Only eight questions in this week’s delayed mailbag — sorry, but the Aaron Judge injury thoughts were more pressing — because a whole bunch of questions sent in this week were rendered moot by the Zach Britton trade and J.A. Happ trade. Send your mailbag questions to RABmailbag (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll answer as many as I can each week.
Greg ask: Is Archer a candidate for the Yankees anti fastball approach?
The Yankees added Happ yesterday but I don’t think that will take them out of the market for a controllable high-end starter, like Chris Archer. Or at least like Chris Archer was once upon a time. The Yankees have been scouting him, so, if nothing else, they’re doing their due diligence. I imagine there is some level of interest.
Archer has a 4.30 ERA (3.50 FIP) with a great strikeout rate (34.5%) in 90 innings around an abdominal injury this season. Since Opening Day 2016, he has a 4.09 ERA (3.59 FIP) in 492.1 innings. That’s a 99 ERA+. League average. Anyway, to answer the question, Archer is not really a candidate for the anti-fastball approach because he already is an anti-fastball pitcher. Look at his fastball and slider usage rates over the years:
Archer’s been throwing his slider as often as his fastball for almost three full seasons now. Maybe he’s a candidate for the anti-anti-fastball approach? Get him to start throwing more fastballs and fewer sliders, and maybe he’ll get back to where he was from 2013-15? Jerry Crasnick spoke to a scout recently who called Archer “stubborn when it comes to pitch selection,” which I thought was interesting. He’d already doing the anti-fastball thing. Perhaps he needs to go back the other way.
Jeremy asks: Mike King is looking great this year in AA. Also had a solid season in A ball last year. Is he turning into a real prospect at this point?
King was always a prospect. Not a very profile one, but he was a prospect when the Yankees got him from the Marlins in the Caleb Smith/Garrett Cooper roster shuffle over the winter. The 23-year-old King went into last night’s start (seven scoreless innings) with a 2.08 ERA (2.63 FIP) with 24.4% strikeouts, 4.9% walks, and 49.1% grounders in 108.1 innings split between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton.
That performance has upped King’s prospect stock this summer. In their recent midseason update, MLB.com ranked King as the team’s 25th best prospect. Here’s a snippet of their scouting report:
King’s best attributes are his two-seam fastball and his command. He has quality life on his 91-95 mph heater, showing the ability to run and sink it on or off either corner. He generates a lot of groundouts and misses his share of bats … King lacks a solid second pitch. Both his slider and changeup are decent offerings but unlikely to bother big league hitters. Unless he can improve them, he might face future as a middle reliever who depends on his sinker.
The Yankees have to help King figure out an out pitch. Maybe it can be the slider, maybe it can be the changeup. Whatever it is, the ability to develop that putaway pitch will determine whether he can succeed at the next level, or settle in as an up-and-down depth guy. King’s had a great season though, and he’s definitely worth monitoring.
Jeremiah asks: If Sanchez is going to be shut down for an extended period, does it make sense to add some depth via trade or just go with Romine/Higgy combo?
For sure. I thought they’d bring in another catcher the first time Gary Sanchez went on the disabled list. At least a journeyman type to stash in Triple-A, you know? Didn’t happen. Brian Cashman said Sanchez could be out until September, so this is going to be an extended absence. So yes, bring in another catcher. The trade deadline is coming up and I’d be cool with the Yankees splurging for an actual big leaguer and pushing Kyle Higashioka back to Triple-A. Wilson Ramos and Devin Mesoraco are the notable impending free agents, though I’m not sure whether they’re realistic trade targets. But yes, get another catcher please.
John asks: Is it just me or is Tanaka the best fielding pitcher the Yankees have had since Mussina?
It’s not just you. Masahiro Tanaka is an excellent fielder. I’m not sure how useful defensive stats are for pitchers, but Tanaka is at +21 DRS in 760.2 career innings with the Yankees. He’s made one error in his MLB career, and it wasn’t even a fielding error. He threw away a pickoff throw in 2016:
Jamie asks: Given the new state of the bullpen after the Britton acquisition, do you think that there’s any chance that the Yanks would try to bullpen the Wild Card game if it came down to it and save Severino to potentially pitch twice in the division series?
The Yankees essentially did this last year, right? Luis Severino got one out in the AL Wild Card Game against the Twins and the bullpen had to take it the rest of the way. And remember, the bullpen was a mess in the ALDS after that. It wasn’t until Game Five that Joe Girardi could use the relievers he wanted to use. In the first four games the Yankees kinda had to get by with whoever was available on a given night. That’s how Tommy Kahnle wound up with a two-inning save in Game Four.
Anyway, could the Yankees go with a bullpen game in the AL Wild Card Game? Yeah, I suppose so. It’s always possible. I still think the best plan is starting Severino with the bullpen ready to go behind him, like last season. It’s one game with your season on the line. Go with your best. Severino, at least up until his recent rough patch, had dominant reliever numbers as a starting pitcher. Do all you can to win the AL Wild Card Game and worry about the ALDS when you get there. Or, you know, just win the AL East instead.
Daniel asks: Mike, what’s up with Stanton’s batted ball profile? For a guy who hits the ball as hard as he does you would think he’d be aiming to hit the ball in the air more, but he’s near the top of the league in GB%.
Huh. I hadn’t noticed this. Giancarlo Stanton went into last night’s game with a career high 47.9% ground ball rate. In fact, his ground ball rate has gone from 34.8% in 2015 to 40.0% in 2016 to 44.6% in 2017 to 47.9% in 2018. Who knew? A graph:
On one hand, Stanton has been crushing the ball since early May and he’s on pace for 37 home runs. On the other hand, that 47.9% ground ball rate is 35th highest among the 160 hitters with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, and that’s way too high for a dude with his power. Needless to say, the more Giancarlo hits the ball in the air, the better. His grounder rate is trending down in the graph, so perhaps that means he’s coming out of it now.
Paul asks: Did we ever find out why Clint Frazier was transferred to the Major league DL? Is that some kind of bookkeeping thing to help them in some way?
Frazier first felt the post-concussion migraines while he was still in the big leagues, specifically on this play. He was in the big leagues, he felt the migraines and received treatment, the Yankees later sent him down, and the migraines got worse when he attempted a diving catch in Triple-A. Because the migraines started initially in the big leagues, Frazier was transferred to the MLB disabled list, where he collects big league pay and service. Works the same way with a tight hamstring or anything else. Frazier technically got hurt with the Yankees so he goes on the big league disabled list rather than Triple-A disabled list.
Daniel asks: If the Happ trade.hadn’t happened, McKinney would be the fourth outfielder and Drury would be at least platooning at 3rd (with Andujar at DH) after the Judge injury. Would the Yanks still have made the trade?
Yeah, I think so. I think they would’ve kept Billy McKinney given the outfield situation, and found another way to complete the deal. I have no idea how the Blue Jays feel about him, but I can’t imagine McKinney would’ve been a deal breaker. Platoon corner outfield types hitting .230/.294/.502 (120 wRC+) in their second year at Triple-A are that in-demand. I feel like taking McKinney out of the trade is a gap the Blue Jays and Yankees could’ve bridged somehow. I don’t think the Judge injury wouldn’t stopped the Yankees from trading Drury though. They need another pitcher more than they need another third baseman.
This was supposed to be a happy post. The Yankees got the starter they needed yesterday, sending Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney to the Blue Jays for J.A. Happ, but instead it’s a sad post. Aaron Judge will miss at least three weeks after getting hit by a pitch and suffering a chip fracture in his right wrist. It’ll be at least three weeks until he swings a bat again, so he’s really going to miss more like four or five or six weeks once you factor in rehab work and rehab games. It stinks. Anyway, let’s talk this out.
1. Really can’t overstate how devastating a loss this is even for only a few weeks. Judge is far and away the Yankees’ best player and he’s on the very short list of the best players in baseball. Judge leads the regulars in on-base percentage by nearly 50 (!) points and he’s hitting .285/.398/.548 (158 wRC+) with 26 home runs overall. Add in his standout right field defense and both versions of WAR have Judge as a top five position player in baseball. That makes him essentially irreplaceable. Given the AL East race and where the Yankees are on the win curve, every win added or subtracted has a big impact on their division title chances, and losing Judge means losing wins. Depending on his replacement, it could be as much as two or three wins lost over these next few weeks. Maybe more. Add in Gary Sanchez being down at the same time and yikes. Quite a bind the Yankees are in here, but good teams overcome adversity. I’m looking forward to seeing how this club responds. Onward.
2. In the short-term, it’s safe to assume Giancarlo Stanton will take over as the everyday right fielder with Shane Robinson sticking around as the fourth outfielder. He was called up yesterday to fill Drury’s roster spot. The Yankees only have three healthy 40-man roster position players in the minors at the moment: Tyler Austin, Ronald Torreyes, and Tyler Wade. Torreyes just returned from an extended absence because he was home with his wife, who had a medical issue. He’s currently playing in what amount to minor league rehab games in Tampa to get back into game shape. Torreyes probably isn’t a call-up candidate yet. Still some rust to shake off. If the Yankees want to bring up a pure bat to replace Judge, Austin is the way to go. Otherwise Wade is the more functional player because he can play more positions, handle them all well defensively, and run like crazy. The Yankees could also slide Jordan Montgomery onto the 60-day DL to call-up a non-40-man roster player, though I’m not sure who that would be. Mike Ford? Not great. I think the Yankees will call up Wade today and rotate guys in and out of the DH spot, with Neil Walker becoming an everyday player. Walker has gone 13-for-39 (.333) with seven walks (.426 OBP) in his last 14 games. Playing regularly while Gleyber Torres was sidelined seemed to get him on track. Now he figures to get a chance to play even more.
3. How about a trade? Always possible, and the trade deadline is four days away, so the Yankees have some time to scour the market for a bat to help out while Judge is on the mend. And the cool thing is they can look for a player at any position because Stanton will take over right field. They’re looking for a replacement DH, basically. Mike Moustakas’ name has been kicked around a bunch these last few weeks. Adam Jones? Matt Adams? Jose Martinez? Derek Dietrich? Jose Bautista? Ugh, Bautista in pinstripes would be worse than Kevin Youkilis in pinstripes. Plus the Yankees and Mets couldn’t even work out a dumb Lucas Duda or Jay Bruce trade last year. I’d bet against a Bautista trade. I have no problem with that either. What about Curtis Granderson? His numbers have dipped in recent weeks and he’s at .229/.332/.408 (104 wRC+) on the season, including .239/.338/.429 (111 wRC+) against righties. As a platoon bat who draws walks and knows how to take advantage of the short porch, I’d be down for it. Granderson is forever cool with me. There are all sorts of bats out there, potentially cheap and effective ones, and the Yankees might try to pry one loose before Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline. And, if they don’t, there should still be plenty of bats available on trade waivers in August. The Yankees can see how their internal options handle things the next week or two, then make a move if they need outside help.
4. Gosh, how much does it stink that Clint Frazier is on the disabled list right now? He’s out with post-concussion migraines and there’s no real timetable for his return. Clint’s been going through light workouts with Triple-A Scranton the last few days and it’s basically touch and go. Work out a bit, see how he feels. Work out a little more, see how he feels. They’ll do that and continually ramp up his rehab work as the migraines allow. Anyway, it stinks Frazier is hurt, for both Frazier and the Yankees. This could’ve been his big audition as an everyday player. The Yankees could’ve plugged Clint right into the lineup and let him run with it. Instead, he’s on the disabled list, and the Yankees have to look elsewhere. It stinks. It really does. I feel bad for Frazier because he’s been on the shuttle all season waiting for a chance to play regularly, and now that opportunity is available, but he’s not healthy. Hopefully he can come back soon and get into the lineup while Judge is out.
5. For the first time this season, I can honestly say the Yankees could use Jacoby Ellsbury right about now. Their outfield depth disappeared in a hurry. Frazier got hurt, McKinney was traded away — geez, how about the timing on the trade and Judge injury? — and now Judge is hurt. Boom boom boom, one right after the other. At the very least, a healthy Ellsbury could’ve been a platoon option off the bench. A better fourth outfielder than Robinson, basically. As far as we know Ellsbury has not yet even started baseball activities, so he’s nowhere close to returning. Heck, Judge might even beat him back at this point. The Yankees haven’t missed Ellsbury at all this season. His ridiculous string of injuries has helped the Yankees avoid an awkward roster situation. But, right now, the Yankees could really use an extra outfielder, and they’ve had an expensive yet useful outfielder sitting on sidelines all season.
6. Judge has been a fixture in the No. 2 lineup spot all season — he’s started 97 games this season, all as the No. 2 hitter — so, for basically the first time all season, Aaron Boone is going to have to rework the lineup a bit. There are two obvious No. 2 hitter candidates to me: Aaron Hicks and Gleyber Torres. I suppose Stanton could bat second — he hit second 110 times last season, so it wouldn’t be new to him — though he is far and away the top power threat in the lineup now, so I think Boone will end up sticking with him as the cleanup hitter. Here’s what I think Boone will end up doing, at least at first:
- LF Brett Gardner
- CF Aaron Hicks
- SS Didi Gregorius
- RF Giancarlo Stanton
- 2B Gleyber Torres
- 1B Greg Bird
- 3B Miguel Andujar
- DH Neil Walker
- C Austin Romine
That’s … still kinda good? It is. Anyway, Hicks has the perfect No. 2 hitter’s skill set. He walks (13.3%), he gets on base (.347 OBP), he’ll hammer a mistake (16 homers), he doesn’t strike out excessively (19.5%), he can run (8-for-9 in steals), and he’s a switch-hitter. Pretty much the ideal No. 2 hitter. I think slotting Hicks in as the No. 2 hitter and leaving Gleyber in the middle of the lineup, in more of a run producing spot, is the way to go. If Boone goes with Torres as the No. 2 hitter and Hicks as the No. 5 hitter, that’d be okay too. Not a huge difference either way. But I think Hicks as the No. 2 hitter and Gleyber as the No. 5 hitter is the slightly better alignment.
7. Let’s talk about the Happ trade for a second because I was planning a thoughts post on that, but the Judge injury kinda took the wind out of my sails. The trade was one of those “a move they had to make” moves, in my opinion. I think Happ is a clear upgrade over Luis Cessa and Domingo German, and a good hedge against Justus Sheffield not being ready. If the Yankees deem Sheffield ready at some point, he’s going to get called up. They’ll make room for him. Your opinion of the Happ trade likely depends on your opinion of Drury. If you think he can be an above-average everyday player, it’s a good deal for the Blue Jays. If you’re not sold on Drury being that good, then it’s easy to see why the Yankees would do the deal. I’m somewhere in the middle. Drury has some ability for sure, but I’m not sure what he does well, exactly. What’s the standout tool? He’s kinda average across the board, and hey, that’s fine. That skill set will keep you in the league a long time. Clearly things did not work out as Drury or the Yankees hoped. Andujar took his job pretty darn quickly and, as they’ve been doing the last few years, the Yankees committed to the young player. Easy decision there. Drury became expendable and there’s a pretty good chance Happ will go down as the best pitcher traded at the deadline, so the Yankees used Drury to get him. They dealt from positions of depth (well, at least before Judge got hurt) to address a weakness.
8. Even after the Happ trade and before the Judge injury, I didn’t think the Yankees were completely done with their trade deadline activity. I mean, it’s possible they won’t any more trades, but I don’t think they’re going to stop looking. They figure to keep an eye out for a bat now that Judge is hurt, and I think they’ll absolutely monitor the pitching market in case a controllable high-end starter becomes available, like Jacob deGrom or Marcus Stroman. Happ shouldn’t stop them from pursuing someone like that. Also, the Yankees are going to look for a catcher. They kinda have to, right? Brian Cashman said Sanchez could be out until September. Another backstop to either stash in Triple-A or carry on the MLB roster with Kyle Higashioka going back to Triple-A would be a-okay with me. Devin Mesoraco and Wilson Ramos are the big names out there. One guy I’d keep on eye on: A.J. Ellis. He’s backing up Austin Hedges with the Padres and, in addition to be a good defender and having a reputation for working well with pitchers (he was Clayton Kershaw’s personal catcher for several years), he’s hitting .286/.391/.357 (114 wRC+) this year. I wouldn’t expect him to continue hitting that well, but Ellis is a career .239/.340/.353 (96 wRC+) hitter, and that’s pretty darn good for a guy you’re looking at as a backup. The “better than Higashioka” bar is quite low, remember. The Padres have top catching prospect Francisco Mejia as well as up-and-down journeyman Raffy Lopez in Triple-A, so Ellis should be expendable. Could be a cheap upgrade over Higashioka and give the Yankees a little extra catching depth while Sanchez is on the disabled list.
11:06pm ET: Bad news. Judge suffered a chip fracture of the ulnar styloid bone in his right wrist and it will be at least three weeks before he can resuming swinging a bat, the Yankees announced. He doesn’t need surgery, which I guess is good, but this still sucks. Three weeks until he can swing a bat means it’ll be at least four until he returns, probably longer, because he’ll have to get some minor league rehab games in.
8:45pm ET: Judge was examined by team doctor Dr. Ahmad at Yankee Stadium, and is going for an MRI, the Yankees say. Here’s the play:
Needless to say, losing Judge for any length of time would be a devastating blow, even with Giancarlo Stanton ready to step in as the every day right fielder. I suppose the good news is that, if Judge does have to miss time, there’s still a few days before the trade deadline, so the Yankees can go out an get a replacement. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that. Keep in mind Clint Frazier on the disabled list with post-concussion migraines.
The Yankees have not yet announced an update on Judge because he just came out of the game a few minutes ago. He’s surely heading for x-rays and tests and whatnot. Hopefully he was taken out as a precaution and everything checks out okay.
The Yankees have had some issues beating teams they’re supposed to beat recently, but, on Thursday night, there were no such issues. They walloped the Royals 7-2 in the four-game series opener. Good win. Now we all wait patiently for an update on Aaron Judge after he took a pitch to the right wrist.
Building A Big Lead
For the first time in what felt like a long time, the Yankees took control of a game and built up a big early lead. Been a while since they played a laugher. I wouldn’t call this one a true laugher, one of those “this one’s over and it’s only the third inning” games, but it was close enough. Right in the first inning the Yankees scored two runs on Giancarlo Stanton’s sacrifice fly to right and Adalberto Mondesi’s error at short. Judge was hit by the pitch and Didi Gregorius doubled to right to set that inning up.
In the third the Yankees loaded the bases with two singles and a walk, but Gleyber Torres banged into an inning-ending double play, and it felt like it was going to be one of those games again. Lots of runners, not a lot of runs. Know what I mean? Thankfully, that was not the case. Hot hittin’ Neil Walker beat out a infield single and Austin Romine hammered a hanging slider into the left-center field gap to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead.
Two batters after the Romine double, Miguel Andujar hit a routine grounder to short and it should’ve been the final out, but Mondesi lollygagged the throw and Lucas Duda couldn’t dig it out of the dirt at first base. The inning continued, and, as good teams do, the Yankees took advantage of the error. Gregorius smacked the next pitch out to right field for a three-run home run and a 6-0 lead.
The Yankees scored their seventh run in the fifth inning, after back-to-back singles by Aaron Hicks and Torres set Greg Bird up for the left field sacrifice fly. Another sacrifice fly. The Yankees had two of them in this game to raise their Major League leading total to 38. They have six since the All-Star break. No other team has more than four. Sac flies are fun in their own way, but I can’t wait for some of these fly balls to start going over the wall again.
Sonny For Five
Third straight start against a bad team and a third straight good start for Sonny Gray. Coincidence? Almost certainly not. Coming out of the All-Star break, the Yankees lined up their rotation in such a way that Gray would face nothing put pretty crummy teams for the foreseeable future. He faced the Mets last time out and the Royals on Thursday. He’s tentatively scheduled to face the Orioles, White Sox, and Rangers his next three times out. Yeah.
Anyway, Gray hurled five shutout innings against the Royals on Thursday and he only exited the game because he took a comebacker to the barehand, and the Yankees presumably wanted to get some ice on it as soon as possible given the lopsided score. (He said he expects to make his next start.) Sonny only threw 75 pitches in those five innings. There was plenty left in the tank for another inning or two. No reason to push him after the comebacker with a big lead though.
Gray had to work out of two jams against Kansas City. Two ground ball singles and a walk loaded the bases in the third, but Gray struck out Mike Moustakas to end the inning. Then, in the fifth, Gray allowed a booming double to center and a walk, but struck out Rosell Herrera to snuff out that rally. His line: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. Also, he brought back his four-seam fastball. Here is Gray’s start-by-start pitch selection:
Last two starts were very two-seamer and curveball heavy. Two starts ago against the Orioles, Gray threw 87.8% two-seamers and curveballs. Last time out against the Mets, he threw 81.9% two-seamers and curveballs. Thursday against the Royals, it was only 58.7% two-seamers and curveballs. He threw 27 four-seamers against the Royals, nearly three times as many as he threw in his previous two starts combined (ten).
What does that mean? Who knows. Supposedly Gray and Romine went two-seam and curveball heavy just to simplify things and hopefully get Sonny back on track. Perhaps now he’s growing more comfortable and they’re branching out a bit? Maybe it was just the scouting report against the Orioles? I dunno. I’m glad Gray’s pitched well lately. I don’t care that it’s against bad teams. He wasn’t pitching well against any team earlier this year. Hopefully it continues and Sonny can build on it.
Welcome to the Yankees, Zach Britton. The team’s new bullpen toy made his Yankees debut with a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Ground out, strike out, ground out on ten pitches. So perfectly Zach Britton. Adam Warren allowed a double and a homer to give their Royals their two runs in the sixth, and, in the ninth, Chasen Shreve allowed three singles to give the Royals some hope. The game ended with Hicks threw Alex Gordon out at the plate.
Every starter had at least one hit except Stanton and Bird. They each had a walk and a sacrifice fly. Two hits for Gregorius, two hits and a walk for Hicks, and two hits for Walker. Walker is up to .213/.295/.300 (63 wRC+) on the season, which objective sucks, but it is a heck of a lot better than the .185/.268/.254 (45 wRC+) batting line he had 18 days ago.
This four-game series is just getting started. The Yankees and Royals will meet up again Friday night in the second game of this four-game set. CC Sabathia and Rule 5 Draft pick Brad Keller are the scheduled starters on CC Sabathia bobblehead day.
MLB.com released their midseason top 100 prospects list and team top 30 prospects lists today. The Yankees have four top 100 prospects: LHP Justus Sheffield (No. 28), OF Estevan Florial (No. 47), RHP Jonathan Loaisiga (No. 77), and RHP Albert Abreu (No. 79). OF Billy McKinney dropped off the list after being traded for J.A. Happ this afternoon. RHP Glenn Otto, who had surgery to remove a blood clot from his shoulder earlier this year, slides onto the list at No. 30 in McKinney’s place.
Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders Game One (5-4 win over Columbus) completion of the game that was suspended with two outs in the bottom of the third Tuesday, then again after the top of the fifth yesterday
- SS Abi Avelino: 1-5, 1 R, 2 K
- 1B Tyler Austin: 0-4, 2 K
- RF Billy McKinney: 0-2, 1 R, 2 BB — he was essentially traded between doubleheader games today
- DH Mike Ford: 2-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB — he hit the home run in the original game Tuesday night
- CF Shane Robinson: 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB — he was called up to take Brandon Drury’s spot on the roster, so he was a minor leaguer and a big leaguer in the same day
- RHP Chance Adams: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 3/2 GB/FB — 31 of 57 pitches were strikes (54%) … he started the original game Tuesday before the rain
- RHP Raynel Espinal: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 0/4 GB/FB — 42 of 63 pitches were strikes (67%) … he pitched yesterday, in the middle portion of this twice suspended game
- LHP Stephen Tarpley: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 6/0 GB/FB — 21 of 31 pitches were strikes (68%) … he “started” the completion of the game today
The quick three-game road trip is over — when’s the last time the Yankees had a three-game road trip? — and the Yankees are back in the Bronx for a six-game homestand against the teams with the two worst records in baseball. Four against the Royals (31-70), then an off-day Monday, then two against the Orioles (29-73).
The Yankees are 8-8 this season against the three current place teams in the AL (O’s, Royals, Rangers) and there’s nothing they can do about that now. Those games are in the bank. All they can do is take care of business going forward. This homestand is a great opportunity to beat up on some bad teams and rack up some wins. One game at a time though. Here are the starting lineups:
New York Yankees
1. LF Brett Gardner
2. DH Aaron Judge
3. SS Didi Gregorius
4. RF Giancarlo Stanton
5. CF Aaron Hicks
6. 2B Gleyber Torres
7. 1B Greg Bird
8. 3B Neil Walker
9. C Austin Romine
RHP Sonny Gray
Kansas City Royals
1. 2B Whit Merrifield
2. RF Rosell Herrera
3. 3B Mike Moustakas
4. C Salvador Perez
5. 1B Lucas Duda
6. DH Jorge Bonifacio
7. LF Alex Gordon
8. CF Brian Goodwin
9. SS Adalberto Mondesi
RHP Jacob Junis
It is a bit cloudy in New York this evening but there is no rain in the forecast, and that’s all that matters. Tonight’s game will begin at 7:05pm ET and you can watch on WPIX locally and MLB Network out-of-market. Enjoy the ballgame.
J.A. Happ Update: In case you missed it earlier, the Yankees traded Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney to the Blue Jays for Happ this afternoon. It’s a done deal. Happ is on schedule to start Saturday, though Aaron Boone said they’re probably going to push him back a day or two just to give him some time to get settled in. Makes sense.
Roster Moves: Zach Britton is with the Yankees and is active tonight. They already had an open 40-man roster spot, and Luis Cessa was sent down to make room on the 25-man roster Also, Britton is wearing his usual No. 53. Third base coach Phil Nevin will change numbers, if you care about such things … Shane Robinson was called up to replace Drury. He takes his 25-man and 40-man roster spots. Robinson played in Triple-A Scranton’s doubleheader this afternoon. Assuming he gets to the ballpark in time, he could play in two Triple-A games and one MLB game in the same day. That’d be neat. Anyway, the Yankees will have to make another move to get Happ on the 25-man roster in the coming days. No 40-man move is required because he’ll take McKinney’s spot.