Baseball America published their best Double-A tools survey today, though no Yankees farmhands made the cut. I thought OF Mason Williams might take home Best Defensive Outfielder honors, but I guess not. Oh well.
Triple-A Scranton (7-0 loss to Columbus)
- RF Jose Pirela, 1B Austin Romine & DH Kyle Roller: all 0-4 — Pirela and roller each struck out once
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 3-4, 1 2B, 1 K — 14-for-41 (.341) in his last ten games
- CF Zoilo Almonte: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 K
- C John Ryan Murphy: 0-2, 1 BB
- RHP Chris Leroux: 5 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 6/3 GB/FB — 48 of 73 pitches were strikes (66%)
- RHP Brandon Pinder: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K — nine pitches, eight strikes
- LHP Tyler Webb: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 24 of 33 pitches were strikes (73%) … with a lefty bullpen spot there for the taking on the MLB team, this wasn’t to good time to have a dud
I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I’m going to pass this along anyway: David Laurila at FanGraphs spoke to Derek Jeter recently about his approach to hitting. How it’s changed over the years, how he prepares, stuff like that. Laurila’s interviews are always top notch and I have no reason to suspect this one is any different, so head over and check it out.
Here is tonight’s open thread. MLB Network will carry a regional game plus there is preseason football on (Jets-Colts at 8pm ET on CBS, among others). Talk about those games, the Jeter interview, this afternoon’s win, or anything else right here.
6:02pm: Ken Rosenthal says Bryan Mitchell has been scratched from tonight’s scheduled start for Triple-A Scranton and will join the big league team tomorrow. I wonder why aren’t just starting him instead of Rogers. Whatever. I assume Matt Daley will go down in a corresponding move.
5:48pm: As expected, the Yankees will start right-hander Esmil Rogers against the Indians tomorrow night, the team announced. That is David Phelps’ spot. The Yankees were waiting to see how much they would need their bullpen these last two days before announcing a starter. Rogers has made two scoreless relief appearances for the Bombers since being claimed off waivers last week. He was working as a starter in Triple-A for the Blue Jays and is stretched out. · (92) ·
So that was the best series of the season, no? The Yankees held on for a 1-0 win on Thursday afternoon, taking three of four from the first place Tigers. The one loss was a very winnable game as well. Great game, great series.
Tame The Tigers
I don’t know how they did it, but the Yankees’ patchwork rotation went toe-to-toe with Detroit’s collection of aces this week and collectively outpitched them. It was pretty awesome. Shane Greene stepped up on Thursday afternoon and was masterful, allowing five singles and three walks in eight shutout innings. He struck out five and recorded 13 of his other 19 outs on the ground. He was efficient too, throwing 99 pitches total and never more than 18 in an inning (only once more than 14). What more could you want?
The Tigers had two runners reach second base and one reach third base against Greene all afternoon. That’s all. A single (Victor Martinez) and a walk (J.D. Martinez) gave them runners on first and second with two outs in the fourth, but Greene rebounded to strike out Don Kelly. Two innings later an infield single (Ezequiel Carrera) and a bloop single (Ian Kinsler) gave Detroit men on the corners with one out, and this time Greene got out of it by getting V-Mart to bang into a 4-6-3 double play. He executed the exact right pitches at the exact right times.
Greene has been rock solid during his brief time as a big league starter, and I think the difference between his last few starts and this one was his slider. PitchFX says he threw 29 sliders out of 99 pitches, including 21 for strikes and seven for swings and misses. He was able to locate it just off the plate outside to the Tigers’ bevy of right-handed batters, resulting in whiffs and a lot of soft contact. It helps when you can back that up with a mid-90s sinker, of course. Greene was fantastic. What a job.
All With Two Outs
The Yankees scored one run on Thursday and that’s all they needed. Naturally, they did not score that run after Ichiro Suzuki (infield single) and Brendan Ryan (single) reached base with one out in the third, setting things up for the top of the lineup. Brett Gardner hit into a rare 4-6-3 double play to kill that rally. It was only his third double play ball of the season. Bases loaded with two outs in the seventh? Nope, didn’t score then either. Martin Prado grounded out weakly to short to end the threat.
No, the Yankees scored their run after having the bases empty with two outs in the fourth. Prado and Jacoby Ellsbury lined out to left and center field to start the inning, respectively, so it seemed like another quick scoreless inning for Rick Porcello. Instead, the Yankees were able to string together three soft hits to score a run. Carlos Beltran singled to center, Chase Headley blooped another single to center, then Stephen Drew blooped a ground-rule double to left. It was perfectly placed just inside the foul line. Had it not hopped over the wall, I’m pretty sure Headley would have scored from first. Alas. One run is better than none.
Joe Girardi surprisingly let Greene start the ninth, but his shutout complete-game bid ended when Kinsler led the inning off with a single to center. David Robertson came on, walked (Victor) Martinez, got super scary pinch-hitter Miguel Cabrera to bang into a 4-3 double play, then got Kelly to line out softly to short for his 31st save. No sweat. (Lots of sweat.)
Everyone in the starting lineup had exactly one hit except for Frankie Cervelli (zero) and Ichiro (two). Drew’s double was the only extra-base hit and Headley drew their only walk, a four-pitch job off ex-Yankee Phil Coke with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Ryan took a fastball to the back as part of that ultimately fruitless seventh inning rally.
Greene is the first Yankees’ starter to complete eight innings of work since Hiroki Kuroda on July 1st. They’ve gotten only five other 8+ innings starts this year, all by (who else?) Masahiro Tanaka. The bullpen really needed an easy day like this. No one even had to warm up until Robertson got ready for the ninth.
This was only the fifth 1-0 game in New Yankee Stadium history and the first since Chris Archer shut the Yankees out last July. The Bombers are 2-3 in those five games. The other win was CC Sabathia‘s shutout of the Rays in 2011, when James Shields threw away a pickoff throw for the only run.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. Depending on the outcomes of the night game, the Yankees will be either four games back in the AL East and one game back of the second wildcard spot (Blue Jays beat Orioles), or five games back in the AL East and tied for the second wildcard spot (O’s beat Jays).
This four-game series with the Tigers is finally over. The Indians are coming to town for a three-game weekend set next and they’ll have Trevor Bauer on the mound for Friday’s opener. The Yankees? They still have not announced their starter. Chances are it will be Esmil Rogers in place of the injured David Phelps. Chase Whitley seems to be the other option. We’ll find out soon enough.
Mark Teixeira‘s hand got stepped on as he slid across home plate last night, and following the game he needed three stitches to close the wound. X-rays came back negative. Teixeira told Vince Mercogliano the cut was “really, really bad” and he thought he saw bone. I know Tex has become increasingly brittle over the years and a pinkie injury is easy to laugh at, but I’m pretty sure that if you stepped on my hand with metal cleats, I’d curl up in the fetal position at home plate and retire on the spot.
Hopefully the Yankees rally around the injury and go out and win this afternoon’s series finale against the Tigers. Do it for Teixeira’s pinkie. Here is the Miguel Cabrera-less Tigers lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- 3B Martin Prado
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- DH Carlos Beltran
- 1B Chase Headley
- SS Stephen Drew
- C Frankie Cervelli
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- 2B Brendan Ryan
RHP Shane Greene
It’s a nice and pleasant day here in New York. A little cloudy with temperatures in the low-80s, and there is no rain or anything in the forecast. The clouds are supposed to go away in a few hours, in fact. This afternoon’s game is scheduled to begin a bit after 1pm ET. You can watch on YES locally and, depending on where you live, MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.
Injury Update: Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) played catch again, this time from both 60 and 90 feet. Everything went well and he’ll continue moving forward with his throwing program.
Via Jon Heyman: Brett Gardner, Martin Prado, and Stephen Drew all cleared trade waivers this month. That means they can all now be traded to any team. It doesn’t mean the Yankees want to move them, of course, but they can if they want. The Nationals claimed Matt Thornton off trade waivers the other day and the club let him go for nothing.
As a reminder, teams will pass almost all of their players through trade waivers this month. They are completely revocable, so players can be pulled back if claimed. Most of the time they try to hide a player they’re looking to move by putting a whole bunch of players on waivers on the same time. The Yankees figure to claim a player or three this month if for no other reason than to block them from going to one of the teams they’re trying to catch in the standings. I’m surprised no one claimed Gardner. · (75) ·
Mark Teixeira needed three stitches in his left pinkie after getting stepped on while sliding across home plate during last night’s game. X-rays came back negative but he will miss at least one game and maybe more. Here are some more injury updates prior to this afternoon’s series finale against the Tigers, courtesy of Marly Rivera, George King, Fred Kerber, Jack Curry, and Vince Mercogliano:
- Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) came through the first two days of his throwing session well — yesterday was a rest day and he will throw again today — and the team has a return date in mind, but they won’t reveal it. Can’t say I blame them. It is sometime in September, however. “I’m happy the early return on rest and two throwing days on Tanaka have gone well,” said Brian Cashman.“I’m not gonna say (the date). We’ll take this day-by-day … He’s in one of those situations where every day you hold your breath, hoping it’s a good day. The more of those that come, the better it will be for us.”
- CC Sabathia (knee) acknowledged he will continue to need treatment going forward and will never truly be 100% healthy because there is no cartilage left under his knee cap. Doctors removed a previously undetected bone spur during surgery and he’s scheduled to undergo another stem cell procedure in a few weeks. “Hopefully, this procedure he just had is good enough to return him to our rotation every five days for an entire year starting next year,” said the GM.
- Michael Pineda (shoulder) threw his between-starts bullpen session yesterday and will make his next rehab start with Triple-A Scranton on Friday. He has been ruled out as a replacement for the injured David Phelps that day, though he could return to the rotation next week. “He’s probably available to go somewhere between 75 and 80 (pitches), and then we see where we’re at,” said Joe Girardi. “I said we wanted to get him to 90 (before bringing him back), but with the circumstances that we’re in, you never know.”
- Carlos Beltran (elbow) has started throwing to the bases as part of his throwing program. He expects to return to the outfield at some point — “I’m a position player, have to work on all aspects of my game,” he said — though Girardi acknowledged they aren’t as desperate to get him back in the field after the trade deadline. “There is less of a sense that we need to get him out there,” said the skipper. “We will keep him throwing. The one thing we don’t want to risk is him having a setback.’’
- Jacoby Ellsbury (thumb) is still sore after being stepped on during a rundown on Tuesday. “I’ll just play through it,” he said. There is no long-term concern.
For the first time this year, a game gave me that little postseason-esque nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach. The Yankees and Tigers played an excitingly close game on Wednesday, close until the Bombers broke it open in the bottom of the eighth. New York won 5-1.
Changeup, Strike Three
Chris Capuano has had a knack for pulling gems out of nowhere throughout his career, and on the night when the Yankees needed a start like that, he gave them one. The wily veteran southpaw used changeup after changeup to hold the high-powered Tigers to one unearned run in 6.2 innings, striking out eight and walking one. He allowed just five hits and retired 20 of 25 batters at one point from the first through seventh innings. His night ended after 101 pitches and back-to-back two-out singles in that seventh inning.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus loaded his lineup with right-handed batters against the lefty Capuano — number nine hitter Ezequiel Carrera was the only lefty in the starting lineup — and that played right into his strength, the down and away changeup. He had the pitch working marvelously. PitchFX says Capuano threw 44 changeups out of those 101 pitches, including 33 for strikes and 11 for swings and misses. He doubled up on the pitch all night and at one point he even tripled up on the changeup to fan Nick Castellanos. Excellent outing by Capuano. What a nice surprise he’s been through three starts.
Justin Verlander retired the first eleven batters he faced before Jacoby Ellsbury singled to center with two outs in the fourth. The Yankees scored their first run an inning later, when Chase Headley ran into a meatball of a 2-2 changeup for a solo homer into the second deck in right. Everyone knew it was gone off the bat, including Verlander based on his reaction. The pitch was on a tee and it tied the game at one after some sloppy defense and a sacrifice fly gave the Tigers a quick 1-0 lead in the first.
The score remained 1-1 until the seventh inning, at which point the Yankees had only had four base-runners against Verlander. The big right-hander left a 1-2 fastball up in the zone to Brian McCann with one out in the inning, and that pitch landed just beyond the right-center wall for a solo homer into the Yankees bullpen. You can tell this isn’t the same Verlander of the last few years. That guy absolutely buried hitters with two strikes. This version gave up two two-strike homers in the span of three innings. McCann’s dinger gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead with six outs to go.
As good as Capuano was in this game, Adam Warren recorded by far the two biggest outs of the night. Really the three biggest when you consider he inherited a first-and-third situation from Capuano with two outs in the seventh, escaping with a ground ball. Warren got a quick first pitch ground out from Ian Kinsler to start the eighth, then he appeared to pitch around the ultra-dangerous Miguel Cabrera with one out. I don’t like that strategy — assuming he did pitch around him, of course — because all Miggy could do was tie the game there. Put him on and suddenly the go-ahead run is at the plate. Whatever.
Because I wrote about how good the infield defense has been since the trade deadline earlier on Wednesday, Stephen Drew managed to make two errors on one play to give the Tigers runners on the corners with one out. Victor Martinez hit a soft grounder into the shift, but Drew fumbled the scoop (first error) and rushed the throw (second error), which was wide of first base and wound up close to home plate. Cabrera alertly advanced from second to third once he realized the ball was by Mark Teixeira at first.
This was a problem. The Yankees had just taken the lead, and while Detroit’s two best hitters were on the bases and not coming to the plate, runners on the corners with one out is scary. Especially since Warren has been less than stellar the last few weeks for whatever reason. Fatigue, return to Earth, whatever. Warren fell behind in the count 3-0 to J.D. Martinez and suddenly things looked really bad. Then he reached back and threw three straight fastballs by Martinez for the strikeout. The PitchFX readings on those fastballs: 95.95 mph (foul), 97.35 mph (whiff), and 96.9 mph (whiff). Gas.
That was an obviously huge strikeout but the inning was not over. There was still one out to get and Warren was still wild. He again fell behind in the count 3-0, this time to Castellanos. Warren went 97.00 mph fastball (whiff), 89.22 mph slider (foul), 96.81 mph fastball (foul), 98.26 mph fastball (foul), and 89.40 mph slider (lazy fly to right) to get the final out of the inning. That 98.26 mph fastball was the fastest pitch Warren has ever thrown in the big leagues, again according to PitchFX. It was not at all easy, but hats off to Warren for his work in that eighth inning. One of the biggest innings of the season, hands down.
Some time around the fifth inning I said this was a classic “next team to homer wins” game, and technically I was right. The Yankees were nice enough to plate some insurance runs in the eighth though, with the big blow being McCann’s … weak grounder to first. The Bombers had the bases loaded with one out and a run already in when Andrew Romine’s throw to first on the 3-6-3 double play attempt sailed by first base and to the dugout fence. Teixeira chugged around from second on the play and slid in for the team’s fifth run of the night. He was initially ruled out but the call was overturned following Joe Girardi‘s challenge. Teixeira’s pinkie got stepped on at the plate and he needed stitches. Props to Brett Gardner (single), Ellsbury (walk), Teixeira (run-scoring single), and Carlos Beltran (single) for their work earlier in the inning. Scoring those three insurance runs was huge.
David Robertson was all warmed up and ready to pitch the ninth until the three-run bottom of the eighth. David Huff recorded the last three outs without incident instead. He threw all of nine pitches and Derek Jeter made a great jumping catch to rob Bryan Holaday of a line drive single. With all due respect to Huff, Capuano and Warren were clearly the pitching stars of the night. The rest of the overtaxed bullpen got a much-needed day to rest.
Headley (homer and single) was the only Yankee with multiple hits, though Ellsbury (single and walk) and Teixeira (single and walk) both reached base twice as well. McCann hit his homer while Gardner, Jeter, and Beltran singled. Drew and Martin Prado went a combined 0-for-6 from the 8-9 spots in the order. The Yankees may not be scoring a whole lot, but this lineup definitely feels more dangerous than what they were trotting out there not too long ago.
The Yankees ended their streak of consecutive games decided by two or fewer runs at 16, the third longest such streak in history. They were two shy of tying the all-time record set by the Twins in 1968. Or maybe it was 1948. I forget. They showed the graphic on YES and I didn’t take note of the year.
Last, but certainly not least, the Yankees just won two of three games against the last three AL Cy Young award winners. The one loss was a very winnable game as well. If nothing else, that’s something to brag about.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
The box score and video highlights are at MLB.com. Some other stats are at FanGraphs and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Blue Jays beat the Orioles, so the Yankees are now five games back in the AL East and one game back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 22.9%. I don’t know if they’ll get a chance to play in October, but I’ll sign up for another 50 games just like this one. These last few games have been very entertaining.
The Yankees and Tigers wrap up this four-game series on Thursday afternoon. Yes, an afternoon game. Shane Greene will get the ball against New Jersey’s own Rick Porcello. RAB Tickets can get in the door if you want to spend the afternoon at the ballpark.
10:50: X- rays came back negative and Teixeira received three stitches in his pinkie. Not too bad.
10:29pm: Teixeira is getting stitches and will likely go for x-rays, Joe Girardi announced. He will definitely not play tomorrow and it’s unclear what will happen after that.
10:16pm: Mark Teixeira left tonight’s game after either having his left hand stepped on or his fingers bent back (or both) while sliding into home plate in the bottom of the eighth. YES showed him holding a towel over his fingers, so hopefully it’s nothing more than a cut. Either way, the Yankees can’t really afford to lose their best power hitter and only real first baseman. Stay tuned for updates. · (125) ·