Rosenthal: Rangers made last minute push for Ivan Nova

(Andy Lyons/Getty)
(Andy Lyons/Getty)

According to Ken Rosenthal (video link), the Rangers made a last minute push for Ivan Nova prior to the August 1st trade deadline. The two sides exchanged proposals, and Rosenthal says talks occurred so late they might not have had time to review medical information before the deadline. Nova was instead traded to the Pirates for two prospects.

Nova, 29, had a tough start yesterday but has generally been very good for Pittsburgh. He has a 2.93 ERA (2.67 FIP) in nine starts and 55.1 innings since the trade deadline. Nine starts since the deadline? Was it really that long ago? Geez. Anyway, I’m guessing more than one team made a run at Nova before the deadline given the general need for pitching around the league. I have a few thoughts on this.

1. What would have been a comparable package from Texas? The Yankees received two players to be named later for Nova and they were legitimate prospects: outfielder Tito Polo and lefty Stephen Tarpley. They’re not high-end prospects — the Yankees traded Ivan Nova, not Greg Maddux — but they’re bonafide prospects with a chance to help the Yankees at the big league level or as trade chips at some point.

Both Tarpley and Polo were at High-A at the time of the trade. Tarpley’s a bit of a ‘tweener in that he has quality stuff but may lack the command to start long-term, while Polo is a toolsy player who may profile best as a fourth outfielder. Using MLB.com’s top 30 Rangers prospects list, here’s a list of comparable Rangers prospects:

  • RHP Pedro Payano: “Payano may lack a plus pitch, but he has three effective offerings and knows how to use them.”
  • RHP Jonathan Hernandez: “Hernandez may not have more of a ceiling than No. 4 starter, he’s a safe bet to remain in the rotation and could advance quickly.”
  • RHP Tyler Ferguson: “The bullpen might be the best destination for him anyway, because he’ll never have fine command and has yet to show aptitude for throwing an offspeed pitch.”
  • OF Jose Almonte: “Almonte’s below-average speed and quickness precipitated his move from third base but shouldn’t prevent him from becoming a competent right fielder.”

This isn’t an apples to apples comparison, of course. I was just looking for Single-A players who fit the “maybe a starter, likely a reliever” and “toolsy fourth outfielder” profiles. The Rangers system isn’t all that deep in those types of players. They have a lot of teenage infielders in the back of their top 30 prospects list.

Anyway, the point is the Yankees probably weren’t missing out on anything great by trading Nova to the Pirates instead of the Rangers. Some Single-A prospects with iffy profiles work out. Most don’t. That’s baseball.

2. The Yankees had to trade Nova. I have a hard time believing anyone would think otherwise. The Yankees sat 5.5 games back of a wildcard spot and they were coming off four straight losses the morning of the trade deadline. They had just been swept by the last place Rays. There was no reason to think they would miraculously storm back into the race, even temporarily.

Nova is an impending free agent and he was not a qualifying offer candidate because he’d pitched to a 4.99 ERA (4.98 FIP) in 191.1 innings following Tommy John surgery. They could either keep him, get another 12-13 mediocre starts, then lose him for nothing after the season, or they could trade him for some lottery tickets. Regardless of whether Nova went to the Rangers or Pirates or some other team, the Yankees were smart to move him.

3. No, the Yankees shouldn’t try to re-sign Nova. Nova’s the big winner here because there seems to be a belief that the Pirates are magicians and can fix any pitcher — why did they have to trade for Nova in the first place if that’s true? — and Nova is the latest example. Someone’s going to pay him good money in the weak free agent class, the same way J.A. Happ and Edinson Volquez made more than expected after leaving Pittsburgh.

Does that mean the Yankees should try to re-sign Nova? That’s an easy no for me. I’m not convinced his recent success is the result of anything more than a favorable schedule — he’s faced the Reds, Brewers, and Phillies six times in his nine starts — and a friendly home ballpark in the non-DH league. Nova might only be fixed the same way Phil Hughes was fixed with the Twins in 2014. Ivan’s going to get paid this winter and good for him. The 700-something innings in pinstripes far outweigh the 50-something innings with the Pirates in my opinion.

Rob Refsnyder isn’t hitting for any power and he wants to change that next season

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Since the trade deadline the Yankees have started a legitimate youth movement by calling up top prospects Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge, as well as others like Tyler Austin and Ben Heller. Luis Cessa and Bryan Mitchell are in the rotation as well, though that’s largely due to necessity.

The one young player who predates all those guys is Rob Refsnyder, who was up briefly last season and has spent much of this year on the big league roster. He’s appeared in 54 games with the Yankees this season and figures to be a lineup regular the rest of the way thanks to the Starlin Castro and Jacoby Ellsbury injuries.

The 25-year-old Refsnyder has not had much of an impact at the plate this year, hitting .248/.334/.309 (70 wRC+) with zero home runs and only nine doubles in 171 plate appearances. He will work a walk (9.9%) and make contact (16.4% strikeouts), but not much more than that. For a bat-first (bat-only?) player, that’s not enough to stick around.

Refsnyder wants to change that. He wants to add some power to his game this offseason and he’s got a plan to make that happen. Here’s what Refsnyder told David Laurila over the weekend:

“I’m going to try to hit home runs next year,” Refsnyder told me on Friday. “I’ve had a lot of good conversations with people and I’m going to try to completely change my game. I think it will help my career.”

“I’m going to go back to the drawing board and watch a lot of video,” said Refsnyder. “I’ll probably watch a lot of (Brian) Dozier video. Dozier doesn’t have too long of a swing — he’s pretty short and compact — and his pull rate is really high. I’ll look at Daniel Murphy, too. He changed his game from being more of a contact guy — trying to put the barrel on the ball — to pulling the ball in the air.

“I’m never going to be one of those guys who hits for opposite-field power. That’s OK. Mookie Betts pulls the ball with the best of them. He goes the other way, but not for opposite-field home runs. Mookie and Dozier are the type of guys I need to look at.”

It’s an interesting thought, a non-power hitter trying to become a power hitter, and it’s not unprecedented. Refsnyder has identified the right guys to study — Dozier and Betts have both hit for far more power in the show than they were expected to in the minors — though as a right-handed hitter, he won’t benefit from the short porch by adopting their pull heavy approach. That doesn’t mean this isn’t worth trying though. I have some thoughts.

1. He needs to do more offensively to stick around. Simply put, Refsnyder will never be much of an asset in the field. He’s worked hard to pick up first and third base this season and that’s good. We haven’t seen him at third yet, but at least now Refsnyder’s an emergency option here. He’s spent plenty of time at first and second bases with the Yankees, and in the corner outfield.

The versatility is nice, but Refsnyder’s overall defense isn’t very good. It’s not even average, really. For him to have value and staying power in the big leagues, he’s going to have to hit and hit big. A bad defensive utility man with a .600-something OPS is not the most valuable player in the world, you know? No one expects Refsnyder to become a 40-homer guy like Dozier (seriously, wtf?), but getting to 15-20 homers would be huge.

2. He can cover the plate and drive inside pitches. There’s more to being a pull hitter than looking for a pitch inside and yanking it down the line. Pitchers aren’t stupid, they know when hitters are trying to pull the ball, which is why they’re going to stay on the outer half of the plate. For all their warts, Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann have been really good at punishing outside pitches the last few years.

As you might expect given his strikeout and contact (83.8%) rates, Refsnyder does a really nice job covering the plate. He can reach outside pitches and put them in the play. At the same time, he does his most damage on inside pitches, when he can whip the bat around and pull the ball to left. Here are some strike zone heat maps. Contact rate is on the left and ISO is on the right. You can click the image for a larger view and I recommend doing that so you can actually read it.

Rob Refsnyder contact and ISOThe brighter the red the better, the brighter the blue the … worser? Anyway, the contact heat map (left) shows Refsnyder can get the bat on the ball no matter where it is in the strike zone, inside or outside, up or down. Down-and-in is his one glaring hole and that’s not uncommon at all. The ISO heat map (left) shows that while Refsnyder can make contact all around the strike zone, the inside pitch is the only one he’s been able to drive in his MLB career.

Plate coverage is good! That’s a nice skill to have. Refsnyder’s ability to become a power hitter and hit more home runs is going to depend largely on whether he’ll be able to make consistent hard contact on pitches on the outer half. He had handle the inside pitch. The up-and-in pitch, to be more specific. Anything down and on the outer half of the plate is a different matter.

3. He needs to get the ball in the air more often. You’re not going to hit for power if you don’t hit the ball in the air, and so far this season Refsnyder has a 52.4% ground ball rate in the big leagues. It was 66.7% (!) last year. Here are his recent Triple-A ground ball rates:

2016: 53.9% in 230 plate appearances
2015: 59.2% in 522 plate appearances
2014: 53.2% in 333 plate appearances

Geez, that’s a lot of ground balls, huh? It’s no wonder Refsnyder hit only 35 home runs in just over 2,000 minor league plate appearances. He’s no Greg Bird when it comes to hitting the ball in the air. That’s for sure.

Moreso than driving outside pitches, figuring out how to get the ball in the air is going to be Refsnyder’s top priority as he works to hit for more power. This is a must. Only four players have a .170+ ISO and a 50%+ ground ball rate over the last three years: Ryan Braun, David Peralta, A.J. Pollock, and Hunter Pence. Step one to hitting more homers is getting the ball airborne. Refsnyder knows that, I’m sure.

4. The upside outweighs the downside. The thought of a hitter revamping his hitting style and approach in an effort to hit more home runs can be scary. There’s a lot of muscle memory in Refsnyder’s swing and he’s going to have to alter it. What if the power hitting fails and he screws up his normal swing? It could be a career-ender.

It’s easy for me to say this because it’s not my livelihood on the line, but I think this is worth a shot. The upside is greater than the downside. As it stands, Refsnyder is basically a utility guy who might not be average on either side of the ball, and that’s a tough profile. Hitting for more power can help keep him in the big leagues longer. He doesn’t have to turn into Brian Dozier, he just has to do more than he has been. His current skill set may not be built to last.

Yankeemetrics: Nightmare at Fenway Park [Sept. 15-18]

(USA Today Sports)
(USA Today Sports)

Speechless
Just when you started to believe in this plucky, underdog team with a nothing-to-lose mentality and pinstripes on its uniforms … Thursday night happened.

The Yankees suffered their most devastating loss of the season, blowing a three-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning — they were two strikes away from a win — and losing in truly heartbreaking fashion when Dellin Betances served up a walk-off home run to Hanley Ramirez.

In the long history of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, this was just the third time that a Yankee pitcher coughed up a game-ending home run with the lead and one out to go.

The most recent game came on June 30, 1953 when Sammie White hit a two-run shot off Allie Reynolds in the bottom of the ninth to give Boston a 5-4 win; the first instance was August 7, 1935 when Joe Cronin took Johnny Broaca deep to turn a 5-3 Yankee advantage into a 6-5 loss.

The deflating defeat becomes even more depressing and soul-wrenching given that the Yankees also wasted an absolute gem by Masahiro Tanaka.

The right-hander added another chapter to his Cy Young resume with a stellar one-run, seven-inning performance against the league’s most potent lineup. It was his ninth start of at least seven innings and no more than one earned run allowed, a number that led all American League pitchers through Thursday’s slate.

The brilliant outing lowered his ERA to 2.97, pushing Tanaka past Chris Sale to the top of the AL leaderboard. If he can keep up this pace, he’d be the first Yankee to lead the league in ERA since Rudy May in 1980. And no Yankee has qualified for the ERA title with a sub-3.00 ERA since David Cone (2.82) and Andy Pettitte (2.88) in 1997.

He dominated the Red Sox batters not with his typical nasty, swing-and-miss stuff, but rather with an aggressive, pitch-to-contact approach. He located his off-speed pitches at the knees and pounded the edges of the strike zone with his fastball, generating a personal-best 15 ground ball outs while failing to record a strikeout for the first time in his MLB career.

Tanaka’s streak of 73 straight games with at least one punchout to begin his major-league career was the second-longest by any Yankee, behind only Dave Righetti (88 games). He’s also the first Yankee to go at least seven innings without striking out a batter in a game since Andy Pettitte on April 21, 2009 vs. the A’s and the first to do it against the Red Sox since Tommy John on June 25, 1980.

(USA Today Sports)
(USA Today Sports)

Different story, same result
The Yankees took another beating from the Red Sox on Friday night, losing again but this time with much less drama and in more conventional fashion: The Yankees fell behind early, their inexperienced middle relief arms put them in a deeper hole, and the bats wasted numerous scoring opportunities in an attempt to come back from a too-big deficit.

Following their pathetic 1-for-11 performance with runners in scoring position on Friday night, their season batting average in that situation fell to .231, which is by far the lowest among all AL teams this season and would be the worst by any Yankee team since 1969 (.224).

The offense was shut down by Boston’s Clay Buchholz, a pitcher that the Yankees had routinely pounded in the past. He entered Friday’s start with a 6.19 ERA in 18 career games (17 starts) versus the Yankees, the third-highest among all active pitchers with at least 60 innings pitched against them.

Snatching defeat from the arms of victory, again
The Yankees sudden and swift free fall in the playoff race continued on Saturday afternoon, enduring yet another excruciating loss while sinking further and further in the standings.

(AP Sports)
(AP Sports)

Gary Sanchez gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead when he clobbered a 95-mph fastball over the Green Monster. It went an estimated 407 feet, the 12th time he’s hit a ball at least 400 feet. From his call-up on August 3 and through Saturday, only one player (Brian Dozier) hit more 400-foot batted balls than Sanchez.

Milestone alert: Brett Gardner’s RBI triple in the third inning was his 50th career three-bagger. He is the only Yankee to pile up at least 50 triples, 50 homers and 200 stolen bases within his first nine major-league seasons.

Just seven other AL outfielders in baseball history have achieved the feat: Carl Crawford, Ichiro, Johnny Damon, Kenny Lofton, Brady Anderson, Lloyd Moseby and Ben Chapman.

That was fun while it lasted …
Hello coffin, meet nail.

Yes, the Yankees are still mathematically alive for a playoff spot, but their improbable quest for a postseason berth is now on life support and it will take a near-miracle to earn a ticket to the October party. Nearly all the momentum and ground they’d gained during their magical seven-game win streak has been nullified in the blink of an eye, as they’ve gone from postseason contenders to pretenders in less than a week.

The latest horrible loss capped off an absolutely crushing sweep in Boston, the first time the Yankees have been swept in a four-game series by the Red Sox since June 4-7, 1990. [The Stump Merrill era began during that series when he replaced Bucky Dent as manager after the second of the four losses.]

It wouldn’t be a hyperbole to suggest that Fenway Park has become the latest “house of horrors” for the Yankees, who finished with a record of 2-8 at the ballpark, the most losses by a Yankee team there since they went 1-8 in 1973.

And finally … Let’s end on a positive note: Gary Sanchez’s assault on American League pitching continued with his 16th homer of the year (in 159 at-bats), a blast to left field that put the Yankees up 2-0 in the third inning. Sanchez’s incredible rate of 9.94 at-bats per homer would be the best by any Yankee in a single season since Roger Maris (9.67) and Mickey Mantle (9.52) waged their epic home run battle in 1961.

While Sanchez is best known for his tape-measure bombs, he’s also the rare young slugger who hits for average. After going 3-for-5 on Sunday night, he’s now hitting .327 this year, and is on pace to join Joe DiMaggio (1936) as the only Yankees to have a rookie season with at least 15 homers and a .300-plus batting average.

Fan Confidence Poll: September 19th, 2016

Record Last Week: 1-6 (23 RS, 35 RA)
Season Record: 77-72 (628 RS, 647 RA, 72-77 pythag. record), 4.0 GB of postseason spot
Opponents This Week: Mon. OFF, @ Rays (three games, Tues. to Thurs.), @ Blue Jays (three games, Fri. to Sun.)

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the Features tab in the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Massacred: Yankees fall 5-4 as Red Sox finish four-game sweep

For the first time since 1990, the Yankees have been swept in a four-game series at Fenway Park. They dropped their fifth straight game Sunday night, this one by the score of 5-4. The Yankees held at least a three-run lead in three of the four losses to the Red Sox. Completely outclassed all weekend, both the players and the manager.

(Rich Gagnon/Getty)
(Rich Gagnon/Getty)

Four Runs In Four Innings
On paper, the Yankees used their worst lineup of the season Sunday night. They were short several key players due to injury, which is why Ronald Torreyes was hitting second and Donovan Solano was in the lineup at all after spending the entire season with Triple-A Scranton. It didn’t look great going into the game, so, naturally, the Yankees scored four runs in the first four innings and chased Drew Pomeranz after eleven outs.

The first inning rally nearly died an unceremonious death. Brett Gardner led the game off with a double to right, but Torreyes and Gary Sanchez followed with strikeouts, meaning the stranding of Gardner was imminent. Cleanup man Billy Butler — that is definitely not something I expected to write this season — worked a two-out walk, and Didi Gregorius came through with a run-scoring single to right to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. The leadoff double wasn’t wasted.

After a 1-2-3 second inning, the Yankees scored a run in the third inning the way they seem to score most of their runs these days: Sanchez knocked the crap out of a baseball for a home run. Pomeranz gave him a first pitch heater over the plate and Gary hit it like he knew it was coming. John Sterling didn’t have time for anything more than, “It is high! … ” before the ball cleared the Green Monster for a 2-0 lead. Rocket.

The Yankees scored their next two runs in the fourth inning, when they managed to load the bases and plate two runs while hitting one (1) ball out of the infield. That was Mason Williams‘ opposite field double. It was a really nice at-bat. He fell behind a tough lefty 1-2, worked the count back full, then shot the ball into the left-center gap. Williams hustled into second base and slid in just ahead of the tag. Love it. He waited a long time to get back to the big leagues following shoulder surgery.

A Solano infield single and a Rob Refsnyder walk were sandwiched around the double to load the bases with no outs. The first run scored on Gardner’s ground ball thanks to Refsnyder’s baserunning. It was a soft grounder to second, but Refsnyder stopped and backed up before being tagged, allowing Gardner to reach first. The second run scored on a Torreyes ground ball to third. Aaron Hill fielded it and threw to second, at which point Williams took off for home and beat the throw to the plate for a 4-0 lead. Love the aggressive baserunning. Two nice slides too.

(Rich Gagnon/Getty)
(Rich Gagnon/Getty)

The Inexplicably Long Leash
Joe Girardi has had a very long leash with CC Sabathia this season, an undeservedly long leash, and it’s come back to bite the Yankees more times than I care to count. His numbers the third time through the order and once his pitch climbs over 75 are abysmal. Girardi again ignored both trends Sunday and it predictably cost the Yankees yet another multi-run lead. They blew a few of those this series.

Sabathia battled through four scoreless innings and had a 4-0 lead to start the fifth inning, a fifth inning that began when third string catcher Bryan Holaday smashed a near home run off the wall in center field. It was close enough to a homer that a fan reached over and the play had to be reviewed. After walking Xander Bogaerts on five pitches with one out, Sabathia very nearly escaped the inning on a Mookie Betts line drive.

The line drive found Sabathia — he threw his glove up and caught it, all luck — and he tossed to first to double off the runner, but the throw was a little wide of the bag and the human-sized big toe the Yankees started at first base couldn’t reel it in. It was not a good throw to first at all, but I feel like most non-Butler first baseman make the catch and at least stop it from going into foul territory and allowing the runners to advance. Alas.

As expected, the error came back to bite the Yankees. Sabathia was facing the molten hot Hanley Ramirez a third time and his pitch count was approaching the century mark. After falling behind Hanley in the count 3-1, Sabathia missed a little out over the plate with a slider and Ramirez Sanchez’d it over the Monster for a three-run home run. The Betts line drive was nearly an inning-ending double play that would have given the Yankees a 4-0 lead after five. Instead, it was 4-3.

But wait! Sabathia was not done. With his pitch counting sitting at 101, Girardi sent the big man back to the mound to get the left-on-left matchup against not only Travis Shaw, but also Jackie Bradley Jr., apparently. That happened even though a) Sabathia’s pitch count was over 100, b) three of the last five batters hit rockets, and c) there are approximately 37 lefty relievers in the bullpen. Single, single, single, game tied. So predictable.

Blake Parker inherited runners on first and second with no outs and miraculously escaped despite facing David Ortiz (three-pitch strikeout!), Dustin Pedroia (fielder’s choice), and Bogaerts (strikeout). Sabathia’s final line: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K. It could have been 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K without the error, but alas. Six of the final nine batters he faced reached and they weren’t bloop singles or grounders with eyes. Not reason for Sabathia to be out there in the sixth.

The Inevitable Loss
Following that heartbreaker Thursday night, it felt like the Yankees were losing all series even when they had the lead. As soon as the Red Sox tied things up in the sixth, it was only a matter of time until they took the lead, and if the Yankees were lucky, it would only be a one-run lead. The inevitable go-ahead home run came in the seventh, when Tyler Clippard hung the hell out of a changeup …

Tyler Clippard Hanley Ramirez

… to Ramirez, who hit his fourth home run of the series. He went 9-for-16 (.563) with four homers, one walk, and zero strikeouts in four games. He drove in nine runs in the series. Hanley absolutely demolished the Yankees. Man against boys. It was only a matter of time until Clippard allowed a home run — he came into the game with a 0.47 HR/9 with the Yankees and a career 1.06 HR/9 — and he threw a bad pitch to a hot hitter. So it goes.

The Yankees, meanwhile, had four baserunners after Pomeranz left the game in the fourth. Brian McCann doubled with two outs in the fifth, Sanchez singled with one out in the sixth, Williams singled with two outs in the eighth, and Sanchez singled with two outs in the ninth. Not exactly prime scoring chances, you know? Four scattered hits in the final 5.1 offensive innings.

Leftovers
Sanchez went 3-for-5 with a normal single, a loud single off the Monster, and the home run. It was his 16th homer of the season. He’s the first Yankees rookie with 16 homers since Hideki Matsui in 2003, and Matsui wasn’t really a rookie. He was an experienced veteran from overseas. The last true rookie to hit 16+ homers in pinstripes was Alfonso Soriano. He hit 18 in 2001.

Gregorius and Williams were the only other Yankees with multiple hits and they had two each. Gardner, Butler, McCann, and Solano had base knocks as well. Butler and Refsnyder drew the only walks. The Yankees went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position but that’s a bit deceiving because they had some productive outs to score runs in that fourth inning. Whatevs.

And finally, the Orioles, Tigers, and Mariners all won earlier on Sunday while the Blue Jays and Astros lost. Here are the wildcard standings with a mere 13 games to play:

Orioles: +1.0 GB
Blue Jays:
Tigers: 2.0 GB
Mariners: 2.0 GB
Astros: 3.0 GB
Yankees: 4.0 GB

That … could be worse?

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head on over to ESPN for both the box score and updated standings. MLB.com is the place to go for the video highlights. Here are our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages, and here’s yet another win-turned-loss probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
This nightmare of a series is finally over. The Yankees have an off-day Monday and thank the baseball gods for that. Not sure I want to sit through another night of this nonsense. The Yankees will be in Tampa for a three-game set against the last place Rays next. Michael Pineda and lefty Drew Smyly are the scheduled starters for Tuesday night’s opener.

Game 149: Don’t get swept, please

(Darren McCollester/Getty)
(Darren McCollester/Getty)

The last week has been a disaster for the Yankees. I don’t think that’s an overstatement. They won seven straight to climb to within one (one!) game of a wildcard spot last week, but since then the Yankees have lost six of seven, including each of their last four games. More than a few of those games were winnable too. Brutal.

The math says the Yankees are still alive in the postseason race and that’s cool. We still have reason to watch. The fact of the matter is their rotation isn’t good enough, the lineup isn’t deep enough, and the middle relief isn’t reliable enough. We’ve known that since April. Last week sure was fun though, right? Here’s the Red Sox’s lineup and here’s the Triple-A Scranton I mean Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Ronald Torreyes
  3. DH Gary Sanchez
  4. 1B Billy Butler
  5. SS Didi Gregorius
  6. C Brian McCann
  7. 2B Donovan Solano
  8. CF Mason Williams
  9. RF Rob Refsnyder
    LHP CC Sabathia

Now, the bad news: the forecast stinks tonight. The internet tells me it’s supposed to start raining around 9pm ET in Boston and keep raining until tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully that’s wrong and they can get the game in tonight. Having to squeeze in a makeup game at some point would stink. Anyway, tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 8pm ET and you can watch on ESPN. Enjoy.

Injury Updates: Starlin Castro (hamstring) as a Grade I strain and Jacoby Ellsbury (knee) has a bone bruise, the Yankees announced. They’ll remain in New York for treatment and join the Yankees in Tampa on Tuesday. The team says Ellsbury is day-to-day. They didn’t give a timetable for Castro. There’s only two weeks left in the season, so there’s a decent chance he’s done for the year. Sucks … Chase Headley has some back tightness, which is why he’s on the bench.

Roster Moves: Solano has been called from Triple-A Scranton, obviously. He’s in the lineup. He had a fantastic season for the International League champion RailRiders. Chad Green was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot for Solano … Anthony Swarzak (shoulder) was activated off the 15-day DL. Try to contain your excitement.

Sunday Open Thread

The Yankees don’t wrap up their mess of a series with the Red Sox until later tonight, so here’s an open thread for the meantime. The Mets are playing, TBS and MLB Network are showing a regional games, there’s all the week two NFL action, plus there are some World Cup of Hockey games on. Talk about all that stuff and more. Have at it.