Saturday afternoon’s game had all the look of another loss thanks to a lifeless offense. Didn’t matter who was on the mound for the White Sox, they Yankees weren’t hitting him. Then a late rally against the bullpen and a surprise extra innings homer gave the Bombers their first win in U.S. Cellular Field since 2012. Let’s belatedly recap the 4-3 win:
- Nuno Recovers: Sixteen pitches into the game, Vidal Nuno allowed three hits and three runs to put the Yankees in an immediate hole. It looked like it would be another short day for the team’s nominal fourth starter, but, to Nuno’s credit, he rebounded very well and took the ball into the eighth (!) inning. He retired 20 of the final 25 men he faced, throwing a season-high 101 pitches. I think he was going to throw 100+ pitches no matter what given the state of the bullpen. Nuno rebounded nicely and held the ChiSox to just those three first inning runs. I’ll take seven innings and three runs from him every time out.
- Danked: The Yankees somehow had more success against Chris Sale on Thursday than they did against John Danks on Saturday. Sure, they had three hits against Danks, but he chucked eight innings and got nothing but weak contact all afternoon. Mark Teixeira hit a ground rule double in the fourth and that was the only ball they really squared up. Getting dominated by Sale is one thing, but post-shoulder surgery Danks? Yuck.
- Blownpen: It looked like the Yankees were ready to tease us in the ninth inning again. Jacoby Ellsbury singled against closer Ronald Belisario with one out to give us some hope, but it wasn’t until Alfonso Soriano doubled (driving in Ellsbury) and Yangervis Solarte singled (driving in Soriano) than the comeback really felt like it had some life. After an Ichiro Suzuki walk pushed Solarte into scoring position, pinch-hitter Brian McCann blooped the game-tying single into center field. After doing nothing against Danks, the Yankees scored three in the ninth to tie the game.
- Extras: If Ellsbury had not hit the go-ahead homer in the tenth inning, I’m not sure how much longer New York could have held out. Adam Warren was unavailable after Friday’s long appearance and Dellin Betances had already pitched for the second day in a row, so Preston Claiborne and Alfredo Aceves were next in line. Thankfully, Ellsbury hit that homer, and David Robertson closed the door in the bottom of the tenth to seal the win. He’s been pitching in high-leverage spots for years now. You didn’t think Friday’s blown save would rattle him, did you? Robertson, Betances, and the Matts (Thornton and Daley) held the ChiSox to one base-runner in three innings, striking out six.
- Leftovers: Ellsbury had two hits in his final two at-bats, which is hopefully a sign he is ready to break out of his slump. They need him to hit … Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter went a combined 0-for-10 from the one-two spots … the Yankees went 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position and six of the final eleven men they sent to the plate reached base (three of the first 29 reached) … Betances struck out two in his perfect inning and now has 49 strikeouts in 28.1 innings. He leads all relievers in strikeouts (by nine) and has an outside shot at 100 strikeouts before the All-Star break.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees and White Sox wrap up this four-game weekend series on Sunday afternoon, when Masahiro Tanaka gets the ball against rookie righty Andre Rienzo. How about a winning streak?
Minor League Update: Here are the box scores for Saturday’s games: Triple-A Scranton, Double-A Trenton, High-A Tampa (G1), High-A Tampa (G2), Low-A Charleston. RHP Zach Nuding threw eight shutout innings, OF Ben Gamel and 2B Rob Refsnyder both had two hits, and homers were hit by SS Cito Culver, 1B Greg Bird, 3B Dante Bichette Jr., and OF Aaron Judge.
The weather stinks in the Tri-State Area right now, but hopefully that won’t ruin your holiday weekend. It’s supposed to clear up tomorrow anyway. Use this thread to talk about whatever you like tonight. This afternoon’s win, other baseball games, NBA or NHL playoff games, whatever you want. Have at it.
Via Ben Badler (subs. req’d): The Yankees have interest in 15-year-old Venezuelan outfielder Antonio Arias. He is one of the youngest players in this summer’s crop of international amateur free agents, though he will turn 16 on June 12th and is eligible for the 2014-15 international signing period that opens on July 2nd.
Arias is listed at 6-foot-2 and 170 lbs. Badler says he is “a good athlete who projects as a center fielder” while adding he “is a righthanded hitter with good bat speed and some scouts see feel for the barrel, and while he does have some lift in his swing, he lacks present strength to hit for power right now.” The Yankees are reportedly planning to spend upwards of $30M on international players this summer (bonuses plus penalties), though there is no word on what kind of bonus Arias will command. The team has already been connected to eight players likely to get more than $1M. · (9) ·
The Yankees have dropped two straight and four of their last five games. They’ve lost eight of their last 13 games if you want to take the arbitrary endpoint back further. It’s getting tiresome. Bad starting pitching, slumping middle of the order bats, awful defense … they look very much like a team that has been playing sub-.500 baseball for more than a month. There’s no bad luck here, just bad play. Here is the White Sox lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- DH Alfonso Soriano
- 3B Yangervis Solarte
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- C John Ryan Murphy
- 2B Brendan Ryan
LHP Vidal Nuno
It’s a little cloudy in Chicago but there is no rain in the forecast. The game is scheduled to begin a little after 2pm ET and you can watch on YES. Try to enjoy.
Shawn Kelley Update: Kelley (back) is on target to resume throwing in the middle of next week following his recent setback. He was originally scheduled to be activated tomorrow.
The 2014 amateur draft will conclude two weeks from today. I’m not sure why it runs from Thursday through Sunday this year, but whatever. Jeff Nelson and Andy Cannizaro will represent the Yankees during the Day One broadcast on MLB Network, MLB announced. Cannizaro works in the team’s scouting department but I don’t think Nelson works for the Yankees. He might just be the token notable ex-player each team sends to the draft. Here are some stray draft links:
- Baseball America’s Top 200 Draft Prospects: Baseball America has released their list of the top 200 draft prospects, which will eventually increase to 500. The list is free and there are links to video as well, but the individual scouting reports are subscriber-only. Needless to say, a list of the top 200 draft prospects (eventually 500) sure is handy.
- ESPN’s AL East Draft Targets: In an Insider-only piece, Chris Crawford looks at the draft strategies and potential targets for the five AL East teams. “This year you can expect GM Brian Cashman and scouting director Damon Oppenheimer to likely go back to their prep routes, as they don’t possess a pick until the second round due to the plethora of free agents they signed during the winter. That said, if a talented college hurler fell into their laps, they could jump at that opportunity,” wrote Crawford. He lists Hawaii HS LHP Kodi Medeiros, Louisiana HS C Chase Vallot, and San Diego State RHP Michael Cederoth as players who fit the team’s strategy.
- Baseball America’s Mock Draft v3.0: In their latest mock draft, Baseball America has the Astros taking California HS LHP Brady Aiken first overall. The mock draft only covers the first round, so the Yankees not included, but it’s free and you can read up on which players each team is targeting.
- MLB.com’s Mock Draft v2.0: The MLB.com crew also has the Astros taking Aiken first overall in their latest mock draft. Again, the Yankees are not included because it only covers the first round, but it’s free and there’s lots of info in there anyway.
X-rays came back negative on Brian Roberts’ right knee following tonight’s game, according to various reporters with the team. Roberts fouled a pitch off the knee — it was a direct hit and he was in a lot of pain — but he stayed in the game and hobbled around for another few innings before being lifted in the ninth. I’m sure Roberts will be sore tomorrow and I’m guessing he’ll get a day or three off. Given his injury history, every little bump and bruise is a concern. · (2) ·
This was a total team loss. Bad pitching, bad hitting, especially bad defense. The Yankees have now lost eight straight games at U.S. Cellular Field (dating back to 2012) following Friday’s walk-off 6-5 loss. Let’s recap the heart-breaker:
- Early Runs: Former Yankee Hector Noesi came into this game with a 7.31 ERA, and that went up after Brian McCann clubbed a three-run homer in the very first inning. Derek Jeter singled and Mark Teixeira walked to set the inning up. McCann has been pretty bad this year, but that was his seventh homer, or one fewer than the Yankees got out of their catchers all last season.
- Chipped Away: Holy moly was the infield defense bad on Friday. I mean, it’s been bad all year, but it was especially bad on Friday. Kelly Johnson looked like he never played first base before — probably because he’s played 19 games at the position in his career — missing two scoops and failing to knock down a hard hit grounder. Those miscues extended several innings and drove up Hiroki Kuroda‘s pitch count, forcing him from the game with two outs in the fifth. He allowed four runs, the last two on an Alexei Ramirez homer. The bad defense hurt, but Kuroda also allowed eight hits to 25 batters. Ugly.
- Retake The Lead: Noesi managed to settle down after the first inning and wound up with a quality start. Down 4-3 in the seventh, the Yankees put something together against the ChiSox bullpen, loading the bases with two singles and a walk. There was a sacrifice bunt mixed in as well. The tying run scored on a wild pitch, thankfully, then the super-slumping Jacoby Ellsbury lifted a sac fly to center to plate the go-ahead run. The Yankees have put together a spirited two-run rally in the late innings of each of the last three games.
- Proctored: The poor bullpen is going to be toast come August. Because Kuroda was bounced from the game so early, Joe Girardi used his key late-game trio to get the final 13 outs. That meant four outs for Dellin Betances (20 pitches), five outs for Adam Warren (36 pitches), and one out for David Robertson (14 pitches). It would have been four outs had he not served up a two-run walk-off homer to Adam Dunn. It was his first blown save in ten tries this year. He was bound to blow one at some point. Sucks it happened on Friday.
- Leftovers: Jeter played short and Brendan Ryan played first for the second time in about a week. That has to be the most backwards thing any team has done this season … Roberts fouled a pitch off his right knee and hobbled around the rest of the game. He was lifted in the ninth inning, but that might have been for defensive purposes … the Yankees need their starters to go deeper into the game. It’s a must. They’re killing the bullpen. Betances, Warren, and Robertson can’t be asked to get 4+ outs each every other day.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The good news: Vidal Nuno will be on the mound to stop the bleeding on Saturday afternoon. Wait, no. That’s the bad news. I don’t have good news. John Danks will be on the bump for the ChiSox in the matinee.
Alright, let’s start with some notes:
- On Twitter, Low-A Charleston hinted a rehabbing big leaguer might be in the lineup come Monday. I think they’re referring to Stephen Drew, who was sent to Low-A Greenville for tune-up games today and will play the River Dogs on Monday. Outside of Frankie Cervelli, I’m not sure which Yankee could be ready for rehab games on Monday. Certainly not Carlos Beltran, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, or Shawn Kelley based on everything we’ve heard recently, right?
- C Gary Sanchez was included in the Not So Hot section of this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. He’s been in a slump for a while now. RHP Brady Lail was mentioned under the Helium Watch though, so that’s cool.
- C Austin Romine has been activated off the Triple-A Scranton DL while LHP Nik Turley and RHP Chris Leroux were placed on it, according to Donnie Collins. Turley missed the start of the year with an unknown arm injury, but going from Extended Spring Training to the Triple-A DL suggests he will soon be activated.
- 2B Angelo Gumbs has been placed on the High-A Tampa DL, according to Nicholas Flammia. No idea what’s wrong with him.
Triple-A Scranton (7-1 loss to Rochester)
- CF Adonis Garcia: 0-4, 1 K
- RF Ramon Flores: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI – 11-for-35 (.314) with five doubles and one homer in his last eight games
- 3B Scott Sizemore: 2-4
- 1B Kyle Roller: 0-3, 1 BB, 2 K
- SS Dean Anna: 0-3, 1 BB
- C Austin Romine: 0-4, 1 K
- RHP Brian Gordon: 4 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 2/3 GB/FB – 42 of 76 pitches were strikes (55%)
- RHP Mark Montgomery: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2/0 GB/FB — 26 of 47 pitches were strikes (55%) … 27/14 K/BB in 21.2 innings
- RHP Danny Burawa: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GB/FB – 17 of 29 pitches were strikes (59%)
- RHP Diego Moreno: 1 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 1/0 GB/FB — eight of 12 pitches were strikes
- SwP Pat Venditte: 1 IP, zeroes, 0/1 GB/FB — ten pitches, seven strikes
The Yankees have run into some run-scoring problems the last few games, though I guess that isn’t surprising since three of the last four pitchers they’ve faced are Gerrit Cole, Jeff Samardzija, and Chris Sale. Even the fourth (Jason Hammel) is having a pretty good year. That said, guys like Jacoby Ellsbury, Alfonso Soriano, and Brian McCann are slumping pretty hard and they need to snap out of it. Soon, preferably.
Derek Jeter is, unsurprisingly, starting tonight’s game at shortstop, his 2,583rd career game at the position. That ties Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio for the second most in baseball history. Since the Cap’n is retiring at the end of the season, it is mathematically impossible for him to catch Omar Vizquel for the top spot on the all-time games played at shortstop list. Vizquel is at 2,709. Jeter will fall nine games short of the record if he were the start every game the rest of the season in the field. Anyway, here is the White Sox lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- DH Mark Teixeira
- C Brian McCann
- 2B Yangervis Solarte
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- 2B Brian Roberts
- 1B Kelly Johnson
RHP Hiroki Kuroda
It’s chilly but sunny in Chicago with no threat of rain. May baseball weather, basically. The game is scheduled to begin at 8:10pm ET and you can watch on My9. Enjoy the game.
Via George King: Michael Pineda will take the next step in his rehab from a back/shoulder injury this weekend when he faces hitters in live batting practice. “I believe he will throw to hitters Saturday, live [batting practice], simulated type of things and we will go from there,’’ said Joe Girardi. “He is progressing like we want, things are going according to plan.’’
Pineda, 25, started a throwing program about two weeks ago and has thrown at least three bullpen sessions already. He has left the team and is rehabbing in Tampa. Based on how these things usually go, Pineda will throw live batting practice/simulated games a few times before making two or three (maybe four) minor league rehab starts. That puts his return sometime in the middle of next month, assuming no setbacks. So far so good though, and that’s most important. · (1) ·