The non-waiver trade deadline is 4pm ET this Thursday, and between now and then there will be a ton of rumors and speculation. Some actual moves too. The Yankees have already swung trades for Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley, but Brian Cashman has said he is still seeking another starter and another bat. I don’t know if they’ll get another deal done, but I fully expect plenty of Yankees-related rumors.
On Monday and Tuesday we learned the Yankees are “in on everything” but they do not want to part with their top minor leaguers. Josh Willingham, John Danks, Jake Arrieta, Justin Ruggiano, and Chris Denorfia were among the names connected to the club. They are not targeting Justin Masterson, however. We’ll keep track of the day’s Yankees-related rumors right here in this post, so make sure you check back throughout the day. All of the timestamps below are ET.
- 4:59pm: In addition to Benoit, the Yankees have also checked in on Antonio Bastardo of the Phillies and James Russell of the Cubs. Both are lefties but I don’t think that says they’re unhappy with Matt Thornton. [Stark]
- 4:33pm: The Yankees continue to be connected to Marlon Byrd, but they are wary of his $8M price tag for next season. Like I said before, they will need a right fielder next year, Byrd on what amounts to a one-year deal at $8M wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. [Jayson Stark]
- 4:31pm: In case you were thinking about a reunion, former Yankees corner infielder Eric Chavez announced his retirement today. He was pretty awesome.
- 2:16pm: Although the Yankees and White Sox continue to discuss Danks, they are still far apart in talks. I’m sure both the money and prospects are an obstacle. [Heyman]
- 2:07pm: Justin Masterson has been traded to the Cardinals. The Yankees did not have interest in him, but it presumably takes St. Louis out of the running for Jon Lester and David Price, muddling the pitching market. [Peter Gammons]
- 1:57pm: As they look to bolster their bullpen, the Yankees are eyeing Joaquin Benoit. They had some interest in him over the winter. There is “nothing going on” right now as far as talks go, however. [Heyman & Martino]
- 12:49pm: The Yankees are still involved in talks with the Padres about Ian Kennedy, but those talks are said to be “medium,” whatever that means. San Diego cleared a lot of money with the Huston Street and Chase Headley trades and have said they don’t have any problem with holding onto Kennedy into next season. [Chad Jennings]
- 12:06pm: The Yankees prefer rentals to players under contract next year and beyond. Rentals are cool, but the team does have holes to address next year (like right field). Trading for someone signed for next season wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. [Andrew Marchand]
- 10:28am: In addition to rotation help, the Yankees are looking to bolster their bullpen as well. Adam Warren and Dellin Betances look like they have been running on fumes of late. [Nick Cafardo]
- 10:06am: The Yankees are picking through the second tier of starting pitchers and they have discussed left-hander Brett Anderson. The Rockies intend to keep him and either exercise his club option for 2015 or sign him to a longer term contract, however. [Buster Olney & Ken Rosenthal]
- 9:30am: The Phillies requested a package of multiple top prospects from the Yankees and several other teams in exchange for Cole Hamels. The assumption around baseball is that Philadelphia isn’t serious about moving their lefty ace. The Yankees are more likely to add another mid-rotation arm than an ace-caliber pitcher at this point. [Jon Heyman & Andy Martino]
- The Yankees continue to have interest in Willingham. With Carlos Beltran continuing his throwing program and potentially returning to the outfield as soon as next week, the DH spot would be open for Willingham, who hasn’t played right field in five years. [Heyman]
- Both the Rays and Rangers had special assignment scouts watching Double-A Trenton last night. Special assignment scouts are sent to see specific players. They aren’t there for general coverage. [Keith Law]
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* lol nope
The good news: the Yankees scored a lot of runs and beat the Rangers 12-11 on Tuesday night. The bad news: my cardiologist doesn’t have any open appointments until next week. That was not the easiest win of the season. Let’s put it that way.
All With Two Outs, Again
For the third time this season and fourth time in his career, Brett Gardner opened the game with a leadoff homerun. That gave him three homers in the span of five plate appearances. I don’t get it but I love it. Brett now has 13 homers on the season and is close to doubling his previous career high of eight, set just last season. Gardner being the team’s best overall hitter and second best power hitter is both awesome and terrible at the same time.
The Yankees nursed that 1-0 lead until the third inning, when they ran into the same problem they had in the fifth inning of Monday’s game: they couldn’t get the third out. Brandon McCarthy got Shin-Soo Choo to fly out and Elvis Andrus to ground out for two quick outs, but Alex Rios and Adrian Beltre followed with singles to put men on the corners. Jim Adduci singled to score Rios and J.P. Arencibia doubled into the left field corner to score Beltre and Adduci. In the span of 17 pitches, the Rangers went from being down 1-0 with the bases empty and two outs to leading 3-1 with a runner on second and two outs. That third out, man. The Bombers are having some trouble getting it this week.
McCarthy managed to hang around a few more innings and surrendered four runs — Arencibia hit a wall-scraper solo homer in the fifth to give Texas a 4-1 lead — on nine hits and a walk in six innings of work. Fifteen of the 28 batters he faced hit the ball in the air, which is a more than usual. Only eight of his 15 non-strikeout outs were recorded on the ground. Not the best night for McCarthy, who was in bend but don’t break mode.
Man, it has been a long, long time since we last got to see the Yankees put up an inning like the sixth inning of this game. One of those “everything goes right, everything falls in, all the runs score” innings. It’s been too long. I had forgotten what they were like.
The seven-run assault started with a Gardner double into the corner because of course. He’s in the middle of it whenever they score these days. Derek Jeter reached on an infield single off starter Nick Martinez’s glove, and eventually Mark Teixeira walked to load the bases with one out. They had to score, right? Right. Carlos Beltran ripped a single to right to plate two and bring the Yankees to within 4-3.
Brian McCann‘s sac fly to center tied the game and I thought that would be the end of the rally, but no, they kept plugging along. Chase Headley walked, Zoilo Almonte poked a run-scoring ground ball single back up the middle, and Brendan Ryan ripped a two-run double into the left-center field gap to put his team ahead 7-4. This wasn’t a well-placed bloop double inside the line or something, it was a rocket.
The Yankees scored their seventh and final run of the inning when Rios and Leonys Martin miscommunicated on Gardner’s fly ball and basically ran into each other. The ball hit off Rios’ glove, hit off Martin’s head, and dunked in for a run-scoring three-base error. Here’s a GIF. Jeter struck out to strand Gardner at third, but by then seven runs had scored on five hits, two walks, an error, and a sac fly. Man did I miss big innings.
The Yankees extended their lead to 10-4 thanks to two walks (Jacoby Ellsbury and Teixeira), two singles (Beltran and Headley), and a run-scoring fielder’s choice (Almonte) in the seventh inning, giving them their first huge lead in far too long. Six-run lead with nine outs to go against the worst team in baseball? Smooth sailing from there, right? I wish.
The usually dynamite bullpen had their first total disaster inning in a while in the bottom half of the seventh, as Adam Warren and Dellin Betances combined to allow four runs before the second out was recorded. Warren loaded the bases on two walks (Andrus and Adduci), a single (Rios), and a fielder’s choice (Beltre, out made at home). Betances came in to clean up the mess and instead served up a grand slam to J.P. friggin Arencibia. J.P. Arencibia. The dude who came into the game with a .196 OBP and a 36 OPS+. He went 4-for-5 with two doubles, a solo homer, the grand slam, and seven runs driven in on the night. Argh.
Anyway, Betances put two more runners on base after the grand slam but escaped the inning with no more damage. Teixeira tacked on some much-appreciated — and ultimately needed — insurance runs with a two-run homer in the top of the eighth to give the Yankees a 12-8 lead, Chase Whitley coughed up a run to make a 12-9 lead in the ninth (Andrus single, stolen base, two ground outs), and the bottom of the order went quietly in the top of the ninth. Of course the bottom half of the ninth couldn’t be a nice and easy 1-2-3 inning. Of course not.
David Robertson, who was warming for the four or five-out save in the eighth, started the ninth innocently enough, with a strikeout of Arencibia. Take that, JPA. Martin followed with a one-out ground ball single back up the middle. Then Robertson walked Robinson Chirinos. Rougned Odor grounded out to first for the second out, but Choo drew a walk to load the bases and bring the winning run to the plate. Andrus singled to score two runs and make it a 12-11 game.. The Robertson walked Rios to re-load the bases. Then he went to a full count to Beltre. Then Beltre ripped a line drive to left that … the total awesome and dreamy and handsome Gardner ran down for the 27th out. Never in doubt. /barfs
Four Yankees relievers — their top three relievers among them — allowed seven runs on six hits and six walks in three innings of work. Whitley was their most effective bullpen arm on the night. I guess they picked a good game to melt down like this? The offense gave them a lot of breathing room and they used every last little bit of it.
Gardner seems to be starting one of his sicko hot streaks, going 4-for-5 with a single, the homer, two doubles, and the makeshift three-base error triple one night after taking Yu Darvish deep twice. He is 7-for-10 with two doubles and three homers in the last two games, raising his season batting line to .283/.357/.455 (125 wRC+). Brett is prettay, prettay good.
Jeter went 2-for-5 and Beltran went 2-for-4, making them the only other players with multiple hits. Teixeira hit the homer and drew three walks while Headley singled and had two walks, his first two in pinstripes. The Yankees went 6-for-15 (.400) with runners in scoring position and had more walks (six) than strikeouts (five) for the tenth time this year, tied for the third most in baseball with the Blue Jays and Athletics. Only the Pirates (14) and Rays (11) have more.
The Yankees scored double-digit runs for only the third time this season and the first time in 83 (!) games. They last did it on April 24th at Fenway Park, in a 14-5 win over the Red Sox. The seven runs in the sixth inning were their most in an inning this season. They had scored five runs in an inning three times, most recently on June 24th.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com is the place to go for the box score and video highlights. FanGraphs has some more stats and ESPN has the updated standings. The Orioles, Blue Jays, and Mariners all won, so the Yankees are 4.5 games back of the top spot in the AL East and two games back of the second wildcard spot, tied with Seattle. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 15.3%.
These two teams wrap up this three-game series on Wednesday night, when Hiroki Kuroda gets the ball against Colby Lewis. Gonna need you to go nine, Hiroki.
That video above is highlights of tonight’s Double-A Trenton’s game. No footage of RHP Luis Severino, unfortunately. Here are some notes:
- According to his mother’s Twitter feed (yup), RHP Ty Hensley has been promoted to Short Season Staten Island. We heard he was moving up yesterday, just not to where. There’s about six weeks left in the season, so hopefully Hensley gets another 6-8 starts in and gets his innings total up around 50 (he’s at 19 now).
- Carson Cistulli put together a statistical breakdown of last year’s first round picks. OF Aaron Judge has been the second best hitter (behind Cubs 3B Kris Bryant) and LHP Ian Clarkin has been the second best pitcher (behind Orioles RHP Hunter Harvey) so far. 3B Eric Jagielo is ninth among hitters.
- Yankees farmhands will once again play for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League after the season, according to Spencer Fordin. High-A Tampa hitting coach and ex-organizational catcher P.J. Pilittere will be the team’s hitting coach. The rosters aren’t out yet and make sure you check out this Friday’s mailbag for my thoughts on who could go.
Triple-A Scranton (6-5 loss to Gwinnett)
- 2B Jose Pirela: 3-5, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI
- RF Rob Refsnyder: 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 CS — 11-for-32 (.344) with four doubles and a homer in his last eight games
- DH Austin Romine: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SB — stole home!
- C John Ryan Murphy: 0-3, 1 RBI
- LHP Nik Turley: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HB, 6/6 GB/FB — 62 of 93 pitches were strikes (67%)
- SwP Pat Venditte: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 20 of 28 pitches were strikes (71%)
For the first time in eight days, Mark Teixeira is in the starting lineup. He had to sit with a mild lower lat strain that robbed the team of its best power hitter and, just as importantly, a real live first baseman. Brian McCann gave it a helluva try over there these last few days, but geez. The man isn’t a first baseman. He only played one on television.
Anyway, the Yankees have lost three straight games and that’s pretty annoying. They came out of the gate so well in the second half and it really would have been nice to see that success last for more than, I dunno, a week. This team seems incapable of getting any kind of roll that lasts more than like, two series. Here is the Rangers lineup and here is the Yankees lineup, which actually looks dangerous for the first time in about two years:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- DH Carlos Beltran
- C Brian McCann
- 3B Chase Headley
- RF Zoilo Almonte
- 2B Brendan Ryan
RHP Brandon McCarthy
It’s nice and hot down deep in the heart of Texas. It rained for much of the day but there is none in the forecast tonight. Tonight’s game is scheduled to start a little after 8pm ET and you can watch only on FOX Sports 1. Not YES, not My9, not ESPN or MLB Network. It’s only FOX Sports 1. Here is the channel locator. Enjoy the game.
From the obvious news department: ticket sales receive the highest bump in games started by Masahiro Tanaka than any other pitcher in baseball, according to Brian Costa. Data released by StubHub says sales on the secondary market increase 73% when Tanaka is on the mound. Justin Verlander (69%) is second and Jeff Samardzija (68%) is third. The drop-off to the fourth place pitcher is pretty big — Chris Sale is at 29%.
When the Yankees signed Tanaka over the winter, it was obvious his appeal extended beyond his on-field impact. The Yankees know firsthand how marketable and profitable international players can be, especially Japanese players after having megastars like Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki spent time in the Bronx. Just how much extra cash they make due to these players is unknown but I’m sure it’s substantial. That 73% bump in ticket sales is just a piece of the revenue-generating Tanaka pie. · (9) ·
The non-waiver trade deadline is roughly 48 hours away, and based on the way he’s been talking the last few days, it seems likely Brian Cashman will swing another trade or two in an attempt to improve the team. Another starting pitcher feels inevitable, and they’ve been connected to a bunch of right-handed hitting outfielders as well. Those two upgrades are the bare minimum to make a run in the second half, in my opinion.
The Chase Headley trade solidified the infield, at least in the sense that they replaced a collection of bad players at the hot corner with one potentially good one. Headley’s first week in pinstripes has gone very well — 9-for-27 (.333) with two doubles, a homer, and a walk-off single — and hopefully that continues through the end of the season now that he’s out of Petco Park and doesn’t have to be The Man in the lineup. The upgrade on defense has already been noticeable as well.
The Yankees are locked into Derek Jeter at shortstop and Mark Teixeira at first base for a few reasons, and so far they’ve lived with Brian Roberts at second. In fact, I wouldn’t even say they’ve “lived” with him, they seem legitimately happy to have him out there. Roberts has somehow managed to stay healthy and he always puts together a long and quality at-bat, which is not nothing. Given how hacktastic this lineup has become, seeing someone who doesn’t go down on two or three pitches each time out is refreshing.
The problem is that Roberts’ long at-bats have not led to enough production. He is hitting a weak .237/.300/.360 (81 wRC+) in 348 plate appearances this year, including an even weaker .226/.281/.352 (72 wRC+) in 171 plate appearances since June 1st. Roberts was steady in the field earlier this season but has been much worse defensively of late, making three errors in ten games since the All-Star break and bobbling just about everything that isn’t hit right at him. He’s a liability both at the plate and in the field right now.
Remarkably, Roberts have remained pretty healthy this season. He missed a few games with a minor back issue in April but that’s it. His 91 games played are his most since 2009, his last full, healthy season. Given his age and his lengthy injury history, it could be that he is simply wearing down in the second half of the season. That would explain the lack of hitting and reliable fielding. It’s tough to expect a 36-year-old who has averaged 48 games and 202 plate appearances per year over the last four years to be an everyday player across a full season.
Soon after the Headley trade, Brian Cashman told reporters that while he is looking to make big upgrades to the roster at the trade deadline, he is making smaller, incremental upgrades whenever possible. “We have to try to improve, reinforce and upgrade, certainly,” said the GM to Andrew Marchand last week. “We certainly we would love to have some significant upgrades but when you lose four out of five starters, it is hard to re-materialize the same type of abilities with the guys you lost. It is whether you incrementally upgrade.”
Unlike the rotation and right field, the Yankees may be able to make an incremental upgrade at second base without having to make a trade. Second base prospect Rob Refsnyder — who you have all heard about by now — is stashed in Triple-A, hitting .296/.400/.500 (151 wRC+) with seven homers in 44 games and 190 plate appearances with the RailRiders after dominating with Double-A Trenton early in the season. He has cooled down of late but still has a solid .250/.327/.427 (108 wRC+) batting line this month. When a young player hits like that, you have to take notice, especially when he plays a position of need, both short and long-term.
Despite his Triple-A success, Cashman made it clear he doesn’t believe Refsnyder would be enough of an upgrade to justify calling him up and dropping Roberts. “I don’t think he would be significantly upgrading at second base right now … If you did see [Refsnyder], he would be probably more likely an outfielder for us. It’s a super big jump to the big league level,” said Cashman during a radio interview last week. He also pointed out the 40-man roster issue — Refsnyder won’t be Rule 5 Draft eligible for another year and they don’t want to clog up the 40-man roster, though that seems like a lame excuse more than anything. I don’t think a 40-man spot would stand in the way of helping the MLB club.
Now, here’s the thing: I’m not completely sold on the idea of Refsnyder being an upgrade over Roberts either. The defensive question marks at second are real, and Refsnyder struggled immediately after being promoted to both Double-A and Triple-A this year. That’s not unusual, Brett Gardner had the same problem while he was climbing up the minor league leader, but it is something to consider. The whole “how could he be any worse/what’s the harm?” argument is totally silly because Refsnyder could absolutely be worse than Roberts, just like David Adams was worse than Kevin Youkilis and Austin Romine was worse than Chris Stewart. It could always be worse.
At this point though, I think Roberts has forced the team’s hand and given them every reason to try someone new at second base. He isn’t hitting and he hasn’t been reliable in the field. When a player’s only redeeming quality is the ability to foul off pitches and have long at-bats, it’s time to try someone new. Roberts is about to start making some decent bucks through bonuses — he has already banked $350,000 in incentives and is two plate appearances away from another $250,0000 — so there is a financial incentive to make a change as well. The Yankees would pay Refsnyder through the end of the season less than the bonus they’d owe Roberts if he gets those next two plate appearances.
I would like to think being pulled for a pinch-hitter last night was the team’s way of preventing Roberts from triggering that next bonus under the guise of improving their chances to win, but I’m pretty sure that isn’t the case. The Yankees love their veterans and seem to think Roberts has some very real value to the team, but I don’t see it. Not at this point. He isn’t hitting and he isn’t fielding. When all the GM talks about are incremental upgrades and you’ve got a this sort of second base situation at the MLB and Triple-A levels, I don’t know how they don’t make a move. Refsnyder might not produce when he gets called up. It’s a very real possibility. But we know Roberts isn’t producing. That part isn’t up for debate. If they’re not going to make a change now, when will they?
After taking full batting practice on the field before the game, Mark Teixeira came off the bench as a pinch-hitter last night. That’s a pretty good indication he’s over his mild lat strain and will return to the starting lineup tonight. Here are some more injury updates, courtesy of Bryan Hoch, Chad Jennings, and George King.
- Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) is still in New York and continues to receive treatment. Apparently three weeks out from the platelet-rich plasma injection has some sort of importance as far as knowing whether it’s working. Tanaka received his injection two weeks ago yesterday, so another six days to go. “Nothing’s really going to change until the three-week mark. He’s staying back and doing treatment every day. He feels better and better. You just kind of wait to see where you are after three weeks,” said Joe Girardi.
- Michael Pineda (shoulder) is scheduled to throw 45-50 pitches in three simulated innings down in Tampa today. If that goes well, they’ll continue stretching him out, and eventually he’ll head out on an official minor league rehab assignment. “As long as he feels good and is throwing the ball well, there’d be no reason not to bring him back. It’s the same as Spring Training. You build them up, when they’re ready to go, you send them,” said Girardi.
- Carlos Beltran (elbow) is already throwing from 100-120 feet as part of his throwing program. He has not had any problems or discomfort, and there is a chance he can return to the outfield as early as next week, when the team returns home. Beltran isn’t good defensively, but not being married to the DH spot will give Girardi some more lineup flexibility.
The non-waiver trade deadline is 4pm ET this Thursday, and between now and then there will be a ton of rumors and speculation. Some actual moves too. The Yankees have already swung trades for Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley, but Brian Cashman has said he is still seeking another starter and another bat. I don’t know if they’ll get another deal done, but I fully expect plenty of Yankees-related rumors, hence a full week of recap open threads rather than one or two days.
Yesterday we learned the Bombers are “in on everything,” but they do not want to part with their top minor leaguers. Josh Willingham, John Danks, Jake Arrieta, and Chris Denorfia were among the names connected to the club. We’ll keep track of the day’s Yankees-related rumors right here in this post, so make sure you check back throughout the day. All of the timestamps below are ET.
- 12:52pm: Justin Masterson, who the Indians are “very willing” to trade, is not on the Yankees’ radar. Not only is he currently on the disabled list with a knee problem, but he also has a 5.51 ERA (4.08 FIP) and has lost nearly three full miles and hour off his trademark sinker. [Jeff Passan & Sherman]
- 10:35am: The White Sox have had scout Joe Butler trailing Double-A Trenton the last few days. In addition to Danks, the power-hitting Dayan Viciedo is also available. He’d fit as a righty hitting outfielder. [George King]
- 9:30am: The Yankees asked the Cubs about outfielder Justin Ruggiano but were apparently told he isn’t available. The team is said to be seeking a right-handed hitting outfielder and he’d fit the bill. [Jon Heyman]
- The Rays had special assignment scouting Bobby Heck at a recent Double-A Trenton game — special assignment scouts are sent to see specific players, not general coverage — likely doing due diligence in case the they become willing to trade within the division. [Joel Sherman]
- Not a rumor or anything, but check out this Larry Fleisher piece on the process of making a trade. Cashman is quoted extensively. “It seems like the new technique is texting. Some of it’s not as much by phone as it used to be but you just throw out a lot of ideas … I think it’s easier to insult somebody via text than it is to on the phone,” said the GM. Check it out.
The losing streak has suddenly hit three games. That happened quick, no? It would be easier to swallow if the first two losses didn’t come against a direct wildcard competitor and the third against the worst team in baseball. The Yankees came from ahead to lose Monday’s series opener to the Rangers by the score of 4-2.
All With Two Outs
This game started out pretty well for the Yankees. Brett Gardner hit two solo homers off Yu Darvish (more on that in a bit) and David Phelps was cruising for the first four innings, pitching around a two-out single/error combination in the first before retiring ten of the next 12 batters he faced. He was in total control of the game against an abysmal last place team … and then the fifth inning happened. It all came crashing down in the blink of an eye.
Chris Gimenez started that fifth inning off with a single, and he moved to second on Rougned Odor’s ground ball. Phelps got Shin-Soo Choo to fly out for the second out and everything looked to be fine because hey, Elvis Andrus stinks. At least at the plate. Instead, he laced a first pitch single to left to score Gimenez. Fine, whatever. Get the next guy. Nope. Alex Rios singled to center to put men on the corners. Then bam, Adrian Beltre doubles into the corner to score the game-tying run. Phelps walked someone named Jim Adduci (I think that’s him in the photo above) on four pitches to load the bases, then he threw possibly the worst 0-2 pitch in baseball history to J.P. Arencibia, who singled back up the middle to score two runs.
In the span of 14 pitches, Phelps went from having a two-run lead with a man on second with two outs to being down two runs with men at first and second and two outs. Five straight batters reached base with two outs in the inning, and the final two runs scored thanks to that awful 0-2 pitch to Arencibia. It was basically a flat cutter down the middle. A batting practice fastball. Arencibia has zero plate discipline whatsoever and Phelps had three chances to get him to chase something out of the zone. Instead, he grooved a fastball.
All told, Phelps allowed the four runs on eight hits and a walk in six innings of work. He struck out three and threw 66 of his 96 pitches were strikes (68%). That fifth inning ruined everything. Phelps was cruising right along like he had in his last eight starts or so.
Brett Owns Yu
Gardner hit two homers off Darvish! Go back to the game last week and he took him deep three times in the span of four at-bats. What in the world is that about? The first came on a 1-0 fastball in the third inning and the second came on a hanging 2-2 slider in the fifth. That one was a bomb out to center, just to right field side of the grassy knoll. The two blasts gave the Yankees a two-zip lead before Phelps coughed it all up.
Gardner joined Mike Trout and Brandon Moss as the only MLB players to take Darvish deep four times in his career. Both Trout (40) and Moss (26) did it more than twice as many plate appearances (11) as Gardner. I dunno, sometimes a guy throws just your speed and you pick the ball up real well out of hand. Gardner seems to have Darvish down pat. He was a one-man wrecking crew.
Gardner may have done all the damage against the Darvish, but the righty didn’t exactly shut the Yankees down. I mean, he did on the scoreboard, but they had base-runners. They had a runner on second with two outs in both the first (Carlos Beltran struck out) and third (Brian McCann struck out), runners at first and second with two outs in the fourth (Brian Roberts struck out and Ichiro Suzuki grounded out), and runners at second and third in the seventh (McCann struck out). McCann had no chance against Darvish. He was completely lost all night.
That seventh inning rally was their best chance to get back into the game, though the Yankees did put two men on base against lefty Neal Cotts in the eighth inning. Pinch-hitter Mark Teixeira came off the bench to single with two outs, his first game action in eight days. I guess batting practice went fine before the game. Pinch-hitter Zelous Wheeler popped up to end the threat, however. The Yankees took a big fat 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. I love the guy, but relying on Gardner to hit dingers to generate offense ain’t gonna work.
Jacoby Ellsbury pinch-hit for Zoilo Almonte leading off the ninth inning and for the life of me I can not understand why he didn’t bat instead of Wheeler in the previous inning, with the tying run on base. I know Joe Girardi wanted to get him the day off, but was the half-inning off his feet that important? Ellsbury has hit lefties (128 wRC+) better than righties (98 wRC+) this year, so I hope it wasn’t a platoon thing. I dunno. That was weird.
Gardner and Jeter had six of the team’s eleven hits (three each). They were on base seven times and the only runs scored when Gardner drove himself in. Beltran had two hits and the trio of Texeira, Chase Headley, and Frankie Cervelli had one apiece. Jeter drew the only walk — the Yankees now have a 6.2% walk rate in their last 28 games as a team (over 1,000 plate appearances), which is awful — and stole the only base.
Shawn Kelley and Matt Thornton were the only relievers used after Phelps. Kelley got squeezed and walked a guy with two outs in his second inning of work for their only-base-runner. The bullpen gave the offense a chance to get back into the game, which proved to be a fruitless endeavor.
And finally, Jeter first tied and then passed Carl Yastrzemski on the all-time hit list with his first and second hits of the night. The Cap’n is now in sole possession of seventh place on the all-time list with 3,421 career hits. Next up is Honus Wagner at 3,430 hits and that’s probably Jeter’s ceiling. Passing Tris Speaker for fifth place all-time ain’t gonna happen. He’s at 3,514 hits.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head over to MLB.com for the box score and video highlights. You can find some more game stats at FanGraphs and see the updated standings at ESPN. The Orioles were off and the Blue Jays demolished the Red Sox, so the Yankees are now 4.5 games back of the top spot in the AL East and two games back of the second wildcard spot.
It’ll be these same two teams again on Tuesday night. Brandon McCarthy and Nick Martinez will be the pitching matchup. Hopefully the Yankees will hit Martinez now that they’ve seen him once before. Color me skeptical.
- The Yankees have signed Lander University SS Graham Ramos as an undrafted free agent, according to Matt Eddy. The right-handed hitter hit .339/.396/.507 with seven homers in 55 games this spring.
- RHP Bryan Mitchell and OF Jake Cave were Baseball America’s Pitcher of the Day and Hitter of the Day, respectively, for their work yesterday. Pretty cool that Yankees farmhands swept the day.
- Mitchell and RHP Matt Wotherspoon were named the Pitchers of the Week for the Triple-A International League and Short Season NY-Penn League, respectively.
- Update: RHP Ty Hensley has been promoted … somewhere, according to Ian Clarkin’s Twitter feed. Short Season Staten Island or Low-A Charleston are the obvious landing spots. We’ll find out soon enough.
Triple-A Scranton (6-4 win over Pawtucket)
- 2B Jose Pirela: 3-4,2 R — had been in a 7-for-37 (.189) slump
- RF Rob Refsnyder: 2-4, 2 R, 1 2B
- DH Kyle Roller: 2-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
- 1B Austin Romine: 2-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI — 13-for-40 (.325) in his last ten games
- C John Ryan Murphy: 1-4, 1 RBI
- RHP Chris Leroux: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 7/2 GB/FB — 52 of 79 pitches were strikes (66%) … so I guess he cleared waivers and accepted the outright assignment after being designated for assignment the other day
- RHP Matt Daley: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB – 14 of 17 pitches were strikes (82%)