Yankeemetrics: West Coast nightmare (June 12-14)


No pizza but still a win
The Yankees headed out west for the first time this season, but the story remained mostly the same on Monday night: another win and another legend-boosting performance by Mr. Judge.

This victory, however, was different from others in the past couple weeks because of the fact that John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman didn’t get to mention the beloved Papa John’s promotion. In case you’re not familiar with the popular deal: the day after the Yankees score six or more runs, customers get 50 percent off the regular menu price of all pizzas at Papa John’s online.

The Yankees scored ‘only’ five runs on Monday night, but that was still enough for the win because of another anomaly: Masahiro Tanaka did not get pummeled! Though he did cough up a solo homer to the second batter of the game, he settled down after that, retiring 13 straight at one point while pitching into the seventh inning.

One of the biggest keys for Tanaka was getting ahead in the count, throwing a first-pitch strike to a season-high 77.8 percent of the batters he faced. Because he was consistently in control of at-bats, he was then able to efficiently finish off batters when getting to two strikes, as the Angels went 0-for-11 in two-strike counts with eight strikeouts.

Okay, so back to the part of this game that was normal – Aaron Judge destroying baseballs. With the game tied in the eighth inning and a man on second, Judge drilled a 2-0 cutter from Bud Norris over the fences for a 5-3 lead. Sorry Buddy, this is not the best location for a pitch when facing a 6’7, 280-pound baseball cyborg:


I wouldn’t be surprised if Judge was literally smiling as he extended his arms and pummeled this pitch into the right-centerfield seats. It was right in his power-happy zone, as he was slugging 1.182 in that part of the strikezone after Monday’s game.


It was his first career go-ahead home run in the eighth inning or later … and hopefully the first of many more to come.

Judge wouldn’t have been the hero, though, without another standout performance from Didi Gregorius. He went 4-for-4 and kept the Yankees in the game with game-tying and go-ahead RBI singles in the third and fifth innings. Didi was the second Yankee shortstop ever with a four-hit, multi-RBI game against the Angels. The other guy to do it was … of course, Derek Jeter on Sept. 5, 1999 at Angel Stadium.

(USA Today Sports)
(USA Today Sports)

The Yankees six-game win streak was snapped on Tuesday in one of the more frustrating losses of this season, as they lost in the 11th inning after failing to cash in on key scoring chances throughout the night. It was also a rare type of loss for a couple reasons:

  • Before Tuesday, the Yankees were one of just two teams that hadn’t yet suffered a walk-off loss – the Marlins are now on the clock as the only team left on that list.
  • The Yankees were 33-0 when leading at the start of the eighth inning, one of four major-league teams without a loss in that scenario entering Tuesday’s slate. The others: Rockies (33-0), Red Sox (26-0) and White Sox (23-0).

Tyler Clippard was the game’s biggest goat – according to Twitter, at least – as he surrendered that game-tying homer and was tagged for his fourth blown save of the season in his 29th appearance. Through Tuesday, the only pitchers in the majors with more blown saves were Tony Watson and Francisco Rodriguez (both with 5).

Fangraphs tracks a stat called Meltdowns, which answers the simple question of whether a reliever hurt his team’s chance of winning, based on changes in win probability during the pitcher’s outing. (To be more specific, he gets a Meltdown if the game’s win probability declines by at least six percent from when he enters and then exits the game.) Clippard has eight Meltdowns this season, tied for the most among American League pitchers and fourth-most in MLB.

Clippard has a shiny 2.00 ERA and .158 batting average allowed, but he’s been horrible in critical at-bats this season. He’s allowed a .304/.375/.682 line in high-leverage plate appearances – that equals a .436 wOBA, which ranked seventh-highest among pitchers that have faced at least 25 batters in those situations. For reference, Aaron Judge had a .476 wOBA through Tuesday.

As if the game wasn’t depressing enough from a standard win-loss perspective, there’s also the fact that CC Sabathia suffered a hamstring injury in the fourth inning. He had won his last five starts, with a 0.99 ERA dating back to May 16 at Kansas City. During that month-long span (May 16 to June 13), a total of 161 pitchers threw at least 15 innings; Robbie Ray (0.24) and Sabathia (0.99) were the only ones to post a sub-1.00 ERA.


Welcome back, Tiny Mike
This annual road trip to Southern California has been a devastating one for this franchise, even in the best of times. After dropping the rubber game on Wednesday, the Yankees continued their run of futility in Los Angeles (or Anaheim, whatever). The Yankees fell to 45-58 at Angel Stadium in the Wild Card Era, their worst record at any AL ballpark in that span.

It looked like they might reverse that trend after taking a 4-0 lead in the top of the first, capped by Gary Sanchez‘s booming 441-foot three-run homer. It was the Yankees 11th home run of at least 440 feet this season, the most in the majors.

And here’s a stat that pretty much sums up the 2017 Yankees: Sanchez’s longball was also the 35th hit by a Yankee in his age-25 season or younger; in the five-year period from 2010-2014, there were 21 homers hit by Yankees in their age-25 season or younger … COMBINED.

Unfortunately that early offensive explosion was quickly rendered meaningless as #BadMike returned with vengeance. He soon turned that 4-0 advantage into a 5-4 deficit by the end of the third inning. Pineda ended up pitching six innings and gave up five runs on 10 hits, further widening his Jeykyll-and-Hyde home/road splits this season:

He is now 1-5 with a 6.25 ERA in six road starts, compared to 6-1 with a 1.96 ERA in seven home starts. That difference of 4.3 runs is the ninth-largest among the 100-plus pitchers that have made at least five starts at home and five starts on the road.

2017 Draft: Yankees grab several top prospects on Day Three, but will they sign any of them?

Beck. (@MLBDraft)
Beck. (@MLBDraft)

The 2017 draft is now in the books. All together 1,215 players heard their names called over the last three days, including 40 by the Yankees. You can see all of New York’s picks here. The Yankees loaded up on pitchers on Day One and Day Two. On Day Three they grabbed plenty of organizational depth, but also selected several highly ranked prospects who slipped due to signability concerns. Will the Yankees get any to turn pro? That’s the million dollar question. Let’s review the Day Three haul.

The Top Dollar Prospects

When the draft resumed yesterday, three of Baseball America’s top 41 prospects remained on the board. The Yankees selected two of them: Stanford RHP Tristan Beck (29th round) and Alabama HS RHP Tanner Burns (37th). Both were considered potential first round picks coming into this spring. Bonus demands caused Burns to slip. Bonus demands and injury caused Beck to slide.

Beck was one of the top pitchers in the country in 2016 — he joined Mike Mussina and Cal Quantrill (Paul’s kid) as the only freshmen to start Opening Day in Stanford history — but he did not pitch at all this spring due to a stress reaction in his back. During that freshman season he had a 2.48 ERA with 76 strikeouts and 26 walks in 14 starts and 83.1 innings, and he did it with good stuff (low-90s fastball, above-average changeup, good breaking ball) and an excellent feel for pitching. Beck really knows what he’s doing out on the mound.

In addition to being really good, Beck has added leverage as a draft-eligible sophomore. Man of the people Chris Crawford hears Beck wants anywhere from $2.5M to $4M to sign, and if true, there’s basically no chance the Yankees can sign him. Maybe that’s the opening ask and Beck is willing to settle for less? Either way, his options are take gobs of money from the Yankees, or go back to school and re-enter the draft next year as a potential top ten pick.

Burns, meanwhile, is a legitimate two-way prospect with a mid-90s fastball and an out pitch mid-80s slider on the mound, and a powerful right-handed bat with a keen eye at the plate. He is considered a better pro prospect on the mound. (The Yankees announced him as a pitcher.) Burns was not drafted on Day One (or Day Two) because he wants a lot of money to skip out on his commitment to Auburn, and teams weren’t convinced they could get him to turn pro.

While Beck and Burns are the crown jewels of Day Three, the Yankees drafted several other high-end prospects with signability questions yesterday as well. Louisville RHP Riley Thompson (25th) is a rare draft-eligible freshman after having Tommy John surgery and taking a medical redshirt in 2016. He threw only 14.2 innings this spring between coming back from surgery and being buried on a deep pitching staff. When he did pitch, Thompson showed first round stuff with a mid-to-high-90s heater and a power low-80s curveball. He has a chance to come out as a first round pick next year.

Georgia HS OF Pat DeMarco (24th) grew up in New York before moving to Georgia in 2014, and he’s an advanced all-around player with contact skills and good center field defense. Georgia HS C Steven Williams (35th) was one of the top high school catchers in the draft class, thanks mostly to his offense. He’s got big power in his left-handed bat and a history of annihilating elite prep competition with wood bats in showcase events. Williams might not catch long-term, but his bat will play anywhere. He’s committed to Auburn. DeMarco is committed to Vanderbilt.

And finally, Mississippi State OF Jake Mangum (30th) offers outstanding leadoff skills, including high contact rates from both sides of the plate, a patient approach, and top of the line speed. He also plays a mean center field. Mangum is an animal on the field who plays all out, all the time. People love watching him play. Mangum is a draft-eligible sophomore with plenty of negotiating leverage. He can either turn pro, or go back to school for a year and re-enter the draft next summer.

Based on talent, all six of these players should have been Day One or early Day Two picks. Two of them, Burns and Beck, have true first round ability. The Yankees selected all six of them because, well, why not? They could either continue to mine for hidden gems in the late rounds, or grab the most talented players on the board and try to convince them to sign. There’s always a chance they’ll change their minds and decide to turn pro, after all. Take the best players and figure out the rest later.

The Yankees hope to sign one of these players. That’s the realistic goal. Get one to turn pro. Beck or Burns would be preferable, but Thompson, Williams, DeMarco, or Mangum would work just as well. The Yankees will take whatever draft pool savings they have from Days One and Two, shovel it in front of these guys, and force them to say no. In all likelihood, all six will wind up in school next year. That’s usually how it goes. The fact the Yankees grabbed so many of these highly ranked players with signability questions increases their chances of getting one to turn pro, I think.

Balancing Out Days One & Two

Wagaman. (Los Angeles Times)
Wagaman. (Los Angeles Times)

I don’t think it was intentional, but the Yankees did select nine pitchers with their ten picks the first two days of the draft. That’s probably just the way the board fell in the top ten rounds. But still, when you go that pitcher heavy early in the draft, you kinda have to balance it out with position players later. The minor league rosters still need to be filled out, after all. On Day Three, the Yankees skewed toward college bats.

The best position player prospect the Yankees selected yesterday, at least among the guys they have a realistic chance to sign, is probably Orange Coast 1B Eric Wagaman (13th). He’s a right-handed hitter with big raw power and a knack for getting the bat on the ball despite a big long swing. Wagaman is a first baseman only defensively, so he’s going to have to hit and hit big to climb the ladder.

Duke OF Jimmy Herron (31st) is a ridiculous runner and a slap hitter from the right side of the plate. He puts the ball in play and runs like hell, plus he’ll draw walks and play good defense. There’s the potential for something exciting here if Herron ever figures out how to get some power out of his 6-foot-1, 195 lb. frame. California HS SS Alika Williams (32nd) has tools but is so raw that he’s probably best off going to college and developing there rather than against pro caliber competition.

Louisiana-Lafayette OF Steven Sensley (12th), Mount Olive SS Rickey Surum (16th), and Rhode Island 2B Chris Hess (17th) are all college performers without carrying tools. Surum can at least play shortstop, so he has position scarcity on his side. The Yankees drafted 40 players and only 12 are position players.

The Power Arms

When you get to Day Three of the draft, you’re looking for pitchers with one of two things: stuff or command. The guys who have both are usually long gone. The Yankees have long preferred the guys with stuff, I guess because they consider that an unteachable skill. They think it’s easier to teach someone to locate than it is to get him to throw harder or develop a better breaking ball. You don’t have to agree with that, but that’s what the Yankees seem to think, and they draft accordingly.

The best power arm the Yankees drafted on Day Three is Seattle RHP Janson Junk (22nd), who will inevitably be nicknamed “Junkballer” even though he is anything but. His heater will sit 95-96 mph in short relief outings and touch 98, and his best secondary pitch is a changeup with some fade. Junk has arm strength. Now he needs to refine either his changeup or breaking ball or give him a consistent second pitch, and allow him to climb the minor league ladder. Man can not live on fastball alone.

Maryland HS RHP Harold Cortijo (14th) made a name for himself in showcases last year by showing a low-to-mid-90s fastball with a promising curveball. Cortijo is a great athlete who also has some potential as a center fielder, and the hope is that athleticism will allow him to iron out his command and improve the quality of his secondary stuff. Slot money for every pick on Day Three is $125,000 — every penny over that counts towards the bonus pool — and it might take an over-slot bonus to convince Cortijo to turn pro.

Among the college pitchers taken on Day Three, New Orleans RHP Shawn Semple (11th) probably has the best chance to start long-term. His fastball is mostly low-90s and he has feel for both a breaking ball and a changeup, and he throws strikes. That’s someone you can send out as a starter for a year or two, and if it’s not working out, try him in relief. Delaware RHP Ron Marinaccio (19th) found new life after moving to the bullpen this spring and can miss some bats with a fastball and slider.

Norfolk State RHP Alex Mauricio (27th) used to throw very hard, up to 99 mph, but the wear of tear of college ball has him sitting mostly low-90s and touching 95 mph these days. He doesn’t have much to offer besides his fastball, however. Ventura College LHP Andrew Nardi (39th) has a nice fastball/slider combination and he models his delivery after Clayton Kershaw, though throwing strikes is a problem.

The Bounceback Candidates

In Virginia Tech RHP Aaron McGarity (15th) and Alabama-Birmingham RHP Garrett Whitlock (18th), the Yankees selected two pitchers who showed Day Two stuff in the past, before getting hurt. McGarity was low-to-mid-90s with ease in the Cape Cod League in 2015 before breaking down. Whitlock was mid-90s with a nasty slider on the Cape last summer, then he came down with a back problem early this spring. When he returned, the fastball was mostly 90-92 mph and flat.

The thinking here is pretty obvious. The Yankees grabbed McGarity and Whitlock with late round picks hoping they’ll regain their previous form as they get healthy and further away from their injuries. If it works, great! If not, you’re only out a late pick, and who cares about that? Sometimes these broken late round guys turn into Brian Wilson. (Wilson was coming off Tommy John surgery and his stuff was way down when the Giants drafted him in the 24th round in 2003.)

Other Unsignables

Beyond the high-profile prospects highlighted at the beginning of this post, the Yankees did grab several high school prospects in the late rounds with some tools, but basically no chance to sign. Florida HS LHP Jordan Butler (34th) is the best prospect of the bunch. He’s a side-armer with a low-90s sinker and a big sweepy slider that cuts across the entire width of the plate. The arm slot has most thinking he’s destined for the bullpen. It’s going to be tough to buy him away from Florida since he’ll have an opportunity to play a prominent role for the Gators from the get-go.

Virginia HS LHP Andrew Abbott (36th) has three pitches, including an upper-80s fastball and a great curveball, though he is considered completely unsignable and will follow through on his commitment to Virginia. If Abbott adds velocity in college, he could come out as a potential Day One pick in three years. Louisiana HS SS Hayden Cantrelle (40th) has speed and good defense at shortstop. He’s a legitimate football prospect as a quarterback and wide receiver, though he’s committed to play baseball only at Louisiana-Lafayette. Never say never, but Butler, Abbott, and Cantrelle are all dead set on college and not expected to sign.

The Rest of the Class

Lidge. (@NDBaseball)
Lidge. (@NDBaseball)

Notre Dame C Ryan Lidge (20th) is a catch-and-throw guy most notable for being Brad Lidge’s cousin … Catawba College RHP Bryan Blanton (21st round) is a reliever with a breaking ball he throws an awful lot … Arizona HS RHP Colby Davis (23rd) can locate three pitches, though none of the three stand out as a potential put-away pitch … Lane College LHP Austin Crowson (26th) has a big 6-foot-5, 210 lb. frame and a low-90s heater. He’s trying to figure out everything else … Florida HS RHP Shane Roberts (28th) is mostly upper-80s with the makings of an okay breaking ball. College might the best place for him going forward … Boston College RHP Jacob Stevens (33rd round) pitches at 88-89 mph and relies on a wide array of secondary pitches to get outs … Spartanburg Methodist RHP Brent Burgess (38th round) was a catcher in college who the Yankees want to try on the mound. The Rangers couldn’t convince him to do the same in the 40th round last year.

* * *

The draft signing deadline is Friday, July 7th this year — doesn’t the deadline seem to get a little closer each year? — and because of all those high-end prospects who fell into the Yankees lap on Day Three, the deadline could be exciting this year. I don’t expect any of those guys to actually sign because those types of players never seem to sign, but hey, I’m open to being surprised. Maybe the Yankees saved enough bonus pool space on Days One and Two to get one of them turn pro.

Missed opportunities prove costly in 7-5 loss to the Angels

After scoring 4 runs in the first inning, the Yankees gave the lead back, tied it up again, but let go of the game after experiencing some RISPFails and allowing a go-ahead HR to Andrelton Simmons. That was an annoying series – lost a starter and two games that were quite winnable. The Yankees still have the division lead but it has shortened to two gmes after the Red Sox beat the Phillies again. Let’s recap this game and move on to the next one.

(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Exchanging runs early

The Yankee bats got out of the gate early today. In the first inning, Brett Gardner led off the game with a base hit and Aaron Judge‘s single made it runners on corners with one out. Judge followed it up with a stolen base and Matt Holliday hit a sac fly to make it 1-0 Yankees. Starlin Castro got hit in the hands to make it runners in the corners. Gary Sanchez, as he does often, annihilated a second pitch slider into the left field seats for a 3-run homer. 4-0 Yankees. The game seemed like a cake walk for the Bombers at that point.

Big Mike, however, wasn’t that big tonight. The Angels hitter threatened rallies from the first inning. Cameron Maybin, Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar hit singles against Pineda to make it one-out, bases-loaded situation for the Angels. Luis Valbuena hit a deep flyball to center that was on its way over the fence and Aaron Hicks did this:


Yep, in case you are wondering, he robbed it. Hicks robbed a grand slam and held the Angels to a sac fly. Pineda got out of it with allowing only one run. However, more trouble was coming for Big Mike in the upcoming innings.

Eric Young Jr., as he did all series, bugged the Yanks again with a leadoff single in the 2nd. Danny Espinosa, who came into the game with a .164 batting average, hit a 94 mph fastball into the right field seats for a 2-run homer, making it a one-run game. The Angels tacked on two more in the third. Pujols led off with a single and advanced to second and third on two consecutive groundouts. With two outs, Pineda walked Andrelton Simmons to make it runners on corners. Facing Eric Young Jr., Pineda spiked a slider in front of the home plate that Sanchez couldn’t come up with and the ball rolled to the backstop. Pujols scored easily on the wild pitch to tie the game. Young Jr. followed it up with a single to right to give Angels a go ahead run and just like that, Yankees blew an early 4-run lead. 5-4 Angels.

RISPFail (Getty Images)
RISPFail (Getty Images)

The score stayed 5-4 until the top of the sixth. The Yankees had two great scoring chances in both fourth and fifth, but failed to cash in in either. Sanchez and Didi Gregorius led off the fourth with back-to-back singles. Chase Headley followed it up with a grounder to second… that hit jumping Didi’s back leg. Espinosa probably would’ve caught it for at least a force out but it forced Sanchez going to third back to second base. Rob Refsnyder hit a liner hard but it went right into Espinosa’s glove and Sanchez got doubled off at second. Yes, it’s that kind of game!

The Yanks’ RISP misfortunes continued in the fifth. With two outs, Judge reached on base with an Escobar throwing error. Holliday followed it up with a single to make it runners and first and second. Castro hit a sharp single to left and third base coach Joe Espada waved Judge to run home. The problem was that Judge was doomed from start:


That’s Eric Young Jr. getting ready to throw while Judge was not even at third base. Judge is not a slow runner but that was a terrible send. Young’s throw from outfield got Judge out at home pretty easily and Yankees came up empty-handed again. Had Judge held up, Yankees would have had Sanchez (who was 2-for-2 at the time) at the dish with bases loaded.

The bats finally got the tying run in the sixth inning. Sanchez reached second with an infield single + throwing error. After Gregorius struck out swinging, Headley singled to drive in Sanchez. Tie game!

The debut

A few days after Domingo German made his ML debut, another prospect got his first outing in the bigs tonight. Ronald Herrera (acquired from trading away Jose Pirela to Padres after the 2015 season), who has been lights out in Double-A this year (7-0, 1.03 ERA in 8 GS), faced Pujols in the bottom of the seventh in a 5-5 game. No pressure kid. However, he retired the first two hitters on first two pitches. Things went downhill from there. He walked Valbuena in five pitches and allowed a two-run, go-ahead HR to Andrelton Simmons on the first pitch. He hit Eric Young Jr. with a pitch on the foot but struck out Espinosa to get out of the inning.

I thought the timing of putting in Herrera was interesting. Tie game in the 7th, and a rookie making a ML debut is the first pitcher out of the bullpen? If it was in the 4th inning, it would make more sense but in the late inning situation, I would have gone with someone like Adam Warren to get an inning or two soaked. At the same time, the bullpen has been quite used lately, especially after last night’s 11-inning affair. Herrera was brought up to be the fresh arm guy out of the bullpen. Just not in an ideal situation to make a debut.

The Yankees had a bit of a two-out rally going on in the top of the ninth inning. Aaron Hicks hit a deep flyball into the right that Kole Calhoun caught with a leaping catch at the wall… or did he? Yankees asked the umps to look it over and they ruled that the ball hit the wall and Calhoun trapped it. It was pretty darn close and looked like it could have gone the other way. Anyways, that brought up Judge with two-outs, runner on second situation… which ended with a groundout. 7-5 Angels.


Pineda had a rough first three innings but settled down nicely after. From the fourth to sixth innings, he only allowed three baserunners and struck out two. As much as his poor outing engineered the Yankee loss, credit to Pineda for bouncing back nicely.

The Yankees had 14 hits total and every starter had a base hit each. Rob Refsnyder hit his first MLB triple and started in the right field today, giving Judge a day off with the glove. The offense definitely had it going but just ran into some rotten, rotten RISP lucks many a times tonight. Welp. You play 162 games and there will be a few annoying ones like this.

Box score, standings and WPA graph

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

Source: FanGraphs

The Yankees now head to the Bay Area to face the Athletics for a 4-game series on Rickey Henderson Field (great name). Jordan Montgomery will be on the hill against Sonny Gray on Thursday.

DotF: Solak’s big day leads Tampa to doubleheader sweep

In case you missed it earlier, the Yankees acquired RHP Matt Frawley from the Pirates to complete the Johnny Barbato trade. He’ll join Low-A Charleston. All he has to do is change dugouts. They’re playing Pittsburgh’s South Atlantic League affiliate this week.

Triple-A Scranton (6-5 win over Rochester)

  • 3B Tyler Wade: 1-4
  • LF Dustin Fowler: 0-3, 1 HBP — threw a runner out at second base
  • 1B Greg Bird: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K — 2-for-18 (.111) in his last five games … the Yankees are doomed to have terrible first base production forever … eat at Arby’s
  • DH Tyler Austin: 2-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 K — 11-for-40 (.275) with eight doubles in his last nine games
  • RF Clint Frazier: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB
  • SS Gleyber Torres: 1-4, R, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 K
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 3-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K — currently has a nine-game hitting streak, though there’s a big four-week disabled list stint mixed in there
  • CF Mason Williams: 1-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB — 8-for-23 (.348) during his little seven-game hitting streak
  • RHP Brady Lail: 6 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 7/1 GB/FB — 65 of 93 pitches were strikes (70%)
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 16 of 25 pitches were strikes (64%)

[Read more…]

Game 63: Win the Series

(Sean M. Haffey/Getty)
(Sean M. Haffey/Getty)

Last night’s loss was pretty annoying. That felt like a game the Yankees really should have won given the fact they had a lead with six outs to go, and also had some prime run-scoring changes in extra innings. And it all happened late at night for us East Coasters, which makes it that much worst. Blah.

Well, whatever, time to move on. The Yankees and Angels are wrapping up their three-game series tonight and a win for either team clinches the series win. Considering the Halos kinda stink and don’t have Mike Trout, losing the series would be a real bummer. Get the win tonight, win the damn series, then go to Oakland. Sounds like a plan. Here is the Angels’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Aaron Hicks
  3. DH Aaron Judge
  4. 1B Matt Holliday
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. C Gary Sanchez
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 3B Chase Headley
  9. RF Rob Refsnyder
    RHP Michael Pineda

The weather is great in Anaheim, I assume. Is it ever not? Tonight’s series finale will begin a little after 10pm ET. The game will be on YES locally and ESPN nationally. Enjoy the game.

Injury Update: Still no word on the severity of CC Sabathia‘s hamstring strain. He went for tests today and the Yankees are waiting for the results. The fact he hasn’t been put on the disabled list is … good?

Roster Move: The Yankees sent down Ben Heller and called up Ronald Herrera, the team announced. Herrera is coming up from Double-A. The Yankees got him from the Padres in the Jose Pirela trade.

Wednesday Night Open Thread

Happy Hump Day, folks. The West Coast trip is almost over. Well, no, not really, but we’re getting there. I’m already sick of the 10pm ET starts. Guess that means I’m getting old. Anyway, make sure you check out Ben Lindbergh’s post on the juiced baseball. There’s some evidence the ball itself is contributing to MLB’s homer spike. Whatever it is, I’m cool with it. I love dingers. Long live dingers.

Here is an open thread to keep you busy until the regular game thread comes along. The Mets are playing tonight and MLB Network will have a regional game as well. Talk about those games, the juiced balls story, or anything else here. Just not religion or politics. Get that outta here.

Yankees acquire righty Matt Frawley from Pirates to complete Johnny Barbato trade

Earlier today the Yankees announced they have acquired right-hander Matt Frawley from the Pirates to complete the Johnny Barbato trade. Frawley is heading to Low-A Charleston. The Yankees designated Barbato for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for Jordan Montgomery back in April.

Frawley, 21, was Pittsburgh’s 17th round pick last year. So far this season he has a 1.62 ERA (2.80 FIP) with 25.8% strikeouts and 3.2% walks in 33.1 innings, all out of the bullpen, in Low Class-A. He’s a low-90s fastball guy with an okay curveball. I guess that makes him a potential future Johnny Barbato?

This is the second time this year the Yankees have received a lower level arm in exchange for a reliever who had been designated for assignment. They acquired righty Yoiber Marquina from the Indians for Nick Goody last month, and now they received Frawley for Barbato. Usually teams settle for cash in these types of trades.