DotF: Andujar has big game in Tampa’s blowout win

SS Jorge Mateo was included in Baseball America’s look at middle infield prospects who have shown power spikes this season. They don’t fully buy into his newfound pop yet. It’s not behind the paywall, so check it out.

Triple-A Scranton (2-0 win over Durham)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 2 K — 8-for-25 (.320) in his last six games
  • LF Aaron Judge: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K
  • RF Jake Cave: 0-4, 1 R, 1 K
  • 1B Nick Swisher: 1-4, 2 RBI, 1 K
  • LHP Phil Coke: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 7/2 GB/FB — 51 of 84 pitches were strikes (61%) … Josh Norris says he took a line drive to the foot/ankle but was able to stay in the game
  • RHP Conor Mullee: 1.1 IP, zeroes, 3 K — eleven of 18 pitches were strikes (61%)
  • LHP James Pazos: 1 IP, zeroes, 3 K, 1/0 GB/FB — eleven of 13 pitches were strikes
  • RHP Anthony Swarzak: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB — eight of 13 pitches were strikes … it’s still weird to me that he started the season in the rotation then moved to the bullpen … the Yankees need all the rotation depth they can get

[Read more…]

Game 51: A Rare Sabathia Start in Toronto

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

Here’s a weird stat I stumbled across today: CC Sabathia has started only two games at Rogers Centre since 2011. Part of that is just luck of the draw. If he’s not scheduled to pitch in the series, he’s not scheduled to pitch. Some of it is by design though. Last year the Yankees went out of their way to shuffle their rotation so Sabathia would avoid the Blue Jays. Given his ineffectiveness and their powerhouse offense, it made sense.

Now? Now Sabathia is pitching better than he has at any point since 2012 thanks to his new cutter/sinker approach, among other things. It’s only seven starts, but a 2.83 ERA (2.99 FIP) in 41.1 innings is best case scenario stuff from the big man. Hopefully the offense gives him more support tonight than they did last time out, when they wasted his gem against these same Blue Jays. Here is Toronto’s lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. RF Rob Refsnyder
  3. 1B Mark Teixeira
  4. DH Carlos Beltran
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. C Austin Romine
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. LF Aaron Hicks
    LHP CC Sabathia

Pleasant weather in Toronto this afternoon, so I imagine the Rogers Centre roof will be open. This evening’s game will begin at 7pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Injury Update: Dustin Ackley (shoulder) will indeed have season-ending labrum surgery. Sucks. That most likely ends his time with the Yankees. He was a non-tender candidate before the injury and the torn labrum makes it a lock. Ackley will be transferred to the 60-day DL the next time the team needs a 40-man roster spot.

All-Star Voting Update: MLB released the first fan voting update for the AL All-Star Game starters this afternoon. Here are the results. Brian McCann is second among catchers — it’s a distant second, he’s nearly 800,000 votes behind Salvador Perez — and Beltran is 11th among outfielders. No other Yankees are among the top five vote getters at their positions. Spoiler alert: the Yankees will not have an All-Star Game starter for the second straight year after having at least one every year from 2000-14. Here’s the ballot if you want to vote anyway.

2016 Draft: Keith Law’s Mock Draft v2.0

Late last week, Keith Law posted his second mock draft of the season (subs. req’d). He has the Phillies selecting Florida LHP A.J. Puk with the No. 1 pick. Puk has been connected to Philadelphia more than any other player this spring, but it’s not set in stone that they’ll take him. There’s no slam dunk 1-1 player like Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper this year.

With their first round pick (No. 18 overall), Law has the Yankees taking New York HS RHP Ian Anderson. He says Anderson won’t make it past the Yankees. Here’s my write-up on Anderson. Law also says the Yankees are in on California HS RHP Kevin Gowdy and George HS OF Taylor Trammell, which indicates they’re targeting a high ceiling prep player.

That, of course, is the complete opposite of what we heard last week, when Baseball America said the Yankees seem to be focusing on college bats. This is definitely the time of year when reports begin to conflict, and, really, chances are neither is wrong. The Yankees are covering all their bases and while they may prefer a high schooler, they’re prepared to go with a college bat, and vice versa.

The draft begins next Thursday. The Yankees did not gain or lose any picks as a result of free agent compensation this year. They have a $5,768,400 bonus pool for the top ten rounds. That’s the eighth smallest bonus pool this year.

Batting average isn’t everything, but the lack of it is really hurting the Yankees

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

Last night, in the series opening loss to the Blue Jays, the Yankees were held to two runs or fewer for the 21st time in 50 games this season. No AL team has more games with no more than two runs in 2016. The Yankees were also held to five hits or fewer for the 11th time in 50 games. That’s the third most in the league.

It’s no surprise then that the Yankees came into Tuesday with the second fewest runs scored (192) and the second lowest runs per game average (3.84) in the AL. Only the lowly Twins (187 and 3.74) are worse. The offense has been a big problem overall this season, and, not coincidentally, their team batting average (.233) is the lowest it’s been through 50 games since 1969, as noted by our Katie Sharp. Check out last night’s lineup:

Yankees batting averages

Three players in the starting lineup were hitting over .250 and five of the nine were hitting below .230. That’s almost the regular lineup too. Aaron Hicks was starting in place of Alex Rodriguez, and, sadly, Hicks’ .198 average is an upgrade over A-Rod‘s .170 average. Otherwise that’s the starting lineup. That’s pretty close to what Joe Girardi would send out there in a winner take all wildcard game tomorrow.

Obviously batting average is not the only — or best — way to evaluate offense. Walks and hitting for power matter too. Batting average is not nothing though. We’ve reached the point where batting average has become underrated. The best thing a hitter can do at the plate is not make an out, and hits are always better than walks. Always always always. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Walks should supplement hits, not replace them.

The Yankees as a team really stink at hitting for average. Look at that lineup and tell me how many players have a lower batting average than what you’d reasonably expect coming into the season. Brett Gardner? Sure. He’s not a true talent .217 hitter. He hit .259 last year and .265 in over 3,000 plate appearances since becoming a regular in 2010. Mark Teixeira doesn’t really hit for average anymore but .195 is low even for him.

That’s probably it, right? You could argue Starlin Castro is better than a .250 hitter, though he did hit .265 in over over 1,800 plate appearances from 2013-15, and a 15-point swing in either direction is still within the range of “that’s baseball.” I guess you could argue Chase Headley is better than a .229 hitter too, but eh. That might be pushing it even as good as he’s been in May (.284/.348/.425) and after hitting .259 last year.

Point is, that is close to the normal for the offense in terms of batting average. Gardner and Teixeira (and A-Rod) are underperforming expectations that’s really it. Everyone else is pretty much where you’d expect them to be. Combine the lack of batting average with the lack of power — nine homers combined for Teixeira and Rodriguez through 50 games, woof — and you get, well, one of the worst offenses in the league.

It is harder right now to get a base hit than it has been at any point since the mound was lowered in 1969. I’m talking around the league, not just the Yankees. The MLB batting average is .252 right now. It was .262 when the Yankees won the World Series in 2009. A ten-point drop league-wide in seven years is huge! Go back ten years to 2006 and the league batting average was .269. There’s roughly 165,000 at-bats in MLB each season. The difference between a .269 average and a .252 average is over 2,800 hits. That’s crazy.

All sorts of things are contributing to the decline in offense and batting average. The infield shift is an obvious reason, but it’s not the only reason. More specialized relievers, the expanding strike zone, super detailed scouting reports, the increase in velocity — the MLB average fastball velocity is 92.3 mph this year, up from 90.9 mph in 2008, the first full year of PitchFX — all of that stuff has led to the decline in batting average.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

Since the start of last season the Yankees have been, by far, the most shifted team in baseball. They’ve had 1,792 at-bats with the shift on since the start of last year. The Mariners are a distant second at 1,402 such at-bats. The shift has definitely played a role in the team’s inability to hit for average. Teixeira and Brian McCann are the most obvious victims, but shift-able switch-hitters like Headley and Carlos Beltran have been hurt too.

I’ve come to realize shifts are like strikeouts. You can have one guy in your lineup who will strike out 180+ times a year, maybe two if you really want to push it, but any more than that is a major problem. Same with the shift. One or maybe two shift-able hitters is fine. But five or six like the Yankees have at times? Nope. It doesn’t work. It’s too difficult to sustain rallies that way. We’ve seen too many rallies die on grounders hit to shallow right field the last few seasons.

The Yankees are — and have been for a few years now — one of the better contact teams in baseball, believe it or not. Their team 19.4% strikeout rate is sixth lowest in baseball. It was 19.1% from 2014-15, fifth lowest in baseball. There’s good contact and bad contact though, and the fact that they have the eight highest ground ball rate (47.7%) and 11th highest soft contact rate (19.8%) this year is bad news. Their MLB low .265 BABIP isn’t an accident. Weak grounders tend to go for outs, especially when you lack team speed like the Yankees.

There’s also this: the Yankees are old. Old hitters lose bat speed, which is why Beltran and Teixeira and A-Rod are no longer the hitters they once were. Even players in their early 30s like Gardner and Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury begin to slip. The team’s two under-30 regulars are Castro and Didi Gregorius, and let’s face it, they’re flawed hitters. They both tend to swing at everything. Aside from Gardner and Teixeira (and A-Rod) getting out of their slumps, there’s not much reason to expect the Yankees to post a higher batting average going forward.

The Yankees have focused on acquiring left-handed hitters who can take advantage of the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium and that intuitively makes sense. It doesn’t seem to have worked all that well, however. Going forward, in terms of overall team building, the best approach may be to focus on hitters with the skills to hit for average, then let any power boost from the ballpark come naturally.

Forget about hitting .300 for the second. Among players with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, the Yankees haven’t had a .285 hitter since Robinson Cano in 2013. The last regular other than Cano and Derek Jeter to hit .285+ for the Yankees was Nick Swisher in 2010 (.288). Batting average isn’t the only thing that matters. We know that. It also can’t be ignored either. The 2016 Yankees couldn’t make it any more obvious.

DiCaro: Cubs focusing on Eovaldi for possible trade

(Ronald Martinez/Getty)
(Ronald Martinez/Getty)

According to Julie DiCaro, the Cubs are focusing on Nathan Eovaldi — among other pitchers — as a possible trade target before the deadline. Nothing is imminent and it’s unclear if the two teams have even talked about a deal at this point. Chicago could be interested in Eovaldi the same way the other 28 teams would be interested in Eovaldi.

Rotation help doesn’t seem like a priority for the Cubs — their starters have the lowest ERA (2.60) and second lowest FIP (3.33) in baseball — but they lack depth and seem to be concerned about the way Kyle Hendricks and Jason Hammel wore down late last season. Hammel left yesterday’s start with a hamstring injury too. Adam Warren is their sixth starter and there’s not much behind him at all. Here are some thoughts about Eovaldi and the Cubs.

1. The Yankees match up very well with the Cubs. The Cubs are baseball’s best team by almost every objective measure. They have the best record (35-14) and run differential (+133) in the game, and they seem to do everything well. Hit, pitch, defend, run the bases, you name it. They’re as good as any team we’ve seen since the 1998 Yankees. No doubt about it.

The Cubbies are not perfect though. No team ever is. They lack rotation depth as I mentioned. They’re also short a shutdown left-handed reliever, someone who can neutralize Bryce Harper or Adrian Gonzalez or Brandon Belt in the postseason. They could use a left fielder too with Kyle Schwarber hurt and Jorge Soler not doing a whole lot. (They’ve played Kris Bryant in left and Tommy La Stella at third on occasion.)

The Yankees can offer the Cubs rotation depth (Eovaldi, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda), a shutdown lefty reliever (Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman), and a replacement left fielder (Brett Gardner). Heck, the Cubbies need a center fielder going forward with Dexter Fowler set to become a free agent again, so Gardner would fit in long-term. The Cubs have some needs and the Yankees have some pretty nice options to address those needs.

2. Do the Cubs match up with the Yankees? Here’s where it gets tricky. The Yankees have what the Cubs need, but what can the Cubs offer in return? Their farm system isn’t all that great at the moment — Baseball America ranked their system 20th before the season — and I doubt they’ll be willing to tear up their big league roster. They want to add to their roster, not subtract from it.

Javier Baez, the former top prospect, isn’t hitting much again (72 wRC+) as the club’s backup infielder. He’s extremely talented but remains a high risk project. I’m certain the Cubs will be willing to deal current top prospect Gleyber Torres, a 19-year-old shortstop having a nice season in High Class-A (110 wRC+), but probably not No. 2 prospect Willson Contreras, a catcher. They’re set at short long-term with Addison Russell but not behind the plate.

Here is’s top 30 Cubs prospects list. Double-A third baseman Jeimer Candelario, Triple-A righties Pierce Johnson and Ryan Williams, and Triple-A first baseman/DH Dan Vogelbach stand out to me as possible trade fits for New York. Then again, when it comes to trading someone like Eovaldi (or Miller or Gardner, etc.), the goal should be acquiring the best possible talent regardless of position. Not filling specific needs.

3. Eovaldi seems like a keeper, doesn’t he? The Yankees are kinda sorta rebuilding. They don’t seem to want to admit it, but they’re in a holding pattern until most of the big money contracts come off the books the next two years, so in the meantime they’ve been trying to add youth wherever possible. That is the Yankees version of a rebuild, like it or not.

(Norm Hall/Getty)
(Norm Hall/Getty)

Eovaldi is one of the young pieces the Yankees have added and he’s made legitimate improvement since the start of last season. The splitter has been a total game-changer. He’s got an out pitch now and it has helped his fastball play up too. From Opening Day 2014 through June 20th of last season, the last game before he switched from the forkball grip to the splitter grip, opponents hit .320 with a .138 ISO against Eovaldi’s heater. It’s .255 and .089 since.

The Eovaldi the Yankees have right now looks totally different than the Eovaldi they acquired last year. He’s got a new and highly effective offspeed pitch, he’s giving up way fewer hits — remember how he led the NL in hits allowed in 2014? he’s allowed only 56 hits in 60.2 innings this year in the tougher league — and he seems to be pitching with much more confidence too. How can you not be impressed with the improvement he’s made with the Yankees?

You’re welcome to disagree, but Eovaldi strikes me as the type of player the Yankees should keep and build around. He’s only 26, he throws 100 mph on the regular, and the splitter is a tangible explanation for his improvement. It’s no wonder the Cubs have interest in him, right? The Yankees should look into signing Eovaldi to a long-term extension before considering trading him. He’s a potential building block for a team short on controllable pitching.

4. It doesn’t hurt to listen. Obvious caveat is obvious. There’s no reason not to listen to offers for Eovaldi from the Cubs or any other team. Someone just might make an offer that is too good to pass up. The upcoming free agent pitching class is really awful. The trade market is going to be a seller’s market, and the Yankees might be able to benefit from that.

The Yankees know Eovaldi better than anyone, and it could be they don’t like something they see in his medicals. Or maybe they’ve already approached his agent about an extension and found their demands outrageous. Who knows? Brian Cashman is no idiot. He’s going to listen to offers. Eovaldi is part of the solution, not part of the problem, so the asking price should be high.

Ackley’s injury makes first base even more of a problem area for the Yankees

(Brian Blanco/Getty)
(Brian Blanco/Getty)

Last season the Yankees were able to qualify for the postseason largely due to the tremendous production they received from their first basemen. Led primary by Mark Teixeira and Greg Bird, New York’s first sackers hit .248/.336/.516 (114 OPS+) with 43 homers. Only the Orioles got more dingers from their first basemen (44) thanks mostly to Chris Davis.

So far this season the lack of production from first base is a huge reason why the Yankees have been unable to keep their head above .500. Teixeira is hitting .195/.291/.286 (62 wRC+) with three homers and Dustin Ackley, his primary backup, owns a .143/.248/.143 (11 wRC+) line. All together, New York’s first basemen are hitting .168/.261/.246 (36 OPS+) with three homers this season. They rank dead last in homers and OPS+ at the position.

Teixeira returned to the starting lineup last night after missing five games with a nagging neck issue that also kept him on the bench for a few games last month. During Teixeira’s absence Ackley managed to suffer what is likely a season-ending injury when he dove back into first base on a pickoff throw and tore his labrum. Ouch. The team’s backup first baseman for the time being is backup catcher Austin Romine, and that is hardly ideal.

As we’ve learned in recent years, replacing a backup first baseman ain’t all that easy. The days of carrying a pure backup first baseman are over. James Loney? He made no sense. He provides no power, no speed, no versatility, and these days iffy defense as well. Either the primary first baseman or the backup first baseman has to be able to play somewhere else in the world of four (and sometimes three) man benches, and since Teixeira can’t, the backup has to for the Yankees.

Ackley wasn’t hitting at all. That doesn’t mean replacing him on the roster will be easy. The Yankees need to come up with a backup first baseman who can handle another position or two and hopefully be more than a zero at the plate. What option do they have at this point of the season? A few and none are great. Let’s look.

Stick With Romine

First base is obviously not Romine’s primary position, but it’s not completely foreign to him either. He started ten games at first base in Triple-A last year once Gary Sanchez was promoted, for example. All told Romine has 206 career regular season innings at first between MLB and the minors, plus whatever he did in Spring Training, which is better than nothing.

Using your backup catcher as your backup first baseman really limits flexibility though. You can’t pinch-hit or pinch-run for either when they both start the same game because that means someone has to play out of position at first. Well, I mean you could pinch-hit or pinch-run, but most managers won’t. They seem to be collectively terrified of not having a second catcher available in case of injury. Romine as the backup first baseman figures to be a temporary measure.

Torreyes Or Headley?

Ronald Torreyes has never played first base as a professional, so forget about him. He might be too short for the position too. I’m being serious! The guy is about 5-foot-8, so he doesn’t present much of a target over there. Chase Headley‘s played some first base in his career but not much (58 innings). His best position is third base. “I think I would be more inclined to put Headley at first and Torreyes at third,” said Girardi to Chad Jennings yesterday. It doesn’t seem like Headley (or Brian McCann, for that matter) is much of a consideration at first, which is the right move in my opinion. He’s an emergency option only.

What About Refsnyder?

It would behoove Rob Refsnyder to pick up a first baseman’s mitt and start working out at the position. Take grounders, start to learn the footwork, that sort of thing. Refsnyder has to give the Yankees a reason to keep him on the roster and learning first base would be a big help. I’m not saying it’ll be easy, but if he wants to make himself as valuable as possible, trying to become a viable option at first would go a long way. Unless the Yankees explicitly tell Refsnyder to not work out at first — Girardi said he’s thought about, but the team hasn’t talked about it yet — he should put in some extra work there. That’s his best way to stay on the roster, and he just might be the team’s best option at the position.

(Photo via @swbrailriders)
(Photo via Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders)

Swisher Or Parmelee?

Bird had his shoulder surgery in early-February, which didn’t give the Yankees a whole lot of time to find a replacement depth option. The timing really sucked. First the team picked up Chris Parmelee as a minor league free agent, then, a few weeks later, they added Nick Swisher after the Braves cut him loose. Here are their Triple-A numbers to date:

Swisher: .244/.263/.366 (77 wRC+) with four homers in 137 plate appearances
Parmelee: .246/.333/.435 (125 wRC+) with six homers in 159 plate appearances

I get whey everyone asks about Swisher, but he’s not hitting in Triple-A, he didn’t hit in the big leagues the last two years, and his knees are pretty shot. It’s pretty obvious his days as a productive player are behind him. About the only thing he offers over Parmelee at this point is experience and the ability to switch-hit, and what good is the latter if his bat has lost its punch?

Parmelee, on the other hand, has put up decent numbers in Triple-A this season and he does have quite a bit of outfield experience in his career. More than I realized. He’s played over 300 games in right field in the minors plus another 127 in the show. It adds up over to 3,600 total innings at the position. Yankee Stadium in right field is tiny. The Yankees could hide Parmelee out there for a few innings if necessary. (He’s also played some left field too.)

No one wants to hear it, but between Swisher and Parmelee, Parmelee is the better bet at this point. He’s younger (28) and he’s healthier, and he’s putting up better numbers at the same level as Swisher. I love Swisher. He was awesome from 2009-12. It is now 2016. He is no longer awesome. Getting old (in baseball years) sucks.

The Trade Market

The only trades going down at this point of the season are really small. Loney for cash. Brian Matusz (and a draft pick) for salary relief. That sort of thing. Maybe the Marlins will give up Chris Johnson for cash or a player to be named. He seems like a realistic trade candidate. That type of player. Triple-A options around the league include, uh, Casey McGehee? Is he any better than Parmelee? The Yankees aren’t going to want to give up much for a new 25th man on the roster nor should they. I wouldn’t hold my breath for a meaningful trade. A trade like the Ackley trade represents the best case scenario. Young-ish and versatile players are hard to get.

Free Agenchahahah

Here is the list of current free agent first basemen, via MLBTR:

Jeff Baker (35)
Corey Hart (34)
Justin Morneau (35)
Mike Morse (34)

Hart’s knees are shot and he hasn’t faced live pitching since last June. Morneau had elbow surgery in the offseason and won’t be able to swing a bat until next month, according to LaVelle E. Neal. Baker hasn’t hit much the last few seasons and he literally handed out clown noses in the clubhouse to make fun of the Marlins front office last year. Good luck getting a job after that.

Then there’s Morse, who went 0-for-8 with the Pirates last month before being released. He was traded from the Marlins to the Dodgers to the Pirates last year, so I’m not sure who is paying what percentage of his $8.5M salary, but it doesn’t really matter. Because he was released, the Yankees (or any other team) can sign him for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum. Someone else is paying the rest of that $8.5M.

Morse did not hit last year (83 wRC+), not even against lefties (93 wRC+), and he’s 34 and only getting older. That said, he can play first base and handle right field in an emergency. He’s not the best free agent option. He’s the only free agent option. Oh, and by the way, he hasn’t faced live pitching in nearly two months now, so yeah. Morse is not exactly game ready. Free agency doesn’t offer much help.

* * *

Swisher reportedly has an opt-out date in his contract sometime in June and that could very well play a role in the team’s decision. Would the Yankees call up Parmelee knowing they could lose Swisher in a few weeks? That would leave them with no true Triple-A first baseman. Parmelee is likely the better player right now, but he might be the least roster and depth friendly option too.

My guess is the Yankees are going to roll with Romine as the backup first baseman for a few weeks and hope Teixeira’s neck doesn’t act up. Refsnyder will probably start working out at first too because, really, what do the Yankees have to lose? Taking grounders and throws before games only makes sense. Swisher could force the Yankees to make a decision with his opt-out, though his production doesn’t scream “call me up!”

Make no mistake, the Yankees aren’t going anywhere unless Teixeira starts hitting and soon. If they have to turn to their backup first baseman regularly at any point from here on out, they’re in big trouble. That was true even if Ackley stayed healthy. Expect them to scour the waiver wire these coming weeks for a potential backup at first. Chance are the best possible solution is already in-house.

Offense struggles again in 4-2 loss to Blue Jays

Source: FanGraphs

The 4-2 final score makes Monday’s series opening loss seem closer than it really was. The Yankees mustered very little offense most of the night before making noise against some bad Blue Jays relievers in the ninth. They actually brought the tying run to the plate, but alas. The Yankees have lost four of their last six games and they were one-hit in one of the wins, so yeah. Not great. It’s a holiday, so let’s recap with bullet points:

  • Two Token Runs: On a night Toronto’s bullpen was way thin due to their recent workload, the Yankees let Marco Estrada complete eight innings on 108 total pitches. It wasn’t until the eighth that he threw more than 16 pitches in an inning. Good job, good effort. Estrada held the Yankees to three hits (Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Aaron Hicks) and three walks (Ellsbury, Starlin Castro twice). At one point from Saturday to Monday the Yankees had four hits in the span of 18 innings.
  • Nope-va: Ivan Nova was bound to have a subpar outing at some point, and I guess it’s good it came on a night the offense mustered little. Two birds, one stone. The Blue Jays tagged Nova for four runs on eight hits (five extra-base hits!) and a walk in six innings. He managed to give up a loud double and an opposite field homer to Ryan Goins, which is terrible and sums up the state of the Yankees. Toronto’s light-hitting No. 9 hitter nearly out-produced the entire New York offense. Ivan’s been pretty good since moving back into the rotation. Duds happen. You’re excused.
  • Late Rally: A Brian McCann two-run homer got the Yankees on the board in the ninth. It snapped his career long tying 0-for-21 streak. Mark Teixeira followed with a loud double to right, so that’s cool. He wasn’t hitting the ball very hard before this recent neck issue. Castro (fly out) and Chase Headley (strikeout) batted as the tying run following Teixeira’s double and failed to reach. I guess this means the O’Neill Theory is in effect Tuesday? The Yankees better hope so.
  • Leftovers: Nick Goody retired Jose Bautista (strikeout), Josh Donaldson (pop-up), and Edwin Encarnacion (strikeout) … Richard Bleier made his MLB debut and retired the two batters he faced. Bleier’s no kid. He’s 29. Congrats to him … Castro drawing two walks is pretty rare. This was his 940th career game and only his 11th (!) with two unintentional walks. Crazy.

Here’s the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages either. Lefties CC Sabathia and J.A. Happ will be on the mound in the second game of the series Tuesday night. Will the offense give Sabathia any support? Probably not, but maybe they’ll surprise me.