Yankees fall short in the ninth, lose 5-3 to the Red Sox

This picture summarizes it, I think (Getty)

This game started off pretty nicely with a two-run explosion by the bats. With this Yankees team, that’s kind of too good to be true, right?  The Red Sox then scored five runs and held on during a pretty dicey ninth to win the game 5-3.

Taking the lead

For a little while in the game, I was a bit excited about the possibility of Luis Severino out-dueling Rick Porcello. If you haven’t been paying attention, Porcello’s numbers have been pretty neat this year. Prior to tonight’s game, he had a 14-3 record with a 3.46 ERA, becoming the pitcher that Boston envisioned to be when they gave up Yoenis Cespedes. Severino, on the other hand, has had a very up-and-down season in which he’s experienced major growing pains in the majors.

Happier times (Getty)

The Yankees, however, struck first. In the second, Starlin Castro doubled to lead off the inning and Chase Headley drove him in with a two-bagger of his to give New York a 1-0 lead. Castro seemed to move a bit gimpy after his double but thankfully, he stayed in game and played rest of the way.

You don’t call it an offensive explosion without consecutive innings of scoring. Brett Gardner doubled (yeah, again) to lead off the inning. Two batters later, Brian McCann squared up one to right for an RBI single, giving the Yankees a 2-0 lead. Well, that’s as close to the climax for Yanks’ part of the game.

Giving’em back (and then more)

Severino started the bottom third with a Sandy Leon K. However, Andrew Benintendi singled (his first Fenway hit, by the way) and Mookie Betts followed it with a double to put him in a hot water all of sudden with runners on second and third. On the 9th pitch of the at-bat, Severino left a fastball middle up and Dustin Pedroia drove it down the right field line for a two-run double. Argh. Pedroia will do that to ya, especially if you’re a young pitcher going through things.

After tossing a scoreless fourth, Severino got into more trouble in the fifth by allowing a leadoff triple to Sandy Leon. Benintendi followed it with a looooong double that was initially called a double… then called a home run… then reviewed and called a double again. A batter later, Pedroia struck again, hitting a sharp liner down the right field (again) to drive in a run. 4-2. I’m honestly willing to give it time for Severino to develop as a possible ML starter but tonight was just not great – not being able to finish hitters off, giving up big hits, etc. Fortunately, he’s at a stage of the career that there’s always a next time.

Oh, Severino had his earned run tacked on to his ledger when Tommy Layne, making his Yankee debut, let the inherited runner score on an Ortiz RBI single. Sevvy’s final line: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 0 BB and 3K.

The unlucky seventh

Behind 5-2, the Yankees could’ve padded about two runs (or even more) had it not been for some unfortunate baserunning hijinks. Headley hit a big fly bouncing off the center field wall to lead off the inning. The ball trickled away and it appeared that Headley could reach third. However, Jackie Bradley Jr.’s strong, accurate throw caught him out there. As third base coach Joe Espada wanted to check with dugout to see if they could challenge the call, apparently Porcello and Headley had a heated exchange that led to both benches clearing. The Yankee – Sox rivalry ain’t what it used to be, but hey, nothing like a drama like that to make things exciting.

With two outs, Aaron Hicks hit a weak grounder to third that Travis Shaw misplayed, allowing him to reach first base. Gardner followed it up with a sharp grounder down the left field line that seemed like Hicks should’ve scored on. However, Hicks missed Espada furiously waving him home and hesitated as he rounded the base. By the time Hicks saw it, it was too late – he had to stay there or he was dead meat at home. I have no idea how to explain that besides not really paying attention or losing Espada in the vision while running – or both. Yanks’ scoring chance died with Ellsbury’s line out to right.

Close call

Porcello threw eight innings of two-run ball and Farrell brought in his closer Craig Kimbrel to close out the game. Kimbrel is, well, known to be pretty good at this. Tonight, however, he seemed like he had difficulty putting balls into the zone.

After striking out Didi Gregorius, Kimbrel walked Headley. Once Gary Sanchez followed it up with a line out though, it seemed like the end of game was imminent. Well, that’s when Kimbrel walked three hitters in a row – the last one coming in a bases-loaded situation versus Jacoby Ellsbury. Pitching is pretty hard and that’s not really news to anyone. Kimbrel seemed like he was out of sync and not finishing the pitches well, resulting in a lot of pitches way off the mark and, well, walking a bunch of hitters.

The Yankees decreased the deficit to two runs and Farrell took Kimbrel out for Matt Barnes. Barnes had only one job and he got it done – getting the last out of the game. He did so by striking out Mark Teixeira looking with a fastball outside. I don’t know how to say it but this seemed like a fitting end to tonight’s game – the Yankees tried, but for one reason or another, they didn’t execute.

Box score, highlights, WPA and standings

Here’s tonight’s box score, video highlights, WPA and updated standings.

Source: FanGraphs

Up next

The Yankees and Red Sox will play game two of this series tomorrow. Nathan Eovaldi and Drew Pomeranz will be the starters.

DotF: Frazier, Judge, Austin lead Scranton to another win

Got some links to pass along:

  • Jon Schwartz has a great Yankees Magazine article on Drew Henson, the first prospect who truly broke by heart. Henson is currently a pro scout with the Yankees, and Schwartz shadowed him during a recent scouting trip through St. Louis and Kansas City.
  • Shane Hennigan has a really good story on LHP Jordan Montgomery, whose first two Triple-A starters have been easy to overlook given OF Clint Frazier‘s arrival and the OF Aaron Judge/1B Tyler Austin potential call-up stuff.

Triple-A Scranton (3-2 win over Lehigh Valley, walk-off style)

  • LF Ben Gamel: 1-4, 1 RBI, 1 K — walk-off sac fly
  • CF Clint Frazier: 2-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 K — 5-for-16 (.313) with a double, a triple, and a homer in his last four games
  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — 8-for-25 (.320) since coming off the DL
  • 1B Chris Parmelee: 1-3, 1 K — played seven innings at first in his second rehab game in the field
  • 3B-1B Tyler Austin: 1-4, 1 2B, 2 K — 7-for-17 (.412) with three doubles in his last five games
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K
  • RHP Chad Green: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 K, 3/1 GB/FB — 62 of 92 pitches were strikes (68%) … ho hum, Green continues to be a Triple-A ace … I wish the Yankees would give him an extended stint in MLB rather than one start here and there
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/2 GB/FB — 15 of 29 pitches were strikes (52%)
  • RHP Johnny Barbato: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 2/0 GB/FB — 12 of 19 pitches were strikes (63%)
  • RHP Jonathan Holder: 1 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 1/0 GB/FB — ten pitches, eight strikes … 78/7 K/BB in 53.1 innings

[Read more…]

Game 112: Sevy the Starter


I have to admit, I’m a little surprised the Yankees are giving Luis Severino the start tonight. I know he dominated in long relief last time out, but pitching in relief against the crappy Mets is a very different animal than starting against the Red Sox in Fenway Park. The BoSox are hitting .302/.369/.493 as a team at Fenway this year. Severino is facing a lineup of Victor Martinezes tonight (.302/.357/.490).

Yesterday’s off-day allowed the Yankees to delay Severino’s start until Friday, when he would have had a more friendly matchup (Rays at home), but nope. He’s going tonight. This is going to be Severino’s biggest test (by far) since returning from Triple-A a few weeks back. Hope it goes well. Here is the Red Sox’s lineup and here is the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez-less lineup:

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

The internet tells me it’s clear and cool in Boston this evening, so it should be a nice night for a ballgame. Tonight’s series opener is scheduled to begin at 7:10pm ET, and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. I’m guessing every game will be on national television this week because of A-Rod. Enjoy the game.

A-Rod Update: Alex will start Thursday’s game and may pinch-hit tonight and tomorrow as well, Joe Girardi said. A-Rod told reporters he was “disappointed” to see he wouldn’t start today or tomorrow. Lame as hell. I wanted to see him play all four of these games this week. Those seven or eight at-bats someone else won’t get aren’t a huge deal.

Roster Move: In case you missed it earlier, the Yankees have signed lefty specialist Tommy Layne to a big league contract. He’s in the bullpen and available tonight. Richard Bleier was optioned to Triple-A Scranton to clear a roster spot … also, the Yankees claimed Blake Parker off waivers from the Mariners. He’ll be added to the roster once he officially reports.

Yankees claim Blake Parker off waivers from Mariners

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)
(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

The Yankees have claimed right-handed reliever Blake Parker off waivers from the Mariners, the team announced. They say he’ll join the MLB roster once he reports to the team. That’ll probably happen tomorrow or the next day. I believe he has three days to report, officially.

Parker, 31, appeared in one game with the Mariners before being designated for assignment a few days ago. He had a 2.72 ERA (3.26 FIP) with a 37.3% strikeout rate and a 7.3% walk rate in 39.2 Triple-A innings before being called up by Seattle. Parker has a 3.63 ERA (3.63 FIP!) with 26.3% strikeouts and 7.3% walks in 74.1 career big league innings, almost all with the Cubs from 2012-14.

It’s worth noting Parker had elbow problems in 2012 and his velocity dipped big time from 2013-14, but it has rebounded this year and he’s again sitting in the mid-90s. He also throws a nasty curveball …

Blake Parker curveball

… and an occasional splitter. As far as scrap heap arms go, Parker is more interesting than most, but only if the velocity rebound is legit. He’s worth a look down the stretch. It’s not like the Yankees have anything interesting going on in middle relief anyway.

Even after adding Tommy Layne, the Yankees still have two open 40-man roster spots — they’ll get another one following Alex Rodriguez‘s final game Friday — so they won’t have to designate anyone for assignment to clear space for Parker. My guess is either Nick Goody or Chasen Shreve will get sent to Triple-A Scranton to clear a 25-man spot once Parker reports.

8/9 to 8/11 Series Preview: Boston Red Sox


The final road series of Alex Rodriguez‘s career will take him where he played his first ever MLB game: Fenway Park. (No, the Red Sox are not planning to honor him.) The Yankees are in Boston for a three-game series with the Red Sox this week. If you’re still hoping to see the Yankees make a run at the postseason spot (I am!), this pretty much is a must-win series. New York is 3-6 against the BoSox this season. They were swept in three games in Fenway back in late-April/early-May.

What Have They Done Lately?

The Red Sox just wrapped up a long ten-game West Coast trip, during which they went 5-5. They lost four of the final six games. Overall, Boston is 60-50 with a +86 run differential on the season. That’s the best run differential but only the fifth best record in the AL. They’re 2.5 games back in the AL East and tied with the Tigers for the second wildcard spot. The Yankees are 4.5 games back of Boston.

Offense & Defense

Manager John Farrell oversees the highest scoring offense in baseball, and it’s not all that close either. The Red Sox are averaging 5.44 runs per game in 2016. The Coors Field aided Rockies are second at 5.20. The Indians are the next closest AL team at 4.99. So, yeah, the Red Sox can score. They have a team 114 wRC+, again the best in baseball, and the only regulars they’re missing are OF Chris Young (hamstring), C Ryan Hanigan (ankle), and C/OF Blake Swihart (ankle). And I guess 3B Pablo Sandoval (shoulder) too, but they don’t miss him.

Ortiz. (Elsa/Getty)
Ortiz. (Elsa/Getty)

For the most part Farrell has had a set top of the lineup. RF Mookie Betts (134 wRC+) leads off, 2B Dustin Pedroia (116 wRC+) hits second, SS Xander Bogaerts (123 wRC+) bats third, DH David Ortiz (160 wRC+) cleans up, and 1B Hanley Ramirez (109 wRC+) hits fifth. CF Jackie Bradley Jr. (133 wRC+) tends to hit sixth. Ortiz has had a phenomenal final season but has cooled off quite a bit in the second half (62 wRC+). Will that make me feel any more comfortable when he’s up at the plate this week? No. No it will not.

The Red Sox are platooning IF Travis Shaw (105 wRC+) and IF Aaron Hill (99 wRC+) at third base, and quasi-platooning UTIL Brock Holt (91 wRC+) and OF Andrew Benintendi (107 wRC+ in very limited time) in left. Holt and Benintendi are both lefty hitters, so they’ve been sharing time more than straight platooning. C Sandy Leon (161 wRC+) has taken over as the everyday catcher with C Bryan Holaday (74 wRC+) backing him up. OF Bryce Brentz (81 wRC+) is the other bench player.

Defensively, the Red Sox are a very good club, especially in the outfield. Bradley is great in center and Betts and Benintendi are good in the corners. (Holt isn’t all that good in left.) Pedroia is their best defensive infielder. Hanley and Shaw have their fish out of water moments on the corners, and while Bogaerts is solid, he’s in the lineup for his bat, first and foremost. Leon’s very good behind the plate.

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday (7:10pm ET): RHP Luis Severino (vs. BOS) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (vs. NYY)
Following a pretty disastrous first season in Boston, the still only 27-year-old Porcello has bounced back nicely this year. He has a 3.46 ERA (3.77 FIP) in 22 starts and 143 innings, with a career high strikeout rate (20.5%) and a career low walk rate (4.3%). Both his homer (1.07 HR/9) and grounder (45.2%) rates are closer to average these days after being much better than that earlier in his career. Righties have actually given Porcello a harder time than lefties this season, which the opposite of the rest of his career. He lives off a sinker right around 90 mph, and uses both low-80s changeups and low-70s curveballs regularly. Porcello has seen the Yankees twice this season: seven scoreless innings in April and three runs in seven innings in May.

Wednesday (7:10pm ET): RHP Nathan Eovaldi (vs. BOS) vs. LHP Drew Pomeranz (vs. NYY)
Pomeranz, 27, came over from the Padres prior to the trade deadline, and while he’s having a strong season overall (3.09 ERA and 3.61 FIP in 122.1 innings), his four starts with the Red Sox have not gone well (6.20 ERA and 6.03 FIP in 20.1 innings). His overall strikeout (27.0%) rate is excellent, and his grounder (47.5%) and homer (0.96 HR/9) numbers are good, but he walks way too many (10.5%). He averages 4.13 pitches per plate appearance, sixth highest in MLB. The southpaw will run his pitch count up quick. Thanks to his big-breaking upper-70s curveball and upper-80s cutter, Pomeranz has a very small platoon split. His straight four-seamer sits in the low-90s and his changeup in the mid-80s. The Yankees faced Pomeranz when he was still with the Padres a few weeks ago. He held them to one run in seven innings.

Pomeranz. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty)
Pomeranz. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

Thursday (7:10pm ET): RHP Michael Pineda (vs. BOS) vs. RHP Steven Wright (vs. NYY)
Blah. Just can’t escape the knuckleball. The 31-year-old Wright has a 3.01 ERA (3.37 FIP) in 22 starts and 146.2 innings, though his home run rate (0.46 HR/9) has been on the rise of late. That was to be expected. Knuckleballers aren’t exactly known for keeping the ball in the park. Wright has average-ish strikeout (20.2%), walk (8.4%), and grounder (44.2%) rates, which is fairly common for knuckleball guys. Righties have had much more success against him that lefties so far this season. Wright’s knuckler floats in around 73 mph, and his get-me-over fastball sits in the low-80s. He throws his heater around 16% of the time, which is a lot by knuckleballer standards. Wright likes to surprise hitters with it in two-strike counts when they’re sitting knuckleball. The Yankees have seen Wright twice this year. He held them to one run in nine innings in May, and three runs in six innings in July.

Bullpen Status

You could make a case the Red Sox are without their second (RHP Carson Smith) and third (RHP Koji Uehara) best relievers right now. Smith is out for the season due to Tommy John surgery while Uehara is out for several weeks with a pectoral issue. Here’s the bullpen Farrell is working with now:

Closer: RHP Craig Kimbrel (3.31 ERA/2.59 FIP)
Setup: RHP Brad Ziegler (2.45/3.36), RHP Junichi Tazawa (3.52/4.15)
Middle: LHP Fernando Abad (2.72/3.79), RHP Matt Barnes (3.00/3.70), LHP Robbie Ross Jr. (3.76/2.91)
Long: RHP Clay Buchholz (5.68/5.62)

Kimbrel just returned a week or two ago from a torn meniscus. Ziegler and Abad came over at the trade deadline, and Buchholz … well he was so bad earlier this season that they had to take him out of the rotation. He’s been more effective in limited time as a reliever (3.32/2.97) than as a starter (6.31/6.33) this season.

The Red Sox had an off-day yesterday as they traveled home from the West Coast, so their bullpen is fresh. The Yankees had an off-day too, though they didn’t have to travel nearly as far. Both relief crews are in good shape going into the series. Makes sure you check out our Bullpen Workload page anyway.

Sherman: Yankees made Ellsbury and Headley available at the trade deadline

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

The Yankees made both Jacoby Ellsbury and Chase Headley available prior to the trade deadline, reports Joel Sherman. Obviously no teams bit; Ellsbury and Headley are still Yankees. It isn’t much of a surprise the Yankees put those two on the market considering they sold at the deadline. I’m sure they made all their veterans available.

Ellsbury, 33 next month, is hitting .274/.335/.374 (92 wRC+) in the third year of his seven-year, $153M contract. The 32-year-old Headley owns a .251/.325/.379 (90 wRC+) batting line following a miserable April. He’s in the second year of his four-year, $52M contract. Will either be a key contributor to the next great Yankees team? That’s up for debate but I lean no. Here are some more thoughts on this.

1. Expect the Yankees to continue to try to move both. The Yankees did sell at the trade deadline and it wouldn’t make sense to stop with those trades. Ellsbury and Headley don’t have nearly as much value as Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran, and Aroldis Chapman, so they’re not going to bring a big return. Getting rid of them is as much about clearing payroll and a roster spot — especially in Ellsbury’s case given the team’s outfield depth — as it is adding pieces via trade.

The upcoming free agent market is pretty weak and I expect that to lead to a ton of trades over the winter. The pitching market especially, but also position players. The Yankees are making a concerted effort to get younger and dealing Ellsbury and/or Headley helps that cause. Replacing Ellsbury internally would be a piece of cake given all those outfielders with Triple-A Scranton. I expect the Yankees to continue pushing both guys in trades this month and in the offseason.

2. Ellsbury isn’t untradeable. There is no such thing as an untradeable contract these days. Vernon Wells was traded twice. Matt Kemp and Hector Olivera were just traded for each other. Josh Hamilton was traded last year. Ellsbury is not a terrible player. He’s just really overpaid relative to what he provides on the field. If guys like Wells and Kemp and Hamilton can be traded, so can Ellsbury.

Now, will the Yankees like the terms of an Ellsbury trade? Probably not. Chances are they’ll have to eat a bunch of money to facilitate a trade, or at least take another bad contract in return, a la Kemp and Olivera. It could work! A bad contract for bad contract trade that nets the Yankees a pitcher (Scott Kazmir?) while opening an outfield spot for one of the kids is worth pursuing. Ellsbury’s not untradeable. He’s just going to be really hard to trade.


3. There figures to be a market for Headley over the winter. For all the talk about the golden age of young shortstops, there are a lot of really good third basemen in MLB these days. A few years back that wasn’t the case. There was a definite shortage at the hot corner. All those quality third basemen will make dealing Headley tough, but like Ellsbury, it’s not impossible.

Looking ahead to the offseason, the Dodgers (Justin Turner) and Marlins (Martin Prado) are set to lose their third basemen to free agency. The Giants just traded Matt Duffy and need to figure out what they’re doing at third base after this season. (Eduardo Nunez? Really?) The Angels could deal Yunel Escobar for prospects. Rebuilding clubs like the Braves and Brewers could have interest at the right price too. There will be a market for third base help in the offseason, which bodes well for the Yankees’ efforts to deal Headley.

4. The Yankees don’t have to trade Headley. Here’s the thing about Headley: the Yankees themselves need competency at third base going forward — you know as well as I that they’re going to try to win next season — and they don’t have an in-house third base replacement the way they do in the outfield. It’s clear the team doesn’t want to play Rob Refsnyder over there, leaving Ronald Torreyes as Plan B.

Now, this should not stand in the way of a Headley trade if one presents itself. The Yankees could always sign or trade for a replacement third baseman. This just gives them a little more leverage in trade talks, similar to Miller. Like it or not, they don’t have to trade this guy. Keeping him is perfectly fine given their internal options. Headley’s not someone who should be dumped for the sake of dumping a player, know what I mean?

Yankees sign lefty Tommy Layne to Major League deal

(Maddie Meyer/Getty)
(Maddie Meyer/Getty)

The Yankees have signed lefty reliever Tommy Layne to a Major League contract, the team announced. He’ll be in uniform tonight. The club hasn’t announced a corresponding move yet. The Yankees have three open 40-man roster spots, so they simply have to option someone to Triple-A. No one will be designated for assignment.

Layne, 31, originally broke into the big leagues with the Padres in 2012, and he’s been with the Red Sox since 2014. They released him a few days ago. Layne has a 3.77 ERA (3.41 FIP) in 28.2 innings this year, and a 3.21 ERA (3.40 FIP) in 120.2 career innings. He’s out of options and can’t be sent to the minors without going through waivers first.

So far this year Layne has held left-handed batters to a .255/.355/.333 (.312 wOBA) batting line with a 23.8% strikeout rate, an 11.1% walk rate, and a 56.8% ground ball rate. Just last year lefties hit a weak .144/.248/.170 (.203 wOBA) against him with 26.5% strikeouts, 10.8% walks, and 60.0% grounders. Layne is a classic lefty specialist with a funky delivery, an upper-80s fastball, and a slurvy breaking ball. Here’s a little bit of video:

My guess is the Yankees will send Richard Bleier down to Triple-A Scranton to make room for Layne. There’s really no point in carrying two left-on-left matchup guys. Bleier has thrown 2.2 innings since the All-Star break and has appeared in only eleven of the team’s last 47 games. Yeah.