Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. The Triple-A All-Star Game is on tonight (7pm ET on MLBN), so that should be fun. Ben Gamel and Gary Sanchez are playing in that. Aaron Judge and Chad Green were both named to the All-Star team but won’t play. Judge is hurt and Green is scheduled to pitch tomorrow. Talk about whatever here.
Now that the All-Star break has arrived, it’s time to look back and review the first half of the season. We’ve already looked at the catchers, infielders, outfielders, bench, and rotation. Now it’s time to cover the bullpen.
The Yankees have two very different bullpens this season. There’s the good part of the bullpen, which is the three-headed monster at the end of the game. Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, and Dellin Betances have all been spectacular. They’ve combined for a 2.15 ERA (1.57 FIP) with 185 strikeouts in 108.2 innings. Yeah. Ridiculous.
Then there’s the other part of the bullpen. The bad part. That’s basically everyone else, including guys like Kirby Yates and Chasen Shreve. The non-big three relievers have a 4.91 ERA (5.27 FIP) in 155.2 innings. Yikes. That’s not so good. The bullpen overall has a 3.78 ERA (3.56 FIP) on the season. The Yankees definitely have a top heavy relief crew. Chapman, Miller, and Betances are incredible. None of their other relievers are reliable. Let’s review the primary bullpen arms.
Aroldis Chapman: The Temporary Yankee?
When the Yankees acquired Chapman, they were able to do so at a discount because of his pending suspension under the league’s domestic violence policy. No one knew what to expect. Chapman was the first player suspended under the new policy, and he was given a 30-game ban even though he was not charged with a crime. He served his suspension and joined the team in early-May, and immediately took over as closer.
Chapman has been as advertised in his limited time with the Yankees. Is he throwing hard? Yes. His fastball has averaged (averaged!) 100.5 mph and topped out at 104.5 mph. Is he striking out a ton of batters? Yep. Nearly four out of every ten (38.4%, to be exact). Is he wild? Well, not really. His 6.1% walk rate is (by far) a career low and his 58.5% zone rate is (by far) a career high. Chapman’s been dominant and resilient, pitching in 26 of 58 games since his suspension ended. That’s a 72-appearance pace over a full season. He got seven outs (!) in his final appearance of the first half:
Second Half Outlook: The Yankees should trade Chapman at the deadline. There’s no reason to think they are capable of going on the type of run necessary to get into the postseason — they’re 5.5 games back of a wildcard spot with six teams ahead of them, so yeah — and Chapman could bring back a hefty return at the trade deadline. Definitely something worth more than the draft pick the Yankees would recoup if they lost him as a free agent after the season. Will the Yankees actually go through with it and trade Chapman? I think they will. We’ll find out soon enough.
Andrew Miller: The Best Reliever in Baseball
You could definitely make the case any of the Yankees’ big three relievers is the best reliever in baseball based on their performance the last few years. In the first half, Miller has risen to the top and been not only New York’s best reliever, but the best in all of baseball. A total of 124 relievers have thrown at least 30 innings this season. Among those 124, Miller ranks …
… eight in ERA (1.37)
… sixth in FIP (1.93)
… first in strikeout rate (46.6%)
… sixth in walk rate (4.1%)
… first in K/BB ratio (11.5)
… third in WHIP (0.71)
I know both fWAR (+1.5) and bWAR (+1.9) say he’s been the third best reliever in baseball, but for my money, he’s the top guy. No other reliever in the game ranks top eight in all of those categories above, and Miller does it while pitching high-leverage innings. And let’s not forget he pitched with a fractured right wrist for the first few weeks of the season.
On top of the performance, Miller is also pretty much the perfect teammate. He opened the season as the team’s closer, went 6-for-6 in save chances, then stepped into a setup role when Chapman returned with no questions asked. The guy is all about the team and it’s hard not to love that. At a position where big contracts often go so very wrong, Miller has somehow been underpaid. He’s worth every penny of his four-year, $36M contract.
Second Half Outlook: Unfortunately, Miller’s excellence and affordable contract make him one very attractive trade chip, the kind of trade chip a rebuilding team would be smart to cash in. The Yankees listened to offers for Miller over the winter and didn’t see anything they like. They’ll listen again at the deadline because they’d be stupid not to. Will they actually trade him? My guess is no, but I’m not very confident in that.
Dellin Betances: Still Excellent Despite A Few Hiccups
Betances has spoiled us the last few years. He’s been so good since 2014 that this season feels like a down year, and yet, when you look at his numbers, you see a 2.66 ERA (1.20 FIP) with 78 strikeouts (lol) in 44 innings. Dellin has only walked ten batters too, giving him a career high strikeout rate (45.1%) and a career low walk rate (5.8%) through the first 88 team games. This is absurd. He’s been outrageous.
Now, that said, Dellin has had some notable hiccups this season. He allowed a home run in three straight outings back in late-April — those are the only three homers he’s allowed all season — and has also run into some bad ball-in-play luck that led to runs. Betances has somehow managed a career high ground ball rate (53.6%), a career high soft contact rate (31.8%), and a career high BABIP (.378). I mean … what?
The term “bad luck” gets overused so much nowadays, but I truly think Betances is running into some back luck this season. He’s getting burned on a lot of soft grounders that either go for infield hits or sneak through to the outfield for singles. Those home runs back in April were hit mighty hard, no doubt about that. Otherwise Betances has been missing bats and getting weak contact. Some of that weak contact has come back to bite him, because that’s baseball sometimes.
Second Half Outlook: Even if the Yankees decide to sell at the trade deadline, it’s tough to think they’ll part with Betances. Someone would have to really knock their socks off with an offer. He’s not just unbelievably good, but he’s also under team control another three years, and he’ll make below-market salaries through arbitration. As long as Betances is healthy, it’s safe to assume he’ll be excellent.
Kirby Yates: The Obligatory Scrap Heap Arm
I’m mad at myself for not seeing it coming. Yates was the random scrap heap reliever the Yankees picked up over the winter who somehow managed to work his way onto the Opening Day roster. It happens every year. Last season it was Chris Martin. The Yankees have a knack for finding these guys, and hey, sometimes they’re useful.
Kirby’s usefulness lasted through May. He had a 2.25 ERA (3.13 FIP) in his first 20 appearances and 20 innings, and he really did a nice job stepping into the seventh inning role while Chapman was serving as suspension. As soon as the calendar flipped to June, Yates imploded. He allowed 13 runs and 21 baserunners in 8.1 innings in June, which was capped off by his brutal three hit batsmen meltdown against the Rangers following that long rain delay two weeks ago.
Second Half Outlook: Yates is not any kind of long-term piece for the Yankees. He’s a spare up-and-down arm who we might see again whenever the Yankees need a fresh reliever. Assuming he isn’t dropped from the 40-man roster at some point — he seems safe for a while, there are some others who figure to go first — Yates will be back once rosters expand in September at the latest.
Chasen Shreve: Still Broken
For much of last season, Shreve made an excellent fourth wheel to the Miller-Betances-Justin Wilson end-game trio. He struggled big time down the stretch and everyone — by everyone I mean Shreve and the coaching staff — chalked it up to fatigue, which was believable. He threw a ton of intense innings early in the season. This was a guy who was basically a mop-up man in the minors until 2014, when he decided to air it out rather hold back for the sake of location.
Shreve was excellent in Spring Training — he allowed one hit and one walk in ten innings — and it carried over into the regular season. His first six outings were scoreless. Shreve was back! Or so we thought. Many runs and dingers followed. Shreve allowed eleven runs on 14 hits and three walks in 13.2 innings from April 21st through May 25th. Seven of those 14 hits were homers. Seven! In 13.2 innings! Egads.
A relatively minor shoulder problem sent Shreve to the DL for a couple of weeks, and once he was healthy, the Yankees optioned him to Triple-A for about two weeks. He’s since returned to the big league team and retired all seven batters he’s faced across two outings. That’s encouraging, but it’s seven batters. Joe Girardi has been using him in low-leverage spots and understandably so. Shreve did allow eleven homers in a span of 24 innings from September 2015 through May 2016, after all.
Second Half Outlook: I really have no idea what to expect from Shreve in the second half. Runs and homers is the smart bet, but who knows? Shreve does have a nasty splitter, and if he gets it working again, he has the potential to dominate. Either way, Shreve is going to have to earn his way back into the Circle of Trust™. He’s pitched his way out of it.
The trade deadline is now two weeks and five days away, and the Yankees should be leaning towards selling at this point. Should is the key word there. This team doesn’t always do things it should do. Anyway, here are some trade deadline notes.
Yankees don’t see Giants as trade match
According to Hank Schulman, the Yankees don’t see the Giants as a good match for a potential Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman trade. San Francisco definitely needs bullpen help, but their farm system is thin and they’re contending, so it’s unlikely they’ll deal off their big league roster. I wrote a little more about that a few weeks ago. Of course, this could all be posturing. The Yankees may be trying to put some pressure on the Giants to up their offer.
Teixeira not ready to discuss no-trade clause
When asked about possibly waiving his no-trade rights at the deadline, Mark Teixeira danced around the question, writes Ken Davidoff. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” he said. Teixeira has full no-trade protection through five-and-ten rights at this point, so his contract is irrelevant. I know he’s stunk this year and it sounds silly to talk about him as a trade candidate, but Mike Morse had a 63 wRC+ and was traded twice at the deadline last year. If some team has a need at first base and is looking for some pop, getting Teixeira on the cheap could be mighty appealing. I don’t think he’s going anywhere — nor do I think he’d agree to a trade — but he’s not untradeable. Pretty much no one is.
Beltran open to trade to NL team
Unlike Teixeira, Carlos Beltran does not have a full no-trade clause. He has limited no-trade protection, and he told Davidoff the 15-team no-trade list includes “a little bit of both” leagues without disclosing the teams. Beltran did say he’s open to going to the NL though, even though he won’t be able to DH. “Why not? DH is great, but I played all my life in the outfield, so there’s nothing wrong with it. I just want to play baseball, man,” he said. There, figure to be a lot of outfielders on the trade market at the deadline (Melvin Upton, Josh Reddick, Carlos Gonzalez, Jay Bruce, etc.), but none come close to matching Beltran’s combination of 2016 production and pedigree.
Yankees told Miller he’ll be traded if they get blown away
From the “this applies to everyone” department: the Yankees have informed Miller they will trade him at the deadline if someone blows them away with an offer, reports Chelsea James. Like I said, that applies to every player ever. I guess it’s notable the Yankees were compelled to tell Miller that’s the case, but that might not be uncommon. Non-news, really. Miller is awesome and signed affordably for another two years. Keeping him is definitely a viable strategy even with the Yankees in need of more young talent. Miller is not “just a reliever.” Kirby Yates is just a reliever. Miller’s a high impact player.
Now that the All-Star break has arrived, it’s time to look back and review the first half of the season. We’ve already looked at the catchers, infielders, outfielders, and bench. Now it’s time to cover the rotation.
Coming into this 2016 season, the common refrain was “if the rotation pitches up to its potential, the Yankees are going to have a really great staff.” And you know what? That wasn’t crazy. Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda have shown the ability to dominate, ditto Nathan Eovaldi at times. Luis Severino‘s debut last season was very good, and although the last few years didn’t go well, CC Sabathia had a new brace going for him. Ivan Nova was the No. 6 guy.
Naturally, the rotation has not pitched up to its potential. It’s tough to get five guys to do that at the same time. Heck, it’s hard to get two guys to do that at the same time. With the exception of Severino, the four starters behind Tanaka all put together a three or four or five start stretch in which they dominated, but it hasn’t lasted. The rotation comes into the break with a 4.81 ERA and 4.33 FIP, which rank 22nd and 13th in MLB, respectively. Let’s review the starting staff.
Masahiro Tanaka: An Ace On Extra Rest
Is there a more divisive pitcher on the Yankees than Tanaka? I don’t think so. Some see him as an ace, others see him as an overpaid mid-rotation guy. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Let’s start with some facts. Here’s where Tanaka ranks among the 96 pitchers with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title this year:
Innings: 117 (14th)
ERA: 3.23 (24th)
ERA+: 133 (25th)
FIP: 3.31 (13th)
WHIP: 1.11 (20th)
BB%: 4.6% (7th)
K%: 19.5% (57th)
GB%: 50.0% (25th)
HR/9: 0.77 (20th)
fWAR: 3.0 (7th)
bWAR: 2.7 (18th)
Tanaka is top 25 in everything except strikeout rate and is top 20 in most categories as well. When it comes to keeping runs off the board, which is the whole point of pitching, Tanaka is far better than average. He’s done it this year by changing up his pitch selection and emphasizing his sinking two-seam fastball rather than his four-seamer, and the result is way more grounders and fewer homers allowed. That’s good! Homers were a problem last year.
The season the problem seems to be extra rest vs. normal rest. It’s always something, right? As I pointed out last week, Tanaka performed better on normal rest from 2014-15. This year the opposite is true. Again, let’s look at the facts.
That’s a huge difference! Huge. Unignorably huge. I know the 2014-15 stats say one thing, but the 2016 stats say another, and they’re more relevant. Tanaka is a different pitcher this year than the last two years simply by virtue of being older and having more wear and tear on his arm.
There’s also this: Tanaka had elbow surgery this offseason. Remember that? I kinda forgot about it. He had a bone spur taken out of his elbow and was brought along slowly in Spring Training. That could absolutely have an effect on Tanaka’s ability to pitch on normal rest. The guy’s anatomy and offseason routine changed.
John Flaherty has said Tanaka’s stuff looks much crisper with an extra day of rest during various YES broadcasts, and while true, that’s one of those things that applies to every pitcher. Is the difference in Tanaka’s stuff so great that it leads to that huge difference in performance? Apparently so. The facts are the facts. Tanaka pitched like an ace with extra rest and a dud on normal rest in the first half.
Overall, Tanaka was really good in the first half. He’s never not been really good with the Yankees. Tanaka made 18 starts in the first half and allowed two or fewer runs 12 times. He has nine starts of at least six innings and no more than two runs allowed. Only Aaron Sanchez (12) and Chris Tillman (ten) have more among AL starters. Tanaka’s a top tier starter in the league.
Second Half Outlook: The normal rest/extra rest numbers are too drastic to ignore. The guy has been two totally different pitchers depends on his rest. Will that be the case going forward? Not necessarily, but the Yankees should proceed as if it will be. They should try to get Tanaka — and their other starters, for that matter — an extra day whenever possible. Chad Green could help make this possible. Either way, Tanaka is the Yankees’ best pitcher and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue to be the case going forward.
Michael Pineda: Proof Swings & Misses Aren’t Everything
The last Yankee pitcher as frustrating as Pineda was A.J. Burnett, right? Both guys oh so clearly had the stuff to not only get results, but dominate. Instead, they were generally mediocre because of bad command and their propensity for mistake pitches. Pineda has this nasty slider in his arsenal …
… and yet opponents are hitting .204/.256/.290 against him in two-strike counts this year. The league average is .177/.247/.278. Pineda has been worse than average across the board. Furthermore, opponents are hitting .200/.200/.300 against Pineda in 0-2 counts, the most pitcher friendly count there is. That works out to a 158 OPS+ (!) because the league average is .152/.160/.226. Groan.
Pineda was so bad to start the 2016 season that there was talk of sending him to the minors or moving him to the bullpen. He had a 6.92 ERA through his first ten starts and 53.1 innings. Opponents hit .322/.371/.581 against him during that time. That’s basically Manny Machado (.318/.375/.569). Pineda turned everyone into Manny Machado for 50-something innings. GROAN.
But, in his last seven starts and 42 innings, Pineda has a 3.43 ERA and a .205/.256/.346 opponent’s batting line. That’s much better! That’s closer to Freddy Galvis (.234/.263/.368) than Manny Machado. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild gave reporters a vague “we tweaked some things mechanically” answer when asked about Pineda’s improvement a few weeks ago, so while we don’t know what exactly changed, we know something did change.
Overall, Pineda has a 5.38 ERA (3.79 FIP) in 17 starts and 95.1 innings. His strikeout (27.2%) and walk (6.3%) rates are phenomenal! His 13.9% swing-and-miss rate is fifth highest in baseball behind Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard, Max Scherzer, and Jose Fernandez. Basically the four best pitchers in baseball. And yet, Pineda gives up a ton of homers (1.42 HR/9) and more than a hit per inning. Blargh. That describes Pineda. Blargh. Just … blargh.
Second Half Outlook: If the Yankees do come to their senses and decide to sell, Pineda could be one of the pieces moved at the deadline. He’s under team control one more season before hitting free agency, so he could fetch a decent return even with his maddening inconsistency. If the Yankees keep Pineda, I have no idea what to expect performance-wise. He goes from dominating to getting smacked around in a moment’s notice, often right in the middle of a start.
Nathan Eovaldi: So Good, Then So, So Bad
True story: On the morning of May 30th, Eovaldi had a 3.71 ERA (3.59 FIP) through ten starts and 60.2 innings. His strikeout (22.9%), walk (6.0%), and grounder (54.3%) rates were all excellent. The high-octane fastball and new splitter had turned Eovaldi into a reliably above-average starter. It was awesome. He and Tanaka were one heck of a one-two punch for the first two months.
Now, on July 13th, Eovaldi has a 5.18 ERA (5.09 FIP) in 97.1 innings. His last six starts were so bad — 31 runs in 30.1 innings! — the Yankees had to send Eovaldi to the bullpen. It went south so quick. Those six starts were, by far, the worst stretch of Eovaldi’s career. This wasn’t a case of a career mediocre pitcher regressing to the mean. This was beyond that. Something went wrong and no one seems to know what.
The good news is Eovaldi’s healthy. He was so bad in those six starts that I thought he was hurt. The bad news is no one seems to know what’s wrong. At least an injury would explain the sudden drop in performance. Eovaldi’s location has deteriorated, that’s obvious, but why? That’s up to Rothschild to figure out. In the span of six starts, Eovaldi went from extension candidate to mop-up reliever. Baseball is so dumb sometimes.
Second Half Outlook: Joe Girardi and the Yankees insist they see Eovaldi as a starter long-term, so I guess that means he’s going to return to the rotation at some point. Since Chad Green got lit up in his last start and demoted to the minors the next day, Eovaldi could be back in the rotation as soon as, well, immediately. When the second half starts. If not, he figures to get a shot as a middle innings reliever, or traded at the deadline.
Luis Severino: From Future Ace To Reclamation Project
Ugh. This 2016 season has been pretty crummy overall, but Severino going from young stud starter to punch line is the crummiest thing about it. Severino posted a 7.46 ERA (5.55 FIP) in seven starts and 35 innings before coming down with a triceps injury. Only twice did he allowed fewer than four runs or not allow a homer. It was not pretty.
After the injury, the Yankees optioned Severino down to Triple-A, which was something no one expected to happen before the season. His performance has been much better in Triple-A (3.18 ERA and 2.78 FIP), and thank goodness, because the worst thing ever would be Severino getting lit up in the minors too. The Yankees don’t seem to be in much of a rush to bring him back, which is fine with me.
What went wrong with Severino? More than anything, his command of his offspeed pitches was just awful. He couldn’t locate his slider or changeup consistently, so most of the time he was out there with a fastball and nothing else. That ain’t gonna work. Those command problems didn’t exist last year, or at least when they did, they didn’t last very long. I’m not going to say they came out of nowhere, but it’s not like there were obvious warning signs last year.
Also, I think fans set expectations a wee bit too high for Severino coming into the season. There was talk about him being the best pitcher on the staff and possibly starting Opening Day and things like that, all of which was way way way too premature. The kid had eleven starts in the show. Anything less than dominance was going to be a disappointment. Expectations have since been re-calibrated.
Make no mistake, for the Yankees to contend this season, they were going to need Severino to pitch at a high level. Instead, he was one of the worst pitchers in baseball before getting hurt, prompting the team to send him to Triple-A for more seasoning. Severino is basically catching up on all the development time the Yankees skipped the last few years by promoting him so aggressively. His season very quickly went from “help the team win” to salvage mode.
Second Half Outlook: There’s basically nothing Severino can do now to help the Yankees contend. It’s a little too late for that. The most important thing is getting his command issues sorted out so he’s ready to help them win next year, and if that means spending the rest of the year in Triple-A, so be it. Severino is too important to the franchise long-term to call him back up before he’s ready.
CC Sabathia: Return of the Ace, Temporarily
Hands down, the best story of this Yankees’ season to date is CC Sabathia’s early dominance. And yes, he was dominant. He pitched to a 2.20 ERA (3.33 FIP) through eleven starts and 65.1 innings — there was a two-week DL stint for a groin strain thrown in there — and he did it by shelving his four-seam fastball. Sabathia replaced it with a cutter …
… that better allowed him to bust righties inside. Sabathia had toyed with a cutter before, but it never did stick. This year it did, and it was a tangible explanation for his improvement. So was the new knee brace he started wearing late last year, as well as his sobriety. How could being sober not help Sabathia on the field? Alcoholism is brutal.
Sabathia’s last four starts have not gone well (22 runs in 23 innings), though some regression was inevitable, especially when it came to home runs. He allowed two homers total in his first 65.1 innings, then allowed four in the 23 innings since. Even with these last four starts, Sabathia was the Yankees’ second best starter in the first half, and that’s definitely not something I expected coming into the season. What a pleasant surprise.
Second Half Outlook: Sabathia came into the break with a 3.77 ERA (3.82 FIP) in 15 starts and 88.1 innings, and I’m hopeful he can sustain that level of performance in the second half. That said, the last three years have not been pretty, so it would not be a surprise is Sabathia’s ERA kept rising. Either way, boy those first eleven starts sure were fun, weren’t they?
Ivan Nova: See? I Told You He’d Be Back In The Rotation
It’s easy to forget given how Sabathia pitched in the first half, but there was a rotation competition in Spring Training. Sabathia beat out Nova, who started the season in the bullpen before rejoining the starting staff after Severino got hurt. It was only a matter of time until Nova started again. No team gets through the season using only five starters.
Nova made six relief appearances before getting the opportunity to start again, and his first three starts were very good. He allowed three runs total in 16.1 innings while on a pitch count each time out. Things went south after those first three starts. Nova has a 6.34 ERA (5.17 FIP) in nine starts and 49.2 innings since. Check out his 2015 numbers and 2016 numbers:
Pretty much the same guy. The idea Nova’s performance would improve has he got further away from Tommy John surgery was a sound one. We see guys do it all the time. It hasn’t happened though. Nova’s been pretty terrible the last nine times out, yet there doesn’t seem to be chatter about him being moved back to the bullpen. Those talks existed with Pineda and Eovaldi (and even Severino), but not yet Nova for some reason.
Second Half Outlook: Nova is going to be a free agent after the season, so there’s no long-term stake here. Both Eovaldi and Severino — and Chad Green, for that matter — have a chance to help the Yankees beyond this season, so whenever they’re deemed ready to rejoin the rotation, Nova should be removed. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees moved him at the deadline either.
Tuesday night in San Diego, the AL beat the NL by the score of 4-2 in the 2016 All-Star Game. That means the Yankees will have home field advantage when they reach the World Series in a few months. A bunch of Royals led the way offensively. Eric Hosmer hit a solo homer and Salvador Perez hit a two-run shot. They both went deep off former teammate Johnny Cueto in the second inning. The AL has won four straight All-Star Games and 16 of the last 20.
The Yankees sent three players to the All-Star Game and all three played, albeit briefly. Carlos Beltran came off the bench and took over in right field in the top of the sixth inning. He flew out to center field against Max Scherzer in the bottom half of that inning, then was replaced by Michael Saunders in the field in the top of the eighth. A short night for him, but that’s fine given his still not 100% hamstring. It’s not like Beltran is lacking All-Star Game experience.
Dellin Betances entered the game with a two-run lead in the seventh inning, so it was a familiar spot for him. He struck out Corey Seager swinging with a fastball, gave up a ground ball single through the right side of the infield to Daniel Murphy, got Paul Goldschmidt to fly out to center, then struck out Nolan Arenado swinging with another fastball. Betances threw 15 pitches and topped out at 101.1 mph per Pitch FX. Dellin being Dellin.
One inning later, Andrew Miller made his All-Star Game debut with a two-run lead. He got Brandon Belt to fly out to left, gave up a line drive single to Jonathan Lucroy, struck out Jay Bruce with a slider, gave up a line drive single to Starling Marte, then walked Adam Duvall to load the bases. Not the best night for Miller, who threw 28 pitches. Ned Yost replaced him with Will Harris, who struck out Aledmys Diaz to strand all three runners. Good job by Miller getting the rare rough outing out of his system in an exhibition game. What a teammate.
A few ex-Yankees playing in the All-Star Game as well. Robinson Cano drew a walk in his only plate appearance and was replaced by Eduardo Nunez for defense in the top of the ninth. Defensive Replacement Eduardo Scissorhands. What a world. Mark Melancon walked a batter and got a ground out in his one-third of an inning. Bartolo Colon was on the NL roster but did not appear in the game. Mets skipper Terry Collins said he was holding him back in case there were extra innings.
Here are the box score, video highlights, and WPA graph for the All-Star Game. Hosmer was named MVP after going 2-for-3 with a homer and 2 RBI. Now that that’s out of the way, we can get back to regular season baseball. The Yankees begin the second half Friday night at home, with the first of three against the Red Sox. Michael Pineda and Eduardo Rodriguez are the scheduled starters. But first, two more off-days. Enjoy ’em.
Triple-A Scranton is off until Thursday for the All-Star break. The All-Star Game itself is Wednesday night. It’ll be broadcast on MLB Network. OF Ben Gamel, RHP Chad Green, OF Aaron Judge, and C Gary Sanchez were selected to represent the Yankees. Judge won’t be playing because of his recent knee injury though.
Double-A Trenton is also off until Thursday for the All-Star break. Their All-Star Game is Wednesday as well. LHP Jordan Montgomery, LHP Dietrich Enns, SS Tyler Wade, OF Dustin Fowler, C Kyle Higashioka, and RHP Jonathan Holder were all selected to the All-Star Game. Enns is in Triple-A now and was replaced on the roster by Holder.
High-A Tampa had a scheduled off-day.
Low-A Charleston (9-0 win over Rome)
- 2B Hoy Jun Park: 1-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K — fifth in the system with 40 walks
- SS Kyle Holder: 0-5
- CF Jeff Hendrix: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP
- 1B Chris Gittens: 3-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 1 HBP — 9-for-19 (.474) with three doubles and two homers in his last five games
- 3B Mandy Alvarez: 2-5, 1 R — 13-for-28 (.464) with Charleston … this year’s 17th rounder has a hit in all but one of his 20 pro games
- C Luis Torrens: 1-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB — bumped up here after hitting .311/.360/.400 (132 wRC+) in 50 plate appearances with Staten Island
- DH Gosuke Katoh: 2-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 HBP
- RF Alex Palma: 3-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K
- LHP Nestor Cortes: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 8/0 GB/FB — 61 of 86 pitches were strikes (71%), plus he picked a runner off first … he’s allowed three earned runs in his last 36.2 innings (0.74 ERA)
Tonight in San Diego, baseball’s biggest stars will gather in Petco Park for the 2016 All-Star Game. There are even some Yankees there. That’s cool. As always, home field advantage in the World Series is on the line tonight. That’s pretty important. How else will Aaron Hicks hit a walk-off homer in Game Seven?
The Yankees have three All-Stars this year: Carlos Beltran, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Miller. All very deserving, of course. This is Beltran’s ninth All-Star Game but his first as an AL player, believe it or not. Betances is here for the third straight year and Miller’s a first-timer. My guess is Beltran gets an at-bat or two at DH tonight while Betances and Miller join Kelvin Herrera and Zach Britton to get the last nine outs somehow. Here are the full rosters. There are 79 All-Stars this year. 79!
Although the game is being played in San Diego, the AL is the home team tonight. Weird. That’s a result of four straight All-Star Games (2015-18) being played in NL parks. The two leagues will still alternate home field advantage. The AL will be the home team in Nationals Park in 2018 too. Anyway, here are the starting lineups. Fans voted for the players and managers Ned Yost and Terry Collins lined ’em up:
1. 2B Ben Zobrist, Cubs
2. RF Bryce Harper, Nationals
3. 3B Kris Bryant, Cubs
4. DH Wil Myers, Padres
5. C Buster Posey, Giants
6. 1B Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
7. CF Marcell Ozuna, Marlins
8. LF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
9. SS Addison Russell, Cubs
Starting Pitcher: RHP Johnny Cueto, Giants
1. 2B Jose Altuve, Astros
2. CF Mike Trout, Angels
3. 3B Manny Machado, Orioles
4. DH David Ortiz, Red Sox
5. SS Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
6. 1B Eric Hosmer, Royals
7. RF Mookie Betts, Red Sox
8. C Salvador Perez, Royals
9. LF Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox
Starting Pitcher: LHP Chris Sale, White Sox
Yost said yesterday the tentative plan is to pitch Corey Kluber, Cole Hamels, Aaron Sanchez, and Jose Quintana after Sale, in that order. The relievers will take over at that. Collins didn’t tip his hand too much. He did indicate Jon Lester would pitch at some point, and I’m sure hometown Padre Drew Pomeranz will get an inning too.
The All-Star Game will begin at 8pm ET tonight and you can watch on FOX. The AL has won three straight All-Star Games and 15 of the last 20, you know. Hopefully that dominance continues tonight. Enjoy the game.