Despite some less than inspiring play, the Yankees have now won five of their last seven games. They took the second game of the weekend series against the Twins on Saturday afternoon, rallying late behind their ace for a 3-1 win. Let’s recap:
- Tanaka Time: Had it not been for some more bad infield defense, Masahiro Tanaka might have thrown eight scoreless innings or even a shutout on Saturday afternoon. Kelly Johnson booted a hard-hit ground ball to lead off the game, and the runner eventually came around to score on Josh Willingham’s two-out single to right. After that, Tanaka retired 22 of 26 batters faced, including eight on strikeouts. He allowed just the one unearned run on four singles and two walks, fanning nine and getting ten ground ball outs. Tanaka was brilliant against the Twins, just as he has for most of the season. A man among boys.
- Blown Chances: Kevin Correia came into the game with the very worst ERA in baseball (6.34), yet the Yankees let him off the hook in the first two innings. Mark Teixeira struck out and Brian McCann grounded into a double play after they loaded the bases with no outs in the first, then Brendan Ryan grounded into an inning-ending double play with two on in the second. Yangervis Solarte was also thrown out at second after foolishly trying to advance on a throw to the plate on his single in the sixth, just like Derek Jeter on Friday. Correia allowed just one run (Solarte’s solo homer) in six innings. Gross.
- Late Rally: Jacoby Ellsbury set the table for the game-winning rally in the eighth with his legs, his greatest weapon. He singled with one out in the inning, stole second, then moved to third when the throw went into center field. Brian Roberts drew a walk to put runners on the corners, and rather than hit into another inning-ending double play, McCann doubled into the right field corner to drive in a run. Johnson atoned for his error with a run-scoring single later in the inning, after a 30 or so minute rain delay. Those were some mighty big hits.
- Leftovers: David Robertson pitched around a(nother) error in the ninth by striking out the side. I love it when he does that … McCann doubled twice and is quietly hitting .268/.355/.448 in his last 20 games, dating back to the start of the Brewers series. That’s a pretty great approximation of what he can do over a full season … Solarte went 3-for-4 with the homer and has officially broken out of his slump … Brett Gardner and Johnson both singled twice, Jeter singled and doubled, and Ellsbury singled and walked … Alfonso Soriano went 0-for-3 with a rare walk … the Yankees had 4+ extra-base hits for only the second time in their last 15 games.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. These two teams will wrap up this series with the rubber game on Sunday afternoon, when Phil Hughes makes his first career start against the Yankees. Chase Whitley will be on the bump for New York. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to see Hughes’ return live.
Triple-A Scranton (7-3 win over Indianapolis)
- DH Corban Joseph: 0-5
- 3B Scott Sizemore: 1-5, 1 K
- SS Zelous Wheeler: 2-4, 1 R
- C Austin Romine: 3-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI – every once in a while he’ll do this to remind you he’s still only 25 and was pretty well regarded
- RHP Shane Greene: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 13/1 GB/FB — 62 of 99 pitches were strikes (63%) … there we go, that’s the Shane Greene we saw last season
- RHP Danny Burawa: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 3/1 GB/FB — 25 of 41 pitches were strikes (61%)
Here is your open thread for this lovely Saturday evening. I didn’t think it would end up being so nice after all that rain this afternoon. The Rays and Red Sox will be on FOX, plus MLB Network will air a different game later tonight. There also an NBA postseason game on as well. Talk about any of those games, this afternoon’s win over the Twins, or anything else right here.
Michael Pineda has been shut down for after suffering a setback, Joe Girardi confirmed. An MRI showed inflammation in his back/shoulder, the same spot as his original injury. The good news is that there was no structural damage. Pineda was not expected back until the middle of next month, and now it seems like the Yankees will be lucky if he returns before the All-Star break. · (49) ·
5:00pm: Joe Girardi said Teixeira will not play tomorrow or Monday, and will then be re-evaluated on Tuesday. He received a cortisone shot today.
3:24pm: Teixeira left the game with right wrist soreness, the Yankees announced. Don’t like where this is going.
3:05pm: Mark Teixeira was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning of this afternoon’s game for an unknown reason, though chances are it has something to do with his surgically repaired wrist. Brian Roberts was on deck to pinch-hit for him when the fifth inning ended, which is weird. Means Teixeira was coming out of the game then stayed in to play defense for another half-inning. He sat three games last week because of inflammation in the wrist, and a visit to the doctor on Thursday confirmed the diagnosis. Stay tuned for updates. · (35) ·
The 2014 amateur draft begins in only six days. Here are some stray links to help pass the time:
- Latest Mock Drafts: Here are the most recent mock drafts from Keith Law (subs. req’d), Baseball America, and MLB.com. All three have the Astros taking San Diego HS LHP Brady Aiken first overall. Also, all three mock drafts are the first round only, so the Yankees are not included. Bummer.
- Latest Rankings: MLB.com just released their top 200 draft prospects list while Baseball America stretched their rankings out to 500 names. That’s roughly 15 rounds worth of players. The MLB.com list is great because it includes scouting reports, video, and 20-80 scouting scale grades for each player, all for free.
- As a reminder, the Yankees don’t pick until the second round (55th overall) because of their offseason spending spree. Their spending pool for the top ten rounds is $3,202,300, including $1,018,700 for that second round pick. None of their other picks are slotted for seven figures.
Thank goodness, Masahiro Tanaka is pitching today. Maybe the Yankees should forfeit the DH and let him bat too. Then again, Kevin Correia is starting for the Twins and he has a 6.34 ERA this season, which is the very worst among qualified starters in baseball. This is one of those no excuse games. If the Yankees can’t win this afternoon, something will have gone horribly wrong. Here is the Twins lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- DH Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- C Brian McCann
- RF Alfonso Soriano
- 2B Yangervis Solarte
- 3B Kelly Johnson
- SS Brendan Ryan
RHP Masahiro Tanaka
It’s cool with some clouds in New York, and there is a tiny little bit of rain in the forecast. Less than we got last night, so they shouldn’t have any problems getting this afternoon’s game in. First pitch is scheduled for a little after 1pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.
Looking for some Saturday morning reading? David Waldstein wrote a great feature on Danilo Valiente, the Yankees’ batting practice coach. That’s all he does, throw batting practice and soft toss and stuff like that. He joined the staff this season after working down in the minors for several years. The article isn’t about his job though, it focuses on Valiente’s incredible backstory as a guy who used baseball as a way to cope with the death of his wife, which eventually led to a big league coaching job. It’s a fantastic read and gets RAB’s highest level of recommendation. Check it out. · (2) ·
For only the seventh time in 24 games at the new Yankee Stadium (including postseason), the Twins won on Friday night. They took the series opener by the score of 6-1 and frankly I’m amazing the Yankees even scratched that one run across. The offense was non-existent. Let’s recap the loss:
- Blame The Park: Vidal Nuno allowed four runs in 6.2 innings on Friday, and his ERA at Yankee Stadium dropped to 7.94. It was 8.72 coming into the game. The Twins scored those four runs on three homers, all of which were moonshots. No Yankee Stadium cheapies at all. Maybe Nuno is just a bad fit for a small ballpark. Maybe he just isn’t very good. Maybe it’s both. Either way, he’ll start again in five days because the Yankees are simply out of starters.
- NOffense: Sometimes you run into great pitchers like Ricky Nolasco and you just have to tip your cap. He only came into the game with the second highest ERA (6.12) in baseball, after all. The Yankees couldn’t do much of anything against Nolasco even though he walked more batters (four) than he struck out (three). The box score says they had 13 base-runners in the game, but I don’t believe it. Must be an error or ten somewhere. Their only run scored on Jacoby Ellsbury‘s third inning double, which brought home Brett Gardner. That’s all they got.
- TOOTBLANs Aplenty: The Yankees made an inning’s worth of outs on the bases. Brian Roberts got picked off first, Derek Jeter took too big a turn around first base on a single and got caught in a rundown (Gardner got caught in a rundown when he tried to score while Jeter was in his rundown), and Roberts was thrown out at the plate on a single. Getting picked off first base happens, the other two plays were just bad mistakes. Bad mistakes that killed rallies.
- Leftovers: The Yankees have now gone four straight games without a homer — they hit three on the road trip, or the same number the Twins hit in the first four innings on Friday — the second time they’ve done that this year. They did it four times last year and six times total from 2006-12. Not sure how they’re supposed to contend in a tiny ballpark with so little power … Preston Claiborne allowed two runs in 1.1 innings and was nice enough to put this one completely out of reach … Gardner stole two bases, Mark Teixeira drew three walks, and Yangervis Solarte had both a single and a double. Hopefully he’s coming out his funk.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. These same two teams will continue this three-game series on Saturday afternoon, when Masahiro Tanaka starts against Kevin Correia. Correia has the highest ERA in baseball (6.34). If they can’t win that game, DFA everyone.
Let’s start with some notes:
- OF Slade Heathcott has been placed on the Double-A Trenton DL with “lower body soreness,” according to Mike Ashmore. He was in New York to have his surgically repaired knee looked at yesterday.
- 3B Dante Bichette Jr. placed 13th on this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. C Gary Sanchez was in the “In The Team Photo” section while 3B Miguel Andujar was in the “Not So Hot” section.
- Keith Law (subs. req’d) posted an updated list of the top 25 prospects in the minors. There are no Yankees, either in the top 25 or the honorable mentions. No surprise.
Triple-A Scranton (11-6 loss to Indianapolis)
- LF Ramon Flores: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 BB, 1 K
- 1B Kyle Roller: 1-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 3 K
- 3B Scott Sizemore: 0-4, 1 K
- SS Zelous Wheeler: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI — 10-for-34 (.417) with two doubles and two homers in his last five games
- DH Corban Joseph: 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB — 7-for-14 in his last four games
- C Austin Romine: 0-4, 1 BB, 1 K
- RHP Joel De La Cruz: 4 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1 HB, 7/3 GB/FB — 46 of 86 pitches were strikes (53%) … 81/27 K/BB in 60.2 innings this year
- RHP Diego Moreno: 1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 2/1 GB/FB — 17 of 32 pitches were strikes (53%)
- SwP Pat Venditte: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 16 of 25 pitches were strikes (64%)