Saturday Open Thread

Here is your open thread for the afternoon and evening. The Mets are playing right now and MLB Network will air a regional game later tonight. You’ve also got the NBA and NHL playoffs throughout the day. (The hockey Rangers are playing right now.) Talk about those games, this afternoon’s loss, or anything else right here.

Game Ten: The Quest For The Big Hit Continues

:\ (Elsa/Getty)
:-/ (Elsa/Getty)

The Yankees did a lot of good offensively last night, namely putting 13 men on base, but the big hit never came and they were held to one stupid little run. After scoring 27 runs in the first three games of 2016, the Bombers have scored only 16 runs in the six games since. Eight of those 16 came in one game.

Felix Hernandez will be on the mound for the Mariners this afternoon, and while he represents a daunting task, the Yankees were in a very similar situation last May. They had been held to 20 runs in a six-game span, then they faced Felix and managed to tag him for seven runs in 4.2 innings. Baseball, man. You can’t predict it. Here is today’s Mariners’ lineup and today’s Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. 2B Starlin Castro
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. C Austin Romine
    LHP CC Sabathia

The weather in New York today is pretty fantastic. It’s maybe a little on the cool side, but it’s sunny as hell and there are no clouds in the sky. Picture perfect. Today’s game will begin at 1:05pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network if you’re out of market. Enjoy.

Shuttle Update: As expected, Tyler Olson was sent back down to Triple-A Scranton following last night’s 47-pitch effort. Branden Pinder has been called up for the first of what figures to be many times this season. Pinder last pitched Wednesday, when he threw 48 pitches across three innings.

YES Update: FOX regional sports affiliates, including YES, can now be streamed on Sling TV. It’s $20 a month — there’s a free seven-day trial — so it’s not free, but it’s not too pricey either. You will be able to stream Yankees games on YES, even if you’re in-market and a currently dealing with the Comcast nonsense. Here’s the Sling TV link.

MLB unveils new special event caps and jerseys for 2016

Earlier this week, MLB unveiled 302 (!) new special event hats and jerseys for the 2016 season. Chris Creamer has all the designs, if you’re interested. This year the teams were consulted during the process, so each club’s design has its own unique touch. That’s pretty cool. In the past it was one blanket design across the league.

Let’s go through the new designs and check out the special Yankees’ caps and jerseys we’ll see this summer.

Mother’s Day
Date: Sunday, May 8th
Where Will The Yankees Be? Home against the Red Sox

Mother's Day HatMother's Day Jersey

Pink on Mother’s Day, as usual. In the past players used pink bats, wrist bands, cleats, and other stuff. Now the league will have a special cap and jersey that day as well. All the Mother’s Day caps and jerseys will be auctioned off for charity. This year the proceeds are going to the Susan G. Komen foundation to help fight breast cancer.

Memorial Day
Date: Monday, May 30th
Where Will The Yankees Be? In Toronto to play the Blue Jays (Canada on Memorial Day!?)

Memorial Day HatMemorial Day Jersey

The Memorial Day design is heavy on camouflage, as you can see. I don’t love it — I think I’d rather wear the pink than the camo — but it is for a good cause, so you can’t complain. As always, the Memorial Day gear will be auctioned off following the games. Proceeds will go to the Welcome Back Veterans charity. A good cause indeed.

Father’s Day
Date: Sunday, June 19th
Where Will The Yankees Be? In Minnesota to play the Twins

Father's Day HatFather's Day Jersey

As with Mother’s Day, teams will wear special caps and jerseys on Father’s Day for the first time this season. The blue looks pretty good, doesn’t it? I guess that’s because it looks kinda sorta natural on Yankees gear. The pink and camo look out of place. I’m sure the players will have blue bats and compression sleeves and all that as well. All the money raised will go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Fourth of July
Where Will The Yankees Be? In Chicago to play the White Sox

Fourth of July HatFourth of July JerseyThe Fourth of July hats have been very hit or miss over the years. I thought the white caps were pretty nice a few years ago, especially for the Yankees. They had an old-timey feel to them. This year they have the stars and stripes design and some sort of mesh pattern. The proceeds will go to the Welcome Back Veterans charity. Same as Memorial Day.

Home Run Derby & All-Star Game Workout Day
Date: Monday, July 11th
Where Will They Be? Petco Park

Home Run Derby HatsHome Run Derby JerseysThe All-Star Game is in San Diego this year, and MLB went with the Padres’ classic 1970s brown and gold color pattern. I love it. Those jerseys are awesome. The caps? Well, some of the others are nice. Not sure if I dig those Yankees hats though. It’s not terrible. It just looks … forced. Yankees caps are a classic, man.

All-Star Game
Date: Tuesday, July 12th
Where Will They Be? Petco Park again

All-Star Game HatsThere are no special All-Star Game jerseys this year because there are never special All-Star Game jerseys. Players wear the uniforms of their teams. I like that. No other sport does it. (Right?) The jerseys will have a special patch, of course. That’s about it. The hats have some gold trim — peep the stars around the ventilation holes, that’s cool — though I can’t really tell what’s going on with the brim. Is that more camo?

The special hats and jerseys can be gimmicky, but they help raise money for good causes, so props to MLB for ramping up the special event designs this years. Those Home Run Derby jerseys … straight fire. They’re great.

Offense continues to sputter, Yankees fall 7-1 to Mariners

Blah, baseball is being stupid right now. The Yankees had a whole lotta base-runners but not a whole lotta runs Friday night, leading to a 7-1 loss to the Mariners in the series-opener. The Bronx Bombers have lost three straight.

Not enough of this. (Elsa/Getty)
Not enough of this. (Elsa/Getty)

One & Done
This was one of those annoying “blow all the scoring chances!” games. The Yankees put 13 runners on base overall, including nine in five innings against starter Nathan Karns, yet they only mustered one run. That was a first inning solo home run by Brett Gardner. It clanked off the facing of the second deck and was Gardner’s first extra-base hit of the season. That’s a good start! First inning taters are pretty great.

The offense could not get The Big Hit after that. The Yankees had plenty of scoring chances and scoring chances are good! Keep getting scoring chances and you’ll score eventually, but damn yo, stranding so many runners is frustrating as hell. The fourth through sixth innings were like pulling teeth. The Yankees put seven men on base in those three innings and scored zero runs. They went 0-for-8 with four strikeouts with runners in scoring position those innings.

The Yankees went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position overall, and seven players batted in those situations. This was a total team effort. It’s not like one guy killed them in those spots. Karns did a really good job keeping the Yankees off balance with offspeed stuff — he threw 43 fastballs, 43 curveballs, and 14 changeups per PitchFX — and then spotted heaters when necessary. Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury struck out with runners on second and third in the fourth inning, and they took the same damn pitch for strike three, a fastball on the outside corner:

Nate Karns Chase HeadleyNate Karns Jacoby Ellsbury

Karns fed them nothing but curveballs and changeups early in the at-bat, then surprised them with the fastball. He did a very nice job pitching backwards. The Yankees had their chances, no doubt about it. They didn’t take advantage. If they keep generating chances, they’ll be just fine. Too bad that wont help them in this game.

Severino Struggles Again
You know what? Luis Severino has not been very good through two starts. He allowed three runs on ten hits in five innings against the Tigers last weekend, then, on Friday, he allowed four runs on eight hits and a walk in 5.2 innings against the Mariners. If not for some nifty — if unconventional — double plays, the damage would have been much worse.

Severino’s biggest mistake was the center cut fastball Chris Iannetta smacked for his go-ahead two-run home run in the fifth inning. I mean, look at this location:

Luis Severino Chris Iannetta

Not good, Luis. Can’t throw it there to even the crappiest of big leaguer hitters, like Iannetta. What made that worse were the previous innings. The Mariners tied the game on Robinson Cano‘s single in the top of the fourth, then the Yankees blew a golden opportunity in the bottom half (second and third with no outs!). Blah. That homer took the wind out of everyone’s sails.

Severino threw 87 pitches in his 5.2 innings and he got only five swings and misses. That’s … bad. He did get a healthy eleven swings and misses out 95 total pitches in his first start, so this is more of a blip than a trend, but it was pretty obvious Friday that Severino is far from a finished product. His secondary pitches and location are inconsistent. That’s okay. All pitchers come up to MLB in need of refinement. It’s just not fun to be reminded growing pains are coming.

Pull Away
The Yankees have a truly great end-game bullpen. You’re not going to find many (if any) teams with a better one-two punch than Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. You can add Chasen Shreve to the mix too. He’s been great. The problem? Those guys only pitch in very specific situations: when the Yankees have a lead or the game is tied in the late innings.

The Yankees were down three runs when Severino exited in the sixth inning, which meant the “only when losing” relief crew sprung into action, and they let Seattle pull away. Kirby Yates did a nice job stranding the bases loaded in the sixth, but he was charged with a run in the seventh, then new call-up Tyler Olson allowed two more runs to score as well. Yates and (mostly) Olson allowed three runs on four hits and three walks in 3.1 innings. Comeback attempt averted.

Starlin Castro made a great behind-the-back catch at second base to turn a double play. It was one of those “the ball caught him” situations. Check this out:

Everyone in the starting lineup reached base at least once except Ellsbury, who went 0-for-5. Gardner had the homer, a single, and two walks. Mark Teixeira (two walks) and Headley (single, walk) reached base multiple times. Headley stole a base. Everyone else reached once. Base-runners are good. Eventually they’ll cash them in. Just not tonight.

Funny moment in the first inning. Teixeira checked his swing in a 3-1 count, then took off his shin guard and prepared to walk down to first, but third base ump Mike Winters said he went around. (Replay showed he cleared he clearly did not go around.) The next pitch was exactly the same: curveball down and a check swing. Teixeira held his bat, stared down Winters, then jogged to first for the walk.

Mark Teixeira Mike Winters

Olson threw 47 pitches in 2.2 garbage time innings, meaning he’s likely to wind up right back in Triple-A tomorrow. Branden Pinder has not pitched since Wednesday, making him the obvious call-up candidate.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also make sure you check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. Here’s the loss probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Mariners will continue this three-game series with the middle game Saturday afternoon. Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia will be the pitching matchup. Man, that would have been awesome like five years ago. Alas. RAB Tickets can get you in the door for that game or any of the other seven games left on the homestand.

DotF: Judge goes deep, Swisher doubles in Scranton’s win

Two quick notes:

  • RHP Ronald Herrera, who came over in the Jose Pirela trade, has been promoted from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton, per Shane Hennigan. The RailRiders were playing one man short, so now the roster is full. Seems like Herrera was brought up on a temporary basis with LHP Tyler Olson in the show and RHP Luis Cessa on his way down. RHP Eric Ruth went from High-A Tampa to Trenton to replace Herrera, says Matt Kardos.
  • SS Jorge Mateo ranked eighth in this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. “Thus far he has notched two doubles, two triples and four stolen bases in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. With a good first half, Mateo should make his way to Double-A Trenton shortly after his 21st birthday,” said the write-up. Mateo’s birthday in June 23rd, since I know you’re wondering.

Triple-A Scranton (5-3 win over Syracuse)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 1-4, 1 R, 1 K
  • RF Aaron Judge: 2-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB — first homer of the season — Shane Hennigan says it was an opposite field job — and his first steal as well
  • 3B Rob Refsnyder: 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
  • C Gary Sanchez: 0-4, 2 K
  • DH Nick Swisher: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • RHP Anthony Swarzak: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 9/0 GB/FB — 51 of 74 pitches were strikes (69%)
  • RHP Diego Moreno: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 23 of 38 pitches were strikes (61%)
  • LHP James Pazos: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 22 of 40 pitches were strikes (55%)
  • RHP Conor Mullee: 0.1 IP, zeroes, 1 K — three of four pitches were strikes

[Read more…]

Game Nine: Jackie Robinson Day


Sixty-nine years ago today, Jackie Robinson made his big league debut with the Dodgers. Tonight, every player in baseball will wear No. 42 in Robinson’s honor, including ex-Yankee Robinson Cano, his namesake. Robbie and the Mariners are in town to begin a three-game weekend series this evening.

The Yankees dropped two of three to the Blue Jays earlier this week mostly because the offense hit a bump in the road. I mean, they held Toronto to 13 runs in three games, and four of the 13 came in that one inning against Ivan Nova. You’d like to win more than one of three when you keep the Jays in check like that. Anyway, here is the Mariners’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup for tonight’s opener:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. 1B Mark Teixeira
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. DH Dustin Ackley
  7. 2B Starlin Castro
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 3B Chase Headley
    RHP Luis Severino

It’s going to be a bit chilly tonight, but man, the weather in New York is damn near perfect right now. Bright blue skies, no clouds, just outstanding weather for a ballgame. Tonight’s game will start a little after 7pm ET. You can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

YES Update: Good news for you cord-cutters and folks stuck with Comcast: FOX regional sports affiliates, including YES, can now be streamed on Sling TV, according to Ahiza Garcia. It’s $20 a month — there’s a free seven-day trial — so it’s not free, but it’s not too pricey either. You will be able to stream Yankees games on YES, even if you’re in-market and a Comcast customer. Here’s the Sling TV link.

TiqIQ: Yankees Tickets Serving Up Excellent Value Through Remainder of April

After dropping two of three to the Blue Jays in Toronto this week, the Yankees will hope to right the ship with three straight series at home over the next 10 days. The Bombers set to host the Mariners, Athletics and Rays through April 25, and for those thinking of making the trip to the Stadium over the next three home series, plenty of deals are available for Yankees tickets on the primary market.

Robinson Cano will make his latest return to the Bronx when the Mariners visit the Bronx this weekend for a three-game set. Friday night and Saturday afternoon’s games will offer the best price points for fans looking to sit closer to the action, as 100-level seating for both games starts from $117.20 on Ticketmaster. Saturday afternoon’s game lists the cheapest 100-level seat for $133.50.

Friday’s game will offer the best price points for lower-level seating. According to resale aggregator TiqIQ, the get-in price for secondary market Yankees tickets in 100-level seating is $184 – 57% more expensive than on the primary market. If looking just to get in, the cheapest ticket during all three games with the Mariners is $27.80 on Ticketmaster.

The Yankees welcome the Athletics for three games between Tuesday, April 19 and Thursday, April 21. Unlike the preceding series against the Mariners, however, the secondary market will have the best ticket prices for all three games. Yankees tickets on TiqIQ start from just $5 in the 400-level section for Wednesday’s game, making it the cheapest game of the season at Yankee Stadium. 100-level tickets start from $86 on the secondary market across the entire three-game series.

Yankee Stadium will host its final series in April against the Rays between Friday, April 22, and Sunday, April 24. The three-game series will be highlighted by Babe Ruth bobblehead day on Saturday, where the first 18,000 fans will receive a miniature replica of the Sultan of Swat. 100-level seating for the matinee game will be cheaper on the secondary market, with the get-in price starting from $117.20. 100-level tickets on the secondary market start from $131 for Saturday’s game.

With a disappointing road trip now in the rearview, the Yankees will look to regain their footing over their next nine games in the Bronx. They managed to take two games from the Astros in their opening series last week, and did so in rather convincing fashion. The team’s first win of the season came in a 16-6 victory over Astros pitcher Collin McHugh and was quickly followed by an 8-5 win the following night.

Perhaps the Yankees’ greatest advantage over the next 10 days is the welcoming of similarly struggling teams. The Mariners, Athletics and Rays have combined for just a 10-18 record over the first two weeks of play. Whether the Yankees can take advantage of those slow starts remains to be seen, but one things remains clear – fans can find considerable deals for tickets to upcoming games through the end of the month both on the primary and secondary market.