Game 97: Hot Hot Hot

(Mike Stobe/Getty)
(Mike Stobe/Getty)

Goodness gracious is it hot outside here in New York. The temperature has been in the mid-90s all day and there’s not a cloud in the sky, so it feels even hotter because the sun has been beating down on the sidewalk all day. This little heat wave is supposed to last right through the end of next week too. Thanks goodness for air conditioning, man’s greatest invention.

Also hot: the Yankees. They’ve won five of their last six games and eight of their last 12 games. Were they all textbook wins? Hardly. They needed some lucky breaks along the way, but that’s fine, a win is a win. The question now is how will this recent hot streak impact the team’s trade deadline activity? Do they see this as a chance to get back into the race, or just a mirage? The answer to that question might be the most important decision the Yankees have made in years, if not decades. Here is the Giants’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

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

The Giants changed up their pitching plan. Johnny Cueto is starting today and Jeff Samardzija is starting tomorrow. I’m not exactly sure why they made the change, but they did. There’s no injury or anything. They just flipped the two.

Anyway, like I said, it’s crazy hot outside. Not the most comfortable afternoon to be sitting out in the stands. Today’s game is scheduled to begin a little after 4pm ET. You can watch on YES or Fox Sports 1. Enjoy the game.

Trade Deadline Notes: Nats, Sabathia, Blue Jays, Pineda

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The trade deadline is now only nine days away, and according to FanGraphs, the Yankees have a 9.6% chance to make the postseason. That’s not very good. Buster Olney (video link) said yesterday Aroldis Chapman could be dealt as soon as this weekend, though I’m not sure I buy that. “The Yankees are playing it smart and will likely take it to the end to get the most,” said an official with another team to George King. Here are the latest trade rumblings.

Nats make top prospects off-limits

Despite their interest in Chapman, Barry Svrluga reports the Nationals will not trade top prospects Lucas Giolito, Trea Turner, Victor Robles, or Reynaldo Lopez for the hard-throwing lefty. Every team says they’re unwilling to trade their top prospects this time of year, so I wouldn’t make too much of this. It’s just posturing.

If the Nationals are serious about getting Chapman (or Andrew Miller), they’ll have to put one of those guys on the table. Lopez seems most likely, mostly because he’s the lowest rated prospect of the bunch. He’s not bad — Baseball America had him 48th in their midseason top 100 — the other guys are just really, really good. Based on what Miller fetched two years ago, I think Lopez would be a fair return for Chapman.

Blue Jays scouted Sabathia

The Blue Jays had a scout watching CC Sabathia‘s most recent start, reports Jon Heyman. George King says the Astros, Mets, Marlins, and Cubs also had scouts on hand Thursday. It’s worth noting Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro was in the Indians’ front office all those years Sabathia was in Cleveland, including most as GM. There’s a bit of a connection there.

We heard Sabathia has been drawing some interest the other day, though I have a hard time believing it’s serious interest. I’m guessing it’s more “if you eat a ton of money we’ll take him off your hands” interest. Also, an intradivision trade with the Blue Jays probably isn’t happening, even though you could argue trading Sabathia to an AL East rival would be good for the Yankees.

Giants, Astros, Cubs among teams to scout Pineda

The Giants, Astros, Cubs, and “a ton” of others were on hand to see Michael Pineda‘s most recent start, report Jon Morosi and Chris Cotillo. Pineda had his first scoreless start of the season Wednesday, and he had maybe his nastiest slider of the season too. As Katie pointed out in Yankeemetrics, Pineda generated 18 swings and misses with his slider that game, the most by any pitcher in baseball in 2016.

The Yankees are at the point where they have to figure out what they want to do with Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi. Do they want to keep them long-term? If so, they should start thinking about extensions. If they don’t want them long-term, then they should trade them soon to get as much back as possible. I understand waiting and hoping they rebuild value in the second half, but I think it’s more likely they’ll lose value going forward between the injury risk and being closer to free agency.

Offense picks up the bullpen in 3-2 win over Giants


Source: FanGraphs

The most poorly timed winning streak in franchise history continues. The offense picked up the bullpen (what!?) on Friday night as the Yankees eked out a 3-2 win over Madison Bumgarner and the Giants. The Yankees have now won five of their last six and eight of their last 12 games. It’s Friday night, so let’s recap with some bullpen points:

  • Normal Rest? No Problem: This was not the cleanest outing by Masahiro Tanaka, but, at the end of the day, six scoreless innings is six scoreless innings. He pitched in and out of some jams early, most notably striking out Gregor Blanco to strand the bases loaded in the fourth. Tanaka also got some help from Carlos Beltran, who threw a runner out at the plate in the second. It was a perfect throw. Just perfect. Tanaka allowed four singles and two walks in his six innings. He fanned four.
  • The First Two Runs: The Yankees had some chances to put a hurtin’ on Bumgarner early, but the result was only one run in the first and one run in the second. Starlin Castro doubled in Brett Gardner in the first, and Beltran singled in Ronald Torreyes in the second. The Yankees did strand the bases loaded in the first and another two runners in the second. They also stranded two more in the fifth. Bumgarner retired 15 of 18 batters faced after the second inning.
  • Two Runs DMC: Props to the Giants for tying the game against the meat of New York’s bullpen. They scratched out a run against Dellin Betances in the seventh — he wild pitched the run home — and then did the same against Andrew Miller in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Mac Williamson clobbered a game-tying double on a high fastball. I thought it was out of the park off the bat. Instead, it clanked off the wall and score a run. Neither Dellin nor Miller looked particularly sharp.
  • And The Yankees Take The Lead: What a dopey rally in the eighth. Chase Headley beat out an infield single, Mark Teixeira drew a walk, then, after Austin Romine was unable to get a bunt down, he hit a tailor made double play ball that Brandon Crawford threw away. It was his third error of the night. Wild. This one pulled Brandon Belt off first base, and Headley alertly darted for home to score the go-ahead run. Hey, whatever works, right? Aroldis Chapman pitched around a leadoff double (off Gardner’s glove) to shut the door in the ninth.
  • Leftovers: Castro led the way offensively with three hits, all off Bumgarner … Beltran reached base four times (two hits, two walks), threw a runner out at the plate, and made a great running catch. It was a turn back the clock night for Carlos … the bullpen had a 31.1 inning scoreless streak snapped in that seventh inning … Betances, Miller, and Chapman each allowed a double. Seems unlikely that’ll happen in the same game again, even if no one gets traded … make sure you check out Grant Brisbee’s recap for the Giants’ perspective.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages too. The Yankees and Giants will resume this series Saturday afternoon. That’s a 4pm ET start. Ivan Nova and Jeff Samardzija will be the pitching matchup, so fans of both teams will be equally annoyed.

DotF: Solak’s first pro homer helps Staten Island to a win

Here are the day’s notes:

  • RHP Chance Adams was included in the Helium Watch section of this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. Interestingly enough, the write-up says his changeup is more advanced than his slider, which is pretty much the exact opposite of everything I’ve read since he was drafted last year. Weird.
  • RHP Jordan Foley was promoted to Double-A Trenton and LHP Nestor Cortes has been promoted to High-A Tampa, according to Josh Norris. They’ve both had very nice years. Foley, the team’s fifth round pick two years ago, is a full-time reliever now.
  • Reggie Jackson is joining the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders ownership group, reports Shane Hennigan. He’ll be part of the ownership group and serve as a special advisor to the club. So that’s two celebrity owners in the system. Bill Murray owns part the Charleston RiverDogs.
  • Here’s a good story on the Pulaski franchise by Benjamin Hill. Two years ago the ballpark was run down and attendance was terrible, which led to the Mariners ending their affiliation. A new owner came in, renovated the park, hooked up with the Yankees, and now the franchise is the crown jewel of the Appalachian League.

Triple-A Scranton (6-5 win over Durham in ten innings)

  • CF Mason Williams: 3-5, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 SB — 18-for-44 (.409) in his last eleven games
  • LF Ben Gamel: 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SB — walk-off single
  • C Gary Sanchez: 0-3, 1 RBI, 2 BB — picked a runner off second with a snap throw
  • 1B Ike Davis: 1-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
  • DH Tyler Austin: 1-4, 1 BB, 3 K
  • RHP Brady Lail: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 5/2 GB/FB — 43 of 70 pitches were strikes (61%)
  • LHP Phil Coke: 1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GB/FB — 17 of 29 pitches were strikes (58%)
  • RHP Gio Gallegos: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 Balk, 0/3 GB/FB — 30 of 44 pitches were strikes (68%) … 71/13 K/BB in 55.1 innings
  • RHP Nick Goody: 1 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — seven of 13 pitches were strikes (54%)

[Read more…]

Game 96: Make or break time?

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

We’re down to crunch time folks. The trade deadline is ten days away and right now the Yankees are just close enough to a wildcard spot to justify going for it. Those seven wins in the last eleven games really set #TeamSell back a bit. Winning is cool, but at this point there’s little hope of the Yankees going to the postseason, so anything that pushes the club to do something positive for the future is a good thing in my book. This weekend’s series feels really important. Here is the Giants’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. 2B Starlin Castro
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. DH Alex Rodriguez
  5. 3B Chase Headley
  6. 1B Rob Refsnyder
  7. C Austin Romine
  8. CF Aaron Hicks
  9. SS Ronald Torreyes
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Nice weather in New York today, just insanely hot. The sky is blue and there are only a few clouds, though the temperature is well into the 90s with real feel temps in the triple digits. It’ll be a little cooler tonight, but not much. Tonight’s game will begin a little after 7pm ET and you can watch on WPIX locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

TiqIQ: Yankees Welcome Slumping Giants This Weekend; Tickets Start from Under $20

Nearly three years have passed since the Yankees and Giants last met, so what better time to reconvene than in the midst of a playoff push?

The Yankees will host the NL West-best Giants, who despite their first place digs have struggled recently, for three games in the Bronx this weekend. The Bombers still have high hopes of climbing back into the postseason picture, and while the jury is still out on whether they’ll be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline on August 1, they’ll look to capitalize on a Giants team that has lost five straight games.

With a series of aces set to take the mound for both clubs, Yankees vs. Giants tickets are still widely available across all three games. Masahiro Tanaka will take the hill against the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner Friday night. In what will likely be the most anticipated game of the series, tickets can be found from $21 each in the upper deck sections of the stadium.

Saturday’s 4:05 pm start will showcase Ivan Nova against Jeff Samardzija. Nova’s sole start against the Giants back in 2013 may have been the best of his career, pitching a shutout on six hits and seven strikeouts. He has struggled at times for the Yankees this season, however, and enters Saturday’s start at 7-5 with a 4.92 ERA. Samardzija has been a ticket better, with a 9-5 record and 4.05 ERA. Like that of the first game of the series, tickets start from $21 each.

The third and final game of the series will be a matinee affair on Sunday afternoon. The 1:10 pm start will see Nathan Eovaldi take the rubber against All-Star and Cy Young Award contender Johnny Cueto. Eovaldi will look to improve on a 8-6 record and 4.93 ERA but will have his work cut out for him against Cueto, who is 13-2 with a 2.64 ERA this season. Interestingly enough, it will be the cheapest game to attend this weekend, with tickets starting from just $17 in the outfield bleachers.

The Giants recent woes to start the second half can be credited to a slumping pitching staff. Over their last five games, the Giants have allowed 31 runs, including an 11-7 loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday. Perhaps the Yankees can continue to expose their recent hiccup in the small confines of Yankee Stadium.

This weekend’s series will be the first time the Giants have played at Yankee Stadium since 2002. It will be just the fourth series between the two clubs since the 1962 World Series, in which the Yankees defeated the Giants in seven games to claim their 20th World Series title.

7/22 to 7/24 Series Preview: San Francisco Giants

Bochy has an excellent manager's gait. (Bart Young/Getty)
Bochy has an excellent manager’s gait. (Bart Young/Getty)

The homestand concludes this weekend with a three-game series against the 2016 World Series champion Giants. Don’t even bother watching the rest of the season. It is an even year and the Giants got it locked down. Anyway, this is only the third time ever the Giants are coming to the Bronx as part of interleague play. They were here for three games back in 2002, when Barry Bonds did this …

… and they were here for three games back in 2013. Alex Rodriguez hit his record 24th career grand slam that series. The Yankees won two of three both times the Giants have played in Yankee Stadium during the interleague play era. This is the only time these two teams will meet this year. There’s no series in San Francisco later in the season.

What Have They Done Lately?

The Giants have not won a game in the second half. Five games, five losses. They were swept in three games by the Padres last weekend and they lost both games up in Boston earlier this week. San Francisco still has the second best record in all of baseball at 57-38. Only the Cubs (57-37) have been better. The Giants have a +58 run differential, a four-game lead in the NL West, and a 6.5-game lead on a postseason spot in general.

Offense & Defense

Everyone seems to push the idea that the Giants are an old school organization that wins with pitching and defense, but that’s not really the case. They’re one of the most analytically inclined teams in the game, and they’re averaging 4.64 runs per game with a team 104 wRC+. It’s a really strong offense, especially considering OF Hunter Pence (hamstring), 2B Joe Panik (concussion), and 3B Matt Duffy (Achilles) have all been out for several weeks.

Posey. (Harry How/Getty)
Posey. (Harry How/Getty)

Panik (101 wRC+) has been on a minor league rehab assignment and may be activated off the DL prior to tonight’s game. Manager Bruce Bochy usually bats Panik second behind CF Denard Span (92 wRC+). 1B Brandon Belt (142 wRC+), C Buster Posey (126 wRC+), and SS Brandon Crawford (112 wRC+) typically make up the 3-4-5 hitters. OF Jarrett Parker (124 wRC+) and OF Mac Williamson (117 wRC+) have been platooning in right with Pence out. LF Angel Pagan (109 wRC+) is the other regular.

The Giants have been played 3B Conor Gillaspie (88 wRC+) and ex-Yankee IF Ramiro Pena (143 wRC+) at third base during Duffy’s absence. IF Grant Green (103 wRC+) is the utility man and chances are either he or Pena are going to get dropped from the roster whenever Panik returns. Pena’s out-played Green — he also has nearly twice as many plate appearances — so he might stick. C Trevor Brown (101 wRC+) is the backup catcher and OF Gregor Blanco (88 wRC+) is the heavily used fourth outfielder. For what it’s worth, Posey has been the DH four times in San Francisco’s six AL park games to date. Parker was the DH the other two times.

Defensively, the Giants are very strong, especially up the middle with Crawford, Panik, and Span. Belt is solid at first and so is Pena when he’s in the lineup. Gillaspie and the Williamson/Parker platoon won’t kill them. Pagan’s no longer the defender he once was, but he’s still good enough. Posey has, incredibly, thrown out more basestealers (18) than he has allowed successful steals (16). Brown’s throw-out rate (23%) is well-below-average (29%).

Pitching Matchups

Friday (7:05pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. SF) vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner (vs. NYY)
The Yankees are catching zero breaks this weekend. Three games against the Giants and they’re going to see their top three starters. Bumgarner, who is still somehow only 26, has a 2.12 ERA (3.02 FIP) in 20 starts and 135.2 innings. He’s got great strikeout (28.8%) and walk (6.1%) numbers, but only average-ish grounder (40.9%) and homer (0.93 HR/9) rates. Bumgarner is really good at getting pop-ups and weak fly balls, and while his platoon split is fairly big, it’s not like righties hit him hard. He dominates lefties and only kinda sorta dominates righties. Bumgarner uses a lower arm slot to sling low-90s four-seamers and upper-80s cutters. His moneymaker is a big upper-70s curveball he can throw to both sides of the plate. He’ll also throw a few mid-80s changeups per start, but generally speaking, he’s a four-seamer/cutter/curveball pitcher. Bumgarner is an ace in every possible way. What a stud.

Also, it’s worth noting Bumgarner will not hit for himself tonight. Earlier this year the Giants made some history by passing on the DH and letting Bumgarner hit for himself during a game in Oakland. They were the first team in 40 years to decline the DH. Bochy told Hank Schulman earlier this week he plans to use a left-handed hitter at DH with Tanaka on the mound, not the righty hitting Bumgarner. That’s unfortunate for the Yanks. For all the talk about his bat, Bumgarner is hitting .154/.237/.308 (51 wRC+) this year and .179/.224/.301 (46 wRC+) in his career. Guess it doesn’t take much to get NL fans excited.

MadBum. (Denis Poroy/Getty)
MadBum. (Denis Poroy/Getty)

Saturday (4:05pm ET): RHP Ivan Nova (vs. SF) vs. RHP Jeff Samardzija (vs. NYY)
Baseball is good work if you can get it. Last year Samardzija led the AL in hits, earned runs, and home runs allowed, and he still landed a five-year deal worth $90M over the winter. It’s good to throw hard, I guess. Samardzija, 31, has a 4.05 ERA (4.20 FIP) in 19 starts and 122.1 innings this year, and it’s worth noting he started very well but has crashed hard of late. Check it out:

IP ERA FIP K% BB% GB% HR/9
First 10 starts 71 2.54 2.99 22.3% 5.8% 46.7% 0.63
Last 9 starts 51.1 6.14 5.87 14.3% 6.7% 47.4% 2.10
Total 122.1 4.05 4.20 18.7% 6.2% 47.1% 1.25

I’m sure the Giants are looking forward to facing a weak opponent this weekend so Samardzija can get back on track. (I kid! Or do I?) Samardzija’s been really, really bad of late. Really bad. Lefties are hitting him a lot harder than righties too. Samardzija still sits in the mid-90s with his four-seamer and sinker, and a tick lower than that with his cutter. An upper-80s slider is his main secondary pitch, and he uses a mid-80 splitter as his changeup. Samardzija has been really bad for several weeks now, yet for some reason I don’t find that comforting.

Sunday (1:05pm ET): RHP Nathan Eovaldi (vs. SF) vs. RHP Johnny Cueto (vs. NYY)
Remember when no team wanted to sign Cueto because they were worried about … things? I guess his subpar performance with the Royals last year, and the fact he missed a little time with an elbow issue in the first half. Well anyway, the 30-year-old Cueto now has a 2.64 ERA (2.89 FIP) in 19 starts and 136.1 innings this year. He started the All-Star Game last week and this will be his first start since. Cueto has excellent peripherals (22.1 K%, 5.0 BB%, 51.3 GB%, 0.53 HR/9) and a bit of a platoon split, though he’s overall very good against both righties and lefties. Generally speaking Cueto will work in the low-to-mid-90s with his fastball and mid-80s with his little cutter/slider thing. He also has a nasty mid-80s changeup. As you probably know, Cueto varies his delivery — he has four different deliveries, in fact — not just throughout the game, but within an at-bat, which makes things very uncomfortable for hitters. Between the fastball/changeup combo and various deliveries, Cueto is a master at disrupting the hitter’s timing.

Bullpen Status

The Giants carry eight relievers largely because their bullpen has been below-average (4.00 ERA and 4.01 FIP) and Bochy needs as many options as possible. That’s why they’ve been in the mix for Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman prior to the trade deadline. Here is Bochy’s bullpen:

Closer: RHP Santiago Casilla (3.38 ERA/3.41 FIP)
Setup: RHP Sergio Romo (1.35/3.75), LHP Javier Lopez (4.60/5.89), RHP Hunter Strickland (3.12/3.52)
Middle: RHP George Kontos (2.86/3.85), RHP Derek Law (2.65/2.00), LHP Josh Osich (4.13/5.90)
Long: RHP Albert Suarez (4.19/4.38)

Casilla has not been nearly as automatic as he has been in the past. He’s only 21-for-26 in save chances with several very big meltdowns, yet Bochy has stuck with him in the ninth inning. Bochy matches up with Romo and Lopez — Lopez is a classic left-on-left guy with a funky arm slot, mid-80s fastball, sweepy breaking ball, the whole nine — and will also use Strickland in setup spots as well. Strickland is the hard-throwing bat-misser.

The Giants had an off-day yesterday, so their bullpen is relatively fresh. Suarez threw three innings and 66 pitches Wednesday night, in one of those old school back and forth Fenway Park slugfests, so he’s probably not going to be available tonight. Maybe not tomorrow either. Our Bullpen Workload page will keep you up-to-date on the Yankees’ reliever availability.