May
04

Game 30: Hit the Road

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(Elsa/Getty)

(Elsa/Getty)

The Yankees wrap up this nine-game turned eight-game thanks to a rainout homestand this afternoon with a rubber game against the Rays, a game that will determine if the Bombers go 3-5 or 4-4 on the homestand. One looks much better than the other, doesn’t it? The Yankees will fly out to the West Coast following this afternoon’s series finale with Tampa and I’m sure the long flight will be much more comfortable on the heels of two straight wins.

The key bullpen arms were able to get a rest yesterday but that doesn’t lessen the importance of this start for CC Sabathia. He is the team’s second best starter almost by default now, and with both David Phelps and Vidal Nuno scheduled to start against the high-powered Angels these next few days, giving the relievers some more rest is more of a necessity than a luxury. Obviously the offense could make life easy by scoring some runs. Hopefully yesterday’s nine-run breakout was a sign of things to come. Here is the Rays lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. DH Alfonso Soriano
  6. 3B Kelly Johnson
  7. 2B Yangervis Solarte
  8. LF Brett Gardner
  9. C John Ryan Murphy
    LHP CC Sabathia

It was overcast when I went to get breakfast this morning but the sun has crept out and the sky is blue now. There is a small chance of showers later this afternoon but it doesn’t appear to be anything that will cause a delay or postponement. Just a bit of a drizzle. First pitch is scheduled for a little after 1pm ET and you can watch on YES locally or MLB Network nationally, depending on where you live. Enjoy the game.

Brendan Ryan Update: Joe Girardi told Dan Barbarisi that Ryan (back) could join the team very soon, perhaps tomorrow. The Yankees get their 25th roster spot back when Michael Pineda‘s suspension expires on Tuesday, so I’m guessing Ryan will travel with the team to Anaheim, rest Monday, and be activated Tuesday. We’ll see.

Categories : Game Threads
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RHP Zach Nuding and RHP Joel De La Cruz have been promoted from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton, according to Nick Peruffo. RHP Caleb Cotham was sent the other way in a corresponding move. In other news, John DeMarzo profiled RHP Branden Pinder, who is off to a strong start with Double-A Trenton. He could emerge as a bullpen option at the big league level, likely next season.

Triple-A Scranton (14-6 loss to Norfolk)

  • RF Ramon Flores: 1-5
  • 2B Scott Sizemore: 0-4, 1 R, 1 K
  • SS Dean Anna: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 K
  • 3B Zelous Wheeler: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI — 7-for-17 (.412) since coming off the DL
  • LF Adonis Garcia: 3-4, 2 R, 1 3B, 3 RBI
  • RHP Zach Nuding: 3 IP, 11 H, 10 R, 8 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0/6 GB/FB — 46 of 78 pitches were strikes (59%) … welp, you aren’t in Double-A anymore
  • RHP Mark Montgomery: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 21 of 27 pitches were strikes (78%) … 16/7 K/BB in 14 innings
  • LHP Cesar Cabral: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 1/3 GB/FB – only 17 of 41 pitches were strikes (41%) … last 25 batters faced: 12 outs, four hits, six walks, three hat batsmen

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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Great win by the Yankees this afternoon and above is remarkably great catch by LSU OF Jared Foster in last night’s game. That’s as good as any outfield play I’ve ever seen. Look at the game situation — bases loaded, two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning of a tie game. If the ball lands, the game is over and LSU loses. Instead, the games goes on and LSU won in extra innings. Foster is a junior but he isn’t much of a draft prospect, though that catch is just outstanding. Bravo.

Here is your open thread for the evening. The Mets are playing later tonight, but there is no other baseball on national television. There’s one NHL playoff game and three NBA playoff games on tonight (all three are Game Sevens), plus there’s the Kentucky Derby, if that’s your thing. There’s a horse named “General A Rod.” Seriously. Talk about those games, this afternoon’s win, Foster’s catch, or anything else right here.

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Source: FanGraphs

The three-game losing streak is mercifully over. The Yankees rebounded from last night’s tough extra innings loss with a come from behind 9-3 win over the Rays on Saturday afternoon. They were down three-zip after four innings. Let’s recap the win:

  • Second Time Around: Coming into the game, opposing hitters had a 38 OPS+ the first time through the lineup against Jake Odorizzi and a ~219 OPS+ thereafter. For serious. That held true on Saturday, as the Yankees went 0-for-9 the first time through and 5-for-8 with three doubles, two walks, and a homer against him thereafter. The homer was a two-run shot by Mark Teixeira, his fourth in the last five games. He seems to be #cured. Jacoby Ellsbury doubled in the game-tying run in the fifth and another run would have scored had it not hopped over the fence. Bad luck, but the bottom line is the Yankees still had second and third with no outs after that and failed to score.
  • TANAK Out: This was Masahiro Tanaka‘s worst start. Seems obvious, no? He gave up a ton of hard-hit balls and the damage would have been much worst if not for a few balls hit right at defenders. Both Desmond Jennings and Wil Myers hit solo bombs — Tanaka is tied with a bunch of other guys with seven homers allowed, second most in MLB (David Price has allowed eight) — and he needed more than 40 pitches to get through the first two innings. Tanaka settled down and finished the afternoon with three runs allowed on eight hits in seven innings, striking out only five. No walks, of course. Not bad for his worst start of the year. Gave the bullpen a much-needed the rest too.
  • Late Runs: Despite the obvious risk, Kelly Johnson came out of witness protection to hit a go-ahead solo homer off Josh Lueke to lead off the sixth inning. The Yankees tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh thanks to a Teixeira single and an Alfonso Soriano sacrifice fly. It was only their seventh sac fly of the season, the fourth fewest in the league. They’ve really struggled to get guys in from third with less than two outs, but Soriano got the job done this time. Ichiro Suzuki doubled (one) and Brett Gardner singled (two) in three more runs in the eighth. The Yankees scored in each of the last five innings.
  • Leftovers: Dellin Betances (one double, two strikeouts) and Preston Claiborne (one strikeout) closed out the game … Tanaka was almost hit by two comebackers, one in the leg and one in the head before getting his glove in the way at the last second … Joe Maddon spent an awful lot of time complaining this game, about pretty much everything. Balls and strikes, check swings, all of it … the Yankees had 12 hits with Ellsbury’s three leading the way. Teixeira is up to .269/.406/.577 (169 wRC+), by the way. That’ll do just fine.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees will look to win this three-game series on Sunday afternoon before heading out to the West Coast. Lefties CC Sabathia and Erik Bedard will be the pitching matchup. Head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch the final home game until the week after next.

Categories : Game Stories
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May
03

Game 29: Just Win

By in Game Threads. · Comments (317) ·
(Elsa/Getty)

(Elsa/Getty)

I’ve made an effort to fully adopt Zen Baseball this season, so last night’s loss, while ugly, doesn’t bother me as much as it would have a year or two ago. Just forget about it. Sleep it off and try again today. The quick turn around is good after a game like that.

The Yankees have a chance to end their three-game losing streak this afternoon behind their ace. Masahiro Tanaka told reporters yesterday that he felt his performance has been “so so” so far and that he made an adjustment in an effort to stop walking so many batters. I’m not joking. He really said that. The guy has six walks in 35.2 innings. I love it. Here is the Rays lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. 1B Mark Teixeira
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. DH Alfonso Soriano
  6. 3B Kelly Johnson
  7. 2B Brian Roberts
  8. RF Ichiro Suzuki
  9. SS Yangervis Solarte
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

It is gorgeous outside today. Few clouds but lots of sun and blue skies. Perfect afternoon for baseball. First pitch is scheduled for a little after 1pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Categories : Game Threads
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  • Yankees designate Chris Leroux for assignment, call up Al Aceves
    By

    The Yankees have designated Chris Leroux for assignment and called up Al Aceves from Triple-A Scranton, according to various reporters at Yankee Stadium. The team needed a fresh arm following last night’s 14-inning marathon and Aceves was scheduled to start today for the RailRiders, so he can give the team plenty of innings if need be.

    Aceves, 31, had a 1.98 ERA (2.43 FIP) in 13.2 innings down in Triple-A. He was pretty awesome for the Yankees in 2009, hurt in 2010, good for the Red Sox in 2011, and awful for Boston from 2012-13. As much as I irrationally want to believe Aceves can revert back to his 2009 form through the magic of the pinstripes, it’s probably not going to happen. All he has to do is be better than the Lerouxs and Bruce Billingses of the world. Welcome back, Ace.
    · (29) ·


Source: FanGraphs

What a ridiculous game this was. Five-man infields, base-running blunders, back-to-back homers, a ninth-inning comeback, Carlos Beltran trying to lay down a bunt*, successful challenges by both managers, the stadium crew cleaning the empty Legends Seats before the game was over, the first 0-for-7 in Derek Jeter‘s career … this one had it all. And yet, all the Yankees got out of it was their third straight loss and a burnt out bullpen. Good job. The Rays walked away with a 10-5 win in 14 innings in Friday’s series opener.

* To be fair, it would have been the most productive thing he’s done at the plate in a week.

Of course, the Yankees have no one to blame but themselves. They blew opportunity after opportunity in extra innings, stranding runners at third base in the 11th, 12th, and 13th innings. There were other runners on too, but only the guy at third mattered. Ichiro Suzuki grounded out to end the 11th, Alfonso Soriano grounded out to end the 12th, and Jeter grounded out to end the 13th. They had a man on third with fewer than two outs in 13th and still couldn’t get him in. The Yankees went with 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Gross.

The eighth and ninth inning comebacks were hardly worth the effort. Mark Teixeira and Soriano clubbed back-to-back homers in the eighth, then Jacoby Ellsbury singled in the tying run with two outs in the ninth. The non-Chris Leroux portion of the bullpen allowed just one run in 8.1 innings, striking out ten. They were awesome. Then Leroux allowed five runs on five hits and two walks in one inning. I have to think he’ll be off the roster tomorrow in favor of a fresh arm, among other reasons.

I don’t think I can muster up any more of a recap than that. MLB.com has the box score, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees will try to get their collective heads out of their asses in the second game of this series on Saturday afternoon, when Masahiro Tanaka gets the ball against Jake Odorizzi. Other than Tanaka, this team is pretty close to unwatchable right now. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the matinee live.

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OF Ramon Flores earned a spot in the “In The Team Photo” section of this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. Matt Eddy also put together a cool piece looking at the area scouts who have produced the most big leaguers since 2010. Victor Mata, who is the Yankees’ crosschecker in the Dominican Republic, is tied for the fifth most with six. The team has three other area scouts who produced at least three big leaguers during that time, which is above average compared to the rest of the league.

Triple-A Scranton (10-0 loss to Norfolk)

  • CF Ramon Flores: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K
  • 3B Scott Sizemore: 1-4, 3 K — 36 strikeouts in 78 total plate appearances this year (46.2%)
  • SS Dean Anna: 1-4, 1 3B, 2 K
  • LF Ronnie Mustelier: 2-3
  • C Austin Romine: 0-2, 1 BB — having just a brutal, brutal season
  • RHP Brian Gordon: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 4/4 GB/FB — 67 of 102 pitches were strikes (66%)

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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(Elsa/Getty)

(Elsa/Getty)

Believe it or not, tonight is Joe Girardi‘s 1,000th game as Yankees manager. Time sure does fly, doesn’t it? It feels like just yesterday we were debating whether the team should hire him, Tony Pena, or Don Mattingly. With all due respect to Pena and Donnie, I think it’s safe to say the Yankees made the right decision.

Girardi is the sixth manager in team history to reach the 1,000 games milestone, and, well, it’s going to be a while before he climbs any higher on the team’s all-time games managed leaderboard:

Rk Mgr Yrs From To W L W-L% G>.500 G
1 Joe McCarthy HOF 16 1931 1946 1460 867 .627 593 2348
2 Joe Torre HOF 12 1996 2007 1173 767 .605 406 1942
3 Casey Stengel HOF 12 1949 1960 1149 696 .623 453 1851
4 Miller Huggins HOF 12 1918 1929 1067 719 .597 348 1796
5 Ralph Houk 11 1961 1973 944 806 .539 138 1757
6 Joe Girardi 7 2008 2014 579 420 .580 159 999
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/2/2014.

Girardi will still be 137 games short of tying Houk when his just-signed four-year contract expires. Sitting in sixth place for another half-decade isn’t all that bad though. It won’t be that long before Girardi has logged more games as a manager than he did as a player (1,277), which is kinda crazy because he played in parts of 15 seasons. Congrats to Joe on his milestone. Here is his lineup for tonight’s game and here is the Rays’:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. RF Carlos Beltran
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. LF Alfonso Soriano
  6. DH Brian McCann
  7. 2B Brian Roberts
  8. 3B Yangervis Solarte
  9. C John Ryan Murphy
    LHP Vidal Nuno

The weather was damn near perfect in New York today and the same is true tonight. It’s cool and there are some clouds, but the forecast says no rain. Hooray for that. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:05pm ET, and you’ll be able to watch on YES locally and, depending on where you live, MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Categories : Game Threads
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May
02

2014 Draft: Alex Verdugo

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Alex Verdugo | LHP

Background
Verdugo is an Arizona kid from Tucson, and he stars both as an outfielder and a pitcher at Sahuaro High School. He is hitting .539/.602/.907 with three homers in 26 games this spring, and on the mound he has a 1.63 ERA with 77 strikeouts and 22 walks in 43 innings. Verdugo is committed to Arizona State, where he would presumably be a two-way player for the Sun Devils.

Scouting Report
On the mound, the 6-foot-1 and 190 lb. Verdugo usually sits in the 89-92 mph range with his fastball but has shown some 94s and 95s this spring. His curveball is ahead of his changeup at this point but both pitches look like they will be future weapons. They still need some work, however. Verdugo is an excellent athlete (hence the whole two-way player thing) and his delivery is really smooth and low-effort. He also hides the ball well. At the plate, Verdugo offers some left-handed pop and speed, and obviously he has a strong arm as well. After drawing split opinions in the past, the consensus now is that Verdugo is a better prospect as a pitcher.

Miscellany
In their latest rankings, Keith Law (subs. req’d), Baseball America, and MLB.com ranked Verdugo as the 31st, 41st, and 54th best prospect in the draft class, respectively. Ever since I read this article about the Cardinals’ scouting and development strategies, I’ve kinda had a thing for athletic pitchers. (Hey, St. Louis is pretty good at developing pitchers.) Verdugo definitely fits the bill, and when you add in his three-pitch mix and easy delivery, he seems like the kind of prospect who could really take off under pro instruction. The Yankees don’t pick until the second round (55th overall) this summer.

Categories : Draft
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