Game Seven: Big Mike in Baltimore

BIG MIKE IS HERE

The Yankees needed last night’s win in the worst way and they have the right guy on the mound tonight to help turn that singular win into the start of a winning streak. With Masahiro Tanaka not pitching like 2014 Masahiro Tanaka at the moment, Michael Pineda is the staff ace, the one starter with no real performance concerns. It’s all health with him.

Alex Rodriguez is making his first start of the season at third base and I like that Joe Girardi is sending him out there during a Pineda start. Big Mike is not a ground ball pitcher (career 37.4% grounder rate), he’s a pop-up pitcher, so A-Rod‘s lack of range won’t be as much of an issue with him on the mound. I’m sure Buck Showalter will have one of his guys bunt towards third though. Maybe even Alejandro De Aza leading off the game. Here’s the starting lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Carlos Beltran
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. 3B Alex Rodriguez
  6. RF Chris Young
  7. C John Ryan Murphy
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 2B Gregorio Petit
    RHP Michael Pineda

The Yankees are in Baltimore to start a three-game series with the Orioles. Here is the O’s lineup.

It is on the cool side (mid-60s) and, as always, humid as hell in Baltimore. There is some rain in the forecast but not until later tonight, after midnight or so. It shouldn’t be an issue unless they play another 19 innings or something. Tonight’s game will begin a little after 7pm ET and you can watch on WPIX locally and ESPN nationally. Enjoy the game.

Daily Roster Move: RHP Kyle Davies was designated for assignment and RHP Joel De La Cruz was called up, the Yankees announced. De La Cruz threw three innings for Double-A Trenton on Friday and should be good for a few innings of long relief today, if necessary. He’s the guy the Yankees tried to send to the Cubs for Alfonso Soriano rather than Corey Black two years ago.

Injury Update: Jose Pirela (concussion) has been cleared to resume baseball activities and should begin playing in games next week. Brendan Ryan (calf) is making progress and hopes to return to the team in early May. [Ryan Hatch, Dan Barbarisi]

Sherman: Yankees were not interested in Kimbrel plus Upton package

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

After an offseason of blockbuster trades, the Padres managed to squeeze in one last mega-trade hours before the Cardinals and Cubs opened the season last Sunday night. San Diego GM A.J. Preller acquired all-world closer Craig Kimbrel and B.J. Melvin Upton Jr. from the Braves for the superfluous Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin, top prospect Matt Wisler, secondary prospect Jordan Paroubeck, and the 41st overall pick in the draft. It was a doozy.

In a nutshell, Atlanta used arguably their best remaining trade chip as a way to unload the last three years of Upton’s disaster contract. Even after taking on Quentin’s and Maybin’s bad deals, the Braves saved about $56.25M over the next three seasons. (Who knows if their traditionally stingy ownership group will let them reinvest that money though.) On top of that they got a great prospect in Wisler, an okay prospect in Paroubeck, and that 41st pick. Considering their commitment to rebuilding, this was a trade Atlanta had to make.

According to Joel Sherman, the Braves tried to sell many teams on a Kimbrel/Upton package during the offseason, but found no takers. He says the Yankees were one of the teams to decline the offer. I’m not sure what the Yankees equivalent of the Padres’ trade package would be — the Yanks have bad contracts, but they’re much worse than Quentin’s and Maybin’s — but Wisler and Luis Severino were ranked 34th and 35th on Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list this spring, respectively. The Yankees don’t have a draft pick to trade but could have offered international bonus space instead.

Kimbrel is elite. Best reliever in the game. Add him to the Andrew Miller/Dellin Betances duo and forget it, the game would be over after the fifth inning. Upton would have been totally pointless though, especially since the Yankees re-signed Chris Young so early in the offseason. All Upton would do is tie down a roster spot — I’m not even sure whose spot he’s take — and eat a big chunk of payroll (remember the luxury tax!). The Yankees would end up taking on a ton of money and trading away arguably their best prospect to bolster the bullpen, which is already a strength.

As much as Kimbrel would help the Yankees (or any other team), I totally understand why the club passed. Spending significant resources to acquire a new closer doesn’t seem like it would be worth the upgrade when there are so many other spots on the roster in need of help. The Yankees have enough bad contracts, and as good as Kimbrel is, he’s not someone who will push the team into the postseason himself. If they’re going to trade top prospects and take on a ton of money, they should do it for workhorse starter or a middle of the order bat, not a one-inning reliever.

4/13 to 4/15 Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The first homestand of the season is over and the Yankees now head out on a three-city, ten-game, eleven-day road trip. The first stop: Baltimore for a three-game set with the Orioles, the defending AL East champs. The Yankees won just two of nine games at Camden Yards last season and are 6-13 in Baltimore since the start of 2013.

What Have The Orioles Done Lately?

The Orioles and Blue Jays just wrapped up a series of slugfests in Baltimore — the two teams combined to score 42 runs in the three games. Toronto took two of three, including yesterday’s game 10-7. Overall, the O’s are 3-3 with a -1 run differential. They’re right smack in the middle of the AL East pack after the first week of the season.

Offense & Defense

The Orioles had one of the better offenses in baseball last year (4.35 runs per game), and aside from replacing Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz with Travis Snider, they have the same basic lineup this year. Once again, they’re one of the highest scoring teams in the super early going this year (5.12 runs per game), scoring at least five runs in five of their six games. Here is their starting lineup with their 2015 performance to date and overall ZiPS projections:

2014 Performance 2015 ZiPS Projection
LF Alejandro De Aza
7-for-23 (.304), 2 HR .262/.320/.396 (100 wRC+)
DH Steve Pearce
5-for-23 (.217), 2 HR .262/.345/.473 (129 wRC+)
1B Chris Davis
5-for-19 (.263), 1 HR .241/.326/.495 (126 wRC+)
CF Adam Jones
8-for-21 (.381), 2 HR .279/.315/.475 (120 wRC+)
RF Travis Snider
7-for-18 (.389), 1 HR .242/.310/.410 (101 wRC+)
3B Manny Machado
1-for-19 (.053) .285/.323/.448 (115 wRC+)
2B Ryan Flaherty
2-for-13 (.154), 1 HR .228/.287/.381 (85 wRC+)
SS Everth Cabrera
4-for-17 (.235) .251/.312/.329 (87 wRC+)
C Caleb Joseph
2-for-13 (.154), 2 2B .235/.279/.393 (81 wRC+)

Baltimore is currently without SS J.J. Hardy (shoulder) and C Matt Wieters (Tommy John surgery), both of whom are on the DL and won’t return this series. That’s why Cabrera and Joseph are starting at short and catcher. Flaherty has been more or less platooning with IF Jonathan Schoop, who straight up crushed the Yankees last season (126 OPS+). That was annoying considering he had a 67 OPS+ overall.

Jones. (Presswire)
Jones. (Presswire)

Because they’re carrying 13 pitchers, the O’s only have DH Delmon Young and C Ryan Lavarnway on the bench alongside Schoop. Delmon platoons with Snider against lefties — Young slots in at DH and Pearce moves to right — and Lavarnway is there because they need a backup catcher, and he’s not really a catcher to start with. They’re going to play Joseph as much as humanly possible until Wieters returns in a few weeks.

Over the last two or three years the Baltimore defense has gotten overrated because they don’t commit many errors — their 141 errors from 2013-14 are the fewest in baseball. They’re good defensively in general, but not the best in the game. Manny Machado is superb at third, best in baseball at the position, and both De Aza and Jones are very strong in the outfield. Joseph is solid behind the plate and Davis, Flaherty, and Schoop are adequate at their positions.

Cabrera is below average at short in general and is a big downgrade from Hardy. Snider and Pearce are shaky in the outfield — they take a lot of short, choppy steps when moving around and it just looks bad — and Delmon is a total disaster in the field. The Yankees should consider it a gift if the Orioles play Young in the outfield at some point this series. It all adds up to a slightly above average team defense, which is valuable, but does not match the O’s reputation.

Pitching Matchups

Monday: RHP Michael Pineda (Career vs. BAL) vs. LHP Wei-Yin Chen (Career vs. NYY)
It’s hard to believe this is already Chen’s fourth year in MLB, isn’t it? I still feel like he just got here. The 29-year-old had a 3.54 ERA (3.89 FIP) in 185.2 innings a year ago despite below average strikeout (17.6 K%), ground ball (41.0 GB%), and homer (1.11 HR/9) rates. He doesn’t walk anyone though (4.5 BB%) and has historically been a bit better against lefties (.300 wOBA) than righties (.329 wOBA). Chen works with both two and four-seam fastballs and his velocity is down about two miles an hour this year compared to the last few years, even considering how early it is in the season. Low-80s sliders and changeups and a mid-70s curveball round out his five-pitch arsenal. Chen’s not a blow you away type, he’s a keep you off balance guy. He allowed three runs in just 4.1 innings against the Rays last week, his first start of 2015.

Tuesday: LHP CC Sabathia (Career vs. BAL) vs. RHP Miguel Gonzalez (Career vs. NYY)
Gonzalez, 30, is another guy who’s been around longer than you’d think. This is his fourth season in the show too. He pitched to a 3.23 ERA (4.89 FIP) in 159 innings last season, and considering he has a 3.43 ERA and a 4.58 FIP in 441.1 careers innings, it’s probably time to say Gonzalez is one of those guys who consistently outperforms his peripherals. His strikeout (16.5 K%), walk (7.6 BB%), grounder (37.3 GB%), and homer (1.42 HR/9) rates don’t jump out at you at all, but he makes it work. Gonzalez’s moneymaker is a dynamite low-80s split-changeup hybrid that generates a lot of weak contact. He sets it up with low-90s heaters and will also throw low-80s sliders and mid-80s curveballs. Gonzalez has had a negligible platoon split in his career — .314 vs. 318 wOBA in favor of lefties — and last week he allowed one run in five innings in his first start of the year.

Norris. (Presswire)
Norris. (Presswire)

Wednesday: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (Career vs. BAL) vs. RHP Bud Norris (Career vs. NYY)
Norris is another one of those league average-ish starters the Orioles seem to have in spades. The 30-year-old gave the team 165.1 innings of 3.65 ERA (4.22 FIP) ball in 2014 with almost perfectly average peripherals across the board: 20.2 K%, 7.6 BB%, 42.2 GB%, and 1.09 HR/9. Lefties have hit Norris quite a bit harder than righties the last few years because he throws low-to-mid-90s fastballs and mid-to-upper-80s sliders almost exclusively. He’s thrown his show-me mid-80s changeup less than 10% of the time the last few seasons. The Blue Jays clobbered Norris in Baltimore’s home opener last week (eight runs in three innings), so I guess he should just go ahead and have Tommy John surgery now.

Bullpen Status
The Blue Jays did the Yankees a solid yesterday and knocked Chris Tillman out of the game after only 2.2 innings. Long man extraordinaire RHP Kevin Gausman needed 37 pitches to get four outs, forcing LHP Brian Matusz to throw two innings (26 pitches) and RHP Brad Brach to throw 1.2 innings (28 pitches). RHP Darren O’Day also threw 1.1 innings (20 pitches). Manager Buck Showalter had to go deep into his bullpen yesterday.

In addition to Gausman, Matusz, Brach, and O’Day, the O’s are also carrying closer LHP Zach Britton, RHP Tommy Hunter, Rule 5 Draft pick RHP Jason Garcia, and knuckleballer RHP Eddie Gamboa. What is it with all the knuckleballers? The Yankees could end up seeing three different knuckleballers in their first three series of the season. When’s the last time that happened? Anyway, with Matusz throwing two innings yesterday and Britton being confined to the ninth inning, Showalter probably won’t have a lefty to deploy in the middle innings today. That’ll be nice.

Check out the status of the Yankees bullpen with our Bullpen Workload page, then check out Camden Chat for everything you need to know about the O’s.

Yankeemetrics: April 10-12 (Red Sox)

Chase Headley, clutch Yankee. (Photo credit: Richard Perry/The New York Times
Chase Headley, clutch Yankee. (Photo: Richard Perry/New York Times)

I watched the entire game!
Three times a charm, right? Wrong.

In the series opener against their most-hated rival, the Yankees somehow erased three separate one-run deficits with their backs against the wall in the ninth, 16th and 18th innings – but could never get the big hit needed to complete the rally against the Red Sox. There are brutal losses, and then there’s the way that the Yankees lost in 19 innings on Friday night.

Let’s recap the craziness of this epic marathon in bullet-point form. First, some notes on the game length:

• It was the sixth game of at least 19 innings in franchise history and the first since a 5-4 19-inning win on August 25, 1976 against Minnesota.
• The only other time the Yankees lost a game that lasted at least 19 innings was a 3-2 loss in 19 innings on May 24, 1918 vs. Cleveland.
• The game was the longest the Yankees have ever played this early into the season (first four games).
• The Yankees and Red Sox have been playing each other since 1903. The only other game in the rivalry that lasted longer than this one was a 20-inning win on August 29, 1967.
• The game lasted six hours and 49 minutes, the longest game ever played by the Yankees in the Bronx. It was just shy of the longest game the Yankees have played anywhere, which was a seven-hour marathon at Detroit on June 24, 1962.

And now let’s put into context how improbable the clutch, game-saving hits were by Chase Headley, Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran:

• Headley became the first Yankee with a game-tying two-out homer in the ninth inning against the Red Sox since Roberto Kelly in 1991; the last Yankee to do that against Boston at Yankee Stadium was Roy White in 1977.
• Teixeira’s 16th inning homer is latest game-tying home run by an American League player since the Jim Finigan (Kansas City Athletics) tied the game in the 17th inning against the Senators in 1956. Before Tex, no Yankee had done it in at least the last 75 years.
• Beltran’s 18th inning game-tying double is the latest game-tying hit by an American League player since the Tom Paciorek’s single for the White Sox in the 21st inning against the Brewers in 1984.

Oh, and did you forget that Nathan Eovaldi actually started this game and pitched the first 5 2/3 innings? All he did was become the first pitcher in at least the last 100 years to throw at least two wild pitches and hit a batter in his Yankee debut. Good times, everyone.

The hangover
Red Sox starter Joe Kelly completely dominated the Yankees lineup on Saturday afternoon (W, 7 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 8 K), paving the way for an eventual 8-4 loss by the home team. He became the first Red Sox pitcher to allow no more than one hit and strikeout at least eight batters against the Yankees in a game at Yankee Stadium since Pedro Martinez’s one-hit, 17-strikeout gem on September 10, 1999.

Although the Yankees’ bats eventually woke up in the sixth game of the season (see below), but it’s worth noting how anemic the offense was through five games. Again, to the bullet-points:

Through five games, the Yankees…
• .622 OPS is their lowest since 1998 (.610)
• .280 OBP is their lowest since 1989 (.259)
• .193 BA is their lowest since 1968 (.176)
• 46 strikeouts are their most in at least the last 100 years

Seventh heaven
The Yankees wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard in the Sunday night finale, jumping out to a 7-0 lead in the first inning. It was the first time the Yankees scored at least seven runs in the first inning against the Red Sox since Aug. 15, 1954, when they took a 8-0 lead en route to a 14-9 victory at Yankee Stadium.

Prior to this game, not only had the Yankees never scored first in a game this season, they didn’t even have a hit in the first inning – the only the team in the majors that entered Sunday’s schedule without a first-inning hit.

The Yankees tagged Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz for 10 runs before he was pulled in the fourth inning. He is the only Red Sox pitcher to allow 10-or-more runs in fewer than four innings pitched against the Yankees over the last 100 years of the rivalry.

The Yankees broke out of their offensive slump in Sunday’s 14-4 win, but their sloppy glovework continued as they committed another error, bringing their league-leading total to nine after the first week of the season. Even worse, they have allowed at least one unearned run in each of their first six games, joining the 1995 White Sox as the only teams in the last 75 years to do that.

Fan Confidence Poll: April 13th, 2015

Record Last Week: 2-4 (31 RS, 33 RA)
Season Record: 2-4 (31 RS, 33 RA, 3-3 pythag. record)
Opponents This Week: @ Orioles (three games, Mon. to Weds.), Thurs. OFF, vs. Rays (three games, Fri. to Sun.)

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. you can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the Features pull-down menu the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?

Offense breaks out, Yankees salvage series with 14-4 win over Red Sox

In the span of eight offensive innings Sunday night, the Yankees nearly doubled their season scoring output (17 runs to 31) and raised their team batting line from .193/.280/.342 to .233/.331/.404. A 16-hit attack carried the Bronx Bombers to a 14-4 win in their series finale against the Red Sox.

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

The Inning They Needed, Not The Inning We Deserved
If we were able to pick any way for the first inning of Sunday’s game to play out, I’m pretty sure “seven runs with back-to-back homers for good measure” would have been near the top of the list. It was the kind of inning the Yankees desperately needed after those five ugly games to start the season. And Yankees fans needed that too. Tensions were running high, to put it lightly.

A whole lot happened in that seven-run first inning, so let’s do this annotated box score style.

Yankees Red Sox box score

(1) After Clay Buchholz walked Jacoby Ellsbury to lead off the game, he threw over to first base to keep Ellsbury close. Except Ellsbury was literally standing on the base, not taking a lead. Then Buchholz did it again. Exact same thing. He really seemed to be focusing on Ellsbury, yet Ellsbury still took off for second base and Brett Gardner slapped a weak little ground ball through the left side of the infield for something short of a textbook hit and run. It wasn’t pretty but it sure got the job done.

(2) I don’t know if the Red Sox could have turned a double play on Brian McCann‘s weak ground ball to first base, but they definitely should have gotten one out on the play. Instead, Mike Napoli muffed the grounder and everyone was safe. The bases were loaded with one out. Napoli’s error really helped open the flood gates.

(3) Alex Rodriguez wasted no time whatsoever with the bases loaded. Buchholz put a first pitch cutter on a tee and A-Rod laced it into the left-center field gap for a bases-clearing double. The ball couldn’t have been more than 20 feet in the air at its highest point. Rocket. Alex was all over that pitch, so much so that I think he guessed fastball in that location and Buchholz served it up.

(4) Chase Headley‘s two-run homer was the big blow the inning. It went from “hey, four runs might be enough!” to “phew, six runs is much better.” Buchholz actually got ahead of Headley with a quick 0-2 count, but Headley spit on some changeups in the dirt before Buchholz hung a curveball for the no-doubt two-run homer to right field.

(5) Stephen Drew! Unlike Headley’s long homer, Drew’s was a Yankee Stadium cheapie, hitting off the table top of the right-center field wall and hopping over. Hey, it counts. Drew needs all the help he can get. That solo homer was the exclamation point on a pretty awesome inning. Easily their best of the young season. When Drew gets in on the act, you know things are going your way.

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

No Whiffs
Boston’s first run was pretty dumb. David Ortiz walked in a 3-3 count — third base ump Mike Muchlinski said Ortiz checked his swing on what would have been strike three even though it was pretty clear he went around — then moved to third on two wild pitches and scored on Hanley Ramirez’s sac fly. Ortiz should have struck out, McCann could have possibly kept one of those wild pitches in front of him, but nope. Blah. Ugly run.

The other two runs in the fourth weren’t so cheap, though of course there was an error involved, New York’s league-leading tenth of the season. And to think, defense was supposed to be a strength. Anyway, Pablo Sandoval singled and Napoli drew a walk after Hanley’s sac fly, then Shane Victorino hit what could have been an inning-ending double play. It should have been at least one out. Instead Drew’s flip to second was wide of the bag and Didi Gregorius couldn’t reel it in.

Xander Bogaerts took advantage with a two-run double to left field to make it 7-3 before Tanaka struck out Ryan Hanigan and Mookie Betts to limit the damage. Hanigan helped Masahiro out by expanding the zone considerably to chase a slider. The running theme that inning was an utter lack of swings and misses. In the Ortiz through Bogaerts at-bats, Tanaka threw 30 pitches and got just one swing and miss, the second pitch to Ortiz. Red Sox hitters laid off his splitter like they knew it was coming.

Overall, Tanaka got just five whiffs out of 97 total pitches (5.2%) on Sunday. He got a dozen swings and misses out of 82 total pitches (14.6%) in his first start against a good hitting Blue Jays team, which was right in line with his 2014 rate (13.4%), yet Sunday night the empty swings weren’t there for whatever reason. Maybe it was the elbow, maybe he was tipping his splitter, maybe the Red Sox are just that good, or maybe it was just one of those nights. No way to know.

Whatever it was, the inability to get whiffs was a clear issue for Tanaka on Sunday. He finished the night with four strikeouts and four runs allowed (three earned) on three hits and four walks in five innings. (The fourth run was a brute strength homer by Hanley on a good down and away slider.) Forty-nine of Tanaka’s 97 pitches were either four-seamers or sinkers (50.5%), way more than what he threw against Toronto six days ago (32.9%) as well as last year’s average (40.8%). He didn’t shy away from the heater. That’s for sure.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Insurance Runs
The Yankees answered the Red Sox’s three-run top of the fourth with three runs in the bottom half. Gregorius, Ellsbury, and Gardner opened the inning with three identical ground ball singles back up the middle. It looked like ESPN kept playing the same replay over and over. Ellsbury stole second during Gardner’s at-bat and was able to score along with Gregorius on Brett’s single. Buchholz didn’t bother to back up the base on either Ellsbury’s or Gardner’s single. His body language was … less than good.

Gardner took second base on the throw home and moved to third on Carlos Beltran‘s infield single. Yes, Beltran had an infield single. Pablo Sandoval fielded the ball fairly cleanly but couldn’t get it out of his glove to make the throw. Beltran sliced a single to right later in the game and now has four hits on the season: a legit single, a legit double, one double most non-Hanley left fielders catch, and an infield single. Teixeira followed that with a deep sac fly to score Gardner from third. Answering those three Boston runs in the next half inning was huge.

The Yankees scored another three runs against lefty Tommy Layne in the sixth when the first five hitters of the inning reached base. Beltran lined a single to right, Teixeira pulled a ground ball single through the right side, McCann blooped a single to right, A-Rod drew a bases loaded walk, and Headley singled in another run. Drew drove in the third run of the inning with a sac fly. That made it 13-4. McCann’s solo homer — the 200th dinger of his career — made it 14-4 in the eighth.

#obligatoryerror (Presswire)
#obligatoryerror (Presswire)

Leftovers
It was a blowout, but nice job by the bullpen to close the door and not make this one interesting. David Carpenter retired five of six batters faced and the just called up Kyle Davies chucked 2.1 scoreless frames. This was Davies’ first MLB appearance since July 2011. He spent the last few years dealing with arm problems and bouncing around the minors. Long road back for him. Tonight must have been special.

Remember how Phil Hughes would always allow the #obligatoryhomer? These Yankees always make the #obligatoryerror and #obligatoryoutonthebases. Drew made both in this game. He made the error in the third inning and the out on the bases in the fifth, when he was thrown out stealing second. The Yankees have now made eight outs on the bases in six games this season: four caught stealings, three pickoffs, and Didi making that wide turn at first on a single.

The Yankees went 6-for-10 with runners in scoring position, so hooray for that. The seven-run first inning was the Yankees’ biggest inning since they scored eight runs in an inning against the Tigers last August. That was the game when they had nine straight hit off David Price. Remember that? It was cool.

And finally, the Yankees scored at least ten runs against one pitcher (Buchholz!) for the first time since 2011, when they did it three times. Those were the good ol’ days, eh? They hung ten spots on Gavin Floyd, Trevor Cahill, and Brett Anderson that year.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score, video highlights, updated standings, and announcer standings. The video might not be up for a little while because the game was on ESPN, FYI. ESPN holds the broadcast rights and MLB can’t put them up during the game. Here is the WPA graph, which is finally a laugher for the good guys.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The season-opening homestand is over and the Yankees are heading out on a ten-game road trip. It starts tomorrow night in Baltimore. Wei-Yin Chen will be on the bump for the Orioles and the Yankees will counter with Big Mike Pineda.

Game Six: All Eyes on Masahiro

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

So the first five games of the season have been pretty awful for the Yankees. I’m struggling to remember another five-game stretch when they looked this inept in just about all phases of the game. Thankfully, teams are never as bad as they look when they’re playing their worst (they’re also never really as good as they look when they’re playing their best), it just feels that way.

Masahiro Tanaka is making his second start of the season tonight, and yesterday he told reporters he watched some video and fixed some mechanical issues between starts. “I think I was able to make some adjustments after my first start up until today … I needed time to settle down and work on what I had to work on. I think the past four days were good for me,” he said to Josh Thomson.

Pitchers watch video and make adjustments between starts all the time, so this isn’t exactly out of the ordinary. But, because it’s Tanaka, it’s newsworthy. I just want to see him have some more confidence in his fastball tonight and not rely on his offspeed stuff all the time. Shying away from the fastball is no way to go through life. Also, maybe win? Could be cool. Here’s the starting nine:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. DH Alex Rodriguez
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Clay Buchholz will be on the mound for the Red Sox. Here’s their lineup.

It was a gorgeous day in New York today and the weather will be just as nice tonight. Tonight’s game will begin just after 8pm ET and you can watch on ESPN. Over/under on the number of “he should just have the surgery” comments is set at 19.5. Try to enjoy the game.

Roster Move: The Yankees have designated Matt Tracy for assignment and called up Kyle Davies, the team announced. Davies takes Tracy’s place on both the 25-man and 40-man rosters. Davies was scheduled to start for Triple-A Scranton tomorrow and should be good for many innings tonight, which I hope isn’t necessary.