Sunday Night Open Thread

Here is the open thread for the rest of the weekend. The Cubs and Giants are the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game (Hendricks vs. Bumgarner) plus there are NBA and NHL playoff games on as well. Talk about any of that stuff or whatever else is on your mind right here. Except politics and religion. Get that outta here.

Game 43: The Drive for Five


The seven-game West Coast trip ends today and so far it has been a successful trip. The Yankees dropped the first two games before rebounding to win four straight. Today’s series finale against the Athletics will determine whether this is a great 5-2 trip or a pretty good 4-3 trip. Plus it’s a chance for a five-game winning streak. Those are always fun. Here is the A’s lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

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

Yet again it is cool, cloudy, and windy in Oakland. Same weather all four games. Today’s game will begin at 4:05pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Injury Update: Luis Severino (triceps) threw on flat ground yesterday. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Tuesday, and if that goes well, he could make a minor league rehab start as soon as Sunday.

Sabathia Sinking to Success

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

On Friday night, near his hometown, CC Sabathia had his second straight best start of the year, even there was a a 16 day gap between them thanks to a DL stint. Returning from injury, Sabathia was looking to build off of a seven inning, six hit, zero runs, six strikeouts performance against the Orioles. CC responded by striking out eight A’s batters over six innings, allowing just three hits plus a walk, and only one run in the Yankees’ 8-3 victory. The win–the Yankees’ second straight–helped to rinse out the bad taste left in everyone’s mouths after the Arizona series, and put the team in position to win the series, which they did with yesterday’s victory; they go for the sweep today.

This has all been part of what’s been, so far, a renaissance season for Sabathia. Yes, it’s only six starts old and he did miss time on the DL already, but things have been about as good as they could be for the Bombers’ former ace. He’s thrown to a 3.41 ERA and a 3.14 FIP in 34.1 innings so far, which each one of us to a person would’ve taken before the season started. Though he’s twice failed to complete five innings, he’s not allowed more than three runs in any start this year and he’s done what a fifth starter is supposed to do: keep the team in the game and don’t embarrass yourself too much out there. After the last three seasons of ERAs in or around the five’s, this year’s performance is a more than welcome sight. It would seem that early in 2016, CC is starting to get used to pitching with a diminished fastball. That adjustment is where we can find a possible reason for his 2016 success.

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

In terms of pitch selection, the biggest difference between 2016 and 2015 is the sinker. That’s not necessarily in terms of usage, as it was his most frequently thrown pitch in 2015 as well. In terms of pitch selection, 2016’s highlight is more so the apparent elimination of his four seam fastball. The sinker, though, has turned into CC’s number one and it has been more effective this year. Though 2015 saw CC getting more whiffs per swing and a higher percentage of grounders on his sinker, batters seem to be having a tough time squaring the pitch up. His foul/swing% on the pitch is up slightly from 38.96 to 40.23%. Additionally, the line drive rate on the pitch has dipped from 27.27% to just 17.50% and the pop-up/balls in play rate has gone from just 1.21% in 2015 to 10.00% this year. He’s also yet to give up a homer on the pitch, whereas last year’s HR/(FB+LD)% was at 14.47. In general, then, Sabathia’s keeping his sinker in a position where it’s not getting hit too hard. His cutter–another pitch he’s relying more heavily on in 2016–has also seen a big jump in grounder percentage, hopping up to 41.18% from 25.00% in 2015.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

It is still early and these things could be blips that get violently corrected going forward. I’ve been optimistic about Sabathia in the past and been wrong about it, but I just can’t let go of feeling good about him. Call it a hangover from 2009-2012, but I just can’t help but believe in this guy. It may not have been a short process and it may not have been anything close to painless, but, dammit, I’m hoping against hope that CC settles into this sort of routine. Long gone are his days of big strikeouts and big innings totals, but as long as he keeps rolling out six or seven innings with three runs allowed, he’s doing his job.

Four-run fourth lifts the Yankees past the A’s 5-1

Source: FanGraphs
The Yankees have now won four in a row. Masahiro Tanaka threw seven brilliant innings and the offense scored enough runs to let the three elite bullpen arms rest. They are now only two games under .500, and they escaped the cellar of the AL East (the Blue Jays are now in the fifth place). It’s the weekend so let’s recap the 5-1 win bullet point style.

  • The top of fourth: The Yankee lineup went mostly quiet against rookie LHP Sean Manaea the first time around, but they were less merciful the second. The Yankees not only scored four but also worked the opposing starter hard in the top of the fourth. Manaea had thrown 33 pitches in the first three innings. He then threw 32 in the fourth. Carlos Beltran got it going with an RBI single with bases loaded, then Aaron Hicks hit a sac fly to bring another one in, and then Rob Refsnyder hit a 2 RBI double after a 10-pitch battle for the decisive blow.
  • Tanaka Time: Tanaka got into two bases loaded jams but only allowed one run when it was all said and done. In seven innings he allowed one run while walking two and striking out four. Just by the eye test, his stuff didn’t seem especially nasty nor his command that sharp. The overall line would have looked worse had he faced a better lineup. However, Tanaka did go out and got the job done, which is pretty much the priority. His recorded improved to 2-0 after the win today. Yes, 2-0 after 9 starts. I don’t think you see that often. His seven no-decisions lead the majors among all starters.
  • One more in the seventh: The Yankees had a 4-1 lead heading into the top of the seventh, which would set up for a Dellin BetancesAndrew MillerAroldis Chapman sequence had Joe Girardi decided not to use Tanaka for the bottom of the frame. Starlin Castro had a different idea. With Ronald Torreyes on first with two outs, Castro drilled a first pitch changeup down the line to bring home a run, giving the Yankees a 5-1 lead. Castro had been relatively quiet for the most of this road trip but he had a nice three-hit day today.
  • Nick B. Goode: No one’s gonna confuse Nick Goody for one of the elite three arms of the Yankee bullpen, but he’s handled himself pretty well in 7 appearances with the team this season. After tossing two scoreless innings to close out the game, Goody now has a 1.64 ERA in 11.0 IP. He’s also striking guys out (9.82 K/9) while limiting walks and homers (0.82 per 9 IP on both) so that’s cool too. Hopefully he keeps it up and becomes another useful bullpen asset for the team.

Here’s today’s box score, video highlights, and updated standings. The Yankees will look for a series sweep tomorrow with Michael Pineda on the mound against Jesse Hahn for the A’s.

DotF: Sanchez, Cave, and Green lead Scranton to a win

LHP Dietrich Enns was sent down to Double-A Trenton, per Shane Hennigan. The move clears a rotation spot for RHP Chad Green and a roster spot for the recently signed LHP Neal Cotts.

Triple-A Scranton (7-3 win over Indianapolis)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 1-5, 1 R, 1 K
  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K — he’s played 40 games this year: 29.2 K% and 5.6 BB% in the first 20, then 19.1 K% and 9.0 BB% in the next 20
  • C Gary Sanchez: 1-5, 1 2B, 3 RBI — picked a runner off second with a snap throw
  • 1B Nick Swisher: 1-5, 1 R
  • LF Jake Cave: 2-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI — five homers in 37 games this year after hitting two homers in 132 games last year
  • RHP Chad Green: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 6/3 GB/FB — 69 of 101 pitches were strikes (68%) … first start since his MLB debut in Arizona earlier this week
  • RHP Anthony Swarzak: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 34 of 46 pitches were strikes (74%)

[Read more…]

Saturday Night Open Thread

Here is your open thread for this fine evening. Things are always a little better when the Yankees are winning, aren’t they? FOX and MLB Network are showing a bunch of regional games tonight, plus there’s both NHL and NBA playoff games on. Have at it.

Game 42: Four in a row?


The Yankees are in the middle of their first three-game win streak of the season. This afternoon is a chance to make it four straight and clinch a winning West Coast road trip, which would be pretty cool. These trips are always tough. The Yankees have the right guy on the mound this afternoon too. Here is the Athletics’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. 2B Starlin Castro
  3. 1B Mark Teixeira
  4. DH Carlos Beltran
  5. 3B Chase Headley
  6. LF Aaron Hicks
  7. RF Rob Refsnyder
  8. C Austin Romine
  9. SS Ronald Torreyes
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Another cool, cloudy, and windy day in the Bay Area. There’s also a tiny little bit of rain in the forecast too, though nothing that should really affect the game. Today’s game will begin at 4:05pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Injury Update: Alex Rodriguez (hamstring) will not be activated until Tuesday, Joe Girardi announced. The Yankees have an off-day Monday, so since Alex was not ready today, it only makes sense to give him the extra day tomorrow as well as Monday … Didi Gregorius is available to play but is a little banged up. He’s fouled a couple pitches off his foot these last few days and was hit by Headley’s ground ball in Arizona.