessary to think about the future.

The loss of Eovaldi for all of 2017 obviously leaves a hole in the Yankee rotation. Over the last week, I’ve heard suggestions on both New York sports talk radio stations (I know, I shouldn’t subject myself to that, but in my defense, my car is really old and doesn’t have a working CD player or a Bluetooth connection) that the Yankees should consider trading some of their recently bolstered prospect depth for starting pitching. With the caveat of “never say never,” this is a plan that doesn’t immediately appeal to me.

Why yes, I did already buy a 99 JUDGE shirt. (Presswire)
(Presswire)

One of the biggest problems of roster construction for the Yankees recently has been a lack of young, cost-controlled hitting. Over the past decade, only Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner have played that role to any acclaim. Of course it’s dangerous to count prospect chickens before they hatch and some prospects are closer than others to contributing at the Major League level, but the Yankees are closer to having a solid base of young offensive talent than they have been in years. That lack of a guarantee is also why the Yankees might not want to dip into the prospect pool to trade for pitching.

The 2017 Yankees are not likely to be one pitcher away from championship-caliber contention. Given that Judge and Sanchez are likely to be counted on to replace the production–at least partially–of the departed Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Carlos Beltran, there’s always the chance that they falter. The rest of the lineup, which may or may not include another power threat in Brian McCann, is not necessarily good enough to make up for any lack o production. Then there’s the Yankee rotation, which going into 2017 has exactly one reliable starter in Masahiro Tanaka and a bunch of questions in Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, Chad Green, and Luis Cessa. Given that, it may be more prudent to buy an innings eater type on the free agent market and use 2017 as another chance to develop and evaluate the young hitters. I suppose you could make the argument that signing an innings eater and making a trade could give the Yankees a rotation solid enough to compete, but that might be hard to do from a cost perspective. Even in the offseason, the pitching market will likely favor sellers and it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the Yankees acquire an impact pitcher without giving up one of Judge or Sanchez, thus leaving a hole in an already suspect lineup.

More dangerous than he looks. (Presswire)
(Presswire)

It would be irresponsible to say that the Yankees should decidedly not deal any of their prospect depth; that’s not a smart strategy at all and it’s foolish to say ‘never’ in baseball. Regardless, the Yankees should be wary and judicious when weighing their trade options in the offseason.

Cessa’s strong start, another Sanchez homer give Yankees a 5-1 win over Angels


Source: FanGraphs

I have to say, the 2016 Yankees sure went from boring to fun in a hurry. It’s amazing what some (mostly) internal roster moves can do. The Yankees beat the Angels by a 5-1 score on Saturday night. They’ve won seven of their last ten games overall. It’s Saturday night and this was a West Coast game, so bullet points it is:

  • Three Early Runs: Gary Sanchez can’t stop won’t stop. He whacked his sixth home run of the season in the first inning, this one a solo shot to left field. Sanchez was way out in front of Ricky Nolasco’s slow breaking ball, yet he still muscled it out. Kid is crazy strong. A single (Didi Gregorius), a double (Starlin Castro), and a two-run single (Brian McCann) followed. All with two outs too. The Yankees were up 3-0 before Luis Cessa threw a pitch.
  • The Good Luis: Luis Cessa out-pitching Luis Severino is not a thing I expected coming into the season. Cessa, in his first big league start, held the Angels to three singles in six outstanding innings Saturday night. He was pitch efficient, he worked fast, and he missed bats with both his fastball and breaking ball. Cessa struck out five and walk one in his scoreless outing. The only thing that could stop him was his pitch count; Joe Girardi wasn’t going to let him throw much more than the 85 pitches he threw after not starting a game in a few weeks. Heck of a job, Luis.
  • Two More Two-Out Runs: Nolasco really settled down after that rough first inning. He retired 13 in a row at one point. The Yankees finally got back on the board in the sixth inning. Castro and McCann singled with two outs, then, after McCann stole second (!), Aaron Judge inside-outed a fastball to right field to score two runs and give the Yankees a 5-0 lead. It was maybe the loudest opposite field single I’ve ever heard. The ball makes a different sound off his bat.
  • Leftovers: Brett Gardner made an absurd jumping catch to rob C.J. Cron of a two-run homer in the seventh inning. Here’s the video. That’s a legit play of the year candidate … Tyler Clippard (seventh) and Tommy Layne (eighth) threw scoreless innings, and Dellin Betances allowed a garbage time solo homer to Albert Pujols in the ninth. Betances had not pitched since Monday and needed the work. Layne struck out Mike Trout, which was rather unexpected … Castro (single, double), McCann (two singles), and Judge (single, walk) each reached base twice … the 8-9-1-2 wrap-around portion of the lineup went 1-for-17. Ouch.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. The Yankees are four games back of the Orioles for the second wildcard spot, and they still have nine games remaining with Baltimore, including the final series of the season at Yankee Stadium. Long shot? Yes. Doable? Also yes. The Bronx Bombers will look to finish the sweep of the Angels on Sunday afternoon. That one starts at 3:35pm ET. Chad Green and Jhoulys Chacin are the scheduled starters.

DotF: Refsnyder and Montgomery lead Scranton to a win

Notes and notes and notes and notes:

  • RHP Luis Severino did indeed throw a ton of changeups during last night’s start, writes Shane Hennigan. “They told me that I had to throw more changeups. (The Yankees) told me that they didn’t care what the score is. They told me that I had to throw changeups and that’s what I did,” he said. That’s good. The stats don’t matter. Severino needs to throw that pitch and work on it.
  • According to the team’s Twitter account, OF Blake Rutherford was in Pulaski’s original lineup today, though he was later scratched. My guess is he went through batting practice and all that, and the team decide to give him an extra day. Rutherford is reportedly dealing with a knee issue.
  • After flirting with a perfect game last night, LHP Nestor Cortes landed in today’s Prospect Hot Sheet. “Cortes pitches backward, leading with his offspeed stuff and using his fastball as a putaway pitch,” said the write-up.

Triple-A Scranton (4-0 win over Pawtucket)

  • RF Ben Gamel: 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 K — 18-for-45 (.400) during his eleven-game hitting streak
  • LF Clint Frazier: 0-4, 3 K
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 4-4, 1 R, 1 2B — 15-for-31 (.484) in nine games since being sent down
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 1-4, 2 K, 1 CS
  • CF Mason Williams: 1-4, 1 R, 2 K
  • DH Jake Cave: 1-3, 1 BB
  • LHP Jordan Montgomery: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 WP, 10/1 GB/FB — 63 of 102 pitches were strikes (62%) … third straight scoreless start … 123/43 K/BB in 127.2 total innings … he seems to be getting better each time he gets promoted
  • RHP Nick Goody: 1 IP, zeroes, 1/1 GB/FB — ten of 12 pitches were strikes
  • RHP Ben Heller: 1 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — eight of 13 pitches were strikes … 55/14 K/BB in 48 innings

[Read more…]

Game 122: Cessa’s First Start

(Leon Halip/Getty)
(Leon Halip/Getty)

The youth movement continues tonight. Rookie righty Luis Cessa is making his first big league start after a few up-and-down appearances as a reliever. I think Cessa is better equipped to start right now than Chad Green, who fanned eleven Blue Jays in six scoreless innings last time out. Cessa has four pitches (fastball, curveball, slider, changeup) and he’s super athletic (not surprising for an ex-shortstop) with a good delivery. I’m a fan. Looking forward to seeing how this goes. Here is the Angels’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. C Gary Sanchez
  4. SS Didi Gregorius
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. DH Brian McCann
  7. RF Aaron Judge
  8. 1B Tyler Austin
  9. 3B Ronald Torreyes
    RHP Luis Cessa

Yet another great weather day in Southern California. Never would have guessed it. Tonight’s game will begin at 9:35pm ET and you can watch on WPIX locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Saturday Open Thread

We’re still a few hours away from first pitch between the Yankees and Angels, so here’s an open thread to keep you busy for the time being. The Mets and Giants are on FOX Sports 1 (4pm ET), there are some NFL preseason games on as well, plus the Olympics are still going on. Talk about that stuff or whatever else here. The regular game thread will be along later.