Fan Confidence Poll: June 6th, 2016

Record Last Week: 2-5 (22 RS, 34 RA)
Season Record: 26-30 (212 RS, 243 RA, 24-32 pythag. record)
Opponents This Week: vs. Angels (four games, Mon. to Thurs.), vs. Tigers (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 tab in the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Yanks lose to the O’s 3-1 and yeah, the lead was in doubt, yes sir

Getty Images

If I were to introduce baseball to a friend, this would have not have been the game to show. It was a rather slow-moving game with a lot of runners clogging up the bases without scoring. Oh yeah, there was a rain delay too. CC Sabathia didn’t have his prettiest outing but the bullpen blew the 1-0 lead in the eighth for the 3-1 loss to the O’s. The old friend #RISPFail really came back to bite the Yanks today. It’s the weekend so let’s do this bullet-style.

  • That *One* Run: The Yankees took the lead in the third. With one out, Jacoby Ellsbury squeaked a single by Manny Machado and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After he advanced to third on a Brett Gardner ground out, then A-Rod hit an RBI single for a 1-0 Yankees lead. Just like many other times in this season, that was the only time Yankees were able to drive in a run.
  • #RISPFail: The Yankees had runners in scoring position in six different innings, and they only scored one run. They were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, which is pretty poor. In the top of fourth, with a 1-0 lead, they had a chance to make it even bigger. However, in the most 2016 Yankees fashion, Aaron Hicks grounded into a force out and Ellsbury struck out to end the inning. How do I feel about this? Consider this video.
  • Just Getting By: CC overall did a nice job but it took him 71 pitches to get through three innings. Orioles hitters – especially Joey Rickard, who had a pair of 12-pitch AB’s – really worked him with foul ball after foul ball, and Sabathia himself didn’t display his finest command. He allowed six walks, which ties career high, but he was able to grind through those five innings to not allow any runs. It’s not nest we’ve seen the new Sabathia but I feel like if this were the CC of the previous few years, he would have had a much, much worse line. He still managed to baffle hitters with strikeouts (5 in 5 IP) and soft contact. He can stay.
  • The First Attempt to Hold On: I know the Yankees have a strong back of the bullpen but it’s hard to be optimistic about holding a 1-0 lead against the strong O’s offense. In the sixth inning with no outs, Joe Girardi pulled Sabathia out (111 pitches) for Kirby Yates. Yates tossed a solid 2-strikeout scoreless inning and passed the baton to Dellin Betances in the seventh. Dellin tossed a scoreless seventh and came back out for the eighth to get a couple of outs before Girardi summoned Aroldis Chapman. That eight inning started awfully shaky with Betances allowing a walk to Mark Trumbo and single to Chris Davis. After striking out Nolan Reimold, Girardi decided to bring Chapman … and then the umps called for the tarp for the impending storm.
  • Blowin’ it: After an hour and 37 minute rain delay, Chapman came into the game to record, hopefully, five outs for a save. He blew away Jonathan Schoop with a 100-mile high heat for a strikeout. Needing only one more to get out of the inning, Chapman allowed a first-pitch single to Tony Pena‘s kid Francisco to load the bases. Uh-oh. Next up, on a 0-2 count, pinch-hitter Matt Wieters hit a single to center that plated two and one more on Ellsbury’s throwing error. 3-1 Orioles. Sigh. Like I said, these guys are pretty special arms but not 100% foolproof. The Yankee big 3 pen arms tossed 5.1 IP this series and allowed 4 runs with 2 losses (both charged to Betances). Not a good couple of days for them. Yankees got completely shut down by Zach Britton in the ninth to lose the game.

Here’s today’s box score, video highlights, WPA and updated standings. The Yankees head home for a four-game series with the Angels. Masahiro Tanaka and Matt Shoemaker will be the starters Monday. It’s HOPE Week too. That’s cool.

Source: FanGraphs

Sunday Night Open Thread

Here is your open thread for the rest of the weekend. The Cardinals and Giants are the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game (Martinez vs. Giants) and Game 2 of the NBA Finals is on as well (8pm ET on ABC). Talk about those games or anything else right here.

DotF: Estrada stays hot in Charleston’s win

OF Michael O’Neill has been bumped up from High-A Tampa to Double-A Trenton, so says Josh Norris.

Triple-A Scranton (4-1 loss to Columbus in six innings) called early due to rain

  • CF Ben Gamel: 0-3, 1 R, 1 K, 1 SB
  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-3, 1 K, 1 SB — threw a runner out at the plate … he’s now 10-for-12 on stolen base attempts in his career
  • 1B Tyler Austin: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 SB, 1 E (missed catch) — it’s two games, but he’s already making the most of his latest opportunity at Triple-A
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 1-3, 1 2B
  • DH Jake Cave: 0-3
  • LHP Phil Coke: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 9/3 GB/FB — 58 of 92 pitches were strikes (63%)
  • LHP Tyler Olson: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 19 of 28 pitches were strikes (68%)
  • RHP Layne Somsen: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB — 14 of 26 pitches were strikes (54%)

[Read more…]

Game 56: Sabathia Sunday

(Al Bello/Getty)
(Al Bello/Getty)

Who would have guessed coming into the season that CC Sabathia would be one of the Yankees’ steadiest and most effective starters? He’s pitching to the best case scenario, basically. A 2.85 ERA (3.19 FIP) is vintage Sabathia stuff. It’s been a few years since I’ve looked forward to Sabathia starts. This is pretty cool. CC is definitely one the team’s biggest bright spots this season. Here is the Orioles’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 2B Starlin Castro
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 1B Rob Refsnyder
  9. RF Aaron Hicks
    LHP CC Sabathia

It was raining in Baltimore much of the morning and the forecast says it’s going to pour later this afternoon. It looks like there will be a long enough window to get the game in though, so that’s good. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.

Injury Updates: Austin Romine (thumb) was able to hit today and is available if necessary … Chasen Shreve (shoulder) threw off flat ground again yesterday. He’s going to rest today then throw long toss tomorrow. Joe Girardi confirmed Shreve will go out on a minor league rehab assignment before being activated off the DL, which is no surprise.

Ivan the Starter

(Al Bello/Getty)
(Al Bello/Getty)

This is my third piece on Ivan Nova this season, including Spring Training. For a player whose game I’m not necessarily overly fond about, that seems like a lot. However, when I wrote my first piece about him in 2016, I did so making a fairly bold claim with regards to what Nova should do with his pitches out of the bullpen. As such, I feel an obligation to check in on how he’s done with the strategy I proposed way back when. Now that Nova’s in the starting rotation–and has been for almost a month–I figured it was worth checking in on the suggested repertoire I laid out back in late January.

Since being placed in the rotation, Nova has made six starts for the Yankees, dating back to a 4.2 inning ‘debut’ on May 9. In those starts, Nova’s thrown 35 innings and given up 36 hits. He’s walked seven and struck out 26. His ERA as a starter is a fairly respectable 4.11, which you’d more than live with from a back-end guy. And though the unsolicited advice I offered was done so with the belief he’d be a reliever, Nova has used that strategy as a starter in 2016.


Having ditched the four-seamer, change up, and slider, Nova’s thrown almost exclusively sinkers and curveballs, even as a starter. And for the most part, those pitches have been at least reasonably effective. The sinker, for instance, has shown slight improvement over his career (up to 5/8/2016) numbers in whiff/swing%, line drives per balls in play, fly balls per balls in play, and pop ups per balls in play. Ivan’s uncle Charlie has also seen big jumps in whiff/swing% and ground ball rate. However, there is a problem with both of these pitches and it speaks to something unmentioned in the previous paragraph.

In his six starts this year, Nova has had a bit of a problem with extra bases. Of the 36 hits he’s given up, 15 of them have gone for extra bases; eight of them have been doubles and seven have been homers. In fact, he’s given up at least one home run in each start he’s made.

(AP Photo/Gail Burton)
(AP Photo/Gail Burton)

Therein lies the problem with Nova’s streamlined arsenal. The more pitches you throw of the same type, the more likely it is that you’ll make some mistakes with them, and that might be what’s happening to him. His sinker, which until this recent string of starts carried a 6.4% rate, currently sports a 13.64% mark for HR/FB+LD. Additionally, the curve sits way higher than ‘normal’ (10.26): 16.67%. If you’re giving up dingers on sinkers and curves, they’re likely not sinking and dropping enough, so that’s something Nova will need to iron out going forward.

Ivan started out hot, giving up just three runs in his first three starts. The last three, however, have seen him surrender at least four each time. Granted, they’ve been against Toronto and Baltimore and that’s not good for a pitcher who’s finding himself prone to giving up the long ball. Given that the Yankees don’t seem to have any other viable rotation options at the moment–barring a reemergence from Luis Severino–it’s imperative that he perfect–or at least come close to that–his new pitch selection and keep the ball down.

Yankees beat O’s 8-6 and it was never in doubt, no siree

Source: FanGraphs

That was dangerously close to being a Very Bad Loss. The Yankees took a seemingly comfortable 7-0 lead into the seventh inning Saturday night, but some mistake pitches and questionable bullpen management allowed the Orioles to score six runs in the seventh inning. New York was able to hang on for the 8-6 win. Nice and easy, right? Saturday night games get bullet point recaps because they are the bane of my existence, so let’s get to it:

  • Four In The Fourth: After taking a 1-0 lead on Austin Romine‘s third inning sac fly, the Yankees broke the game open by scoring four runs in the fourth. Starlin Castro (double), Didi Gregorius (ground out), Rob Refsnyder (double), and Romine (single) drove those four runs in. Refsnyder and Romine came up with big two-out hits. They turned a two-run inning into a four-run inning. Huge. Castro singled in another run in the fifth to give the Yankees a 6-0 lead.
  • Safe At Home: Jacoby Ellsbury stole home for the second time this season. This one wasn’t a straight steal like the one against the Rays though. Ellsbury was on third when Brett Gardner attempted to steal second. Matt Wieters threw down to second, and when Manny Machado had to reach down to apply the tag (Gardner was safe), Ellsbury broke for home and beat the return throw. I was surprised a veteran catcher like Wieters threw down to second there. He knew who was at third, right? Either way, that made it 7-0 Yankees in the sixth.
  • Better Than Advertised: The box score is a damn lie. It’ll tell you Ivan Nova allowed five runs in six innings, and while that is true, it is not in any way representative of how he pitched. Nova dominated for the first six innings, holding the O’s to three hits and a walk. He was in total control. Then things unraveled quickly in the seventh. Mark Trumbo hit a homer to make it 7-1, and fine, whatever. It happens. Then Pedro Alvarez managed to sneak a two-run homer just inside the left field foul pole to cut it to 7-3. Argh. A single, a wild pitch, and a walk followed. That ended Nova’s night. It was still 7-3 at the time. Overall, good work Ivan.
  • No Goody: For whatever reason Joe Girardi opted to go to Nick Goody with two on and no outs in the seventh rather than Andrew Miller, who was warming in the bullpen. Goody threw two pitches. The first was a ball, and the second went for an Adam Jones three-run homer to turn a 7-3 game into a 7-6 game. The O’s scored six runs before making an out in the seventh. Not ideal! Miller came in following the homer. Why did Goody come in first? I’ll never know.
  • Big Two: Dellin Betances was unavailable due to his recent workload, meaning Miller had to serve as the seventh and eighth inning guy Saturday. He retired all six batters he faced. Only 28 pitches too. Miller is quite good at this pitching thing. Aaron Hicks (double) and Alex Rodriguez (single) created a much appreciated insurance run in the top of the ninth, then Aroldis Chapman closed the door in the bottom half. Never in doubt. (It was very much in doubt.)
  • Leftovers: Weird injury alert: Austin Romine tore the nail on his left thumb trying to catch a Chapman warm-up pitch in the ninth. Chapman spiked a fastball in the dirt and it came up and hit Romine in a weird way. He had to leave the game, so Brian McCann caught the final three outs. Romine is heading for x-rays just in case … the Yankees had 16 hits total, tying their season high. They had 16 in the 16-6 win over the Astros in the second game of the season … every starter had at least one hit. Ellsbury and Gardner had two each while A-Rod and Castro had three each.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. We have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages too. The Yankees and Orioles will wrap up this three-game series Sunday afternoon. That’s a 1:35pm ET start and it is the final game of this ten-game, four-city road trip. CC Sabathia and Kevin Gausman are the scheduled starters.