Saturday Night Open Thread

Here is the open thread for this evening. The Mets are playing right now, MLB Network will air a regional game later on, and there’s both NBA and NHL playoff action on tonight. Talk about those games, this afternoon’s blowout loss, the imminent arrival of Jacob Lindgren, or anything else right here. Or go outside. It’s really nice out, at least it is here in the Big Apple.

Sherman: Yankees to call-up Jacob Lindgren on Sunday

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees are planning to call-up top relief prospect Jacob Lindgren on Sunday. Branden Pinder, who threw 48 pitches on Saturday, will go down. The Yankees will have to clear a 40-man roster for Lindgren but that won’t be tough. Brendan Ryan is a 60-day DL candidate.

Lindgren, 21, was the team’s top pick (55th overall) in last summer’s draft as a quick-moving reliever out of Mississippi State. He has a 1.23 ERA (1.92 FIP) in 22 innings for Triple-A Scranton this season with a 31.5 K% and a 70.8 GB%. Lindgren’s numbers as a pro are ridiculous: 39.3 K% and 75.6 GB% in 46.2 innings at five different levels. Total domination.

Over the last few weeks, the Yankees have had Lindgren work longer than usual outings with the RailRiders. He’s gotten at least five outs four times in his last five appearances and threw 30+ pitches twice. Lindgren is no lefty specialist — I could see Joe Girardi using him in that role initially just to break him in — but he’s not a long man either. He’s a reliever who can go two innings if necessary.

The Yankees will have four lefties in the bullpen following the addition of Lindgren, but that doesn’t really matter. Justin Wilson and especially Andrew Miller can get righties out as well lefties, and Chasen Shreve‘s split-changeup gives him an effective pitch against right-handed batters too. Lindgren also projects to get both righties and lefties out thanks to his filthy slider.

Non-Miller and Dellin Betances relievers had a 4.09 ERA this season coming into Saturday, and that’s only going up after this afternoon’s debacle. Lindgren might suck too! Relievers tend to do that. But the guys the Yankees had weren’t working and Lindgren might be a solution. It was time to try it. The Yankees need lots more help to right this ship, but Lindgren’s a start.

Losing streak hits five as Rangers embarrass Yankees 15-4

The descent to mediocrity continues. The Yankees lost their fifth straight game and for the ninth time in their last ten games on Saturday afternoon, falling 15-4 to the Rangers. Texas straight up mopped the floor with them. The game was the exact opposite of competitive.

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

Deja Boo
Prior to Saturday’s game, Joe Girardi told reporters “we need to clean it up,” referring to the team’s sloppy defense. So, naturally, two (more) defensive miscues contributed to the Rangers’ ten-run rally (!) in the third inning. It all started with a leadoff walk to number nine hitter Jake Smolinski, which is another problem entirely, and it continued with yet another Didi Gregorius bad decision.

Didi made a nice play ranging to his left to field Delino DeShields’ grounder, tried to flip it behind his back to Stephen Drew at second, but threw it away. There was no shot at a double play, DeShields is way too fast, but Gregorius appeared to have enough time to make a non-fancy flip to second to get the lead runner. But nope, another extra out gifted by the defense, which was supposedly a strength coming into the season.

The next batter, Shin-Soo Choo, lined a run-scoring single to center. Prince Fielder followed that with one-run single to right that turned into a two-run single when Carlos Beltran whiffed on the scoop, allowing the ball to get by him and go all the way to the warning track. Beltran didn’t give the Rangers an extra out there — he wasn’t throwing the runner out at home — but he did allow the extra run to score and Prince to advance to second. Yankees are giving up those extra 90 feet like crazy this season.

The rest of the inning is on Sabathia. I mean, most of it is on Sabathia anyway. After Fielder’s single, he allowed a single to Adrian Beltre, got Mitch Moreland to pop-out to first, and gave up a two-run single to Elvis Andrus to make it 5-0 Rangers. That ended Sabathia’s afternoon. Esmil Rogers came in and allowed Andrus to score, then tacked on four runs of his own, three on Choo’s opposite field home run that snuck just inside the foul pole. That made it 10-0. 10-0!

The total damage: ten runs on eight hits, two walks, a hit batsman, and a sac fly in the inning. Every run was earned. Sabathia was charged with six runs on seven hits and a walk in 2.1 innings and Rogers with four runs in 0.2 innings. Esmil hung around for another two innings and change after that. The defense didn’t help, but Sabathia walked the number nine hitter to start the rally and allowed four hits in the inning, including two in two-strike outs. Somehow the Yankees managed to top Friday’s seven-run third inning disaster. Impressive, really.

Face in the dirt sums up the offense. (Elsa/Getty)
Face in the dirt sums up the day. (Elsa/Getty)

Ten-Run Deficit? Pack It In
The Yankees allowed ten runs before they recorded their first hit, an Alex Rodriguez infield single leading off the fourth. He hit it into the 5.5-hole and Andrus made a nice play to his right before throwing it in the stands. A-Rod was awarded the single (he was going to safe anyway) and Andrus was given an error, allowing Rodriguez to advance to second. It was a moral victory.

The thoroughly generic Nick Martinez retired nine of the first eleven men he faced — he walked Brett Gardner and A-Rod in the first but escaped unscathed — before Alex’s single and then retired 12 of 17 batters faced after the single. The Yankees didn’t have a hit to the outfield until Beltran’s solo homer in the sixth. After they fell behind 10-0, the Yankees sent 30 batters to the plate and 18 swung at the first or second pitch. Seventeen of those 30 at-bats were over in three pitches or less. The offense was firmly in “let’s get this over with” mode at that point. Can’t say I blame them.

Nope. (Presswire)
Nope. (Presswire)

Leftovers
Part of me thinks this game was the end of the Rogers era and part of me thinks nah. Girardi left him out there to throw 59 pitches in the blowout and his results have not been good lately (seven runs in three innings Saturday). Rogers allowed four runs in his first 16.1 innings, but he’s since allowed 14 runs in his last 12.2 innings. At the same time, Esmil isn’t deciding games, he’s just mopping them up, and having a veteran long man who can be run into the ground in games like this is useful. I dunno. We’ll see.

Branden Pinder replaced Rogers in the sixth, allowed two inherited runners to score, allowed two more runs in the seventh, then soaked up four more outs. He threw 48 pitches total. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he will be going back to Triple-A Scranton tomorrow in favor of another generic white guy a fresh arm. Bryan Mitchell is scheduled to start for the RailRiders tonight, so if he gets scratched at some point in the next few hours, that likely means he’s on his way to the Bronx. Obvious call-up candidate. Scratch that, it hasn’t been ten days since he was last sent down, so Mitchell can’t be called up.

Just about all the offense came after the game was out of reach. Beltran and Gregorius hit garbage time solo homers in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, while John Ryan Murphy hit a run-scoring triple in the ninth. Slade Heathcott picked up his first career RBI driving in SKJRM with a ground out. Gregorius, A-Rod, Garrett Jones, and Heathcott singled as well. That was Didi’s second homer of the season and second in as many games.

And finally, Garrett Jones pitched! He walked DeShields, got Choo to ground out, plunked pinch-hitter Leonys Martin, and got Tommy Field to fly out to center. Jones was the first position player to pitch for the Yankees since Dean Anna last year.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score and video highlights, as well as the updated standings. We have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages available as well. Here’s the win (lol) probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Rangers wrap up this three-game series on Sunday night, in yet another ESPN game. That’ll be the team’s fourth ESPN Sunday Night Game in seven weeks this season. Thankfully they don’t play another until at least August, though I supposed they could always be flexed into that spot. We’ll see. Anyway, Chris Capuano and Yovani Gallardo will be the pitching matchup.

Game 43: Need The Big Man To Do It Again

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees stink. At least they stink right now. They’ve lost four straight and eight of their last nine games overall, and they seem to find a new way to lose every night. One night it’s the offense, one night it’s the pitching, one night it’s the defense, and some nights it’s all of the above. Those are the worst.

CC Sabathia has been on the mound for the last two Yankees wins and he pitched well both times out, well enough to make you think he is kinda sorta turning a corner. I hope so. The Yankees desperately need Sabathia to pitch them to another win this afternoon, just like they leaned on him to pitch them to so many wins from 2009-12. Here is the Rangers’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. RF Carlos Beltran
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. 3B Chase Headley
  6. 2B Stephen Drew
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. C John Ryan Murphy
  9. CF Slade Heathcott
    LHP CC Sabathia

It’s a lovely day in New York. A little on the cool side but otherwise a perfect day for baseball. This afternoon’s game is scheduled to begin at 1:05pm ET and can be seen on WPIX locally and MLB Network nationally. Try to enjoy the game.

Injury Update: Chris Martin (elbow) has already thrown one bullpen session and will throw another later today. He could head out on a minor league rehab assignment next … no new information on Jacoby Ellsbury (knee).

Jacoby Ellsbury likely to miss more than 15 days with knee sprain

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Following last night’s game, Joe Girardi told reporters Jacoby Ellsbury is likely to miss more than the minimum 15-day DL stint due to his right knee sprain. Ellsbury suffered the injury when he caught a cleat on a swing and said the injury is on the outside of his knee. Girardi added surgery will not be required. That’s all we know at this point.

“It’s basically, he’s on the 15-day DL. Do I think we’ll get him back in 15 days? No. Do I think it’ll be a long DL stint? No,” said Girardi, according to Brendan Kuty. “But, as I’ve said all along, it’s going to depend on how he responds to the treatment and with the speed being a big part of his game, we’ll just have to see what he’s doing.”

Depending on the severity, a knee sprain could require anywhere from two weeks to two months to heal. Maybe longer. We’re just going to have to wait and see. Since Ellsbury is a speed player and this is a leg injury, the Yankees have to make sure he’s 100% before returning. I mean, that’s always true, but you catch my drift.

Slade Heathcott figures to play quite a bit in Ellsbury’s absence, at least against righties with Chris Young playing against lefties. Brett Gardner has slid into the leadoff spot with Carlos Beltran taking over as the number two hitter. Problem is Stephen Drew and Didi Gregorius are batting seventh and eighth instead of eighth and ninth now, respectively.

Ellsbury is the Yankees’ best all-around player and one of their best hitters, so losing him for any length of time is really bad. Even the minimum 15 days was going to be tough. I have no idea what Girardi means when he says Ellsbury will be out longer than that, but hopefully it’s not much longer. I’m as excited to see Heathcott as anyone, but geez, no Ellsbury is a huge blow.

Comeback falls short, Yankees fall 10-9 to Rangers, lose fourth straight

The Yankees scored nine runs and had Michael Pineda on the mound Friday, yet they still lost. That’s how poorly things are going right now. They dropped the series opener to the Rangers by the score of 10-9 in a hectic game that felt close and one-sided at the same time. New York has lost four straight and eight of their last nine.

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

Pitching & Defense Optional
For a team built on pitching and defense, the Yankees sure don’t have a lot of pitching or defense. Both supposed strengths were on full display for all the wrong reasons in a disastrous seven-run (!) third inning. Let’s recap that inning with annotated play-by-play.

Rangers Yankees play by play

(1) It all started with a stupid little ground ball single between Mark Teixeira and Stephen Drew. I thought it was a routine ground ball to first base off the bat, but Teixeira broke towards first and Drew wasn’t able to get there, so it went for a hit. It seemed like a ball Teixeira was supposed to field. What do I know though. He’s the Gold Glover. Still, a weak hit started it all.

(2) Pineda walked three batters all season coming into Friday’s game, then he walked the number eight hitter because he couldn’t put him away after getting ahead in the count 1-2. For whatever reason, Pineda’s slider has been pretty crummy his last two times out, and Robinson Chirinos wasn’t biting. The put-away pitch has gone missing.

(3) You could see the first error coming a mile away. Thomas Field laid down a bunt, Pineda unnecessarily looked at second base, then airmailed the throw to first. Everyone’s safe. It was bad and predictable. As soon as he turned towards second, you knew an out wasn’t going to be recorded. That’s one extra out.

(4) The second error came on a much tougher play. Delino DeShields Jr. hit a chopper to shortstop that Didi Gregorius simply whiffed on, though it appeared the runner may have screened him a bit. Either way, Didi played the ball poorly because he played it off to his side instead of getting in front of it and at least keeping it on the infield. Instead, the ball went into left field and two runs scored. Didn’t even get one out. So that’s two extra outs.

(5) The pitch Prince Fielder hit out for the three-run homer was one of the worst pitches I’ve ever seen. Pineda or any other pitcher. It was the very definition of a cement mixer slider. The pitch just spun and spun with no action. Spun right into Prince’s bat. Look at this:

Prince Fielder home run

Good gravy. That’s a really bad pitch! Like I said, Pineda’s good slider has been missing since his 16-strikeout game for whatever reason. Could just be one of those things. Big Mike threw a similar pitch to Mitch Moreland two batters later, and Moreland hit a homer even deeper into the second deck than Prince. Fielder’s three-run homer was the killer. That made it 6-0. Moreland’s homer to make it 7-0 was just rubbing it in.

Outside of that nightmare third inning, Pineda was actually decent, throwing five scoreless innings while allowing just four singles. He struck out four overall and threw 67 of his 95 pitches for strikes. Pineda’s allowed 12 runs (nine earned) in eleven innings in his last two starts. Not good. Big Mike needs to straighten himself out and fast.

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

Three-Run Dingers
The Yankees scored seven of their nine runs on homers, including two three-run homers. Who hit them? Gregorius and Garrett Jones, naturally. Gregorius hit his first homer as a Yankee in the fourth inning, and while it wasn’t a no-doubter, it wasn’t a Yankee Stadium cheapie either. It landed a few rows back in the right field section next to the home bullpen. That brought the Yankees to within 7-4.

Jones hit his homer in the eighth inning, when he pinch-hit for a pinch-hitter. Joe Girardi sent Chris Young up to bat against a lefty in place of Didi, and when the Rangers countered with a righty, Girardi sent up Jones. His homer was a Yankee Stadium cheapie, but hey, they all count the same. It was only a matter of time until Jones ran into one. A Teixeira solo homer off Ross Ohlendorf Rock ‘N Rohlendorf brought the Yankees to within 10-9 in the bottom of the ninth.

I thought we were in store for a patented Chase Headley two-out game-tying homer in the ninth. He has a knack for those clutch homers. Instead, Headley drew a walk and Stephen Drew lined a ball off Ohlendorf and to the second baseman for the final out. Drew hit it hard, but damn, he can’t even hit it off the opposing players properly. Considering they managed to bring the tying run to plate on multiple occasions and even brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth after being down 7-0, I have to give the offense props for fighting. The 2013-14 teams would have packed it in after the third inning.

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

Lost In The Middle Innings
Once again, the middle relief crew was a big problem, and their inability to keep the Rangers off the board contributed greatly to the loss. The non-Andrew Miller/Dellin Betances portion of the bullpen came into the game with an ugly 3.94 ERA — the average bullpen ERA is 3.54 this year — and that went up Friday after three relievers combined to allow three runs in three innings.

Chase Shreve gave up a solo homer to Prince, which, fine, whatever. It happens. David Carpenter continued to be just awful, allowing an inherited runner to score as well as another run of his own. He’s now allowed a run in six of his last seven appearances. I was all for giving Carpenter time to figure things out, but it’s just not happening. Beyond unreliable. And then Justin Wilson tossed a scoreless ninth. Hooray for that.

The middle relief has been a real sore spot all season and especially of late, during this recent 1-8 stretch. They’re blowing leads and letting opponents pull away, like this game. At some point the Yankees need to try something different, right? You can’t just keep running the same guys out there and expecting different results. The Yankees built up some nice bullpen depth this offseason, and isn’t this when you’re supposed to use it? They guys they have now aren’t getting the job done.

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

Leftovers
First MLB start for Slade Heathcott led to his first career hit (a hustle double, appropriately), his first career two-hit game (infield single later on), his first run (scored on Alex Rodriguez‘s seventh inning single), and his first reach on an error (catcher’s interference). Little bit of everything. Slade went 2-for-3 with a strikeout and by gosh, a young player contributed. Crazy what happens when they get a chance.

The Yankees scored their first run on a McCann double that was basically a pity call. He hit a fly ball to right (surprise!) that Shin-Soo Choo lost in the lights. Nothing more. A-Rod also singled in Slade in the seventh to make it 8-5. What I remember most about that hit is that it had some weird spin on it — it seems to take a right turn as it sailed into center field.

Every Yankee to bat in the game had at least one hit, including the guys off the bench. Brett Gardner and Headley drew the only walks. They even went 4-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Twelve hits, nine runs, Big Mike … and still a loss?

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also make sure you check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. Here’s the loss probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Rangers continue this three-game series with the second game on Saturday afternoon. Nick Martinez and CC Sabathia will be the pitching matchup.

DotF: Lail and Jagielo lead Double-A Trenton to a win

Thanks to his continued hot hitting, 2B Rob Refsnyder ranked 11th on this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet.

Triple-A Scranton (4-1 loss to Durham)

  • CF Mason Williams: 0-5
  • LF Ramon Flores: 3-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 0-4, 1 BB — the on-base streak is up to 23 games
  • DH Tyler Austin: 1-4, 1 R, 2 K
  • C Austin Romine: 1-4, 2 K
  • RF Ben Gamel: 1-3, 1 BB
  • RHP Kyle Davies: 5 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 10/4 GB/FB — 55 of 87 pitches were strikes (63%)
  • RHP Danny Burawa: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 3/0 GB/FB — only 18 of 40 pitches were strikes (45%) … 20/13 K/BB in 24 innings
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 21 of 41 pitches were strikes (51%)

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