Eovaldi, Yankees get crushed by Marlins, fall 12-2 for fifth loss in six games

It’s probably not a good thing that the most exciting part of the game was watching an opposing player crank an opposite field home run off the facing of the upper deck, but here we are. Giancarlo Stanton did just that in fifth inning on Tuesday, though the game was already out of hand by then — the Marlins demolished the Yankees 12-2. New York has now lost five of their last six games.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Lost The Trade!
This game was over in the first inning. The Marlins hammered their former teammate Nathan Eovaldi — I mean hit after hit after hit after hit — for eight runs on nine hits in just two-thirds of an inning. No, his defense didn’t do him any favors — Didi Gregorius bobbled a grounder and both Chris Young and (surprise!) Carlos Beltran failed to reel in catchable fly balls — and yes, four of the nine hits were ground balls with eyes, but some point Eovaldi has to pick his defense up. Can’t just fall apart like that.

Anyway, five of the nine hits came in two-strike counts and Eovaldi got one swing-and-miss out of 36 total pitches, which is basically a microcosm of his season (and career). Eovaldi came into Tuesday with a respectable 4.13 ERA (4.07 FIP) and left with a disastrous 5.12 ERA (4.06 FIP). (Hey, he lowered his FIP!). This is an anomaly start. I don’t care how much you hate Eovaldi, eight runs in two-thirds of an inning is an extreme outlier, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. I just wish Joe Girardi had left him in to bite the bullet, throw his 100 pitches, and save the bullpen, but alas.

Al after looking at the lineup without him. (Presswire)
Al after looking at the lineup without him. (Presswire)

Two Token Runs
Girardi may have out-thought himself with the whole “David Phelps as a reverse split since the start of last year so I’m going to put Chris Young and Brendan Ryan in the lineup” thing. Yeah, the reserve split business is true, but Young can’t hit righties and Ryan can’t hit anyone. Seems like that would negate any advantage gained by the reverse split. Maybe just stick with the best hitters regardless of handedness next time.

So, anyway, the Yankees scored their first run in the sixth inning on a bloop (Gregorius), a walk (Mark Teixeira), and a single through the shift (Brian McCann). They scored their second run on a walk (Stephen Drew), a single (Garrett Jones), and a double (Mason Williams). None of those last three guys started the game. McCann blooped a single, Beltran doubled into the right field corner, John Ryan Murphy singled back up the middle, and Ryan also reached on an error. The offense. What are you going to do. Sometimes you’re just going to run into twin aces like Tom Koehler and David Phelps.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Leftovers
Chris Capuano bit the bullet and threw four innings and 77 pitches out of the bullpen, so thanks for that. Chris Martin got four outs — he served up the monster three-run homer to Stanton, with two of those runs being charged to Capuano — and Jose Ramirez allowed one run in two innings. His first inning was probably the best he’s looked as a big leaguer. Ramirez will likely be demoted to Triple-A for a fresh arm now.

Speaking of a fresh arm, I wonder if the Yankees will call up Jose DePaula before Wednesday’s game. It’s his day to start for Triple-A Scranton and he’s already on the 40-man roster, so it’s an easy move that would add another long man with Capuano down. Esmil Rogers can start for the RailRiders to save their bullpen too. We’ll see.

Eovaldi is the first Yankee to allow eight runs in one inning or less since Bartolo Colon in 2011. Before that it was Chien-Ming Wang in 2009 and before that you have to go all the way back to Orlando Hernandez in 2000. Colon, Wang, and El Duque, huh? Pretty good pitchers. Baseball is weird sometimes.

And finally, this was somehow not the worst loss by an AL East team on Wednesday. The Nationals beat the Rays 16-4. Good gravy. The Blue Jays lost too, so, after all that, the Yankees remain one game back of first and one game up on third. No harm, no foul.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score and video highlights, and here are the updated standings. We also have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages worth your time. Now here’s the loss probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Same two teams on Wednesday, though the four-game series now shifts to Yankee Stadium for the final two games. Righties Michael Pineda and Jose Urena will be on the mound. The Yankees will play 14 of their next 21 games at home, so head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch a game(s) these next few weeks.

DotF: Flores and Severino lead RailRiders to a win

Got some notes to pass along:

  • Matt Kardos says C Gary Sanchez has been placed on the Double-A Trenton DL with a hand injury. He was hit by a foul tip the other day and has a bone bruise. X-rays showed no fracture. Sanchez is a few days away from returning to baseball activities according to Trenton manager Al Pedrique.
  • LHP Jacob Lindgren has been placed on the Triple-A Scranton DL, reports Chad Jennings. Not sure what’s wrong there but he hasn’t pitched since being demoted this past weekend. If it’s something Lindgren suffered while in MLB, the Yankees will have to call him back up and place him on the big league DL, allowing him accrue service time and receive MLB salary.
  • According to his Twitter feed, SS Kyle Holder is heading to Short Season Staten Island, which makes sense. He was the team’s supplemental first rounder last week ($1.8M bonus). Also, Robert Pimpsner says IF Thairo Estrada and RHP Domingo Acevedo will be with Staten Island as well. The season starts Friday.
  • Nick Peruffo says LHP James Pazos has been bumped up to Triple-A Scranton while RHP Caleb Cotham was send down to Double-A Trenton to clear a roster spot

Triple-A Scranton (6-4 win over Rochester)

  • CF Ben Gamel, RF Jose Pirela & 2B Rob Refsnyder: all 0-4 — Gamel and Pirela both drew a walk and struck out
  • LF Ramon Flores: 3-4, 3 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
  • SS Gregorio Petit: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
  • RHP Luis Severino: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2/7 GB/FB — 59 of 103 pitches were strikes (57%) … this strikes me as the kind of performance that would have been much uglier against big leaguers … lots of fly balls, same number of walks as strikeouts, inefficient, etc.
  • RHP Jaron Long: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 4/1 GB/FB — 14 of 19 pitches were strikes (74%) … temporarily working out of the bullpen because Ivan Nova is in his rotation spot
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB — nine of 13 pitches were strikes (69%)
  • RHP Branden Pinder: 0 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K — only one of four pitches were strikes … he was ejected in the middle of an at-bat, hence the pitch count weirdness … also he’s allowed five runs in six innings since being sent down

[Read more…]

Game 64: Phelpsie

Huh, no post-Yankees beard. (Presswire)
Huh, no post-Yankees beard. (Presswire)

In the grand scheme of things, the five-player trade with the Marlins was the biggest trade the Yankees made this past offseason. Four bonafide big leaguers and one very good prospect were involved, and two of those big leaguers will be on the mound tonight when Nathan Eovaldi and David Phelps square off in the second game of this four-game home-and-home series.

Phelps was a servicable swingman for the Yankees the last three years, pitching to a 4.21 ERA (4.20 FIP) in 40 starts and 47 relief appearances from 2012-14. Considering the Yankees acquired Phelps with a 14th round draft pick (2008) and a $150,000 signing bonus, I’d say they got a pretty great return on their investment. Hopefully he still bleeds pinstripes and throws his former teammates some meatballs tonight. The Yankee could use all the help they can get right now. Here is Miami’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. SS Didi Gregorius
  3. 1B Mark Teixeira
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 3B Chase Headley
  6. RF Carlos Beltran
  7. LF Chris Young
  8. 2B Brendan Ryan
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi

Typical weather in Miami today, so sunny and hot and humid. Same yesterday, and since the Marlins Park roof was closed last night, I assume that will be the case tonight as well. Today’s game begin 7:10pm ET and can be seen on YES. Try to enjoy.

Injury Update: Jacoby Ellsbury (knee) will not stay behind in Tampa to continue his rehab when the team returns to New York tomorrow. “(He’s) not where he needs to be,” said Joe Girardi. Ellsbury is still unable to run at 100%.

Sanchez: 2014-15 international signing period now closed

Martinez. (MLB.com)
Martinez. (MLB.com)

According to Jesse Sanchez, the 2014-15 international signing period closed at midnight last night. It was reported weeks ago that the signing period closed on June 25th, but, like most things with the international market, that report was off slightly. Anyway, the Yankees can no longer sign an international prospect and have the bonus applied to the 2014-15 signing period.

Sanchez says the Yankees “made a run” at free agent Cuban outfielder Eddy Julio Martinez, who was cleared to sign a few weeks ago, prior to the end of the signing period last night. Martinez, 20, has been described as an “impact talent” and the Yankees were interested in signing him following his recent workouts. He’ll now wait until the 2015-16 signing period opens July 2nd to sign.

As far as we know the Yankees did not sign any last minute free agents prior to the end of the signing period, though there weren’t many available either. The big names in addition to Martinez are Cuban infielder Andy Ibanez and Bahamian SS Lucius Fox. That’s about it. Cuban righty Yadier Alvarez was not eligible to sign during the 2014-15 signing period.

Because the Yankees blew their bonus pool out of the water during the 2014-15 signing period — we don’t have an exact number, but the bonuses and penalties are around $30M total — the Yankees will be unable to sign any player to a bonus in excess of $300,000 during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 signing period. They won’t be able to make a serious play for any big name prospects.

The Yankees will, however, still be able to sign older Cuban free agents should any come stateside these next two years. And by older I mean age 23+ per the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Yeah, younger guys are more desirable, but Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Abreu, Yasmany Tomas, and Rusney Castillo were among the big name “older” Cuban free agents in recent years. The Yankees won’t be completely shut out of the top of the international market the next two signing periods.

Yankees facing tough but welcome roster decisions this month

(Scranton Times Tribune)
(Scranton Times Tribune)

At some point very soon — likely next week — the Yankees will welcome Ivan Nova back to the rotation. He allowed one run in six innings in his second Triple-A rehab start over the weekend, but apparently he had issues with his command and wasn’t as sharp as he had been in previous rehab starts. Joe Girardi confirmed yesterday Nova will make one more minor league rehab start later this week.

“We just feel we want to make sure that he’s finished off,” said the skipper to Chad Jennings. “It’s not something that’s easy to make an adjustment if you say, we wish we would have had one more start, so we talked about it for a couple days and we just think it’s better that we know that he’s ready to go and ready to handle the rigors of throwing every fifth day and all that … We waited a long time and to give him one more start and to make sure that he’s ready is probably the best thing to do.”

Once Nova is deemed ready to rejoin the Yankees, the team will have to figure out a way to squeeze him back into the rotation, unless of course they decide to use a six-man rotation. Sunday’s subpar start by Adam Warren seems like the excuse the Yankees have been waiting for to plug him back into the bullpen after his recent run of strong starts. Girardi’s somewhat quick hook was telling.

Soon after Nova returns, Jacoby Ellsbury is expected back from his knee problem. Cashman told Erik Boland the team expects Ellsbury back before the All-Star break (which is less than a month away now) and that he could return later this month. Once he does return Ellsbury will slide right back into his usual center field/leadoff hitter slot and the rookie outfielder du jour (Mason Williams, currently) will be send down.

Last week the Yankees had to send Jose Pirela to Triple-A to make room for Brendan Ryan even though Pirela has gone 14-for-27 (.519) against lefties in his very brief MLB career. Jacob Lindgren was dropped in favor of Sergio Santos partly because the Yankees wanted another righty reliever and partly because Lindgren gave up three dingers in his seven innings. Ramon Flores was swapped out for Williams despite his solid showing.

Pirela. (Patrick Smith/Getty)
Pirela. (Patrick Smith/Getty)

In this recent stretch of games the Yankees have had to make some tough roster decisions and they have some more tough decisions on the way. Keeping Pirela, Flores, and Lindgren around would have easily been justifiable. Warren may move to the bullpen but chances are the Yankees wish they could keep him in the rotation to see what happens. His last six starts as a whole has been very impressive, even including Sunday.

The Yankees suddenly have depth and extra players who belong on the roster. Too many times in the last two seasons the club was left scrambling for players, whether it was shortstops like Luis Cruz and Reid Brignac in 2013 or pitchers like Alfredo Aceves and Matt Daley in 2014, there was always someone on the roster that needed to be replaced. Obviously injuries played a part in that, but the Yankees have had injuries this year too. This season’s crop of replacements has been much more productive.

Right now, Santos is probably the only guy on the roster the Yankees would drop in a heartbeat if a better option presents itself. If Ryan or another outfielder gets hurt, Pirela and Flores are capable replacements. Those internal replacements rarely existed from 2013-14 and Hal Steinbrenner made it clear he viewed that as a problem in the last two offseasons. I know we’re all looking for stars from the farm system, but getting capable fill-ins like Pirela and Flores is very important too. It prevents the Brignacs and Daleys from even being needed.

When the time comes to activate Nova and Ellsbury, the Yankees will have tough decisions to make and that’s a good thing. Having more quality players than roster spots is a plus. The lack of depth and general lack of production from the farm system helped sink the Yankees the last two seasons. Now they have multiple young outfielders and a young infielder waiting in Triple-A, and will probably move a capable starter in Warren to the bullpen to make room for Nova. Figuring out who has to go isn’t so easy anymore. That’s a good thing.

King: Yankees scouting Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake

Hair would have to go, Johnny. (Drew Hallowell/Getty)
Hair would have to go, Johnny. (Drew Hallowell/Getty)

According to George King, the Yankees sent scout Jeff Datz to watch right-handers Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake pitch this weekend. The Reds are already well out of the postseason race and are stuck in a really tough NL Central division. They haven’t yet said they will sell at the trade deadline, but all signs point to Cincinnati dealing away their two impending free agent starters come July 31st.

Cueto, 29, allowed four runs in seven innings against the Cubs on Friday, striking out nine and walking none. He has a stellar 2.85 ERA (3.15 FIP) in 12 starts and 85.1 innings this season, right in line with the 2.48 ERA (3.37 FIP) he put up from 2011-14. Cueto has truly been one of the game’s best pitchers over the last half-decade or so. Remarkably consistent.

The biggest concern with Cueto is his elbow — he missed two starts last month with elbow inflammation, and tests did confirm his ulnar collateral ligament is intact, says Mark Sheldon. He’s been excellent since coming back from the elbow issue, allowing six runs total with 22 strikeouts and two walks in 20 innings across three starts, but still. The guy’s elbow was barking not too long ago. Red flag!

Leake, on the other hand, has crashed back to Earth after a great start. The 27-year-old gave up three runs in five innings against Chicago on Saturday and has a 4.35 ERA (4.86 FIP) in 13 starts and 82.2 innings this year. It’s his worst season since 2012 despite a monster start that featured a 2.36 ERA (4.27 FIP) in his first seven outings. The crash has been quick and hard.

Both Leake and Cueto are impending free agents — the Tigers, Red Sox, and Giants were also scouting Cueto this weekend according to Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal — and Cueto is definitely a qualifying offer candidate. Easy call there. The Reds have no reason to take anything less than a first round caliber prospect for their ace, and ultimately it’ll wind up taking a lot more to get him because multiple teams figure to be involved in the bidding. There have only been three rental ace trades in the last seven years:

  • Jon Lester for one and a half years of Yoenis Cespedes and rental Jonny Gomes.
  • Zack Greinke for big league ready Jean Segura and prospects Johnny Hollweg and Ariel Pena.
  • CC Sabathia for prospects Michael Brantley, Matt LaPorta, Zach Jackson, and Rob Bryson.

The Lester trade was unique because both teams planned to contend — the Athletics right away and the Red Sox the following season, which is why all big leaguers were involved. The Greinke and Sabathia trades are examples of bad teams trading their ace before losing him to free agency, which applies to Cueto and the Reds. Both trades involved at least three prospects with one big time headliner (Segura and LaPorta). (Brantley was the player to be named later in the Sabathia trade. He was the fourth piece!)

Leake. (Joe Robbins/Getty)
Leake. (Joe Robbins/Getty)

Leake is a mid-rotation starter with a long track record and those guys get traded all the time. Brandon McCarthy, Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Justin Masterson, Matt Garza, Ricky Nolasco, Francisco Liriano … those dudes were all traded a few months prior to free agency for anything from one okay prospect (McCarthy and Masterson) to four good prospects (Garza). Dempster and Liriano were traded for two prospects and my feeling is Leake falls into that category. Two good but not great prospects may be enough.

Now, here’s the thing: the Yankees might not need to trade for a starter at the deadline. Cueto is an impact pitcher who would improve any rotation, he’s the kind of guy you get no matter who is in your starting five as long as his elbow is healthy, but Leake is a band-aid type who probably doesn’t move the needle much for New York unless they get hit with a sudden barrage of injuries, which is always possible. The Yankees have a long way to go before getting to October, but man, imagine a rotation of Cueto, Masahiro Tanaka, and Michael Pineda with Sabathia as the number four and Nathan Eovaldi throwing about 130 mph out of the bullpen in the short postseason series. Gosh.

Anyway, the Yankees are scouting Cueto and Leake because teams scout players all the time. They’re just covering their bases in case they do wind up needing rotation help or decide to make the big play for Cueto to separate themselves in the AL East. King’s report doesn’t mean the Yankees are looking to make a deal now and it certainly doesn’t mean anything is close — might be though! never know — it just means they’re doing their due diligence prior to the deadline. Expect a few similar reports involving other players in the coming weeks.

Report: FBI investigating Cardinals for hacking Astros database

Well this is something. According to Michael Schmidt, the FBI and Justice Department are investigating the Cardinals for hacking into the Astros’ proprietary database to steal information about their player evaluation and statistical analysis methods. You may remember that last year some trade information was leaked from Houston’s database.

Here’s more on the Cardinals story from Schmidt:

Investigators have uncovered evidence that Cardinals officials broke into a network of the Houston Astros that housed special databases the team had built, according to law enforcement officials. Internal discussions about trades, proprietary statistics and scouting reports were compromised, the officials said.

The officials did not say which employees were the focus of the investigation or whether the team’s highest-ranking officials were aware of the hacking or authorized it. The investigation is being led by the F.B.I.’s Houston field office and has progressed to the point that subpoenas have been served on the Cardinals and Major League Baseball for electronic correspondence.

Investigators believe Cardinals officials, concerned that Mr. Luhnow had taken their idea and proprietary baseball information to the Astros, examined a master list of passwords used by Mr. Luhnow and the other officials who had joined the Astros when they worked for the Cardinals. The Cardinals officials are believed to have used those passwords to gain access to the Astros’ network, law enforcement officials said.

Obviously this is very bad for the Cardinals, who have been a model organization (on the field, anyway) for about two decades now. Schmidt says this is the first known case of corporate espionage involving sports teams, though rival companies hacking into each other’s databases is hardly uncommon. It’s usually done through a third party in a foreign country, however. Schmidt makes it sound like a bunch of Cardinals folks just tried a bunch of Luhnow’s old passwords from home.

Luhnow was a very successful yet polarizing scouting executive with the Cardinals before taking over as the Astros GM a few years ago. MLB has not yet handed down any discipline but it is surely coming. Firings, suspensions, heavy fines … I imagine everything is in play at this point, not to mention legal ramifications. No, this doesn’t involve the Yankees, but gosh, what a story.