(Hannah Foslien/Getty)

(Hannah Foslien/Getty)

Just about all summer, Joe Girardi and the Yankees have enjoyed arguably the most dominant setup man/closer tandem in baseball in Dellin Betances and David Robertson. The team has scaled back on Betances’ workload in recent weeks but for the most of the season he was a multi-inning monster who would regularly bridge the gap from starter to closer all by himself. Robertson has been dynamite in his first season as closer, making the transition to the post-Mariano Rivera era relatively painless.

The Yankees had a similarly dominant late-game duo the last few years thanks to the Robertson and Rivera, though Robertson has always been a true one-inning reliever, not a four or five or six out guy. The multi-inning reliever is a dying breed, especially when it comes to late-inning guys. The last time the Yankees had a duo like Betances and Robertson, meaning an overwhelming multi-inning setup man and a shutdown closer, was way back to 1996, when Rivera was setting up John Wetteland.

There are more than a few similarities between the 1996 duo and the 2014 duo. Betances, like Rivera, was scuffling along for much of his early-20s, trying to make it work as a starting pitcher before moving into the bullpen full-time. They both opened the season in an undefined middle relief role before pitching their way into some more responsibility — Rivera threw 15 straight hitless innings at one point from mid-April through early-May in 1996, which is a great way to earn the manager’s trust — and eventually a no-doubt high-leverage role. Robertson has a knack for making things interesting but gets the job done more often than not, similar to Wetteland.

Statistically, there isn’t much of a comparison. Betances and Robertson have been quite a bit more effective this year than Rivera and Wetteland in 1996, at least on a rate basis. Wetteland and (mostly) Rivera did throw a ton of innings back in the day, a workload Betances and Robertson won’t sniff this year:

Innings WHIP ERA FIP K% BB% K/BB
2014 Betances & Robertson 137.1 0.84 1.97 1.84 39.4% 7.6% 5.18
1996 Rivera & Wetteland 171.1 1.06 2.36 2.57 28.8% 8.0% 3.43

Rivera and Wetteland also excelled in the postseason in 1996, combining to allow only four runs in 26.2 innings (1.35 ERA) during the team’s march to the World Series title. Wetteland saved four games in five days en route to being named World Series MVP. Hopefully Betances and Robertson get a chance to strut their stuff in the postseason next month, but eh. Things aren’t looking too hot right now.

The similarities don’t stop there either. Betances (26) and Robertson (29) are the same age right now that Rivera and Wetteland were back in 1996, respectively. That’s sorta freaky. Robertson is also due to become a free agent this offseason just like Wetteland became a free agent following the 1996 season. The Yankees let him walk and installed Rivera as their closer. The team is going to face a similar decision this winter — do they let Robertson go and hand the ninth inning reigns over to Dellin?

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with re-signing Robertson and keeping one of the game’s most dominant late-game bullpen pairs together for another few seasons. In fact I would prefer it. I don’t mean that as a slight on Betances either. I think he’d be able to close no problem just like I thought Robertson would have no trouble closing this year, but there is no such thing as having too many great relievers. The game has changed a lot in the last two decades. Deep bullpens are imperative these days because no one scores runs anymore and every game is close.

Eighteen years ago, the Yankees had an advantage over every team they played thanks to Rivera and Wetteland. Rivera’s ability to go multiple innings — he went two full innings in 35 of 61 appearances and three full innings eight times — combined with Wetteland’s ninth inning reliability effective made it a six-inning game for New York. Girardi has had the same luxury this year thanks to Betances and Robertson. Both guys are having phenomenal seasons and they’ve been essential in keeping the Yankees in the race this summer.

Categories : Death by Bullpen
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Record Last Week: 3-3 (20 RS, 19 RA)
Season Record: 73-68 (555 RS, 581 RA, 67-74 pythag. record) 9.5 GB in ALE, 4.5 GB of WC
Opponents This Week: Mon. OFF, vs. Rays (three games, Tues. to Thurs.), @ Orioles (four games, Fri. to Sun.)

Top stories from last week:

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Categories : Polls
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For whatever reason the folks at MLBAM decided to chop this afternoon’s Derek Jeter retirement ceremony into eight (!) different videos, and I’m not embedding all of them here. That’s too many. Jeter’s predictably perfect speech is above (full text) and you can see all the ceremony videos right here. (Andy Pettitte was not in town because of a prior family engagement.) The Yankees pulled out all the stops, even bringing in astronauts and Michael Jordan. Astronauts! I didn’t hear it myself, but apparently one of the broadcast microphones picked up Jordan saying “I heard you’re getting married?” to Jeter, so that’s a thing. Leave it to Jeter to keep an engagement secret. Anyway, the ceremony was way cool. What a great afternoon.

Here is your open thread for the rest of the night. The ESPN Sunday Night Game is a good one, the Giants at the Tigers (Hudson vs. Lobstein). The late NFL game is the Colts and Broncos. Hooray football. Talk about those games, the Jeter ceremony, this afternoon’s loss, or anything else right here.

Categories : Open Thread
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Source: FanGraphs

Sunday afternoon started with a great ceremony honoring the soon-to-be retired Derek Jeter and ended with another sleepy loss, this one to the Royals by the score of 2-0. The Yankees have now lost three of their last four series, with the one series win needing that Koji Uehara meltdown on Thursday night. Let’s recap:

  • Two Errors: The Yankees were charged with two errors on Sunday and both led to runs. First, Shane Greene fielded a weak grounder and threw the ball into right field, allowing Josh Willingham to chug in from second base. It would have been the third out of the second inning. Carlos Beltran dropped a fairly routine pop-up leading off the third inning — you can tell the sun was giving him some trouble, but the ball was in his glove at one point — and the run eventually came around to score on a stolen base and an Eric Hosmer single. Beltran’s throw home on Hosmer’s single was off-line, otherwise there would have been a play at the plate because Alex Gordon stumbled around third. Two defensive miscues, two runs. Par for the 2014 course.
  • Punchless: Believe it or not, the Yankees had a man reach base in seven of nine innings. They never had a runner reach third base though, and they mustered just a ground ball single in three innings against Kansas City’s high-powered bullpen. Jacoby Ellsbury, Jeter, Beltran, and Mark Teixeira had their four hits, all singles. Jeter’s was an infield single. Jeter, Beltran (two), and Stephen Drew drew walks. They went 0-for-16 with a walk with men on base. Not men in scoring position, just on base in general. This offense is: bad.
  • Leftovers: Greene really had to battle, especially early on. He threw 54 pitches in the first two innings and 36 in the next three, allowing just the two unearned runs in five innings. It was a grind but Greene didn’t melt down … Adam Warren (two innings), Shawn Kelley (one inning), Josh Outman (one out), and Esmil Rogers (two outs) did fine work out of the bullpen, allowing only three base-runners (one was an intentional walk) in four scoreless innings … Friday was the first time the Yankees lost a game without allowing an earned run since May 1996. Naturally, they did it again on Sunday. Zero times in 18 years, then twice in one series. Baseball.

The box score and video highlights are on MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN has the updated standings. Depending on what happens elsewhere in the league, the Yankees will be either 4.5 games (Mariners lose) or 5.5 games (Mariners win) back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 3.3% at the moment. The Yankees are off on Monday — final off-day of the season! — and will then open a three-game series with the Rays at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night. Hiroki Kuroda and Chris Archer is the scheduled pitching matchup. There are only eleven home games left in the season, so head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch any of them live.

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (86)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

(Rich Schultz/Getty)

It’s hard to believe today is Derek Jeter‘s retirement ceremony. I still remember when he just came up as a rookie. It feels like … not that long ago, really. But man, it has been a long time since then. A long time with lots of hits, lots of championships, and lots of awesome moments. I think my all-time favorite Jeter moment is the Flip Play because it was so unexpected — what in the world was he doing there? You never see a shortstop on that part of the field. What a tremendously heads up play in a season-saving game.

I don’t think the Yankees will retire No. 2 this afternoon — they haven’t said anything about the ceremony, it’s all a secret — and will instead save it for sometime in the future. Just a hunch. Retiring No. 42 for Mariano Rivera last year was a special case because it was already retired. I’m sure the team will give him some amazing gifts and there will be a few great speeches, and I’m sure there will be something unexpectedly awesome as well. Like Metallica showing up for Mo’s ceremony. Something like that but obviously not exactly that.

Today’s ceremony will begin at 12:30pm ET, according to the Yankees. You’ll be able to watch on YES locally and TBS nationally, plus I believe it will be streamed online at MLB.com. Maybe even MLB.tv too. Joe Torre, Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, Hideki Matsui, Gerald Williams, and Tim Raines are among the confirmed special guests, plus there are a bunch of others who have not been announced. Rumor has it Michael Jordan will be in the house. He was at the U.S. Open yesterday, so if nothing else, he is in town at the moment.

As for this afternoon’s game, it is scheduled to begin at 1:35pm ET and, again, you can watch on YES locally and TBS nationally. It is also the free MLB.tv game of the day. Here is the Royals lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. 2B Martin Prado
  4. RF Carlos Beltran
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. 1B Mark Teixeira
  7. DH Stephen Drew
  8. 3B Chase Headley
  9. LF Ichiro Suzuki
    RHP Shane Greene

It was overcast all morning but the weather cleared up wonderfully for the afternoon — temperatures in the upper-70s and lots of sunshine. Perfect weather for the ceremony. Enjoy the day.

Categories : Game Threads
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Source: FanGraphs

The Royals lost starter Danny Duffy to injury after just one pitch on Saturday afternoon (sore shoulder) and the Yankees acted accordingly, beating up on some spare September call-up arms to win the game 6-2. They scored in four of the first five innings. Let’s recap:

  • Six Runs: It wasn’t a picket fence (one run per inning) but it was close enough. The Yankees scored their first run on a double (Martin Prado) and a single (Mark Teixeira) in the first inning, their second and third runs on a double (John Ryan Murphy), a triple (Jacoby Ellsbury), and a sac fly (Derek Jeter) in the third inning, their fourth run on two singles (Chase Headley and Murphy) and an error (Salvador Perez) in the fourth inning, and their fifth and sixth runs on two doubles (Prado and Carlos Beltran), a walk (Headley), and a single (Ichiro Suzuki) in the fifth inning. Nice, diverse attack by the offense. No evil homers but they did go a sweet 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
  • Loud Outs: The final line on Brandon McCarthy was two runs on six hits and a walk in 6.2 innings, but it seemed like he gave up a lot of loud outs, particularly on balls hit to the outfield. He uncharacteristically had seven outs on the ground compared to eight in the air. That’s fine though, McCarthy put his defense (particularly Ellsbury) to work and for the most part they helped him out. He struck out four and threw 75 of 105 pitches for strikes (71%), which was a ton. McCarthy didn’t miss many barrels on Saturday (eight swings and misses) but he kept KC off balance enough that the loud contact resulted in outs, not hits.
  • Bullpen: The Yankees are in must win mode nowadays, which is why Joe Girardi went to his usual late game trio of Shawn Kelley, Dellin Betances, and David Robertson despite having a four-run lead. They retired all seven men they faced on 22 total pitches — Kelley got one out while the other guys threw full innings. Between McCarthy and the relievers, 14 of the final 15 Royals to bat made outs on the afternoon. There was nothing even close to the threat of a late-inning rally, which is exactly how it should be.
  • Leftovers: Prado went 3-for-3 with two doubles and was still hobbling noticeably due to his hamstring issue. I was surprised he didn’t come out for defense late … Prado, Murphy, and Ichiro all had multiple hits — Ichiro came off the bench and only got two at-bats — while Ellsbury, Teixeira, Beltran, and Headley had one hit apiece. Jeter, Brendan Ryan, and Zelous Wheeler were the only starters who failed to reach base … Royals lefty Brandon Finnegan made his MLB debut with two perfect innings. He’s the first 2014 draftee (17th overall) to reach the show. Most assumed that would be Yankees lefty Jacob Lindgren.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. Depending on the outcome of the late game, the Yankees will be either 3.5 games (Mariners lose) or 4.5 games (Mariners win) back of the second wildcard spot. They’re 8.5 games back of the Orioles in the AL East, in case you’re wondering what’s going on there. FanGraphs has the team’s postseason odds at 3.7% at this moment. Shane Greene and Yordano Ventura will be the pitching matchup on Sunday afternoon, Derek Jeter day. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the ceremony.

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (109)
  • Brett Gardner day-to-day with stomach issue
    By

    Brett Gardner is day-to-day with some kind of stomach irritation, Joe Girardi told reporters. It sounds more like a muscle strain than an illness. He was not available for today’s game and might not be available tomorrow either. Apparently Gardner had the same problem earlier in the season, right before the All-Star break, so they’re confident he won’t be out very long. · (6) ·

Here is your open thread for the rest of the evening. MLB Network will air a regional game and I’m sure there’s college football on somewhere. Talk about those games, this afternoon’s win, or anything else right here.

Categories : Open Thread
Comments (30)
Sep
06

Game 140: Crunch Time

By in Game Threads. · Comments (217) ·
(Presswire)

(Presswire)

So this is it. If the Yankees are going to make a run at the second wildcard spot –they are 4.5 games back with three teams ahead of them — it has to start today. There are 23 games remaining and I’d say they need to go at least 17-6 to have a shot at the postseason. Does this team have a 17-6 run in it? It’s hard to believe having watched them all year but stranger things have happened. The 1995 Yankees went 19-4 in their last 23 games to sneak into the postseason, remember. Here is the Royals lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. DH Derek Jeter
  3. 2B Martin Prado
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. LF Zelous Wheeler
  8. SS Brendan Ryan
  9. C John Ryan Murphy
    RHP Brandon McCarthy

It’s hot and cloudy in New York, and there are scattered storms in the forecast just about all afternoon and evening. Who really knows with the weather, but it sure looks like it could impact the game at some point today. First pitch is scheduled for a bit after 4pm ET and you can watch only on Fox Sports1. There is no YES broadcast. Here are the Fox Sports1 television listings. Enjoy the game.

Updates: In case you missed it earlier, Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) threw his bullpen session as scheduled and everything went fineJoe Girardi said Frankie Cervelli is dealing with migraines unrelated to his concussion history. Austin Romine was officially called up.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (217)
  • Tanaka feels good, reports no fatigue or soreness following bullpen
    By

    As scheduled, right-hander Masahiro Tanaka threw in the bullpen this morning for the first time since dealing with fatigue in his arm late last week. He told reporters he felt fine following the 34-pitch session and reported no fatigue or soreness in his arm. Tanaka also reiterated that he still wants to pitch in a game this season to test out his elbow.

    The Yankees have not yet announced the next step — I’m guessing they’ll wait a day or two to see how Tanaka feels before finalizing any plans — but reports indicate he could face hitters in a simulated game next. Although there only 22 games left in the season after today, there is still enough time for Tanaka to pitch in two simulated games and make two MLB starts with an extra day or two of rest mixed in at some point. The most important thing is that he feels good today. It seems this recent setback was nothing more than a little dead arm phase.
    · (64) ·

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