Yankeemetrics: And the kids shall lead them [Aug. 19-21]

(AP)
(AP)

Torre-yes?!
The rookies continued to shine, while the underrated ace delivered yet another gem, and the Yankees opened their final West Coast trip of the season with a strong 7-0 win over the Angels on Friday night.

Gary Sanchez’s record-breaking feats have become commonplace since his call-up a few weeks ago, and Friday night’s superb 3-for-4, two-double performance was no exception. Through Friday, 10 of Sanchez’s 21 hits as a major-leaguer had been for extra-bases, putting him in elite company at this point in his career.

The last Yankee to compile 10 or more extra-base hits within his first 16 MLB games was a fella by the name of Joe DiMaggio, who went 30-for-73 (.411) and had 10 doubles, a triple and two homers in the first 16 games he played as a rookie in 1936.

Sanchez had an unlikely Baby Bomber co-star, with the diminutive Ronald Torreyes contributing a 4-for-4 night. He had a double and a homer in his first two at-bats, matching the number of extra-base hits he had in his previous 72 at-bats, dating back to the third game of the season he played on April 13.

It was also a most unlikely performance from a guy hitting at the bottom of the order. The only other non-pitcher in franchise history to have at least four hits, three runs scored and two RBI in a game from the No. 9 spot was Juan Rivera on Sept. 27, 2003 against the Orioles.

Masahiro Tanaka dominated the Angels lineup, surrendering just five singles over 7 ? scoreless innings while striking out nine with no walks. It was his third straight game with at least eight strikeouts and no walks, the first Yankee pitcher since at least 1913 to put together a streak like that.

His effective mix of low-90s fastballs, nasty sliders and darting splitters was key in helping the Yankees stop their mini-two-game slide heading into this series. Tanaka is now 6-1 with a 1.85 ERA in 11 starts following a Yankee loss, and the Yankees are 9-2 in those games.

Through Friday’s slate, 167 major-league pitchers had made at least five starts after a team loss this season. Tanaka’s 1.85 ERA ranks first among that group.

(AP)
(AP)

Cessa makes strong first impression
The Angels — and Angel Stadium — had become somewhat of a kryptonite for the Yankees over the past decade. From 2005-15, the Angels were the only AL team that the Yankees had a losing record against (45-49) , and their 16-30 record in Anaheim was easily their worst at any AL ballpark in that span.

The script has been flipped in 2016, though, as the Yankee improved to 6-0 against the Angels in 2016 following Saturday’s 5-1 win. With only one game remaining in the season series, they clinched their best single-season winning percentage in franchise history against the Angels. The previous high-water mark was a 10-2 (.833) record in 1980.

The youngsters led the way again with Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez combining to drive in three of the five runs and Luis Cessa pitching brilliantly in his first major-league start.

Sanchez opened the scoring with a two-out solo homer in the first inning, his sixth time going deep in the majors. The only other Yankee to hit six homers within his first 17 career games was Shelley Duncan (2007).

Judge’s two-RBI single in the sixth inning gave the Yankees a nice 5-0 cushion, continuing his success in key situations so far in his brief big-league career. It’s a very small sample size, but so far Judge hasn’t been fazed by the pressure: he’s 5-for-13 (.385) with men on base, 3-for-6 (.500) with runners in scoring position, and 6-for-12 (.500) in medium/high-leverage at-bats.

Cessa became the latest Yankee newcomer to take a turn as the star performer, tossing six-plus scoreless innings with three hits allowed and five strikeouts. He is just the second Yankee in the last two decades to pitch at least six scoreless innings and win in his first career start, joining Jose Contreras in 2003.

The elusive third win
After outscoring the Angels 12-1 in dominating the first two games of this series, the Yankee bats went limp in the finale on Sunday afternoon, getting blanked 2-0. Amazingly, the Yankees have yet to sweep a three-game set this season (although they do own a pair of four-game sweeps).

ellsbury catch
(AP)

The loss snapped a seven-game win streak over the Angels dating back to last season, which was tied for their longest win streak in the history of this series (they also won seven in a row spanning the 1980-81 seasons).

The Yankees wasted a strong performance by rookie Chad Green, who took the loss despite throwing six innings of one-run ball. He is the only Yankee starter ever to lose a game against the Angels while allowing no more than one run and five baserunners. In fact, no Yankee had done that against any team in nearly two years (Michael Pineda on Sept. 5, 2014 vs. Royals).

The Yankees miserable trend of failing to hit in the clutch continued as they went 1-for-7 with men in scoring position. They are now batting .228 with RISP this season, which would be their worst mark since 1969 (.224).

Fan Confidence Poll: August 22nd, 2016

Record Last Week: 3-3 (23 RS, 22 RA)
Season Record: 63-60 (510 RS, 539 RA, 57-66 pythag. record), 4.0 GB of postseason spot
Opponents This Week: @ Mariners (three games, Mon. to Weds.), Thurs. OFF, vs. Orioles (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.

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

DotF: Rutherford returns in Pulaski’s doubleheader

Triple-A Scranton was rained out. The game was canceled and will not be made up.

Double-A Trenton (10-2 win over Hartford)

  • SS Tyler Wade: 2-5, 2 R — 12-for-33 (.364) in his last eight games, so he’s not fading late like he did a year ago
  • CF Dustin Fowler: 2-5, 2 R, 1 2B — up to .285/.317/.450 while playing in a big time pitcher’s park
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 2-4, 3 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K — 7-for-20 (.350) during his little five-game hitting streak
  • DH Abi Avelino: 1-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
  • RHP Will Carter: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 11/2 GB/FB — 46 of 82 pitches were strikes (56%), plus he picked a runner off first … he’s having success in Double-A one year after being a 14th round pick … nice find by the scouting staff
  • LHP Caleb Smith: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1/3 GB/FB — 27 of 44 pitches were strikes (61%) … 57/17 K/BB in 52.1 innings

[Read more…]

Yankees can’t finish the sweep, fall 2-0 to the Angels


Source: FanGraphs

Blah. That was a frustrating game. Nothing worse than wasting a quality pitching performance. The Yankees lost Sunday afternoon’s series finale 2-0 to the Angels and were unable to complete the sweep. Again. They’ve done that a lot this season. Let’s recap this crummy loss with bullet points:

  • Green the Great: Another impressive performance by Chad Green. He held the Angels to one run in six innings — the run scored on a bloop, a walk, and a ground ball single — and retired 16 of the final 19 batters he faced. Green struck out five and did get some help from Jacoby Ellsbury, who robbed Albert Pujols of a two-run home run in the fifth inning. Here’s the video. Really nice outing by Green. Hopefully he strings a few more together.
  • NOffense: The Yankees can’t say they didn’t have any chances. They had two runners on base in the third, fourth, and eighth innings, yet went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. (Of course the one hit didn’t score a run.) The Yankees had their best chance to score in the third, when Brett Gardner grounded into an inning-ending double play with runners in corners. Didi Gregorius (strikeout) and Starlin Castro (ground out) didn’t come through with two on in the eighth. Offensive showings don’t get much less enjoyable.
  • Leftovers: Castro and Aaron Hicks each had two hits. The rest of the Yankees had two hits (Gregorius, Mark Teixeira) … Anthony Swarzak threw a scoreless seventh inning, and for the life of me I can not understand why he was pitching in a one-run game. It worked, but that only means Joe Girardi will use him in a close game again … Adam Warren allowed an insurance run on three ground ball singles.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages too. The Yankees are now going up to Seattle for a three-game series with the Fightin’ Canos. Ex-Mariner Michael Pineda will be opposed by Cody Martin, whoever that is.

Sunday Night Open Thread

Here is your open thread for the rest of the weekend. The Mets and Giants are the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game (Syndergaard vs. Samardzija), plus the Olympic closing ceremonies are on too. That’ll be fun. You all know how these open threads work by now, so have at it.

Game 123: Finish the Sweep

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

The Yankees have thoroughly manhandled the Angels the last two days, winning the first two games of this series by the combined score of 12-1. Last night they were three outs away from throwing back-to-back shutouts against an AL team for the first time since 2009. (They did it to the Mets in 2014.) The Angels stink, yeah, but it’s still fun to see the Yankees playing so well, especially after the kids were called up.

This afternoon’s game is a chance to finish not just the series sweep, but the season series sweep. The Yankees are a perfect 6-0 against the Angels this season, and that’s pretty cool. The last time they swept a season series of at least seven games was 2009, when they did it to the Twins. Figures. They then swept Minnesota in the ALDS that year too. Here are Angels’ lineup and Yankees’ lineup for today’s game:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. C Gary Sanchez
  4. SS Didi Gregorius
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. DH Brian McCann
  7. 1B Mark Teixeira
  8. 3B Chase Headley
  9. RF Aaron Hicks
    RHP Chad Green

The weather is great in Anaheim again. Pretty nice afternoon to spend at the ballpark. Today’s series finale is set to begin at 3:35pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Yanks should hesitate to trade prospects for pitching

sanchez judge
(Getty)

So, the last few weeks of Yankee baseball have been pretty fun, huh? With rookies Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, and Tyler Austin making their loud debuts in the lineup and Chad Green and Luis Cessa finding success–however limited–in the rotation, the Yankees are interesting to watch again. For the majority of 2013-July of this year, the Yankees haven’t exactly been exciting for a variety of reasons, but with prospects starting to graduate and make their bones in the Bronx, that’s changing for the better.  Enjoying these performances in the moment is great as it is, but since these players are young and figure to (hopefully) be mainstays in the House that George Built going forward, it’s easy to keep the future in mind. And with the injury to Nathan Eovaldi, it’s become necessary to think about the future.

The loss of Eovaldi for all of 2017 obviously leaves a hole in the Yankee rotation. Over the last week, I’ve heard suggestions on both New York sports talk radio stations (I know, I shouldn’t subject myself to that, but in my defense, my car is really old and doesn’t have a working CD player or a Bluetooth connection) that the Yankees should consider trading some of their recently bolstered prospect depth for starting pitching. With the caveat of “never say never,” this is a plan that doesn’t immediately appeal to me.

Why yes, I did already buy a 99 JUDGE shirt. (Presswire)
(Presswire)

One of the biggest problems of roster construction for the Yankees recently has been a lack of young, cost-controlled hitting. Over the past decade, only Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner have played that role to any acclaim. Of course it’s dangerous to count prospect chickens before they hatch and some prospects are closer than others to contributing at the Major League level, but the Yankees are closer to having a solid base of young offensive talent than they have been in years. That lack of a guarantee is also why the Yankees might not want to dip into the prospect pool to trade for pitching.

The 2017 Yankees are not likely to be one pitcher away from championship-caliber contention. Given that Judge and Sanchez are likely to be counted on to replace the production–at least partially–of the departed Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Carlos Beltran, there’s always the chance that they falter. The rest of the lineup, which may or may not include another power threat in Brian McCann, is not necessarily good enough to make up for any lack o production. Then there’s the Yankee rotation, which going into 2017 has exactly one reliable starter in Masahiro Tanaka and a bunch of questions in Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, Chad Green, and Luis Cessa. Given that, it may be more prudent to buy an innings eater type on the free agent market and use 2017 as another chance to develop and evaluate the young hitters. I suppose you could make the argument that signing an innings eater and making a trade could give the Yankees a rotation solid enough to compete, but that might be hard to do from a cost perspective. Even in the offseason, the pitching market will likely favor sellers and it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the Yankees acquire an impact pitcher without giving up one of Judge or Sanchez, thus leaving a hole in an already suspect lineup.

More dangerous than he looks. (Presswire)
(Presswire)

It would be irresponsible to say that the Yankees should decidedly not deal any of their prospect depth; that’s not a smart strategy at all and it’s foolish to say ‘never’ in baseball. Regardless, the Yankees should be wary and judicious when weighing their trade options in the offseason.