TiqIQ: Yankees Will Take On Crosstown Rival Mets In Most Expensive Game Of September, Host Orioles In Cheapest

It doesn’t get much more intense for the New York Yankees than the month of September. Trailing the rival Toronto Blue Jays by 1.5 games in the AL East, the Bronx Bombers have almost no room for error as they try to lock up a division title and give the World Series another go. Much like those pesky Jays, the Yankees have gotten to this point largely thanks to their potent offense, but whether or not they can secure the division and make a deep playoff run may come down to their uneven starting pitching.

With so much on the line, no one in New York should be surprised tickets to see the Yankees stand to spike a bit in September. Even with that being the case, fans can still find themselves some solid bargains. Let’s take a look at what kind of value can be had next month as we break down the cheapest and most expensive games for the Yanks in September:

Cheapest – 9/8/2015 vs. Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium | Avg: $71.02 | Primary get-in: $20

While they currently sit 11 games back of first-place in the AL East, the Orioles are certainly a team that cannot be taken lightly, possessing one of the more potent lineups in the league. Furthermore, they are the reigning division champs and will do everything they can in trying to successfully defend their title. That’s just one fragment of the value to be seen in New York’s cheapest game of September, as this is obviously a huge rivalry clash with playoff implications.

For Baltimore, even if they’re out of the running for the division at this point in September, they’re still hovering around the Wild Card hunt as well. Every game and series is crucial for the Yanks down the stretch, and as a result, this particular meeting with the O’s should be as important as any.

The best part is this game screams value at just over $71 on average, while anyone can get in the door for $20 via primary tickets on Ticketmaster. New York holds the edge on the year, being 8-3 in the season series up to this point. At the same time, the Orioles have actually outscored them, 62-59, in those 13 ballgames, which could make this a very competitive series, just as it usually is when the Yanks and O’s get together. Baltimore boasts some truly dangerous bats, particular the likes of Adam Jones, Manny Machado, and Chris Davis, that can contend with any opposing pitching. Not only should this particular affair be close, but fans will get even more value thanks to this being Old School Pennant Night.

Most Expensive – 9/19/2015 at New York Mets at Citi Field | Avg: $322.71 | Secondary get-in: $81

The Subway Series is baseball’s battle of New York, and this year it is bigger than ever with both the Mets and Yankees fighting for the top spot in their respective divisions. The Mets severely upgraded their offense around the trade deadline, and to go with their elite starting pitching, have created quite the pad for first in the NL East. They might only be more explosive from here on out after getting longtime Mets third baseman David Wright back from injury. The Yankees, of course, have their own significant firepower, led by Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Brett Gardner, but we’ll see if their sometimes inconsistent pitching can keep up with the likes of Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and/or Jacob deGrom on the road. Fortunately for the Yanks, their own pitching has come on as of late, with improved showings lately from Masahiro Tanaka, Nathan Eovaldi, and Ivan Nova, all of whom appear to be hitting their stride at the right time.

All of this adds up to offer up the most expensive game of September — and by a wide margin. Mets tickets are below $100 on average to close out the year, but despite that being known, this game climbs a staggering $322.71 over that average. It’s just as crazy for Yankees tickets, which average out around $121 to finish the regular season. This is a pricey game, to be sure, but it’s magnitude can’t be underplayed. The good news for Yankees fans is that their club did take a series from the Mets earlier in the year way back in April, when the Bombers took two of three at Yankee Stadium. Either way, fans from both sides are in for quite a show, especially since this game includes a cool Thundersticks Giveaway and has so many playoff implications for both squads. The average price is hard to take in, but at least fans can stomach the get-in tag, with the cheap seats being a very affordable $81.

8/31 to 9/2 Series Preview: Boston Red Sox

This photo has a good W-L record. (Elsa/Getty)

The Yankees just swept the last place caliber Braves — Atlanta is in third place because the Marlins and Phillies are even worse, but that’s a last place roster, right? — and now they’re in Boston for a three-game set against the actually in last place Red Sox. The Bombers are 8-5 against the BoSox this season, including 5-1 at Fenway Park.

What Have The Red Sox Done Lately?

The Red Sox were just in New York for a three-game series with the Mets. They lost yesterday but won two of three in the series. The BoSox have won eight of their last dozen games overall, so they’re on a decent little late-season run at the moment. They’re still 60-70 with a -38 run differential, however.

Offense & Defense

Depending on your choice of metric, the Red Sox have been either an above-average offense team (4.53 runs per game) or a below-average offensive team (98 wRC+) this season. They’ve been much better in the second half (5.20 runs per game) and especially in August (6.04 runs per game). Boston is without 2B Dustin Pedroia (hamstring) and C Christian Vazquez (elbow) long-term, and both OF Hanley Ramirez (91 wRC+) and C Ryan Hanigan (92 wRC+) are day-to-day with shoulder and calf problems, respectively.

Mookie. (Presswire)
Mookie. (Presswire)

Manager John Farrell is currently away from the team receiving treatment for stage 1 lymphoma, so bench coach Torey Lovullo is serving as the interim manager the rest of the season. Lovullo’s lineup is still built around DH David Ortiz (128 wRC+), who has picked it up of late and is only six home runs away from 500 for his career. OF Mookie Betts (105 wRC+) and SS Xander Bogaerts (104 wRC+) have both had good seasons, and UTIL Brock Holt (104 wRC+) has cooled down considerably following his hot start.

OF Jackie Bradley Jr. (135 wRC+ in limited time) and OF Rusney Castillo (106 wRC+ in limited time) are currently flanking Betts while Hanley is out. OF Alejandro De Aza (102 wRC+) will see some platoon action as well. C Blake Swihart (92 wRC+) and 1B Travis Shaw (150 wRC+ in limited time) are getting lots of playing time right now because the Red Sox are pretty much out of it, so they might as well play the young guys. 3B Pablo Sandoval (84 wRC+) has been a massive disappointment and IF Josh Rutledge (105 wRC+ in very limited time) is the backup infielder.

The Red Sox do their best defensive work in the outfield, especially when Hanley sits in favor of Rusney or Bradley. The non-Hanley outfield features three above-average glovemen. Hanley is a total disaster though. Worst defensive outfielder I’ve ever seen. Sandoval has lost a lot of mobility at third. Bogaerts and Holt are solid up the middle and Shaw’s fine at first. Hanigan is a very good defensive catcher but you can run on Swihart (29% caught stealing rate). So I guess that all makes the Red Sox a good defensive club overall.

Pitching Matchups

Monday (7pm ET): RHP Ivan Nova (vs. BOS) vs. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (vs. NYY)
Rodriguez, 22, came over from the Orioles in the Andrew Miller trade last year, and is part of Boston’s seemingly never-ending pipeline of pitching prospects who lack an out pitch. His 17.7% strikeout rate and 7.4% swing-and-miss rate are both below the league average. Anyway, Rodriguez has a 4.39 ERA (4.29 FIP) in 16 starts and 92.1 innings with that below-average strikeout rate as well as an above-average walk rate (6.9%), an average grounder rate (45.8%), and a below-average homer rate (1.17 HR/9). Weirdly, lefties (.388 wOBA) have hit him way harder than righties (.286 wOBA) early in his MLB career. Rodriguez has a big fastball, sitting mid-90s with his four-seamer and backing it up with mid-80s sliders and changeups. He uses the slider against lefties and the changeup against righties. The Yankees have seen Rodriguez twice this season, scoring two runs in 6.1 innings in July and two runs in seven innings in August.

Tuesday (7pm ET): RHP Michael Pineda (vs. BOS) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (vs. NYY)
Boy, this has not been a good season for the usually reliable Porcello, who has a 5.47 ERA (4.52 FIP) in 21 starts and 121.2 innings. His four-year, $82.5M extension doesn’t kick in until next season either. The 26-year-old from New Jersey recently missed four weeks with a triceps issue and has made one start since coming off the DL, tossing seven scoreless against the White Sox last time out. His strikeout (18.4%), grounder (43.4%), and homer (1.48 HR/9) numbers are all below-average, though his walk rate (5.1%) is quite good. Lefties (.373 wOBA) have smacked Porcello around this year. Righties too (.324 wOBA), just not as much. Porcello operates with low-90s two and four-seamers, using them to set up his mid-80s slider, low-80s changeup, and mid-70s curveball. The curve is his go-to secondary pitch, but he does use them all fairly regularly. Believe it or not, the Yankees have not faced Porcello at all this season. Not once.

Porcello. (Presswire)

Wednesday (4pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. BOS) vs. LHP Henry Owens (vs. NYY)
The 23-year-old Owens made his MLB debut against the Yankees a few weeks ago, and he now has a 4.03 ERA (4.19 FIP) in five starts and 29 innings. His strikeout rate (22.0%) is pretty good, but he walks too many (8.9%), doesn’t get enough grounders (31.0%), and doesn’t keep the ball in the park (1.24 HR/9). Lefties (.348 wOBA) have been more successful against Owens than righties (.308 wOBA) so far, but I’d ignore that entirely. He’s faced 22 left-handed batters as a big leaguer. That’s nothing. Owens has averaged 89.6 mph with his four-seamer according to PitchFX. An upper-70s changeup is his top secondary pitch, though he also uses mid-70s sliders and low-70s curveballs. Not a power arm, this one. The Yankees scored three runs in five innings against Owens in his big league debut.

Bullpen Status
Lovullo’s bullpen is not good and it hasn’t been good all season. As a unit, these guys have a 4.53 ERA (4.20 FIP) overall, and they’re currently without closer RHP Koji Uehara, who broke his wrist a few weeks ago when he was hit by a comebacker. RHP Jean Machi (5.21 ERA/4.45 FIP) is now closing with RHP Junichi Tazawa (3.79/3.04) setting up.

LHP Tommy Layne (4.14/3.75) is Lovullo’s go-to matchup lefty. LHP Craig Breslow (4.25/5.17), RHP Alexi Ogando (3.83/5.64), RHP Heath Hembree (4.85/4.50 in limited time), and LHP Robbie Ross Jr. (3.93/3.89) fill out the rest of the bullpen. I’m sure Boston will call up a bunch of extra arms when rosters expand Tuesday. Ross and Hembree both pitched yesterday, otherwise their bullpen is pretty fresh. Head over to our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s bullpen, then head over to Over The Monster for the latest and greatest on the BoSox.

Update: White Sox pull Robertson back off trade waivers

(Jon Durr/Getty)
(Jon Durr/Getty)

2:11pm ET: As expected, the White Sox pulled Robertson back off trade waivers, reports Heyman. The Yankees couldn’t work out a trade before the 2pm ET deadline. Robertson can not be traded to the Yankees or any other team now. (Well, that’s not true. The White Sox could put him on trade waivers again, but they would not be revocable the second time around.)

11:00am ET: According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees have claimed their former closer David Robertson off trade waivers from the White Sox. A deal is considered unlikely, however. The claim expires at 2pm ET today, meaning the two sides have until then to work out a trade. If they don’t, the White Sox will either pull Robertson back (yup) or let him go to the Yankees for nothing (nope).

Robertson, 30, is having another excellent year, pitching to a 2.60 ERA (2.09 FIP) with a career best 5.4% walk rate in 52 innings. His strikeout rate is still elite (35.0%) but he is getting fewer grounders than he has at any point in the last five seasons (38.3%), though that’s not necessarily a red flag. D-Rob has always gotten a ton of weak pop-ups. Robertson’s been Robertson. Pretty much the same guy we watched in pinstripes all those years.

The Yankees let Robertson walk this past offseason for big picture reasons. They decided they were better off signing Andrew Miller to a smaller contract and getting the draft pick for Robertson, which makes sense. Miller signed a four-year, $36M deal while Robertson took four years and $46M from Chicago. So the Yankees ended up with a comparable reliever, a draft pick (used to take shortstop Kyle Holder), and an extra $2.5M per year.

Prior to the trade deadline the Yankees reportedly spoke to the Padres about closer Craig Kimbrel, and were said to be willing to part with top shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo to make it happen. Robertson is not as good as Kimbrel and he’s owed more money ($38M through 2018 vs. $27M through 2017), though that doesn’t mean he would come cheap. Consistently great relievers are very hard to find. Robertson’s a valuable commodity.

Last week Brain Cashman confirmed the Yankees have placed a lot of waiver claims this month, though obviously none of those players ended up in pinstripes. I think claiming Robertson was more about blocking him from potentially going to the Blue Jays or Astros, two other AL contenders the Yankees will have to deal with either again in the regular season or possibly in the postseason, than it was bringing him back to New York.

Teams don’t claim players unless they are comfortable taking on the contract, though I don’t think the White Sox would let Robertson go for nothing. The contract isn’t that onerous. The Yankees were hesitant to trade close to MLB prospects at the deadline and there’s no reason to think they’d be more willing to trade them for Robertson now, not when they already have a great bullpen.

Yankeemetrics: Sweep in scorching Hot-lanta (Aug. 28-30)

(Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports)
(Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports)

Sir Didi The Great
The Yankees ended their offensive slump in style, routing the Braves 15-4 in Friday’s series opener in Atlanta. They scored five runs in the first inning — one more run than they had scored in 27 total innings against the Astros last week.

Didi Gregorius had a truly historic night, going 4 for 5 with a home run and six RBIs, becoming the first shortstop in franchise history with at least six RBIs and four hits in a single game. He also is the only Yankee ever to have that many hits and RBIs against a National League team — in interleague play or the postseason. And, at 25 years old, he is the youngest Yankee to record four hits and six RBIs in a game since a 25-year-old Yogi Berra on Aug. 22, 1950 against the Tigers.

Brian McCann had a homecoming to remember in his first game back at Turner Field since leaving the Braves after the 2013 season. He pretty much did it all for the Yankees, reaching base four times, scoring three runs and driving in four runs. McCann is the first Yankee catcher in team history to have the unusual box score line of at least three walks, three runs scored and four RBIs. The last Yankee (at any position) to reach those totals in a game was Roy White in 1972.

Three is enough
Luis Severino’s fifth start was perhaps the best of his young major-league career, as he threw six scoreless innings with just four hits allowed in the Yankees 3-1 win on Saturday night. The Braves couldn’t touch his slider … the pitch got five whiffs and nine outs for Severino, without yielding a hit.

Severino lowered his ERA to 2.17, the second-lowest by any Yankee pitcher in his first five career games (all starts) in the last 50 years. The lowest belongs to El Duque Hernandez, who had a 2.04 ERA in his first five career starts in 1998.

Brian McCann’s eighth inning double gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead and it was his 15th two-bagger of the season. He’s now the seventh catcher in major-league history with at least seven seasons of 15-or-more doubles and 20-or-more homers. The others? Mike Piazza, Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Jorge Posada, Carlton Fisk and Gary Carter.

Braves move to the AL East, please?
The Yankee bats were once again scorching-hot in Atlanta on Sunday afternoon, as they erupted for 20 runs and 21 hits in yet another blowout win against the Braves. Here we go …

With the sweep, the Yankees are now 12-2 at Turner Field in the regular season, their best record at any ballpark — and the best record by any major-league team at any current ballpark (min. 10 games).

The 20 runs matches the most the team has ever scored against any National League team, interleague and postseason included. The only other time it happened was when they beat the Rockies 20-10 on June 19, 2002.

This is also the second time they’ve scored at least 20 runs this season (also a 21-5 win at Texas), making this the first time since 1939 that they’ve scored 20-plus runs twice on the road in a single season. That 1939 team — which had a major-league record run differential of plus-411 — did it three times.

It was less than a week ago that these same Bronx Bombers were on the losing end of a 15-1 disaster against the Astros. So that’s a 14-run loss and a 14-run win in the span of six days! Yup, this is the first time in franchise history that the Yankees won a game by at least 14 runs and lost a game by at least 14 runs in the same week.

Nathan Eovaldi had his worst start since his June 16 disaster against the Marlins, allowing five runs in five innings as his ERA rose to 4.17. But he still got the win, and is now 14-2 on the season, good for a .875 win percentage. Looking ahead … the highest win percentage in a season by any Yankee pitcher that qualified for the ERA title with an ERA above 4.00 is .778 by Bump Hadley, who went 14-4 in 1936 while splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen. #KillTheWin

The biggest offensive star of the game was — not joking — Stephen Drew, who was 4 for 4 with two walks and four RBIs. He is just the third Yankee infielder (not including catchers) in franchise history to reach base at least six times, not make an out and drive in at least four runs in a game. The others were second baseman Tony Lazzeri on May 22, 1930 and first baseman Wally Pipp on August 6, 1922.

Fan Confidence Poll: August 31st, 2015

Record Last Week: 4-2 (42 RS, 32 RA)
Season Record: 72-57 (627 RS, 550 RA, 73-56 pythag. record) 1.5 GB in ALE, 5.5 games up on WC spot
Opponents This Week: @ Red Sox (three games, Mon. to Weds.), Thurs. OFF, vs. Rays (three games, Fri. to Sun.)

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the Features tab in the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?

DotF: Ackley plays second base in fourth rehab game

Triple-A Scranton (2-0 win over Buffalo)

  • CF-LF Slade Heathcott: 0-4, 1 K
  • DH Rob Refsnyder: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI — three two-hit games and four no-hit games in his last seven games
  • 2B Dustin Ackley: 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 HBP — left the game in the eighth after being hit by a pitch, though I’m unsure if he got hurt or if that was simply the plan for the day (he hasn’t played a full nine innings yet as part of his rehab) … interesting he played second base
  • LF-2B Jose Pirela: 1-4
  • RF-CF Aaron Judge: 0-4, 1 K — in an ugly 1-for-25 (.040) slump
  • C Austin Romine: 0-4, 1 K
  • RHP Chris Capuano: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 5/2 GB/FB — 36 of 62 pitches were strikes (58%) … unless there’s a sudden need at the MLB level, I bet he stays here through the Triple-A postseason, then the team will figure out what happens after that
  • RHP Johnny Barbato: 3.1 IP, zeroes, 3 K, 6/0 GB/FB — 27 of 36 pitches were strikes (75%) … finishing his first season in the organization very well
  • RHP Nick Goody: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2/0 GB/FB — 23 of 30 pitches were strikes (77%)

[Read more…]

Sunday Night Open Thread

Here is your open thread for the rest of the weekend. The Cubs and Dodgers are the ESPN Sunday Night Game (Arrieta vs. Wood), so that should be pretty fun. Jake Arrieta has been ridiculous this season (2.22 ERA and 2.57 FIP). He’s no longer the guy the Yankees used to pound on all those years with the Orioles. Talk about that game, this afternoon’s win, or anything else right here.